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CNN NEWSROOM

Aired December 13, 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.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael McManus.

SHARON NORTH, CO-HOST: And I'm Sharon North.

The Bush administration prepares to release what's being called a chilling videotape of Osama bin Laden. The tape apparently shows bin Laden boasting about the September 11 attacks.

MCMANUS: And in eastern Afghanistan, U.S.-led air strikes resumed near Tora Bora. This, as Afghan opposition leaders propose a new deal to al Qaeda forces. The deal calls for al Qaeda fighters to hand over bin Laden in exchange for freedom.

CNN's Jamie McIntyre has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once criticized as a Cold War relic, the non-stealthy B-1 bomber has become a workhorse of the Afghanistan war. On Wednesday, a B-1 left its base on the British island of Diego Garcia for the 4,000-mile bombing run over Afghanistan. Pentagon sources say it developed mechanical problems about 100 miles out and tried to return to make an emergency landing.

Air Force Captain William Steele was the pilot.

CAPT. WILLIAM STEELE, U.S. AIR FORCE, B-1 PILOT: We had multiple malfunctions. The aircraft was out of control, and we all had to eject.

MCINTYRE: The plane was at 15,000 feet, and 30 miles from land.

STEELE: I wasn't scared until I was actually in the chute on my way down, because at the time of the accident, I was just trying my best to save the aircraft and the air crew, and do my job.

MCINTYRE: A KC-10 refueling jet was flying nearby, and heard the distress call. MAJ. BRANDON NUGENT, KC-10 PILOT: The pilot in the water apparently saw our lights and shot a flare. And when we saw that, we were extremely excited about that. And then shortly thereafter, Captain Dali (ph) was able to establish radio contact with the co- pilot of the downed aircraft.

MCINTYRE: While the plane circled above and the four crew members bobbed in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean for about two hours, a U.S. Navy destroyer raced to the area at top speed, only to find the ocean treacherously shallow.

CMDR. HANK MIRANDA, COMMANDING OFFICER, USS RUSSELL: We brought the ship as close as possible to where we thought the aircraft or the downed pilots were. And we had to put our boats in the water to actually make the recovery, about seven miles away from the ship.

MCINTYRE: Navy Lieutenant Dan Manetzke headed up the small boat rescue crew.

LT. DAN MANETZKE, U.S. NAVY: Basically, I think they were just as happy to see us as we were to see them.

STEELE: This is Captain Steele. I have to say, I got to disagree a little bit on that last point. I think we were much happier to see them than they were to see us.

MCINTYRE (on camera): The crew suffered only minor injuries, cuts and bruises mostly. Captain Steele described the ejection as the most violent thing he's ever felt. He said he's pretty sore but he's ready to fly again, as soon as the Air Force will send him back into battle.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMANUS: U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is stressing the importance of international cooperation in bringing key terrorist suspects to justice. While touring Europe Wednesday, Ashcroft said Britain has been a model of cooperation.

Robin Oakley has that report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN EUROPEAN POLITICAL EDITOR (voice-over): The U.S. Attorney General and Britain's Home Secretary David Blunkett were soon good buddies. Though Mr. Ashcroft hasn't got his man yet, he thanked Mr. Blunkett for dispatch and cooperation with U.S. efforts to extradite the Algerian pilot Lofti Raissi, wanted for questioning over September the 11th.

Raissi, he suggested, doesn't face the death penalty. But what did he feel about European reluctance to extradite suspects who might? Would he guarantee it wouldn't be used in those cases? He didn't say yea and he didn't say nay. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We deal with those cases on a case-by-case basis. And frankly, individuals and nations with whom we have dealt regarding extraditions have dealt on a case-by-case basis, and I think that's the best way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OAKLEY: There have been stutters in Europe's responses to fighting terrorism. The House of Lords in Britain is mulling Mr. Blunkett's anti-terrorism bill, and a reluctant Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's Prime Minister, had to be strong-armed by other European leaders into agreeing to a Europe-wide arrest warrant.

Mr. Ashcroft, who's journeying on to Spain, Germany and Italy, stressed the need for a coordinated response to terrorists who trained in one country, plotted in a second and operated in a third. In London, he practiced his defense of the U.S. decision to try some terrorists before military commissions, not a popular move in Europe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHCROFT: That the president wants to have the tool available, if he feels it necessary, to vindicate crimes of atrocity against the United States in the same way the world has endorsed historically and presently the ability to remediate war crimes through war crimes commissions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OAKLEY (on camera): In London, Mr. Ashcroft insisted that cooperation between the U.K. and the U.S. was a model of how the battle against terrorism should be fought. He was not in Europe, he insisted, to tell others how to direct their battle against the terrorists. That was a decision each mature sovereign independent nation (ph) had to take for itself.

Robin Oakley, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NORTH: Leaders of Afghanistan's interim government prepare for a transition of power and look to the challenges that lie ahead. Members of the new government are filing into the Afghan capital, Kabul. Among them, there are some rumblings of discontent, but as CNN's Jim Clancy reports, in the end the interest of peace likely will prevail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the closest thing to a state ceremony seen in Afghanistan for a long time, Interior Minister Yunis Qanuni stepped onto the tarmac at Bagram Airport to an official welcome by Northern Alliance military commanders and troops. The popular Interior Minister is designated to continue in his role when the new interim government assumes power on December 22, but he acknowledged the challenges that meant.

"Clearly we have opened a new chapter in the history of Afghanistan," he said, "after 23 years of war. What follows isn't going to be simple," he added, "it isn't going to be easy."

Qanooni is seen as one of the liberal reformers within the Northern Alliance who may play a key role in controlling these, his military commanders, thus insuring a smooth power transition. Like others here, he is playing down any debate over the number of multinational security forces who may be deployed in Kabul.

"We need peace in Afghanistan," said Qanooni, "and if that requires peacekeeping forces, we would appreciate and welcome them. The number of those forces depends on the need."

The first place anyone may be needed to keep the peace is here inside the presidential palace where de facto president, Burhanuddin Rabbani is clearly upset about Qanooni and the international community. Professor Rabbani told reporters the deal had been -- in his words -- "imposed by outsiders." Despite that, he pledged to hand over power on December 22 to Hamid Karzai, the man designated in Bonn to head up the interim government. But bordering on bitterness, Professor Rabbani said he had not appointed Qanooni Interior Minister or sent him to Bonn to sign any deals, only to talk and negotiate.

The streets of Kabul are already clearly picking sides. With the interim government a done deal, the man who may have sidelined the unpopular Professor Rabbani was greeted by throngs of well-wishers. The momentum, it would appear, is already with those who have pledged to take Afghanistan in a new direction.

(on camera): Residents of Kabul remember the rule of Professor Rabbani as a time of wholesale destruction and tens of thousands of civilian casualties in their city. It is no surprise that many, if not most, would regard his retirement from politics as his greatest contribution to his country. Retirement, Professor Rabbani says he hasn't decided.

Jim Clancy, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NORTH: CNN's Christiane Amanpour spoke with the man chosen to lead Afghanistan's interim government. He's Hamid Karzai, and here's what he had to say about his crucial new role.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMANPOUR: Mr. Karzai, here we are sitting in Kandahar, surrounded by tribal elders and leaders. In about a week's time, you're going to take the helm of a new government for Afghanistan, an interim government. The future is about to begin. What is going through your head right you now? KARZAI: It's an exciting time. It's the new beginning for Afghanistan. After many years of disasters and bloodshed and suffering for our people, we have a new opportunity, a new opportunity that the Afghan people must grasp, must take, a new opportunity that the world must use to help us.

I think Afghanistan will be peaceful, will be stable. And it will be peaceful and stable because the people want it, the Afghans want it. And it will be peaceful and stable because the international community is helping.

AMANPOUR: You made a decision, a risky decision during the U.S. bombing to come into Afghanistan, to rally support against the Taliban. Shortly, before you came, another leader tried the same thing; Abdul Haq was captured and executed on the spot. Wasn't to terrifying? Why did you decide to do it after that happened?

KARZAI: It's very unfortunate that we don't have among us a very fine man, a man that fought against the former Soviet Union. It shows the character of the Taliban, that they killed an Afghan hero for a terrorist. They protected the terrorist, a foreign terrorist, but they killed their own hero.

From that point, was when I learned that Abdul Haq was killed. My resolve got unbelievably stronger, beyond measure, to remove the Taliban by whatever means. And it was at that time that I decided that while I'm here to rally people peacefully against the Taliban, against terrorism and to basically work the people against him, if need be, we must also take arms to get rid of this menace in Afghanistan.

AMANPOUR: Did you think you would survive?

KARZAI: When I was beginning my journey from the Pakistan border into Afghanistan, we were poor people on two motorbikes. We gave ourselves a 60 percent death chance and 40 percent chance to live. And the 40 percent won.

AMANPOUR: And when you came in, what did you have other than a desire to make this work? You didn't have an army. You didn't have arms. You didn't have the equipment. What did you have?

KARZAI: The population. The people. The knowledge that the people are against what's going on in Afghanistan because the Afghans want dignity and honor, because the Afghans want the terrorists to go, because the Afghans want the terrorists to finish, to be eliminated, that the Afghans do not the Taliban, do not want the oppression. I knew that.

AMANPOUR: You asked the United States to help at some point. How did to work?

KARZAI: It worked well. I asked the United States after I learned that the Taliban and their Arab terrorist friends are not going to go by negotiations or by peaceful means and that they are going to be extremely brutal against those people who rise up against them to oppose them. They killed people, so I decided to ask for U.S. help and other international help and I did receive it.

AMANPOUR: And what did you get from the U.S.? And what did you ask for?

KARZAI: I asked for everything, for humanitarian help, for arms, for political help. I got all of it.

AMANPOUR: And how did you go from province to province, village to village to rally support?

KARZAI: Sometimes using motorbikes, sometimes walking. I've been walking probably sometimes 18 hours a day, sometimes riding on a motorbike, sometimes walking through a whole riverbed for maybe 4 hours, sometimes driving in a pickup truck through valleys full of water and mountains. It was exciting. It was a mission, and I never felt tired. I never felt helpless (ph). I kept going, so did my friends, so did my colleagues.

AMANPOUR: Did you have any battles?

KARZAI: We were there and after having stayed for three days, early in the morning some 400 Taliban and Arabs attacked us and we fought them. And there I found out that this is a very easily defeatable group of people -- easily defeatable. From that point, I was sure that we had won the war against them.

AMANPOUR: And what motivates a man such as yourself. You have live abroad, you have studied abroad, you have been in business. What motivates you to come back and walk around this country, to rally support, and...

KARZAI: Patriotism. I love my country. Certainly that. The quality of life for our people. I want an Afghan man and an Afghan woman and an Afghan child to live like people live in the rest of the world. I want goals for my people. I want education for my people. I want them to live with dignity. I want them to have an economic opportunity. It's a great nation. It's a great heroic nation, but has got nothing. We must give them that and I will God willing.

AMANPOUR: People have tried and failed before to do what you are saying you want done for your country. The world has promised before and broken promises to help this country. What makes you think it would be different this time?

KARZAI: The Afghans have learned a bitter lesson; so have the international community; so has the United States. I must be very blunt. If the world does not pay attention to Afghanistan, if it leaves it weak, and basically, a country in which one can interfere, all these bad people will come again. So a strong Afghanistan, a peaceful Afghanistan is the best guarantee for all.

We will help international community fight terrorism. We will first finish it in Afghanistan. We have suffered. We were the first victims of terrorism. And we will finish it here and help the rest of the world, but the world must recognize that what happened in Afghanistan, was not because of Afghans. It was because of interference from outside and negligence by the international community. I'm sure they recognize that and they will help now.

AMANPOUR: You talk about foreigners. Do you think that the people of Afghanistan accept the foreigners who are here now, the people who are actually trying to help, the Americans, the British, the rest of the multinational force when it comes...

KARZAI: There's a difference. There's a foreigner that comes to help. There's a foreigner that comes to destroy. When we were fighting the Soviets, the United States helped and our people received that help wholeheartedly. Now, too, I saw the Afghan people who received that help wholeheartedly. They accepted it.

When we had a bomb on us, by accident, a few days ago, a lot of Afghans died and we saw several American lives were lost. The people came to me and they told me that, "Look, have no complaints, things like that happen." These people are helping us.

AMANPOUR: On that note, thank you very much for joining us.

KARZAI: You're welcome ma'am.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMANUS: Over the past few months, we've all had lessons in religion and culture. After September 11, racism and attacks against Muslims and followers of Islam increased. President Bush, along with many other leaders, called for calm and understanding. That understanding lives on with a 13-year-old boy who continues to stress the differences between al Qaeda and his faith.

Stephanie Oswald has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MR. SHERMOHAMMED, JIBRAN'S FATHER: Look at this.

MRS. SHERMOHAMMED, JIBRAN'S MOTHER: Poser.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHANIE OSWALD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These playful, peace-filled scenes are the images Jibran Shermohammed associates with Pakistan, the country at the center of the war on terror, the country where he was born.

JIBRAN SHERMOHAMMED, AGE 13: Kids are just like kids over here. We go downstairs, we play hide-and-seek, we ride bikes, we like fly kites and stuff. It's just like a regular place. It's no different than America except for like they have rupees and we have dollars.

OSWALD: But for many in the U.S., these are the pictures from Pakistan seen lately.

J. SHERMOHAMMED: Everybody sees on TV it's a big corrupt place where everybody goes around burning U.S. flags, but that's just not true at all. It's a good place. Maybe they're not so rich like USA, but it's still a good place, you know. That's what I wish everybody could see.

OSWALD: So after the events of September 11, this precocious seventh grader was faced with defending his homeland and his religion.

J. SHERMOHAMMED: In social studies we have a whole section of Islam. And we were watching this video and it talks about how people are in Pakistan and in Afghanistan and after the video was done, my friend, he asked me, he's like, are you Islam -- are you Muslim? And I said, yes, sure, why? And he said because I just want to know if you're going to grow up and come to bomb us when you grow up. And it just felt bad. I didn't like that at all.

OSWALD (on camera): What did you say?

J. SHERMOHAMMED: He said it was a joke. He started laughing. I just turned around and walked away. I couldn't do anything.

OSWALD (voice-over): Jibran was not alone, though President Bush has repeatedly said it's a war on terror not on religion, hundreds of anti-Muslim incidents have been reported nationwide since September 11.

Jibran decided to combat persecution with patriotism when his school was looking for ways to raise money for the victims of the terrorist attacks.

J. SHERMOHAMMED: So me and my friends thought of the idea, what if we had separate American flag pieces that go up with people's name on them and it makes a big flag?

OSWALD: Nearly 2,000 red, white and blue pieces were sold for $3 each. Stars went for 100 bucks. Their goal: to raise $4,000.

J. SHERMOHAMMED: Everyday I'd always be saying to my friends, hey you guys, look up, it's almost done. It's almost done. It's almost done. The last day when it was done, my friend told me and she's like, look up, it's done. I'm like that's cool.

MR. SHERMOHAMMED: It is our obligation as Muslims to live by an example.

OSWALD: A sense of civic duty and a commitment to volunteerism are feelings Jibran and his younger sister, Maheem (ph), are growing up with.

MR. SHERMOHAMMED: It is in our system that we volunteer and that is -- becomes our second nature. So we expect the same from our children.

MRS. SHERMOHAMMED: The day that happened, the 11th, that crash and everything, I always go to tuck them in. And I went to Jibran and he said I want to do something for them. I want to give blood. Mama, you are going to join me for blood? I said that's not the only way to help them. There are so many ways which you can help them. He said -- he goes, I'll think about what I can do for them. That really makes me comfortable that my son is doing something that is good for a whole humanity and for a country.

OSWALD: This community spirit has helped earned Jibran a special honor in his school. The 13-year-old is one of 25 kids chosen by teachers for a student leadership group called the TRUST Team. TRUST stands for teaching respect and understanding to students and teachers. Its focus is diversity. The school invested $6,000 and worked with the national Anti-Defamation League to create a plan during the summer vacation.

(on camera): Just how much does a middle school in suburban Atlanta need diversity training? When this school first opened just four years ago, it was 97 percent Caucasian. That number has dropped to 81 percent, and there are 50 students at the school whose first language is something other than English.

(voice-over): The aim of the TRUST program is to teach members how to deal with intolerance, prejudice and racism.

EDDIE MARESH, TEACHER: I think you would be surprised at how aware they are of these issues because many of them have experienced them in one way or another.

OSWALD: And they got an immediate test. By coincidence, the TRUST Team idea was introduced to the students just days after September 11.

J. SHERMOHAMMED: That morning when the planes crashed, I didn't exactly know what was going on. And when I figured out it was Osama bin Laden, I was really, mad at him. And then when I figured out he was saying that it's because of his religion, oh I was really mad at him because my religion does not say anything like that. I mean it has nothing to do with the kind of things that he did. It's just what this one man and his loyal group say. They just don't like America so they come and bomb us and then they take the shield of Islam to have an excuse to get away with it.

OSWALD: And the events of this fall have made him more committed to becoming a U.S. citizen, a process his family has already begun.

(on camera): Do you think it means more to you, less to you or the same to become a U.S. citizen after what happened on September 11?

J. SHERMOHAMMED: Means more to me because now when people might say something to me, I'll say I'm a citizen too, you know. Why you got to make fun of me? I -- maybe I wasn't born in America but I belong to this country so please don't make fun of me. You know that's how it's going to feel to me, it's going to feel good.

OSWALD (voice-over): But for now, the TRUST Team's flag fund raising effort has galvanized the community.

SASHA ALI, STUDENT COUNCIL PRESIDENT: It was amazing the reaction of everybody. I didn't -- I didn't know that we could come together this much and be this enthusiastic.

MARESH: And I think there were people who needed a way to vent or to -- an outlet, and so it provided that, I think, for this school community.

OSWALD: The final result, more than twice their goal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like all the students and teachers of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Middle School for all their hard work and we really, appreciate (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

OSWALD: The celebration ceremony also gave Jibran an outlet.

J. SHERMOHAMMED: And then my other Muslim friends came up to me and told me that they were in the same situation and people were talking to them and asking them questions like that too. So next time you want to say something to somebody or ask them something, please try to understand the situation they're in and please try to respect them. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

OSWALD: As the war unfolds in Afghanistan, Jibran and others like him will fight their own battles using the weapon of education to overcome ignorance.

SEVEN WILLIAMS, SEVENTH GRADER: Because if we didn't understand each other, we'd be all mad and there'd be a lot of hatred.

ALI: It's sad that it took this to make everybody come together, but it has. It's brought everybody closer together.

MARESH: It's very refreshing or uplifting to see what the youth of America is capable of. And I think we're in good hands.

OSWALD: And perhaps students here are learning another lesson that when it comes to patriotism, citizenship is in the heart.

(on camera): What does the flag mean to you personally?

J. SHERMOHAMMED: It means freedom, peace, tolerance -- lots of tolerance. It means lots of things. Like some people think that just because I'm Middle Eastern I hate the flag or I hate America, but that's not true. I mean this is my country, it's my homeland.

(SINGING GOD BLESS AMERICA)

OSWALD (voice-over): Stephanie Oswald, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMANUS: Lessons for us all right now.

Well following the collapse of the Twin Towers, a storm-size cloud of ash and dust covered everything in Lower Manhattan. As the dust settled and the skies cleared, a symbol of survival emerged and became something of an icon.

Here's our Jeanne Moos with the story.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the story of a statue that gained in stature when the World Trade Center came tumbling down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, he survived, and that's wonderful.

MOOS: His name is Double Check, and those who encountered him that day must have done a double take. They must have thought that he was a person who was in shock. This is what double check looked like on September 11th. Jeff Mermelstein took this now-famous photograph for "The New York Times."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right place, right time kind of thing, and the picture's a good picture, and I'm proud of it.

MOOS: Proud, but surprised at the attention it got. E-mails and letters, even a poem, praise from strangers and relatives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He congratulated me on making the picture of the century.

MOOS: It wasn't long until rescue workers made a shrine out of Double Check, leaving everything from notes to hats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the least I can do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My God.

MOOS: By the time Double Check's creator, sculptor J. Seward Johnson, got to ground zero weeks later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You couldn't see him practically, and he was sort of buried in love.

Johnson plans to cast the mementos in bronze and weld them onto Double Check as a permanent tribute. He wants to add a finish that mimics the ash-covered look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just figured that he was gone.

MOOS: Johnson, an heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical fortune, says Double Check reminds him of a Japanese statue that survived two miles from the epicenter of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. A gift of the Japanese government, the statue now stands in front of a Buddhist church in New York.

There are actually a total of eight Double Checks in existence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just want to see what he looks like without his hat.

MOOS: One art expert called it weird that such a forgettable work should become so poignant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forgettable, yes, it made me angry at first. MOOS: But Johnson says his statues are supposed to blend in, to take you by surprise.

One ground zero volunteer said of Double Check...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: he represented the body of all the people who didn't have bodies.

MOOS: The Taliban may have succeeded in blowing up ancient Bhuddas in Afghanistan, but time hasn't run out for this bronze businessman.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMANUS: That's NEWSROOM Thursday. I'm Michael McManus.

NORTH: And I'm Sharon North. We'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.

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