The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!


Return to Transcripts main page


Interview With Sir Ian McKellen; California Rocked By Earthquake

Aired December 22, 2003 - 20:00   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: "In Focus" tonight: central California rocked by a 6.5 earthquake, so strong, the shockwave was felt up and down the coast from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
Inside the intelligence that led to the heightened alert -- what they knew, when they knew it and what you should know.




KAGAN: And it's the biggest movie in the world. "Lord of the Rings" star Sir Ian McKellen joins us.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us. Paula Zahn is off tonight. I'm Daryn Kagan.

We have a lot to cover tonight, but we want to start with today's earthquake in California, which has killed at least two people. It was centered outside San Simeon near the coast, about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. And while it spare those two cities, the town of Paso Robles suffered heavy damage, including the collapse of a historic building.

Not far from Paso Robles is the earthquake operations center for San Luis Obispo County.

And joining us on the phone right now, emergency services coordinator Ron Alsop.

Ron, thanks for being with us.


KAGAN: What's your No. 1 priority right now in Paso Robles?

ALSOP: Right now is continuing to dig through the debris. And we have rescue teams attempting to see if there are any other victims within the collapsed building, actually two collapsed neighboring buildings in that city.

KAGAN: And can you explain a little bit better what exactly collapsed? There's this historic clock tower in Paso Robles. That was on top of the building that collapsed? ALSOP: Yes.

Actually, the buildings that collapsed are part of what could be summarized as an old-fashioned Main Street downtown USA. It was a vibrant downtown. It's a busy business district. But the buildings were very old, and on a small Main Street. So they were old buildings and masonry-type buildings that actually collapsed onto the street. In fact, the information that we have recently received, the victims were actually walking by out on the sidewalk.

KAGAN: So how many people are missing at this time?

ALSOP: Right now, we have only one person missing. We have the two confirmed fatalities and another person that is being searched for in the debris.

KAGAN: And now, Ron, if you could give us a picture, a bigger picture, of what the county faces right now in terms of power outages?

ALSOP: Overall, we initially started with over 100,000 people without power. And we're down to, probably have in the neighborhood of 45,000 or so without power and a very small amount of people without gas service.

There are also some people that don't have water service, but we're working to restore that. That's certainly a priority to get in service again.

KAGAN: Also, I would also imagine a priority is -- there is a nuclear power plant in your county, Diablo Canyon. What's the status of that plant?

ALSOP: The plant is OK. It's operating at 100 percent. It has two nuclear reactors. They did declare what's called an unusual event, which is the lowest of four emergencies at a nuclear power plant, and essentially which means something unusual happened.

But the plant is operating safely. They're continuing to inspect it. And they're remaining in this low emergency-level mode in case of significant aftershocks.

KAGAN: And can you give us a personal account? What did the quake feel like to you?

ALSOP: It lasted for about 10, 15, 20 seconds. It was quite a strong jolt. Even though I've been in emergency management for 20 years, it was the strongest one I happened to feel.

And it -- it was the general rolling sensation and actually quite a bit of movement within the building. And so we certainly took cover, in our case, under our desks for safety. And power went out immediately and we obviously knew we had some work to get to.

KAGAN: And, certainly, California is known as earthquake country, but what about this part, the central coast? A history of earthquakes here, please. ALSOP: Our history of earthquakes, we haven't had a damaging earthquake since the 1950s. And that was actually centered outside of our county. But here in the central coast, we do have a number of potentially significant faults, including the San Andreas Fault runs through our eastern portion of the county.

The fault, or at least the area near where the earthquake occurred today is a known fault series that are believed to be capable actually to a magnitude of a little bit higher than we had today.

KAGAN: Well, we wish you well, especially with the search for the missing person and cleaning up and getting the power and the water back to those who need it.

That's Ron Alsop with San Luis Obispo County emergency services.

Ron, thank you.

ALSOP: Thank you.

KAGAN: Well, as we mentioned, one of the incredible things about this earthquake, it was felt from San Francisco all the way down to Southern California.

Our Charles Feldman is standing by in Los Angeles with more on what was felt in L.A.

Good morning -- good evening.



CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's been a long day.


FELDMAN: Yes, we certainly did feel it here.

I was in my office looking down, doing some writing, and felt sort of dizzy, which is the way most people in L.A. who felt it report their reaction to the earthquake. And it was obvious in a few seconds that it was in fact an earthquake that occurred. It was felt, as I said, here in L.A. It was felt as far north as San Francisco, and with good reason. A 6.5 quake is, in geographical terms, a significant event.

Now, there's good and bad about this earthquake. The bad part is, it was what's called a shallow earthquake. It occurred about 4.7 miles beneath the surface of the earth. And those tend to be the earthquakes that do the most damage. The good news, though, here is that the quake's epicenter is in a relatively -- and I use the word relatively sparsely populated area of California.

It's not like San Francisco or Los Angeles. It's a county that has a standing population of about 250,000, although it gets a lot of people going between Northern and Southern California who are tourists. And talking about tourists, one place that was immediately affected by this quake was Hearst Castle, which is in nearby San Simeon.

It is, of course, the home of the legendary media mogul William Randolph Hearst, the model for the movie "Citizen Kane." It's filled with all kinds of artwork. And it had to be evacuated within minutes once the earthquake hit. It's not known if the castle itself or any of the items inside were damaged. So it was a significant event.

And, also, there were significant aftershocks to this event, some 40 by last count, some as strong as 4.9, which, in and of itself, can do quite a bit of damage, depending upon where it occurs. But, thus far, it looks as if California got off somewhat lucky, because a 6.5 quake in, say, Los Angeles or San Francisco would have been expected to cause significantly more property damage and we would probably be seeing significantly more injuries and fatalities.

Thus far here, as you've already mentioned, two known deaths. That's because of that historic building, that clock tower, that collapsed, and potentially one person missing, they think, in the rubble. Not clear if that person is alive or dead. So it's an event that's still ongoing, in the sense that these aftershocks that I just spoke about could go on for several days or even weeks -- Daryn.

KAGAN: All right, thank you for that, Charles Feldman in Los Angeles.

Want to go back closer to the epicenter of this quake. And our Frank Buckley is standing by. And he is very close to San Simeon.

Or, actually, it looks like you're in Paso Robles, Frank.


And we can tell you that there's still a great deal of activity going on here in the Main Street area. We also have some updated figures for you. And I'll give you that information.

As you can see for yourself some of the activity that's going on here, the area that you're looking at where the firefighters are now, that was a restaurant called the House of Bread. And we're told now by Bob Adams (ph), the sergeant for the police department here, that two people were pulled out of this rubble initially, one person with minor injuries, another person with a broken arm.

If you go up the street from that location and look just beyond where that overhang has fallen down, and you can see perhaps the SUV just beyond that building that's crushed, that's where there were two fatalities in that area outside a shop called Ann's (ph). We now know that it was a 19-year-old woman and a 55-year-old woman that were killed there.

There were 40 people injured, we are told, in San Luis Obispo County. And those people suffered various things like chest pains, heart attacks, respiratory issues. And we also now know there were 46 buildings that were damaged in the five-square-block area of Paso Robles downtown.

So that's what we have right now, Daryn. I apologize. I couldn't see you, but I called you Paula there. And, Daryn, I know it's you. But that's what we have right now here in the downtown area. They're saying it's rescue mode. That is, the firefighters are here to make sure that there is no one else left in any of these buildings. Once they go through that, they're trying to shore up these buildings to make sure that nothing falls down on anyone else in this community -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Frank Buckley in Paso Robles, don't worry about the name. Just most important to get the information and the pictures on the air. We appreciate the quick work by you and the crew. Thank you for that.


TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Really, the level and the amount of reporting has increased. We've never quite seen it at this level before.


KAGAN: Turning now to fears of terrorism as America is on guard for the holiday season.

The Department of Homeland Security has raised the terror alert level from yellow to orange. That comes after intelligence reports indicated that extremists may be planning acts of terrorism that rival or even exceed the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Our Jeanne Meserve has the latest from Washington.

Jeanne, good evening.


Missile batteries are being moved into place around Washington, D.C., just one step being taking in response to the heightened threat level. Officials at all levels of government say the threat this time around seems more serious. A homeland security officials says there is specific and credible information, some of it relating to the possible use of aircraft originating in other countries as weapons in suicide attacks.

There are particular concerns about Washington, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, a handful of other cities and, according to some sources, two rural areas, one in the East and one in the Southwest. A government official also says that numerous people on terrorist watch lists have been blocked from entering the country at various locations since December 1, but would not give specifics.

And another government officials says, a handful of foreign flight crew members have been stopped in recent days. What's happening in response to all of this, the U.S. is working with airlines and foreign governments to improve their security postures. There is concern about Mexico and Canada, because of their contiguous airspace, also about France and a number of other countries.

And governors have been given lists of specific protective measures and sites to be protected, including critical infrastructure which, if hit by an aircraft, could cause extensive problems -- Daryn, back to you.

KAGAN: Jeanne Meserve, thank you for that report.

Let's see if we can get some more information now. Joining us from Washington, Undersecretary for Homeland Security Asa Hutchinson.

Mr. Secretary, thank you for being with us this evening.


I could see that you were listening in to Jeanne's report there. Anything else you can add in terms of specific threats?

HUTCHINSON: No, obviously, the threat reporting was at a significant level.

The consensus of the intelligence community was that this reflected increased desire of al Qaeda and that they were acting in a near-term fashion. And so the threat level was increased. Even though we have specific and credible information, we have raised the national threat level, our specific responses are at the law enforcement level, coordinating with our states, with all the federal agencies for that response. The general public, obviously, we want them at increased level of alert, but, at the same time, to go about, in alert fashion, the normal activities. We do not want to stop what we're doing for our holiday season.


KAGAN: Right. I understand. I want to get to what the public should do in just a moment.

But first, if you could explain to me a little bit more about the tug of war within the administration about why and when you go to orange. I know you do not take this lightly. It costs about $1 billion a week -- I've seen these estimates -- in order to pay for the costs of raising the security threat level.

HUTCHINSON: Well, it is a very serious move. We have not taken this step in six months.

And so it is a consensus that is arrived at. The president obviously is presented with the information, makes the final decision. But we have an obligation, one, to alert law enforcement and share the information we have. But, secondly, the public has a right to know. And, obviously, their involvement is very important. So there's a lot of discussion that goes around. But, at some point, the information is specific and credible and there's a consensus. And this question, there was not any doubt that this is exactly what we needed to do.

KAGAN: And let me ask you about the public's right to know. What are people supposed to do with this? They get two messages. They get the scary -- frankly, very scary -- message about what could happen out there, but then told, still go home to grandma and grandpa for Christmastime, for the holidays, still go out to the malls and do your shopping. What are they supposed to do with knowing that a really bad thing could happen?

HUTCHINSON: Well, it sounds contradictory, but, in fact, America understands that, that we have to rely upon law enforcement to take the particular response.

But everyone's alertness is a very significant deterrent factor. And we believe that the actions of Americans and the alert level does have a deterrent effect. We want Americans, though, not to give the terrorists a victory by shutting down America. We go about our activities, rely upon the professional law enforcement, and have a good Christmas, is what we want to see happen in a holiday season.

But we're working very hard, very diligently with our international partners, increasing the security of aviation. And I think that we've taken the appropriate step. And America's help is very important in what we're trying to accomplish.

KAGAN: Really quickly, let me ask you here. I know a lot of this is based on chatter that you see on the Internet. Isn't that chatter in its own way becoming its own form of terrorism?

HUTCHINSON: Well, we do evaluate that. We understand that you have to measure that. It's not conclusive, and so a lot of different sources of information that are measured by professionals in the intelligence community.

And we do not want to give them the sense that we're making America too sensitive to terror alerts. America has the balance. We understand the new design of security that's necessary, but we go about our business. What America can do, though, is also be prepared to have a plan, a communications plan, be informed about what's happening, and to have a kit that's ready in the event an emergency does happen, whether it's an earthquake or something that a terrorist might do.

KAGAN: Well, Undersecretary of Homeland Security Asa Hutchinson, I wish you a safe and, how about this, a boring holiday? Wouldn't that be just about the best thing that could happen?

HUTCHINSON: That's a good wish.

KAGAN: Thank you for your time and thank you for joining us tonight.

Well, maybe Saddam Hussein didn't quite give up without a fight. We'll look at reports that he spit -- yes, he spit -- at U.S. soldiers as he was being captured. You'll want to hear what those soldiers reportedly did to him after that. And the so-called Bush doctrine, dividing the world between good and evil, did it scare Libya into letting arms inspectors in?

Also, as talk of a plea deal grows, lawyers for talk show host Rush Limbaugh say he was the victim of blackmail.

Plus, Sir Ian McKellen stops by to talk about "The Lord of the Rings" and what makes the final installment so special.


KAGAN: Last week, a dirty, disheveled and disoriented Saddam Hussein surrendered to U.S. soldiers without a shot being fired. But that doesn't mean the dictator wasn't spitting mad, literally spitting mad, according to "TIME" magazine.

Joining us now, "TIME" correspondent Timothy Burger. He covers intelligence and terrorism issues.

Tim, good evening.

TIMOTHY BURGER, "TIME": How you doing?

KAGAN: Let's get right to it. He spit? Saddam spit?

BURGER: Apparently he did. They pulled him out of the spider hole. And as they were trying to handcuff him, he spat on one of the soldiers.

KAGAN: And what happened after that?

BURGER: Well, apparently, they slugged him one. What I was not able to learn from my sources was whether the bruise or scab that we saw


KAGAN: ... see the video right now.

BURGER: Yes, it looked pretty fresh, whether -- I had figured maybe he bumped his head on the way out, right? But then I was wondering if maybe, when they smacked him, it caused that bruise. But my sources did not know. So that's another matter to be discovered.

KAGAN: Now, let's kind of go back a few steps here. It seemed like, just when he was taken, what we heard -- that rendition that we heard where he said, "I am Saddam Hussein," and they say, "President Bush sends his regards." You're telling me that that didn't happen?

BURGER: Oh, no, this is a separate thing.

KAGAN: OK, in addition to that?

BURGER: I'm not saying that didn't or did happen. I didn't do any work on that part. What I was focusing on was, as soon as I heard that he spat and got punched or hit, I was fascinated by that. (CROSSTALK)

BURGER: And I really wanted to see if that was the case. So I got some good sources saying that it was.

KAGAN: And the significance of that happening? Besides people going, oh, Saddam Hussein, he got punched.

BURGER: Well, the way he was captured, as you know, has really disgusted many sort of in the Arab street, if you will. They had expected this man who had pumped himself up as this omnipotent dictator, who was so powerful and personally strong, firing a rifle in the air with one hand, they expected him to go down swinging, shooting, in a blaze of glory -- not to say the Arab street loved him, but they wanted one of their own at least to be a man about it, if you will.

KAGAN: And to not be humiliated about that.

BURGER: Right.

KAGAN: We should say, for the benefit of our viewers that this is not a CNN story. We ourselves have not confirmed it, which is why we brought you on to talk about it.

BURGER: Glad to be here.

KAGAN: How do we know this isn't just another one of those urban legends? The story of Jessica Lynch that came out of official sources right when she was rescued, that was a great story, but she today can tell us that that's not exactly how it happened.

BURGER: Right. Yes, well, this had a full week to gestate, if you will. And it didn't come out for a week.

Basically, I just made very sure that I was talking to good sources about it and that there was reason that they would know if this had been reported, as it had been, through certain channels. And so I developed a level of comfort that it was a fair story to run. And I had great confidence in my sources.

KAGAN: And you went with it and it's in this week's "TIME" magazine. People can read it for themselves.

BURGER: There you go.

KAGAN: Tim Burger with "TIME," thank you for stopping by. Appreciate that.

BURGER: Thank you.

KAGAN: Well, speaking of "TIME" magazine, the magazine's person of the year goes to an entire army. It's the American soldier for the war in Iraq and the capture of Saddam Hussein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SGT. RONALD BUXTON, 1ST ARMORED DIVISION: We're a minuscule part of the person of the year.


KAGAN: Also, she was voted Miss Savannah, but now a 21-year-old beauty queen is charged with murder. She says it was self-defense.


KAGAN: "TIME" magazine has named the American soldier as its person of the year. For its cover story, "TIME" followed a platoon from the 1st Armored Division.

And our Karl Penhaul joined up with them at a fire base in a troubled Baghdad neighborhood.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People of the year back from patrol. "TIME" magazine hasn't made it to Baghdad yet, only photocopies. Sergeant Ronald Buxton was one of three soldiers featured on the cover, one of thousands in Iraq.

SGT. RONALD BUXTON, 1ST ARMORED DIVISION: Surreal. We just happened to be at the right place at the right time. We're a minuscule part of the person of the year.

PENHAUL: Recognition may be welcome, but they're reluctant heroes.

SPEC. KENNETH BRYANT, 1ST ARMORED DIVISION: Truthfully, I don't want to be here. None of these soldiers want to be here. But when they say we got to move, we got to move.

PENHAUL: Once a palace of Saddam Hussein's playboy son Uday, these soldiers of the 1st Armored Division call their H.Q. the love shack. It's in the heart of one of Baghdad's most explosive neighborhoods.

SPEC. DANIEL ELLERBEE, 1ST ARMORED DIVISION: Sometimes you go outside a gate and people are happy, and sometimes you go outside a gate and they're mad. You just live day to day to figure out what's going on. So they're always some kind of fear.

PENHAUL (on camera): "TIME" magazine called U.S. troops the bright, sharp instrument of a blunt policy.

(voice-over): A lightning quick invasion has turned into a war where there are no front lines.

SGT. MIKE SMITH, 1ST ARMORED DIVISION: Guerrilla warfare is very rough, because you don't know who the enemy is.

PENHAUL: Debate on the rights and wrongs of the war rage on. California soldier poet Patrick Williams simply knows he and his comrades are trying their best.

SGT. PATRICK WILLIAMS, 1ST ARMORED DIVISION: I have lived time others would say were best forgotten. At least, some day, I will be able to say that I was proud of what I was, a soldier.

PENHAUL: Pride and grit, but a long way from the gloss of a magazine cover.

SGT. JESSE CAMPBELL, 1ST ARMORED DIVISION: It's "Groundhog Day." It's the same day every day. It seems like a long day.

PENHAUL: Sergeant Marquette Whiteside is also one of the trio featured on the cover of "TIME" magazine.

SGT. MARQUETTE WHITESIDE, 1ST ARMORED DIVISION: I know there's always that big possibility that today might be my last day on this earth.

PENHAUL: His words echoed by the clatter of this helicopter ferrying out the dead after the latest attack by Iraqi insurgents on the American soldier.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Baghdad.


KAGAN: The Bush doctrine, if you're not with us, you're against us, is it behind Libya's decision to come clean? That is our debate tonight.

Plus, a love fest for Michael Jackson out on $3 million bail. The singer was surrounded by hundreds at his Neverland Ranch this weekend.

And tomorrow, cell phones, you can talk with them, you can see them, and now you can spy with them as well. We'll show you how.


KAGAN: Here is what you need to know right now, that CNN has an -- we do have Frank Buckley? All right. What you need to know right now -- we're checking on the situation on the central coast of California, earlier rocked by a major earthquake. Our Frank Buckley is standing by in Paso Robles, California -- Frank.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Daryn. We can show you from another perspective what the downtown area looks like. You can see the overhang from this building in the Main Street area of Paso Robles. It's called Park Street, actually, but it's a busy shopping area. We're told this area was packed when this earthquake hit. That fell down, and in fact, right in that area was where there were two fatalities. We're now told that there were some 40 injuries, none of them considered life-threatening, we believe, and none of them directly as a result of falling debris or anything like that. We're talking about chest pains, heart attacks, respiratory problems. But there was one injury in the downtown area serious enough to require transport to the hospital. That's when someone broke their arm.

Forty-six buildings, in all, damaged in a five-square-block area of Paso Robles. And as you can see right now, there are still rescue workers in the area. We're told by police here that what the attempt is right now is to make sure these buildings are safe. The firefighters are still considered in rescue mode. That means they'll be ready to go in to make sure there is no one is left inside. If someone is left inside, they will go in and make the rescue.

One other item that we can't really show you here is that there is a smell in the air, the smell of sulfur. There are hot springs in this area, and one of the wells, we are told, that had been capped became uncapped, and so there is hot spring water going down through some of the streets, and so the smell of sulfur is very heavy in the air here.

That's the situation right now in this community -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Frank Buckley, reporting live to us from Paso Robles. Some pointing out that lucky that this didn't hit a more populated area, and yet in this one town of Paso Robles on the central coast, clearly having a huge impact. We will check back with you throughout the evening. Thank you, Frank.

Now on to world news, and an exclusive interview with CNN. Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi says the world has changed and that is why he agreed to scrap programs to produce weapons of mass destruction. State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel traveled to Libya to talk to Gadhafi.


MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LEADER OF LIBYA: We have no intention to make these weapons, these WMD, but there is many -- there are many laws, many accusations, many propaganda against Libya, particularly in this field, and we have to stop this propaganda against us. And we say how are you accuse us and use propaganda. You exercise terrorism policy against Libyan people by accusing us like this. Come and see what is. We don't want to hide anything.


KAGAN: Well, in terms of what he wants to hide or not hide, you can see Andrea's full exclusive interview with Moammar Gadhafi tonight on "NEWSNIGHT WITH AARON BROWN," 10:00 Eastern on CNN.

Gadhafi's comments bring us to our debate tonight. President Bush has taken a lot of heat from critics for his so-called Bush doctrine. He summed it up two years ago when he said, You're either with us or you are with the terrorists. Has the Bush doctrine worked?

Joining us now is Charles Kupchan, an associate professor of international relations at Georgetown University. He was a member of President Clinton's National Security Council. Also with us, "Wall Street Journal" columnist John Fund joins us, as well. Gentlemen, good evening. Thanks for being with us. PROF. CHARLES KUPCHAN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Glad to join you.

KAGAN: Charlie, let's go ahead and start with you. Look at the timing of this. You know, you have Libya saying that they're turning in the weapons of mass destruction and Iran agreeing to nuclear inspections. How much of this do you think has to do with the U.S. war in Iraq and the finding of Saddam Hussein?

KUPCHAN: Oh, I think it's a clear success for President Bush and Tony Blair, and they should be congratulated on it. But I see the recent set of events as more of a repudiation of the Bush doctrine than a vindication on two fronts. One is that the Bush doctrine basically said that the United States will use preemptive war and/or rigid isolation to effect regime change. They tried that with Iraq, and they didn't like what they got. Now they're going to back to the path of multilateral diplomacy, and it seems to be working in Iran and Libya.

And also, with Libya, the president basically said that Gadhafi said he's going to get rid of WMD and he's going to let the weapons inspectors in. That's exactly the game we had with Iraq, and we know that they got rid of their weapons of mass destruction because we can't find any, now that we own the country.

KAGAN: Well, there are some that would debate that, whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

John, I want to go ahead and bring you in here. Let's just look at Libya and let's focus on that for a second. Is that the case of a big stick and Libya being afraid of what the United States could do, or is this just timing and there have been talks going on, and in fact, it is multinational because the Brits were involved, as well?

JOHN FUND, "WALL STREET JOURNAL" COLUMNIST: Well, the timing is certainly very coincidental. Look, we were always asked, Was Iraq worth it? I think it was worth it because Moammar Gadhafi paid attention to what happened in Iraq. The very same month we started the war, he started these multilateral talks. The very same month we started the war, North Koreans agreed to multilateral talks. The very same month we started the war, the Iranians opened up with the Germans and the French negotiations on inspections for their own WMD.

Look, all of this happens because the Bush doctrine is not just about preemptive war. It's about diplomacy on steroids. It's about backing up diplomacy. And they all agree we should have diplomacy, but it's backing it up with a credible threat if you don't cooperate, if you're outside the civilized family of nations.

KAGAN: OK, but John, let me put it this -- put it to you thins way. It's not working everywhere. You have Syria that is not cooperating. You have the North Koreans that are still living in their own world. Why isn't it working in those places like it's working like where it has worked?

FUND: I'll take half the successes from the word get-go, and we'll work on the others. The bottom line is, we've had Afghanistan taken off the table as a terrorist nation. We have Iraq taken off the table as a terrorist nation. We now have Libya cooperating. I mean, this is progress.

KAGAN: OK. And Charlie, bring you in one more time. Is it progress? And is this just all these nations getting in line just a matter of time before countries like Syria and North Korea also get in step with what the U.S. wants to see happen in those countries?

KUPCHAN: Well, I think we have to say, when did these negotiations with Libya begin? And they really began in the 1990s, when Libya wanted to get rid of the U.N. sanctions and the U.S. sanctions. That's when they moved forward on the Lockerbie issue. Now they're moving forward on the WMD issue, and it's mainly because they want to reintegrate into the international community and end the economic isolation. And what...

KAGAN: But quickly, in the minute we have left, as we look forward, Syria and North Korea -- will they soon get in step, or you don't think so?

KUPCHAN: Well, I think the key is to engage these countries. We do have a good sense of coercive diplomacy behind us, and we now need to go back to the negotiating table in countries like Syria and North Korea because, as we found, we can't simply say we're going to isolate and close the door because then North Korea becomes a nuclear K-Mart. We tried preemptive war with Iraq, and we're up to our eyeballs in trouble there. And I think that's one of the main reasons we've seen that the best way to get rid of these weapons of mass destruction is to confront these states with isolation and to move forward on the...


KAGAN: John, I'm sorry...

FUND: Well, Gadhafi said he would be up to his eyeballs in trouble if he didn't cooperate with the U.S. That's why he cooperated.

KAGAN: We did see progress today. Appreciate that. We're going to have to call it an evening with you two. Thank you so much. John Fund, Charles Kupchan, appreciate the debate and the conversation tonight so much.

Martha Stewart's trial on securities fraud charges is just three weeks away. Tonight she gives her final interview before the trial -- she gives the interview to Larry King. And she says this is her saddest holiday ever.


LARRY KING, HOST: What's the hardest part of this ordeal?

MARTHA STEWART: Well, sort of coming to a screeching halt and having to deal with something extremely unpleasant, something that saddens and disheartens me, and something that is very, very difficult not only for me but for everyone I work with, my family, my friends. That's the hard part.


KAGAN: And you can see Larry's full interview with Martha Stewart coming up at the top of the hour, 9:00 PM Eastern, right here on CNN.

A beauty queen is charged with murder, accused of shooting her boyfriend to death. She says it was self-defense. We'll talk to her lawyer. Plus, as "The Return of the King" makes box office history, the man who plays Gandalf, Sir Ian McKellen, joins us.


KAGAN: The genteel southern city of Savannah, Georgia, has been shocked by the arrest of a beauty queen. Miss Savannah, Sharron Nicole Redmond, turned herself in to police this weekend after her boyfriend was shot. She was charged with murder after the boyfriend, Kevin Shorter (ph), died of his injuries. Joining us now from Savannah is Sharron Redmond's attorney, Michael Schiavone.

Thank you for being with us.


KAGAN: Trying to figure out exactly what happened last week in Savannah. This much we do know. There were two women and one man who was dating both women, and your client apparently was very upset about this.

SCHIAVONE: Well, I think she went to speak with the other lady that was involved, and during the course of that conversation, which my understanding was a civil conversation between the two, Mr. Shorter arrived at a high rate of speed, blocked her vehicle and approached her in a very loud, boisterous and aggressive manner at the doorstep. And at that point, my client tried to make every effort to avoid the confrontation and try to leave the area.

KAGAN: But your client did have a gun with her, did she not?

SCHIAVONE: She did carry a gun, which she had a license for, for protection. She had recently been confronted by a stalker at Beach (ph) High School, where she taught, and because of that incident, she was very concerned about her welfare and her safety and started to carry her weapon with her in her vehicle. Before that, it was kept at her home.

KAGAN: And so there was a confrontation. Did she realize that her boyfriend had been shot when she left the scene?

SCHIAVONE: Absolutely not. She had no idea that he was injured. And it wasn't until later the police contacted her that she was made aware of that fact. And from that point forward, she cooperated with the authorities, and has done so since the incident.

KAGAN: And what is her status right now? Legal first. SCHIAVONE: Well, she was originally charged with aggravated assault, a bond was set and she posted bail. She was released. And then subsequently, Mr. Shorter passed away, and the district attorney's office upgraded the charge to murder, at which time she had to surrender herself, which I did Saturday morning. She's now incarcerated. We had a bond hearing in front of Judge John Morris (ph) in the superior court of Chatham County, which ended about 5:30 this afternoon, and he has taken the request for bail under advisement.

KAGAN: So but for now, she's behind bars.

SCHIAVONE: Yes, ma'am. She's behind bards.

KAGAN: And it doesn't seem as significant right now, but I still have to ask the question. Has she heard from the pageant officials? What's her status as Miss Savannah?

SCHIAVONE: My understanding is that there has been some contact and that the pageant committee has decided to not take any action, waiting to see what happens with the legal proceedings.

KAGAN: And you'll be following that closely. Michael Schiavone, thank you for explaining your client's side of the story.

SCHIAVONE: Thank you.

KAGAN: We appreciate that. We do want our viewers to know that contacted the Savannah Police Department. They say they have a policy of not commenting on ongoing cases.

He is a star in the biggest movie in the world. Sir Ian McKellen joins us to talk about "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and his amazing career. And how about that party for Michael Jackson? An estimated 600 guests and celebrities stand by the singer in a lavish celebration at his Neverland ranch.


KAGAN: A lot of people thought the third "Lord of the Rings" movie would be a blockbuster, and boy, were they right. Great reviews from the critics. The film industry is talking about Oscars and Golden Globes and about $125 million in ticket sales, and that's just in the first five days in North America alone. The wizard Gandalf himself couldn't have done better.


IAN MCKELLEN, ACTOR: All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.


KAGAN: For Ian McKellen, playing the good wizard Gandalf in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy just may be this English-born actor's biggest and most unexpected success. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCKELLEN: This will always be a special job, and I don't even expect it to be matched. I mean, I hope there will be other work to come, but it will never be as big a job as this.


KAGAN: Over a career that has spanned four decades, the veteran McKellen has been considered by many to be the Lawrence Olivier of his generation. Whether on stage, television or the big screen, the dozens of roles he has played have been, at the very least, varied and have included his first love, Shakespeare.


MCKELLEN: If you can conquer these parts, you've climbed -- well, you're well up the Himalayas. It may not be Everest, but, you know...


KAGAN: The 64-year-old McKellen has received two Oscar nominations, one in 1999 for his role as a flamboyant director in "Gods and Monsters," and a second in 2002 for his part as Gandalf in the first "Lord of the Rings" chapter.


MCKELLEN: Is it secret? Is it safe?


KAGAN: From modern-times films, such as "The Last Action Hero," to medieval times in "Restoration," McKellen's versatility as an actor is as impressive as his resume, which also includes roles in "X-Men" and "X-2," yet another blockbuster franchise. But for McKellen, "The Lord of the Rings" is still king.


MCKELLEN: It's a movie, and it's an extremely popular movie. And although I've been in the "X-Men" films, even they are dwarfed by "Lord of the Rings."


MCKELLEN: The board is set. The pieces are moving.


KAGAN: And "Return of the King" star Sir Ian McKellen joins us now.

Hello. Greetings.


KAGAN: Glad to have you here with us.

MCKELLEN: Thank you very much.

KAGAN: So much is being made of this trilogy, some saying this is the best film trilogy of all time, but also saying that this is the best of the three installments. Which of the three is your favorite?

MCKELLEN: Oh, of course, I should say 3, but 1, actually...

KAGAN: Really?

MCKELLEN: ... because I play two parts. I'm the lucky guy. I play Gandalf the White, who's in this third movie, but also the Gandalf the Gray, who is just a bit more fun, I think. I mean, he likes a chat and a drink and a smoke and he's a little bit lazy and a little bit more human. And I enjoyed playing him more than that rather stern commander who sees things through to the bitter end.

KAGAN: Yes. Gandalf is sort of the adult in charge in the third part.


KAGAN: Now, we've entered into award season here. Golden Globe nominations came out this week, Oscars right around the corner, this movie being heralded as the movie to beat. And yet with these big award shows, like Golden Globes and Oscars, they tend to stay away from the fantasy films.

MCKELLEN: Well, if that were the reason, they'd be wrong. I don't think this is fantasy. This is myth. There's a bit of a difference. This isn't about a world that hasn't happened yet. This is about a world that's all over, and it's a great adventure story. But I think the real story about the success of these films isn't in the awards, which may or may not happen -- who can predict? -- but the fact that the success has been made not by the critics and not by hype, but by ordinary people going to see them and communicating with each other, even before the movies came out, via the Internet. It's not been covered yet by the press, and it's the geeks and the nerds who've come into their own, you know?

KAGAN: Geek power.

MCKELLEN: Oh, absolutely. All over the world. I mean, my Web site has 40 million hits in the last four weeks.

KAGAN: Even with the Golden Globe nominations that have come out for the movie, no acting nominations. Do you think that perhaps the good acting does get overlooked?

MCKELLEN: Well, New York Board of Review gave us an ensemble, you know, so we all got a prize, as it were. And I suppose it's difficult to pick out one from another, isn't it, as we're all doing it together. KAGAN: It is a true, true ensemble piece.

MCKELLEN: It's not...

KAGAN: Not just the actors, but all the special effects and Gollum and all the characters.

MCKELLEN: But I mean, if Peter Jackson isn't given every prize going, there is no justice in the world.

KAGAN: Then there'll be some kind of investigation.


KAGAN: But when you -- when they came to you and asked you to be part of this, did you have any idea that it would become something so big?

MCKELLEN: No. Nobody did. I hadn't read the books. I hadn't yet made contact with one of the iconic figures of my lifetime, Gandalf, and I now adore him as much as everybody else. But I am only his representative. It -- I don't think anyone could have known or suspected this (UNINTELLIGIBLE), although there was ready and waiting a huge audience who loved the books and were crossing their fingers that we would come up with a movie that matched their own imaginations, and that seems to have happened.

KAGAN: We wish you the best of luck. May the magic of Gandalf continue with your career.

MCKELLEN: Thank you.

KAGAN: You have spent so much -- you have given so much to so many movie-goers and theater-goers out there. Continued good luck.

MCKELLEN: Thank you, darling, very much.

KAGAN: Sir Ian McKellen, thank you.

Hundreds rallied around Michael Jackson this weekend at his Neverland ranch in a huge party for the accused child molester. We'll talk to one of the guests.


KAGAN: Accused child molester Michael Jackson was surrounded by hundreds of supporters at his Neverland ranch on Saturday. Family and fans and celebrities showed their love for the singer by throwing him a lavish party as they stand by his side despite the charges.

Joining us from Los Angeles is one of the guests at that party, Jackson family attorney Brian Oxman. Mr. Oxman, good evening, and thanks for being with us.

BRIAN OXMAN, JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: Thank you. KAGAN: I want to get to the party in just a moment, but first I want to get to what the latest news is, and that concerns Michael Jackson's plans to go to Britain over the holidays, over the next two weeks. We're hearing doubts that perhaps that trip might not take place. Do you know anything about that?

OXMAN: Michael never announces in advance what his plans are to go to any particular place, and I think you can understand why, because it always creates such a furor. He's never told anyone where he is going to go. All we know is he has contractual obligations that he must fulfill, and that's very important. And I'm certain that he will doing that in a timely manner.

KAGAN: Well, as just an average person, I can understand why he wouldn't want to do that. But apparently, district attorney Tom Sneddon does not understand that. He is asking that if this trip has been canceled -- because apparently, members of Parliament are saying they don't want Michael Jackson to come there. He's saying, If you're not going to Britain, give back your passport. Do you think that might happen?

OXMAN: I have no information concerning it. And plans in this family often change on a moment's notice. So they get rearranged and they get changed. I'm sure that the communications with the district attorney are taking place through Mr. Geragos's office, and they will handle it.

KAGAN: OK. Now let's get to the party. What was it like inside?

OXMAN: It was one of the most extraordinary, beautiful events that I have ever had the pleasure of attending. I got to make reacquaintances with old friends from years ago, people who I hadn't seen. The children of the Jackson family, who were young children at 6 or 8 years old when I last saw them, now they're grown up to be beautiful teenagers, some of the most incredible lovely people I've ever had the opportunity to meet. I am still just abuzz from the experience.

KAGAN: As I understand it, among the 600 people or so that were there, the guests did include a number of children, is that right? Well, we're seeing pictures of children right now.

OXMAN: Yes, there were children who had been to Neverland ranch 10 years ago and even longer ago, who are now returning, having come back with a homecoming, where all friends and old acquaintances were invited back. And they were just thrilled to be there. They couldn't get over it. And they just -- it was incredible. It was a love-in that I have never had the pleasure of experiencing before.

KAGAN: Just in our final seconds that we have left -- do you think that was perhaps the best idea, keeping in mind innocent until proven guilty, just the very image that it presents, that perhaps that was not the best idea to include children in the celebration?

OXMAN: This was started out to be just a few select friends and family. It was supposed to be 50 people. And then those 50 people asked if their friends could come, and it just mushroomed and mushroomed to 300. Over 600 people were there. It was incredible because it was the hottest ticket in town. I got calls from Johannesburg, Tokyo. Everyone wanted to go. My mom wanted to go, and she couldn't. Mom, I'm sorry. I couldn't get you in.

KAGAN: And in terms of being sorry, I'm sorry we don't have more time because of the breaking news along the California coast. I'm sure you understand. But we do appreciate you sticking around. Brian Oxman...

OXMAN: My pleasure.

KAGAN: ... Jackson family attorney. Thank you so much.

That's going to do it for us. I will be right here tomorrow night, and we'll look at cell phones, how parents are using them to spy, to track their children's whereabouts. Larry King is up next.



International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.