CNN NEWSNIGHT AARON BROWN
Bush Has New Warning for Hussein; Sniper Suspect Malvo Arraigned in Virginia Court
Aired January 14, 2003 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AARON BROWN, HOST: And good evening again, everyone.
This I suppose will fall into the category of a world class rant. But if I get one more note from one more viewer saying we here, all of us, are hoping for a war because it will be good for ratings, I'm going to blow.
Think about how dumb that is. That any of us, in any of these networks, ours or the other ones, really sit around hoping for a war because it will be good for business. Do these people think that the people who make uniforms hope for war because that will be good for their business? Do they think the people who make American flags hope for war so there will be an increase in orders when dead soldiers come home?
Do they think people in the news business don't have sons and daughters in the service or friends with sons and daughters, just like everyone else? These notes have been coming in for a while, a steady stream, but it got to me today because about the same time one arrived I also got a note from a cousin whose son is in the Army and has just received his papers and he is headed off to someplace that seems likely to get unpleasant in the months ahead.
No one wants war. No one who does this work wants to cover one, wants to see their fellow citizens shot, anyone shot for that matter. So if we're going to argue about the war, let's do it on the merits and not something so truly stupid as whether it will be good for business, because honestly, that's sick.
We begin "The Whip" tonight with some very tough talk about Iraq from the president. Dana Bash is at the White House for us. Dana, a headline from you.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Aaron, while officials at the U.N. were urging patience, a very impatient President Bush said that he is sick and tired of Saddam Hussein and that time is running out for him.
BROWN: Dana, thank you. Back to you at the top tonight.
On to North Korea and the man known as the dear leader a title. A title that doesn't quite square with the man himself. David Ensor has been working on a profile. David, a headline.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Aaron, I think some fascinating insights. First from a former CIA analyst, the man who used to do psychological profiles of foreign leaders for U.S. presidents. And second, from the senior U.S. official who spent time with Kim Jong Il. He's sane, they say, but weird.
BROWN: David, thank you. We look forward to it.
A terror raid gone terribly wrong in Britain this evening. Sheila MacVicar has that on a double duty night for her. Sheila, the headline there.
SHEILA MACVICAR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, the latest, Aaron, on a terror raid that, as you say, went very badly wrong, leaving one British policeman dead, four others seriously wounded. But the police say they did get the suspect that they were looking for. And they link him back to that toxin ricin found in London a couple of days ago.
BROWN: Sheila, thank you. And back to the United States now, and a hearing into whether the teenage sniper suspect should be tried as an adult. Jeanne Meserve was in the courtroom today. Jeanne, the headline from you.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Though he is 17, prosecutors say John Lee Malvo should be tried as an adult. To help make their case in court today, heartrending testimony from the husband of one sniper victim -- Aaron.
BROWN: Jeanne, thank you. Back to all of you shortly.
All coming up on the program tonight, bringing hard nose corporate techniques to the school system, a school system that needs shaking up, New York City schools. And who better to do that than the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch. We'll hear from him later in the program.
And an innovative company that's protecting Africa's most precious resources, its people and its wild life. That's "Segment 7" tonight. All of that to come in the hour ahead. But we begin with Iraq and a pair of clocks. One measuring the progress of U.N. inspectors, the other counting down to war.
Those clocks have been running at drastically different speeds for quite some time now. Today the two timekeepers made it clear just how out of sync they are. We begin tonight with CNN's Dana Bash.
BASH (voice-over): The president made his frustration clear.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Time is running out on Saddam Hussein. He must disarm. I'm sick and tired of games and deception.
BASH: Mr. Bush sent a strong signal he is running out of patience, while patience is precisely what leaders at the U.N. are urging. KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: I think the resolution is very clear.
BASH: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan reminding reporters inspectors are just now getting up to speed. And if they determine there has been a breach...
ANNAN: There should be serious consequences. And I don't think we are there yet to decide really. I don't want to talk about war, nor is the Council talking about war.
BASH: The White House is presented with a complicated diplomatic dance. On the one hand, aides say the president has no specific timetable for deciding to forcefully disarm Iraq. On the other, reminding the world the terms of U.N. Resolution 1441, that the burden of proof is on Iraq, not inspectors, to reveal weapons of mass destruction.
BUSH: We said we expect Saddam Hussein for the sake of peace to disarm. That's the question. Is Saddam Hussein disarming? He's been given 11 years to disarm. And so the world came together and we have given him one last chance to disarm. So far, I haven't seen any evidence that he is disarming.
BASH: Another factor, getting the U.S. military in place and ready to attack at an optimal time. As tens of thousands of troops ship off to the Persian Gulf, the question is how long can they cool their heels waiting for inspectors to complete their work?
BASH: And Aaron, with a January 27 U.N. Deadline looming, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice today went to New York to meet with U.N. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix. Among the things she told him was to try harder to get his inspectors to take Iraqi scientists out of that country for interviews at a neutral place in the hopes that they can find that elusive smoking gun -- Aaron.
BROWN: But to this point, am I right that no Iraqi scientist, for whatever reason, and there may be lots of reasons, has agreed to leave the country to be interviewed?
BASH: That's correct. That's our understanding. But as far as the administration is concerned, the U.N. needs to try harder. And they need to try to get some of those Iraqi scientists out of that country. They believe that they do have information about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs, and that will help provide the evidence that they need to convince the world that Saddam Hussein has got to go, no matter what it takes.
BROWN: All right. Let me turn you a bit to North Korea. Anything from the president on North Korea today?
BASH: Absolutely, Aaron. While the president at the same event was talking very tough on Iraq, on North Korea, a much different take. We heard for the first time the president saying that he would offer something to North Korea in the form of energy aid and food aid if that country would explicitly say that they will not have any kind of nuclear program, that they will stop its nuclear program.
He said that that was something that the administration was considering back in October, when they sent Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly to the region. That was a time where he was informed by that -- by North Korea that they had started an enriched uranium program. So the president taking a step further for the first time hearing from his lips that they are willing to talk. And again, he said that he wants a peaceful resolution much different than the talk on Iraq -- Aaron.
BROWN: Dana, thank you. Dana Bash at the White House tonight.
Since so much of the current crisis hinges on what makes North Korea tick, current crisis with North Korea that is, we'll be taking a look as best we can at the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Il. He's been called a James Bond villain come to life, North Korea's Dr. Evil. At the very least, he is quite a change character. David Ensor paints us a picture about 20 minutes from now in the program.
Before then, other stops to make. On we go to northern Virginia and a preliminary hearing today for John Lee Malvo, the 17-year-old sniper suspect. Prosecutors are trying to make the case that Malvo should be tried as an adult and face the death penalty if he's convicted.
Much of today's business concerned the smaller facts that would go into making such a decision. Then there was the testimony of William Franklin. Again, tonight, CNN's Jeanne Meserve.
MESERVE (voice-over): Three months to the day after Linda Franklin was shot in a Home Depot parking lot, Franklin's husband William told the court the excruciating tale of how the couple was struggling to load a bookshelf into their car when he heard a loud noise and felt something on his face. Only after he saw his wife lying on the pavement did he realize that the noise was a gunshot and that what he felt on face was a spray of his wife's blood. As he told the story, the alleged gunman, John Lee Malvo, sat just feet away.
Fairfax County prosecutor Robert Horan is trying to persuade a juvenile court judge that 17-year-old Malvo should be tried as an adult for the Home Depot sniper shooting and three others by establishing probably cause. How hard will that be?
MARVIN MILLER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's about as difficult as letting go of a pencil and having it hit floor.
MESERVE: Horan says he will show that the Bushmaster (ph) rifle recovered from the car in which Malvo was arrested was used in four slayings, and that Malvo's fingerprints were on it. Malvo's fingerprints also found, says Horan, on a bag of raisins found near this note at the scene of the Ashland, Virginia shooting. The note contained a threat against children and a demand for $10 million. Horan said another note found near the October 22 shooting of a bus driver in Montgomery County also contained a demand for money. He also alleges Malvo made two phone calls to police.
MESERVE: Horan is emphasizing the threats and extortion demands so he can employ Virginia's new anti-terrorism statute. If eventually convicted on that count or another of capital murder, Malvo, though a juvenile, could face the death penalty -- Aaron.
BROWN: His demeanor in court today, Malvo's?
MESERVE: He came in handcuffs. Those were eventually removed. He sat at the table watching the testimony. No emotion showing on his face.
Occasionally he would look over his shoulder at people in the audience. At one point he put his head down in his arms on the table in front of him.
Also in the courtroom today was Peter Greenspun. He is the attorney for John Allen Muhammad. He is the other person accused in these sniper attacks.
He was taking copious notes. I asked him what he was doing there. He said he was there to watch and learn. I'm told by attorneys he can learn quite a bit about the evidence the prosecution has not just against Malvo, but against his client by being in that courtroom -- Aaron.
BROWN: Just back to Malvo for a second. Does he look any different than he looked before? Is he thinner? Does he look -- anything different?
MESERVE: He was in such a baggy prison jumpsuit it's impossible to tell if he's gained weight or lost weight. We know there's been an issue with his diet at the jail. That he was on this vegetarian loaf for a while that he had some disagreement with it. And now he's back on the regular diet, eating just the vegetables and starch, not the meat, because he says that conflicts with his Muslim religion. It looked like his hair was a little longer, but otherwise looked largely the same.
BROWN: And just one final question on that. Does he have anyone other than his lawyers in the court who are supporting him?
MESERVE: His lawyers and his guardian. The guardian who was appointed on his behalf by the court because he is a juvenile. His name is Todd Petit (ph). He actually has been fairly active on this case. He was in there today. At one point rose to ask a question. Prosecutor Horan objected to that, so instead Petit (ph) passed a note to the lawyers who then asked a question on his behalf.
So he's clearly a participant in these proceedings. But as to family members and others, we couldn't see any in the courtroom today. BROWN: Jeanne, thank you very much. Jeanne Meserve in Washington tonight.
We thought we had reached our capacity to be shocked by the case of those little boys in Newark, New Jersey. But then along comes another detail that brings the horror of the thing to another level. Today it was estimated the time of death for seven-year-old Faheem Williams given by prosecutors was sometime, sometime between September and January.
More proof of just how little we know about what happened. And today another boy, one barely old enough to drive, was arraigned in connection with Faheem's death on charges of child endangerment and aggravated assault. For us tonight, CNN's Jamie Colby.
JAMIE COLBY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Newark police say the 16-year-old son of stripper Sherry Murphy told them he struck his cousin, seven-year-old Faheem Williams, during a wrestling match and helped his mother hide the body. Statements the teenager's attorney is trying to have thrown out.
PATRICIA RIVERA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The family is all concerned with regard to asking that the son be returned to them that he is being interrogated or has been interrogated without their knowledge.
COLBY: The judge has not yet ruled on the admissibility of those statements, but he has ordered the teen to remain in a juvenile detention center on charges of child endangerment and aggravated assault. The teen's father plead with the judge to give him custody.
WESLEY THOMAS, DEFENDANT'S FATHER: I'm just hurting for my son right now. I haven't been the best father in his life. And now is the time for me to stand up and show him that I love him, but I need him near me.
COLBY: But the judge denied the request, citing the seriousness of the charges and a lengthy juvenile record, including outstanding bench warrants against the teenager.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This young man does pose a threat to the community and a danger perhaps to himself if not others. Under these circumstances, the court is going to order his continued remand.
COLBY: The teenage will be back in court on January 21. That's when prosecutors will announce if they want to try him as an adult and add a homicide charge -- Aaron.
BROWN: OK. At the risk of sounding stupid, not the first time, is there a clear theory of the case that the prosecution has put forward yet?
COLBY: Sadly, the case is all over the place. All these family members that have been charged, this is the third arrest in the case, and still we don't know who killed seven-year-old Faheem. They are still interrogating other family members. This young man's two sisters are being questioned and may be charged.
And the biological mother as well, who remains in a hospital, has also been reinterrogated by police. It's a possibility, they say, that her statements about being on her way to see the boys when she was hit by a car may not be the case. She may have actually seen them prior to that time. A lot of questions, so few answers, Aaron.
BROWN: So they don't -- again, they don't know -- the boy had been hit in the stomach, right? There was the blunt force injury and the starvation, correct?
COLBY: The Newark police confirmed that this young man, the teenager that was at the hearing today, did tell police that he hit Faheem Williams and that he helped his mother hide the body. The time between the hitting and stuffing his body in this plastic bin is still unclear. They haven't made the connection, but it appears to be that they're trying. Even his own attorney says it's likely they will add a homicide charge.
BROWN: Thank you. Someday it will all be clear, but it isn't quite there yet.
COLBY: We hope so. We're staying on it, Aaron.
BROWN: Thank you.
Ahead on NEWSNIGHT: we talk with former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, whose next venture is in education. Specifically, training New York City principals. We'll talk with him about that and the economy and other things too.
Up next: two odd twists in the war on terror. From New York, this is NEWSNIGHT.
BROWN: We'll admit it. Sometimes we here in the United States get tunnel vision about the war on terror. That somehow it's being fought only by Americans for Americans.
Of course nothing could be further from the truth. And tonight we have two very compelling stories on what's going on in Europe. A terror raid today in Britain that ended with one police officer dead, and a case from some months back in Germany, when investigators say it was a plot to bomb an American military base.
CNN's Sheila MacVicar has both stories for us, beginning with what Prime Minister Tony Blair described today as an appalling tragedy, wicked in the extreme. Sheila, good evening.
MACVICAR: Good evening, Aaron. It's still not clear what happened in that apartment in Manchester, when police went in to it a number of hours ago. They say they went there looking for a specific individual, someone that they had connected to the toxin ricin. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Aaron, as you know, police officers in Britain do not carry arms. It appears that there were no arms in that apartment tonight.
And it's not yet clear whether, in fact, they did find the individual they were looking for. What is clear is that at least one man is now being held under a murder investigation, and two others are being held under anti-terrorism legislation. Just one more investigation in Britain, one more raid, this time one that went very badly wrong.
BROWN: Before we move on to the Germany story, how many people now do you know are in custody on the ricin story?
MACVICAR: Well, the ricin story has had a number of very curious turns. There's four people, including a 17-year-old, who appeared at a court here in London a couple of days ago. And they are being linked to the ricin story. There's a couple of other people who were picked up at the same time who were being held on immigration charges.
And then we have this really very strange raid down in Bournemouth, where a number of people were arrested about 48 hours ago. The police then told us that they were linked to the ricin investigation, but then yesterday told us that they were being de- arrested on terrorism charges and instead were being held in connection with an investigation into a hoax about which they're not prepared to say anything more. So very curious indeed. Very murky, too.
BROWN: It is. OK. Now, part two of your efforts for us tonight having to do with this plot or alleged plot in Germany.
MACVICAR: I'm going to take you back to the days before September 11. This is the story, Aaron, of a young American woman and her German-born Turkish fiancee and the story of the witness who went to authorities, told authorities a tale, a story, which has led to those two young people still being held in prison, still waiting for charges to be brought against them.
MACVICAR (voice-over): Fear of another attack has jangled nerves nowhere more than in places like Heidelberg, Germany, where the U.S. Army has its headquarters in Europe. Last September 5, the police acted on startling information from a mysterious witness, a young American woman.
(on camera): She warned of terror here in Heidelberg. She said a co-worker asked her and told her if you walk down the main street on September 11, don't walk near the buildings and don't go into the parking lot of the shopping mall of the American base, because (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is building bombs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Terror plot. A man and his fiancee arrested in Germany suspected of planning a bomb attack on a U.S... WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: A Turkish man with a large quantity of explosives...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police confiscated five pipe bombs and nearly 300 pounds of explosive chemicals.
MACVICAR: Arrested, Astrid Edigera (ph), daughter of a career U.S. serviceman. She grew up in Germany, proud to be an American. And her fiancee, Osmin Patmetzchi (ph), a German-born Turk. German officials talked of a plot linked to al Qaeda.
THOMAS SCHAEUBLE, GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER (through translator): He seems to be a follower of Osama bin Laden and a strictly religious Muslim who hates Americans and Jews.
MACVICAR: That was a portrait of Osmond Patmetzchi (ph) his friends didn't recognize.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A fundamentalist wouldn't drink alcohol, wouldn't smoke weed, wouldn't smoke dope.
MACVICAR: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and Osmond (ph) have been friends in the small town where they both lived for 20 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe there is some terrorism, I don't know. But not at Osmond's (ph) house.
MACVICAR: Osmond (ph) and Astrid's (ph) house is where German authorities say the two were building bombs. Astrid's (ph) bewildered father, Tony (ph), let us in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well this certificate was given to her not too long ago.
MACVICAR: An award for five years of dedicated service.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She loved her job. She was looking forward.
MACVICAR: Her job at the liquor store on the American base that the German authorities say she and Osmond (ph) planned to bomb. Far from the police claim there were pipe bombs found in the apartment, police documents obtained by CNN reveal there were no bombs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to add other components.
MACVICAR: Astrid's (ph) lawyer, Stephen Kling, says the forensic analysis for the prosecution shows some kind of bomb, even a big bomb might be possible. But not with just the chemicals or fertilizer found in the apartment.
(on camera): The couple insists there is an innocent explanation for everything that police found here. The black powder was for the firecrackers that Osmond (ph) liked to make, and the fertilizer was for the marijuana plants they were planning to grow in the basement.
(voice-over): Defense lawyers say what keeps Astrid (ph) and Osmond (ph) in prison is the word of a witness, a woman who claims they plan to blow up Heidelberg. That witness is a young American woman who came to Germany last year. She worked with Astrid (ph) on the base.
(on camera): Without this witness, is there a case against Astrid (ph) and Osmond (ph)?
STEPHEN KLING, DEFENSE LAWYER: No. It's only the things the witness told the CID (ph).
MACVICAR: The people who knew that witness here in Germany and have nothing to do with Astrid (ph) or Osmond (ph) have told authorities here she is deceitful. Before that witness met Astrid (ph) she lived miles from Heidelberg.
(on camera): Going left here for (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
(voice-over): The witness spent six weeks here with a German family. In that time the family learned that she had difficulty with the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she's caught up in her own lies and fantasies. And she just can get out of them. You know?
MACVICAR: The police asked, is she credible?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My answer was no.
MACVICAR: Others who knew the witness have told police similar stories. In a phone interview, German prosecutors acknowledge they know the witness to be unreliable, but they argue the evidence they found convinces them that this time the witness is telling the truth. The witness referred us to an American lawyer. That lawyer declined comment and referred us back to the German prosecution, who say the case will go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the influence of the 11 of September. It's the influence of Bali, for example. And it's the influence of the new dimension of terrorism.
MACVICAR: And that new dimension means it is likely that Astrid (ph) and Osmond (ph) will soon be charged and stand trial accused as terrorists.
MACVICAR: We're still waiting to hear, Aaron, when in fact the German prosecution will bring charges and what those charges will be. But as I said, Astrid Edigera (ph) and Osmond Patmetzchi (ph) remain in prison in Germany.
BROWN: OK. Let's see if we can get three quick ones in. Has the witness, to your knowledge, been polygraphed?
MACVICAR: Not to my knowledge. But we do know that the German police have carried out extensive investigations and have interviewed a number of people who had contact with her in Germany. We don't know that she's been polygraphed or not.
BROWN: OK. And going back to the house, how much black powder, how much fertilizer was found?
MACVICAR: The fertilizer that was found was of a compound type. And the German forensic analysis shows the basically, unless you were capable of carrying out some very, sophisticated chemical procedures, you couldn't separate it out. And therefore it's the conclusion of the German forensic analysis for the prosecution it was not useful as a kind of fertilizer bomb, the type that we've seen in some other cases like Nairobi in 1998.
As for this black powder, it's not entirely clear what this black powder was, but it's not on its own capable of being made into a large explosive device. You have to add other ingredients to it. And there were a number of grams of that found. And as I said, Osmond Patmetzchi (ph) has the unfortunate hobby of liking to make fireworks. That's according to both his family, his friends and his defense attorney.
BROWN: And finally, is there a clock running here on German prosecutors to make -- to bring charges and make a case?
MACVICAR: They're supposed to do it within six months. But German prosecution has been saying now for weeks, since before Christmas, in fact, that they had hoped to bring charges before the end of December. We're now well into the second week of January, still no sign of those charges coming forward.
They do have to do this fairly quickly and, of course, then there are issues about whether or not these two have to stay in prison, what charges they face and what the possible penalty might be.
BROWN: Sheila, thank you. Sheila MacVicar in London tonight.
Coming up on NEWSNIGHT: we'll look at the man who runs north Korea, Kim Jong Il. Up next: a new anthrax scare in Washington, D.C. Around the world, this is NEWSNIGHT.
BROWN: A few stories from around the country tonight, beginning with a word we haven't said on the program in quite a while, anthrax. The postal service is conducting precautionary tests for anthrax at one of its Washington, D.C. mail facilities. The decision came after the federal reserve said its own testing in mail had shown the possible presence of anthrax. Results due back early tomorrow.
On to a military hearing in Louisiana. An Air Force general now must decide whether two U.S. pilots should face manslaughter charges for the deaths of four Canadians in the accidental bombing last spring in Afghanistan. Pilots say they thought they were being fired on from the ground and were not told there were Canadian troops in the area when they dropped a bomb. But it also argued that amphetamines given to them by the Air Force may have impaired their judgment. And around the world next, starting in Paris. One of the most visited sites in that city, police today evacuated the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Basilica after a tourist discovered a shopping bag with a bomb inside. The device was made of bottles of cooking gas, gasoline, some other chemicals. The only thing missing was a detonator. That and a suspect, at least so far.
In Manheim, Germany, two men went on trial today. They are accused of breaking the weapons embargo on Iraq. The defendants allegedly used a middleman to sell Iraq a 39-foot long drill that could be used to make long-range artillery. On the stand today one of the men said at first he didn't know what Iraq planned to do with the hardware, but says he did eventually have some suspicions.
Still ahead on NEWSNIGHT, we talk with former GE head Jack Welch about his new venture into education. Up next: we try and get some perspective on the enigmatic leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il. This is NEWSNIGHT on CNN.
BROWN: There's something cold and mysterious about North Korea. The end of the Cold War has hardly changed a thing there. Its people remain stuck in a system that is the very definition of failure. This poor backward country supports a huge and well-equipped army, and it is run by a man for whom dictatorship is the family business.
To understand Kim Jong Il is to understand North Korea's intentions in this standoff over nuclear weapons, and that is no easy feat. Here's CNN's David Ensor.
ENSOR (voice-over): Kim Jong Il, U.S. experts in and out of government say, is one of the strangest leaders on earth. Son of the founder of a Stalinist state, he was groomed from birth for absolute power.
JERROLD POST, FMR. CIA ANALYST: He was told from very early on that he was the son of god.
ENSOR: Pampered all his life, the 61-year-old Kim Jong Il lives, experts say, in a seven story pleasure palace.
POST: He has recruited, at the junior high school level, attractive young women to become members of what are called the joy brigades to be providing pleasure and relaxation to the hard working officials of his inner circle.
ENSOR: In the late '70s, U.S. officials say Kim ordered the kidnapping of South Korean movie star (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and her director husband. Madam Choi (ph) later described her first meeting with the portly, 5'2" Kim.
POST: When he first met her, he said to her, "Well, Madam Choi (ph), you must be surprised to see that I resemble the droppings of a midget." So there's a lot of insecurity not just politically, but personally.
ENSOR: But U.S. officials and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who spent 12 hours with the man in 2000, say though he may be insecure, Kim Jong Il is definitely not crazy.
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FMR. SECRETARY OF STATE: It was possible to talk with him. He's not a nut. I think that's the main kind of point. But never forgetting that he is ruthless and that he knows that he's running a country that is on the verge of economic disaster.
ENSOR: Kim took Albright to a stadium to see 100,000 people dance in unison.
ALBRIGHT: He said that he would really have loved to have been a movie director. He knew a lot about American movies and had suggestions for Oscar nominations and, you know, he also liked American sports. He liked Michael Jordan.
ENSOR: He is also a leader who has allowed literally millions of his own countrymen to starve to death, one reason President Bush has expressed, in his words, "loathing" for Kim, and dropped the dialogue Secretary Albright and President Clinton started. Now she hopes it will resume.
ALBRIGHT: I do not think that dialogue is appeasement, and that it is absolutely essential to talk to someone or a leader that you want something from. We talked to Stalin, we talked to Mao Tze Tung.
ENSOR: And like Stalin and Mao, Kim Jong Il is clearly hoping to stay in power for a long time. After decades of heavy drinking -- Hennessey (ph) cognac was his favorite -- Kim has cut back on hard liquor, U.S. officials say. But they say he still drinks a lot of wine and champagne -- Aaron.
BROWN: They know that. I mean, if you think about it, it's sort of remarkable they know what the guy drinks or doesn't drink or what he used to drink, and what he's decided to drink now. But they know very little about what drives him, what he's going for here.
ENSOR: Well that's right. Although they do say, some of the officials I have spoken to for this story, that they believe he is following his father's play book. And the play book is to drive the U.S. or whatever adversary it is with -- to irritate it, to point pins into it, and then finally to try and do a deal when the other side is really irritated.
That's sort of the approach that his father took. And they believe that's the approach this time.
BROWN: Well, it seems to me the other side is irritated. We'll see what happens, David. Thank you very much, David Ensor.
Later on NEWSNIGHT, how making designer clothes may help save wildlife in Africa. And up next: Jack Welch decides to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) New York City schools, or at least help. From New York, this is NEWSNIGHT.
BROWN: Like a good many other big cities, New York has a public school problem. Too many schools seem to fail too many children. It's not, we submit, simply an education failure. There are lots of difficult and complex reasons why big public school systems fail, and there is no simple easy way to fix them.
The new chancellor of New York schools, Joel Klein (ph), drafted some of the city's biggest names and smartest people to help. And to that end, he's asked the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, to create a program to help make principals better, believing, as many educators do, that good principals lead to better schools. We talked with Mr. Welch about that and a few other things earlier this afternoon.
BROWN: Let's talk first about schools and what you've agreed to do in the New York school system, you and other business people.
JACK WELCH, FMR. CEO, GENERAL ELECTRIC : Well, Aaron, I'm working with Joel Klein (ph), who is the chancellor of the New York school system, who has a vision of trying to create leadership out of principals and really make the principals the focal point of the school system. These people run little businesses. They have teachers and they have students, just like you have in business. And we're going to run this academy and we're all going work to hopefully impart some of the things that we've learned. Hopefully they will be applicable to these principals.
BROWN: Is it a business problem that principals face?
WELCH: Principals face a lot of problems. They have a lot of administrative duties. They have, in some cases, teachers that are (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But they also have -- there's a lot of great principals. I mean, it's remarkable how many there are.
I have only met a few now, but I have met the cream of the crop. And it's a remarkable crowd. And if we can translate the best practices from the best schools, as you do in business to the other schools -- and Chancellor Klein (ph) has got some authority from the mayor, Mayor Bloomberg, to give financial incentives to principals who will go to bad or more difficult schools and see if they can deliver.
BROWN: Now, the conventional wisdom is that you can't -- an this is not just true in New York, but anywhere -- is you can't run a successful school operation unless you engage parents and that's a particular problem for a variety of complicated reasons in a city like New York.
WELCH: But there are some great school role models that have performed that have done it.
The issue is, Is there a leader at the principal level who can gather the community or pieces of the community to engage them? And that is -- you're right on. That is, in fact, the challenge.
But if you don't have a leader at the top, you've got to see that principal as the CEO of an enterprise. And that principal's going to have a lot of authority under Chancellor Klein. He's going to have authority to pick assistant principals; he's going to have authority to deal with a lot of stuff that's going to be different.
Now, this is a big swing. You know? I mean, everyone knows how hard it is. Why not take a shot at it? It's the most important thing we can do.
BROWN: Let's -- we'll watch this. I think it will be interesting to see how you and others do in this.
Do you miss being a CEO, by the way?
BROWN: Not at all?
BROWN: You don't wake up and see a particular problem at a particular company and say, You know that AOL, I wouldn't mind getting in there and doing that?
WELCH: Look, I don't miss being a CEO at all. I have got a diversified life of speaking and consulting for a number of companies. I can get off of just business meetings and budget reviews and things like that and think about tax policy, or this and the next thing. It's a lot more fun. I'm having a great time.
No, I've had my run.
WELCH: I've had my time. It's over.
BROWN: What do you think of the plan that the president put out last week?
WELCH: I'm an unabashed fan of this plan. I think it touches every constituent. I think those who are trying to create class warfare over it are wrong. I think 80 percent of it goes to the stimulus in the first year and they're saying it's not stimulus. Now there's a lot of reform here.
BROWN: I was going to ask if you think this is, in fact, economic stimulus or whether this is tax policy disguised as economic stimulus?
WELCH: I think it's both. I think it's a reform plan and stimulus.
I mean, if you look at the first year expenditures, assume they're $100 million. People say they're 90, 110. Everyone's got a different estimate. But it's around that. There's only $20 billion going to the dividend issue. There's $80 billion for rate decreases, for raising the level of the 10 percent bracket. There's all kinds of stimulus in here -- the job credit for people that don't have a job. And so I just don't buy this argument.
BROWN: Why not -- why would it not be more fair, more fair, to in some way adjust payroll taxes, which absolutely do hit middle and lower income people, Social Security taxes for example, deal with that as a more fair way to inject money into the economy?
WELCH: It's a hugely expensive proposition, for one thing. Hugely expensive budget deficit driven thing.
BROWN: Are you concerned about the deficits, by the way?
WELCH: I think they're small relative to the size of the economy. I mean, really small.
I think this idea of we can't afford a budget deficit is crazy. This is what you have surpluses for when you get into economic difficulties. You use them. And I think the number, whether it's 2 percent or 1.5 percent or 2.5 percent is peanuts relative to a $10 trillion economy.
BROWN: So the problem just -- I want to finish this off. The problem with the payroll tax question is, in your view, it's too expensive and makes the deficit too big.
WELCH: No, it's just too much for too little bang.
This one here -- look, the idea of who pays. When you have a tax cut, who pays the taxes? I mean, you're going to get the high end getting more of a benefit but 60 percent of the people pay 15 percent of the taxes. 40% pay 85 percent. And this is not the wealthy wealthy. This is if you make $85,000, you're in the second quintile in America.
So, I mean, this is a very fair tax bill. Now, I don't like the idea of let's cut the dividend issue in half. Well, then it's not a plan that makes sense. If it wasn't right to tax dividends twice in the first place, is it right to tax half of them?
BROWN: We tax -- we double tax income all the time. Every time I go to the grocery store and pay sales tax that's the second tax on that same dollar.
WELCH: No, I don't think that's true. I think you are paying out of disposal income as a discretionary payment that you are making. You are not having the government tell you to buy this or that or the next thing. You are making discretionary decisions that it's totally...
BROWN: To eat.
WELCH: To eat, to buy clothes, to play golf, to do all the things that you do. BROWN: Some of those things shouldn't be taxed.
Nice to see you, Mr. Welch.
WELCH: Great seeing you. Thanks a lot.
BROWN: Thank you.
Jack Welch. Next on NEWSNIGHT, wildlife works. We'll be right back.
BROWN: Finally from us, you know the wrap on the people the skeptics like to dismiss as tree huggers; people who want to save the environment but ignore the people who have to make a living there, pie in the sky types who think the market is always the enemy and trying to protect an endangered species.
Well, Mike Korchinsky is no treehugger. He set up a company called Wildlife Works, encouraging one community of Kenyans to protect their wildlife by giving them jobs making clothes that trendy young Americans just might buy.
They're buying and the Kenyans and their wildlife are thriving.
(SINGING IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
MIKE KORCHINSKY, FOUNDER AND CEO, WILDLIFE WORKS: I hadn't had a vacation for 10 years and had always dreamed of going to Africa.
After about three days of what I used to call jaw dropping splendor, where you're encountering elephants and zebras and giraffes for the first time in their natural habitat, and I felt initially just sad, I think, that this magnificent wildlife was disappearing in front of my eyes.
Then I got, you know, intellectually challenged with how do you solve this problem? We started Wildlife Works to save the world's endangered wildlife.
We have a sanctuary in Kenya, our first. We hope that's a pilot for many more.
Our approach was really very grassroots. We explained to the community your side of the deal is that if we do all these things, then you have to -- we have to have wildlife. Otherwise we have no marketing tool, which means you have to lay off of it and stop poaching and stop doing things you're doing.
ALICE NOIGA, WILDLIFE WORKS KENYAN MANAGER: Wildlife Works is about people that live near the wildlife. And We're giving these people jobs.
We're giving them not just a job, but a job that has skill. We're helping them directly. We are helping them indirectly. We are helping their families indirectly.
LAURA MATUNDA, WILDLIFE WORKS EMPLOYEE (through translator): Getting a job is very important. I am the only one working. I have a husband. I have two children. They depend on me.
NOIGA: The plan is to be able to employ as many people as we can to make an impact on the community. We're dealing with a community that hasn't had a background of the textile industry, so we start with T-shirts.
KORCHINSKY: Our mission is consumer-powered conservation. It's an opportunity to, you know, bring a product in front of the consumer that has clear linkage to something a lot of people care about: wildlife conservation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a new group that we're working on. It's adinkra, West African wisdom symbols and working on summer 2003.
KORCHINSKY: What's the hot color of the season?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically sticking with the icier colors.
KORCHINSKY: So our initial product line was for women. It was a fashion product for women ages 18 to 34, roughly speaking.
The consumer marketplace in the United States is enormous. And that power can either do tremendous good or tremendous harm to the planet.
One of the reasons why conservation is so difficult in these communities is because they have very short-term thinking. You know, they've been in survival mode for so long.
SOPHIE KOINBO, LOCAL RESIDENT (through translator): They have helped us greatly with our children and rebuilding our schools. Since Wildlife Works came, they have rebuilt the schools and even built water tanks.
KORCHINSKY: By investing in schools we found that changed the picture quickly with the parents.
One of the other big problems they have is clean drinking water. So we thought about root catchment for the community.
The unique aspect of what we're doing is the linkage between Kenya and the wildlife and the U.S. consumer market.
We would like to be, within five years, to be in all the major markets and have at least four or five of these sanctuary factory combinations in different parts of Africa or elsewhere in the developing world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Nice way to end it all tonight. We'll see you tomorrow at 10 Eastern. Good night for all of us.
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