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Interview With U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Karim Khan; Unrest in Jerusalem. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 10, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Amid violent clashes in Jerusalem, the U.S. calls for calm. With hundreds injured, I look at what's driving this latest
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were shooting from behind, until we were all collected there.
AMANPOUR: The harrowing crimes of ISIS. As a final report is presented to the U.N., will the minority Yazidi people see justice? Karim Khan, head of
the U.N. investigative team, joins me.
MICHAEL MOSS, AUTHOR, "HOOKED": These products are even more addictive, more problematic for us than cigarettes, alcohol and even some drugs.
AMANPOUR: Hooked on junk food. Investigative journalist Michael Moss tells Hari Sreenivasan how food giants are exploiting these addictions.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Tensions are dangerously mounting in the Middle East tonight. Palestinian authorities saying nine people have been killed in Gaza by an Israeli
airstrike, and the Israeli army says it's investigating the incident, which comes off a number of rockets were fired from Gaza.
This as Jerusalem is gripped once again by violent clashes and unrest. It's the worst in years. Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured in
confrontations with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's holiest sites.
An Israeli march to mark Jerusalem Day, which traditionally winds through Muslim neighborhoods and is viewed as provocative by Palestinians, has been
canceled. It's the region's first major crisis under the new Biden administration. And U.S. officials have expressed serious concerns about
the violence and the potential evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem.
Joining me now to discuss is Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, and Stav Shaffir, head of the Israeli
Let me start with you, Mustafa Barghouti. Welcome to the program.
It's just too often that we see these escalations and rounds of violence, and now the potential that there may have been an Israeli airstrike in
Gaza, responding to fire from Hamas in Gaza.
Where do you see this leading right now?
MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, SECRETARY GENERAL, PALESTINIAN NATIONAL INITIATIVE: It's leading to a major problem.
And we have to remember the root cause of all of this. The root cause is that Israel is occupying us since 54 years. And this occupation has
produced a system of persecution, apartheid, and oppression.
That is described as a system of apartheid by human rights organizations And even by Israeli human rights organizations like B'Tselem.
This situation is intolerable. And it has lasted longer than anybody can tolerate. And the system of apartheid that was created is much worse than
what prevailed in South Africa. So, this has to end. This is the way to end the problem.
And violence, of course, breeds violence. But Palestinians have been subjected during the month of Ramadan to constant attacks by Israeli army
on Their basic right of praying. The vast majority of Palestinians were not allowed (INAUDIBLE) to come to that.
And those who came were attacked constantly. During the last few days, 660 people were injured. Six of them have lost their eyes, and many of them
were children. And, as you said, today, nine Palestinians were further killed in Gaza, including three children.
So, we have to stop that. And the only way to stop that is to solve the problem, which means ending the Israeli occupation and allowing
Palestinians to be free, allowing Palestinians to be free from oppression, and allowing Palestinians to be free from a system of apartheid and
persecution, which are considered war crimes by international law.
AMANPOUR: So, Mustafa Barghouti, we're hoping to get the Israeli Green Party leader, Stav Shaffir, to join us as well.
But what do you--
AMANPOUR: I guess what I'm trying to say is, everything you're saying and everything we have reported is deja vu. We have said this over and over
again. There have been these periodic cycles.
What has changed at this moment? Is there anything specific at this moment? I mean, I look to the fact that your side, the Palestinian Authority, has
canceled elections. Mahmoud Abbas, I think, thought he was going to lose, and they have canceled the elections. Young people are very upset.
On the Israeli side, the prime minister is on trial. They have had four elections. They have a caretaker government right now. And there's
You have also got a new U.S. government, who has said that there should be no provocative moves from either side. Where do you see any political
movement to try to resolve this endless problem?
BARGHOUTI: Well, as a democratic opposition party in Palestine, we have been demanding the -- conducting elections.
As you know, the Palestinian Authority canceled because Israel said it will not allow Palestinians to vote in East Jerusalem, which is part of the
occupied territories. We thought we should conduct the elections regardless of Israeli denial, and by conducting it as a form of nonviolent resistance.
And that's what we hope will happen eventually. But, as you have seen, this Israeli oppression of Palestinians in the Aqsa Mosque has escalated the
whole situation. And of course, you -- we would expect the same if we tried to conduct our elections.
I remember, in 2005, when I ran for president, the Israeli army arrested me four times during one month just because I was trying to communicate with
voters and advocate our line.
In my opinion, the only solution is to have proper, of course, democracy in Palestine, but also Israelis must think a lot about the fact that the
Israeli society has shifted so much in the direction of extreme racism, to the level that they are having such severe extremists, like Smotrich
representing illegal settlers in the Israeli Knesset.
This has to change. And, of course, Netanyahu is suffering from the fact that he is at least three cases of corruption. And he sticks to his seat.
And this is one of the problems that Israel has in terms of political internal crisis.
But ,at the end of the day, the issue of democracy is important. But, also, the most important thing is that Palestinians are free. We have suffered --
I have lived all my adult life under the military occupation. I was born in Jerusalem. I worked in Jerusalem as a medical doctor for 15 years.
And, officially, I am denied to be here now in Jerusalem. That cannot continue. This system of racial discrimination has to stop. And, by the
way, it is affecting Palestinians not only in the West Bank and Gaza. It is also affecting Palestinians who live inside Israel.
It is affecting Palestinians who have been displaced from their homes for so many years, and are able to come back to their homeland. And now it is
affecting people in Sheikh Jarrah, who are threatened to be evicted one more time from their homes.
These people were evicted, ethnically cleansed in 1948 by Israel, and now they want to ethnically cleanse them again from their living place in East
Jerusalem. This system of racial discrimination has to stop, for the sake of both Palestinians and Israelis.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, you call it ethnic cleansing. The Israeli government put out a statement from the Foreign Ministry calling it a real estate dispute.
The Israeli prime minister calls it the struggle for the heart of Jerusalem.
So it's all over the map, this. So, I want to ask you, do you -- was it wise for -- I believe it's the Supreme Court who has delayed the decision
whether to evict these seven families. The United States is trying to work behind the scenes we understand, with their counterparts in the Israeli
government and in the Palestinian Authority.
Do you see this being resolved? Are you glad at least that this decision of -- on eviction was delayed? How do you think it was going to be ruled on?
BARGHOUTI: We are worried that it was delayed, because of the public reaction, which has been a fantastic form of nonviolent protest and
And we are afraid that Israel is trying to absorb that resistance, and by delaying the issue, rather than solving it. The only way to solve it is to
stop the process of eviction of people.
Let me remind you that Israel claims that it has the right to take over the houses of these people because it claims that it has the right to annex the
occupied East Jerusalem. International law and U.N. resolutions say that annexation of East Jerusalem is illegal, and it has to be reversed.
The International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice say that these are criminal acts, and they should be reversed. But Israel
continues with the annexation of occupied territory. And this is acceptable.
So, the solution to all these problems is to end occupation. The solution is to end the system of racial discrimination, where Palestinians feel
denied. We are denied from our freedom. They deny us our right to be dignified. They deny us our right to have -- at least work. They deny us
our right to have proper education.
And most important -- I don't know if your audience know -- we don't have the right of freedom of movement. We cannot go from West Bank to Gaza.
Gazans cannot come to the West Bank. People cannot go to Jerusalem.
And the West Bank is divided in 224 small ghettos. And Gaza is the largest prison, open prison, in the world. This system of injustice has to end. And
I don't know what Israelis think about it. I don't know--
AMANPOUR: All right.
BARGHOUTI: I don't -- I think they tolerate it because they think they are benefiting from it.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask.
We do actually have the Israeli Green Party leader, Stav Shaffir.
Welcome to the program. I hope you can hear me.
I just want to ask you, because we have been talking, Ms. Shaffir, with Mustafa Barghouti about this current rising tensions. I want to know what
you think of the current state of affairs and whether you think at least it was wise for your Supreme Court to delay the notice on eviction of these
families in East Jerusalem, and also to cancel what Palestinians regard as provocative Jerusalem Day marches through parts of the Palestinian or the
Arab and Muslim quarter in Jerusalem?
What's your view on the tensions right now.
STAV SHAFFIR, LEADER, ISRAELI GREEN PARTY: Well, we're seeing now very sad and risky combination of different tensions that collided together into
this extreme breakout, the final days of Ramadan, the post-COVID environment, with massive unemployment in East Jerusalem, the situation in
Temple Mount, and the combination of all of these things, together with, as we all know, many, many years of stagnation and lack of decision, political
stagnation and lack of decision as to where we need to go when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
And now we're, sadly, experiencing rockets being shot on Israeli kibbutzes and cities, and even rockets being shot at Jerusalem itself, after I think
the last time was in 2014.
This is a situation that those who are now still thinking about a one-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, that's a situation that
should somehow wake them up, because this might be our future, if we won't end the conflict and have a two-state solution and calm the situation down.
AMANPOUR: Well, Ms. Shaffir, can I ask you how you think -- I did Mustafa Barghouti while we were having a discussion before you joined us about,
what political route do you see?
Because, to be frank, we are, again, talking about a very similar situation that crops up periodically, every six months, every year, every two years,
whatever it is, and it reaches a crescendo, and people are dead, and it's a dramatically difficult situation.
Where do you see a political route on your side -- I have already asked Mr. Mustafa Barghouti about his side -- towards trying to move the peace ball
along? Is there any constituency in Israel for that right now?
SHAFFIR: You know, situations like this only prove how peace is the only way forward.
At times of political stagnation and lack of decision, extremists on both sides flourish. They get to move things around. If we want to see a future
for both Israelis and Palestinians -- and, as we all know, Palestinians and Israelis are not going anywhere. The situation is -- has been stable, but
stable -- violent, violently stable, for years.
No one or the majority of people on both sides do not want to see this way. We're now in Israel after four election rounds in an enormous political
complexity. But, as for the last few days, we have a lot of hope on the political camp that wants to change, because there is a chance for a new
There is a chance for a government that has both Jewish and Arab partners being a very strong part of it. And this -- the next government, as it
seems today -- and I'm quite optimistic today as for the future government and the possibility to put a stop to the political stagnation we have been
That government is going to be very unique. It's a collaboration of right- wing and left-wing politicians, of Jews and Arabs who decided to be responsible and come together in order to stop the political complexity
that we have seen here for many, many years.
So, hopefully -- although it's not part of their plans right now, but, hopefully, they will understand that putting the Palestinian issue as part
of their priorities is an important matter today, because we don't want to see a future that is like this, a continuing circle of violence.
Today, when we were sitting here in the studio, but the people in the South of Israel are now in the shelters, being afraid of rockets being shot at
them from Hamas in Gaza. There is no future to a situation like this.
And all the people who want to stay in life in this region understand this. And I think, when it comes to young people, both here in Israel and amongst
the Palestinians, seeing the corruption and the lack of hope and courage amongst our politicians did not help this situation.
I hope that now, with the new -- with the coming government in Israel hopefully that will be able to be established in the next few days, we will
finally see a change of direction.
AMANPOUR: So, let me then put the last word to Mustafa Barghouti, who has been listening to this.
Stav Shaffir has taken on responsibility for where politics need to go in Israel. Do you take on responsibility for where they need to go in the
Palestinian territories and amongst the Palestinians as well? Because you can make all sorts of excuses. And I know we have sort of talked about
this, but those elections were canceled primarily because Mahmoud Abbas thought he was going to lose, and people want a democratic expression.
Do you believe that there's any future, with a new Israeli government, that these small steps towards a final solution, the peace process can be
BARGHOUTI: Well, I wish the Israelis every success in getting rid of the corrupt Netanyahu. That's for sure.
For us, yes, we need democratic elections. And this is a must. But we need the Israelis also to allow us to have democratic elections in Jerusalem.
And I am on the side of those who says that, even if Israel tries us -- to stop us from having democratic elections in Jerusalem, we should conduct
them as an act of nonviolent resistance.
When I have seen -- I have been seeing the young people today in Jerusalem and how they protest peacefully and nonviolently, I kept remembering Martin
Luther King and his movement, and the people who struggle for -- to be free in the United States, as well as the people in South Africa. It's the same
We cannot equate here between the oppressor and the oppressed, between those who are occupying us and the occupied people. And the solution is one
of two things. Either we have a Palestinian free state within the occupation of West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem, or we will end
up having one-state solution with full democratic rights for everybody.
And, actually, it is the Israelis who have to decide. They have to decide whether they will allow us to be free from their occupation or accept to
live with us on a complete basis of equality. They -- when also agreement was signed, we had only 110,000 settlers. Today, we have 750,000 illegal
settlers in the West Bank.
And they are the force that is the most extreme, that is endangering the possibility of a peaceful solution and of a possibility of a Palestinian
state to be established.
BARGHOUTI: We need to deal with them.
BARGHOUTI: And I hope that the other side will do their job in this regard.
AMANPOUR: Well, certainly, we heard Stav Shaffir say that a one-state solution is not -- is not a solution. It's just -- continue the way it is
So, we will keep monitoring this.
Stav Shaffir, Mustafa Barghouti, thank you so much for joining us.
And next: the quest for justice for the victims of ISIS in Iraq. A final report on the violent crimes against the minority Yazidi people was
presented to the U.N. Security Council today. In 2014, tens of thousands fled their homes hoping to find safety on Mount Sinjar in that
My colleague Ivan Watson witnessed their suffering and desperation. This is some of his report from back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The people below trapped on Sinjar Mountain, they're clustered. They're clustered under
olive trees right now waving to us. They seem to have gathered in these shelters down here. A lot of women and children waving.
The crew hurls packages out the door. People swarm the chopper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: But thousands of Yazidis didn't even have the chance to actually escape.
Many women and girls were raped and enslaved while the men were massacred. For the last three years, a U.N. team has been gathering evidence, witness
testimony, cell phone data, and internal ISIS documents to strengthen the case against ISIS.
Here's a look at some of that evidence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When we first got in the truck, we thought we were going towards Sinjar Mountain. But when it turned towards
here, we started to get scared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unknown to them, the men were being collected for mass execution at a number of sites surrounding Kojo village.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Da'esh taught us to get out of the vehicle and organize ourselves in a single line.
We couldn't arrange ourselves in the line, as we were panicking and scared. So we held each other's hands. At the moment, all I thought of was my son,
because I felt to myself that Da'esh would kill our children too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, Karim Khan is the head of that U.N. investigative team. And he's joining me now.
Welcome to the program.
As we said, this result of three painstaking years of data collection and investigation has now been presented to the U.N. Security Council. What are
you hoping that will do?
What is the next step that you're looking for?
KARIM KHAN, ASSISTANT U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Firstly, thank you so much for the invitation.
The next step is the realization of justice, a fulfillment of the promise that the Security Council, the international community gave Nadia Murad and
many other survivors that suffered unbelievable trauma and crimes at the hands of this un-Islamic State.
So it's important to underline, firstly, that we're not investigating only crimes against the Yazidi community. We have teams that are investigating
crimes against the Shia, the Sunni, the Christian, the Turkmen, the Kakai, the Shabak, and also the Yazidis.
And, today, we made an announcement, based upon the two-and-a-half years we have been in Iraq, as to the legal characterization of the crimes against
the Yazidi community and also the legal characterization of the crimes against mostly Shia, unarmed cadets and other personnel from the Camp
Speicher massacre in Tikrit.
And we announced that there's clear and convincing evidence that they are a genocide and incitement to commit genocide respectively. So, I think we
have a collective obligation, Christiane, to make sure that we don't just gather evidence as some kind of academic exercise, so that the papers, the
archives, the witness statements, the battlefield evidence adorn some museum.
We have to get them into a courtroom, so that survivors can confront their -- the perpetrators, and that independent and impartial judges can
establish the veracity of the evidence we have collected and give judgments that can stand the test of time.
This, after all, is the legacy of Nuremberg. And I think it's needed for the victims. It's needed for Iraq. We need to separate this un-Islamic
State, this Da'esh, from the Sunni community. And the victims need to know that we didn't just shed tears when we saw the wonderful reporting of CNN,
but, actually, we have the steel in our bones, in our spine to make sure that justice is delivered, and the perpetrators are convicted based upon
AMANPOUR: Let me -- right. So I want to get to that in a second.
But, first, let's have a witness testimonial. One of our colleagues, Atika Shubert, several years ago talked to some of the girls. Here's a clip from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He showed me a letter and said, "This shows any captured women will become Muslim if ten ISIS fighters rape her."
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Then, Noor (ph) says, he raped her.
After that, he gave her to his friends. She says each one raped her.
How many men did he pass you to?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I was passed on to 11 others.
SHUBERT: That's very difficult for anyone to hear, man or woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So many girls and women were trafficked. Tell me -- for sex.
Tell me how big a part of your investigation that was, how much evidence you are able to collect.
KHAN: Massive, because the crimes were so targeted and so widespread.
So, we have collected thousands of witness accounts from our own investigations, from NGOs, from the Kurdish regional government of Iraq,
and from the federal territory.
We also have a specialist unit for crimes, sexual- and gender-based crimes and crimes against children. And we have clinical psychologists,.
But the testimonial is only one part of it. We have video evidence. We have publications by Da'esh. They were not doing these crimes in the shadows.
They were brandishing these crimes, these rapes, the slavery as if it was something to be admired across the board.
So, we have tried to reach out, galvanize different parts of the community, religious leaders, survivor groups and states, including Iraq, to make sure
that we can assemble evidence and then subject it to scrutiny to make sure that evidence that's part of our brief is reliable, is authentic, and it is
capable of sustaining the burden of proof that domestic prosecutors will have in order to establish these international crimes.
AMANPOUR: So, you mentioned the example set in Nuremberg. And then, after that, there was the International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague for the
former Yugoslavia, Rwanda. There have been -- there's the ICC now.
I guess, clearly, you need to put people before the court. Do you have you -- have you got any closer to identifying actual alleged criminals? And how
you think you're going to get them to court, that's always the most difficult thing.
KHAN: Yes, we have identified persons of interest, suspects and individuals that we believe are perpetrators.
I mean, just in relation to the Sinjar brief that we will make available to national authorities, there's more than 1,444 suspects. There's hundreds in
relation to crimes in Sinjar, more than 120 in relation to crimes in Kojo, if one is zooming in, and 14 that are more developed case files that are
annexed to our brief.
So, we have got individuals, the same with Speicher, that are in our crosshairs. I think there has been this galvanization that's going on under
way. We have received requests from 14 member states of the United Nations in Europe, in North America that are also trying to ensure accountability,
and no impunity gaps for the crimes of Da'esh.
And we have been feeding into those domestic mechanisms in various countries. And, also, we're working with Iraq. But it is important to
distinguish between acts of terrorism, in my view, that are a tragic part of modern life, with the hemorrhaging of values that bind humanity together
that takes place when there are crimes that constitute genocide or crimes against humanity, war crimes.
We are hoping that bills that are before the government of Iraq that are before the Parliament in Baghdad and also that the prime minister, Mr.
Barzani, has put forward last week in the KRG will allow UNITAD to vindicate the rights of survivors to have their day in court, and it will
allow us to feed into fair trials in relation to international crimes, because, if we don't, if we don't have the guts, if we don't have the
willingness to call it what it is, we're going to be doomed, I think, to revisit this cycle of violence, not only in Iraq, God forbid, but in other
parts of the world.
And I think this is particularly important, given that the fuel that keeps feeding this virulent extremism, it straddles continents. It's in
Afghanistan and Pakistan and Central Asia and Middle Eastern, Sahel, and Europe.
So, we need to move forward. And I think there is this increasing realization that we need to do better, but it requires every state, every
survivors group, civil society to realize, along with my team, that there's no room for spectators.
It's a collective obligation. If you really want to stop being -- peddling what has become this tragic lie, never again. And that's on us.
AMANPOUR: Well, exactly.
And you mentioned that it takes willing from all parties. But, of course, so many people, so many major countries are not signed up to these values
or to the certain courts, including the ICC, not China, Russia, the United States, et cetera.
Can I ask you about your professional opinion, your judgment as to what do you think the correct way to deal with China is, after the United States
has called what's happening to the Uyghurs genocide, some other countries as well, by no means the majority?
How does one actually get to adjudicate that, to get evidence, although there's a lot of reporters who are doing a really good job on that? But
this is a huge case that is going to have to come up for some kind of resolution.
KHAN: No, it's a very interesting question.
And, with the greatest of humility, I think I have got my work cut in relation to Da'esh and the crimes that Da'esh inflicted upon the civilian
population of Iraq.
And I think today's announcement that -- from the videos in relation to the Camp Speicher massacre that it's an incitement to commit genocide and in
relation to these (INAUDIBLE) it's genocide. I think that's an important moment to pause to realize that we need focus on, you know, an organization
that has been found by the council to represent a threat to international peace and security and make sure that we get justice here.
And I don't have a mandate in relation to other parts of world. It really is in relation to Da'esh activity, you know, primarily in Iraq but also an
obligation to promote accountability throughout the world. And I think what's really important to your viewers, Christiane, if I may say so, is we
shouldn't wait for another Mosul to be taken by Da'esh. We shouldn't wait for a black flag to be raised, you know, in the Saha region or in North
And if we are not to be doomed to keep revisiting, you know, the mistakes of the past and have further accountability mechanisms, we need to start
realizing that there are these tendencies and when there are mosques or churches or temples or any foyer (ph) in which individuals seek to define
the worth of an individual based not upon their humanity but based upon their race, their tribe, their ethnicity, their religion or orientation, we
are really on the precipice of what we see in relation to Da'esh, this un- Islamic State or in its worst format, which is hell on earth.
AMANPOUR: Let me play another clip from your presentation. This is, again, about the village you concentrate a lot on, Kocho, in Iraq, and this is a
survivor who describe how they were rounded up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When I got to the school, it was already almost full because most people lived closer than I did.
The school is crowded with hundreds of frightened villagers. This hallway was full of people. Some Da'esh members came to us and told us to hand over
all over our belongs, our gold, money and phones.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to call date records obtained by UNITAD, phone activity essentially ends as ISIL confiscate the villager's means of
communication. By later filtering out the phone numbers of survivors and victims, the team has been able to identify call activity of suspected
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That was really quite fascinating. The amount of data you were able to collect and, you know, doing what, you know, you see prosecutors on
various, you know, TV shows doing with, you know, tracing the phones and that kind of data. How much of that did you have?
KHAN: We've -- this is a partnership. The key aspect of UNITAD is this partnership. So, we have a wonderful team of lawyers, investigators,
analysis, psychologists and other experts that are international and Iraqi, but we've been working very closely with the government of Iraq, in Bagdad,
in the KRG and also with the global coalition and other states that want to join hands to ensure that there is accountability.
So, we have been working, for example, a good example perhaps in terms of some of this, we worked with the Iraqi judiciary to execute warrants on the
telecom providers so that we got the call data records that then could be subjected to UNITAD's analysis.
We have worked with military intelligence so that our experts have the software and the technical ability to crack phones and hard drives that
were recovered from the battlefield that the Iraqis were not able to crack. And that's a rich vein of evidence and information that could be used to
corroborate testimonial accounts, we could actually also pinpoint individuals that were persons of interest in relation to medical evidence
or immigration records or payment rosters that the Da'esh had.
So, we've been -- you know, we came on the 31st of October 2018. I came with five staff to Bagdad. We now have 200. We didn't have a commission of
inquiry that preceded us. We didn't have a fact-finding mission. We had a resolution. And this has been a partnership between members of the team and
state, civil society, religious leaders, survivor groups to make sure that we don't just come up with platitudes or promises but we can actually try
to insist on the reality of justice and accountability.
AMANPOUR: Right. Can I ask you very briefly? I'm not asking you specific cases, but you have just been named as the next chief prosecutor of the
International Criminal Court.
You know, there's a lot of complaints from within about -- let me see, about too bureaucratic, too inflexible, lacking in leadership and
accountability. And I want to know what your focus, what you hope to bring to your position as you take up the helm of this important, you know,
international legal forum?
KHAN: I think my, you know, independence, integrity and also the humility to realize that this is a massive burden. It's much bigger than me, it's
much bigger than any prosecutor. What we are involved in is an obligation that is built upon the suffering of the gas chambers, of the holocaust. As
you've mentioned, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone (ph) and Cambodia, Iraq and Syria.
And it's an obligation that we should nurture this essential element of international justice so that it can go ever stronger and protect and give
shade amongst, you know, greater shades of humanity. And will be guarded by the statute and hopefully, the independence and the integrity and the
experience I have managed to get over these past years.
AMANPOUR: Well, thank you so much for joining us. Karim Khan, author of that incredibly important report on the violence against the Yazidis, the
genocide committed by ISIS. Thank you so much.
And next, a recent global survey showed that the pandemic and lockdowns have led many to cut back on exercise and eat more junk food. But what is
really in all those favorite snacks? Our next guest is Pulitzer prizewinning journalist, Michael Moss, and he focuses on the food industry.
His latest book is "Hooked: Food, Free Will and How the Food Giants Exploit Our Addictions." And you'll want to hear the alarm bells that he's ringing
with Hari Sreenivasan
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Michael Moss, thanks for joining us.
First, the premise of the book, the word hooked, is addiction the right frame to be looking at how we related to food? I mean, isn't it
MICHAEL MOSS, AUTHOR, "HOOKED": Well, look, if we had this conversation five years ago and you had suggested to me that Twinkies were addictive as
heroin, I would have thought like, that's totally no so, right? I mean, where's like the big caustic chemicals that you find in drugs or, you know,
who ever heard of armed robbery of a convenience store, right, like you might a pharmacy? And why does only sort of some people get hooked on these
But I have to say that sort of crawling back, you know, into the underbelly of this trillion-dollar industry and talking to drug experts who now --
drug addiction experts who now study food addiction. I'm convinced that in many ways these products are more addictive, more problematic for us than
cigarettes, alcohol and even some drugs.
SREENIVASAN: Why? I mean, is it the constituency of what goes into our bodies, how we're manipulated? I mean, what part is the most dangerous to
MOSS: Yes. So, it's a combination of things. In my first book, "Salt Sugar Far," I wrote about attitudes, right? Because they are able to kind of
perfect their use of those three ingredients, especially to sort of wow us and send their products flying off the shelves, right? They call sugar the
bliss point and they've marched around the store now so that two-thirds of the products by one estimate has added sugar to us and get us excited about
Salt they call the flavor burst because it's typically in the outside of a snack, it touches the tongue, it goes to the reward center of the brain, it
tells us, yummy, let's get more of that snack. That is like is mouth feel of biting into a toasted cheese sandwich. And you can probably tell, I'm
more of a fat than a salt guy because my brain is lighting up just kind of thinking about that.
But the thing I realize in reporting new book is that they're also tapping into our basic biology. And as one of the scientists that's been telling
(ph) with pushed back a little bit and he said, you know, Michael, it's not so much that food is addictive, is that we by nature are drawn to food and
even to overeating and the companies have changed the nature of our food so dramatically in the last 50 years to causes overeating to become this every
SREENIVASAN: When you look back in different parts of history, you don't see this idea of overeating and obesity, you see it as fuel for what you
need to accomplish during the day. How did that relationship change?
MOSS: Yes. So, spending time with evolutionary biologist, as I did, is like so enlightening. I mean, we by nature are dawn to food that's
inexpensive, easy to get. I mean, think back to hunter-gatherer societies, it made a lot more sense instead of chasing down the antelope for dinner.
Just grab that poor aardvark that's sitting, right?
And so, why the food industry uses chemical laboratories they call flavor houses to mix and match their ingredients with one overarching goal, which
is to reduce the cost of the products knowing that will get so excited to buy a box of toaster pastries that cost $0.10 less than it did the week
before. We, by nature, are drawn to a variety because getting a bunch of different things kind of meant, you know, a shortness of getting enough
nutrition. Well, that's why you walk into the cereal aisle and there's 200 versions of sugary starch they're fooling us into thinking we're getting
And maybe the biggest thing that's a problem for us now is that we, by nature, love lots of calories. I don't know this, but we have sensors in
the gut, possibly in the mouth that tell us how many calories are coming in and we get excited by more calories, possibly even as much as we get
excited by sugary things.
And so. what did the food industry do, they created snack foods especially gym packing them with, you know, a whole day's worth of calories in one
package that our biology, our brain or our gut, aren't able to sort of deal with because it's so (INAUDIBLE), something that's hit us in the past 50
years and there's this mismatch between their kind of like exquisitely engineered highly processed products and our genetic ability to sort of
say, hey, wait a minute. Is this really something I want to be eating, this entire bag of snacks?
SREENIVASAN: You also, in the book, talk about how we have personal memories with food that are so sort of sense powerful and the industry
knows that too.
SREENIVASAN: I mean, we're all human beings and we have a relationship with food and somehow, they're able to engineer, whether it's an ad
campaign or a flavor, to trigger that in us.
MOSS: Memory is one of those factors that actually leads me to say that these products are even more problematic than cigarettes and alcohol
because we begin forming memories for food at an incredibly early age, possibly even when we're still in the womb depending on what our mother's
been eating, and we hold those memories for the rest of our life and often associate them with other emotions like good times.
I went into a Kellogg's research and development factory where they were doing various experiments, and a big batch of Pop Tarts had messed up and
they were dumping the leftovers into a bag (ph) to get rid of and that instantly took me back to my grade school years as a latch key kid when I
would come home, let myself in and put a pop tart in the toaster oven.
The power of memory and smell, you know, that these products create don't disappear. And this is why the soda companies, for example, learned that
they could put a soda in the hands of a kid when he or she is with his parents at the ballpark. You know, that -- the joy of that moment will
forever stay with them. So that later in life, if they're wanting comfort or they're wanting joy, they'll think of that soda and associated with it.
SREENIVASAN: Look, I can see somebody watching this and saying, oh, come on. I mean, we have agency. Don't we have responsibility in this entire
engagement with food? I mean, to blame it all on the companies, seems like we're total victims here.
MOSS: Yes, I hear you, but, you know, the addiction fact to this, and I open the book with the story of Jazlyn Bradley, one of the teenagers who
sued McDonald's for making them overweight back in the early 2000s, and kind of everybody laughed except the judge because one of the points in the
case, which, by the way, she got slaughtered in court.
McDonald's one eventually. But he was intrigued by this notion of addiction because if there is something about these products that drives our
consumption, that causes these cravings that are so powerful that overwhelms the brain, then they're able to sort of destroy our free will,
and kind of this notion of personal responsibility flies out the window.
But let me tell you something else. I mean, tobacco denied for decades that smoking was addictive. And then in the year 2000, Philip Morris the biggest
tobacco company of all and also in the year 2000, the biggest manufacturer of processed foods completely flipped around and said, OK, you're right.
Smoking is addictive. And that same year, CEO of the company was asked to define addiction and said, well, addiction is a repetitive behavior that
some people find difficult to quit.
Well, let me tell you, I sat down with the chief -- the former chief lawyer of the company, Steve Parish is the name, and he was telling me how he was
one of those people who could smoke a cigarette during a business meeting, put the pack away and have like a no -- you know, no inkling to take that
pack out again until the next day. But he said, Michael, I couldn't touch one of our Oreo cookie bags for fear of losing control, opening the bag and
eating half of it right there in one setting. Right?
Which gives you this sense because, you know, insiders in these companies know how powerful their products can be. For some of us, not all of us, but
some of us, depending on kind of our vulnerability, which can change from hour to hour, day to day and person to person.
SREENIVASAN: Explain that connection between big tobacco and big food, were they are essentially using a similar playbook because they were just
trying to figure out how to get somebody to use more of the product, whether that was cigarettes or cheese?
MOSS: Yes. So, when Philip Morris, for example, bought General Foods, Kraft and then Nabisco, they were able to coach their food division
managers on ways to sell products, including kind of at the checkout counter of the grocery store, knowing that we are -- where cigarettes used
to be sold or maybe still are, you know, knowing that that's a really kind of a high vulnerability area for when we are shopping.
But one of the things that absolutely intrigued me about tobacco is that, in the early 2000s, it was none other than the Philip Morris Tobacco
managers who kind of privately turned to their food division managers and warned them that their over reliance on salt, sugar, fat and some of these
other things we've been talking about that get us hooked on their products is going to cause them trouble with obesity and type 2 diabetes, you know,
even more than tobacco is facing with cancer and et cetera.
And they were warning their food division people to sort of back off and do things to lessen their own dependency on using those additives and making
their products sort of so convenient. And I have to say that in the early to mid-2000s, Philip Morris pulled out of the food industry.
SREENIVASAN: Are there companies that are actively targeting us to addict us to their foods? And are they knowingly, intentionally doing it?
MOSS: Yes. So, that's a that's a key question. So, the industry will always push back, has always pushed back. And they said, look, Michael, you
know, OK, we're companies. Our job is to sell as much product as possible and we're going to do everything we can to maximize the aurora (ph) of our
And they hate the word, the A word, addiction, right? But they will use words like snack ability and crave ability. And my favorite is moorishness
(ph), right? I mean, these aren't like English majors, they're bench chemists and marketing people talking about their efforts to kind of
maximize their lure.
And no, I don't think they're sitting around going, how do we get people addicted to their products, but they are sitting around going, how do we
get people to really love our products so they want more and more of them. And to their defense, many of these things were invented in a more innocent
era when our dependence on convenience foods wasn't what it is now.
SREENIVASAN: You also point out that there's an enormous weight loss industry. I mean, what's sort of interconnectedness here between big food
and weight loss?
MOSS: So, not only are these companies exploiting, if you will, our basic instinct that draws to food, they also began exploiting our efforts to
regain control of our eating habits. And so, when obesity began to climb in the early 1980s, late 1970s, none other than the biggest process food
companies begin buying up some of our favorite dieting methods. We're talking Weight Watchers, Slimfast, South Beach Diet, Atkins became owned by
the biggest processed food companies. I had no idea.
But kind of even more problematic than that, they began marching through the grocery store and inventing a new diet version of their products. So,
you'd be standing in the freezer aisle and there would be the hot pockets, then there'd be the lean pockets right next to them. The difference between
the two, not as dramatic as you might think. And then it's kind of like up to you to decide, well, which one am I going to eat this week, and
typically maybe what you'll find is you're going to be going back and forth between the two.
But another kind of -- you know, what it is, is kind of this effort on the industry to blame us, to kind of shift the responsibility for dealing with
their products. And I have to keep saying that this isn't our fault, this isn't a matter of no freewill, no personal responsibility, no willpower.
These products are so exclusively designed to get us to want more and more that that's just not part of the equation. We have no ability to say you
know if we're in the clutches of this product.
SREENIVASAN: How does price factor into this and convenience too, because depending on where you live, you could be in or near a food desert where
there is much less access to fresh vegetables and fruits but there is a ton of access to processed foods that are package, that are ready to go and
this is what you can afford and this is what's near you?
MOSS: Yes. One of the kinds of hugest problems out there, I mean, you walk into the grocery store, well-meaning by your health, your family's health
and you're confronted with the fact that a basket of blueberries, especially kind of shoulder season, offseason, it's going to cost as much
as a 2-pound, 3-cheese 4-meat frozen pizza that's going to feed the whole family.
And so, how are you supposed to spend -- how are you support do what every nutritionist tells us to do, which is fill up half of your plate with
vegetables and the whole fruits if that's going to cost you so much more so.
So, you know, if I was king for the day and had a ZIP code to sort of concentrate on, right, to focus on, there would be like 10 things you want
to do to change in order to level the playing field for people, and you'd start with that garden for school kids to get them excited about radishes.
But then you'd have to work on the agricultural system in the subsidies and the research and development money so that their parents have a store where
they can buy fresh radishes but don't have to pay an arm and a leg to sort of get those and bring them home.
SREENIVASAN: So, I mean, what can consumers do? I mean, let's say you're talking to somebody who is a bit price constrained, who finds themselves a
little bit in a bind of making these choices and, ultimately, also, feels like, you know what, my grocery buying decision today is not going to
change the entire food industry that's sort of aimed at my brain?
MOSS: Yes, of course, no. But you could change your own habits. And I love this sort of seeing out there is more people caring about what they're
putting in their bodies. And to come back to the addiction thing, just sort of briefly, there are some lessons we can learn from drug addiction that
will help us really regain control of our eating habits.
I mean, so, if you're somebody who has like that 3:00 pm craving for cookies, what we've learned from drugs is that that craving is so powerful
and so able that's going to destroy freewill that you have to get ahead of it. And so, no matter what your strategy is, whether it's to get up and
stretch or call a friend or try to eat something else a little better for you like handful of nuts, you need to be executing that strategy at like
2:55 in order to get ahead of that 3:00 pm craving.
But for the rest of us, you know, who is troubled with kind of big food is just -- maybe it's just like the loss of the ritual and the beauty of those
kind of home cooked meals that we had with family and friends. I think the strategy there is to turn the tables on these companies a bit and reclaim
some of the things they took for us so that convenience is actually something we can use ourselves and try to cook more.
I've got a spaghetti sauce recipe down to 93 seconds. I kid you not. Granted if it simmers a while my family's more apt to eat it. But this idea
that we need these hyper processed foods for their convenience is a bit of a myth and there's lots of things we can learn to cook for ourselves which
does all kinds of magic in terms of your eating habits and your family's health and your health.
SREENIVASAN: Michael Moss, thanks so much for joining us.
MOSS: Thanks for having me.
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AMANPOUR: The magic of home cooking. And finally, replacing violence with violins. For nearly two weeks, antigovernment protests have broken out
across Colombia. Human rights groups say more than two dozen people have died. But on Sunday a brief respite from the bloodshed under a banner
reading a force more powerful, Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra use music to call for unity.
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AMANPOUR: Much-needed sounds and a much-needed message during a dark time. And I'll be speaking to Columbia's president, Ivan Duque, this week.
That's it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast and across social media. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.