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Quick Guide & Transcript: Suspected terrorist confesses, EU wants Autobahn speed limits

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(CNN Student News) -- March 16, 2007

Quick Guide

Claims of Responsibility - Find out what the suspected 9-11 mastermind confessed to in a recent military hearing.

Week in Review - Look back at President Bush's Latin American trip as we check out the Week in Review.

Slowing the Autobahn? - Slow down to hear why some officials want to put the brakes on some German drivers.



DANIELLE ELIAS, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: You've made it to Friday with CNN Student News! I'm Danielle Elias. Taking the blame: Four years after being captured, the suspected mastermind behind the 9-11 attacks makes a massive confession about his terrorist activities. Looking back: As he returns home to Washington, we recap President Bush's travels through Latin America as part of our Week in Review. Watching your speed: For the good of the globe, some E.U. officials want to slam the brakes on Germany's famous Autobahn.

First Up: Claims of Responsibility

ELIAS: First up today, a sweeping confession from the suspected mastermind of the 9-11 attacks. The White House considered Khalid Sheikh Mohammed the number three man in the al Qaeda organization when he was captured in Pakistan in 2003. Transcripts from a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay show Mohammed confessed to more than 30 terror attacks, Including 9-11, "from a to z." The hearing was being held to determine if he should be considered an "enemy combatant." Being called an "enemy combatant" will allow him to be tried in a military court, rather than a civilian one. Teachers, you may want to preview this segment, as it contains language that some students may find disturbing.


TARA MERGENER, CNN REPORTER: In a transcript released Thursday by the Pentagon, suspected 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to the 2002 beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl:

MERGENER (QUOTING KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED): I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.

MERGENER: The transcript is from a U.S. military hearing on Saturday at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in which Mohammed said he regretted killing children.

MERGENER (QUOTING MOHAMMED): I don't like to kill people. I feel very sorry they killed kids in 9-11.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, COURT TV: As far as other things he takes credit for, like the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, or the night club explosion in Bali, people who know about those cases tell me they're pretty skeptical about whether he had any role there.

MERGENER: Many of the plots Mohammed claimed to be a part of, including a plan to kill U.S. Presidents Carter and Clinton, were never carried out.

PETER BERGEN, TERRORISM ANALYST: This confession will certainly aid in the determination that he is an enemy combatant.

MERGENER: Mohammed also compares himself to George Washington.

MERGENER (QUOTING MOHAMMED): If now we were living in the Revolutionary War and George Washington he being arrested in Britain, for sure they would consider him enemy combatant.

MERGENER: And the hearing which produced those transcripts is used to determine if Mohammed should be classified as an enemy combatant. Reporting for CNN Student News, I'm Tara Mergener In Washington.


Is this Legit?

GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is This Legit? The U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay is located on the island nation of the Philippines. Not legit. The base is located on an island nation, but it's Cuba where you'll find the military post often referred to as "Gitmo."


ELIAS: The fear of terrorism here at home isn't a new one. But what can lead to an attack from inside a country's own borders? Christiane Amanpour examines home-grown Muslim extremism in the United Kingdom in the next CNN Special Investigations Unit: The War Within. You can access the free curriculum guide for this commercial-free program at

Week in Review

ELIAS: Iraq was top on the "to-do" list for members of both houses of Congress yesterday. The House Appropriations Committee approved emergency spending. Most of it for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Carl Azuz tells us about the Senate's vote and the rest of the week's headlines in our Week in Review.


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: The U.S. Senate agreed this week to begin discussing when American troops should return home. Democrats drew up a proposal calling for withdrawal to start within four months after the bill becomes law with the goal of completing the pullout by April of next year. But yesterday, the bill went down in defeat.

AZUZ: Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is speeding up the deployment of thousands more troops to Iraq. This is in addition to the more than 21,000 troops President Bush mobilized as part of his so-called surge. This was not entirely unexpected. It's always been known that additional support forces would be needed as well. In a recent CNN interview, the top U.S. commander in Iraq discussed the value of having more boots on the ground:

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, COMMANDER OF MULTINATIONAL FORCES: It makes all Iraqis feel as if they have a stake in the success of this new Iraq. And that's absolutely vital. And again, we will certainly try to help provide the opportunity for them to do that without worrying about whether they can get to work that day or their child will be kidnapped on the way to school.

AZUZ: For one very visible opponent of the Iraq war -- Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska -- it was supposed to be a big announcement, one that many media mavens thought, would indicate his presidential intentions. But...

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R) NEBRASKA: I'm here today to announce that my family and I will make a decision on my political future later this year.

AZUZ: It came as a surprise to many of his supporters, as well as Washington reporters who traveled all the way to Omaha. So why hold the news conference in the first place? Well, it got Hagel the publicity he sought and the delay gives him a chance to see how the Republican presidential race shapes up in the months ahead before he decides whether to test the waters himself.

AZUZ: President Bush wrapped up a trip across Latin America this week...And that brings us to today's Week in Review "Shoutout!" This goes out to Mr. Barriga's World History class at Red Bluff High School in Red Bluff, California: Which of these countries was NOT on President Bush's Latin American tour? Is it: Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico or Venezuela? The president traveled to Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Brazil...but not Venezuela. In fact, while Mr. Bush worked to promote alternative energy and solidarity with the countries he visited, his Venezuelan rival Hugo Chavez went on his own tour... doing everything he could to discredit the American leader. President Bush's trip concluded in Mexico, where he promised to intensify efforts to improve U.S. immigration laws. And that is your Week in Review. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.


Word to the Wise

RAMSAY: A Word to the Wise.... solidarity (noun) unity that is based on interests, objectives or standards (source:

Slowing the Autobahn?

ELIAS: You've got your foot on the gas... Your hands on the wheel... And you're ready to ride. But you better watch your speed. Unless, that is, you're driving on the Autobahn. The German highway is famous for not having any speed limits. Frederik Pleitgen explains why some officials want to put the brakes on drivers on the Autobahn.


FREDRIK PLEITGEN, CNN REPORTER: The old, German saying goes something like this: "Liberated roads for free people." Though there are some speed restricted areas, the Autobahn is among the few highway systems in the world with no general speed limit; something that could change with the EU in the driver's seat.

PLEITGEN: The European Union is asking Germany to impose a general speed limit on its highways. The speed limit would be 130 km/h, that's about 80 mp/h. And the rationale behind it is simple: cars that go slower emit less carbon dioxide. So today, we gotten ourselves a very fast car and we're going to find out how much fuel drivers can actually save by going slower. To find out, we have to go fast, very fast. The car's fuel consumption rises to almost 20 liters per 100 kilometers, or just over 5 gallons per 62 miles.

PLEITGEN: Right now, we're doing 230 kilometers an hour, that's about 140 miles an hour. At this speed, really, any car would use a lot of fuel. So right now, we're going to slow things down and see how much fuel we can actually save. Down to 130 kilometers, or 80 miles an hour, the proposed speed limit. The car's fuel consumption is cut almost in half within moments. We pick up Werner Reh from the Union for Environmental Protection. He says drivers could cut carbon emissions on the Autobahn considerably simply by taking their foot off the gas.

WERNER REH, UNION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: The speed limits cut down CO2 emissions by 2 or 3 per cent. That is 3 million tons of CO2. They have an immediate impact, they don't cost anything, and the vast majority of people in Germany want it.

PLEITGEN: But some of the drivers we spoke to while in traffic said they were against a general speed limit. "Sometimes I just want to drive the car as fast as it goes," this man says. "I don't think it's a good idea. I think not having a speed limit is a cultural thing in Germany." another man says. The industry says German Automakers are against the idea, and politicians are divided on the issue. In the end, pressure from the European Union may force the Germans to downshift their love affair with the automobile. Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


Before We Go

ELIAS: Before we go...A speeding story of a different sort from here in the U.S. This leprechaun dancing on the side of the road isn't leading drivers to his pot of gold. Instead, he's looking to take theirs. He's actually a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff's Office. And if he catches you speeding, you could be forking over some green. In fact, he's already nabbed more than fifty drivers who felt the need for speed. Sounds like a good reason to slow down and enjoy the Saint Patrick's Day weekend.


ELIAS: We'll see you on Monday for more CNN Student News.


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide


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