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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
New bin Laden Video?; Interview With Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson
Aired September 6, 2007 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Three images to show you, first of all, the changing face of terrorism. Do we now need to look out for white guys named Fritz?
Also, we know that he's a terrorist. Osama bin Laden, he's got a new message out for us tonight.
And black women and their hair, very touchy, very sensitive. Now it's a lawsuit. We're going to bring it OUT IN THE OPEN.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): A white man wants to fire a black woman because of her hair.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's not radical. She's just expressing her natural looks.
SANCHEZ: I go into a beauty shop and get an earful.
BARBARA GORDON-BELL, POSTED RACIALLY CHARGED VIDEO ON YOUTUBE: I will say it. Jews corrupt.
SANCHEZ: Be careful what you post. It may come back to haunt you.
A black comedian gets the hook. Have blacks had enough vulgarity from their own?
How did this guy get through security? How close to the president was he?
Tonight, it's OUT IN THE OPEN.
SANCHEZ: And there is breaking news tonight as we begin this newscast.
Hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez tonight.
Just in time of the sixth anniversary of September 11, Osama bin Laden is resurfacing. A Web site is reporting the al Qaeda leader has a new message for the American people. Let's go right to justice correspondent Kelli Arena. She's been following this story.
Kelli, we understand that these guys, two white guys named Daniel and Fritz, right, hated the United States.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. That's right. They did.
And, you know, this all -- this all comes at a time when we are expecting the -- obviously the sixth anniversary of September 11, and a video message, Rick, within the next 72 hours or so. It is going to be the first time that we will be seeing bin Laden since October of 2004.
And intelligence experts say that's very important, because this will assure his followers that, A, he's alive and well, he's still in the game. And his followers, Rick, just haven't seen them. And when they do, it's likely to invigorate the movement. He's still very much the inspiration for al Qaeda.
SANCHEZ: How do we know that this thing is legit?
ARENA: Well, you know, this is being flagged by Al-Sahab, which is al Qaeda's media arm.
And every other video or audio message that has come out that has been flagged by Al-Sahab has been legit, Rick. So we expect that this one will be, too.
SANCHEZ: By the way, the Web site seems to show -- and I don't know if we have it or not, but the Web site seems to show an Osama bin Laden that looks almost younger than the Osama bin Laden that we have seen in the past.
ARENA: That's right.
SANCHEZ: How do you reconcile that? What are they saying about that?
ARENA: Well, we don't know that's what he's going to look like on the tape. That could just be an old photo used for advertising.
We're just going to have to wait and see. But if there's any sign that this is an old message that's being heralded, that is going to raise a whole host of questions among his followers as to what his status is. Officials are going to be looking at this tape to see what his physical appearance is. Does he look ill? Has there been a change?
Intelligence officials very, very interested, but they're waiting along with us, Rick, to see what eventually this tape will show.
SANCHEZ: What's their reaction when they hear that there's another Osama bin Laden tape out there from these guys? ARENA: Well, you know, obviously this is the first time that we have actually seen him on videotape since 2004, so that's a big deal. You know, I mean, they usually -- we have gotten messages on September 11, but they don't include video messages from bin Laden. It's risky for him to make tapes like this.
So, as I said, officials are waiting. They're standing by. They say this is important, if it's a new message. Let's look for some time cues here. Let's see if he mentions recent events, so that we know it's new and it's real. And then, of course, there's always the question of, is this a call for an attack?
You know, it's probably not going to lay out a blueprint of any type but it will definitely rally the troops.
SANCHEZ: There's certainly something always to learn from these.
Kelli Arena, thanks so much for that report, as usual, following things there for us.
ARENA: You're welcome.
SANCHEZ: So, what does Osama bin Laden have to tell us? Where does he think that we're going to be able to do something to possibly affect him? And what does it change in us in terms of how we look at him?
Let's ask somebody now who knows how he thinks. Michael Scheuer used to head up the CIA's bin Laden unit.
I guess we start where most Americans who are watching this newscast right now are probably thinking. And they are asking themselves, does this tape tell us whether he's alive or dead? Does it say anything to you, Michael?
All right, Michael Scheuer, apparently, we will try and come back to you when we get a chance.
There's more on this story, by the way. There's a poll of average Americans asked if we would ever catch Osama bin Laden. Most of you don't think so. In fact, here we go. CNN/Public Opinion Research Corporation poll last month took this poll and it shows only 42 percent think that we will kill or capture him; 54 percent say, no, we won't.
It's worth noting, by the way, this is the first time since 9/11 that a majority of Americans said that we will never get him.
Do we have Michael Scheuer now?
Michael Scheuer, are you there? Can you hear us now?
MICHAEL SCHEUER, FORMER CHIEF OF CIA BIN LADEN UNIT: Yes, sir, I am.
SANCHEZ: The question I asked you was the one that I think a lot of Americans would think when they see another Osama bin Laden tape coming out. And that is, OK, does this say to you, an expert who knows him, has followed him, that you think he's still alive?
SCHEUER: Oh, of course he's still alive, sir.
In his own culture, if he had died, they would have told us. They would have been grieving, but they would have celebrated his martyrdom. It has all been whistling past the graveyard, that -- people claiming that he's dead, sir.
SANCHEZ: Is it important for us to notice when he puts out a tape like this? People say it's important to know your enemy. You know the saying about keep your enemies closer than your friends. What's your opinion on this?
SCHEUER: Oh, yes. We should definitely -- all the politicians that are running for president are lying to the American people about what the cause of this war is, what the enemy's motivation is.
They keep claiming that it's American freedom and democracy and women's rights. Bin Laden has made it very clear, and I think he will make it clear in this next speech, that it has to do with the intervention of the United States in his part of the world. That's not to say what we do there is wrong, but we have completely missed the motivation of the enemy. And that's a very serious mistake.
SANCHEZ: Are you saying -- missed the motivation of the enemy. So, when this guy talks, we need to listen to what he's saying, because that will help us prepare for how we fight this war?
SCHEUER: Right, sir.
The politicians don't want Americans to hear what this man says at all. We're in the situation right now as if when we're fighting the Soviets, we didn't think it was important to translate the works of Marx and Engels and Lenin and Stalin and just fight them without ever hearing what they said they were up to or what their intention was.
SANCHEZ: Why would the politicians be doing that? Why would the guys who are running for office want to keep Americans dumb or blind when it comes to our enemies, for example?
SCHEUER: Because they don't want to do the things that are necessary to defeat this enemy. They want to keep using the American military in a very dainty fashion.
They don't want to kill a lot of the enemy, because they don't want to offend the Europeans. They don't want to talk about our relationship with Israel. They don't want to talk about our support for Arab police states in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. And they don't want to talk about the fact that we're dependent on other countries for most of our energy.
SANCHEZ: So, there's a whole geopolitical equation here that we're not considering, you say. Let me ask you this, because we automatically have a debate here when Osama bin Laden speaks as to whether or not we should put it on the air, whether Americans should listen to it. How is he received when he puts out a tape like this, apparently this tape that he's about to put out, in the Muslim world? How do they receive this thing?
SCHEUER: They're very, very interested into what he has to say. It's been 12 years since he's declared war on America. He's defeated us by attacking inside of this country. We're about to lose two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He's the one Muslim that's not only defied America, but has attacked America and has survived.
SANCHEZ: And why -- because I hear you say that, I'm thinking, why, if he can get a tape out, with all that we know, with all the satellite technology that we have in this country, can't we somehow track that tape through YouTube or wherever else it comes out and get to the guy and find out where he is, and nail him?
SCHEUER: That's -- well, you know. You're in television, sir, in electronic communications. It's very hard to track these things in an ocean of communications every day.
But the fact of the matter is, despite what Ms. Townsend just told Mr. Blitzer, we have tried to do Afghanistan on the cheap. There's not nearly enough soldiers or intelligence officers in Afghanistan to give us the barest chance to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.
SANCHEZ: From the representation of terrorism, let's go now to two other members of the organization.
We thank you, Michael, for being with us and talking with us.
SCHEUER: Yes, sir.
SANCHEZ: Let's talk now about the terror plot that is linked to al Qaeda. Today we learned the names of two of the suspects, Fritz and Daniel. It's not Ahmed. It's not Mahmud. It's Fritz and Daniel. Think about that.
We were talking about that a little while ago when we were discussing this with Kelli, apparently, two white German guys. Well, here's the first images that we get of them, two German-born Islamic converts who are accused of planning an attack against Americans in Germany. It's a revelation that turns our stereotypes about terrorists really on its head.
CNN's Paula Newton is in Germany in the hometown of one of the suspects. Frederik Pleitgen is at the U.S. air base in Ramstein, a likely target, by the way.
Paula, let's begin with you. Who are these guys?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: As you pointed out, they are German-born converts to Islam. And they're not what you would call the normal profile here. They are not disaffected. They are not alienated.
In fact, Fritz G., as you were talking about, his mother works at a hospital. His father runs a very successful business. In this investigation right now, Rick, what investigators are trying to do is to take everything that they have learned about this suspect under surveillance, start to unravel it, take it apart, look at the nuts and bolts of it, try and figure out how these apparently at least 10 other co-conspirators are at large, look at all of that, and figure out why.
Why did these German-born converts to Islam go down this road? Why did they harbor apparently such a deep hatred for Americans? And how did they get this far down their plot -- down the plot? They meant business, Rick. They went to Pakistan. They were involved in training camps.
And this is the kind of thing that is really disturbing German authorities. I'm right here in Ulm in southwestern Germany. This has a hotbed of this kind of radicalism now for almost a decade.
SANCHEZ: Let's bring Frederik into this now, because this is interesting.
You are in an area where there are some 35,000 Americans, we understand. Is this the kind of thing that's going to make them look over their shoulders a little more carefully, not just for the same potential targets they were looking at before, but maybe somebody else now, a different profile, so to speak?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN BERLIN BUREAU CHIEF: It certainly is. And that's one of the things that many people that we're seeing here are telling us.
They say they are very concerned for their safety, especially because of the fact that the people that were plotting this were in fact Germans, or many of them were Germans. But on the other hand, we have seen a lot of people at this base who say they're very defiant, who say that they do trust in the guards here at this base, and who also trust in the German authorities.
And they do seem to be very aware of the threat. And we're talking about in German guy Fritz, this German guy the whole time. I walked into the guard shack at the air base here today, and there was Fritz's mug shot on the wall there. And it's been on the wall for several months. They knew that this person was a threat. It said beware of this person if you see him.
So, they knew the threat was there. But one thing that really is concerning people, Rick, here is the sophistication with which this seems to have been planned and also the magnitude which these terror attacks could have had, had they been successful -- Rick.
SANCHEZ: It's alarming information.
Paula Newton, Frederik Pleitgen, thanks so much for joining us and sharing that insight on that story. We appreciate it.
Now let's talk about what this means to us.
Joining us again, Paul Cruickshank. He's a terrorism analyst and fellow for the Center on Law and Security.
Thanks once again, Paul, for being with us.
Let's begin on I guess the reason that we're doing this. It seems to be that it would be easier for a blond-haired, blue-eyed guy to come into the United States and try to come after us than it would be anywhere else. Is this something that we should be more alarmed about today as we receive this information?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, FELLOW, CENTER ON LAW AND SECURITY: I think it's something the United States has to be very concerned about.
Already in Afghanistan, al Qaeda plotting a second wave of attacks after 9/11, were particularly targeting European individuals with European-sounding names. Now, we know those from documents recovered from Afghanistan.
CRUICKSHANK: So, al Qaeda know that these are private recruits.
Look, European -- in Europe, there's a lot of radicalization. Clearly, European citizens can travel to the United States very easily on the visa waiver program, which means they don't need a visa interview. Now, there is screening at airports and so on and so forth, but clearly if you're Caucasian, you are going to go right through the loop.
SANCHEZ: Can you quantify for us in any way -- and, obviously, you know, I don't want you to give us an exact number, how many other people in Europe, Germany, Britain, and any parts of Europe are like these two guys, you know, white guys who are turning toward al Qaeda and hate the United States?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, there have been a number of cases. We all remember the case of the shoe bomber, Richard Reid, in December 2001.
SANCHEZ: Sure do.
CRUICKSHANK: He was half-Jamaican, half-English. He was a convert.
We remember the case of Muriel Degauque, a Belgian baker's assistant, a Catholic who converted and killed -- tried to kill American soldiers in Iraq. So, there have been a number of cases.
When I go to radical meetings in Europe, al Qaeda-related meetings sort of on the fringe, four or five people in a group of 50 tend to be converts. So, there are a significant amount of converts in Europe who have gone to this sort of radical side. Now, we have also seen cases within the United States, of course, Joseph Padilla, who was recently convicted of a terrorism...
SANCHEZ: Yes, yes, yes, but they're so far and few. It really is just a very tiny number in this country, it seems, right?
CRUICKSHANK: You're absolutely right, and they're also less sophisticated. We have seen a number of plots involving converts, for example, in 20 California in 2005, trying to attack military installations, but nothing like the sophistication of these people in Europe, who have gone and got training in Pakistan.
Now, this Frick character...
SANCHEZ: This Fritz fellow, yeah.
CRUICKSHANK: Fritz fellow in Germany, he's now being described by the German media as the ringleader of this plot.
SANCHEZ: That's amazing. And how did al Qaeda get to him? We're down to like 20, 30 seconds. But how would al Qaeda get to a guy like that?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, it's the million-dollar question. And obviously we're hearing from Paula Newton that he was not from a socioeconomically unprivileged background. It's an ideological thing.
For all these people, something happens in their life. Maybe they have drug, alcohol problems. They're kind of the born-again Muslims, if you like, that they attach on to these radical groups. We don't know enough about this case right now, but that's been the pattern of other cases.
SANCHEZ: Thanks so much. We appreciate it. Paul Cruickshank, thanks for being with us.
CRUICKSHANK: Great to be with you.
SANCHEZ: Well, we got a new report card to worry about now. This one is for people who are supposed to keep our homeland safe and our borders secure. How bad are the grades? Stay tuned. We are going to be sharing it with you.
And then later, they should have known better. Now a vicious Web posting is coming back to haunt them.
Plus, today's lesson for would-be presidents. Flag waving doesn't always work.
SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back to OUT IN THE OPEN. I'm Rick Sanchez. Now, as we have said, in just five days, we're marking the anniversary of 9/11. The Department of Homeland Security was created in the wake of those attacks. We merged together 22 government agencies to both supersize and streamline our fight against terrorism.
Guess what? It's just gotten a terrible report card from the Government Accountability Office, Congress' watchdog agency. The GAO looked at 171 different goals. Only 46 percent have been achieved; 49 percent have not.
We can't go through all 171 topics, so we're going to try to break it down for you this way. The department has made substantial progress in improving maritime security. That's a good grade for protecting our seaports. There is moderate progress in immigration enforcement, aviation, surface transportation security, and protecting critical infrastructure, like our bridges, our tunnels, and our highways.
There is modest progress in border security and immigration services, as well. But look here. These are problem areas, where the government is failing. There's only limited progress in emergency preparedness and response, like after a terror attack or a disaster. And it has failed in keeping up with science and technology.
Does this concern you? Well, the report card has DHS officials boiling mad.
In fact, check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL SCHNEIDER, DHS UNDERSECRETARY: The department continues to believe that they used a flawed methodology in preparing its report, which resulted in many of the assessments not fully reflecting the department's progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi is the chairman of the House Homeland Security committee.
I guess, as a Democrat, we need to be clear about this, because you just heard what the gentleman said from DHS. He says, look, we don't trust the report.
The last thing you want to do is gloat about something like this, right? But it does seem, at least the way we have looked at the GAO before, and the stuff they have put out, that it would be fair, right? You wouldn't think that they have an agenda set here, right?
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Well, that's correct, Rick.
There are agency that looks over our shoulders. We ask them to look at certain things and report back to us. And, in this instance, that's what they have done. SANCHEZ: But, as a viewer, I'm sitting at home wondering, how do you make sure that -- is there any reason to believe the GAO would want to put out a report that in any way besmirches the reputation of the people who are trying to keep our country safe?
THOMPSON: Oh, no, there's no reason for that.
I trust the GAO. They are professionals. They do their job. They bring us the facts. And, as members of Congress, we are supposed to receive it and make legislation from it.
SANCHEZ: Well, if that's the case -- and here's what, you know, you have to ask when you look at this report. Haven't we spent billions and billions of dollars on this?
Shouldn't Americans, shouldn't we as Americans look at this and say, what are we giving you our tax money for, if you can't get the job done?
THOMPSON: Well, I think GAO indicates that for the past four years, only one area, at maritime security, have we really succeeded in.
The department continues to be plagued with vacancies, continues to be plagued with programs that start and stop in the middle of the stream. So, clearly, they have given us this report card to say to members of Congress and the department, here's what you need to do to guarantee that America will be safe.
And I think, as legislators, we have to take this report, and move forward, and correct those items they have outlined.
SANCHEZ: Well, I will tell you probably should do as a legislator, is contact the guys at DHS and say, what's going on here? We want a full report from you guys.
I'm sure you have probably tried to do that, right? What's been the response?
THOMPSON: Well, the response is just what you saw earlier in your clip: denial. But our interest is to get to the bottom, to make it correct.
We will go forward. We had a hearing yesterday with Secretary Chertoff. We will have hearings in the future. I can guarantee you that this report, along with other information, will be used by our committee to make America safe. This information is absolutely vital to keeping the homeland secure.
SANCHEZ: So, you're alarmed by this. And I imagine you would be. After anyone looks at this report, you would be alarmed, although the White House is going to say to you, by the way, we haven't been hit in six years, so, we must be doing something right.
To that, you have got 10 seconds to respond. What would you say? THOMPSON: Well, that is no reason to say that we have succeeded. We have a lot to work on. We look at this report. We will take this report and move forward.
SANCHEZ: Congressman Bennie Thompson, we thank you, sir, for taking time to talk to us.
THOMPSON: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: All right.
You're not going to believe some of the videos that we're about to show you here.
We're going to begin in Sydney, Australia. This is the Asian- Pacific Summit. This is a motorcade, but it's not a real motorcade. They're actually faking some people out, but they're able to get through the summit, right past the security point.
And guess who's there leading the motorcade? You're not going to believe it. See that right there? The guy is dressed as Osama bin Laden. And they let him get all the way to the point in front of the hotel where President Bush was staying. That is what $200,000 worth of security gets you these days.
Now on to Des Moines, Iowa. Freshly minted presidential candidate Fred Thompson, this is his coming out in front of the media, the very first time he gives a speech, telling his supporters what's he going to do. And guess what happens? Somehow, Rudy Giuliani sneaks into this thing and puts a flag and a big banner in front of his face throughout the entire speech over and over again. You can't even see the man.
By the way, the bit about Giuliani? We're kidding. More pics coming up in just a minute.
People post the most obnoxious stuff you have ever seen online, right? We have all seen it time to time. Well, take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that, if Castro dies and Cuba becomes open again, do you think those Cubans from Florida will actually go back there?
GORDON-BELL: Of course not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think that?
GORDON-BELL: Do you think the Easter Bunny is real?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Do they regret saying things like that and, actually, a whole lot worse?
I'm going to ask one of these Patriot Dames next.
And then look down in the left-hand corner. How fast can this bike actually go? Better yet, how fast can the car that is chasing it go? You can't see it, because we have got that thing in front of there, but pretty fast, folks. We will tell you exactly how fast. They're trying to set a record and get famous. We will take you to it.
We will be right back.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back.
Tonight, a look at some of the things that you tend to find on YouTube, but maybe you wish that you hadn't found. It's a free country, though, right? So, anybody can put anything they want out there, two women -- they're sisters -- who have a Web site where they're saying things about Jews, about Hispanics, about blacks, and they also post videos on YouTube, like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we're going to talk about today is extremely controversial.
GORDON-BELL: I will say it. Jews corrupt. That's why we didn't invent it. It's been centuries, centuries of it. They're not liked.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They helped the blacks for a long time. They helped the blacks get really messed up, destroy their neighborhoods, destroy their culture, gave them a new rap industry culture, gave them a new Ebonics culture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: We have always said on this show that people are entitled to their own prejudices, right? But here is what makes this story really more of a story. One of those two women that you just see right there is a veteran police officer in Columbus, Ohio. She's been reassigned now to a desk job because of these videos, by the way.
Joining us now is one of those sisters, Barbara Gordon-Bell.
Just to be fair here, you're not the police officer. Your sister is.
I guess let's start where most people would probably want to ask. Do you do this because you want to shock, or do you do this because you tend to be discriminatory, someone would say even bigoted, after listening to some of the things you guys said?
GORDON-BELL: Well, I -- good evening, by the way.
I believe that some people do tend to think that we're bigoted because of the way that we have been portrayed so far. But, if you listen to the full content of our message, it has nothing to do with race, and it has nothing to do with bigotry. It has to do...
SANCHEZ: Well, how do you -- OK. Give me context. I'm going to try and be as fair as I can with you. Give me context to a statement like: Jews are corrupt. Jews are the problem. Jews messed up the blacks. Miami is a Third World country. Influential African- Americans dislike other African-Americans, because they know how to use syllables -- or -- pardon me -- influential African-Americans are disliked by other African-Americans because they use syllables.
Put context around any of those things for me.
GORDON-BELL: Well, OK.
To start at the -- the beginning, with our Jews videos, what we're talking about in those videos is about mega-giant media, which is in -- the Jews are in control of. We have done the research on it. We're putting it out there, because we see constantly on these cable television programs and talk analysts, they keep telling us how they are problems in our country, but no one ever touches as to who's the problem in our country. And the people that do tend to get near it are either called racist or somehow silence is the result of that.
SANCHEZ: You know, it's such an old argument that somehow all the Jews would, what, get together and plan to do something in this country? Do what?
GORDON-BELL: Well, no, that's -- No. 1, we've never said it was all the Jews. We're saying who the Jews are, and we've pointed that out in our videos. Up until five weeks ago we had people looking at our YouTube videos and they were -- we were in debates, we were talking, it was back and forth. Then we started getting folks that were saying, um, oh, you're saying that all the Jews are bad, you're anti-Semitic, you hate Jews, that's not what we're saying.
SANCHEZ: You know, obviously you can go on for a long, long time, and say an awful lot of things, but people are going to pick out what you say that seem to be the strongest. And when you make comments like that, how can you not expect it? By the way, let's talk about your sister real quick.
You know, if you want the feelings, it's great, and if you want to put them out there, it's great, but she's a public servant. And don't you think that she should not have made these comments? Because in Columbus, Ohio, I guarantee you there are Jews, there are blacks and there are Hispanics. Right? And she's serving them. They're paying for her taxes -- they're paying their taxes to pay her salary.
GORDON-BELL: And she has served them well for over 15 years. There's never been an issue.
SANCHEZ: But, how can she be serving them well if she's putting out a video besmirching those people.
GORDON-BELL: We're not besmirching them. We're trying to reach out to these people and we're trying to help them and trying to show other Americans that you shouldn't be afraid to say what's on your mind.
SANCHEZ: So you think -- and this is a really good question. Do you think an African-American or a Hispanic or a Jew would agree with any of your statement?
GORDON-BELL: I think that there are certain Jews that would agree and there are certain Hispanics that would agree. I think -- I met a Hispanic, just the other day, putting in carpeting for me and his wife on a waiting list for two years, I asked him, I said, how do you feel about people that come and cut in line? Because you're doing it the right way, going through the process...
SANCHEZ: One final question before you take us there because we're just running out of time -- and I apologize, but aside from the guy who put in your carpet, how many Hispanic, Jewish or African- American dear friends do you have?
GORDON-BELL: Well, I have several friends that are Jewish. I have Hispanic friends. I have Black friends. I have a diverse variety of friends. I've been called many things in my life. I've never been called racist. I've been called outspoken, opinionated, an activist, but I've never been called a racist.
SANCHEZ: We thank you, Barbara Gordon-Bell. I'm sorry we've run out of time, but we appreciate you coming on the show and explaining your point of view.
SANCHEZ: I think everybody thinks about this now and then, chucking your day job and living out your dream. We like to find people who've done that and tell you their stories. Here's Ali Velshi with tonight's "Life after Work."
SANDY HALL, DOG BREEDER: What a big boy!
ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Gibson, the tallest dog in the world, that's according to the Guinness World Record. His owner, Sandy Hall, named him after her treasured Gibson guitar, a relic from 30 years in the music business. Sandy left the San Francisco music scene, some nine years ago to pursuing another dream, breeding been great deigns.
HALL: It's a nice way to spend your life. I wish I could have done it earlier.
VELSHI: At 59, Sandy makes a living breeding dogs, but she's keeping Gibson for herself.
HALL: Hello, everybody. This is Gibson.
VELSHI: Size isn't the only thing that makes this dog unique. Gibson is also a therapy dog. He visits nursing homes and schools in Grass Valley, California. He provides comfort and entertainment to enthusiastic crowds.
HALL: He makes people happy. I said, that's going to be your job, you just make people happy and you make people smile.
I love you.
GIBSON, DOG: I love you.
HALL: Oh, good one.
Making people happy, it's just a great gift. I wish I could be almost more like him in so many ways.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I have some of your ice cream?
HALL: I don't have the same temperament.
VELSHI: Ali Velshi, CNN.
SANCHEZ: Something big is going on now in the world of entertainment. Next, who just gave a foul-mouthed black comedian a hook?
And here's our motorcycle man, again. How fast is he really going to go? We'll let you know.
SANCHEZ: Remember comedian Michael Richards, his racist rant on stage was filled with the profanity and the repeated use, of course, of the "N" word?
Welcome back, everybody. This set off a national debate about whether it's appropriate for white entertainers to ever use the "N" word. But what about black entertainers? Well, it looks like we've finally gotten the answer and it really focuses on the Black comedian Eddie Griffin, see right there, at an appearance Friday in Miami, he got the hook right in the middle of the routine that was a lot like Richards' filled with profanity, the use of the "N" word.
Joining me now, is somebody who actually witnessed Griffin's performance from the audience, Dominique Sharpton, daughter of the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Thank you for being with us.
DOMINIQUE SHARPTON, DAUGHTER OF REV AL SHARPTON: Thank you for having me.
SANCHEZ: So, what did he do? SHARPTON: Well, he got on stage and he did his act, and it was offensive, and so he got kicked off. But, um...
SANCHEZ: Why was it offensive?
SHARPTON: Well, he got on the stage, and he start -- first of all, he was smoking a cigarette, so this is Black Enterprise, and first thing I said, him coming on smoking a cigarette, I'm like, OK, what's going on. You know? But you know, people were very receptive to him, and he was doing his jokes and then he started getting offensive. When I say that, he started using the "N" word, basically. He started saying, well, I don't know why, you know, they're trying to ban the word, you know, as good as the word has been to us. And so he's like, so I'm going to use the word "N"...
SANCHEZ: He said that, he said, as good as the word has been to us?
SHARPTON: Correct. I'm going to start using the word M-Fer until we bury that word.
SANCHEZ: And then what happened?
SHARPTON: People started laughing. You know, so, he's like, so basically by the end of the night, you guy are going to say I'm a funny M-Fer. You know, so people started laughing at that. And you know, he kept going on with this "N" word thing, "N" word thing and people were laughing. I was kind of like, OK, you know, this is not good.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, you know, you start feeling a little uncomfortable when something like that's happening. At some point, it's like, OK, enough is enough, now you're embarrassing yourself. I understand that Mr. Graves, who's the head of the association came out. Right?
SANCHEZ: And this is Earl Graves, and he essentially took him off the stage, right?
SHARPTON: Well yes, he was removed the stage before Mr. Graves came on the stage, but he was removed because of the "N" word and also because he was saying the "B" word. And that was after about maybe eight minutes into his act, after the "N" word joke. He started saying, well, you know, Kobe Bryant was allegedly -- he allegedly raped a White "B" and he walked and O.J. Simpson killed a White "B," and he walked.
SANCHEZ: So, here you have, and I think this is fascinating, it's really a milestone in our country, certainly a milestone I would say -- and better said from you than me, respectfully, as an African- American -- where an African-American entertainer is being disrespectful, is using the kind of language we don't want to hear, and he's yanked off the stage by an African-American organizer and then cheered by an African-American audience. True? SHARPTON: True. True. Well see, that's what -- that's why I was a little upset. You know, but, you know, but Mr. Graves came on, and, you know, he said we will not allow this to happen, not, you know, we've come too far to go backwards and my grandchildren are in the audience and...
SANCHEZ: And you feel good about that?
SHARPTON: Oh, yeah.
SANCHEZ: Did you call your dad right then and there when it happened?
SHARPTON: But then he got a standing ovation from the same audience that cheered for Mr. Griffin. So, it was kind of like, you know...
SANCHEZ: Graves got a standing ovation?
SHARPTON: Graves got a standing ovation. So, you know, me...
SANCHEZ: That's a good thing.
SHARPTON: Me being some my young 20's this was historical for me, because I had never witnessed this firsthand, you know, as a witness, of something like this, you know, somebody taking a stand on someone like Eddie Griffin, who was supposed like respected, he's a comedian...
SANCHEZ: Turning point for African-Americans?
SHARPTON: Correct, correct, AND in a controversial time, this is saying, well yes, we're definitely taking stands and we're going to change this.
SANCHEZ: Good for you. Dominique Sharpton, thanks so for being with us.
SHARPTON: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Really appreciate it.
Next video, we want to show you. You want speed, we got speed. This is a British motorcyclist and he's being chased by a guy, and the guy's got a camera right on the speedometer. All right, see this speedometer, right there, I'm going to put a little circle around it, so you can see it. Keep an eye on that from time to time, because we're going to keep going back to it.
First he's chasing the guy on the motorcycle, apparently this is something they do, they put it together, then put it on YouTube and they're trying to see who can set the record and actually go the fasted. Well, apparently this joker here has gone faster than anything else.
All right, watch this thing right now, 150, 151, 162, he's doing he's doing a hundred -- he goes all the way up to 176 miles-an-hour, which again, is apparently a record. Here's the problem, police say they're now looking for him, there's an alert out, and when they get him, they say they will prosecute for doing this.
Now, take a look at this crash coming to us from Utah. When you first look at it, you say OK, look, he actually was going so fast, say police, that he went over the barricade that you see right there. All right? That barricade that you see right there -- let me get rid of that for you -- and he apparently ended up on the side over here. You say, OK, that happens from time to time, what's the big deal?
Will, show them the other angle and we'll show you what the big deal is. Oh, my goodness. There's the car, imagine what that drop would have been if he'd gone just another couple of feet. Amazing video and pictures to share on that.
Now, here's another one, look at this. Not where everybody ought to park a truck loaded with 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Right? This is in Jonesville, South Carolina, tanker truck, apparently he was going down the highway, may have lost control of his vehicle, for some reason, don't know if he was asleep, but we do know this, he ended up in somebody's home, cabin is actually buried into the home. The home was actually moved from its foundation. The guy living there was taken to the hospital as a result. We don't know how bad his injuries are. No charges for the truck driver, at least not at this point. More pics to share with you as they come in.
Still ahead, would you fire someone for wearing a hairdo like this to work? Well, this happened to one woman. She says it's racist and she's suing.
SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. For a typical 12 years old, summer vacation means what, video games, maybe summer camp? Certainly not launching a nationwide campaign to register strangers as bone marrow donors, right? That's exactly what on 12-year-old did and you're going to meet him, right here, because he's tonight he's CNN's Hero.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we're on.
PATRICK PEDRAJA, YOUNG HERO: The doctor came in and just said, "You have leukemia."' And it was devastating, horrifying and scary. All I knew about cancer was that both of my grandparents had died from it.
Well, I was in the hospital and I was watching the TV and a Hispanic girl died because she couldn't find a bone marrow transplant match. You're most likely to find a match in your own ethnicity.
There are six million donors on the National Marrow Donor Registry.
Only 27 percent are minorities.
(Source: National Marrow Donor Program Registry)
PEDRAJA: I'm half Hispanic, and I decided to change it, because it could affect me too. I said, "Mom, I want to do something. Well, let's have a bone marrow drive." And she said, "What?'' I said "Yeah, we're going to go drive for these bone marrow donors." And then it turned into Driving for Donors.
Hi. My name is Pat Pedraja and I'm 12 years old and I'm trying to sign people up to the National Marrow Registry. It's our responsibility as a human being to watch out for someone else.
Driving for Donors is a 30-city national marrow drive. We sold advertisement spots on the bus and on the head, and raised close to $100,000.
AIRAM DA SILVA: What Patrick is doing is something that it comes from inside of him. Ok, it's something that is very personal to his heart. My sister died of leukemia because she could not find a match within the Brazilian community. Seventy percent of the case you do not find a match with your brother or sister, and you have to find a match in the national registry.
PEDRAJA: If you sign up to the registry, it's just a cheek swab. And you know that you could be the one to save a kid's life.
PEDRAJA: And you are going to be on the registry until your 61st birthday, which is a really long time away. This is your card. If you ever move or anything, just call it. And you are now a number.
In only three months, Pat has signed up over 5,000 people to the National Bone Marrow Registry.
Source: Driving for Doners
PEDRAJA: I don't need a bone marrow transplant myself. I'm in remission and I feel fine, but I still have cancer.
DA SILVA: As a 12-year-old, he's showing that each one of us can do so much to save others people's life.
PEDRAJA: People don't know that it's such a big issue, that people are dying each day. And I want to change that.
Do you know a hero? CNN.com/Heroes.
SANCHEZ: And by the way, if you want to know more about tonight's hero or nominate one of your own, go to our Website, cnn.com/heroes.
Up next, you are not going to believe this woman says she lost her job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALISON: He said this is an extreme hairdo, and I would not wear it in his prison and so I was terminated on May 16 for not cutting my hair.
ACOSTA: You were fired because of your hair?
ALISON: Yes, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: A hairdo. Can you believe that? Is there more to do here than just hair? Stay right there, we'll talk about it.
SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. What would you do if your boss said, change hairstyle or I'm going to fire you? That's what two women say in Virginia say happened to them, and what's worse, they sat it's really, at least in their mind, about race because they didn't have wild hairdos or anything of the sort. Here's CNN's Jim Acosta, so you can see for yourself.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Out in this rural section of eastern Virginia is a prison having what you might call a bad hair day. Correctional officers Donna Tate Alison and Juanita Hudson say earlier this year their supervisors at the Haynesville State Prison gave them a surprising ultimatum -- change their hairstyles or lose their jobs.
DONNA TATE ALISON, FIRED OVER HAIRDO: He said this is an extreme hairdo, and I would not wear it in his prison and so I was terminated on May 16 for not cutting my hair.
ACOSTA (on camera): You were fired because of your hair?
ALISON: Yes, sir.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Allison, who wears very short dreadlocks, lost her job. Hudson was suspended for wearing her hair in braids. She's filed a grievance with the state. Together, they claim the state's dress code for prison workers, which bars "extreme, eccentric or trendy hairstyles" is being unfairly applied to Black employees.
JUANITA HUDSON, SUSPENDED OVER HAIRDO: It's racism, plain and simple. No question about it.
ACOSTA: The policy also says officers must project a paramilitary image, an image Alison says she exemplified, being a veteran of the U.S. Army. And then there was this job -- the White House?
ALISON: The White House.
ACOSTA (on camera): And how many years did you work there?
ALISON: I worked with the Clinton administration eight years.
ACOSTA: Did they ever speak with you about your hair?
ALISON: No, sir.
ACOSTA: Officials at the prison and at the Department of Corrections declined our request for an interview. In response to these complaints, the state of Virginia says it is now reviewing its grooming policies for its correctional employees. The matter is now in the hands of the state's Public Safety secretary, who just so happens to be related to an American civil rights icon.
(voice-over): John Marshall, son of the first African-American supreme court justice, Thurgood Marshall, also refused to comment. But law professor Jack Raisner says employers actually have plenty of leeway when it comes to dress codes, as long as they're applied fairly.
JACK RAISNER, SAINT JOHN'S UNIVERSITY: The employers can set the image they want that their employees should follow, and employees generally don't have a right to dress or wear their hair however they please.
ACOSTA: Donna Tate Alison is now working with a lawyer to get her job back. Juanita has returned to Haynesville, but her grievance against her supervisors is still pending.
ALISON: I will fight until the last drop because it's not right.
ACOSTA: Both say it's time for a change in the prison rules, not in their hairstyles.
Jim Acosta, CNN, Haynesville, Virginia.
SANCHEZ: Now, what do you think about this, about the boss that fired two women over their hairdos? We wanted to find out, so we made a trip to a beauty shop.
SANCHEZ: You guys ready to watch this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES: Yes.
SANCHEZ: Here we go.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Out in this rural section of eastern Virginia is a prison having what you might call a bad hair day. Correctional officers Donna Tate Alison and Juanita Hudson...
SANCHEZ: What did you guys think after watching that piece, anybody?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's disgusting.
SANCHEZ: Say it again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's disgusting. I'm not surprised, though.
SANCHEZ: Why aren't you surprised?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because a lot of people feel that way, we shouldn't wear certainly natural hairstyles in the workplace.
SANCHEZ: This is a very touchy subject when it comes to Black women. Yeah. Yeah. Make us understand that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, with Black women, their hair is everything to them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are we still trying to conform to, you know, a European standard of what hair beauty is supposed to be?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's her hair, that's what God gave her, that's how she wants to wear it, so there's nothing wrong with it.
SANCHEZ: He has to allow her to be Black, right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, it's not being black, green or yellow, it's about allowing her to express herself the way she wants to.
SANCHEZ: So, you're saying, look, this is who we are?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. Accept us.
SANCHEZ: And you can't expect us to look like a White person?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at all. Look at us. Do we look White?
SANCHEZ: Is this a bigoted act on this man's part?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES: Yes, it is.
SANCHEZ: Yes, no question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No question about it.
SANCHEZ: There you have it. Next, an emotional farewell for one of the world's most popular performers, opera legend, Luciano Pavarotti.
SANCHEZ: Maybe on of the most important pictures to show you before we let you go. This is in Modena, Italy in the streets paying tribute to Luciano Pavarotti. The body of the legendary operatic tenor was taken to the cathedral where his funeral will be held on Saturday. Pavarotti died of pancreatic cancer. He was 71 years old.
And with that, we take you now to LARRY KING LIVE, good night.
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