tv Amanpour on PBS PBS February 21, 2018 6:00am-6:30am PST
welcome to "amanpour" on pbs. tonight after seven relentless years the syria war could be entering one of its bloodiest phases yet. i asked syrian journalist and activist rami -- also ahead, why silicon valley has a problem. emily chang joins me with her tell-all new book bro-topia. "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. the blood civil war in syria grinds on. it enters its eighth year next month with no end in sight. brutal news from guta, a damascus suburb besieged by the assad regime. more than a hundred civilians were killed over the last 24 hours. the images are indeed disturbing. these are children, grievously wounded in the fighting. since the fall of isis in -- foreign forces from iran, russia, turkey as you're seeing right here, and, of course, the united states are dug in for the long run. as the u.s. struggles to remain relevant in the middle east, it has to make known its vision for syria's future.
after all, all the other competing powers have done so. this regional battle is explored by pbs frontline starting tonight. now, journalist rami jari joins me from turkey, one of the key players in this syria conflict. peter monosure is joining us from columbus, ohio. let me go first to you, rami, since you're there on the ground, give me an idea, a sense of what is happening in guta, what is the play that the that the assad regime is trying to make there right now? >> oh, well, christiane, i mean, i'm supposed to say that what we're seeing right now is a significant situation. it is. but what we've been seeing, what we're seeing is something we've
seen for the past -- since 2012. because this area has been besieged since 2012. over the past three months alone, we've seen around 700sy vailians that have been killed due to air strikes. the russians are very much involved. although, there are parties in the syrian opposition that are calling out to the russians and asking that they be somewhat a mediator in this, to hold the syrian regime back from committing crimes when it is the russians that are involved. we've seen, since yesterday, alone, 183 people that have been killed. the documented numbers that we're hearing are at around 100. but these are numbers that we've confirmed because of imaging. but there are over 183. over 1,000 civilians that have been unde we have seven hospitals that have bee put out of service since the morning. this is part of a white spread offensive by the syrian regime, and by the russians.
because they plan on now taking guta, something we've seen happen across the country, we saw this in hunts, in lepo, we're hearing from the overwhfo minister of russia saying we should have a deal, displacing more people and kicking them out of their homes. if this sort of idea is supported by the international community, supported by the united states, supported by all those parties that are involved, these -- this pressure and this campaign on refugies not willing allowed -- you're kicking people out of their homes and preventing them from having anywhere to take refuge. what we're seeing is a widespre widespread holocaust. i've been criticized for using that word, holocaust. i've received messages saying i shouldn't use that word, because that's only used for germany.
right now what we're seeing in syria is a holocaust. >> let me get a sense of the context. you're trying to get as much news out to tell the world, using whatever journalists and whatever people in this guta who can tell the story. pete mansure, what do you make of what rami has said, and what we have heard from the russian foreign minister that they want an aleppo style end? >> i think what we're seeing in syria is the war is entering a different stage. the defeat of isis has been accomplished, the islamic state has been destroyed. and now, various regional powers and indigenous powers are vying for their more longer-term goals
in the country for the syrian government and its allies, iran and russia. that would be a contiguous state. that includes most of what they call the usable syria, the western and central portions of the country, for turkey that means that they'll bump up against the u.s. allies, the kurdish forces in the northern part of the country, that were allied with us in besieging r raakah and taking down the islamic state. that puts turkey at odds with the united states. that is interesting because we're both nato allies. this is just another phase in the conflict which will go on as various regional powers and indigenous groups fight for control of syria. >> so you say just another phase, but it is extraordinarily bloody, we were just shown pictures of what happened in guta the last 24 hours, and you
did hear what rami said, that it's a holocaust going on inside guta. i want to play for you a portion of an interview that secretary of state rex tillerson gave to 60 minutes over the weekend. he was specifically asked about the continuing use of chemical weapons by the regime. >> there were six chlorine gas attacks in the past 30 days. >> that's correct. we have called them out for the fact that russia has special responsiliti, in our view, because of commitments themade to destroyhemical weapons and ensure they knew that there were none. >> that sounds a lot like the last administration, doesn't sound very different. >> when it comes to killing people with chemical weapons, uh shouldn't look any different. the only difference is the consequences for it. president trump has already demonstrated there will be consequences. >> does that mean military action is still on the table? >> as it was -- >> for chlorine gas attacks? >> as it was in april of last year, we are serious about our demands that chemical weapons not become regularized or
normalized as a weapon in any conflict. >> i mean, it's really worth putting that out there. because these weapons are still being used despite what president trump did, and he did. he's the only one who took action against what happened a couple of -- a year ago. rami, what are you hearing from people inside guta? what are they saying about the use of these weapons? >> honestly, christiane, we are somewhat pushed to advertise an idea that we worry about chemical weapons when, if you look at the statistics in syria, the realities, anyone that lives in syria, chemical weapons have not been the majority of threats that have threatened the lives of syrians. we saw -- i mean, this area that we're talking about right now, that is facing this offensive,
in august 2013, 1,300 people were killed in a matter of nutes using chemical weapons. they're isolated incidents to remind the syrian people we are capable of using such weapons and reminding there's no one to protect them. the truth is in syria, if you look at the numbers, over half a million people have been killed in syria. that wasn't being done with chemical weapons, that wasn't being done using gas. the truth is, in syria, when the united states makes a statement and says that we're not going to allow you to use chemical weapons and sign a deal with russia to withdraw those chemical weapons, they're basically giving the green light to the syrian regime and to all the other parties involved to use any other means of violence to kill syrians. what about the tortured victims in the dungeons? what about those people? do chemical weapons only justify the idea of actually standing against something like that? in syria, the truth is, christiane, that we're seeing a widespread massacre. we're using many means of
torture, of death, or weaponry, that we've locally produced weaponry such as barrel bombs and elephant missiles, things we've never heard of being used in syria, because war costs money and the syrian regime knows that war is financially a stronghold. so what they're doing is creating weaponry to kill people in a very cheap way. that's fine. just don't use chemical weapons. that's the problem. and i think that the united states, and i think president donald trump with his advisers have been -- it's been explained to them that chemical weapons is not a -- there's no necessity to use chemical weapons in order to carry out crimes against the syrian people, and to put them down. so it seems that, you know, we don't need -- we can just use this tone in saying don't use chemical weapons. it seems like we're holding the syrian regime accountable, but
they're not, they're killing their own people, to one's preventing them from doing anything. >> let me ask you, pete, you were there with general patreas in iraq, you've seen the brutal campaigns against civilians. it is so tangled as i said, and each of these other powers there are using the syrian battlefield over the bodies of the syrian people, waging their proxy war. so if i were to ask you now, pete, who is in the asen densy in syria? i'm not talking about the assad regime. which of the foreign forces actually know what they're doing and have a plan in syria? >> well, i think it's pretty clear that iran is in the -- they have a grand -- all the way from lebanon to the shiia
crescent. they're achieving that goal. in terms ot rami is saying, this is part and parcel of how assad and russia and iran are trying to win the war. they want to make neighborhoods uninhabitable for their enemies. they bomb hospitals, make civilians' lives miserable, either with chemical weapons or barrel bombs or whatnot, eventually force them to flee and then they declare victory. what they will end up controlling is the shell of cities that no longer have people in them. but that apparently is fine with them. but in terms of who's on the ascendency, it's clearly iran. turkey is upseat with the united states for backing kurdish groups in northern syria. turkey views the kurdish population in south eastern turkey with great skepticism, and pkk is a terrorist group
they view as an existential threat. the united states is really a nation, the great power that's in danger of losing in syria, our allies are being attacked. >> your allies are being attacked. as you said in danger of losing, not necessarily having a strategy out of it. i want to play you something that the national security adviser, general mcmaster said to the munich security conference about this issue over the weekend. >> what's particularly concerning is that this network of proxies is becoming more and more capable, as iran seeds more and more capable weapons, more and more destructive weapons into these networks. so that the time is now, we think, to act against iran. >> i mean, he says the right things, the time -- or at least what they think is the right thing, that the time is to act. but what action could the u.s. take? and we have iran potentially
rubbing up against israel now in a military manner. >> well, actually, they've already rubbed up against them. one of their drones was shot down and then an israeli fighter jet was shot down over syrian air space. this could lead to a wider conflict involving israel. the united states really has limited options. the only way that we can achieve our objectives is diplomatically and by engagement over the long run. this administration and the american people often don't understand that these conflicts take years to play out. but it would clearly involve engagement with the -- our link to side with us in the syrian conflict. that includes the curds and also includes some syrian democratic forces, some syrian arab forces as well. it's a very, very difficult predicament for this administration. >> rami, i've got a short time
left. but you are a syrian journalist and activist, you're there, you're hearing the stories. do you see any way out of this at the moment? is there any room for a diplomatic initiative which has been tried for the last umpteen years and has gotten nowhere? >> i'd love to say yes. the position we're in is we advocate and we try to push people to support this cause and hope that there is some sort of solution. but if you look today at the statements that have been coming out from the parties, we would call neutral parties involved, we hold the special envoy to syria from the you nighted nations, a vague statement that we're worried that what we saw in aleppo, everyone's own opinion, that thousands of people were displaced from their
homes and that's what we're going to see now happen. we hear unicef saying there's no way to describe the pain, the children and mothers and fathers are facing in hota right now. and these statements, they're just vague, very irresponsible statements that don't get us anywhere, don't offer anhing, don't put anything on the table. we have now a country that has become basically a country of empires, and a country of empires that is led by a president whose father also created an empire to say that this country has no civilian power, has no contribution for civilians. we have a country right now that is controlled by the states that are involved outside the country know that that sounds like a ly conspiracy theory. but we as syrians now don't see a solution to this war. >> well, rami -- >> we see this going on for a
very, very, long time. >> we understand the despair coming from your end. thank you so much, indeed, and counselor pete mansure, thank you for joining me. the age-old battle of the sexes at work in silicon valley. this is the shocking world of emily chang's expose bro-topia, after years of interviewing tech leaders and reporting on the industry for bloomberg, emily chang calls out a boy's club where too few women reach the t top rung, and they endure sexual harassment on the way up. emily, welcome to the program. >> christiane, thanks so much for having me. >> so how did it get like this? did it have to be this way in silicon valley? >> you know, it didn't have to be this way, and that is why i wrote this book. when i went back to the 1940s and 1950s, what i found is that women played vital roles in the
burgeoning computer industry, programming computers for the military and programming computers for nasa. think hidden figures, but industrywide. then as the industry was exploding in the 60s and 70s, they were so desperate to find good programmers that they developed personality tests to identify people they thought would be good at this job. two psychologists decided that people who quote/unquote don't like people make for better computer programmers. well, if you look for people who don't like people, the research tells us you'll hire far more men than women. no research to support this idea that people who don't like people or men are particularly better at this job than anyone else. unfortunately that perpetuated and solidified this stereo type of the antsoal white me rd that many of us think ofo this day when we think about computer programmers. >> it really is extraordinary
when you trace it back to those two scientists in the '60s and 'sech '70s, or psychologists that came up with this. you just said, the outlier, the brilliant tech genius has sort of taken over, that idea has sort of become part of the zeitgeist right now. how does that translate then into the workplace and into relations with women who -- i mean, you know, who come in to the workplace? >> you know, i think for a long time this idea, this stereo type of the anti-social white male nerd became solidified not just in the industry, but across computer labs and then became repeated in popular culture. then when you had investors looking for new ideas and people to fund, they were looking for people who looked like bill gates and looking for people who looked like mark zuckerberg. you had an extraordinary amount
of wealth and power given to people who are incredibly young and they accrue this sort of pe wealth and power very quickly without the same things that happen over the course of a long career. that's led to a sense of entitlement and quite frankly arrogance. a lot of people using their incredible power, and by the way silicon valley wields an extraordinary amount of power over our lives, these people aren't using that power responsibly. >> well, let's get into some of the more shocking aspects of your book, and what you discovered over two years of interviewing all sorts of people in that industry. the sex parties, you talk about drug-fuel drug-fuel drug-fueled orgies, not even thatsecret, part of what this particular group, you say, considers, i guess, normal for their group. >> silicon valley and san francisco, the bay area, has had
a long tradition of sexual exploration and liberation. and so we see a wide spectrum of behavior. what you're referring to is a lot of business in silicon valley that gets down outside the office, whether it is the hot tub, believe it or not, or at the hotel lobby, or at the party. and what happens is women cannot participate in this scene without being victims of a double standard. and in a lot of ways these power -- parties are more about power than they are about sex. and the power dynamic is completely lopsided. if you just look at the numbers, christiane, we're talking about women holding 25% of computing jobs. they're 7% of investors. women-led companies get 2% of venture capital funding. i think about all of the women and the future facebooks that never got a chance to be simply because they didn't look the part. and so i fully believe that the people who are changing the world and taking us to mars, and
building self-driving cars, that they can change this part of the world too. they can hire women and pay them fairly. >> tell me -- tell me how these parties happen. it is shocking for those of us who don't, you know, live in that particular sort of part of society. but what's shocking is the way you write about it as if they -- some of them anyway who you talk to believe this is all about pushing the boundaries of free sex, all sorts of different ways of having relationships and, you know, that whole sort of issue that's going on right now. >> we're definitely seeing a trend and a rise in open relationships in a number of the people involved are tech workers, you know, i came into this without an agenda. the bay area has a long history of this kind of behavior. but because so much of the business is getting done in these gray areas, what we're finding is women getting put in a lot of uncomfortable
positions. what's interesting is i spoke to -- with men and women part of this scene, over three dozen people, in fact, since the book has come out, many more men and women have come forward to share their stories with me. when you talk to the men a lot of them talk about how they're not just changing the world with respect to the products they're building, but challenging social mores and challenging traditional morality. when you talk to the women they feel completely shutout. if they don't participate, they're missing out on powerful connections and opportunities to meet with powerful people. but if they do attend they're discredited and disrespected and they don't stand a chance of getting the same amount of funding or the same opportunity that a man who participates, and might be lauded, would receive. >> i want to just ask you to listen to a little bit of an interview i did with melinda gates, talk about a powerful woman who got to the top and co-founded the foundation with her husband bill gates, but had this to say about the still very
deep inequality in terms of gender inequality in that sector. >> we are equal partners of the foundation, it's an express goal of ours to make sure that people know and see that. as i write in the annual letter it took a bit of time quite honestly. when bill retired from microsoft, which has been almost ten years ago, and we were doing visits together with presidents and prime ministers, they would often turn to him first in the meeting. that's natural in a sort of way. but we had to create space and time and let a little time go by. as soon as i would speak up, ople would realize oh, my gosh, she's anqual partner here ithis work. we would have funny conversations at home and say that's strange. we got over that. we are seen as equal partners. that's important because we're role modeling that for other couples, other businesses, and honestly for our own kids, too, because we want this generation to grow up knowing that men and women are equal. >> so, i mean, she lays out a
lot of what you're saying in terms of how women are treated, how women feel. but there are powerful women like marissa mayer, formerly of yahoo, schaumburg of facebook. have they not been able to slightly address this discrimination and sexual harassment is costing us. you know, what's really interesting is we simply don't know the numbers. i had 12 women who work in technology over at my home for dinner, and they're exhausted. they're frustrated and fed up. they feel that throughout the day, all day long, they're the only woman in the room and they're constantly having to
prove themselves and do all of this emotional labor that's almost like a second job entirely, a job that men simply don't have to do. it's a great part about it is that they love their jobs, love doing their part to change the world. the industry really needs to wake up and make a real culture change to keep those women here working. >> emily chang, thanks so much for joining us from san francisco. and, of urse, the book "bro-topia" coming out right in the middle of the me too movement. that is it for our program tonight. thanks for watching "amanpour" on pbs and join us again tomorrow night. >> announcer: "amanpour" on pbs was made possible by the generous support of rosalynn p. walter. generous support of rosalynn p. walter. you're watching pbs.