The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
ROBERT MacNEIL: Good evening. These are the main headlines of the day. A dissident black poet was hanged in South Africa despite worldwide appeals for clemency. U.S. officials reported a tense confrontation between U.S. and Italian troops over the Palestinian hijackers. The Pentagon has decided to test all two million military personnel for AIDS. A new artificial heart was implanted in Pennsylvania. Details of those stories coming up. Judy Woodruff's in Washington this evening. Judy?
JUDY WOODRUFF: We have four major focuses on the NewsHour tonight, beginning with the diplomatic fallout from last week's ship hijacking. New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato and a former U.S. ambassador to Italy join us. Then, gridlock on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Elizabeth Brackett reports on the economic impact of the closing of that vital artery. Next, a doctor who's come up with a new program to track AIDS. And finally, June Cross looks at contradictions between the mayor and his top advisors in this week's hearings in Philadelphia on the firebombing of MOVE headquarters.News Summary
MacNEIL: In South Africa, a black dissident was hanged for murdering a black police officer despite appeals for clemency from all over the world. Benjamin Moloise, an upholsterer and poet, was hanged at 7 a.m. in Pretoria Central Prison. He claimed to the end that he was innocent. A morning demonstration outside quickly became a riot in which two policemen were stabbed. Here's a report from Graham Leach of the BBC.
GRAHAM LEACH, BBC [voice-over]: There was a heavy police presence at Pretoria Central Prison this morning, with newsmen kept well back from the prison gates. Moloise's mother at first encountered problems in entering the prison, but was determined to go inside and see her son's body and to partake in a short service after the execution. Also there was Winnie Mandela, the wife of the imprisoned black nationalist leader, who joined others in the singing of the black national anthem, Nkosi Sikeleli-Afrika. Mrs. Moloise launched a strong condemnation of the government.
MAMIKA MOLOISE: I didn't expect that this government would be so cruel. I thought they would have mercy.
LEACH [voice-over]: Later, a memorial service was held in Johannesburg. Afterwards, some black youths spilled out onto the city center streets. The police, who were out in force, ordered them to disperse, but the youths went on the rampage, throwing petrol bombs and looting shops. The youths then turned on whites, attacking at least one passerby as well as a plainclothes policeman who was trounced by the crowd and rescued by an armed colleague. One looter was shot by the police, who then moved in to arrest him. [unintelligible] Moloise was another martyr to the black cause, but the government here saw him differently. For them he was the cold-blooded murderer of an innocent black policeman, and that's why President Botha refused to respond to the pleas for clemency from world leaders.
MacNEIL: Western governments expressed dismay that the execution went ahead in the face of worldwide protests, and many predicted it would worsen racial tension. The outlawed African National Congress said it would avenge Moloise with even greater blows against the enemy. White House spokesman Larry Speakes said that "The U.S. had hoped that this action, which can only exacerbate the situation, would not be taken." The U.S. was one of dozens of countries which had appealed for clemency. Judy?
WOODRUFF: Officials in Rome say that an autopsy has confirmed that Leon Klinghoffer, the American killed in last week's ship hijacking, died from gunshot wounds. Sources told reporters he had been shot at least twice, once in the head and once in the chest. Meanwhile, a ship's waiter was quoted in Italian newspapers today as saying that he and a hairdresser on the Achille Lauro were forced by the Palestinian hijackers to throw Klinghoffer's body overboard. The waiter, who is Portuguese, said he was threatened by two terrorists who stuck a machine gun in his back. In addition, an Italian magistrate was reported today to be investigating the possibility that the terrorists planned to take the ship to another country, possibly Syria. And at the White House, spokesman Larry Speakes refused to comment on Italian Premier Craxi's statement that after U.S. warplanes forced the Egyptian airliner carrying the Palestinians down in Sicily, 50 Italian soldiers got into a shouting match with 50 American soldiers, who eventually backed down from their demand that they take custody of the terrorists.
MacNEIL: Israel's Prime Minister Shimon Peres said today that the Palestine Liberation Organization under Yasir Arafat has ruled itself out of the Middle East peace process. Speaking to reporters in Washington after talks with Secretary of State George Shultz, Peres said that terrorism was the obstacle to peace.
SHIMON PERES, Prime Minister of Israel: My own conclusion is that peace is needed, that it is possible to achieve, that there is a Palestinian issue; that we have to solve this issue in an honorable manner; that the only way to solve it is by peaceful negotiations, by diplomatic means. There is no military solution. And in our judgment, the PLO, by its experience, by its divisions, by its inclination, is incapable to disengage himself from the very militant policies accompanied by terror, in fact based on a strategy of terror, and change the course and destinies of the Palestinian people.
MacNEIL: Peres said he was prepared to take bold steps for peace and challenged King Hussein of Jordan to negotiate a settlement by the end of the year, with talks in Israel, Jordan or Washington. Both Peres and Secretary Shultz indicated that some wider international forum for peace talks, which Hussein wants, might be acceptable.
WOODRUFF: The Pentagon today announced a major new response to growing concern about AIDS. It will test all 2.1 million American military personnel for the disease. Pentagon officials insisted there was no reason for any sort of hysteria or overreaction. They said it was just a case of dealing with a new disease which has potential implications. They also said they wanted to be sure military people and their families are aware of the AIDS problem. No decision has been made yet as to what will be done with servicemen and women with positive readings on tests for the AIDS virus. This month the military services began screening new recruits for the disease.
MacNEIL: A new kind of artificial heart was implanted for the first time today to save a Pennsylvania man whose own heart was about to give out. The patient, 44-year-old Anthony Mandia of Philadelphia, received a mechanical heart intended only as a bridge until a human heart can be found. It was developed by Dr. William Pierce, who headed the team which performed the five-hour operation. Jim Wiener of public station WQED reports from Hershey, Pennsylvania.
JIM WIENER, WQED [voice-over]: Four-thirty this morning, a 20-member surgical team began a four-and-a-half-hour operation. Anthony Mandia's diseased heart was removed and replaced with this two-piece, one-pound metal and plastic pump. Late this afternoon, doctors listed Mandia's condition as guarded.
Dr. JAMES BURNSIDE, Hershey Medical Center: Mr. Mandia is now awake and responding. His blood pressure is being maintained at 155/65. His respirations are controlled by a mechanical ventilator. His urine output is good, and there are no signs of bleeding.
WIENER [voice-over]: Hershey medical officials hail the Penn State model, approved by the Food and Drug Administration last March, as an improvement in artificial heart technology. Doctors claim it is less prone to clotting, has more durable valves and, unlike the Jarvik model, does not need a doctor on hand to adjust for a change in the patient's blood flow. Still, doctors emphasize that the artificial heart is meant to be temporary. They are still looking for a replacement human heart. For now, they, the Mandia family and doctors worldwide are watching to see how this new heart performs.
WOODRUFF: There were mixed reports about the economy again today. The Commerce Department reported that consumer spending rose a whopping 1.2 last month, four times as much as their personal income went up. But the government reported that consumers made up the difference by dipping into their savings, pushing their monthly savings rate down to just 1.9 of disposable income, the lowest figure since the government began keeping such records 26 years ago. Analysts said the combination of weak income growth and low savings could spell trouble for the economy if consumers cut back sharply on purchases in coming months.
Another sort of economic trouble spot: the forced closing of the St. Lawrence Seaway continues to raise concerns. The head of the corporation which runs the American side of the seaway told reporters today he was not looking for a long closing for repairs, but said since the seaway must shut down for the winter in mid-December because of ice, repair crews are now working against the clock. One principal city feeling the pinch already from the seaway closing is Duluth, Minnesota. We have a report from Glenn Maxim of public station WDSE in Duluth.
GLENN MAXIM [voice-over]: The elevators of Duluth and adjoining Superior, Wisconsin, hold enough grain to make a loaf of bread for every man, woman and child on earth. General Mills, Cargill, Continental Grain and others would normally be shipping it out of here at the rate of 16 to 20 thousand tons per ship, down the seaway, at this time of year. Within a day or two, the last of the ocean ships here will be full, and then many of the elevators will stand idle. Duluth port director Davis Helberg assesses the problem this way.
DAVIS HELBERG, Duluth port director: The amount of damage that's going to be done is in direct proportion to the duration of the problem. It's impossible for us to put a dollar figure or a loss figure on the situation now until we know how long it's going to be. I can say this, though, as an example. There's a ship loading today right now in a port in Brazil with agricultural twine destined for this port, at least it was destined for this port. Just as one example. The ship's leaving there in the next two or three days. The operator, unless he has some information, can't run the risk of going up to the seaway, the St. Lawrence River, and potentially waiting. So in two or three days he has to make his decision, and everything staying as it is now, he's going to have to go to the Gulf.
MAXIM [voice-over]: A Liberian freighter is among the last being loaded in this city, and it will then go as far down the seaway as it can and wait to get out. The western wheat farmers are certain to be hurting because of the stalled movement of their crops. Already facing lower prices because of the depressed market and a glut of grain worldwide, the growers must get their grain down the seaway before pricesdrop even further.
WOODRUFF: Ahead on the NewsHour, the fallout from the ship hijacking with a U.S. senator and a former U.S. ambassador to Italy; an extended report on the impact of the shutdown of the St. Lawrence Seaway; a doctor explains a new program for tracking AIDS; and June Cross looks at a tense week of contradictory testimony about the MOVE incident by Philadelphia's top officials.
This is the week the NewsHour launches a new feature on the program, a daily editorial cartoon by the renowned award-winning cartoonist Ranon Lurie. These are Mr. Lurie's thoughts today.
[Lurie cartoon -- ship carrying South African blacks and whites begins sinking; blacks go down first. White woman says to husband,"I really feel sorry for them, dear."] Achille Lauro Fallout
MacNEIL: An armed confrontation between the troops of allied nations. Bitter words in Washington and Rome, and a prime minister forced to resign. As more details emerge in the aftermath of the Achille Lauro hijacking, it appears that the close relationship between Italy and the U.S. is a victim of the affair. Was the strain inevitable or avoidable? How long will it last? For different answers we turn to Richard Gardner, former U.S. ambassador to Italy during the Carter administration, now professor of international law at Columbia University, and Senator Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican from New York. Senator D'Amato has been a strong critic of Italy's decision to let Palestinian Mohammed Abbas leave Italy after the U.S. had requested his extradition.
Mr. Gardner, Prime Minister Craxi was very bitter in his resignation speech yesterday. Very unusual for a close ally to speak of another as he did. Was his bitterness justified?
RICHARD GARDNER: Well, that's a tough question. I would put it this way. I think the Italians were wrong to release Abbas. On the same time I think that their position is extremely difficult. They are right in the middle of the Arab world. They are an unhappy hunting ground for terrorism, in which the extremist PLO has been involved. They're very exposed. And I think Craxi felt that there should have been more understanding from our side. I think it's imperative from the American point of view to get this disagreement behind us, because we as Americans have a lot riding on Italy. Without Italy there is no southern flank of NATO. They have been exemplary allies, and we've got to find a way to calm this situation down.
MacNEIL: Is the U.S. in danger of losing more than it gained in capturing four alleged hijackers?
Amb. GARDNER: Well, what worries me is that there is a clear and present danger of a realignment in Italian domestic politics which could undermine Italy's support for NATO. The American people should know that after Craxi's very bitter speech there were five minutes of applause joined in by the Communists and Fascists, and the Christian Democrats and Socialists, with only the 5 of the house, Republicans, silent. That is a dramatic event, and we should worry about it a good deal. The Communists have been on their way down since the Carter administration, since 1979. The Socialists have been our friends. If we don't keep that friendship with the Socialist Party, if they go back towards the Communists, Italy becomes a very unstable and dangerous situation.
MacNEIL: Do you see the situation as potentially dangerous as that, Senator D'Amato?
Sen. ALFONSE D'AMATO: I don't believe it's as dangerous as the ambassador has indicated. However, I share his concern that we not make more of this situation than is justified. I'm disappointed and believe that Mr. Craxi should have at least held Abbas until we had an opportunity to present our evidence. I think he panicked. Having said that, we should not underestimate the tremendous strength that they have given to our national security, to our efforts in dealing with worldwide terrorism. Our NATO relationship has been the best with the Italians.
MacNEIL: They were one of the first to accept the medium-range missiles when they were so controversial.
Sen. D'AMATO: They were first. They were strong on it. Their economy has begun to come back. So I think, you know, even among good friends, there can be basic disagreements. This is more, I would share the ambassador, it seems to me, the internal politics with Mr. Spadolini, the defense minister, who became quite agitated at not having been informed. And you know, Italians, we are given to our emotions, and I think it took on more of the international tones. But really there's a great deal of local rivalry.
MacNEIL: We had an Italian journalist from La Stampa on this program the other night who said that Spadolini, although he had his own agenda, might not have been so emboldened to make this big attack and bring down the government if the U.S. had not been so critical of the prime minister in its early reaction.
Sen. D'AMATO: Let me say, I think that we have been very laudatory as it related -- and I think we shouldn't lose sight of this, that they did grant permission to bring that plane down and we do have the four hijackers there. They're going to be tried; there's no doubt in my mind. And the Italians have had a great record, a terrific record in dealing with terrorism at its most virulent state. But let's not underestimate the potential for damage, for real damage, and we must let it be known that this is not going to take place, that we are supportive of our Italian allies, that we're not going to, because of our disappointment with their failure to hold Abbas --
Amb. GARDNER: I think, Senator, the one thing, and I wonder if you'd agreed with this, which is upsetting to me, is the overreaching of the American military. If what Craxi said to the Parliament is correct --
MacNEIL: U.S. officials have more or less confirmed that today. The White House wouldn't comment, but U.S. officials --
Amb. GARDNER: Fifty American soldiers in battle dress surrounded the Italians, were prepared to go in by force and take these people off the plane, on Italian soil; that a plane took off without permission; that it refused to identify itself, an American military plane from Sigonella, that is most unfortunate. During my period in Italy it was a firm principle of the Carter administration and our embassy that the American military would act constantly to respect Italy sovereignty. We are guests in their country, and if we forget that, we put at risk the whole of the southern flank of NATO. We couldn't operate the Sixth Fleet for two days without those bases. You've been there and you know that. We couldn't operate the airfields, the submarine ports. We must be very, very careful. I think an apology -- if this is correct, it would not be wrong, in fact it would be very appropriate, for an apology saying if we have done anything that fails to respect Italy sovereignty through the military, that will not happen again. That is the least that Craxi has a right to expect.
Sen. D'AMATO: Well, let me suggest that this was obviously a situation in which time was of the essence, that there was obviously a very real concern that once again Americans could be violated and the mostbasic, fundamental principles of justice could --
MacNEIL: But did the administration in its eagerness, and understandable eagerness, to get those hijackers, did it just ignore or forget for a moment what the Italian concerns would be in such a situation?
Sen. D'AMATO: I think that they were probably placed in the secondary consideration given, etcetera, the movement, the time, given the Egyptian -- and if we want to talk about sad experiences, I'd suggest that's why I would be more supportive of the ambassador's suggestion that we do everything possible to minimize this as it relates to the Italians. And I'm not suggesting an apology, but certainly an assurance that we recognize their importance, their strength that we do not mean to trample upon their --
Amb. GARDNER: An assurance that it's their country.
Sen. D'AMATO: Their sovereignty.
Amb. GARDNER: And that we have respect for their sovereignty.
Sen. D'AMATO: But having said that, I think we would neglect one aspect, and I think -- and I'd be interested in the ambassador's view on this -- we make so much of the strategic relationship that we have with another so-called ally, the Egyptians, and we give them $2.3 billion. If the Egyptian president, Mr. Mubarak, could not undertake the simple arrest of four killers under such obvious circumstances -- and I'm not talking about the initial, but thereafter -- then what takes place when we have a difficult situation, when the going really gets rough? What makes us think that he's going to respond any more differently than he did here, in which he could have stood up to the people and said, "Look, we may be sympathetic to Palestinian aims, legitimate aims, but they don't support the murder of a 69-year-old invalid." And I think we've got to be looking at our relationship in the light of reality and not as we would hope that it really is.
MacNEIL: The U.S. was saying last week that -- Secretary Shultz himself said on a couple of occasions that Craxi's behavior was incomprehensible. Was it? You've been an ambassador there. Was it incomprehensible given the context?
Amb. GARDNER: It's a very complex thing. Let me go through it very quickly. The first argument that Craxi used was that Abbas had a diplomatic passport from Iraq. And frankly, as an international lawyer, that doesn't wash, because you don't have immunity because you carry somebody's diplomatic passport. You have to have the agrement, the accord, of the country as part of a diplomatic mission. This man was not a diplomat accredited to Italy, so that doesn't wash. Secondly, they said it was a plane that had immunity -- it was a civilian aircraft.
MacNEIL: Let me just interrupt you there. Craxi says that the -- he said this in his speech again yesterday, the United States had asked him to get the PLO, with whom he had close relations, to intervene to stop the hijacking, and that the PLO had appointed Abbas to do it, and that gave him a kind of diplomatic --
Amb. GARDNER: I think the real -- when we get -- strip aside the legalities, the legal excuses, the real fact is that probably Craxi felt he had made a commitment to the PLO, that in return for the help of Abbas in ending the crisis, he would have free passage. Number one. Number two, the Egyptians were holding the ship -- let's not forget that. And third, and this is the most fundamental point, Italy is living in -- surrounded by Arabs. They get all their oil from Libya, Iraq and Saudi Arabia; they're very dependent on the Arab world for their economic survival and their political relationships. They're a Mediterranean power as well as an Atlantic power. So what is needed here, and I think this is what the senator is saying very clearly, is some mutual comprehension among old friends. Let's put this behind us and remember what's at stake.
MacNEIL: Because Craxi could very likely become prime minister again.
Sen. D'AMATO: The likelihood is that, probably better than even, that he'll be the prime minister. And it's a good chance, and I think we've got to put this behind us, but I think also, when the prime minister and the President come together, they've got to say, "Look, together we stand because divided we fall, and we're going to go out of our way to recognize your unique situations, but you've got to recognize ours." And when it comes to terrorism I think one of the most important things we can do is see to it that the President, when he meets with Mr. Gorbachev, begins to bring about a realization that all of us have got to say to terrorism, "We're going to give no sanctuary to it."
Amb. GARDNER: That could be an area of cooperation at the summit, because it was interesting the Russians did not --
Sen. D'AMATO: You noticed that.
Amb. GARDNER: -- attack the United States for intercepting the aircraft and expressed solidarity with us on this, and so we have a common interest.
Sen. D'AMATO: And this is an area that I think we can begin to bring the civilized nations of the world and say no sanctuary, notwithstanding whatever the cause that is manifested, whether it's in the Middle East or other areas of the world, that we don't grant sanctuary.
Amb. GARDNER: There's one other aspect of this, and Senator, you took a particular interest in the new extradition treaty that was concluded two years ago between Italy and the United States. That is a troubling thing. That treaty provides that if we put out a warrant for the arrest of someone, as we did for Abbas, the Italians have an obligation to hold that person up to 45 days --
Sen. D'AMATO: And they've been pretty good, I'd say --
Amb. GARDNER: Until this one. Until this one. And they let him go. I think they had a legal obligation to detain him until we could present our evidence, which I'm told is really overwhelming.
Sen. D'AMATO: It is substantial. What the ambassador is really saying is, the reason, I think, we had -- we felt betrayed in this is because we really had every reason to hope that they would follow that which they've been following for the past year very faithfully. If you look at organized crime and the efforts, the ambassador had worked for a number of years --
MacNEIL: There's unprecedented cooperation going on now.
Sen. D'AMATO: Unprecedented.
Amb. GARDNER: With both drugs and the Mafia.
Sen. D'AMATO: For the first time.
MacNEIL: Gentlemen, that's it for this conversation. I have to thank you both very much, Senator D'Amato, Richard Gardner.
Sen. D'AMATO: Rich, good seeing you again.
Amb. GARDNER: Nice to see you.
WOODRUFF: Still ahead on the NewsHour, Elizabeth Brackett reports on repercussions from the closing of the St. Lawrence Seaway; we talk with a doctor who's come up with a new program for tracking AIDS; and we take a look at the news that has the city of Philadelphia on edge this week: a mayor contradicted in his testimony about what happened in the MOVE rebombing. Gridlock on the St. Lawrence Seaway
MacNEIL: One of the world's greatest traffic jams is in the making on the St. Lawrence Seaway between Canada and the United States. Millions of tons of cargo are backing up during the busiest shipping weeks of the year. Elizabeth Brackett has this special report from the Welland Canal in Thorold, Ontario.
ELIZABETH BRACKETT [voice-over]: The 580-foot Liberian tanker, the Furia, should have been on the high seas today. She was scheduled to leave the St. Lawrence Seaway behind and head for Alexandria, Egypt, her hold filled with almost 1,700 metric tons of midwestern grain. Instead the Furia is still tied up a short distance from where she was trapped Monday morning when a portion of the seaway wall along the Welland Canal collapsed. Sam Schiphorst is the agent for the Louis Dreyfus Grain Company. The Dreyfus Company has $2 million worth of grain on the Furia, with more grain stuck on other cargo ships throughout the seaway.
SAM SCHIPHORST, shipping agent: The most difficult part is not to know when the seaway will be open, how long we will be tied up with this ship, and for any of the other cargoes that we still have in the lakes that we do not know if we can move them, when can we move them, or can we move them at all this year.
BRACKETT [voice-over]: The Furia is not alone. Ocean-going and Great Lakes cargo ships are stacking up on either side of the damaged Welland Canal. The canal, all in Canada, links Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and gives ships a way around nearby Niagara Falls. Today, 27 ships wait at the Lake Ontario end of the canal; 18 are trapped in Lake Erie. Ships are piling up at a rate of eight to 10 per day. Nearly 54 million tons of cargo passed through the Welland Canal locks last year. The canal, a critical link in the St. Lawrence Seaway, provides access to overseas markets for the 61 million people that make up the continent's heartland. Canadian seaway authorities admit that with farmers' harvests at their peak, the disruption in shipping could not have come at a worse time.
MALCOLM CAMPBELL, Canadian Seaway Authority: At this time of year the traffic tends to pick up, vessels are trying to get one or two -- particularly ocean vessels, they're trying to get a few more trips up through the seaway because we'll be closing in December. It's unfortunate it happened at any time, but this -- it's not a good time for something like this to happen.
BRACKETT [voice-over]: The seaway itself, owned by both the United States and Canadian governments, is losing thousands of dollars in revenues every day. Seaway officials would not give loss estimates, but say they normally collect $22,000 when a ship passes through the seaway's locks. Those who use the seaway cannot even begin to calculate their losses. Schiphorst says that charges for late delivery, added shipping costs and added interest payments will cost the Dreyfus Company millions. Dreyfus loaded this shipment of midwestern grain in Milwaukee, but grain elevators at busy ports like Milwaukee will soon be full as ships fail to move the grain down the seaway. Schiphorst says since Monday's accident almost no grain has been bought or sold by grain companies operating on the Great Lakes, because it is now impossible to promise delivery dates.
Mr. SCHIPHORST: The impact is many-folded. Not only right around the seaway; it will go all the way back to the local grain elevators, to trucking companies that truck grain from the inland elevators; it will go all the way down to the local farmer that will not be able to sell his grain, or at least not at a profitable price.
BRACKETT [voice-over]: Inland lake shipping is suffering too, particularly Canadian shipping. The Canadasteam Ship Lines has seven of its ships, including this freighter, the Murray Bay, caught at one end or the other of the Welland Canal. The company estimates their losses at at least two to three million dollars. The crews have been kept on for maintenance, but Bryan Bateman, superintendent for the Canada line, says almost all crew members will be laid off by this weekend.
BRYAN BATEMAN, Canada Steamship Lines: We're very concerned with the amount of people we have employed, and we'd like to take an interest -- we take an interest in our crew members, and we have a lot of crew members who have been with us a lot of years. And it just doesn't sit well with us if we have to start laying people off and --
BRACKETT: When will you have to make that decision?
Mr. BATEMAN: We're making it now. In fact, we've started to lay ships up now, send crews home.
BRACKETT [voice-over]: Sailors' union halls are beginning to fill up with idle seamen. Union officials say that 3,000 Canadian sailors may be laid off by this weekend. In a season where shipping is already down due to the depressed farm economy and a strong American dollar, sailors had hoped to use these last two months of the season to make up for earlier losses. Not now.
JOHN PRINCE, unemployed sailor: This is the end-of-the-season rush to get everything out before the ice forms. So they had all the ships out and sailing; they had all the crews called and everybody was working, and now it looks like everybody's going to be laid off. One small chunk of concrete's going to cost everybody a lot of money.
BRACKETT: The initial repair work has begun on the canal, but seaway authorities say it will be at least two to three weeks before they know when that repair work will be finished. The hope is it will be finished within the month. The fear is the canal will be closed for the season.
[voice-over] Canadian seaway officials say they cannot assess the damage or begin the repair work until the water is drained from the lock. But officials fear more of the damaged wall may collapse when the water is lowered, so they are now preparing to install steel beams across the canal to keep the wall in place. All of this before the major repairs can begin.
Mr. CAMPBELL: Some time towards the end of next week we'll have the struts in and the water can be lowered at that time. But if we have bad weather, you don't work as well, and rain and what have you. So let's just say perhaps towards the end of next week we'll have a -- be able to de-water the lock.
BRACKETT [voice-over]: It is the weather that is the biggest fear. Winter comes early to the Great Lakes, and the seaway normally shuts down in the middle of December. The race to get the repairs done and the canal reopened before ice locks the ships in for the winter is critical to the survival of the canal, its customers and the economy of the entire midsection of the continent.
Mr. SCHIPHORST: If the canal cannot open before the winter, it would be, you know, not imaginable, this disaster, because the amounts of money that we are talking at that time will go into the hundreds of millions of dollars, and there may be shipping companies that might not survive it.
BRACKETT [voice-over]: Officials say the seaway will reopen before the end of the shipping season. Right now all those who use the canal can do is hold their breath and hope those officials are right. Tracking AIDS
WOODRUFF: The announcement that the Pentagon will start giving AIDS tests to all military personnel was just one of the developments in the AIDS battle today. Also today, a prominent health official urged government agencies to start tracking down the sex partners of AIDS victims. Dr. Dean Echenberg of the San Francisco Department of Health said specifically that heterosexual contacts of all AIDS patients should be traced and offered a blood test to see if they have been exposed to the AIDS virus. His proposal appeared in an editorial in today's Journal of the American Medical Association. One such program already has begun in his own city, San Francisco, and it is headed by Dr. George Rutherford, who directs the Federal AIDS Project there. Dr. Rutherford joins us tonight from public station KQED.
Dr. Rutherford, now, is yours the only program of its sort in the country, is that correct?
Dr. GEORGE RUTHERFORD: That's correct. We think that there's a program in Australia as well that's been operating for a little while, but ours is the only program we know of in the country.
WOODRUFF: Program to track down the sex partners of people who've been exposed to AIDS.
Dr. RUTHERFORD: That's correct.
WOODRUFF: Why the focus on the heterosexual AIDS -- those who have been exposed to AIDS rather than the homosexuals, whom we know are more likely to be transmitting the disease?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: Well, you're quite correct in saying that gay men are much more likely to be infected and transmitting the disease. In San Francisco, however, this kind of contact tracing program is basically an illogical approach for gay men. In San Francisco we estimate the prevalance of disease in gay men to be something on the order of 50 , meaning 50 of the gay men in San Francisco have been infected with the virus that causes AIDS. In that sort of situation, contact tracing is not only logistically impossible, but is also a -- there's just many better ways of doing it, and the program for gay men in San Francisco really focuses on mass education and individual education as well, through things like participating in volunteer participation and grief counseling services and small group encounters and things like that.
WOODRUFF: Well, why wouldn't that reach the heterosexual people, the heterosexual population as well?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: In San Francisco it's thought that every gay man has known at least two people who have died of AIDS. In San Francisco for gay men, the threat of AIDS is immediate and real. For heterosexuals it's -- the same threat is not there, and this program is designed to provide individual education for heterosexuals who have been exposed to the virus that causes AIDS.
WOODRUFF: So how do you go about finding these people? It must be a painstaking sort of process.
Dr. RUTHERFORD: Well, you need to remember that these sorts of contact tracing programs have been going on with syphilis, for instance, and gonorrhea for a number of years, and so the machinery's there to do this sort of stuff. Mechanically what we do is any AIDS patient who's reported to the Health Department who we believe has possibly had heterosexual contacts within the last five years is interviewed and asked to participate in the program. That person, that AIDS patient would then give us the names of their contacts, their sexual contacts, and we would in turn contact those contacts and offer them individual education counseling about ways to reduce their risk of contracting AIDS and, if they're infected, of transmitting AIDS, and also antibody testing.
WOODRUFF: Well, what if they don't want to go through with the testing? I mean, how cooperative have people been?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: Well, it's two questions. One is that people have been very cooperative. Gay men in San Francisco who've exposed women in our experience are quite cooperative in helping us find the women and counsel them. Obviously, this is not coercive -- people don't have to participate. And under California law, no person can be tested for the antibody without their written consent, so there's an extra guarantee.
WOODRUFF: So people don't have to take the test, but --
Dr. RUTHERFORD: Absolutely not.
WOODRUFF: Okay. But most of them do, is what you're saying.
Dr. RUTHERFORD: Yes, that's correct.
WOODRUFF: Okay. As you know, those who are concerned about civil liberties are saying -- are expressing great concern about this, that the government is now going to have a record, a list of people who've been exposed to AIDS and all their sex partners. How confidential now is this information being held?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: It's exceptionally confidential. The civil liberties and confidentiality are paramount concerns of ours in any venereal disease investigations. As I said earlier, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and county health departments around the country have a substantial expertise in doing venereal disease investigations and keeping those records confidential. Also under California law there's an added protection that the antibody test results cannot be released to anyone without the written permission of the person who was tested, and that includes courts of law as well.
WOODRUFF: You heard the report earlier, Dr. Echenberg recommending that these tests -- this sort of tracking, rather, be done all over the country. Is that a good idea?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: Well, obviously you need to start in places where it's -- where the return's the greatest. In San Francisco there are a large number of bisexual men who have been infected with the AIDS virus who have sex with women. So in San Francisco it makes sense to try and find heterosexual contacts of people who have been infected with the AIDS virus and to counsel them. In smaller places, it may not be -- the threat may not be as immediate or the danger may not be as immediate, and people would probably be wise to sit back and see how our program goes first before launching one of their own.
WOODRUFF: Is there a new level of concern about AIDS spreading to the overall heterosexual population in the country?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: There are some reports out of the military of soldiers who have been infected probably through prostitutes. You should remember that from the beginning of the AIDS epidemic about a quarter of all AIDS cases have involved heterosexuals. The majority of them of course have been exposed through intravenous drug use, but nonetheless they're heterosexuals. If you look at every group of thousand cases, the proportion of heterosexuals is reasonably constant. The proportion of people who have been heterosexual contacts to people in risk groups is reasonably constant. So I think proportionately the number should remain the same for the foreseeable future. However, the actual number of cases will continue to grow.
WOODRUFF: Overall, you're saying.
Dr. RUTHERFORD: Overall, yes.
WOODRUFF: Okay. As you know, the city of San Antonio, Texas, just yesterday, I understand, sent letter to AIDS victims threatening to charge them with a felony if they had sex. Is that a way of dealing with this? Is that a sensible way of dealing with this problem?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: No, it's not a sensible way of dealing with the problem at all.
WOODRUFF: Why not? I mean, would that work in other cities, for example?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: No. It's -- people with AIDS are discriminated against enough, and they shouldn't have felony charges brought against them. To start with, people with AIDS only represent a tip of the iceberg of people who are capable of passing the viral infection on to other people, and to single them out is not only unfair but completely illogical. So we just don't support a policy like that, and we would rather stress that people who have AIDS should be carefully advised as to how to reduce the risks of their sexual partners of acquiring the virus.
WOODRUFF: What do you think of today's announcement by the Army that they are now not only going to screen recruits, they're going to screen every single member of the armed forces, two million some-odd men and women?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: Well, obviously we're worried in San Francisco that this is a surrogate marker for homosexuality and is a way of weeding gay men out of the military. On the other hand, the Army and Marine Corps in particular have some problems that need to be addressed. Specifically those are in-the-field blood transfusions, where there's not enough time to screen blood. For that reason, prebattle screening, if you will, might be appropriate. The other reason is that military recruits are given smallpox vaccine, because smallpox can be used as a biological weapon. Smallpox is a live virus vaccine and could cause overwhelming sepsis. Those are the only two things that we see it as being logical. We don't see it as a reason for kicking people out of the service. It might be something that they could note in their medical records.
WOODRUFF: But you think overall -- in other words, you think they've gone too far with this announcement?
Dr. RUTHERFORD: It seems to sort of go beyond the medical necessity of the situation.
WOODRUFF: Dr. George Rutherford, we thank you for being with us from San Francisco.
Dr. RUTHERFORD: Thank you. MOVE Inquiry
MacNEIL: Last May 13th, 11 people, including four children, died in Philadelphia after police in a helicopter dropped a bomb through the roof of a house. They were trying to evict a politically radical communal group known as MOVE from a residential neighborhood. The resulting fire destroyed the neighborhood, but the action brought surprisingly strong political support for the city's black mayor, Wilson Goode. Now a special commission of inquiry is investigating those events, with testimony from many public officials, including the mayor. The hearings are being carried live by public station WHYY-Philadelphia, and our correspondent, June Cross, has been following them.
LOUISE JAMES, former MOVE member: Here is a mayor who is also a black man, approved the dropping of a bomb on a row house in a residential area, watches on television as the house becomes a raging inferno, allows the house to burn out of control for an hour without benefit of water. My God, how can any mother know this and still want to support him, cover for him, make excuses for him? How?
JUNE CROSS [voice-over]: Louise James, former MOVE member, mother of a son who died in the May 13th fire, led the witness list last week at hearings convened by a commission of inquiry into what happened last May. Mayor Wilson Goode appointed these commissioners, and some observers thought they'd absolve him of blame. It doesn't look that way. What has emerged thus far is a portrait of a mayor whose reputation as an efficient manager is now in question, of city officials prevented from taking action, first by the mayor's policy and then by events, and of a neighborhood driven almost to the point of taking the law into its own hands.
Lucretia Wilson lived next door to the MOVE house. She talked about neighbors whose idea of recycling trash meant strewing garbage around the property.
LUCRETIA WILSON, Osage Avenue resident: We exterminated all the time, you know, until it got like the air was, like, heavy with smells of extermination in our house, and it did no good. And my kids, it got so bad until my children woke up in the middle of the night from bug bites.
CROSS [voice-over]: An even greater source of irritation was the political haranguing broadcast by MOVE over its loudspeaker.
CASSANDRA CARTER, Osage Avenue resident: First you heard "111," then you heard, "Long live John Africa." Then you knew that it was time for you to close your doors, turn your televisions up or just do whatever you could to try to live with the next six or eight hours.
JULIA CHINN, commissioner: Did ever at any time the police officers come out and go to the MOVE home to take care of these complaints?
BETTY MAPP, Osage Avenue resident: Never. Because in the beginning we figured if the law will come in and make them do the small laws that they were breaking, the health hazards and the boarding up of the houses and the raw stuff, and you know, if they would just take care of the small things. But they felt any small things that they would attempt to take care of will set them off.
CROSS [voice-over]: The mayor was trying to avoid a repeat of a 1978 clash between police and MOVE members, a clash that left one policeman dead and eight others wounded. It was a confrontation that left a legacy of bad blood between a mostly white police department and a group of politically radical blacks, and Mayor Goode, who won election as a black moderate, said he was trying to move cautiously.
WILSON GOODE, Mayor of Philadelphia: But I did not want to risk any inspector going to the house, pushing a button that could end up with the loss of lives of that inspector, of children in that neighborhood, of civilians in that neighborhood.
CROSS [voice-over]: But a negotiator who mediated between the two sides said that after two years of this hands-off policy the neighbors were ready to take the law into their own hands.
BENNIE SWANS, Crisis Intervention Network: They wanted to make it clear that they were not afraid, that they have been pushed clearly to their limits, and they wanted some sort of relief.
CROSS [voice-over]: It was the threat of confrontation between civilians on Osage Avenue that led Mayor Goode to direct the city's then-managing director, Leo Brooks, and the police commissioner, Greg Sambour, to devise a plan to get the MOVE members out of the block.
Mayor GOODE: We wanted to perhaps do a couple of things. One was to make arrests of all those persons in the house who were wanted for felons -- who were felons, wanted for a felony, I should say. Number two, to basically, through court orders, to remove the children and place the children in some type of protective care. And then perhaps at that point, start a process of negotiating with the others who would be left in the house at that time.
CROSS [voice-over]: The mayor wanted a carefully thought-out plan. What he got was something closer to war, and it was all broadcast on television. In the predawn hours of May 13th, 80 policemen armed with automatic weapons and nearly 40,000 rounds of ammunition arrived on Osage Avenue. They were there to serve warrants for parole violation, disorderly conduct and terroristic threats. Shots were exchanged. The MOVE members were not as well armed as they had been in 1978, but the house was better fortified. Police Commissioner Sambour had planned to force the occupants out by using small explosives to get tear gas into the house. That plan failed, and in a remarkable session on Tuesday, the mayor of Philadelphia seemed uninformed over even the most rudimentary elements of the plan.
WILLIAM LYTTON, staff director: Did you understand that explosives would be used in any manner whatsoever?
Mayor GOODE: I did not, sir.
Mr. LYTTON: Did you have any understanding as to whether or not the police would be using automatic weapons on May 13th, 1985?
Mayor GOODE: I didn't have any indication as to what kind they would use at all, sir.
Judge BRUCE KAUFMAN, commissioner: The question that I have is why you didn't insist on more exploration of the possible effect of the use of explosives?
Mayor GOODE: I relied directly upon the experts in the field at the site, who basically passed on to me what their plan was. And essentially I did not at that time have any reason to question them as to whether their plan would work or not. They felt it would work.
COMMISSIONER: So in facing one of the greatest crises in Philadelphia's history, you were doing so with pretty poor information.
Mayor GOODE: I believe I could have had better information in that regard, Mr. Welch.
CROSS [voice-over]: Police Chief Gregore Sambour said under questioning Thursday that he told the mayor two days before the assault about the possibility of using explosives.
GREGORE SAMBOUR, Philadelphia Police Commissioner: Explosives had been part of the plan if and when they became necessary to use to gain access to the premises through the roof to insert gas and force the occupants out into public view, yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER: So even with those caveats, if you will, is it your testimony that prior to May 13th, 1985, Mayor Goode was aware that the police had a plan for the use of an explosive device for the roof of 6221 Osage Avenue?
Comm. SAMBOUR: Yes, sir.
CROSS [voice-over]: And Leo Brooks, the former managing director of the city, agrees with Sambour.
Mr. BROOKS: I told the mayor that we had come to the point of the crane not working. We could not insert anyone through the skylight. We could not -- we could find no other way at this time to achieve this by dark; that it was going to be difficult to secure that area during the night; that the neighbors were clamoring to return to their homes; that the commissioner wanted to drop a device on the roof to destroy the bunker and penetrate the roof.
Mr. LYTTON: Did you tell the mayor that it was going to be dropped from a helicopter?
Mr. BROOKS: I did.
Mr. LYTTON: And you recall yesterday that he testified that his recollection differed?
Mr. BROOKS: Yes.
Mr. LYTTON: Are you positive you told him that it was going to be dropped from a helicopter?
Mr. BROOKS: I'm positive. It is also positive -- or possible that he did not hear that. That's possible.
Mr. LYTTON: I don't understand how you could say it and he couldn't hear it if he's on the telephone.
Mr. BROOKS: I said it.
CROSS [voice-over]: The most damning piece of evidence to come out since the May 13th fire is the fact that that bomb contained a material known as C-4. That's an explosive supposedly available only to the military. It was twice as powerful as officials said it was, and it caused a fire that burned out of control for two hours, a fire which eventually destroyed a whole neighborhood.
HENRY RUTH, commissioner: I guess we wouldn't be here if it weren't for the continual burning of the fire and the loss of 11 lives and 250 people being displaced from their homes. You must have been watching television the same way that my wife and I and I'm sure most of us were that evening. We yelled at the television set, "Put out the fire. Put out the fire." Why didn't you get Mr. Brooks on the phone and say, "Put out the fire"?
Mayor GOODE: I did.
Mr. RUTH: When?
Mayor GOODE: At six o'clock.
Mr. BROOKS: I then said, "Let's put the fire out," and he left the phone -- left the radio to go put the fire out.
Mr. LYTTON: Once that order was given, was it carried out?
Comm. SAMBOUR: There was water turned on, sir, and it was also turned off again and turned on again and turned off again because of conditions at the scene. I did not pay specific attention to the duration or the frequency.
Mr. LYTTON: Well, did you try and find out why the water wasn't on?
Comm. SAMBOUR: Not particularly, sir.
Mr. LYTTON: Why not?
Comm. SAMBOUR: Because it was not my job.
CROSS [voice-over]: In fact, the situation by then was a battleground. In the confusion that night, several MOVE members tried to escape from the house. But witnesses say gunfire, whether from the group itself or police crossfire, drove them back. Eleven of them, including four children, died in the flames. The commission will spend three more weeks trying to figure out exactly what went wrong, but it's Mayor Goode who will have to take the ultimate responsibility.
MacNEIL: The commission is expected to come up with its answers and recommendations in December.
WOODRUFF: Turning now to a last look at the top stories this Friday, protests followed the execution in South Africa of a black poet convicted of killing a policeman. It was announced tonight in Washington that Deputy Secretary of State John Whitehead is going to Italy and Egypt. The number two man at the State Department, Whitehead's mission is to ease tensions caused by the Achille Lauro affair. Officials say he will not be apologizing for U.S. actions following the hijacking. The Pentagon says that it will test all military personnel for AIDS.
We end now with a second look at today's editorial cartoon by Ranon Lurie.
WOODRUFF: Good night, Robin.
MacNEIL: Good night, Judy. That's our NewsHour tonight. We'll be back on Monday night. I'm Robert MacNeil. Good night.
- The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
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- Episode Description
- This episode's headline: News Summary; Achille Lauro Fallout; Gridlock on the St. Lawrence Seaway; Tracking AIDS; MOVE Inquiry. The guests include In New York: RICHARD GARDNER, Former U.S. Ambassador to Italy; Sen. ALFONSE D'AMATO, Republican, New York; In San Francisco: Dr. GEORGE RUTHERFORD, San Francisco Department; of Health; Reports from NewsHour Correspondents: GRAHAM LEACH (BBC), in South Africa; JIM WIENER (WQED), in Hershey, Pennsylvania; GLENN MAXIM (WDSE), in Duluth, Minnesota; ELIZABETH BRACKETT, in Thorold, Ontario; JUNE CROSS, in Philadelphia. Byline: In New York: ROBERT MacNEIL, Executive Editor; In Washington: JUDY WOODRUFF, Correspondent
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