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Interview With Jane Fonda; New Move to Lock Up Loose Nukes

Aired February 11, 2004 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Happening now. Vietnam war veteran and Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry attacked for supposedly being associated with actress Jane Fonda in opposing the Vietnam war three decades ago. Now coming to Kerry's defense, Jane Fonda speaks out exclusively on CNN.
JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: ...that the American people have had it with the big lie.

Stand by for hard news on WOLF BLITZER REPORTS.


BLITZER: Black market bombs...

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We'll stop these weapons from being acquired or built.

BLITZER: A new move to lock up loose nukes.

Bin Laden's driver. He used to chauffeur the al Qaeda chief in his pickup, now he's parked at Guantanamo.

Band of brothers? Some vets view one of their own as a future president. But others are troubled by his anti-war past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having people watch Senator Kerry protest was kind of a slap in the face to us.

BLITZER: Another soldier fades away.

WESLEY CLARK (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This has been every bit as much a cause as it has been a campaign.

BLITZER: Necklace bomb. Does a nine-page note hold the key to this bizarre and deadly mystery.

ANNOUNCER: This is WOLF BLITZER REPORTS for Wednesday, February 11, 2004.


BLITZER: We begin with bitter name-calling in Washington today over President Bush's military record. It stunned the secretary of state and stole the president's thunder as he called on the world to tie up its loose nukes, and halt the black market trade in weapons of mass destruction. Let's go live to White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it was extraordinary. Secretary Powell before the House international relations committee testifying about pre-war intelligence, that's when he got a question referring to President Bush's service in the Air National Guard, that coming from Congressman Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, and the exchange was unbelievable.


REP. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: We count on you, the president may have been AWOL, the vice president said he had other priorities during Vietnam, other high administrative officials never served. You understand war, we absolutely count you on, and I think a lot of us wonder what happened between the post interview and your statement the next day when you said the president made the right decision.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: First of all, Mr. Brown, I won't dignify your comments about the president because you don't know what you're talking about. Second, let me get to the points that you raising.

BROWN: I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean, Mr. Secretary.

POWELL: You made reference to the president...

BROWN: Said he may have been AWOL.

POWELL: Mr. Brown, let's not go there. Let's just not go there in this hearing. You want to have a political fight on this matter that is very controversial and is being dealt with the White House, fine, but let's not go there.


MALVEAUX: For those who were inside, they were absolutely stunned by the exchange, it shows just the amount tension over this issue. It was earlier in the day that White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the documents were released that he was honorably discharged. The president, despite the fact there are still questions about where he was when, but Scott McClellan saying he believes this was just about people making trouble.


SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is nothing but gutter politics, the American people deserve better, you know, we are facing great challenges in this nation, and the president is focused on acting decisively to meet those challenges. Instead of talking about the choices we face and addressing our highest priorities some are simply patrolling for trash for political gain. The American people deserve better.


MALVEAUX: Now President Bush also today, Wolf, of course, talking about the need for the international community to crack down on the spread of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The president making this major policy speech, bringing up the examples of North Korea, Iraq, Libya, among others saying they need to strengthen international laws and improve protocols. And the things that were working back in the era of the cold war are not working in terms of keeping that weapons of mass destruction under wrap.


BUSH: With the technology and expertise on the market, there's the terrible possibility that terrorist groups could obtain the ultimate weapons they desire most.


MALVEAUX: Now he used the case of the example of Pakistan's A.Q. Khan, that is, of course the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb. He was able to spread secrets to Iran, Libya as well as North Korea, using that example as one way of saying that these rules, protocols are no longer working, that they need to strengthen those, that is something the president is urging the international community to be a part of -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Suzanne Malveaux at the White House. Thanks, Suzanne, very much.

While controversy continues over President Bush's service during the Vietnam war, the Democratic presidential front-runner is facing criticism over his post-war activity. After serving in Vietnam John Kerry became a spokesman for Vietnam Veterans Against the War and some critics are comparing him to actress, anti-war activist Jane Fonda. CNN asked Jane Fonda about that comparison in an exclusive interview just a short while ago.


FONDA: I'm tired of the government lying. I'm tired of people pulling out, desperately pulling out anything they can do to hurt another candidate. And I think that the American people feel that way, too. This is -- it's a bunch of hogwash.


BLITZER: We'll have more on this story coming up later this hour.

In Iraq, back to back attacks, Iraqis lining up for jobs with the country's new security services have again been hit by a suicide bomber. With catastrophic results. Today's toll, 47 dead as a car packed with explosives blew up in an army recruiting center in Baghdad. 55 people were killed yesterday as would-be recruits gathered near a police station south of the capital. There's no indication who's behind the bombings yet, but U.S. authorities point to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi who has been blamed for similar attacks. Authorities say he has links to al Qaeda and sent an intercepted message to the terror network asking for help with attacks in Iraq. The longer term impact of these attacks can't yet be measured but the immediate toll is frightful and images may disturb some viewers. Images we're about to show you. Here's CNN's Brent Sadler.


BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is an horrific scene of death in the backyard of this hospital. Bodies laid out in the open, some wrapped in plastic, others in blood stained sheeting and blankets because the refrigerators are full with other bodies. There have been two attacks in as many days against recruitment centers. The first one against the Iraqi police, and the latest one against the new Iraqi army.

It was just a few hours before the latest blast that families like this one said good-bye to their loved ones as they left to enlist in the army, hoping to secure at least $100 a month in income, one of the main reasons why young Iraqis are signing up for Iraq's new security services. As far as the U.S. coalition is concerned, these attacks will not, they say, deter more Iraqis from joining up in the new security services. But certainly it's having an effect on the ground, because Iraqis are blaming, not just the terrorist bombers but also the United States for failing to provide security that stops these sort of attacks, creating heavy human lots among Iraqis themselves.

One of the aims of the terrorists and believed now to be linked to al Qaeda and possibly Ansar al-Islam, two terrorist organizations the U.S. is fighting here in Iraq, they're going to step up their campaign against the soft underbelly of the occupation by going for Iraqis who are hoping to sign up with the various new security elements, not just the army or the police but also the Iraqi civil defense corps. So these attacks are having a devastating impact on the way Iraqis are thinking about their future, wondering if whether or not when they send their men out to join one of the forces they won't be attacked in the way we've seen it happening over the past 48 hours. Brent Sadler, CNN, Baghdad.


BLITZER: Earlier, I spoke with Dan Senor, spokesman for the U.S.-backed governing body in Baghdad, the coalition provisional authority.

General Kimmitt, thank you for joining us. What can you tell us? What's the latest. It looks like about 100 Iraqis have been killed over the past two days alone. Almost 50 today, 50 yesterday. What's going on?

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY: Well, first of all, this is not the first time in the last few months we've had incidence of this sort. The fact that we've had two in a row on two subsequent days is unusual. We've had a significant number of incidents such as this, but I think it's a credit to the Iraqi people and it's a credit to the Iraqi security services that they bounce back quickly after these incidents. BLITZER: Do you suspect that these two incidents, these most recent incidents, the one in Baghdad today, the one in Iskhandariyah yesterday are related?

KIMMITT: No way to tell. They certainly have some similarities, but I think it's still too early to make this determination.

BLITZER: Yesterday the target was police officers. Today, Iraqi military potential soldiers, who are being recruited. It's clear that whoever is responsible going after Iraqis who want to cooperate with the U.S. and the coalition. Is that your assessment?

KIMMITT: That's our assessment too, Wolf. And that's what we've said, that as we get closer and closer to governance, that there will be terrorist groups that are going to try to demonstrate to the citizens of this country that the coalition is unable to protect them, that the securities services are weak.

But I think it is clear to them that they're failing in this, and that both the coalition is standing firm and sore the people of Iraq.

BLITZER: When you say it's clear they're failing, they've had two successes from their standpoint over the past two days. Clearly, you must be bracing for more of this?

KIMMITT: We're certainly prepared for more of them. And as we have said, as we get closer and closer to governance, we could see an uptick in violence.

But in a country of 25-plus million, I certainly don't want to minimize the loss of life we've seen over the last two days. But it is clear what the terrorists are trying to do is come up with some spectacular and symbolic attacks to try to terrorize the people. And frankly they just won't be terrorized and neither will the coalition.

BLITZER: Is this an al Qaeda or al Qaeda-associated operation?

KIMMITT: It's certainly bearing the hallmarks. Yesterday's attack in Iskhandariyah has all the fingerprints of al Qaeda. And we're starting to see -- get some evidence that might suggest the same thing happened today in Baghdad.

BLITZER: As you know, it comes on the heels of this letter that was released by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian operative form Ansar al Islam which has ties with al Qaeda. Do you see a connection between Zarqawi and this?

KIMMITT: Well at this point it would be probably imprudent to jump to that conclusion. It certainly leads in that direction. There's some evidence that -- that would suggest that.

But I think it's important that we do the investigation, we take a hard look at this. But this is absolutely the type of attacks that Zarqawi was talking about, that he's conducted inside this country.

And that's why he's so frustrate because time after time, he does these attacks but the people stand firm and the people still reject the terrorists' false promises.

BLITZER: Do you see any indication -- and be candid with us -- that these attacks against Iraqis cooperating with the U.S. and the coalition forces is having an impact and demoralizing them, discouraging them from either becoming police officers, shall we say, or military officers?

KIMMITT: I will be candid, what I would tell you is these people are not being attacked because they're working with the coalition. These people are being attacked because they're working for a free, democratic and sovereign Iraq. That is what the terrorist fears more than anything else.

The fact is we have sadly lost over 300 police in the line of duty since we started up the Iraqi police service. Yet the Iraqi police service continues to grow, and they keep coming back to work. They still stay fielded on the streets of Baghdad and the major cities. And the people are rejecting the false promises of these terrorists.

BLITZER: This incident was not far away from the so-called Green Zone, the most secure area in Baghdad. How worried are you about security for U.S. military personnel in and around the Sunni Triangle, shall we say?

KIMMITT: Wolf, our soldiers are trained. They're well equipped. They have the support of the American people and other support of the United States Congress and the president.

To say this county is not without risk would not be true. These soldiers know what the risks are and know what the mission, is they're going to work in the mission and they're going to succeed in the mission.

BLITZER: General Kimmitt, thanks very much for joining us. Good luck to and you all your troops.

KIMMITT: Thank you, Wolf.


BLITZER: That of course was Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt of the U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq. I spoke with him earlier today.

When we come back, outlawing gay marriage. Massachusetts lawmakers fight back against the controversial court ruling. Why it could have a national impact.

Indecent exposure. The Super Bowl halftime debate moves to Capitol Hill in Washington, with new stern warnings to broadcasters across the nation.

Driving bin Laden. A Guantanamo detainee says he used to be Osama bin Laden's chauffeur. Now the Pentagon is letting his attorney speak out. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Hundreds of activists around the country have taken up positions around the Massachusetts statehouse. Lawmakers inside are in an unprecedented session that threatens to develop into a constitutional crisis in the state and possibly the nation as well, all over the issue of gay marriage. CNN's David Mattingly is there -- David.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, when state legislators here got work about three hours ago on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, they told us that they were very aware of the scrutiny they're under and the pressure they're feeling right now.

We were inside the capitol building as they came into work today, and we have to show you this videotape, because this is what greeted them as they came in. It was a hallway just full of people, very, very loud, chanting on both sides of this issue.

Each lawmaker tells us of the thousands of phone calls and e- mails they received over the past they prepared for this.

Let's take you to some live pictures now. They continue to work at this hour on a compromise that would provide legal protection for same sex unions. But it would explicitly prohibit gay marriage because it would define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Lawmakers are also hoping to head off another problem that is rapidly approaching. The earliest they can get a constitutional amendment on the ballot is late 2006. So the question comes up what happens to the marriages of same sex couples that are now allowed to continue beginning married in May here in Massachusetts?

Well there's one proposal on the table that would allow these marriages to go on. And if the amendment passes, then those marriages would be reclassified as civil unions -- Wolf.

BLITZER: David Mattingly on the story. Thanks, David, very much.

The head of The FCC, meanwhile, promised Congress his agency will take more aggressive action against indecent TV and radio broadcasts. Both the Senate and House held hearings prompted by controversy over the recent Super Bowl halftime show. CNN's Elaine Quijano is standing by with the report -- Elaine.


At the two hearings on Capitol Hill there was plenty of indignation and along with it apology. All for the display that prompted more than 200,000 complaints at an FCC investigation.


QUIJANO (voice-over): Nearly two weeks after the revealing Super Bowl halftime show aired on national TV, lawmakers sent broadcasters a clear message of their own.

REP. HEATHER WILSON (D), NEW MEXICO: You knew what you were doing. You knew what kind of entertainment you're selling. And you wanted us all to be abuzz. Here in this room and on the playground in my kids' school, because it improves your ratings. It improves your market share, and it lines your pockets.

QUIJANO: But Mel Karmazin, the head of CBS parent company Viacom told members of the House commerce subcommittee he and other executives did not know what was going to take place ahead of time.

MEL KARMAZIN, PRESIDENT AND COO, VIACOM: Everyone at Viacom and everyone at CBS and everyone at MTV was shocked and appalled and embarrassed by what transpired.

QUIJANO: Karmazin also apologized as did NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

PAUL TAGLIABUE, NFL COMMISSIONER: Because due to my own ineptitude and the ineptitude of others, the super performances of our athletes have been lost in the wilderness of Hollywood and musical entertainment.


QUIJANO: Now as lawmakers decide how to prevent such displays in the future, on the table are a host of possibilities. One, a House bill to raise the maximum fine for an indecency violation from $27,500 to ten times that amount. $275,000. Some lawmakers say broadcast executives could accept those fines as the cost of doing business while other lawmakers suggest tougher penalties including forfeiting licenses or advertising profits -- Wolf.

BLITZER: CNN's Elaine Quijano in Washington. Thank you, Elaine.

From driver to detainee. The man who used to chauffeur Osama bin Laden around in a pickup truck is now stuck in Guantanamo Bay.

Leaving the trail. Democratic candidate Wesley Clark calls it quits. A look at his political rise and fall.

And heal thyself. Did Dr. Atkins' diet take a toll on his own health?


BLITZER: There's a fascinating story in today's "Miami Herald." It involves a detainee at Guantanamo Bay who is said to have been Osama bin Laden's personal driver. "Miami Herald" reporter Carol Rosenberg broke the story. I spoke with her a short time ago.


BLITZER: Carol Rosenberg, thank you for joining us. Good reporting in the "Miami Herald." Let's talk about this chauffeur of Osama bin Laden. The Pentagon gave you permission to interview his attorney. Tell us how that happened?

CAROL ROSENBERG, "MIAMI HERALD": Well, he received an attorney about two months ago, and I started asking to speak to the attorney about his contacts with his client. Little over a week ago after his second visit, and he applied for permission, and I applied for permission and I think we both pushed from our separate sides and they finally agreed after reviewing the material that he wanted to talk to me about.

BLITZER: Now, the chauffeur, his name is Salim Ahmed Hamdan, he's 34 years old, he's been at Guantanamo Bay from the beginning, is that right?

ROSENBERG: We don't know when he arrived there. We know he's been in custody with the Americans for about two years and Guantanamo Bay's prison camp, he's been there a little over two years.

BLITZER: Why wouldn't the U.S. authorities want to keep him there, if he was a chauffeur for an extended period of time, a Yemeni national, why shouldn't he be at Guantanamo Bay, what does his attorney say to you?

ROSENBERG: His attorney says they are setting up trials to try terrorists and al Qaeda members and his client says he's neither that he was just a civilian doing a job and it happened to be driving for a guy who turned out to be Osama bin Laden.

BLITZER: Well, we have video that you've probably have seen of a pickup truck and Osama bin Laden, a training exercise, it may be the real thing, we don't know if this particular individual was driving this pickup. But it's fascinating to see how they trained these drivers. If he was on the payroll of al Qaeda and worked for Osama bin Laden, by definition, wouldn't that mean he was, quote, a terrorist?

ROSENBERG: Well, his lawyer is very careful to say he was not on the payroll of al Qaeda but on the payroll of Osama bin Laden, and that he paid him as a personal driver on his farm in Kandahar to drive Osama bin Laden and the workers on the farm to the fields. I don't have the answer to that question, Wolf. I guess what we all need to know is if they're going to charge this fellow with a crime, link him to al Qaeda, and put him on trial.

Right now, he's been a detainee apparently for two years at Guantanamo, he's never been charged and he recently got a lawyer who has recently been allowed to tell the story. We don't know what he's accused of doing. We know what his lawyer says he claims to have done, and that he claims that he is innocent.

BLITZER: At least you got access to the lawyer. That's not as good as getting access to the individual himself but it's one step along the way. Carol Rosenberg of the "Miami Herald." Good reporting, thank you for joining us.

ROSENBERG: Thank you, Wolf.


BLITZER: The Pentagon today reversed its position and announced it will let dirty bomb suspect Jose Padilla see an attorney. An American citizen, Padilla has been held without charge as an enemy combatant since his May 2002 arrest. He's suspected of plotting to detonate a radioactive bomb in America. Officials say deciding to let him see a lawyer will not compromise national security but they add that today's announcement should not be viewed as a precedent.

One rides a wave of momentum, another bows out. How might Wesley Clark's exit shake up the Democratic race for president. We'll go live on the campaign trail.

Values and Vietnam. Could John Kerry's war protests in the 70s be a campaign issue used against him. Today, we'll hear from Jane Fonda.

And new clues. After a bizarre bank robbery last summer, startling developments today that could lead investigators to some much wanted answers.



FONDA: The attempts to smear him by trying to connect the two of us is a dirty black propaganda tactic that I think the American people are fed up with. I think they've had it with this kind of black propaganda. It's hogwash.


BLITZER: Fighting for the front-runner, Jane Fonda takes up for John Kerry after new criticism over an anti-war protest with her in 1970. It's a CNN exclusive. We'll have a report.


BLITZER: Welcome back to CNN. I'm Wolf Blitzer at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

Fighting for the front-runner. After fresh criticism of John Kerry's anti-Vietnam protests with her in 1970, Jane Fonda speaks out exclusively to CNN. You'll want to hear what she had to say. We'll get to that.

First, though, a quick check of the latest headlines.

A Baltimore truck driver is safe after his delivery truck was hijacked and he was handcuffed and thrown in the back. The abandoned truck with the driver inside was located by a police helicopter after the driver called his boss using his cell phone. The phone service provider was able to locate the signal several miles from the incident.

Wrong place at the wrong time. An 8-year-old boy and a crossing guard are recovering this hour after being struck by stray bullets outside a school in Philadelphia. Police say the two were caught in the middle of an apparent drive-by shooting. The boy was shot in the face and is said to be in critical condition. The guard was grazed on the foot. Police are looking for suspects.

A major takeover could be in store that would create one of the world's largest entertainment companies. Comcast announced today a surprise proposal to buy Walt Disney for $54 billion in stock. Comcast's CEO says the merger would create a -- quote -- "new leader for the entertainment and communications industry." Disney says it will carefully evaluate the proposal.

Turning now to the campaign trail, Senator John Kerry's commanding victories in yesterday's primaries in Tennessee and Virginia added more muscle to his front-runner position for the Democratic presidential nomination. And it knocked out the bid by Wesley Clark. After greeting cheering supporters in Virginia, Kerry spent today at his home in the Washington, D.C., area nursing a cough and making phone calls. His two latest wins are his first in the south.

One of Kerry's main rivals, Senator John Edwards, is vowing to remain in the race, despite placing a distant second in both contests. Both Edwards and Kerry have their sights set on Tuesday's primary in Wisconsin. And so does Howard Dean, who skipped yesterday's contest. Dean is banking on a first win in Wisconsin to try to revive his campaign.

After finishing third in both contests yesterday, Wesley Clark today returned to his home town of Little Rock, Arkansas, and announced he's dropping out of the race for the White House.

CNN's Dan Lothian is covering the story for us. He's there, joining us live -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Wolf, it was a tough day for General Clark, his aides telling CNN that it was a difficult decision for him to get out of race, but he did officially get out of the race today, as you mentioned, here in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he got into the race some five months ago.

Speaking to volunteers and staffers, he talked about some of the things he was able to bring to the debate, such as family values and national security. And he said that the battle was as much a cause as it was a campaign.


WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So this is the end of campaign for the presidency. And it's not the end of the cause, because the real cause is a campaign for America's future, for the future of all our families, and the future of every American.


LOTHIAN: Clark did not really talk about his future political aspirations, but he did say that he would support the eventual Democratic nominee and he would fight very hard for the Democratic Party -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Dan Lothian, thanks very much.

He came on like gangbusters. And the retired U.S. Army general and decorated combat veteran initially created what seemed to be a groundswell of support. So just what derailed Wesley Clark's bid to become the Democratic presidential nominee?

For that, here's CNN's Jennifer Coggiola -- Jennifer.

JENNIFER COGGIOLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, he bounced onto the scene just six months ago, but, like taillights on the highway, faded from the spotlight, the story of a four-star general's political defeat.


CLARK: And it was a tremendous honor and it was a call to duty.

COGGIOLA (voice-over): A duty that began long before this presidential race, a West Point graduate, then 34 years in public service with the U.S. Army, and a decorated Vietnam veteran, later, at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a supreme allied commander of NATO, and a CNN commentator, discussing a war he would eventually be forced to take a firm stand on.

CLARK: But we're going to war unless Saddam Hussein changes. We're not going to give Saddam a victory on this.

COGGIOLA: Then came December 17.

CLARK: And I'm here to announce that I intend to seek the presidency of the United States of America.


COGGIOLA: And the general, little known outside the Beltway, was off and running.

CROWD: We want Clark! We want Clark! We want Clark!

COGGIOLA: His late entry an advantage, according to those on the Clark campaign. A quick learner, Clark adopted campaign strategies already working for the others.

But there were some slips, according to "Hotline"'s editor in chief, Chuck Todd.

CHUCK TODD, "THE HOTLINE": He was asked about how he would vote on the Iraq war resolution and he flubbed that answer. He was supposed to be the anti-war guy in a uniform and he couldn't answer the essential question.

COGGIOLA: Ambiguous answers began to take the wind out of his sails.

TODD: He didn't seem to be prepared to be a candidate for president. He didn't seem to have a platform that he was going to do. He doesn't have a plan for his campaign and what he was going to stand for, and it showed.

CLARK: My personal view is that, as president of the United States, I will support the law of the land, which is Roe v. Wade.

COGGIOLA: Or perhaps it was poor choices along the campaign trail.

TODD: Mistake No. 1 -- and I think he admits it now. He talks about it all the time. His family talks about it. And that it is skipping Iowa. He shouldn't have done it.


COGGIOLA: Well, perhaps a valuable lesson for the computer. His campaign also told me today that Wesley Clark is still a young man and this isn't the end of his public service. So perhaps we'll see again him in 2008 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jennifer Coggiola -- Jennifer, thanks very much

The fire over John Kerry's Vietnam-era connection to Jane Fonda, that story, that is coming up.

Plus, he said it was a setup, now a new development in the case of a pizza deliveryman turned bank robber. Was he telling the truth before it became too late?

Argument over Atkins. Questions arise about the best-selling author's own health at the time of his death. Was the diet guru obese when he died?

And prosecuting Scott Peterson. Could crucial evidence investigators used against him now be dismissed? We'll get to all of.

First, though, a quick look at some other news making headlines around the world.


BLITZER (voice-over): Gaza fighting. In the deadliest fighting in months, Israeli troops killed at least 15 Palestinians. Among the dead, a senior member of the military wing of Hamas. Israel says the attacks were aimed at militants attacking Jewish settlements.

Haiti revolt. Violence is spreading in Haiti, where rebels are battling to overthrow the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Dozens have been killed since the revolt erupted a week ago. The United States and other Caribbean governments are urging Mr. Aristide to negotiate a peaceful resolution. Arafat's wife. French prosecutors are investigating alleged money laundering involving the wife of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The Bank of France triggered the probe after discovering more than $1 million allegedly being transferred each month from Switzerland to Suha Arafat's accounts in Paris, where she lives. Mrs. Arafat dismisses the investigation as crazy and denies wrongdoing.

Dead man marriage. A 35-year-old French woman has married her boyfriend 18 months after he was killed in a car accident. The bride says she was upholding a promise the two had made that they would get married. Posthumous marriage is allowed in France under a law introduced by the late President Charles de Gaulle.

And that's our look around the world.



BLITZER: Martha Stewart's lawyer asks for a mistrial. That story tops our justice report. The attorney told the judge, prosecutors are attempting to try Stewart for insider trading, although she's only charged with obstruction of justice. The judge denied the motion and testimony resumed from an SEC investigator who questioned Stewart about her sale of ImClone stock.

On the opposite coast, attorneys for Scott Peterson are trying to prevent testimony on his whereabouts from coming up at trial. They argue, the global positioning satellite technology police used to secretly track Peterson is unreliable and unscientific. Peterson is accused of killing his wife Laci and their unborn child.

A new development in a bizarre case involving a Pennsylvania man found last summer with a bomb locked around his neck. He told police he was being forced to rob a bank just before the device exploded, killing him. Now investigators are revealing some of the evidence they have, hoping it will lead to more clues.

CNN's Mike Brooks is joining us now live. He has details -- Mike.


It's been nearly six months since pizza man Brian Wells died in a bizarre turn of events after robbing a bank in Erie, Pennsylvania.


BROOKS (voice-over): "Act now, think later, or you will die," one line from a very detailed note given to Brian Wells on August 28, 2003, before he robbed a PNC Bank in Erie, Pennsylvania, armed with a shotgun shaped like a cane and a bomb locked around his neck. On Tuesday, the FBI released excerpts of a nine-page handwritten note.

BOB RUDGE, FBI: FBI experts believe that by providing the public with key personality traits of the offender, along with samples of his writings, someone will recognize this person.

BROOKS: The note containing detailed instructions how to rob the bank and a map with directions to four different locations that Wells was defined after he robbed the bank.

The note also read: "Stay calm and do as instructed to survive. If police or aircraft are involved, you will be destroyed. Alerting authorities or anyone else will prevent you from completing the mission.

Wells never completed the instructions given to him. Shortly after leaving the bank, he was stopped two blocks away by police after a call to 911 from someone who saw him rob the bank. He was handcuffed and police discovered there was a bomb around his neck. He pleaded with police to help him. But as police waited for bomb experts to arrive, the device exploded, killing the 46-year-old pizza deliveryman.

Investigators believe that Wells would have never had time to complete all the instructions that were given to him before the bomb detonated. Several months ago, investigators released two composites of people they thought may have been involved in the scheme. One person was interviewed and released. Police are still looking for the other subject.


BROOKS: Investigators still do not know what the primary motive for the robbery was and still have no suspects. The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward to anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest in this murder mystery -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And it is a mystery. Thanks very much, Mike, for that.

Senator John Kerry confronts an old image from the Vietnam era. It involves Jane Fonda. You'll see that story. That's coming up just ahead.

And was the founder of the hugely popular Atkins plan obese? New controversy in the diet debate.


BLITZER: Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry has talked a lot about his Vietnam War record, but now some critics are beginning to focus on his post-Navy record as a Vietnam War protester.

As CNN's Brian Todd reports, the debate may revive the long- running controversy over the wisdom of that war and the role dissenters played.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taking on his commander in chief.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know something about aircraft carriers for real.

TODD: Touting his service record.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I figure I owe this man my life.


TODD: It's all out there for John Kerry, the Vietnam experience, the decorations for valor, the anti-war protests. Kerry has embraced it all.

Now he confronts another image from his past, this picture, Labor Day 1970, actress, anti-war activist Jane Fonda, at an anti-Vietnam War rally in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. A few faces behind her, former Navy Lieutenant, combat veteran, fellow anti-war protester John Kerry. The candidate never runs from his experience as a leader of the Vietnam veterans against the war, but the association with Fonda is too much for some veterans, including two members of Congress.

REP. RANDY CUNNINGHAM (R), CALIFORNIA: There's different degrees, I think, of anger.

TODD: Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Republican, former Navy pilot, the first ace of the Vietnam War, shot down in 1972.

CUNNINGHAM: It bothered us, anyone that associated themselves with Jane Fonda, with Tom Hayden, with the anti-war movement. We just wanted to do our job, complete our mission for our country that sent us, and come back alive. And having people like Senator Kerry protest that was kind of a slap in the face to us.

TODD: And Texas Republican Sam Johnson, a POW in Vietnam, told "The Washington Times" today, "I think it symbolizes how two-faced he is, talking about his war reputation, which is questionable, on the one hand, and then coming out against our veterans who were fighting over there on the other."

Kerry certainly does not seem to lack veteran support on the campaign trail. We spoke today with the president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.

BOBBY MILLER, PRESIDENT, VIETNAM VETERANS OF AMERICA FOUNDATION: We have been contacted by veterans across the country: How do I connect to the Kerry campaign? This is something I want to get involved in. I have not seen, in the 26 years that I've been in Washington, ever the kind of dynamic and energizing of a Vietnam veteran community in this country as I am right now.

TODD: Today, a Kerry campaign aide confirmed, Kerry was at the rally. He did speak. But Kerry's aides stress, he and Jane Fonda were only acquaintances. The rally was nearly two years before Fonda's contentious trip to north Vietnam. And, they say, Kerry did not support Fonda's trip. Jane Fonda spoke for herself to CNN.

JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: My reaction is that the American people have had it with the big lie. Any attempts to link Kerry to me and make him look bad with that connection is completely false.

We were at a rally for veterans at the same time. I spoke. Donald Sutherland spoke. John Kerry spoke at the end. I don't even think we shook hands. And they're also saying this organization, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, was a communist organization. This was an organization of men who risked their lives in Vietnam, who were -- consider themselves totally patriotic. And anyone who slams that organization and slams Kerry for being part of it is doing an injustice to veterans.

How can you impugn, how can you even suggest that a Vietnam veteran like Kerry or any of them are not patriotic? He was a hero there.

TODD: An issue and experience that will not go away, especially in an election year, John Kerry's record in war and against it, tough questions about a president's service in the National Guard, young people finding their way back then, now a generation of leaders still struggling with this conflict nearly 30 years after war's end.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


BLITZER: And this programming note. Jane Fonda will be a guest on CNN's "PAULA ZAHN NOW." That begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tonight here on CNN. You'll want to see that interview.

Controversial diet, new questions surrounding the life and death of the man who promoted the famous Atkins diet. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me live. He's got the inside story.


BLITZER: He was arguably the single most influential figure ever when it comes to the way Americans diet. So you can imagine the surprise in some circles at reports that Dr. Robert Atkins was actually obese at the time of his death last year.

Our medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here with the story.

It's an amazing story.


And a lot of people have discussed the details of his diet for quite some time. Now they're starting to discuss the details of the man. But the great debate lately is over his weight.


GUPTA (voice-over): In life, Dr. Robert Atkins and his-low carbohydrate, high-fat diet were no strangers to controversy. Now, even in death, the details of his own health are being debated. "The Wall Street Journal," citing a medical examiner report, says Atkins was obese. Last year, the 72-year-old cardiologist was hospitalized after he fell on an icy street, striking his head. He remained in a coma for nine days. Ultimately, life support was withdrawn.

And questions were raised. If the diet guru himself was overweight and possibly suffering from heart disease, what did that say about his famous diet? After all, he was the biggest proponent.

The Atkins folks are quick to try and set the record straight by releasing these images of Atkins just 10 days before he died. His doctors say he weighed 195 pounds. At death, though, he was 60 pounds heavier.

I asked Dr. Stuart Trager, chairman of the Atkins Physician Council, about this. He concedes Atkins may have been heavier at the time of his death, but that had more to do with his hospitalization and fluids rather than his diet.

And what about the heart disease? People have been concerned about the high-fat component of Atkins' diet. Atkins did suffer a heart attack in 2002, but said it was due to an infection of the heart, causing something known as cardiomyopathy.

DR. ROBERT ATKINS, PROPONENT OF LOW-CARB DIET: No, you don't catch an infection from my diet, but this was an infection.

GUPTA: Dr. John McDougal of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says, maybe, but thinks the heart disease Dr. Atkins had was more likely due to his high-fat diet, which doubles the amount of free fatty acids in the blood, and can also lead to heart attacks.

Although the debate rages on, the doctor who invented the diet can no longer participate. So, perhaps it's better to focus on the details of the diet, rather than the details of the man.


GUPTA: And so many people will continue to pay attention to this Dr. Atkins, certainly a controversial figure, even now in his death.

BLITZER: What advice, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, do you give our viewers, if they ask you, should I go on the Atkins diet?

GUPTA: I think that there is a considerable amount of evidence now, saying that people probably would lose weight on the diet initially.

The question is, if you have a strong family history of heart disease or a strong level of cholesterol, high level of cholesterol, it's probably not going to be the best diet for you. The thing that gets me, Wolf, is that I think people fundamentally understand that eating cheeseburgers and steaks probably not going to good for you if you are concerned about your heart. But, overall, if you're trying to lose some weight pretty quickly, it seems to work.

BLITZER: And compare that to the South Beach diet.

GUPTA: The South Beach diet is interesting. Dr. Agatston, who wrote that book, a cardiologist, originally designed South Beach for his heart patient. He says it's pretty good for heart patients, not as much of a focus on the meats, the steaks, things like that, the cheeseburgers.

But you probably will lose weight on that as well, at least over the first couple of months. Sticking with it, that's going to be the hard part with both of them.

BLITZER: Sanjay Gupta, thanks for the good medical advice, as usual.

GUPTA: Thank you. Thank you.

BLITZER: Appreciate it very much.

He's tall, dark and handsome, and when he's center stage, there's no room for the prissy pooches. Meet Josh, America's new top dog. He's the winner of New York's Westminster Dog Show. At 155 pounds, the black Newfoundland wowed the judges with his prancing poses and plays to the audience. He defeated more than 2,600 contestants for the top spot.

And that's all the time we have.

"LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now.



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