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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

The Plight of Flight 17; Remembering The Victims of Flight MH17; Palestinian Deaths Top 500, 25 Israeli Soldiers Killed

Aired July 21, 2014 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": War zones are passengers flying over every single minute? Right now? An OUTFRONT investigation tomorrow night.

Thanks so much for joining us. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Our continuing coverage of Malaysia 17 continues now with Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks very much for joining us. Tonight there are parents mourning lost children and friends mourning friends. The world is mourning health care workers and AIDS researchers, towns are mourning teachers, a grandfather is mourning the loss of a grandson, something no grandfather should ever experience.

It is impossible to fully appreciate what he and so many others have been going through since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and will be going through really for the rest of their lives.

It's easier, thank goodness to see a little what made them love the ones they lost, in fact, it could be a tragedy's only redemption that the love in one's heart becomes the love in many hearts. It spreads with every story from every sister and each grandfather and every son and every friend. And we're honored to bring these stories to you tonight.

We also in the next two hours will be putting each and every name from the flight manifest on screen in the space where the headlines normally run. Their remains, the people themselves, have finally begun a long journey out the war zone where they came to rest. The world is now grappling with what to do next.

There are late developments on many fronts to begin tonight but let's get you up to date.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): One of many unsettling images four days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot out of the sky. Pro-Russian rebels carrying the plane's black boxes across a field, raising fears about an already compromised crime scene. But late today a deal was reached with the pro-Russian rebels to hand over the black boxes to Malaysian authorities. Something that happened this evening.

A deal as well on the 282 sets of remains of the passengers of Flight 17. For days their bodies were kept in refrigerated train cars. They're now scheduled to arrive in another city controlled by the central government in Ukraine. From there, they'll be flown back to Amsterdam, identified and released, or repatriated. Sixteen people remain unaccounted for.

A team of international investigators led by the Dutch were finally given unfettered access to the crash site and praise the recovery work done so far.

PETER VAN VLIET, HEAD OF OSCE DUTCH TEAM: I think they did a hell of a job in hell of a place.

COOPER: A far cry from just a few days ago Armed rebels blocked and intimidated European observers sent to secure the crash site. Amid accusations of an attempted cover-up. The cleanup and investigation remain far from over. Passengers belongings are scattered through the fields. Charred and twisted pieces of the plane's wreckage still remain. Cranes began lifting hefty debris while teams of local miners continue to assist rescue workers. Combing the nearly 13 square mile scene for debris and remains, all under the watchful eye of pro- Russian rebels.

Outrage from the international community toward Russia and the Russian backed rebels continue to grow. As images of bodies being mishandled and reports of looting surfaced. The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution condemning the downing of Flight 17 today and expressed concern over who is responsible for it.

SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: We're not only outraged at the attack itself, we're horrified and enraged by what has happened since. By the clear intention of some to obstruct an investigation into how the passenger and crew died.

COOPER: And despite repeated denials of any involvement, the U.S. released new evidence it says proves the rebels and Russia's guilt. The U.S. intelligence said it had proof Russia provided anti-aircraft training to rebels and observe a large convoy of heavy arm including the BUK anti-aircraft missile launcher seen here leaving Ukraine last week crossing from Russia into Ukraine a few weeks ago.

With that, a stern message from President Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Given its direct influence over the separatists, Russia and President Putin in particular has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation. That is the least that they can do.

COOPER: Meanwhile, less than 40 miles away, a reminder that eastern Ukraine is still an active war zone. Ukrainian government battled pro-Russian separatists around the regional capital of Donetsk. Re- emphasizing just how dangerous this recovery mission will be.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Something that "NEW DAY's" Chris Cuomo has seen firsthand. He joins us tonight from Donetsk.

Chris, thanks very much for being with us. The latest there on the ground tonight, particularly this handover of the black boxes?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Absolutely, Anderson. That is the big development. How real it is, I think, is a separate issue for discussion. But it was a huge media pageant when this local leader, this self-appointed prime minister first walked in with all these men with AK-47s into a local hotel lobby and met with the Malaysians and signed this protocol for delivery and then later had another big media opportunity and delivered the black boxes over to the Malaysian authorities. Certainly that was the event of the night.

I think what actually mattered more is what you laid out so beautifully in your introduction to your package. They have finally started to give dignity to the victims. The people who were lost on MH-17, who have nothing to do with the politics, nothing to do with the conflict here in Ukraine. Finally, their families will get some closure, at least they're no longer in that horribly burned field.

COOPER: And in terms of this handover, I mean, you're raising doubts about the importance of it. What makes you suspicious on that front?

CUOMO: Suspicious, it's just what the practicalities are, Anderson. The black boxes, we all know from MH-370 too well what black boxes are, the idea that you need an expert to identify them is a specious assumption. Anybody could do it. They don't need experts.

What did he want? I believe what they got out of this was an opportunity. No matter what data you get out of the flight recorders, it's not going to tell us who did this. And that is what the integrity of the investigation needs. What the local official got out of this, the self-appointed prime minister, was legitimacy. He got the media there. He got something signed that said this is no admission of wrongdoing. I did the right thing.

I would suggest, having been on the ground, that anyone who felt they had only good intentions would have never handled this crash scene the way this man and these militiamen have done. They would have been open from the beginning. They would have given dignity to the bodies from the beginning instead of leaving them out in the sun. That's how you would have showed that you want to do the right thing. Not holding these black boxes hostage until you got this big media event.

COOPER: And making difficult, not even for investigators, for OSCE observers in those early days as you were reporting to make it difficult for them to even observe the crime scenes.

Do we know where the train carrying the victims now currently is?

CUOMO: We believe it is leaving from here locally in Donetsk. Now that gets a little complicated, right? Because we were just hearing some shelling just now which is not unusual here. But the train station was damaged today. But it's supposed to leave, we believe, the Malaysians were going to go on the ride with it. Not the Dutch, interestingly. The Dutch obviously would have a greater interest in going with the bodies to identify them.

But we are told they did not go. But it's supposed to go from Donetsk to another city called Harkiv. And there they'll be setting for them to do some DNA analysis and ultimately the bodies will be moved and repatriated from there. We believe it has started. We have no final word on that yet but the signs there are good. That's a step in the right direction.

COOPER: Chris Cuomo, working around the clock for us.

Chris, thanks very much. Stay safe.

More now on the question of how sophisticated ground-to-air missiles came to be in the war zone and how the U.S. intelligence community came to know about it, chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has late developments on that front, he joins us now.

So what do we know at this hour tonight about the investigation, particularly the question of whether Russian personnel themselves were actually there at the launch site when the plane was brought down?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well. this is what investigators are focusing on now. U.S. Intelligence were Russian agents or soldiers present there, even possibly pulling the trigger on those missiles when they launched? That's still an open question. What U.S. officials are confident of now, however, is, one, this was a Russian made system that was used to bring down the plane. It was fired by pro-Russian rebels. That it was supplied by Russia to these rebels and it's the belief of U.S. officials that Russia trained the rebels to use it.

So really the only question now from the U.S. perspective is how much Russian responsibility is there for this as opposed to whether there is Russian responsibility.

COOPER: And to what extent are the Russians still denying any involvement? It seems to complete extent.

SCIUTTO: Pretty much across the board, although there was a really interesting moment today at the United Nations Security Council and that is when Vitaly Churkin, he's the Russian ambassador to the U.N., in a conversation with reporters said, well, listen if, the pro- Russian rebels shot this down, it was an accident. It was not a terrorist event.

Now to be clear in the same conversation he still went on to accuse the Ukrainians of possibly being responsible for this. But it did seem at that moment, Anderson, that that was the Russian official, the Russian ambassador to the U.N. floating at least a trial balloon there, saying, wait a second, even if it is established that the pro- Russian rebels did this, maybe it was a mistake. It was not intentional, therefore, it's not a terrorist act. That's the first opening in watching Russian officials statements very closely since this happened that we've seen, that I've heard certainly from the Russian side so far.

COOPER: All right. Jim Sciutto, appreciate that.

We're going to bring in our panel right now. Aviation correspondent Richard Quest, safety analyst David Soucie, also Philip Mudd, veteran counterterrorism official with the CIA as well as with the FBI.

Richard, let's start with you. Talking about what Chris Cuomo is talking about with this black box. True, will not tell us who fired the missile. It will, though, if it is working correctly, give us a sense of how long the plane was up in the air after this missile struck or --

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Depending on -- depending on the power supply and how long it was maintained.

COOPER: You're saying the power supply of the aircraft might have been knocked out?

QUEST: Right. Immediately. Therefore it would have stopped. But what it will give or what it has the potential to give us is a much more rounded picture of those last seconds. What --

COOPER: And in some cases perhaps even minutes.

QUEST: Right.

COOPER: Depending on how long --

QUEST: Were there any calls from the ground to try and identify the aircraft? What noises were heard where the missile struck. What -- the sequence of events and god forbid, you know, what actually happened after the missile struck? What were the pilots doing? Does it --

COOPER: Were the pilots still alive after the missile struck?

QUEST: Absolutely. Does it add a vast amount to the understanding of who did it? Of course it doesn't. But it creates a much more rounded picture of those final moments. And that is vital. It's vital to understand every nuance not only of what happened on the ground but what happened in the air.

COOPER: So, David Soucie, how important then is the physical wreckage? I mean, we know the plane -- I mean by all accounts was shot out the sky. How -- what more can be learned?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: What we've heard today is that that wreckage is being tampered in a way that I wouldn't fathom. They're actually cutting it apart and taking parts -- pieces of the aircraft with saws and diesel saws, correct? And the only reason I could think they possibly would do this, to hide any evidence, the shrapnel that might have come from that missile to go into the aircraft. What are other purpose would there be?

COOPER: There is no way can you scrub a crime scene of this magnitude, of this size across --

SOUCIE: I wouldn't think so.

(CROSSTALK) SOUCIE: The only thing that's left of this site really that would give this evidence is in the tail section and some of the debris field areas there. The main part of the aircraft has been completely destroyed and temperature far beyond what the shrapnel would have been able to withstand.

COOPER: Phil, how concerned are you about the physical evidence?

PHILIP MUDD, FORMER SENIOR OFFICIAL, FBI AND CIA: I think the physical evidence is significant. When I worked with investigators, they want to know everything about everything. Not only the physical evidence, you can find from field, but I've been thinking about the question of do the investigators have a facility where they can reconstruct the aircraft as you would do in a scene to see what it looks like in its entirety? And can they secure a facility like that?

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: That seems highly unlikely. That seems highly unlike. I mean, that was done obviously with TWA 800. But given the reality of this situation on the ground, Phil, as you would attest, that would seem very unlikely.

MUDD: No, I agree with that. But what I'm saying is investigators might look for that. But from an intelligence analyst's perspective, the noose that's slowly tightening around Putin is pretty persuasive.

Let's look at a few pieces. We have imagery that shows training for the rebels. We have imagery that shows the truck. We have intercepts of people talking about this that the Ukrainians have provided. And let me make a guess, the Americans probably have the same stuff.

We have social media references to this. I mean, we may have a black box. Even if it doesn't show what happened with the incident, might show that the airplane was operating normally up to an incident. From an analyst's perspective regardless of what you find in that field, that's a pretty persuasive case compared to where we were last Thursday or Friday.

SOUCIE: Yes. And we've been reading these accusations that another jet was nearby. How do you prove that conclusively that it was just a missile, maybe there was something on board, a bomb onboard as well? There's all of these things that have to be ruled out because those are all going to be used in defense of whoever is coming -- is accused of this crime, world crime.

QUEST: I remember at one point, if you don't take away the big pieces of wreckage, what you're left having to do is a minute, microscopic search of the ground. Now in any search, that takes dozens of people, shoulder to shoulder, looking for any little fiber. They're not going to be able to do that.

COOPER: Right.

SOUCIE: Which is not possible.

QUEST: Right.

COOPER: There is no way this crime scene is going to be investigated like a regular crime scene.

QUEST: Right. So you had better hope that you get whatever you can from the big pieces because that's your -- with the big pieces, the intel from the Americans, from the black boxes, you build a picture.

COOPER: Phil, is there enough, though -- I mean, obviously in an ideal world, beyond the evidence from the crash scene, you would also have human intelligence. You would have the opportunity to have people on the ground going around talking to villagers, talking to other security personnel about what they saw, what they heard, what they actually witnessed. That, again, given the reality of the situation seems unlikely.

So from a purely signals intelligence basis, can one glean enough information to figure out who was exactly pulled the trigger?

MUDD: I'm not sure we're there yet. And my guess about what are the things that's going on now is people are looking through reams of information. I mean, you just have references in the past there, too, about what we've seen from imagery and on -- in training across the border. That might be people looking, analysts, for example the National Geospatial Agency, the people who do satellites, looking at weeks of information over hundreds of kilometers of territory.

I'll tell you, Anderson, though, one thing that's going to get fascinating here is something that the intelligence community has really improved on in the past 13 years. And that's identity intelligence. After we determine whether the entities, for example, the Russians are responsible, you're going to want to know who was in that unit, how do we identify them by name? Because we're not bringing the Russians to the ICC, the International Criminal Court. We're bringing somebody in the Ukrainian opposition.

And finally, once you identify them by name, sort of like we've identified and learned to identify al Qaeda members by name using lot of technical and human sources, how can we find, fix, and finish the target? That is, how can we figure out where they are well enough to do a capture operation? That's one of the pieces of intelligence that will come into play in coming months. And it's really been perfected in the war on terror.

COOPER: Which again does go back to the black boxes. As you mentioned that if there was communication between whoever was manning the weapon that brought this down and the plane asking for some sort of identification, that would actually be recorded on the black box.

SOUCIE: Right.

COOPER: That would actually be recorded in the black boxes, that can be used in some sort of identification proceedings later on.

SOUCIE: Yes.

COOPER: We've got to take a quick break. We're going to have more with our panelists throughout this two hours that we're on tonight.

Coming up next, Russia and the rebels. Are these pictures a sign to Russians and the world that Vladimir Putin has gone too far? Are they the first snapshots of a new kind of Cold War? Tough questions we'll tackle when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Breaking news tonight, Russian backed rebels have turned Flight 17's black boxes over to Malaysian authorities. This is not the way these things obviously usually happen or the way crashes in general are handled, of course. We've gotten used to pictures of investigators at crash sites carefully, gently, respectfully making their way through pieces of wreckage and human remains.

We're not accustomed to seeing armed thugs posing for camera with personal effects and child's toy even, and chasing away recovery crews. Seeing it is bad enough. Knowing that the already hard-to- handle country next door Russia is backing them, that makes it worse. Complicating all of it. The fact that Russia remains a nuclear and conventional military power and, where energy for Europe is concerned, a superpower.

Say, with all of that as the backdrop, President Obama tried to turn up the heat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The burden now is on Russia to insist that the separatist stop tampering with the evidence, grant investigators who are already on the ground immediate, full, and unimpeded access to the crash site.

The separatist and the Russian sponsors are responsible for the safety of the investigators doing their work. And along with our allies and partners, we will be working this issue at the United Nations today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, as we mentioned at the top, Security Council did act. Russia went along. That said, it's unlikely to change American popular mistrust where Moscow is concerned.

According to new CNN/ORC survey, public opinion is running 78 to 19 unfavorable. That's a big change from 55 to 41 back in February. Additionally, combined 85 of Americans say Russia is either directly or indirectly responsible for the shoot down.

In a moment, we'll look at how Russian media is reporting the story or misreporting, I should probably say. The conspiracy theories that are truly astounding.

Joining us now, though, is Fareed Zakaria, host of "FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS", and Carl Bernstein, investigative reporter, CNN commentator, Hillary Clinton biographer and somebody who's done a lot of writing about Vladimir Putin. Fareed, let me start with you. President Obama saying that Russia

risks further isolating itself. That may be true in terms of -- in terms of the United States. But in terms of Europe, is that really the case? I mean, Europe has been very slow over the last several months to take really sanctions seriously against Russia.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: It's been very slow. But there are signs of things are changing. For the first time you're beginning to hear voices in Europe say, do we really want to be a satellite of Russia? Do we really want to be so dependent on Russia that we cannot exercise our voice in situations like this?

And remember, for the Dutch, this is like 9/11 if you think about almost 200 people dying in that small country. I think there are a lot of people in France who are looking at the French government's very close military dealings. And in Germany, they have been trying to voice some kind of assertiveness but they are very dependent in energy terms.

The big shift seems to have taken place in Britain. In Britain, David Cameron in the House of Commons said that the city of London, which is -- gets a lot of Russian money is in some ways --

COOPER: Billionaires running around.

ZAKARIA: That's right. Somebody called it a casino for the Russian billionaires. The city of London, he said, might have to live without Russian money if we want to get serious about this. So there are some signs things are beginning to change.

COOPER: It's also interesting, Fareed, because in the last day we've heard a lot of commentators talking about the International Criminal Court. That this is going to end up in the International Criminal Court. This is going to be -- there's going to be cases brought. You make the point, though, that that's not likely going to happen.

ZAKARIA: You know, I think we tend to often look at these kind of events horrific as they are through the lens of law and legalism and crime and things like that. There is no chance this is going to go down that route. Russia has not signed and ratified the International Criminal Court. Ukraine has not signed and ratified the International Criminal Court. And by the way, the United States has not signed and ratified the International Criminal Court. So people are using it almost in a propagandistic way when they want to talk about, you know, we're going to do something really bad.

This will get resolved in the realm of international politics. The judges in the Hague are not the important people. It's Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Cameron, Francois Hollande in France and, of course, President Obama.

COOPER: Carl, has Vladimir Putin -- has the United States figured out an effective way of dealing with have Vladimir Putin?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No one in the world has figured out an effective way of dealing with Vladimir Putin because he's willing to do things that other leaders are not. He is cruel. Look what he did in Chechnya. He absolutely obliterated a whole country. Look what he's done in Georgia. He is willing to change the borders.

The whole post-World War II orders. Change the borders of Europe by force. This is a Stalinist for our time. And nobody has figured out how to deal with him. The one silver lining, that's a terrible term to use, but finally the opprobrium and fear that he deserves is starting to build. He was just in Brazil. He did a big deal in Brazil. Gave the billions of dollars. Well, the Brazilians are going to start to wonder, what is this man about? What is he willing to do?

Also, Fareed is talking about political leaders. We also have a problem with business leaders including the United States who have not called Putin to account and are unwilling to see their own profits cut into. We need to do a lot of work at home with our people who are willing to do business with Putin. It's a huge problem. And we ought to start there.

COOPER: It's also interesting, Carl, because I know you've been talking to people about President Obama, his reaction to this. He came under a lot of criticism for his initial statements that he made about this. And they were sort of not exactly griever-in-chief. They weren't exactly Bill Clintonesque in terms of his expressing emotion or even expressing an initial outrage about this. He continued on fundraising -- a fundraising trip.

BERNSTEIN: Look, our president has got a problem in terms of how he is perceived by the people of this country right now. There are all kinds of reasons. He is also pretty good at looking at the information and figuring out how we should look at responding here. And, you know, there's not much that he's doing here, I think, that a Bush-Cheney administration wouldn't have done.

I don't see any great difference in terms of a muscular response. I think what he's been saying is pretty good. And he's got a good handle on what's going on. The problem is, you have to mobilize the world. And the one thing that is happening in that mobilization is Putin's whole methodology is act now no matter how horrible what he does is and explain later. This time --

COOPER: Well, he's also facing huge economic pressures at home.

BERNSTEIN: Yes. And --

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: And political pressure.

COOPER: Has dropped tremendously.

ZAKARIA: He's facing economic pressures at home because the Russian economy has essentially become --

COOPER: Right. Stalled. ZAKARIA: It's become purely unruly economy. It used to have a little

bit more than that, but because of the uncertainty, business investment has stopped. I mean, the sanctions, let's be fair again to the Obama administration. The sanctions have produced so much uncertainty. Even though they are quite limited, they have made every businessman who's looking at deals in Russia think, wait a minute. Maybe let's put these on hold. And as a result, you know, investment is down, the stock market is down, the ruble is down.

But the thing that Putin has going for him and I know you're going to talk about this next is the fact that in Russia, he remains a very powerful, strong figure. And this is part of a whole, you know, understanding that we need to --

COOPER: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: And certainly his operation -- what he did in Crimea boosted his popularity -- enormously.

ZAKARIA: Boosted his popularity. He also provides an alternative narrative as you were describing.

COOPER: Right.

ZAKARIA: Very pro-nationalists, one of Russia being besieged. You know, we -- I think we have often seen Russia as a proto-Western country. You know, a country almost about to become Western and if we just nudged it along. What Putin taps into is a different Russia that has always seen itself in opposition to the world.

COOPER: We're going to talk to David Remnick from the "New Yorker" who spent an awful lot of time there reporting on Putin as well later on the program.

Fareed, thank you. Carl Bernstein, as well.

Coming up next, honoring the 298 lives cut short on Flight 17.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We said it before on this program, 298 lives is not and should not be just a statistic. The 298 individuals who perished on Flight 17 were exactly that, individuals, sons and daughters, parents and grandparents, husbands and wives and siblings, each one was unique, each loss left a trail of heartbreak.

To honor each of them, we're showing you their names at the bottom of the screen throughout the program tonight. As we learn more about each victim, we're going to share their stories as much as we can with you. They deserve no less.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): For Daisy Uller this trip was supposed to be an escape. Her mother died a few months earlier so she and her boyfriend, Brice Frederikz decided it was time to take a trip. They were heading to Bali. Brice's mother said she hoped this holiday would help them both find their happiness again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can do nothing but wait.

COOPER: Now this grieving mother waits for their bodies. She wants to bury them together, she says because of their love for each other. Sanjid Sing Sandu known as Bobby was a flight attendant who swapped flights at the last moment boarding MH17 in Amsterdam so he could get home to Malaysia early. His wife also a flight attendant switched flights a few months earlier and escaped going down with the other ill-fated Flight MH370. Bobby leaves behind his wife and their 10- year-old son. Bobby was 41 years old.

Karlijn Keitzer from Amsterdam was pursuing a doctorate in Chemistry at the Indiana University. She was a champion rower. That was her passions. Friends say Karlijn was always smiling and was known for her sense of humor. Karlijn was traveling with her boyfriend, Lawrence. Her father posted the news for death on Facebook and saying he grieved for this splendid future they had together. She was just 25 years old.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Karlijn was one of 193 Dutch nationals who died on Flight 17. A short time ago, I spoke to two her closest friends and former roommates. Catherine Campbell and Meghan McCormick. Here's the exclusive interview.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: First of all, let me start by saying I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, for both of you. Catherine, you met Karlijn back at Indiana University in 2010. What was she like?

CATHERINE CAMPBELL, LOST FRIEND ON MH17: Yes. Karlijn was an unbelievable rower, first and foremost. An unbelievable friend but --

COOPER: You rowed together?

CAMPBELL: Yes, we were both recruited in 2010, myself from Texas and Karlijn from Amsterdam. We communicated before arriving in Bloomington because we wanted to room together and that kind of started a relationship prior to our rowing days and that blossomed into a friendship. And one that I cherish so deeply. She was bold. She set everything like she wanted to say. She was direct. And she was beautiful inside and out and she was brilliant. I think everyone knows she was a brilliant chemistry student.

COOPER: How did you meet her? What was your relationship?

MEGHAN MCCORMICK, LOST FRIEND IN MH17: I was part of the chemistry PhD program at IU and I was in the same research lab as her. I joined the summer in 2010, she joined in the fall. And we just work side by side two desks next to each other and we just went through the gruelling process of grad school together for four years before living together for this past spring.

COOPER: What was she like? What stands out to you? I understand you used to hang out at Starbucks and eat out a lot.

MCCORMICK: Yes. It honestly was. There were a lot of stressful days in lab when she would just come from class or maybe a full morning of rowing and she would just be really tired and you could tell each of us would just get tired from any sort of difficult research project we were working on and sometimes we would just make the little signs that said coffee on it and hold it up to each other over the monitors. Yes, we'll go get coffee. We would just walk down to Starbucks on Indiana Avenue and just talk about our research problems or just personal problems.

COOPER: Does it seem real at this point?

CAMPBELL: No.

MCCORMICK: I keep thinking I'm going to go back into lab in the fall semester and she's going to sit next to me every day.

COOPER: It's hard to imagine being there without her?

MCCORMICK: I expected her to be at my final defense and I would be at hers, and we would just support each other through the rest of our PhD program.

COOPER: She was with her boyfriend and they really were planning a life together, I understand.

CAMPBELL: Yes. Absolutely. I met Lawrence twice in Bloomington, but they had a love that few find in this lifetime. And when I Skyped with her a week before this tragedy, Lawrence popped in the Skype video screen and said Catherine, when you are coming to visit us? And I said soon. And he said you're welcome here any time. There is something about their relationship that far surpasses a lot of people --

MCCORMICK: Inspires a lot of people to go home and just want to love their significant other or their friends even more.

COOPER: Have you been following the, I mean, the news, the crash site, the fight over it, things like that or is that just too much to even --

MCCORMICK: I'm not even making space for it in my mind. Whenever I have a quiet moment to myself, I just sit there and stair up in space and loop memories of Karlijn over and over and over again. And people always ask me, what do you think of this? What do you think of that? And I just -- I don't have space in my mind for that. I'm just focusing on remembering every specific detail of her that I can.

COOPER: Have you written stuff down? I think a lot of times that helps to preserve the memory for you.

MCCORMICK: When I got confirmation through Karlijn's parents when they heard from Malaysia Airlines, I just wrote out an e-mail to no one in particular, just writing down all the things that I missed and all the memories that I had and how she was like a younger sister that I never had and I just missed her and how much she inspired me and strengthened me.

COOPER: Thank you so much for talking to us about Karlijn. I really appreciate it. I wish I met her.

CAMPBELL: Special person.

COOPER: Yes. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A special person. Coming up, the outrageous theories about Flight 17 that is coming from Russian media. They're being told to the Russian people. Why it could just be the beginning?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. The president of Ukraine says that the Russian supported terrorist attack, those were his words. He uses the word "terrorist attack" on Flight 17 means everyone in the world has to decide if they support the victims or terrorism. In an exclusive interview, CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked President Petro Poroshenko what he's looking for from the international community after President Obama said that Russia has to use its influence to make sure the investigation can proceed. Now here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT PETRO POROSHENKO, UKRAIN: I don't see any difference from the tragedy of 9/11 from the tragedy of Lockerbie and from the tragedy of this plane. So this should demonstrate the same way of reaction. This is a danger for the whole world. This is a danger of a global security. This is not just a question -- we're talking about some side of Ukraine.

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COOPER: Meanwhile, of course, the Russian media is having none of that. Now if they're reporting the story at all, the focus is on everything, but Russian involvement complete with conspiracy theories. Randi Kaye takes a look.

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RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The propaganda war is intensifying with a pro-Russian rebel commander making this bizarre suggestion, that MH-17 was loaded with people who were already dead. The rebel leader reportedly telling a pro rebel website that he's learned a significant number of the bodies weren't fresh adding, their blood had been drained. He also claimed that a large number of medications were discovered in the wreckage.

JILL DOUGHERTY, FORMER CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: The mentality of the Russians is to think of conspiracy theories. When they hear something outrageous, they may believe it.

KAYE: Still, the evidence is clear. A BUK missile widely believed to have been fired by pro-Russian rebels brought down MH-17. Yet someone with a Russian government IP address appears to be trying to rewrite history quite literally. Look at this Russian language on aviation disasters on MH-17.

A computer program which monitors the page reportedly found that originally it had said the plane was shot down by terrorists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. The pro-Russian rebels. But wait, less than an hour later, that entry was changed by someone inside the Russian government to this, the plane was shot down by Ukrainian soldiers.

DOUGHERTY: The Kremlin control the information, networks in Russia decide how they are going to explain something, what the general narrative will be, and that is given actually to radio, TV, newspapers to a certain extent, and they essentially tell this is what you should say.

KAYE (on camera): And there's more, Russia is now hinting that Ukrainian warplanes possibly flying too close to MH-17 caused the airliner to crash. Defense officials in Moscow say they have records indicating that a Ukrainian SU-25 warplane was just three to five kilometers or about 2-1/2 miles away from that Malaysian airliner.

(voice-over): And remember this video appearing to show the BUK missile system being transported from Ukraine to Russia? Now Russian officials say that video was manipulated, that the video was actually taken in a Ukrainian City, his way of putting the BUK missiles in Ukrainian control territory. Transportation the Russians did not deliver the equipment.

Yet the truth doesn't slow the propaganda machine, which seems to be trying to change the narrative and bury the story at the same time. In these Russian newspapers, the morning after the crash, MH-17 didn't even make front page news. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

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COOPER: Fascinating to see what they are being informed about.

Up next, a new warning from the State Department about the risk of traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. This is the death toll. We'll get the latest from Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem and our Ben Wedeman in Gaza City next.

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COOPER: Welcome back. We have more breaking news tonight. The State Department today issued a travel warning for U.S. citizens to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza as the death toll continues to grow. Some 565 Palestinians and 25 Israeli soldiers have died. The United States is pushing for a ceasefire.

John Kerry arrived in Cairo today for talks with key officials and announced $47 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza. This is the latest CNN/ORC poll shows 57 percent of those polled say Israel's action in Gaza is justified, 34 percent say unjustified. CNN's Wolf Blitzer is in Jerusalem. Senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman is in Gaza City. They join me.

Ben, there are reports, I want to stress reports, as now CNN hasn't confirmed them from Israel's Channel 10 that cite Palestinian sources that a cease-fire is being drafted between Israel and Hamas tomorrow in Cairo. We do know Secretary of State John Kerry arrived there today. Any reason to be optimistic about that at this point?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one should always be optimistic about these things, Anderson. Probably there is Palestinian sources are coming out of Ramallah, not Gaza where Hamas has been fairly adamant so far. They're not ready to sign on to any cease-fire unless their long list of demands is met.

In fact, Hamas put out an article in one of their web sites today saying that they're not ready to accept anything along the lines of the Egyptian proposal made a few years ago -- rather, days ago. However, they are willing and welcome a continued Egyptian role. So here in Gaza itself, we're not hearing much from Hamas officials on this.

COOPER: Wolf, have you heard anything about a cease-fire where you are?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Well, I checked with sources in the prime minister's office, Prime Minister Netanyahu's office and they dissuaded me. They didn't think any cease-fire was about to be signed or anything. They're not even close. They do know that Egypt is working hard to come up with some sort of cease-fire agreement.

They know that the U.S. through Secretary Kerry wants it. Ban Ki- Moon, the U.N. secretary-general, he'll be in Israel on Tuesday. He wants it. Others want it. But apparently they're not -- there's no deal yet. There is still a long way to go.

COOPER: Wolf, you spoke to Netanyahu yesterday. I want to play a bit of that conversation for our viewers.

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BLITZER: You see the painful pictures of these Palestinian children and these refugees, thousands of them fleeing their homes. It's a horrendous sight what's going on right now if you look at the images, heart wrenching. What goes through your mind when you so he that?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I'm very sad when I see that. We're sad for every civilian casualty. They're not intended. This is the difference between us. The Hamas deliberately target civilians and deliberately hide behind civilians. They imbed the rocket caches, their other weaponry from which they fire -- which they use to fire in civilian areas.

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COOPER: Wolf, what is Israel now saying about the strike on the hospital earlier?

BLITZER: They say that they try to avoid civilian casualties. They do the best they can although, given the proximity of civilian locations in the midst of where they say Hamas fires rockets at Israel or builds underground tunnels that go from Gaza, obviously, there are a lot of civilian casualties that have been a huge number of civilian casualties over the course of the last several days, especially since Israel moved ground forces in.

They say they try to avoid it, but sometimes it happens. The prime minister and other Israeli officials say they do the best they can. This is a war and they realize there are going to be civilian casualties.

COOPER: Ben, what kind of options do civilians have for trying to escape attacks that the Israeli say are aimed at militants and also now with that hospital being struck, which is what sort of facilities do they have for dealing with casualties?

WEDEMAN: There are other hospitals in the Gaza strip. Certainly this case of the hospital in Bella, which is south of here is problematic. The Israeli Army told CNN that there's a missile cache nearby. But given the level of precision that is Israeli weapons as we are told, it's surprising that a missile hits the third floor of a hospital killing one patient and four people who were visiting relatives in the hospital.

There's really no facility for people to go to where they can be absolutely safe. So, frankly, there's nowhere they can go. And they just cross their fingers and as they do here in Gaza, they pray to god, they'll survive this -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ben Wedeman, appreciate the reporting. Wolf Blitzer as well, thanks.

Stay with us for another live hour of 360. We'll have the latest on the investigation to crash Flight 17 and more of the 298 people who are on board. That's coming up next.

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