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tv   In the Arena  CNN  June 10, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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you've got the iowa regional developments, where the social issues are going to be decided, and the new hampshire bracket, where it's going to be the moderate and business -- >> joe, they tried to say it could have been worse in 2010, but it didn't work for them, did it, in the midterm elections? >> no, it didn't. >> monday night right here 8:00 p.m. in the east. the bells are ringing. you know what that means? that means it's all for us tonight. we'll see you monday night for this show and then the debate. have a great weekend. have a great weekend. "in the arena" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- good evening. i'm eliot spitzer. welcome to the program. tonight, desperate hours in syria. the army of bashar assad continues its ominous march through towns and cities, murdering unarmed protesters. i want you to look at some video that was smuggled out and given to our own ivan watson at the border today. it starts with a peaceful
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protest. then watch what happens. [ gunfire ] what is going on in syria is terrifying. ivan watson will join me in a moment. but first, look at the other stories we're drilling down on tonight. the real sarah palin. thousands of her private e-mails released today. a surprising glimpse behind the curtain. and fukushima. the nuclear contamination is worse than we thought. and now fears of a genetic impact. we'll get the latest from physicist michio kak yue. then anthony weiner. we know what they think of him on capitol hill. tonight we'll hear from a leading feminist. now back to the top story. the drama playing out at syria's border with turkey. desperate syrians are fighting
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to cross that border and get to safety, even as the syrian army advances on the rebellious border area. cnn's ivan watson is there and joins us now. ivan, what are you seeing today? are the streams of refugees continuing across the border? >> reporter: they are absolutely, eliot. more than 3,800 refugees now. there were barely 400 48 hours ago. the turks are planning to open up a third camp. we've been to one of the hospitals in this area. they say they have at least 30 bullet wound victims there. we talked to one of them. he actually came across weeks ago after being shot at what he said was an unarmed protest against the government. and you know, the turkish authorities are expecting more to be coming in the days ahead, particularly after the syrian government finally launched this much feared military offensive into a border town where the syrians claim 120 security forces were killed.
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what we've been hearing from across the border are tanks riding through villages, firing indiscriminately, setting fire to farm fields, and then a vicious attack using machine guns fired from helicopters on a protest after friday prayers in a town called marit on oman. the guy we talked to who was at that protest was laying in a house after being shot in the thigh from one of those helicopters, eliot. >> now, you referred to this horrific assault by the syrian military against the protesters. do you know if there are similar offensives being waged by the syrian military in other regions of the country? is this an isolated event? are we seeing a ramp-up in escalations across the country? >> reporter: that's what's most appalling here. this has been a cycle every friday here pushing on three months where demonstrators will come out after friday prayers and they'll say "down with the
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regime, down with the regime," and then they'll get shot at. and then they have funerals the next day for the people who get killed there, and then they get shot at there. now, turkish doctors that we've talked to at one hospital here says last saturday was the worst day yet. they had more than 30 bullet wound victims in a single day arriving on saturday. and they are anticipating more victims coming in over the course of the next 24 hours after this cycle that repeats itself of friday prayer protests, killings, and then killings at the funerals repeats itself. the demonstrators we've talked to, they're afraid to go to syrian hospitals because they say they may get arrested by the syrian security services there. that's why they're running across the border to come here to turkey. they're afraid of their own government, afraid of a president who has repeatedly pledged to the international community and to his own people that he will institute reforms and dialogue. all these people are seeing are
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bullets and artillery shells. >> in your conversations with the refugees and with those who purport to speak for them, what is your sense? is the syrian government's offensive stiffening their determination to be firm and oppose assad, or is there any dissipation of their will because they are seeing that they're simply up against a force that is too great for them to combat at this point? >> reporter: the most incredible thing is that these guys keep getting shot and killed and maimed and wounded and yet every friday they're back out again. now we see refugees coming across the border. a couple of hours ago they were out chanting here, some of them crying. why? because this one attack that we discussed earlier, the attack by syrian security forces on a protest in the town of maaret al nouman. some of these refugees had relatives there, and one of them was crying, telling us that many
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of his brothers had been killed. another man declared they're massacring people in my hometown, i'm going to go on hunger strike until bashar al assad falls. so we don't see the will of the syrian demonstrators, protesters crumbling right now. instead, we see remarkable networks set up by activists to try to get images out of these atrocities to the outside world because the syrian state media is strictly controlled by the government. they've been playing oftentimes soap operas and cartoons instead of talking about the massacres that have taken place. people risking their lives, running across borders to share videos with us of just what kind of brutal acts are being carried out by armed forces that are supposed to protect these people, not kill them. >> ivan, thank you so much for this absolutely remarkable report, part of just a series of reports you've been filing all week about these remarkable, stunning events.
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thank you so much. >> reporter: you're welcome, eliot. as syria plummets further into chaos and bloodshed, should the united states step in? we're witnessing a regime responding to protests with extreme violence. government forces are attacking unarmed demonstrators, independent civilians including women, and in at least two cases torturing children. we've already intervened in libya and intensified drone attacks in yemen. will syria be next? joining me now is andrew tabler, where he just came from meetings where he briefed officials on syria. he is also author of the upcoming book "in the lion's den." mr. tabler, thanks for joining us. >> not at all. >> as the chaos and horrific stories of torture and beatings and shootings get worse and worse from syria, what should the united states be doing that we're not doing right now? >> the united states needs to plan for the eventuality of the assad regime simply not being there. while it's not clear exactly what the tipping point of the assad regime is in terms of the fall of the regime like in egypt
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or in tunisia, it's very clear that the regime's increasingly brutal crackdown is not working. protesters continue to come out. and that the regime itself is on a downward trajectory. although when exactly it will collapse is anyone's guess. >> well, let me ask you the question i think many of us have been asking. we see the assad regime day by day increasingly violent, using increasing shows of force, and yet from a distance it is hard to see that even with the protesters' continued presence in the streets, hard to see how they will actually topple him without some form of outside intervention. so where do you think the united states can do something productively or effectively to assist the protesters? >> well, the protesters are doing a lot themselves. remember that these horrific videos of regime torture of children which are being uploaded by internet activists from syria, which are responsible for bringing out
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last friday 50,000 people in the city of hama, so that is getting people out into the streets. now, it's true a lot of times these regimes do not come down without some sort of international involvement. in the case of syria, military force seems top off the table for now. but multilateral pressure via the u.n. as well as sanctions via the u.s. government and also the european union are the primary tools that the united states and its allies can use in pressuring the assad regime and ending its repressive rule as soon as possible. >> yeah, but russia and china until now appear to have been protecting syria, at least in the context of the united nations. and so any possibility of getting the multinational coalition together, as we did with libya, doesn't seem very viable. am i correct in that? >> that's true. but i don't think the russians or the chinese anticipated that every week we would have a video coming out, a horrific video of a child being tortured. and i think really only russian
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or chinese blocking of these kind of measures can only stand up for so long until they themselves have to look at the situation and see that not only is this -- are these horrific violations of human rights but that it's just incensing syrians and bringing them out into the streets like never before. so of course those powers are watching the situation inside of the country. they have their own interests. we'll see what happens in the united nations this coming week. there will be a big push by the uk, france, and the united states. >> what can the uk, france, and the united states do as a more limited coalition? obviously a coalition among the most powerful nations in the world, even excluding china and russia. what could we do? would trade sanctions be meaningful? would there be any economic pressures brought to bear that aren't already brought to bear? >> the primary instruments thus far invoked by the european union and the united states are sanctions on individuals who are responsible for the crackdown in syria. but a close second and one that policymakers are closely looking into at the moment are energy
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sector sanctions. all oil exports and gas exports from syria accrue to the state. they are the regime's primary lifeline. and hitting those hard and examining those in particular, including the involvement of foreign companies, is a primary lever that the united states and its allies can use against the assad regime to push them not only to cut a deal with society but eventually to leave power in syria in the months and perhaps years to come. >> one of the questions that is always there, and we have seen it very evident in libya, is do we feel comfortable that if there were a transition, and that is far, far away, in my view at least, in syria, but that the opposition forces, the protesters are either organized sufficiently to create an alternative government or even if they were able to do so that their philosophical view is something that is closer, more in alignment with ours in terms of issues of civil liberties, tolerance, secular society, et
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cetera. do we know what they actually stand for and would create as an alternative to the assad regime? >> the syrian opposition held a conference a little over a week ago in antalia, turkey in which they agreed on common principles. from across the exiled as well as the domestic opposition. it doesn't include everyone in the country and it doesn't include necessarily all of those who have been involved in the protests. but it's a big step forward for the syrian opposition. remember that no one anticipated an alternative to the assad regime for the last 41 years and suddenly the opposition's having to come together. those principles that they agreed upon, including a secular society in syria, helped assuage the fears of those in the west that following the coming to power -- following the fall of the assad regime that they would see the coming to power of an islamist government in that country. >> thank you, andrew tabler, for joining us. >> you're very welcome. coming up, our political panel looks at the scandal surrounding congressman anthony weiner. what happens when the right to
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what makes us number one in motorcycle insurance? we love bikes. we love riders. and most of all, we love to ride. perfect hair every time. leading the pack in motorcycle insurance. now, that's progressive. call or click today. for most of this week the political conversation has been
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dominated by congressman anthony weiner and his computer communications with women. all week we've discussed his inappropriate behavior. but there's another issue here. privacy. here to talk about this, naomi wolfe, author of "the end of america," and errol lewis, new york political journalist and talk show host. naomi and errol, thanks for joining me. errol, let me start with you. anthony weiner, he is putting up a fight. he says he's not going anywhere. 56% of those polled in his district say stay. is he going to make it? >> i think just based on that he can get to an election. now, can he win that election? that's a whole other set of questions that would come up about 15 months from now. but his congressional colleagues have been sort of lukewarm. you hear rumblings behind the scenes that they are planning to dismember his district and take it away from him essentially in order to solve this redistricting problem that the democrats have statewide. but he's going to stand firm. and there are some, including the dean of the delegation, charlie rangel, who's had his own problems, who says look, if the guy wants to serve and his voters -- his constituents say that they want him to serve, why would anybody else's opinion
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even count? >> look, i'm with you. i think it's going to come to a redistricting matter when new york state loses two seats, one upstate, one down state, his district will disappear and he'll be sacrificed by the state legislature, and that way probably they will resolve the issue. naomi, let me ask you this. she survive, what do you think, you've seen this, you've read what is there, what's been published. what is your visceral response to all this? >> i mean, i think there are two really separate issues that are tangled up in one, and it's important to tease them out. one is was a huge lapse of judgment, crazily, suicidally self-destructive for him to have put these images and words out on a public forum. obviously. does that mean he's an inadequate politician? he's done something that should destroy his career? no, i don't think so. and i think there's a larger issue. it's a really urgent one. which is that -- and i've said this before. here's another example. we now live in a surveillance society in which all of our leaders can assume that they're under surveillance all the time
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if the opposition wants to read their e-mails, follow their phone messages, and so on. and when are the american going to say enough if it's not, you know, children, if it's not illegal. we have to give people space for a private life. a lot of careers going down otherwise. >> you see this at one example of the evisceration of privacy in our society? >> absolutely -- well, i don't want to say this is a perfect example because he made it public. so that's an issue for him and his therapist, for sure. >> right. >> but these were adult women, right? and so if -- obviously, you don't want someone's genitals in your computer without your consent. you know. so that is not good. it's not tactful. it's not kind. but it's also not technically, as i understand, harassment if you don't keep doing it. it's really, really, really stupid. should it be the end of his career? it's not the same as -- i mean, something that's bad i think as a feminist is we keep lumping together, you know, really extreme criminal situations like
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violent sexual assault and really stupid behavior involving other adults or infidelity, which i personally think is absolutely nobody's business. and i think it's much more dangerous for us to move into a society in which there's no such thing as a private life anymore, in which every public figure sxin creasingly private citizens assume that they can't have a private life. >> what about, though, the indisputable part of this was the fact he came on my show, a bunch of other shows, and just lied? came on unforced, unbidden, and just decide ed wanted to spend 10 or 20 minutes telling a string of lies indisputably public. >> it's not good ever to lie. it's really stupid. if i were his media adviser, i would be tearing my hair out. i'm just saying that this is an example of someone behaving incredibly foolishly. but bigger picture, is it -- the whole kind of sanctimonious, his wife, their marriage. >> but let's separate out the two issues. because i think errol is saying okay,'ll recognize -- i don't want to speak for errol.
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but people who might accept your notion that there is a zone of privacy that has become less protected, less well defined and it's something we as a society need to think about. but what errol is saying is there's a separate source of malfeasance here which is a politician or a public figure of any sort who knowingly willfully intentionally tried to mislead in such a craven way that it effectively dismembers his capacity to serve. >> yeah, that's -- >> i think errol was saying that -- >> not to defend it. but let's even look at that. okay? i mean, what's america facing right now? you know, huge deficits. people out of work. six armed conflicts that congress didn't even support. people are lying to us all the time at the highest levels of government. is this the lie that we're going to say this ends your career? >> are you saying that the lie, because it's relatesed to such a personal matter, you understand it more and it bothers you a little less than a lie about going to war, a lie about -- >> yes. >> -- an issue of public policy? >> yes. now obviously. and then too he should have said
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this is incredibly stupid, i don't know what came over me, i apologize -- >> let me reframe the question to you in a different way, errol. if instead of doing those clearly unwise, foolish interviews in which he tried to deny everything, he had come out at that moment and acknowledged the misbehavior, would you then say yeah, you know, what i kind of understand naomi's point, private stuff he has been open and forthright about what he did but it is private, move on? >> yeah, absolutely. look, when he told me in an interview, i asked him, you know, is this a picture of you? like everybody else asked him. and he said, i don't know. and i took him at his word. what choice do you have? you either take him at his word or argue with the guy or try to provide some other proof to counter the claim. and so you can't do that anymore. and not only can i not do that on personal or private or semi-private matters, but on pretty much everything else i would have to say, well, congressman weiner, a proven, known liar has said x. now, what do i think of that? well, i think a lot less of it than i would have if he hadn't pulled this stunt over the last week. >> let me see if i can get a
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distinction in here that maybe you recognize, maybe you don't. and maybe this goes back to my lawyering perspective. does it matter to you whether it's government intervention seizing that information or another private citizen? is there a difference in terms of the concerns you bring to this? >> yes, thank you. >> as a lawyer i'm always more worried about government doing it than private citizens. >> thank you, eliot, because that distinction needed to be made, and i hadn't figured it out yet. yes. you know, your ordinary blackmailer or, you know, mistress who's disgruntled or mister who's disgruntled might have a personal reason to betray a public figure. and that's a lot less worrying to me. that's the human drama. that's, you know, oscar wilde. that's a lot less worrying to me than what the government is doing now, which is the nsa is reading -- combing through everything, not just mr. weiner, not just another six or ten examples -- >> but come back to anthony for a moment. >> and it is much more dangerous. >> but in this case it was not the government that initiated the disclosures. >> well, ha.
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it was not the government. but you know, you can't really tease apart. there was very good reporting on the complex network of right-wing -- >> but they were private. look, agree or disagree with them ideologically, they were private, not government. i think that -- to come back to the distinction. >> i don't agree that there's necessarily a giant distinction between these interest groups, these astroturf groups. there's so much fake advocacy out there -- >> you've got to be a little bit concerned that -- i mean, he's setting out a lot of this stuff unbidden if we understand the facts of the case -- >> he's not a lunatic. i'm not defending him. >> understood. but let's say the women weren't intrigued or titillated and it wasn't a flirtation, it was in fact a campaign of harassment coming out of a congressman's office -- >> that's got to stop. it's completely unacceptable. it's got to stop. but what i saw, and this is another big issue that bears a longer conversation, you know, we don't tend to distinguish the way we should between an adult woman initiating sexual interest, which i as a feminist think everyone should respect and recognize and honor, and
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someone being victimized, right? against her will. these are important distinctions. they're critical. so when a woman writes, "hot," t, t, t, t. right? she's making a conscious -- an adult woman. a conscious choice. if he -- and this is why the issue of is it consensual -- it's stupid. it's crazily stupid. a pattern of harassment or even one e-mail that is not solicited from your -- anyone, you know, who's in public is completely unacceptable. >> unfortunately, time runs out. naomi wolf, errol louis, thank you for being here for that fascinating conversation. up next, the media is hidliuddl over boxes full of sarah palin e-mails. you can go to alaska for a look at them or you can keep it right here. i'll tell you what, if anything, is in there. would deliver-mobile our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice. we'll deliver better service, with thousands of new cell sites...
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tonight an inside look at the tenure of sarah palin as alaska's governor. thousands of e-mails from and to palin during her time in office have just been released to the public by the state of alaska. it's the result of a three-year pursuit by cnn and other media for access to the governor's communications. earlier this week on "fox news sunday" palin said all of her dirty laundry has already been aired. >> i think every rock in the palin household that could ever be kicked over and uncovered, anything, has already been kicked over. i don't think there's anything private in our family. a lot of those e-mails obviously weren't meant for public consumption. they're between staff members. they're probably between family members. >> so what rock is left unturned in the palin operation? joining me now live from juneau,
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alaska, cnn's drew griffin, who's been poring through boxes of material for the last several hours. drew, what have you found? >> reporter: just a lot of mundane state political work. and really, eliot, the evolution of sarah palin from mayor to a governor, learning how to run the governor's office, into becoming a vice presidential candidate, in fact, from box number 6. we just pulled the first reference we saw of sarah palin learning she was going to be the vice presidential nomination. she writes to one of her friends, "can you believe it? he told me yesterday. it moved fast. pray. i love you." and that was dated friday, august 29th, 2008, the date she was elected. what we're not seeing is a lot of the scandal-plagued stuff that we thought we would get. not a lot of e-mails from todd palin pretending to be governor, as we had anticipated. and so far, eliot, not a lot on troopergate. we do see she tries to protect her staff. she's fiercely loyal to her
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staff. and also very, very concerned at times about leaks in her administration. but we're just getting into this. six boxes full of paperwork that we're digging through, eliot. >> which you obviously have an awful lot still to go through. but are you finding her to be more engaged and informed or less than you would have expected or thought based upon so much of what has been written and what had been predicted to be in these e-mails? >> reporter: you know, she's terribly engaged. she's extremely busy. she's organizing meetings both here in juneau and in anchorage and at her house and trying to squeeze in as many meetings as she possibly can. she's paying attention to a lot of details, especially on oil and gas revenue issues. and she's also engaged in the national scene. i want to show you one e-mail she writes about a speech that then candidate obama gave on energy. and she's being somewhat complimentary of him. let me read it to you. i have it here.
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it's an e-mail from august 4th, 2008 in which she says about mr. obama, "he gave a great speech this morning in michigan. mentioned alaska. stole our energy rebate $1,000 check idea, stole our tc-alaska gasoline talking points, et cetera. we need to take advantage of this, write a statement saying he is right on. joe, could you help crank this quick statement out as a reaction to some of obama's good points this morning?" this is obviously before she was running for vice president against the obama ticket. but i believe it shows that, you know, she has a bipartisan nature to her. >> all right, drew, well, you're going to have a fun weekend reading an awful lot more of those e-mails. we'll be checking back with you. for more now i want to bring in someone with extensive knowledge of sarah palin. in fact, he just wrote a book about her. matt lewis is senior contributor to the daily collar and author of "the quotable rogue: the ideals of sarah pail nin her own words," which is coming out later this month.
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matt, thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> so it seems to me that at the end of the day all this stuff may help sarah palin. there's going to be a much more complete image of her than perhaps the media's painted. what's your take on that? >> well, i think this was actually an investigation in search of a crime, which is bizarre. but you're right. this could backfire on the people who were hoping to find scandal. this is really very consistent with what i found when i wrote my book, which is a collection of palin's quotes. much more eloquent than even i thought. and i think that you're going to find -- look, if you went through my e-mails, 24,000 of them, god knows what you might find. something embarrassing, not illegal. >> we'll check on that. >> or yours for that matter. who knows? but i will say that people are going to find that she's much more serious and competent than the media has portrayed her. and that's really part of the story here. >> well, look, let me say this. i'm not a fan of sarah palin's ideology at all or her as a candidate but i'm not at all surprised at the way this is turning out because i can tell you, i'm one of the other people who's had this done to him. when i was governor they wanted
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my e-mails and a whole bunch of stuff. and the few they pick out here and there to talk about have nothing to do with the day-to-day work of being a governor. so i'm not surprised we're seeing somebody who was running a state government, and i think that's why there may not be anything terribly interesting here but we're going to get a more complete picture of it. >> right. and that's the great thing about transparency and open government at the end of the day. this is going to be unfiltered. and that's kind of the problem palin's had with her press. but look, this is a person who had an 88% approval rateing when she was governor of alaska. she took on the big oil companies up there and really -- you know, it's funny. if you look at the way the media portrays people. jimmy carter never said malaise. al gore never said he invented the internet. marie antoinette never said "let them eat cake." and sarah palin never said i can see russia from my front yard. >> two of the four i knew. marie antoinette never said let them eat cake? i'm devastated. >> apparently. the press of her day has been out to get here. >> i tell you, the media's
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always been a kirns. there is still a lot of stuff to go through. so i don't think we should be drawing questions too quickly here, but i think the reality is what we're seeing is somebody who was engaged in her job and to a certain extent the caricature of her may be unfair. but the problem she has, and i've just got to push back a little bit, the objection to sarah palin among many people now is not that they think there was scandalar or trooper -- nobody cares about that. what i think they don't have the sense of is whether she has the substantive grip and the depth of knowledge of issues to be the president of the united states. and that issue is stilt one she has to overcome. i don't think these e-mails will bear on that. but you've written a book about her. do you disagree with that perspective? >> i think that there is something to that. i think there are really three things to look at. i mean, number one, by the time barack obama was running for president and engaged seriously, he had been in like 18 or 19 debates against hillary clinton. sarah palin was actually air-dropped. and you know, being governor of a small state. i mean, not geographically but populationwise. into the middle, into the heat of a campaign. she had some stumbles. i think that really sort of -- the press got to her.
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they were able to define her early. i will say this, though. read the book. read what she actually says. more eloquent than you think. i actually think some of, this not all of it but some of this is a product of the way she talks, of -- part of it being a lady, part of it being from alaska. most of us, we're from -- you know, we live in d.c. or new york. most politicians learn to talk like people from d.c. or new york. palin said i'm not going to do that. >> look, i think there is an opportunity she will have if she does decide to run to jump in, redefine herself. the public will give her a second look and determine whether or not she now passes muster on these -- a rather high bar that should be celt for somebody running for the president -- >> and you have the movie coming out. and full court press. >> media for sarah palin. matt lewis, thanks so much for joining us. coming up, new fears in japan and possible new evacuations. michio kaku joins us with tales of mutant creatures and a nuclear disaster that just won't go away. financing their fleet, sharing our expertise,
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in japan more troubling nuclear news. this video of a rabbit in fukushima born without ears went viral this week. it may be cute, but it could also be a dangerous sign the rabbit is a genetic mutation born after the nuclear reactor meltdown. though we should add whether the deformity is related to the meltdown is still unknown. even so, the government is now saying the radiation contamination is twice the level they'd previously thought and they're considering widening the
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evacuation area nearly three months after the initial disaster. what's going on? to best answer these questions we've asked back dr. michio kaku, professor of theoretical physics at cuny, the cuny system here in new york state, and author of of "physics of the future." welcome back, professor. >> glad to be on the show. >> here's what i don't understand at a very simplistic level. three months later they're saying the radiation was twice the levels they had initially announced. isn't that something that is measured day by day by a thousand different people with geiger counters? how can you be wrong about something like that? >> yes and no. you see, the utility has been lowballing on numbers and also hiding certain aspects of the accident. we physicists have been trying to reconstruct the accident, given the slivers of information from the utility. last week they admitted now three core meltdowns. 100% core melt. this week they're admitting now twice as much radiation came out
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than originally thought. 700 trillion becquerels of laid quaigs. about 27% of the radiation that came out of chernobyl. in my opinion they were lying. this my opinion they were deliberately lowballing all these numbers, hiding these numbers, hoping the accident would go away. now we realize the cancer is spreading. >> just again so, i understand, it seems to me if there's a snowfall, if 12 inches of snow fall here in new york in central park, if the weather system it was only six inches we'd all go out there and say wait a minute, we've got a ruler, it's 12. aren't the people there with geiger counters who go out and say wait a minute, we're measuring it at level 10 and you're saying it's only 5. so how do they get away with this sort of distortion over such a lengthy period of time? >> it's very easy. your counters, for example, could be in areas where there's low snowfall. so they can bring the low numbers and hide the high numbers. and also you could measure it at the time of the day. there are many ways to fudge the numbers. and remember that the numbers that did come out were so sparse that we physicists had to complete the dots.
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we had to get this feeble amount of information and then reconstruct the accident in our computers. we knew it was a full-scale meltdown even though they would not admit it simply by looking at the radiation that came out of the reactor. >> putting all this together, what order of magnitude of crisis was this, and give us a sense of how close were we to something that could have been even worse? >> we came within a hair's breadth of a national, international tragedy. with three core meltdowns, 100% destruction. it was only the last-minute injection of seawater against the wishes of the utility, seawater that came in and flooded the reactors. it was the government that insisted they open the floodgates. the utility said no, we want to salvage these reactors, we can still make something out of it and save money. the government overruled the utility and said over our dead bodies, you will flood these reactors with seawater and make these reactors pieces of junk. >> what does this mean in terms of risks going forward? >> first of all, the cancer is spreading. the government has admitted that
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four areas outside the evacuation zone had radiation levels 20 times normal. and they're even distributing radiation counters to kindergarten children. in the town of date 8,000 radiation counters have been goichb children as young as kindergartners. and can you imagine going to school way radiation badge and having to report how much radiation you got during the day? these are schoolchildren. and also, remember that typhoon season is starting up in asia. there's a lot of water there sitting in open vats. with all the water coming down with typhoons a lot of that water could be washed into the bay. and once again creating fears among the koreans and chinese that the accident is going to contaminate sea life in the oceans. >> now, the radiation that was released during the event itself we now know was more significant than we had originally thought, leading to concern, i mean, that picture of the rabbit initially was vowed as everybody said it's cute, a rabbit with no ears. okay. fine. cute or not. it speaks to a genetic
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distortion, which if linked back to this release of radiation begins to create real fear. are there concerns now that people are going to have genetic mutations because of this if they were proximate to this event? >> judging from what happened at chernobyl, in about five years' time we should see an uptick in leukemia, an uptick, for example, in thyroid cancers because of the radiation that came out. we're talking about under 10,000 excess cancers that came out of chernobyl that have been carefully logged by scientists. here it will take years before we see the full effects in terms of cancers. so that bunny rabbit that people saw on the internet, probably it was a random mutation, but it serves as a reminder and a symbol, a very searing. >> of the accident at chernobyl -- at fukushima here. >> you've been following what's gone on at fukushima very carefully, and maybe a question you can't answer, but have any of the people in the utility yet been charged? are they being strung up? is the public saying my goodness, you were lying to us about such issues of enormous
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importance to our safety day by day? where is the anger? here there would be protests of a size you can hardly imagine. what's going on? >> well, in feudal japan the people who were in charge of a failure would commit sepoku, hare kiri, they would commit suicide. here we had the head of the utility run for cover. checking himself into a hospital. he was awohl during the entire accident. he recently resigned. but many people are furious that the head of the utility was never to be seen, awol during the crisis. they lied about three core meltdowns. they lied about the amount of radiation being twice what they said. people are furious in japan because the code of conduct that utilities and corporations are supposed to carry themselves, carry on, has been violated. people really feel violated in japan. >> you know what? i have a hard time imagining my saying this. it's even worse than what wall street did. all right, professor, thank you so much.
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professor kaku, thank you for joining us this afternoon. up next, if colonel gadhafi is going down, it looks like he's trying to take his people with him. a report from a field hospital on the front lines. stay with us. in here, inventory can be taught to learn. ♪ machines have a voice. ♪ medical history follows you. it's the at&t network -- a network of possibilities... committed to delivering the most advanced mobile broadband experience to help move business... forward. ♪ and more. if you replace 3 tablespoons of sugar a day with splenda® you'll save 100 calories a day. that could help you lose up to 10 pounds in a year. that's how splenda® is sweet...and more. the doctor leaned over and said to me, "you just beat the widow-maker." i was put on an aspirin, and it's part of my regimen now.
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in libya tonight fighting rages once again in a place that's seen much too much of it. the strategic port of misrata. the rebels hold the city, but gadhafi's forces are trying to move back in, sparking some of the bloodiest fighting there in weeks. cnn's sarah sidener is in
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misrata, where we spoke with her a short time ago. >> reporter: we are in the field hospital on the western front line just out of misrata, where the situation has been absolutely insane. it has been extremely busy today. this is the worst amount of fighting the doctors have seen in a month. they have so many patients coming in here and such terrible injuries that they haven't even had time to write names down or count the number of injured and dead. and there have been dozens of injured and many, many, many fighters who have decide. this gentleman here, they're doing everything they can for. but it appears his injury is so massive to his leg it's nearly been torn off, he will probably have to have it amputated. what they do here is they use anything they can to try and stabilize the patient. they are also using things such as just taking off shelves and trying to give him something as some kind of a splint so they can stabilize him, put him in an ambulance, and take him to the main hospital. but this has been certainly the worst fighting that we've -- since we've touched the ground here two weeks ago.
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a very difficult day for the rebels here in misrata. sarah sidner, cnn, misrata, libya. >> thanks to sarah sidner for that dramatic report out of libya. up next, what will happen when we begin to pull our troops out of afghanistan. i'll ask that country's ambassador to the united states. when we come back. [ sam ] my first ride lasted just 30 seconds. another reminder of what i couldn't do. ♪ the accident could have been my excuse to quit. i made it my reason to go even harder.
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president obama pledged to begin pulling troops out of afghanistan in july of 2011. a deadline that's now just weeks
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away. and with bin laden dead and current military expenses running to $10 billion each month, debate in washington over next steps is intense. meanwhile, there's another player at the table, who also has strong feelings about the american role, the afghan government, and its president, hamid karzai. akir hakimi is afghanistan's new ambassador to the united states. he joins us now. ambassador hakimi, welcome. >> thank you very much for having me. >> it is our pleasure, sir. thank you. let me begin by asking you this question. what do you understand the united states mission to be in afghanistan? >> well, the overall objective is to fight against terrorism and also to defeat, dismantle, and disrupt al qaeda. so the objectives of the fight against terror remain the same. reconciliation, talking with opposition forces, and make the ground ready for them to be part
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of the overall peace process. that was something that we all agreed upon, and we are working jointly together for the success of the fruitful outcome. >> so let me try to restate this. i'm not trying to put words in your mouth, obviously. i just want to make sure i can articulate this as a way of understanding it. we want to defeat and dis mantle al qaeda and to a great extent, am i correct, that they have basically been pushed out of afghanistan and they may exist to the extent they do in pakistan but we want them to be dismantled and destroyed, as it were, but with respect to the taliban you set out a series of conditions which if they meet you would be willing to incorporate them into the afghan government. so do i understand this properly? >> well, as i said was that those -- if those condition will be met by them they accept our
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constitution and they are willing to be part of this political process by renouncing violence and cut the tie with al qaeda, they're more than welcome to join the political process. >> let me -- do you think that the military operation is assisting you in pushing or persuading the taliban to come to the negotiating table? >> correct. that was the -- the overall strategy, and now the momentum is such that we want to take the full advantage of that. >> in the areas where you feel the military operations have successfully pushed back the taliban, if the united states forces were to be withdrawn right now, do you think the taliban would return to those areas, those provinces and cities and towns? >> well, we have full confidence on our security forces, national army and also national police
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forces. they are doing great with the support of our international coalition partners. and now the number is increasing and also the quality and the training that they received and also the equipment that they receive. but we still need to focus more on their training and their equipment. >> just one more question on military matters. the use of drones has been necessary, according to the united states military, to push back not only al qaeda but also the most militant parts of the taliban. and yet we know that there are going to almost inevitably be civilian casualties when you use drone attacks, as the united states has been doing. president karzai at different times has been intensely critical of the drone attacks and threatened to throw the united states out at one point. what is your current state and current opinion about the use of
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drone attacks? do you support it? do you understand it? are you 100% behind the united states when it comes to the use of these drones? >> well, the president raised the civilian casualty several times, a, because he's saying that we should focus more on the safe haven where the terrorists receive their financial means, equipment, and also their training and that's the main cause of the terrorist activities. and b, he's saying because the more we do the civilian casualty there is possibility that we'll lose the support of our people and also the opposition forces may take advantage of that. and that ultimately will undermine our main objectives, our main afghan government


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