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CNN Reporter Detained And Harassed in Turkey; Bowe Bergdahl, Taliban Prisoner Exchange Controversial; Shelly Sterling May Keep Role in Clippers as Sterling Mistress V. Stiviano Roughed Up; How the Arab World Views Obama, His Administration

Aired June 2, 2014 - 13:30   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: For this kind of press harassment to be taking place is very, very shocking. You deserve more than simply an apology from the officials in Istanbul where -- are you OK now, are you OK, Ivan?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf, and thanks for the concern. It's not -- in the grand scheme of things, I've been detained in countries like Iran and Russia, roughed up, my colleagues roughed up in other countries. The biggest issue is how Turkish journalists are treated in this country. According to the organization Reporters Without Borders, Turkey ranks 154 out of 180 countries, behind Iraq and Russia. Dozens of journalists over the course of the last year have been forced out of their jobs, fired, for challenging the Turkish government. Turkey was rated the world's worst jailor of journalists.

In the last couple of months, more than a dozen of those journalists have been released. However, Turkey has shut down YouTube in this country, despite a constitutional court order, saying it is unconstitutional to shut down YouTube. Just about a week and a half before elections in March, the government shut down Twitter and only opened it afterwards. It is those kinds of signs as well as the repeated use of force that I see in the streets of this city every month against, for the most part, peaceful demonstrators that have really raised alarms for a country that, a few years ago, was moving closer towards joining the European Union and has been a long-term ally in the NATO military alliance -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Yeah, it's shocking a NATO ally would behave like this.

Ivan thanks very much. You always do excellent, courageous reporting for us.

We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Want to get the latest on the day's big story. Bowe Bergdahl has been freed. His liberty traded for the release of five Guantanamo detainees. There, you see the five arriving in Qatar earlier today where they will now spend the next year. As the controversy grows, there are also serious questions about exactly who these five Taliban members are. Here's what a Pentagon spokesman said about the threat they may pose.


REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, SPOKESMAN, PENTAGON: Secretary Hagel made the determination that this transfer was in the national interest. I can also tell you -- and he has made this clear -- that he would never have signed that order, he would have never done that if he didn't believe that we had the appropriate assurances from the government of Qatar that these individuals were not going to pose a direct threat to the national security of the United States.


BLITZER: All of them will now spend the next year in Qatar under what's being described as a travel ban.

Our Tim Lister takes us through their identities.


TIM LISTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These photographs posted by a Taliban spokesman purportedly show the five Guantanamo detainees arriving in Qatar. They'd also been held by the U.S. for more than a decade after being captured in Afghanistan or Pakistan during the invasion that ended Taliban rule. Khair Ullah Syed Waali (ph) is thought to be the most important. A former interior minister said they are alleged to be associated with Osama bin Laden. Mullah Mohammad Fazl (ph) was accused of being involved in the massacre of thousands of Shiites.

Number three is Mullah Norullah Nori (ph), who always claimed he was not a senior Taliban official. U.S. intelligence alleged that Abdul Haq Wasiq (ph) had been number two in the group with links to al Qaeda. Finally, there is Mohammed Nabi Omar (ph). According to his reviews, he also had links to al Qaeda. But he claims he helped the U.S. track down the Taliban's shadowy leader, Mullah Omar.

Two years ago, then-director of intelligence, James Clapper, told Congress all five had been assessed as both too dangerous to release and too difficult to put on trial.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I don't think anyone harbors any illusions about these five Taliban members and what they might -- might do if they were transferred.

LISTER: But even then, the Obama administration was considering a halfway house in Qatar for the five men as part of a deal that might bring the Taliban to peace talks.

Tim Lister, CNN.


BLITZER: Well, lots of complaints coming out of Washington that the deal for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl will embolden terrorists like the Taliban. Earlier, we heard a response to that from two former national security advisers who were speaking at a national security conference here in Washington.


STEPHEN HADLEY, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: The problem is if you swap or pay to get your hostages back, you incentivize hostage taking. That's the problem.

TONY DONILON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: They know the value, frankly, of being able to -- to being able to take an American, American soldier captive. And I don't think this -- I don't think we need any inventive to do that. I don't find any argument. We have that -- we have that risk every single day in Afghanistan and we deal with that risk.


BLITZER: We'll have much more on this debate later in "The Situation Room." The House Intelligence Committee chairman, Mike Rogers, will join us live, 5:00 p.m. eastern, right here on CNN.

She's known as the woman who released Donald Sterling's racist rants but now V. Stiviano's lawyer says a pair of haters have attacked her. Brian Todd standing by with details.


BLITZER: Let's get the latest on the Donald Sterling saga. Now, reports Shelly Sterling may have some type of role with the L.A. Clippers even after the NBA team sells.

This as we're also hearing Donald Sterling's alleged mystery has been roughed up in New York City.

Let's get the latest from Brian Todd.

First of all, Shelly Sterling, the wife -- what do we know about the sale, any role she might have?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're told, Wolf, Shelly Sterling, as part of this agreement, will have some kind of a role with the Clippers after this agreement goes through.

BLITZER: NBA OK with that?

TODD: Presumably. They've issued a statement saying that they've resolved all their disputes with her. We don't believe the NBA has any kind of problem with it. Who may have a problem with it? Doc Rivers and some other members of the Clippers. Doc Rivers, the coach, said a couple of weeks ago that if any of the Sterlings were still involved with the team, not everybody would be happy with that. Doc Rivers said he wasn't necessarily speaking for himself but he said others might have a problem with it. We're digging into what kind of role she will have. Don't have that information just yet. Hopefully, we'll have some of that later on. BLITZER: What about V. Stiviano? Was she roughed up on the streets of New York?

TODD: Apparently, she was. According to her attorney, she was roughed up as she was leaving a restaurant in New York last night. She was leaving with her sister and some friends when two men, according to the lawyer, followed her, yelling racial slurs. According to her lawyer, they punched her several times. Part of her face is swollen. She didn't immediately file a police report but she may do that today. The lawyer said, "I believe she will file a police report today." It's very strange. Trouble seems to follow this woman wherever she goes.

BLITZER: Very strange. I know you're working the story. You'll have more later.

TODD: Yes.

BLITZER: Thanks very much.

How does the Arab world view President Obama and his administration? We're going to get the first look at some brand-new numbers, take a look at attitudes, how they've changed over the years.

And it was 100 years ago that the first airline ticket was sold. We're going to take a closer look at how the airline industry has so dramatically changed since then and one big way in which it hasn't changed.


BLITZER: Take a closer look now at the Arab world and how it views the United States and the Obama administration. It's been exactly five years since President Obama gave that historic address at Cairo University. During that speech, he promised a new era of U.S. and Arab and Muslim relations.


OBAMA: So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, those who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. And this cycle of suspicion and discord must end.


BLITZER: So has that cycle of suspicion and discord ended? What's going on right now?

Let's welcome the president of the Arab-American Institute, James Zogby, to us right now.

You just conducted, five years after the speech, an important poll, Arab attitudes towards the United States. Give us a headline. JAMES ZOGBY, PRESIDENT, ARAB-AMERICAN INSTITUTE: I think there's been an up-tick in Arab support but suspicions remain, and a lack of confidence is clearly there. A sense that the U.S. cannot deliver on the promises of the Cairo speech, I think, colors the whole Arab attitude toward America and the president.

BLITZER: Do they approve of the way President Obama, five and a half years into his administration, is conducting policy in the Middle East?

ZOGBY: Well, some issues, yes. For example, public opinion tells us they did not want military action in Syria. I think the president just spoke at West Point saying that Americans are war weary and wary of new engagement. I think after Iraq and Afghanistan, Arabs are wary of American military engagement, too. But I think they still think we can do more.

BLITZER: There are plenty of people, in Saudi Arabia, for example, who want the United States to get involved in Syria.

ZOGBY: I think that's true. But I think there's a late of confidence and trust. For example, majorities overwhelming support negotiations with Iran, but majorities overwhelmingly don't have the confidence America will accomplish something with those. Same with the Middle East peace process with Israel and Palestine. They don't have confidence that we're committed to making it work. They see how our domestic politics plays out.

I remember I did the show with you five years ago and --

BLITZER: Right after the Cairo speech.

ZOGBY: Right. And we got a taste of how conservatives were going to act. The Arab world has seen this president unable to defeat and win his way with Congress and with getting the promise of Cairo delivered on.

BLITZER: John Kerry, the secretary of state, he's been trying his best to do it.


BLITZER: George Mitchell tries as a special Middle East envoy. But so far, not much success.

ZOGBY: On the second anniversary of the Cairo speech, I heard the president speak at the State Department. Another brilliant speech. Three days later, I was in the Middle East when Netanyahu was speaking in Congress getting 29 standing ovation for insulting the president and for saying, "I will defy what he said about the '67 borders." So there's a sense that he can't deliver and he's unable to break through the system and do it. And we see that all throughout the numbers. His numbers are up.

BLITZER: His approval numbers.

ZOGBY: His approval numbers are up.

BLITZER: Compared to Bush?

ZOGBY: Compared -- oh, my gosh. Bush is the least favored. Clinton was actually the favored, not George Bush's father. I thought that would be the result.

BLITZER: They still admire Bill Clinton?

ZOGBY: They still admire Bill Clinton enormously. And Obama's numbers are divided between those who think he's a great president and those don't --


BLITZER: There were huge expectations after that Cairo speech --


BLITZER: -- after the Istanbul speech, when he spoke to the Muslim world. Have they felt -- and this survey, this new Zogby poll you've got, Arab attitudes throughout the Arab world towards this president, have they felt disappointed that he hasn't been able to deliver?

ZOGBY: I think disappointment is the word. The plummet, when the numbers were so high to 2011, where they sank to even Bush-era lows. Significant. The numbers have gone up.

BLITZER: I've read the poll results. There are different attitudes for him in different Arab countries.

ZOGBY: Right.

BLITZER: It's not uniform throughout.

ZOGBY: UAE numbers are very high. Palestinian numbers are very high. They don't think he is going deliver, but the actually have a better attitude towards this president.

BLITZER: Because at least he's trying.

ZOGBY: I think he's tried.


ZOGBY: And he went there and -- the speech in Jerusalem, people remember the Israel part. The compassionate speaking about Palestine I think was forgotten by others but not by Palestinians. So the numbers, when we say high, we're talking 30 percent. Not high by American standards, which you want your favorable ratings to be, but higher than, for example, George Bush's numbers ever were.

BLITZER: And people can look at the poll. They can go to your website.

ZOGBY: Yeah. The website is Zogby Research Services, or it will be up on AAIUSA (ph) as well on both sites.

Thanks for having me and continuing the conversation.

BLITZER: James Zogby --

ZOGBY: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: -- maybe five years from now, we will have another conversation.

ZOGBY: I hope the numbers are better then.

BLITZER: We will see what happens. Let's hope for peace. That would be good.

Up next, it's been 100 years since the birth of commercial aviation. Much has changed in the airline industry since then. But one thing has remained constant, a delicate balance of high risk and high reward. Richard Quest will explain when we come back.


BLITZER: In today's "Across the Skies," Richard Quest looks at the challenges for an industry that has historically balanced high risk and high rewards.



RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It all started with a 23-minute flight in a flying boat across Tampa Bay, Florida, in 1914. It was humble beginnings for an industry which has transformed our world.

Then the mayor of St. Petersburg paid $400, worth $9,000 in today's money, for the privilege of becoming the first paying passenger. Scheduled commercial flights were born.

(on camera): What the Wright brothers started, others continued. These are the machines that helped create an industry, which today is worth trillions of dollars. Think about it. Eight million of us each day get on a plane and take to the skies. Some three billions journeys were taken last year. And with those trips went the hopes and dreams of deals to be done, families to be reunited, ambitions to be realized.


QUEST (voice-over): The entrepreneurial spirit of risk taking spawned by the early pioneers continued as more and more airlines took to the skies.

Pan American World Airways blazed a trail across the Atlantic with jet aircraft and trumpeting their service.


ANNOUNCER: A new concept in air transportation. The travail has been taken out of travel.


QUEST: A smooth ride for passengers that might have been. But for the airline, the concept of risk and reward eventually went into reverse. Pan Am couldn't survive.

The CEO of the Airline Industries Trade Association, Tony Tyler, has seen them come and go.

TONY TYLER, CEO, AIRLINE INDUSTRIES TRADE ASSOCIATION: These names have come and gone. But those businesses went into other businesses. That tells us that consolidation is the way forward in this industry.

But we're also seeing, as you say, the rise of new customers, which brings a new business model. And that's something else that has happened over the years. They're the not the first ones to be new. Every airline starts off with a new model and a new way to go.

QUEST: Risk and reward is everywhere in aviation.

(on camera): A stroll through the engine display at the London Science Museum ends up at the RB 211, built by Rolls Royce. And this, more than perhaps any other engine, symbolizes the contradiction in aviation. On the one hand, it is a technology marvel, ushering in the turbine and a new generation of power plants. Unfortunately, it cost so much to develop, it drove the manufacturer of Rolls Royce into bankruptcy.

(voice-over): The industry has suffered as much turbulence in the pocket as it has in the air. American Airlines is another example of risk and reward.


QUEST: Doing what it does best wasn't enough to keep American from bankruptcy. And it was the last U.S. carrier to merge with U.S. Airways.

TYLER: What we need in this industry to be really successful is a global mindset. The point is this is a global industry. It has become global over the last hundred years. We're the industry that makes global possible. And what that means is that everybody in it has to understand they are part of the global network, they are part of a global system and they need to think globally in everything they do.

QUEST: Aviation has always been at the heart of big dreams. Today's mechanical birds are century from that air boat that crossed Tampa Bay, but there is one thing that everyone still shares, they balance the risks and rewards.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BLITZER: Richard Quest reporting for us.

That's it for me. I will be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."

NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Wolf Blitzer.