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Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Autopsy; War Summit at Camp David; Tropical Storm Alberto
Aired June 12, 2006 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: How long did Abu Musab al-Zarqawi survive after he was hit by two 500-pound bombs? His autopsy is done. We're waiting for a news conference out of Baghdad to start any moment.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Three terror detainees commit suicide at Guantanamo and now renewed calls for a shut down of the prison.
S. O'BRIEN: Florida's west coast is bracing for the first major storm of the hurricane season. Tropical Storm Alberto is coming. We've got your severe weather forecast.
M. O'BRIEN: And beefing up border security -- more National Guard troops now headed to help out.
We'll talk with the top Guardsmen about what they'll be doing ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.
Good morning to you.
I'm Miles O'Brien.
S. O'BRIEN: And I'm Soledad O'Brien.
We are expecting a briefing any moment now. We're expecting to hear from Major General William Caldwell in Baghdad.
There's word that the autopsy results on Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are in. The terror leader, of course, was killed in a raid by the U.S. on Wednesday.
Let's get right to CNN's John Vause.
He's live in Baghdad for us -- hey, John, good morning.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Soledad.
We are expecting these autopsy results to be announced. And, really, the reason for this is to try and put to rest some of the conspiracy theories that are out there about precisely how Zarqawi died.
Because it was revealed on Friday that Zarqawi did not die instantly in that air strike on Wednesday, there's been some suggestion that perhaps he had been shot by U.S. or Iraqi forces once they arrived on the scene.
General Caldwell, the man we're about to hear from shortly, told us over the weekend in and off camera briefing that there's no evidence of gunshot wounds to Zarqawi's body.
It's also being suggested that Zarqawi was beaten by U.S. soldiers on the scene because a man who claimed that he lived nearby claimed to have seen Zarqawi being punched by U.S. soldiers. Once again, General Casey said that is pure bunkum. He said U.S. medics were on the scene trying to administer first aid.
Answer, also, when we look at that photograph of Zarqawi's face, which had been cleaned up before the press conference, many people were asking is that the face of a man who had been hit by two 500- pound bombs?
So there was all these conspiracy theories. They've had this autopsy to try and put those conspiracy theories to rest once and for all -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Give me a sense of how those conspiracy theories are playing in Baghdad right now.
Is it rampant? Would you say that there are just sort of few and far between or do the majority of the population believe that something untoward happened?
VAUSE: Well, look, this is the Middle East, where conspiracy theories are currency. And while it is talk, it really is a kind of a sideshow. a lot of these conspiracy theories, to be fair, are coming from the reporters on the ground here because we've been asking questions about this, because that's our job. As far as the average Iraqis are concerned, they know that the guy died. Either he died, you know, in the air strike or he died from wounds or however he died, it's kind of an interesting discussion to be held.
But, really, it's not gaining a lot of traction here. It's more just out of curiosity than anything else -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Well, let me ask you a question just out of curiosity, then, John.
When you were describing earlier touring the house that was just devastated by these two 500-pound bombs, some would say hmmm, strange, Zarqawi the only survivor; strange that he would survive that kind of damage; strange that he would be, as the military described it, in a strong enough condition to try to, you know, struggle his way off of a gurney or a stretcher and then expiring, whatever it was, a few minutes after that.
Some people might say all those things are strange.
Is that just because the details at the time that they were briefing people were a little bit sketchy or do people now believe that some of these things don't add up? VAUSE: Well, there is a feeling that because the initial details that was released on Thursday, the day after the air strike, were suddenly changed or clarified by the U.S. military in the days that followed, there is this feeling of well, you know, that something is not quite right here, especially when you look at that house.
And we were out there on Saturday. We were flown out there by the U.S. military. We had a look at the impact from these two 500- pound bombs. It was a massive crater left behind. And you really have to wonder how it is that five people inside that house were killed by that air strike but yet the main target, the guy that we're going after, somehow managed to survive. Either he was in that house or he was nearby.
And even if he was nearby, it's pretty incredible to think that he managed to at least survive for a few moments after the impact of those two 500-pound bombs, whether he was in the vicinity, whether he was in a doorway, whether he was trying to make an escape at the time or whether he heard the bomb coming, whatever. No one really knows.
But that is why many people are now asking just how did this all happen -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: All right, we're hoping to get the answers to that very question.
John Vause, we are watching this press conference.
We can see that they are getting the podium set up and getting ready to get it going, but it looks like it's still a few minutes away as -- well, there you go. You can look at live shots of it coming to us out of Baghdad.
They're just setting up for this briefing and as soon as they actually begin the briefing in earnest, we're going to take that live and bring you up to speed.
Thanks, John -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: The president and his top advisers huddling today and tomorrow at Camp David, days after the demise of Zarqawi and the appointment of some key members of the new Iraqi government. The administration trying to determine what the next move will be in Iraq.
Ed Henry live now near Camp David -- Ed, what is the president hoping to accomplish with all this?
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Miles.
The president wants to build off some of that momentum that you mentioned, strategize about how to pivot off this good news. One thing for sure, they want to try to capitalize on the death of al- Zarqawi and basically try to build on that to defeat the insurgency, reduce the violence in Iraq; also, continue training more Iraqi police, as well as Iraqi troops; also, deal with the problems of the Shiite militia and bring more electricity to the Iraqi people.
That will give them some more tangible proof that progress is being made.
A senior official here basically says the president wants to leave this summit, two day summit, feeling that every level of the U.S. government has a specific strategy to help this Iraqi government get off the ground -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: What some people want to know is will they come out of this meeting announcing some sort of timetable for troop withdrawal. I don't suspect we're going to see that, though.
HENRY: We're going to hear a lot of talk, but not necessarily a timetable. The president is trying to downplay expectations heading into this summit, saying that while the death of Zarqawi is big, it's a big blow, he said, to al Qaeda, it's just the death of one person, and the violence in Iraq is going to continue.
Now, various Iraqi officials, such as the national security adviser, they're not feeling quite as concerned. They're very content moving forward. In fact, yesterday, the Iraqi national security adviser was quite bullish on CNN's "LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER," saying he believes that the lion's share of multinational forces, U.S. troops and others, will be out by the middle of 2008.
The White House right now is content to let Iraqi officials make pronouncements like that, because then that puts the onus on the Iraqi officials, not the U.S. officials, to basically back that up -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Ed Henry, who is near Camp David.
Thank you very much -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: New calls now for the U.S. government to change or to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Those calls come in the wake of three suicides on Saturday. The deaths renewed complaints that the suspected terrorists haven't been tried and many have never been charged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: As long as Guantanamo exists, it's a source of international attention and concern, and that these types of incidents, these suicides, not only -- they will provoke further condemnation around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
S. O'BRIEN: Officials say one of the detainees who committed suicide was scheduled to be transferred to another country. Another had suspected ties to al Qaeda.
A CNN Security Watch for you now.
Fourteen terror suspects are expected in an Ontario, Canada courtroom today. The men are suspected in a plot that included attacks on the parliament and possibly beheading of the Canadian prime minister.
The men face a bail hearing today. Their attorneys also want to argue that they haven't been given proper access to their clients.
You want to stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Tropical Storm Alberto gaining strength, inching toward the western coast of Florida. A tropical storm warning is now in effect. No mandatory evacuations, however. People in low areas more concerned about the rain than the expected winds.
CNN remains your hurricane headquarters.
Rob Marciano is on Clearwater Beach ahead of the storm there -- and, Rob, how are things going there this morning?
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's awfully wet, Miles. The winds aren't all that bad. As you mentioned, rainfall is going to be the main issue with this storm. Flood watches in effect up and down the coastline, especially to the north of here, where we think this storm is going to -- is going to come onshore.
Right now the beach is deserted. As you mentioned, evacuations are not in place. This thing not expected to get above tropical storm status. But there are high surf advisories. And we talked to the Coast Guard. They, in the last two days, the last 48 hours, they have actually gone out on 25 calls. And they typically only get three or four. So the Coast Guard is on guard, for sure, and they're telling people, obviously, not to go out into the water.
As this thing gets a little bit closer, the surf will kick up. It's not so much the storm surge that we're concerned about, although Tampa will probably see -- Tampa Bay will see a little bit of a surge because this storm is coming in up toward the north.
You know, it was yesterday, a year ago, is when Tropical Storm Arlene came onshore in the Panhandle and the Alabama border. And here we are, a year later. The average date of seeing the first named storm is July 11 and we're a month ahead of schedule again -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: All right, Rob.
There is the silver lining, though.
We've been covering these fires now for several weeks and this is a douse...
M. O'BRIEN: ... a dousing of water that no amount of tankers or firefighters could deliver.
MARCIANO: Yes, the firefighters are excited about the potential of seeing a lot of rain and not a whole lot of wind. For six weeks now, especially in the central and the eastern part of the state, they've been battling blazes. Over 68,000 acres have burned in this state since the first of the year.
So, certainly for firefighters, this is a welcome scenario -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Rob Marciano on Clearwater Beach, thank you very much.
Let's take a bird's eye view of all of this.
Chad Myers back from his break, just in the nick of time for Alberto, with the latest.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right.
M. O'BRIEN: Hello, Chad.
MYERS: The latest is, Miles, that we're going to have these storms kind of rolling onshore, just one thunderstorm after another. And they could be spinning. And one is spinning right now near Eagle Lake here. I'll zoom into that for you and get that big red box off.
But here's Lakeland and about Winter Haven the storm, there it is, Winter Haven, just up here. And the storm is moving from the south to the north. So keep that in mind. A tornado warning for central Polk County for the next couple of minutes and then eventually, if it continues to travel on up to the north of that, north of Polk and then across maybe even I-4.
Here's the problem here we have for you.
This storm is bringing a lot of rain to central and southern Florida, and also the western sections of Florida. The new computer models, though, have taken the storm a little bit farther to the north than to the east. And so some of these warnings are pushed up a little bit. Indian Pass all the way to Englewood, tropical storm warnings in effect now for this morning into this afternoon because even though the storm isn't going to make landfall today, it'll still produce tropical storm force winds. And we had some yesterday, with some of the thunderstorms that were onshore.
Right now, the winds are 50, the pressure is 1,001 and it's going down.
The storm -- here are some of the models I was talking about. Some of these models taking it almost to Destin and Panama City, where yesterday every single model was right through here in northern Florida.
Back to you -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: All right, Chad, thanks.
MYERS: Yes. S. O'BRIEN: Happening in America this morning, a statewide amber alert has been issued in California for a missing 1-year-old girl. Police in San Diego believe that Alejandra Gomez was taken by the same man who is suspected in her mother's murder. That happened on Saturday night.
A short hostage drama for a Rhode Island man who is studying in Israel. Benjamin Bright Fishbein was kidnapped and -- by, rather, suspected Palestinian gunmen while he was in the West Bank. Officials believe he was released when his captors realized he's an American.
Parts of the Will Rogers Turnpike near Claremont, Oklahoma shut down this morning after a deadly pileup. Look at these pictures. The chain collision started with a Mustang that crashed into a guard rail. At least three semi tracks and an SUV slammed into the wreckage, as well. Two people were killed. One person was injured.
In Houston, a 4-year-old left home alone may have started a fire. His mother is now in jail. She's charged with abandoning her child. The 4-year-old managed to escape. Nobody else was hurt. The boy and his brothers are in state custody now.
And it almost sounds like a scene from a horror movie -- 1,000 pets being exhumed and then transferred elsewhere. San Francisco-Pet Cemetery is losing its lease. The owners want the land for other uses. The move, as you can imagine, is just traumatic for some of the pet owners.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICKY ARCHIBALD, PET OWNER: It takes you through the whole death thing again. Your pets are kind of like your children. You love them very much. They're part of your life for 13 or 14 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
S. O'BRIEN: And some of the pet owners have formed a coalition. They're trying to buy that land. That would keep it as a pet cemetery.
M. O'BRIEN: Boy, I hope they succeed.
S. O'BRIEN: Oh, that's got to be horrible, huh?
M. O'BRIEN: Yes, it's tough. It's hard to lose a pet. It really is.
Still to come on the program, more National Guard troops are headed to the U.S. border with Mexico. But will they really make the border more secure?
We're going to ask the country's top National Guardsman about that.
S. O'BRIEN: also ahead this morning, the evolving role of the Predator drone in the war on terror. We'll take a closer look at America's flying assassin and some of the controversy that surrounds it, too.
M. O'BRIEN: And what really happened at Haditha?
The senior Marine sergeant who was there is now speaking out through his lawyer, who will join us next on AMERICAN MORNING.
Stay with us.
S. O'BRIEN: It may still be weeks before we know the results of the investigation into the alleged massacre at Haditha. But now one Marine at the center of the case wants to be heard.
The senior Marine in charge that day says he and his men did nothing wrong.
Joining us this morning from Washington, D.C. is Neal Puckett.
He is the attorney for that man, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich.
Nice to see you, sir.
Thanks for talking with us.
NEAL PUCKETT, ATTORNEY FOR STAFF SGT. WUTERICH: Good morning.
Nice to be with you again, Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Thank you very much.
What's your client's side of the story?
What happened that day?
PUCKETT: Well, what happened that day was an IED exploded under the fourth vehicle in a four vehicle convoy that he was -- that he was managing. It was a routine patrol. What happened was they immediately suspected that a carload of men might have been responsible for the IED. They asked them to get out of the car in Arabic. The men got out and fled. They engaged those individuals.
Some time later that morning, after the quick reaction force had arrived, they began taking rifle fire from the south. They decided to go in and clear the house from which the rifle fire was coming and moved on to a second house where they thought the insurgents may have escaped. And, unfortunately, innocent civilians were killed in this search for insurgents.
S. O'BRIEN: So let's back up a little bit.
When you talk about clear the house, what has your client told you about what he did within those two houses? PUCKETT: A four-man stack of individuals approached the house. It included Sergeant Wuterich. They entered the house as a hostile environment. The rules of engagement permitted them to precede their entry with hand grenades exploding and going in shooting. And that's exactly what happened.
And, again, unfortunately, there were innocent civilians who were killed and they did not find the insurgents they were looking for that day. They did escape.
S. O'BRIEN: And so the rules of engagement allow the soldiers to throw hand grenades in to clear a room and then to walk in or run-in opening fire indiscriminately?
That -- that is -- contradicts what we're told by CNN's military advisers, who, as you well know, are retired generals.
PUCKETT: Right. Well, the retired generals weren't there that day and didn't have rifle fire aimed at them. And the Marines used their best judgment and their understanding of the rules of engagement and cleared the houses the way they were trained to do.
S. O'BRIEN: When you...
PUCKETT: And to use the word indiscriminate is incorrect.
S. O'BRIEN: OK.
My understanding is that -- at least from their description -- you have to selectively shoot the threats. In other words, you can't just open fire in a room that might have civilians inside. You have to determine where the threats are coming from and shoot at the threats.
And if you listen to the description by CNN employees who viewed the photos, the aftermath, there's a description of women and a child shot in bed, elderly women shot. Other reports have said an old man in a wheelchair was shot nine times. A group of girls between the ages of 1-year-old and 14 years old all dead.
I'm not sure how those will be perceived necessarily -- a 1-year- old baby shot, how that would be perceived as a threat.
PUCKETT: No, that wouldn't be perceived as a threat if you had the time to give it some deliberate thought. But when you think that people are behind a door who are going to kill you and you don't know who's behind the door, perhaps -- perhaps the Marines were taking care of themselves first and were looking out for their own safety. And I think most of the American people understand they need to do that.
S. O'BRIEN: Your client has not been charged with anything. In fact, he's still at Camp Pendleton.
What exactly is he doing sort of on a day to day basis?
PUCKETT: Well, he's a platoon sergeant in a new platoon, also within the same battalion. He conducts Marine training and Marine duties and he's -- of course, he lives at home with his wife and two young daughters aboard the base at Camp Pendleton and is doing fine. And he is hopeful that the investigation will be factual, accurate and permit the Marine Corps not to actually charge any of his Marines with any wrongdoing that day.
S. O'BRIEN: There's also a second investigation, as you well know, an investigation into any kind of cover-up.
Why was all of this first described as and reported as an IED explosion, when we now know, eight months later, that, in fact, what you have been describing and others have described in reports, happened?
PUCKETT: Well, Sergeant Wuterich isn't responsible for any reporting above his level in the chain of command. But there was an IED that exploded and it did result in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians. And if you don't know what happened in between, you might think that -- that the Marines did something terrible. But once you -- once you hear -- hear the story of what happened step-by-step, you understand that when the rules of engagement were followed and unfortunately resulting in the deaths of civilians that that's what happened.
Further, you know, when we drop bombs on houses that explode and kill civilians in that house and perhaps surrounding houses, there aren't any investigations into what happened. So initially that day some of the heat that the Marine Corps is taking is for not immediately investigating something. Well, if you -- if you see something as being -- having been done properly based on initial reports, why would you investigate?
S. O'BRIEN: Neal Puckett is the attorney.
Thanks for joining us, Neal.
PUCKETT: Thank you.
S. O'BRIEN: Thanks.
Let's take you right to Baghdad.
As we've mentioned, Major General William Caldwell is updating on the results of Zarqawi's autopsy.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM CALDWELL (USA), SPOKESMAN, MULTINATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: ... as a result of these operations 32 anti-Iraqi elements were killed, and 178 were detained.
Out of that, there were six major caches found. And we also picked up, due to a tip by an Iraqi local, one high-value individual who had a reward of $50,000 on him.
Regarding the medical specifics at the site of the night of the strike, at 6:12 p.m. local time, a coalition aircraft launched a kinetic strike on an isolated safe house. At approximately 6:40 p.m., coalition forces were on the scene and took possession of Zarqawi in order to positively identify him both visually and by searching for known scars.
A coalition medic treated Zarqawi while he did lapse in and out of consciousness. The medic secured his airway, at which point Zarqawi expelled blood. The medic ensured Zarqawi was breathing, however, he noted the breathing was shallow and labored.
The medic then checked his carotic (ph) pulse, which was barely palpable and quickly deteriorated; and which he determined, therefore, that Zarqawi's death was imminent.
Lack of serious external injuries led to the belief that he had suffered massive internal injuries. The medic registered no pulse or respirations, and at 7:04 p.m. on 7 June realized that Zarqawi was dead.
This is approximately 24 minutes after the coalition forces arrived, or approximately 52 minutes after the first airstrike on the safe house.
Joining me today is Colonel Steve Jones. He is the command surgeon of Multinational Forces-Iraq. In that role, he is responsible for the oversight of all coalition medical activities in Iraq.
Dr. Jones was present during the procedure, he reviewed the remains and he consulted with the medical examiners who performs the autopsy.
Also joining us via phone to take some of your questions will be one of the forensic pathologists who did perform the autopsy.
Autopsies for coalition forces are normally conducted in the United States or donor country. Therefore, the necessary specialists are not here in-theater.
Two board-certified forensic pathologists were flown to Iraq to perform these autopsies following the standards established by the National Association of Medical Examiners. Both individuals have deployed before and are the most senior armed forces medical examiners we had available.
These autopsies were performed to make a definitive determination as to the cause of both Zarqawi's and Rahman's deaths. The scientific facts provide irrefutable evidence regarding the deaths of terrorists will serve to counter speculation, misinformation and propaganda.
The Iraqi people deserve the facts, to know that the personal threat of Zarqawi is eliminated, and the fact that he was treated better in death than he was -- than he treated others in life. On a last note, on DNA testing, the Federal Bureau of Investigation returned the results to us and there was a positive match by DNA that this was Zarqawi.
With that, I'll turn it over to Dr. Jones.
COLONEL STEPHEN L. JONES (USA), COMMAND SURGEON, U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
On Saturday, June 10th, an autopsy was performed on the remains of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Sheikh Abd al-Rahman to make a definitive determination of the cause of death.
The procedure was performed by senior Department of Defense forensic pathologists flown in from outside Iraq. The team of five included military and civilian personnel, board-certified forensic pathologists and their assistants. These are among the most experienced individuals in the world in examining these types of injuries. They followed the standards established by the National Association of Medical Examiners.
Two medical examiners participated in each autopsy to ensure it was thorough and that there were no questions about the findings.
The team performed a standard forensic autopsy. It included total body X-rays, external examination of the remains, and examination of the internal organs. Samples were also taken for toxicology analysis.
Throughout the process, all personnel have treated these remains with the same high degree of dignity and respect that we treat our own casualties.
I'd like to take a few minutes and review with you the injuries sustained by Zarqawi and Rahman.
If I can have the first slide please.
This slide displays the injuries sustained by Zarqawi.
Total body X-rays showed a non-displaced fracture of the lower right leg; no shrapnel or bullets were seen.
External examination showed multiple bruises, abrasions and lacerations of the head, as you've seen in the photos that have been released. Lacerations, abrasions and bruises were also seen on the body, the arms and the legs.
There was extensive blast injury to the lungs, with bruising and disruption of the lung tissue. There was bleeding in the middle ear on both sides. There was no evidence of firearm injuries.
The cause of death was closed-spaced primary blast injury of the lung. Blast waves from the two bombs caused tearing, bruising of the lungs and bleeding. These injuries are not apparent from an external inspection; they can only be seen by examining the lungs. This wound was not immediately fatal. Death occurred as lung function deteriorated and the lungs became progressively unable to absorb oxygen into the bloodstream.
All the injuries found were consistent with the type seen in blast victims. The abrasions, lacerations and the fracture were likely due to flying debris, or Zarqawi being thrown against a hard object by the force of the blast.
May I have the next slide, please?
These are the injuries sustained by Rahman.
X-rays revealed a skull fracture of the left temporal area, extending to the base of the skull. Rib fractures, a fracture of the left arm above the elbow, shrapnel and other debris from the bomb blast were also seen on the X-rays.
External examination showed multiple bruises, abrasions and lacerations to the head, body, arms and legs. These injuries were more severe than those sustained by Zarqawi.
Internal examination showed extensive bleeding from the head injuries, just beneath the scalp and beneath the skull around the brain, as well. There were severe bleeding into the left lung and several lacerations of the liver.
Examination of the laceration of the left knee showed a small fracture not seen on X-ray.
The cause of death was secondary and tertiary blast injuries caused by shrapnel, flying debris and being thrown against a hard object by the force of the blast. All injuries were consistent with those seen in blast victims. Death was instantaneous.
I'll explain now how two individuals killed by the same bombs can have different injuries.
If I can have the next slide, please.
Explosive munitions like bombs cause three types of injuries: ballistic, blast and thermal.
Fragments from the casing of the weapon cause ballistic injuries. Flying debris, such as bricks and stones, may cause these injuries as well.
The explosion of the weapon causes a shock wave that has a high pressure and high velocity. This shock wave causes blast injuries.
Hot gases produced by the explosion can cause burns if the victim is close enough. Those are the thermal injuries that you see on this chart.
I'm sure you're wondering how Rahman could have sustained more serious shrapnel wounds than Zarqawi. I'll explain that. Fragments from an explosion are distributed fairly symmetrically along the long axis of the bomb. When a bomb detonates with its nose straight down and perpendicular to the earth, the fragments are distributed evenly around the point of detonation.
However, most bombs fall with their axis at an angle to the perpendicular, so there is considerable asymmetry in fragment distribution. If a bomb falls at an angle, there may be far more fragments on one side of the detonation than on the other.
May I have the next slide, please?
There are different types of blast injuries. This chart shows the mechanisms that cause the different injuries.
The shock wave from the blast can rupture air-filled organs such as the ears, lungs and intestines. Those injuries are not obvious from looking at the external surface of the body.
This type of injury is called primary blast injury, and is what killed Zarqawi.
Shrapnel from the exploding bomb and flying debris caused secondary blast injuries. The force of the blast can also throw an individual down causing other tertiary injuries.
Other injuries caused by an explosion, such as burns, are called quaternary injuries.
May I have the next slide, please?
There are several factors that affect the severity of blast injuries.
These factors vary from person to person and lead to different types of injuries.
The greater the peak pressure of the shock wave generated by the explosion, the greater the injury. The further away an individual is from the explosion, the less the effect.
Body position and orientation influence the severity of the blast effect. The effect is greatest when the individual is facing the explosion, and both lungs will be injured. If the victim is sideways to the blast, one side will be more injured than the other. If the individual is facing away from the blast or lying on the ground, the effects will be less than expected.
The presence of obstacles which prevent the travel of the shock wave in some directions may increase this effect in other directions. In an enclosed room, the shock wave cannot escape and the pressure is magnified by reflections off the walls. At the same time, an individual on the other side of that wall will be protected from the shock and the fragments.
Next slide, please. The table on the right shows the peak pressures that are generated by explosions. The effects of those peak pressures are listed on the left. A shock wave exerting a pressure of 500 pounds per square inch kills only half of the individuals hit. Compare that to the peak pressure of a 500-pound bomb seen here.
Because Zarqawi died from primary blast injury he must have been in an enclosed space where the peak pressure of the blast was magnified. That is how we know he was inside the house when he was hit.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your time. I understand we'll now transition to comments from one of the medical examiners who participated.
UNKNOWN: Colonel Jones, thank you very much for the explanation. It was great, and I wouldn't say it better.
UNKNOWN: I don't know. I'm here waiting for any comments and questions, because I think you explained everything very clearly. But I'm here to answer any possible questions.
CALDWELL: OK, well, we'll open it up for questions now then.
QUESTION: I've got a question for General Caldwell.
General, I know the information you've been getting has -- on Saturday, you said, I believe, that there were no ground forces on the ground at the time of the strike. On Friday, you said that the airstrike had been called in by the commander on the ground.
We've spoken to a number of Iraqis who were in the area at the time who say that there were American forces near the house, around the house before the airstrike, and, specifically, that they came in on helicopters -- differing times as to how long before the strike.
Pretty clear the special operations guys were involved because President Bush congratulated them.
Can you talk about the role of ground forces in this operation, whether they were special operations guys or not, whether they were in the air, ground, water, anywhere, and where they were before the strike?
When I said the ground force commander called in the strike, that's an operational expression that the person in charge of the operation, regardless of where he or she is, is the one who called in the strike. And that person was not on the ground and was not at that location in civilian terms. But they were in charge of the operation and observing it through visual means.
The first coalition forces to arrive on the scene was at approximately 6:40 p.m. And that's the time when we first were able to administer medical aid to Zarqawi. And, again, the first bombs dropped at approximately 6:12 p.m.
So there's a period there of about 28 minutes before coalition forces arrived at that location and physically had, as you would say, boots on the ground at the safe house. They were not outside the building before then.
QUESTION: Just to be clear, the word "coalition forces" includes special ops guys, as well.
CALDWELL: Coalition forces include all forces operating in the country of Iraq, that's correct.
QUESTION: Were there any indications that (OFF-MIKE)
JONES: We have clear evidence that he died of blast injuries. There is no evidence to suggest that he was beaten, and I have no reason to suspect that that happened.
CALDWELL: If you could, the doctor that's on the phone, do you hear us?
UNKNOWN: Yes, I did.
CALDWELL: Could you answer that too as the examiner who did the actual examination?
UNKNOWN: I didn't hear the question. I just heard the answer.
QUESTION: Was there any evidence that Zarqawi was beaten up before he was taken away?
UNKNOWN: Not at all. No evidence of beating and no evidence of any firearm injuries.
QUESTION: Would it be right to say that he actually died mainly because of internal injuries? As you say there have been no firearm injuries externally visible.
JONES: Yes, sir, that is true. The injuries to his lungs were not survivable. That's what killed him.
QUESTION: And can you give us a specific -- you know, 6:12 the airstrike happened and then the coalition forces arrived on the scene. Can you give us, kind of, a tick-tock of what happened in between that time? And can you talk about when the Iraqi forces arrived on the scene? Are you including those in the coalition forces?
CALDWELL: The Iraqi police -- no, I was not.
And we are going to get as best we can the time that the Iraqi forces arrived on scene. I realize from talking to several of you on Saturday you're very interested in the timeline. We have a tentative timeline. We're doing a vetting process of it now, because of a couple of discrepancies in there, just to have people double back and check their facts.
And we should have that in about two more days for sure available to anybody who would like to see it.
But what I do know is that the first coalition forces arrived right at about 6:40 p.m. at the safe house. But Iraqi police were already there when we arrived.
QUESTION: Can you just give us an idea what's, kind of, holding up that part of the timeline? Is there a problem with the -- you know, getting information from the Iraqis or...
CALDWELL: Well, the challenge is we're getting information from a lot of different units. It's not like one organization was involved. And the intent was to try to give you about a 24-hour period, from about 6:12 p.m. to about 6 p.m. the next night.
So we've asked a lot of questions about the forces that secured the site overnight, if there was any further interaction with other people, what things did they observe, just so that it's a fairly accurate timeline.
So if somebody were to later say they saw this or that occur the next day, hopefully we would have already captured that in this timeline that we'll make available to you.
QUESTION: (SPEAKING IN ARABIC)
CALDWELL: The remains of the three females...
QUESTION: Can you repeat the question?
CALDWELL: I'm sorry, yes. The question was, "What is the disposition of the remains of the six personnel that were on the site of the safe house?"
The three females that were on the site were passed off to the local hospital there. They took possession of those three people, the three females.
And I don't have follow-up as to what the -- you'd probably have to check with the government of Iraq as to what disposition the hospital did from there. I would assume they tried to make some sort of positive identification and follow-up to any relatives that may be in the area. But I do not know that one.
The disposition of the three males -- those currently -- one is being turned back over to the Ministry of Health and the other two -- Rahman and Zarqawi -- right now we're still in discussions with the government of Iraq as to the final disposition of those remains.
They're still currently under coalition forces control, those two.
QUESTION: Do you have an identification for that third male? Were the Iraqi police supposed to be there first on the ground? It seems difficult to understand why you would want them there just to take the body away from them -- or dying Zarqawi away from them.
And, finally, was all of this medical examination done where you tried to put a -- clear his airway during -- was all of this done at the scene, or was he moved to another location by a medevac or some other kind of means?
JONES: The medical care was provided there on the scene.
The medic determined very early on in the process, after clearing his airway and having, as the report reads, quite a bit of blood come out from his lungs, that his carotid pulse was such that he was not going to live. I mean, it was very evident that he had extremely massive internal injuries. But they continued to provide medical care for him at the site at that point.
The Iraqi police were not part of this operation, but they did arrive first on the scene. They were in the area, but it was not because coalition forces had coordinated previously with them or had asked them to report to that scene. They just showed up, having heard a blast, and were on location. We're going to establish approximately what time that was.
But, no, they were not part of the coalition forces' operation.
QUESTION: Were they handcuffed and forced to take their shirts off as some reports have suggested? We've heard that from witnesses, that the special forces or other coalition forces that arrived on the scene, not expecting them to be there, handcuffed them and treated them like suspects, at least in the beginning.
CALDWELL: That I have not read one way or the other. We can go back and check. I just have not asked that question. I have not heard that or been made aware of that.
QUESTION: I just wanted to get a better understanding of what areas around Iraq have been hit in these raids that followed Zarqawi's death.
If we could get some better idea of the different areas that have been hit.
And also just wondering if you have any idea about his last few days -- where Zarqawi was in those last days or weeks before his death.
And finally if there's any concern being paid to Muslim burial rites or handling of the body -- if any of that has been taken into consideration.
CALDWELL: As far as the burial, again, the government of Iraq is in consultation with the Department of State at this point as far as what the disposition of the remains will be. At this point, we have treated the remains with utmost respect and dignity and have followed all the normal procedures that would have been afforded to any coalition soldier that would have had an autopsy performed on him or her. So that's been standard; treating everybody the exact same way. There has been no difference.
As to Zarqawi's movements and activities prior to that night, those I've not been made aware of. I'd have to go back and ask that question.
I know the person that we were tracking diligently in those several weeks before, in that intensive intelligence-gathering phase, was al-Rahman.
QUESTION: Can you give us a better idea of what he was doing in his last days or weeks, where he was?
CALDWELL: I'll be glad to go back and see if I can't get some of that information for you.
QUESTION: And what about the strikes? Where are those happening? And is Ramadi also a big focus of these after-raid strikes?
CALDWELL: I did not break the -- it was a company level and above operations by both Iraqi security forces and coalition forces conducted over the last 48 hours.
Of those, 11 of those were a direct result of intelligence gained from the strike on the night of 7 June. The others were incidental strikes that were the result of intelligence derived or formulated by just ongoing operations within Iraq.
I know they're spreading throughout the area. The focused 11 were primarily in the Baghdad and surrounding areas. That one I do know.
But we could try to show a little better on a diagram. We don't track necessarily each and every individual operation at this level. They are at a much lower level, but not necessarily at this level. It's more of an aggregate up here. But we can go back and see if we can't give you some general idea.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Have you done DNA testing with all the victims? And if so, have you determined if the child was Zarqawi's or if there were any other relationships there?
CALDWELL: We didn't do any testing at all on the three females. We just turned them back over to Iraqi authorities right away. They took control of them right from the site itself. So we did absolutely no testing on the females.
On the three males, the only DNA testing that we did was on Zarqawi himself.
QUESTION: You had said at one point that they were 100 percent certain that Zarqawi was the target of this strike when they launched it. Given that and given how important a target this was, I just would like to understand a bit better why it took 28 minutes for the first coalition ground forces to arrive at the scene.
And I was also wondering if you could say definitively which forces were the first to arrive -- which coalition forces; what unit or who they were.
CALDWELL: When I said the other day 100 percent certain, again, I'm speaking from an operators perspective. I'm not a public affairs person by trade.
But when you're out in the field and you're conducting operations and you're making the decision of life and death on whatever you're doing -- prosecuting a target or telling your troops to do something -- you in your mind have to be 100 percent certain that you're making the best possible decision with all the information you have available at that time.
And that's when I said they were 100 percent certain. They're 100 percent certain that they had all the best possible information that could have been collated together as they're watching the target, as they're doing all that analysis over three weeks that they were making the right decision to prosecute that safe house at that point. That's what I meant by that.
Was it 100 percent certain in terms of eyes on the target and seeing Zarqawi inside? No, that was not the case.
And perhaps somebody may in civilian terms think that's what I'm talking about. I'm not.
I'm talking about when you make a life-and-death decision, when you make a decision to drop that bomb, you have got to be sure in your mind that you're making the right decision. And the commander -- not physically on the ground there -- but the commander in charge of the operation, in fact, had that feeling when he made that decision.
QUESTION: My question was, though, given that, why the 28-minute delay? And who were the forces that arrived?
CALDWELL: This was a time-sensitive target.
We had been following al-Rahman. And when he arrived at that safe house, all the criteria that they had previously established that would have told them that there's a link-up occurring between Zarqawi and al-Rahman was occurring in fact were met at that point in time,. And so, being a time-sensitive target, not knowing we were going to that house, not knowing we'd be in that location, the only asset available to prosecute that target was an air asset.
And that's the reason for calling in the F-16 strike on that house at that point: It was a time-sensitive target.
QUESTION: General, from all you've said, it sounds very likely, to me at least, that U.S. special forces were in the air and close enough to reach there fairly quickly; that they were, in fact, engaged in this operation, you know, in the hunt and that the commander himself may have been in the air with all your high technology.
Because we said the other day that we had no ground forces on the ground. I took that as implying that they might have been in the air and other the horizon at the time.
The second question I have is for our remote pathologist. If he could describe to us whether Zarqawi was dressed when the autopsy began; if so what he was wearing.
And if anybody, you or the pathologist, could tell us whether there's any truth to reports that the uniform -- that the clothing of Zarqawi was ripped apart as part of the medical procedures at the site, or possibly to determine whether he was carrying a suicide bombing belt.
CALDWELL: As far as the forces go -- I know everyone keeps asking it -- coalition forces were intimately involved in this operation and participated from the beginning.
We were asked the question the other day too: Were Jordanian assets involved? And, clearly, going back and asking the question, Jordan was extremely important and very informative in helping us establish and be able to prosecute this operation.
And then I'm glad you've asked a question to Dr. Jones, because he's dying to come back up here.
JONES: Yes, sir. And I think that question is for the medical examiner that we have on the phone.
If you'd like to go ahead.
UNKNOWN: Yes, sir.
Both bodies were unclothed, but this is not surprising for us because we receive many of our soldiers also unclothed, either because of security reasons or because of the medical treatment. So it was not unusual for us to see the unclothed remains.
QUESTION: Could you address the question about the (OFF-MIKE)
CALDWELL: Again, just from reading the written report, I do know that he was in some kind of black outfit -- I'll have to go back and read it more carefully -- which they did start removing from him -- removing from his body. And, again, I didn't ask what condition it was in or anything.
But there was nothing that said he had a suicide belt on in the report that I saw.
QUESTION: Would that be a procedure that would be normal in that case, to remove the clothing to determine whether there was a suicide bombing belt?
CALDWELL: About a suicide belt; that I'm not sure. I'm not sure what procedure they normally follow in that case. I'd have to check.
But I do know -- normally, when a person's been medically hurt, we start immediately cutting their clothing away. I mean, one of the first things you do is you take a knife out and you just start slicing the uniform away so you can clearly see what wounds exist on the person.
If you leave their clothes on you can't ascertain where the wound is. Normally the blood is such that it is all across the -- in our case, it would be on our uniform. You wouldn't be able to clearly ascertain where the gunshot wound is. And you wouldn't know if there's other fragments or other things, so you would cut away the clothing. That's pretty standard procedure we use.
QUESTION: General, can you explain why Zarqawi died of primary blast injuries and Abd al-Rahman died of secondary and tertiary blast injuries? Could it be that Abd al-Rahman was not inside the building when...
CALDWELL: I'll let Dr. Jones take that.
QUESTION: ... the first or the second bombs were dropped?
JONES: Well, it may well be that they were in different locations. We can tell by the extent of the injuries that Rahman was very close to the detonation of the bomb and was likely inside the building.
Again, I'll defer to our medical examiner on the phone.
UNKNOWN: I believe that Sheikh Abd al-Rahman was thrown against the wall or something, because his head injury was the most capacitating injury. The skull was fractured badly.
So I think he either hit a wall or something hit his head. But at the same time, he'll also have blast injuries of the lung. So I think also he was in a closed place. But he was more exposed to the blast wave, more than Zarqawi.
CALDWELL: Are there any other questions?
QUESTION: Yes, General Caldwell, for you, please. If we can get back to the raids, there was a raid early this morning near Baqouba in which two children were killed. Was that one of these raids?
And can you comment on how many civilians were killed in the raids? You said 32 people, I think, in the beginning.
CALDWELL: The 32 people that are referred to that were killed were in fact all anti-Iraqi elements; no women or children in that group. They were all engaged in a hostile act.
QUESTION: That was nationwide? CALDWELL: That's nationwide, that's correct. Thank you. Yes, nationwide over the last 48 hours.
As far as the one you're talking about in the operation near Baqouba, that was an extremely unfortunate situation. You're exactly correct. U.S./coalition forces -- or coalition forces were prosecuting a target, they came in on a target, they came under heavy intensive fire. There were seven anti-Iraqi elements that were killed, there was three wounded, and I want to say I think one was detained.
They were on top of a building, and up on the top of the building they did have some children with them. One was a young boy, probably about 6 months old, and the other one a young boy of about 4 years of age. There was a young boy of 8 years of age also up there; he was wounded in the heel, not life-threatening.
Any time we're out conducting operations against terrorist elements and they mix themselves in with innocent young women and children and civilians, they, in fact, are asking for that possibility to occur.
We regretfully feel for anybody that is ever, you know, hurt in any kind of activities when we're taking and prosecuting a target.
I mean, you know, our deepest condolences go out both to those individuals, their families and all their families and friends in that area, because that's the last thing, of course, anybody would want to have happened.
But the terrorists do blend themselves right into the middle of civilians, without any regard for them, and will sit there and take under fire other personnel.
QUESTION: Another question for the medical examiner: In layman's terms, could you just explain what this blast wave would do to someone's lungs?
Would it cause the lungs to effectively explode or would it just go through the lungs and damage them?
They talked about this supersonic wave that affects parts of the body that have air inside of them. What exactly, in simple terms did this blast do to his lungs?
UNKNOWN: As a matter of fact, I don't know about the supersonic waves, but I'm talking about air pressure waves that expand the lung.
If the lungs were free in the air, it will explode, but because it's just contained in the chest wall with ribs and muscles and skin, there is no way for it to explode. That's why all the blood vessels inside the lung start rupturing and the blood is seeping into the tissue. And at the same time the air bags or air sacs of the lung explode and form these cavities that also get filled with blood, so there's no exchange of air. And the person -- it depends on the strength of the blast wave. He'll either die immediately, die within minutes or die later, in hours. In this case it was severe. I hope this explains it.
QUESTION: Is that what you call -- I'm talking to the medical examiner -- the, sort of, compression and then refraction, where, essentially the lungs are compressed and then the pressure increases inside of them and they explode outward?
QUESTION: Isn't it like a two-step process?
UNKNOWN: Matter of fact, it expands first. Because the air -- sucked in through the trachea and expands the lung very rapidly. That's why it expands first.
But then because the air is not going anywhere because of the chest wall and the muscles around it, that's why the air expelled out.
But I don't know how the terminology you used, but that's what usually happens: rapid expansion and then rupture of vessels and air spaces.
QUESTION: General, could you give us a better idea of what's happening in Ramadi and whether the timing of operations in Ramadi right now are linked to the death of Zarqawi?
And then, finally, were there other examples of collateral damage in these various raids that took place around the country? And if so, how many?
CALDWELL: Right now, out at Ramadi, it's not linked directly to Zarqawi's strike. That was a time-sensitive target. We did not know we were going to be striking that target on June 7 when it occurred, although we had been following that things were leading up to that.
The Ramadi -- what may be going on out there right now has been planned for a while.
The operations out in Ramadi that they're conducting right now is just an intensified look at the city of Ramadi, which clearly is one of the two focal points for insurgent and anti-Iraqi elements' activity that are going on at this point.
CALDWELL: There were some additional forces that were moved into that location; some of that, though, just to assist with the normal summer rotation of forces so that they were able to sustain and to continue their current state of operations that they were already conducting.
This is not a Fallujah-like operation -- if that's what you're alluding to -- that's going on out there. But it is a focused effort that they are conducting.
As far as the other 140 raids that were conducted over the last 48 hours of company-size and above, there are other activities. There's other patrols. There are checkpoints. So there's lots and lots of other activities than just that. These are company-level and above by Iraqi security forces and coalition forces.
And at this point in time all that I have been personally been made aware of is this one situation up in Baqouba, which was extremely unfortunate, when we lost those two young children.
QUESTION: Just one more follow-up about that one.
I think in the statement that was issued on that, there was a senior Al Qaeda militant who was, I believe, captured. Can you give us any idea who that might be and if it was al-Masri?
CALDWELL: At this point, they are not releasing it, but we have asked to have that information released as soon as they can.
QUESTION: Following up on that question earlier about the Ramadi operation, you mentioned it's not a Fallujah-like operation right now. Could it become one in the near future?
CALDWELL: I would never speculate or try to box a commander on the ground into whatever they want to do for operations. I mean, they will assess the situation. They make those determinations. And they will identify the requirements.
As I understand it today, you know, it's ongoing operations, with an intensified effort, though, looking at Ramadi. The whole intent behind this is to give the time and ability for the Iraqi security forces -- specifically in this case the Iraqi police and the Iraqi army -- the ability to stand up, get organized and take control of the security situation in Ramadi.
I mean, that's what they're trying to set the conditions for out there right now.
But I would never predispose and try to dictate what a commander on the ground will do ahead of time.
QUESTION: One general question, one very specific.
To start with the specific one, among the three men killed at the site, is any one of them liable for reward under the $25 million ransom payment (ph)?
And I ask that because one of the statements made by, I believe, the prime minister had a kind of poignant element to it. He said, "We'd keep our promise," and I just wondered whether that meant that the decision to resort to bombing meant that somebody who had been able to give you positive identification of Zarqawi was in that house and died in the bombing. The specific question.
The general question relates to your raids on Al Qaeda targets.
We heard a great deal about the degradation of AQIZ over the past two years. Can you give us an estimate of what you've done to Al Qaeda in the last four or five days as a result of this raid, as to whether you believe that you really have degraded them significantly? CALDWELL: As far as the first question goes with respect to the rewards, rewards is a Department of State program and I really need to refer you to the Department of State and ask them to take that question if they wouldn't mind.
As far as the Al Qaeda network, we're, you know, cautiously optimistic that we have been very successful thus far in the ongoing operations over the last five days.
But at the same time, you know, we realize this is not going to end the insurgency and that it's really going to take the people of Iraq making that decision with their Iraqi security forces -- both the police and the army -- standing up and assuming control of the country, and then the people themselves deciding, just like this tip that occurred in the last 48 hours, where we were able to capture that one high-value individual, because he called it in and reported and we went to that location and found the person that he had said was there.
But the more the Iraqi people continue to take control of their destiny, that will be the key to success and ending this insurgency in Iraq.
Any other questions?
QUESTION: General, the 140 attacks, what percentage did you say -- I didn't hear -- were related to the Zarqawi investigation? And where are they focused? Are they focused in Baghdad or any other particular locale?
CALDWELL: Based on the intelligence that came off the safe house that night, there was about 11 of them over the last 48 hours that were conducted directly related to or attributable back to the information that came off that site.
CALDWELL: And most of those -- all of those were conducted either within Baghdad itself, or in about probably a -- I didn't look that close at the map, but probably a 15-, 20-kilometer radius around the city of Baghdad; not in the outskirts of the country.
QUESTION: Just before we close it down, can we ask the remote pathologist...
QUESTION: ... how long did you take with these autopsies, Doctor, individually? What period of time did it take you to complete them?
And are you presently in Iraq? Are you somewhere in Baghdad?
UNKNOWN: For the first one, it took us about two and a half to three hours on each autopsy. This is including, of course, the full body X-rays because this took some time -- the (inaudible) autopsy.
As for location, I'm sorry, I can't answer this question. QUESTION: Zarqawi appeared in the video that was made available about three or four weeks ago, the so-called machine-gun video, to be rather a hefty individual. What would you say about his general shape? Was he a fit man or an unfit man at the time of his death?
UNKNOWN: I'm sorry, is this question for me?
CALDWELL: Yes, it is. That's your question.
UNKNOWN: He was fit, but I think he was on the heavyweight side.
CALDWELL: And if you want, you can give them a general description as to where your location is: large picture.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: They are wrapping up this briefing. That's Major General William Caldwell you're looking at right there. He has been sort of leading the briefing. He has been talking about the details about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, releasing information about what we know that followed the two bombs, two 500-pound bombs being dropped on the safe house where Zarqawi was hiding.
He died, according to the medical examiner, who was also joining by phone, of massive internal injuries. He did the briefing, along with Colonel Steve Jones, who you saw at the podium just a moment ago.
What they said was this: that the blast injury is what caused the death of Zarqawi. Of course not immediately.
The bomb was dropped, the lungs apparently expanded quickly, and then deflated. It was not immediately fatal. In fact, what happened was that the lungs couldn't absorb oxygen, and then the lack of external injuries on the body, outside of some bruising and lacerations, that was consistent with the blast injury, what they call primary blast injury.
Sheik Rahman, who the coalition forces actually tracked to that safe house where the meeting took place, who was also killed, along with four others, he died immediately of secondary blast injuries, meaning he was hit by something heavy. Or, more likely, the massive skull injury that seems to have killed him happened when he was thrown into a wall. And again, he died instantaneously, according to the medical examiner.
Let's get right to John Vause.
John, you know, it was interesting to see how quickly, I thought, that they confronted sort of the conspiracy theories that have been floated around that we spoke about earlier.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Soledad. They flew these forensic pathologists here to Baghdad to conduct this autopsy. They say it took about two and a half, three hours to finish the examination of Zarqawi's body.
A couple of other things that we learned from that briefing by General Caldwell. We found out that, according to this autopsy, Zarqawi was inside the house at the time of the blast. They know that by looking at the injuries he sustained from what they call that shock wave.
They say it was a lot more powerful because he was in that -- in that confined space inside the house. Essentially, a shock wave bounced off the walls of the house, causing those internal injuries to Zarqawi's body. And the fact that he had relatively few external injuries, they say, is indicative of the massive internal injuries that he suffered.
And General Caldwell gave us this assessment from one of the coalition medics who was on the scene who tried to administer first aid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. ARMY: The medic ensured Zarqawi was breathing; however, he noted the breathing was shallow and labored. The medic then checked his carotid pulse, which was barely palpable and quickly deteriorated, and which he determined, therefore, that Zarqawi's death was imminent.
Lack of serious external injuries led to the belief that he had suffered massive internal injuries. The medic registered no pulse or respirations, and at 7:04 p.m., on 7 June, realized that Zarqawi was dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And that time of death, Soledad, means that Zarqawi had actually lived for 52 minutes after that airstrike.
S. O'BRIEN: Yes. John, we're finally getting sort of a sketchy timeline. Now, at least, it's being pieced together about what exactly happened here, including the forces on the ground and why the police were able to get there first and why it took, you know, almost half an hour before some coalition forces were able to actually get to Zarqawi.
VAUSE: Well, that's right. We've been told the airstrike happened at precisely 6:12. By 6:40, Iraqi and other coalition forces began arriving. And then we know that by 7:04 Zarqawi was dead.
We had also learned from that press conference about the condition of Zarqawi's body. It being kept here by coalition forces under guard. We're told that it's being treated with the utmost respect.
According to Caldwell, once again from this press conference, he said it's being treated as if it's a member of the coalition forces. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CALDWELL: The scientific facts provide irrefutable evidence regarding the death of these terrorists and will serve to counter speculation, misinformation and propaganda. The Iraqi people deserve the facts, to know that the personal threat of Zarqawi is eliminated and the fact that he was treated better in death than he was -- than he treated others in life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Now, discussions are still under way, we're told, with the Iraqi government to decide precisely what to do with Zarqawi's remains -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: John Vause in Baghdad for us.
Let's take you right to Barbara Starr. She's at the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Soledad, hello to you.
As we watch this briefing here, perhaps some people watching this might wonder why the U.S. military went to such lengths to try and save Zarqawi in those minutes after they got to the site. Why did they try and render medical attention to a man just moments before that they had urgently been trying to kill?
We asked that question, and here is the answer. It's a little bit cold, but it's the fact.
U.S. military troops on the battlefield absolutely try and kill the enemies. But if they don't kill them and they simply wound them, they are no longer classified to be enemies or combatants. They are immediately determined to be noncombatants wounded on the battlefield. And then the U.S. military has a moral and legal obligation to do everything they can to save the life of that wounded person that they might have just been trying to kill moments earlier.
We've also asked -- there's a lot of detail coming out -- why so much detail. And clearly, part of this briefing is geared towards the Islamic world. Trying to put out the facts as completely as the U.S. military can possibly do so, certainly hoping that the Islamic world is watching this and seeing that the U.S. military is trying to answer all of these questions.
You know, it does raise a very other interesting question. If the day comes that the U.S. military finally does get Osama bin Laden, will we see this kind of briefing, this kind of detail, a timeline about how they got him? A question, of course, still to be answered -- Soledad.
S. O'BRIEN: Oh, gosh, though one would imagine that the answer would be absolutely. People watching that very closely.
And Barbara, I have to imagine, outside of what the Pentagon tells you officially about the moral obligation to save somebody's life, the truth is, an injured Zarqawi who is on a gurney strapped down and survived could be an absolute treasure trove of information, to steal their words from a couple of briefings ago, if they have him in captivity and they can get information from him. So, I mean, that would be another reason if he's alive and struggling to try to save his life.
But we know now he -- he died after 52 minutes after the bombing. And we know that the sheik who was with him died instantaneously.
Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.
Barbara, thanks -- Miles.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush is settling in at Camp David as we speak, gearing up for a two-day meeting with his top advisors. The goal, to determine the next moves in Iraq.
Our White House correspondent, Ed Henry, is in the Catoctin Mountain National Park outside of Camp David.
Not so easy for me to say, Ed, but I'll let you do it.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles.
That's right. You know, the president does see some good news coming out of Iraq over the last couple of weeks, including al- Zarqawi's death. He wants to try to build on that, but he also realizes there have been so many ups and downs in Iraq that he wants to add a dose of caution to these talks, as well.
HENRY (voice-over): President Bush is downplaying expectations of U.S. troop cutbacks, while touting the death of Abu Musab al- Zarqawi as a major blow to al Qaeda.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a big deal to have brought him to justice. Having said that, I don't want the American people to think that a war is won with the death of one person.
HENRY: Nevertheless, the Iraq national security adviser is predicting U.S. troop levels will drop below 100,000 by the end of this year.
MOWAFFAK AL-RUBAIE, IRAQI NATL. SECURITY ADVISER: And by the end of next year, most of the multinational forces will have gone home, and by middle of 2008, we will not see a lot of visibility, neither in the cities nor in the towns of the multinational forces.
HENRY: But top U.S. officials have heard such pronouncements before, so they're being more cautiously optimistic.
GEN. GEORGE CASEY, U.S. COMMANDER IN IRAQ: I think as long as the Iraqi security forces continue to progress and as long as this national unity government continues to operate that way and move the country forward, I think we're going to be able to see continued gradual reductions of coalition forces over the coming months and into next year.
HENRY: Key areas of discussion at the Camp David Summit include finding ways to capitalize on al-Zarqawi's death to defeat the insurgency and reduce the violence: Continue training more Iraqi troops an police. Deal with the problems of the Shiite militia. Focus on bringing in more electricity so the Iraqi people feel more tangible results.
PAUL BREMER, FMR. COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY: This was a good week in Iraq, not just Zarqawi's death, but filling out the new Iraqi cabinet, and I think it's important to take advantage of the opportunity.
HENRY: Now, the president's team meets to discuss the way forward in Iraq most of the day today. Then tomorrow, they take the unprecedented step of bringing in the Iraqi prime minister, most of his cabinet as well, by video conference in order to try and symbolically show the Iraqis are taking on more and more of the burden -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Ed Henry, near Camp David.
Thank you very much.
Back with more in a moment.
S. O'BRIEN: Take a look at the radar right there. You can kind of see it there. That is Tropical Storm Alberto. We have been watching it, in fact, all over the weekend down in southern Florida and right across Cuba when it was upgraded yesterday morning.
There's a tropical storm warning now in effect in western Florida. Alberto gaining strength. It's on course to hit the area tomorrow. So far, no mandatory evacuations.
CNN, of course, your hurricane headquarters.
Let's get right to Rob Marciano. He's in Clearwater Beach, Florida, ahead of the storm's arrival.
Hey, Rob. Good morning.
ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Soledad.
We have been in and out of rain squalls throughout the morning, some of which have brought some really heavy rain, and then at times pretty gusty winds that have been out of the east-southeast, which tells us pretty much where the storm is out there in the Gulf of Mexico. Out here in Clearwater Beach, you see the sand is pretty much zambonied from the heavy rain squalls that have moved through. Surf a little bit above average. High surf for the Gulf of Mexico, that's for sure.
The Coast Guard is telling us they have been out in the last 48 hours on 25 calls. Typically, on a two-day period they'd be out on maybe four, five calls. So they are telling people not to go out on to the bay or on to the Gulf of Mexico for that reason.
The kind of preparations that are going on here, as you mentioned there's no evacuations. We don't expect this thing to get to hurricane strength. And at this point it looks like the track is going to be well to the north. But folks are prepping as far as the heavy rain is concerned. Some communities up the road are passing out sandbags for folks who live in areas that are suspect to flooding, maybe have seen flooding in the past.
The rainfall itself, a good scenario for folks who have not seen a whole lot of rain. Nearly every reporting station here in Florida is reporting 40 to 50 percent rainfall deficits since the beginning of this year. And you may remember the -- or you may know that the firefighters, especially in the central and eastern part of the state, have been battling blazes for weeks. So this rain, if it does indeed come with little wind, it will be a welcome situation.
The state emergency manager's office has raised their level of alertness up to a two. One would be the -- when a hurricane would come onshore. Level two means that they are fully staffed and they're going to respond to any sort of emergencies if this thing does ramp up.
Right now folks are just taking the necessary precautions. Two weeks ago, the state allowed tax-free shopping for hurricane supplies. So, in theory, most residents should be stocked up with the necessary items if this thing does get a little bit hairy.
But, Soledad, if they don't use them in this storm, you can be sure those supplies likely won't go to waste as we go on through the next few months.
Back to you.
S. O'BRIEN: Just the very beginning. In theory, people should realize in a storm warning you probably shouldn't be on the water with your boat and the Coast Guard shouldn't have to come and rescue you, in theory.
Rob, thanks. We'll check in with you again.
S. O'BRIEN: Let's get the latest track of Alberto this morning. Chad Myers is at the CNN Center.
Hey, Chad. CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Soledad.
M. O'BRIEN: Chad, you're a betting man. You like to go to Las Vegas, right?
MYERS: I do go to Vegas, but I don't bet on hurricanes, if that's where you're going.
M. O'BRIEN: How did you know I was headed in that direction? It's a controversial thing.
MYERS: I can't believe this story.
M. O'BRIEN: A controversial thing, isn't it? What do you think about this?
MYERS: I didn't put any money on it. It looks like climatology to me. But it seems a little macabre.
M. O'BRIEN: Yes.
MYERS: You know?
M. O'BRIEN: I think that sums it up in a nutshell.
M. O'BRIEN: Chad Myers, thank you very much.
MYERS: You're welcome.
M. O'BRIEN: Let's get right to Susan Candiotti.
There is a Web site out there that would give you an opportunity to bet on hurricanes. So, in other words, you could cash in on some people's misery, is what it boils down to. As Chad put it, macabre.
CNN National Correspondent Susan Candiotti with that from Clearwater, Florida, where Alberto is bearing down.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Miles.
Yes, in fact, we found more than one Web site that offers this type of betting. Most of these sites, of course, are set up for sports gambling. But this is the first time one site has offered betting on hurricanes. And for another, they have done for it a couple of seasons, especially after last year's historic season. It is turning out to be good business for them.
Mostly, these are called exotic bets.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CANDIOTTI (voice over): In a world where you can find somewhere to gamble 24 hours a day, a casino or online, where you can place a bet on just about anything...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Texas Rangers minus 183.
CANDIOTTI: ... maybe it should come as no surprise to learn you can now bet on the potential of killer storms. That's right, some Internet gambling sites offer odds on whether a Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane will hit Florida this year. Or asked more broadly, to wager on how many hurricanes will sail through the Atlantic.
Is it tantalizing or tasteless?
JOSE DUARTE, WAGERWEB MARKETING DIRECTOR: We're not hoping for any disasters. We're just giving our customers another option to entertain themselves.
CANDIOTTI: And make money. (INAUDIBLE) and WagerWeb run offshore online sites featuring offbeat stakes. Both are run out of Costa Rica, where online gaming is licensed and attracts overseas gamblers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's over 21 storms.
CANDIOTTI: Online better Dan Leach has more than $1,300 riding on the season, and he hopes to cash in .
DAN LEACH, BETTOR: I would be happy if all of these storms were in the middle of the ocean and didn't harm a person. That being said, though, I mean, I'm a guy that looks for value out there, and whether it's hurricane or a corporate trial or a basketball game, I'm looking for the value out there.
CANDIOTTI: At the Hard Rock Casino in south Florida, where action is limited primarily to slots, gamblers said why not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd have to get the statistics on it, just like any good gambler. But if the statistics were favorable I would bet.
CANDIOTTI (voice over): And some would say it's tasteless to bet on disaster.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's probably tasteless to bet on anything.
CANDIOTTI: So, betting on storms is popular with gamblers. But what if you were a hurricane victim? Would you feel differently about plunking down money to place a wager on the chance of disaster?
(voice over): A good place to go for that answer Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If had lived through this type of disaster you wouldn't make fun off that and, you know, go ahead and try to make money off of these poor people who have nothing. CANDIOTTI: Those who run online gaming deny they are profiting on someone's misery.
DUARTE: It's a matter of public interest. You know? It draws attention. It makes people talk about it.
CANDIOTTI: They are talking, and they are betting.
CANDIOTTI: And a lot of these people aren't just putting their finger into the wind and making a guess. They study statistics, they study last season, and they are serious about this, as well as about trying to make some money -- Miles.
M. O'BRIEN: Ah, yes. But where they are really serious about storms, at the National Hurricane Center, I imagine this isn't going over so well.
CANDIOTTI: It isn't. We asked Max Mayfield himself, and he really, you could tell, felt like steering clear of the entire issue, but just said, "Look, I've got to worry about predicting serious storms that could hurt people and take lives." He was not interested in talking about this issue.
M. O'BRIEN: All right. He didn't want to up the ante. I don't blame him.
Susan Candiotti on Clearwater Beach.
Thank you very much -- Soledad.
CANDIOTTI: You're welcome.
S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, Gauntanamo controversial once again with three suicides over the weekend to tell you about. This morning we talk to a man who served as the Muslim chaplain in Iraq -- at -- for Gauntanamo, rather, find out what is happening there. James Yee in just a moment.
We're back after this short break.
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