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CNN10 2021-04-07

CNN 10

Interviews With Burmese Civilians And A Member Of The Burmese Military; Discovery Of The World's Deepest Shipwreck Recalls a Historic World War II Battle. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired April 7, 2021 - 04:00:00 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN 10. My name is Carl Azuz reporting from a remote studio location this week. But it is not a dream screen as someone on Twitter asked yesterday. First up in today's international coverage takes us to the southeast Asian country of Myanmar. It's also known as Burma.

It was taken over by its military in a coup on February 1st and since then there've been violent confrontations between the military and the civilians who've been protesting the takeover. An advocacy group based in neighboring Thailand says more than 550 people have died in Myanmar's violence and that thousands of others have been detained by the military.

It blames the demonstrators for causing violence and anarchy in Myanmar. But witnesses say troops have used teargas, rubber bullets and deadly force against the protesters and its blocked all wireless internet services operating in Myanmar which observers say is an attempt to control the information that gets out.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency says Burma's military has been heavily involved in the nation's politics since it was founded. It took over in a coup in 1962 and ran the country for five decades afterward. Last November, Myanmar's civilian government won a significant victory in national elections but the military did not accept the results.

It said the votes were fraudulent and since its coup in February it's arrested and accused civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi of committing several crimes which her lawyers say are made up. The military did give CNN permission to enter the country. It's the first international media organization allowed to work there.

Troops have been escorting the CNN journalists, monitoring their movements and those who speak to them. Clarissa Ward interviewed members of the public and a member of the military.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On one day we were finally allowed to go to a public space, to an open market and it's important to underscore here that we had not solicited contact with any activists with anyone who's part of the process movement because we know, given the context that we're here in just how dangerous that could be.

However, when we took our cameras out in this market and started shooting video, people started coming up to us. People started giving the three-fingered Hunger Games salute that has become the emblem, the symbol of this defiant movement. And they came up and started telling us their stories, they told us they were frightened.

They told us there is no peace there and we let them say their peace. We felt it was important to give them the opportunity to have their side of the story on the record. Shortly afterwards however, we found out that many of them were detained.

One woman actually ran after me while we were still at the market, trembling like a leaf on the phone with someone who said that three people we'd spoken to had already been arrested. We had the opportunity however to sit down with Myanmar's senior military -- senior military leadership, the government's spokesman himself and we asked him why on earth these people had been arrested and we urged him to release them. Take a listen.

WARD: We went to a market in Yangon and a lot of people approached us because they wanted to talk to us. They wanted to tell their side of the story. We subsequently found out that at least five of them were arrested. We have verified this independently.

We have seen photographic evidence, in some cases, to confirm this. Can you please explain why you would be arresting people for talking to us? What possible crime did these people commit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE TRANSLATED: They haven't committed any crime. We saw it on the news yesterday and I asked how many were arrested. Eleven got arrested. The security forces were worried that they would provoke others and start the protest in the market and that is why they got arrested.

However, the government is arranging to release them as soon as possible.

WARD: We are now very relieved to be able to confirm that at least eight of those 11 people and all eight that CNN knew about have now been released.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why does the military want you there? Or why have they agreed to allow CNN to be there if they're just going to arrest everybody that you talk to?

WARD: The military wants to get its side of the story on the record to and that's important and we gave them the opportunity to do that. They see the protest movement as being violent, as being dangerous, as being disruptive to the economy.

They say that if people allow the process to play out that there will be elections again within the next two years. They've paraded a series of victims before us who told us stories about being threatened by the protesters, by humiliated by the protesters. They took us to buildings that they said had been vandalized by the protesters.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What was the largest naval battle of World War II? Battle of the Philippine Sea, Battle of the Coral Sea, Battle of Midway or Battle of Leyte Gulf. Fought in late October of 1944, the Battle of Leyte Gulf is widely considered the biggest naval battle in history.

It was a decisive victory for the United States and a major defeat for Japan. The Asian country lost dozens of ships, hundreds of planes and hundreds of thousands of Japanese troops were killed or injured. America lost seven warships along with more than 23,000 soldiers and sailors according to the Defense Department.

Not only is the Battle of Leyte Gulf among the largest naval battles in history, the maritime clash in 1944 marked the last time battleships fought against each other. Some of these wrecks are still being discovered today near the Philippines and miles beneath the waves of the Pacific.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the world's deepest known shipwreck. Located more than four miles or some 6,500 meters below the surface of the Pacific. The numbers 557 identify it as the USS Johnston filmed for the first time underwater by a remote-controlled submersible.

This destroyer was one of several U.S. Navy ships sunk battling a vastly superior Japanese fleet during a furious battle off the coast of the Philippines during World War II.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (VOICE OVER): These are the ships fighting a desperate battles of time. Used everything in the book to stay afloat.

WATSON: How did you feel seeing the ID numbers of the USS Johnston?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a way, it's thankful but in another way it's inspirational.

WATSON: Former U.S. Navy Captain Carl Schuster (ph) says he and his fellow officers studied the story of the Johnston and its commander Ernest Evans (ph). The first Native American Naval officer to be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He moved without orders. He saw an imminent danger to the fleet and he moved on it on his own authority.

WATSON: Evans (ph) bought time for vulnerable American transport ships by attacking a fleet of 23 Japanese warships.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His actions started a charge, if you will, that ultimately saved several thousand American lives. At the cost of his own and -- and much of his crew.

WATSON: One hundred and eight-six crew members including Commander Evans (ph) died aboard the Johnston. The Johnston was mapped by Talidan Oceanic (ph). Over the past decade several other World War II wrecks have been discovered in the Pacific by expeditions led by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Navies around the world treat these sites as sacred war graves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see them as the tombs of cemeteries of great men who died fighting for their country, whether their German, Japanese or American.

WATSON: The mapping of the USS Johnston brings some closure for surviving relatives of the ship's crew.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (VOICE OVER): A grateful people will remember their names. The Gambier Bay, the USS Cole, the Johnston, the Samuel D.


WATSON: But the final resting places of the three other ships sunk during the same deadly battle have yet to be found. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


AZUZ: United States and Japan have become close allies since World War II and decades before the war, the friendship between the Japanese and the American people was demonstrated in mutual gifts of trees. In 1912, Japan sent more than 3,000 cherry trees across the Pacific. In return, America shipped dogwood trees to Japan three years later.

The Japanese gift loomed into an annual highlight on Washington, D.C.'s tidal basin. Every year in late March and early April, visitors walk through a springtime wonderland of white and pink flowers.

Well, "trees" the season. And you don't need to "petal sell" us on such an "aurborunreal" "beautea". It would give any city "bracting" rights to be able to "branch" out and show off the "roots" that tip the "bud" scales to such a "cherry" atmosphere.

I'm Carl Azuz and Cicero, Illinois is our last stop today, want to give a shout out to Morton East High School. Thanks to everyone for watching CNN.