tv Amanpour on PBS PBS February 14, 2018 6:00am-6:31am PST
tonight, darkness and light, as damning sexual abuse surround the global charity ox fam. a conversation with bill and melinda gates, talking about the vital importance of aid and accountability. a dangerous new phase in the syrian war as iran and israel face off. what it all means for the fiery middle east.
"amanpour" on pbs was made possible by the generous support of rosalynn p. walter. good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. i'm christiane amanpour in london with the global perspective. now, you can forget all the gloomy headlines. this is the greatest time to be alive. so say bill and melinda gates. today, in their foundation's annual letter. looking at the big picture -- and healthier. that might be hard to digest as scandal is in the philanthropic world. the british charity oxfam, some of its fired workers operated to what amounted to a brothel after the 2010 earthquake in haiti. bill and melinda are calling for total transparency in their field. i they spoke out about the responsibility of today's tech giants and about persuading the
skeptical trump administration that the aid helped america first. they join me from new york. bill and me lynn linda gates, w to the program. >> thanks for having us. >> i want to hold up this letter. it is a very hefty response to some of the questions you get from the public. you do start by saying you're explaining what you do, but also how you stay optimistic given what you see in the worst and most difficult of times. if i can ask you, what good is happening out there? >> we're seeing the deaths of children all over the world come down, 10 million deaths of children in 2000. and now down to 5 million in the world. that's something people don't understand, that the world is getting better for kids. they're surviving. but if you go to places like we travel, india and africa, the kids are also starting to thrive, which makes a huge difference. >> bill, i assume that you and
melinda and your philanthropic sort of endeavor must have been a little bit shaken when you see what's happened in the oxfam orbit the last several days. what do you think about those dangerous, the idea of transparency and accountability, and do you think it's sector wide, or is it just specific to this one organization? >> well, i think oxfam and other ngos out there are doing phenomenal work. they have to be careful about who they send out there and if they ever have any violations they have to act immediately and be very tough on it. but the overall work of care or save the children, oxfam, the people who go out there on the front lines are really heroes. so, you know, it's great in this case that they've seen something's wrong, and they're moving aggressively to stop it. >> melinda, do you think that they've moved quickly enough?
you could have people who just disapprove of foreign aid budgets and the like. >> whether ox-fam started early enough, i can't answer that. i will say this, it's important to clean it up. we all have to believe in these institutions that are doing this very important work on the front lines. >> i wanted to address something, bill, that you wrote in this letter. you both have written quite a lot. but, you know, you've written "as much as we try to encourage feedback we know that some of our critics don't speak up because they don't want to risk losing money. that means we need to hire well, consult experts, learn constantly and seek out different viewpoints." well, explain. >> well, in a lot of fields, like, say, getting an h.i.v. vaccine, we're funding lots and lots of different approaches. if somebody thinks we're missing something there, or one of the approaches, you know, has no merit at all, you know, maybe they're not going to speak up as
much. so we have to create lots of forms where people are open. we have to bring in many different voices. all we care about is getting that vaccine as quickly as we can, and saving in that case millions of lives. so, you know, the smart people, we need all their good thinking. >> yeah, and part of the reason for these ten questions that we put them out there, because they're tough questions, things we've heard over time. it pressure tests for us our work, it makes us better. to be transparent in our work, but also to pressure test our optimism. >> you talk about wanting to save more and more kids. one of the questions you say you're asked a lot, which can sound cynical and cruel and cold, what's the point of saving all these children? doesn't that just lead to overpopulation? i mean, that's a pretty difficult question and a point to take on. how do you answer that? >> well, the key point is that the best way of saving lives and reducing population growth is to
get these vaccines out and help these young children. there are no countries where you have good health and high population growth. when parents see that their first two or three children are going to survive, then as a whole they choose to have less children. and so we were confused about this because unless you understand that change in thinking of parents, it seems like common sense that if you save millions of kids you're going to have more kids who will have more kids. but, in fact, that is completely wrong. and it's what allowed us to feel so good about this amazing health work we get to do. >> what would you say is one of the toughest, or most, you know, pressient kind of questions you've gotten? you've got these ten that you list and that you answer. which were the ones that surprised you the most? >> you know, there were certainly more questions this year about us working with this current administration than we've ever had before. we get those questions all the
time, no matter which side of the aisle the administration is on. but i think just in the environment that's out there, the news cycle, what's being said, we got far more of those questions this year. i think the other thing that surprised both of us was how many people ask me about our working relationship, but don't ask bill that question. and, so we wrote about that in the annual letter too, in case it's helpful to people. >> you know what, i was going to get to that sort of towards the end. you bring it up. obviously also in this gender parody climate we live, the me too climate, the whole idea of women being able to be perceived and valued as highly as men in the workplace. so melinda, tell us and bill also, what it's meant to you to work together, how you divide and conquer the labor, and how long did it take you, melinda to sort of quote/unquote be taken as an equal to bill.
>> it's an express goal of yours to make sure people know and see that. as i write in the annual letter, it took a lot of time. when bill retired from most of the, almost ten years ago, we were doing more visits together, and they often turn to him first in the meeting. that's natural, but we had to create space and time. as soon as i would speak up, people realize i'm an equal partner. we would have funny conversations at home, isn't that a little bit strange? we just make sure that we got over that. now, i think we are seen as equal partners. that's important because we're role modeling that for other couples and businesses and for our own kids too. we want this generation to grow up knowing men and women are equal. they just are. >> bill, how weird was it for you? you are the -- you were the ceo, you're the master of the universe. what was it like actually kind of realizing that your wife was an equal partner?
>> well, i've always benefitted from having somebody who cared about what i was working on, and could advise me, you know, and at most of the that was paul allen. in the early days. and it's the best with melinda because she knows me so well. if i'm overenergetic about something, or pushing a group too hard, missing out on something that she sees, you know, partners help each other do a better job. and we do specialize a bit, some topics i dive into, some of the science topics somewhat more. so we have different proclivities. but we have a common goal, and benefit from each other's perspective. >> i guess you could have described most of the as tech, internet, 1.0, and now you have 2.0, facebook and all the other major, major platforms. it seems like they're having
their day in the dog house right now, rather than their day in the sun. for both of you, how do you think that some -- that they need to restore their rep cation? obviously you know what's been going on with the interference in the election, the use of social media as nefarious platforms, fake news, ripping apart the social fabric, as even some of the people who founded the social media platform say. what advice do you have? >> those are complicated issues. the tech platforms are now a type of media, and the media business has always had to think about how it balances viewpoints and represents the whole spectrum. these companies deserve to be part of the public dialogue, the policies on what they allow to go across their platform, how they deal with privacy. with their monumental success and profitability comes a responsibility to work with
governments all over the world. >> back to the very important situation of how you deal with government, particularly your own and the administration, you've talked in your letter about dealing with all the administrations. and you have been in talks with president trump and his people too. how does this administration, in your area of philanthropy and foreign aid. >> we create security that foreign aid budget. we're always advocating for that. this particular administration has been more difficult in that arena. they proposed cuts, substantial cuts in foreign aid. luckily congress held up those budgets. so -- but we are constantly making that case for foreign aid and why it's so critically, critically important for the world. >> so, bill, you know, president trump has talked about america first. how does america first jive with, you know, foreign aid budgets, and development? is one at the expense of the
other? >> well, i feel strongly that even if you just look at the benefits to americans, that if you keep the world stable so that you send our soldiers overseas less often, if you keep the rest of the world healthy so pandemics aren't coming of our shores and making americans sick, if you keep those countries stable so that economically they're buying our products and participating in the world economy, that has huge benefits to americans, our participation in the international system has been a great thing for america. and so the discussion is, if you interpret america first as, hey, we don't want to export anymore, we don't want to be in the u.n., a very extreme view of that, it would hurt americans. and so that discussion is taking place, you know, and we can justify, i believe, the modest portion of the budget that goes towards these goals. >> bill and melinda gates, thank
you so much for joining us today. >> thanks christiane. >> thank you. and where is there is less development and less diplomacy, there is more risk of war. this weekend israel and iran almost came to blows after an iranian drone crossed into israeli territory into syria. for the first time since 199 #, a fighter jet was downed in combat by syrians. this is playing out as the deal noose appears to be tightening around the prime minister. israeli media is reporting that the high court there is undergoing charges for bribery. he says the allegations have no basis. investigative journalist -- he's one of the most influential
israeli reports. he new book called rise and kill first. a long history of targeted assassination. bergman joins me from new york. welcome to the program. >> thank you, christiane. >> let me first ask you, because you know the corruption case, all these allegations that are going on, you probably heard what the prime minister said tonight. what, to your best knowledge, is the very latest? why do you think the high court has cleared the way for a recommendation should the police go with it? >> the attempt to challenge the ability of the police to recommend, this is just a recommendation, not yet the attorney general decision whether to prosecute. they do not have the right to say what they require, or recommend what they do. the evidence collected went to the supreme court. and the police threw them autoof the courtroom.
the police has already notified a few minutes ago the lawyers of benjamin natanyahu. he's going to recommend that he's prosecuted and indicted for severe bribery in two of the five different cases that are investigated about him, or with some of his involvement. >> how does this affect the security situation that we've all been watching, for instance, over the weekend, as i referenced the iranian drone, the fact that the israeli fighter jet was shot down by syrians, apparently trained by russians, how is this affecting the situation? >> there would be those who would claim that natanyahu would be happy to have confrontation with the north to divert attention from his personal issues with the corruption business. what happened in the last week was that the middle east was on the brink of yet another war.
as it described, the iranian drone intercepted into the israeli territory was taken down. the caravan inside the syrian air force base, and shot down. they're targeting them severely and they were planning on striking all of syria with immense force to make sure the syrians got the message that this should not intercept, should not intervene in iranian, israeli conflict. but all that was put on hold after president putin, he was furious after he heard some of the bombs hit targets very, very close to russian forces. and after that the prime minister ordered the defense forces to stand down and do in e lfileir plans to strike. it shows who is the real boss of
the middle east -- or of russia. >> this is extraordinary. another journalist tweeted that iranian drone took the base after russian control. syrians trained by russians fired russian missiles. israel coordinated -- asked russia to prevent escalation. the u.s. has never been less relevant. do you agree? obviously today secretary tillerson said that observation that thehe u.s. has no leverages simply not true. >> well, i would see a lot of people inside israeli intelligence who disagree. israel begged the united states to exercise as much pressure as possible on russia. so russia would make sure that the iranians do not deploy in syria. israel has warned it would not accept iranian deployment on the israe israeli syrian border. all that was in vain. a high rank official traveled many times to washington, and
they came back and one of them told me we really don't get what the americans are trying to do. we think the u.s. does not have a middle east policy. they have evacuated the middle east. they have no bounds to the security of israel, other than words. israel tried to coordination with russia, creating a secret channel of coordination to make sure russian airplanes are not when israel trained in syria. that worked on a tactical level. but the prime minister was not able to convince president putin to have a better understanding to israeli strategic needs. >> this blinrings me to your bo. and this is -- you document in pain staking detail, with incredible access to all the security and intelligence and military people this program. so give me an overview first before we get into detail, the point of this targeted assassination program, and how long it's been going on.
>> it has been going, even during the pre-state time under british law, but especially in the last 70 years of independence israel is going to celebrate 70 in the coming may, israel has use targeted this nation more than any other country in the western world after the second world war. why? david bagullion understood that israel cannot sustain long-term war. that instead of having a reservist army stationed on the border, which would bring to collapse of the israel economy, israel should build a very strong intelligent community and reserve itself to pinpoint operation way beyond enemy line, destroying facilities, hacking computers, killing individuals. in that way, prolong the time between war, and even prevent it. israel was very, very successful. of course, while doing that, also paying a heavy moral price.
>> you say a heavy moral price. what is that heavy moral price? that is the heart of this issue for a state like israel. >> heavy moral price is first that you need to make a call, who are you killing? it's easy when you're talking about terrorists. people who kill people, and are going to kill more people tomorrow. it's harder when you're talking about proli liferators. the top scientists were killed. these people are sovereign or working employees of the sovereign country, legitimate project, and they were killed are talking about collateral damage. this is a diabolic question. you are a leader of the country, in israel only the prime minister is allowed to execute, or okay a kill. you know that you have a target. tomorrow, this target is going to kill more israelis by sending
suicide bombers and you kill him only if you kill him and his wife who is using as a human shield. what do you do? the answer that many israeli leaders give is yes, the collateral damage is a price that needs to be paid in these occasions, and sometimes the collateral is very high. this is the moral price israel has paid. >> youlso talk about and you document some israelis in the chain of command in some of the instances have simply refused to carry out the orders. and you have, i believe, one amazing instance of israeli authorities believing that yasser arafat was in a plane, and under extraordinary circumstances, were ready to shoot it down. give us that story. it's incredible. >> so in many cases israeli junior and senior officers fought for the ethics of wars and ethics of law of conduct and said we're not going to do that because of collateral damage,
not because they question the legit maysy of the target. yass yasser arafat was one of them. they were obsessed to kill him. in one time he ordered to take down a cargo plane going from athens to chirowhere mu saud said arafat is on board. he said the target grew a beard. still, we understand it's him. but the head of the air force, general david avery had his doubts. he thought sharron was taking it too personal to kill arafat. and why would arafat travel on that plane, why from athens to chiro? he demanded more and more cooperation from military intelligence in mussad. they intercepted the cargo plane, and ara shon pressured to
give the order, engage, take this airplane down. only the very last minute was it found that arafat was aboard that plane, but not yasser. his brother, the head of the palestinian red crescent, with 30 palestinian injured children that were hurt in the massacre. >> wow. >> only through the bravery and firmness of that courageous officer, the children were saved, but also israel was saved from a stain in war crimes. >> it is chilling to hear that story on so many levels. i want to ask you, your book title, "rise and kill first" comes from a tallamudic verse. >> i have met with 1,000 interviews for the sake of writing this book. for the first time they're talking on the record, and some of them kept a lot of documents in their private possession, and
i was fortunate to get it. many of them, when explaining why have they done what they did, why have they conducted targeted killing and assassination? why is that important? they refer to the talamudic phrase, "whoever comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first." this is not a justify cation, not an alibi, a mind-set. these people are convinced they are the gods of the world. that every time, every decade there's one prime enemy after israel to conduct a second annihilation. sadaam hussein, and arafat, they were there to save the israeli people. whoever comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first. >> it's very profound and tied with your history. in the short period we have left, has it worked strategically? >> it has worked strategically a few times. the assassination that took place after the massacre of israeli athletes in munich have
convinced the plo to stop working in europe. this is the assassination during the -- a suicide bomber made hamas and palestinian islamics stop suicide bombing, which is that took the country almost to bankruptcy and a huge crisis. a assassination of nuclear sciences has delayed the iranian nuclear project in years, but is also a threat. israeli leaders drew the wrong conclusion from the success of israeli intelligence. the intelligence sooner or later was able to come to a solution to any challenge the leaders presented to it. but the leaders drew the wrong conclusion. they thought by using force they could stop history. it's not tactical. they do not need to turn to statemanship, to diplomacy to come this close to the enemy. therefore, i think, the use of targeted killing, the special
operation is a serious or magnificent unbelievable tactical successes, but also very significant and dangerous strategic political failure. >> it's a remarkable investigation. thank you, so much. >> thank you. an incredible conversation. ronanbergman, thanks for joining us from new york. that is it for our program tonight. join us again tomorrow night. "amanpour" on pbs was made possible by the generous support of rosalynn p. walter. you're watching pbs.