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tv   Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield  CNN  September 6, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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lebanon has the largest number of refugees, more than 700,000. give us an idea what you are seeing. >> reporter: i've heard that same number as well, jake, and i think the numbers are just going up. we're in bekka valley, within walking distance of the border between lebanon and syria and we've been to some of the refugee camps trying to figure out how people are being cared for and what they are seeing here specifically. we're in sort of this secretive clinic, this makeshift clinic, it was actually a mosque. i want to show you something here, jake, this mosque was actually converted now into sort of this hospital where several of the patients who are sitting here all run this clinic by the free syria army are victims of gunshot wounds and explosions primarily. people shot by snipers, people involved with explosions, and they get their care here. so, some of the worst injuries being cared for here. it is not easy. and now, jake, i'll tell you what we're hearing and seeing is a concern that the numbers are just going to go up.
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they're sort of at their limit right now in terms of staffing, in terms of supplies, so there's a lot of nervousness here. but, again, jake, fascinating that this makeshift clinic, this makeshift hospital, completely run by syrians. part of the coalition of the free syria army. the patients being cared for here as well as the staff, despite the fact that we're in lebanon, jake. >> all right, dr. sanjay gupta, thanks so much. thank you for joining me today. "legal view" with ashleigh banfield starts right now. iran warns america attack syria and suffer the consequences. is tehran plotting retaliation and targeting u.s. embassies? new threats and new evidence. plus, with or without strikes and counterstrikes 2
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million syrian refugees and counting. this is a catastrophe, an international crisis. also stunning confession, posted online, he drank, he drove, and he killed someone, and he's saying so before he's even charged. is this a smart move? is it a legal maneuver? or is it just magnanimous? hello, everyone, i'm ashleigh banfield, it's friday, september the 6th. president obama making an international appeal for a strike on syria right after an unexpected meeting this morning with russian president vladimir putin at the g-20 summit in st. petersburg, russia, and the headline, the difference over syria's use of chemical weapons remains just that, differences. >> it was a candid and constructive conversation. which characterizes my
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relationship with him. i know as i've said before, everybody's always trying to look for body language and all that, but the truth of the matter is, is that my interactions with him tend to be very straightforward. we discussed syria, and that was primarily the topic of conversation, mr. snowden did not come up. beyond me saying that, re-emphasizing, that where we have common interests, i think it's important for the two of us to work together. and on syria, i said, listen, i don't expect us to agree on this issue of chemical weapons use. although it is possible that after the u.n. inspectors' report it may be more difficult for mr. putin to maintain his current position about the evidence. as i said last night, i was elected to end wars and not start them.
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i've spent the last 4 1/2 years doing everything i can to reduce our reliance on military power as a means of meeting our international obligations and protecting the american people. but what i also know is, is that there are times where we have to make hard choices if we're going to stand up for the things that we care about. and i believe that this is one of those times. and if we end up using the u.n. security council not as a means of enforcing international norms and international law but, rather, as a barrier to acting on behalf of international norms and international law, then i think people rightly are going to be pretty skeptical about the system.
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and another developments this morning, all nonessential united states personnel, diplomatic personnel, and their family members, are being ordered to leave the embassy in lebanon. officials are saying this is a move because of the situation in neighboring syria and the unspecified potential threats to those people. also, iran's supreme leader is warning the u.s. will, quote, definitely suffer if president obama orders a military strike against syria. and "the wall street journal" is continuing with that report saying that the u.s. has intercepted an order from iran to militants who are in neighboring iraq, yes, iraq, to attack the u.s. embassy in iraq and other interests in had baghdad as well in the event of an american attack on syria. u.s. officials are now saying a strike on syria could involve long-range bombers like the b-1, the b-2, and the b-52. that would be in addition to what you've already heard as one
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of the main armaments and that is cruise missiles. in washington president obama is facing an uphill battle in winning congressional support for attacking syria. sources say the senate vote is really up in the air at this point and could go either way. and also at his news conference president obama admitted that he knew this was going to be tough, an uphill battle, to convince congress about acting in syria. our senior white house correspondent brianna keilar is live in st. petersburg, she's traveling with the president. and, brianna, you actually had a very tough one-on-one it seemed with the president, back and forth with him, in that news conference. i want to hear just quickly that question you had for the president from just moments ago. let's play that. >> one of the big challenges right now isn't just republicans, but it's from some of your loyal democrats. it seems that the more they hear from classified briefings, that the less likely they are to support you. if the full congress doesn't pass this, will you go ahead
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with the strike? and also, senator susan collins, one of the few republicans who breaks with her party to give you support at times, she says what if we execute this strike and then assad decides to use chemical weapons again, do we strike again? and many democrats are asking that as well. how do you answer her question? >> well, first of all in terms of the votes and the process in congress, i knew this was going to be a heavy lift. i said that on saturday when i said we're going to take it to congress. you know, our polling operations are pretty good, you know, i tend to have a pretty good sense of what current popular opinion is. and for the american people who have been through over a decade of war now with enormous sacrifice in blood and treasure,
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any hint of further military entanglements in the middle east are going to be viewed with suspicious and that suspicion will be probably even stronger in my party than in the republican party. >> all right. so, here's where things get complicated, brianna, while you're there and you're heading into the afternoon, over here on npr's "morning edition" tony blanken who is president obama's deputy national security adviser was asked the very question about going it alone if congress votes him down and he actually said this, quote, it's neither his desire nor intention to use that authority absent congress backing him. that made a lot of us shake our heads. and i'm not sure i got any clarity after the president was posed that question. where exactly does the president stand on this? >> reporter: yeah, that's what's unclear at least publicly at this point, ashleigh, he was asked about that and he sort of dodged it by saying that he wasn't sure that was exactly
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what was said. but basically when you look at blinken's comments, it's basically to say if the president doesn't get congressional approval, he's not going to do it. does the president agree, we don't know. here's the other question, what if just the senate agrees, which is why i asked the question i did. what if just the senate agrees because it does seem to be an easier lift than the house, but the howls vouse votes no, and w seen it before. does he see that as legitimizing his desire to act enough to move forward. he wouldn't answer that for us, but i will tell you when you talk to a lot of observers who have been watching this very carefully now for months, even years, they do feel that that is a very real possibility, that president obama if he doesn't have at least some sort of backing, that he isn't going to go ahead and strike. and i'll tell you, ashleigh, there's a lot at stake here. the president has made an argument, a very firm, aggressive argument, about why
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military action is so important. he has said that this is an assault on human dignity. he said it presents a serious danger to our national security. it risks making a mockery of the global prohibition of the use of chechl cal weap chemical weapons. this is what he said on saturday in the rose garden and he said this menace must be confronted and the question remains if he doesn't have backing of congress and if he doesn't have international support, will he go ahead and that's hopefully what we'll be learning here in the next few days. >> i'm trying to read a lot of tea leaves while there's a lot of movement where you are and earlier the russian president, vladimir putin, made an accusation that syrian militants are the ones who used the chemical weapons in order to get aid and support from outside forces like the united states. it didn't seem that that was the tenor of the meeting between the president of the united states and the president of russia, or is that all just something they're not discussing publicly?
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>> reporter: no, i think you hear exactly what -- i imagine actually that they're discussions judging from what you heard putin say and judging from what you heard obama say, that what they say to each other on a personal level, at least maybe what they said to each other today, we heard president obama say they are pretty straightforward in their interactions, i think their public interactions -- or their private interactions might be pretty similar to their public interactions. president obama stating his case, president putin is stating his opposing case and they don't expect to agree, they kind of leave it at that and move on. this obviously was a 20-minute discussion but as you heard putin saying this is not the syrian regime, this is not bashar al assad. the white house says basically that that is none sennonsense, t these weapons especially in the volume with which they are used are held by the government, that that's a proven fact and they're very confident with that. ashleigh? >> well, brianna, if anyone
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expected more clarity from this international visit, that's not seemingly happening. but keep at it. you were great in that news conference. i saw you, and i think everybody was very appreciative that you wouldn't let that question go, brianna keilar, live for us, our senior white house correspondent, traveling with the president. and we were just telling you about iran and the warning to the united states if, in fact, the united states goes ahead with an attack. we're going to give you far greater details on that, where those details come from. then we also have another developing story, it's really quite remarkable. listen to these bone-chilling words -- >> i ended up going the wrong way down the highway directly into oncoming traffic, and i struck a car. i killed a man. my name is -- >> so pixellated no more, that man confesses before he's even charged with a crime and it is a serious crime, killing a man on a dui.
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obama certainly isn't mincing any words about syria and he's repeating his argument as to why a military strike has to be carried out to deter what he calls syria's outrageous behavior. there are a lot of possible repercussions if the united states does attack the assad regime and one of the most serious, a possible retaliation by this man and his nation. the country's supreme leader, iran, is now warning the united states that it would suffer if syria is attacked, and "the wall street journal" is reporting that tehran has actually ordered militants next door in iraq to attack the u.s. embassy in baghdad and other u.s. interests in iraq if the u.s. goes ahead and strikes syria. so, a lot of fighting words going on right now and not just in syria. our chris lawrence, pentagon correspondent, joining me now. so, this is getting very ugly, very complicated and when early on people began to say the middle east and central asia is comply kay complicated, it's std
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to bear out with actual evidence and actual evidence. >> it's actual words at this point more than evidence, at this point, ashleigh, from "the journal's" report this threat would be in retaliation, in other words, only if the u.s. were to actually carry out a strike on syria. but, you're right, it has put the embassy and its staff on very high alert. i've been to the baghdad embassy while it was getting shelled and attacked by mortars, it happens actually quite often. the place is like a huge city. it's like a fortress, but the state department has issued new warnings to americans living and working outside that compound to be especially cautious at this point. i know from speaking with officials here that that has been a recurring theme. they have told us over and over again that one of the ways in which syria might retaliate against any air strike would be to go after american and western interests in the region, or to have their allies, like
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hezbollah, go after u.s. interests in the region. it's one of the reasons a ship like the "uss san antonio" was told to hang around that area. it doesn't have any tomahawk missiles, it wouldn't be involved in any actual strike, but it had 300 marines on board. it had helicopters. it could be used in case there needed to be an emergency evacuation. >> i read that report that they moved that ship out of the -- out of the same area as the destroyers to the port of haifa, but that is a spitting distance from where those destroyers are right now. chris lawrence, keep an eye on this if you will the ever-changing pentagon plan that must be under way right now for all of the options. another story that's been hitting the radar, an ohio man has taken to the internet to make what can only be called a shocking confession to the world. >> i'm begging you, please don't drink and drive. don't make the same excuses that i did.
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>> he says he is doing this hopes that other people won't make the same mistake. but is there perhaps an ulterior motive like getting a lighter sentence? hear the pluses and the minuses of what you're seeing on your screen next.
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an ohio man makes a stunning confession in the most public way possible. 22-year-old matthew kordell pc e he admitted that he killed a man while driving drunk after a night of bar hopping. have a look. >> i killed a man. i was out with some friends. we were all drinking really heavily. just hopping from bar to bar. just trying to have a good time and i lost control. you know, sometimes i drink because i have depression that i struggle with every day.
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and i just drink to get out of my head for a few hours, you know, i really don't like the person i become when i drink. i've ruined relationships in the past. i start fights. you know, i just generally become a person that people don't like being around. on that particular night, i made a mistake and got in my truck completely blacked out and decided to try to drive home. i ended up going the wrong way down the highway directly into oncoming traffic. and i struck a car. i killed a man. immediately following that, i consulted some high-powered attorneys who told me stories about similar cases where the drivers got off. they were convinced that they could get my blood test thrown
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out and all i would have to do for that was lie. well, i won't go down that path. my name is matthew cordel and on june 22nd, 2013, i hit and killed vincent canzani, this video will act as my confession. when i get charged, i will plead guilty and take full responsibility for everything i've done to vincent and his family. i took a different route, maybe i would get a reduced sentence and maybe i would get off. but i won't dishonor vincent's memory by lying about what happened. by releasing this video, i know exactly what it means. i handed the prosecution everything it needs to put me away for a very long time. i'm willing to take that
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sentence for just one reason, and that reason is so i can pass this message on to you. i beg you, and i say the word "beg" specifically, i'm begging you please don't drink and drive. don't make the same excuses that i did. don't say it's only a few miles or you've only had a few beers or you do it all the time, it will never happen to you. because it happened to me. and all of those are just excuses to make yourself feel better about a decision that you know is wrong and could cost lives. i can't bring mr. canzani back and i can't erase what i've done. but you can still be saved. your victims can still be saved. so, please.
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>> so, matthew posted that video through a website that's called becauseisaidiwould, that's the website. and joining me is the founder of that website, alex sheen. thank you so much for taking the time to come on live with me to talk about this. first of all, how did this come to your desk? how did you ever find out about matt, what he did, and what he wanted to do on your website? >> sure. you know, we have people who follow us on facebook like a lot of facebook pages, and we received messages about people's promises, the promises that they make, and matt heard about becauseisaidi would, i don't know matt outside of this. and he just sent a message to me confessing that guilt so that's how it started. >> and as i understand it, you helped him, that video was quite praffin professionally done, usually you
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see people sitting in our rooms at their computer cams and making their testimonials, but this one was very professionally done. why did you help him create the video? >> the whole goal of this video is to convince people to not drink and drive, to come to that realization that a lot of people make the same excuses that matt makes in his life about drinking and driving. and to come to that point in your life to make the promise to never, ever drink and drive and to make that message compelling we made this video. >> so, alex, did you ever think, i think i need to call the police, i think i need to at least alert the authorities what i'm up to since i'm working with someone who hasn't even been charged but was suspected in this crime? >> yeah, i looked and saw news reports that he was the primary suspect and they knew that. they were just gathering the evidence. even still today with this video being out, they have not pressed charges yet. i am not going to pretend to understand the legal system, but my understanding -- what i do know is that they're putting together that case to make sure
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that when they press charges that they have had the evidence that they need to sentence him to a reasonable and fair punishment. so, i think that's part of the legal system, and they know that he's the suspect. >> well, alex, we would love to also speak with your now colleague, matt, please pass the message on to him that we'd welcome him on the program any hour, any day if he wants to talk a little bit more about what he's done and what he's expecting, certainly if he wants this message to get out, not to drink and drive, it's a great venue. we reach a lot of homes at cnn. thanks, alex. >> thank you. >> it's good to talk to you. we do appreciate it. what do you suppose the motivation could be? is it simply the magnanimous effort to say, look, i did this crime and i'm going to do the time and take the responsibility for it? or is there something more calculated to this? maybe some way to work within the system and mitigate a sentence? believe it or not this plays into sentencing, whether you are sorry, whether you don't cost
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the state money to prosecute you and whether you actually offer your contrition, joining me now is cnn's brand-new legal analyst and defense attorney mark omera. good to see you. it's good to talk to you in person and not follow you in the zimmerman trial, great to have you on board. the first assignment is not to talk about george zimmerman today but to talk about this. i started to pose that question, did matt possibly do this for another reason because there is another possibility. >> when i first saw it my cynical prosecutor side came out and i looked at it and said, well, he's doing that to try to gain some favor because we know that things like are relevant, convision as you say is relevant and remorse is relevant, by the time i looked through the video and by the time i got to the end of it, i think he's being sincere. i think it was a good honest move with a lot of integrity and i think i'll give him a thumbs-up on the whole why he did it. i hope that his future actions follow what he started here today. >> and the other element of, you
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know, the entire system of jurisprudence is if you take account and you take responsibility for what you did and you sign a deal so that you don't put people through the expensive cost in money and emotion of a trial, that also counts, doesn't it? >> and it should. because after all, he did something even though drinking and driving is intentional, the act of what he did wasn't really intentional. the yld that he came forward before he was charged and said i killed somebody, i'm responsible, i am taking responsibility. after all, that's really what we want our children to do, our residents to do. we really want to say when you do something wrong, acknowledge it, and got to give him credit for doing just that. >> and ultimately alex had mentioned in some of the reporting to cnn that he doesn't want people calling him courageous. in fact, he is sort of buckle at the notion that people are looking at this video and say it's courageous, it may seem courageous, but he killed a man and there's a family out there that for quite some time now has had a hit and run on their
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hands. >> in many cases, in many other cases the victim's family when they complain, they complain because they've never gotten that apology, they never got that sense of fulfillment for what the other side would say, we have to give him credit for saying that to the family. >> you've stood before a lot of judges and pleaded cases and asked for mitigation in sentencing before. if you were in this courtroom, what do you really think might end coming out? because he's going to get charged and he's going to have to go through some process and he's going to plead guilty. what do you think a young would do with something like this? >> we know it's a horrible crime and a death has been caused but if we look at somebody that said, they've done what we wanted them to do, they've acknowledged their remorse and guilt and they made life easier for the family and for the system, then at least he has now taken the first step towards somebody who we should still punish but punish as little as reasonable, make him pay for his actions and then move forward. this might be the kind of guy
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who does videos like this one that goes out to schools and goes out to other community people to say, don't do what i did. >> you think that might be the actual sentence or will there be jail time? >> he's going to jail. he's killed somebody, he's going to jail. >> good to see you. >> great to see you. >> you are a fine lawyer, both you and the prosecution in the zimmerman trial, fine examples of great skills and stamina as it turns out. >> thank you. we also have the very big story that we're copting to follow, president obama and russian president vladimir putin finally meeting face to face sort of a nonplanned marginals, meeting on the margins, but they failed to reach any agreement. don't think that's a big surprise. but if the u.s. does take military action against syria, what do you think russia might actually do? they've made a couple of veiled remarks, we'll ask our experts on just what the remarks might mean. [ crashing ] [ male announcer ] when your favorite food starts a fight,
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stop taking spiriva and seek immediate medical help if your breathing suddenly worsens, your throat or tongue swells, you get hives, vision changes or eye pain, or problems passing urine. other side effects include dry mouth and constipation. nothing can reverse copd. spiriva helps me breathe better. does breathing with copd weigh you down? don't wait to ask your doctor about spiriva. welcome back, i'm ashleigh banfield. the international dispute over what to do about syria's use of chemical weapons is at a fever pitch this hour. president obama overseas is making a last-ditch appeal for international support for a strike against syria. this is at the g-20 summit in russia. the backdrop russian's president, vladimir putin, is warning that he has an unspecified plan of action if any kind of attack occurs.
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also iran weighing in. its supreme leader warning of dire consequences if a strike occurs. and "the wall street journal" adding to that, reporting that iran has actually ordered militants in iraq, next door, to attack the united states embassy and other u.s. interests in baghdad if, in fact, an attack on syria happens. and that is a whole lot of mess to deal with, joining us is cnn military analyst retired air force general rick francona who happened to live for three years in syria as a military attachchy and also joining us is dr. david kai. colonel franklin, i want to begin with you if i, let's start at the top with russia and with what president putin has said in veiled terms. we have our plan he said. >> i would venture to say his plan is going to be on the diplomatic side or the economic side. i just can't imagine that the
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russians want to get into a fight with us over syria. it doesn't make sense. it doesn't reach the threshold of something they want to get into a superpower confrontation in the military realm. they've got quite a number of ships in the eastern mediterranean, it's a small body of water. there's a lot of firepower out there. they may do a show of force, but i just don't see them doing anything militarily. >> so, dr. kai, if vladimir putin is paying lip service to his allies and makes sure he walks this fence, let's go south to iran and next door iraq. you and i have had a couple of conversations off air about the "i" word, and that's iraq. it's no a place we ever want to be again and yet we'll be there matter what, aren't we, if syria enters the picture? >> we still have both state department personnel and american armed forces there. a small number. and a lot of ngos, americans, are still in iraq. the amazing thing being commented on for the last year is that iraq has provided a free
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flow of iranian support both material, arms, as well as personnel across iraq, both ground and airspace. >> it's been a pipeline, what you are saying iraq, a place that effectively the united states created as it is now, is the pipeline for the bad guys in syria. is that what you're saying? >> it's a major pipeline and i think one reason there's been so little public comment on it is if you think about it, it is extraordinarily embarrassing to the u.s. government to reveal and talk about something that we've spent billions of dollars and over 4,000 american lives on is now providing aid and comfort to syria. >> so, colonel francona, with that in mind, i'm looking at some of the reports that are coming in to cnn from chris lawrence and other defense officials, they've received many, many calls from the white house almost every day asking for different options, can you do this, what would it take to accomplish "x," "y," "z," if uf
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want to do "x," rescue personnel, refueling options. the question i have for you given what you and david kay just outlined with regard to iraq, does that mean any kind of plan that's being made at the pentagon right now is going to real lie focus on iraq as well but maybe we won't be speaking so much about how much iraq will matter? >> they'll have a plan. if something happens, if we do something militarily against syria, there's a whole host of things that will happen and the pentagon has to plan for these, the evacuation of embassies and the personnel and even the ngos that david mentioned, they've got to take that into consideration. and going back to iraq, iraq is not this monolithic country anymore. it's over the last two years the civil order has almost broken down, you have the sunnis resurgent in the north and while the government is funneling official aid to syria we're also seeing in the north this is where a lot of the islamists are
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coming across as well, and iraq is the funnel that is causing all the problems. >> despite the problem that no one wants to hear the word iraq. >> when people hear the word iraq, people shut down. >> no question. it's always good to have your expertise especially at times like this. when we come back, i want you to take a look at this video. it's president assad and his wife, they're shaking hands and they're smiling. who would think that behind it lies one of the most cruel dictators in the world, so what do you suppose might happen to him and to his wife if he falls? and his people get ahold of him. there's some ugly history here that may lay some groundwork. we're going to show it to you in a moment. she loves a lot of the same things you do.
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when it comes to cruelty you
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might say that for bashar al assad it runs in the family. cnn's brian todd takes a look at assad's family, their opulence and their history of brutality. >> reporter: recognize the boy on the swing in it's bashar al assad. as he looked on, his father, many believe, envisioned a dynasty. but he likely wouldn't have imagined it taking the turn it has. is this a dynasty and is it crumbling right now? >> it's a mafia dynasty and it's definitely crumbling. >> reporter: experts say to understand what's happening in syria now, it helps to know about the strange regime built by the current dictators late father, hafez al assad. >> hafez al assad was the most machiavellian leader in a region full of brutal dictators. >> reporter: he rose through the ranks of the syrian air force, but it was hardly that straightforward. the man thrived in the backrooms of syrian palace intrigue where
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according to most accounts betraying friends, killing and banishing enemies puts you on the fast track. in syria there were more than 20 successful and unsuccessful coups between 1949 and 1970 when hafez al assad took power. he himself was involved in three of them through the '70s, '80s, and '90s he played the middle east power game like a fiddle alternating fighting and negotiating peace with israel while keeping america from being a full-fledged enemy. that was the contradiction, he stayed in power by torturing and killing his enemies from within, by making friends with terrorist groups like hezbollah. but in 1990 and '91 when president george bush needed to build a coalition against saddam hussein, look who was on his side. >> bush even met with syria's president assad despite the fact that the u.s. still considers syria a haven for terrorists. >> reporter: how did the dynasty unravel after hafez al assad's death in 2000? analysts say it's partly because they ruled so brutally as a
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minority, part of a muslim sect over majority sunnis who have resented them and he's had other difficulties changing the old ways of his father. >> hafez al assad stabilized syria through a closed system, people couldn't travel or communicate very well, international news was very limited. when bashar came to power he lefted the restrictions on travel, allowed people to read international newspapers, satellite, television and the internet and it opens syrians' minds, but how do you control this system? and how do you basically perpetuate authoritarian and tyranny >> reporter: analysts say when he brought internet into syria it was against the advice of his security staff, they told him it would be dangerous, that they'd have trouble controlling it. they were right. brian todd, cnn, washington. so, you know, it's hard to imagine what bashar al assad is thinking right now. is he going to hold on to power or could he possibly suffer the
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same fate as many brutal dictators before him? think about it, gadhafi, saddam, prb how remember you how it turned out for them and their families. we'll have a look at that in just a moment. [ male announcer ] eligible for medicare?
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they were so suave and young and cool. now they might be on the verge of suffering the same fate as other leaders before them. don't forget about hussein who ruled with an iron fist but there he is on the right after pulled out of a spider hole and then he was tried and hanged by his people. romania's dictator and his wife are seen minutes before a lightning fast trial and then being tied and being led outside the door of that room and riddled with bullets high pressure look at him on the right. that's him strung up in public
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alongside his mistress. what might the syrian people do to bashar assad and his family given the chance? joining us now is peter bergen. that can't be far from his mind. >> yeah. i think talking to a number of syrian activists they believe that he will fight to the end. he won't try to flee to iran. he will go to the coastal areas where the traditional stronghold and hope to be protected by some combination of military and lebanese hezbollah. it worked for hussein. he was found. his m.o. was to go back to the place he knew best, his hometown and hide. he succeeded for a while. >> don't they just loot the
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coffers and try to buy themselves a save haven overseas. >> there's going to be few takers for assad. iran and russia are his closest allies. he'd have to get there. these countries don't adjoin syria and there's a lot of people looking for him. it would be dangerous to try to leave the country, i think. at this point the syrian civil war has gone on for so long, it's likely the opposition would have a deal with him. you mentioned what might happen to his family. as we have seen in past experiences, if you're imkplpl e implicated like the violence like hussein's two sons, they were killed. it's likely his brothers and others involved in the power structure -- >> and wife.
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>> wife, i don't know. saddam's female family members did get away. >> it's amazing. one of his deputies has been shopping for asylum in cuba and ecuador. thank you, peter. coming up, see how a 17-year-old is sending kids around the world the gift of sight and it's simple but critical, when we come back.
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as a high school freshman he broke his glasses and about a week he found it hard to focus in school. then he learned that millions of kids all around the world deal with that same struggle every day because they can't afford glasses. he decided he ed he's going to . meet this week's cnn hero. >> i was only five years old when i got my first pair. when i was a freshman i broke my glasses and i kpocouldn't see anything. i realized how much they meant. i learned there are millions of students who need glasses but can't afford them. i had this problem for one week.
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these kids had these problems for their whole lives. my name is yash and i'm trying to help students see better. there are millions of glasses discarded annually. when i was 14 i started reaching out to local optometrists and putting collection boxes in their office. when a patient came to get a new pair, they could drop off the old pair. we work with other organizations and they distribute the dallass. the other way is by going on clinic trips. we'll be distributing these to some kids in orphanages. it's personal interaction. that's what i love to see the people we're helping. watching someone get glasses for the first time really inspiring. today we have collected and distributed over $425,000 worth
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of eyeglasses which is equivalent to 8500 pairs. i'm 17 years old and although many people believe kids can't make a difference, i have. i think anyone can do that. it's about being motivated and going out there and doing it. >> if you want to learn more about yash and the amazing work he's doing head over to cnn you can see it there. that's all time we have. thanks for joining us. "around the world" starts right after this quick break. have a great weekend. could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. yep, everybody knows that. well, did you know some owls aren't that wise?
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welcome to "around the world." >> leaders of the most powerful economies concluding their summit in russia. >> russian president said he and president obama did discuss syria and they did not reach an agreement. they remain locked in staunch opposition over how to handle the syrian crisis. >> all the leaders put on their smiles as they always do for the g-20 class photo. presiden


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