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Growing Rift in Spain Over Catalona Referendum; Spurring on America's Culture War; U.S. Working to Right Disinformation on Internet; Zuzana Ruzickova: A Life Strengthened by Music. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired September 28, 2017 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight, is Spain about to split? The region of Catalonia will hold an independence referendum on

Sunday, but the central government wants to pause it. Tonight, we have both sides of the debate. The Catalan counselor on foreign affairs.


RAUL ROMEVA, CATALAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS COUNCILLOR: They are arresting people without following the legal procedures. There are people, 14 people, who

have slept in the police station for not having committed any crime. Holding a referendum is not a crime.


AMANPOUR: And we'll get a response to that from the Spanish foreign minister who will join me live.

Also ahead, how to fight and beat Russia's war of disinformation. One expert said more education could win the battle for hearts and minds.

Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

Is this the age of independence? Right around the world, a hunger for sovereignty is fueling an appetite for referendums. As people crave more

self government and more self-rule, but it comes with a strong warning. First in Iraq, 92 percent of Kurds voted for independence from Iraq, but

Baghdad said no. And it's suspending flights to Kyrgyzstan and its parliament vows to use all means necessary to reverse that vote.

Similar tensions are stirring in Europe, still reeling from last year's Brexit vote. This Sunday, people in the Spanish region of Catalonia will

hold their own referendum on independence putting them on a direct collision course with the government in Madrid which says the referendum is

illegal and has vowed to shut it down.

Tonight, we hear from both sides. First, we go to Barcelona to speak to the Catalan Foreign Affairs Councillor Raul Romeva. He told me that

Catalonia stands ready to enter negotiations with Madrid.


AMANPOUR: Mr. Romeva, welcome to the program.

ROMEVA: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: As you know, the Spanish government is very against this referendum. And there are a whole load of security measures, all sorts of

things they are doing to try to prevent you from having it.

What exactly is happening in your region right now?

ROMEVA: They are arresting people without following the legal procedures. There are people, 14 people, who has slept in the police station for not

having committed any crime. They are banning some political debates. They are intervening in houses. They are in coating, they are taking all

material, all sort of material -- ballot boxes, papers, posters. They are impeding public debates.

Actually, they are even threatening the president and the members of the government with penalties of prison because that means, that worry means

sedition if we keep going ahead with the referendum. But the most worry action they have taken, they are taking control, they are taking control of

the Catalan finances and they want to have it as well for the police because they are violating the norms, violating the laws in the name of

defending the state of law, but I insist and that is very important.

Holding a referendum is not a crime. The penal code in Spain decriminalized it in the year 2005. So you cannot treat that action as a


What are we demanding? These are the political situation. We need to deal with it politically. We need to enter into negotiations in order to find a

proper solution for this.

The consequence it will have is basically that the people is getting more and more and more frustrated, which means that in the end, the people is

not standing up for the independence. They are standing up for the democracy principles.

AMANPOUR: You just said this is not about independence. And indeed some polls over the years have shown that perhaps the majority would not vote to

separate and leave Spain. But they do want their voice.

Is that what you're saying?

ROMEVA: Exactly. Exactly.

You got the point. That means that if it's so sure for some that the majority in Catalonia is on the "no" side, where is the problem? Let's put

the ballot boxes, let's vote and if the majority says no, we have repeatedly said we accept the result of that democracy and we keep moving


Actually, that means that obviously, we as a government, we have to resign that is a fact. We can invoke new relations and life continues.

[14:05:00] What we are always telling to the Spanish government is that they are not only impeding the "yes" side to express themselves, they are

impeding the "no" side to win.

Because if they think that the "no" is so majority in Catalonia, by banning or by impeding or by making it difficulty to held the referendum, they are

simply saying to the "no" side that they cannot win.

AMANPOUR: So the Catalan president has said that he will immediately declare independence within 48 hours if there is a victory.

What do you expect that to do given the sensitivities and given the resistance from the government right now? Is that going to sow chaos?

ROMEVA: This referendum is binding, is legally binding. And the consequence of voting, yes, the network is the one you mention. The

consequence of voting no is the one we said.

Obviously, I assume that the Spanish government will be very upset with this. But I insist as well, we have very often asked the Spanish

government to sit around the table and to talk politically about this. They have never wanted to do so. So that means that actually the only

option we have is this one. We have no alternative because they didn't want it to talk about anything.

AMANPOUR: Is there anything that the Spanish government can do to make you reconsider?

ROMEVA: There is one thing that the Spanish government can do. Stop the repressive measures. We have 7000 police officers simply waiting to impede

the referendum from happening. From there, we can talk about many things. We have put a proposal on the table. That is a referendum. Let's listen


The Spanish government has a proposal to make. We are keen to listen. If they have a political proposal to make, we can listen to this and we can

talk. We can negotiate from their proposal and our proposal. But we need them to be at the negotiation table to talk.

AMANPOUR: Raul Romeva, the Catalan foreign minister, thank you for being with us.

ROMEVA: Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: So joining me now with the view from Madrid is the Spanish foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis.


AMANPOUR: Senior Dastis, welcome to the program.

Let me go straight to your response to what Mr. Romeva said in Barcelona. First, stop the repressive measures and then negotiate.

Can you do that?

ALFONSO DASTIS, SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, listen, I didn't hear very well what Mr. Romeva said, but what they have to do is to stop this

referendum, this charade of a referendum and we are more than ready to talk the Spanish constitution and within the Spanish legal order. That has

never been a problem.

AMANPOUR: They basically say that as he told me tonight is not necessarily just about independence, it is about having the right to have their vote

heard and their voice heard once and for all. And indeed he admitted that they may lose the vote and that would pretty much be it. But that your

measures are making people more frustrated and more worried.

Are you worried that you'll be shooting yourself in the foot with the kind of measures that you're taking now?

DASTIS: Well, I don't think so. You know, Spain is democratic, but it's also a law-abiding country. And we are, you know, required to not -- not

we, the judges are required to apply the law.

So, again, I don't think there is any question in our will to talk and to enter into a dialogue. But what cannot be done is something that is

flouting the law and that cannot be equated in any way to democracy or from romantic right to decide that of course we all have, but we don't want a

part to decide for whole, you know?

AMANPOUR: They obviously say that, yes, there was a constitution in '78, but that was you know all sorts of things that happened and the 2000s

negated that, and that actually it's not a crime to have this referendum.

I realize there is a big fight between both sides on this issue. But for the sake of peace, I guess, and for the sake of politics, are you willing

to engage in any politics before this referendum or even after it no matter the outcome?

[14:10:00] DASTIS: Look, first, we have to make it clear that there will not be a referendum. There is no electoral role. There is no authority to

judge on the results. So it's going to be, I don't know, some kind of festive atmosphere. People will demonstrate and show what they think about

this situation. And then we hope that everything will be calm. That there will be no violence. We are a bit concerned of what we have been seeing in

the last few days, not because of the security forces, but what they are doing harassing those who do not agree with them.

And then of course afterwards -- and we have already said that we are ready to enter into a dialogue to accommodate, you know, the future of Spain that

has always been an open, pluralistic and inclusive country.

AMANPOUR: Foreign minister, can you just, for my sake, clarify. When you say there will not be a referendum, do you mean you just won't recognize it

legally or you are going to make sure that nobody is able to vote?

DASTIS: No. I mean, we are simply -- I mean, the security forces simply applying what the courts ordered them to do. We certainly, I think, both

the courts are simply applying the law. The government is acting in a proportionate and rational way and we simply hope that there will be no

problems of law and order on Sunday in Spain.

AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you. You said a proportionate and rational way. I mean, look, we're in Europe here. And you have 7,000 police officers or

more national guards, people on the ready there for your own country folk. You've shut down Web sites, advertising campaigns.

You've done all sorts of, you know, things to physically prevent this from happening.

I mean, do you expect there to be violence and both could eventually be on your head?

DASTIS: Look, I'm not listening very well to -- I'm sorry, I cannot listen very well to your questions. But I gather that you are asking us or

telling me that we are not acting in a proportionate and rational way.

What we are saying -- not the government, but the security forces are doing is following and complying with the orders of the court. And I think

that's what is done in every respected and respectable country which follows the rule of law. But anyway --


AMANPOUR: All right. Just finally for a minute, sir, -- sorry to interrupt you.

What will the government's position be on the day after, on Sunday night, on Monday. What will you all do? Try to get around the table?

DASTIS: I'm sorry. The position -- I take it, you are asking me about the position on Monday. The government is going to do and to say what we have

always been saying and doing.

We want to talk to all those people that, you know, comply with the rule of law and follow democratic procedures, and talk about the future. That is

perfectly clear.

AMANPOUR: All right.

Thank you for joining us foreign minister Dastis. I'm sorry it was difficult to hear, but thanks for joining us.

DASTIS: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And we got further a field next, where 50 cops broke out in the Ugandan parliament. Lawmakers brawling and coming to blows for a second

day over allowing the president to run for yet another term.

Now President Museveni, he has been in office for 31 years. So perhaps we could take a page out of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's book.

She told me why she's abiding by her country's constitution and actually stepping down after her two terms.


ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF, LIBERIAN PRESIDENT: I'm sending a strong signal. Not only should we respect the constitution and the law, but it also says

that it's time for generational change. That we have young people that are vying for leadership, that have the capacity, that have the passion and the

capability and it's time for them to take over and we have to make way for them.


AMANPOUR: A signal she was trying to send around the continent.

When we come back, a big brawl unfolding in the United States with Donald Trump. Is Russia trying to join the culture war there and sow civil

strike? We drill down next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.

First Facebook, now Twitter. Executives are meeting with congressional investigators today who want to figure out how Russia used them to spread

fake stories and sow unrest during the presidential election. This after Facebook had to turn over its Russian linked ads.

CNN has learned that a Kremlin-linked company specifically targeted ads towards areas of racial tension in America.

Nina Jankowicz follows these tactics closely and she said she knows how to defend against them. She's a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center and I

welcome you to the program.


AMANPOUR: So just tell me what about these tactics that we're now seeing that, you know, Facebook has been used. Twitter has possibly been used. I

mean, they are covert, but there are all sorts of different tactics, right?

JANKOWICZ: Absolutely. I think this is something that Russia is expert at. We've seen it over the past ten years across Eastern Europe.

What Russia does is it exploits fissures in societies which is why I think rather than a strategic tactical response pushing back against Russia, we

need to think about people in our response to the problem.

I didn't -- in particular, we like to focus on critical thinking skills, though they have local journalism. But in the discussions that we've been

having around it so far, it's categorized almost entirely as a national security issue when really we need to be defending our democracy.

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, that's really interesting because people are saying that that distortion of our democracy is a national security and an

existential issue.

But can it not be the both? I mean, it's got a human response. But I'm really interested. Do you think Americans don't have the critical thinking

faculties necessary to deal wit this?

JANKOWICZ: IT's not just Americans. I think it's all across the world and media environment that we're operating in right now. We've lost gate

keepers so anyone can be a media outlet.

As we saw a couple of weeks ago, there was a fake "Guardian" site that used a Turkish eye instead of an English eye to spread fake stories. And unless

you look very closely, you wouldn't notice that this was a fake site.

So I think we need to teach people how to navigate this media environment. We have an updated media literacy curriculum for the new era. And I think

that's really important.

AMANPOUR: And you did say something really important in your article that you just wrote for "The New York Times." That you know much of this has

been directed to the heartland of America, which is precisely where resources are being stripped in terms of supporting local news stations,

local newspapers, local radios. The kind of reporters who perhaps could get to the bottom of this and counter the effect of this.

JANKOWICZ: Absolutely. I think that's a great point. You know, the most important thing that we can do is connect people back to institutions.

Trust in America is at a critical level.

A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that people have 20 percent trust in government and the same low percentage would place a lot of trust in

media. And Russia is absolutely exploiting this, providing narratives where people are looking for them.

So rather than connecting them to things that are going on in their town council or to the county fair, we're seeing them, insert themselves into

these hot-button issues.

[14:20:10] As you mentioned, racial issues, social issues that really scare people. And that's where local news can come in and feel that gap.

AMANPOUR: So give us -- drill down a little bit about on how they're doing it and how scary it is and how effective they might be. I mean, are we

really to -- do we believe that Russia's interests in literally sowing civil strife in America?

JANKOWICZ: It absolutely is. I mean, it's trying to undermine western democracies all around the world. It's a scary thing. But what I try to

caution in my piece and what I'd like to caution all of your viewers is that the problem starts with us. If we build strong democracies with

strong institutions and some of us has to do with governance, right?

So any congressmen who are listening, I compel you to really get out there and serve your constituents and find bipartisan solutions to things like

this. But we -- our strongest defense is ourselves and we can't build a new news network. We can't just fact check our way out of this.

AMANPOUR: That's fascinating, because everybody is busy trying to fact check. It's a whole new industry has exploded. But one other thing

because so many people are trying to figure out a way to fight back. And one of them is a kind of shutting down. I know we don't like to use the

word censorship. But Emory University has just done a study -- I think it was Emory, on Reddit. The very, very popular site.

Now they shut down forums were hate speech showed up. They didn't shut down individual users. They shut down these forums and they basically say

the evidence shows that it worked. People then moved away. And they didn't actually put it really in critical mass elsewhere.

JANKOWICZ: Well, I think it's important in those cases, in cases of hate speech et cetera to exercise police sense of the law. But recently,

there's been a large debate about whether RT and Sputnik, the government- funded Russian media outlets that are in the United States should be listed as foreign agents.

Now certainly, the Foreign Agent Registration Act was created expressly for this purpose to site Nazi propaganda, but at this juncture cracking down on

them would do more harm than good.

In fact, we saw, the foreign ministry spokesperson of Russia Maria Zakharova today saying that they would respond in kind. And I think the

danger there in the labeling these organizations and potentially banning them as some have suggested is that we lose a lot of critical reporting

that is coming out of Russia at a very dangerous and important time.

And that wouldn't just extend to our FDRL or voice of America, that would extend to your colleagues at CNN and even in "New York Times" and

"Washington Post."

AMANPOUR: And our Isa Soares went to Macedonia and amongst many other things that she found out there, which are the fake news thongs that they

are already starting to target, guess what, the election of 2020 in the United States.

So we're kind of forewarned. Are we forearmed?

JANKOWICZ: Well, I certainly hope so. I've seen a lot of bipartisan support for fighting back against these things on Capitol Hill so that is

heartening. And certainly we've seen in Europe a more robust response than we were able to put up in the United States.

But I think rather than just pushing back again strategically, kinetically, we need to start putting in place these long-term programs that will

empower our own citizens to be able to look at one of those Macedonian news sites and say, no, I can tell what this is trying. It's manipulating my

emotions, et cetera.

AMANPOUR: That is so important. A real lesson.

Nina Jankowicz, thank you so much indeed for joining us.

JANKOWICZ: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: And when we come back, from cultural wars to a cultural hero. Remembering the musician who faced first the Nazis and then the communists

to become a musical legend. That's next.


[14:26:11] AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, we imagine a life lived in music despite death defying odds.

Zuzana Ruzickova. She died Wednesday, age 90. She was a music lover from childhood. She became one of the world's best harpsichord players.




AMANPOUR: Zuzana loved Bach and she said that she could hear the presence of God in high notes, but she almost didn't live to play them. She was

born in Czechoslovak.

When the Nazis invaded in 1939, she managed to survive, not one but three concentration camps. First her family was sent to Terezin. Her father was

killed there. Then she and her mother were transferred to Auswitch where she endured slave labor and she was on the list to be gassed, but was sent

to her third concentration camp Bergen Belsen.

After the war, she began all over again. It was long laborious struggle to rebuild her talents because after the Nazis, Soviet communists invaded

Czechoslovakia and they didn't like the harpsichord. But she won international competitions and she became the first musician to record all

of Bach works for the keyboard. A heroine indeed for our times.

That is it for our program tonight. And remember you can always listen to our podcast, see us online at and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks for watching and goodbye from London.