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Insurgent Attacks in Iraq; Photos From The Front; "90 Second Pop"

Aired March 28, 2005 - 07:30   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: It's 7:30 in a rainy New York City. Good morning. I'm Bill Hemmer. Soledad is out this week.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Carol Costello. Good morning to you.

HEMMER: We're going to update you on a string attacks in Iraq as insurgents go after a familiar target there. The latest from over the weekend and what's happening again today this Monday out of the Iraqi capital in a moment here.

COSTELLO: Also, a new photo exhibit of pictures taken by U.S. troops, candid shots of their life in Iraq, private moments that tell a story you rarely ever see or hear about.

HEMMER: Yes, candid and so interesting, too. We'll show them to you in a moment here.

Kelly Wallace has the headlines this morning.

Nice to see you, Kelly, good morning.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Bill. And good morning to all of you.

Here are some of the stories "Now in the News."

A last-ditch effort on behalf of Terri Schiavo's parents. A Christian group is planning a march on Capitol Hill to talk about the Schiavo case with House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Schiavo's feeding tube was disconnected back on March 18, 10 days ago. Since then, protesters have been gathering outside the Florida hospice. Extra security has been posted. Much more on this story throughout today's AMERICAN MORNING.

The Vatican wrapping up final Easter activities today without Pope John Paul II. The pope struggled to speak Sunday, but ended up giving a silent blessing from his Vatican window overlooking St. Peter's Square. The 84-year-old pope is still recovering from a tracheotomy last month. He also suffers from a number of other conditions, including Parkinson's Disease.

The U.S. Supreme Court is looking at the rights of foreigners on death row. At issue: whether the United States can execute non-U.S. citizens who say they were improperly denied access to legal help from their own countries. The specific case involves a Texas death row inmate from Mexico who claims he was not informed of his right to contact the Mexican consulate when he was arrested. The White House has asked for a review of that case.

And the two-member crew from the International Space Station is doing some maintenance work more than 200 miles above the ground. These are new pictures in to CNN this morning. The astronauts wrapped up a spacewalk a short while ago. They installed antennas and released a satellite. A fresh crew is set to arrive at the space station next month. And I like this, reading the wire story about this, launching the satellite, tossing it out like a basketball. I like the image.

COSTELLO: Easier in space to do that.

WALLACE: Easier it is to get a three-point that way, right, exactly.

COSTELLO: Thank you, Kelly.


COSTELLO: This morning, Iraq's minister of the interior updated the latest security developments in Iraq. This is two deadly insurgent attacks in Iraq today. The target in both cases was Iraqi police.

Aneesh Raman live in Baghdad for us this morning.

Hello -- Aneesh.

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, good morning to you.

The interim interior minister really vocalizing what has been a growing sentiment here on the ground that Iraqi forces are starting to take hold of the situation. He cited, as examples, the incident last week where 85 insurgents were killed. Iraqi forces with the aid of U.S. air support found what was then called an insurgent base of operations.

He also cited an incident a few days ago, when 130 insurgents were captured; that, as they were supposedly preparing to attack the holy city of Karbala tomorrow.

So, all of this is being used as evidence that Iraqi forces are training. They are implementing what they're learning. He gave 18 months as the timeline between now and he hopes Iraqi forces to really have control of the entire country. Also, vocalizing a sentiment we heard from the expected president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, who told us last week that he hopes soon that coalition forces will withdraw from the cities and primarily be on the bases.

Now, that comes on a day where an Iraqi police colonel was shot dead. A bomb went off during another police patrol.

All of this is part of the context as we try and have this transitional government take shape. The National Assembly, Carol, is set to convene for the second time tomorrow.

COSTELLO: Well, I wanted to ask you about that. Still no president named officially. Still no prime minister named officially. Is this a cause for concern now? It's been two months since the elections there.

RAMAN: That it has. And there is brewing frustration among the Iraqi people. When we talk to the politicians, they try and caveat everything with the context, this is a country with enormously complex histories among these various groups. And no one wants to concede too much or demand too little, because this is permanent law that they will be drafting.

General Abizaid, commander of forces out here at CENTCOM, spoke to the changing dynamic, really, here on the ground.


GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, CMDR., U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: The encouraging sign is there's an awful lot of politics going on. And I think that we have gone from a primarily military environment to a primarily political one. And that's a very encouraging sign. Obviously, the longer we have a delay in the formation of an Iraqi government, the more uncertainty there will be. The more uncertainty, the greater chance for escalated violence.


RAMAN: So that uncertainty is something they are trying to curb. We're not expecting any prominent names put forth tomorrow, outside of the speaker of the assembly. But, Carol, pressure will be on for the rest of those names to come forth, and come forth quickly.

COSTELLO: Aneesh Raman live in Baghdad this morning. Thank you -- Bill.

HEMMER: The new edition of "GQ" magazine may have the sort of photo on the outside you might expect. There is Jessica Alba. But inside, the magazine profiles a different side to the war in Iraq.

"GQ" made an appeal through the "Army Times" for photos. It received more than 15,000 pictures. The magazine chose about 40.

And the photo editor for the magazine displaying the accompanying art exhibit is Greg Pond. He's my guest this morning here in New York. He's also joined by two U.S. Army soldiers, Chief Warrant Officer Brent McKinney and Specialist Edouard H.R. Gluk.

Good morning to all three of you, gentlemen. Thanks for your time.

Greg, I want to start with you in these photos. We've chosen a couple of them that were taken by various U.S. troops serving in Iraq. The first one is this dust storm that we all remember in the early days of the war. Why was this significant for your magazine? GREG POND, GQ MAGAZINE: Well, this was taken by Adam Milkin (ph). And what struck us about this picture was just how extraordinarily beautiful it was. We were told by soldiers that when you take pictures in a sand storm, the pictures look red. None of us knew that. And when we received the picture through e-mail, we were just blown away by its beauty and its color.

HEMMER: Brent, take me through some of the photos you took. The first one is the gun, hanging out the left side of a Humvee pointed at a young man in Iraq.

C.W.O. BRENT MCKINNEY (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Yes, Bill. That was taken on the streets of Baghdad shortly after the Army seized Baghdad. And as that Humvee was rolling through the streets, you have to have your weapons pointed out for any unknown threat that may arise. And sometimes, unfortunately, that threat can be children.

HEMMER: What about the painting? Why did you take this one?

MCKINNEY: Well, I thought it was very interesting, pointedly by the fact that Saddam -- most of Saddam's art that he collected was of himself. And this was very striking, because I'm surprised that he allowed something like this. Maybe he didn't. I don't know. But it was in one of his palaces, and I think it says a very strong message that there is hope under oppression.

HEMMER: Edouard, you want to be a professional photographer. You took 9,000 photos during your time in Iraq. The first one is the pin-up photo. What does it tell you when you look at this picture?

SPEC. EDOUARD H.R. GLUCK, U.S. ARMY: You know, it was a total fluke. I went looking for a friend who was in the room, and there was a set of windows behind me in an old Iraqi garage. It was actually a maintenance facility office in the town of Ramadi. And when I opened the door, my shadow is on the left, and the light just sort of panned from left to right.

And for me, it was a lot of different things. Just go around Vargas girls for me. The one thing that you couldn't have the company of a woman, all the things that you'd want when you went back home. But most importantly, I think it was a lot of innocence in the photograph, because it was the safe place where you, at least for the time being, didn't have to worry about being killed.

HEMMER: What about the photo with the man on the bed in Ramadi?

GLUCK: Actually, the photo that you see there is a fellow named Oscar Vega (ph). He was actually a substitute teacher in Miami. He was the battalion executive officer's driver for 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry. And he just was really good with the kids. He always would rather hand out gum than bullets. And I just saw him sitting there, the light was good, and I just made the shot.

HEMMER: You've got a heck of a future as a photographer. You do too as well, Brent. Thanks, Greg. And a great magazine, too. Brent, Edouard, good luck to you. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

HEMMER: Thanks.

COSTELLO: Very cool pictures.

Let's head to Atlanta to check on the weather.


HEMMER: If your retirement plan is tied up in stock funds, you might be in for a bumpy ride. Andy explains that "Minding Your Business" in a moment here.

COSTELLO: Plus, oh, my gosh, the romance is officially over for Brad and Jen. The 90-second poppers have details on the recently- filed divorce papers. So maybe we won't have to talk about it anymore, huh?


COSTELLO: Not! That's just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


HEMMER: All right, welcome back. Here's Jack again, "Question of the Day."


Despite all the talk about homeland security and all of the money we've spent since 9/11, the fact is our borders leak like a sieve. The federal government has done nothing to fix the flood of illegal people coming into the United States. So some private citizens are going to try and help out.

"TIME" magazine reports a vigilante group called the Minuteman Project will place volunteers at quarter-mile intervals along a 50- mile stretch of the Arizona-Mexican border during the entire month of April. Their purpose is not to confront migrants, but rather to monitor and report their locations to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The question is this: Should vigilante groups be allowed to patrol U.S. borders? We're getting a lot of mail. This is a very emotional issue among people.

Ian in Rhode Island writes: "Jack, the problem is the government's lax attitude toward illegal workers. Any border that a Mexican day worker can sneak across is the same border that a Saudi terrorist can sneak across. There is no way to have an immigration enforcement system that keeps out terrorists but lets in regular illegal aliens."

Phil in Las Vegas writes: "Oh, great. Now instead of desperate illegals dying in railroad cars and semi-tractor-trailer vans, we can add one more method of death: at the hands of hate groups disguised as vigilantes."

Lee in Texas writes: "This crisis is the result of the staunch refusal of our elected officials to uphold our existing laws. Yes, as private citizens, we should be patrolling the border. We should also un-elect the responsible politicians at the earliest opportunity."

Pamela in Michigan: "If the government is not going to enforce the law and secure our borders, then I'm all for Americans doing what they can without breaking the law to keep illegals from crossing the border."

And Greg in Nova Scotia: "Vigilante groups may be the only alternative. My greatest fear is the Cafferty contingent defecting to Nova Scotia in search of a better life. I'm sure the U.S. Border Patrol has a directive that should you try to leave, you are not be impeded."

HEMMER: That isn't going to happen, though.


HEMMER: Thank you, Jack.

COSTELLO: No, can I ask just him one question?

HEMMER: You may. Sure.

COSTELLO: OK. So a vigilante sees an illegal immigrant coming over the border. What does he or she do?

CAFFERTY: The idea, according to this group, is that they will position them every quarter-mile to simply observe. And when they see the migrants coming across the border...

COSTELLO: They'll call somebody? They'll get on the cell phone and say, hey?

CAFFERTY: They will call the immigration people, the Border Patrol, which is being paid to do what these people are going to try to do.

It's kind of like they're tracking down...

CAFFERTY: Since the people who are being paid to do it don't seem to be able to do anything about it.

COSTELLO: You don't believe they'll try to physically detain these people? Because the immigration people aren't going to run right out. Sometimes they can't.

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: I wonder who these people are.

CAFFERTY: I don't know what's going to happen. It doesn't start until April 1.

SERWER: I mean, these guys don't have jobs... CAFFERTY: We've got till Friday.

SERWER: ... that they can go out there 9:00 to 5:00 and just sit on the border? Who are these people?

HEMMER: Arizona is the biggest violator of this, right? More than 50 percent of those who cross along the southern border come across the border in Arizona.

CAFFERTY: Five hundred thousand came across the Arizona border last year. You know, the bigger issue is the government is supposed to secure the borders of this country. They're not doing it. That's the issue.

COSTELLO: I got him riled up, didn't I?

SERWER: Send in Jack, obviously, right?

COSTELLO: Yes. Let's talk about our 401(k) plans, because there is no good news there either, is there, Andy Serwer?

SERWER: Yes. Well, and it has not been a great year for investors, Carol, starting off. And last week, a perfect example. The Dow down 186 points. Inflation fears. Nasdaq, S&P 500, all down as well.

A new report out from Lipper showing that the average stock fund -- the quarter ends on Thursday -- is down 3 percent year-to-date. That's not good. Some tech funds are down 10 percent. Growth stocks all down all across the board.

The only funds that are up are energy funds. That's right. This is what happens when you pay more at the pump. Guess what? Stocks like Exxon are up 15 percent year-to-date. And, you know, this happened in the 1970s, too, that we were paying more and more for gasoline. And a great stock to own was Exxon. So, you know, think about it. You know, you're paying more. Guess who is getting rich? Oil companies. If you can't beat them, join them.

CAFFERTY: It's true, true.

COSTELLO: That's right. I can't argue there.

CAFFERTY: Good advice.

SERWER: That's it.

CAFFERTY: Maybe we can get the oil companies to patrol the borders. What do you think?

SERWER: They've got a lot of guys down there.


HEMMER: Thank you, Andy.

SERWER: You're welcome.

HEMMER: A music mogul is expanding his empire. What P. Diddy is getting into next. Check this out. The 90-second poppers explain after this.


HEMMER: Welcome back, everyone. It's time for Monday edition of "90-Second Pop." Meet the panel. Andy Borowitz from

What's happening, Drew? Nice to see you.


HEMMER: Jessica Shaw from "Entertainment Weekly.

What's up, Jess?


HEMMER: And Toure has crossed to the other side.


HEMMER: Oh, my. Look at the bling in that ring.

TOURE: Can you believe it? Are you getting in close there?

HEMMER: Are you all right?

BOROWITZ: Did your wife take your no last name?

TOURE: No, she's not going to do that.


HEMMER: It's just Toure and Rita, right?

TOURE: Well, you know, in general, you can call us that. We'll respond to that. Yes.

HEMMER: Well, I've got a little something for you in a little bit here.

Jessica, true or false? All right, start us off. True or false, Brad and Jen are getting back together?

SHAW: False! I'm sorry to say if you want to believe in love, you have to look at Toure and Rita, because for everyone else, it's over. Jennifer Aniston officially filed for divorce, irreconcilable differences, on Friday in L.A.

HEMMER: What is "Entertainment Weekly" going to lead with now? You guys have been tracking this thing for six months. SHAW: Yes, I'm so sick of this story. I mean, this is like we're following every fight they have, like every pimple she has, every like -- I don't know. I'm really...

BOROWITZ: You know, this story seems a little too trivial for "90-Second Pop," I've got to say. I've got to say.

TOURE: You don't mean...

BOROWITZ: We should be covering, like, the whole Nick and Jessica thing, I think.

SHAW: That's true.

HEMMER: Yes, we're going to get back to that actually, because there's plenty of space now to talk about it.

BOROWITZ: There is.

TOURE: I've been married eight days. I know how much work marriage takes now. And this is incredibly sad to see these kids get divorced.

HEMMER: Who splits up the fortune?

TOURE: Well, they're both rich. So whatever.

BOROWITZ: The deal is that Brad is getting custody of the movie, "Troy." That's the deal that they worked out.

TOURE: But you know what's interesting?

BOROWITZ: She didn't want that.

TOURE: That neither person is losing in "Q" rating, like when Tom Cruise and Nicole broke up, like he lost.

HEMMER: Right.

TOURE: Ethan Hawke and Uma, he lost.


TOURE: But both of them are staying popular.


HEMMER: All right, all right, we're done with this. Next topic.

TOURE: Forever? Forever?

HEMMER: No, not forever.

True or false, Toure, Sean "P. Diddy" Combs is selling tire rims?

TOURE: Yes, very true. This is going to be a big profit machine for Puff Daddy.

HEMMER: Come on. Come on.

TOURE: You don't know, Bill. My peeps know about rims.

HEMMER: Talk to me.

TOURE: Rims are a big, big deal. Rims are like shoes for your car. Your car is not done until you've got proper rims. This is going to be a big one.

HEMMER: These are Sean John (ph) wheels, right?


HEMMER: How much for a pair? Well, I guess...

TOURE: I mean, there will be a range, of course. It's not just going to be one set of rims. But what's interesting to me...

HEMMER: Talk to me.

TOURE: ... is that Puffy has been trying to distance himself from Russell Simmons, the other big successful hip-hop entrepreneur of his generation. So that's he ran the marathon, because Russell would never do that.

HEMMER: Oh, by the way, Broadway actor, hip-hop musician, marathon runner, fashion designer, celebrity boyfriend. Does that count?

TOURE: What?

HEMMER: Well, if that's...

SHAW: I have a question. If you steal hubcaps of these...

TOURE: He is a boyfriend.

SHAW: ... do they go for more on the street?

TOURE: No. Where Russell is trying to do, like, smart things that are cool, like vitamin water, he's doing the most ignorant thing possible, selling rims.

BOROWITZ: Now, I'm not sure I'm looking to spruce up my car. Does he have anything for a '93 Honda Civic that would work?

TOURE: You can get spinners. Spinners would look so good.

HEMMER: This is what he said: Wheels have become a fashion statement, a badge of taste and a badge of style. Look for them here on the city.

Andy, true or false, ABC is actually doing another series of "The Bachelor?" BOROWITZ: This actually is true, Bill. I know that's shocking. You know, the ratings for "The Bachelor" have not been great, but they've got high hopes for this one, because this one is featuring Charlie O'Connell. I don't know.


SHAW: He was in "Dude, Where is my Car," OK?



BOROWITZ: He is Jerry O'Connell's brother, so we're very, very excited. I think this show, people have lost interest in "The Bachelor" because none of these relationships ever wind up with them getting together, getting married.

HEMMER: Bring back Bob Ginney (ph).

BOROWITZ: You know, I actually look to, like, Toure as an example of how to get married, because, look, he did not go on a reality show. He went to a party.

HEMMER: Right.

BOROWITZ: He saw a beautiful woman. He went right up to her and harassed her for her phone number. That is the way to do it.

TOURE: That is how I did it.

BOROWITZ: That is how you do it.

TOURE: That is exactly how I did it.

BOROWITZ: Exactly.

TOURE: That's how you do it.

HEMMER: Speaking of which, in the style section of "The New York Times" over the weekend...

BOROWITZ: Oh, my gosh!

HEMMER: ... Toure and Rita were featured. Check it out. His lovely bride, Rita.

Now, Toure, is it true or false that upon meeting your wife, you said, "It's funny I'm meeting you now, because I'm reading 'Midnight's Children,' the Salman Rushdie book." And she said, "That's great, but I'm not Indian."

TOURE: Yes, true, true, true.

BOROWITZ: Ultra-smooth.

TOURE: And yet I recovered from that.

HEMMER: Yes, you did, because you had dug yourself a hole. Listen, congratulations.

TOURE: Thank you, sir.

SHAW: Congratulations, Toure.

HEMMER: Jessica, you're next. Andy...

SHAW: That's right.

HEMMER: See you later. Here's Carol.

COSTELLO: It is all downhill from here, Toure. Just kidding. Just kidding!

We're kicking off our special tax series, "Many Happy Returns." That will factor into married life too, Toure. You know, taxes. Today, a look at the very confusing alternative minimum tax. Find out why some families say it's turning the American dream into a nightmare. That's just ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


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