tonight on "nightline," crashing ashore. hurricane earl blasts the north carolina coast tonight, romming through the out eer banks with waves the size of buildings. we have the latest. paranoia porn? he says the government is poisoning the water supply. nbl was an inside job and mass enslavement is on the horizon. a million people a day hang on his every word. but does he believe his on broadcasts? and, the hot seat. in an exclusive interview, former british prime minister tony blair tells all, touching on everything from clint top and obama to those trappings of power, alcohol and sex. >> announcer: from the global resources of abc news, with
terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," september 2nd, 2010. >> good evening, everyone. hurricane earl is the biggest storm to threaten america's east coast in almost 20 years. and right off the bat, to get a sense if the punch matches the promise, let's go right to nags head, north carolina, that's where abc's steve osunsami is watching earl barrel ashore. steve? >> reporter: bill, we are now 120 miles away from the center of the storm as it continues to move to the northeast. still a very powerful category 2 storm with wind speeds upwards of 105 miles an hour. we're seeing gusts up to 40 and 50 miles an hour here. the wind is certainly started the rain has started. but our big concern tonight is the storm surge. we are very, very worried about it. as the wind moves the water from the ocean and the sound, right on top of us. people here have been forced to
evacua evacuate. there's been a mandatory evacuation in place and for good reason. this is very low-lying area. officials are telling residents who decided to stay that now is the time to stay put, baton down the hatches and ride this one out. bill? >> okay, steve, watching what is now a category 2 storm there, but still, as you saw, very powerful. and for some, watching these big storms is more than just an accidental pursuit. we set out with a team of hurricane trackers in north carolina and then they went up in the air with exclusive access to a nasa flight through the air of this storm. here's john berman. >> reporter: it is a nervous, wet and windy night in north carolina. the eye of hurricane earl continuing its dangerous flirtation with the coast. but the gusting gales going all the way. pounding the shore. this is the beginning of earl's impact on the east coast. with 26 million people near its potential path, watching nervously. our camera flew into the eye of
the storm today, as it began to break apart. >> that's the eye wall. >> this is the eye wall right there? >> reporter: abc's matt gutman was given an exclusive look at this nasa flight. earl is now a some what diminished category 2 storm, but still a powerful storm. >> what we're looking at right now is, all the way down to the sea surface, which is the blue you're seeing, and several levels of clouds stacking vertically and bending outward of an eye wall from that. this is one of the most well documented storms that we've ever had and in fact we actually have seen the storm strengthen and begin to weaken. >> reporter: with gujts like these cap sums, dropped into the storm, to give an exact reading of wind speed, pressure and rain. back on the ground, there are two sane things to do when a storm gets too close. leave -- >> hit the back roads down here, once we get in shore i think we'll be okay. >> reporter: or hunker down. >> we're going to tough it out.
going to be quite a storm. we're here to take it on. >> reporter: then, there's a third option. go hunting. mark and jess are hurricane chasers. >> 9:19 right now. >> reporter: these images were captured just hours ago from inside this state of the art storm chasing truck. they spent the last ten years tracking hurricanes just like earl. driving into the eye of the storm to capture the images of fury. in 2004, there was charley -- >> we are getting pounded. oh, man, stuff's hitting the vehicle, big time. i think we're getting in the eye. it's clearing out. >> reporter: and ivan. >> the storm surge is coming in right now. it has been for most of the afternoon. it's going to be very dangerous. >> reporter: and five years ago, katrina. >> we are being blasted right now. >> bye-bye earl.
>> reporter: over the last couple of days, for most people, it's been about evacuation. but for the hurricane chasers, it's about cinemaing tcinemato. >> this camera is streaming back live video and streaming that shot right there, and what it is showing is an angry ocean. >> reporter: north carolina is just the first stop on this dangerous holiday weekend express. next in its path, the far eastern tip of new york's long island. here, they were stocking up in stores. >> what are you buying here? >> well, candles and water, you know, i lived in florida, so, i know you need all this stuff when there's a hurricane even looking at us, so -- that's what i'm doing. >> reporter: and pulling boats from the water. at this marina alone, nearly 100 came out. and, telling people to stay out of the surf. but for all the concern, there
is relative calm. are you all here on vacation? >> yes. >> reporter: is the storm going to ruin your vacation? >> no! >> reporter: and there are ways of coping. what are you drinking today? >> coffee. >> cocktail. >> reporter: more of that for tomorrow if it gets bad? >> absolutely. >> reporter: the biggest impact might be on cape cod in massachusetts. nantucket and martha's vineyard could also get pummeled. but for now on cape cod, all is calm. the calm before the storm, as it were. a storm that tonight continues to obliterate the calm in north carolina. i'm john berman for "nightline" in mon talk, new york. >> our thanks to john berman for that report. and up next, he might be the nation's premiere per say your of paraknow what porn. we check in with the radio host whose conspiracy theories draw in a staggering audience.
no oil has flowed into the gulf for weeks, but it's just the beginning of our work. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. my job is to listen to the shrimpers and fishermen, hotel and restaurant workers and find ways to help. that means working with communities.
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against? whatever they say is the opposite. they never tell the truth. >> reporter: to alex jones, the world is very dark place. >> america has been captured. america is being robbed. we are now being looted like a third world nation. well, i'm not going to sit down and shut up. world government means world tyranny, run by control freaks that want to carry out forced reduction. >> reporter: do you believe what you say? >> i believe it. >> reporter: none of it is a show at all? >> no. it's all true. >> reporter: jones is arguably the nation's premiere per yeah vor of what could be called paranoia porn. >> i'm live in 30 seconds. >> reporter: his six day a week radio show and web cast reach an estimated 1 million people a day. >> this federal intrusion is out of control. >> reporter: and on youtube and elsewhere, jones estimates 200 million people have seen his various documentaries.
>> we're taking our destiny back. you're not our gods or masters. >> reporter: with titles like "the fall of the republic." "end game, blueprint for global enslavement," and "the obama deception." >> barack obama is definitely an unconstitutional criminal. >> reporter: jones espouses a litany of conspiracy theories. fema is running concentration camps? >> yes. they have designated sports stadiums, they have designated fields for the american people during a civil uprising. >> reporter: the government is poisoning the water? >> absolutely. i have government documents where the government propose s poisoning the water to dumb down the population. >> reporter: 9/11 was an inside job. >> yes. it was a staged event to launch the iraq war and set up a domestic police state here in the united states. >> reporter: people who monitor hate groups say they are extremely worried about the influence jones has.
you know this, but you have these critics who say that by floating these highly charged ideas at a time when the country is already very angry and anxious, that you're making things more dangerous. >> look, i've got to report the information i see and what i believe is happening. i have a responsibility to put out the information and what people do with it, that's their issue. >> we have abc news/"nightline" here. >> reporter: despite his mistrust of the media, jones agreed to let us in for a day. >> we're just soldiers looking across each other, on the picket line here. >> reporter: jones says he doesn't allow his dim view of human nature to color his personal relationships. do you have a sense of who your listeners are? he's abu yant about his wife and three children. your son knows the word propaganda? >> yes. >> reporter: a 7-year-old? that's what happens when your alex jones' son. >> he knows everybody has an
agenda, including myself. all i'm calling for is a real investigation. and the people of oklahoma have been calling for that. >> reporter: jones got his start with a local cable access show in the 1990s. he now has a huge fan base, which includes celebrities like willie nelson, jesse ventura, charlie sheen -- >> i'm calling on each and every american citizen to wake up, stand up, and demand the truth. >> reporter: and spencer pratt and heidi montag. >> spencer pratte, good to have you on. >> thank you so much. i'm so honored to be on with you. you are a true american patriot. >> reporter: do you think there's some percentage of people who watch you who do it for entertainment value? >> a very low percentage. >> reporter: while he admits that some people may watch him purely for entertainment, he says the real reason for his recent growth is that the public increasingly mistrusts government. >> there's a scientific dictatorship controlling the planet. >> reporter: however, jones
sometimes seems to latch onto small pieces of to prove his more sinister theories. for example, he says this about an article he found on cnn.com. >> and they recommend having a one child policy. >> reporter: and i looked up the article, and i have it and i can pull it up for you. it's a fluffy feature piece interviewing a woman who wrote a semi-jokey book about having environmentally friendly sex. in which she talks about doing dating -- >> and then slipped in there, we might want to one-child policy or adopt. >> reporter: it was a sar fistic aside, not cnn -- >> it's all sarcastic. but see, we've gone from, there's no move for a world government, it doesn't exist, nuts talk about it to, you can't prove the world government that's being formed is murderous. >> reporter: i'm not even granting you that there's a world government being formed. >> that's why you're discredited.
>> reporter: do you think you work yourself up into a lather where you overstate your case slightly? >> certainly, i've overstated the case sometimes, but more often than not, it comes out and it is worse than i thought. >> new world order! >> reporter: he says he actually hates his job and would love to stop his show. if only the bankers would be put in jail, the federal government made smaller and all corrupt wars ended. >> you are criminals! >> reporter: but he says he doesn't see any of those things happening any time soon. until then, he says, it is his duty to shake america out of its trans. >> our good friends at "nightline." >> reporter: for "nightline," this is dan harris in austin, texas. >> and our thanks to dan harris for that report. up next, frank talk from tony blair. the former british prime minister shares his thoughts on bush, obama and his own animal urges. içiçiçiçiçiçiçiçiçiçiçiçiçiçiçiç [ male announcer ] the financial headlines
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>> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with bill weir. this is an interesting timing that the end of combat in iraq should come on the same week, tony blarp's memoir is released. the former british prime minister rose to political stardom during the clinton era, but his career seems most defined by a decision to follow george w. bush in this unpopular war. tonight, christiane amanpour talks with blair, now an author, speaker and middle east peace broker in a "nightline" interview.
>> reporter: let me start with the middle east peace process. what is different this time? >> i think what is different is first of all president obama has made this a priority, right at the outset of his presidency. so, this gives us some time. and that matters in these processes. secondly, i spend probably as much time as anyone both in israel and in palestine, both sets of people want peace. i am sure both leaders want peace. >> reporter: let's talk a little bit about iraq. do you have regrets about iraq? >> you can't not have regrets about the lives lost. you're being inhuman if you didn't regret the death of so many extraordinary brave and committed soldiers, of civilians that have died in iraq or die still now in afghanistan and of course you feel an enormous responsibility for that, not just regret. but in the end, i believed and still do, that if we left saddam there we would have had a
different sort of problem, also with consequences and also with many people dying. so, that's the difficulty for me and likewise in afghanistan. i think if we hadn't taken on the taliban and hadn't taken on what had been a training ground for al qaeda, we would be in trouble, and i believe that if you come to an issue like iran today, where again you are faced with the same time of choice. >> reporter: given the focus on afghanistan today, and that being the center, as you describe it, of the fight against extremism, wouldn't it have been better, do you think, in retrospect, to have continued at the same pace in afghanistan, to not have diverted the billions of dollars, the amount of resources, the amount of attention, to iraq? you could have waited? >> well, except that in our view, at the time, you had to take a stand on this whole issue to do with development of nuclear, chemical, biological weapons. the place to start was iraq because of saddam having used
those weapons. and i personally felt, and i still feel, the single biggest threat we face is the prospect of these terrorist groups acquiring some form of nuclear or chemical, biological capability. and the thing is, when you sit on the hot seat of decisionmaking, you've got to decide. >> reporter: you describe president clinton, bill clinton, as your political soul mate. you say he was one of the smartest political minds you ever came across? >> oh, he's phenomenally smart. i think the smartest politician i ever came across, yes. >> reporter: you obviously had a lot of dealings at the height of the troubles when he was involved with the monica lewinsky scandal, there was the impeachment. how did you see him get through his political life at that point? >> by the most extraordinary strength of character. >> reporter: you talk about the human frailty of alcohol. you say, the relationship between alcohol and prime ministers is a subject for a book all of its own.
what was your relationship with alcohol? did it become a prop? you talked about the stiff whiskey or a gin and tonic before dinner. a couple of glasses of wine or even a bottle with dinner. not excessively excessive, i had a limit, but i was aware that it had become a problem. >> you have to be careful of it become a problem. and it can be. i was never quite sure, because sometimes, you know, it's a relaxation at the end of the day and that can also be a good thing. as you get on in life, you just need to treat it with care and be aware of its impact and actually, earlier this year, for the first time, my wife had been on me for ages, i gave it up for lent. for the six weeks without it and it's interesting. >> reporter: you talk about your wife. she's obviously been the mainstay of your adult life. and at one point you talk about your wife giving you support and soothing you. you say, on that night of the 12th of may, 1994 i needed the love that sherri gave me selfishly.
i devoured it to give me strength. i was an animal following my instinct, knowing that i would need every ounce of emotional power and resilience. racy, that. >> yeah, blush now. >> reporter: that's -- okay. i'm going to blush, too. >> good. good. blush together. what i wrote, i wrote as it were. >> reporter: let me ask you about your relationship with president bush. many people thought that you wouldn't get on because of the difference of your politics. >> we continue, obviously, to disagree on certain aspects of politics, but on the central question, after september 11th of security, we were in agreement. >> reporter: you say george w. bush was very smart. he had an immense simplicity in how he saw the world. right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership. >> yes, it did. and i think, you know, it's easy and it's easy to ignore the strength that sometimes comes with that. >> reporter: do you think
president obama has that kind of decisionmaking way about him or is he more nuanced and how do you think that plays? >> the one thing i think you can identify very clearly about president obama is that he has a huge amount of steel. and is somebody who, you know, on whose shoulders that power sits more easily than i think i've seen in a political figure. when you think of the weight of responsibility that's on him, not just because of the office, but what he represents to people around the world, i mean, around the world. not the tiniest corner of any place in the world that does not know about barack obama and has heard of him. and looks up to him. i mean, that's a huge responsibility and it sits easily with him. >> tony blair's autobiography is titled "a journey: my political life." and you can get much more as he sits down with christiane amanpour sunday on "this week."