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Cuban authorities promise to release 52 political prisoners

Aired July 8, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Norwegian police arrest three men with alleged links to al Qaeda. U.S. officials say the suspects a part of a network connected to a foiled bomb attempt on New York's subways. Well, the links aren't just geographic, they extend through cyberspace. Tonight, we explore whether global intelligence is robust enough to keep us safe and where we need to plug holes.

On CNN, this is the hour we CONNECT THE WORLD.

One is Muslim Chinese, another is from Uzbekistan and a third is an Iraqi Kurd. All three spending time in Norway while allegedly conspiring to attack the U.S. and Britain. Breaking down that next here for you and finding out if we are any safer in the world's big cities.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

Also tonight, Cuba appears set to release 52 political prisoners in a deal arranged by Spain and the Roman Catholic Church. We're going to speak with a top U.S. Republican for you who is calling for continued pressure on Havana.

And his career as a football referee came to an abrupt end with an embarrassing mistake, but that is not stopping Mr. Graham Poll from speaking his mind about officiating at the World Cup. He answers your questions as your Connector of the Day.

And, of course, keep your questions coming in on Twitter. You can find me atbeckycnn. Do get involved.

Now first up tonight, stunning new arrests are underscoring just how far the tentacles of terrorism often reach. Three terror suspects are now in custody in Norway and in Germany following months of surveillance.

International security correspondent, Paula Newton, knocking off this part of the show for you, laying out the global connections leading up to those arrests.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're starting to learn why U.S. authorities said this was the most serious plot since 9/11. And all of it begins with a so-called al Qaeda facilitator in Peshawar, Pakistan. He, according to U.S. authorities -- they're calling him Zaheed -- through intercepts, they figured out that he was orchestrating an attack on the New York subway system last year.

Now, through surveillance, these people were caught. Two have plead guilty. Another person is up for trial. But they have connected that New York plot back to the United Kingdom and a man who was arrested on Wednesday, Abid Naseer, who was also wanted in connection with a plot to blow up shopping malls here in Britain.

Now, what has been so interesting is, through a lot of surveillance and a lot of intercepts of e-mails, arrests coming from Norway now. Three suspects, two in Oslo, Norway and yet another in Germany. Norwegian officials say these people, as well, worked in connection with these other people on this New York City bomb plot and the ones in England.

And where does it all link back to?

Pakistan. U.S. authorities now saying that these groupings, al Qaeda was able to recruit more than a dozen people and train them to hit the so- called soft targets in both the United States and Europe.

Paula Newton, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: On the geographic links, I want to look now at how terror networks like al Qaeda recruit beyond borders, finding an army of potential followers on the Web.

Senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, explored this phenomenon for us in his report from last December.

And here is a part of that.



(voice-over): It is as simple and scary as this -- YouTube videos as a connection between young men and gun-toting radicals.

What's making YouTube such a powerful tool for the Internet radicalizers is the built in social networking media. Look at this -- Revolution Muslim, an American group -- 296 subscribers. Look at those subscribers here. We'll choose one of them, Lone Wolf, go into his account. He's posting his own videos supporting al Qaeda here. Go down, we see his comments. Here, he's supporting the Fort Hood shooter.

And we go down even further and this is what worries the terror experts the most -- the conversations he's having with the other jihadists out there, this networking that's going on.

STEVE SIMON, FORMER NSC ADVISER: It's something, you know, appealing for a kid to do who's looking at his menu of options when he's -- when he's seeking to rebel, when he's looking for that path out of his, you know, self-conceived terrible situation. And boom, you know, there it is.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): And online peer pressure works like anywhere else, only here, peers can be anyone, anyplace in the world -- new friends, a big appeal for alienated, isolated youngsters.

BEN VENZKE, INTELCENTER: Suddenly they're not alone. They're going to do something that 20 other people, 100 other people have said yes, this is good, this is important and can be that pivotal point that pushes them over the line.

ROBERTSON (on camera): We contacted YouTube and a spokesman told us they have 20 hours of video uploaded every minute every day and more chats going on than they can monitor. They say the site bans incitement of specific serious acts of violence, but they can't stop the postings before they happen. They rely on users to police the site and flag offending material.

At Homeland Security, they don't have any simple answers, either.

JANET NAPOLITANO, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I think that's fair to say that the social media is having an impact. It is an illustration of how this is a changing environment.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Can I ask you, how you stop this sort of social chatter, that it becomes radicalized, that is used for radicalization?

How do you sort of single that out?

NAPOLITANO: I don't have a magic bullet for that. And I don't think anybody does. This is the dark side and -- of the internet and social media. And I don't know, sitting here today, that anyone has a silver bullet for it.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): And for anyone with teenagers on the internet, that has to trigger concern.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Washington.


ANDERSON: Well, since Nic first filed that report last December, the Revolution Muslim link has been taken down and YouTube is putting stricter guidelines in place. This after U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman wrote a letter to Google, urging the Web giant to remove al Qaeda and other terror video propaganda from YouTube.

Well, in the Norway and Germany arrests, we're also learning that police seized the suspects because of concern details of their investigation were about to be made public.

Well, Peter Neumann joins me now here in London.

He is the director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence -- a long title. A good subject, though. And he's also the author of the book, "Old and New Terrorists."

We thank you for joining us today.

You've just seen Nic's report.

Just how pervasive is the use of the Internet for jihadists and anybody working the terror beat today, as it were?

PETER NEUMANN, AUTHOR, "OLD AND NEW TERRORISTS": Absolutely. And it -- it's become almost impossible to understand how terrorism today evolves, especially in Western countries, without looking at the Internet, without looking, also, at social networking, social media, even things like Facebook, YouTube, that we've heard about. All of this is important. It wasn't five years ago.

ANDERSON: All right. Let's talk about intelligence agencies and how well coordinated or not they are.

In this last case today, just how much international coordination can you see that there was?

NEUMANN: I think there is a huge amount of international cooperation when it comes to terrorism. And it is led by the United States, because practically no other country has the resources that the U.S. has. And I'm almost certain than in -- that in this particular case, the e-mails that were intercepted were intercepted by the National Security Agency, the signals intelligence agency of the U.S.

ANDERSON: How confident should we be in a system led by U.S. intelligence, when we know these days, there's an awful lot of other places that are involved?

NEUMANN: Yes. But quite simply, no one else has the money to invest. And I recently talked to a very senior British spook who told me that America is Europe's best counter-terrorist. A lot of police forces here are relying on American intelligence.

ANDERSON: It does, though, seem ironic that the weakest link, it appears, is the increasing amount of intelligence information that is actually being shared.

NEUMANN: Absolutely. Overload is a huge problem. And it's -- it's not only overload in terms of in -- of the information that comes in, but also the number of sources. A lot of investigations involve 10, 12, 15 countries. They have to take in a lot of information. It takes a huge amount of time, especially when it's in different languages.

ANDERSON: Do intelligence agencies have any sort of silver bullet at present?

You had Napolitano talking there about cyber -- the cyberspace and how she has no silver bullet when it comes to actually really getting a grip on -- on how would-be terrorists are using the cyber environment. And it seems intelligence agencies, however well coordinated they think they are, there are weak links there.

NEUMANN: Absolutely. It's a -- for example, when we're talking about cyber, when we're talking about the Internet, it's very difficult because different countries have completely different legal norms. It's very difficult for democracies to interfere with what's happening on the Internet.

That makes it very, very complicated. Taking down a site is a huge take -- step to take for a democratic country.

ANDERSON: The 7/7 anniversary yesterday and a former top terrorist chief here said that London is probably more a threat than it's ever been since 7/7. That is five years ago. We talked, on this show yesterday, about whether we should fear -- those of us who live in big cities and beyond.

How safe or not are we?

NEUMANN: It's very difficult to say. And I -- I'm not sure I completely agree with that assessment. But what this new case showed is that al Qaeda central, the leadership in the tribal areas in Pakistan, is still active and they are still coordinating stuff, even though we've come to think that it's just angry young men on the ground who have no coordination from above.

But this case shows there is still a threat.

ANDERSON: The last question to you. It appears that this case came to light as a result of a Norwegian intelligence agency's fear that potentially the media were about to blow its cover. This was a case, they say, that had been coordinated with other agencies for about a year.

Does that worry you?

NEUMANN: Well, I mean, there is always (INAUDIBLE). I mean we had last year but -- in the case when a senior counter-terrorism official was walking around with papers out in the open and then they had to call that operation because there was a danger it would be blown. That always happens. And, you know, counter-terrorism officials should get used to that.

ANDERSON: We'll have to leave it there.

Fascinating stuff.

We thank you very much, indeed for joining us...

NEUMANN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: And your insight on the subject this evening.

Peter Neumann.

Well, how far would you go to get a job?

Up next, we're going to hear from two Americans who've traveled halfway across the world in search of work.

That's next.


I'm Becky Anderson in London.


ANDERSON: Well, here's the good news this evening. The International Monetary Fund says that the world economy is recovering faster than expected. It's raising its worldwide forecast for this year to 4.6 percent, up from an earlier estimate of 4.2 percent. Now the bad news, though, the IMF warns there are risks. And chief amongst them, the size of government debt in the Eurozone, which is causing the crisis of confidence amongst investors.

Well, austerity is the new buzzword and it is not just for governments or, indeed, for big business. It is impacting all of us, of course.

So we've been asking you to tell us how you've been tightening your belt and the lengths that you have gone to to get a job.

Well, those of you who have written to us on the Web site, And some, like paramedic Shawn Ott and project manager Keith Goodrich, shared their stories with us via Skype, as you'll hear. Both of them have crossed continents to keep the money coming in.


SHAWN OTT, PARAMEDIC: Right now I'm in Kuwait. And I've been here for about nine months. I'm going to finish up my contract here and tentatively the plan is kind of want to wait out the recession and in another year or two, try to go back to the States and find a corporate marketing job again like what I was doing in Colorado.

And I basically had got laid off twice over the period of a year. And luckily, I had an alternative skills set. I was an EMT for the last six years. So when I lost my corporate job for a second time, I kind of started thinking a little bit of outside the box and looking for an international job as an EMT. And I went on the Facebook and kind of just put a posting out there asking if any of my friends knew anybody working internationally. And luckily, one of them did. And she introduced me to a friend who is already over here. And the next thing you know, about two months later, I was here working.

With a little bit of interest, go ahead and give it a try. You know, it's a little hard to find a job initially when you're in the States. That was my experience. And that -- it was -- it was just hard to find a job initially. But then once I got over here, it seemed like a whole new world opened up as far as networking, making friends and finding other companies. And it seems like once you're over here, it's actually a lot easier to find another job.

KEITH GOODRICH, PROJECT MANAGER: I worked for Walt Disney Imagineering for 16 years, from 1987 until about 2002. And that was fantastic. But that was two stints in France. So that kind of got our -- our feet wet as far as traveling overseas a little bit as a family, which was great. It's great kant (ph).

But when we got back in 2002, again, typically, the recession or the economy and there was no more work when I got back. It was project related work and there's no more projects, so you've got to start looking for new work.

I had a two year contract in South Korea that came up and I decided to go for that to try to ride out the recession. And so I just finished off and I started that in South Korea in January of last year, of course. And unfortunately, that project wasn't as solid as I was hoping for and I was only there about 11 months in that booking hall about this December of 2009.

I found this position in Mumbai fairly quickly. It just took a long time to get it started and to get me over here.

It's not what we choose to -- to do other than just to make sure a paycheck is coming in. I absolutely would rather be at home with the family. You know, you're -- you're with your peers. You're with your colleagues. And they're great people. But your family is your family. And the -- the routine of a family life is -- is something to be cherished.


ANDERSON: Crossing continents to keep the money coming in.

We want to hear your stories. Get in touch at our blog, or Tweet me atbeckycnn.

Now, as South Africa and the rest of us get a breather, the World Cup finals Sunday, our football coverage here on CONNECT THE WORLD does continue ahead. More of our week long look at our football CONNECT THE WORLD with a visit to a Brazilian youth academy. And football is just part there of a much larger education.

Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, football's future -- this week on this show, you've just seen how various nations are preparing the next generation to make their mark in World Cups of tomorrow. We looked at how Germany's youth training academies churn out top notch players and a similar story in Ghana for athletes school at a young age there helping ensure the nation remains a football powerhouse in Africa for decades to come. And they did amazingly well in this World Cup. Both examples of how the beautiful game connects the world.

Well, in Brazil, where football is king, of course, one youth academy is looking far beyond the pitch.

Rafael Romo is showing us next how kids there are learning life lessons with a big assist from that beautiful game.


RAFAEL ROMO, SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): It's not only about scoring a goal, but also about trying your best and being a team player. That's what these kids are learning at this community institute in Rio de Janeiro, skills that aren't only useful on the field, but also in life.

The program is called Bon Appetente (ph) -- a Portuguese expression meaning keep the ball rolling. And it serves about 900 children from six to 17.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We play football.

ROMO: Many kids here say they dream about becoming professional football players like Brazilian stars Georgina and Berdetto (ph), who founded the program 10 years ago. Football is the starting off point to motivate kids to do better in school.

"It's not that we want to talk to model their sport string," says this coach. "Some may follow a sports career, but we give them other options in life."

Music, especially Brazilian rhythms, and art, are also part of the curriculum. When we visited, the youngest group was gluing together paper flags of all the countries participating in the World Cup -- a lesson combining geography and football.

(on camera): These kids have a good chance of finishing high school. According to program coordinators, the dropout rate for participating kids is only 5 percent, compared to as much as 50 percent for other kids in the area.

(voice-over): Those who have been at the program say it's changed their lives. Gabriel Arias (ph), who has come back as a volunteer, says Bon Appetente allowed him to escape from the complacency that traps youngsters from his neighborhood.

"They are born here and they die here. They're not motivated to look for something else," says Gabriel Arias. "They always remain complacent. The Bon Appetente Institute (ph) changes that."

In this impoverished community, dreams start by kicking a ball.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


ANDERSON: Fabulous, isn't it?

And we conclude our football theme week tomorrow with a trip to the U.S. (INAUDIBLE) team. USA, of course, felled Ghana in the round of 16, dashing the hopes of a football curious nation, let's call it.

But will advancement into the knockout stage help the long-term future of football in the States?

A good question.

We're going to take a look at that tomorrow.

Now, we can't let our World Cup coverage end today without another look at football's latest sensation online, Paul the Octopus oracle. He's on a major hot streak, correctly predicting the winners of a series of matches. And in doing so, he has morphed into an eight legged cyber star.

Look at this.


PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Well, he's become one of the biggest celebrities from this year's World Cup, and I'm not talking about Via (ph) or Messe (ph). I'm talking about this little sea creature. This is Paul the Octopus and he's become one of the biggest celebrities from this year's World Cup. He's been correctly guessing the way games are going to be going throughout the tournament so far.

Now, Paul the Octopus has become such a hit around the world, that there's even Facebook fan pages that have been set up. Take a look at the this one called Paul the Psychic Octopus. You can see there's more than 47,000 people from around the world that are fans of this. And it's a real interesting mix of pictures, as well as commentary. And I particularly like this posting at the top. This is the nod to Spanish celebrity set -- chef, Jose Andres. He's decided to take octopus off the menu at all of his Spanish restaurants in the country as a bit of a nod to Paul for going in Spain's favor.

But all of this fame and fortune is not necessarily a good thing for Paul. There have even been death threats that have been put in against him at the aquarium and fans around the world are also posting octopus or calamari recipes like this one. This is called Spanish braised octopus in propica (ph) sauce.

So, he's one of the unlikely celebrities. I don't think anyone would have thought that Paul the Octopus would be one of the biggest hits from this year's World Cup.


ANDERSON: Our digital producer, Mr. Phil Han for you, wracking up that part of the show.


I'm Becky Anderson in London.

Coming up next, a major announcement out of Cuba -- 52 political prisoners are expected to be released from jail and allowed to leave the country.

Now, could that be a step toward improved relations with the U.S. and with Europe?

That is what we're going to explore ahead on this show. We're about 90 seconds away.

Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Well, a warm welcome back.


I'm Becky Anderson in London.

Coming up in the next 30 minutes for your delight and delectation, what could become one of Cuba's largest prisoner releases in recent history. The Catholic Church in the country announces that 52 inmates are set to be freed and allowed to leave the island nation.

Well, women caught between love and tradition and paying the ultimate price -- we're going to take a look at the shocking practice of killing to preserve family honor -- something that is happening all over the world.

And before the end of the program, we'll talk goal line technology. Former football referee Graham Poll tells us why he thinks FIFA should embrace electronic aids for its officials. He's your Connector of the Day and that is coming up in about 20 minutes time.

Those stories ahead, of course.

First, a very quick check of the headlines this hour here on CNN.

New terror attacks in Europe -- three suspects with alleged connections to bomb plots in New York and the U.K. are now in custody. Two were arrested in Norway, the other in Germany. Norwegian authorities say these three men are tied to al Qaeda.

Well, 10 accused Russian spies are entering guilty pleas in federal court in New York. They've also entered a plea deal with the U.S. government. The judge has yet to accept the pleas and the court proceedings are continuing. Sources say, though, that they could be deported as soon as today, as part of a five walk (ph), as it's known.

Well, enough is enough -- that's the message from the parents of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, as they and thousands of supporters arrived in Jerusalem, ending a 12 day march to pressure the Israeli government. Well, they're demanding to do more to secure the release of Shalit, captured four years ago by Hamas during a cross border raid.

More deadly attacks targeting Shiite pilgrims in Iraq today. At least 17 people were killed and 107 others were wounded in four roadside bombings. They followed strikes across Baghdad on Wednesday, also targeting the pilgrims.

So Arwa Damon has more on this latest spike in violence.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hundreds of people were killed and wounded in a spate of bombings targeting Shia pilgrims on Wednesday and Thursday. This is especially concerning to the Iraqi people because it comes at a time when the capital was supposed to be on high alert. Authorities had deployed thousands of Iraqi troops to the streets, they had set up check points and roadblocks. There was aerial surveillance. They mounted additional cameras around the Kadmia shrine, the pilgrims' final destination. They banned motorcycles and bicycles and they hired an additional 500 female searchers, all in an effort to prevent such attacks from taking place.

This of course coming against the backdrop of the ongoing U.S. troop draw down, trying to make that White House goal of having levels at 50,000 come the end of August. The U.S. has been upping its rhetoric, talking about stability, about acceptable levels of violence, saying it is not going to move away from that draw down timeline, barring something catastrophic from taking place.

We have heard numerous U.S. officials also talking about how optimistic they felt about the future of Iraq. That, however, has not been echoed by the Iraqis that we have been speaking to. Rather, they say that they continue to live in a state of fear, anxiety and uncertainty.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, the Catholic Church in Cuba announced today that 52 political prisoners there will be released from prison. Now that announcement came after talks with the church, the Cuban government and the Spanish foreign minister. And the church says it is just a matter of hours before the first few prisoners are released. Well, CNN's David Ariosto is in Havana. And he joins me now with the very latest.

David, what have you got?

DAVID, ARIOSTO, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT: Right. Yes, Becky, in a move that really has everyone here on the island talking. Like you said, Cuba has announced that it is releasing 52, count them, 52 political prisoners within the coming three to four months. Five of those prisoners are set to be released within the coming hours, like you said. Six others will be transferred to prisons closer to their homes making it easier for families to go and visit them.

Now, all of this comes on the heels of a visit by Spanish foreign minister, Moratinos. As well as meeting with Cuba's Colonel Jaime Ortega. Ortega had met with Cuban President Raul Castro yesterday, as well as in May, in what he described as a magnificent start to the potential release of all political prisoners here in Cuba.

Now, the size of this release is rivaled only by a release back in 1998, following the visit of Pope John Paul II, and it is raising questions about what this really signals for Cuban and how it's policy may change, or if it may change, in the way it deals with political prisoners, Becky.

ANDERSON: And this deal perhaps came just in time for one of the dissidents, specifically, David. What is the latest on Guillermo Farinas?

ARIOSTO: That is the latest news that we have actually, Becky. Farinas, speaking through his doctors, later this afternoon, is a long-time hunger striker. He went on a hunger strike protesting the imprisonment of jailed dissidents back in February, following the death of another jailed dissident, Orlando Zapata Tamayo. He has been on this strike since then, more than 130 days. And today he announced that following this announcement by the Catholic Church, and later published in state media, he will in fact give up his hunger strike. This is, of course, according to his doctor, who said, upon hearing the news, he was ambivalent at first, didn't quite believe it. Then after receiving official notification from the church, he took a glass of water, and in a sort of symbolic gesture, took his glass of water. He had prior-previously been fed intravenously and been receiving his nutrients and liquids that way, which had been keeping him alive all this time. But today he ends that strike, Becky.

ANDERSON: David, we thank you for that. Your man in Havana this evening; 52 political prisoners, then, in Cuba to be released from prison. That announcement drawing positive responses from a host of American and European leaders. Spain's foreign minister said the release would, quote, "open a new era in Cuba." The foreign minister of the European Union, Catherine Ashton said she welcomed the announcement.

And even the United States said it was a, quote, "positive development" The U.S. has not had diplomatic relations, of course, with Cuba since 1961. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she was "encouraged" by it. Not all American leaders, though, are satisfied by the announcement. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, is a Cuban-born member of the U.S. House of Representatives. And she joins me now, live, from her district in Miami, Florida, which is home to a large Cuban community.

Hillary Clinton calling this move, amongst other things, encouraging, is it enough, though?

ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, (R) FLORIDA: Oh, please it is incomprehensible to me how the Spanish government, the Catholic Church officials, anyone could be giddy about this news that innocent individuals, who should never have been arrested in the first place, will be freed, and actually forced into exile, because they have to leave Cuba. And they see this as oh, a sign of promising news. Oh, give me a break. These are prisoners who were unjustly accused of promoting freedom and democracy and speaking out for human rights.


ROS-LEHTINEN: In the Black Spring, in March 2003, La Prima Vera Negra (ph), they were rounded up like in the "Casablanca" movie, round up the usual suspects. They were thrown in jail. They were called mercenaries for the United States. So they should never have been in jail. And now, because Fidel and Raul Castro say, these innocent people are going to be freed, these idiots all over Europe are just fawning over themselves doing triple summersaults.


ROS-LEHTINEN: Saying, oh, boy what a wonderful development.


ANDERSON: I hear what you are saying. You've often warned, haven't you, against being fooled by the Cuban government. I don't know what you mean by that. And I guess what you are suggesting is the Spanish and the EU, in general, are being completely fooled at this point, are they?

ROS-LEHTINEN: Absolutely. There are none so blind who will just refuse to see. These people want to believe that Fidel and Raul Castro have changed. And so they are willing to see innocent people, who should have never been jailed, now being allowed to leave jail and forced to leave Cuba-

ANDERSON: Hang on a minute-


ROS-LEHTINEN: And they see that as a welcoming sign.


ANDERSON: OK, let me stop you there. The point is, though, is that they were jailed, weren't they? And it has to be a sign of progress.


ROS-LEHTINEN: Today the Ayatollahs decided not to stone a woman to death for committing adultery, even though she says she never committed adultery. Should we send flowers to the Ayatollah? Because they were about to do a horrible thing, to an innocent woman, who should have never been in that position in the first place. Same thing, different circumstances. But the same situation with the Castro thugs. Are we really going to thank them when they jail innocent people and then release them?

ANDERSON: OK, so this is no progress. I get that. I hear what you are saying, and so do the viewers. And I understand. Are you suggesting this is no progress whatsoever at this point?

ROS-LEHTINEN: None. There has been no progress whatsoever. In fact, if he frees these people what will happen when CNN is no longer paying attention? Sixty more will go in jail, because remember, he has said in many times. Number one, he has no political prisoners. Then one time he says, oh, we have 15,000 political prisoners. And now he's saying we are going to liberate these 50-something. Well, tomorrow, when you are not looking and CNN is no longer interested, he will jail 600 more. He calls them common criminals. He doesn't even identify them as political prisoners. He calls them mercenaries of the U.S.


ANDERSON: OK, I hear you words again. Let's move this on, just a little if I can, because we have to be brief at this point. And CNN will stick around, let me tell you. I can promise you that.


ANDERSON: In your view, at this point then, what are the biggest obstacles to normal relations between the U.S. and Cuba, and Cuba and elsewhere? And what can really be done?

ROS-LEHTINEN: Fidel and Raul Castro are the biggest obstacles to the Cuban people being free. And all the Cuban people want and the reason that these 50-something were in jail to begin with is because they were calling for free elections, respect for human rights and freedom to express one's opinion. They don't have any elections. Only one party is allowed to exist in Cuba, the Communist Party. They are jailed for their political beliefs, and then they want flowers when they free innocent people? No, thank you. My flowers are not going to be sent. Let the EU send them all the flowers they want. I would like the jails to be inspected. Castro thugs don't even let the International Red Cross in to inspect prisons.

ANDERSON: All right. With that, we have to leave it there.

ROS-LEHTINEN: Shame on anyone who thinks that this is freedom.

ANDERSON: OK, you've-you've made your point and we appreciate your time.


ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you. I'm glad for them. I'm glad for their families, but lets not fool ourselves.

ANDERSON: All right. And we appreciate that. You've heard it.

Some people would rather murder their own flesh, apparently, and blood, than risk damage to the family's reputation. Coming up we're going to take a look at the prevalence of so-called honor killings. And what the world might do to stop them.


ANDERSON: Well, it is a pleasant name for a heinous crime, honor killings. Some families decide the only way to avoid stains on their reputation is to wipe out the offender, even if it is a daughter or son. As Sara Sidner tells us, these crimes are on the rise, and on the rise in India. And we warn you some images in her report are disturbing.


SARA SIDNER, CNN INT'L. CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Twenty-seven year old Raynu (ph) never thought love could lead to death. But it did for her 20-year old brother, Yogesh (ph) Kumar, and the girl who loved him.

"I feel like everything has been killed. Nothing is left in my life," she says.

Police say in this Delhi home Kumar, and 19-year-old Asha Sani (ph) were tortured to death, beaten for hours and electrocuted. Neighbor Umesh Kumar (ph) says he heard it all happening.

(On camera): So you actually heard beating? How long did that go on?

(Voice over): "It continued for an hour and a half to two hours," he said. "Then we heard the boy say, Please leave me. I'll never come back here again. And the girl said, leave him alone. Kill me instead."

Neighbors and police say the girl was pleading with her own family. Asha's father and uncle were swiftly arrested. On their way into the police station her uncle told reporters, "we killed them because we were against their relationship. If someone comes to your house to meet your niece at midnight, what more do you do?"

(On camera): Asha's family felt her relationship with Kumar would bring shame on the family because he was from a lower caste. And they had already promised her to another man.

(Voice over): In one week in June police were investigating five similar cases, including a gruesome case in a village, where police say their video shows two young lovers who they believe were killed then strung up afterwards, to send a message about defying the rules of tradition.

Social scientist Ranjana Kumar says the cases are on the rise as the modern Indian woman clashes with strict traditional beliefs.

RANJANA KUMAR, CENTER FOR SOCIAL SCIENCES: Here the subordination for a girl is even now, by and large, almost total. You know, what you wear, what you study, where you live, who you marry. Everything has to be decided by the family.

SIDNER: The rise in cases has India's supreme court suddenly putting pressure on the government, asking it to reveal what it is doing to try to stop its citizens from using the rules of tradition to trump the rules of humanity. Sara Sidner, CNN, New Delhi.


ANDERSON: And make no mistake, honor killings are not limited to India. The sad truth is that it is a global problem. The United Nations says it is on the rise. The U.N. Population Fund says that 5,000 women and girls are murdered by their own family every year. Most of these take place in South Asian and Middle Eastern countries, but they are also reported with alarming frequency with in the European Union, especially where there are large immigrant communities. It is hard to know just how prevalent it is in those cases, as such killings are often recorded just as murders, just as murders or incidences of domestic violence.

What, then, can be done to stop these killings on a national and global level? We are joined by Akbar Ahmed, former Pakistani ambassador to the U.K. He's also the author of "Journey into Islam" and "Journey into America."

And when you were writing those books, or certainly researching those books, you spent a lot of time with families, predominantly "Journey Into Islam", Muslim families, talking about culture and honor. While our report tonight, from Sara Sidner, was from India, and we were talking about two Hindus. Now I may be naive but I was surprised by that, Sir. Are you?

AKBAR AHMED, AUTHOR, "JOURNEY INTO ISLAM": I'm not, Becky, because what you are really seeing is traditional societies, whether Hindu, whether Muslim, whether Sikh, many cases like this among the Sikh in Canada, for example, are confronting and being challenged by modernity.

So, all the issues that ordinary youngsters face, dating, drinking, drugs, dancing, are being confronted by these level of society. And see the tensions immediately where you have traditional taboos, red lines, social boundaries, and you have modernity encroaching upon these boundaries.

And unfortunately, and I say this as a father, I've got two daughters, wonderful daughters, and as a grandfather, that this is the most shocking and horrifying way of treating women in our modern 21st century.

ANDERSON: And we're talking about 5,000 women and girls a year. And that could be a conservative estimate from the U.N. We've talked before, on this show, about the cultural issues that we are encountering here, and that of honor. What about what governments should be doing? At a national and on a global basis?

AHMED: I think governments should be very clear, Becky. And there is the interconnectedness that you need to be aware of, that there is government, there is media, which is formed by public opinion in that particular society, and then there is the religious leaders. All of these elements of society, these different sections, have to play their role. There must be no ambiguity about this. People often give lip service to this.

For example, we had this recent case developing in Iran about this woman who was about to be stoned. Now, we need to remember, go back to Islam, the religious scholar should be saying that there is a saying of the holy prophet of Islam, which clearly and unambiguously state the position that compassion or mercy always over anger. So that trumps everything. Mercy trumps everything, because God, ultimately is merciful. And if you have these terrible savage cases of women being burnt and killed and dismembered, something is really going wrong in that family and in the community.

ANDERSON: All right. Your advice then to the U.S. government and again, we may surprise our viewers, when we suggest we find honor killings, of course, in the United States. As well, your advice, for example to the U.S. government, U.S. media and religious scholars, in the United States? We say this is not just Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

AHMED: Yes, as I said, when we are traveling we came across several cases and again, this is a classic example of traditional values brought over by the father, in the father's generation, from the Middle East or South Asia, clashing straight away with contemporary American culture. And what happens, you have the immense pressure on these young-especially the girls-and of course, it often tragically leads to violence. This must not be brushed under the carpet. This must be taken head on by community leaders, by the Imams in America. And they need to point out that this is not, this is not according to the law, either of the land, or of Islamic law, because Islamic law is very rigid about trials and evidence and so on. And Becky unfortunately a lot of these cases are really cooked up on the flimsiest of evidence, hearsay, neighbors gossiping; and very often member of the family themselves for all kinds of economic reasons, or social reasons.

ANDERSON: And with that we're going to have to leave it there. Always a pleasure, Sir, to speak to you. A regular guest on this show. We'll call you a "Big Thinker" for CONNECT THE WORLD. We thank you very much indeed.

AHMED: Thank you so much.

ANDERSON: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD, with me, Becky Anderson, here on CNN. We're going to take a very short break. Don't go away, we'll be back in about 60 seconds.



ANDERSON (voice over): When is a goal, a real goal? Well, according to FIFA it is when the ref says it is. And that issue has been at the crux of this World Cup in South Africa. Frank Lampards (ph) disallowed goal for England against Germany and Tevez's offside number for Argentina, against Mexico those could be watershed moments that prompt FIFA to change its mind about the potential of goal-line technology.

SEPP BLATTER, FIFA PRESIDENT: I deplore when you see the evident referees' mistakes.

ANDERSON: This isn't the first World Cup to raise questions about refereeing in general. One who has had numerous exposure to that is legendary referee Graham Poll. He ended his 26-year career after a controversial call in the 2006 World Cup. Fans can be quite vocal about the officiating in South Africa. The man accustomed to controversy, Graham Poll is your "Connector of the Day".


ANDERSON: Oh, human error, sadly ending Graham's career, but his love of the game is undiminished. I caught up with him earlier here, in London, and began by asking how he rates this World Cup tournament?


GRAHAM POLL, FMR. FOOTBALL REFEREE: I've been disappointed. To be honest, I think the football has not quite been to the standard I was hoping for. And most of all, I like to see fantastic goals. Like we saw van Bronckhorst in the semifinal; it was fantastic, you want to see goals like that every two or three games. And you want to see the world stars perform like world stars. And when you look at Caca (ph), Messing (ph), Renaldo (ph), Rooney (ph), none of them have quite cut it at this World Cup.

ANDERSON: All right. You have some stars playing in the final, who is going to win at this point?

POLL: I think Spain. I think Spain. They are a great team. They can play very well defensively and offensively. Holland have got there by not playing great, but won every game, so it is going to be close. But I think Spain.

ANDERSON: There have been some legendary refereeing moment, possibly for all the wrong reasons in the 2010 World Cup. Before we talk your moment in 2006, talk me through these referring decisions.

POLL: The first one and closest to your heart, because it was England, it was England being denied their equalizing goal against Germany. Very, very disappointing. Hogar Larianda (ph),the Uruguayan referee and Espinoza, his assistant, would have been equally disappointed. But what strikes you about it is a number of things. Firstly, we are all clever after the event and we all say, well, of course, it was a goal. How could they not give it? But that is because we've been pre-warned. Have you seen that situation? Watching it when it is clearly over. If you were watching it live, how many people say they'd stake their mortgage, their reputation, on first time through that's a goal. Most people said, I thought it was a goal. I was fairly sure it was a goal. If you are a match official, that is not enough. There is doubt. And if there is doubt, you just can't give it.

ANDERSON: Let me chuck this one at you. John from Brazil says, "Do you see electronic replays and technology, they should be introduced. It sounds to me as if you think they should?"

POLL: Goal line technology, without a doubt, should be in. It should have been in already. And if not that, if it wasn't ready and they say it is not 100 percent accurate. I've been Wimbledon and seen all kinds (ph) behinds the scenes. That is ready. That would have shown that was a goal, without a doubt. But if you are not going to go for that, why train 60 match officials to sit on their backsides in a hotel in South Africa, while England played Germany, and not tape two, three, four, five, six, however many you want, to back up and support the referee, at the World Cup?

ANDERSON: Kyra has written to us, Graham, out of New York. She says, "How do you think FIFA compares as a governing body, for example, she says with the NFL and the NBA?" I mean, you talked about UAFA for example. Is FIFA really up to par?

POLL: No. Without a question, no. They are too stuck in their ways. It is too much of a commercial enterprise if you like. If you take the board for example, Mr. Blarney, the players haven't been happy with it. But they can't scrap it because they've got 80 million, or 800 million, balls around the world they must sell. That a commercial enterprise. How can you ruin a World Cup tournament, by having the wrong ball. And I just think, try things. If they don't work, fine. But lets try. Let's experiment with goal line, with video, with sinbins (ph), let's just try things in different competitions around the world. Not at the World Cup, don't experiment there. Let's try it further down the ladder and see what works.

ANDERSON: Jennifer has written in, let's get this 2006 World Cup moment, your's, over and done with. She says, "Do you ever think about that moment?"

POLL: Thank you, Jennifer.

ANDERSON: I'm sure you do.

POLL: it is impossible not to. Because I've chosen to move my career into media terms, and I do a little after dinner speaking. And that is the thing that everyone wants to talk about.

ANDERSON: And Graham, let's remind our viewers what happened?

POLL: I don't want to talk about it.


POLL: Croatia versus Australia, 22 of June, 2006. 21:54 British time, if you want to know the time, date check. Uh, I had already cautioned it was number three for Croatia, in the 61st minute. Then in the 89th minute there was an incident, I cautioned, him again. And obviously didn't realize I had already cautioned him. I miss-recorded it onto the Australia side of the page. And then at the final whistle he had a difference of opinion with me, what I thought was my second yellow card, and red, turn out to be the third yellow card. So, that the tag that comes along with me. You know, and that is the question. So, Jennifer, don't feel sorry about it.

ANDERSON: "What does it take," one of our viewers, Emmanuel asks, from Nigeria, "to be a successful referee?"

POLL: Obviously a lot of dedication, hard work, fitness. All those type of things. But the main thing is credibility. It is about the credibility you have as a match official. So, speaking to Palo Collini (ph) the 2002 World Cup final referee from Italy, he said, you've made it as a referee once. When you make a mistake on pitch, the players still accept you and still know you are a great referee. You just made a mistake. That is what you need. And that is credibility. Other referees who haven't made it will make an error and they are seen as a bad referee because of an error. You know, I feel people still know me as I was a good referee, but did make one hell of a mistake.

ANDERSON: I know your son is a great footballer and a great football fan, if he wasn't to make it in the game as a player, would you encourage him, given what you've been through?

POLL: If he came and said, look, I'd like to give refereeing a go, the first thing I'd warn him is it is not about getting success and being in a premier league and everything else. It is about loving football and serving football. And the chances you would make it to that top level, are very, very slim. And also, you are tagged with, my surname is unusual. People would immediately be going, Poll? Oh, you are Graham's son. And that you will have to live with, is that what you really want to do? If he then said, yes, I'm prepared for that, then I would support and encourage him in every way.


ANDERSON: He's a good lad. Graham Poll and-tell you the latest, reports coming to us, regarding refereeing systems used in top flight football, the general secretary of FIFA Jerome Valke (ph) said today, on the BBC, referring-oh, sorry, refereeing at the 2014 World Cup will be radically altered. Those were his words, the sports governing body considering the introduction of goal line technology and the use of extra officials.

Watch this space. We'll be right back with the latest buzz from out Web site. And your headlines after this.


ANDERSON: Well, there can be little doubt what is causing a very big splash on our Web site tonight. Yes, it is the octopus oracle. It seems hundreds of you just can't get enough of Paul, the Octopus that correctly predicted the results of each of Germany's world Cup matches.

Almosttoast, writing in to us, saying, "If he can predict the winner in soccer, why not let him choose the next hot stock to buy? He's got to do better than most mutual fund managers. And I'll bet he'll charge less of a fee.

Thinktankzero10 writes that, "The German soccer team should eat the octopus for making such a fatal prediction. This would be the best way to silence it for making further predictions of doom."

Botha is calling for, quote, "Paul the Octopus for FIFA president. He adds," Then we can get him to decide if missed goals actually went in or not."

Keep writing in on I'm Becky Anderson. "BACK STORY" is up next, right after a very quick check of the headlines for you.