tv CNN Newsroom CNN January 31, 2015 1:00pm-1:31pm PST
deliver, and really sabotage its relations with japan and other countries internationally. >> thank you very much for your reporting on this tonight and throughout. stand by. wie going to continue to cover this here on cnn. the tragic breaking news. let me reset this all for our viewers. breaking news here on cnn. i'm poppy harlow. 4:00 eastern. we begin with breaking tragic news. the latest development to the hostage situation overseas. the islamic extremist group isis releasing a video a short time ago that appears to show the beheading of a japanese man, a journalist they were holding captive. officials in tokyo and in washington are working to confirm the authenticity of the video that isis claims is 47-year-old kenji goto being killed. he and another japanese man were captured in syria late last year. they were shown alive together by isis first as a ransom demand isis demanding $200 million for their release.
countryman haruna yukawa was early earlier executed. it was hoped goto would be released through a hostage swap. that is not the case. nick robertson what can you tell us? >> reporter: the government had to be engaged with isis for the release of their pilot. what is more apparent is isis continues to play whatever card it can for its own advantage to raise their profile, and in particular this case make trouble for the jordanian government try to undermine the jordanian government. there are so many reasons to do this. jordan is a strong ally of the west in fighting isis. think do have trouble in their own country with al qaeda sympathizers with isis sympathizers. if isis can energize those people that will help
destabilize jordan perhaps remove jordan from the fight against isis tactically that's something they'd like to see happen. so at the moment anything that they can do to highlight and continue to profile this current issue centered around the jordanian pilot -- and tonight that appears to be including the beheading of kenji goto because that thrusts this issue back front and center again now, what has happened to the jordanian pilot, will the jordanians continue to negotiate and release this iraqi tribeswoman, the female suicide bomber from 2005. so at the moment the picture that this creates and the view from this part of the world is that isis is playing the card that it has with no regard to the fact that it may run out of hostages to behead. it's playing them for maximum effect at the moment. and the moment it seems very much aimed at destabilizing jordan and trying to weaken it
in the fight against isis. >> and jordan being a key ally of the united states in this fight. nic robertson, stand by for us. we're getting -- we're trying to turn some video for you of japanese officials speaking just moments ago there about this apparent beheading. as soon as we vet we will bring that to you. let me go back to jurmanah jurmanah kuratchi in ahman. could you you'd please speak to what nic was saying isis trying to destabilize jordan here and wondering if they were real hi sincere in saying we will release these two hostages the jordanian pilot and japanese journalist if you give us back this female convicted terrorist. >> reporter: that is absolutely been the feeling here poppy, that the only reason that isis brought up sajida al-rishawi was after japan had set up this crisis center here to try and negotiate the release of its own hostages. of course choosing jordan
because the country is believed to have those indirect channels here that it has been using to try to secure the release of its own hostage, the jordanian pilot, and because of its position regionally and the ability to talk to intermediaries from the region to try to secure their release. once that happened once the japanese set up that crisis center here that is when we saw these demands change. this is when sajida al-rishawi and that demand for her release from prison really was what isis was asking for. this is why a lot of people here have been asking whether this is a genuine demand or not. is it trying to undermine the jordanian government embarrass them locally here this will cause -- this has caused a lot of pressure on the government from the tribes. the tribe of the pilot this is an influential tribe in this country. they are the backbone the tribes in jordan are the backbone of the jordanian monarchy. and really, this would cause
some trouble in the country. and of course internationally really to try and embarrass the country that is part of the anti-isis coalition with the united states. so a very tough situation that jordan has been in. but poppy, it's very important to note here that we do not know what isis is demanding for the release of the jordanian pilot. this is not something that has been publicly announced by the group. >> right. and we will recall of course that the jordanian government said look we're willing to negotiate but we need proof of life. we need proof of life. this dragged out for days with isis not responding with any proof of life. jomanah, thank you for that. before i get to this video from japanese officials, i do just want to remind our viewers who kenji goto was. a husband, a father. a journalist who left japan to risk his life to report on the atrocities in syria the civil war going on there, the refugees saying he believed he would be safe because he wasn't
an american or british citizen. saying he could go and he felt according to his mother that he wanted to save the lives of children in war zones and tell their stories. let's listen in to what japanese officials just had to say moments ago. [ speaking japanese ] >> okay. my apologies for that. it appears we don't have a translation for that. however, we're working on it. we will tell you what they said in just a moment. as we do that let me go straight to will ripley who joins us live in tokyo. will i'm not sure if you were - able to hear that press conference live as it was going on in japan. if you were what did they say?
if not can you bring us up-to-date on the latest from there? >> reporter: i'm going to put you on the line with our producer because she actually was just listening to that press conference and writing down her translation. can you tell the u.s. audience what the chief cabinet secretary just said. >> chef secretary said that barbaric and absolutely despicable terrorist act conducted by the terrorists. so we have a strong anger and we are definitely criticize them. >> yuko thanks. poppy, she is our ace producer here who's been monitoring very closely. and of course this now is dominating the headlines on all of the japanese networks. i just arrived here in the office a few second ago and i'm looking at every single japanese channel showing video of kenji
goto. nhk showing the video he made on the turkish-syria border shortly before he crossed in october on that reporting trip where he thought he was going to make it back alive. he acknowledged it was a dangerous situation. but he said poppy, as you pointed out before he felt that being a japanese citizen, that gave him a bit more safety to travel throughout this region. the isis video really has made clear that that is no lomger the case for japanese citizens. in fact there was a threat in the video that the executioner in the propaganda video said the same knife that he used purportedly to kill kenji goto would be used to inflict carnage on any japanese citizen in the region who encounters isis. so japan has decided to join this coalition, to fight isis, and now japan also like the united states like britain, has suffered the death of two of its citizens as a result of taking a
stand against this brutal terror group, poppy. >> absolutely. will ripley, thank you to you and your producer for that. stand by as we continue to cover this breaking news for our viewers here in the united states and around the world. let me reset for you the breaking news is that a 47-year-old father of two, a husband, an extraordinary journalist kenji goto has been beheaded by isis. let me bring in all our players you can see who we're talking to around the world as we cover this. jomananah, aaron mcpike, tom fuentes, bob bair chris voss former fbi hostage negotiator our senior international correspondent nic robertson joining us from saudi arabia. let me go to you, nic. you have covered terrorist organizations extensively. you have covered isis. do you believe it isis was genuine in its pledge to release this japanese hostage and also the jordanian pilot if indeed they did get that female terrorist back? or do you believe it was all
just playing into the propaganda that they have been spouting and that they were intent on beheading this hostage as well? >> reporter: i think they were intent on making propaganda they could out of this. i think they are trying to destabilize jordan in its resolve to fight against isis by dividing and conquering that is by trying to divide the tribes which is jomanah has so well said the backbone of support, the backbone of the army the military forces in jordan that are at the forefront, the spearhead of this fight inside and in the skies above syria. so i think they're trying to weaken the jordanian resolve. and i think we should expect in the coming days for isis to continue to try to push this issue of a potential prisoner swap. they've found it is going to be lucrative for them in terms of
getting a profile, in terms of getting a lot of time on the airwaves. and this will only help serve their purpose to further put pressure on the jordanian government. what will be interesting now that they've killed kenji goto is the card to play next it appears, at the moment will be the jordanian pilot. will they release a video or a picture of him? will that amount to a proof of life? their strategy may play out over a number of days to do this. because it seems to be poppy, a strategy that's giving them what they want which is publicity. and i think they care not whether they make a pledge and whether they break it. they want the maximum publicity and the maximum instability for jordan right now. >> no question about that. let me go to chris voss former fbi hostage negotiator. as nic robertson says clearly it seems the card that they will -- isis may try to play next is this jordanian pilot,
right? moaz -- this jordanian pilot who's being held. and i just want to note that he's not the only one. you also have john cantley, a british journalist being held there used in propaganda videos. you also have a 26-year-old female american aid worker being held by isis. what do you do? >> i think to start with some of the characterization is what's being described as important. what they're doing to these noncombatants, kenji goto who is in fact my view a hero these are murders. these aren't executions. they need to be looked at as murders as opposed to executions. they didn't accuse him of any crime. secondly i think what's going to happen next is we're going to see some heavily redacted videos of the jordanian pilot. they're not going to provide proof of life because they probably can't. and i think jordan is well aware of that. so are going to continue to try to play this out without actually playing any legitimate cards on the table.
>> so what should the u.s. and our allies the jordanian government, do and should they change at all their strategy especially the jordanian government right now trying to get their pilot back. >> welk the jordanian government's strategy is sound so far. they want proof of life. they want to have a discussion. they're looking eminently reasonable. and within the region that's sorts of moves makes some local reasonable and honorable. the rest of what the other countries should do is the characterization of this in the media as tom as pointed out and several other as well the payoff here is for what they're getting in the media. they're defining the conversation. everyone else is allowing them to define the conversation and be second movers. so calling the truth as what it really is these are murders. and they're murdering people that haven't been accused of violating any sharia laws or islamic laws if that's the rules they want to play by. north even playing by those
rules. >> bob bair to you, an excellent and very important point, this is a clear murder. they're not being charged or told that they broke any laws whatsoever. it is barbaric. and we are covering it. the media covers it in the western world, the media covers it in the middle east and they make their own propaganda videos about this. >> well poppy, you have to look at it this way. you have to look at it globally this movement. they are getting adherence all over the middle east. even in the sinai there was an attack two days ago with a group that's claiming allegiance to the islamic state. i don't that they have any connections. but these murders and their terms is succeeding. this is pre-islamic cutting the heads off of people. it's tribal in so many ways. and they are in what they believe is an existential war
against damascus. this is a tribal war we don't understand and i think ultimately will fail. but they are marching right ahead with this aimless to us aimless violence and random violence. and i agree with nic and jomanah they want to undermine the monarchy in jordan. the jordanian tribes do not approve war in syria and iraq. and they believe that they can peel them off from the monarchy. i think at the end of the day they won't, but there is a lot of uneasiness in jordan about this war. >> all right, bob, thank you. stand by. i do have a translation of what japanese officials had to say just moments ago. let's listen to that. >> translator: i would like to start the press conference. the terrorist act of bar barism has been committed and we are outraged at this. we would like to say that we are
outraged by this from the outset and from the japanese government we would have the coordinated information gathering, intelligence gathering and also respond to this matter. and i have instructed all the related parties to hold a conference on this matter. >> all right. that is a translation of what the chief cabinet secretary there in japan had to say just moments ago about the tragic murder of a 47-year-old journalist named kenji goto a father. we heard the plea from his wife speaking out for the first time just yesterday for his life to be spared. to you, tom fuente s, what can be done? you still have a jordanian pilot being held. a 26-year-old american aid worker being held. a british journalist john cantley being held and used for propaganda purposes on the part
of isis. does this race the stakes in terms of immediacy in these negotiations? >> i don't think so poppy. they've been going at this they best all along not knowing whether isis was in any way serious about resolving this. if they want to resolve it they don't want to do it in a hurry so they can maintain public attention. i think this is going to play on no matter what jordan wants to do. it's going to play out for a longer period of time before there's any resolution to this. and to talk about jordan jordan is one of the most peaceful countries in the middle east. when these bombings occurred by this woman ten years ago, the reason they call it the 9/11 of jordan is because for decades you've had christians muslims, jews live side by side in jordan in a peaceful way while all of these conflicts raged all over the region. and they prided themselves on the fact that they had this kind of peace and people getting along with each other. so when these bombings occurred at the weddings in 2005 it did
send a shock wave for this to occur on jordan's soil. >> and let's not forget jordan is a place that has been taking in tens of thousands of syrian refugees from the civil war that has been raging there. >> and also poppy, millions of refugees during the war in iraq. so they have taken in refugees now for more than ten years. >> absolutely. thank you very much tom. stay with us. obviously we're going to be covering this all evening here on cnn. to you, will ripley i'd like to talk about the man. it is an atrocity. it is a murder. it is barbaric. but in this painful painful time where we have lost a great japanese citizen, can you tell us a little bit about kenji goto and what he meant to the people of japan? all right. i don't have will ripley. i will tell you what we know and we'll work to get will ripley
back on the line. this is someone according to his friend said that he wasn't scared to go. he felt the need to report the stories of syrian refugees of the people there on the ground. let me go to will ripley who can tell us better. will if you can hear me what i want to do for our viewers is talk about who this man was. a 47-year-old, a father a husband, someone who was incredibly incredibly meaningful to a lot of people there in japan. >> reporter: certainly. and a man that people here in japan have come to know as this crisis has unfolded poppy. as you mentioned, he is a freelance journalist. so he is paid to go and report stories. he's worked with many of the major japanese networks including our cnn affiliate here tvs aji, nhk. by reporting from hot spots, africa middle east places in turmoil, he has so many friends in the tokyo and in the japan
journalism community. i can't tell you this week people i've run into who had lunch with him before he left for syria or had coffee or had been e-mailing with him and talk with him. so this is not somebody who is anything but very well-known. he's a well-known journalist familiar to japanese viewers for his television reports. and yet we're told he never went to these places. he never went to war zones. he wasn't covering the crisis in syria because he was trying to elevate his own career. he went there because he was passionate about the people who were caught in the middle of all these politics the geopolitics, women and children especially who were suffering. he gave his time to organizations like unicef. he would speak to -- when he was back here in japan he would give lectures about the situation and the urgent need for humanitarian assistance. one reason why goto was in the
region given that japan had just pledged or was planning to pledge support, planning to take a bigger role geopolitically in the middle east that's something that kenji goto had been pushing for, talking about. talking about the plight of these people. but at the same time he didn't want to get involved in the politics. he didn't want to take sides. he just wanted to tell the stories of people who needed help innocent people. >> and will there also was some talk about whether part of what he was doing there on the ground was trying to help his fellow japanese citizen who was taken hostage and who was murdered beheaded by isis harunayakawa. >> reporter: his wife confirmed that his mother also confirmed. so the way these men met, haruna ayakawa was not a journalist but someone who had lost his business whose wife had died of cancer. his life was in turmoil. he had attempted suicide.
he wrote about it on his online blog. he actually went to the middle east looking for a new fresh start and was hoping to work as one of these private security contracts. he'd started a company but he had no experience. and he ran into kenji goto who met this fellow japanese citizen, realized that clearly this was someone who didn't belong in the middle east unaided. and so goto offered to help him, to actually cake him with him on a trip to iraq. we were showing video of the two of them together in iraq in april and june of last year. and so they became friends. they had only known each other for a matter of months. but goto told ayakawa not to go to the isis stronghold and ayakawa ignored that advice and went anyway and he was captured. those who have talked to yukawa about this say that really haunted him. so his wife who was pregnant at the time of yukawa's capture, gave birth to their baby.
he spent three weeks at home with their new borne. then he felt he had to go back to syria, he had to go back to tell the stories and he felt he had to go back to try to get information and see if he could help his friend yukawa. he thought he had immunity if you will being a japanese citizen he could talk to isis and convey a message and try to do something good. and he never anticipated this kind of a tragic end would happen that we now believe has happened with his murder not his execution, his murder, his brutal murder at the hands of a terror group that clearly has no regard for life especially given the fact poppy, they were communicating and e-mailing with his wife rinko. they now he's a father with two young daughters, a new borne and 2-year-old at home. they didn't care. they killed him, anyway. >> let's play that again for our viewers. take a moment to listen to what kenji goto's wife said just yesterday. yesterday. >> my husband and i have very young daughters.
our baby girl was only three weeks old when kenji left. i hope our oldest daughter who is just two, will get to see her father again. i want them both to grow up knowing their father. my husband is a good and honest man who went to syria to show the plight of those who suffer. i believe that kenji may have also been trying to find out about haruna yukaw's situation. i was extremely saddened by the death of haruna and my thoughts go out to his family. i know all too well what they are going through. >> so will i mean this is hearing from his wife saying this is my husband. he has two young children. they want their father back. do we know what the japanese government has said outside of this cabinet member there?
i know we're hearing from prime minister shinzo abe. do we know what they may do going forward in this fight against isis? >> reporter: i want to point out too she recorded that message just hours before the deadline where isis had threatened to kill the jordanian payment and kenji goto. she recorded that message because she felt that her husband may have had just hours left. and she had also received an e-mail just hours before recording that message from isis essentially saying the same thing that they were going to kill her husband if their demands were not met. and so we haven't heard from kenji goto's wife. we are awaiting prime minister shinzo shinzo abe. he has spoken about the outage he has felt over all of this. he said there were no words, strong condemnation. and we expect similar language. but moving forward, japan has already said it pledges to continue to support the
coalition against isis through humanitarian aid. >> will ripley thank you for your reporting on this. to all of our correspondents around the world, thank you all for your reporting on this. we will continue to follow this throughout the evening here on cnn. thank you to our viewers in the united states our viewers around the world. we'll be back with you at the top of the hour, 5:00 eastern, right here with the latest on this story. right now kickoff in arizona hosted by rachel nichols and dan marino begins after a quick break.
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