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Trump lashes out; Syria's messy battlefield; city of ghosts; EU says it needs clarification of UK position; A look at O.J. Simpson's life behind bars Aired 11-12p ET

Aired July 20, 2017 - 11:00:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: You, you, you, this, that and the other. Donald Trump let's loose on pretty much everything and everyone in a long and

often angry interview. All the best bits from that are right ahead on this show.

Plus, it may be a game changer but is it game over for some anti-Assad rebels in Syria as they report claims the CIA won't be sending them any

more guns, then?

A brand new documentary takes you inside Syria's poster city for disaster. We will speak to its director this hour. That's all coming up.


ANDERSON: Hello and welcome, this is Connect the World, I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, just past 7:00 in the evening here, 11:00 in the morning in


And a programming note, during this hour, you'll see a small box on your screens. That's a reminder that the O.J. Simpson parole hearing starts a

couple of hours from now and CNN will be covering that live to Washington.

And Donald Trump lashing out laying blame and venting his frustrations, giving us an extraordinary no holds barred look at how he views the single-

biggest controversy overshadowing his entire administration.

In an interview with the New York Times, the U.S. president rebuked not only those involved with the Russia investigation, but also someone who

isn't -- his own attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who was forced to recuse himself from the probe.

Now, Sessions was one of the earliest supporters of Mr. Trump and is still a powerful ally on many issues. But for Mr. Trump, Russia seems to

overpower all else.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sessions should have never recused himself and if he would -- if he was going to recuse himself, he

should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.


ANDERSON: Well, Mr. Trump also criticized Special Counsel Robert Mueller whose Russia investigation has infuriated him. Interestingly enough, when

it came to other possible issues to Mueller may dig into, Mr. Trump insisted Russia must be the focus instead.


MICHAEL SCHMIDT, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Mueller was looking at your finances and your family's finances unrelated to Russia. Is that a red line?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Would that be a breach of what his actual charge is?

TRUMP: I would say yes, I would say yes.


ANDERSON: Well, we're live on the story on Washington where Dan Merica is in Moscow with Matthew Chance. Dan, CNN spoke this morning with one of the

New York Times reporters, who interviewed Mr. Trump.

Maggie Haberman explains why the president's remarks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions took her aback. Let's have a listen and we'll have a chat

about that.


HABERMAN: The president sees the recusal as the original sin. What was striking and what jumped out at me was that he said it to us.

I was very surprised that he said it on the record but as you guys know, the gap between what this president says privately and what he says

publicly has always been narrow. It's usually pretty consistent but it was a remarkable disclosure and a remarkable public rebuke.


ANDERSON: How surprised were you, Dan?

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: I think Maggie is spot on. It's a remarkable rebuke of not only his attorney general but his earliest

supporter during the 2016 campaign. I want to take you back to 2015 and early 2016.

Donald Trump was not the force that he was that he is now back then. He was seen as somewhat of a sideshow candidate and over time he built these

larger and larger crowds, and it took a while for Republicans to get on board with his campaign.

And the first person to do that was Jeff Sessions at a campaign rally in Alabama. He donned that red hat that became so famous during the campaign

and that's what -- that's what is so important here.

That context of -- Jeff Sessions is the longest most ardent, most loyal supporter Donald Trump has ever had in terms of the presidency and this is

a -- this is a person who is a businessman, really craves loyalty.

[11:05:00] This is someone who demanded it and who in many speeches and writings said loyalty is something so important to him because you can't

hire loyalty. It just happens.

So that's an important context in all of us. Now we heard from Jeff Sessions this afternoon -- this morning, excuse me, at a press briefing at

the Department of Justice.

And he said, you know, he loves his job as attorney general. He just wants to continue serving that job and has no plans to step down at this time,

but all of this, the comments that President Donald Trump made really colors the -- everything that Session will do from here and out.

ANDERSON: Matthew, Mr. Trump also talked about that second previously undisclosed meeting that he had with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit

earlier this month. I want all of you to just to have a listen to how he down plays that encounter and get some perspective from you. Hold on.


TRUMP: I said hello to Putin, really pleasantries more than anything else. I actually talked about Russian adoption with him, which is interesting,

because that was a part of the conversation that Don had in that meeting.

SCHMIDT: Did you know at the time that they had the meeting?

TRUMP: No, I didn't know anything about the meeting.


ANDERSON: This issue of Russian adoption keeps pinging back, doesn't it? What is the perspective on what we've just heard there where you are?


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting you mentioned that issue of Russian adoption because it sounds like a

relatively innocuous topic to discuss, doesn't it?

The fact that the Kremlin has essentially banned the adoption by U.S. families of Russian children but it did that in direct response to the

imposition of the U.S. Magnitsky Act which was imposed to punish suspected Russian human rights abuses and suspected corrupt officials who were

involved in the Magnitsky fraud.

And this has been a thorn in the side of the relations between the two countries. The Russians want this act lifted or eased in some way. You

may remember it was the reason that that Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, had the meeting last June in Trump Tower with Donald Trump


She's one of the leading advocates for the repeal of the act. She also went to that meeting saying she wanted to discuss adoptions but you know,

the way it's become is that adoptions and the Magnitsky Act are part of the same conversation.

So Trump says they were talking about adoptions, where they really talking about the Magnitsky Act. Certainly the Kremlin has confirmed that indeed

adoptions were discussed during that meeting, that chat that they had during the G-20 dinner earlier this month.

But they've also been playing it down saying it's totally normal for leaders to discuss privately various issues on the sidelines of events like

this one in the same way that Putin and Trump did.

And so, they're saying this was not significant and this is political hysteria in the same way that the Trump administration is saying this is

all being overplayed as well.

ANDERSON: Well, Dan, it was interesting, isn't it? The New York Times very much a part of what Donald Trump would describe as the mainstream

media that we are all well aware he doesn't like very much.

I wonder what the thinking was in him actually doing this interview with the New York Times, and how the White House and its administration, its

inner circle, is coping at present.

MERICA: Well, you know, the president says one thing about the New York Times, about the Washington Post, about CNN, but we have numerous points

and evidence that he watches and reads all of these publications, his kind of thirst for -- for access to the New York Times has been well known.

Maggie Haberman, one of the reporters, who did this interview, has interviewed Trump throughout his presidency. So this is not an infrequent


But that said, there is playing of Trump supporters who are questioning why do this interview at this time? You sit down with the New York Times for

what ended up being a 50-minute interview.

And this Trump supporters asked why do it when you're trying to keep the focus off of Russia, off of Jeff Sessions and you want to put the focus --

on the focus in the White House this week is on made in America.

They're trying to focus on getting products, getting businesses that are based in America, boosting those businesses and that what didn't come up in

this interview and it wouldn't -- certainly wouldn't have been expected to come up when they sat down.

So the president says one thing publicly about the media, about his stance towards the media, but at the same time, he will sit in the Oval Office for

50 minutes with the New York Times speaking to three of their reporters and effectively changing the message for the week.

Because this interview in the news in this interview has now effectively knocked the White House off of message.

ANDERSON: So Matthew, Trump says I said hello to Putin, a few more pleasantries, we actually talked about Russian adoption which is

interesting because that's what Don had the meeting about, I didn't know anything about the meet in meeting though he said.

[11:10:00] Why that the -- why the story here, I think our viewers will be fascinated to understand, what does the Kremlin really think of this

administration, do you think?

CHANCE: I think -- I think that's a really good question and I think you get the sense watching them closely as we do here from the Moscow Bureau

that they're some increasingly perplexed at the way this whole Russia issue, which has become a poisonous issue in the United States, is handled

by the Trump administration.

I think there's a sense in which perhaps you could argue the Russians -- they are kind of enjoying this, they like the idea of political chaos in

the United States, that's one way of looking at it.

But what they want more than anything else is for the relationship to be stabilized. They want the sanctions that the United States has on Russia

lifted, so their -- their economy can get back into gear again.

And they want to sort of predictable partner as they would call it of course in the White House, they don't have any of those things at the

moment and I think that's led to an enormous sense of, you know, disillusionment on the part of the Russians.

That this was a man they thought was going to become president and transform the relationship with Russia but in fact you know, if anything

the relationships got even worse and that Russia issue has become even more toxic in Russian politics.

ANDERSON: And the statement from an inquiry Dmitry Peskov on our screen as you speak delineating how he says the Kremlin feels about this, right, to

you both out of Washington, Dan and to you, Matthew, as ever, thank you.

Well, Syria one conflict where Russia and the U.S. are supporting opposing sides with Moscow backing President Bashar al-Assad militarily and

politically in Washington doing the same with the so-called moderate fighters trying to oust him, but for how much longer?

The Washington Post is reporting that Mr. Trump has ordered the CIA to scrap its much-criticized four-year program of arming and training rebels,

sources tell the Post he made the decision before meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit.

So is this a case of killing off a failing and some would say farcical drain on U.S. resources or is Mr. Trump cutting off a vitally to a rare

pro-western fighting force at a critical point in the war.

Well, to help us understand all of this, CNN's International Correspondent Ben Wedeman and CNN Producer Gul Tuysuz joins me now. They are both

reporting from inside Syria over the course of the conflict.

Ben, let me start with you, could this be seen as a big reverse in U.S. policy and that it could be a tactic accept or a tactic acceptance that

Assad should stay?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's a tacit -- tacit acceptance that the United States' effort to see regime change in

Damascus has failed.

That the United States has poured hundreds of millions of dollars whether through the Pentagon or the CIA into working, creating some sort of anti-

Assad force. They've failed. They've failed miserably.

They were disorganized, disunited and, of course, now the concern that has been this way now for several years is the rise of ISIS. So what we see is

sort of a reshuffling of the American cards. A change of regime in -- in Damascus is no longer a priority and, in fact, it no longer seems to be

even an objective.

Right now, they want to focus, the Trump administration, on defeating ISIS and whether that involves some sort of essential settlement in Syria with

the Russians and de facto you have to point out with Hezbollah and Iran who also have been key players in bolstering the regime in Damascus.

So be it, so it appears that the attempts by the Obama administration which, admittedly, were halfhearted all along to change the regime in

Damascus are officially over. There's no more opposite support for the anti-Assad opposition. The focus is clearly exclusively on fighting ISIS.


ANDERSON: So that's one story, the idea that the U.S. may be pulling its support for Syrian rebels anti-Assad rebels in Syria. Meantime, Gul, a

Turkish report exposing locations of U.S. troops in Syria. What do we know about this?

GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, we know that this came out on Turkey's state news agency Anadolu but just a while ago, the Turkish presidential

spokesperson came out and said that they had not leaked this information to Anadolu or given it to them, or told them to make this story happen.

And that Anadolu acted within its own editorial judgment and basically compiled this list of locations where U.S. troops are stationed within


[11:15:00] So they're saying we didn't give this information, it was compiled by our state news agency which we did not control or leak

information to about it.

They're saying that they would never have put and they would never put any of their allies' troops in danger and that they expect the same thing from

their allies from the USA.

But, of course, there is a very important undertone here which is that Turkey and the U.S., while they are together in NATO and are historically

allied together have very different sets of goals inside Syria.

And the way that the U.S. has been going about defeating ISIS, which is the U.S.' primary goal in Syria has really angered the Turks and because

basically the U.S. has been arming the SDF, the majority of which is made up of Kurdish rebels that Turkey says are allied with its main enemy.

The Kurdistan workers' party and they view the PKK as a national security threat and they have been baffled, confused and angered over and over again

because they really view the PKK as a national security threat to themselves, Becky.

ANDERSON: All right. Yes, OK. Good. Ben, after the first meeting between Mrs. Trump and Putin at the G20 earlier this month, the U.S.

President tweeted this, "we negotiated a cease-fire in parts of Syria which will save lives.

Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia. On the ground, will this be seen as Washington throwing its lot in with


WEDEMAN: I don't think it will be seen as throwing its lot in with Moscow. I think it will be basically seen as Washington accepting the fact that

when it comes to Syria, the Russians have won.

Keep in mind that you know, the beginning of 2013 the Obama administration did finance, did support rather weakly, it must be said, the rebels in

their fight against the Assad regime.

But in September of 2015 when it seemed like the Assad regime had its back to the wall, the Russians intervened in a huge way. Came in and really

utterly changed the course of events, turned the tide and made it so within two years that was it.

The Syrian opposition is now essentially gone, it's finished, it's lost Aleppo, it's made a truce with the regime, with the Russians and the


The Israelis and the Jordanians involved to have some sort of cease-fire, an indefinite cease-fire. So they've lost territory in the north, in the

south, they've made the cease-fire. They've lost territory around Damascus.

So essentially, the Trump administration is accepting the reality that U.S. foreign policy -- U.S. policy in Syria has failed. The Russians played a

better game and there's no changing the fact that Bashar al-Assad's regime is there to stay, like it or not. Becky?

ANDERSON: Gul, very briefly, would it be fair to say that many in Syria have felt abandoned by the U.S. even before Trump took office.

TUYSUZ: Absolutely, Becky. When you talk to what we would call the moderate rebels, they have felt like they have been abandoned and they knew

at the beginning that they weren't getting as much support as Bashar al- Assad was getting from his backers and from his supporters, Russia and Iran.

And they knew that the west and the U.S. was not supporting them in the same way that Bashar al-Assad's supporters were supporting them.

But more and more over the last couple of years, you've seen how much faith they have lost in their allies, in the U.S. and that stability to help them

achieve their main goal which is the ouster of Bashar al-Assad.

As we saw that happen, one of the really unfortunate things that we saw, commanders that we would talk to at the beginning of this who were

moderate, who were very welcoming to us slowly moving away from being friendly to westerners and to Americans.

And slowly moving in directions that you would call more radical and this didn't happen to all of them of course, but we saw that very slow shift

where people who were fighting against Bashar al-Assad stopped expecting much from the west and from the U.S.

And said, OK, well maybe the way to do this is to pursue a more radical path and that really of course has been unfortunate, and has been one of

the main things that have driven some rebels inside Syria into ISIS' hands, Becky.

ANDERSON: Gul is in Istanbul for you today, Ben out of Rome but it's not where he is most of the time. Ben spends most of the time in this Middle

East region.

[11:20:00] Ben, thank you very much, indeed and to you, Gul, on your analysis, both of you.

Quick reminder, viewers, you are seeing this small box on your screens. That's a reminder of the O.J. Simpson parole hearing starts in a couple of

hours from now. In fact by an hour and forty minutes, WE'LL be covering that live here on CNN. So do stay with news for that.

Syria's battlefield, then is extraordinarily messy but even there it's been easy to see America and Iran going up against each other and it's hardly

the only place they are. We will look into that just ahead, getting the latest on Iran versus Washington.

First up, though, breaking up is never easy and when it is being played out in front of the world, it makes it all the harder. We'll have the very

latest from London and from Brussels on what are these Brexit negotiations.


ANDERSON: Well, it's time for the summer holidays in Britain. Is everyone still heading out to Europe to sun it up again? Well, we can't be sure

this year but Britain's Brexit secretary sure is back in Brussels again as the second round of tricky talks conclude.

And he'll leave with a warning from his E.U. counterpart ringing in his ears, figure out your Brexit plans and quickly. He's been asked to clarify

Britain's position on key issues ranging from settling its financial obligations to citizens' rights to the issue of the Irish border.

For his part, David Davis cut a more optimistic tone saying he was more encouraged by the progress made. Well, two different views of what are the

same talks. We are covering this from both sides.

Nina dos Santos is in London and Erin McLaughlin is in Brussels. Nina, let's have a listen to this from the E.U.'S negotiator earlier. Quote, in

our first round in June, we agreed on the organization of the negotiations.

Our second round which began on Monday was about the presentation of our representative positions. So, Nina, that's basically talking about

talking, right, and that's it?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Talking about talking -- yes, it's talking about talking and also remember that the U.K. government is also

talking about different approaches within the cabinet itself.

I mean this is the reason why the Europeans are so perplexed about what's going on in Great Britain is that they're not sure who they're negotiating

with, and who stands on which side of the hard-soft Brexit divide within the cabinet and indeed, who they will be negotiating with by the time 2019

comes around.

Because remember that Theresa May seems like an awfully enfeebled prime minister. We have got these monthly talks that is taking place right

throughout the summer. Brussels is famous for taking its holidays is at this time.

Well, many Eurocrats have had to put those holidays on hold to make sure that they do stick to the timetable with only 20 months to go, Becky.

[11:25:00] But really the big picture here both in Britain and over the other side of the channel is that if David Davis and his team don't make

more progress before when the month of October when these monthly meetings will start to slow down.

Well, Theresa May's top team when it comes to Brexit could really be in trouble. We've also had Theresa May meeting with the business community as

well, Becky, and this marks a radical change in the way how the government is dealing with Brexit.

Business has long bemoaned, it hasn't had a seat at the table that the government hasn't been listening to it. Finally, Theresa May entertained

the views of almost 15 top FTSE 100 business leaders, as well as people who represent a lot of employers that are based in the country.

The institute of directors, the confederation of British industries and the confederation of small businesses, they all said they want a two year

transition period.

The country can't have a cliff edge and they also want urgent clarifications on regulations and the future of those citizens that Michel

Barnier was talking about before.

ANDERSON: So, Erin, these are the four main points and being discussed or it's being negotiated that they will be discussed at some point in the next

20 months I guess.

Citizens right, an estimated three million E.U. citizens live in the U.K. who can stay, who can't. Separation issues, the actual logistics of it

all. The financial settlement, how much does Britain need to pay to go?

And Northern Island neither side of that border wants to restrict free movement. It seems to me that all we have to date, Erin, is the U.K.'S

foreign secretary Boris Johnson saying the E.U. can and I quote, can go whistle, if it demands an extortion of payment to settle this thing. What

is the perception in Brussels to the way that this is being handled?

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. Well, I think it's worth noting that after the British Foreign Secretary Boris

Johnson made those remarks.

That the position was clarified somewhat in a statement since from the Brexit secretaries department to parliament saying that the U.K.

acknowledges that it has financial obligations.

But really today here in Brussels clarity is the key buzzword. Michel Barnier pushing the U.K. to clarify its position, especially when it comes

to the financial obligation, it's estimated that the E.U. is demanding billions of euros from the U.K.

Although right now they're not attaching a specific figure on that. They published their own position paper. They want the U.K. to do the same and

Barnier is basically saying, do that or talks won't progress. Take a listen.


MICHEL BARNIER, EUROPEAN CHIEF NEGOTIATOR, (through a translator): A clarification of the U.K. position is indispensable for us to negotiate and

for us to make sufficient progress on this financial dossier which is inseparable from the other withdrawal dossiers.


MCLAUGHLIN: Another main point of divergence to coin a phrase used by Michel Barnier is -- is the topic of who will arbitrate on citizens'

rights, any agreement between the two sides.

The E.U. wants that of course to be the European court of justice, Barnier saying that this has been a set of extraordinary circumstances, the

citizens who moved to the U.K. could not have foreseen Brexit and he wants them to remain protected by E.U. law.

ANDERSON: Ladies, thank you for that and just a post note as it were these viewers wants the scene in Brussels on Monday when the second round of

negotiations began.

To the left, representatives of the E.U. seemingly well briefed with large stacks of paper and to the right Brexit Secretary David Davis and some of

the British negotiating team with no notes at all. Go figure.

We'll take all these headline for just ahead for you. We've all heard of the terror of ISIS but we've never seen it like this before. A new

documentary takes us inside Raqqah under ISIS rule. The director of the film will join me right after this break.



TRUMP: That agreement has to be changed. We have no choice. They have so out negotiated our people because our people are babies. They have no idea

what they're doing.

I think it's maybe the worst deal I've ever seen. I think it's the worst deal I've seen negotiated. I will be so tough on them and ultimately, that

deal will be broken unless they behave better than they've ever behaved in their lives.


ANDERSON: You're watching Connect the World live right here on CNN. Welcome back to our show. He's a deal maker, Donald Trump there railing

against the Iran nuclear deal, one of his favorite international punching bags during the campaign.

This week he grudgingly agreed to satisfy -- certify that Iran was complying with the terms of the deal but then Mr. Trump followed up with a

slew of new sanctions. Well, Iran isn't happy.

To put in madly, in a top military commander now says Iran will defend its rights to missile power and said if the Washington lot continue to impose

sanctions, the U.S. should move its military bases more than a thousand kilometers away from Iran.

President Hassan Rouhani says the new sanctions defy the logic and spirit of the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran Analyst Nazila Fathi joins me via Skype

from Washington.

A former Iran correspondent from the New York Times and the author of The Lonely War: One Woman's Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran, you've

lived in Iran and have seen firsthand how tension between Iran and America impacts the average Iranian. What does this talk of war mean and do to

people's psyche on the ground.

NAZILA FATHI, IRAN ANALYST: Well, Becky, it is very provocative. Not just provocative towards the Iranian regime but also Iranian people who had

really high hopes that this nuclear deal would help increase commerce with Iran, will ease the tension with the outside world.

But this is sending all sorts of wrong messages even though the sanctions are mostly targeted at the revolutionary guards and Iran's missile program.

The parliament retaliated immediately and it said that it was increasing the funding for the missile program and, of course, you did cite some of

the reactions, and I mean basically, it is jeopardizing a lot of good diplomacy that was accomplished under the Obama administration.

ANDERSON: Nazila, you used to be with the New York Times and you were in Tehran for a number of years.

Just hours ago your former paper published an editorial titled Avoiding War with Iran, which says amongst other things a drum beat of provocative

words, outright threats and actions from President Trump.

[11:35:00] And some of his top aides as well as Sunni leaders -- Sunni Arab leaders and American activists is raising tensions that could lead to

armed conflict with Iran. Are we marching to war with Iran at this point?

FATHI: We might be and that is the scary thing because you don't necessarily need a plan to start a war. There have been a lot of

confrontations, minor confrontations at the Persian Gulf, Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been quite provocative approached American

vessels in the region.

And just one minor miscalculation, one mistake can lead to a war, to a big military confrontation and as you said, considering events in the region,

Iran is currently the most stable country in the Middle East.

I mean, even considering what's happening within the royal family in Saudi Arabia, the blockade of Qatar, these kinds of messages, the sanctions that

were just imposed. These are quite dangerous actions, obvious efforts to march toward war...


FATHI: ... of serious confrontation in the region.

ANDERSON: Let's just take a look at this from both sides, an annual report from the U.S. State Department says Iran remains the world's leading state

sponsor or certainly did so of state sponsor of terrorism in 2016.

So this is a -- this is a report from the U.S. State Department saying Iran remained the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism in 2016.

The report found that terrorism around the world actually declined last year but says the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and its allies played a

destabilizing role in military conflicts from Iraq to Syria to Yemen.

I thought it was very interesting to see how journalists responded to and reported on the 90-minute meeting with the Iranian foreign secretary who

was in New York just earlier on in the week.

It's when it gets to the very thorny issues of Iran's support for conflicts around the Middle East region that, you know, he's on -- it seems like he's

on much weaker ground than when he's talking about the breaking of the spirit by the U.S. of this nuclear deal. And you know, how does Iran

respond to these sort of criticisms in a report like that?

FATHI: Well, I mean, there are legitimate concerns about Iran's influence, military influence in the region. I mean the report is clearly referring

to Iran's support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad, support of Hezbollah, support of Houthi rebels in Yemen and there are legitimate concerns.

But let's not forget that you are dealing with two Irans. One is the Iran of Iran's hard line Revolutionary Guards which are behind these military

involvements in the region.

And then you're also dealing with a moderate faction in Iran which is represented by the president -- President Rouhani and his foreign minister,

Mr. Zarif, and the moderate forces in Iran are trying very hard to engage with the outside world and it's important to distinguish between these two


ANDERSON: With that we'll leave it there, your analysis is of incredibly - - is incredibly important to us and thank you for your time, Nazila.

FATHI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Important story if you are living in this region, turning to Syria, a messy battlefield, as we now have been talking about it tonight


Iran, Russia and then U.S. competing interest with different goals but at the end of the day, it is the people of Syria who are living the absolute

horror of that war day in, day out.

Those people are fighting back in Raqqa, the so-called ISIS capital, civilians risks their lives documenting the terror of daily life there.

Now their story is coming to the silver screen, have a look at this.


UNIDENTFIED MALE (through a translator): They painted our city black and surrounded it in darkness. We couldn't sit by and watch Raqqa being

slaughtered silently. Yes.


[11:40:00] ANDERSON: The name of the documentary, this is a new documentary the City of Ghosts and its Director Matthew Heineman joining me

now. Matthew, this is really powerful stuff. Firstly, why this project for you, why now?

MATTHEW HEINEMAN, DIRECTOR, CITY OF GHOSTS: You know, I felt so compelled to make this story for a whole host of reasons.

You know, I was very intellectually fascinated by this war propaganda, this war of ideas, this war of information between ISIS' slick almost Hollywood-

style videos on one hand and the work of RBSS on the other countering this narrative that ISIS has created that safe haven -- safe haven for Muslims.

ANDERSON: It's said the pen is mightier than the sword but in this day in age, the old age could be updated through the camera is mightier than a

weapon and that's just what the activist of the heart of your documentary believes. Stand by, Matthew. Viewers, have a look at this.


UNIDENTFIED MALE (through a translator): I used to edit photos and video. in my opinion, a camera is more powerful than a weapon. And that's why

whoever holds the camera is stronger.


ANDERSON: Whoever holds the camera is stronger, Matthew, it seems and ISIS understands that, too. Just how important do you think it is to combat the

Islamic State and their glossy propaganda videos online?

HEINEMAN: And I think -- I think that is really the battle that we need to and should be fighting as embark in this battle to oust Raqqa -- to oust

ISIS from Raqqa.

I think, you know, as important as that is fighting the ideology of ISIS, the idea of ISIS and that's what the work of RBSS is doing, is really

attacking this group and the ideology behind it.

And this ideology has been disseminated and propagated all around the world and obviously we've seen attacks, you know, here in the U.K. and U.S., and

all across Europe.

And so I think we as a global community, we as corporations, we as citizens, we as journalists really need to figure out ways to combat, you

know, the ideology, the extremism behind ISIS and not just fight it militarily.

ANDERSON: Some of the people who gathered footage for you -- for this film are from Raqqa as I understand it but are living in exile. Will they ever

be able to return home? What will wait for them if they do?

HEINEMAN: I think time will tell. You know, the film is basically -- you know, I followed these guys as they were forced to flee Raqqa.

And I was with them in safe houses escaping first to Turkey and ultimately to Europe, while constantly cutting back and forth to the amazing footage

that they have captured within the capital of ISIS.

You know, I think they would love to return to their home one day. You know, we really don't know when and if that will happen. You know, I think

unfortunately this is a very complicated problem. You know, it's a multi- factorial problem without one simple solution.

ANDERSON: The lead character in this film is an activist and citizen journalist, he is, as I understand it now in Germany and has been a

spokesman for Raqqa is being silently slaughtered.

And that is a group of activists who are possibly some of the bravest that you and I will ever come across in these conflict zones. Aren't they?

HEINEMAN: Yes, I mean, this film means many things to me. I think, you know, one of the things that -- you know, it's homage to journalism. You

know, especially in this world that we live in where truth seems to be malleable.

You know, I think it's really important to celebrate the work of people fighting for the truth, seeking out the truth, you know, risking their

lives for the truth

You know, and I think -- you know, we as traditional journalists or filmmakers are relying more and more on citizen journalists with cell

phones, with computers who are able to shed light on dark corners of the world where, you know, others aren't able to go to.

ANDERSON: With that we'll leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us and applaud you for the work that you've been doing. Thank


HEINEMAN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: We're live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World. Coming up, an outpouring of support for U.S. Senator John McCain, CNN has spoken

with his doctors about his cancer and we'll let you know what they say. That's after this.


ANDERSON: Well, a man known for his willingness to go to battle is now facing the fight of his life. U.S. Senator John McCain has been diagnosed

with brain cancer.

It's an aggressive form of those who know McCain, they say that he can win this battle. We've already seen some of the fight in him.

This week he was trying to help his Republican colleagues salvage their health care reform plan all while contending with this new diagnosis.

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has the details on his condition.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Senator John McCain is recovering well after an operation last Friday to remove a malignant brain

tumor known as Glioblastoma.

With Senator McCain's permission, I spoke exclusively to two of his Mayo Clinic doctors about the details of his care. McCain had come in for a

scheduled annual physical early Friday morning with no complaints except intermittent double vision and fatigue, which he attributed to an intense

international travel schedule over the last several months.

His doctors ordered a CAT scan to check for anything from a possible blood collection to a stroke. Upon review of the scan, doctors called McCain who

had left the hospital and asked them to immediately return for an MRI.

The scans revealed a five centimeter blood clot above the center of his left eye which appeared to have been there for up to a week. The decision

was made to perform an urgent operation. By 3:00 p.m., McCain was in the operating room undergoing a craniotomy to remove a tumor.

Doctors made an incision about his left eyebrow to gain access to his skull, where they bore a two centimeter hole to remove the clot and tumor.

A pathology report revealed a primary brain tumor known as Glioblastoma.

It's the most aggressive type of brain cancer. It's the same type of tumor that Beau Biden and Ted Kennedy had. With treatment, which usually

includes radiation and chemotherapy, the median survival is 14 months.

But it can be five years or even longer. This is not Senator McCain's first health scare. In 2000, he was diagnosed with invasive malignant


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I'm having a lot of exposure to the sun when I was very young and having fair skin.

GUPTA: Doctors removed a dime-sized melanoma from McCain's left temple. That was the most serious of several other bouts of skin cancer. When

McCain was campaigning for president in 2008, I had a chance to review all of his medical records.

Details of his health since then have remained private until just now. His doctors at the Mayo Clinic who have been treating him for several years

said it was McCain's gut instinct knowing that something just wasn't right.


ANDERSON: Dr. Sanjay Gupta with us now from hot springs, Virginia. I know so many people around the world will -- will simply want to know what the

prognosis is at this point. Is it clear, Sanjay?

GUPTA: Well, you know, it's -- it's data and literature and that's were the things, Becky, obviously is something that doctors are something

reluctant to talk about because every patient is different certainly.

If you look at that data, what you'll read is that with Glioblastoma, this type of tumor, the median survival is around 14 months or so.

[11:50:00] About ten percent of patients survive five years or more but it's an aggressive form of brain cancer and as things stand now not


There are -- there are other treatments in addition to the operation that he already had which can help but, you know, those are the discussions that

are ongoing right now between Senator McCain and his family and the doctors.

ANDERSON: Out of Hot Springs, Virginia, Sanjay Gupta for you this evening.

Former President Barack Obama ran against McCain nearly ten years ago, I'm sure you remember, to win the White House. He is now offering McCain his

support tweeting this, John McCain is an American hero and one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what it is up

against. Give it hell, John.

You're watching Connect the World live from Abu Dhabi. Coming up, it was a celebrity murder case that transfixed America. In just over an hour, O.J.

Simpson is about -- O.J. Simpson is about to ask for his freedom, more on that after this.


ANDERSON: All right, during this broadcast, this hour you've been seeing this box on your screen, that's because after almost nine years in prison,

O.J. Simpson is about to ask a parole board for his freedom.

Now the former -- former football star was convicted of armed robbery after trying to recover some sports memorabilia. That came 13 years after he was

acquitted of murdering his ex-wife. Paul Vercammen has a look at what Simpson's life has been like for the past eight and a half years.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN REPORTER: Northern Nevada, Lovelock Medium Security Correctional Center, O.J. Simpson's home since late 2008 after his

conviction for armed robbery and related charges in Las Vegas.

From behind these walls of pictures are emerging from insiders of Simpson playing fantasy football here, coaching softball and staying out of

trouble. The prison reports no incidents involving Simpson.

BROOKE KEAST, SPOKESWOMAN, NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: He's not one that is in the limelight that we all know about that there's a lot of

lawsuits or there's a lot of issues with, he's not in that list. We don't hear from him much.

VERCAMMEN: Two former Lovelock guards say Simpson has not been affected by racist gang battles that can infect other Nevada prisons.

JEFFREY FELIX, FORMER GUARD, LOVELOCK: Where blacks can't sit with Mexicans, Mexicans can't sit with whites. They can't intermingle with each

other. By O.J. being at Lovelock, that took away all the politics. We just seem to really keep an eye on him.

VERCAMMEN: Former Lovelock officer Jeffrey Felix wrote a short book about his relationship with Simpson called Guarding the Juice. Felix and other

sources told CNN Simpson gets little perks.

FELIX: Usually O.J. Simpson cuts in front of every line. Everybody understands that. It's just the way how life at Lovelock.

VERCAMMEN: Insiders say cutting included the food or chow line and O.J. gained a lot of weight but Simpson's good friend Tom Scotto says Nevada's

most famous inmate went on a health kick and may have lost more than 50 pounds.

Prison officials said that Simpson bought a 13-inch TV like this one for his cell which inmates are allowed to do but the ex-football star never saw

those two series that stirred up so much buzz The People versus O.J. Simpson and O.J., Made in America.

KEAST: We don't want to bring attention to one inmate over the other.

VERCAMMEN: Former guards say they called Simpson bobble head at Lovelock due to the size of his head.

[11:55:00] When Simpson advocates here to the parole board, we'll find out if they will call him a free man. Paul Vercammen, CNN, Lovelock, Nevada.


ANDERSON: Well, O.J. Simpson's parole hearing is scheduled to start an hour from now. We'll bring you live coverage to that when it happens here

on CNN. A name we all know for the wrong reasons.

Let me know what you make of this case and everything on the show. is how you can get in touch with us. I'm Becky

Anderson that was Connect the World from the team working with me here in Atlanta and in London.

It's a global effort for you. Thank you for joining us. It's our weekend here now so see you next week.