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Live From the Headlines: Marines Leave Baghdad; What Is Next for Scott Peterson?

Aired April 20, 2003 - 19:00   ET


SOPHIA CHOI, CNN ANCHOR: They came. They conquered. Now the Marines are leaving Baghdad to the Army.
And now to the Iraqi people. Tonight, how long it may take to bring order out of chaos.


GEORGE W.BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have always said democracy is going to be hard. It's not easy to go from being enslaved to being free, but it's going to happen.


CHOI: Scott Peterson's family speaks out about his arrest on charges of killing his pregnant wife.

This is LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES. I'm Sophia Choi at CNN Center in Atlanta. Glad you are with us.

The U.S. military is looking to keep a long-term relationship with Iraq, even though Saddam Hussein is gone, and the heavy fighting in Iraq appears to be over. The Pentagon is potentially interested in retaining access to four areas at Baghdad International Airport, in the southeast at Tallil, in the western desert, and at an airfield in the Kurdish north. Patty Davis has more from the Pentagon.


PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): U.S. Army troops continue to replace Marines in Baghdad. The Army is better equipped to handle the reconstruction of the battered capital. It is clear U.S. troops may be in Iraq for a while.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no choice but to stand and make certain that this is a stable and secure country for years to come.

AHMED CHALABI, IRAQI NATIONAL CONGRESS: I think the military presence in the Iraqi states must be -- is a necessity until, at least, the first democratic election is held, and I think this process should take two years.

DAVIS: Beyond stabilizing Iraq, the U.S. Military say it is interested in possibly having ongoing access to Iraq. A U.S. Military official says it would have to be negotiated with the future Iraq government, and no decision has been made.

Still undecided is whether the U.S. would want permanent bases or intermittent access to them in emergencies.

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), KANSAS: I think we may have presence, but I doubt very seriously if we will have permanent bases. I think that would be counterproductive to the efforts to stabilize the area.

DAVIS: The question of bases is likely to be part of a broader review by the Pentagon over U.S. Military presence in the region, alluded to recently by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The subject of a footprint for the United States post-Iraq is something that we are discussing and considering.

DAVIS: With Saddam Hussein's threat now gone, U.S. Military presence in neighboring Kuwait and Saudi Arabia could be cut significantly.


DAVIS: The one change already, the no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq, are no longer needed. They have tied up many troops for many years -- Sophia.

CHOI: Let me ask you about those members of Saddam Hussein's regime that have been taking into custody. What do we know about them?

DAVIS: Well, we know for sure that the four of hearts, and his name is Abd al-Khaliq Abd Al-Ghafur, has been taken into custody by the U.S. troops, and U.S. Central Command confirming that he was taken into custody yesterday. He is the minister of higher education and scientific research and, presumably, he might know something about weapons of mass destruction or, at the very least, where other Iraqi -- former Iraqi officials -- are located.

Another one that U.S. Central Command has not yet confirmed, but it says that the Iraqi National Congress has reported that it has, and plans to turn over, Saddam Hussein's son-in-law. His name, Jamal Mustafa Sultan. He is the nine of clubs in the U.S. deck of cards, that 55 most wanted list that it has out there for U.S. troops.

The Iraqi National Congress says that he turned himself in to them. He had been in Syria, and they had appealed to him, saying that he could get a fair process, rather than running for the rest of his life, and he decided, apparently, to do so, turn himself in.

Now the Iraqi National Congress saying that they plan to turn him over to U.S. forces at some point today. U.S. Central Command says that that has not happened yet.

If those two, though, are taken into custody, that will be seven in total on that -- those playing cards. Seven and then three in addition outside of that list. Back to you, Sophia. CHOI: Patty Davis at the Pentagon. Thanks so much.

And we will have more on Iraq today from "TIME" magazine's Michael Weisskopf and our own Rym Brahimi.

Also ahead, Saddam's money trail.

But right now we want to focus on Syria. President Bush said Syria is getting the message about not sheltering fleeing members of Saddam Hussein's regime. U.S. accusations that Syria was offering safe haven had raised misgivings in the region, but now the President says Syria wants to cooperate with the coalition. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has the latest now on the president's busy day.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): President Bush abandoned his traditional Easter sunrise service to worship with the soldiers at Fort Hood, including two POWs who had just returned from Iraq, Officers David Williams and Ronald Young.

BUSH: I am particularly grateful that these two men are with us today. I thank God for their lives.

MALVEAUX: The holiday message from the president: Things are looking up.

The military success in now paying off in neighboring Syria. This week the Bush administration called for Syria's president to turn over Saddam's cronies, who had allegedly fled into his country. Since those warnings, the border between Iraq and Syria has been closed and visa restrictions tightened, but the White House positive first steps.

BUSH: Seems like they are beginning to get the message, and when we think there is somebody there, or know somebody is there, we, of course, will pass on the name and fully expect the Syrian government to hand the person over.

MALVEAUX: And on North Korea, despite language from (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just days ago that it may be moving closer to developing nuclear weapons, President Bush seemed optimistic that pressure from its neighbors, South Korea, Japan, and China, would lead to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

BUSH: I believe that all four of us working together have a good chance of convincing North Korea to abandon her ambitions to develop nuclear arsenals.

A senior State Department official says talks between the U. S., North Korea, and China are still a go. Australia's foreign minister also said that the U.S. and coalition forces will soon declare the ware with Iraq is over.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: There have been discussions between the Americans and us and also with the British about the exact wording of the proclamation. But it will happen in the next few days.

MALVEAUX (on camera): President Bush reiterated that he will wait for General Tommy Franks, the military commander of Operation Iraqi Freedom, to say when the administration's mission is complete. But the president said that Saddam Hussein's regime is finished.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, Crawford, Texas.


CHOI: Today's visit from their commander in chief was just part of an incredible weekend for the former U.S. prisoners of war. Susan Candiotti joins us from Fort Hood in Texas with more on the welcome home celebration.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Sophia. Barbecues and other family get-togethers is how the families spent their day with pilots as well. After -- and out of the public view, we should say -- they spent their first day now reunited with their families.

But the day began early Sunday with the president and the first lady, who flew in from their ranch in Crawford, Texas, for Easter services to attend the service at the chapel here on the base at Fort Hood. All of them getting together, to pose for pictures, and thank each other for seeing them. And as well, the former President Bush and his wife, Barbara, also thanking the pilots for their support and for their hard work in Iraq.

Now because of the late arrival last night on base, pilot David Williams had not yet seen his children before the church services began. So afterwards, the president asked reporters that their questions be quick.


BUSH: I tell you one thing about this guy, him. He's going to go see his children for the first time since he was captured. He hasn't even seen his children. So if you ask him questions, don't make it long because, see, we're holding a dad up from hugging two children.

QUESTION: Could you tell us a little bit about your meeting with the president (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CWO DAVID WILLIAMS, FORMER POW: It was an absolute honor, Sir, an absolute honor.


CANDIOTTI: The pilots and their relatives told us that this was a day that they will never forget. Now they are looking forward to spending even more quality time with their loved ones. Tomorrow, of course, that's what David Williams will be doing with his wife and two children. And the plan for the Young family is to fly back home to Georgia. Back to you, Sophia.

CHOI: All right, Susan, thank you for that.

The two helicopter pilots are the only former POWs getting a warm welcome home this weekend. Five other former prisoners are based at Fort Bliss, Texas, and that's where we find our Ed Lavandera. He spent the day there. Hi, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello. Well, you know, last night was a very hectic and very joyous occasion here on Fort Bliss. A much quieter day today, as many of these families enjoy quiet time together and also enjoying the Easter holiday. Many folks here going to the Easter services as well.

But tomorrow, the five former prisoners of war of the 507th Maintenance Company have some work to get done, and most of that focuses on the medical issues that officials here will be taking a look at. And to talk more about that, we are joined now by Colonel Glenn Mitchell of the Beaumont Army Medical Hospital here in Fort Bliss.

Colonel, what exactly are you looking for, and what are you going to be doing with these soldiers over the next couple of days?

COLONEL GLENN MITCHELL, BEAUMONT ARMY MEDICAL CENTER: Over the next few days, we are going to be doing a lot of baseline tests to find out a couple of things. Number one, we want to make sure they haven't acquired any illnesses or any other medicals conditions while they were there.

We want to be sure that they are continuing to be reintegrated into their old lives again, both themselves and their families.

And also, we are establishing a baseline for their test results so we can follow them for basically a very long period of time to make sure that no ill effects have happened to them.

LAVANDERA: I am surprised, just initially, by just how much medical attention they are getting, given that what we have seen from them and what we are being told about them is that they all seem to be in very good shape, especially even Shoshana Johnson, who we know was wounded in each leg. I guess the reason for that really intensive medical attention would be...

MITCHELL: Well, the real intent is that we absolutely maximize both their physical and their mental health at the end of this. We are really concerned. We want to make sure they get the very best in care, not only medically, but they and their families get maximum amount of help in terms of reintegrating into their normal lives again.

They not only were prisoners of war and had those stressful experiences, but, you know, it is also stressful to be celebrities, and we are sort of helping them with that right now, too.

LAVANDERA: Very good, and you have already had a chance to meet with all of them. How did that go?

MITCHELL: I was with them last night in the aircraft and then again as my medical team was checking them out before we released them to their families. They are just in great spirits. You saw how exuberant they were from the aircraft to the ride around in the golf cart. They really meant it. They are tired, but they are in great shape.

We are, obviously, helping to treat a few of the wounds that are there. You know about those, and I can't discuss it in any more detail at the moment, but the issue is they are in great shape. They are great Americans.

The Army Medical Command is putting all of its assets, medical and psychological, behind their maximized recovery. So, we can return them to absolutely normal again.

LAVANDERA. We love to hear that. I appreciate the time, and good luck this week.

And so that's the latest. These soldiers will be going back to get more check ups throughout this week, and, hopefully, we will be able to hear more from them in the days ahead. Back to you.

CHOI: OK, Ed, thanks so much.

Global concerns about SARS on the rise, as an increase in cases in China leads to the cancellation of a national holiday.

And their son arrested in the deaths of his wife and unborn child, Scott Peterson's parents talk to "TIME" magazine. A preview just ahead. Stay with us.


CHOI: Rising fears about SARS is having a major impact in China. The country canceled a week-long national holiday after the number of cases there skyrocketed to 339. Buddhist monks are now praying for an end to this epidemic. China sacked its health minister and the major of Beijing from their Communist posts after spike in cases.

CNN's Jaime Florcruz says health officials had given the impression the disease was actually under control.


JAIME FLORCRUZ, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF (voice over): "Off limits, contaminated area" says this sign in a Beijing hospital where patients waited to be examined for SARS, evidence that the epidemic is spreading in China.

Health officials now report there are over 300 confirmed patients in Beijing alone, much more than the previous count of 37.

GAO QIANG, CHINESE EXECUTIVE VICE MINISTER OF HEALTH (through translator): Following the outbreak, the Health Ministry failed to institute a unified system for collecting, processing, and reporting SARS information nationwide.

FLORCRUZ: He says the numbers in Beijing could still rise because some 400 more people are suspected of having SARS. It's partly a case of underreporting being corrected.

GAO (through translator): If the number of confirmed cases continues to rise in the coming days, we shouldn't interpret it as a major deterioration of the situation.

FLORCRUZ: The dramatic rise in numbers comes at a time when top Chinese leaders have warned against undercounting and cover up of SARS cases. Over two weeks ago, China's health minister claimed SARS was under effective control. He has been dismissed along with Beijing's major, Meng Xuenong, as Chinese leaders struggle to contain SARS and regain public trust.

The public information campaign is underway in train stations, schools, and other public places. Many schools have canceled mass activities and classes.

Chinese officials also announced the cancellation of the week- long May Day holiday to avoid massive movements of people.

GAO (through translator): I'm sure this measure will mean major losses for tourism revenues, but the Chinese government puts peoples' lives and health above everything else.

FLORCRUZ (on camera): Officials say they will spend as much as it takes to contain SARS. The promise free treatment for patients who cannot afford the medical bills. They hope by doing so, they can prevent the spread of SARS among China's 100,000,000 migrant farmers who, looking for jobs, traveled to and from cities like Beijing.

Jaime Florcruz, CNN, Beijing.


CHOI: And getting a handle on the disease is proving difficult for health officials worldwide. The World Health Organization reported yesterday that 3,547 people around the globe have become infected with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The WHO says 182 of them have died. Health officials believe the disease is spread primarily through person-to-person contact.

Tomorrow Scott Peterson is expected to be arraigned on murder charges in connection with the deaths of his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Connor. Peterson's parents say the Modesto police who arrested their son have botched the investigation.

CNN's David Mattingly is in Modesto with the latest -- David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sophia, Scott Peterson is coming across tonight as a model prisoner here at the county jail in Modesto. That based on information coming to us from a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department here. He tells us that Scott is under maximum security. He's a maximum security prisoner, in part, for his own protection. He's in a cell alone away from other inmates who have made, we're told, negative comments about him since he's been incarcerated here.

Peterson has been described as cooperative, courteous, and he is not, we're told, under a suicide watch.


KELLY HOUSTON, SPOKESMAN, STANISLAUS COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT: The anticipated arraignment of him is going to be tomorrow afternoon here in Modesto in the Stanislaus County courtroom -- or the court house.

The proceedings, and how that will occur, is entirely up to the judge who will be presiding over the arraignment, and that arraignment could also change. It could change to Tuesday morning, and that's a decision between the court and the district attorney's office as they move forward in processing their paperwork in this particular case.


MATTINGLY: So, this case still very much in a matter of flux right now, still trying to determine if he will appear before a judge tomorrow or for Tuesday.

In the meantime, his only visitor has been his defense attorney, a prominent defense attorney from here in the Modesto area.

Also coming to his defense, however, have been his parents out of San Diego. They spoke out publicly today for the first time since their son was arrested. The Petersons very critical of the Modest police, saying there were other credible leads in this case that the police should have followed more intensely, but they were very critical because the police, they say, concentrated entirely on collecting evidence that would incriminate their son.

Now Scott Peterson's mother, Jackie, was telling "TIME" magazine, and this is a quote, "You have a district attorney calling this a slam dunk before there is even an arraignment. I'm feeling like I'm living in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union."

Scott's father, Lee, also reaching out to Laci Peterson's family, the Rochas, saying, "Our family is just as devastated." He added that they've known since day one that their son is innocent.

Meanwhile, there has been an outpouring of emotion at the home that Laci Peterson lived in with her husband, Scott. We went by there today. The front lawn is almost covered up with tokens of affection, people leaving toys in remembrance of Laci's son, Connor, who died also. Flowers and cards for Laci herself. Very much a very strong outpouring of sympathy for Laci and her family here in Modesto -- Sophia.

CHOI: CNN's David Mattingly. Thank you so much.

And we will get deeper into what's next for Scott Peterson in a little more than an hour. The story behind the warrant for Peterson's arrest and more on that "Time" magazine interview with Peterson's parents. That's all ahead at 8:30 Eastern, 5:30 Pacific time.

It's an important weekend for the faithful of two of the world's major religions. A look at Passover and Easter next.

And later, more cards removed from the deck today, as a pair of the most wanted in Iraq are now in custody.

Also tonight, Saddam's millions smuggled, horded, and hidden. The search for the treasure of Saddam Hussein. Stay with us.


CHOI: This was a day of worship for three of the world's major religious faiths. In East Jerusalem, thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews came to the western wall of the ancient temple for Passover prayers. Nearby, a group of protesters called for Jewish control of the entire temple mount, despite the presence of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Mosque, one of Islam's holiest shrines.

In Baghdad, Iraq Shiite Muslims filled streets reviving a religious tradition that was banned for more than 20 years under Saddam Hussein. Less visible because they make up only 1 percent of the population are Iraq's Christians. Today, they were able to celebrate Easter.

In the Easter message at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II said the Iraqi people themselves, aided by other nations, should determine their country's future. St. Peter's Square was bedecked with flowers and filled with pilgrims for Easter Mass, the 25th of John Paul's pontificate.

In the next half hour, our focus shifts exclusively to Iraq today with the surrender of Saddam's son-in law.

What's happening tonight in Baghdad? A live report just ahead.

And whether the U.S. intended to maintain some military bases inside Iraq stirs up a fuss. "TIME's" Michael Weisskopf is at CENTCOM with the latest from there.

And, of course, it's all about Saddam's money. How much is there, and where is it? We're back in a moment.



CHOI: While coalition commanders say the Iraqi people will run their own government, President Bush wants the U.S. military to have permission to come back. The Pentagon would like to have access to Iraqi bases near Nasiriya in the south, at Baghdad's International Airport in central Iraq, at the so-called H1 airfield in western Iraq, and at the Bashar Airfield in northern Iraq. Pentagon officials say no permanent deals have been negotiated. Right now, it is uncertain if the basing access agreement would be permanent or would be used just for intermittent access.

U.S. Marines are leaving Baghdad in the hands of the U.S. Army and the Iraqi police.

And coalition forces can strike more names off their most wanted list. CNN's Rym Brahimi is in Baghdad with all the latest developments from there Hi, Rym.

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Sophia. Well, first of all, interesting developments with the surrender of one of President Saddam Hussein's son-in-laws. Jamal Al-Tikriti, who is married to the youngest daughter of President Saddam Hussein, apparently would have surrendered himself to the Iraqi National Congress.

Now the Iraqi National Congress says he was persuaded to give himself up, and he would have crossed the border through Syria back into Iraq. According to the United States, this is the result of Syria heeding to the demands of Washington on Damascus.

Another interesting development, the arrest of the minister of higher education, he was known here as Doctor (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and he may have been known to quite a few journalists since he was the minister of information before (UNINTELLIGIBLE) about two or three years ago.

And now again, we will bring you more details on that arrest as soon as we have them.

And, of course, a lot of concern still in the Iraqi capital and around it over security. The U.S. Army, as you mentioned, is now in charge. The U.S. Marines withdrawing to the south of Iraq. The U.S. Army in charge of the north and the Iraqi capital. They have been discussing security concerns with community leaders. They has been still some street fighting. In fact, just a few moments ago, there was fighting in that area, which is roughly northwest of the Iraqi capital. We could just hear it not very far away from here.

And a lot of concern, again, over the looting that still continues, even in military barracks.


BRAHIMI (voice over): First came the U.S. bombings destroying these warehouses filled with weapons. Next came the looters. The Al Tashi (ph) military compound is not quite the intimidating place it used to be.

I asked this young boy what he planned to do with the pilot's helmet he just found. "I'll just look at it . It will be a souvenir from the Iraqi army.", he says laughing.

Seeming embarrassed by the presence of our camera, others keen to justify their acts. "Everything under this roof belongs to the people.", he says. "Saddam Hussein horded this to do bad things and then left it all behind him."

But in this military compound, where the al-Samoud missiles were once destroyed, tons of weapons were left behind untouched and unguarded. Warehouses previously bombed have been set on fire. It only took a couple of hours for the rest to disappear.

This is what's left of an Iraqi weapons depot. Each of these boxes contained up to six weapons, and there are just thousands of boxes in this warehouse alone, which means there are thousands more weapons in the streets of Baghdad.

What the looters will do with the weapons seems to vary. Ahmed Muhammad (ph) believes there could be a revolution tomorrow, and the weapons that are here, mostly AK-47s worth $3 on the market, we're told, could come in handy. "I'm hoping I can fight in the name of God." He says, "Jihad." The weapons, he says, should remain in Iraqi hands to fight foreigners who are after the oil. But as U.S. troops focus on policing a country that still has no government, that's exactly what they want to avoid.

They arrive at this warehouse too late. But like many Iraqis we spoke to, Ahmed Muhammad (ph) believes now that the U.S. has achieved their goal of regime change, it's time for them to leave.


BRAHIMI: Now, of course, this security concern comes on the backdrop of celebrations, religious celebrations. The minority Christians here in Baghdad were celebrating Easter. A lot of concern among them over this, what seems to be, the emerging power of some religious Shiite clerics in Iraq.

And at the same time, Shiite Muslims preparing to celebrate a very important commemoration on the Islamic-Shiite calendar. A lot of them started a march toward the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala today, as they are going to be commemorating that on Wednesday.

Back to you, Sophia.

CHOI: All right, Rym Brahimi with the latest from Baghdad. Thank you so much.

Iraq, in a word, is a mess. There is no government and, at best, a bare minimum of law and order or basic necessities. We are talking about electricity, water. But if Iraq's many factions can work together, there's lots of potential. After all, Iraq probably has more oil than any country except Saudi Arabia, and oil, of course, means money and power.

Joining us from Doha, Qatar, is "Time" Magazine Senior Correspondent, Michael Weisskopf. Thanks for joining us again.

So, what needs to happen for these different factions to come together for a positive outcome in Iraq? MICHAEL WEISSKOPF, "TIME" MAGAZINE SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, some type of incentive of returning to a form of civil government and civil society.

The big incentive also to bring some law and order to the streets would help.

And some economic progress to the extent the Americans can get that oil business running again and bring more income into the streets, start paying salaries, people will feel better.

CHOI: And what kind of incentives are you talking about? Are you talking about cash payments?

WEISSKOPF: Well, there are small incentives, $20 a head for the government workers who show up. I'm just talking about paying salaries again. And possibly elevating levels that people were paid during the last regime.

CHOI: And this is truly starting a democracy from scratch. Former Three-Star General Jay Garner -- is he the man for the job? Can he pull it off?

WEISSKOPF: Well, his experience is pretty rich and points to this kind of a problem. He served in Vietnam relocating people from dangerous villages to safe ones. So, he's familiar with movements of society.

He also is fairly familiar with the scene in Iraq because after the last Gulf War, he helped shield some of the Kurds up north from the encroachment of Saddam, after they rebelled.

CHOI: You know, a lot of Iraqis, we are hearing, are still, you know, talking about perhaps Saddam going into hiding. There are lots of rumors about what might have happened to Saddam. Are any of them believable?

WEISSKOPF: Well, you hear as many rumors today as you do about Elvis wandering about K-Mart at home. And the rumors may not be believable, but the sense of worry, anxiety, still on people's minds is quite believable. Psychologically, it's very important for us either to declare Saddam dead and prove it with remains or to capture him, or at least know where he is, because until then, many people in Iraq will fear his return.

CHOI: Yes, and I understand there are as many as, like, 10,000 Special Ops forces looking for him. How are they going about doing that?

WEISSKOPF: They are talking to people, chiefly in the same way they are trying to look for weapons of mass destruction. They are trying to find out people who will know, rather than hunt through sort of large stacks of hay looking for the needle.

And so, that's why these arrests are significant. Now the arrest today of his son-in-law may get them a little closer, but Saddam was a very secretive guy who never spent two nights in a row in the same bed. So, it's very unlikely many people will know of his whereabouts, possibly a family member. At least, we would be closer in terms of the concentric circles around him.

CHOI: Meantime, there is another big hunt happening there in Iraq, the hunt for weapons of mass destruction. What does that tell you that none have been found so far?

WEISSKOPF: Well, if you listen to the administration, it tells you that Saddam had 12 years to hide them. Weapons inspectors couldn't find them. So, it won't come easy for the United States.

It also, of course, raises the large question about the credibility of American intelligence. After all, Secretary Powell had graphic evidence he was displaying at the United Nations. The concerns about these weapons (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the whole American invasion here, and so, the question is if the administration was so sure of it just a month or two ago, where are they?

CHOI: Michael Weisskopf from "TIME" magazine. It was so good of you to join us again. Thanks again.

WEISSKOPF: Pleasure.

CHOI: And take care.

As we continue our focus on the state of Iraq right now, so where are Saddam's hidden treasures? That's the big question. Offshore accounts buried in the sand, perhaps hidden in the palaces. What do you want to know about the dictator's smuggled spoils? Coming up next.

And later, details of Jessica Lynch's captivity and the doctors who say they risked it all to keep her alive.


CHOI: Saddam Hussein reportedly stashed away billions of dollars from Iraq's oil for food program. Millions in U.S. cash have already been found, but that could just be the tip of the iceberg.

How can U.S. investigators find the rest? Well, Ted Bunker knows a lot about how Saddam's billions might be hidden. He's the business editor for the Boston Herald. Thanks so much for joining us.


CHOI: So, how long -- let's first get to this -- how long did Saddam loot Iraq?

BUNKER: Well, about 25 years, just about since the time he took over power there. From what I understand, he had time enough to purloin about $30 billion before the sanctions kicked in in 1991 after the first Gulf War, and in the years that followed, some people say -- the Coalition for International Justice, for instance, a Washington group --says that he managed to make off with about $2.5 billion in, well, just last year alone. CHOI: Well, then you have to ask how did he smuggle so much money undetected despite U.N. scrutiny after the first Gulf War?

BUNKER: Well, you know, the U.S. forces discovered this pipeline that goes into Syria that no one supposedly knew about. There were trucks that carry oil over the border into Syria and into Turkey. There are lines going in there. Much of the wealth that he made off with came from oil, kind of, you know, siphoned off from the oil for food program.

There's also evidence that he used cigarettes and other types of commodities. The Coalition for International Justice again reported that just last year -- or every year, rather -- he made of with $100 million worth of revenue from cigarettes. Cigarettes alone.

CHOI: So, if a lot of this money is hidden in commodities like, you know, diamonds and other goods, how in the world can you track it?

BUNKER: Well, it's difficult, but as some of the experts that I've talked with said, any time there's money involved, there will be records of transfers. There will be people involved in handling the commodity or the funds. So, once you identify the funds, once you know where the transaction took place or who might have been involved in it, you can start to trace it back.

The discovery of the capture recently of a couple of key people in Iraq may help dramatically in that effort because some of them know a lot about where things were hidden and how things were transferred.

CHOI: Well, we wanted to put this into perspective a bit, so we are going put a list of the world's wealthiest kings, queens and despots. And there he is, Saddam Hussein, with $2 billion right after Prince Hans Adam II from Liechtenstein.

BUNKER: And $2 billion may be a really low ball estimate. Some people put it as high as $40 billion. The government sources put it in the range of $5-10 billion. Two billion, I think, was a Forbes estimate last year.

CHOI: So, once, you know, we find this money, if anyone ever does track it down and get the bulk of it back, who deserves a slice of the pie?

BUNKER: Oh, I think all it should go to the people of Iraq, and I think that's what the U.S. coalition -- U. S.-led coalition -- has indicated, that any monies that they find would be held in sort of deposit for the people of Iraq.

The U.S. government has so far frozen about $3 billion in Iranian -- excuse me, Iraqi -- assets, and then there was this discovery, I guess just yesterday, of over $650 million in cash, and I think the Army indicated that that money would be held in kind of an escrow account for the Iraqi people, once they get a new government established. And I think that's the right thing to do.

CHOI: Yes, Ted, you mentioned that some of this money may be hidden in other countries. How much cooperation do you think the U.S. government will get in tracking down this money from countries like Syria?

BUNKER: Well, it may be tough. You know, countries like Syria or Libya, for instance, other nations around the world that may not have such great relations with us may not be so cooperative.

But the Patriot Act that was passed in the wake of September 11 should help a lot because it gives the government the ability to impose sanctions for entities that don't cooperate. It's helped, apparently, unlock Swiss bank account records, for instance, on suspected terrorists, and things of that sort should be more easily accessible because of that.

Now, you have to realize that some of this money has been hidden for so long, and it's moved around so much, it's in legitimate companies, like the publisher of "Car and Driver" magazine is Montana Management Company, which is a Swiss-organized investment company, holds a stake in the publisher of those -- of that magazine, among others. It also holds a significant stake in a French weapons maker.

People in the government have told me that some of the money may be sitting in German or French banks. Some of it may be in companies that are set up in Panama or in Asia. It's all over the world, and they've had years and years to hide it away.

CHOI: I see. Quite a trail. We're glad you're on the case. Ted Bunker, business editor for "The Boston Herald". Thanks again.

BUNKER: Well, thank you. Have a good night.

CHOI: Hey, you, too.

And the Easter celebration with a dash of fear. Baghdad's Christians worry about the new Iraq.

And later, new details of Private Lynch's private hell. Doctors who say they helped her survive the nightmarish ordeal.

We'll be right back.


CHOI: The various religious groups in Iraq will need to work together, if their future is to be one filled with peace. A religious minority still has many reservations about that. CNN's Jim Clancy says even as they follow their faith, they keep one eye over their shoulders.


JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Iraq's Chaldean Christians celebrated Easter with the message, Christ is risen.

The language is Aramaic, the same language spoken at the time of Christ. The Chaldean branch of Christianity has been in Iraq since the First Century. It is part of the Roman Catholic Church.

Christians make up about 3 percent of Iraq's 24 million people, and the war and upheaval in Iraq have affected them like every other element in Iraq society.

The message delivered Sunday was both a prayer for a peace and a reflection on the New Testament account of Christ's resurrection. Unlike sermons delivered at Mosques across the country, Sunday's message was devoid of any politics.

CLANCY (on camera): For Iraq's Christians, this Easter is a time of uncertainty. While there is relief that President Saddam Hussein is gone, there is considerable fear about what comes next.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the Christian people, you know, it's a new case for us, especially in this case of war. For example, before we had our customs, our Christian customs, you know. Nobody asked us what we are doing or not, but now we feel more afraid. We are more afraid now.

CLANCY (voice over): This mother of four told us that under the former regime, religion had some protection. But the U.S. has made a war opposed by Pope John Paul, a war that has created a new situation, and she fears for the break up of Iraqi society.

For many, the question now is whether a surge in Islamic fundamentalism from Iraq's Shia Muslims could impose the veil or Christian women; shut down restaurants; ban singing, dancing; and alcohol, or lead to outright persecution of their faith.


CHOI: CNN's Jim Clancy reporting there. And still to come right here, they risked their lives to help an American in trouble. After the break, meet the doctors who say they helped the injured Private Jessica Lynch.

Also tonight, is Syria getting President Bush's message? Our Sheila MacVicar has the story in our next half hour.

We'll be right back.


CHOI: America's first rescued POW, Jessica Lynch, may owe her life to the U.S. commandos who rescued her from a hospital in Nasiriya. But our John Vause reports that she had another team of guardian angels in Iraq.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Nasiriya's main hospital, Saddam's name has now gone, but by all accounts the rebellion here began long before the war was over.

Doctors and nurses say they secretly defied senior Iraqi military leaders and Ba'ath Party officials, who were using this building as a temporary headquarters, to care for an American private, who for more than a week lay close to death.

(on camera) Jessica was kept in this room here.

AHMED MUHSIN, RESIDENT DOCTOR: Was kept in this room for the first few days.

VAUSE (voice-over): Ahmed Muhsin was one of the doctors who treated Jessica Lynch. He says at all times she was surrounded by Iraqi soldiers.

MUHSIN: She suffered from the men. She suffered from them.

VAUSE: They beat her, he said and they would try to stop the doctors from checking on Jessica more than twice a day. But doctor Ahmed says they struggled in extra medicine, as well as oranges, biscuits and milk, from their own limited supplies.

MUHSIN: At one time me and -- carried our biscuits for Jessica. And we don't eat it and I carried it for Jessica and we assure her and we assist her, support her psychologically and the medical treatment.

VAUSE: Saad Abd Al-Rasaq is the administrator here. He says when Jessica arrived from an Iraqi military hospital she was in shock. Her blood pressure low, they gave her plasma and two blood transfusions. He says she was covered by little more than a sheet, so he gave her clothes from his wife.

SAAD ABD AL-RASAQ, HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR (through translator): She had no family in Iraq and we felt we were her family and so we would visit her often, sometimes with my children.

VAUSE (on camera): The doctors here insist that Jessica Lynch received the best possible medical attention, even better, they say, than local Iraqis.

When I asked them why, they told me it was their duty as doctors as well as Muslims. Under the teachings of Islam, they say, prisoners of war should be cared for and treated well.

(voice-over) But also it seems, by keeping Jessica alive, the staff was making their own defiant stand against Saddam Hussein.

AL-RAZAQ (through translator): Always I spoke with her and told her the American military is close to Nasiriya and will arrive soon.

VAUSE: On a moonless night more than two weeks ago he was right. Special forces stormed the hospital in a rescue straight from the pages of a Hollywood script.

But the doctors say the Iraqi military and other officials had fled at least 10 hours earlier. In fact, they say, early that morning they tried to take Jessica to an American checkpoint, but the say the ambulance was shot at, the driver turned back. Inside they showed me doors which had been blown open with plastic explosives and the phone exchange cables cut. It still hasn't been repaired.

MUHSIN: She was found in this room.

VAUSE: And as for the mysterious Mohammed, the lawyer who walked six miles to an American checkpoint, to tip off the Marines.

AL-RAZAQ: I don't know anything for you.

MUHSIN: The way we left her don't hear anything about this story. Only from the Iraqi on the second or third day we have heard. Maybe two, maybe four.

VAUSE: U.S. officials say Mohammed is safe and being closely watched for his own protection. Most people here believe if he does really exist, by now he must surely be living the good life somewhere in America.

John Vause, CNN, Nasiriya.


CHOI: LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES timeline begins after a check of what's happening at this hour.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES, the timeline behind today's news. Tonight, how the day unfolded.


BUSH: I'm particularly grateful that these two men were with us today. I thank God for their lives.


COOPER: A special Easter Sunday for President Bush. Church services with two former POWs, one week to the day after they were freed from Iraqi captivity.

The nine of clubs reports from Iraq of a high profile surrender, a member of Saddam Hussein's family.

And back here at home, an Amber alert standoff in Pennsylvania. Police say the man and his vehicle killed his brother-in-law and his brother-in-law's wife, then kidnapped his 13-year old niece.

Welcome to the second hour of LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES. I'm Anderson Cooper at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

It has been an Easter Sunday of extremes, of hope, but also of sorrow. Former prisoners of war home and safe tonight in Texas, but in Pennsylvania, home was not safe for a 13-year old girl and her parents who were shot to death.

Also, new developments in the Laci Peterson investigation. In about 30 minutes, we're going to go in-depth on the Peterson case, but first a look at today's timeline.

We start at the Vatican, where Pope John Paul II celebrated Easter mass at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time. The ceremony marked John Paul's 25th Easter as leader of the world's Roman Catholics. In his message, the pontiff called for self determination for the Iraqi people and asked the international community to support the efforts of Iraqis to rebuild their country.

At 7:00 a.m. Eastern, we learned just how serious the SARS outbreak is getting in China. Serious, indeed. The Chinese government announced it has canceled the week long national holiday that would have started on May 1. Officials feared the massive travel that normally accompanies that holiday, well, they feared it could spread the disease.

The number of confirmed cases in Beijing has swelled from 37 to 339 in just five days. China's health minister and Beijing's mayor appear to be getting the blame for failing to react promptly. They've both been dismissed from their communist party leadership posts.

Well at 7:00 this morning, we got word of a dramatic Amber alert issued in Pennsylvania. A young girl abducted and her parents found shot to death in the town of Pocono Lake, which is north of Philadelphia. Now the abduction turned into a police standoff.

CNN's Whitney Casey tells us how it all turned out.


WHITNEY CASEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An Amber alert, a high speed chase, and a four hour standoff with Pennsylvania authorities ends late Sunday afternoon. Robert Lee Hixson, the man police say abducted his 13-year old niece after killing her parents is taken into custody.

LINDA VIZI, SPECIAL AGENT FBI: This is now a time where we now have to take a look at and do some interviews. We need to talk to Hadley. We need to talk to Hixson and find specifically what drove him to that house that night.

CASEY: Authorities say Hixson broke into the South Pennsylvania home of the Bilger family late Saturday night.

VIZI: He was armed with a shotgun. He shot and killed the parents in that home.

CASEY: The Bilgers five and 13-year old daughters were still in the house. Police say the five-year old called a relative who called 911. Her sister, 13-year old Hadley Bilger was reportedly forced to leave with her uncle.

VIZI: About 10:30 this morning, just over 12 hours from when this incident happened, a citizen spotted the vehicle in a shopping mall parking lot. There was a pursuit. It lasted approximately 45 minutes. CASEY: Hixson then released his niece Hadley unharmed to police. However, he attempted to evade authorities for a second time. The ensuing car chase ending in an armed standoff and finally, a surrender.

VIZI: After a long patient negotiation on the part of the state police, Hixson surrendered. He surrendered peacefully. And there was a peaceful resolution.

CASEY: Hadley Bilger and her five-year old sister are back with family members. Their uncle, Robert Hixson, has been charged with two counts of homicide.

Whitney Casey, CNN.


COOPER: Well, in the 8:00 a.m. hour, CNN learned that the man charged with rebuilding Iraq is preparing to set up shop in Baghdad. The man, retired U.S. General Garner, will move into his new headquarters tomorrow. He hasn't been in the capitol since the war began.

Garner's job essentially is to supervise the country until it can run itself.

Some signs today that tensions between the United States and Syria may be easing, at least a little bit. In the 11:00 hour, we learned that Syria's president promised his country would not harbor Iraqis suspected of war crimes.

Well, today, President Bush also appeared to be lowering the rhetoric against Damascus.

CNN's international correspondent Sheila MacVicar explains.


SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): After days of high volume diplomacy directed from Washington towards Syrian officials here in Damascus, it seems that relations between the U.S. and the Syrians may have taken a slight turn for the better. U.S. president saying this afternoon that he saw positive signs that Syria was paying attention and had listened to the messages from the U.S. and from others, saying indeed that if there were any former members of Saddam Hussein's regime in Syria, that the U.S. fully expected the Syrians to cooperate and hand those individuals over.

In actual fact also, this has been something we have heard frequently from U.S. administration officials over the course of the last 10 days or so, it seems that there is only one known person who is verifiably been in Syria, whether or not he is still here is an open question. He is Farouk Hijazi, Iraq's former ambassador to Tunisia. Turns out the U.S. knows he was here because they asked the Tunisians and close U.S. allies to hand him over. The Tunisians refused. They know that he flew to Damascus.

And he's a special interest to the U.S. administration because of his alleged involvement and in an attempted assassination plot of former President Bush in 1993.

Now the president also saying today that he thought that the best diplomacy was that which was not carried out by the news media, by administration officials speaking through the news media to Syrian officials. And today in Damascus, we had two U.S. congressman arrive, who had a very lengthy meeting with Syria's president.

At the end of that meeting, one of Darrell Issa, Congressman from California, talked about how he had discussed with Syria's president one of the key issues, Syria's continuing support for groups labeled as terrorist organizations.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: We very much emphasized the divisiveness of having offices here belonging to terrorist organizations operating in Israel and Lebanon, and urged him to close them.

MACVICAR: Now in addition to that, the congressman went into pains to point that it was their view that Syria should not be considered an enemy of the United States, and that Syria, in fact, was not Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is important to recognize here is that Syria is not an enemy of the United States. Syria wants to overcome these false perceptions and false allegations that are out there. And they want a forum to do that, that is not in the headlines, not in the words that are being hurled back and forth in the public arena, but rather in a calm diplomatic arena, face to face with those that leveled the charges.

MACVICAR: So a return to a more diplomatic discussion, perhaps a little quieter in tone. In addition to that, we also had in Damascus today Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, an unexpected trip. Decision made late on Saturday night that he would come here to meet with Syria's president to discuss what to do about the U.S. position. Diplomatic intensity that is likely to intensify over the coming days, as we meet close to the time when Secretary of State Colin Powell is likely to come to Syria.

Sheila MacVicar, CNN, Damascus.


COOPER: "You guys are brave," that's what President Bush said as he met with two former prisoners of war in the noon hour today. The president attended Easter services at Fort Hood, Texas with ex-POWs Ronald Young and David Williams.

CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti has this report from Fort Hood.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After a few hours of rest, freed pilots David Williams and Ronald Young attended an Easter Sunday church service with the president.

BUSH: It's a glorious day.

CANDIOTTI: After the service, the pilots and their immediate families had a private meeting with the First family and President Bush's parents. Pilot Young called it "awesome." The president said it was the other way around.

BUSH: They were the encouraging people. They were the ones who offered encouragement. I was -- believe this or not, somewhat taken aback when I was in their presence.

CANDIOTTI: Mr. Bush described the former POWs as uplifting and positive after three weeks in captivity. Putting his hand on Williams' shoulder, the president said the pilot now deserves some private time with his family. The men described the moment.

DAVID WILLIAMS, FMR. POW: It is an absolute honor, sir. Absolute honor.

RONALD YOUNG, JR., FMR. POW: We stand 100 percent behind whatever -- the president decides to do. We're honored to serve him. And this is definitely one of the highlights of my life, absolutely.

CANDIOTTI: At Fort Bliss, the five other rescued POWs, members of the 507th Maintenance Company, who returned late Saturday, spent Easter Sunday in seclusion.

Saturday night at Fort Hood, an emotional reunion between pilot Williams and his wife, a Black Hawk pilot. And Ronald Young with his parents, locked in a tearful embrace before the men were officially welcomed by troops.

WILLIAMS: It feels really good to be home. And just keep praying for those soldiers who are still fighting it. And God bless America. I love you.

YOUNG: This makes you almost as nervous as being shot at, but I say a special prayer each night for our fallen comrades. For the soldiers that didn't make it home, and the ones that are still over there, I want everyone to remember them in their prayers.


CANDIOTTI: This has been a day in the words of one relative that has given them their life back. The pilots are expected to spend the next week getting reacquainted with their loved ones. Perhaps dealing with their past, and then deciding on their future -- Anderson?

COOPER: Susan, I like you have been watching those pictures and hearing those sounds probably all day long. And yet, I got to tell you every time I hear them and see them, I still get a smile on my face, as I'm sure a lot of people do.

Susan, thanks very much for that report.

Coming up after the break, our timeline continues in the 12:00 p.m. hour. How long will U.S. troops stay in Iraq? Well, some say it needs to be permanent. We're going to go to the Pentagon for a live update.



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is how they organize a bread queue here, at the point of a gun. It would appear that even with Saddam Hussein gone, some things haven't changed.


COOPER: It certainly seems like that. The Baghdad version of a bread line turned political and chaotic. That when the timeline continues.


COOPER: Our timeline continues right now. There were indications today that the U.S. may have interests in developing an ongoing military relationship with Iraq and any new Iraqi regime, even after power is turned over to a new government.

During the noon hour, CNN confirmed that the Bush administration is interested in negotiating long term access to military bases in Iraq. Exactly what that means, however, we're going to try to find out.

CNN's Patty Davis joins us with details -- Patty.

DAVIS: Well, Anderson, a senior U.S. military official tells CNN that the U.S. is interested in possibly having ongoing access to Iraq. Although the official says that would have to be negotiated with any future Iraqi government and no decisions have been made.

But there are four areas of interest for the U.S. military. The first being Baghdad International Airport. Also, Tallil Air Base in Nasiriya in the south, the H-1 Airfield in western Iraq, and the Bashur Airfield in northern Iraq.

Now the official stresses that this is all very, very preliminary. This is all very, very preliminary. It is still not decided whether the U.S. would want permanent bases, or whether they would want intermittent access to those areas in case of emergencies.

Now all of this part of what the U.S. hopes will be a good military to military relationship with the future Iraqi military -- Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Patty Davis from the Pentagon. Thanks very much.

The status of Saddam Hussein remains unknown, but today, a pro- American Iraqi group said it has custody of Saddam Hussein's son-in- law. Around 2:00 p.m. Eastern, the Iraqi National Congress announced it has accepted the surrender of Jamal Mustafa Abdullah Sultan. Sultan served as deputy head of tribal affairs in his father-in-law's regime. He was the nine of clubs there, as you see in the card right there on that deck of playing cards handed out by American troops.

The Iraqi National Congress says Sultan is being handed over to U.S. custody. He'd be the first member of Saddam Hussein's immediate family to surrender.

The situation in Baghdad remains unstable, to say the least. During the 2:00 p.m. hour, Tim Rogers of International Television News reported on what happened today at a Baghdad bread factory.


TIM ROGERS, ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A month to the day since the war began, and this is the reality of the bread queue. Most of these people have been standing in line through the night. This is the second largest bakery in the city, but the bread is running out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is bread. In this building, about three or four days, it's finished. Then people were...

ROGERS: So they're very hungry.


ROGERS: We came here expecting to tell a story about food shortages and how ordinary people are struggling with limited supplies and soaring prices.

But inside, as we began interviewing the technical manager, another story emerged in front of us. Workers in the background were furious that senior Ba'ath Party members, who were once in charge here, had returned to take control. This man, like most of the others, was frightened to say anything until we arrived. Then he stormed out, saying the Ba'athists have been treating them like slaves.

Outside, word spread and guards lost control of the gates. The crowd suddenly burst through and ran towards the bakery entrance. Men who'd been guarding the manager's office appeared with Kalashnikov guns and it seemed that a confrontation was inevitable.

(on camera): When we arrived here, this bakery was under the control of a manager the people say was a supporter of a Saddam Hussein and the Ba'athist Party. But after our arrival, he's since disappeared.

The situation now is in chaos. (voice-over): The reformed Iraqi police arrived on the scene, using old style heavy handed techniques to restore order. This is how they organize a bread queue here, at the point of a gun.

It would appear that even with Saddam Hussein gone, some things haven't changed.

With one of the bakery workers, we asked the senior police officer what he was going to do about the guns and the Ba'athist manager. "There are no guns here," he said, "and now is not the time to arrest Ba'athists."

At his base nearby, I asked a senior American officer what he would do.

MAJ. MIKE MCCREARY, U.S. ARMY: And we don't we want people, you know, same day, you know, different day, same stuff going on here. We want to -- there's been a regime change. And we want to make sure that these people can't impose their will on the people.

ROGERS: A convoy of food trucks carrying flour arrived in the city today with the hope that better times might be ahead. But there's still a long road to travel before the peace here is won.

Tim Rogers, ITV News, Baghdad.


COOPER: Very troubling.

At 3:00 p.m. Eastern, an overnight curfew went into effect in Baghdad. The curfew, 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Baghdad time was announced on the U.S. operated radio station. Iraqis were warned that those violating the curfew would put themselves "in danger."

Coming up next, more of the most wanted cards to fall into coalition hands. Plus...

BRAHIMI: I'm Rym Brahimi in Baghdad. We'll be talking about a couple of new arrests here in the Iraqi capitol, as well as the security situation and religious celebrations in Iraq.

We'll be back when TIMELINE continues.

ANNOUNCER: CNN's complete coverage of today's headlines. The latest on a hero's welcome for seven former POWs. Post-war Iraq, a month to conquer, years to secure peace? Scott Peterson's parents are speaking out. Find out what they have to say as their son sits behind bars. These stories and more tonight at 10:00 Eastern.

Stay with CNN, the most trusted name in news.


COOPER: Some of the many images from the new Iraq. Signs of this new post-war Iraq were evident today in the streets of the capitol. Shiite Muslims filled Baghdad, reviving a dormant tradition. One group you could not find, U.S. Marines.

CNN's Rym Brahimi is standing by live with that and the latest on another former leader taken into custody.

Good evening, Rym.

BRAHIMI: Good evening to you, Anderson. Indeed, interesting developments here with the surrender of one of the sons-in-law of President Saddam Hussein, who's known as Jamal Al Tikriti. He apparently surrendered after being encouraged, from what Iraqi National Congress officials say, after being encouraged to give himself up. The U.S. sees that more as a sign that Syria is not heeding to the demands of Washington.

Now another interesting arrest here in Baghdad, the former minister of higher education, known here as Dr. Emad Husayn Abdullah al-Ani. He was arrested in Baghdad, from what we understand. We'll have more details on that.

Just interesting that this person was actually the information minister, before being minister of higher education. And he was also involved in some of the weapons programs prior to that.

Now of course, this comes as U.S. Army troops take over control of the Iraqi capitol from U.S. Marines who are now putting out and moving toward the south of the country. U.S. Army very concerned as the Marines were the security situation. They've been talking to community leaders here about how to improve the security situation. And that's far from being settled.

Just a few moments ago, Anderson, in that direction, which is roughly northwest of Baghdad, we've been hearing gunfire in the distance could be a street battle that's been going on for quite a few two to three hours at least now. And there's still a lot of looting, despite the arrest, symbolic arrest maybe, of dozens of looters.

A lot of looting, even in military barracks, where looters have taken a lot of weapons, meaning they'll be a lot more weapons in the streets of Baghdad in the near future.

Well against that back drop, as you mentioned Anderson, religious celebrations for Shia Muslims. They're beginning a much toward the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

Now they're commemorating the -- mourning -- the 40th day of mourning for the death of Imam Hussein. That celebration is due to take place on Wednesday, a celebration that used to be restricted in the past. Now they can do this march in full view of everyone. Thousands of Shia Muslims marching toward those holy cities, starting from today.

And the Christian minority here only three percent Christians left, they're celebrating Easter Sunday. A lot of concern among Christians, of course, at the current situation, especially maybe in view of the emergence of more power to some of the religious clerics -- Anderson. COOPER: Rym, let me ask you about that. Some of these religious clerics have been reading their statements. And they're making not only very anti-U.S. statements, but they're basically calling for an Islamic state in Iraq, saying they don't want personal freedom for Iraqis. They want a state run by clerics.

Is there widespread support for that sort of a government?

BRAHIMI: Indeed, it is something that there is a lot of concern over. Definitely from what we understand in a lot of communities, not only in the Iraqi capitol, but also outside of Baghdad, a lot of -- some of the religious clerics are now emerging as the local leaders, literally telling people, given them orders what to do, what not to do, telling them not to join such a political movement, for instance, unless they get permission from the religious clerics.

And of course, that's of concern to some people, who would have been happy to maintain the more secular type of administration here. There also have been Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress. Now he said that religion could play a role in a new government, but it should not be a theocracy. Whereas his deputy is now saying that there should be a form of Islamic constitution.

So a lot of questions about that right now -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, it's really not just in Baghdad. Also in Kut. I know there was a cleric who took over the mayor's office there at the city hall, actually living in the city hall I guess right now. And then in Najaf, you had the cleric who was supported by the U.S. killed. So it's certainly in a state of flux.

Rym Brahimi, appreciate you joining us from Baghdad.

Coming up in the next half hour, a lot more to cover. Scott Peterson's parents speak out. We're going to hear from "TIME" magazine about its interview with the family, their exclusive interview.

And we've heard about GPS tracking, cell phone taps, and surveillance teams. How much do the police know about what happened to Laci Peterson? And what kind of evidence do they have against Scott Peterson? We're going to try to find out over this next half hour.


COOPER: This half hour, what is next for Scott Peterson? We're going to talk with legal experts about the case against him, how strong is it? We'll also examine what his defense might be.

Also, the reporter who broke the story of Scott Peterson's arrest. She'll also have information about some unaccounted for evidence that could help prosecutors.

And Scott Peterson's parents, they stand by their son. We'll have details from the exclusive interview. We are going in-depth tonight for the next half hour on this case. Let's begin outside the Stanislaus County jail in Modesto, where Peterson is spending his third night in a six by nine foot cell. He's accused, of course, of killing his wife Laci and their unborn son.

CNN's David Mattingly standing by with the latest -- David.

MATTINGLY: Anderson, Scott Peterson is in a cell alone tonight, protected from other inmates here at the county jail. And he's being very cooperative, we're told. In fact, a spokesman for the sheriff's department here in Modesto came out and spoke to reporters a little over an hour ago, saying that since his arrest, Scott Peterson hasn't had a lot to do, as he awaits for arraignment on charges of double murder.

Today, he's made a few phone calls, and he's had just one visitor, a visit from his defense attorney.


KELLY HOUSTON, SPOKESMAN, STANISLAUS COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: He has had another uneventful evening. He has been treated much like any other maximum security inmate that we have here.

He did have an opportunity last night to meet with his attorney. And that was an uneventful meeting as well. Any of the discussions about what they had is obviously attorney-client privilege.


MATTINGLY: Meanwhile, outside the Peterson home here in Modesto, we have something remarkable to show you. This video is from just outside the home that Laci Peterson shared with her husband Scott. Hundreds of flowers and cards and even teddy bears have been left in the front lawn by people from all over the area. They're coming by, saying they want to express the sadness they feel for the murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn child.

That child's remains, in fact, discovered just one week ago today. People close to the family there at the house also tell us that they have strong emotions as well regarding the arrest of Laci's husband.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want so much justice. And you just want him to -- just say in your heart it wasn't him. But just with all the evidence, it's just how could it not be him? And just to sit there and read the newspaper about what he did just -- it breaks your heart.


MATTINGLY: Peterson's arraignment, where he will hear the formal charges against him, could come as early as tomorrow afternoon here in Modesto. But we're told, it could get pushed to Tuesday if the paperwork isn't done in time. Everyone here wanting to make sure all their i's are dotted and their t's are crossed in this case.

Now typically, Modesto courts have not allowed cameras in the courtroom, but we're waiting to see if that will change because obviously, Anderson, no one here has ever seen a case attracting quite this much attention -- Anderson?

COOPER: Yes, and it no doubt well the attention's only going to increase over the coming weeks. David Mattingly, thanks very much.

In an exclusive interview that we mentioned before, Scott Peterson's parents tell "TIME" magazine they believe their son is innocent. Petersons also accused the Modesto police of bungling the case.

Amanda Bower has covered the case extensively for "TIME." She joins us from New York to talk about it and this interview.

Amanda, thanks for being with us. A very interesting interview that's appearing in this "TIME" magazine.

AMANDA BOWER, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Actually, the interview, we couldn't squeeze into "TIME" magazine because the parents spoke this morning, early this morning.

COOPER: It's on, right?

BOWER: That's right.


BOWER: It is. The magazine closed last night and then the parents spoke with our intrepid San Diego reporter Jill Underwood this morning and...

COOPER: And basically, they accuse the authorities there of bungling the case, really from the get go?

BOWER: That's right. They're saying that they feel that the Modesto police picked up on Scott, identified him, decided that he was the culprit, although they did not name him a suspect until he was arrested, it should be said, and that they then -- the Modesto police neglected to follow up on the leads. They say that they conducted something of a witch hunt.

The parents say that they feel like they're living in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. And they're really incredibly upset. There's a bit of anger in there, but they're also just incredibly frustrated and very exhausted.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, you know, you read the interview and you know, you can't help but feel for them. I mean, what else are they going to say? They're defending their son.

They did not seem to talk about, or at least in what I read of the interview, they didn't talk about the evidence that there was an affair, an extramarital affair that Scott Peterson had with this massage therapist?

BOWER: That's right. They didn't talk about it. That's one of the few things that Scott Peterson has actually spoken about. And he did confirm that, that it was regretful. Said that Laci, his wife, knew about the affair, that that was something that they were working through. That was obviously his contention. And we will never know from Laci whether or not that's true, sadly.

What they did talk about was interesting. I mean, they gave their point of view, and that's the next best thing we have until there's a trial and Scott Peterson may get the chance to take the stand, but they said, you know, they thought it was ludicrous that the Modesto police thought Scott was a flight risk and that he could be running off to Mexico, given they say, that he went to Mexico six weeks ago and the Modesto knew about that.

They also spoke about this whole issue that Scott Peterson had taken out a $250,000 life insurance policy on his wife when she fell pregnant.

COOPER: I'm sorry, let me just interrupt. We've got the full screen on this -- the Mexico thing I just want to read it out.

It says, "It's another smear on him that he was going to run into Mexico. How ridiculous. The kid lives here." Talking about San Diego, his parents home. "They ran him out of Modesto He can't use his home. They've got his car. Where's he supposed to go? He came to us and he was not running." That Lee Peterson, Scott Peterson's father.

BOWER: That's right. I mean, they're saying that Scott has been hounded. He -- it was basically unlivable for him in Modesto, and that that was why he was San Diego. He was working there out of his parents' home. And he'd been on business trips, they say, to Mexico.

Of course now that the Modesto police aren't talking about the evidence they have, we'll have to wait and see what the counter argument would be. But certainly, the parents presenting some information that we haven't heard before.

And as I said about that life insurance policy, they contend that Scott and Laci each took out a life insurance policy when they bought their home, that it was something normal that the two of them did. They were starting a family. They thought it was a prudent thing to do.

That's obviously very different -- that's a very different slant on it than thinking that he took out a policy on his wife, when she fell pregnant. And then of course we all know, she disappears and she's eight months pregnant, and then turns up dead.

COOPER: The thing in the interview that I didn't think their arguing really stood up on was their description of -- I mean they seem to be indicating, and correct me if I'm wrong, that there was some sort of conspiracy, the fact that these two bodies were found just two miles or so from the place where Scott Peterson said he went fishing on Christmas Eve. They seem to indicate that was just too convenient?

BOWER: Yes, and it's unclear exactly what they meant by that. And unfortunately, the interview that we had with them was very short. Initially, they didn't want to speak at all.

You could perhaps infer that they're saying that Scott had been framed, that you know, once he'd said he'd been fishing there, that whoever did the killing, and that they obviously choose to think it's not their son, that they dumped the body there, right where he said he'd been fishing, and therefore, you know, that would help incriminate him. Certainly it has helped incriminate him, I think. It's something that people are pointing to.

But that's where he said he took his aluminum or aluminum boat for fishing for the day, the day that Laci disappeared. And that's where the bodies washed up, just some five miles from where he said he put his boat in.

COOPER: I think you gave yourself as Australian there by saying aluminum. Amanda Bower, appreciate you joining us tonight. It was interesting. Thanks very much.

BOWER: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up ahead, we'll hear from the reporter who broke the story of Peterson's arrest on Friday. She has new details on what police used to get a warrant on Scott Peterson. Have that when we return.


COOPER: What is next indeed?

Reporter Gloria Gomez has been covering the Laci Peterson case really since the story of her disappearance broke back in December. And she joins us from Sacramento, California.

Gloria, thanks for being with us. Do police and prosecutors really feel they have the goods on this guy?

GLORIA GOMEZ, KOVR REPORTER: Well, as far as I'm concerned, Anderson, I know that investigators have been working and building their case now for several months. And they've been very, very hush hush about what they do have.

I know that at some point, they were actually building a case without a no body kind of case. So based on the information that, you know, I've been able to accumulate, I know that they have been building their case. And what kind of evidence, what kind of circumstantial evidence, we just don't know.

COOPER: Do you have any sense? I mean, there have been two very public searches of the Peterson home. Do you know if anything really came of either of those searches?

GOMEZ: Well, I know they collected a lot of evidence the first time around. Then they went back and collected more, like 94 items, from what I'm understanding.

And the second time, they collected two Peterson computers. And in there, they were able to gather and generate some information on what Scott may be looking up. I know at one point, they did find information that suggested he was looking up the waves and the tides at Brooks Island. That was near where Laci and the baby's body was found.

But of course, as you might know, sometimes fisherman do that. They actually go in to see what the tides are in that certain area. So -- but that was something that investigators found in there.

COOPER: You know, and we've heard so much about this statement that authorities believe he might be making a run for it, possibly going to Mexico, though he had already been to Mexico and come back.

Do you get the sense, I mean, that's a real -- that was a real concern on their part?

GOMEZ: Absolutely. I mean, this was something that obviously they were following him closely. Sources of mine saying they were always keeping tabs on what he was doing, what he was up to. They always had a good sense of where he was. And obviously, the information coming out just yesterday that, you know, what they did find in his vehicle, that included like $10,000, and his brother's identification gave them a sense that, you know, they had to move in right away.

COOPER: Now wait, now I had not heard that. What is that?

GOMEZ: Well, it was reported that apparently when when investigators did track him down on Friday, when they were making the apprehension, that they found over $10,000 in his vehicle, and also his brother's identification in his vehicle as well. So...

COOPER: Has this been confirmed by authorities? Or this is a report from the area?

GOMEZ: This is -- well according to my sources, this was something that did come out, and also, other publications have reported it as well.

COOPER: OK. Let me ask you, any sense of exactly why the warrant went out, why they arrested him when they did? Because in this press conference that both the sheriff and the prosecutors gave on Friday, I believe it was, they said that they didn't even have DNA confirmation yet, that the bodies were of Laci Peterson and her son, Conner. But they went ahead and made the arrest anyway.

So I mean, is the implication that they had a preponderance of what they felt was enough -- strong enough evidence to make the arrest? GOMEZ: I believe so. I think, like I said earlier, they were building their case. They believed, you know, they have a quiet confidence about them. And so, they knew what they had going in, but knowing that circumstances and the -- what I understand is my sources were telling me early on, when the bodies were found, that the condition of the body, and the particulars of the body made it likely that it was Laci. And because of that, they were just waiting for confirmation of DNA to confirm it was, but they had good background, good evidence, and they felt this was just the last thing they needed. And so they wanted to make sure that, you know, before that information got out, that they were able to track him down.

COOPER: All right, Gloria Gomez, appreciate you joining us tonight. It was interesting to talk -- get your perspective. You've been following this case for a very long time. Appreciate it, Gloria.

GOMEZ: Anderson, thanks.

COOPER: We have heard evidence against -- about some evidence against Scott Peterson. Next, we're going to hear from the lawyers, including one who says this case is a defense attorney's dream. We're going to find out why she thinks that after this short break.


COOPER: Well any trial for Scott Peterson is no doubt months away, but some of the legal issues are already beginning to emerge. And joining us to discuss some of the issues are Doug Gansler, Maryland prosecutor, and Jayne Weintraub, a defense attorney joining us from Miami.

Thanks for being with us, both of you.

Jayne, want to start off with you. I talked to a former prosecutor last night, who said this thing is a slam dunk from a prosecutorial standpoint. They could do it with one hand tied behind their back. Is that just TV bravado? Or do you really believe -- is that true?

JAYNE WEINTRAUB, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTY.: Well, it sounds like they work for the Modesto police department from what I can see.

COOPER: But you say this is actually defense attorney's dream case, why?

WEINTRAUB: Because I haven't heard one shred of evidence, have you, Anderson? I've heard a lot of circumstances. I've heard he's a married guy, who had an affair, and his wife is dead. That's what I've heard. I've heard nothing about any forensics. And I don't expect to, based upon the fact that she was in the water for months. I've heard nothing but that the guy was finally sick and tired of being haunted and hunted by the police and the public. That's what I've heard.

COOPER: Spoken like a true defense attorney.

Doug Gansler, I guess you're going to say motive and opportunity? That's what the prosecutors have?

DOUG GANSLER, MONTGOMERY CO., MD. STATES ATTY: Well, I think that's right. In every crime, you have both motive and opportunity. Obviously, the motive here is somewhat related to the affair that we know about, and potentially this insurance policy.

But even stronger than that in this case is the opportunity. And that is, through his own statements, he puts himself 90 miles away from his own home, and within five miles of where the bodies ultimately show up. So he's going to have a hard time getting over that.

Clearly, when somebody is killed, it's either they died of natural circumstances, suicide, accident or murder. If someone's found dead, it's one of those four things. Everything other than a homicide would be a very strong stretch of the imagination.

I do think, though, it is a defense lawyer's case in this sense. The defense will have to go in there ultimately and attempt to mitigate the case down from capital punishment. Their job will be to keep him out of the electric chair and perhaps even try and get second degree murder.

COOPER: Well, Jayne, if you were arguing this case, would you not only just start to tear it apart, whatever the prosecution's case is, but would you try to build up an alternative explanation, perhaps I'm guessing you might say suicide of Laci Peterson?

WEINTRAUB: I don't know what I would say yet, because I haven't spoken with anybody who's really told us anything. Whether or not Laci was despondent over learning about the affair of her husband, maybe she was. Maybe she was depressed. Maybe she was seeing a therapist. Maybe she told a best friend she wanted to die. We don't know.

Do I think I would spin suicide? No, not unless I really knew it was suicide. Do I think that from what we've seen? No. But from what I've seen in the Modesto...

COOPER: But we have heard from her friends, from her family who said she was not despondent.

WEINTRAUB: Always smiling, Anderson, right? Always smiling. She couldn't have been always smiling. She couldn't have been smiling when her husband told her she was having -- he was having an affair.

She couldn't have been smiling when she learned about it somehow. So although she might have been a happy go lucky woman, and God knows being eight months pregnant as a mom, I'm sure she was happy and thrilled. We don't know what Laci Peterson was thinking. And we don't know what she was doing, because there's no evidence of that.

And that's a problem here. Can this guy get a fair trial? Where is he going to get a fair trial? Certainly not in Modesto. Certainly not in the home on the lawn where we see all these flowers and all these toys being put there. Certainly not where people came out from the town after midnight...

COOPER: Right.

WEINTRAUB: ...just to egg the car and yell at him.

COOPER: Well let's ask Doug. Doug Gansler, you're a prosecutor. You no doubt would say that he can get a fair trial?

GANSLER: Yes, he can get a fair trial. Yes, it's a high profile case. Yes, people have interest in it. When the case ultimately comes to trial, it'll be some time down the road, perhaps a year, maybe even longer. People will forget the details that are now out there.

What they'll know is that Laci Peterson and her child were murdered. But the prosecutions tell us to prove who did it, how they did it, and what their mental state was at the time they did it.

Again, this is -- from what we do know now, and they're -- and part of that is an absence of what we don't know, that is that there was some sort of suicide note, or that she somehow drove 90 miles away from her home, left her own car there, and committed suicide, or died by accident. If it is what it seems to be, it's going to be a question of intent. And the prosecution's going to have to come up with something, perhaps from computer records or something or conversations that have happened, to show that he intended in a first degree way to commit these murders.

Otherwise, that's the difficulty in the case.

COOPER: All right, Jayne Weintraub, your eyes say an awful lot right there, but we're just going to have to take a short break. When we come back, we're going to continue discussing this, because there's still a lot to talk about. We're going to take a short break. Be right back.


COOPER: We're continuing our discussion now on a legal debate on the Peterson case.

Jayne Weintraub, let me just start off with you. You know, if you're arguing this case, don't you have to sort of contend with the common sense test, that a juror may look at this and say, you know, who had motive, who had opportunity? Scott Peterson would seem to be the only person who did. That's the argument. How do you contend with it?

WEINTRAUB: Well, there -- first of all, we don't know anything about this. I mean, my immediate gut reaction to that is there is, you know, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. I mean, I'm real anxious to hear about Amber's statements and when they've evolved, and how they've come about.

I look at her, just as much as the suspect. But I'll tell you something, Anderson, what bothers me about this case, of course, is the Modesto police department's spin on this. We don't have any idea what the evidence is. They call these press conferences. They make you wait. For what?

They tell him he's not a suspect. They release publicly, he is not a suspect. Then they tell you we don't if we're seeking the death penalty. Anderson, they know that they're going to seek the death penalty. That's why they keep saying it's special circumstances. There's a baby.

The police department keep giving wrong signals publicly, and I'm sure privately. That's a problem, because I don't know if they have any evidence whatsoever against Scott Peterson that he committed this crime.

Did he have the motive and opportunity? Well, we know that he was her husband. So a lot of the evidence isn't going to mean anything as far as forensically. And I don't think they'll be any physical evidence that we're going to see in this case at all, unless it comes from the tarp that she was wrapped in.

And I don't expect that that will come either. What I think that they're trying to put together now is something from the computer, but they would have had that a while ago.

Remember, they didn't have to wait for a body, a physical body, to indict him for murder. So I think that's just another float that the Modesto police is putting out there. Well, we were short of arresting him when we came up with the body. I don't believe it for a minute.

COOPER: Well, I mean I'm curious. And no one really has been able to give me an answer yet on why they arrested him when they did, because they said in their...


COOPER: ...own statement that they had not had positive DNA confirmation, that -- of the two bodies. So it seems -- the timing seems questionable. But I just want...

WEINTRAUB: I think it's because of the fleeing aspect, and that they were afraid that he was going to flee. I think that what the reporter said earlier about him having the $10,00 in cash, that's a bad fact of the defense.

But my real thought is maybe he was going to flee out of fear, that he would never, ever have a fair trial or be cleared.

Maybe it was out of fear and not out of guilt. Maybe he did love her.

COOPER: All right, let's give the final thought to Doug Gansler.

GANSLER: Yes, I mean, obviously his biggest defense, that is she wasn't murdered, goes away when the bodies are found. And that's when the stakes got raised. That's when capital punishment came in. And that's when he became a risk of flight.

I would say just contrary to what she just said in terms of whether the police did a good job and the prosecution -- clearly they didn't rush to judgment. They didn't arrest him the first day when he was the obvious suspect.

They waited 3.5 months. They gained a lot of consciousness of guilt evidence during that course of that time. They were very, very careful. And only when they had the bodies, and they knew yes, the DNA hadn't come back...

COOPER: Right.

GANSLER: ...definitively, but they knew who it was. And that was the time to make the arrest.

COOPER: We're going to have to end it there. Appreciate you joining us on this Easter Sunday. Doug Gansler, Jayne Weintraub, always good to talk to both of you. Thanks very much.

WEINTRAUB: Happy holiday.

COOPER: You, too. That about does it for this hour. I'm Anderson Cooper.


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