'This Week' Transcript: Saif al-Islam and Saadi Gadhafi

Transcript: Saif al-Islam and Saadi Gadhafi

ByABC News
February 27, 2011, 4:00 AM

Feb 27, 2011 — -- AMANPOUR: Colonel Gadhafi's last stand. This morning, we'll take you on a journey to the besieged Libyan capital. After a week of violence, we're live in the middle of a revolution. We'll go into the streets and inside Gadhafi's mind with my exclusive interviews with his two powerful sons. Do you think they'll get rid of you?

What is their father thinking right now? And how will he respond to President Obama's call for him to leave right away? And what will it all mean for your security? Your gas tank? Your life?

And closer to home, states of emergency. A crisis that hits all of us. Where have the jobs gone? We'll ask four cash-strapped governors. Do they have a plan to save your house? Your schools? And your pensions? A special edition of This Week live from Libya starts right now.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. From the heart of Gadhafi's strong hold, the Libyan capital, Tripoli. We're among a small group of journalists who have been invited in. As the Gadhafi regime tries to put its stamp now on the unfolding story here. And as we try to sort fact from fiction, sometimes fact is so much stranger. Who could possibly invent the rants and the ravings of a leader like Colonel Gadhafi? The defecting Libyan air force pilots? The Libyan diplomats bursting into tears at the United Nations as they take a stand against their leader of 41 years.

Now the tough new sanctions and Gadhafi's increasing isolation are based on allegations that he has ordered air strike, bombing of civilian protesters. We have seen no evidence of that yet and the Gadhafis strongly deny it. But journalists have been to hospitals and have seen gunshot victims. We have met people who are angry that protests have been met by live fire.

There are special army brigades and tanks ringing the entrances to this capital, also confirmation that a town 30 kilometers away is under opposition control. But there is a sense that Gadhafi can hold out here, at least in the short term as we found out in our journey that began 24 hours ago.

We're on one of the few commercial flights from London into Tripoli, the capital of Libya. It's Gadhafi's last major stronghold, a holdout. We don't know what we're going to find. We've been asked by the government to come and see their side of the story. They say all is calm. We'll see when we get there.

Our plane was mostly empty. And when we landed, so was a grand airport VIP lounge. We found a big portrait of Gadhafi still adorning the wall proof that for now, the colonel still controls his capital.

But just outside the lounge, a desperate scene as migrant workers from all over this region seek refuge and safe passage home.

Hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of people trying to get out just hanging out here. They don't have tickets, most of them, and there is garbage and clothes strewn all over the place. It seems they've just come here, because they are so unsure about what's happening in the city itself.

How many days have you been here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. Maybe four days, maybe five days.

AMANPOUR: With no money, no airline tickets, and little hope of making it on to a flight, these people have no idea how much longer they'll have to camp outside, as mounds of garbage pile up beside them.

We've left that sea of humanity behind at the airport. There were some soldiers guarding the entrance of the airport, but now we're driving into Tripoli itself. And so far, there is no sign of any violence or any conflict on this road.

After the eerie calm of the streets, a colorful neon welcome at the designated journalists hotel, a surreal scene since we've been told the city was now ringed with tans and pro-Gadhafi forces.

Earlier Saturday, reports that 500 miles to the east, cities along the Mediterranean coast had largely fallen. Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators celebrated there in Libya's second largest city Benghazi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never been as happy as today in my whole life.

AMANPOUR: And they were not alone. All along the coast, they were firing guns into the air, taking control of radio station, even mocking and impersonating their leader of more than four decades. All this, as after a week of protests and violent reprisals, President Obama issued a statement and said that Gadhafi needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now.

I sat down for exclusive interviews with Gadhafi's sons. First, I spoke to Saif al Islam who is also one of his chief advisers.

Thank you for joining us.

The president of the United States, President Obama, has called on your father to step down. What do you think of that?

SAIF GADHAFI, MOAMMAR GADHAFI'S SON: First of all, it's not an American business. That's number one. Second, do you think this is a solution? Of course not.

AMANPOUR: Says if a person can only keep control by using force, then legitimacy is gone.

SAIF GADHAFI: Right. But what happened? We didn't use force. Second, we still have people around us. So we are in Tripoli. In Tripoli, we have here half of the population of Libya -- half. That's more than 2 million, 2.5 million people living in the city. Do you think because of 10,000 or 5,000 people, even if you have the demands against my father or whatever, it means that the whole Libyan population is against Mr. Gadhafi?

AMANPOUR: You said you're not using violence. But there are many reports of helicopter gunships, of people being killed, and also air force pilots defecting, jettisoning their planes rather than carry out ordered to bomb citizens?

SAIF GADHAFI: Show me a single attack. Show me a single bomb. Show me a single casualties. The Libyan air force destroyed just the ammunition sites.

AMANPOUR: What do you make of your diplomats in New York, for instance, in Washington who are resigning because they say they can't abide this policy?

SAIF GADHAFI: I talk to them.

AMANPOUR: Why do you think people are deserting your father?

SAIF GADHAFI: Many of them -- they think the system will collapse. So the best thing is to jump from the ship. The ship is sinking, they think, so it's better to jump.

AMANPOUR: Will there be a new regime?

SAIF GADHAFI: If you are strong, they love you. If not, they say good-bye. That is good. We get rid of them. Hypocrites.

AMANPOUR: Do you think they'll get rid of you?

SAIF GADHAFI: No. They are the leaders. They have no future. They want to join the youth revolution.

AMANPOUR: What is the plan? What is your plan? Are you staying, are you going? What is your father's plan? Is he staying? Is he going?

SAIF GADHAFI: Listen, nobody is leaving this country. We live here. We die here. This is our country. The Libyans are our people. And for myself, I believe I'm doing the right thing.

AMANPOUR: Before all this happened, you were known, certainly in the west, for being a reformer, speaking the language of reform for Libya. But it didn't happen. Why did it take this kind of crisis for you to start talking about reform again? Wouldn't it have been better to have implemented what you're talking about now way before?

SAIF GADHAFI: Of course.

AMANPOUR: So why not?

SAIF GADHAFI: It was a big mistake not to move fast. I was -- I was -- like -- shouting every day. But I was -- I was crazy about going fast and implementing the reforms at the right time. I worked very hard to go to implement many ideas. But things went wrong. So now we are in a difficult situation.

And -- the people who were responsible for that, stopping me from going forward, they are the same people who I see them every day on the TV saying, bye-bye. We're going with the next group. The same faces. The same people.

AMANPOUR: Are you afraid at all?

SAIF GADHAFI: Afraid of what? The point that you're hearing rumors, false reports. Please, take your cameras tomorrow morning, even tonight go Libya. Everything is calm. Everything is peaceful.

The point is there's a big gap between reality and the media reports.

AMANPOUR: Saif, I'm going to ask you a question. You say there's a big, big gap between reality and media reports. Some might say there's a big, big gap between what you're thinking and saying to me and the reality around the rest of Libya.

SAIF GADHAFI: Why the south -- the whole south is calm. The west is calm. The middle is calm. Even part of the east.

AMANPOUR: What do you make of the international community's reaction? There are calls to have heavy sanctions, to freeze your assets, your father's assets, family assets.

SAIF GADHAFI: First of all, we don't have many outside. We are a very modest family and everybody knows that. And you a lot of people say, you have money in Europe or Switzerland. It's a -- it's a joke.

AMANPOUR: A few hours later, we went to talk to Gadhafi's son, Saadi who has lived many years outside this country, used to play football for an Italian team. We reached him just as news emerged of fresh U.N. sanctions against his family.

AMANPOUR: Overnight, Libya time, the United Nations slapped sanctions on this country and a travel ban. How is that going to affect you?

SAADI GADHAFI: Only about the -- only the travel issue. This bothers me so much, because I spent most of my life traveling.

AMANPOUR: So what's in your immediate plans if you can't travel?

SAADI GADHAFI: I'm going to hire a lawyer. I have some hobbies after I quit football. I have some hobbies like I do some hunting, I go to safari. So in Libya there is no safari, so I've got to safari, I have got to hire a lawyer.


AMANPOUR: You have got to get out of Libya.

SAADI GADHAFI: I mean, I have to be -- I would like to live normally.

AMANPOUR: The people here say they would like to live normally. They want normal freedoms. They want a normal life. And they haven't had it.

SAADI GADHAFI: They have. They have.

AMANPOUR: You think so?

SAADI GADHAFI: Yes, but the people -- everybody wants more. There is no limit. You give this, then you get asked for that, you know?

AMANPOUR: What do you think is happening to your region?

SAADI GADHAFI: An earthquake.

AMANPOUR: An earthquake?

SAADI GADHAFI: An earthquake. It's a fever. It's going to spread everywhere. No one can -- will stop it. This is my personal opinion. And the chaos will be everywhere.

AMANPOUR: You think it will be chaos? Or you think it will be a fever of freedom and democracy? SAADI GADHAFI: No, no, no, no. They think it's about freedom. Everybody loves freedom. I love freedom, you love freedom. But it's much more powerful, this earthquake. No one can control it.

AMANPOUR: Will your father leave?

SAADI GADHAFI: I think it's -- if he -- let's say if he has to leave today, if he leaves today, today, just one hour later, local war, civil war in Libya.

AMANPOUR: You have traveled a lot. You've lived in other countries. When you see the kind of life, the kind of freedoms, the kind of democracy that other people have, did it make you think that people here should have it? How did you feel coming back here?

SAADI GADHAFI: Of course. This is the main thing. This is the main issue for bothering -- this thing is bothering me every day.

AMANPOUR: Is it hard being Gadhafi's son?

SAADI GADHAFI: I have to deal with it. I would like to be myself. I would like to be just Saadi.


AMANPOUR: My exclusive interviews with Colonel Gadhafi's two sons, Saadi and Saif. And you've heard them both dismiss the fact that lots of this country has fallen to the opposition.

We're now going to my colleague, Jeremy Bowen, of BBC, our partner station, who has just returned from Zawiyah, not far from this capital.

Jeremy, who is in control of Zawiyah?

JEREMY BOWEN, BBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christiane, the center of Zawiyah, as I would say, demonstrators there today, a couple of thousand who were in the main square. They've got a tank. They've got some heavy weapons there as well. And they're in control of that part of the town.