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Child Pornography Victim Shares Story on Capitol Hill; Interview with Madeleine Albright

Aired May 4, 2006 - 08:30   ET


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Chilling testimony from a girl. She's just 13 years old, sexually abused for years by her adoptive father, speaking out to stop Internet predators.
Tough talk from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She's talking about the war on terror and how the Bush administration is fighting it.

And mama's rules. Preacher T.D. Jakes, talking about the woman who shaped the person he is today and the lessons we can all learn from our own mothers.

Welcome back, everybody. I'm Soledad O'Brien.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Miles O'Brien. We're glad you're with us this morning. It was a spell-binding, terrifying hearing on Capitol Hill. A young Russian girl who thought she was headed to a better life instead became the victim of her pedophile adopted father. Just one small story that is part of the scourge of Internet pornography.

Here is CNN's Andrea Koppel.


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Masha Allen was just five when a divorced businessman from Pittsburgh adopted her from a Russian orphanage. The first night in her new home, he made her sleep in his bed.

MASHA ALLEN, CHILD PORN VICTIM: At first I thought it might be normal because, you know, some little kids sleep with their parents. But then after the first night, I figured out that there was something wrong because he tried to touch me or something.

KOPPEL: Her adoptive father was a pedophile, and in testimony Wednesday before a House committee, a shy yet stoic Masha, now 13, described her five years of hell.

ALLEN: He molested me all the time. He made me dress up in adult's clothes and even pretended to marry me. Sometimes he kept me chained in the basement.

KOPPEL: Other witnesses spoke of international adoption agencies that operated without sufficient legal oversight.

MAUREEN FLATLEY, ADOPTION LOBBYIST: The process that went on in Masha's adoption was actually typical.


FLATLEY: So it begs the question in our minds, how many other Mashas are there out there? The fact is, no one knows. But the fact is, we are quite certain that there are.

KOPPEL: Now two years after Matthew Mancuso, her adoptive father, was jailed, Masha is speaking out, angered by the countless pornographic pictures of her, which she now knows he sold or traded on the Internet .

ALLEN: Because Matthew put my pictures are on the Internet, the abuse is still going on. Anyone could see them. People are still downloading them.

KOPPEL (on camera): Masha and her supporters are urging Congress to back new legislation called Masha's Law, raising the civil penalties for anyone who downloads child pornography. Masha says under current law, the penalties for illegally downloading a song are three times tougher than for someone who downloads a picture from her years of torment.

Andrea Koppel, CNN, Capitol Hill.


S. O'BRIEN: That's a terrible story.

Happening this morning in America, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security is set to appear in court. He's accused of being an online sexual predator. Brian Doyle will officially hear the charges against him today, and then bond's going to be set.

There's something growing inside of Mount St. Helen's, the volcano in Washington state. It's called a fin. It's about as high as a football field is long. The slab of rock gains about six feet every day and then crumbles back to size. Apparently, it's the result of a lava surge.

And you've heard of looking for a needle in a haystack. Well, how about looking for diamonds in eight tons of garbage? A couple in Tucson, Arizona, accidentally threw away four heirloom diamond rings that were just wrapped in a paper towel. If that was what they were trying to go through right there, it took them only three hours. They narrowed down the piles by finding their own address on some of the junk mail. Kind of gross to have to do, but worth it, I guess.

You can get free gas for a year in Modesto, California. You have to be willing, though, to tow the company line. A local Kia dealer is running the special. Buy a Kia, you get free gas for the year as long as the car is covered in the company's name. Kia, Kia, Kia, as you can see right there.

M. O'BRIEN: And I believe it's Curt Hughes! Curt Hughes. What do you think? S. O'BRIEN: Three of those -- three -- I think three dozen of those cars have been sold. So it's working.

M. O'BRIEN: Sure, I'd do it.

S. O'BRIEN: I'd do it, too. Why not?

M. O'BRIEN: I got a little space in my suit here, Curt, if he wants to hook me up.

S. O'BRIEN: I have room on my forehead for advertisement if you need to.

M. O'BRIEN: It will be like stock car driving.



M. O'BRIEN: Well, you know what your mother said about talking about politics and religion. Not a good idea in good company. But they are at the heart of a new book by the former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. It is entitled "The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs." And Madeleine Albright joins me now.

Madame Secretary, good to have you with us.


M. O'BRIEN: First of all, one of the important themes of this book is your feeling about how the Iraq situation has played out. And you say this: "The invasion of Iraq and its aftermath may eventually rank among the worst foreign policy disasters in U.S. history." You don't even couch the statement. It's that bad.

ALBRIGHT: I am very troubled by it, because there are so many immediate consequences and then the unintended consequences. First of all, I never believed that there was a connection between Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. But clearly now Iraq has become a major recruiting ground for everybody who hates us. Then there is the real question about what this has done to America's authority -- our moral authority as a result of what happened in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, and it has damaged us in terms of what we can do in other parts of the world.

Then I think the biggest unintended consequence is that all of a sudden, Iran is the one that has gained incredible influence in the region. And finally, it has put real question about American power. How do we use it? What are the messages that we're sending with it? So I think Iraq is a mess. That's a diplomatic term of art. And I am very worried about the intended and unintended consequences.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's talk about the use of American power, what lies behind the foreign policy. I have a brief quote I want to share with you from the president. Let's listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of Democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.


M. O'BRIEN: You say that's not much more than rhetoric. Why?

ALBRIGHT: Well, because I think that to promise the kinds of things and -- or threaten the kinds of things that the president says is not a way to make policy. I think that we have to understand what the role of the United States really is. And I happen to believe in the importance of America. But you have to figure out what is doable and what is not doable. And some of the statements he makes are over the top, in terms of their promises that they reach. And we don't have the tools to accomplish what he's talking about.

M. O'BRIEN: Continuing your criticism of the Bush administration, you write this: "The difficulty, of course, is not that the Bush administration has sought to exercise leadership on moral grounds. The problem is that its rhetoric has come close to justifying U.S. policy in explicitly religious terms, and that this is like waving a red flag in front of a bull." What do you mean by that? Because presidents historically have -- from George Washington on, have invoked God one way or another in the course of their duties.

ALBRIGHT: Well, there's no question. And that's been very interesting, also. I actually thought that George Bush was a complete anomaly. He's not. As you point out, all American presidents have, in some way, invoked God.

The difference is that President Bush is so certain about what God is telling him. And also making it clear that God is on America's side, so that if you pick a fight with us, you're picking a fight with God. After 9/11, I think he really was great in terms of unifying the country, and the world was with us.

But when you begin to say that in order to be with us you have to be for what we did in Iraq, or you have to agree with the way we are using American power, then we make the number of supporters much narrower, and picking a fight with God. So that's what troubles me.

M. O'BRIEN: Madeleine Albright, thanks for your time.

ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much, Miles.


S. O'BRIEN: What an interesting book. Andy Serwer is "Minding Your Business" just ahead. What are you working on for us?

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Well, you know, we told you we were going to tell you about the forever stamp yesterday, and we didn't get to it. So we're going to do that today. And a Picasso sells for many, many tens of millions of dollars. You won't believe how much. We'll tell you, coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.



M. O'BRIEN: Back with more in a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: When you hear about America and Iran these days, it is usually about the high-stakes standoff over nuclear development. But for one rare American in Iran, it means something very, very different.

CNN's Aneesh Raman has our story.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At 7'2", it's hard for Garth Joseph not to stand out, especially as an American basketball player in Iran.

GARTH JOSEPH, PLAYS BASKETBALL IN IRAN: I was skeptical of coming here, just like everybody in America. My wife is very concerned. So she went on the Internet and she tried to find embassy, and when she found out we didn't have an embassy here, she was really mad.

RAMAN: But last October, Garth came any way, leaving behind his life in New York and becoming one of 20 foreign basketball players in Iran, a country very much at odds with his own, a situation his family fines more and more troubling.

JOSEPH: They always call me asking me something like, the nuclear that's struggle going on; they call me and ask me about this all the time. And I'm like, well, I don't see that, I don't hear that.

RAMAN: What he does see are restrictions everywhere. And a lifestyle that to this American is a bit boring.

JOSEPH: The lack of excitement, the lack of stuff to do. You can't go to a bar or club.

RAMAN: As we head to his apartment...

(on camera): Man, they've got to give you some extra room.

(voice-over): There are also physical restrictions. And inside a quick tour of contraband, things that would seem ordinary in the U.S. But here in Iran, alcohol is forbidden and bootleg bacon. Pork is also forbidden in this Islamic state. .

JOSEPH: Give me that.

RAMAN: But Garth says it is the Iranian players and people here that keep him sane.

JOSEPH: These are the best people I've seen. Especially my teammates. I have never been on a team where I loved everybody.

RAMAN: A native of Dominica, Garth has traveled the world from Cuba to Iran, putting aside his NBA dreams for economic realities. In Iran, he gets a paycheck and every night he calls home, speaks to his three kids. Their pictures are always close by. They are, he says, the reason he came here.

It is perhaps an ironic twist. An American coming to Iran to make a living, here amid a brewing international conflict; staying away from politics, though, and sticking to what he does best.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Tehran.


S. O'BRIEN: Final note on this story. Garth Joseph and his American teammate, whose name is Andre Pitts (ph), they play for a team that's actually sponsored by the Iranian Defense Ministry. So under defense ministry rules, the players can't be Americans. Well, Joseph holds his Dominican passport and Pitts still has his from Senegal, although he told "The Washington Post," he doesn't know exactly how he got it. Another story for another day.

We're back in just a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: He has been called the most gifted preacher of his generation. It is high praise, indeed, for televangelist T.D. Jakes, who will be the first to tell that you that "Mama Made the Difference." And don't you know that's the title of his new book? It's out just in time for Mother's Day.

Bishop Jakes is with us this morning. Nice to see you.


S. O'BRIEN: Thanks for being with us.

JAKES: It's a pleasure to be here.

S. O'BRIEN: You know, it's a book that celebrates moms...

JAKES: That's right.

S. O'BRIEN: ... and women to a large degree, written by a guy. What's that about?

JAKES: But you know, that's very, very important that men participate in appreciating women, whether they are our wives or great mothers, or our own mothers, to recognize and validate them. And everybody, male or female, had a mother. And to have had a great mother makes a great difference in how you perceive yourself, even as an adult.

S. O'BRIEN: I think that's really true. You write about a lot of challenges. And I have to imagine people come to you and -- come to you with their struggles about how, in this day and age, how hard it is, frankly, to be a parent.

JAKES: It's a lot harder in many ways because we're very busy. A lot of people are contributing to the parenting process outside of you. Television, the world around you, music and everything affects how you see your child. But I wrote "Mama Made the Difference" to say to mothers you do make a difference. The little things, the little wisdoms you inject into your kids, do stick with them. It doesn't seem like it when they're teens or whatever, you know, but later it comes back, and you can hear your mother's voice in your head. It's a great thing.

S. O'BRIEN: You run through a list of things. Some of those are what your mom teaches about religion, spirituality, what your mom teaches about education. You really realize that certainly for many of us, the past generation, you know, had to really struggle to get education. And now, of course, the generation, the next generation, you know, takes it as a given.

JAKES: That is so true. My mother was an educator. She taught me that the world is a university, and everybody in it is a teacher. She said when you wake up in the morning, be sure you go to school. Because for her, education wasn't just getting a diploma or a degree, but every day you're educated by the people around you and working everywhere.

S. O'BRIEN: You tell a story about your mother's final day on this Earth.


S. O'BRIEN: And it was such -- and I thought it was going to be such a sad, brutal story, but then -- but it's kind of funny. She wanted enchiladas.

JAKES: Right.

S. O'BRIEN: I mean, she had -- her only regret was that she hadn't had an enchilada, and you made that happen.

JAKES: Getting a chance to give something back to somebody who gave you something is so meaningful and so powerful. And it really made me feel fulfilled to get a chance to say thank you. And I think one of the reasons I wrote the book was to say to people who do have living mothers -- take a minute. Honor her. Let her know that she did make a difference in your life. And to say to mothers, you are making a difference. Because sometimes...

S. O'BRIEN: I was going ask you, what's the message for those of us who are mothers who are trying to, you know, figure out how to manage all the -- sometimes overwhelming things you have to deal with.

JAKES: I guess I'm saying to women that you do count. And what you're saying and what you're doing does count. And it's not just what you say, but what you do. Because sometimes you don't see the immediate gratification. It's an investment, it's a long-term investment. And you have to understand with investments, you don't get a dividend tomorrow. So you might be doing something today that you don't reap for 20 years, but you are making a difference and it does help.

S. O'BRIEN: I'm not getting the dividend from my 5-year-old and younger. But, you know, your book is wonderful.

JAKES: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: It's called "Mama Made the Difference." Bishop T.D. Jakes...

JAKES: Pleasure.

S. O'BRIEN: Nice to have you, and thanks for talking with us this morning.

JAKES: Thank you. Always enjoy it.

S. O'BRIEN: We sure appreciate it.

M. O'BRIEN: Mama's not happy, nobody's happy.

In a moment, the top stories including sentencing day for Zacarias Moussaoui. We're live at the courthouse, of course.

A former Homeland Security spokesman in court today on sex charges.

First Lady Laura Bush says she doesn't see anything wrong with singing the national anthem in Spanish.

The pope excommunicates two Chinese bishops ordained without his consent.

And a new study suggests small lifestyle changes can make a big difference for overweight kids. We'll talk to an expert about that.

Stay with us for more AMERICAN MORNING.


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