Return to Transcripts main page


Floods in Pakistan; Interview with Hamid Gul

Aired August 10, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: More monsoon rains in Pakistan is threatening to deepen what is now one of the world's worst natural disasters in living memory, with the number of people displaced well into the millions, tonight, why aid workers say the global commitment to help is not yet up to scratch and what more needs to be done.

On CNN, this is the hour we connect the world.

Well, 11 days on and Pakistan continues to drown. The United Nations calls it an unprecedented disaster. But it seems we have been slow to respond. This hour, you're going to get the latest on the ground with the U.N. refugee agency's man in Islamabad and more on the disappointing response from the director of OXFAM here in the U.K.

Also tonight, remember those WikiLeaks?


HAMID GUL, FORMER DIRECTOR ISI: It's preposterous. It is disinformation. And I would grade it as a deliberate attempt by the -- whoever intelligence reporting was, it was a deliberate attempt to misguide.


ANDERSON: Well, this man certainly remembers when he was named and, some say, shamed in them. The former head of Pakistan's secret service answers your questions. Hamid Gul is your Connector of the Day.



PRES. HUGO CHAVEZ, VENEZUELA (through translator): I would like -- we would all like to turn the page. But with Mr. Santos in power, it will be very difficult.


ANDERSON: A troubled relationship -- Venezuela's Hugo Chavez heads to Columbia to mend fences. We're going to have the latest. And how Washington has now gotten involved.

And finally, the story that's literally all the rage online -- an air steward's flamboyant exit strategy -- a cursing, beer grabbing flight attendant pops the chute and grabs the spotlight. Well, I've been Tweeting on that tonight and asking you, what makes you angry?

We'll be reading out your comments. Get involved, atbeckycnn on Twitter.

First up tonight, from bad to worse relief officials say up to half of the 14 million people impacted by Pakistan's floods desperately need food and the most basic of supplies and they say they need it right now. This is a story with global resonance.

Dan Rivers took an aerial tour with U.S. forces now charged with getting the aid to those who need it most.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): A silver ribbon of destruction guides the U.S. Chinook helicopters north, up the Swat Valley, toward Kalan (ph). The crew looks down onto a conveyor belt of terrible sights -- bridge after crippled bridge, the severed links of the thin communities that are now cut off from the outside world. The valley floor has been eviscerated in some areas -- scoured clean of vegetation, buildings and people by waters that are still raging 11 days after the initial downpour.

The river banks gouged back -- erosion that would normally take decades has happened in just a few minutes. The weather here remains volatile and has constantly interrupted this crucial mission.

We arrive in Kalan (ph) and see hundreds of people waited expectantly for help. Kalan used to be a tourist destination. What was once a shangrilah-esque (ph) have in the Hindu Kush has been turned into a nightmare. The flour is offloaded quickly. Fuel and time are running out.

(on camera): These CH-47 Chinooks are capable of carrying five metric tons of supplies. They're now part of a vital aerial supply line. It's the only way that people up here can be reached by the outside world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, we will happy -- very happy because the food and other medicines have made it through, are coming from different countries.

RIVERS: Once aid is delivered, the people are loaded -- 101 men, women and children, some clearly terrified at their first flight. Some have lost everything and cling onto one another. The lucky ones still have their loved ones.

This is an ordeal no one here will ever forget, except those too young to remember the great flood of 2010.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Kalan, in the Swat Valley.


ANDERSON: Well, some terribly startling images there. And that gives us a sense of the scope of this disaster. There are potentially millions of people displaced and many of those are Afghan refugees already made homeless once, now fighting to survive again.

I want to talk about that with Mengesha Kebede.

He's the United Nations refugee agency representative in Pakistan.

He joins me now on the phone from Islamabad.

We've seen and heard these reports now for days. We're into day 11.

Where's the most urgent need at this point?

MENGESHA KEBEDE, UNHCR: You know, I -- I definitely feel this emergency is not well understood. What we are dealing with is a rolling emergency which basically started off in Baluchistan Province, whereby on the 22nd of July, Baluchistan was inundated with floods. Two hundred thousand persons were reported to have been displaced. Nineteen thousand homes were destroyed.

A response was launched to try and meet the needs of this population. Items were being moved from Haifa Pashtun Kwa (ph) toward -- toward Baluchistan.

We responded to a request from the provisional leaders for management and from the national disaster management agency. When we were in the process of responding to that, the very province where we had our base, Peshawar in Haifa Pashtun Kwa (ph), was inundated with floods. There, once again, 2.6 million people were affected. And now we know well over 316,000 homes have been destroyed, including, of course, humanitarian supplies that were in the province in terms of (INAUDIBLE) peace food and UNHCR non-food items.

Once again, because of the flooding of the two rivers, in particular Kabul and Lindu (ph), reports started coming in of how the floods were moving south toward Punjab and thousands in Punjab was affected.

And then came the whole issue, the rivers kept on going south...


KEBEDE: The rains continued. We are still in the tsunami period. And now Sindh has been impacted.

ANDERSON: Yes, I get -- I get the story here.

KEBEDE: I don't...

ANDERSON: I know the logistics are now, no doubt, extremely difficult, as -- as you've suggested. Reporters on the ground, though, describing scenes of utter chaos.

What's going wrong with the -- with the response here?

KEBEDE: As I said, we were -- we are literally firefighting as more and more emergencies are announced in different districts and provinces in Pakistan. Definitely, the logistics nightmare, where roads and bridges have been washed away. The military is doing an excellent job regarding rescue and evacuation, which means the air assets available are actually involved in relocating people that have been stranded.

Unfortunately, there is also a simultaneous need to deliver relief items to those who have been displaced. You know, from a UNHCR perspective, for example, we have already distributed well over 15,000 tents and definitely over 51,000 -- 41,000 plastic tarpaulins to serve as shelter.

If this was any other emergency, I could have been talking to you of how we have been able to respond to the needs of well over 300,000 persons.

Unfortunately, unfortunately, the situation keeps on unfolding by the day. The logistics difficulties are enormous. And as we see more dams are reported to be bursting or on the way to burst, should that happen, it will become even more disastrous.

So the number of 40 million, which we have today, with four million displaced, I am sure if the situation continues, will keep on rising. And that naturally -- naturally would create the type of -- the type of challenge we are facing.

And, of course, let's also keep in mind, we are currently responding with stocks we have in country awaiting for international donations and support for us to augment our capacity on the ground.

ANDERSON: All right. We're going to have to leave it...

KEBEDE: This time...

ANDERSON: I want to leave it there for the moment, because I want to get on to the issue of the world's response, which is a really important one. But we do appreciate you describing the situation on the ground. It's a logistical nightmare, as your man on the ground from UNCHR has described, as we watch images here.

I mean they're distressing images, at best -- shocking, shocking images at work. And this will continue as the monsoon rains continue in the region. We're talking about thousands of miles and millions of people being affected at this point. Offers of aid are being made to Pakistan. According to the latest numbers from relief, we have more than two dozen countries, organizations and individuals have pledged more than $157 million so far to help the flood victims. Among the top donors, the U.S. pledging $75 million. It's also sending helicopters, rescue boats and other supplies to the region. Dan's package, his report there, reflecting that. The U.K. pledging another $15 million and Australia providing more than $9 million for aid efforts.

Well, offering aid is one thing, of course, actually turning it into tangible help for the victims on the ground is quite another.

Have a look at these figures compiled by OXFAM.

As of yesterday, August the 9th, the U.N. financial tracking system determined only $3.20 per person has actually been committed to flood impacted people. Compare that now to the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Within the first 10 days, $70 per person had been committed.

Graham Mackay is the deputy humanitarian director of OXFAM U.K.

He joins me now from oxford in England.

Three odd dollars -- what does that buy, sir?

GRAHAM MACKAY, DEPUTY HUMANITARIAN DIRECTOR, OXFAM: Well, I -- I -- I mean the short version is not very much, considering the needs. You know, the figures you've gone through do show the kind of situation in Pakistan in a very -- in terms of the response -- in a very poor light, especially when just six -- six months ago, instead of $3, you were talking about $495 per person for Haiti had actually been committed.

So there's -- there's -- there's something odd going on here.

ANDERSON: But let me ask you this.

What -- what -- you -- you've been and seen and covered these disasters, certainly, year after year.

What is the minimum that people would need at this point to survive, as far as cash were concerned?

MACKAY: Well, normally we expect -- I mean the -- the example from the Pakistan earthquake five years ago worked out to $70 U.S. per person. Now, that's something that aid agencies, the UN, we could work with to put together packages that could -- could help people in -- in really difficult situations. I mean, three pounds 20 -- I'm sorry -- $3.20, well, we know will not do anything.

ANDERSON: No. We're looking at some of the images that your agency has sent from the region. Let's get basic here.

Who needs to do more, Graham?

Which governments aren't doing enough, effectively?

MACKAY: Well, there's a whole host of -- of governments. I mean I believe that there are -- you -- you mentioned two governments which are doing OK, but at the levels we've got at the moment, it's kind of across the board. It's almost all the traditional donors are, across the board, are probably just not doing enough at the moment.

We would be relying on the European Union, of course, the Americans and other North Americans or the European countries, as well. And just across the board, we -- we just like to see a greater commitment. And there's a great opportunity now. The U.N. has launched its appeal. And so now we hope that now the -- the need, that's just becoming sort of apparent, that there will be a -- a greater effort on the part of those donors to get in there...

ANDERSON: All right...

MACKAY: -- and contribute.

ANDERSON: Well, Graham Mackay is naming and shaming tonight. And naming the E.U. and various others, and the Americans, as needing to do more.

The head of one aid agency, Graham reported as saying -- and I quote - - is concerned that the response to the Pakistani flood victims may have been affected by the country's repetition for Islamic extremism and reported links to international terrorism. And he said the fears, maybe even prejudices, about this part of the world should not be a block to responding.

Does that resonate with you?

MACKAY: Well, for whatever the reasons are that the -- the -- the governments aren't -- aren't digging into their pockets, the important thing is we've got figures of 14 million people probably going upwards who are in -- who are in need of aid. And on -- on humanitarian principles, it -- you know, the -- it makes no -- no matter what religious affiliation or even what they've done.

They -- they have a right to good levels of humanitarian aid.

ANDERSON: With that, we're going to have to leave it there.

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

Graham Mackay, the deputy humanitarian director for OXFAM.

And you heard from the UNCHR's man on the ground.

Pakistan needs your help. Find out how you can get involved. Head to You're going to find a range of ways there to help out and give money through a charity of your choice. That is

And we will be back to this story, sadly, as the days continue.

Now as I talk to you, tens of thousands of Nike training shoes are circling the globe, a consequence of shipping containers accidentally emptying their contents into the ocean. But the flotilla of footwear is hardly alone at sea, as we find out after this break.

This is CONNECT THE WORLD, a 360 spin on the day's best stories for you.


ANDERSON: India's biggest container port could be closed for the next two days. The country's shipping ministry says that a collision between two ships on Saturday has caused around 200 liters of oil to spill into the sea off Mumbai. Well, the incident has also blocked seaways after up to 250 containers fell overboard. The vessel's owners have hired tugs and floating cranes to pluck the crates from the water.

Well, lost cargo are pretty common. Every year, between 2,000 and 10,000 containers apparently fall overboard and spill their contents into the ocean. In 1990, five crates were lost, spilling 80,000 Nike training shoes into the Northern Pacific Ocean.

Well, two years later, en route from China to Seattle, a container full of 28,000 bathtub toys, plastic doves, turtles and frogs splashed into the mid-Pacific. And in 1994, two crates filled with 34,000 hockey gloves joined the flotsam.

Well, my next guest has been tracking the fascinating flotsam.

Curtis Ebbesmeyer is a pioneering oceanographer and beachcomber. He's also the author -- get this -- of "Flotametrics and The Floating World: How One Man's Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science."

He joins me now from Seattle.

Sir, we do thank you for joining us.

A fabulous, fabulous title to a book.

Listen, I know you've got some toys with you, one of which is a hockey glove washed up, where, may I ask?

CURTIS EBBESMEYER, OCEANOGRAPHER: Washed up in British Columbia, on Vancouver Island, about, oh, about 34,000 fell overboard and we've had about maybe 5,000 reported.

ANDERSON: My goodness.

Show us what you've got there. You've got a hockey glove -- a hockey glove and other things.

What's that?

EBBESMEYER: I've got a hockey glove here.

ANDERSON: Yes. I think I saw that.

EBBESMEYER: I've got a -- I got a -- I got a call one time from some beachcombers. And they said we think a hock -- a hockey glove team -- a hockey team crashed into the water. All their gear is washing up. And I said no, it's -- it's just a container spill. Nobody died.

ANDERSON: Only 3...

EBBESMEYER: That's a...

ANDERSON: Only 3 percent of this stuff gets washed up, as you show us the Nike training shoes there.

So what happens to the rest of it?

EBBESMEYER: Yes. Well, it falls overboard, but it -- it goes somewhere else. It -- I'm just getting the toys here. Here's a little duck and a turtle. They fall overboard and they just go all around the world. These are -- I've been tracking these toys for 18 years now and they -- they're still washing up in the Pacific.

ANDERSON: How does tracking these (INAUDIBLE) help you unravel the mysteries of -- of marine currents, it I might ask?

EBBESMEYER: Yes, the -- when you have a spill of 80,000 Nikes at one place in the ocean, that's a bonanza in science, because it cost about $5,000 to launch one satellite tracked buoy, whereas it's accidental science when 80,000 Nikes are lost. Each Nike is a messenger in a shoe, because it has an individual serial number. So 80,000 free drifters that can be tracked is a real bonanza.

ANDERSON: Out of interest, where have you tracked those dots?

Have they just been all over the place?

How far have they gone?

EBBESMEYER: Well, we had these -- these ducks have washed up all around the North Pacific and in the North Pole and over in the North Atlantic, we actually had a frog recovered in -- we had a frog recovered in Scotland by one of your famous barristers. And we had a duck recovered in Maine. So they're in the North Atlantic.


EBBESMEYER: There's a hundred dollar reward if -- if this toy is actually reported to me.

ANDERSON: My goodness.

What's the environment -- environmental impact of all of this?

Because despite the fact that it's quite fun to find these things on shore and track where they've been, there is an environmental impact, of course, isn't there?

EBBESMEYER: Yes. The -- the toy, like this little duck here, it's made of plastic and it's not biodegradable. It will actually break up into smaller and smaller pieces. And they get -- they get down to be the size of plankton, which is the base of the food chain. And that goes up through the food chain to all the marine food we eat. So plastic like this is -- is infecting the -- the entire oceanic food chain.

ANDERSON: in an effort to connect the world, as we do on this show, I wonder if our viewers remember, in 2007, the MSC Napoli, I think it was, washed up in the English Channel. And they found, was it bits of BMW cars, tractors, nappies, wine barrels, shampoo. People were out there scavenging for these things, I know, on the beaches down in Cornwall in the U.K.

Are these usual finds?

EBBESMEYER: Yes, that's pretty -- pretty usual. The Napoli, I think, lost 2,000 containers. It was near a wildlife refuge, so it was particularly nasty. Your listeners should realize that that's a lot of containers. But just one container can be catastrophic in that one container can hold five million plastic shopping bags and one shopping bag can choke a sea turtle to death.

So it isn't so much the numbers -- the sheer numbers of containers, it's what they contain.

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff.

We'll have you on again, sir.

We thank you very much, indeed for joining us.

Joining the dots for you on a story that matters.

Well, two Latin American leaders are sitting down right now, trying to smooth over a long simmering dispute that recently -- well, it came to a boil. We're going to have the latest on talks between Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Columbia's new president up after this very short break.

Stay with us.



CHAVEZ (through translator): I would like -- we would all like to turn the page. But with Mr. Santos in power, it will be very difficult. Santos as president could cause a war in this part of the world by following instructions from the Yankees.


ANDERSON: Well, that was then and this is now. Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, has changed his tune on Juan Manuel Santos, Columbia's new president. The two leaders are meeting right now in Columbia, trying to patch up a major dispute that peaked last month when the previous Colombian president publicly accused Venezuela of sheltering leftist FARC rebels.

Well, there is more at stake at today's summit than good neighborly relations. Columbia and Venezuela, of course, are crucial trading partners. And many people on both sides of the border want to get back to business as usual.

Well, Rafael Romo is following the story from CNN Center and he joins us -- joins us now.

Fill us in.


Presidents Juan Manuel Santos of Columbia and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela arrived in the beach resort of Marta two hours ago in the Colombian Caribbean to talk about peace. It's been several years of tensions between Columbia and Venezuela. And people in both countries say it's time to make amends.


ROMO (voice-over): Chavez took the first step toward peace last Saturday, saying he was ready to turn the page and focus on the future. The foreign ministers for Venezuela and Columbia met Sunday and set the stage for the meeting. They chose Marta in the Caribbean coast of Columbia because it was the site where Simon Bolivar, an independence hero for both countries, spent his last days.

Venezuela broke off relations with Columbia last month after Colombian officials accused the Chavez government of harboring leftist Colombian guerillas in Venezuelan territory.

People in both countries say they hope the meeting can put an end to the recent troubles.

"This is wonderful for peace, for Columbia and for our people," says this resident of Bogota. "We need to solve this issue as adults," says this resident of Caracas.

Cuban leader Fidel Castro also weighed in on the issue in an interview with the Venezuelan government TV network. When asked about how high the tensions could become and whether he thought Columbia would ever attack Venezuela, he said that it was not even a remote possibility.

This analyst says that in the long run, the most important goals should be getting a commitment from President Chavez to take a firm stance against terrorism. Otherwise, he says, the meeting will only be remembered as nothing more than a photo-op.

(on camera): And tensions have been costly to both countries. According to the Colombo-Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, the tensions this year have had a significant impact on the economy, especially along the border region. They say trade has decreased by as much as 90 percent, affecting more than five million people who live along the border of Venezuela and Columbia -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff.

Rafael, thank you for that.

Even as Venezuela appears ready, then, to repair ties with Columbia, its relations with a key Colombian ally are still on the rocks. Venezuela is rejecting the United States' choice for ambassador to Caracas. President Chavez says nominee Larry Palmer, quote, "disqualified himself by siding with Columbia and saying that there are clear ties between Venezuela and Colombian rebels."

Well, despite the promise to block Palmer from taking his post, Washington is not retracting his nomination.

Listen to this grilling of a U.S. State Department spokesman when he talked about Palmer at a news conference.


P.J. CROWLEY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: He was -- he was asked questions during his hearing. He provided written responses to those questions. That is a matter of public record. However, you know, he remains our nominee to be the ambassador to Venezuela.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So no change of plans?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For now, no change...



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that mean that the Venezuelan government has not withdrawn Eigermott (ph)?

CROWLEY: I -- I don't speak for the Venezuelan government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yes, but you're suggesting...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- that you're going to force this guy down their throats when they say that they don't want him and you can't do that.

CROWLEY: Well...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- unless you want to violate the -- the inter -- the Vienna Conventions.

CROWLEY: You're -- you're inferring something that we have not heard officially...


CROWLEY: -- from the Venezuelan government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So, in other words, Chavez -- what Chavez said on his TV program yesterday, that has not been communicated formally to -- to -- to you guys and they have not withdrawn their agreement to -- to accept him as the ambassador?

CROWLEY: We -- we have not received a formal notification from the government of Venezuela.



You convinced?

Venezuela, Columbia and Washington for you.

Well, the tough talk just ahead. Your Connector of the Day is the former Pakistani intelligence chief, Hamid Gul. He's been accused of close ties with the Taliban. We're going to ask just how close.


ANDERSON: At half past nine in the evening on Tuesday in London, you are back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson on CNN for you.

Coming up, the WikiLeaks documents accuse him of working with the Taliban, and now former Pakistani General Hamid Gul is responding to those charges. He's your Connector of the Day, and he's up shortly.

Then, a furious flight attendant makes a dramatic escape from a plane in New York. We're going to tell you what he did that landed him in jail and made him an instant celebrity.

And finally, millions of Muslims marking the start of Ramadan tonight. We're going to take a look at how people are celebrating all over the world. That a little later this hour. All those stories in the next 30 minutes. First, let's get you a very quick check of the headlines.

A new report highlights the growing human costs of the war in Afghanistan, especially for civilians. The United Nations says 55 percent more children were casualties of Taliban attacks in the first six months of this year than in the same period of 2009.

The situation growing increasingly desperate in Pakistan, and forecasters say the worst isn't over yet. Up to 14 million people are effected by catastrophic flooding, and as many 7 million are in urgent need of food.

An important meeting today between two Latin American leaders. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is in Colombia for the talks with the country's new president, Juan Manuel Santos. Venezuela cut of bilateral diplomatic ties last month when Colombia accused it of harboring leftist rebels.

The death toll from mudslides in China is now 702. More than 1000 people remain missing. Rescue teams are frantically digging through rubble.

And Sean O'Keefe, the former administrator of the US space agency NASA and his son have survived a plane crash in Alaska. O'Keefe is the chief executive of the North American unit of EADS, the maker of Airbus jets. Former Alaska senator Ted Stevens died in the same crash. At least five people were killed when the private plane went down.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Last month's WikiLeaks controversy reminded the world of the fragile dichotomy that exists in Pakistan. In the documents, there were renewed allegations that Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI, was assisting Afghan militants.

One man named was General Hamid Gul, former head of the Pakistani intelligence service. The documents allege that Gul met with Afghan Taliban leaders in Pakistan to help coordinate attacks against allied troops across the border.

Gul described the accusation as fiction. As Pakistan's spy chief from 1987 to 1989, Gul worked with the CIA to train the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviets. Many of those Mujahideen went on to govern Afghanistan as the Taliban, leading some people to call him the father of the Taliban.

Today, Gul represents a view shared by many Pakistanis, that US foreign policy is to blame for the violence in the region. A controversial but important voice, Hamid Gul is your Connector of the Day.


ANDERSON: For the west, Pakistan's aid in taking on the Taliban is crucial, and any suggestion that the country is exporting terror is politically explosive. The heart of the WikiLeaks controversy, today's Connector, Hamid Gul. I spoke to the former intelligence chief earlier, and I began by asking him if he regrets helping create the Afghan Taliban to fight off Soviet forces back in the 1980s.


HAMID GUL, FORMER PAKISTANI ARMY GENERAL: Not at all. I think the Soviet occupation was wrongful, and so is the American occupation. And that one nation will not accept that position, one nation has never accepted for the past 5,000 years, and they won't accept it now.

So I don't regret at all, because back then, the whole world was with us. I think, then, America should be the first one to regret that venture at that time.

ANDERSON: Today, are you a supporter of the Taliban, or al Qaeda, indeed?

GUL: No, no. Al Qaeda had nothing to do with Afghan resistance. I don't call them Taliban. I don't support any one faction in Afghanistan. I support the Afghan nation. I respect them, I admire them. And I feel that they are some of the best people in the world.

ANDERSON: Would -- Krishna asks whether you would live under Taliban rule?

GUL: No, I think they made a lot of mistakes. But I hope that they have learned their lesson. But now, you have to talk to them. You have to engage them so that they don't make the old mistakes and they do not commit such things -- mistakes in the future as well.

So I think Mullah Omar has to be spoken to, that's very important. Because without him, no settlement in Afghanistan can take place. He symbolizes the national resistance of Afghanistan against the occupation.

ANDERSON: I want to talk about the recently released Wiki documents. Among many of the instances of your name being mentioned in those documents, it said that you met al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan in 2006 and told them, and I quote, "to make the snow warm in Kabul, to set Kabul aflame." Is that true?

GUL: Not at all. I am not that kind of a man. I am a clean soldier or a cavalry soldier all my life. I served only two years and a quarter in the ISI. And the ISI is not the one which will carry out such kind of activities. I am a humane person, as all soldiers are. Because fighting for your cause, for a good cause, for your country's defense, that is very noble. But killing civilians and killing innocent people is not -- has never been my line of thought.

ANDERSON: All right, Hamid Gul. The WikiLeaks also allegedly suggesting that in January 2008 you are reported to have directed the Taliban -- hang on -- to kidnap high level personnel in Afghanistan. True --

GUL: All --

ANDERSON: Or false?

GUL: All of this is disinformation. It is very -- created as disinformation. A deliberate attempt to misguide. Therefore, don't pay any heed to it. It is not intelligence. Please. It is not processed. And I think the documents themselves say as much, that this is not processed intelligence.

ANDERSON: All right, let me ask you this question --

GUL: Intelligence is a different method altogether.

ANDERSON: Let me ask you this question. If it is false, as you say, why do so many people -- why are so many people in the west convinced that the Taliban does take orders from you?

GUL: I think they want to bash the ISI, and I'm being used as a bogie. Now they want to shift the blame of their failure in Afghanistan, the intelligence failure, the military failure, and they have to find a scapegoat.

ANDERSON: Hamid Gul, you are critical of the US performance in Afghanistan. What would you say they are specifically doing wrong?

GUL: They are dependent on a long line of communication. The logistic support is coming through Pakistan, and Pakistan is being destabilized by India, their ally. This is one problem. And you know the floods have cut off the kinds of communication. Karachi rioting is creating another problem. So you cannot depend on this logistic team.

And the second is the intelligence import. If WikiLeaks is any reflection of the kind of intelligence that the American forces are getting, then I can already conclude what would be the outcome.

ANDERSON: Peter, one of our viewers asks, "What is the one thing that the US and its allies are getting right, as far as you're concerned, in the war against the Taliban? And what do you think they are -- have yet to discover?"

GUL: Whatever connection there is between Taliban or the resistance fighter of Afghanistan and al Qaeda, that can be managed. That can be properly handled if you talk to Omar. But now the goalpost has been shifted, and the new goal is reversing Taliban momentum.

Now, I don't know what they are up to, because this totally unacceptable to the Afghan nation, and I think that's why there are other factions of Afghan resistant fighters who are coming under the banner of Mullah Omar.

ANDERSON: OK. I want to talk about Pakistan's focus on India. At a briefing with Pakistani journalists in February of this year, General Kayani admitted that Pakistan's military remains India-centric. Why is that?

GUL: Yes, I know, because it is for two reasons, this kind of terrorism which is going on in Pakistan. One is the Kashmir movement and the Indian state terrorism in Kashmir. And the second is because of the wrongful occupation of Afghanistan by the allied forces. It's very wrongful, no one was ever found to be involved in any act of terrorism outside the boundaries of Afghanistan. And so I think that their nation is being badly managed, which is very wrong.

So this is the root cause. Unless you address the root cause, you are not going to find the solution. As far as Pakistan's orientation towards India is concerned, that is a reality. And Indians themselves are making it a reality.

ANDERSON: All right. Ali asks, "Do the people of Pakistan really care about India or Afghanistan at the moment? They've got a water shortage, they've suffered from the worst floods in a generation, they don't have power, electricity in many places. Yet they have a nuclear weapons program," our viewer says. "Does Islamabad have their priorities straight at this point?"

GUL: Well, this is amazing that India continues to aim at Pakistan and considers it the enemy. Kashmir dispute is still going on. Kashmir movement is very much on the boil. And at this time, it is expected that Pakistan should shift forces from the eastern border, transfer them to the western border. It is not possible. We don't have the resources.


ANDERSON: Hamid Gul, named in those WikiLeaks and answering your questions here as your Connector of the Day. Tomorrow's Connector, well, he's famed for his survival skills.


BEAR GRYLLS, ADVENTURER: To keep your feet as flat as possible against the tree for maximum grip. OK.


Well these days, Bear Grylls is best known for his Discovery Channel Show "Man Vs. Wild." But at the age of 23, he'd already gained acclaim as the youngest Britain ever to climb Mount Everest. Since then, Grylls has circumnavigated the UK on a jet ski, he's crossed the freezing North Atlantic in an inflatable boat, and had many other adventures aside from those.

This is your part of the show, of course. Leave your comments at And while you're there, why don't you suggest who you'd like to see as a Connector of the Day, and we'll see who we can get on for you.

Coming up next, a fed-up flight attendant makes what can only be described as a dramatic exit from a plane parked at a New York airport. Well now, Steven Slater is a worldwide celebrity. We're going to tell you what pushed him over the edge and out of a plane, just ahead.


ANDERSON: Take a look at this. You are looking at Jet Blue plane parked at a New York Kennedy airport -- or at New York Kennedy's airport after landing on Monday. You may be able to see that the emergency slide has been deployed on one side, but there was no emergency. Instead, a flight attendant made a dramatic exit that has now landed him in custody.

That flight attendant has also become an instant worldwide celebrity. CNN's Allan Chernoff has been following the story, and here's to explain what happened on board that plane. Go on, then.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, Steven Slater has literally gone viral. He's been gaining thousands of fans today on his Facebook page, and also on a page now called "Free Steven Slater."

Now, what's going on? He's actually sitting at the moment in a jail in the South Bronx after appearing in court, charged this morning with reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. He has to post $2500 bail, he hasn't done that just yet.

Now all this after yesterday's dramatic incidents aboard a Jet Blue plane. What happened was, he got into a little bit of an altercation with a passenger who banged him on the head, cursed him. He responded by taking control of the public address system on the plane, cursing that passenger, then activating the emergency slide, grabbing his luggage, a couple of beers, and then sliding out of that plane and, most likely, out of a career. He went home, and shortly afterwards, police arrested him at his house.

His attorney this morning said this is a matter of civility in the air. And by the way, he said, Mr. Slater has been dealing with some extra stress in his life.


HOWARD TRUMAN, STEVEN SLATER'S ATTORNEY: His mom lives in California. She has stage four lung cancer, so he's a dedicated son, and I believe he provides an aid and he's able to fly back and forth to attend to her needs.


CHERNOFF: So, tough situation for Mr. Slater. And by the way, of course, we all know these days, being a flight attendant is no picnic. I'm sure we've all seen unruly passengers in the air. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, all right. Just very quickly. Have we heard from the passenger?

CHERNOFF: Actually, the passenger has not been identified, and it's very likely the passenger just took off. The police, apparently, were not called for a good 20, 25 minutes, so the passengers pretty much had spread out, the story was given to the police by the crew members.

ANDERSON: All right. Remarkable stuff. Allan, thank you for that. Everybody has got a breaking point, haven't they? Celebrities, politicians, and regular people like ourselves find ourselves in frustrating situations. Digital producer Phil Han rounding out for you the most famous fits ever to become hits on the web.

PHIL HAN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: Hi, Becky. In this day and age, when someone loses their cool in a public place, you'd better believe there'll be someone else with a camera or cell phone to capture it. Let's take a look at some of the most famous temper tantrums that have gone viral online.

Now, things can get pretty heated if you're a politician, but not sure if it should ever come to blows. Hundreds of competing lawmakers in South Korea brawled over a media reform bill in July of 2009. At least one person went to hospital, but more than 300,000 of you watched it on YouTube.

Who can forget Bjork? She's famed for wearing a swan to the Oscars, but she's also got a pretty vicious right hook. Back in 1996, while at the airport in Thailand, Bjork attacked a journalist who simply said, "Welcome to Bangkok." In Bjork's defense, she said the woman had been harassing her for several days. Nonetheless, more than 700,000 people viewed her meltdown online.

Television host Bill O'Reilly. He's known on air for his energetic and sometimes combative nature. But back in the early 1990s, he let things get away from him just a bit. As the anchor for the American Television program "Inside Edition," the teleprompter wasn't quite up to his standard. So, he got pretty upset. Let's take a look.




O'REILLY: We'll do it live.



O'REILLY: We'll do it live! (Expletive) We'll do it live!


HAN: But my personal favorite brings us back to the airport. As we just saw with the Jet Blue flight attendant, airplanes, airports, and traveling in general are situations that can bring out the worst in people. Nearly eight million people have viewed this one. A woman misses her flight in Hong Kong and doesn't take the news too well.




HAN: So I think we've all probably felt like that at some point in our lives before. Becky?

ANDERSON: I'm not sure I've felt that bad, but yes, it's frustrating, I've got to say. My goodness.

Well, we've maybe all felt like doing something similar. But how many of us have actually done it? That's the question we put to you on our website today. We want to know, have you ever had a spectacular meltdown? The majority of you, 56 percent say no, you haven't. I'm not sure I believe you. But 44 percent of you admit that yes, you have.

We're getting a big response from the story on the website. Many comments have a common theme. Here's how Robert puts it. He says, "How come the passenger hasn't been arrested? I thought it was against federal law to not follow crew instructions, let alone smack them over the head." We're talking about the Jet Blue story, of course.

The answer is, we're just not sure. It's true that it's a rule passengers are required to stay in their seats with seat belts fastened until the pilot gives the all clear, but as Allan Chernoff pointed out, the passenger in this situation has not been identified.

We're going to read out many more of your comments on this story a little later in the show. What makes you angry? @beckycnn. Go on, send us a tweet.

First, though, all the talk of anger got us wondering, who are the angriest people around? A survey by British comedy channel GOLD last year asked people in 12 European countries, and it turns out that Britons get angry more often than anyone else in Europe, losing their tempers up to four times a day. One of the biggest gripes? Queue jumping. Remember that if you come to the UK.

Coming in second, Italians on average, they get angry three and a half times a day with their rage aimed mainly at bad drivers. Most of which they are.

And the French come in third, getting angry about three times a day. Bad food and sloppy service is what gets them fuming in restaurants.

In comparison, Denmark coming in last with tempers only flaring about once every ten days. There you go.

From New York to Jakarta to Mecca, Muslims around the world prepare for the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan. We're going to be bringing you the sights and sounds up next, here on CONNECT THE WORLD.


ANDERSON: The sighting of a new moon is ushering in Ramadan in some parts of the world. In Jakarta, Indonesia, where woman gather to pray on the first night on the ninth and holiest month of the Islamic calendar.

More than a billion Muslims around the world will observe Ramadan with prayers like this Indonesian woman, and by taking no food or drink from dawn until dusk.

But at night, city streets come alive when the fast is broken. In Jerusalem, a Palestinian man here carefully arranging neon lights and decorations in his store window. And the windows of apartments in the West Bank city of Ramallah also glow brightly with Ramadan lights and decorations welcoming everybody into the festivities.

In the port city of Jeddah, a Saudi shopkeeper displaying his wares. The Ramadan faithful often breaking their daylong fast by eating dates or drinking milk or water.

And Muslims around the world could soon be setting their watches to a new time. The world's largest clock is set to begin a test run this week in Mecca. It tops a massive skyscraper and dwarfs London's Big Ben. Saudi hoping the Mecca clock will become an alternative to Greenwich Mean Time.

For the next 30 days, CNN taking a close look at Islam in the year 2010. We're making sure all of our Muslim viewers have an opportunity to be part of our special coverage during Ramadan, so let's get to Errol Barnett at CNN Center to explain what's going on. Errol?

ERROL BARNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, indeed, Becky. The global Muslim population sits at about 1.57 billion people. Almost a fourth of humanity. So CNN set up this assignment page at to get the view of modern Muslims on what Ramadan means to them this year.

I found some interesting connections between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Take a look at gift from King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia to the five million Muslims in the Philippines. One hundred tons of dates. It's common for Muslims to eat this fruit after sunset, since during daylight hours, they'll fast from meat and other items.

IReporter Sherbien Dacalanio, who is Catholic, snapped these pictures of the generous gift when it arrived last week at the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, also known as NCMF there in Quezon City.

Right now, they're being sent out to Muslim groups around the country, and Sherbien's developing more of an appreciation for Muslim traditions, because he was also intrigued by the fashion at NCMF Koran reading competition. He sent us some pictures of women who are participating in the event, in which they have to fully pronounce the master portions of the religious text. Winners will be sent to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj, that's the mass pilgrimage to Mecca, which rounds out the Islamic calendar.

Now, iReporters are also allowing us to see the nuance that exists in following a faith. For example, Kristin Szremski converted to Islam nine years ago and now lives in the American midwest. We connected with her via webcam to talk about some of her challenges.


KRISTIN SZREMSKI, IREPORTER: I live in a rural area. I think there might be one other person that I know of who wears the head scarf. So I get a lot of stares. I live in a farm area, and I do get a lot of looks.

But by and large, people are very supportive. I think it was a very easy country to be Muslim in. Even with all the rhetoric that's out there right now.


BARNETT: But instead of shying away from her faith, Kristin's lending a voice to a number of Muslim causes, including Muslims for Palestine, and helping displaced Muslim Iraqis settle in the United States. So we're going to stay connected with her over the next few weeks to see how the Muslim community around her honors their religion in a predominantly Christian region.

So, Muslims in 2010 is the place to share with us how you're celebrating or commemorating Ramadan this year. Becky?

ANDERSON: Good stuff, Errol. And do get involved if you're out there. We'll continue our look at Islam tomorrow on CONNECT THE WORLD. We're going to take you to a summer camp where a renowned Muslim scholar is trying to steer young Muslims away from radical extremism and towards tolerance. He's prepared a fatwa on terrorism. That's tomorrow on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Tonight, we'll be right back.


ANDERSON: Well get you back to one of the stories that we were following a little earlier. This flight attendant who activated the emergency slide and ran away from his plane has turned quite literally into a -- quite a celebrity, with people all over the world cheering for him on social media sites.

On our website and on Twitter, today, @beckycnn, we asked you, have you ever lost your cool the way Steven Slater did, and how did it turn out? We'll Kyra (ph) from New York tweets back at me, "If someone cursed at me while I'm doing my job, as allegedly happened on the plane, I'd be pretty angry. I wouldn't pop the chute, but I would've said a few choice words.", the commenter writes -- uh, sorry, Spongebob the commenter writes and says he once got fed up with the poor safety conditions on the job and let his temper get the best of him. He says, "Less than an hour later, I received a phone call getting notified that I was being promoted."

Well, things don't always turn out so well. Vickie says she lost her cool years ago when she was a customer service manager. She writes, "I wasn't proud that I handled that situation the way I did, but I can relate to how things can build up to a point where you just can't handle it."

And Phil joins many others around the world in writing, "Sometimes you can only take so much. I think this is great. Good job, Mr. Slater!"

What do you think of what Steven Slater did? Get your voice heard on CNN. You can see the story at the website Tweet me @beckycnn.

Before we go tonight, a programming note for you. Join us on Thursday when we're going to take a closer work at the issue of gay rights and how that is playing out around the world. Argentina allows gay marriage, while in parts of the Middle East, homosexuality carries the death penalty. California's recent Proposition 8 ruling is just part of the broader global conversation, but it's a jumping off point for us. That's here on CONNECT THE WORLD on Thursday. Let us know what you think and how you want to get involved. I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected here on CNN. "BackStory" is up next, right after I get you this quick check of the headlines this hour.