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Aired October 8, 2001 - 04:30   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM HAYNES, CNN CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Tom Haynes.

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CNN CO-HOST: And I'm Michael McManus. Twenty- six days after the deadly terrorist attacks on the United States, "America Strikes Back."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On my orders, the United States' military has begun strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime, and we are joined in this operation by our staunch friend, Great Britain.

Other close friends, including Canada, Australia, Germany and France, have pledged forces, as the operation unfolds. More than 40 countries in the Middle East; Africa; Europe; and across Asia have granted air transit or landing rights; even more have shared intelligence. We are supported by the collective will of the world.

MCMANUS (voice-over): The United States certainly does not stand alone in this fight against terrorism. In fact, the strikes Sunday began with a volley of Tomahawk cruise missiles from U.S. and British ships.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: No country likely commits forces to military action and the inevitable risks involved. But we made it clear following the attacks upon the United States on September the 11th, that we would take part in action, once it was clear who was responsible. There is no doubt in my mind nor in the minds of anyone who has been through all the available evidence, including intelligence material, that these attacks were carried out by the al Qaeda network, masterminded by Osama bin Laden.

MCMANUS: The operation is focusing on targets across Afghanistan, through the missiles launched from the sea as well as conventional and guided bombs delivered by B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers. The targets include aircraft and air defenses in Taliban-controlled areas, including sites near Kabul and Kandahar. United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld described the mission as continuous and rightly the first step in a long war against terrorism. Meanwhile, Sunday, the Arab television network al-Jazeera released this new video of Osama bin Laden. On the tape, bin Laden said -- quote -- "God is giving Americans what they deserve," -- end quote. -- It is not clear when the tape was recorded.

AARON BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to go back say about an hour maybe it's a little less than that when we heard from al-Jazeera TV in the Middle East. Is the Osama bin Laden statement significant to you? I watched you watch that. Is it significant to you on a couple of scores?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK: It was significant. First of all, it was -- looked to me like it was pre-taped, looked like daylight or it was a rehearsed statement; it was pre-positioned somewhere, presumably outside of Afghanistan. It was ready to be used whenever these attacks began, so he was expecting it and he's using the attacks as a springboard to put forth his own campaign (INAUDIBLE) the cause of Islam to his side, so he is trying to work to make this a matter of struggle between faiths whereas Secretary Rumsfeld has said they clearly didn't acknowledge.

MCMANUS: As military operations move forward in Afghanistan, humanitarian missions are also planned. The country has little in terms of resources and capital, yet it's been of central interest to the world's super powers.

Kitty Pilgrim has more on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One of the poorest countries in the world: little industry, few communications, phones or television, roads destroyed by war. Why has Afghanistan played such an important role in world power politics? Location.

MARIN STRMECKI, SMITH RICHARDSON FOUNDATION: Afghanistan lies at the confluence of great empires, and it's also at the center of the great trade routes in Central Asia. And that's what's led it to be the arena for competition among great powers.

PILGRIM: Afghanistan is about the size of Texas, but look at what is around it. On the east, China, bordered by Iran; to the south and east, Pakistan, the former Soviet Republics, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Russia. A usual buffer state became a passage for Soviet thrust toward the Persian Gulf, invading in 1979. With the Soviet withdrawal of troops in 1989, it became a powder keg of rivalries until the Taliban gained control in 1998.

Then the area became an incubator for terrorism and criminal activity, the world's largest opium producer, until the Taliban shut down production of poppy. It still is the matrix of smuggling rings, which flourish because little else does in the region.

BADNA KUMAT, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN REPUBLICAN: Literally everything you see that can be smuggled is smuggled through Afghanistan, and that has created not only a kind of an instability in Afghanistan, but for wider regions.

PILGRIM: Afghanistan has exported its chaos, training terrorists to fight in nearby Chechnya and Kashmir. Dropped from diplomatic contact, Afghanistan has deteriorated in its isolation. Just days ago, the old U.S. Embassy sign, left over from the U.S. withdrawal in 1989, was torn down.

(on camera): Last week, Washington said again, the time for diplomacy is past.

Kitty Pilgrim, CNN Financial News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMANUS: Now, diplomacy gives way to action, and while the action got underway in the air, the operation could unfold another way. Fighting forces are preparing for any possibility. In Afghanistan, the terrain is rugged. The mountains and the cliffs present a challenge to any ground troops, which might enter the region. In the United States, the area in California, known as the Sierra Nevada, closely resembles the landscape of Afghanistan. So it's become a major training ground for the tools and technology of combat, as Thelma Gutierrez reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a covert world closed to civilians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven-four-six-four-eight-one, they're still on the move.

GUTIERREZ: A place where commandos blend into the night, glimpsed only with their night-vision lenses. It's called the Mountain Warfare Training Center near Bridgeport, California, where 10,000 U.S. Marines practice mountain assault techniques every year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Small reconnaissance, trying to check out the area around us.

GUTIERREZ: The military says this is routine training, but this year, the training has special relevance. The rugged terrain here matches some of the challenges of Afghanistan's mountains.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).

GUTIERREZ: The training is designed to simulate real-battle conditions. This is the field command center, a high-tech mobile communications operation, where the units' divisions are tracked and so are the enemies'. No phone calls, no two-way radios are needed here. LT. COL. DAVIA FUQUEA, U.S. MARINE CORPS: In this corner, we maintain what's called the VIA SAT Digital Communications System, and load it into the computer, shoot it in reverse transmission to higher headquarters, and now all of a sudden, they have a complete picture of the operation (INAUDIBLE) that we want to carry out.

GUTIERREZ: It happens instantaneously; the information is encrypted twice. But technology has its price.

FUQUEA: These are tremendous tools that give us tremendous capability, but also like anything, it is susceptible to viruses, and also I have to keep a generator outside running all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Along with the (INAUDIBLE) five years ago doing this,

FUQUEA: ...because I didn't have (INAUDIBLE), and I could do everything (INAUDIBLE).

GUTIERREZ: The troops stay on the move all night, in the cold with little (INAUDIBLE). By day, they practice survival on steep hillsides that reach 14,000 feet.

KEVIN DILE, MILITARY COMMANDER: This mountain range, in particular, has very, very loose rock, it's all shallow, which means every foot you put down, doesn't stay where you put it. It'll go over two foot below you.

GUTIERREZ: For the past month, the 42nd Commando Group of the British Royal Marines trained alongside the first battalion (INAUDIBLE) Regiment in North Carolina.

LT. COL. DAVID HOOK, ROYAL MARINE COMMANDER: You don't have the opportunity to train at this sort of altitude in the United Kingdom. But more importantly, it gives us the opportunity to train among some of our U.S. Marine Corps brothers.

GUTIERREZ: Together, they demonstrate an assault up a 300-foot cliff.

CAPT. BRAD YOUNG, U.S. MARINE CORPS: It's really an indirect approach, and the reason they're coming this route is because it's not defended, and it gives them the ability to slip in the back door with minimum force.

GUTIERREZ: The days of practice pay off. They make it up to the ridge within minutes. Neither of these units, Americans or British, have yet been given deployment orders. They say, with this rugged mountain training, they're ready when the order comes.

Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, in Sierra Nevada, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: The United States has vowed to hold terrorists and the countries that harbor them accountable. Terrorism has roots in a number of countries, countries the United States makes a point not to do business with. Others, however, including some in the international coalition against terrorism, are not so choosy.

Once again, here's Kitty Pilgrim.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Terrorists have been trained, nurtured and harbored in many countries around the world. Each year, the U.S. State Department issues a list of states, which sponsor terrorism. Proudly listing Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, states, which the United States has refused to deal with on any level, diplomatic or commercial; yet these standards are not upheld by other countries, including the U.S. allies.

ERIC KRAKOWSKI, AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY COUNCIL: In general terms, as the United States take in a more principled stand with regard to the sponsors of terrorism than have many of the European states that have persisted in dealing with them in their business as usual since.

PILGRIM: Iran, by most accounts, has exported more terrorists and terrorist acts than any other nation. Iraq, is? still under U.N. sanctions for its role in the Gulf War. Yet other nations are clamoring to trade with Iraq and Libya. Yet all are viewed as potential sources of oil.

JIM PHILIPS: The war over Iraqi oil is very strong for Russia, which wants to get a foothold in the lucrative oil market, also for France, which wants to get it's foot in.

PILGRIM: Cuba is an open trading partner with many countries in Europe, even though the U.S. embargo is still in place-- a major point of friction in U.S. trade relations with Europe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM (on camera): The countries where the terrorists operate can be just about any industrialized nation. It makes sense to target terrorist states. But it's clear, as the coalition building continues, that vigilance must be heightened. It's not that simple when it comes to international politics.

Kitty Pilgrim, CNN Financial News, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Breaking up the financial network of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization is one of the main goals of the international campaign against terrorism.

But as Mike Chinoy reports, bin Laden may be using a traditional financial system that is hard to detect and even harder to stop.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the heart of old Peshawar, in teaming lanes virtually unchanged from a century ago, a widespread, low test, and illegal banking system is concerning the hi-tech financial sleuths on the Osama bin Laden money trail. This system is known as "hawala" in Arabic or "hundi" here in Pakistan. It's a way of moving cash across borders quickly, cheaply, and without detection.

NASSER ALI KHAN, UNIVERSITY OF PESHAWAR: This is the most effective, most efficient method of transacting businesses' assets. And huge amounts of money and plus a lot of black money flows in through these channels.

CHINOY: It works like this, suppose you want to send say, $10,000 to New York, you take the cash to a dealer here who gives you a code number. You tell the code to the recipient who goes to a designated dealer in New York and collects the cash. The dealers settle up later. It's a paperless transaction based on trust and almost impossible to track.

AGHA EJAZ, BANKER: Hawala amount is untraceable. There is no evidence. Well, if you send or remit your money through a bank, you know that that is an official money, and one has to pay taxes or that is used for the economic development of a country. But when the hawala amount is sent, you know, there is no record of that.

CHINOY: In South Asia and the Middle East, hawala is routinely used to circumvent bureaucratic and inefficient banking systems, especially, by overseas workers, sending money to relatives at home. But it's also used for criminal activities.

EJAZ: The hawala system actually is a system, which is used for the illegal payments of every sort, whether for smuggling, for heroin, for anything.

CHINOY: And it's widely suspected that the bin Laden network regularly uses hawala to move it's own funds around the world.

KHAN: For organizations that want to hide their transactions from authority, for example, this is the perfect mechanism.

CHINOY: And it won't be easy to rout out. Pakistan, who has tried for years to crack down, but this, has only served to drive many dealers underground. Any of these money changers could be handling hawala transactions. None of them will say so publicly.

Indeed, hawala continues to flourish today. There is no way to know the exact figures, but it's estimated that five to six billion dollars, more than three times, what's sent through official banks are flowing through the hawala system here, every year.

Mike Chinoy, CNN, Peshawar, Pakistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMANUS: The suspected mastermind behind the attacks on September 11, Osama bin Laden seeks to rid the Muslim world of any U.S. presence and Western influence. How does someone belonging to a peaceful religion justify war and violence? A question many people are now asking as they struggle to define a faith often misunderstood. With an in depth report, here's our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's 2:00, and the faithful heed the call to Friday prayer. This is the oldest mosque in the city of Atlanta. Among the hundreds attending prayers here, is (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have always been a Muslim. My understanding of my world, my understanding of myself and my relationship with God is formatted by Islam.

AMANPOUR: Plemon El Amin is the mosque's religious leader.

PLEMON EL AMIN, ATLANTA MASJID OF AL-ISLAM: Islam is unique, because really it's not a religion; it's a way of life. We pray five times a day. We have a fast thing going for 30 days in the daylight hours of Ramadan. It's a faith that involves a whole waking out. Even when we go to sleep, we go to sleep with the name of the God, when we wake up, we are thinking on God, as we should be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But I'm thinking when I first go to Jumma to pray, I need to relax. I have (INAUDIBLE) try and if I get there early enough so then I can concentrate on the people around me and on what the Imam is saying.

IMAM HAKIM: The world will never be the same again brother and sisters.

AMANPOUR: Today, Imam Hakim condemns the terrorist attacks on America.

HAKIM: (INAUDIBLE) Islam never mentioned to do a thing like this, to get inside a cockpit, to drive the plane inside of a building. Can you imagine what kind of a man that is? This cannot be a human being. It was not Islam, I want to (INAUDIBLE) it's in no way, no form or fashion identifies with Islam. What has happened in New York was not Islam.

AMANPOUR: This is Islam, fair, dark and every color in between. Different nationalities, different cultures, Asian, Arab, African, American, European, all Muslim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The face of Islam is so multifaceted, so multicultural, so multi-ethnic, there is no one face.

AMANPOUR: There are more than one billion Muslims in the world, seven million of them in the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This story is happening in my country, in my hometown, in my community. Yes, this is one on terrorism or blood trail. AMANPOUR: (INAUDIBLE) is a writer for Atlanta's newspaper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The images that we get (INAUDIBLE) seem to be extremely (INAUDIBLE) and we have like the (INAUDIBLE). But often you've heard that woman are oppressed, and you know their men beat them, and you know, they all have like a hundred wives and all this other stuff and they're all suicide bombers.

AMANPOUR: There are many stereotypes that tarnish all Muslims, for women, wearing traditional scarves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the misconceptions is that women who do dress in hijab are itching to take it off; they're itching to put on the stiletto heels and the mini skirt and tease their hair out or whatever. One, you can do that in your house as much as you want with your husband, or your friends or your family. Two, everybody doesn't define their femininity by stiletto heels and mini skirts.

AMANPOUR: For some, modest dress is part of the code of personal behavior. A code that includes no sex before marriage, no alcohol, no drugs, no gambling. These are hard choices in a free society like America.

AMIN: But that's the challenge of faith. There is no morality if there is not choice. If there is no choice -- if there is no choice between right and wrong then you can't say, I am a moral person.

AMANPOUR: Nearly a month after the terrorists' struck New York and Washington, Muslims all over the world say that it's time now to set the record straight.

DR. KHALID SIDDIQ: It is an opportunity where Americans, I think, can see this moment to learn the truth about Islam. We'll have to change the mind-set of the Americans. We have to change the mind- set where they understand what Islam is and what Islam teaches.

AMANPOUR: Islam first took root in the Arab soil of ancient Arabia. The very word Islam is related to the Arabic word for peace. It means surrender, the act of submitting ones' entire being to God in order to achieve peace.

AMIN: If people could just hear the meanings behind these words, then they would see that this is not very different from being a good Christian; this is not very different from being a good Jew.

AMANPOUR: Trade was flourishing on the Arabian Peninsula in the earlier seventh century. While the Jews and Christians they bartered with worshipped one god, Arabs at that time honored an array of tribal Gods. Around the year 610, a merchant from Mecca named Mohammed Ibn Abdullah had an experience that would change his life and change the world.

JOHN ESPOSITO: He was a man who had a prosperous life as a businessman and that was a man who was questioning, and the traditional tells this was a man who was going through a bit of a kind of personal crisis as many did, in terms of, you know, what's life about, you know, what am I doing? And Mohammed in one of these moments heard a voice and the voice of

(INAUDIBLE).

AMANPOUR: The result according to Islam, a message from God dictated in Arabic that would eventually become their holy scripture, the Quran, literally, the recitation.

ESPOSITO: That Muslims do believe that this is (INAUDIBLE) word of God, that every word in this book comes directly as it would from God. But because it's a (INAUDIBLE) word of God does not mean that it is a literalist interpretation all the time.

AMANPOUR: That word and the religion the religion that sprung from it spread across three continents over the centuries that followed. At the time, the Islamic world was an oasis of civilization and learning.

ESPOSITO: During the dark ages they became the builders and the purveyors of civilization (INAUDIBLE). And after that passed that on to the West, whether it is philosophy, algebra, geometry, medicine, science, the arts, architecture and this is part of the kind of (INAUDIBLE), politically and culturally, of many Muslims.

AMANPOUR: But in the early years the spread of Islam was also violent and bloody.

KAREN ARMSTRONG: The prophet himself, he had to fight rules because he himself was under attack by the very powerful city of Mecca, who threatened to exterminate him. But the moment he realized the time, the tide had changed in his favor, he abandoned violence completely and achieved final victory by an ingenious policy of nonviolence.

AMANPOUR: And what does the Quran, itself, say about violence? Like the bible it's a book of both compassion and vengeance. For example one verse says, "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush."

ARMSTRONG: Since the Quran was coming into being during a period of deadly, dangerous, frightening war, occasionally the Quran does have to give directive about how this war is to be conducted. The Quran makes it clear that war is always evil, and it's an evil, and killing is always wrong.

AMANPOUR: The Quran also teaches tolerance of other religions. It includes some of the same teachings as Abraham, Moses and Jesus: a belief in one God, the Creator -- in this case, Allah.

ESPOSITO: Now, for example, Jesus is seen as a great prophet. The Virgin Mary is mentioned there in the Quran in the (INAUDIBLE) testament.

AMANPOUR: The Quran also says there should be no coercion of religion.

ESPOSITO: Islam is just a real friend of the (INAUDIBLE). Both the Quran and Islamic law accepted that Jews and Christians, for example, are people of God, that they have prophets and revelations.

AMANPOUR: Some Islamic countries today force women to wear the veil and treat them like second-class citizens. But that was never intended in the verses of the Quran.

ARMSTRONG: There's nothing in the Quran about all women having to be veiled or secluded in harems in separate parts of the house. And that came in two or three generations after the prophet. The Quran actually has a very positive message for women. The Quran gives women's rights of inheritance into wills, but (INAUDIBLE) in the West, and it wouldn't happen 'til the 19th century.

The Islamic tradition is upheld by five pillars of faith, the essential religious practices established by the Prophet Mohammed.

ESPOSITO: The first pillar of Islam, and in fact it is the very confessional of profession of faith. If you are a Muslim, you say it to profess your faith. There is (INAUDIBLE) God (INAUDIBLE) and Mohammad is the messenger of God.

AMANPOUR: The other pillars of faith, fasting during the month of Ramadan, a charitable (INAUDIBLE) to provide for the needy, and pray five times a day. Communion prayers are led by a person who knows the Quran; chosen by the congregation.

ESPOSITO: In Islam, you have religious leaders and you have religious scholars, and they're all entitled to their own interpretation until there is no single official person. The fifth pillar asks all Muslims, who are able, to make a pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca at least once in their lives. Every year, about two million people from every corner of the globe converge there for the annual pilgrimage known as the Hajj.

He drank from a (INAUDIBLE) like glass; that strips away class distinction. The huge crowd circles around an ancient shrine, as a sign of being a? positive community with God at its center. To these five pillars of Islam, some Muslims add their own; jihad, but the primary meaning of that word is not holy war but struggle.

Its basic and primary meaning; means the struggle to lead a good moral life as a believer. And just as in Christianity and Judaism, there is a notion that to follow God's will is difficult. That's the primary meaning of Islam. And the obligation of a Muslim is, in fact, to strive to realize God's will.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYNES: Indeed, Islam, a religion of many faces. To learn more about Islam, head to cnnfyi.com.

MCMANUS: And while you're there check out the story on the changing face of (INAUDIBLE) tactic education -- Paul. HAYNES: Yes, and that is CNN NEWSROOM for Monday. And, please stay tuned to CNN for continuing coverage of "America Strikes Back."

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