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Miami Standoff; Mike Gravel Interview; Financial Regulation Changes

Aired March 30, 2008 - 18:00   ET




RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's now some new dramatic video into the newsroom. It's a masked gunman who has broken into a store, stuffed money into a garbage bag, way too busy to even stop when the police officers burst in. The horrifying hostage ordeal as you watch it will now play out on tape. We'll share it with you.

Also two million families at risk of losing their homes in America. For some, it may already be too late.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gets to you but you don't think about it really until you get home and you're sitting there having a cold glass of tea or whatever and you say you wonder what those people are do today since we put them out of their house and they don't have no place to go.


SANCHEZ: It's one thing to talk numbers you can actually see who's doing this and to whom. After the foreclosure some are turning to the ultimate desperate measure as well. We'll have that for you and that's it, he's had enough. He's quitting the Democratic Party.


MIKE GRAVEL, FORMER SENATOR: They had no respect for my values and those values, I was a bit of a maverick, I admit that.


SANCHEZ: There's news in the Mike Gravel camp. And we're going to bring it to you. He still, by the way, has his eyes on the White House.

This is a candid conversation that I'm going to have with him in just a couple of minutes.

He was a dynamic leader to most, but to the FBI, he, Martin Luther King was a living nightmare. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw the FBI, they were not very subtle. I mean they all dressed alike with little skinny ties and crew cuts for the most part.


SANCHEZ: Wiretaps, threatening letters, dirty tricks, the things the government did to stop the dream. We'll share it with you. From the inside, you're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And hello, again, everybody, I'm Rick Sanchez, tonight, the topic that has become issue number one in this country is about to get a fix. Your money problems, our money problems, it's undeniable that the wobbly economy and the mortgage emergency has got millions of Americans worried about keeping their home this is year.

Well, the U.S. treasury secretary says he now has a solution that he's about to unveil. Joining us now on the phone to break it down for us is CNN's Allan Chernoff, he is in New York. How about it, Allan? What are we going to be hearing tomorrow?

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on phone): Tomorrow, the treasury secretary will give a very important speech where he will essentially say that we have to modernize our financial regulation, much of which has been in place since the depression. The Fed is going to receive, according to his proposal, more power to ensure the financial markets can be stable and they'll be able to oversee a very wide range of investment firms, also hedge funds, even commodity exchanges. Now these are proposals and they will have to be approved by Congress. So this is a long-term, but it's basically a blueprint that's being laid out, that will be laid out tomorrow.

SANCHEZ: Is this going to be revolutionary? And if so, when will I, as John Q. Citizen feel the effects of it?

CHERNOFF: It's long overdue, to call it revolutionary, I think it's more a matter of Washington catching up to innovations that have occurred on Wall Street. We have seen in this in the past few weeks, the melt down that we almost saw in the financial markets, here, the Fed had to rush in and it didn't really have the direct authority to do everything it did but it did it anyway and this will essentially catch up to all of that. It will say, hey, the Fed really is in charge of making sure that things don't fall apart. So in effect, Rick, we have already felt it, we have already felt all of this as individuals.

SANCHEZ: What I almost hear you saying is, that our government which for the longest time the perception has been that they've allowed the fat cats with a wink and a nod to do pray much whatever they wanted to do are finally going to be tightened up.

CHERNOFF: Well, not quite, it sounds like it, but let's consider who's making this proposal. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the former chief of Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs. He is not about to put the squeeze on his old buddies on Wall Street. He is putting out this proposal to modernize financial regular. What he's saying, you know what? We're not going to tighten it too much. We believe in a free market, you guys keep doing what you're doing, but we want to keep a very close eye on this to make sure things don't get out of control.

SANCHEZ: You know, I guess it's all really just a matter of perspective when they start talking about free markets. What's a free and open market to some, to others is actually a bunch of guys getting together and helping each other out. So we'll watch this tomorrow. And we'll bring you all the details and then we'll have plenty of analysis from both sides as well. Allan Chernoff as usual thanks so much for joining us.

An estimated two million Americans are in danger of losing their homes. President Bush says the way to help people is through private efforts. Many people are saying, hey, look, it's too late. They say that eviction could come at any time.

CNN's Rusty Dornin now is going to bring you something totally different. This is not about government reports, it's not about statistics. This is about what it's actually like to be an American facing foreclosure when they hear that knock at the door from sheriff's.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When deputies Allen Mathias and Derek Steverson come to your door, your house no longer belongs to you. It belongs to the bank.

For nearly 20 years they have worked evictions in Gwinnett County, Georgia. No need for them to read the headlines for them to know foreclosures are skyrocketing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I first came to Gwinnett County in 1985, I was lucky if I did an eviction once a week. Now I get them every day.

DORNIN: Most people move out before it happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody's home.

DORNIN: But a growing number don't.

(on camera): Deputies found the original eviction notice inside, it's nearly a month old, so the family knew it was going to happen, but they never know the date ...

(voice-over): ... when that final knock will come. At this house, deputies suspect someone is home. But no one will answer the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now we got to try to get them to open the door.

DORNIN: They travel with a professional eviction team who busts the locks. Animal control has been called for the dogs inside and the movers begin hauling out every single thing in the house, all dumped on the front lawn.

CPL. DEREK STEVERSON, GWINNETT COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: We don't know what to encounter inside, at of people know this is coming and a lot of times when you have lived in a house for 18, 20 years of your life, to lose everything at one swift moment, you know, people don't want to leave.

DORNIN: And when some realize they have to leave, it can be devastating. One man wouldn't unlock the door and the deputies saw he had a gun.

ALLEN MATHIAS, GWINNETT COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT.: Next thing we knew, about 30 minutes later, we heard one gunshot, he had committed suicide.

DORNIN: That happened twice last year. So the first thing they do when they enter is look for people.

(on camera): Nobody's home?

MATHIAS: No. That's what we had to do, we had to make sure that the house was clear.

DORNIN: Then the search begins for weapons or drugs. Behind the couch, Steverson pulls out what appears to be a rifle. But it turns out to be a toy. A job where the deputies can see for themselves just how far the mortgage crisis stretches.

STEVERSON: We hit from trailers to million dollar homes. We was out at Country Club of Lasalle (ph) putting people out. They've got elevators in their houses and they get evicted also.

DORNIN: Sometimes people trash the house before they leave. But others can tug at the heart strings.

MATHIAS: It gets to you, but you don't think about it really until you get home and you're sitting there having a cold glass of tea or whatever, dinner, and you say I wonder how those people are doing today that you put them out of their house, they don't have no place to go.

DORNIN: That fact hit the neighbor Don Pilling.

DON PILLING, NEIGHBOR: I guess I feel the pain a little bit, too. This is devastating. To our community and to my neighbors. I have never seen this before and it's sad.

DORNIN: Sad for sure, when financial disaster comes knocking. Rusty Dornin, CNN, Atlanta.


SANCHEZ: Now we have some new video of one of the most amazing on the spot news events that we have ever seen. It's a brazen armed robbery in Miami that turned into a hostage drama that turned into a place chase that turned into shots fires, that turned into -- well let's let Sasha Andren (ph) take it from here. She has worked this story for Miami affiliate WPLG.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scenes like this one are all too familiar in South Florida. Lights and sirens surrounding a convenience store. It's how so many armed robberies end. But this time in this Walgreen's, this is just the beginning. Officers responding to a 911 call for help unknowingly walked into a robbery in progress while our cameras were rolling. Store employee Roy Barnes was inside the Walgreen's at the time. He says he and several others were trapped at gunpoint in a back room.

ROY BARNES, WALGREEN'S EMPLOYEE: They were going to shoot everyone so it was really horrifying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Barnes says a masked gunman game in demanding money. He says the robber was busy stuffing it into a garbage bag when he noticed incoming police officers on the security monitors.

BARNES: He saw the police officers coming into the store and he still insisted on getting more money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to Barnes, the gunman grabbed the store manager and used him to try to get away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands up!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you look closely you can see a trash bag in the manager's hand and a gun pointed right to his back. Now, listen closely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give it up. Give it up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, get back, I'll shoot him!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The exchange seemed to trigger this Walgreen's manager who suddenly began fighting with all he sad. Local 10 photographer Fabrissio Lopez watched it all from behind the lens of his camera.

FABRISSIO LOPEZ, NEWS CAMERAMAN: I saw the man and he had a gun and he puts the money in the bag and I say, well, he won't shoot the guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That point is a controversial one. Take a look again, just before the gunman puts the manager into the car, he waives his gun and then there's a pop. Seconds later came the roaring and unmistakable sounds of gun fire. A lot of it. The video doesn't show where it's coming from, so the next shot leaves you holding your breath until finally the hostage sits up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just thanking the good lord.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So dramatic images, yet this is the one that tells the real story, of a man who fought for his life on the violent streets of South Florida and won.


SANCHEZ: Meanwhile in Iraq today, Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr called for a ceasefire. He told his followers to stop the violence and cooperate with Iraqi authorities. In exchange, al Sadr wants the Iraqi government to give them amnesty. Iraq's government welcomed the move. Raging street battles began Tuesday in Basra after the government led a crackdown on what it calls outlaw or rogue militants. No officials death toll, but officials fear it could be in the hundreds.

U.S. soldiers and Marines have been showered with praise universally by Americans, both those in favor of the Iraq War and those against the Iraq War, it's been a constant. But in one case, some Americans were so appreciative they wanted to thank some Marines with gifts. That is where the problem in this story begins.


TAMMIE BARNES, WIFE OF MARINE: My husband is an outstanding Marine, he's been one for 18 years.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): From boot camp to three tours of duty in Iraq and one Bronze Star, First Sergeant William Barnes is a career Marine. But now, the decorated combat veteran is being told to stay away from this Miami base where he trains reservists. He is relieved of duty, under investigation, possibly facing a court martial.

T. BARNES: I'm very angry. I'm very angry.

SANCHEZ: Why? Go back to a starry night in mid-December. Miami businessman Tom Gonzalez invites four Marines to a holiday party on board a $35 million yacht. Gonzalez wanted to show his appreciation for the Marines' service in Iraq.

TOM GONZALEZ, BUSINESSMAN: I'm honored we can do something fun for them tonight.

SANCHEZ: The thank you went further. Gonzalez's employees gave up their bonus money to give the Marines an unexpected gift. They held a drawing. One Marine won a car. The other three cash. $10,000 apiece. That kind of generosity moved this Marine, who spits nails for a living, close to tears.

1ST SGT WILLIAM BARNES, USMC: I can't believe that somebody would be this generous and thank me for sacrifices that I made and I appreciate it, I really do.

T. BARNES: He told officers, he told people, hey, this guy did this for us and no one said, that's illegal.

SANCHEZ: Until now. A Marine Corps spokesman tells CNN, "At the moment it does not appear Sergeant Barnes did anything illegal. However, by accepting the gift, he may have violated court policy, a policy we're told that is not taught in basic training. But spelled out in a document. In which just the table of contents is 13 pages long and remember Tom Gonzalez, the businessman? While the gifts were a surprise to Sergeant Barnes and the others, he says it wasn't surprise to the Marine Corps.

GONZALEZ: They knew in advance that we were going to do this.

SANCHEZ: Trial attorney Douglas Williams has represented other Marines accused of misconduct. He says Gonzalez's statement puts the onus right back on the corps.

DOUGLAS WILLIAMS, TRIAL ATTORNEY: And the corps didn't either waive the donor, the giver of the gift off or waive the Marines off then shame on them. They had the responsibility for it.


SANCHEZ (on camera): It's an interesting questions, who's at fault? We want to hear your thoughts on this. Here's the question, should First Sergeant Barnes face court-martial? E-mail us what you think, please, sends more than just a yes or a no, we're interested in feeling why you feel the way you do in this case. So fire off those responses to We're going to read some of them in just a little bit.

Coming up, an inside look at the FBI files on how the U.S. government spied on Martin Luther King. This is a CNN special investigation.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They called him in one of the FBI memos released later, the most dangerous negro.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that's probably a compliment.


SANCHEZ: Unbelievable details on what the FBI was doing to keep an eye on the civil rights leader. Also the Democratic rift, can the party get their groove back once a Democratic nominee is named. This is important. The CNN NEWSROOM will be right back.


SANCHEZ: Senator John McCain returns to his old military stomping grounds today. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is in Meridian, Mississippi. There's where we find our own Dana Bash. Dana?


That's right, he is here in Meridian, Mississippi. In fact, Rick, he just wrapped up a very interesting day, I think, for him and it certainly is very interesting for the people in Meridian, Mississippi. He went to the Meridian Air Station and witnessed what they call Wings on Meridian. It is an air show with the Blue Angels. That is how he spent his day and it definitely is the beginning of a walk down memory lane and a walk down memory lane that is very much part of the political strategy of the McCain campaign because Meridian, Mississippi is a place where McCain came before he went to Vietnam to be a flight instructor and also bone up on his flying.

And there is also is a place where there is a field called McCain Airfield and that is named after his grandfather who was a four star admiral in the Navy. It's all part of pushing forward for the voters the McCain biography. McCain aides insist that people think they know John McCain, but they don't know as much as the campaign would like them to know about his service, about his family's service and why they think that that gives him the roots to be the best commander-in- chief.

It is also not an accident that they are trying to really put out there a little bit more about his character, because as much as this election in particular is going to be about the issues and is going to be about the very real differences between John McCain and whichever Democratic candidate his going to oppose. Every campaign consultant understands that the candidate has to relate to the voters. Barack Obama has proved that in a big way and they understand that John McCain is going to have to do that as well. The other reason, Rick, why they are pushing this whole idea of service and particularly his roots in national security and military service is because they are hoping that that is the issue that he is able to focus on the most because experience is where they think that he can differentiate between himself as a candidate and either of the Democratic candidates.

One other point that they understand is really critical here is that they know that the Iraq War is going to be front and center. And they also know that he is not where the majority of the American people are, because he wants the troops to stay in Iraq as long as it takes in order to, from his point of view, succeed. So the point that they are trying to make in giving a little bit about his biography, particularly his military biography, is trying to convince voters that they may not necessarily agree with him, but they should trust him. That's a big hill for him to climb for him to climb in terms of convincing voters, especially independent voters that he is really going to need. That's the issue.

SANCHEZ: You're right, making foreign policy and the Iraq War his issue number one as we call it is like a sword which has two edges. Dana, thanks so much for bringing us that report.

Well, Senator Clinton is taking a break from the campaign trail today. Barack Obama is stumping hard in Pennsylvania. That's if you consider feeding baby calves milk from a bottle. You might say he is moving his campaign forward.

CNN's Jim Acosta heard all the jokes today, even from Obama himself. He joins us now live from Philadelphia. Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Rick, sometimes you have to lighten things up out here on the campaign trail and Barack Obama did that today. And he's also trying to calm things down in terms of these testy exchanges that have been going on between the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign and their surrogates. Ever since last Friday two Obama superdelegates who are surrogates, Pat Leahy of Vermont and Chris Dodd called on Senator Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race saying that mathematically it's very difficult for her to secure the nomination.

Well, yesterday, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, as Barack Obama is in the midst of this six-day bus tour across the Keystone State, he suggested that Hillary Clinton can stay in this race as long as she likes.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) IL: My attitude is that Senator Clinton can run as longs she wants. Her name is on the ballot and she is a fierce and formidable competitor and she obviously believes that she would make the best nominee and the best president.


ACOSTA: And the conventional wisdom in this state right now is that because Barack Obama is so far behind Hillary Clinton in the latest polls that he needs to spread his wings and reach out to blue collar workers in the middle part of this state and so he's been doing that in this six-day bus tour, out on the stump with his new superdelegate surrogate, Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvania. Barack Obama went bowling in Altoona, Pennsylvania, today. From all accounts he may not have done all that well in terms of bowling, but perhaps he was able to make some strides with blue collar workers in this state.

He also took some time, Rick, to take in a hot dog or two here in Pennsylvania. And at one point he stopped at a dairy farm at Penn State where he took the opportunity to feed a baby cow some milk. So there you have it. You have to be careful when you do these things, as my colleague Dana Bash said earlier today, these things can go well or they can go badly when you try to lighten things up. John Kerry tried a cheese steak in Philadelphia four years ago and ordered Swiss cheese with that cheese steak and didn't go over well in Philadelphia, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, you could end up with a gutter ball, right?

ACOSTA: That's right, in more ways than one.

SANCHEZ: Thanks so much, Jim Acosta.

Well speaking of Democrats -- wait, you say he's not a Democrat anymore? Up close and personal with a man whose changing his party affiliation. And wants to run for president for the Libertarian Party. Mike Gravel joins us here. Tibetan protesters not holding back and neither are security forces. We're going to show you dramatic pictures.

And then the cover controversy continues today. We're going to take a closer look at the picture that has some folks fighting mad.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back to these world headquarters at CNN here in Atlanta. I'm Rick Sanchez.

He said and she said, and it feels like this bitter he said/she said infighting among Democrats just doesn't want to stop. In fact it's gotten bad enough that some are seeing John McCain as a real winner in all of this. At least for the time period we're in now. There is two takes on this. Here's CNN's Randy Kaye's.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Listen closely, you might hear a democratic party on the verge of imploding.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NY: We have a choice when it comes to our pastors. The choice would be clear for me.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You want wisdom and judgment and that apparently doesn't come just by hanging out in Washington.

KAYE: She swipes at him, he swipes at her. To many Democrats, like pollster Mark Mellman, that's failure in the making.

MARK MELLMAN, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: The Democrats are exquisitely positioned to win the White House this November. It seems like the only thing that can defeat us is us.

KAYE: In just the last four days, Obama fans say Bill Clinton questioned their candidate's patriotism.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I think it would be a great thing if we had an election where you had two people who love this country.

KAYE: An Obama supporter who later apologized thought back on his blog. "This is a stain on the former president's legacy, much worse, much deeper than the one on Monica Lewinsky's blue dress."

Not to be outdone, Clinton's supporter James Carville attacked Governor Bill Richardson for endorsing Obama comparing him to Judas who betrayed Jesus.

(on camera): Fear is mounting among Democrats. If the smack down continues, the party may shoot itself in the foot and voters may send Republican John McCain to the white house. While the Democrats have been duking it out, McCain has been able to reconnect with voters, recapture independents and in a recent Gallup poll move they favorability rating beyond both Democrats.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: John McCain has the dance floor to himself so he's been able to cut a new rug so to speak. But at some point this will end and the democrats will be able to get their grove back and John McCain will find that his new dance partners in prefer to do the tango and not the twist.

KAYE: The risk for disillusioned voters whose candidate who doesn't win the nomination? Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen says those voters may be tough to keep. GOV. PHIL BREDESEN, (D) TN: You've got people saying I'm just never going to vote for that other person. We're going to lose those votes, they're going to go McCain and it's going to cost us the presidency.

KAYE: In fact, a recent Gallup poll shows 28 percent of Clinton supporters said they would vote for McCain if Obama gets the nod. And 19 percent of Obama's fans say they'll go with McCain if Clinton is nominated. Some suggest one way to salvage a win, put both candidates on the ticket. Bill Clinton suggested that ticket with his wife at the helm would be unstoppable.

OBAMA: I don't know how somebody who's in second place is offering the vice presidency to the person who's in first place.

KAYE: And if they're not both on the ticket, the winner can thank the loser for making his or her job even tougher. And giving McCain plenty of ammunition. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


SANCHEZ: He's back. Tonight this political gem, the man who made tens of thousands of Americans say, hey, who was that guy? During the Democratic debates is leaving the Democratic Party. Senator Mike Gravel is now a libertarian and he is planning to be America's third party candidate. That's what he's planning to do. Senator, hey, thanks so much for being with us tonight.

GRAVEL: Thank you for having me on and giving me new life.

SANCHEZ: Rejuvenated. You know what I'm thinking? People are probably thinking aren't you supposed to be out there campaigning for Barack and Hillary?

GRAVEL: No way, no way. In fact I'm going to beat one of them.

SANCHEZ: Are you down on the Dems?

GRAVEL: No, I'm not down in the dumps.

SANCHEZ: No, not the dumps. The Dems. Are you down on the Democratic Party, and Hillary and Barack specifically?

GRAVEL: More the Democratic Party, because essentially they had no respect for my values. And those values, I was a bit of a maverick, I admit that. But these values are more libertarian values and the Democrats are supposed to have a big tent, but not really.

SANCHEZ: What do you mean when you said they didn't have respect for your values? A lot of people made a lot of jokes about you being the uncle who's invited to the party and is not afraid to say the things that aren't necessarily niceties that everybody else is afraid to say. Was it that that got you in trouble or did people not take you seriously?

GRAVEL: What got me in trouble was talking about the fact that the Democratic Party is very much for the war, just like the Republicans. What got me into trouble was the fact of staying that the Democrats are imperialists just like the Republicans and that they're supported by Wall Street and the military industrial complex. That's what got me into trouble. And of course the Libertarians buy into what I'm talking about, they want no war, they want no American imperialism.

SANCHEZ: Am I hearing you say that the whole thing is fixed?

GRAVEL: Of course it was fixed from day one. It was the celebrities, they were being anointed by the people who control our society, the military industrial complex. Here, I just want them to answer one simple question.


GRAVEL: Why is it that we in this country, we spend more money than all the rest of the world on defense, when there's not a single country that threatens us?

SANCHEZ: I take it from listening to what you're saying that you're not big on the surge then as many Americans are.

GRAVEL: It's not a surge, it's a failure. Just look at what's going on. And they have admitted that there's no way they're going to get you out of Iraq. I will get you out of Iraq and we will restore stability to that part of the world in a heartbeat.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask you something about the surge because there's been a lot written about it in the last week, really it's about the Shias getting rid of the Sunni in Baghdad. Which looks more like managing L.A. street gangs than it does actual military combat, does that bother you?

GRAVEL: Of course it bothers me and we have Petraeus telling the Congress that he was passing out millions of dollars to the Sunnis, the tribal leaders so that they would tamp down their opposition. So now we have paid for the arming of the other gang. Little wonder now that they have got the wherewithal to have a civil war. And we're paying for it.

SANCHEZ: The convention is in May. You're hoping that the Libertarians are going to get together and say, this is the guy who's going to represent us?

GRAVEL: That's right.

SANCHEZ: Why should they do so?

GRAVEL: And I'm campaigning to get their support to be their nominee and I will give - and I'll acquit myself admirably in their cause.

SANCHEZ: Senator Mike Gravel, always glad to have you on. Thanks so much for joining us, senator.

GRAVEL: Thank you, Rick, for having me.

SANCHEZ: Clinton, Obama, McCain on the record, Wolf Blitzer and the best political team on television cut through the noise of the past week and refocus you, the voters on what the candidates are really saying. Don't miss the special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM tonight at 8:00 Eastern only on CNN.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back to the CNN NEWSROOM. Police in the capital of Nepal getting serious against a crowd of protesters trying to charge the Chinese Embassy in Katmandu. It was a pro-Tibet demonstration police broke up with bamboo sticks.

Protesters are furious about China's treatment about larger scale marches acrossTtibet. Several people were hurt. The Tibet dispute is even affecting an Olympic tradition. The around the world torch relay is going on now. This is an official ceremony. But pro-Tibetan activists are running a parallel torch relay from the Dalai Lama's home in India all around the world and eventually to Tibet.

Friday we mark a grim moment in American history. April 4, the day the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis. For months CNN's SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT has been working on a special report called "Eyewitness to Murder, the King Assassination."

They turned up some things you may not know. My colleague, Soledad O'Brien, has the story that you haven't heard until now.



O'BRIEN: Dr. King's electrifying speech at the march on Washington in August of 1963 had made him the movement's hero. It also made him the FBI's nightmare according to the official paper trail.

KING: Thank God Almighty we are free at last!

ANNOUNCER: "We regard Martin Luther King to be the most dangerous negro leader in the country."

O'BRIEN: They called him in one of the FBI memos released later. "The most dangerous negro."

ANDREW YOUNG, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I think that's probably a complement.

O'BRIEN: Andrew Young, one of King's closest advisors says the inner circle was very much aware that the government was spying on them.

YOUNG: We saw the FBI. They were not very subtle. They all dressed alike with little skinny ties and crew cuts for the most part.

O'BRIEN: In October of 1963, Robert Kennedy signed off on wiretaps. Atlanta agents broke into Dr. King's home and office to install them.

(on camera): Did you know the FBI was tapping your phones?

YOUNG: Oh, yeah.

O'BRIEN: You assumed it or you knew it.

YOUNG: Oh, we knew it.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Young remembers how fellow minister Ralph Abernathy discovered an FBI bug while speaking at an Alabama church.

YOUNG: And he said, "look here," and he took the little microphone out and put it on top of the pulpit. He said, "Little doohickey, I want you to tell President Johnson and I want you tell J. Edgar Hoover, I want you to tell George Wallace, I want you to tell everybody that no matter what they think, we are going to be free." And the whole church just cheered.

O'BRIEN: But there were no cheers when FBI surveillance caught Dr. King in an embarrassing moment. It was 1964 at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.

YOUNG: A bunch of guys were in the room clowning and they were having a very good time. And then it quieted down and someone was left in the room and was recorded in the act of sexual intercourse. And they assumed it was Dr. King.

O'BRIEN: So the FBI took it one more nasty step. When Dr. King won the Nobel Prize, the FBI mailed anonymous package to Dr. King's off. On it highlights from the sex tapes with an ominous note.

ANNOUNCER: "You are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that. The American public will know you for what you are, an evil, abnormal beast. King, you are done."

YOUNG: The implication was that this was supposed to provoke him to suicide.

O'BRIEN: Yet King was unmoved by the FBI's truly dirty tricks.

REP. JOHN LEWIS, (D) GA: He lived the rest of his life the way he would have to live for the rest of his life.


SANCHEZ: Just that part of that report gets your attention, you need to tune in Thursday night at 9:00 Eastern. "Eyewitness to Murder," it's a CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT presentation about a story we all know with comments you have never likely heard before, worth every second of the hour you'll invest in watching it.

The world of fashion is clashing with political correctness.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My first reaction was King Kong. I was just like, why do they have him bearing his teeth like that and looking to animalistic?


SANCHEZ: Sexy picture or racially irresponsible? The controversy behind "Vogue's" latest cover. We'll have it. Stay with us. We'll be back.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back, I'm Rick Sanchez in the CNN NEWSROOM. Here we go again dissecting what may or may not be racially offense. At the end of the day it all boils down to just a matter of opinion. And each of us have one. Take a look at this.

Many critics question whether this "Vogue" cover is just a harmless photo or a publicity stunt to try and drum up sales and tensions when it comes to race. You decide. Here's Kareen Wynter with the story from L.A.


KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the perfect match, right? One of the world's top athletes and supermodels together in a picture shot by world renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz on the cover of a high fashion magazine. But that's not how it came across to some people. In fact lots of controversy surfaced from this "Vogue" magazine cover shot of Lebron James and Giselle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have made him looking like an angry black man with a trophy Giselle on his side. They could have gone for an athletic, graceful athletic show off his body instead of him being angry.

WYNTER: The cover photo has also been a hot topic with bloggers. One Web site asks, "Is 'Vogue's' Lebron's Kong cover offensive?" Another snipes, "I know 'Vogue' isn't exactly racially conscious but ..."

And ESPN columnist Jemelle Hill slammed the cover in her column.

But not all comments online have been negative. On one blogger wrote, "As an African American woman avid basketball fan, I see nothing wrong with this photo. I think the so called controversy is nothing more than political correctness run amok."

Another post read, "I didn't see the King Kong Fay Wray thing until I read it in the article. He just looks powerful and at the top of his game rather than dangerous."

JEMELLE HILL, ESPN.COM COLUMNIST: My first reaction was King Kong. Why do they have him baring his teeth like that and looking so animalistic. It is looking like he's on his way to kill somebody and she's on her way to a cocktail party.

WYNTER: Hill believes it reinforces negative racial stereotypes about black athletes.

HILL: They wanted to make him look as animalistic and beastly and fearsome as possible. I just thought this is wrong. I just didn't understand it. I expected something more.

WYNTER: Some wonder if "Vogue" picked this particular picture over others from the shoot to hype sales.

ABIGAIL WALCH, SR. EDITOR, "VOGUE": We understand that everyone's going to have a different reaction to a picture. No two people will have the same reaction. Ours is that we think it's just a great moment and that we're celebrating these two very talented people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's cool because like she's a model and it's like an action shot, and he's an athlete. It's like the contrast between them and they're both in movement.

WYNTER: James didn't respond to CNN's request for an interview. But he told a Cleveland newspaper it wasn't a situation where he was being gruff or mean. He said, quote, "We had a few looks and that was the best one we had." Kareen Wynter, CNN, Los Angeles.


SANCHEZ: By the way, earlier in the show, we showed you a Marine that received cash and gifts for his service in Iraq now that decorated combat veteran has been relieved of his duty and under investigation possibly facing a court martial. We asked you as viewers, what do you think about this and you have been sending us e-mails. Let me get to a couple of these if I possibly can and read them to you, OK?

Here is what a few of you said. The first one is, "Are you kidding me? These guys deserving anything that the public wants to give them. Thank goodness for the kind people like the businessman and his employees that honored him." Thanks to J.A. Stuz from Lawrenceville, GA.

Now let's move on to the next one. This is from Daniel Perham. "I do not think he should be court-martialed or in any form in trouble. As a future Marine myself, I find it appalling that he's being under investigation."

Let's go to the third one, I think this one disagrees, it's Peter in Austin, Texas. "Just like your U.S. postal mail carriers, U.S. Marines are government employees. Yes it should be prosecuted by some disciplinary action that is appropriate for this offense."

And do we have time for the last one? Let's stick it in there. Sue Hucke, he says, "No, he shouldn't be court-martialed, that is ridiculous. It wasn't a bribe, it was a gift. Now if you want to see bribes, look at Congress." Touche, Sue.

Thank you so much. Boy we have a bevy of these coming in as we continue to get them and see if we can share them with you. Try counting these sheep, by the way. Why these wooly guys are on the run.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome back you back, I'm Rick Sanchez. This was quite a sight last night. The lights went out in cities all over the world, just for an hour, Earth Hour, is what it was called. Between 8:00 and 9:00 local time many households and businesses flicked off their lights to promote energy conservation.

Winter just won't give in to spring, though, all kinds of flooding along the Mississippi River. Let's go to Karen McGuiness. She is in the extreme weather center to try to pick this one up for us. Karen, what did you get?


SANCHEZ: All right. Thanks so much.

Well, not quite the running of the bulls, but it's New Zealand's version of something like this nevertheless. A couple thousands sheep racing through the streets. A bit more tame than the event in Spain. The mayor issued a little wager to spectators. I don't know about that, if you were to get in the way of one of those guys, they would knock you over. Guess the number of sheep running, get that amount in cash if you are able to guess it. If we find out we will let you know.

By the way, our thanks to somebody else who just wrote to us. This is Carmen from Miami. She says, "Look, our justice system should not be doing something like this to our Marines, they should take care of other important matters in our country."

We'll be back tonight at 10:00 p.m. to bring you a bevy of stories including the latest video out tonight from Barack Obama. Bowling and milking cows. What do you think the message is there? We'll share that with you and a lot more. Are we out of time? Nobody's talking in my ear. We are? OK, good night. We'll see you tonight at 10:00.