tv PBS News Hour PBS May 24, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: crews conducted a frantic search for survivors in joplin, missouri, today after the city was ripped apart by a deadly tornado. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we get the latest on the rescue operations from fema director craig fugate in joplin. >> ifill: then, we assess chrysler's comeback, as it repays billions of dollars in government loans.
>> brown: kwame holman examines israeli prime minister netanyahu's address to congress outlining his vision for the middle east. >> i'm willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. as the leader of israel, it's my responsibility to lead my people to peace. >> ifill: we have two stories about the war in libya-- a report from tripoli on the nato air strikes of moammar qaddafi's compound... >> brown: ...and ray suarez gets a journalist's perspective on covering the conflict from lourdes garcia navarro of npr. >> what became so compelling was the story of people who had never shot a weapon before. people who were architects. people who were students. all of a sudden they were fighting for their very lives. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i mean, where would we be without small businesses? >> we need small businesses.
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slowly, painfully, the people of joplin began again today trying to piece lives back together in the wake of the nation's deadliest tornado in 60 years. rescue crews raced against the clock, searching for survivors. >> it's overwhelming, just the amount of destruction that's everywhere, and there's just nothing standing. >> i've seen bombed out cities before. it's just no comparison to this. >> ifill: the search teams have braved lightning, downed power lines and gas fires; added to that today-- new warnings of severe weather. ( applause ) still, rescuers found at least seven people alive on monday, and joplin's city manager hoped to find more. >> we are still in search and rescue mode, and will be for the foreseeable future. we are working on that, and have had a wonderful outpouring of support from volunteers coming
into our community to effect that search and rescue. and we are involved in that, and hopefully we'll get a little cooperation at least so far today with the weather in order to do that as efficiently as possible. >> ifill: that meant an initial check of the entire area, followed by a "slower, more methodical search". fire chief mitch randles. >> we're searching every structure that's been damaged or destroyed in a more in-depth manner. the third search through once again will be very similar to that. then, the fourth search through will be with those search and rescue dogs. i've got dogs and dog handlers coming in from all over the country to help us with that effort. >> ifill: in one of the worst- hit areas, near two flattened big box stores-- a home depot and a walmart-- special equipment was brought in to break through massive concrete slabs. >> you see these solid concrete block walls, and you see this stuff just piled in on top. and so, people felt they had a sense of security in a store
that was massive and big and strong, and yet those walls came crashing down. >> ifill: for some of the volunteers, the search was deeply personal. gary england's brother was inside the home depot when the funnel cloud roared through. >> we haven't found him yet, but we'll keep looking. we'll be out here until we find him. >> ifill: a search operation was also underway at a nearby apartment complex destroyed in the storm. traveling in london today, president obama announced plans to visit the disaster zone on sunday. and he offered condolences to the victims of the wave of tornadoes that have plagued the midwest this spring. >> i want everybody in joplin, everybody in missouri, everybody in minnesota, everybody across the midwest to know that we are here for you. the american people are by your side. we're going to stay there until every home is repaired, until every neighborhood is rebuilt, until every business is back on its feet. >> ifill: in washington, house republicans said they were crafting a $1 billion aid
package to ensure that federal disaster relief money doesn't run out. federal, state and local officials have been coming to grips with what it will take to help the residents of joplin. one of them, craig fugate, is the administrator of the federal emergency management agency, fema. i spoke with him a short while ago. mr. fugate, thank you for joining us. we knew that you flew over the region today in a helicopter. tell us what you saw. >> well, you saw an area about 6.5-7 miles long and probably about a half to three quarters of a mile wide. a pretty even destruction. this is kind of what we're seeing in these tornadoes this year. not a lot of minor damage. just an area that is just devastated. homes destroyed, flated ened, buildings destroyed. just really concentrated area of damage as you move through this town of joplin. >> ifill: we know that the numbers keep changing on the number of dead, injured and missing. can you give us an update on the latest you know. >> again, i was with the
governor. at that time they were getting reports of 118. but search-and-rescue still ongoing. they had a save earlier today. they're not giving up hope. but they are still looking for people that are missinging. we are going into some of the heavy-hit areas where there was apartment complexes and digging through those piles at this time. >> ifill: you mentioned the term search-and-rescue. by covering past disasters we know there's a point at which it becomes search-and-recovery. do you know when that point will be in this one? >> i think they're just going to keep going. they have a lot of people missing. as they said earlier today they found a gentleman not far from the hospital that was heavily damaged. there's still reason to believe that if there's people in areas of void they may still be okay. they just need to be reached. bad weather yesterday really slowed everything down last night. today has been a maximum effort to get back out to these areas to continue that search-and-res rue. >> ifill: how many rescuers
would you say are on the ground working at this search-and-rescue? >> well, just with the urban search-and-rescue teams that have come in mutual aid, the local fire department and surrounding mutual aid, it would be in the hundreds. you also have thousands of volunteers that are now providing assistance. this is a very large-scale operation not only for search-and-rescue but also for meeting the immediate needs. survivors. >> ifill: is it possible to compare this in any way to the april tornadoes that we saw that went throughout the south when more than 300 people were killed in those? >> very similar types of damage in places. again, i don't really like comparing disasters or even tornadoes to each other. kind of unique but it does remind me of some of the damage i saw in alabama and mississippi where some of the strongest tornadoes, the path of devastation is very defined. there's not a lot of areas that are just minor damage. you kind of go from areas that aren't too bad to total devastation within a block or two. >> ifill: assuming that finding people who are still living and rescuing them is is
your first priority, after that what becomes your major concern? in some places it's the outbreak of disease. in some places it's returning services, finding shelter. how does that rate in this particular case? >> i think really the big challenge after search-and-rescue for the federal government will be supporting the governor's team and helping people find places to live. a lot of the volunteer organizations, a lot of neighbors helping neighbors are meeting the most immediate needs. there's a shelter open but it doesn't have a large population. a lot of people staying with families and friends. we think the next big step will be helping people find a longer-term place to live while all the rebuilding takes place. >> ifill: are there sufficient resources available for the federal government to provide the kind of recovery aid that this region needs? >> well, we don't really have formal damage assessments on the total rebuilding, but we have adequate resources right now that focus in on supporting the response and the immediate recovery as well
as the assistance to the individuals and families that have been impacted by the tornadoes. >> ifill: no dollar sign that you can put on that? >> not yet. again we're still very early in this. most of the focus has been on search-and-rescue. immediate needs and starting that process, you know, we've just now begun registering people as people start to register we'll get a better sense of what the needs are. what we don't know is how much is actually covered by insurance and how many people didn't have insurance or didn't have enough coverage to take care of their losses. >> ifill: looking backward not only at this disaster but the previous one since you've been fema chief, is there any way of knowing whether there was sufficient warning for the residents in this area to take the kind of shelter they needed to take to reduce the toll? >> that's one of the jobs that the national weather service does after each of these major outbreaks. they bring in an assessment team to take a look at both the forecast, the warning products and how people got that. they'll do formal assessments but in some cases i don't know
if, you know, if you didn't have a place to go, could you have gotten there in time? that's something the weather service will be looking at and looking at their forecast and warnings and how effective they were. >> ifill: president obama said today that the federal government will be on the ground as long as it takes to restore businesses, to rescue as many people as possible, to get the community back on its feet. for the long haul. how long is the long haul in this case? do you have any way of knowing? >> well, i can tell you looking at some of the schools and fire stations, it's going to be a couple years to rebuild everything. we'll work with the local officials kind of in stages. first stage is the rescue and emergency operations. the second stage is the immediate needs. then we'll look at getting critical facilities back online, maybe even using temporary facilities until we get them rebuilt. this is going to take several years to rebuild all this damage. but we're not going to go away just because it's not in the news. we're going to work this with the local officials and the state all the way through the recovery. >> ifill: craig fugate
administrator of fema, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour: chrysler's loan payback; israeli prime minister netanyahu's address; nato's bombing in libya; plus a reporter's view of the war there. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: president and mrs. obama began a full state visit to britain today. it was only the second ever accorded to a sitting american president. day one was filled with pomp and ceremony, starting with the presidential motorcade's arrival at buckingham palace, and a greeting by queen elizabeth and her husband, prince philip. the obamas were given a private tour, including a look at historical pieces from the queen's private gallery. one was a photograph of the hms "resolute", a lost british ship found in the 1850s by the u.s. some of its timbers were used in the desk that sits in the oval office at the white house. separately, the obamas met for ten minutes with newlyweds prince william and kate middleton, now known as the duke and duchess of cambridge.
the president also spoke with choirboys at westminster abbey, and laid a wreath at the grave of britain's unknown warrior. from there, it was on to 10 downing street for a photo op with prime minister david cameron and his wife. the two leaders hold formal talks tomorrow, and mr. obama addresses parliament as well. for today, though, the two leaders did manage one break in the formality, playing ping pong with students at a london school. in afghanistan, ten workers were killed when a roadside bomb ripped through their vehicle in the south. they were being driven to work to clean rivers and streams in the panjwai district of kandahar province. another 28 people were wounded. the region has seen a rise in incidents recently, since the taliban launched a spring offensive. egypt's former president hosni mubarak will stand trial on charges he conspired in the shooting of protesters. more than 800 people were killed during the uprising against his rule this year. the country's prosecutor-general announced plans for the trial today.
the 83-year-old mubarak, his two sons, and a close friend were also charged with abusing their power to amass wealth. an ash cloud from an erupting volcano in iceland forced airlines to cancel roughly 500 flights today in britain and scandinavia. but the worst effects were in iceland itself. we have a report from tom clarke of independent television news. >> reporter: driving towards the grimsvotn volcano, you can watch the ash get thicker. yesterday, the cloud was so dense, this road was impassable, but high winds have temporarily lifted the pall. combine this dust with the gale, and iceland's unearthly landscape looks even more like the surface of the moon. and it'about as deserted-- people have left or are staying indoors. but these rescuers have plenty of other lives to save.
it's hard to persuade hearty icelandic sheep indoors, but they need to get them in soon. people here can protect themselves with goggles and facemasks against the abrasive ash, but its quickly blinding these lambs. their eyes already grit filled and streaming. >> ( translated ): i don't think much about people going on holiday or about ash going here, there, or wherever. they should come and take a look at what's going on at my farm. >> reporter: this is iceland's most powerful eruption since 1947. it's estimated that, yesterday, grimsvotn was spewing out 10,000 tons of ash into the sky every second even though we're about 30 miles from the grimsvotn volcano, the air and ground here is thick with volcanic ash. but even though this is iceland's biggest volcanic eruption in 60 years, some
researchers think it might not be as disruptive as the last one. and it's because of this volcanic ash-- it's heavier and therefore simply might not spread quite as far. and while the initial eruption was massive, it's now weakened considerably. further good news for europe's air travelers is that strong but changeable winds should help disperse the ash cloud in no particular direction. much of grimsvotn's ash has already landed here, choking the air intakes of cars, piling in drifts outside the supermarket. it's even turning white swan's plumage grey. so far, it looks like iceland is bearing the brunt of this eruption. >> sreenivasan: last year's eruption of a different volcano in iceland led to widespread flight cancellations across europe. it cost the industry $1.7 billion. vice president biden convened congressional negotiators for the latest round of budget talks today. there was no sign of agreement on a spending plan for the
coming year, or on a deal to raise the nation's debt ceiling. republicans have demanded major spending cuts as the price for increasing the debt ceiling. if there is no agreement, the government could default by early august. the main opposition party in greece has rejected the prime minister's call for more spending cuts to control the country's spiraling debt. the news today raised new concerns about europe's financial stability. and that, in turn, undercut any momentum on wall street. the dow jones industrial average lost 25 points to close at 12,356. the nasdaq fell more than 12 points to close at 2,746. the national transportation safety board has found no definitive cause for the plane crash that killed former senator ted stevens of alaska and four others last year. the report today said the pilot was "temporarily unresponsive" before the small plane went down near dillingham, alaska. it also said a warning system, which could have told him he was approaching a mountain, had been inhibited. there were no indications of mechanical problems, and
toxicology reports ruled out drugs, though the pilot and his family had a history of strokes. it was impossible to know more because there was no flight data or cockpit voice recorder on board. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to an update on one of the "big three" auto makers as chrysler pays back billions. chrysler c.e.o. sergio marchionne made the announcement as he stood before a banner reading "paid" at a plant just outside detroit. >> we have received confirmation this morning at 10:13 a.m. from citigroup that chrysler group repaid, with interest, by wire transfer to the united states treasury and by bank transfer to the canadian government, every penny that had been loaned less than two years ago. ( applause ) >> brown: the bill came to $7.6 billion-- $5.9 billion repaid to the u.s. government and $1.7 billion to canada.
the company financed the repayment with a mixture of bonds, bank loans, and an increased stake from its italian part-owner, fiat. less than two years ago, chrysler had emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy with a government bailout package that also left it under the management of fiat. ron bloom was part of president obama's auto task force. >> this repayment means that u.s. taxpayers have now recouped more than 100% of the money that president obama invested in the company, and over 85% of all moneys invested by the u.s. government. if that doesn't qualify chrysler for comeback of the year, then i cannot imagine what would. ( cheers and applause ) >> brown: at the time, a number of republicans criticized the bailout, charging the obama administration had over-reached. >> what we really ought to have is an exit plan to get the federal taxpayers' money back in the treasury and allow the private sector to be itself.
>> brown: and today's announcement immediately became a political football, as the democratic national committee released an ad taking note of the earlier criticism, and celebrating chrysler's comeback. indeed, it was the latest step in what may be a broader revival of a detroit auto industry all but left for dead two years ago. the smallest of the big-three detroit auto makers, chrysler has been fighting to restore its image, as well as its bottom line, including a big super bowl ad featuring detroit's own eminem. and last quarter, chrysler posted its first net profit in five years. some analysis now, from: paul eisenstein, publisher of thedetroitbureau.com, a web site that tracks the auto industry; and micheline maynard, senior editor of "changing gears," a public radio project on the future of the industrial midwest. she's also the author of "the
end of detroit: how the big three lost their grip on the american car market." starting with you, to be clear, chrysler still owes money, right? now it's just to private investors and the government still has something of a stake. how big a deal is this? >> well, jeffrey, it is a sign that the government made a bet on chrysler and it looks like it won this piece of the bet. paying back these loans or refinancing these loans i guess you could say is something that some people thought chrysler wouldn't be able to do a couple of years ago when it was flat on its back. there is some political points to be had here for the obama administration in deciding to support two car makers and get some of its money back. >> brown: paul, you were at that announcement this afternoon. what is the case that chrysler is trying to make in this action today? >> well, chrysler is certainly saying that it was nice to have friends with the obama administration. even though as ron bloom
pointed out there were plenty of people there who didn't believe in chrysler and almost blocked a bailout. the auto maker right now is at what marchionne said, not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning. mark admitted that they've got a long way to go before they are truly turneded around. >> brown: paul, fill in a little bit of the picture here. they partly did this because they were paying very high interest rates on that government money, right? >> yes. in fact, marchionne got in a little trouble a few months ago when he used the term that people didn't like to describe the very high interest rates that they were paying. they're still paying a premium because wall street investors are still a little skeptical of the company. it's a lot better than the 10% they were pay to go the feds. and this is a major turn-around. that translates into tens of millions of dollars over the life of these loans as they switch to private financing. >> brown: paul, there was a sense i guess within the company that the government loans were hurting the image
of the company still, right? >> there's no question. if you look at what happened after the bailouts, it was a political football. i talked to ron bloom about that today. the fact was that there were a lot of republicans or a lot of senators who had incidentally had their states provide a tremendous amount of give-aways to foreign manufacturers to come in to places like tennessee where nissan has gotten a lot of money. they really didn't want these loans. they were willing to let, as i said, government motors fail. well, right now you don't hear the term government motors very often. you get it for g.m. or for chrysler. >> brown: mickey maynard look at the company right now. are they making the case for themselves through better products, that is through better new models? it through better management? what do you see? >> it's a combination of both. chrysler for probably the last 15 years has relied on
mini-vans, sport utilities and big pick-up trucks. back in the '90s when those vehicles were the most popular in the industry it was making money hand over fist. but what's happened since then is that gas prices have climbed, climbed, climbed, come down a little bit but gone back up. every car maker in the world knows that it has to have small cars so chrysler has a small car. it happens to come from its new parent company fiat. it's called the fiat 500. this is a car that people should think of as chrysler's attempt to emulate the bmw mini-or the new beatle that volkswagen came out with about a decade ago. it's cute as a button. it's been on sale in europe for about five years. it will be very interesting to see if this hits the sweet spot in the united states. there are a couple of other cars, the chrysler 200 the one you see in the commercial and there's the chrysler 300 which originally came out a few years ago and chrysler is trying to refocus that as a little less gutsy and maybe a
little bit more fuel efficient. >> brown: what could you add to that in terms of how the company is trying to make its way now? >> chrysler has a real serious problem convincing buyers not that they're going to survive but also that their quality will be up to the world standards that you're starting to see from, say, ford motor company. that will perhaps be their biggest challenge when places like consumer reports question how good their vehicles are, if j.d.power is starting to show improvements. they're not only going to have to bring up better products but better built products over the next few years. that will be the key to success. >> brown: paul, tell us a little bit more about the role of fiat now. it took over as manager. it is part owner and a growing stake, i guess. we see the ceo. he is both ceo of chrysler and fiat. so what's going on? how good a fit has that been? >> well, it's been an extremely good tonight. in fact what's very interesting is mr. marchionne laid out a very aggressive plan in november 2009 shortly
after emerging from bankruptcy that people really dismissed. i have to say i was a skeptic too. right now it seems to be coming together fret pretty much as he outlined it. you're going to see first of all fiat increase its stake first with the money they'll be able to invest after today's pay-off and then by meeting another requirement of the bailout. they'll get up to 51% by the end of this year. they're now talking about getting up to 70%. their finances, chrysler's finances, will now be reported as part of fiat's. one of the critical steps will be for them to combine product development so that what chrysler builds here, what fiat builds in other parts of the world will share a lot of the underlying componentry. surprise, no. this is the same thing that volkswagen does and toyota does, general motors, ford, all the major makers do. it brings down cost. and if you do it right improves quality and economies of skafl. it's the only way you can succeed as mr. marchionne has
said repeatedly. >> brown: what do you see in this combination of fiat and chrysler? >> well, it's almost like a movie we've watched before. if you think back about 12 years now, there was a company called daimler chrysler where germany's dame letter benz took over chrysler. it ended in tears and basically bankruptcy so it will be very interesting to see whether fiat is the right parent company for chrysler. it's always been the underdog and the company that has had to be rescued twice in the last 0 years. can chrysler actually play a role in the american car market and will it be its italian parent that helps it play that role? i think this will be a fascinating story and one of the stories to watch over the next couple of years. >> brown: go ahead. >> if i can say, the germans were never truly commited to the partnership. they used to call it a merger ofy calls but the reality was it never was a merger at all.
the two companies operated almost independently. frankly i think a lot of us believe in the long run the germans bled chrysler for their profits. you did not see that merger really work. whereas fiat, the italians understand that if they don't start drawing from chrysler's know how for what they're trying to do as well as the other way around, fiat's in trouble as well as chrysler. >> brown: mickey, just in our last time here, put this into the larger picture. chrysler, g.m., ford-- are things generally looking better for the auto industry or is it still a wait-and-see? >> well, ford of the three i think everybody would agree has gotten its act together without a federal bailout, making the most money. general motors is is profitable. it's had a lot of costs because it also went through bankruptcy. chrysler now has gone through the process as well.
so everybody is back on their feet. but remember we're in a global car market. toyota might be down right now. but some day they'll come back. the japanese will come back. the koreans are coming on strong. european companies are coming on strong so, you know, everybody is allowed to take a deep breath and maybe shake hands and have a beer. but i don't think that you can declare complete victory until we're out of this economic downturn and we see where everybody stands. >> brown: a briefly final word on that, paul? >> well, what we are seeing with the crisis in japan is everything in this industry is up for grabs. the people that look like the winners today-- toyota just a few months ago-- can be the losers only a few months later. i agree with mickey. the detroit makers still have a long way to go as mr. marchionne said. it's the end of the beginning. but the fact is detroit is not the dead industry that we thought just two years ago. >> brown: all right. thank you both very much.
>> ifill: israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu took his vision for middle east peace to capitol hill today. newshour congressional correspondent kwame holman reports. >> holman: the israeli leader drew a warm response as he entered the house chamber for the joint meeting of congress. then, amid frequent applause and more than two dozen standing ovations, benjamin netanyahu insisted israel is ready to seek peace with the palestinians. >> i am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. as the leader of israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace. now, this is not easy for me because i recognize that, in a genuine peace, we'll be required to give up parts of the
ancestral jewish homeland. >> holman: it was the first time netanyahu explicitly acknowledged that israel would have to give up some west bank settlements. but he also insisted again, he will not accept borders that existed before 1967, when israel occupied the west bank and other territory in the six day war. >> we'll be generous about the size of the future palestinian state. but as president obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on june 4, 1967. ( applause ) israel will not return to the indefensible boundaries of 1967. ( cheers and applause ) >> holman: the israeli prime minister challenged palestinian president mahmoud abbas to recognize israel as a jewish homeland. he said that means shunning the islamic movement hamas, which never has recognized israel's right to exist. >> peace can only be negotiated with partners committed to
peace. and hamas is not a partner for peace. ( applause ) hamas is committed to israel's destruction and terrorism. i say to abbas-- tear up your pact with hamas. sit down and negotiate. make peace with the jewish state. ( applause ) and if you do, i promise you this-- israel will not be the last country to welcome a palestinian state as a new member of the u.n.; it will be the first to do so. ( applause ) >> holman: netanyahu praised america as a rock-solid ally in the pursuit of peace and the war on terror. the prime minister also urged the u.s. to go further and make
certain that iran is not allowed to develop nuclear weapons. ( shouting ) >> holman: there was one brief moment of discord when an anti- israel protester interrupted the speech. but netanyahu praised her as a sign of a strong democracy. after the speech, the prime minister spent many minutes personally greeting members of congress, shaking hands with scores of them inside the chamber. and outside, many lawmakers reacted favorably to netanyahu's address, a mixture of potent political rhetoric and policy prescription. house republicans, including dana rohrabacher of california, had invited the israeli leader to speak, and they were fulsome in their praise. >> i think prime minister netanyahu gave a very substantive and admirable speech. he was here staking out his negotiating positions. he wasn't there saying "this is everything i'm going to demand," because he was clearly telling us we need to reach compromises,
and here's where we're going to start doing the negotiations. >> holman: democratic congressman rob andrews of new jersey said netanyahu's tense session with president obama last week had no lasting ill effects. >> i think prime minister netanyahu stood as the leader of his country and stated his views. president obama stood as the leader of our country and stated his views. the two disagree, but i think they've done so respectfully, and i think both of them have emerged as stronger leaders as a result. >> holman: the leaders of congress from both parties also gathered for a post-speech photo op in a visual sign of support. >> today, we stand shoulder to shoulder with israel and renew our historic partnership. >> for someone who has listened to a lot of speeches and a lot of speeches in the house chamber, i'll have to say you made the all-star team. that was a terrific delivery with a lot content. welcome to america. >> holman: in the middle east, palestinian reaction was swift. a senior palestinian official in
the west bank called netanyahu's parameters for a peace deal a "declaration of war." palestinian leaders meet tomorrow to consider their next step. >> brown: next, two takes on the war in libya, beginning with the latest bombing by nato forces. angus walker of independent television news reports from tripoli. >> reporter: for half an hour, nato air strikes blasted targets near colonel qaddafi's compound. it was the heaviest bombardment of central tripoli for more than two weeks. nato said it hit a vehicle compound used for resupplying qaddafi's troops.
showing reporters three dead and claiming 150 were injured. >> we have so far the injured have been taken to two different hospitals. this is one of them. some of them, of course, were treated and they have gone home already. some have more serious injuries. >> reporter: nato has been expanding its range of targets in central tripoli. hitting colonel qaddafi's fortified compound, intelligence headquarters and naval vessels in the city's harbor. the bombing campaign is into its third month. the bombing campaign is into its third month, and yet the libyan regime clings onto power nato rejects claims that it has lost momentum. now, it's understood that, if the decision is taken, three
apache helicopters already on board the royal navy warship hms "ocean" in the mediterranean will go into action. another two are on standby in the u.k. the helicopters are expected to enforce a 16-mile buffer zone around misrata to prevent libyan artillery hitting the recently besieged city. nato is trying to find a way to finish what it started. >> ifill: late today libyan state television reported the death toll from the nato air strikes has risen to 19. now the view from the veteran correspondent who has spent the last several weeks on the ground. ray swaurers has that. >> suarez: now reporters look at libya comes from lourdes garcia navarro who has been covering the conflict for npr. lourdes, you were on the ground in libya as people from all kinds of everyday walks of lives chose themselves, became the resistance. tell us about the rebels you met and how they keep going.
>> it's an extraordinary story. when i first went into libya i was one of the first reporters to cross the border. all of a sudden you find yourself facing civilians with guns. my experience in iraq told me that was not a very good thing. they were extremely welcoming. they were so excited to have foreign reporters there that would be able to tell their story. as the days went by what became so compelling was the story of people who had never shot a weapon before. people were architects. people who were students. all of a sudden they were fighting for their very lives. they weren't doing it very well. you know, their incompetence unfortunately showed very, very quickly. they were outmanned and outgunned but the story of the libyan rebels is really one of hope. they feel that they had something that they want to say to the world. they feel that they have something that they want to achieve. unfortunately it's turned into a bloody, dreadful civil war, and the future is very unclear.
we don't know what will happen but certainly at that very early moment, those early days you really did feel that they wanted to overthrow qaddafi and that they felt they could achieve something very important in libya. >> suarez: now that it's worn on for all these months are they becoming more organized, more competent? >> yes and no. certainly the international community has stepped in. there's advisors there. if you go to benghazi it's no longer the sleepy seaside town. it's a place bustling with all sorts of different characters, be they sort of mercenary types trying to cash in on the war that's going on or advisors for various different governments. diplomats. certainly there was a lot of pressure on them to organize themselves to be a credible voice for the libyan opposition. there's a lot of money going into them now. by the same token, they are not really prepared yet. they're still facing a divided country. there are still battles going on in the western mountains in places like miss rat a.
even though there's a stalemate in the east they still have to defend it. it's a very complicated picture. it's still not clear if they're representative and there are many internal divisions among the ruling body. >> nato is very much in evidence in the air. but can you tell that the western alliance is giving the libyan help in any way on the ground? >> yes. you can certainly see that they are giving them help. i mean again just by the very people that are there but, you know, the rebels on the one hand will tell you we're not getting enough help. the weapons that they're using, it's incredible. i went to one of their chop shops. it really is a chop shop where they unearth old equipment and they basically paste it altogether and put it on the back of a truck and drive it to the front. some of this is world war ii. some of it is just incredible. they're not getting the weapons that they feel that they need. they're not yet getting the financial support that they feel that they need. they're running out of money. it's a very confused picture because you still have the
western part of the country. you still have the libyan government in control of that. how you get their funds to be unfrozen is a very complicated legal question. whether or not they should be given to this rebel government which is frankly untried, untested, unproven, do we really know who they are and what they mean? what they want? you know, those are a lot of questions that people are asking themselves now. >> suarez: how did this army get shells, bullets? how does it restock and resupply? >> this is not an army in the sense that you might have imagined. if you've been to iraq and afghanistan and ever worked with the u.s. military you imagine tanks and weaponry. this is the furthest thing from that kind of conflict. this is not a professional force on either side. i've been over on the other side to tripoli and seen qaddafi's forces. they are not either a professional force of... that has been trained and is well equipped. better equipped certainly but not well trained. these are basically a very rag tag group. and so they get their weapons any way that they can
essentially. when the east was liberated, there were huge weapon stores that had been sort of liberated along with that. and so they basically are still using those but a lot of the equipment is very old. '70s, '80s. some from world war ii. and it's not really up to standard. i've seen so many of these young guys holding rocket- propelleded grenades. some of them don't have the pieces that are supposed to be there. some of the guys don't know how to use them. i mean it's very, very slap dash. >> suarez: well, you've been in a country where the front is constantly been shifting. where captured towns get to be uncaptured and then recaptured. you talk to people who by the very act of talking to you might be risking their lives. are you aware of that when you're doing it? how does it change the recording? >> it's one of the most difficult things we do. i certainly felt that more when i was in tripoli. tripoli, we operate under very tight restrictions. we're constantly surrounded by
the very surreal. it's like a bus tour we get taken to. everything is heavily orchestrated. if you manage to speak to someone, if you manage to sneak out-- i managed to speak to someone who said she had been raped by pro qaddafi forces. going to see her was a cloak-and-dagger mission. i had to several taxis, make sure i wasn't followed. she risked her life and i risked my life in order to get out the story. you have to protect people's identity. she was famous. therefore her eye dent team didn't need to be protected. other people i spoke to, we were careful to disguise their voices to make sure they couldn't be traced in any way. unfortunately certainly in the early days of the uprising in tripoli, many of the taxi drivers that the reporters would go in the cars with ended up being picked up and sort of disappeared. it's one of the very real risks that we take when we report on stories like this. >> suarez: what about the risk for you? reporters have been arrested,
kidnapped, and now killed in libya. how do you gauge acceptable risk? >> it's one of the most difficult things that we do. one of my very close, good friends chris handras was killed in misrata. many good friends of mine were there when he was killed. tim heatherington was there along with him. i feel very strongly though that the legacy of these deaths should not be that we cannot cover the story. what is acceptable risk? that's a question for my managers i think to decide touchdown me as a reporter on the ground i feel it's absolutely imperative that we bear witness, that we're there to tell exactly what's happening. at times it is at great personal cost and at great personal risk but i know that the people who have died, who have been injured feel the same way. they felt very strongly that it was important to tell other people's story. that is what we're there to do. we are not the story. they are. so if we are in harm's way
it's because they're in harm's way. we're there to tell their story. >> suarez: npr's lourdes garcia navarro, thank you for talking to us. >> ifill: tomorrow night, ray talks with james foley of the international news web site global post, one of four journalists kidnapped and held by qaddafi's forces for six weeks. >> brown: finally tonight, shedding new light on wikileaks. this evening on "frontline," correspondent martin smith unravels the mystery of bradley manning, the army private who allegedly stole thousands of classified government documents. one part of the tale has been largely unknown-- the story of the hacker who blew the whistle on manning. here's how it unfolds from tonight's program titled "wiki-secrets." >> in late may, a hacker in california was contacted and began a chat with someone using the screen name bradass87.
"if you had free reign over classified networks and you saw incredible things, awful things, what would you do?" >> he spoke in hypotheticals, at first. even then, i largely blew it off. there just aren't enough hours in the day to correspond with everybody that wants to correspond with me. >> the hacker, adrian lamo, was well known in the cyber underground. in 2003, he'd been arrested for hacking "the new york times." and the day before the chat, lamo was featured in an article on wired.com that discussed his psychiatric problems. bradass87 would keep up his chat with lamo for the next four days. >> he talked a lot about his personal life, about his relationships, about his experiences in the military,
about experiences back home. >> lamo says the person also contacted him via email, and they became friends on facebook. it was bradley manning, intelligence analyst in iraq, and in his profile, there was the chat name bradass87. he read more. >> looking at his facebook page, i got the sense that bradley was very depressed. >> reporter: then, during one their chats, bradass87 started dropping hints about a crazy white-haired aussie. >> he mentioned julian assange in the context julian was the individual at wikileaks who he had initially established contact with. >> reporter: he also mentioned that he had leaked thousands of classified documents, including a huge tranche of diplomatic cables. >> i asked him if there was any way to recover the documents,
and he indicated that they had already been uploaded to wikileaks' server. it was a fairly unambiguous statement. >> reporter: lamo says he believed manning was a security risk and worried that, if he didn't say something, he could be party to a crime. he called an old friend, tim webster. >> adrian was quite conflicted. we had a back and forth where he was concerned about whether or not this was the right thing to do; whether to betray this person's trust was appropriate, given his actions. adrian recognized that we can't have somebody out there leaking classified information like this. it's not something he can allow to continue. >> reporter: webster coached lamo to keep up the chat as long as possible, to find out more details. he also alerted the pentagon that they may have a security breach. lamo was nervous and felt trapped. >> there was no correct option;
there was only the least incorrect one. either way, i would have been screwing somebody over. i had to pick who. there was no option to just sit back and wash my hands of the responsibility, because that, in and of itself, would have been a making a choice. >> reporter: lamo then called a reporter he knew at wired.com. >> he called me to tell me that he that he had a meeting set up the next day with the fbi and the army, because he was turning in somebody who'd contacted him online and confessed to passing classified information to... to someone he described as a foreign national. >> reporter: poulsen convinced lamo to hand him a copy of the chat, and then asked a colleague to follow up on any leads. >> we went through the chat logs and we looked at what else he mentioned. tyler watkins was named in the chat logs. >> reporter: zetter called watkins. he told her about a conversation he'd had with manning during
manning's january visit to boston. >> brad had told him that he uncovered information that was concerned him and he was considering leaking it. and so, he was weighing that-- whether or not the good that he felt he would be doing in leaking the information outweighed any kind of, you know, personal suffering that he might undergo for leaking it. >> reporter: on may 26, 2010, bradley manning was arrested. it was posted on facebook. >> we got confirmation that manning had been arrested when manning called his aunt from jail. >> and asked her to update his facebook page with a message. >> it would be his final facebook entry. >> brown: "frontline" airs on most pbs stations tonight. and you can find a conversation with martin smith on the "rundown blog" on our web site.
>> ifill: again, the major developments of the day: the death toll from sunday's tornado has risen to 122 with more than 750 injured. and new tornadoes struck in oklahoma thievening with reports of extensive dang in the town of elrino. chrysler repaid $7.6 billion to the u.s. and canadian governments. that amounts to most of the bailout money the auto maker received. and israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu addressed the u.s. congress. he said he was willing to make "painful compromises" for peace, but with conditions that the palestinians again rejected. and to hari sreenivasan for what's on the newshour online. hari. >> sreenivasan: watch all of israeli prime minister netanyahu's speech to congress, and find an explainer on the hotly debated 1967 borders and why they are so contentious. on "art beat," jeff talks to author david hajdu about bob dylan's career and influence as the legendary singer-songwriter marks his 70th birthday. plus, find the latest from our
student reporting labs project-- teenagers in new york city examine a new reform policy that allows smaller schools to coexist in the same building with other schools. that's on "newshour extra," our site for students and teachers. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> brown: and again to our honor roll of american service personnel killed in the iraq and afghanistan conflicts. we add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. here, in silence, are eight more.
>> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, oprah winfrey signs off. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i want to know what the universe... >> looks like. >> feels like. >> from deep space. >> to a microbe. >> i can contribute to the world by pursuing my passion for science. >> it really is the key to the
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