CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Airstrikes Target Possible Underground Networks
Aired January 13, 2002 - 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.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: Intense airstrikes pound eastern Afghanistan today as the U.S. targets an underground terrorist training site.
More details emerge regarding the Enron bankruptcy investigation. Did the company receive special treatment from the Bush Administration?
Pakistan's president takes a bold step to curb terrorism, but did his message have an effect on the ongoing military standoff between his country and India?
It's Sunday, January 13. Welcome to this SPECIAL REPORT of America's New War. From CNN in Washington, I'm Jeanne Meserve.
We begin with an update of President Bush's health. The president fainted briefly in the White House residence earlier tonight after choking on a pretzel. He was watching a football game at the time. A White House doctor says Mr. Bush quickly recovered and is doing well. He says the president suffered an abrasion on his cheek and a bruise on his lower lip apparently after falling from a couch.
It's believed he was unconscious for only a few seconds. The doctor says there's no reason such a fainting spell would happen again. The White House says the president will be checked out again in the morning and will travel to the midwest tomorrow as planned.
And now, a look at today's latest developments in America's new war. Intense U.S. airstrikes continue to target an al Qaeda training camp in Khowst, near the Afghan-Pakistan border. U.S. warplanes hammered away at suspected underground terrorist hide-outs, in an attempt to root out al Qaeda and Taliban forces.
Thirty Afghan war detainees are on their way to a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They boarded an Air Force plane under heavy security today. The "Times of London" reports at least six British Muslims suspected of having links with the Taliban or al Qaeda are among those to be sent to Guantanamo Bay.
The bodies of five U.S. Marines killed when their refueling plane crashed on a Pakistani mountainside, are headed home. The remains should arrive at Dover Air Force base in Delaware within the hour. The body of a sixth Marine discovered at the crash site today, will be shipped later. And the search continues for the body of the last crew member.
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge says the country is safer now than it was when terrorists struck more than four months ago. But he warned Americans still need to be vigilant as the United States tries to find Osama bin Laden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM RIDGE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY: It's the responsibility of our staff to plan and prepare for this being almost a permanent part of our environment in the future. The 21st century world as intelligence community has indicated will bring us not only threats from sovereign nations, but from terrorist groups around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: Repair crews are continuing work on the Pentagon, one side of which was badly damaged in the September 11 terrorist attacks; 189 people died when a hijacked jetliner slammed into the military complex. The estimated repair cost is about $800 million.
It's been another busy day at Kandahar Airport. Security was tight as a second group of prisoners left the detention facility for U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. CNN's Bill Hemmer is in Kandahar and joins us now with the very latest -- Bill.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeanne, good morning from Kandahar. Let's take you back about ten, 11 hours ago when the second group left here from Kandahar. Eventually, they will be headed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This group larger than the first one, 30 detainees shipped out last night as opposed to 20 that we saw last Thursday.
Also last Thursday the fire fight that ensued apparently was well kept here by U.S. security. That security measure here stepped up even more so last night. Each detainee escorted by heavily armed marines and Army MPs. Cobra helicopters patrolled the skies overhead. Some Hummvees on the perimeter patrolled the same area where those gunshots were fired, and the machine gunfire originated on Thursday evening.
The detainees, dressed in the familiar orange jumpsuits now, they sit back to back in the center of that cargo plane separated by a high-seat back. Armed guards sit then sit across from each detainee and attack dogs again roam the tarmac here in Kandahar. And all 20 hours of flight time to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, there is a stop over at an undisclosed military location that the U.S. is not revealing at this time, but again eventually there will be 50 detainees held in Guantanamo Bay.
Now back to Kandahar, military sources are confirming they are holding detainees who they say had specific plans to travel to the United States and kill Americans. They also add that for whatever reason, those planned attacks did not come off, possibly they say, because the events of September 11. Also in Bagram, north of Kabul, it continues to look like a centerpiece for interrogation. We now know that the man who is charged with running the terrorist training camps in Afghanistan Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi was transferred there a couple days ago. Also, Abdul Salaam Saif, [he was the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. A few days ago, in fact a week ago he was also transferred to Bagram. So, it continues again to be a major source for interrogation there in northern Afghanistan. One source saying there were a lot of bad boys in his words, bad boys in Bagram.
On deck here in Kandahar, the detainee total now 361 after again, 30 more were shipped out to Cuba last night -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: Bill, as you mentioned this was second group to head to Cuba. Any idea when the next group will go?
HEMMER: No, no indication given yet, Jeanne. But I can tell you, the first group that went on Thursday night, really considered a trial run. They wanted to see what the security measures they put into place, how they would hold up, what areas they needed to improve and certainly they wanted to get all the way to Cuba, assess the drop off point there before they shipped out more. And again, that is what we say last night, but you can anticipate.
I mentioned 361 here. Sources indicate that all or the greater majority will go to the Guantanamo Bay -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: Bill Hemmer in Kandahar, thank you.
It's been a day of relentless U.S. attacks in Afghanistan. The target, an al Qaeda training camp near the Pakistan border. It's the site of a suspected underground hide-out for al Qaeda and Taliban forces. With more on the airstrikes, CNN's Kamal Hyder joins us live by phone. He's on the Pakistan-Afghan border. Kamal, what can you tell us?
KAMAL HYDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeanne, it's another bright morning here and more trails in the sky as B-52s FLY overhead over the skies of Miram Shaw. Their intended target, Zawar Kili (ph) . Zawar Kili, which has received tremendous attention of allied fighter bombers and B-52s fighter bombers, and b-52's coming in throughout the day and throughout the night. Sometimes they are only on the reconnaissance role, and then, hour later, they found the place.
Our people who were up on the mountain yesterday told us that they were aiming for the middle of a complex. That there was set of buildings around but they were aiming for the grounds, and that means that they probably have information that they may be an intricate network of tunnels deep underground. And yesterday the explosions were the loudest heard so far. Those explosions possibly from bunker- busters. It shook Miram Shaw and woke people up. And also throughout the night, we had all these aircraft flying over Miram Shaw, and over the Zawar Kili area.
We are also told that the Pakistani military positions are within 1,000 meters in certain places, and that the Pakistani military is on a heightened state-of-alert to prevent terrorists from crossing into this area and also to prevent Pakistani terrorists wanted for sectarian killings to prevent them from coming across the border -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: Kamal, any indication that U.S. special operations forces are operating in that area?
HYDER: Well, Jeanne, we did hear small arms fire. We cannot confirm whether that was ground forces or special operations, but we have been told by locals, that yes, indeed they have seen soldiers on the ground and there would be a need for soldiers on the ground for target designation and many choppers have been seen in the area. Every now and then we do hear a chopper but we have not see anything ourselves -- Jeanne.
MESERVE: Kamal Hyder from the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thank you.
And now, for some military insight on the war and the strategy, we turn to CNN military analyst, General David Grange. He joins us now from Oakbrook, Illinois. Thank you so much for joining us.
BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Good evening.
MESERVE: General, I heard you say in an earlier interview that you thought there could be some big prizes in Zawar Kili. What were you talking about?
GRANGE: I believe that this type of complex, if there's any indication that it holds a lot of al Qaeda or other terrorists or hard-core Taliban elements, it's a good chance one of the scoundrels like Omar, one of those guys may be in that location. We don't know, but at least maybe a few lieutenants.
MESERVE: We heard that about Tora Bora too, didn't we?
GRANGE: We did. And you have to continue this relentless pressure and search and destroy operations throughout the area until you can check all the areas that may be hiding some of these terrorist leaders.
MESERVE: Some of the U.S. senators who have been in the region, Senator Biden in particular, spoke today about the need for an international peacekeeping force. What are the challenges facing a peacekeeping force in the region?
GRANGE: Tough challenges, I believe, because is it peace keeping? Is peace enforcement, is it a security type operation? Do you impose your will and force on other tribal leaders and small armies that still have control of certain parts of Afghanistan?
Very tough to do. So their rules of he engagement and mission statement would be very interesting to see, what they do outside of Kabul. It's probably one of the more difficult ones that has happened in the world in the last ten years.
MESERVE: How large is this force intended to be and will it be big enough to undertake all of those things you mentioned?
GRANGE: I believe that the force will be under 5,000 personnel made up of different nationalities with the British lead. You know it's going to be very hard to determine what they will do.
I mean, I -- you know, I just can't see them going to Mazar-e Sharif and telling General Dostom to turn in their weapons or keep the roads open, or do the same over in Herat with General Kahn. It's very difficult. So there is going to be a lot of negotiations backed up with a pretty tough force.
But it is a force that if they do get in the do get in trouble would probably be able to take care of themselves.
MESERVE: The detainees headed to Cuba and also those still in Afghanistan, tell us, if you would, a little bit about the interrogations of these individuals. What takes place during one of these interrogations? Just how tough does the U.S. get with these people?
GRANGE: Well, the interrogations, not to physical as they are mental anguish. Constant questioning, bright lights, just being pulled back and forth not knowing when you will be asked again hours of talks.
Um, you know, we are not going to do anything inhumane, I don't believe. It's not American way. We don't treat prisoners that way, but you know, over a length of time you finally wear down people, mentally and they will start talk somewhat. The harder-core ones will last longer, but information, pieces of information will come out that we can put together which will help us with future operations. No doubt about it.
MESERVE: Now, the Pentagon does not want to call them prisoners of war. Is that because U.S. wants more wiggle room in dealing with these individuals?
GRANGE: Well, it is the detainee prisoner of war, if you can be charged by war crimes or not. I think we want our options open. Being labeled as detainees gives the United States more options to do what we want to do once these -- information comes out on what these people did or did not do.
I think it is very prudent that they call them detainees and also it is very prudent that they are in an isolated location, like Guantanamo Bay away from the United States, and away from Afghanistan or the Middle East.
MESERVE: General David Grange. Thank you very much for joining us this evening.
GRANGE: My pleasure. Thank you.
MESERVE: And a U.S. Airways pilot was arrested today after making what police describe as an inappropriate comment at Philadelphia International Airport. Forty-six-year-old Elwood Maneer was charged with making terrorist threats and disorderly conduct. An airport spokesman says Maneer was going through the screening process when he made the comment. Police describe it as relating to security, but wouldn't elaborate. The U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia is considering the case.
More questions emerged today involving the Enron bankruptcy investigation. Who is to blame for the company's downfall? And will the Bush Administration be effected.
And firefighters working at ground zero may now be facing a new battle: Respiratory illness. We will explain.
MESERVE: First we want to bring you an update on President Bush's health. The president fainted briefly tonight after he choked on a pretzel while he was watching the Miami Baltimore NFL playoff game. He recovered quickly. He did however fall off a couch and got an abrasion on his cheek and a bruise on his lower lip. The White House doctor says there is no reason to believe this will happen again, however the president will be checked out again tomorrow morning. There is no plan to cancel the trip to the Midwest which is presently scheduled for tomorrow.
Now on to other news. The problems of energy giant Enron have spread from its Texas headquarters to Washington. There are also questions about the role of Wall Street in the collapse of the company. CNNFN's Greg Clarkin has more on the aftermath of Enron's fall.
GREG CLARKIN, CNNFN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's already engulfed Houston and Washington, and now the Enron collapse threatens to pull in Wall Street.
A number of Enron critics are asking if Wall Street's bankers played a role in keeping information away from the public as the one- time energy giant collapsed.
WILLIAM LERACH, SECURITIES LITIGATION ATTORNEY: A fraud of this scope and size simply cannot be perpetrated without the assistance of sophisticated professionals. This case is going to continue to evolve and expand. There are other professionals, lawyers, investment bankers and the like, who appear to be deeply implicated.
CLARKIN: The former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission agreed, saying Wall Street bears some of the blame.
ARTHUR LEVITT, FMR. SEC. CHAIRMAN: It's not just he auditors, it's the security analysts; it's the rating agencies that dropped the ball; it's the investment bankers who cooked up the scheme to hide matters from the general public. CLARKIN: As for the auditors, Arthur Andersen, Enron's accounting firm, has admitted to destroying documents relating to the company. "TIME" magazine reports Andersen employees were direct to destroy all but the most basic, quote, "work papers," end quote.
One member of Congress said, if true, it may lead to criminal charges.
LIEBERMAN: If this memo was what it looks like, I'm afraid that the folks at Arthur Andersen could be on the other end of an indictment before this is over.
CLARKIN: Senator Lieberman also said the Enron disaster could bring down Andersen as well.
LIEBERMAN: Arthur Andersen is a great company with a great name. That name is being sullied; and ultimately this Enron episode may end this company's history.
CLARKIN: Andersen's role has many demanding new oversight of those charged with checking the books of corporate America.
Former SEC Chairman Levitt points out what happened at Enron could happen to other corporate heavyweights.
Greg Clarkin, CNN Financial News, New York.
MESERVE: "TIME" magazine is reporting that an attorney for Enron's auditing firm, Arthur Andersen, instructed employees to destroy Enron-related material in the days before the company declared bankruptcy. That is prompting more questions about the collapse of the company. Meanwhile, some Bush Administration officials are stressing that even though they were contacted by Enron's CEO, there was no improper action on the part of the administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL O'NEILL, TREASURY SECRETARY: Ken Lay didn't ask me to do anything. And we did nothing. I think we did the right thing. We made sure that in our area of responsibility, which is U.S. and world capital markets, that the problems that were occurring that Enron had no spillover effect for the rest of economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: And with a number of federal investigations underway, some are asking what will the political fallout be. Here in Washington to look into the issue, John Parker, political correspondent for "The Economist." Thanks for coming in, John.
JOHN PARKER, "THE ECONOMIST": Thanks for inviting me.
MESERVE: Given what we know the situation right now, is there any indication of wrongdoing by Bush Administration officials. PARKER: No. If anything, I think there is an indication of right doing. Basically they were asked, should we help out, give special favors to a company that is one of the biggest donors to the Bush campaign, or should we treat them equally as it would be with the rest of the country, and they did the right thing. They treated them equally. No special favors. Quite right.
MESERVE: Well, some people are saying perhaps they should have stepped in to save the little people.
PARKER: Right, sure. It's a peculiar situation, isn't it. The Democrats are accusing him on the one hand and saying, well, you know, they are corruptly in bed with Enron and that's bad. On the other they should be doing them favors, either one thing or the other.
If they had stepped in, if they'd said there is something going badly wrong, panic, panic, panic, I think they'd have been accused of contributing to the chaos and actually making -- I mean it wouldn't have saved the company, people would have lost their shirts and people would have accused the administration, quite rightly, in my view, of adding to the problems, not solving them.
MESERVE: You mentioned the Democrats, but when you consider realm of possible reactions by Democrats to this incident, they have been fairly light handed, have they not?
PARKER: I thought so. It was interesting that those people actually in charge of congressional committees like Senator Lieberman just now were quite careful about what they were going to say. The person who has been most out front is Henry Waxman, who is the minority person in the House committee.
And it's he who has been saying the Bush Administration knew there were problems and knowing this, they should have given warnings earlier so people could have bailed out. I don't think it would have made any difference. I don't think they would could have bailed out. By the time Bush Administration knew anything unfortunately they'd lost about 90 percent of their shirts anyway.
MESERVE: Given the number of investigations that are under way, people are to be looking for a smoking gun.
MESERVE: What would a smoking gun look like in this instance?
PARKER: I think it would have to be -- the Bush Administration knew of some illegal activity of some malfeasance on the part of Enron, which was damaging Enron shareholders and did nothing about it. I don't think anything else really would quite be enough.
MESERVE: Does this give new life to the issue of campaign finance reform?
PARKER: I think it's got to but because I mean, this is a vivid demonstration of why there is a campaign finance reform moment, but campaign finance reform isn't really a partisan issue. The Democrats also benefit from soft money rather more than Republicans. Um, it's sort of -- it didn't match up nicely. Enron, very close to the Republicans, but campaign finance reform itself is a much, much wider issue.
Yes, I think it dramatizes why in general there is a problem, but I don't think it moves sort of directly from an Enron/White House connection, to a broader, therefore we must do something about campaign finance reform.
MESERVE: John Parker of "The Economist," we have leave it there. Thank you very much.
Up next, help is on its way to what many Afghans consider a symbol of hope, how wildlife experts plan to help rebuild the crumbling zoo in Kabul.
And the president of Pakistan has pledged to fight terror. Will he succeed? And how was his message received by neighboring India? I'll be joined by an expert on the region to find out. Stay with us.
MESERVE: And we have a little bit new information about the health of President Bush who fainted this evening. He was watching a Dolphins/Ravens game on television and pretzels, when he apparently passed out. He suffered a scrape on his left cheek bone and a bruise on his lower cheek. He has recovered. He is doing fine. The doctor told him to go to bed early. He had soup and salad with Mrs. Bush afterwards. He will be checked out by a nurse or doctor in the morning.
He does intend to travel tomorrow as expected to the Midwest. Apparently Bush told his spokesman, Ari Fleischer, that he not been feeling well and in the president's word, he had a little bug. Unclear at this point what input that might have had. But at this point we are told all tests are normal. Once again President Bush feeling fine after fainting earlier this evening while watching a football game and eating pretzels.
And now on to other news. Checking our latest developments at the bottom of the hour, there's no letup in the punishment U.S. airstrikes are visiting upon an al Qaeda training site near Khowst in eastern Afghanistan.
The target area covers 30 to 40 acres underground and four miles above. Pakistani troops are guarding the border nearby, waiting to intercept any fleeing al Qaeda fighters.
Thirty more detainees are in the air en route from Kandahar to the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; 20 of their comrades preceded them Friday. The al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners will live in chain link cages until the U.S. finishes building more substantial quarters for them.
Amidst the rubble and rebuilding of war-torn Afghanistan, someone is remembering the animals. Wildlife experts from the world society for the prevention of cruelty to animals were in Kabul today to assess conditions at the city's crumbling zoo. They aim to restore its veterinary structure. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is the symbol of the country. Everybody loves him and as I say it's been sort of the symbol of the suffering of the people of this country is exhibited in that animal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: A U.S. Airways pilot is facing two misdemeanor charges for allegedly making an inappropriate comment to a security screener at Philadelphia International Airport. Elwood Maneer is charged with making terrorist threats and disorderly conduct, although officials won't reveal exactly what he's accused of saying.
It was four months ago when two jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center. Here's a live view of that site. The death toll remains just under 2,900 people. Since then, many firefighters who worked during the rescue operations are suffering from respiratory illnesses. Authorities say the air was filled with toxins after the buildings collapsed.
Some senators who've just wrapped up a visit to Afghanistan say Taliban and al Qaeda fighters still pose a threat to that country as well as the U.S. CNN's Kathleen Koch has more from the Pentagon.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another C-17, this time loaded with 30 detainees, took off from Kandahar, Afghanistan, bound for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Military sources now say some prisoners in Kandahar had plans to one day travel to the United States and kill Americans.
The information worries U.S. senators who visited the region, including one who met with some of the detainees.
SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE), CHAIRMAN, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: These are some real hard, hard, hard cases. But unless we gather the list of leaders which we -- I have in my pocket here, and there's about another 20 we don't have. People think that the possibility of them being able to do guerrilla kind of attacks on military here are real, and they're very concerned about it.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: That's why we're still there. That's why we're still attacking. We've got to destroy them, and we've got to make sure that they don't reconstitute themselves and reorganize to strike at us again from another base in that area of Afghanistan or someone else in the world.
KOCH: U.S. aircraft over the weekend made another round of strikes on a large complex in Zawar Kili, near the border with Pakistan that the military believes was being used as a transit point for fighters fleeing the country.
Another senator just back from Afghanistan says most needed now: U.S. aid to help the fragile interim government maintain order.
SEN. FRED THOMPSON (R), TENNESSEE: They're trying to get everybody under the same tent. They're doing a pretty a good job of doing that, but they've got to have some kind of an army eventually. They've got to have some kind of police force.
KOCH: Senators reported there is still conflicting information on whether Osama bin Laden or Mullah Mohammed Omar are still in the region.
(on camera): Information and intelligence being gathered there is drawing a chilling connection between al Qaeda fighters in custody and planned terrorist attacks against the United States. Military sources say why they weren't carried out is unclear.
Kathleen Koch, CNN, the Pentagon.
MESERVE: As we mentioned a few minutes ago, President Bush passed out tonight while watching a football game and eating pretzels. For a little insight into this, we're joined on the telephone by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's medical correspondent.
Sanjay, we don't know a lot of detail, but what do you make of this situation, given what we do know?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, it certainly does sound a little funny, you know. No question what we do know, he sort of fell after supposedly choking on a pretzel. Certainly choking on a pretzel can cause a decrease in heart rate, which might actually lead to someone fainting.
And if he choked for a prolonged period of time, it could lead to a decreased flow of oxygenated blood to the brain, which very brief, no long term repercussions from something that, but certainly a fainting spell wouldn't be out of the question with something like that as well.
One of the things to think about, the doctors that care of him mentioned that he had been a little under the weather. Sometimes you can get dehydrated from being sick like that. Certainly sometimes that can also lead to very short fainting spells.
It sounds like he did lose consciousness. He passed out, actually had an abrasion on his cheek, his lower lip as well. And so those were all sure signs that he actually did lose consciousness, however temporary it may have been.
MESERVE: Sanjay, let me just clarify that the White House now is saying not that he choked on the pretzel, only that he was eating on a pretzel. But moving on, I'm wondering, this is a president who exercises regularly. He's said to be in just terrific shape. Could that influence his heart rate, his blood pressure, in a way that might have fainting more likely?
GUPTA: Well, you know, one thing that sort of springs to mind is you always have to be a little concerned about underlying cardiac things. They can be very, very mild. And again, I want to emphasize nothing that people have to worry about long term, but certainly in even a small alteration heart rate or the pattern of heart beat, an eurythmia, so to speak, can cause someone to faint if it interrupts the blood flow to the brain ever so briefly.
These are sorts of things that we see in hospitals quite a bit. And they had mentioned that they would considering monitoring his heart just to try and see if he has some underlying abnormality like that.
Again, not something that, you know, is difficult to treat if that's what it is, but certainly something that they'll probably be monitoring.
MESERVE: Sanjay, if it happened once, is it likely to happen again?
GUPTA: Usually not. These are usually incidents that happen once. And especially at his age, if this is a first time something like this has happened, it could be a very isolated, sporadic event. But being that it has happened once, he probably will need to be monitored, to have his heart monitored for over a period of time, to see if he is exhibiting any of these eurthymias.
Because both of his parents, as you probably know, did have Grave's Disease, a thyroid disorder which does put a fair amount of thyroid into the thyroid hormone into the blood stream, which can interfere with the heart's rhythms, not saying of course, the president has that, but that's something else they'll be thinking about as well.
MESERVE: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks for your medical insight.
His speech was strong, but will action follow? We'll have reaction from both India and inside Pakistan to President Musharraf's pledge to crackdown on terrorism. And as Secretary of State Colin Powell prepares to visit India this week, will his trip help to resolve the ongoing conflict in the region?
MESERVE: He vowed to crackdown on home-grown terrorism and hold fast to his convictions on Kashmir. Now the strong words of Pakistan's president are being weighed by that nation's people.
CNN's Ash-Har Quraishi has reaction to the general's words.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ASH-HAR QURAISHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Following a boldly introspective speech by President Pervez Musharraf, many Pakistanis are giving their self-appointed leader a nod of approval.
In a single, one-hour address, Musharraf laid out blunt measures for dealing with two of the country's biggest and most persistent problems, the dispute over Kashmir and Pakistan's long history of tolerating violent extremist groups.
PERVEZ MUSHARAFF, PRESIDENT, PAKISTAN: What direction are we being led in by these extremists? Pakistan has been made a weak state, where the supremacy of law is questioned. This situation cannot be tolerated anymore.
QURAISHI: In a strategic move, police raided the offices of several extremist organizations in Karachi, shortly before the president's long-awaited speech, and rounded up more than 250 members of these groups in one of the largest crackdowns ever.
Of the five extremist groups banned by President Musharraf, two were directly accused of being involved in sectarian unrest. Today one of them, the violent Sunni group, Sipah-e-Sahaba finds its offices closed. The only people in sight are a few children, left behind to remove signs from the building. The other banned group, the minority Shi'a Tehrik-e-Jafria party.
ALLAMA SAJID NAOVI, TEHRIK-E-JAFRIA: This is very unfair. He has done a great injustice to us. I condemn his decision.
QURAISHI: But on the streets of Karachi, a sense of approval for the steps President Musharraf has taken. In a local barber shop this man says, "I think what he did was the right thing because Pakistan needs to think about its well being. That's why I think it's OK."
And at a corner flower stand, a similar reaction, "I think the things he said were very good for the country," this man says. "He is just the kind of leader this country needs."
(on camera): While the reaction in Karachi has been mostly positive, President Musharraf's greatest test may come in a few days, after Friday prayers, a traditional time of protest by religious hard- liners. It remains to be seen whether or not his new vision for the country can stand up to the small but vocal minority that opposes him.
Ash-Har Quraishi, CNN, Karachi, Pakistan.
MESERVE: President Bush is urging India and Pakistan to choose the road to peace. Mr. Bush telephoned leaders of both countries today, to praise Musharraf's anti-terrorism stance, calling it a positive development and in line with India's conditions for reducing tensions in the region. The White House says both leaders agreed to work to reduce their simmering border conflict.
But for the two feuding nuclear rivals good intentions have failed before. Asian Studies and Government Professor Sumit Ganguly joins us now to assess the tough challenge India and Pakistan face. He joins us now from the University of Texas at Austin.
Thank you for joining us. And let me ask you first, just how critical the mission of Colin Powell to the region is going to be?
SUMIT GANGULY, UNIV. OF TEXAS: Colin Powell's mission to the subcontinent is extraordinarily significant. This is his second visit within months to these two troubled countries. Of course now on this occasion, he's also going to Afghanistan.
In Pakistan, he has the difficult task of now trying to convince General Musharraf to take probably further steps to alleviate tensions with India and to dismantle infrastructure of terror that has operated with impunity from within Pakistan for the past decades.
In India, he'll have the task of trying to convince Indian leaders to restart negotiations with Pakistan and also start thinking about a fairer dispensation for the people in Kashmir, who are aggrieved with Indian rule.
MESERVE: Just what carrots and sticks does the Secretary use to achieve those results?
GANGULY: Well, in Pakistan, there is a very significant carrot that he can hold out. Pakistan desperately needed economic assistance after September 13. After that, Pakistan was virtually on the verge of economic collapse. And it's really American assistance to the tune of $1.1 billion and in addition to that, multilateral loans and the like that have kept Pakistan afloat.
So he can continue to hold out the prospect of American investment and various forms of American and multilateral assistance to Pakistan. In terms of India, he can offer India continued expansion of military ties, which India wants, access to various forms of high technology which India desperately needs and seeks from the United States, and also that the United States can offer support to India on the issue of terror.
MESERVE: Is any cool down, if achieved, likely to be only temporary?
GANGULY: Unless India and Pakistan start a serious discussion once again, I'm afraid this de-escalation would only be a temporary move, which would essentially lead to the pulling back of India and Pakistani forces from their respective borders. But no, the central problem of Kashmir would still remain, unless India and Pakistan were to start more meaningful, more serious talks about the final status of the state of Jamul (ph) and Kashmir.
MESERVE: We all remember the pictures that came out of Pakistan after September 11 of Taliban supporters in that country. I'm wondering what sort of internal difficulties you think President Musharraf may face if indeed he goes forward with an aggressive crackdown on terrorism in his country? GANGULY: There is no question that he will face a certain degree of opposition, but the degree of opposition can also be exaggerated. We should bear in mind that the Pakistani army is highly disciplined. It is also an extraordinarily powerful force within Pakistan. It is exceptionally well armed. And it can use brute force when asked to.
Many of these demonstrators, once they get a whiff of gunpowder in the air, will quickly melt away, but he has to sustain this campaign. It cannot be a one-shot deal. It cannot be a set of carefully constructed speeches designed primarily for a Western audience. And it cannot be simply sweeps of these individuals, who are then held for a few weeks or possibly a month and then let go through the back door. This must be a really -- a full-scale effort to fundamentally dismantle the infrastructure of terror that has so long existed within Pakistan.
MESERVE: Sumit Ganguly, thank so much for joining us this evening from Austin, Texas.
GANGULY: My pleasure.
MESERVE: And this programming note, Secretary of State Colin Powell is heading to the region. And he will join CNN's Judy Woodruff for a live interview tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 Eastern time.
After nearly 42 years, it has been a fantastic run for one off Broadway show. We will explain after the break.
MESERVE: Like many Americans, President Bush was watching the Dolphins-Ravens game on television this afternoon. He was eating pretzels and he passed out. He recovered quickly and his doctors say he doing well, although he did suffer an abrasion on his check and a bruise to his lower lip.
CNN White House correspondent John King joins us now on the telephone. John, what have you been able to learn about events?
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeanne, we're told the president was told by his doctor and took the advice and went to bed early tonight. He is still planning to travel tomorrow, although he will be evaluated in the morning.
They believe the president was eating pretzels at the time, watching the football game, and one possibility is that the pretzel, according to the White House doctor, put some pressure on a nerve and caused the president's pulse rate to dip even further. The president has a remarkably low pulse rate and blood pressure because of his running and exercise regimen.
And so, the President fainted. He fell forward, as you noted. He cut his lower lip. And he has what his press secretary described as an ugly scrape on his left check bone. The president believes he hit face either on the floor or on a table next to a couch that he was sitting on in his bedroom at the White House residence. And he believes that his glasses may have cut.
He was watching the football game. He thinks he was only out for a few seconds, because he told Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, his dogs were is still in the same position as he remembered them being when he sitting on the couch. The president did note that they were looking at him a little funny.
Not to make light of this, the president was tested first in the residence, then downstairs in the medical unit at the White House. A full array of tests, blood pressure, cardiopulmonary, his blood sugar, his oxygen levels in his blood. The doctor says he's OK.
He's not on any medication, but the president did tell his press secretary and the White House Chief of Staff he wasn't feeling well, that he felt a little under the weather. He used the term "a little bug" in describing his condition to Ari Fleischer. So the White House doesn't rule that that could have been what caused him to faint either.
Again, the president planning to head to the Midwest for some economic events tomorrow. He will be evaluated in the morning first to make the decision then, the final decision as to whether to go.
MESERVE: John, you say "evaluated in the morning," are most tests planned?
KING: The doctors will see him in the morning and ask him how he feels. And if the president still feels queasy, we are led to believe he would at that point have some other tests. One question is does he have the flu. He believes he just has a little bug or a head cold, as he described it, but obviously if the president still is not feeling well in the morning, the doctors might want to test him again.
But he's not on any medication. And we are told he had some soup and salad with the First Lady before he went to bed. This is the president who's up very early. So he usually turns in pretty early. Usually by 10:00 he's in bed. We're told he went to bed a little bit earlier than that tonight.
MESERVE: John, how rigorous is the travel schedule for tomorrow? And is there the possibility this will be canceled?
KING: There is a possibility. He is supposed to go to the Midwest first for an economic event, and then he spends the night in New Orleans and has a second day of events on Tuesday.
He has some downtime. When the president travels, he will have an event or two and then generally have a little bit of downtime so that he can do some office work. And in this case, because of the ongoing military campaign in Afghanistan and elsewhere, to track of the development there.
It is a trip the White House says it would be reluctant to cancel because the president very much wants to focus on the state of economy right now. But obviously if the president is not feeling well in the morning, his condition would take precedents over these events.
But the White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says the president was quite determined. He told him he wants to go ahead with that schedule. But again, he will see the White House medical staff in the morning and the decision will be made then. He's supposed to leave Washington quite early in the morning. So they'll have make the decision first thing.
MESERVE: John King, thanks for joining us on the phone. Once again, President Bush fainting earlier this evening, while he was eating pretzels and watching a football game. White House doctors say he is doing quite well right now.
We'll be back with some more news in just a moment.
MESERVE: Patronage for artists and entertainers suffered serious damage after the September 11 attacks in New York, but there are efforts underway to help many of them.
CNN's Brian Palmer reports.
BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice-over): Artist Monika Bravo once had a studio in the World Trade Center.
(on camera): We're standing in the middle of one of your pieces. What is it?
MONIKA BRAVO, ARTIST: This is an interactive, an installation, and it's called "A-Maze," and it's just a virtual labyrinth.
PALMER, (voice-over): On September 10, the day before the attack, she shot these time-lapse views of New York City from a vantage point that disappeared hours later.
BRAVO: I taped for around seven hours, and that was the only thing I saved. Everything else I left in the studio.
PALMER: Bravo, who now works out of her Brooklyn apartment, got financial help from a variety of groups, from corporations like American Express to the Red Cross and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Others have been less fortunate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The sound of the plane hitting was so loud it shook my bones. As I bent over to hide from the flying debris, I knew instantly it had been terrorists, even before the first news crews arrived.
PALMER: Documentary filmmaker Beverly Peterson and her husband Farrell Brickhouse live and work a stone's throw from the Trade Center site. They were evacuated and stayed away for weeks, and are still trying to recover, financially and emotionally. FARRELL BRICKHOUSE, PAINTER: It's kind of hard to sometimes, to talk about your own problems when people have lost so much, and we haven't lost anybody that we loved in that building.
PALMER: But they have lost the lifestyle, and livelihood, they spent years building in this downtown community, 10 years for Peterson, more than 25 for Brickhouse, a painter. Brickhouse marks each day he works on a calendar, with a dollop of paint.
BRICKHOUSE: Here's September 11, and since that point in time, you can see, there's just been no marks made.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I don't make a documentary, I don't have anything to sell. There's nothing there.
PALMER: Peterson and Brickhouse are fighting the economic and emotional pressure, with the help of other artists and arts organizations like NYFA, the New York Foundation for the Arts, which has organized seminars and benefits to help artists.
TED BERGER, NY FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS: You need institutions having exhibitions, which attract people to the city, but September 11 has demonstrated that we are really part of the emotional and spiritual core of the people of the city and the country.
PALMER: NYFA will also be giving out upwards of $5 million worth of small grants to individual artists and arts groups. Money from foundations and corporations, and artists themselves, organizing to support their own.
Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.
MESERVE: 17,162 shows and 42 years. That's how many times over how many years the show "The Fantasticks" played at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York. Tonight was the last time the curtain came up for the musical about young love tested over time at the off- Broadway theater. Besides helping to launch a number of well-known performers, the show is known for songs like "Try to Remember."
And thanks for joining us. From CNN in Washington, I'm Jeanne Meserve. Coming up next, "CNN PRESENTS: THE ENEMY WITHIN," a look at the efforts to crackdown on terrorist sleeper cells that may be lurking in the United States. That's next, following an update of today's top stories.
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