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Najaf Uprising; Global Security; Politics, Entertainment; 'New You' Checkup

Aired August 24, 2004 - 07:31   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are just a touch past half past the hour on this AMERICAN MORNING. I'm Daryn Kagan. Should we go through roll call here?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm just starting to wake up actually.

KAGAN: OK, have you arrived here?

COOPER: Yes, I think I'm now here.

KAGAN: We'll let you know when Anderson gets here. I'm Daryn Kagan.

COOPER: I think I'm Anderson Cooper in for Bill Hemmer.

KAGAN: I think you are, too.

COOPER: Soledad O'Brien is off as well.

KAGAN: They're all gone.

COOPER: All gone. They all, yes, have better things to do this morning, yes.


COOPER: Some of the stories we're following, U.S. tanks rolled through Najaf again today. And now there is a new ultimatum. Iraq's defense minister is giving followers of Muqtada al-Sadr just hours to get out of the city's mosque or, he says, they'll be wiped out. Matthew Chance is standing by to tell us where the two sides are. We'll talk to him shortly.

KAGAN: Also, we're going to take a look at a new television series from the National Geographic channel following the international crime fighters of Interpol. I'll talk with a former Interpol director about the series; also what goes on behind the scenes in the war on terror.

COOPER: Let's go to Carol Costello right now at the CNN center for a look at what's going on in the news this morning.

Good morning -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Anderson. Thank you. Police officers in California are going door-to-door looking for clues about the killings of two young campers. The bodies of 23-year- old Lindsay Cutshall and 26-year-old Jason Allen were discovered Wednesday on a remote beach in California. A Wisconsin man is reportedly being questioned in connection with the killings, and that is according to the "Santa Rose Press Democrat." Details on the investigation in the next half-hour.

One of the soldiers charged in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal is expected to plead guilty. Military sources say Staff Sergeant Ivan "Chip" Frederick will enter a guilty plea to at least one of the charges against him. That's expected later today at a U.S. Army base in Mannheim, Germany.

New details are being reported this morning about what may have taken place at the Abu Ghraib prison. According to sources cited by "The Washington Post," an Army investigation into the prison scandal had found that military dogs were used to frighten detained Iraqi teenagers. The report also acknowledges that military intelligence officials hid some of those detainees at the prison from the international humanitarian organizations.

And in Israel, undercover forces arrested two Palestinian militants hiding out in a hospital in Bethlehem. Israeli forces also discovered a weapons cache, assault rifles and ammunition. They arrested nine other Palestinians in operations throughout the West Bank.

Back to New York and Anderson.

COOPER: Carol, thanks very much.

Iraq's defense minister is ready to move on the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf if rebels don't clear out by tomorrow morning.

Matthew Chance is with the U.S. Marines surrounding the shrine. He joins us now on phone.

Matthew -- what's the latest?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And it's a sharp ultimatum from the Iraqi defense minister, Hazem Sha'alan, saying to the Mehdi Army militia that they must move out of the Imam Ali Mosque at the center of Najaf, which has been the focus of this ferocious fighting between U.S. forces and the Mehdi militia over the course of the past few weeks. That they must move out or face an onslaught by Iraqi troops.

He said he's ordered Iraqi troops to move into position this evening to seal off the entrances of the Imam Ali Mosque to prevent anymore Mehdi Army fighters from going inside.

Then he says they'll be using loudspeakers to instruct people who are inside the mosque. There are many hundreds of unarmed supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shia cleric inside the mosque, holed up inside, instructing them to leave the mosque or face an onslaught by Iraqi forces if they don't come out by Wednesday daybreak. He says he'll order in Iraqi troops, even though this is an event seen to be controversial. It would be an immensely controversial move.

This is one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam, and any fighting in that territory, there is concern that could provoke a backlash amongst this country's majority Shia. Nevertheless, the Interim Iraqi Government sees this uprising as a serious challenge to their authority, which they want to end as soon as possible -- Anderson.

COOPER: Matthew, there have been ultimatums, though, before. Is this one -- I mean, is this one for real?

CHANCE: You know, that's the big question, and you're absolutely right. There has been a war of words being waged, as well as an actual war on the ground, in there has been statements made by both sides, brinkmanship being played out.

Now, the sense we're kind of getting from the defense minister, from the Interim Iraqi Government, as well as the U.S. forces who have been formulating sort of joint plans to secure the central areas of Najaf, is that patience really, really is running out. But in the end, it will come down to political approval from the interim Iraqi prime minister, Iyad Allawi, whether or not to go ahead with this operation or not.

But certainly the fact that a timeline has been given by the defense minister, though, does indicate that these plans are very much alive.

COOPER: All right, Matthew Chance with Marines in Najaf, stay safe. Thanks, Matt -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Anderson, the U.S. intelligence community is working to intercept terror threats. The world police organization, Interpol, is also stepping up the war on terror. The National Geographic channel has launched a new series on the organization. It's called "Interpol Investigates." Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jurisdiction: the world. When crimes are committed, an international organization unites police officers to deliver justice. "Interpol Investigates."


KAGAN: The cases are real. My next guest is brings his real- life experience to it. John Imhoff was the U.S. director of Interpol from 1997 through 2000.

Good morning. Thanks for being here with us.

JOHN IMHOFF, "INTERPOL INVESTIGATES": Good morning, Daryn. Thank you.

KAGAN: I want to start with the obvious. What is Interpol, and who is running it?

IMHOFF: Interpol is the ultimate international law enforcement task force. It's headquartered in Lyons, France. It's run by the secretary-general. It's an international organization much like the United Nations, but dedicated to law enforcement.

KAGAN: So, on this show you're looking at specific cases that Interpol goes after and cracks. I want to look at a case. This is from Nicaragua. A gas station explodes, and there are a lot of clues about a potential terrorist organization found on the site. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An explosion from Nicaragua in 1993 reveals a cache of weapons and plans for a string of kidnappings by an organized ring of terrorist groups.


KAGAN: In that specific case, what was found there? What did Interpol find? And how is it an example of governments working together?

IMHOFF: Well, this is an excellent example of how Interpol supports investigations. There we have a cache of weapons and a cache of false identification that obviously supports some sort of criminal organization. Within the context of Managua, Nicaragua itself, it doesn't have much meaning. But when it's shared with the world and can be compared against other law enforcement databases, then it begins to take shape.

KAGAN: Let's talk about some specific situations and how Interpol might play in. No. 1, next week's Republican Convention here in New York City, how would Interpol play into trying to keep this city safe during the convention?

IMHOFF: A very good example. Law enforcement needs to tap into all of the resources at its disposal in order to have information necessary to thwart investigations (sic). Interpol...

KAGAN: Well, we know. But how does Interpol play in it?

IMHOFF: I'm sorry. To thwart terrorism. And Interpol is just one of the sources. Investigations involving terrorism are transiting the Interpol network all of the time, and those don't always involve the United States. But the United States can have access to that information, gain benefit of that and use it in its own defense.

KAGAN: How does Interpol play into looking back at 9/11? And why weren't they able to help prevent something like that taking place?

IMHOFF: Well, again, the same thing is true there. Investigations are happening all over the world. Interpol can help law enforcement to connect the dots. It is not the only source of information. It is not the be-all and end-all. But it's one more opportunity to see what the world is looking into and to gain benefit of that information. They have a central repository of information. It is accessible to law enforcement around the world.

KAGAN: This country is going through a big self-examination about its own intelligence community. I'll have Senator Pat Roberts on in the next hour. Is Interpol also looking at, in the face of the new threat of terrorism, how it needs to reorganize?

IMHOFF: No, I don't think so. I think law enforcement in the United States and law enforcement around the world refocuses its dedication of resources based on what the crime problems are of the day. Certainly, terrorism is at the forefront today, and Interpol has shifted its attention and focus accordingly.

KAGAN: And the show is on the National Geographic channel tonight. It's been on for a few weeks, but tonight at 9:00 p.m.

IMHOFF: Exactly.

KAGAN: John Imhoff, thank you so much.

IMHOFF: Thank you, Daryn.

KAGAN: Anderson.

COOPER: It's time now for day two of our week-long series. We're calling it "Pollywood," a look at politics and Hollywood. Get it? Pollywood. And the growing gray area between the two. Today, what happens when actors run for office? Does a great onscreen performance actually translate into rave political reviews?

Here's Heidi Collins.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the American dream lives on in Minnesota!

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Some famous faces have been able to use their celebrity status to toss their opponents out of the ring. Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie fame helped ease their way into public office.


FRED GRANDY, D.C. RADIO HOST: What do you guys have against John Kerry?

COLLINS: D.C. radio host Fred Grandy knows a thing or two about being a celebrity and holding public office.

GRANDY: A celebrity status is a good initial investment. It will start you up, but it won't keep you going.

COLLINS: He became a Republican congressman after 10 years of playing Gopher on TV's the "Love Boat." GRANDY: When I first ran for office, everybody thought I was crazy, except the people closest to my campaign, who knew about the business and knew you spent 75 cents of every campaign dollar just getting people to remember your name.

COLLINS: Some say this gives celebrities an unfair advantage. But popular culture Professor Robert Thompson (ph) says there has always been a marriage between entertainers and politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it would be very difficult for a politician today, 100 years ago or 200 years ago, to hold a major national office without having some kind of show business instincts, because that's exactly the game they are in.

COLLINS: Political pundit Arianna Huffington, somewhat of a celebrity herself, lost to Schwarzenegger in last year's California gubernatorial election.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I just realized that I have a perfect part for you in "Terminator 4."

COLLINS: Huffington urges to remember, you're not electing the actor who is playing a part, but the person behind it.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, AUTHOR, "FANATICS & FOOLS": We need to make a distinction between celebrities with something to say, some really important ideas to convey to the American public, and celebrities using their celebrity to pretend that they have ideas that they want to send to the public.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I get as annoyed as the next person when some second-tiered star of an ABC sitcom gets up and starts talking about politics. And I'm watching it on TV thinking, what's in the world do I care about what said second-rate sitcom star says about politics?

COLLINS: The voters passed their judgment about Grandy's qualifications. He serve for terms in Congress.

GRANDY: My first advice to anybody in politics is don't do it unless you are prepared to radically change your life. I had no idea what I was getting into, and I was sufficiently titillated by the idea of taking this odd gift that I had and turning that into a commodity that I could actually use for somebody's good, other than my own.


COOPER: Well, Heidi Collins will continue our five-part Pollywood series tomorrow with a look at comedians and politics. These days, people often get their current events from comedians. How does the funny business affect the campaign business, you ask? Well, that's tomorrow on AMERICAN MORNING.


COOPER: Still to come this morning, a book blasting one of the presidential candidates is flying off the shelves, but some folks say one bookstore is doing its best not to restock. Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business."

KAGAN: Also we have our checkup with one of our "New You" participants. David Peck, remember him? He was the guy who had...

COOPER: He was stressed.

KAGAN: He was stressed.

COOPER: Right.

KAGAN: Aren't we all? But he really had a problem. He had a serious scare when we began the series, prompting some dramatic changes. How is that plan holding up today? Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be along with that. Stay with us here on AMERICAN MORNING.


KAGAN: We are talking about a controversial book. It bashes John Kerry's war experience. It is out of stock at Barnes & Noble, and that is creating controversy.

Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business" this morning with more on that.

Good morning.


This company has found itself in the middle of a firestorm here. Very interesting. Barnes & Noble, 800 bookstores across the nation, you can't get this book, "Unfit for Command." That's the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Swift Boat Veterans speak out against John Kerry, "Unfit for Command."

Now, the publisher of this book basically just didn't print enough copies. And what's going on is liberal groups are demanding that Barnes & Noble remove the book from the shelves, which is happening, because there aren't any there. And conservative groups are saying they're hiding the books. Well, there are no book there. The book is sold out.

So, Barnes & Noble asks, please, to stop bugging them. They say they'll get more books later this week. They've got nothing to do with whether the books are supplied there or not. The publisher just doesn't have any.

Here are the top books at Barnes& And you can see, you can still get it online apparently. There is "Unfit for Command." Look at the eclectic taste of the American public. The 9/11 Commission there, the "DaVinci Code" and "The Abs Diet." Where would we be without a diet book? And then "Angels and Demons," that's another...

KAGAN: Dan Brown.

SERWER: ... Dan "De Vinci Code" Brown book. So interesting stuff there. Later this week, if you want to get one of those from the bookstores.

Quickly, a check of the futures. They're up this morning. The price of oil continues to fall. Japanese and overseas markets are looking good. And we'll be following that more this morning.

KAGAN: A lot of conspiracy theories on that list...


KAGAN: ... including why don't we have flatter abs.

SERWER: Yes, that's the biggie.

KAGAN: That's what we want to know.

SERWER: I want to know the answer to that.

KAGAN: Absolutely.

COOPER: Let's check in with the "Question of the Day" and Jack "abs" Cafferty.



CAFFERTY: Old four-pack over here.

The Olympics and judging controversy. Well, it took about 10 days, but we finally got one. It came in the gymnastics, men's all- around. Paul Hamm won the gold. Now, it turns out the judges made a mistake when they were judging a South Korean gymnast. And at the time the mistake was made, it could have put the South Korean in first place. So, that puts the outcome of the gold medal very much in question.

The question we're asking is whether or not Paul Hamm ought to give up his gold medal. The officials are saying they're not going to overturn the decision and he can keep it. But we don't know whether you think that's a good idea or not.

Cindy in Winter Park, Florida, writes: "It was an error, but an error on both sides. The Koreans should have protested when it happened. The coaches are supposed to be watching for the best interests of their athletes. They are the closest thing to a lawyer that a competitor has."

Gunter in Peru, Vermont: "Hamm deserved the gold medal because they showed on TV last night that the South Korean came to four distinct stops, and only three stops are allowed. Each stop after three is a point two deduction. And the judges missed the fourth stop."

I'm not reading the rest of this, Gunter. It's too complicated for me.

Jim in Miramar Beach, Florida, writes: "I feel if a mistake was made in judging that mistake should be annotated in the records and another gold given to the rightful winner. It's hard to ask for the medal back after it was awarded."

Bob writes in New Bern, North Carolina: " Give it up. If he keeps it, he'll forever be known as the guy who won a medal he didn't deserve. If he gives it up, he'll be known as having done the honorable thing."

And Robert in Tacoma: "No, he should not give up the gold. They should do that segment over or just give the other guy a gold and eat the shame for screwing up."

Have a little do-over.

SERWER: There is no do-over in the Olympics. There are no do- overs.

COOPER: The thing about the Olympics is that everyone suddenly becomes a judge. Like, I find myself sitting at home and being like, oh, he stuck that landing.

SERWER: That was a 6.3.

COLLINS: He struck that landing. Good!

SERWER: Yes. Or what if they gave them both gold medals? What if they gave the South Korean a gold?

KAGAN: Doesn't it kind of sound like Salt Lake City with the figure skaters you were talking about? At every Olympics there is going to be double gold medals.

SERWER: Well, there are always going to be problems. I mean, I think if they gave them both gold medals, the whole thing will be over.

CAFFERTY: I think they should put the judge who made the mistake in prison for a long time.

SERWER: What about the guacamole idea?


CAFFERTY: Make an example of them.

SERWER: Right.

CAFFERTY: Well, I like the guacamole idea.

KAGAN: That would be like a Soviet judge, a 7.2 degree of difficulty.


KAGAN: Exactly. All right, we have a lot more coming up. Thank you, Jack, for that.

Still to come, it is time to check in with the first of our "New You" participants.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the "New You." It's a desire to make change and then, you know, having made it. You know, a lot of people are constantly asking me, "How's your heart doing, Dave?"


KAGAN: Well, that's a good question. We last saw Dave Peck six months ago after a big scare prompted him to make some big changes. Dr. Sanjay Gupta follows up with him after the break. Stay with us on AMERICAN MORNING.


COOPER: Well, today is the second day of AMERICAN MORNING's "New You" six-month checkup. All week long we're catching up with the five viewers who made their "New You" resolutions last January to feel newer and fitter.

Today, we focus on 44-year-old David Peck. Now, he was concerned about a family history of heart disease.

KAGAN: And his story perhaps is the most dramatic of everyone who participated in the series. He had a serious scare during our series, when a stress test for his heart turned up abnormal; meaning there could be blockages.

Let's bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta from CNN center with an update on how Dave Peck is doing.

Good morning -- Sanjay.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn. Good morning, Anderson.

Yes, that was pretty jarring news that David Peck received. That was six months ago. Since then, he's tried to lower stress, eat right and get healthier.

The question is, though? Is he still on his path to wellness? And just how is his heart doing?


GUPTA (voice over): We caught up with David Peck in the woods.

DAVE PECK, "NEW YOU" PARTICIPANT: I'm glad we've got our hiking shoes on.

GUPTA: Before "New You," the woods is the last place you'd find him.

PECK: It's just another workout. We started the vacation, and Amy, my wife, says, "Dave, you're here!"

GUPTA: A switch from the stressful life he was leading as a harried businessman always on the go, always on the road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does anybody know what time it is?


GUPTA: Now, life is decidedly slower-paced. And without the cameras constantly looming, Dave is still on his plan.

PECK: If you lose the cameras you think you're going to drop off. I didn't fall off as much as I thought I would.

GUPTA: He's also seeing his energy level spike as he continues working out. He's lost four more pounds for a total of 14, but not without hitches.

PECK: I had a short weight gain after a Fourth of July eating binge, but other than that, I've been OK.

GUPTA: OK. But Dave's new life is about discipline and realizing that his eating habits can affect his heart and his energy level. Trips to his cardiologist are now routine. And six months later, his heart is still in the clear.

PECK: It was just a good feeling for me to be proactive on that. Just to the say that I have a cardiologist makes me feel good.

GUPTA: For his family, the change in Dave feels good, too. And with his new lower stress schedule, they get to spend time with dad, and time with a husband who used to be absent.

PECK: Before I was a little numb to everything. Now you can kind of take in more things. You know, you stop. Like, with the kids here, we're looking at the stars.

All right, whew!


GUPTA: He looks pretty good, doesn't he? A little scruff going there out in the woods.

Listen, we tend to measure things and progress in terms of pounds or inches lost. In David's case, really it was about less stress, more time with the family, and the pounds and inches to boot -- Daryn and Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Sanjay, thanks very much. It's good to see he's doing better.

How much of an impact can lowering stress really have on a person's heart? That's a question let's put to Sanjay.

GUPTA: Right. Let me take a stab at that one. You know, that's a good question.

Stress is one of these vague sorts of things. You know, it's probably an overused term. But we do know based on clinical that stress is linked to things like blood pressure, cigarette smoking, inactivity, obesity.

Is it directly related to heart disease? They haven't been able to make that conclusion yet, but it's related to all of the things that are related to heart disease. So, it's obviously going to be a factor -- Anderson.

COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta thanks very much.

GUPTA: Thank you.

KAGAN: All right. A lot more still to come here.

We've got Jack Cafferty's "Question of the Day."

KAGAN: We do. Should Paul Hamm give back his gold medal in all- around men's gymnastics?

COOPER: One of the many things we'll be talking about this morning.

KAGAN: We have a lot ahead, including the headlines, straight ahead. Stay with us.


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