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Berg Family Has Questions; Boston Nuns Accused of Child Abuse; Former Vietnam POW's Discuss Torture, Intelligence Gathering

Aired May 12, 2004 - 12:59   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: A horrifying murder, a host of unanswered questions, new information to tell you about Nicholas Berg and what he was doing in the days leading up to his death.
MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Maria Hinojosa in West Chester, Pennsylvania where Nicholas Berg lived, there is anger, shock and trauma, and now anger against the U.S. government. We'll have more on than when LIVE FROM... continues.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Prisoners and patriots, seven-and-a- half years as POWs, tortured to the extreme, now they speak out on the Iraqi prison scandal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Toss the next piece just halfway between you and the dog.


O'BRIEN: Bacon treats and a brave firefighter to the rescue for a dog on the edge of disaster.

From the CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Miles O'Brien.

PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips. It's Wednesday, May 12. CNN's LIVE FROM... starts right now.

O'BRIEN: And we begin this hour with the backstory of Nicholas Berg. What brought a 20-something electronics expert to the wilds of Iraq, without a job? And what transpired between his last contact with his family in April and his videotaped decapitation? Berg's family in suburban Philadelphia has filled in some of the blanks and we will hear from them in a moment. But first, the sequence according to U.S. officials in Iraq.


DAN SENOR, COALITION SPOKESMAN: Mr. Berg was arrested by the Iraqi police in the Mosul area on March 24. I would refer you to the Iraqi police as to why they arrested him. My understanding is they suspected he was involved -- engaged in suspicious activities. U.S. authorities were notified. The FBI visited with Mr. Berg on three occasions when he was in Iraqi police detention and determined that he was not involved with any criminal or terrorist activities. Mr. Berg was released on April 6 and it is my understanding he was advised to leave the country. On Saturday, May 8, coalition forces discovered a body on a roadside near Baghdad. The body was later identified as Nicholas Berg, an American civilian.

Mr. Berg had registered with the U.S. Consular Affairs in Iraq. He had no affiliation however with the coalition. He was here -- it is our understanding that he was here of his own accord, did not work for the Coalition Provisional Authority and we do not believe that he worked for any Coalition Provisional Authority contractors.

GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY: He was not an American soldier. He was not an American government employee. He was not a CPA employee. He still was an American citizen. And that's why we checked on him. And that's why we were so struck by the loss because there may have been a lot of things he was not, but he was still an American citizen, a fellow American citizen.


PHILLIPS: Now to West Chester, Pennsylvania, where Nicholas Berg's grief-stricken father says the family's agony is multiplied by the spectacle that his final moments became. CNN's Maria Hinojosa is there -- Maria.

HINOJOSA: Kyra, yes, this is a community that really is in a tremendous amount of shock and trauma as people begin to talk about the fact that this was in fact a public execution. But at this point, there's also a sense of anger coming from the Berg family.

Just about an hour ago -- and this family has been in seclusion pretty much in silence for the past 24 hours. But just about an hour ago, the brother of Nick Berg came outside of the home behind me, carrying a "New York Times." And he had circle beyond particular part of "The New York Times" where they are quoting a senior FBI official, saying that Nick Berg was never in U.S. custody, he was in local custody.

At that point, Nick Berg's brother said this was not -- as we know it, saying that they had received e-mails from Nick Berg when he was released in Iraq on April 6. And between April 6 and April 9, April 9 was the last time that they heard from him.

Again, a tremendous amount of sadness here, people are also taking some time though to talk about Nick Berg, who he was. A young man who they say was a humanitarian, someone who had traveled across the world, been to Africa several times, twice in fact, to try to help rebuild there, had gone to Iraq twice looking for work, as well as, in his family's words, trying to rebuild.

But at this point, there's a tremendous amount of confusion over when he was detained in Mosul on May -- on March 24, by Iraqi police. The family believes he was then transferred to U.S. authorities. Yesterday, the father of Nick Berg spoke to WBUR, a local public radio station, and this is what he had to say.


MICHAEL BERG, FATHER OF NICK BERG: That's really what cost my son his life is the fact that the United States government saw fit to keep him in custody for 13 days without any of his due process or civil rights, and released him when they were good and ready.


HINOJOSA: We have also heard now -- we have also heard now that Senator Arlen Specter has asked for there to be a special waiver for the Berg family to be allow to go on-base at Dover Air Force Base when the body arrives, perhaps some time today. This is quite extraordinary. Families are not allowed to do this. But there has been a request from Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter for this family at this point.

We're hoping perhaps to hear from them more directly so that they can tell us why they are so convinced that their son was transferred to U.S. authorities in Iraq and therefore, perhaps -- in their idea, is perhaps responsible for their son's death in some way -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Maria Hinojosa, thank you -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: The president of the United States on his way to an event in Maryland to talk about his No Child Left Behind program, spoke with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, offering condolences to the Berg family.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to express my condolences to the family and friends of Nicholas Berg. Nicholas Berg was an innocent civilian who was in Iraq to help build a free Iraq. There is no justification for the brutal execution of Nicholas Berg, no justification whatsoever.

The actions of the terrorists who executed this man remind us of the nature of the few people who want to stop the advance of freedom in Iraq.

Their intention is to shake our will. Their intention is to shake our confidence. Yet, by their actions, they remind us of how desperately parts of the world need free societies and peaceful societies. And we will complete our mission. We will complete our task.

Thank you.


O'BRIEN: President Bush, as he departed for Maryland just a few moments ago. We're tracking the president as he does his visit today. We will bring you news of that, as it comes in.

The brigadier general who no longer commands the MPs at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison says she was strong-armed into letting military intelligence run the show. "The Washington Post" quotes a confidential addendum to the Pentagon's report on inmate abuses in which Janis Karpinski, now suspended, fingers ground force commander Ricardo Sanchez and Karpinski's replacement at Abu Ghraib, Geoffrey Miller. Quoting "The Post," she said, "both men," Miller and Sanchez, "overruled her concerns about the military intelligence takeover and the use of deadly force." The Pentagon probe, nevertheless, found Karpinski bore responsibility over MPs conduct and a retired lieutenant colonel agrees.


LT. COL. ROBERT MAGINNIS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Obviously this issue of tactical control of the facility is of some question. You know, I've heard Janis Karpinski and her mea culpas about what's going on there. She doesn't want to be blamed. But I will tell you, a brigadier general who is really inside a facility, and if she doesn't know what is going on, there is something seriously wrong there. Yes there was competition between two commands. But that just doesn't happen in the world that I'm familiar with within the United States Army in 19 -- or in 2004.


O'BRIEN: Karpinski has been admonished by higher-ups, and Sanchez and Miller both take issue with her version of events.

PHILLIPS: On the opposite end of the command chain, Private First Class Lynndie England, she too is speaking out, as her lawyers have done already, and claiming her prominent role in those graphic photos were involuntary, and the photos themselves staged. England says the images were meant to coerce information out of the others, more -- or the other, rather, more important prisoners.


PFC. LYNNDIE ENGLAND, U.S. ARMY: Told to stand there, give the thumb's up, smile, stand behind all the naked Iraqis in the pyramid, take a picture.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Who told you to do that?

ENGLAND: Persons in my higher chain of command. I agree that we don't feel like we were doing things that we weren't supposed to, because we were told to do them. We think everything was justified because we were instructed to do this and to do that.


PHILLIPS: England is awaiting court-martial at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

O'BRIEN: The U.S. Senate minus staff members and recording devices is being given a three-hour window in which to view some unreleased, supposedly horrific images from Abu Ghraib. The Pentagon is making dozens of pictures and a video clip available in a secure Senate meeting room and then taking them away. Now whether and how they'll be released to the public remains an unanswered question today.

PHILLIPS: In Iraq today, fighting and talking, sacred sites and unholy violence. U.S. forces took on the Mehdi Army in the holy city of Karbala. And when the smoke cleared, 22 fighters loyal to cleric Muqtada al-Sadr were dead. For his part, al-Sadr held court in nearby Najaf, on a tentative proposal to end the standoff that's now dragged on for more than a month. Ideas proposed by an amalgam of Shiite groups would disband the Mehdi militia and pull U.S. troops out of Najaf, replacing them with an Iraqi force which Mehdi fighters could join. Al-Sadr says that he'll disband the Mehdi if religious authorities demand it and free elections are held in Iraq. In the meantime, he says he'll fight the American occupation.

O'BRIEN: A brutal act. American outrage and Arab world coverage: We'll show you how the taped murder of an American civilian is affecting perceptions of the U.S. and a war in Iraq.

And later, for eight years they were held in one of the more brutal war prisons, two POWs share their stories and their thoughts on what is happening in Iraq.

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: I'm CNN technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg. Coming up, I'll have some of the hottest trends and titles here at the big video game trade show, E3.


PHILLIPS: Live pictures now from the Hill as we wait for the arrival of those alleged abuse photos that senators and representatives within the House will be looking at today. This is the area, you see people waiting in the Rotunda area, the media also. At any time, those pictures will be passing through here, brought to both Congress people and senators to look at.

Well, it has been one shocking image after another out of Iraq. The pictures of a U.S. citizen's beheading are the latest in the disturbing news confronting Americans. Chris Lawrence is checking in from a diner in Charlevoix, Michigan, with reaction from there.

What did you find out?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, this pub's normally the kind of place where people go to get away from what's going on during the day. Normally the biggest topic is just what's on the menu. Obviously with everything going on in Iraq, the topics are a little more serious these days.

Here with Bill Supernaw (ph). And Bill, you've been watching and hearing all of the things going on from Iraq, from the prisoner abuse scandal to the beheading of Nicholas Berg. Your reaction to what you've seen over the past days and weeks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a little scary. It's a get-even situation and I think they'll do it one at a time now. And hasn't been any good news out of there in so long, it's -- nothing seems to be going the way it's supposed to be going. LAWRENCE: Has it changed your opinion on the situation in Iraq at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My feeling is if Bill Clinton or Al Gore were president, everybody's that's for this war would then be against it. Bush is the president, so everybody that is for would be against it, and against it, for it. It's as simple as that. It's politics at home. It's run amok all across the world.

LAWRENCE: All right, Bill, thank you very much, very strong opinion. Now, this is a very small town, about 3000 people at this time of year. But it's not short on opinions.

Connie Noka (ph) actually served in the Army. Her husband and brother were both Marines. The things you've seen, most especially, the beheading of Nicholas Berg, how did that make you feel as a veteran?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it made me very angry. But I'm not shocked because they've been doing that right along. I'm opposed to this little abuse that we have done, which I don't condone at all, but at least we didn't behead anybody. I mean, I think it's atrocious. And it's not the president's fault, not Rumsfeld, it's just sad.

LAWRENCE: So you think there's a clear line between the American soldiers' abuse and what we saw -- or what we heard about, that video of Nicholas Berg?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. I mean, what we did see with the abuse -- of the pictures that we did see, it's just -- I mean, I think they were staging -- they were staging stuff. I mean, of course, it was stupid. They should never have done that and that's not our country and we shouldn't do that.

LAWRENCE: Again, like I said, a very small town but no shortage of opinions. And again, we're going to stay here all afternoon, try to get some more opinion as we hear and see more of what's going on in Iraq.

Kyra, Miles, back to you.

PHILLIPS: All right, Chris Lawrence, thanks so much -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Iraqis offer mixed reactions to the beheading of the American.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It is a scene that is hard to imagine. Slaughtering a human being is a very horrifying thing to do and as an Iraqi it was very hard for me to watch such a scene.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This doesn't represent Islam. It only represents the view of a few extremist groups. Islam is a religion that is based on forgiveness. They should forgive their enemies and be an example to the rest of the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It is true that the Americans have occupied us and are killing the Iraqi people, but what was done to that man is wrong. It is fine to kill Americans during combat, but it is wrong to kill a prisoner. It is against the morals of the Iraqi people. This will stain the image of the Iraqi people.


O'BRIEN: Responses throughout the Middle East are reflected, of course, in Arab TV coverage. Our senior editor of Arab affairs, Octavia Nasr, who watches Arab the Arab television assiduously, is here to give us a little sense of what's being said and perhaps more important in this story, what is being shown and not shown. The big question is, of course, on this tape, just horrific tape, which is available on the Web, obviously. Are places like Al-Arabiya, Al Jazeera, are they showing it in its entirety?

OCTAVIA NASR, CNN SR. EDITOR FOR ARAB AFFAIRS: No. Arab viewers of the big networks, as well as the local TV stations did not see the actual execution. They did see at the beginning of this tape, just like we saw here on CNN and most Western networks, you saw the beginning of the tape right before the beheading. They reported on it, and as a side story. It certainly isn't playing as a big story or as the story.

O'BRIEN: That's very interesting. When we hearken back to Danny Pearl, "The Wall Street Journal" reporter who was killed in Pakistan in 2002, the entirety of that, which included a beheading, was shown on these outlets. What happened? What changed?

NASR: What changed is the learning. And also the reaction to showing gruesome pictures and atrocities and the reaction from viewers and authorities alike. Also, it has been a few years since then. Back then, there was no Al-Arabiya. Al-Arabiya is brand new. It started a few weeks before the war last year.

Again, it's a learning process. It seems that the networks are responding to their viewers. Remember, Al Jazeera is seen all over the world, the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, all over the world. And viewers there are not accepting of these images as people in the Arab world are.

O'BRIEN: Well, let me ask you this. You've had a chance to really listen to this tape and get a sense who might be responsible, just by deciphering, say, accents. And certainly, there in the Arab world, they're very attuned to that. And given the fact of who this may or may not be, does that have some effect on how it is being played?

NASR: Yes, and if you listen to these voices that we're hearing on Arab networks, Iraqis are condemning this execution. And they're saying these are foreigners. These are not Iraqis. They do not represent us and so forth.

Now, of course, the original claim was that Zarqawi is the actual man who performed this execution. Our experts listened to the accent, as you said, and they determined the accent is not Jordanian...

O'BRIEN: He is a Jordanian who is working supposedly, allegedly, at the behest of al Qaeda in Iraq. So go ahead.

NASR: Right, he is very close to bin Laden, and works, you're right, as an agent of al Qaeda in Iraq. Now, the accent is not Jordanian so that takes the Jordanian element out of the story immediately.

O'BRIEN: Interesting. All right, now one final thought here. You did a very careful translation of your own, of the statement. And in it, you see no reference to al Qaeda. And yet the official U.S. government translation does. Explain how that happened.

NASR: Oh, I find it very interesting, because out of the blue, there is a mention of al Qaeda on the U.S. government translation. It says: "Does al Qaeda need any further excuses?" Any speaker of the Arabic language is going to notice a difference between the word al Qaeda, which means "the base," and al qaed, which means "the one sitting, doing nothing."

My translation says: "Is there any excuse for the one who sits down and does nothing?" Basically they're telling people, you have no excuse for not doing anything, for not acting and defending Islam and so forth. Whereas the U.S. government translation has this factual error, I'm sure it's an honest mistake, but basically it sort of adds al Qaeda to the statement, which is not on the statement.

O'BRIEN: All right, Octavia Nasr, we don't know exactly how that got in there. We'll try to get more on that. We appreciate you bringing that all to light and appreciate your insights, of course.

NASR: You bet.

O'BRIEN: Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, disturbing allegations of abuse.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were sexually molested, physically abused, and mentally tormented.


PHILLIPS: Former students at a school for the deaf claim nuns did this to them. Their story just ahead.

And later, take a close look at this. Que pasa? The Mexican air force has a close encounter, is it a UFO? My guess is it's infrared. What do you think, Miles?

And dog on the edge of a canine catastrophe, rescuers move in. We'll show you what happened later on LIVE FROM...

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) O'BRIEN: New allegations of sexual abuse have surfaced against the Roman Catholic Church in Boston. The charges involve alleged rape, beating and torture by nuns.

The story from CNN's Dan Lothian.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): They can't hear and they can't speak. But their hands talk volumes about alleged abuse by nuns at the now closed Boston School for the Deaf.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We all suffered. We were victims as children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): And I couldn't speak up. I couldn't speak up.

LOTHIAN: Nine former students at the school, which closed a decade ago, are now suing at least 14 nuns with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston, who worked at the school. They claim abuse occurred between 1944 and 1977. The alleged victims were between the ages of seven and 16.

MITCHELL GARABEDIAN, ALLEGED VICTIMS ATTY.: They were sexually molested, physically abused, and mentally tormented.

LOTHIAN: Some were allegedly raped, others fondled. One had his head shoved into a toilet. Even now as adults, they say, there are painful scars.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We were never happy and I've never had a peaceful life.

LOTHIAN: They are going public to finally confront what they say no one believed then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We tried to tell our parents, but our parents, but our didn't accept our story because they said the nuns were good.

LOTHIAN: A priest, a former top official in the Boston archdiocese, and the former athletic instructor at the school are also named in the lawsuit. Allegations that some of them neglected to supervise the nuns. An attorney for the nuns did not comment. Instead, CNN was directed to the sisters of St. Joseph Web site where a statement read: "We will begin an immediate investigation that will be fair and sensitive to all involved."

(on camera): Garabedian, the lawyer for the alleged victims, says this is just the tip of the iceberg. He currently represents more than 30 former students of the school, says he's still receiving calls from others and plans to file more lawsuits.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.


PHILLIPS: Well, the pictures have arrived. Dozens of other alleged pictures of abuse came through Capitol Hill today. These pictures taken just minutes ago, those pictures now going to be presented to members of the House and Senate for their review, we will follow the reaction.


O'BRIEN: The headlines "At This Hour." For the second time in two days, Israeli troops in Gaza hit by a deadly bomb attack. Witnesses telling CNN at least five soldier killed on patrol in the southern city of Rafah. Earlier today, at least three Palestinians were killed in Gaza.

Campaigning in Florida, challenger John Kerry accuses President Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld of mismanaging the Iraq war. Kerry says Rumsfeld could be replaced by several people such as Senator John Warner. Kerry's first choice, however, Republican Senator John McCain.

Candidate Ralph Nader has won the endorsement of the Reform Party. That gives him ballot access in seven states, including key states like Florida and Michigan. Nader says he's thankful for the support but still plans to run as an independent.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the pictures we've seen out of Abu Ghraib Prison Iraq are nothing compared to the humiliation and torture of two Vietnam Vets. I'm talking about two former American POWs. These two men endured beating and psychological torture at the hands of their captures, not for days, but for 7 1/2 years in what is one of the worst POW camps in North Vietnam.

The stories of Major Fred Cherry and Lieutenant Porter Halyburton are bone-chilling. And they're being told in a new book "Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship That Saved two POWs in Vietnam." They join me now from Norfolk, Virginia to talk about their survival, their friendship, and of course the prison scandal going on right now in Iraq. Gentlemen, great to see you both.


PHILLIPS: We've had a chance to talk for a couple of days. I'd like you to share with our viewers, quickly, your reaction to the photos. Porter, let's start with you.

LT. PORTER HALYBURTON, FRM. POW: Well, I think the photos were shocking. Matter of fact, they were unbelievable at first. Once we determined they were for real, it was just shameful that American service people could behave this way towards other human beings.


MAJ. FRED CHERRY, FRM. POW: We think it was just deplorable what we saw in the photos and can't imagine that any of our servicemen would go to that extent to put such shame on our nation. That is not Americanism and the world should know that. We're the most humane nation in the world and push for humanity more than any other country in the world. And we take the biggest blows when something happens like this.

PHILLIPS: I must say what you two went through for 7 1/2 years in North Vietnam was inhumane.

Porter, tell me -- when you saw those pictures -- I know you were treated much worse. Tell me what happened to you.

HALYBURTON: Well, I think I had a little sense of empathy for the Iraqis that were shown there in degrading positions having been through I think, a lot worse. Most of the POWs in Vietnam certainly went through harsher treatment than anything we saw in these pictures here -- not to try and minimize what they endured at all. But what the POWs in North Vietnam went through I think was quite -- something different.

PHILLIPS: Now, Fred, talk to me about -- when you were taken in by the captors, they specifically pointed out the fact that you were African-American and used that against you. Tell me how they brought in the death of MLK and tried to psychologically get to you.

CHERRY: Yes, that was later in my time, spent incarcerated in North Vietnam. But when Dr. King was assassinated, they came -- I was hospitalized at the time after lung surgery for bone chip removal, which they caused in torture.

But they tried to use that as a way of softening me up to have me side with them on their issues as being another nation of color. So they felt that they could do this to me and they told me about how the imperialist white (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in America would just kill us off at will, and why should I remain loyal to the U.S. when I could side with them and help them in this horrible -- horrible war, unjust war.

And I just sort of listening, halfway listening. I didn't listen. But I was very hurt to hear that Dr. King had been killed.

PHILLIPS: And, Porter, when they put you two together in that POW camp they wanted to use racism to break you two down. You're from the Deep South. But it didn't work did it?

HALYBURTON: No. Quite the opposite. I had been told if I didn't talk to them, cooperate, I would be moved to a worse place. Indeed, this had happened three times. I moved from one place to a worse place three times.

And this time I was in complete isolation in a really horrible place. That I think was the worst place they had. And they threatened me again if I didn't talk, they would move me into yet another worst place.

And their idea of the worst place was to put me in with a black man, particularly one in the Air Force who outranked me by two ranks. And I was told to care for him because he was in pretty bad physical condition and really couldn't do much for himself.

So I think they thought that this was going to be the thing that would break both of us, put us together.

PHILLIPS: Well, I want to ask you both to respond to this. When we see these pictures come out of Abu Ghraib -- of course, we can't forget what happened on 9/11. And when it comes to doing whatever needs to be done to get information from a terrorist, from a terrorist detainee, do you think that getting that information -- you should be able to do whatever you need to do for the cost of freedom and for the cost of preventing another 9/11? Fred?

CHERRY: No, I don't think that is correct, because the information one gets under those conditions is usually not accurate. Like we did, we said things that weren't true. And just to get the pressure off, or stop the torture.

But -- and we must realize that people are human. And if you -- if we can't get the information through other means, we just have to wait until we get it through the legal means or whatever. We -- in Germany, after the war, we had court-martials and -- for the leadership, and whatever, and we settled it that way. We didn't just go out and try to kill all the people who were in charge of camps and what have you. So I really think there are other ways than just brute torture and inhumane -- terribly inhumane treatment to individuals.

PHILLIPS: Porter, I've got to bring attention -- actually, real quickly, two photos, one involving each of you. This one photo, Porter, of your gravestone. It's funny and it's not funny. Your family -- they thought that you were dead, that you were not coming home, so they actually buried you. Where do you keep this tombstone now?

HALYBURTON: Well, I have it out in my garden under a grape arbor with a very nice bench and a little cocktail table out there, and it's a great conversation piece. We go out and have a glass of wine, and it's just really wonderful to be able to look down on that thing, rather than being looking up.

PHILLIPS: Amen. And I know your wife has been very involved in helping you and helping other former POWs.

And finally this picture, we picked out, Fred, of you, that first smoke, when you came out of that POW camp in North Vietnam. Now porter sits over his grave site and has cocktails and conversation. Where was your shot of whiskey when you had your first smoke?

CHERRY: Well, they wouldn't allow us to have that. We were on an aircraft coming from Hanoi to the Philippines. And the gentleman who is lighting my first American cigarette is an old friend of mine who I didn't know he was on the aircraft, and he heard that I was on it, and he was the navigator for the flight that brought us back from Hanoi. So he didn't know what psychological condition I might be in, so he got the word to me quietly that he was in the cockpit and if I remembered him. I remembered him very well. His name is Jim Warren. And we were in Germany together for six months. He was stationed there, and I was just there for six months. But that's where I met him, and he bought my car when I left Germany, an old wreck, too. And he tried to beat it out of me, but I got the price I wanted.

PHILLIPS: Yes, and you know what...

CHERRY: He's a dear friend.

PHILLIPS: I don't think either one of you would give into anything after what you went through.

Major Fred Cherry, Lieutenant Porter Halyburton, what a pleasure to interview you both. We salute you. Get out and get that book. It's amazing, "Two Souls Indivisible: The Friendship That Saved Two POWs in Vietnam." Thanks, guys, for your time.

CHERRY: Thank you very much.

HALYBURTON: Thanks, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, we'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.


O'BRIEN: Our top story all throughout the day has been the continuing fallout in the wake of the Abu Ghraib Prison controversy and the abuse that occurred there.

And joining us now is Giorgio Ra'shadd, who is an attorney representing Lynndie England, who has become sort of iconically represented as part of this whole thing because her picture has been associated with many of the pictures released thus far.

Mr. Ra'shadd, good to have you with us.

Can you hear us, Mr. Ra'shadd?


O'BRIEN: OK. I can barely hear him, so I'm hoping viewers can do better.

Let me ask you this, Lynndie England, Private First Class Lynndie England, was interviewed by KCNC in North Carolina, and indicated that she was essentially following orders. Who gave her those orders?

RA'SHADD: Well, as she indicated, on the scene was MI, a -- certain individuals from the military intelligence section, but not in her chain of command. Also on the scene were different people from OGA. And as you know, that would be CIA, the different intelligence agency. And what essentially occurred is, prior to their arrival on the scene, General Karpinski came down. She actually met with my client, gave my client a tour of the gallows before we took it over. So General Karpinski was actively on the scene leading her troops.

At some point, OGA decided that they were going to take over from General Karpinski. When they did that, they prevented the military command structure from commanding their troops, including my client. OGA became the de facto commander of that section of the jail.

O'BRIEN: OK, so when she says she was answering orders in her chain of command, really, technically, it was outside her chain of command, wasn't it?

RA'SHADD: Well, there were instructions that were given by OGA, MI, and those instructions were given sometimes to sergeants and specialists, and those orders rolled down. So some of the orders were given directly by OGA. Some of the directions were given directly by MI. Other directions were given by sergeants and specialists in the chain of command to the privates below to do the work.

O'BRIEN: All right. And for our viewers, OGA stands for what?

RA'SHADD: Other governmental agencies.

O'BRIEN: All right, that means essentially spies. And MI means military intelligence. We want to make sure people know what you're talking about.

Can you name names, then, besides General Karpinski?

RA'SHADD: In terms of who the OGA is?

O'BRIEN: Yes, who are the people giving her the orders?

RA'SHADD: We don't know. We know their faces. You have them in pictures. General Taguba had some pictures attached to his report. But we need their names so we can subpoena them and get them here to the article 32 and possibly to the court-martial. But we're not being allow to have their names or the name of their mission because they're considered intelligence operatives and that information is considered classified. But if we don't get it, we can't properly prepare our defense because they were actively involved in the ordering and in the advisement.

O'BRIEN: That's a bit of a catch-22 for your defense. Do you have any idea -- has your client told you why those pictures were taken?

RA'SHADD: She's informed me a couple of things. And one of them was that they were told that certain actions were equivalent to psychological operations actions. They were designed to humiliate and weaken the resolve of a lot of suspected terrorists. If they were to do this part, then OGA would be more readily able to break them down and get information on roadside bombings. They were told that these hard criminals, who were already suspected of bombings, had information that OGA needed to further protect the troops. They had information that OGA needed to prevent another 9/11. So you're a private, you're a specialist, you're a sergeant, you need to do your part so OGA can get the intelligence to protect your country and your fellow soldiers, and they did that.

O'BRIEN: You know, in the interview, which I happened to see, your client did not express an ounce of remorse. Is she remorseful about what happened?

RA'SHADD: Well, actually, you're incorrect. She did express remorse. What she didn't do was, she didn't tell you that those -- that her behavior was behavior that she woke up one night and decided to do. The behavior was manifested, ordered, advised, and cheered on by MI and OGA. So to the extent that someone would want her to apologize for taking order from the de facto command, you're right, she didn't do that. But you know, soldiers take orders from the command. And if that's the only command that's allowed to be there, she did her job.

O'BRIEN: So taking orders is her defense?

RA'SHADD: No, everything that's happened is her defense. The fact that the military officers weren't allowed to be officers is her defense. The fact that civilians aren't allowed in the military chain of command and they told all these kids to do essentially their job for them, is her defense. The fact that the general couldn't get in that section and the soldiers couldn't get out of that section to ask for advice, that's her defense.

But really, the crux of her defense is, she's a soldier, she is just, she did her job, and that is her defense.

O'BRIEN: Giorgio Ra'shadd, one of the attorneys representing Lynndie England, whose picture has been associated with this Abu Ghraib Prison scandal. We appreciate your time.

RA'SHADD: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: We're be back with more LIVE FROM in just a moment.



PHILLIPS: Coming up next on live from, what it's like to be a civilian inside the danger zone. Also known -- hi, Rhonda.

O'BRIEN: Rhonda was hopping off her perch there. Rhonda, you still there?

All right, anyway.

PHILLIPS: Much more serious business next hour. We're talking about does the U.S. have a right to protect -- or have to protect you, rather? We'll talk about it.



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