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Nader Chooses Runningmate; Memo Shows Rumsfeld Did Not Approve Torture; Tips on Avoiding Lightning Strikes

Aired June 22, 2004 - 08:30   ET


BILL HEMMER, CO-ANCHOR: He's the third man in a two-man race for president. But Ralph Nader is determined to make a difference in November.
Yesterday, the independent candidate chose a running mate to help him do just that. Peter Camejo is on that ticket.


RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is a man who has put his principles in practice, who's fought the struggles of the civil rights movement, labor rights movement in the '60, '70s, who has in many ways been an exemplar of the combination of the mind, the word, and the deed.


HEMMER: Camejo recently ran as the Green Party candidate for governor in the state of California. He's our guest this hour in Washing.

Good morning. Welcome here.


HEMMER: You were quoted as saying the central issue in this campaign is the war in Iraq. What differentiates you and Ralph Nader from John Kerry and George Bush?

CAMEJO: Well, both Kerry and Bush are -- belong to parties that supported Saddam Hussein for 10 years, that have never apologized for giving Saddam Hussein poison gas or the public statements that were made about he was doing a good job in Iraq.

And now this illegal, in violation of all international law, occupation against what the overwhelming majority of the people want in Iraq. Nader and myself are completely opposed to this. We represent the overwhelming majority of opinion in the world.

Democrats and Republicans, Kerry and Bush represent a tiny minority in this world who think it's OK for one nation to occupy, under false premises, another nation and force upon them a puppet government as what is happening now.

HEMMER: You would say, in all likelihood, you have more commonalities with John Kerry than you do George Bush. Would you admit that?

CAMEJO: Well, there are some things that John Kerry states are his policies.

But John Kerry gave George Bush 18 standing ovations when he gave his State of the Union address. He voted for the war. He voted for are the Patriot Act, which is in violation of the Constitution of the United States.

We defend the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. So I think there's more differences between the Nader/Camejo campaign than there is between Bush and Kerry by far. We stand...

HEMMER: Let me take that answer and just show you the new "Washington Post"-ABC poll numbers, on the screen for our viewers.


HEMMER: And we'll talk about this.

Who would you vote for? George Bush, 44 percent. John Kerry a slight lead at 48 percent and Ralph Nader gets six percent.

What do you say to those that Ralph Nader could essentially steal the election from John Kerry, much as some claim happened in the year 2000?

CAMEJO: I thought you'd never ask.

Listen, the people have the right to vote for who they want. It is the Democrats and Republicans who refuse to allow runoff elections in America so we could have free elections so people are free to vote for Nader. It's much more than 6 percent.

Just remove the spoiler problem, allow runoffs. Why have the Democrats for 3 1/2 years done absolutely nothing to make American elections freer?

We have the most reactionary electoral laws in the world. We don't allow the American people to vote freely. And six percent are saying, you know, "We are fed up with. We are fed up with no choices, everyone excluded from the debates. We want to hear more choices."

Twenty-five percent of the American people are not registered Democrat and Republican. It's time that we have representation. We pay taxes but we have no representation. It's time to change the electoral laws, open up the electoral system.

When people say to Nader don't run, what they're saying is, "We want to take away the rights of the American people to vote for a voice that's not a Democrat or Republican."

Who you're angry at is the voters, and they will make the decision. Many -- we know millions may vote for Kerry who really agree with us. We understand they're victims. They're victims of an electoral system that doesn't allow them to vote for what they're for. They have to vote against it.

HEMMER: We -- We have to leave it there. Peter Camejo, thanks for talking to us down in D.C.

CAMEJO: Thank you very much.

HEMMER: You got it -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: To the Pentagon now. The Pentagon saying it will release memos about the rules of interrogation that were signed by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Kathleen Koch is at the Pentagon for us this morning. Kathleen, good morning.


And just this morning a senior defense official brought one of those memos to me. I had a chance to look at it, and what it does is it clarifies some reporting by CNN, by CBS, by a number of news organizations, who had incorrectly reported that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved an interrogation technique known as water boarding.

After examining this memo, I see now that the secretary specifically did not approve such a technique.

Now, the paper I had a chance to look at was submitted to the secretary. It was a list of new recommended more rigorous techniques that had been requested by the commander of the facility at Guantanamo Bay for use on one specific prisoner, a prisoner believed to be, perhaps, the 20th hijacker on 9/11.

Now, this particular -- these particular techniques were actually never used. These were -- the techniques on the list were approved by Rumsfeld in December and then rescinded in January.

Now, the technique that was approved, the only more rigorous one approved by the secretary was something called non-injury physical contact that involved something like light shoving, tugging someone's arm, touching them in the chest.

There were, again, some techniques that were initially suggested and requested by the commander at Guantanamo Bay that did include use of a wet towel or dripping water to induce the perception of suffocation. That was specifically not approved by the secretary.

Also not approved was exposure to cold weather or water, and one other technique, again, making the prisoner believe that death or severe pain could be imminent to him or his family.

Only that light physical contact was ever approved by the secretary.

O'BRIEN: Kathleen, a quick question for you, because I want to clarify, where did this misinformation come from? I mean, obviously, it's sort of night and day. Earlier we thought that, in fact, the secretary had approved this water boarding technique, and it was -- I think set off a lot of people who felt that this was clearly torture.

The secretary's comments were a little unclear regarding the definition of torture. So now it seems like the memos don't show that.

Are there more memos to come that might, or is it the only memos we're expecting?

KOCH: There are more memos to come. But I believe that this is the quintessential one, which is why it's being brought out today.

And if you didn't see the final top sheet the secretary signed off on, if you only read the recommended list, then you might be misinformed. Apparently what happened was a senior defense official who briefed reporters at CNN, including Jamie McIntyre, and other network reporters, gave a misimpression to them, and that's how all this happened.

But again, there's a lot of clarifying going on today, and hopefully later on this afternoon, we're told, when these memos are actually given us to, that will be the soonest time that they'll come out. Hopefully it will make all of this even clearer, Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Thank you for that clarification. Kathleen Koch, clearing up something very important for us this morning. Certainly appreciate it, Kathleen.

Still to come this morning on AMERICAN MORNING, one of the most popular sites on the Internet accused of cashing in on counterfeit goods. We go to Andy Serwer, who's "Minding Your Business" for that.

HEMMER: Also in a moment, beautiful but deadly. When lightning strikes how you can stay safe.

O'BRIEN: Also, hope you're hungry. A meal that brings new meaning to the term super size. We'll explain, just ahead as we continue after this.


O'BRIEN: Sanjay is off today. In our medical segment this morning, when lightning strikes.

Just this past weekend in Colorado, 19 people were struck while playing golf on a makeshift course at the top of a mountain bluff. Four people suffered serious injuries.

Anyone who's ever been hit by lightning is probably lucky to be alive, but survivors even can face problems over time.

Medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us from the CNN Center with more on that and also some important safety tips as well.

Elizabeth, good morning. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad.

Soledad, those pictures that we just saw of lightning bolts, those say it all. Lightning is one of the most dangerous weather phenomenons.

In fact, the number of people who are -- who are hit by lightning may surprise you: 300 people are hit each year, and of those, 67 die. That means that more people die of lightning strikes than of hurricanes or tornadoes, and many people find that surprising.

Now, about 10 percent of the people who are struck by lightning are killed, and that means that of the other 90 percent some of them have pretty much no problems. But some of them do have many problems, such as for example memory problems. They might have sleep disorders, numbness, dizziness, stiffness in joints here.

We're seeing pictures of some of the folks who were in that horrible -- who've been in horrible lightning accidents in the past.

Muscle spasms, depression. They have a hard time sitting still for a long time. So even of the 90 percent of people who don't die in lightning strikes, they can still suffer from debilitating problems -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: At the same time, Elizabeth, it seems like lightning -- being struck by lightning is sort of a rare phenomenon. Just how many people actually are hit by lightning and go on to survive every year?

COHEN: Right, the odds of being hit by lightning are one in 3,000, and as you said, that makes it a pretty unusual phenomenon. It's not something that happens every day.

However, it does happen, and so we want to give you tips as to what to do if you're ever caught in a lightning storm.

First of all, if you hear thunder, go indoors. If you hear thunder, that means that lightning probably is not very far behind. Also avoid high elevations, drop metal objects if you're holding any.

Also, lightning can strike twice. There's that old saying that it can't, but that old saying would be wrong.

If you don't have a shelter to go into, crouch down and cover your ears, and that can help you avoid any damage to your -- to your ears. And also go into a vehicle, that can stand as a good shelter.

Now if you're indoors and there's a lightning storm, stay away from the windows. That's very important so that if there's any shattering, you're away from those windows.

Also, don't use land line phones, because those can lead to damage if you're holding onto one of those. Also, don't use electrical appliances or computers. These all seem very common sense things, but mistakes that people make sometimes. And also, if you're inside wait 30 minutes after lightning or thunder ends before venturing outside. Leave yourself a little bit of pad time so that you don't get caught in another round of lightning bolts -- Soledad.

O'BRIEN: Yes, it seems that that was the mistake those folks in Colorado made. They went out a little too soon when they thought it had passed carrying their golf clubs. And that endangered them.

COHEN: Right. Exactly.

O'BRIEN: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks. We'll check in with you a little bit later, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

O'BRIEN: Thank you.

HEMMER: In a moment here, Mike Tyson gets a chance to fight again. But there are some strings attached. We'll explain that in a moment.


HEMMER: About 45 minutes past the hour, back to the headlines again and Daryn Kagan at the CNN Center -- Daryn.

DARYN KAGAN, ANCHOR: Good morning, Bill.

The British government is calling for the release of eight Royal Navy crewmen who are being detained in Iran. The Iranian officials said the sailors and marines were aboard three British boats seized yesterday after they illegally entered a waterway between Iraq and Iran.

British officials are trying to verify reports that the crewmembers will be prosecuted.

In Washington, the U.S. Senate upholding a Pentagon restriction on media coverage of America's war dead. New Jersey Democrat Frank Lautenberg calls the policy an outrage.

The vote yesterday was 54-39 to uphold the ban, which prohibits media coverage of caskets containing fallen U.S. Troops. Senator Lautenberg said the restriction prevents Americans from seeing the truth about what is happening.

The U.S. Supreme Court backing health maintenance organizations or HMOs. The court ruled yesterday that patients could not sue in state courts if their HMOs refuse to pay for doctor recommended medical care. Those battles will have to be waged in federal courts where awards are usually smaller.

From the world of sports, Mike Tyson is getting the OK to jump back in the ring in New Jersey. He was granted a boxing license for that state yesterday. The former heavyweight champion last fought there in 1989. His trainer says he may fight in New Jersey before the end of the year.

And finally, a food lovers' delight, Monterey, Mexico, setting a new Guinness world record for the world's largest taco. More than 3,200 pounds of meat, some 250 pounds of chopped onions, about 10,000 tortillas.

It took thousands of workers hours to create the dish, but it only took 45 minutes for 8,000 people to polish it off.

What's that, Soledad? You know, either that was lovely breakfast fare for our viewers to have a look at, or maybe you're having some cravings?

O'BRIEN: You know, actually, I've been eating a lot of tacos lately. That looked pretty good. Any time I see food on TV, I'm like, "I want that."

KAGAN: The see food diet: You see food and you want to eat it.

O'BRIEN: Exactly. Thanks, Daryn.

In the war against counterfeiters, Tiffany has a new target. With that and a preview of the markets this morning, Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business."

This is kind of an unusual story, isn't it?

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: It is. Good morning to you.

It's the company with the baby blue boxes, taking its gloves off. You usually don't think of Tiffany being very aggressive, but they are here, Soledad.

They're suing eBay. Very, very interesting stuff here. What happened is some executives from Tiffany went onto eBay's site and started purchasing items that were said to be Tiffany items. They bought 186 pieces of silver jewelry; 73 percent of them were fake. So they decided to run a whole test.

They decided that -- they discovered, excuse me, 19,000 items on eBay that were said to be Tiffany items. They asked eBay to remove them because they were counterfeit. And they say that eBay is actually responsible for this.

Of course, eBay says, well, it's all about the sellers, right, that the sellers are responsible.

But Tiffany points out that the company eBay makes commissions on all the sales and also advertises that it sells Tiffany, so it should be responsible. And of course, eBay, actually the sellers are supposed to verify the stuff is not counterfeit.

They say -- they didn't respond directly to the lawsuit, but they did say they have a program in place called Vero which helps companies prevent fakes.

But it really begs the issue. You know, if you're going on eBay and you're looking at a Rolex watch, you're looking at a Louis Vuitton bag, you're looking at these kind of high end luxury items. I mean, how many of these things are real?

O'BRIEN: Probably something else.

SERWER: Yes. I mean, how many of these things are real? And, you know, of course, you're just looking at the seller and someone's history, like, well, they deliver the stuff on time.

So you know, eBay's terrific. It's wonderful; it's the new American marketplace, but buyer beware.

O'BRIEN: Well, it will be interesting to see, though, if they have any legal obligation to make sure -- you know, to go around and verify that it's something that someone is selling is legal.

SERWER: Right. It's going to be a very interesting legal case like that.

O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the markets.

SERWER: Let's do that, OK. When a South African wins the U.S. Open on Sunday, the market does what on Monday?


SERWER: Thanks, Goose. Goose! It's not Goose's fault.

Market's down a little bit. Looks good today, though. Futures up nicely. We'll be watching Palm and other stocks that are moving to the upside.

HEMMER: Good deal.

O'BRIEN: Thanks, Andy.

SERWER: You're welcome.

HEMMER: What does the market do the day after a South Africa wins the British Open?

SERWER: Root for Mickelson next time and maybe, yes.

HEMMER: Thank you, Andy.

In a moment here, Jack's back with the uneasy alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Back in a moment after this.


O'BRIEN: Time to check in with Jack and the "Question of the Day."

Good morning, again.


Tricky partnership, the one between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic militants who beheaded American Paul Johnson said that members of the Saudi security forces provided them with police uniforms and vehicles. Saudi government officials deny this.

Then there is the Bush family's alleged longstanding financial ties to the Saudi royal family; the radical Islamic schools all over the country that openly teach children hatred of the West. And of course, September 11, where 15 of the 19 hijackers who murdered almost 3,000 people were Saudis.

The question this morning that we're fiddling with is "What's the truth about Saudi Arabia?" Here's some of what you've written to us.

Doug in Bloomfield, New Jersey: "The simple truth is that Saudi Arabia is an oil exporting dictatorship that is probably responsible for breeding two-thirds of all the terrorists in the world."

Richard in New York: "The answer to your question lies with the Saudi spinmeisters like al-Jubeir who speaks to the American public every time something critical happens involving Saudi Arabia. Half- truths are more deadly than outright lies is what I think."

Michael in Toronto writes, "The truth about Saudi Arabia is that it's an ally of convenience. If it were not for its vast oil supply, the Western world would have long since rejected the house of Saud's crude feudal system and long-standing nurturing of violent Muslim extremists. Let's hope for the day when we no longer need their oil."

And Chet in Brooklyn Heights writes this, "I can't understand this whole war thing. Didn't it start with the 19 guys on the planes that I watched hit the towers? Seems to me our protected supply of oil is more important than a beheading here or there.", if you'd like to...

HEMMER: I want to know what the impact is on al Qaeda in that country. They killed the No. 1 guy on Friday night, but they had killed the previous No. 1 several months ago, as well.

CAFFERTY: And how much of what they say can you believe? How much of it's true and how much of it might be propaganda? I mean, we just don't know. It's...

HEMMER: We will know in time.

O'BRIEN: The timing of finding that leader of that al Qaeda group several hours after the beheading.

CAFFERTY: Does that seem a little strange to you?

HEMMER: Could have been coincidence and it could have been something more to it, sinister-like.

O'BRIEN: Jack, thank you.


O'BRIEN: Good question today.

Weather now, Chad Meyers at the CNN Center with the latest forecast for us.

Chad, good morning, what you looking at?


HEMMER: Chad, thanks for that.

Next hour here on AMERICAN MORNING, fighting terror is supposed to be one of the president's strengths. Is it now a liability? New poll numbers to talk about, and we will with Bill Schneider. Top of the hour, after this.


O'BRIEN: In the next hour on this AMERICAN MORNING, everything is big in Texas, even the weather. That story is ahead. We're back in a moment.



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