tv Charlie Rose PBS March 8, 2017 3:59pm-5:00pm PST
>> cohen: welcome to the broadcast. i am roger cohen anything for charlie rose. tonight, a consideration of wikileaks's release of thousands of cia documents and files. we talk to greg miller of the "washington post". >> it looks like the cia's sort of cyber weapons arsenal as to, has to a large extent been laid bare. we haven't seen wikileaks posting actual code that somebody could sort of aim and shoot to carry out an actual hack. >> cohen: we continue with a look at civic education with judge robert katzmann of the second circumstance and kathleen hall jamieson of the university of pennsylvania. >> when i was growing up in new york, public schools of new york, civic education was so important. our teachers understood that our
democracy is fragile and that to have an understanding of that democracy, we needed to know about government. it is the old line from john dewey that for every generation democracy must be born anew with education as its midwife. >> i think that is what has happened overtime is that education, civic education has had less priority across the country than it should. >> cohen: and a look at the new hbo documentary, "cries from syria", with director evgeny afineevsky and journalist kholoud helmi. >> for the first time i put all of them in the story, so their faces, through their story i am trying to tell about civil war, about all of the intervention, about hope that the people still have, because they believe one day they will be able to go back
to syria and rebuild the country. so it is important to keep my camera on their eyes. i think they are the heroes. they are also struggling with that, but they are also my heroes at the end of the day. >> cohen: wikileaks, civic education, and syria, when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
>> cohen: good evening. i am roger cohen filling in for charlie rose. we begin the program with wikileaks. the anti-secrecy organization released thousands e leaked information exposed tools the agency uses to hack smart phones, computers, and even internet connected telephones. it is believed to be among the biggest leaks of classified information in recent history. the awe then advertis authentice documents is yet to be determined. wikileaks has indicated the source of the files is a current or former cia contractor. joining me now from washington is greg miller of the "washington post". welcome, greg. >> thank you. >> cohen: greg, hi. how do you assess the importance of this wikileaks disclosure right now? >> well, that is a good caveat, because i actually think it might takes weeks if not longer to get the full measure of the
impact here. but for now, i mean, it looks like the cia's sort of cyber weapons arsenal has to a large extent been laid bare. we vice president seen wikileaks posting actual code that somebody could sort of aim and shoot to carry out an actual hack. instead it looks like blueprints and documents that describe its capabilities. and they are extensive. including the as you mentioned the ability to turn every day devices that millions and millions of people use, smart phones, apple phones, android phones, ipads and even television sets into collection tools for the agency. >> cohen: so you or i might be using what's app or some kind of samsung tv and unbeknownst to us the cia might be listen in? >> well, if you or i were doing it or at least if i were doing that as a u.s. citizen and the agency were monitoring my
situation it would be in some trouble, hopefully. >> cohen: hopefully, yes. >> but, yes, that's what these files illuminate so the cia has a very distinct role in sort of cyber espionage. it built up its capability in this realm for years and years. it is more of sort of a black bag shop than is the national security agency, which we read about a couple of years ago amid the snowden revelations which is scooping up mountains and mountains of data every day from the internet. this is more narrow, more targeted. but, yes, the capabilities revealed here are enormous. >> cohen: what do you make of the timing of this, greg? why now? why do you think wikileaks chose this moment six weeks into the administration? a lot of tensions with the intelligence services, a lot of unresolved issues. why now? >> do you think that was a
specific purpose in the timing? you know, that is a really good question. i have talked to people who were also very can curious about that. it is hard to know. i think that it certainly will please wikileaks to be able to sort of poke the cia in the eye with this revelation right now. it comes -- it is an, it is awkward in some ways for trump administration because president trump has declared himself to be such a fan of wikileaks, you know, cited the e-mail, the hillary clinton e-mail during his campaign, said at one point i love wikileaks. sided with wikileaks over the cia in terms of whether russia was behind the theft of all of those dependent e-mails. >> cohen: do you think he will still love wikileaks after this? >> i mean,. >> cohen: do you think he will say anything? >> well, he hasn't so far. >> cohen: right. >> and his press secretary has been utterly silent on this which tells us that the u.s.
government is really trying to sort out what happened here, was really caught off guard by this. i don't see any indication yet that the cia saw this coming and had prepared the white house or anyone else. >> cohen: do you expect president trump to react? >> i know -- >> it is almost in his nature to react to something like this, right? i mean, yeah, i think i do. how will he react to this is hard to know. this is -- the cia is now run by mike pompeo, trump's pick for that job. will trump enjoy ceo the cia squirm as some of its most sensitive and valuable espionage tools are exposed? i don't know. >> cohen: how damaging is this to our national security? >> you know, that is a question that we are really trying to sort out. i mean, i think that it is significantly damaging but not
to the extent that it will, you know, make the agency go dark in iinany way on any important tar. this reveals how the cia probably gathers information on a lot of legitimate adversaries, including a terrorist group like the islamic state whose members use cellphones, cameras, video equipment, computers. i mean, these documents can help you sort out how the agency might go about penetrating those networks and -- >> cohen: that's useful to our enemies? >> yes, it could be highly the helpful to the enemies. there are signatures like a russia could use to search its system to see if there are embedded cia implants in any of its devices and networks. >> cohen: what is your sense of who the source might be? and do you think that the president will go after the source? >> yeah. well, so wikileaks in its
statement releasing these files said its source is a current or for memory, former intelligence contractor who obtained these files through some sort of unauthorized disclosure. there is a lot of suspicion among u.s. officials, of course, that russia may be involved here, u.s. intelligence officials believe that russia and wikileaks often work hand in hand, although there is a counter argument here. i mean, if these were -- the sensitivity of these files is such that you would expect russia perhaps to sit on them, take advantage of this knowledge without only using it to embarrass the united states. >> cohen: how would you compare this, greg, to the snowden revelation, snowden is in russia, of course now, and -- >> yes. >> what sort of -- there are different things going on here, but u.s. intelligence is being compromised in various ways. how would you -- what comparison would you make? >> right.
so there are similarities and differences if we take wikileaks at its words it appears to have another type of snowden type contractor out there providing a lot of secret information to wikileaks. there are some differences, so the snowden revelations had immediate political repercussions and fallout, in large part because they were exposing massive surveillance programs in which millions of americans communications were swept up. so that was immediate -- there was an immediate reaction, a visceral reaction from the public that may not come here because these are much more narrow kind of operations that the agency is conducting and there is nothing that we have seen in these files so far that would indicate that any of it is being used against u.s. citizens. >> cohen: so are these revelations more gratuitous in the case of snowden you certainly argue and many have that this in the end produced some positive effects, very positive effects for u.s. society, and the debate between
freedom and security, in this case, it seems on the face of it more gratuitous. this is just the way the cia goes about gathering information and -- >> yes. >> cohen: these secrets are useful to our enemies, why would anyone want to reveal that? >> yes. i think you are right that perhaps it is harder to see a meaningful public debate emerge from this leak, the way we saw after the snowden really haitians. perhaps you could argue that, you know, silicon valley companies, including apple, google, and others, they will be implicated here. they are already very nervous about perception overseas that they work with u.s. intelligence agencies, that they designed flaws into their devices that enable the cia and the nsa to monitor others overseas, and perhaps there will be some sort of reaction in countries like
germany, one of the disclosures, one of these documents suggests that the cia has a massive hacking enterprise based in frankfurt, germany. but i think you are right that it is hard to compare these to the snowden revelations in terms of the sort of propriety of the collection they describe. >> cohen: we have gone in a very short space of time, greg, from no drama obama to high drama relentless drama donald trump, and an administration that really didn't leak, to an administration that seems to be leaking all over the place. this is -- what is it like working in a washington where leaks of various kinds pretty much are an every day occurrence? >> i mean, it is really disorienting, i have to say. i have covered national security in washington for quite a long time now, and i have never seen
anything like this, where every day there is a prospect of an enormous revelation. and this one may not fall into the same category of all of those leaks that you named at that exposing what the trump administration is doing in its early days, but, yes, it is not how washington has worked for years and years. i mean, that might sound odd. of course leaks have been around forever in washington, but the volume, the nature, i mean, they reflect a level of tension and distrust between the top levels of the white house and other areas of government that is just in some ways -- >> cohen: particularly the intelligence services in some ka cacaces, no? >> exactly. i mean, trump has repeatedly dispairmingd the cia and other intelligence services, dismissed its conclusions about russia and in, a anin credibly important subject, accused of using nazi
type tactics to smear him and seeping surprised that there could be leaks that would undermine his position or authority. >> cohen: how do you think mike pompeo will respond to the wikileaks revelation today? do you expect a response of some kind? >> i don't expect necessarily a public response from mike pompeo. i think the cia so far is declining to comment on this. the white house is declining to comment on this. we are monitoring closely to see what sort of investigation takes shape now, like, it is clear the cia will have to mount a really big counter intelligence probe to figure out what happened here and will probably have to relay a crimes report to the fbi .. which will also have to investigate. but i think right now, i have to say, my impression is that they are just still in sorting out mode, what
just happened? >> cohen: will the cia have to change its methods? >> undoubtedly, i mean, i think that is clear, although experts i have talked to have said that that is weirdly manageable, like you would expected a revelation like this to be such a catastrophic setback that they would send them back to square one, but the reality is that these exploits for things like the iphone are developed on a basis over and over again, every time there is a new software update that patches some security flaw there is another counter effort by spy agencies to find something new that they can get their hooks into. there was some confusion initially on these wikileaks files about whether the cia had managed to crack the encryption used in very popular applications like what's app or signal. this doesn't appear t to be the case here. it seems the agency's ability to work around those encryption progms depends on their ability to manipulate the devices themselves, not the apps
that are loaded on to them. >> cohen: so it is fixable? >> i mean i do think so. it will require some significant regrouping, but we have seen this over and over again. they certainly regrouped after the snowden revelations. >> cohen: greg, thank you very much. cohen: the forms of civic education is, has perhaps never been so crucial to our democracy. politicians often accuse one another of violating the constitution, but surveys show americans have little understanding of the founding document. a, annenberg public policy center survey found out a quarter of americans could name all three branches of government. joining me now are two people who are determined to change that statistic. kathleen hall jamieson, joins from washington. she is the director of the annenberg public policy center of the university of pennsylvania.
here in new york is robert katzmann. he serves it is a chief judge on the second circuit court of appeals. two years ago, he launched a circuit wide civic education initiative, justice for all, courts and the community. i am pleased to have both of them on this program. welcome. >> thank you. >> judge, i think a lot of people have woken up and thought, gosh, the constitution, the supreme law of the country, that is really important. why is it, however, that knowledge of it seems to be so slight in many cases? you know, when i was growing up in new york, public schools of new york, civic education was so important. our teachers understood that our democracy is fragile and that to have an understanding of that democracy we needed to know about government. there is the old line from john dewey that for every generation democracy must
be born anew. with education. as its midwife. i think that is what has happened overtime is that education, civic education has had less priority across the country than it should. >> cohen: why is that? >> >> surely it is basic. >> it is basic. it is basic. and certainly without knowledge of our governmental institutions, how can we expect our democracy to thrive? >> cohen: kathleen, how dangerous is this situation? benjamin franklin in 1787, famously said when asked what form of government had been created, a republic, madam, if you can keep it. are we going to be able to keep it without the kind of civic engagement that sustains a republic, a democracy? >> there are times that are more
critical than others, and at times which we are trying to balance the values of security and liberty, it is particularly important that we understand that we have three branches of government, what their roles are, and importantly what the roles of an independent judiciary are. and that we see when we do our surveys of civic knowledge is those -- those that don't understand we have three branches and what they are and what they are set to do don't understand the checks and balances, to understand why veto power is part of that and why a veto can be overridden and importantly to understand the i want judicial i didn't. when you put all of those things into the equation, you ask what does that predict, it predicts a willingness to say, when the court issues an unpopular ruling, and does that more than once or twice maybe we should think about just getting rid of the court. so part of what makes our system work is the public's belief in and understanding of the system. and when we are in difficult times it is more important than ever that those understandings are firmly rooted. >> cohen: are you saying that most americans don't understand
checks and balances? that seems so fundamental? how can that be? i read somewhere that ten percent of college graduates think that judge judy is a member of the supreme court. ten percent. how is this possible? and we are seeing right now just how important it is to know something about these subjects. >> i don't really, if people can't name justices on the supreme court. >> cohen: yes. do cow worry? >> i worry if they don't understand what the supreme court is supposed to do. so when you ask people on a survey when there is a 4-4 supreme court rule which you can have right now because you don't have a ninth justice in place there is a sizable population that thinks the decision goes to the federal court of appeals. another part of the population things thinks no, they just keep voting until they resolve the tie and in a survey we did two or three years back we actually said, well, what is the other alternative? and we put in place it goes back to congress and congress gets to
decide, and more than 20 percent of the public said, you know, that's right. why is that important? because when president trump puts forward his immigration ban, his temporary suspension, and the court issues a ruling and the president defers to the ruling, the public needs to understand why the president does that and needs to understand that is part of the checks and balances of our system actually working. >> cohen: well, the president, judge, only deferred to the ruling after speaking about so-called justice -- judges. in six short weeks we had pretty much frontal attacks on the first amendment, on the press, enemies of the people, we don't know exactly what happened, if any aid or comfort was given by now president trump's coat i are in the runup to the election and after november 8th, .. so i have to ask you, the kind of civics 11 in the basics, civics 11s you
have been trying lessons, would the president be a good candidate for that course? >> well, as you know, roger, i can't get, as a judge, i can't get involved in the politics of the moment. what i can say is, and this interest i have had in civic education is longstanding is that each of us has a collective responsibility to understand how the institutions of government work, so that we can be respectful of those institutions, and that is why i think it is so critical to have these programs of civic education which try to education the public, to bring communities closer to the institutions that we serve. and that is that we are doing in the second circuit in this project that began a couple of years ago. >> cohen: and what are the main obstacles you have
encountered to that? >> why hasn't more of this been happening? i think it is spreading. i think it is spreading. i think there is an awareness. in our court system, second circuit of the courts of new york, connecticut and vermont, the federal courts, at every level, the court of appeals, the district court, the magi district of new york, and there is an extraordinary range of activities. we are working with boards of education on civics material for textbooks and textbook revisions. we have teachers institutions where teachers come into our courthouses and the other paired with judges an scholars. this is a program -- >> cohen: you found an enthusiastic response. >> very enthusiastic we are
doing this with the just resource center. we have programs of reenact. where we reenact classic trials. >> cohen: i will repeat to you, perhaps a little more freedom to express yourself with the question i just asked the judge. has the president been showing insufficient respect for even perhaps contempt for the constitution in some of his actions and statements since he took office? >> if you will remember the president has all of the constitution protections and we live where free expression is something we value. we have to remember also we have a press that holds the president accountable and the government accountable. >> cohen: we are doing our best, we are trying. >> and in the process understand what the first amendment dos, government isn't supposed to enter fear with that right of the press to exercises its responsibility. so at the beginning of the administration, i don't think we have to judge too early what larger questions stipulates the well-being of the constitution will ultimately be as a result of this presidency, this
congress, this judiciary, and this moment, but i think we can say that this is .. a difficult moment in the nation's history, because we are confronting problems that are very difficult. we have anxiety ridden electorate, they don't have the civic knowledge they need to really understand the checks and balances in our system and how they are supposed to function. and we have some rhetoric that has broken some norms, that have been well established, and potentially problematic. >> cohen: yes. i mean, how dangerous is the repetitive fake news accusation, even today, fake news statement tweet from the president. how -- this is very disoriented and if people are disoriented they don't know their rights. they don't know where they stand. how troubling do you find these fake news accusations almost
daily from the oval office? >> "the new york times", "washington post" and other institutions that let's face it we make mistakes but they are pillars of the republic. you know, there are times in which attacks on an institution actually strike an institution. i am very proud of the journalism that has been developed over the course of the last two to three months. the congress has been doing its job. the president has been doing his job. the judiciary has been doing its job. the press has been doing its job as well. and to the extent that the press is descrij atlantaly watching those boundaries and calling out those instances in which it thinks there is potential deception or misinformation we ought to be standing up and cheering and remembering that is why the first amendment is there. the press's job is to hold government accountable and government's job is to stay out of the press's way. >> cohen: judge, the blurring of the lines between what is true and what is false, does
that bother you? do you think that is happening in american society generally? there are a lot of people are just unable to in the cacophony to distinguish the two? >> i will, i am reminded of what a great mentor of mine once said, daniel patrick moynihan. i mean, he used to say that you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. and i think that what was at the core of that was a sense that there were things -- there are things that are discernible, and that there are data that are discernible, and that. >> cohen: facts exist? >> facts exist, facts exist. and i think it is important that we keep sight of the importance. >> cohen: isn't it troubling that we even have to say that, that facts exist? in 2017 in the united states of america? >> well, you know, on the other hand, in courts all the time,
there are disputes about what the facts are. this is something that -- deal with all, we deal with all the time. they weigh the facts. they weigh the evidence, and this is not a new enterprise for any of us. >us. >> , you know, one of the important things that the court system does for us as a country and its citizenry is model standards of evidence and argument. it model it is process by which one can draw inferences from available contested evidence, and come up with good judgments carefully reasoned. what we need now more than ever in the body politic is more of that kind of evidence driven careful argument where we ask, what is the link between the evidence and the assertion? and where is the evidence? and if you have to say what, what is protected most diligently is the judicial i didn't and when the press is doing its job it is a close second. >> when you think about the grand experiment that is the
constitution, what is it that the framers envisioned? they envisioned the interaction of diverse institutions, congress, the executive, the courts. they envisioned the interaction of diverse elements acting, and interests acting on those institutions and there was a sense although each institution would act according to its own interests and incentives, together, they would create a deliberative system without comes that would be in the public interest. and i think that is -- that is the model that we aspire to, and i think that we shouldn't lose sight of what it is the founders had in mind and that's why civics education is so important, because if we need to change things or tweet things, having that sense of what is that constitutional document, what is that framework is all the more important. >> cohen: it is very moving, i
think, to see the ingeniousness and foresight of the founders pitted against a contemporary situation. >> they were so young, in their 30s, twenties, 40s. i mean, it is a really remarkable -- >> cohen: i want both of you as we wind up here, do you think if there could be a new enthiasm for education and civics that the country is very divided, red state, blue state. people think completely differently. i was a foreign correspondent in my career. when i go from new york to kentucky to indiana, it is a foreign correspondent type experience. do you think this could bring the country together in some way if everybody reacquainted themselves with these basic rules? >> i wish that we could find a way to increase the likelihood that those who are in charge of the country and those who constitute the citizenry would
look back at the kind of content that gives civics education has and learn the lessons of the past. we learn from the -- case from japanese internment the country can make serious mistakes when it has tried to balance security and liberty. we learned from the cherokee nations case when the president doesn't enforce an order of the court, we can have really consequential, hurtful times for a whole segment of our population, that is the trail of tears. we learned that the country can make mistakes and it needs to learn from the mistakes. when we give up on civic and understanding how we came to where we are as a nation, we may forget some of those lessons and as a result we may have to repeat them. that would be tragic. >> cohen: judge. >> i couldn't agree more. i think that civic education is a force that can provide the ties that bind. they can provide us with a sense of what is it that brings us together, whatever our
differences might be. it is no accident that george washington envisioned a national university, that james madison thought that there should be a seminary of knowledge and of ideas, because out of that educational process comes better understanding whatever our differences, because then we will be talking to one another with a common language, and we better be able to appreciate what is in this little book. >> cohen: how worried are you about the republic? just a very short answer? i would like to hear from you both? very, a little, somewhat? >> i am not worried about the republic in the sense that i have faith in our institutions. but more than that, i have faith in our people, that time and time again the citizenry has met the test, there have been times when things haven't gone quite right but yet we have met the challenge and overcome them. so
i am optimistic as to the future. >>ohen: kathleen? >> i would be less worried if we could increase the level of civics knowledge and we identify the sense of where we are including those moments in which we got things wrong, because then we can make sure we are not going to repeat those mistakes. so i think we are not going to -- i am worried more than i am if i think we will be able to recover. >> cohen: thank you very much. thank you. >> thank you. >> cohen: "cries from syria" is the new document trifrom oscar nominated director evgeny afineevsky. he recounts the horror of the syrian war, featuring interviews with journalists, activists and children who have experienced the brutality firsthand. here is a look at the trailer. >> ♪ ♪ -- >> it is a very ancient and beautiful country. it is called
save lives. >> we are people like everyone. >> the hbo documentary film "cries from syria" will debut march 13 on hbo, i am pleased to have the film's director, evgeny afineevsky and journalist kholoud helmi at this table for the first time. >> welcome. >> thank you. >> cohen: evgeny, syria is unconscionable abomination, it is a stain on all humanity but this war has now been going on for almost six years. half a million dead, 5 million refugees, other millions displaced. in a lot of people's eyes just glaze over at this point, they see syria and they throw up their hands, so why did you make this movie?
why did you decide that this was a film you had to make? >> i think a lot of people still have lack of knowledge about syria, at the beginning of the revolution, about what brought such a huge cry. we, this is the most serious since the second world war. i think the crisis in 2015, i found the answers were there. the answers what fuels these people, because of some misconception through the media, because media covers these events through the major, major waves of refugees in 2015, when a lot of immigrants from -- again refugees from different parts of the world and, again, i am emphasizing, the european union, around of refugees among all the people who tried to reach -- >> cohen: how do y go about
making the movie? did you go yrself to syria? how did you meet -- how did you do it? it is very tough for journalists to get into syria. there are direct threats from isis. it is a very tough environment and yet you produce extraordinary footage in this movie. >> first of all, i think thanks to the journalists and the activists who have been documenting every step of the revolution, because from the beginning, for them the camera became something that it was their weapon, to -- and thanks to them and to today's technology it was able to make it happen. >> cohen: what did it mean to you now today, living in turkey, to have this opportunity in this movie to express your experiences? you are often in tears in the movie. i mean, this is something absolutely heart wrenching. this is the loss of your country, the loss of your town.
the loss of everything and you have to sit and watch bashar al-assad saying, oh, they were all terrorists. there was no genuine uprising. these have very painful things. so what did it mean for you to be able to speak in this way to evgeny's camera? >> first, it was so difficult to remember these days. living these events for six years, it took everything from us, starting from my home, my family members, my friends and -- so to go remember all of these events and we try to keep our psychology like kind of hike a -- like a little bit hike we are all traumatized, but we are bracing up, things continue.
but it was so difficult to remember things from the past because i think that these were nightmares and -- ohen: remembering is so important. remembering is so important, for, thanks to evgeny for this step because it is so difficult for us, these things we loved, i am pushing them back to the back of my memories. i don't want to remember them, but when i have to speak about them, they all come out and after five years, there is someone who came to put the story all together from the beginning to the end. >> cohen: what is it like for you when you watch president assad in his palace essentially dismissing everything that has happened in your country over the last six years and explaining that you, anybody who thought like you, who wanted
freedom, who wanted a more open society, who wanted an end to the decades of brutal, bruta rule, the massacre of -- happened decades ago and he is calling you and the people who think like you terrorists? what is it like for you in the movie to watch that? >> first of all, sometimes it happens like it is funny. it is so sarcastic to listen to him saying this. but -- and fortunately, i hate no one in this world but the -- >> cohen: but you do hate him? >> i hate no one but him. and the hatred in my heart goes -- i don't know what to say, but i mean, to see him, to see him safe in the palace reciting and lecturing people that this is what happened and this makes me
feel so depressed, because of the whole international community. >> cohen: some people think he could be part of the solution. president putin thinks he could be part of the solution. what do you say to that? >> she the problem. >> he is the problem? >> he is the problem. how could -- for me more than isis. my first enemy. >> cohen: why? >> because isis was created bias saddam hussein, and is supported by him. if things would like being a syrian, i mean, living those events for six years, they were tracing us activists to silence us, and started to liberate some parts of syria, almost, 90 participant of syria was free. this is 2000, end of 2012, 2013. all of a sudden we started to have isis, and now those people who fled damascus, the capital,
or any capital where -- exist, they fled to the position held areas and now they are killed by isis. so activists who were lucky to flee assad were killed and chased by isis. and isis is taking land over from the free syrian army, handing it over to the regime and then the regime taking it over, back and forth like what happened in palmyra, it is a game, it is very obvious that this is a filthy game. >> cohen: a filthy game? >> yes. between assad and all its partners, including isis. to destroy us or to silence us and this happened like now we are losing, we are losing power. >> cohen: evgeny, you have some amazing footage involving children. i found some of the most powerful images in the movie involved children.
>> cohen: evgeny, why do you focus on children so much? >> you know what? i think if you hate a regime, no one in the regime tortured kids and since beginning of the revolution, we noticed the kids that were tortured and killed and i think usual, using these images and allowing these kids being vocal in the movie, allowing them who instead of having a child and calling them -- who have the hope of doing such activities, for example in the movie, you see how optimistic they are. >> cohen: and the kids who say
president assad turned off the electricity so now we have to bring the water up by ourselves and then they put together a pulley system to carry the water to the top floor of the building. and these are kids that are like eight or nine. so you watch that and you think for a moment maybe perhaps that is a source of hope. >> they are very optimistic and have hope and one of the reasons that the youth, there are clips of the kids like a three-year-old, that witnessed this footage in september of 2015, you can see it in the movie, who was fleeing the family and found dead on the shores of turkey, three-year-old. he symbolizes the death of kids in syria. and in august of 2016, in an ambulance, this is a struggle of survival and then from december of last year -- so i think through these kids, through their stories, through the kids
that are interviewed, and i interviewed a lot of kids, altogether interviewed over 100 people in my movie, so to the kids, for the first time i put all of 0 them in the context of the story, through their faces, through their story i am trying to tell about civil war, about all of the intervention, about hope that the kids still have because they believe one day they will be able to go back to syria and rebuild the country. so for me it is what is important to deliver these voices and keep my camera on their eyes. i think her the heroes, they are also struggling with that, but they are also my heroes. at the end of the day. >> cohen: kholoud there is a cycle called, the boys found head down on the beach and all the world erupts and says we cannot tolerate this any longer. this is terrible, unacceptable.
and then the weeks go by and people ignore syria again. it must be quite desperate for you watching this. >> it is. actually, i lost hope in governments, like i believed that governments are not going to do anything for syria, and -- >> cohen: are you very disappointed in the united states? >> yes, i am. >> cohen: do you think president obama should have upheld the red line as he said he would when the regime used chemical weapons. >> there is no red lines. >> cohen: he said there was a red line. >> epieveryone, every president claimed that things are a red line. like president -- said that chemical weapons are a red line, but assad crossed them, and. >> cohen: with no consequence? >> and only recently was hit with chemical weapons and, they were just -- i mean, they are
dead because of the chemical weapons, despite the siege, they are besieged for more than four years now, and he used chemical weapons against them. so where is the red line? no one knows. >> cohen: what do you think about president putin and russia have done in syria, bombardment of aleppo, coming to the aid of president assad, intervening militarily in a way that president obama said could not be done with devastating consequences? >> i think the reputations -- >> cohen: the misrepresentation. >> it is a misrepresentation of the facts, because according to him, he is fighting isis who is not in aleppo. >> cohen: according to putin? >> yes. i think according to him, he is is claiming one thing but the reality -- >> cohen: you don't think the russians bombarded aleppo? >> , no, they bombarded aleppo, i am saying according to their own news and according to s never been in aleppo at that moment, so i think it is completely a misrepresentation of the facts and for me -- >> cohen: president putin?
>> and i think what happens right now, when our president, new president trump wants to go with our soldiers into the grounds we can be the biggest mistake for us because at the end of the day it will be another death of innocent people. >> cohen: you mentioned president trump and he has an executive order that bars syrian refugees and indeed all syrians temporarily from coming to the united states. how do you react to that? it seems almost cruel. >> i think it is terrible. why? because 20, 30 years ago -- in the country, i think maybe it was right but in these days when the terrorism operates in completely different grounds through the social media, i think first of all my suggestion to president trump should look for the root of the terrorism and to learn more about terrorism, like -- all of these people. and i think if you understand the roots of the terrorism, then
you can fight the terrorism. i suggest more intelligence, to learn more about what is happening in our own country, because if you go back to the old terrific atful terror list attacks here, none of them came from this country, but shutting the door on these people, innocent people who may be seeking shelter, they are seeking shelter. so i think it is the wrong thing because at the end of the day, shelter can be provided by only radicals and isis, including and these kids seeking shelter becoming the terrorists because they have been provided shelter by isis who now how to brain cash brainwash the kids and keep them vulnerable. so i think the government these to learn the roots of the terrorism and then fight it in the proper way. this is different times than 30, 40 years ago when you just shut the borders and it helps you to fight terrorism. terrorism is different these days. >> cohen: cha what is your, kholoud, what is your reaction in you travel on a syrian passport. i understand you had a hard time at the salt lake city airport,
you were detained for half an hour or so. what do you make of this atmosphere that seems to be intent on portraying all muslims as a potential threat? >> this is racism, first of all. and this is discrimination. i feel age bring the from the bottom of my heart, but it doesn't affect us syrians like primarily because the united states is not receiving syrian refugees since the beginning. >> cohen: very few. >> very few, a few. i mean very few compared to other countries. >> cohen: special germany. >> especially germany, yes. so i mean, if they are not receiving people, then i mean, there are a few people o have been received here, but the problem is those activists, including me, who every now and then try to make it to the states to talk to the people,
speak to the media and meet prominent people, but say the congress or politicians, decision makers, to tell them about what is going on or to lobby for our cause, and now we are prevented from doing this. >> cohen: do you think you will go home one day? >> i will. definitely. >> cohen: why? >> i don't know. >> cohen: and what syria will you go home to? >> the syria that i was dreaming about. >> cohen: you still believe that? >> yes. >> cohen: what is the basis for your belief? just hope and faith? >> and the sacrifice of my friends. it will be broken if we fail so i will continue with this. >> cohen: to the end of time? >> either do this or die.
and in this case i will be sacrificed. >> cohen: evgeny, it is hard to continue after that, but do you believe that your movie will help bring about the situation that kholoud just described and that she will be able to -- is that a purpose of yours, a reason for making theovie? >> the main reason is because i as a filmmaker believe this one thing, being responsible to people and to tell their stories, to bring their voices to the entire world. and if i would be able to through this movie to change somebody's perception, to teach somebody and to make people to change their minds, even a few, to change their lives, then in my situation, to save somebody's life. >> cohen: kholoud, what what would you like to see america do? >> stop assad from bombing syrians, and our first agreement, in 2012, when assad
had jets, have a. >> cohen:. >a no-fly zone, nobody flies. if anyone started to have a no-fly zone, hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved at that time. >> cohen: thank you very much, truth is important, facts are important. remembering is important. really powerful movie. thank you very much evgeny and kholoud. thank you. to learn more about this program and early episodes visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. >> captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org