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President Bush and Iranian President Ahmadinejad Speak at U.N. Today; White House and Senate Republicans Narrow Their Differences Over Treatment of Terror Suspects

Aired September 19, 2006 - 08:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Crossing swords but not crossing paths -- President Bush and the Iranian president, Ahmadinejad, both speak at the U.N. today.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: The White House and Senate Republicans narrow their differences over the treatment of terror suspects.

But can they make a deal?

M. O'BRIEN: A new sketch, a lot of tips, but still no sign of a kidnapped newborn in Missouri. We'll have an update.

Also, parents in Maine now accused of kidnapping their own daughter.

S. O'BRIEN: And the wildfire that will not be tamed. It's now edging closer to homes in California.

Those stories and much more on this AMERICAN MORNING.

M. O'BRIEN: Good morning to you.

I'm Miles O'Brien.

S. O'BRIEN: And I'm Soledad O'Brien.

Welcome everybody.

The U.S. and Iran square off today at the United Nations. President Bush and the Iranian President, Mahmood Ahmadinejad, will both address the general assembly but not each other.

CNN's Richard Roth is live for us at the U.N. -- good morning, Richard.


You know, there are 192 countries inside the United Nations. But today it appears there are only two.


ROTH (voice-over): The president of Iran and the president of the United States in the same room last year at the United Nations General Assembly. But they never met. This year, Iran's president says he wants a debate. The U.S. is not interested.

QUESTION: President Bush said that he will not be meeting with Ahmadinejad. I believe he said that earlier today.


QUESTION: What a surprise.

Do you expect, though...

BOLTON: I won't be either.

KARIM SADJAPOUR, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Because you have the individual, George W. Bush, who is most reviled in the Middle East; and you have Mahmood Ahmadinejad, the foreign leader who, I would argue, is most reviled in the United States. And, really, they see eye to eye on very, very little.

ROTH: Opening day of the big U.N. event is an annual traffic jam of world leaders -- plenty of chances for unlikely encounters and potential collisions. The U.S. and Iran will likely steer clear.

MARK MALLOCH BROWN, DEPUTY U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: But I'm sure both will have minders, or at least one of them will have minders working hard to keep them apart. So, you know, probably the great clash of the titans, the rumble in the jungle or whatever you'd want to call it, is not going to happen.

ROTH: The world will watch these two presidents through masses of global media. But only a few Iranian journalists are permitted in the U.S. They say their audiences would love interviews with President Bush but the U.S. won't talk to them either. They say their president is misunderstood in the U.S.

NADER TALEBZADEH, IRANIAN JOURNALIST: It's going to be just sort of a standoff, what Ahmadinejad is going to say, what Bush is going to say. And he's not going to change. He is not a man of transformation. I don't think he's going to inspire any of us with something new.

ROTH: The White House has said don't expect a steal cage death match. But the U.N. will still, no doubt, have to grapple with the nuclear deadlock.


ROTH: There may be tough talk from President Bush on Iran and terrorism, but still the U.S. needs European allies to keep the pressure on regarding any sanctions threat on the nuclear issue. And Europe is still interested, as President Chirac said the other day, in keeping dialogue going to its maximum length -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Richard Roth for us this morning. Thanks, Richard.

CNN is going to bring you live coverage of the president's address. Note the new time, 11:30 a.m. Eastern time is when we're expecting to hear the president speak at the U.N. -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: That fight inside the GOP over how to treat terror detainees might be all over before the shouting. The White House changing its tune on a proposal to skirt the Geneva Convention. Details aren't clear, but apparently that rebellion by leading Republican lawmakers forced a compromise.

For more on this, we turn now to CNN's Kathleen Koch, joining us from the White House -- Kathleen.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, and what more precisely likely forced that compromise was the fact -- you did the math. The president did not have the votes to get his proposal through the Senate and more and more Republican senators were lining up behind the top members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

So the White House sent this draft proposal to Capitol Hill yesterday with new language. We're told that the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John Warner, Senator John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham were going to be going over that new proposal last night. And a spokesman for Senator Warner said they hope to have a response to the White House at some point today.

So we'll be watching that very carefully.

No specifics were given on exactly what the new language dealt with, though it was expected to focus on the main sticking points -- just what are the U.S.' obligations under the Geneva Conventions?

The White House says they are vague, that they need to be clarified. And the members of the Armed Services Committee say you do that at your own peril, that you open up a Pandora's box and invite other nations, potentially unfriendly nations, to reinterpret the Geneva Conventions and then possibly put U.S. soldiers, airmen, sailors, Marines at risk if they were ever captured behind enemy lines.

So a lot of dispute on this point. And it's very unclear whether the new language has anything to do with the other sticking points. The White House wanted to forbid any -- any detainees from seeing classified evidence that could be used against them in a trial. It also wanted to permit the use of coerced testimony.

So unclear whether or not any of that is addressed in this new draft proposal -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Kathleen Koch at the White House.

Thank you very much.

A car bomb in Baghdad this morning killed two people. Another 24 wounded in the blast near a police station in the western part of the city.

The relentless bloodshed in Iraq prompting a dire conclusion from the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan.


KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: If they can address the needs and common interests of all the Iraqis, the promise of peace and prosperity is still within reach. But if current patterns of alienation and violence persist much longer, there is a grave danger that the Iraqi state will break down, possibly in the midst of a full scale civil war.


M. O'BRIEN: Annan praised the progress of the Iraqi government, however, but lamented the fact that the Iraqi people now live under the constant threat of sectarian violence -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: We're getting word this morning that an arrest has been made in the Duquesne University shootings.

Our affiliate, WTAE, in Pittsburgh, is reporting tonight that this man right here, flanked by detectives, obviously, was arrested on suspicion of being the gunman in the campus shooting. The arrest reportedly comes after several people were questioned overnight. Five members of the Duquesne basketball team were shot early on Sunday after a party on Saturday night. Three of them remain in the hospital this morning. One is in critical condition. We're told that an arraignment could be coming, possibly later this morning.

Police in Missouri are releasing a sketch of a woman who allegedly attacked a young mother and kidnapped her newborn baby. The search for little baby Abigale Woods -- she is less than two weeks old -- the search is now entering its fifth day.

CNN's Jonathan Freed has more for us -- good morning.


There are hundreds of leads in this case so far, police are telling us. But they're also saying nothing strong yet.


FREED (voice-over): Three days after little Abby Lynn Woods was abducted from her rural Missouri home, finally a face to put on the suspect. Investigators say the composite sketch shows a woman between 30 and 40 years old, roughly 5'8," weighing 200 pounds, with dark hair, pulled back under a baseball cap.

SHERIFF GARY TOELKE, FRANKLIN COUNTY, MISSOURI: The victim wasn't completely happy with the sketch, but this is the best that that she can come up with at this point. So you know, it's not 100 percent. And any time you have a composite sketch like that, you know, you need to be flexible. FREED: The baby was just a week old when her mother was attacked on Friday in Lonedale, Missouri, about an hour southwest of St. Louis.

Police say 21-year-old Stephanie Ochsenbine was stabbed with a knife and had her throat slashed by a stranger who knocked on her door and asked to use the phone. Once inside, she said she was there to take the baby.

The mother was unconscious for a short while and then managed to walk 300 yards to her neighbor's house for help. Abby's father, who police say was at work at the time of the attack, is helping the mother recover at home.

The grandparents are leading the media charge, pleading for Abby's safe return.

RAYLENE OCHSENBINE, BABY'S GRANDMOTHER: Stephanie's heart is breaking. She's in agony. She is totally destroyed, totally destroyed. If you have a heart at all, give her back.

KEN OCHSENBINE, BABY'S GRANDFATHER: You don't want to know this feeling. It's -- you just don't want to know it, because it hurts and it's upsetting. It's really messed with our lives.

FREED: Police say family members are cooperating with the investigation, but would not categorically rule them out as suspects.

(on camera): Do you have any reason to doubt the mother's story at this point?

ROLAND CORVINGTON, FBI: I'll tell you, like any investigation, we seek to cooperate and verify information wherever we receive it. And since this is such a fluid endeavor and we get information all the time, it's very difficult for us to say definitively one way or another.

FREED (voice-over): Police also released a photo of a scarf found outside the family's home, hoping someone will recognize it.


FREED: Now, police are telling us that tips are coming in from as far away as Texas, Oklahoma and even Virginia -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: And do any of those tips feel -- feel like it has legs?

FREED: Well, as of late yesterday, police were kind of shrugging and saying nothing particularly solid. I asked them what are the nature of the tips that are coming in from out of state? Is it just people who live away from here that think that they might know the individual on the sketch or perhaps that they have seen -- think that they have seen that person or the baby?

And they say it's a mix of both.

S. O'BRIEN: All right, Jonathan Freed for us.

Thanks, Jonathan.

FREED: Thanks.

S. O'BRIEN: Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Happening this morning, South Carolina -- bail denied for the man accused of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and keeping her in an underground bunker for 10 days. Vinson Filyaw facing sexual assault and kidnapping charges. The kidnapped girl, Elizabeth Shoaf, used Filyaw's cell phone to send a text message for help.

That E. coli outbreak linked to bagged spinach growing bigger this morning. There are now 114 cases in 21 states. Investigators likely won't know exactly where the bacteria came from until test results come back in a week or so.

In California, more than 125 square miles of forest eaten up by fire now. This fire, along the Los Angeles/Ventura County line, is only about 15 percent contained. Firefighters are getting some help today, however, from calm winds.

And astronauts on board the space shuttle doing some final preparations before the ride home. After 11 days in space, they are set to return to Earth early tomorrow morning, weather permitting. We're going to have live coverage of the landing, starting tomorrow, 5:50 Eastern time.

Let's get a check of the forecast for the Kennedy Space Center and beyond.

Rob Marciano has that -- hello, Rob.



S. O'BRIEN: Coming up this morning, one week after the pope's controversial speech, many Muslim leaders still angry.

Will the pope apologize again?

And later, U.S. prisons described as a breeding ground for terrorists and we'll tell you why.

All that ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

We're back after this short break.


S. O'BRIEN: Pope Benedict XVI's apology has been rejected by Iraq's parliament today. That's a common reaction, in fact, among Muslims who were first angry over the pope's comments on the Prophet Muhammad and are now upset that his apology doesn't quite go far enough.

"Faith At War" is a collection of reporting on Muslim communities in the Middle East and Asia and Africa and its author if Yaroslav Trofimov.

Nice to see you.

Thanks for talking with us.


S. O'BRIEN: The controversy is growing. It's been a week since, in fact, the pope gave this speech.

Do you expect that it's going to go even further, get bigger?

TROFIMOV: Well, no. I think this will probably stay at this level because if you remember the controversy about the Danish cartoons, you know, once you had the demonstrations, then there was this period of condemnations and then it went away for the new crisis to emerge.

We have to remember that this controversy is not really about the pope. This controversy is a manifestation of the anger that many people in the Muslim world feel about the West in general. So this is just one more symptom of what they perceive to be this Western crime/conspiracy.

S. O'BRIEN: let's speak specifically about what the pope said.


S. O'BRIEN: He was quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor and he says this in his speech: "The emperor comes to speak about the issues of Jihad, holy war. Show me" -- now he's quoting -- "just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread, by the sword, the faith he preached."

Then he goes on to apologize. And his apology is really not much of an apology. He says this: "I'm deeply sorry for the reactions in the community."

He doesn't say I'm deeply sorry for saying it, he says I'm sorry that people responded as they did.


S. O'BRIEN: Do you think there's a sense that the pope is going to need to, in fact, apologize again or better?

TROFIMOV: Well, probably, if this controversy gets much worse and if we see more violence of the kind we've seen in the West Bank and in Somalia with the killing of the nun-the other day. He might have to speak again because it's really hit a very raw and sore point in the Muslim world, where people do feel that their faith is under attack.

S. O'BRIEN: When you consider what is happening on the international stage -- and it's, to some degree, why the pope was giving the speech in the first place -- I was surprised to read that he was surprised that his words would have -- would bring this kind of reaction.

TROFIMOV: Well, this pope is only a pope for about 18 months. And he's used to speaking as an academic, as someone who's working behind-the-scenes. So probably he's not such a great communicator when compared to the previous pope, John Paul II. So he didn't have much experience with big controversies.

This was the first...

S. O'BRIEN: But are you chalking it all up to sort of being a P.R. novice? It sounds like you're saying, then?

TROFIMOV: Well, maybe he was a bit too frank about what he really thought.

S. O'BRIEN: What do you think the fallout is going to be? Do you think that Muslim radicals are now empowered?

As you said, it's really a fight between the West and Islam.

Do you think they take this and are more empowered?

TROFIMOV: Well, absolutely. First of all, the Muslim radicals are being empowered. But we see this snowball effect where everybody is competing to be the biggest defender of the faith. You have the governments and the clerics and the radicals and even the Iraqi parliament, which is competing with the jihadis in Iraq in sort of in who's going to criticize the pope more loudly.

And this is the same dynamic we have seen with the Danish cartoons controversy. So now everybody is obliged to sort of stand up and defend...

S. O'BRIEN: Weigh in.

TROFIMOV: ... defend the civilization that they see to be under attack by the West.

S. O'BRIEN: And what happens when the pope goes to Turkey, as he is scheduled to do, come November? Do you think it has become dangerous and risky? Or do you think it blows over by then?

TROFIMOV: It might be very risky. There were again demonstrations in Turkey today. And let's not forget that this Byzantine emperor was in Constantinople, Istanbul, where the pope is going. And the reason why there is no more Byzantium is precisely because of the Muslim conquest.

So it's a very sensitive subject in Turkey.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, it's -- he couldn't pick a worse place to be heading after those remarks, one would imagine.

TROFIMOV: Absolutely.

S. O'BRIEN: Yaroslav Trofimov is the author of "Faith At War."

It's nice to see you.

Thanks for talking with us.

TROFIMOV: Thank you again, Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: We certainly appreciate it.

TROFIMOV: Thank you.

S. O'BRIEN: Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Anderson Cooper with a look at what's coming up on his program tonight -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miles, tonight Americans still dying over there and the country still very much up for grabs. We're not talking about Iraq -- Afghanistan. My interview with Afghan President Hamad Karzai and our "360" special, "Afghanistan: The Unfinished War."

That's tonight on "360," 10:00 p.m. Eastern -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Thanks, Anderson.

Are you cooking some eggs for the family in a Teflon pan as we speak?

Well, you might want to stay tuned before you serve them up. There may be something inside you don't want inside your system.

And later, a driver plunges hundreds of feet off a cliff in California and he lives to tell the tale. Details ahead.


M. O'BRIEN: From the moment we eat our eggs fried in a Teflon pan until we put the kids in their flame retardant jammies, we live in a world where we are surrounded by chemicals designed to make our lives easier and safer.

But what are the long-term impacts of all these chemicals? Might they be doing more harm than good?

Journalist David Ewing Duncan was curious about this and he turned himself into a guinea pig for a piece in October's "National Geographic" magazine. It's entitled "The Pollution Within."

David Ewing Duncan joining us now.

David, good to have you with us. You submitted yourself to a raft of tests, in excess of 300 chemicals they were looking for. And the results were kind of surprising, I think, to yourself and to most of us, as well.

DAVID EWING DUNCAN, "NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC" MAGAZINE: Yes, and I'm just a normal guy. I mean I, you know, I'm healthy -- at least I think I am. I'm sitting here not keeling over but...

M. O'BRIEN: So far so good anyway.


But my results were mostly actually average or slightly above average. But I did have a couple of startling results.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, let's take a look at the list of the chemicals that you came back on.

This is a -- this is a series of tests that the average person wouldn't do. It costs about $15,000.

DUNCAN: Right.

M. O'BRIEN: "National Geographic" paid for it. PCBs, PBDEs, PSCDs, dioxins, another page worth of stuff there. We'll run-through them very quickly. We can show the next page, if we can.

I can't pronounce that (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

DUNCAN: You know, I can't pronounce them either.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, it's one of those...

DUNCAN: There are a bunch of chemical names and some of them are so long. But there's some common things, too, like heavy metals, plasticizers, flame retardants, using common English.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

DUNCAN: And these are things that are everywhere in the environment.

M. O'BRIEN: Now, when the doctors started looking at this, they could probably piece together, in some respects, where you lived and what you do for a living.

What -- were there big surprises, though?

DUNCAN: Well, there were a couple of big surprises. And one of them was the flame retardants. Those are the PBDEs you were just trying to pronounce.

M. O'BRIEN: Right.

DUNCAN: And that's just the initials for a really long name.

M. O'BRIEN: Right. Right.

DUNCAN: But these are things that are everywhere. You were talking about the jammies. And they're in couches, they're in mattresses, they're all over this room here. They're probably all over the room where, you know, with the viewers. They're everywhere. And they're here to protect us. You know, they're flame retardants. But they also get out in the environment.

And I have about 10 times the average for Americans that have been tested. I have about 200 times the average of Europeans. They have fewer of these things over there.

M. O'BRIEN: So, you were wearing jammies with flame retardants or...

DUNCAN: My Spider Man jammies, yes...

M. O'BRIEN: ... it turned out...

DUNCAN: ... got me into trouble.

M. O'BRIEN: ... the surprise was airlines.


M. O'BRIEN: Time on the airplanes would put in contact with this stuff, right?

DUNCAN: Well, nobody really knows how one gets these things. I mean I don't work in a factory that makes them. I don't have any, you know, obvious exposures. But in -- I launched a bit of a mystery, a bit of a hunt here among the experts. And they think it might be airplanes, but they don't know...

M. O'BRIEN: All right...

DUNCAN: ... because those things are drenched in flame retardants.

M. O'BRIEN: People have heard, I suppose, about Teflon, maybe, and the concerns about that. But one of the things that came up were some of the things used in shampoos and, you know, things that make things smell good that, you know, whatever you want to see when you use it in the morning.

How do people avoid these things if they want -- don't want these types of chemicals in their systems?

DUNCAN: Well, the thing is you can not use the scented shampoos. And these are chemicals called phthalates. And they're actually miracle chemicals. They're in all kinds of things. They make plastic soft and -- but you can't really -- you can run-but you can't hide from these things. And I want to add here, before we, you know, make anybody, you know, freaked out about this, that there isn't a lot of evidence that this stuff is particularly harmful at this point, at the very small levels we're exposed to. But it is a matter of concern, because we do all shampoo our hairs. I mean, you know, I still cook in a Teflon pan.

You know, what can you do?

M. O'BRIEN: So, yes, what's the takeaway from this?

The chemicals are there. You sort of -- you keep with you a lifetime of these chemical exposures, sort of a track record of it.

Is it harming us? Should we be doing anything about it? How worried should we be?

DUNCAN: Well, I think we should be concerned is really the word. And the thing is what I discovered in reporting the story is there just is very little understood about these small chemicals. Lead, mercury, some of the older ones, there's a fair amount of information about. But I -- what I came away with is, as somebody has been tested now and knows I have this stuff, I think we just need more information. And it may be that at these small levels that most of these are harmless. We just don't know.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, thanks for your time.

"The Pollution Within" is in the October issue of "National Geographic" magazine.

David Ewing Duncan, thanks for your time.

DUNCAN: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up on the program, he's one of the key players in today's United Nations showdown.

But exactly who is the Iranian president, Mahmood Ahmadinejad?

Some insight from a CNN correspondent who has spent an awful lot of time in Iran recently.

And later, an innocent man accused of being a terrorist says he was tortured for 10 months.

How could that have happened?

Stay with us.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happening this morning, police in Budapest, Hungary have retaken control of the state run-TV network, NOW (ph). Thousands of protesters stormed the building after the network aired a secret tape recording from the prime minister. On that tape, he said he had been lying about the health of the country's economy.

Good news for President Bush. A new "USA Today"/Gallup poll shows the president's approval rating is up to 44 percent. That is the highest it's been in a year. It's also a 5 point jump in just the last month.

And a memorial service being held tonight for the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin. That's tonight here. But tomorrow in Australia. The service from Irwin's Zoo in Beerwall (ph), Queensland will be televised nationally in Australia and here in the United States.

M. O'BRIEN: Good morning to you.

I'm Miles O'Brien.

Soledad had to leave a bit early because...

COSTELLO: For a good reason.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes. One of her little girls is going to the first day of school.


So I'm Carol Costello.

M. O'BRIEN: It's good to have you here.

Just hours from now, President Bush addresses the United Nations general assembly as he continues to press Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions.

Later today, the Iranian president will have his own turn before the assembly.

Just who is Mahmood Ahmadinejad and what does he really want?

Aneesh Raman has covered Iran extensively for CNN and he joins us now -- Aneesh, good to have you with us this morning.


It's much more comfortable.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes.

Yes. It's good to have you.

RAMAN: yes.

M. O'BRIEN: We're glad you're safe, too.


M. O'BRIEN: Look at this cover of "Time" magazine just out. It seems to me, this might be what President Ahmadinejad wants more than anything, to be on that cover, to be the focus of attention, to be, if you will, the toast of New York for the general assembly on a level playing field with President Bush. Is that accurate?

RAMAN: That is exactly it. This is a man that has courted controversy in every statement that he's made, and he is aware that Iran has had a very, you know, prideful history and wants to return to that sort of position in the world. This is a man who was elected with economic promises, but is routed in ideology with what sparked the revolution in 1979. This is a man that is very extreme in his viewpoints, and is very anti-Western, very anti-Israeli, and is using his time as president as a platform to speak out for Muslims worldwide, and he wants this; he wants to be seen as often as he can on the same level field as President Bush. That's why he's written the letter, why he's proposed this debate. He wants Iran to be an equal desperately, and he wants engagement.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. And I can see why that would appeal to rank-and-file Iranians. But also I've read a lot about Iranians who actually have fondness for the West and for the United States. So I'm curious how they jibe those two aspects of him.

RAMAN: They live this life of duality. The two times I've been there, you walk by these huge murals. It's a down with the USA, with American flags that are riddled with bombs, and they don't even notice it. And when you talk to them, even in front of it, they say we like American culture. One woman says told me, I model myself after Americans, the way that they live their lives. They're resigned to the fact that they're observers in this government, they're not participants, and they have to go wherever their leaders take them, and with Ahmadinejad especially, on to the international stage.

But they want economic change. They haven't gotten it. And what he's doing is using this nuclear issue as a way to bring about national pride and keep people away from talking about economic promises he's made but hasn't delivered on.

M. O'BRIEN: Let's go through some of the comments. The comments are, well, colorful would be the euphemism, but they're vitriolic. Let's take a look at some the comments, if we could, and put them on the screen, if we can get some of Ahmadinejad's comments. "Israel should be wiped off the map." "The holocaust, an excuse to keep Germans ashamed." In addition, he's said some other things which are extremely controversial. It seems as if he says this on purpose. How much of this is what he really believes and how much of this is to get attention?

RAMAN: I think he believes everything that he says, and I think that all of it is being done to get attention.

But I think this is the Achilles Heel in what his strategy has been. These sort of statements play very well to his base of support, which he isn't really concerned about in Iran. When you talk to people there, there isn't on the streets this vitriolic anger against Israel, vitriolic anger against the U.S. There is, though, on the streets of Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, in some parts of Iraq, and that is who is playing to with these comments. I don't think he or his advisers were aware of how damaging these statements would be in the Western world, and the fact that they have fueled a lot of the concern about Iran developing a nuclear weapon without their being evidence.

I mean, the big issue here is that, is Iran developing a weapons. The government denies it. The West presumes it to be the case. At the same time, Iran is gaining the clout that it wants, one would assume, with a weapon without it, because it is using this as a platform of defiance.

But these statements, I think, have backfired a little bit, but I don't think he cares. This is a man that will do what he wants as he pleases, is only under the direction really of the supreme leader, and is very intent on making the statements continually.

M. O'BRIEN: Since Saddam Hussein blustered about nuclear weapons, and that was, perhaps -- he got his hand without having the weapons, is this, perhaps the same thing that's happening now, do you think?

RAMAN: The Iranians are aware of the global context here. They know just neighboring Iraq is embroiled in conflict. They know that the Americans are sort of curtailed into what they can do. They know that Lebanon is the sphere of influence they're gaining in. They know that the Palestinians are gaining influence as well. This is their time. It is a win/win situation for them, regardless of what happens. If talk goes on at the U.N., that's great for them, it stalls sanctions. If sanctions get imposed, do you know what? Iranians don't really care. They're enduring sanctions right now.

The only thing that really will impact them is war, or sanctions that really cut gas or commodities that effect Iranians. That, they think, is down the line. And in the interim, Iran's president sees every step he takes as something that aids his country in gaining an international clout.

M. O'BRIEN: And let's remember, we're talking about a man here who was there when the embassy was taken. He's one of the hostage takers in 1979.

RAMAN: He's denied it, and he has not denied that he's been part of the group that actually care of it, and he's been part of the extremist groups within this revolution, and that is where with his ideology really rests. If you look at the overall context here, Iran was going through a reformist period before Ahmadinejad. You had President Khatemi, who was slowly opening up things. Some Iranians told me if Khatemi had called them to go to the streets and protest this government, millions would have come to the streets, the Mullahs, the religious theocracy would have ended. Khatemi didn't do that.

Instead, there was a backlash. And the hardliners who controlled the parliament, Ahmadinejad came into power. He represents the most extreme part of Iranian society. He does not represent the average Iranian. But because of the power structure, he can essentially do what he wants, regardless of broad support that he doesn't have on a lot of these issues from Iranians. And keep in mind, he won on economic promise. He didn't win his campaign because he was talking against the West. He wore a garbageman's uniform during the campaign, picked up garbage for a day, drove his own beat-up car for the first few weeks after the election as president, until security experts said you've got to stop, wears these inexpensive suits, is a man of the people, and that's why people voted for him.

M. O'BRIEN: Boy, he is an enigma, isn't he?

RAMAN: Yes, he is.

M. O'BRIEN: Thanks for coming in -- Carol.

COSTELLO: American prisons have become a breeding ground for homegrown terrorists. That according to a study by George Washington University and the University of Virginia. It says there's a shortage of Muslim counselors inside prisons, and too little time spent monitoring those prisoners. As result, inmates are often taught that the Koran encourages holy war against non-Muslims.

The rebellion by Republican lawmakers over how to treat terror detainees may be coming to an end. Senators John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham led the GOP opposition to the president's original proposal. That plan would have skirted the Geneva Convention rules for treating prisoners. Well, now the White House has apparently modified its proposal making a compromise more likely.

Misleading information from Canada led the United States to deport an innocent man to Syria where he was tortured. That is the conclusion of a new Canadian report. Maher Arar was deported in the United States in 2002 when he was tagged as a major terrorist by Canada. Arar, who had both Syrian and Canadian citizenship was imprisoned in Syria, and he says tortured for 10 months. We get more now from Roger Smith of Canadian affiliate CTV.


ROGER SMITH, CTV NEWS-TV REPORTER (voice-over): Teary-eyed with relief, Maher Arar got what he wanted most.

MAHER ARAR, ACCUSED OF TERROR TIES: I wanted to clear my name. Today, Justice O'Connor has cleared my name and restored my reputation.

SMITH: Though the RCMP and CSIS tried hard to nail him as a terrorist, the report says they came up with nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada.

SMITH: But what happened to Arar, he says, was due to incompetence, not deliberate policy. O'Connor found no evidence that any Canadian authorities were complicit in the U.S. decision to arrest and deport Arar to face torture in Syria. But the RCMP very likely sealed his fate by giving the Americans unfair, inaccurate information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this day and age, calling somebody a terrorist is like calling somebody a communist in the early '50s.

SMITH: For example, just after 9/11, Mounties warned the U.S. to watch out for Arar and his wife, describing them as Islamic extremists with suspected links to al Qaeda. A baseless charge, it turns out, that the Americans took seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If things had been done differently back in Canada, Mr. Arar would not have endured the abuses he suffered.

SMITH: The government now studying recommendations on how to prevent a repeat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened to Mr. Arar is very regrettable. We hope with any future situations like this never to see this happen again.

SMITH (on camera): With Arar already suing Ottawa, the report is in a negotiated settlement to compensate for his suffering. It also calls for further review of the cases of three other men who say they were tortured abroad just like Arar.

Roger Smith, CTV News, Ottawa.


COSTELLO: The commission also says the Canadian police had no idea what would transpire and that the FBI kept their Canadian counterparts in the dark, even as Arar was on a government jet heading for Syria. The U.S. has not yet offered any reaction to this report.

M. O'BRIEN: In New Hampshire, a couple is facing kidnapping charges. The alleged victim? Their daughter.

AMERICAN MORNING's Dan Lothian with the story.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They appeared at their arraignment by video from a New Hampshire jail. Fifty-four- year-old Nicolas Kampf and his 53-year-old wife Lola facing kidnapping charges, allegedly abducting not a stranger, but their own daughter, Katelyn, an unmarried, pregnant, 19-year-old.

MARK DION, CUMBERLAND COUNTY SHERIFF: It's a unique case. I'm sure some will find it outrageous.

LOTHIAN: It all started after an argument at the family's home in North Yarmouth, Maine. According to police, the couple, angry that their daughter was pregnant, forced her into this Lexus and planned to drive her to New York for an abortion.

WILLIAM GANLEY, SALEM POLICE DEPT.: At one point the beginning she was bound, both hands and feet, and put in the vehicle, in a lying down position.

LOTHIAN: When they stopped at this Salem, New Hampshire, Kmart, police say Katelyn asked to use the bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once she realized that dad was no longer standing guard she bolted away.

LOTHIAN: To this nearby Staples store, where she dialed 911.

GANLEY: She was very distraught but she said she needed help and she was being held.

LOTHIAN: Her parents were arrested in a nearby parking lot, and inside their car, New Hampshire Police say they found rope, Duct tape, and a gun.

(on camera): The couple is being held on $100,000 bail each. Their defense attorney says they did not threaten or kidnap their daughter. And he adds, while this is a terrible family tragedy, there are some unfortunate misunderstandings and some over-reactions.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.


M. O'BRIEN: The couple pleaded not guilty at their arraignment. They could also face additional charges for crossing state lines.


COSTELLO: Along the Pacific Coast Highway outside of Los Angeles, the driver of this SUV is lucky, lucky. The Ford Explorer he was driving plunged 900 feet over the side of a Malibu canyon yesterday. The driver had to be airlifted out of that canyon. Now in the hospital with back injuries, but alive.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, we'll check some of our "New You"-ers. How are the "New You"-ers doing? How are those hypercompetitive twins doing nine months later? I'm curious. I bet you are, too.

And later, actor James Franco in the house. He stars in the movie "Flyboys." It's about World War I dogfighting. And in order to get ready for the role, he went and got his pilot's license. So we're going to talk pilot talk, ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


M. O'BRIEN: Nine months later, how are our "New You Resolution" participants doing? Has the "New You" been replaced by the old you, perhaps? Are they still embracing the healthy habits we helped them learn in January?

Our senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now from the CNN Center with his first update on our pairs teams.

Hello, Sanjay. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles.

First up, Mark and Stuart Rasch. Now, one's a doctor in New York. The other is a lawyer in D.C. Remarkable pairing of brothers. They came out of the gates with lots of enthusiasm in January, and they were doing fantastic eight weeks later in March. But the question is, have they kept it up? Let's take a look.


GUPTA (voice-over): When the Rasch twins started their "New You Resolution," they weren't a healthy pair. Stuart, in an E.R. position with unhealthy eating habits, was a French fry fanatic with a cholesterol level of 283. Mark was at risk for major heart problems with high cholesterol and high blood pressure. But they were serious about losing weight and competitive, too.

MARK RASCH, "NEW YOU" PARTICIPANT: My cholesterol is going down, my blood pressure is going down and my weight is going down. It's going down faster and more than his is.

GUPTA: Eight weeks later, Mark's weight, blood pressure and cholesterol were down. And Stuart was sticking to healthier munchies.

Since then, the summer has taken its toll. For Stuart, family vacations at Busch Gardens and a kitchen renovation put the brakes on healthy eating and exercise. He's going back to working out, but without his personal trainer.

STUART RASCH, "NEW YOU" PARTICIPANT: I should be able to get back once the kids are back in school and I can go to the gym more often.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three!

GUPTA: Mark says too many snacks at the beach have added a few pounds, and so he's decided after four years to rejoin a boot camp program, designed to melt those pounds right off, rain or shine.

M. RASCH: The hard part's going to be in the winter, because in the winter it's much more difficult to get out and do stuff.

GUPTA: So who's kept their goals? In January, Stuart weighed 169. After eight weeks, 157. His weight now, 161. His blood pressure is better, at 128 over 82; cholesterol at 200.

Mark originally weighed 205. Eight weeks later, 185. Now he's at 199. But his blood pressure and cholesterol are down significantly without using medication.

And although they're a little damp now, they say they're not discouraged.

S. RASCH: He actually looks pretty buff. He's been doing a lot more exercise, upper body work, than I have. M. RASCH: You've got to be crazy to do this. And you know, it's got to be a commitment and a dedication to doing it.


GUPTA: So, Miles, how did the boot camp look? Something for everybody, I think, there. It's good to have someone in your corner, for sure. A little healthy sibling rivalry, as well. You can also learn more about their progress. They blog for us, -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: That boot camp looks like -- that would convince me to have some French fries, actually. So who's up next?

GUPTA: We're going to look at the Rampolla family. They're a military couple out of Wyoming. What we learned about them, they have very little time to exercise, to make healthy meals. How do you work that in with a very busy lifestyle, lots of children? People can make it work. We'll show you how.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. We look forward to that. Thank you, Sanjay.

Andy Serwer. The same old him, but that's good.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" COLUMNIST: Yes, I haven't even tried. Let's not even go there. The government, Miles, takes its anti-drug campaign to the hottest Web site on the planet. And why is Yahoo getting paranoid? We'll explore those issues, coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.



M. O'BRIEN: Top stories after a break. Stay with us.



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