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Anti Corruption Crusader Bombed in Malta. Aired 11-11:30p ET

Aired October 17, 2017 - 23:00:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Tonight a dark day for democracy and a free press after a prominent anti corruption crusader was blown by a bomb in

Malta. The prime minister tells me the killers will pay.


JOSEPH MUSCAT, PRIME MINISTER OF MALTA: There will be absolutely no impunity for anyone. This is a connoisseur rule of law prince supreme (ph)

and I will make sure that justice is done.


AMANPOUR: Also ahead, can anyone live without them? Google, Amazon, Facebook author Franklin Foer says big check is robbing us of our own power

to make decisions. And imagine Islamic state was no more state left as the capital of their caliphate falls.

Good evening everyone and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. And tonight we lay bare the important but also dangerous world

of investigative reporting. Following the shock assassination of well known journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia on Monday in Malta.


Mourners held a candlelit vigil there where she lived. They honored the popular blogger whose work was even more widely red than the country's

newspapers. 53 year-old Galizia was killed by a car bomb as she drove away from her house on the Mediterranean island yesterday. She has long been

one of the country's top investigative journalist, famous for her work on the Panama papers.

A legend corruption within Malta's political circles in both the opposition and ruling parties. And alleging the Prime Minister and his wife had

hidden off shore bank accounts which they have strongly denied. So I put all of this to the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat where he joined me a short

time ago and I asked him what he was doing to hunt down her killers.


Prime Minister Muscat, welcome to the program.

MUSCAT: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: This is really shocked not just your country but the world and there's been an outpouring of grief and support and anger for the

journalist. You've called in barbaric, can you give us the precise details or as much as you know of what actually happened?

MUSCAT: Well I think in the situation that we are, we know that it was a bomb. The type of explosive that's were used I think are being determine

at this very time to the independent investigators we have both locally and from have brought from the states and other countries. And I think it

would be premature to say the way in which it was ignited.

Definitely it was a very professional job and we're taking this very seriously. So we are at a time in our country where we're not only in deep

sorrow but we are very, very at what happened.

AMANPOUR: Daphne Galizia was and equal opportunity fierce crusader. She didn't spare the government, she didn't spare the opposition, she was

determined to get to the bottom. She also tried to get to the bottom of allegations against you, against your wife, against you chief of staff.

She died 30 minutes after publishing a blog post accusing your chief of staff of corruption yet again and her last words were quote, "There are

crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate." You know, it pretty a harsh thing to say and then be killed 30 minutes after that.

MUSCAT: Well I think she said even harsher things before against myself, against my collaborators, against other people in government and from other

parties so I don't think it's fair to associate that particular post to the fact. Look, she was a very harsh critic of mine. I think the harshest I

ever had, she has been writing about me against me for the past decade of so.

We are livening in a free world. That's something we've always tolerated in the sense that it's always her right to write these things, it's

obviously my right to protect myself if I really at grief in court. And that's how it always happened, this is why this is shocking for us because

this is simple not on.

I will not point finger because I think it's extremely premature to say it was these guys who did it or it was this motive. I think right now what I

am here to say is that this country stands for rule of law and this country does not accept such things and this comes from one of her main targets

politically but I can never accept such - such an action. It's not what we stand for as a country.

What she wrote about me some time ago and I found exception on one particular thing that she wrote and I went to court where I asked for an

independent inquiry and I said if something is found what she wrote is true, I would resign immediately. That's how things are in a democracy so

this is completely out of this world for us. This is simply not on.

AMANPOUR: So let's just be clear. I believe you're talking about a report a couple of months ago where she found a whistle blower allegedly who told

her that you were the owner of a company that was still involved in corruption and payoff. You say as you just said, you went to court and you

asked for independent magistrate. Is that case on going?

MUSCAT: Yes it's still on going. And I believe that - I believe I'm sure that she gave her - the position to the magistrate so any evidence that

this so called whistle blower, the credentials of who had been put in doubt might have given her are there. And I stand by me word where it's not only

whether - it's proven, it's whether there's an indication that whatever was written in that story's true I would resign immediately.

So definitely it's a situation where we cannot really understand, we cannot really fathom the way in which this was carried out and the fact that

someone decided to kill a person because of something that she might have written or something she might have wanted to write in the future.

AMANPOUR: Well she was as I said and as you all know better than I do a crusading anti corruption journalist, a dedicated investigator even despite

those threats and the dangers. As you know, there was a lot of concern certainly in the European parliament. You were grilled many times

including not just by Maltese MEP's but by other Europeans amid four at the time ongoing corruption probes.


I mean that is why you had to call a snap election, so it's really - I mean there's a lot there.

MUSCAT: Yes but I don't know what you're implying because I wanted election and I wanted to a larger majority so if you're implying that there

was something in government for doing this or the government mandated this or the government has anything to do with this, I fail to connect the dots.

What I'm saying is that the government and as the Prime Minister and as a Parrish, their responsible (ph) and democratically elected, I need to make

sure that everyone has in our country as we have the right to say and write what ever we want. We actually removed the institution of criminal liable

during our 10 year in office.

We have made what ever we could and we will continue doing whatever we can to make sure that there is freedom of speak so I refuse your allegation. I

see where you're coming from. I could just play politics and say look, the last things that she wrote was about the opposition party and she got

threats from there she said.

But you know, I don't think that interests your audience. I think what interests your audience is a situation in a country where we are all

shocked about what happened and I'm here to say that this is not what we stand for. What ever our thoughts, what ever our ideas, what ever our

contrast, this is not how things are done.

AMANPOUR: Oh Prime Minister, as you know I would never ever make any allegations. I was merely describing what you were facing the kind of

pressure you were coming under. But I do want to ask you this, in this highly charged atmosphere one of Daphne's sons Matthew who himself heard

the explosion ran out to try to see what happened described the most abominable scene.

He wrote on Facebook this morning "A culture of impunity has been allowed to flourish by the government in Malta. It is a little comfort for the

Prime Minister of this country to say that he will quote not rest until the perpetrators are found when he heads a government that encouraged that same


And he goes on to say "My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it like many strong

journalists." What do you say to that as Prime Minister?

MUSCAT: Well I see and read the word of a son who has just found his mother dead in pieces so I think I would be insensitive to take acception

to anything her says. I think I would have written or said worse things if found my mother dead in an exploded car.

So I at this point in time, I think out of respect I will just say that I understand what he means but that's my role as Prime Minister is to make

sure that people are brought to justice. And whoever it might be that commissioned and executed this barbaric act is actually brought to justice

as soon as possible.

AMANPOUR: And so finally on that note, her family I believe has asked that the magistrate that has been assigned to conduct the inquiry into her death

be reassigned because of a potential conflict of interest because of other issues that the magistrate was looking at regarding some of the legal cases

that were brought up because of this.

MUSCAT: No I think that he families exception was because the magistrate who was assigned the case not by government, by to our roster (ph) system

was criticized harshly by Mrs. Caruana Galizia.

When they filed the case to have the reassignment, government signaled that we actually agreed that it should be reassigned and the magistrate

(INAUDIBLE) decided this morning that she should relinquished the case and have it assigned by the chief justice who one of her other colleagues.

AMANPOUR: All right so do you believe then at this point that you will get to the bottom of this and if it turns out that even the highest level are

found to be complacent, guilty, whatever the legal term is that there will be no impunity?

MUSCAT: There will be absolutely no impunity for anyone. This is a country where rule of law reigns supreme and I will make sure that justice

is done and there will be no impunity from anyone be it form any part of the political spectrum if there is politics involved in this or from any

other sector.

AMANPOUR: Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, thank you for joining me on this very difficult day.

MUSCAT: Thank you, Christiane. Thank you for understanding.


AMANPOUR: An important pledge to hold those responsible to justice and a reminder of how dangerous it is to do the kind of reporting that's so

vital. And when we come back, is the technology we depend on harmful to our humanity. Author Franklin Foer tackles the tech giants in his new

book, "World Without Mind: The Existential Treat of Big Tech." That's next.


AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program. The truths (ph) of Silicon Valley's labor are all around us. From the smart phone to the laptop to the social

media that we are all slaves to. Big tech image is changing the world but is that image more malign that we like to admit?

Franklin Foer thinks so and he's written a scaling polemic against the so called big four, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple. His new book is

"World Without Mind: The Existential Treat of Big Tech." Franklin Foer, welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So taking on the big tech giants. What is your aim? What are you trying to warn us about?

FOER: They play this outsized role in our lives. We see it with our phone which we feel physiologically separated from in another room we feel like a

piece of our body is missing. And they've come to play this outsized role in the way that we perceive reality. They stand between us and news and

they play massive roles in shaping markets and shaping democracy and conversation and shaping our future as a species.

I want to make sure that as we ease into this future, that we do so with intention and that we ask the hard questions of these companies.

AMANPOUR: Well, you know what, the word species or future as a species - I have to ask you, what do you mean by that?

FOER: What I mean is, as human beings we've always had tools, and these tools have been an extension of us. But we're in the process of merging

with machines that are quite different because they're intellectual machines that shape - that shape the way that we perceive reality.

Soon we'll be inhabiting in their virtual realities and we wear their technologies on our wrists. If you listen to the founders of Google, they

want to implant their technologies in our brain. So we're merging with machines but we're also merging with the companies that operate the


AMANPOUR: Wow. I'd never actually visioned it as merging. I know that there's so much of rewiring of brain, especially the young. Just quickly

before we get to the sort of lobbying and the money and the whole sort of rethinking who they are, these big tech companies. New report sighting,

new study says that the smart phone may in fact be hijacking our brains.

In The Wall Street Journal they wrote that studies show that actually, it's possible that these things are making us dumber.

FOER: Right...

AMANPOUR: And there need to be quite important interventions to separate us from these devices at least for a period of time.

FOER: Well, one analogy I use is to food. So 50 years ago, we had the arrival of TV dinners and processed foods and many decades later we woke up

and said, well there were no more pots and pans, and they were very efficient we didn't have to go shopping every day but these foods were

engineered to make us fat. They were engineered to atict us and they reshaped the entire economy of agriculture.

My concern is that the same thing that happened to the stuff that we ingest through our mouths is happening to he same things that we ingest via our


AMANPOUR: It is actually quite stunning the way you put it. And let's just take it now in order, the big thing that we've all noticed and being

you know rocked by if the dramatic effect on our Western Democracies by Russia and they're using Facebook and others, the gatekeepers. So give me

your view on -- can they be responsible gatekeepers, these platforms?

FOER: Well they could be more responsible gatekeepers, but the problem is, so much power is now concentrated in them. They are the most powerful

gatekeepers in the history of humanity and so I think that rather than try to make them behave more responsibility our bigger picture goal should be

to diversify the marketplace and to protect our privacy, which is the core thing that they exploit.

AMAPOUR: Under huge pressure, Sheryl Sanberg, Facebook executives have had to come out and say they're cooperate with Congress and other such things.

FOER: Right.

AMAPOUR: She gave an interview just this week. I want you to listen to what one of the big executives at Facebook, Sheryl Sanberg, just said.


SHERYL SANBERG, FACEBOOK EXECUTIVE: A lot of what we allow on Facebook is people expressing themselves. And the thing about free expression is that

when you allow free expression, you allow free expression and that means you allow other people to say things that you don't like and go against

your core belief. And it's not just content, it's ads. Because when you are going on -- when you're thinking about political speech ads are really



AMAPOUR: So that obviously was about Russia's...

FOER: Right.

AMAPOUR: ...use of Facebook and other tools to sway public opinion. Even to inject themselves into vicive debates in American public opinion. Do

you buy the way they're stepping up now? Is it enough?

FOER: No I don't. And she's acting as if Facebook plays no role in the way that news is arrayed. Facebook is a giant feedback loop. They've

collected mounds of data about their users. They've traveled -- they follow them everywhere as they've gone about reading on the web, as they've

going about buying on the web and they've created this portrait of their user's minds, which they then in turn use in order to increase their


So Facebook is a feedback loop. People want information and Facebook gives it to them and so to act like they have no role in shaping the way that

things are arrayed is to fundamentally deny the thing that Facebook does.

AMAPOUR: So I want to read you this that Mark Zuckerburg recently said. Of course, Yom Kippur recently and he did the famous Atonement quote.

FOER: Right.

AMAPOUR: Where he says, "Tonight concludes Yom Kippur. For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask

forgiveness and I will work to do better." I want you to comment on that in the context of all the money these groups are now paying to lobby in


FOER: Right. Well so they're no longer the challengers, they're no longer the start-ups, they're the encumbrance and they're investing and protecting

themselves and they're investing in ways that are entirely conventional.

Which means that they're massively increasing they're lobbying efforts in the capitals of the world that could dent them and that they're spending

gobs of money on public relations because they need it. There's suddenly a backlash that's emerged. The election of Donald Trump transformed the way

that Facebook is perceived as a company and it's now on the defensive.

AMAPOUR: But isn't that just exactly typical, that they're just addressing the perception and not the reality. What do you think they're going to

have to do to address the reality?

FOER: I think the quibble I would kick with the premise of that question is that the ownness is on Facebook.


FOER: Really the ownness needs to be on democracies to come up with a way to make sure that Facebook can exist in a robust public debate where not --

where citizens aren't reliant on just one gatekeeper, where there's a pluralism of gatekeepers.

AMAPOUR: And how does that happen in our world?

FOER: So right now they're -- we're in the process of having our old anti- monopoly laws taken off the shelves and there's renewed interest in anti- trust. But also, in the United States and in the large parts of the western world there are not laws that protect people's data.

Data is the source of Facebook's riches and they act as if our data is their own, but I think we need an entirely new paradigm where we allow

citizens to take control back of their data.

AMAPOUR: Without a doubt.

FOER: Yes.

AMAPOUR: Franklin Foer, thank you so much for joining us.

FOER: Thank you so much.

AMAPOUR: And when we come back, we imagine the two faces of terror on the day that Somalia buries victims of a massive Al-Shabaab car bomb. In

Syria, Isis looses it's main base and perhaps it's legitimacy. That's next.


AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, imagine a world of horror and of hope. In Somalia the horror, 165 people were given mass burial after a truck bomb

killed at least 300 in the capital, Mogadishu. The Al-Qaeda linked terrorist cell Al Shabaab is believed responsible for the horrific attack.

It's the most lethal since their insurgency began in 2007 and there's been a rush to donate blood to help the countless wounded while the families

who've lost their loved ones, many of them burned beyond recognition, bid good bye.

Now imagine the other side of the story; hope in Syria where after years of inflicting barbaric horror on their victims, a U.S.-led coalition says all

but a few ISIS terrorists have been driven out of Raqqa. Now the citizens there have been liberated after three years and the self-declared caliphate

no longer has a capitol and once more, President Trump puts himself front and center.


TRUMP: I totally changed rules of engagement, I totally changed our military, I totally changed the attitudes of the military and they have

done a fantastic job. Yes, ISIS is now giving up -- they're giving up, they're raising their hands, they're walking, nobody's ever seen that

before and...

UNKNOWN: Why didn't that happen before?

TRUMP: Because you didn't have Trump as your president. I mean there was -- it was a big difference, I mean there's a big, big difference if you

look at the military now.


AMANPOUR: That was Donald Trump giving a radio interview about the fall of Raqqa. But could this be the end of this dark force stalking the world?

It is for these, the people who've been liberated from its brutal rule. Now they at least can begin the long, arduous road to recovery. And that

is it for our program tonight. Remember you can always listen to our podcast, see us on-line at and follow me on Facebook and


Thanks for watching and good bye from London.