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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
British Prime Minister Says Russia is Highly likely to be Behind Nerve Agent Attack; British Parliament Summons Russia's Ambassador in the U.K. Over Ex-Spy Agent Poisoning; Russia Prepares for Election on Sunday; Palestinian Teen Faces Trial for Slapping an Israeli Soldier; Football Club Owner Invades Pitch with Holstered Gun; Entrepreneurs Take on Fight Against Plastic Waste. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired March 12, 2018 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:21] HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We continue our breaking news on the dramatic fallout from
the attempted murder of a former Russian spy. It's now spreading far from the rural English city of Salisbury.
Just in the last few hours we heard strong words from Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, said it was, quote, "highly likely" that Russia was
responsible and she says she wants more answers from Moscow by the end of Tuesday now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We must now stand ready to take much more extensive measures.
Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday we will consider in detail the response from the Russian state. Should there be no critical response, we will conclude that
this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.
And I will come back to this House and set out the full range of measures that we will take in response.
Mr. Speaker, this attempted murder using a weapons grade nerve agent in a British town was not just a crime against the Skripals. It was an
indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk. And we will not tolerate such a
brazen attempt to murder innocent civilians on all soil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. So what will the UK do about it? Now Russia's ambassador in the UK has been summoned by Boris Johnson, the Foreign
secretary in this country. For their part Russia responded with a quick dismissal today. They called Mrs. May's comment a circus show in the
We're covering this story across the world. Nick Paton Walsh is in Westminster. Phil Black in Salisbury where the attack took place. Fred
Pleitgen has the reaction from Moscow.
Nick Paton Walsh at Westminster, I want to start with you. What are the potential responses here at the disposal of the United Kingdom? They've
given Russia until Wednesday to respond.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, actually until the end of tomorrow really to respond to the question, is this a
rogue act by somebody who's managed to steal a part of your secret chemical weapons stash? The agent Novichok being pointed out here. Or is this, by
basic conclusion, something that Russia had to have allowed to happen or even ordered themselves?
The response is an option. While the use of the phrase unlawful use of force against the United Kingdom does suggest potentially they may look
towards international law that might hark towards the U.N. These U.N. inspectors who they've asked Russia to allowing if Russia does indeed admit
it's lost control of its chemical weapons program which seems unlikely.
Sanctions potentially if they managed to get EU support on board, or that from the United States, or perhaps given the legal terms use they might
call upon NATO to honor Article 5, the collective defense part of their treaty. But also to the maybes specific sanctions against Russian elites
and wealthy here in London.
But it was interesting to hear the specific nature of the detail there, the military grade agents Novichok developed in the '70s to be less detectable,
to be safer to transport, not even known to exist until the early '90s. And that of course leaves the UK to point the finger more directly towards
Russia but does given that sort of choice now they have to make in the next 24 or 48 hours.
GORANI: Fred Pleitgen in Moscow, so if it is within the group of agents Novichok in Russia either Russia is behind it or they've lost control of
part of this arsenal.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
GORANI: And neither explanation is going to be a positive one for the United Kingdom or the world, in fact, if there is indeed a loss of control
on some level.
PLEITGEN: Well, I don't think that necessarily would have been a loss of control. And it was interesting to hear the Russian response to all of
this, Hala. Maria Zakharova, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, she came out as you said really only a few minutes after Theresa May finished
her speech and she said -- let me read part of it to you, the following, she said, "This is a circus show on British Parliament." You already said
that. "The conclusion is obvious. This is another information and political campaign based on provocation."
She then goes and account some of the other cases in the past like for instance Litvinenko case, the Berezovsky case, were also of course Britain
pointed the finger at Russia saying that potentially Russia had assassinated someone on British soil. The Litvinenko case, of course, also
using a radioactive weapon as well.
It seemed to be, Hala, a little bit as though the Russians might've been caught a little bit off guard by how strong Theresa May came out. If you
look at Maria Zakharova's statement, this is official Russian government statement, of course. They didn't even talk about the fact that there was
his ultimatum out there.
[16:05:02] They didn't talk about what they were going to do. They didn't say how they would potentially react. It seems to me as though they were
caught a little bit off guard as to how strong the Brits actually came out with this. If we look at what happened throughout the day today they were
really brushing this off.
Vladimir Putin was asked earlier today via a British journalist from the BBC about whether or not the Russians had actually done this and he said,
look, you guys have to get your facts straight first and then you can come to us Russians, and we might explain something. So he was clearly brushing
all of this off.
The spokesman for Vladimir Putin, he came out earlier today and he said, we have nothing to do with this. Sergei Skripal, as far as they were
concerned, was an MI6 agent and the Russians said it didn't happen on our soil. We have nothing to do with it. It seems as though we might get a
more detailed explanation tomorrow for the Russians as to what they're going to do. It seems to me today, they were caught a little bit off guard
by what Theresa May said and how strong she came out, Hala.
GORANI: Just a quick one to you, Fred. I'm confused, how -- they're going to provide more detail? I mean, it seems to me like it could be a repeat
of what we heard just over the last week which is denial, denial, denial.
GORANI: And when I said a loss of control is because if it is indeed Russian grade, Russian military grade nerve agent, either Russia is behind
it, or someone else. I mean, in which case where did they get that material from? That weaponry.
PLEITGEN: Yes. Yes. It could -- yes, you know, it could potentially be the same that we've heard in the past as well where the Russians have come
out and said look, there's not enough information. You're not telling us enough, you don't really know what's going on. All of this is basically
conspiracy against Russia or some sort of anti-Russian propaganda. That's a lot of what we've heard before.
The thing about Novichok, though, is that it is something that is very difficult to really pin on somebody. It's a very secretive toxin that was
allegedly manufactured by the Russians and the Soviets before that. They never really came out and acknowledged that they did this but it has sort
of leapt out that they apparently did make this. It comes in various different forms so really pinning that on Russians will be quite difficult
It seems to me as though if the Brits have come out today --
PLEITGEN: -- with such a strong statement, saying it was this toxin and that it's military grade and they believe it comes from the Russians, they
seem to have some pretty substantial informational, Hala.
GORANI: And Phil Black in Salisbury, where this attempted murder took place, of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, and also seriously injuring by
the way a police officer in the process, what's the situation there? Because they're telling people, hundreds of people who were at the same
location that Sergei Skripal and his daughter visited, wash your clothes, you know, take precautions, if you have come into contact potentially with
this nerve agent.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Hala. That's the advice that's being given to people who are at the restaurant behind
the Old Mill Pub which is just a short walk from here last Sunday within the same window of time as the Skripals were believed to be there.
For obvious reasons the people here are interested in what Theresa May had to say in terms of the type of nerve agent who they believe was responsible
but more specifically they want to know the details of what happened on the grounds here in this small city, how was it transported here. How and
where was it used because from that you can extrapolate how many people were potentially put at risk by it.
What we understand so far from the authorities and they've said this repeatedly is that there is no wider risk. They then came out a week later
offering their advice to people to wash clothes and belongings if you were at either of those two locations. And people accept that. They're a
little bothered perhaps at that wash your clothing type advice came out so long after the incident itself.
But what they really want to get a sense of is just what the movements were on the grounds here where they've used this particular nerve agent. And
the authorities are not giving, as they say, in their words, a running commentary on that aspect of the investigation. We've seen a lot of
forensic work taking place at the pub, at the restaurant, at the bench where the Skripals were found, also at his home and at the local cemetery
where Skripal's wife and son are also buried.
What we or the people here want to hear is a sense of what the timeline was from the moment they're exposed to the point where they really succumbed to
the effects of the nerve agent, Hala.
GORANI: All right. We still haven't been told by authorities where they believe the two were poisoned.
Phil Black in Salisbury, Nick Paton Walsh at Abingdon Green, and Fred Pleitgen in Moscow, thanks to all of you.
Let's bring in our national security analyst Samantha Vinograd in Washington.
What is your reaction when you hear from the British prime minister herself in parliament today that this is military grade nerve agent of a type
developed by Russia? And this was used in a city of about 40,000 people in the United Kingdom.
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: My reaction is in the first instance that we're relatively lucky. This could have been a much
bigger impact and Vladimir Putin took a very big risk when he dropped this nerve agent into Salisbury. We could have been looking at tens of
thousands of deaths. This could have been an incident of weapons of mass destruction employment if it had not been secluded to just the individuals
that were impacted.
[16:10:06] And I am not at all surprised that the Russian government has denied any involvement in this attack. They have denied involvement in
previous attacks in UK soil but frankly they've continued to deny any election interference in the United States or the UK, as well as any direct
involvement in the ongoing information warfare campaign around the world. So we now have a Russian prep matrix around the world in the UK, in the
United States, throughout Europe, Mexico, where Vladimir Putin now feels no constraints in -- on diving into his toolkit to intimidate the
So I think what's going to be really key how is how the UK responds and frankly how the United States and other allies of the United Kingdom
GORANI: And how do you think the U.S. -- because of course Russia is in the headlines almost every day with the investigation. The Mueller
investigation into whether or not Russia meddled in the U.S. elections.
How do you think the United States will respond or the Trump administration will respond to this?
VINOGRAD: Well, unfortunately, we just an indication of that during the White House press briefing when the United States press secretary frankly
vacillated when asked a question about this attack.
I know from my experience working at the White House if this kind of incident would have happened, we probably would have had the most up-to-
date information on who's responsible and why Theresa May made these accusations against Russian government. We would not have been playing
catch up at this point.
GORANI: But --
VINOGRAD: So you have to figure -- yes.
GORANI: I was going to say, a political leader wouldn't make accusations like this in such a public forum without some strong intelligence to back
VINOGRAD: Exactly. This statement by Theresa May undoubtedly as a result of careful work by the Intelligence Community, particularly at a time of
heightened tensions with Russia. Theresa May wouldn't just go out and say, Russia, I think that it was you and we're going to look at what happened.
She's meeting with the Russian ambassador for a reason. She set a deadline for a reason. And I'm very worried that the United States did not come out
and say we support Theresa May's conclusion and we're working with the UK authorities to figure out what happened and not a coordinated response
because we have no indication that this couldn't happen elsewhere, and that Russia doesn't feel so emboldened that they're not going to employ nerve
agents elsewhere around the world.
GORANI: But those who believe Russia meddled in the U.S. elections, meddled in the Brexit referendum, meddled even in elections in Europe and
potentially may be behind the high profile assassinations of lethal chemical weapons on UK soil, those people say there needs to be a unified
response between all those countries but now the EU and NATO and international organizations are going through a very difficult time where
you have, on the contrary, fault lines emerging in some of these big groups of nations.
So what can the response be, an effective one?
VINOGRAD: Well, I think that part of the reason we're seeing so many fault lines is that there's been a vacuum in leadership by the United States and
responding to this coordinated multipronged attack around the world.
VINOGRAD: And in the absence of that, I think that we're seeing individual nation states try to take individual responses so the United Kingdom could
look at a range of sanctions options that they could institute immediately, and I think the diplomatic response will be key here because Vladimir Putin
feels like he can do whatever he wants.
VINOGRAD: And still maintain this image of being a global power broker. But, you know, the Russians have diplomats in the United Kingdom. There
are options vis-a-vis the Russian ambassador or senior staff at the Russian embassy. There's the option of taking out Russian spies and we know that
there will be a tit-for-tat here. Anything that the UK does, Russia will probably respond in some way, but Vladimir Putin is not going to stop
unless there is some kind of impact on him and I think that sanctions or the diplomatic response at the member state level is going to be key.
And as you know, Russia has a seat on the U.N. Security Council so anything at U.N. Security Council level is going to be stymied because of Russia's
GORANI: Yes. Thanks very much, Samantha Vinograd. Appreciate your analysis.
VINOGRAD: Thank you.
GORANI: Let's get insights from an international law expert joining me now here in the studio is Malcolm Hawkes. He's a barrister with Doughty
Street's Chambers here in London.
Thanks for being with us. So let's talk about from an international legal perspective here because we have a suspected attack that the prime minister
is saying most likely originated in Russia on UK soil. Where does that leave us legally?
MALCOLM HAWKES, BARRISTER, DOUGHTY STREET'S CHAMBERS: Well, there are two ways of looking at this. One, the easiest and most report where is
domestic British law. This was a criminal offense, attempted murder. There's no doubt about that whatsoever. The injection by the prime
minister are the allegation that this was an act by the Russian state. Then it invokes international law and there has a whole series of legal
consequences. Some more theoretical and practical.
GORANI: And what are the practical ones that impact could unfold here realistically?
HAWKES: Realistically I think your last speaker hit the nail in the head really.
[16:15:03] We're looking at enhanced measures in terms of sanctions, perhaps expulsions of diplomats. The point being that if the UK wanted to
in theory it could treat this is a Chapter 5 triggering event because this is a hostile act of aggression by a hostile foreign power against the
nation member state. And --
GORANI: That is an act on one is an act on all. But that means NATO would have to respond to suspected Russian aggression.
HAWKES: Indeed. Absolutely. Now in reality that's just not going to happen.
HAWKES: But the prime minister certainly knows what she's doing and in using such strident language she is intending to send a very clear signal
and in some sense it's perhaps even a cry for help because there hasn't been this chorus of support of the British position and in the light of
this attack which is taking place some days ago now.
GORANI: So what are the options, I mean, apart from the obvious ones, increased sanctions, maybe the expulsion of a few diplomats, that the UK
has at its disposal?
HAWKES: Well, they're very limited. Very limited indeed. And it's the practicality but in international law term of course Russia was a state
party to the 1925 Geneva Protocol which outlaws these weapons. And their use is not permitted under any circumstances and there are going to be
consequences to that. And what I feel is she played some fairly cute politics here because she's forcing the Russians to come down at one side
or the other.
Was this Russian act by the Russian state or was in a rogue element? And if it was a rouge element --
HAWKES: Then that raises very serious questions about the storage of thousands of tons of these lethal material they have.
GORANI: It's what I was saying at the top of the hour. It's either if you can trace it back to Russia, either the Russian state behind it or somehow
a rogue entity got its hands on very lethal chemical weapons which is terrifying, of course. But individuals must've committed this act so you
have individuals who are behind it whether or not they have the backing of the state. Legally what can you do there?
HAWKES: Well, Russia is not a state party to the International Criminal Court. So that limits what you can do. But, for example, there's the
Interpol Red Notice Scheme, and I would expect to see a number of prominent individuals added to a Red Notice request with a view to that arrest and
potential extradition and prosecution.
GORANI: Yes. But it seems as though the legal avenues are limited and even if you, you know, increase sanctions on Russia or throw out a few
diplomats, it just seems like there are very limited tools here to respond.
HAWKES: There are without --
GORANI: Unless there's unity among other nations whether it's NATO or the EU.
HAWKES: Yes. Without escalating matters, without entering into an end game and we all know where that will lead. So that obviously won't happen.
But life can be made much more uncomfortable for the Russian state and Mr. Putin. This is a very sensitive time for Russia politically. And again I
feel that the prime minister was saying we are treating this exceptionally serious and we will take whatever measures we can to you. We will
understand that those are limited by their practicality.
GORANI: Malcolm Hawkes, thanks so much for joining us. We really appreciate your time on the program.
A lot more to come this evening. The Trump administration unveiled a set of proposals in the wake of the Florida school rampage. But will there be
any major changes to U.S. gun laws or will it be just about arming teachers? We'll be right back.
[16:20:34] GORANI: The White House has unveiled its proposals to combat gun violence nearly a month after the deadly shooting at a Florida high
school. But Donald Trump's plan falls short of the changes he first promoted.
Kaitlan Collins has the details.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump backing down from increasing the minimum age for purchasing certain
firearms, an idea strongly opposed by the NRA that the president repeatedly pushed for.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It doesn't make sense that I have to wait until I'm 21 to get a handgun, but I can get this weapon at
COLLINS: The shift coming after Mr. Trump publicly shamed Senators Toomey and Manchin for not including the measure in their gun control bill.
TRUMP: So I'm just curious as to what you did in your bill?
SEN. PAT TOOMEY, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: We didn't address it, Mr. President. Look, I think the --
TRUMP: You know why? Because you're afraid of the NRA. Right?
COLLINS: Instead, raising the age on gun purchases will be one of a range of issues studied by a new Federal School Safety Commission chaired by
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
LESLIE STAHL, "60 MINUTES": Do you feel a sense of urgency?
BETSY DEVOS, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Yes.
STAHL: Because this sounds like talking.
DEVOS: No. There is a sense --
STAHL: Instead of acting.
DEVOS: There is a sense of urgency, indeed.
COLLINS: But on Saturday, President Trump mocked the concept of these types of commissions to solve problems like the opioid epidemic.
TRUMP: We can't just keep setting up blue-ribbon committees. They talk, talk, talk, talk. Two hours later. Then they write a report.
COLLINS: The White House's proposal includes providing rigorous firearms training for specially qualified school personnel on a voluntary basis.
DEVOS: This is one solution that can and should be considered. But no one-size-fits-all. Every state and every community is going to address
this issue in a different way.
COLLINS: The administration also supports transitioning veterans and retired law enforcement to work in schools, adopting measures to allow law
enforcement to remove firearms from threatening individuals, overhauling and reforming mental health programs, and the Cornyn- Murphy Bill improving
reporting to the federal background check system.
The White House rolling out the gun proposal one day after the president's rambling and, at times, vulgar speech in Pennsylvania that was supposed to
focus on Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone. Instead the event felt more like a campaign rally for the president where he attacked
potential 2020 challengers.
TRUMP: Can you imagine covering Bernie or Pocahontas? Pocahontas, how about that? Oh, I'd love Oprah to win. I'd love to beat Oprah. I know
her weakness. No, no, I know her weakness.
COLLINS: And debuted this new campaign slogan.
TRUMP: Keep America great, exclamation point. Keep America great.
COLLINS: The president touting the steep tariffs he imposed last week on steel and aluminum imports and his potential summit with North Korea
dictator Kim Jong-un.
TRUMP: Who knows what's going to happen? I may leave fast or we may sit down and make the greatest deal for the world and for all of these
COLLINS: President Trump surprising aides by suggesting that drug dealers should be executed.
TRUMP: I think it's a discussion we have to start thinking about, don't you? I don't know if you're ready.
COLLINS: And raising eyebrows with what some Democrats call a racially charged attack on Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who has called for his
TRUMP: She's a low IQ individual. You can't help it. She really is.
GORANI: Well, there you have it. Let's head out now to Washington, Stephen Collinson joins us now with more. And the president is on the
offensive against his political enemies once again. Journalists and his proposed plan for responding to gun violence in schools has nothing to do
with fewer guns but more guns even in the hands of teachers.
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER: That's right, Hala. I think the best way to describe this plan would be modest and is far more
modest in fact than the present led us to believe it would be when he held that events at the White House a couple of weeks ago that you remember in
which he shocked Republican senators, he accused him of being scared of the NRA. And he looked like he was going to go for something comprehensive and
really something quite significant after the Parkland shooting.
What has emerged is the White House basically saying well, the president is not going to press ahead with his plan right now to raise the age at which
you can buy a long rifle such that was used in the shooting because there aren't enough votes in Congress. So it seems like the president has been
somewhat cowed by the political situation.
[16:25:03] After all this was a man who when he ran for office said that nobody knew the system like him and he could beat the system but now he
appears to be blaming the system and the fact that he can't just write laws for the (INAUDIBLE) his ambition on this issue.
GORANI: And as I mentioned he's insulting journalists left, right and center. Everybody is talking about Chuck Todd. He -- this is the NBC News
anchor and this is what he had to say about him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You ever see the story where I'm -- it's 1999, I'm on "Meet the Press," a show now headed by sleepy eyes Chuck Todd. He's a sleeping son
of a bitch, I'll tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: All right. I mean, sometimes I hesitate to even those in the show but it's so outrageous. I mean you're calling a journal a son of a bitch.
What has been the reaction to that in the U.S.?
COLLINSON: Well, on the one hand this isn't new. The president has torched journalists throughout his presidency. But you have to stop and
think that this is the president of the United States who is openly attacking a journalist, a prominent journalist, in a speech in which he
also instructed the crowd to boo the reporters that were at that venue in Pennsylvania but told then to stop booing Kim Jong-un, you know, who is
regarded as a murderous dictator who the president is planning to meet.
So you can see how Trump has turned things on his head. There is concern among Trump's Republican colleagues, people like Jeff Flake who've spoken
up about this, and who argue that if you have the president of the United States saying these kinds of things, abdicating his traditional lull of
pushing for press freedom and human rights, you're causing a problem around the world.
The president of course has stood with President Duterte of the Philippines for example.
COLLINSON: Other dictators have started using his phrase fake news to crack down on --
COLLINSON: So I think it raises real questions --
GORANI: In the Middle East you hear it.
COLLINSON: -- about freedom of the press.
GORANI: It's definitely a term now that's being picked up in the Middle East and other countries and many autocracies where the leadership is
uncomfortable with the free press. You're hearing that term fake news bandied about and then Steve Bannon, everybody remembers him, the former
advisor to President Trump, he is trying to spread sort of Trumpism here in Europe. He spoke during the weekend to a gathering on right-wing National
Front supporters and friends. This is the party of Marine Le Pen. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: Let them call you racist. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear
it as a badge of honor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: What's going on here? Are we trying to -- is Bannon trying to export his political ideology to Europe?
COLLINSON: I think in many ways he's trying to make a comeback and make a headline, of course, because he was ousted from the White House and broke
with the president on that book that he was a large source for -- by Michael Wolff.
COLLINSON: Which offered a very unflattering picture of the presidency, but at the same time, you know, Bannon was appearing at National Front
rally, in some ways it was a union of spent political forces or diminished political forces given the struggles the National Front has had since the
French election as well.
COLLINSON: I mean, had he gone to Germany or Italy perhaps and given that message it might have had more resonance and relevance given the sort of --
the rise in the right wing nationalist forces there. And one other thing of course is that President Trump, as he's showed by his Paris announcement
last week, is that he doesn't really need Steve Bannon to indulge his populist nationalist economic theories, so I guess Steve Bannon is going
around the world trying to sort of profit by his association with the president but perhaps is being more noticed there right now across the
Atlantic than he is in the United States.
GORANI: All right, thanks very much. Stephen Collinson in Washington with more on news from the wm.
Still to come tonight, Theresa May says it's highly likely a Russian double agent was poisoned by Moscow and points to a Soviet-era nerve agent. Much
more on our breaking news ahead.
[16:30:00] HALA GORANI, CNN: Let's bring you right up to date with the latest on a dramatic day here in the U.K. The British Prime Minister is
making some very serious allegations against Moscow.
Theresa May has told parliament that it is quote, "highly likely that Russia is behind the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his
daughter. The Russian ambassador here in the U.K. has been summoned to explain.
But the Russian foreign ministry's spokeswoman calls the Prime Minister's speech a circus show in the British parliament. Theresa May singled out a
powerful nerve agent novichok developed by the Soviet Union decades ago as the poison used in the attack.
Let's bring in our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson for more. Novichok, many people might not be familiar with that word, what does it
tell us, that the U.K. via Theresa May is so publicly saying that's what it was.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: This is an agent that was developed by the Soviet Union in the '70s and '80s with a specific
reason to get around international controls. It wasn't an agent that wouldn't be recognized by current at that time detection systems that it
could be moved around -- let's say throughout calls and things like that without being detected.
So this is why it was developed. It's a whole family of agents at the very sort of weaker end of the spectrum, it is you know, essentially a bug
killer at the high grade and novichok 5, novichok 7. At the high grade end, this is something that's three, eight times stronger than BX nerve
This appears to have incapacitated, rendered immovable over perhaps a number of minutes. So this is an agent that we understand that would need
-- gem would leave you key -- the two pre-cursors that make it, you keep them separate -- this is an agent that has been designed to be used in a
We got the most nerve agents come in a liquid or --
GORANI: Gas --
ROBERTSON: Than gaseous form --
GORANI: Yes --
ROBERTSON: We don't know precisely the details of this --
GORANI: Can you travel with it?
ROBERTSON: In theory, yes, this is what it was designed for. It was an agent that was designed to be traveled with and used away from the place of
its creation. We don't know what all the test that have been done on miscellaneous(ph) existed now for decades and decades.
GORANI: What I find interesting is that Sergei Skripal and Yulia, his daughter went to an Italian restaurant and a pub and then were found
slumped on a park bench. Which means that if the poison was administered before they did all of those things, they had no knowledge of it, otherwise
it would have stopped medical attention.
So it's interesting to me how, you know, this could have been done -- it's a question I have. How this could have been done in a discreet enough way
that they weren't aware that they had been --
ROBERTSON: And at least, can you include discreet again, murdered with --
GORANI: In a --
ROBERTSON: Some polonium 210 administered in a pot of tea in a busy hotel cafe area. And then he fell ill some -- you know, some days later. So
this is a very brazen move, and of the fact that it put so many people in the immediate facility at that immediate moment of risk.
In the case of Litvinenko, the tea pot that was discovered later --
GORANI: Yes --
[16:35:00] ROBERTSON: In the kitchen was still radioactive. The waste pipe where the two murderers had washed their hands after administering it
was also radioactive. But we now know that there's a possibility of this sort of broader contamination of the people that were in the restaurant --
GORANI: And --
ROBERTSON: And in the pub as well.
GORANI: And it's a very important -- I sat in the bar of the hotel where he was poisoned, Litvinenko. And to think how many people in very close
proximity to that man might have come in contact with radioactive material.
How many hundreds of people have potentially come into contact with this nerve agent. This is just a reckless -- this isn't just murdering two
people, it's endangering hundreds, if not thousands.
ROBERTSON: And this is why there's so much pressure on Theresa May right now because this is -- this is an issue where people come and look at this
and say well, that was just a former Soviet agent who was murdered, and there was no real risk to the other people sitting around him.
This is a case where potentially thousands of British citizens have been put at risk, where we don't know, was Skripal a British subject to that
time? But certainly we know that he worked as a double agent, so he would essentially have been an asset of the state in legal terms.
So it could have been targeted for the Russians as is the implication at this stage, and Theresa May has asked them to clear up the precise nature
of it. It appears that an agent of the state in international legal terms has been targeted here which would allow the government some preempt of
response if they knew they were likely to be targeted in that way again or British subject as well.
GORANI: All right, Nic Robertson, thanks so much for joining us, all of this comes days before Russia's presidential election set for this Sunday
when Vladimir Putin is seeking to win a fourth term.
Joining me now from Berlin is Vladimir Kara-Murza; vice chairman of Open Russia. He says the Kremlin has tried to poison him not once, but twice.
Thanks for being with us Mr. Kara-Murza.
First of all, when you heard from London, Theresa May say no military grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. What went through your mind?
VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA, VICE CHAIRMAN, OPEN RUSSIA MOVEMENT: Well, I think that part of the main point of the whole story is there's a question of
reputation when the moment this news became known of disposing Salisbury.
The vast majority of people immediately straight away assumed that this was somehow or rather connected to the Putin regime, to the current Russian
government. And it has to be said that this reputation is well-deserved whether or not this is proven in this particular case and as I understand
The investigations and the probes are still ongoing, but it is just, you know, a very well established fact that many people who have crossed the
path of the Kremlin, not just former security sole sources but also independent journalists, political dissidents, anti-corruption campaigners
and others have left this life because very often strange circumstances very often as a result of poisoning.
And in quite a few cases, this is happened as we know on British soil. You've just been talking about the case of Alexander Litvinenko, there's
GORANI: Yes --
KARA-MURZA: A very well-known case of Alexander Perepilichnyy who was a whistleblower and the Magnitsky case who turned --
GORANI: Right --
KARA-MURZA: Over some documents relating to a large scale corruption fraud scheme involving Russian government officials. He suddenly dropped dead in
(INAUDIBLE), at the age of 44 with no apparent health problems.
In 2012, the inquest into his case is still ongoing, but I think a problem underlying all of this, all of these cases is the lackluster response
frankly of the British government or past British governments, the same happening as a result --
GORANI: Yes, and I was going to ask you this, Vladimir Kara-Murza, what should the response be because I've asked a range of guests about this, and
pretty much, all of them say there's really only so much the U.K. can do.
There are a few sanctions they could impose, a few diplomats they could expel and that's pretty much it. What do you think would be an appropriate
and effective response if indeed Russia is behind this?
KARA-MURZA: Well, first of all, not Russia, but the Putin regime, please don't equate the two --
GORANI: Yes --
KARA-MURZA: And I think the --
GORANI: Sure --
KARA-MURZA: Most effective and the most appropriate response would be a response that several countries, several western democracies both in Europe
and in North America have already taken, and that is to introduce targeted personal individual sanctions, not in Russia, not general sanctions in
Russia as a country, but targeted individual sanctions on specific individuals, the oligarchs and officials in Putin's regime who are involved
in corruption and are involved in human rights abuse.
Five countries as of today have passed these laws called the Magnitsky laws named a memory of a Russian anti-corruption lawyer who was killed in a
Moscow prison. And these laws basically laid down a very simple principle that people who engage in these types of things, who engage in corruption,
who engage in human rights violations will no longer be allowed to receive visas in those countries, own assets in those countries and use the
financial and the banking system of those countries because you know, there's this phenomenal hypocrisy and phenomenal double standard at the
heart of the Putin regime.
[16:40:00] When the people who violate and abuse and attack the most basic norms of democracy in Russia want to use the privileges and enjoy the
privileges of democracy in western countries and in the United Kingdom as well being as you well know a particularly favored destination.
So I think it is high time for the British parliament to introduce and pass its own Magnitsky law that would make it clear that people who are involved
in corruption and human --
GORANI: Right --
KARA-MURZA: Rights abuses will no longer be welcome on British soil and in British banks.
GORANI: And certainly, we are expecting the government here, Theresa May; the Prime Minister who says there will be a response to announce something
slightly more forceful than maybe what we've seen in the past particularly after high profile assassinations like that of Alexander Litvinenko.
But if indeed the Kremlin is behind this or the Kremlin is aware, whatever the case may be, why do it now? We have an election coming up on Sunday.
KARA-MURZA: Well, we have a so-called election coming up on Sunday. Of course, when people talk about elections in Vladimir Putin's Russia, we
have to put this one in quotation marks.
Because for many years now, we have not had a free, fair and democratic election in Russia, and you don't have to take my word for it, just go back
and look at the reports of the international observation missions from the Council of Europe and from the organization for security and cooperation in
Not a single national election in Russia after the year 2000, parliamentary or presidential was assessed as being free, fair or democratic. And this
will certainly be the case again this coming Sunday on the 18th of March.
And even if we forget about all the kind of the smaller ways that the Kremlin has manipulated and controlling the electoral process when they
control access --
GORANI: Oh, yes --
KARA-MURZA: To the media, when they apply pressure on voters, when they actually rig and falsify the final vote tallies, all of which is also
happening. But I think frankly, there's enough to mention just one basic fact about the Russian presidential election or so-called presidential
election of 2018.
There were two major opposition figures who are planning to challenge Vladimir Putin for the presidency in 2018. One is Boris Nemtsov; the
former deputy prime minister of Russia, the leader of the Russian Democratic Opposition.
And the other was Alexei Navalny; the prominent anti-corruption --
GORANI: Yes --
KARA-MURZA: Activist who spent the past year campaigning all across the country, neither of them will be on the ballot this Sunday. Boris Nemtsov,
because he was killed three years ago on a bridge in front of the Kremlin, and Alexei Navalny, because he was deliberated disenfranchised, blocked
from the ballot by decision of the Russian court which was already by the way overturned by the European court of human rights.
You know, it's not --
GORANI: Yes --
KARA-MURZA: Difficult to win an election when your opponents are not actually on the ballot. And when people speak about the supposed high
popularity of Vladimir Putin, well, people in the west and the media and expert community in political circles repeat this Kremlin assertion that
Vladimir Putin is so highly popular among Russian citizens.
I think it's important to remind ourselves that the so-called popularity of Mr. Putin has never, not once been tested in a free and fair election
GORANI: No --
KARA-MURZA: Genuine opponents.
GORANI: Vladimir Kara-Murza joining us from Berlin, thanks so much for your time this evening on this day of breaking news coming from London
KARA-MURZA: Thank you --
GORANI: Theresa May saying that a military grade nerve agent was used to - - in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. A lot more to come this evening.
The viral video that divided the internet. Palestinian teenager Ahed Tamimi, is she a martyr or as some in Israel call her a menace. We'll
bring you her story next.
[16:45:00] GORANI: To some, she's a hero, a symbol of resistance against military occupation. To others, she's a trouble maker and she's hungry for
publicity with staged provocations. When Palestinian Ahed Tamimi was filmed punching and kicking a heavily armed Israeli-soldier last year, it
touched a nerve worldwide and ignited some debates.
Tamimi is now in the custody of the Israeli military charged with 12 counts included -- including aggravated assault. Her trial was set to resume
March 21st, Ian Lee has the story.
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This video proved too much for Israel, Ahed Tamimi; a young Palestinian punching and kicking a heavily
armed soldier. Days later, the army arrested her in a night time operation.
Ahed's father Bassem shows us where she was sleeping when they came for her.
BASSEM AL-TAMIMI, FATHER OF AHED TAMIMI: (SPEAKING ARABIC) and he told me that they've come to arrest her.
LEE: Looking around Ahed's room, it's like many teenagers, their school books, a doll and a poster of her hero.
AL-TAMIMI: Always when they ask her what she will dream, she said I would like to be a football player. If you see here, she watches Messi, but she
said the occupation destroyed my dream and broke my dream and I now plan to study law.
LEE: Ahed's slap occurred right outside the family house in the West Bank village of Nabi Salih. An Israeli army checkpoint sits at the entrance,
and just beyond the Israeli settlement of Halamish. On any given Friday, pops of tear gas hang over the village, past battles between the Israeli
army and Palestinian protesters litter the ground.
From one perspective, the remnants of resistance against occupation from the other violence, even terror against Israel. So much between the two
sides here is contested. Shortly before Ahed hit out at the soldier, her 15-year-old Mohammed was wounded.
The family says he was shot in the head by a rubber bullet. The army claimed on Facebook that he confessed after being interrogated that he had
fallen off his bike and that anything else was fake news.
The family released what it said were medical records and a scan saying it proved he was shot. A senior Israeli army official tells Cnn it's
investigating the new information.
The Tamimi's are well-known for their activism. Ahed rose to fame roughly six years ago when a photo and video of her confronting a soldier went
viral. Social media now documents every showdown, creating a folk hero for the Palestinian cause, a mirror popped up on the streets of Gaza,
celebrities, Danny Glover, Rosario Dawson and Sarah Silverman have called for her release.
Well, artistes and supporters lionize the young Palestinian, the Israeli government and much of Israeli society sees a villain, and instead praises
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Believe me, those soldiers were heroes because they didn't act, they were calm and they behaved in a perfect way. But you
know, this is a bit theatrics(ph) too, she slapped on the face of a soldier.
LEE: Is that considered a terrorist --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No --
LEE: Act then?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all, it's an act of terror because you cannot take it out of context. Do you know if she has a fluffy(ph) belt
under her shirt or something? Do you know that?
LEE: The Israeli army brought 12 charges against Ahed Tamimi including aggravated assault against a soldier, threatening a soldier and incitement.
Serious charges to bring against a teenager.
The soldiers serving in the West Bank say the threats they face is real.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It is indeed a war. The moment somebody comes with the intention of carrying out an attack, it doesn't
matter how old they are, we will deal with them for the security of the state.
Back at the family home, father Bassem considers the news that emerged recently. That an Israeli parliamentary committee once investigated
whether his family was real or made of actors.
In one sense, he says the family are actors if the world is a stage.
AL-TAMIMI: Yes, we have the right to make -- to make a movie, to convince the people by our issue.
[16:50:00] And if it's -- Ahed is -- then is a -- she's an actor. That means the soldier is an actor. Why they charge her for slapping an actor?
LEE: A performance with real world consequences, Ahed is being held in over a military prison. She celebrated her 17th birthday there last
January. Her mother Nariman is also there and facing trial.
The family's lawyer Gaby Lasky says the process is a sham.
GABY LASKY, HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: I am going to argue that the occupation is illegal, and so this court cannot be holding trials because of the
illegality of the occupation and then we will get into the indictment to show how the indictment in itself is -- it is an indictment that only wants
to deter Ahed and other young people from resisting occupation --
LEE: On the trial's opening day, Ahed entered smiling, searching for her father. In the back Bassem yells, Ahed, be strong my darling.
Observers from here and around the world are following the story closely. And both sides in the conflict know it. Ian Lee, Cnn, Jerusalem.
GORANI: We'll be posting this story on our Facebook page, facebook.com/halagoranicnn, and I hope you'll visit us there and check it
out and let me know your thoughts. More to come including -- well, meet a woman trying to solve one of the world's toughest crash problems, we'll
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM ADAMS, MUSICIAN: The definition of freedom is love. And when you truly love, you don't want to harm anyone, you look -- you see different
than you appreciated, you see struggle, you want to make sure you do your best to help people out that are struggling, so freedom is love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: American musician Will I. Am. telling the world what freedom means to him. You can do the same using the hashtag my freedom day. It is a
student led-day of action against modern day slavery, it's this Wednesday, March 14th and we will have a special programming to market.
Now we all know that football fans are passionate, we get it, but one club owner has taken it to the extreme. This is the owner; one of Greece's
biggest teams invading the pitch after the referee disallowed a last minute goal. Bad enough, right?
It's terrible when that happens to your team, but here's the thing, he did it with a gun holstered to his waist. The game was abandoned and the whole
league has now been suspended indefinitely, hashtag thanks a lot.
Cnn has been bringing you the stories of young scientists, entrepreneurs and inventors in a special series. Their innovations are inspiring and
likely it will make a difference for our environment going forward. We call these individuals tomorrow's heroes. Take a look.
SANJAY GUPTA, NEUROSURGEON & MEDICAL REPORTER: Every time you throw away a plastic bottle, it doesn't just disappear. It lives on for hundreds of
years, and it's why tomorrow's hero Miranda Wang has come up with a solution that helps keep plastic waste from ruining our oceans.
[16:55:00] MIRANDA WANG, ENTREPRENEUR: Globally, only 8 percent of plastic packaging is being recycled. The majority of it has been land filled and a
lot of it goes into the ocean. Frankly, our world hasn't been moving forward in innovating plastic recycling for the past decade.
My name is Miranda Wang, I'm 23 years old, I am an entrepreneur and innovator, and I am the co-founder of Bio-selection. I have been working
on developing innovation to solve the plastic problem ever since I was 17 years old.
My high school best friend and I took a few trips to waste transport station in Quebec, Canada, and we were just astounded by how much plastic
packaging goes to landfill.
We actually don't know how long it takes for plastics to break down. There are numbers around the world, saying it takes longer than a 1,500 years.
About half of the Peninsula in the summer's go bay area, everyday 11 metric tons of this material is being recovered at a partner facility, that's
about the same weight as about three to four commercial trucks.
So imagine how much filmier(ph) it takes to make up that weight, considering each plastic bag only weighs about three to five grand. What
we have developed is an innovative process, and this process can be used at large scale to process tons and tons of material around the world every
We're using catalysts that can break down plastics but basically unlocking a mechanism that allows the plastics to have a chain reaction of itself.
We are taking dirty plastics -- right now, we're focusing on films that are not recyclable.
We turn them into chemicals that are essential pre-cursors for products such as nylon yarn and also nylon resin that can be used to make products
in automotive and apparel industries. Right now, we're able to achieve about 70 percent conversion from plastic waste material to the chemicals.
My dream is to be able to see that, something that's -- you know, sad piece of plastic that right now would go to the oceans or landfill could be used
to make a brand new Patagonia jacket or a brand new pair of running shoes.
When it comes to solving these massive world problems that we have, many of the answers are imbedded in technology. There's so much creativity out
there, so much knowledge in our world, I believe we're able to solve all of them if we try.
GORANI: Thanks for watching, I'm Hala Gorani, stay with Cnn, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.