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Seventh Straight Day of Downpours in Northeast; Terrifying Aftershocks Felt This Morning in Capital of Pakistan

Aired October 13, 2005 - 07:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Miles O'Brien. The rain just won't stop. A seventh straight day of downpours in the Northeast. Rivers and streams overflow their banks, causing a lot of flooding. Several deaths reported. And there's more rain in the forecast.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Soledad O'Brien. Terrifying aftershocks felt this morning in the capital of Pakistan as the country says it's entering a new phase in earthquake relief; 2.5 million now homeless. Relief workers are trying to build cities out of tents. We're live in Pakistan with more.

M. O'BRIEN: And check this tape out. You're out! Not really, no. No, he isn't. See, did it touch the ground? that's the big question, baseball fans. Third strike, crucial change. Did the umpire blow a crucial call on strike three? A wild finish, a big talker, on this AMERICAN MORNING.

S. O'BRIEN: Good morning. Welcome, everybody.

M. O'BRIEN: You make the call. Was he out?

S. O'BRIEN: You know, it doesn't look like it hit the ground to me, and I say that knowing nothing about baseball. But it doesn't look like it hit the ground. What do you think?

M. O'BRIEN: It doesn't look like it hit the ground. But, you know, you don't know. Let's talk about rain, because...

S. O'BRIEN: Again.

M. O'BRIEN: this morning, you could say umbrella weather. Really what it is duck weather. It's a good day to be a duck.

S. O'BRIEN: Downpour for days straight. We're over it. We're done.

I wore my hurricane jacket to work this morning. It seemed like the appropriate attire. And that is exactly where we begin, a serious situation unfolding in the Northeast this morning. Forecasters are calling for more heavy rain in the areas already hard hit from days of flooding. This is the seventh straight day of rain for New jersey. Swollen creeks and rivers pouring over their banks. The roads are a mess.

In Massachusetts, the governor is seeking federal help to help residents harmed by the flooding there. The National Weather Service says more rain is expected over the next few days, means more headaches for the crews trying to clean up in New Hampshire.

Last weekend's floods ripped up roads, highways and homes. The area could get up to another half foot of rain in just the next few days.


M. O'BRIEN: Small towns along the New Hampshire and Massachusetts border suffered some of the worst damage of course. AMERICAN MORNING's Dan Lothian has been in that part of the world, in and around the hard hit town of Alstead, New Hampshire.

Here's his report.


NORMAN MATTHEWS, EVACUEE: Before it floods again, I'm getting the stuff out, you know.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Norman Matthews is an 82-year- old man starting over again with the help of his friends.

MATTHEWS: I'm living through it, and it's fine, but I don't really care to do it again.

LOTHIAN: The mobile home park where he lives along the Green River in Greenfield, Massachusetts was swamped by raging flood waters. He escaped by car just before it got so deep that only a boat could get in and out. Be.

MATTHEWS: The water came right up to here on our trailer, so here on the others it came right in the house.

LOTHIAN: And right over the top of his neighbor's cars. Some mobile homes were lifted off their foundations. The entire park has now been condemned, displacing more than 70 residents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's what I'm looking for.

LOTHIAN: So friends are helping to move his belongings into storage, and give him a place to stay, until Matthews can find permanent housing.

Mayor Christine Forgey said this city of 18,000 people has been hit hard.

MYR. CHRISTINE FORGEY, GREENFIELD , MASSACHUSETTS: I understand that given the magnitude of what some Americans have gone through at this point, it doesn't really seem to be on the same level, but to us here in Greenfield, it feels like it is on the same level.

LOTHIAN: Heavy rains also left other communities across the state underwater. In the town of Usbridge (ph), residents could watch as a swollen river threatened their homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's close, but we're hoping it stays where it belongs. I mean, we haven't lived here long, and so far so good. But we're hoping.

LOTHIAN: For some, hoping wasn't enough. Back in Greenfield, Matthews is almost all packed up. His life has been turned upside down, but he hopes to eventually land in senior housing, away from the river, on much higher ground.


M. O'BRIEN: All right, that was Dan Lothian. Take a look where we should be seeing Dan Lothian right now, live pictures. Dan Lothian should be walking to the camera there. He can't get there. That gives you a sense of what's going on there right now. Floodwaters making it impossible for him to get to the live shot. As soon as he gets there, we'll check in with him live -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, New Jersey, big problems there, too. Reporter Patricia Del Rio of our affiliate WPIX. She's live in Lodi, New Jersey.

Patricia, good morning to you.

Let's talk about how it looks where you are this morning.


We are in Lodi, New jersey. This is about seven miles outside of Manhattan. And the good news here is the water just started to recede, I would say maybe within the past 15 minutes. Take a look over my shoulder. You're going to see a car on this street, literally maybe just 15 or 20 minutes ago, the water was up as high as the top of those tires there, and it has just started to recede. The Saddle River is not far from here, so apparently the water must be receding there. But the water had topped its banks, and that's where we were getting problems. This area has had lots of problems with houses flooding.

And we're going to show you tape from Oakland, New Jersey, which is about 15 miles northwest of the city there. They have had major problems. This is an area that continually has big problems whenever it rains. Streets become like rivers, basements are flooded. People sometimes have to get around on boats and canoes. People even use jetskis to get around because it's that big of a problem. They are working on a dam project there, but it's not completed. It does seem to push a lot of the water toward the houses, and so because of that, people feel very fed up. It's a very frustrating situation.

Interesting here in Lodi, New Jersey, they have -- the kids have a rain date day today. That is something very unusual. You often hear about snow days kids get off from school, but actually in Lodi they get a rain day because it's probably difficult for a lot of people in this community to get to school, and I would imagine that maybe even a lot of the schools themselves maybe have flooding in their gymnasiums or other parts of the school this morning.

S. O'BRIEN: I've never even heard of that a rain day.

DEL RIO: I know. I know.

S. O'BRIEN: That might be the first time. And you know, snow days are what it's all about. But rain days, that's kind of a new thing. Our reporter Patricia Del Rio of our affiliate WPIX.

Thanks for that update. Appreciate it -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's turn our attention overseas now. Pakistan, the wake of that terrible earthquake there, attention now focusing on the recovery of bodies in the wake of Saturday's earthquake. And also trying to provide some help for the living. The prime minister of the country says relief efforts are entering another phase. Plans to build tented cities now for 2.5 million people left homeless. Tented cities for 2.5 million people. The government is reporting at least 23,000 are dead, 50,000 injured. We've heard much higher numbers, though. And so got to just continue to track that.

Becky Anderson, live now from Islamabad.

Becky, what's the latest from there?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there was another aftershock here, a very strong one, of a magnitude of about 5.6 just last night. It shook this building, it shook the buildings behind me, but the epicenter of that aftershock was some 135 kilometers from here up into those mountains. And that is where the real story is. That is where reality is setting in. It's mass graves are established in the area of Musafarab (ph), for example, which is one of the main cities up into Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. But is that not the worst. You get up into areas where our correspondents have been, such as Baug (ph), for example, remote villages where no help has arrived as of yet.

There are people entombed in the debris at this point. There are people living out on top of the debris. There are millions of people, as you say, living outside. They are now homeless. It's the relief operation, not a rescue operation anymore. The reconstruction phase of this will take an awfully long time.

If you just look behind me here and see these diggers, for example, let me give you some context as to the scale of this now. There are eight diggers on this site, and there's big pressure now to get this site cleared, despite the fact that there are still people unaccounted for below the rubble. Until very recently people thought that they could be brought out alive. But big pressure now to get these diggers out of this site and up on to the road north so that the debris can be cleared from some of these devastated sites. It is such a sad story at this point. The roads are chock-a-blocked with vehicles going up.

Some of the only ways to get these in is by road. The other ways of getting into these areas is by helicopter. There are 85 helicopters now running sorties up and down. Seventy of those are from Pakistan. Eight of those, as we know, are from the U.S. An extremely big operation. A huge tented city to be established in Islamabad to receive those who are coming down who are injured. It's extremely sad. It's not going to get better anytime soon.

O'BRIEN: Becky, we can't help but hear the chanting in the background. Is that the afternoon call to prayer?

ANDERSON: It is the afternoon call to prayer. And you can imagine, it's incredibly significant. As they call for silence on the site behind me, these search-and-rescue guys say there are still saying there's a possibility that people could be brought out of the stairwells behind the debris here alive. So you hear these prayers, call to prayer, and then you hear a call for silence. But ultimately, in the last 24 hours, it's only been bodies, bodies of children and bodies of adults being brought out of this site here in Islamabad.

M. O'BRIEN: Becky Anderson, thank you very much.

S. O'BRIEN: The pictures behind her are just remarkable.

Another question for you, that deadly strain of avian flu, is it moving closer to the United States?

The European Union's health chief announced this morning that a strain of bird flu has been found in Turkey. It was found in Turkish poultry, and now they're warning people who are traveling to eastern Europe to stay away from wild birds and farms. The strain has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003.

In Southwest Russia early today, a gun battle. It happened in Nalichik, which is a provincial capital near Chechnya. After attacks on government facilities, troops opened fire on the rebel gunmen. Reports vary about the number of dead and wounded, and it's unclear how many of them are militants and how many are security forces. But we are getting reports that government troops are pursuing surviving attackers -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: We expect it hear more today about the controversy that continues to surround the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers. Did President Bush consider Miers' religious convictions as a qualification for the job? So it seems, at least, from the way the administration is talking. AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken live at the White House with more on that.

Good morning, Bob.


What a minefield the Harriet Miers nomination has been for the Bush administration, spending a lot of last week defending itself from attacks from the right.

Now the attacks come from the left, because in the process of trying to settle down the right, people in the Bush administration were telling religious leaders that one of the characteristics they should be attracted to is her religious faith. That brought loud calls of foul from the left. Now President Bush is having to attack himself -- or rather defend himself from attacks from the left side.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers. They want to know Harriet Miers' background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions. Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion. Part of it has to do with the fact that she was a pioneer woman and a trailblazer in the law in Texas.


FRANKEN: Well, according to a new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll, there has really not ban groundswell about Harriet Miers, for or against. Those who think that she's qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, as you can see, number 29 percent -- no, 24 percent. And a big 46 percent don't know. So both sides have a lot of explaining to do in the days ahead before the nomination hearings begin on Harriet Miers. That expected, by the way, if the administration has its way, sometime in November.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, and, Bob, when you compare that to past nominees, she is the nominee that the American people have the least amount of faith?

FRANKEN: Well, also the least amount of knowledge about. She is somebody who has very little of a public track record, and that's going to be an issue when the hearings begin. As a matter of fact, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent her a questionnaire that has some remarkable questions about such things as, has she discussed various points of view with members of the administration? Can she be independent of the president, given her long association? Those are remarkable questions.

M. O'BRIEN: Bob Franken, thank you very much.

Remarkable scene in baseball last night. Third strike, third out, no. Last night, the Chicago White Sox tied up the American League. Now, watch that. Watch it closely. Did you see it? Touched the dirt.

S. O'BRIEN: Or did it?

M. O'BRIEN: Or did it? Controversial call. The score was tied at one. Bottom of the ninth, A.J. Pierzynski (ph) swings a the low pitch. Third strike, but Pierzynski is a catcher so knows this real well. On the third out -- let's go back to it. Do we have the slow mo? And if it touches the dirt, before reaching the catcher's glove, it requires a toss to first base in order for the batter to be out. An arcane rule of baseball. Later, we'll explain the infield fly rule for you. But basically -- all right, can we see it? there we go. I think it touched. I think it bounced. Looking at it that time, I'm feeling a bounce there. So he was smart enough to run to first base, and the game turned toward the White Sox.

S. O'BRIEN: I don't see it, but OK.

M. O'BRIEN: Somewhere "Shoeless" Joe Jackson is applauding that one.

S. O'BRIEN: Still to come this morning, the story of a city that has truly been stretched to the limits by a population boom brought on by Hurricane Katrina. We're going to take a look at the problems facing now with thousands of brand new residents.

M. O'BRIEN: OK, and New Orleans beating tape again. We're going to check in now with the lawyer for some of these police officers who are charged. He says the tape doesn't tell the story.

S. O'BRIEN: And then those deadly floods that we've been talking about out of New Hampshire. We're going to update you on the search for any survivors. That's ahead. Stay with us.


M. O'BRIEN: So was it a justified use of force when police in New Orleans were subduing 64-year-old Robert Davis? Of course, the police chief and the district attorney, they're on record as saying the tape shows them what they believe to be excessive force. The attorneys for the -- the attorney for the officers has a different story, as you might suspect. Attorney Frank Desalvo joining us now with yet another salvo in all this.

Mr. Desalvo Good to have you with us.

The tape is fairly clear-cut to me. What I would like to do -- I'm hopeful you're able to see it with me. I'd like to play the whole thing we have here. Let's just talk about it as it goes on here. There's the scene. You see initially the police trying to subdue him.

Can we freeze this one moment right here? Let's try to freeze that.

OK, what I see right here, Mr. Desalvo is a fairly compliant Robert Davis. He's turning to them. He's talking to them. I don't see a struggle there. What do you see?

FRANK DESALVO, ATTORNEY: What I see is a man who's not facing the wall, who is supposed to be facing the wall, who they were trying to cuff, who they had his left hand. He was resisting putting his right hand behind him.

M. O'BRIEN: Do you see a lot of resistance in this picture, honestly? I don't see a struggle there. I see a man standing and talking to the officers, saying, hey, you're hurting my wrists or something.

DESALVO: No, you never see a struggle in a snapshot. You have to play the whole thing.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's move the tape. Advance the tape.

DESALVO: It's preposterous to believe that the two cops are just going to go up for no reason at all and start beating on a 64-year-old man. M. O'BRIEN: Whoa, whoa, now stop it right here. Stop it right here, if we could. We're going to miss it. Let's press on there. We've got to slow mo this a little bit. You see them hitting him against the wall.

Now let's got to takedown. Let's advance it a little bit further, if we could, Danny, because want to see how this takedown goes. Right there, let's freeze it right there if we could. All right, now take a look there.

DESALVO: Who took him down?

M. O'BRIEN: First of all, is that an FBI agent, or is that a New Orleans police officer, one of your clients? He's in plainclothes.

DESALVO: The big guy is an FBI agent.

M. O'BRIEN: OK, that's FBI, so...

DESALVO: Who saw the struggle. He saw the man resisting arrest.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, this is New Orleans. That's New Orleans, right? And over here, that's an FBI guy, and that's an FBI guy, correct?

DESALVO: That's correct.

M. O'BRIEN: OK, now, as he takes him down, I want you to look very closely here if you would, at the way his arms are kind of protecting his face. I know you have said to other interviewers that you feel the takedown is where the injury occurred. Do you really believe that to be true?

DESALVO: Absolutely it's where it occurred.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, how can you say that?

DESALVO: Well, all you have to do is look at the tape you saw. And every blow that you see, was to his shoulder, the back of his neck, and I think one to the back of his head, and there was one glancing blow to the side of his face.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, let's look at a slow mo of the blows, if we could, slow motion tape of the actual blows.


M. O'BRIEN: And this is -- should give us a sense. I counted one, two, three, maybe four hits, and it's right in the back of the head. Now...

DESALVO: That one right there is not in the back of the head.

M. O'BRIEN: Now that is not police procedure, is it?

DESALVO: It certainly is police procedure. M. O'BRIEN: Oh come on, really? At the police academy, they tell law recruits to bash people in the back of the head and have their face hit the wall?

DESALVO: No, they teach them to hit them between the shoulders, and the neck where you have the pressure point that you can...

M. O'BRIEN: He was a little north of the pressure point, wasn't he? Wasn't he a little north of the pressure point?

DESALVO: Well, you know, Muhammad Ali never hit his target every time.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, wait a minute, he had gloves on, too.

DESALVO: It's kinetic. It's in motion.

M. O'BRIEN: These guys had the gloves off so to speak. Let me just show...

DESALVO: When things are in motion, you don't always hit your target. The target was one spot. But the important thing is, after he was cuffed, he was never struck again.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, I guess...

DESALVO: Which goes to show you, had they allowed him -- the first had allowed blow to be cuffed, there wouldn't have been a second; the second had allowed him to be cuffed, there wouldn't have been a third.

M. O'BRIEN: So after he was beaten and bloodied and in handcuffs, they start hitting him. Is that really a defense?

DESALVO: Well, you're assuming that he was beaten and bloodied. Now let's go back and do it again. All the blows that you saw, all the ones that you counted were to the rear of the man. He was bleeding from the face.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

DESALVO: He got his blow to the face when he was take down to the ground by an FBI agent. That's pretty clear.

M. O'BRIEN: Who was actually -- he was hugging his face. He was protecting his face as he went down. I want to just -- can I just -- while he's lost his earpiece, I want to play, if we could, two brief interviews, brief excerpts of interviews from the district attorney and the police chief. The -- Mr. Desalvo is familiar with these. So let's play that very quickly, and I then want to ask him what he thinks about this.


ACTING SUPT. WARREN RILEY, NEW ORLEANS POLICE DEPT.: In this particular case, there was video, which gave a clear depiction of our officers using force beyond what I describe, force that was beyond what was necessary.

EDDIE JORDAN, NEW ORLEANS DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The tape is very, very strong evidence of the use of excessive force.


M. O'BRIEN: All right, that was the acting Chief Riley and then the District Attorney Jordan. They see the tape. They see what we see. You see something different. You got a tough case here, don't you?

DESALVO: If it wasn't a tough case, they wouldn't need me. This is what I do. And I can tell you, we've done this for 30 years. That was the first time I've ever seen a chief of police come out and make a statement he made without due process, without a full investigation, without talking to any of the witnesses, and just making a statement like that. I believe that came from higher up than him, and I think it was political.

M. O'BRIEN: What do you mean by that? Who? Why?

DESALVO: Somebody -- well, there's only one person that's above the chief. I think that for political reasons they had to make these statements.

M. O'BRIEN: What's the political reason?

DESALVO: Well, let's see if I can nail it down for you as best I can. They got a lot of bad publicity recently about the way they handled this storm and post-Katrina. I think the focus is off of them right now.

M. O'BRIEN: So you're saying clients are scapegoats?

DESALVO: These guys were doing their jobs.

M. O'BRIEN: They were doing their jobs, and they're scapegoats?

DESALVO: They were doing their job. They were doing their job.

You know, let me say this to you, this man was -- he was stumbling drunk. He was so drunk he stumbled into a horse.

M. O'BRIEN: No, he says he hasn't had a drink in 25 years. There was no toxicology tests. You can't say that. You don't have any proof.

DESALVO: Well, I can -- I've got plenty of proof, plenty of proof.

M. O'BRIEN: Why didn't they do a blood test?

DESALVO: Because they're not authorized to do a blood test under the law. Louisiana law only allow them to force a blood test when you have a driving while intoxicated, when there's an accident with a serious bodily injury or death. That's the law. I didn't write it. I've got to live with it, though.

M. O'BRIEN: All right.

DESALVO: But I can prove he was drunk.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Attorney Frank Desalvo, thanks for being with us.

Back in a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

Thanks to Apple, you don't have to leave home without your favorite music and maybe some of your favorite TV shows, too. Andy Serwer has got that. He's "Minding Your Business."

Good morning. Welcome back from your vaca.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Good morning. Thank you, Soledad.

The worst-kept secret in the technology business, I guess you could say, the hottest digital music player in the world now plays videos. We are talking about the iPod. There's Steve Jobs. We have to get him a new outfit, Soledad. Every time he's wearing that black T-shirt and the black jeans, introducing a new iPod that plays videos, it plays TV shows, short films, and you can buy TV shows for $1.99. He's cut a deal with Disney and Pixar for content. Here are some of the -- and actually it's important at the iTunes Web site where you can buy this stuff, so it fits nicely with all the existing features. Some of the things we're talking about here, 2.5 inch screen. The price, of course, very important here, holds up to 15,000 songs and 150 hours of video.

And I think the real important thing to know about this is, it's a starting point. This is not a cure for the whole situation of trying to get videos on to an iPod or movie.

S. O'BRIEN: It's moving the music model into video.

SERWER: I think that's right. And you're going to be able to get TV shows from ABC, such as "Desperate Houseweives" and "Lost." And say you're going on a flight, you can load, say, three of these shows up on your iPod and sit there on the flight and watch them. So...

S. O'BRIEN: I think it's cool. I think I'm in. Thanks, Andy.

SERWER: Get you one for Christmas, right?

S. O'BRIEN: Will you? You're so nice.

SERWER: We'll see.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you.

Coming up next, your "New You" checkup coming up in our next half hour.

Stay with us. We're back in just a moment.



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