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JIM LEHRER: Good evening. I'm Jim Lehrer. On the NewsHour tonight: The news of the day; perspective on a possible new path toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians; an update of the SARS threat in Canada and elsewhere; a report from Sacramento on the homeland security struggle at the local level; and a Jan Crawford Greenburg rundown on today's Supreme Court argument about commercial free speech.
JIM LEHRER: Palestinian leaders broke a deadlock today that had threatened to delay moves toward peace. Yasser Arafat and his designated prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, agreed on the makeup of a new cabinet. In response, the U.S. said again today it would release a so-called "road map" for peace, once the Palestinian parliament approves the new cabinet. We'll have more on this in a moment. The U.S. warned Iran today to stay out of Iraqi politics. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer raised concerns that Iran may be stirring up fellow Shiite Muslims in Iraq, against the United States.
ARI FLEISCHER: We know some recent reports about Iranian activities. We have made clear to Iran that we would oppose any outside organization's interference in Iraq. Interfering with the road to democracy, infiltration of agents to destabilize the Shiia population clearly fall into that category, and that is a position that we have made clear to the government of Iran.
JIM LEHRER: Fleischer also said no one should assume that Shiites in Iraq and Iran automatically share the same interests. In the Iraqi city of Karbala today, thousands of Shiites demonstrated against the U.S. They carried banners proclaiming "No to America, no to Israel, yes to Islam." Others gathered for the final prayers of a religious pilgrimage that was banned under Saddam Hussein's rule. The American in charge of post- war Iraq predicted today that anti-American feelings would subside. Retired Army General Jay Garner met a second day with Kurdish leaders in the north. He said security was improving every day, and he played down concerns about protests.
LT. GEN. JAY GARNER: What you see right now is some stage demonstrations but I think below that the majority of the people are glad we're here. The majority of the people realize we're only going to stay here long enough to start a democratic government for them. We're only going to stay here long enough to begin their economy going. We're going to stay here long enough that we can get their oil running and the oil flowing back to the people and the revenues to the people. I think what you'll see here in the future is the reversal of that.
JIM LEHRER: The U.S. started to fulfill part of that promise today in southern Iraq. Oil began flowing at a facility near Basra, for the first time since the war began. Vera Frankl of Associated Press Television News narrates our report.
VERA FRANKL: Iraq's lifeblood flowing again for the first time since U.S.-led forces toppled Saddam Hussein's regime. Workers said production here had been shut off just before the war began on March 20. But within six to fifteen weeks from now, Iraqi oil wells could be producing more than million barrels a day. It was coalition which put the plant back into action, aided by Iraqi oil workers. The U.S. general, charged with restarting the flow, turned the tap at a storage facility and watched as slick, black crude dribbled out.
GEN. ROBERT CREAR: So, this is going to go long ways to alleviate some of the problems they have right now, and also bring a sense of normalcy back to the Iraqi people. Man, they really deserve this. This is for the Iraqi people. That's why we're doing this. And I think you can see for yourselves that none of this will be exported. Right now, the concern is domestic.
VERA FRANKL: The income from exported oil will help Iraq rebuild after three wars and more than a decade of economic sanctions.
JIM LEHRER: Iraq's northern oil fields, around the city of Kirkuk, remain out of production. Two Iraqi intelligence officials are out of custody. The Associated Press reported today the former head of military intelligence surrendered. He was number 21 on the list of 55 most wanted Iraqis. In addition U.S. Central Command announced the capture of the Iraqi officer who had directed spying in the United States. Three U.S. Marines were killed in Iraq today in an accident. It happened near the southern city of Kut. The U.S. Central Command said they died when a launcher for a rocket-propelled grenade malfunctioned. In all 132 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, at least 500 have been wounded. One is still missing. U.S. forces have found another stash of U.S. currency in Baghdad. The Los Angeles Times reported today some $112 million was hidden at dog kennels in a wealthy neighborhood. There've been similar finds in that same area. The Times also said six U.S. soldiers are now being questioned in the alleged theft of some of that money. The U.S. and North Korea opened talks today in Beijing, on North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly led the U.S. delegation, but would not comment after the session. The North Koreans also had no comment. In Washington, Secretary of State Powell told CBS the two sides would present their views, but would not offer new proposals. The talks continue through Friday. The World Health Organization warned today against traveling to Toronto, Canada, and Beijing, China, because of the SARS virus. They are among the places hit hardest by the flu-like illness. Officials of the WHO made the announcement in Geneva.
DAVID HEYMANN: DICK THOMPSON First of all there's a very large outbreak in China. Second in both China and in Toronto, there is local transmission of the disease outside of the hospital setting and their close personal contacts. And third, cases are being exported from both China and Toronto to other countries and establishing disease centers in other countries.
JIM LEHRER: The announcement drew an outraged response from the mayor of Toronto. He said the travel warning had done his city a disservice.
MAYOR MEL LASTMAN, Toronto: I'm shocked that the medical evidence before us does not support this advisory. And I'm told they have never issued an advisory like this before in their history. In fact, I don't even know and nobody here even knows if they've ever been here.
JIM LEHRER: China had no immediate reaction to the travel warning, but in Beijing today, all public schools were ordered closed for two weeks to control the spread of the disease. We'll have more on SARS later in the program. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today over free speech protections for corporations. The case involved Nike, the world's largest maker of athletic shoes. It launched a publicity campaign in the 1990s, denying its products were made in Asian sweatshops. A San Francisco activist sued the company under a California state law. He said the company's statements were false advertising, subject to penalty. Nike argued its statements were protected speech. We'll have more on this later in the program. Alan Greenspan said today he would accept a fifth term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. President Bush said yesterday Greenspan should have another four year term. His current one expires next year. Greenspan is 77 years old. He had prostate surgery yesterday, but plans to return to work this week. On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 30 points, to close above 8515. The NASDAQ rose more than 14 points, to close at 1466. And that's it for the News Summary tonight. Now it's on to Middle East peace, a SARS update, homeland security in Sacramento, and free business speech at the Supreme Court.
JIM LEHRER: The Palestinians get a new cabinet, and what does it mean for Israeli/Palestinian peace? Margaret Warner has that story.
MARGARET WARNER: It was just hours before tonight's deadline when the Palestinian prime minister- designate drove to the headquarters of Yasser Arafat, the man who'd originally appointed him, but more recently had been standing in his way. There, prime minister-to-be Mahmoud Abbas presented Arafat with his proposed cabinet list. The Egyptian intelligence chief who'd brokered the final deal, Omar Suleiman, looked on. Also present, Abbas' choice for security chief, former Gaza security head Mohammad Dahlan. After resisting the Dahlan selection for days, Arafat finally agreed. The 67-year-old Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, had threatened to quit if he didn't get his choice.
SAEB EREKAT ( Translated ): What we are witnessing is Palestinian democracy in action. At the same time, it should be viewed as Palestinian labor pains in transforming towards the new political era.
MARGARET WARNER: The new cabinet must still be approved by the Palestinian parliament. The deal was critical to starting movement on a U.S.- backed peace plan that could lead to full Palestinian statehood in three years. Last month, just before the start of the Iraq war, President Bush said that he would publish the so-called "road map to Middle East peace," once a fully empowered Palestinian prime minister took charge.
PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: The United States has developed this plan over the last several months in close cooperation with Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations. Once this road map is delivered, we will expect and welcome contributions from Israel and the Palestinians to this document. To be a credible and responsible partner, the new Palestinian prime minister must hold a position of real authority.
MARGARET WARNER: The road map calls for concurrent steps by both sides to end the conflict. Among them, from the Palestinians: End anti-Israel violence and terrorism; and undertake comprehensive political reform. From the Israelis: Withdraw from Palestinian areas occupied since the most recent uprising began in September 2000; and freeze settlement activity. President Bush promised to move forward on the plan at the urging of his Iraq war partner, British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
TONY BLAIR: We accept that it is right now that we have to say to people that the issue of peace between Palestinians and Israelis is as important as any other issue to us. And what this road map does, is it gives us the practical steps to get there.
MARGARET WARNER: Today, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer welcomed the Arafat-Abbas deal, and said the road map will require hard work from all involved.
ARI FLEISCHER: Still, in the end, it is up to the Israelis and the Palestinians to work together on agreement about the terms of the road map, to make meaningful progress and so we will welcome their contributions.
MARGARET WARNER: For more on what today's development may mean, we turn to Martin Indyk, former assistant secretary of state for near east affairs, and former ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration. He's now director of the Saban Center for Middle East policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington; Rob Malley, former director for near east affairs on the National Security Council in the Clinton years, and a participant in the July 2000 Camp David peace talks. He now directs the Middle East program at the international crisis group in Washington. Meyrav Wurmser, director of the Center for Middle East policy at the Hudson Institute in Washington. She's an Israeli who's lived in the U.S. for the past decade. And Rashid Khalidi, a professor of Middle East history, and director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago. He is of Palestinian descent. We will welcome to you all. Let's start with today's news. Martin Indyk explain to us what was this struggle all about. Why was there such a bitter stand off over the make up of this cabinet?
MARTIN INDYK: Well it was struggle for power, essentially. Yasser Arafat understood that this could be in some ways his last stand. He had conceded on massive pressure to appoint a prime minister, but I think he was hoping that he could preserve the form and avoid the substance of actually empowering the prime minister and losing power himself. He understands very well that this is an effort to push him upstairs to a purely ceremonial role. And he's very reluctant to agree to that. So he was resisting. And the way he was making his last stand was over the security portfolio where he did not want Mohammed Dhalan to be working with Abu Mazen partly to make the point that he wanted to control that portfolio, partly because I think he understood that Dhalan and Abu Mazen have it in mind to pursue different policies than the one he's pursued which is basically to stop the violence and terrorism and return to negotiations.
MARGARET WARNER: So Rob Malley, then why did Arafat back down?
ROBERT MALLEY: Well, I think what Martin said is basically right but I think on the other hand you have to look at this in a different level. It's true Arafat comes out of this weakened because he's had to accept Abu Mazen as prime minister. But he's weakened by his own hand. It became absolutely clear in thelast 24 hours that he was the decision maker. Everyone was going to him. You had phone calls from Tony Blair. You have a visit from the Egyptian intelligence chief, other heads of state calling him. He may have been weakened, but he decided he would be weakened, and in that way he reaffirms his relevance and the fact that he's indispensable. So, he may have been playing brinkmanship in order to reaffirm the fact that no one could ignore him. By the same token, Abu Mazen comes out strengthened because he's now appointed the prime minister, but he was done so through the help of the international community and in particular the United States, which may not be the best way to be strengthening himself among Palestinians who view the United States with great suspicion. So both are winners, both are losers. And it's unclear at this point whether Arafat is really going to be simply the Arafat is going to be in simply a ceremonial post and whether Abu Mazen will be as empowered as the United States claims he is or wants him to be.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Let's look at this new team. Prof. Khalidi, tell us a little bit about Abu Mazen. He's sometimes described as a moderate; he's sometimes described as a reformer. You heard Saab Arakat say these were the labor pains for a new political era for the Palestinians. How do you see it?
RASHID KHALIDI: I think to describe someone who has been a colleague of Arafat for his entire political career as representing a new era is probably mistaken. This is someone who has worked very, very closely with Yasser Arafat, but unlike Arafat he's not elected. Arafat was elected in a contest which was supervised by international observers and he has no popular base, no broad support among the Palestinians. So he is also a figure who doesn't have a public persona. He doesn't speak frequently. He doesn't give many interviews. He's not someone who is at ease with crowds. So he is in some ways certainly different from Arafat. He's come out very explicitly as opposing Palestinian violence. But in terms of his modus operandi, in terms of the kind of people he's surrounded himself with throughout his career, in terms of the way he's operated, he's indistinguishable in my view, from Arafat. I think that the main difference here is that the international community, the United States and Israel, have someone who will be much less able to stand up to external pressure, which is why everybody seems so thrilled except the Palestinians.
MARGARET WARNER: Ms. Wormser, how do you see it indistinguishable from Arafat except that the international community accepts him?
MEYRAV WURMSER: No I actually think that Abu Mazen, is or has been for the past half year making himself more and more distinguishable from Arafat. I agree with some of the other speakers here who have said that he is indeed an American and Israeli puppet and he's viewed as such by many in the Palestinian street. But we have to remember that Abu Mazen during the last Mokata siege actually tried to stage a coup against Arafat. This is before the Americans or the Israelis have tried to help him out or work for his appointment. He had almost succeeded and would have possibly succeeded in forcing Arafat back then to appoint a prime minister. One of the only reasons why this didn't happen is because Arafat... the siege was lifted, Arafat came out of Mokata, and Abu Mazen actually left the country until he and Arafat were able to make up. So I don't think that he's exactly indistinguishable from Arafat.
MARGARET WARNER: Martin Indyk, do you think... first ofall, what's your take on him? But do you think that Abu Mazen and the new security chief have both the will and the ability to curb Palestinian violence and what is that really going to entail?
MARTIN INDYK: First of all, my take on him is similar to what Rashid Khalidi talked about. He's certainly a member of the old guard, the fact that he has an "Abu" attached to his name gives you the indication of that but he's different from Arafat. His history is different from Arafat. He was responsible for persuading Arafat to take the Palestinian cause when it was thrown out of Beirut in 1982, to Tunis, to make it independent of Arab game playing. And he then had responsibility for reaching out to the Israelis, laid the basis for the ultimate negotiations, which he oversaw, and has been the primary advocate of achieving Palestinian objectives through negotiations. That's why he broke with Arafat over the intifada. He came out from the beginning and made it very clear publicly that this was a disaster for the Palestinian cause, as indeed it has been. So now he has a chance to try his hand. You're right. The question is will he be able to stop the violence of terrorism? And that's why it's been so important to have Mohammed Dhalan in position... in responsibility for security because Dhalan has the ability to use the Palestinian capabilities that still exist in Gaza to deal with Hamas, and I do not think Abu Mazen is the confrontational type. That's where Rashid is right. He's an old guard Palestinian politician. So he will try to co-op Hamas much as Arafat did, but his program will be much clearer in terms of stopping the violence and basically having a houdnah, what they call a cease-fire, so there will be a chance for negotiations. Then, if he succeeds on the violence and terrorism, and it will be up to the United States and Israel, who have indeed wanted Abu Mazen because of the course that he represents, the strategy that he represents. We, the United States and Israel, will have to respond to him, help him prove to his people that he can deliver where Arafat has not been able to.
MARGARET WARNER: Rob Malley, well first of all, weigh in on that point about what he will be able to do on the security end, and do you think Arafat will be supporting him in this? Do you think he will be trying to sabotage him in this? What will his role be?
ROBERT MALLEY: Well, there are many keys to whether the security plan will succeed. One of them is in fact whether Abu Mazen and Dhalan will be able to muster the power to either co-op or to crack down on Hamas and Islamic Jihad. That depends on what kind of security facilities still exist, whether they have popular support. But then there are other actors as well. One of them is Arafat, you just mentioned it. I think the problem for him right now is, it's hard for him to see an incentive to make him succeed. There may be many reasons why he doesn't want them to fail and to go and to have the PA, the Palestinian authority, be destroyed. On the other hand, if they succeed, they succeed to some extent at his expense. So I think one has to look at him to play different games so long as he sees that he's not being rehabilitated by the international community. The other key actor obviously is the Israeli prime minister. I don't think it's simply a matter of Israel responding to what Abu Mazen and Dhalan might do, but facilitating it from the start. That's the whole point now, is not to have a sequential but a parallel approach where the Palestinians take security measures at the same time as Israel takes measures to help empower the Palestinian security force, to help empower the new prime minister and Dhalan to be able to take those measures. I think people expect that Abu Mazen or Dhalan will either have the capacity or the political will to crack down on Hamas before there's any gesture on the Israeli side that shows that there's something to be gained by that. I think that would be an illusion.
MARGARET WARNER: Okay, Mey Wormser, let's talk now about prospects for this road map and particularly are the Israelis ready to do what the road map calls for?
MEYRAV WURMSER: It certainly seems so. About two weeks ago or so, Prime Minister Sharon gave a long interview in which he specifically mentioned giving up on settlement activity, and even he mentioned that he was willing to agree to withdraw from some of the settlements, and named a few of them. That is a major breakthrough in the way this Israeli government has traditionally been thinking. On the other hand, I don't agree with Robert Malley in claiming that the roadmap is a parallel approach. In fact, it is sequential. Terrorism has to stop. Israel will not be expected to do much even by the guidelines of roadmaps before all terror stops, which mean that before any other move, first, the new Palestinian prime minister will have to show his ability to disarm Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa martyr brigade which are actually a part of Fatah Organization, part of the Arafat's own organization. Arafat said several times that he believes this will lead to a Palestinian civil war. Will it? We'll have to wait and see. We don't know. But certainly unless there is a missed stop or seriously fought again by the new administration Israel will not make any move.
MARGARET WARNER: Is that how you read the road map that first the Palestinians have to essentially stop all the terror and disarm the militias before the Israelis take steps?
RASHID KHALIDI: I think that what we've heard from Martin Indyk and from Ms. Wormser represents why the roadmap will probably not succeed. Expecting the Palestinians to guard expanding Israeli settlements and protect the continuance of the Israeli occupation which is the Sharon-Bush interpretation of the roadmap, i.e., the Palestinians serve to protect their occupiers and their colonizers is not going to happen. Whatever Dhalan tries to do, whatever Abu Mazen wants to do, whatever the neo conservatives in Washington and Likud and Israel want, it's not going to happen, I'm afraid. So the question really will be, will this be a parallel process where Israel will take concrete steps to stop settlements and dismantle, begin dismantling its occupation while the Palestinians stop resisting that occupation and stop carrying out attacks inside Israel, or will this be another failed attempt to impose something on the Palestinians and to try and create a sort of surrogate force for Israeli security, which is what the Israeli interpretation and the interpretation of what I think is probably the dominant faction in the Bush administration seem to expect. That will not work. This will be road kill; it will not be a roadmap, in my view.
MARTIN INDYK: Can I just respond to that, Margaret on this point?
MARTIN INDYK: Because I think we shouldn't get too hung up on whether it's parallel or sequential. That's a trap for both sides. The Israelis go need to take, as Abu Mazen takes steps. And Sharon has already indicated willingness to do this. For example, they should stop the targeted assassination of terrorist leaders as the Palestinians startto take steps. They can remove some of the checkpoints, and ease some of the pressure. They can facilitate workers and an improvement in the economic conditions as the process goes forward. So I do think that what matters here is getting moving. Obviously Abu Mazen has to show that he can deliver. Obviously fighting terror is going to be very important to the Israelis, and stopping settlement activity is going to be very important to the Palestinians.
MARGARET WARNER: All right, Martin Indyk, though, add in the President Bush component. I mean, how important is it that the Bush administration will push with this, and what level of commitment to do you see to do that?
MARTIN INDYK: It's absolutely critical. And it won't happen. We've seen before the agreement on various reciprocal steps. That's what the tenet plan was about. That's what the Mitchell recommendations were about. They never happened -- even though both sides agreed to them. In this case, both sides haven't agreed to the road map. But if the president himself fulfills his commitment to Tony Blair and the world that he's going to make a personal commitment to this, that he's going to work as hard on this as Tony Blair worked on Northern Ireland, then I think something very serious can happen. You also have it happening in the context not just of new leadership on the Palestinian side, but also of an exhaustion both on the Palestinian and the Israeli sides with the economies of both places on the ropes and a willingness to try to find a way out of this situation. So if the president gets involved, then I do believe that we will see a very different process underway on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
MARGARET WARNER: And briefly Rob Malley, do you think that the war on Iraq and the outcome gives the president increased leverage, and do you in this situation see a commitment there to use that leverage?
ROBERT MALLEY: Well, it obviously gives him more political influence. It gives him the ability to do things that he may not have been able to do before. But I think it would be a mistake to exaggerate any link between Iraq and the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. There is no logical link. Iraq has long ceased to play any role in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. And so this is now really back to the basics of what is regulating the lives of Palestinians and Israelis, and how their relationship is going to move forward. I think one of the big paradoxes is that the roadmap has wide spread international support, almost unanimous international support, but that unanimous support is matched by unanimous international skepticism about it being implemented and if it were to be implemented about its success. But I think the point right now... it's the only game in town. And the United States has to push it. And it's going to be a real test of whether President Bush is going to live up to his stated commitment to move forward.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Thank you all four very much.
JIM LEHRER: Still to come on the NewsHour tonight: The still growing threat of SARS; defending the homeland; and a Supreme Court argument over free speech.
JIM LEHRER: The SARS problem in Canada and health correspondent Susan Dentzer begins our report.
SUSAN DENZTER: Today's warning by the World Health Organization against non-essential travel to Toronto is the latest blow to a city hit hard by SARS. Dozens of local health care workers have contracted the disease from sick patients. As a result, several hospitals had to shutter wards and turn away patients. Business has slumped at Toronto hotels, as visitors scared off by SARS have cancelled conventions and trips. Last weekend, worshippers attending Easter services scrubbed their hands and adopted a no-contact form of taking communion. Meanwhile, many Toronto residents exhibiting SARS symptoms have gone into isolation or quarantine at city officials' urging.
DR. JAMES YOUNG: If you are feeling ill or have a fever, do not go to work, do not go to school, do not go out in the community.
SUSAN DENTZER: The extreme measures stem from the fact that Canada has recorded the highest number of SARS cases of any country outside Asia. To date, there have been 136 probable SARS cases, and Canadian health officials are monitoring another 131 possible ones; 16 people have died. The vast majority of cases have been in Ontario Province, where Toronto is located. Most can be traced to a single patient, who contracted the disease in late February at a Hong Kong hotel. The patient died after returning to Canada and spreading SARS to close contacts back home. Canada's SARS woes have been watched nervously by U.S. officials.
DR. JULIE GERBERDING: Of course we know the border with the U.S. is an open border, and we have so many visitors back and forth that, of course, we're concerned that there is a potential for exposure.
SUSAN DENTZER: In fact, up to half a million passengers travel to the U.S. each month from Toronto's Pearson Airport. And the bridge and tunnel connecting Detroit with Windsor, Canada, is the busiest land border crossing in the world. To date, only one of America's 39 probable SARS cases appears to have contracted the disease in Canada. He's a Pennsylvania man who attended funeral services for a Canadian SARS victim in Toronto, and then drove home. To help stem any further spread of the disease into the U.S. from Canada, the CDC yesterday announced its own set of warnings to travelers. Unlike the World Health Organization, the CDC is not recommending that travelers avoid any non-essential trips to Toronto. Instead, it's advising them to avoid Toronto-area hospitals, to wash their hands frequently, and monitor their health closely for ten days after returning to the U.S. And as they have been doing for more than a month with passengers traveling from Asia, U.S. officials will soon begin handing out these yellow health alert cards. They'll be given to people coming into the U.S. at Canadian border crossings, or boarding U.S.-bound flights in Toronto.
JIM LEHRER: Ray Suarez takes it from there.
RAY SUAREZ: Today's announcement by the World Health Organization drew a strong negative response from Canadian officials this afternoon.
To hear more on all this we're joined from Toronto by Case Ootes, that city's deputy mayor, and from Paris by Denis Aitken, chief of staff for the director general at the World Health Organization.
Denis Aitken, the WHO has added Toronto to a list that includes Chinese provinces and the Chinese capital Beijing. Why?
DENIS AITKEN: Because Toronto now meets the three criteria that we have for ensuring that we try to keep down the international spread of the disease. The criteria are that there's a large number of cases, that secondly there's evidence of transmission now unfortunately outside of the hospital community and the local family of those into the wider community, and finally that we have had a case of an exportation of the disease from Canada.
RAY SUAREZ: Deputy Mayor Ootes, given those criteria what was Toronto's reaction to the WHO's announcement of a travel warning.
CASE OOTES: Well, we were obviously very upset and have launched a protest through our federal minister of health that the action by the World Health Organization is not justified given the situation in Toronto which is completely different from the situation in China. Our health organizations have taken strong measures to contain the SARS virus, the problem. It is not throughout the community. It is focused in the hospitals primarily.
RAY SUAREZ: What about the third criterion, Mr. Aitken mentioned, that now there is evidence that cases have been exported from Canada to other countries?
CASE OOTES: I think he's talking about two cases. To issue a warning based simply on that, that has the economic impact on the lives of people in this city, seems to be an action that doesn't... isn't merited by the facts.
RAY SUAREZ: Mr. Aitken, Toronto is a metropolitan area of approximately 5 million people. Where does a disease new on the scene like SARS cross the line and become something that, for your organization's purposes, is established in the community and in danger of being passed on in such a large area with such a small number of cases?
DENIS AITKEN: The two criteria I mentioned namely the fact that it's moving outside the hospital community and secondly this criteria for moving abroad; let me say that one case was enough to start this thing in Canada. It came from Hong Kong. In Hong Kong one case was enough from Guangdong to start the case in Hong Kong, the whole outbreak in Hong Kong so we have to be extremely careful in terms of avoiding to the maximum possible extent the further international spread of this disease beyond the 25 or so countries that are currently battling with it.
RAY SUAREZ: If you really clamp down, is there any hope that you can sort of put a roadblock, make a dead end on a city the size of Toronto and limit the spread of a disease like SARS?
DENIS AITKEN: I think we can ensure to the maximum possible extent that when it arrives in another country that the sufficient forewarning, the sufficient preparation for the country concerned to be able to take the kind of action that some countries have been able to take now to hold the disease when it arises. Some of the European countries have managed this to date. Vietnam has managed this to date. Toronto has done a good job. I don't want to be negative at all about Toronto doing a solid job in terms of handling it, in terms of giving the right advice. It just so happens that these two things have happened. Now in the interest of international public health we've had to take the action we did this morning.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, Deputy Mayor Ootes, what are some of the tools at your disposal to try to stop the spread of this disease either through your public health authorities or through civil authorities like yourself?
CASE OOTES: Well, what took place in Toronto as soon as the virus was identified as a carrier, that carrier was placed in quarantine. Every incidence of SARS since then has been traceable back to that individual. In other words, the virus is not through the community. Even the last instance of SARS was traced back to a previous carrier. So our medical system has contained the problem. It's not in the community. When the virus was identified, our health people issued the appropriate caution to the public to wash their hands, created a great awareness of the symptoms, and it seems to me that the action by the World Health Organization is a cure worse than the virus by basically shutting down the city in terms of people coming to the city and impacting thousands of people in the tourist industry that depend for their livelihood on tourists. And, you know, we've treated this first and foremost as a health issue in Toronto right from the beginning. We still treat it that way. And this action by the World Health Organization I think fails to recognize that.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, the travel advisory has a life span of three weeks. Isn't it better in one way to clamp down a little bit and maybe take this hit and then get a clean bill of health from the WHO?
CASE OOTES: Well, I think, you know, the Center for Disease Control took the appropriate approach. They advised people that it's perfectly safe to travel to Toronto. The problem with the three weeks is that, you know, the world now views us as a place not to come, unlike the advisory by the CDC, which still said that it's safe to come to Toronto. And I'd like to know who from the World Health Organization contacted our health people. No one that I know of has contacted our minister of health or certainly not our local medical office of health or the provincial officer of health.
RAY SUAREZ: Denis Aitken, was that decision made in consultation with Canadian authorities?
DENIS AITKEN: In consultation I would say no. What happened was our office in Washington, the Pan-American Health Organization yesterday contacted the Canadian federal authorities. But we don't act in consultation with. If we did so, you would see what would happen. We would not actually take the action because every time we take the action people naturally are concerned about it. We act after talking to but not in consultation with.
RAY SUAREZ: But are you... do you appreciate Toronto's concern over the travel warning and why it is very worried about getting out from under it once it runs its course?
DENIS AITKEN: I think that's right. But in your piece as you built up to this, you explained the measures that Toronto was already worried about with individuals taking their own personal decisions about not traveling to Toronto. What we've done now is simply add to that by ensuring that there's a global alert on the situation. So that people share the same information globally rather than have to rely on their individual country advice. It's true to say though that in three weeks' time we will be reviewing this. We also review it on a daily basis to continue to monitor the situation.
RAY SUAREZ: Deputy Mayor, how is the warning put in place by the American Centers for Disease Control different from the one from the World Health Organization?
CASE OOTES: Well, it's simply advised that people, when they come to Toronto should stay hey way from hospital but that they should feel free to move around the rest of the city without fear of contracting the disease. And I can assure you that the situation here is totally different than it is in the East, in the Far East. You don't see people in Toronto walking around with masks. You only see that in the hospital environment. People in Toronto are going about their business as usual and taking the hygienic measures that we should all normally take.
RAY SUAREZ: And, finally, Mr. Aitken, do we know enough yet about the spread of SARS to know when a community becomes safer, when the risk is lowered?
DENIS AITKEN: We don't know fully yet but our normal judgment in the case of previous unknown diseases was that two periods of incubation, namely twenty, twenty-one days of no cases arising is significant enough in this case for us to be able to lift the potential travel restrictions that we've imposed.
RAY SUAREZ: Denis Aitken and DeputyMayor Otis, gentlemen, thank you both.
DENIS AITKEN: Thank you.
JIM LEHRER: Now, homeland security. It's still is a major concern for communities across the country, even without the higher threat level that came with the Iraq War. Spencer Michels reports from Sacramento, California.
SPENCER MICHELS: Despite being the capital of the most populous state, Sacramento has been designated a third-tier target area for purposes of homeland security. That means federal authorities believe it isn't as likely to be attacked as New York or Washington or San Francisco. But Sheriff Lou Blanas disagrees.
SHERIFF LOU BLANAS: But it takes about three hours to set this room up.
SPENCER MICHELS: He set up this room as an emergency headquarters shortly after the Iraq War got underway, and the threat of terrorism at home increased.
SHERIFF LOU BLANAS: You know, I don't have a crystal ball-- nobody does-- to look in the future and see if and when there is going to be another attack on American soil. But I have to tell you that Oklahoma City is probably a good example of why the cities should not be tiered. We are all preparing for the worst case scenario. So saying Sacramento is a third- tier city is just a category that somebody decided to put the city in, but believe me, we're just as vulnerable as any other city.
SPENCER MICHELS: The day the war started, Blanas cancelled some days off and put his tactical officers on 12-hour shifts. Workdays now are more normal, but the high state of readiness remains, despite a large financial burden. (Dog barking)
SPENCER MICHELS: Is this a hardship? Are you going to be able to continue it?
SHERIFF LOU BLANAS: Well, we're going to have to continue it. Our whole lives have changed. We're more aware of a potential terrorist attack.
SPENCER MICHELS: To prepare for a possible chemical or biological weapons attack, Blanas' department organized a drill for local police, firemen, and National Guard. An object of concern has been Folsom Dam, just upstream on the American River from Sacramento. The Defense Department decided it was vulnerable to terrorist attack. Once the war started, the road across the dam was closed, diverting 18,000 vehicles a day through nearby towns like Folsom. Thomas Aiken is area manager for the Bureau of Reclamation, which administers the dam.
SPENCER MICHELS: What is the idea of vulnerability if somebody were to bomb, or in some other way, breach this dam? What would happen?
THOMAS AIKEN: We would have 12 feet of water at the state capitol in a matter of hours. There's over 700,000 people directly in harm's way. We took the only course of action that we could have.
SPENCER MICHELS: But some residents have been inconvenienced by the closure, and are questioning the decision.
BOB CRAWFORD: It looks like to me it's an overkill situation, but I'm not privy to the information they have. But it would be very difficult, we think, to have someone actually do some serious damage to that.
JENNIFER DERICH: They had wanted to close that road a long time ago, and they just wanted to take advantage of the situation right now.
SPENCER MICHELS: Despite their skepticism about an attack on the dam, these residents of nearby Orangevale take homeland security seriously. Bob Crawford showed his neighbors an emergency preparedness kit.
BOB CRAWFORD: My flashlight that never needs to have batteries.
SPENCER MICHELS: With help from the state government, Crawford and others have organized a citizen core council, based on the neighborhood watch model. They want to be prepared for terrorism threats, as well as for natural disasters.
BOB CRAWFORD: But it does have batteries.
SPENCER MICHELS: Homeland security in Sacramento is more than a local issue. Coast Guard planes monitor the entire west coast for suspicious ships. The planes fly out of decommissioned McClellan Air Force Base. The old base is currently also used to train local police and other law enforcement. Now, officials and developers are trying to establish it as a western center for homeland security. County development director Paul Hahn recently went to Washington to lobby for federal funds.
PAUL HAHN: What we've been talking to Congress about is, to take some facilities that we have here at the former McClellan Air Force Base, and a facility, a closed nuclear plant that we have down in Sacramento, and combine them and create sort of a really efficient, cost effective training facility, sort of a Quantico West for first responders and firefighters and police officers up and down the West Coast, to deal with these new threats.
SPENCER MICHELS: Nearby, the University of California at Davis, which already studies infectious diseases, is seeking federal funds for a new lab. The plan calls for a secure facility, one of very few in the nation, to study and produce vaccines against biological agents. The threat of terrorism has increased chances for funding. So far, the Davis City Council opposes the plan, fearing a lab with dangerous viruses could create a potential terrorist target. Sacramento area officials are of two minds about homeland security. They want to increase the safety of their community, but they don't want raise the level of anxiety too high.
JIM LEHRER: And finally tonight, the U.S. Supreme Court takes up commercial speech, and to Gwen Ifill.
GWEN IFILL: How does free speech apply to the business world? Can a company be sued for defending itself in the court of public opinion? The company, in this case, is Nike, the world's largest sneaker manufacturer. A suit brought by San Francisco activist Mark Kasky made it all the way to the Supreme Court today -- and inside the court for us, as always, Jan Crawford Greenburg, Supreme Court reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
Jan, Nike and free speech: What does one have to do with one another and how did it end up at the Supreme Court?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: That's precisely the issue. This case came about in the mid- 1990s. Nike was facing intense public criticism for allegations that it was using sweatshops in the third world to make its sneakers. So it sought to defend itself. It took out some newspaper ads and wrote some letters to the editor. It wrote some letters to university administrators who were big purchasers of Nike products. It said, "Look, we are labor friendly and we've been trying to employ all of these things to make conditions better for workers in southeast Asia." It quickly found itself in court. As you said, a San Francisco activist sued Nike under a California law that allows private citizens to go into court, representing the public and sue a company for making false statements. In this case he said Nike had essentially engaged in false advertising and as a result those comments were not entitled to this heightened protection under the First Amendment.
GWEN IFILL: Is there any dispute at all that what Nike was saying in these documents was false?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: There is dispute on that. That has not gotten to the court at this point. The issue only before the court now is whether or not Mr. Kasky can proceed with his lawsuit. He's arguing that this... that these statements are false, that Nike was engaged in false and deceptive advertising and communications. Nike says no, of course we were not doing that.
GWEN IFILL: The debate before the court is kind of a definitional one. What is commercial speech and what is advertising and is there a line between the two?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Right. At issue in this case essentially is whether or not Nike engaged in commercial speech, as Mr. Kasky argues, the kind of speech that is designed to entice customers to buy its products or whether or not it engaged in a lively political dialogue as the Nike's lawyer Lawrence Tribe of Harvard Law School argued today. Mr. Tribe said that Nike was engaging in a public debate about a matter of an intense public concern, the issue of globalization. It's very controversial. Nike was entitled to weigh in on these matters and discuss working conditions in some of these third world countries.
GWEN IFILL: Who is Mark Kasky? Who is the kind of person that would take on a company as large as Nike?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: He's an activist in San Francisco. Obviously very upset about what he saw as these unfair practices, as he saw them. He took this matter to the next level. As you indicated, it's reached its way all the way to the Supreme Court. It's not been an easy fight for him. He lost in two lower courts, but the California Supreme Court said he was entitled to pursue his lawsuit against Nike, and it articulated quite an expansive definition of commercial speech, a definition that not only has alarmed Nike because it's allowed Nike's... the lawsuit against Nike to proceed, but that has alarmed businesses around the world, media organizations, free speech groups, the Chamber of Commerce, countless organizations have filed... weighed in on this case on behalf of Nike.
GWEN IFILL: And the Bush administration as well today.
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: The Bush administration sided with Nike although it did not go as far as Nike did. Nike suggested that it should be sued only for statements that are about its products, say, statements it makes about Air Jordans, for example. The Bush administration said that was going a little too far, that consumers obviously are interested in how goods are produced. The FTC for example should be able to bring an action against someone who is not really making dolphin-safe tuna. It focused on Mr. Kasky's role. The Bush administration said that the way the California law is set up is just too broad and it's too threatening to the first amendment and free speech because it allows private citizens to basically step in the shoes of the government and become a government censor because Mr. Kasky was not harmed by these statements.
GWEN IFILL: Who is supporting Mr. Kasky? Are there any groups coming out on his side?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Yes, there are. There are consumer groups, environmental groups, AARP, for example, Sierra Club. So he has groups on his side too who contend that it's very important that corporations and the speech of corporations be monitored and that corporations must be truthful. They target what they say is the false nature, as they say, of Nike's comments.
GWEN IFILL: So that was the case made on both sides today. How did the jurists, how did the justices seem to take it?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: This was a difficult argument to follow today. It was difficult for the Justices. The Court has long said that commercial speech-- and why this is so important andclosely followed-- is that the Court has long said that commercial speech can be more regulated than pure political speech. So the case today gives the court an opportunity to define what is and what is not commercial speech. And the Justices struggled with that. There was some sympathy, of course, for Mr. Kasky's position that the speech of corporations must be regulated. They cannot engage in false advertising, but there was obviously tremendous concern that companies could be hauled into court by an activist and face onerous and burdensome litigation that would chill the speech. Justice Breyer really homed in on the problem. He said this really seems like it was kind of both to him. It was commercial. Nike obviously was willing to put forth a good image when it was defending its practices but that it also was political. And it was weighing in on an important issue of public concern. So how does the court draw the line in that situation?
GWEN IFILL: The fact that... if another kind of group, say, a labor union decided that they wanted... that they wanted to engage in political advocacy and someone said but they took out an ad in a newspaper to do that, couldn't that also be interpreted as being commercial speech in a way?
JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG: Not in this context. If people are making political statements and engaging in the kind of speech that is non- commercial in nature, the court gives less leeway... I mean, gives more leeway, excuse me. Generally you have to prove negligence or reckless disregard for the truth. You can't just say this speech is false. You have to impose a heightened burden. That's not the case in the commercial context when advertising is at issue. The government, the court has long ruled it is free and persons acting on behalf of the government in California are freer to go in and monitor the content of that speech because advertisement and corporate speech, after all, is thought to be, as the court has said, heartier, that the company has an incentive to get its message out and it has the financial means to do it. So if the government steps in we don't have to worry about the chilling effect like we might in pure political discourse.
GWEN IFILL: Okay. Jan, thanks again.
JIM LEHRER: Again, the major developments of the day. Palestinian leader Arafat and his designated prime minister broke a deadlock over a new cabinet. The United States demanded that step before releasing a road map for peace in the Middle East. And the U.S. Warned Iran against stirring up Shiite Muslims in Iraq. A correction before we go: In the News Summary, we misidentified an official of the World Health Organization. He was Dick Thompson, not David Heymann. We regret the error. We'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. I'm Jim Lehrer, thank you and good night.
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
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Chicago: “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” 2003-04-23, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 2, 2022,
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