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YOUR WORLD TODAY
The Trial of Saddam Hussein; Europe-CIA Controversy; Israel Officials Respond to Netanya Bombing
Aired December 5, 2005 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AHMED HASSAN MOHAMMED, WITNESS (through translator): They broke him, broke his arm, his leg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAIN VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: A first-hand account of the horrors committed under Saddam Hussein is heard in a trial marked by verbal sparring between the judge and the accused.
JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Militants strike again in Israel, putting the peace process in further jeopardy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: Some governments choose to cooperate with the United States in intelligence, law enforcement, or military matters. That's a two-way street.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: Talking about the cooperative nature of gathering global intelligence on terrorists, the U.S. secretary of state says the U.S. does not permit, tolerate, or condone torture.
CLANCY: It is 8:00 p.m. right now in Baghdad, it's 12:00 noon in Washington.
I'm Jim Clancy.
VERJEE: And I'm Zain Verjee.
A warm welcome to our viewers throughout the world and in the United States. This is CNN International. And this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
CLANCY: It was a sight to behold, an Iraqi standing there, an ordinary man, confronting Saddam Hussein, talking about a litany of violations of human rights that had been committed against his family. After delays, defiant interruptions, and even protests, the first Iraqi to testify before Hussein took the stand.
VERJEE: But not before defense lawyers questioned the legitimacy of the court and then just staged a walkout. During a heated exchange, Saddam Hussein stood up, shook his fists, and said the court was appointed by U.S. occupiers. At one point, the defense walked out because the presiding judge refused to hear their complaints. The judge later reversed himself and allowed the lawmakers to present oral arguments about the fairness of the proceedings.
CLANCY: Now, this trial resumed with the testimony of a key witness, this man. He was a resident of the village Dujail, and he tearfully described a scene of horror after he and his family was arrested. Ahmed Hassan Mohammed described the torture that he and family members suffered while they were in detention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMMED (through translator): I had a brother, Marsan Hassan (ph). He is not in the file that you have. He's not mentioned in your file.
He was a student, been in school. He was born in 1965. They took him into interrogation. They electrocuted -- they tortured him by electrical shock, and they would beat him before the eyes of my father, who was born 1905.
They would ask him where your brothers are. And they would -- he is a student. He had no idea. He was 17 years old.
Interrogation and torture, electric shocks. At the end -- for four years in the prison I couldn't see him. Your brother -- for years, I couldn't see him. He's my brother.
He stayed with me Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, and that week they took him. And they said, "Get down, everybody." And they took -- they would know who is most beloved to his father.
Take Mr. Horbotli (ph). He was 16 years and -- and they would take him before my -- eyes of my father, and they will tell him, "Speak." And he was putting up with all the pains, and my father was watching this. Before the eyes of my father, they would beat him.
And he would cry, "What's wrong with you, dad?" And then he said, "Kill him."
They took Palar (ph), they took Ismael Ibrahim (ph). I'm thankful that I remember all the names.
They took Ismael (ph) down. And I saw blood coming out of -- he was born in '65. Listen to me. That's how torture was, electric shocks.
After that, four years, I haven't seen him. Never saw them for four years. It was in room 72.
Only between (INAUDIBLE), I never saw him. And interrogation continued.
And then one of -- one of those who entered interrogation came back and told me that my wounded brother is being tortured. But the doctor told them, "If you do electrical shock, he will die."
So they started to torture him. Barzar (ph) and (INAUDIBLE), they supervised the torture. His toes were fell down out of torture. They told him to speak. He kept telling them, "I have nothing to say."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: You see Saddam Hussein was listening intently at times. At other times he was scoffing, saying that this man, how would he remember all the dates that people were born?
Then, in a really interesting exchange there between Saddam Hussein and the man that you saw testifying there, the man said, "Look, I was in prison, and that's how they called the names. They called the names by giving them their name, plus their date of birth. So I remembered all of those people."
Saddam Hussein's defense attorneys, meantime, requested time to state their complaints about the fairness, the legitimacy of the court. Joining them, former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, complaining to the judge that the protection that was being offered to the defense was absurd. He walked out the of the courtroom after the judge refused their request.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMSEY CLARK, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: May it please the court, I need to submit this to save time for the court. It won't take two minutes. We're going to leave the courtroom if you don't accept this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Go to what's said. Go to what's said.
CLARK: We're going to leave the courtroom. Shall we go?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CLANCY: Well, there you see, they did leave the courtroom. Their chairs were all empty. But after a delay, the judge agreed to let the defense team make brief statements and the trial resumed.
VERJEE: For more details on the day's fiery proceedings, let's go now to Baghdad and to our Aneesh Raman.
Aneesh, the proceedings were chaotic, and often it didn't seem as though the judge was in control of his court. It many instances it seemed that Saddam Hussein was dominating the court.
ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Zain. Good afternoon.
The battle for control of this court has gone on since that first trial session on October 19. Today, though, we did see a much more confident presiding judge. He began the day by almost immediately trying to call the first witness. But as you mentioned, it sparked incredible uproar within the courtroom.
The defense lawyers stood up. They started saying nothing could proceed unless they were making statements. And what Jim just reported is what took place.
But also, the defendants themselves, notably Saddam Hussein, standing up essentially at will, making statements. Here's a little bit about what they said earlier in the day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADDAM HUSSEIN, FMR. IRAQI PRESIDENT (through translator): We reject -- we reject the appointments of clerks, employees to defend us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The law allows them.
HUSSEIN (through translator): This law was enacted by America. Long live Iraq! Long live Iraq! Long live Iraq! Long live Iraq!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAMAN: But by the day's end, the judge had brought more control to this courtroom than he'd done in previous sessions. As we began to hear witness testimony, that emotional, riveting testimony of the first Iraqi to stand in front of his former dictator in detail to crimes alleged -- Zain.
VERJEE: What kind of protection have the witnesses been afforded?
RAMAN: The witnesses are given all the protection that they want coming here. And it's part of the reason the prosecution has been keen to get the witnesses on stand as quickly as possible.
When we saw the delay last week, the prosecutors essentially objected to that, saying that the witnesses have risked their lives, they are here in the courtroom, they must be heard. So part of this, in terms of getting this process under way, getting the trial to begin in earnest, is for the witnesses' sake.
Now, it's interesting, as well. The first witness is someone that we were able to see. We will not be able to see all of the witnesses. Some of them will be requesting not to be shown on cameras out of fear for security after they leave the courtroom -- Zain.
VERJEE: Aneesh Raman, reporting for us in Baghdad.
Still ahead here on YOUR WORLD TODAY...
CLANCY: In the eye of the storm. The U.S. secretary of state facing some tough questions in Europe over a growing CIA controversy.
VERJEE: And the blame game continues three months after Hurricane Katrina swamped the U.S. Gulf Coast.
VERJEE: Welcome back. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
CLANCY: That is, an hour of world news right here on CNN International.
Well, speaking of international issues, in the United States U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice flying into the heart of what many see as a diplomatic storm. She begins a European tour as the European Union or some members of it are demanding answers over alleged CIA flights to secret prisons in Europe. According to media reports, the U.S. has clandestinely flown suspects through European airports.
Now, before heading to her stop in Berlin, Ms. Rice dismissed some of those claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICE: The United States does not transport and has not transported detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture. The United States does not use the airspace or the airports of any country for the purpose of transporting a detainee to a country where he or she will be tortured.
The United States has not transported anyone and will not transport anyone to a country when we believe he will be tortured. Where appropriate, the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERJEE: For more perspective on the task facing the U.S. secretary of state, we'll be talking to CNN State Department producer Elise Labott and also with Rudiger Lentz, Washington bureau chief for Deutsche Welle.
Let's start, though, with Elise Labott.
This trip for Secretary Rice, Elise, really meant to build on some of the improved relations with these countries in Europe. What exactly does she hope to accomplish?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN STATE DEPT. PRODUCER: Well, that's right, Zain. Relations have really improved since the second Bush administration, and a lot of European diplomats credit Secretary Rice on that in working with Europe more closely on issues like Iran, Afghanistan, and even repairing issues of the war in Iraq.
So this issue of CIA prisons really seeks to threaten the improvement in the relation and kind of re-spark tensions. So before she left, Secretary Rice tried to head off some of that criticism, responding directly to requests from the European Union for more information about these secret prisons. Now, Secretary Rice, as you just heard, said the U.S. does not send detainees to countries where they'll be tortured. But she did not say that the secret prisons do not exist. So for Secretary Rice, it's a very delicate balance to kind of allay European concerns, at the same time, not compromise any U.S. intelligence matters.
What Secretary Rice is trying to do here is really reframe the debate, to say to these countries, we're engaged in a war on terrorism, it's a very dangerous business, these people are trying to kill our citizens and your citizens, and it's a very dangerous business, and you're working with us, you're collaborating with us and cooperating with us on the war on terror. So saying to these leaders, you really need to take responsibility for your own actions in the war on terror, and stop using the United States as a scapegoat, if you will, to deflect criticism from the U.S. -- to the U.S. and deflect criticism from your own European parliaments and publics.
And that's why Secretary Rice says we are engaged in a war on terrorism, but we're not violating international law, we're not violating the sovereignty of any countries, kind of hinting that some of these countries are actually cooperating with the U.S. in some of these activities, but making clear that the United States does not engage in torture. Whether that's going to be enough to allay those concerns, it's really unclear.
This all, of course, takes place in the backdrop of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, where abuses are admitted to have occurred. So European diplomats I say -- spoke to say, if anybody has the credibility and the ability to allay some of these concerns and kind of cool the tensions, it's Secretary Rice -- Zain.
VERJEE: CNN producer Elise Labott reporting from the State Department -- Jim.
CLANCY: All right. There's one side of it. Let's -- you know, we first heard of Rice's European tour and the first stop going to be Berlin. Now, the German magazine "Der Spiegel" reporting that more than 400 flights believed to be covert CIA operations were run over German airspace over the past few years. Flights also reports to have landed in Berlin, in Frankfurt, and at the Ramstein Air Base there.
Well, joining us with more on the German perspective, Rudiger Lentz. He's Deutsche Welle's Washington bureau chief.
And Rudy, if I can call you that, some Americans right now wondering, well, we don't understand, what's the big deal? We're making these flights, maybe they do fly over Germany, maybe they do go over France and other countries. So what?
RUDIGER LENTZ, DEUTSCHE WELLE: I think the big deal is what did -- what did the European and especially the German government know about it? Because the opposition comes not only and the questions are coming not only from the governments in Europe, the questions are being put forward by the opposition in the parliaments, by the parliaments themselves, and by the public. And so far, I think the European governments have as well to answer the same questions as Condoleezza Rice is facing now during her trip through Europe.
CLANCY: Is this being used as a political football? In other words, leftist oppositions to governments across Europe, using that to needle the government, saying, you, too, are engaged in improprieties with these prisoners?
LENTZ: I think partially you might be right. But the big question looming behind that one is, what is allowed in the fight against terrorism? Because there's no doubt that the Europeans are partner in that fight against terrorism. But the question amongst the European public, at least, is, what means and tools are allowed, and which ones are not allowed?
And I think if people hear about torture in prison camps in Eastern Europe, which have been neither denied nor confirmed, I think they get very suspicious. And I think the CIA and the intelligence community in the U.S. have to ask themselves, if those were clandestine operations, why they didn't stay clandestine.
CLANCY: Good question. Does Deutsche Welle, the European agencies, do they know where any of these prisons are located? Has anybody found one of them?
LENTZ: No, that is quite right. But what we need here is the truth. And I think we need open acknowledgement, what are the facts, and if there are no facts...
CLANCY: Are they going to believe the truth, though, Rudy? That's what I wonder, because, you know, it's already been denied.
LENTZ: It is denied by governments. But maybe some other parts of the intelligence community, as well as in your country, as well as in European countries might know more about it. And I think they have to answer the questions of their parliaments because they are the controlling organs for the intelligence communities, at least in Europe.
CLANCY: Is Condoleezza Rice -- on this trip, she's going to go, and we heard it -- she's going to try to explain, you know, we're in a war on terror, we're not in the business of terrorizing any suspects that we've arrested. Is she going to feel the heat for what is anti- George Bush sentiment across Europe?
LENTZ: No, I don't think so. I think the developments of the last couple of weeks and month have shown that on both sides now, people in governments, especially, and especially in my government, which has changed recently, are trying not only to mend fences, but to open a new chapter of relations to the United -- to the United States. But to open that chapter, I think openness and frankness on both sides is one of the necessary requests.
CLANCY: All right. We'll see how much openness, how much frankness we get.
Rudiger Lentz of Deutsche Welle there, their Washington bureau chief. I want to thank you very much for being with us and giving us some European perspective on all of this.
LENTZ: Thank you.
VERJEE: The row between Europe and the U.S. over this issue is the subject of our question today.
CLANCY: We're asking this: Should Europe support Washington's handling of prisoners in the war on terror?
VERJEE: E-mail us your thoughts, YWT@CNN.com. And as always, make sure you include your name, as well as where you're writing us from.
It's always good to hear from you. Weigh in on this. YWT@CNN.com.
CLANCY: We'll have a check of what's making headlines in the United States up for our U.S. viewers next.
VERJEE: Yes. The rest of us get to check on what's moving the financial markets.
CLANCY: Wall Street reacting to rising oil prices now at their highest level in nearly a month. You know what that means.
We'll be right back.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta. More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes. First, though, a check of stories making headlines here in the U.S.
The former 9/11 Commission is giving poor grades to the federal government's efforts to prevent more terrorist attacks. The panel says there are more Fs than As in a progress report on security recommendations that they issued last year. And commission members warn there will be another terror attack. They say the White House and Congress has failed to make badly-needed changes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM KEAN, FMR. 9/11 COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: Four years after 9/11, it is a scandal that police and firefighters in large cities still can't talk to each other reliably when they're hit with a major crisis. It's scandalous that airline passengers are still not screened against all names on a terrorist watch list. It is scandalous that we still allocate scarce homeland security dollars on the basis of pork barrel spending and not on risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: The Bush administration did carry out one of the panel's central recommendations. It created a National Intelligence director. President Bush is on the road this hour to showcase an economy that he says is charging ahead. We're looking at live pictures from North Carolina.
Mr. Bush will highlight last week's reports on job reaction and economic output. He's visiting a North Carolina plant that has been adding jobs.
And CNN will have live coverage next hour on the president's speech on the economy and tax cuts. It's scheduled to begin at 1:15 Eastern, 10:15 a.m. Pacific.
Let's check in on weather right now. Chad Myers at the weather center with more on that.
CHAD MYERS, CNN SEVERE WEATHER EXPERT: Hi, Daryn. I have one word for this storm behind me.
KAGAN: What is that?
KAGAN: Oh, come on.
MYERS: Yes. Just not impressive. But you know what? Everybody is panicking because it really is the first significant snow.
Three to four inches possible in Charlottesville, all the way up to Fredericksburg, into D.C. as well. This is already snowing. This storms already -- and it's been snowing for a while in Roanoke and Blacksburg.
Here's a live shot from our affiliate in Roanoke, seeing some snow on top of the buildings there. On some of the elevated surfaces things getting a little bit slick. But WSLS, our affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, roads looking pretty good there, all the way up and down the I-81. Enough traffic on it to make it a little bit better than you'd expect.
Now, if it was five degrees colder and the roads had been cold for a while, then maybe we'd be getting something out of this. But this storm is going to go through with very little fanfare.
The grass it going to look pretty. Going to the Mall tomorrow in D.C., the Washington Mall, is probably a really nice effect. But a lot of this snow in this red zone, where the warning is, will be south of D.C., into Virginia, also into the Delmarva and into New Jersey.
Maybe the heaviest snow around Freehold, and possibly into Atlantic City for tomorrow. But everybody else, eh, it just gets you in the mood for shopping, maybe.
KAGAN: You've just seen too much, Chad.
MYERS: And get the car dirty.
KAGAN: That's it. Chad, thank you.
MYERS: You're welcome.
KAGAN: Let's go to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
A dramatic rescue operation was under way. Crews trying to rescue a man from a water tower.
Authorities say he was working about 200 feet above ground when he had some sort of medical emergency. They say he's not completely conscious and he was not able to get down from the tower on his own.
Florida teenager Lionel Tate will face a competency hearing later this month after saying that he hears voices and has considered suicide. In 2001, when he was 13, Tate became the youngest person ever sentenced to life in prison in modern U.S. history.
That murder conviction was later thrown out. But his life sentence could be reinstated for a possible violation of his probation.
An Arkansas man who was accused of scaling the White House fence was expected in court today. A Secret Service spokesman says agents grabbed the unarmed man yesterday on the north lawn. He faces a charge of unlawful entry. The Secret Service says it doesn't know why the man tried to get into the White House.
If you're looking to buy a new 2006 model car, there's some good information for you. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is out with a new category called top safety picks. It's based on the car's performance in front, side and rear crash tests.
As far as large cars go, the institute's Gold Award, shared by the Ford 500 and Twin Mercury Montego. The Audi A-6 got the Silver Award. And in the midsize category, the Saab 9-3 and the Subaru Legacy received top marks for safety.
The Silver Award goes to five different cars: The Audi A-3, the Audi A-4, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Volkswagen Jetta and the Volkswagen Passat.
Among small cars, the Honda Civic four door took away the best rating.
A popular online source for information receiving stinging criticism for some of the information that is wrong. Kyra Phillips and the "LIVE FROM" team has the story at the top of the hour.
Meanwhile, YOUR WORLD TODAY continues after a quick break.
I'm Daryn Kagan.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CLANCY: Welcome once again to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International. I'm Jim Clancy. ` VERJEE: And I'm Zain Verjee. Here are some of the top stories we're following.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insists that the U.S. does not permit or condone torture under any circumstances. Rice made her remarks before leaving for a European tour, aimed at countering criticism of the CIA's treatment of terror suspects on European soil. She did not address allegations that the CIA maintained secret prisons in Eastern Europe.
CLANCY: The first witness to take the stand in the Saddam Hussein trial described the torture he and his family suffered while in detention. Ahmed Hassan Mohammed was 15 years old when he and his family were taken into custody after a failed assassination attempt against Saddam Hussein. That was 1982. Then earlier Monday, Hussein and his lawyers questioned the legitimacy of the proceedings.
Now for more on the day's details on the trial, let's join Nic Robertson now. He's live in Baghdad. Nic, you were inside the courtroom and it looked interesting from the seat we had thousands of miles away.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim, it certainly was. It's certainly a day of very high emotions and those emotions wore thinner and thinner towards the end of the day, or higher and higher, if you will. Saddam Hussein in the end throwing his notes down. And that was the moment the judge decided to call it a day.
The longest day of this trial so far. Eight hours -- eight hours the defendants and the lawyers and the judges were gathered in and around the courtroom today. Some very interesting moments, Jim. Certainly, as Saddam Hussein's speeches became more vitriolic towards the end of the court session. The court deciding, for security reasons, they say, it was necessary to cut off the sound from transmission.
One of the things Saddam Hussein said was that a U.S. general, he said, had come to meet him and had said to him, sign this document. If you sign it, you'll be like Napoleon. If you don't sign it, you'll be like Mussolini. And Saddam Hussein said, my part is to be like Mussolini, to resist until the very end.
But Saddam Hussein and his half brother, Barzan Ibrahim al- Tikriti, both indicating moments that they know, not fully aware of, what may await them at the end of the trial. Barzan Ibrahim al- Tikriti at one point, at the end of one session, saying execute all of us, then. Saddam Hussein saying, I'm not afraid of dying. If you want my neck, here it is. So very, very impassioned speeches from Saddam Hussein, from Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and from that first witness, as well, Jim. CLANCY: Well, more about the witnesses today. Because I think that that's what a lot of Iraqis focus in on. When they look at this trial, they're wondering is Saddam Hussein really going to have to confront what was done at least in his name by his regime. And I don't know, whether looking at what happened today, that you would get that impression, that he was having to confront the reality.
ROBERTSON: It does seem that he's confronting it, because when his name is mentioned, when his vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan's name is mentioned, when his half brother, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, when their names are mentioned -- they've all been protesting in the court. The judges told them to stay quiet. He's given them a chance to, if you will, sort of cross-examine or challenge those witnesses.
So it's going to be many, many more days like this, Jim, where there's testimony from the witnesses that implicates Saddam Hussein and some of the others. So far, however, the defense and the defendants have been able to pick holes in this testimony. If you look at how they challenged the last witness, who was slower, who was more deliberate, he said things the bombing lasted in Dujail for four days. Well, that's something people here haven't heard before. That didn't seem to impress the defense lawyers very well.
There were challenges on a number of issues, and as well on the very fact that this witness would have been just ten years old when the attacks happened in Dujail. So I think we can see a lot of challenges coming. But in those challenges, it's likely, Jim, the gray realization for Saddam Hussein that he is going to have to sit there and listen to all of this. He is going to have to watch the witnesses giving testimony against him.
And it's very interesting inside the courtroom, the way the court is laid out. Saddam Hussein's seat is the closest seat of all of the defendants, the closest seat to the witnesses. And at times when the camera might have been pointing elsewhere, you could see the witnesses turning around to look at Saddam Hussein, at time looking daggers at him, Jim.
CLANCY: Nic Robertson, there's so many of us, I think, around the world that wish we were in your chair, in your shoes here, inside that trial. Fascinating trial, as you say, and so much more to go. Nic Robertson, reporting there live from Baghdad -- Zain.
VERJEE: Jim, even as this trial proceeds, investigators are sifting through evidence in other criminal cases against Saddam Hussein. Investigative judges are examining Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Hussein is accused of violating international law by ordering that invasion. He's also accused of the brutal suppression of Shias in southern Iraq, as well as destroying the livelihood of Iraq's marsh Arabs by draining their wetlands.
Hussein's government also accused of genocide and ethnic cleansing related to the Anfal campaign of the late 1980s, in which thousands of Kurds were killed. And he and his security forces are accused of a number of politically motivated killings, including the execution of five Shia leaders in 1974. For more on the trial of Saddam Hussein, just go to our Web site at CNN.com/saddam. You can find some the latest news. We're reporting photo galleries, as well as details on the specific charges against the former Iraqi leader.
CLANCY: Well, in Iraq, gunmen kidnapped a French engineer. He was working in the western part of Baghdad. Bernard Planche was abducted in the capital's upscale Mansour district. According to witnesses, the attackers pulled Planche from a vehicle just in front of his residence. He had been working for a U.S. non-governmental organization in Baghdad. France's prime minister says everything is being done to free Planche as soon as possible.
VERJEE: To Israel now, where government officials are promising a hard and painful response to a suicide bombing in Netanya. The attacker blew himself up outside a shopping mall on Monday, killing five people and wounding dozens more.
John Vause has the details.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There was a boom and a flash, according to witnesses, and then death. These grainy images taken moments after the blast, captured by passers-by on their cell phones.
Naomi Mehr, a former medic, was among the first on the scene. She tried to help the bloodied and hurt.
"It was terrible. Most of the people were injured in the head. Body parts were strewn on the ground," she says. "There was no screaming, no hysteria, just tension."
This shopping mall, just north of Tel Aviv, has been a target twice before. This time, the suicide bomber was waiting in line to pass security checks, which are routine in Israel. It was then police and security guards became suspicious. The bomber was called out, asked to walk away from the crowd.
MICKY ROSENFELD, POLICE SPOKESMAN: As he was being checked, body searched, he exploded himself.
VAUSE: The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad says it sent this man to carry out the attack: 21-year-old Lotfi Abu Saada, from a small village in the West Bank. The claim of the responsibility was broadcast on Hezbollah television from Lebanon.
The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the bombing as an act of terrorism and ordered the arrest of those responsible. But that's not enough for the Israelis.
RA'ANAN GISSIN, SENIOR SHARON ADVISER: Most regrettably, you know, we would have thought that the Palestinians have matured and understand all the dire consequences of terrorist attacks, mainly for them. But it seems that they've learned nothing. VAUSE (on camera): The Israelis insist there will be no peace talks until the Palestinians disarm militant groups like Islamic Jihad. But the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, says that could cause a civil war. And so for now, the peace process continues to go nowhere.
John Vause, CNN, Jerusalem.
CLANCY: The investigation of killing of Lebanon's former prime minister continues. Diplomats in Vienna says the U.N. investigators now are questioning five Syrian officials in connection with that killing. Now the former Lebanese prime minister was -- lost his life in this car bombing in Beirut. That was on February 14th. There were five there being questioned.
It's significant that the sixth one, who is wanted for questioning by the United Nations, that is the brother-in-law of president Bashar Al-Assad, who is the head of intelligence, Syrian intelligence, is not among those being questioned.
Syria, of course, has denied it. U.N. investigators are hoping to conclude their report by the 14th of December. Lebanon has already asked them to expand and extend that investigation.
VERJEE: In Eastern Africa, an earthquake sends people running for their lives.
CLANCY: We're going to have more on that when we come back.
And the still raging political storm, three months after Hurricane Katrina. What's going on along the Gulf Coast? Stay with us.
VERJEE: Welcome back. This is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
CLANCY: A program we're very proud of, an hour of world news right here on CNN International. Glad you could join us.
Well, U.N. relief workers right now say that a strong earthquake in East Africa has caused deaths and injuries. But they say there are no firm figures now to report. The epicenter of the magnitude 6.8 quake was beneath Lake Tanganyika. That is between Congo and Tanzania. U.N. workers say dozens of mud-and-thatched homes near the lake have collapsed, burying some people inside.
VERJEE: We want to get more on this from Guillermo Arduino.
CLANCY: It can be a remote areas, I mean all of those areas in there.
To try to find out some more information, Guillermo, give us an idea, where are we talking about. GUILLERMO ARDUINO, INTERNATIONAL WEATHER: There are three main lakes in this part of Africa that are very famous. Tanganyika is one here. And it's between, as you were saying, Tanzania and the Democratic Republican of the Congo.
Now I'm going to tell you what countries felt the impact of this, because even though the epicenter was there in the surrounding areas, we had those people feeling the effect.
Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. So you see, basically, this area, expanding to Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, needless to say, people here in the Congo region.
The stories, the figures are going to change as the day progresses. We're going to get more information, of course.
The most important thing, is it's not a densely populated area. It's mainly Savannah, so we don't have many people there. So that's good news.
VERJEE: In the U.S., governments were slow to react, but quick to assign blame in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. New memos sent to congressional committees underscore the disconnect between officials in Washington and the hard-hit state of Louisiana.
Gary Nurenberg follows the paper trail that details the disaster.
GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day-by-day account posted on the governor's Web site quotes Blanco on Saturday August 27th, predicting a severe storm, and writing the president, that, quote, "federal assistance will be necessary." By Monday the 29th, after Katrina struck, Blanco was telling the president in a phone call, "We need your help. We need everything you've got."
After a helicopter tour on Tuesday, the 30th, Blanco complains about federal response. The narrative says, "When the expected and promised federal resources have still not arrived on Wednesday, Blanco places an urgent morning call to the White House, but can't reach President Bush or his chief of staff." Later that day, she does talk to the president and stresses, "The situation is extremely grave."
By Friday, the frustration level rises. She writes the president that, quote, Even if these initial requests had been fully honored, these assets would not be sufficient." She asks for firefighting support, military vehicles, generators, medical supplies and personnel and more.
Five days after one request to the White House for a shopping list of federal help, Blanco's staff gets a memo from a presidential aide saying the president never got the letter, quote, "We found it on the governor's Web site, but we need an original for our staff secretary to formally process the request." Sunday evening, Blanco's aides told CNN that the governor personally handed the letter to the president. The White House said it hasn't read all of the documents, and is not in a position to toned.
Blanco said in one memo, "I believe my biggest mistake was believing FEMA officials who told me that the necessary federal resources would be available in a timely fashion.
(on camera): There is some politics here. One of the gubernatorial aides who told CNN Sunday evening that the governor personally handed that missing letter to the president also wrote in a memo after Katrina that the Bush administration is, quote, "working to make us the scapegoats," end quote.
Months after the hurricane, avoiding the blame is for all sides, still very much a priority.
Gary Nurenberg, CNN, Washington.
CLANCY: Health officials in the Ukraine and Vietnam have confirmed new bird flu outbreaks. These new cases are also suspected in Romania. Scientists working to determine if the virulent H5N1 strain of the disease has surfaced yet again.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more on the ever-evolving virus.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For nearly 50 years, Robert Webster has specialized in flu viruses. And at the age of 73 he still works 10 hours a day at St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, trying to outsmart the virus that is already killing half the people it infects.
DR. ROBERT WEBSTER, ST. JUDE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: I'm concerned that the first go, if you like, of H5N1, if it learns to transmit, won't be pretty. We are going to be faced with potential catastrophe.
GUPTA: To stop the virus, Webster says you've got to look at it closely, very closely,.
WEBSTER: Under the electromicroscope, influenza viruses are spiky creatures, something like hinge (ph) bombs, if you like.
GUPTA: Those spikes on the surface of the virus are proteins. In H5N1, the "H" stands for hemagglutinin protein. That's this one. It attaches the virus to the respiratory tract.
This is the "N," short for neuraminidase, a molecular scissors. The flu virus uses its H protein to dock in the surface of the cell and invade. Then it hijacks the cell's own machinery to produce literally thousands of copies of itself. The N spikes, the scissors, cut the new viruses free from the cell, turning them loose to infect new cells in the respiratory tract.
To fight the flu, you target either the H or the N protein. Webster's vaccine -- in fact, any flu vaccine -- takes aim at the H spike so the virus can't enter cells in the first place to make people sick.
The flu virus is simple. In fact, it contains only eight genes. But the virus has a menacing trick up its sleeve. Those genes constantly change more than most organisms.
WEBSTER: I compare it to a production line for an automobile. No quality control on the workers. They just threw the pieces in and most of the time it's disasters. But every now and again it can give a master strain.
GUPTA: Those master strains contain mutations that allow it to evade your immune system. Your immune system doesn't recognize it. These constant mutations are the reason we need a new flu vaccine every year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It changes just enough that the vaccine from the previous year doesn't induce an immune response.
GUPTA: There is a problem with producing a vaccine against a virus that hasn't started spreading yet. If H5N1 mutates to spread easily between people, would Webster's vaccine, the one that the government is stockpiling, still work?
WEBSTER: The vaccine, even though it's not a perfect match, would probably protect you from death. If you were vaccinated, you would still get infected. You would probably get very sick, but not die.
GUPTA: This vaccine could buy us time, but a better vaccine, a perfect match, can't even be started until a new viewers emerges.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.
CLANCY: Time for us to take a short break.
VERJEE: When YOUR WORLD TODAY returns, we'll open the inbox to check the e-mails. You've been writing us some good ones.
You're watching CNN.
VERJEE: Time now to open the inbox. We've got a lot of e-mail today.
CLANCY: That's right. The row between Europe and the U.S. over the issue of alleged CIA flights to secret prisons is the subject of our question this day.
Should Europe support Washington's handling of prisoners on its war in terror?
We got an email from Colin in London: "The Europeans have to decide if they are serious about the war on terror, and the lengths they will go to win. I think that we have all seen the lengths to which the terrorists will go."
CLANCY: And this came in from Tim in California who wrote: "Europe should not support U.S. prison camps. The only justification for the U.S. having secret camps is so they can employ tactics that are contrary to the Geneva Convention and against U.S. criminal law procedures."
VERJEE: A viewer from Washington writes this: "The Europeans should not and do not support Bush's treatment of prisoners on the war on terror. Whose war on terror? Who is the biggest terrorist here?
CLANCY: Well, meantime, we have a little balance for you. This viewer had this to say.
"We are all in this together...The United Nations, NATO and our Asian partners also need to be much more helpful and less critical."
VERJEE: And we're in this together. YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Zain Verjee.
CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy. Thank you for joining us.
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