Skip to main content /TRANSCRIPTS



CNN Newsroom

Aired December 3, 2001 - 04:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

SUSAN FREIDMAN, CO-HOST: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM for Monday. I'm Susan Freidman.

MICHAEL MCMANUS, CO-HOST: And I'm Michael McManus.

Bombing continues in Afghanistan, focus now is on the area around Tora Bora, which lies just south of Jalalabad near the Pakistan border. It is an area of extensive cave and tunnel complexes. Meanwhile, delegates near Bonn, Germany are studying plans for a post- Taliban government. I'll tell you more coming up.

FREIDMAN: We turn now to the Middle East where a series of terrorist bombings killed at least 28 people in Israel this weekend. Israelis began burying their loved ones Sunday, one day after two suicide bombers struck a pedestrian mall in Jerusalem. Sunday, a third suicide bomber hit a city bus in the port city of Haifa.

CNN's Jerrold Kessel is in Jerusalem. He reports on the twist in the critical path to peace in the Middle East.

But first, we turn to John King for a look at U.S. President Bush's reaction to the bombings and his stepped-up meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.


JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president called the bombings "horrific acts of murder," and said Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat faces an immediate test.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a moment where the advocates for peace in the Middle East must rise up and fight terror. Chairman Arafat must do everything in his power to find those who murdered innocent Israelis and bring them to justice.

KING: A meeting with Israel's prime minister was moved from Monday to Sunday, and the agenda changed as well. Mr. Bush had hoped to nudge Prime Minister Sharon to relax his demands for seven days of quiet before embracing a cease-fire with the Palestinians. Instead, Mr. Bush used the one-hour meeting to voice condolences and promise solidarity; and the traditional calls for Israeli restraint were absent from the administration's public statements.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Mr. Sharon is a freely elected leader of a democratic nation, and he will responded in a way that he thinks is appropriate.

KING: The prime minister cut short his U.S. visit to rush home for an emergency cabinet meeting. Advisers suggest a firm response is certain.

DORE GOLD, SHARON'S ADVISER: Israel will have to do what's necessary to protect the people of Israel from the escalating violence, emanating from areas under the jurisdiction of Yasser Arafat.

KING: Secretary of State Powell openly questioned Mr. Arafat's authority and credibility, and said in a phone conversation with the Palestinian leader he warned him promises to crack down on groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad is not enough.

POWELL: Bring them the justice, arrest them and keep them in jail. Not just arrest them, and then they disappeared and back on the street in a few days' time. But more than that, he has to go after future perpetrators.

KING: The president's new special Mideast envoy, retired Marine General Anthony Zinni will remain in the region for now, but the timing of the bombings dealt a serious blow to the administration's new push to broker an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire.

(on camera): One senior official put it this way: "We were hardly optimistic to begin with, and now this." This same official went on to say the window of time for Mr. Arafat to take decisive action is, quote, "tiny."

John King, CNN, the White House.



JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A message lights up on Tel Aviv's twin towers, an exhortation to raise flagging Israeli spirits. "It's in our hands," reads the slogan.

Not all Israelis are sure of the maxim. Some wonder whether it's actually in U.S. hands, as Washington begins an effort to shepherd them and Palestinians away from 14 months of incessant battles.

The man charged with that mission: retired Marine General Anthony Zinni. As he puts his first building blocks in place, Israelis see the parameters of the U.S. peace vision arching back a decade to the Madrid peace process that was initiated by the previous Bush in the White House. And discarding the approach of the subsequent Oslo peace process.

Along the Israelis border with the West Bank some -- even those from a so-called peace camp -- welcome the shift back.

SHLOMO BEN AMI, FORMER ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: One weakness of Oslo is that it was a gentlemen's agreement in a region where there is no excess of gentlemen -- I mean, the fact that it is between Israelis and Palestinians. No monitoring of agreements, no supervision, no sanctions. In ridges like these -- look at that. Look, how can you monitor? Are you going to really trust simply the good will of people? You need -- because of the complexity of the situation, you need to have international mechanisms of supervision.

KESSEL (on camera): The lay of the land here along the Israeli- Palestinian border, critical in the search for a settlement in the two sides. A major Palestinian town right on the border; just across it, major Israeli population centers in the heart of the country. And right along the border: villages right alongside each other. A Palestinian village on one side, an Israeli village on the other. And beyond, in the West Bank itself, Jewish settlements.

All these, critical factors in the search for a settlement. But now stepping into this picture of the search for a settlement, perhaps an even more decisive factor: an assertive United States of America.

(voice-over): Israelis recognize that it's here where the United States could soon make demands to meet one concrete element in its peace vision: that settlement-building stop.

Still, the drive continues in major towns close to Jerusalem, in established settlements in the heart of Palestinian-populated areas. And with remote, new caravan sites.

Visrael Harel is one of the idealogues of the settler movement.

VISRAEL HAREL, SETTLER LEADER: We had those collisions since we returned 100 years ago to our homeland, with the Ottoman empire, later with the British empire and now, unfortunately, with some of Americans -- or I would say with some of the administrations that don't understand the complexity of what's going on here in the Middle East.

We'll survive it, as we have survived former pressure of American administrations.

KESSEL: Israel, even before September 11, was committed to freeze this building by its acceptance, in principle, of the Mitchell Report. Now, official Israel recognizes that that begrudging commitment may eventually be unavoidable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The part of mutual struggle against terror, we agreed; that in spite of the fact that we have all the rights to continue building the settlements, we will stop doing it the moment the terror will be stopped, and that there will be a cooling period which will prove that both sides are ready to cooperate and to work together. We are ready to do it.

KESSEL: Palestinian towns remain under tight Israeli military control. What Palestinians see only as the expression of Israeli might and dominance, Israelis want Americans to understand, reflects their reality: the uncertainty that marked their lives because they feel they can't trust Palestinian intentions.

That sense of uncertainty reflected in this bedroom community northeast of Tel Aviv. The thousand-odd families who live in Bat Haiffel (ph) moved to their semi-detached homes in the '90s, when peace was in the air. But Bat Haiffel sits cheek-by-jowl with the Palestinian town of Tol Karum (ph), beyond the wall that surrounds the Israeli village, beyond the patrols designed to ensure that any shooting by Palestinian militants won't go unanswered.

But the defenses don't set fears at rest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The American system doesn't understand the situation here in Israel. They felt it once, but we feel it every day and every night; and we don't have the security the go with the children out from Bat Haiffel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone's had enough, really, to be honest, you know.

KESSEL (on camera): Do you think the Palestinians have had enough too?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure they have. I'm sure the majority has had enough, the suffering, you know, and I can relate to them, because I've been there myself as a soldier, years back and I know what they are going through.

KESSEL: Repairs to the electric fence around the village and real skepticism whether the U.S. can cut deftly enough across the "had enough" feeling of many Israelis and Palestinians.

(on camera): General Zinni, is coming, is going to make a cease fire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And before him someone came, and before him someone came. We are the same. We have to talk between ourselves. Nothing from outside can help us.

KESSEL: This little metal replica of the Statue of Liberty reflects Israeli Jerusalem's identification with New York. It's not the stars and stripes, however, in Liberty's arms, but political stickers, opponents of any peace process who calls for Yasser Arafat and his Oslo peace partner, Shimon Perez, to be convinced for what are called the crimes of Oslo.

The tone is different, the message, similar elsewhere on the Israeli right, where there is worry the mission of General Zinni, the outsider strong man, exposes Israel's internal weakness.

YISRAEL HAREL, SETTLER LEADER: I worry not about the effect that the pro counselors here will impose, I am worried about the state of mind of Israelis that think that because we are among ourselves we can not settle, so we the gentile to come and impose a solution.

KESSEL: Precisely, says the former Israeli foreign minister. SHLOMO BEN AMI, FORMER ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: This is one avenue to salvation in this part of the world, because the parties, in my view, are unable to reach a settlement between themselves.

KESSEL: In the face of American assertiveness, Israel's self- perceived vulnerability could, they hope, convince the U.S. not to put undue pressure on a long-time ally.

NATAN SHARANSKY, ISRAELI HOUSING MINISTER: No doubts that the struggle against terrorism becomes not only struggle of Israel, who is desperate in being (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in this part of the world, the struggle of all the free world.

KESSEL: But on the other hand, the new demonstrated world wide American strength might actually ease Israeli's concerns and make them more ready to welcome a secure U.S. umbrella.

Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Jerusalem.



ANNOUNCER: Liz Boyes from Bay City, Michigan, asks, "What is the significance in the different colors and styles of the head coverings used by the different religions? Do they indicate a different tribe, sect, religion or social class?"

JEAN ABINADER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: Liz, thanks for the question. It's a good one and I hear it often because people are confused when they look and see people who are members of the Northern Alliance and they all dress differently or they look at women in Afghanistan, they look at women in Saudi Arabia or Jordan or Egypt or Indonesia and they say well, why don't they all look the same if they're all members of the same religion?

Well, the religion, Islam, doesn't really tell them how to dress. It tells them how not to dress. It tells women they should be modest and it tells men not to be flamboyant in the way they dress. But it doesn't say specifically how to dress.

And so women and men generally evolved the way they dressed out of local traditions and culture. And so when you see the people in the Taliban, when you see the people in the Northern Alliance, when you see Arabs or when you see Indonesians or Malaysians, the way they dress is dictated by social convention, by the classes they belong to and by what they can afford to wear. But generally the local tastes are what determine how people dress and how they appear in public.


MCMANUS: In Afghanistan, about 1,000 U.S. Marines are within striking distance of Kandahar. That's the Taliban's last stronghold. Pressure also was being applied through continued bombing around Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan Sunday. That's about 35 miles south of Jalalabad near the Pakistan border. Residents of one village took a group of injured civilians to the central hospital in Jalalabad early Sunday.

As the fighting continues, delegates near Bonn, Germany continue to layout plans for Afghanistan's political future. The talks are aimed at setting up a post-Taliban government.

CNN's Jim Bittermann brings us an update on the progress.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After six days of discussions, Afghans try to restart government in their homeland. Now, at least have a draft outline on paper of how that government will look. Under the outline, which could change, a temporary ruling council, in reality, the government, to include 29 members, 23 of them ordinary members, five deputy chairmen and one chairman. The top six offices must include at least one woman, and one member of each of Afghanistan's four main ethnic groups. The 29 members will serve for six months.

The draft agreement says a fixed date shall be set when the government is to be created. On that date, the ruling interim administration takes charge of the banking system, will be recognized as a sovereign government and will take over Afghanistan's seat in the United Nations.

The draft specifies that the former king declines the role of head of government and will serve only to open and preside over the traditional ruling assembly, which will be convened at the end of six months. As well, the document requests a multinational peacekeeping force for Kabul and perhaps other parts of Afghanistan.

A German diplomat at the talks says he hopes there will be a new beginning for Afghanistan by the end of this month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The parties all agree that the start (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- that we start form scratch with a new government. So they have to indeed to get all together in Kabul and start on a given day.

BITTERMANN: But still ahead, is perhaps the most complicated issue -- who gets what job in the new administration. Yet, when I asked diplomatic observers here, they said success is at least now probable.

(on-camera): In your view, it's no longer a question of whether but when is it going to finish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think it's increasingly a question of when rather than whether. But with these kinds of things, you can never be sure.

BITTERMANN (voice-over): German sources indicate the conference, which was meant to end Saturday will now go on through a seventh day, Monday and perhaps longer.

(on camera): The final agreement will no doubt differ from the draft version that we have seen. But all parties to the talks here concur that it must include the one element no one has seen on paper or at the bargaining table and that is the list of names of those who will form Afghanistan's new government.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Koenigswinter, Germany.


MCMANUS: Among the Taliban survivors of the prison uprising in northern Afghanistan, a wounded fighter who says he's an American, a volunteer in the forces of the Taliban and for Osama bin Laden. His story is compelling, although still uncorroborated.

Author Robert Young Pelton, working with CNN, found the man and tells this story.


ROBERT YOUNG PELTON, AUTHOR: I met John walker in a hospital in Shpregon (ph) , in northern Afghanistan. Someone had said there was an American among the foreign fighters that had survived prison uprising at Kali Jangi (ph) . The admitting room, where they were doing triage was filled with the dead and dying.

The Afghan doctors told me that most of these badly injured men would die that night. They have survived a week of bombs, grenades, fire bombs, and finally freezing water that was poured into the bunker. When I heard that an American was here, I brought along American Special Forces medics to attend to his wounds. John Walker is 20 years old from Washington, D.C., and he is a member of Ansar, or the helpers, the Arab-speaking fighters funded and supported by Osama bin Laden.

He came here six months ago from Yemen where he was studying Arabic. He had told his parents he was leaving for Afghanistan to become an aid worker.

JOHN WALKER, TALIBAN FIGHTER: I was a student in Pakistan studying Islam. And I came into contact with many people who were connected with the Taliban. I lived in the region in the northwest frontier province there. The people there in general have a great love for the Taliban. So, I started to read some of the literature of the scholars and the history of the movement, and my heart became attached to them.

PELTON: Instead, he want to Kabul to join the Taliban. But because he could not speak Pashtun, they sent him to the Arabic speaking training camps run by bin Laden. He learned how to fire a Kalashnikov and was sent to Kashmir to fight. He saw bin Laden many times. Usually, when Osama would visit the camps and sometimes when visited the front lines.

John began his jihad on the front-lines north of Kabul and later was sent to fight in the province of Takhar, then the war began.

WALKER: When we withdrew from Takhar, we walked by foot maybe more than 100 miles. Afterwards I was really sick for the whole period.

PELTON: Surrendered as part of over 3,000 Taliban fighters in Konduz, he entered in General Rashid Dastun's (ph) fortress at Pali Jungi (ph). John is now a prisoner of war has been removed to a safe place to recuperate and possibly face prosecution. Others were not so lucky. This is Robert Young Pelton for CNN, in Shrebregon (ph), Afghanistan.


FREIDMAN: This week will mark the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Over the weekend, the Navy vessel named in memory of that bombing steamed out of San Diego Harbor en route for a commemoration ceremony, then off to the Arabian Sea as part of the war against terrorism.

CNN was on the ship as it slipped away from the dock and out to sea.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After the tears and good-byes...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll be here when you get home.

BUCKLEY: ... the men and women of the USS Pearl Harbor prepared themselves for war.

ADM. WILLIE MARSH, U.S. NAVY: As you know, the country is in fact in a conflict and we are certainly confident that you can handle anything that's thrown your way once you're over on station.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pick in a line.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All stations, did you copy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right away, ship corners.

BUCKLEY: After the activity of getting under way for the Middle East, there were the final waves and mouthed messages, then, silence. Sailors and Marines side-by-side stealing themselves for the tough six-month deployment that lies ahead.

(on-camera): The men and women of this ship will be in close quarters for the next several months. This, a typical enlisted men's birthing area. This is about the only private space that each one will have. The bunks are stacked three high, and each one of the sailors have the privacy curtain that they can pull to have to some bit of privacy while they're onboard the ship.

As for personal effects, this is about the only storage space they have: the area underneath their racks. This is the private space they'll have for the next six months. (voice-over): It is Seaman Sanford Jenson's first cruise. It is a special day. The father she hadn't seen since she was two came to see her off, to say that things a daughter wants to hear from her dad when she's going off to war.

SEAMAN SANDRA JENSON, U.S. NAVY: Like I love you and I'll see you in six months. That kind of stuff.

BUCKLEY: It's always emotional aboard ship and on shore, as a warship leaves home, especially difficult though, when its crew may be headed into harm's way.

LT. COL. ROD SANDSONE, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I think it's a lot more emotional this time, particularly given September 11. A lot of tears being shed and a lot of emotion came on board Pearl Harbor.

BUCKLEY: Yes, the Pearl Harbor. This ship named in remembrance of the surprise attack that happened there on a day like September 11 that will indeed, among this crew anyway, live in infamy.

CMDR. RON KENNEDY, U.S. NAVY: September 11 and December 7, 1941 were surprise attacks on the United States of America and because of that, I and my crew are thinking about that all the time.

BUCKLEY: In fact, this ship is bound for Pearl for a December 7 commemoration before it steams to the Arabian Sea. But at San Diego, it began to slip away as the ship entered its routine, the reality of what lies after Hawaii began hitting home.

YEOMAN JAMIE MCILVANE, U.S. NAVY: It's kind of scary. I mean, you know, 21 years old and going on a ship, going out where the action is. You never know what's going to happen.

BUCKLEY: Especially, the Marines who may find themselves in Afghanistan.

SGT. ANDRE MAYES, U.S. MARINE CORPS: Going and doing what I'm trained to do to the best of my ability and make my country -- my family proud.

BUCKLEY: They have already done that.

Frank Buckley, CNN, aboard the USS Pearl Harbor off the coast of San Diego.


FREIDMAN: The new threats of terrorism that emerged this year have affected just about everybody in one way or another. Every race, every generation and every economic class has seen or felt the impact.

Our Lucy Sanchez talked with some Latin-Americans about the September 11 attacks and how the tragedy has affected their lives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LUCY SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The American way of life has been threatened but not surrendered. And while all Americans recover from the September 11 terrorist attacks, many Latinos are faced with a unique set of fears and uncertainties.

EDUARDO M. VARELA, URUGUAYAN-AMERICAN: I think it has changed everyone's life. I mean I think things are never going to be the same for everyone who lives in this country or even in other countries. Fewer people might be willing to take a big risk and come to the United States now and people who are not here legally may be more reluctant to, you know, to find -- you know, to look for work. You know things have changed.

SANCHEZ (on camera): For many Latin-Americans, the United States represented their last safe haven, and now a threatened sense of security and a receding economy has left many of them feeling stranded.

MELISSA PADILLA, MEXICAN-AMERICAN: To me, I thought America was freedom, you know, that none of this was going to happen and that we would be safe here. But now we don't even know what safe is.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Even those who fled terror in their home country say they have more fear now.

FABIO HURTADO, COLOMBIAN-AMERICAN (through translator): In Colombia, it's an every day thing. We are used to it. But in America, we don't know because they say that the enemy is hiding. In Colombia, everybody knows who the guerrilla fighters are.

PADILLA: You hear a plane while you're in school and you're like, oh my gosh, what's going to happen, you know. You don't -- you don't know -- you react so weird. You can't concentrate sometimes because of the noise.

SANCHEZ: Many who can go home are.

BRANDA CHAVEZ, MEXICAN-AMERICAN: I mean some of them, they're going back, like, to Mexico with their families to be together just in case it happens and then they can be with their family and die together. And other ones, they're just like, well if it happens, it just happens.

SANCHEZ: Signs of change are everywhere, fair grounds are empty but churches are full and patriotism is on the rise.

VARELA: I think people need the support of other people. We -- my impression is that we're -- we tend to be less individualist and less materialistic in a -- in a -- at a time like this.

MARIZA PLASCENCIE, MEXICAN-AMERICAN: Yes, I want to join the military. I was born in Mexico, I was raised here so I think -- I think I have a lot of -- a lot of -- like a responsibility because I was -- this country has given so much to me that I feel like you have to give something back. SANCHEZ: There are over 32.9 million Latinos in the U.S. today and about 39 percent were born in another country. Regardless of where they were born, former president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Jose Nino, says every community is suffering.

JOSE NINO, FORMER PRESIDENT, HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Our hearts go out to all the families of everybody that was part of this incident, the sad part, the emotional parts that all of America is part of it and here's where America gets strong.

SANCHEZ: Nino is trying to make his statement against terrorism by mobilizing the economy. He recently met with Mexican President Vicente Fox on a trade mission.

NINO: The president has asked everybody to get back to as normal as possible. The only way the economy is going to move forward is not by hiding your money or storing your money, it's going to be by spending the money. There are over 1.3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S. doing over $220 billion in sales.

Yes, it is true that someone might be scared, but I tell you one thing, if you are to compare our country to any other country in the world, whether it be in this hemisphere or any other hemisphere, this is still the safest country in the world.

SANCHEZ (on camera): America gave many Latinos a second chance in life. And while many are still afraid, they are not willing to give up their dreams and hopes that brought them to this country.

This is Lucy Sanchez, CNN, Atlanta.


MCMANUS: Well, Susan, America's new war is on the minds of most Americans, even as they celebrate the holidays.

FREIDMAN: Case in point, Mike, Mr. John Doyle (ph) of Virginia. This year, Mr. Doyle's annual light display features a theme based on the events of September 11.

MCMANUS: And we leave you tonight with Mr. Doyle describing and sharing what he's done.

See you tomorrow.

FREIDMAN: Goodbye.


JOHN DOYLE, VIRGINIA: There really was no question. I -- around August I started thinking about it and I didn't have any themes or hooks. And then, obviously, September 11 happened and it was -- there was no question that I would incorporate that into the -- into the motif. I'd actually given a lot to whether or not I should even do this. I understand that it would evoke emotions, and I was hoping it would be favorable. And people have reacted really well. And as most people know, Washington, D.C. doesn't have a skyline to speak of but it does have a great image from looking at the Lincoln Memorial past the Washington Monument to the Capitol. But when it came to the Pentagon, it's the only part of the display that is broken. I have a hole in the Pentagon. The World Trade Centers are up and they've got the red, white and blue and it's more defiant.

And these are only lights, and they're only there to evoke image. And the image I wanted to evoke was one of a bit of patriotism, to be honest with you, and community. I knew people would come by to visit and I didn't want to offend or worry people, but the fact of the matter is there is a hole in the Pentagon and lives were lost. And even though New York was a lot worse and got a lot more play, it was pretty devastating because we have a lot of neighbors who work in the Pentagon.

People are connecting their lights to a holiday that I think is more important than any in a long time. There's a lot more conversation. People stay around longer. Neighbors and strangers have gotten to know each other. The images evoked a strong emotion that has been -- has been magnified with the holiday season, and it's been nice to be a part of it.





Back to the top