Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Nearly 200 Killed in India Train Blasts; Life Inside North Korea; Changes at Guantanamo

Aired July 11, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you all for being with us tonight.
We go in-depth on the top stories of the day, starting with the CNN "Security Watch" right now and a new terrifying example of just how vulnerable we all are.

The city of Mumbai, India, is still reeling at this hour, after at least seven explosions aboard commuter trains. Police tell CNN that 174 people are dead and nearly 400 people are wounded.

The explosions happened within an 11-minute span during Tuesday evening's rush hour. Some of the trains were in stations. Others were moving. As survivors received first aid, they told of people feeling -- or fleeing, that is, in panic, of blood-splattered debris, and of body parts lying on the ground.

Mumbai is India's financial center. The city was once known as Bombay. So far, there has been no claim of responsibility. But the repercussions are being felt all over the world. New York police now have stepped up security at subway and train stations, and more people than usual are being stopped for random bag searches.

It's just a shade past 5:30 in the morning in India. Rescuers and hospitals have been busy all night long.

Our "Top Story" coverage begins with Seth Doane in Mumbai.

Seth, what's the very latest on the search for bodies at this hour?

SETH DOANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, the story has really moved here to the hospitals. We're near one hospital where victims were taken throughout the evening.

There are still family members and friends searching for answers, a long list of names of people admitted to this hospital. And I have seen some very sad scenes of -- of family members coming out sobbing and crying.

ZAHN: It is...

DOANE: Paula.

ZAHN: ... absolutely horrific to see the video. And, believe me, we're not showing the most graphic video, because it is just -- it -- it will make you sick. But do they expect the death toll to climb?

DOANE: It is still early yet.

There are people, I'm told, in the hospital I'm next to, by officials telling me that there are people in very critical condition still here, so -- and always the death toll -- toll, unfortunately, could rise. But we are still being told 174 people here in Mumbai have -- have died after this -- these attacks -- Paula.

ZAHN: Terrible, terrible thing.

We mentioned, Seth, at the top of this report there has been no claim of responsibility yet for this attack. But do officials suspect that these might be coordinated attacks?

DOANE: Well, I will tell you, there is a lot of speculation on the ground here.

People look at July 11, 7/11. They look at 11 minutes. There is a lot of speculation when you just talk with people, even standing in front of this hospital. But the officials have been very careful here in India. There have been no -- no -- no groups have taken responsibility for these attacks.

And the government here has been very careful not to put any blame anywhere -- Paula.

ZAHN: All right, Seth Doane, we really appreciate that late update. And we will come back to you as events warrant. Again, thank you very much.

Now, according to the FBI, the scenes we just saw in India could have played out right here in New York some time in maybe a few months. The agents say a man arrested in Lebanon earlier this year was the ringleader of a plot to bomb commuter train tunnels between Manhattan and New Jersey.

Now, as we continue our "Security Watch" "Top Story" tonight, investigative correspondent Drew Griffin uncovers some frightening new details about who that man is and how he managed to fool just about everyone.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If the FBI is right, 31-year-old Assem Hammoud was so sneaky, he even fooled his own mother.

"My son doesn't belong to anyone," his mother says. "He's well- educated. He can speak many languages. He's still studying and preparing for exams. I'm sure he doesn't belong to anyone. No way," she says, "no way."

But the FBI says this professor of computer studies at Lebanese International University did belong to al Qaeda, swore his allegiance to the terrorist group, and say Hammoud was plotting to detonate bombs in commuter tunnels in New York, when he was arrested in Lebanon in April.

MARK MERSHON, FBI NEW YORK ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: They were about to go to a -- a phase where they would attempt to surveil targets, establish a regimen of -- of attack, and -- and acquire the -- the resources necessary to effectuate the attacks.

GRIFFIN: Authorities say that, to mask his identity as a religious zealot who was willing to murder innocent people for Islam, Hammoud lived like a heathen, a playboy.

AL'A OBEID, LEBANESE PHARMACY STUDENT: He was -- he looked cool before. He has a nice car. He -- he go out with girls, and he drink. And...

GRIFFIN: Students at the school he taught say the professor dressed stylishly. His mother showed photos of her son with a girlfriend on a beach in Western clothing. Hammoud drove this sports car to Beirut hot spots. Neighbors never suspected anything.

RAGHEB SALAHEDDINE, NEIGHBOR: Really, I was surprised for this. We don't have -- to my knowledge, we don't have al Qaeda people here.

GRIFFIN: Lebanese security officials say Hammoud confessed he was ordered to live the playboy life. Interior Minister Ahmed Fatfat says Hammoud's girlfriends in and out of Lebanon were all part of his disguise.

AHMED FATFAT, LEBANESE INTERIOR MINISTER: We asked him how -- how he can explain this -- this kind of life and what he was preparing as something -- maybe something fanatic. And he said that he has taken fatwa, what -- what means a religious decision authorized him to do that.

GRIFFIN: Former FBI Assistant Director and terror expert Pat D'Amuro says it all fits into the training of al Qaeda.

PAT D'AMURO, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: We know, in this particular case, the professor was told to get a -- to get a girlfriend, to start drinking, to be carousing, so that he would not be taken as an extremist and a zealot.

GRIFFIN: D'Amuro says, some of the 9/11 hijackers went to Las Vegas as part of their cover. Other terrorists frequented strip bars, anything to throw off suspicion.

D'AMURO: It makes it more difficult for intelligence services, for law enforcement authorities to identify these individuals.

GRIFFIN: According to Lebanon's general security spokesman, the FBI began investigating Hammoud a year ago, when talk of a tunnel attack popped up in Internet chat rooms and e-mails.

Lebanon's foreign minister said they found detailed maps and other evidence of terrorism on Hammoud's computer. The FBI says Hammoud's plan was to cross into the United States through Canada. He had lived there for several years while studying at Concordia University in Montreal. He's known to have made one trip to the United States, but D'Amuro says that was to the West Coast and before he converted to radical Islam.

According to the FBI, as many as eight men were involved in the planned attack on New York. Only three have been arrested. The FBI insists this plot was real and moving forward.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We don't wait until someone has lit the fuse to step in and prevent something from happening. That would be playing games with people's lives.

GRIFFIN: Hammoud is being held in Lebanon, where authorities say he will face charges. And investigators are now searching for others who may have been involved. But they, too, like Assem Hammoud, may be hiding in plain sight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, sometimes, appearances might really trick you.

GRIFFIN: Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


ZAHN: If the FBI is right about this guy's plans to cross into the U.S. from Canada, it raises more concern than ever about security along our northern border.

Our "Top Story" coverage continues with a panel of security specialists, Beryl Wajsman of the Institute For Public Affairs of Montreal, plus CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, and Steve Emerson, the author "American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us."

Welcome. Glad to have all three of you as part of our team tonight.

Steve, I'm going to get started with you.

We just heard in the piece that preceded this how much this guy defied the typical profile of a jihad terrorist. So, how much further does this blow apart the assumptions that the intelligence community has to make about who terrorists are?

STEVE EMERSON, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN JIHAD: THE TERRORISTS LIVING AMONG US": Well, it certainly, as you pointed out, defies the stereotype.

But, still, the basic outline of who terrorists mingle with and how they operate still revolves around a religious type of behavior that they could critique and has a commonality with other terrorists.

The -- he clearly did not show that behavior. But he is the exception to the rule, Paula.

ZAHN: And, Peter, how do you reconcile being a jihadist member living the way this guy lived, the lifestyle of a playboy, with women in a bunch of different cities, a lot of drinking, a lot of carousing? PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, we have seen this -- actually, we have seen this story before. One of the leader hijackers in 9/11, Ziad Jarrah, was an upper-middle-class Lebanese who had a girlfriend. He was drinking. He was socializing with Americans when he was in this country, before he did -- piloted one of the planes on 9/11.

Also, the operational commander of 9/11, a guy by the name of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, was carousing in the Philippines, had sort of a -- a Filipino girlfriend.

So, you know, while it is unusual, it certainly isn't something that hasn't actually -- we have -- we have seen this occasionally before, this kind of thing. Whether it's not -- you know, maybe it's -- sometimes it's cover. But, also, sometimes, maybe, you know, people just want to have it both ways, you know, to enjoy these things at the same time that they're plotting these terrorist attacks.

ZAHN: Beryl, we recently learned that Hammoud actually went to college in Canada. So, how concerned should Americans watching this show tonight be about what an easy entry point, it seems, that Canada is for al Qaeda?

BERYL WAJSMAN, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS OF MONTREAL: You have hit the -- the -- the major point. The -- Americans have to be less concerned today, under the Harper administration, because they're addressing three important points.

Immigration is lax, horribly lax. And that bothers the vast majority of Arab Muslims living in Canada, who are law-abiding and contribute a lot to this country. We take in 300,000 immigrants and refugees a year, three times that of Australia. And we have a three- year backlog before their cases are heard.

This government is addressing the problem. They're also addressing two other problems, the lack of field intelligence. CSIS agents simply don't have enough people on the ground to gather intelligence, though what -- with what they have done, they have done well, and they have stopped a lot of other plots and aborted a lot of operations.

The third issue that's going to be addressed by this administration that was failed to be addressed for 10 years are our port situation. Much attention is always given in the United States and in Canada to airports, to subways. And, yet, none is given to ports, where only one of 100 cargo containers are ever checked. And since the federal government in Canada stopped funding port police, that's not going to get better any time soon.

ZAHN: Yes. None of that, Beryl, too reassuring, as we wait for any of those changes to really have impact.

Steve, we recently saw the FBI make those arrests in Miami, with the conjunction on -- of a plot apparently to bomb the Sears Tower. And now we see the arrest of this man, in conjunction with his co- conspirators. But there doesn't seem to be any proof that they were actually ready to carry out this attack. Do you think the feds jumped the gun here?


I think they couldn't afford to wait until they took action. And they had to jump -- if they tried to play it out, they would be playing with people's lives. Look, before 9/11, if people thought that four terrorist commanders with 15 supporters could take over airplanes and plow into buildings and take them down, people would have thought they were crazy.

So, I think you have to take them down, arrest them before they conspire -- the conspiracy actually materializes.

WAJSMAN: Paula, this -- this...

ZAHN: Peter, you get the final word tonight.

WAJSMAN: This...

ZAHN: Yes. Carry on.

WAJSMAN: This point of Steve's is very, very important because, as all of you have heard, there was the arrest of 17 young men in -- in Toronto.

ZAHN: Sure.

WAJSMAN: And there was a great debate whether they were really plotting, whether they weren't. Well, they were.

And Canadian security authorities for 13 months worked with their family. They went to them to tell them what they were doing. And the families and the communities had no influence on them.

ZAHN: All right.

WAJSMAN: And they had to arrest them before they did anything.

ZAHN: Peter, you get the final word -- you have got 10 seconds left -- just about what the deal is with al Qaeda and trains.

BERGEN: You know, they tend to attack the same kinds of targets. You know, they tend to go back to things that have worked in the past.

ZAHN: All right. You did that in less than 10 seconds. You get a big gold star, Peter Bergen.

Steve Emerson, Beryl Wajsman, glad to have all three of you with us tonight.

WAJSMAN: Thank you, Paula.


ZAHN: ... great "Top Story" panel tonight. Now we move on to our countdown of the top 10 most popular stories on -- more than 22 million of you went to our Web site today.

At number 10 -- the defense rests in the Andrea Yates murder retrial. Yates' best friend testified today and told the jury that the woman who drowned her five children misses them.

Number nine -- the White House now says detainees at Guantanamo Bay will get some protections under the Geneva Conventions. Before, you might remember, the government had said they were not prisoners of war and not entitled to any protection. We will have more on that coming up in this show.

But, first, numbers eight and seven are also straight ahead.

Plus, out of all the blood spilled in Iraq, could two horrific events possibly be connected?


ZAHN (voice-over): "Top Story," Iraq and a nation on the brink of civil war. A brutal video shows two mutilated American soldiers. Was it revenge for an alleged American atrocity?

And our "Top Story" -- escape from North Korea, primitive lives, incredible deprivation in a nation enslaved by a supreme dictator. For the first time, two escapees reveal what life is really like inside the secret state -- all that and more just ahead.



ZAHN: Tonight's "Top Story": Chicago is just breaking at this hour. Smoke has shut down a section of the city's subway system after one train apparently derailed. Apparently, the last set of wheels on an eight-car train left the tracks. Dozens of passengers are being brought out of an emergency exit right now at a downtown station.

And that's exactly where we find Jonathan Freed live at the scene.

Jonathan, what's the very latest from there?


This happened approximately two hours ago, just after 5:00 p.m. Central time here. And I will situate you. We are right in downtown Chicago, about a block in from the river. And it happened about a block down there. The train was between the Western and Washington stations, Paula, when, officials tell us, that it derailed, and then there was a fire.

And they say that -- that, at this point, Paula, there is no indication that this was anything other than a derailment and a fire. It happened in the last car of an eight-car train. And officials tell us that 76 passengers so far have been treated and transported to hospitals around here and that most of the injuries are not serious -- Paula.

ZAHN: And when you say they're not serious, we're still talking about something that could be problematic for these folks. A lot of pretty serious smoke inhalation?

FREED: We have seen people covered in soot. And I was talking to people about an hour after it happened, and they were still coughing.

And this one gentleman said that it took only seconds, Paula, for the car to fill up with smoke. And he said he was terrified. I asked him what happened. He said he saw an electrical flash. And then I said, well, what color was the smoke? And he said, well, it started out white, then moved to gray, then moved to black, and then just very quickly filled up the car.

And nobody really knew exactly what was happening, but they were evacuated, and they knew that they had to get out of there. And he said that they moved about 300 feet through the tunnel, until they could find a spiral staircase, an emergency exit, and they come up above ground. And that would be, again, about a block right down there -- Paula.

ZAHN: Very quick answer to this now,. Because of what happened in India today, we're all really terrified about what can happen on trains. Have they ruled out foul play here?

FREED: So far, the head of the CTA, the Chicago Transit Authority, is saying that there's no indication at this point that this is anything other than a derailment and a fire, although some of the people that I spoke to were aware of what was going on in India in the news today, and they were a little more nervous because of that.

ZAHN: Yes.

FREED: Paula.

ZAHN: That's pretty easy to understand, given the gruesome scene we saw out of India today.

Jonathan Freed, thanks so much. Appreciate the update.

And we will continue to follow this breaking story and bring you the very latest information as soon as we get it.

Tonight's "Top Story" in the war on terror: the way hundreds of alleged terrorists are being treated. Coming up next: What exactly is changing at the Guantanamo Bay prison, and will it satisfy the world's critics?

And today's "Top Story" in health: Why could lighting up a cigarette be even more dangerous for women than for men? Brand-new study out about that. Before that, number eight in our countdown: Liz Taylor speaks out about her weight in an interview with "Harper's Bazaar" magazine. Taylor said she wishes she could be the same size as some of Hollywood's super-thin actresses, but she adds she's not willing to give up eating.

Number seven -- NASA says that the latest mission for the shuttle Discovery has had the fewest in-flight problems in the program's 25- year history. Tomorrow morning, crew members will take another space walk to do further tests on the shuttle's heat shields -- numbers six and five straight ahead.


ZAHN: Another "Top Story" we're following tonight: the North Korean crisis. Coming up: Beyond the missiles and military parades, what's life really like inside North Korea? An exclusive look from folks who have just come from there.

First, the "Top Story" tonight in Iraq: Three bombs just outside the Green Zone kill as many as 16 people. Reports indicate two people wearing suicide vests blew themselves up right after a homemade bomb went off. Those blasts happened shortly after gunmen stormed a bus taking a coffin and mourners to a funeral. All 10 people on that bus were killed.

Also today, we're seeing the consequences of reports of atrocities by American forces in the form of an insurgent individual videotape that shows the brutal treatment of two Americans who were captured and later killed.

Here's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): This al Qaeda banner and a few brief images is all we can show. Most of the rest is too gruesome.

It reads, "This video is issued and presented as a revenge for our sister, who was dishonored by one of the soldiers of the same brigade that these two soldiers belonged."

What we can't show you is how the tape goes on to explicitly show the two U.S. soldiers, the disemboweled and beheaded body of Private 1st Class Thomas Tucker, from Madras, Oregon, and the heavily mutilated body of Private 1st Class Kristian Menchaca, from Houston, Texas, both of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne, who were abducted by insurgents after a gunfight at their checkpoint in Yusufiyah, just south of Baghdad, on June 16.

Several days later, another soldier from the 502nd told commanders about what allegedly happened at this house in nearby Mahmoudiya, the rape and murder of Abeer al-Janabi, a young Iraqi woman, and the murder of her family. The U.S. military has now charged six soldiers from the 502nd for involvement in the case. But the news of the alleged rape by the U.S. soldiers didn't come out until nearly two weeks after the abduction of Menchaca and Tucker. And U.S. military commanders dispute al Qaeda's claim of vengeance.

MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. ARMY SPOKESMAN, COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ: There is nothing at all that we can find that shows there's any correlation whatsoever between the two events.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Having watched the gruesome video, it is impossible to say whether insurgents did have prior knowledge of Janabi's alleged rape and murder, because that's the only way their claim would stand up that they targeted Menchaca and Tucker because of their unit.

The other detail in the video that raises questions is its quality. The video is poorly shot and shaky, very unlike the last al Qaeda production focusing on their former leader, Abu Musab al- Zarqawi, that was polished and professionally shot.

(voice over): The five-minute video also re-released part of Osama bin Laden's last message to continue attacking U.S. troops. Whether an opportunistic capitalization on events or deliberate revenge, the video reveals the very brutal way the two U.S. soldiers died in Iraq.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.


ZAHN: And it is certainly clear tonight that the war in Iraq has reached a new phase. And it is dangerously close to a religious civil war.

Here's senior national correspondent John Roberts.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First, it was attacks by foreign terrorists like Zarqawi. Then, it was the menace from Sunni insurgents. But the greatest threat to Iraq's stability has evolved yet again. It's now one religious group against another, said the U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

ZALMAY KHALILZAD, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Violent sectarianism now -- is now the main challenge. This sectarianism is the source of frequent tragedies on the streets of Baghdad.

ROBERTS: In just the past few days alone, scores of Iraqis have died in brutal attacks in Baghdad. Shiite militias target innocent Sunni civilians. Sunni militias stage revenge attacks. Khalilzad says it's crucial for the Iraqi government to get a handle on the violence in the next six months.

But Senator Joe Biden, just returned from Iraq, sees no hope of that.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: But you have got to do something about these militia. And, so far, I see no -- no real strategy.

ROBERTS: And it's not just the plan to deal with militias and sectarian violence drawing fire. In Congress today, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office delivered a sharp rebuke to the White House, concluding that, while its 2005 national strategy for victory in Iraq is an improvement over the original postwar plan, it still lacks all "the key characteristics of an effective national strategy."

The GAO was particularly critical about the price tag of the war in Iraq, stating, "The strategy neither identifies the current and future costs of U.S. involvement in Iraq."

That cost, by the way, through 2007, is $374 billion, including some funding for Afghanistan. It all made an incendiary election-year issue even hotter.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: And we're here talking about a national strategy for victory in Iraq? Who are we kidding? Come on. Get real. Wake up, America. This administration has lied to the people. And they're selling this lie all over. And they're selling it here again to this committee? Balderdash.

ROBERTS: Some Republicans thought the report far too negative, even suggested GAO Chief David Walker, a Clinton-era appointee, might have had an agenda.

REP. DAN BURTON (R), INDIANA: Nominated by President Clinton.


BURTON: OK. Well, I hope this is not...

WALKER: I'm also a Reagan and Bush 41 presidential appointee.

BURTON: Well, I hope -- I hope this is not an indication of a -- of a political vendetta.

WALKER: Absolutely not, Mr. Burton.

BURTON: OK. Thank you.

WALKER: I straight...

BURTON: Thank you.

WALKER: I call it as I see it.

ROBERTS: The White House insists it is making progress in Iraq, in its daily Iraq message claiming, "The president's strategy for Iraq is working."

That talking point found its voice with House Republicans. Chris Shays is a frequent visitor to Iraq.

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: After digging ourselves into a deep hole during the first year, we have made significant progress.

ROBERTS (on camera): But Iraq appears to be standing on yet another knife edge. Ambassador Khalilzad suggested that the only thing standing between Iraqis and full-blown civil war is U.S. troops, and that, if the U.S. were to pull out, the entire region could come completely unglued.

John Roberts, CNN, Washington.


ZAHN: And there's this. The GAO also criticized the U.S. strategy for fighting corruption in Iraq, especially in the oil industry.

The report says, 10 percent of fuel produced in Iraq actually makes its way back to the black market, and 30 percent of imported fuel is smuggled out of Iraq and ultimately sold for profit.

Another top story that we're watching is going on inside North Korea. Coming up, an exclusive look at its people's day-to-day existence. We're going to hear from some refugees who have seen things that you're not going to believe and you certainly, when you hear them talk, can't believe they ever survived what they've been through.

First number six in our countdown. Police in Fresno, California, arrest two college football players for allegedly raping an 11-year-old girl. Investigators say it happened when the girl was visiting a friend's apartment complex this weekend. They say more arrests are expected.

Number five, country singer Leann Rimes is recovering in a Los Angeles hospital tonight after undergoing leg surgery. She suffered a tear in her leg that became seriously infected. The operation forced her to cancel three concerts this week. She's going to be OK in the end. Hope so at least. Number four when we come back.


ZAHN: Coming up in this half hour, today's top story in health. Why do women smokers have new reason for alarm?

Then at the top of the hour, "LARRY KING LIVE," the Jessica Lunsford murder case. The convicted sex offender is accused of burying her alive and his trial is now underway.

The other top story we've been following for you is the worldwide concern over the North Korean missile crisis. The United Nations Security Council has delayed until tomorrow a vote on sanctions against North Korea for test firing seven missiles last week. The delay gives China more time to try to persuade North Korea to resume negotiations. It also gives the U.S. more time to try to persuade China and Russia to vote in favor of sanctions.

Well, tonight we have an exclusive. A remarkable window in the life of North Korea where millions of people may be starving and any dissent is ruthlessly put down. It comes from refugees who managed to escape and are now in the U.S. Their stories are simply astonishing. Here's Jason Carroll with more.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They hide their faces for fear their families back in North Korea will be imprisoned or worse if their identities are revealed. These four set foot on American soil just two months ago. They are among a handful of the first North Korean refugees officially recognized by the U.S. state department. One refugee, a soldier with the North Korean army, fled the country with his little sister.

Another, a schoolteacher. And the fourth, a factory worker. For the first time on television, they've agreed to tell us stories of life in their isolated homeland. One of torture, starvation and hopelessness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): In other countries, criminals are people who commit murder, people who steal. But in North Korea, the criminals are people who are hungry and left the country or people who sought freedom and left the country.

CARROLL: Joe is 31. Like these other refugees, at one point he escaped North Korea into China, but was caught, repatriated and tortured in a place in the north he calls the prison of nightmares.

JOE, NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE (through translator): There is a stick that thick and that large. And they will place that between your calves and your thighs and make you kneel down that way. They will bind with rope your legs together. After that, I couldn't walk for two days because my legs were so numb and I thought I was paralyzed.

CARROLL: Joe says his cell was too small to stand, forced to sit perfectly still, guards beat him if he dared move.

JOE: Because I was forced to sit for such long periods, the skin on my buttocks would rot. It festered and bled and maggots would attach themselves to the broken skin.

CARROLL: Joe's sister is 20, Chan-Mi (ph). She says many in her family risk leaving rather than face starvation.

CHAN-MI, NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE (through translator): I would go to the mountain and strip the bark off trees and boil that and eat it.

CARROLL: Naomi, who is 33, says her family ate grass.

NAOMI, NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE (through translator): We would collect dried grass from the mountains and put it in the bathtub to wet it again and we would make a powder out of that and make noodles out of it. CARROLL: Food was so scarce, Joe said some in his village, including himself, resorted to eating human remains.

JOE: They would make, it's called sun dae (ph), it's a Korean food, it's like a sausage filled with noodles. They would make that with human intestines and I actually bought that and ate that.

CARROLL: For women, life can be especially harsh. All three we talked to say at one point they were sold into sexual slavery.

HANNAH, NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE (through translator): I felt like I was in hell.

CARROLL: Hannah, who is 36, says she was kidnapped, sold to a Chinese man and was forced to leave her daughter behind. She says her most joyous, yet at the same time heartbreaking moment, was when she learned the United States had accepted her as a refugee. But U.S. officials were unable to help her get her daughter, now 14, and still living in North Korea.

(on camera): You must miss her very, very much.

HANNAH: Every time I sit down to eat, my heart breaks. I feel like I'm sinning. My daughter is suffering back home and she has no mother and I'm here living so comfortably.

CARROLL (voice-over): They all feel guilty for having to leave loved ones behind. They also feel hatred toward their former leader Kim Jong-il.

HANNAH (through translator): If he would have taken the money he used to build one missile and given it to his people, they would have so much to eat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Even if I just think of Kim Jong-Il, I want to carry a bomb and ignite it when I'm near him.

CARROLL: Before arriving in the United States, their only knowledge of the outside world came from North Korean government TV.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Whenever they picture America, they picture Americans preparing for war. And there's also a television program that essentially just says bad things about Americans.

CARROLL: Do you remember what the program was called?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The rotten and diseased capitalist world.

CARROLL: They're adjusting to living in the United States. It's hard for them to believe they're in a country where people of different cultures and ways of life live freely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Now that we are here and we see America, we see that it is a country that focuses on the person and that allows for human rights.

CARROLL: But they still worry for their families back home, living in a forsaken world filled with fear.


ZAHN: Jason I guess what amazes me, when you hear them painfully recount their stories, in spite of everything they've been through, it doesn't appear as though their spirits have been broken.

CARROLL: They're not broken, but there's definitely a sense of guilt that they all feel. That was the overwhelming sense I got from them. And the other thing that struck me was just how inquisitive they were about everything.

You know, we did the interviews here. And so as they walk through, you know how we have pictures of Hurricane Katrina coverage, you know, they were looking at that, what's that? I was trying to explain what Hurricane Katrina was. They had no idea. We were looking at cell phones. They were asking about that. They called them hand phones because they were unfamiliar with what cell phones were.

ZAHN: Sure, they've been so isolated so long.

CARROLL: Completely isolated.

ZAHN: So who's taking care of them now that they're here?

CARROLL: Well the Korean-American community has really embraced them. So they are staying with people connected to that community. But there's a long road ahead for them. Culturally there's a lot to get used to. They have to learn the language as well.

But they definitely feel grateful for being here, but I think you really got the sense of the guilt that they feel for being here as well, knowing that their loved ones are still back in North Korea.

ZAHN: And it's horrible what those loved ones could continue to be going through. Jason Carroll, thanks for bringing that to us. You've worked a long shift today, appreciate those long hours, thanks.

Tonight's top story in health is setting off alarms for cigarette smokers. What does a new study say about women who light up? Will it be enough to make someone you know out there kick the habit? Stay tuned.

And then at the top of the hour on "LARRY KING LIVE," the Jessica Lunsford murder case. Does the prosecution have enough evidence even without the defendant's confession?

Onto No. 4 in our countdown. Syd Barrett, one of the co- founders of Pink Floyd, has died in England. No cause of death has been revealed just yet. Barrett started in the band in 1965 along with Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Richard Wright, but he left just three years later. He was 60-years-old. No. 3 in our countdown is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Right now we move on to some of the top stories all over the country. First an update on the one story we covered just a few minutes ago. At least 76 people are being treated for smoke inhalation after a fire and derailment on the Chicago transit blue line. That's the line that runs north that connects downtown with O'Hare Airport. And witnesses say the train screeched to a halt and filled with thick, black smoke. Any kind of foul play is being ruled out at this hour.

Wildfire in Southern California's Yucca Valley just east of Hollywood flared up again, forcing mandatory evacuations tonight. More than 1,000 acres so far have burned.

Police in Phoenix are asking the public for help in a series of shootings that have the city on edge. They think there may be a link between 13 random shootings since May and dozens of unsolved shootings that go way back, more than a year ago. Four people have died, 18 have been wounded.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up -- well he's not really coming up in just a few minutes because he is right here with us in person on our set. You actually traveled the 200 yards. You made history tonight. This is the first time you've come over to my set. Thank you. I'll forever be grateful.

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: That's right, it's nice to be here, Paula. I hope you feel better.

ZAHN: Yes, people don't know what kind of germs I'm carrying around tonight. It's just...

KING:: ... She's operating under not the best of circumstance in the true tradition of show business.

ZAHN: Thank you.

KING: The show must go on.

ZAHN: Like you did yesterday when you were reporting spot news when that building blew up here in New York. So who are you talking to tonight?

KING: Remember the Jessica Lunsford case, the young 9-year-old who was murdered and raped and they caught a guy and the guy apparently confessed and was about to go to trial and the judge threw out the confession because the guy had asked the police to be represented by a lawyer and that of course is a no-no. Once you ask for a lawyer, you should be immediately assigned a lawyer.

ZAHN: Right, and he asked a bunch of times in 46 seconds.

KING: And they didn't. So I don't think the judge had any other course -- so we have a whole panel discussion on it. Defense lawyers, prosecutors, people involved, representatives of the father's family. Should be -- and quite a debate. There will be a debate over it I'm sure.

ZAHN: Of course and you and I of course have talked with family members since this terrible murder. It has to be one of the most brutal murders.

KING: It's the hardest shows to do with families of people who -- I couldn't fathom losing a child and losing a child brutally is beyond belief.

ZAHN: None of us can. We'll be watching for your excellent panel tonight.

KING: Thank you, I will be there!

ZAHN: And you are -- we are very happy to have you in town.

KING: Thank you and you get better.

ZAHN: Thank you, appreciate that.

KING: And oh, tomorrow night, Dan Rather, your old friend.

ZAHN: Oh, please. Give him -- well I'll come say hi to you when you're taping the show.

KING: No, we'll be in Los Angeles.

ZAHN: Oh, you will?

KING: I'm flying out tomorrow and he's there already. He has got a new job.

ZAHN: OK, I'll wave to you guys.

KING: He's got a new job.

ZAHN: I wish him well. Good for him, landed something, I think it's going to keep him stimulated. Thanks Larry, see you in about 11 minutes from now.

We're going to move on to the top story in health right now. It is especially bad news for women who smoke. What is the warning in a brand new study? Stay with us.

No. 3 in our countdown in Illinois, an 18-year-old has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for killing and dismembering a school mate. Cory Gregory had already pleaded guilty and prosecutors say he and a former girlfriend carried out that crime in January of 2005.

No. 2 on our list when we come back.


ZAHN: Now today's top story in health begins with video that stopped a lot of us in our tracks when we saw it for the first time. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was 39 when I got throat cancer from smoking cigarettes. I almost died. Now there is a permanent hole in my throat.


ZAHN: That unforgettable and painful anti-smoking ad with a male smoker.

But tonight, there are some startling new findings about women and smoking. They're just out in the latest issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association." Among the most alarming is this, that female smokers could have twice the risk of contracting lung cancer compared to male smokers.

So what exactly does this alarming new finding mean if you're a woman who smokes or if you know one who does? Joining me for tonight's "Vital Signs," women's health advocate, Dr. Donnica Moore, Jamie Krauss, a New York P.R. executive in her twenties who is proud to say she recently kicked a 10-year cigarette habit.

Let's get started though with CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen in Atlanta, part of our top story trio here tonight. So Elizabeth, what else does the study say that we need to know?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well the study had two interesting findings and they're really quite stunning. Basically what it amounts to is that tobacco may be even more poisonous for women than it is for men.

As you said, the study showed that women may be nearly twice as likely -- women smokers may be nearly twice as likely to get lung cancer compared to men, but they're also twice as likely to survive it. Now we'll get to why that is a little bit later. But what's really interesting about this is experts said, oh, my goodness, cigarette companies have done a great job of marketing to women.

So today more teenage girls start smoking than boys and 13 percent of pregnant women smoke. And so you have to wonder, why aren't they hearing the anti-smoking messages? Maybe it's because too many of them, like the one we saw earlier, are aimed at men. Now getting back to those findings, why women biologically might differently to tobacco or why they might survive lung cancer better, that's not entirely clear.

ZAHN: Well and that's probably one of the more troubling things about the study. The other -- I think scary thing is the fact that only one in 10 women even bother to ask their doctors about lung cancer and there's simply a lot we don't know, period. So what do you want women out there to know and the men who love them?

DONNICA MOORE, WOMEN'S HEALTH ADVOCATE: The No. 1 thing we do know about women and men and smoking is that if you don't smoke, don't ever start. If you do smoke, stop. Then, if you have smoked, like Jamie, for 10 years, ask your doctor if you should have a CAT scan to screen for early lung cancer.

That was the striking thing of this finding is that the people in this study, the 17,000 people in this study had absolutely no symptoms, no cough, no blood, no difficulty breathing. And two percent of the women, two out of 100 women had lung cancer that they didn't know about.

ZAHN: That is really, really scary. As someone who has smoked over a decade, does this make you nervous?

JAMIE KRAUSS, JAMIE KRAUSS COMMUNICATIONS: It makes me nervous. But what makes me hopeful is that I found out that since I quit now, I have the possibility to totally reverse any damage I've done. And better late than never.

I understand that in my teens, I had a feeling of invincibility and peer pressure, media, whatever it was, rebellion, you know, I smoked. And like many other young women, I just picked up a cigarette not thinking about the future.

ZAHN: All right. But you weren't like any other young woman because your mother happened to be Joan Lunden, who was a staple on morning television for a long, long time, who happened to be a women's health advocate. So she has preached to all of us that we never should start smoking and you still did.

KRAUSS: Absolutely, that is true.

MOORE: And not only was she a women's health advocate, but she was a big advocate about allergies and smoking not only causes lung cancer, but it exacerbates allergies, asthma and numerous other problems.

ZAHN: Elizabeth, jump in. I knew you had a point you wanted to make.

COHEN: Women often just don't get it, Paula. They don't get that lung cancer can happen to them. Unfortunately they still think of the Marlboro man. They think that they're not going to get lung cancer.

In the survey, when women were asked what's the cancer that's most likely to kill you, 80 percent of them got it wrong. They said breast cancer, when in fact more women die of lung cancer. They don't always think of it.

Unfortunately, doctors don't think of it too. I interviewed a woman who had lung cancer, but when she showed up at the doctor coughing and having symptoms, they said that she had the flu and was depressed and gave her antidepressants.

ZAHN: But that unfortunately is so true of many of the problems we go into the doctor and we're all imagining it. We're just going to show 10 seconds worth of these images that seem to have so much impact on young women. So many of our stars smoking, six words of advice to women, out there, seven or eight.

KRAUSS: You know, I think that when we're in our 20s, we have to take responsibility. You know, I realize I'm too old now to use an excuse. I have to take responsibility for my health. You know, it's time for me to take action and that's what I did. I used the patch. I decided to quit. I did it responsibly with the support of my family and made the commitment and I did it.

MOORE: And she's a great role model.

ZAHN: Yes, she is. Maybe we'll all grow up like you did. Doctor, thanks. Elizabeth, thanks. And congratulations on your victory.

KRAUSS: Thank you very much.

ZAHN: Nice to have all three of you with us tonight.

Now we're going to move on to the top stories affecting your money. We're going to take a quick biz break.


ZAHN: Here's today's "Crude Awakenings," our daily look at pump prices all over the country. The states with the today's highest gas prices are in red, the lowest in green. The average today for unleaded regular up to $2.96 per gallon. That's the same as yesterday. As the surge in prices appears to be leveling off, we had a little bit of peak over the Fourth of July holiday there.

In just a few minutes on "LARRY KING LIVE," the Jessica Lunsford murder case. What will happen to the man accused of kidnapping her and burying her alive and leaving her to die?

Onto No. 2 in our countdown. Twelve tons of falling concrete kill a woman passenger in a car traveling through a tunnel in Boston. That tunnel was part of a multibillion dollar highway project that was criticized for cost overruns and construction problems. The state's attorney general says he may file negligent homicide charges.

Top story at and around the world coming up. We'll give you an update next.


ZAHN: top story, the deadly bombings in India. That's it for us, thanks for joining us.


© 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