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PAULA ZAHN NOW

Donald Rumsfeld: War Criminal?; Al-Jazeera Headed to America?; U.S. Army Lieutenant Who Refused Deployment to Iraq Speaks Out; Outrage Over O.J. Simpson Book

Aired November 15, 2006 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you all for joining us.
There is some important news coming into CNN all the time. And, every night, we are choosing the top stories.

Tonight: A top U.S. general tells Congress he senses hope in Iraq, but despair in Washington. What does that mean for U.S. troops on the front lines right now?

Another "Top Story": refusing to serve. For the first time on national TV, an Army lieutenant explains why he is disobeying orders to go to Iraq, even though he could end up going to prison.

And tonight's "Top Story" in crime: O.J. Simpson's brand-new book called "If I Did It." Does that mean he did?

We begin with the "Top Story" tonight on voters' minds from coast to coast, the war in Iraq, and the agonizing search to stop the chaos and bloodshed.

Just a few hours ago, the U.S. military's top commander in the region was on Capitol Hill, and also on the hot seat.

Our in-depth coverage starts with senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.

So, Jamie, you had General Abizaid laying out his plan. How open to any policy change is the Pentagon?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a real question about that, because General Abizaid, while making a point of saying, all options are on the table, from sending more troops, to pulling troops out, he basically made it clear that he rejects those options, saying that what he favors is a beefed-up version of the current policy to turn things over to Iraq in the next 12 to 18 months, something he says he thinks can be done faster by adding more trainers.

But he outright rejected the Democratic proposal for a phased withdrawal in the next four to six months. And he also similarly rejected the call for sending many more troops, something advocated by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GENERAL JOHN ABIZAID, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: No, I do not believe that more American troops right now is the solution to the problem.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Do we need less American troops?

ABIZAID: I believe that the troop levels need to stay where they are. We need to put more American capacity into Iraqi units to make them more capable in their ability to confront the sectarian problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCINTYRE: So, the only troop level increase that Abizaid is favoring is one -- an increase in the number of U.S. military trainers and advisers to kick-start the Iraqi army and police.

And, despite the increase in violence in August and September, Abizaid again assured members of Congress that Iraq can be stabilized. A more sober assessment came a little later in the afternoon from the generals who head the CIA and DIA. They warned of -- quote -- "formidable obstacles" facing the Iraqi government, including power struggles between rival Shiite factions, something they said was being stoked by the neighbor Iran.

Asked how long before this violence might spin out of control, even beyond the control of anyone, General Abizaid said simply he thought four to six months to get things under control -- Paula.

ZAHN: So, at the end of the day, how much impact did his words have there today?

MCINTYRE: Well, you could see that members of Congress were frustrated. The incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, is talking about introducing legislation to send some more guidance.

They're not happy with this, what they're increasingly interpreting as a stay-the-course strategy in Iraq, something they -- they are convinced isn't working. On -- on both sides of the aisle, that's the sentiment.

ZAHN: Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre, thanks.

Today's Iraq hearing was more than a fact-finding mission. It was political theater, as well. At least three possible presidential candidates, including two top contenders, are on the Armed Services Committee. That makes the hearing tonight's "Top Story" in politics, as well.

Let's bring in congressional correspondent Dana Bash.

So, what kind of a difference did it make to have that potential presidential firepower in the room?

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot. And, you know, coming over here, I was thinking about the fact that, in one in 10 senators you run into here on Capitol Hill is running for president. So, pretty much everything is about presidential politics from here on out, but, especially, Paula, when it comes to Iraq, because, of course, Iraq dominates the -- the political landscape, and will for the foreseeable future.

And one of the most aggressive questioners on the panel today was a Republican make -- who will make it clear, probably as early as tomorrow, he is going to run for president. And that's John McCain. He was very upset about the fact, as Jamie was just reporting, that John Abizaid, the -- the general, rejected his idea to send more troops to Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Basically, you're advocating the status quo here today, which I think the American people, in the last election, said that is not an acceptable condition.

ABIZAID: Well, Senator, I agree with you. The status quo is not acceptable. And I don't believe what I'm saying here today is the status quo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: But John McCain had a little bit of vindication from General Abizaid today, because he got General Abizaid to admit that, had the plan to send more troops been invoked a long time ago, perhaps as early as a couple of years ago, General Abizaid did admit things would be different; perhaps it would have helped on the ground in Iraq -- Paula.

ZAHN: So, Senator McCain making it very clear he wants at least over 100,000 troops sent to Iraq -- Democrats, a lot less than that. How effective were they in arguing their case today?

BASH: Well, you know, it was interesting.

One of the -- one of changes in the dynamic was that, in the wake of the election, it was actually the Republicans, who are, of course, reeling from their losses, that were the most aggressive, the toughest in their questioning today.

But, as you said, certainly, the Democrats were right there along with them. And among the toughest was another person who's in the 2008 caucus, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said that she simply does not see a path to victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Hope is not a strategy. I mean, I have heard over and over again: The government must do this; the Iraqi army must do that.

Nobody disagrees with that. The brutal fact is, it is not happening.

ABIZAID: When I come to Washington, I feel despair. When I'm in Iraq, with my commanders, when I talk to our soldiers, when I talk to the Iraqi leadership, they are not despairing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: Now, part of that exchange, Paula -- during that exchange, another rejection came out of General Abizaid and other people on the panel. And that is another idea by -- by a Democratic senator, Joe Biden, again, somebody else who is running for president, who says he thinks that Iraq should be partitioned, separated into three separate parts. But the panel simply rejected that, saying that that would be disastrous, and would cause more bloodshed in Iraq -- Paula.

ZAHN: All right, Dana, just trying to do the math there. Do you think we set a record today for the -- the most number of potential presidential candidates gathered in one hearing room?

BASH: Perhaps. But look at the senator floor.

(LAUGHTER)

BASH: It's a lot more.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Exactly.

Dana, thanks.

BASH: Thank you.

ZAHN: The war in Iraq plays a very big part in tonight's "Top Story" in the war on terror.

There is a serious international push to put Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials on trial for war crimes.

Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson has an in-depth look at that possible case.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The case hinges on whether these international human rights lawyers can convince German prosecutors to put a dozen senior American officials, including outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, on trial.

WOLFGANG KALECK, GERMAN ATTORNEY: Rumsfeld has to face a trial. He has to face a trial, because he committed war crimes.

BASH: German lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck leads the group filing the complaint. They're counting on Germany's principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows prosecution, no matter where the crimes are committed.

Kaleck believes his case is strong. One witness would be an American officer who commanded Abu Ghraib jail.

BRIG. GENERAL JANIS KARPINSKI (RET.), U.S. ARMY: There was a great effort in the beginning to dismiss these photographs as just seven soldiers, seven bad apples, as they were called, out of control on the night shift. It was far more, and far bigger, than seven soldiers working a night shift.

BASH: But Kaleck and his team say the strongest part of his case is over the alleged abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of 12 detainees.

Lawyer Gitanjali Gutierrez woman represents one of them.

GITANJALI GUTIERREZ, ATTORNEY FOR MOHAMMED AL QAHTANI: He was subjected to sleep deprivation for 48 days, in -- where he was only allowed to sleep for four hours of the day in the morning. During that period of time, he also was facing 20-hour-long interrogations. He was subjected to sexual humiliation, forced nudity, religious humiliation.

BASH: The lawsuit claims, a paper trail tracks the abuse all the way to Rumsfeld's desk. In December 2002, the defense secretary authorized tougher interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay. The action memo is on public record, and includes the use of a wet towel to induce the misperception of suffocation, sleep deprivation, and the use of 20-hour interrogations.

When he signed the document, Rumsfeld noted only one objection, suggesting one rule wasn't tough enough. "I stand for eight hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?"

(on camera): A Pentagon spokesman says the lawsuit sounds frivolous. And Kaleck says he knows, there's no guarantee German prosecutors will actually try the case. But, if they do, it could be very embarrassing for Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials, forcing them to avoid traveling to Germany and other European countries.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: We should make it clear that this possible lawsuit has absolutely nothing to do with the International War Crimes Tribunal, which is a special court set up by the United Nations.

But, in just a minute, I am going to ask a "Top Story" panel of experts if there is any merit in a possible case against Secretary Rumsfeld, or if this is what critics say is a frivolous lawsuit.

And a little bit later on, tonight's "Top Story" in crime: the latest addition to that long shelf of books about the O.J. Simpson case. Guess what? This one is by O.J. Simpson himself. It's called "If I Did It." So, was he really trying to tell us about his wife's murder?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Our "Top Story" in the war on terror continues, as we look at the possibility that Germany could put Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on trial for war crimes.

Lawyers for some Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay inmates are asking German prosecutors to do just that.

Let's bring in a "Top Story" panel right now, Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which helped file the first lawsuit against Secretary Rumsfeld, "TIME" magazine senior correspondent Adam Zagorin, who broke the story about the suit -- hello, Adam -- and Noel Francisco, a former associate counsel to President Bush.

Glad to have all three of you with us.

Vince, the last time you tried to bring this case before the German government, it did not go through. There's no guarantee it will go through this time. Why are you so convinced it will?

VINCE WARREN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS: Well, Paula, last time that this case went through, the German government dismissed it, we think, for political reasons. The U.S. government put some pressure on them to dismiss it right before Donald Rumsfeld went to Germany.

This time, things are different. This time, we're hoping that there's -- there's a new prosecutor, and we're hoping that they will move this case forward, without U.S. pressure. And, if it's a question of the rule of law, we're confident that the case will go through.

ZAHN: Noel, do you think the -- the U.S. will put any pressure on the German government, or do you agree with Adam -- excuse me, Noel -- I mean Vince?

Excuse me. I have got so many -- so many new sparring partners here to talk with tonight.

NOEL FRANCISCO, FORMER ASSOCIATE COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT BUSH: Paula.

(LAUGHTER)

FRANCISCO: Paula, I -- I would be shocked if this case ever went to trial.

I think it's pretty clear what we have here is a politically motivated lawsuit, brought primarily by interest groups who disagree with American foreign policy. Now, these groups have every right to disagree with American foreign policy. But asking a German court to resolve that political question is a completely inappropriate use of the German judiciary. That's precisely why the German prosecutors and courts threw out this exact same lawsuit when it was filed two years ago. And I predict that the sequel will have the same predictable ending.

ZAHN: All right.

But, Adam...

FRANCISCO: Donald Rumsfeld

ZAHN: ... Noel feels more confident this time. He thinks some things have changed here. If it goes through, how embarrassing would this be to the U.S. government?

ADAM ZAGORIN, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Well, the point is that, whether the German prosecutor accepts the case or not, it is already embarrassing to the United States government.

Should the prosecutor accept it, of course, it will be more embarrassing. But, even if the prosecutor were to reject it, one would then have the prospect of an appeal. And, if that appeal were turned down, my understanding is that the people who are driving this are quite likely to appeal to the highest German court, in effect, the Supreme Court of Germany, or constitutional court.

So, one can expect this to go on. And I guess I would say that the United States government, wisely or unwisely -- and Secretary Rumsfeld is responsible for this -- has put the United States in a position where the argument can be made, as it is in this case, and, therefore, procedures like this can go forward. And I -- one has to question how smart that was, politically, and even legally, for Rumsfeld and the people who he has been leading legally in these matters to...

ZAHN: OK.

ZAGORIN: ... to go forward.

ZAHN: All right.

But, Noel, we also know, if this does go forward, you're going to have former Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison, took the fall for it -- we actually spoke with her -- and she is willing to testify against Donald Rumsfeld. Isn't that unprecedented?

WARREN: Well, it is unprecedented, Paula. And the -- the key issue here is that we have to remember that torture is not a political question. It's a moral question, and it's a legal question.

No one here is debating whether the torture actually occurred. The question for us is, what are we going to do about it? Janis Karpinski, in her role, will be able to tell the American public and the world public how this situation unfolded. It really does go all the way up to the top. And the question is, what are we, as Americans, going to do about it, sit down or stand up? ZAHN: So, Noel, how damaging would that testimony be?

FRANCISCO: Well, the fact of the matter, it's -- it's a bit ironic that former General Karpinski is the chief witness, when, if there's any senior ranking military official that ought to be held accountable for this, it seems like it ought to be the senior military official who was in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison, which is General Karpinski.

That's why I think her credibility is really open to question. And I don't think that her testimony will be particularly damaging at all.

The more important point is that torture is prohibited in this country. It's prohibited by our laws. And those who engage in it are prosecuted. That's why the perpetrators of the abuses at Abu Ghraib are in jail today for doing what they were found to have done.

ZAHN: Noel Francisco, Vince Warren, Adam Zagorin, thank you all for your perspectives tonight.

FRANCISCO: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: Appreciate it.

The war on terror and the war in Iraq are part of tonight's "Top Story" in TV. The English-language version of Al-Jazeera has just signed on today. Does a network that regularly plays messages from Osama bin Laden and other terrorists deserve a spot on American TV? I'm going to ask Glenn Beck that of Headline News.

And, then, a little bit later on, for the first time on national TV, the only U.S. officer to refuse orders to serve in Iraq tells us why he's willing to go to jail for his beliefs.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Our "Top Story" in TV tonight: Do you want to get your news from Al-Jazeera? Well, today, the Arab-language satellite news channel's English-language network went on the air for the first time. Eighty million people around the world can watch it, but not many of them right here in the U.S. No major cable or satellite service is offering it yet.

A lot of critics say Al-Jazeera is just a propaganda outlet for Muslim extremists.

One of those critics is outspoken and controversial talk show host Glenn Beck from Headline News. He happens to have a special airing tonight on radical Islam and the media. He joins me now.

GLENN BECK, HOST, "GLENN BECK": How are you?

ZAHN: I'm fine. Thanks.

BECK: Controversial? ZAHN: Controversial.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: You like to stoke that stuff.

BECK: No.

ZAHN: So, do you think that Al-Jazeera's sole purpose is to spread propaganda?

BECK: I like to call them...

ZAHN: Or do you think there is...

BECK: ... Osama bin Laden's personal YouTube.

Any time that you have Osama bin Laden calling from the cave and saying, hey, I'm sending you another tape, and they air it right away, yes, I think they're a propaganda machine. I know that me, personally, if I have -- I have satellite at home. I would absolutely cancel my satellite if they decided to carry Al-Jazeera.

ZAHN: I don't think you're going to have that opportunity here in the United States...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

BECK: Good.

ZAHN: And you're very happy about that.

BECK: Good.

I'm very happy.

ZAHN: Let's talk about a special you have on...

BECK: Yes.

ZAHN: ... tonight...

BECK: Mmm-hmm.

ZAHN: ... on extremism in the media.

BECK: Yes. It is...

ZAHN: You have had some shocking conversations with people.

BECK: You know, I -- I really, truly believe that the media in general has been this close to criminally negligent on reporting the truth on what's going on. They're not showing us images that we need to see. ZAHN: Wait. You are them.

BECK: I know. Isn't that...

(LAUGHTER)

BECK: That's sick, isn't it?

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: So, you're -- you're inflicting some blame on yourself.

BECK: No. No, I'm not -- but I'm not a journalist. I'm -- I'm -- you know, I'm a rodeo clown. You know that.

And, when I'm sitting here in a media source, and I see videotape that I have never seen before, and I say, well, gee, how come I'm not seeing this? This is important stuff, images that will shock and horrify you.

Like, I am going to show you a tape -- a piece of a tape here. This is in one piece of the special tonight about what is happening to the children in the Middle East and how they are being brainwashed. This is a three-and-a-half-year girl -- three-and-a-half-year-old girl.

Watch. Read at the bottom of the screen what she is saying to an interviewer in the Middle East.

ZAHN: We will watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "EXPOSED: THE EXTREMIST AGENDA")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): What's your name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Basmallah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): How old are you, Basmallah?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Three-and-a-half.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Are you a Muslim?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Basmallah, do you know the Jews?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Do you like them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Why don't you like them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Because.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Because they are what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They are apes and pigs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: So, she's learning that from her parents.

BECK: Yes. She...

ZAHN: She's learning that from her community.

BECK: She -- from...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: She's...

BECK: You know what? From the whole thing.

Our good friend Saudi Arabia are -- and you will find this out on the special tonight -- are printing textbooks. And they are shipped all over the world, where they say, until the Muslims pick up guns and fight the Christians and the Jews, the messiah can't return; there will never be lasting peace and the day of judgment.

It is everywhere in the Middle East, and starting to be spread worldwide.

ZAHN: There is one excerpt you are going to share with us tonight...

BECK: Yes.

ZAHN: ... that I think is even more chilling than the -- than the biases of these young girl.

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: And this is a kid...

BECK: Yes.

ZAHN: ... expressing pride in his daddy, the suicide bomber.

BECK: Yes.

ZAHN: What else...

(CROSSTALK)

ZAHN: ... do we need to know about this? BECK: Nothing. If -- if you watch it, it is -- it is from Hezbollah TV, so, granted, a -- you know, more radical than Al- Jazeera. But it is a -- a 13-year-old kid, about that, with the TV cameras in his house. And he's saying: Watch. Watch this videotape. You're going to -- you're going to see right over here. Here's dad getting into the car. And here's dad driving to the mission. And, oh, look at that -- and the explosion, and how proud he is that his father blew himself up.

ZAHN: I think we can actually watch that right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "EXPOSED: THE EXTREMIST AGENDA")

BECK: What you're looking at is a video that aired on Hezbollah Television. It shows a small boy reportedly describing his father's suicide mission in Lebanon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is the operation that daddy carried out. This is the convoy coming from here, from Palestine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: That is so sick.

BECK: Oh, yes, there's -- there's more.

And I tell you, I stood in the edit bay yesterday, as we were putting this special, all of the pieces, together. I stood with grown men weeping. They were weeping when they saw this. It is shocking. It is horrifying. And it is something America should and needs to see.

ZAHN: Glenn Beck, thanks.

BECK: Thank you.

ZAHN: You can see Glenn's special, "Exposed: The Extremist Agenda," beginning at the top of the hour on Headline News.

The war in Iraq certainly stirring some strong passions, even in the military -- next, for the first time on national TV, a U.S. Army lieutenant tells us why he would rather face jail than obey orders to serve in Iraq.

And later: Could a book be a "Top Story"? Well, if O.J. Simpson wrote it, and it's called "If I Did It," you bet it can. And it's already making people really angry.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Another "Top Story" in the Iraq war we have picked tonight: The first commissioned officer in the U.S. to face a court- martial for refusing to serve in Iraq, he is Army 1st Lieutenant Ehren Watada, a 28-year-old native of Hawaii. He joined the Army after the 9/11 attacks. In June, he refused orders to deploy to Iraq, saying he believes taking part in the war would make him a party to war crimes. He has also said he would be willing to serve in Afghanistan or resign from the Army, rather than go to Iraq. But the Army, so far, has refused. So, now he faces charges of missing troop movement and conduct unbecoming to an officer. If convicted, he could spend six years in prison.

And Lieutenant Watada joins me now for an exclusive interview from Dupont, Washington, just outside Fort Lewis, where he's stationed.

Thanks so much for being with us tonight.

1ST LIEUTENANT EHREN WATADA, U.S. ARMY: You're welcome.

ZAHN: So, when you joined the Army in 2003, you certainly know the -- the war was cranking up, and you must have known there was a possibility that you would end up in Iraq. The Army trained you. They invested in you. At what point did you decide you wouldn't go to Iraq?

WATADA: I think even up to -- when I first joined the Army, I believed, like many Americans, when our government told us that there was a necessity for going into Iraq because of the weapons of mass destruction that were there and the ties to 9/11 and the ties to al Qaeda. And I very much joined wanting to protect and serve my country. And I felt those reasons were justified.

Even up until, I believe, September of 2005, I was even willing to volunteer. I talked to the commander and said I would volunteer to go with any unit that was going to Iraq before the unit that I was presently staged with.

ZAHN: What changed then?

WATADA: And then I began finding out some things about how possibly that our government could have misled, not only the Congress, but also the public, and the world as to the reasons why we were going in to Iraq, and there were never any weapons of mass destruction, there were never any ties to al Qaeda or ties to 9/11.

And I just -- at that point, I personally felt very betrayed as a soldier, willing to put my life on the line and willing to order soldiers to do the same, that we were sent to go and fight a war where the reasons were falsified.

ZAHN: But wouldn't you believe that our fighting force would not only be undermined but betrayed if everybody decided to do what you've done?

WATADA: I think definitely what I've done should not be the norm. It should be done, I think, in extreme circumstances. And I think, as these most recent elections show, that we -- that our country has lost its way, that our government has run amuck. We have a government that violates the law at will, that changes the law when it doesn't suit its purposes, and that basically is unaccountable. And I think those are dangerous times. And that in my mind, it came to the point where I had to refuse to participate in something that I saw was wrong and refuse to condone or enable those who perpetrated this illegal and immoral war.

ZAHN: Lieutenant, as you well know, some of your fellow soldiers say the reason you don't want to go to Iraq is that you're afraid of getting killed. What's your response to them?

WATADA: Well, I'm sure everybody's afraid of getting killed. Everybody's -- I'm sure everybody doesn't want to go to prison either. Everybody doesn't want to do a lot of things.

But we have to go back to what we took an oath to do. And that was to protect and defend our country against all enemies, and that includes those within our country who seek to undermine our laws, who seek to violate the laws and basically hold themselves unaccountable and do whatever they want. And that is not America. That is not democracy.

And up until this point, I think we have seen a government that is -- has run itself and has been unaccountable to no one.

ZAHN: all right. Let me ask you this in closing, because we're going to have a couple of people who will take a great issue coming up in our panel with what you've just said. But some of your critics also charge that you're nothing more than the pawn of the anti-war movement, and that you're getting used, and you're being naive about your own fight here.

WATADA: Well, if that was the case, you know, almost every other day since I spoke out publicly, there have been people who have approached me -- just ordinary people -- nobody with the activists, anti-war movement, people in uniform, many soldiers, active duty of all ranks, have written me, have come up to me and given me their support and their respect for what I've done.

ZAHN: Lieutenant, we have to leave it there.

We appreciate your joining us, Lieutenant Watada.

We're going turn to our top story panel now to react to what you've said.

Paul Rieckhoff a former platoon leader in Iraq, member of the Army National Guard and founder of the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He's also author of "Chasing Ghosts".

Also with me, the host of "Democracy now," on TV and radio, Amy Goodman. She's the author of "Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders and the People who Fight Back."

And Joshua Casteel, a former Army specialist who served in Iraq at Abu Ghraib and was discharged as a conscientious objector. He's now a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Good to see all of you. You have heard what Lieutenant Watada has argued. He was more than willing to go into Iraq when he first joined the Army, but when it became clear that the intelligence was flawed, and he believed the government misled the American people, he no longer was on board.

What's your reaction to that?

PAUL RIECKHOFF, AUTHOR, "CHASING GHOSTS": Well, I think he's in a very tough spot, and I respect the courage of his convictions. But I also think that he's violating a direct order. And when you take your commission as an officer in the military, you are obliged to take the orders handed down to you by your superiors. You don't pick and choose which wars you get to fight. And I think, most likely, he will go to jail for violating the UCMJ, the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Again, I respect the courage of his convictions here, but you don't get to pick and choose what war you go to. You can exercise your political opinions, you can vote, you can write your Congressman. But when you get deployment order, and it's handed down, you've got to follow that order.

ZAHN: You say you respect the conviction of his courage. Do you, though, as some suggest, think he's a coward?

RIECKHOFF: No. I think he's obviously willing to face prison for his beliefs and I think that shows that he does have some courage. You know, I don't know if I would make the same decision myself. He's not running to Canada. He's willing to stand up and take the punishment for what he thinks is the right thing to do. And I respect that.

But it's also interesting to note, he not filing for conscientious objector status here. He's refusing to take a direct order which would deploy him to Iraq. And he's also being accused of conduct unbecoming, which can be a lot of different things.

But ultimately, I think he's going to have a very hard legal fight here, and I think he's in a very tough spot.

ZAHN: And Joshua, what message does he send to other soldiers out there about the potential picking and choosing what wars they fight in?

JOSHUA CASTEEL, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: Well, Paula, Paul Rieckhoff, Lieutenant Watada and myself, we all took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, bound by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

And the Uniform Code of Military Justice tells us two things. One is that we have an obligation to obey all lawful orders, but we also have an obligation to disobey all unlawful orders, and -- which includes disobeying orders that are unlawful, even if they come from the President of the United States. Article Six, Paragraph Two of the United States Constitution dictates that treaties that the United States signs on to are to be considered the laws of the land, including among them, the Hague Convention on Land Warfare of 1899, the Nuremberg Principles, which in 1953, the Department of Defense declared to be official policy. And Justice Jackson, who's the chief...

ZAHN: All right.

But fast forward to today. So you're saying he's justified, based on these precedents?

CASTEEL: Absolutely. He is one of the few examples of moral courage that we have in the midst of plenty of individuals who show physical courage to go to Iraq and sacrifice for their country. But what we need tight now are moral leaders. And Lieutenant Watada is an example of the kind of leadership that reminds us of our better nature and the aspirations of the United States Constitution.

ZAHN: What kind of impact does his case have on the military? I mean, we heard Paul arguing quite forcefully that when you sign these papers and you make this commitment, you don't get to pick or choose what war you fight in.

AMY GOODMAN, HOST, "DEMOCRACY NOW": Well, Paula, this is extremely significant. Thousands of soldiers are saying no. The Pentagon doesn't like to talk about this, but Lieutenant Erhen Watada being the first officer to refuse to deploy to Iraq is very significant.

I was with him at Seattle at Town Hall. More than a thousand people were there. When he stood up, the applause was thunderous. He had just been hit with the fourth charge of conduct unbecoming an officer. You have to ask, if we lived in a just society, who would be charged with conduct unbecoming?

ZAHN: What about that, Paul?

RIECKHOFF: Well, he's going to be ultimately charged with it. And I think, you know, the military has to maintain order and discipline. And that's what the military has to do here. They can't have every lieutenant picking and choosing where he wants to go to war. And there are a lot of soldiers over there trying to uphold their commitment.

And again, you know, I understand his political situation here and I understand his position, but the military would have a real problem on their hands. And I think that the number of people who have objected...

GOODMAN: What's wrong...

RIECKHOFF: Hold on, let me finish. Hold on, let me finish.

The number of people who defected or rebelled, I think those numbers are still relatively small. We're not dealing with the Vietnam military here that was drafted. This is a very highly competent and professional military. And if you're looking for some kind of insurrection or mutiny from within the military against the war, I just don't think it's going to happen.

GOODMAN: I mean, my question is what's wrong with the military having a serious problem with this? I mean, the military has a very serious problem in Iraq.

RIECKHOFF: It's not an unlawful order. I mean, it's not right now an unlawful order until a U.S. Court or the military itself deems that this is an unlawful order, he is in violation of...

GOODMAN: When you're in the military, that is involved in a situation where even the commander in chief says they got in for the wrong reasons, that there are no weapons of mass destruction, when you have a military that...

RIECKHOFF: So is every soldier in Iraq violating the law right now?

GOODMAN: ... when you have a military that serves a democratic society, I think it's very important that people make up their own minds. There are so many soldiers like -- and you know many of them, like Tony Lataranus (ph), who was an Army interrogator, came back and said he's involved in war crimes, that they're violating the international Geneva Conventions.

RIECKHOFF: That's not necessarily blanket coverage for every single person in a combat theater. There are a 145,000 troops there. And every one of them is not breaking the law right now.

GOODMAN: Each individual has to ask the question.

ZAHN: You helped us better understand why there is such a debate about this raging across the country.

Thank you all, Paul Rieckhoff, Amy Goodman, Joshua Casteel.

Tonight's top story in crime is making some people really, really mad, especially the families of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. Coming up next, what O.J. Simpson is trying to accomplish by writing a book called "If I Did It". Is it a confession or a work of pure cynicism and fiction?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: On to our top story in crime tonight, the outrage over O.J. Simpson's new book. It has been 11 years since a jury cleared Simpson of the bloody double murder of his ex-wife and her friend. But now in that book and a T.V. interview he is describing how he would have killed them if he had committed the crime. Yes, that's right. That's what the book's about. And Ted Rowlands has just filed this story with an update for us tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Either O.J. Simpson is trying to tell us he's guilty or he's just making some cash from the 1994 murders of his ex-wife and her acquaintance, Ron Goldman.

His new book "If I Did It" is described by the publisher as quote, "a bone-chilling account of the night of the murders in which Simpson pictures himself at the center of the action, a terrifying eye-opening portrait of a deeply conflicted man."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wrote, I have never seen so much blood in my life.

ROWLANDS: There's a two-part television show featuring Simpson airing on the FOX Entertainment Network, which they've already started to promote. According to this FOX promo, at one point Simpson apparently talks about the amount of blood at the crime scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An interview that will shock the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You write, I had never seen so much blood in my life.

O.J. SIMPSON, AUTHOR: I don't think any two people could be murdered without everybody being covered in blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here's How it Happened.

ROWLANDS: The idea that someone may actually be paying O.J. to offer a morbid analysis of the gruesome murders has outraged the victim's families. Nicole Brown's sister Denise, in a statement says quote, "It's unfortunate that Simpson has decided to 'awaken a nightmare' that we have painfully endured and worked so hard to move beyond. We regret that Nicole's children Sydney and Justin will be exposed to Simpson's 'inexplicable behavior.'"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder.

ROWLANDS: Because Simpson was found not guilty 11 years in the criminal trial, nothing he says in the show or in the book could lead to a new trial for the murders. But because he lost the civil case, he owes the Goldman and Brown family millions.

ROWLANDS: Whether they'll get any of the money he stands to make from this deal remains to be seen. The producers of the special and the publishing company, Regan Books, refused to talk to CNN about the project and they aren't releasing any financial details.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROWLANDS: Simpson of course has a $38 million outstanding judgment against him. I talked to Kim Goldman a few minutes ago, Ron Goldman's sister. She called this disgusting and despicable saying quote, "if it's a full confession or true confession, it is his children's mother and innocent man that he is talking about how to kill," raising a lot of eyebrows tonight.

ZAHN: A lot of eyebrows and certainly engendering a lot of disgust. Thank you so much for dropping by. And you mentioned that Simpson owes more than $33 million to the Goldman family. So far he has failed to pay up. But members of the Goldman family have a new strategy to get that money. They want to take over the rights to Simpson's name and likeness.

Joining me now is Karl Manders, the intellectual property consultant the Goldman family has hired. Good of to you join us. You have talked to the family about this book and we heard what one of the sisters had to say. What is the parents' reaction?

KARL MANDERS, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CONSULTANT: Well, it's just a despicable situation. This man is a killer. We don't pay child molesters and drunk drivers to get on TV and glorify in their crimes. This man needs to be shunned.

Not only does O.J. Simpson need to be shunned, but FOX network needs to be shunned. For them to pay this man money, to revel in his crimes is despicable and we're hoping the public will turn its back not only on O.J. Simpson and not buy this book, but on FOX network and any other media that promotes this type of despicable act. It's horrible.

ZAHN: Let me come back to what you just said. You said he's being paid to revel in his crime. Do you think this book amounts to a confession?

MANDERS: This man killed these two people. Absolutely whether he elaborates in this book accurately or not is irrelevant. The point is he murdered two people, and he is going to get on TV, and make, you know, millions of dollars from this book, glorifying himself in what he did.

He thinks it's a joke. He doesn't care anything about his victims, about his victim's family, and America needs to turn its back on O.J. Simpson and on any media that would pay him to do this.

It's absolutely despicable and for FOX network to do this, it's interesting to note that while FOX network is concerned about the war on Christmas, the Murdoch empire is timeless to come out for the Christmas buying rush. It's absolutely despicable. They are hawking this book at the time when most of the world is celebrating the prince of peace. I don't know what's wrong with this network but it's just despicable.

ZAHN: Let's go back to the issue of the money. Because regardless of what you say, you know there's going to be a great deal of interest in this book. People are going to buy it. It probably will make millions of dollars for O.J. Simpson, so just help us better understand the Goldman strategy of how they're going to go after this money. MANDERS: Well, we're going to aggressively seek this money. As you know, O.J. Simpson hasn't paid virtually anything to the victims of this crime, and we're going to take very strong measures to try to get a hold of this money. This money never should have been paid to O.J. Simpson.

The people that paid him money should have paid the victims. They should have had the courage to do that. They obviously didn't, but our legal team is going to pursue O.J. Simpson vigorously and we hope to be able to recover all of this money.

ZAHN: Karl Manders, thanks for your time tonight.

MANDERS: Thank you.

ZAHN: Our pleasure. And we will have much more on this at the top of the hour, when Larry King welcomes Ron Goldman's father and sister.

Time out for a quick biz break.

(BUSINESS HEADLINES)

ZAHN: Tonight's top story in health may come as a surprise to you. Did you know that if you go to the emergency room you could also become a human guinea pig? Coming up, who is doing medical tests without patients' permission?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Our top story in health is pretty startling. Right now, the FDA is reviewing some controversial rules which allow emergency rooms to perform medical tests on patients without their permission. That's right. If you go in into the E.R. for a life-threatening condition, you could become a human guinea pig.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains in tonight's "Vital Signs".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're rushed into an ambulance, or an emergency room. Decisions are made at a dizzying pace about your treatment, about life and death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it arrest?

GUPTA: And without your consent, you may be treated using drugs or equipment that are basically unproven.

Dr. Sara Goldkind with the FDA says it happens in the absence of any other treatment options.

DR. SARA GOLDKIND, FOOD & DRUG ADMINISTRATION: You're dealing with a very perilous situation, a situation where there are no good alternatives. GUPTA: It's called waived consent, and it's used to test new medical products in cases of extreme trauma, like stroke or heart attack. Some patient advocates say it's dangerous.

VERA SHARAV, ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION: They are using patients as animals.

GUPTA: Vera Sharav is with the Alliance for Human Research Protection.

SHARAV: How do we feel about the idea that, when we are taken to a hospital, unconsciously, that we might be simply put into some kind of experiment that we know nothing about, that would cause us to die? It's that simple.

GUPTA: Waived consent is rare, applied to about 2,700 patients since 1996, 700 of those in a trial for a controversial artificial blood product called Polyheme. The makers of Polyheme believe it may be a better alternative than the traditional emergency treatment, saline solution.

But here's the rub: unless a family member objected, Polyheme was continually given, even when a real blood transfusion was available in the emergency room.

DR. ROBERT KLITZMAN, COLUMBIA UNIV. BIOETHICIST: And the problem with that is that when you're in the hospital, the hospital could give you your blood. They could give you blood which matches your blood type, which we know is a very good treatment for most people.

GUPTA: And a "Wall Street Journal" article earlier this year cites internal documents obtained from Northfield Laboratories, the makers of Polyheme, suggesting Polyheme may not be safe. They report that a trial of Polyheme, before it was tested under waived consent rules, was, quote, "quietly shut down" and that ten of 81 patients who received the fake blood suffered a heart attack within seven days. Two of them died.

There were no heart attacks in the group that received real blood. Northfield Laboratories posted a response to the article on their website, saying "They... disagree with the characterization that [they] did not disclose the results of this clinical trial."

Northfield insists that the full study results were reported to the FDA.

KLITZMAN: These are big problems. According to the FDA, you can waive consent if there are minimal risks. Well, if there are reports of people dying from the drug, that's not a minimal risk.

GUPTA: Hillary Williams, a singer from Nashville, was enrolled in the Polyheme trial after a serious car accident. Her blood pressure plummeted. Almost no blood was reaching her brain.

HILLARY WILLIAMS, SINGER: They said I'd died for a second. And I do remember having an aerial view of everything. And I saw the car and, you know, the ambulance and the helicopter and the stretcher and everything.

GUPTA: Williams believes Polyheme helped save her life and hopes her accident can to further medical research.

Experts say although there are major hurdles, waived consent may be the only way to peer into the future of emergency medicine.

GOLDKIND: The waiving of informed consent is not taken lightly, and the primary responsibility of the FDA, while it does have a public health mission, is to really protect the subjects who are enrolled in trials.

GUPTA: Just how the trials are conducted and whether products being tested are safe remains the subject of serious debate.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: Thanks for the warning, doctor.

Coming up at the top of the hour on "LARRY KING LIVE", Ronald Goldman's father and sister react to one of our top stories, the news that O.J. is writing book called "If I Did It".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for joining us. We will be back same time, same place tomorrow night.

Until then, have a great night.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.

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