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CNN Newsroom

Aired November 8, 2001 - 04:30   ET


TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM for Thursday. I'm Tom Haynes.

SUSAN FREIDMAN, CO-HOST: And I'm Susan Freidman.

We've got lots to cover in your Thursday NEWSROOM, including, a month after the start of the war on terrorism, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair promise victory and call for continued patience.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a struggle that's going to take a while; that it's -- that it's not one of these Kodak moments. There's no moment to this. This is a long struggle and a different kind of war. But we're patient, and our close friends are patient, which is bad news for the Taliban and the people they harbor.



TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The determination to see that justice is done is every bit as strong today as it was on September the 11th. The cause is just, the strategy is there, the determination is there, and there is a complete and total commitment to making sure that this is a battle in which we will prevail.


HAYNES: Later, we will take a closer look at how the Bush administration is hot on the money trail of terrorists. Plus, find out how terrorism is affecting the British tourism industry.

FREIDMAN: And I'll be back with a tale of firefighters raised to the likes of superheroes. That's coming up at the bottom of the show.

HAYNES: But for now, we top things off with politics. New York City voters forge ahead with a new pick for mayor.

Here's our Joel Hochmuth with an election roundup and a look at the man New Yorkers chose to lead the city on the road to recovery.


JOEL HOCHMUTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York is preparing for a transition rarely seen in that city's politics as a result of Tuesday's mayoral election. For the first time in modern history, a Republican, current Mayor Rudy Giuliani, will be handing off to another, billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg faces the monumental task of rebuilding a financial district still smoldering following the terrorist attack September 11.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), NEW YORK MAYOR-ELECT: I will in the next couple of days announce who will head the transition team from the new administration's point of view but the operative word is seamless. That's what we're going to try to do to the extent humanly possible.

HOCHMUTH: Bloomberg began making his transition plans following his surprising come-from-behind victory over Democrat Mark Green.

BLOOMBERG: But tonight is not about Republicans or Democrats, it's about New Yorkers.

MARK GREEN (D), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Apparently they're not kidding when they sing "it isn't easy being green." We gave it our all, we really did, but it wasn't enough.

HOCHMUTH: What makes Bloomberg's win so surprising is that Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York five to one. And just two weeks ago, polls showed Green, the city's elected public advocate and a career politician, holding a double-digit lead. But then Giuliani, who has become almost a legend in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the city, formally endorsed Bloomberg.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: People were looking for reassurance and it was a brilliantly crafted endorsement. People said it came late, it came exactly at the right time. It said to people who were looking for the next Giuliani, the man himself saying this is my guy.

HOCHMUTH: Of course it helped that Bloomberg, founder of a financial services company, spent $50 million of his own money on the campaign. Much of it went to TV commercials.

But while Republicans are licking their chops over the victory in New York, they're licking their wounds over Tuesday's two governor's races. In New Jersey, Democrat Jim McGreevey, the mayor of Woodbridge, handily defeated Republican Bret Schundler, mayor of Jersey City. In Virginia, wealthy Democratic businessman Mark Warner defeated former state attorney Republican Mark Earley. The two Democratic wins cut the GOP's nationwide lead in governor's offices to 27 to 21. Two governors are Independents.

We also want to update you on the mayor's race in Houston, Texas. Last month, we introduced you to Orlando Sanchez, the councilman who's hoping to become the city's first Hispanic mayor. In a surprisingly strong showing, Sanchez has forced a run-off between himself and current mayor Lee Brown, the city's first African-American mayor. ORLANDO SANCHEZ, HOUSTON MAYORAL CANDIDATE: For now, we're up against one individual instead of two. There'll be some minor tweaking of the campaign but substantially we'll talk about the same issues, we'll drive the same points home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And briefly, any comment about the fact that you would be the first Hispanic mayor of Houston if you win this?

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, look, given the diversity of our city and how it changes and the demographic, there are going to be a lot of firsts. So, I mean, we've had a first in the African-American community. At some point there will be a first Hispanic, that's not as significant as winning the race and getting Houston moving forward.

HOCHMUTH: Brown, the former police commissioner of New York City and member of President Clinton's Cabinet, finished just 2 percentage points ahead of Sanchez. Still, he's predicting victory when the two meet head to head early next month. We'll keep you posted.


HAYNES: Many kids across America also headed to the polls on Tuesday. And while their votes didn't actually sway any elections, they did learn an invaluable lesson, the importance of being heard and represented.

Our Kimberly Abbott takes us to one school in Norfolk, Virginia where students are getting a hands-on civics lesson, one that could propel them to the polls in the future.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today is Election Day.

KIMBERLY ABBOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They may not be old enough to vote, but the students in Maria O'Hearn's government class at Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia are eager for their voices to be heard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you say all citizens, do you mean there's (ph) -- is there no age limit?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... that's -- it's...

ABBOTT: They're studying the issues at play in Virginia's highly contested gubernatorial race. With a program called Kids Voting, they can cast their ballots at mock polling stations alongside real ones. The idea, if you engage students in the political process early, they'll be responsible citizens in the future.

HANNAH WILTBANK, AGE 17: I think it gets you used to voting and being familiar with the candidates. You know, maybe helping to firm up an association with a party or something like that. Just getting to know the whole voting process so when you turn 18 you're not like what do I do, where do I register, how does this work?

MARTHA EPPLER, AGE 17: I think it's a habit and I think it's a good habit. And starting at an early age definitely helps.

ABBOTT (on camera): While these students are learning about preserving democracy inside the classroom, they also live in a community where the idea of defending freedom is very real.

(voice-over): Norfolk is home to the largest naval base in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whose parents in the military? Raise your hands if you have parents in the military.

ELAINE MITCHELL, AGE 17: My mother, she's ready to go on deployment to Egypt. And I can relate to how people might feel when their parents are gone for a long period of time and how they might feel worried about their security over there without knowing what might happen.

ABBOTT (on camera): But even though you're worried, do you think important that she's doing that?

MITCHELL: Yes, it is important because it's so everybody else can, hopefully, gain security from it.

ABBOTT (voice-over): About a quarter of the Norfolk community has military ties. For the kids here, the significance of voting and their role in handing this century's old democracy down to future generations is not lost on them.

JENNIFER WILSON, AGE 18: It means I'm an American citizens now. I am fully part of the whole circle, especially after the events of September 11 because knowing that our freedom might have been taken away by some people who don't like us or don't like the way we live, it's important to be a part of America right now.

ABBOTT: For the students in Miss O'Hearn's class, that means everybody. And the next time the polls open, they'll be ready for the real thing.

Kimberly Abbott, CNN, Norfolk, Virginia.


HAYNES: Some solid progress Wednesday on the terrorist money trail. Assets belonging to worldwide money laundering organizations linked to Osama bin Laden's organization were frozen by the United States and allied governments. The government also said $43 million in terrorist funds now have been frozen worldwide.

Allan Dodds Frank has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ALLAN DODDS FRANK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From a suburb of Boston to Seattle, Washington, U.S. law enforcement agents swooped in on offices of a global money transfer outfit called Al-Barakaat. The president said those companies, and another group of overseas financial companies called al Taqwa, supplied tens of millions of dollars to Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They manage, invest and distribute those funds. They provide terrorist supporters with Internet service, secure telephone communications and other ways of sending messages and sharing information. They even arrange for the shipment of weapons.

FRANK: The raids in five states targeted eight offices of Al- Barakaat which, according to a criminal complaint filed against two of its officers, moved more than $2 million this year and has operations in 40 countries. Using accounts at Citizens Bank in Boston and Key Bank in Portland, Maine, Al-Barakaat wire-transferred several million dollars back and forth from a headquarters office in Dubai.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today we have shut down several financial networks exploited by terrorist groups. Piece by piece, we are dismantling the infrastructure of the terrorist network.

FRANK: The government action was part of a freeze placed on 62 companies and individuals by the United States and its allies. The second group, al Taqwa, specializes in offshore banking and has no known operations in the United States.

PAUL O'NEILL, TREASURY SECRETARY: The al Taqwa group have long acted as financial adviser to al Qaeda with offices in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy and the Caribbean. The Al-Barakaat companies are the money movers, if you will, the quarter masters of terror.

FRANK (on camera): The Treasury secretary says the crackdown is just the beginning of unraveling the terrorists' financial webs. And with nearly 1,000 bank accounts under review, there almost certainly will be more additions to the terrorist lists and more raids in the days ahead.

Allan Dodds Frank, CNN Financial News, New York.


HAYNES: The tracking of finances will no doubt continue for some time, and it comes on the heels of backdoor discussions between the United States and the Taliban concerning Osama bin Laden. Many questions linger as to why America was never able to bring bin Laden to justice before September 11. Two point men involved in the original talks tell us a story of many meetings and ultimate failure.

Christiane Amanpour has our report.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11th and especially since the bombing of Taliban targets in Afghanistan, former U.S. officials are now telling a story of public and secret meetings aimed at convincing the Taliban to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.

For nearly three years before September 11th, they met for talks with the Taliban in Islamabad, Pakistan; in Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Kabul, Afghanistan; and in Bonn, Germany; as well as in New York and Washington.

Former Clinton administration official Karl Inderfurth led many of the meetings.

AMB. KARL INDERFURTH, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: I personally had, I think, about 20 meeting with Taliban officials at a very senior level, including Mullah Rabbani, who was once No. 2 and has since passed away, Mullah Jaleel, Mullah Mutaki, the Taliban representative in New York, Mr. Mujaheed.

We spent many, many hours patiently discussing our concerns with the Taliban.

AMANPOUR: There were dozens of telephone conversations with the Taliban, including the foreign minister, and even once with the Taliban's reclusive leader, Mullah Omar.

INDERFURTH: The fact is we wanted to establish a direct line of communications with the Taliban. Despite our grave concerns about the direction the Taliban was heading, we wanted to make sure they heard directly from us. And in 1998, there was a telephone discussion that took place between a State Department official, Michael Melanovsky (ph), to Kandahar, where Mullah Omar resides, and we believe that Mullah Omar got on the phone and had a discussion briefly about this.

AMANPOUR: These contacts got under way in earnest only after the U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998 that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

Armed with evidence against Osama bin Laden that eventually was presented in a New York court, the Clinton administration's ambassador for counterterrorism, Michael Sheehan, says he briefed the Taliban in detail in more than a dozen meeting and telephone calls.

MICHAEL SHEEHAN, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: We presented that information after those indictments were concluded in early 1999. The linkages back to al Qaeda and bin Laden's organization were very strong in the case of the East African bombings.

The groups, the cells, that conducted that operation had clear ties to known bin Laden lieutenants. There were links that were well established in communication, faxes and other means that I think built a very strong case and I think was well understood by any objective person who reviewed it.

AMBASSADOR KARL INDERFURTH, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: February of 1999, Mike Sheehan and I traveled to Islamabad to tell the Taliban a very important message, which was not only must they expel bin Laden so that he could be brought to justice, but hence forth, because we had every reason to believe that bin Laden was continuing to plot acts of terrorism. Henceforth, we would hold the Taliban itself responsible for those actions by bin Laden. So they were put on notice two years before September 11.

AMANPOUR: During the three year period that began with the embassy bombings, through the bombing of the USS Cole and until just before September 11, first the Clinton and then the Bush administration pursued a two-track policy with the Taliban: sanctions and negotiations.

But none of it worked, even though U.S. officials say, at times, the Taliban indicated they might be interested in handing over bin Laden with a face-saving device. The U.S. said they could convene their own Islamic court as a first step, for instance.

SHEEHAN: We said, you can go ahead and do whatever you want regarding trials internally in Afghanistan if, at the end of day, you comply with the U.N. resolution that required that bin Laden be turned over to justice where he could be tried for his crime.

AMANPOUR: For instance, in Kenya, Tanzania or Saudi Arabia, places where bin Laden was accused of committing crime. The U.S. never insisted that bin Laden be handed over to a U.S. court.

INDERFURTH: If they wished to take some other action as a, basically, a face-saving device, that would be perfectly acceptable as long as it led to bin Laden being brought to justice. So we tried to take into account their problem. And indeed, many Taliban officials said that bin Laden was a burden to them.

But unfortunately, I think, that the key element here was the close relationship between Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden, and no matter how much evidence we presented, no matter how respectful we were of their trying to sort through what they call their problem, they were never going to give him up because Omar and bin Laden were too close.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Still, the Taliban claims the United States was not flexible enough in its negotiations. And U.S. critics accused the Clinton administration of failing to focus on the threat of terrorism from Afghanistan until it was too late.

Indeed, the Taliban was not put on the U.S. terrorist watchlist, in part, because the U.S. didn't want to recognize the Taliban as the rightful rulers of Afghanistan.

(voice-over): Karl Inderfurth admits the Clinton administration was initially more focused on ending the civil war and heroin production in Afghanistan as well as on the rights of women.

KARL INDERFURTH, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE, SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS: And we were also concerned about terrorism. But it was the bombings in East Africa in August of 1998 that focused the great attention of the U.S. government across the board on what to do about bin Laden's presence there. Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London.



ANNOUNCER: Janet Zamora from Chula Vista, California asks, "What precautions should people who are traveling abroad take?"

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT (on camera): In this current environment, the best advice that the State Department has to offer is that even before you set foot on the plane or get on the train to go overseas, what you will need to do is log on to the State Department's Web site.

It's updated on a daily basis. The address is And once you get on to the site, you see there's information on public announcement, travel warnings, consular information sheets, and really because this is updated on a daily basis, you'd do well check it out just before you leave home.

But once you're in that country or countries, you will want to exercise common sense. You want to vary your travel routes, stay away from large crowds, and if your renting a car, make sure to keep the doors locked and don't leave the car unattended.

But again, if you have any questions when overseas, the State Department says just call up the local embassy or consular affairs office and ask your questions. They're there to try to help you out.


HAYNES: The apprehension and uncertainty many are feeling towards travel is having a profound impact on tourism worldwide. In France, for example, attendance at the historic Eiffel Tower in Paris has dropped 17 percent since the September 11 attacks. And if fear from terrorism isn't enough, Great Britain's tourism dilemma started well before that fateful day.

Neil Connery explains.


NEIL CONNERY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): York's historic streets should be full of visitors, but like the rest of Britain's tourist industry, these are testing times. Official figures released this morning confirm what those on the ground already know.

ANN CASTLE, GIFT SHOP OWNER: This street in Stone Gates here in York is usually very, very busy and it's like this wall of people, and this year it's just not happened. It's been times in August, which is the busiest month, when it's almost been deserted.

CONNERY: Compared to the same period last year, the number of overseas visitors has fallen 7 percent to 18.3 million. Overseas visitor's spending has fallen 11 percent to 8.9 billion. Foot-and-mouth has already taken its toll on tourism for much of this year. Many American visitors canceled holidays in the U.K., but the first effects of September the 11th on tourism are reflected in today's figures. Visitor numbers from North America in September were down 17 percent.

JULIANA DELANEY, JOFVICK CENTER: Clearly September made a major impact on our overseas opportunity. It diverted people's interests away from holidays from things to do. But what we've seen is a return of interest in the U.K., the home market.

CONNERY: But hope is in short supply as the knock-on effects are felt. Tourism is facing an uphill struggle.

BERNARD DONOGHUE, BRITISH TOURIST AUTHORITY: We think October's figures are going to be equally as bad, if not worse, and that will mean by the end of this year, we're looking at probably a loss to the British tourism industry of 2.5 billion pounds. And that's both as a result of the terrorist atrocities on the 11th of September, but also the cumulative effects of foot-and-mouth earlier this year.

CONNERY: The industry is the latest to ask the government for support as it struggles to adjust to life after September the 11th. The British Tourist Authority is now planning a major marketing push in the new year. Establishing confidence for travelers will be the key if tourism is to fight back.

Neil Connery, ITN.


HAYNES: One silver lining to Britain's beleaguered tourism industry may be the return of the world's fastest passenger jet. British Airways and Air France resumed Concord service after being grounded for more than a year because of a fatal crash involving the jet. Wednesday's flights were viewed as a well needed vote of confidence for the airline industry.

Peter Humi reports.


PETER HUMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A few minutes behind schedule, Flight Air France 002 takes off from Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport. Concord is flying commercially again, and the flight was fully booked, 9 crew, 92 passengers and Princess.

DR. JOHN BIMMERLE, CONCORD PASSENGER: She likes the Concord. Her name is Princess.

HUMI: Appropriate enough for the royal treatment meted out by Air France for its supersonic passengers.

BIMMERLE: It's first class, it's elegant and it's -- you cannot get anything any better. YVONNE ROLLIN, CONCORD PASSENGER: I am in love with this plane. I flew since 1980, and two years ago, we went all around South America for two weeks.

HUMI: This time the destination was New York. Events there on September the 11th mean all security measures are being stepped up at the airports. Even for the elite traveling on Concord, check-in began an unprecedented three hours before the flight.

(on camera): The extra precautions included sweeping down the runway several times. The last time, just moments before Concord took off. It was debris on the runway that is thought to have set into motion the catastrophic events of nearly 16 months ago.

(voice-over): In late July 2000, a chartered Concord engulfed in flames crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 113 people. A small metal strip on the runway is thought to have pierced a tire, parts of which entered the plane's wing and ruptured a fuel tank. Since then, new tires are being fitted and the Concord's fuel tanks are being lined with Kevlar, a material tough enough to withstand great impacts.

Air France and British Airways have spent millions of dollars on restoring the jet's airworthiness. The return of supersonic travel across the Atlantic is about more than just prestige.

JEAN-CLAUDE GAYSSOT, FRENCH TRANSPORT MINISTER (through translator): It's a very joyous moment, a time to be proud, and it's a highly significant sign of confidence and hope.

HUMI: Two virtues that have been sorely lacking among airline companies which have been reeling from a sharp decline in business since the terrorist attacks in the United States.

Peter Humi, CNN, at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris.


ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segment that fits your lesson plan. Plus there are discussion questions and activities and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day find hot links to other online resources and previews of upcoming desk segments.

It's all at this Web address where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy. It's free. It's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops and neither does learning.

FREIDMAN: They may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but New York's firefighters have achieved superhero status nonetheless. Marvel Comics is paying tribute to the heroes who emerged September 11.

CNN's Jeanne Moos gives us a glimpse. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chances are you've never seen a fireman wearing a cape, and no, firemen can't swing from buildings. They can't break a boulder with their bare hands, but they braved collapsing concrete, and for that, they are getting the superhero treatment in their very own comic book.

JOE QUESADA, EDITOR IN CHIEF, MARVEL COMICS: Because really the mythical hero is based on our ideal of what a hero is supposed to be, and now we are watching it happen in flesh and blood.

MOOS: From flesh and blood to paper and ink.


MOOS: Is that you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's muscular and good looking --

MOOS: Muscular and good looking, yes, but there's nothing comic about this book. Even Captain America is grieving over New York's smoldering skyline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love that. I put that on my wall.

MOOS: Here at Midtown Comics, heroes sold faster than any regular comic. The folks at Marvel Comics dreamed up the idea just days after September 11th. Over 100 of the best known illustrators and writers answered the call to create a comic book with proceeds going to the Twin Towers fund.

TOM PALMER, "HEROES" ARTIST: Everybody's piece came from their heart.

MOOS: This was Tom Palmer's contribution.

PALMER: We worked in solitude, I mean, you didn't know what the other guy was doing.

MOOS: This other guy, industry great Neal Adams, including Rudy the superhero.

NEAL ADAMS, ILLUSTRATOR, MARVEL COMICS: The drawing of Giuliani to me is the centerpiece of the whole thing, and his strength, and his concentration, and everything about that careworn face is, to me, what this whole thing is all about.

MOOS: As for including the plane heading for the Trade Center.

ADAMS: More people have said, "it put a lump in my throat" than have objected, so.

MOOS: Marvel's editor-in-chief drew one of the illustrations of a firefighter mourning over a fallen comrade's hat. Firefighters thought it was drawn from this photograph of a real fireman who'd lost his captain, but actually a Marvel staffer had posed for the drawing.

There is a woman looking over the field of debris, modeled after the more pastoral field in a famous Andrew Wyatt painting.

Even the usually raging Hulk, makes respectful appearance.

And then there is the one by a Croatian artist, showing passengers rushing the hijackers of United flight 93.

QUESADA: I've seen people like cringe when they see it, cry when they see it. It's just, to me, it's probably one of the most potent pictures.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is nothing we can to stop what happened to us, but that was great, what they did.

MOOS: Remember what they used to say about Superman?

ANNOUNCER: ...with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men...

MOOS: But bravery in the face of mortality is what makes these rescuers super men.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


FREIDMAN: That's all we have time for today. I'm Susan Freidman.

HAYNES: I'm Tom Haynes. Have a great Thursday. We'll see you back here tomorrow.




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