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On the frontlines with war crimes investigators

October 17th, 2014
10:40 AM ET

They are the humanitarian frontline – the Emergencies Team.

In times of war and crisis, it is often the “E-Team” that is first on the scene. Human Rights Watch’s emergency investigators gather evidence of war crimes and human rights abuses from Syria to Iraq and across the globe.

They are the subject of a new documentary, “The E-Team.”

“I wanted people to know what is behind this line in the report that says ‘Syrian government has committed war crimes,’” Anna Neistat, an investigator who stars in the film, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

“I just wanted people to understand that it's not that we roll out of bed in the morning and come up with these types of accusations, but that actually it's days and months and years of meticulous work in the field, putting all this evidence together, that allows us to make these kind of conclusions.”

Click above to watch Amanpour’s full conversation with Neistat and director Ross Kauffman.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

He was Hamas royalty. Then he spied for Israel.

October 17th, 2014
07:33 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Mosab Hassan Yousef was supposed to be a leader of Hamas.

His father, Hassan Yousef, is a founder of the militant organization and was its leader in the West Bank – but after being picked up by Israeli intelligence, he was turned, and became an Israeli spy.

“They disowned me,” Yousef told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. “Since that moment we have not spoken.”

“I did make some choices under difficult circumstances, and I believe that they were the perfect choices.”

His incredible story – and that of the Shin Bet agent who turned him – is the subject of a new documentary, The Green Prince.

FULL POST

Nothing is slowing Ebola so far, says epidemiologist, but vaccines promising

October 16th, 2014
03:37 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Ebola is spreading as such a rate that it is outrunning all efforts to contain it, Roy Anderson, professor of infectious disease epidemiology and former chief scientist at the British Ministry of Defence, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“Those hospitals [in West Africa] have got to be able to deal with and quarantine a very large number of patients,” he said. “So what’s feared is that the doubling time of this epidemic is going to escape the Western response at present.”

“I’m not totally convinced that these hospitals will actually slow the spread significantly.”

Because there is neither a drug to treat infected patients nor a vaccine to protect potential ones, the only option medical workers have right now to prevent the spread are efforts to quarantine people who are infected.

“Although they may slow the spread, and we need more resources to do that, longer term the solutions must be either immunotherapy, which is putting serum into infected patients, but most importantly of course in the longer term, a vaccine.”

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Ebola • Latest Episode

Cardinal hails ‘welcoming’ language on homosexuals

October 15th, 2014
02:36 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

As the Vatican signals a tone shift towards homosexuals and gay couples, a key author of a report being prepared for Pope Francis said that the new language fits within existing Church doctrine.

It is “not so much a change in the teaching of the Church, but a way of saying it that is far more inviting, far more welcoming,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington D.C., told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

A group of Cardinals and bishops tasked by the pope with examining issues of the family on Monday said, in an interim report, that “Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.”

“It’s saying what the catechism of the church already says,” Cardinal Wuerl said, “that every person has a dignity all of their own; a worth, a value, a God-given dignity. And a person, a homosexual person, a person who has this orientation, has the dignity of being who they are.”

The Vatican, and Cardinal Wuerl, emphasized that the opinion is still far from being an official position of the Church, or from impacting its teachings. But for a religion that has long ostracized homosexuals, it is a stunning shift in tone.

FULL POST

Estonia faces standoff with Russia

October 15th, 2014
09:47 AM ET

While the world is pre-occupied trying to find a way to stop ISIS, on Russia's border, war games and psychological warfare continue.

Apart from its obvious attempt to halt Ukraine's tilt westwards, worrying new questions now about Russia’s aim – and game – in the Baltic States.

What happened in Estonia last month reads like a John le Carre novel. One of their intelligence agents was snatched in a cross border raid by Russian FSB agents, and recently paraded on Russian TV as a spy.

Is President Vladimir Putin testing NATO? Seeing how far he can probe one of its own?

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour spoke with Estonian Foreign Minister Urman Paet on Wednesday about whether the country feared the "Ukraine treatment."

Click above to watch.


Filed under:  Estonia • Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

Iran touts ‘experience’ fighting terrorists, says airstrikes not enough against ISIS

October 14th, 2014
03:27 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Iran has “good experience” fighting terrorists, and came to the aid of Iraqis against ISIS, the speaker of the Iranian parliament told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, saying that U.S.-led airstrikes alone would not be enough to destroy the militants.

“I think it is very unlikely to destroy guerilla fighters by just dropping bombs on their heads,” Ali Larijani said through an interpreter.

Along with the president, Hassan Rouhani, and Supreme Leader, Ali Khamanei, he is one of the most powerful people in the country.

“Us, I mean Iran, went to the side of the Iraqis very early when the crisis broke out. We don't really want to broadcast it; we don't want to go to the media and talk about what we did for the Iraqis. But in practice, we defended them.”

The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani, has even been photographed on the ground in Iraq.

“Terrorists cannot be destroyed by bombing them. You cannot solve terrorism by occupation. And in order to fight them effectively, you have to choose another method. And you know that we have good experience in that, because we have actually fought against them.”

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

ISIS fight may take 5-10 years, says key Iraqi MP

October 13th, 2014
03:25 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Countering the assessment of the Obama Administration, a key Iraqi parliamentarian on Monday told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that the fight against ISIS could last “five to ten years.”

Mowaffak al-Rubaie represents Baghdad in parliament and is a former national security adviser to then-Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

“I do not agree with the White House assessment that three years is enough to destroy ISIS from Iraq and Syria. I believe this is a long war, and we have to prepare ourselves in a political, social, and ideological challenge as well, as well as the security challenge.”

FULL POST


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

Ebola could be under control by end of the year, says U.N.

October 13th, 2014
03:20 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Despite worrying developments about the spread of Ebola internationally and devastating mortality in West Africa, the epidemic could be “under control” by the end of the year, the U.N. Ebola envoy, Dr. David Nabarro, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday.

Owing to an “extraordinary and totally unprecedented response” by the international community, the rate at which Ebola cases are increasing could be slowed, he said, by the end of December – “bend[ing] the epidemic curve down.”

“At the moment, the outbreak curve is increasing exponentially. That means we’re doubling every three to four weeks.”

“Being fully controlled is when transmission completely stops, and that will take a bit more time, after the end of this year.”

“We do need to make sure that we can get all the resources in place in time to support the governments with their response. And if anything gets in the way, then it may be difficult to hit that target.”

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Ebola • Latest Episode

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.

FULL POST


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.

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