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American Morning

Path of Destruction in Indiana; France Riots Rage On; Lawyer Assassinated

Aired November 08, 2005 - 08:59   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news out of Iraq. Another violent setback in the trial of Saddam Hussein and his codefendants. Two more defense lawyers gunned down today. One's been killed. We're live from Baghdad, looking at the impact on the trial.
Widespread destruction in southern Indiana from those tornadoes. Now police say six people might still be missing. It all focuses on a lake where several of the storm's victims have been found.

And no relief in France. More riots, more arson overnight. Now the government is giving police new powers to take control on this AMERICAN MORNING.

ANNOUNCER: From the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is AMERICAN MORNING with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien.

S. O'BRIEN: Good morning.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Good morning.

That situation in France is very troubling, especially when you consider how these are the very origins of some of that radical Islamic thought. I mean, when you're talking about where terrorism is formed and where the thoughts are formed, it's in these -- I guess the term would be ghetto in France, where things are very tense and where there's a lot of violence right now.

So as France tries to grapple with this, we should be paying close attention.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, no question. I mean, they're going into their 13th day now. Thirteen days of lawlessness in the streets. And one man killed in a confrontation. It really is an indication of how unable they are to get their arms around it.

M. O'BRIEN: And could it spread across Europe?


S. O'BRIEN: Yes. All good questions. We'll talk more about that in just a moment.

First, though, let's begin in Indiana. Police are searching for six more tornado victims. Eighteen of the 22 people killed lived in a trailer park in Evansville, and that's where crews are now draining a pond and doing some searching there. Ed Lavandera is there in Evansville, Indiana.

Ed, good morning to you. Are they making any progress in that search?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are. The water continues to drop down, but we are told that it will continue to take the better part of this morning to completely drain it out. But the good news is that there -- the 18th victim we told you about was found yesterday afternoon, and since then we haven't heard anything like that. So that is good news.

Take a look at this situation here. This is the portion of the east side of this mobile home park where the tornado struck.

If you look at the tree lines, you can see exactly where it came. Not only did it snap these huge trees in half, but you can see where it just ripped all the leaves off as well If you look down the line there you can see exactly where it made out. And basically all of this debris from the homes here just thrown into this area, leaving all of this mess behind.

And this is the entrance into the mobile home park, which we're not allowed to really take you into, because technically this is still a search and rescue operation. The lake where the -- that is being drained is just right over there where that orange crane is. So the work continues over there.

You know, in the first hour after the tornado struck here, rescue crews pulled 40 people out of their homes alive. So that was the one bit of good news that people took a lot of -- it was uplifting for a lot of the people who were working the scene out here. But, you k now, obviously there were 18 others that were not pulled out of here alive, and I wanted to show you some of the pictures of the youngest victims.

Isaiah Blaloc (ph), 4 years old; Emily Donner (ph), 6 years old; Isaac Warren (ph), 4 years old. You know, you see these pictures of smiling children and you know just how tragic and incredibly sad this whole situation is.

And it's things like this that has really taken a toll on the rescue workers who have been working the scene in the last couple of days.


SHERIFF BRAD ELLSWORTH, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA: It's devastated this community. You know, young children. I know the firefighters, the original responders, they're shook up.

This is their job. They do it. They do it because they love to help people. But when you pull a young child out of the rubble or someone dies in your arms it's devastating.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LAVANDERA: You know, one of the workers that we spoke with as well yesterday pulled an 8-year-old boy out of this area alive, and he's been very upbeat about that. But the pictures of these other children very devastating to see.

One other bit of news we want to pass along before we let you go as well, is residents will be allowed to come back into this area starting tomorrow to sift through the rubble here and salvage what they can -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Ed Lavandera. Those pictures, it's so sad. All of those children, really no place to go. I mean, you know, they got an 11-minute warning and that was kind of it.

Ed Lavandera updating us on the progress on that search and rescue operation.

Thanks, Ed -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Some more sad pictures a little farther from home this morning. More rioting and arson overnight in France. Hundreds of cities now involved all across the country, perhaps spilling over the borders.

American tourists are being told to watch out. And the French government is invoking a little-used law there hoping to quiet the violence.

Becky Anderson live now in Paris.

Becky, tell us about this law and how it might help.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's making headlines here in France. Let me just give you what we've got from the newspapers today.

"Le Figaro," "Curfew in the bonnier (ph), in the suburbs, and indeed on the Parisian. It's a state of emergency."

And effectively you're right. This is the cabinet this morning, Tuesday, invoking a little-used law. Back in 1955, this originally put on the books, and it was there to curb the violence during the Algerian War of Independence.

Now, it's only been used, Miles, a couple of other times in the last 50 years, in '64, when there were riots and (INAUDIBLE) during that Algerian War of Independence, and, indeed, in '68, during the student riots here. And 1995, but not in France. Sort of mainland France on one of the islands.

So this just shows the enormity of the situation here.

Now, the government effectively saying that because there had been a sense that this curfew or these curfews may be imposed, that perhaps the violence was decreased last night. We didn't see as much violence in Paris, but in 226 towns and cities across France, once again we saw some 300 arrests and more than a thousand cars torched.

So the disturbances do continue here. They are still being caused in the majority by youngsters, mainly under the age of 20, in many of these low-cost housing areas, many of the poorest, 750 areas, that Dominique de Villepin, the prime minister, noted when he suggested that there would be job creation schemes and investment schemes for these areas.

So things it doesn't seem getting any better across France at this point -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Becky, tell us who's property they're destroying, those vehicles that they're torching. I saw a bus, that's one thing, but are they their own vehicles that they're torching?

ANDERSON: In many of these districts, these neighbors, effectively, what we're being told -- and this is from correspondents on the ground as well -- these are local youths, effectively, destroying pitifully, I guess, a lot of their own buildings, a lot of their own gymnasiums, school association buildings, places where they live, and torching cars. It is disturbing when you realize that it's local youths effectively disrupting their own local activity.

There's a message behind this madness, they say. They're looking for more job creation, they're looking for better education and better housing. That is something that the government has said it would address.

Chirac in private is reported as saying that they haven't integrated the immigrant communities much as they might have done in France. Those are private comments, though. Publicly, the government being very tough, saying that they will use this law, this state of emergency in order to impose these curfews when and if they are needed. No details on when and if they will be needed at this point, but they will be invoked -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Becky Anderson in Paris. Thanks very much -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: A developing story in Iraq now. We've just learned in the last hour that another lawyer in the Saddam Hussein trial has been assassinated.

Aneesh Raman is live for us in Baghdad this morning.

Aneesh, good morning to you. What's the impact, then, on this trial?

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Soledad, there's been any number of suggestions as to what could take place on November 28, when this trial is set to convene. That the defense could petition for a change of venue given the security situation, that they could petition for a further delay.

That speculation now further emboldened by another attack this morning on lawyers involved in the defense team. Two lawyers coming under attack around 1:00 p.m. local by an unknown gunmen. One of the men, Adil Muhammed al-Zubaidi, was killed. He is, we're told -- or was a lawyer for Taha Yassin Ramadan. He's perhaps the second most recognizable defendant in this trial, Iraq's former vice president.

The other lawyer who was wounded, who was providing to the Iraqi police an account of what took place, we're told, is Thamer Hamoud Khuzai. It's unclear at the moment whether he represented Mr. Ramadan, or whether he represented Barzan Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's half-brother, also on trial.

Now, this is the second attack we've seen on defense lawyers involved in this case. A day after the trial convened on October 19, Saadoon Janabi, a lawyer for Awad Bandar (ph), who is the former chief judge of the revolutionary court, was abducted from his office and within hours was executed.

At that time, Iraq's governmental spokesman said that special security is available to the lawyers involved in this case. And Mr. Janabi did not request it. It's unclear at the moment whether the two lawyers who came under attack today requested such security -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Of course that you don't only have these lawyers, you have witnesses, too. And any witness is at risk also, aren't they, Aneesh?

RAMAN: They are. At the close of that October 19 session, the chief judge made public comments saying that witnesses were to have shown up that day, that they did not out of fear of their own lives, both because of the security situation, but also because they felt they be targeted. So that is another issue that this tribunal is confronting in terms of logistics of carrying this trial out.

S. O'BRIEN: Aneesh Raman, reporting for us from Baghdad as we continue to follow the story for you.

Thanks, Aneesh.

The rest of the headlines now. Carol has those.

Good morning again.


Good morning to all of you.

These pictures just in to CNN. In fact, this is going on right now.

There is a high-speed car chase in southern California. We don't know much about it, but we decided to show you the pictures.

Police apparently in hot pursuit of a suspect traveling in the car you are about to see. It's happening near Newhall, California. Do we have the pictures?

S. O'BRIEN: I can draw a picture.

COSTELLO: We lost the pictures. I apologize for that. We'll try to get them for you a little later on in the show.

Also, another developing story near the Manchester airport in New Hampshire. We brought you word of this in the last hour.

A small cargo plane heading for Bangor, Maine, has crashed into a Wal-Mart in Manchester. The pilot reportedly pulled from the wreckage. He's said to be badly hurt.

A witness says the plane was approaching the runway when it struck the building. The Wal-Mart has been evacuated, but it doesn't look like anyone on the ground was hurt.

Authorities stop a possible terror attack in Australia. Officials announced 17 men have been arrested in Melbourne and Sydney earlier this morning. They're suspected of plotting an attack, possibly a bombing. One of the suspects was shot by police during the raids. More arrests are expected to come down.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger closely watching today's special election in California. He's not on the ballot, but some of the initiatives he's backing are.

Schwarzenegger says the issues are pat of his year in reform agenda. If they fail, that could be a sign of things to come for "The Governator."

We're also going take a closer look at some of the races playing out this morning with Bill Schneider, our political analyst. That's just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

And no butts about it. One of the most restricted bands on smoking could be voted I today in Washington State. You know how smokers huddle around the doorways because they can't smoke inside the building? Well, if this ban passes they can't do that anymore.

They have to be 25 feet away from the building where they'd light up. We're watching Initiative 901 today to see if it passes.

Do we have the pictures of that car chase out of California?

M. O'BRIEN: We have the car. Get that car up there.

COSTELLO: All right. I did see it on our preview monitor.

M. O'BRIEN: There we go.

COSTELLO: There you see that blue car speeding down I-5 in Newhall, California. We don't know why police are chasing this car. We'll try to get more information for you.

S. O'BRIEN: There's a couple of officers right on his tail.

M. O'BRIEN: Are you sure he's speeding, by the way? COSTELLO: Yes. I think it went...

M. O'BRIEN: Did you clock him? Is he speeding?

COSTELLO: I think so. I don't know. I never like to joke about these things, because they always end rather tragically, don't they? I mean, there's always a bad end to these things.

M. O'BRIEN: All right.

COSTELLO: I don't know. I'm hoping not.

M. O'BRIEN: We'll watch the chase.

COSTELLO: But we're watching the chase, and I'll try to find out more information for you at 9:30.

S. O'BRIEN: All right. Carol, thanks.


M. O'BRIEN: Jacqui Jeras with the weather forecast.


S. O'BRIEN: Also, we are watching on this Election Day some of the big races. And why a referendum might be something that President Bush is watching.

M. O'BRIEN: Also, what's the best way to get information out of terror suspects? "Pretty please" is not usually the best way to go, but there's a lot of controversy about how far you go with this. We'll look at why Vice President Cheney might be a little out of step with the rest of the administration right now.

S. O'BRIEN: And then this, Pete Rose's son caught trafficking an illegal alternative to steroids. Is the drug GBL something for parents to worry about? We'll look at that ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: It's Election Day. And at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue they'll be watching the doings in Richmond and in Trenton and in Sacramento with great anticipation, because it may give an indication of how the president is doing in general.

CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider joining us now from Los Angeles.

A lot of Democrats feel they're emboldened, Bill Schneider. Let's -- let's talk about Virginia, put that into context.


M. O'BRIEN: We saw the president there yesterday, there to try to help Jerry Kilgore, the Republican candidate. You know, I guess at this point, with the president's popularity rating so low, Mr. Kilgore was probably wondering whether it was a good idea for the president to drop by.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. He was taking a risk by inviting the president to speak at this rally. It was an 11th-hour rally. The very last night before Election Day, obviously hoping that Mr. Bush could rally Republican base voters to turn out for him.

But Democrats are saying, you know what? It can also rally Democratic base voters to turn out for his Democratic opponent, Tim Kaine.

M. O'BRIEN: Sort of waving the red flag kind of thing. It's interesting. You know, Virginia, it's red state country. And yet, for some reason, the governor's posting has had a Democratic leaning.

Mark Warner, of course, who cannot run again because of term limits, might want to run for president, for that matter, obviously he's watching this very closely. But why have Democrats done so well in Richmond?

SCHNEIDER: Well, because they've been different from national Democrats. They've adopted very well to the state of Virginia.

Mike Warner got elected as a kind of NASCAR fan. He sponsored NASCAR races, did very well. He's a gun owner, supported gun rights, campaigned very heavily in rural and southwest Virginia, where there are a lot of voters who you don't think of as liberal voters. And they've managed to adapt very, very well.

The question is, will his lieutenant governor, Tim Kaine, who's not quite the same makeup, will he do as well as Mark Warner? If Kaine wins, it will be a feather in Warner's cap and give him a boost for his presidential campaign in 2008.

M. O'BRIEN: And if Kilgore wins, the president feels a little better.

SCHNEIDER: A little bragging rights, because it will look like he delivered the state for the Republicans.

M. O'BRIEN: Exactly. All right.

Let's move to New Jersey. I think this race is -- they've spent $40 billion now. And I believe the main issue is adultery, or something. It's just -- the ads that we see are astounding. I think the real winners are the local TV stations here...


M. O'BRIEN: ... as they played these ads. And it is just such a -- beyond the mud. I don't even know what you take it past, mud.

SCHNEIDER: Well, how's this for mud? The Republican candidate, Doug Forrester, ran an ad in which he quoted the ex-wife of his Democratic opponent, Jon Corzine. Ex-wife who said, "He let his family down and he'll probably let New Jersey down." And, of course, a lot of people complained, hey, wait a minute, going out and finding a guy's ex-wife, that's not fair game.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, I should say. So what -- from the White House perspective, from the national GOP perspective, is this a real high- stakes one for them as well?

SCHNEIDER: Yes. New Jersey is important. Right now the polls show Corzine ahead, but it's very getting very, very close in New Jersey.

If the Republicans carry New Jersey, which is a blue state, a Democratic state, they'll get some bragging rights out of that. If they were to carry Virginia and New Jersey, holy zonks (ph). It looks for all of the polls showing President Bush's unpopularity, it looks like the Republicans aren't in that bad shape.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. Let's go to where you sit now, Los Angeles, where it is bright and early, or dark and early, I guess, at this point.


M. O'BRIEN: Everything there is about referendums -- referenda...


M. O'BRIEN: ... whichever you prefer. And in this case, there are three or so that Schwarzenegger is pushing. And this has become a very difficult thing. His popularity ratings way low all of a sudden. Not so boffo at the box office now.

What are the stakes for him, and for that matter, Republicans in general?

SCHNEIDER: Yes. Well, look, Schwarzenegger has put himself on the line by endorsing four propositions on technical matters, like redistricting and teacher tenure and budgeting. A lot of people don't understand the measures on the ballot, but they do think -- they do know that Schwarzenegger has campaigned heavily for people to vote yes on all of these measures.

And a lot of people say they're not going to do that because they want to hand him his comeuppance. They're angry at him for sounding and looking and behaving like a typical politician, raising a lot of money from the special interests. He's been attacked by trade unions, public service and public employees unions.

Instead of being the great unifier, as he was when he first got elected, he's been a much more divisive governor this past year. And a lot of voters in this very Democratic state don't like it.

M. O'BRIEN: How did it turn for him? I saw one poll that said only 36 percent would like to see him reelected.

SCHNEIDER: Well, he essentially took on the legislature and made war on the special interests, the unions, the legislature. And the legislature and the unions fought back.

They were running a barrage of ads against Governor Schwarzenegger. They talked about the fact that he criticized Gray Davis for spending all his time raising money, and now he's raised more money than Gray Davis. He said he didn't have to raise money.

I think what happened was he began to look like another politician and to behave like one by dividing the state instead of bringing it together.

M. O'BRIEN: So now we're going to see another recall, right? That's California, recalls and referendums. All right.

Bill Schneider...

SCHNEIDER: Well, you could see an interesting race. People are talking about Rob Reiner or Warren Beatty coming into the race if Schwarzenegger does poorly today.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, it's only actors who run out there, right?

SCHNEIDER: It's pretty much it.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. All right. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Our senior political analyst joining us and filling us in. Thanks very much -- Bill -- excuse me, Soledad. You, you over here, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: Bill, Soledad. So few people think of me as Bill Schneider, but I'm willing to take that. Thank you, Miles.

Coming up this morning, the son of a baseball legend now busted for trafficking in a steroids alternative. What do parents need to know about this drug called GLB? A look at that's up next on AMERICAN MORNING.


S. O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

Have you heard about this drug called GBL? It's said to be an alternative for steroids. In fact, Pete Rose Jr., the son of the baseball legend, is now charged with distributing GBL to his former teammates. GBL is also known as the date rape drug.

Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is at the CNN Center this morning with more on this drug.

Elizabeth, good morning to you. Exactly what is GBL? And how does it work? ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, GBL is a drug that is marketed, illegally marketed, but its marketed as doing two things. One, as somehow building up muscles and building up stamina, and then people also sometimes use it as a date rape drug.

Let's take a look at how it works as a date rape drug.

First of all, there's the full name there, Gamma Butyrolactone. It's hard to say.

It's a sedative and a hypnotic, and a little bit of it will lead to drowsiness. But more, and not much more, but more will lead to an overdose, will lead to unconsciousness, and will lead to a coma.

It will also lead to memory problems. And that's one of the reasons why people use it, unfortunately, as a date rape drug.

They slip it into someone's drink, someone drinks it, and then eight, 12 hours later, when they sort of wake up, they don't always remember what happened. It's also metabolized very quickly so there's no evidence of it in the system.

S. O'BRIEN: So there's no way to know if someone's slipped this drug into your drink, is there?

COHEN: That's right. And that is probably the most sinister thing about this drug, is that you don't know if it's been slipped in there. If you turn your head, someone puts it in there, it's invisible when it's dissolved, it's odorless. It's slightly salty, but if you put it in a drink that has some flavor, you really wouldn't notice.

And as I said, it's metabolized quickly so that there's no evidence that it's there. And that's why federal authorities have received reports of 122 people becoming sick in some way from this drug, and three deaths.

S. O'BRIEN: We also talked about it as a potential -- potentially being used as an alternative to steroids. Is that true? Does it work that way?

COHEN: The experts we talked to say that it's not true. So not only are people taking this terrible drug, but it doesn't even do what they think it's going do.

It's marketed somehow as -- and when I say marketed, I mean illegally marketed -- as somehow stimulating growth hormone. Well, apparently that's not even true.

So the people are believing this stuff, and when it's not true. In fact, the federal government puts it in the same category as heroin and methamphetamines, meaning that they can only do bad things, it can't do anything good.

S. O'BRIEN: Gosh. Scary stuff. All right. Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen with an update on that drug GBL for us. Thanks, Elizabeth -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Still ahead on the program, the uproar over the treatment of terror suspects. Has it put Vice President Cheney at odds with his own administration? We'll take a closer look at that ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.