Return to Transcripts main page


U.K. and Australia Accuse Russia of Global Cyber Attacks; U.S. Senators to Read FBI's Kavanaugh Report; U.S. Navy Planning Exercises to Warn China; Indonesia Disaster; British Prime Minister Theresa May Calls for Unity; Russian Military Intelligence Accused of Cyberattacks; U.S. Withdraws From Iran Treaty After Ruling; Saudi Critic Enters Consulate and Goes Missing. Aired 12m-1a ET

Aired October 4, 2018 - 00:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A global cyber attack campaign targeting politics, business, media and sports. The U.K. and Australia issue a joint statement pointing the finger squarely at Russia.

There is also an FBI investigation Into Judge Kavanaugh are in and the U.S. Senate is already pushing ahead with his nomination. A vote expected by week's end.

Plus a Saudi journalist and critic of the crown prince has vanished in Istanbul, pitting the kingdom against the Turkish government to unravel the mystery.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world , I'm Rosemary Church. This is CNN NEWSROOM.


CHURCH: Britain and Australia are accused Russia of a series of global cyber attacks including one it's long been suspected of, the attempt to disrupt the U.S. presidential election two years ago.

These alleged attacks go far beyond politics. The British foreign office says in a statement the U.K. and its allies can expose a campaign by the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, of indiscriminate and reckless cyber attacks targeting political institutions, businesses, media and sport.

CNN's Nina dos Santos is following all of these developments from London, she joins us now live.

Good to see you, Nina.

So what are you learning about this and what proof do Australia and the U.K. have that Russia was behind these global cyber attacks? NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Well, I think about that question first, Rosemary. They're being tightlipped understandably about how they've managed to pinpoint Russia, specifically the GRU, because that is the important part of the statement.

They are saying that they have a high degree of confidence that the GRU, the military espionage wing in Russia, is behind a number of these cyber attacks for those high profile ones that didn't necessarily happen inside or affect the United Kingdom per se but they are saying that these four specific reeling not just to Russia but to the GRU.

What is significant about that is that very often having covered the cyber security apparatus here in the United Kingdom, the intelligence sector, you often won't hear government bodies come out and specifically point to a state actor, let alone point to a particular espionage agency inside one country.

Often they leave that to the private sector. But what happened this time is we've got these four key attacks as you mentioned, the hacking of the DNC service being one of them, also the hacking of Ukrainian Metro station, that's real material impact on people trying to go about their day-to-day businesses, and the hacking of a small U.K.- based television station, not to mention the World Anti-Doping Agency's results with some of those results of high profile sporting celebrities having been posted online.

Obviously they're saying that these are specific targeted attacks by the GRU. And the second part of the statement that is also very important is that they have listed for the first time publicly 12 cyber actors, including famous names like Fancy Bear and ABT28, which are known to be cyber hacking groups.

But it is the first time that they said they're fronts for the GRU.

CHURCH: So, Nina, where is this all going?

What do the U.K. and Australia hope to achieve by going public with these accusations?

DOS SANTOS: My suspicion is that they probably won't be the only countries that are going to be talking about this today. It may well be that this is just the start of the drumbeat, if you like, of countries coming out against, putting pressure on specifically the GRU largely because we know that the GRU has, since the annexation of Crimea, become the go-to agency if you like in Russia for the Kremlin, according to a number of security specialists I've been speaking to.

Obviously the GRU's tactics are not pinpointed into cyberspace. The GRU has been accused by the U.K. as being behind the plot to poison Sergei Skripal and Australia's intention in this is significant because although even in its statement it says Australia didn't suffer the same material impact that some countries in the Northern Hemisphere have, Australia is key because of its geographical position and it's part of the simple fly-bys intelligence sharing agreement with countries like Canada, countries like New Zealand, the United States and the U.K., specifically share signals intelligence.

So obviously a cyber definitely come under that agreement.

CHURCH: Many --


CHURCH: -- thanks to Nina dos Santos, joining us live from London, just after 5 o'clock in the morning, many thanks.

Now to Washington where senators are expected to start reading the FBI's updated background report on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in just a few hours from now in fact.

President Trump ordered the investigation after Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school.

Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation this week regardless of what's in that report. Protesters opposed to Kavanaugh marched outside the Supreme Court and in cities around the country Wednesday.

But the White House says it's time to stop delaying and let the Senate vote, take a listen.


SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh are victims at the hands of the Democrats. I think it is absolutely disgraceful what they've done and exploited this process.

They exploited Dr. Ford. They are exploiting all of the women that have come out to make any type of accusation. This isn't the process that should've been done and certainly everybody deserves to be heard.

But that includes Judge Kavanaugh and that should be part of this process and the facts have to be looked at. And I think you have to look at the prosecutor's memo. Those are where you see all of those facts laid out and I think he makes a very compelling case.


CHURCH: Sarah Sanders there.

So joining me now from Los Angeles, Peter Matthews is a professor of political science at Cypress College.

Great to have you with us.


CHURCH: Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has set the first vote for Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation on Friday in just a few hours from now. Of course, all U.S. senators by then will have read the FBI report and all eyes will be on Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.

How are they likely to vote on this?

What signals are they giving?

And how surprised are you that the vote is set for Friday regardless of what's in that report?

MATTHEWS: Well, we don't have the vote yet because it depends on what's on the report when they read it.

However, this goes far beyond the specific vote. It has to do with the disrespect for women in general. And a Supreme Court justice that the Republicans are pushing, like this man, Kavanaugh, is going to set the country back by 40 or 50 years because he gets to be there for his lifetime.

And it is a problem when they don't even allow a proper FBI investigation that would clear up and get to the bottom of what happened possibly to Dr. Ford and the other two women who were also there, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick.

Julie wasn't even allowed to be interviewed by the White House and their stipulation and this is incredibly -- this not only is dissing women, it's not respecting them in any way at all as full human beings.

To be heard, these accusations Dr. Ford has made, which is very serious and we know the psychology and sociology of it, when women who have been sexually assaulted, it takes a long time for them to be recovered, even to think of speaking of it.

So to say that why didn't she come out 36 years ago was so disingenuous by President Trump when he made that -- and to mock her yesterday, to mock her at a rally and mock her testimony was --


CHURCH: Yes, indeed, and of course Brett Kavanaugh's roommate in his freshman year at Yale, James Roche (ph), was on CNN Wednesday evening. He said Kavanaugh lied under oath when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. And he says he knows this because he frequently saw Kavanaugh return to his room, stumbling drunk, incoherent after a night out to the point of throwing up.

But that's not what Kavanaugh said in his testimony. Roche (ph) also says that he believes the second accuser, Deborah Ramirez. But the FBI has not interviewed Roche.

Why is that, do you think?

And should Kavanaugh's drinking habits be part of this investigation, given other classmates are saying similar things about his drinking?

MATTHEWS: Absolutely, it should be part of the investigation because this is Supreme Court justice we're talking about. The highest court in the land and just a judicial review. He gets to rule on the rulings of other branches of government and gets to say whether they're unconstitutional or constitutional.

It is a very supreme power as the name suggests. And to put a man like this on for the next 30,40, 50 years is very serious and he's not a man of integrity, of personal integrity who we can -- who can be trusted to go by his principles in voting on these issues.

You can't have him on Supreme Court. You should not have him on there. And so, of course, you should bring in as much testimony as need be and these people should have been put under oath by the Senate committee.

For example, Mark Judge was not brought in to speak under oath of the senators themselves. I think it's a big cover-up and a camouflage and they're ramming this thing through because they know that if this was investigated fully, more than likely, Kavanaugh will not pass the muster.

CHURCH: Mark Judge has been investigated by the FBI. He has spoken to them and we are yet to hear what he had to say. But it is not only classmates who were speaking out right now.

A letter just published in "The New York Times" says that the Senate should not confirm Kavanaugh and it is signed by more than 650 law professors. I do want to read part of it to you and to our viewers.


CHURCH: "Judicial temperament is one of the most important qualities of a judge. As a congressional research service explains, a judge requires a personality that is evenhanded, unbiased, impartial, courteous yet firm and dedicated to a process, not a result.

"The concern for judicial temperament dates back to our founding."

It goes on to say, "We are law professors who teach, research and write about the judicial institutions of this country. Many of us appear in state and federal court and our work means that we will continue to do so, including before the United States Supreme Court.

"We regret that we feel compelled to write to you, our senator, to provide our views that, at the Senate hearings on September 27th, Judge Brett Kavanaugh displayed a lack of judicial temperament that would be disqualifying for any court and certainly for elevation to the highest court of this land."

So, Peter Matthews, this letter will be presented to the Senate in the morning in just a few hours from now.

Will it make any difference?

MATTHEWS: Probably not with the Republican senators who are going to ramrod this thing through. And what that statement said was very important and very true. I watched the Kavanaugh's testimony and it was exactly what these law professors are saying. He exhibited the character that goes completely against what a judicial temperament would be and that's going to have a major impact on his rulings on the court. And that's why I think they should take note that Supreme Court justices can be impeached even if they're on the bench.

In fact, I think one was impeached but not removed. But they can be impeached and removed by the House and the Senate.

So this is not over yet. And if I were Judge Kavanaugh, I would want to have a thorough investigation of my past, what I have done, to clear my name and to not have any kind of cloud hanging over me with the -- that could bring about a possible process of impeachment once I'm in office.

That would be very traumatic for the country and also for Kavanaugh himself.

So why not have a complete investigation?

It looks like Mitch McConnell and the Republican leadership in the Senate is adamant to get this man through to have the kind of votes that President Trump wants to turn this country back, the clock back by many, many years.

CHURCH: Peter Matthews, thank you so much for joining us, bringing us your perspective and analysis. We do appreciate it.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

CHURCH: The U.S. Navy is said to be drawing up plans for a huge show of military force as a warning to China. U.S. Defense officials say the Navy is recommending the Pacific Fleet conduct a series of exercises involving U.S. warships, combat aircraft and troops.

It would happen during the week in November near China's territorial waters in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait. Neither the Pentagon nor the Pacific Fleet would acknowledge or comment on this proposal.

Let's turn to Steven Jiang. He joins us now live from Beijing with more on this.

Steven, where is this all going?

And how concerned should the region be at this time?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: Rosemary, now this is still a proposal. It is on the drawing board but if this plan does go ahead, I think it's going to be a very clear and serious warning to China and also to demonstrate the U.S. military's readiness to a counter the Chinese efforts, military efforts in the region.

Now this story broke just a few days after that near miss by the two countries' warships in the region. We have been reporting that we've seen the photos; at one point the two warships were as close as only 41 meters apart. Now the U.S., of course, has accused the Chinese captain of making an unsafe maneuver. The Chinese denied it but the underlying reason, according to some analysts for that to happen, was the Chinese had become increasingly aggressive.

The Chinese have seen the U.S. military's vulnerabilities in the region based on a series of mishaps and accidents in the region in the past few years. So this latest plan could be the Pentagon's way of addressing the issue, telling the Chinese we are still more than capable of dealing with you.

Another thing to note, Rosemary, is the tactics laid out in this plan. They're not new in terms of sending ships and airplanes to the region Including, Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.

But it is the scale and intensity that are going to set the sub plan apart. That is the very sudden congregation within a very short period of time of a large number of U.S. military assets in the region. That is going to be a very unmistakable message to Beijing.

Now here's a special worry, Rosemary. If the Beijing government respond quickly and furiously, there could always be a chance of miscalculation on either part. That could trigger something worse and even disastrous, even though right now the Pentagon insists they have plan to engage the Chinese military in combat -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, that is always the concern in these situations, isn't it. Many thanks to Steven Jiang, joining us from Beijing, where it is 12:15 in the afternoon.

In Indonesia, hopes of finding anyone alive in the rubble are fading fast. Nearly a week after the earthquake and tsunami.


CHURCH: More than 1,400 people are confirmed dead, but all along warnings that many bodies may still be buried under collapsed buildings.

The Indonesian Red Cross was the first to reach the village of Petobo, home to nearly 500 people. Rescuers say that village walls obliterated. It simply no longer exists. More now from CNN's Matt Rivers.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The village of Petobo is gone. Earthquakes destroyed a lot of places but not many end up that way by being sucked into the ground.

When this one struck, the land acted more like a lake. It's called liquefaction.

So what happened during this natural phenomenon was that the ground that was solid underneath these houses and the people and the cars of this village essentially became like a liquid, which meant all the things on top that subsumed into the ground below, while mud rose up and the result is this, this hellscape that rescuers have no really no chance of digging through quickly and which means that we know there are still people buried inside this ground that have no chance of being rescued.

The destruction here is utterly complete, 744 houses were buried, many with people inside. The searchers looking for them are exhausted and outmatched.

All of that is the reality facing those who made it out.

In this makeshift tent across town we find an extended family all from Petobo sharing one tent. To a person it's story after story of just surviving.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I saw houses rolling and the ground breaking open. A lot of people fell inside. It's thanks to God I am alive now with my children.

RIVERS: Moriatin Galanu (ph) knew the only way to escape was to take her family and run.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We fell down into the mud and looked like the mud was sucking us in. The mud was alive.

RIVERS: They pulled their way out and parents didn't. She believes they're among the dead.

(INAUDIBLE) got stuck in the mud, as well, holding her 3-month-old daughter. The mud got up to her chest before she was saved.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I lifted up my baby. I was so lucky because there were people who helped me.

RIVERS: She made it out but her mother was stuck, too. Her mom told her to leave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I said, "My daughter, please just leave me. Let me die here. The most important thing is to save your baby. Your baby is much more important."

But she said, "No, no. I want you to live."

I surrendered.

RIVERS: And three generations of family made it out safely. It was against the odds for all of the people in the tent to make it out. There are cuts and bruises and bandages show that. They call themselves the fortunate ones. Here on Sulawesi, calling yourself lucky has a low bar these days -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Palu, Indonesia.


CHURCH: So many difficult stories to tell there. We're going to take a very short break here. But still to come, Theresa May tries to win over a tough crowd with some dance moves and a few one-liners. The prime minister's message to Brexit critics in her own party.





CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

British prime minister Theresa May is getting praise for her speech at the Conservative Party conference. It started with some dance moves, included some self-deprecating jokes and ended with a message to her Brexit critics: let's stick together to get the best deal for Britain.

Our Bianca Nobilo has the details.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prime Minister Theresa May danced her way to a successful end of a conference that got off to a bumpy start. Theresa May, gave her keynote address to close the Conservative Party conference today and she entered in a surprising way.

After showcasing her sense of humor, the Prime Minister addressed Brexit. She said that the party needed to unify or risk no Brexit at all. She also addressed the people's vote campaign for a second referendum, saying the people have voted and they voted to leave.

Here's what she said about the possibility of walking away without the deal.


THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Some people asked me to rule out, no deal. But if I did that, I would weaken our negotiating position and have to agree to whatever the E.U. offers.

And at the moment that would mean accepting one of two things, either a deal that keeps us in the E.U. in orbit name, keeps free movement, keeps vast annual payments and stops the signing trade deals with other countries or a deal that carves off Northern Ireland, a part of this country, effectively leaving it in the E.U.'s customs union.


NOBILO: For a politician not known for her ability to command a room or be charismatic, Theresa May's conference speech today will be seen as a success. And it comes off the back of a rocky conference beginning.

There was an embarrassing data breach on the first day of conference, exposing contact details and personal information of key members of government. And then, Boris Johnson, despite only arriving yesterday, dominated the headlines of the early part of conference.

He then arrived on Tuesday and gave a rousing address where he encouraged his audience to chuck Theresa May's Chequers plan.

BORIS JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF STATE, BRITISH FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Do not believe them finally, when they say there is no other plan and no alternative. This is the moment to chuck Chequers.

NOBILO: May's speech received an overwhelmingly positive reception inside the hall. Some of her own MPs called it her best speech yet. But how far that speech resonated outside of the Conservative Party conference remains to be seen.

It does seem likely, though, that for a premiership so surrounded in constant speculation about how long May will survive as a leader, the speech today has bought her a little breathing space -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, Birmingham.



CHURCH: Let's get more on all this from our European Affairs Commentator Dominic Thomas. Good to see you, Dominic. Hi, Rosemary.


CHURCH: So, Theresa May took to the stage, moving to the beat of Abba's Dancing Queen. Did she successfully turn things around for herself and for her Brexit plan, do you think?

THOMAS: Right. Well, last year's Conservative Party conference went so bad with the coughing and all the interruptions that she had to find some kind of new prop that would sort of -- you know, detract from, from that particular thing.

So, she came out and tried to take this Abba song to sound an upbeat after what had been a fairly and relatively depressing Conservative Party conference.

She outlined a number of domestic issues that had to do with housing, health care, the future of the economy. But ultimately, none of those questions will mean anything to anybody until the Brexit issue is solved, then we have a better idea as to what the United Kingdom will look like going forward.

So, then the rest of the speech concentrated on -- partly on Brexit where she reiterated her fondness not for Boris Johnson's plan, although, she didn't mention him. But for the Checkers plan which allows for some kind of common alignment and common rules work with the European Union.

And therefore, solves the problem with the Irish border and will keep the desperate support that she needs from the DUP in Northern Ireland. What was then interesting about that his speech is the whole question of -- [00:25:00]

THOMAS: -- unity and in and of itself just calling for unity would not have work?

What she had to resort to was really a degree of fear-mongering. Because if there's anything that unites the Conservative Party, it is the fear of a Labour government.

And that was what the bulk of the speech was designed to do, was to highlight the deep divisions in the opposition in the Labour Party and with Jeremy Corbyn's policies as a way to bring together that opposition. And as Bianca Nobilo pointed out, to give her a little bit more breathing space as we move forward.

CHURCH: Right. So, as you mentioned, Prime Minister May, call for unity on the Brexit issue.

Any sign that will happen for her?

THOMAS: Well, her days are essentially numbered. We've got here until March where she needs to come up with some kind of solution. Now, everybody is talking about her days that are being numbered.

It is not inconceivable that Theresa May will wake up one morning and essentially realize that there's absolutely no way she's going to get a deal from the European Union that will satisfy the British Parliament and at the same time the hardcore Brexiteers.

And it major speed that walking away from the party would be the best thing for her. If unlikely that she will do that, but having said that.

When we get to that divulge crucial moment in March of 2019, it's going to be an interesting moment to determine just when is it that the Conservative Party is going to initiate a leadership transition as they look towards at the latest point, the 2022 elections.

And whether or not, they will want to pursue it with her leading up to that which is, of course, nobody believes that she will be their candidate moving forward. So, she's got six months to really try and turn this around and come up with some kind of deal with the European Union.

CHURCH: So, where does all this leave Boris Johnson's plans, his ambitions as well?

THOMAS: Right. Well, his ambitions as they are right now, I don't think there's a single person. And I said this repeatedly in the Conservative Party that realistically would want to be Prime Minister at this particular moment of the crucial talks with Brexit.

So, he's been very good at pushing and needling her and provoking her and making things difficult. Ultimately, what you could argue is that this could backfire because he could push so far that Theresa May actually steps down and calls a snap election. The outcome of which would be highly unpredictable.

But ultimately, what Boris Johnson is waiting is to see what happens over the next six months so that they can prepare the period after Theresa May's prime ministership. And you can really see them kind of gearing up. And for that particular outcome.

But I don't think anybody wants to take a position right now and be there negotiating over the next six months with the European Union.

CHURCH: It is the poison chalice, apparently. Dominic Thomas, always a pleasure to have you on and have your perspective on this matter.

THOMAS: Thanks, Rosemary.


CHURCH: A short break here. Still to come, a growing mystery over the fate of a prominent Saudi critic. That is after he walks into his country's consulate in Turkey and then disappears. We'll have more on that when we come back.




CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone, I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the top stories we've been following.


[00:30:00] CHURCH: U.K., Australia and New Zealand say Russia's military intelligence service orchestrated a series of cyberattacks around the world, targeting businesses, media, sports and politics, and that includes the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Britain's foreign secretary says the attacks were reckless and serve no national security interest.

U.S. senators are expected to start reading the FBI's updated background investigation of Brett Kavanaugh in the coming day. Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, says the Senate will vote on the Supreme Court nominee, this week, regardless of what's in that report.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. is pulling out of a 1955 treaty with Iran in response to a ruling from the International Court of Justice. Tehran argued the U.S. violated the treaty, when it re-imposed sanctions. The court agreed and ordered the U.S. to lift sanctions on Humanitarian goods. That's when the United States withdrew.

Well, a critic, of Saudi Arabia's leadership, walked into his country's consulate in Turkey and has not been seen since. That is according to the fiance of the journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. She says she waited for him outside the consulate after he went inside on Tuesday, to get documents he needed to get married. The Saudi government says Khashoggi left the building after picking up his paperwork, but Turkish police say surveillance video does not back up that claim.

Joining me now from Washington D.C., is Karen Attiah, she is the Global Opinions Editor for the Washington Post. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: Now, the end of your op-ed piece, entitled, The Silencing of Jamal Khashoggi, you write that you are actively seeking to insure his safety and freedom. And you hope that he has a chance to read your message. How are you seeking to ensure his release and where do you think he might be, right now?

ATTIAH: Sure. So, you know, as I said in the op-ed, the post, we've been -- we've contacted both the Saudi and the Turkish officials to try to get any, sort of, information regarding his whereabouts. As I said, you know, we are -- he's a very valued member of our -- of our team, one of the first writers for this Global Opinions section, which is relatively new.

And so, from our perspective, we're just trying to do as much as we can to raise awareness that this situation is going on, to keep his name in the news, to keep writing. But yes, indeed, you know, we have -- we have reached out to Saudi and Turkish officials to try to get any, sort of, clarity or information about what happened with him.

CHURCH: And of course, Khashoggi has been a critic of Saudi Arabia's leadership for some time now. How far might the Saudi Kingdom go to silence him, do you think?

ATTIAH: You know, one thing about Khashoggi, about Jamal, who I've had the pleasure of working with over the past year, he would always tell me he doesn't want to be labelled as a -- as a dissident. He doesn't want to be labelled as a -- as an opposition figure in exile.

You know, he's been -- he has been known. He was close with the Saudi royal family, in prior years, he was even an advisor. But it wasn't until last year when he wrote his first op-ed for us in which he detailed why he felt the pressure was building so much that he had to leave Saudi Arabia and basically put himself in self-imposed exile.

And it's truly has been critical of the crown prince and of the Saudi regime, but I think, if you read his pieces and you read his work, a lot of his work is coming from a real deep place of wanting people to know the truth, from his perspective, about what's happening in the Saudi Kingdom and what -- how -- the history of the Saudi Kingdom is affecting its president and its future.

So, anybody who knows him, anybody who's talked to him, he is -- he is honestly -- he just wants to be a journalist. He just wants to write.

CHURCH: So, would you expect Saudi Arabia, under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to release Khashoggi anytime soon?

ATTIAH: Again, at this point, you know, we don't have any information that the Saudis are necessarily holding him. Again, right now, all we know is that he -- we don't know where he is. And we're hoping -- and we're hoping that he can be released safe and free soon.

Of course, you know, we can't ignore that this is happening against the backdrop of crackdowns on journalists, on activists, women activists who campaigned for the right to drive.

So, obviously, this makes us extremely concerned, considering Jamal's criticisms, you know, of the government. But at this time, we really have no information as to, again, what's happening with him or who may or may not have him.

[00:35:22] CHURCH: And that's the thing, isn't it? Because Khashoggi went into the embassy, the Saudi Embassy, in Turkey, and the Saudi government claims he left the building. But Turkish authorities have looked at the security cameras. There's no proof that he left the building. What does that all signal to you?

ATTIAH: Sure. It signals that we are hearing a lot of mixed signals from both the Saudis and the Turks. And again, we've -- we're doing all that we can to try to get information, straight answers. But again, it just, again, points to -- it's all -- it's all very worrying and particularly, this could create a very difficult situation for the Turks, especially.

But, again, you know, we are just hoping that we can have him back soon. Like I said in the op-ed, I honestly, yesterday, was thinking that I needed to -- what's happened, to talk about his next piece and to talk about the next air bit pieces that we can do.

And so, I'm just really hoping that we can get back to work and that he's safe, and that he's healthy, and that this can be resolved very swiftly.

CHURCH: Let's hope that is certainly the outcome. Karen Attiah, thank you so much for joining us.

And next here on CNN NEWSROOM, a disturbing look at sex trafficking in the City of Light and why Parisian police are having a tough time stopping it. We're back with that in just a moment.


CHURCH: Hundreds of Nigerian women have been trafficked into Paris, as sex workers, lured by the promise of a new life, only to find themselves trapped in a cycle of abuse and exploitation. The young women are often found in and around one of the cities wooded parks, and police are having a tough time stopping it.

CNN's Melissa Bell explains why in this freedom project report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A night time exchange in Paris' largest park, Bois de Vincennes, with just a nod, a prostitute is led into the bushes. In France, it is buying sex, rather than selling it, that is illegal.

But the police say that most of the women who work here, are slaves. Nadej, not her real name, used to be one of them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you go to Vincennes, you ask questions, 90 percent are slaves, 90 percent.

[00:40:05] BELL: Parisian police agree, for every woman dancing freely here, they say, nine are not. By day, the park is a beautiful spot, popular with dog walkers and ball players. By night, it becomes a place where men can buy sex, for very little.

The police believe that 150 slaves work in this park. Like the others, Nadej was in the hands of a network to which she gave all of her earnings. And unlike the others, she took an oath before leaving Nigeria, binding her to a Madame through juju, a traditional West African belief system.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Imagine you taking an oath, you lie down inside a casket, a coffin, which means if you break the rules, you're going to come back to this coffin. It's so powerful.

BELL: So powerful, that during the ceremony, the women are physically branded with scars that identify them back in Nigeria as cursed women. In 2017, the U.N. International Organization for Migration said that there had been a nearly 600 percent increase in potential sex trafficking victims arriving in Europe through Italy, since 2014, 80 percent of them were Nigerian.

Our cameraman wore hidden device to get a sense of how these conversations take place and where the women come from.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from Nigeria. That's 30 Euros.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How old am I? You tell me how old am I.

BELL: Local charities say that the women who walk these streets are getting younger and that their apparent freedom is an illusion.

AURELIE JEANNEROD, LIBERATION FOR THE CAPTIVES: They have no access to their documents. They've lost their identity. They've lost their age. And they have no freeness. The only freeness they have is to go to prostitutes and to give back money.

BELL: It is so shocking to see these women lined up on the streets of this park. We ask Parisian police how this could be allowed to continue. They said there simply isn't very much they can do. The women are afraid to talk to them because of the networks, and they say they move around Europe very often.

And then, explain the police, there's the problem that there is an apparently never-ending supply of Nigerian women desperate to come to Europe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as you dismember the group it only lasts at most (INAUDIBLE) because we create a vacuum for another network to set up.

BELL: A slave amongst so many others in this park, that's what Nadej says that she was for eight months. It was the birth of her son that gave her the strength to go into hiding. But she says, no one ever really escapes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No matter what I am tomorrow, I'm still going to be useless, because I can't proudly say my story. I can't proudly tell the world who I am. I will always be in the dark. It's not easy to be transported to Europe just like a bag of fruit, and sold for men to eat for money. But I just thank God I'm a survivor.

BELL: Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


CHURCH: And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, this hour, I'm Rosemary Church. Stay tuned now for "WORLD SPORT". Then, I'll see you back here in 15 minutes. You're watching CNN.


[00:45:00] (WORLD SPORT)