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Should Iraq's Prime Minister Stay or Go?; Living a Nightmare after Escaping Violence; Terror Groups Control Social Media Message; End of Redskins Name
Aired June 19, 2014 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everybody. Bottom of the hour. Don Lemon in for Carol today. Thank you so much for joining us.
Should Iraq's Prime Minister stay or should he go? Nouri al-Maliki may be finding the hot seat is warming up as the crisis in Iraq drags on. Across the Middle East, and back here in Washington as well, he is losing support.
And some like the former Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Central Command, think Maliki should consider stepping aside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. ANTHONY ZINNI, USMC (RET.), FORMER HEAD OF U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: He's going to have to change or he's going to end up with a rump state in the south and he's going to have a separate Kurdish state and a Sunni state that becomes a sanctuary for problems that will plague him and the region for the foreseeable future. I think he's got to stop and smell the coffee here, because realistically, if he doesn't make significant change he has to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's discuss now with civilian and CNN political commentator Sally Kohn and also CNN military analyst and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona and in Denver former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill. Good morning to everyone. So brevity is a key here because I want to get to a lot in a short amount of time that we have.
Does the Prime Minister have to go, Ambassador?
CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Well, the Prime Minister is going for a third term and a third term is rarely a charm in that part of the world. So my hope and maybe my expectation is that he wouldn't try to be the Prime Minister for this third term, even though his coalition came out way ahead.
But I would like to make one other important point which is one should not think that all the sectarian problems in that country are at Maliki's doorstep. The Sunnis have a lot to answer for. They've never accepted Shia rule there. They've been in charge for centuries and they would like to keep it that way.
LEMON: You're agreeing with that?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, absolutely. I agree with General Zinni that the Prime Minister has to go but I don't think it needs to be in the short term. I think we need to get through this crisis first and then as the ambassador says, Maliki should step aside.
LEMON: What about President Obama, Sally, does he need to distance himself from Nouri al-Maliki?
SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the United States shouldn't have installed him in the first place. And there are some serious questions about whether this is now our chickens coming home to roost and the fact of them getting into this war in the first place we weren't prepared for these kinds of sectarian tensions. We did nothing to prevent this from happening and we allowed this incredibly sectarian leader to continue to do what he did and set up the groundwork for all of this.
LEMON: You know we heard earlier about the -- up to 275 security forces being sent to Iraq to -- especially to make sure that our embassy is safe. Now we hear that the Pentagon is preparing to send 100 Special Forces, military advisors to Iraq. That's if President Obama signs off on it. Green Berets, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs. What do you -- what do you make of that? Does this appear -- does it appear that the administration is backing off on what it said would be no combat troops?
FRANCONA: Yes. I think they're parsing words here, Don. What they're saying, they're not going to put combat troops, they're going to call these guys advisors, trainers but not in a combat role. I think this is a good move. They can also be there to control air strikes if that's going to happen. So I think this is the first step in maybe some sort of air strikes, some sort of intervention.
LEMON: You don't like it?
KOHN: Well look I remain unclear that there's anything the United States can do to make this situation of this sort of what is an ethnic civil war any better. What is clear is that we might inflame anti- American sentiments and tensions more and what is also clear is that in the process of doing so, more American lives might be lost. Doesn't seem worth it for what seems an incredibly uncertain risky outcome.
HILL: I think it's a modest response to a major crisis, but I want to emphasize that when you look at that ISIS crowd, this is not a crowd looking for, you know, Sunni outreach. These are people who would like to kill any Shia they can find. So this is a pretty serious problem.
If you read "The New York Times" this morning, you saw Tim Arango's piece about how former Baathist, former Saddam Hussein supporters have joined in this fight, so this is a serious matter and I think U.S. interests are engaged on this. And I don't think we should be ignoring this crisis.
LEMON: What about manned and unmanned, Colonel, reconnaissance flights under way in Iraq to gather more intelligence of ISIS. Do we risk escalating the situation with this?
FRANCONA: Well we're going to have to get the reconnaissance, to get the information we need if we're going to conduct air strikes you have to know what to hit. But they're also putting a presence up there. These are F18s, they're not really reconnaissance aircraft. They're up to say we're here and we have a capability. They can provide some information, of course, but they're getting ready. They're scouting the area, they're finding out where they're going to need to fly if we going to have to do this.
And I think the Ambassador is right, we can't ignore this. And I take your points Sally, but this is a threat to us. If ISIS is allowed to maintain that territory, then we've got a problem because the status quo is not good enough. We've got to get these people out of there.
LEMON: Every day it seems to be an incremental development and as I sat here with Barbara Starr reporting in the news, I said here we go again, back to Iraq, meaning fully engaged back to Iraq. It appears -- it appears that we may be going in that direction. Yes.
Thank you, Ambassador, thank you, Christopher Hill, Colonel Rick Francona and also Sally Kohn I appreciate all of you.
Still to come here on CNN escaping a life of violence only to discover a nightmare during the journey. We'll bring you the heartbreaking story of one young woman who was searching for protection in the U.S.
LEMON: Texas taking border protection into its own hands. Governor Rick Perry says the state, quote, "Can't afford to wait for Washington to act on this crisis and will be tightening security along the border." Texas has just authorized an additional million dollars in spending per week to secure its borders.
Immigration centers have seen a massive surge of people in the last few weeks. Most are children and teens coming from Central America. And it's their stories, their stories that are the most heartbreaking. Kids forced to grow up before their time, searching for life free from the violence and gangs that they face in their home countries.
Alina Machado has the story for one such girl, her name is Anna.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This 17-year-old is one of the thousands of undocumented children who have traveled alone from Central America to the United States. We're calling her Anna because she does not want to be identified. She says she wanted to escape gangs and crime in Honduras.
(voice over): And the crime rate is pretty right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes it's difficult. There's a lot of crime everywhere.
MACHADO: The violence reached her family in 2011 when she says her older brother was murdered.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's difficult to remember those things because it's very painful.
MACHADO: Those same gangs, Anna says, later started pressuring her to join. Ultimately threatening her life, her sister in Miami arranged to get her out -- the price -- $6,000. In early February she boarded a bus, the first of many, with 11 strangers from Honduras.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we started leaving on bus, on bus, on bus, suffering a lot.
MACHADO: She says she was the youngest of the group, one of three women.
You're just a child at 17.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course.
MACHADO: Were you scared. She was not only scared, but hungry and thirsty.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn't give us anything. We ran, hiked through mountains, without resting.
MACHADO: Anna was constantly moving, traveling by bus, trailers, even by foot. She made it to Mexico. It was there that an already difficult journey took a horrific turn for the worse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It never crossed my mind, never that this was going to happen to me, that this was going to be painful.
MACHADO: Tears run down her face as she describes how she was separated from the group and gang raped by strangers for several hours.
CNN does not identify victims of rape who wish to remain anonymous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was raped. Several people grabbed me. It was very difficult. Several people grabbed me and threatened me and told me if I said something, if I screamed, they were going to kill me and I was going to stay in that place.
MACHADO: She says her thoughts during this very dark time turned to her hopes and dreams for the future, the very reasons why she left her home in Honduras. The following morning Anna was moved to several other locations, getting closer to the border. A few days later, U.S. authorities detained her as she walked into Texas. Did you feel any sense of security?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first, no. I didn't feel secure because I was fearful. But eventually, yes, I felt protected.
MACHADO: In early April, two months after her nightmarish journey began, Anna reunited with her sister in Miami.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember it a lot. I felt very happy.
MACHADO: Today she lives in South Florida. Her attorney tells us Anna plans to seek asylum. For now she's working on her English, on healing and on building a new life far from home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Anna joins us now. Anna does she ever want to go back to us -- excuse us, Alina. Does Anna ever want to go back to Honduras?
MACHADO: Well Don, the simple answer to that question is no. Her family, practically her entire family, is still there, but she is so concerned about being sent back to what she says was a very bad situation.
LEMON: Alina Machado, thank you very much. We appreciate that.
Still to come here on CNN, terror groups taking their messages on- line, not just recruiting on YouTube but controlling their message on Twitter and dominating the conversation. We're going to tell you how they did it. That's next.
LEMON: The terror group ISIS already proving themselves deadly in the battlefield in Iraq posting images like this on social media, allegedly showing gruesome executions and a mass grave. Twitter account that posted this has been shut down now, but new accounts and posts appear just as fast.
The majority of posts document terrorist atrocities and conquest. I want you to take a look at this one. It's mocking the first lady's viral "bring back our girls" tweet with the words "bring back our humvee".
Images from terror groups, nothing new. But has ISIS in particular proven itself to be sophisticated?
Joining me now to talk about all of this, CNN Money technology correspondent Laurie Segall, and Brett Larson, CNN technology analyst and host of "Tech Bites".
Good morning to both of you. This isn't a one man band Laurie that's doing this. This is a coordinated effort, isn't it?
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: This is very sophisticated. And I will tell you ISIS is very systemic about their approach. They have about a high hundred to low thousand group of activists who any time a leader tweets something they will re-tweet that. They'll re-tweet it with a hashtag. They'll make this trend on Twitter.
Now going beyond that they reportedly have an app, this app was taken down by Google and what it did was you would sign up for this app, ISIS would then have control of your Twitter account. They would actually be able to post whatever they wanted and they would do this, this is where it gets really interesting, they would do this every couple hours. They wouldn't do a lot of this because they didn't want Twitter to view this as spam.
So then you have all these messages getting out there and they're magnified. Now, it was taken down but they had a very big, sophisticated presence that essentially has been inciting fear.
LEMON: Let's talk about how effective this is because it's a massive social media campaign, but how effective is it in recruiting potential fighters.
BRETT LARSON, CNN TECHNOLOGY ANALYST: Well, I mean we've seen this time and again where these militia groups can get online. It's a very -- the barrier to entry is nothing. All you need is an e-mail address and an Internet connection. You know the benefit that traditional media always had was we have gate keepers and editors and lawyers and people who prevent us from putting things on the air that may or may not be correct or a whole host of things.
In the age of social media, you can get on and you can spread your message around. And when you're reaching out to a group of people who have been disenfranchised or disconnected or feel in some way that the power in that be is not speaking their message they're a very easy target to go after. As you were saying, they're also playing these social media things, making by hashtagging all their messages make their message pop up higher and higher.
LEMON: They latch on to your Twitter account if you sign up because they get your personal information, they can post things for you, they can retweet them, and they do it in a way the algorithm doesn't pick up where it can be killed.
So here's my question then because they put it on Facebook and they put it on Twitter. On Facebook you can't post racy -- you can't post pornography. They look for those things. What about this? Can they attempt to shut them down or do they keep going around it?
SEGALL: It's interesting because we're entering a brave new world and it's a bit of a game of whack a mole. You shut one down, another one comes up. I reached out to Facebook and Twitter to ask them specifically about how they handle these kind of situations. And what was interesting is they both handle them in very different ways.
I said to Facebook walk me through the guidelines for this type of thing and they said you know what, we don't even need to, we have a no terrorist policy. They go on to say that, you know, any type of terrorist activities is prohibited from the service and ask people to actively reach out and report.
Now Twitter is a different story. They say they don't proactively monitor this kind of thing. They say they will look if someone flags something but Twitter is really a big advocate of free speech. We're seeing what that is coming to as different folks are using the service, but you have to think of it, Twitter looks at it like this. Internet service providers are treated like phone companies. You commit a crime, you could talk about committing a crime on the phone. The phone companies aren't at fault. That's how Twitter views it. That could change as we see all these different news cases but Twitter is very different than Facebook.
LEMON: The Iraqi minister communication blocked the entire country's Internet access. But there are some people who are saying, it's good that they're showing this on-line because you get to see it. Legally it's good, you get to see the atrocities and people are informed about them.
LARSON: Right. It's a double edged sword here. You're showing these horrible things that you're doing, so you're inciting further violence, but you're also showing what you're doing in these atrocities, which is letting people see the horrible things that you're doing.
We've seen this time and again where these state controlled media countries come in and say, we'll just turn off the entire Internet or we'll just shut down access to YouTube and Twitter so that we kind of stem the tide of what is happening and try and to regain control over the situation.
LEMON: Laurie and Brett, thank you very much. You wonder if I was paying to you I was, multitasking here. They're just giving me information.
We're learning now that President Obama will deliver a statement on Iraq in just over 90 minutes. The President will deliver a statement on Iraq, 12:30 Eastern time. Make sure you watch it as it happens right here on CNN.
Could the end be near for the Washington Redskins name? A turning point may have come with the U.S. Patent Office canceling six trademarks belonging to the team saying they are offensive to Native Americans. The Redskins will appeal the decision. They have already won a previous appeal on the matter and the new appeal could take years.
Reporters questioned Washington Redskins players about the name at the team practice facility yesterday. Most didn't want to comment, but wide receiver Santana Moss weighed in asking why this is an issue now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANTANA MOSS, WASHINGTON REDSKINS: For all these years -- this is how I look at it -- for all these years, now it's a problem. That's the only thing I ask myself. After that I just leave it alone because I'm wondering what makes it so offensive now than it was when it first generated or whoever brung it up the first time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: CNN Sports Andy Scholes in Atlanta Centennial Olympic Park with a look at what fans across the nation are saying, Andy. What are they saying?
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS: Well, you know, Don, the movement to get the Washington Redskins to change the name has really ramped up over the past few years but polling still shows that an overwhelming majority of people don't think Daniel Snyder should have to change the name. Well, we asked fans all around the country what they think and their answers were pretty mixed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The name has historical derogatory term associated with it and, you know, as a society as we advance, we should, you know, be getting rid of that type of history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously the die-hard Redskins fans aren't going to like it, but I mean, there's something greater than football. You're talking about, you know, a very insulting and hurtful mascot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's derogatory really personally because I don't think of it like that. I think of it more as a nickname. It's -- it's pushing the issue a little bit too much, you know, as far as political correctness and all that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I agree a little bit. It must be offensive to somebody because people are reacting to it. However, I think it's kind of silly. For instance, I'm Irish, you don't hear us ever complain about Notre Dame being called the Fighting Irish.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have a problem with it. I have two daughters that go to Florida State University. Their logo is also very Native American. And we embrace it. We love it. I think it's part of the culture and it's part of honoring the tradition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: So Don, you hear it there, some people think the name is offensive and it should be changed while others don't have a problem with it at all and we've heard the team owner Daniel Snyder say on many occasions he is not changing the name. So it will be interesting to see where this debate goes from here.
LEMON: Yes, Andy, it is interesting, because times change, right. I heard the gentleman say The Fighting Irish if they were called the fighting derogatory term like the fighting leprechauns or fighting -- I'm not going to say it here on television -- other words that go with Irish people, then that would be a different story.
Many Native Americans don't look at Redskins as a flattering term, and we have evolved as a society.
SCHOLES: Yes. That's right, Don. You know, numerous teams over the past decade -- few decades have changed their names because of this issue. Exactly one that comes to mind for me is the Marquette -- they changed from Warriors to Golden Eagles on this very issue. So it's interesting to see.
Just 20 years ago, the polls about 90 percent of people supported the team and said they didn't need to change the name. That number is down to about 70 percent now -- Don. So like as you said, the trend is going in the direction of the people that think they should change the name. But it's still an overwhelming majority saying they shouldn't have to.
LEMON: I don't think many people would be opposed to the fighting Native Americans. But thank you very much Andy Scholes. We appreciate you.
And I appreciate you joining me. Thank you so much. I'm Don Lemon in for Carol Costello.
"@THIS HOUR" with Mr. John Berman and Miss Michaela Pereira starts right now.