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New Cap Could Stop Oil Leak; Clinton: Never Seen Damage Like Haiti; Quake Survivor: "It is Futile Now"; Suicide Bombers Strike World Cup Fans; U.S. Missionaries Hurt in Attacks; Bailout Vote Haunts Lawmakers; Castro Makes Live TV Appearance; Inside the Search for a Serial Killer; Octopus Beats the Odds

Aired July 12, 2010 - 18:00   ET



SUSAN CANDIOTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's pretty hard not to compare him to the true life character in the movie "Catch Me If You Can."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The James Bond of the sky.

CANDIOTI: No comment from his mother Sunday. Outside her home, this message -- if you go past this sign, you will be shot.


CANDIOTI: So far CNN has been unable to reach Moore's attorney. This week, the teenager is expected to make a court appearance in the Bahamas before going toe to toe with the FBI back home. Susan Candioti, CNN, New York.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Here in "The Situation Room," happening now the delicate efforts to put a new and better cap on that gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. This one has the potential to completely stop the flow of crude.

Also, a deadly terror attack on World Cup fans. American missionaries among the dozens injured. Details of the group claiming responsibility and its ties to al Qaeda.

And Fidel Castro is scheduled to speak live on Cuban television this hour for the first time in years, expected to warn of a possible nuclear war. You're going to see it here in "The Situation Room."

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in "The Situation Room."

In the Gulf of Mexico right now, all eyes and all hopes are pinned on a new device that could be the start of a new chapter in the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The next few hours will be critical. We're following every moment of it for you both on the floor and on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd. He's working the story for us. Brian, explain to our viewers, the delicate situation that's going on right now.

BRIAN TODD: Wolf, there's a new sealing cap that BP is put into place as we speak. If this works like they think it might, then this main leak could be completely stopped, at least temporarily, for the first time in the more than 80 days since the spill began.

Taking a look now at the live pictures that we're seeing from the leaking well head site, we see some of the efforts going on now. This is the cap we're talking about now. We believe this is part of it. This is the leaking well.

By tonight, this new cap could be in place, called a three-ram cap stack. As of late this afternoon, it was about 40 feet away from where it will be installed. It replaces the old cap that was in place before. That cap was removed on Saturday to make way for this new gap.

That's why you're seeing the oil gushing out the way it is. Since that cap was removed, more oil has been gushing out of the well, less oil has been captured and siphoned to the surface, but they had to get the old cap out of there to move this new one in there.

And here's a picture of the new cap that we're going to show you, called again a three-ram stack. It's 30 feet tall. It weighs 80 tons. The three rams are three different valves, shut off valves, this has a connector and what's called a flange transition spool that's already connected to the leaking well.

You see you've got the three valves here, these are the shut off valves and flange transition spool here that's what's already down there. We're going to show you an animation where you're going to see how they're putting it on.

This is the transition spool they've already put in place. That's an animation of that going in place. Then the ROV's kind of sealing it in then comes the new sealing cap, the three-ram stack that the ROV's move into place. They're bringing it down and that's what's going on right now.

They're getting ready to lower that down this evening then as you can see the oil is still leaking out. That's where the three valves come into play. The ROV's will come in. You're going to see them moving just momentarily while the oil still leaking out slightly, the ROVS are going to come in and they're going to actually seal the three valves.

They're going to shut off the three valves as illustrated in this animation. And you see that the oil will then stop. Once they shut off those three valves, the oil stops. So at that point, they're going to start doing some pretty important testing of the integrity of that well.

BLITZER: That testing is critical, isn't it Brian?

TODD: It is. BP officials told us this is a pressure test and they say they want there to be higher pressure. If there's higher pressure, it likely means it the cap is holding the oil in. If there is lower pressure in the well that means there's a leak some of the location and they're going to start to - start siphoning the oil - into the containment ships again.

If they need to do that, we're going to show you a diagram as to how that's going to work. They're going to essentially have to bring in more vessels. The Discovery Enterprise will be brought back. That will probably be hooked up to this new three-ram valve stack that's going to be right here.

The Helix Producer, which is actually in place now, they're getting that set up to be ready to go, that's going to be on this free standing riser over here. The pie seize will be connected to the three-standing riser. The Clear Leader will probably be connected to another three-standing riser here.

Again, with the main oil coming from the valve stack going to the Discovery Enterprise. That's essentially how it's going to work. But again, that's only if this cap does not hold and they think they need to go to more siphoning of oil to the surface, Wolf, this next few hour, going to be very crucial.

BLITZER: We're going to be watching it very closely, Brian Todd. Thanks very much. We're going to also stay on top of all of these developments over the course of this next hour if that cap goes down, we'll bring it to you live. You'll see it right here in "The Situation Room."

Other news, today marks six months since an earthquake killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti and left more than 1.5 million homeless. CNN's Anderson Cooper is now back in Port-Au-Prince. He spoke exclusively with former President Bill Clinton who's been coordinating a lot of the international relief effort. Listen to this.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, AC 360: In terms of other jobs you've done, how tough is this one? Where does this compare?

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Well, the geographical expanse of this compared with the tsunami is much more narrow. That's the good news. The fact that the Dominican Republic, their nearest neighbor is committed and all the Caribbean and Central and South America and Mexico are committed, as I said, you know, this is something that Venezuela, Cuba and the U.S. agreed on, but also all of our neighbors, all the neighbors of Haiti that's a good news.

But I've never dealt with a place that lost essentially its urban center and 30 percent of its population and far more than that of its GDP. We've got to go back and reconstruct it. On the other hand, because of the scale, if we do it right and they do it right.

I think they'll be much better off when the rebuilding is done economically and socially than they are now. I think they'll have universal education for the first time. I think they'll have a health care system for the first time. I think they'll have a competitive economic investment climate for the first time with good infrastructure and airports and ports won't have to cost an arm and leg to use because they'll have other ways of raising revenue.

They'll be able to get more and more investments. So they might become the first energy independent place in the entire Caribbean, which would be pretty impressive.


BLITZER: You can see a lot of more of Anderson's interview with the formere president later tonight on AC 360. He'll be live from Port- Au-Prince at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. That's coming up.

Six months after that earthquake, some experts say it could take 20 years to remove all the rubble on the streets. For so many survivors the emotional wreckage will remain for a lifetime. CNN's Ivan Watson is joining us now from Port-Au-Prince with more.

Ivan, you've been checking in on some of the survivors, people you met six months ago. Seeing how they're doing now, I know you want to share some of your impressions.

IVAN WATSON: That's right, Wolf. More than 225,000 people were killed on that terrible day. We saw in January remarkable stories of survival and I checked in with one man and his family. People who survived the demolition of their house, they have not had an easy time in the six months since.


WATSON (voice-over): We last saw Michel Clervil six months ago, looking lost with wife in a sea of makeshift tents. They have just taken shelter with their children in this filthy camp and they still appeared to be in shock. In fact, Michelle was one of the lucky ones because every one of his family members survived the collapse of his five-storey house.

(on camera): This is amazing. There were six people in this building and they all made it out alive without any injuries.

(voice-over): In the first days after the earthquake, Michel began single-handedly demolishing what was left of his house. It had been his only source of income. This middle class father of six put his kids through school by renting out rooms to tenants. Today, this is all that's left. An empty lot, littered with garbage.

When I met Michel last week, I expected to hear that the last six months had been very difficult, but I did not expect to hear this --

(on camera): Michel says six months after the earthquake life doesn't make much sense to him anymore. It's futile because a couple of months after the earthquake, after his house was destroyed, his wife, who we met passed away from a stroke.

(voice-over): She was listening to the news on the radio Michel says. She heard we would all have to leave and move elsewhere and then she collapsed on the ground. Michel and his son bring us to a cemetery. This is where they buried Elian. She was 55 years old and had high blood pressure. Her son believe she is another victim of the earthquake.

It's the aftershocks again and again he says. She just couldn't take the stress.

After sunset, Michel takes us to this camp where he now lives. A hard rain begins to fall as we walk through a maze of shacks to reach his shelter. There is no electricity here just a one-room hut with a bed and a leaky roof, lit by the occasional flash of lightning.

According to some estimates, the earthquake killed at least 220,000 people. But it is much harder to quantify the impact this terrible act of nature continues to have on millions of Haitians. Michel Clervil is now penniless, homeless and heartbroken. He's a survivor of the earthquake.


WATSON: I think to say to say just because you survive the earthquake, it does not make life any easier afterwards, Wolf. This man is clearly struggling to get by day by day -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Ivan. Thanks very much. Ivan, Anderson and Sanjay, they're going be there all week. We're going to update you on what's going on in Haiti six months after the earthquake.

Jack Cafferty is off today. Among the stories we're working right now in "The Situation Room." Suicide bombers target World Cup fans with deadly results. We're learning new details about some of the American victims.

Also, it's been years since he's been seen on live television. But this hour, we're expecting to hear from Cuba's Fidel Castro, talking about the U.S., Iran, nuclear war, among other subjects. Stand by.

And a war of words between the NAACP and the Tea Party, including now charges of racism.


BLITZER: A war of words is breaking out between two groups with considerable political clout. The NAACP and the Tea Party Movement. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is weighing in right now, weighing a possible resolution that could condemn what it calls racist elements in the Tea Party. Our CNN's Political Producer Shannon Travis is joining us now.

Shannon, this would be the first time that the NAACP has weighed in on the Tea Party is that right?

SHANNON TRAVIS, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: You're absolutely right, Wolf. This will be a major deal, the fact that this resolution is even going to be offered tomorrow, and if it actually passes it will be a major deal.

Basically, the NAACP feels that there are racist elements in the Tea Party Movement. They feel the leaders of the movement are not speaking out about it and they're saying you have to repudiate it. You can't have it both ways.

I got off the phone a little while ago with Ben Jealous who's the - as you know the president and CEO of the NAACP and this is the quote that he gave, quote, "The Tea Party Movement knows that there are tens of thousands of dedicated racists and ultra nationalists in their ranks."

He also said this about these groups that the leaders again - that these groups must be repudiated by the regular law abiding members or they must take responsibility. So this is very serious and it's a major deal.

BLITZER: Pretty powerful statement. The Tea Party, at least officials have been quick to respond.

TRAVIS: They' been very quick to respond. In fact, my phone has been ringing off the hook. I spoke with Mark Williams, who as you know was the former chairman of the Tea Party Express. He was livid.

He said this is the pot calling the kettle black. He said that actually he flipped it and said the Tea Partiers are actually fighting for civil rights, not just for African-Americans, but for everyone.

I also spoke with Lloyd Marcos who's a lot of people who was the one of the really vocal African-Americans who's on the circuit he performs and he's livid as well. He used the word, they lie. He's actually forming a group - it's a play on the NAACP that he's saying, it expands the rights for people, conservative people of all colors.

BLITZER: I know, you spent a lot of time with the Tea Party Movement traveling around the country and we've sent you on a lot of those assignments, any indication why all of this is happening right now?

TRAVIS: It's unclear why they will be introducing this legislation tomorrow. It could be because they're holding their annual convention right now in Kansas City and this was just a good time to actually do it. You' got the midterm elections coming up.

So it's unclear of the exact timing, but definitely to have a large audience out there in Kansas City with the convention, first lady Michelle Obama was there today so that could play into it as well.

BLITZER: We'll see tomorrow what happens with the NAACP and you'll update us. Let us know what specific evidence they have because this is a really serious charge of racism. If they have hard evidence, we'll want to know what they're saying. We'll get the response from Tea Party officials.

TRAVIS: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Shannon, thanks very much. Suicide attacks killing at Uganda, killing 74 people including one American, as they're watching the World Cup final. I'll ask our National Security analyst, Peter Bergen, what we know about the group that's claiming responsibility.

And after more than 30 years as a fugitive, will the Oscar-winning filmmaker Roman Polanski finally be returning to the United States to face child sex charges. There's been a ruling in the extradition case, stick around. You're in "The Situation Room."


BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick is monitoring some of the other top stories in "The Situation Room" right now. Deb, what else is going on?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf. Well, Switzerland will not return Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski to the U.S. to be sentenced on a 33-year-old child sex conviction.

The Swiss Justice Minister says U.S. officials did not supply the necessary documentation for extradition. In 1977, Polanski pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. He fled the country before sentencing.

And if you have an iPhone, listen up. A court ruling could clear the way for millions of Apple iPhone users to sue Apple and AT&T for alleged antitrust violations. A federal judge is allowing a class action suit against the two companies to go ahead and says anyone who signed a two-year iPhone contract with AT&T in the past three years can join.

The suit alleges the company has conspired to limit customers' options to sign with any other carrier and that Apple holds a monopoly over iPhone applications.

And he is coming home. A very unusual burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery today for a soldier who died in combat during World War I. The remains of Army Private Thomas Constello were discovered in an overgrown field in Northern France in 2006 by people hunting for metal.

Military investigators used dental records to identify the body. Constello was killed by artillery fire in September of 1918 less than two months before the end of the combat in Western Europe. So he's finally back, Wolf.

BLITZER: Finally back, all right. Thank you very much, Deb for that. A group with ties to al Qaeda now saying, it's behind suicide attacks on World Cup fans. We're going to hear from friends and family from some of the American victims.

Cuba's Fidel Castro, warning of possible nuclear war between the U.S. and Iran. We're expecting to hear from Castro live this hour.

Plus, the extraordinary science and luck that led police to a suspected serial killer. We get an exclusive look. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The White House confirms the FBI will help investigate suicide attacks in Uganda that killed at least 74 people including one American. The bombings happened at a restaurant and at a rugby center in the Ugandan capital. Both were filled with fans watching the World Cup final.

An Islamic terrorist group called (al-Shabab) is claiming responsibility. It's battling the government in nearby Somalia and says the attacks are retaliation for Uganda's contribution to a peacekeeping force there. Let's bring in our National Security analyst, Peter Bergen.

Peter, tell us exactly what we know about this al-Shabab group.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, al-Shabab, which means the youth in Arabic is a group that aligned itself with al Qaeda a little over a year ago. They have recruited American suicide bombers. The first American suicide ever was an al-Shabab, somebody that was recruited from the United States.

They have - there's an American who's one of the leaders is a guy who was a Baptist who grew up in Alabama who's now one of their leaders. So they do have some connection to the United States. They've recruited probably around two dozen, mostly Somalian Americans but also some African-Americans.

But an account in "The Washington Post" says they have somewhere between 300 to 1,000 foreign fighters, a lot of them from neighboring African countries. Wolf, I do think it was significant the bomb was launched at -- one of the targets was an Ethiopian restaurant because this group sees itself as war with the Ethiopian State, which is largely Christian.

This, of course, is an Islamist militant group and the fact that they're doing an operation outside of Somalia is also significant. They did try and kill a Danish cartoonist who painted what they thought was an offensive cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

So they've shown some ability to try to reach out to the west. That attack did not come off, but clearly now with this attack in Uganda they've succeeded.

BLITZER: These were clearly soft target, relatively easy targets in Uganda. Does this group have the capability to launch attacks outside of Somalia against more significant targets?

BERGEN: Well, I mean, I think the fact that they, you know, they attacked Uganda means they can probably attack almost anywhere in Africa. There are plenty of American targets or western targets in Africa and of course, these groups are recruiting foreigners, a number of Brits have shown up in Somalia. I think this Uganda episode is unfortunately probably indicative of other operations that are not just located in Somalia, Wolf.

BLITZER: These Africans in Uganda, they're simply watching a soccer game, the World Cup final. What does that say to you?

BERGEN: These groups are completely nutty and crazy. I mean, they regard people watching soccer as a sort of a crime against Islam and they've been punishing Somalis who play soccer by, you know, in some cases torturing them. This is their kind of mindset of these guys. So watching something as innocuous as the World Cup is in their minds, you know, a crime punishable by death.

BLITZER: These are real, real hard core terrorists. All right, Peter, thanks very much.

An American man as we've been reporting was killed in these Ugandan attacks. Some members of the church in Pennsylvania were among the 85 people. Mary Snow is joining us now from there.

Mary, you got a chance to some of the victims' family members, what are they saying to you?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, members of this congregation who had gone to Uganda to do mission work. Now, five have been seriously injured. They are all expected to live. They had been scheduled to leave Uganda today. Last night they had a goodbye dinner and they were said to be within feet of one of the bombers.



SNOW (voice-over): When Debbie (Bingaman) saw pictures of her injured son, it was more than she could bear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He'll be OK, but he's not smiling.

SNOW: The (Bingaman) spent most of the day at the same church where they first met 18-year-old Kris (Sledge) who became their foster son four years ago. And it's the same church that brought him to Uganda to do mission work. Moments later, word of (inaudible).

(Sledge) was with fellow church members in the Ugandan city of (Kumpala) watching the World Cup when a bomb exploded at a popular restaurant where they had gathered to watch. The (Bingamans) were at dinner when they got the news.

TIM BINGAMAN, FATHER OF KRIS SLEDGE: I was able to speak with Kris for a short time before I lost the call. SNOW: How did he sound?

BINGAMAN: He was pretty upset. He was crying, but he was all the while trying to reassure us that he was OK.

SNOW: Along with Sledge, other church members who were injured, Joanne Kirksteader and her granddaughter Emily, Pamela Cramer and her son Thomas. A team from the church had gone to Uganda to construct a brick wall around a school and church.

Nine members returned last week but because the project wasn't finished, six members stayed behind. It was part of a bond that Christ Community United Methodist Church in the small world Pennsylvania community had formed with the congregation in Uganda.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've had a relationship with a congregation, a sister congregation. And throughout these past years, alternating years, mission teams had traveled from this church to that church to work together.

SNOW: The group also works with orphans, part of the allure for Kris Sledge. His then foster parents, now legal guardians say he's had a tough life.

DEBBIE BINGAMAN, MOTHER OF KRIS SLEDGE: Sometimes I look at him and I'm surprised that he would even think about from his background going to someone who has even a worse background.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A time to get and a time to lose.

SNOW: As they wait to be reunited with Kris who's studying to be a preacher, they rely on their prayers.


SNOW: And just about an hour from now, members from the congregation are going to be gathering here to offer their prayers. The latest word that the church has gotten about the five who have been injured, three are being taken to Nairobi for medical treatment and two others are going to be taken to Johannesburg. Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Mary Snow with that heart breaking story, thank you.

Uganda sits in a region with a very grim recent history. In nearby Somalia, the fragile government is fighting the Islamist group claiming responsibility for this weekend's attacks as well as other militants and terrorists. To the north, the battle between Sudan and armed militias in the Darfur region that sparked a humanitarian crisis. To the east and south, the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya were bombed back in 1998. Also in the south, Rwanda, scene of the 1994 genocide, which killed some 800,000 people. And to the west, the Democratic Republic of Congo where war waged for almost a decade starting back in 1994.

The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, preparing for his first major live television appearance in years. That's coming up.

Also, California police arrest a suspected serial killer, and now they're reopening dozens of so-called cold cases. We're going to tell you about the extraordinary forensic science that led to the suspect.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: It's the vote that's already coming back to haunt both Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike. We're talking about the troubled asset relief program, better known as the bank bailout or T.A.R.P. of 2008. It could be a decisive factor in some of the midterm elections only a few months away. Let's dig deeper with CNN's John King. He's the host of "JOHN KING USA" which begins right at the top of the hour and our senior political analyst, Gloria Borger. Gloria, why would this bank bailout from 2008 be such a huge issue in November 2010?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The public thinks it was a bad deal. They don't think then President Bush at the time did a very good job. They think that Wall Street got the better end of the bargain. More than half the American public, Wolf, doesn't believe that it worked. And there are also, I believe, conflating a punch of issues, which are big government, big deficits, big spending, and the T.A.R.P., if you will, has become a real symbol of all of that.

BLITZER: Even though a lot of the money has been repaid with interest.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: If you look at the numbers. It was controversial. It was a huge government intervention but if you look at the numbers much of the money has come back in but still, this is like a toxic plague to a lot of candidates out there especially conservative candidates. A couple months back, there was an effort to try to get George W. Bush to come out and speak publicly about this because so many Republicans who voted for it were getting hammered back home. There was some effort would he come out and give a speech, would he maybe write an op-ed piece for the newspaper or something and say something like look, this is a really hard vote but I needed them to do this. Blame me. Don't blame them. And he didn't want to do it. But they wanted him to get involved. The tea party movement especially, conservative grassroots, this is everything that's wrong with Washington.

BLITZER: We've seen some Republican candidates lose their primaries, in Utah, for example. But the question is this. Who's going to suffer more because of that vote on T.A.R.P. in November, Democrats or Republicans?

BORGER: In talking to some Democrats today, you know they say it' going to be the Republicans. What they're going to try and go in the mid-term elections is say look, Republicans need to support Wall Street reform. If they don't support Wall Street reform, this kind of thing could happen all over again. The Republicans who voted for the bank bailout, which by the way, Ben Bernanke chairman of the Fed says if we didn't have it, it would have caused a second great depression, why aren't they supporting financial reform?

BLITZER: John McCain is being blasted by his Republican challenger. He has a primary coming up later in August because he voted for it.

KING: He not only voted for it, remember, he and Barack Obama came off the campaign trail, went to that big meeting with President Bush and the Bush white house, then they all agreed, the president and the two candidates for president all agreed to say we need this. We might not love it, but we need it. The economy could fall into a depression. And so he's especially getting whacked for this. So far, the McCain people think he will weather the storm. You will see it being used against some Democrats, but because it is Washington, because there was so much money. Because it's deficit spending it's more being used by conservative challengers against Republicans.

BORGER: Even though George W. Bush was president when it occurred and by the way it got 74 votes in the United States Senate, which is the most bipartisan piece of legislation that I can recall in a long time.

BLITZER: A lot of the conservatives, they just hate the fact that the too big to fail, these Wall Street firms and these big banks were bailed out.

BORGER: Everybody does.

KING: And members are short in politics. It's very hard to think back what it was like in those days and the crisis atmosphere in Washington at that time. We seem far removed from it even though the economy is still struggling in many ways.

BORGER: People are asking the question, they are saying look, the banks are fine now. I'm not so fine. They repaid it with interest, okay. But still, my economic situation is bad. I still don't have a job and I didn't get bailed out.

BLITZER: John's going to have much more coming up at the top of the hour on "JOHN KING USA." Welcome back from your vacation.

KING: Good to see you back as well.

BLITZER: Thank you.

We're standing by for a very rare appearance by Fidel Castro on Cuban TV. He's expected to talk about the United States, Iran, nuclear war, among other things. We're monitoring what's going on. Rick Sanchez is with us.

And the world cup predictions of an octopus. Get this, they got 8 for 8. CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look.


BLITZER: The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is making his first major television appearance live in so many years. Rick Sanchez is joining us in just a moment but I want to play a little clip of what Fidel Castro just said only moments ago on Cuban television.


FIDEL CASTRO (through translator): They are not going to admit the United States that they are -- they are the one who sunk this boat. This sophisticated boat in South Korea 46 men died so what happened? The torpedo they use as a defense how they did it. And mind that they bemoan in the boat in the body of the bow so they promote a conflict between South and North Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, accusing the United States of sinking that North Korean war ship in international waters, killing those 40 South Korean sailors aboard that ship. A serious charge from Fidel Castro. Rick Sanchez is joining us in just a moment. We'll take a quick break and we'll assess the voice. Fidel Castro, what's going on here? Stand by for that.

Also coming up, police in California are using some extraordinary forensic science to track down a suspected serial killer. We're going to show you how they did it.

Stick around. Lots of news happening today right here in THE SITUATOIN ROOM.


BLITZER: It's a dramatic development unfolding right now. The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro is speaking, being interviewed right now on Cuba television. We're following this. Let's bring in CNN's Rick Sanchez. Rick, you've been listening in Spanish to what he's saying. First of all tell us, we heard him make this accusation that it was the United States, not North Korea that that sunk this South Korean ship, causing this international incident, blaming the United States for killing these South Korean sailors. But go ahead, what else is he talking about?

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a round table discussion that they have in Cuba. I'm as fascinated and somewhat as shocked as anybody else to suddenly see Fidel Castro appear on this show. And his retort against the United States began suddenly and unequivocally with this charge that it was the United States who in fact destroyed that warship off the Korean coast. As we know, the United Nations has been saying that they're blaming the North Koreans for it, but Fidel Castro as you heard just a little while ago said, in fact, it was the United States. They were trying to provoke a war between both the South Koreans and the North Koreans and they actually used some kind of sophisticated missile or mine. He didn't go too far into specifics. But he says the Obama administration is trying to cause a conflict in that part of the world which he then Wolf here's the brand-new news that you haven't heard yet, then went on to say that would escalate into another war in the Middle East that would somehow bring the United States, other countries in the Middle East into a potential nuclear war with Iran. And he was just getting into that and you'll pardon me for not being able to listen to that while I was having this conversation with you. But that's part of the conversation he's having now. This is fascinating that Fidel Castro would insert himself in this way into this conversation when we had presumed all along, Wolf, you and I talked about this many times that, in fact, a new regime in Cuba, that it was Raul Castro.

BLITZER: If he's trying to make friends with the Obama administration, this is certainly not one way to do it, accuse the Obama administration of deliberately sinking that South Korean warship, the warship of a friend.

SANCHEZ: Think of the timing, too. Remember it was just a couple of days ago that the Cuban government released 52 political prisoners and most people who study Cuba like I do thought well maybe this is a way of them trying to get a foot in the door to try to convince some of the American policymakers that it's time to not to -- maybe open the door to Cuba, you know, free travel restrictions somewhat, maybe even lift the embargo. But now he comes in with this which probably is going to have a lot of people who study this part of the world scratching their heads going a, who's really in charge, what's going on here, and why would the Castro government come out with these kinds of accusations if they want at any way to re-establish relations with the United States? And as some that I've talked to even today have told me, maybe he really doesn't want to re-establish relations with the United States. Who knows?

BLITZER: We're going to have a lot to digest today and tomorrow. All right. We're going to go back to listen to what he's saying. I want you to do that as well, Rick. Thanks very much. Fidel Castro, speaking live on Cuban television right now.

In Los Angeles meanwhile, a man suspected of being what was called the grim sleeper serial killer will be arraigned next month. He's accused in 11 deaths and investigators are now looking for possible links to dozens of cold cases. We're also now learning that there are new details emerging of the extraordinary way police found their suspect. Here's CNN's Thelma Gutierrez.


THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Behind these doors at the department of justice crime lab in Richmond, California, forensic investigators solved a landmark cold case that could change the way police investigations are conducted. We went inside for an exclusive look at the new DNA technology that led detectives to an elusive killer dubbed the grim sleeper. It was the 1980s, a serial killer was terrorizing south Los Angeles. Most of his victims were young African-American women, some had been shot with the same .25 caliber firearm. Some had been strangled. Some sexually assaulted. Their bodies dumped in alleys. Over the years Los Angeles police would follow numerous leads that went nowhere. In 1988, after eight murders and an attack on a potential ninth victim who got away, the killing stopped. Then nearly 15 years later the grim sleeper would strike again. Who was he? Where was he hiding? Police would have to wait another two decades to find the answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have about 1.5 million samples stored in the laboratory.

GUTIERREZ: A critical piece of the puzzle would be found here in the third largest DNA repository in the world. California has been collecting DNA from convicted felons since 2004. The police had the serial killer's DNA from the crime scenes. Was it possible it was here as well?

JILL SPRIGGS: We are on the cutting edge of this technology.

GUTIERREZ: Jill Spriggs who heads the lab says forensic scientists recently developed a powerful investigative weapon called the familial DNA search program, computer software that can find similarities between crime scene DNA and the DNA of a convicted felon. If a killer's DNA is not in the database, maybe a relative's is.

STEVE MYERS, CRIMINALIST: It only convicted offenders we compare to and not arrestees in California.

GUTIERREZ: Two years ago detectives ran the killer's DNA searching for a link but no match. Then a major break. Last year criminalists entered the DNA of a man recently convicted of a felony weapons charge. His name was Christopher Franklin. Months later, detectives ran the grim sleeper killer's DNA again for the second time hoping for a match to a family member. They got it. Detectives zeroed in on Christopher Franklin's father, 57-year-old Lonnie David Franklin who lived in south Los Angeles within walking distance to one of the victims, 18-year-old Alicia Monique Alexander. At one time, the man described as a polite neighbor, even worked as a garage attendant for Los Angeles police. Detectives were confident they found their man. But before they could close in, they would need a sample of his DNA. With Franklin under surveillance they picked up a piece of uneaten pizza crust along with some eating utensils. Police sent it to the lab and soon after they had a match between Franklin and the DNA found on victims.

JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think going forward this is going to be a very important investigative tool for police everywhere where we have a serious crime, where we have no further leads.

GUTIERREZ: As city leaders and Los Angeles police announced what they believe will be the end of the grim sleeper's rein of terror, the victims' families cheered. But it was a bittersweet moment for the brothers of 18-year-old Alicia Monique Alexander who carried her frayed picture for 22 years.


GUTIERREZ: Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was charged with one count of attempted murder and ten counts of murder with special circumstances which make him eligible for the death penalty. Wolf?

BLITZER: Thelma Gutierrez, good reporting. Thanks for that update.

The former governor trying to be the future governor of California. We're talking about Jerry Brown. He's a guest on "JOHN KING, USA" coming up at the top of the hour.

Plus, his world cup predictions made him famous. So what's next for Paul the octopus? CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a most unusual look.


BLITZER: He's inspired gamblers, confounded odds makers and angered fans. That would be the German octopus who made headlines by picking the winners of all the world cup matches including the final. CNN's Jeanne Moos has more on this most unusual octopus.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While the captain of the Spanish soccer team held the world cup with two hands or even just one, Paul the octopus wrapped at least four or five tentacles around his replica of the cup but then came the news about Paul the prophet, the sear sucker supreme.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: The AP reports he's retiring from predicting sports.

MOOS: After correctly predicting which team would win eight out of eight times after being touted as octopus of the year on his very own Facebook page --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I am breathless. I mean, I just can't believe it. How does he do that?

MOOS: Beats us. The aquarium folks put the same amount of food, a mussel in each of two boxes and Paul picked the winner eight times. When they paid tribute to him by dropping a world cup replica into his tank, a mussel is what got Paul to nestle with it. The last time an octopus was in the spotlight was when this one grabbed a diver's camera and proceeded to become the first octopus cinematographer shooting mainly blurry images of himself before the diver managed to grab back his camera. All of the attention paid to Paul has taken its toll. At least Paul didn't do what a dolphin in a Japanese aquarium did, jumped right out of the tank. Some saw it as an attempt to escape. The other dolphins came over to watch the action. The aquarium told the daily mail, the female dolphin suffered minor scratches and was just playing around and jumped out by accident from the momentum. They used a crane to lift her back into the tank. Paul isn't going anywhere despite offers from a company wanting to use him to predict sporting events and a fortune telling outfit asking to use his image. Of course Paul now has his very own official song.

And of course someone cut up the original song into a subversive version.

Don't worry, Paul is on the trophy, not the plate.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: Very catchy song there.

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