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Lawyer Representing One of Saddam Hussein's Co-Defendants Killed

Aired November 8, 2005 - 08:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Devastation in southern Indiana and now police say six more people could still be missing in the aftermath of that powerful tornado. Search teams focused on a lake in the area. And we'll have a live report on all of that.
A twelfth night of rioting and arson in France now spreading to hundreds of cities and towns. The government there giving police new powers to take control.

And clamping down on prisoner interrogations in the war on terror. New rules for the Pentagon; perhaps new rules for the CIA. We'll talk to Senator John McCain about his proposal. It's causing some friction with the White House.


ANNOUNCER: From the CNN broadcast center in New York, this is AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien.


M. O'BRIEN: Good morning.

It's good to be back in the same city with Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: I know. It's been quite a while, hasn't it? You were traveling...

M. O'BRIEN: A trip to New Orleans. You were doing your interviews for the kids. And everything's done, almost done on that front.

S. O'BRIEN: Almost done.


S. O'BRIEN: And every moment has been a joy.

M. O'BRIEN: And we wish you well.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: We're crossing our fingers...

S. O'BRIEN: We'll try to get...

M. O'BRIEN: Kindergarten, it's so stressful, isn't it?

S. O'BRIEN: It's very stressful. And, you know, they test five year olds. They have these ERBs.

M. O'BRIEN: I know. It's cruel and unusual, is really what it is. But you've got to go with the flow here in New York City.

S. O'BRIEN: Happy to be part of it.

M. O'BRIEN: Everything is nutty here.

S. O'BRIEN: Happy to pay a lot of money for kindergarten in New York City.

We've got some pictures to show you.

Can we put those up?

This is Manchester, New Hampshire and you're looking at live pictures. This is a Wal-Mart, I believe, where the smoke and, one would assume behind the shop, what we can't see here, fire is coming from a single piloted plane. It has crashed into a Wal-Mart, we are told, in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Now, the circumstances we do not know. We only know that on board that plane, only the pilot -- at least that's what we know at this point, with this report coming to us from the Associated Press this morning.

M. O'BRIEN: We're watching it and we thank WMUR. That's in Manchester, New Hampshire. Once again, as soon as we get some more information, we'll bring it to you.

Meanwhile, in Evansville, Indiana, police are draining a pond where that deadly tornado hit over the weekend. They are looking for six people reported missing from a trailer park. Eighteen people died there on Sunday; 22 dead overall when you look at the whole swathe of the tornadoes.

Ed Lavandera live in Evansville, Indiana -- Ed, at this point there's not much hope of finding survivors, is there?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, there isn't. And, you know, quite frankly, the hope really is, is that no one else will be found, victims, as well. But they're going to continue to drain that pond.

You know, we talk about numbers and stories like this, and, you know, perhaps to a lot of people it doesn't mean much. But, you know, you pick up the local paper here this morning and you see these pictures of the children that died here -- Isaiah Blaylock, 4 years old; Emily Donner, 6 years old; Isaac Warren, 4 years old; and you realize that what happened here is beyond a frightening situation, given the fact that that sirens went off here 11 minutes before the storm. People were sleeping here. This is as far as we can take you into this mobile home park. Authorities still have it kind of cordoned off and they're still doing search and rescue operations.

But if you go straight down this road here where you see that light there at the end, this is the majority -- where the majority of the people who died in this mobile home park, this is where it happened. And just a little bit to the left if you continue moving over where that orange crane is, you might be able to see, is where that pond is. So crews are still out there.

You know, and the worst part about this is what the sheriff had told us here yesterday. Keep panning over here to the left and you see this incredibly massive, wide open field of nothing. If this tornado had just gone another 200 yards here to the south, as the sheriff told me yesterday, we wouldn't be here, we wouldn't be talking about what happened to the people who live in this area.

And even without the warning signs, officials here say there's not much any of these people could have done.


SHERIFF BRAD ELLSWORTH, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA: In this situation, the way this dropped in, I'm not sure if you had a siren sitting in the middle of the mobile home park that it would have helped at this point. Eleven minute warnings in this type of community in the middle of fields, I'm not sure where you would have gone with 11 minutes of notice.


LAVANDERA: So, right now they are still searching. The search and rescue operations here continue. The authorities are also saying that hopefully they will take those other names off the list. As you mentioned, Miles, about six people still unaccounted for. But they're still hoping those are just people who left on their own and just haven't checked in.

And then beginning tomorrow, authorities here say they will begin allowing residents to come into this area and start salvaging what they can -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, let's hope they find everybody safe and sound.

Ed Lavandera, thanks very much -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, all those little children. Gosh, that's so sad.

Let's turn now and talk about the Pentagon. The Pentagon has a new policy for U.S. forces when it comes to interrogating terror suspects.

Barbara Starr live for us at the Pentagon this morning -- Barbara, good morning to you.

Why the new policy? What does it say?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Soledad, all of this, the Pentagon says, is the lesson they have learned from the many investigations into how those detainees are handled in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay.

Now, a number of new initiatives from the Pentagon are expected as a result of many of these investigations. The first initiative out today, an 11-page document spelling out for the first time an overall policy on how interrogations are to be conducted, that they are to be conducted humanely, that there is not to be torture. That, the word torture, is something that is very important to Senator John McCain, who wants to see that now part of U.S. law.

He spoke, of course, to AMERICAN MORNING earlier today.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Everybody agrees, that has been in combat and knows these situations, like General Colin Powell and others, believe that the price we pay for being able to torture people is huge throughout the world.


STARR: So this new document that's out today is the first time it's all been put in one place. Here's what the document tells us is now DOD, Pentagon, policy.

For example, overall policy on how interrogations are to be conducted. It requires them all to be conducted humanely. How that is spelled out, how that is defined, is still to come. It requires, for the first time, all non-DOD interrogators, such as the CIA, must obey Pentagon policy when they are questioning those held by the Defense Department. And it, for the first time, establishes specific procedures for reporting violations.

But it is this question of torture, of humane treatment, that is so much a question of controversy, of course, here in Washington now, because what everyone will be watching for is that definition. Will, in fact, degrading, humiliating, those kinds of definitions, will those be included in the subsequent documents? Will degrading and humiliating treatment be banned?

Of course, Senator McCain, others in Congress, want it banned. But some in the White House, including Vice President Cheney, by all accounts, want to retain maximum flexibility in how these prisoners still are handled -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us this morning.

Barbara, thanks.

Ahead, we're going to have that full interview with Senator John McCain and we'll also talk a little bit more about the torture issue, specifically, the disagreement between the vice president, Dick Cheney, and John McCain, and the 90 senators who support John McCain's proposal.

First, though, a look at the top stories making news today.

And Carol has those -- good morning to you again, Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Soledad.

This news just in to CNN. In fact, we just confirmed it. A lawyer representing one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants has been killed in western Baghdad. The other lawyer was injured after their car was fired upon. Those are the details we have confirmed right now. Of course, we're working on getting more details for you. But this makes three lawyers in all involved in the Saddam Hussein case and his co-defendants who have been killed or injured in the past few weeks.

Here in the United States, the first voters punch their ballots this morning. New Yorkers are deciding whether to give Republican Michael Bloomberg another term. He voted just a short time ago. You see him there. As did his Democratic challenger, Fernando Ferrer. There he's seen casting his ballot here.

And five months and $70 million later, it's down to Democratic Senator Jon Corzine or Republican businessman Doug Forrester for the governor's seat in New Jersey.

We'll be following some other election, key races, throughout this morning.

Authorities in France getting the power to impose nighttime curfews after a twelfth night of rioting in that country. Rioters burned hundreds of cars. Some groups also torched buses and threw gasoline bombs and rocks at police. But initial reports suggest last night's violence was less severe than in previous days.

And there could be more arrests in Australia after a major terror plot was stopped. Police arrested 17 terror suspects in Australia's two biggest cities. One of the suspects was shot during the raid. Government officials say the men were about to carry out a large scale attack, possibly a bombing.

And that death row inmate? Well, he's back in the very same jail he walked out of last week. Charles Victor Thompson was returned to Houston, that prison there, on Monday. Officials say this time he will not get away. Thompson is said to be under "very tight security" while investigators are still trying to figure out how he was able to escape and travel to Louisiana in the first place.

And a life lesson for us all. If you're not happy on the job, keep your mouth shut. Terrell Owens never learned not to air his dirty laundry, so he is out. The Philadelphia Eagles' wide receiver will not return this season after a four game suspension. Owens out for "conduct detrimental to the team." First, he publicly complained the Eagles didn't appropriately honor him for his 100th touch down reception. And then he slams the quarterback, Donovan McNabb, saying Bret Favre could do it better. Doesn't he know the Packers are one and seven?

M. O'BRIEN: You know, I don't think Terrell knows a lot about anything besides Terrell. I think it's all about Terrell, you know?

COSTELLO: But think how much is this going to cost the Eagles? Well, actually, he's going to be suspended for three more games, which will cost him $800,000. But after that, when the Eagles kick him out, it'll cost the Eagles a million dollars to get rid of this guy.

M. O'BRIEN: Good riddance to him.

S. O'BRIEN: They should have suspended him for a few more games and made back some of that money, see?

COSTELLO: I think there's a limit to how many games you can suspend someone for conduct detrimental to the team.

S. O'BRIEN: I was sort of surprised you guys didn't honor me for my two-and-a-half years at CNN.

COSTELLO: I'm working on that right now.

M. O'BRIEN: We'll make it really special, we promise.

S. O'BRIEN: He's a jerk. I'm glad he's gone.

M. O'BRIEN: Say good riddance to him.

S. O'BRIEN: Sorry, T.O. but he's been a...

COSTELLO: Somebody is going to pick him up, though. You know that.

S. O'BRIEN: He's been walking on everybody's last nerve for the longest time, so someone else will get him.

M. O'BRIEN: He's got some issues.

S. O'BRIEN: He'll be somebody else's problem.

COSTELLO: Exactly.

S. O'BRIEN: Then we talk about that.

Carol, thanks.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's check in with our team player, Jacqui Jeras, who is in the Weather Center -- good morning, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. And I'm busily filling out a card for Soledad to congratulate her.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: To honor her.

JERAS: I'll be baking a cake for tomorrow.

S. O'BRIEN: It was so hard, but I managed.

JERAS: Congratulations. We're so happy.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you.


S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, we've got much more of that breaking news coming out of Iraq for us this morning. A lawyer representing one of Saddam Hussein's co-defendants has been killed. We're going to take you live to Baghdad for an update on that story.

Also, we talk to Senator John McCain. He's written a new book. I think it's his thirteenth? Every single one has been a best-seller. We're going to...

M. O'BRIEN: Thirteen books he's done?

S. O'BRIEN: I believe that's the pace.

M. O'BRIEN: How does he find time to do that?

S. O'BRIEN: Dozens and dozens. Well, he has an excellent co- writer, too.


S. O'BRIEN: Anyway, he's thinking maybe about another presidential run...

M. O'BRIEN: Oh, you think? Really?

S. O'BRIEN: ... in 2008.

M. O'BRIEN: Way out a limb you're going there.

S. O'BRIEN: And, once again, we ask him about that. We'll tell you what he says.

M. O'BRIEN: And taser cam time. You know what we had for the morning meeting this morning? They turned to me and said you want to be tased? Good morning.

S. O'BRIEN: And I hope you said no.

M. O'BRIEN: I think I don't need this coffee. No, no tasing for me.

S. O'BRIEN: No thank you. Maybe tomorrow.

M. O'BRIEN: But we will talk about the taser cam in just a little bit.

Stay with us.


M. O'BRIEN: Some breaking news coming into us right now out of Iraq.

Another assassination of a defense lawyer in that Saddam Hussein trial.

Let's get right to it with Aneesh Raman in Baghdad -- Aneesh, what do we know?

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, Iraqi police are telling us that just three hours ago, two lawyers working for co-defendants of Saddam Hussein in this first trial came under attack in their vehicle by unknown gunmen. One of the men was killed. His name, according to Iraqi police, is Adel Mohammed (ph). According to the official list of defense lawyers provided by the court, he is the lawyer for Taha Yassin Ramadan, perhaps the second most recognizable defendant aside from Saddam Hussein in this trial, the former vice president of Iraq.

The other lawyer who was wounded, we're told by Iraqi police, his name is Thamir Mohammed (ph). These names are incredibly long and depending on what part of the name they issue in these releases, it can change who the person is.

We're unclear at the moment who Mr. Mohammed was working for, which of the defendants.

Now this is the second attack on defense lawyers who are involved in this trial. A day after the court opened on October 19, Sadoon Janabi, a lawyer for Awad Bander, who is the former chief judge of the Revolutionary Court, he was abducted and then executed outside of his office in the capital. And it will undoubtedly bring to light the call that we've heard from defense lawyers before that Iraq is simply not a safe place for this trial, that the current situation does not allow a fair trial to proceed.

This trial itself is set to reconvene on November 28th. At that point we could see the defense lawyers either not show up, if they fail to see legitimacy, or a petition for a change of venue.

But all of this does throw into turmoil exactly what will happen on November 28th.

Now, we should mention the Iraqi government has said that they offer protection to the defense lawyers. Sadoon Janabi, the man killed on October 20th, according to the Iraqi government, refused that protection. It's unclear whether these two lawyers did the same -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: So, at the very least, Aneesh, November 28th, when they gavel the court back into session, it seems very likely there will be, at the very least, a delay, and perhaps much worse. RAMAN: Well, clearly this issue will have to be addressed. The defense will, by all likelihood, petition in some form, either for a change of venue or for -- which would inherently require a delay. We also saw at the end of the last court session that witness protection was itself an issue. Witnesses were supposed to have shown up on October 19th. They did not because of security concerns. That is something the court is also working out.

So this does undoubtedly underscore the issues this court faces and whether or not they can have it all resolved by November 28th is yet to be seen. It seems incredibly unlikely that can be done -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: And just to button this up, the insurgents, who we presume to be Sunnis, who would be, in theory, in alliance with the Sunnis on trial there, they're targeting these attorneys because they just reject the legitimacy of the court in -- at its basic level?

RAMAN: Well, motive for targeting defense lawyers in this trial is, of course, not hard to find. As you mentioned, if it is Sunni insurgents who are targeting these lawyers, it could be for the explicit motive of delaying this trial, making it near impossible for the world to see a credible security situation for the trial to proceed.

But keep in mind, as well, that the vast majority of the Iraqi population, the Shia and the Kurds, bear incredible anger against Saddam Hussein, against the seven other co-defendants, and inherently against those who are defending them in court. So in terms of who exactly is perpetrating these attacks, whether it's Shia militias or whether it's the Sunni insurgency, is unclear. The implications, though, are the same for the trial -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh Raman in Baghdad.

Thanks for explaining it for us.

We always appreciate your insights -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, Senator John McCain's got a new book out. It's called "Character Is Destiny." I said he wrote 13 best-sellers. It was more like three, but whatever. Anyway...

M. O'BRIEN: Plus or minus 10.

S. O'BRIEN: ... we're going to talk about his book and also that little question about the presidency.

That's coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, so how did he answer it? Are you going to tell us?

S. O'BRIEN: No, of course not.

M. O'BRIEN: Oh. S. O'BRIEN: That's called the big tease.

M. O'BRIEN: You have to stay tuned.

S. O'BRIEN: Here's a copy of the book.

M. O'BRIEN: Put another quarter in and...

S. O'BRIEN: It's a good one.

M. O'BRIEN: ... we'll see you later.

S. O'BRIEN: We'll take a short break.

We're back in a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: It's election day and politically speaking there's lots to talk about -- those allegations of secret prisons run in Europe by the CIA; also, why does the vice president want to have an exemption that would allow torture; and, is John McCain going to run for president in 2008?

In fact, the Arizona senator has written a new book. It's aimed at teenagers and it's called "Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember."


S. O'BRIEN: Senator McCain joins us.

Good morning.

Nice to see you.

MCCAIN: Good morning.

S. O'BRIEN: I like the book a lot and I'm going to talk to you about it more in just a moment.

I want to ask you some other things first, though, because there's a lot going on.


S. O'BRIEN: As someone said the other day, wow, for the first time the Senate is not boring. This is really interesting stuff happening.

Let's talk about this legislation that you proposed, which would ban torture. And you've got a lot of support, 90 to nine it passed the Senate.


S. O'BRIEN: Aren't there examples, though -- where are examples, maybe, where torture is the only option left?

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, torture doesn't work, as we have proved. Second of all, if there was a one in a million situation where that would happen, then the president would take responsibility for it. But everybody agrees that has been in combat and knows these situations, like General Colin Powell and others, believe that the price we pay for being able to torture people is huge throughout the world.

I think we just saw in Argentina, as we've seen many places in the world, anti-American sentiment is very high. We're trying to win a war on the ground in Iraq, but we're also trying to win the hearts and minds of the people throughout the world. Torture doesn't work. It's wrong. And it's not about the terrorists and what they can tell us, it's about us and how we treat people.

S. O'BRIEN: Are you surprised that the vice president has been pushing this hard? I mean he is going sort of swimming against the tide here when you have 90 senators who support your ban.

MCCAIN: I've been friends with Dick Cheney for 25 years. I believe that he's doing what he thanks is best for America and he's committed and passionate about it. We just have -- simply have a disagreement on this issue.

But ask most any retired military person, again, General Colin Powell, the Israelis, who suffer threats of terrorist attacks every day do not torture. They do not torture. Their Supreme Court said that they couldn't. They use psychological methods. So if the Israelis don't have to use it, do you think we should have to?

S. O'BRIEN: There was a report last week in the "Washington Post" that talked about these secret prisons in Europe.


S. O'BRIEN: Are you aware of these prisons?


S. O'BRIEN: Not at all?

MCCAIN: I did not know anything about it.

S. O'BRIEN: Which means what, then? I mean if other senators -- are you going to start hearings on this? Obviously you would like to be aware, yes?

MCCAIN: Well, I think the Intelligence Committee chairman and ranking member were told -- at least that's the media reports that I have -- but I think the American people ought to know if we're doing that kind of thing.

S. O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the book for a moment.

MCCAIN: Thank you. S. O'BRIEN: I think you picked some really remarkable -- oh, come on, you know how this works. You've got a book and every single one has been a best-seller. But we have to talk about some of the ideas of the day...

MCCAIN: Absolutely.

S. O'BRIEN: And as I said, there's a lot of...

MCCAIN: Absolutely.

S. O'BRIEN: I mean I didn't even talk to you about Harriet Miers or Judge Alito.

MCCAIN: There you go.

S. O'BRIEN: There's a litany of things we could cover. "Character -- "

MCCAIN: Judge Alito is doing fine.

S. O'BRIEN: In a nutshell.

"Character Is Destiny." Why did you feel like you needed to -- I mean it's almost like a textbook for young people.

MCCAIN: Well, we all know that young people are subjected to a lot of influences today, as are grownups. And we felt, Mark Salter and I felt that to write a book about the qualities that make up character and the things that are desirable -- you know even with your young children that -- and with my teenagers -- they don't like to be lectured to. So we tried to write stories of people who exhibited these qualities, these different qualities, from courage to judgment to creativity.

And so we cover a wide range of subjects, ranging from Wilma Rudolph to George Washington to Angsan Sushi (ph) to...

S. O'BRIEN: My kids can't read yet, but, you know, I'm going to read it to them.

MCCAIN: ... many others.

S. O'BRIEN: Just, you know, and find maybe some of the words are a little big for them. But it's a -- I think it's a really nice theme.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: I want to ask you, you know, last time, many months ago, I asked you about the election. And you sort of said very, you know, you're known for your blunt speaking. Soledad, N-O. I can't say it any more clearly than that, I'm not going to be running for president.

That was then. Then when you talked to Larry King the other day, you said something like well, I've got to wait for the political landscape for -- I'm like who -- what?

MCCAIN: Who is this guy?

S. O'BRIEN: What is that -- who is that guy?

MCCAIN: That was just straight talk.

S. O'BRIEN: Come on!

MCCAIN: I'm going to wait until after the '06 elections.

S. O'BRIEN: Why?

MCCAIN: But...

S. O'BRIEN: What? Wait for what?

MCCAIN: Because I want...

S. O'BRIEN: Because there's election 2008. It doesn't change regardless of what happens in '06.

MCCAIN: Because I think I need to know whether that -- my philosophy and ideals and vision for the future of America is in keeping, also, with the American people's priorities. And I think -- and, also, is reduces my effectiveness in the Senate if I announce that I'm running for president when I should be -- we've got a lot of things that we're needing to address.

But I'll sit down and talk about it with a lot of people and make a decision. And there's no reason to make a decision before then.

S. O'BRIEN: I hear you.

Nice to see you, Senator.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, as always, for coming in.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: It's nice to see you.

MCCAIN: Thanks for having me back.

M. O'BRIEN: I think he meant to say yes.

S. O'BRIEN: Running for president?

M. O'BRIEN: In essence, yes.

Anyway, coming up on the program, the exact moment when somebody gets tasered captured for all eternity. Around here we're calling it Rick Sanchez cam. It's kind of an inside joke. We'll explain that in a bit. A taser cam. We'll be able to do it. We'll show you how it works ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.



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