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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  March 5, 2014 12:30pm-1:01pm EST

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>> start with one issue ad guests on all sides of the debate. and a host willing to ask the tough questions and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5pm et / 2pm pt only on al jazeera america russia, as long as none of us are inside of ukraine trying welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm dell in new york. we want to continue our breaking news story that we are following at this hour. a un envoy ceased outside of a
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cafe. armed men taking him. our nick schifrin who is on the ground there, indicating that he was forced into a car by what he described as a pro-russian mob, and then taken away. he does not exactly know where he has been taken or whether that group of pro-russian supporters, or that pro-russian mob is the language he used is basically being escorted out of the country. we want to go to the deputy director of the american inns put in ukraine. he is live for us in washington, d.c. as you listen to what is going on in crimea, the thing that strikes me the most is that russian president vladimir putin has been telling everybody that his troops are there to protect the russian sector of crimea from pro-ukrainian mobs. but it appears to be the other
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way around? >> i wouldn't put it pro-ukrainian mobs. one of the things that has bedevilled this entire discussion since the crisis began in november, is there a profound division among people in crimea. east in the east and south of ukraine who voted mr. yanukovych into office, and now seen him run out of town by a mob essentially, are ukrainian citizens. >> in terms of what we are seeing right now in the port, how would you describe it? >> we're just getting the initial reports of this abduction, and it sounds like these were not people with the russian military, but local crimean citizens who clearly are
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pro-russian, feel they are being backed up by russia, and consider the un envoy as a hostile presence in what they regard as their territory. and what could be the treatment in a place like la eve, for example, by someone who was presented of being of russian interest? >> why so much violence associated with really what boils down to a difference of opinion as to what the country should be? >> that's a very good question, and i think that's the question that should have been asked more insist actually going back to october when yanukovych did not sign the trade agreement with the european union, which kicked off the protest in the first place. how we got to the point of justifying a mob on the street
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attacking police every time they pulled back in fulfillment of a political deal with the opposition leaders, which lead to what is now being seen as a change in government, which the russians dispute. how does signing or not signing a trade deal justify people arming themselves with molotov cocktails and clubs and so forth, and essentially driving a government out of office, which leads to a complete break down of law and order which we're seeing now. >> in a civil society, where two sides disagree on the future of a government, is there no other way to bring about change other than what we saw happen since november in independence square in eve? >> sure there was. when -- yanukovych did not sign that trade agreement with the
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european union, which i don't see how he didn't do that. that was within his legal authority. there was no right of the people on the street to drive him out of office because of that, which is what they ended up doing. even if he was corrupt. we know the allegations against him, in a civil society there are ways to deal that. once you break the state, it is very hard to put it back together again. >> so you support vladimir putin and his putting troops on the ground? >> no, i don't support it. it seems to me it may very well turn out to be a bad idea for russia and not just ukraine. i can understand the reasons why they have done that. it seems to me that the more fundamental question is what happened between november 21st, and most particularly on
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february 21st, when there was supposed to have been a power-sharing deal put into effect that was signed by the opposition leaders, the president, and signatured and witnessed by three european foreign ministers that immediately collapsed, and it's becoming clear the reason it collapsed as soon as the security forces were pulled out, the people on the street announced they were not accepting it, and moved into the government buildings with clubs and other weapons, and basically took over the government. that's not acceptable democratic practice. and if there is going to be any viable solution, we need to find a way to stop this air of triumph on the part of the revolution. >> but this is the fascinating point, when you normally see these types of demonstrations and counter demonstrations in a city, after the government falls
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there is a move on the presidential palace, we saw this in libya. but in this case they didn't do that. they first salvaged the documents that were thrown into the river and then invited journalists in to see the lavish lifestyle the president had lived under. so are you denying that they didn't have a legitimate reason to take to the streets and there have as a result, a legitimate reason to stand up to the government. >> i think they had a legitimate reason to demonstrate -- >> but they weren't just demonstrating against the government's decision. they were also demonstrating against a government that they thought was corrupt and was never ever going to make a decision in their favor. >> well, that's an interesting question how -- in other words if you have a legally elected government that is going to act
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according to the will of the people or the half of the people as -- as we see in our country, divided by red states and blue states that elected them, not the ones that the opposition voted for, that's ground for throwing out the government? by that standard then the tea partiers should storm the white house and force obama to leave. >> thank you very much, and ip want you to hang on for a second, because we now have video of that incident that is causing so much commotion right now. it is the video from reuters concerning the un envoy who was seized outside of a cafe. take a look. there is no audio with this
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tape, but you can see the person there -- nick schifrin, we are seeing what you saw. it appears to me that there are people blocking the door, and i'm assuming that that is the un envoy on other side of the door. >> reporter: yeah, that's exactly right, del. what it looks like is men in uniform, half a dozen of them or so, outside of this cafe, inside, robert sarey, the un special representative, and all of a sudden a pro-russian crowd, which apparently we're looking at now shows up. they created a corridor for him to leave, and the members of those men -- or the men in those uniforms outside of the cafe
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then took him from the cafe, and put him in the car. we don't know where he's going, but apparently there is a progression of tweets -- or report from some of the people he was with, that he is being driven to the airport. so at this point he has been held in that cafe, at least temporarily, brought out into that car against his own will, and -- and apparently according to itv now it does seem to me that he has agreed to leave crimea. so i guess the men who put him in that car got his agreement to take him to the airport, and leave crimea against his will. >> we can't tell from the video whether the men in the uniforms that we are seeing right now were armed. can you tell us -- or elaborate anymore on that? >> reporter: we could not tell whether the men were armed, no. they certainly weren't heavily
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armed. there were no automatic weapons, or large weapons, there frankly weren't even a lot of men. i couldn't tell if they had handguns. but their presence was relatively menacing and clearly designed to threaten sarey and the journalists who were inside, and essentially force him to go to the airport apparently, according to the journalists who were with him. and so they succeeded in what they were trying to do, which was get him to leave crimea. >> and is it your opinion that mr. sarey felt threatened? >> reporter: according to the journalists he was with, he did feel threatened. and we don't know exactly what transpired between the men and robert sarey, and with the
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journalists listening or certainly in the same room. but certainly there was a statement made that forced him to feel like he needed to leave crimea as requested. >> and you indicated this happened to you and your crew yesterday? >> reporter: yeah, what is interesting here is the coordination between the men in uniform and the pro-russian demonstrators who showed up. they were clearly called to show up there. they knew they needed to create a corridor through which sarey was brought. and yesterday we saw similar coordination at a base about an hour and a half from this capitol. there were russian troops who tried to get in the base. ukrainian troops stopped them. and as that conflict went on, a few hundred pro-russian demonstrators showed up and sat between -- or tried to get inside the base between the
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ukrainian soldiers who were defending their base and the russian soldier behind them. the russian socialeds were watching and perhaps urging them on, who knows, but they were certainly coordinated with the troops. >> we to have lost nick schifrin. james you have seen the video now, what do you make of it? >> what i make of it is the very disturbing break down of law and order, and what is essential i will mob rule. generally mobs are not as disorganized as they might appear to the outside, just like the ones in kiev were being guided by various groups -- >> mr. jackson they don't wear military uniforms -- >> i'm talking about the people
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there. clearly there are organizations and people directing what i think is the overwhelmingly pro-russian opinion of people in crimea, and they are acting in a coordinated fashion. >> so is the military presence right now, are they there to protect those that would agree with a pro-russian chance, or are they there to keep order only? >> i think both -- >> it doesn't appear to be both right now. >> well, i think they see themselves as supporting what is the -- if you will, the popular will in crimea, which is pro-russian. we don't know that there is any direct connection with the russian forces. those uniforms were what they call the local self-defense
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units, which are these local groups that have been formed by the residences. but yeah, clearly this was organized. >> so if this is organized, why take it out on a un envoy? >> i'm not saying it is the right thing. it may be a very bad decision on their part, and i don't condone it. they clearly see this as somebody who is not friendly to their interest. but they shouldn't be behaving this way. >> again, a un envoy being ceased in crimea, and nick schifrin telling us that the envoy appears to have been taken to the airport and escorted out of the country. we are attempting to verify as much of this information as we can. these reports right now are very
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preliminary. it's about a quarter to 8:00 right now, in ukraine. do we have phil ittner on the phone? >> yes, i'm here. >> phil what are you making about what you are seeing and hearing about now? >> i can report here in kiev, and i have to be very careful about this. this is coming from the ukrainian foreign ministry. they have put on a statement saying that the un envoy was stopped by a group of armed men who said they were acting under orders. in addition to that the foreign ministry considered him at the time that this time out, that the envoy was a hostage. now obviously this plays into a narrative that the ukrainian government prefers, so, again, being very careful here, del. this is what the ukrainian foreign ministry is saying, they are saying these men acted under
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orders. >> and correct me if i'm wrong, the reason for the caution right now, phil, is because we are looking at a country right now that is at a flash point. any single incident can cause something that may spread across ukraine in its entirety, both sides trying to seize the upper ground with regard to public opinion, and what happens next in the international community. there are pro-european union elements in ukraine, there are pro-russian elements in ukraine. both of those sides i would wager, phil ittner over the course of the last few days and months have been vying for your attention and the world's attention? >> that's absolutely right, del. and that is the reason for caution. this is as much a propaganda war as it is the potential for a real armed conflict. so this acting government which
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knows it has to gain world opinion. it has to gain the upper hand in the propaganda war, they are quite likely to capitalize on a situation like that. i'm not saying that that happen. i'm simply saying what the foreign ministry said -- and this plays into position that the government would like to put out -- that these are russian troops. so kiev clearly keeping a very close eye on this, and clearly wanting to put out their version of events in order to gain that public opinion worldwide, del.
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>> thank you very much. please stand by. we're going to take a break. we're moments away from secretary of state john kerry's news conference that is going to take place in paris. much more coverage when al jazeera america returns. ♪
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russia, as long as none of us are inside of welcome back to al jazeera america. i'm del walters in new york. we are following breaking news right now. a un envoy being seized outside of a cafe in crimea. nick schifrin is there right now. nick it is my understanding we have now heard from the envoy himself? >> reporter: well, we're not sure necessarily we have heard
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from him, himself. we have heard via the journalists who were with him that he has agreed to leave crimea, that was apparently one of the demands of the people who threatened him over the last hour or so. we saw him in a cafe being held essentially by militia members who was outside, in uniform. they were holding him in that cafe. at some point he agreed to leave crimea, and that's when a large group of prorussian demonstrators arrived at the cafe, created a corridor, through which he was bought by the militia members inside the car in the passenger's seat was one of the militia members. and that car has now been driven to the airport where we are right now. and that car is still here, and we're not sure whether sarey is still inside or has left, but clearly an indication that
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pro-russian demonstrators whether in uniform or without have basically convinced sarey through threats and holding him for at least a few minutes in a cafe to leave crimea. >> is it our belief that those protesters were chanting putin? putin? >> reporter: it's not my belief. it is absolutely true. they were chanting putin, putin, they were chanting russia, russia. they were clearly coordinated with the militia members who were outside the cafe, and very much a case of these pro-russian groups doing something similar throughout the country. they have been pushing ukrainian soldiers to allow russian soldiers in the bases, or with robert sarey, and what we have just seen now about 10 or 15
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seconds ago is someone who appears to be robert sarey. he has left the car and is walk going the airport now. there are a group of journalists here who are trying to get closer to him, but we are all being blocked. these are men in uniform, but they are wearing-prorussia outfitings. and i have one with a hand on me right now, pushing me away. >> nick if you need to get to safety, tell me now. >> reporter: no, we're fine. we're just all trying to talk with robert sarey. and there are quite a few journalists around. we have kind of gone around the side. but again, it's the narrative
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developing here. we saw them outside a base trying to convince ukrainian soldiers to let russian soldiers in. we are seeing them now blocking us from interviewing robert sarey, and they are clearly convinced the un envoy -- >> nick, we have lost you again, but if you are listening, i'll let you go and try to get a comment from mr. sarey. the un envoy being escorted out of a cafe. tweeting now that he will gladly leave if that will calm the situation. why try to control the narrative? the journalists are there trying to make sure that neither side gets the upper hand in the public opinion. why so much hostility to those
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who would be deemed in any other situation to be neutral? >> i don't think anyone can look at the conflicts that have gone on around the world and presume that journalists or foreign diplomats are going to be neutral, and as the one comment -- both sides are going to try to spin this. >> but let me simply point out the mission of journalism is to report both sides of a conflict, of a situation, of a crisis, so whether or not everybody does that, no single journalistic institution has control over that, but the mission word wide is they would try to get to the bottom of a situation. >> you are talking about blocking the journalists from talking to the envoy, i would agree with you. and, again, i can't explain or justify the behavior of the
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people on the scene there. but if you are asking me if one should accept that mission statement which i fully agree with, is always carried out, or does not -- i can give you many samples over the years whether it was bosnia, syria, or libya. so if you want to say that journalists are always impartial, i can't agree with you. >> phil ittner, you are hearing new information in kiev? >> reporter: i'm hearing certainly from the foreign ministry, again, that these men were acting under orders, but i do want to reiterate this is a foreign ministry statement. it fervors a line of information coming out of kiev. we have spoken to a ukrainian intelligence officer correctly, and he said the ukrainians have
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information that russia is seeding agitators around the eastern part of the nation, and indeed crimea. so this all plays in to what kiev and ukraine is saying about what russia is trying to do. to foment agitators on the ground, and that would then provide a pretext for russia to up its game in this country, so when we hear a release from the foreign ministry saying -- taking happens advantage or capitalizing on what is happening there with the un envoy, this is certainly something that kiev will jump upon and try to use to gain the upper hand. del? >> phil ittner, nick schifrin, and mr. datrus for us in washington, d.c. here is what we know, we try to report the facts and the facts are this, there was an unenvoy
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in a cafe in crimea. he was escorted out of the country by what appeared to be a mob, shouting putin, putin, russia, russia. we'll be right back. american tv news today. >> entire media culture is driven by something that's very very fast... >> there has been a lack of fact based, in depth, serious journalism, and we fill that void... >> there is a huge opportunity for al jazeera america to change the way people look at news. >> we just don't parachute in on a story...quickly talk to a couple of experts and leave... >> one producer may spend 3 or 4 months, digging into a single story... >> at al jazeera, there are resources to alow us as journalists to go in depth and produce the kind of films... the people that you don't see anywhere else on television. >> we intend to reach out to the people who aren't being heard. >>we wanna see the people who are actually effected by the news of the day...
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>> and this is the al jazeera news hour. i'm david foster. coming up in the next 60 minutes. searching for a solution for the crisis in ukraine. and talks between russia and the united states. inside an egyptian force al jazeera staff face prosecution. >> reporter: the u.n. mandate


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