Return to Transcripts main page
Hala Gorani Tonight
Military Seizes Power In Sudan; Facebook Whistleblower Haugen Testifies Before U.K. Parliament; Filthy, Used Medical Gloves Make It Into Supply Chain; COVID Spreads In Europe As Winter Approaches; Palestinian Groups Reject Israel's "Terror" Label; Director: Baldwin Had Been Told Weapon Was Unloaded. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired October 25, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello everyone, live from CNN in London on this Monday, I am HALA GORANI TONIGHT. A missing prime minister,
international condemnation and many injured protesters. The latest on a fast unfolding coup happening in Sudan. Also ahead, no let-up for Facebook
as a whistleblower testifies in the U.K. this time. I'll speak to one of the members of parliament using her evidence to change government policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These were washed, definitely. This one is completely brown, discolored.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: It is enough to churn your stomach. This filthy, used medical gloves made it into the United States as demand soared during the pandemic.
What CNN's exclusive investigation found is coming up ahead this hour on the program. Well, a military -- a military coup is our first story.
Massive raucous protests in the streets and a nation's fledgling democracy now in serious trouble. That is the situation right now in the African
nation of Sudan.
The military has dissolved the country's power-sharing transitional government, it has arrested the prime minister and other civilian leaders.
It has suspended parts of the constitution. It has declared a state of emergency. The head of Sudan's armed forces is promising a, quote,
"independent and fair representative government, that it will take power until elections in 2023", but this is what is happening on the streets.
They don't trust the military. These protesters are having none of it. They are demanding an immediate restoration of the joint government and world
leaders are denouncing the coup. The White House says it is, quote, "deeply alarmed". The British government calls it a betrayal of the Sudanese
people. Now the Sudanese Central's Doctors Committee is reporting that at least two protesters have been killed, fatally shot, at least 80 others
injured. CNN's Larry Madowo is tracking these chaotic developments, he Joins me now live from Nairobi with the very latest. What is the situation
on the ground right now, Larry?
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hala, it's been a confusing chaotic day in Sudan. We still at this hour do not know the location of Prime Minister
Abdalla Hamdok or his wife or many of those civilian ministers, members of the government who were arrested by the military early this morning. And
that was hours before we heard from General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who is the chair of the Sovereign Council that was the civilian and military-
power-sharing agreement body that declared that the government was suspended, sections of the constitution was suspended, and that the
military would now be taking over until the promised elections in July 2023, although that looks unlikely and many people think it's going to be a
long hard road to get there.
For most of the day, the internet and telecommunication services were down, flights in and out of Khartoum airport were cancelled and the airport shut
down, and a lot of disquiet. People on the streets because they were told so by at least two different organizations, one, the prime minister's
office saying they should go out on the streets, occupy the streets to defend the revolution. And also from the very powerful Sudan People's
Association that told them to defend the revolution. This is the same body that was behind the popular protest that led to the ouster of former
president Omar al-Bashir after a three decade rule.
I spoke to the prime minister a month ago, Hala, that is after a failed coup attempt which he blamed on forces loyal to Omar al-Bashir. This is
what he told me at the time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDALLA HAMDOK, PRIME MINISTER, SUDAN: The more we are achieving some successes, the old forces will be extremely nervous. They're always having
the dream of coming back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: Those forces appear to have won today, Hala, because just hours after the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa was in Sudan meeting
with him, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok meeting with the military leadership, and they were committed to a democratic transition, the
military took power.
GORANI: All right, Larry Madowo, thanks very much, Larry, we're keeping in close touch with you. He's been monitoring the situation in Khartoum and
The past two-and-a half years since dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted have been tumultuous ones for Sudan to say the least and its effort to
transition to full civilian rule. CNN's Nima Elbagir is Sudanese, she's reported extensively from us there with many exclusive reports, and she
joins me now here from London. First, protests across the country, people are not buying this promise by the military to hold free and fair elections
in 2023, Nima.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you remember, Hala, you and I spoke when we were covering the revolution in Sudan, and
even after Bashir stepped down, it took months before protesters came off the streets because they didn't trust the military then and they certainly
don't seem to trust the military now. The hope is from what little we're managing to glean of the military's thinking, is that the entire region in
the horn of Africa is in such disarray, the concerns about the stability and coherence of Ethiopia, the potential for contagion.
The issues in Somalia that perhaps the hope of the generals is that Sudan will be given a pass. What we're hearing so far is that is incredibly
unlikely. Already U.S. lawmaker, Senator Chris Coons, a very close ally of President Biden, has already said that he chairs the Senate committee
responsible for passing out foreign aid, and there will be no foreign aid for a Sudanese government that doesn't have a civilian component. So, for
now, it feels like the military is almost in a stare-off with the global community and we'll see how this unfolds in the days to come, Hala.
GORANI: Well, what is the most likely path here? Because we've covered coups our entire career, unfortunately. Once the military takes power, very
seldom do they then give it back to civilian rule without a fight. In the case of Sudan, what do you anticipate could happen here?
ELBAGIR: Well, I mean, you are absolutely right, especially as this isn't the first time that this group of military officers have attempted to take
back power from the civilian contingent. The hope that many of those we're speaking to -- and we're not speaking to that many because of all of the
interruptions to the internet and the communications network that the generals are imposing on the country. But those we are managing to speak to
believe in the power of those men and women, those quite young men and women on the streets in the same way that they stayed out at the same sit-
in site almost three years ago until they forced a civilian component upon the generals.
This is a very different world that we're in post-Donald Trump and that sense of U.S. isolationism. It will be very difficult for the military to
start opening fire upon civilians at this demonstration site. So, if the civilians don't get something to convince them to come back home, it feels
like the military has played a hand that it might not be able to sustain. But, as you say, unfortunately, we have covered far -- you mow, far too
many coups in our careers, and far too many unsuccessful coups. So we'll see what the street tells us.
If the Sudanese stay out on the street, then the military will be forced on to the back foot. That's the sense we're getting. That's the hope that many
GORANI: And it's remarkable the -- we don't know where the prime minister is. Members of his government, the prime minister's wife. Any idea where
they might be right now? They're detained somewhere.
ELBAGIR: It's absolutely horrifying to contemplate that this is a prime minister who has been a career U.N. official, a civil servant. This is not
someone without relationships in the outside world. So, the idea that he and his wife could just disappear is awful, and not just him, six other
officials and counting have disappeared. Until the military tells people at the very least where they are, it's going to be very difficult for anyone
on the street to trust the generals and believe them when they say, go home, everything is going to be OK.
GORANI: And, lastly, another big concern beyond the fact that there's a coup and that civilian leadership hasn't held on to power in any shape or
form right now is, could this lead to some sort of civil war in Sudan once again?
ELBAGIR: Well, there are so many armed factions in addition to the orthodoxy within the Sudanese army. You have the rapid support forces who
are essentially a paramilitary movement. You have all of these rebel movements who've come to the capital as part of erstwhile peace deals with
this hybrid civilian-military government. Who have they agreed peace with now? There are a lot of weapons swirling around in Sudan and you make a
really important point, and one that is scaring many international actors, many of those on the global stage that we've been speaking to.
The only hope people say they have is that those like Senator Coons who say that there will be consequences if the civilians are not brought back into
power, actually mean it and stand by it, Hala.
GORANI: All right, Nima, thanks so much Nima Elbagir there with more on what's unfolding --
ELBAGIR: Thank you.
GORANI: In Sudan. Still to come tonight, the coronavirus is ripping through eastern Europe where not enough people are vaccinated or getting
vaccines. The latest on the crisis in that part of the world is ahead. And filthy, used medical gloves, some even blood-stained could be heading to a
hospital near you. CNN investigates some illicit operations that are cashing in on pandemic shortages after this.
GORANI: Brace for more bad headlines, that is what Facebook executives told their employees over the weekend and they were right. Widespread
reporting on a trove of documents called the Facebook Papers is putting even more pressure on the embattled company in the thick of an existential
crisis. Adding to that pressure, British parliament welcomed the whistleblower who testified before U.S. Congress earlier this month. She
told U.K. MPs the company's priorities are backwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: I think there is a view inside the company that safety is a cost, a cost center. It's not a growth center
which I think is very short-term in thinking because Facebook's own research has shown that when people have worse integrity experiences on the
site, they're less likely to retain. I think regulation could actually be good for Facebook's long-term success because it would force Facebook back
into a place where it was more pleasant to be on Facebook.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, British conservative MP Damian Collins was among the lawmakers questioning Haugen today, he is the chair of the Joint Select
Committee on the Online Safety bill and he joins me now live. What stood out to you in Frances Haugen's testimony today? Damian Collins, can you
DAMIAN COLLINS, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT, UNITED KINGDOM: Yes, I can, sorry, I lost you there for a moment.
GORANI: Yes, what stood out to you in Frances Haugen's testimony today?
COLLINS: Well, I think the extraordinary thing that she said the company won't change, and I said, make the change, and that's regulate this set
terms which are terms of the policies we should follow, not only to remove the illegal and harmful content from Facebook, but not to actively promote
That their business model is so baked in and focused on engagement that they won't make even these changes unless they're required to, which to me
makes the case for we're looking to do in the U.K. and Europe even stronger which is to create that regulation.
GORANI: So, how -- what form would that regulation take? One of the ideas would be, for instance, the U.K. equivalent of the FCC Ofcom, to have some
sort of audit power over the algorithm of tech companies and social media companies. How would that work practically?
COLLINS: Yes, so the job of the committee I chair is to scrutinize the government's proposals for regulation, the online safety bill. And that
sets out that Ofcom, which as you said is the FCC equivalent in the U.K., would be the regulator. It would work with the companies to identify risk
register of harmful content and illegal content, agree with the companies what their policies are for removal. But also if the companies fail to act
and fail to meet a duty of care to the users to act against this harmful content, the regulators would have power to sanction them including
imposing large fines.
But alongside that would be the power to audit and seek information from the company based about the way its algorithms promote harmful content, but
also what its own policies are, to give a regulator, a government-backed regulator the power to access the sort of information that Frances Haugen
has been publishing.
GORANI: Now, Frances Haugen also expressed a lot of concern about Instagram and how the content on Instagram could be leading children,
teens, young people to self-harm and do other self-damaging and simply damaging things in their lives. Again, how do you get to that problem? How
do you address that issue?
COLLINS: Well, that requires a regulator to have the power to go and seek that information. What Frances Haugen was very clear on was, the company
holds that sort of information, probably knows full well that it has many active users who are under the age of 13 and younger users as well, is
probably directing content designed for them to hold their engagement on the platform, despite the fact that policies are, you can't join at under
13. We also have the age-appropriate design code in the U.K. which sets different requirements for companies on how they service a content to under
And again, a regulator would have the right to access information to make sure they were complying properly. I think, you know, what we discussed
many times today during the hearing with Frances Haugen is that you cannot have oversight of a company like Facebook unless you have access to this
information. That's why the board it did set up like the Facebook Oversight Board are so limited in what they can do. They simply don't have access to
the data information they need to make decisions.
GORANI: But it's so different from, you know, pre-internet days when it was about keeping kids away from smoking or alcohol or other harmful
content. This is a company with a global footprint. This regulation would only apply to Ofcom in the U.K. and give powers of audit to regulators
inside this country. So I mean essentially, at the end of the day, what do you end up with, with a partial solution?
COLLINS: Well, we end up with a solution designed for the U.K. That's obviously our principal job as U.K. lawmakers. But I think other people
around the world, including in America, will probably look at what we're doing in terms of, well, how do you create the sort of regulator you might
need to regulate a company like Facebook. That was, excuse me, one of the big themes of discussion coming out of the evidence Frances Haugen gave to
the U.S. Senate. Well, in the U.K., we're not discussing whether or not we should, we've actually got active proposals to do it. They have the same in
the European Union with the Digital Services Act as well.
So, I think we're seeing around the world now people trying to resolve these tensions over how much data do you need to regulate effectively, what
role does the systems of social media companies play in driving harmful content? Is that in fact more harmful than just simply people posting it,
and how do you regulate it? And that's what we've been discussing, and it was very useful --
GORANI: Yes --
COLLINS: For us today to have the chance to talk to Frances Haugen about that based on her experience within Facebook and having some insight into
the sort of information Facebook gathers about its own platform.
GORANI: Frances Haugen distributed some redacted internal documents, the Facebook Papers as they've been called. They've been looked over by CNN and
other media organizations. These leaked Facebook files found evidence that coordinated groups sowed discord on Facebook, but as you mentioned, hate
speech isn't removed and sometimes it's even encouraged with the system of encouraging of multiplying the dissemination of posts that get a lot of
clicks. Facebook is saying though this is a curated selection of documents out of millions, and they cannot be used to draw fair conclusions about us.
Do they have a point?
COLLINS: Well, it's interesting here. The company is probably the biggest curator of content in the world, accused of someone else curating against
Facebook can't have it both ways. They can't have a situation where they conduct this research, they keep it secret, they don't share it with anyone
despite multiple requests from academic institutions to work with the company to look at some of these difficult problems and try and find
solutions. They can't deliberately withhold this information from the world and it may be seen not act on the reset of the commissioning and then
complain when someone does start to publish it. No, I think you're either going to have disclosure or not.
And what we can't allow is partial disclosure we get from the tech companies themselves, and the question we discussed with Frances Haugen
right at the start of the hearing today was the fact that Facebook's own transparency reports are not very transparent. They provide information
without any kind of context behind the information, which makes it practically meaningless. So, for the first time we're able to have these
discussions about what Facebook itself can see about the way its platform works, the experience its users have, and whether it's making the right
decisions. And we can only have that discussion because of people like Frances Haugen.
GORANI: Damian Collins, thank you so much for joining us, I really appreciate your time this evening.
COLLINS: Thank you.
GORANI: While medical facilities around the world struggle with a shortage in protective equipment caused by the COVID pandemic, some shadowy
operations are cashing in. Tens of millions of used filthy medical gloves have entered the supply chain, leading one expert to call them the most
dangerous commodity on earth. Scott McLean has CNN's exclusive investigation.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This run down industrial area on the outskirts of Bangkok is the hub of a new trade, it's making a
few people very rich while putting millions of others at risk. These are bags of discarded medical gloves, many filthy, dirty, confiscated by the
Thai Food and Drug Administration in December. It says they're part of a global supply chain aimed at countries worldwide desperate to buy medical-
grade nitrile gloves amid a worldwide shortage that will take years to ease. One of the customers who thought he was buying the real thing was
Florida-based businessman Tarek Kirschen.
TAREK KIRSCHEN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, V12 HEALTH: We started getting phone calls from clients completely upset and, you know, yelling and
screaming at us.
MCLEAN: Kirschen was one of many customers of a Thai company called Paddy the Room Trading Company.
KIRSCHEN: These were reused gloves. They were washed, recycled, we don't know what they were, where they came from. Some of them were dirty, some of
them had blood stains.
MCLEAN: Kirschen says he sent the gloves to landfill and notified the U.S. FDA in February. But this is just one case. In the middle of a pandemic,
Paddy the Room had plenty of willing buyers and the U.S. continued allowing the shipments into the country according to import records examined by CNN.
Ziskin company was another looking to cash in on the lucrative business.
(on camera): You guys were seeing dollars signs?
LOUIS ZISKIN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, AIRQUEEN: Yes, 100 percent. We saw dollar signs, we also saw -- we had legitimate medical customers who were
literally begging for this stuff.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Ziskin's company AirQueen paid Paddy the Room more than $2.7 million for 400,000 boxes of medical grade nitrile gloves,
reassured by glowing inspection reports purportedly carried out by a reputable third party. But that inspection company tells CNN those reports
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open them up.
MCLEAN: The shipment was independently inspected when it arrived in Los Angeles. Most of the gloves were actually lower quality latex or vinyl
packed into nitrile boxes. Many others were very clearly soiled and secondhand.
(on camera): Not fit for use in a hospital?
ZISKIN: Not fit for use by anybody.
MCLEAN: Ziskin's shipment sat for months in an L.A. warehouse, so we sent an expert and our camera to see for ourselves. Douglas Stein has spent 30
years importing PPE from Asia and has been tracking fraud and scams in the nitrile glove industry since the pandemic began.
DOUGLAS STEIN, PPE BUYER & EXPERT: But you can see the way it's packed, they're just clumps like somebody just took handfuls and stuffed them in
the box. These were washed, definitely. This one is completely brown, discolored. This is nitrile, but you can tell it's been through a washer
and a dryer and it's changed color due to the heat.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Ziskin's shipment of counterfeit soiled gloves came in fake boxes of the legitimate Thai brand Chritren(ph) which says it has
nothing to do with Paddy the Room. Kirschen gloves were branded SkyMed, a company the Thai FDA says is quote, "for sure fake".
ZISKIN: To me, the fact that these companies were never blacklisted is shocking.
MCLEAN (on camera): E-mails provided to CNN show that back in February, his company did inform U.S. Customs and Border Protection that Paddy the
Room was sending substandard and used medical gloves to the U.S., yet import records show that 28 containers totaling more than 80 million gloves
were imported to the U.S. from that same company after Ziskin's warning was sent. It's unclear where most ended up or if they've been used in a medical
(voice-over): The Department of Homeland Security is investigating Paddy the Room, but acknowledged to CNN that fake medical products do reach the
MIKE ROSE, SPECIAL AGENT, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS, UNITED STATES: I think all of us would love to get to a point that not a
single counterfeit, dangerous good enter the U.S.
MCLEAN: In March, Ziskin's company also informed the FDA which that same month acknowledged that Paddy the Room was using fake safety documents for
its shipments. The FDA did not alert concerns about Paddy the Room until August, five months after they were tipped off. It would not comment on the
ongoing investigation. But in any case, so desperate was the need for PPE that some of the normal checks on imported nitrile gloves had been
STEIN: There was just no other answer. That opened the flood gates for all the nefarious behavior.
MCLEAN: The FDA told CNN that to help ensure the U.S. has enough gloves during the pandemic, it does not intend to object to the distribution and
use of patient examination gloves that lack full safety paperwork as long as they meet standards and don't create an undue risk. In reality, there
are no routine checks on gloves arriving into the U.S. unless a company has been flagged. CNN attempted to reach out to Paddy the room and its partner
company, but they did not respond to questions. The Thai FDA raided Paddy the Room in December last year, but did not succeed in shutting it down.
(on camera): How can that happen?
SUPATTRA BOONSERM, DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL, THAI FDA (through translator): They just kept moving around and created a new fake company. Once being
shut down, they would move to another location.
MCLEAN (voice-over): It's not just Thailand that has a problem. Law enforcement officials say similar scams are common throughout Asia.
(on camera): Now, two other companies told CNN they'd also received unusable gloves from Paddy the Room. But the truth is, we don't know how
many fake or used medical gloves have entered the U.S. during the pandemic. Louis Ziskin went to Thailand to try to get his money back, but was charged
with assault and kidnapping after a confrontation with the glove salesman. When Thai police produced no evidence against him, he was allowed to leave
the country, though Thai police tell CNN, the investigation is not closed.
As for all those gloves in the L.A. warehouse, they were finally seized by federal authorities five months after Ziskin first raised the alarm. Scott
McLean, CNN, London.
GORANI: The Thai government has now responded to our investigation. The Minister of Commerce who is also deputy Prime Minister, says authorities
are deciding how to proceed, adding, quote, "if it is in my power, I will handle this", unquote. Still to come tonight, in the U.K., ambulances are
backing up outside of emergency rooms, hospitals are overwhelmed again. But the government is still not taking action against the coronavirus.
And Poles remain overwhelmingly in favor of the European Union, but a rift between Brussels and the government there could face Polexit upon them or
could it? We'll discuss. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Well, we're about to enter our second pandemic winter, can you believe it? And it's looking to be painful for some parts of the world,
including Europe. The World Health Organization said last week that Europe is the only part of the world where the overall number of cases, that
number is steadily increasing. They blame uneven vaccine distribution and vaccine hesitancy, especially in Eastern Europe and Russia. In the U.K.,
soaring cases are pushing the National Health Service to the brink.
Once again, Salma Abdelaziz is in London. So, Selma, the U.K. vaccinated much faster than mainland Europe. So, you would have thought that by now
they'd be in a better position. But their case numbers are higher than the top five -- four or five European countries combined.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This country is absolutely experiencing a surge, Hala, a surge in COVID cases that's translating into ambulances
outside of hospitals waiting potentially for a very long time. Doctors and nurses saying they're concerned that there's people inside the ambulances
are not being treated quickly enough. And the debate here, Hala, is over a finite resource.
It's not just about the number of cases, it's about the number of beds across this country, the number of doctors and nurses that are available
across this country and they are the ones, these medical representatives, the medical community, that are ringing the alarm. They say the case number
is too high, especially when you are heading into the winter months where there's other illnesses that bring people to hospital and it could
potentially reach capacity at the National Health Service.
That's why we're hearing this week about budget -- the budget of the NHS potentially receiving billions more dollars, but that's not going to change
the situation right now. What's the government's response? Well, their strategy is to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, Hala. About 79 percent of
the population here of the over 12s here are fully vaccinated. So, there is some leeway there.
And the authorities are focusing on three key categories, 12 to 15 year olds, that very young population, just in a few -- just in recent weeks,
they have been encouraged to go out and get their one shot. You also have booster jabs that are happening over the weekend, some 710,000 booster jabs
were given. So, the government really focusing on everyone over 50 and the medically vulnerable, getting that booster jab, and anybody else who has
not been immunized.
But of course, Hala, in the meanwhile, the concern is -- for these doctors and nurses is, why can't you bring in some common sense measures like
wearing a mask or encouraging people to work from home, Hala.
GORANI: Yes, those are questions that are out there. Oh, yes, they are indeed. Thanks very much. Really. I mean, the number of people who are
deciding not to wear masks in -- at least in my everyday life is absolutely bewildering. So we'll see if that changes. Thanks very much, Salma
A diplomatic conflict between Brussels and Warsaw that is threatening the unity of the E.U. is heating up. There are growing fears of a poll exit,
Poland's exit from the E.U. At the heart of it is a recent ruling from Poland's top court rejecting the primacy of E.U. law over national law.
Over the weekend, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, gave an interview to the F.T. as he tried to defuse tensions. His comments instead
raised some eyebrows. The Prime Minister vowed to "defend our rights with any weapons that are at our disposal if the E.U.," his words again, "starts
the Third World War by slapping Poland with financial sanctions." He also complained Brussels is making demands with a "gun to our head."
My next guest is responsible for ensuring the rule of law and the E.U. is upheld. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders joins me now from Brussels.
Thank you, Commissioner, for being with us. So the Polish Prime Minister is not mincing his words. He's saying the E.U. is putting a gun to Poland's
head, the Polish Supreme Court ruled the -- that Polish law reigns supreme over E.U. law and that's that. What are the options for the EU?
DIDIER REYNDERS, EUROPEAN JUSTICE COMMISSIONER: First of all is true. We call it we don't import anything to the member states, we ask just to apply
the E.U. law like a federal law in a federal state. We are not a federal state, but we are a union and we have a shared civility. And when there is
a decision, ideal level, the decision must be applied in all the member states with the same kind of interpretation because that's the primacy of
But it's not the most important issue with Poland. The most important concern with rule of law and the most important pillar of the rule of law
is the independence of the justice system. And for the moment, we have very difficult -- very much difficulty was brought on about the independence of
the justice system. So I mean we have seen that in some years, there are negative evolutions in the different ways to -- and like now, independence
of the justice system.
And so first of all, we want to have a certification of the E.U. law in general European Union, but we want to see Poland going back to a real
independent justice system.
GORANI: Yes, because you blame the government for stacking courts with sympathetic judges and the rest of it. That's another issue. I know the
European Union leadership has with Poland. Now I spoke to the deputy foreign minister of Poland recently, Pawel Jablonski. This is what he told
me about the Polish Supreme Court's ruling, listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAWEL JABLONSKI, POLAND DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: If we would look with precision of what happened in Warsaw in the court of law and the tribunal
constituency, you know, and also -- and at the verdict of all the European courts, constitutional courts and regular courts, in France, in Germany, in
Denmark, in Spain, in Italy, Czech Republic, Romania, I could go on and on and on. For years, for decades, there is a very longstanding jurisprudence
of national court that obviously the E.U. law precedes national law of a simple statutory rank. But when it comes to constitution, the highest law
of the land, Constitution always prevails.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: So Didier Reynders, Pawel Jablonski is case saying France has done the same, Germany has been the same, Romania, Denmark, what's your answer
REYNDERS: First of all, we react in many different circumstances, again, such a kind of decision at the national level. And we have obtained the
decision of the European Court of Justice against them, the highest court in general.
But there's a huge difference now in the situation in Poland, because for the first time, it's a contestation about the European treaties itself, so
not about the decision of a European body and institution like European Central Bank, or a specific law in one of another topic. But first of all,
it's the first time that it's a contestation against the treaties.
And second, it's coming from a request of the Prime Minister of Poland. So it's not just a decision of a court, it's under request of the Prime
And third, we have some doubts about the independence of the constitutional tribunal. And that's really the most important thing I said. The concern
that we have for a moment about the rule of law is true, about the primacy of the E.U. law. But more than that, about independence of the justice
system, because since some years, we have seen new laws to try to put in a difficult situation, the justice system, just to give an example, there are
new rules about the disciplinary regime of the judges.
REYNDERS: And we have seen decisions against judges result real fundament and now we ask to the Polish government to go back to a normal appointment
and a normal system, to have a real independent justice system. And, again, it's not --
GORANI: I understand that level -- I -- that's just a very -- that's a level of detail I think that may be difficult, I think, for people to
digest. I know the Prime Minister is offering to a compromise to dissolve that disciplinary chamber. But I want to get to the wider question, what is
the E.U. going to do? Because you're in a Catch-22 situation, you can't go to war with one of your members. You can't punish them too much in terms of
sanctions and withholding COVID funds, because that would essentially be self defeating. So what do you do?
REYNDERS: First of all, we asked Poland, like to all the member states to apply the decision of the Court of Justice, like the Supreme Court in the
U.S., when you have a decision, it's a binding decision, so we asked first to apply the decision.
So it's true, to go to another solution than the actual (INAUDIBLE) for the disciplinary regime for the judges.
But also to reinstall the judges that it was dismissed by such a kind of general --
GORANI: No. But what sanctions? What do you do? Because I understand the issues that you have with Poland.
REYNDERS: First --
GORANI: But if you want to put pressure on the country, what is at your disposal? What leverage do you really have here?
REYNDERS: The first leverage is a very financial sanction decided by the Court of Justice. So we have asked that at the beginning of September to
the Court of Justice, so we are waiting in the next days the decision of the Court of Justice to impose the very financial sanction to Poland, just
to go back to a current application of abiding decision of the court.
Then, of course, we have the capacity to make a link between some funding of different policies and the full respect for the rule of law. So we asked
-- we will ask again to Poland, to go back to a more independent justice system to be able to receive different funding from the E.U. level. And, of
course, we are very open to engage in dialogue.
We'll go to (INAUDIBLE) on the 18th and 19th of November, again, to have a discussion with the authorities, because of course, it's possible to go
back to a normal situation, so a correct application of all the decisions taken by the highest court of justice in Europe and to go back to a more
independent justice system, it will be possible so you don't have any other kind of discussions.
GORANI: You're hoping these financial sanctions will put enough pressure on the government. Last one, are you concerned that Poland is going to Brexit?
It'll be a poll exit as it's called, as people would call it.
REYNDERS: Because all the last surveys you will see that 80 percent of the Polish population want to stay in the European Union. And the Prime
Minister so is saying the same, not only the national parliament, but also in the European Parliament. He said that Poland want to stay in the E.U.
So what we ask just is to be like the other member states able to apply the same rules, because it's one of the fundamental of the Union, of course,
you need to understand that if you have a European law, it must be applied in the entire European Union the same way. And it was the first -- is the
first question of the European Commission to Poland. But the next one, again, is to go back to a real independent justice system, because it's a
part of the rule of law in Europe.
GORANI: Didier Reynders, the E.U. Justice Commissioner, thanks so much for joining us from Brussels this evening.
REYNDERS: Thank you.
GORANI: Still to come tonight, a call for international help from Palestinian civil society groups that have been designated terrorist
organizations by Israel. They say the movie is meant to silence them. We'll have that report. And the director of the film where a cinematographer was
shot on set speaks to police and we'll tell you what he says happened in those final moments.
GORANI: Human rights groups around the world are blasting Israel's decision to label six Palestinian civil society groups terrorist organizations. They
say it's an effort to silence supporters of Palestinian rights and jeopardize their international funding. As Hadas Gold reports, Israel says
the Palestinian groups are hiding their true mission.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the early hours of July 29th, more than a dozen Israeli forces raided the Office of Defense for Children
International Palestine in Ramallah. Forcing open the door, they confiscated computers, hard drives, and client files related to minors
detained by Israeli courts.
On Friday, DCIP became one of six Palestinian civil society groups designated terrorist organizations by Israel's government. Defense Minister
Benny Gantz's office saying a months' long investigation found the six groups constitute a network of organizations active undercover on the
international front on behalf of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, saying the six groups helped fund, employ, and support PFLP
members deemed a terrorist organization by the US and European Union, responsible for a series of high profile hijackings and attacks from the
Israel blaming the group for 2019 bombing that killed Israeli teenager Rina Shnerb in the West Bank. But these six civil society organizations
represent children, women, agricultural workers, and prisoners. Their work often documenting what they say are human rights abuses caused by the
Israeli occupation, but also by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Israel's Defense and Foreign Ministry declining CNNs request for an interview. Among the groups are al-Haq, one of the longest established
human rights organizations in the West Bank. Its director, Shawan Jabarin, calling the action a political decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAWAN JABARIN, DIRECTOR, AL-HAQ: And then they use this last bullet, you know, just to silence us and to close us down. We will continue our war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: Condemnation rained down from the Palestinian Authority calling the designations unhinged, fallacious, and libelous. Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, an
independent politician and activist said the designations are an attack on Palestinian rights and civil society.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI, INDEPENDENT PALESTINIAN POLITICIAN AND ACTIVIST: It is so important that the United States and European countries and many
other parts of the international community take a stand against this violation, because this would be very destructive to Palestinian civil
society, which has played and continues to play a very vital role in sustaining the basic life and humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: The new label will present a direct challenge for the organization's donors, many of them European countries, which now risk being accused of
funding terrorism. E.U. Spokesperson Peter Stano said Monday that the E.U. has safeguards in place to make sure funding is being used in line with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER STANO, E.U. EXTERNAL AFFAIRS SPOKESPERSON: And this civil society is an important contributor to good governance and sustainable development in
the E.U., in Israel, in Palestine and elsewhere in the world. We take the allegations very seriously. We are looking into it and we are seeking
clarifications from the Israeli partners on the lead -- on the recent listings, past allegations and past suspicions of misuse of E.U. funds in
relation to certain Palestinian organizations. There have not been substantiated in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: A senior Israeli official telling CNN a delegation is headed to Washington this week to present further evidence supporting the terrorism
label. Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.
GORANI: Still to come, as Hollywood remembers the cinematographer who died on a film set last week, we have new details for you emerging about what
happened leading up to that shocking shooting. We'll bring you the latest on the investigation.
GORANI: The wife of actor Alec Baldwin is speaking out after the tragic shooting on a movie set involving her husband. Hilaria Baldwin says her
heart is with cinematographer Halyna Hutchins who was killed in the incident and "her husband, her son, their family, and loved ones and my
Alec." We are learning new details.
Meantime, the director of the film who was also injured in the shooting told police that Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun when it went off,
killing Hutchins. Baldwin was trying to show the director and cinematographer exactly where his hand would be when the gun unexpectedly
fired. Our Stephanie Elam is in Santa Fe, New Mexico close to where the shooting happened. And what more can you tell us then about why this was
such a deadly accident?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is still the main question, Hala. But here's what we know. We know that the armorer had provided a cart with
three prop guns that had been given to the assistant director. And this is all according to affidavits that were released over the weekend that CNN
was able to obtain, and that the assistant director, Dave Halls, grabbed one of those prop guns and handed it to Alec Baldwin and yelled, "clear,
cold gun," which means that it was clear that there should be nothing inside it.
And we know that because the director of the film, Joel Sousa, that's what -- is what he told law enforcement officials in his interview, that is what
happened. And then we know the tragic incident that happened from there. So this is the part that we have now learned more about what happened.
Now there are questions though, about the armorer, a 24-year-old woman. This is from what we understand her second time as being head armorer. And
she even talked about in a podcast just last month how she was, you know, nervous about our first time being a head armor, but it went really
smoothly. So we have seen other people who have been on these productions on this production in particular for this "Rust" movie, saying that they
had concerns about safety, and that there was issues with how firearms had been handled on this set previously.
Now, "Rust" production says that they had not heard about any of these safety complaints. But still, so many people are looking at this and saying
perhaps this is a time to change the way firearms are used on set because we don't even know if it was a live round and if so how it even got into
What's also interesting to note is that there was another camera person who was on the set when this accident tragically took place. And he said he was
standing right there next to Hutchins who did lose her life. And he said that all throughout filming this movie that Alec Baldwin had been very
careful. And we're seeing other people say that as well. In fact, take a listen to one of the best friends of Halyna Hutchins. She was on our CNN
program NEW DAY this morning and talking about Alec Baldwin in this tragedy. Take a listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MASON, BEST FRIEND OF SHOOTING VICTIM HALYNA HUTCHINS: I wanted to reach out because I wanted him to know that even though I am so devastated
about what happened and I'm so, like, deeply saddened.
I just don't think any person who was in that position as an actor, no matter where the responsibility ends up lying when people pull it all
apart, he's so not responsible for this tragic, horrific nightmare of taking the life of my friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And there's also been a public Facebook post by another person who worked -- who was working on the film, Serge Svetnoy, and he took to
Facebook to say basically that you need to have really well-trained professionals and he called into question whether or not the armorer was
ready to have such an important job on the set. So still so many questions here as this entire production is trying to wrap their heads around how
this all could have happened in the first place.
GORANI: All right, Stephanie Elam, live in Santa Fe. Thanks very much.
Singer/Songwriter Ed Sheeran is self-isolating after testing positive for COVID. He announced the news on his Instagram page, Sheeran says he's doing
as many interviews and performances as possible from home. He didn't mention if he'd been vaccinated, but in July he appeared on James Corden's
show where they change the lyrics of a Sheeran song to deliver a vaccine message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CORDEN, TELEVISION HOST: Moderna or Pfizer will do.
ED SHEERAN, SINGER: You'll be good after jab number two.
CORDEN: But wait two weeks for it to take effect.
SHEERAN: Doesn't fit this song but it's important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, the news comes ahead of Sheeran's fourth studio album which releases on Friday.
And finally fans of the TV show Friends are mourning the death of actor James Michael Taylor who played Coffee Shop Manager Gunther on the popular
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: Thank you.
JAMES MICHAEL TAYLOR, ACTOR: Say, Rachel, I was wondering if you'd like to go to a movie with me sometime as my lover.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, Tyler died Sunday at the age of 59 after several years of battling prostate cancer. He was originally just an onset extra in Friends
but producers decided to make Gunther a regular character. Tyler had a few lines, but appeared in more than 100 episodes often just in the background,
trying to get up the nerve to confess his love to Rachel. RIP.
Thanks for watching tonight, I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. A quick break and then it's "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."