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Interview with Human Rights Watch Executive Director Tirana Hassan; Interview with "World on the Brink" Author and Cybersecurity Strategist Alperovitch; Interview with Columbia University's Climate School Professor Radley Horton. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired May 10, 2024 - 13:00   ET



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


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, you saw people who are subject to these beatings, who had their bones broken, and who had their teeth broken?


GOLODRYGA: Allegations of abuse at a secret Israeli military prison. Correspondent Matthew Chance has an exclusive report.

Also --


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: You can't say we agree that Hamas has to be destroyed and then oppose Israel when it sets out to

destroy Hamas.


GOLODRYGA: -- a defiant Benjamin Netanyahu pushes back on Joe Biden as Palestinians in Rafah flee in fear of a looming Israeli attack. Our Jeremy

Diamond has all the latest.

Then, crimes against humanity in Sudan. As the world stands by and does nothing, Human Rights Watch calls out atrocities there.

And, a "World on the Brink." Security expert Dmitri Alperovitch warns of what he calls Cold War II with China.

Plus, severe weather, intense temperatures, rising seas. Climate expert Radley Horton helps us grasp the big climate picture.

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

We begin in Gaza, where, with ceasefire talks on pause, the war grinds on. Strikes in Khan Younis killed eight members of a single family, including a

teenager, according to the European Hospital in Gaza. And four people were killed in Israeli airstrikes on a residential building in Jabalia, says

Gaza's civil defense.

In Rafah, as the threat of a major Israeli military assault looms, refugees who sought safety in the camps there are fleeing again. Prime Minister

Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing that Israel will fight with its fingernails if the U.S. slows the flow of weapons.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We will do what we have to do to protect our country. And that means protect our future. And that means

we will defeat Hamas, including in Rafah. We have no other choice.


GOLODRYGA: In a moment, more from the region. But first, since military operations began in Gaza, a growing number of Palestinians are being held

in the Sde Teiman Military Detention Center in Israel's Negev Desert.

And now, CNN has spoken to three whistleblowers from inside Israel's military who describe a systematic -- a systemic pattern of abuse there.

They say they are speaking out as a matter of conscience, a great personal risk. Matthew Chance has this exclusive report.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a place the Israeli military doesn't want us to see.

CHANCE: How many Palestinians are there in there right now?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me please, now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang on, what is it that you want? My camera or my card?

CHANCE (voice-over): But CNN has gained exclusive evidence of Palestinian prisoner abuse from multiple Israeli whistleblowers.

At the Sde Teiman facility in Southern Israel, we joined human rights activists amid growing public concern for the detainees being held inside.

CHANCE: This is a protest by Israeli citizens outside a detention center close to Gaza where we know hundreds of Palestinians have been held. You

can see it's a closed military facility. It's behind a barbed wire fence. We're not permitted access.

CHANCE (voice-over): And there's hostility from passersby.

CHANCE: We just had somebody drive past in a car and they shouted out to us in Hebrew, you're defending murderers. You're defending -- what do you -

- how do you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. We're defending basic human rights.

CHANCE (voice-over): And eyewitnesses are now speaking out. Away from the military facility near the beaches of Tel Aviv, one young Israeli army

reservist agreed to speak about scores of detainees at Sde Teiman he says are kept in cages or pens, constantly shackled and blindfolded many for

weeks on end. We've hidden his identity and voice to shield him from prosecution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were told they are not allowed to move and must sit upright. They're not allowed to talk or peek under their blindfolds.

CHANCE: And what happened if they if they did do that? What kind of punishments were meted out?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were allowed to pick out problematic people and punish them, having them stand with their hands above their heads for an

unlimited time. If they didn't keep their hands up, we could zip tie them to the fence.

CHANCE (voice-over): The Israeli military says detainees are handcuffed based on their risk level and health status. But the account tallies with

photographic evidence obtained by CNN of Palestinian detainees inside Sde Teiman. And with hand and wrist injuries shown to CNN by dozens of

Palestinians released back into Gaza.

I was zip tied and blindfolded, says this former detainee, and tortured in a way I never imagined. One source telling us the restraints were so tight

they had to amputate a man's hand.

CHANCE: The view that I've heard expressed is that, you know, how do you think Israeli hostages are treated by Hamas?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This sentiment was voiced in the facility, but I think that if Hamas is so abominable, which I agree with, then why use Hamas as a

bar? It's a descent into dehumanization.

CHANCE (voice-over): A descent that's accelerated since the rampage by Hamas on October 7th last year, the killing and abduction to Gaza of

hundreds of Israelis provoked outrage and a brutal response. Amid Israel's wrath, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed and thousands

detained for interrogation transported to facilities like Sde Teiman where one Israeli guard now tell CNN prisoners are routinely beaten. We've hidden

his identity and voice too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can take them out and hit them, maybe four or five times with a club. It's not done in the face, so you don't see blood. The

detainees lie belly down, being hit and kicked, people screaming and dogs barking at them. It's terrifying. Some detainees are taken away and beaten

really hard, so bones and teeth are broken.

CHANCE: So, you saw people who were subject to these beatings, who had their bones broken, and who had their teeth broken?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's a practice which commanders know about. They want intelligence, but they also want revenge and punishment for what

happened on October 7th.

CHANCE (voice-over): The Israeli military hasn't approved CNN's requests for access to Sde Teiman. At the gates of the facility, we challenged the

Israeli guards.

CHANCE: How many Palestinians are in there right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I prefer not to answer it.

CHANCE: Do you know if they're being handcuffed? Are they being blindfolded?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a facility --

CHANCE (voice-over): As we leave, masked soldiers approach.

CHANCE: Hello. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you stop filming please?

CHANCE: I'm filming this way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You cannot film anything here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a property of the army.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who are you guys?

CHANCE: We're CNN. Who are you? Are you the police?

CHANCE (voice-over): They tried to take our cameras.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me please, now. Give me please, now.

CHANCE: Hang on. What is it that you want? My camera or my card?

CHANCE (voice-over): Then order us to leave.

CHANCE: Well, we're driving now to meet one Israeli with personal experience of the Sde Teiman facility. It's experience that he says has

left him shocked at the condition and the medical treatment of Palestinian detainees there.

CHANCE (voice-over): He told us he treated Palestinian detainees with gunshot wounds fresh from the war zone in Gaza, but was appalled at the

lack of equipment and expertise.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem is, Gazans who are brought in are labelled as terrorists, and it is very popular opinion over here that terrorists

deserve to die, so they do not deserve the same medical care as everyone else.

CHANCE (voice-over): Satellite imagery obtained by CNN shows how the Sde Teiman facility was expanded after the October 7th attacks, with detention

facilities and makeshift medical bays being added after public hospitals in Israel refused to treat injured Gazan suspects.

Eyewitness accounts describe a field hospital with 15 to 20 patients virtually naked and blindfolded, with hands and feet shackled to their beds

and wearing diapers. One eyewitness told CNN, painful procedures were carried out by underqualified medics. Treatment the medical worker told us

amounts to punishment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my view, it's the idea of total vulnerability. If you imagine being unable to move, being unable to see what's going on,

that's something that borders, if not crosses, into psychological torture.


CHANCE (voice-over): The Israeli military says prisoners are stripped for security checks and that investigations are opened when there's suspicion

of misconduct. Still, accounts from Israelis and Palestinians inside and the shocking images paint a disturbing picture.


GOLODRYGA: And Matthew Chance joins us now live. Matthew, what has the reaction been thus far to your investigation.

CHANCE (on camera): Well, Bianna, before we broadcast the allegations, we went to the Israeli authorities and asked for their response. They gave

quite a detailed one. I've incorporated some of that response into the report that you just saw. But it basically boils down to this, everything

Israel does, it says, is for security purposes, and they don't violate, they say, any Israeli or any international law.

But it's interesting that it's Israeli citizens that are actually, you know, kind of, you know, calling that into question that the people that we

saw in that report, those whistleblowers, their Israeli citizens, some of them have been serving with the Israeli military or working alongside them

in a medical capacity, and they're just increasingly uncomfortable with what they're being asked to do and what they have done. And so, I think

that will have some resonance inside Israel, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: But in terms of any political impact this may have, are you hearing any potential changes in some of these policies or is it just too

soon at this point?

CHANCE: I think it's a little too soon, but I think it's really important to point out that this investigation and the whistleblowers speaking to

CNN. So, it points to a much broader debate that's taking place already inside Israel about the strategy being used by the government of Benjamin

Netanyahu in the post October the 7th attacks sort of environment there.

There's a lot of debate, of course, as you know, about whether the government is putting too much emphasis on destroying Hamas, not enough on

getting the Israeli hostages released. Well, this is another sort of iteration on that. Has Israel gone too far and crossed its own moral

boundaries, sort of in the aftermath of October the 7th? That's what many Israelis are asking themselves, and it's expressed in this investigation.

GOLODRYGA: Right, a deep, thorough investigation of that. Matthew Chance, thank you so much.

Well, even before this damning report, international pressure was already ramping up against Israel as its assault on Gaza continues, with a notable

change in tone from its biggest ally, the U.S. Correspondent Jeremy Diamond joins me now live from Jerusalem to discuss developments.

Before we get to the political fallout that continues from that change in policy and the comments and the interview that President Biden gave to CNN

earlier this week, what is the situation there like in Rafah? I mean, we continue getting reports of rockets, either from the north of Israel, but

also from Gaza as well going into Israel. This as Israel continues its operation. It's limited as they describe it operation in Rafah and we're

still seeing scores of civilians there impacted on a humanitarian level.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's no question, despite the fact that the Israeli military is describing this operation in Eastern

Rafah as limited. And indeed, we have not yet seen Israeli tanks and troops go into the central areas, the most densely populated areas of Rafah.

We are already seeing a pretty significant impact on the people who are living in that city, many of them displaced already multiple times from

elsewhere in the Gaza Strip. In Rafah itself, we have seen one of Rafah's three functioning hospitals now put out of commission, a shutdown as

patients and staff fled as they fell in that evacuation zone that the Israeli military released earlier this week.

And we're also seeing the impact in terms of humanitarian aid, not getting in via that Rafah Border Crossing, which has been closed since the

beginning of this week. But where we are really seeing the impacts of this military operation in Rafah is outside of that city because 110,000 people,

according to UNRWA, have already been forced to flee that city, some of them from that eastern part of Rafah, but others from the central parts of

Rafah out of concern and fear of what may come next.

And what they are finding in the areas where they are arriving in the Al- Mawasi humanitarian zone, as the Israeli military has described it, are areas that simply aren't suitable for in large numbers of people to be

living in, areas that have -- sandy areas that have no running water in many cases, no sewage, no electricity. People mostly living in tents or

whatever kind of makeshift shelters they can cobble together on the sides of roads.

And the United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, now warning that this situation will get that much worse if the Israeli military

expands its offensive into the more densely populated areas of Rafah, warning of an "epic humanitarian disaster."


GOLODRYGA: And this, Jeremy, as we're continuing to hear the impact of President Biden's rather stunning statements this week from Israeli

officials, from the prime minister himself giving a lengthy interview to Dr. Phil, of all people, confirming that Israel, although upset perhaps,

that this decision from the Biden administration remains defiant in its mission to combat and eliminate Hamas. What more did he say?

DIAMOND: Yes, I didn't have Dr. Phil, Bibi Netanyahu on my bingo card for this year. But certainly, I mean, the impact of this -- you know, the way

that Netanyahu is reacting to President Biden is with this kind of trademark defiance and bluster. You are hearing the Israeli prime minister

saying that Israel will not -- you know, will be unbowed. Will carry forward with the military operations that it views as necessary. And

certainly, a military offensive in Rafah is something that the Israeli government views as necessary.

The Israeli prime minister has repeatedly described Rafah as Hamas' "last bastion." He has talked about the fact that there are four Hamas battalions

that remain in Rafah, many of them ensconced in densely populated civilian areas. And the Israeli government feels that it has no choice but to get in

there and eliminate those battalions in order to accomplish its goal of eradicating Hamas and removing its hold on power in Gaza.

But there is no question that this is now bringing the United States-Israel relation to a low point not seen in a very long time. As you're watching

President Biden becoming the first president in decades to withhold U.S. weapons shipments and to threaten to withhold more us weapons shipments

based on actions that Israel is conducting on the ground in Gaza.

And so, there's no, you know, clear way in which those two views can be resolved as the Israeli government seems defiant in the face of that

pressure from the United States. We don't know yet when the Israeli military will expand that ground offensive into the center of Rafah, but it

certainly seems that it is simply a matter of time. Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and it appears it ceasefire negotiations, this now another round seemed to have led nowhere as CIA director has returned back to the

U.S. Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much for the update.

Well, coming up after the break, a report from Human Rights Watch on the escalating crisis in Sudan, warnings that ethnic cleansing and crimes

against humanity are being committed in West Darfur. I'll be speaking with the organization's executive director, Tirana Hassan, when we come back.


GOLODRYGA: Welcome back. We turn now to escalating violence in one of the world's most devastating conflicts, Sudan. A new report from Human Rights

Watch is warning that an ethnic cleansing campaign by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, known as the RSF and allied militias, may constitute


Now, it comes more than one year into a civil war which has produced a humanitarian crisis of "epic proportions" according to the U.N. More than 8

million people have been displaced and there are fears of widespread starvation with the World Food Programme reporting that people there are

resorting to eating grass and peanut shells.


Tirana Hassan is executive director at Human Rights Watch and she joins me now from New York. Tirana, this is just a horrifying report to read and

clearly not enough attention is focused on this crisis in Sudan. So, I'm so glad that you're taking the time to join us today.

The report is titled, "The Massalit Will Not Come Home." And it's incredibly, as I noted, difficult reading, but so important. And it found

that the RSF and allied militias in West Darfur's capital "killed at least thousands and left hundreds of thousands as refugees from April to November

of last year." Talk to us more about the findings here.

TIRANA HASSAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Certainly. Thank you for having us on and being -- creating the space to talk about the

devastating situation in Darfur.

You know, it was a 10-month investigation that Human Rights Watch conducted. We interviewed over 220 eyewitnesses and victims to the violence

that took place in West Darfur in the city of El Geneina. And what we documented in that time was that, as you said, there were war crimes and

crimes against humanity that have been committed by Sudan's Rapid Support Forces, as well as their allied militias.

And it appears from our findings to be part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing, which is targeting the ethnic Masalit community specifically,

but it has also not spared other non-Arab populations in the city. And what we found was, you know, just devastating human toll. There were thousands

of people at least that have been killed. But the true death toll really isn't even close to being known. It could be much larger. And as you

mentioned, there are half a million refugees who are in West Darfur.

But, you know, for us, we have seen very clearly that there has been no intervention from the International Community to deter or secure the safety

of the civilian population in Darfur as a region. And the devastating results of that, you know, impasse and paralysis from the International

Community has resulted in some of the most horrific crimes that we have seen in the Darfur region since the genocide of the early 2000s.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, you really know the lack of response from regional and International Community leaders. What more can be done at this point,

specifically following what your report has found?

HASSAN: I mean, in particular, we have seen that there has been a very little response from the Security Council and from the U.N. Actually, it's

-- what we have seen over the last few years is Darfur has been abandoned. You know, there was a peacekeeping force, and then there was some sort of

civilian monitoring and protection capacity being provided by a joint African Union and U.N. force, but the Security Council voted to close that

even as violence was escalating.

So, we do need to see some sort of response from the Security Council to discuss what can be done in Darfur, as well as a response from -- a

combined response with the African Union to be able to actually deploy some sort of capacity to actually protect the civilian population. There is no

protection of civilian's capacity in Darfur, and the result of it has been devastating.

Just one example of what happens without this sort of protections was an incident that our teams documented that took place on June 15th, where

there was a kilometers long convoy of people, mostly Masalit -- members of the Masalit community who were trying to flee the violence and find safety

in Chad.

And we saw that -- we documented that the Rapid Support Forces actually went in and attacked the convoy, attacking dozens of vehicles. And we spoke

to one 17-year-old boy who was being actually pushed along in a wheelbarrow because he had been injured by a gunshot in an earlier attack. His mother

fled. And in that period of time, he witnessed the killing of adults and over a dozen children who were just shot and killed and their bodies thrown

into the river. And I mean that just highlights the need for, you know, a proper international response.

And also, where are their weapons coming from? I think Darfur has -- you know, there have been restrictions on weapons flowing into Darfur, but we

need to see a much more expansive response that covers all of all of Sudan.


GOLODRYGA: Yes, clearly the weapons continue to get in. Just to quote from your report about specifically the impact this is having on children and

the tragedy that the RSF forces, the murders of children, you write -- the report writes, "Two RSF forces grabbed the children from their parents and,

as their parents started screaming, two other RSF forces shot the parents, killing them. Then they piled up the children and shot them. They threw

their bodies into the river and their belongings in after them."

It is very graphic. It is very difficult to read. It's difficult to hear and comprehend. Yet, this is eyewitness testimony, which is crucial in

these types of investigations.

HASSAN: That's right. And our teams have been not only in the refugee camps in Chad, where we're seeing, you know, half a million people who have

fled for safety, but we've also document -- we've also been speaking by phone to certain people who are still trapped inside of Darfur, as well as

people who have made it out into other countries in the in the region.

But it's not just the killings either. We've also seen, you know, other grave abuses such as torture, rape, and looting. One woman actually told us

that she saw at least 20 boys, and this is difficult to hear, whose bodies were just lying on the road after having their throats slit.

And the targeting, particularly of the Masalit community, is not something that we're hypothesizing about. Eyewitnesses have been able to tell our

researchers on the ground that when the killings are taking place, when the attacks are taking place, the Rapid Support Forces are actually looking

specifically for members of the Masalit tribe and other non-Arab communities. And that just goes to the heart of one of the most egregious

violations that we're seeing, which is that of ethnic cleansing.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And you note that it's not just in the capital there, that you note at least seven towns and villages of West Darfur had been

deliberately destroyed by fire since last April as well.

HASSAN: That's right. And, you know, it is -- there has been massive looting and destruction across El Geneina, particularly in neighborhoods

that -- was where the Masalit communities were living, but it's also -- we are right now on the precipice of more violence and potentially more

atrocities in north of El Geneina in the city of El Fasher, where the Rapid Support Forces have surrounded the city.

And if anything, the -- what we have documented in El Geneina is a grim snapshot of what could happen in El Fasher, which is a town of between 1.5

million and 2.8 million people. And again, it is the same forces that have committed these atrocities in El Geneina who are now rallying around the

city of El Fasher, which just points once again for the only urgency of the International Community to put the situation in Darfur on the international

agenda to ensure that there's an arms embargo for all of Sudan and to ensure that the perpetrators.

And we know who these people are, they have -- they are identifiable. There is a U.N. panel of experts who has identified them, and there needs to be a

response to actually sanction the perpetrators of the atrocities. These are people who are not only killing, they are violating the arms embargo, but

also, you know, they're blocking humanitarian aid. As you mentioned in the beginning of this piece. There's also, you know, a dire humanitarian

situation where we're seeing people on the cusp of starvation.

GOLODRYGA: And this has huge regional implications as well. And what's so important about your work, as difficult as it is to read, is you've created

ample evidence for investigators to point to, as they really need to take this opportunity to bring all of this to an end. There's just way too much

dying and not enough accountability here.

We should note that in December, the U.S. determined that both the Sudanese Armed Forces and the RSF had committed war crimes, holding the latter

responsible for crimes against humanity, including murder and rape and ethnic cleansing.

Tirana Hassan, we will continue to cover this story. Thank you so much.

HASSAN: Thank you for having me.

GOLODRYGA: Well, up next for us, the man who exposed Russian interference in the U.S. elections and predicted President Putin's invasion of Ukraine

now says China is set to invade Taiwan within 10 years. I'll ask him if the U.S. and its allies can really avoid all-out war.



GOLODRYGA: Welcome back. Well, Chinese President Xi Jinping is wrapping up his first European trip in five years, which is as much about optics as it

is about trade. It comes as relations with the E.U. are under strain over cheaper goods from China and its stance on Putin's war in Ukraine, which

many in the West accuse China of indirectly helping to bankroll.

So, it was notable after his first stop in France that Mr. Xi met the strongmen, autocratic leaders of Serbia and Hungary, who both have closer

ties to the Kremlin.

My next guest says we're already in Cold War II, and that it's the U.S. vs. China this time vying for global supremacy and influence. Dmitri

Alperovitch is a cyber security expert and co-founder of CrowdStrike, which first exposed Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. We should

also note he predicted Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine as well in 2022.

His new book is called "World on the Brink: How America Can Beat China in the Race for the 21st Century." And it's out next week.

Dmitri Alperovitch, congratulations on the book. It's incredibly timely, though I know you've been working on it for quite a while now. So, let's

talk about your prediction that this relationship between the U.S. and China should be approached as a Cold War II. The good thing about Cold War

I is that it never resulted in a hot war. What is the first and most important thing the U.S. can do to prevent that happening here?

DMITRI ALPEROVITCH, AUTHOR, "WORLD ON THE BRINK" AND CYBERSECURITY STRATEGIST: Well, thanks so much for having me, Bianna. As I write in the

book, which just made the national bestseller, the conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States and the conflict now between China and

America is so eerily similar.

And just like in the first Cold War, we have a regional flashpoint. It was West Berlin and Cuba, of course, in 1962. It is now Taiwan. And I'm

becoming convinced that Xi Jinping wants to take Taiwan while he's in power. The similarities between Putin and Xi are really enormous. Both men

are in their 70s. They want to do this in case of Putin, take Ukraine, in the case of Xi, take Taiwan on their own watch. They're looking at the

twilight zone of their power, potentially, the last decade of power.

And they want to go down in the history books as these great leaders that have enlarged the empires of their respective nations and have -- you know,

in the case of Putin become the new Peter the Great, in the case of Xi, eclipsed, even the power of Mao and did the one thing that Mao could not

do, which is take Taiwan.

GOLODRYGA: And in terms of the U.S., for many years now, we've grown accustomed to this word decouple, should the U.S. start to decouple. Is the

U.S. decoupling from China? There hasn't been much focus on whether China is doing the same. Is China, in your view, trying to untangle its

dependence on the West? As you say Xi is determined now, it's just a matter of if, not when, they go after Taiwan.


ALPEROVITCH: That's right. And I think decoupling is the wrong term to use. Because at the end of the day, what we want most is to have leverage

over China, to try to deter this conflict at all costs, which would be even much more devastating than the war on Ukraine.

And the way to do that is actually to increase China's dependence on us and decrease our dependence on them.

So, I coined this term in the book, unidirectional entanglement, the symmetry independence where on things like semiconductors, for example,

China cannot produce the most advanced chips in the world. It is trying to corner the market on the so-called foundational chips.

Of course, our digital economy runs on semiconductors. It's often called the new oil. I actually think it's a misnomer because there are

alternatives to oil. There's no alternatives in the modern economy to chips. So, we have to make sure that China continues to rely on chips

produced in Taiwan and Korea and the United States so that we can have that critical leverage over them.

And at the same time, on things like critical minerals, rare earths and other critical minerals that are mostly processed in China right now, we

have to reduce that reliance and that leverage that they have over us.

GOLODRYGA: In terms of strategic ambiguity, which had been a U.S. policy for a number of years, vis-a-vis Taiwan. And we saw a significant shift,

specifically from the president himself, a number of times, coming out and saying that if need be, the U.S. would defend Taiwan.

As far as policy in hoping to avoid an all-out war with China, do you think that that has been the right strategic move to publicly state by the U.S.

president, I think, four times now, that there has been a shift?

ALPEROVITCH: Yes, this is a really interesting strategy by the White House because, as you mentioned, on four occasions, President Biden has said that

he would defend Taiwan with American troops. But at the same time, as soon as he says it, the White House staff walks it back and says that this is

not abandoning of the strategic ambiguity that we have over Taiwan, because that would be a red line for China and would throw out the One China


But by saying it publicly, he clearly is sending the message to Beijing and Taiwan that he is willing to defend it, and at the same time, they're not

changing the policy officially. So, it's a great way to walk that line.

GOLODRYGA: China, as we know, has invested heavily in its military, specifically in its navy. But one thing -- well, there are many things that

the U.S. has that are stronger than China, that give it an advantage. And one is the U.S. Military has been tested.

And so, there had been growing theories about whether or not the war in Ukraine and it not going in the direction that Vladimir Putin had hoped at

least from early on. Obviously, now he's in it to win it for however long he thinks he needs.

Do -- you don't view that as a deterrent perhaps for President Xi to think our military also hasn't been tested, perhaps I'm surrounded by too many

yes men that have told me that that we can actually do this?

ALPEROVITCH: I don't. I think that he is supremely confident in his capabilities as many authoritarian leaders are. And look, you can make the

case for a range of lessons that he has learned from Ukraine. One could be that, you know, wars cannot -- do not always go as you plan and can be a


The other lesson that he can learn as a senior Department of Defense official told me early on in the conflict is that America will not fight a

nuclear power. So, he may actually be thinking that this is a good outcome for him because the United States, of course, is not fighting Ukraine, is

not sending American troops to fight there. So, he may doubt that we would do so for Taiwan. So, the lessons are potentially numerous.

It's not clear to me that President Xi is a great learner to begin with. So, if he wants to do this and if he feels like this is key for his own

legacy and for his country's projection of power in that most important region of the world, I think he'll likely do so if he can get enough people

to tell him that this is -- this can be done.

GOLODRYGA: Are the Taiwanese doing enough in terms of their own self- defense? I know they've increased their defense spending at nearly 3 percent of GDP, but there are those that are saying that that's still not

where the level that it needs to be. And if you really want to garner support from your western allies, in particular the United States, you need

to show that you are just as concerned and just as prepared or as prepared as you can be for an attack by China.

ALPEROVITCH: Absolutely. And, you know, they've made a lot of great steps. They've increased their spending. More importantly, they've increased the

term of their conscription, which was just four months, to now a year starting in January. But they still have much more to do.

And part of the problem in Taiwan is that they've invested in platforms, weapons platforms, they are not necessarily the best tool to asymmetrically

fight a much bigger military such as China. They've invested, for example, in M1 Abrams tanks. Well, Taiwan is a mountainous country. There are not

going to be huge tank battles on Taiwan. They need to invest in anti-ship missiles and mines to make sure that the Chinese fleet cannot come across

and land in significant numbers on the island.


GOLODRYGA: And they also have other options as opposed to specifically military options, right? I mean, they could choke off the Taiwanese Strait,

right, or in the cyber area, where you have your expertise, they've invested heavily. And I know that you are concerned that they may have

embedded -- the Chinese may have embedded themselves and critical U.S. infrastructure for specifically this, for specifically a moment where the

U.S. may be having to come to Taiwan's defense and that being a moment they choose to have the green light to go in and attack our infrastructure.

ALPEROVITCH: That's right. There is a group called Volt Typhoon, which is affiliated with the Chinese government that has infiltrated U.S. critical

infrastructure, water utilities, electric utilities, port infrastructure across the United States and in the region. And the fear among government

officials is that the Chinese are doing this to preposition capability to try to destroy those networks, to delay any type of response to the region

should we decide to fight.

GOLODRYGA: Again, you think this could come within a matter of just a few years and that every morning, as I heard you say, President Xi should be

waking up saying today's not the day. Stark words, but a really -- an important subject that we should be spending more and more time covering.

Dmitri Alperovitch, thank you so much for joining us.

ALPEROVITCH: Thank you, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: And now to Sweden, where controversy is building around the Eurovision Song Contest. The mega musical competition spans the world and

tries to steer clear of politics. But this year, that is proving tougher than usual. Crowds outside the venue have been protesting Israel's

participation over its war in Gaza. Anna Stewart has more.



ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Her song is about facing down a hurricane.


STEWART (voice-over): And Israel's Eurovision entry this year certainly finds herself at the center of a storm. Through to Saturday's final of the

music contest, but while Eden Golan enjoyed a rapturous response from the studio audience in the Thursday night semifinal, the crowd outside the

venue in Malmo, Sweden, struck a wholly different tone.

Thousands gathered to protest against Israel's inclusion in the event, saying it should be barred by the European Broadcasting Union because of

its military campaign in Gaza.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The EBU has allowed Israel to participate in Eurovision, but not Russia, and I think that's just it's wrong.

STEWART (voice-over): Climate activist Greta Thunberg amongst the crowds, calling for further demonstrations against Israel.

GRETA THUNBERG, CLIMATE ACTIVIST: I think they should be everywhere. And once again, young people are leading the way.

STEWART (voice-over): Israeli singer Golan seemingly not deterred by the outrage on the streets.

GOLAN EDEN, ISRAELI EUROVISION FINALIST: Of course, there's like stress and nerves and excitement and many, many, many things around and thoughts.

But at the end of the day, I'm very focused.

STEWART (voice-over): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling out what he said was an ugly wave of antisemitism directed towards Golan.

Telling her in a video message, when they boo, we will cheer you on.

The atmosphere has been tense around the Eurovision Song Contest venue amidst one of the largest security operations Malmo has ever seen,

according to Swedish police.

Eurovision has always proclaimed to be apolitical. Organizers already intervened earlier in the year when Israel's initial entry, titled "October

Reign," was deemed to too closely reference the Hamas led attacks of October 7th.

Dissent has still crept in. In Belgium, the semifinal broadcast was interrupted briefly with this message on Thursday. A statement from the

network union condemning what it said were the violations of human rights by the State of Israel.

Protests organized in Malmo to coincide with Saturday's final have promised to draw bigger crowds than the venue audience itself. Eurovision slogan,

United by Music, facing perhaps its biggest challenge yet.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


GOLODRYGA: All right. Up next on the program, from the devastating floods in Brazil to the tornadoes ripping through the United States. I'll speak

with Columbia University professor and climate expert, Radley Horton, to make sense of the extreme weather and warming temperatures reshaping our




GOLODRYGA: Welcome back. Well, extreme weather is dominating the headlines right now. A stark reminder that climate change knows no borders. In

Brazil, devastating floods have killed more than 100 people, impacting nearly 2 million Brazilians. And in Kenya, heavy rains have battered the

country and displaced hundreds of thousands. And here in the U.S. this week, tornadoes and storms across several southern states destroyed a

number of homes. Scientists warn 2024 could end up being the warmest year on record.

To help unpack what these weather events mean and to explore the solutions, Radley Horton joins us. He's a professor at Columbia University's Climate

School, and he's joining us from New York. Radley, thank you so much for joining us.

So, this has become sort of a standard operating procedure for us to report on yet more devastation, whether it's flooding, whether it's droughts. I

mean, this past few weeks, it has really been the former and we've talked about it in the introduction, from Brazil, to Kenya, here in the United

States horrific storms. This is your area of expertise. Are you surprised at the magnitude of the storms?

RADLEY HORTON, PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY'S CLIMATE SCHOOL: Yes, I think, you know, we can't just look at the last week or two as you, as you

alluded to. But if we look over the longer term, it is fair to say that some of these very heavy rain events are even stronger and they're growing

in intensity at a faster rate than our climate models would have suggested at these levels of greenhouse gases.

So, yes, we are absolutely concerned that we're caught a little behind in terms of just how fast these heavy rain events can increase in intensity,

leading to this kind of tragic flooding.

GOLODRYGA: And how much of it can be attributed to climate change?

HORTON: Well, if we look at a larger region and a longer period of time, that's where that climate change signal becomes really clear. And it makes

sense intuitively because the primary effect of global warming and increasing greenhouse gases is to warm the atmosphere and warm the upper

ocean. And a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture. So, there's a physical reason why we should be seeing more heavy rain, that atmosphere

that can hold more moisture. Then once the conditions are right for rain, it can fall out catastrophically as we're seeing.

GOLODRYGA: Are we not sending or sounding the alarm bells enough at this point? Just going back to what you said in your opening statement that this

even surpassed your climate expectation. What all the models have been saying did not estimate that we would be here or seeing this type of

damage. What does that tell you?

HORTON: Well, first and foremost, the urgency cannot be overstated. This is such a critical issue. So certainly, we scientists should try to do

more, but it takes all of society as well, right? And there's a lot of political barriers.

There's a lot of ways that the private sector and others haven't engaged as much as they could, but it's got to be full steam ahead in terms of getting

these messages out about how vulnerable everybody is, but also the enormous opportunities that we have to reduce the risks and to grow the economies if

we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and we better prepare people for these heat waves of the future, heavy rain events of the future that are

happening right now actually.

GOLODRYGA: Well, how do you better prepare? And how would you rate how some of these governments have handled these crises? Because Kenya, their

government spokesperson saying that, "You can never be fully prepared." And again, that's understandable. You don't know exactly how much rain you're

going to get, but you know that it's going to be dire. What more can governments be doing to anticipate these types of tragedies?


HORTON: Yes, I mean, that's a great question. Certainly, there's a component of better forecasting of the rain events, but there are also some

really vexing questions about where people have moved into harm's way, right? Living in floodplains, people who sometimes have very few choices

about where they can live. These are high risk areas that often some of the most vulnerable populations are driven to.

Over time, we need to see more investments and things like helping people get out of harm's way, but also what we call green infrastructure solutions

that can capture some of this rainwater. In vegetation, divert it to other places. Just like on the side of the heat extremes, which we haven't even

had a chance to talk about yet. This record-breaking heat. We need more efforts to provide shade and efforts to help people not have to be out

doing strenuous labor during the heat of the day.

Challenging to accomplish these things, but essential. And of course, first and foremost, it's reducing greenhouse gas emissions so that we face less

extreme heat waves and heavy rain in the future.

GOLODRYGA: As you know -- and let's talk about the heat now. Scientists fear 2024 could be the warmest year on record after 2023. In response to a

Guardian survey, the U.N. warned the world is on the verge of a climate abyss. About 80 percent of 400 scientists that were surveyed expected a

rise of over two and a half degrees Celsius. And that is something that they had been desperate to avoid. Do you think that -- reaching that

threshold is now going to be unavoidable?

HORTON: Yes. I mean, first and foremost, it's become clearer than ever that even just 1.5 degrees Celsius, basically where we more or less already

are today, is catastrophic, right? We're already learning that our coral reefs may not be able to handle these temperatures. Our vulnerable

populations are suffering as heat waves across South Asia are much worse than we thought they would be at these levels of greenhouse gas


Now, towards your next question, can we avoid getting from the roughly one to 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming today? Can we avoid going to 2.5

degrees that's looking increasingly challenging? But here I think we can hold out hope that as a society, if we pivot quickly, if we look at the,

frankly, revolution that's happening and how quickly renewable energy, solar, and wind are taking off.

The window hasn't closed yet to keep warming down to two degrees Celsius or so, but it's closing quickly. And what I fear is that we may have

underestimated just how impactful, through extreme events and societal impacts, even 1.5 degrees of warming is proving to be.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, beating even your estimates at how quickly we're seeing the impact of all of this. Does it give you hope, though, when you talk

about renewable energy and investment, maybe strictly from a business model, that you're seeing a lot of energy companies and even the State of

Texas investing so much because they see this perhaps as a boom for them financially? But also, as you said, could you actually be doing two things?

Could you see -- is it the impact from the business community that could actually be a salvation in the short-term?

HORTON: Right. In addition to that harm reduction piece, it's actually a way to expand the economy. Absolutely, for sure. I mean, if you look

globally in 2023, it's estimated that about 75 percent of new electricity generation is coming from -- it came from solar and wind relative to the

fossil fuels that provide electricity, coal, and gas.

So, really, renewables are taking over. A lot of the forecast for 2024 suggests that it could be an even bigger shift. And the reason for that is

a kind of societal tipping point as opposed to a climate tipping point. The price of these renewables is coming down so fast they (INAUDIBLE) with

traditional fossil fuel plants and the trends are all towards the innovation being there.

Business sector is noticing young people picking their first jobs, picking their early investments are increasingly -- not exclusive, but increasingly

looking to those companies that are protecting their workers from extremes, protecting their supply chains and investing in less emissions.

GOLODRYGA: Radley Horton. I have a feeling we'll be trying to reach out to you to book you back on the show a lot over the next few months, especially

in the summer and hurricane -- traditional hurricane months. Thank you so much. I hope you'll come back and join us. We appreciate it.

HORTON: For sure. Thank you. Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: And finally, for us, it's 30 years since Nelson Mandela's historic inauguration as South Africa's first black president, which came

to symbolize the triumph of unity over division.

In 2014, Christiane spoke with Zelda la Grange, a white Afrikaans woman and self-described former racist who became Madiba's most trusted aide. Listen

in as she described her first encounter with the iconic leader.




AMANPOUR: How did a young girl like yourself, a whiter than white Afrikaner who believed in apartheid, end up working for the world's

foremost black leader?

LA GRANGE: Well, you can add racist to that. I mean, I admit in my book, you know, I was a full-on racist by the time I started working for him,

which makes this so unlikely to happen.

I applied for a job in his office as president, but working for his secretary who was Miriam Mxadana at the time. And she just desperately

needed a typist. And I happened to be busy with an interview on that particular day for another position in the president's office when she came

in and she said, I need someone right now.

AMANPOUR: What was it like then when you first met this man, Nelson Mandela?

LA GRANGE: Well, that was really the turning point in my life. He was kind, he smiled, he extended his hand, and he spoke to me in my own

language. He spoke to me in Afrikaans. And that is the last thing you expect of him because I was brought up to fear this man. And that just

destroyed my defenses immediately. And I broke down and I was crying and he said to me, no, no, no, you're overreacting. And if a president tells you

you're overreacting, you pull yourself together very quickly.

But that was really the start of our relationship and which made me really ask, but is this man really something to be terrified of? Is he a person --

is he the person that I was brought up to believe or that I heard about?


GOLODRYGA: Remarkable story and legacy.

Well, that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching, and goodbye from New York.