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CNN Live Saturday

Three Suicided at Guantanamo Bay; Controversy Surrounds Cerivical Cancer Vaccine; Protestors Rally in Support of U.S. Troops

Aired June 10, 2006 - 16:00   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Fredricka Whitfield, ahead on CNN LIVE SATURDAY, a developing story out of Guantanamo Bay. Three detainees were found dead. We'll have the latest.

And, then, tropical depression No. 1, we'll show you where it's heading.

Plus, the controversy surround a new vaccine promising to prevent cervical cancer. Why some say it sends the wrong message about premarital sex.

But, first, a quick check of the headlines.

Three detainees found dead this morning at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The military says they are apparent suicides. And we'll have much more on this story throughout the hour.

The season's first tropical depression formed in the Caribbean today. We'll have details on its development and a live report from Cuba straight ahead.

Military doctors are conducting an autopsy on the body of Abu Musab al Zarqawi. The terrorist leader was killed Wednesday in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq. A military spokesman says the body is in safe location.

A roadside bomb kills three and wounds 28 in a Baghdad market. It was part of a violent end to several days of quiet in Iraq's capital following the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

A wildfire in Alaska has burned an area ten miles long and a mile wide. And the flames themselves now cover 15 acres as a whole. Train traffic has been suspended and officials warn drivers south of Fairbanks that smoke could cause delays.

More on this hour's developing story. Three detainees found dead at the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. U.S. officials say it looks like suicide. White House correspondent Elaine Quijano joins us with more. Elaine?

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And, Fredricka, President Bush is spending the weekend at Camp David, but a senior administration official confirms that he has been notified. The U.S. military says that the three suicides happened early this morning. Officials say that guards found two Saudis and a Yemeni in their cells unresponsive and not breathing. They were given emergency medical treatment, according to the military, but were pronounced dead, officials say, after lifesaving measures had been exhausted.

The military is not releasing their names yet, but the Sate Department is in ongoing discussions with the governments of Saudi Arabia and Yemen about what happens now.

And to illustrate just how sensitive this is, the U.S. military is making it a point to says that the remains are being treated with the "utmost respect." A statement goes on to say that a cultural adviser is assisting officials to ensure that the remains are handled in a culturally and religiously appropriate manner.

The U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service has started an investigation, but this development comes just one day after the prime minister of Denmark brought up the future of Guantanamo with President Bush at a meeting at Camp David yesterday.

After that meeting, the president reiterated that U.S. officials want to see Guantanamo empty, that the U.S. is in the process of working with other countries to repatriate people.

At the same time the president said that he believes some of the detainees are dangerous, that they ought to be tried here in the U.S. He said his administration was waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to make a decision on whether his administration went too far in ordering that detainees be subject to military tribunals.

One more thing to add, we hope to learn more details in an hour or so, that's when we expect military officials to brief reporters by phone.

WHITFIELD: We'll be taking that live out of Miami from U.S. Southern command. Thanks so much.

Well, the U.S. has been holding what it calls enemy combatants at Guantanamo since 2001. Before today there had been 41 suicide attempts by 25 different inmates. As many as 759 detainee have been held at Gitmo. There are about 460 there now.

Ten days into the 2006 hurricane season, and already our first tropical depression. Here's where the storm right now. Between Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and the western tip of Cuba, where they are bracing for heavy rains already.

Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras is tracking the storm from the weather center, but, first, let's go to Havana, Cuba where CNN's Morgan Neill has the latest. Morgan?

MORGAN NEIL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, here in Cuba, we've seen heavy rain since last night and even some flooding in the west of the country. But people here have certainly seen much worse. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): This was Havana just seven months ago, when Hurricane Wilma hit. Waves crashing over the sea wall, sweeping into the city, flooding thousands of homes.

The forecast this year, storms, and lots of them. Jose Rubeira, director of the Cuban Forecast Center, is predicting 15 named storms, nine of which could become hurricanes. Despite waters deep enough to completely submerge homes and wash away cars, Wilma didn't kill anyone in Cuba. The island made intense preparations.

Before the hurricane season begins, response teams fan out across the country. They clear drainways, hone evacuation plans and practice emergency medical treatment. So when a big storm hits, there's very little panic, Reynaldo (ph) says.

His building, just blocks from the ocean, was inundated during Wilma. I don't think people are afraid anymore, he says. To a certain degree they've gotten used to it. When something's on its way, they come and tell you, and you start to move your things to higher ground.

That's undoubtedly part of Cuba's success in confronting the storms: careful preparation and a willingness to help out one's neighbors. But there's also something else at work. Response teams in other countries spend valuable time trying to coax unwilling residents out of their homes. Here, that's not the case.

Lieutenant Colonel Domingo Carrtero of Cuba's Civil Defense says, of course, we try to convince the citizens to evacuate, if it's necessary. But if we can't, we have to evacuate them, because in the end, you've got to save their lives. Whether they agree or not.


Now, it doesn't look like that will be necessary this time around. The head of Cuba's meteorological forecaster says he is on the look out for rising waters and rising reservoirs but there has been no tropical storm warning.

WHITFIELD: That's good news so far. Morgan Neill, thanks so much from Havana.


WHITFIELD: Join us Sunday night, 6:00 p.m. eastern for a special "CNN PRESENTS: Sudden Fury: In Katrina's Deadly Wake." Relive the disaster as seen through the eyes of the survivors, only on CNN.

Well, there's a new weapon in the fight against cancer. Just this week the FDA approved Cardicil, the first-ever vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer in women. CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has that story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jana (ph) is 10. She likes Disney characters and swing sets. Her mom is only just starting to talk to her about puberty and boys.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are there any boys you're interested in?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not really boy crazy right now.


COHEN (voice-over): But she could soon receive a vaccination to help prevent a sexually transmitted disease. When girls grow up and become sexually active, odds are high they'll be exposed to human papilloma virus, or HPV. Ninety percent of those exposed to HPV never get sick, but it's a nightmare for other 10 percent who develop abnormal cells in their cervixes, cells which can become cancerous. This virus causes virtually all cases of cervical cancers.

DR. JOSEPH HAGAN, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: You're talking about a shot that kids are going to get.

COHEN: Right now, experts are discussing giving this vaccine to girl's Jana's age, to make sure they get the shot before they start having sex.

HAGAN: I trust that the vast majority of my patients are some day, somehow going to become sexually active. Now is the time to give the vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell someone that cervical cancer is caused by certain types of HP...

COHEN: Merck, the maker of the vaccine, has launched an aggressive ad campaign. The trials shows the vaccine could lower cervical cancer rates by 70 percent. But conservative groups worry the shot will send young people a message, that it's okay to have sex before marriage.

PETER SPRIGG, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: This can reduce the risk for HPV. It will not eliminate that risk. It does not reduce your risk for HIV or any of a number of other sexually transmitted diseases. Abstinence until marriage and fidelity within marriage is the best form of sexual health.

COHEN: Dr. Maurie Markman, who treats women with cervical cancer, says this vaccine is about preventing cancer.

DR. MAURIE MARKMAN, M.D. ANDERSON CANCER CENTER: You wouldn't have known an individual will be exposed to measles or hepatitis, but you know that there's a risk in their life, and you simply do it at the earliest point, and that is the way to look at the vaccine.

COHEN: Cost is another concern, about $500 for the necessary shots. It's not clear right now if insurance will cover it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you know it's important to take really good care of your body, so that you can have healthy babies.

COHEN: For now, Jana's mom, Melissa, is taking baby steps with her daughter as they begin to discuss sexual responsibility. Given the option to give Jane a vaccine that could save her life when she's older, Melissa says she'll take it.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: And at 4:40 p.m. eastern, Dr. Bill Lloyd joins us with more on Cardicil and what it could mean for thousands of women.

Plus, can corn decrease America's dependence on oil. Ethanol advocates think so. CNN takes you to the heartland for an inside view of Iowa's hot new export in nine minutes.

And at the end of the hour, inventors call it telepresence, and we'll take a closer look at technology that allows sick children to attend class virtually.

More details now on the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi. CNN traveled to the safehouse where the terrorist leader was killed in a U.S. airstrike on Wednesday. John Vause gives us this firsthand look at ground zero and reaction to al Zarqawi's death from some of his hardcore followers.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With Abu Musab al Zarqawi dead, his supporters appear to have rallied, with a return to some of his most brutal tactics.

On one Islamic Web site, Antah al Sunnah (ph), an Iraqi Sunni group sent condolences to Zarqawi and posted this video. It goes to show the beheading of these three men, wearing military fatigues. They are accused of belonging to a Shiite death squad.

It's unclear when the video was made, and CNN is unable to verify its authenticity, but it was posted within days of the U.S. airstrike on Zarqawi's safe house, north of Baghdad.

The two 500-pound bombs hit the house in quick succession, less than two minutes between each impact and the result was devastating. Among the dead, the U.S. military now confirms two women and a girl at least five years old.

MAJ. GARY HUMPHRIES, U.S. ARMY: The site is still being cleared right now by engineers.

VAUSE: Saturday the area was under U.S. and Iraqi guard and was being searched for explosives. (on camera): This was the center of Zarqawi's safe house. The impact from those two 500-pound bombs was so powerful it initially left behind a hole about 35, maybe 40 feet deep. The day after the airstrike, the rubble and debris around the area was bulldozed into the crater.

(voice-over): And somehow, Zarqawi survived the initial blast before dying on a stretcher, while being treated by a U.S. medic.

LT. COL. THOMAS FISCHER, U.S. ARMY: I guess the objective was to make sure that he was captured dead or alive, so he was caught, he was dead, and as far as I'm concerned, it was a great victory.

VAUSE: The debris gives away few clues that a top-level al Qaeda meeting was under way at the time, but surrounded by tall, date palm trees, the house was well concealed.

MAJ. JAY BULLOCK, U.S. ARMY: Well, I can't really speculate on how they pick their houses, but, you know, it's -- it's in a good area, offers them good routes in and out. Multiple escape routes.

VAUSE: On Wednesday there was no escape for Zarqawi, but he leaves behind a terrorist network still capable, and willing, it seems, to carry out the most brutal attacks. John Vause CNN, near Baquba, Iraq.


WHITFIELD: The FBI is testing DNA samples to officially confirm al Zarqawi's death. Monday President Bush holds talks on Iraq at Camp David with his national security team and cabinet members. Meanwhile, al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al Zawahiri, calls al Zarqawi a hero of Islam. The videotape was apparently made before al Zarqawi's death.

Accusations and investigations and a whole lot of finger-pointing all triggered by claims of U.S. military personnel committed atrocities in Iraq. Today a demonstration outside Camp Pendleton in support of the troops in question. Reporting live from Oceanside, California, CNN's Kareen Wynter. Kareen, big turnout?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh well, you be the judge. There are a few dozen people out here behind me, Fred. Supporters, lining the street. We're right outside the base of Camp Pendleton. You can see people carrying signs, chanting words of support, and this is really the first public display of support we've seen outside the base since the start of this very high-profile investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Support our troops!

WYNTER (voice-over): A small army of supporters rallied outside the gates of Camp Pendleton where seven Marines and a Navy corpsmen are being held in solitary confinement. The men face possible charges that could include murder for the death of an Iraqi civilian in Hamdiniyeh, Iraq, in early April.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There has been no charges filed, and in my opinion, they are innocent until proven guilty and I'm here to show my support for them and to ask that the shackles being taken off. They are being treated worse than prisoners in Guantanamo.

WYNTER: Supporters spoke out about what they call unfair treatment inside the military prison. The eight troops being investigated have to wear handcuffs and leg cuffs whenever they leave their cells. They are also allowed only one hour outside each day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are innocent until proven guilty and we got to give our guys, start giving them a little bit more benefit of the doubt. They're in a bad situation.

WYNTER: In addition to the eight servicemen being incarcerated, several other Marines at Camp Pendleton are also being investigated for a separate incident, possible misconduct in the city of Haditha last November.


Earlier today, we received a response from the military regarding these allegations that the eight servicemen here are being treated too severely. The public information officer said that the treatment isn't considered inhumane and they are being shackled only as a safety precaution.

He also went on to say that in terms of the access here, they do have access to television, newspapers, even the same food that everyone else here on the base eats. Fred?

WHITFIELD: And, Kareen, is the military responding as to whether their detainment is consistent with the detainment of other accused military men in cases like this?

WYNTER: Absolutely. They are saying this is part of their military policy regarding Navy and Marines. And, also, the reason that they are even being held in terms of a maximum-security capacity, they say it's because of findings, what they've been able to garner from the preliminary investigation. Of course, the military being very careful in terms of details that are released to the media.

WHITFIELD: All right, Kareen Wynter, thanks so much from Oceanside, California.

And be sure to tune in to CNN tonight at 7:00 eastern as Wolf Blitzer hosts "Iraq: A Week at War." CNN's team of correspondents around the world bring you an in-depth look at major events in the war on terror. Again, that's tonight at 7:00 eastern only on CNN.

Identity theft. It's a major headache, but imagine having your information used more than 200 times. One California woman has been through exactly that. How it happened to her, and it may be happening you, too.

We're watching your security in 11 minutes.

Plus, a rally in a World Cup host city turns violent, and we're standing by for the latest on those apparent suicides at Guantanamo Bay. The Pentagon will be holding a briefing in the next hour out of Miami. We'll bring that you to live as it happens. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


WHITFIELD: And back now to our top story. Suicide at Guantanamo Bay. Among the more than 400 detainees held at Gitmo, only a handful have secured legal representation. Attorney Joshua Denbeaux represents two and is the author of a report on Guantanamo. Mr. Denbeaux, good to see you again. Well, did you see that the reported hunger strikes, were setting the stage possibly for something like this? Reported suicides?

JOSHUA DENBEAUX, ATTY. FOR DETAINEES: Well, the hunger strikes have gone on for some time and so have the suicide attempts. I'm still surprised that given the -- given how closely these men are watched, day and night, and how awfully they are held, I'm still surprised they managed to kill themselves.

WHITFIELD: So you're skeptical?

DENBEAUX: No, I'm not skeptical. I don't think the government would announce this public relations absolute disaster if it weren't true.

WHITFIELD: Well, how much of a potential disaster is this for the U.S. Navy, for the U.S. military as a whole, given that the detainment of combatants at Guantanamo has been so incredibly controversial? This now being the first successful apparent set of suicides.

DENBEAUX: I've got a couple things to say to that. First of all, most of these people aren't combatants, the government's data and statements say that most of these people aren't combatants. The government's oral statements are to the contrary but they are not true.

As to how much of a public relations disaster is this going to be for the government? I'm not a public relations expert. But I can tell you that the military and the government has been working as hard as they possibly can to make sure these people don't commit suicide. They've been buying special chairs. These men are without hope, and the government decided in response to crack down harder upon them. And to not make their lives any easier, but to make them worse, but impossible to commit suicide.

WHITFIELD: Well, the U.S. military's position is the detainees are enemy combatants and whether they are linked to al Qaeda or whether they are linked to the Taliban, that justifies them, a, being there and it also justifies, according to the U.S. military, the reason why many of them are not getting legal representation that so many people have lobbied for. How is it that you managed to represent at least two detainees there?

DENBEAUX: Well, the Center for Constitutional Rights needed attorneys, and I realized that this was a civil rights issue, and a way to defend the American spirit that was absolutely necessary for me to step forward. But they are not enemy combatants. The government says they are. The government is not telling the truth.

I've seen the government's data on every single prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. I've read every word of it. I've listened to what the government says. But unlike everyone else in America, I've read the government's words. These people are not enemy combatants. Even by the government's own definition. And the government can only claim that they are enemy combatants only because the government forbids these people from any protections of judicial process.

This lack of judicial process, intentionally denied by the government, is what the government then uses to say, hey, look they are enemy combatants because we say so and they are not.

WHITFIELD: All right. Sorry, we are out of time. Attorney Joshua Denbeaux, thank you for your time. Within the next hour, roughly in about 35 minutes from now, out of Miami, the U.S. Southern Command is expected to hold a press conference, 5:00 eastern time on this very subject, these apparent suicides of three detainees there at Guantanamo, and, of course, when that happens, we'll be able to bring that you to live. Thanks again.

Now it's time to check the gas gauge. If you're filling up today, a gallon of unleaded regular costs an average of $2.89. That's down nearly two cents from last month. A year ago, we were paying $2.11.

That's got people looking for answers. In the Midwest, people are pushing ethanol as a solution. Dan Lothian takes a look at a plant producing the alternative fuel in a "Paying the Price in the Heartland" report first seen on "AMERICAN MORNING."


LOTHIAN (voice over): All across the heartland, a new crop is sprouting out of the ground and the harvest is golden.

DAVE SOVEREIGN, GOLDEN GRAIN ENERGY: This is a home run for real America.

LOTHIAN: Tucked in between corn fields and often snuggled next to key railroad distribution lines, ethanol plants, like Golden Grain Energy in Mason City, Iowa, are seen as a good bet against high energy prices.

SOVEREIGN: We're using corn and partially the storage (ph) grains from . . .

LOTHIAN: Dave Sovereign, a farmer for much of his life, is also this company's chairman. He's invested heavily in four ethanol producing plants and one other alternative fuel project and his spending spree isn't over.

SOVEREIGN: Ethanol's just a natural part of that agriculture. In fact, an extension of what we've been doing.

LOTHIAN: With so much corn to fuel production, Iowa has become the country's leading maker of ethanol, the fuel touted as a cleaner, more efficient alternative to gas. Twenty-five plants have been built here so far. Three in just one week. At least 17 more are on the way. The boom is projected to create thousands of jobs and struggling farmers who got in early are reaping huge benefits.

DWYANE LYNCH, GOLDEN GRAIN ENERGY: It makes you feel pretty good when you walk uptown and you run into these people.

LOTHIAN: Golden Grain, which is expanding, says it's 750 investors received more than $9 million in tax credits and cash dividends last year. The gold rush starts here as soon as the corn arrives. It then enters a maze of conveyor belts, pipes and vats. A fully automated system starts breaking it down.

CHAD KUHLERS, PLANT MANAGER: You're milling and your cooking. Now you're fermenting. Then you start distilling. Then you decant.

LOTHIAN: And then, three days later, out pours this clear liquid, ethanol.

Is this really the answer for our fuel needs?

SOVEREIGN: This is definitely a part of the answer.

LOTHIAN: Nothing is wasted in the process of turning corn into fuel. This mountain, the by-product, is sold as cattle feed. While everything is running so smoothly right now, Sovereign, who has experienced the highs and lows in farming, realizes there is a potential risk in this business, too.

SOVEREIGN: I think, overall, there's going to be some growing pains, but, overall, we're going to survive it.

LOTHIAN (on camera): To give you a sense of how fast interest has grown in ethanol plants, when Sovereign tried raise funds to build this project four years ago, it took him 90 days. That was pretty fast at the time. Now he can do it in about 24 hours. And he says just about every day, he hears from investors who want in. Dan Lothian, CNN, Mason City, Iowa.


WHITFIELD: New Zealand reports that it is deporting a man who it says posed a security threat. We'll tell you about the man's connection to the 9/11 hijackers. That story in 18 minutes.

Also, how do you prove you're, well, you? When a drivers license, a passport, Social Security card just don't seem to be enough. We're watching your security. And at 4:52 p.m., we have all heard of the class clown. Now, meet the class robot. A closer look at telepresence. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.