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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Bush, Cheney Appear Before 9/11 Commission; American Dollars Lining Pockets Of Corrupt Iraqi Officials; Judge Rejects Partial Verdict In Jayson Williams Trial
Aired April 29, 2004 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Anderson Cooper.
Ten Americans killed in Iraq as the president and vice president answer questions about September 11, those stories and more right now on 360.
COOPER (voice-over): Bush and Cheney appear before the 9/11 Commission. Without cameras, without recorders, what impact will their testimony really have?
Are corrupt Iraqi officials pocketing your hard-earned tax dollars, some disturbing revelations about corruption in the new Iraq?
He raped and molested eight children at the daycare center he ran. Why is this man being released tomorrow?
The jury reaches a partial verdict in the manslaughter trial of former NBA star Jayson Williams but the judge says get back to work.
Do you know the health risks of dieting? Popping pills may put your life on the line.
And, round three, she's hired. Billionaire bachelor Donald Trump proposes to his model lady.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
COOPER: Good evening.
It was a good discussion. That's how President Bush describes the meeting he and Vice President Cheney had today with the 9/11 Commission. After months of avoiding it, they finally relented but, if you're looking for dramatic pictures, there weren't any because no cameras were present, no tape recorders either.
CNN's Senior White House Correspondent John King has the latest.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Rose Garden after answering the 9/11 Commission's questions glad he did it was the president's take, no apologies for insisting the vice president be at his side.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we had something to hide we wouldn't have met with them in the first place. We answered all their questions.
KING: The commission called the session extraordinary and said members found the president and vice president forthcoming and candid.
TIM ROEMER (D), 9/11 COMMISSION: He was cooperative. He was frank. He was gracious with his time.
KING: Administration and commission sources say the topics included the administration assessment of the al Qaeda threat pre-9/11 and August, 2001 intelligence warning that al Qaeda was planning to strike, former White House official Richard Clarke's testimony that Mr. Bush all but ignored the terrorist threat and how Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney directed the government's response after the attacks.
BUSH: I was impressed by their questions and it was a -- I think it helped them understand how I think and how I run the White House and how we deal with threats.
KING: The president's talk of cooperation struck some as ironic.
JAMES THUBBEN, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Historically this is a unique circumstance where the president of the United States and the vice president have met with a commission that he didn't want to exist and didn't want to appear before.
KING: The historic session in the Oval Office ran three hours and ten minutes. The president and vice president were joined by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and two of his deputies. The entire 10-member commission was on hand, as well as a staff member to take notes. Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney were not under oath and there was no stenographer or tape recording.
KING: And because of that no official transcript but both administration and commission sources say they expect the remarks of the president and the vice president to be characterized and perhaps even quoted, Anderson, in the commission's final report due out this summer in the middle of the presidential campaign.
COOPER: Well, we'll have to wait for that. All right, John King at the White House thanks John.
With all this talk about 9/11, we found the annual report on terrorism released today by the State Department pretty interesting. Here's a 360 "Fast Fact" about it.
The Patterns for Global Terrorism Report shows there were 190 international terrorism attacks last year, the lowest number since 1969. In 15 of those attacks, 35 Americans were killed. These numbers do not include most of the violence in Iraq, which President Bush has called the central front on the global war on terror.
Well, the fighting in Fallujah continued today as U.S. warplanes hit more targets in the city but there is some hope for a possible peace and it comes from some very unlikely sources.
CNN's Ben Wedeman has the latest.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thursday was a day of more fighting between American forces and their opponents. American bombs dropped on the city's southwest.
But there is a glimmer of hope coming from an unlikely source, a group of former officers from Saddam Hussein's Army who have come forward with an offer to take a stab at restoring order and convincing the insurgents to lay down their arms.
They've told the Marines they can muster as many as 1,000 men who would help diffuse the crisis and take responsibility for security in Fallujah. The Marines accepted their offer but one senior military spokesman told CNN he was only "hopefully optimistic they might be able to field such a force."
The talk of a peaceful solution in Fallujah came on a day when American casualties mounted dramatically, eight soldiers with the 1st Armored Division killed by a car bomb south of Baghdad, another American soldier killed in an attack in Baquba, northeast of the capital.
Another lost his life in an ambush on his convoy in an eastern Baghdad suburb. A crowd gathered after the attack with some climbing on top of the damaged vehicle chanting "long live Sadr" referring to the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr whose militia and Mehdi Army has taken control of the Shiite holy city of Najaf.
(on camera): A reminder that as hopes rise for a resolution in Fallujah, in another part of Iraq another standoff waits to be resolved one way or another.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Baghdad.
COOPER: As for those hopes of a resolution in Fallujah, earlier I spoke about the negotiations and ongoing violence with Tony Perry, an "L.A. Times" reporter in Fallujah.
COOPER: Is the ceasefire, I guess ostensibly it's still in effect, is there any movement on that in terms of negotiations?
TONY PERRY, "L.A. TIMES" REPORTER: No. I think those are what they are. I think there were conditions. None of them were met. The insurgents know the residents of Fallujah coughed up suspects in the murder of the four contractors. No weapons were turned in by the insurgents and they never ceased offensive operations.
The ceasefire conditions remain just sort of pieces of fiction and this is on a whole separate track than the overall agreement being reached between the Marines and the U.S. civilian officials and various Iraqis to have a new entity, new Army group formed by the Iraqis and have them take over security operations in Fallujah so that the U.S. Marines can withdraw. That tentative agreement was reached this morning between the Marines and a number of Iraqi officials.
COOPER: Does that mean the idea of joint patrols is that still in play or would this new Iraqi unit be operating on their own?
PERRY: Yes, I think they would be operating on their own. The joint patrols, of course, have been considered, trained for, planned and it hasn't happened. I think the new plan, the Iraqi Army unit will take over and the joint patrol idea is just going to be a good idea that never came to be.
COOPER: We've all seen these dramatic pictures of the last several days. Yesterday, President Bush said that regular life was returning to most parts of Fallujah that it's only isolated pockets of resistance, to use his terms. Is that the way it looks to you on the ground?
PERRY: Well, one of the isolated pockets of resistance is right in front of me, the Jolan (ph) neighborhood where Marines have fought and died for three weeks, so I can't really extend what I see beyond, you know, a couple of hundred meters in front of us where there's been a great deal of fighting.
COOPER: All right, Tony Perry with the "L.A. Times," appreciate you calling in. Thank you very much.
COOPER: Back here in the U.S., a planned TV tribute to U.S. troops killed in Iraq has run into controversy. Here's a quick 360 news note. The Sinclair Broadcasting Group today ordered eight of its ABC stations not to broadcast tomorrow night's "Nightline" special, which will air the names and photos of fallen troops.
In a statement on its Web site, Sinclair says the program appears to be motivated by a political agenda. ABC disagrees. It released a statement today saying the show is an "expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country."
Tomorrow night on 360 we'll talk with "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel about the tribute and the controversy. That's tomorrow.
A fuel spill near San Francisco tops our 360 look at news "Cross Country." Emergency response teams are trying to clean up a diesel fuel spill in marshlands 25 miles northeast of San Francisco. A pipeline rupture was the cause.
In Los Angeles, a terror threat, police are patrolling shopping malls in L.A. after federal officials warned of a threat to an unidentified mall in the area, possibly planned for today, so far no violence.
Washington, D.C., it only took 59 years. The World War II memorial opened today honoring the 16 million American men and women who served in the war.
Mountain View, California now, feeling lucky, the guys who founded Google are. The world's number one search engine today filed with the SEC for a $2.7 billion initial public offering. Google says it will price and sell shares by an auction system designed to put smaller investors on equal footing with the big guys, uh huh, yeah.
Louisville, Kentucky, jockey ad campaign, we're not talking underwear here but a court ruling that allows some of the jockeys riding in the Kentucky Derby this Saturday to wear ads on their silks. Seven jockeys had sued saying a state ban on wearing the ads violated their First Amendment rights. They won. That's a look at stories "Cross Country" tonight.
Legal action of a very different sort involving a sports figure the fate of a former NBA star hanging in the balance right now, the jury split over two charges in the Jayson Williams case. We'll discuss that.
Also, Iraq reconstruction corruption, bribes, kickbacks and insider deals, are your taxpayer dollars lining the pockets of some Iraqi officials? You might be surprised.
Plus, the endless pursuit of skinny, Americans spending billions of dollars are diet pills, so why are waistlines just getting bigger, part of our weeklong series "Pill-popping Nation," all that ahead.
But first let's take a look at your picks, the most popular stories on cnn.com right now.
COOPER: Well, as an NBA star, Jayson Williams wasn't used to sitting on the bench but sitting and waiting is all he can do right now as his legal fate continues to hang in the balance. After a third day of deliberations in the retired NBA star's manslaughter trial there is still no verdict, which is not to say there's no story.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick joins me with the latest -- Deborah.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, it was about an hour after lunch the jury came out and told the judge they had reached a verdict on six of the eight counts. They did not specify which two they were having trouble with, the judge telling them go back, saying it was their duty to reach a verdict.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE EDWARD M. COLEMAN, STATE SUPERIOR COURT: Do not hesitate to examine your own views and change your opinion if you're convinced you're wrong but don't surrender your honest convictions as to the weight or the effect of evidence solely because of the opinion of some other juror or for the mere purpose of returning a verdict. You are not partisans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: One juror appeared to roll her eyes and smirk. Others showed no visible reaction. The eight women, four men, went back into the deliberation room and within a few minutes they sent a note requesting read backs.
They want to hear testimony from some of the guests in Williams' mansion the night limo driver Gus Christofi was shot and killed. That should take about an hour. The witness testimony that they want to hear seems to pertain to the evidence tampering charges.
Jayson Williams was surrounded by family throughout all of this, a sister, two half brothers, his father-in-law and wife Tanya. Asked how she was doing, Tanya Williams told CNN, "I'm doing well." As the two left court, Williams took his wife's hand and left without saying anything -- Anderson.
COOPER: Fascinating. Deborah Feyerick thanks very much.
We're going to talk more about this with 360 legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle-Newsom a little bit later on in the program.
Seventeen years ago, Gerald Amirault was convicting of raping eight children in a Massachusetts daycare center. Tomorrow, he's going to be released on parole. His attorney says Amirault "knows he's innocent." His victims tell a different story.
Here's CNN's Dan Lothian.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): After 17 years behind bars, convicted child rapist Gerald "Tooky" Amirault is about to be a free man.
PATTI AMIRAULT, WIFE: We're pleased to hear that the district attorney is not going to go any further with this.
LOTHIAN: Granted parole last year, his release was assured last week after prosecutors decided not to pursue further court action to have him committed as a sexually dangerous person.
MARTHA COAKLEY, MIDDLESEX DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Based upon a lot of factors we didn't believe that we had enough evidence to proceed and be successful.
LOTHIAN: For his victims, Friday will be a dark day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And go get some help. You don't belong in society.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My biggest nightmare has come true. He's going to be walking free.
LOTHIAN: Amirault was convicted of raping and molesting eight children at his family-run Fells Acres Daycare Center in Malden, Massachusetts. His mother and sister were also convicted and locked up but later released.
(on camera): This case was part of a disturbing national current in the 1980s, accusations of abuse against daycare workers followed by questions concerning the reliability of testimony from young victims.
(voice-over): Amirault has always maintained his innocence, his attorney describing this case as justice gone wrong, freedom a day away for the 50-year-old inmate who must now register as a sex offender.
Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.
COOPER: Well, a church siege ends in El Salvador. That tops our 360 look at global stories in the "Up Link."
After 24 hour occupation, mass protesters leave the San Salvador Cathedral after meeting with a church official. The protesters had stormed the church, kicked out everyone demanding that Salvadoran troops leave Iraq.
In Spain, their back, Spain's prime minister welcomes returning troops marking the end of the Spanish mission to Iraq. Ordering them back was the new prime minister's first official action earlier this month.
South Africa now, AIDS and domestic violence, U.N. AIDS researchers say women in South Africa who are in abusive relationships, they say they have a 50 percent increased risk of getting infected with HIV. More than half of the women in the study say they were physically or sexually assaulted by a male partner.
And, in outer space, a return to earth, an American astronaut, a Cosmonaut and a Dutch astronaut are heading home on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. No, it's not the setup for a cheesy joke. They undocked from the International Space Station today. The Russian and the American were up there for six whole months, and that's the "Up Link" tonight.
We're all looking for easy answers to complex problems. No doubt about it weight loss is no different. Ahead, meet a woman who says an experimental drug helped her shed 45 pounds with no effort whatsoever, part of our series "Pill-popping Nation."
Also tonight support for the war on the decline. Why do polls show that's not translating to support for John Kerry? The "CROSSFIRE" guys weigh in and surprise, surprise, they disagree.
And a little later, reconstruction corruption, find out where millions of your taxpayer dollars may be ending up in Iraq. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Well, nutrition experts estimate that four out of ten Americans will be obese in the next five years, a big reason why trying to drop those unwanted pounds is a $40 billion a year industry.
Tonight as we continue our special series "Pill-popping Nation," we look at those desperate to be thin hoping diet drugs are going to do the trick.
CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen introduces us to a woman who will do anything to be thin, even taking a pill that does not yet have FDA approval.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Karen Bowers says after failing on all sort of diets an experimental pill helped her go from 190 to 145 pounds in about a year.
KAREN BOWERS, TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT: And I lost 45 pounds and I didn't -- that was without effort, without pain. It just melted away.
COHEN: Sounds great but here's the diet pill reality check. Most of the people who took the drug weren't nearly as lucky as Karen. They were for the most part obese and when they took the pill called Rimonabant and dieted for a year they lost just 19 pounds.
And the pill can have side effects. Some people became nauseated. Others developed upper respiratory infections and, since it's an experimental drug, there could be side effects that no one yet knows about but Karen said she didn't mind taking the risk.
BOWERS: You'll end up dying from obesity anyway and I was miserable and I wanted to lose weight and so I'm willing to gamble.
COHEN: There are millions like her out there willing to take risks to lose weight. Even when doctors reported that the diet drug Phen Phen caused heart problems people still demanded it. The FDA later took it off the market.
And, people take the drug Xenical, even though many say it doesn't work that well and it can cause embarrassing gastrointestinal problems. Meridia, the only other FDA approved diet drug can make your blood pressure go up.
No one knows the long term side effects of most diet drugs because studies haven't been done yet but that doesn't bother Karen Bowers. She gained back nearly half her weight when she went off Rimonabant and so she says she wants to go back on it and stay on it for life.
Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, the question, of course, can a pill really make you thin? Joining me now Dr. Howard Shapiro, author of "Dr. Shapiro's Picture Perfect Weight Loss, 30-day Plan." More than 100 obesity drugs -- good to see you. Thanks for being with us.
DR. HOWARD SHAPIRO, WEIGHT LOSS SPECIALIST: It's my pleasure.
COOPER: I was amazed to hear more than 100 obesity drugs are being developed right now. Everyone seems to be looking for this quick fix, that woman saying she wants to be on those pills for the rest of her life.
COOPER: Does a pill really work to make you thin?
SHAPIRO: Well, actually the pill does not really work to make you thin because you could be taking a pill that is effective possibly but you can eat on top of the pill. You could be eating smaller portions and higher calorie foods, a little bit of ice cream, a little bit of candy, serve small portions of food.
COOPER: Because losing weight is more than just about not eating.
SHAPIRO: It's definitely more than about not eating. Not only that, there are things like psychology. There's stress, anxiety. There's all kinds of things that trigger us to get the food. It's not just that we like food. So, you could eat on top of the pill. The pill's not going to do it. The pill has side effects.
SHAPIRO: The two most popular pills give you diarrhea and hypertension, so, yes.
COOPER: Charming. So, a patient comes to you and says I want to lose weight, your first response is not give them a pill.
SHAPIRO: When people call and ask if I'm going to give them a pill, I tell them no. In my office in New York, I have psychologists and dieticians and exercise people. We put people on a program that fits their lifestyle.
We make it simple so that they can eat as much or more food than they're presently eating. There's no forbidden food and there's no wrong time of the day. By doing that it takes all the pressure off. I've had firemen in New York lose a lot of weight.
People want a pill because they may be hungry during a particular time during the day but if they can eat something it's not necessary. Occasionally, if somebody hits a block, I might use a pill but you've got to be careful on what pill you use.
You have to know if it's a long acting pill, short acting pill. You have to know about the patient and a lot of physicians don't and they misuse the pills and that's where you run into problems.
COOPER: Well, I mean I'm not a doctor. I find it alarming hearing that woman saying she wants to be on that pill the rest of her life. It doesn't seem like that's the way these pills are supposed to be used.
SHAPIRO: People will do anything to lose weight and they really don't care if it harms them or not. They take pills that have side effects. You have to be careful. You've got to understand that they want the magic fix. Nobody really wants to do what they have to do to lose weight and people want the easiest way out. Give me a pill so I don't have to think about it.
COOPER: So, where does the fault lie? Does it lie with the patient? Does it lie with the doctor or somewhere in between?
SHAPIRO: I think it lies everywhere. I think it lies with the patient because the patient demands it. It lies with the drug companies because it's a $40 billion business for them possibly if they come up with the right pill and they're going to market the public.
They're not going to market doctors, so it lies in the hands of the pharmacy companies, the patients and then the doctors if they just give it out because of the pressure, because they just think it's easier you're going to run into trouble.
There was a doctor that was in New York up until recently and he used to give two appetite suppressants a day and then he would have somebody take two or three or four diuretics a day and then because they were wired, because they were taking the appetite suppressants, then he put them on medication to calm them down like (unintelligible).
COOPER: Is this guy still practicing?
SHAPIRO: Not now. And then he gave them sleeping pills at night, so they were chemistry sets.
SHAPIRO: And that's what happens and what happens today, not only with dieting but with anxiety and other pills, we take medication and we don't use any of our own coping mechanisms.
SHAPIRO: We just grab for the quick fix.
COOPER: Fascinating. Dr. Howard Shapiro thanks for being with us.
SHAPIRO: It's a pill popular generation.
COOPER: Right, thanks. Well tomorrow we're going to wrap up our series "Pill-popping Nation" with a report you won't want to miss, over medicating our kids. A new study shows that preschoolers are now the fastest growing group of kids taking antidepressants, preschoolers. Is the Prozac nation giving rise to the Prozac nursery? That's tomorrow.
COOPER (voice-over): Are corrupt Iraqi officials pocketing your hard-earned tax dollars, some disturbing revelations about corruption in the new Iraq.
And, round three, she's hired. Billionaire bachelor Donald Trump proposes to his model lady, 360 continues.
COOPER: Time now for the "Reset." Let's get you caught up with our top stories tonight.
Washington, D.C., the 9/11 Commission met today with President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The pair spent more than three hours answering questions from the commissioners.
New York City now, bad news for the man who held a lease to the World Trade Center, Larry Silverstein's (ph) company sued his insurance carriers after 9/11. He said the attacks should have been treated as two separate events. That would have entitled him to twice the payout but a jury says no. It is one attack delivering a partial verdict favoring the insurance company.
In Washington, the State Department issued a worldwide caution on possible attacks against Americans at home and abroad. In a release, the department said it is "deeply concerned that al Qaeda is planning new attacks" and they urge all Americans to "increase their security awareness."
Also in Washington, a U.S. general is facing an investigation and possible discipline. Brigadier General Janice Carpinsky (ph) was in charge of a prison in Iraq. On her watch, at least six U.S. soldiers were charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners. In all, 17 soldiers have been relieved of duty during the investigation.
At the Pentagon, Specialist Pat Tillman killed in action in Afghanistan while serving as an Army Ranger was promoted posthumously to corporal today. Tillman once a standout NFL player for the Arizona Cardinals, joined the Army with his brother in 2002.
Well, how do Americans feel about the war in Iraq? A newly released poll from the "New York Times" and CBS News shows that support for the war is dropping dramatically. That is not necessarily good news for John Kerry.
Earlier, I spoke with co-hosts of CNN's "CROSSFIRE" Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson.
COOPER: Tucker, let's look at this new CBS/New York Times poll. President Bush's approval ratings down. His numbers and how he's handling Iraq have fallen, as well. But against Kerry, if you look at how he's doing against Kerry, he's not losing any ground. Kerry is not getting a groundswell as the situation in Iraq seems to deteriorate.
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST CROSSFIRE: Right. And I don't think the drop in the president's numbers is surprising at all. He's had over 100 U.S. military personnel killed just this month. That's a big deal. And you know, of course it's going to be reflected in the numbers of the man who started the war, of course.
The key here is that Kerry's not offering an alternative vision. If you look at Kerry's plan, such as it is, for Iraq going forward, pretty close to George W. Bush's plan. Except Kerry would grovel before France a little bit more.
In fact, the only candidate running for president who has any sort of alternative vision now is Ralph Nader who says we ought to pull our troops out. That may be irresponsible, but at least it's different, at least it's real and it's consistent with his anti-war views. In stark contrast to Kerry's.
COOPER: Paul if you look at this CBS News poll since last April the amount of Americans who think the war in Iraq is a mistake has doubled. Yet again, as Tucker points out, no bounce for Kerry. I know you tried to explain to me Kerry's strategy in the past. Try to explain it again because I'm not getting it.
PAUL BEGALA, HOST CROSSFIRE: I don't know it. I don't care. Kerry's not relevant. It's all about the president, Anderson. When the president is up for re-election it is a referendum on his job. His job performance rating in that poll is 46. His vote is 44. He's going to lose. In fact, if the election were held today he'd lose by ten points.
COOPER: I don't get it. If the voters aren't thinking there's another viable candidate how can Bush lose? If they're not turning to Kerry and saying he's the one -- Tucker.
BEGALA: Because it's not the election yet. We've got six or seven months -- excuse me, in an election with the incumbent on the ballot, especially a polarizing incumbent, it's always about the incumbent. One of the iron laws of political consulting, which I did for 20 years, is that you are the incumbent, you lose all of the undecided.
So here's the math: take 100, subtract Bush, subtract two for Nader that equals Kerry's vote.
CARLSON: If I can't just point out, that at the beginning of your political consulting was during war, and I think that makes a big difference. In order to replace a president during wartime, you have to ensure voters that you're going to keep them safe and you're going to do a good job.
It's not enough to frame it -- and I agree that most re-elects are about the incumbent. And I think this one is too, mostly about Bush. Nevertheless, you have to kind of convince people that the world's not going to fall apart under your watch. They're interested in the world when there's a war going on.
BEGALA: A pretty low bar, that. Look, the question is, if there's a fire going on, do we want the guy who set the fire to run and be re-elected as fire chief? No. If Kerry doesn't -- all Kerry has to do is show up and not throw up at the debates in the convention and he's going to be the next president.
COOPER: Paul Begala, thanks very much. Tucker Carlson, as well, thanks.
COOPER: Well, today's "Buzz" is this, "was the war in Iraq a mistake?" What do you think? Log on to cnn.com/360, cast your vote. We'll have results at the end of the program tonight.
An Iraqi citizen living alone in his house in Fallujah after sending his family to Baghdad for safety says he's hoping for a quiet night tonight without explosions. Even before the Fallujah flare-up, more Iraqis said they held out hope for quiet nights, and brighter days.
63 percent said their nation will be better off five years from now. Another thing most Iraqis can agree on, their desire to see Saddam Hussein punished. Let's have more on the latest poll results from Iraq from CNN's Judy Woodruff.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For years, they held their tongues. But now that Saddam Hussein has fallen, Iraqis have clear plans for their deposed leader. By an overwhelming margin, they want him to stand trial. The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of Iraqis shows a majority of Saddam's countrymen think he'll get a fair hearing in his homeland.
That said, they've all but convicted him in their own minds. Is he guilty of murder? 84 percent say probably. Of torture? Another big majority. War crimes? Gassing Iraqi civilians, and Iranian soldiers? Same story.
If Saddam Hussein is tried and convicted, six out of ten Iraqis want him to die for his crimes. 21 percent would give the former leader life in prison, with only 5 percent supporting a lesser sentence.
Iraqis have a clear vision for the post-Saddam era. By vast majorities they want a government that protects freedom of speech, and of religion. A slight majority of Iraqis believe the U.S. won't allow them to craft their own political future. Before violence erupted anew this month, Iraqis were able to see past the chaos of the past year. Two-thirds told our pollsters their country will be a better place in five years. Hope, fighting for survival in the war zone. Judy Woodruff, CNN, reporting.
COOPER: Well for the next couple of minutes here on 360 we're going to talk about a subject you probably haven't heard much about. Corruption in Iraq. Today we learned a senior Defense Department official is under investigation for allegedly trying to award a communications contract in Iraq to a group that included his friends.
The "L.A. Times" reports John Shaw wanted to turn a proposal for a communications system for Iraqi policemen and firemen into a cash cow of a nationwide commercial cellular network benefiting his friends and colleagues. Shaw denies any wrong doing.
This is certainly not the first time someone has been accused of shady business in post-war Iraq and it probably won't be the last. A lot of money, after all, is up for grabs.
COOPER (voice-over): Iraq may be free now, but its reconstruction is anything but. And it's the U.S. taxpayers who have been picking up most of the tab.
Start with the $18.4 billion allocated by Congress last November. $5.5 billion of it is earmarked to restore electricity in Iraq. $1.7 billion to fix the oil infrastructure. $2.8 billion to increase access to potable water. $3.2 billion to set up an Iraqi army and police.
So far only $2.8 billion has been spent on specific contracts. These billions are a quote, "gift from the people of the United States." According to the Web site of the U.S. agency that manages these contracts.
Add to that $4 billion for development programs through governmental organizations like USAID. Bringing the price tag for Iraq's reconstruction so far to some $22 billion.
As of now, some 20 companies, most of them American, have been awarded contracts by the coalition authority after a long bidding process. These companies are allowed to hire subcontractors, most often Iraqi companies, which in turn, can hire others to do the job.
COOPER: Well, Adam Davidson is the Middle East correspondent for "Marketplace," which is produced by Minnesota Public Radio. Recently, he did a series of reports in which he found rampant corruption in Iraq. His work was part of a fascinating "Marketplace" series called "Spoils Of War." Adam Davidson joins us now to tell us what he saw and heard. Thanks for being with us, Adam. ADAM DAVIDSON, "MARKETPLACE": Thank you.
COOPER: Enjoy your reporting.
You talked to a member of the world's leading anti-corruption group called Transparency International. Here's what they told you. We're going to put it on the screen, "At least 20 percent," according to them, "of U.S. money spent on Iraqi reconstruction is lost to bad contracts, price gouging and kickbacks." That's several billion dollars. Is that possible?
DAVIDSON: It's certainly possible. I mean, it's so much money being spent, it's -- there's no history in the United States for spending this much money this quickly. Even the Marshall Plan. This is the biggest single country redevelopment ever.
COOPER: And there's not a lot of oversight for it.
DAVIDSON: There's absolutely minimal oversight. From the beginning of the occupation until November, when there was at least $4 billion spent there was no oversight. And then from November until recently, there was 1 guy, 1 inspector general stuck in a lonely office.
COOPER: You were saying the New York City Transit System has like a 100 or so.
DAVIDSON: Yes, yes. I forget the exact number, but it's over 100 inspectors general for the much smaller budget of the New York City Transit System.
COOPER: Yes. We contacted the program management office, which is the office of the U.S. led interim authority, it deals with contracts. Here's what they had to say, we're going to put it on the screen. "The money is spent in accordance to U.S. laws which have a very robust auditing system. We have seen no evidence of any corruption in the program."
Did you witness corruption firsthand?
DAVIDSON: Yes, corruption is the easiest thing to witness, firsthand, in Iraq. I mean, everything from petty corruption all the way up to grand corruption.
COOPER: So how does it work? I mean, you're not saying -- it's not necessarily American officials who are -- you're not saying that, your saying it's more as the money is filtered down.
DAVIDSON: Yes. I mean, American officials -- there's been a few cases were people being kicked out of Baghdad, American government employees, for corruption. But I think it's a very small number. What really happens is, you have these massive American companies spending billions of dollars of taxpayer funding, out in a very insecure area, with no oversight whatsoever, and so the way they create relationships with local Iraqi subcontractors, who are actually doing most of the work, spending most of the actual money, it's a complete black hole as far as American oversight is concerned. They can be doing anything they want.
COOPER: So, it's a matter of bribes. It's Iraq people to get access to Iraqi officials, to get access to U.S. companies have to pay bribes.
DAVIDSON: Yes. It goes both ways. I mean, Iraqi contractors are paying bribes to Iraqi officials to the translators who work for American companies and at the same time, American contracts are being sent to -- are being controlled by certain Iraqis who are known to be long practitioners of corruption.
COOPER: It's fascinating. It's a scary thing obviously with the security situation it's not going to be resolved any time soon.
DAVIDSON: It's not going to be resolved. This has clearly been a backburner issue for the U.S. since the beginning and it's now even more backburner. Which I think is a real shame. Because when you talk to Iraqis they are outraged by the ongoing corruption. And many of them say that is one of the main reasons they don't have faith in the U.S. government. That they don't believe that the U.S. has come to Iraq to bring freedom and democracy.
COOPER: New government, same corruption. Thanks very much.
Verdicts reached today in the Jayson Williams trial. That is going to be coming up. The jury is still stuck on two more of them. What could they be? We'll take a closer look.
Also tonight, side by side. Satirists poke fun at Bush and Cheney's joint appearance before the 9/11 commission. We'll take a look at what they're saying. And a little later from "You're fired" to "I do." Oh, Donald Trump taking yet another trip down the aisle.
COOPER: Well, day three of deliberations in the Jayson Williams manslaughter trial. The focus of justice served tonight. A day that ended with indecision. Jurors are divided on two of the eight charges leveled against the retired NBA star. Covering the case for us tonight 360 legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. Stuck on two charges. What two charges do you think they are?
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, 360 LEGAL ANALYST: Cutting right to the point. Basically I think they've reached a verdict on the cover- up charges. What Jayson did after the shooting and after Gus Christofi was killed. What they're struggling with I think is this extreme indifference to human life. There's four counts that involve that type of thing, so to speak. At least three specifically. You've got charges that he pointed the gun at Gus Christofi and that in and of itself, aggravated assault or possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. I think they're struggling with those counts. The top one, the aggravated manslaughter...
COOPER: Those are the most serious.
NEWSOM: They are the most serious and I think these show during this case there are a couple of jurors that are really sympathetic for Jayson. They're referring to him as Jayson in the notes. And when Billy Martin (ph) was doing his closing argument one of the women was kind of bouncing in her chair. They're making faces. It's kind of like Tyco revisited. When they came out to announce they had reached verdicts on six of the eight. You could see these two in particular, these two jurors that had their heads kind of hanging low. As if almost kind of shameful about it. They couldn't really look at Jayson.
COOPER: Tomorrow when they reconvene they've asked for some testimony to be read back.
NEWSOM: This is key. This shows why they're struggling with that extreme indifference for human life. They want everything from the point they went to Jayson William's house to the study up until the point that Gus Christofi was shot. So what did Jayson do? What did Jayson say? How was he pointing the gun, et cetera? And perhaps that will give them some room to figure out what to do with those two...
COOPER: So all the testimony about what happened after this man was shot they're already done with that. Or seem to be.
NEWSOM: Correct. Absolutely. What he's looking at 55 years total. Say for example he's just convicted of the cover-up charges. Maybe they have found him not guilty on the manslaughter and they're struggling with a couple other counts, he would then be looking at a maximum of 13 years. But all the last four counts, the cover-up charges all have a presumption of probation...
NEWSOM: For them. So this could be interesting. There's a possibility Jayson Williams could walk out the door and still be convicted of a number of counts.
COOPER: He's already settled a civil suit with the family of Gus Christofi.
NEWSOM: For $2.75 million. This family said we don't think this was a crime at all. Meaning this was a civil case. This was an issue of negligence.
COOPER: They said they don't think it's a crime at all?
NEWSOM: That's correct. And they signed a statement on that.
COOPER: They signed that after the...
NEWSOM: After the civil settlement which occurred obviously before the trial. So kind of begs the question. This is really out of order. Usually you have the criminal case go and then the civil case is brought. We have the opposite scenario. So you have a family saying no, Jayson shouldn't be held responsible criminally, it was an accident. And the judge gave instructions talking about accident and negligence. And if they find it was just negligent, kind of careless, then he said you must find him not guilty.
COOPER: We may have a result tomorrow. Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, thanks.
You may not think so but there is a lighter side to the president and vice president's session with the 9/11 commission. We're going to show you how comics and cartoonists are poking fun at their buddy system. Also a look at the most popular stories of the day including a diver lost at sea only to be rescued by Boy scouts.
And a little later out with the olds after more than 100 years of production. Say it ain't so. The last Oldsmobile rolls off the assembly line. We'll take that to the Nth Degree.
COOPER: Here's the most popular stories on CNN.com right now. Here's the scoop on the Boy Scout story. Be prepared. 45-year-old Dan Carlick (ph) is on a recreational dive off Newport Beach with two friends. He loses his friends who for whatever reason leave for another dive site without him. He drifts for five hours. Enter an excursion boat full of Boy Scouts. A 15-year-old Zach Mayberry (ph) spots Carlick through binoculars. Carlick is rescued. I wonder what merit badge you get for fishing middle-age men out of the ocean. I don't know if they have one for that.
President Bush and Vice President Cheney should have seen it coming. Not the questions from commission members but the jokes from late night comedians and cartoonists who are having a field day with the presidential reluctance to appear alone. CNN's Jeanne Moos checked it out.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bush/Cheney, Bush/Cheney, not since they accepted the Republican nomination has there been so much hand-holding. At least at the hands of political cartoonists. The man who campaigned as a uniter sure has been united in the press.
Now both of them are sitting ducks for comedians joking about 9/11 commission seating arrangements.
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Should Bush rather sit on Cheney's right knee or his left knee?
MOOS: The puppet theme was a favorite with cartoonists. Mike Luckovich got so worked up...
MIKE LUCKOVICH, ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: He's the damn president. He should go in front of the American people...
MOOS: He's published two cartoons. One depicting the duo as Dr. Evil and Minnie Me. Luckovich cites the president's tough guy image.
LUCKOVICH: But then he needs his buddy Cheney with him to answer questions. It just looks so bad. And I thank him for that.
MOOS: Thanks him for inspiring a cartoon showing the president entering a restroom. "Where's Cheney? I'm not doing this alone." Some folks on the street were more charitable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't have a problem with it. I think it's perfectly all right. I mean, first of all, he isn't the most articulate president. I do think he's an honorable man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's a wimp.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not presidential. It's like he's a child.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kind of when you go to the principals office. You don't want to be separated so the other guy doesn't say the wrong thing.
MOOS: We stumbled on actor James Whitmore (ph) who once played a president. Harry Truman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President of what?
MOOS: The United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really? I had no idea.
MOOS: And Vice President Cheney are testifying together today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To each other?
MALE: In this case, two heads are a better target than one. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
COOPER: All right. Staying with some lighter stuff. Let's check on some pop news. The BBC is launching a TV channel for cats and dogs called Pet TV. Apparently got images of flying frisbees and billiard balls. We hope for the more adult animals Pet TV after dark.
All right. Moving on, a subway line in New York City will be operated without any human help. The automate "L" train will be controlled by a computer. Everything on it will be robotic. Including that guy who goes from car to car screaming the end of the world is near.
NASA is reportedly considering ways to reduce the sexual urges of astronauts traveling on long journeys. Frankly, I didn't know they had any but apparently they do. One scientist said the space agency may be looking into giving crews something to reduce their chances of being aroused. We suggest sweating to the Oldies volume one through three. And a man who sold his ex-wife's wedding dress on Ebay by posing in it, this is true, has become something of a celebrity. Larry Starr (ph) says he's been flooded by thousands of e-mails, even five marriage proposals. Though we suspect half of them were from the Utica men's correctional facility.
Just when we all thought we'd get a break, you pick up the paper this morning and boom! there's the Donald. Yes, Donald Trump, he's getting engaged again. No secret the eternally optimistic Donald is taking a third chance on love. So we've said it before, we'll say it again. Donald Trump, you're overkill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's going to be a groom for the third time. Walking down the aisle again.
COOPER (voice-over): It was the talk of morning television. Donald Trump and Slovenian model Melania Knauss (ph) are making it legal. According to today's "New York Post" the bride-to-be is sporting a big sparkler. But the Donald knows big. He owns big buildings. His television show "The Apprentice" was a big hit.
DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": You're fired.
COOPER: His new book is a big best-seller. And now he's reportedly got a big deal to spout his views on morning radio. Even his divorces were big. His first wife Ivana walked away with 25 million of the Donald's dollars. She's now running an empire of her own Ivana, Inc. Thanks to an ironclad prenup, second wife Marla Maples reportedly pocketed a comparatively paltry $2.5 million. She's now studying (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and pursuing an acting career. Maybe to make ends meet.
Ironically this new success comes at a time when one of Trump's big businesses, Trump Hotels is on the brink of bankruptcy. But he's been there before. The bottom line is his refusal to relinquish the spotlight may be what keeps the casinos from crumbling. According to "Fortune" magazine, the endless self-promotion and the larger than life persona allow him to get financing where most would have long been cut off. So, after all, the Donald's biggest business is really the Donald himself. And that buys him a second chance at overkill.
COOPER: Well, saying good-bye to a four-wheeled American original. Taking the end of the Oldsmobile to the Nth Degree. That is coming up.
COOPER: Time now for the buzz. Earlier we asked you was the war in Iraq a mistake? More than 35,000 of you voted. 65 percent of you said yes. 35 percent of you said no. Not a scientific poll but it is your buzz. Thank you. Tonight taking a fond farewell to the Nth Degree. Well that's it. Ransom E. Olds built his first experimental steam-powered horseless carriage in Lansing, Michigan in 1887. And today, 117 years later the last Oldsmobile of all rolled off the production line in that same city. Good-bye to a grand old brand. The Oldsmobile was the first mass produced car in the country. We're talking years before Henry Ford's famous Model T. Once upon a time people sang about the Olds.
Ransom Olds sold out to GM long ago. Then started another car company REO. Stood for Ransom E. Olds. There aren't any REOs anymore either. Used to be that whenever we heard antique guys waxing nostalgic over antique cars, Packards, Hudsons, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the Stanley Steamer and the Studs Bear Cat, we think, boy that's a geezer thing to feel, affection for a vanished car. Yes, well, strange what time will do to a man. So long, rocking 88.
I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching. "PAULA ZAHN NOW" is next.
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