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CNN Newsroom

Aired October 02, 2001 - 04:30   ET


MICHAEL MCMANUS, CNN CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN Newsroom, I'm Michael McManus.

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CNN CO-HOST: And I'm Shelley Walcott. The United Nation opens a weeklong debate on how to fight terrorism. At least 145 countries of the 189 member international body will participate in the discussions. New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani spoke to the U.N. General Assembly, Monday, urging member nations to act together against terrorism.

RUDY GIULIANI, MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We are hoping that this is a new day for the United Nations, that there's going to be virtual unanimity in the notion that we have to take strong action against terrorism and that we can't be finding justification for it or -- and that we treat nations that condone terrorism, that we treat nations that are mutual with regard to terrorism and after fact.

MCMANUS: Meanwhile, the Bush administration is stepping up effort to gather and share evidence with allies. Evidence which links Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network to the September 11 attack. The financial crack down on terrorism also was moving into high gear. The United States and its allies report progress in freezing the funds of people and organizations linked to terrorist activity.

Our Joel Hochmuth has that story.


JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Apparently, without even firing a shot, the United States is reporting early victory in its so-called new war against terrorism. President Bush, Monday reported the U.S. has frozen $6 million in assets linked to terrorist activity. Speaking to workers at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Bush repeated his administration's position that these tactics were critical.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF AMERICA: As you may remember, I made it clear that part of winning the war against terror would be to cut off these evil people's money, would be to trace their assets and freeze them, cut off their cash flows, hold people accountable, who fund them, who allow the funds to go through their institutions and not only do that at home but to convince others around the world to join us in doing so. HOCHMUTH: Because terrorist groups keep such a small percentage of their funds in U.S. banks, Bush is counting on international help in this battle. Monday, Britain announced, it has frozen almost $ 90 million of assets belonging to Afghanistan's Taliban regime and accused terrorist Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network. Finance Minister Gordon Brown spoke at the annual conference of the ruling labor party.

GORDON BROWN, BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER: Because of international solidarity, it is the cause today, not just of one country, one continent or one culture, it is because of people of conscience everywhere, whatever the color, whatever the race, whatever the background, whatever the religion.

HOCHMUTH: Along with the United States and Great Britain, Germany and France say they have frozen assets of terrorists as well. It was just a week ago, Bush along with Secretary of State Colin Powell and Treasury Secretary Paul O. Neil officially launched the financial battle against bin Laden.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I am very very pleased at the level of cooperation that we are receiving from around the world. All civilized nations in the world understand that the civilized world has to go after terrorism. At the World Trade Center, America suffered a grievous blow, but the whole world did.

PAUL O`NEIL, U.S.TREASURY SECRETARY: This order is a notice to financial institutions around the world, if you have any involvement in the financing of the al Qaeda organization. You have two choices, cooperate in this fight or we will freeze your U.S. assets.

HOCHMUTH: Of course, separating bin Laden from all of his money will be easier said than done. As Mike Boettcher reports bin Laden's al Qaeda network has connections spanning the globe.

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Start by thinking of al Qaeda as a corporation, with Osama bin Laden as chairman of the board says, terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp.

MAGNUS RANSTORP, TERRORISM EXPERT: Bin Laden is a truly multinational enterprise. He has tentacles and followers all around the world.

BOETTCHER: Like many global companies, al Qaeda is a combination of partnerships, strategic alliances and some wholly owned subsidiary, in this case, with the who's who of terrorists.

PETER BERGEN, TERRORISM EXPERT: The groups associated with al Qaeda at the various degrees are Egyptian, Pakistani, Bangladesh, Uzbeki, Tajik. You name it, pretty much any group that's in the Central Asia or the Middle East that is a sort of militant organization has links of some kind or another with al Qaeda. Some of the groups that work with al Qaeda are basically -- effectively part of the organization.

BOETTCHER: In keeping with the merger mania of the 90s, bin Laden even combined his al Qaeda with Egypt's al Jihad leaving its leader Ayman al-Zawahiri as bin Laden's number two. Both groups are accused to be behind the 1998 attack on two U.S. embassies in Africa. Al Qaeda's relationship with the Lebanese group, Hezbollah, is more of a working alliance. It dates from the early 90s, when bin Laden met with a senior member of that and Hezbollah provided al Qaeda with explosives and training.

BERGEN: And what we know about the links between bin Laden and Hezbollah is that there are certainly pretty strong links in the early 90s. What those links are today, I don't know.

BOETTCHER: If cooperation with Hezbollah may have gone out of fashion. A new business partner seems to be the GIA, Algeria's Armed Islamic Group. Al Qaeda is accused of hooking up with the GIA to bring off a part of the so-called millennium plot, a series of terrorist incidents that were supposed to have happened at the beginning of the year 2000.

BERGEN: A member of that group tried to bomb Los Angeles Airport at the time of the new millennium, but he was arrested at Seattle before he could do it.

BOETTCHER: But even if that plot failed, al Qaeda may have gotten something equally as valuable from the GIA, an idea.

RANSTORP: The idea of a suicide attack against a metropolitan area using an aircraft was first coined in 1994, when Algerian GIA allegedly during their hijack attempt tried to command the airline to flyover metropolitan Paris and then crash it on the city itself.

BOETTCHER: That hijacking didn't come on. French troops stormed the plane before it could take off and head for Paris and the Eiffel Tower. But now, an Algerian pilot Lotfi Raissi is suspected of helping train, some of the hijackers. There are other groups and other links. Harkat-al Mujahideen, a Pakistani group, shares training camps with al Qaeda, and had several of its fighters killed when the U.S. sent cruise missiles into Afghanistan in 1998 in it's attempt to get bin Laden.

Harkat is also held to be responsible for the hijacking of an Air India plane that was brought to Afghanistan at the end of 1999. And in the Philippines, the Abu Sayyaf group, which has kidnapped and killed Americans, got it start with funding from Osama bin Laden.

RANSTORP: The problem of countering bin Laden's organization is that it mutates continuously. It's not only a multinational enterprise with followers, with financial infrastructure across the global, but it mutates continuously shifting, in order to insulate the organization from any attempt at removing the top leadership.

BOETTCHER: These partnerships and alliances give al Qaeda two other advantages, a global reach and a continuous flow of fresh recruits to supply the core business, acts of terror around the world.

Mike Boettcher, CNN, Atlanta.


WALCOTT: President Bush has referred to the fight against terrorism as a different kind of war, with a different kind of enemy and different elements. Those differences are being reflected in the education both civilians and military officers are getting at the National Defense University in Washington.

CNN's education correspondent Kathy Slobogin has details.


KATHY SLOBOGIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The pictures are familiar; American troops deployed, aircraft carriers moving into play. But this war is different, with an enemy you can't see, where victory is harder to find, and the battlefield is everywhere.

VICE ADM. PAUL GAFFNEY: Looking at the world as a globe with many interacting parts, not just looking at one particular enemy who plays almost exactly by the same rules that we do.

SLOBOGIN: Vice Admiral Paul Gaffney runs the National Defense University in Washington, where the nation educates top officers in the Army, Navy and Air Force.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The policy makers are saying, we've got to think differently right, you hear that all the time. It's the different kind of war.

SLOBOGIN: In classes like this one, students are being challenged to discard old assumptions in the face of a new threat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes we need to think of -- of how our planes could be used against us as missiles. If just didn't -- it really didn't occur to us to that degree.

SLOBOGIN: At one time, this class would have been all military officers.

GAFFNEY: It's not like that anymore. There are many-many people that are involved in strategic planning, strategic decision-making, getting approvals, the press is critically important, American industry is important, Congress is important.

SLOBOGIN: Now a third of the students are civilians. They come here not only from the places like the State Department and Congress, but from around the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoever told me talk about being (INAUDIBLE).

GAFFNEY: When we talk about the Middle East, or (INAUDIBLE) Africa, or South East Asia. There will be somebody in the room that may have actually been in combat in that area, may actually know a national leader personally.

Dr. JIM KEAGLE, NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY: If I were going to leave you with the most important message, it would be, wars don't solve all problems in international relations.

SLOBOGIN: Dr. Jim Keagle teaches ground strategy. He says, "Recent years have seen a revolution in military education." Where military force is now seen as just one option in a larger arsenal response, like diplomatic pressure or economic sanctions.

DR. KEAGLE: We really do stress is that, the military, the traditional understanding of the military instrument of power, going to war, sending tanks, and airplanes and ships into battle. That's only one element of national power. We teach you the (INAUDIBLE) way of instrumental power, the informational, the military, the economic and the political.

Dr. KEAGLE: Right now I'm flying at about 4600 knots over Kosovo.

SLOBOGIN: The lightening speed and global reach of information technology has also fueled the revolution in military education. Pushing commanders to become what they call here, informationally dominant on the battlefield.

KEAGLE: But the relationship between the head quarters and the fields has changed fundamentally. If you went back to War of 1812 for instance, one of the things that many of us remember from our time in school is that one of the key battles was fought after the peace treaty was signed, because communication was much slower. Now communication seems to be almost instantaneous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can literally be anywhere right now beaming images from anywhere to anywhere else.

SLOBOGIN: Here officers are getting lessons in wearable computers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's this keyboard right here. See how small that is?

SLOBOGIN: With hands free a commando could be alone in Afghanistan and theoretically communicate in real time with Washington, or access satellite maps, which tell him where the enemy is, or what's over the next hill.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like wearing a regular pair of glasses.

SLOBOGIN: Here a computer can be hooked up to a screen embedded in a pair of glasses.

KEAGLE: The knowledge of the fact is the individual soldier or sailor or airperson and his commander on the field fundamentally changes the way warfare is conducted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is called the virtual command center.

SLOBOGIN: To help soldiers learn to respond rapidly to the flood of information, the University has a virtual classroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can go right through our battlefield area.

SLOBOGIN: Computers can quickly gauge the blast effect of different explosives, the impact on infrastructures or the contamination effect of biological or chemical attack. The aim here is to avoid a historical truism; that countries tend to fight today's war like the last one. Keagle says, the Gulf War with its reliance on overwhelming air power, its few casualties and its made for T.V. appearance is the wrong model.

KEAGLE: Can we expect the same adversary with the same capabilities and same pattern to behavior to exist? The answer to that question is no. That's not going to repeat itself.


SIOBOGIN (on camera): As America gears up for a new kind of war; it will need a new kind of warrior. As the experts can put it, that means a warrior who realizes military force is only one weapon and may not always be the best one.

Kathy Slobogin, CNN, Washington.


MCMANUS: Years ago, the U.S. was alert for attack, nuclear fallout shelters and medical experts at the ready, this because the U.S. fearing (ph) assault from the Soviet Union, when the so called Cold War between the two nations ended, so did that threat and wide scale funding for civil defense was dropped.

CNN's Rea Blakey now on which colds war plans we might want to dust off.


REA BLAKEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Millions of Americans will remember civil defense drills, designed to prepare the public in case of nuclear attack. Those drills ended decades ago.

DR. MOHAMMAD AKHTAR: Then as the Cold War is over, the Soviet Union is no more; you know, you sort of relax, you let it go.

BLAKEY: During the Cold War awareness was key. Civilians were trained in how to respond to an attack. Hospitals were prepared to boost their bed capacity at a moment's notice. The nations 3000 local and state public health departments routinely tracked health trends as part of a network of disease surveillance.

AKHTAR: Now we find ourselves at the beginning as we said. That we are not as prepared as we used to be.

BLAKEY: A statement firmly disputed by Health and Human Services Secretary, Tommy Thompson.

TOMMY THOMPSON, HHS SECRETARY: We have been working very diligently in the last six to eight months to get prepared for any kind of contingency to develop. Our laboratories are very well prepared to handle any contingency and I can assure you that we're ready if anything happens.

BLAKEY: Still the reduced threat of nuclear attack during the past decade, coupled with the advent of managed care, radically changed the U.S. public health system. Very few hospitals are equipped with labs to determine if patients who present with flu like symptoms are actually victims of a biological attack.

Instead they'd have to send the blood samples out, which takes time. Local health departments, paired down after the nuclear threat subsided, simply don't monitor hospital admissions every moment of the day, looking for unusual patterns of illness and many community hospitals closed down or trimmed down the number of beds on hand.

SAM WATSON, BIOMEDICAL SECURITY: No specific hospital is completely prepared, but once they affect something with systems that would come in from the state governments, from the governors, and then from the federal government and the CDC, the military, from the NIH, and those places would be very significant and very promising.

BLAKEY (on camera): Still experts say reconfiguring the system to handle the threat of bio-terrorism could take years, plus one billion dollars to equip state and local health departments, plus another 500 million to equip the CDC to support the locals. The American Public Health Association says the first priority should be a more immediate disease tracking system.

Rea Blakey, CNN, Washington.


WALCOTT: It has been three weeks since the terrorist attacks and the concern appears to have shifted from hijacking to the threat of biological and chemical warfare. Stores across the United States have been running out of gas masks and the other supplies.

Many experts say, the run on emergency equipment may reassure people, but is unnecessary.

Natalie Pawelski has some tips on how to prepare for a disaster without the paranoia.


NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gas masks are selling out but how would you know when to strap one on. Guns are going fast too but who would you aim at. Perhaps a more practical way to feel prepared for America's new war put together an emergency supply kit with guidance from the Red Cross.

NANCY BROCKWAY, AMERICAN RED CROSS: Whenever you're better prepared, you are always under less stress when the disaster strikes. So this is something that everybody can do to be prepared for any type of disaster, be it natural or manmade. PAWELSKI (on camera): The first thing on your emergency supply shopping list, water, a gallon per person per day. The Red Cross recommends keeping a three-day supply on hand. You also want a three- day supply of food that doesn't require cooking, plus flashlights, spare batteries and a battery-powered radio. In times of disaster you want to be able to stay tuned to what the local government officials are advising you to do. Pack a first-aid kit and don't forget any prescription drugs you need, add cleaning supplies and basic tools and if you've got little kids, remember diapers and distractions.

Why would 'Thomas the Tank Engine' belong in your disaster kit?

BROCKWAY: Well small children need to be entertained. They need to be able to keep their mind off the disaster and these are comfort items for children.

PAWELSKI (voice-over): Put everything in a covered container, one you can take with you if you have to evacuate.

BROCKWAY: Have a rendezvous point where all members of your family know that if they're separated during the disaster, this is where we're going to meet. And then have an outside contact somebody who is out, out of state that they know to call if they can't get to that rendezvous point. So that everybody checks in to say I'm OK, and then you know that your family is safe.

PAWELSKI: The Red Cross Web site at is a good place to start, if you want to be prepared without crossing over into paranoia, as America braces for a long new war.

Natalie Pawelski CNN, Atlanta


WALCOTT: In little more than an instance, the World Trade Center attack took thousands of lives, and destroyed a (INAUDIBLE) of Lower Manhattan. More than one hundred members of the U.S. Congress toured the site Monday, seeing firsthand the enormity of the destruction. And as the dust settled, people who lived near the site and the recovery workers at ground zero worry about the long-term effects of dangerous materials released into the air when the towers collapsed.

CNN's Brian Palmer reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... a lot of these buildings are going to have to come down.

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The crane and heavy equipment workers of the International Operating Engineers Union will bring them down. Don Carson runs their hazardous materials program.

DON CARSON: This is potentially a hazardous waste dump, with all the chemicals. PALMER: Materials used to build and run the twin towers, asbestos and fiberglass for insulation, Trion (ph) for air- conditioning were released into the air when they collapsed along with smoke from burning debris.

CARSON: We have concluded that there are some spots where we have found some elevated levels of asbestos above the allowable limit.

PALMER: Stirring up concern about the health effects of breathing tainted air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a pretty amazing vantage point here. There's a lot going on here, but you can see the smoke, and that's the concern about having the respiratory protection.

PALMER: It's unpleasant but not dangerous say city, state and federal environmental authorities.

GIULIANI: It is monitored constantly and it is not in anyway dangerous. It is well below any level of problems in any numbers of ways in which you test it.

PALMER: But independent studies from around ground zero show concentrations of pollutants higher than official samples.

DR. STEPHEN LOVIN, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE: There is virtually no chance that people living in the community, or people working in offices nearby the site will develop the scarring lung disease that asbestos can cause in occupational exposed workers.

PALMER: Residents still worry about other pollutants. Allen and Blake Vaknin, eight months pregnant watched the first tower collapse from their apartment, a block away, then fled with their daughter Maya.

BLAKE VAKNIN: Random sampling of air might show nothing but you know, maybe a small percentage but that small percentage throughout the whole day and then maybe it increases, decreases, increases, decreases. You know, I'm pregnant, I don't want my baby to - I don't know, it just concerns me.

PALMER: The Vaknins' say that they won't be moving back anytime soon. At ground zero where experts are concerned about workers, precautions are taken. The rubble is hosed down to control dust, respirators are issued to all workers, but that doesn't mean they aren't at risk.

CARSON: They work a 12-hour shift day after day, these adverse health effects won't show up for two, three, four, five years from now, and as I feel we're going to have a secondary tragedy here if that's not addressed.

PALMER: Carson does say that if safety procedures are followed long term, the potential threat should be low.

BILL RAPELLI: I take my clothes off; I put them in a plastic bag before I get home, and I wash them separately.

PALMER: Recovery workers say the hazards are part of the job.

JOHN POWERS: You got to kind of trust the people that are here (INAUDIBLE) and look after you. Honestly, the (INAUDIBLE) no matter what, it's just going to have to be done.

PALMER: And what needs to be done, the dirty dangerous job of clearing rubble in the hope of finding remains, giving the families of those killed at least some small measure of peace.

Brain Palmer, CNN, New York.


MCMANUS: For generations the fire and police department in cities such as Philadelphia, New York and Boston have been filled with Irish Catholics. The job's, steady pay, and good benefits appealed to poor Irish immigrants and their descendants.

Through the years, these departments have filled with various races and religions, but as CNN's Beth Nisson explains the Celtic tradition still continues to honor those lives.


BETH NISSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside St. Patrick's Cathedral a small contingent from New York City Fire Department's Emerald Society of Pipes and Drums. They take a deep breath and prepare to play yet another funeral for one of their own.

BOB WRIGHT: Everyday that we have free we're playing at funerals and then we have one to two a day.

NISSON: So many, that the 68-member unit has had to divide, instead of the usual rank of 40 pipers at each funeral, a smaller team of 13. Scheduling is difficult; most of the pipers are active duty firefighters, almost all of whom are already doing double duty. Waiting for 911 calls at fire stations, then working in relays at ground zero.

BOBBY KING (voice-over): We have been working at the firehouse, we are working at the Trade Center, we come here on our day's off to do this and then we go home and to our families after we're done. We see our family when we can and we get our sleep when we can.

NISSON: The names of the pipers flag their histories and heritage. Sullivan and Murphy, or O'Hagan, and O'Shay. The pipers are to a man, Irish-American.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traditionally, the police and the fire department in New York City and other cities like Boston and Philadelphia has been very much one -- an Irish occupation.

NISSON: Yet even for the growing number of firefighters who are not Irish. The ancient Celtic traditions hold when marking the end of a life. The souls of the valiant of warriors lost in battle are piped to their grave, piped into heaven. On this day the pipes were escorting the soul of Lieutenant Dennis Mojica, a firefighter abroad one of first rescue units to arrive at the Twin Towers after the first plane hit.

Some of the pipers knew a few things about him, he was a 26-year department veteran, he loved salsa dancing and a good joke. He leaves behind a 14-year-old daughter and a devastated wife. But even those pipers who did not know Lieutenant Mojica take his death hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are all family anyway. Even not knowing somebody personally it's a loss for us.

NISSEN: The pipers are dedicated but tired, emotional.

TOM GERONDET: It's been so many now but I just remember -- we're marching by and seeing one of the brothers and his son had to get his helmet. It's just too much.

NISSEN: They have learned to play through the tears.

JOHN O'HAGAN: We got a plan to manage strength and keep going put the next foot forward, you know.

NISSEN: And march on.


WALCOTT: And that wraps up this edition of Newsroom.

MCMANUS: We'll see you tomorrow.

WALCOTT: Bye-bye.




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