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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  July 2, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> this is what i stood for. >> and you were willing to die for it? >> for this cause. >> hoping to die for it? >> yeah. >> at the age of 19 this american joined isis and organized friends to go to syria to join the brutal fight. he was facing 15 years in prison but was released for one day to tell his story to us. did you see the videos of the isis atrocities? >> yes, i have seen them. >> of the jordanian pilot that they burned to death? did you think you were going to be doing that kind of thing? >> yeah. i was going to be participating in those activities. >> these caged lions have never had it so good.
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they got to this temporary rescue center thanks to the unrelenting efforts of jan creamer and tim phillips. creamer and phillips told us that all 24 lions here had been repeatedly beaten in traveling circuses. the lions sounded like they wanted to tell us themselves. ( roaring ) this was the first time we had an interview interrupted by roaring. ♪ ♪ >> something unusual happened on the way to the grammy awards last year... an album was nominated from malawi. the artists weren't polished pop stars, but prisoners and guards, in a place called zomba. a maximum security prison, so decrepit and overcrowded, it's been called "the waiting room of hell."
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♪ ♪ how could such beautiful music come from such misery? ♪ ♪ we went to malawi to find out. ♪ ♪ >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm leslie stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight on "60 minutes."
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so she only earns double miles on purchasesit card. she makes from that airline. what'd you earn double miles on, please? ugh. that's unfortunate. there's a better option. the capital one venture card. with venture, you earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, everywhere, every day. not just airline purchases. seems like a no-brainer. what's in your wallet? >> pelley: about 260 americans have joined, or tried to join, terrorists overseas.
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and many of us wonder, how in god's name does that happen? how is an american drawn into a group that seeks to destroy everything that america stands for? abdirizak warsame has an exotic name, but he was an american teenager living with his mom in minneapolis, who became the leader of an isis cell-- sending other young men from minneapolis to their deaths. as we first reported last october, warsame was released from jail for one day to talk to us. a judge would soon sentence him to what could be up to 15 years in prison. warsame wanted to explain to us- - and, through us, to the judge- - how he fell for isis in god's name. >> abdirizak warsame: the reason i wanted to go to syria was, i felt like it was my duty. i felt like it was something that i had to do. and if i didn't do it, i would be, basically a disgrace to god.
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i would be a disgrace to the world. i would be a disgrace to my family. >> pelley: did you see the videos of the isis atrocities? >> warsame: yes, i have seen them. >> pelley: of them shooting people and throwing them into the river, one after another? the jordanian pilot that they burned to death? did you think you were going to be doing that kind of thing? >> warsame: yeah. i was going to be participating in those activities. >> pelley: because those people weren't true muslims. >> warsame: right. >> pelley: and therefore they deserved to die? >> warsame: correct. >> pelley: abdirizak warsame learned the theology of murder in minneapolis, minnesota. he was an american kid-- rising in a tough neighborhood-- but never in trouble with the police. he found his way through high school chasing a basketball, pursuing poetry, and music. >> warsame: when i say cedar, you say riders! cedar! >> pelley: "cedar," as in cedar riverside, was his neighborhood where 20,000 refugees from somalia began to settle in the 1990s.
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they set their hearts on the american dream, but like most immigrant communities, the first generation kids grew up between two worlds. too foreign for many americans, too american for their parents. >> warsame: i went to school with a lot of kids that were not somali. and so i kind of got into that culture, you know, music. going to prom, dancing, it's hard to kind of explain that stuff to your parents, when they kind of really don't understand what it is. >> pelley: his mother didn't understand why he was hanging out with tough boys in cedar, so she prodded him to go to the mosque. >> warsame: learning about the religion and reciting the quran, i started to become more religious. i felt like there was something that was missing in me. >> pelley: the mosque was not extremist, but the lessons were in somali, and warsame looked for an english-speaking imam online. >> anwar al-awlaki: we are fighting for a noble cause. we are fighting for god.
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>> pelley: he found, anwar al- awlaki, born in new mexico, and a leading spiritual advisor for al qaeda. awlaki produced hours of lectures glorifying war on nonbelievers. >> warsame: one of the lectures was titled, "battle of the hearts and minds." and what they do is try to get your heart and your mind and try to get you to join their cause. and so, whether you're doing something good for your community, whether you're going to school, whether you have a nice job, all of that, they're going to make it seem like it's worthless. and that there is something greater that you can be doing. >> pelley: awlaki was killed by a u.s. drone five years ago. but online, life is everlasting. >> warsame: he explained how islam was, you know, like, my calling. it was almost like he was talking to you. and like it made you feel like you were special, you know? and like you're the chosen one.
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and the more i listened to it, the more it was appealing to me and the more interesting it became. >> pelley: how much time did you spend watching these videos? >> warsame: i would just continuously watch them when i wasn't doing anything. when i wasn't at school or doing my homework or, you know, out with my family. i was watching those videos. >> awalki: we are facing you with men who love death just like you love life. >> pelley: around the videos grew a congregation, eleven of warsame's friends. >> warsame: i thought i was the only one. but when i met these group of men that i was friends with, it was kind of shocking to see that they also knew about these videos too. we would listen and listen and listen until we became, you know, wrapped in this ideology. all those lectures would talk about how it wasn't a time for just, you know, talking, but it was a time for action. >> pelley: the route to action was a link away, in the
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recruitment videos of isis. music videos, a language the boys could understand. youtube became more real to you than your neighborhood in minnesota? >> warsame: yes. >> pelley: how could that be? >> warsame: it kind of takes control of you. and you think you're doing something for a greater cause. and you think you're doing it for good. >> pelley: and what was that? >> warsame: most of the videos would talk about how if you would engage in jihad, you would be doing your family a favor. and that you would be saving their lives from eternal hellfire. >> pelley: that if you died as a martyr, you would not only go to paradise-- your whole family would go with you. >> warsame: whole family would go to paradise. >> pelley: and you were trying to be the best muslim you could be? >> warsame: correct. you want to be the hero. you want to save everyone. and you want to do good. >> pelley: in 2014, at the age of 19, warsame helped organize a plot to join isis in syria.
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he helped his friends get passports and made connections with people who could smuggle them through turkey. the first two reached syria, yusuf jama, and abdi nur. nur sent back facebook pictures. >> warsame: i remember him telling me, you know, "i'm having the time of my life," and he was fulfilling his dream or on his way to heaven. >> pelley: what happened to him? >> warsame: i believe he's dead. >> pelley: how did that happen? >> warsame: he was fighting, and he was killed. >> pelley: yusuf jama was also killed. are you responsible for their deaths? >> warsame: yeah, i believe i am responsible for their deaths, and i think about that every day. >> pelley: and if you had been able to get to syria, what do you think would have happened to you by now? >> warsame: i probably would be dead right now. >> pelley: after your friend, abdi nur, left minneapolis, his mother was trying to find him.
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she was desperate. >> warsame: she was desperate. she needed answers. and, i knew where he was going. and i did the unthinkable and i lied to her, and i told her that i didn't know where her son was. >> pelley: she was trying to save his life. >> warsame: yeah. that was very evil of me to do. >> pelley: as more of warsame's group applied for passports, one of them was evasive about where he was going, and a passport official passed along his suspicions. the f.b.i. got involved and convinced one of the conspirators to cooperate. >> andrew luger: he ended up wearing a recording device for two months, and that's one of the ways that we have such good insight into the thinking of these co-conspirators. >> pelley: u.s. attorney andrew luger ran the prosecution. >> luger: there's a pull and a push. and the pull is this ideology that says "we're building the perfect world. you belong with us. come join it."
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and the push is "they're not going to treat you like we will. you're always going to be an outsider." >> pelley: it sounds like a gang recruiting a kid in chicago? >> luger: there are a lot of similarities. it goes a little deeper, though, because this message of, "you don't belong in the west," is so dangerous. >> pelley: luger meets with the community often in hopes of warning parents and turning young men around. >> luger: our job is not only to catch and prosecute criminals, but to prevent criminal activity in the first place. >> mohamed amin: if there's violence in society, everyone loses! >> pelley: mohamed amin is among those fighting the isis message with one of his own. >> amin: we're comparing their system, al qaeda, islamic state. why is our system better? because it's fairer. it's just, it's more open and more importantly, it works! >> pelley: amin works in a gas station and spends his money producing anti-isis cartoons under the name "average mohamed."
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>> what do you think your job description is when you join the islamic state? behead unarmed innocent people. destroy world heritage sites, empower unelected, blood-thirsty individuals as leaders. >> amin: given resources and opportunity, we can win this fight. >> pelley: why do you think so? >> amin: because i have hope. peace supersedes violence. freedom supersedes hate. and my community wants to be part of the american dream. we love our country. it's a great country. it's given us a lot. a lot. >> luger: we have to work with all minnesotans to combat islamophobia, because racial bigotry and religious bigotry helps the isil narrative, and we've got to stop it. >> pelley: how does it help? >> luger: you listen to these young men, and they're hearing a message that says, "you're not wanted in the west." so when a mother is beaten in a restaurant, which happened last year here, simply because she was somali, had a beer mug
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smashed across her face and told, "go home" in front of little kids, that helps that isil narrative. >> pelley: was she an american citizen? >> luger: yes. >> pelley: and her kids were too? >> luger: yes. >> pelley: and so when the person said, "go home"? >> luger: the kids said, "what do they mean? we just want to eat at applebee's." >> pelley: andrew luger prosecuted nine of warsame's group. four had been intercepted at j.f.k. airport in new york on their way to syria. warsame and five others pled guilty to supporting a terrorist organization. >> warsame: i pled guilty because i knew i was guilty. and i knew what i did was wrong. >> pelley: another who pled guilty was zacharia abdurahman. his father, yusuf, told us that his son had been working nights to go to college by day. he told us he never saw trouble. >> yusuf abdurahman: in our culture, where i come from, we
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are very harsh. nomadic society, very harsh. we don't do compliments, we don't praise the kids, we don't hug them. we don't just tell them, "we love you." i never tell my kid, "i love you," until he get caught and he's behind bars. we are out of touch with our children. i'm not computer savvy. these children, these computers and this internet this is their toys. >> pelley: their toys. >> abdurahman: yeah. >> pelley: and you didn't know what was happening. >> abdurahman: we didn't know wh hme. you know, i'm a parent that his kid is in jail now. you know, i'm sorry what he's going through. but, you know, i'm very glad that he's here. i'm very glad that he was caught, that he was stopped. >> pelley: you're glad that he was caught? >> abdurahman: yes. yes, he's alive. >> pelley: of the twelve, two were killed, the one who cooperated with the f.b.i. has not been charged, six pled guilty, and three were convicted at trial. warsame testified for the prosecution. and these selfies were part of the evidence.
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did you write those words? >> warsame: yeah. it says "till the death of me, baby." >> pelley: and what did that mean? >> warsame: that meant, this is what i stood for. >> pelley: and you were willing to die for it? >> warsame: for this cause. >> pelley: hoping to die for it? >> warsame: yeah. >> pelley: you're looking at potentially 15 years in prison. who do you blame for that? >> warsame: myself. at the end of the day, i was the one who made those decisions. i'm trying to do the best that i can, to make up for all of the things that i've done. >> pelley: do you really believe that, or are you saying it so the judge will go easy on you? >> warsame: i really believe that. what i've done is something that nobody can be proud of. it's very shameful. i might be very remorseful, but i haven't done any actions to correct those wrongs. >> pelley: and that's what this interview is? >> warsame: it's the only reason i'm doing this interview, is to make up for the wrong that i've done.
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>> pelley: and to those young men who are watching those same videos right now, today? you say, what? >> warsame: i say it's not worth it. it's not worth your family going through all the pain and suffering just because you believe in something that is total nonsense. that doesn't make sense. it's not worth your life. >> pelley: you watched those videos to change your life. and they have. >> warsame: correct. >> pelley: abdirizak warsame's life changed again two weeks later in federal court. judge michael davis told warsame, "i'm not convinced you're still not a jihadist," as he sentenced him to two and a half years. the judge referred to warsame's cautionary tale on "60 minutes," calling it "another chess move," although the federal prosecutor called it "contrition." the moment you realize, "how could there possibly be this many blues?" don't worry.
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>> whitaker: for 25 years, jan creamer and tim phillips have made it their mission to stop animal abuse, in circuses. this relentless british couple sends teams to infiltrate circuses around the world, to document the mistreatment of animals. their work helped lead to local laws banning most wild animals from circuses in more than 15 u.s. states; and to national bans in more than 20 countries. as we first reported in march, their latest successes have been across south america, where they spent years recording animal cruelty on hidden cameras. we caught up with jan and tim in peru, along with two dozen lucky lions they'd recently rescued from travelling circuses. a warning: some of the pictures later in this report are disturbing.
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these caged lions have never had it so good. they got to this temporary rescue center thanks to the unrelenting efforts of jan creamer and tim phillips and members of the organization they founded, animal defenders international. creamer and phillips told us all 24 lions here had been repeatedly beaten in travelling circuses. the lions sounded like they wanted to tell us themselves. hold on just a second. this was the first time we had an interview interrupted by roaring. >> creamer: this is their morning song. >> whitaker: morning song? >> phillips: if it was you or i, it'd be, "where's the hell my coffee?" >> whitaker: ( laughs ) i do sound like that when i haven't had my coffee. jan and tim rescue more than lions; they launched their south america campaign after seeing a chimpanzee named toto chained
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outside a circus in chile. >> creamer: they'd smashed his teeth to punish him. they were stubbing cigarettes out on him. >> phillips: jan shot that picture, and he just gazed across at the andes. it almost looked like he was looking mournfully at what he'd lost. we determined to rescue him, and we took him all the way home to africa. >> whitaker: a judge, appalled by toto's treatment, had given custody to jan and tim. >> creamer: our role is to take them from where they are, where they're suffering, and put them where they... they need to be. ( monkey screeches ) >> whitaker: in south america, their team recorded this hidden camera footage of abuse, which is hard to watch. >> phillips: what we did was, we put a team undercover inside the south american circuses, and they stayed there for almost two years just gathering evidence, filming, photographing. and so, you're living in the heart of the circus, but that's
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how you get the really amazing evidence. >> whitaker: many of their pictures were taken by undercover cameraman alexis diaz. when circus workers discovered what he was doing, they beat him up and broke his leg. still, he kept working to collect evidence. >> creamer: lots of our evidence has been used by prosecutors for cruelty convictions. just one beating of an animal isn't going to secure a conviction; you have to show a pattern of behavior. >> whitaker: some circuses claim they train wild animals without abuse, using food and positive reinforcement, but creamer and phillips insist beatings are routine, because performing tricks is unnatural for wild animals. they only comply out of fear. >> phillips: if you've got a dangerous animal, that means subjugation and so... >> whitaker: subjugation means beating? >> creamer: absolutely. it's all about control, and how they are going to make it do what they want it to do.
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so, it's a kick, it's a punch, it's a beating. >> phillips: and really, we've seen that everywhere we've gone. this is... >> whitaker: everywhere? >> phillips: yeah. in europe, in america, in south america. there are certain consistencies in the way that these circus animals are looked after. >> creamer: using violence is the way that these animals are made to do things that they don't want to do. they don't want to get up and perform, so they have to force them to do it. >> whitaker: so, when you made this video evidence public, what was the reaction? >> phillips: the reaction was instant. i mean, it... it really was just outrage. and then, the politicians were starting to hear about it and say, "well, we should probably have legislation here." >> whitaker: bolivia was the first country in south america to ban wild animal acts. other countries have followed suit? >> creamer: absolutely. colombia, peru, there's over 30 countries. >> whitaker: but in peru, the new law led to their next challenge: enforcement.
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lion acts were outlawed, but local police were not equipped to pick up the lions or care for them, so jan and tim said their organization would take in the lions. they brought police for protection during the seizures, because circuses resisted handing over their money-makers. >> phillips: yeah. they threaten to release the animals into the streets, and we try to... >> whitaker: seriously? to let wild animals run through the streets if you come down hard on them? >> phillips: that's right. >> whitaker: when they raided the circus in cusco, peru, they rescued three lions. but the circus refused to release its star attraction, a lion named smith. the circus demanded police get another court order for smith. while jan and tim worked on that, smith had to keep performing. >> creamer: he was unstable and upset because his family had
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been broken up, and then he was forced into the ring. that was not the time to put someone in the ring with him. >> whitaker: a grade school teacher volunteered to have smith jump over her, but smith had other ideas. ( screams ) amazingly, she jumped right up and was not badly hurt, because he'd grabbed her by her collar. some viewers wanted smith killed, but jan and tim came back to save him. and after what smith did to the teacher, the circus was forced to give him up. one year later, smith's favorite toys are soccer balls. they don't last long. sharp teeth. so, have you seen a big
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difference in his behavior since he came here? >> creamer: huge difference. >> whitaker: what's changed? >> creamer: he's not frightened, he's playful, confident. >> whitaker: how was he before? >> creamer: wired, nervous, neurotic. >> whitaker: why does he not have a mane? >> creamer: when you castrate the males, they lose their mane. >> whitaker: do you have a favorite? >> creamer: i do have a very soft spot for leo. so, leo's getting special attention again. >> phillips: the very first lion we rescued and loaded on this was a old lion called leo, and he just looked broken. every tooth had been smashed, all of his canines. and he just looked like he'd given up. within weeks, his coat was looking healthier, and he's just blossomed. he's like a real kitten again. he, too, likes playing with soccer balls, but with few teeth. >> whitaker: he's the one who just gums it. >> creamer: yes. >> whitaker: each ball lasts a lot longer. rapunzel also has made a
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remarkable transition. jan said when they came to take her from the circus, rapunzel had never been out of her cage. >> creamer: she'd been born in there, her mother had died in there, her father had died in there and she'd never been outside. so, when we brought our cage up to it and we opened the doors to try and transfer her, she was afraid. >> whitaker: jan said it took more than an hour to entice her out. rapunzel was also afraid of hay because she'd never seen it. but, as you can see, she's gotten over that. plenty of circuses like this one still are criss-crossing peru with lots of human acts to entertain. but the government told us, thanks to the efforts of jan and tim, there are no more wild animals-- not a single one-- still performing in peru. lions that had been malnourished now get to feast on whole
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chickens. after plenty of food and medical attention, jan and tim found them a permanent home at a sanctuary in south africa, but that would mean a long flight from peru. and they'd have to coax two dozen skittish lions into travel crates in time for takeoff. tim told us the transfers would be tricky and dangerous. >> phillips: might have a few problems. worst case scenario is, we have to anesthetize an animal to get them loaded in order to catch the flight. there can be problems with it. the big lion anesthetic, it does lead to seizures. >> whitaker: the transfers didn't start well. >> creamer: come on, people. we don't have all night. >> whitaker: but then, one by one, they lured the lions into their crates.
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that was easy. god, he's a big fella. several objected to the smaller space. >> creamer: okay, this one needs to be moved. >> whitaker: this is going quite well. >> creamer: we're actually really fast. >> vet: ven, smith. ven, smith. >> whitaker: smith, who had dragged the teacher, also seemed ready to leave. >> vet: muy bien. muy bien. >> whitaker: finally, the last lion was reluctant rapunzel. remember, during her rescue, it took more than an hour to get her to leave her circus cage? once again, she refused to leave the known for the unknown. with time running out, they had to tranquilize her. >> creamer: this is the scariest thing that we have to do with an animal, but we had no choice but to do it. she wasn't settling down. >> alexis: uno, dos, tres.
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>> whitaker: fearing she could suffer a seizure, they quickly gave rapunzel the antidote and hoped they'd given it to her in time. >> creamer: she's awake. >> phillips: she should be okay now. >> creamer: the cages. the cages are empty. they really are. that feels good. >> whitaker: the drive to the airport began what would be a two-day journey. jan, tim and a vet flew with the lions, without incident. then, in south africa, we caught up with them being transported through the countryside after what had been the biggest lion
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airlift in history-- 33 lions, including nine rescued from colombia. >> phillips: seeing these animals when you've taken them to as close as we can give them to freedom really is what it's all about. >> whitaker: the lions are still fenced in, but they have plenty of room to roam-- more than 30 acres. these cats couldn't survive in the wild. most don't have claws, and their teeth have been smashed. here, they'll get fed, and they can bask in a world of new experiences. many had never stepped on grass, had never touched a tree-- life's simple pleasures, long denied. since our story first aired, despite having armed guards to protect the lions, two of the rescued lions were poisoned and
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killed in their south african sanctuary by poachers. animal defenders international called the killings "evil and cowardly." they are working to increase security. >> this cbs sports update is brought to you by ford division. at the quicken loans national, kyle stanley made par on the first playoff hole to beat charles howell iii. in baseball, mookie betts hit eight home hit a home run. cleveland beats detroit, the cubs knock off the reds. for more sports news and information gosh, to cbs information gosh, to cbs jim nantz reporting from potomac, maryland. it's not a question, it's a thing. take on summer right with ford, america's best-selling brand. now with summer's hottest offer. get zero percent for seventy-two months
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plus an additional thousand on top of your trade-in. during the ford summer sales event get zero percent for seventy-two months plus an additional thousand on top of your trade-in. offer ends july 5th. pain is sometimes in my hands, be a distraction. right before a performance especially. only aleve has the strength to stop minor arthritis pain for up to 12 hours with just one pill. this is my pain. but i am stronger. aleve. all day strong. for her compassion and care. he spent decades fighting to give families a second chance. but to help others, they first had to protect themselves. i have afib. even for a nurse, it's complicated... and it puts me at higher risk of stroke. that would be devastating. i had to learn all i could
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tell your doctor before all planned medical or dental procedures... ...and before starting xarelto®-about any conditions, such as kidney, liver, or bleeding problems. it's important to learn all you can... help protect yourself from a stroke. talk to your doctor about xarelto®. there's more to know™. >> "60 minutes" continues in a moment, and we're always online at
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>> cooper: something unusual happened on the way to the grammy awards last year-- an album was nominated from malawi, a small country in southern africa not exactly famous for its music.
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as we first reported in october, the artists weren't polished pop stars but prisoners and guards-- men and women in a place called zomba, a maximum security prison so decrepit and overcrowded, we heard it referred to as "the waiting room of hell." how could such beautiful music come from such misery? we went to malawi to find out. ♪ ♪ this is the music that brought us to malawi, one of the least- developed nations on the planet. ♪ ♪ it's a place of staggering beauty. there's vast mountains, lush forests, and a long, idyllic lake. drive through the countryside, however, and you quickly see poverty is widespread. for the country's 17 million people, life is full of hardships.
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zomba is malawi's only maximum security prison, and the music you're hearing comes from behind these walls. ♪ ♪ this prison was built to hold around 400 inmates. today, there are 2,400 here. ♪ ♪ what's so startling when you walk into the prison yard on a sunday morning, is that everywhere you turn, there is music. ♪ ♪ a cacophony of choirs. ♪ ♪ many here are hardened criminals-- robbers, rapists, murderers. others are casualties of a legal system that can be chaotic and arbitrary, where court files are
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routinely lost, and most suspects have no legal representation. ♪ ♪ in a small room off the yard, there's a prison band practicing every day on donated instruments. ♪ ♪ those men in green are guards. they play side by side with inmates. ♪ ♪ ian brennan, an american producer who travels the world recording new music in unlikely places, heard about zomba and four years ago flew to malawi to check it out. you're taking a gamble because-- you go to places, you don't necessarily know what's there, right? >> ian brennan: no, no, no. we-- we have no idea. it's a leap of faith every single time. >> cooper: his was not the only leap of faith. officer thomas binamo took one, too.
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he helped found the prison band nine years ago and wasn't sure what to think the day ian brennan showed up. >> thomas binamo ( translated ): i was quite surprised-- -- because i couldn't understand how this guy knew about us. and why would he be interested in our prison? >> cooper: it's not every day a white american knocks on the prison door and says he wants to come in? >> binamo ( translated ): yeah, it's true. ( laughs ) it's not every day. >> brennan: what took you so long? >> cooper: brennan saw promise in this prison, and the possibility of an album. so he set up his microphones and asked anyone interested to write and sing songs about their lives, men and women, inmates and guards. it was something most had never done before. ♪ ♪ what were you hoping to find? >> brennan: well-- you know, the thing we look for everywhere,
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which is, you know, music that resonates with us. this is what moves me. and hopefully it'll move someone else. >> cooper: and when you hear it, you know it. >> brennan: yeah. you feel it, usually. >> cooper: even if you don't understand the words right away? >> brennan: it's better when you don't understand the words. because when you don't understand the words, you have to listen to what somebody means, not what they're saying. and if they mean it. ♪ ♪ >> cooper: officer binamo was reluctant to write and sing about his life, but when he did, ian brennan knew his music would be on the album. ♪ ♪ just listen to what he came up with one morning when we were there-- a softly-sung ballad about the sudden death of his wife. ♪ ♪ "you left without saying goodbye," he sings. "you left behind the children, too, they no longer cry." ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ >> brennan: ( laughs ) he writes songs and plays as beautifully as someone can. he's reached that level of transcendence where it can't be better-- than it is. it just is. it's something that just hits you. ♪ ♪ >> cooper: to fully appreciate the music here, you have to see the misery. but when we arrived at zomba, authorities didn't want us to show what life is like for the prisoners. so, much of what we filmed, we had to record secretly, without the guards knowing. inmates in zomba are fed just one meal a day, a small bowl of gruel made out of cornflower. the menu, we're told, rarely changes. on good days, they get a few beans; on bad days, inmates say, there's no food at all. chikondi salanje sang on the album nominated for a grammy.
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he's doing time for burglary. do you eat meat, chicken, beef? ( laughs ) you're laughing. that's not good. when was the last time you had meat? >> chikondi salanje: 2014. 25 december. >> cooper: two and a half years ago? on christmas day? >> salanje: yeah. >> cooper: it's not just the lack of food. zomba is so overcrowded, prisoners say they only have enough room in their cells to sleep wedged against one another lying on their sides. stefano nyirenda also sang on the album. so you're sleeping on your side? >> stefano nyirenda ( translated ): when you want to turn, you have to do it together. >> cooper: right next to each other? how do you sleep? >> nyirenda ( translated ): we just sleep. we have no choice. >> cooper: stefano is in for robbery, and he is h.i.v.-
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positive, as are around a quarter of zomba's inmates. they occasionally get visits from an italian nun, sister anna tommasi, who runs a small charity providing some food and legal aid to prisoners. if you were writing-- a postcard to somebody, who had never been to this prison, how would you describe it here? >> sister anna tommasi: oh. i think it's impossible for somebody outside to get-- there are no words which could explain, because-- >> cooper: what life is like here? >> sister tommasi: yes. i think, before you came, three days ago, if i had written anything, would-- do you think you could have had a clue? >> cooper: no. >> sister tommasi: sometimes, i call it, it's the waiting room of hell. >> cooper: ( laughs ) that's what this prison is like? sometimes? >> sister tommasi: yeah. >> cooper: if it is the waiting room of hell, salvation for chikondi salanje comes from music. >> salanje ( translated ): when i'm singing, i feel like i'm in another world. i don't feel like i'm in prison at all. it's only when i stop that i realize "oh, i'm still in prison." when i'm singing, i forget about everything else.
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>> cooper: when the music stops, that's when you realize you're in prison? >> salanje ( translated ): when we're singing, the walls are no longer there. but when we stop, the walls return, and then we're back to counting the bricks again. ♪ ♪ >> cooper: chikondi wouldn't have to count the bricks much longer. after five years here, he was about to get released. and when we were there, recorded a new song for ian brennan. it's about leaving prison... and his fears of life as a free man. "don't call me a criminal," he sings. "when i get home, they'll reject me. ♪ ♪ when something goes missing, they'll accuse me of stealing. it hurts badly when you call me a criminal." ♪ ♪ in the men's section of this prison, there are rooms where
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prisoners take classes taught by inmates and guards. there are also two small libraries where they pour over faded books, and a rundown computer room. but in the women's section, there is no library, no computers. ♪ ♪ there is little else, but music. ♪ ♪ until ian brennan came along, the women didn't have their own instruments, and they couldn't understand why he was interested in listening to their singing at all. >> brennan: they really-- were-- believed that they were not singers or songwriters. i mean, they were pretty adamant about this. and-- and just at the moment-- i-- i was getting pretty close to feeling like, "well, you know, we-- we tried--" one person stepped forward and said, "i've got a song." ♪ ♪ and then, the minute she did that, they literally lined up. ♪ ♪
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>> cooper: rhoda mtemang'ombe was one of those women who stepped forward. the song she wrote for the zomba prison album is called "i am alone." ♪ ♪ what does that mean? >> rhoda mtemang'ombe ( translated ): i have no parents. i have no husband, and i'm here in prison. so i realize there's no one who can help me. so i ask god to help me. he's the only one who can guide me across this huge river. >> cooper: rhoda is serving a life sentence here in zomba. she's in for murder. do you feel like you're glorifying criminals? >> brennan: no. no, no, no. it's humanizing them-- >> cooper: humanizing-- >> brennan: --not glorifying them, at all, right? they've committed crimes. many of them have learned from their experiences. this is about humanizing individuals-- and that's for the benefit, not of them; that's for the benefi t
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>> cooper: the album ian brennan recorded at zomba did not end up winning the grammy last year, and it hasn't turned a profit, either. brennan has paid the musicians, and they have a contract to receive more money if there are future earnings. when he showed up at zomba with his wife, marilena, last may to present the prisoners with some gifts and their grammy nomination certificate, it was cause enough for celebration... ♪ ♪ ...though some of the singers, like stephano nyrenda, still had questions about what a grammy award really was. >> nyrenda ( translated ): can i ask a little question? >> cooper: yeah, of course. >> nyrenda ( translated ): this trophy, does it have any money inside of it, or is it just a small prize? >> cooper: it's just a token, there's no money inside the-- inside the award. >> nyrenda: ( laughs ) ♪ ♪ >> cooper: being nominated for a grammy has not changed life for the inmates inside zomba... ♪ ♪
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...or for guards like thomas binamo, living just outside the prison walls. but they are still writing music, and in september, released a whole new album. ♪ ♪ it's called "i will not stop singing." ♪ ♪ inside this prison, it's the only promise they have the power to keep. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> in malawi, the road music comes with road food. for the tale, go to sponsored by pfizer. ♪
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>> whitaker: i'm bill whitaker. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." tomorrow, be sure to watch "cbs this morning." captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. captioned by media access group at wgbh discover card. i'm not a customer, but i'm calling about that credit scorecard. give it. sure! it's free for everyone. oh! well that's nice! and checking your score won't hurt your credit. oh! i'm so proud of you. well thank you. free at at,
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captioning funded by cbs briefly on big brother. $16 strangers began the battle for a half million dollars. and they quickly learned about the twist of the season. >> julie: welcome to big brother summer of temptation. after kevin took the first temptation of the summer. >> julie: one of claimed the $25,000. paul was sent back into the game. julie told them about the first ever big brother swap. >> julie: actually taking one of your places in the game. >> by the end of the night.