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Disengaged; London Shooting; Assassination Call

Aired August 23, 2005 - 14:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We know Pat Robertson has heard of the commandment "Thou shalt not kill." So what's behind his suggestion that the U.S. take out the president of Venezuela?
Sometimes being your brother's keeper is no walk in the park. But is outlawing panhandlers the solution? We're going to talk about it.

And you've got a fetish for fast cars but don't like buying gasoline? One inventor has an electrifying convertible just for you.

From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Kyra Phillips. This hour of CNN's LIVE FROM starts right now.

And then there were none. Weeks ahead of schedule, with a fraction of the violence that many had expected and dreaded, the last Israeli civilians left the last Israeli settlements due to being evacuated, leveled and given back to Palestinians. Hours after the last holdouts departed Gaza, soldiers and police swept the West Bank strongholds of Homesh and Sanur, meeting, fleeting with heartfelt resistance with hacksaws and bulldozers.

President Bush was taking it all in from Idaho and sharing his take with reporters within the past hour.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The prime minister made a courageous decision to withdraw from the Gaza. We have got Jim Wolfensohn, the former head of the World Bank, on the ground, helping President Abbas develop a government that responds to the will of the folks in Gaza. In other words, this is step one in the development of a democracy.

And so to answer your question, what must take place next is the establishment of a working government in Gaza, a government that responds to the people.


PHILLIPS: Well, we get the details of today's disengagement from CNN's Guy Raz in the northern West Bank.


GUY RAZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The settlement of Sanur is now a ghost town, completely evacuated after nine hours in which police and soldiers entered this fortress community to begin the process of removing those who remain from this area. This is one of the four West Bank settlements that was slated for evacuation under Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan.

Now, about 7,000 police and soldiers were involved in this operation. Initially, they had feared that there could be violence. They knew that some of the people inside of this settlement were armed, and perhaps prepared to use those arms. That never materialized.

And in the end, many of those who remained left by persuasion. But there were problems here.

The main community center in this settlement, one time an Ottoman fortress, became the scene of a standoff for several hours, as dozens of young men, mainly hard-liners, climbed on top of the roof and vowed to remain there until they were forcibly removed. Police then brought in large metal containers, attached them to cranes. Those cranes were hoisted on to the top of that roof, filled with police officers who then stormed the roof and began to round up those remaining activists inside those containers.

They were brought down. And those activists were placed on buses and sent out of the Sanur settlement.

Guy Raz, CNN, Sanur settlement, in the northern West Bank.


PHILLIPS: When we talk about the Israeli pullout, we often mention Gaza and the West Bank in the same breath. But there is a big difference.

The pullout from Gaza involved the closures of more than 20 settlements. In the West Bank, we're only talking about four settlements being closed, among hundreds. Let's take a look at the facts.


PHILLIPS (voice over): Israelis have much stronger ties to the West Bank than they do to Gaza, often referring to it by the biblical names of "Judea" and "Samaria." The Jewish people first settled in the West Bank more than 3,000 years ago.

Control of the West Bank has changed hands many times since then, falling under Muslim rule for more than a thousand years. But the Israeli army captured it, most recently during the Six-Day War of 1967.

Israel has allowed Palestinians to have limited local authority in the West Bank, but it has been fiercely protective of the Jewish settlements there, including the dozens that are actually in east Jerusalem. All told, more than 240,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, amidst nearly 10 times as many Palestinians. But unlike Gaza, there are no plans for most of those settlers to leave anytime soon.


PHILLIPS: Iraqi lawmakers are hoping for a breakthrough in disputes delaying a new constitution. A draft was handed to parliament yesterday just minutes before a deadline that already had been extended by a week. A parliament vote was deferred because of objections of Sunni Arabs.

Iraq's traditional prime minister insists that the problems will be ironed out before the new self-imposed three-day deadline. The head of the draft committee disagrees, saying that's not enough time.

As Iraqis struggle over their constitution, more U.S. troops are killed in the fighting with the insurgency. And the latest from military officials, an American soldier was one of seven people killed today in a suicide bombing in Baghdad. Yesterday, a U.S. soldier and a Marine were killed in separate attacks. And Sunday, a Marine was killed in a roadside bombing.

The total of U.S. troops killed in Iraq now stands at 1,871.

A caravan of conservative activists and military families was making stops in Bakersfield, California, and Los Angeles today. The group supports President Bush's Iraq policy. The caravan is a counter-protest against Cindy Sheehan, a mother of a slain Marine who has been staging a peace vigil near the president's home in Crawford, Texas. The caravan will being go on to Crawford.

In Sacramento earlier this week, caravan participants got into a shouting match with antiwar activists.

To London now, and the controversy over the deadly shooting of a Brazilian mistaken for a terrorist. You'll recall the man was shot eight times by police officers the day after four failed bomb attacks on London's transit system. The shooting happened two weeks after suicide bombers killed 52 people in similar attacks. That incident sparked outrage in Brazil and allegations of a cover-up.

Well, today, British officials promised a report on the shooting by December.

Paul Davies is in London with more.


PAUL DAVIES, REPORTER, ITV NEWS (voice over): John Cummins, the senior investigator in the independent inquiry into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes leaves the coroner's court after a short hear during which he was the only witness called by the coroner. He had told the inquest that he expected the IPCC's report would be completed by Christmas, though it would not be made public until after any criminal or disciplinary measures which might arise from its findings had been completed. During a 20-minute hearing, Mr. Cummins told coroner John Samson (ph) there had been a comprehensive handover of information from the Metropolitan Police to the IPCC. The coroner commented there had been considerable speculation arising from the fatal shooting.

"Did Mr. Cummings want to clarify anything?" The investigator replied, "There had been enough said."

While no members of the de Menezes family were present today, their legal representatives said they were satisfied with the urgency with which the investigation was being treated.

MARCIA WILLIS STEWART, MENEZES FAMILY LAWYER: We are of course delighted that the coroner has set a time frame in which the IPCC have to respond. Many of you were in court, so you heard that they've said that they'll be coming back by Christmas.

HARRIET WISTRICH, MENEZES FAMILY LAWYER: The priority for the family at the moment is to have the -- proper answers to the questions about what happened, who was responsible, and, if appropriate, for prosecutions to follow. And that must be the priority at the moment.

DAVIES: The coroner adjourned the inquest for six months.

The way in which the young Brazilian met his death and subsequent revelations about the police operation sparked demonstrations outside Scotland Yard last night. Brazilian legal officers are now in London and are expected to meet the independent investigation team.

Paul Davis, ITV News.


PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, a dustup in the desert. It's LIVE FROM's video of the day. Check it out. A wild chopper crash caught on tape. You'll see more of it when we take you around the world.

But first, what about Pat Robertson's attention-grabbing comment that someone should assassinate the president of Venezuela? Well, it's not the first time Robertson has talked his way into controversy.

We wonder what you think. Is Pat Robertson a leading Christian voice in America? We'll read your emails this hour.


PHILLIPS: Political assassinations usually involve secrecy, silence and intrigue. But a prominent American religious figure and former presidential candidate is calling for one outright.

Pat Robertson, the founder of the Christian Coalition, suggests the United States should take out the president of Venezuela. Hugo Chavez has said in the past that he believes the U.S. is trying to assassinate him. He has irritated the Bush administration with his leftist policies and his ties to countries such as Cuba and Iran, but U.S. officials calls his allegations ridiculous. Robertson made his preference clear yesterday on his show "The 700 Club."


PAT ROBERTSON, "THE 700 CLUB" He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he is going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent. You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.

And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger. And this is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen.


PHILLIPS: Well, Robertson quickly came under fire for his comments. Venezuela's vice president calls them criminal. And here in the U.S., a lot of theologians say that Robertson should review the commandment "Thou shalt not kill."

The Reverend Ted Haggard joins me now live from Colorado. He's the president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Reverend, good to see you.


PHILLIPS: Well, I'm curious, is this religious leader -- did he go a little too far here with his comments from a Christian perspective?

HAGGARD: Well, from a Christian perspective, yes. But you've got to remember, this is a political commentary portion of his show. It is his television show. And essentially, what he's saying is that he's scared about some of the developments going on in that section of the world and he wants them minimized.

He wants them taken care of in the most efficient way that he can. So he's not speaking for evangelicalism, he's not speaking for Christians. He's just saying from a political point of view and from a social point of view, somebody needs to contemplate how to minimize this so we don't end up in a full-scale war.

PHILLIPS: Do you think he is a leading voice for Christians today, considering his background, considering his show? He does represent himself as a leader in the Christian community. So someone who may not be well versed on the bible or the thinking of Christianity may listen to this and think, wow this is like Muslim extremism.

HAGGARD: Yes, and that is the problem that we face when we have a media ministry like this. He's not a representative voice. What he is he's got a television show that's done an awful lot of good. They help a lot of poor people. They communicate a positive message. But then they have this political segment where they make political commentary on issues.

And so there are representative voices for Christianity. Pat has been that from time to time. But he doesn't pretend to be that, I don't think, in the political area.

PHILLIPS: So, Reverend Haggard, let's move -- let's take -- I guess move away from politics for a minute.


PHILLIPS: And let's talk about the bible.

HAGGARD: Yes, sure.

PHILLIPS: In 1992, at the GOP convention, Pat Robertson had this to say about feminism. He said, "Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

HAGGARD: Yes. Yes, that's pretty exciting, huh?

PHILLIPS: Yes. I don't know if it's exciting or it's pretty scary, when you hear something like that.


PHILLIPS: I mean, quite honestly, when I read the bible I don't really remember taking feminism in this respect.

HAGGARD: Yes. Yes, I understand that point of view. But Christianity and evangelicalism is very diverse, just like -- we're huge.

I mean, the organization I represent alone is 30 million people. And that's an awful lot of people. And we have a lot of diversity in it.

But the core of evangelicalism is a simple message of love and grace and compassion and kindness, traditional values, good families, giving to the poor, loving the lord, worshiping god, and loving your neighbor, that type of thing. And so -- so no doubt about it, though, because of Christian broadcasting, we have some personalities that are there that are very strong and opinionated. And they have a segment of support.

And so they're voicing their opinion. They're saying what they think is true. But that does not mean for the general population at large to listen to what they say and say all Christians believe that. It's just that some Christians may believe that, but not all Christians do.

PHILLIPS: All right. Let's get down... HAGGARD: And you're exactly right when you say, when you have a casual reading of the bible that doesn't come across. That's exactly right. The primary message of the bible is that god's in love with mankind and wants mankind to be saved and have a great eternal life.

PHILLIPS: All right. Another thing I want to ask you about, just considering the environment now and the war on terrorism, there was another quote that Pat Robertson had. And this was with regard to extremism to Islam, actually.

"It's clear from the teachings of the Quran and also from the history of Islam that it's anything but peaceful. Of course there are peace-loving Muslims. But at the same time, at the core of this religion is jihad, and it is to subject the unbelievers either to forced conversion or death. That's what it teaches."

Now, you and I both know we could take the holy bible and we could paraphrase it and take verses and make it mean what we want it to mean. But the Quran does not teach people to kill. It doesn't teach people to be evil.

So, once again, I'm seeing a man that represents himself as a Christian leader. And in a time when we all want to get along and respect each other and come together, this is a dangerous comment.

HAGGARD: Yes. Well, they are dangerous comments. But we do live in a free country. And one -- some of the things that make our country wonderful is the open debate and open discussion of these ideas.

And there is an open debate about how Christianity impacts people and impacts society. And I think there's evidence that indicates how it does. And there is open debate about how Islam impacts society and what an Islamic culture looks like.

And certainly, women all over the world are debating the rights of women in a Christian society and the right of women in an Islamic society. And I think Pat's voice was saying there, look, the headlines aren't real good right now for Islam, just like the headlines aren't good in Islamic cultures for Christianity right now.

And so there is an open debate that's going on. Some of the comments are more constructive than other comments.

And so I think, though, the pope really hit a wonderful chord on this recently when he was talking to some Islamic leaders and when he encouraged the Islamic leaders to thwart terrorism, just like we're trying to thwart terrorism. And so there's a variety of voices that are going to come out and hopefully reason and in a good biblical attitude, from our point of view, will prevail, which will say, people need to have peace in their hearts, they need to love one another, they need to care for one another, they need to protect one another, they need to respect one another's faith positions.

And, of course, we, as evangelicals, want people to believe the bible and receive the benefits that Jesus has to offer. PHILLIPS: And Reverend, you would never call for the assassination of a leader, would you?

HAGGARD: Well, we're a strong rule of law people, which means that since President Ford and President Reagan both said that the Americans are not supposed to conduct political assassinations, we would say, listen, that's the law of the land. We're rule of law people. And we don't want people randomly killed or anything like that.

But I do think what Pat was trying to say was, look, if we're -- if we've got a war budding here over the next several years, we need to minimize it. We need to make it as easy as possible, rather than have a full-fledged war.

And so, granted, his semantics might not have been well advised. But I think his big idea -- when you look at the overall ministry of "The 700 Club," they really do a lot of great work. And Pat's on air all day -- or for a long time every day.

He says some of these things. And I think it's good for us to forgive some of those things where he's spoken poorly and for us to look at the overall ministry and see what good it's done.

PHILLIPS: Reverend Ted Haggard, thanks for your time today. I appreciate it.

HAGGARD: Thank you. Great questions. Appreciate seeing you.

PHILLIPS: Oh, great interview. Thank you.

A lot of interesting e-mails we've received from you, too. Obviously I can't read all of them, but I grabbed two right off the computer here.

This one coming from Betsy, saying that "Pat Robertson is a respected leader in our country. CNN is using slanted language to report this story. I am appalled at the attack on him."

Thank you, Betsy. I don't think we're using slanted language, but we appreciate your opinion.

And this one coming from Brady. "Pat Robertson has, as many other Christians have, lost his way. At some point he and his political cohorts and their respective collective agendas have taken precedence over their spiritual background. He is not -- repeat not -- a voice that I, or any other Christian should have speaking on our behalf. No Christian should support assassination or practice hatred or greed."

Thank you so much for your e-mails.

Well, after the box office success of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," the question apparently came up, how soon is too soon? America's top pollsters ran the numbers on teen sex. Find out what teens think coming up next in an unprecedented PG-13 Gallup segment -- Susan. SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Susan Lisovicz -- thank you, Kyra -- at the New York Stock Exchange. Coming up, a list of dubious distinction, the nation's top cities for car theft. That's next on LIVE FROM.

Stay with us.


PHILLIPS: Gas prices, labor unions and sex. We're taking the pulse of America right now on these three very different subjects. Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport is with us from Princeton, New Jersey.

Frank, the mechanics strike against Northwest Airlines in its fourth day. So far, none of the unions joining in the airline. It's still flying. Is this a sign that unions are maybe losing some of the grip on the workplace?

FRANK NEWPORT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GALLUP: Well, they may be losing the grip, but not really in the court of public opinion, which is very interesting, Kyra. This is the question, believe it or not, Gallup first started asking back in 1936. It's one of the original questions that Dr. George Gallup asked here at Gallup, do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?

Back there in the depression, 72 percent approved. We've been tracking it over the decade.

Since then, numbers have gone up and down. But never, never has approval for labor unions in the U.S. fallen below 50 percent. And even most recently -- we just updated it a week or two ago -- we're still at about 57, 58 percent of Americans who say they approve of labor unions. So in concept, the public still behind the idea.

However, when we asked Americans, looking forward, do you think labor unions are going to be weaker or stronger in terms of their impact, there's a clear recognition that the day of labor unions dominating American industry is down. Fifty-three percent of Americans say they believe the impact of unions will be weaker in the future -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Gas prices, they've reached another record high nationally. More people struggling to pay for the gas. Do you think it would be fair to say the oil industry's not very popular right now?

NEWPORT: Indeed, that would be quite fair to say, Kyra. It's the old displacement theory in psychology. You're mad, you kick the dog when you come home. Americans fill up at the pump and kick the oil and gas industry, figuratively speaking.

This is our annual rating of business and industry sectors. Positive or negative image? Look at oil and gas industry. Dead last out of some 25 we tested. A minus 42 image. Americans really down on that industry sector. Also down on the legal profession, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, federal government, movie industry.

What do Americans like? A lot of food related industries get positive marks from the public as you see there, headed at the top by restaurants -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Frank, I never thought that you and I would talk about sex. Are you ready for this question?

NEWPORT: Indeed.

PHILLIPS: OK. The movie "40-Year-Old Virgin," I guess it was very popular this past weekend. I guess number one on the charts. So I guess that raises the question, what are young people saying about when it's time?

NEWPORT: Well, indeed it does. And, you know, I got some e- mails this morning when I was talking about this earlier. People said, well, should we be talking about these kinds of things?

Well, clearly the movies are, with, as you say, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" being tops at the box office.

We at Gallup did our annual -- not annual, we actually update it fairly frequently -- teen poll. We asked teenagers what do they think about a variety of things. And here was the question: What age do you believe one is responsible enough to be sexually active?

And these are teens telling us. Thirty-one percent say under 18, 17 or younger. Another 31 percent say right at 18 percent. And then you see the numbers on the right. Only 16 percent say you need to be 21 or older.

So no support here for waiting until you're 40 before becoming sexually active. And some people may be disturbed by the fact that teenagers believe right there at about 17 or 18 teens are ready to experiment with sex.

PHILLIPS: Well, I'm sure glad I don't have a teenage daughter, Frank.

NEWPORT: It's a tough environment today. It certainly is.

PHILLIPS: Yes, it is.

NEWPORT: I do have a teenage daughter.

PHILLIPS: Oh, you do.

NEWPORT: Indeed.

PHILLIPS: So do you have the talks on a regular basis? Do you communicate about these things?

NEWPORT: Well, my wife is very good at those type of things, Kyra, to be perfectly honest with you.

PHILLIPS: Frank Newport. Well, we're talking about it, that's good. It's a reality check for parents.

Thank you, Frank.

Well, if you're in California, lock your doors and take the keys, because you live in the stolen car capital of the United States. Susan Lisovicz has more now live from the New York Stock Exchange.




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