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Co-Defendants in Saddam Hussein Trial Force Another Delay

Aired November 28, 2005 - 08:00   ET


I'm Soledad O'Brien.

A developing story in Iraq, where co-defendants in the Saddam Hussein trial have now forced another delay. We'll take you live to Baghdad to find out just what happened.


A controversial plan on the president's agenda today. Talking tough about border security, but his plan for temporary workers could draw heat from Republicans.

S. O'BRIEN: And severe weather tears through parts of the country. Take a look at this. Tornadoes touched down in the South and the Midwest, while snow out West leaves travelers looking for some relief on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning.

Welcome, everybody.

You know, we even had snow about 90 minutes north of here over the weekend.

M. O'BRIEN: Shoveling up there on the Hudson River, huh?

S. O'BRIEN: It was only about that much snow, so, no.

M. O'BRIEN: Enough for the kids to make little snowmen...

S. O'BRIEN: No -- exactly.

M. O'BRIEN: ... or a dirt man, really...

S. O'BRIEN: The little dirt men.

M. O'BRIEN: ... is probably more like it.

S. O'BRIEN: Absolutely.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

S. O'BRIEN: But I still was surprised. I thought it's kind of early in the season for that.

M. O'BRIEN: It's always nice for Thanksgiving.

We've been on now for, what, four or five hours already this morning and...

S. O'BRIEN: Well, you're entering our third hour here.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. And we start...

S. O'BRIEN: Or five hours.

M. O'BRIEN: ... at 6:00 a.m. Eastern now. It just seems like that. And we hope you'll join us every morning at that hour. It really hasn't seemed that long. It's actually...

S. O'BRIEN: It's long, but it's worth it here on AMERICAN MORNING.

M. O'BRIEN: It's so worth it. It's so worth it.

S. O'BRIEN: That's our new slogan.

M. O'BRIEN: But we have watched as, beginning at that time, we've been watching this trial unfold in Baghdad, inside the green zone. And what we've watched is a mini-rebellion in that courtroom.

The trial of Saddam Hussein on hold once again. The defense goes through another shakeup.

Aneesh Raman is in Baghdad -- Aneesh, fill us in.

What's going on with this latest rebellion?

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Miles, good morning.

Rebellion an apt word. During that hour-and-a-half recess between the morning and afternoon sessions, the eight defendants were allowed to meet with their lawyers. They came back to the afternoon session clearly much more aggressive in terms of their legal rights.

Essentially, the adjournment of one week, until December 5th, it seems, is based on the fact that Taha Yassin Ramadan, perhaps the second most recognizable defendant, the former Iraqi vice president, he has had one lawyer killed in the six weeks between the first trial session and today. His other lawyer has fled the country.

At the beginning of the session today, the court appointed him a defense lawyer. He has rejected that lawyer and has now been given a week to retain his own counsel. The judge also said that if he does not do that by next Monday, the court-appointed defense lawyer will stand in place. The trial will go on.

But a back and forth, really, as well, between the prosecution and the defense. The prosecution contending to the judge that witnesses were in court ready to testify, that the witnesses in place today should go forward because they have security concerns, as well. The judge, though, deferring to the defense, adjourning this trial now for the second time, until next Monday, by which he hopes all of the representations of the defendants will be worked out.

Now, also in court, quickly, Miles, to mention, an incredible image, Ramsey Clark, the former U.S. attorney general, officially sworn in as an adviser to Saddam Hussein's defense team, he along with the Qatari former justice minister. And strong comments coming from the Qatari former justice minister, saying that the security situation is untenable, that they need at least 40 days delay, they cannot leave their homes, they cannot communicate with one another.

That issue, it seems, not specifically dealt with yet by the court. It could likely come back next Monday -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh, let's talk about this security issue for just a moment, because given the fact that two of the defense attorneys have been assassinated, it is a very real threat. There are others, of course, who have been killed, as well, surrounding the whole tribunal.

But when it comes to the defense attorneys, they've, in many respects, been reluctant to accept the security offers.


RAMAN: Exactly. The government, when we saw Sadoun Janabi killed just a day after the session began in mid-October, we asked the government, why did he not have security?

The prime minister's spokesman said security had been offered. Mr. Janabi turned it down. It seems any or all of the other defense lawyers have done the same.

They do that, as far as they've told us, because not only do they not have full confidence in the government's security, but they also question motives for those killing them, that it could be virtually anyone, not just the Sunni insurgency looking to delay the trial, but Shia militias, as the Shia government looking to exact revenge on Saddam Hussein -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh Raman in Baghdad watching it for us.

Thank you very much -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Charges are being considered against the driver of a bus that plunged off a California highway early Sunday morning. Two people were killed, including a woman who was seven months pregnant. Investigators think the 63-year-old driver might have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Kareen Wynter has our report this morning.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A horrific scene on the side of Highway 101 in Santa Maria, California -- scattered clothing, passenger chairs, debris -- the result of a fatal Greyhound bus crash.

CAROLE PITTS, PASSENGER: I remember the bus going off to the side. And the next thing I know, I'm picking my head up off the window, pulling dirt off my hair.

WYNTER: Trucker Manuel Bonilla witnessed the accident.

MANUEL BONILLA, EYEWITNESS: He kept on going over. Instead of straightening up in the slow lane and keeping on going, he kept coming over. And then as soon as he hit the white fog line, I knew he was going to go over the edge.

WYNTER: Killed in the crash, two passengers, including a 23- year-old woman police say was seven months pregnant. The California Highway Patrol says the bus driver, 63-year old Samuel Bishop, may have been asleep behind the wheel.

DAN MINOR, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: We do have reason to believe that driver fatigue may have been a significant factor in the cause of this accident.

WYNTER: Officers say Bishop was off duty Saturday night when he was called into work from his home in Fresno, California. Bishop reportedly drove to Los Angeles, making several stops before starting another route Sunday morning, and was just a few miles from his Santa Maria exit when tragedy struck.

Some passengers pinned beneath the bus had to be extracted with the jaws of life. Other victims were pulled through windows.

ANTONIA ATILANO, PASSENGER: I just want to thank the people who came out. They were very fast -- the paramedics, the fire department, the people who stopped.


S. O'BRIEN: CNN's Kareen Wynter reporting for us this morning.

We are told there is no indication any drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

The California Highway Patrol says the investigation is going to look into whether the driver exceeded federal standards governing driving hours.

Time to check in on the headlines now.

Carol has those -- good morning again.


Good morning to you.

President Bush tackles immigration issues today. He's got a stop in Tucson, Arizona today and in El Paso, Texas tomorrow. He's talking about security and law enforcement issues on the nation's borders. He'll also talk about a temporary program allowing illegal immigrants to obtain legal status. That plan, as you know, is drawing criticism from some in Washington.

Another reporter is expected to testify in the CIA leak case. "Time" reporter Viveca Novak will testify about her conversations with the attorney for White House aide Karl Rove. That would mean prosecutors still looking into Rove's alleged role in the leak of Valerie Plame's name. Novak would become the second "Time" reporter to testify.

A series of twisters just like this one raked through parts of the Midwest. Thirty homes in Fort Riley, Kansas damaged. Parts of Arkansas got slammed, as well. The severe weather being blamed for at least one death there. Homes were destroyed. Hundreds were left in the dark after power was knocked out.

Some holiday travelers in the Plains States are finding it tough to get home from Thanksgiving. Oh, that sign says it all, doesn't it, "road closed." Blizzard conditions forced the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 to close from near Denver to the Kansas state line. A lot of hotels are full up. Churches are now housing stranded travelers, like in the town of -- the tiny town of Limon, Colorado.

The weather was blamed for an accident involving 25 vehicles. Amazingly enough, though, no serious -- oh, that looks painful, doesn't it? No serious injuries from those accidents I just told you about.

Let's go to the movies right now.

The boy wizard tops the man in black at the movies. "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire" took in almost $55 million over the three day Thanksgiving weekend. The Johnny Cash bio picture "Walk The Line" was a far distant second, with almost $20 million.

Let's head to the forecast center and check in with Jacqui Jeras.

A lot of adults are going to see the Harry Potter movie this time around.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I hear it's not so great for younger kids, anyway. I think it's more adult.

COSTELLO: No, but adults are finding it fascinating. In fact, they're going in droves to rent, you know, the other three movies so that they can catch up.

JERAS: Catch up. Yes, you really do need to follow it along, too. It changes a lot.


M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, the clash of the retired generals, part two. We spoke to a general just a little while ago. He said it's time to cut and run in Iraq. In a moment, we're going to check in with another one who says that's not a good idea. And he'll give us a realistic timetable, he thinks, for bringing the troops home. We'll go through all those scenarios in just a bit.

S. O'BRIEN: Plus, support for the war has run strong in the nation's heartland. But is that changing now? We're going to take a look at some of the shifting views in small town America ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

We're back in just a moment.


M. O'BRIEN: So, when should U.S. troops start coming home from Iraq?

Lots of talk about when that might happen and what a reasonable timetable would be, whether it's a good idea to offer up a timetable at all.

A couple of hours ago, we spoke to Retired General William Odom and he's out with a theory that, well, it's a provocative theory that cutting and running is not such a bad idea. He wrote an article that said what's wrong with cutting and running?

Let's try to get a little different viewpoint on all this.

Retired Brigadier General David Grange joining us from our Chicago bureau.

General Grange, for our viewers and for all of us out there who didn't get a chance to see General Odom a little while ago, I just want to share with you, his point basically is if you name just about every reason that the administration gives for staying in Iraq, he believes the U.S. presence there makes matters worse.

One of the issues I asked him about was the whole notion of if the U.S. should leave, wouldn't that lay the groundwork for a civil war?

Let's listen to him for just a moment.


LT. GEN. WILLIAM ODOM, U.S. ARMY (RET.): We are causing the civil war. We're slowly turning the country over to the Shiites, which will become -- they will turn the country into an Islamic republic, very much as Iran. It will become a haven for Iran-backed tourists -- rather, terrorists -- who will probably attack Israel in larger numbers. In other words, the longer we stay, the worse this situation becomes.


M. O'BRIEN: The longer we stay, the worse it becomes.

What do you think?

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, the longer you stay in a foreign country, there is an issue there. I agree with that part of it. And I do agree that the Shiite issue could be a problem.

If you recall, in the '80s, the Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist organization, sponsored by Iran in particular, and also Syria, is a problem and it raised its head again.

But I disagree with cutting and running right now.

M. O'BRIEN: Why?

GRANGE: Well, because a rigid timetable saying we're going to leave on this particular date does a couple of things that are negative.

Number one is that it breaks the commitment you have made to the Iraqi people that certain conditions would be met, event driven, before we depart. And that would be that you have some sort of a democratic governance with a self-ruling country of Iraq, that protection of individual rights of the different peoples within Iraq would be protected, and you would have some type of a free market economy with a rebuilt infrastructure to support that.

And if those conditions aren't meant, which, by the way, to meet those, it requires security, it requires the rule of law, if those conditions aren't met, then we don't have the right to leave after this commitment.

Number two, as a rigid timetable gives the enemy something to plan for. It's a planning tool for the enemy.

So that's why I disagree.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, well, let's talk about that first point for a moment, though, because generally speaking, General Odom's point is that security actually would be enhanced without the U.S. presence there, that the U.S. further destabilizes things.

How do you respond to that argument?

GRANGE: Well, it does destabilize somewhat because there is a perception of occupation. That's no doubt about that. But if you're talking about a civil war erupting, I guarantee you if you cut and run immediately, before certain conditions are met, there will be a civil war anyway and it will come about quite sooner.

And the other piece of this is that the cut and run without a phased withdrawal that provides with overlapping security also endangers our forces.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, well, let's talk about the whole notion of whether we embolden the insurgency by being there. Are we creating -- you know, a lot of people have described this as we've sort of created a new Afghanistan there, a place where terrorists can go and practice.

Is that what we've done, though?

GRANGE: Well, I guess to some extent. There are more, you know, internal fighters than there are foreign fighters. But the foreign fighters do still get in the country. They do train there. They do learn there. They do teach there to Iraqi insurgents. So that needs to be stopped to the best of the abilities of the coalition forces and Iraqi forces.

But where we have a problem with the occupation force, if you clear an area, a hostile area, and then you don't hold it to give the people in that particular hostile area a chance to bring about the way of life that they want -- in other words, if you just clear and leave and then the enemy comes back in, you're not accomplishing anything. And those kind of situations, I agree with General Odom.

But to cut and run holistically throughout the whole country is not the right tactic.

M. O'BRIEN: Retired Brigadier General David Grange.

Always a pleasure having you drop by.

GRANGE: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, last weekend it was Black Friday. So how does this week begin? With Cyber Monday, of course. We're going to explain why today is a big day for online shoppers and tell you how that might be affect traditional brick and mortar stores.

That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

Stay with us.


S. O'BRIEN: It's Monday. In fact, it's Cyber Monday, which is when online holiday shopping officially begins.

Joining us this morning to talk about that from Washington, D.C. is Scott Silverman.

He is the executive director of

That's the online e-commerce division of the National Retail Federation.

Nice to see you.

And joining us here in the studio, Dannielle Romano. She's the editor-at-large for

She's got some good insight into hot Web sites. We'll talk about that in a moment.

First, though, let's start with Scott.

Good morning to you.

Let's talk numbers, Scott. And they sound pretty good. A hundred and forty-five million shoppers hit the stores and the Internet, too, $27.8 billion. You crunch those numbers, a 22 percent increase over last year.

You must be feeling pretty good about all this.

SCOTT SILVERMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SHOP.ORG: Yes. Yes, absolutely. It's -- the online -- the holiday season overall has started off with a very brisk pace and we're very happy to see that.

S. O'BRIEN: At the same time, there actually was a little bit of back and forth in some of the numbers because if you look at those numbers and you don't factor in the big discount stores, if you just look at the strip malls, if you just look at the enclosed shopping malls, you have a little bit of a problem, don't you?

SILVERMAN: Well, there are some discrepancies in different numbers. But the numbers that we look at is a survey that we've done with big research that surveyed about 4,200 people and we asked where they go shopping everywhere, whether it's discount stores, stand alone stores, in the malls, online.

So we feel it's a very comprehensive look at what shoppers are doing and where they're going shopping.

S. O'BRIEN: Why do people go online today? I mean why today? You can really be online any day this week or next or until Christmas, right?

SILVERMAN: Well, today, Cyber Monday. Happy Cyber Monday, by the way.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you.


SILVERMAN: And what we're finding is that what people want to do is they're going to want to go out over the holiday weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, and people are social beings. So they're going to want to go out the way they have in the past, out with their families and friends, going shopping, getting things to eat. And they're going to get a lot of great ideas. And when they get back to work on Monday and they're in front of their high speed connection or they put the kids to bed at night and they have their high speed connection at home, they're ready to do some shopping, to buy some things that they didn't get to over the holiday weekend. And some people just don't like to battle the crowds. And so this is a great way. They may have been with their families, gotten some good ideas over Thanksgiving dinner about what different people want to get as gifts and they're ready to go and do some shopping online.

S. O'BRIEN: I get it.

So everybody's interest has now been piqued and there you go, they're off and running, shopping wise.

Let's talk a little bit to Dannielle now, if we can, about some of the deals.

Do you think that people are drawn to online shopping deals because the price is so good, because you've got the free shipping and handling, because, as we just heard from Scott, you know, no crowds. It's so much easier and convenient in a lot of ways?

DANNIELLE ROMANO, "DAILY CANDY": I nearly lost an arm on Black Friday. You know, it's time to settle down.

S. O'BRIEN: What sale? At Wal-Mart or Saks?

ROMANO: Some kind of digital camera and I needed it bad.

No, Dailycandy has been scouring the Internet for the very best deals. And, of course, free shipping is one of those. Consumers are still very price sensitive. Free shipping is a very easy, easy way to attract them. Some sites who are doing that -- and a lot of it ends pretty quickly because they want to have time to send it to you., the great crystal manufacturer, has free shipping, which is cool, because it's kind of expensive to ship the delicate items that they produce., our online shopping favorite, has free shipping.

S. O'BRIEN: But those end today, right?

ROMANO: It's Cyber Monday. They have to create some excitement.


ROMANO: As you said, consumers can go online at any time at their convenience. So to lure the consumers in, these retailers make it sort of a time sensitive thing. It's not like their doors open at 6:00 a.m. but a lot of the free shipping ends today.

S. O'BRIEN: It's sort of metaphorically like the doors close at 6:00 p.m.

ROMANO: Yes, but no one's going to be elbowing you for the great deal.

S. O'BRIEN: A big up side there.

Let's talk a little bit about specialty food sites, because it really seems around the holidays that's -- those peak in sales.

ROMANO: And it's a trend Dailycandy is seeing this year. Food is something that you don't -- it's a great gift, right, because you don't have to worry about whether it fits. It's not a catch key that goes on the shelf like things for the old...

S. O'BRIEN: And someone has to whip it out every time to come visit.

ROMANO: Exactly. So there's some really cool -- and shipping makes it easy to send pretty much anything overnight. So some we like. Cocovino is a cool site that has drunken figures, all these really delicious epicurean delights, you know...

S. O'BRIEN: Grandma's chicken soup?

ROMANO: Exactly. What better way...

S. O'BRIEN: I could eat that.

ROMANO: ... you know, you don't have to cook it yourself. Some other person's grandma sends it to you.

S. O'BRIEN: It's good, too.

ROMANO: It arrives right there.

And one of our peculiar favorites, In case your friend is looking for some alligator tail...

S. O'BRIEN: Eew.

ROMANO: ... you know, well, it can be something they'll be talking about all year, right?

S. O'BRIEN: OK. I get it. They'll never forget u. That is absolutely true.

ROMANO: Never, ever, ever.

S. O'BRIEN: Boutiques online now. Some cute things that you used to have to actually go in person to kind of sift through and figure out. But you don't have to do that any more.

ROMANO: No longer. Awaits (ph) make a big splash. One we really like is Global Table, a cute little New York boutique. You don't have to go to New York. They make really lovely table wear that looks like you were shopping in Paris and spent a fortune. It's the exact opposite, really cool stuff, not a lot of money.

S. O'BRIEN: And what's

ROMANO: Tarsian and Blinkley, talk about an unforgettable gift. This woman set up shop in Kabul, Afghanistan and has Afghan women using centuries old techniques to embroider clothes. So talk about something they'll wear for the rest of the year and never forget, those are two of the little guys with them.

S. O'BRIEN: Wow! Great, and, of course, Dailycandy you can go to, too.

ROMANO: Yes, you check it out.

S. O'BRIEN: Don't you like me plugging for you?

ROMANO: Oh, thanks. We have all the recommendations there.

S. O'BRIEN: Dannielle, thank you very much.

Dannielle Romano is from Dailycandy.

Scott Silverman is from

Both of you, thanks a lot.

Happy Cyber Monday.

SILVERMAN: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Don't spend the whole day in the office just shopping.

ROMANO: Well, it's our job.


S. O'BRIEN: Well, that's true. All right, go ahead then. Do it -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, don't spend the whole day. Don't forget lunch. Get that, too.

Coming up, changing views in the heartland. Is support for the war in Iraq beginning to slip in small town America? We'll take a closer look at that issue ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: Good morning.

Welcome, everybody.

M. O'BRIEN: Good morning.

Kind of a nice day out there considering how messy it was earlier in the weekend.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, it was a little bit warmer than I expected coming back from the Bahamas, not to rub that in. A little shout out to my friends on Cat Island.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, notice how he just snuck that in.

M. O'BRIEN: Fernandez Bay Village. What a wonderful week.

S. O'BRIEN: I'm so happy for you, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. It was great.

S. O'BRIEN: Good for you.

M. O'BRIEN: Oh, I'm back.

All right. We've been watching a remarkable scene, actually -- more to the serious side of things -- in Baghdad this morning. And yet another delay in the Saddam Hussein trial as they go through what attorneys call discovery.

Carol Costello -- good morning.

COSTELLO: Hey, I guess we all expected this to happen, didn't we?

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. Pretty much.

COSTELLO: Yes. But the trial did start, but you're right, delay. The Saddam Hussein trial has been adjourned, the chief judge telling the court the trial will resume next Monday, on December 5th.

Saddam did appear in court before that delay and, as you might expect, he was acting like he's still President Hussein.


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