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Tapes could prove inhuman treatment at Guantanamo, says detainee's lawyer

October 10th, 2014
11:14 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Tapes that show the force-feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo bay will show the world that it is “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” a lawyer for one of the prisoners told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“Doing it day after day, to people who are suffering a great deal of pain, it can rise to the level of torture, I think,” Cori Crider said.

Her client, Abu Wa’el Dhiab, was cleared for release from the prison camp in 2009 but is yet to be freed, among a morass of toxic bureaucracy and politics.

To protest his imprisonment and treatment, he and several other prisoners are on long-term hunger-strike; the U.S. military forcibly feeds them, with a tube inserted through the nose into the stomach, twice a day.

Crider and the human rights group Reprieve successfully sued the government to release the videos, and a federal judge on Thursday said that the military has until October 17 to redact the videos for release to the public.

“The American people and the rest of the world should be permitted to watch the tapes, see the truth, and decide for themselves,” she said.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Guantanamo • Latest Episode

Bringing the world into focus

October 9th, 2014
03:41 PM ET

For the half a billion people visually impaired, even the sweetest scenes can't be fully enjoyed. But fortunately for many, prevention and treatment may be within reach.

On this World Sight Day, Christiane Amanpour has the story.

By ignoring Assad, U.S. is empowering the ‘pyromaniac’ to be the ‘fireman,’ says Syrian opposition

October 9th, 2014
03:23 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

By waging war only on ISIS in Syria, and not Bashar al-Assad, the U.S. has an incomplete military strategy that plays into Assad’s hands, Bassma Kodmani, an adviser to the Syrian opposition coalition, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“He has basically been the pyromaniac fireman who now comes as the fireman to say I will be the one to help in fighting these groups on the ground.”

“I think he has been waiting for this moment, he has prepared for it.”

U.S President Barack Obama says that Assad long ago lost the legitimacy to rule, but has nonetheless made clear that he is not the priority right now.

America’s war on ISIS in Syria lays bare the Middle East’s complex web of alliances and foes; ISIS is a bitter enemy of Assad’s as well, and as America goes after the group, Assad is able to concentrate on battling non-Islamic opposition groups.

“These strikes are allowing him to come to the other areas where the Free Syrian Army is, where the rebellion is, and to strike there. He has not stopped one day his strikes with barrel bombs and the population continues to die.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Syria

Fall of Kobani risks security of whole region, says Syrian Kurdish leader

October 9th, 2014
02:41 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The fall of the Syrian city of Kobani to ISIS militants would put the security of the whole region at risk, Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Moslem Mohamed told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“This brutal organization called Da’esh, or ISIS, they don’t know the border,” he said. “They were in Mosul, against the Kurds, they were in Sinjar, and now they are in Kobani. So what’s the next step?”

If the Kurds in Kobani are defeated, “I don’t want to think of it even, because…it means the victory of ISIS, which ISIS at that time could go to Istanbul…could go to anywhere.”

“We are going step by step to another genocide or maybe massacre, because those people are refusing to give up, insisting on defending their land and defending their homes and defending their dignity.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Syria • Turkey

ISIS fight needs boots on the ground, says former British military chief

October 8th, 2014
02:43 PM ET

WEB EXTRA: Richards says the world cannot take its foot off the pedal in Afghanistan.

By Mick Krever, CNN

The former head of the British military, General David Richards, said on Wednesday that the international fight against ISIS needed boots on the ground.

"I think you’ve got to make sure that your aerial campaign is accurately delivered, and that probably means some special forces up front," he told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

Experienced Western armies must play some role in the war, he said, if there is hope for victory.

“I’m not saying they have to be on the frontline, but they have to be deeply involved in the logistics, which is what often discriminates proper armies from amateur armies.”

An air campaign alone, he said, "cannot possibly" succeed.


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria • Turkey

‘Great momentum’ building for U.S. Ebola operation in Liberia

October 8th, 2014
02:34 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

There is “great momentum” building for the United States Ebola operation in Liberia, the top American diplomatic and military officials told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called Ebola a “national security threat” and is deploying up to 4,000 troops to Liberia, though that operation has been slow to get off the ground.

The U.S. is not sending any military doctors to work directly with Ebola patients, but Major General Darryl Williams said there would be some doctors working in the country.

“We are providing from the Human Health Services some doctors who will arrive here very shortly, to man the twenty-five-bed Monrovia Medical Unit.”

“But the Ebola treatment units … we've been asked to build up to seventeen of these Ebola treatment units.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Ebola • Latest Episode

Email from Christiane Amanpour on Turkey and ISIS

October 8th, 2014
11:40 AM ET

"Clearly a lot of jockeying and hard bargaining going on re Turkey entering the fight.

"You may have seen what the PM told me about their red lines: No-fly zone and safe haven … think U.S. and allied no-fly zone over Kurds in Northern Iraq and Shiites in Southern Iraq from 1991-2003!"

What she’s referencing: On Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Christiane that his country was willing to join the fight against ISIS in Syria, even put boots on the ground, but only “if others do their part.”

“We want to have a no-fly zone,” he said. “We want to have a safe haven on our border. Otherwise, all these burdens will continue to go on the shoulder of Turkey and other neighboring countries.”

"The administration source’s so called “de-facto” no-fly zone over Kobani is localized and temporary at best. But the Turks want a much more permanent zone, since they have 1.6 million refugees from Assad war and hundreds of thousands coming from Kobani.

"They tell me until Assad goes, they’ll need those no-flys … just like in Iraq until Saddam went."

What she’s referencing: A U.S. Administration Official told CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta that there is already a de-facto no-fly zone over eastern Syria, so from the American point of view, the Turks’ demands for a no-fly zone over Turkey does not pass muster.

"Hence Turkey’s second condition: They’ll only send their ground forces into the fight – the only plausible ground forces right now – if strategy shifts to topple Assad too."

What she’s referencing: Turkey has long wanted to see the ouster of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, and Prime Minister Davutoglu told Christiane that America must go after Assad, not just ISIS, in Syria.

"We said chemical weapons are the red line. He used chemical weapons. What happened to him?"

"We didn't do anything."

"And now, because of these crimes, there was no reaction, these radical organizations - I mean ISIS - misused this atmosphere and told these people the international community doesn't defend you. Nobody defends you. Only I can defend you by my own means. This was the source of ISIS."

"P.S. – goes without saying that if TURKEY is attacked in any shape or form, they will defend themselves by all means necessary."

What she’s referencing: Prime Minister Davutoglu made clear in their interview that any attacks on Turkey would be a game-changer; or any attack on “Turkish territory” inside Syria. A national tomb dating back to the Ottoman Empire is guarded by Turkish special forces inside Syria. If they are attacked or taken hostage by ISIS, that too would be a game-changer.

“If there is there any threat against our national security, we will take all the measures – all the measures,” he said.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Syria • Turkey

'Extraordinary' race for Ebola vaccine raises ethical questions

October 8th, 2014
04:26 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

(CNN) - The "extraordinary" rush to develop an Ebola vaccine is moving forward apace, the lead researcher told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, adding that the fast pace may engender ethical concerns about how it the vaccine is eventually implemented.

"This is, frankly, extraordinary," Adrian Hill of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University said. "We are trying to do in a few months something that might typically take 10 years. We've had accelerated reviews of all our applications, regulatory and ethical approvals, and so on."

"And we're now trying to proceed so quickly that if things go well, by the end of the year, this vaccine might actually be being used in the three affected countries in West Africa."


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Ebola • Latest Episode

Paintings celebrate Putin's birthday

October 7th, 2014
03:30 PM ET

A Moscow art exhibit is celebrating President Vladimir Putin's birthday by portraying him as a hero of mythic proportions.

Click above to watch.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Imagine a World • Latest Episode • Russia

Hong Kong demonstrators may scuttle democracy progress, says pro-Beijing legislator

October 7th, 2014
02:54 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

By disrupting life in Hong Kong and rejecting Beijing’s ruling on how Hong Kong should be governed, pro-democracy demonstrators there may actually be scuttling progress on democracy, pro-Beijing Hong Kong legislator Regina Ip told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“In terms of guarantee of personal freedoms and rights, we were free before we became democratic,” Ip said. “The democratic process only started getting under way in the 1980s, very late in the colonial era. And we've made a lot more progress since 1997.”

“I fully understand and sympathize with [the protesters’] aspirations. But they also need to recognize that our democratic model is laid down in the basic law.”

“We are not an independent country. We are part of one country.”

Students and pro-democracy activists clogged Hong Kong’s central business district through the end of last week, protesting a ruling by China that Hong Kong residents would be able to directly elect their chief executive, but only from a list of Beijing-approved candidates.


Filed under:  China • Christiane Amanpour • Hong Kong • Latest Episode
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