tv France 24 News PBS August 29, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm PDT
>> coming up on rt, it looks like the united date is inching closer to a military strike on syria. world leaders from the u.n. and beyond are trying to put the brakes on any sort of u.s. intervention. the latest on the tensions of syria -- in syria -- in syria i had. the bank bailout was rolled out in response to the spiral. at least one banker spent his cash on a new condo in florida. more on this muse of -- misuse of taxpayer money coming up. facebook continues to amass more
users, but is the tech site protecting your privacy? we take you that later in today's show. -- tell you that later in today's wash -- today's show. it is thursday, august 29. 5:00 p.m. in washington, d.c. you're watching rt. we start with the crisis in syria as the united states and its allies away options for military intervention after the chemical attack last week in damascus. despite denials from the syrian regime, the white house has said it is undeniable president bashar al-assad is behind the attacks, setting the stage for an international brawl. president hassan rouhani of iran said he will press forward with attempts to ward off military action by western nations against president bashar al- assad.
he was quoted as saying that military action will bring great cost for the region. it is necessary to apply all effort to prevent it. according to state tv, he said both iran and russia would work in cooperation to prevent any military action against syria. meanwhile, the united states and its allies continue to pair for a potential strike. president obama told pbs yesterday he did not want a prolonged military intervention. >> if we are saying in a clear and decisive but very limited way, we send a shot across the bow saying, stop doing this, that can have a positive impact on a national security over the long term and may have a positive impact in the sense that chemical weapons are not used again on innocent civilians. >> the white house announced it will brief members of congress later today on plans to move forward with a military's right, and it -- military strike, and will reduce evidence -- release
evidence of the assad rweegime's responsibility. i asked her correspondent what iran's backing of the syrian means -- regime means for the country. >> iran is a close ally of these -- the syrian president bashar al-assad. we are hearing from iran that they will apply pressure to prevent military action happening inside that country. we heard from a confidant of the supreme leader khamenei, and he says syria's is iran's province, and if we lose syria we lose tehran. any kind of action inside syria will open the floodgates, and iran could be next. what iran can do in retaliation is to close the ports of homuz, 20% of the world's petroleum. the world community will not
want that to happen. they can also activate hezbollah and the iranian revolutionary guard. they have networks around the world and to carry out terror attacks against country supporting military action. this is not going to be something the west once. this is something they need to mull over in their considerations. we have also heard from iran, the chief of the revolutionary guard saying that an attack on syria would see the immediate destruction of israel. that is not going to be something washington is going to take lightly as a threat. >> as the u.s. and allies prepare for a military strike, what is syria doing to pair for -- prepare for what may come? >> from the reports we have been receiving, the syrian army has evacuated almost all its personnel from army and security command headquarters inside damascus. as for army units outside the capital city, they have been
confiscating trailer trucks, which understandably will be used to move heavy equipment from one location to another. we have also been told that the syrian navy is docking in areas that are usually reserved for civilian traffic. docking alongside civilian ships. the military is certainly getting ready for a possible western attack. >> the white house has said the intelligence documents they have proved there was a chemical attack tom a and they came from assad's -- from assad's regime,t they weren't a slam dunk. what does that mean? >> that is a throwback to do thousand two, when intelligence supposedly conclusively proved iraq had weapons of mass destruction under saddam hussein. as we know, that was later proven to be false.
that expression came about referring to false and incorrect intelligence information. from the british prime minister david cameron, he is saying there is not a 100% conclusive intelligence that assad did use chemical weapons. this expression really does refer to the supposes conclusive proof that assad had chemical weapons. a number of questions still have to be answered. not only whether or not assad carried out the chemical attack, but also who owns the chemical weapons at the moment inside syria. >> you are joining us from lebanon, a country that has been caught up in the growing syrian crisis. what are you hearing from people in beirut about their country's role and the conflict just next- door? >> i spent several hours this afternoon in the palestinian camp here in beirut. a lot of syrian refugees have
sought refuge there. this is because it is a neighborhood that is very poor, the rent is cheap, and a lot of these refugees cannot afford to live in beirut. you have 700,000 syrian refugees currently living here. in one day, there were 13,000 that came across. that is why the lebanese president is going to the united nations next month to seek further assistance for the influx of refugees. some support assad, almost all of them were some -- were unanimous against any kind of western strikes, with people telling me they believe this will only lead to further bloodshed down the line. i want to make a point that hez bollah recently said they would not stand idly by if assad was attacked. this is the strongest statement so far indicating how hezbollahh
will place itself in any kind of attack on damascus. hezbollah has sent fighters to assist assad, but we have not heard any direct claims as of yet. hezbollah will react by firing missiles into israel, this will lead the united states to r eact when you talk to ordinary lebanese they do not want to see any kind of western intervention. they are concerned about the delicate political sectarian balance that this country has. what is happening in syria has a very negative effect on that. >> thank you. that was rt's middle east bureau chief in beirut, lebanon. i was joined earlier by gareth porter, an investigative journalist and historian, along with richard murphy, former u.s. ambassador to syria, to help shed additional light on latest developments out of syria. i asked, what is the purpose of
these military strikes? >> that is the question everyone is asking around the world, really. it is just so difficult to figure out what the administration really thinks it is doing. one wag in the united states published a comedic take in which he has obama saying, i pledge to carry out a strike against syria with no objective whatsoever. it is sometimes stated that we need to do it for humanitarian purposes, and sometimes because of international law, both of which are highly debatable, to say the least in terms of recent history as well as previous history of u.s. policy. it begins to look like there is a small coterie of people within the administration, susan rice, secretary of state john kerry in particular, who have gotten the
idea that they want to do something and that they have laid upon a lot of domestic pressure from the republican party, some people in the republican party, not all of them, and they have somehow prevailed on the president to do something he apparently did not want to do. that presents a real mystery of major proportions. >> i want to ask you -- president obama said yesterday that while he wants to send a message with the strikes, they are not intended to destabilize the assad regime. what kind of message would be strikes realistically be sending? >> his message has been pretty clear. he wants to send a very strong signal, a strong slap, if you will, that the regime will not repeat the use of chemical weapons. i think that is his basic message. how it is going to be done, we do not know yet.
but he has been perfectly clear on that, and he is not talking about international law because he does not have the security council with him. he is looking for international legitimacy, which is why he is consulting with a wide range of countries today. >> this morning, british parliament debated, why is the burden on the u.s. and u.k. test strike syria militarily rather than middle eastern allies such as turkey, kuwait, qatar? >> i would not expect the individual arab states to strike , nor would i expect the arab league to endorse a western strike. that is going too far, given the history of the area, the suspicions of the west, of the united states, etc.. we have very strong friends there, but they do not want to be standing alone, saying, welcome uncle sam, come in, send your military and and do something nasty to a fellow arab state. that runs against the grain.
>> i want to ask you, why were the chemical attacks the tipping point in all this? >> there is a very serious question here which we have not talked about. that is, what is the state or status of the actual evidence that a nerve gas attack took place? the answer to that is that the evidences phil -- is still very much subject to confirmation. the only real confirmation that can be provided is from the u.n. investigation that is now just about finished with its work. but it appears the obama administration is not prepared to wait until that investigation presents the final report of its work. that is a very, that is a very strong indication that there are serious questions that the administration wants to kind of push under the rug. i would add that one of the biggest pieces of evidence that
the administration relied on in its initial presentation of this case by secretary kerry was that medecins sans frontieres presented evidence from hospitals that more than 1000 people had -- that several thousand people had been treated and 355 had died of symptoms suggesting a nerve gas attack. but now the medecins sans frontieres has issued a statement saying, we cannot confirm this information and we refuse to have this used to justify military action in syria . >> richard, you said last week that the timing of this allegation that several hundred people died as a result of poison gas or nerve gas in the course of the last day is. what -- is odd. what did you mean by that exactly?
>> we do not have the full context. could you read quote me on this? >> the timing of this allegation that several hundred people died as a result of poison or nerve gas is odd. what did you mean by that? >> i think it was the fact that the statement came out so quickly after the attack, and -- it is quite true. we do not have the confirmation out there in the public as of yet. i think the public is going to have to come out with a good deal to justify any u.s. action. i expect that to happen. this white house is still living , haunted by the memories of 2003 and the bush administration's assertions that weapon destruction were
used. >> one other point about timing that i think is very important. the timing of this alleged chemical strike just at the time that the u.n. team is already there in damascus and clearly able to go. then the timing of the assad regime saying yes to the request to visit the site. it is not exploitable in any way, shape, or form that the assad regime would carry out a chemical strike and then allow the u.n. to go in and take samples to prove that exist. >> that was gareth porter, an investigative journalist, and richard murphy, former u.s. ambassador to syria. in financial news today, talk about mismanagement. in 2008, darrell lane woods, a chairman of a small missouri bank come i received $1 million after applying to the united its
treasury for bailout money under the troubled asset relief program. however, days after main street bank received the funds, woods spent more than one third of them on a $400,000 waterfront condominium in fort myers, florida. on tuesday, he pleaded guilty to criminal charges of federal -- in jefferson, missouri -- jefferson city, missouri. the investigation that led to his arrest was headed by the special inspector general for the troubled asset relief program or tarp. many are pleased to see justice being brought to those who abuse bailout funds, but it raises questions about why larger financial institutions have not seen the level of oversight. i was joined by bob english, and started off by asking him how well tarp really worked. >> unfortunately, tarp did not work. it was sold to the public on the premise it was going to help people with underwater mortgages
. unfortunately, it just bailout the big banks. what hank paulson did, he was the ex-goldmanite treasury secretary at the time, he went to congress and instilled a lot of fear in people. what he said was, if you do not do this we are going to have financial armageddon. >> what kind of conditions were established for the use of that money? >> like i said, there were conditions that were antecedent to that. unfortunately, those conditions were not followed. so when you find out what tarp actually did, all it did was bailout the big banks. >> interesting. to your knowledge, had smaller financial institutions see more of an oversight from the special inspector general? and the justice department in general, when it comes to overseeing these bailout funds? >> unfortunately, the smaller financial institutions are at an
extreme disadvantage. what happens with them, they do not have access to the same money privileges vis-à-vis the federal reserve that a larger institutions do. they have stronger regulatory oversight, so what you see happen when these regulations are passed, jpmorgan itself, goldman sachs are writing the regulations, and the smaller financial firms are not able to take advantage of them. >> do you believe the government will not go after bigger banks the same way they will go after smaller ones? >> there is a funny thing, called too big to jail. unfortunately, the government is not going after bigger banks. there is a push to go after some of these mid-level employees. jpmorgan has an energy scandal going on right now. they going after a guy named bruno iksil, going after his boss and a subordinate. but they are not going after the big fish, after the whales, even though he was the london whale.
>> you just said no, but i will ask you more point blank. do you believe justice will be served to the public by prosecuting those from the big institutions that -- that maybe we will see some of that in the upcoming months? >> unfortunately, the sec is going after insider trading, which is a crime, but not the biggest crime. hedge funds were not the cause of the 2008 panic. they are not going to be the cause of the next panic. the federal regulators are not going after the right people right now. unfortunately, that is the case. so the sec is going after this guy named stevie: -- stevie cohen, but he is not going to cause the next financial crisis. >> they're focusing their energy in the wrong places? >> exactly. >> what did steve cohen do to make the federal government
angry? >> that is a loaded question. he made a lot of enemies along his trail. he had one of the biggest hedge funds. he is a very influential financial guy. he just made too many enemies, and when the sec decide this -- decided to start cracking down, he was an obvious target. >> thank you for joining us today. that was bob english. here in the nation's capital, americans marked the 50th anniversary of the 1963 march on washington yesterday. where martin luther king made his famous "i have a dream" speech. the event was attended by a number of politicians, many of which addressed thousands of people at the lincoln memorial. speakers included president barack obama, former presidents bill clinton and jimmy carter, congressman john lewis, and governor martin o'malley, among many others. interestingly, those politicians all have one thing in common -- they're all democrats. in fact, no elected republicans spoke at the historical event at all.
that does not mean they were not invited. former naacp chairman julian bond told them -- nbc that they invited a long list of republicans, but each declined. the grubby house john boehner and majority leader eric cantor were some of the most prominent republicans -- speaker of the house john boehner and majority leader eric cantor were some of the most prominent republicans invited. former presidents bush senior and junior declined due to health reasons. the anniversary of the event on right-leaning fox was interesting. this was the topic of conversation used -- it reads " 50 years after march on washington, some see rock music as a problem. now for our weekly tech report, the latest news on technology on all things digital. today we are talking about facebook. the social media behemoth saw its value climb over $100
billion for the first time ever, one year following its record low. the company closed at $43.34 earlier this week, bringing its value by market capitalization to $106 billion. fortunately for facebook, this week also saw the end of an extended court case in which facebook will pay $20 million in settlements to users who objected to their information being used as part of advertiser promotions. a pew research report shows teens are wary about the same privacy issues. here to discuss all things facebook is our guest. >> thanks. >> we will start out -- teenagers are becoming more concerned with privacy, but the rate at which teenagers are -- and adults are sharing information is so incredibly high. 51% of teen users have avoided certain apps due to privacy
concerns. when he six percent have installed an app due to personal info collection. 26% have turned off location tracking features. do you think we are turning a page where people are actually starting to connect the dots between their online profiles and their privacy in daily lives ? >> i think what you are seeing is teens are way smarter than people in our generation make that to be. that is the first thing. second, they are looking to the future, going to have a much brighter future than we expect when it comes to the intersection of technology and privacy. in many ways, they are understanding how those things work, taking control over themselves, rather than doing what many people in our own generation have done, which is i am the victim, why did they do this to myself. they are saying, no, i own my privacy. if you mess with that i'm not going to like it and i will take action. i think that is what the research issue is showing.
>> five plaintiffs filed against facebook in 2011. saying that it had shared users likes of certain advertisers with friends without paying them. or -- allowing them to opt out of this program. are we going to see more lawsuits like this, or more carefully written user agreements? >> what we should do is first, let's look back at when this lawsuit happened. it was over two years ago when the conduct occurred. at that time, facebook was planning to go public. investors out there were looking at it and saying, how are you going to make money? they were trying all sorts of things is a we can generate revenue -- to say we can generate revenue. this was one of those things. they did, from what it appears, crossed the line in terms of what they were allowing and taking from a privacy perspective. what you are seeing when you fast forward to today is that customers and consumers do not
like that. privacy is about transparency. you have to tell people what you are doing. have to give some sort of control over it. facebook, if anything, is going to learn from this, as all the other companies who are watching which say, when consumers demand certain types of features, certain controls, you have to deliver because not only can it become illegal -- a legal issue, it can also impact your bottom line when the consumer trust to less. >> this is something we found interesting. a lot of reports coming out that the credit worthiness of customers is judged on a guilt by association basis for lending companies which take into account things like one's facebook friends and also those who have frequent interactions on phase. -- facebook. should we be concerned about this? >> is saying comes to mind, you are your friends. for hundreds of years, we have looked at people and said, let's determine their reputation based on who they hang out with, and with a party with, who they are friends with.
these banks ultimately have one goal in mind, when i lend money to you i want you to pay it back. they are going to look at also to things that determine who you are as a person. from one perspective, we can see that as a good thing. >> go ahead. >> the other side of this is that it is not proven technology, there is no research that i'm aware of that is going to go behind these operations created. no 10 years of experience that says that when you type in a bigger font you are one personality versus a smaller font. those things it not been proven. which means there will be false positives, there will be a customer out there who does not get the loan that should have gotten the loan, that would have been the bank's best customer. i think this is going to be learned as you go kind of scenario. eventually things will get worked into the system where this becomes one part of many but not definitely the
controlling part. >> what is kind of interesting -- should people who lose their jobs now get ready to be de- friended as well? talk about insult to injury. if things are happening, could that be a problem? >> i think everyone has friends they put up with. if you look in your own circle, i am sure there is somebody you are like, they are invited to the party. you really do not want them there, but they are there. people say, why is that person there? at some point people will start realizing we are all like that, it is human nature to have friends like that. we will continue to do that. at some point i think that is going to become less significant of an issue on who you are, just like going back five or 10 years when people started posting images everyone was having a heyday of what are you going to do, future employers are going to hurt you because of this. then people started getting used to it. always the story of first- generation panics, next generation learns, third- generation makes it part of daily living. >> thank you so much.
>> thanks for having me. >> finally, if you are looking to get a new much larger brain, you may be in luck. scientists for the first time have successfully reproduce miniature human brains in a lab. scientists have used embryonic stem cells, adult skin cells, to create the part of the embryo that develops into the spinal cord and brain. ep-sized structures have the same level of development as a nine-week-old fetus. before you get too excited, these miniature brains are not yet capable of human thought. however, the brains are still being put to good use. a developing organ has already been used to up scientist gain insightful information into rare diseases, not to mention the potential for a real breakthrough in organ donation. perhaps we will not get a revamped brain, but we will get to see and save a lot more lives. that does it for now.
hello there. welcome to "newsline." it's friday, august 30th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. residents of syria are shuttering themselves inside their homes. they're stocking up on food and water. they're waiting to find out whether u.s. forces and their allies will attack their country. western leaders believe last week syrian troops attacked civilians in the suburbs of damascus with