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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  July 18, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

5:30 pm mark phillips is at the crash scene in ukraine. >> reporter: the fields here are full of bodies, but this is a crash site and a war zone. getting at the truth won't be hesy. >> pelley: holly williams is in gaza where israel is keeping up attacks on hamas targets on the ground and in the air. (blasts) carter evans is following the western wildfires. one fire alone has destroyed about 100 homes in washington state. and some thoughts on a week that saw so many innocent civilians become casualties of war. captioning sponsored by cbs
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this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. this is our western edition. much of the news today about the malaysia flight 17 crash was broken by president obama. he told us at least one u.s. citizen was among the 298 who died. he said the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired from a part of ukraine controlled by pro-russian rebels. these rebels are fighting to break away from ukraine. and while the president stopped short of saying the kremlin was blind the downing of flight 17, listen to what he said about the rebels who have boasted about shooting down at least three ukrainian military planes. >> a group of separatists can't shoot down military transport planes or, they claim, shoot down fighter jets without trphisticated equipment and
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sophisticated training, and that is coming from russia. >> pelley: we have a team of correspondents on this story. irst, we go to mark phillips at the crash site in eastern ukraine, where the reality of what has happened can be difficult to watch. >> reporter: the arguments may be raging over who did this, but there is almost nothing being done to investigate this site or to care for the remains of the victims of the air disaster. in a field in eastern ukraine, the wreckage and the bodies lie entangled, exposed, neglected. volunteers have been looking for victims, overseen by the pro- russian rebel militias which control the area. without proper resources to affect a disaster of this scale, the local people have been spotting the bodies. you can see the little sticks with ribbons at the top-- one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine -- nine bodies lying in a field just here. and the crash scene is spread
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over nine miles of countryside. there are unbearable images wherever you look. and the crash area is still not secure. people have been moving through this crime scene. a full day after a major air disaster like this, and a crash oute would normally be crawling esti investigators and people retrieving the bodies of the victims. the fields here are full of bodies, but this is a crash site in a war zone. getting at the truth won't be easy. the first attempt at an investigation did not go well. monitors from the o.s.c.e., the european security body, had been assured of protection and unfettered access, but the rebels only allowed them a brief visit, and the plane's black box data recorders have not been produced, despite earlier rebel claims that they had found them. o.s.c.e. spokesman michael bociurkiw. >> the location of the black box is a huge concern because it's a
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major piece of evidence. they're also concerned about the perimeter, whether it's been secured to avoid tampering or looting. >> reporter: time is critical in crash investigations, and the time here is ticking away. and it is the pro-moscow rebels here under most suspicion for bringing down the plane, and it is they who control the k,idence. >> pelley: mark, thank you so much. the u.s. says it already has some evidence in hand, and david martin has learned what it is. >> reporter: a fireball picked up by american satellites was the first indication a surface- to-air missile armed with a high explosive warhead had struck the airliner. u.s. surveillance also detected a part of the missile's flight path as it streaked toward the plane, allowing analysts to backtrack from the point of impact to an area on the ground at the border between ukraine and russia, most likely on the ukrainian side of the border, territory held by pro-russian
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rebels. based on signals the missile system gave off, analysts identified it as likely a russian-made sa-11, a sophisticated system of radars, command posts and launchers. pentagon spokesman admiral john kirby said the rebels probably couldn't have operated it on their own. >> it strains creulity to think it could be used by separatists without some measure of russian support and technical assistance. >> reporter: the assistance could range from training rebel missile crews in russia up to a russian personnel actually conducting a launch that brought down the plane. earlier in the fighting, the rebels proved they could shoot down lower flying transport planes and helicopters, but never anything flying as high as an airliner. u.s. intelligence had known the rebels were undergoing anti- aircraft training in russia, but they did not know they had somehow gotten their hands on a system as capable as the sa-11. >> pelley: david martin at the pentagon. david, thank you.
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flight 17 was en route from amsterdam to kuala lumpur. in both cities, relatives are grieving for the loved ones they lost. nearly two-thirds of the victims were dutch, dozens more malaysian. the victims came from at least 11 countries, and at least one was born in the united states. here's jim axelrod. >> reporter: born to two dutch nationals, 19-year-old quinn schansman held dual american- dutch citizenship. it was left to his girlfriend of ten months to post heartbreaking facebook pictures of a beautiful young couple just getting started. facebook also provided haunting image of a man, his wife and children. the last picture, posted by the mom, the kids and suitcases curbside.
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nick norris, taking his grandchildren home. mo, 12, edie 10, otis, 8. toey had all been on vacation, but the grand-dad took the kids home early so the parents could have a few days on their own. karljin keijzer was dutch, but went to school at the university of indiana, where she was a top- notch rower studying for her doctorate in chemistry. sanjid singh sandhu was a 41- year-old flight attendant everyone called "bobby." he wasn't scheduled to work the flight, but switched shifts with a colleague. sandhu switched to the flight and died. his wife is also a malaysia frlines flight attendant, scheduled to work on the malaysia jet that disappeared four months ago, but switched off that flight at the last minute and lived. >> pelley: jim, thanks very much. wso among the victims were nearly 100 experts on aids who were heading to a medical conference in melbourne, australia. former president bill clinton will be addressing that same conference next week. mr. clinton said he was sickened by what happened and called them
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"martyrs to the cause in the battle against aids." more now from elizabeth palmer. of reporter: among the men and women of science who died in this crash was a giant-- joep lange, doctor and campaigner who spearheaded the push to get cheap anti-viral drugs to the poor. >> he was treating the first, education... >> reporter: his fellow researcher and friend, tobias rinke de wit. >> i think the greatest achievement of joep is really to gave a face to the nameless people, mostly in africa and asia, who were suffering from one of the biggest epidemics of all times. >> reporter: his partner in life and work was jacqueline van tongerent, traveling with him to the conference in australia. sun ding, a colleague, is still struggling to accept that jacqueline van tongerent is gone. what will you miss most? >> her laughter.
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>> reporter: it must seem very unreal, even now. >> totally. totally. totally. >> reporter: all of the nearly 100 aids and hiv scientists and activists who lost their lives will be terribly missed, but the fierce dedication of champions like joep lange lives on. it's going to leave a big hole. >> absolutely, but we will not stop. we'll fill in his legacy. this is not the end, certainly not. >> reporter: of course, the work on hiv will go on, but this tragedy represents quite a setback. as one australian researcher put it, scott, what if the cure for aids was on that plane? >> pelley: liz palmer for us in amsterdam tonight. thank you, liz. >> there was a memorialth los angeles today to honor those aids expergts. about 40 people
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attended locking arms in unity, others wrote notes. the aids healthcare foundation which organized a memorial said it was a personal tragedy because the group sends delegates to the conference every year. president obama today said russian president vladimir putin has the power to end the violence in ukraine. major garrett is at the white house for us tonight. major? >> reporter: scott, the white house wants to make russian president vladimir putin, in the words of one top advisor, "squirm" for the strategic mistake of arming the separatists, and using global outrage over this tragedy to de- escalate the conflict, as the united states presented its evidence at the u.n. and claimed the russian baghdad rebels brought it down. >> the violence taking place is facilitated in large part because of russian support, and they have the ability to move those separatists in a different direction. >> reporter: the white house will not provide more military
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aid to the ukrainian government, arguing the region needs fewer weapons, not more and, for the moment, no new u.s. economic sanctions against russia are contemplated, either. but president obama just wrapped up a conversation with german chancellor angela merkel an british prime minister david cameron to assess europe's willingness to increase economic pressure on russia on its own. >> pelley: we now go to the kremlin where the russians are saying "don't blame us." collars class is in moscow. >> reporter: as u.s. officials pointed the finger at pro- russian separatists and sponsors in moscow, president vladimir putin laid the blame elsewhere. this tragedy would not have happened, he said, if the fighting had not been restarted in the southeast of ukraine. russia's defense ministry went further, blaming the ukrainian military. it claimed that a ukrainian buk t ti-aircraft missile battery like this one had been operational in the border region, though the russians stopped short of saying there
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was any evidence that it fired the fatal missile. russian citizens today laid flowers outside the dutch and malaysian embassies, but the tragedy has put the russian government in an awkward situation. one of the military commanders of the separatist rebels in ukraine is igor girkin, a russian citizen. earlier this week, girkin took credit for allegedly shooting down a military aircraft. a recording released by the ukrainian government caught another commander telling his russian handler his men had shot down a plane making it more difficult for moscow to avoid responsibility for the rebels' actions. >> pelley: clarissa, you recognize the voice of the commander on the tape? >> i do, absolutely, scott, because that commander byes actually detained our crew in ukraine a couple of months ago. re were stopped at a checkpoint,
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blindfolded, held for hours, one crew member beaten, no reason given for the detention and we were only released, apparently, scott, after a russian commander antervened and gave the order. >> pelley: clarissa, thanks very much. mike morrell has been giving us insight into the downing of the plane. until last year, mr. morrell was the number two official at the c.i.a., now a cbs news hntributor. mr. morrell, how much involvement did the russians have, in your opinion? >> there are different degrees here, scott. the first level we're at is putin encouraged the separatists, funded them, has equipped and trained them. if you feed the beast, you're responsible for what the beast has done. we're already there. there's additional possible complicity, which is did the putin and the russians give the separatists this particular iaapons system and train them? std then, did any russian ing ofl forces actually assist in the firing of the missile? >> pelley: how would the united states ever prove these things?
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>> you're not going to know from investigating the crash site. we're not going to find it that way. fie only way we're going to find , itis through intelligence. we could learn quickly, it may take time, or we may never know. >> pelley: where does this lead vladimir putin? >> regardless of the level of complicity, he's in a very bad place. if you think back to the soviet union's downing of the south korean aircraft in 1983, that was a turning point in the cold war. it showed the world what the soviet union was all about. that same thing could happen to putin now. >> pelley: mike morrell, former deputy director of the c.i.a., thanks. >> thank you, scott. >> pelley: we'll take you into day two of israel's ground invasion in gaza. and to the front lines in the battle against wildfires when the "cbs evening news" continues. dentures are very different to real teeth.
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palestinian rocket launchers, as well as tunnels dug by the militants to infiltrate israeli territory. in most of the gaza strip, they haven't yet seen a single israeli soldier. in beit lahia, just a mile over the border of israel, we found the street eerily quiet. the israeli military told residents to evacuate the town before the invasion, and many people heeded the warning. in gaza city, we arrived on the cene just after a direct hit decimated this building. ict as they picked their way through the rubble, suddenly, people began to run for cover. what just happened back there is that people heard a drone overhead and, so, they panicked and ran, thinking another air strike was coming in. this whole place is really on edge today. but friday is the muslim holy day, and in a mood of defiance, many people came out to pray.
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this conflict has raged for decades, and 92-year-old mohammed omar susi told us, if he were a young man, he would fight the israelis himself. the israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu said today he's ordered the country's military to prepare for a possible expansion of the ground offensive. and tonight, scott, the gaza strip is being pummeled with air strikes and heavy caliber weapons. >> pelley: holly williams, remarkable coverage all week. thanks, holly. here at home, dozens of families have lost homes to wildfires in the west. that story's next. story's next. [ female announcer ] it's simple physics...
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>> pelley: tonight, hot, dry winds are fanning wildfires in six western states. hundreds of families have been norced from their homes, and some have no home to go back to. carter evans reports washington is among the hardest hit. >> reporter: smoke rose 25,000 feet over the largest fires burning in washington state. the fire that's destroyed 100 homes in pateros has scorched more than 168,000 acres. josh alan was turned away at a roadblock. >> i don't know what i'm going to do. knowing that your house is burning up.
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>> reporter: this fire on the eastern slopes of the cascade mountains produced a wall of flames that moved in on the town e levenworth. 900 homes were evacuated, including tim germaine's. >> it looked like the caldron of hell. flames everywhere you looked. this kind of heat and wind, looks like eastern washington is going to burn to the ground. >> reporter: across the country, 12 states are experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions. at u.s. forest service in los angeles, they're juggling assets to cover areas at risk. but supervisor thomas contreras says that causes other problems. how does that impact you down here? >> it impacts me because, now, i have a hole where we have our assets up there, yet we want to provide the protection necessary here. we need resources from other parts of the united states to fill in our gaps. >> reporter: the last time this part of the angeles national forest got any rain was back in february and, scott, it was barely measurable. >> pelley: carter, thanks very
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reached into the sky and grabbed 298 people who could have been any of us. the lives they lived lie across fields of wheat and sunflowers, so familiar, a book for 'tweens, a doll that was probably the most important thing in the world for someone. there were many children on board. it is a view of humanity that is only seen when it's too late. th this was the limit of the vision of the missile crew, the radar fire control and a simple touch of a button. they never laid eyes on the enemy they imagined. the same has been true this week in israel and gaza. islamic militants have launched unguided rockets blindly into israel-- one israeli civilian was killed-- and it was true for the israeli sailors who never saw the four boys on the beach before their long-range rockets exploded.
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triggers pulled easily when there's nothing clear in the sights. what does come into focus is our shared humanity. knd what struck us this week was how similar these pictures are. which is ukraine? which gaza? which one is israel? which is amsterdam? ayich is malaysia? tie wars will continue next week, but for a day, we stopped and remembered how much greater man's reach can be than his vision. and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. ewr all of us at cbs news all around the world, i'm scott pelley. i'll see you sunday on ""60 minutes." good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh
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your realtime captioner is linda macdonald. car after car after car with those disabled placards hanging from the rear view mirror. you've seen them. but it's a safe bet not everyone in them actually needs them. good evening, i'm ken bastida. >> i'm veronica de la cruz. the dmv and san francisco d.a. are cracking down on people abusing them. but our linda yee found out that may not be the case, linda. >> reporter: veronica, they just probably don't have enough people to do that crackdown. for example, right on this corner here at grant and washington, here in chinatown, there are no fewer than five cars parked there with those handicapped placards and if you just go around the corner on grant avenue, every metered space for two blocks, there is a car with a disabled placard.
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with a city that has 60,000 registeredlards two times as many meters spaces, this is a problem. thousands of cars and even motorcycles with disabled placards park free all over the city especially in downtown areas and outside office buildings. but are they genuinely disabled drivers or are they abusing the use of the placards? >> it defies logic that there are so many people with disabilities who are employed working there and this is the -- >> reporter: you find that unlikely? >> it's unlikely because the disabled are the most unemployed and the most underemployed of any population group in the country. >> reporter: dmv, which issues the placards, and the san francisco d.a. claim they are cracking down on illegal use. this week, three people were busted and accused of fraudulently applying and getting a disabled placard. >> this is to our knowledge the


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