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American Airlines Grounds More Flights; Huge Protests Along Torch Route in San Francisco; War Over Iraq: General Spars With Democrats

Aired April 9, 2008 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in for Kyra Phillips.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: Oh, boy, here we go again. The nation's biggest air carrier faces a second wave of big travel troubles. More than 1,000 American Airlines flights, more than 1,000, are canceled today so the carrier can reinspect wiring on its MD-80 jets.

Nearly 500 flights were grounded yesterday. An American spokesman says the move required by the FAA is a technical compliance issue, and it is not related to flight safety.

For air travelers, it means one thing, and that's chaos. Stranded passengers have had to camp out at some of the country's busiest airports. Among them, Dallas/Ft. Worth International, American's main hub, and Chicago O'Hare. Thousands of flights at both airports are canceled today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's just no organization here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been here over an hour and no one's told us anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to spend the night, I can't get out until tomorrow, my luggage is on its way to Detroit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to fly out tomorrow. It stinks I've got to take tomorrow off, but you've got to do what you've got to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a big deal because I'm a physician and I have patients to see tomorrow. And I have to call and find some people to see them.


LEMON: You might remember just last month American canceled more than 300 flights over similar inspections. The FAA raised additional concerns and ordered the new rounds of inspections. WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk about Chicago, one of those airports, one of those areas where there are a lot of frustrated travelers.

Susan Roesgen joins us now from Chicago.

Susan, how angry are they?

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're very angry, they're very frustrated. I mean, this is the nation's number one airline, American Airlines. The biggest airline in the country.

As we reported last hour, it was 850 flights they had canceled today. Now, as Don just mentioned, more than 1,000.

Fredricka, that is just about half of all the flights that American operates in this country, just about half of them. The two big hubs are Dallas and Chicago, and folks there are standing in line waiting, they are still waiting. I had talked to a friend of mine who was in line at O'Hare at 11:30 local time. It's been more than an hour later, she said she was still within maybe the 150 yard line, she said, trying to just to get to the counter to see if she could be put on another flight.

These MD-80s are the workhorse of the industry. They go on these mid-range flights from places like Chicago to New Orleans, or from Dallas to St. Louis. So, you have, on average -- get this -- on average, 150 people per flight on these MD-80 flights. If they've canceled 1,000 of them, that means 100,000 passengers across the country today, Fredricka, are just plain stuck.

WHITFIELD: Right. Stuck and very frustrated, because there really isn't a good answer you can give any of them right now, because you still have the ripple effect from yesterday. A lot of American Airlines passengers who had to deal with the, what, 500 flights that were canceled or delayed, and they were hoping to get out today. And now you've got a whole new set of numbers, they are now stuck.

It's a terrible situation.

ROESGEN: That's true. It's gotten even worse.

And we understand that only 30 MD flights have been corrected. And only 30 of those planes has the wiring and been corrected. But, they are not yet back in service, even those 30, because now the FAA is going back to reinspect the work that has been done to bring the planes up to code.

Again, we've had problems with Delta, FAA violations, United, Southwest, now American. And nearly half of all of its national flights canceled today.

WHITFIELD: All right. Not very comforting at all, but that's the way it is. Right?

Susan Roesgen, thanks for bringing us the facts -- Don. LEMON: And there's going to be a lot of these, Fred, unhappy passengers, all too familiar at the -- that's going to be the sight at the airports today, all over the country. IF you listen to the numbers, over 1,000 flights canceled by American alone.


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's talk more about the American Airlines MD-80s grounded. We're talking about 1,000 of them.

Chad Myers is keeping a close watch on the kind of air traffic that is and isn't.

What are you seeing?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's an unbelievable number, 1,000 flights.


MYERS: Because right now, American Airlines has 203 planes in the air. These are all the planes from American Airlines. I've only taken -- normally it just looks like ants on candy here because we put every airline here. But right now, this is only American.

Let's just pick out a plane right there over Nebraska. Going from San Francisco to JFK, but it's a Boeing 767, not an MD-80. Not an MD-88.

Here's American Airlines going from O'Hare to LAX. It is a 757 again.

We can go through one plane after another, and I've only been able to find just a few MD-88s. Here's Chicago to Honolulu.

Hey, you guys are in the air. Maybe you can hear me up on XM. 767 there, finally getting to Honolulu. I'm sure all those people are happy to get out of Chicago.

We'll just kind of take randomly one more. This one here just going from Dallas to SNA, which is John Wayne Airport, and that's a Boeing 737.

So right now, not finding too many MD-88s or 82s, or whatever they are going to be called, depending on when they were made, in the air at this point. All in inspection basically at this point.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So just the luck of the draw if you're not on one of those MD-80-somethings.

MYERS: And how are you supposed to know?


MYERS: When you book a plane, how are you supposed to know, right? WHITFIELD: Yes.

MYERS: Because when you look at it, you can say, well, do I want to take the 57, do I want to take the 67?

WHITFIELD: Yes. And they give you that option, but usually I don't care. Now...

LEMON: Oh, I do.


LEMON: I don't want the little planes. No, no, no.

WHITFIELD: OK. Well, a lot of folks are going to be paying attention.

MYERS: Well, you know, I don't want to take a Cessna.

WHITFIELD: Well, yes, right.

MYERS: I get what Don's saying.

LEMON: Or a crop duster.

MYERS: Or a duster, right.

WHITFIELD: I usually go for the larger size as well, but, you know, I haven't been discriminating. Now I think I and everybody else will.

MYERS: You might want to think about it.

WHITFIELD: All right. Chad Myers, thanks so much.

MYERS: You're welcome.


LEMON: All right. Thanks.

All right. Let's talk now about the Olympics, because there's some outrage there by some folks on the bridge and also on the street.

Man, look at that. Protesters are out in force in San Francisco just a couple of hours before the Olympic torch makes its only U.S. appearance there. Protesters are packing the relay route and parading across the Golden Gate Bridge.

These are live pictures, right, both left and right?

Wow. Look at that. And it is just a couple of hours before, so you can imagine at the time it's happening what's going to go on.

There's our Ted Rowlands. He's live for us.

You've got some protesters behind you, Ted. Unruly yet, or still sort of doing what they're supposed to do, not causing trouble?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, doing what they're supposed to do, voice their opinions. Actually, we're in the beginning of the staging area where this torch run will begin, and all of these focuses are pro-Chinese. This area right here is invited guests only.

We did have one skirmish about an hour and change ago. Someone with a Tibetan flag got into this secured area, they were -- that person was surrounded right away. It wasn't really physical. They nudged him a bit, and a lot of yelling and screaming going object, but nobody was hurt, no arrests or anything like that.

Bottom line, though, San Francisco authorities are expecting more of that, if not worse, throughout the day.


ROWLANDS (voice-over): It was all smiles for the carefully orchestrated arrival of the Olympic flame, but clearly the city of San Francisco is bracing for trouble. After watching the chaos in London and Paris, San Francisco police admit they're concerned the same problems could erupt along the planned six-mile San Francisco torch route, which they may end up changing at the 11th hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE OFFICER: Things still are subject to change based on the information that we receive. The goal is to have a safe event for everybody, the spectators and the participants.

ROWLANDS: Torchbearer Marilyn King knows firsthand the worst case scenario of the Olympic stage. The two-time Olympian was in Munich in 1972 when 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed by terrorists. She also lost her chance to compete in the 1980 Olympics because of the U.S. boycott in Moscow. She is planning to run with the Olympic torch even though she is concerned that something may happen.

MARILYN KING, OLYMPIAN: There are always people who are willing to step outside of those boundaries, so I have some anxiety about that.

ROWLANDS: Protesters have already made their presence felt in San Francisco with the precision-planned Golden Gate Bridge stunt that included using baby carriages to sneak in banners and climbing equipment past police.


ROWLANDS: Several organizations held demonstrations Tuesday, including actor Richard Gere's International Campaign for Tibet. Gere sat down with us to discuss the torch protest which he describes as extraordinary.

RICHARD GERE, ACTOR: The whole world seems to spontaneously react to this situation, and know that it's a fraud what the Chinese are doing. It's a fraud. This is not an athletic game to them. This is pretty much a stamp of approval on repression and human rights abuses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop lying to the world!

CROWD: Stop lying to the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: China lie, people die!

ROWLANDS: San Francisco is the only North American torch stop in the world including China. We'll be watching to see what happens.


ROWLANDS: San Francisco police are out in force. It's really incredible to see how many officers they do have out here.

The strategy is they've put barricades on either side of the six- mile route. They're saying anybody who goes over those barricades will be subject to arrests. That's their strategy going in.

But they are the first to admit they have absolutely no idea how this is going to unfold. There's a lot of emotion. And when you bring out that torch, for some it brings out an emotion of pride, pro- China, for others it brings out exactly the opposite emotion. And what's going to happen when all of this mixes together in the next few hours nobody knows, but everybody will be watching very closely -- Don.

LEMON: Yes. And we're going to see. And they've been obviously planning that bridge protest that they had at the Golden Gate Bridge for a year, and I guess the powers that be didn't know it.

Ted Rowlands joining us.

We'll be watching that, along with Ted, throughout the day.

Ted, thank you very much.

The Olympic torch is a heated issue on the campaign trail. And our Wolf Blitzer looks at how the presidential contenders are dealing with the uproar over the Beijing games.

That story at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on "THE SITUATION ROOM."

WHITFIELD: Well, hundreds of children are now in protective custody after a raid on a polygamist compound. This month's raid in Texas is stirring memories of a similar event more than a half a century ago. We'll tell you what happened then.

LEMON: And nearly a year after the Virginia Tech shooting spree, are colleges across America any safer? We'll find out what's being done to try to prevent new violence.


LEMON: All right. Live pictures now. Look at that, in Washington. David Petraeus testifying today. The commander of the U.S. troops in Iraq hinted today that he would argue against any order by the next president, any order by the next president to bring the troops home in short order. General David Petraeus we're talking about, testifying before Congress for the second straight day.

Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre joins us now with the latest on that.

Jamie, that is a pretty startling statement.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course you have to remember that it's not likely that General Petraeus will still be in command of troops in Iraq by the time the next president takes office. He's probably going to get a promotion, although that hasn't been decided.

In his second day of testimony though, he also ruled out a second surge, saying once the reduction of troops from 20 combat brigades to 15 is completed mid-July, he doesn't foresee the possibility of sending additional reinforcements. In fact, he hinted that he's looking for places to reduce U.S. force levels, and he said he had a couple of things in mind.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you foresee the reduction beyond the 15?

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDING GENERAL, MULTINATIONAL FORCES, IRAQ: I can foresee the reduction beyond the 15, yes, sir. Again, the key is, in fact, we're looking at four or five locations already that we have an eye on, looking to see if those conditions can be met there. Again, we have a number of months and a number of substantial actions to take before then.


MCINTYRE: Now, one of the reasons General Petraeus is not advocating additional troops is he knows they're just not available. While he is recognizing the strain on the U.S. forces in his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this afternoon, over before the House Armed Services Committee, Vice Chief of the Army Richard Cody is testifying about the health of the Army.

General Cody saying that the U.S. Army is not broken, but in an answer reminiscent of Charles Dickens, said in some ways it's the best of times and the worst of times for the U.S. Army.


GEN. RICHARD CODY, ARMY VICE CHIEF OF STAFF: We are faced with a dichotomy of readiness. We are the most battle-hardened, best- equipped, best-led and best-trained force for the counterinsurgency fight that we now face. But we're also unprepared for the full spectrum fight and lack the strategic depth that has been our traditional fallback for the uncertainties of this world. We are a stressed force, but not a hollow force. We're a better force, but our focus has been narrow. Over all, I believe that the strength of our soldiers and their families are truly what allow me to say unequivocally this Army is not broken.


MCINTYRE: But General Cody said the Army will attempt to increase its number by more than 60,000 by the year 2011. That's a long-term solution.

In more of a short term, we're expecting this week that the White House will announce tours of duty in Iraq will go back from 15 months to 12 months. However, that will only affect the new troops that are being sent. The current troops that are there under 15-month tours will probably have to serve those out this year.

Back to you.

LEMON: Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre. Jamie, thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Hillary Clinton had the early advantage, but it looks like Barack Obama may be gaining momentum. We'll have a live update from the Election Express on some new Pennsylvania poll numbers.


WHITFIELD: Hillary Clinton started her push for the Pennsylvania primary with some big-name endorsements and what appeared to be a big head start in the polls. But that early edge has apparently faded and Barack Obama appears to be closing the gap.

Our Dan Lothian is standing by in Philadelphia with the CNN Election Express.

What have you learned, Dan?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned, Senator Clinton really was always expected to do quite well here in Pennsylvania, but Senator Barack Obama poured a lot of money into this state. And as you mentioned, things are starting to tighten up a bit.

Both of the candidates were in Pennsylvania earlier today. They were holding town hall meetings as they fight to win this critical state.


LOTHIAN (voice over): It's not an earthquake, but the ground appears to be shifting under Senator Hillary Clinton's once solid lead in Pennsylvania. The latest CNN Poll of Polls shows Obama trailing Clinton by only six points, compared to 11 points just last week.

In this competitive race where both candidates are fighting to win over working class voters...

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we need right now is a president who can work on behalf of ordinary Americans.

LOTHIAN: ... Senator Clinton seems to be relishing the challenge, reminding union members in Washington of what she is fighting for.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what it's like to be told to go away, to quit. I know what that's like too.

We're fighting for what's right.

LOTHIAN: That "get the job done" attitude is the theme of Clinton's five new TV ads running across the state. She bundles testimonials from popular Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter with a trip down memory lane, drawing attention to her father's Pennsylvania roots.

CLINTON (voice over): This is me in Scranton where my father was raised...

LOTHIAN: Pennsylvanians seem to be enjoying their moment in the sun. Voter registration is at near record highs, about 8.3 million. More than 200,000 new voters signed up this year alone -- the biggest jump among Democrats.

PEDRO CORTEZ, PENNSYLVANIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Pennsylvania is going to be relevant in the decision of at least one of the two party nominations for the president. And I think that's what's driving many Pennsylvanians to want to have their voices heard for this election.

LOTHIAN: Since January, more than 160,000 voters switched parties to take part in the upcoming Democratic primary. And in long- time Republican suburbs around Philadelphia, like Bucks and Montgomery counties, Democrats now have the advantage in registered voters for the first time in decades.

AL SCHMIDT, PHILADELPHIA REPUBLICAN PARTY: It's been a gradual shift over time that just accelerated in the last couple of weeks.

LOTHIAN (on camera): Were you surprised by it?

SCHMIDT: I think the numbers were surprising.


LOTHIAN: Now, Fredricka, earlier today, Senator Clinton was talking with reporters, and she was asked for her reaction to the latest poll numbers. She says that she really doesn't pay attention to the polls because they're simply just a snapshot in time. And she went on to say that she really always thought that this would be a very close race -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: And that it is. Dan Lothian, thanks so much, in Philadelphia.

LOTHIAN: That's right.

WHITFIELD: Well, Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will actually answer questions about faith and values. That's Sunday night during a forum at the Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

The Compassion Forum will air exclusively on CNN. That's Sunday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

LEMON: Take a look at these children. More than 400 of them removed from a church-run compound in Texas. You won't believe what a young accuser says went on there. And amazingly, it is a legal gray area.

Details coming up.


LEMON: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

WHITFIELD: And I'm Fredricka Whitfield, in for Kyra Phillips.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Twenty-nine minutes after the hour. Here are three of the stories we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

American Airlines has canceled more than 1,000 flights so that its technicians can perform safety inspections. It's the second day in a row the airline has grounded hundreds of its MD-80 planes for potential wiring problems.

A frightening scene at a Michigan assisted living center. A fire this morning at the three-story building forced firefighters to bring some residents down on ladders. All residents were evacuated safely. Several people suffered from smoke inhalation and chest pains.

And in Zimbabwe, opposition leaders are stepping up their calls for President Robert Mugabe to resign. It's been 11 days since the presidential election, and the government still hasn't released the official results. Opposition leaders say their candidate defeated Mugabe. The president of Zambia has called an emergency summit of African leaders to try to resolve this crisis.

LEMON: All right, take a look at this compound from the air. It looks like an ordinary Texas ranch, it's big, though. Looks like and ordinary Texas ranch, but what about inside this polygamous sect compound? A young girl describes her nightmare of beatings, she says sexual abuse, forced marriage, adult men and teenage girls.

A hearing is set to begin soon on the investigation into the allegations. We'll tell you more when we know more, when we find out more information on this. The result of the raids, though, on a polygamous compound in Texas are stirring memories of a very similar case more than half a century ago.

CNN's Gary Tuchman takes a look at that.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Her name is Susie (ph). She was six-years-old in 1953 when her world changed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was literally ripped from the arms of my father and my family.

TUCHMAN: Ripped from her family in a raid conducted by Arizona law enforcement over a half century ago. Susie's father was one of more than 100 husbands and wives arrested in an effort to eliminate polygamy from the state. It happened in the town of Colorado City, which was then known as Short Creek.

Were you scared?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Terrified. Terrified. Terrified.

TUCHMAN: Little known to many Americans, that raid still affects the lives of polygamous families. Dozens of women and more than 260 children were placed in state custody. Susie and these friends, all polygamous today, were some of those children. Fanita (ph) had four months and 22 brothers and sisters when her mother and father were taken away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We knew that the object was to take us away, adopt us out and that we would never be back to our homes.

TUCHMAN: The July 1953 raid was re-enacted for a made for TV movie called "Child Bride of Short Creek."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay where you are, we're here on special orders from the governor of Arizona. We have warrants for your arrest on charges of unlawful co-habitation.

TUCHMAN: The children of the raid said they did not know what the police were going to do. Neither apparently did many of the adults, including Fanita's elderly great-grandfather.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He stepped forward and said, if it's blood you want, take mine.

TUCHMAN: But what police wanted was to take the polygamists to jail. Fanita went to say good-bye to her father as he was taken into custody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I went over to try and talk to him. And the guard pointed his gun at me and told me to go away.

TUCHMAN: You as a seven-year-old girl?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. And I said, I just want to talk to my dad. And he said, well you, can't, so go away.

TUCHMAN: Most of the polygamists stayed in jail a short time, but had a promise never to see their families again. Edison (ph), like many of the fathers would secretly visit his family, though. His wife became pregnant during one of his visits. The baby was Priscilla (ph).

TUCHMAN: Your mother had to hide her pregnancy.


TUCHMAN: No could know she was pregnant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one could know. She would have nothing to do with my father and obviously she had something to do with my father.

TUCHMAN: Obviously. Marelene's (ph) mother also gave birth to a baby when her father wasn't supposed to be around. If her mother was seen with the baby, it could mean being arrested. So ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They put the baby sister in a suitcase and took her out to the car because she would have definitely been evidence.

TUCHMAN: The raid led to bad publicity. But, it still took years before the families got back together.

Was there ever a time where your mothers said, you know what, it's time to have a marriage with one person, find a new person, start a new life, make it easier for ourselves.


TUCHMAN: Most of the children had fake birth certificates to protect their families. Susie did not get a real one until well into adulthood.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember sitting out in the car looking at my real name on a birth certificate and I wept. I wept. Because for the first time I saw my identity as it really was.

TUCHMAN: Do you feel the same thing that happened to your father in the 1950s could happen to your husband today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that's a possibility.

TUCHMAN: A half century has gone by, but the children of the raid have never stopped looking over their shoulders.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Colorado City, Arizona.


LEMON: Well, you can believe, this is one of those very tricky cases where state law and the practices of a church may disagree. Let's bring in our Senior Legal Correspondent Jeffrey Toobin to talk about this -- Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, I was listening to some people -- I think it was a guest on "LARRY KING LIVE" last night and she said, it should be decriminalized, and that it's her Constitutional right to marry more than one person if she wanted to.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's clearly not true. There are certain individual rights that the Constitution has been interpreted to protect, and multiple marriage is not one of them. The Constitution has a right to privacy, which the Supreme Court has said extends to a decision to end a pregnancy, to abortion, to consensual sex among gay people in a famous case called Lawrence versus Texas.

But marriage is different, because marriage is a contract. Marriage is a relationship that entitles you to certain benefits from the state. And the state is clearly allowed to regulate that, and one of the things all states do is say you can only marry one person.

LEMON: Real quickly, because I was paraphrasing, and she can say it better than I can, because she said it on "LARRY KING." Let's take a listen real quickly, Jeffrey.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard for me to think that it was the best possible way to go about things. Because I have felt for a long time that if this, our lifestyle were decriminalized, that changes could be made in a more positive manner and not have to go to this extreme. I hope that somehow with enough people speaking out, we can be able to have what I consider to be our Constitutional right.


LEMON: You spoke about the constitutionality of it, but she said this raid wasn't the best way to go about it.

TOOBIN: That's what's so hard about a situation like this. Because on the one hand, the thing that government agents want to do most of all is protect children, and that's above all considerations and that's obviously why they went in there and took these 400 kids. But, the kids adapt to their current situation. Gary Tuchman's piece talked about this from 50 years ago.

Kids, even if they're in difficult circumstances, that's the only life they know, they probably don't want to be pulled away. So it's a very hard thing to balance. And -- sitting here in New York, it's very hard for me to second guess what people out in the field are doing, but these are not simple calculations.

LEMON: You know what? They said, one young lady didn't know how to use crayons, and then we heard from another lady who said their dolls were real dolls. It was actual real children that the teenagers were having. Real quickly, because I want to move on to another subject. I know that you did something on Guantanamo Bay. But, I got to ask you, why is it so hard to close these Polygamist groups or sects or colonies down? TOOBIN: First of all, they're very isolated. The only people who know about the crime are people who are inside the community. The people inside the community, the victims, the girls, the so-called wives, are terrified and don't want to cooperate. So it's very hard to make a case when all your witnesses are so much under the control of the people who are the bad guys.

LEMON: OK, as I mentioned, I want to talk about Guantanamo. You have done some new research and have written very extensively recently about Guantanamo Bay. What did you find out?

TOOBIN: I have a peace in the current issue of the "New Yorker Magazine." What the piece is about is this is sort of a weird moment in the history of Guantanamo. Everybody thinks it should be closed, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they all say, close Guantanamo.

But my piece says, well then what? What do you do with the 275 alleged terrorists who were there, and no one has a very good answer. We're starting to have -- next month they're going to be what are called military commissions, war crimes trials there. But it's only a handful of people, and those trials are dismissed by many critics as unjust, as a sham.

Because if you're acquitted in a military commission, you don't get to go home, you just go back into detention forever. So what's the point of having these trials? It's a very -- it's a very difficult situation and there is really no resolution in sight.

LEMON: And, Jeffrey, you know we love you, but I have to move on. Real quickly, you spent time there -- five seconds. You did right?

TOOBIN: I was in Guantanamo, yes.

LEMON: And the most interesting thing you saw?

TOOBIN: That it's really like a small American town in the 1950s, except for the prison. It's like something out of the '50s. It's got a 25 miles an hour speed limit, drive-in movie theaters, miniature golf. People think you're going off into somewhere dangerous, and you're actually going back to the "Andy Griffith Show." Very strange.

LEMON: Very interesting way of putting it. I can't wait to read that. I haven't read it yet, but I will. Jeffrey Toobin, thank you much. Appreciate it.

TOOBIN: OK, Don. See you.

LEMON: Forced marriage, sexual abuse, all in the virtual prison of polygamous religious -- of a polygamous religious group. We'll talk to a woman who escaped that life, and now works to get young girls out of a very similar situation. WHITFIELD: And hold on to your hats. The new hurricane forecast has just been issued. I know you couldn't wait. Right around the corner hurricane season begins June 1st. Where does the time go, Chad?

MYERS: You know, when you have a three-year-old, you wonder where it went.

WHITFIELD: Oh, tell me about it.

MYERS: There's plenty of time. I know exactly where every minute went.

Anyway, the 2008 hurricane forecast out, we call this the Dr. Gray forecast, not the official NOAA forecast. Dr. Klotzbach and Dr. Gray put this together. Officially on a regular year, 10, six and two, they're saying 14, eight and four. That's a pretty big year, I guess ...


MYERS: ...compared to what it should be. Sixty-nine percent chance of a U.S. landfall of a big hurricane. The average is about 52 percent, so that's above normal for this year. But last year, that number was even higher than that and we did not have a big landfall.

WHITFIELD: I was going to say and we did not meet those expectations last year, right?

MYERS: Yes, so, it just really depends on ...


MYERS: ...what you're talking about.

We're talking about big-time severe weather tonight. The first tornado watch of the day is now in effect for parts of Texas. We'll keep you advised all night long -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, good job. Thanks so much, Chad.

All right, Don.

LEMON: All right. Have -- you know what? We have some protesters we want to show you ...


LEMON: San Francisco. And this is courtesy of our affiliate KGO out in San Francisco. Thank you, KGO, for getting these pictures. We know that there's a possibility that this is going to be a very tense day there, and there are thousands of protesters who have shown up and you can see them marching there. Are they going to be ruly, will it get out of hand? And we know the controversy surrounding it, but we're going to look at another side of this, the economic ramifications of a possible protest, and what's going on. WHITFIELD: Yes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gavin Hudson (ph) came to South Korea to teach. But what he's learned here is a lesson the West has yet to fully embrace. In this densely populated country, recycling is not a generous option anymore, but a way of life.

GAVIN HUDSON, ECOWORLDLY.COM: We have our garbage bag which is a green garbage bag that you buy at the store. Recycling bags are any little bag that you can get from the store. And we have compost in the yellow bag. Compost, recycling and garbage will go to the curb to be picked up by the garbage and recycling and compost department of the city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hudson sorts his trash every Thursday for recycling pickup. This scene is very common all across South Korea. It's the law and those who don't must pay a fine.

HUDSON: Recycling and composting is really taken quite seriously at all of the restaurants and even at all of the convenience stores.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every household, business, and even schools have to sort their trash. The municipal waste management truck picks up the recycling items free of charge. Citizens have to purchase government-issued trash bags at a cost of 40 cents per bag for the unrecyclable trash, non-food trash, and food scraps.

This pay-as-you-throw program creates a direct economic incentive to recycle more and waste less. The government reports that daily recycling rate grew 175 percent to more than 24,000 tons in the 10 years after the recycling program began in 1994.

Tunrika Nuryan (ph), CNN, Atlanta.



WHITFIELD: All right, protests, potential clashes just like that in San Francisco. Less than 90 minutes before the Olympic torch hits the streets for its only U.S. relay. On one side, supporters of China and its hosting of the summer Olympics Games, on the other, protesters of China's human rights record, especially its recent crackdown in Tibet. But Tibet is not what first fueled the Olympic torch turmoil.

Here's CNN's senior U.N. correspondent Richard Roth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something's (ph) happening now. Oh, wait, someone has tried to grab the torch ...

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fuse that first set off Beijing Olympic's torch protesters is Darfur, a province in Sudan. 200,000 people have been killed and millions more injured or made homeless.

CROWD: China, China hear our cry, no more people have to die.

ROTH: Critics say the Sudanese government has not stopped the violence because it doesn't fear international action.

DONALD STEINBERG, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: For many, many years, the Chinese government protected Khartoum from strong security council action, from strong pressure, from other countries.

ROTH: Oil is a big reason why. Sudan sells two-thirds of its oil to energy-hungry China, which in turn sells weapons back. Deployment of a more robust peace-keeping force is delayed by government stalling and the inability of the U.N.'s own members to send needed helicopters and troops. China has sent engineers.

LIU GUIJIN, CHINESE ENVOY TO DARFUR: We are ready to extend our helping hands. We have already worked with the major players with regard on Darfur.

ROTH: But some of those players lament the unwillingness of China to apply more pressure in Sudan.

KAREN PIERCE, ACTING U.K. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: It's not fair to blame China, but I think it's also true that China does hold one of the keys to making progress.

ROTH (on camera): There are a lot of people who are hearing about Darfur because of these Chinese protests on the torch. You have issued a statement about Darfur last Friday which in effect to me said look, enough is enough, everyone has to get together. What's the problem with solving Darfur?

BAN KI MOON, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: I'm deeply frustrated. I'm now exerting my best effort.

ROTH (voice-over): The United Nations is fully involved in the Sudan stalemate. But it's a completely different story when it comes to China's other problem: Tibet.

CARNE ROSS, DIRECTOR, "INDEPENDENT DIPLOMAT": Aha! It has come up in the past, but China has very quickly stifled any attempt to raise it on the grounds that this is an internal issue for China alone.

ROTH: At the U.N., it's not the age of confrontation.

AMB. DUMISANI KUMALO, SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Protesters have every right to do whatever they do, and I get employed in the security council. That's not why we're discussing this issue. Thank you very much.


ROTH: I talked to the Chinese ambassador at the U.N. today. He said outside forces are trying to take advantage of the Beijing Olympics and China. The House of Representatives today though criticized China for its handling of the Tibet issue and the Congress, in turn, was criticized by the Chinese Foreign Ministry -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Everyone's pointing the finger. All right, Richard Roth, thanks so much from New York.

Well, the Olympic torch is indeed a heated issue on the campaign trail as well. Our Wolf Blitzer looks at how the presidential contenders are dealing with the uproar over the Beijing Games. That story 6:00 p.m. Eastern in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

LEMON: All right, look at this.

WHITFIELD: And it's hard to look at.

LEMON: Oh no. Teen girls accused of ganging up on a classmate, and then they taped it so they could post it online. We'll hear from the victim's mom and the disgusted sheriff.


LEMON: Well, next week marks one year since the worst school shooting in American history. The deaths of so many at Virginia Tech raised serious questions about how universities should handle troubled students. CNN's "SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" examines the anniversary and the issue in its documentary campus rage.

A preview of Friday's special from SIU correspondent, Abbie Boudreau.


ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sometimes the warning signs are clear.

RICHARD SONNEN, PLANNED SCHOOL ATTACK: I hated myself, I hated them, I hated everybody. I was a sick -- I was a sick man.

BOUDREAU: Richard Sonnen was a would-be teen-aged school shooter from Idaho who was planning to stage another Columbine. He was angry, depressed and bullied.

SONNEN: I wanted to get as much revenge as I could.

BOUDREAU (on camera): And you were prepared to shoot them?


BOUDREAU: And you were prepared to shoot yourself?


BOUDREAU: And end it all?


BOUDREAU (voice-over): Yet, Richard Sonnen didn't end it all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the scene secure and has the gunman been (INAUDIBLE) ?

BOUDREAU: But that wasn't the case for Steven Kazmierczak, whose girlfriend, Jessica Baty says she saw no signs that he would go on his Valentine's Day shooting spree at Northern Illinois University.

He killed five, injured 16, then turned the gun on himself.

JESSICA BATY, NIU GUNMAN'S GIRLFRIEND: He was not abusive towards anybody or anything. Ever. He didn't -- I didn't think he had a violent or aggressive bone in his body. He was just nice. He was a nice guy.

BOUDREAU (on camera): Listening to you talk, it's almost like he had a double life.

BATY: I -- I don't know how he could have had a double life. I was in his life all the time.

BOUDREAU (voice-over): So how do colleges deal with the growing number of students with mental illness and what more can be done to stop school shootings before they happen again?

Abbie Boudreau, CNN, Atlanta.


LEMON: "Campus Rage," a one-hour "SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" documentary. It airs Friday night, 8:00 Eastern with an encore on Saturday at 8:00, as well -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: The parents of a teenage girl brutally beaten by classmates are blaming the Internet and reality TV shows. Sixteen girls and two boys have been arrested in this attack. The boys are accused of being lookouts, the girls accused of ambushing the victim and taping it so that they could post it online.


TALISA LINDSAY, VICTIM'S MOTHER: These kids are, I feel, lashing out because it's their trend. They see everything on the, you know, the Internet, the medias of people beating the snot out of each other and they think it's funny. And in a sense, it's just warped their minds to think, well, I'll be the next one to do it.

SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA: I can tell you that some parents were remorseful. The kids really were not. They were laughing and joking about -- I guess we won't get to go to the beach during spring break. And one, as you said, asked whether she could go to cheerleading practice.


WHITFIELD: Man, it's appalling stuff. Well, the cheerleader and her friends allegedly rammed this girl's head into the wall knocking her unconscious. Sheriff Judd says she has suffered some vision and hearing loss, as well.

Something else we're watching -- about an hour-and-a-half from now, it's expected that protesters, whether it be pro-China or perhaps free Tibet, demonstrators will potentially clash as the torch run makes its way through San Francisco. Right now, you're seeing a host of people, whether it's folks who are there in support of the torch that's going to be coming down a six-mile path.

Still unclear, the six-mile path, because they may have had to make a few adjustments because of the expected protests. And you remember what you've seen over the weekend in Paris, as well as London. Well the folks in San Francisco don't want it to happen here.

We're continuing to watch the developments there in San Francisco. You can see the police there, also all converging. We'll keep you posted throughout the afternoon.

Much more straight ahead here in the NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Well, we're getting close. We're just about an hour away from the Olympic torch's one and only relay in the U.S. The streets of San Francisco, as you can see from that live picture, now packed with protesters and they are fired up.

WHITFIELD: They sure are.