We're awaiting an announcement from BP on its earnings and whether BP CEO Tony Hayward will stay or go. There are numerous reports he's going to be booted. We're also following developments in the leaked reports on the Afghan war on WikiLeaks.org.
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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/07/26/afghanistan.wikileaks.reaction/story.afgh.us.troops.afp.gi.jpg caption="U.S. troops patrol near a shepherd and his flock in Kandahar province, Afghanistan." width=300 height=169]
Tonight on 360°, we're tracking reports that BP CEO Tony Hayward is on his way out. The BP board met this evening to decide his fate, more than three months into the Gulf oil disaster. As you'll recall, back in June, Hayward said, "I'd like my life back." Well, he may about to get his wish.
Though, there's is a lot of questions about his possible exit package. Consider this: Hayward is due an annual pension of more than $900,000 and owned BP shares worth more than $300 million at the beginning of this year.
We're also digging deeper into the release of more than 76,000 classified U.S. military and diplomatic records on the war in Afghanistan by WikiLeaks.org - a whistleblower web site.
WikiLeaks won't say how it received the documents. The reports, filed between 2004 and January of this year, can't be authenticated by CNN. The Department of Defense won't comment on them until the Pentagon has had a chance to look them over, a department official told CNN.
"We would like to see this material, the revelations that this material gives be taken seriously," said Julian Assange, the founder of the web site.
Assange admits a team at WikiLeaks has read only 1,000 to 2,000 of the documents.
Anderson will talk with Assange tonight on the program.
From Washington to Afghanistan, there's been strong reaction to the posting.
"It poses a very real and potential threat to those that are working hard everyday to keep us safe," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Meanwhile, the Afghan government said it is "shocked" by the leaked documents. It takes aim at the allegation in the reports that Pakistan was secretly supporting al Qaeda and called on Washington to deal with the Pakistani intelligence agency, known as ISI.
"These reports show that the U.S. was already aware of the ISI connection with the al Qaeda terrorist network. The United States is long overdue on the ISI issue, and now the U.S. should answer," said Siamak Herawi, an Afghan government spokesman.
Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, the former head of ISI, whose mentioned several times in the leaked documents, called the accusations that Pakistan was supporting al Qaeda lies.
And, Pakistan's foreign office released this statement:
"The people of Pakistan and its security forces, including ISI, have rendered enormous sacrifices against militancy and terrorism. Our contributions have been acknowledged by the international community, in particular, by the United States."
We'll talk this over with CNN's National Security Analyst Peter Bergen, who's traveled to Afghanistan countless times and wrote the best-selling book, "The Osama bin Laden I Know," about his face-to-face meeting with the most wanted terrorist in the world.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. See you then.
John D. Sutter
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/video/tech/2010/07/26/natsot.what.is.wiki.leaks.cnn.300×169.jpg caption="WikiLeaks is a website where people send classified documents" width=300 height=169]
WikiLeaks isn't much to look at.
The website's homepage is largely composed of a plain-text logo and a giant hyperlink that simply says: "Submit documents."
But there's plenty of technical muscle and strategy behind the whistle-blowing website that's known for leaking state secrets, including, on Sunday, tens of thousands of alleged documents about the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.
That's not to say WikiLeaks is immune to attacks and technical challenges, however. The site crashes on occasion, either because of high traffic, as was the case Sunday and Monday, or because of lack of funds, which reportedly was the case when the site briefly shut down in January.
Patrick M. Cronin
Special to CNN
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/OPINION/07/26/cronin.wikileaks.war/tzleft.cronin.patrick.courtesy.jpg caption="Cronin says material will make the U.S. quest for stability more difficult" width=300 height=169]
The mother lode of ground-level raw intelligence from the Afghan war disseminated by WikiLeaks may ultimately bring about some good. In the short term, however, it will almost surely further undermine the U.S.-led search for stability.
Sifting through some of the 92,000 records is likely to strike an informed reader that there is nothing here that fundamentally alters his judgment about the war so much as it provides a level of granularity often missing from daily news reports.
Indeed, almost every issue has been previously reported in major news outlets, albeit with perhaps less authority than is permitted by these electronic records.
Drew Griffin | BIO
CNN Investigative Correspondent
CNN Special Investigations Unit
Program Note: A look at the investigation into potential safety concerns along the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline on tonight's "AC360" 10 p.m. ET
Delta Junction, Alaska (CNN) - The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, 800 miles long and carrying an estimated 650,000 barrels of oil a day, sweeps majestically over the fast-flowing Tanana River here.
For most of its 33-year history, the pipeline has done its work well. It survived an earthquake and even a 2001 attack by a deranged man who pumped six high-powered bullets into its skin.
But a little-publicized accident over the Memorial Day weekend has triggered a wave of concern among congressional investigators and led to accusations that Alyeska, the oil company consortium that manages the pipeline, is cutting maintenance and safety budgets.
According to pipeline critics, those cuts could endanger the entire system and one day lead to a spill that would shatter Alaska's fragile ecosystems.
"There's incident after incident within the last six months (that) might seem like small things, but when you put them all together, in a relatively short period of time, it really tells you how poorly this pipeline is being maintained," Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, told CNN in an interview to air on tonigh't "AC360"
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/26/t1larg.gulf.mental.health.cnn.jpg caption="Early signs show rise in depression, domestic violence, substance abuse and more" width=300 height=169]
The family business has closed, and the couple can't work - for themselves or for BP, it seems. Their neighbors and community leaders, she says, are showing a kind of greed she's never seen before. They aren't the people she thought they were.
"Everyone's out for themselves," says the woman, who like many in her small Alabama town has a lot to say but won't say it except anonymously. "I was telling my husband the other night that I'll be glad when the Lord calls me home. I'll be glad to leave this place."
For a moment, forget about saving wildlife. Think not about the oil, the well, the sullied waters. Put aside any blame of corporations or government and dismiss projections about what will happen to the economy or the environment. Plenty of experts, officials with impressive titles and everyday people in the Gulf Coast and around the country are losing sleep over these matters.
June 1, 2010 - The last time I visited Koma Bangou, Niger, was two years ago. Back then, I thought it was one of the poorest and most desperate places I had ever seen.
Koma Bangou is a mining area — very hot, dry, and with poor access to drinking water. The community is made up of people who migrate from all over Niger and neighboring countries.
A large river bed on the road to Koma Bangou, Niger is almost completely dried up. People and animals try to make use of the little water that's left before it disappears. Niger's rainy season normally starts in late April or early May, but this year, by June 1, it had only rained three times. The lack of rain means most people have not been able to begin sowing this year's harvest. The lack of rain plus the country's annual "hunger season" (the time from when cereal stocks run out until the next harvest in October) means that more than 7 million people in Niger are at risk of moderate to severe food insecurity.
They are desperately poor, trying to make a living from what is, in effect, a non-productive mine. I am glad for the opportunity to go back to Koma Bangou, but very nervous at the same time. I am worried about what we will find, given the current drought and food crisis.
‘In Africa, everyone is looking to the sky’
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/26/wv3_web.jpg caption="Zeinaba Abdoulaye feeds her 8-month-old daughter, Tinoumoude Guissa, with Plumpy'Nut, a read-to-use therapeutic food, at a World Vision health center in Niger. Zeinaba left her village at 6 a.m. and walked seven kilometers to bring Tinoumoude to the health center because the baby had had a fever for the past several days. Zeinaba and her husband have two other children at home, but she says there is no millet left in the house to feed her family." width=292 height=320]
On the road to Koma Bangou, all the earth is orange — a really deep terracotta orange. The trees are very sparse, and as we get closer to Koma Bangou, the orange, sandy earth gives way to very rocky soil.
I remember a conversation I had with a colleague, Moussa, the day before.
He told me that it has only rained two or three times so far this rainy season. Normally, it should start to rain in late April and continue through September. On hearing this, my heart sinks.
This isn’t just about communities trying to make it through the annual “lean season,” which are typically the months running up to the October harvest. It could mean that even this year’s planting and upcoming harvests are at risk. It’s not what I wanted to hear.
We drive by another river bed; this time, there is a small amount of water in it. Others are completely dry. We pass two Fulani herders, and the angular bones of their skinny cattle stick out.
Again, I think of a conversation from the day before. “In Africa, everyone is looking to the sky,” someone had said to me. “Communities do not understand the rain patterns anymore.”
How can they, I wonder, given the changes in seasonal rainfall?
Help for the hungry
Two-year-old Jamila's baggy skin is a symptom of severe acute malnutrition. The little girl was brought to one of World Vision's health centers in Koma Bangou, Niger. In Koma Bangou, health workers have already identified 53 cases of severe acute malnutrition, up from 22 cases recorded for all of 2009.
We arrive at the health care center in Koma Bangou; it’s time to start working. The community volunteers and health workers trained by World Vision were in full swing when we arrived, already weighing and assessing the children and babies for malnutrition.
I start to photograph the babies, and I feel my stomach turn over every time I hold the camera up and see another skinny body in front of me. It seems like baby after baby is suffering from severe malnutrition.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/26/wv4_web.jpg caption="A community health volunteer weighs 12-month-old Mariam at a health center in Koma Bangou, Niger. Mariam lives with her 19-year-old mother, Baraka, nearby. Baraka said she cried when she found out her daughter was severely malnourished. She said she would like to feed her child but often has no food to give her." width=292 height=320]
The day we spent in Koma Bangou, 13 new cases of acute severe malnutrition were identified — bringing the current total of severe cases in this one health care center to 53 in just three weeks. I am told by health staff at the center that last year, there were just 22 severe malnutrition cases for the entire year. The comparison is startling.
World Vision has received a $1 million grant from the United States' Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance to implement an emergency nutrition intervention in Niger. The grant will provide food for nearly 28,000 malnourished children over the course of one year. To help support World Vision's response in Niger, please visit www.worldvision.org/nigercrisis or call your members of Congress and ask them to support the Global Food Security Act, legislation that would make a significant contribution toward reducing hunger by investing in sustainable agriculture and nutrition programs.
CNN Political Ticker
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Rush Limbaugh said Thursday on his radio show that Fox News and at least one of its anchors "caved" in its coverage of Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA employee who was fired in haste on Monday after an edited clip of her was posted on a conservative website.
"I have to go after it … because even Fox caved on this," Limbaugh said. "Even Shep Smith. Even poor old Shep Smith went down there and said that everybody's wrong on this, that [BigGovernment.com founder Andrew] Breitbart is wrong and so forth. There's only a handful of us that have the guts to put this story straight. If we don't hammer back nobody will."
Limbaugh dismissed the story, saying he was bored by it.