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Bush Marks End of World War II

Aired May 8, 2005 - 11:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: It's 11:00 a.m. on the East Coast, 8:00 a.m. out West. I'm Fredricka Whitfield at CNN's global headquarters. Ahead this hour, President Bush marking the anniversary of the end of World War II. What Mr. Bush said about freedom and the war on tyranny.
Also, behind the scenes of World War II. A former Russian spy and her memories of Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin.

And later, a pounding storm with strong winds slams North Carolina. The dramatic rescue at sea of people tethered to a sail boat.

But, first, a look at the top stories.

Some political progress in Iraq this morning. The National Assembly has filled six key Cabinet spots, including the ministers for defense and oil. Four of the posts went to Sunnis, an effort to give a greater voice to the country's Sunni minority.

Iraqi lawmakers have been meeting amid continuing violence. This morning in Baghdad, gunmen killed a senior transportation official, along with his driver. Police say three men in a small car opened fire on the officials' truck.

The attorney for convicted killer Wayne Williams is asking for a new trial. This after a Georgia police chief reopened some of the 29 so-called Atlanta child murder cases which police attribute to Williams. The chief believes Williams is innocent, but a Georgia prosecutor says there's no new evidence to warrant reopening those cases.

We kick off our coverage this morning with President Bush overseas. The president arrived in Moscow under two hours ago. He's meeting privately today with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Bush arrives on VE Day, the 60th anniversary of the allied victory over the Nazis in World War II. Tomorrow, he joins more than 50 other world leaders for celebrations in Moscow's Red Square.

But some Russians may be seeing red because of the president's trip. Let's go straight to Moscow now and CNN's Jill Dougherty.

And, Jill, what do the two have to accomplish in their meeting. I'm talking about Putin and Bush? JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, you would have to say that probably not a lot, openly speaking. They're going to be meeting for about an hour, and the subject -- the main subject will probably be the one that they have been debating for at least a couple of months, and that is the state of democracy in Russia.

It's become a very important issue, especially in the last couple of days, because, after all, President Bush began his trip here to Russia in the Baltics, and those countries -- Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia -- all of them believing that the end of World War II might have been very good, but what it led to was Soviet domination, and so that has become a very sore point because President Putin does not agree with that. He does not believe that the Soviets dominated or occupied the Baltics.

So you've got the old 60-years-ago story and then the modern story today, which is: Is Russia a democratic country? And this disagreement between Bush and Putin continues, President Putin saying we have democracy here in Russia, it's just simply our type of democracy.

WHITFIELD: Well, obviously, Jill, those disagreements do exist, but let's try to remind people right now that, today, much of Europe is remembering a war that spanned the continent. The victory over the Nazis marked an intense moment of joy in the allied countries following years of great sacrifices. Sixty-one countries were involved in World War II, 55 million people killed.

Britain's Prince Charles was among those laying wreaths at a London ceremony this morning. A VE Day commemoration concert will be held at Trafalgar Square later this evening.

And ceremonies in Paris today included a military parade. President Jacques Chirac also laid a wreath at France's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

In Berlin, there was a memorial service as well as ceremonies in parliament, but there were also lingering tensions. Neo-Nazis held a march amid a leftist counter demonstration.

Now, Jill, amid all of the pomp and ceremonies taking place, there have also been some very personal remembrances of war. In fact, you have one woman's story to share with us right now.


DOUGHERTY (voice-over): June 22, 1941. She was just 21, a young mother.

ZOYA ZARUBINA, FORMER SOVIET INTELLIGENCE AGENT: My relatives starts waving her hands, saying, come, come. All of a sudden, I thought something must be wrong with the baby, you know, the first instinct, and, when we entered the dacha, we heard the speech of Mr. Molotov so that the Germans treacherously started a war, and then everything changed. You could divide the life before and after. DOUGHERTY: Zoya Zarubina was the daughter of top intelligence officers and spies. In Moscow, she volunteered for the resistance, working as a messenger in teams of five.

ZARUBINA: We just knew the five people, and one of them knew the next five, you understand. So they have to make sure that, well, if they will be tortured or something, they won't give away the whole network.

DOUGHERTY: Her most important mission came at the Yalta Conference in February 1945. The young intelligence agent, fluent in several languages, was sent as liaison officer, interpreting for Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill during unofficial conversations.

Years later, she recalls a Soviet leader smaller than she expected with a tired face.

ZARUBINA: His eyes were yellow, I would say cat's eyes, and he sort of was -- when he spoke to you, he didn't look you straight in the face, but, when he did, those ice pierced you right through. That is for sure.

DOUGHERTY: Stalin had little use for Churchill's eloquence.

ZARUBINA: He did not impress Stalin, and I will tell you why. He did not impress Stalin because Stalin is not used to flowery speeches at the House of Commons.

DOUGHERTY: Her strongest memory of Roosevelt: his engaging nature.

ZARUBINA: What impressed me was the work of the bodyguard. You never saw him as an invalid.

DOUGHERTY: For a young patriot convinced of the righteousness of Communism, it was a revolutionary experience.

ZARUBINA: Being politically educated, you understand, for they're capitalists and we're socialists, you understand, but, at that moment, all that was erased.

DOUGHERTY: The battle cry of Soviet troops for the motherland, for Stalin, but the reality, Zoya says, was different.

ZARUBINA: Nobody think they were defending Stalin. They were defending their family, their life and their country.

DOUGHERTY: Finally, May 8, 1945, victory.

ZARUBINA: People kissing each other, not knowing each other, spread the table and bringing gramophones and playing records and dancing on their own.

But, you know, I will tell you one thing...

DOUGHERTY: Zoya Zarubina, now 85, still teaches at the Diplomatic Academy in Moscow, giving her students the benefit of her long and unique career. Like fellow veterans of what Russians call the Great Patriotic War, she just received a medal marking the 60th anniversary of Victory Day. She'll wear it proudly when she meets her comrades who will always remember the happiness and the tears.

ZARUBINA: They give us traditional vodka, they give us cucumber, and give us grechnevaya kasha, and we all, of course, drink to those who are not with us.

DOUGHERTY: "It's not that we are the heroes," she says. "We are the ones who survived."


DOUGHERTY: And so, as Zoya said, the Russian people really did it for themselves, for their families, and that's what so many Russian families feel. After all, nearly everyone in this country had somebody in their family that they lost. The Russians lost 27 million people, Fredricka, and most of them were civilians.

WHITFIELD: Jill Dougherty, thanks so much for bringing her story. Remarkable.

Well, on a weekend marked by solemn remembrance, images now from a man who put list his life on the line so that we might all witness the graphic sacrifices of war. Here now is biographer Richard Whelan on the works of photographer Robert Capa.


RICHARD WHELAN, BIOGRAPHER: If one had to choose a day that was the climax of Capa's career, D Day was it. Capa set the standard of bravery, certainly. He took his camera closer to the frontline action than anyone had ever dared to do before. He chose to go in with the first wave of American troops, and the soldiers thought this was the most extraordinary folly they'd ever heard of, that someone would go in without being ordered to do so.

Capa photographed them studying this model, planning their strategic moves. He photographed men putting their equipment together and getting on to the ships as they were putting the final preparations on to sail and while they were actually sailing to the French coast.

When he got out of the landing craft into waist-deep water and waded with the men into the beach, he began shooting and he had two cameras loaded with film. He wanted to photograph the faces of soldiers. He wasn't content to walk behind and photograph the soldiers' backs. He wanted the faces, as he always did. When he went to change the film, his hands were shaking so badly, he could not change his film again.

There was so much pressure in the London office of Life that a darkroom assistant turned the heat in the drying cabinet up too high, and the films that Capa had exposed at such extraordinary risk to his life, going in with his back to the Germans armed only with a camera, no gun, the films he had made began to melt. Of all the photographs he had made on the beach, only 11 were at all savable, usable.

When Capa left Omaha Beach, the only landing craft to which he could manage to swim was a medical craft that was evacuating some of the first of the wounded. He often focused on doctors, medics treating not only Americans, but Germans as well. What interested him was how the living cope with the horrors of war. He really understood what a horrendous, social crisis, a catastrophe war is.

The German army had sustained extremely heavy losses, and these very, very young men, these boys really, were thrown into combat with almost no training, very little equipment. He photographed them as bewildered, terrified, victims of war in their own way.

Capa was very aware of the political complexities of the situation. He brought that to his work. He covered wars that, in some way, really touched his life very directly and wars in which he was willing to risk his life, just as the combatants were risking theirs, for the outcome.

Capa's work is a benchmark to measure work against as most photojournalists do still regard Capa in that sense. They depend upon his work. They go back to his work to get their bearings, to get a sense of what it really is about.


WHITFIELD: Incredible, indelible images.

And we'll be right back. You're watching "CNN Live Sunday."


WHITFIELD: Checking stories across America this morning.

In New Jersey, Peter Rodino, the man who led President Nixon's impeachment hearing, has died. Rodino was House Judiciary Committee chairman when the panel approved the articles of impeachment just before Nixon stepped down back in 1974. Peter Rodino was 95.

A U.S. Coast Guard chopper rescued two men off the coast of North Carolina after their sail boat got caught in rough seas. The boat had engine trouble and was taking on water. The men tethered themselves to the boat until help arrived, a movie Coast Guard officials say probably saved their lives.

Persistence paid off for a New York City area parking meter officer. Then patience allowed police to move in. Jason Berke is charged with stealing more $30,000 one quarter at a time. He was suspected after meter revenue dipped dramatically in Westchester County. If convicted, Berke faces up to seven years prison.

A stain on a Chicago overpass is once again drawing visitors. Some believe the stain looks like the Virgin Mary, but, on Thursday, someone scrawled the words "big lie" over the image. Two car wash employees cleaned up the graffiti, and now the faithful are coming back for another look. This week, an Atlanta area police chief is expected to explain publicly why he's reopening a murder case that terrorized the public more than two decades ago. Nearly 30 young men and boys, all of them African-American, were kill during a two-year period. The serial murder case was closed after a jury convicted Wayne Williams of two murders. He's currently serving a life sentence.

CNN'S Sara Dorsey takes a look back now.


SARA DORSEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Wayne Williams was arrested in Atlanta in 1981, many in the city let out a breath they'd been holding for years, since 1979 when black children and teens across the area began disappearing, later turning up dead.

Williams, who was convicted of two of the murders and believed responsible for more than 20 others, has always maintained his innocence.

Louis Graham, the assistant police chief in Fulton County at the time and part of the Missing and Murdered Task Force believes Williams.

CHIEF LOUIS GRAHAM, DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA POLICE: I don't think Wayne Williams is responsible for anything. I don't think he did anything. So I made my mind over that over 20 years ago, and I still feel that way. I've felt an impetus when he was convicted. I felt that impetus since, and, yes, it has had a hold of me ever since, and, you know, I just can't seem to turn it loose.

DORSEY: Graham is now the DeKalb County police chief, and he's finally in a position to get to the bottom of his hunch. He's reopening four cold cases in this county dating back to 1981: Patrick Baltazar, Curtis Walker, Joseph Bell and William Barrett, all either died of strangulation or asphyxiation.

GRAHAM: If we can solve one case, then I'm satisfied with that. But, at this point, there are just too many open questions, and all I'm trying to do is answer those questions as best we can, and, if we can't, that's just the way it is.

DORSEY: Graham says a cold case task force full of fresh investigators and fresh ideas, using technology not available two decades ago, will look into the four homicides. When it comes to the kids themselves, some 25 years later, Graham is still very emotional and wants answers.

GRAHAM: That's what I'm trying to do. So maybe there is -- there can be justice for Patrick. I don't know. But at least he knows that we won't forget. He knows that we haven't forgotten. I haven't forgotten, and maybe that's what this is all about.

DORSEY (on camera): Graham says he doesn't know if the cases can be solved after all of these years, but, given the opportunity, he says he owes the victims and their families and entire area to at least try.

Sara Dorsey, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: Chief Graham's press conference is scheduled for later on in the week.

When we come right back, if you missed the derby, well, we've got the highlights, a long shot, to say the very least.


WHITFIELD: Well, a look at the media now and how it's covering some of the biggest stories in the news. Howard Kurtz has a preview of "Reliable Sources" coming up at the bottom of the hour.


HOWARD KURTZ, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Coming up, a jampacked show. ABC News' high-profile investigation on "American Idol"'s alleged love affair -- was it worth the air time?

The runaway bride running away with air time on cable news. Why is everyone psychoanalyzing the woman who faked her kidnapping and her fiance?

And Katie Couric in the harsh spotlight as the "Today" show battles "Good Morning America" in the ratings war.

Plus, a newspaper's online sex thing.

That and much more next on "Reliable Sources."


WHITFIELD: A whole lot ahead there.

Well, an exciting come-from-behind finish in the run for the roses coming up. Down the home stretch. We'll show you who wins and why this year's Kentucky Derby is one for the record books.


WHITFIELD: A long shot coming from behind to win the Kentucky Derby. The favorite was never even a factor during the race. Then, stunning the crowd, Giacomo comes from the rear, finishing a half- length ahead of another long shot, Closing Argument. That was the horse's name. Jockey Mike Smith rode Giacomo, the colt, to victory. It was his first derby win on his 12th try.


MIKE SMITH, WINNING JOCKEY: As soon as I passed and knew I won, I just said -- my legs just buckled. I was just -- I can't describe the feeling, man. I just really can't. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Well, the odds on Giacomo winning were 50 to 1. Those long shot odds make this the second biggest upset in derby history.

Well, that's it for "CNN Live Sunday."

Up next, "Reliable Sources" looking at how the media is covering the "American Idol" controversy and the runaway bride.

Then, on "Late Edition," the growing nuclear threat from North Korea. Wolf Blitzer talks with Mohamed ElBaradei on action by the U.N. to prevent such a crisis.

And at 2:00 Eastern, "People in the News" profiles controversial Congressman Tom DeLay.


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