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tv   At This Hour With Berman and Michaela  CNN  September 1, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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right now we are essentially acting as iran's air force in iraq and we're essentially an aide to assad in iraq. >> i think at some point president obama has to make it very clear that we're going to lead on this and not be so cautious from behind because that's what puts them in a bad place. >> thank you so much for joining me. i'm carol costello. "@this hour" with berman and michaela starts now. >> a cnn exclusive, desperate pleas from three americans held in north korea. what will the u.s. do to bring these men back home? >> cracking down on the isis threat at home, the u.k. has a new plan to deal with the militants in its midst. could the british prime minister's plan here work here in the u.s. too? too cautious? what is the president's strategy for deeg -- dealing with isis in
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syria? new criticism from within his own party. hello, everyone. happy labor day. i'm john berman. >> happy monday, i'm michaela pereira. we begin with pleas. pleas this morning from three americans detain in communist north korea. these three detainees are separate to come home and are begging for washington's help. >> each man was granted five minutes to speak exclusively with cnn. missionary kenneth bae has been sentenced to prison for a plot. and matthew miller and jeffrey edward fowle says he's desperate to get back to ohio. his crime was leaving a bible behind. >> their interviews with our
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will ripley certainly came to a surprise even to all of us here at cnn. listen to them in their own words. >> will ripley, cnn. can you tell me about the charges that you are facing here in north korea? >> i will not find out until i go to trial, but i will say that i prepared to violate the law of the dprk before coming here, and i deliberately committed my crime. i have already admitted my guilt and apologized to the governments of the tprk, and i have been asking for forgiveness. >> did you tear up your visa and seek asylum, is that report accurate? >> the previous interview that is what i said. i'm not here to discuss -- >> tell me about your conditions here. how are you being treated? >> with good health and received medical checks and provided with humanitarian treatment. >> and what is your message to
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your family? >> first, i'll just say my message to my governments. i've been requesting help for a long time and there's been no movement from my governments. the american government is known for having a strong policy of protecting its citizens yet for my case there is still no movement. i've also written the letter to my president, with no reply. >> charges are violation of law which stem from me trying to leave a bible at a club. i admit my guilt to the government, and signed a statement to that effect and also been a request for forgiveness to the people and the government of the dprk and the legal process is ongoing right now and it's in the final stages of preliminary investigations. trial will be forthcoming soon
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so time is getting urgent. within a month, i should be facing month and sentencing will be right after that, and so i convey my separate situation. >> i'm serving a 15-year sentence right now. i've been going back and forth from the hospital to the labor camp the last year and a half. and right now i'm serving at a labor camp right now. >> can you tell me about the conditions at the labor camp? >> condition at labor camp is i'm working eight hours a day, six days a week. i've work with other hard labor that is required to do every day. >> do you feel you are being treated humaneely? >> yes. >> and your message to your family? >> i'm sure they are very worried about my health at this time and even though right now, last month and a half, i have
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been -- my health has been -- it's been failing, so right now, what i can say to my family and friends is to continue to pray for me. >> our will ripley who conducted that interview joins us right now by phone from pyongyang, north korea. will, first of all, such an extraordinary thing that happened to you. give us a little back story. tell us about the restrictions they placed on you. >> this has certainly been a surreal day for us in north korea. we came to cover a wrestling tournament between japan and north korea. on our first day of bee i don't think -- pyongyang, we asked our government minders if we could speak to the americans. we were told both of those
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requests were very unlikely. we were taking a government-controlled tour of the sights in north korea. we were two hours north of the capital city eating lunch, about to tour a temple, when all of a sudden i was pulled away from my table, taken out into the hallway and told that our crew needed to get into a van at that very moment and that we were granted an interview with some kind of government official. that's all we were told. we get in the van. our government minders were on the phone. at one point, we pulled over. stepped away. made more phone calls. we kept driving and we pull up to this secret hotel not knowing where we were, who we were going to be speaking to and at the front door, as we were getting ready to walk in, we were told that plans had changed again and the government decided to grant these interviews. we were told we had only five minutes with each of them, and we could not go over that time limit.
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we were also told that we had very specific topic we could discuss. the charges that they are facing, the conditions under which they are being held, by the way, all three told us they have been treated humaneely. they were send a message to their families and a message to the american government. we were also told if we violated those terms of our agreement, there could be some pretty serious consequences and we agreed to the terms, went into the hotel, and started talking to the interviews with each of the men held in separate rooms. >> you mentioned, will, their message to the u.s. government. what struck me, listening to these three interviews was how similar that message to the u.s. government was, almost as if it had been scripted. clearly, these men have every interest in the world to get u.s. diplomacy involved here to get them free, that seemed to be the message that the north koreans wanted to get out as well. >> some of them had notes. others spoke off the cuff.
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i'm sure and i don't know this for sure, but i would imagine that there was discussion with them ahead of time as well, just like there was with us. what that discussion was, what those details were, i don't know. but, yes, one key theme was send in some help from the american government, send a special envoy. jeffrey fowle talked about bill clinton coming here again just like he did when there were two american journalists who were held here. they would like to see something like that happen for them as well. right now, the two americans who go on trial later this month, fowle and miller, they are still saying essentially in a hotel suite. they get three meals a day. they are allowed to go outside and take a walk every day. kenneth bae is the only prisoner spending his time at the labor camp and the hospital. those two men in the hotels now once they go on trial,
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sentencing would happen immediately afterwards. they both signed confessions saying they are guilty asking for forgiveness. >> tell me, you had a chance to look them in the eye and to touch them on the shoulders, each one of them, tell me quickly what their demeanor was because sometimes the camera doesn't translate that. >> jeffrey fowle, in his eyes, i could see he desperately wants to be with his family. his wife is a part-time hairstylist. he's afraid he's going to lose his job. miller was very distant, and didn't want to talk. he didn't even use his whole five minutes. he said what he felt he needed to say and nothing more. didn't want to talk about his or his conversation that he had his family. he was very detached, distant. kenneth bae, he looked tired,
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tired and he's not well, and he wants to go home. he doesn't have as much hope as i think the other two because he's been in this situation for this long but again they all told us they are being treated humaneely and they all want help from the american government to go home as soon as possible. >> you wonder how much of that is true or they felt they had to say. will ripley, a tremendous opportunity. i know their families are really grateful to see them as we all are just to see them for themselves. >> they are healthy. at least they look okay. they are there. it's proof of life. however, i think it only must make them long more to be with them again. >> ahead at this hour, more on the plight of those americans. we're going to speak with the former new mexico governor bill richardson. what can be done to bring these men home? (vo) if you have type 2 diabetes,
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chase. so you can i think it's fair to say that nobody saw this coming. north korea allowed three detained americans to speak with our correspondent will ripley from here at cnn. kenneth bae, matthew todd miller, and jeffrey fowler. they are desperately asking the u.s. government to send an envoy to north korea. >> what's the bottom line about your situation here and your message that you want to put out? >> that my situation is very urgent, that very soon i'm going to trial, and i would directly be sent to prison.
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i think this is -- this interview is my final chance to push the american government into helping me. >> so the bottom line, your message about your conditions here and your situation? >> i'm good for the time being, but i need to let people know that i'm getting desperate, i'm getting desperate for help. >> what's the most important thing up to say in our final seconds? >> well, i do need help from the u.s. government, and my health is failing, and i've been sentenced from the hospital to the camp. i lost 15 pounds and it's been very difficult to stay in camp right now, so i do ask u.s. government and people out there to really put effort to send somebody. >> okay. it was amazing to hear. our will ripley. he doesn't know this was going
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to happen, cnn didn't know it was going to happen. u.s. government certainly didn't. joining us by phone is former new mexico governor bill rich sond -- richardson. and an ambassador. why do you think the north koreans invited cnn in today to speak to these men? >> well, to send basically three messages. the first is, look, we north koreans, we're still around, it's not just isis. it's not just ukraine, russia, middle east. we're still at the top of the news. number two, they are sending a signal saying we're ready to bargain for the three hostages. they are bar goning chips. united states, you sneed to start talking to us and the third message which was probably the north koreans pressuring the americans to say, one, we're being treated properly, two,
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send an american envoy, in other words, a government envoy, that was significant. not an outside envoy. not a non-government envoy but a government envoy. those were the three messages that they were sending. but most importantly we're ready to deal for the hostages. >> help us understand some of the intricacies here if you can. it's so interesting to me that they didn't speak directly to the united states. they haven't. north korea won't speak or communicate directly with the united states. they chose to do it through a journalist to make sure the message was delivered. talk about what that end game would be. we're inviting to the table to talk. it's not very direct. >> well, i don't speak for the administration, but i did see an administration statement that they have made in response to your article, to your interviews that basically says this is the administration saying all right,
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north korea, you want to talk to us, you've got to do something on your nuclear proliferation. you got to shut down your did he tell on nations of nuclear devices. in other words, be ready to negotiate on what concerns us the most, and that is that you are a nuclear state acting irresponsibly and north korea refuses to do that. i think the end game would be the sequence of when does a u.s. talk to north korea, but in exchange for them releasing these prisoners? it's diplomacy, but this north korean new leader, we don't know how he reacts, how he negotiates. in the past, i've negotiated releases with his father, where you know, it's clearer. okay, you get some humanitarian aid, some food. we release these prisoners, but now with this new leadership, you don't know where they are
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coming from, but it was a clear signal. they know that your interview will be broadcast around the world. that's the way they communicate to the u.s. government, because the u.s. government has basically said we're not going to talk to you unless you take some steps on the nuclear front. >> do you think that's correct? do you think the united states should respond to the request of these three men and send an envoy? >> i believe you need to negotiate that. i would like the north koreans to take some nuclear steps too, i think it's reaching a point where kenneth bae, his health is really deteriorating. the other two americans they deserve not to be pawns in this bargaining chip negotiation, but i see a light at the end of the tunnel because the fact that the north koreans have put this up so openly that we're ready to talk by the interviews, i think is a good sign and you can see
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it's the only good sign in this very dramatically bad situation for these three americans and their families. >> in a word, would you go if president obama asked you to? >> well, yeah, but i would go but they are asking for u.s. government people. they are not asking for me or president clinton. they want somebody that will say okay we're ready to engage in nuclear talks or whatever. so that's the difference of the signal and i'm not consulting with the -- they haven't called me. i haven't called them. so i think it's best that they -- the u.s. government, the state department handle this directly with them. >> all right. former u.s. ambassador to the u.n., bill richardson thanks for joining us and give us your perspective and insight into that. >> really interesting discussion. it's beginning of a diplomatic distance here. meanwhile, brit an trying to
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keep home grown isis fighters out of its country. should the united states be doing something similar? ahead at this hour. softball. and tea parties. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for, because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them, so i've found a way. who matters most to you says the most about you. at massmutual we're owned by our policyowners, and they matter most to us. ready to plan for your future? we'll help you get there. ...of america's number-one puppy food brand... ...with dha and essential nutrients also found in mother's milk. purina puppy chow. but i've managed. ♪
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the terror threat in the u.k. nearly its apex at this hour. it's at the second highest level thank to what isis has been doing in iraq and syria. hundreds of those militants are british citizens. >> just a time ago, prime minister david cameron announced his plan how he wants to deal
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with the fighters. >> mr. speaker, we are proud to be an open, free, and tolerant nation but that tolerance must never be confused with a passive acceptance of cultures living separate lives or people behaving in ways that run completely counterto our values. adhering to british values is not an option or a choice. it is a duty for all those who live in these islands so we will stand up for our values, we will in the end defeat this extremism, and we will secure our way of life for generations to come and i commend this statement to the house. >> the prime minister's plans include people british born jihadists out of the u.k. at least in the short term. he wants the new law to give police the temporary power to seize a passport is a citizen is suspected to travel to fight for isis.
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>> he wants sees passports this is certainly a far cry from the u.s. plan which is essentially right now do nothing. president obama said he had no defined strategy for dealing with isis in syria. >> i want to talk to paul cruikshank. prime minister is talking about a homeland security issue when the president was criticized for his statements for have no strategy it was for what he may or may not do within syria itself. the british plans as they are, the ability to seize passports, to prevent british born citizens from going back in their country, would that ever work in the united states? >> the united states are going to be look at whatever measures necessary to protect the homeland. there's a lot of concerns here in the united states, but it's not as great as it is in the united kingdom. you had 500 people travel from
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the u.k. to join jihadist groups. in the united states, that number is 100 with a dozen or so joining isis. so the threat is much greater in the u.k. and that's why you are seeing a raft of new measures in the u.k. to try and tackle this problem. they are very worried that isis may try and retaliate in some form or way. the u.k. has seen, of course, as the closest ally of the united states. >> to be fair, while it is laudable that the u.k. is looking for ways to deal with this threat, to be fair, if you look at other countries, denmark, norway, finland, they have more people to go to syria and join the fight. >> in countries like bell yum, you have greater aish
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populations. in countries like belgium and france, you've got algerian and more rack en. the threat right now is unprecedented, bigger than even before 9/11, after 9/11, during the iraq war. they have never been more worried and this is really something echoed in the muslim community. i spoke with one leader who is working on a cutting edge of deradicalization. he's saying there's been a surge for isis in the british streets. these are very worrying times. >> in your talks over the last three days, have you caught any whiff that british officials think there is a specific threat? >> it does not.
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more general concern about the numbers returning, concern somive of these people may retaliate in the u.k. also you have this big nato summit this coming week in wales. it's not lost on british officials that last time you saw a major attack on british soil, the 2005 london bombs, there was a g 8 summit in scotland. a lot of concern about this. >> thanks so much for being with us. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> the plight of those americans held in north korea and the interview no one was expecting. what the sister of one of those prisoners is saying after she saw him on cnn. [announcer] who could resist the call...
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three americans detain in north korea are pleading for help from washington. they are desperate to get home. their interviews this morning with our will ripley certainly came as a surprise to everyone here at cnn. will and his crew were on a government tour about two hours outside of pyongyang. they were told they had to leave immediately for a meeting with a high-level government official. they boarded a van where they found out the meeting was with the three detained americans.
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all three seemed to have one consistent message. they are asking the u.s. government to send an envoy to north korea to help negotiate their freedom. >> let's give you a more background on these three men. matthew miller is 24 years old, from bakersfield, california. he is the youngest of four sons and a 2008 graduate of bakersfield high school. >> jeffrey fowle, he's from my am isburg, ohio. he told our will ripley i'm good for the time being. >> kenneth bae is serving a 15-year sns. he's been in custody the longest of the three men. >> your message for the american government, the american government, right now, i've been asking the american government
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to act to getting release here. i do believe special envoy needs to come to resolve the situation i'm in right now. i do ask the u.s. government to send an envoy as soon as possible. otherwise, i think that's the only hope i have right now for me to go home and be reunited with my family. >> kenneth bae is 44 years old. he was born in south korea but came to the u.s. when he was 16 years old. he's married and has three children. >> his sister says she's worried about his health. >> two years of being isolated and working in labor camp. i know it's not easy. so i think you can see that it's taking a toll both physically and mentally and we are concerned about him for sure. >> what are you asking of the u.s. government this morning?
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>> we are asking that -- this is an american citizen, hard working father of three who has been imprisoned in north korea for two years. please do everything possible to bring him home now. >> terri chung, they said it doesn't sound like her brother. normally he's so optimistic. >> it's also very curious what the u.s. government is going to do, what the plan is to try and get those three men free and home to their families. ahead at this hour, we'll turn to ukraine. ukraine's president says the country is inching closer to a full scale war with russia. should the u.s. get involved? hear what one senator has to say. (vo) friday night has always
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russia has come, invaded with thousands of troops, with missiles, tanks. this is no longer the question of some rebel separatists. this is a direct invasion by russia and we must recognize it. >> do you hear that? a direct invasion by russia. that was out of the chair of the senate foreign relations committee describe what is happening in ukraine. bob menendez says the united states should now arm the ukrainian government forces.
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>> ukraine's president says his country is inching closer to a full scale war with russia. hundreds of ukrainians forming a human chain leading to rebel controlled areas in protest of the escalating violence there. ukraine said one of its patrol boats was sunk and two crew members are missing. william taylor who clearly knows so much about this area and the intricacies of all these conversations going on, first of all, what do you make of the senator's point that the u.s. should arm ukrainian troops? >> i think the senator is exactly right. this is an invasion. these are russian troops, army formations. they have coming across the border. they have been photographed both on the ground and in the air. this is clearly an invasion and what we should do is support the ukrainians, including with military support. we should provide weapons,
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intelligence and advisers to help the ukraine yons. >> they are those who say russia has one of the big army's in the world. there is no amount that you can give ukraine that can possibly help them if russia is intent on invading. >> if russia is intent on invading, which they have denied up till now, nonetheless, they will pay the price and the price they are pay is russian soldiers dying. there is 5% support in russia for an invasion of ukraine. so the russian military and the russian government is lying to its own people because the russia people do not want to invade ukraine. so if they do and russian soldiers start getting killed, which they will in their hundreds, this will be a direct threat to the kremlin. >> putin certainly seems to speak out of both sides of his mouth as evidence the how he was
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referring to statehood for eastern ukraine, then of course the kremlin quickly said oh, no, you misunderstood him. so what is the end game here then? >> the end game that i believe the russians are after, mr. putin is after, is a destabilization of ukraine. but it's broader than that. the russians want to rewrite the rules that have been in place since world war ii and certainly since the end of the cold war. this is why this is such a dangerous time for ukraine but dangerous time for europe and dangerous time for the entire international community. if we don't support ukraine, we will be apiecing russia like we appeased hitler in 1939. >> this will be one of the major topic of discussion this week in wales when nato gets together to discuss its plans for the future. one of the thing they are discussing is putting together a force, perhaps to look threatening to russia should
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they try anything like this again. thank so much for your time. >> they will certainly have their share of topic to discuss. >> no shortage there. is it time for president obama now to take action against isis in syria? that's a question coming from congress now. including some members from his own party. stay with us. nowwith the virtualhe phfreedom of wi-fi. the car,
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i think i've learn one thing about this president, and that is he's very cautious. maybe in this instance, too
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cautious. >> too cautious? you might expect that kind of comment from a republican critic of the president, but of course dianne feinstein is one of the top senate democrats. >> needless to say, there's also some criticism coming from republicans. dianne feinstein's republican counterpart in the house said the president's foreign policy is an absolute free fall. we're joined now by cnn political commentator, maria cardona and doug hyde. >> good to have you both with us on this labor day. marie, i'll start with you first. what is your take on the idea that the president is being far too cautious? >> i thul think that people are mistaking especially his republican opponents and critics, ditherring for what really is thoughtful pragmatism. what senator feinstein said
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she's also look forward and she's confident that the pentagon and the state department actually are looking at a strategy, they do have a strategy and that our allies will could aless around that strategy. that's critical. what's interesting about the op ed that the senators put forward. there's nothing they laid out that the president department lay out in his press conference last week, in terms of things that we are considering as options of the the difference is we're not going in there guns ablazing without knowing exactly what intelligence there is, who is with us, who is against us, and that's what we're waiting for and specifically, to work with our coalition partners to help us on that. >> doug, i want to ask you kind of a twist on this because we're seeing plenty of republican criticism of the president, that he's being too cautious or as mike rodgers says his policy is free fall. one of the things we're not seeing is republican candidates out on the stump in these key swing races being critical of the president. is that because public opinion
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is still basically where the president is on this? >> i think you are still having candidates figure out if they are going to be candidates or not and while republicans certainly feel there's a lot to be critical of, with the president, republicans also are having their own internal debate how much are we going to support the president. right now, september 1st. on september 3rd of last year, at the administration's request, said that they would support a vote for military strikes, to authorize military strikes in syria. what we found out is the administration didn't want the vote but never informed congress of this. >> because they didn't have the votes. >> right, because they no longer wanted it, but didn't tell us about that. something i was involved with personally. one could say that was dithering. in syria, that was a red line that was crossed. we didn't do anything about it. isis is a very real threat. we don't have a plan for it. the president has been consistent in his lack of resolve on anything in foreign policy. that's something you hear from
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our allies all the time. >> i want to put another topic to each of you, give you 30 seconds each to respond to. north korea, we saw this really compelling interview, set of interviews our will ripley got. i'm curious, maria what your thoughts are on whether the president should intervene, what can be on it from the white house, from the obama administration, to get these men home. >> first of all, it was heart wrenching. as a mother, i can't help but look at those videos and think, oh, my god, what is the white house doing. i can assure you there are certainly conversations going on behind the scenes to try to get these folks back home with their families. and that is exactly what our priorities should be. and so this brings me to another point, michaela, which is there are a lot of conversations going on both with north korea, on ukraine, on isis, with our coalition partners, with the folks who are on the ground, with the kurdish, who are fighting them, and we don't know what these conversationings are. the president is not going to
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lay bear everything he hears from his military commanders, so we just need to focus on what he's saying publicly and he says he's going to come up with a strategy so we hope in a couple weeks to hear what is. >> we want our folks in north korea to come home safely. this is where the congress would support the president. on the issue of foreign policy where we see a lack of engagement, it's not just what we see from even a respected democrat like dianne feinstein. foreign leaders will say, where is the american leadership? and that's more troubling than what suit the president wears in a press conference. >> inside britain, david cameron not doing anything militarily inside syria at this point. guys, we have to go. thanks so much for being with us. >> happy labor day. >> you, too. two americans from minnesota died fighting for isis. we're going to speak with a head of a youth group in minneapolis that is fighting for the hearts
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the u.s. has been concerned for more than a decade about radical islamic groups recruiting americans. last week, you'll recall, some men from minnesota were found dead in syria after having joined isis. something that worries the large
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community of sam molly mothers living in that state. >> a community group formed several years ago to try to steer somali youth aware from radicalization. joining us to talk about this, the executive director. thanks so much for being with us. appreciate it, mohammed. when you see these pictures of douglas mccain, hear that he was recruited to fight, ultimately die for eye six recruited from minnesota, that's what feel like? >> well, this really hits home. first and foremost, thank you for having me. he was not actually a somali individual, but this show us that we're not doing enough. and we need to do more and more. >> you talk about the fact that, again, you're targeting the young somalis because this is
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your community, the kid, you know. talk about why you think they're being enticed, so vulnerable to recruitment. >> oh, definitely. when we talk about radicalization, first and foremost, you know, to be radicalized, it's a process. it's not an overnight deal. there's a lot of underlying issues that sometimes we don't talk about. there is chronic, you know, unemployment rate within the somali community. high school dropout. lack opportunity for young people. so these are things we really need to tackle before we tackle this bigger issue of radic radicalizati radicalization. also, we need to restrategize, when we talk about a national level, because it's missing a key important aspect, which is the community. we need to be invest in the community more and more and that's what's missing our
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radicalization strategy. >> give me a sense how you try to engage one young man? >> definitely. we are playing the preventive role. we've got programs, afterschool programs, posports programs, jo development. what we're doing is really trying to engage these individuals ahead of time before any terrorist organizations tries to engage them. so, this is what we really need to align with our national strategy, and we really need to empower. this is another thing that's very important. we need to empower the community to do more work and the community has a strategy, we have a strategy. the question is, is that strategy aligned with our national strategy? >> right. mohammed, hopefully other groups, other communities can say, look, we can take what we're doing there, work with kids in our areas as well, reach them before they might get
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reached by the wrong people. >> thank you so much. >> that's it for us at this hour. >> still time to barbecue, happy labor day, folks. "legal view" starts right now. hello, everyone, i'm ashleigh banfield, on this labor day, welcome to "legal view." they all say they're guilty, they all say they're being treated hue manly, and they all say they want the government to help them. three american citizens accused of break laws in north korea. they, today, got an exceedingly rare opportunity to speak to the outside world via cnn. jeffrey edward nowle, kenneth bae and miller


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