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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  September 7, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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for people to cause these earthquakes to happen is unsettling. >> reporter: experts say the quakes would be small and unlikely to cause any damage. still, it's yet another example of why this drought is causing so much stress to both the land and the mental well being of nearly an entire state. dan simons, cnn, orville, california. good evening, everyone, you're in the cnn newsroom, i'm poppy harlow joining you from new york. in three days, president obama says we will know how he plans to, in his words, systematically degrade the militant group that calls itself isis. without giving details though today, the president said he intends to hurt the group economically and at the same time, those air strikes will continue. and the president says when this new phase is enacted, do not expect a replay of the iraq war.
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>> this is not gonna be an announcement about u.s. ground troops. this is not the equivalent of the iraq war. what this is similar to the kinds of counterterrorism campaigns that we have been engaging in consistently over the last five, six, seven years. >> and he said several times in the interview, no american boots on the ground. i want to go straight to the white house. that's where we find our erin mcpike. the president's message today, erin, sharply contrasting with those remark he was criticized for by many saying, look, the u.s. does not yet have a strategy in terms of tackling isis. how are key politicians on both sides responding to what the president said? >> certainly applauding him from moving forward and getting on board this but listen who how california's dianne feinstein put it on "state of the union" this morning. >> i want to congratulate the president. he is now on the offense.
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i think that this is a major change in how isis is approached. it is overdue, but the president is now there and i think it's the right thing for america and hopefully, our partners will be, aggressive with us. >> reporter: now, some members of congress are urging him to seek congressional approval on whatever it is that he proposes, but it's still unclear whether or not he plans to do that, poppy. >> you know, but it's interesting, too, i mean, so, you also had senator mark rubio of florida coming out and saying american foreign policy is in the hands of someone who does not know what he is doing. has plenty of critics on this as well? >> reporter: oh, absolutely, but we are seeing republicans and democrats alike saying that they want him to seek congressional approval, but there have been critics all the way through. there's no doubt about that, especially from senators like lindsay graham, john mccain, but everyone is looking forward to the fine print of the strategy, as he plans to lay it out on
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wednesday. >> and another moment that stood out, certainly in this interview that the president did with "meet the press," is talking about the optics of him going and playing golf shortly after addressing the nation, talking about the beheading of james foley by isis. what did the president say? how did he react to that? >> reporter: poppy, did he admit that it looked bad. here's how he put it, in his own words. >> but there's no doubt that after having talked to the families, where it was hard for me to hold back tears listening to the pain that they were going through, after the statement that i made, that, you know, i should have anticipated the optics. you know, that's part of the job. >> reporter: now, he does golf almost every saturday. he did yesterday after the white
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house confirmed that they were delaying action on immigration reform, but we have been seeing a lot more candor from the president in recent week, poppy. >> didn't he say something about wanting a vacation from us? >> he absolutely did. but you know what, president obama has made that clear, basically for the entirety of his presidency i would say, poppy. >> yeah, you don't get a vacation from the press as president, but it was a fascinating interview to watch. erin mcpike, thanks so much. a crease fire between russia and ukraine is still holding, at least for the moment. this after a deadly attack has put ukraine back on edge, three days into this latest attempt at peace. cnn's reza sayah has details from kiev. >> reporter: when you have a fragile cease-fire, obviously, the first thing you want to see is peace and calm but that simply hasn't been the case in parts of the conflict zone in southeastern ukraine. we have seen several instances of weapons being fired and shellings and that obviously raises questions about the
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durability of this cease-fire. the first significant flare up came last night around 10:30 p.m., right outside the critical port city of mariupal, the past week, there's been a tense standoff on one side, poor pro-russian rebels, the other side, ukrainian forces and volunteers protecting the city. there was shelling at this location that destroyed a gas station and injured several people. a cnn crew was at this very same scene this morning where they witnessed more mortar fire, more gunfire, several more people were injured and a 33-year-old woman was killed, the first fatality during this cease-fire. the cnn crew managed to escape. troops and bystanders who were there managed to flee as well. in other locations of the conflict zone, more instances of shelling and firing. it's not clear who's doing the shooting. both sides are blaming one another, which makes it very difficult to figure out what's happening. we should point out that on both sides of this conflict, there
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are radical elements who may not abide by the chain of command and who may want to sabotage the cease-fire, not clear if that's what's happening, but certainly could be a possibility. these are all troubling developments, also seen some positive developments. neither side has declared that the cease-fire is dead and on sunday, russian president vladimir putin spoke on the phone with ukrainian president, petro poroshenko, they both seemingly said they are committed to following through with this cease-fire and getting to more discussions to address all those core issues, core demands that have yet to be resolved. >> reza sayah, thank you very much for that. we appreciate it. also, if she were here to see it, she would have been pleased, i think. joan rivers got the hollywood sendoff that she would have wanted, complete with a star-studded lineup. whoopi goldberg, donald trump, diane sawyer, barbara walters, just some of the celebrity friends at the private service here today in new york.
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rivers died thursday in new york's mount sinai hospital a week after she suffered cardiac and respiratory arrest during a medical procedure at a clinic. our alexander field has more on the legend, the comic legend's final good-bye. [ bagpipes ] ♪ >> reporter: a stylish sendoff complete with a bagpipe salute for the original keep of comedy, joan rivers. her daughter, melissa, and grandson, cooper, saying good-bye surrounded by thousands. >> this is such a private moment and i think that melissa has handled it with dignity and refinement and the way that the mother, joan, really would want this to be. >> it was a-list all the way. it was like very regal, very elegant. >> reporter: but not without laughter, a lot of it. >> moment on howard stern started off the whole event by talking about how dry joan's vagina was. it is such a classic example of how she could take a very sad process and make light of it. >> reporter: hugh jackman
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performed a song, lifting spirits. >> it was like a revival by the time we were done. but everybody in there was a cathartic moment, allowed us to let it go. >> reporter: river was remembered with words from her daughter, melissa and her closest friends, among them, the columnist cindy adams and debra norville. >> oh, my god, it was -- it was joan all the way. the sanctuary is filled with white orchids, you can't see the altar because there's so many flowers. she planned every step of it. >> reporter: new york city's gay men's chorus thrilling the crowd singing "big spender," donald trump, whoopi goldberg, bravo's andy cone and audra mcdonald performing inside. media stars filling the pews, diane sawyer, barbara walters, kathie lee gifford and hoda kotb. fellow funny lady, kathy griffin, also there to send off a comedy legend.
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>> she influenced all come immediaten yas, not just women come immediaten yas, she stayed relevant into her 80s, which just doesn't happen in show business. and i admire her. this he was like my comedy aunt. if there's a god, i hope he or she is very well dressed today. >> reporter: joan rivers, "fashion police" co-stars came together. >> joan would say it went off exactly as i planned it, exactlyize envisioned it, it happened sooner than i wanted it, but it was perfect when it happened. >> reporter: designer carolina herrera was escorted by her husband. >> howard said he didn't know if he wanted to live in a world without joan rivers. i feel the same way. >> reporter: a celebrity-studded sendoff fitting for a star among them. >> no question about that. thank you, alexandra field for filing that report. here at 730 eastern time, cnn's spotlight on the legend herself, learn about her life, career, highs, lows, all tonight, 7:30 eastern, right here on cnn.
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next in the newsroom, the u.s. and iran have butted heads for years but could we end up on the same team, at least in the war against eyes is? we are going to discuss that in depth. also, another nba owner trying to explain some very offensive comments. and they apparently will cost him his team. he is selling the hawks. we will talk about it next. i got this. [thinking] is it that time? the son picks up the check? [thinking] i'm still working. he's retired. i hope he's saving.
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the fight against isis may be changing some very strained global relationships. court u.s. and iran. now, the two countries find themselves with a common goal, degrading isis, publicly, of course, both iran and the u.s. firmly deny cooperating against isis. our michael holmes has more on iran's influence and the bizarre bonds, if you will, emerging, in this battle against the terror group. ♪ [ keyboard clacking ] >> isis is an existential threat in many twice many people. iran, of course, is a shia nation. isis is a militant sunni organization. you have got shia iran standing there watching shias being beheaded, in some cases, crucified. iran does not want to see that
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happen. and the u.s., obviously, doesn't want to see it happen either. [ keyboard clicking ] iran has had a very big role in iraqi politics, pretty much since the fall of saddam hussein. a lot of the major political parties, the political players, have all got iranian backing, they were in iran under saddam hussein. remember, saddam hussein was a brutal sunni dictator. a lot of the major shia political figures were in iran during his rule. they all came back and started taking a role in politics and in government. in iraq, iran never let go of that influence. they certainly do have advisers there who are helping out, particularly the shiite militias. you got the iraqi army, but you also have the shiite militias, which have been around for years. they are very powerful, too. they are well armed, they are well trained, they are well funded, by iran.
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[ typing continues ] we saw when it comes to iran nuclear ambitions, the u.s. government under barack obama more willing to engage, if you'd like, when it came to iran and especially under their new leader, rouhani. more -- a willingness to engage. when it comes to iraq and isis, you have seen a very pragmatic style of iran's governance, where you have got the u.s. bombing targets inside iraq and iran pretty much saying nothing and really agreeing with it because they have a common enemy. so, you wouldn't go saying that iran and the u.s. are best friends now, but in this situation, they are willing to work together. when it comes to isis, it is extraordinary how universal the opposition to this group is, in
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the region and outside the region. you know, up is down and down is up. you have some bizarre relationships, not just the u.s. and iran, but an extraordinary where you have got the saudis and iranians who traditionally have been fierce opponents, sunni/saudi, shia, iran, have their own proxy wars and conflicts going on around the place, in syria, for example. you had a situation just recently where iran had a diplomat in saudi arabia discussing a unified approach to isis. isis is a threat to iran. it is also a threat to sunni saudi arabia. the caliphate that isis wants to set up doesn't end with the turf they have got now. it includes all of syria. it includes lebanon. it includes jordan. it includes israel. it includes saudi arabia. >> and a fascinating piece by our michael holmes, wither going to talk about it a lot after a quick break. more on is isis a big enough
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threat to really get the united states and iran to cooperate on this? that's next. slams into your brand new car. one second it wasn't there and the next second... boom! you've had your first accident. now you have to make your first claim. so you talk to your insurance company and... boom! you're blindsided for a second time. they won't give you enough money to replace your brand new car. don't those people know you're already shaken up? liberty mutual's new car replacement will pay for the entire value of your car plus depreciation. call and for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. switch to liberty mutual insurance and you could save up to $423 dollars. call liberty mutual for a free quote today at see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance.
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one bizarre effect of the spread of isis is the unlikely alliances that may be forming to fight them. as the u.s. gets more, aggressive, it is not unthinkable that iran could join alongside the united states. and christopher dick stey is a former editor for the middle east. we were talking about these alliances before the break with michael holmes and saudi allian alliances. we will talk about that. how crazy is it to think they could be working on this and how far would it go in terms of intelligence sharing? >> we have seen tactical alliness i can'ts a town called amerily, a shia/turkmen town, under siege by isis, broken in the last few years by combination of iranian-trained
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militias, iraqi government forces. years by combination of iranian-trained militias, iraqi government forces. the head of the force of iran, the guy who helped create hezbollah, on the top of our terrorist enemies for a long time, he shows up in amerly, i think a difficult alliance and the american government is sensitive. >> you think it is going to happen? >> i thank you a lot of tactical alliances, tactical cooperation. i don't think there's going to be any overall decision at the top we are gonna go into battle together. >> when you think about this as
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leaders, do as u.s. government, and you look at the threat that isis pose and you look at the threat that iran poses, are they weighing those two in deciding how far to go here? >> sure they are. everybody understands that isis is a threat. what isis has done, the minute omar al baghdadi says i am the calif, we are the leaders of islam, he put himself in opposition to every muslim government in the world. we are legitimate, the caliphate, you are not. they all want to get rid of him. >> also think about how much land isis controls now in syria and iraq. there's no indication that they have any intention of stopping at a certain amount of territory controlled. >> no. i think michael was exactly right when he said they are interested in every holy shrine in islam, every muslim city in the neighborhood hurricane especially mecca and medina and that scares the hell out of them. >> the president this morning on his interview on "meet the press" talked about needing a coalition, a strong backing by others in the region to be able to effectively combat isis,
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saying we don't have the resources to"occupy." talk about a sustainable strategy, meaning the boots on the ground have to be there, but not u.s. boots on the ground. who is the most promising partner now? >> the most promising partner is jordan, but jordan doesn't have the resources to occupy but the kind of army that can go in and spearhead a lot of action if it has to, certainly a place where troops can train, they can prepare for battle, but ultimately, it's gonna have to be big, muslim countries large populations and large armies that are going to have to carry out this occupation. >> you said that turkey is key. >> i think turkey is absolutely key. turkey -- but the muslim world, even the sunni muslim world terribly divided. turkey and qatar on one side, the saudis on another side. saudi and egypt are on another side. so, there's all these complications and one reason when president obama talks about strategy, he has been very cautious, because he doesn't want to say we have got a great coalition of all these countries and we are gonna pull them
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together when he knows they are not together. >> clearly calling on them today in the interview. at the same point, he also said, look, they -- those in the region are at risk here, potentially more the as i rock, some would say than the united states. >> they are. >> is this a -- you know -- you have to remind them that we need to you get involved? >> well, pop pick, the problem is they know they are at risk from isis but they also know they are at risk from each other. it's really -- like everybody's going out and saying we are all gonna fight isis, all got their hands behind their backs and everyone has a dagger in his hand and everybody in the neighborhood knows that. >> can we compare for a moment fighting isis versus fighting al qaeda? everyone -- it took years with al qaeda and al qaeda is still a threat, clearly the administration said this, going to take time with isis what is different tactically about taking on isis? >> a couple of things. isis has an amount of territory under its control that is
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infinitely greater than anything al qaeda ever tried to do. >> huge. >> secondly, although we used to talk about billionaire osama bin laden and all the money of al qaeda, it pales by comparison with isis. >> a number of oil fields, banks, gold, cash, you name it, they are selling it on the black market. >> the level of their artments is no way compared to al qaeda. al qaeda is like guns and a few bombs. >> compared. >> and box cutters, as we remember on 9/11. these guys have anti-aircraft guns. they have shoulder-launch missiles. they have tanks. they have tanks near baghdad. >> there are those who have also argued, we are going to have peter bergen on later in the program, do not overblow the threat that isis poses to the homeland, to the united states. do i think it can be overblown? >> i don't think it can be overblown, partly because of the political situation in this country. it doesn't take a 9/11 to divide this country or make this country hysterical anymore. little -- little terrorist attack does do a lot. and already, we have seen people
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we know have been with isis not only coming back to europe but carrying out a terrorist attack. a gay named meti nemush attacked a holocaust memorial in brussels and killed people. >> yesterday, the news broke they believe also, the french journalist said that is my captor. >> confirmed by a number of people. >> the fear is them being trained and working alongside isis, being part of isis and then going back into western europe or here to the united states. >> yeah, you can create a lot of chaos with minimal means. listen, with a few shotguns, you can kill a lot of people. we see that happen a lot in this country. if you do it in this country and do it in the name of isis that changes the quality of you it completely. >> former cia operative bob baer saying to men at program yesterday, talking about the lack of u.s. intelligence on isis, you have had a lot -- a lot of people -- people talking about that being a big concern. are you -- are you concerned -- do you believe that the united states has nearly enough intelligence on isis? >> you can in ever have enough
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intelligence, especially a group like this. it's hard to imagine that a group that has accepted so many people into its ranks from european countries has not also had a few pie spies infiltrated into its ranks which raises the question of are they going to begin executing people they suspect of spying on them and it looks like they are already doing that. >> wow, well, thank you for the expertise coming in. we appreciate you spending part of your sunday with us. >> my pleasure. >> thank you, christopher. fascinating conversation. we appreciate it. also coming up next, the controlling stake in another nba team is about to go on the block. it is for sale. again, an owner finds himself apologizing for comments about race that he should have never made and he admits that. we will discuss. ! [ laughs ] -i'm flo! -i know! i'm going to get you your rental car. this is so ridiculous. we're going to manage your entire repair process from paperwork to pickup, okay, little tiny baby? your car is ready, and your repairs are guaranteed for as long as you own it. the progressive service center --
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see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. the nba facing a new controversy involving racially tinged remarks.. the hawks owner says he will sell his stake in the team after news of an e-mail he wrote two years ago complaining about the hawks' failure to attract more white fans. this e-mail surfaced, actually released publicly just as the nba put aside or tried to move past the controversy over those racist remarks by former l.a. clippers' own other, donald sterling. bring in cnn reporter, nick valencia, from atlanta, on this story.
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you know, this -- what is fascinating about this, it's very disturbing to read this e-mail, i know you're going to go through some of it for us. >> yeah. >> he self-reported this to the nba. >> yeah, poppy, we will get into more about the contents of what was said in the e-mail to give viewers context how this came about, that e-mail written by co-owner bruce levinson was addressed to hawks leadership back in 2012. as you mentioned, poppy, did he self-report this. what we don't know and what is still unclear is what the events were that led to him making this decision. we do know that the nba have launched their own independent investigation and that it's been reported, levinson perhaps didn't want to drag his family through the scrutiny that they would have faced during this investigation. so on sunday, combs out and says he is going to sell his stake in the team. we did reach out to levinson for comment, a man that answered the phone at his maryland home said he wasn't talking to the media right now, but let's show you a little bit about what was in this e-mail. starts off by blaming the low ticket sales for the atlanta hawks primarily on the majority
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black fans. goes on to say, "my theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build the significant season ticket base." he goes on to say, "please don't get me wrong, nothing threatening going on in the arena back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but i think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority." now, some might find this whole situation that levinson's found himself in a little bit ironic, when you take a listen to this sound back earlier this year when levinson spoke to cnn's wolf blitzer on "the situation room", levinson being one of the first owners in the nba to come out and condemn the comments of former nba own other, donald sterling. >> we quickly, we loudly, we clearly rejected. the fans spoke up. the players spoke up. our nba business partners spoke up. and every nba owner spoke up.
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nobody said this was okay. >> comments, poppy, were made between when this e-mail first surfaced back in 2012 and when it was reported that he was selling the team. so a bit of iron innic there, poppy? >> you know, in the statement that he released today, he said, "if you're angry about what i wrote, you should be. i'm angry at myself, too." so many questions as to why two years later, he self-reported this, what caused that. rachel nichols and i were talking earlier was it just something he believed was the right thing to doer was this going to come out? we don't know. what do you know, nick, is how fan there is are responding. >> the atlanta falcons had a game, we were based -- cnn center based next to the phillips arena and the georgia dome. i went outside to ask atlanta-based fan what is they thought about bruce leavenson's e-mail. take a listen to what they told me. >> that's ridiculous. ridiculous. >> you seethy truth?
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>> i see all fans, regardless of nation nationality, age, everyone comes together that is what it is about. >> feel uncomfortable at games? >> no. no, i haven't. i think maybe they attract more to that crowd, but i don't -- i'm not drawn away because of it. >> now, what some fans did speculate and some on social media and beyond speculated is this is a ploy by leavenson to try to increase the value of his team in order for him to make more money. we saw donald sterling make a lot of money on the sale of his team. when he bought the team back in 2004, it was worth around $200 million. today, a decade later, and seven playoff appearances later, that value is around $425 million. >> i think it's -- you know, rachel nichols and i were talking about this earlier, nick, hard to imagine someone would for any reason would want to have something like this come out. so, you know, people still have a lot of questions about why. >> so many questions. >> he came forward.
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but it puts him in a very negative light. he says he is mad at himself for doing it, and never should have written those words. nick valencia, appreciate the reporting. thank you. >> you bet. a huge moment in tennis history, folks, at the u.s. open just happened here in new york. serena williams won her third straight u.s. open, beating caroline wozniacki in straight sets with today's win. look at that joy. today's win, williams scored her 18th career grand slam title, tying her for fourth on the all-time list with chris evert and martina navratilova. earlier, twin brothers, also amazing, bob and mike brian, won the men's doubles finals in straight sets. today's win gives the brian brothers their 100, 100th career men's doubles title. congratulations to all of them. what a day, what a beautiful day for the u.s. open here in new york. coming up next here in the newsroom, why would a man from britain travel to syria, climb aboard a truck filled with
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go to ziprecruiter.com/offer5. extremist groups in syria are often comprised of a variety of individuals sympathetic to a cause and now we are learning that the first british-born man known to have completed a suicide mission in syria came from a town just southeast of london.
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our karl penhaul met with his relatives and his friends try to find out what could have motivated this 41-year-old father of three to head to the battle zone and join the militants there. >> reporter: tea is for a son who never came home. happy at times, british-born abdul majid with his first bicycle in the 1 970s. fast forward to february, posing with jihadi fighters moments before his suicide mission in syria. >> allah akbar. >> reporter: he phoned his brother, hafiz, in england a week before. >> he said he loved us all very, very much and he said, i know you're looking after the family and you're doing a very, very, very good job and, you know, if i've done any wrongs in my life, that i hope maybe you can forgive me for those wrongs. >> reporter: majid was born
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outside london, pakistani parents with what appears to be a normal british childhood. family snaps, awkward school uniforms, the new car, and relatives who fought in the british army. here in his hometown, crawley, media investigations link majid to a muslim hate preacher and a muslim radical convicted of a terror plot. but he was never accused of any crime. >> he wasn't as other speculation jihadists a man who was born to fight, a man who wanted to commit terror on the streets. >> reporter: last summer, majid, who drove a highway maintenance truck for a living, went to syria on this aid convoy organized by british muslim charity. his wife and three children stayed home, friend raheed mahmoud went with him. >> he raised the issue, asked me how i felt about it. and i said let's just do it. >> reporter: photos show majid volunteering in refugee camps,
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so just why would the man in the minnie mouse ears become a suicide bomber? >> the whole is he may have seen the stories, he would have heard out there, i think that would have gave him the courage and the strength to actually to do his best to help as many people as he can. >> reporter: mahmoud says they met syrian rebels, including isis and al qaeda-affiliated radicals in the camps. >> isis would help, but you would -- you would hear of people swapping from group to grou group, unsure of what to fight with. >> reporter: manning mood said he had no idea majid had been recruited. his suicide mission was commanded by chechens who had recently defected from isis to al-nusra, the al qaeda faction. >> my tongue burns. >> he was obviously at peace. he had obviously -- the idea wasn't troubling him in any way.
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and put that down to faith really, an idea of where, you know, he's going. [ explosion ] >> reporter: this is the video of majid's attack on aleppo president when president assad's bruceal regime was reportedly torturing hundreds of prisoners. >> we feel no shame whatsoever on what he did, his intentions were bona fide and they were true to the heart. >> reporter: but the uk government did not share that view. >> as soon as we took one breath, the police were knocking on the door with their search warrant, which is under the prevention of terrorism act. >> reporter: a complex portrait of how a british boy became a suicide bomber and a mother who just can't believe her son is gone. >> i don't know. god doesn't know. i don't know. >> reporter: karl penhaul, cnn, london. >> wow. our thanks to karl penhaul for that. coming up next, we are gonna
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talk with peter bergen about whether the isis threat is being overblown in terms of the threat to the homeland, to the we were world. he thinks it may be. why? we will discuss next. [ mom ] with life insurance, we're not just insuring our lives... we're helping protect his. [ female announcer ] everyone has a moment when tomorrow becomes real. transamerica. transform tomorrow. ugh. heartburn. did someone say burn? try alka seltzer reliefchews. they work just as fast and are proven to taste better than tums smoothies assorted fruit. mmm. amazing. yeah, i get that a lot. alka seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief. and for many, it's a struggle to keep your a1c down. so imagine, what if there was a new class of medicine that
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isis' main objective is to create an islamic state, large islamic state half a world away from the united states. we have seen what isis is capable of executing, crucifying, beheading its enemies, innocent journalists among them, but does isis truly pose a direct threat to the homeland, to the united states, to the western world? today, president obama talked about that in his interview on "meet the press." i want to bring in peter bergen to discuss this. thank you very much for being with us, he is our national security analyst and covered this very closely.
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ed president talking about the the three isis poses and go after them. hear more about the plan wednesday when he addresses the nation, in your op ed, you say two thirds of those surveyed in the recent pew poll thought isis is the major threat to this country. you question if it really is. why? >> eyes is is a highly unpleasant organization and together with the al qaeda affiliate that is fighting syria and iraq, control more territory than other group us in this history, they have brutal tactics. does that mean a threat to the united states? a dozen americans gone to join isis, a dozen too many. more many a one-way ticket exseen two americans who died, americans going of over don't have battlefield experience, a very dangerous war.
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seen an american from florida commit suicide on behalf of an al qaeda affiliate. seen americans go to somalia, at least 30. many never came back if they did, they were arrest $in the united states and other countries in the west. huge government effort to track the folks and identify them. not that there's no threat, we have to scope the scope the scales of threat, sitting in lon done or paris where 500 fighters have gone, paris, 700 frenchmen have gone to syria and seen a frenchman conduct a terrorist operation in brussels on may 24th, killing four people. so not that there was no threat, but we have to kind of be careful about how we describe the threat. a big threat to iraq and syria, some kind of threat to european countries and a threat us to, not anything imminent, the president in his interview today made that point and so did
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general different circumstance the chairman of the joint chiefs and others. >> peter, i think some people would say what is the -- wouldn't you rather rather overemphasize the risk than underemphasize it? >> yeah, we want to describe things accurately, and the fact that isis fighters will come back and attack the united states that's a serious problem now, that just isn't true. you don't want to underestimate the threat, say the sky is falling when the sky is not falling. >> yep. you talk about this and you say in the op ed, at the end, you say syria can very well end up being a graveyard for americans fighting there rather than a launchpad for attacks on the united states. however, the rapid movement and advancement territory grab that isis made in syria and iraq shows us what a force they are to be reckoned with. defense secretary chuck hagel calling them an army, saying we better be taking them seriously. when it comes to fighting off isis what does the united states have to do differently than with
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al qaeda? >> well, with al qaeda, we launched a very successful campaign, but it was based on us having a lot of intelligence, it took a lot of time to gather that intelligence. you look at the drone campaign in pakistan or yemen it has decimated these groups but that intelligence doesn't come overnight, poppy, i think that's part of the equation here. our -- our ability to understand what's going on in syria right now is very limited, our ability to understand what's going on in iraq is slightly better, we have had an historical presence there and the government wants us to be there, but gathering the intelligence in he is to make the campaign effective is not something that is going to happen overnight, but that is the most important thing for an effective campaign, whether that's drones, people on the ground, air strikes, whatever, if you don't have the intelligence, it's not going to be effective. >> that has been a big question, the u.s. intelligence that is -- that we need more of in terms of isis. very quickly before you go, some have said that we need to see air strikes against isis and syria. we will see if that is part of the president's plan when he lay
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it is out on wednesday to the american people. do you think that that is what is needed? >> i think the shorte eranswer yes, defeat them or degrade them seriously. for that he will need a congressional authorization, not going to happen necessarily easily but is the right thing to do. >> peter bergen, thank you, appreciate the expertise. >> thank you. well, coming up, we've reported on houses threatened by hurricanes and wildfires, but in hawaii, some homeowners are bracing for something pretty unbelievable. we will talk about it, next. you do a lot of things great.
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people living near hawaii's kilauea volcano are on edge at this moment. the hawaiian volcano observatory has issued warning for a beach community point big island which could be cut off by an advancing lava floe. the lava has come within a mile of the subdivision. our jennifer gray reports. >> reporter: it could be a desperate race between time and mother nature. thousands of people living near the kilauea volcano on hawaii's big island are keeping a close eye on this a slow moving lava floe northeast of the come rain is know. within a mile of their neighborhood and the lava threatens to destroy their homes and close off the highway. the main escape route out of the danger zone. there's been no evacuation
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ordered yet, but officials are telling people to be prepared. >> our job is just to make sure that should the lava cross 130, wither prepared with alternate access routes and number two, as we have to evacuate, that people are evacuated as safely and orderly as possible. >> reporter: lava from an opening in the volcano came flowing out on june 27th and has been creeping across a heavily wooded area, but predicting where it will go next is proving difficult. >> it depends on the rate of speed that the floe actually moves and how close it is to the subdivision. as we've seen over the history of this eruption, it has had spurts as well as significant stalls. >> it's difficult to assess when and where the flow might go. we have a general sense that it's going to go to the northeast. if it stays out of the crack systems, the cracks are the real difficult part to judge. >> reporter: one controversial idea to stem the flow involves diversion, or taking action to redirect the lava. some residents want that idea
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considered but others say you can't stop mother nature. or pele, the hawaiian volcano goddess. we live in the one place thmoth is still existing, on the scientific fact it is lava. you cannot change the direction. it's mother nature. >> reporter: jennifer gray, cnn, atlanta. good evening, you're in the cnn newsroom, i'm poppy harlow joining us from new york. president obama will reveal his strategy to defeat isis this week. the president plans to outline that in his speech to the nation on wednesday. he says that the united states is preparing to go on the offensive in the "next phase" of this fight against isis. our erin mcpike is at the white house. >> reporter: pop pick, the president has been clear, no boots on the ground in iraq or syria. listen to how he explained that

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