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Anwar al-Awlaki Dead; Life Behind Bars; Rugby World Cup; Paramedic Testifies at Conrad Murray Trial; Jackson Fans Gather Outside Courthouse; Conflicting Reports on State of Afghanistan; Interpreting Conflicting Reports; Bloggers Move Fashion Forward

Aired September 30, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The death of Awlaki s a major blow to Al Qaeda's most active operational affiliate.


ZANE VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: The man described as America's biggest terror threat is dead.

But is the world a safer place?

Live from London, hi, I'm Zane Verjee.

Also tonight...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Describe Dr. Murray's demeanor, please.



VERJEE: The scene inside Michael Jackson's bedroom from the paramedic who tried to save him.

And crunch time in the Rugby World Cup -- which six teams will join South Africa and New Zealand in the quarterfinals?

"A very bad man just had a very bad day" -- those words from a senior U.S. official after the killing of radical cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki and Yemen U.S. sources ay he was killed and a CIA drone attack It happened just outside Hashef (ph). That's a town east of the capital, Sanaa

A second America who did computer programming for Al Qaeda and two others in the same vehicle, were also killed.

He used the global reach of the Internet to spread Al Qaeda's message, creating what U.S. officials called a terror threat unlike any other.

Nic Robertson takes a look at the impact and the timing of Anwar al- Awlaki's death.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Silenced -- Anwar AL-Awlaki, al Qaeda's articulate English- language mouthpiece.

Although he never made the U.S. Most-wanted terrorist list, he was the first U.S. Citizen ever placed on the CIA hit list. His killing not the first attempt on his life. In May, he narrowly escaped a missile fired from an unmanned U.S. Drone. Al-Awlaki's followers revered him for his theology. He taught Muslims to attack Americans.

ABU MUWAZ, HEAD OF SALAFI YOUTH MOVEMENT: He reminds me of, for example, Sheik Osama bin Laden and also Ayman AL-Zawahiri, in terms of he's soft-spoken and at the same time the knowledge that they have, the foundations that they have.

ROBERTSON: An American citizen born to privilege, the son of a Yemeni government minister, he was educated at several U.S. Universities before becoming an imam in California, then Virginia.

While a preacher, the commission that investigated the 9/11 attacks says he met three of the 9/11 hijackers. He was also accused of inspiring Fort Hood shooter, Major Nidal Hasan, and Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and recruiting underpants bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (ph), who tried to bring down a Detroit-bound airliner Christmas 2009.

Al-Awlaki's appeal, his charisma and manipulative use of English, will be sorely missed by al Qaeda's Yemen franchise, AL Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. His inspirational messages were popular, selling thousands upon thousands of DVDs, offering both recruitment and money raising opportunities for the radical and his allies.

His killing plays into Yemeni politics in a big way. President Ali Abdullah Saleh had been targeted three months ago in an assassination attempt. He had just come back from Saudi Arabia, where he's been recovering from his wounds. He's returned to a Yemen on the verge of civil war. Al Qaeda has taken control of three provinces.

Saleh wants U.S. Backing to shore up his failing 30-year leadership. Helping the U.S. Bring down al Qaeda is how his supporters hope he will get it.

(on-camera): But even with Anwar al-Awlaki's reported killing, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula remains a very potent threat. For example, the sophisticated bomb maker behind the two most recent attempted attacks on the United States, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is still on the loose. And as Al Qaeda tightens its grip on the provinces, Yemen threatens to become a failed state.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


VERJEE: Even though the threat hasn't gone away, U.S. President Barack Obama maintains the cleric's death is a significant milestone in the effort to defeat Al Qaeda and its affiliates.


OBAMA: Al-Awlaki and his organization have been directly responsible for the deaths of many Yemenese citizens. His hateful ideology and targeting of innocent civilians has been rejected by the vast majority of Muslims and people of all faiths. And he has met his demise because the government and the people of Yemen have joined the international community in a common effort against Al Qaeda.


VERJEE: Let's talk more about this with CNN's White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar -- Brianna, how big a blow does the U.S. believe Anwar al-Awlaki's death gives to Al Qaeda?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Zane, officials here believe it's pretty significant. If you would talk to regular Americans before today, the name Anwar al-Awlaki may not have been a household name. But clearly there is an awns of the things that he has been linked to, directly involved, of course, in that attempted bombing on Christmas Day, 2009, the underwear bomber, which was a -- just a barely bungled effort that could have been just very devastating on that flight going into Detroit.

I think officials here feel like this is a major blow for a few different reasons.

You have someone who is American-born, knows the culture, is savvy, is not only operational, but also inspirational. This is a word that we heard White House Press Secretary Jay Carney use today, the fact that this is someone who, as an American born, can sort of inspire certain people to take action on the behalf of Al Qaeda and -- and also, the fact that he has targeted Americans and that has been so savvy on the Internet, been able to reach out to people, I think gives officials here a lot of, I guess you could say, satisfaction.

But one thing we've heard the president say in the past, one of his biggest concerns has been this idea of a lone wolf operation, something that wouldn't be a large, necessarily concerted attack, like we saw on 9/11, but something where you're talking about individual players. And that certainly is the kind of thing that we saw -- that we saw him involved in. And that's why officials here say that this is significant and why President Obama spoke about it today and said as much -- Zane.

VERJEE: Brianna, because it's such a huge get, do you think it boosts President Obama's popularity in the eyes of American voters down the road?

KEILAR: You know, and we've con -- we've confirmed through sources the American involvement here. But when you look at the White House, they're very much distancing themselves from this, trying to give the Yemenis a lot of credit here. And they're not quick to claim responsibility for this. It was almost sort of a back and forth dance between the press today and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on the circumstances of this.

But bottom line, knowing that there has been some involvement, it's really too soon to see if President Obama would see some kind of boost. We know that he got that when Osama bin Laden was killed, Zane. But that also was a boost that was short-lived, that has since dissipated. And it's really the economy that is the big issue for voters here -- Zane.

VERJEE: Brianna Keilar at the White House.

The killing of Awlaki is just the latest in a string of recent blows to Al Qaeda. Earlier this month, Pakistan said its spy agency had captured a senior Al Qaeda leader named Younis al Mauritani (ph) in the city of Quetta, along with two other top Al Qaeda operatives. In August, U.S. officials said Al Qaeda's deputy chief, Atiyah al-Rahman, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the Pakistani tribal region of North Waziristan. Pakistani officials have not confirmed his death.

In July, the U.S. said senior Al Qaeda leader, Ilyas Kashmiri, was killed in a missile strike from a U.S. drone in Northwest Pakistan. And, of course, Osama bin Laden killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in a raid on his house in Abbottabad in Pakistan.

So are these big blows to Al Qaeda and are they fatal blows, more importantly?

Let's talk a little bit about that with John Miller.

He's the former assistant deputy director of U.S. national intelligence analysis. And, also, he was an ABC News correspondent and interviewed Osama bin Laden.

Thanks for being with us.

What's left of Al Qaeda?

JOHN MILLER, FORMER ASSISTANT DEPUTY DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, right now, not much. I mean what you have is a struggling organization trying to reform itself, reshape itself, because that's where they're left by the spate of deaths you talked about. And, you know, there is a tactical piece. Those are the people you just listed who run the Al Qaeda senior leadership operations that they control.

But there's a strategic piece and Anwar al-Awlaki was key to that, which is, if you are unable, through command and control, to run operations overseas, you can, through inspirational messages using YouTube and the Internet, inspire others by the tens or even hundreds of thousands. And that was the key to Awlaki.

And removing their most charismatic messenger is -- is the other side of the coin. It leaves them disabled on one side and now on the other.

VERJEE: Is there anyone who can fill in that propaganda role?

MILLER: There was a potential. There's a young man named Samir Khan, who was Anwar al-Awlaki's assistant, also American-born and very savvy as to Western culture, grew up in Queens and then North Carolina. But there are significant indications that he may have been killed in the same strike today.

He was the publisher of the print side of the Al-Awlaki "Inspire" magazine. So if, in fact, that is the case, it's a double blow on the propaganda front.

VERJEE: Why was it so tough to get Awlaki?

MILLER: I think if you look at the regions he's operating in, these are the tribal areas of Yemen. If you look at the -- the Yemenis' intelligence service and their public security organization, the terrain there, the style of communications and the fact that -- and I -- I'm going to be very candid here, because so much was reported in the media about the electronic intercepts that proved the case of the -- that was key evidence in the case of the so-called underwear bomber in Christmas of 2009.

After that, because of all that publicity, Anwar al-Awlaki exhibited extraordinary security measures about how he communicated and when he communicated, which made all these extraordinarily difficult.

VERJEE: Given Al Qaeda is in a pretty bad state right now, if we were to make that assessment, is there still the same kind of terror threat to the U.S. and other parts of the world from al Qaeda?

Or are the threats more from its affiliates than anything else?

MILLER: You raise a very good point there, because the old business model for al Qaeda was it was the hub controlling the spokes. So you had al Qaeda's senior leadership at the hub. And they plotted attacks against America, against Great Britain and so on.

The spokes plotted attacks against the places where they were located. That was Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the Maghreb.

In recent years, because al Qaeda's senior leadership has been under tremendous pressure, they've reversed that model, essentially saying we're just trying to survive, but we now give you all license.

And al-Awlaki is the perfect example of this. Here's al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. Their job is to attack Saudi Arabia and, to some degree, Yemen. And they were the ones who plotted the Detroit airline bombing, inspired the Fort Hood gunman, inspired the Times Square truck bomber. So they were the network, as you point out, has been given license to go international.

VERJEE: John Miller, a former assistant deputy director of U.S. national intelligence analysis.

Thank you.

Coming up on CNN, a roundup of other top stories we're following, including the life of a Amanda Knox, behind bars in Italy. We have executive director of the American student inside prison walls.

Then, the Rugby World Cup up for grabs as 11 countries battle for a place in the quarter finals.

And the chaotic scene inside Michael Jackson's bedroom described by the paramedics who tried to save him.


VERJEE: I'm Zane Verjee in London.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Here's a look at some of the other stories we're following this hour.

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was in France today, trying to convince President Nicolas Sarkozy to help save Greece's floundering economy. After the meeting, Mr. Sarkozy spoke about assurances that he got from the meeting.


NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): The Greek prime minister assured me of the total determination of the Greek government to scrupulously put in place the totality of the engagement that the Greeks took. He also pointed out the concern of transparency from Greek authorities, who are ready to welcome European collaborators, and from other countries in Europe, to check step by step that the commitments that Europe asked Greece to take be held scrupulously.


VERJEE: Mr. Sarkozy says that he met with the German chancellor Angela Merkel, in the coming days to talk about the crisis more.

The U.S. ambassador to Syria says he respects the rights of all Syrians to protest, but peacefully.

Robert Ford has been a supporter of opposition protests. But on Thursday, government supporters showed him what they thought of his criticism. His convoy was attacked after he met with an opposition politician in Damascus.

Lawyers for 20 Bahraini doctors, nurses and medics say that they're going to appeal their conviction on charges Amnesty International calls ludicrous. On Thursday, a Bahrain court sentenced the hospital workers to jail for stealing medicine and trying to overthrow the government, among other charges. The medics were arrested during attorney general protests in March. They say the charges were invented to punish medical staff for treating injured protesters.

CNN spoke to two of those doctors now facing years in prison.

Let's listen to Nada Dhaif, who tells us her reaction to the verdict.


DR. NADA DHAIF, BAHRAINI DOCTOR SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS: How do you expect me to explain to my kids that I will be gone for 15 years?

How can I just explain it to them?

How can I tell them that the government is accusing me of being a criminal and a killer and a traitor?

I have no way to defend myself, not in the courts, not in the media. It's now. Now I decided to speak up and clear my name. I don't know how I'm going to deliver this message to my kids. I know how to deliver it to the world. I have you, for example.

But to my kids, it's -- I don't know how to do that.


VERJEE: The Bahraini Information Affairs Authority issued this statement: "The Salmaniya Hospital was used as a coordination center for three weeks for protests calling for the overthrow of the government. Those doctors who have been found guilty were charged with abusing the hospital for political purposes. Nobody is above the law."

An Italian prosecutor insisted today that evidence proves Amanda Knox killed her British roommate in 2007. Knox was convicted in 2009, but she's appealing the verdict. And now, as she waits to learn if her appeal is successful, we're seeing, for the first time, a glimpse of her life behind bars.

CNN's Matthew Chance has this exclusive report.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Exclusive images of a local rock band playing a gig inside the prison near Perugia where Amanda Knox is being held. The audience of female inmates are shown from the waist down, dancing to the songs.

But it's only in photographs given to CNN by the band that Amanda can be clearly made out.

This one shows the 24 -year-old in a red t-shirt, dancing in the crowd with her arms in the air. The photo is taken from behind as she jumps to the music. Another catches her in profile listening to the Italian rock band that's now played the prison three times this year.

LEO ARIEL, "HOT BAND" LEADER: Everyone inside the jail needs moments like -- like this. They need to escape their situations, their -- their nightmares, their state of mind. So they are all having fun with us and they are all singing our songs.

CHANCE: But the band members say they've become particular friends with Amanda, even collaborating with her on a forthcoming music video. They say she also sends them poems and letters about her life behind bars.

ARIEL: She is struggling a lot. I mean she knows this is what, I mean, I can see in her letters. She knows she shouldn't be there. And she's struggling with the fact that she can't be with the people she loves. And she can't do the things she loves to do.

CHANCE: But these images appear to capture a rare moment of joy -- the pressures of a prison sentence briefly cast away.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Perugia.


VERJEE: Russia's president, Medvedev, says he's stepping aside from the next presidency because Vladimir Putin is more popular. The polls seem to agree. Mr. Putin's approval rating is sitting at 68 percent, while Mr. Medvedev's is at 62 percent. As for any hard feelings between them, the current president squashed those rumors, saying they belong to the same political force.

OK, everyone, time for you to say ahhh. Just take a look at this -- 12 giant panda cubs, almost all of them doing what they do best, sleeping. They're doing that at the Chengdu Research Center in Szechuan Province in China. The new arrivals boost the number of pandas who have lived at the center to 108. Deforestation has left them endangered in the wild.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN.

When we come back, it is do or die at the Rugby World Cup as the pool stage comes to an end this weekend. We'll talk quarterfinal lineup in just a moment.

And after nearly 10 years of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, we're going to take a look at two very different pictures emerging about the state of the violence.


VERJEE: It's now or never for 10 countries at the Rugby World Cup this weekend. Even two time champions, Australia, are not even guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals. Just six place remain up for grabs, as the league format ends and the knockout rounds begin.

So with rugby fans on the edge of their seats over the next two days, "WORLD SPORT'S" Alex Thomas also -- well, not quite on the edge of his seat.


VERJEE: Well, it's crunch time, though, isn't it?

THOMAS: I'm trying to stay cool. But millions of rugby fans around the world won't be, because there are so many big names still with a question mark against their name.

You've basically got eight quarterfinal places up for grabs, Zane. And only two countries are through, New Zealand, the hosts and favorites for the tournament, and South Africa, the defending champions, who got through.

We can show you action from their match a little bit later on.

But the two biggest question marks over England and Australia, the two other countries ever to have won a World Cup. Remember, this is only the seventh tournament.

And in previous events, the big teams, just a few of them, and the minnows haven't done so well. This time, the smaller nations have really bit back. So it makes it interesting in the final round of group matches, before we get to the knockout stages.

England basically, if they win, are through. They've got to be Scotland on Saturday morning in New Zealand. And the same with Australia. But Australia has to worry about the result between Ireland and Italy.

So all sorts of scenarios to play out.

But let's hear -- let's first of all show you some action from earlier today, when South Africa played Samoa. One of these smaller nations that are really doing well at this tournament. But South Africa did win this one, although not by as great a margin as they would have done in the past. There was a try after this haka for prime winger Bryan Habana, one of the stars of the World Cup four years ago, which South Africa won, of course.

And in the end, it was fairly comfortable for South Africa.

But in the second half, Samoa really came back, the defending champions, and made life tough for them. The Springboks have been mopping their bow there. And few went through to the last round, but it was close stuff.

VERJEE: But the two big teams that have -- have made it through, they can just sit back and relax and watch and have a little bit of fun now?

THOMAS: Yes, they can. I mean you see they do actually have one more game to play. And that is this weekend. But they know that no matter what happens in their match, they are through to the last date. It shouldn't be a problem for them.

It's interesting for South Africa, though, because the way things are shaping up, they may have to face Australia in the last date, because Australia slipped up against Ireland earlier in the group stages. And that could be a real test of them at an early stage in the competition.

Earlier, Don Riddell, our colleague, spoke to a former South African test player.

And this is what he had to say about their chances.


COBUS VISAGIE, FORMER SOUTH AFRICA PROP: A number of players came back from injury. I think there's definitely concerns about fitness. I think it was the same in the Welsh game, though it was touch and go.

But then, you know, they played really well against Fiji. They played a really good game against Namibia. But that's not really where it counts.

So I think there will be concerns on the team. And I think there's been evidence of this team playing, just -- doing just enough. If you recall, the Lions (ph) tours, they just do just enough to win. And if they're behind, they do just enough to get ahead.

So I think that is still worrying for the management.


THOMAS: That was Cobus Visaigie.

You can really tell he's an ex-rugby player because he looks the part.


THOMAS: But a lovely guy. He's heading down to New Zealand himself. And a lot of people are doing that, as well. A long way to go. But the phony war is ending and now the real action is about to begin.

VERJEE: All right, Alex Thomas, thank you.

Coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, one of the paramedics who tried to save Michael Jackson reveals what he saw in the singer's bedroom that just didn't seem normal.

Then NATO announces for the first time ever, an assessment of violence on the ground in Afghanistan. But it's directly at odds with what the United Nations says is happening there.

What's going on?

And later, how young bloggers are breaking into a world once reserved for fashion royalty.


VERJEE: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, the world's news leader. Let's get a check of the headlines this hour.

US and Yemeni government officials now say a US drone strike killed radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who's an American. The drone hit the cleric's vehicle, killing al-Awlaki and three others. US president Barak Obama calls his death a "major blow to al Qaeda."

The French president's been meeting with the Green prime minister in Paris looking for a solution to the debt crisis. Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters there's no alternative but to help Greece because the failure of Greece would be the failure of all of Europe.

Syrians took to the streets after Friday prayers again today. Take a look at these pictures. They're from Daraa. Activists say at least 13 people were killed around the country, 7 of those in homes.

On Monday, Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, will speak for themselves to wrap up their joint murder appeal in Perugia, Italy. They were convicted of killing Knox's British housemate, Meredith Kercher.

The manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray is now in its fourth day. Today, one of the paramedics who tried to save Michael Jackson described the doctor as "frantic" when the ambulance first arrived. Murray's accused of giving Jackson a lethal dose of a powerful sedative that killed him.

CNN's Ted Rowlands has been watching nearly every single minute of this trial. He joins us, now, live from outside the courthouse in Los Angeles.

Hi, Ted. What did the paramedic say about what happened?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he was another witness, Zain, that came in, and he took the jury inside the room and described what he saw in the room as far as Murray hovering over Jackson.

And then, he also described Jackson as being "cold to the touch" and "bluish." His initial thought was that Jackson might be dead, so he asked, "How long has he been in this state?"

Murray told him, "Just a few minutes he's been in this state."

So, initially, he said, "OK, well, we've got a good opportunity to revive this individual." He said he didn't know it was Michael Jackson for a while while he was in that room providing CPR and trying to revive Jackson.

The most compelling testimony and the most damaging for Dr. Murray came when he said that he questioned Dr. Murray about what this patient's underlying conditions were and what kind of medications was he on, and Murray said nothing about propofol.


DEBORAH BRAZIL, PROSECUTOR: You told us that Dr. Murray advised you that Mr. Jackson was a healthy male, he had no underlying health conditions, and that Dr. Murray had administered lorazepam to him, correct?


BRAZIL: And he was treating him for exhaustion and dehydration, correct?

SENNEFF: That's correct.

BRAZIL: Did Dr. Murray ever mention to you having administered propofol to Michael Jackson?

SENNEFF: No, he did not.

BRAZIL: Did Conrad Murray ever mention the word "propofol" to you during the time that you were at the location or in his presence?

SENNEFF: No, he did not.

BRAZIL: At no time, he mentioned propofol, correct?

SENNEFF: No, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Double negative.

SENNEFF: He didn't -- he never mentioned the word "propofol."


ROWLANDS: And Zain, they are just finishing up the lunch break now. Senneff, this paramedic, will be on the stand for cross-examination by defense attorney Nareg Gourjian for a while, then we expect to hear from another paramedic who was in that room.

VERJEE: Ted, how are the jurors responding to the testimony today?

ROWLANDS: As they have all week long, they are riveted. Of course, a paramedic inherently has no dog in the fight, so they're trustworthy, and they're providing testimony in such detail.

And today, more than ever, the jury was just riveted on every single person -- or every single thing this person said on the stand. He was clear, concise, a good witness for the prosecution.

VERJEE: Ted Rowlands in Los Angeles, thanks so much.

Well, you just heard Ted talking about that paramedic. Let's listen to a little bit more about what he had to say about his first observations in the singer's bedroom.


SENNEFF: The patient was dressed with pajama bottoms, a pajama top, the top was open. The patient was wearing a surgical cap or something similar covering his hair. And he appeared to be underweight to me.


SENNEFF: Thin, yes.

BRAZIL: Now, when you entered the bedroom and you made those observations, did you also make observations of Dr. Murray at this point?

SENNEFF: I did, yes.

BRAZIL: What -- describe for me, please, your observations of Dr. Murray.

SENNEFF: As far as what he was doing at that moment, or how he was behaving?

BRAZIL: When you entered the bedroom, describe for me what Dr. Murray was doing at that point in time.

SENNEFF: At that point, he was leaned over the patient. He had -- was holding the patient's torso, and he was moving the patient from the bed to the floor.

BRAZIL: Besides Dr. Murray, who else was in the bedroom?

SENNEFF: A security person, who was also helping to move the patient to the floor.

BRAZIL: Did Dr. Murray identify himself as the patient's doctor when you entered?

SENNEFF: Yes, he did.

BRAZIL: Now, describe Dr. Murray's demeanor, please.

SENNEFF: Frantic.

BRAZIL: Describe for me, please, Mr. Senneff, what efforts you were undertaking at this point in time to assist the patient.

SENNEFF: I'm trying to gather as much information as I can to find out what exactly the problem is.

BRAZIL: And how are you going about that pursuit of gathering information?

SENNEFF: I'm asking the doctor questions.

BRAZIL: Such as?

SENNEFF: What's his underlying health condition?

BRAZIL: What did Dr. Murray respond, if anything?

SENNEFF: He responded after I prompted him a few times, and he said, "There is none."

BRAZIL: So, when you say you had to -- you prompted him several times, please describe for us what words you used in your pursuit of obtaining information from Dr. Murray regarding the patient's condition.

SENNEFF: I asked what his underlying health condition was. He did not respond. I asked again what his underlying health condition was. He did not respond, and then he -- I think it was the third time, he said, "Nothing. Nothing. He has nothing."

And simply that did not add up to me.

BRAZIL: Why is that?

SENNEFF: Doctor's in the house, IV pole, IV hooked up to the patient. It didn't seem normal.

BRAZIL: Mr. Senneff, when you are tending to Mr. Jackson, you indicated that the time of the call and the time that you're at the patient's side rendering care at 12:26, roughly five minutes, did not comport with the patient just having had this episode, correct?

SENNEFF: Yes, that's true.

BRAZIL: What observations specifically did you make that led you to feel as if there was inconsistent information that you had received with your observations?

SENNEFF: Yes, there were multiple observations.

BRAZIL: Describe them, please.

SENNEFF: When I first moved the patient, his skin was very cool to the touch. When we -- I took a first glance at him, his eyes were open. They were dry, and his pupils were dilated. When I hooked up the EKG machine, it was flatline.


VERJEE: Outside of the courthouse, another drama is playing out as some of Michael Jackson's biggest fans gather every day to show their support. They told us why they feel it's so important to be there.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Why are you hear from Spain?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm here to support Michael, to tell people that we don't forget about him. And also to get the most penalty that we can get. I think four years not enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have butterflies. It's been a long time, we waited a long time for this, and it's heartbreaking that Michael's gone and we just want to see a good outcome, which is Conrad Murray getting four years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was here for the full preliminary hearing. I've been here for all the pretrial hearings. This is what I do. I work for Michael Jackson now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Been a fan from afar in Australia since I was seven, so this is -- I feel like there's been no dignity for the man throughout his life, and this is -- I said a prayer before I came that dignity will be served.


VERJEE: At odds over violence in Afghanistan. The UN and ISAF say completely different things. So, what's really going on? We put that question to a former US State Department adviser next on CONNECT THE WORLD.


VERJEE: As the United States and other countries start withdrawing some troops from Afghanistan, two very distinct pictures of the security situation are emerging.

International forces released data on Thursday showing that violence is in decline, but that's totally different to what the United Nations says. Nick Paton Walsh joins me now, live from Kabul. Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For months, Zain, NATO's message has been that violence is decreasing, that troops can start to go home.

We've seen this week an extraordinary dispute between them and the United Nations, the UN saying quite the opposite, really seeing a detailed report saying that at this particularly delicate time, violence has shot up.


WALSH (voice-over): After nearly ten years, it's becoming a case of war by numbers. The key issue, is violence in Afghanistan rising or falling? Is it secure enough for US troops to withdraw and leave the Afghans to take charge?

Rarely has the job of charting the violence been more important or more contentious.

The United Nations this week reported security instance were up 39 percent on last year, revealing an 84 percent rise in civilians killed by armed clashes on the ground, and an 18 percent rise in those killed by NATO airstrikes.

WALSH (on camera): Well, the UN report really couldn't conflict more strongly with NATO's narrative here. The Obama administration's set on a slow withdrawal, but it's hard to appear responsible doing that when violence is rising.

More broadly, worsening security risks, some people concluding that the ten years of blood and treasure expended here are not going to leave Afghans better off.

WALSH (voice-over): So, NATO responded, releasing for the first time its numbers. Their accountancy is totally different, measuring not all violence, but rather attacks made by the insurgency. And compared to last year, they are 2 percent down and 17 percent down if you just compare the summers.

CARSTEN JACOBSON, BRIGADIER GENERAL, ISAF: What we are seeing in the country is a turn to more and more intimidation to make people more insecure, to basically fight more and more terroristic acts. And it's a sign of weakness of the insurgents, and it is on the path that eventually, Afghan national security forces will be capable to deal with this insurgency.

WALSH: One thing agreed, though, is the insurgency are causing the vast majority of civilian casualties, but even that small window of concord won't make Afghans feel safer.


WALSH: It's worth remembering that these figures are coming from the United Nations, not normally an organization who set out to create controversy. NATO questioned their methodology, but surely many Afghans hearing these numbers can't help but feel it fuels their fears that their world's getting more dangerous, and that's before the Americans even start to leave. Zain?

VERJEE: Just stay with us a moment longer, Nick, because the recent violent attacks are really raising serious questions about what's going to happen once international troops are gone.

Last week, former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani was killed by a suicide bomber. He was the man leading the peace talks with the Taliban.

Earlier in September, heavily armed insurgents attacked the US embassy and nearby NATO headquarters in Kabul. Seven Afghans were killed and several people were wounded.

Al Qaeda-linked militants were then blamed for the siege on a Kabul hotel back in June that left 12 victims and all 9 attackers dead.

So, Nick, when you look at the recent numbers that this UN report, I mean, it's really the last thing that NATO needs.

WALSH: Absolutely. As you say, these high-profile attacks in Kabul really rattling many of the Afghans living here, NATO trying to remind people that they weren't strategically significant, i.e. they didn't really disrupt NATO operations a huge amount.

But the psychological impact was enormous, people really seeing this supposed ring of steel around the capital to be totally vulnerable. And these UN numbers coming out at precisely the wrong time to confirm that impression.

You have to remember, people here already very concerned about what happens after this withdrawal begins, wondering where allegiances have to lie, wondering what the insurgency's next move's going to be, Zain.

VERJEE: Nick Paton Walsh reporting from Kabul. Thanks, Nick.

So, the violence doesn't seem to be letting up, but with different reports form the UN and ISAF, what's really going on? Let's ask a former adviser on Afghanistan to the US State Department. Michael Williams joins me now from Connecticut. Thanks so much for being with us.

Two totally different views in these two different reports. What are we supposed to believe?

MICHAEL WILLIAMS, FORMER ADVISER, US STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, it depends on, of course, how they decided to count security and the number of casualties, as Nick pointed out.

And so, I think what -- really, the picture that's painted is one of stalemate. You're in a situation where NATO can't be defeated by the Taliban on the ground militarily. The presence of US and NATO forces is just too overwhelming.

At the same time, the US and NATO forces cannot provide the political solution that is necessary to remove the cause of conflict. And so, the Taliban and other insurgents can wreak as much havoc as they want without actually taking power unless they can force the allies out earlier.

Or the only way you get peace is to have a political solution, and as you also pointed out, that is completely in disarray with the death of Rabbani and collapses of talks this week.

VERJEE: So, however they're crunching numbers, though, whatever methodology has been used in the counting, is it less safe or more safe for ordinary Afghans to just go outside?

WILLIAMS: It's difficult to say, but I was last on the ground a year ago in Afghanistan, and it was certainly at that point less safe than it had been in previous years.

When I first went to Afghanistan many years ago, the generals would walk around the markets without an escort. And on my last couple of visits, the last one being over a year ago, now, the high military leadership never really went out without any sort of escort to a market. And I think that says something in itself.

The Afghans that I talk to and remain in contact with also indicate that the security situation is unstable. It's certainly bad in the south and in the east, and if you go up to Kabul, northern Afghanistan or western Afghanistan, there's also been violence moving into that area.

So, it's really a situation whereby NATO has to provide security all the time, and it can't. And so, the insurgents make opportunity where they can and wreak a lot of chaos, which is, of course, what looks terrible.

But on top of this, NATO's using a lot of force to provide security, and in the end, killing civilians unintentionally, which is certainly exacerbating the problem.

VERJEE: So, however you look at this, this spat over the numbers, they're still pretty high. Should US troops pull out, given these numbers?

WILLIAMS: Well, I don't know if you say just given the numbers. I think if you look at the last ten yeas of involvement, you have a war that is being waged without a clearly-defined rationale, without a clearly- defined end point, with methods that have always been inadequate.

There have always been too few troops on the ground to provide the comprehensive security necessary. There has not really been the political will over time to do what is needed. The corruption and political problems in the country are severe, and many of them are regional in nature and that hasn't been adequately tackled.

And so, really, when you look at the track record, there's a lot of good things that have happened. But how sustainable is it remains to be seen, and I think that there's a reason to have a discussion about changing the level of involvement and looking at moving into a training role and a support role and letting the Afghans really work on this themselves --

VERJEE: Right.

WILLIAMS: -- because Western electors don't have the patience.

VERJEE: Well that's really the issue. They may not have the patience, but can Afghan security forces really deal with it? Can they be effective? Because every official you talk to in the US about this will say, well, eventually the Afghan security forces will handle it. Can they handle it?

WILLIAMS: Well, the Afghan police have certainly not. They're an extremely corrupt organization. They've been large -- by and large a failure in the eyes of Westerners who've been training them and trying to organize them. That's a real problem, because that's the face of the Afghan government that people see.

The military is significantly better and may do well with continued support from international forces. And the key is, of course, the leadership. And we've had some great leaders.

And what you do see is you see the Taliban insurgents assassinating them, because they realize the bench is only an inch deep, and when you take out one good Afghan leader, there's not many left to follow. And so, that's the real crux of the problem.

But the question is, do you stay in a country forever? If it's incapable of taking care of itself? And much like Vietnam, there comes a point when you have to say, let's see what happens. And although Vietnam did not -- South Vietnam and North Vietnam ended up --

VERJEE: Right.

WILLIAMS: -- fighting it out and losing, the world didn't end the next day.

VERJEE: Michael Williams, a former adviser on Afghanistan for the US State Department. Thanks so much.

Stay with us on CONNECT THE WORLD. When we come back, move over Anna Wintour. The buzz, it seems, is all about bloggers. We hit the catwalks in Paris to see who's really pushing fashion forward.


VERJEE: Whether you're obsessed by it or oblivious to it, there is no denying the fashion industry is huge. From designers to models, buyers, and journalists, there are so many people bringing style in from the runway to the retailers. CNN's Monita Rajpal takes a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Backstage, now! Get out of the way!

MONITA RAJPAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It takes hard work to create a fashion spectacle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three, two, one, go.

RAJPAL: Once the press, buyers, and celebrities find their seats, the show can begin. When it's all over, it's all about building the buzz.

One of the young power figures within popular culture, Olivia Palermo, does just that. Reality TV star turned style icon wears designer labels which catch the attention of generation Y, a fashion-conscious demographic with money to spend.

OLIVIA PALERMO, SOCIALITE: I'm a fashion girl. I love seeing the collections come down the runway every season, see what the new trends are and be able to put them into a magazine and into my own blog.

RAJPAL: Thanks to Palermo and other fashion bloggers, the latest trends are just a click away.

SASHA WILKINS, LIBERTY LONDON GIRL: I think the question of power and influence to the digital properties is still being decided. Print is still, of course, enormously dominant, but I think the fresh, unbiased voices that you get online do have huge reach and a lot of power if used correctly.

RAJPAL: Bloggers are the hottest thing in fashion.

KRISTIN KNOX, THE CLOTHES WHISPERER: Since I've been blogging, it's become a lot more complicated and a lot more developed. You now have different sort of genres as blogs monetize more and more and in larger and larger sums. The rules are definitely changing.

My approach has always been if I don't like something, I won't write about it.

When a designer verges on the artistic, on being an artist, people like Galliano, McQueen, Chalayan, manage that we've seen today, it's the whole presentation. It's just a creative, artistic side of fashion.

And I think runway is very, very important for that because it gives you the artist or the designer's entire vision, kind of as a whole rather than piecemeal.

BRYAN GREY-YAMBAO, BRYAN BOY: Well, fashion is definitely not frivolous. I mean, fashion is a multibillion-dollar industry. People are very intimidated by it.

Fashion is really for everybody. You can buy anything from a $2 t- shirt to a $20,000 dress. Fashion is really a tool that you can use to express yourself creatively.

RAJPAL: Designers need all kinds of allies to survive and climb their way to the top. Beyond bloggers, there are others who push fashion forward on the web.

As designer Peter Dundas oversees the Gucci rehearsal, the woman by his side is entrepreneur Karla Otto, one of the most influential women in fashion. Otto's public relations company has a portfolio others would envy and continues to expand.

KARLA OTTO, FOUNDER, KARLA OTTO COMPANY: Already working with Gucci for many years before Peter Dundas joined the company three years ago, so I have quite a good knowledge of this Heritage brand, and it was very exciting to see Peter really bringing this brand forward, still including the DNA of the brand.

I started in Italy, and then I added Paris, then London, then New York, and two years ago, Los Angeles. I'm opening next month in Hong Kong. All Asia has become very relevant for all the fashion brands. There are big markets and bigger markets to become.

RAJPAL: Breakthrough designer Gareth Pugh, a draw at Paris Fashion Week, has the support of the Otto PR empire.

OTTO: Gareth is a great designer. A real avant-garde designer. Actually, where design -- fashion design and art mixes and creates something new.

RAJPAL: Show over, now time to let the buzz build.

RAJPAL (on camera): How do you feel?

GARETH PUGH, DESIGNER: I feel OK. I mean, my shows are always very difficult. And it's so hot today in Paris. So, it's lots of things can go wrong and it's kind of I don't like not having control of every angle. I've got a great team of people who I work with, so -- sometimes have to just kind of give up and kind of let them surprise.

RAJPAL: Years of training, months of hard work, and then just minutes to walk down the runway. From the catwalk to the consumer, it's no easy path.

Monita Rajpal, CNN, Paris.


VERJEE: I'm Zain Verjee. Thanks so much for watching. The world headlines and "BackStory" will follow this short break. Stay with CNN.