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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  August 21, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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state department has encouraged them to sell more an that's another factor that could be very, very important down the road in terms of providing the financing for whatever type of transitional government comes into play. >> i assume the u.s. ambassador to libya who was recalled will be back on his way as soon as all the dust settles, maybe even before the dust settles. stand by. i want to reset. it is now the top of the hour and we are in fact following the breaking news out of libya tonight where the long-time leader moammar gadhafi is under siege from rebel forces. the rebel forces say two of gadhafi sons sons have in fact been captured. this is one of them, saif al islam gadhafi. the hague has an arrest warrant for them. rebel forces are now in the heart of tripoli, including in green square. sara seidner is almost there right now. we're going to be going to her
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in just a moment. libyan government concedes that parts of the city are no longer under its control. it says 1,300 people have been killed over the past 12 hours. a government spokesman has called for immediate negotiation and a halt to the rebel assault. the libyan rebels say some gadhafi loyalists are still holding out in the capital of tripoli. but let's go to my colleague matthew chance. he and other universities have been watching these fast-moving developments unfold at a hotel where they were. matthew, tell us what it's like where you are right now. we're worried but but set the scene. >> reporter: well, it's a very strange vantage point we have on this tripoli crisis. as the gun battles rage outside as crowds celebrate in some parts of tripoli, we're still confined to this hotel in the center of the city. at one point earlier this evening many of the government minders who have been assigned to us, first of all they started
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carrying weapons and as the evening progressed and as the situation, the security situation, outside of the hotel deteriorated, eventually they abandoned this place and we've just been left here now with a sort of skeleton security staff on duty on the perimeter of the hotel. we've got some kind of armed gadhafi supporters on the ground floor of the hotel. the journalists have moved off to the upper floors to kind of separate ourselves from them. then on the gates of the hotel, there are heavily armed gadhafi troops as well. so we're still sort of pretty much confined, though under slightly different circumstances inside the grounds of the hotel. it's still not safe for us to go outside the perimeter. there is still heavy machine gun fire very close to the hotel. the area we're told around this hotel is still being very much contested between gadhafi forces and the rebels who have taken
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over now large swaths of the libyan capital. you can hear the machine gun fire rattling behind me as you hear these armed groups, the gadhafi supporters and rebels who have come in from the west advance from other areas as well and also just tripoli residents who have risen up against gadhafi forces, taken up their arms and battle those armed forces around tripoli tonight. wolf. >> we can hear the gunfire behind you. i want you to be very careful, matthew. if you need to go someplace else, just let us know. but let me just quickly get your tlou thoughts, and just remember the security of our characterize are priority number one for us. if you have to -- can you stay for a second or you got to go? >> it's priority number one for me as well, wolf. >> all right. you tell me if you got to go. we'll let you go, of course. that's priority number one, as
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we say. the minders, the pro-gadhafi minders, the officials who have been watching you, monitoring everything you do over these many, many weeks and months, have they disappeared or are they still at that hotel? >> no, they disappeared. they've completely disappeared. all that's been left are a couple of people wearing green bandanas, green, the color of colonel gadhafi, carrying kalashnikov assault rifles and shouting in arabic, shouting up in english sometimes that they're here to protect us. we mustn't say anything bad about their leader, colonel gadhafi. so there is still a lot of tension in the hotel. the mood in the hotel has very much changed. you know, it was one of those places where in the middle of all this mayhem, the government had been trying to sort of give the impression of a degree of normality in their country, that's why we were taken to places the government approved
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of, we only spoke to people the government wanted to us speak to so they could try to manipulate a section of tripoli, of libya. that is now completely changed. there's no hiding the fact that there's complete mayhem out on the streets of tripoli tonight. we don't know which areas are under government control anymore. we don't know which areas are under rebel control anymore though obviously we've seen very compelling pictures -- >> matthew, hold on for a moment. we have re-established our connection with with sara seidner. she was approaching what's called green square right in the heart of tripoli. sara, set the scene for us where you are right now. >> okay. we are at green square. what you're hearing is celebratory gunfire. what we're seeing in the streets is rebels basically. there are not thousands of people. there are more like -- just doing a quick count here, maybe 100, 150. but they're not all together in one area.
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they are spread out all over -- around the square. but what we're being told by the rebels coming over is that there are snipers err errs on some o buildings. there are small fires that people have set purposely but they are not in any way going to subvert roles. they are in the middle of the square. there are a few people kind of milling about in the outskirts.
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>> sara, i'm going to interrupt because we're losing that connection. we're going to try to re-establish it so we can better appreciate it. sara seidner, our correspondent, is moving in with rebel forces. they are now at green square in tripoli which says a ton. hala gorani, michael holmes are watching this all as well. let me bring you in to this. hala, the fact that she is now there and the gunfire that we're hearing behind her is celebratory gunfire, that speaks volumes about the situation in the libyan capital. >> yes. and wolf, as we were discussing with michael earlier, it is not a done deal. i mean i don't know what 90% of a done deal sounds like, but you never know. there are still tens of thousands of people who are armed who profess their allegiance to moammar gadhafi over the last few months. where are they? did they remove their military
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uniform and are they now sort of -- have they tried to reintegrate civilian life now that they know it is not worth the fight? or will they come out? >> i suppose the debate is how much actual support did moammar gadhafi have, even among his own troops. last weekend i was with the western rebels as they advanced on a number of towns. while there was fierce fighting at various points along the way -- and there was. let's not be -- let's not dilute the volume of fire that was going back and forth particularly on the way to zawiyah. but what was remarkable was the fact that these guys did pull back reasonably quickly. but the forces did withdraw pretty quickly. i'm wondering just how much, even inside tripoli, he's got people who are willing to die for him. >> absolutely. that is an excellent question. because once the fight seems
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unwinnable, or extremely arduous, and you're not ideologically motivated -- >> exactly. >> -- then what happens. do we still have matthew in tripoli? matthew, that is a question. because we were discussing earli earlier, does this all seem a bit too easy for the rebels? >> it does, doesn't it? i mean it's remarkable. we were all expecting -- i think perhaps if we're honest -- the gadhafi regime was eventually going to crumble but we didn't really expect that it was going to crumble at this rapid pace. and yes, i mean colonel gadhafi is sort of -- i think the suspicion is that he may have something up his sleeve. they've said repeatedly that they have tens of thousands of armed professional soldiers. 65,000, i was told today in fact. a very precise number. those troops according to government officials just earlier today saying that they're committed to defending
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this country, they're committed to defending this city. we haven't really seen that much of them, have we? and so either it was bluster or, as you say, those soldiers have decided not to fight or something's going to be coming up in the hours ahead. >> time and time again, too, we would come across the allegations, the speculation of large numbers of% na mercenarier neighboring african countries. we came across four from chad. we interviewed one of them and asked him, he had a dead comrade with him in the back of a rebel pick-up. so how much willingness is there to fight whether a large percentage of your front line troops are quite likely not even libyan and don't even have that kind of -- money. money, indeed. matt, i know you've talked about this a little bit already, too, but that hotel, as we've often heard it described, a five-star
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prison for you guys in many ways. the mood of that place and the time you've been there to right this minute, how has that changed? there was always such tight control basically the minute you left the room. what's going on there in the corridors? >> it's certainly clanged. it's totally clanged because as i mentioned earlier, it was a place where the government would try to perpetuate this idea that libya was a country with no problems, that tripoli was totally stable and calm. and of course with the gunfire erupting outside which you may be able to hear behind me, with the mayhem in tripoli now, and with much of the city falling into rebel hands, or being liberated depending on what your perspective is, and celebrations in some parts of tripoli i think indicate what many people's real feelings are about the developments in libya, the situation has totally reversed itself in this hotel.
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the mood has gone very sour, very dark. at one point we were extremely worried about our own safety. i mean even now, we're a little bit concerned about what will happen because we're in this kind of limbo position where the government still controls this hotel. they've still got their troops on the outskirts, there are still gun fights outside the hotel, presumably with opposition fighters. but the expectation is that at some point soon the sort of management at this hotel, this would fall under the rebels at some point -- that's our expectation at some point, as much as tripoli has already fallen under the control of the rebels. but that change-over period is clearly a very dangerous one for us. we don't know how it is going to happen. it may not be smooth at all. it may be a frightening, very dangerous period. >> yeah. i guess you're not just worried about cross fire, you're worried about what those who have been minding you for so long now might be feeling at the moment.
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shall we put it that way. >> exactly. cross fire's one of the problems. there's every chance as the fighting gets closer to the hotel that we could be caught up in that but there is a much darker scenario as well which isn't far from our minds. it's not something we're going to particularly explore perhaps in this broadcast, but obviously there are all sorts of possible scenarios that we are sort of thinking about, worrying about, trying to plan for in this hotel. but fingers crossed, we're going to try and come through this. >> of course, matthew. thanks very much, my friend. >> matthew of course was describe being the situation and for our viewers who aren't familiar with that hotel, that's in the libbial cyan capital and government officials -- they forced international reporters to gather so they can keep a
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clees eye on them. right now that situation has changed and that uncertainty is leading to some anxiety among some of the reporters, understandably. >> especially whether they vanish. >> yeah. within a minute. wolf is in washington. >> it's interesting, guys, both of you will appreciate this. a lot of our viewers will as well. throughout all of these six months, the libyan regime of moammar gadhafi allowed international correspondents, including from cnn, to stay there in tripoli. they were obviously monitored, they were restricted what they could do. but unlike in damascus, they allow their reporters to come in and broadcast from there. it is a very different scenario between syria and its media coverage and in libya what's happened over these past six months. nic robertson is one of our international correspondents. spent a lot of time in libya. he's here in washington with me right now. nic, give us your perspective right now because this is a moment that a lot of people around the world especially in north africa, the middle east, will remember for a long time.
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>> obviously concern and perspective on matthew's situation in the hotel and security around the perimeter there. we were there for six weeks and on the first day of the nato bombing the gadhafi regime allowed an armed groum of thugz into the hotel to ram page and show their ill will. the gates and the fencing there are not necessarily the most secure. obviously matthew will be intensely aware of that. and certainly the difficulty you will have while in the hotel to understand what's happening in the rest of the city again is something i can certainly sympathize with matthew's situation, kind of gain a greater perspective. because you could only hear what's going on within perhaps half a mile of you. we were -- that location is quite close to gadhafi's main palace complex. you can certainly hear heavy
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antiaircraft guns and gunfire erupt around. there are other government buildings. it is a place you would imagine the rebels would want to take control of but the euphoria that's being exhibited in other parts of the capital now and other parts of the country will undoubtedly spread to that area but the concern has been what kind of -- at what cost, what human cost, and that will be determined by how much resistance, sustained and careful resistance, the gadhafi loyalists are willing to put up. indications would seem to be they've folded in some areas like a deck of cards. so why are they fighting it so intensely around the hotel? what is to be guarded in that area? are there other government figures there? in that particular area.
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these would be my thoughts at that time watching that particular situation develop. it is around that hotel a very difficult location to grasp and understand what's happening. even half a mile away. wolf? >> nic, you appreciate it as well from the u.s. perspective. president obama, secretary of state hillary clinton worked hard but largely behind the scenes getting a coalition together, the nato allies. france was probably more out in front than the united states was. italy. britain to a certain degree. but this is a moment though that nato's military operations, assuming gadhafi is gone, the rebels take charge, a new regime takes over in libya and all the signs point to that, not necessarily within days but only a few hours from now. it does represent a significant achievement for the u.s. and its nato partners. >> we certainly can say that at this early stage, wolf. but there's an awful long way to go before, a, tripoli is secured
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and safe, b, the rest of the country is secure and safe, and, c, there is a leadership and a respected regime that represents the wide, vast diaspra of sorts. there are tribal issues, factional issues and ethnic issues within the country and these may take some time to tame, if you will. we can look at the lessons of recent history and perhaps baghdad in 2003 when u.s. troops moved in to the city and saddam hussein's regime collapsed precipitously. there was wild looting throughout the city that decimated the city there and it was almost impossible to put back in the box, if will you. what happens over the next few days in tripoli, can a security structure emerge rapidly to put a curfew in place to allow
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people euphoria to express themselves but to maintain also law and order and bring together a common lit cal will is a lot to expect in a short space of time. and this is what nato has been work behind the scenes to try and achieve over the past few months, to try and talk to rebel leaders, to iron out their differences, to hear from a wide number of voices. but as we know, there have been many people in libya that have sat on the fence, waited for gadhafi to go, waited for this moment, and are now for the first time going to express their opinions and their thoughts and will the rebel leadership want to hear from them. will they want to do political business with people that haven't been part of the fight against gadhafi. so there's a long way to go and these hours now are hugely important. controlling and maintaining security and stability in tripoli is going to be key to
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saving life and key to establishing law and order across the country and being able to sort of not impose, but get a political direction and a political will disseminated to the people to restore calm and order and that didn't happen in benghazi quickly in the east where the rebels were. so a long way to go, wolf. >> we've been seeing celebratory crowds in benghazi all day. they think this is over. they think it is a new libya that has emerged. we've got our reporters on the scene in tripoli, sara seidner's there. matthew chance is there. we're going to go back to them. nic, stand by because even though the reports now that saif al islam and said gadhafi have been arrested and could be handed over to the international criminal court for war crimes trials in the haig. moammar gadhafi's whereabouts unclear right now. we're investigating. we'll update our viewers on that and all the breaking news when
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sprint. america's favorite 4g network. trouble hearing on the phone? visit for medicare made clear, we're here to answer all of your questions. call unitedhealthcare medicare solutions. we're following the breaking news, michael holmes, hala gorani, i'm wolf blitzer here in washington. a dramatic historic moment unfolding in the streets of tripoli right now. gadhafi's forces seem to be disappearing, although there is fighting that is going on. the president of the united states is at martha's vineyard where he's been vacationing but he's watching what's going on. our white house correspondent dan lothian is up there with him. dan, what are white house officials saying specifically
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the prospect of hearing directly from the president tonight? >> reporter: well, the president himself, wolf, was asked about the situation in libya when he was out at a local restaurant here on martha's vineyard, in fact in oak bluff. the white house being very careful about getting out in front of the developments on the ground there in libya. first of all, i should point out that the president since this morning has been briefed on the situation there by his counterterrorism advisor john brennan and then has been receiving updates throughout the day. not only from john brennan but also teams on the ground in libya. but again, they're being very careful because as one white house official described it, the situation there is fluid, an so they want to be careful about what they say. that's why the president was also careful when someone asked him a question tonight. take a listen.
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>> now the message from the white house remains consistent, that gadhafi's days are numbered and that the people of libya deserve a democratic and peaceful future. wolf? >> you know, dan, i just want to be precise. i could barely hear, the audio was not that great when the president answered that reporter's question as he was walking through that line. i'll read to our viewers precisely what the president said. he said, "we're going to wait until we get full confirmation of what is happening. i will make a statement when we do." that statement from the president. he's obviously leaving open the possibility, perhaps making a statement later tonight, maybe in the morning, maybe over the next few days. but it wouldn't be the first time the president of the united states has to interrupt a vacation to address a major
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national security issue. the united states has a huge stake in north africa and the middle east, this whole arab spring has enormous ramifications for u.s. national security in that part of the world. i'm sure the president is monitoring it very, very closely. we'll get back to you, dan, as soon as you get more information, you'll let us know. let's bring back hala. thanks very much, wolf. i'm here alongside michael hoem holmes as well. stephen cooke, is an expert on egypt in particular and foreign relations, he joins us now from martha's vineyard in massachusetts, also someone who's looked very closely at the situation in libya. stephen, first i need to ask you about what's happening tonight, your reaction to this very quick rebel advance on to tripoli. >> well, it's really another one of those extraordinary moments in a season of the unthinkable happening. you've been covering this since the uprisings in december.
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it does seem that we are on the verge of seeing the end of gadhafi's four-decade-plus rule which is a hopeful sign for the libyan people, but as your colleague michael holmes pointed out, there is a very, very long way to go here. there's some good news but there's also some bad news in this libyan story. >> when you say there is a long way to go and possibly some bad news, what are you referring to exactly? >> well, of course, something that you have all been talking about which is the possibility of some sort of insurgency developing. there is quite curious that there seems to have been this collapse of gadhafi's forces quite quickly. it is possible that they have withdrawn and decided to fight for another day, precisely what we saw in iraq between 2004 and 2007. more broadly speaking, should the rebellion prevail, which it looks like it does.
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they are confronted with the situation where they have to build the libyan state from the ground up. gadhafi's very strange way of governance. his strange form of direct democracy essentially left libya without state institutions or organizations. who is going to pick up the pieces, how how unified they're going to be and how to go about building the institutions of a new libyan state is going to take -- >> steven, that is the challenge for all these countries who have been ruled by totalitarian leaders. but one of the things you brought up is interesting, the possibility of an insurgency, retreat now, come back later when you're better organized and when your adversaries perhaps don't expect it as much. how real is that possibility for libya? steven, that would be a tragic y outcome for that country. >> it absolutely would be a tragic outcome for libya. but the fact of the matter is, as american forces advanced on
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baghdad in 2003, we felt that we were basically in the free and clear and we -- it became very clear very soon that we were not. it may be his end, it may be the end of him and his children, but there are loyalists out there who have interest in this regime. >> what would the interests of these loyalists be? in iraq we can extremist, militant, islamic-inspired in some cases insurgent fighters in a shia dominated power structure. so there was a sectarian element to it. what about libya? what would motivate pro-gadhafi forces to come back out in an insurgency? >> well, i think that you would find elements of all of those things happening in libya and i think that people directly tied to the regime who have a vested
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interest will either try to leave the country or try to fight on. let's not discount the fact that there are people who are ideological believers in what moammar gadhafi has said. despite the throngs in the streets in tripoli right now, he had been in power so long, there were many people who don't even know or understand a libya without him and can be expected at least some of them perhaps to take up arms to defend their dear leader. >> as we know and as we've seen, steven, it doesn't take many people to create a very difficult situation. michael holmes is here with me. we're both in vision, my friend. steven cook, the council on foreign relations, thanks so much for getting us there on the phone. >> you make a very good point. this country is not that country, is not that country. you're right about the
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ingredients -- >> look, it's like saying something that's happening in france is the same that's happening in norway, is the same as something that's happening in czechoslovakia except in those countries they don't share a language, in the arab world they do. the power structures are different, the tribal structures are different, the religions are different, the way the people react to a crackdown by the government is different. so in each case it is an individual scenario. >> ben wedeman spent a lot of time in benghazi, elsewhere. ben, i drove counsel that road you were shot at just the other day. when you look at this unfolding -- i know the pace of it has caught all of us a little bit off-guard, probably caught the rebels off-guard as well. when you look atom -- i'm speaking metaphorically tomorrow -- what do you see? you were dealing a lot in benghazi with those who would run the country. >> really, they've got a huge task ahead of them because as
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you've seen yourselves, michael, this is a country where the resistance has grown up locally. you have the fighters in western libya, you have the fighters in misratah, you have the fighters in the transitional national council in benghazi. all of them in some respects acting independently. we have seen over the last few weeks a certain amount of coordination between the various pockets of resistance which has culminated in these images we're seeing from tripoli tonight. but how they're going to translate that sort of battlefield coordination into the creation of some sort of functioning state structure is going to be a real challenge given also the fact that there are quite sometimes intense regional rivalries between towns and cities and parts of the country. >> ben, you and i were both in
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zintan in the western mountains saying basically down the road there were people you wouldn't go and share dinner with, but now that united front for the common cause, if you like, that that's not necessarily something that's going to last out this war. >> no. there is no guarantee of it. i mean certainly at this moment there is a certain facade of unity that libyans are taking pride in, but whether it comes down to the knit nitty-gritty o griding up grid i dividing up resources and power -- it is going to become much, much more complicated. as we've seen in egypt and tunisia, when these dictatorial systems fall apart, all the tensions in rivalries and competition and resentments that have been to some extent kept
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under wraps for decades come to the surface, it gets very messy. we see this in egypt day after day. all sort of these things that are bubbling up from the distant past in relative terms are complicating the efforts of trying to move beyond that revolutionary moment when the regime falls and to create a functioning government, a functioning system. >> and i know wolf's got a question for you. wolf, you have a question? >> yes. ben knows these leaders in this trandigsal council, the people who willen taking over libya probably within days, ben. you know they hate gadhafi, they hate gadhafi's sons. if all of these individuals are captured alive and arrested, will they want to put them on trial in libya or will they hand them over to the international
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criminal court in the haig for trial? what's your gut tell you? >> well, i was in misratah in the main square when the icc, the international criminal court, issued its warrant for moammar gadhafi and saif al islam gadhafi, his son. now the transitional national council organized a rally where they had essentially written up boards or posters for people to hold up saying thank you to the icc. but when you actually spoke to people in the crowd, they were quite clear, they want to see these people not even necessarily put on trial. they want to see them executed. one man saying he'd like to stab him to death 100 times. on the one hand they want to show the world that they can act responsibly and follow the requirements of international
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justice. whether that means a trial in libya itself or in the hague, the headquarters of the icc. but in fact i think revolutions can get messy and that applies to revolutionary justice. >> yeah, i suspect you're right on that front, ben, given the hatred involved, given the tensions, the emotions and how many people have died in libya over these past six months. my own instinct tells me that this new leadership of libya, they're not going to hand over gadhafi or any of the sons in international criminal court. they're going to want to deal with them in libya itself, sort of like the egyptians. i don't think there was ever any intention to hand over hosni mubarak to the international criminal court. they wanted to try president mubarak in egypt and we've seen him in that cage lying on that gurney brought in over these past several days. ben, stand by. nic robertson, stand by. hala gorani is with us, michael holmes is with us. we'll continue the breaking news
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coverage on this historic night. what's unfolding in tripoli right now. much more of our coverage when we come back. [ oswald ] there's a lot of discussion going on about the development of natural gas, whether it can be done safely and responsibly. at exxonmobil we know the answer is yes. when we design any well, the groundwater's protected by multiple layers of steel and cement. most wells are over a mile and a half deep so there's a tremendous amount of protective rock between the fracking operation and the groundwater. natural gas is critical to our future. at exxonmobil we recognize the challenges and how important it is
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we'll never stop sharing our or getting lost in a good book. we'll always cook dinner, and cheer for our favorite team. we'll still go to meetings, make home movies, and learn new things. but how we do all this, will never be the same. excuse me? my grandfather was born in this village. [ automated voice speaks foreign language ] [ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪ in here, forklifts drive themselves. no, he doesn't have it. yeah, we'll look on that. [ male announcer ] in here, friends leave you messages written in the air. that's it right there. [ male announcer ] it's the at&t network. and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say.
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[ male announcer ] they'll see you...before you see them. cops are cracking down on drinking and riding. drive sober, or get pulled over. looking at those pictures from benghazi, the second-largest city in libya, the home of the opposition where people are thrilled that it looks like gadhafi's days are numbered. the long-time leader moammar gadhafi is under siege from rebel forces right to you. the rebels say two of gadhafi's sons have in fact been captured. this is one of them, saif al islam gadhafi. the international criminal court at the hague has an arrest warrant for him.
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we are just getting a statement in from two influential u.s. senators, both republicans. senator john mccain and senator lindsey graham. they've issued a lengthy statement. both of them have gone to libya to meet with the opposition in recent months. the two senators saying the end of the gadhafi regime and libya, it is a victory for the libyan people and the broader cause of freedom in the middle east and throughout the world. they go on to say americans can be proud of the role our country has played in helping to defeat gadhafi but we regret that the success was so long in coming due to the failure of the united states to employ the full weight of our air power and in the end, the two senators conclude by saying ultimately our intervention in libya will be judged a success or failure based not on the collapse of the gadhafi regime but on the political order that emerges and its place. today marks a big step forward for the libyan people towards freedom and democracy as they continue on this journey. america must continue to stand with them. that statement in from senators
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mccain and lindsey graham. nic robertson, who spent a lot of time in libya with gadhafi's forces in tripoli. as we watch this situation unfold and you make excellent points, nic -- there is by no means over with. the world cannot simply relax and assume this is going to be smooth and not very violent. these immediate hours and days that come. >> if we look at what the rebels have experienced in benghazi, for example, pockets of resistance that went on for in some cases almost months, even when they're taking control of large parts of the area, potentially this is what could happen in tripoli, there will be pockets of gadhafi loyalists who won't give up their weapons without a fight. there will be potentially the notion that we've heard discussed here that these fighters loyal to gadhafi right now will melt away, these people we have seen on the streets
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waving green flags so many times thrust in our faces, government officials taking us down to see them, that they will melt away for right now but will then mount some kind of campaign of perhaps roadside bombs, perhaps sniping, many possible types of attack to try and thwart the effort of the rebels to build and bring stability and normality to the capital but the key here will be establishing and bringing security to the city. and how do you do that? because the army ostensibly has been fighting for gadhafi against the rebels. this will mean rebels having to position people on the street, give them authority, people without uniform, people just with weapons, it is a scenario that is fraught. it is one that the rebels, because of the disparate way, as ben wedeman described, you had rebels in the west of the country, in the center misratah, in the east of the country
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benghazi, bringing their forces together and then trying to take control of tripoli and bring the stability for the population. those are going to be the difficult things beyond -- or before rather you build a political consensus to bring and ensure that temporary stability exists. but if you don't have that stability quickly, then you do have a chaotic situation that can emerge and we've seen that in iraq. libya will not necessarily follow that same model but the risk exists without law and order for people to take advantage of what the government has denied them of perhaps, things that they've seen in stores, in factories, that they will try and take this for themselves and the rebels leadership will obviously try to control that but they don't have the where with all to do it right now, wolf. >> people have told me, nic -- you know more about this i think than i do. but here in washington, people have said that in recent weeks, there's been much more coordination between the nato forces and the opposition, the
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rebel troops in terms of training, arming, helping them and in terms of spotting for nato air strikes that are going in and that there are some nato troops even that have been on the ground with the libyan forces and helping them. that's why we shouldn't necessarily have been all that surprised by this dramatic onslaught on tripoli that has occurred over the past two, three days. but give me your perspective on how much help these rebels have in fact received from france, from italy, from germany, from the uk, the u.s., the nato allies. >> and they've received it from some of the gulf arab states as well. qatar, to name but one other gulf state that's also supplied weapons and materiel hastily and temporarily built air strips in the mountains. when we were there with the rebels several months ago, they
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built an air strip out of a piece of desert so they could bring weapons in and we understood as well people who were going to be experienced to train the rebels. we shouldn't be surprised at what we're seeing right now and with any military operation, it takes time to build it. the commitment from nato has been tentative from the beginning providing air strikes, not wanting to put any operatives on the ground. then there were some advisors who were put on the ground. later we saw helicopters brought in to the process. drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, brought in to the military process because the planes couldn't target in the urban environment gadhafi's hidden forces. so it's taken time to establish this. the rebels themselves have taken time to establish their weapons supply line, they've slowly taken bits an pieces of territory that have allowed them, the rebels in the west took control of the border from tunisia which allowed as well for reflooi suppsupply there. in misratah, they managed to grow the area there.
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it's taken time to build this kind of momentum that we're seeing right now and beyond doubt, we are seeing the rebels being able to work more effectively with nato, what nato can offer. many journalists like myself have been bombarded over the past several months from e-mails from rebels, these are the exact coordinates at the exact time of some gadhafi weapons in the battlefield. send them to nato, tell nato to take out these targets right now. you can be sure if we're getting these coordinates from the rebels, they're passing it on to nato as well. we've heard reports of weapons -- of missiles, stockpiles running low for nato. nato knows that the's got a political time deadline on this. it's had to pull all the stops out of the bag.
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it had to accelerate this. it had to show success and now it does seem to be coming to fruition. there are perhaps other elements that a nato force would normally have on the ground. forward air controllers, other elements like that. certainly we're not being told they're on the ground but it does seem as if the rebels have been acting in this capacity to a certain degree and it does now seem to be being effective. it has been a huge amount of political pressure on the nato leaders to bring this to some kind of conclusion. they will be breathing a sigh of relief as they can see it does enter the beginning of the final military stages where it enters a political phase. >> nic, stand by for a few moments. michael holmes is with us as well. michael, you were just there in libya. did you see any evidence of an accelerated nato presence, including some elements on the ground, trainers, if you will, who were helping these opposition forces? >> you know, there was a couple of curious things i could add to
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that discussion. when we were there we were based in the western mountains. during the battle -- in fact right in the middle some of the fighters came back and talked to a couple of commanders and said they were approached by a couple of westerners wearing local garb asking for directions where it was really a case of follow the noise. but that was interesting. they were two westerners who had been asking for directions. the other thing that happened we could never nail this down, but during the battle we could clearly here -- and we've heard them before in hear and we have them in other conflicts, a drone. we could hear a drone over the battlefield. we heard post battle, 30, 40 kilometers away, several days we were hearing this drone. it was being practiced. we asked around and had sources say, yes, it is a drone. it is sending back pictures. they are using it that way. but they were being trained. we could never pin down who it was doing the training. somebody told us it was nato.
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it was hard to pin the story down. there was certainly a drone in the area. it's an interesting point about outside direct help. now sara is in green square which is extraordinary. a week ago i was with the men you're with now. they were nowhere near green square. i imagine they were as surprised as anyone. >> reporter: you're right. that's a great way to put it. we did not think we could push it this far this fast. it's been less than 48 hours since they captured the city and took control. they were able to push all the way into tripoli. we have driven the road all the way into the city center. we are seeing rebels in the city center. they are celebrating, firing guns. but in the few minutes we were there, all of the sudden they started to run. they were yelling "sniper,
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sniper." they were running, hiding. then about ten minutes later after we talked to some of those people in the square who were happy to be back in their homes. they had come back to fight. they said, we have intelligence that gadhafi forces are coming back into this square, that they are going to put up a massive fight. they were all starting to take their positions. they told us to get out, so we got out of the square. we do not have it confirmed from another source but we were headed out of the city and we are now seeing a massive fire. we are about -- how many kilometers are we outside, guys? about 20 kilometers. we are somewhere around ten miles outside seeing a massive fire going in the outskirts of the capital. michael? >> have you seen -- you went into green square.
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you have been told that gadhafi forces were about to come back in. did you see the evidence of gadhafi forces while you were in that part of the city? >> no. and the rebels said if you see them then you're in danger of losing your life. so they told us to get out as fast as we could. of course it was hard to know what is rumor, what is real, what is confirmed and what people have seen with their own eyes. a lot of these things happen even when they were talking about sniper fire. we couldn't see anything unless everybody started running, hiding and taking their positions even if they are armed to the teeth in the square. it's hard to ascertain whether or not you are getting good information or if it's just a rumor. nobody wants to be caught in a firefight. everybody got back in position. we were told by the rebels that you must leave the area and basically get out of the city. for now they don't have complete control of tripoli. they expected a battle at some
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point. >> not surprising either. it was all going too smoothly. we'll check in with you as developments warrant. thanks so much on the ground there with our producer and engineer and others as well. stay safe. we'll take a short break here on cnn. a lot more of our rolling coverage of developments in libya as rebel forces get into the capital, tripoli. stay with us. every day, all around the world, energy is being produced to power our lives. while energy developement comes with some risk, north america's natural gas producers are committed to safely and responsibly providing decades of cleaner burning energy for our country, drilling thousands of feet below fresh water sources within self contained well systems and using state of the art monitoring technologies, rigorous practices help ensure our operations are safe and clean for our communities and the environment we are america's natural gas. [ grandpa ] relationships are the basis of everything.
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welcome back, everyone. in june the international criminal court at the hague issued an arrest warrant for gadhafi and his son saif. i spoke with luis moreno-ocampo about it. >> there are three in the case. one is gadhafi. another one is against saif gadhafi. the last one is against al-sanusi. we have sources confirming all the information that saif was
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arrested. that's very important news. we are planning tomorrow to discuss with the transitional authorities how to manage the issue. normally saif should be in the court. a crime committed by saif are crimes against humanity. so the international court will intervene. we'll discuss it tomorrow with the transitional authorities how to manage to surrender him to the international court. >> so the plan is tomorrow to discuss with the transitional authorities the transfer of saim al-islam gadhafi, one of the sons of moammar gadhafi to the hague, correct? >> exactly. pending against saif for his
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crimes against community against libyan people since february 2011. >> so the discussion is tomorrow. is there any timeline that is emerging in all of this? >> no, the issue is in accordance with our evidence moammar gadhafi, saif and al-asnusi were in charge. and these are the persons who should appear before the judges at the international accord. authorities had to manage the other cases. for instance not another war against the other son, the eldest son of gadhafi. apparently he is also captured. that is not a person and that's