tv Worldfocus PBS August 8, 2009 12:00am-12:30am EDT
>> tonight on "worldfocus" -- the most wanted man in a top taliban leader is dead. apparently killed by a u.s. missile strike. will it bring an end to his campaign of violence? we mark the anniversary of the brief but brutal war between russia and georgia that left hundreds dead. tonight we look at the legacy of anger that remains. how they see it. tonight, we get the british take on an american investment bank, goldman sachs. its huge profits and big bonuses in spite of a sputtering economy have some wonderinabout government connections. and hell on earth. tonight, we take you to a sulfur mine in java where the workers
get a good wage, but may be paying with their health. from the world's leading reporters and analysts, here is what's happening from around the world. this is "worldfocus." made possible, in part, by the following funders -- good evening, i'm martin savidge. for months, he was the top target of the cia and pakistan's military, baitullah mehsud, the head of the taliban in pakistan. a notorious militant commander who controlled a wide area of pakistan's northwest. a man whose organization killed hundreds of security forces and civilians. today a senior taliban commander and the pakistani government says mehsud and his wife had been killed. but a missile fired unmanned american aircraft. it happened wednesday morning in south waziristan in the tribal
area. the latest in a series of attacks aimed at mehsud. how badly did the united states want him? there was a $5 million bounty on his head. in tonight's "lead focus," we look at the death of baitullah mehsud and what it means for the war against the taliban. it was reported that mehsud was at his father-in-law's house at the time of the attack suffering from a kidney ailment. this video is from may of 2008 shot at a press conference. although mehsud insisted his that his face not be shown he briefly turned towards the camera. he is a national intelligence reporter for the "washington post." >> caller: there was pretty good evidence in terms of the electronic intercepts and other kinds of data that suggested that he was dead and just today pakistan, one of mehsud's deputies called the associated press to say that he was indeed killed. but there's no body. there's no dna evidence. so pakistani officialed like to go to the area to confirm that he was killed. >> as head of the taliban in
pakistan, mehsud is thought to have been behind some of the group's most high-profile attacks in recent years. the pakistani government named him as the prime suspect in the december 2007 assassination of former prime minister benazir bhutto. and also thought to be the mastermind in march of this year in the pakistani city of lahore. that attack left several policemen dead. >> caller: he's a very charismatic figure. took charge of t talibani groups in pakistan two years ago and sort became the strategic thinker. the guy who brought them together. very unifying figure and also someone who wanted to go to war with pakistan. >> in pakistan, news of mehsud's death provoked a mixed reaction. the leader of a rival taliban faction told reporters, he was happy mehsud was glad. for the pakistani aerm's recent crackdown on the taliban. >> translator: what he was doing was not part of islam. even the religious scholars did not approve of what he was doing.
>> mehsud's death was also a major topic of discussion at friday prayers. this man spoke about mehsud referring to him by his first name. >> translator: one baitullah will die but another one will become born. we have become slaves of america. if we do not change our thinking lots of baitullahs will keep being born. >> for more on this story we are joined by lisa curtis, she's a senior research fellow at the heritage foundation and she joins us from washington. nice to have you back. >> thanks for having me again. >> what do you think the impact will be on the taliban in pakistan? will they recover from this, and if so, how long will it take them? >> well, i think this is a significant victory for pakistan, its fight against terrorism specially coming on the heels of the pakistan military's ability to oust the taliban from the swat valley region. but we know that military commanders can be replaced. so this doesn't mean the end of the pakistani taliban, yet it is a very significant development. and it could also change the
debate about drone strikes in pakistan. pakistani officials have been very critical of these drone strikes but i think it would be hard for them to argue that this is an important tool in the fight against terrorists that threaten pakistan itself. >> that's an interesting point because i was wondering, what kind of impact did you think that this would have on the cooperation between american and pakistani intelligence agencies? because at least up until now i think that they've been mistrustful of one another. >> well, there has been a lot of frustration and tension between washington and islamabad. particularly, over pakistan's engaging in peace deals with the militants. however, i think this is beginning to change. as i said, pakistan has been on the offensive against taliban in other areas of pakistan. and this shows that by the u.s. and pakistan cooperating together, by using u.s. technology and pakistani intelligence, they can work together to address threats that affect both of their countries.
>> will this death have an impact on the neighboring war in afghanistan? >> well, i think it's clear that the drone strikes that have been taking place in pakistan over a year now have had a significant impact in degrading the leadership of al qaeda and the taliban. and that's certainly helpful, particularly in the immediate term, in terms of defending against terrorism. however, over the longer term, we're going to have to do much more than drone strikes. we're going to have to engage in economic development, reconstruction, improving the enviroent so that people have other opportunities and they won't turn towards militancy and terrorism. so that's the key over the longer term. >> lisa curtis, thank you very much for joining us this evening. >> thank you. in afghanistan, this is shaping up potentially to be the most deadly month for american and other western forces at war. military officials said today
that three more british soldiers and an american service member were killed in attacks in southern and eastern afghanistan. that brings to 19, the number of international troops who have died in just the first seven days of this month. it was also a deadly day in iraq, where at least 37 people were kild in a series of bombing attacks. in the most serious, a suicide car bomb struck a shiite mosque in northern iraq. that's outside of mosul, killing at least 30 people. in baghdad, a roadside bomb targeted a minibus carrying shiite pilgrims, killing four people and wounding eight others. the attacks on shiites are raising concerns of a possible new wave of sectarian violence in iraq. from europe, we want to take note tonight of the first anniversary of the start of the war between georgia and russia. th conflict broke out last summer, when georgia launched an the republic of south ossetia. russia responded with a counterattack.
pushing deep into the georgia territory. the five-day war killed at least 390 people displaced tens of thousands and left fear that more fighting could erupt. the scars still remain as we hear in this report from deutsche welle. >> reporter: relatives of those killed in the fighting commemorated their loved ones by laying flowers in the georgian capital tbilisi. the hostilities may have only lasted five days but they left behind countless personnel tragedies. >> translator: some call it a minor, pointless war, but it was a major war for us. our children aren't with us anymore. my son was killed on august 8th. >> reporter: there's still no siement of relations between russia and georgia. many in the region fear armed conflict could erupt again. >> translator: we still feel it's dangerous. all my friends and relatives are worried. all we can do is have faith and trust in the international community. >> reporter: the european union have some 200 observers along georgia's border with south
ossetia. russian troops are stationed on the other side of the border. 12 months on, the standoff continues. the situation remains tense. >> that report from deutsche welle. and it may have been the comments of a pro-russian blogger from georgia that caused someone to launch the cyberattack that shut down the messaging service twitter for two hours or so yesterday. that, according to a nonprofit organization that tracks internet traffic. hackers caused the eruption by apparently sending a fleury of spam e-mail messages that had links to pages on twitter and other websites written by that georgian blogger. we want to turn to the issue now of big bonuses and banks. what happened here in the united states is also happening in france, where there is a good deal of outrage after reports that one major bank has set aside almost $1.5 billion in
bonus money. the bank is bnp paribas and it was among those that received government bailout money. the meeting with bankers today president nicolas sarkozy instructed them to report later this month on their bonus policies and whether they are living up to their commitments to keep credit flowing. and that reference to what i made to what happened here is about the experience of goldman sachs, which as you may have heard, announced big profits and huge bonuses in recent weeks. that set off a storm of negative reaction even though goldman had paid back the billions in assistance it received from the u.s. government. in our continuing segment "how they see it," we want to show you how our british partner, itn, has covered the story with its reporter, faisal islam. >> reporter: the decades goldman sachs have been high priest of -- have announced and they've been celebrated as such across america, but since they announced record profits and
record bonus in the worst recession since the great depression they'd been under attack as never before from some pretty unlikely quarters. >> i don't think in the history of the united states there has been a company with as much direct influence on public policy as goldman sachs since the days of maybe jpmorgan or standard oil. >> reporter: for its critics, goldman's success is due to it being plugged directly into washington's current oil power. there can be no doubt that goldman sachs' alumni are incredibly well placed in all positions of political influence, democrats or republican. take the past four chairman, robert ruben the clinton secretary who deregulated complex financial markets. jon corzine a democrat governor close to president obama. stephen friedman. bush's chief economic adviser. until may, chief regulator of goldman while sitting on its board and buying millions of
dollars of shares. and then there is hank paulson. president bush's treasure secretary responsible for the controversial bailouts. >> goldman has an extraordinary record of former employees joining the government and occupying key positions. >> reporter: it was the rock magazine "rolling stone" that sparked the storm of attention to the wall street giant. writer argued that goldman is a giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity. responsible for no less than six disastrous financial bubbles. >> what goldman's doing is not the free market. this is using the leaver and the power of the state to force taxpayers, to give them money, and turn it into bonuses, so it's exactly the opposite of the free market economic. it's like a reverse kind of socialism where money is taken from the ground up and pushed up to the upper class. >> reporter: those words were dismissed as a conspiracy theory at goldman's current offices. that article's spawned other accounts denied by the company itself of the panic amongst
partners here last autumn as sharp share price falls threaten their financial ruin. the critic of goldman sachs' connections with the u.s. government crystallizes around one episode from around last year, the government bailout of insurance giant, aig. that came just days after goldman's key competitor lehman brothers was allowed to fail and disproportionately benefited goldman sachs and was decided by treasury secretary that used to be the boss of goldman sachs. when this financial crisis struck goldman had an initially $20 billion exposure to aig, some of which it had offset. had aig gone bust there was a real risk of a loss of billions and paulson recently s there were significant issues with goldman at the time. >> the biggest beneficiary of the billions of dollars pumped into aig, much of which went straight through aig and onto
its counterparties was goldman sachs which got $12 billion of it. >> reporter: meetings over the second weekend of last september here at federal reserve bank of new york had already condemned lehman brothers. just subsequent meeting on aig, goldman's chief executive was the only chief bank present and treasury secretary paulson should have known well abo goldman's sensitivity to aig's fate. he'd been boss of goldman when many of the original aig deals were struck. >> the ceo of goldman sachs was in the room during these negotiations and i know this from somebody who was also in the room at the time. whereas the primary regulator of aig, there was nobody from the office of supervision in the room at the same time. >> it's the heir principle competitors who fell at the wayside. their guy was in the chair. their guy is going to maintain some influence. you know there's just a point
where you sort of -- you have to start shrugging off the notions that this is some kind of conspiracy thinking. and you've got to start saying, gee, one plus one equals two there is a problem. >> reporter: goldman was also permitted to convert into a mainstream bank giving access to limitless cheap funding from the u.s. central bank. with its main competitors out of the game, goldman's profited handsomely. the firm recently chose to buy back the u.s. government's share in the company and to the profit to the u.s. taxpayer but freeing it from restrictions on bonuses and pay. they may have been too clever by half. already congress has been questioning the goldman old boys. >> you don't feel any kind of scintilla of ethics on this thing at all? >> totally. >> and this is just the start. goldman sachs was one of three banks issued subpoenas by u.s. senate fraud investigation examining whether the banks that sold complex pools of mortgages did so despite having private doubts about their worth.
it's a brewing storm for the president, too. glad to see a symbol of american prosperity printing money again, but uneasy about multimillion dollar bonuses. for the golden boys of goldman sachs it means getting used to a very public glare. faisal islam, channel 4 news, new york. it's time now for our friday roundtable and tonight we're going to discuss a lot of the news that was made this week by a power couple -- bill and hillary clinton. a number of you told us via twitter that bill clintons trip to north korea was the story of the week. the former president getting his groove back, in the words of one twitter user. while in africa, the secretary
of state began a major american diplomatic initiate identify that continent. joining us tonight, nikhil deogun. deputy manager of the "wall street journal." and david andelman. a foreign correspondent for "the new york times" and cbs news. welcome to you both. and again, boy, just what a week for this political dynamic duo, husband and wife team. let's begin with bill clinton, surprising everyone by showing up in north korea. david, was this -- have we opened a new door to north korea in a dialogue, or was this just an unusual set of circumstances for which bill clinton fit the bill? >> well, bill clinton certainly did fit the bill. in fact, he was the bill that was presented by the north koreans as the one person that they would like to see come there, and they would release the two journalists. >> they named him? he was the one? >> exactly, he was the one that they chosen and was not on the list that obama sent to them as suggestions so the question is, who is really in charge now? i mean, the north koreans still want dialogue only with the united states. they do not want the six-power talks. the united states, even after
bill's visit there, they still want the six-power form atwhich would that include china of course and the north koreans don't want to see that. we'll have to see that as it evolves but -- and also it's very interesting -- it will be interesting domestically to see how north korea and the kims, if you will, the father and son, ultimately work all of this out. >> it's all about family this week. >> it is. >> father and son and husband and wife. nikhil, what did america have to give in order to get these journalists back? >> they didn't have a lot to griff. -- to give. they certainly gave concessions, if you will, when you think of the fact that kim jong-il has got a big propaganda hit out of this. there was question about his health. he's now proved to the world that he's alive. that's something. >> and that was a big question. >> and that was a big question. he got a big propaganda boost in his own country. the front page of the north korean paper had five pictures of kim jong-il with bill clinton.
it wasn't till you got to page three that you had a little blurb that mentioned that the journalists had been freed. and finally, you've got -- you've got to show the world that you still had some control over your country over which there was some significant doubts. >> well, whose court is the ball in now to try to move it forward? >> well, what's interesting also, and nikhil was right. it also showed the world that north korea is rational to a certain degree. it could sit down and talk to a western leader of some stature and come out of it looking not like complete crazies in that respect. so i guess in that respect, you know it's kind of still in the north korean's court and although we'll certainly have to see just how the initiatives move forward and who makes the next move. right now the north koreans have said, we'll talk to the americans, one on one. the obama administration has said, we'll talk to the north koreans only in the framework of the six-power talks including china. so in some respects it still hasn't moved that far off of the stalemate from before, except atmospherically perhaps.
>> it's such a secretive society to us, north korea, so that now bill clinton returns with perhaps the most intel that america has had about the leadership of that bizarre country. than we've had in a decade. >> well, when you talk to senior officials in washington, i was down there a couple of weeks ago, and you're always surprised by how little we know about noh korea. most of our information, our best information is probably coming from the chinese. you really don't have, as david was mentioning earlier, the japanese fear of influences wasn't as robust as was in that region. so you know you do have a former president who's experienced in dealing with world leaders coming back with some information and clearly it does seem that kim jong-il is sending a message, that he is willing to talk. and what happens next is going to be anybody's guess at this point. >> and then the person who may next become involved is bill clinton's wife, the secretary of the state.
i'm trying to figure out the dynamics here in the obama administration. does this set up a problem for either the secretary of state in her relationship with the president of the united states as a result of what happened this week with her husband? >> well, it could conceivably in the long run. now remember, hillary's still a very powerful force in the democratic party. so if we could talk domestic politics here for a moment, if we suddenly have these two forces coming together, it almost becomes like a critical mass, if you will. energizing her image as a -- or the family's image, the billary image as world statesmen. and there is obama off to the side somewhere worrying about the economy and so on. >> she's going forward with this initiative to africa. this is an important unto itself in the united states establishing a dialogue with this continent. >> oh it is absolutely. and what i found very interesting is the undercurrents of china in both places, in the north korea and in the african equation. china, remember, is the largest player in so many countries in africa right now.
it is basically has moved the united states off center stage. the chinese are building vast projects, dams and so on, all over africa in return for natural resources. they want oil in places, like angola and various -- number of other places. sudan. so really this is critical for the united states to try to get back i that area that china has dominated. equally, china's important in the north korean equation as well. so i find the interplay, the undercurrent of china in all of this, very intriguing. and the united states does have to reassert itself. >> well, and in terms of that great game between -- between china and the united states, the united states most powerful weapon, maybe you have a
president now who is the son of kenya, as hillary clinton mentioned. and that gives -- you know that has a real resonance in terms of actually trying to affect change over there. a continent where it is very hard to affect change. >> we're going to have to leave it there. because we have run out of time. david andelman, thank you very much. nikhil deogun, thank you very much. time goes by too quick. >> thanks, martin. finally tonight, if you think you've had a long week, we want to take you to a small corner of the world where hard work only begins to describe what's involved for a group of men who toil on the indonesian island of java working in a volcano. there they mine sulfur, that's an essential mineral that we all use for many things that we all take for granted like fertilizers, insecticides, gunpowder and matches. step vaessen of al jazeera takes us inside of their world. >> reporter: industrial landscape carrying twice all of their work on their shoulder like gigantic ants scraping up a living. these miners climb in and out. once or twice a day. hauling bright yellow pieces of
sulfur weighing between 60 and 100 kilograms. but he has been working as a sulfur miner in the volcano for the last 26 years, facing inferno. suffocating from smoke every time he starts to dig. >> help me. >> reporter: confronted with obnoxious fumes, our cameraman loses direction in trying to film him. >> i'm lost. >> reporter: but he claims that even after all of these years, he is still in excellent health. [ speaking in native tongue ]. >> reporter: without wearing any masks, this smell is absolutely unbearable. it feels like it's choking you and your lungs are on fire and
these man are not wearing any masks at all. only a few protect themselves against the smoke. are producing fertilizer because it cannot afford to buy masks for all of them. >> translator: in this conditions, a mask will not last long. after ten days you can't use it anymore so it's too expensive to keep changing it. >> reporter: but enough sulfur in the baskets, the long and painful journey up begins. nobody complains. carefully placing their feet, balancing from one stone to the other. in absolute silence. [ speaking in native tongue ]. >> reporter: the hazardous journey can last up to three hours. the men regularly have to stop
to relieve the immense pressure on their body. despite warnings from experts about their health the miners are content with their job. three kilometers downhill they will receive up to $6 for 100 kilograms of sulfur and it is nearly double the salary of a factory worker. step vaessen, al jazeera, east java. >> and that is "worldfocus" for this friday evening and for the week. if you missed any of our programs, the good news is, you can catch up with all of them at worldfocus.org, where you will also find a lot more global news. i'm martin savidge in new york. as always, thank you for joining us. we'll look for you back here on monday and anytime on the web. and until then, have a wonderful weekend. "worldfocus" is made possible, in part, by the following funders -- "worldfocus" is made possible, in part, by the -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com