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YOUR WORLD TODAY
Hundreds of Civilians Killed in Violence in Iraq This Week; Battling Muqtada al-Sadr's Militia; Rumsfeld: World Must Fight 'New Type of Fascism'
Aired August 30, 2006 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The sounds of sirens and shattering glass echo through the streets of Baghdad after a stepped-up series of attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JILL CARROLL, FMR. KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST: I came across Oprah on Channel 1 from Dubai. And I was like, "OK, this is good."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And, when even the television program you chose to watch could mean the difference between life and death. A former hostage tells her tale.
FRAZIER: From the most wanted list to a U.S. prison cell, a polygamist leader's life on the run comes to an end.
MCEDWARDS: And remembering an Arab author whose life's work culminated in a unique achievement.
FRAZIER: Hello, everyone. And welcome to our report broadcast around the globe.
I'm Stephen Frazier.
MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards.
From Baghdad to Las Vegas, to Cairo, wherever you're watching, this is YOUR WORLD TODAY.
Well, we begin in Iraq. And it seem there is no end to the loss and the bloodshed there. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in violence this week alone.
FRAZIER: The war that was dominated by coalition troops and insurgents is now increasingly pitting Iraqi against Iraqi, militias against troops. And it is also raising worries that cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's militia is gaining strength during all this.
MCEDWARDS: And, as the influence of the anti-American cleric grows, the U.S. defense secretary now warms of a new threat that he calls Islamic fascism. FRAZIER: We'll being our coverage in Iraq with the spate of bombings that has killed dozens of people in the capital and in two nearby provinces today.
Michael Holmes reports.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): U.S. and Iraqi officials had been pleased with the sharp drop in violence this month. That is, until this week. Since Sunday, 200 Iraqis have been killed in a bloody string of attacks around the country, more than 200 wounded.
Surja (ph) sells everything from food to electronics, and Iraqis travel from miles around to visit, making it a popular target for acts like this. For those who were there Wednesday, talk of a reduction in violence this month means little.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The situation won't get better for me. It goes from worse to worse, and the bloodshed will continue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't want to blame anyone because the entire situation is not good.
HOLMES: South of Baghdad, in the town of Hilla, an army recruitment center was targeted, a bomb rigged to a bicycle, killing a dozen people, wounding dozens more. All of this as Operation Together Forward continues. U.S. and Iraqi troops sweeping through Baghdad's more violent suburbs, and operations successful in reducing sectarian killings in those areas are clearly not affecting the ability of insurgents to attack elsewhere.
HOLMES: And, Stephen, that wasn't all. We heard from the Baquba police, telling us that three people were killed, 10 others wounded by a roadside bomb aimed at a police patrol in that town.
And in the same town there was another roadside bomb that hit a family in their minivan. Six members of one family, three of them women, were killed, two others were wounded.
As we said, a bloody end to a month that everyone had thought had been remarkably quiet because of Operation Together Forward. There is -- there was an expectation of sorts by U.S. and Iraqi military officials that precisely this would happen. But insurgents would strike back to say the operation hasn't worked, we're still here and we can still strike -- Stephen.
FRAZIER: And so, then what is the response to that, then, just to continue with Operation Together Forward? I know they're trying to build connections between the population at large, which would provide intelligence, and coalition troops. HOLMES: Absolutely. Operation Together Forward is going on. And the cordon and search phase is going on in certain parents of Baghdad. And tens of thousands of homes and buildings have been searched in this operation, and caches of weapons have been found.
In other areas where that process is already being done, they're in what they call a hold and rebuild phase, where they're trying to get that sort of trust with the local population. The problem is that the insurgents didn't stay when the troops moved in. They went away. And the fear is that they will come back, and that's where the problem lies.
And when it comes to militias, these, as one U.S. colonel told us, these people are part of the population. They put down their weapons, and they could be anyone. When it comes to the bigger bombings, the insurgents will carry out more attacks in the days and weeks ahead just to show that they're still around -- Stephen.
FRAZIER: All right. Michael Holmes in Baghdad.
Michael, thank you.
MCEDWARDS: Well, Iraq's prime minister is vowing to disband those militias that Michael was just talking about that are fueling much of the violence in the country and that -- who are so hard to rule out and identify. This is proving to be an uphill battle. And the intense fighting this week has focused attention on one of those prominent militias and its increasingly prominent leader.
Brian Todd reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Iraqi forces are now reeling from a battle that's left them exposed. A senior Iraqi Defense Ministry official tells CNN some Iraqi soldiers battling Shia militants in the southern city of Diwaniya this week ran out of ammunition. The official says some of them were then captured and executed.
Still, a U.S. military spokesman says other Iraqis reacted swiftly and decisively and brought the situation under control. But who are they up against? Iraqi defense sources tell CNN the militias in Diwaniya were followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, a popular anti-American Shiite cleric.
Iraq's deputy prime minister was asked about that on THE SITUATION ROOM .
BARHAM SALIH, IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Muqtada al-Sadr has disavowed those people, and this is what some of his close associates have informed the prime minister, that these groups were operating outside his control.
TODD: But analysts say even if that's true, al-Sadr is emerging as a major power in Iraq, controlling more than two dozen seats in parliament, four government ministries, and a deadly militia called the Mehdi Army.
VALI NASR, AUTHOR, "THE SHIA REVIVAL": Muqtada al-Sadr is building his organization on the model of Hezbollah: militia, plus political control, state within a state.
TODD: Senator John McCain says U.S. forces should take out al- Sadr and his malitia. Analysts caution, with his millions of followers, that kind of move might start another, more dangerous insurgency. Saddam Hussein once took out al-Sadr's father, who was an ayatollah, only for his son to emerge later.
MARK PERRY, CONFLICTS FORUM: This is very close to the surface for the Sadr family. Now that they have a chance to lead, I don't think they're going to give it up.
TODD (on camera): Analysts say al-Sadr, even though he's only in his early 30s, has a great sense of when to challenge U.S. forces and when to pull back. That's one reason they believe that if and when the United States pulls out of Iraq, Muqtada al-Sadr may well emerge as one of that country's most powerful leaders.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
FRAZIER: The U.S. secretary of defense is taking a page from the history books in order to counter critics of the war in Iraq and the war on terror in general. Donald Rumsfeld says the world cannot afford to ignore a new type of fascism the way it turned a blind eye to Hitler.
Jamie McIntyre now.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Secretary Rumsfeld picked a friendly venue, the American Legion National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, to deliver a history lesson that amounted to a blistering attack on his critics and a vigorous defense of America's war on terrorism.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Indeed, in the decades before World War II, a great many argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated, or that it was someone else's problem. It was, as Winston Churchill observed, a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.
Once again, we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism, but some seem not to have learned history's lessons. And that is important in any long struggle or long war where any kind of moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.
MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld said while tactics in Iraq had been adjusted to combat the rising sectarian violence, which some argue is a growing civil war, the strategy has not, empowering the Iraqi people to defend, govern and rebuild their country. But a fierce battle Sunday and Monday in Diwaniya raised new questions about just how well the Iraqi army has been trained and equipped.
According to an Iraqi general, during the fighting about a dozen Iraqi soldiers were executed by militiamen loyal to cleric Muqtada al- Sadr after they had the misfortune to run out of ammo. The U.S. military said the operation was under Iraqi control and that it had no details on the alleged ammunition shortage. But officials confirm that the unit involved was part of the 8th Iraqi Army Division that later this week transfers to an Iraqi command.
BRIG. GEN. DANA PITTARD, IRAQI ASSISTANCE GROUP COMMANDER: September 1st is going to be a big date. It will be the first time that an Iraqi army division will no longer be under the tactical control of the coalition forces.
MCINTYRE (on camera): Eventually, Iraq's government will have direct control over 10 army divisions. But as the fight in Diwaniya illustrates, even top units are struggling. Another group of 100 Iraqi soldiers refused recently to report to Baghdad, underscoring another problem, divided loyalties in the military.
Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.
MCEDWARDS: Well, the U.S. freelance reporter held hostage in Iraq for nearly three months says her days were marked by fear and boredom, as well.
FRAZIER: But Jill Carroll, who is now speaking out at length about her ordeal, says a lot of things surprised her, from a captor who tossed her a television remote control, to informal conversation with one of her kidnapper's wives.
MCEDWARDS: Here's more now on Carroll's captivity in her own words.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): People around the world know her from the video she made while she was held hostage. People in Iraq know her from advertisements that were made by her friends and family urging her release.
Now, through articles and an interview with a newspaper she wrote for, the "Christian Science Monitor," people are getting to know more about Carroll and her captors.
CARROLL: They let me watch TV. A guy brought me -- he put, like, cotton behind my glasses, and, like -- and then took me by the arm and led me downstairs into this room where they have a TV, and he and I sat there and watched TV, which is totally weird. He gave me the remote control. He's like, "Here, whatever you" -- he read -- he was reading the Koran out loud and he handed me the remote control to watch TV. And it was just all so unusual, you know.
I'm trying to figure out what to watch. I know you shouldn't watch anything that's going to make him upset. So, I was, like, OK, news is out. Politics is out. Anything with Iraq out. Because I don't know what's going to make him mad.
And anything -- you know, and he's obviously incredibly religious. So anything, you know, that's inappropriate to a pious, pious person. So -- and any scantily-clad women. I don't want any of that stuff.
I don't want any -- I don't want to see any violence. I don't want to give him any ideas. You know? And so I found an English channel, too. I came across Oprah on Channel 1 from Dubai.
I was like, OK, this is good.
MANN: Carroll describes her 82 days in captivity as an exhausting marathon of fear, boredom and despair. She was guarded not only by insurgents, but their wives, too, with their children close at hand.
A kitchen conversation with one of the gunman.
CARROLL: And he says, "Oh, you know, Umali (ph), she wants to be a suicide bomber." And Umali (ph) is like, "Oh, yes. I do." And she obviously was really blushing because he was praising her, and she was really proud of it.
And I was like -- and she's got three little kids right there on the kitchen floor playing. And I'm playing with the kids, you know, that night. And they're making dinner, and she's four months pregnant. You know?
And I was stunned. I didn't know what to say. And so I sort of delayed and pretended I didn't understand the Arabic well enough.
And finally I said, "Oh, well, I didn't know women could be suicide bombers," which is true. So I didn't have to say -- I didn't have to say about, is that a good idea or not a good idea. I could just say, well, I didn't know.
And they said, "Oh, yes, many women are" -- it's very common for many women to do this, you know. Which I thought was really interesting. I didn't know that. She was saying maybe after she has this baby she'll go be a suicide bomber.
MANN: In a message accompanying Carroll's first video, the insurgents threatened to kill her unless the U.S. military released all its female prisoners. The U.S. did free five women among hundreds of male prisoners it also let go. But it said there was no connection to her kidnapping and Carroll was not released until after another two months had passed. And even the day she was let go, her captors first told her she was about to die.
CARROLL: The lead captor -- I mean, the number two guy who's next to me, leaned over me and said, "Jill, you know, we asked your government to free women prisoners, all the prisoners, and they didn't do that. And we asked your government for money, and they didn't give us any money. So now we're going to kill you."
I had to bet this wasn't true. I hoped it wasn't.
So, like, he's saying, "We're going to kill you." And I was, like, "Oh, you wouldn't do that, Abrusha (ph). You're my brother, you wouldn't kill me. You know I'm on your side. You wouldn't do that to me, would you?"
And I had to laugh. I had to be, like, "Oh, you're so funny. I couldn't even think for a minute. I couldn't be afraid of you because I know what a good person you are. I would never be afraid of you."
And he goes, "Oh, you're right, we're not going to kill you. We're going to drive you now to Baghdad and drive you to the Iraqi party headquarters," and, you know, whatever. And for god's sake, did he need to do that?
MANN: It's not clear why Carroll was let go. The U.S. said it didn't pay a ransom for her release and it eventually arrested four men accused in the kidnapping.
Carroll is now back in the U.S., keeping a low profile. She says her work isn't as important to her as it once was, but she told her newspaper that she does plan to go back overseas as a foreign correspondent again some day.
Jonathan Mann, CNN.
FRAZIER: And this programming note for our international viewers. For much more of Jill Carroll's story in her own words, join Jonathan Mann on the next edition of "INSIGHT," a two-part special that airs Wednesday and Thursday at 18:00 GMT.
MCEDWARDS: Egypt's president calls Naguib Mahfouz a cultural light. Don't know if he's been on your reading list, but he is certainly considered a whiter who introduced Arab literature to the rest of the world, really
FRAZIER: He had a lot of critics, too, but they, as well as his fans, are mourning the death of the Nobel laureate. The life and legacy of this Arab icon when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMED SALMAWY, WRITER: I don't think any other Arab writer had had this fortune, or misfortune, if you like, of having lived through so much of the history of his nation as Naguib Mahfouz.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRAZIER: Welcome book.
MCEDWARDS: That's right. You're watching YOUR WORLD TODAY, where we bring CNN's international and U.S. viewers up to speed on the most important international stories of the day.
Well, the only Arab to have been awarded a Nobel prize in literature has passed away. Egypt's Naguib Mahfouz once said that he wanted to share the recognition and even said that the entire Arab world, essentially, shared the prize, along with him.
FRAZIER: He was awarded that in 1988, and he was long known as a voice of moderation and religious tolerance.
Tim Lister now on the life of this iconic author.
TIM LISTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Naguib Mahfouz was the conscience and soul of modern Egypt, charting its volatile path through the 20th century. He was born in an ancient part of Cairo that was a worm (ph) of alleyways dotted with mosques. It was the setting for his famous "Cairo" trilogy in the 1950s, the story of a merchant family presided over by an authoritarian father.
Mahfouz often addressed the clash of ancient and modern secular and religious in the Arab world.
SALMAWY: I don't think any other Arab writer had had this fortune or misfortune, if you like, of having lived through so much of the history of his nation as Naguib Mahfouz, and to have been able to express that history and to reflect it and to bring it back to life in human terms.
LISTER: He challenged conservative interpretations of Islam. He spoke out in support of women's rights, saying that it was impossible to support human rights while denying freedom to half of humanity.
Mahfouz's 1959, "Children of Our Alley," caused a storm. Religious scholars said it portrayed the prophet and was, therefore, blasphemous. Mahfouz denied it, but the novel was banned. And many years later the radical sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman accused Mahfouz of blasphemy and issued a fatwa against him, a fatwa that lead to a knife attack on Mahfouz in a Cairo street 12 years ago.
From his hospital bed, Mahfouz said he hoped the security forces would win the battle against terror, which he described as an evil against the people, freedom, and Islam.
NAGUIB MAHFOUZ, WRITER: (INAUDIBLE)
LISTER: The attack damaged nerves and made it virtually impossible for him to continue writing. But by then he had published nearly 50 novels, many of them being adapted for movies.
His portrayals of Cairo life lead to Mahfouz being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1988, the first Arab writer to receive the honor. Every week until his recent illness he and friends gathered on this boat on the Nile to talk about literature and politics and what Mahfouz described as the split personality of his fellow citizen who pray and fast but are also enticed by modern diversions on television and in the streets.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Daryn Kagan at CNN Center in Atlanta. More of YOUR WORLD TODAY in just a few minutes.
First, let's check on stories making headlines here in the U.S.
Flooding is a big concern right now in Florida. The weather system that was Tropical Storm Ernesto is now moving up the peninsula. And now a tropical depression that first lumbered ashore in the Florida Keys. As Floridians watched and waited, there was concern that Ernesto would be a hurricane when it made landfall, but that was not the case.
Forecasters say the storm could move on up the coast and take a swipe at the Carolinas. North Carolina's governor is leaving nothing to chance. He has activated the state's emergency response team and 150 National Guard troops.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE EASLEY (D), NORTH CAROLINA: We expect there may be some power outages. Again, slight chance of tornadoes. And the most important thing that we want to ask people to do at this point, other than paying attention to the local officials, is to get prepared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAGAN: Jacqui Jeras is watching from our hurricane headquarter weather center.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hello, Daryn.
KAGAN: On a mission of peace. U.N. chief Kofi Annan tours the Mideast in support of a cease-fire that ended the Israel-Hezbollah fighting. Annan met today with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. They called for the release of two Israeli soldiers abducted by Hezbollah last month. Annan wants Israel to lift its blockade of Lebanon. Mr. Olmert says that borders must be secured first to prevent any weapons flow to Hezbollah.
Short staff in the tower. There are new details about events leading to Sunday's Comair crash. Only one air traffic controller was on duty when Flight 5191 took off on the wrong runway and crashed. The FAA requires a minimum of two controllers at the Lexington, Kentucky, airport.
CNN has also learned the pilot and first officer got on the wrong plane after arriving at the airport on Sunday morning. A ramp worker alerted them to the mistake.
We'll have more on the flight of 5191 at the top of the hour. Kyra Phillips talks live with the rescuers who pulled the lone survivor from the burning wreckage.
That's coming up on CNN's "LIVE FROM" at 1:00 Eastern.
"LIVE FROM" begins at the top of the hour.
Meanwhile, YOUR WORLD TODAY continues after a quick break.
I'm Daryn Kagan.
FRAZIER: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY. I'm Stephen Frazier.
MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards. Here are some of the top stories that we're following for you.
Iconic Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz has died at the age of 94. Mahfouz was awarded a Noble Medal in 1988. He is the only Arab ever to have won the prize for literature. He won fame in the Arab world as voice of moderation and religious tolerance. He's best known for "The Cairo Trilogy," and it was Cairo that Naguib Mahfouz -- it was in Cairo, I should say, where he died on Wednesday.
FRAZIER: At least 47 people have been killed and dozens hurt in a string of bombings across Iraq. The deadliest attack in Baghdad, where one bomb ripped through the city's largest market, killing 24. This comes in spite of a full week-long, U.S.-backed security clampdown in Baghdad. But this week alone, at least 200 civilians have been killed across the nation.
MCEDWARDS: U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is urging Israel to lift its closure of Gaza, and says the fighting that has killed more than 200 Palestinians must end. Annan spoke Wednesday at a news conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Annan is also pressing Israel to immediately lift its air and sea embargo of Lebanon, but Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said measures must be in place to prevent the flow of arms to Hezbollah.
FRAZIER: In fact, the United Nations secretary-general and the Israeli prime minister didn't see eye-to-eye on other aspects of the U.N. resolution, either.
Chris Lawrence joins us now live from Jerusalem with an understanding of that -- Chris.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Stephen, Ehud Olmert and Kofi Annan did agree on some points, but on others, Israel and the U.N. are not on the same page.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite a friendly greeting between the heads of Israel and the U.N., the tense relationship is being tested.
KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I've been urging for the immediate lifting of the blockade on Lebanon.
LAWRENCE: Kofi Annan is pushing Israel to reopen Lebanon's ports of entry. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert won't do it until the U.N. enforces an arms embargo against Hezbollah.
EHUD OLMERT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: It has to be effective, it has to be strong, and it has to be in all entry points.
ANNAN: But in the meantime, I do believe that the blockades should be lifted.
LAWRENCE: Annan accused Israel of violating the cease-fire agreement and jeopardizing U.N. Resolution 1701. Olmert shot back, questioning when a full international force will be deployed to the border.
OLMERT: The sooner it will take place, Israel will pull out entirely from Lebanon and there will be no basis for any arguments or any accusations.
ANNAN: But we need to be flexible. We shouldn't insist that the only way to do it is by deploying international forces.
LAWRENCE: Annan says 2,500 troops are already on the border. He hopes to double that number within a week, but says Israel should continue its pullout now. The two did agree, in a way, on the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah. Annan met with their families and promised to work for their release. Olmert says it should be immediate and unconditional.
LAWRENCE: Now, Lebanon's prime minister believes that the blockade could be lifted within the next few days, but there are complications. Israel also wants international forces to be stationed on Lebanon's northern border with Syria to prevent the flow of weapons and arms coming in through there. Syria considers the presence of international troops on its border to be a hostile act -- Stephen.
FRAZIER: All right, Chris. So where do they go, then, if he's -- on this trip, he's trying to round up support. It's not sounding like he's getting much of it anywhere.
LAWRENCE: Well, it's going to come down to who will make the first concession. It is a matter of putting the chicken before the egg. Israel is saying that this force has to be in place before they will lift the blockade and totally pull out of Lebanon. Kofi Annan is saying, well, they need to start pulling back and lifting this blockade before the international force gets fully in place.
FRAZIER: All right. Let's see who blinks. Chris Lawrence from Jerusalem. Chris, thank you.
MCEDWARDS: All right. Well, a new television documentary on prisoner exchanges in 2004 between Hezbollah and Israel is stirring the attention of the Israeli public. The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation says the documentary includes the first video and audio seen publicly of Ron Arad, an Israeli navigator. Arad has been missing since he ejected from his plane over Lebanon back in 1986. Arad's brother has seen the promotional footage from this documentary, and confirms that he believes it does show his brother. Chen Arad is hoping Hezbollah will now provide new information about Ron's fate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN ARAD, RON ARAD'S BROTHER: I will be joyed when I know what was happening with my brother, and what is going on with my brother. During the last 20 years, we passed so many obstacles, so it's not the right moment to be happy, although there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCEDWARDS: An Israeli television producer who was involved in the protection of the film says the documentary was originally set to air four or five months ago, but then was canceled because of what he called internal circumstances. Well, now it has been rescheduled to air next week.
One of the questions here, just one of them, is why this, why now? And joining us now from Los Angeles is Pierre El-Daher, chairman and CEO of the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.
Thank you, sir, for being here. And I will begin with that question. I mean, why sit on this for months and why air it now?
PIERRE EL-DAHER, LEBANESE BROADCASTING CORPORATION: Actually, it took all of that time to have this ready. We started working on this documentary as of April of 2005, and we knew from the beginning that we would have it ready by the first week or the second week of June. But, as you know, June of 2006 is the soccer World Cup, which is a very bad month for viewership in the area. So we said that we will air it the first week of September.
MCEDWARDS: So you're saying it was really just a question of when to program it? EL-DAHER: Just a TV question, you know, programming and the right time and the right viewership.
MCEDWARDS: Is there going to be anything in this that will help Israelis or help Ron Arad's family learn anything more about where he is or whether he is dead or alive?
EL-DAHER: Personally, I don't think so. I have seen the footage. It doesn't tell much.
MCEDWARDS: I've got to ask you where you got the footage?
EL-DAHER: Well, that is -- we have been in contact with a renowned Lebanese journalist -- his name is Brahim Alamin (ph) -- who has been working for the last three years regarding this subject. He approached us in the beginning of 2005 and saying that, you know, he has three elements that, in his own view, will make a real scoop in terms of journalists.
The first item is obviously this 90-second piece on Ron Arad. The second one -- and I didn't know that -- that Hezbollah managed to tape the incident that took place in 2000, the abduction of the Israeli soldier in 2000 on the Lebanon/Israeli border. And the third one, he managed to get an exclusive interview with Tennenbaum in the place where he was taken in Beirut. He was, I think...
MCEDWARDS: Did he tell you anything about the source, though, for the Arad video?
MCEDWARDS: So you don't know where it came from?
EL-DAHER: No. I have no idea.
MCEDWARDS: Is it your feeling that Hezbollah is connected and involved in this aspect of it? Because there are some questions now. I mean, some people say yes, some people say no.
EL-DAHER: I really couldn't tell you anything about Ron Arad. All I can tell you that, obviously, Hezbollah is the one who taped the abduction of the soldier on the Israeli/Lebanese border. And obviously, Hezbollah was the one that allowed Mr. Alamin to have the interview with Mr. Tennenbaum.
MCEDWARDS: Do you feel any...
EL-DAHER: Regarding the Ron Arad, I really can't tell you anything.
MCEDWARDS: Do you feel any pressure or any obligation to research it more, to find out more, to get to some of those answers?
EL-DAHER: Definitely. I mean, you know, this is something that, as a journalist, it's a very hot issue. And we took our time in verifying whatever Mr. Alamin was saying regarding the footage. But really, when it comes to Mr. Ron Arad, really, this is the only piece we had.
MCEDWARDS: You mentioned the other aspect of the documentary. And a large portion of it, I'm told, does deal with the kinds of negotiations that went on in that prisoner exchange, where several hundred Arab prisoners were exchanged for the bodies of those three Israeli soldiers.
This is going to be news to a lot of people around the world and a lot of people in Lebanon, because this type of diplomatic talk or any connection is not supposed to go on. I mean, how much more are people going to learn about how these negotiations played out?
EL-DAHER: Well, basically, it's very interesting, because, you know, these negotiations, there is only a handful of people who are connected to this and really knows the ins and outs of the events that happened during that period of time.
I personally -- and I think the whole viewers will find it very interesting about the smallest details, and every time that, you know, they said they would be reaching an agreement, and then everything would fall down and the whole negotiation aspect is down the drain.
So basically, what we did in the documentary -- and you will probably have a chance to see it next week -- we took the story of the families of the abducted, either from the Lebanese size or from the Israeli side. Those are the people who suffered the most, and we really tried to follow their story.
MCEDWARDS: I want to ask you, too, whether you think you're going to face any fallout, any criticism, any pressure after airing this from Hezbollah, for essentially putting forward, in some ways, the Israeli side?
EL-DAHER: I really don't think so. We have no direct contact with Hezbollah regarding this. This, you know, is a piece -- the tapes we brought from Mr. El-Amin, and we have no obligation neither to Hezbollah, nor to the Israelis regarding what we're going to air on this documentary.
MCEDWARDS: Pierre El-Daher, we've got to leave it there. Thank you so much for talking to us. I appreciate it.
EL-DAHER: Thank you, ma'am.
FRAZIER: We have news about a man 10,000 people considered all powerful and all knowing.
MCEDWARDS: That's right. We're talking about Warren Jeffs. He's now behind bars. He lead a fringe group called the Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints. That's a bit of a mouthful. But as one former follower put it...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there were a Taliban of America, I would say this is it. (END VIDEO CLIP)
MCEDWARDS: There you go. We'll have more on this story right after the break. Don't go away.
MCEDWARDS: Welcome back to YOUR WORLD TODAY.
FRAZIER: A newscast seen live in more than 200 countries across the globe.
Life on the run has now come to an end for a fugitive leader of a breakaway sect of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, a polygamist sect. Warren Jeffs was arrested Monday night near Las Vegas, Nevada. He now faces charges in two states for a variety of sex-related offices, including arranging marriages between underaged girls and older men.
Jeffs was taken into custody after a routine traffic stop. He didn't have any license plates, but inside the car that was stopped, police found 15 cell phones, laptop computers, wigs, at least $54,000 in cash and other items. The Nevada State Trooper who stopped the vehicle said he knew something was wrong.
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EDDIE DUTCHOVER, NEVADA STATE COOPER: I noticed Warren was extremely nervous. He was sitting in that -- behind the right-front passenger side, and wouldn't make eye contact with me.
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FRAZIER: He had an artery in his neck that was throbbing, too, which was what lead that trooper to call for backup.
MCEDWARDS: Yes, he said it was a telltale sign. Well, where is he now. He's being held without bail, and there is a hearing scheduled for Thursday morning, I believe it is.
FRAZIER: So now the big question is, will his arrest loosen his grip on 10,000 followers? Anderson Cooper has more on his strange and fascinating background.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): It's easy to see the isolation of this community along the Utah/Arizona border. What's harder to grasp is the total domination that one man, Warren Jeffs. Has over the 10,000 people who live here. They're part of a Mormon sect of polygamists, who call themselves the FLDS, the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. They call Warren Jeffs the prophet.
The mainstream Mormon Church banned polygamy in 1890 and doesn't associate with this sect. PAUL MUSSER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: I had to sit down with my children and say, that the prophet told me that I can no longer be your father. And that was the toughest day of my life.
ISAAC WYLER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: If young men, or something like that were called to stand in front of bullets for Warren, they wouldn't even hesitate.
COOPER: This is one of the few photographs of Warren Jeffs, a seemingly ordinary man but one with extraordinary power.
DR. DAN FISCHER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: If there were a Taliban of America, I would say this is it.
COOPER: Warren Jeffs hasn't been seen in more than a year. The FBI has been searching for him since June on charges of fleeing prosecution in Arizona for arranging marriages involving underage girls. Utah has now frozen the assets of Jeffs polygamous sect, which the attorney general says is worth about $100 million. In the FLDS, reality is filtered through Warren Jeffs.
SAM ICKE, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: If the law comes in and takes over, or anything happens to them, it is all a test sent from God, through Warren. Everything is a test, because they believe that the afterlife is going to tell the truth. And they believe that once this life is over then they're going to be -- they're going to be either celestialized, which is you know, given the highest degree of glory in the kingdom of heaven, or they will damned forever to hell.
COOPER: Sam Icke is no longer part of the FLDS community. He was expelled by the prophet when he was 18.
ICKE: The thing that actually got me kicked out was, you know, I kissed this girl and then she told. You know, told everybody what was going on. I got a call from the leader, Warren Jeffs, and he told me to come and talk to him about it.
I left, went home, and within the next day or so, he called my dad and told him that I had to leave.
COOPER: Sam is one of several young men asked to leave the community. They are called the "Lost Boys." What happened to them is to some a question of math. Too many boys are competing in a polygamous world, where some men have 10, 20 or even 30 wives.
MARK SHURTLEFF, UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL: They trump up charges against these boys, but the bottom line is they don't want them there competing. They are told that not only are the being kicked out of their homes, and from the community, the only community that they've ever known, but that they're going to burn in hell. Talk about "Lost Boys," that term, is absolutely applicable. These boys think that they have no chance in this life or in the afterlife.
FISCHER: They're extremely strict.
COOPER: Dan Fischer, a successful dentist near Salt Lake City has created the Diversity Foundation to help the "Lost Boys", who have banished from the FLDS in recent years. He says he has names of 400 young men.
FISCHER: Some actually expelled out in which they are given no more than an hour or two to be out of town, pack their bags, take whatever they can carry, and be gone. And with the communication that they're not welcome back.
COOPER: But those who defend the FLDS say the "Lost Boy" issue is overblown. In a statement, Rodney Parker, an attorney who has represented the FLDS since 1990 said -- quote -- "The number is completely unsubstantiated as well. The label 'Lost Boys' is a characterization that I don't think most of the people it's applied to would agree with. They say: 'I chose to leave, this wasn't for me.'"
ICKE: Well, when I turned 18 I was kicked out, dumped on my head.
COOPER: Sam Icke lives under the protective wing of Dan Fischer, who actively supports about 60 "Lost Boys," some with jobs, housing and schooling. Fischer was once part of the FLDS and had two wives, but he divorced one and left the sect 12 years ago. He's known Jeffs for years.
FISCHER: In the last few years, where this society has become a apocalyptic, at a fanatical level, it has set the stage for crazy things to happen and people accept it, believing that their salvation is on the line if they don't do as their told.
COOPER: The absolute power Jeffs wields destroyed the life Paul Musser loved. He was married for 23 years and hat 13 children. Jeffs told him suddenly, five years ago, that he was unfit to get his wife into heaven.
MUSSER: He just said that she needed somebody to exalt into the celestial kingdom and that I couldn't. And I kept asking him -- I asked him at least three times, if I could repent or make it right with him. And he just said, well, you don't have time to repent. And so that was it. He told me to move out, and my wife and family would be given to somebody else.
COOPER: What happened next may be hard for anyone outside the sect to understand. Musser told his family goodbye the next day.
MUSSER: I just hugged and kissed all my children. Told them that I love them very much. That I wasn't good enough to be their father anymore, according to what the prophet said.
COOPER: Since then Paul Musser has had a change of heart.
MUSSER: As time went on and as I saw my family given to this one man, and then he fell out of favor. And then she was given to another man. So, she's been with two men, besides me. And I just said to myself, this is wrong.
WYLER: This is a fanatical religion. I mean, if you go back and look in Mormon history and see some of the things that's been done in the name of religion. It's no different now.
COOPER: Isaac Wyler was in a group of 21 men told to leave their families by Jeffs at a routine church meeting.
WYLER: That's the kind of control that is here. So being kicked out and losing your wife and children is -- it's a big thing, but it's not like throwing your life away. To die for the prophet? To die for God? Yeah, that would make -- that would be an honor.
COOPER: We wanted to talk to people with a positive view of their lives inside the FLDS community. But David Zitting, mayor of Hildale, Utah, and a member of the FLDS for more than 20 years, said that's not likely to happen.
"The citizens of this community have gone through many years of dealing with the media in various forms," he told us. "And what they have experienced in this has caused them to not to want to make statements to the media or be interviewed by the media because it has in the past tended to be more fabricated and non-factual."
Jeffs' absolute control seems linked to his followers belief in his divine power. Wyler's daughter once asked him if Uncle Warren was Jesus Christ.
WYLER: And I says, no. What would give you that idea? And she says, teacher so and so -- because I don't give the teacher's name -- says that he's Jesus Christ and he's returned. Jesus Christ returned and he's going to be killed.
COOPER: In a country founded on the separation of church and state, it is hard to fathom a community where the church is the state.
Anderson Cooper, CNN.
FRAZIER: We're going to turn our attention next to all this weather here. Freaks of nature or some kind of ominous pattern?
MCEDWARDS: That's right. Coming up on YOUR WORLD TODAY, our "Changing Earth" segment. We're going to take a look at whether hurricanes and other dramatic weather events are just part of the weather cycle or whether they suggest something more. Stay with us.
MCEDWARDS: Tropical depression Ernesto has lost much of its punch, but in the Mexican Pacific, a hurricane's landfall is imminent. We go now to Guillermo Arduino for our weekly "Changing Earth" segment.
And Guillermo, as we talk about all these storms, I mean, is a storm just a storm here, or does it mean something else?
GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're trying to find that out. It's still a very complicated phenomena, and an example is last year. Hurricane season was a reminder of how severe nature can be.
But all around the world, from a high number of typhoons in Asia, droughts and the warm winds of Africa, there seems to be little break in uncertain weather. So is there a connection in all weather phenomena at all? We asked Scott Kiser of NOAA, the U.S. government weather agency.
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SCOTT KISER, HURRICANE PROGRAM MANAGER: Basically in the field of meet meteorology, everything is connected. And those disturbances like you mentioned -- the rainfall or the lack of rain -- are all connected around the globe.
We see this in El Nino and La Nina events that are over the Pacific and yet they profoundly affect the Atlantic hurricane season and the Pacific hurricane season. So certainly there's a potential for connections there, not only for the United States, but all along the globe in these variations patterns and perturbations of the atmosphere.
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ARDUINO: The warm sea waters become fuel for cyclone growth, and Kiser confirms that warmer ocean temperatures associated with global weather patterns have a key impact on hurricane activity.
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KISER: Well, certainly those sea surface temperatures are critical for the formation and sustaining hurricanes, and the intensity. That's one of the things we look when we do our outlook for the year and call for these above normal activities that sea surface temperatures were, indeed, above normal. We are not as warm as we were last year when we got that season.
However, we are a couple of degrees above normal and we have been for about eight or nine years. And that's one of those cycles that we look at, above normal temperatures for an extended period of time, high activity, and tropical cyclone storms.
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ARDUINO: And for this Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA predicts a total of 12 to 15 named storms, with three or four of them becoming major hurricanes. And with the season approaching its peak in September, the most crucial lesson learned from Katrina is preparedness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KISER: Certainly we need to be prepared, and that's always a concern, not only from the weather service business, but from FEMA and state and local officials. We had a very active season which we were hoping would really promote people's activities and preparedness for this year.
But several of the polls that I've seen early in June and July were really surprising, the amount of people that did not consider themselves to be at risk -- just slightly above 50 percent from people along the Gulf Coast of the United States, which had two major storms impact them last year.
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ARDUINO: And, of course, Hurricane Katrina is not the only storm experts used to stress the importance of being prepared. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew struck the Florida coast, devastating parts of Dade County and becoming only one of three Category 5 hurricanes to hit the United States. But as per this season, let's talk in November again. Things will be getting very active, very soon.
MCEDWARDS: All right, Guillermo. Thanks very much.
FRAZIER: And that it is for this hour.
MCEDWARDS: That's right. "LIVE FROM" will be up next for our viewers in the United States.
FRAZIER: And for viewers everywhere else, more of us. YOUR WORLD TODAY continues. I'm Stephen Frazier.
MCEDWARDS: And I'm Colleen McEdwards.
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