tv Around the World CNN September 2, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT
abrasions in her mouth despite the jelly fish mask. she's having trouble talking but she did tell her people let's get going so we can have a whopping party. they all sound excited. they sound like this is about to happen. we're glad you're there. >> reporter: we'll be here to cover it when she makes it ashore here. we're seeing when now, not if because confidence is growing by the minute. >> we just showed brand new picture. she looks well. she's very close. thanks so much. thank you for watching. "around the world" starts now. president obama making his case to congress for a strike on syria with classified briefings today. the push back from both parties straight ahead.
plus, radiation levels at japan's fukushima plant are worse than thought. high enough to kill a person within four hours of exposure. also, former south african president nelson mandela is back home. we'll give you an update on his health later this hour. welcome to "around the world." i'm suzanne malveaux. >> i'm michael holmes. >> the president intensifying his effort to persuade congress to support his plans for military strikes on syria. he has conference calls and face-to-face meetings. >> it's 14 days and counting since the attack killed people. there's no doubt that syria's government were the ones using chemical weapons on their own
civilians. >> john mccain has long pushed for u.s. action inside syria. he and fellow republican senator lindsey graham with meet two hours from now with the president and samples collected by u.n. weapons inspectors in syria will be delivered to labs in finland and sweden. russia says it doesn't buy u.s. claims it was the regime. >> translator: it's said the united states said they used chemical weapons. what does it mean? we have clear data about this. it's clear interference. there's nothing concrete. no name, no proof that it was carried out by professionals. many experts express doubt. >> going to congress high stakes strategy for the president. he's not guaranteed to get approval for taking military action. >> he's already getting push
back. dana bash standing by. john mccain, lindsey graham saying the president's plan for limited action as it's being called would send the wrong signal. what do we expect from this meeting today with the president and is there any doubt that his evidence is rock solid. >> reporter: that's a question that some in congress are asking. the point you heard from russia there. maybe there's a clear evidence that chemical weapons have been used but some are wondering whether it's clear and irrefutable who used it. they will continue to make the case that they have been making. as you mentioned john mccain has been pushing for the president to do more and go further on the syria than the white house is planning. they want to see a clear plan and strategy from this white house for just what the goal of any sort of military action in
syria. they want to see strikes against significant military assets of assad. they think the goal should be to shift the balance of power on the battlefield against assad. the white house has said the purpose of military action is not regime change. it's to punish assad for using which he wi chemical weapons. the white house knows how john mccain could help persuade those. >> i want to bring you into the conversation, dana. it's a very good point here. they're interesting bedfellows. you have some of the conser conservative republicans as well as liberal democrats siding on the same issue when it comes to the president moving forward in syria. how does the president manage this group of people to get the kind of authorization that he's
looking for? >> reporter: it's so difficult because generally it's like you go for democrats and republicans. not only is not split now along party lines but within each party you have so many different kinds of concerns and in many cases the concerns contradict one another. he might not vote for it or have assurances before he does vote that there's a plan to even have further or an idea of what's going to happen in syria after these pinprick strikes and you have other republicans saying i just don't think it's the right thing to do to be involved. those are the kinds of difficulties and different positions that he's going to have to navigate here. one thing is clear, it's not just republicans. it's also democrats. house democrats are on a conference call with members of the obama administration.
they're trying to really convince all these skeptical lawmakers because the votes are now there. >> one afteranother lawmakers emerge from a classified briefing intended to persuade them. >> the mood is do not do this and i honestly didn't hear anything that told me i ought to have a different position. >> i'm a no based on the information i have now. >> many of the president's fellow democrats. >> i'm still skeptical about the president's proposal. it's not clear that we know what the results of this attack be. will it be effective? >> would you be yes or no? >> i honestly cannot say. >> democratic janice hawn took the red eye from california seeking answers but left with lots of questions. >> we want some consequences. what is that. is that bombing or killing more people? i'm not there yet.
i would not vote for it today. >> to be sure the president does have some support. >> where are you right now? are you a yes or no? >> i'm a yes. >> to get enough yeses to pass, one thing is clear. this version of authorization, the white house sent congress saturday night must be changed. >> the biggest concern may have been a very broad request for authority with a supposedly narrow intent to do anything. >> that concern is bipartisan. lawmakers say they want to limit the authority that give the president specified time frame for military strikes that make crystal clear no boots are on the ground. >> this is a partial blank check the way it's currently draft. >> reporter: i'm told that changes are in the works as we speak to the language of that authorization to make some of the changes that you just heard there making clear there's an
expiration date on authorization and also no boots on the ground. members of congress want that in black and white. i wouldn't be surprised if we saw other requests before this is up for a vote. >> the rest of the world waiting and watching to see what the u.s. is going to do in syria. >> russia, france and israel are positioni ining themselves on t now. phil, i want to start off with you in moscow. russia is an ally of the assad regime. leaders are not buying u.s. claims that syrian forces were responsible for using those chemical weapons. are they looking for more evidence? >> reporter: well, the foreign minister here said that russian government has seen information provided by the you united states and its allies. even after seeing that the government remains unconvinced that the syrian government was responsible for using chemical
weapons in this case. he said the information lacked detail. he said it's thin. it wasn't concrete. he said this, there are no facts. there's only talk about what we know for certain. when we ask for more detailed evidence they say you know it's all secret so we can't show you. there means there are no such effects. russia doesn't believe the u.s. case is credible and the united states and its allies aren't ready to swallow the russian theory which suggests it was the syrian opposition in this case. it's part of an elaborate plan to manipulate international feeling. as the debate moves into the u.s. congress. members of russias parliament said they will be sending a delegation to meet with members of congress to try to persuade them not to vote in favor of military intervention. >> the russians are saying why would assad do that with u.n.
weapons inspectors there. let's go to paris now. jim, we've seen the british vote in they're parliament. the u.s. moving to vote. the french president does not have to put it to a vote, but the french aren't going to go it alone, are they? >> reporter: that's what they've been saying. there's some doubt if they could mount such a strike if they wanted to. politically, they're not going to go it alone. to be fair, president hollande said he wanted to punish bashar assad for the attacks. he said he would want it to come in concert with other nations. would you tell us the united states leadership in this and france is also in a position of not being clear what it's going to do. michael. >> i want to go to jim clancy.
israel understandably nervous. not sure what the united states is going to do at this point and a critical u.s. ally. what's next? >> reporter: the disappointment here in israel was real. many saw u.s. president who backed away from his own red lines who was indecisive at a key moment who not only possess chemical weaponings but employed them against their own people. government officials who were warned in advance by the white house of this were quick to point out that going to congress, part of the american democracy, trying to smooth things over, but the decision last week by the british parliament ruling out any response to syria's chemical case was seen as a bad omen. uncertain over whether any u.s. action would go ahead.
the army said it's staying on alert. nearly half of israelis think they will be a likely target from syria or one of its allies. when ever that strike were to take place. >> thanks. keeping our eyes around the world and reaction to what's taking place. >> indeed. there's a lot of people wondering, 12 days after this attack and with a lot of people doubting what it could achieve and the russian doubts and what's the point now. time is moving on. it's nearly two weeks after this happened. > we want to get more reaction to a possible u.s. strike on syria. the pro-assad syrian electronic army, these are some talented hackers. they have attacked the u.s. marines recruitment site. >> looks like they posted a letter urging marines not to attack syrians. part of it reads obama is a traitor who wants to put your
lives in danger to rescue al qaeda insurgents. you're officer in charge probably has no qualms to sending you to die. the syrian army should be your ally, not your enemy. here is more of what we're working on. we've been talking about chemical weapons in syria. what are these chemicals? this nervous gas. what make it so deadly? we'll take a look at the expose your. a big spike in radiation levels at the fukushima plant. it could kill a person in four hours. so you can get out of your element. so you can explore a new frontier
now france says it has its own evidence that the assad regime is responsible. no one many is more clear of what's collected than john kerry. here is what he said. >> blood and hair samples that have come to us through an appropriate chain of custody from east damascus, from first responders, it's tested positive for signatures of sarin. each day that goes by this case is even stronger. we know that the regime ordered this take. we know they prepared for it. we know where the rockets came from. we know where they landed. we know the damage. we've seen the horrific scenes all over the social media and have evidence of it in other ways and we know the regime tried to cover up afterward. >> let's talk about what sarin gas is. where did it come from? it was developed in 1938 in
germany as a pesticide. it's extremely volatile because of its ability to change from a liquid to gas. it does dissipate quickly. it presents an immediate but short lived threat. mildly exposed people can recover. some symptoms are nausea, vomiti vomiting, runny nose and abdominal pain. anyone who is severely exposed, they're not likely to survive. the symptoms would be loss of consciousness, convulsions and paralys paralysis. all of this leading to respiratory failure and likely death. it's been used before and the outcomes have been horrible. you might remember back in 1988, reports that 5,000 people died when the iraqis dumped the gas on their own people in northern
iraq. in 1995, in japan, members of a cult placed plastic bags of sarin on a train. people died and became sick. this next report is very graphic. it's one thing for us to post the statistics about how many died or how many get sick but to really understand what we're talking about when we talk about sarin gas. you have to see it. you have to see what it does to people. the impact and reality of chemical weapons. it's just awful. chris lawrence shows us why this gas does what it does and why this is so terrible. >> reporter: describing this video as disturbing doesn't do it justice. some attach a different word.
proof. >> i have no doubt this was a chemical weapons attack. >> reporter: amy has been studying be use and effect of chemical weapons for 20 years and says it was this child in this video that erased all doubt. >> maybe five years old and the twitching of the eyes and the mouth and arms were all going in different directions at different times. that cannot be coached in a child of that age. >> reporter: here is another with white foam pouring out of his nose. >> what is that and what does it mean? >> it's one of the hallmark symptoms of exposure to a nerve agent. it could have been a cocktail of chemicals. not just classic warfare agents like sarin. >> reporter: victims can die within ten minutes. in liquid form, a fraction of an ounce can be fatal. even contaminated clothes can hurt you.
iraq used it in 1980s killing thousands. the japanese cult used it in sarin attacks in the mid-90s. >> the people treating the victims don't have any sort of res practi protection on. why aren't they getting contaminated too? >> just making sure that they are doused with water if not soapy water and the clothes are taken off. >> reporter: nerve agents like sarin blind victims causing them to choke. >> see the twitching. >> reporter: these victims of the dead show no sign of a conventional bomb blast. >> you see bloody bodies and gaping wounds. >> it's hard to see it but it illustrates what we're talking about and why we're engaged in this heated debate over what to do.
>> what to do and what happened? that's the other question. it's horrible to watch. it's important to see. we're going to move on for now. we have a lot more in this hour of "around the world." including that leak. radiation levels 18 times higher than previously thought. i'm also a survivor of ovarian and uterine cancers. i even wrote a play about that. my symptoms were a pain in my abdomen and periods that were heavier and longer than usual for me. if you have symptoms that last two weeks or longer, be brave, go to the doctor. ovarian and uterine cancers are gynecologic cancers. symptoms are not the same for everyone. i got sick... and then i got better. i'm here to get the lady of the house back on her feet. [ all gasp ] oj, veggies -- you're cool. mayo? corn dogs? you are so outta here! aah!
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radiation levels at the fukushima plant in japan are 18 times higher they withe thought. >> radio active water spilling into the pacific ocean. this is two and a half years after the disaster. japan's nuclear regulator says there's still no real plan to deal with it. >> reporter: 30-foot waves engulf japan's coast.
the power plant was crippled. three reactors suffered a meltdown causing the worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of the a century, but it's not over yet. this weekend the operator admitted radiation levels near a storage tank are 18 times higher than thought. at levels that could kill an unprotected man in four hours. tepco only realized the spike when they started to use a more sensitive measuring device. the company is struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radio active water. the head of japan's nuclear regulator said tepco has been dealing with this in a haphazard way. many things are missing from their plan. two weekings ago tepco admitted 300 tons of radio active water
seeped into the ocean. the regulators wants hundreds of tanks to be replaced and says some low level water may have to be release into the ocean. one and a half million tons of debris watches away from japan. some of that has reached u.s. shores. contaminated water could reach the u.s. early next year but after very low radiation levels. >> japan's government is about to reveal its strategy for how they will deal with the toxic water problem as well. >> leaders say they will unveil a series of measures to deal with the crisis at a ministerial meeting. the government not happy with how the company is handling. they will move in to do more. good news here. history being made off the coast of florida. diana nyad trying to swim from
cuba to florida. >> no shark cage and no flippers. she's so close. she's nearly close. she is smell the sand. >> expected to arrive in about hour and a half or so. you might remember the last attempt failed after she was stung many times by those huge jelly fish. >> box jelly fish. nasty stuff too. she's been trying this swim for 35 years now. she's already broken the record for doing the swim without a shark cage. the white house pushing congress for a green light to attack syria. up next, we'll speak to one congresswoman who says she's against any military strike. i'm a careful investor.
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welcome back. right now in washington congress fast becoming the epicenter over this battle about what to do over this crisis in syria. >> president obama wants congress to support his plan for military strikes. he has conference calls and face-to-face meetings with top congressional leaders trying to press his case. >> russia plans to put its case directly to congress as well. russian state run news agency says moscow plans to send a delegation of lawmakers to the united states to meet with congressional members over the issue of syria. the russians are strong supporters of syrian president bashar assad. they insist there's no evidence that the assad regime use ed chemical weapons on their own leade leaders. >> nato weighing in with call for agreement.
>> we need a firm international response in order to avert that chemical attack take place in the future. it would send a very, i would say dangerous signal to dictators all over the world if we stand idle by and don't react. >> many lawmakers, in fact, a lot of people want more details about the evidence of this chemical weapons attack, in particular, who carried it out. that's also what the president plans to do in syria. one of those people wanting answers is our guest. >> she was at that classified briefing yesterday to congresswoman, thank you for joining us. 80 members of congress came
back. actually left. i understand you took a red eye to get back. why weren't you satisfied about the case that the obama administration was making for military strike? >> well, i was one of the over 200 members that signed onto a letter to president obama asking him to come to congress, have the debate and allow us to weigh in on the decision to use military force in syria. i decided to take the red eye back there. i thought it was that important to read the classified documents, to hear the briefing. i'm still not convinced at this time that we should be taking the military action in syria. i need to know more. >> i'm sorry. i wanted to where specifically did administration fail in presenting its case? did they not make the case that assad was responsible or was what it that you're looking for that did not satisfy you? >> well, i do think they have a
high level of confidence that chemical weapons were used against their own citizens. 100% whether or not it was assad who ordered that chemical weapons was not there. for me, even if we know that chemical weapons have been used, i'm still very concerned about the so-called limited duration and scope of what this military strike would be. a lot of americans remember us being led into the war in iraq and afghanistan and we're still there ten years later. i think we're concerned that this is too open ended of what the president is asking congress to authorize. >> are you worried about who an attack might help? we've got this fractured opposition there, including elements of al qaeda. if attacks are made that help the opponents of assad, do they
not help -- it's one of those situations that our enemy's enemy could be our worst enemy. >> it's true. it's a very complicated situation over there. i was on a conference call this morning with secretary kerry and susan rice and defense secretary hagel. this is clearly not about a regime change. this is only about sending this message. >> then what's the point? what's the point? >> that's what a lot of members of congress are asking. what's going be the cost to american taxpayers? how long are we going to be in there? what would signify we have a mission accomplished? is there another way to hold assad accountable for this apparent violation of international norms since world war i that chemical weapons are not to be used. i'd like to know if another way to send a message besides this
seemingly unclear military strike that could lead to much more conflict in the middle east. how do we know that they're going to respond by attacking our wonderful ally israel or will they attack america? i think there's a lot more questions. >> congress is very divided. one of your colleagues thinks that congress is ultimately going to get behind the president on this one. here is how he explained his reasoning earlier. >> i think it's very early for a lot of people. i think people are skeptical because they're hearing questions at home and they are surprised that the president decided to come to congress. i think that when all the facts are known and when legislatures in both parties see what is best for the united states, i think that the vote will be overwhelmingly yes. it might be close. i said overwhelmingly but not so overwhelmingly.
i think a majority will vote yes. to vote no would be a catastrophe. it's the first time many members had evidence presented in front of them. i think they've got to study it. i'm not surprised that people are skeptical. i think the president has to make his case to congress and the american people. i think he will. >> congresswoman, as you stand now, you would not vote for authorization, is that correct? is there anything that would make you change your mind or any evidence that the president and some of his administration can present to you to change your mind and authorize military action? >> i do think there's no reason for us to rush into this now. we still have the inspectors and the scientist who is are analyzing the evidence of chemical weapons. the president said this action could be next week, next month. it doesn't matter. i think there's a lot of us that came to congress to end the wars
in iraq and afghanistan. is there another way to send a message that the international community is appalled at the use of chemical weapons. i will keep looking at the evidence. there's going to be more briefings this week and next week. i think for me is the americans national security at risk immediately? that's what i'd like to know. >> a lot of debate still to come. thank you very much for your opinion there and your analysis. thank you. we were reporting earlier that the good news in the program today and that's diana dyad heading from cuba to the u.s. this is recent tape as in the last few minutes we just got this in. he's only a couple of miles out from shore. this is her fifth attempt. >> her fifth try. >> her first was 35 years ago. >> we've talked to her numerous times on this show and she's
talking about being your best self. she struggles between wanting to try again and then failing, being discouraged. she gets out there and wants to try again. there's a couple of times she said i'm retired. >> she better make it now. she's only a couple of miles out. she's expected to make landfall about 2:00 p.m. stick with us right here at cnn. >> no big jelly fish or sharks. she's doing well. >> we'll keep an eye on it. well done. we'll be right back.
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we have a political analyst on the line from moscow. he works for vor radio there. this news that the russians are going to send a delegation of lawmakers, mps to washington. who are they and what weight do they carry and what do they hope to achieve? >> reporter: >> i think they want to carry a message that would make the u.s. lawmakers doubt the official version presented by the american administration. we russians have a lot of experience with islamist fundamentalists in russia. there were cases of this kind of force flag attacks. obviously in the situation we have in syria right now it was not assad who was interested in the chemical attack but certainly that position because th they could not win on the
ground. >> they are mps. do they come with of vladmir putin? >> i think that most of the deputies who will come to the united states to talk, most of them will share putin's vision of what's going on. maybe not 100% of them but the main problem with this intervention, the main problem with the russian public opinion is we all remember here in russia that be american media has said that al qaeda was capable of using chemical weapons. now we have al qaeda or parts of it in syria fighting obama. why is it so excluded that these al qaeda elements would use clem cal weap chemical weapons against the people of syria.
>> really quickly here, if you would, are there any lawmakers in the united states who have accepted the invitation to sit down and listen to these russian lawmakers? >> well, as far as i know there was some interest expressed in the congress about talking to russians on that matter. rand paul, the republican lawmaker, is very much interested as far as i could understand. there is some answer on the american side. the majority of the congressmen are not sympathetic with the russian position. >> we'll see what happens. thanks for helping us out to understand this. >> such an unusual, very unusual situation. i've never heard something like that. >> very unusual. syria has some powerful allies in the region, including, russia as well as iran. the country has isolated many of its neighbors. we'll take a closer look at the syrian regime's friends and
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arabia. >> there's a lot of competing interests in that neck of the woods. nick is joining us right in the middle of jordan. tell us how saudi arabia is responding to the u.s. mulling over this strike. >> reporter: saudi arabia threw its efforts to get as strong a resolution as possible on sunday by sort of trying to corral all the different arab nations to get a strongly worded resolution. really is trying to support the united states and a lot of countries in the region are as well. jordan, uae to name a few. that resolution from the arab league, the view of diplomats
hope that gives political cover to president obama as he goes to congress to try to get support for strikes in syria. absent of a u.n. resolution or support at the u.n., the arab league are hoping that their resolution will help. that's perhaps one of the ways to sort of analyze at a simple level what's going on with the arab league and how they've said the international community must stop these types of attacks in syria. >> nick, i want you to take a look at this map. it's interesting. if you throw this map on top of the regions you can see the religious fault lines. in yellow you have the largely sunni muslim population in support of the syrian rebels. how does this complicate the whole situation? >> reporter: it tells you that
potentially if things were to spiral out of control you could end up with a wider sectarian conflict. syria was one of those places in the middle east where christians, sunnis, to name but a few live side by side. no one things that scenario is going to last anymore. it's a tesectarian battle and t ramifications are if you have sunni saudi arabia leading other sunni states that you can get a backlash sectarian fault line as you pointed out. syria could really be the spot for that. >> already no love lost. good to have you there. he's seen the brutality of the assad regime up close. we're going to be speaking with a syrian activist who is now living in the united states. he'll talk about his experience
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risk includes possible loss of principal. . what do the syrian people want to happen in their own country. do they want the united states to get involved? in the assad regime is removed from power, what's next? >> he's connected to activists and rebels. you say you were imprisoned and tortured by prison authorities just for establishing a secular student organization against the regime. i'm curious what you think about the notion of the u.s. striking syrian targets and if it's as limited and pinpoint as the u.s. is saying, what would it achieve? would assad even care? >> i think he could care. he's been killing the syrian people for more than two years and a half. nobody is stopping him.
he's not caring to anymore. he think the word is nld is notg any steps to stopping him. if he could see a great power like the united states of america taking a step and doing a strike on some of the regime facilities inside the country, i'm pretty sure he would stop doing that. >> i'm sure you have many people that you've left behind, your experience in syria whether it's family or friends and there's great concern. perhaps you'd even like to go back. what would happen if assad is overturned, the rebels win and there's all these different elements within that group potential al qaeda and others who would make mischief. does that concern you at all that you wouldn't be able to have stability in your country after assad? >> of course, it concerns me. i came from a christian family.
let's think. who empowered these groups inside the country. al qaeda used to be inside syria to go and fight in iraq in the daylight. i was a student at damascus university back then and they used to have offices in public to take people to fight and fight in iraq, to kill the american troops inside iraq. now the absence of any support inside the country it gives golden opportunity for groups like al qaeda and other groups that are affiliated with al qaeda to come to syria. they have millions of money coming from people in the gulf country. we're so concerned, but i think if there would be an american absence or western absence in syria, i think the situation would be worse. syria would be like a failed state where training camps for al qaeda and other groups to launch their operation against neighboring countries not only inside syria. >> most of the rebels are sunni and across the border in iraq you have a sunni insurgency.
we're already seeing fighters crossing the border. how worried are you about a regional conflict? >> i was in turkey two days ago. i saw some commanders. all of them are secular. they had one complaincomplaint. they said we are getting no support. they said the only support we're getting is nonlethal. they told me we can't al qaeda this stuff. the syrian people don't like al qaeda. syria is very diverse. they live peacefully. al qaeda is strange to the syrian people. they're not welcome. we're calling on the western country and united states to support us to fight assad and al qaeda at the same time. >> a lot of people worried about the cohesion of the opposition.
thanks so much. good to talk to you. >> thank you. >> that will do it for me. thanks for watching "around the world." good to be back. see you tomorrow. "cnn newsroom" starts now. syria may be on hold in the united states but the civil war still rages on. a big meeting at the white ho e house. in less than an hour the president meets with john mccain and lindsey graham. pl members of congress are being vocal on where they stand. some support, some do not. all of them still have a lot of questions. >> the president why he said to the congress we want your input and we want your support.