Return to Transcripts main page
El Chapo Agrees to an Interview with Sean Penn; David Bowie Dies of Cancer. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired January 11, 2016 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERROL BARNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWSROOM HOST: We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and those of you watching from all around the world. I am Errol Barnett.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWSROOM HOST: And I am Rosemary Church. Thanks so much for joining us here on CNN Newsroom.
BARNETT: We want to begin with sad breaking news out of the music community. Legendary artist David Bowie has died at the age of 69.
CHURCH: Bowie was an innovative icon in music, film, and style for decades. He first rose to fame in the 1960s and inspired the glam- rock movement of the '70s before reinventing himself several times over a career that spanned more than 50 years. And here's the hit that started everything, 1969's Space Odyssey.
DAVID BOWIE: This is Major Tom to ground control, I am stepping through the dark and I am floating in a most peculiar way and the stars look very different today.
BARNETT: And you watch that and think to yourself, how many times have you heard that song, seen those images? Though his career flowered under the alter ego of Ziggy Stardust, that proved to be short-lived persona as he experimented with genres from punk to soul, to Electronica. In fact, he was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. News of Bowie's death was announced on social media. A statement on his Facebook page reads, "David Bowie died peacefully today, surrounded by his family, after a courageous 18-month battle with cancer."
While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family's privacy during their time of grief. We are now joined on the phone by Casper Smith, he is the Music Editor at the Guardian and joins us now to talk about this. Casper, thanks for your time. First, I just want to get your reaction to the sad news of the passing of David Bowie.
CASPER SMITH, MUSIC EDITOR AT THE GUARDIAN: Well, it's shocking news. I mean, it came pretty much out of the blue. Of course, his recent album, new album, Black Star was released only on Friday, and there was no indication that anything was amiss. And it's an incredible record. The most warmly received album for a number of years. So for the death to arrive out of the blue is completely shocking. And of course, Bowie with the possibility of Bob Dylan but on an individual level, I think you'd have to say he's the biggest male rock star that we've ever had from the 1970s and continued to make great records and have enormous influence.
So it's huge news and terribly sad news.
BARNETT: Casper, how would that be possible to release an album this past week on Friday and for no one to really that he was suffering with this illness for so long. How difficult would that have been for him and his family to keep this private so long?
SMITH: Well, I am sure it's been enormously difficult. I mean, it was a quiet period for a number of years and a couple of years ago he released a record called the Next Day, which was preceded by a single that just appeared one morning with no warning whatsoever. And everyone was amazed by that. We'd sort of thought we had heard the last of him. There was a suggestion of health problems and he'd become slightly reclusive in recent years and hadn't given interviews at all for the last two records. But at the time with the release of that record, it was heralded as a great triumph in the age of social media, to keep it secret and land it on people out of the blue.
CHURCH: You know, you mentioned...
SMITH: I mean, in a way -- go ahead.
CHURCH: You talk of the shock. It's Rosemary here. You talk of the shock that you felt when you heard this news. I think we were all in shock so much so there was an abundance of caution across media outlets whether to go forward on reporting this, because it had only been seen on social media at that point.
Talk to us about the latest release, his album, Black Star, and how that was received by critics.
SMITH: Well, the amazing thing about Black Star, one of the tracks from it is called Lazarus, a song about the guy who rose from the dead. So it begs the question for how long he's been and to what extent this record relates to it all. And whether he was fully aware that this might happen that he might die, it's been accompanied by a couple of videos and in them, thinking about it this morning, in them -- you know he looks -- I hate to say frail, but he looks very thin, and some of them he's covered with a mask and his eyes replaced by black buttons.
And it's a very mysterious record as well. The previous album, the next day was a pretty straightforward rock album, and the excitement surrounding it was simply that it appeared when we thought we'd heard the last of him, his first album in a decade. This album leapt off into new territory. It's a jazz-influenced record. The title track is, I think, almost ten minutes long and contains lyrics that are kind of characteristically strange lyrics. Bowie when he emerged in the '70s he'd employ this technique to write his lyrics, from different song lines in a strange way and his work then invited the scrutiny of what's he up to.
It wasn't straightforward rock music. He always took it in an unexpected direction. This one it seemed characteristically, classic Bowie, in that it felt completely out of left field with these bewildering lyrics with people trying to find the real meaning in them. And there was some suggestion that the title track is about the rise of ISIS, because some offhand remark he made to someone involved it in the making of the record. But actually there's nothing that directly supports that claim. And the Times in London said it may be the oddest work yet from Bowie.
So that tells you something about his extraordinary creativity that even at the time he'd be making something as daring as this record.
CHURCH: And from the video, he's lying in what looks like a hospital bed with bandages and buttons in his eyes, knowing what we know now, it's chilling looking at those visuals.
SMITH: Yeah, it is. But on the other hand, I think we would have looked at anything that he produced, we'd be looking to attach meaning to it. And it's going to avoid, you know it will avoid as much scrutiny as he wanted to avoid, I think. You know he would have been darting around the subject. The final track on this record is called Everything Away and the lyrics there he talks of final lyric, I can't give everything away. For me, I felt it's very moving because no one buys records anymore.
Everyone streams records. On Saturday, I went down to one of the last few record shops that really exist in London, Rough Trade Records in east London and brought the C.D., which is the first time I bought a C.D. in a while. And looked at the lyrics of it, they seem to say No, but mean Yes. This is all I ever meant. That's the message that I sent. I can't give everything away. So he's left us with another riddle and opaque meaning.
BARNETT: Casper Smith is the Head of Culture at the Guardian Newspaper, speaking to us on the phone from London, with this breaking news of the death of David Bowie after an 18-month battle with cancer. Casper, considering his final album will have us asking questions and it was quite mysterious, according to critics, how do you sum up a career that spanned four decades? What will David Bowie's legacy be and if there's one thing he'll be remembered for, what is it? Or is that too difficult to even answer?
SMITH: Well, there are a couple of things. I think he absolutely defined the 1970s from records beginning with Ziggy Stardust until the end of the decade and songs like Ashes to Ashes. No artist has released such a string of amazing records, but each one seemed to change so much from one to the next. From Ziggy Stardust, which helped defined glam rock, through to something like Diamond Dogs, which took it further, left field turns into the plastic soul of young Americans, through to the trilogy of electronic records that broke new ground for music again. And in doing that, the one consistent thing that he did all the time
was have this sense of belief about his music and one critic alluded to, he gave sense to the collective breakdown after the 1960s when rock music was a positive upbeat thing, and the '70s was a more unsettled decade and Bowie gave voice to that, but also started a huge influence on fashion as well in the different looks that he pursued, absolutely defined that time, quieter in the '80s and '90s. But again with this record, reminded you that he was just this extraordinary artist.
And it's a cliche, but as I said at the start you know perhaps alongside Bob Dylan, he's one of the two great male rock stars that there's ever been. And it's a valid question to ask whether we'll ever see anyone quite of his ilk again.
CHURCH: And talk to us about the 1970s, when he was coming up with all of these different characters, what the critics were saying. Was there a lot of criticism about some of the ground-breaking work that he did?
SMITH: I think people were thrilled by it at the time. I mean he was always one step ahead. You know the very idea of Ziggy Stardust, who was this creature from mars, this incredibly androgynous figure, you know for a whole generation of people, particularly in the U.K., the performance on the TV show Top of the Pops in 1972 and 1973, a Starman, he's there, and for a generation of people in the U.K., their parents were saying, is this a boy or a girl on TV with this weird look and this other worldly presence that he had. Sort of moving through these different modes, moving to Berlin when he was a huge star and made these reclusive sounding records such as low and hero, before any of the record scary monster and super creep.
And nowhere at the time -- that pop sensibility, writing music that went somewhere else at the same time.
BARNETT: And his career spanned four decades. It's easier when you look back to kind of look at it glowingly, but talk to us about some of the resistance he may have faced said doing something so progressive and we're talking about during the '70s and '80s.
SMITH: Well, in the '80s, he sort of returned to the public arena in 1983. And then there was a string of records, you know where he was trying to experiment and perhaps do something slightly different, but they didn't have the resonance that they had the previous decade and really grab people in the same way. And the period at the time of live aid when he did with Mick Jagger, a cover of Dancing in the Streets, a great take of that record. But it sort of gave the impression that Bowie had decided to settle down and he was going to accept his role as an older statesman of rock music.
And it was followed by another record which didn't set the world on fire. He became part of a group called Tin Machine, made a couple records under that moniker which again, never quite succeeded. In the 2000s, I think there was a record called Heathen, which came in 2002, and the record reality the following year, but nothing for ten years until 2013. In that period of time, it's the Greta Garbo approach to publicity. He did nothing. The interviews dried up. There was a big retrospect in London and in that period of time, that subsequent generation that grew up with him and subsequent generations discovered him that his legacy came to be held in such high regard, I think.
CHURCH: Casper Smith joining us there, Music Editor at the Guardian in London as we all try to absorb this shocking news, the death of David Bowie at the age of 69. And we will have more on this when we come back. Do stay with us.
CHURCH: More now on our breaking news, legendary singer David Bowie is dead at the age of 69. His publicist says he died Sunday after an 18-month battle with cancer. Bowie had just released his latest album on Friday, his birthday.
BARNETT: Condolences have been pouring in on social media here. Here you see a tweet, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron sent. It says "I grew up listening to and watching the pop genius David Bowie. He was a master of reinvention who kept getting it right, a huge loss." We will continue to track reaction and more developments as it relates to this breaking story in the hours ahead. For the moment, we want to shift to another big story we're following. There's rising anger in Cologne, Germany over assaults committed in the city on New Year's Eve.
CHURCH: Investigators now say 516 complaints of sexual assault or muggings have been filed.
BARNETT: Those attacks prompted violent protests over the weekend. That included clashes with police. Our Senior International Correspondent Atika Shubert is near the site of the attacks in Cologne and joins us now this morning. Atika, if the initial reports weren't troubling enough, it now turns out hundreds of people have filed claims of being assaulted or mugged there on New Year's Eve. What kind of action are officials taking? This seems unprecedented.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is unprecedented. And the police have described it as a new dimension in criminal violence here. I am actually in the square where a lot of the assaults are reported to have taken place. But I should point out that of the more than 500 criminal incidents reported to police, about 40 percent are being investigated for sexual assault. That still means dozens of women who were groped, who were forcibly groped and then as a distraction technique, had their mobile phones or hand bags stolen.
So it was clearly an absolutely chaotic night here in this square. There were fireworks going off. It was a very large crowd of about 1,000 people here, and police seem to have lost control in the streets. So what is happening today is that there is a special committee session in which the local interior ministry of this area will be grilled about what happened, and police as well asked tough questions about why they lost control, why they were so understaffed on the streets, and what exactly happened that night, and how come so few of the perpetrators have been arrested, only a handful at this point.
And of course the most divisive aspect of this, which is that of the 31 suspects identified, more than half are asylum seekers or refugees. And there have been allegations that police and local politicians tried to suppress that information, which is why the information didn't come out until quite so late. All of this is going to be discussed at the committee session which will be starting in about half an hour, Errol.
BARNETT: All right, Atika Shubert live for us in Cologne, Germany this morning, 22 minutes passed 9:00 a.m. there, Atika, thank you.
The legal process to extradite Mexican drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman to the U.S. is under way. Authorities in Mexico want to talk to actor Sean Penn. You see the actor and actress Kate Del Castillo met with the cartel leader in October. They took this picture to authenticate the meeting and convinced him to give an interview. Guzman was on the run at the time.
CHURCH: Guzman had escaped from prison back in July. Now he's back in custody, but Mexican authorities would still like to know where he met with the actors. Meanwhile, Rolling Stone has published that interview. Nick Valencia has the details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the first time, we hear from the drug kingpin himself. Despite being on the run, the drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman agrees to an interview with actor and activist Sean Penn, a cinematic plot twist to an already surreal story.
In a report for Rolling Stone, Penn writes the pair met face to face in October 2015, three months after El Chapo's brazen prison escape. According to Penn, the meeting happened somewhere in the middle of a Mexican jungle and included tequila and tacos. His irrational fear of being watched by armed drones and being surprised by El Chapo's "chivalry." These are questions sent to a Guzman representative who asked the questions off-camera.
The meeting Penn says, was brokered by Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo, it was 2012 when Del Castillo reportedly developed a friendship with El Chapo after posting a series of tweets, critical of the Mexican government. Del Castillo has not commented since publication of the Rolling Stone article Saturday night. Their communication continued over the course of the next three years, even after the 2014 arrest of El Chapo that landed him here at the Altiplano Penitentiary. They stayed in touch and it was that relationship that eventually led to the meeting between Sean Penn and the notorious drug lord. It was a month of back door dealings that included encrypted messages,
disposable phones, and even clandestine communications with El Chapo's associates. In a two-minute clip, El Chapo talks candidly about drug trafficking, violence, and his role in it all.
A senior Mexican law enforcement official tells CNN they want to question both Del Castillo and Penn, specifically about the location where the meeting took place. Nick Valencia, CNN, Mexico.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And Sean Penn's interview with the fugitive is raising some very interesting legal questions. CNN's Jake Tapper asked White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any concerns about Sean Penn at all, if the Mexicans want him, will the U.S. make sure they're able to talk to him?
DENNIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It poses a lot of interesting questions for him and for others involved in this so- called interview. We'll see what happens on that. I am not going to get ahead of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNETT: At least one U.S. Presidential candidate is chiming in on it. Marco Rubio blasted the actor's relationship with the cartel leader. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCO RUBIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If one of these American actors, who have benefited from the greatness of this country, made money from our free enterprise system want to fawn all over a criminal and drug trafficker, they have a constitutional right to do it. I find it grotesque.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Denny Savalas is a CNN Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney and he joins us by Skype from Philadelphia. Thank you so much for being with us. Let's take a look at the legal ramifications here for actor Sean Penn and actress Kate Del Castillo for their meeting with El Chapo. We know Mexican authorities want to question Penn for his October meeting with the drug cartel leader. What are the likely legal ramifications for the actors?
DENNY SAVALAS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This isn't the first time that a journalist has traveled to meet with somebody that U.S. authorities consider to be a criminal or somebody just dangerous or bad news in general. So this is not a case of first impression. U.S. federal law prohibits harboring or concealing a fugitive. Simply going into the jungle or the woods to meet with a fugitive, as long as somebody's not handing him money or otherwise helping him escape, arguably the case could be made that by meeting with El Chapo, then the journalists in this case may have assisted in the capture of this fugitive.
So then in this case, it would be a hard case to make that he was actually -- Sean Penn was actually harboring or concealing a fugitive under U.S. law. Mexican law could be a separate issue.
CHURCH: Ok, so U.S. officials have called for El Chapo to be extradited and stand trial in the U.S. If that happens, how likely is it to you think that Sean Penn will be forced to perhaps give evidence against him?
SAVALAS: Consider the universe of charges against this defendant. They are not pending in one court. They are pending in several courts, and they have been for some time. I am talking about indictments in different federal district courts, just in the United States, as a general rule of thumb, when the federal government, when the Department of Justice makes a case, it makes a case. That case stays made, now what that means, they marshal all the evidence that they need before they go forward with an indictment because they plan to convict.
So to the extent that El Chapo may have given an interview, most of that would be able to come in as a confession or an admission under federal rules of evidence.
But the real question is does the federal government, does the DOJ even need any of the statements that El Chapo may have made in this interview, either on paper or on video.
CHURCH: All right, Denny Savalas thanks so much. We appreciate your analysis.
SAVALAS: Thank you.
BARNETT: We are still gathering more of the latest information for you on our ongoing breaking news, the shocking death of rock genius David Bowie. Stay with CNN for the latest information. We're back with more after this very short break.
CHURCH: And a warm welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I am Rosemary Church.
BARNETT: And I am Errol Barnett. Let's update you on our top story right now. The breaking news, legendary musician David Bowie has died of cancer. He was 69 years old. He heavily influenced music, film and style in a career spanning five decades. He continued his iconic work until just days before his death with his latest album, Black Star releasing on Friday. Max Foster joins us now live from London with more on David Bowie's death and legacy. Max, for us here, as we report on this breaking news, it really was a shock. How is it being received there in London, David Bowie's home country of England? [03:35:01]
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, with all schedules dropped on the broadcast media and they're all going wall to wall on this, endless interviews and tributes coming in. I was listening to an interview with his former landlady here in London when he was very young indeed. She was talking about how -- initially she was his landlady and then she became his lover and nothing was ever conventional with David Bowie, which is really the point that you're getting from a lot of the messages coming out from people who knew him or indeed were influenced by him.
He was constantly reinventing himself and he was a creative icon. People arguing about whether or not he was a chameleon. People suggesting how he can be a chameleon, because they mix into their backgrounds. And he did just the opposite, standing out. He was a cultural icon. And a couple of years ago, there was this retrospective of his life at the Victorian Museum, they took objects out of his life and focused on his collaborations. If you look back on his career, many of those collaborations which drove his creativity and allowed him to keep reinventing himself.
We talked about what he did in the '60s and '70s. But I remember in the '80s he was doing heavy metal, in the '90s, drum and bass. His latest album was only released on Friday. He was still relevant.
BARNETT: Really is quite shocking. We're still kind of absorbing all of this, Max, as everyone in London is and we'll continue to check in with you live in the hours ahead.
CHURCH: And joining us now to talk more about David Bowie is Steve Hargrave.
BARNETT: Entertainment reporter based in London. Steven, what was your reaction to hearing this news this morning?
STEVE HARGRAVE, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Sort of the whole world, he's one of those people that you're just -- wow, when you turn on the TV here in London, you feel like you know something and take something from David Bowie and his music, such a mysterious figure. But for any generation, you feel this sense of loss of such a unique artist, right until the bitter end. That last album, Black Star, I have been putting it on the record player and it was unfathomable in its obscurity in the way you always wanted him to be. And he was like that until the very end. And boy is there some meaning in that record now.
CHURCH: And this is the thing of it, it was David Bowie's birthday on Friday. He released this album Black Star, and now we're seeing this video of him lying in what appears to be a hospital bed, with bandages, buttons on his eyes, a chilling vision now as we're learning more about him suffering from cancer. We had no idea.
HARGRAVE: We had absolutely no idea. That's the way he wanted it to be. I think really, you can put David Bowie in a kind of realm of being a pop star and that's fine, he released some magnificent pop albums. But above and beyond everything else, he was an artist and it's not a word you can throw to many individuals in the media industry. He was an artist as somebody who craved fame. He wanted to be famous and he did everything he could to get into that world of being a celebrity, both music and Miami he got into at one point. He just wanted to be known and be famous.
And that's to a degree why he started with all these different types of music when he started out. And it was kind of by luck that he rose to fame when he first came out, because it coincided with the interest in space. And then his single came out, Space Odyssey, but once he got fame that artistry really came to the forefront, and the fact that he was able to change his image pretty much with every album, pretty much it happened constantly. We see artists doing it now, but when they do it now, they say it's because David Bowie did it. Lady Gaga, for instance, has been so whole heartedly influenced by the man.
So he's really unique. I know it's easy to say, but absolutely to the very end.
BARNETT: And Steve, you talk about David Bowie's aim for fame early on in his career. Where would you place that success toward the end? I mean he releases this album on Friday. He was also to be honored at Carnegie Hall there in New York with a concert march 31st, Cyndi Lauper, the Roots, and the Mountain Goats performing. When we look back and talk about legacy, what to remember, and what will his mark be, how do you sum that up to just a few things? What would it be?
HARGRAVE: I think it is just that ability to remain unique, constantly throughout with every album. He had that ability to shock and surprise, and it's whether you look at the earlier period when he said right, glam rock is where it's at. I am going to be a glam rock artist, or when he produced his landmark album, the Berlin Trilogy in the mid '70s. And let's not forget Bowie was in the midst of a major cocaine addiction and drug problems himself in the '70s. But what he had the ability to do was stop, pause, catch his eye on something that was going on somewhere else, put his finger on the pulse of something that perhaps everyone else hadn't recognized and follow that very unique path that no one would have seen coming.
That's really what he had the ability to do. He didn't need to follow others. Maybe he did to begin with, when he started being famous. But after that he led, he led until the end. He didn't really need fame. He knew we all craved to know what David Bowie was listening to. He didn't need really that fame in the end, which is why we retired into obscurity. But that mystique is something that we all could never put our finger on. But at heart, was a friendly, funny, down-to-earth guy, just a superior artist.
You don't get many like that.
CHURCH: You don't. And as you say, he shocked and surprised not only throughout his career, he's done this in death. And we are still trying to grasp this and talking there with Steve Hargrave, he is an Entertainment Reporter in London, many thanks to you for joining us and shedding more light on the incredible career of David Bowie who has died at the age of 69.
We're going to have more on this still to come. Do stay with us here on CNN Newsroom.
BARNETT: A quick recap of our top story, cultural icon David Bowie has died.
CHURCH: His publicist says Bowie fought an 18-month battle with cancer. The creative genius had just released his final album, Black Star on Friday, which was also his 69th birthday.
All right, we are turning now to North Korea and its claim that a detainee charged with espionage is a U.S. citizen.
BARNETT: The reclusive country gave CNN access to this man, who identifies himself as a naturalized American citizen.
CHURCH: CNN is the only U.S. broadcaster in North Korea. Our Will Ripley is in Pyongyang with this exclusive. So Will, you did have an opportunity to talk with the prisoner that North Korea says is a U.S. citizen. What did he say to you and how can his citizenship status be confirmed at this point?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is really an unusual case, Rosemary because a lot of times we've come to North Korea and we're already aware of people being detained here, it's been reported by North Korean state media or there are cases reported elsewhere. But in this particular instance, (Inaudible) was unknown to us. He has not been reported anywhere. So we were simply told when we arrived that there was an American citizen being detained on suspicion of espionage, and that's all we knew. Until shortly before our interview, where we spoke with Mr. Kim, he's 62 years old, he was born in South Korea, but became a United States citizen in 1987.
He's lived in China for the better part of the last decade and commutes back and forth into North Korea. He's the president of a business that employs North Korean workers in a special economic zone. He admitted -- now we don't know whether he said so under duress or not, but he confessed to bribing an ex-North Korean soldier to supply him with sensitive, secret information about North Korea's nuclear program and also their military activities. He said he was doing this for more than a year, making four different trips into South Korea.
He's an American citizen, but he says he was not spying on behalf of the United States. He said he was spying on behalf of South Korea. Let me have you actually listen to him and explain how he did it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: How did you pass on the information that you collected?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I bribed a local resident and had him gather important material considered national secrets in this country, such as military secrets, nuclear related materials. I got these materials, hid them in my car and secretly brought them to China where I handed them over. Or I would go to South Korea and deliver them directly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIPLEY: The South Korean government calls his claims completely groundless. They deny what he's saying and the U.S. State Department will not even confirm that he's a U.S. citizen, saying it's their policy not to comment to complicate the situation. Although it's difficult because as you know, South Korea and the United States have no diplomatic relationship with the regime here in Pyongyang, Rosemary, Errol?
CHURCH: All right. Our Will Ripley reporting there live from Pyongyang in North Korea. And if you're wondering about that noise in the background, that was an alarm that was going off there in Pyongyang, many thanks to you, Will.
BARNETT: Students at Kenya's Garissa University are returning to class. Nine months ago, it was at site of an Al Shabaab massacre that killed 147 people, most of them students.
CHURCH: The school now has a constant police presence. Kenya's President says the school's re-opening is a symbol of resilience in the fight against terror.
BARNETT: Let's turn now to Security Specialist Simiyu Werunga he is the Director of the African Center for Security and Strategic Studies. Thank you for joining us on CNN today. We appreciate your time. Only four Al Shabaab gunmen were able to pull off this horror that took place at Garissa University. So what kind of reassurances can the government give that this will not happen again beyond the added security there on campus?
SIMIYU WERUNGA, AFRICAN CENTER FOR SECURITY AND STRATEGIC STUDIES DIRECTOR: I think to be very honest, what the government is trying to do is to give some assurances both to local and international audience that as a government they're trying to fight Al Shabaab. I think the fact that they put a security system on the ground, manned by the Kenyan police guarantee 100 percent the safety of the students who wish to go back to that university. What I think should have been done, as much as the government is trying to respond to the agitation under pressure from the local leadership and the local politicians, it should as a matter of fact, should have taken a bit of time to calculate confidence first within the local community where the university is situated and then reassure in totality the Kenyan people that you can still go back to Garissa University and still feel safe.
That to me was just a first step towards ensuring that part of the country and the country in totality is secure and confidence is built within the Kenyan people that our learning institutions are safe and secure. BARNETT: And I understand it will take a series of steps and it's
just a move in the right direction, but beyond words, beyond reassurances, how will the students be helped? At this point, it's unclear how many of them will return. I am sure all of them are dealing with the emotional and mental trauma of that attack. In what way are the students being cared for psychologically if at all?
WERUNGA: I think from what we learned during the massacre itself, there was a lack of coordination. The government was not fully prepared to deal with that situation. And after the end of the kills, not that many students actually decided to relocate. I think as a first step, our universities themselves should work very closely to make sure to build internal mechanisms, first to outfit government forces that are trying to establish stability and certainty on those campuses, so that universities take ownership to ensure that our campuses are safe.
Number two, we know there's been serious lack of post trauma mechanisms and systems in our universities, not necessarily related to terrorism, but even in other situations and circumstances where students find themselves in positions or places where they need help. We have suggested, and I speak as we because I am from the private consultant's area, we have suggested to the universities, they must as a matter of priority, establish post trauma centers within their specialties and localities to ensure that these things have access to the student population.
BARNETT: That's a very good suggestion there. I apologize to have to cut you off. I appreciate you joining us here on CNN today. The Director of the African Center for Security and Strategic Studies chatting with us this morning from Nairobi, Kenya, thank you very much for your time.
And we'll be back with more on the breaking news of the death of David Bowie after this.
BARNETT: Back to our breaking news here on CNN. Influential British rocker David Bowie has died. He had been fighting cancer for the last year and a half, this according to his publicist.
CHURCH: He captivated audiences worldwide with his eclectic sounds and styles for more than 40 years. Bowie is survived by his wife, supermodel Iman and two children. David Bowie was 69 years old. And we mentioned his children, this is actual a tweet sent out by his son, Duncan Jones, who's a filmmaker. And he says, very sorry and sad to say it's true. I'll be offline for a while. Love to all. And the world is trying to absorb this news. We want to thank you for watching us here on CNN. I am Rosemary Church.
BARNETT: And I am Errol Barnett. Stay with the network as we continue to cover this and other big stories around the world.