Skip to main content

tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  August 24, 2011 12:00am-1:00am PDT

12:00 am
sure what to do initially. i saw people looking out windows throughout this area looking to see other's reaction, you could tell we didn't know what was going on, a lot of people didn't know what was going on. the good news, might be a good commute home, many people left work early today. >> thank you, peter alexander, that's going to do it for "hardball." last word with melissa harris-perry starts now. there are reports moammar gadhafi spoke on the radio moments ago. vowing victory or martyrdom. that's dealing tension back from that east coast quake. >> two big breaking stories. >> libya being, obviously, the international story. >> inside gadhafi's compound. >> back to this earthquake. >> breaking news interrupted by breaking news. >> we were on the air -- >> just felt on earthquake. >> i initially said can we finish the show.
12:01 am
>> as far north as toronto and as far south as atlanta. >> the only nuclear power plant that's been affected is the north anna plant. >> the washington cathedral has experienced damage. >> three of the pi knackles at the top collapsed. >> sounded like a freight train was going through. >> not only a natural threat to the east coast, bracing for hurricane irene. >> the shaking in tripoli is libyan rebels celebrating inside gadhafi's compound. >> breaking news, we continue to watch extraordinary pictures in tripoli. >> i am inside gadhafi's compound. >> fortress-like compound in tripoli. >> colonel gadhafi's whereabouts are unknown. >> they are looting the compound. >> where is moammar gadhafi? >> smoke, thick black smoke. >> republicans to criticize president obama here. >> the president is being advised and attacked.
12:02 am
>> the president trying to stay on top of these breaking situations. >> he gets rid of osama bin laden, potentially moammar gadhafi, u.s. troops out of iraq, start to pull down in afghanistan. >> not giving a lot of praise, of course, to president obama. >> very critical on the front end of libya. >> want an experienced individual. >> president needs to push back and get the american people on our side. good evening from new york. i'm melissa harris-perry in for lawrence o'donnell. colonel moammar gadhafi's whereabouts are still unknown, but moments ago he addressed the libyan people in a radio address, he vowed martyrdom or victory. in the fight against nato. he said his withdrawal from his compound in tripoli it was a tactical move after his compound was rebelled to the ground by 64 nato air strikes. that proceeded the invasion of
12:03 am
rebel allies into the compound earlier today. some looted the compound. outside, rebel fighters climbed on a bronze statue of a fist clutching a u.s. f-16 fighter jet, a sculpture gadhafi commissioned. that was after the regime sush vooifed the 19 6 u.s. bombing. survived the 1969 u.s. bombing. throughout tripoli, pockets of loyalist forces continue to resist rebel advances. rebels say battle in tripoli have left more than 400 dead. last night, gadhafi's son spoke with reporters at the luxury rixos hotel and with reports where fighting continued outside and pro-gadhafi gunmen in the lobby refused to let the journalists inside leave. saif said his father is in a secure location in tripoli and claimed the loyalists are winning the battle and said "to hell with the icc."
12:04 am
the international court with a warrant for his arrest. a nato spokesman urged caution in italy today. >> we have to remain vigilant and to continue to protect the civilian population. most notably, tripoli is still the site of nervous clashes between pro- and anti-gadhafi forces. the tension is far from being over. this is very, very dynamic and complex. >> according to a rebel official, the national transitional council in libya will move operations from benghazi to tripoli within two days, then begin to build a democratic government. speaking in benghazi yesterday, he said my role after the fall of gadhafi will continue unless i lose control. joining me now, nbc news correspondent and host of "andrea mitchell reports,"
12:05 am
andrea mitchell, thank now for joining us. >> it's great to be with you. what a day, what developments here in libya and at home. but most importantly, in libya. >> it's stunning, what is your reaction to gadhafi's continued defiance tonight? >> that was somewhat predictable, but it certainly does not bode well. if he continues to be defiant, is a fugitive, and leading some pockets of resistance, this means more violence and it will be that much more harder for this council to exert real control. they say they are going to move to tripoli, but first they have to quiet the storm there. they've managed to get his compound, but he has other places to hide. the fact that saif al-islam and his son and heir is moving around tripoli so openly, brazenly, inviting journalists to follow him in his car and go to night spots and shouting to supporters is certainly not a good sign either.
12:06 am
>> i think this brings me to how many are feeling in the newsrooms, this is a good news and bad news situation. around noon we are watching all of these amazing reports with richard engel getting goose bumps about the notion of liberation, you told us some of the bad news, what is other bad news about the possibility of this dictatorship being over? >> it's weaponry, it's the hidden stocks, they think they have a good handle, the u.s. does and nato, on where the chemical weapons are and those sites have not been plundered, but that said, there's a lot of dangerous siren gas and mustard gas and other nuclear weapons and nuclear components. he gave up most of his nuclear components in 2006, but whether or not he has other weapons stockpiled remains to be seen. then there are the shoulder-fired missiles and rocket-propelled grenades, the other weapons he can use, particularly the weapons he can use to bring down civilian aircraft and whether or not they've been plundered and moved outside of libya to other terror
12:07 am
nations or terror groups. >> let me follow up on the question of the control of the weapons, because even if everything goes at the very best, if tomorrow gadhafi were captured and this were over, the fact is although dictators are horrible, they can be good at keeping control at fractured countries, so what happens in a country where it doesn't -- it's at least seemed to me completely clear that the ntc is in control of this situation, i mean, you have named for us some real dangers. what should we be looking for in terms of the transition? >> well, nato and the u.n. and state department have been working closely with the t.n.c. for several months now and believe they are committed to trying to exert control and control the weapons and create civil society, it's going to be
12:08 am
tough, no question about that, these are tribal factions and a lot of internal bickering, but they have said the right things, made the right moves, we have interviewed people with them, spent several days with them, there's an arab league meeting in doha today and in paris after that, so the international community is working very closely with them, but can they exert control, is this a week-long process, a matter of 72 hours, there's a real danger point here until they can either find gadhafi or quell the resistance. he could be on the lam the way sudan hussein was. remember a very dangerous, violent period before saddam was found when he was inciting more violence from his loyalists. >> particularly with that comparison, what are the white house and nato thinking about how long this is going to take. i mean, is there any possibility
12:09 am
here the u.s. is going to end up with a higher level of involvement? >> i don't think you will see boots on the ground, as it were, i think you'll see a larger intelligence force, covert force, special ops trying to help, but there have been nato and british and french on the ground already. we've had a supportive role on the air strikes, which were critical in helping the rebel group advance finally on tripoli. i think success is fairly predictable in a military context, but civil disorder is certainly something that is almost -- almost likely to happen. >> now, again on this question of civil disorder, there is a sort of moment of the son being out and about almost challenging, obviously, international law, challenging the journalists. is this sort of par for the course, or is this an extraordinary moment? >> well, that was pretty extraordinary. he is an interesting character
12:10 am
to say the least, because he was british educated. he was always welcome in foreign capitals. he was the advance man for his father with the west and in advancing the normalization of relations with the u.s. with the bush administration, which was supported by the obama administration as well, because they decided based on representations from him, and he has met, you know, he goes to davos and meets with foreign journalists and think tank people, so he was pretty acceptable, until the arab spring, until he repeated his father's bloody threats against the people of benghazi when the protests erupted, so up until that point he was considered the good guy and he was blamed by hard liners within the regime because he persuaded his father to give up the nuclear equipment that could have led to nuclear weapons, and so they basically gave up their bargaining chips, and the message some fear this is going to deliver to iran, to north korea, to syria, if syria
12:11 am
can hold on, is don't give up your weapons, because that's your last bargaining chip to prevent nato air strikes. >> nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent and survivor of the east coast earthquake today andrea mitchell. thank you for joining me tonight. >> great to be with you. coming up, the story that dominated the afternoon, minor damage but major worry after the biggest earthquake to strike the east coast in 67 years. why it highlights a big problem with nuclear safety in this country. that's next. [ female announcer ] what if your natural beauty could be flawless too?
12:12 am
discover aveeno positively radiant tinted moisturizers with scientifically proven soy complex and natural minerals. give you sheer coverage instantly, then go on to even skin tone in four weeks. aveeno tinted moisturizers. he needs some gellin'. yeahhhhhhh. gellin' is like having a teeny tiny foot masseuse in your shoe. you like ? nice ! dr. scholl's massaging gel insoles. outrageous comfort, all-day long.
12:13 am
the next natural disaster to worry about is churning through the caribbean right now, hurricane irene is a category one storm right now but is expected to become a major hurricane before making landfall in the u.s., which is predicted for saturday in north carolina. it's expected to cause problems for most of the eastern seaboard. coming up, the quake that shook the east coast and why it should shake up republicans who don't want to fund earthquake safety.
12:14 am
12:15 am
>> a revolution was occurring in real time in libya as was a noteworthy rebound of the stock market, but news coverage shifted to a earthquake you saw in that scene in new york city. at 1:15 eastern time this
12:16 am
afternoon. it was a rare earthquake that rocked millions of people as far west as illinois and as far north as maine and canada and as far south as atlanta. 40 miles northwest of richmond. why do we stop everything and turn our attention to this east coast earthquake? natural disasters reveal our shared and very real vulnerable. when the levies fail, rivers rise, when the earth literally moves under our feet, we are forced to question if we are ready to respond individually and collectively. [ speaking in a foreign language ] >> earthquake. >> what is it? >> it's an earthquake. >> when this building shook today, frankly, my first fear was terrorism. i joined the staff of this show as we made the 16-story trek to
12:17 am
the ground floor of rockefeller plaza. many were texting family to see what happens. i was relieved that we were having an earthquake. just an earthquake. but that relief may have been misplaced, because it never occurred to me that i was working in a location near nuclear reactors that should have been replaced 20 years ago. today i was reminded that when you are already in the stairwell, it is too late to make a family emergency plan. as we started to learn more about the potential catastrophes that did not actually occur in the aftermath of today's quake, it was also clear when the ground is shifting in virginia and we are feeling it in new york, it is too late to ask whether our country's nuclear power plants are in good condition. there are over 100 reactors in this country, in some cases, multiple reactors in the same site. in june, after the fukushima daiichi disaster, the oversight
12:18 am
of u.s. plants, the a.p.'s jeff don wrote this, commercial nuclear reactors in the united states were designed and licensed for 40 years. when the first ones were being built in the 1960s and 1970s, it was expected they'd be replaced with improved models long before the licenses expired, but that never happened. so far there have been no reports of damage at any of the plants, but two reactors at the north anna power station that sit in the same county as the quake's epicenter were taken offline automatically. the plant is being run on diesel-powered generators. learning this news makes me want to talk to someone who knows something about our collective vulnerability. ed markey, ranking member of the house natural resources committee and member of the energy and commerce committee, nice to see you this evening. >> thank you, good evening.
12:19 am
>> earlier today you wrote this on twitter "earthquake epicenter 15 miles from reactor, lesson to all nukes to check emergency power." what do you say to those who believe the system worked today. >> the system worked to the extent the plant shut down, but there was a little glitch, because one of the four diesel back-up generators did not work at the plant, and that's something that we've known about, a backed up diesel generators across our country. i issued a report, fukushima fall out in may, after the accident in japan, and is in is it a blistering, scalding, indictment of the lack of attention the nuclear commission is paying to the safety protections, which should be built into the operation of these nuclear power plants.
12:20 am
we are very fortunate that nothing really catastrophic happened today with this nuclear power plant, but when one of the four generators does not work, that provides the measure of safety when a plant is shut down, we should just take it as a warning and shift our attention over to what we can do from a preventive perspective to make sure we never do see the kind of nuclear meltdown that we saw in japan. >> this issue of sort of preventive measures became very clear to me today as we were literally feeling, you know, 30 rock shaking, and granted it was a relatively minor, you know, set of quakes and aftershocks and all of that sort of thing, certainly nothing like what we saw in japan, but it was enough to get us questioning. what should we -- you put out this statement about the series of recommendations, tell me in layman's terms, what are the recommendations, what should the n.r.c. be looking at right now to prevent this sort of thing from becoming a major
12:21 am
catastrophe? >> well, the nuclear regulatory commission right now is in the process of approving a new ap-1000 reactor which one of its own scientists, its own engineers, says it will shatter like a glass cup in the event of an earthquake. some of the plans are planned to be built in earthquake-prone areas. in addition, the nuclear regulatory commission is extending the licenses of these nuclear power plants, as your report said, these plants were meant to operate 20 years, 40 years, the nuclear regulatory commission is now in the process of improving the extension of the life of these plants out to 60 years, event 15 or 20 years before they hit 40 years, so i think the n.r.c. has turned into a lap dog and not a watchdog. and i think that mother nature,
12:22 am
once again today, gave us a warning that we should be humble and we should spend the extra money, take the extra time to make sure a catastrophic nuclear meltdown cannot happen in this country. >> speaking of this being a warning, this warning came in the backyard, in the district, of eric cantor, and eric cantor was proposing cuts to the u.s. geological survey, the national weather service, which, of course, tracks tsunamis, and the reactor sits under cantor's district, right by the epicenter of the earthquake today. based on this, would you expect legislation to be able to move through congress more quickly that someone like congressman cantor will get it now that the earth was literally moving near his reactor? >> not at all, i think the greater likelihood is they'll move forward saying we must have long guarantees so they can build more nuclear power plants without incorporating the safety
12:23 am
measures necessary in order to actually deal with what has happened at fukushima, what happened in new zealand, what is happening here today in virginia and washington, d.c. there is something out there, and when we -- when we prepare, we cannot prepare for an earthquake that happened only in the last ten or 20 years. we have to look at these areas back 100 years and even further and then build in the extra measure of safety, but the nuclear utility industry does not want to spend the extra money, but the risk runs to all of the people who live in the ten and 20 and 30 mile radius around these nuclear power plants. >> congressman ed markey, ranking member of the house natural resources committee and member of the energy and commerce committee, reminding us there is no red and blue america when a nuclear disaster happens, we are all in it together. thank you. >> thank you.
12:24 am
coming up, lack of civility in politics. my opponent, not my enemy, michael steele joins me.
12:25 am
12:26 am
12:27 am
still ahead in this hour, is the anonymity of the internet and accessibility to false information leading to a breakdown in civil discourse? former rnc chairman michael steele joins me next. in the spotlight tonight,
12:28 am
coffee doesn't have vitamins... unless you want it to. new splenda® essentials™ no calorie sweetener with b vitamins, the first and only one to help support a healthy metabolism. three smart new ways to sweeten. same great taste. new splenda® essentials™. from body and bath shops? with olay get what you love at half the price with new olay body collections, tantalizing fragrances and olay moisturizing ingredients that transform lathering into lavishing. olay body collections.
12:29 am
12:30 am
12:31 am
in the spotlight tonight, that relative who forwards those e-mails and posts those jokes on facebook. in my family it's uncle fred. i am not making him up, he lets us know, often with a real sense of urgency, that president obama is secretly a muslim, not a citizen, and is dangerous for america. in south carolina, the chairman of the tea party took it further than my uncle fred would go. on her public facebook page she wrote about throwing first lady and president obama out of an airplane and making 256 million people very happy, pass it on. bill clinton was president when the internet and the conspiracy theory changed the way we dealt with it was changed the way we look politics. at politics. but there feels like there's something new happening here. the internet provides a certain shield of anonymity that involves people to publish mean spirited and unfact-checked
12:32 am
statements. as apparently are negative comments about my hair, but the e-mails from my uncle fred and the facebook posts by the sumter tea party feels like no-holds bar politics that assumes because we disagree with something, they are not just our opponent, they are our enemy. have we gone so far we can no longer recognize our common interest or imagine a sense of solidarity with those on the other side of the aisle? americans are typically even divided between the two parties. no party will have or sustain overwhelming majorities in the state or federal government. finding terms to work together is not a hallmark card suggestion, it is the most basic requirement of our democracy. to demonstrate this in real time, joining me now is former rnc chair michael steele, an msnbc contributor. hi, michael. >> hey, how are you doing, melissa?
12:33 am
>> i saw you, ran into you last night at 30 rock and took a picture of you with my daughter and her good friend. check out that bipartisan here in the halls of msnbc. >> i was trying to groom some young republicans there. >> i'm telling you, uncle fred will like that, but the rest of the members of my family might be calling for custody right now. but seriously, you and i, for example, disagree on most political questions, but i don't think that i would -- nor that you would be to me fundamentally nasty. is there something going on in terms of a kind of personal level nastiness when it comes to our politics? >> oh, absolutely, i think there is, in fact, it's been going on for quite a while. a lot of folks didn't pay attention to the fact that, for example, when i ran for the united states senate in 2006, i was referred to by current members of the united states congress as a slave, as, you
12:34 am
know, one national publication referred to myself and several other black candidates running for office as lawn jockeys of the republican party. so this has been pretty much standard fare for those of us who are black republicans, who have heard this and experienced this, and i know in my case, for well over 20 years, from some of my friends on the left and occasionally from some within my own party, so there is this sort of veil that has cast itself over our politics through the internet that allows individuals, and you touched on it, to sit in their basements in their underwear at 2:00 in the morning and spew out this vile and craziness, thinking that they are being cute and they are being, you know, hip or they are being relevant. when, in fact, all they are doing is bringing down the dialogue, what i do like what i see from time to time is when people on the internet in the
12:35 am
blogosphere and the chat rooms push back and say look, this is not the place for that stupidity and that craziness. we're trying to have a serious discussion about health care or about the welfare of our country, about foreign affairs, and i think the more we push back against the stupidity, i think the better off we will be in the long-term. if we succumb to it, then i see our politics not getting better, but getting far worse than anything we've experienced so far. >> let me suggest this. this is something, for example, in raising young children where we talk about why not to use profanity, and what i always say, if you use profanity, people will say you don't have a real argument and don't have much to say. >> it's true. >> i've studied a lot on african-american political ideology and the fact is that republicanism, conservatism is as much as the part of the history of black political thought, but the fact is there's also something there when people are making this claim, for example, about being on the
12:36 am
plantation as was said by a member of your party about democrats and african-americans. it feels like -- it feels like we're trying to have a conversation about standing up for community interests. what does it mean whether you're talking about the community as your party or that community as your race. is there a way that we can legitimately have that conversation without, you know, degrading uncle tom by calling him a republican? >> well, you know, i hope so, because the fact of the matter is we as a nation, as individuals and certainly as communities of people are facing some major challenges over the next few years, and to the extent that you want to create this dialogue between the right and the left, the conservative and liberal, you're hoping to find some ground in which you can stand. i thought how you opened up my introduction was appropriate, i'm not going to agree with everything you're going to say and you shouldn't expect the
12:37 am
same with me, but if we're going to advance the solutions whether in the black community or the broader community where you have such a cross-cultural experience, then we've got to figure out the ground in which we can stand together and begin to move from there. i remember as chairman having conversations with individuals who were surprised, well, why would you want to talk to them, why would we want to engage in this conversation? they don't agree with us. well, how do you get them to agree with you unless you talk to them. >> let me ask really quickly here, the president is a particular kind of person to be saying these things about, and that facebook message, whatever else it did suggested killing in a joking way, the president, was acceptable. can we all agree across the aisle that is not good for our country? >> no, it's not good for our country, and i resented it when it happened during the the bush administration and during the obama administration. there is no place in our politics. there's nothing cute, there's nothing profound, and there's nothing important about any of
12:38 am
that silliness, and the appropriate authorities should look into, you know, those types of conversations, because they are threatening the presidency and whether you agree or disagree with his policies, that is not a proper place for it in our politics. >> former rnc chair and msnbc contributor and great poser of pictures with staff and young children, michael steele, thanks for joining me. >> thank you very much and my best to the kids. >> thanks. >> i'm sending them literature. >> coming up, could elizabeth warren's career fighting for the common man and corporate greed hurt her?
12:39 am
12:40 am
the song that she made her own, "i'm every woman" written by ashford and simpson. nick ashford died yesterday, he was 74 years old. kbli occasions from throat
12:41 am
cancer. ashford and his wife met at church, started writing hit after hit for music's biggest stars. many artists all had hits because of ashford and simpson. they married in 1974 and had two daughters, while writing for others, recorded together as well with "solid" being a big hit in the 1980s. i could keep talking about them, but to honor ashford, it's best to listen to their music. a number one for ray charles, 1966, "let's go get stoned." ♪ that's why i want to stop by on my way home ♪ ♪ and say let's go get stoned ♪ cry like a baby ♪ ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no valley low enough ♪ ♪ ain't no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you ♪
12:42 am
♪ ain't no river wide enough to keep me from you ♪ ♪ ain't nothing like the real thing, baby ♪ ♪ ain't nothing like the real thing ♪ ♪ no, no, ain't nothing like the real thing, baby ♪ ♪ ain't nothing like the real thing ♪ ♪ there was no time to play ♪ building up and building up ♪ and now it's solid ♪ solid as a rock ♪ that's what this love is
12:43 am
♪ saw the writing on the wall and as we felt this magical fantasy ♪ ♪ listen baby, i've had the time of my life ♪
12:44 am
in the year 2000, one of the loudest voices in america raging against wall street grade came from the lead singer of rage against the machine. 11 years later, arguably one of
12:45 am
the most rachel maddowable voice is elizabeth warren, the democrat's former watchdog for the wall street bailout. over the past several years, america has come to know her for this. >> i've spent my entire adult professional life studying the economics of working families, and i watch year after year after year as they just get hammered, hammered harder and harder. we now live in an american where millions, tens of millions of families live one bad diagnoses, one pink slip away from complete financial collapse. >> last thursday, warren announced she's starting an exploratory committee for a senate run in massachusetts. that bodes well for her in a state like massachusetts. another thing about elizabeth
12:46 am
warren, i think she would be exactly the kind of candidate who'd win the support of none other than thomas jefferson. even if he wasn't so much in favor of women's inequality. despite the fact they likely disagreed politically, still, this is a founding father who would have appreciated the kind of candidate warren is. let me explain. for just a moment, i'm taking off my tv guest hat and putting on my professorial hat. despite the tendency on the right toe present the founders as a founding was a political process full of difficult compromises and fierce battles over ideas. one of the most important battles was that over democracy. the american studies program at the university of virginia, thomas jefferson had a particular affection for the so-called farmer of early american politics. "the federalist and agrarian forces in government were divided in opinion by the revolution, the federalists were in favor of a strong central
12:47 am
government and look to the commercial and industrial expansion. the raups, red by -- the republicans, led by thomas jefferson, believed in the local government and economy based on small independent farmers. the american yeoman farmer has become a symbol of philosophy. above all professions, he would recommend farming to his son. among his reason, farming is among the vocation that con deuces most directly to reverence for honesty and truth. he would look out for every man because he was the every man, and jefferson believed that kind of person would make a great politician. she's not a farmer, but does that remind you of anyone? >> it's a lending industry that has changed its model. credit cards know we're the easiest ones to see.
12:48 am
they have switched from the notion of i'll lend you money because i think you'll be able to pay and we'll find a reasonable rate to doing that over to a tricks and traps model. >> it's just screwing people, tricking and screwing people. >> but the job is to trick people and trap them, and that's how you boost profits. >> again, she's not a farmer, but elizabeth warren has made the focus of her professional and political career the advocacy of ordinary people against powerful organizations, but as she makes the move from unelected bureaucrat to likely candidate, what's made her a hero to the political left is likely to make her harder to raise the funds she'll need to mount a successful campaign. keep in mind, for example, president obama is expected to raise $1 billion in his 2012 reelection campaign. that's billion with a "b." as for elizabeth warren's potential candidate, that would be massachusetts republican senator scott brown. the hill did number crunching
12:49 am
and found this, senator brown has been stockpiling campaign cash in anticipation of a tight 2012 race. if warren runs, she'll have to decide to court the high-rolling donors in the financial community, an awkward choice given her carefully crafted image as an antagonist to big finance, but without the support of heavy-hitting donors in massachusetts, many who work at hedge funds and other financial firms, warren might find it difficult to keep up with brown's fundraising juggernaut. as for brown and his juggernaut, he was named favorite congressmen last year having been the recipient of over $442,000 from campaign contributions from the financial industry in 2009. with that kind of uphill battle, it makes you wonder the right might claim to inherit jefferson's concern for localism, but primarily
12:50 am
accountable to the people. what are the choices? how do we, the electorate, tip the scales in this broken down, money-laced political system, how does an underemployed populous compete with big business? in the post-citizens united era, is there any room left for people power, for jefferson's yeoman. if anyone has answers, my money's on elizabeth warren. if you were near a
12:51 am
12:52 am
12:53 am
if you were near a television shortly after noon eastern today, you got to see something extraordinary. rebels stormed and took control of gadhafi's compound, the place
12:54 am
he had been launching attacks against his own people and where he once swore on stated-controlled television to cleanse libya house by house of citizens that were disloyal. richard engel was the first to report from inside the compound. he walked viewers throughout the scene of the important victory of a revolution 42 years in the making. it was truly must-see tv. so if you were at work or out to lunch and you missed it, here's your chance to see history. lean forward. >> i am inside gadhafi's compound, this compound was designed as a last-stand facility. it was full of weapons, it was full of food, it was full of fuel, and some of that fuel, apparently was burning. we are seeing rebels storming in. they have just found the bodies of some foreign fighters. this area had been filled at one stage with mercenaries, most of them from saharan african countries.
12:55 am
they are looting the complex, they have gotten into a weapons depot, a man right in front of me has two machine guns, one in each hand, another two automatic rifles, one over his shoulder. there is another truck in front of him full of rebels, all of them carrying new weapons taken from inside. we saw people carrying television sets, towing out vehicles, so they are taking away an incredible amount of weaponry from inside the complex. they are also firing guns in the air. ambulance coming through now, mostly in celebration, this was a forbidden city, it was built as a fortress, i am looking at one of the walls surrounding it, it is 20-feet high approximately, perhaps 2-feet thick, and within every other panel of the wall is a small, cut-out window that fighters could use to defend it. you could put a rifle through the wall and fight as people
12:56 am
tried to approach it, so it was clearly designed for a siege and a siege that took place today. this was the last remaining hold out in tripoli as gadhafi does have some supporters in other towns, but this armed compound, and it was very heavily armed was the thorn in the rebels' side, they have removed it, they now control all of tripoli. this is a real victory. this compound was firing shells on civilian areas up until a few hours ago. the rebels decided basically they would march on tripoli and by the thousands they walked into the city, drove into the city, there was resistance, but when this wave of civilians arrived at the city gates, resistance melted away, they were able to capture almost all of tripoli and today it seems they captured the rest.
12:57 am
there are thousands of people who have come in to see what is inside, to loot the building. we are watching an incredible amount of looting right now. there has been looting here inside the compound but not been looting else where in tripoli, very minor incidents, but tripoli itself has not been a looted city, just gadhafi's compound and particularly -- as far as i can tell, his armory, one thing i'm seeing right now, someone carrying out a gold-plated, perhaps it's even solid gold, rifle from gadhafi. 42 years of single-party rule, of single-thought rule. there was a book here, "the green book," that was mandatory reading for all libyans, there was a society created called the society of the green book, his philosophy, views on democracy, sports, racial relations. this was a state based entirely on his thoughts, his philosophies, and yes, there
12:58 am
will be some people who think that is a good idea, but the vast majority have probably had enough of gadhafi's 42 years. this was an intense battle. this compound is very large, it is about four miles in circumference, there was a funeral for three dead people in front of our broadcast location, three martyrs of the revolution, if they found gadhafi, very unlikely that cooler heads would have prevailed and thought it would be important to have him, i think he would have been torn to pieces. gadhafi has become a fugitive in this country. he's no longer considered president. he's been pushed out of his capital, he's been pushed out of his fortified compound. there is a man hunt across this country. libyans want to find him. they want to kill him. they want to put him on trial,
12:59 am
but now they no longer believe that he's still in power. there has been a lot of celebratory gunfire. there will be more of that tonight. this is a fairly small streets i'm on right now, every time people have started to celebrate with gunfire, people have stopped them out of concern of injuries here, but i think once this is over and once news spreads all around this country, tonight we are going to be hearing gunfire ringing out throughout the city. >> nbc's richard engel reporting from gadhafi's compound gets the last word. you can have the last word online at our blog and follow my tweets @mharrisperry. shameless plug for my new book, "sister citizens," which is on my shelves, except this shelf where it fell off during the earthquake. good evening, rachel.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on