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CNN NEWSROOM

Osama bin Laden Video; Presidential Candidate Terrorism Scramble; Missing British Girl's Parents Formal Suspects; No Troop Reductions

Aired September 8, 2007 - 12:00   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: Well, straight ahead this hour, extreme weather. Flashfloods hit the Heartland while another tropical storm lurks off the coast. We've got new information on both with our Reynolds Wolf.
Also, a Philly cop is shot and seriously wounded, it happened more than 40 years ago, so why is it now being called murder?

Severely wounded soldiers home from Iraq talk about their injuries and the horror of war.

Hello, I'm Fredricka Whitfield and you're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Up first a tropical storm warning now in place along the North Carolina coast as Gabrielle heads that way. The region is getting ready for the high winds, the heavy rain, and the pounding surf. Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf is tracking the situation in the CNN Hurricane Center.

And I guess the hope was it might make, you know, a u-turn and head back out to sea, but now it's threatening, isn't it?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well it is, but there's still that chance. I mean, you're such an optimist. There's still that possibility the storm may remain out to sea, but the latest forecast models do bring it a bit closer, brushing right along the outer banks and that can mean an awful lot to many people.

Here is how it stands at the time being. Much of the Carolina coast, in fact, from Surf City, northward, to the North Carolina/Virginia border is currently under a tropical storm warning with areas just to the north and also to the south under a watch at this hour.

The latest path we have from the National Hurricane Center does bring this storm very close to the outer banks, in fact, brushing right along that area and it should happen I would say by midday tomorrow. As you get to 8:00 a.m. Sunday, getting very close to winds strengthening to 60 miles-an-hour. But notice Fredricka, we're looking at maximum winds, at least in this forecast, going to 65 miles-an-hour, well below Category 1 hurricane force. Still, this can be a very dangerous storm.

We're looking at anywhere from three to six inches of rainfall along the outer banks. And, of course, with the higher tides you can expect stronger surf and so there's going to be a potential for some flooding, there. We are going to hope that there's that chance that the storm may actually pull a little bit farther out to sea and stay away from land all together.

But, you have to remember when you look at the cone of uncertainty there's also the chance the storm could move further inland. So, we've got to watch this storm very carefully over the next couple of hours and into tomorrow, as well. That's the latest, Fredricka. Let's send it back to you.

WHITFIELD: and we know that you and me will be doing that. Thanks so much, Reynolds.

WOLF: You bet.

WHITFIELD: Well, no specific threat on the latest video from Osama bin Laden, but the al Qaeda leader is urging Americans to embrace Islam in order to end the war in Iraq. Our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm alive and I'm well. That's the main message of a new videotape from Osama bin Laden, the first in nearly three years. His message to the American people contained no specific threat, but is heavy on symbolism.

OSAMA BIN LADEN, TERRORIST (through translator): The subject of the Mujahideen has become an inseparable part of the speech of your leader and effects and signs of that are not hidden.

ARENA: Experts say it's an effort to reestablish his relevance. Bin Laden remains a unifying figure for many terror groups that have drawn inspiration if not actual support from al Qaeda.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: He gets to reach out to followers who ,according to Jihadists Web sites, have been wondering where is the leader and he also gets to rail about the Iraq war, which is his strongest propaganda point.

ARENA: An obvious news junky with a lot of time on his hands, he makes several references to current affairs, proof that the videotape is a new one. He refers to a news report from Iraq that aired in July, the 62nd anniversary of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, this past August. He names the new French president who was elected in May and the U.S. mortgage crisis. But bin Laden's commentary is not prompting a change in security.

FRANCES TOWNSEND, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISOR: We don't have any specific or credible information indicating an imminent attack and so I would not anticipate any change in the threat level, certainly not because of the tape.

ARENA: At times he comes off like an angry blogger chastising Americans for electing President Bush twice and the Democrats for not doing more to stop the Iraq war.

(on camera): But Bin Laden's need to stay in the spotlight may also put him at risk. U.S. intelligence is combing this tape, examining his appearance, looking for video clues, even background noises, anything that could reveal where he is.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: President Bush warns the bin Laden tape carries an important message. Mr. Bush commented, this morning, before leaving Australia for Hawaii.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Interesting that on the tape Iraq was mentioned, which is a reminder that Iraq is a part of this war against extremists. If al Qaeda bothers to mention Iraq it's because they want to achieve their objectives in Iraq, which is to drive us out and to develop a safe haven and the reason they want a safe haven is to launch attacks against America or any other ally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Bin Laden's message more symbol than substance in the opinion of Republican presidential candidate, Fred Thompson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRED THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bin Laden is more of a symbolism than he is anything else. I think he shows and demonstrates to people once again that we're in a global war. Bin Laden, being in the mountains of Afghanistan or Pakistan is not as important as the fact that there's al Qaeda operatives inside the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Expect terrorism to dominate much of the presidential debate in 2008. Candidates from both parties are scrambling to own it. Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider breaks it down.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Republicans are sending a clear signal. They want the 2008 election to be about the war on terror, just like the 2004 election.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Being on offense against terrorism unlike the Democrats who are on defense against terrorism.

SCHNEIDER: Rudy Giuliani is the Republican's national frontrunner, and he claims fighting terrorism as his issue. GIULIANI: In this era of the terrorist war on us, I think we should call it the terrorist war on us or if we want, the Islamic terrorist war on us.

SCHNEIDER: But this Democratic candidate, the same one who once called the global war on terror a "bumper sticker slogan," sounded anything but defensive.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The results are in on George Bush's so-called global war on terror. It is not just a failure, it is a double-edged failure.

SCHNEIDER: John Edwards proposed an aggressive new policy against terrorism.

EDWARDS: Instead of Cold War institutions signed to win tradition wars and protect traditional borders, we need new institutions, designed to share intelligence, cooperate across borders and take out small hostile groups.

SCHNEIDER: Organized around a new alliance.

EDWARDS: A new, multilateral organization called the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Treaty Organization.

SCHNEIDER: Republicans are certain to argue they have made the country safer.

GIULIANI: All you have to do is pick up this morning's newspapers and you can see that that same movement and same group of people that killed so many people on September 11 were attempting to do the same thing in Germany and the German police stopped them.

SCHNEIDER: That shows multi-lateralism works, Edwards argued, even though it is usually derided by the Bush administration. But, is the country safer?

SEN HILLARY RODHAM Clinton (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe we are safer than we were. We are not yet safe enough.

SCHNEIDER: Edwards' answer?

EDWARDS: Some running for the Democratic nomination have even argued that the Bush-Cheney approach has made us safer. It has not.

Schneider (on camera): Edwards' message is if the Republicans want to refight the 2004 campaign, bring 'em on.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: From Nebraska, word that a Republican critic of President Bush's Iraq policy may be getting ready to give up his Senate seat. The "Omaha World-Herald" Reports that Senator Chuck Hagel will not run for re-election next year and he does not intend to enter the presidential race. Hagel is scheduled to make an announcement about his future on Monday, but his office has not said what that announcement exactly will be.

A popular restaurant chain, Applebee's is a target of a protesters this hour. They're angry about an incident involving a woman who was breastfeeding her baby at an Applebee's in Kentucky. Reporter Lane Wright with our affiliate, WRIC is with us now from Richmond, Virginia.

Lane, what's the latest?

LANE WRIGHT, WRIC REPORTER: Well Fredricka, this protest out here is just getting started. It just started about a few minutes ago. If you take a look over my shoulder you can see we've already got over a half a dozen or so moms that have come out with their babies and many of them, we've seen begun breastfeeding their children out here in front of the Applebee's location.

Now, organizers tell me at last count they've had protests like this scheduled in 96 locations in 43 states across the country. The idea, as you said, sparked after a woman was asked to cover up in an Applebee's. The mom refused, they left the restaurant and now hundreds of moms are protesting that all over the USA today...

WHITFIELD: Oh, so sorry we lost that shot. But, just to complete his sentence, that protests just on that scale are taking place across the country.

Oh, wait a minute, I think Lane is back.

WRIGHT: They say the lost it.

WHITFIELD: All right, sorry about that, Lane. We lost the signal for a minute, but why don't you go ahead complete your thought. You were talking about how protests like it will be conducted across the country, all outside Applebee's restaurants, as well?

WRIGHT: That's right. They're happening all over the country outside of Applebee's restaurants, like this one. This is next to a busy street, so a lot of people are going to be seeing a lot of these signs that they've got up here. They're trying to get a lot of attention to bring awareness to the mother's rights to breastfeed and also baby's rights. They tell me that breastfeeding is very healthy and natural and they shouldn't be restricted from doing it.

Now, we did talk to an Applebee's manager, here at this location, and he tells us that Applebee's actually does not have a policy against breastfeeding or even covering up. So, that's the latest word from out here in Richmond. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: So, Applebee's says that's the last word they have, no reason to comment any further?

WRIGHT: That's all they're saying at this point, right, is they have no other comment other than there is no policy restricting breastfeeding in their restaurants. WHITFIELD: All right, Lane Wright, WRIC, there in Richmond, thanks so much.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Well, Madeleine McCann, the little girl who has dominating the news all week long and frankly for about four months, now. Well, coming up, we'll be going to Portugal to delve into the latest on the investigation where now her parents are named primary suspects in her disappearance. Our reporter, Paula Hancocks is on the story.

And the first lady, well, she's having surgery today. We'll check in on how she's doing when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A stunning new twist in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. The British girl's parents are now formal suspects in the case. That word from the family spokesman. Charges were filed by police in Portugal where the 3-year-old child disappeared more than four months ago.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is with us from Portugal. And so, the family members, particularly the two parents, they were questioned for many, many hours and many reports indicate that they left the police headquarters exhausted and feeling like they'd really have been put through the wringer.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fredricka, yes. The past two days have just seen this investigation turn 180 degrees. Now Kate and Gerry McCann are staying in the villa behind me. They're not expected to come out this weekend. Before they became formal suspects, they were going to go back to Britain and try and keep a lower profile for this, what has become an international campaign to try and find Madeleine and find out what had happened to her.

But, of course, now they are formal suspects, a very different set of affairs. They will be staying in Portugal. We expect on Monday, they'll find out whether or not they have to go for further questioning, whether they have to go before a judge for that questioning and certainly this weekend they're just trying to hide away.

But, over the past day we've heard from Kate McCann's sister-in- law. And she said that whilst Kate was talking to the Portuguese police they actually offered her a deal saying that if you admit that you accidentally killed your daughter, Madeleine, then we'll make sure that you have a lesser term where you could have maybe two years in prison rather than what would be the maximum term for whatever has happened. But of course, she was outraged by that, we hear from a family friend. Kate says this is utterly ludicrous. She's devastated that she is now, with her husband, become the focus of this investigation, because they are worried that this means no one is now looking for Madeleine, they are talking in terms of who killed Madeleine.

WHITFIELD: And so, Paula, Gerry and Kate, both doctors, right? They have living in Britain. They were there in Portugal vacationing, then when their daughter went missing they decided over the last four months to stay there in Portugal to try and help encourage this search for their daughter and so now they are primary suspects. I understand the police can now ask them a set of questions that they were not able to ask them before being suspects. Explain that.

HANCOCKS: That's right, yes. Basically, they became what is called are laguido (ph), in Portugal and that means that they are formal suspects. It means that the police believe they have enough evidence to suspect them of a crime. And it basically means that they can ask these 22 questions, we understand, they had already been asking them on Friday, now they have become a formal suspect.

But also, the other aspect of it is that being a laguido (ph) does actually give more legal protection for the family, itself.

Now obviously, we're just outside the villa, there's a fervitive (ph) protection here. There's the police all around us this particular area, obviously, making sure that the family is OK.

But, as I was saying, basically they will have more legal protection. They are allowed the right to remain silent because obviously the questions now are likely to become a little more aggressive. We've heard from the family friend says that Kate and Gerry just do not like and do not understand the tone of questions that are now coming from the Portuguese police -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Paula Hancocks, thanks so much for that update. We're continue to follow the developments in that story. So, where is Madeleine McCann?

And now in this country, where is millionaire aviator, Steve Fossett? Kara Finnstrom reports live from the search area when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: In Nevada, still no clues about the whereabouts of missing adventurer, Steve Fossett. The search is in its fifth full day. Fossett and his small plane disappeared in a rugged area. The latest now from CNN's Kara Finnstrom in Minden, Nevada.

No leads at all -- Kara.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're continuing to follow up on a lot of leads that are being called in from the community, but no news this morning of any signs of Steve Fossett or his plane. And you can hear overhead that some of the planes are starting to take off again this morning as this search enters day five.

Now, yesterday there was some brief excitement as crews found some wreckage, some old plane wreckage but they thought for a while might be the plane that Fossett had been flying. That turned out not to be the case, but an interesting side development to this big mission has been that they found the wreckage of six such planes in the Nevada mountain range. And they tell us that they actually believe that there are between 150 to 200 such wreckage sites in that range because when planes go down there, it's very hard to spot them, and because some of this wreckage is as old as 50 years old. That's a time when they didn't have technology that they do today to find the planes.

So, once this mission is complete, they say they'll go back to those old wreckage sites trying to identify those planes and the pilots who were originally onboard and hopefully giving some of the surviving family members of those pilots, some closure.

But here today, 230 ground rescue crews will be out looking again, about 26 aircraft up in the skies. And we did get a chance to chat with one of the air patrol volunteers, Civil Air Patrol volunteers who's been out, will be out again combing the 17,000 square mile about why it is so difficult to look in this type of terrain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHYLE INGOIN, CIVIL AIR PATROL: You've a lot of flat land area and then right next to it will be these really tall mountains -- 13, 14, 15,000 feet. There's been fires in California, that's caused some haze. It hasn't really hampered our search, but anything at all, any type of visual problems can definitely limit what you're able to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FINNSTROM: And this pilot tells me all of the pilots out here know Steve Fossett. He's an icon in the aviation industry, he's an inspiration to many of them because of all the records he hold. So, he says while the Civil Air Patrol always gets all the resources it can out here, all the pilots it can to find anyone who's missing, this mission does have a personal nature for most of them -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Kara, thanks so much for that update.

Meantime, hundreds of Americans know all too well when this means: A live day. Do you know what it means? Soldiers home from the Iraq war describe what happened on their alive day.

And the long-awaited report from the top U.S. general in Iraq. Will they stay the course or does it mean they're bringing some of the troops home? More from the NEWSROOM when we come back.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sprucing up your outdoor space doesn't have to be expensive. One of the biggest trends is fire pits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People want to entertain. They want the ambiance of having an indoor fireplace, they can get it outside with a fire pit. SCHNEIDER: For shelter from rain, daybeds and large umbrellas are top sellers. They're made with Sumbrella (ph) fabric for weather protection.

You'll also find the trend of plush, but weather resistant furniture, daybeds and lights that look like they belong inside your home, but these solar lights will only work if they're outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They charge on sunshine during the day with rechargeable batteries and they -- basically at dusk, they come on.

SCHNEIDER: The outdoors are no longer for roughing it. In any weather, you can enjoy one extra room of your home where the walls and ceiling are Mother Nature.

With this week's modern living, I'm Bonnie Schneider.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Happening right now, parts of North Carolina, the coast there, bracing for Tropical Storm Gabrielle. Warnings are already in place. The outer banks are expected to bear the brunt of the storm's heavy winds, heavy rain and pounding surf. Our Reynolds Wolf is getting a bird's eye view of what this storm could potentially do.

How's it look now?

WOLF: Oh, you know, it's about the same. I don't expect the storm really to reach hurricane status. It's going to get about 65 mile-per-hour maximum sustained winds, which is a really good thing. Also, you could argue that it's actually kind of good this storm is not way out in the Atlantic, because it might have time to form and get bigger.

As it is, though, it's still pretty formidable with winds that are around 45 miles-an-hour. We already have tropical storm warnings that are in effect for the North Carolina/Virginia border southward into Surf City and other points. Just north and south of that we've got some watches that remain in effect, all due to this storm.

Now, what exactly is that going mean to people? Well, on the Carolina coast it's going to mean this heavy surf, especially as we get into 8:00 a.m. Sunday winds will increase to about 60 miles-an- hour. So, the storm is expected to strengthen and it will just veer right off the coast with winds of 65 miles-an-hour. And as we get into early Monday and even long before then, we're going to have the heavy rainfall.

Then the storm ventures off towards the east and northeast by the time we get to 8:00 a.m. Monday and then into much cooler water where it should begin to die out.

However, for people living along the coast, you can certainly expect, definitely rough surf conditions anywhere from say, two to three, maybe even as much as six inches of rainfall, that with the wind that will be sustained at times up to 65 miles-an-hour. But soon, you're going to have this stronger gusts, many of those well above 70.

That's the latest. Let's go back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right, thanks so much, Reynolds.

WOLF: You bet.

WHITFIELD: Well, CNN has learned that General David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq will recommend no troop reductions in Iraq before the so-called "surge" is scheduled to end next Spring. Petraeus will outline his thinking when he reports to Congress on Monday, but he's already told the troops why they need to stay in a letter. Details now from CNN senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned that when General David Petraeus meets with President Bush and reports to Congress, he will recommend maintain the current higher U.S. troop levels in Iraq until Spring when the surge will begin to be phased out.

And officials familiar with the thinking of the top commander, strongly dispute published reports in the "New York Times" and "Washington Post" suggesting General Petraeus would be OK with pulling back or putting out one brigade. Roughly 4,000 troops in a nod to critics in Congress. That's nonsense, one military official told CNN, insisting Petraeus believes at this crucial time, every brigade is important.

In an April interview with CNN, General Petraeus promised as he has many times, to give the unvarnished truth about the prospects for success.

(on camera): If in September, you think this surge strategy is not working, are you going to be able to tell that to the president and presumably, to Congress?

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, U.S. ARMY: Not only will I be able to, Ambassador Crocker and I will do that. We have an obligation to the young men and women who are out there giving their all to do just that.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): Some of the general's thinking is revealed in a letter he sent to all U.S. troops in Iraq on the eve of his Congressional testimony. In it, he acknowledges while the security improvements have been dramatic in some areas, such as Ramadi and Anbar Province, overall, progress has been uneven, and the Iraqis have not used the breathing space to embrace reconciliation.

He concedes, "It has not worked out as well as we had hoped." We are "a long way from the goal line." It's "clearly taking more time than we initially expected."

(on camera): Ultimately, it will be up to President Bush to decide if he should order a brigade home before the surge is scheduled to end. But if he does, sources tell CNN it will not be on the recommendation of General Petraeus.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Well, they came home from the Iraq War with severe wounds, the loss of limbs, brain injuries and blindness. And as they adjust to their new lives, they tell their stories in a new HBO documentary called "Alive Day Memories." The title refers to the day they narrowly escaped death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES GANDOLFINI, ACTOR: You heard about that. A lot of people have said that you have now two birthdays.

SGT. BRYAN ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY: Yes, the alive day.

GANDOLFINI: The day that you were born and the day that you almost died and you were alive.

ANDERSON: Right.

GANDOLFINI: Do you have any feelings on that?

ANDERSON: For right now, I'm sure it'll change in the future, but for right now, I feel that you're alive day -- everybody makes a big deal about it especially at Walter Reed, all the therapists and -- they're like, oh, it's you're alive day, congratulations! And I can see their point, that would you want to celebrate something like that, but from my point of view, it's, like, OK, while we're sitting here celebrating the worst day of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Well, you probably recognize the other voice and maybe even the silhouette of James Gandolfini. You know him from "The Sopranos." Well, now he's also the executive producer of this film and then, this man here is Jon Alpert who is the director of the film.

And, Jon, good to see you, joining us from New York.

This really is raw material. How difficult was it to cast that net to get these armed service people in and to talk about it?

JON ALPERT, DIRECTOR, "ALIVE DAY MEMORIES": I don't think it was very difficult to find the soldiers. Jim Gandolfini and Sheila Nemens (ph) from HBO had a commitment to put this on television, but there are thousands of wounded veterans out there ...

WHITFIELD: Yes. ALPERT: ...over 25,000. These were very eloquent, and very courageous people and that's why they're in the show.

WHITFIELD: But thousands to talk about it, but I also would imagine that many are reticent about talking about it because maybe some of these wounds are so fresh, still and then psychologically, a lot of soldiers are having a difficult time kind of grasping -- getting back into, you know, normalcy, if you will, you know, kind of assimilating back into normal life after being in war.

ALPERT: I think what's more difficult is when they feel like they're ignored and their sacrifice is ignored by the country. They were proud to talk about what they had done and although, I think we were nervous sometimes to say, well, what happened to your leg and what happened to your arm? That's who they are, that's the price they paid, and they want America to know about it.

WHITFIELD: So, was there anger, too?

ALPERT: I think there's some anger at ignorance. I mean, you know, today's -- you look out the window, it's a gorgeous day in America. And it almost seems like we're not at war. And that bothers these soldiers. They want the American people to inform themselves about the war so that as a country, we can make really intelligence decisions. If we don't know what's going on, people like these soldiers get hurt.

WHITFIELD: Was there anything that was off-limits? Did you kind of get a sense from any of the soldiers who said, you know what, I'm not going there right now?

ALPERT: Sometimes they don't. I think the soldiers were reluctant to talk about their feelings pro or con this war. I think they wanted to talk about war in general and they want America to understand what happens to their neighbors when we declare war and we send young men and women abroad. People get hurt.

WHITFIELD: One of the first things you notice in this documentary is really the style in which you decided to conduct this interview, if you will. You know, the darkness, the simplicity of the darkness, the blackness, the kind of silhouetting of these soldiers. As a director, what was it exactly that you were after and do you feel like you did achieve that?

ALPERT: There's a theatrical aspect to this. It's almost like the play "Our Town" in which people come out and simply tell their stories, and that's sort of what this is. These are people who could be living next door to you telling you the stories of their lives and Jim Gandolfini is an actor. He's comfortable on the stage. That was where he was at home and where he could help the soldiers feel at home. But it's about them. It's not about him. It's not about correspondents, it's their story.

WHITFIELD: And the title in and of itself, "Alive day," kind of a day, the rebirthing day for many of these soldiers. Did that title come before you set out to talk with them or did it evolve through the dialogue?

ALPERT: I think it evolved. One day, Sheila Nemens just said, that's what this show's about. They're telling the story about, I guess, what could have been a day where they were going to be dead, but they're here and they're here to tell us their stories. And I think if you look around your communities, you'll find that they're there. And they're being ignored to some degree.

I don't think they should be ignored, and we need to listen to them because they've -- they're the ones that have been to Iraq. You know, maybe their stories are even more important than the reports that we're expecting. They can tell us what's really going on.

WHITFIELD: Well, powerful stuff, Jon Alpert, and so many folks are so happy that you, along with the entire cast and crew of folks, have brought this to everyone's living rooms because it really is very real.

ALPERT: Well, I really appreciate you giving us the opportunity to talk about it. I hope people will watch and then I hope afterwards they'll write to HBO and let us know what they think.

WHITFIELD: I'm sure you'll get a lot of response. Jon Alpert, director of "Alive Day Memories," and of course, tomorrow it premiers on HBO.

Thanks so much, Jon.

ALPERT: Thanks so much, appreciate it.

WHITFIELD: Well, as frank as it sounds, killing Americans, is that what this young man signed up to do and is Germany a home to extremism? Fighting the poppy jihad as well in Afghanistan straight ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Two days later, with eradication underway, there's trouble. Gunfire breaks out. The force is under attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN's Anderson Cooper takes us behind the lines.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS MCGINNIS, EXPEDIA.COM: This summer, we're seeing record hotel rates. Airline fares have gone up a little bit. So people, in order to escape the crowds and the high prices, are kind of taking a road less traveled and trying to find deals away from the largest destination.

Las Vegas is perenially the most popular destination for Expedia travelers. If you're looking for an alternative to that, you may just want to head up north the road a piece to Reno. Lots of gambling and casinos if that's what you want to do. But what's really good about Reno is that Lake Tahoe is only an hour or two west.

Well, if you want to escape the heat of central Florida and maybe Disney World in Orlando isn't a great idea, consider a place like the Wisconsin Dells. It has the highest concentration of water parks in the world.

Summer is peak season in Hawaii and it can get very expensive. But what you may want to consider, on the other side of the U.S., is the Dominican Republic. You've got the same beautiful, tropical beaches, and costs are about half of what you would pay in Hawaii.

Cancun is the fifth most popular destination. So, if you want to avoid the crowd, head south about an hour or two to an area called Talun (ph) where you'll find beautiful seaside Mayan ruins, very interesting, and off the beaten path place to go.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Eerie timing? A new video from Osama bin Laden emerges days before the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The al Qaeda leader urging Americans to convert to Islam. This as an alleged terrorist plot in Germany has investigators taking a hard look at Islamic converts there.

More from our International Security Correspondent Paula Newton.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the shadow of the world's tallest church spire, authorities say a devout Islamic convert found an accommodating home. German-born Fritz Galovich (ph), the man investigators have identified as the mastermind of an alleged plot to murder Americans, spent most of his life here in Ulm. During nine months of surveillance, officials say it became clear he was nursing a deep hatred for the United States and a radical brand of Islam.

More Germans than ever before are converting to Islam, most determined to practice their religion in peace. But there is no getting away from the suspicion that now marks their conversions.

Germany's interior minister told CNN he doesn't want to unfairly brand all converts, but ...

WOLFGANG SCHAUEBLE, GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): We have indications that the network of terrorists is trying to especially win over converts for terrorist attacks. That's because converts have a lower profile.

NEWTON: Galovich converted to Islam a decade ago. His mother a doctor at the city's university, his father a successful businessman. He would make an unlikely but prized foot soldier for al Qaeda.

While his neighbors say they are shocked by his arrest, U.S. military personnel were told as early as March to be on the lookout for him. Copies of his picture were handed out after police said they caught him casing U.S. military bases. Still, he was released and returned to his quiet suburban home.

(on camera): What intelligence officials say so surprised them was that Fritz Galovich continued to live here, knowing he was under surveillance and yet, they allege, he continued with his plot.

(voice-over): His determination they say, bolstered in places like the Multi-Kulti (ph) House in Ulm, now closed by the government for preaching hate. Police say what was on offer here: encouragement to wage holy war and die for the cause.

Authorities say the Islamic Information Center where Galovich worked is also under suspicion. Police are combing through the center's files and computers looking for clues that might lead them to suspects still at large. Officials of the center declined to comment.

Under intense scrutiny now, German-born converts. Christopher Belkasri calls himself a September 11th convert. 9/11, he says, motivated him to read the Koran.

Allah says in the Koran, he quotes, "fight those who fight you." Still, Belkasri, an acquaintance of Galovich, says he and other converts are not fairly portrayed by the media and police.

CHRISTOPHER BELKASRI, CONVERT TO ISLAM (through translator): What they're saying, that he wanted to blow up the airports, I don't believe that because in Islam, that's forbidden, to kill innocent people.

NEWTON: Still, the German government is making no secret of its intention to start scrutinizing converts more closely, trying to learn what influenced Galovich and decode why and how homegrown terror was so nurtured here.

Paula Newton, CNN, Ulm, Germany.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And it's one of the biggest challenges facing the government of Afghanistan: how to eradicate the poppy trade. CNN's "SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" takes a look, and CNN's Anderson Cooper with a preview of "Narco State: the Poppy Jihad."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Phil Blanco's (ph) in charge of the U.S.'s fight against drugs in Afghanistan. He's America's man on the ground. Blanco travels the country with his Afghan counterpart, Lieutenant General Mohammad Daod-Daod (ph).

Blanco and Daod bring a message from the United States and from President Hamid Karzai: stop growing poppies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was very little eradication last year. COOPER: It's an unusually frank discussion.

PHIL BLANCO: Some people would question who do you eradicate it, nonetheless ...

COOPER: Deciding whose fields to eradicate is always controversial. Local officials try to influence the decision-making based on loyalties to them and sometimes, bribes. Blanco is having none of it.

BLANCO: And I don't trust the people here anyway. I mean, obviously they haven't done anything anyway, so, OK ...

COOPER: He shuts down the debate.

BLANCO: You guys want to argue later, we can argue, but that's not now. Eradication will start usually around, let's say 8:30, 9:00. And it'll be finished by 2:00 or 3:00.

COOPER: Two days later with eradication underway, there's trouble. Gunfire breaks out. The force is under attack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a direct hit. We're taking fire. We are taking fire, out, copy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Taliban?

COOPER: The gun battle rages for four hours and leaves four Afghan policemen wounded. Eradication efforts here are called off for the season. The farmers, the Taliban and the drug dealers win this round.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: CNN's "SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" presents "Narco State: The Poppy Jihad." That premieres tonight at 8:00 Eastern only on CNN.

How about this scenario? A policeman dies decades after he is shot and the shooter is charged now with murder. We'll tell you how this could happen straight ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF: I'm Reynolds Wolf, and this is your allergy report for the day.

You can expect high traces of pollen through much of the Central Rockies and back into the Central Plains. Any spot where you happen to see yellow or orange on the map would indicate that. But on the other side of the coin where you see blues or greens like the Northern Plains, back into parts of California, the west coast, even the -- much of the eastern seaboard, you're going to be dealing with much cleaner air.

That is a look at today's allergy report. (END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: So more than 40 years ago, a policeman was shot and wounded. Well last month, he died and now, the shooter is charged with murder.

CNN's Randi Kaye explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than 40 years, Philadelphia police officer Walter Barclay lived in pain, confined to a wheelchair, paralyzed after being shot by this man, William Barnes.

WILL BARCLAY, VICTIM'S BROTHER: He had constant bed sores, repeated bladder infections, recurrent bouts of pneumonia. And ultimately, he ended up with a feeding tube, a permanent catheter, and ventilators. It was just awful.

KAYE: Last month, Officer Barclay died. His death was ruled a homicide, complications related to the shooting 41 years earlier. Now, the man who shot him all those years ago is charged with murder.

LYNNE M. ABRAHAM, PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: If there's a chain of events that this person set into motion, which ultimately caused the victim's death, he's going to be charged with murder.

KAYE: William Barnes has not yet entered a plea.

(on camera): Murder charges can be filed after a victim has died, even if the person charged has been convicted of and served time for a lesser crime, as is the case with Barnes. The 71-year-old served 20 years for the attempted murder of Officer Barclay. In all, he spent nearly half a century behind bars for various crimes.

ALAN HORNBLUM, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY: He was noted for shootouts with cops and that's how he was given the nickname "cowboy."

KAYE (voice-over): Since his release from prison about 10 years ago, Barnes has been working at a supermarket and giving lectures at Eastern State Penitentiary. Once his prison home, now a museum.

SEAN KELLEY, EASTERN STATE PENITENTIARY: One of the things that Bill was most effective at talking about was the guilt that he carries, especially for the officer that he shot.

KAYE: Temple University Professor Alan Hornblum met Barnes while researching a book, and talked with him about the shooting.

HORNBLUM: He regretted it. He was upset with the damage that he had done to Barclay.

KAYE: Barnes sent this letter to the "Philadelphia Inquirer." "This should not be happening to me," he writes, "I can't escape my past. It's out there for all to see. But I had hoped for my future and I still do.

Officer Barclay's brother, who says he didn't even know Barnes was still alive, believes he must be punished for murder.

BARCLAY: A person that commits murder should suffer the consequences of the crime. I don't care if it's a year after the crime or 10 or 41 years, it's still murder, even if murder delayed.

HORNBLUM: I really do feel that it's a stretch. Barnes was convicted. He did 20 years and now, four decades later, hitting him with a murder charge? I mean, this event took place during Lyndon Johnson's administration.

KAYE: Will Barclay isn't counting the years, just the hours, he says, 'til his brother finally gets justice.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And saying good-bye for the last time. Family and friends of opera giant Luciano Pavarotti in church for funeral services this morning in Modena, Italy. The lavish mass celebrated by the archbishop and 18 priests. A chorus of voices raised to honor the renowned classical tenor who took opera to the masses.

Pavarotti's white, maple casket was covered in sunflowers, which is his favorite. He died Thursday from pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Well, the sex (ph) story gave me the laugh of the week. It'll get you, too. It was broad daylight, but this rescue's full moon got CNN's Jeanne Moos thinking about famous fallen pants.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're one of four kayakers stuck under a bridge in rushing water. What do you need?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to send you a rope and a life jacket.

MOOS: Yes, well, in addition to the rope and life jacket, how about some pants? Here's the view through the eyes of the photographer.

VOICE OF BOB STELLA, VIDEOGRAPHER: I look and here's this guy, his pants are down to his ankles. And it's like, oh, do I zoom in? Do I zoom out? Do I just hold the shot?

MOOS: Bob Stella decided to hold the shot. And what a shot it was of Dennis Riley, who says that though he lost his swimsuit ...

VOICE OF DENNIS RILEY, RESCUED KAYAKER: I kept on my hat and sunglasses.

MOOS: Riley joins a distinguished roster of men who have publicly lost their pants and who lose them over and over, being replayed on YouTube.

Not only did this wannabe matador have his pants gored, he had to watch the bull, crowned with his undies. There's a crickey player losing his pants, and a baseball player, who nevertheless manages to throw the ball with his pants around his ankles.

Even women occasionally lose their bottoms. In this case, in mid-air on a trapeze. From a trapeze to an elevator, naked trio rescued from U.K. lift.

And then, there are all those naked burglars. This guy danced a hula naked to distract a clerk so his buddy could steal beer.

And this guy admitted he had too much to drink.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know what I did was wrong.

MOOS: He got nabbed crawling naked around a tobacco shop in Omaha.

Forget bottoms, this woman lost her top trying to grab money out of a cash register. A few minutes later, she came back asking for her top back.

As for Riley, he got his swimsuit back, within seconds of reaching dry land, he was tugging at it, and covering up, playing down his exposure.

RILEY: Well, frankly, there wasn't much to see because I was in some pretty cold water.

MOOS: The cameraman showed his video to the rescuers, who howled with laughter as their captain gave Riley a hand.

STELLA: He had to push this guy up, and there's nowhere else to push him but you know where.

MOOS (on camera): So what kind of jokes were they making?

STELLA: Well, you know, be careful when you shake the captain's hand.

MOOS: If you're really lucky, you're pants can almost break your fall. Fireman had just rescued this guy from the flames, they rescued him from exposing his flaming red underwear.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Something tells me there were a lot of anti-bacterial wipes going around after a lot of those rescues. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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