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Rebel Keep Investigators from MH-17 Crash Site; Could Ebola Come to the U.S.?; Anti-Semitism Rising With Gaza Bombings; Putin Wants All The Chips

Aired July 30, 2014 - 16:30   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

In other world news, the Ukrainian government is now claiming that the pro-Russian separatists who control the scene where Malaysian Airline Flight 17 crashed placed landmines and set up firing positions around it and now for the fourth straight day international investigators say conditions were too dangerous to reach the crime scene which means, as we've said before, the top suspects in the downing of Flight 17 still control the crime scene.

Investigators may not have gotten there today, but our own senior correspondent Nick Paton Walsh did. Here's what he found.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The road isn't easy -- past shelling and eerie separatist checkpoints. But where it leads is harder still. And beauty nothing surely could spoil, lies a horror still unresolved.

Twelve days since MH-17 was blown out of the sky, it remains here, a monument to cruelty. To how 298 souls, some shipped in parts away on a separatist train have yet to find complete rest.

Questions left, what or who else did they love? What did they feel in their last moments?

(On camera): And the silence in these fields is that of a tomb-like sorrow and loss have isolated it from the war around it, but you really have to stand here and see the things that people want to take with them on holiday and horrifyingly, even now, smell the stench of decay to understand the urgency for relatives of those who died who must feel to get inspectors to this site and get some kind of closure.

(Voice-over): In the hour we were there, no separatists, inspectors or Ukrainian soldiers at this site. Just distant smoke that explains why the inspectors' large convoy has not for the fourth day running got here.

God save and protect us, the sign asks. Not here, still wreaking of jet fuel. But you can see the heat of the inferno they fell from the sky in. Strangers have tried to mourn. The scene of this crime has been abandoned, evidence tampered with. What must be shrapnel holes visible in the cockpit's remains. A

wallet emptied, a cell phone looted. Traces of daydreams that fell from the jet stream into a war whose daily horrors drowned out that which took their lives, whose blind hatred has yet to find space for the minor dignities they deserve.


WALSH: Now tomorrow again, they will try to get to that site, but the Dutch government making it clear they don't think there's much chance of success in the days ahead because the war here is really picking up. Just in the last hour we've heard rockets again on the outskirts of Donetsk, reports the Ukrainian army is getting ever closer to the center and I think realistically until there is a sea change and who controls that crash site potentially with the Ukrainian military advancing, it seems a bit in that area the inspectors are unlikely to get the access they need.

Cynics might say that's exactly what Kiev wants, to be sure that international opinion is on its side as it moves toward victory, but none of this delay buys the relatives of those who died in MH-17 any comfort -- Jake.

TAPPER: Nick Paton Walsh, great reporting. Stay safe.

When we come back, it's an epidemic. It's out of control, it's spreading, and now two more Americans have been exposed to the deadly Ebola virus.

Why one organization is taking drastic measures to prevent putting more U.S. citizens at risk.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Breaking news in world news now. Right now health officials around the globe are taking steps to stop the most aggressive outbreak of Ebola in history. The U.S. Peace Corps is not taking any chances. It's taking nearly 350 volunteers out of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone because of the outbreak.

Ebola has already killed an American citizen who was planning a trip home and at least two other American aid workers in Liberia are also infected.

It's one of the most gruesome ways to die. There's no cure and it kills most of the people that it sickens, but is it time for those of us here in the U.S. to start worrying?

Our Pamela Brown has more on this outbreak and what's being done to stop it.

Pam, this move by the Peace Corps may have come a little too late, possibly? PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. So we're learning some new

information, Jake. Just moments ago we learned that two Peace Corps volunteers are in isolation right now after being exposed to someone who died from Ebola. So far we're told, though by the Peace Corps that they are not showing any symptoms but in the wake of this Ebola outbreak, as you mentioned, Peace Corps is removing all of its volunteers from the countries where Ebola was detected and also the CDC is considering making changes to its travel recommendations.


BROWN (voice-over): As the deadly Ebola virus moves across West Africa, concern mounts about it spreading even further. The CDC is considering raising the travel warning to affected countries to the highest level, advising against any non-essential travel.

GARY SIMON, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIVISION, GEORGE WASHINGTON HOSPITAL: People are really quite sick with it. It comes on rather suddenly.

BROWN: As two American aid workers stricken with Ebola in Liberia are showing signs of improvement, the Christian organizations they work for are evacuating all non-essential personnel out of that country. The son of one of those infected aid workers spoke on the "Today" show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's fighting through it and continuing to express a few symptoms, but she's able to move around on her own and they're getting lots of fluids into her.

BROWN: The disease has already claimed the life of a Minnesota father of three, Patrick Sawyer. Sawyer flew from Liberia to Ghana. After a layover there he flew on to Togo. There he switched to another plane and became violently ill as he flew to Nigeria. Sawyer's widow says she spoke with her husband before he died.

DECONTEE SAWYER, EBOLA VICTIM'S WIDOW: He was visiting his sister. She was ill and he helped care for her and so he contracted it that way. Didn't know it was Ebola because Ebola displays other symptoms like malaria symptoms, so they thought she may have malaria, so he was helping. Had he known, he, you know, would have definitely taken better precautions.

BROWN: Already, the virus has spread across several nation's borders, with more than 1200 cases reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Nearly 700 people have died. Health officials in those countries are screening inbound and outbound airline passengers and the CDC is working with them to show people how to protect themselves from Ebola. Flights crews on U.S.-bound flights can radio ahead to the CDC's Emergency Center if they suspect a passenger is infected.

SIMON: I think it's very hard to -- for someone to speculate that we're going to see Ebola in the United States. I think it's extremely unlikely. Of course, there is a possibility of somebody flying in from Africa or some place.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BROWN: And right now the CDC is working with authorities in West Africa to contact and test anyone who may have had direct contact with Patrick Sawyer, the American who died over there. Meantime, in the UK, a passenger was quarantined after showing some symptoms but Ebola tests came back negative.

But, Jake, the CDC stresses, and as we heard from that doctor, that the risk of Ebola actually spreading in the U.S. is low because it is not airborne. It's not spread through the air. It's spread through transmission of bodily fluids.

TAPPER: All right. We're going to talk about that right now.

Pamela Brown, thank you so much.

Let's talk about this outbreak with Dr. Anthony Fauci. He's the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Fauci, good to see you as always. Is this particular strain of Ebola more aggressive and deadly than previous strains?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It is -- it is the aggressive strain. So there's no doubt about it. There are some that are less aggressive that have been worked with in the laboratory and have been isolated this. This clearly is an aggressive strain, no doubt.

TAPPER: Now we're hearing from health officials that people shouldn't be alarmed. That the chances of this coming to the United States and spreading in the United States is remote, but, you know, just as a point of fact the American who died from it could have easily made it to Minnesota first, and of course, we grieve his loss, but it was dumb luck for the United States that he didn't make it here before he took ill.

Do you think it's possible that health officials are publicly downplaying this risk too much?

FAUCI: No. I don't think so. I don't think the CDC or other officials are downplaying it. They're giving an honest, realistic appraisal, and I agree with them, Jake, that it is really highly unlikely that this will happen. If a person gets on a plane and comes to the United States, having been infected in a West African country and then lands in the United States, the reason that we feel confident that there will not be, quote, an outbreak, is that the kinds of personal protective approaches and protocols that we have will immediately be put into place.

Now the person might hypothetically come here, get sick and even die, but the critical issue is will it be spread and right now everybody is very head's up that when someone comes in from a West African country and even remotely feels ill, the first thing you do is you put the person in isolation or if you don't know what the circumstances are you do a travel history. So that's what we're talking about when we say unlikely there will be

an outbreak. It certainly is feasible that someone could come to the United States who is infected and get sick here. No one is denying that, but it's what happens after that that people feel confident that there won't be an outbreak because of our health care system and our ability to do the kind of isolation that apparently is very difficult to do within the health care infrastructure in the African countries that we're talking about.

TAPPER: All right. Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you so much. We appreciate it as always.

When we come back, anti-Israel protest in Europe taking on a hateful anti-Semitic tone. Some even saying it feels like the 1930s again in that part of the world. Authorities are taking the situation very seriously, next.

Plus before you book that trip to Vegas, just wait, because there might just be a new gambling hot spot. That is, if Vladimir Putin gets his way.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. A report in "The Washington Post" this afternoon, date line Berlin, Germany, caught our eye. It features the organizer of a pro-Palestinian rally instructing protesters on what the Berlin police had deemed unacceptable for their protest.

Among the possible offenses, chanting a German slogan that translates as, quote, "Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone," unquote. That's a chant that has apparently been popular at rallies for the Palestinian people against Israel, but is now banned.

Questioning the Israeli government is something that we have done regularly on this show, protesting does not equal anti-Semitism, but many of the protests going in Europe these days can be described as nothing, but anti-Semitic, and considering the not too distant European history that has leaders in the region quite concerned.


TAPPER (voice-over): The conflict may be in the Middle East, but the passions ignited are worldwide. Pro-Israel. Pro-Palestinian. Pro- peace, but in Europe, authorities say that protests against Israel are increasingly taking on a hateful anti-Semitic tone with demonstrators upset by the actions of Israel, taking out their anger on innocent Jewish people in Europe, ones not expressing pro-Israel views, ones just living their lives.

In Paris, France, Jewish-owned businesses were vandalized and even set on fire following a pro-Palestinian rally. In the U.K., more than 100 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported over the last few weeks.

ROBERT EJNES, REPRESENTATIVE, COUNCIL OF JEWISH INSTITUTION IN FRANCE: This type of violence directed against the synagogues and that's something very new that reminds the Jewish community that we all heard of and never lived through.

TAPPER: Vandalism and fears of worse may seem not as important as war zone deaths, but anti-Semitism in Europe has a precedent with a body count of six million and a surge in recent years with thousands of Jews fleeing Europe amid the toxic hate of extremist political parties.

The situation's gotten so dire, just last week the foreign ministers of France, Italy and Germany in a joint statement denounced the hateful actions writing, quote, "attacks against people of Jewish belief and against synagogues cannot be tolerated in our societies in Europe. Nothing including the dramatic military confrontation in Gaza justifies any such transgressions in Europe."

Here in the U.S. support for Israel is strong, though there have been some incidents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is the desecration of something that's holy.

TAPPER: It painted alongside swastikas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife is shaking and she woke up and heard this news and my wife is gathering the kids and she's shaking and she feels it is 1940s all over again.

TAPPER: It is spreading beyond the bombs of war.


TAPPER: Coming up next, what sanctions? Vladimir Putin's new plan to make money no matter how hard the U.S. stifle the Russian economy and it involves some newly acquired land, flashy lights and black jack tables. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Vladimir Putin denies sending Russian troops into the Donetsk region of Ukraine, of course, he also denied sending troops into Crimea back in March and maps have to be redrawn.

Putin signed a law interestingly enough to turn Crimea into the Las Vegas of the Russian federation or at least the Atlantic City of Russia, and you know what they say, whatever happens in Crimea stays in Crimea. Of course, that's because militias and Russia's oppressive govern am won't let it leave.

But moving on, let's brings our own Tom Foreman. Tom, this brings Putin one step closer to staring down James Bond at a bacarat table.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Listen to me good. He doesn't look like a gambler and he might be placing a big bet on a long shot to revitalize the Russian economy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FOREMAN (voice-over): Las Vegas is the reigning king of American gambling cities ahead of overseas glamour sites like the Bahamas, Paris or Monte Carlo, but now look who is Putin on the Ritz, the Russians have come to play.

Fresh off the success of the Sochi Olympics and Crimea's separation from Ukraine, the Russian president wants to turn both places into gambling hot spots with world-class casinos, high rollers and tourism, tourism, tourism. Bad bet? Maybe not says the director of the center for gaming research in Nevada David Schwartz.

DAVID SCHWARTZ, UNLV: I think the success of gaming in Asia especially in Macao, Singapore, have opened up bets to the government there.

FOREMAN: It's true. In the past decade, tiny Macao has wildly expanded its operation to now lead the world with $45 billion in gambling revenue last year alone. Singapore has also surged into the top five and Crimea before the recent conflict was a pretty successful tourist destination. So Russian officials estimate a good gambling operation could draw an additional 600,000 people yearly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably take at least a year or two depending on how much you have to build. In Sochi, they have a lot of the hotel facilities so you wouldn't have a huge ground-up project.

FOREMAN: But as Casino points out, gambling is a risky business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALEL: What's a casino? People have to win sometimes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you're insulting my intelligence.

FOREMAN: Remember, the Russians are being hammered for their actions in Crimea. Powerful faxes are blame betting that it will break the Russian bank.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This is a decision that Russia and Putin has made.

FOREMAN: They're not making any doubts about the game of roulette and Putin, as usual, is wearing his poker face.


FOREMAN: In 2009 they restricted it to four designated zones in Russia, clearly trying to focus their development of gaming and to maximize the economic impact. Only one has been completed, but even in the slow progress they're waving big numbers around, saying Crimea could rake in three-quarters of a billion dollars annually if this pays off.

TAPPER: What are the odds at a casino in Crimea?

FOREMAN: We need to learn how to say that in Russian. What are the odds? TAPPER: Tom Foreman, thank you so much. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over now to Wolf Blitzer. He is live from Jerusalem in "THE SITUATION ROOM."