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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Turkey Launches A Military Offensive In Northern Syria; Biden Calls For Trump's Impeachment For The First Time; Sports Gets Tangled Up In Politics; Turkish Military-Offensive in Northern Syria Underway After U.S. Pullout; Two Killed in Shootings at Synagogue and Shop in Germany; Joe Biden Calls for the Impeachment of President Trump. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired October 9, 2019 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: So stay with me, we're going to try not to ruin a good thing here. It is the final hour of trading on Wall
Street. And as you can see here, stocks have been up triple digits. And this is strange. They've been this way for the entire day.
Here is what's moving markets right now. Turkey launches a military offensive in Northern Syria. We will be live on the ground as the world
reacts. The Fed Minutes are out and show members are getting a tiny bit nervous about the U.S. economy. Who could blame them? And Boeing is way
behind schedule in getting that 737 MAX back in the air.
Live from the world's financial capital, New York City. It's Wednesday, October the 9th. I'm Paula Newton, in for Richard Quest and this is QUEST
Good evening, tonight, worries over humanitarian catastrophe as Turkey launches a military offensive in Northern Syria. Now, the Kurdish-led
Syrian Democratic Forces or the SDF say civilians have already been killed.
CNN reporters on the ground described desperate scenes, with people stuck in traffic jams trying to flee. Turkish President meantime, Recep Tayyip
Erdogan says with this operation, his forces he claims are driving out terrorists.
What they are doing, though, is targeting Kurdish forces that were a key ally of the United States in the crucial defeat of ISIS. Now the SDF says
it is suspending operations against ISIS as it vows to stop Turkish forces crossing the border into Syria.
Our Clarissa Ward is in Northern Syria. She will join me live in a moment. But first, here's what she saw earlier today with civilians forced to flee
and know idea where to go.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're here on the road out of the town of Ras al-Ain, and you can see, it is a chaotic
situation. The streets and roads just choked, full of cars, filled with families desperate to get out of here. None of them understanding exactly
what is going on, what has happened, what the intention of this Turkish military strikes are.
We saw at least six big plumes of black smoke with our own eyes, at least one building that appeared to be on fire. And these people are now fleeing
to try to get to safety, but they don't know exactly where safety might be. And let's just take a talk and chat to these people. (Speaking in foreign
language). Are you afraid?
They are saying that they're frightened for the children. And you can imagine why. Look at the sky. It is thick with black smoke. There have
been strikes for the last couple of hours.
(Speaking in foreign language). So they're saying there were many different explosions. (Speaking in foreign language). She says there were
many explosions that was coming from shelling artillery. They're now trying to get out. (Speaking in foreign language). And they don't know
where they're going, or where they might be able to sleep tonight. Clarissa Ward, CNN, outside Ras al-Ain, Syria.
NEWTON: And Clarissa now joins me live. Clarissa, extraordinary pictures there you're showing me because no sooner were you in the lead up to this,
the 24 hours before telling us how this would unfold and it is already unfolding in terms of where we go from here. All of those desperate
What struck me is the fact that we were told this was supposed to be a buffer. Right? And yet, what are you hearing about the actual airstrikes
that have already occurred?
WARD: Well, I think what's really a great concern here, Paula, beyond the fact that they are witnessing horrific strikes on their hometowns is just
how widespread these strikes appear to be.
According to our reporting, we can think of at least five towns where these strikes have been happening, ranging from the town of Tall Abyad all the
way to the town of Qamishli, which we drove through earlier today, which is, you know, well over a hundred miles away.
So this is very much spread out, and I think people had expected or anticipated a slightly more narrow focus, at least in the beginning of this
operation. And what happens when you have a situation as we have now where it appears to be more spread out, more sporadic, more random, at least two
people here on the ground, is that nobody knows where to run to for safety.
WARD: And you heard me asking those women, where are you going? And they literally answered, we don't know where we're going. And I think that's a
metaphor, frankly, for this entire military operation.
No one knows exactly what Turkish forces are planning, when we can expect to see tanks rolling in, how exactly Syrian-Kurdish forces will respond.
They've said that they are going to resist, but the reality is, this is not a fair fight in the sense that the Turkish military is far more powerful
and far stronger, and far more well-equipped than Syrian forces are -- than Syrian-Kurdish forces are.
So still a lot of questions here as to how this might play out and very real fears that it will get bloodier, and that some kind of a security
vacuum will be created here, which of course, will have a number of potential dangerous knock on effects -- Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, for sure. In terms of that fight against ISIS, and of course, all those ISIS militants that right now the Kurdish forces were
dealing with and trying to keep in prison.
Clarissa, I have to ask you, you know, the White House is now coming out and saying, look, this is a bad idea. But do you have any sense that this
is making a difference in terms of the method or the mission?
Because from what I can see from what you and our colleagues have reported on today, this just seems full steam ahead for the Turkish forces.
WARD: It does not look like the Turkish -- well, I mean, let's face it, Paula, the Turkish haven't given themselves a lot of wiggle room here.
They've said they've committed to this. They've been planning it for months.
This is a deep seated enmity that goes back decades, frankly, between the Turkish and the PKK, which they view as a terrorist organization, and by
extension, therefore, the YPG, which are Syrian, the majority of Syrian Kurdish Forces fighting on the ground here.
So there's no anticipation that the genie can be put back into the bottle here. And the question becomes, how do you contain it to have the minimum
damage? The minimum destruction? And the minimum civilian casualties?
And from what we've seen today, there are no comforting or reassuring answers on the horizon -- Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, how many times we heard the words containment and restraint. I've seen very little evidence of it ever on the ground. Clarissa, I'm
glad you're there. And you continue to bring this story for us. Appreciate it.
Now President Trump says, as I was just saying that he does not endorse Turkey's attack. Joining me now is John Kirby, who served as spokesperson
for the State Department and Press Secretary at the Pentagon.
John, you know, here we are, again. Can you just let us know what you believe is at stake right now, right here, as we see those Kurdish
civilians that have literally nowhere to go.
JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Immediately at stake is a humanitarian crisis, and Clarissa's reporting, I think starkly shows the
reality of that already unfolding.
Because the Turkish military thinks in offensive terms, they're not doctrinally instituted to worry about civilian casualties and collateral
damage. They are not very good at humanitarian or sustainment operations.
So I suspect that they haven't really given a thought about tomorrow and the next day, and the week after that, in terms of what they're going to do
to stabilize this region that they have now, certainly cast into a great deal of instability and insecurity.
And I don't think they've given much thought to a resurgent ISIS, which would now be freed up because the SDF are not going to be fighting them
anymore or even guarding the prisons, be freed up now to move with more alacrity throughout the region, will be able to recruit and resource and
retain their fighters, even more.
So I don't believe that Turkey has through the second and third order effects here.
NEWTON: Yes, in terms of being opportunistic, though, if you're Turkey, right now, what's confusing to me is that ISIS is as much of a threat to
Turkey as it is to anyone else at this point in time, you'd have to think they have a plan. And yet, what is it, John?
I mean, I have yet to hear anyone convincingly describe to me why they were even able to convince Donald Trump that this was a good idea, given the
fact that those few dozen troops were a tripwire for Turkish forces to not be expedient about it, right? To not take the opportunity to do this.
KIRBY: You have to remember that Turkey's sole focus here has been, even since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War and the fight against ISIS,
which started in 2014, to be focused on the Kurdish regions of Northeast Syria, in particular, Kurdish terrorists.
Now they consider all Kurdish militia forces as terrorists, but we're supposed to be talking about the PKK. And look, they have -- they do have
a case here and they have suffered attacks on their own soil by PKK terrorists over the last few years.
I mean, they are under some threat, but their focus has always been on that. They've never really been sincerely focused about fighting ISIS. To
your point about the fact that they could find themselves now at odds with ISIS. That's true if ISIS moves back into northeast Syria.
The biggest threat to Turkey from ISIS has been the refugees and if you look at those two towns, the two towns that were mostly under attack today,
Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ain, where Clarissa was, they've run astride two major highways. In fact, the only two major highways that run through
Turkey into Syria along that long stretch east of the Euphrates.
KIRBY: It's a crossing point, a border point, both of them have massive refugee camps that the Turks have been wanting to alleviate the pressure
from. Ironically, they might be actually creating a situation where there are more refugees not less flowing into Turkey as a result of what they're
NEWTON: Yes. And it's great that you've put that into perspective, honestly because it really looks at this strategically and says, what are
the goals of the Turkish military here and the Turkish government?
Before I let you go, we have to remember Turkey is a NATO ally. You know, I thought -- really, it was extraordinary. NATO Secretary General has
comment saying that, you know, we're telling them to be cautious and be careful.
I found it quite -- found the organization quite impotent. I under that that's a strong statement for me to make. So correct me, what's at stake
here for NATO and those European allies?
KIRBY: I think there does need to be a very sincere conversation now about Turkey's future in the Alliance. Now, a lot will depend on how they manage
this operation. And I'm glad that the Secretary General sort of laid a marker out there saying, hey, we're going to be watching this and you know,
you need to act with restraint.
But I think there's been long concerns about Turkey's future in NATO even before today. Certainly, they're cozying up to Russia, buying the 300 and
S-400 missile defense systems, I mean, air defense systems.
So they have been -- Turkey has been moving away from the founding principles of NATO now for a couple of years. This could in fact
accelerate that drift away. And I think there should be -- and needs to be a sincere conversation about whether Turkey should remain in the Alliance
Now, obviously, I think it's better for the Alliance to have a stable democratic secure Turkey that is self-confident enough to act as a major
ally on NATO's southeast flank.
But President Erdogan as the autocratic leader that he is has not really proven up to that challenge that his predecessors have in the past been
able to meet.
NEWTON: Yes, John, thanks so much, really, for setting the pieces together here for us because this is going to be long, at least weeks, if not months
here. John, appreciate it.
NEWTON: Now, the Trump administration is putting up a wall, a stone wall that is. The White House sending a defiant letter to House Democrats
refusing to comply with their Impeachment Inquiry into President Trump.
Now, Democrats say that will not halt their investigation saying they already have a lot of the evidence of the presidential misconduct that they
Now, meantime, 2020 Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden has for the first time publicly called for President Trump to be impeached. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation, and committed impeachable acts.
To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Kaitlan Collins joins me now from the White House. Where is this battle going now? We just heard Joe Biden, I'm not sure how much that
actually changes the rules of the game.
But at the same time, the Democrats say this is obstruction. And it's hard to see where this standoff goes now?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's really the question and kind of what you're saying back here at the White House.
They're waiting to see what the Democrats do next, because they sent that letter saying we're not going to cooperate.
And while you saw Democrats today, saying they're not going to be deterred in their investigation by that, that they're going to continue pushing
forward, it is going to raise questions about whether or not they can interview witnesses, get their hands on documents. And so that's really
going to be the question.
What will be interesting is whether or not they take that Impeachment Inquiry vote that for days, White House officials have been saying it
wasn't a legitimate probe because they hadn't yet taken that vote.
If Democrats do, then what the White House will do is still an open question because they've been pushing for it. But when an official was
asked that question yesterday, they said they didn't want to get into hypotheticals about whether or not they'd cooperate then if the Democrats
did actually bring this to a vote.
So those next steps are still unclear, and while the President says they're not going to cooperate, they want to fight this today. He called for this
Impeachment Inquiry to end. We are seeing them behind the scenes take steps as if impeachment is headed their way.
We reported yesterday the President is going to bring on the former South Carolina congressman, Trey Gowdy on the outside not inside the
administration to be at his service, his counsel throughout this impeachment fight, and be someone, a voice who goes on television and
defends the President aggressively, which makes clear that they think they need to ramp up their messaging operation here.
It is something that we've been hearing for weeks now, officials in the White House are not confident that they are strong enough in that area to
go to battle with Democrats.
NEWTON: Kaitlan, thanks. I will repeat. We have only started this battle down in the White House and in Congress. Kaitlan, thanks.
Now the markets were unfazed by escalating hostility in Washington and of course, that violence in Syria. All three indices are rallying at this
NEWTON: The Dow is now up about 240 points, this, despite evidence the Fed policymakers were more worried about the economy when they held their
Mona Mahajan, is a U.S. Investment Strategist at Allianz Global Investors. She joins me now. I don't think you seem too surprised about this.
MONA MAHAJAN, U.S. INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, ALLIANZ GLOBAL INVESTORS: Well, from the Fed perspective, we've been saying there's three key messages
Jerome Powell has been giving to the markets. One, he wants to extend this expansion for as long as he possibly can in the U.S.
Number two, he is worried about what's happening globally: uncertainty around trade, what's happening in China and Europe and the slowdown
And then number three, he really does think about this as a mid-cycle adjustment or an insurance rate cutting cycle.
So in the past, when you look at the examples from the late 90s, that's typically been three rate cuts, 25 basis points each. We've gotten two
rate cuts thus far. We do think one or two more are likely, but then it will be very data dependent after that.
NEWTON: And data dependent. Why? Though some people say, look, they're going to be running out of ammo at that point in time, you've got to halt
MAHAJAN: Yes, I think the concerns about what's happening globally, and what's happening in the U.S. around manufacturing are the reasons that you
do have to take out this insurance.
Now, the services sector and the consumer in the U.S. have been strong, we saw that in the jobs report just last Friday. We've been seeing that in
some of the non-manufacturing data that's come through, including retail sales and consumer confidence.
So not yet a full rate cutting cycle where we're going anywhere near, you know, zero or an even negative balance, like we've been seeing globally.
But I think three to four rate cuts do make sense just to protect the U.S.
NEWTON: You know, help us make sense of what has been a very impulsive market, especially when it comes to trade. You know, at this time
yesterday, yours were here. We were going down on China headlines. Today, we're going up on China headline.
NEWTON: How do you make sense of that? This is a real twitchy market.
MAHAJAN: Yes, you know, I think the trade headlines have been a driver of the market. Although, I think the uncertainties more broadly are also
what's been causing this volatility that we've been seeing.
On trade, specifically, our base case is that we don't see the two sides coming together for a comprehensive deal. We're not going to address, you
know, IP theft, technology transfer practices et cetera. Could we get a more what they call skinny deal with, you know, soybean purchases going up?
And maybe some tariffs being pushed out?
Potentially, yes. What we're watching are two key dates, October 15th, the next tranche of tariffs goes into place. And more importantly, December
15th, that's when that last tranche goes into place really affects consumer goods, you know, areas like apparel, footwear, toys, that's really where
you know if we're going to get any upside, if those tariffs get pushed out, we could see some positive.
NEWTON: And those are the days that corporate CFOs worry about, right? Because in terms of any projections, that's going to throw them off.
NEWTON: Let's talk about t investor. Investors who have been cautious have been punished of this volatility, nearly they have been. Every time
you have seen any pullback, they come right back up.
NEWTON: What's your advice in terms of a posture to take here?
MAHAJAN: Yes, you know, it's interesting. So the S&P is up about 15 to 16 percent year-to-date. When you look under the hood, there really has been
some sector rotation there that's driving that.
There's been this rotation over the last quarter into defensive sectors and that's really an area that we're focused on as well.
So in equities that means areas like consumer staples, REITs, utilities, even parts of healthcare that have lagged. I think it's important to build
a strong defensive portfolio, given the uncertainty that we're seeing.
On the other hand, in what we call barbell approach. The long term stories around technology remain interesting to us. So there are disruptive
technologies, emerging areas like cyber security, like cloud computing, like even mobile payments, they have long term legs in a low rate
environment, can do well.
And so we think investors particularly are well positioned to take that barbell approach.
NEWTON: Gosh, that sounds optimistic, doesn't it? I still -- some people are telling me that even the concept of a flash crash is absolutely gone.
Do you -- I have to go, but I want to get your perspective on it.
MAHAJAN: Well, you know, I think October is notorious for those flash crashes. So if we get one, you could see it in the next couple of weeks.
But I do think December is also historically pretty positive in the market. So get through the next few weeks, a lot of data. The Fed is in play
again, and then we can see from there if it gets more positive.
NEWTON: Great. Thanks so much. A lot of good information there, Mona. I appreciate it.
MAHAJAN: Thank you. Thank you. Great.
NEWTON: Now, boycott the ban. Right? That's what gamers are saying after a player was banned for supporting Hong Kong. We will have the latest, as
sports gets tangled up in politics.
NEWTON: So we've come to learn China isn't playing games with the NBA. All 11 of the NBA's Chinese partner firms have now suspended business
activities with the league.
Events involving visiting U.S. teams have now been cancelled as calls for a boycott grow in China. CNN's David Culver has more on those escalating
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Workers in Shanghai tear down giant posters that promote two upcoming NBA games in China as the
relationship between the National Basketball Association and Chinese officials rapidly deteriorates.
The firestorm sparked by now deleted tweet from Houston Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey in support of Hong Kong protesters.
The backlash, harsh. China's state run CCTV halted the broadcasting of preseason NBA games in China issuing a scathing statement Wednesday
directed toward NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, stating that, "On this issue, the Chinese people will not equivocate or back down. Today's China
will not tolerate your double dealing."
Adding, "They should see their mistakes and mend their ways by retracting their wrong remarks and sincerely apologizing to the Chinese fans."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: We are not apologizing for Daryl exercising his freedom of expression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CULVER (voice over): Silver and the NBA refusing to cave to China's growing pressures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SILVER: And you know, we will have to live with those consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CULVER (voice over): The immediate consequences could mean the cancellation of Thursday's Lakers-Nets game. Both teams already in
Shanghai practicing, but a pregame fan night celebration and press conference both abruptly canceled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today's media availability has been postponed. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CULVER (voice over): Outside the hotel, a few dozen Chinese fans greeting the players while also touting their allegiance to China First.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CULVER (on camera): If China were to decide we're going to push out NBA all together, will you be okay with that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I'm okay. Life is more than basketball.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CULVER (voice over): That sentiment echoed by a few others in the group. But this English teacher asked to speak with us away from the crowd. He
believes, at the core, there is a disconnect between the U.S. and Chinese mindset.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They know their country's culture. We know our country's culture. They can -- they have the freedom to say that, but they
have to -- but they have to endure the consequence of saying that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CULVER (voice over): The NBA and its players like the Chinese, holding strong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES HARDEN, NBA PLAYER: Well, we have freedom of speech. That's the world we live in and everybody should tell how they feel and their thought
process, be able to speak it.
NEWTON: Yes, the issue there is that no, we do not all have freedom of speech and that's what this is all about.
Now going back from basketball to eSports, Blizzard Entertainment is facing a boycott of its own. Yes, this isn't over.
After the American video game company banned a player for voicing support for protesters in Hong Kong. This is what happened. Many gamers are now
dumping their subscriptions to games like World of Warcraft in response to what they see as Blizzard kowtowing to Chinese censorship.
NEWTON: Bruce Turkel joins me now from Miami. In those examples, it's almost a no situation. And yet, what are you going to tell me about what
these brands and at the end, they are multibillion dollar brands? What have they not done in order to try and protect that? And you say they have
to come out and say what they stand for?
BRUCE TURKEL, CEO, TURKEL BRANDS: They absolutely do. And I think one of them has, I think the NBA is actually doing a very good job of it.
The NBA is saying, here's who we are. Here is what our authentic truth is and we are not going to change it. If you are values-based, you have to
live by those values.
It's very important because customers, consumers need to understand who they're doing business with and what that means.
NEWTON: When you say what that means, you know, there are some people really saying that this is an either/or situation, if you want China's
revenue, the colossal revenue and potential that they have, you do need to be kind of an apologist for what their government policies are.
TURKEL: Perhaps you do, if you go it by yourself, and I think it will be very difficult for the NBA to simply make this stand by themselves.
However, if the NBA enlists other brands that are important to Chinese consumers or important to the NBA, if they build what we call brand
blending, where this issue becomes more than just the NBA, but it's how an entire cohort identifies themselves.
For example, if they bring Yao Ming into this, if they bring Nike into this, if they bring in other brands and say we all stand for this level of
transparency, and this level of freedom of speech, all of a sudden, it's not so easy for an organization, an institution even as big as the Chinese
government to be able to say that's unacceptable, because then you start taking too many things away from your consumers.
NEWTON: Yes, but the brand of solidarity back in, you know, the late 80s was a brand because it stood for something. You just mentioned Yao Ming,
right? He was a Houston Rockets. He is the head of the Chinese Basketball Association. He stands with his country in punishing the NBA on this.
TURKEL: Well, yes, he stands with his country by his statements. However, remember that in branding, it's not always what you say. It's what you do.
The fact that Adam Silver has already said -- the Head of the Commission, the Basketball Commission here in the States has already set up a meeting
with Yao Ming, the fact that they're reaching out to him shows a sense of cooperation.
They were friends apparently since Yao Ming started playing in the United States, and so doing those things shows that we're cutting off everything.
We are boycotting. We are walking away is not really what's going on.
Because let's face it, this is a much bigger picture. It's a much longer activity, and yes, it may mean some short range losses, but in the long
run, what's important is that the brand stand for what it is and I think that's exactly what they're doing.
NEWTON: Bruce, you speak such sense. I wonder what these companies are listening to people like you because at the end of the day, you look at it
and you think you know this would have been obvious that as you said you need to have a plan going in and realize which markets you are going into.
Bruce, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.
TURKEL: Thank you. I appreciate it as well.
NEWTON: Now, the international community is reacting to Turkey's offensive in Syria. Some are warning the attack will lead to an ISIS resurgence;
others, warning of humanitarian crisis. We will be live on a Turkish- Syrian border. That's next.
NEWTON: Well, I'm Paula Newton, and there's more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment. But before that, these are the headlines at this hour. A top
adviser to Turkey's president says the U.S. president knew the precise scope of the Turkish offensive in northern Syria.
The White House says it, quote, "does not endorse this attack and told Turkey it is a bad idea." Now, the Turkish military is bombing Kurdish
targets after U.S. forces pulled out. Two people are dead after a shooting attack on a synagogue and a kabob shop in eastern Germany. It happened on
Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews.
Officials say one suspect was arrested, they are still searching for other attackers who may have been involved, and we've just learned that a video
of the attack apparently shot by the gunman was posted on an online streaming platform. In it, the suspected gunman made anti-Semitic remarks.
For the first time, former U.S. President and presidential -- former U.S. Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden is calling for
Donald Trump's impeachment. Now, that came during a rally in New Hampshire. Biden said the U.S. president has violated his oath of office
and betrayed the nation in a tweet. Trump responded calling Biden's remarks pathetic, and insisting once again that he did nothing wrong.
And we return to northern Syria and the Turkish military offensive that started earlier Wednesday. Now, thousands of civilians are trying to get
out of the area. The SDF says it has suspended operations against ISIS and has vowed to do everything it can to resist the Turkish forces. Now, the
U.N. Security Council is due to meet on Thursday morning.
Nick Paton Walsh is on the border between Syria and Turkey and joins us now. Nick, I was speaking to you several hours ago when this all started.
Is there any clear picture emerging of exactly what the Turkish at least short-term goals are with this?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, to be honest with you, no, we know the long-term goal and that is to essentially establish a
corridor as deep as 18 miles inside northeastern Syria into which they would remove -- thought they should remove from that the Syrian Kurdish
forces they consider to be terrorists and put into it the millions of Syrian refugees who've led Syria's civil war.
That's the long-term goal. Short-term, we've seen clearly today what looks like air strikes, certainly artillery when you and I last spoke around the
town of Tell Abiad, not inside it from what we could see. But clearly designed to send a message to those around them, in that it's time to pull
back and leave and also the substantial it seems bombardment in Ras al-Ayn further east along the border as well.
These possibly are the first towns in the Turkish crosshairs, they're the towns from which U.S. troops withdrew in the last few days, presumably
because of indications that those were potentially Turkish targets. The point really now is whether we see a ground offensive by the Turkish
military in the imminent future.
While we were along the border, we saw some what looked like Syrian rebels that have been backed by Turkey waving the free Syrian army flag passed,
yes, they're going to be part of this offensive too like many have speculated.
But when do they all go in and what is the extent of their ambition? It is a massive months-long task to clear 18 miles deep of the entire Turkish-
Syrian border if really that is what President Erdogan has in mind. And if you -- as you mentioned yourself, one of his top advisors said that was in
fact communicated, the scope of the operation was communicated to the White House.
They have said that they endorse this, it's a bad idea and suggested Turkey needs to continue to be humanitarian and most importantly take custody of
the ISIS prisoners that the Syrian Kurds currently hold. I have to tell you that's a far-fetched idea at best given that it would require somehow
the forces that hold those ISIS prisoners, the Syrian Kurds, to allow the people --they're fighting Turkey in to take them away during this pitched
battle we may see in the days ahead.
So a lot of very urgent questions to be asked, first about ISIS resurgence possibly, more urgently right now about damage to civilian lives inside the
Syrian-Kurdish areas. But possibly, we could be looking at days, weeks, maybe months here. It isn't clear if Turkey plans something fast and large
in the days ahead or whether this is a gradual phase-by-phase operation, Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, and as you say, it is when that ground incursion happens that things may really kick off here. In terms of those ISIS fighters, Nick,
you know, the Kurdish forces say that they really will have no choice, but to perhaps abandon the prisons that they're in. You have to say that from
CNN's reporting, right, you and I have seen it.
These are hardened fighters, there's no contrition here, and they are waiting for the day that ISIS can rule over people and territory. Again,
do you have any indication though that the Kurds themselves will do all they can to just at least hold it together knowing the consequences if they
WALSH: No, I mean, they've said that this will not be their priority, you can take that possibly as a threat towards the U.S. because it's a key goal
of these ISIS detainees stay in detention. But it's also a practical fact in the facilities themselves, even when the Syrian Kurds were not fighting
the Turkish military, were kind of struggling to maintain this volume of detainees, possibly 10,000 fighters, 2,000 of those being foreigners being
Syrian and Iraqi.
And there's a broader question too of the civilians, women and children held tens of thousands in the Al-Hawl displacement camp. Security on that
was rickety and these are going to suffer substantially in terms of how secure they are in the weeks ahead. No doubt about that, one European
official I spoke to said he was concerned about a major breakout in the event that the SDF, the Syrian and Kurds were in fact distracted.
So, yes, you'll see ISIS looking for gaps here, they were born in a vacuum, they'll try and find the vacuum here to reinsert themselves into. But
don't forget though, the United States still have about a 1,000 troops here. They have a counter-ISIS mission, they know that this is an enormous
risk, the detainees sparking out.
This is not something they haven't given any thought to. So, while the challenges logistically are enormous, you can probably bear in mind that
there will be a lot of surveillance in the very least by U.S. and their allied forces of these key detainees. But it's an extraordinary situation
we find ourselves in after four or five years of intense battling to rid this area of ISIS, the forces that did it are now under attack by NATO, a
U.S. ally -- sorry, a NATO member, and we're potentially seeing a vacuum forming again which could allow the former so-called caliphate to feel a
little bit of oxygen again, Paula.
NEWTON: Yes, and just a scramble by civilians there, just in the first few hours has been alarming enough. I mean, Nick, you've alluded to this in
the last few weeks quite frankly many times, but what are the forces at work for Erdogan within Turkey, and the fact that he seems so adamant that
no matter the cost, he's going to continue with this offensive.
WALSH: Well, I mean, you can look at this possibly as a strategic long- term goal if you are the Turkish state and you believe the Syrian Kurds are terrorists, align with Turkish Kurds, Turkey and U.S. have prescribed as
terrorist fighting an insurgence inside of Turkey, then you probably don't want to have a large Syrian Kurdish state on your southern border for the
They've known they've had to do this in terms of their strategic goals. But why now is a broader question. This is not a brilliant time
politically for President Erdogan, he's not as great in the polls as he used to be. The economy has taken many gut punches here in Turkey, so it
is a strange time to launch what could be a months-long massive military operation to the south that risks potentially flaring up.
Attacks in -- or civilian population census inside of Turkey from Kurdish insurgents. So, a lot to risk here, he may simply have felt that their
long-term negotiations they've been having with the United States to create a small, a buffer zone to try and put a lot of finger in the dam as it were
so to speak, weren't giving enough to them.
That's what the foreign minister suggested fast enough and then saw in the phone call with Donald Trump on Sunday a kind of green light set things in
motion and then found it difficult to reverse stakes. But you have to also bear in mind Turkey's broader geopolitical alliances here, it's been very
close to Russia of late, purchasing its S-400 anti-aircraft missile system.
That got Turkey kicked out of NATO's F-35 program, remarkable frankly. This is the second largest army in NATO and now frankly, on tenterhooks at
times within that alliance in the view of other members. And just before this operation was launched, President Erdogan rang President Putin in
So, clearly, a shift in who Turkey perhaps sees as their friends, you might say. Donald Trump has been at pains to say Turkey is a key trading
partner, though he doesn't think he's invited President Erdogan to the White House, November the 13th. But still, a lot is moving here in how
Turkey views its allies, its goals and what it's prepared to do to sustain them. Paula?
NEWTON: Yes, certainly, an audacity there by Erdogan, reminiscent really of Vladimir Putin. Nick, we're happy to have you there on the Syria-
Turkish border, appreciate it. And we'll be right back with more of QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.
NEWTON: Now, the animation industry brought in an incredible $259 billion last year. I kid you not. With strong projections for the coming years,
media companies like Netflix are hungry for animated content and a South African company is ready to serve. Eleni Giokos has the next installment
of our series, "IN THE MAKING".
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN BUSINESS AFRICA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the animated world, a rat eating a cupcake isn't out of the ordinary. But to
get that, creators had to do this.
VANESSA ANN SINDEN, PRODUCER, TRIGGERFISH ANIMATION STUDIOS: Hartington(ph) like to get hands on when they're creating. Hi, welcome,
this is Triggerfish Animation. We're a 3D studio. We do studio animation, Triggerfish is unique in focusing specifically on creating African original
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a good idea.
GIOKOS: This is award-winning animation studio based in Cape Town, South Africa, has been creating animated content since 1996.
SINDEN: We have two of the top five African films ever produced. And we're constantly producing award-winning content.
"Adventures in Zambezia" was our first feature film. It was a total first for the continent. We approached that project having never done it before,
a feature film and it was an amazing journey.
STUART FORREST, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TRIGGERFISH ANIMATION STUDIOS: We try to have fun.
SINDEN: Working in an animation studio is amazing. The studio culture is alive, it's vibrant, it's very young.
GREIG CAMERON, DIRECTOR, SEAL TEAM: From the top to the bottom, there's a passion for doing this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We also have a culture of trying to make the best quality product that we can.
GIOKOS: That quality of work has helped Triggerfish ink a deal with media giants Netflix.
FORREST: At the moment we've got a Netflix original series that we are in very early stages of production on and which is very exciting. It's the
first animated series out of Africa that Netflix have commissioned.
SINDEN: The industry has got absolutely every eye on it from international perspective at the moment. Just because Africa is story-telling, African
animation is really like a bit of a buzz word at the moment.
GIOKOS: But Sinden says that wasn't always the case.
SINDEN: There definitely have been tough times. Being at the tip of the continent we often find when working with people in Hollywood or working
internationally, that there's a lack of confidence about our ability to produce. And what we've been having to do is show them the quality of our
work that we have the passion and the ambition to be the Africa's leader.
NEWTON: OK, when we return, the man who blew the whistle on Cambridge Analytica is here, we'll talk Facebook privacy and if we can protect our
NEWTON: OK, Facebook has denied a request from Joe Biden's campaign to take down an ad by Donald Trump's camp. Now, the video accuses the former
vice president without evidence of behaving corruptly in his conduct towards Ukraine in the Obama administration. Facebook says it's not taking
the ad down because it believes in quote, "free expression and respect for the democratic process."
The company says its policy is not to fact-check political ads or posts. Now, my next guest blew the whistle on the data scandal involving Facebook
and Cambridge Analytica.
He has a new book out about the experience, Christopher Wylie joins me now here live in the studio. Christopher, thanks for being here for --
CHRISTOPHER WYLIE, FORMER CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA CONTRACTOR: Thanks for having me --
NEWTON: So, the actual facts if we put them succinctly, are that Cambridge Analytica --
WYLIE: Yes --
NEWTON: Harvested and used, not sure it was likely illegal way, exploited data from Facebook users.
WYLIE: Yes --
NEWTON: Has any of that changed? And if it hasn't, how do we change it?
WYLIE: So, you know, one of the reason why I wrote the book is, you know, first to tell a story. Cambridge Analytic which is, you know, slightly
byzantine and it involves, you know, Russian operatives and data and hackers and all of that. But one of the real concerns that I have is that
even though the company now has dissolved, you know, many of the capabilities that it builds in terms of exploiting people online through
disseminating targeted disinformation still exists.
And what happens, you know, if you know China becomes the next Cambridge Analytica or if North Korea becomes the next Cambridge Analytica.
NEWTON: Because your point has been obvious through this book, this was effective, this was incredibly effective --
WYLIE: Yes --
NEWTON: Whether it came to the 2016 election or Brexit.
WYLIE: Yes, what a lot of people don't realize about Cambridge Analytica which is what I talk about in the book is that its origins are, you know,
in a military contractor that was based in London that worked on information and psychological operations.
And when I first got recruited at the company, what I was working at -- you know, what I was working on was essentially looking at, you know, who is
most vulnerable to being targeted by extremist organizations. You know, to fall into that trap of extremism and radicalization. And when the company
got acquired by an alt-right billionaire, and when Steve Bannon became my boss, that work got inverted.
So, we were still looking for, you know, people who were more prone to paranoid ideation, who were more prone to, you know, engaging in
conspiratorial thinking. But instead of trying to mitigate radicalization, you know, the company targeted people to promote radicalization in the
United States for the alt-right.
NEWTON: It was incredibly subversive and some people would say shrewd and incisive in terms of what you could do with this information, what you
could manipulate. You know, you write that I did not see the contradiction in what I was doing. Some people -- I mean, you know, some people paint
you as a whistleblower, some point to you as a person who should have known better.
WYLIE: Yes, I mean, you know, one of the things I talk about in the book is that, you know, I fell for the allure of you know, Facebook's mantra of
you know, move fast and break things. So, a lot of engineers get really focused in their work, and it's cool to build things that can become
powerful. But what I didn't think about when I was doing my work at Cambridge Analytica was what was it that I may be breaking?
And if the consequence, you know, of that -- of that ideology of that mantra is you know, we end up breaking elections or the functioning of our
public forum, you know, that's something that I think a lot of engineers should be considering, particularly if they work at companies like
NEWTON: Right, but what guardrails do we put in now to make sure that I don't have to count quite frankly on someone like you, who was 24 years old
when all of this started, to be protecting and not exploiting my data. What do we do?
WYLIE: I mean, right now, there's no rules in place. The United States is one of the few countries in the developed world that has no national
privacy legislation, and currently we are relegating the security of, you know, the American democratic process to a private company. And we are
hoping that they are honest and transparent.
Even though what we've seen in the past is that Facebook has typically obfuscated and hidden until they've been forced up by journalists to admit
the problems that are happening on their platform. One of the -- you know, I think it's quite telling that, you know, even though Silicon Valley often
talks about you know, their platforms as services and they talk about terms and conditions and opting in, the top job titles are, you know, usually
engineer and architect.
NEWTON: Yes --
WYLIE: They're building architectures. And when you think about how society looks at architecture and engineering in the physical world, we
have building codes for safety. You know, if you were an architect and you built a building without fire exits, you would -- it would be inexcusable
to say I put some terms and conditions at the door, 20,000 words that people should read before they walk into the building.
They agreed to the architecture of my building. That would be ridiculous. And the thing that's really important, and I think for people to understand
is that, you know, the internet is part and parcel of modern-day life. You know, we check our phones, you know, minute-by-minute. You know, the first
thing that you see is your phone --
NEWTON: Right --
WYLIE: The last thing you see is your phone during the day. And so, I hope that you know, this serves as a warning to people that we need to
NEWTON: OK --
WYLIE: Take it seriously.
NEWTON: Christopher Wylie, I want to thank you for coming in, the book is "Cambridge Analytica And The Plot to Break America".
WYLIE: Thanks for having me.
NEWTON: Appreciate it. Now, we have some breaking news in to CNN. Turkish troops have now begun that ground offensive in northern Syria, it
follows strikes by Turkish planes in Syria earlier on Wednesday, thousands of civilians have fled the violence. We're back now to our Nick Paton
Walsh who was on the border between Turkey and Syria.
Perhaps not surprising, of course, Nick, that this is happening obviously in darkness. Where does this go from here now?
WALSH: We know very little at this point about exactly where we're talking about. I would possibly speculate around Tell Abiad or Ras al-Ayn where
some of the more intense focus of strikes. Where we have a tweet from the Turkish Defensive Ministry that says "the Turkish Armed Forces and the
Syrian national army" -- we'll get to that in a minute, "have launched the land operation to the east of the Euphrates River" -- that's areas held by
Syrian Kurds -- "as part of the operation peace spring."
Now they refer to the Syrian national army there that is Turkish phraseology for as we spoke earlier on, the Syrian rebel that Turkey has
long backed who we saw some of around the area of Tell Abiad who may be part, it seems of this intervention force. Now, exactly how extensive this
operation will be, we still don't know.
You said yourself earlier on that a top adviser to President Erdogan said the White House is -- Donald Trump had been made aware of the scope, but
tonight certainly after not intent, but fairly sustained strikes along that border focusing possibly on Ras al-Ayn and Tell Abiad(ph) areas, we're now
seeing the beginnings of the ground operation.
But we just don't know exactly how much of northeastern Syria they have in mind to take off the Syrian Kurds. And we haven't actually seen the
military response from the Syrian Kurds ourselves necessarily yet. This is a force steeled-in fighting ISIS over years. But even during that fight,
they complained about the shoddiness of their weaponry, the lack of armored vehicles, the lack of heavy weapons that they were using sort of borrowed
AK-47s so much at the time.
They're very focused, their morale is high, but they haven't got much of a chance against second-largest army in NATO with its modern equipments. So,
a lot of questions to be answered here, but one clear answer that land the invasion has certainly begun with Syrian rebels in the midst of Turkish and
military forces. Paula?
NEWTON: OK, Nick Paton Walsh there, thank you very much and we'll be right back with more news in a moment.
NEWTON: OK, folks. The Dow is now heading for its first gain of the week. And there you are. We are off session highs, but you know, that's a pretty
good gain right there, and it's because of those reports that China is now open apparently to a partial trade deal with the United States. Remember,
negotiations begin tomorrow.
That's it for QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, I'm Paula Newton in New York, "THE LEAD" with Pamela Brown starts right now.