Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Saddam Hussein Trial Delay; White House Events; CIA Secret Prisons; Future Without Ford

Aired January 24, 2006 - 06:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. I'm Miles O'Brien.

We've got this just in to CNN. The trial of Saddam Hussein, which was expected to resume today, has been put on hold again. We're going to take you live to Baghdad to tell you what's behind this move.

M. O'BRIEN: The hammer falls at Ford. Now the reality sets in for tens of thousands of employees, they are soon to be without jobs. And this morning, word another car company expected to follow suit.

Why did a man jump out of a moving plane just moments before takeoff? He lives to tell about it. And police have a lot of questions.

S. O'BRIEN: A look this morning at the courtroom battle that could squash your BlackBerry. How would we live without them?

Plus this,...


QUESTION: You're a rancher. A lot of us here in Kansas are ranchers. I was just wanting to get your opinion on "Brokeback Mountain" if you had seen it yet.


S. O'BRIEN: Guess he hasn't seen it yet. Question about the gay cowboy movie, president caught off guard. We've got more on this this morning as well.

Welcome, everybody.

M. O'BRIEN: Definitely not scripted in that case.

We begin with another odd chapter in the on-again, off-again trial of Saddam Hussein. It was expected to resume this morning, but just minutes ago, word of another delay. We're now hearing the trial will resume on Sunday, January 29.

Aneesh Raman is following developments for us in Baghdad. He's on the line right now.

Aneesh, what happened?


We're physically in the courtroom just below it. We were never brought up. Nearly four hours after the court was set to start, we had a spokesman from the Iraqi High Tribunal come in just moments ago and read a simple statement on behalf of the court, saying that a decision had come that they would not convene today. Instead, they would reconvene on Sunday, January 29.

The reason we were given was that some of the complainants, witnesses, could not arrive in court today. They could not attend the session. They went on to say some of those witnesses are actually abroad, not in the country, on the Hajj pilgrimage.

Now that necessitated the obvious follow-up, when was the court made aware that these witnesses could not arrive, that some of them were in fact out of the country? And why did it take four hours into a day that the court was set to reconvene for this decision to come? We got no answer to that. The spokesman simply said I am not part of the first criminal court.

So lingering questions, in addition to all of the other ones that have clouded this court from the start, a court riddled with issues, not just among those procedures and the delays, but also among the players. We just had yesterday a big shakeup at the top of the court. The chief judge has been replaced. He was set to start his process in this new phase today. So we now wait until Sunday for this court to reconvene -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh, the word that comes to mind is chaos. How close is it to chaos?

RAMAN: Well from this vantage point it's very close, if not already there. I mean we sat here for four hours. We had lunch. There was no information coming to us whatsoever until the decision was read to us. And the fact that some of these witnesses are physically out of the country and that that was not apparent to the court does seem -- does raise a huge number of questions.

Now we're waiting to hear from more of the people involved. It could be that because of this shakeup the court had some procedural issues, the new interim chief presiding judge. It could be that they met this morning and tried to deliberate as to whether they could go on without these specific witnesses who were to have testified today.

This is supposed to be the start of a new phase. We have heard from victims testifying years endured of torture, and this was supposed to be the point where we started to hear from former members of Saddam's regime, witnesses that would directly link Saddam Hussein and the seven co-defendants to the alleged atrocities. And so this further delay raises just further questions for a court that has any number of questions that has followed it from the start -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Aneesh Raman on the line with us from Baghdad watching it for us. We'll keep you posted -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Today it's the attorney general's turn to defend warrantless wiretapping. Alberto Gonzales is speaking a few hours from now in Washington. He's going to be our guest in the next hour as well.

Meanwhile at the White House, President Bush will be trying to smooth things over with Pakistan, a key ally in the war on terror.

Suzanne Malveaux is covering today's events at the White House.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): President Bush is stepping up his efforts to defend the war on terror today meeting with a critical ally, the prime minister of Pakistan. Aides say the two will focus on U.S.-Pakistan's cooperation in tracking down al Qaeda. Also, the 500 $10 million in U.S. assistance for Pakistani earthquake relief and Mr. Bush's upcoming trip to the region.

At the same time, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will continue the administration's stepped up efforts to defend its controversial domestic spy program. Yesterday, Mr. Bush incorporated kind of a folksy campaign style talk show format to try to convince the American people to support the surveillance program.

And then tomorrow, President Bush will travel to the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Maryland. That, of course, to show that in the face of these upcoming congressional hearings over the domestic spy program that he is not backing down.

Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, the White House.


M. O'BRIEN: A key European human rights report, out just hours ago, says the U.S. is probably outsourcing torture, but it also says no concrete evidence exists on those alleged secret prisons run by the CIA.

CNN's Robin Oakley live now from London.

Robin, tell us about this report.

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well a report, Miles, by the Swiss Senator Dick Marty to the Council of Europe, the watchdog body on human rights. He says that there is coherent convergent evidence that the CIA has picked up terrorist suspects in Europe and outsourced them, relocated them to countries where they faced torture or inhuman and degrading treatment.

Mr. Marty says that European governments must have known about this, but he says there is no evidence yet of clandestine secret prisons in Europe where the CIA has held people -- Miles. M. O'BRIEN: What about torture, though? We saw the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, in Europe not too long ago walking through a minefield there. Lots of questions about torture. She denying it but in very calibrated language. What does the report say about that?

OAKLEY: Well the issue completely dominated Condoleezza Rice's trip to Europe last month. And she gave assurances wherever she went, Berlin, Ukraine and NATO headquarters in Brussels, that the U.S. did not condone the use of torture. That U.S. personnel abroad were subject to the same laws over the use of torture as those at home. And she said it simply didn't go on.

But she did defend the whole question of relocation of extraordinary rendition, saying that it took terrorists off the streets and saved lives. So Mr. Marty's findings are on direct contravention of what Condoleezza Rice had to say -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: You say their findings. What sort of evidence is there? How much hard evidence is embodied in this report?

OAKLEY: The kinds of things that Mr. Marty is using are logs of flights from Euro Control and Air Safety Organization and film of airfield sites. He's working on that. He's working on legal reports from people who claim that they were picked up. There are one or two specific cases, like Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen picked up in Macedonia, taken to Afghanistan and then brought back to Europe and released. So he's picking up on those.

And I think the investigation is going to go on across Europe with -- because the foreign ministers were happy to buy Condoleezza Rice's assurances. Maybe they were frightened she'd say too much about their involvement if they didn't accept it -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Interesting point.

Robin Oakley for us in London, thank you very much -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Well Ford says it can get out of the red in just about two years. Thirty thousand people, though, have to lose their jobs first. Seven plants are going to close this year: Windsor, Ontario; Wixom in Michigan; St. Louis, Missouri; Batavia, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia and two more unnamed plants. Every one of these communities is going to suffer.

CNN's Tim Rury gets a measure now of how they are reacting in Atlanta.


TIM RURY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ford Motor Company Chairman Bill Ford laid out his company's plans for the future Monday, a future that excludes up to 30,000 current employees.

BILL FORD, CHMN. & CEO, FORD MOTOR CO.: These cuts are a painful last resort, and I'm deeply mindful of their impact. They are going to affect many lives, many families and many communities. And we'll do everything we reasonably can to ease the burdens.

RURY: In the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville, the Ford plant has contributed to the local economy for about 50 years.

MAYOR ALAN HALLMAN, HAPEVILLE, GEORGIA: The revenue that we generate from the Ford plant in taxes and services comprises just under 10 percent of our annual budget.

RURY: In the St. Louis suburb of Hazlewood, the local United Auto Workers president says negotiations are not over.

KEN DEARING, PRESIDENT, UAW LOCAL 325: Our membership right now can hang their head high knowing that they done a great job for Ford Motor Company. We just would hope that they would do the same by us.

RURY: But Ford says it has to idle 14 factories because though the company turns profits everywhere else in the world, its North American operations lost $1.6 billion last year. Ford's North American chief says the layoffs are a means to an end.

MARK FIELDS, FORD PRES. OF THE AMERICAS: Return profitability in Ford's North American automotive business no later than 2008. That's not a prediction, it's a promise.


S. O'BRIEN: That was Tim Rury reporting for us this morning.

Next hour, two of those workers who have just been laid off are going to tell us how they are handling the news and what their next plans are as well -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Chad Myers is in the Weather Center.

Good morning -- Chad.



M. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Chad.

So what happens to people when they get strapped into a seat on an airline, is there some kind of Jekyll and Hyde transformation? Here's more proof. Continental Airlines, Fort Lauderdale, yesterday, plane taxiing down the runway. A 28-year-old man started screaming and yelling. He ran to the front of the plane, banged on the cockpit door. He even bit a passenger who tried to restrain him. He eventually jumped out of the plane while it was moving.

Now police used a stun gun to subdue him. He should be glad there was not a federal sky marshal onboard. Here's the guy, Troy Rigby. He's facing several charges. We will talk with the bitee in this story, a man just minding his own business, tries to subdue him, gets bitten on an airplane. His story in the 8:00 hour of AMERICAN MORNING. It's crazy on those planes.

S. O'BRIEN: That is so bizarre. Have they said why he wanted to flee the plane?

M. O'BRIEN: This is a question with no answer this morning, but we are working on it.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, we'll see.

Ahead this morning, a day after Ford announced tens of thousands of layoffs, another carmaker, in fact, is planning job cuts. We've got that story straight ahead this morning.

M. O'BRIEN: Also, listen up BlackBerry users, better savor those keystrokes while you have them, because you may be one step closer to losing your coveted device. Think of the -- Soledad is shaking at the thought.

S. O'BRIEN: Never going to happen.

Later, the Saddam Hussein trial on hold yet again. We're going to get more insight on what's really happening from an expert who helped train the judges in the case.

Those stories all ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. We're back after the break.


S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

M. O'BRIEN: Welcome back.

Carol Costello is our boss of headlines.

Morning -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I like that title, boss of the headlines. And I have them right here for you.

Good morning, everyone.

Another delay in the Saddam Hussein trial, the court has been in recess for about a month. The trial was set to start about four hours ago and we're waiting and waiting. Turns out, it's been delayed until Sunday. A number of witnesses simply did not show up. When it does resume, a new chief judge will be on the bench. The original one quit after complaints that he couldn't rein in Saddam's outbursts.

Canadians, move to the right, the conservatives have won Monday's election, which means party leader Stephen Harper is now the new Prime Minister. Harper takes over for liberal party leader Paul Martin, who was ousted after 12 years in power. The move is expected to move Canada even closer to the United State because Harper's agenda is said to be more in tune with President Bush's. After 14 coal mining deaths in three weeks, West Virginia is overhauling its mine safety regulations. State lawmakers have now voted to require mines to use electronic tracking devices for workers. It also wants stockpiles of oxygen supplies for trapped miners. Improved communications and quicker emergency response also part of the legislation.

Samuel Alito takes a step closer to the Supreme Court today. The Republican majority Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve his nomination later this morning. And according to a CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup Poll, the majority of you think the full Senate should confirm Alito. Fifty-four percent say confirm Alito, 30 percent say no. Alito's nomination could be voted on by the full Senate as early as this week.

A new weapon in the battle of the bulge, an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration giving its recommendation to sell a fat- blocking pill over-the-counter. The drug is now available with a prescription under the name Xenical, but it still needs to win FDA approval, and that would be a first. The FDA has never before approved the sale of any weight loss drug without a prescription.

And free at last. Alan Crotzer is released after more than 24- and-a-half years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Members of his family cheered when deputies removed his shackles in a Tampa, Florida courtroom. He had been sentenced to 130 years in 1981 for armed robbery and the rapes of a woman and her daughter. DNA testing cleared him.

And, Chad, he is a free man this morning.

MYERS: And do we know the real assailant yet?

COSTELLO: No, we don't.

MYERS: No, we don't, so there you go. Well, congratulations to him, I think.

Good morning, everybody.


Back to you guys.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Chad, thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Thank you, Chad.

Well, as...

S. O'BRIEN: Our chairs...

M. O'BRIEN: Sorry, our chairs are like collided.

S. O'BRIEN: ... are like stuck together.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: You guys OK over there?

M. O'BRIEN: So sorry.

S. O'BRIEN: We're very close.

SERWER: I know.

M. O'BRIEN: Andy Serwer predicted it all yesterday.

S. O'BRIEN: He did.

SERWER: Well, it was widely anticipated this was happening.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, you can take credit.

SERWER: Well, OK, I will.

M. O'BRIEN: Good. All right. Yes.

SERWER: Thank you.

We're talking about Ford, a major retrenchment announcement yesterday by the giant automaker, will layoff up to 30,000 of it employees over the next six years and close 14 plants in North America. It's all about market share here for this company. Down 25 percent over the past several years. You can see here down to 17 percent. And you can't continue to operate at that rate.

Capacity, I told you about that yesterday, they -- their plants are only working about 75 percent full. And so they are cutting about 25 percent of their capacity, which means they'll be running about even.

Is Ford moving quickly or aggressively enough? Some analysts say no, because it has the oldest lineup of cars of any major automaker.

Shares did go up about 5 percent yesterday, but you can see there is a lot of room to make up here, because over the past five years, the stock is down nearly 70 percent.

Now on deck, DaimlerChrysler, the German-American automaker, today expected to layoff 20 percent of its white collar work force. That will be 5,000 employees globally, mostly at its troubled Mercedes division. Mercedes has been struggling with quality problems and bloated inventory as it competes against BMW and other luxury brands.

S. O'BRIEN: What does Ford do overseas where they are profitable that they don't do here in the United States?

SERWER: Well the real problem here is that they have -- just making too many models that people aren't buying and the cars are older. Whereas overseas there are less cars and they are newer.


SERWER: Yes. This is a leaner business overseas, Soledad. M. O'BRIEN: One, they had those high-end brands, which obviously do well overseas, too, right?

SERWER: That's true.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. All right, thank you -- Andy Serwer.

S. O'BRIEN: Thank you.

SERWER: You're welcome.

M. O'BRIEN: Up early for us.

SERWER: Yes, indeed.

M. O'BRIEN: We appreciate that.

Well the president returned to a more casual format during an appearance in Kansas...

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: Did you see this?

S. O'BRIEN: That's a way to put it. Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: This is good stuff. He took a few questions. These were not vetted or scripted. But with the Q&A comes the Qs that you don't expect. Like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're a rancher. A lot of us here in Kansas are ranchers. I was just wanting to get your opinion on "Brokeback Mountain" if you had seen it yet. You would love it. You should check it out.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I haven't seen it. I'd be glad to talk about ranching, but I haven't seen the movie. I've heard about it. I hope you go, you know, I hope you go back to the ranch and the farms, is what I was about to say. I haven't seen it.




M. O'BRIEN: No, the president has not seen...

SERWER: He was chilling (ph) around that one, wasn't he?

M. O'BRIEN: ... the story of homosexual cowboy love. And we doubt he would admit it if he had, don't you think?

S. O'BRIEN: Maybe he would, who knows?

M. O'BRIEN: No, I don't think so. The movie...

SERWER: He knew about it, though.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, heard about it.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. Yes, I know (ph). Movie is on a roll. "Brokeback" has taken in 42 million since it was released, 42 million, and it's got...

S. O'BRIEN: A lot of Oscar buzz for that movie (ph).

M. O'BRIEN: ... Oscar buzz, Golden Globes, all this stuff.

S. O'BRIEN: That was such a funny press conference.


S. O'BRIEN: You could see him thinking...

SERWER: Right.

S. O'BRIEN: ... about what he...

SERWER: What am I going to say here?

S. O'BRIEN: What should I be saying here?

M. O'BRIEN: You could have a thought bubble pop up. Yes.

SERWER: Right (ph).

S. O'BRIEN: Very funny.

"Morning Coffee" is just ahead this morning.

Carol, what have you got?

COSTELLO: I like the person who shouted out the question, you'd love the movie, Mr. President.


COSTELLO: Hey, if you've got a lead foot, listen up, you may soon get a picture of your own speeding car in the mail, along with a big fat ticket. That's next on "Morning Coffee."


M. O'BRIEN: The Emotions, right?

S. O'BRIEN: I think (ph).

M. O'BRIEN: Is that it?

COSTELLO: I don't know, but it's a nice song.

S. O'BRIEN: Who is this?

M. O'BRIEN: The Emotions, right?

S. O'BRIEN: The Emotions, yes.

M. O'BRIEN: The Emotions. I got that right.

S. O'BRIEN: You rock, Miles, all right.

M. O'BRIEN: On a roll.

S. O'BRIEN: Good morning. What you got in "Morning Coffee?"

COSTELLO: Good morning.

Here's what I got in "Morning Coffee." You've heard of red light cameras, right? Well how about digitally patrolled highways. That is digitally patrolled highways. It's hard to say.

M. O'BRIEN: I don't like it.

COSTELLO: Yes, I don't like it either. In Scottsdale, Arizona, they are catching speeders highway patrolman free. A set of radar controlled cameras are set up along Loop 101 and they take pictures of speeding cars. Supposedly they can tell if you are driving over the speed limit. And if you are, you will get a picture of your speeding car in the mail, along with a warning. But if it works, you'll soon get a fine of at least $157.

S. O'BRIEN: This has legal challenges written all over it, don't you think?

M. O'BRIEN: I should say.

COSTELLO: But the red light cameras work. I mean there were legal challenges to them, but they are up in many cities.

M. O'BRIEN: I'd guess you'd call it the coparazzi, right?

COSTELLO: I like that.

S. O'BRIEN: That was funny. That was a good one, Miles.


M. O'BRIEN: Like that?

COSTELLO: I should have started with that instead of the digitally patrolled highways.

M. O'BRIEN: Coparazzi.

COSTELLO: Well here's a story that illustrates we're not much different than penguins. Really, we're not. You remember Toga, the baby penguin that was stolen from the British Zoo right before Christmas?

S. O'BRIEN: My daughter...

M. O'BRIEN: Where is Toga? Where is Toga?

S. O'BRIEN: They never found Toga.

COSTELLO: Toga is still missing. Yes. Well Toga's parents got really depressed. In fact, they were acting depressed. And as time passed, they decided to do something about it. And guess what...

M. O'BRIEN: They got busy.

COSTELLO: That's right, they got busy. Kyala and Oscar have a brand new egg. In about 40 days, they'll have a little chick to call their own.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

COSTELLO: And for any of you who saw "March of the Penguins," you know that penguins are all about having more kids. And we're guessing that once the new chick is hatched, the zoo will provide a little bit better protection for this one, so happy ending.

S. O'BRIEN: But they still -- I don't know how they really lost Toga in the first place. It was never completely clear how someone grabbed him.


S. O'BRIEN: We got a live report from London on this story. Of course that's where this thing happened.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, and supposedly they can be trained, is that right?

COSTELLO: Trained?

S. O'BRIEN: Penguins?

M. O'BRIEN: Penguins. Yes.

S. O'BRIEN: As pets?

M. O'BRIEN: I don't -- that's -- I heard a rumor to that effect.

S. O'BRIEN: I have no idea, Miles.

COSTELLO: I don't know. We don't know. I know, because it was...

S. O'BRIEN: I'm light on my penguin knowledge, I'm sorry.

COSTELLO: No, it was rumored that someone stole the little baby penguin for a Christmas present for their kids, so that's where that's coming from. M. O'BRIEN: OK.

COSTELLO: But I don't know if you can train penguins.

M. O'BRIEN: To the heel (ph).

COSTELLO: Because, actually I went inside of a penguin tank at Sea World once, and I went down to pet...

M. O'BRIEN: And they stink, right?

COSTELLO: No, they bit me. The penguin bit me.

M. O'BRIEN: Really? Wow!

S. O'BRIEN: Penguins are amazing.

COSTELLO: I still have a scar.

S. O'BRIEN: Really, can I see?

COSTELLO: No, I'm just kidding.

S. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Carol.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. This morning's top stories are straight ahead, including some really bad news for millions of crackberry (ph) addicts. They're really in BlackBerrys, but you know what you call them. You're another step closer to losing your e-mail on the BlackBerrys. We'll tell you why ahead.


S. O'BRIEN: Another delay to tell you about in the increasingly unpredictable Saddam Hussein trial. Can a new judge, not this judge, but a new one, get the trial back on track?


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines