LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES
Tariq Aziz in U.S. Custody; New York Moves Closer to Rebuilding at Ground Zero
Aired April 24, 2003 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks so much for joining us on this Thursday night, April 24.
Also tonight: New York moves closer to rebuilding at ground zero, the site of the World Trade Center. An ambitious new plan is being outlined. But if they build it, will people come?
Also ahead: A cruise ship is stopped and searched off the coast of Hawaii after threatening notes were found on board. We're going to tell you what the Coast Guard search turned up.
But first: U.S. forces have a new high-profile prisoner. Central Command says Tariq Aziz is in custody tonight. Aziz was Iraq's deputy prime minister and, aside from Saddam Hussein himself, the most visible member of the deposed regime's leadership.
Joining us to discuss this dramatic development are senior international correspondent Nic Robertson, who is in Baghdad, and national security correspondent David Ensor who joins us from Washington.
We're going to get started tonight with Nic -- Nic, good evening.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula. The very fact that Tariq Aziz was picked up in Baghdad, an indication perhaps of how he was left high and dry by other members of the regime, an indication perhaps of the swift fall of the regime here, an indication perhaps that the coalition may be on to a new train of information that may lead them to finding Saddam Hussein or at least getting an idea of where he is, many, many possibilities.
We just don't know very many details, but certainly Tariq Aziz a member and a close associate of the Baath Party since the late 1950s, a close associate, at the same time, of Saddam Hussein. He was a spokesman for the Baath Party, as well as being a graduate in the English language, as well as being a journalist, a member of the -- the editor in chief of the Baath Party's newspaper here in the 1960s.
He was a member of the regional command, the second most important group in Iraq in the mid-1970s, in 1977, became a member of the Revolutionary Command Council, the top Baath Party ruling body inside Iraq, the spokesman, essentially the international voice, the foreign minister for Iraq during the last Gulf War, the deputy prime minister this time, or until a few weeks ago, at least.
He was believed by some people perhaps to have moved out of favor with Saddam Hussein in the last few years. That's why he had not been so visible on the international circuit as he had been before. But, certainly, any important official coming to Iraq would meet with Tariq Aziz, perhaps, in many cases, before they would meet with any other official here, a very important gatekeeper for the regime and will likely have a lot of useful very information for the coalition forces -- Paula.
ZAHN: Nic, what have you been able to confirm about any of the circumstances surrounding the capture of Tariq Aziz?
ROBERTSON: We don't -- we in Baghdad here do not have any additional information to that which David Ensor has been able to find out. In Baghdad, we get very little first details, if you will, of such arrests. They are generally reported out of Central Command.
The information is often not given to us here in Baghdad. But what we've heard from Tariq Aziz in the past as recently as just more than three weeks ago in his last interview with a Lebanese journalist, his words at that time were that the fight would continue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARIQ AZIZ, IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We do not want to have -- to become a religious struggle. This is between independence and imperialism. Britain has historically had this history in the area. And ignorant Bush thinks that he's a superpower and he can control Iraq and the region and oil and, therefore, the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: But, of course, it was speaking English that Aziz was best known to the international community. He was the face of Saddam Hussein's regime. And in that same interview, his words at that time were that he would rather die than go into American captivity, go into a United States prison, so very interesting. Why did he hand himself over? No details from Baghdad or in Baghdad yet on that, Paula.
ZAHN: And what can you tell us about what the early reaction to this has been by the Iraqi people?
ROBERTSON: It's the middle of the night here. We have not yet heard from the Iraqi people on this. We certainly know that some people have looked to Aziz, as a Christian within the Baath Party, as perhaps a more moderate figure. But his close association with Saddam Hussein, with the regime for so many years will very likely bring -- will bring from the Iraqi people here some gratitude that another part of the leadership has been rounded up and perhaps an indication that Saddam Hussein may be found.
The most important thing at this time to many Iraqis is knowing what has happened to Saddam Hussein. And anything that brings that information closer will be something that they want to know a lot about. The reason is that people here still fear, because Saddam Hussein has not been captured or killed, as far as anyone knows. They fear that he may come back. And that is, for people here, still a very, very real fear that's alive -- Paula.
ZAHN: Nic Robertson, thanks so much.
Let's go straight to David Ensor, who is standing by in Washington, who has learned more of the details surrounding Tariq Aziz's capture.
Good evening, David.
What can you tell us?
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, I can tell you that an intermediary for Tariq Aziz approached the U.S. authorities in Baghdad yesterday about the possibility of him turning himself in. And I understand that he did so this evening, Baghdad time.
Officials say that there were no deals, no promises made to Tariq Aziz. He turned himself in with no guarantees from the United States of any kind. Now, this may have been a very difficult decision for the regime's best known spokesman, the deputy prime minister, the English-speaking voice, of course, as Nic said, of the regime, especially since, just prior to the war, he had said he would never turn himself in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AZIZ: I am 67 years old. Do you expect me, after all my history as a militant and as an Iraqi -- one of the Iraqi leaders, to go to an American prison, to go to Guantanamo? I would prefer to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENSOR: He apparently reconsidered that decision. He is a grandfather and did also express concern about his children and grandchildren. There may have been personal considerations involved, in addition to saving his own skin.
Officials say that, while he was rated the eight of spades in the deck of cards the Pentagon put out, some of them at least believe he could be quite useful in terms of information. For one thing, they believe he may know whether or not Saddam Hussein and other senior leaders survived the airstrikes against leadership targets that were made by the United States on March 20 and April 7 and 8. He may know whether Saddam Hussein is still alive. He may know the whereabouts of other senior leaders.
Officials say they don't think he will know much, if anything, about the weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq. They don't think he's likely to know where any of the weapons are, for example. But it is possible he may be able to confirm the program's existence, for example, the existence of chemical weapons. He may be able to confirm that.
So he is a significant capture. And, to put it mildly, they are very, very pleased here in Washington, Paula. ZAHN: Well, while he turned himself in, there are some reports tonight that suggest that, in fact, he knew he was probably just moments away from being captured anyway. Have you heard anybody that would confirm that?
ENSOR: I have not and I do not think that is correct.
I gather, as I said, that an intermediary for him spoke to U.S. authorities yesterday about whether there would be any terms that he could get for turning himself in. So, unless this was just in a matter of minutes, my understanding is that this was a decision he made. Now, this is a city of 4.5 million, Baghdad. And it is believed by U.S. officials that there may be quite a number of the Iraqi leaders who are still in that city. It's one of the safest places to be for the moment -- Paula.
ZAHN: And so, David, let me ask you this. With Tariq Aziz turning himself in, have any of your sources been telling you they think this will lead to more of those Baath Party members turning themselves in?
ENSOR: They are hopeful that he may know either the whereabouts of other senior leaders or at least something about where they were a week or two ago. He may be able to provide leads that will help U.S. authorities find some of the other leadership. And he may be interested in doing so in exchange for better treatment -- Paula.
ZAHN: David Ensor, thanks for bringing us all these details tonight.
We're going to move on now to another part of the world. For the first time, North Korea is saying that it has nuclear weapons. White House sources say a representative of the Pyongyang government told U.S. Envoy James Kelly that the country has at least one nuclear bomb. And he implied that North Korea would conduct a nuclear test soon. Those comments came during talks in Beijing.
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell warned against bluffing or blackmail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: They should not leave this series of discussions that have been held in Beijing with the slightest impression that the United States and its partners and the nations in the region will be intimidated by bellicose statements or by threats or actions they think might get them more attention or might force us to make a concession that we would not otherwise make. They would be very ill-advised to move in that direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So let's check in with State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel for more on what North Korea's statements could mean.
Good evening, Andrea. ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula.
Well, it really depends upon who you ask. Some North Korea watchers, both within the administration and experts outside have thought for some time now, certainly since things started ramping up with Iraq, that the North Korean regime of Kim Jong Il had made a strategic decision to pursue a nuclear program, no matter what, that they wouldn't give up their nuclear pursuit.
There are others who say, look, this is too early. We can't jump to the conclusion. This could just be another bluff. So, really, Paula, administration officials are not of one mind -- Paula.
ZAHN: All right, so let's talk a little bit more about the U.S. assessment of what -- of North Korea's capabilities. We heard about Mr. Kelly being told that they have at least one nuclear bomb. What else do they think North Korea has?
KOPPEL: Well, I should first say that U.S. officials were not surprised at all, because, for some time now, for a number of years, the U.S. intelligence community has said that North Korea, they believed, had reprocessed enough spent plutonium that they could make as many as one or two bombs.
But beyond that, what really concerns the administration is that reprocessing center at Yongbyon, the 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods. There's still some ambiguity as to whether or not they've begun the reprocessing, if so, how far. Once they do, though, Paula, the general consensus is that North Korea could have enough plutonium to create a bomb a month for about the next six months.
ZAHN: Scary for a lot of U.S. officials to contemplate. Thanks so much, Andrea.
Still to come tonight: a shocking discovery in California, more than 80 dead tigers and dozens of dead cubs found in a home that was supposed to be a sanctuary for wild cats. We are going to talk to a man who was there when the place was searched.
Also tonight: A cruise ship in Hawaii is stopped after threats were discovered on board. We're going to tell you what the Coast Guard found.
And then, next: New York Governor George Pataki lays out an ambitious plan to rebuild on the site of the World Trade Center. But is it too much too late for the troubled businesses in Lower Manhattan?
We're going to have that story when LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES continues.
ZAHN: Now rewriting history and restoring an amputated skyline: New York Governor George Pataki laid out an aggressive timetable for redeveloping the World Trade Center site, but it will be enough to review Lower Manhattan, an area still struggling 19 months after the terrorist attacks?
Whitney Casey takes a look.
WHITNEY CASEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the former World Trade Center site, 16 acres of possibility are now 16 acres of progress, says New York Governor George Pataki.
GOV. GEORGE PATAKI (R), NEW YORK: By the fifth anniversary of the attack, September 11, 2006, we will top off a new icon.
CASEY: In a little more than a year and a half since 9/11, the site has undergone a stunning metamorphosis. The governor's next objective: building architect Daniel Libeskind's 1,776-foot tower that Pataki dubbed the Freedom Tower. The tower's first tenant: the governor.
PATAKI: We will lead by example. I invite the business community to follow suit.
CASEY (on camera): With the prospect of a speedy rebuilding process, it somewhat begs the question: Who will fill all of this empty office space? Before 9/11, there was seven million square feet of empty office and retail space. Now that number is up to 12 million, giving Lower Manhattan the highest vacancy rate in all of New York City.
(voice-over): Libeskind's plans would add about 2 million more square feet of space. The governor touts a new transportation hub under construction at the site as the conduit for bringing business and foot traffic back into Lower Manhattan.
However, New York's Transit Authority says that, since 9/11, 83,000 fewer people per day are coming downtown via subway. They aren't coming because there are fewer jobs to come to, 70,000 fewer since 9/11. And without jobs, people aren't spending money at downtown businesses either.
MARVIN RAFELD, WALL STREET JEWELERS: If your average purchase was $1,500 and now it's $900, that tells you enough.
CASEY: Business at Marvin Rafeld's Wall Street Jewelers is down 30 percent. He says, after 9/11, there was an outpouring of patronage aimed at helping downtown merchants, but the patriotic purchases soon petered out. Rafeld believes, now more than ever, small businesses like his need help. And more office space downtown is not an answer.
RAFELD: There is kind of a siege mentality down there. There are gates all over the place. It's not very inviting for a retail atmosphere. The economic conditions are poor for everyone. They're just kind of exaggerated for us.
CASEY: His storefront on Wall Street is a snapshot of how much progress is needed at the 16 acres and beyond.
Whitney Casey, CNN, New York.
ZAHN: Reviving the nation's economy was the topic of two speeches delivered by President Bush today in Ohio. He spoke at a research center near Canton, Ohio, and then a tank plant in Lima. The president promised to keep up the fight on terrorism, but his main theme was his $550 billion tax plan, which he says will lead to jobs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't like it when I hear stories about our fellow Americans looking for work and can't find a job. And therefore I sent to Congress a package that will encourage economic vitality and job growth, a package that starts with this concept: that we need more demand for goods and services so our people can find work.
And the best way to encourage demand for goods and services is let the people keep their hard-earned money in the first place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: President Bush also stopped in Dayton, where he met briefly with Senator George Voinovich, a Republican. The senator opposes the president's tax cut proposal. The senator says he and the president didn't talk about the plan.
There's also not much talking about the tax plan in Lima, Ohio, a city of about 40,000 that has faced some very tough times over recent years. And they're about to get even tougher.
As senior political correspondent Candy Crowley explain, every time Lima bounces back, it seems to take yet another hit.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The state wants to close the Lima Correctional Institution. It will save budget-crunched Ohio $60 million. It will cost Lima 500 jobs, about 400,000 in lost income and all those other things that happen when a city bleeds jobs.
CRAIG BRADFORD, LIMA CORRECTIONAL OFFICER: It's already impacted me. I was looking to buy a house. And as soon as this came down, all that got put on hold.
CROWLEY: The joke here is that Lima is an acronym for lost in Middle America. This is a town that has survived the Rust Belt era, when traditional manufacturing jobs went overseas. But Lima found a new way of life building Abrams tanks for the Army. Then the Clinton administration downsized defense and almost 4,000 tank plant jobs shrank to 700. Lima kept moving. And the mayor had a vision of downtown rejuvenation with business and retail, and now this.
DAVID BERGER, MAYOR OF LIMA, OHIO: The economy here is pretty soft, very difficult circumstances. And we've had a variety of cutbacks from public sources, state and federal sources. But, also, we've seen over the last year and a half a real downsizing begin to take place in the private sector again.
CROWLEY: They've cut the city payroll by 15 percent. The school system, with a $3 million deficit, will lay off 38 teachers and 24 support staff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The feds cut off money to the state. The state cuts down off money to the locals. And the local people are dealt to figure things out. And it's been awful tough.
CROWLEY: And it may get tougher. Remember the tank plant, the one the president visited? The Abrams contract is complete in June of next year. Without new business, the Lima tank plant work force shrinks further.
RICK GILLETTE, VICE PRESIDENT, GENERAL DYNAMICS: I'm talking about the 25, 30, up to even 40 percent, depending on what we're doing at that time in 2004. And when you say it trickles down, it also trickles down to our vendor base.
CROWLEY: What's surprising is, they don't really blame George Bush for the economy. This is a Republican city. They like him. But you hear no great drumbeat for a tax cut on the streets of Lima, not that they couldn't use a little money. It's just, they don't see what that will do to help what ails Lima.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the working man, he don't feel like he might be able to go out and buy a TV or a toaster or a microwave oven. And the corporations get the breaks. It's simple as that, you know? How many microwaves do you have to sell to boost the economy?
CROWLEY: Ask them what Lima does need, the answer you get is, not a tax cut, not even government help. The answer you get is: jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this city has a lot to offer people. I think it has a very strong work force. It just needs a break. It just needs a break.
CROWLEY: At this point, the economy here in Lima is not as bad as it has been in the past. And the mayor says they fully understand that budget cuts have to be felt everywhere. Still, the mayor says what Lima really needs to see is some indication that there is light at the end of this particular tunnel -- Paula.
ZAHN: It would be great if they got a break.
Candy Crowley, thanks so much.
Still to come tonight: What happened to Scott Speicher, the Naval pilot missing since the first Gulf War? Could new clues lead to his discovery?
Also tonight: the private life of Saddam Hussein. We're going to show you some remarkable home video found in the palace of the former Iraqi president's first wife.
But next: in California, the gruesome discovery of dozens of dead tigers in what was supposed to be a sanctuary for big cats. We're going to talk with a man caring for some of the animals that survived -- right out of the break.
ZAHN: Welcome back.
The group called itself Tiger Rescue, but authorities say it was anything but. Investigators have found dozens of dead animals, including many young ones, at what was supposed to be an animal sanctuary.
Charles Feldman has the story from Southern California.
CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the lucky ones. These are the tigers, large and small, California officials say they saved from an animal nightmare.
They were rescued from the home of John Weinhart, who runs a Tiger Rescue sanctuary for retired animal actors. When officials paid Weinhart a visit in search of a missing baby tiger, what they allegedly discovered was beyond their wildest and worst imagination.
CHUCK TRAISI, FUND FOR ANIMALS: It was like we were walking through the set of a Hollywood movie, a big-budget horror movie, with all the trash and junk around, animals disfigured, domestic animals disfigured, dead animals strewn all over the place.
FELDMAN: Almost 100 dead tigers, including cubs kept in freezers, were allegedly found at the Weinhart home.
MIKE MCBRIDE, CALIFORNIA FISH AND GAME: We had cubs that were frozen inside of, I believe, three different freezers, totaling about 58 animals. We also had animals on the compound, different locations on the compound in different states of decomposition.
FELDMAN: Weinhart and a woman were arrested and, for the moment, charged with endangering the life of an 8-year-old boy believed to be Weinhart's son. By the time Weinhart is arraigned next month, prosecutors expect to press various animal abuse charges against him.
Charles Feldman, CNN, Los Angeles.
ZAHN: As you just saw, Charles Traisi of the Fund For Animals Wildlife Center joined the investigators today. And he is with us now from Ramona, California.
Good of you to join us.
I'll tell you, just what little we've seen right now probably is making most of us sick. Tell us a little bit more about what you saw when you got to this center.
TRAISI: There are hardly words in our language for me to describe the conditions we saw.
We, all of us, myself, my staff, Fish and Game personnel, animal control personnel, were appalled and literally shocked at the conditions we found. As we entered the compound, when the search warrant was served, the first thing we discovered was animal feces everywhere. You could not walk anywhere on the property without wallowing through animal feces, some fresh, some old.
We then began spotting carcasses, dead animals. Most of the dead animals were adult tigers in various stages of decomposition, some with a little bit of tissue attached, others just skeletal remains. Some of the dead tigers were tied with rope to the bumpers of abandoned cars, from their legs to abandoned cars.
The domestic animals that we saw were in very poor health. There were some animals with serious feet problems, to a point of where they could not walk at all. We did find the primary purpose of the search warrant, a 7-month-old tiger that was supposed to have been seized in November of last year, when this group behind me was seized, but that the Weinharts reported were deceased.
We had reason to believe that tiger was there, and we did find him. We also found another younger tiger staked to a chain on their patio. And the worst situation with the live tigers is when, in the house, with animal control personnel, we heard vocalizations from the crawlspace above the ceiling. Upon checking it out, we found a total of 13 newborn wildcats, nine newborn tigers and two newborn leopards.
We believe that, when the warrant was being served at the perimeter of the property, somebody in the residence, knowing that they had bred these tigers illegally, took these babies and literally threw them into the crawlspace up above the ceiling.
ZAHN: Tell us about what you found in some freezers on the property.
TRAISI: One freezer that I looked in, in the property contained 30, 40, maybe more, carcasses of dead tigers. These were small tigers, maybe a month old, anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month old. And the freezer was crammed full of these young bodies.
Previously, in November, during a similar seizure at the facility run by these people, there were other freezers there that also had numerous carcasses of baby tigers.
Also, in November, while at the facility, we saw older animals, not the young ones that were illegally bred, but older animals literally within hours away from death of malnutrition. They were not being fed.
ZAHN: Charles, do you find it surprising that there was a raid on this property in November and that you would see the extent of what you saw today and no one would have noticed that back in November?
TRAISI: Knowing the individuals, Mr. Weinhart and a woman working with him, no, I don't find it a bit surprising. They were cited in November for the illegal breeding of tigers. Their trial on those charges comes up in just a few weeks.
And yet, during the interim, they were breeding more tigers. They kept on breeding them. Old ones were dying and they were breeding new younger ones in order to satisfy the need for money. You see, the young tigers, the cubs, the little kittens, that's what the public wants to see. That's where the money is. That's the drive for them to keep breeding illegally. They let the older tigers that had no draw to the public die of starvation.
The young once were constantly generated. And the reason for so many young ones in the freezers is, these two people, to possibly bottle-feed in the proper manner this many newborn tigers is a physical impossibility. Most died. They were content to have just a few alive in order to exploit them for profit, bring them places, let people come and have their pictures taken holding a baby tiger for $20 for a Polaroid photograph. This was their standard procedure for raising money.
ZAHN: Well, Charles, we're going to have to leave it there tonight. And we are going to continue to follow this story. About all we can say about the spokesperson for the Tiger Rescue is that they think, when it came to the live cubs, that they -- quote -- "have done nothing wrong." And, as we mentioned, they have not been charged with animal cruelty yet in this case. But the Weinharts do face charges from this November (AUDIO GAP) just told us about.
Thanks for joining us tonight.
TRAISI: You're quite welcome.
ZAHN: We're going to move on to another story. Imagine being stuck on a ship in the middle of the sea. It's not moving. The FBI is coming on board. Now, here's the worst part. You don't know why.
The 1,600 passengers on Legend of the Seas will have their own legend to tell after their experience off of Hawaii.
Stephanie Lum of affiliate KHNL brings us the story.
STEPHANIE LUM, KHNL REPORTER (voice-over): The search began in the afternoon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your way with 06-POV. Over.
LUM: Dozens of the Coast Guard teams and other law enforcement agencies boarding the luxury cruise liner Legends of the Sea.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a positive control boarding, is what we call it, to just ensure that the right people or the master is in charge of the vessel, and it's not a terrorist or something.
LUM: An unexpected stop after two threatening letters turned up in the ship's restroom.
DAN DZWILEWSKI, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: It threatened the, again, no one specifically, but it threatened harm to passengers, the ship itself, the passengers and crew.
LUM: Passengers waited outside as bomb sniffing dogs searched their cabins, some unaware of the emergency on board.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we got to Hilo, they diverted us to Honolulu. And we've been on the ship all day and we were supposed to get off. And if there's a threat of an explosion, why would they keep us on the ship? You understand what I'm talking about? So we're all bewildered. We don't know what's going on.
LUM: But the safety of everyone on board is the FBI's main concern.
DZWILEWSKI: We'll be interviewing all passengers, crew.
LUM: And until the FBI says it's OK, the cruise liner won't be going anywhere.
ZAHN: We want to give you an update on the story since the report was filed. The Legend of the Seas was given the all-clear to leave and is back on its scheduled journey.
Still to come tonight: What happened to Scott Speicher, the pilot missing since the first Gulf War? Could new information help lead to his discovery.
But next: Prosecutors in Modesto consider whether to seek the death penalty against Scott Peterson for the alleged murders of his wife, Laci, and his unborn son.
We're going to debate that with two prominent attorneys, Mickey Sherman and Gloria Allred, when LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES continues.
ZAHN: Now on to the Laci Peterson case and the future of Scott Peterson, the husband and father-to-be who now stands accused. Last week, he was arrested on charges of murdering his wife and unborn son. He says he's not guilty. If convicted, should he get the death penalty?
Here's what the district attorney had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES BRAZELTON, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I think, in this case, I owe it to Laci, Connor, the community and especially the family -- they're the most important people here -- to seek the ultimate penalty in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Let's get some insight into this and talk a little bit more about what happens next.
Attorney Mickey Sherman joins us tonight from California.
MICKEY SHERMAN, ATTORNEY: Hi, Paula.
ZAHN: And Gloria Allred, a victims rights attorney from our Los Angeles bureau.
Good to see you again, Gloria.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: You too, Paula.
ZAHN: We introduced you last, so you get to start talking first.
If you were prosecuting this case, would you go for the death penalty?
ALLRED: Well, first, I would look at the standards I had used in other cases. And then, of course, I would do what the district attorney says that he is going to do, or that his committee of trial attorneys will do, which is talk with the family of the victims and determine what their wishes are, and then, of course, receive arguments from the defense as to why there should not be a death penalty.
And then, considering the nature of the crime that is alleged and the vulnerability of the victims -- that is, the one victim was pregnant, the other is a fetus -- I would say that, yes, I would seek the death penalty in this case.
ZAHN: And, Mickey, how much harder does that make a case for prosecutors, when they decide to go the death penalty route?
SHERMAN: I think it ratchets up their responsibility to the jury a little bit more.
It gives them a degree of difficulty in a case which they may not necessarily need. A jury is not going to so quickly convict somebody, even though they may think he's guilty, if they believe they're putting him to death, although the problem we have here is the community hatred here. And that was one of the things that just bothered me in that sound bite there, is that one of the responsibilities that the district attorney claims he has in deciding this issue is what he owes to the community. And I'm sorry. I don't see that. I think he owes to the community a responsibility to prosecute cases and make decisions based on what he thinks is right and not by what the mood and climate or the mob mentality may be of that community at that time.
ZAHN: But he's an elected official, Mickey.
He's an elected official, right, Gloria?
ALLRED: Yes, he is an elected official. And, of course, as most elected officials, they are sensitive to what is going to happen to them in the next election.
But the feelings of the community are not necessarily that of, as you term it, a mob, Mickey. And it may be that you just don't like the feelings of the community, which apparently are very supportive of Laci Peterson and the Rocha family and not particularly supportive of Scott Peterson. But I don't agree with you that, just because the death penalty is sought, that a jury might be less likely to convict, because, here in California, we have a two-phase proceeding, as we just saw in the van Dam case.
At the first phase, the jury will decide whether or not to convict on the charges of murder. And then, in the second phase, if they do convict, then they decide whether or not they are going to recommend the death penalty to the judge. And they may or may not recommend it, even though they have decided to convict.
SHERMAN: But don't you think there may be some jurors who may be against the death penalty, even though they may be death-penalty qualified when they're selected, who may not want to get to that second level, knowing that, if it gets that far, if there is a conviction, those jurors may feel a mandate to send this man to the death chamber?
ALLRED: Well, of course, if they're completely against the death penalty, then they should disclose that in the voir dire stage. And I think they should be disqualified from even sitting on jury.
SHERMAN: Yes, but they don't always do that. You know the jurors are not always honest.
ALLRED: Well, we like to think that the jurors will disclose that which is relevant to the case when asked. And, certainly, that would be a question they would be asked if in fact the DA decides to seek the death penalty. It's something that the DA has a right to know and, of course, the defense has a right to know.
ZAHN: Mickey, I don't want to read too much into what you're saying, but are you suggesting that you do not see any scenario under which Scott Peterson would get a fair trial here? SHERMAN: Not in Modesto, California. I think we're all kidding ourselves to think that he would, and try as they might. The community will want to give him a fair trial.
When I said the word mob, I think that was the appropriate term. We saw the pictures of the crowd -- and I'm not talking about the media -- some 300 people or so with the signs and the screaming and the hollering, when he was brought there.
It's only going to get worse. It's only going to get more intense. I think he has to be tried out of town, not that that is going to be any great bonus either. But I think Modesto is going to be a very difficult place for this man to get any semblance of a fair trial.
ZAHN: Well, let's talk about, Gloria, the timetable for a moment. And I guess, from everybody we've talked to out in Modesto, the belief is that this trial won't get under way for at least a year. And, at that point, a lot of folks out there think that some of the emotion might have died down here. Do you subscribe to that at all, Gloria?
ALLRED: It's very possible.
Of course, it's very likely that the defense will make a motion for a change of venue to move it elsewhere. Most such motions are not successful. This one might be. The argument that the trial won't take place probably for a year or two, maybe longer, is actually an argument that emotions may cool down somewhat. And then, in that atmosphere, it may be that Scott Peterson can get a fair trial and an impartial jury.
So that's an argument that most likely the district attorney would make. And he may make it successfully.
SHERMAN: I disagree.
Emotions do not cool in these situations. If anything, they ferment. If anything, we get madder and madder at people who are alleged to have committed these crimes. And it is going to be fueled between now and then by 100,000 stories, whether they're in print or on video or anyplace, about how evil Scott Peterson was. It is going to be in the tabloids. It is going to be in the "New York Times," the L.A. press, legitimate and non so-called legitimate media outlets.
We're going to be seeing a lot of Scott Peterson. It's not going to get better. It's going to get worse.
ZAHN: Gloria, I know attorneys don't love to talk about this, but can you tell us some of the focus group work that is done when both defense and prosecuting attorneys try to figure out how to approach a case?
ALLRED: Well, yes. In fact, there are consultants that consult with firms, first of all, in helping to choose a jury, if that advice is needed. Apparently, that took place, for example, in the case of People vs. O.J. Simpson.
But sometimes, they are consulted on other aspects of the case: how, for example, an attorney's presentation or argument may affect the jurors themselves, may emotionally turn them on or turn them off. So, there are many ways in which consultants are helpful. But I think, in general, especially experienced attorneys like to rely on their own instincts and their own experience.
ZAHN: Yes, well, that's what I wanted to give Mickey a chance to come clean here.
Mickey, to what extent have you ever relied on a focus group to determine what to do with a case?
SHERMAN: For better or worse, no. I happen to agree 100 percent with Gloria. People like me who have been practicing criminal law or any kind of law for a long time, trial attorneys, usually feel that we know better than them. And, again, that may not be the right thing. But, usually, we rely on our own gut instincts and past performance.
ZAHN: Mickey, you've never been wrong, have you?
SHERMAN: Yes, I've been wrong a couple of times.
ZAHN: Well, I know you've taken on some highly controversial cases that people are still talking about. And I'll guess they'll be second-guessing you for many years to come, as people do any time with one of these controversial cases.
Mickey Sherman, thanks so much.
Gloria Allred, good to see you as well.
ALLRED: Thank you. You, too.
ZAHN: Appreciate both of you spending some time with us tonight.
Coming up next: Could new clues found in Iraq help lead to the discovery of Scott Speicher, the pilot missing since the first Gulf War? We're going to talk to a United States senator who has been working with the Speicher family right after this.
ZAHN: There is renewed hope today that a U.S. Navy pilot once given up for dead might still be alive. These exclusive CNN pictures show what appear to be the initials MSS carved into a wall of an Iraqi prison once operated by Saddam Hussein's secret police.
Some say the initials may be a clue that Captain Michael Scott Speicher, shot down over Iraq during the first Gulf War, survived the crash. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida has been briefed on the investigation. He joins us now from Orlando.
Thank you very much for dropping by, Senator.
SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: Based on what you learned at your briefing, do you have reason to believe that Scott Speicher is still alive?
NELSON: Paula, over a number of briefings, I have reason to believe that he's alive and was alive, at least before the war. We don't have any recent information to know during the course of the last several weeks what has happened to him.
ZAHN: Tell us, though, about some of the older information that led you to this conclusion that he's still alive.
NELSON: There have been a couple of Iraqi defectors whose testimony has been corroborated that actually saw him.
There was one -- and this has been in the press -- there's one defector who actually was a sergeant of their special forces and drove him from the crash site to a hospital. It's been information like that, plus more recent information, that leads me to believe that he's alive.
ZAHN: You also believe that some of the group that has found itself on the most-wanted list also has information critical to finding him. How hopeful are you that they may unlock this mystery?
NELSON: Well, I'm hopeful. And the family here in Florida is especially hopeful. And, of course, you can imagine the living hell that they've been through for 12 years, first having been told that he was dead and now that a POW.
I think the way that we're going to find Scott Speicher, short of the unusual circumstance of just running accidentally into him, like we did the seven POWs that we recovered, is, we're going to go down the list of these 55 Iraqi leaders and, as we arrest them, like Tariq Aziz today, that we're going to get to that leader who had the specialized knowledge of those secret prisons and the high-profile, high-value prisoners such as Scott. And that's the way we're going to find out about the fate of Scott Speicher.
ZAHN: And finally tonight, Senator, is there anything else you can tell us about those initials found etched into the prison wall?
NELSON: No. I can't confirm or deny that, but you've obviously -- CNN has got the pictures of it. And I think that's just another little piece of evidence that gives us reason to have hope.
ZAHN: Well, I know that you have been following this story with great interest. And we thank you for sharing some of your information with us tonight.
NELSON: Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: Senator Bill Nelson.
Coming up next: New tapes found in the palace of Saddam Hussein's first wife show a different side of the Iraqi president: at home with his family.
LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES continues in just a moment.
ZAHN: Some breaking news out of Fort Worth, Texas, tonight: a big shake-up at American Airlines.
Let's turn to Greg Clarkin, who is on the ground in Fort Worth, Texas, with the very latest.
Good evening, Greg. What happened?
GREG CLARKIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula.
Well, this management blunder that we have heard an awful lot about on the part of Donald Carty, the CEO of American Airlines, parent company AMR, has cost Carty his job, the company just announcing that Donald Carty is out as CEO. He'll be replaced by the company's president, Gerard Arpey.
Now, Carty, if you recall, has been pressuring unions over the last couple of months to accept steep pay cuts, cutting back their vacation time, their holiday pay as well, saying that the company needed these concessions to stay out of bankruptcy court. Well, last week, no sooner did the unions agree to these concessions that it became known that Carty and some of his top executives had given themselves a bit of a package of perks, perks that included a trust fund to protect some of their pensions in the event of a bankruptcy, as well as some retention bonuses.
When the unions learned of that, they became outraged and they said confidence and trust in Carty was damaged beyond repair. So, today, sure enough, Carty is out as CEO of AMR. That's the parent of American, the world's largest airline.
One other topic still to be decided, bankruptcy, the company saying, if they don't get the flight attendants at this point to agree to a sweetened concession offer, that they will indeed file for bankruptcy -- Paula, back to you.
ZAHN: Thanks so much, Greg Clarkin confirming the fact that the chief executive of the world's largest airline has resigned, not a completely unexpected move, because several board members had talked about wanting him to leave.
We are going to move on to other material now. As we've been reporting, nobody seems to know for sure if Saddam Hussein is dead or alive. Whatever his fate, he left behind some videos, home videos, in fact.
Bruce Burkhardt has taken a look. And he says they show a very different side of the former Iraqi ruler.
BRUCE BURKHARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who is that nice man strolling with his wife? Yes, it's him, the cruel and ruthless Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, all warm and fuzzy, romantically strolling with his first wife, Sajida, on a snowy path, trendy leather coat and furry hat, gently kissing her goodbye, like a good husband, at the now famous Saddam Hussein International Airport, or in a well-tailored suit, shyly cutting a modest cake for his low- key 50th birthday, happily chatting with peasants behind the wheel of his white Mercedes, sun roof included.
No, this is not an episode of "Joe Dictator" or an Iraqi version of "The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." These are videotapes from the '80s found in a palace of Saddam Hussein's first wife, bizarre images, almost surreal, but a reminder that even brutal dictators have a private life. The faces of evil do have feelings.
Remember him? For years, he was said to be romantically involved with the blonde, fresh-faced and 23-years-younger Eva Braun. And what about the French emperor Napoleon, who was known to write inflamed love letters to his wife, Josephine, like this one: "I awake all filled with you. Your image and the intoxicating pleasures of last night allow my senses no rest."
Yet the video of an all smiley Saddam and a happy-looking Uday gently feeding his pets, pictures, fascinating as they may be, cannot erase the true image of their legacy.
Bruce Burkhardt, CNN, Atlanta.
ZAHN: And that wraps it up for us in this hour. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
Coming up in our next hour: the cost of dissent. Is there a price now being paid by those who opposed the war in Iraq? We're going to have that in our special report.
LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES continues after this break. Plus, we'll have the latest headlines for you.
ANNOUNCER: The cost of dissent, now that the war in Iraq is winding down, do those who opposed the war here and abroad face a backlash?
New SARS cases soar in China, prompting the closure and quarantine of a major hospital. And Toronto is up in arms after the World Health Organization warns travelers to avoid the city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they're doing this city and this country a disservice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: What do you need to know to protect yourself and family?
And, North Korea admits it's holding nuclear weapons and says it will prove it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We must not allow the Peninsula to become nuclear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: What will be Washington's next move?
LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES with Paula Zahn in New York.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome on a beautiful spring evening here in New York City. Glad to have you with us.
At this hour, a developing story. The man many saw as the public face of Saddam Hussein's deposed regime, Tariq Aziz, is now in U.S. custody. The news broke in our four o'clock hour. Over the next 30 minutes, we're going to take a look at that story, as well as the day's other big headlines, in the order in which they happened.
But first, let's focus on this developing story tonight.
Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz in custody. U.S. Central Command has not disclosed any details of his apprehension. But several U.S. officials have told CNN that Aziz, a close adviser to Saddam, surrendered. They say the process began yesterday and was completed this afternoon.
For more on what all of this might mean, we turn to Pentagon correspondent Chris Plante. He broke the story for us this afternoon -- good evening, Chris.
CHRIS PLANTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Paula.
That's right, Tariq Aziz, the public face and voice for Saddam Hussein for many years, the former deputy prime minister and former foreign minister, a senior member of Saddam Hussein's inner circle for a great period of time, now in U.S. custody in Baghdad. And as you said, a lot of details still not available at this hour, but this started this afternoon when there were rumors flying around the Pentagon hallways that a senior member of the regime may have been in custody. That rumor then narrowed to Tariq Aziz and finally we were able to find out that he had, in fact, turned himself in after sending an envoy to U.S. representatives in Baghdad yesterday to discuss the conditions, effectively, of his surrender to U.S. forces.
The U.S., according to someone that CNN's David Ensor spoke to, said we don't make any deals. That was their position, I am told, and they stuck to it. Nevertheless, Tariq Aziz did turn himself in to U.S. forces in Baghdad today, this afternoon Baghdad time, and is in U.S. custody.
It's hoped, of course, that as a member of the inner circle for such a long period of time that he'll be instrumental in leading the coalition to a number of their objectives, not the least of which is perhaps the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay. Other senior members of the Saddam Hussein regime and, of course, weapons of mass destruction.
While it's not thought that Tariq Aziz was directly involved with the programs involving weapons of mass destruction, he was certainly part of the in crowd in Baghdad for long enough where he should know quite literally, in some cases, where the bodies are buried and figuratively where some of the other bodies along the lines of the weapons of mass destruction are hidden.
It was theorized, at least, and there's some evidence to support that Iraqi forces were busily destroying weapons of mass destruction as coalition forces were on the march toward Baghdad. And it's not clear how much he will actually be able to help on that front. But certainly as a member of the inner circle, he should be able to provide good, important intelligence information -- Paula.
ZAHN: Finally, Chris, isn't it true, though, at the beginning of the war there was much speculation even by White House officials that possibly Aziz had been killed in that first decapitation attack?
PLANTE: It's true. And there were also reports that he had fled the country. And these reports were given some credibility here in the Pentagon and throughout Washington. It was thought that he, along with a number of other regime leaders, had fled Baghdad very early on in the conflict and had probably crossed the border into Syria, is what we were hearing.
Apparently not the case, unless he decided to come back, which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, and surrender himself to coalition forces in Baghdad. Had he left the country, he certainly could have turned himself in basically at any U.S. Embassy throughout the region, but he decided to do it in Baghdad. You can only conclude from that, I suppose, that he never left -- Paula.
ZAHN: That's probably a fairly good assumption there.
Chris Plante, thanks so much.
We're going to go straight to Baghdad right now, where Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is standing by -- good evening, Nic.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Paula.
Well, we've been talking to people here in Baghdad this evening. We're learning a couple of things. Number one, in a Christian neighborhood called Al Zayuna (ph), about three miles east of the center of Baghdad, we are told there was a lot of coalition force, a lot of U.S. troop activity there late in the afternoon, possibly -- and we don't know this. We certainly know that this a Christian, well known in Baghdad as a Christian neighborhood and we know that Tariq Aziz was a Christian -- possibly this was the area where Tariq Aziz was picked up late in the afternoon Baghdad time.
Also, people here in Baghdad now telling us that they hope that the apprehension of Tariq Aziz may lead to the U.S. forces being able to find Saddam Hussein. One of the big concerns for people here in Baghdad remains the fate of Saddam Hussein -- was he killed, was he injured, has he been captured, where is he? Their fear is that Saddam Hussein and elements of his regime may try and come back and grab power in Baghdad, reform the army and try and come back. That is a fear.
But certainly Aziz's apprehension may shed light onto those early reports early during the war, later in the war when U.S. forces were, believed that they were targeting Saddam Hussein, was he, in fact, injured at that time? What happened to him? Did he try and leave Baghdad at that time? Was he uninjured? Did he leave the war, did he leave Baghdad at the end of the war? Tariq Aziz may be able to provide some information on this.
However, there are people in Baghdad who believe that Aziz may have been recently at least, perhaps, on the outs with the regime. He was deputy prime minister. He did meet with many international officials who came to Baghdad. He was a sort of gate keeper. But he did not have the prominent role he had had in the regime when he was the foreign minister, when he would make many international trips. He did make some visits around the region here shortly before the war, but he perhaps didn't have the prominence, didn't have the influence, didn't have the direct connection with Saddam Hussein he had had before.
But certainly Aziz speaking just before the war gave absolutely no indication he would go for this path, that he would offer in the end to hand himself in. Indeed, he said he would rather die than go into prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARIQ AZIZ, IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: I am 67 years old. Do you expect me, after all my history as a militant and as an Iraqi, one of the Iraqi leaders, to go to an American prison, to go to Guantanamo? Hmmm? I would prefer to die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: So the question is what did it make -- what did make him cut a deal at this stage, Paula. And we just don't have more information on that at the moment.
ZAHN: And we hope in the days to come to find out more. Thanks so much, Nic Robertson.
Now, we turn to a man named Con Coughlin. He is the author of "Saddam: King of Terror" and the executive editor of the London "Sunday Telegraph."
He joins us live from London.
Good to see you again, Con.
What is your judgment about the significance of this?
CON COUGHLIN, "SADDAM KING OF TERROR": This is a big hit, Paula, undoubtedly. Tariq Aziz would not be surrendering to the American forces if he thought there was any life left at all in the regime. And as Nic Robertson said, Tariq Aziz has been distanced from Saddam's inner circle for some time.
But Tariq Aziz knows full well that if Saddam were still a power, then any act of treachery like this would be punished by death. So Tariq Aziz would not be surrendering, in my view, if he thought there was any life left in Saddam's regime. And so for the coalition forces, this is a really significant breakthrough.
ZAHN: So, let me ask you this, Con. As Chris just said from the Pentagon, the conditions of his surrender aren't very clear at this hour, but Pentagon officials are telling Chris that no deal was cut here.
Give us the back story here and what is your understanding from your sources of what led to this and what Tariq Aziz might be expected to deliver here?
COUGHLIN: Well, I must say that earlier I think Chris said that people at the Pentagon have said Tariq Aziz was dead, as people have said Saddam is dead. So there's a lot of spinning going on here. There's a lot of people trying to get a story out.
I think when people say no deal has been done, that is the official line. I suspect that a deal has been done and that the fact that Tariq Aziz sent intermediaries to American commanders and said, you know, is there a deal to be done here, well, of course, the official line is we don't do deals. But the coalition commanders, the Pentagon, Washington, everybody would love to know what Tariq Aziz has to say about the working of the regime and about Saddam's fate.
I personally don't think Tariq Aziz knows what has happened to Saddam. What Tariq Aziz has recognized is that Saddam's regime is finished, and that is the really significant thing that's happening this evening.
ZAHN: Yes, but I think most of us figured that out a while ago during this war.
COUGHLIN: Well... ZAHN: And we've been told repeatedly by the United States administration that the regime was over. But, Con, let me ask you this. If, in fact, Tariq Aziz has not been a part of the inner circle for a chunk of time now, realistically how valuable will his information be? You know, whether you just said whether he leads to Saddam Hussein or not, what is it that he's got?
COUGHLIN: Well, Tariq Aziz knows how the regime works. I mean the key thing about Tariq Aziz, apart from the fact he's the only Christian in Saddam's inner circle, the key thing about Tariq Aziz is he never had executive authority. He never made the calls, the shots. But the, Tariq Aziz will know how the regime works in imitate detail. And that knowledge will be very, very important to coalition commanders, to the American people, particularly if we want to find out, as I said, where is Saddam, what's happened to Saddam, and also, the other big issue, what's happened to the weapons of mass destruction?
ZAHN: Well, so you raise some very good questions and we are delighted that you were willing enough to join us in the wee hours of the morning London time to be with us.
COUGHLIN: My pleasure, Paula.
ZAHN: As always, Con Coughlin.
COUGHLIN: See you.
ZAHN: We always appreciate your perspective.
We're going to start the day's time line right after this short break. Among the highlights, in the 11 o'clock hour, a story with legs and teeth and even music.
Stay with us for a look inside the very bizarre world of Saddam Hussein's family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD BOUCHER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: One has to wonder why North Korea pursued a course that makes it impossible to achieve any benefits from its contacts with the outside world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And during the noon hour, we hear of North Korea's confirmation of something the U.S. has suspected for a long time.
ZAHN: Today's time line of key developments began at 6:00 a.m. Eastern with a rare peek into the private life of a ruthless dictator. Four home videos obtained earlier this week by CNN showing fleeting glimpses into the private lives of Saddam Hussein and his first wife, Sajida. This video shows the couple in Iraq's snow covered Dohaq (ph) area back in 1989. Now, another shows Saddam at a party for his 50th birthday in 1987. Later in the day, Iraqi television viewers caught another rare sight, Uday, the lion tamer. We're going to see that in a moment. We're going to give you a look at the bizarre videotape featuring his son, Saddam Hussein's son, a little bit later on.
At around 8:00 a.m., a deadly shooting in Pennsylvania. It happened in a packed cafeteria at Red Lion Area Junior High. Police say a 14-year-old student armed with three handguns shot and killed the school's principal then killed himself. No one else, fortunately, was harmed. A motive has not yet been determined.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard this loud bang and I looked at the principal and he was laying on the ground with his hands on his chest. So everybody ran out and when I was running I heard another gunshot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And back to Saddam Hussein. We already showed you some of the home videotapes that CNN obtained earlier this week. During the 11 o'clock hour today, we got our first look at some of the more interesting scenes from those tapes. Catch this one of Saddam Hussein's son Uday feeding the pet lions at his personal zoo behind one of Baghdad's palaces.
At noon Eastern time, CNN reported one of the most important stories of the day. According to U.S. sources, during negotiations in Beijing, North Korea finally declared what the U.S. has long suspected. The North Koreans have the bomb, a nuclear weapon.
Here is State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel.
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here inside China's leadership compound, U.S. administration sources say, North Korea's representative, Li Gun (ph), told Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly that Pyongyang has a nuclear bomb and would prove it has the weapon soon. North Korea wants security assurances from the United States that it won't attack. But Secretary of State Powell says the U.S. will not succumb to blackmail.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: They should not leave this series of discussions that have been held in Beijing with the slightest impression that the United States and its partners and the nations in the region will be intimidated by bellicose statements or by threats.
KOPPEL: The U.S. intelligence community had suspected for years North Korea had at least one nuclear weapon, something the North had so far refused to confirm. Li Gun also told Kelly that Pyongyang can't dismantle this weapon. He said that whether or not there is a "physical demonstration to prove this nuclear weapon exists" was up to the United States. Though some administration officials are viewing this comment as a veiled threat by Pyongyang to test its nukes, other officials say it could be a bluff, typical North Korean brinkmanship to force the U.S. to grant concessions.
BOUCHER: They said a lot of things that require careful analysis before anybody jumps out and makes grand pronouncements on it means this and it means that.
KOPPEL: Now, the most recent example of this, your viewers may remember, Paula, was last Friday when North Korea issued a statement in English in which it said that it was almost done reprocessing those 8,000 nuclear fuel rods, which could be used to make a bomb. The U.S. then went back, did its own translation from Korean into English, and they said actually it was just the opposite, that North Korea had finished the stages leading up to the beginning of reprocessing. Obviously a very different translation.
And as you can imagine, there is already a debate under way here in Washington about what, in fact, North Korea said in Beijing this week and they will be parsing every word in coming days -- Paula.
ZAHN: Andrea Koppel, thanks so much.
We're going to take a quick break here. We're going to pick up our time line at the 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. You're not going to need a mask to watch, but due to a scare in Toronto, Canada, they have become one of the most popular items of apparel and there is no guarantee that they won't be in your hometown whether they work or not.
ZAHN: The latest numbers from the World Health Organization tell us that 4,439 people have come down with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, SARS. Two hundred and sixty-three people have died. But there is no precise way to measure the anxiety and uncertainty caused by the SARS outbreak.
At 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, Canadian health officials met with reporters to talk about SARS in one of their most popular tourist destinations.
Here's Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Toronto, the city with the world's tallest structure, clean streets and now SARS. The World Health Organization has issued an advisory warning against all non-essential travel. Canadian officials are outraged and filed a formal letter of protest Thursday, saying the WHO used outdated and in correct information.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a mystery that they came to the conclusion they did with the information that was available.
DR. DON LOW, MOUNT SINAI HOSPITAL, TORONTO, ONTARIO: I mean this is the WHO and if they're setting the standards for the world and this is how they do it, this is a bad message to send.
CARROLL: The WHO issued the travel advisory after it determined SARS was continuing to spread. Canada says there are 136 probable cases in this city of 4.2 million, yet the WHO has marked it as a threat to international travel, making Toronto the only destination outside China under such a strong advisory.
KLAUS STOHR, SPOKESMAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Only a small number of cases has been exported from Toronto, for instance, to the Philippines, as well as to Australia. Now, the outbreak in Toronto began also with one case, one case which was exported from another country to Toronto and there are now more than 100 people affected.
CARROLL: Despite the advisory, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control say they aren't ready to discourage Toronto travel.
DR. JULIE GERBERDING, DIRECTOR, U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASES CONTROL: Our understanding of the information we have available right now is that U.S. citizens traveling to Canada are not at risk for SARS if they stay out of hospitals.
CARROLL: Economists say the outbreak could cost Canada $30 million a day. The tourism industry hit especially hard.
ROD SEILING, GREATER TORONTO HOTEL ASSOCIATION: It's like a snowball rolling down the hill at you. And what we need to do is be able to reverse that snowball.
CARROLL: Hotel bookings are at their lowest level since September 11. Even major league baseball is reacting. Attendance is still strong, but players have been warned not to sign autographs and at least one Kansas City Royals player has suggested a series scheduled to start Friday be moved to his team's home field.
(on camera): An opinion like that not good for a city named by the Huron Indians Toronto, their word for meeting place.
Jason Carroll, CNN, Toronto.
ZAHN: And during the past hour, there was important news for all of you air travelers out there. American Airlines CEO Donald Carty resigned. It is the latest development in a day of moves to keep his airline out of bankruptcy. Union negotiators had lost faith in Carty because he had strong-armed the rank and file into accepting steep pay cuts while at the same time approving fat bonuses for American's top executives.
Gerard Arpey, the company's chief operating officer, will replace Carty as chief executive. Earlier today, union and management negotiators agreed on a new package of concessions to keep American flying.
We're going to take a quick break and we'll have check of the headlines. Then, is France still feeling the heat for its opposition to the war in Iraq? And what about those celebrities who spoke out against military action? Did it actually help their careers?
ANNOUNCER: Today in the headlines: the cost of dissent.
ZAHN: And welcome back. The fact that America was founded by dissenters with help from the French is just one of the ironies at work as we try to tote up the cost of dissent.
But as we see in this report from senior political analyst Bill Schneider, there are other ironies here. And you might be surprised at just who is and isn't paying the cost for dissent.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): France, the Dixie Chicks, the United Nations, none of them supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq. So now they are in big trouble, right? Maybe not.
Anti-war entertainers would seem to have the most at risk. After the Dixie Chicks lead singer said she was ashamed that President Bush was from Texas, there was a rash of boycotts and protests. And then what happened? Their album went back to No. 1 on the charts. After filmmaker Michael Moore made a spectacle of himself at the Oscars, his book went back to the top of the "New York Times" best-seller lists.
Reverse backlash: People who agreed with them rushed to their support. But isn't dissent a career-killer for the less famous?
JANEANE GAROFALO, ACTRESS: Catastrophe is almost certainly going to be the outcome of this war.
SCHNEIDER: For her, it was publicity. "Now I'm almost famous," Garofalo told "The Washington Post." Surely, France will have to pay a price. Just ask the secretary of state.
QUESTION: Are there consequences for standing up to the United States like that?
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes.
SCHNEIDER: The White House is talking about cutting France out of some NATO decisions, downgrading France's status at international conferences. But the U.S. does not want to take the war of insults too far.
RICHARD BOUCHER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Certainly, France fundamentally remains an ally.
SCHNEIDER: It doesn't want to make France the leader of an anti- American coalition.
And what is to become of the United Nations? Will it no longer cast a fateful vote on issues of war and peace? Think of this way: How often in the past has the U.N. cast a fateful vote on issues of war and peace? Answer? Twice. Once in 1950, on the Korean War, and once in 1990, on the first Gulf War. The Vietnam War, the Six-Day War in the Middle East, the bombing campaign in Kosovo, to name a few, none of them had U.N. endorsement.
SCHNEIDER: Countries have always ignored the U.N. when it was in their interests to do so. But the United States cannot fight a global war on terrorism without the cooperation of other countries. And you know what? Those other countries remain committed to the U.N. -- Paula.
ZAHN: So how much angst do you think France will continue to cause the Bush administration?
SCHNEIDER: Well, they are trying to drive us crazy. The United States wants to drop all the sanctions on Iraq by the United Nations. France says it's willing to drop those sanctions permanently only after U.N. inspectors confirm that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.
So, they are saying, where are those weapons you kept talking about, Monsieur Bush?
ZAHN: And do you ever see those U.N. inspectors getting the chance to go back in there and makes these finds they're talking about?
SCHNEIDER: Not any time soon. The United States said, well, we don't need U.N. inspectors. We have our own inspectors. And they'll just get in the way.
ZAHN: Bill Schneider, thanks so much.
The Bush administration reportedly has a new item on its to-do list: punishing France. Why? Well, as Bill just mentioned, France lobbied hard to block U.N. approval of war with Iraq. Secretary of State Colin Powell said openly this week that France would face consequences. And White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer later emphasized the secretary's point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He was direct and honest. He said, yes, that, indeed, relations between our countries have been strained. And that is no secret to anybody. I think the real surprise or news would have been if he said, no, no consequences, in other words, pretending everything is hunky-dory between the United States and France.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ZAHN: So, should the U.S. make France pay for disagreeing or would that be, well, un-American?
Well, joining us now is Mort Zuckerman, editor in chief of "U.S. News & World Report" and publisher of "The New York Daily News."
Nice to see you.
MORT ZUCKERMAN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": Nice to be here.
ZAHN: And joining us from Washington tonight: radio talk show host Victoria Jones.
Welcome to you as well.
VICTORIA JONES, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Thank you.
ZAHN: So let's start off with the point of Bill Schneider's piece. It sounds as though the administration is prepared to punish France. Is it warranted?
ZUCKERMAN: Oh, I think it is definitely warranted.
France not only disagreed with the United States, which is one definition of dissent, but they actively worked to oppose our most vital interests. They were deliberately spending an enormous amount of time, money and political capital in order to try and defeat our very most central objectives at the U.N. Security Council. And for that, I think they will and should pay a price.
We have to make it clear to allies of the United States that, when we have central issues dealing with our most important national security matters, that, if they oppose it, there will be a price. This is going to a message that must be known.
ZAHN: Victoria, if you were running the place, what would do you about France?
JONES: Well, this is really sad, the idea that, if the allies don't agree with us, that we're going to punish them? We're talking about sovereign nations whom we respect, presumably.
Why would we want to punish people who disagree with us? That doesn't make any sense to me. Because we are the superpower, because we did the win the war, we don't need to do it. And our national interest is not always somebody else's national interest. Now, in this case, I think it was in everybody's national interest and international interest. So I think the French screwed up.
However, they can, if they want to. They are a sovereign nation.
ZAHN: Mort? ZUCKERMAN: Oh, I don't disagree that they are a sovereign nation. They are entitled to do what they want. Good luck to them. So are we. They would have spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars to try and persuade other U.N. nations to vote against us. And this would have cost us a great deal of money and a great deal of political value.
JONES: But it didn't happen.
ZUCKERMAN: Excuse. Let me just finish.
I think we're perfectly entitled to say to them, you do what you want, but we'll do what we want. We're not going to go out of our way to try and help you get involved, for example, in Iraq. That they had the nerve after the war was over to basically say that they were going to veto any effort for the United States to be involved in post-war Iraq is just an example of how far they are willing to go to block us.
So I have no reservation whatever in saying to them, since they have had a long-term economic interest in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, that you got whatever you got out of it, and now we're going to make sure you don't get anything more out of it.
ZAHN: So, Victoria, let me ask you this. Did you have any problem with France coming out now and basically saying it wants a chunk of the post-war action in Iraq?
JONES: Well, I would expect them to say so, because they had a chunk of the prewar action in Iraq. But they are not going to get it. It's just not going to happen, whether they bid or whether they don't bid. And the bidding needs to be open and not secret, as it has been so far, with Halliburton and Bechtel winning the spoils, if you like.
The point of this is, yes, we can punish people. But the other piece of it is, why are we so vindictive? Why do we care? Why do we feel we that have to punish? We don't need to do that. We are bigger than that. We are not a childish people. We are mature. We are serious. And we won. We don't need to.
ZUCKERMAN: Well, there will be many other incidents and events in which we are going to have to make sure that, as best we can, we have our allies with us.
And for those allies who don't want to be with us, it seems to me, we're perfectly entitled to say, there is going to be a price for that. In 1960s, de Gaulle insisted that American forces leave France. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, at that point, was sent to de Gaulle by President Johnson and said: We will have the 200,000 American troops out of France. Would you also like the American forces buried at Normandy?
This is something that goes beyond just a specific incident. We have got that know that, when we have friends, that we can rely upon them. I'm not arguing about their willingness to dissent.
(CROSSTALK) JONES: We cannot just go around punishing allies if they don't agree with us.
ZUCKERMAN: It's not a question of just disagreeing with us.
JONES: But that's what you said.
ZUCKERMAN: No, what I said was...
JONES: You just said that. You talked about our allies and not just France. If they don't agree with us, we need to use diplomacy. That's the whole point of the State Department. Work with them and bring them around if we possibly can. That's the point.
ZAHN: That leads me to my next question. You have heard Tony Blair talk so much about the importance of American and Europe not being at odds with each other. Is there a point at which this could become counterproductive?
ZUCKERMAN: Of course. There is always a point at which it could become counterproductive.
It would also, in my judgment, be counterproductive if a country like France can do us great harm and then get away scot-free. They have to know that there is going to be a price for this. We are the country being asked to deal with crises all over the world, in India and Pakistan, in North Korea now. We have got to know that there are people who are going to stand with us when we do this.
We're the ones paying the money, putting our soldiers in harm's way, taking the political risks involved in this thing. We have to know who our allies. Are we are going to support our allies. And we are not going to support those people who work actively against us and increase both the political cost and the military cost of us trying to do things that everybody in the world wants us to do, or almost everybody in world.
ZAHN: Victoria, finally, tonight, how would you characterize the level of France being allied with the United States at this juncture? Would you call them an ally?
JONES: Yes, we should and I think we have to call them an ally, because, on this, they opposed us. And on this, I think they acted really badly.
But they have been actively involved with us in supporting us on the war against terrorism. They have been staunch allies on that. They are staunch allies when it comes to international law enforcement, which is a really important issue which we don't talk about very much. So, they are our allies. They're not on this. We need to get through it and get over it and move on. And we need to be adult about this, because that's what we are. We are the superpower. We don't need to punish. Just the very threat of it is enough.
ZAHN: Mort, you get last word. And I can give you about 10 seconds. And I got the clock really ticking here.
ZUCKERMAN: The way the world works, I'm afraid that's just a naive way of looking at it. We've got to make sure that people know that they have to be with us when we need them to be with us on issues of our supreme security. And when they don't, they are going to have to pay a price.
ZAHN: Boy, you can take a cue. You were about a half-second over there. Mort Zuckerman, thank you again for your insights.
Victoria Jones, yours as well.
JONES: Thank you.
ZAHN: I think we all learned a lot listening to both of you.
When we come back: Some celebrities spoke out against the war and the Bush administration. How steep was that cost, if there was ever any at all?
ZAHN: Might be familiar voices to you, the Dixie Chicks, some of the celebrities who spoke out against the war in Iraq. But did they pay a price?
Well, Sean Penn claimed his career suffered. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins were uninvited from events. On the other hand, Janeane Garofalo says she is getting more offers than ever. And Michael Moore's book sales are up. And the Dixie Chicks, well, their album was No. 1 on last week's Billboard country charts after taking a dip the week before.
Actor Ed Asner spoke out against the war. And he has had a long history of political activism. And he joins us from Los Angeles.
ED ASNER, ACTOR: Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: So, Ed, let's go beyond talking about the backlash against these celebrities and talk about the point at which it affects them financially. Do you think that will make celebrities in the future think twice about taking on a controversial subject?
ASNER: Oh, always.
Any time a blacklist or an outcry against performers takes place, it affects hundreds, if not thousands of other performers, who feel that their pocketbooks will be affected. So it's automatically a cutback in public utterance by performers, at least those who are the slightest timid.
ZAHN: Are you surprised by what we've seen happen to the Dixie Chicks? At first, we saw C.D.s being crushed by bulldozers. And now their album is at the top of the charts a week or so or a little bit more after the controversy.
ASNER: I'm delighted to see it. I was surprised that the reverse occurred so quickly and very pleased with it.
I think that one of the reasons for it is that the war ended so quickly. And it's very difficult to keep up the hullabaloo about being traitors when there is no war going on. So now, when we speak out about the ill-advised policies of this government, it's about the way we're losing the peace and not the war. And that's a harder thing to attack.
ZAHN: Are you able, though, to separate the politics of this from what happened to us as a nation on September 11, 2001? That changed everything. Is that part of the reason why we're seeing the reaction we've seen with the Dixie Chicks?
ASNER: Well, I'm afraid that America, having been so protected and so shielded lo these many years, 200 and some years, that when an accident, an act of terrorism, takes place, killing 3,000 people, that the sky has fallen in on the populace. Fear reigns supreme, because it's never happened before.
And this government took advantage of that fear. And for the two years since, or close to two years, it has run roughshod, both over the civil liberties. It launched a war over this based on nothing. Weapons of mass destruction have yet to be produced. The two criminals, the two main criminals, have yet to be produced, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, at this point. And in the meantime, two countries lie in ruins. Not one penny went to Afghanistan in the latest budget of foreign aid.
ZAHN: Let's come back to the issue, though, of how this affects what celebrities might do in the future.
There's obviously -- if you look at any of these polls, there's a heightened sense of patriotism now. People feel that, as you know, during this war, as short as it was, that it was un-American to speak out publicly against the war, even though some of those celebrities professed to have support for the troops. You understand why so many Americans were offended, don't you?
ASNER: Well, once again, that deals with the fear.
I think it was exactly correct to speak out against the war, because it was a wrong war. It was an unwise war. It was an unfair war. It was an unpopular war throughout the world. So, when are we to speak out? When is -- if our country is doing wrong, when are we to speak up? If we are in a democracy and that democracy is behaving like a superpower dictatorship, when are we to speak up? After it's too late?
ZAHN: Have you have ever lost a job because of your political views?
ZAHN: And how much did it hurt you financially?
ASNER: Very much. Very much.
ZAHN: But it hasn't stopped you from moving on, has it?
ASNER: No. The honor -- as the old saying goes, of the guy being ridden out of town on a rail, if it weren't for the honor, he'd rather have walked. But the honor was great. And the cause that I lost the jobs for was one that dignified me immensely.
ZAHN: Well, we have to leave it there on that note.
Ed Asner, thanks for spending some time with us this evening. Appreciate your dropping by.
ASNER: Thank you for having me.
ZAHN: Coming up: Will the United Nations pay a price for not supporting the war, or does the U.S. need U.N. support now more than ever?
We're going to continue the conversation. Stay with us.
ZAHN: The Bush administration said one reason to use war to enforce U.N. Resolution 1441 was to bolster U.N. credibility. But the U.S. has been balking at most of the suggestions so far for the U.N.'s role in post-war Iraq. The U.S. won the war in Iraq without U.N. help, after all. So will the U.N. now pay a price for that?
Michael Okwu joins us from the U.N. to bring us up to speed on this vital relationship.
Good morning, Michael -- morning. Excuse me.
That is such a habit after 14 years of morning television.
Good evening, Michael.
MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening to you, Paula.
Well, to answer your question there, in the long term, tough question. In the short term, certainly, the answer has to be yes, particularly if you look at the role of U.N. weapons inspectors. Now, for quite some time, Security Council diplomats, particularly countries like France and Russia, have been wanting to get the weapons inspectors back into the country as soon as possible to verify Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
In fact, countries like France and Russia had said that this would be a precondition to lifting sanctions. But, clearly, the United States has other ideas, Paula. The fact is, the U.S. ambassador, John Negroponte, came forward in front of the Security Council and essentially told diplomats that he had his own weapons inspectors on the ground, the U.S., that is, and that they had no intention right now of pulling those inspectors away. So, if this is a prizefight, round one goes to the United States.
ZAHN: And what can you tell us about this Russian draft proposal that's getting a lot of attention over there?
OKWU: Well, the Russians came forward with a draft resolution that would essentially put the control, at least in an interim way, of the Iraq oil industry into the hands of the secretary-general.
That would mean that he would be in the power to sell oil, to make contracts with bidders who might want to upgrade the oil infrastructure. One Security Council diplomat said simply that this is not a role that the secretary-general necessarily wants to have, but somebody has to have initial control of the industry. Britain's reaction to all of this, of course, was, this is a nonstarter. The U.S. reaction: At some point, we are going come forward with our own proposal -- Paula.
ZAHN: Michael Okwu, thanks for the update.
And joining us now: Shashi Tharoor, U.N. undersecretary-general for communications and public information.
The U.S. is likely to not be in favor, one would think, of this Russian proposal. Where do you see it going?
SHASHI THAROOR, U.N. UNDERSECRETARY-GENERAL FOR COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION: Well, it's one way of approaching the real problem that everyone has, which is that, in the absence a legally recognized government of Iraq, who gets to sell Iraq's oil? Will buyers and shippers contract to buy oil if they are not sure who has legal title to it? Would they be worried that somebody else might sue them, saying it is actually theirs, and so on?
There is a structural problem we have, which is that Iraq is a country without a recognized government. And unless we find a solution -- and I'm not saying the Russian solution is the only good one. Others formulae could well be thought about. But unless we find a solution, we have a real stalemate there.
ZAHN: Let's move on to the future of the U.N. Some would say that one of the casualties of the war has been the U.N. and its inability to implement any of these resolutions against Iraq, it has lost its credibility, it has lost its relevance.
THAROOR: Not true.
First of all, most of the resolutions on Iraq were in fact implemented. What we didn't have implemented were the inspections for a four-year period from December '98. ZAHN: But isn't the enforcement of those resolutions pretty critical?
THAROOR: That is extremely important, but these resolutions are not self-executing. You need a government like the U.S. to come forward and say, we're prepared to expend the blood and treasure to implement these resolutions. And then you need the rest of the council to agree.
What we didn't, unfortunately, after 1441, which you mentioned, which threatened the serious consequences on Iraq, was that level of agreement in the council as to how to impose those serious consequences. But if I may say something else, Paula, the credibility of the United Nations doesn't rest or fall on any one issue.
Iraq is just one thing on a vast agenda. And we have so many problems around the world that the U.N. is indispensable to dealing with.
ZAHN: That is true. But because of this war and the debate leading up to it, Americans are very upset about this. And there are those who feel that Kofi Annan, your boss, should have done more to push for the disarmament of Iraq. Do you understand why some people are let down?
THAROOR: We do understand why some people feel that.
Don't forget that Kofi Annan speaks for the organization, but the 15 member states on the Security Council get to make decisions as governments about the implementation of resolutions requiring the use of force. That's not his job, unfortunately. He's better at making peace. That's something he has a mandate to do. When it comes to using force, the Security Council decides.
But I do want to add, though, that just as he's been criticized by some in this country for not having done enough to push the U.S. cause on this issue, he's been criticized in other parts of the world for not having been able to prevent the U.S. going to war without a council authorization.
ZAHN: I can only give you 20 seconds for this, the moral legitimacy question. You got a lot of people out there: How can you defend an organization that has Libya chairing the Human Rights Commission and had Iraq chairing the Disarmament Commission?
THAROOR: Well, Iraq didn't chair the Disarmament Commission, as it happens. Libya does, but that's a different procedure, where in fact chairmanship does not actually involve getting into the nitty- gritty about exactly what human rights resolutions are adopted. It's a procedural role.
But U.N.'s legitimacy comes from its universality, the fact that everybody, every country on Earth belongs to it. Look, we're not perfect. But as a former secretary, Dag Hammarskjold, said, the U.N. was not invented to save mankind from hell -- I beg your pardon. It wasn't invented to take mankind into paradise, but rather to save humanity from hell. That's the best we can do.
We can prevent the worst when we get everybody involved in trying to work towards the common aspirations of all nations around the world.
ZAHN: Shashi Tharoor, thank you very much for dropping by.
We have got to wrap up the broadcast right now. Thank you all for joining us tonight. Stay tuned for "LARRY KING LIVE." He's coming up right after this short break.
Again, thanks for joining us. Good night
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