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Turkey Launches Its Invasion in Northern Syria; Former U.S. Envoy: We Defeat ISIS Fighters Because of the Coalition; British Writer-Director Takes on America's National Security; "The Day Shall Come"; Using Satire to Create Comedy; Love of Both Business and Politics. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired October 9, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone and welcome to AMANPOUR. Here is what's coming up.
Turkey launches its invasion into Northern Syria. A top official in Ankara on why they're going in.
And the former American general who lead the fight against ISIS on why it could be so dangerous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA KENDRICK AS KENDRA GLACK, "THE DAY SHALL COME": Well, he's having some kind of break down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we're taking over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Satire that is anything but light-hearted. The British writer- director Chris Morris takes on America's national security state in his latest film.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK CUBAN: I want to come down and record your radio shows and try to put them on this thing called the internet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban on getting started, getting fired, and his forays into politics.
Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
America's allies, the Syrian Kurds are now suspending their war against ISIS in order to focus on defending themselves against Turkey's invasion.
They have vowed to defend themselves to the last man and woman and they've called on civilians to form a human shield.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AHMED MOUSSA, COMMANDER, HASAKEH PROVINCE LOCAL MILITARY COUNCILS (through translator): We say that now our people that made so many sacrifices in
the past, today we'll also be ready to sacrifice themselves in order to block attacks by Turkey. We appeal to all the countries and states and
people of all orientations to stand together in the face of Turkey and to raise their voices highly against Turkey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And those Kurdish forces who've been the foot soldiers fighting and dying in the ground war against ISIS. Just hours after the statement,
Turkey did begin its military assault on Northern Syria. President Erdogan announced it on Twitter and war jets quickly took to the skies despite the
U.S. having warned that it would close that air space. Witnesses report hundreds of civilians immediately began fleeing to the Turkish border.
The move comes days after President Donald Trump began withdrawing American forces from the area decrying, quote, endless wars. The Turkish Government
bitterly oppose to the Kurds says the assault is necessary for their own security.
Now, Gulnur Aybet is a senior adviser to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and she's joining me now from the capital Ankara. Welcome to the
program, Gulnur Aybet. Welcome back to our program.
Let me start by asking you --
GULNUR AYBET, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT OF TURKEY: Hello.
AMANPOUR: -- are you prepared for what might, in fact, be a massacre, if, indeed, civilians are being called, as you heard, to protect and defend in
a human shield against your forces?
AYBET: Well, Christiane, there's so much misinformation about this operation, this Operation Peace Spring that we've just undertaken. Turkey
is the only actor in the region with the largest border with Syria. And from the very beginning, we're the only actor in the region who's had a
consistent policy toward Syria. And that is consisted of two parts.
Firstly, we said we would never allow a terror corridor to form on our border. And secondly, that we would establish a safe zone for the return
of Syrian refugees of four million which we host in our country.
AYBET: And we've consistently said that this is our policy and now the time has come to implement this policy and we have tried to implement that
policy working with regional countries and with our allies buy it has not worked out. And at the end, we had to take matters in our own hands.
But when I said about the misinformation, I'd also like to point out the way that you introduced the whole issue of this operation. This is not an
operation against Syrian Kurds. The YPG is equal to the PKK which is a terrorist organization as recognized by the United States and the European
Union. And in fact, your former defense secretary, Ash Carter, admitted that the YPG and the PKK were one of the same.
And this organization has been launching attacks against Turkey and NATO allies. Thousands of our citizens have died because of attacks from this
terrorist organization. They have used the vacuum in Syria to attack us and we have had to take matters into our own hands. There are, in fact,
300,000 Syrian Kurds right now in Turkey, refugees who have fled from ISIS and from the YPG. We're taking care of them.
[13:05:00] I'd like to ask you, which European country would take in 300,000 Kurdish refugees from Syria, but we have. Our war is not with the
Kurds and this is not an invasion. It's an operation under Article 51 of the United Nations which regards our legitimate right to self-defense.
AMANPOUR: Right. Well, you've -- now you've given me the entire rationale for the Turkish Government's operation there but you didn't answer my
question. First of all, as you know better than I do, the United States does not consider the YPG terrorists, they do consider the PKK but they
have partnered with them in the fight against ISIS. So there is a distinction that they make between those two different Kurdish forces.
Are you prepared -- no, hold on a second. Ms. Aybet, I need to ask you questions here. Are you prepared -- can you tell us, please, what your
intentions are, then? How far are you going to move into Northern Syria? How long? How deep? What are you going to do?
AYBET: Well, we have discussed this very openly and President Erdogan has actually even shown a map with regards to the proposed establishment of the
safe zone which is exactly why we're undertaking this operation. It is something that he discussed with President Trump and both presidents
agreed. It's going to be about 20 miles in-depth and just over 400 kilometers long. So there's really no secret about the depth and the
actual size of the operation.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, do you have the capacity, most people don't believe you have the willingness or the capacity to actually -- hold on a second,
you're nodding your head. I haven't even finished my question -- to take on the 11,000 ISIS fighters who remain in that area, and to police the
70,000 people in the al-Hawl Refugee Camp including women, children, ISIS brides, if you like, and what is being called a nucleus of an ISIS
resurgent force. Is Turkey prepared to take on that?
AYBET: Look, I think, first of all, we have to be clear about one thing. We're not sure exactly about the numbers of ISIS families and fighters that
are being kept there apart from information that is predominantly put out by the terrorist organization.
AMANPOUR: No, no. This is the United States. Ms. Aybet, these are international figures. Sorry. I just want to know, let's not get
quibbling about the figures. The YPG which has been fighting and dying against -- in the fight against ISIS now says it's not going to do it
because it has to defend itself. Then we know from the inspector general and others that there are thousands of ISIS fighters still in the Northern
Syria area. And we know because we visited it. CNN and other reporters have visited that the al-Hawl Refugee Camp contains some 70,000 people, and
it's being described, in part, as a possible nucleus of resurgence of ISIS.
I want to know what Turkey is going to do about those fighters and those people in that camp.
AYBET: First of all, let me start with our capacity with the second- largest army in NATO. And we've already undertaken two successful military operations to safeguard our borders from terrorism. ISIS and the PKK in
Afrin and also Euphrates shield. And we've provided security and stabilized those areas. And in fact, we're the only member of the
international coalition against ISIS that have cleared more than 2,000 square kilometers of an area single-handedly by ourselves from ISIS. So we
are already very well-rounded in dealing with ISIS.
We're also dealing with ISIS very well in our own country. We have actually expelled over 5,000 and detained others. So we're right next door
to all of this. So you can imagine, we have the capacity to deal with this.
Now, in terms of the ISIS fighters and there's predominantly the families there that are in these camps and some fighters are actually held in
prisons which are closer to our border, of course, initially as we move in our priority is to provide security and stability in the areas that we move
into and we are going to. We do have the capacity and we will safeguard any areas that contain these prisons.
However, we would like the management of the camps, in particular, something that has to be undertaken as a joint effort with the
international community. We never said that we would shoulder this burden all by ourselves. We would like the international community to do more
because it is a matter of a common security concern for everybody.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you because you alluded to it at the beginning that this operation has been undertaken with the agreement between both
presidents, the United States and Turkey.
[13:10:04] President Trump, as you can see, is facing a great deal of criticism by even members of his own party for what they believe is selling
out American allies in this important fight against ISIS. And he is now sort of backpedaling and saying things in public to warn Turkey against
going, you know, all out. I mean, he's saying if I judged that they have breached limits, I will destroy the economy. I've already done it in areas
What do you think of the limits? And what do you make of the president's sort of -- I mean, what do you understand as to whether the United States
and the White House accepts backs your action and where the limits might be?
AYBET: Now, President Trump and President Erdogan have reached an understanding over precisely what in operation is. And President Trump and
President Erdogan will meet in Washington on the 13th of November to actually discuss further details. And I believe, you know, one of the
details that will be discussed is particularly what we were just talking about. The ISIS fighters and the responsibility of the international
community. Something that we share as a common vision with the United States.
We both think that those foreign fighters that, you know, are from Europe should actually be returned to the countries that they came from. So this
is something that we're on the same page with, with the Americans. And we have had talks, you know, before this operation a couple of months ago with
U.S. officials with regards to, you know, the management of the ISIS captives. So, this is another issue that they will be talking about so
there's a clear understanding.
Now President Trump, obviously -- I mean, I don't know what he meant by some of those tweets, but I would guess that, you know, he's also concerned
about the limits. But he knows what the scope of this operation is. So I don't think that given all the understatements that he's made recently in
support of Turkey and this operation and his very, very strong stance. I mean, you've seen from the very recent tweets that he is absolutely
determined to bring U.S. troops home. And I think this has become a major policy focus for him especially in the domestic front which you mentioned -
AMANPOUR: All right.
AYBET: -- where he's giving this (INAUDIBLE). Yes.
AMANPOUR: Gulnur, one of his latest tweets he said, "Any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to
their very fragile currency. We are helping the Kurds financially and with weapons."
There seems to be a bit of confusion there. And one thing I want to ask you, though, is that the Pentagon, the White House announced that they were
closing the air space to Turkey's flight. That's what they warned yesterday. Trying to get you not to do what you're doing today. At least
that's what it seems. Are you -- is the air space closed over that area or are you using it freely?
AYBET: Well, at the moment, as you can see that we are actually attacking, also, from the air. So that actually speaks for itself I guess.
AMANPOUR: It does, indeed. Gulnur Aybet, thank you so much for joining us from Ankara.
And now we want to turn to Washington where the president does face sharp and rare criticism from his Republican colleagues as well as Democrats.
Retired U.S. General John Allen served in Iraq. He led the allied troops in Afghanistan and he served as the U.S. envoy to the global coalition for
the fight against ISIS. And he's joining me now from Washington.
General Allen, welcome to the program. I mean, you have been right there at the cold phase so to speak. What do you make of what you've just heard
from the representative and spokesperson and adviser to the Turkish president?
RET. GEN. JOHN ALLEN, FORMER ENVOY TO THE GLOBAL COALITION TO DEFEAT ISIS: Well, Christiane, it's great to be with you, again. It's good to see you.
Look, she is right on a number of things. And we have to start any commentary about this by giving Turkey the credit that it's due. You know,
it has taken in literally millions of refugees from this conflict then has cared for them over time. She's right, a large number of Kurdish -- Syrian
Kurds have been evacuated into Turkey. And she's also correct that from early on along, and I was involved closely in the negotiations.
The expectation was that there would not be, a Kurdish rump state was the term used at the time along the southern border of Turkey. And that there
would eventually be some effort to create a safe zone into which then the potential for the return of Syrian refugees could occur. So she's all
correct in those stipulations.
What's not being said is that, when we started this process, there were no options in Syria.
[13:15:03] The entire border of Syria with Turkey was we called it blackened up representing the flag of ISIS. And we had very few options.
And it was because, in many respects, that the U.S. worked with the PYD and the armed wing which is the YPG that we were able to crack this conundrum
open and ultimately bring about the large scale elimination of the ISIS fighters in that part of Syria.
ALLEN: But it required American and coalition forces, and it's very important to make that point. Coalition forces working closely together
with the Syrian Democratic Forces there which are not just Kurd but other ethnic groups as well, ultimately to defeat the ISIS fighters in that
region. Turkey was a part of that but by-and-large it was the coalition.
AMANPOUR: So the YPG, do you call them terrorists?
ALLEN: They're not terrorists by definition. You know, there are legal differences between how the PKK and the YPG are viewed. The United States
has not designated the YPG or the PYD, and the United States has not designated the organization and frankly, early along, Turkey was willing to
tolerate. The U.S. assistance to the Syrian Democratic Forces which, again, was largely Kurdish, was willing to tolerate a level of American
support for their activities, their fighting against ISIS.
And, frankly, we would not be where we are today in the military situation in that part of Syria had it not been for the relationship of the
international coalition with the YPG and General Mazloum. We would not be anywhere near where we are today.
AMANPOUR: Right. So then let me ask you --
ALLEN: -- in that area.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Sorry to interrupt you. But we're just getting some news from the White House where they have issued a statement that they do not
back this operation and they, quote, have made it clear to Turkey not to have gone ahead with it and that this would be a bad idea. From your
perspective, as a commander, and if you were sitting in Ankara, and you saw all these conflicting tweets and you know about the conversation between
the two presidents on Sunday night, are they correct to be confused about what the United States thinks? Or do you believe that the U.S. made it
very clear from the beginning that this should not happen?
ALLEN: This is just chaos, Christiane. We don't do strategy and we shouldn't be doing foreign policy by tweet. And this is what you get when
you have single phone calls between world leaders occurring and no -- when they put the phone down, no further coordination within the U.S.
Government. Our national security mechanism in this country was largely surprised by that phone call and surprised by the tweet that called for the
withdrawal of American forces, and surprised by the president's threats against Turkey to destroy its economy. And, of course, the Turks were, I
think, similarly surprised by the president's reaction and now, of course, we have this White House statement which, I think, throws more confusion
into the situation.
AMANPOUR: And the only people who are actually not confused in their intent are the Turks and they have -- as she, Ms. Aybet told me, for
several years intended to clear this area, as you just said, to create a safe haven to put back some of the Turkish -- sorry, Syrian refugees who've
come into Turkey. But just one other thing, you heard Ms. Aybet say that they are using the air space with impunity right now. Yesterday, we were
told by the U.S. administration that they were warning the Turks that they would close the air space to their aircraft as a way to warn them against,
you know, excessive force. It's clearly not happening or the threat didn't amount to much.
ALLEN: Well, again, when you -- when we say we've closed the air space, clearly the first next thing we have to be prepared to say is how we will
enforce the closure of the air space. Whether it's a formal closure or whether it's an agreement. We have to be very clear in what will happen if
Turkey violates that air space. And if dealing with the Turkish aircraft as they're attacking conceivably, truly, our allies on the ground, the PYD,
if the Turks inter that air space and attack those allies, we should be very clear about what we're going to do in the protection of our allies.
Not necessarily retaliation against the Turks but how we're going to protect our allies.
And, of course, that clarity was not announced and so absent that, the Turks are, my guess is you're telling me some of the things that I'm
learning right on the spot. My guess is they're using the air space as necessary to support the prosecution of this operation.
AMANPOUR: So what do you think is going to --
ALLEN: They're also using surface fires as well.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think is going to look like --
[13:20:00] ALLEN: Well, I'll tell you, Christiane -- yes, once you push into an area like this, once you start using indirect fire, once you start
drawing a lot of blood from an organization that has just been fighting now for a couple of years against the most abhorrent terrorist organization on
the planet, the Islamic state, these people were buckling down to begin the process of the stabilization of that entire region. That's why those
thousand American troops, if we were going to draw a circle around a group of American troops that are more important right now to the stabilization
of any place on the planet, it's that thousand troops. And they were deeply engaged in helping the Syrian Democratic Forces in that area, the
Kurds, the other ethnic groups to stabilize the population so that they can get on with the kinds of post-conflict environment that we would want them
And so having just defeated the Islamic state by-and-large in that area, the conventional elements of it, now we have a more conventional operation
in the form of the Turkish attack that the Kurds are going to have to resist. They don't know, frankly, what the objectives of the Turkish
forces are going to be. And as you heard, they think that this is an existential issue. And given some of the rhetoric that we have heard that
has surrounded this operation, rhetoric that would seem to indicate that the PYD and the YPG and the elements of the Kurdish population could, in
fact, be treated in a matter similar to the PKK.
You know, we get that the fact that the Turks view the PKK as a terrorist organization. We do, as well and we have helped the Turks to fight them.
But we have a different view about the PYD and the YPG and the other relevants in Northern Syria. So when you start drawing blood, Christiane,
from an organization like this, people better get ready for a fight. And I think that the Turks better be ready for something much bigger than they
I laud the fact that they want to create a safe zone. I laud the fact that they want to return refugees. But we're going to see thousands of refugees
as a result of this fighting. We're going to see a lot of civilian casualties, and we're going to see a significant amount of fighting in that
area where prior to that with the work that had been done by the international coalition in partnership with the SDF which has detained as
many as 12,000 ISIS fighters and then the al-Hawl camp, there could be as many as 70,000 to 75,000 ISIS dependents if you will. That was the
beginning of the stabilization of that region. I think all bets are off now on where that's going to end up.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, it's alarming to hear what you're saying, it's sobering, and we're hearing it from you. The world expert on the global
fight against ISIS. General John Allen, thank you for joining us from Washington. Thank you very much, indeed.
And, you know, we're going to turn now to comedy and satire but it is about the kind of U.S. national security state. There is a sort of a link to all
of this. It's the kind of satire you might not take your mind off the woes of the world. Films like "Four Lions --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today's historic trade agreement between Australia and Hong Kong marks a new season of the future of world trade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Chris Morris has taken on jihadists, TV news, and the American presidency. Now the FBI is his target and his relentless pursuit of
terrorism real or imagined. Here is a clip from the trailer for "The Day Shall Come".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD, "THE DAY SHALL COME": (INAUDIBLE) the next 9/11.
KENDRICK: What about this guy, Moses Al Shabazz?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Classic lone wolf.
ANNA KENDRICK AS KENDRA GLACK: There's four of them, actually.
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: Pack of lone wolves. How did that happen?
MARCHANT DAVIS AS MOSES AL SHABAZ, "THE DAY SHALL COME": The almighty command us to bring that knowledge to the street.
I mean, you live to see the accidental dominance of the white race over Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's cool.
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: Could you welcome (INAUDIBLE).
ANNA KENDRICK AS KENDRA GLACK: Of course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Chris Morris, welcome to the program.
CHRIS MORRIS, WRITER AND DIRECTOR, "THE DAY SHALL COME": Thank you.
AMANPOUR: So your new film, "The Day Shall Come" is based on this extraordinary story. It's a little bit of fiction, a little bit of fact
but, I mean, it's a satire of something that actually really happened. Tell me what inspired you and why you keep probing essentially Islamic
MORRIS: Well, this isn't about Islamic terrorism, this is about a government, a paranoid government reacting to what it thinks might be
Islamic terrorism. So the story that struck me is a news story about 10 years ago on British TV news, there was a report that the FBI had arrested
an army planning a full-scale ground war against the United States. And I thought that's a striking thing, a full-scale ground war.
I, by chance, bumped into someone three years later who was involved in that trial. He said, remember that full-scale ground war, you know what it
was? It was seven construction workers planning to ride into Chicago on horses.
And I said come on. What are you talking about? He said, yes, basically these builders, these bankrupt builders bumped into an FBI informant who
offered them $50,000 to come up with a plan against the government.
[13:25:06] Plan number one, they asked for overalls, working boots, and all the things they need to do their jobs, plus and resources to lead a parade
against the governor's house in order to protest conditions in the projects. The informant said, you know, you're not going get the money for
that, you got to think bigger, and basically provoked them into coming up with a crockpot scheme to knock over the Sears Tower.
AMANPOUR: To knock over the Sears Tower?
MORRIS: Yes. Yes. Because he said we need something that's explosive, we need something that's big against the government. Don't just talk about
protests. So they rifted this idea. They were not going to do it, I mean --
AMANPOUR: These are Americans -- where does this army base?
MORRIS: So they were in Miami, in Liberty City in Miami. And it's very neglected and it's basically the sort of -- it is the paradigm kind of
fishing ground for these FBI operations. Now, you know, it could be any poor part of any city.
AMANPOUR: But why were the FBI trying to provoke, entrap, create an army? Why?
MORRIS: Well, because they've -- within the confines of the bureaucratic system driven themselves slightly mad, and they've done it by a long step
process. They reacted badly to 9/11 because they had certain shortcomings that they have to cover up so they talked up the threat immediately given
the impression that there was a sleeper cell in every city. This is a long time ago but remember, this in the context of an us and them dynamic that
was coming out of the government, the FBI sort of accidentally discovered that it's harder to catch a real terrorist than it is to make up your own.
And this is demonstrated no more clearly than in Boston where they spent a year winding up a schizophrenic to come up with a crazy plan to fly model
airplanes into the dome of the Capitol while missing the two guys who were planning to blow up the marathon.
Because if you find somebody in a marginalized community who is making themselves conspicuous one way or another and surround them with full
trends and the promise of money, then you can get them to do something.
AMANPOUR: So let's get this straight. The crackpot group that you're talking about in Miami, they were real or this is based on a composite of -
MORRIS: In my story?
MORRIS: All right. In my story, we start -- so basically, I did a lot of research and I just looked at all the cases that they've been where there
was conspicuous distortion and why the FBI played it. And then, myself and Jesse Armstrong, with him I wrote the script, plotted a story through those
kinds of markers of reality but made up a fictional story which reflected, we hoped, everything that we'd come across.
AMANPOUR: Because you say inspired by a hundred true stories.
MORRIS: Yes. And it's a figurative hundred, there's more like 300. But what happens is the same. Every time the FBI comes up with a terrorist
plot, find someone to try and carry it out and then arrest them for doing that.
AMANPOUR: Now people listening to this are going to say, really or is that fiction as well?
MORRIS: No, it's all in the public record. If people could be bothered to look, it's on the public record. You don't have to look very far. I mean,
you can Google the stuff.
And what happens is that it's a very efficient machine because it's done under the supervision of the DOJ, there's a 99 percent conviction rate. In
other words, they do not allow the FBI to arrest until they are sure that the case will fly in court. And you might say this sounds like entrapment.
I mean, there was a case in Upstate New York in a very good documentary on HBO called "The Newburgh Sting" about four guys who had to be offered
$250,000 before they agreed to do anything.
And even then they said, well, yes, we'll put a bomb in the trunk of the car but can we let it off at night so that no one gets hurt. Those guys
are all in jail for 25 years for terrorism. And in that case, the judge said none of this would have happened had it not been for the government.
These guys would not have been capable of doing any of this without the help of the government.
That is on the public records. So this happens a lot. I mean, there's one of these arrests about once every month, once every three weeks. And
people just can't be bothered to educate themselves to see what's happening around them. That's the truth.
AMANPOUR: It's really extraordinary. And I'm going to play a clip which is from this film but it's a bit about a nuclear plot. So let's just play
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: We know this emergency is groundless.
ANNA KENDRICK AS KENDRA GLACK: Correct.
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: But the emergency exits.
ANNA KENDRICK AS KENDRA GLACK: Right.
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: And you can't take control so you're not even saying it doesn't exist.
ANNA KENDRICK AS KENDRA MUDD: OK.
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: So we have to acknowledge that the emergency exists.
ANNA KENDRICK AS KENDRA GLACK: Yes. Well, no. Sorry. If we say yes, it exists, isn't that the same as declaring a nuclear emergency ourselves?
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: Technically yourself but yes.
ANNA KENDRICK AS KENDRA GLACK: So to stop a nuclear emergency I have to declare a nuclear emergency?
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: Yes. The logical (INAUDIBLE) if you say it slowly, keep the contradictory elements apart.
ANNA KENDRICK AS KENDRA GLACK: Well, I will look insane.
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: Only to say it fast and also you already looked insane when you met me at the parking lot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you're just going to throw her under the bus?
DENIS O'HARE AS ANDY MUDD: No. I would never do that to an agent. She has to do it herself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, yes. I mean, it's really very, very funny. But how did you get from toppling the Sears Tower as a terrorist plot to a nuclear
MORRIS: Right. Well, if you look at the way the FBI works, so as I said, they come up with a plot, they cast some people to try and carry it out.
In fact, they write the beats of the story pretty much like a script.
If you empower some people to come up with an idea against the government and they suddenly take their own initiative, then you're in trouble if you
have given them any kind of tools to carry out the job. So you only have to think in bigger terms to imagine this scenario.
And I ran these past practicing agents and a bit where Anna Kendrick's character comes up with the idea of giving fake news to these guys. The
agents I spoke to went uh, because they can see that that's what you would do if you were trying to keep the case alive, even though it's dicey.
AMANPOUR: Is this film and this logic that you've created based on different stories and different incident, is it a follow to "Four Lions"
which was your first big film? And that was here set in the U.K. about three actual -- group of actual terrorists who actually wanted to be
suicide bombers and they were so inept and the police were so inept that they never found them. Is this a follow up?
MORRIS: The two could have come the other way around because "Four Lions" is about some real terrorists and it's about the reality that you find
within a sort of cell, the sort of cell that we would see in making those attacks 10 years or so ago. And it's about the fact that human frailty
does not take a need sidestep around some guys who are plotting a bombing, right. So it's about terrorists.
This is really the opposite end. This is about not terrorists. This is about people who because of the racist and paranoid agenda of the
government can be identified as terrorists initially and treated as a threat.
I mean, imagine this, right, you're an agent. You see somebody with some belief system that you don't really understand and you think they might
look threatening. Plus, they're black or brown.
You ask yourself and your colleagues, is that person dangerous? And crucially, what happens if I decide they're not dangerous and they turn out
to be, right? So that is the prospective you use.
Therefore, you better sort them out. Don't leave them alone. So if you surround them with false friends and you can get them to behave
irresponsibly, then you have rather proved the case that was the grounds of your suspicions in the first place, even if you have no other grounds apart
from the fact that they were different. So this is about people who are not terrorists being made to look like terrorists --
MORRIS: -- by the government, in the name of protecting the (inaudible).
AMANPOUR: So now I'm going play a clip from "Four Lions" which you did I think in 2010. And it's the one about terrorists who were in court. And
here's the scene where a group of those would be terrorists are trying to apparently buy bomb making materials in a supermarket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FESSAL: Can I have 12 bottles of bleach please.
BARRY: What's that?
FESSAL: It's a woman's voice. Cos I got loads of liquid peroxide. Probably thought she'd go in there and --
BARRY: And what?
FESSAL: Dye her hair or something.
BARRY: And her beard?
BARRY: You've got a beard.
FESSAL: I covered it.
BARRY: You covered your beard yeah. How? Right. So you went into a shop with your hands on your face like that and asked for 12 bottles of bleach?
So why has she got her hands on her face, Fess?
FESSAL: Cos she's got a beard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean you're Chris Morris. I don't want to say -- I mean it's Monty Pythonesque but I mean it's crazy.
MORRIS: Those guys do have a bad intention. They are planning to blow something up. They bought their own bleach.
It's just that they can't manage their plan very well. They're like sort of a stag party gone wrong.
Whereas in this film, they have not got any weapons. In fact, they have -- they banned guns from their mission. And they really have to take a deep
breath in order to accept the guns that are being offered and by the person who is always -- who's also offering the money.
AMANPOUR: There are very few comedian satirists who actually mock Islamic terrorism and mock this kind of, you know, national security issue, that's
been abroad certainly since 9/11. But why did you decide to take that head on?
MORRIS: Well, because I think that 9/11 just set a whole lot of balls in motion that is still rolling now. When George Bush said either you're for
us or against us, he provided the first modern wedge-like split within society and within the west. It suddenly demonized a whole bunch of people
I mean, this demonization of people who are not like you has been going on for a long time. But he rebirthed it and gave it a really sort of spanking
And that meant that anyone who had a position that was against the government would fall under suspicion.
Once I had been struck by the fact, the obvious fact, that guys riding into Chicago on horses is not the next 9/11, but it was being presented as if it
was by the attorney general on television, it seemed pretty obvious that I was going to do a film about it.
Just listen to this. This is how the FBI changed their logic after 9/11. Instead of saying we have evidence to show you are a terrorist, they say we
don't have evidence to show you're not a terrorist. Well, off you go.
I mean, that is carte blanche, isn't it? That's not a very clever way to proceed if you're actually trying to stop something. It's a kind of
institutionalized panic reaction.
And I'm not very keen on things which desert rationality and intelligence. I think the only hope we've got of clinging on to this planet together is
actually if we use everything that we've got to our best ability. Not behave historically in one way or another.
AMANPOUR: It's really an important point. And you've also tackled things like "Veep." These were pre-Trump episodes that you were involved in.
And it just seems that the world with this relentless news cycle and some of it really absurd, some of it could be real life satire is almost
outpacing satire right now.
AMANPOUR: No, you don't buy that?
MORRIS: I mean that's what Tom Lehrer said when Kissinger got the Nobel Peace Prize. When was that, 1970?
I mean anyone who says that is basically handing in their cards. They have just given up. They have essentially told the world that their imagination
has ceased to function properly.
I mean, it's not about that. If you look at Trump -- and right now, it's a field day. The only problem is finding the level ground to play it all,
Because everybody from each side is behaving ridiculously. Including, of course, the president. But not just.
So as a satirist, you're going to start playing with anybody who goes off the deep end, anybody who demonstrates hysteria where they should be
And the challenge of Trump and other problems of the time is keep your head. Don't call them out on the things that really they haven't done.
Just keep marking what they do.
You know, this -- the policy in turkey and with the Kurds, just mark that. Possibly the worst decision Donald Trump has made. Who knows.
So it's not a case of, oh, it's, you know, reality has now got ahead of us. No. I mean -- and if you feel that for a second, well, very well catch up.
AMANPOUR: And on that note, nice to catch up with you.
MORRIS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Chris Morris, thank you very much indeed.
MORRIS: Thank you for having me.
AMANPOUR: And always topical.
Now, for our next guest, who you might recognize from the hit T.V. show "Shark Tank" or as the owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks. Mark Cuban's
business ventures have made him one of the world's most recognized entrepreneurs, but it's his passion for politics, which we've had some
speculating about a potential presidential bid.
He sat down with our Walter Isaacson just recently to talk about it.
WALTER ISAACSON, CONTRIBUTOR: So when you were a kid, they don't know you're going to be the world's greatest businessman. Until your parents
say hey, you have got to learn to lay carpet?
MARK CUBAN, OWNER, NBA DALLAS MAVERICKS: Yes. It was crazy because my mom was concerned about me and she wanted me to learn to trade. My dad had
done upholstery on cars.
And we were middle class, never struggled, right. But she said, you know, you've got to be able to take care of a family at some point. So she
worked in a real estate office.
And guy's name was Bobby Freedman. He said, "We're going teach you how to lay carpet." So Bobby had an office on Washington Road in Pittsburgh. And
I remember him just basically going in there saying, "Here is the carpet, here is the stuff. Right. And I'm going tell you what to do and let's see
how you do."
People are still tripping and falling in that office. It didn't work out very well but --
ISAACSON: But one of the themes in your life is the things you fail out really starts helping you. So I'm glad you failed at laying carpet.
CUBAN: I am too. Right. I'm glad I failed rolling the bar. I'm glad I failed laying carpet.
ISAACSON: Tell me about some of your early business ventures like that when you were a kid and then a little bit older.
CUBAN: Oh my God, I remember my dad and his buddies used to play poker. And they would come to our house every few weeks and going to my dad and
saying I want new pair of basketball shoes because I was a huge basketball junky then and now.
And he was like see those tennis shoes you have? When you have your own job, you can buy whatever shoes you want.
ISAACSON: That's an incentive to get a job.
CUBAN: Right? Well, so one of the guys who was at the poker table was like I can get a job for you. And I'm 12-years-old at the time.
And I'm like what? And he goes I've got these boxes of garbage bags.
Why don't you go to the neighbors and sell these garbage bags? I'm like OK. You know, what should I sell them for?
He goes "I'm going to sell them to you for three bucks." There's a hundred garbage bags and I never forget there were really little garbage bags but
there was a hundred. And I bought them for $3 and sold them for $6.
But here is how it went. Hi. My name is Mark. I live up the street. Walter, do you use garbage bags? Would you like to buy a hundred of them
so you don't have to worry about going to pick them up and I'll bring them to your house every couple of weeks when you need them?
And I was probably the world's first garbage bags salesperson with a garbage bag route. And then from there, it just blossomed. I mean I was
just always doing something, selling something.
Because once I learned how to sell, everything was easy.
ISAACSON: When was the first time you got fired?
CUBAN: When I was working for Your Business Software. And I had gotten -- I moved to Dallas with a bunch of my buddies. I was living with six guys
in a three-bedroom apartment sleeping on the floor. Just, it was nasty. We used to call it the Hill Hotel.
And I got a job working at night as a bartender and I got a job working at a software store. This is the early days of the PC industry. This is
1982, end of '82, early '83.
ISAACSON: Yes. Before the Macintosh.
CUBAN: Before the Macintosh, right. And this is when, when I worked there I had to go get certified in order to be able to sell lotus 1-2-3. That's
Spreadsheet for $495.
But I recognized that I had an aptitude for tech and I loved it. And so I learned and learned and learned and start teaching myself to write Lotus 1-
2-3 macros and ToS scripts and debase programming.
And finally, I got to the point where I had this big sale. It was going to be a $15,000 sale with a $1500 commission which meant I can move out of the
Hill Hotel and get out of there. I mean literally, it was awful.
And so some of my responsibilities were to come into the store, Your Business Software, and be there at 9:00 a.m., wipe down the windows, sweep
the floor, open up a retail store effectively. And I called my boss, Michael, and I said, look, I've got it all set up. Someone's going to
cover for me. And I want to go close this deal, I'll bring in the check. He goes no.
I'm like what? I mean -- so I made the executive decision. I was going to pick up the check thinking the store needed the business, right. Here is
$15,000. When I came back, fired me.
ISAACSON: So what -- that leads to some successes along the way.
CUBAN: Yes, big time. And so there I was with no job. So first thing I do was get my friend's car and we all went down to Galveston from Dallas
just to clear our heads.
And I remember taking a pad, a yellow pad, and writing on it, OK, I'm going start my own consulting company if you will. Because PCs were new to
everybody. And I just spent nine months every single day teaching myself to go working all night, learning this new stuff.
And so I'm like OK, I've got to think of something that's very succinct. So I came up with MicroSolutions.
And I was going to go to businesses and anybody who, you know, because back then people didn't realize they needed PCs. What do I need a PC for? I've
got my secretary who has a typewriter and I've got a copy machine. This new PC thing, I don't need it. And so I thought, OK, I'm going to take a
So I went to this company that had come into the store and didn't buy anything, called Architectural Lighting. And they needed a time and
billing program that was $500 retail and $250 cost. And I had no money.
I mean literally back then we would go to the grocery store at midnight because that's when they lowered the price of the chicken packs. And so,
you know, I was broke.
And so I went to them and I said, look, if you'll front me the $500, if it doesn't work for whatever reason, I'll walk your dog, I'll wash your car.
Fortunately, it worked. And then from there I just added another referral, another referral, you know, kept on learning how to program.
And for the next seven plus years, I coded and we built that company MicroSolutions to $36 million run rate sales and sold it to CompuServe.
ISAACSON: So how did you take the parlay, your winnings, from your first business? What did you start up next?
CUBAN: When I first got that money, I went to my friend, Charlie, and he was at Goldman Sachs and Roly Rolls was his partner. I want to invest like
a 60-year-old man. I want it in -- I want this to last me forever. If I have to live like a student forever. And then like, that's not (inaudible)
just do this for me, right.
And then all the sudden they start to ask me questions about technology. They were like, what do you think about this company? What do you think
about this software? What do you think is going it happen there?
And they were trading on it and making a lot of money. Like OK, I'll start trading. So I started making 80, 90, 100 percent a year on my money.
Because back then, that's -- you know, they had one analyst, you know, Goldman who covered tech and, you know, one here and one there.
And it was like taking candy from a baby. And so they wanted me to start a hedge fund, which I did for about three months. Then someone came in and
And so right off the bat I'm like OK, I made a couple more million dollars. I made all this money from trading.
But then come forward, fast forward to 1990 -- early '95, late 1994, I was back in Dallas and I was hanging out with one of my friends from college.
And he was like you know what do you think about this idea of using the Internet, which is brand new, to listen to Indiana University basketball?
I'm like OK, I'm a networking guy. I'm learning about the Internet. Let me see if I can figure it out.
And so I bought a Packard Bell computer in the second bedroom of my house and I bought an ISDN line, which is a big deal back then, and a modem.
Again, an ISDN modem. I'm like OK, let me see what I can do.
I then went to the local radio station, KLIF in Dallas, an a.m. station and I said, look, this might be the new cable. This might be nothing. But I
want to come down and record your radio shows and try to put them on this thing called the Internet. And let's see what happens.
ISAACSON: So it's streaming audio and it becomes broadcast.com.
CUBAN: Well, yes. Back then, it was called Internet broadcasting.
CUBAN: Then from there, it was like ready, set, go. So I took -- I put up the initial money and we just started calling on every radio station we
could find and just built that and then we turned it into broadcast.com once video became available.
And then in 1998, we took it public. It was the biggest IPO in the history of the stock market at the time and then sold it to Yahoo! and the rest
unfortunately is the wrong history.
ISAACSON: In order to be that innovative and to start all these tech businesses like that, it helped that you had space.
ISAACSON: Nowadays, the big tech companies pretty much dominate. It seems harder to find the space to innovate. And yet you're not in favor of
breaking up or regulating the big tech company. Why?
CUBAN: First, I don't think it's more difficult. I think that the wedges are maybe harder to find, but the going to why not break up the tech cycle,
talk about Facebook, right.
You don't need to use Facebook. This isn't 1984 with AT&T where, you know, if you want to make a phone call, you have one way to do it and you had to
go to AT&T.
You want to share pictures with grandma? There's a hundred ways to share pictures with grandma.
You want to get a news feed? There's a thousand ways to get a news feed. There's not one feature on Facebook that isn't replicated by 30 different
ISAACSON: Yes. But when a snap comes along and it competes with Facebook, Facebook can mush them down.
CUBAN: Yes, they can mush them down. When you run with the elephants, there's the quick in the dead, right.
And we used to have to compete with IBM and then you've always said that you're competing with Microsoft. No matter what.
Now, didn't break -- people discussed breaking up Microsoft and there was certainly anti-trust with I -- Internet Explorer. I just --
ISAACSON: Yes, but there was anti-trust against Microsoft.
ISAACSON: There's anti-trust against IBM.
ISAACSON: And this opens the way for things for be it Netscape or Apple to come along. Don't you think we need a little bit more anti-trust
CUBAN: Well, there's two different things. One, in terms of acquisitions.
OK, there's a good argument to be made that there should be -- there are certain spaces maybe that we shouldn't allow acquisitions.
ISAACSON: You know there's Facebook taking Instagram.
CUBAN: Right, of course. But no one thought Instagram was a huge deal when they bought Instagram. It was still growing. Remember Instagram
started in 2011.
Remember, as Snapchat had a chance to sell to them and they didn't. I remember sitting, talking with Evan Spiegel and saying, look, dude --
ISAACSON: Yes. But wouldn't it have been bad if Facebook just gets to buy up everything?
CUBAN: Again, what are they actually buying? It's one thing if it were something that is a utility that you have to use. It's another thing if
it's all optional.
I mean, look at what happened -- look at what is happening to Facebook in the United States. Their audience is declining. My 13 and my 16-year-old
kids have no interest in Facebook whatsoever.
My 81-year-old mom does, right. My wife uses it to keep up with her parents and some of her friends. But there's no real utility to it.
And even now when you look at our companies that are buying advertising, it's more effective now on Google than it is on Facebook. Unless you're
selling to an older audience.
ISAACSON: OK. But put on your shark tank hat. Every Sunday night, right. People come and they pitch a business to you. Don't you think pretty early
on in the pitch how could Facebook or how could Google crush this thing before you invest?
CUBAN: Always. Always. But it's always been that way but it doesn't mean there can't be great ideas.
You know, yes, IBM have survived in some manner. Microsoft took cloud computing really to reinvigorate them but Facebook, I don't see that
there's an eternal right for Facebook to exist or for Google.
ISAACSON: Do you think businesses should have a double bottom line, that they should be --
CUBAN: Yes, without question. So -- and you look at it -- I don't look it as a double bottom line. I look at it as the big picture, right.
I think you've got to be socially aware. Because the one thing that destroys a business is social unrest. If you're in a community that can't
be rebuilt, you know, or is having social problems or there's violence, you're not doing business, right.
If you're in an industry that is contributing to -- pick a topic whether it's climate change, whether it's discord, right, people are paying
attention now. The flip side of the Internet and social media is just so easy to send a message on what you care about.
Now from a business perspective, if you're able to contribute in more than just your own personal bottom line, people recognize that change is
happening in this world and maybe there's a better reason to do business with you.
You know, even if you're -- what you're selling costs a nickel more, you're contributing more than a nickel's worth of value to the world that my kids
have to live in or that I, as an 18-year-old, will have to live in in 20 years. So I think it's not just good for the bottom line but it's good for
ISAACSON: How would you apply your entrepreneurial skills and business skills to some of the nation's problems like health care?
CUBAN: Right. I'm glad you asked. So health care has gone from Obamacare really trying to change the game to now the discussion of Medicare for
Obamacare made a structural mistake when they built the whole program on insurance. The problem when you build a program with insurance, the
incentives of the insurance companies are not aligned with health care or wellness.
Now, you look to single payer and they're saying, well, insurance companies are part of the problem. So OK, let's remove them but they don't deal with
equity issues at all.
You know, there's no reason for somebody who's making $50,000 -- a family who's making $50,000 a year to pay more taxes to pay for my family's health
care. You know it's just wrong.
And so I think rather than addressing how to pay for it as a model, which is what's happened up to this point, we have to look at what makes people
healthier. Politically, you can make things work like you can have a hybrid where somebody who is making up to 400 percent of the poverty level,
they have single payer, right.
Maybe there's a small copay. Maybe there's not. But effectively, their health care -- insurance to their health care is free. Somebody who is
making over -- maybe their health care is based off a percentage of their income that is means tested.
So if you make $80,000 a year as a family, you might pay two percent. If you make a $100,000, you might pay six percent.
But that has equity to it. So that we're not all trying to have one size fits all because it won't work. So you have to look at this not as a
model, how are we going to pay for things, we just raise taxes, which I'm not opposed to, but let's just pay for everybody's health care.
But we have to start asking the question, how are we going to make people healthier? Because If we make them healthier, then our cost for health
care go down.
ISAACSON: What do you think about wealth tax?
CUBAN: It depends on the details, right. Look, fundamentally, I'm not opposed to paying more taxes at all.
A wealth tax, or national property tax if you want, it really depends on what type of assets you attach it to. are they liquid? Will they cause
some other harm? It really depends on the details.
It sounds really good right now but I think the bigger fundamental problem from some of the further left candidates is we know we're going to raise
taxes, right. And that's fine.
And we know they're going to raise taxes the maximum amount they can. And that's fine too.
But we don't work backwards from the amount of money we're going to raise and prioritize what needs to happen next. When you listen to candidates
right now, you don't see prioritized lists. It's not like they're saying well, this is number one, this is number two.
And then when we get down the bottom here, because that's not how politics works. But someone needs to come in and say what are your priorities? And
that's just not happening.
ISAACSON: What would you do about gun control?
CUBAN: That's a great question. And I know I'm going to get a lot of hell. I think you can own anything you want. I don't care what it is if
it's a bazooka, as long as it's in your house and on your property.
And the minute you take it off your property, go right to jail. Unless you alerted the appropriate authorities and we put a GPS on that device. So if
you want to go to the gun club, hey, guys, I'm going, I called the local police and they're following me, right.
If you have to carry the resents and you get a carry license, hey guys, I've got my GPS on my gun, I'm taking the bank receipts -- I'm taking the
receipts to the bank. If you can track me on your Google Maps, you know exactly where I am.
But, to me, you have the right. I mean it's just who we are as --
ISAACSON: But wait, don't you worry about the privacy rights of the government using a GPS to track your weapons?
CUBAN: Not for specialty issues because we -- insurance -- we're tracked all the time no matter what. In New York City, if you break the law,
there's going to be a camera that caught you somewhere, right. And with computer vision, they're going to know it's you.
So do I freak out about that? No. I'm a Scout McNealy fan who says you have no privacy, just get used to it. And so from a gun control
perspective, protect your property.
If that's what you think is the best way to protect your family, go for it. This is the United States of America. I'm not a gun advocate in a big way.
I'm not a gun fan, right. But at the same time we are who we are.
ISAACSON: So why aren't you running for president?
CUBAN: Because my family voted it down.
ISAACSON: Come on. Come on. Come on.
ISAACSON: All right. But, I mean, don't you think you should be getting into public life if you have these passions?
CUBAN: There's different ways to do it. There's different ways to impact health care.
So literally, a lot of things that we discuss on the periphery, I put into a package called the temp plan that I literally had had scored by three
different economic groups.
Right now the rand is scoring it on 10-year plan just like the office and budget management would do. I've taken it to the Democrats. I've taken it
to the Republicans.
When all the Medicare for All stuff hit, the Democrats kind of pushed it down but the Republicans are incorporating it to a lot of things that
they're potentially talking about. And so I met with a lot more Republicans lately.
But that's one way. If I can push that forward and the numbers continue to prove it out, because effectively I think everybody deserves the right to
be healthy but we have to get you there, right. And it can't just be, like I said, just worrying about how you pay for it. It's how do we get you
So that's one. You'll see me do some other things in health care when it comes to drugs that I really can't go into detail yet. But even though I
may not be running, you don't have to be the leader to be a leader.
ISAACSON: Thank you, Mark.
CUBAN: Thank you, Walter. I really enjoy it, as always.
AMANPOUR: We'll look for those proposals.
That's it for us tonight. Thanks for watching and good night from London.