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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Pakistan: Uncertain U.S. Ally?; Hezbollah Leader Speaks Out; Iran's President on Path to War? Muslims Protest Pope's Comments; African Families Cope with AIDS Deaths; Prolific Graffiti Artist Troubles San Francisco Police
Aired September 22, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his terror cronies. Is Pakistan doing enough to help? And did their help come after America threatened to bomb them back to the Stone Age?
ANNOUNCER: He's the ally we need, but what did we do to get Pakistan's president on our side?
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: The director of intelligence told me that he said, be prepared to be bombed, to be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.
ANNOUNCER: Nas-rally -- after months in hiding, Hezbollah's leader goes public in a big way, making even bigger demands for power in Lebanon.
And the pope tries to make peace. Try telling that to these guys.
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Hey, thanks for joining us on this Friday night.
We begin with the hunt for Osama bin Laden and whether our key ally, Pakistan, is doing enough to find him -- today, at the White House, a moment that can, well, best described as surreal -- President Bush and Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf standing there.
Reporters had only recently learned of a claim by Musharraf in a new book that the U.S. threatened Pakistan with annihilation in order to get their help after 9/11. Musharraf was asked about it today. And his answer, well, he said his book publisher, Simon & Schuster, told him not to talk about it.
And President Bush, what did he say? Well, in so many words, he said, hey, wait for the book -- just another day in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Here's CNN's Suzanne Malveaux.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush and Pakistan's leader, Pervez Musharraf, took turns flattering each other over their commitment to the war on terror.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I admire the leadership.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: I trust President Bush.
MALVEAUX: Their alliance was forged out of necessity, following the September 11 attacks. Mr. Bush desperately needed Musharraf's cooperation to go after bin Laden and the Taliban in Pakistan's neighbor Afghanistan.
But Musharraf now says he was coerced into cooperating. In an interview for CBS' "60 Minutes," Musharraf said, after 9/11 the U.S.' then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage threatened his intelligence chief that Pakistan would face America's wrath if it did not help fight the terrorists.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES")
MUSHARRAF: The director of intelligence told me that he said, be prepared to be bombed, to be prepared to go back to the Stone Age.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Richard Armitage said, you should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you insulted?
MUSHARRAF: Yes. I -- I thought it was a very rude remark.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: When asked about the alleged threat, with Mr. Bush by his side, Musharraf said:
MUSHARRAF: I'm launching my book on the 25th, and I am honor bound to Simon & Schuster not to comment on the book before that date.
BUSH: In other words, buy the book, is what he's saying.
(LAUGHTER) MALVEAUX: For now, Musharraf's loyalties lie with the royalties. As for the alleged threat, Mr. Bush said he knew nothing of the exchange.
BUSH: Secretary Colin Powell came in, and said, President Musharraf understands the stakes, and he wants to join and help root out an enemy.
MALVEAUX: The man accused of making the threat, Richard Armitage, said Musharraf's story is totally false. And he told him so when the two men met Thursday.
RICHARD ARMITAGE, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: I said, it never happened. I wasn't authorized to say such a thing, and I wouldn't.
MALVEAUX: But the post-9/11 message was clear, and tough.
ARMITAGE: This was black or white, that Pakistan was either with us fully, or not. He started to tell me about the history of Pakistan-Afghan relations. I cut him off and said, history starts today, General.
COOPER: Suzanne, you know, both presidents has put on -- on a face of cooperation today. It was all smiles and -- and -- and pats on the back.
Every military and intelligence official I have talked to when I was in Afghanistan are dismayed about what Pakistan is doing. Privately, were there disagreements today?
MALVEAUX: Well, certainly, there were private disagreements.
But what is happening here, what you're seeing play out is, both of these political leaders are under tremendous pressure at home to assert their authority. Both of them, at the same time, however, recognize, Anderson, that they need each other to survive politically.
And, so, they are putting on a good face, a good show, if you will, and trying to get along.
COOPER: Well, trying to get along.
Suzanne Malveaux, thanks.
Whoever said what to whom, one fact remains. You sometimes have to go to war with the allies you have, not the ones you might want. Pakistan certainly falls into the first category. It's a country where Osama bin Laden enjoys enormous popularity, more perhaps than President Musharraf, more certainly than President Bush, which may explain why President Musharraf seems to be playing both sides of the street, and why President Bush seems to be letting him.
That story now from CNN's Brian Todd. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president says he trusts him in the hunt for bin Laden.
BUSH: And when he says, if we find -- or when we find Osama bin Laden, he will be brought to justice, I believe him.
TODD: But is Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf cutting side deals that hurt the war on terror? Take the agreement between Pakistan and tribal leaders near the Afghan border, who are sympathetic to the Taliban.
That deal calls for Pakistani forces and Taliban sympathizers to stop fighting each other, and, in return, the Taliban would stop cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.
PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: There will be no al Qaeda activity in our tribal agencies here or across the border in Afghanistan. There will be no Taliban activity in our tribal agency or across in Afghanistan.
TODD: But U.S. military officials on the front lines tell CNN, Taliban fighters have launched more rocket attacks and cross-border raids on U.S. forces and their allies in Afghanistan since the deal was reached in early September.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: They are concerned that, behind this peace agreement -- because part of the agreement means that Pakistani forces will draw out of these areas -- is that al Qaeda and militant groups with an al Qaeda agenda, you know, will reorganize.
TODD: So, what's the real reason behind the deal? Analysts say, when Pakistani forces battle the Taliban, the Pakistanis get their heads handed to them.
STEVE COLL, MANAGING EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": His case to President Bush is: Let me give this a try. If I can secure their cooperation, they will seal the border more effectively than my army can.
TODD: Then there are the public differences Musharraf has had with President Bush over the hunt for Osama bin Laden. If the trail leads to Pakistan, who goes after him?
Here's President Bush's take.
QUESTION: Would you give the order to kill or capture him?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SITUATION ROOM")
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Would you give the order to kill him or capture him...
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Absolutely.
BLITZER: ... and go into Pakistan?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Here's President Musharraf.
MUSHARRAF: So, let's not get involved in how it ought to be done, by whom it ought to be done. There's total coordination at the intelligence level between the two forces.
TODD: And, in the view of CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen:
BERGEN: In practice, the United States will go in. If there's actionable intelligence about bin Laden, they will either go in with cruise missiles, or they go -- go in with special forces and CIA personnel on the ground.
TODD (on camera): And, according to a top CIA official, the U.S. would go into Pakistan without asking permission, and would seek forgiveness after the fact.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, Gary Berntsen knows all too well how politics, domestic and international, can stymie the hunt for Osama bin Laden. He faced them on the ground as part of a CIA and special forces team that almost certainly bin Laden pinned down in the mountains of Afghanistan. He wanted more troops to finish the job, but, safe to say, didn't get what he needed.
Gary Berntsen is the author of "Jawbreaker," which is all about the hunt for bin Laden. We're glad he could join us tonight.
Good to see you again.
COOPER: You have no doubt that, if we got a bead on Osama bin Laden, the U.S. would launch an attack, whether or not Pakistan knew about it?
GARY BERNTSEN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: It will depend on how close he is to the border. The closer to the border, the more likely we would move.
If he's deep inside of Pakistan, in a -- in a major city, of course, it's going to have to be the Pakistanis. It will depend on where he's at. COOPER: It doesn't seem, though -- you know, I -- I think a lot of people think U.S. troops in Eastern Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden is on the top of their list of what they're dealing with. It doesn't seem like there's that many people -- overtly, at least -- hunting for Osama bin Laden on either side of the border.
BERNTSEN: Well, you have 70,000 Pakistani forces covering the tribal areas. And there's 27 million people in those federally administered tribal areas. It's -- that's not enough to cover that area. It's a wide, wide area.
And, again, you know, the -- the Pakistanis, for the first time, in 2004, put troops in that area. Prior to that, for, you know, 50 years, they hadn't had soldiers in there. They don't have enough forces in there.
COOPER: Right. It was supposed to be a hammer-and-anvil thing, the Pakistanis, the anvil, U.S. forces, the hammer driving. It -- it hasn't worked out that way. Pakistan has now signed this deal.
It -- it's a deal more about -- it says more about inner politics in Pakistan than it does really wanting to successfully prosecute the war on terror.
BERNTSEN: It's about domestic politics for -- for Musharraf.
You know, he's sitting on top of a nation of 160 million people. He has nuclear weapons. The only thing worse for the U.S. than not killing bin Laden would be losing Musharraf at this point. We have got to deal with the politics of this, and, at the same time, be collecting the intelligence we need, and if we can get our crosshairs on bin Laden, take the shot.
COOPER: My perception, from being in Eastern Afghanistan two weeks ago, I guess it was, is that, on the operational level, military commander to military commander, U.S. commander to Pakistani commander, there -- there -- there seems to be communication and relatively good cooperation.
BERNTSEN: Right. That's my understanding, is, there has been cooperation across the border from those commanders.
But, still, there are areas where it isn't perfect, you know, and there's other areas where they're -- he -- he will be deeper back, away from those commanders. So, it's...
COOPER: Also, the cost of -- of -- of striking, trying to strike for Osama bin Laden and missing, like happened back in -- I guess it was in January -- they thought they had a bead on Ayman Al-Zawahri. They send in missiles, and -- and they missed.
BERNTSEN: It's critical that, if we do a large strike against a position we believe bin Laden's at, he has got to be there, because if a strike occurs, and a number of Pakistani citizens are killed by a U.S. strike, and Pakistanis were not alerted in advance, it's trouble for Musharraf. We don't want that trouble for Musharraf. COOPER: Do you think Osama bin Laden -- I mean, I would assume, if he's using -- and I'm not, you know, trying to say anything that other people haven't thought of already -- if he's using satellite phones, he could be tracked. If he's using cell phones, I assume he could tracked.
What do you think his life is like?
BERNTSEN: He's taken this down. He's not using high technology.
He knows we're strong in technology. He knows we can leverage technology. He's going to use individual couriers. He's going to go low-tech. He's going to be using people with tribal languages which are obscure, which are -- which even makes it more difficult for us to recruit among that tribe. He's going to take this down to almost a very, very primitive level.
COOPER: And, yet, the U.S. -- I mean, the U.S. intelligence sources I talked to in Afghanistan -- and military sources -- all seem to feel very confident about the location of Taliban leaders. I mean, they say Mullah Omar, who has a bounty on his head, they say he's living in Quetta, no doubt about it.
I talked to Hamid Karzai just two or three days ago. He said the same. No doubt about it, they know he's in Quetta or in the surrounding areas.
BERNTSEN: Bin Laden is not as actively leading forces. You know, guys always that take on the third-position al Qaeda, you know, the ops commanders, like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, you know, Binalshibh, those guys, they wind up getting caught or killed, because they're leading troops.
Bin Laden is being very careful not to be actively engaged in leading operations.
BERNTSEN: He's providing the guidance from a distance. He's separating himself with cutoffs. And, clearly, he's probably got layers of security.
You know, in the tribal areas, if you try to drive in there as a foreigner, or even if you're the Pakistani military driving in there, they are going to know, from a great distance, that you're entering. And they are going to pass the word along.
COOPER: Intelligence sources I talked to said they think Zawahri maybe is on the move a little bit more than bin Laden. They think bin Laden is relatively stationary.
BERNTSEN: Zawahri is a very tough guy.
You may recall, when they tried him in Egypt, you know, he was in a cell, screaming at the judge...
BERNTSEN: ... threatening people there.
This is a -- a guy who is tougher than bin Laden. This is a guy who is dynamic, who is aggressive, clearly has more to do with -- with the operations than -- than bin Laden. Bin Laden is sort of, you know, more of the ideological and the support guy.
COOPER: Gary, appreciate your expertise.
The book is "Jawbreaker."
COOPER: It's a great read.
The U.S. government is offering big bucks to anyone who provides information leading to the capture of bin Laden or his other cronies. Here's the "Raw Data" on it.
The bounty on bin Laden right now, $25 million -- same amount applies to Ayman al-Zawahri, bin Laden's right-hand man. And up to $10 million is being offered to anyone who turns in Mullah Omar, the blind cleric who is the leader of the Taliban and, U.S. authorities say, is living in Quetta or in the surrounding areas. So, if you happen to go to Quetta, and you see him, $10 million.
Straight ahead: another adversary in the war on terror, Hezbollah in Lebanon, by way of Iran -- its leader, out of sight since the war, making his first public appearance today and making some very strong demands. We will take you there.
Then: the pope trying again to make -- well, to make this whole problem go away with -- with Islam -- a new overture and the angry answer.
And the man, the mystery, and the threat -- Iran's controversial president, his shadowy nuclear program, and whether it's putting his and this country on the path to war -- showdown Iran and more when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, these are some hard times for Lebanon, and for Israel, for that matter. Hundreds of thousands of Hezbollah followers turned out for a massive rally in Beirut today, claiming victory in the war. Those are the pictures.
Earlier today, the Palestinian ruling party, Hamas, said it would not recognize Israel, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas promised to do when he spoke before the U.N. last night. Not clear how Israel will react to those latest developments.
What is clear, that, at least in Lebanon, the battle for the future of the country, the battle for the identity and the soul of that nation, is very much still being waged. CNN's Brent Sadler reports now from Beirut.
BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): After more than two months in hiding, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah breaks cover -- a mass of followers assemble amid the ruins of Hezbollah's stronghold, south of the capital, Beirut, to hear him speak.
Nasrallah declares a divine victory over Israel in the July- August war, claiming Hezbollah is now stronger than ever.
AMAL SAAD-GHORAYEB, AUTHOR, "HEZBOLLAH: POLITICS AND RELIGION": It was an act of defiance. The hundreds of thousands, clearly, who showed up also did so as an act of defiance. And I think, in that sense, that was another political victory for Hezbollah, that Israel, first of all, did not dare to strike Nasrallah.
SADLER: Not, at least, when surrounded by this many supporters.
Hezbollah's faithful hear Nasrallah claim, the organization has regained its military capabilities.
"The resistance today, pay attention," he boasts, "has more than 20,000 rockets."
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
SADLER: If true, it means Hezbollah has stashed away some five times the number of missiles fired into Israel during 34 days of fighting, meaning:
SAAD-GHORAYEB: Is that Hezbollah already has a vast stockpile of weapons and does it -- which could last months, as many of them say, or, on the other hand, that Hezbollah was somehow able to rearm during the course of this conflict.
SADLER: Many Israelis believe their military weakened Hezbollah and that international pressure could eventually lead to the group's disarmament.
But Nasrallah warns the reinforced United Nations mission in Lebanon not to spy on Hezbollah or try to disarm its fighters.
"There is no army in the world," he insists, "that can force us to drop our weapons."
(on camera): By orchestrating this mass turnout, Hezbollah portrays itself as not only unbowed and undefeated, but a group that remains well-funded, well-organized, still armed, and still dangerous...
(voice-over): ... and still, according to some observers in Lebanon, closely tied to Syria, and subservient to Iran.
GENERAL TANNOUS MOUAWAD (RET.), MIDDLE EAST STUDIES: Iran is the boss of Hezbollah, because -- because Hezbollah is an institution of Iran, because Hezbollah is receiving orders from Iran. Hezbollah does not have the freedom to decide.
SADLER: Both Israel and Hezbollah claim postwar victory. But, from this side, Hassan Nasrallah illustrates for all to see that he has survived to fight another day.
Brent Sadler, CNN, Beirut.
COOPER: Well, will he go back into battle, and soon? Just how strong is the truce between Hezbollah and Israel? We will talk to a keen observer of the Middle East coming up.
Plus: another battle, one that is turning children, a continent's children, into orphans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Have you made preparations for your son's future?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): If we died now, he would be in great trouble, because I don't have anyone who will take him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Christiane Amanpour -- where have all the parents gone?
Her special -- next.
COOPER: New warnings from Hezbollah, tough talk and alarming threats -- could another battle be brewing?
COOPER: The yellow flags, of course, are Hezbollah flags. That was more video of the big Hezbollah rally in Beirut today.
This, of course, is the first time that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has spoken publicly since the start of the war, July 12.
Joining me now from Washington for more on the rally and the future of Hezbollah and the future of Lebanon, really, more importantly, Hisham Melham, the D.C. bureau chief for the independent Lebanese newspaper "An-Nahar."
Hisham, appreciate you being on the program again.
HISHAM MELHAM, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "AN-NAHAR": Thank you. COOPER: It seems to me -- and I have only been there twice, so -- so, correct me if I'm wrong -- and I probably am -- but it seems to me that there is a battle going on for the future of Lebanon, in terms of what the Lebanese -- what Lebanon is going to be. Is it going to be the country of Hassan Nasrallah, or is there going to be a different vision?
Is that the way you see it?
There are two competing visions for Lebanon. People are fighting for the real ethos of Lebanon. Hezbollah has its own vision, a vision that is rooted in militancy, in what they call the culture of resistance, what many of cynics probably would say a culture that glorifies death, in the name of glorifying martyrdom, a vision that puts Lebanon squarely in the camp that is led now in the region by Iran and by lesser important allies, like Syria and others.
Against this one, there's the other camp, cosmopolitan Beirut, Beirut of old, liberal Beirut, that is dying, essentially, that wants to have excellent relationship across the Mediterranean with the West, with the rest of the Arab world.
COOPER: So -- so, who is -- I mean, I don't know. It -- it's probably too soon to tell about who is going to win.
But, you know, back in 2005, in March, I remember, there was this big Hezbollah rally.
COOPER: One day, they had a couple hundred thousand people -- the next day, a million people for an anti-Syria rally...
COOPER: ... dwarfing the Hezbollah rally.
We have now seen this huge Hezbollah rally again today. Where -- where are the moderates? Where are those alternate voices? Are they cowed? Are they scared? Are they there?
MELHAM: Some of them have been intimidated. Some of them have been killed.
Two of my -- my -- my colleagues in my own paper were -- were -- were assassinated last year. The Syrians and their -- and their henchmen in Lebanon really waged a campaign of intimidation against -- against their opponents in Lebanon, against people who -- who reject that kind of vision that I was talking about.
And Nasrallah, always, he is very smart. He doesn't say it explicitly, but he always hints at -- at intimidation. In fact, the speech today was -- contained a lot of hints of willingness to intimidate his -- his domestic critics. He did it... COOPER: Well, he -- he's talking about a national unity government, but that's kind of a red herring.
Look, a national unity government means that he wants to change this topic. He doesn't want to talk -- doesn't want people to talk about accountability, about reconstruction, where he's getting the money, how come he miscalculated.
And, at the same time, he -- he says a national unity government means more representation for Hezbollah, more representation for the pro-Syrian elements in -- his allies in that government, which makes -- which will make this government essentially incapable of taking any decision, because he will have a tremendous veto power...
MELHAM: ... he has power, veto power.
COOPER: And, for those who don't know, I mean, they had elections. Hezbollah ran in those elections, and -- and they didn't win. They didn't win a majority of the seats in the parliament.
COOPER: They -- they have only a couple seats. So, this is an attempt to -- to gain power through other means.
MELHAM: Exactly, but he's actually presenting the -- I mean, this was a broad -- broadside against the government, trying to demand certain impossible concessions from the government.
He's saying, essentially, this is a weak government, unfair government, corrupt government. And, therefore, under this kind of government, we will never disarm. And what we need is a different government, a clean government, a representative government, a national unity government, essentially, that will be in -- in alliance with Syria and -- and with Iran.
And the majority of the Lebanese rejected that in -- at the polls. The problem is that he knows he can't bring this government down. He does not have the -- the votes in the parliament, but -- unless he wants to resort to unorthodox means, which is violence and intimidation. But I don't think he's foolish enough to do that any time in the near future.
COOPER: Israel has tried -- and -- and when the Israeli ambassador was last on this program, you were on the program as well.
They try -- Israel tries to play off what happened basically as a victory, that they got kind of what they wanted. But what they don't mention is that the soldiers are still missing. They didn't get that.
And Hezbollah, no one is even talking about disarming Hezbollah anymore. I mean, that just kind of faded away. In fact, Nasrallah today said they have more weapons than before. He claimed they have 20,000 rockets. He claimed they're already, you know, rearmed. I don't know if that's true or not -- probably not.
But -- but, I mean, is this playing as a victory for Hezbollah in Lebanon?
MELHAM: Look, Hezbollah has been claiming victory for a while.
But this is same man who, three weeks ago, said: Had I known in advance that the Israelis would have reacted the same -- the way that they have reacted, I would not have ordered the attack.
I mean, you cannot square the -- the -- the circle, so -- but he's saying this for domestic consumption. And he has to talk to the faithful. He has to talk to the base. He has to energize the base.
He relishes these moments, speaking, you know, directly with -- with the base. He's claiming victory, but, essentially, it's a Pyrrhic victory. The country is destroyed. The -- the divisions are deeper now among various Lebanese communities. There are voices within the Shiite community who are criticizing him.
But he's in a defensive mode. Behind all this bravado, he's -- he's -- he's also on the defensive. He claims to have -- he has 20,000 missiles. I doubt that. But he lost a lot of men. And there's a tremendous amount of destruction.
Now, obviously, on the other hand, the Hezbollah fighters in the south put up a valiant resistance. And this is where the -- where they hurt the Israelis. Those antique missiles didn't do anything, really.
Yes, the Israelis -- the Israelis were certainly stunned at the -- at the...
COOPER: ... the vehemence of the opposition that -- that Hezbollah was able to put up.
We're out of time. But, next time you come on, we got to talk about what the U.S., what the world community can do, if they choose to, to try help the -- the more moderate elements inside Lebanon. Back, after 2005, they were kind of abandoned. They didn't do as much as they could. Certainly, something has to be done.
Hisham, again, we appreciate your expertise.
MELHAM: Thank you.
COOPER: Thank you.
MELHAM: Appreciate it. Thank you. COOPER: And some other big rallies today in parts of the Muslim world -- you can call it a peaceful day of anger aimed at the pope for his recent comments on Islam, while, at the Vatican, a new effort to ease the tension -- that story coming up.
Plus: the hunt for one of San Francisco's most wanted, not for murder or robbery or anything like that. One clue: Adhesive is involved. What is BNE? A lot of people in San Francisco want to know -- when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, some of the New York tabloids were still freaking out today over Venezuela's president and what he said on his visit to the United States. They had less to say about Iran's president, not because he's any less controversial, only that he's less direct, a lot less.
I found out that the other day when we sat down together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: President Bush at the U.N. spoke -- tried to speak directly to the Iranian people yesterday and he said...
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): did you get the answer you wanted about...?
COOPER: I did. But I know my time's limited. It's a fascinating subject. I think what people in America are...
AHMADINEJAD (through translator): Are you asking the questions that are on your mind or questions that are given to you by others?
COOPER: Actually, in America, we have a free press, unlike in parts of Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: More of our interview and a deeper look at the man, the country he leads and the people who support him. A 360 special report, "Showdown Iran". It's an hour-long special, starting at the top of the hour, 11 p.m. Eastern Time tonight.
In parts of the Muslim world today, a peaceful day of anger. That's what some called it. There were marches against Pope Benedict XVI, for using a medieval quote last week describing Islam as violent and inhumane.
While at the Vatican, a new step in hopes of easing the tension.
CNN's faith and values correspondent, Delia Gallagher, is there.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite a public apology, Pope Benedict XVI is still the object of outrage for many Muslims around the world.
Hundreds marched through Kashmir Friday, some throwing stones at police. The chief cleric at a prominent mosque said the pope's words of regret were just not good enough.
He says, "We strongly condemn whatever the pope has said. He has apologized, but we demand that he should take back whatever he said in his statement."
In Jerusalem, hundreds gathered outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque, following Friday prayers at the start of Ramadan. Some carried signs that said, "Conquering Rome is the only answer."
Some clerics and religious scholars in Pakistan have called for the pope's removal. Some more moderate Muslims say, though the Holy Father's choice of words may have been unfortunate, this could be the divine intervention needed to start a sold dialogue among religious groups.
Abdallah Redouane, an Italian Muslim leader, told us he thinks that God probably wanted this attention to create a better environment for cooperation and understanding.
Here in Rome, Islamic faithful gathered at Europe's largest mosque for their traditional Friday prayers.
While security at the Vatican has been tightened, the pope is doing what he can to show he's not afraid, even riding around St. Peter's Square in an open pope-mobile at his general audience on Wednesday.
Some visitors who came to see the Holy Father offered him their support.
GARRY COX, AMERICAN TOURIST: I think what he has said has been enough. It was not an indication as to how he felt at all. I think it was a matter of quoting from a text, and he's made that clear and has apologized. So I think that's sufficient.
GALLAGHER: While the pope has gone to great lengths to try and ease the anger felt by many Muslims, today the Vatican said he's prepared to go even further.
(on camera) It was announced today that the pope has invited Vatican ambassadors from Muslim countries, as well as prominent Italian Muslim leaders, to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. The purpose: to open a dialogue he says he's been wanting all along. That meeting is set for Monday.
Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.
COOPER: Monitoring developments in Cairo for us is Fawaz Georges, a Middle Eastern studies professor at Sarah Lawrence College. He's spending a year in the Middle East as a Carnegie scholar and writing a book on Arab and Muslim politics.
Fawaz, good to see you.
Today, thousands of protesters turned out at one of Cairo's prestigious mosques. You called it political manipulation at its best. How so?
FAWAZ GEORGES, MIDDLE STUDIES PROFESSOR, SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE: Well, Anderson, this was really a major political rally by the students wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the largest Islamist organizations in Egypt.
Banners decorated the walls. Dozens of activists had banners with mottos for Islam. A leading contingent of women, Muslim Brotherhood women, added color and texture to the occasion. This was a political rally by mainly the Muslim Brotherhood by the student wing. Other political parties were not present.
And the message was the following. The apology was not enough. That the quotation in which the pope linked Islam and violence must be taken out of the speech. And I think the Muslim Brotherhood were trying to deliver a message both to the Egyptian government and also to the international community, as well.
COOPER: How much do you think this meeting that's been announced now between the pope and some Muslim leaders, ambassadors from Muslim countries will help repair whatever damage has been -- been ruptured?
GEORGES: Anderson, I mean, I think this is the beginning. Every step helps, every gesture on the part of the pope. And the cooler heads on both sides, not just on the side of the pope, even on the part of civil society leaders in the Muslim world.
I think this is the beginning. There's a great damage that has taken place. It's really a very serious matter, Anderson.
When I say that the Muslim Brotherhood had a political rally, I don't imply any way that Muslims of all political persuasions were not heard, are not heard. And this is why the pope and the Muslim leaders all over the world must begin the process of repairing the -- the damage that has been done in the last few days.
COOPER: There are many in the United States who are starting to see these pictures and the continued focus on this. And it's sort of having another life, another kind of reaction. People are saying things have swung too far.
Charles Krauthammer, "Washington Post" columnist, wrote this, and I quote, "In today's world, religious sensitivity is a one-way street. The rules of the road are enforced by Islamic mobs and abjectly followed by western media politicians and religious leaders."
He goes on to cite examples of Muslim violence and Islamic leaders disparaging other religions without criticism from within the Muslim community. True? Is that fair? GEORGES: Anderson, no one is suggesting that Muslims should not be criticized. No one is suggesting that, when Islamists carry out violent acts, we should not stand up and basically call things by their name. That's not the question.
But is there a reason, Anderson, to insult the deepest core values of Muslims? Is there a reason to show insensitivity to the Prophet Mohammed, the leader of the Islamic religion?
No one is suggesting that we should lean backwards and not criticize political oppression, not criticize militancy. That's not the question. But basically, insulting the deepest core values of Muslims does not serve either the interest of coexistence or relations between Islam and the Muslim world. And that's what's taken place.
And really, Anderson, I was there in the middle of the Al-Aqsa Mosque today. Every speaker, every single speaker basically called for peaceful, peaceful, peaceful resistance as opposed to violence. And one of the messages, even by the Muslim brotherhood, was basically to Christians in the Middle East.
Don't worry. Don't be afraid. This is not against you. What the pope said does not reflect badly on you.
So even though you see images of anger and rage, the message was consistent. Peaceful resistance, anger but not violence. This was the message today all over the -- and the Muslim world, as well.
COOPER: But also, the message that is being received by many in the non-Muslim world is a sense of intimidation.
I guess my question is, can -- can there be a discussion about Islam, about -- there are those who say there needs to be reformation within the Islamic world, just as there was a reformation within the Christian church, in the Catholic Church.
Can there be that discussion without mobs, you know, being generated, without people taking insult? It seems very hard to have any kind of open discussion, because there's always this threat of a mob forming and death threats being made.
GEORGES: Anderson, as you know, there is a major political struggle unfolding in the Middle East as we speak today. It's a major, major internal turmoil between the various political oppositions.
But what we need to understand, I mean, your question is very critical, Anderson. Why do Muslims respond in the way they do? They do respond. For your audience, what we need to understand, Anderson, religion plays a pivotal role in the lives of Muslims in this part of the world.
And the reason why you might say why Muslims? What you need to understand is a dismal economic and political situation. There's political oppression. There's a dismal -- 40 percent of people across the people across the Muslim world live below the poverty line, Anderson. In moments of duress, people fall on religion. And this is why the deepest values become a red line.
But you're absolutely correct. No one is suggesting we should not delve deeper, we should not put all the questions on the table. We are saying that the situation is very serious. There is no reason, when you engage in reformation, to insult basically, the deepest values. And that's the prophet of Islam, Mohammed. That's really what we're talking about.
We're not saying let's not basically deconstruct the political, and social and economic system that exists in this part of the world. Of course, we do. But yet, you're absolutely correct. It's extremely difficult to touch on the deepest values of Muslim that is basically their Koran, the holy book or even the prophet, Mohammed.
COOPER: Well said. Fawaz Georges, appreciate you joining us from Cairo today.
We're going to move on to Africa next, where AIDS continues to take millions of lives. Christiane Amanpour recently visited the continent. Her heartbreaking report, "Where Have All the Parents Gone?" An excerpt next on 360.
COOPER: The numbers are staggering, an estimated 24.5 million Africans, adults and children, living with AIDS in 2005. Two million dying in the same year. Millions of orphans.
CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, traveled to Africa for a special hour-long report, "Where Have All the Parents Gone?" Tonight, a preview.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Isiaro (ph), Kenya, just where the northern highway turns to dust, we met 11- year-old Mukhtar, trying his best to be just like all the other children in school: studying hard in class, having fun with his friends in the playground.
But try as he might, he can't escape the tragedy that's bearing down on his family.
Here in this small room, his eyes burning with sorrow, Mukhtar watches over his father, who is slowly slipping away.
Another little African boy wonders whether he, too, will become one of the million AIDS orphans in Kenya.
(on camera) Mukhtar, can you tell me what you're thinking right now, what you're feeling?
MUKHTAR MAHMOUD, PARENTS HAVE HIV: I'm feeling bad. If I go to school, I just think about my father.
AMANPOUR: So you're just thinking about your father all the time?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Like any little boy facing a family tragedy, Mukhtar is confused. His parents, Hussein and Fatma, have not yet mustered the courage to tell him that they are both infected with HIV.
(on camera) Does your son know your illness?
HUSSEIN MOHAMMED, INFECTED WITH HIV (through translator): I know he thinks I have AIDS, but I'm afraid of telling him, because I know he'd be shocked.
FATMA MOHAMMED, INFECTED WITH HIV (through translator): He asks me, "Why is daddy sick?" In school they taught him that if someone vomits and sweats a lot at night, those are the symptoms of AIDS. But if I tell him, he'll be scared his parents might die.
AMANPOUR: What would you like to tell other children, other people about your situation and your parents' situation?
MAHMOUD (through translator): I'd like to warn them that there are dangerous diseases out there that can even kill you.
AMANPOUR: What diseases?
MAHMOUD: Like AIDS.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): And AIDS has been like a runaway train, cutting through millions of lives, especially the children's. Every day, 1,800 infants are infected, mostly at birth, even though there is a way to stop that.
(on camera) Every day, 1,400 children die of the disease, even though there are, by now, life-saving drugs. But so few people have access to them. Africa is, by far, the hardest hit. Here, the legacy of AIDS is 12 million orphans and counting.
(voice-over) At least they have Khadija Rama, who runs this center, supported by UNICEF. She clothes and feeds 600 orphans in this neighborhood, while she tries to find them foster families.
KHADIJA RAMA, RUNS CENTER FOR AIDS ORPHANS (through translator): Our children living with AIDS, they are just a liability to the community. So they face a lot of abandonment and discrimination.
AMANPOUR: Mukhtar and his parents were abandoned by their family when Hussein got AIDS. Like so many African men, he got it on the road. He was a truck driver, and he brought the disease home to his wife. Yet, she's the only one who has stood by him.
H. MOHAMMED (through translator): My own family threw me out. Once that happened, no neighbor or friend could help me.
AMANPOUR (on camera): Have you made preparations for your son's future?
F. MOHAMMED (through translator): If we died now, he would be in great trouble, because I don't have anyone who will take him. My mother can't, because she has her own problems. He wouldn't be welcome there.
COOPER: Don't miss Christiane's special report, "Where Have All the Parents Gone?" It airs Saturday and Sunday night at 8 p.m. Eastern.
Still to come, perhaps a welcome change of pace, the notorious San Francisco sticker sticker. Why police are stuck on, well, sticking it to him.
COOPER: All right. So making your mark is a good thing. One exception, dogs and furniture, I suppose. Another, a man who's making his mark on San Francisco, even with a price on his head. Nobody knows where he is, but everybody knows where he's been.
As CNN's Dan Simon reports, the signs are literally everywhere.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're about as ubiquitous as Starbucks. And in San Francisco, that's saying something. For several months now, someone has been plastering these stickers all over town, stickers that simply read BNE. They're on phone booths, newspaper boxes, parking meters.
Police say it's an unprecedented campaign. But this time, no one's running for office. They say this is graffiti at its worst.
(on camera) Some people have described BNE as San Francisco's most wanted man.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, he is right now.
SIMON (voice-over): Officer Christopher Putz heads the police graffiti abatement team. He asks that we not show his face, because he often goes undercover.
OFFICER CHRISTOPHER PUTZ, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPARTMENT: It's kind of a cat and mouse game.
SIMON: He says many graffiti artists are driven by ego, and BNE has about the biggest one he's ever seen.
PUTZ: It's just to get the recognition, which is what he got. So he's got the recognition, but what he's also got is a little bounty on his head, too.
SIMON: That's right. San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom, says the stickers have become such a nuisance, that he's offered up a $2,500 reward for BNE's capture.
(on camera) But perhaps more mysterious than the perpetrator himself is, what does BNE stand for? No one can seem to figure it out.
We're asking people what they think BNE means.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a clue.
SIMON: If you had to guess?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't even remotely have a guess. I have no idea whatsoever what it means.
SIMON (voice-over): Theories abound on the Internet. The web site Flicker has pages devoted to BNE. Some of them include "be nowhere else", "Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement", "breaking and entering", and in liberal San Francisco, "Bush not elected".
PUTZ: I'm not going to speculate about what it means, but I can tell you that those ideas don't -- don't work with me.
SIMON: Adding to the problem, they're really tough to remove. The sun seems to bake them on. Here in the beautiful Bay Area, the graffiti doesn't just look bad, it's also no spare change to fix. It's estimated that BNE and all the others cost taxpayers here more than $20 million a year. That's a lot of money to "buy needed erasure".
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
COOPER: Well, on now to a man who's already familiar with big city problems, the former mayor of Tehran, now Iran's president. His views on the Holocaust, freedom of the press, Iraq and more. We'll hear more from him and take a closer look at the country he leads. "Showdown Iran", a special hour of 360, is next.
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