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Hala Gorani Tonight
Devastating Scenes At Poland-Belarus Border As Trapped Migrants Literally Freeze To Death; Countries Race To Reach Agreement On Climate Action At COP26; Testimony Conclude In The Kyle Rittenhouse Trial; Three White Men Accused Of Killing An Unarmed Black Jogger; U.S. Journalist Sentenced To 11 Years In Myanmar Prison. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 12, 2021 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Devastating scenes from the border between
Belarus and Poland as trapped migrants literally freeze to death. We have reporters on both sides of the border. Then countries race to finalize
action on climate change on the last official day of COP26. Will we see an agreement? We are live in Glasgow.
And later, I will be speaking to the EU's special representative for the Horn of Africa as she returns from Ethiopia following efforts to broker an
end to the conflict. The words "very cold and help" written on a child's face are expressing the anguish of thousands of migrants trapped on the
Belarusian-Polish border. Hundreds of children are among them, camped out in the freezing forest, prevented from crossing into Poland and prevented
from going back towards their homelands.
They're caught in a test of wills between the EU, Belarus and human rights groups which accuse Poland of violating the migrants' right to asylum. The
EU says it is working to persuade airlines to stop flying Middle-Eastern migrants into Belarus, and Russia says it will not allow Belarus to cut off
a natural gas pipeline that runs to Europe despite's Belarus' threat to do so.
But Russia and Belarus held this impromptu paratrooper exercise close to the border today as the rhetoric and threats heat up on both sides. CNN's
Matthew Chance journeyed inside Belarus to witness the migrants' plight firsthand. Here is his exclusive look at what they're facing.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are 2,000 people that have come here from various parts of the world, mainly the
Middle East, Iraq, Kurdistan and Iraq, you know, other places in the Arab world as well. I have spoken to a lot of people from Kurdistan, and at
least, 200 of them, I'm told, are children, some of them just babes in arms.
You can see a lot of people here, I can spin around here, look, chopping wood, getting ready to make fires to get them through the very cold nights
here on the border. Six hundred of them are women, the other 1,200 are said to be young men.
I'm going to flip the camera around so I can still show you some interesting scenes. There, a better look there at the sort of scenes that
are playing out, unfolding here on the border between Belarus and Poland. And if you just allow me to sort of walk you down here, we can actually see
the razor fence -- you don't want me to show your face, I won't do that.
The razor fence that's been erected by the Polish side to try and prevent the migrants that have flooded into Belarus from moving across into Poland,
which is, of course, a member of the European Union.
And there you can see, I think, the actual Polish police and border forces who are standing there on guard all the way down this razor wire barrier to
prevent migrants from breaking through. And you get a sense of how long this camp is as it stretches down into the distance, into the forest out of
sight. Here is an interesting scene for you.
Somebody I came across earlier, they say a lot of the migrants are from Iraq, from Kurdistan. They're building these make-shift shelters because
the temperatures, as you can imagine in this part of the world here in the Winter, are dropping down.
Let me drop inside. And they've built a polythene shelter look. Hi, how are you? How are you? Where are you from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iraq.
CHANCE: From Iraq. From Kurdistan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Kurdistan.
CHANCE: Excellent, all right. Thank you. Good luck.
GORANI: And that was Matthew Chance there on the Belarusian side of the border speaking to some of those desperate migrants. So, this is a
political spat with very real victims, some of them very young. We understand seven people have died, most from hyperthermia, and there's
something just a bit, Fred Pleitgen, as you join us now from the Polish side. The grotesque, really, about a situation where because of a political
argument between countries, you have basically human beings dying at the doorstep of Europe here.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you certainly do, and it certainly is a dire situation. But at the same time,
from the Polish side, the Poles are saying that they are going to remain tough on this issue and they certainly not going to allow people to pass
into their territory.
In fact, what you've had over the past, say, 24 hours or so, as the Poles have announced that there were well over 200 attempts to try and get
through the border. They say by and large, they have thwarted those attempts.
There was one larger event that happened early this morning where the Poles say that a larger group made it across the border, however, the border
guards here in Poland, they were there immediately as was the Polish military. There's a huge attachment of the Polish military here in the
border area, some 150,000 troops and border agents.
They say they immediately detained those people, got that under control and did not allow them to enter Polish territory. So, you can really see how
the Poles are remaining tough on this issue, and say they are going to continue to do so.
And I think one of the important things for Poland and for the European Union today, which I think they believe was at least a small victory for
them was the fact that Belavia; the Belarusian flagship carrier did announce that it was not going to allow people from Syria, and from Iraq
and Yemen to board their planes that fly to Minsk.
Obviously, all that after the Turkish authorities apparently said that they would not allow people from those countries to board flights that are
coming towards Belarus. Of course, the Iraqis also saying something similar as well. So, I think that right now, the European Union is very firmly
behind the way that Poland is actually handling this. Of course, there are still though, those concerns about the well-being of those who are trapped
there in that border area, Hala.
GORANI: Because human rights groups are saying, yes, it is a manufactured crisis by the Lukashenko regime, but that doesn't mean that the government
of Poland and, indeed, of Lithuania have a duty to come to the aid of people who are starving and freezing to death. So, I guess the natural
question is, if the Belarusians aren't allowing some of them to go back to Minsk, they're stuck in this no-man's land. What happens to them?
PLEITGEN: That's a very good question as to what happens to them. I think first and foremost, what the European Union is concerned with, and what
Poland is concerned with as well is they don't want even more people to come to that border.
That's also one of the reasons why they've been really -- support by going with -- going to those other governments, those other transit countries,
going to the airlines that have been flying these people as well and saying, look, if you do this, you are going to get into serious trouble
with the European Union.
Obviously, they went to the Turkish government, to the Iraqi government as well. But of course, there are questions here as to how exactly aid can be
provided to those people. Right now, the European Union and Poland are saying that it's first and foremost, the job of the Belarusian government
to come up with them because these people are on Belarusian territory and the Polish government quite frankly is saying that it's not going to allow
Now, at the same time, the European Union and Poland and of course, the U.S. as well is saying, look, the Belarusian government and Alexander
Lukashenko, they need to do something to come to terms with that situation and make sure that those people get aid.
And I think another thing that's also quite important as well is that the Iraqi government, for instance, has come out and said that, look, the Iraqi
citizens who are trapped on that border, they are volunteering to fly them back to Iraq to make sure that they get out of that awful situation
because, you know, as we've been reporting here on the border at night, it does get extremely cold here.
The conditions, of course, are really hard, as Matthew was just showing in that report. And it is just going to get worse on that border by the day as
it gets extremely cold in this part of eastern Poland and, of course, western Belarus.
GORANI: All right, Fred Pleitgen, thanks very much on the Polish side of the border near Kuznica in Poland. We will be following of course, that
story very closely. The latest from COP26 now. Nearly 200 countries are scrambling to clinch a deal on the very final official day of that climate
summit in Glasgow. They're considering a new draft agreement that has an unprecedented call for a reduction in fossil fuels. It's the first time
that would happen.
In fact, it's the first time ever that an agreement even mentions the term, which is hard to believe, but it would be the case if it ends up in the
final draft. The language is weakened though from an earlier text, and there's still time for it to be watered down further, especially if the
summit extends into the weekend.
They've already passed their deadline officially and it's apparent that there are still stark divisions among countries in how that final
communique should read. Let's bring in Phil Black live in Glasgow for the very latest. What do we know about what's in the current version of the
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, we know that there's still significant differences on a key range of topics and, as you say, we're
running late at these negotiations. But critically and positively, we can say that through these two drafts we have continued to see strong language
that reflects the urgency of the scientific advice, that in order to achieve 1.5 degrees of average global warming and limiting it to that, the
world has to cut emissions steeply by 45 percent this decade.
And so, that is why it's also important the drafts continue to contain instructions for countries to go away and come back next year with stronger
commitments to cut emissions by 2030.
So much hinges on a strong version of that language appearing in the final version, although, we do know that it is opposed by some countries. Now, I
think under the circumstances, it is reasonable to ask why is this all still so uncertain? Why has not more been achieved here at Glasgow to
secure that 1.5 degree goal?
The Paris Agreement was six years ago, and that was when the world promised to get a handle on this. Well, one key reason is a number of big polluting
countries, often with big fossil fuel industries at home, have traveled to Glasgow, openly defying the scientific advice, insisting they can chart
their own path to a zero carbon world.
BLACK (voice-over): Throughout COP26, some countries have been talked about more than others, and not for the right reasons. Here is one example.
JENNIFER MORGAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL: I think the greatest disappointment maybe would also be Australia.
CATHERINE ABREU, FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DESTINATION ZERO: Countries like Australia come to these talks without an enhanced Paris Agreement
SARAH HANSON-YOUNG, AUSTRALIAN SENATOR, GREENS PARTY: It is embarrassing being here as an Australian.
BLACK: Australia has been roundly criticized for coming to Glasgow and saying it will hit net zero carbon by 2050 without significantly changing
its behavior, especially in the short term.
SCOTT MORRISON, PRIME MINISTER, AUSTRALIA: Driving the emergence of low emissions technologies and fostering their widespread adoption is at the
heart of our plan to reach net zero.
BLACK: So the Australian government says investing billions in future technology means there's no need to stop digging, burning and selling
fossil fuels, a provocative theory at a climate conference.
HANSON-YOUNG: Australia has got to do more than that. We are one of the world's largest exporters of fossil fuels. We've got to get out of coal. We
have to stop building new gas fields. We've got to reduce pollution. And if we want to reduce pollution, we have to stop making this stuff.
BLACK: But Australia isn't the only hold-out. Several big polluting countries have persistently ignored what the science now says is necessary
to get to carbon neutral by mid century. Countries collectively must make deep cuts now and reduce emissions by 45 percent this decade.
NIKLAS HOHNE, NEWCLIMATE INSTITUTE: Now, there are some countries which clearly proposed a long-term target to, you know, disguise that they're not
changing their short-term target. And I think Brazil is in that category, Australia as well. Russia is in that basket as well.
ABREU: We've heard from countries like Saudi Arabia, real reluctance to embrace the push for more ambition before 2030.
BLACK: Poor, vulnerable countries are watching with dismay.
PERKS LIGOYA, GLOBAL CHAIR, LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES GROUP: When you see countries coming up with targets, say, by 2060, by 2070, we will do that.
Who knows? By then most of our young kids will be dead.
BLACK (on camera): They're not committing to what needs to be done this decade?
BLACK (voice-over): Australia's policies aren't popular at COP26, but its pavilion is. Crowds line up eager for good, free coffee next to displays
for a fossil fuel company.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like, you can't just shun countries out for being bad. You need to have conversations with them and bring them on the journey
BLACK (on camera): Especially when their coffee is so good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, exactly.
BLACK (voice-over): While outside, activists blast an air raid siren, declaring alarm over the little progress made here. A breakthrough was
never likely at COP26. Too many countries are still unwilling to make bold, immediate changes, and some have powerful economic and political
motivations for sticking with the status quo.
BLACK: Hala, you can see the pressure from these countries at work in the way the language around the phasing out of coal power and fossil fuel
subsidies has been softened. It is looser --
GORANI: Yes --
BLACK: It is now open to more interpretation, but crucially it is still there in some form. And as you say, it is extraordinary that it has never
been mentioned in a climate conference final text before, and the countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change are desperate to
see that it does make it through into the final version.
GORANI: All right, we'll keep our eye on that. Phil Black is live in Glasgow. if you live in certain parts of Europe, I'm sorry to have to tell
you this, but you might have to go under lockdown again even though the holidays are right around the corner.
Don't shoot the messenger. Just last week, the continent reported almost 2 million cases of COVID-19. The head of the World Health Organization says
it's a new record for the region, and yet another reminder that vaccines alone won't be enough to end this pandemic. Scott McLean is in London and
has our report.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Europe's vaccination campaign was supposed to make lockdowns obsolete, but in Austria, the lockdown may
soon be making a comeback, but only for the unvaccinated. Back in September, Austrian lawmakers agreed that if 30 percent of ICU beds were
filled with COVID patients, it would trigger a lockdown for unvaccinated people. Right now, that number stands at 21 percent in part because of what
the chancellor calls shamefully low vaccination rates.
in Austria, chancellor says it would not be fair to impose a lockdown on vaccinated people, and so he expects that after meeting with state
governors this weekend, he will give the green light to a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated that will be enforced by random police spot
checks. Next door in Germany, lawmakers are also trying to reduce the growing pressure on hospitals as health officials warn that hospitals could
be over burdened in a matter of weeks.
The government is bringing back free COVID testing, and the health minister also wants to require people to show proof of vaccination, natural immunity
or a negative test, even for people to enter their workplaces. He says Germany needs to do more than just rely on its vaccination campaign, which
so far still leaves a third of the population with no protection. Scott McLean, CNN, London.
GORANI: All right, also potential lockdowns in Holland as well. So you're going to have to consult with your national and local officials,
unfortunately, still very much an issue in Europe where cases are rising. Still to come tonight, diplomats say the only way out of the Ethiopian
civil war is good-faith negotiations, but what happens if neither side budges? We speak to a key diplomat, the EU envoy of the Horn of Africa, who
is trying to get both sides to talk and peace to happen. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Well, the world's top diplomats are trying to negotiate a ceasefire and peace talks in Ethiopia, but government officials say they won't sit
down with rebel troops, unless they stop attacks, withdraw from the Amhara and Afar regions, and recognize the federal government's legitimacy. Only
then will the government enter peace talks. Now, the rebel groups are saying, forget it, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front and Oromo
Liberation Army are unlikely to concede to most of those points, especially the last one.
They want Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's administration out of office and a transitional government in its place. So, it appears to be a stalemate in a
year-long civil conflict that's left thousands of people dead, millions displaced, hungry and in desperate need of aid with terrible reports of
sexual crimes and crimes committed against civilians in all parts of the country.
Annette Weber is the European Union's special representative for the Horn of Africa. She has been part of the diplomatic effort to establish a
ceasefire and she's just returned to Nairobi from Addis Ababa. Thank you for being with us.
First of all, you heard me there list all the reasons why the two sides are still very far apart. You've just returned from the capital. What's your
ANNETTE WEBER, EUROPEAN UNION'S SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE HORN OF AFRICA: Thank you, Hala, thank you for having me. I have to say, I mean,
the list is long, but it's not as long as it was like two weeks ago. So there is a glimpse of hope, and I think the AU rep -- I mean, the AU
mediator, President Obasanjo, I think made a bit of a door opener in the last week, and I think this is where we have to engage. The list is long,
but it's not irreconcilable.
I think the two, of course, have a very different understanding of how the future of Ethiopia should look like, but the understanding of
responsibility of leadership and keeping people out of this war or ending this war, I think is getting closer to the leaders and those who will call,
you know, the shots and start discussing on ceasefires and humanitarian ceasefires hopefully very soon. And I think there's a bit of an opening,
but we all have to stay engaged right now.
GORANI: So, where was progress made concretely do you think?
WEBER: I think there was progress made because they did agree on a step-by- step trust building mechanism and measure, and I think that step-by-step means, of course, you know, we have to be very carefully monitoring
basically the step-by-step. So when Obasanjo came back from Mek'ele, is yes, there is an understanding that, you know, if humanitarian access is
granted, if there's an opening in humanitarian access, then the understanding is, we could start having basically a halt in the advance.
I think it's far from retreating to Tigray. I think this is not where we are at, but as you said in the beginning, there needs to be mutual
recognition by both sides that the other side -- or that Ethiopia basically has a larger political future, and I think that recognition is there, but
it's not really explicit. So I think in comparison to last week, we are further or closer to the first steps, but we still are very far away from
GORANI: So the first step being very far away from a ceasefire is obviously the key point here. But the first step would be -- if I understand you
correctly, that both sides have agreed that if there are good will gestures made, so if aid can get through to Tigray, maybe that means that the
Tigrayan forces will stop their advance, and at least we've made progress on that point. Am I understanding you correctly?
WEBER: That's the understanding we're having right now, and it's very fluid, the situation. This is why I think it's important to, you know, to
continue engaging. We know that the region is basically engaged as well. We know President Kenyatta is engaged.
I think there is momentum. We see the U.N. Security Council, we see the AU Peace and Security Council, we see a strong commitment by the EU, and all
in support for Obasanjo. And I think the reflection of mine discussions I had with the Prime Minister and others are definitely more of an opening
however as you say.
I mean, you know, we have to get to a serious first step because the country is burning, and I think this is really of grave concern to all of
us, but specifically to the people in the country, in Ethiopia.
GORANI: And what did the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tell you? I mean, what did he tell you that gave you at least a glimmer of hope in this latest
conversation that you had with him?
WEBER: I think the understanding that he is also -- you know, when I speak to him, he makes clear that he doesn't see a military solution to the
problem. And he would say, he sees only very -- you know, basically three, four problems that can be solved, you know, once getting back to the
He thinks there is a chance for a referendum for western Tigray and thinks there is a possibility to solve. But, as you said in the beginning, i mean,
both sides are still not fully recognizing the existence of the other as a legitimate, you know, existence.
And I think that is a bit of where one needs to continue the engagement because the message is there, but it's not really translated into action
right now. And I think this is what we have to -- what we have to work on. On the other hand, of course, I have to say, you know, the message is there
also on humanitarian access, and then we hear --
GORANI: Yes --
WEBER: You know, the arrest of 72 truck drivers and it's very mixed bag of messages and action. And I think this is where we all have to, you know,
stay clear on expectations, but also on potential of further openings.
GORANI: Can I ask you, I mean for -- you were in Ethiopia, we're not there, and we hear these stories of famine and starvation in the Tigray regions of
Ethiopia. Who has the power to allow these trucks in? Is it the government?
Is it the central government that is blocking access? Because I spoke with Stephane Dujarric yesterday, the spokesperson for the United Nations
Secretary-General, he told me not a single U.N. aid truck with fuel, medicine and food has been allowed in since end of October. Who is blocking
WEBER: Correct. Not a single U.N. truck, and I think clearly, the beginning of the blockade, the blockade is the government blockade. I think this is
clear. It's becoming a bit more complex and complicated the further down you get into, you know, the embattled regions of Afar. You have various
But, of course, I mean, if the government is committed to stop the blockade, it can do it. And you know, we've -- with the EU, we've started
an air bridge, that is basically where you don't have any check points that could hinder the access, and it worked for a couple of times, but now it's
So clearly, this is a responsibility the government has. We've reminded the government to -- you know, on this responsibility for the last year, and I
think this is -- you know, it's very small steps in a long haul, and the responsibility under IHL, under international humanitarian law is, you
know, is not even part of a negotiation. It's just an obligation.
GORANI: All right, absolutely. And is the prime minister acknowledging this obligation that he has under international humanitarian law to not block
aid to starving people?
WEBER: I think there is the mixed -- you know, the mixed bag is starting right there because, yes, he's acknowledging this, but then what we hear
from the prime minister and from basically everybody in the administration is the problem is not on their side, the problem is further down the line,
and then it's check parts, who are -- you know, check points who are not getting the communication from the capital.
And so, there's a lot of excuses, but they can't hold basically the excuses because we've -- you know, we've been trying on many levels, and there is
the need of the willingness of the government that needs to be, you know, clear and clearly announced. So there's a lot of blame games from both
sides, but I think this is, you know, the obligation is clear, and their understanding as well, but, again, the acting -- the action is not really
following the understanding.
GORANI: Well, the one good thing is, you're saying it's a bit better than a few weeks ago, but still far from a ceasefire. And hopefully, I don't know
if you have a trip or communications with the government planned soon, but hopefully you'll inch a little bit closer to something that will, you know,
lead to relief for all the people who are suffering in Ethiopia.
WEBER: Well, it's quite necessary to, you know -- because what we see, of course, is a disintegration that is going beyond the north of -- the north
of Ethiopia. And we see the regional aspect. We see the problem in Sudan, you know, the spillover effects.
So the problem is bigger and it's something that basically the government and the other side, the two adversaries, have to come to the understanding
that the future of the population, the future of the country, you know, is in their hands.
They can shape it. They can -- they can do this right now and they can save many thousand lives, and basically invest in the future rather than
continuing with this war that nobody needs.
GORANI: Well, one of the parties is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, so hopefully that will inspire at least that side to -- in some ways. Thank
you so much, Annette Weber; the EU envoy to the Horn of Africa who has just returned from Ethiopia with her impressions and reports on the
conversations she's had there. Thanks so much. And still --
WEBER: Thank you.
GORANI: To come tonight, two trials, one underlying issue. Ahead, we'll take a look at race in America and the legal cases now dominating the
Plus, a military court in Myanmar just sentenced an American journalist to 11 years in prison, why he could end up being jailed there for life. We'll
be right back.
GORANI: Take a look at race in America and the legal cases now dominating the debate. Plus a military court in Myanmar just sentenced an American
journalist to 11 years in prison. Why he could end up being jailed there for life. We'll be right back.
GORANI: We are getting word that negotiations on a final COP26 agreement will go probably well into the weekend. The International Climate director
at World -- at the World Resources Institute said essentially that talks will continue and that even if a draft does come out in the next 12 to 24
hours, that it might not -- that might not even be the final text. So we were expecting something on Friday evening, but it's clearly taking longer
for all the parties to agree on the language of a final release. We'll keep our eye on that though.
Race is playing a central role in two high profile trials gripping America right now. Closing arguments in the Kyle Rittenhouse case are set to begin
on Monday. The 18-year old broke down on the stand Thursday and told the jury he was defending himself when he shot and killed two men during
protests against police violence last year.
There is another trial going on at the same time in South Georgia. Three white men are facing murder charges for shooting an unarmed black man to
death who was out for a jog. 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was out jogging at the time and the killing was in fact filmed. No arrests were made for
months in that case until video of the shooting was leaked and that sparked national outrage. CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson joins me now live.
Joey, let's start with Kyle Rittenhouse. Where do we stand in this trial? Kyle Rittenhouse crossed lines with a -- an assault rifle.
He is claiming self-defense when he shot and killed two people and wounded a third. Where are we now just as we await closing arguments on Monday?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Hala, good to be with you. Just in terms of the racial issue that you're mentioning, keeping in mind that this
particular case with Kyle Rittenhouse, right, really was initiated by the fact that there was a shooting of an African American male who didn't die,
but he was paralyzed, Mr. Blake, was paralyzed just two days before. And obviously that led to a really massive unrest in that particular area.
And as a result of that, we have Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot three people, and he now is on trial, where we stand as a result of his activities is
that on Monday, there'll be closing arguments. And with respect to those closing arguments, you have the Battle of the narratives. Now keeping in
mind the people he didn't shoot were not -- they were not African American, but the precipitation of the issue that led to the shootings involved the
issue that I just mentioned. But where we are is we have these competing narratives.
If you're the prosecution, the argument, of course, is that it is not self- defense, that the fact is, is that he shouldn't have been there in the first instance, and that his actions with regard to his rifle and his
shooting was disproportionate to the attack that he was under.
In the event that you're the defense, it's all about self-defense. The indication is, consider the context that give the defense, consider the
unrest, consider we've heard word used, Hala, like mob by rioters, et cetera. And so you've had fires that were going on, tensions, and the
defense's contention is that the client, very briefly with respect to one person tried to grab his rifle and they got shot, they die.
Another person pointed a gun at him, and he shot, he injured that person. And another person was using a skateboard as a baseball bat which hit him
in the neck, he also was shot and he also died. So we'll hear closing arguments on Monday. Subsequent to that, Hala, the jury will get the case
and they will render a verdict depending on all the evidence or considering all the evidence that they've had to review and evaluate during the course
of the trial.
GORANI: And the judge's behavior and pronouncements have raised eyebrows. He really angrily reprimanded the prosecution. He also said that you can't
call the men that Rittenhouse shot victims but you can call them rioters and looters. And some people who -- not everyone, because people have very
different opinions about this, believe that this means that the judge is not entirely down the middle, that he's biased. What do you make of that?
JACKSON: So a couple of things. First off, what happens with judges is they're referees, right? They need to make sure that the legal rulings are
proper, that the jury sees information, that they legally should and does not see information they legally don't. If you look at it as a sporting
event, for example, where you have a person with a whistle, that's a judge's role and then what's a jury makes determinations as to facts.
On the issue involving whether or not people could be called victims or alleged victims, I think that was wrong. It was really misguided. And the
judge should have thought the new with respect to whether he would allow you to say victim when you have two people dead and one person who's
injured. On that issue, I think there's criticism that's very deserved. With respect to him taking to task the prosecutor, I think that's another
And, you know, what happened very briefly, the prosecutor was asking the defendant, when the defendant testified, that the person accused of the
crime, Mr. Rittenhouse, he was asking him, hey, this is the first time you tell them the story, right?
You didn't tell the story before. The judge said wait a second, you have a right in this country against self-incrimination. The defendant doesn't
have to say anything. So for you, Mr. Prosecutor to use that, to imply that he's guilty, totally inappropriate.
And I should just note in concluding this, that in courtrooms every day in America, judges take to task defense lawyers and prosecutors in the event
that you run afoul of the law. So in that instance, I thought the judge was wholly appropriate and the scolding of the lawyer was warranted.
GORANI: Well, it's dividing the country. You see it on social media very, very much this case. Ahmaud Arbery, another occurrence in the courtroom,
has also raised eyebrows. The defense attorney for the men who killed the 25-year-old Arbery had this to say, "Was unhappy with black ministers
sitting with the family." Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN GOUGH, ATTORNEY: I don't want any more black pastors coming in here or other Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here earlier this week sitting with
the victim's family trying to influence the jury in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, here you really have race taking center stage in this trial just through the latest statement by this attorney.
JACKSON: Yes, Hala, that was really -- I mean I don't even know how to characterize it, it's troubling, shocking, misinformed. And the reason I
say that is because it speaks to the larger mentality. He said that as if this is what he thinks this is -- these are his views on life. Let's just
be clear, a courtroom is a public accommodation that everyone is welcome to.
It's a proceeding that is open to all, no matter who you are, whether you're a black minister, or otherwise, who you love, what your religion is.
And so for him to be giving that indication, it just sends a message in an already racially charged case about where his views are. And one could
argue that it's because people espouse views like that, that we have this case in the first instance. Just briefly, Hala, the --
GORANI: Yes. And he said black pastor, he didn't say pastor.
JACKSON: Yes. OK. So black pastors, what's -- whatever he said it related to having an African American pastor who was Al Sharpton in the courthouse,
confusing him for Jesse Jackson and saying, we don't want you here.
That's arguably the same thing you can say about Ahmaud Arbery who's running in a middle class white neighborhood. So how do you, as an educated
lawyer, espouse views like that? It's just troubling and speaks to the issue of us having a long, long way to go.
GORANI: And finally, in terms of that case, where do we stand in the case of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery?
JACKSON: So in that case, the prosecution is still putting on its evidence. We have not yet gotten to the portion where the defense puts on their case.
Of course, when that occurs, the critical questions will be will the defendants, three of them, will they testify at all? What will be the
nature of the defendant's case if there is one? Remember, defendants don't have any obligation to put on a case.
And right now, the prosecutors are just making the case that Ahmad Arbery, as we see here, was killed in an unjustified way, that there was no real
reason for a citizen's arrest law to be used in as much as there was no crime being committed, that self-defense was not proper, and that the
defendants, all three acting in concert, acted unreasonably. So that's what the prosecution is attempting to establish now with their case. There'll be
an opportunity, as I noted for the defense, to have their case if they choose to, but that has not yet occurred.
GORANI: Joey Jackson, as always, thanks so much for joining us live from New York. Have a great weekend.
JACKON: You, too. Thanks, Hala.
GORANI: And we will be right back.
GORANI: A military court in Myanmar has sentenced an American journalist to 11 years in prison. Danny Fenster was detained just months after the
military there staged a coup in February. Ivan Watson has the details.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Authorities in Myanmar detained the American journalist, Danny Fenster, back in May as he was trying to fly out
of the country intercepting him at Yangon Airport and he's been behind bars ever since.
But we've since learned of from his defense attorney that in a closed court session at Yangon's notorious insane prison that he was sentenced to 11
years behind bars for three charges, breaching his visa, unlawful association with an illegal group, and incitement essentially spreading
And his life could get much, much worse, because he is also facing two additional charges under Myanmar's counterterrorism law and for essentially
distributing commentary that hurts the reputation of the Myanmar military, which has gone a long way to destroy its own reputation since mounting a
coup on February 1st, sweeping a civilian elected government from power and putting those officials behind bars, cracking down on peaceful protests
open -- opening fire on them with deadly results and, of course, rounding up civil society activists and journalists like Danny Fenster, who was the
managing editor of the English language website, Frontier. Myanmar.
Back in May, his parents spoke to CNN's Brian Stelter, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUDDY FENSTER, FATHER OF JAILED JOURNALIST: Their efforts to squelch journalism and get the word out is -- it's just -- it just kills. It kills
life and it kills freedom. It kills truth. And I think that there -- they just need to let him go immediately. He has not committed any crime there.
ROSE FENSTER, MOTHER OF JAILED JOURNALIST: It's a total nightmare. It's a total feeling of no control. It's heart-wrenching. It's just -- excuse me,
I'm sorry. It's just not something you want anybody to go to. It goes through any parent, anybody that cares about anybody, these are human
lives, and these are people, not just numbers, and I just want my son home no matter what it takes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Fenster is of course one of scores of journalists who've been arrested with human rights organizations saying that in this environment in
Myanmar, it's basically a crime to commit the act of journalism. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANNY MAUNG, RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: There's virtually no press freedom. At least eight independent outlets have been banned or have been
classed as terrorists. We've also seen at least 95 journalists jailed since February 1 and this is -- these are statistics from the Assistance
Association for Political Prisoners.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Fenster's defense attorney says that the American journalist has lost weight during his months behind bars. Meanwhile, many journalists that
CNN has been in touch with in Myanmar have either gone into hiding or trying to flee the country seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Ivan
Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
GORANI: When we come back, Britney Spears may soon get a major victory. The end of her conservatorship, we'll take a closer look at that story after
GORANI: Well, we've been following the Britney Spears story, the free Britney story for a while now and the singer has a big hearing today, one
that could end her conservatorship altogether. Chloe Melas breaks it down for us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRITNEY SPEARS, SINGER: Now I'm stronger --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Britney Spears's 13 year conservatorship may finally come to an end.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPEARS: Hit me, baby, one more time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: Today, a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge is expected to rule on the singer's request to end the court ordered arrangement once and for
all. The hearing comes just weeks after the singer's father, Jamie Spears, was suspended as the conservator of her $60 million estate, a role he has
held since 2008. The singer's attorney, Mathew Rosengart, called the suspension a proud moment for Britney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATHEW ROSENGART, ATTORNEY FOR BRITNEY SPEARS: It's been a lot of hard work. It's been intense. I'm proud, Britney is proud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: This last year has been filled with court hearings with the battle for Britney's freedom reaching a tipping point in July when the singer
publicly pleaded with Judge Brenda Penny for her conservatorship to end she made bombshell claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: She said she's been given lithium against her will.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She says she's not allowed to remove her IUD contraceptive from her own body even though she wants to have
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: And she said she wanted to charge her father with conservatorship abuse. Her father has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. And a lawyer for
Jamie Spears said in a statement at the time to CNN that he "loves his daughter unwaveringly."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we mean?
CROWD: Free Britney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELAS: But even if Spears's request to end the conservatorship is granted, the battle between her and her father is far from over. The Grammy Award
winner's attorney stating in a 110-page petition last month that he plans to depose her father over potentially mishandling her finances, as well as
seeking discovery related to a New York Times report that he allegedly placed recording devices in his daughter's bedroom without her consent.
CNN has not been able to independently verify those claims. An attorney for Jamie Spears has denied the allegations. But on one front, Jamie Spears
appears to be changing his tune. Just last week, he filed a report stating that he is no longer seeking the $2-million payout from his daughter to
cover his legal and management fees, stating that "He sees no reason why the conservatorship should continue." And that "Jamie does not make this
request subject to a demand for releases or compensation. It is unconditional."
The singer is expected to attend today's hearing virtually and spoke out about the importance of this court decision in a since deleted Instagram
post on Monday, writing, "This week is going to be very interesting for me. I haven't prayed for something more in my life."
GORANI: Well, Chloe Melas joins me now from the courtroom in Los Angeles where it's all taking place from, outside the courthouse I should say. So
when do we expect this ruling to take place?
MELAS: Hey there, Hala, thanks for having me. So the court hearing is expected to take place at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time so I am just about, I
don't know, an hour and a half away from walking inside that courtroom where there are only a few spots for reporters and about 10 spots for
members of the public and we are expecting Judge Brenda Penny to finally end this conservatorship for the first time in 13 years, something that
Britney Spears has publicly pleaded. In two emotional testimonies over the summer, she's called the conservatorship abusive and that she wants this to
Now if it ends, Hala, that would mean that she gets back control of her finances and her medical decisions.
GORANI: So does that mean that she has complete freedom? No new conservator will be named?
MELAS: No. So the idea would be that this conservatorship just completely ends today. It stands uncontested. Her father said in a new court petition
last week that he wants the conservatorship to end and that he's no longer seeking the $2-million payout that he was asking when it came to legal fees
and management fees that he wanted Britney to pay him.
So for all intents and purposes, the could -- this could be done today and Brittany could walk out a free woman. Now this battle though could continue
with her father when it comes to, you know, whether he mishandled her finances. We know that her new attorney wants to depose her father so we
could see it play out perhaps in another courtroom, but a conservatorship expected to end today.
GORANI: Is she completely estranged from her family, both parents?
MELAS: So as far as we know, she is estranged from her mother as well as her father. Well, we know that she and her father aren't speaking. She, you
know, publicly eviscerated him at two hearings over the summer. But recently, she posted and deleted something on Instagram saying that she
blames her mother, Jamie -- Lynne Spears, for planting the idea, planting the seed of a conservatorship in her father's mind back in 2008. So Lynne
Spears has not come out and said anything publicly. She and Jamie Spears both attend these hearings virtually by phone as does Britney.
So again, Britney appears to be estranged from both her parents. As for her sister, Jamie Lynn, we don't know yet if they're estranged, but it's a
really, unfortunately toxic situation.
GORANI: All right. Chloe Melas, thanks very much outside the courthouse in Los Angeles. There have been documentaries about it, movements, free
Britney movements as well. That could all end today. We'll continue to follow it. Thanks very much for joining us.
Finally, some good news for anyone concerned about cosmic collisions, like we don't have enough to worry about. Scientists at NASA are just days away
from launching the world's first asteroid deflection system known as DART. The new tech will identify and then set itself on a collision course with
asteroids heading for Earth. And it's already got its first target in sight. It's scheduled to redirect 160-meter wide asteroid next year.
Thanks for watching. If it's your weekend, I hope you have a great one. I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. We're going to take a quick break and when
we come back, QUEST MEANS Business is coming your way.