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YOUR WORLD TODAY
Additional Charge Added Against Astronaut Accused of Plotting to Kidnap Rival in Love Triangle
Aired February 6, 2007 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, there was a metal mallet allegedly found. There was some rubber tubing that was found. There was also a knife allegedly found.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: A wig.
HARRIS: A wig.
COLLINS: A plastic bag...
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Pepper spray.
COLLINS: ... with carbon dioxide.
LEMON: The most bizarre thing, though, guys, I mean, so she doesn't have to go the bathroom -- now, this is according to the police and the police report, but she wore diapers so she didn't have to go to bathroom. And that's certainly...
COLLINS: Yes. And they do this on the shuttle. So I think she was probably familiar with that.
LEMON: Yes, something that she knew about it. But it certainly sort of gives you an idea, if this is all true, of what her frame of mind was. She was -- definitely had a mission, so to speak, and that mission was to get there quickly and take care of this.
COLLINS: Yes. We're going the have our CNN correspondent coming up. Apparently, now we are hearing that there is an additional charge being added to all of this.
So our correspondent John Zarrella is in Orlando, kind of following this story for us. He's going to come up here in just a minute and let us know more about what that fourth charge would be.
HARRIS: And Heidi, apparently because of this additional charge, there will be no bond.
COLLINS: No bond. Right.
HARRIS: So let's get to John Zarrella.
John, what can you fill us in on this latest additional charge?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. That's exactly what we're told. Waiting around now for a couple of hours for her be released, and the spokesman for the jail here came out just a moment ago and said she is not being released at this point in time because Orlando police are in the process of adding another charge.
And then he said that charge is attempted first-degree murder. So we don't know what evidence they have to support that at this point, but apparently astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak is not getting out of jail right now because of this very, very serious new charge that's being added against her -- Tony.
HARRIS: OK. John, hang on a second. Let's backtrack this for just a moment, because there was a hearing this morning, and then that hearing concluded. And at that hearing you presume that the prosecutor at the time made the case, the most effective case possible, to hold Lisa without bond. And yet, it looks like this is a development that came outside of that hearing.
ZARRELLA: That's correct. And don't know what...
ZARRELLA: ... absolutely no idea, Tony, what has led them adding this charge. Again, what kind of evidence they had, because there was no indication in the hearing this morning that they were going to be going down any other road other than the fact that, you know, they were insisting, the prosecutor, that she be held without bond because of the fact that they felt that the attempted kidnapping was a very, very serious charge.
But the judge at that point in time siding with the defense and saying that, you know, he was going to go ahead and release her for what amounted to $15,500 in bond, which isn't much, and releasing her to go back to Houston as long as she wore that ankle bracelet.
ZARRELLA: Well, all of that is now off.
ZARRELLA: And we have to see where this leads us, if she's going to be back in court again today to face this additional charge, or what happens next. But the twists and turns in this story are just -- just amazing.
COLLINS: Yes. And, you know, John, this obviously changes the whole story a great deal. Just looking at the police report as reported to CNN here. Inside one of the bags that Nowak was carrying, an officer apparently found a tan trench coat, a new steel mallet, a new folding knife with a four-inch blade, and three to four feet of rubber tubing.
Again, as we say, not exactly sure why this fourth charge of attempted first-degree murder was added. But we also know that originally there was another fourth charge the judge actually found probable cause for, and that was the destruction of evidence. ZARRELLA: Right, right. That's correct. And what had happened was, that at the airport, she was apparently observed by the officers who responded taking some of the disguises that she had been wearing, or some of things that she had with her, and dumping them in the trash bin there.
So, right, he said no probable cause on that -- or released on her own recognizance, ROR, on that particular charge. So, that was a warrant that there was no bail placed on it.
HARRIS: But John -- but John, it seems it would have been easy a argument to make, that if you find this kind of evidence in -- in Lisa's possession, that you could at least construct the story that she had intentions beyond just a simple kidnapping, correct?
ZARRELLA: Well, no question, Tony. And that's what the prosecutor said. And, in fact, the prosecutor went one step further and said, you know, listen, in her Miranda -- when she was Mirandized, in her Miranda statement, she indicated in her Miranda statement that the attempted kidnapping was true.
This was according to the prosecutor, again, arguing this morning in the court before the judge that, look, you know, Lisa Marie Nowak admitted in her Miranda statement that this plot -- there was this plot that she intended to carry out. So, again, that would lead you to believe that they would have at least held her, but, no. They had originally agreed to release her, and maybe that is why this additional charge is now being added in an attempt by Orlando police to go ahead and keep her and not allow her to be released.
COLLINS: John, stick with us, if you would, as we go back over this story for people who may just now be joining us. Also want to let them know that normally you would be seeing international programming right now, CNN's "YOUR WORLD TODAY." But we are going to stick with this story as these new developments come in to us now.
A fourth charge of attempted first-degree murder has been added to NASA astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak in her first court appearance today. You see the video of it now.
But John, as we said, let's go back to the way the story all began.
Apparently, Nowak driving from Houston to Orlando, to meet up with a woman by the name of Colleen Shipman, obviously unannounced to Shipman, because she was arriving at the Orlando airport. And the Navy captain, Nowak, wanted to confront her about an apparent love triangle, an involvement with the same man, Navy commander Bill Oefelein.
HARRIS: So -- no, go ahead, John.
ZARRELLA: No, I was going to say, that's absolutely correct. That's exactly what it -- how it all transpired. And apparently, at least in court today, it came out that the two women didn't have any contact or apparently didn't even know each other before this incident. At least not -- they had never met before this particular incident took place at the airport.
HARRIS: So, John, who was in -- you were there for the hearing this morning. Who was in the court, essentially testifying to Lisa's conduct, to her good character? There was someone from NASA there on her behalf.
ZARRELLA: Right, that's correct. Chief astronaut Steve Lindsey was in the courtroom. In fact, he was sitting right behind me. And then he was called in to testify on her behalf.
And he was asked a number of questions by the judge, who asked him, listen, listen, if we allow her to leave, is it going to be a problem keeping her away from the Kennedy Space Center? Is it going to be a problem keeping her away from Patrick Air Force Base? And Steven Lindsey -- again, the chief astronaut -- said, "No, Your Honor. If that's what you want, that certainly can be arranged. There's no reason for her to be Patrick Air Force Base or at the Kennedy Space Center."
That was one of the critical issues. And then he was also asked, "If I do give her an ankle bracelet to wear, a monitoring device, is that going to be a problem interfering with her job?" And Steve Lindsey said, "No, Your Honor, that would not be a problem with her and interfere with her job either."
So those were the conversations. But again, Lindsey also did testify, look, she's an upstanding woman. And, in fact, her attorney, who was also in the courtroom, said the same thing. Not only that, but adding that -- you know, and she has served her country, because, of course, you know, she's been in the United States Navy as well before joining the astronaut corps -- Tony, Heidi.
COLLINS: And quickly, John, as you mentioned, Patrick Air Force Base here, we should also mention that all three of these people involved in this story are military. Colleen Shipman attached to Patrick Air Force Base. She is an Air Force captain.
ZARRELLA: That's correct. And again, there's a reason why no contact, you know, at -- at Patrick Air Force Base either. And I think I mentioned it earlier, Heidi, that the judge also instructed Nowak that, you know, she could not do anything, could not make any contact at all with Shipman, including sending her flowers to say she was sorry.
So, they were very serious about the fact that they did not want any contact between Nowak and Shipman. And now it looks like there's less likelihood of that happening if she doesn't get out of jail any time soon.
COLLINS: Yes, certainly.
A little confused though about the proceedings of all of this, John, because we did see, obviously, initially that bond was set for $15,500. Thought that the proceeding was over. What went down? I mean, had the proceeding actually never concluded?
ZARRELLA: No, the proceeding absolutely did conclude. In fact, I'm standing here looking at the bail bondsman who was called in who was going to be handling the bond for Lisa Nowak.
He was upstairs with another associate from his office. And they were upstairs for the past couple of hours, you know, apparently working out all of the details of the bond and working out the details of this monitoring device which she was going to have to wear.
You know, then that -- and so, we don't know what happened other than the fact that at some point in the last couple of hours, they added that second charge, that additional charge.
HARRIS: And I guess I just want to make one other point here.
John, thank you so much for your hustle with us this morning.
As you look at these pictures and you take a look at this -- at this woman in court this morning, just keep in mind that this is a married woman with three children. Don't know the ages of the children, but this is a tremendous human drama that is playing out this morning. Just something to consider as we tell you what we know about this story this morning.
COLLINS: Yes. I think another thing to consider as we move forward, which we don't have any answers to yet, but it's hard not to think about the military involvement. All three of them officers in the United States military.
It's possible -- possible that the UCMJ, Uniform Code of Military Justice, could be used to bring about some more charges strictly in the military court. You would be talking about conduct unbecoming, possible fraternization, and adultery.
So as we move forward, we will continue to sort of check out whether or not that will apply in something like this.
John Zarrella coming to us now live once again with the very latest on the situation directly from Orlando -- John.
ZARRELLA: Hi, Heidi. We're here now and I have with me Allen Moore.
And Allen, you're a spokesman here at the jail facility. Can you give us any indication -- I know you came out a few moments ago and told everyone, wait a minute now, she's not getting out right away, an additional charge is added or is about to be added.
What can you tell us about how this all transpired? The hearing ended this morning. ALLEN MOORE, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA, CORRECTIONS: Correct. She has satisfied her bail on the existing charges. She was about to be released when the Orlando Police Department showed up with additional charge of attempted first-degree murder.
So that stopped the release process. That charge will now have to be dealt with by the judiciary as to whether she would be granted release on that charge as well.
ZARRELLA: So, she is going to have to make a second first appearance on that charge, correct?
MOORE: Very likely. I don't have the timing on that now, but it probably will be in the morning, at 8:30 in the morning.
ZARRELLA: So that will be now tomorrow morning when that will transpire.
So she's going to remain in custody here then?
MOORE: She will remain in custody in our booking and release center. She'll be held in protective custody as we do with all high- profile inmates, meaning she'll be in a cell by herself or with similarly situated inmates.
ZARRELLA: Is there any concern over her safety -- her own safety perhaps against herself considering what she is alleged to have done?
MOORE: I don't have her on suicide watch at this time. We do watch that very closely. We have a psychological staff. Where she is at, in protective custody, she'll be under constant observation as well. So I can't declare her on any sort of suicide watch. I've been told no indication that she would be in that status.
ZARRELLA: So nobody that's requested that then?
MOORE: No, not at this point.
ZARRELLA: And again, 8:30 tomorrow morning is the likely time, would not obviously appear back in court today, then. Not much likelihood of that?
MOORE: I have no information that she would be back in court. There's a second initial appearance at 1:30 this afternoon, but I doubt there will be time to process her into that hearing.
ZARRELLA: No indication as to what led the Orlando police to file this additional charge?
MOORE: I haven't seen the charging affidavit yet. That will have to come from the Orlando police spokesman, Barbara Jones.
ZARRELLA: So then we really have no indication of what new evidence they might have that would have led them to add this.
MOORE: We only know that the charging affidavit is being filed as we speak.
ZARRELLA: And how long before you think you would get your hands on that?
MOORE: Likely within the next 15 to 20 minutes.
ZARRELLA: Allen, we'll expect to see it, I suppose, out here then.
MOORE: Absolutely. Absolutely.
ZARRELLA: Allen Moore, thank you very much for joining us.
So, Heidi and Tony, you heard that first, and it appears that she's going to have to be back in court again tomorrow morning, 8:30 a.m., for what would amount to a second first appearance on this additional charge of attempted first-degree murder.
ZARRELLA: We should find out in a very short while the extent to which Orlando police had new evidence that led them to file this additional charge. But you also heard that she had made bail on the other charges and was preparing to be released when the Orlando police stepped in and said, hold on, not so fast -- Heidi, Tony.
HARRIS: How about that moment?
COLLINS: Yes, definitely.
And she will spend the night in jail again now tonight.
HARRIS: Yes. Yes.
COLLINS: All right.
John Zarrella, we know that you're going to stick around for us as we continue to watch this very much developing story out of Orlando, Florida.
And we're going to take a very quick break.
Stick around, everybody. We'll be back in just a moment.
HARRIS: Just trying to sort of imagine just the roller-coaster of emotions involved for everybody involved in this thing this morning -- Colleen Shipman, and certainly Lisa Nowak.
Moments ago, Lisa Nowak, the astronaut -- we've been telling you this story all morning long -- making her first court appearance today in this bizarre case of this alleged love triangle gone crazy wrong. She had posted bail, $15,500, was set to leave the courthouse, when someone from the Orlando Police Department rushed in and said, hold up, wait a minute, we've got a new charge here, a new charge, affidavit charging attempted first-degree murder.
And at that point, all bets were off.
COLLINS: Yes, definitely all bets are off. They had talked about putting on this GPS sort of tracking system so that they could make sure that she didn't go anywhere near the alleged victim in all of this, Colleen Shipman. (INAUDIBLE) Patrick Air Force Base. She, herself, an Air Force captain.
So, in lieu all of that, apparently now she will make a second first appearance...
COLLINS: ... if you will, on this fourth charge. And that will happen apparently tomorrow morning. They're saying about 8:30 or so.
So she will stay overnight in jail once again tonight.
HARRIS: So we want to bring you up to speed on what is happening right now at the moment, but we also want to provide even better context as to the allegations, the charges here.
Here's CNN's Miles O'Brien.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Lisa Nowak, astronaut in training. Lisa Nowak, suspects facing some serious charges.
Police in Orlando say it's all about a high-flying love triangle. They say Nowak, a Navy captain who flew for the first time on the shuttle Discovery in July, drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront Colleen Shipman at the airport. Authorities say both women were romantically linked to astronaut Bill Oefelein, the pilot on the last shuttle mission in December.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a fairly elaborate plan. And we believe that she was probably going to try to kidnap the victim and, you know, possibly do serious bodily harm.
O'BRIEN: Police say Nowak, married with three children, wore a trench coat and wig, and waited for Shipman in the parking lot at the airport when she arrived on a flight from Houston. They say Nowak pepper-sprayed Shipman as she sat in her car.
But there is more. Police say Nowak was armed with a knife, a BB gun, and a steel mallet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a really, really sad, sad case that, you know, somebody of that stature, of that success in her professional career, ends up finding herself on the other side of the law, facing some very serious charges. O'BRIEN: Miles O'Brien, CNN, New York.
COLLINS: And once again, just to remind you, talking about serious charges. That package was put together before this fourth charge put into place. Now we're talking about attempted first-degree murder for Lisa Marie Nowak, you see on your screen there.
Want to go ahead and bring in Kendall Coffey. He's coming to us out of Miami, an attorney that we speak to many times in cases like this.
Also, we have our John Zarrella coming to us live in just a few minutes out of Orlando, covering the story for us.
So thanks to both of you guys for being with us.
Kendall, to you first, how unusual is it to have posted bond, to be basically about to be released from the courtroom and from custody, the police come in, they say apparently they have more evidence and they want to add another charge, and, quite frankly, a charge that is much, much serious now, attempted first-degree murder?
KENDALL COFFEY, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Very strange, Heidi, but everything about this matter is utterly bizarre.
What had to have happened is the prosecutors and police were really frosted when what they considered to be some pretty serious charges already, including attempted kidnapping, basically gave her a get out of jail free for now pass for $15,000 bond and a GPS monitoring system. A small bond like that really they felt wasn't fair, they wanted her behind bars. And in any prosecution, criminal case, there are a range of charges you can consider.
You can go low end, you can go medium, you can go to the high end of it. So what they have done is they have ratcheted it up to the most serious charges available to, among other things, make sure she doesn't get out of jail and she's behind bars. And I think it will be very hard to get any kind of a reasonable bail bond at this point.
COLLINS: Yes, and I don't want to have you speculate, Kendall, but as I look at some of the reports in front of me confirmed here at CNN, according to the Orlando police, you know, they found this trench coat, they found a steel mallet, they fold a folding knife with a four-inch blade, they found a bunch of rubber tubing, some cash, latex gloves, MapQuest directions from Houston to the airport in Orlando, where Colleen Shipman was apparently landing. And then this very bizarre situation where she apparently, Lisa Nowak, wore diapers so she could eliminate stops along the highway to travel those 900 miles -- of course something that they do in a shuttle as well. So she's familiar with that process.
But it seemed to me that, if you are a prosecutor, you may go with this attempted first-degree murder charge right off the top.
COFFEY: Absolutely. And we don't want to speculate, but I think we can sort of put ourselves in their shoes a little bit.
They're looking at things that are just so troubling. What's with the folding knife, the BB gun, the large plastic garbage bags if you're not even thinking about something as horrible as killing somebody and trying to dispose of a body?
So there's enough there to give prosecutors plenty of concerns. From the standpoint of her friends, this is just a meltdown, nothing serious was intended. But I can certainly understand why police and prosecutors think it could be something far more sinister that she had in mind.
COLLINS: All right, Kendall. Thanks so much. Stick around with us if you would, please, as we continue to watch this story here.
HARRIS: And John Zarrella joins us now from just outside the courthouse in Orlando.
Hey, John, I'm wondering, as you were sitting in on this process this morning, this proceeding, was it curious to you that, with the information in the affidavit, the articles that were allegedly found in the vehicle, was it surprising to you that the prosecutor wasn't making an even more forceful case to keep Lisa behind bars?
ZARRELLA: Yes, I think it surprised a lot of us. I mean, other than the prosecutor just saying, look, you know, we don't want any bond, it's pretty clear in the affidavit that she attempted to do these things, but when the judge went down the road of giving her a GPS, the -- you know, the prosecutor said, that's OK, too, although we still would like you to hold her without bond.
So the -- it wasn't a very, very forceful case that was presented by the prosecutor. And, of course, it was a far more forceful case presented by the defense attorney. In fact, bringing in the fact that, you know, this woman had given a lot to the space agency and has never been a problem before. And also, you know, has served her country in the United States Navy.
Now, it's also very interesting that we just got a press release from the Orlando Police Department, and the Orlando Police Department is saying that they're in the process of adding this additional charge. And then they go back into the descriptions of all the events that happened in the overnight hours at the airport that we've all heard about now. And there don't -- there does not at least appear to be in any of that information anything new other than what we all heard. So any, you know, new evidence or any new information that they might have that would have maybe led them to this new charge, we don't particularly see it.
So, you know, as Kendall Coffey said, based on the original evidence that they've got, they're just ratcheting -- ratcheting this thing all up. Now -- and, you know, we did hear just a few minutes ago from Allen Moore, who is a spokesman here at the jail and the courthouse here about what will happen now to Lisa Nowak.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOORE: She has satisfied her bail on the existing charges. She was about to be released when the Orlando Police Department showed up with additional charge of attempted first-degree murder.
So that stopped the release process. That charge will now have to be dealt with by the judiciary as to whether she would be granted release on that charge as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZARRELLA: Yes. And we expect that she will have to appear again back in court, as you mentioned, here tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m.
Now, in this first court appearance, she was represented by people from NASA, two astronauts. One of them, Steve Lindsey, the chief astronaut, flew in last night from Houston to be here to show NASA's support in -- in this developing story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COL. STEVE LINDSEY, NASA: We're here representing NASA. And our primary concern is Lisa's health and well-being, make sure that she's safe, make sure we get her through this and we get her back to a safe place with her family.
This is a private, it's a personal matter. It's a legal matter that she and her family have to deal with. And our primary concern is, again, her health and well-being and safety. And we're down here supporting her like we would any employee at NASA if they were to get in this situation. We're a close family, and we try to take care of our own.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZARRELLA: And again, Lindsey was down here basically, you know, to support her, but also, we understand, he would have been accompanying her back to Houston had she been released this afternoon. And again, Tony, Heidi, that's not going to happen.
HARRIS: And John, very quickly, before Heidi gets us back to Kendall Coffey, I'm just wondering, was there ever a moment when the prosecutor said in this proceeding, hey, wait a minute, judge, maybe you think I'm soft-pedaling this is little bit, but this is a potentially a first-degree murder case here?
ZARRELLA: No, not that I recall, ever hearing that. She did say, look, you know, attempted kidnapping...
ZARRELLA: ... she kept saying, is very serious. But, you know -- and it carries very serious penalties, as Kendall can discuss. But she never did bring up the possibility that I recall in that hearing this morning of adding any additional charge that was even weightier than the kidnapping charge -- Tony. HARRIS: OK, John. Stick with us.
COLLINS: And Kendall, if you can hear me still -- Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney joining us to talk a little bit about these proceedings -- already mentioned, Kendall, this is very rare, that the whole case is pretty strange.
What about those penalties, the difference between this trumped- up charge of attempted first-degree murder in comparison to attempted kidnapping?
COFFEY: Well, I mean, you can be looking at a couple decades or more if it's attempted murder. And the bond consequence, the immediate consequence, is going to be that instead of -- it's really a pretty small bond. I mean, that's kind of breaking and entering stuff, when you're out for $15,500 and sort of the monitoring device.
I think you're going to see a much bigger bond. And my speculation is that either the police and the prosecutors, who themselves have been reacting very quickly in trying to sort these things out, simply did another evaluation and thought that the original charges weren't stiff enough, or that they were stunned with the bond -- the relatively easy bond and the release, went back to the blackboard and felt that they could justify a higher charge which would avert, in effect, somebody walking right out of jail after, in their minds, committing a very serious crime.
COLLINS: Kendall, why isn't this being handle by a military court? We've got an Air Force captain, we've got a Navy Captain, and we've got a Navy commander that we're dealing with here.
COFFEY: Well, it took place in the Orlando airport. It essentially involves civilian jurisdiction. And so, no matter who you are, if you commit a crime in the state of -- in the boundaries of the state of Florida, the Florida police, the Florida prosecutors are going to have the authority to charge you. It doesn't mean, by the way, that there aren't separate military consequences, including everything from a crime of adultery to assault on another U.S. personnel.
So, that could be down the road. But for now it's in the hands of the Florida authorities.
COLLINS: She could be brought into a court-martial, is that what you're saying, later on possibly?
COFFEY: Absolutely. These are the kinds of things that -- as I say, everything from adultery, to conduct unbecoming of an officer, to more -- more serious offenses. But the military has a separate jurisdiction for its forces. Meanwhile, if you're in the state of Florida violating its laws, you're going to face Florida police and a Florida court.
COLLINS: And possibly this charge of fraternization. Just to make it clear, that would -- again, we are looking forward, this has not happened, but an interesting case because we are dealing with three military officers here -- Navy commander Bill Oefelein is, as we say, a Navy commander and outranks Lisa Nowak. That would -- or could be a charge, UCMJ, Uniform Code of Military Justice, fraternizing.
COFFEY: Absolutely. We're used to all kinds of scandals in the civilian world, but they take it much more seriously and look at it very differently within the military system. And there are actually officers who are significantly disciplined through court-martials for these kind of what to some might seem like personal transgressions.
COLLINS: All right, Kendall Coffey, we so appreciate your insight today, former U.S. attorney.
HARRIS: What an amazing story, we've been watching it unfold for you, bringing it to you, these latest developments in the NEWSROOM. Lisa Marie Nowak, you see there, an astronaut. Boy, just an amazing story of what has happened to her, transpired over the last 24 hours or so. Now in a detention center in the Orlando courthouse facing very serious charges now. The latest charge being worked up right now we understand by Orlando police, filing an affidavit, charging her with attempted first-degree murder. All of this having to do with an alleged love triangle. It is a story will be following throughout the course of the afternoon. A further update at the top of the hour in the NEWSROOM with Betty Nguyen with Don Lemon.
COLLINS: For now, though, .we'll take you back to "YOUR WORLD TODAY," with all of the news happening across the globe and here at home.
GORANI: While the Middle East is focused on Palestinian talks in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, another spark is brewing tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in Jerusalem. It's all about renovation work at a holy site that's is meaningful to both sides.
Ben Wedeman reports.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The work seems simple enough. The equipment, hardly heavy. But this renovation work on a ramp outside of the walls of what Muslims call the Harima Sharif (ph), the holy sanctuary, for Jews, the Temple Mount, is enough to send jitters across a region where jitters are the norm.
Muslim authorities in Jerusalem claim the work could undermine the foundation of Islam's third holiest site, something that Israelis involved in the project flatly deny.
GIDEON AVI, ISRAELI ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY: All of the work conducted here is absolutely outside of the limits of the Temple Mount. We're standing about 50 meters from the wall. Nothing will be conducted within the area of the wall.
WEDEMAN: But in a land where trust between Arabs and Jews, a rare is a rare commodity.
"It means Israel wants to ignite a religious war in the region," says this leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, "because this place is where the Prophet Mohamed walks." It concerns every Muslim, every Palestinian and every Arab."
It was here that the opening salvos of the so-called Aqsa (ph) Intifada, the second Palestinian uprising were fired in September 2000 during a visit by Ariel Sharon, who months later was elected prime minister.
Israeli officials insisted the uprising was planned and direct by the late Yasser Arafat. Palestinians insisted the intifada was sparked by Sharon's visit, fueled by frustrations with a peace process going nowhere.
But both sides would probably agree, this spot of hallowed ground is some of the world's most volatile real estate.
(on camera): Hamas leader Khaled Meshal, speaking from Damascus, said Israel here is playing with fire, but given that the Palestinians are so preoccupied with their own problems, they may not actually be able to react to this.
(voice-over): Within the last month, more Palestinians have been killed in factional fighting than in conflict with Israel. The renovations in Jerusalem have not lit any fires, yet.
But rocks have already begun to fly in Bethlehem, where young Palestinians pelted an Israeli guard tire in protests over the work in Jerusalem.
But the dynamics of the conflict have fundamentally changed since September 2000 -- Israel is far stronger; the Palestinians far weaker. The rocks bounce harmlessly off the heavily fortified Israeli positions.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Jerusalem.
CLANCY: Well, turning back to Iraq now, it is a loaded question, for sure, Hala, and it's this -- do you have any idea at all how much money U.S. taxes have poured down the hole, so to speak, in Iraq?
GORANI: Well, I have a general idea, but it's a safe assumption to say that few people do, at least in terms of how much each individual is paying, but some are following the spiraling costs very closely.
Tom Foreman is one of them.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you study Iraq in purely financial terms and say, show me the money, it's quite a show. This is how much America taxpayers are paying for the war -- more than $350 million and still climbing, based on government records compiled and computed by a progressive thinktank, the National Priorities Project.
Ken Pollack is with the Brookings Institution.
KEN POLLACK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: One of the great tragedies of Iraq is that the administration has mismanaged this war so badly that it has wound up costing the taxpayers far more than it might have had things been handled otherwise.
FOREMAN: How much money has been spent on Iraq? The Priorities Project Estimates enough to hire more than six million teachers, enough to build more than 700 new elementary schools, in each state. Eight million police officers could be hired, or six million cargo inspectors for ports. Or, we figure, every American driver could get free gasoline for a year. In the complex world of government budgets, the total estimate can be fairly questioned, but it's a lot more than the White House wants to suggest.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRES. OF THE UNITED STATES: Today I'm sending the Congress a wartime supplemental appropriations request of $74.7 billion to fund needs directly arising from the Iraqi conflict and our global war against terror.
FOREMAN: Government investigators say billions have been loss to fraud, mismanagement or bad bookkeeping. And the spending wont end when the fighting does. American troops and equipment have held up well.
MAJ. GEN. DON SHEPPERD, U.S. AIR FORCE (RETIRED): I could see the cost of war going up another 50 percent, and maybe even doubling because of what we have to do to replace personnel, ammunition and equipment over a long period of time.
FOREMAN (on camera): Plenty of people argue that establishing democracy anywhere is worth whatever it takes, and of course no one can put a value on all of the brave young lives lost, or calculate the cost of leaving.
(voice-over): But the price tag of the war so far is impressive. In time it took you to watch this story, Iraq cost America almost $500,000 more.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
GORANI: Well, more Iraq-related new. A trial has resumed a short while ago. The first American officer court-martialed for refusing to ship out to Iraq. Prosecutors in the state of Washington are expected to call several witnesses today in an effort to prove the officer's comments about Iraq and the Bush administration amount to conduct unbecoming of an officer. First Lieutenant Ehren Watada says he wouldn't mind serving in Afghanistan, but contends the Iraq war is quote, "an illegal war founded on lies," according to him. So far, the military judge has excused virtually all planned defense witnesses.
YOUR WORLD TODAY continues after the break. Stay with us.
GORANI: Welcome back. You're watching YOUR WORLD TODAY on CNN International. Talk about generating controversy. Her new book is called, "Infidel." And her detractors would have even harsher words for Ayaan Hirsi Ali. After fleeing a difficult childhood in Africa, she settled in the Netherlands and become a polarizing figure for her open criticism of Islam. Supporters call her a brave voice that needs to be heard.
Ali's book chronicles her extraordinary life, which now finds her living and working in Washington, and she joins us now live from New York.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, thanks for being with us.
Now you left Africa. You say that you were being sent off to Canada for a forced marriage arrangement, but you decided to stay in Europe, and ended up in Holland. Tell us a little bit about what has made you an open critic of the faith that you were born into.
AYAAN HIRSI ALI, AUTHOR, "INFIDEL": It really starts on the 11th of September, when after the attacks, two sorts of leaders made an appeal on Muslims. On the one hand, the terrorists who say this is true Islam and follow our path, and on the other hand, leaders such as President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair, who called Muslims to say this is not our faith. And so I went looking into what the Muslims (ph) was saying. I compared his quotations to what's written in the Koran, and I discovered it was very consistent. And then I asked myself as a Muslim, on whose side am I?
And my conscience told me that it's wrong to kill people. I also acknowledge what is written in the Koran, and that lead, as I explained in the book, to my asking questions to myself, and my answer was, I just couldn't, I couldn't reconcile my conscience with the Koran it commands (ph), and I think that that means that we have to change our attitude toward the Koran and the prophet as a model and guide.
GORANI: Right. So what has ended up happening for you? You've given up on Islam. You say you don't believe in God anymore. You're an atheist essentially. Is that where your road has taken you?
ALI: Well, my personal road. So for my own personal, spiritual comfort, I feel it's for me very consistent, a rational way, and I don't need a God, or a hereafter, angels and so on and so forth. But I'm born into the Islamic culture and history, and because of that, in the world we live in now, I feel a certain obligation to ask critical questions that for a long time have not been asked, or if they have been asked, those who did have always been threatened, exiled or killed.
GORANI: But let me ask you, Ayaan, what your critics say, you've heard this criticism over the last few years, you collaborated with Theo Van Gogh on a documentary called "Submission." Theo Van Gogh, as some of our viewers may know, a result of that documentary, was shot and killed by a Muslim man, who said that that work insulted Islam. And your critics essentially you're rejecting Islam rather than just rejecting a negative interpretation of the Koran. What would you answer to that?
ALI: I answer to that by saying I was brought up as a Muslim. I was a devout Muslim. And as an individual following what happened after 9/11, I started to look at the Koran, the holy book of Islam, at the prophet and what he left behind for us, and that is consistent with what the terrorists are telling us. And it up to Muslims to say, well, we acknowledge that's it all there, but we are going to move on. This is a book that was written in the eighth century. We are living in the 21st century. So it no longer pays to blame external factors such as imperialism, colonialism, the Americans or the Jews; we must do the change ourselves.
GORANI: Why are you in the U.S. now?
ALI: I live in the United States. I work for the American Enterprise Institute as a resident fellow, and I'm there because I felt that I have accomplished in the Dutch parliament what I set out to accomplish, and that was to create awareness for the suffering of Muslim women and for cultural factors affecting what we call integration in the Netherlands, and what is called assimilation in the United States.
GORANI: So when you left Holland, and there was some controversy regarding stories you made up in order to gain citizenship, Dutch citizenship, would you consider going back?
ALI: Oh, I do back to Holland all the time, and my citizenship being revoked because I had, yes, indeed, made up a story that I had come from the civil war, instead of coming from not wanting to go to Canada to the marriage that was already arranged, but that has nothing for my being here in the United States. I have gotten my citizenship back. And I am a Dutch citizen. and I'm being very proud to be a Dutch citizen, and I love the Netherlands.
GORANI: Ayaan, I just have to ask you one quick last question -- how afraid of you for your safety?
ALI: Well, I have a protection, because -- and that is the question I'd love to put those people who protest against what I have to say. You can agree with what I say or not. But I am the one whose life is threatened. I'm the one who has to live with bodyguard, and I wonder why critics are not addressing those who are doing the threats.
GORANI: All right, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the author of "Infidel." Thanks for being with us on CNN.
Thank you very much.
CLANCY: Well you see there the career of one very provocative and very committed young woman who has got that new book out. And we're going to shift gears here a little bit, Hala.
GORANI: Right, well we're going to shift gears from one industry to another, from politics to entertainment. While she's had a career as an opera star, a Grammy-award winning singer.
CLANCY: And her wardrobe has gone through quite a transition as well, Hala.
GORANI: From gold lamet hot pants, lamet, Jim, to overalls, Kylie Minogue's has gone to some fashion extremes over the years.
CLANCY: Well now there's an entire exhibit out and we're going to take you there, coming up next.
GORANI: For those of you whose last into pop music was during the Beatles era, Kylie Minogue and his ring tone, by the way, testifies to that -- Kylie Minogue is a Grammy award winning singer and songwriter, Jim.
CLANCY: That's right, she began her career on an Australian soap opera that's called "Neighbors" and the clothes that she wore both then and what she wears today, the subject of a new exhibit at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.
GORANI: Well Krishnan Guru-Murthy has more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the "I should be so lucky" dress, which was designed by Jenny Bannister in 1987.
KRISHNAN GURU-MURTHY, ITV CORRESPONDENT: But does that really justify a place in the V and A? A piece of fashion?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well I think what that shows...
GURU-MURTHY: ... It kind of looks like a sack to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What it shows is the development. What were you wearing in 1987?
GURU-MURTHY: Oh, you don't want to go there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We see how she's developed through the '80s.
GURU-MURTHY: And this is another really iconic outfit, isn't it?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is. This is the white hooded jumpsuit by Fee Doran. And there's a wonderful story about -- I don't know if it's remarkable, but when Kylie first got it out and had a look at it, she saw the design and thought, "What am I going to do with this?"
GURU-MURTHY: What are you supposed to do with that? Is that taped?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess it must be taped, probably to be decent. But it's gone on to be one of her most popular outfits.
GURU-MURTHY: How keen a sense of fashion are you able to discern that Kylie has from this exhibition?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think you see that she's very collaborative. The designers all talk about how much fun it is working with her, because she both knows what she wants, but she's also willing to listen. And she likes working with people and they like working with her. And I think you see through the changing images that she's always, always changed. It's not just been in the last 10 years.
GURU-MURTHY: It doesn't seem as fashionable as some pop stars might go for it. It seems more theatrical and more showing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's more about performance in the sense that's what the exhibition's about, as well. It's not just the fashion, it's the collaborations with the designers and stylists and so on, which all go into making a great show.
GURU-MURTHY: And this is back out today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this is Galliano showgirl outfit, it comes straight from the Showgirl Homecoming Tour that was at Wembley and then at Manchester in January of 2007.
GURU-MURTHY: And Kylie's laced into this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right, she's laced into it. It's the opener for the show. She's laced it into every night. And then she has to be cut out of it to move on to the next part of the show.
GURU-MURTHY: Tell me, I mean, how engineered are these outfits?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well they look beautiful, but they're obviously a working wardrobe and I think that's what this exhibition is about. It's about these clothes have to look fantastic, but they also have to really work onstage.
CLANCY: All right.
GORANI: All right. Good comeback after breast cancer a couple of years ago. Well, that's it for this hour. I'm Hala Gorani.
CLANCY: I'm Jim Clancy. Stay with CNN.
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