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Interview with Ecuador General Secretary of Communication Roberto Izurieta Canova; Interview with Harvard University Constitutional Lawyer Noah Feldman; Interview with +972 Magazine Journalist Yuval Abraham; Interview with "Io Capitano" Director Matteo Garrone; Interview with Script Consultant "Io Capitano" Mamadou Kouassi. Aired 1:00-2p ET

Aired January 10, 2024 - 13:00:00   ET



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

Ecuador in crisis after an extraordinary 24 hours. We'll look at how the country descended into out-of-control gang violence and a state of


Then, trouble for Trump after the former president faced a skeptical court over his immunity claims. I'm joined by constitutional law expert, Noah


Plus, amid Israel's relentless war with Hamas in Gaza, the IDF says that its actions are proportional. Israeli journalist Yuval Abraham joins me

with his investigative reporting that could indicate otherwise.

And "Io Capitano," a new film tells the harrowing tale of two migrants as they try to reach Italy. Hari Sreenivasan meets the man who inspired the

film, Mamadou Kouassi, and its director, Matteo Garrone.

Hello, everyone, welcome to the program. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

Ecuador has declared it's facing an internal armed conflict. Security forces have been ordered to neutralize several criminal groups accused of

spreading extreme violence. Now, it comes after an extraordinary 24 hours that saw violence broadcast live on television after masked gunmen stormed

a TV station taking staff hostage.

Now, the country is in a state of emergency with reports of looting and explosions. The trigger appears to be the escape of a major gang leader

from prison. Ecuador was once a tourist friendly, peaceful island in an unstable region. But thanks to the drug trade, violence has steadily been

rising in recent years. Correspondent Patrick Oppmann explains what led to this point.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As cameras broadcast live, armed gunmen take employees of a TV station in Guayaquil, Ecuador,

hostage. The journalists are threatened and force to the floor at gunpoint while viewers watch. The latest scenes of out-of- control gang violence

plaguing the South American nation. Ecuadorians say they are in shock.

LUIS ARTURO BELTRAN, WAITER (through translator): All citizens are afraid. Today there were attacks in Quito, Cuenca, Kibera, everywhere.

OPPMANN (voice-over): On Monday, Ecuador's president, Daniel Noboa, declared a state of emergency a day after the government said notorious

gang leader, Adolfo Macias, known as Fito, escaped from prison in Guayaquil before his transfer to a maximum-security facility.

DANIEL NOBOA, ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The time is over for when those convicted of drug trafficking and murder tell the government

what to do.

OPPMANN (voice-over): The government implemented a curfew and mobilize a manhunt of 3,000 police officers and members of the armed forces to search

for the escaped gang leader.

The gang struck back on Tuesday, raiding the TV station, taking police and prison guards hostage, setting off bombs and attacking a university.

Ecuador had long been spared the epidemic of violence carried out by drug cartels throughout much of the region.

But as a country has increasingly become a key trend shipment point for illegal drugs, heading to Europe and the U.S., local dings partnered with

cartels have battled each other and the government for control.

In 2023, presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated after naming individuals he said were involved in the drug trade. And then

the six alleged hitmen arrested for his killing were apparently murdered in prison as well. Villavicencio's running mate on Tuesday called on the

country to unite to defeat the gangs.

ANDREA GONZALEZ, ECUADORIAN POLITICIAN (through translator): This is the moment that Ecuador stands and leaves behind political terrorism.

OPPMANN (voice-over): The country's president, Noboa, on Tuesday, declared several of the gang terrorist organizations in order the armed forces to,

quote, "neutralize the violence." Police at the TV station said they had arrested 13 alleged gunmen and rescued the hostages. As the government

declares war, though, there is no sign the gangs are backing down.


GOLODRYGA: Patrick Oppmann reporting there. Let's get more on this now. Roberto Izurieta Canova is the spokesperson for Ecuador's president and he

joins me now from the capital of Quito.

Thank you, Roberto, for taking the time to join us during this perilous moment in your country. First of all, does the government have control of

the country right now?


ROBERTO IZURIETA CANOVA, GENERAL SECRETARY OF COMMUNICATION, ECUADOR: What happened yesterday, the whole country in the world saw, the kidnapping of

employees in the national TV, we have to thank the professional work that the police officer did because they have originally close to 200 hostages

and the operation went extraordinary well and nobody was hurt and the perpetrators were detained.

Again, this all in this new framework that we have the capacity to operate that we needed to treat this situation and their different framework. For

us now, those are terrorist criminals and we need a different framework in order to operate to defend the innocent citizens. Yesterday, the operation

in the camp, in the channel was a great success for the professionals in their operation.

GOLODRYGA: So, thankfully, that one operation was a success. We all saw this unfold on television, on social media, and it was frightening to

watch, to hear the gunshots in the background. It is reassuring to know that that situation has been diffused and that everyone at the station, all

those hostages have been released, and that nobody was harmed or killed.

That having been said, the country is in a state of emergency. These terror -- these organizations, these crime groups are now being labeled terrorists

by your government, your president. So, let me go back to my initial question, is the government in control of the country right now?

CANOVA: The biggest threat at this point are the prisons. The prison system in Ecuador was built not for this kind of threat. It came down that

it was heaven for the criminals to operate, according with the system that we have for many years, for example, and that's very difficult to

understand for anyone who doesn't live in either Latin America or Ecuador, you cannot have -- the authorities cannot have any guns in the prisons.

And the reality was, because they were rehabilitation centers, you cannot have weapons. So, you only have people who were helping them in the

rehabilitation process. And the reality is those were heavens where they were operating.

And now, we are changing that because we need to create a new jail system for these kinds of criminals where the arms are not in their hands, but

they will be in the hands of the armed officers who are controlling those prisons.

So, that's one of the biggest change that we have to do is going to take time because you are talking about thousands of criminals that were

operating from the prison. That's why the ones that are -- that left the prison, it was because of this decision they understood that that will not

be a heaven for them to operate their criminal activities from the prisons.

So, all those kinds of things we have to change will take time. But we have now, first of all, the legal framework, the unity of the country that

support those measure, the whole Congress yesterday in an anonymous vote support the decision of the president of this new decree that it will allow

the police officers and the members of the army to come back to their level.

Another regulation that we have, it was originally and our officer could not shoot if it was a threat, but they needed to wait for the criminal to

shoot first because it was only when they respond. And then, we start others like it has to be proportional.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. I just --


GOLODRYGA: I just have to say --


GOLODRYGA: -- it is alarming to hear a government representative say point blank that the country's penitentiary system has completely failed.

Obviously, this falls on the heels of the escape of Jose Adolfo Macias or Fito is the leader of the country's largest gang over the weekend.

Do you have any indication as to where he is right now?

CANOVA: For safety reasons, I cannot mention where are the places where we believe he is. But the whole forces of the state are after him, and I am

convinced that we will catch him because he does not have the protection that he has from the old system where they were operating from the prison

system. That's the thing that needs to change. It would take time. And it's a very complex operation, but we have the framework now to do it.

It would take time, but we have the commitment and the support of the Congress, the support of the people to do that.

GOLODRYGA: Do the people there -- do you and does Congress have support of a newly elected 36-year-old president who we should remind our viewers as

we saw in that package during the run up to the election, one of the candidates, Fernando Villavicencio, who had been very critical of these

gangs was murdered?


Does your government, does your president have the support of his people, of his government to do what needs to be done?

CANOVA: Yes, he does. And yesterday, we saw the support, the Congress met. And in an anonymous vote support the measure that we are taking. What the

decision that he's making are very brave and is -- the decision is to stop this system that did not work and we need change, a very difficult change.

And it's a very brave decision, and the country, the Congress, and the courts have responded unanimously with supporting these needed changes.

GOLODRYGA: The drug war is largely to blame for what has happened to the country over the past several years. Once a country of peace, an island of

peace in a region that was highly unstable is now caught in the middle of it. We've seen an explosion in the murder rate in the country right now.

Do you have the resources to address everything that you've laid out in terms of your planning in tackling these issues? And if not, are you

turning to neighboring countries and perhaps even the United States for resources?

CANOVA: Yesterday, we not only received the support, the unanimous support of the country, the court, but also in the International Community, the

phone calls and the meetings from different international leaders who understand that these -- the causes of these crisis are shared.

And they are not only drugs, criminal drug traffickers, there are other people who take advantage of vulnerable people in immigration that they

take advantage of them and any kind of international organization that try to take advantage of those who are the weaker. So, yes, we have received

and we are receiving a lot of support.

And we are working -- just this morning, we have a meeting with all the ambassadors in Ecuador. But yesterday, more importantly, there were many

phone calls from important -- for all our friends and International Community to offering the support that we need to fight this fight and we

are convinced that it's not going to be easy. The decision has been made and we will overcome.

GOLODRYGA: National Security Adviser in the U.S. to the president, Jake Sullivan, tweeted just short time ago, we strongly condemned the recent

criminal attacks by armed groups in Ecuador against private public and government institutions were committed to supporting Ecuadorians. Security

and prosperity and bolstering cooperation with partners to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Have you been in touch with anybody in the U.S. government in the past 24 hours?

CANOVA: The government, yes. We have received frank, direct support of the United States and many other nations that are our friends to help us in

this fight. Yes, we have. And we are very thankful for that.

GOLODRYGA: Does that include the President of the United States?

CANOVA: Not exactly the president, but the ambassadors and members -- different members of the administration who has expressed the decision and

the support of the government of the United States in this fight. Yes.

GOLODRYGA: Roberto Izurieta Canova, thank you so much for taking the time at this very critical moment in your country to speak with us. We

appreciate it.

CANOVA: Thank you very much.

GOLODRYGA: We turn next to the United States and the endless legal woes of Donald Trump. In one of his many court hearings, the former president

appeared before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming immunity from prosecution on charges that he tried to overturn the 2020 election. Trump's

lawyers argued that prosecuting him would open a "Pandora's box" of indicting other former presidents for actions they took in office.

The judges didn't seem to be buying it though, raising the potentially extreme implications of presidential immunity. Noah Feldman is a

constitutional scholar at Harvard who testified at Trump's first impeachment hearing and joins me now from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Noah, it's good to see you. So, as we noted yesterday, most legal experts, after seeing -- after hearing that hearing with the three appellate court

judges, they seem very skeptical about the arguments being made before them by Trump's legal team. Do you share that skepticism?

NOAH FELDMAN, CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Yes. The judges were skeptical and they were right to be skeptical because Trump's argument

that he should somehow be immune from criminal prosecution for crimes that he committed while in office just isn't grounded in law or constitutional



And when his lawyers pushed the point to the moment where they took the view that if he sent SEAL Team Six to kill his political opponent during

the time of his presidency that he could then avoid criminal prosecution for that I think pretty much sunk them. I mean, that shows you the

preposterousness of the position that the former president's legal team is pushing.

GOLODRYGA: We have sound that line of questioning from Judge Pan. Let's play it for our viewers.


FLORENCE Y. PAN, JUDGE: I asked you a yes or yes or no question. Could a president who ordered SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival who

was not impeached, would he be subject to criminal prosecution?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he were impeached and convicted first.

PAN: And so, your answer is no?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My answer is qualified, yes. There is a political process that would have to occur under our structure of our constitution.

PAN: Once you concede that presidents can be prosecuted under some circumstances, your separation of powers argument falls away.


GOLODRYGA: She also expanded that hypothetical line of questioning beyond just SEAL Team Six targeting one of his rivals, it was also selling pardons

or state secrets. Did you find her line of questioning and that of the other two judges persuasive?

FELDMAN: Yes, in the sense that they showed that the way that the Trump team is arguing the case is a surefire loser. You know, had I been the

Trump team, and I would not have been the Trump team, I would have tried to offer some more moderated position than the one that they took. But they

were just going for the whole ball of wax, and you can understand why, they're trying to avoid prosecution for very serious crimes. And they're

trying to make the most maximalist argument in the hopes that maybe the Supreme Court will then take the case after the Court of Appeals decides it

and reach a different conclusion than it seems all but certain that the Court of Appeals will.

GOLODRYGA: I'm glad that you brought up the Supreme Court, because you had written in December that you thought that they should hear this case that

was brought before them by Jack Smith. He really wanted to circumvent what he viewed as the Trump team just buying time, kicking the can down the

road, and avoid going to the appellate court, just go straight to the Supreme Court, they rejected that.

Given what you've seen transpire yesterday, given the skepticism in their line of questioning, I mean, the question has been raised now as to whether

the Supreme Court should even take this up at this point. What do you think?

FELDMAN: The first point is that I think it's probable that the Court of Appeals is going to decide this case and decide it fast in order to get the

trial up and running. And then, Trump will ask the Supreme Court to consider the case.

And I think the most important thing is for the court not to sit on that question without answering it in a way that effectively delays Trump's

trial deeper and deeper into the political season and potentially even until after the national election.

The court should either say right away, we're not hearing this, which means that the D.C. Circuit's decision would remain in place, or they should say,

we're hearing it, and they should hear it on the double and themselves decide it really quickly.

In terms of whether they should actually hear it, it really depends on whether you think the court has an obligation to take up every question of

national importance. I think this would potentially be of national importance, that would be an argument for them to take the case. But it's

also true that they can just say, we have no problem with what the D.C. Circuit said, it's correct. And by doing that, they'll effectively be

deferring to that court.

GOLODRYGA: How soon do you think we can hear a decision from the three judges on the appellate court yesterday?

FELDMAN: You know, it sounded like they had their ducks in a row and knew what they wanted to say, and they could write a relatively compacted

decision and get it out in the next week or two. And I would very much like to see that.

That's very fast for the D.C. Circuit, but I remember from years ago when I was a law clerk on that court, sometimes if there's real consensus among

the judges on a case, one of them can go back to chambers and start working on a draft right away and circulate it relatively quickly to the other

judges. So, it's within the realm of possibility that they'd get it out in a week or two.

GOLODRYGA: So, in theory, if they rule along with Judge Chutkan initially, then before going to the Supreme Court, Trump could actually say that he

would like for the full appellate court to hear this, no?

FELDMAN: Yes, he can. He can do what's called file for and bank review, which means that all of the judges of the D.C. Circuit, not just the three

who heard this case, would rehear the case.

Now, the way that works is that he makes that request, and then the judges of the D.C. Circuit have to vote on whether they will all rehear it, and

that takes a majority of them to do that. That, too, could be done relatively quickly. And I'm sure he will do that because that's the

standard delaying technique. But again, the D.C. Circuit judges could rule very quickly that they're not going to hear it all of them together.


GOLODRYGA: As we noted Trump, and one could be dubious about his personal views, but he argues that this isn't just about him, it's setting precedent

for other presidents, for past presidents, that this blanket immunity would really avoid prosecution from other presidents like President Obama and

President Bush. I'd like to play for our viewers sound that justified that argument from John Sauer from Trump's legal team.


JOHN SAUER, TRUMP ATTORNEY: To authorize the prosecution of a president for his official acts would open a Pandora's box from which this nation may

never recover. It would authorize, for example, the indictment of President Biden in the western district of Texas after he leaves office for

mismanaging the border, allegedly.


GOLODRYGA: Now, the prosecution responded that. A, we haven't seen a situation like this in 200 years, that there's never been allegations that

a sitting president has with private individuals and using the levers of power sought to fundamentally subvert the Democratic Republic and the

electoral system.

But Mr. Pearce also went on to say, frankly, if that kind of fact pattern arises again, I think it would be awfully scary if there weren't some sort

of mechanism by which to reach that criminally. What do you make of Sauer's argument, and what do you make of the prosecution's response?

FELDMAN: There's something profoundly perverse, that's the only word for it, in the Trump team's argument.

Now, the only way you can get charged criminally for conduct you did while you were president is if you've really actually committed a genuine crime.

And almost all presidents throughout our history would be very careful before charging any former president. They'd make sure it was really a

crime because presidents don't want to start the practice of being prosecuted after they leave office.

But here's the really perverse part. Trump's lawyer was making a kind of veiled threat. He was saying, if Donald Trump is elected, he will make up

some very ridiculous and doubtful criminal charges and try to go after Joe Biden. I mean, you heard him say it. He said, we would -- maybe Biden would

be prosecuted for not handling the border in Texas properly. That's not a crime in any way, shape or form.

It's up to the president, as the head of the executive branch, to decide how we're going to police the border. And so, there couldn't conceivably be

any crime even hinted out there.

So, what you've got is Trump's lawyers saying, our client is so crazy that if he became president, he might charge someone else for what's not even a

crime at all. And therefore, he shouldn't be charged for what manifestly were crimes. And that's pretty out there.

GOLODRYGA: Another argument defense, really, that Trump's attorneys were making is the double jeopardy clause and they were suggesting that if he'd

already been tried by Congress that he can't again be tried in a court. Can you just debunk that for our viewers entirely?

FELDMAN: Yes. Yes, that's flatly false. Double jeopardy is the rule that says that if you've been tried in front of a jury for a crime and you have

been acquitted of that crime, not a hung jury, but you've been acquitted of that crime, then you can't be tried again for that same crime. And that's a

good principle and it's in our constitution.

An impeachment proceeding is not a criminal trial. It doesn't go in front of a jury, it goes in front of the Senate. The standard of proof is not

proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It's not clear exactly what the standard is, but it's a lower standard than that. And if you're impeached, you don't

suffer any criminal consequences. You just lose office.

So, in all of those ways, the impeachment trial is nothing like a real criminal trial. It's actually -- impeachment is actually a political

process created by the constitution so that the sitting Congress can impeach and the Senate remove someone who's violated the principles of the

constitution. And so, it's not a prerequisite for subsequent criminal trial, it's just a way to kick the president out of office.

GOLODRYGA: As if we don't have enough trials and cases going before an appellate court, perhaps even the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court now will

be also looking as to whether Trump can legally be on a ballot.

In two states now, we have Colorado and Maine, who have ruled that he cannot be on the ballot. How do you suppose the Supreme Court will respond

to this? And given its precedent, if it was to stand by what its previous rulings were on the powers of the state, does that apply to how you

envision them ruling this case?

FELDMAN: Let me be super clear. I am not a pro Trump person. I testified at his first impeachment that he ought to be impeached and removed from

office. So, my own stance is clear. But that said, the Supreme Court has many, many tools that it could use to get Trump back onto the ballot in

Colorado and in Maine.


Because although Section 3 of the 14th Amendment does say explicitly that if you were previously an officer of the United States, and you engaged in

insurrection, and that you no longer can be and you cannot run again to become an officer of the United States, that principle has never previously

been applied to a presidential candidate.

And the Supreme Court has never before answered the question of whether that law even applies absent Congress taking some action. It's never

answered the question of what an insurrection is. It's never answered the question of what the standard of proof would have to be. So, there are lots

of ways that the current Supreme Court could find its way to making sure that the president -- the former president rather, gets back onto the


And the truth is, if you're one of the people who, like me, thinks it would be awful if Donald Trump became president, you shouldn't be too hopeful

that the courts are magically going to save us. I think we're going to need the American people to turn, out all of us, and vote in the way that our

conscience guides us in the coming election.

GOLODRYGA: Constitutional law will be front and center. You'll be very busy the next few months. That we can guarantee, Noah Feldman. Just

unbelievably incredible times that we're living through right now. Really appreciate your insight and expertise. Thank you.

FELDMAN: Thank you. They sure are.

GOLODRYGA: Well, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is continuing his tour of the Middle East. He says he made clear to Israel that Palestinians

in Gaza must be allowed to return to their homes as soon as conditions allow.

And while Israel repeatedly says that it is moving to a new less intense phase of the war, heavy bombardment of the enclave is so far relentless.

The IDF says it aims for proportionality and precision in its military operations.

Our next guest tonight paints a very different picture. Yuval Abraham is an investigative reporter for Israel's "+972 Magazine," which is jointly run

by Israelis and Palestinians. And he joins me from Tel Aviv to discuss his reporting.

Yuval, thank you so much. for joining us now. Your investigation discusses the IDF's "expanded authorization for bombing nonmilitary targets" and the

"loosening of constraints regarding expected civilian casualties." Talk to us about what you found in your reporting and how that lies in contrast

with how the IDF Says it's conducting this war, in your view.

YUVAL ABRAHAM, JOURNALIST, +972 MAGAZINE: Yes. So, I found three main things. The first is that the military completely abandoned previous

protocols that were in place aimed at regulating the killing of Palestinian civilians.

So, for this operation, for example, in assassination strikes aimed at senior Hamas commanders, sources in intelligence have told me that the

military is knowingly killing hundreds -- several hundred Palestinian civilians per assassination attempt.

The second thing is that the military is the military is heavily relying on artificial intelligence to generate targets for such assassinations with

very little human supervision, according to sources. And finally, the last thing is that there is this concept in the military called power targets,

which are targets that are hit not for their military value, but because it's a way to hurt morale in Gaza and to cause civilians to place pressure

on Hamas.

And my investigation on "+972 Magazine" and Local Call, it's based on seven intelligence sources, and I am continuing to speak to these intelligence

sources also in the past few weeks.

GOLODRYGA: I want to ask more about, without revealing your sources, just the type of sources you have and the access and why they would have the

access that they do. We should note that CNN's reporting cannot confirm your investigation and its findings.

The IDF, we should note, says in a statement that the -- they are committed to international law and acts according to it, and in doing so, attacks

military targets and does not attack civilians, also seeks to minimize civilian casualties.

You said something earlier that stuck with me. I'm not a military expert, our viewers aren't either, but we've been watching this war almost 24/7 for

the past three months unfold on television. How is how Israel is conducting this war? Obviously, a much larger scale following a terrible -- horrific

terror attack of October 7th, but it's in an enclave and it's against a terror group it is very familiar with. How are they conducting this war

with Hamas differently than they have in past wars?

ABRAHAM: Yes. So, I mean, I just have to say, you know, so in response to the military saying that it is doing everything in its power to minimize

civilian casualties, that's just not true. And I'm saying that it's not true because, you know, I've -- just this week I've spoken with roughly

three Israeli intelligence officers who were actually planning these targets for the past few months. And they tell me that the general

atmosphere is an atmosphere where Palestinian life has a very, very little meaning.


And to answer your question, I mean, the previous protocols that were in place, for example, in previous wars, in an assassination attempt against

the senior Hamas commander, they would normally not allow more than five civilians to be killed, sometimes several dozen.

Now, in this operation, it's several hundred Palestinian civilians being killed per assassination attempt. And as a blanket sort of rule for any

sort of assassination strike up to between 15 to 20 Palestinian civilians.

Now, the use of artificial intelligence is so massive in this operation that by the second week, most of the target creation process, according to

sources, already became automated. And sources that were there and they were operating these A.I. generated target machines said that most of the

targets created were junior Hamas operatives that were being bombed, again, when they are in their homes, killing not only them, but up to between 15

to 20 Palestinian civilians, entire families around them.

GOLODRYGA: You mentioned a tool --

ABRAHAM: And this did not -- this was not in place in previous wars. Yes.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. I'm glad you brought up artificial intelligence and its role in this war. You specifically write about a tool called the Gospel.

Tell us more about how it's being used.

ABRAHAM: Sure. So, the Gospel is just one system out of several systems that essentially compose these target creating machines. And what they do,

they surveil, they collect information from the entire population of Gaza. So, 2.3 million people. And they calculate the probability that a certain

individual is associated with Hamas and the probability that a certain individual is associated with a particular phone number, for example. And

they do so on a massive scale, generating hundreds of targets every day.

Now, sources have told me that the military knows that these systems are not always accurate, and the policy is not a zero-mistake policy. The

military has commented to my piece and says that a human is always in the loop with artificial intelligence.

And I'll just give you an example. OK. I've recently met a source who has operated these machines and he told me that he bombed dozens of homes every

day. And I asked him how many of these homes were created by artificial intelligence as targets for assassination. And he said, all of them. I just

have to green light it.

And I asked him, well, how much time did you spend per target looking, supervising what the machine created? And the source said that there were

weeks, that there was so much pressure to create as many targets as possible that he spent 20 seconds per target, and the supervision was to

check if the A.I. generates target for assassination is a male or a female.

If it's a female, they know it's for sure a mistake the A.I. made because women are not supposed to be generated as targets. And if it's a male, they

would authorize it because it's -- according to that source, because it's not 100 percent, but it's probable that this is a Hamas person. And in each

one of these strikes that were being authorized, we have civilians being killed as well.

GOLODRYGA: Yuval, you mentioned earlier -- and again, I don't want to jeopardize your sources, but I saw in a recent interview you'd given that

these are sources that are either connected to the military or connected to these operations and that want to ensure the security and safety of Israel.

That having been said, why are they choosing to speak with you about this right now?

ABRAHAM: Yes, it's a great question. And I think, you know, talking to these sources, like all of them after October 7th happened, the shock, you

know, the atrocities, they immediately -- some of them volunteers to go to the army. Some of them are in reserves.

And gradually, they were shocked, honestly, by what they were asked to do, by how -- many of them were shocked by how much it was disproportionate.

And I think a lot of them felt a responsibility really to share this information with the Israeli public and with the international public, and

especially with the U.S. that is largely funding this war because there is such a big disparity.

Every time I finish a conversation with an intelligent source, I cannot believe the disparity between the way this war is being portrayed in the

media and the way it actually is on the ground. And I think a lot of sources felt a responsibility to change that, to speak about it.

GOLODRYGA: We'll be covering in greater detail tomorrow. Obviously, the ICJ proceedings brought up by South Africa alleging that Israel's committed

genocide, that's received a lot of negative attention in Israel as saying there's no merits to it. We should note the United States also saying

there's no merits and that it's baseless. Israel has sent its former chief justice as a nominated judge, Aharon Barak, to defend in court proceedings.


But there are those that say, listen, investigations like yours, comments made by some extremist members of the government aren't doing Israel any

favors going into these proceedings. Hamas is explicit in its desire to kill Israelis and Jews.

But what are Israelis saying and what are some of the sources you're talking to saying about what we're expected to see tomorrow?

ABRAHAM: So, you know, my sources didn't mention tomorrow. And honestly, I don't know. Like, I think the word genocide is terminology --

GOLODRYGA: As a journalist.

ABRAHAM: -- like I'm trying to describe reality.

GOLODRYGA: Well, let me just ask you -- yes. As a journalist. I'm curious, if you don't mind, just a personal question, how you're feeling about this,

what we're seeing tomorrow, and just in general, as an Israeli who's trying to mend fences with Palestinians?

ABRAHAM: Yes. So, I feel that a lot of people are claiming that they are helping Israel even by, you know, supporting unconditionally the war. And I

think the real way to help us is to help us, honestly, find the political solution that will ensure full equality between Israelis and Palestinians.

I know a lot of -- I have a lot of Palestinians that I have, you know, joint projects with, both in Gaza and in the West Bank. There is a

documentary that's a collective of Israelis and Palestinians. I'm one of them. We've directed it. It will be released next month.

And I think that as long as we are unequal, as long as we do not end the military occupation and find a political solution, you're not helping not

Palestinians and not Israelis. And we need real pressure to do so.

GOLODRYGA: Yuval Abraham, please come back and talk about this documentary. I'm really interested in watching it myself. We appreciate

your time today. Thank you.

ABRAHAM: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Well, now, 2023 saw a record number of migrants cross the Atlantic to the Spanish Canary Islands with many lives lost at sea.

European governments are responding with harsh crackdowns, but rarely do we hear from the people making the treacherous journeys.

Italian film director Matteo Garrone is hoping to share their side of the story through his new film, "Io Capitano," which follows two Senegalese

migrants traveling from Africa to Italy. It's largely inspired by the experience of Mamadou Kouassi. He joins our Hari Sreenivasan with the

film's director to discuss that incredible journey.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, thanks. Matteo Garrone and Mamadou Kouassi, thank you both for joining us.

Matteo, let me start with you. Why did you choose to direct this movie about migration?

MATTEO GARRONE, DIRECTOR, "IO CAPITANO": Well, the idea -- first of all, thanks for invite us. And the idea start from the desire to give finally

visual form to a part of a journey that we usually don't see.

We are used -- in Italy, in Europe, we are used to see only the last part of the journey when the boat arrives in Sicily. And there is a ritual count

of the people alive and people dead. So, with times, we are used to think that are just number, you know.

And in the last 15 years 27,000 people have died on this journey. And so, we decide to try to put the camera on the reverse shot to finally tell the

story of this odyssey from the point of view of them, trying to give to the audience the possibility to live in subjective this journey through the

eyes of the real protagonists, of the survivor.

SREENIVASAN: Mamadou, you are a migrant yourself. You're also a consultant on this film. You know, there's a scene in the film right at the beginning

where the two cousins are deciding to go with the -- make a go of this journey, and one of the young men is kind of telling his mother that he's

going to do this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I can realize my dream there. I can help my (INAUDIBLE). Look where they sleep. The house is falling apart.

I want to help you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Enough. Who told you this? Who's (INAUDIBLE)? I don't need you (INAUDIBLE). You have to stay here and


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Those who made it (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Don't (INAUDIBLE). Those who left are dead in the desert or in the middle of the (INAUDIBLE). Dead

bodies (INAUDIBLE).



SREENIVASAN: Why are migrants like yourself so desperate to get out? If you know, and if you have heard about these dangers, especially in the

desert and what happens to people in Libya, why get on that first bus?

MAMADOU KOUASSI, SCRIPT CONSULTANT, "IO CAPITANO": Of course, if somebody is pushed by a dream, he has to follow the dream to follow his heart. So,

even we know that because we took information from other people before we travel. And they told us it is dangerous to cross the desert, but we don't

care. We want to follow our dream to reach -- to have better life. This is the situation.

So, being pushed to get better life, we decide to cross the desert at any cost. So, this is the reality because in Africa, we don't have this

opportunity also to have this kind of -- to have -- to make our dream come true. So, this is the reason why we decide also use of African people to

travel and get to -- get a better life in Europe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We did so much work to be able to (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Me neither.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): (INAUDIBLE). White people will be asking you for (INAUDIBLE).


SREENIVASAN: So, Matteo, given that there were all these different stories that you could have picked up, how did you write the script? How did you

focus on the journey of two cousins?

GARRONE: It's the structure -- is the structure of an adventure. They live an adventure. It's a contemporary odyssey. So, it's the journey of the


I listen many of their story and then I try to put two or three stories together in one unique story. And we recreate this world, we recreate this

Homeric fairy tales. We recreate this adventure. Trying -- as I said before, trying to tell the story, to -- trying to be honest, trying to be

simple, trying to be invisible. That's what's the word on the set to be invisible.


GARRONE: To give to the audience the possibility to live the experience, because cinema is not information, is experience, emotional experience. The

first story that I heard many years ago was the story of Fofana (ph), that when he was 15, he drove this boat without know how to drive a boat. And he

made this heroic act of save the life of 250 people reaching, finally, Italy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): (INAUDIBLE), you can both leave (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The boat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I've never done that. I don't even know how to swim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No problem. I'll teach you how to drive a boat. Very easy. In one day, you'll be in Italy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In one day, we'll be in Italy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Just one day. You just got straight ahead. And as you're (INAUDIBLE), if the police catch you, you


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): But it's not sure they'll (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No. When you (INAUDIBLE) police stay away from the cabin. There won't be a problem.


GARRONE: And so, I talked with him and I discovered that after this act, he went in jail for six months. And unfortunately, we leave this

contradiction, because they are -- as I said before, they are contemporary hero --


GARRONE: -- and they are treated like trafficking of human being. Because sometimes easier to put in jail people that don't have voice and treat them

as a trafficking of human being.

So, that's -- it's injustice and we hope that the movie will show these injustices to all the world and things will change.

SREENIVASAN: Mamadou, I don't think that most people watching the film in the West are aware of what happens in the countries in between, especially

in Libya. Can you tell me a little bit about the human trafficking and the gangs that are in between people getting from their origin country to the

coast to get on one of the boats?

KOUASSI: It's difficult to explain because, you know, this -- those countries, their economy is based on petrol. After the petrol, they use we

black people, like they treat black people. So, it becomes the second economy of those people that people are being treated in these countries

and they have some underground places -- prison that even sometime the government doesn't know that they exist in the Sahara.


And most of the time, if they see that you people are in number, they can take some people and take them back to the Sahara and leave them there. And

those people sometimes they die.

SREENIVASAN: Matteo, what were some of the challenges in making this film? You used mostly nonprofessional actors. A lot of the extras and the

characters that are in the film were migrants themselves. You were shooting this, this was not an Italian film, so you're shooting parts of this --

most of this in languages that you don't understand. So, how did you just kind of the blocking and tackling of making a film like this?

GARRONE: Yes. Well, it was, yes, big challenge. Of course, I didn't understand the language, but that was the reason why I decided immediately

that the only way to make the movie was together. So, I've been a sort of intermediator.

I put my experience, my way of look at the service of them, at the same of their story. So, I was always with them, from the script, also on the set

there. There were -- all the extra in the movie were real survivor, real migrant that already made that journey. So, they could help me to recreate

the authenticity of this journey, the details. And yes, we made this movie all together.

So, I had this incredible privilege to be with them and to see them on the set, in front of the monitor, how they react, how they recreate this

journey and we wanted to be authentic for the respect of the people that made this journey, for the respect of the people that died on this journey.

And also, that's very important for show to the African what the journey means because we -- the movie will be released in 20 countries in Africa.

SREENIVASAN: Matteo, what is the feeling at the moment in Italy towards migrants that are making this journey or to the migrants who are already in

the country?

GARRONE: Well, I think in Italy, like also in general, in Europe, or also in the rest of the world, the tendency is always more on the close than the

borders, on make war. And the movie try to show that there is a lot of people, especially young, often, that they don't stop in front of wall,

because they think that the right to move, to discover the world, to look for a better life, for help the family is something that should be for

everybody, for every human being.

So, they see people from our country going holiday in their country, and if they want to move and come in our country, they have to risk their life.

SREENIVASAN: Matteo, right now, the politics of Italy have swung to the right. You have a prime minister, Giorgia Maloni, who has said, "I will not

allow Italy to become a refugee camp for Europe."

And what seems to resonate with the people who have elected her are sometimes the security concerns that she says that Italy should be aware of

some of the people that are coming across. And she has also said that there is an economic concern that the people of the Middle East and North Africa

will replace the working people of Italy. Are these fears justified?

GARRONE: Well, I think we are -- we -- this problem is global. I think also in the States, you have a similar problem with the Mexican people, and

I think it's universal. My point of view is that we should always more try to open -- from my point of view, open the visa to give the possibility to

the people to move without the risk, their life, you know, to move because we are a country, especially Europe, very old, and the 70 percent of the

people in Africa are young, so we can create something together. We can help each other. And I think making this movie is an example of how we can

work together and do something beautiful.


SREENIVASAN: Mamadou, you're working now as a cultural liaison with migrants who are entering the country, and I wonder what are they telling

you and what have you experienced since you have been there about this shift politically to the right? Do you feel like people are less welcoming

of migrants or more suspicious?

KOUASSI: When I arrived in Europe, what I was expected is not what did I see. I suffer a lot. I slept outside. And those people that are coming

today, most of them are facing the same situation.

So, sometimes those people who come to Europe, they do not get the chance to integrate themselves and most of the people staying outside. Even here

in the United States, we saw some people that are staying outside. So, this is a global situation that everything -- the policy has to -- there should

be a new policy regarding out of the migration.

And this film, I think that has brought a way for the politician to think - - for all the human beings to think that this is the time to have a new policy regarding migrations, to let the people to be able to travel easily

all over the world.

We are not saying that they should open all the borders, but giving chance to people to travel, you can control the migrations. Giving chance to

people to travel, this is the human right.

SREENIVASAN: Matteo, you also had a private screening with the pope. He has been outspoken about migration issues. One of his first trips as pope

was to Lampedusa in Italy, where so many migrants land. What was that meeting like?

GARRONE: Well, for us, it was an incredible moment, but it doesn't surprise, the fact that the pope wanted to support this movie because he

always has been from the side of the -- this contemporary hero, from the side of the migrants. So, he always trying to give voice to them to show to

the world the injustice and trying to hope that the world could put down the world instead of put up.

And so, the movie is about a reflection, about inclusivity and not separation. And the pope who wanted to support us, for this reason, because

he felt that we told this story from the point of view of them, from the point of view of this contemporary hero.

SREENIVASAN: Mamadou, this may seem like a strange question, but what do you think was harder, getting to Europe or life since you've been there?

KOUASSI: I think being in Europe, the journey was so much harder because, me, for example, I spent three years. And these three years, I saw many

people dying. Desert, Mediterranean Sea, prison. So, being -- you know, doing this journey was very cruel for me. But at the same time, I'm not

going to tell you that being in Europe is easy, because there are some difficulties, obstacles that people face in Europe.

It is important that there should be a policy to integrate people that are living in Europe. Because there are some people living here for years, 10

years, 15 years, with -- they are undocumented people. They don't have any house to stay. So, this is another type of problem that people are facing.

SREENIVASAN: Mamadou Kouassi, a migrant and a script consultant for the film called "Io Capitano," directed by Matteo Garrone, thank you both for

joining us.

GARRONE: Thank you.

KOUASSI: Thank you.


GOLODRYGA: And finally, celebrating legends at the 14th Governor's Awards. Last night's private dinner event saw some of Hollywood's greatest stars

receive honorary Oscars, including 97-year-old comedian Mel Brooks. And Angela Bassett, the second black actress to ever receive the award, who

used her acceptance speech to highlight the important work black actresses are doing in the film industry.



ANGELA BASSETT, ACTRESS: To my fellow black actresses, fill your hearts with courage and strength because regardless of what you may think or see

or feel, your contributions do matter. Take comfort knowing that your performances have given hope, offered a different perspective, and for

others, just pure joy in a time of need.


GOLODRYGA: Such a powerful message from a powerhouse herself. Well, that does it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode

shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can always catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.

Thank you so much for watching, and goodbye from New York.