CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
America Strikes Back
Aired October 9, 2001 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone. Four weeks ago tonight, we sat on a rooftop in New York, barely able to grasp the horror of what we had witnessed all day and reported all day. Four weeks that have changed us all in ways that are hard to measure and impossible to ignore.
Thousands of lives shattered in a matter of minutes four weeks ago today. And today, a defiant celebration of this barbarism from Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.
A spokesman issuing a statement praising the hijackers and warning of more to come. And there was the predictable, but no less chilling call for a holy war. If this isn't precisely a clear admission of responsibility for the terror of September 11, it certainly sounds like it to our ears.
And in Afghanistan today, the United States continued to target al Qaeda, an enemy that claims to be fearless but will only reveal itself on videotape.
We'll get back to the statement in a couple of moments. But first as is our custom, if you can have a custom after three days, a quick whip around the region and Washington, too, to get the headlines of the day.
We start with Chris Burns, who's right now in the northern part Afghanistan. Chris, the headline tonight?
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, airstrikes overnight by the U.S.-led forces and some bombardments by the Northern Alliance against Taliban positions across the front here, north of Kabul. The Northern Alliance also claiming to have seized a key north-south supply route for the Taliban in the north of Afghanistan. If that is true, then that is a severe blow to the Taliban forces up in the north -- Aaron.
BROWN: Thank you. Back with you momentarily.
CNN's Christiane Amanpour is in Islamabad, Pakistan -- Christiane.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, the police and authorities here bracing for any possible new demonstrations, a heightened police presence on the street, authorities saying that there have been five demonstrators killed over the last two days. And they say that if necessary, they will call out the army. But they say that right now, they have the situation under control.
BROWN: And we'll get back to Christiane. Over to the White House, our senior White House correspondent John King. John, the headline?
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, a senior administration official who watched that chilling statement by a bin Laden spokesman said to me, maybe the President didn't go far enough when he called these people barbarians.
And we saw the President's anger today over what believes reckless leaks of classified information by the Congress, but he's also working on a truce that could be resolved as early as tomorrow.
BROWN: In Florida, the issue is anthrax. Ed Lavandera is there for us and the headline.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, the last week, two cases of anthrax have been discovered in this part of Florida. Now the FBI is heading up a high-tech medical investigation to find the source of what caused that anthrax and in one case become deadly.
BROWN: Ed, thank you. And we'll be back with you as well.
We begin tonight now with the words of the terrorists. Late today Al-Jazeera, the Arab TV network, received yet another tape from the al Qaeda terrorist network. This time, it wasn't bin Laden. It was his spokesman. Yes, even the world's most wanted man has a spokesman these days.
And this is the man, Suliman Abu Ghaith. And in the tape, which runs just over five minutes, he warns Americans there will be more hijackings. He says the terror will continue until the United States ends support for Israel and ends the sanctions against Iraq. Bin Laden said much the same on Sunday.
He says all U.S. interests in the country and around the world are now targets. He praises the September 11 hijackers, without specifically saying al Qaeda planned the attack. And he says that Muslims around the world should fight a holy war against United States.
It is, as was the bin Laden tape on Sunday, chilling and of great concern to the administration tonight, which does not know if the specific language in the tape is just more propaganda or something more sinister, perhaps some message, some code to terrorists here and around the world to take some action.
With that concern in mind, we are simply paraphrasing what was on the tape. We do know that intelligence agencies are now trying to figure out what tape means. We're going to talk about it some.
We're joined by Jeffrey Goldberg of "The New Yorker" Magazine. Jeffrey has reported extensively on the Arab world and joins us tonight from Washington. Jeffrey, good evening.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG, "THE NEW YORKER": Good evening.
BROWN: Well, what's your take on the tape? Let's make this pretty simple at the start.
GOLDBERG: Yes, it's actually a very clarifying moment I think for a couple of reasons. One, it's something close to an admission that these are the guys who did it. And it's also straightforward praise of the acts of September 11.
It's also interesting because it's giving us a good sense of the true nature, unending nature of their demands. If you read this statement, and if you have spoken to these guys as I have in the past, we're beginning to understand that this is not an issue of ending sanctions in Iraq or pulling out Jewish settlements from the West Bank. These guys want to remake the world. And they are beginning to give us an inkling into their thinking, and which is very illuminating.
BROWN: I think it was several week ago, I've lost track a bit of time, I talked with someone who said, look, I mean, you could solve the problems between the Palestinians and the Israelis. You can make peace there. It isn't going to change a thing with these guys because what they want is the world in a way.
GOLDBERG: Well, I could tell you a very brief story about that. Last year, I was -- I spent a good deal of time in the main Taliban seminary in the northwest frontier province of Pakistan. And I sat one day with the director of this school.
And I asked him what would satiate his particular vision of Islam. And he gave me a list. He said jihad in Chechnya, jihad in Palestine, jihad in Kashmir, jihad in Bosnia, jihad in the Philippines, the overthrow of the Saudi government, the overthrow of the Egyptian government, Jordan, Morocco, Turkey.
I mean, what we're understanding, I think what we're beginning to understand, is that this is not -- these are not a bunch of guys who, you know, in the old days, when you hijacked a plane, you put down a demand. You said I want to release 10 guys from prison, 10 of my men from prison.
This is not who we're dealing with. These guys are far more ambitious. They want to remake their world in their own image. And I think that's what we're getting.
BROWN: And so, for the other countries of the world, for the West, for the rest, is there an alternative to what has been called the lot that drained the swamp tactic? Basically, you have to drive them out, not of Afghanistan, but somehow take them out of the world?
GOLDBERG: It's a difficult thing. You know, there's a strange silver lining here, if you don't mind me saying. Now that they have admitted, functionally, and have praised this act, you might -- it might not have the effect that they want. People around the Arab world who have until now denied that it could have been Arabs, denied that it could have been Osama bin Laden, might be repulsed by these statements. And that might go part of the way toward draining that swamp. I'm not overly hopeful on that, but this might backfire on them in the Arab world.
BROWN: Silver lining in some dark clouds. Jeffrey, thank you, Jeffrey Goldberg joins us.
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
BROWN: Thank you very much. We'll talk to you again. We have much more coming up.
ANNOUNCER: Ahead on this CNN special edition, America strikes back, an in-depth look at the TV network plugged in to the turmoil and terror of Afghanistan, al Jazeera. In Florida, hundreds wait and wonder, after getting tested for anthrax exposure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This afternoon, we're having a family reunion and because we don't know when our last days here may be.
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ANNOUNCER: And the fear spreading far beyond Florida, and the devastation of lower Manhattan. Stay with us.
BROWN: In time of peace, the administration, any administration tries to control information. In time of war, that is especially true.
As we reported here last night, the President has decided that classified information will only be shared with a very small number of members of Congress, even members with security clearances and oversight over the administration's polices are being denied information in an effort to minimize the possibility of leaks.
This is making some members of Congress quite unhappy. For more on that, we turn to our senior White House correspondent John King. John, good evening again.
KING: Good everything to you, Aaron. After we first reported this yesterday, there was quite an uproar in the Congress, quite a defense of the President's policy here and in the administration. Officials saying leaks from Congress were putting the lives of U.S. servicemen and U.S. intelligence sources overseas at risk.
We saw the President quite animated on this subject today. He said he didn't care if he was causing heartburn in the Congress. But as the President served notice once again today that this war will be a very long one, there was also indications to us tonight that the fight with Congress over classified information might be over quite soon.
(voice-over): The President welcomed a key ally to the White House and word of progress in the war in Afghanistan.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Secretary Rumsfeld summed it up pretty well today when he made it clear that the skies were now free for U.S. planes to fly without being harassed in any way, and that the missions have been successful. And as to whether or not we will put troops on the ground, I'm not going to tell you.
KING: On day three of airstrikes, U.S. officials told CNN there likely will be a role for ground forces soon, with an emphasis on special operations. "Significant role at times, but limited in number," was how one senior official put it.
German Gerhard Schroeder said his nation was prepared to deploy military forces if asked, but like Mr. Bush, he was in no mood to give specifics.
GERHARD SCHROEDER, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: As you might easily understand, it would be entirely unhelpful to spread this kind of information that would only help the enemy that we're trying to bring down.
KING: The President forcefully defended his decision first reported by CNN on Monday to significantly restrict the sharing of classified information about the war on terrorism with Congress. Mr. Bush told his guest there were reckless leaks to "The Washington Post," just as he was sending troops into harm's way.
BUSH: I want Congress to hear loud and clear, it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk.
KING: This Bush memo restricted classified briefings to just eight members of Congress. The leaders of the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees complained being left out violated their right to oversee government operations.
SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-MI), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: The bottom line is that we need to figure out a way that we can carry out our functions. And that requires that there be classified information.
KING: The outlines of truce emerged after several lawmakers raised the issue directly with the President.
Administration officials telling us tonight the President believes he has made his point and that he now willing to expand the list, slightly at least, of the members of Congress allowed access to those classified briefings. But first we are told, the President wants to look the four top Congressional leaders in the eyes tomorrow morning at breakfast, and get assurances from them that if he does so, if he allows more members to get those briefings, that they will help him enforce a commitment to secrecy -- Aaron.
BROWN: So was this all to make a point because the President surely had to know there would be this reaction from Congress?
KING: It was mostly to make a point. But still, they will not go as far as they were going in the days immediately after the strikes or in the days just of a few days ago, excuse.
Mr. Bush was shown law today by Congressman Tom Lantos of California. That law says the Foreign Services Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee have a statutory right he said to access to the classified information of U.S. operations overseas.
We're told the President said, "Look, I'm not trying to circumvent the law, but I have every right to be mad." The members in the room agreed with the President. We're told that they have received new marching orders from the leadership, any more leaks, the President will cut back again --Aaron.
BROWN: John, thanks. John King at the White House tonight.
We got another look today at just how nervous people are about anthrax. It came postage paid to an office in Montreal in a large envelope. There was nothing suspicious about it, except for this. It came from Sun Publishing in the south Florida, that same office building where two men have been exposed to anthrax.
Police evacuated the building in Montreal. A hazmat team was sent in. They took the envelope away for testing. And in Florida, there are few people left who believe the anthrax cases there, the one death and the one man exposed have any sort of innocent explanation.
Plenty of reason to be nervous.
CNN's Ed Lavandera has been following the investigation. He joins us now from West Palm Beach. Ed, good evening to you again.
LAVANDERA: Good evening, Aaron. You hit right on the head. There are a lot of nervous people here in Palm Beach County this evening, even though health officials and authorities here are saying that they're convinced that this case has just been isolated to that building we've been talking a lot about in the last couple of days. And right now, FBI is heading up an investigation, trying to figure out where the anthrax came from.
(voice-over): A second round of anxious people show up at the Palm Beach County Health Clinic for a medical test most of them had never heard of until a few days ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just fast and quick. Just got nose swab and that's it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They did a chest x-ray and that's fine. LAVANDERA: More than 700 people who either worked at or had recently visited the offices of American Media Incorporated, the parent company of tabloids like "The Sun" and "The National Enquirer," have now been tested for possible exposure to anthrax.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to wait for the results first. You know, hope nothing is positive. And I don't know, it's hard to avoid things because you don't know what -- you know, do not eat food? Do not open your mail? I mean, will not open our bills. You know, send them back. What do you do?
TOMMY THOMPSON, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: We have been able to narrow down that the inhalation anthrax comes from that building. And it has been conclusively proven that it is the same in both individuals.
LAVANDERA: The office building where the two anthrax cases were discovered is still closed, as health investigators search for the source. The FBI is examining a possible connection to the September 11 attacks, but the investigation is much broader than that. But there are no suspects at this point. So the pressing issue now is determining where the anthrax came from.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whether it is a natural occurring strain or other type of strain, that information right now is being looked by, again what Dr. Wiersma said, high technology.
LAVANDERA: Law enforcement sources say a key part of the investigation will be the nasal swabs taken from people who worked at the American Media Building. Because there were so many tests, the results will take longer than the usual couple of days to come back.
Health inspectors here in Palm Beach County are still urging people to remain calm and that there is not an imminent public health hazard to anyone. Another update on the second person who was exposed to the anthrax virus. Ernesto Blanco, 73-years-old. He worked in the mailroom of the building. We're told he's being held in a Miami area hospital. He's in stabile condition and is expected to survive.
Aaron, back to you.
BROWN: Ed, thanks. Ed Lavandera in south Florida tonight. Appreciate your reporting. If there is any comfort to be had in all this, it's that we've only seen two cases of exposure. Still, as good as early warning is, all those people lining up for antibiotics today will tell you, accurate early warning is even better.
Dr. Don Ponikvar is an expert in early warning detection of biological warfare and the like. He's vice President for Crisis Response, an analysis at Defense Group, Incorporated. He's in our Washington bureau. That is a long title, sir. Welcome to the program.
DON PONIKVAR, DEFENSE GROUP, INC.: Thank you. BROWN: Is there any sort of badge like doctors and health professionals wear in hospitals to detect radiation? Anything like that, that would detect the presence of anthrax?
PONIKVAR: Not at this time. There are some research efforts underway through the Department of Defense to develop such thing, but it's sort of the holy grail. The problem has been continually that whereas chemicals weapons can be detected in sort of real time. Biological weapons with current technologies can't be detected that quickly.
It takes 10 or 15 minutes right now for the very best technologies that we have, to be able to get a reading that can be believed and is conclusive. So it's really talking about 10 or 15 minutes. Now that's not bad when really, the critical time for treatment for something like anthrax is really within the first 24 hours.
BROWN: So -- but whatever detection devices are out there, I'm not sure they are in fact out there. Are they out there at all?
PONIKVAR: They're not, no. The Defense Department is working on them right now. There are some handheld devices that are available to some of the response agencies, the FBI and others like that. But as far as being available to local governments, fire, police departments, hazmat teams, those are not yet made available to them. And that's really been a sore point with that community.
BROWN: Well, let's talk about that a little more.
Senator John Edwards of North Carolina is with us tonight. The senator serves on the Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions, which held hearings today on bioterrorism. I guess it's my night for long titles.
Senator, nice to see you again.
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Good to see you.
BROWN: There is this contraption out there, this device out there somewhere in the Defense Department. Any effort being made to get it out in the world as it where?
EDWARDS: Well, what we're, Aaron, right now is trying to make sure that we put in place the resources to make sure that the people who were really on the front lines of this whole biological attack front, your doctor, your emergency room physician, your emergency room nurse, the public health officials. Those are the people who are going to have to identify what in fact has occurred and to get that information to the place it needs to go, so that we can respond in a cohesive, comprehensive way.
And if you just think about it from a commonsense perspective, most of those folks have never seen a case of anthrax, never seen a case of smallpox. And what we have to do is make certain they're properly educated, properly trained, and that we have a system in place, a disease surveillance system in place so we can quickly get that information to the places it needs to go, so that we as a nation can respond. We also, of course, have to make sure that we have the antibiotic and vaccine available.
BROWN: Senator, just to prove that my hindsight is absolutely perfect, shouldn't we have done that yesterday?
EDWARDS: Oh, sure. Yes, some steps were taken in the right direction, Aaron. Of course what happened on September 11 and what's happened since and people's concern about this have intensified the efforts.
But I think right now, there's no question that the Congress is intent on doing something. I have a piece of legislation which we talked about today in the Health and Education Committee Hearing, which deals with these things. And we just talked about. but the truth of the matter is, we are all focused on it. We know we need to do it. And we know we need to do it quickly.
BROWN: So Dr. Ponikvar, back to you for a second. What should people do here? I mean, we're all walking this very fine line between what is responsible and what is panic or anxiety-creating. Are there commonsense things that any of us can do, ought to do, would be foolish not to do?
PONIKVAR: Absolutely. I think that the newly-appointed domestic security adviser, former Governor Ridge, really hit it on the head when he's really emphasizing awareness over anxiety.
It's a matter of really making people aware of some of these steps that can be taken. The biological hazard, there are biological hazards out there, but for example, if some -- if people are indoors keeping the windows closed, turning off air conditioners, things like that, if they get a warning that something happen, can provide a great deal of protection.
Most of the biological hazards enter the body, the most dangerous enter the body through breathing them in, respiration. And so, a simple dust protective filter, HEPA-type filter they're sometimes called, can protect or provide a great deal of protection.
BROWN: So no one should ever -- so no one right now should go outside or do we just...
PONIKVAR: No, no, not at all.
BROWN: Or we just wait until there's a warning?
PONIKVAR: No, the problem is that you're not really going to get a warning. Realistically, you're not going get a warning. And so you really, at this point in time with the type of detection and warning -- the senator hit it right on the head, is that the first line of detection, the first line of defense is really going to be in your public health system.
It's your emergency rooms and your doctors. And at that point, it's when symptoms are starting to appear. And that can be depending on the type of agent that might be present anywhere from hours to days later.
And at that point, putting a mask on is going to do no protection whatsoever. So it really is a matter of making our health officials more aware. And then, as we get the technologies, perhaps putting some types of -- for certain critical types of events, the Olympics or inaugurations or NATO conferences or something like that, where you could put detectors out there.
And the Defense Department does that already. They do deploy certain of the developmental items right now, because it's better than having nothing at all.
BROWN: Doctor, I'm sorry. I hate to interrupt you. We're right in the middle of something important, but I've got to take a break here.
Senator, it's good to see you again. We'll talk to you both again before this is all over. We have much more ahead. We'll be right back.
BROWN: Going into this, there was never any doubt that sooner or later, and probably sooner, the mightiest Air Forces in the world, the United States, would win control of the skies over Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has a dozen or so aging MIG jets and air defenses far inferior to Iraq, for example. The Defense Secretary said today that control of the air is virtually complete. And he showed for the first time a bit of the damage done in the first two days of the attacks.
To help make sense of all of this, we turn once again to the former supreme commander of NATO, Retired General Wesley Clark, who joins us from Little Rock, Arkansas. General, it's good to see you.
RET. GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Evening, Aaron.
BROWN: We're just getting reports in now of a second, I guess this would a second round of daylight attacks in Kandahar. The significance of daylight as opposed to night time?
CLARK: Well, it means that first of all, we're not worried about the threat. Secondly, our pilots can see a lot better obviously of what's on the ground during the daylight. And the pilots have a much better opportunity themselves to get a first look at the damage they've done to the target. So it makes the air campaign more efficient. It also keeps around the clock pressure on the Taliban.
BROWN: And obviously, well I don't know obviously. It suggests to me, however, that enough of the anti-aircraft missiles and the rest have been taken out to make that sort of daylight stuff safer?
CLARK: Yes, that's right. That's exactly right. This was not the tough target that we had against the Serbs, for example, in the Kosovo campaign two and a half years ago.
BROWN: All right, let's take a look, quickly, at these damage pictures today. The first picture on the screen is the before in a series of before and afters. This was a terrorist base. What do you see there, by the way, that I might miss?
CLARK: You've got some buildings, maybe some bunkers there, maybe some training pits of some type. Can't tell everything through the television here. You've got to look at these kinds of images with -- you've got to magnify it and really study it and measure it, to know exactly what's there. But it is a facility. And it's spread out.
BROWN: General, would you guess that the copy that analysts at the Pentagon are looking at is a tighter shot, a clearer shot, a better shot?
CLARK: Yes, I think it'll have much higher resolution than what we've got here.
BROWN: OK, take a look at the after now. And even I can explain that one. It's gone.
CLARK: Sure. And you can see the scorched earth, where the bombs have hit as probably B-1 or B-2 flew over the camp and unloaded a string of so-called dumb bombs.
BROWN: And I want to ask that we show SAN missile site, the before and after, but ask you to talk about where you think this is going now, sir, in this the days ahead?
CLARK: All right. Now here's your -- this is prestrike. You can see the various launching areas out on the arms, to control in the center there.
BROWN: And the after?
BROWN: Yes, bang indeed.
CLARK: So I mean, we hit right into the key radar and the control node at the center of this.
BROWN: And then, there was the sequence with an airport. And I forget, honestly, where this was, but this is the before picture of the airport. It looks like any airstrip anywhere.
CLARK: Exactly. Now what this is these are precision-guided bombs, probably dropped by a B-2. They're satellite guided. They hit right on the runways. And they interdict the runways. They can be filled in. And if we want to use that airfield, it can be repaired in a couple days if you have the right equipment in there to do it.
BROWN: And just in half a minute, is the theater there prepared now for ground troops or is there a ways to go before that happens, if that's to happen?
CLARK: Well, we have to get a way to get the ground troops in. So I heard the Secretary say they struck all but one airfield. Maybe that's the airfield where we'll put the ground troops in.
Tough to say right now. They're still a lot of options out there, but I think what the significance of the airstrikes is, it's not only military. It's also a very strong signal to the world that the United States is striking back. We're going to continue to strike back. We're going to continue to keep the pressure on until this terrorist organization and the Taliban that support them are broken.
BROWN: General, good to talk to again. We'll talk again soon. Thank you. General Wes Clark in Little Rock tonight joining us.
Up ahead, the latest on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan. New attacks underway in daylight. We'll be right back.
BROWN: As we said just a few moments ago, we in Atlanta here are just getting the sketchiest reports of a new set of air attacks in the area of Kandahar in Afghanistan. Christiane Amanpour is in Islamabad, Pakistan. She's been doing some reporting on this and joins you now. Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Aaron, we just spoke to our sources inside Afghanistan who do report that a daylight raid on Afghanistan is under way, at least around the city of Kandahar. It started about 15 minutes ago, according to the sources we spoke to, and there were explosions heard around the city of Kandahar. Those are the only details we have at this precise moment.
Clearly, here in Pakistan, officials are going to be looking very carefully to see whether there's any further fallout on the streets. There were demonstrations yesterday in several cities, most notably near border, which is traditionally where there is the most support and sympathy for the Taliban and for Osama bin Laden. That's where the same ethnic groups and tribes live here in Pakistan.
The officials here are insistent that they have this situation under control. They point out that yesterdays demonstration was smaller than the one the day before and that in other parts, they were much, much less violent than the ones on the day before.
Officials do, however, concede that five protesters have been killed during these demonstrations as they've confronted police, police who are under orders to use live fire if they feel that they have to fire in self-defense. The authorities here also saying that if they have to, they will call out the army to patrol and keep these crowds under control, but they feel they have the situation in hand for the moment.
Now with all this extremism, with all the voices of hatred and violence that we've been focusing on over the last several days and weeks, we thought we'd give you another face, another look at Pakistan.
Last night, there was a concert here in Islamabad by many of Pakistan's singers and dancers. They wanted to put on this concert they showed us to show the world that not everybody is what they called part of that vocal minority whose been getting all the attention of late.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's only one image that's being presents. It's a very hard or very staunch fanatic side. But we are not all like that. We are very progressive people. The youth is amazing. You can see here how they are responding. And it's just that, unfortunately, this aspect of us, of any Muslim state, does not get projected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Now, just to repeat, this is a country of some 140 million people, and most of those people are not coming out on the streets, despite the calls that have come from the Taliban, have come from their religious hard-line party leaders here. They have not come out in terms of mass demonstrations or protests. Aaron.
BROWN: Christiane, thanks. Christiane Amanpour.
Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words. We've said that again, not everyone in Pakistan is anti-American or Islamic fundamentalist, or what have you. The picture said a lot.
Over to Northern Afghanistan. Chris Burns is there. He has been for some time, in an area of the country controlled by the Northern Alliance, and some news out of there tonight. Chris.
BURNS: Well, Aaron, overnight, quite a heavy dust storm and wind storm, so it was very difficult for us to see what was going on over Kabul. But if you do look at what Al-Jazeera television was broadcasting last night. They said they showed, they were showing the air-strikes over -- around Kabul.
Apparently, the air-strikes targeting once again command and control systems, the air defenses, the airport. And, over here, we didn't see a whole lot of fire. The Northern Alliance did fire few rounds of artillery against the Taliban positions across the frontlines, north of Kabul. But, a relatively quiet night from what we could tell up from this end.
We were on the frontline yesterday, talking to a commander who expressing some surprise and perhaps a bit of disappointment that the U.S. air-strikes have yet to target those Taliban positions they are facing rights now. They would like -- The Northern Alliance would like to advance towards Kabul, but those Taliban positions, thousands of Taliban troops, are holding them back.
The Northern Alliance did report progress in the north. They say that they have seized a key north-south -- the main north-south supply line for the Taliban in the north, which could jeopardize those Taliban positions in the north, including the key strategic city of Mazar-e Sharif. That is near the Uzbek and Tajikistan border.
How they got that frontline is very -- and how they got that supply line is very interesting. They took it without firing a shot. According to the Northern Alliance, they said they negotiated the defections of some 1,200 fighters and 40 commanders in that area, in the Balk (ph), western Balk (ph), province, and that is something what the Northern Alliance says that they hope will also continue in other areas of Afghanistan; that they can negotiate peacefully the defections of Mujahideen allies of the Taliban. In that fashion, they could advance perhaps even towards Kabul. Aaron.
BROWN: Chris, I'm hearing what is a lot of noise and I'm assuming that it's the wind going through your microphone and nothing more sinister than that going on behind you. Am I right?
BURNS: Absolutely. It's been extremely intense for the last couple of days, showing you an indication of how tough the conditions can be here; how they are for both the fighters and the refugees. There's a good blast for you. And the dust is unbelievable. It really does reduce the visibility and it gets in your eyes.
So, this is what both the fighters and the refugees are up against right now, and the temperatures have been falling over the last few days. Winter is just a few weeks ahead. Aaron.
BROWN: Chris, thanks. Chris Burns in the northern and windy part of Afghanistan this evening. Thank you. It's seven in the morning or so there.
Coming up, giving voice to suspected terrorists; a delicate spot for Al-Jazeera, the news network that says it is just doing its job.
And, Americans are feeling the anxiety hundreds of miles away from the disaster sites. A look at how far the psychological damage extends after September 11th.
BROWN: Again today, the Arab TV network Al-Jazeera is making news. Networks aren't supposed to make news, they are supposed to report it. But Al-Jazeera is a unique case.
Until the other day, you probably had never heard of Al-Jazeera, a kind of CNN to the Arab world. It is important, though, in a number of ways. It airs a wide variety of opinion, something unheard of in the Arab world. And it offers us a window on how this war is being reported to a very important audience.
BROWN (voice-over): This tiny office, where the phones never stop, and you can barely turn around, is the American headquarters of unparalleled window on the Arab world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to call me back. I got a very you are urgent call. Yeah. Bye.
BROWN: This is the Washington bureau of Al-Jazeera, the 24-hour Arab news channel that's created a sensational all over the Arab world and visibility of the highest order in the U.S.
HAFEZ AL-MIZARI, AL-JAZEERA WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: The line-up of Al-Jazeera does not follow the government protocol of the president or the leader, for instance, in the prime minister and the foreign minister or the first lady.
BROWN: Hafez Al-Mizari, who spent 15 years at "The Voice of America," is the bureau chief.
AL-MIZARI: And we will get for you the briefing of the Pentagon with verbatim simultaneous Arabic interpretation of whatever they are saying. Whether you considerate it a spin, it's misinformation, disinformation we don't care. As long as we put bin Laden, his tape, without censorship, we should put the U.S. point of view without censorship.
BROWN: It is the kind of independence that's made life very uncomfortable for Al-Jazeera, and especially uncomfortable of late, because of the tape of Osama bin Laden, which first appeared on a Al- Jazeera, immediately after the American air attacks began.
Hafez Al-Mizari bristles when critics say the had to be in league with bin Laden to acquire the tape in the first place.
AL-MIZARI: And we wonder, I mean -- why nobody asked Bob Woodward, how did you get the Watergate story? How "The New York Times" got the Pentagon papers. And they have to believe us. That was delivered to us in a territory that is friendly to bin Laden, which is Kabul, and it could have been delivered to CNN had CNN had a bureau over there.
BROWN: In fact, Al-Jazeera had a presence in Kabul for two years without, its executives insist, any connection to bin Laden at all.
AL-MIZARI: Al-Jazeera considered Afghanistan is part of our coverage area and we care about to be there, whether there is a war or no war. And, it happened that we were in the right palace at right time. Other than being in the right place at the right time, Al- Jazeera has no other link or relationship to bin Laden.
BROWN: What Al-Jazeera does have is viewership in the Arab world. It reaches into millions and millions of homes, so powerful that six days after the September 11th attacks, Secretary of State Powell phoned and asked to be interviewed, to deliver a special message to a Muslim audience.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: When you look at what happened at the World Trade Center, thousands of Americans were lost, but also hundreds of Arabs were lost. And so, it is a war against those individuals, those groups who have forsaken the teachings of the Bible and the Koran, and have used terrorism for political means.
BROWN: Other world leaders, too, have appeared on Al-Jazeera, Britain's Tony Blair only yesterday and leaders; and, of course, the leaders of Qatar, the Gulf state kingdom which has provided most of the funding, but no obviously editorial control, for Al-Jazeera.
AL-MIZARI: When Al-Jazeera started, they put like $150 million as a starting fund, a launching fund, for Al-Jazeera, and they give Al-Jazeera five years to be on its own. That should be expired, or that should expire in November 1st. This coming November 1st that our five years is over and the government of Qatar is supposed to pull the plug.
BROWN: No one thinks that is going to happen. But Al-Mizari says independences has a price. His network, he says, is struggling for commercial acceptance.
AL-MIZARI: We've gotten so many messages, whispering in our ears, that, sorry, we like you, but we can not advertise because we are going to lose our business in so many Arab countries.
BROWN: As for American officials, Al-Mizari says, yes, there are complaints that his network runs too much of what the administration sees as unfiltered propaganda.
But as for shooting the messenger, he says...
AL-MIZARI: If you shoot Al-Jazeera, how are you going to put the State Department, the Pentagon, President Bush's speeches, live in Arabic, to the widest audience in the Arab world, which is your target audience as well as it is the target audience of bin Laden and his group.
BROWN: American leadership at the highest level may in fact have gotten that message. Remember that producer we featured a bit earlier, fielding an urgent phone call.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to call me back because I have a very urgent call.
BROWN: That phone call, it turned out, was from the White House, asking that an Al-Jazeera request to interview President Bush, be sent again quickly to administration officials.
AL-MIZARI: We put the viewers of the Taliban government or bin Laden if they manage to sneak a tape to us, and we are keen to the put the U.S. point of view.
BROWN: A look inside Al-Jazeera.
Coming up next, some residents of Manhattan filled with anxiety. They are not who you think they are or even where you think they are. We'll be right back.
BROWN: That statement today from an al Qaeda spokesman seemed designed to create fear. As if we needed any more of that.
Many of the people who live and work in New York City say they fear another attack after suffering the biggest loss of life on September 11th. But that anxiety has spread far beyond Manhattan. So, we visit a different Manhattan, tonight, along Route 40 in the Midwest.
The new normal now, from CNN's Candy Crowley.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The service was under way at the Victory Baptist Church in Manhattan, Indiana.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at the world situation. We need to wake up.
CROWLEY: It was just about the time missiles began to fly into Afghanistan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen to me. Life is uncertain. We ought to wake up today. We ought to wake up.
CROWLEY: No one was aware the assault had started, but they knew, even hoped, it was coming. And they know as well what's coming next.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's going to stop, as far as overseas conflict or anything like that. I think it is coming back to us.
CROWLEY: Manhattan, Indiana is about 750 miles from Manhattan, New York, 625 from Washington, but fear is not slowed by distance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought, you know, if I was a terrorist, I wouldn't stop there. I mean, why stop on big, major cities? Why not hit anywhere? So, it could happen here. It could happen in little Manhattan, Indiana.
CROWLEY: Inside this independent fundamentalist church, there is certainty about life after death. What's troublesome now are the uncertainties in life on earth. Like the planes overhead, following the normal flight path out of Indianapolis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think about that plane now. You look at it. And you think how different everything was from that moment.
CROWLEY: But, do not, by the way, assume that fear prevails in this Manhattan anymore than in the other one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's giving them what they wanted, and I'm not going to let them do that to me. I would fly tomorrow. I mean, I would go to Europe, anywhere. I'm not afraid to do that.
CROWLEY: What prevails is defiance and a new sense of carpe diem, seize the day. It brings one church visitor from San Diego home to where she was born and raised.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I asked my children, I told them that I would like to go home and see my uncles, my family, because I may not be able to make it again. This afternoon we're having a family reunion and because -- we don't know when our last days here on earth may be.
CROWLEY: What prevails is a sense that if living life requires facing new fear, then so be it. What prevails is a sense that they will and must move past the fear by all means necessary.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: We prayed about it a lot, and it's just hard to, hard to get over.
CROWLEY: New fear merely exists here, a part of life in the new normal.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Manhattan, Indiana.
BROWN: We'll be right back.
BROWN: We want to quickly bring you up to date on a couple of other things that went on today.
In the Washington, D.C. area, three subway stations were shut down after a man sprayed an unidentified liquid. Several people close by complained of nausea and headaches. They were isolated, taken to the hospital for observation. Health officials say they believe the substance was a cleaning solution.
In Russia, the wreck of the submarine Kursk was towed toward a dry dock today after it was pulled from the bottom of the Barents Sea yesterday. Once the sub is secured, teams will start removing the remaining bodies of 118 sailors who died when the sub sank last year.
At least 11 people are dead tonight after a hurricane pounded Belize. 900 people were left homeless by Hurricane Iris, which weakened to a tropical depression this morning. The storm ripped through the country's southern coast, where a full-strength hurricane had not hit in almost 60 years.
And in Miami today, jury selection began in another case against O.J. Simpson. He faces felony and misdemeanor charges for an alleged case of what most of us would call road rage. Oh, for the days when Mr. Simpson seemed like the most important thing and the most important story to cover. But then, that all ended four weeks ago today on September 11th.
Our special cover continues in just a moment.
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