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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Katrina Survivors Return Home to Gruesome Discovery; Saddam Hussein Faces First Witness; The One-Hour Face-Lift

Aired December 5, 2005 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
Just when you thought things in New Orleans couldn't get any worse, a homecoming ends with a gruesome discovery.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: A Katrina survivor returns home to a grisly discovery: two neighbors' bodies forgotten in a house authorities swore they searched.

GWENDOLYN ALEXANDER, FRIEND OF VICTIMS: I screamed. That's all I can remember. I seen a body laying down on the floor, and I screamed.

ANNOUNCER: How could this happen? Tonight, 360 investigates why so many homes were never properly searched and why the Katrina death toll just keeps on rising.

Saddam Hussein defiant -- the former Iraqi dictator faces his first witness, questions the court's legitimacy, and says he doesn't fear death.

And they call it the one-hour face-lift, no cutting and lower costing, but is it really as good as it sounds? New questions about a cosmetic surgery some critics say offers more hype than hope.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

A dangerous night outside for much of the country -- we will have the latest on the wintry weather.

But, first, here's a look at what is happening at this moment.

The former 9/11 Commission gives the White House and Congress failing marks, saying they're not doing enough to prevent another terror attack. The panel, now privately funded, issued a new report today. The problems include lousy screening of cargo on passenger airlines, radios that don't communicate, and politicians funding pork projects, instead of real security needs. The White House and FBI responded, agree -- they said they agree more needs to be done, but say they have made sufficient progress since the commission's initial recommendations. We will a closer look later.

In Iraq today, another boisterous court session and graphic accounts of brutality allegedly under the regime of Saddam Hussein. One witness described how men, women and children were rounded up and then tortured in Baghdad. The defense questioned the credibility of the witness. And Hussein himself called the allegations laughable.

Here in the states, Republican lawmaker Tom DeLay is not off the hook just yet. Today, a Texas judge dismissed a conspiracy charge against the former majority leader, but he upheld a money-laundering count, both related to the related funneling of corporate money three years ago to Republican legislative candidates in Texas. The upheld charge prevents DeLay from returning to his leadership post any time soon.

And a former top cop -- top official with the Boy Scouts, I should say, is going to spend eight years in prison for receiving and distributing child pornography. Sixty-two-year-old Douglas Smith Jr. was sentenced today in Fort Worth, Texas. Smith has served the Scouts for some 39 years. He retired in February. That was the same month investigators found hundreds of child pornography images on his home computer.

Shocking stuff.

We begin tonight in New Orleans with a story that shocked us, just when we thought we were immune to it. The state of the Louisiana stopped house-to-house searches more than a month ago. You would think that meant all the homes had been searched, all the bodies found. Well, we know that is not true -- and disturbing proof of it again tonight.

A woman returning home, searching for her friends, she had been assured their home was searched. She had been assured they were not there. She checked for herself today, and guess what? She found her friends, abandoned, forgotten, decaying.

CNN's Keith Oppenheim reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Her nickname was Toni (ph). And this picture from 40 years ago is the only one friends could find of her. Eighty-eight-year-old Antonio Jackson (ph) lived with her 97-year-old husband, Eddie (ph), in this house in Gentilly, a New Orleans neighborhood.

Their best friend, Gwendolyn Alexander, checked in on them regularly, but says Hurricane Katrina changed all that. The destructive floods of New Orleans forced her to flee to Texas. And, ever since then, Gwendolyn says she's been trying to find out what happened to the Jacksons (ph).

GWENDOLYN ALEXANDER, FRIEND OF VICTIMS: It's not like her. She would have called me.

OPPENHEIM: Gwendolyn says she kept making phone calls to the house and to authorities.

ALEXANDER: I called the police department. I had them drive by. They said they came in. They checked the house. Nobody was in the house.

OPPENHEIM: In fact, when Gwendolyn came to the house once before, she saw official markings on the outside, seeming to indicate zero bodies were found in the home on September 14. She didn't go inside. Still, something didn't sit right with her.

ALEXANDER: Even when my kids would come here to New Orleans to see about their property, they will ride by and they said, mama, they have a zero on the house. I say, you all go check on Ms. Toni (ph). They said, ma, they have a zero on the house. That means no one is in the house.

And that's what kept saying. I said, well, maybe she's someplace else. That's -- but it just stayed on my mind. Check the house. Check the house.

OPPENHEIM: Today, Gwendolyn decided to check the house again. With some help from a friend, she made the decision to go inside.

ALEXANDER: So, he open -- pushed the door open. And we went in. And as we was walking, when we got to the kitchen part, he -- trying to open the door back there, for -- we can have a little light to see. And I screamed. That's all I can remember. I seen a body laying down on the floor, and I screamed.

OPPENHEIM: Gwendolyn told me the body on the floor was Eddie (ph). They later found Toni (ph) dead in the living room. She can't explain why the reports and markings were wrong.

ALEXANDER: That door had never been opened.

OPPENHEIM: But she is convinced of one thing, that, until she and her friends went into the Jackson home, no one else had gone inside to check.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OPPENHEIM: Anderson, we learned that the painted markings on the Jackson (ph) home behind me were from the Oregon National Guard. The Oregon Guard was one of many Guard units that was doing search-and- rescue in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

And a spokesman from the Oregon National Guard told me that the policy on September 14, when the search of this neighborhood happened, was not to do forced entry, that they would only go into homes where the doors were unlocked. Otherwise, they didn't go in. And he also said that, if a zero was painted on the home, that that's a sign that there were no victims inside.

So, perhaps the question is not, why was -- why wasn't this house checked, but why was there a zero painted on the front. To that, we don't have an answer tonight -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, a lot of these searchers would -- break a window and basically just stick their head in and kind of smell. And, if they smelled the body, then -- then they would enter the house. It's possible that was done in this case. And that's why they just put -- put the zero, because maybe they didn't smell anything at the time.

But what's amazing to me, Keith, is that we know the state stopped house-to-house searches officially on October 3. I asked the governor a couple of weeks, what -- who made that decision, and why was that decision made? Because, clearly, there were so many houses which hadn't been gotten to. She didn't know who made that decision, and she couldn't tell me why that decision had been made.

And we know the sheriff from Saint Bernard Parish was complaining. Even back then, he said -- back on October 3, we are still going to find more bodies.

The death toll has risen by more than 100 since October 3. Is there -- I mean, are searches still going on in houses?

OPPENHEIM: Well, only if there's a cause to do so.

And this story that we are reporting tonight may have some impact with officials, and they may continue to question whether they should simply stop searching. Another context here, there are so many houses that -- houses to have been searched. It is possible that in, all that was going on, that something was painted on and somebody didn't look inside. Mistakes can be made.

But I think you are raising some important questions here, is that, if mistakes can be made in a situation like this, should more be done now to make sure that there aren't any other people out there who need to be found?

COOPER: It's just -- you know, so sad, looking at your piece, how it started off, with that picture of that lovely lady. It looked like a picture of the '40s or -- or -- or '50s, that that is the only thing people are going to remember her by. That's the only thing left of her. She certainly deserved better than to just be left in -- in that house for all this time.

Keith Oppenheim, appreciate it. Keep on the reporting.

We're still learning -- and probably will continue to learn for a long time -- about all the incredible stresses and strains the Katrina calamity has put on the state and local systems there in Louisiana. There were -- develops floods of many kinds.

CNN's John King is standing by in Washington to tell us about a flood of e-mail -- John. JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, more than 100,000 pages of documents released, we have been going through them today.

I have stacks of them here in front of me. And they do paint the behind-the-scenes picture of the confusion, the chaos and the political in-fighting going on in Louisiana, even before Katrina hit, and especially in those immediate days afterwards, when it was so hard to get any federal aid to the state.

But the state officials were confused as well. There's one e- mail here in which an aide to the governor says that the governor wanted to use helicopters to drop a statement she had made into the city, convincing people to leave, that there was no point in staying -- the aide saying she thought that was a bad idea, because those helicopters were urgently needed to deliver food and water.

There are e-mails trying to document all the rumors floating around about a lack of food, about the gang violence, about evacuations of hospitals. Clearly, Anderson, confusion at the state level, but, most of all, in these e-mails, what you find is a nasty feud with Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): It was August 31, two days after Katrina hit, desperate families trying to escape New Orleans, no gas to be found, food and water scarce.

A top aide to Governor Blanco vented her exasperation in an e- mail: "I have buses and water, but can't get word on where and how to send."

That same day, another Blanco aide wrote of a full-court press by the White House to get the governor to give Washington full control of the state National Guard. A third aide scribbled that Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove wanted Blanco to impose martial law, or "as close as we can get." Governor Blanco ultimately refused.

State-federal feuds were no secret at the time. But the more than 100,000 pages of newly-released documents illustrate a nonstop battle , almost as if, as tens of thousands were desperately waiting for help, that winning the image and political wars of the moment were as important as the emergency response itself.

On September 1, for example, the governor's communications director accused the White House of "actively working to make us the scapegoats," and said he had arranged for Democrats in Washington to orchestrate events, saying Mr. Bush was to blame.

One constant in the e-mails and handwritten notes is staff worries about the governor's image.

When outspoken Congresswoman Maxine Waters and other members of the Black Caucus wanted to visit, Blanco's director of state federal relations wrote, "Don't we have bigger things to worry about?" But another aide urged caution, warning, "We are getting enough bad national press on race relations."

An offer of help from Cuban President Fidel Castro brought a mixed response. "A written e-mail from the governor would be good," the state's economic development chief said. But Blanco's communications director wanted no communication with Castro and wrote of the offer, "We cannot let this get out."

When it was Oprah calling, however, the tone was markedly different. "Oprah may want to go to mass with the governor," a Blanco spokeswoman wrote on September 2. "The governor would very much like that."

The documents were requested by Congress, and the governor decided to make them public. "My biggest mistake," she wrote in one of the memos, "was believing FEMA officials who told me the necessary federal resources would be available in a timely fashion."

White House officials predict the investigations will find many shortcomings at the state level, too, but say more finger-pointing serves no purpose.

DAN BARTLETT, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT BUSH: These e-mails show very thin slices of exactly what happened on the ground. But President Bush has made clear that there's blame to go around.

(END VIDEOTAPE) two days after Katrina hit.

KING: Now, as you read through these documents -- and we are just cracking the surface -- again, there are more than 100,000 pages of them -- as you read through them, the sense of siege at the state level is overwhelming.

What is also stunning, even in today's age of, shall we say, raw politics, Anderson, is how quickly, at a time when so many people needed so much help, this degenerated into partisan suspicions, partisan reflexes, finger-pointing.

COOPER: Yes. And I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

You know what I -- it -- I -- they are still saying this thing about, you know, this is not the time to point fingers. And they use that term the blame game. You know, that is what they said three weeks ago, four weeks ago. That's what they said months ago, after Katrina first hit. And -- and, yet, there's still is no -- no one talking about -- John, about when -- when is anyone going to find out exactly who made mistakes?

No politician has stood up and said, these are the specific mistakes I made and these are the things which we should not repeat. It -- what's the latest on, like, an independent investigation? Is there ever going to be one?

KING: Well, so far, there will be no independent investigation.

You have two, maybe three congressional committees looking at this. That's the way the Congress wants it right now. The Congress does not want to give this up. And the administration doesn't want to give this up to an independent commission, like the 9/11 Commission -- that commission back in the news again tonight.

So, congress is looking at it from -- at this point. The state is looking at it from this point. There are still some Democrats not fully cooperating with the congressional investigation, saying they want an independent commission.

Right now, they're not going to get one. As for the finger- pointing, again, Anderson, there are more than 100,000 pages. I'm a few thousand, maybe 5,000 pages, into flipping through this. And it is finger-pointing. It is blame. There are some stories of the heroes in here. We should say that as well. But when will the finger-pointing end? If you're looking at these, not for months and months and months.

COOPER: You know, I think there are lot of people who just want -- you know -- and it is interesting. The only thing the politicians have said about mistakes that were made is that it -- the -- like, the governor in your piece would say, well, my mistake was trusting other people.

And -- and, you know, Mike Brown said, my mistake was not knowing the state was inept early on. And Nagin has said, my mistake was thinking the cavalry would come in two days.

That's -- that's not really admitting a mistake. That's saying -- that's basically criticizing the other guy. No one has stood up and said a mistake. Every time I ask -- I have asked the governor -- I would ask Mayor Nagin, if he would ever allow us to interview him again, you know, what -- what mistake did you specifically make? And none of them will answer that question. It's very frustrating.

John, keep reading the e-mails. I want -- I want to get a copy of those, too, and check them out this weekend. Thanks very much.

KING: I will overwhelm your server. They're on the way.

COOPER: All right.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Definitely.

If you are in the Northeast tonight, look out the window. You know the deal. An early December blast is socking the mid-Atlantic and northeast states with a significant amount of snow right now. Pretty to look at, sure. Wow, beautiful shot there in Washington. It is dangerous to those caught in it.

Plus, farther south, there are serious rain and thunderstorms.

CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano joins me from Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the latest -- Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Anderson, pretty big storm whipping itself up across the Northeast.

Here in Atlantic City, really, the first big snowfall of the -- of the season, and a lot of the folks are telling us, it's really the biggest snowfall they have seen in a couple years. And it's only a couple of inches.

We are on the boardwalk. You can see, it's already covered with snow, just a couple of inches right now, not snowing all that hard right now. But we are just seeing the very beginning part of -- of this snowfall.

The deal with Northeast snowstorms is, along the coastline, you either get all rain or you get the most amount of snow. And the reason we are here right now is because we think, by tomorrow morning, this may be a spot that gets the most amount of -- of snow.

Places like Boston, they're going to see all snow. Everybody has got the cold air in place. So, the track of this thing, really, is going to more determine how much snow you get, as opposed to whether it's all rain or all snow -- most everybody seeing snow.

Boston already has an inch. They will probably get a couple of more. Places like Roanoke, Virginia, that far south, already has seen a couple of inches of snow. They will start to see things wind down through the overnight period. And Chicago got in the act as well.

But now, most of the focus will be across the Northeast.

Let's take a look at the forecast weather map for the snow total forecast that we think is going to happen here. Over the next 12 hours, you can see most of it's to the south and to the east, towards the coast, places like South Jersey, where we are, places like the Delmarva, and Through Delaware and -- and Maryland, especially the coastline, could see seven, eight, maybe even nine inches of snow.

So, not a blizzard by any stretch of the imagination, but it is the first major snowstorm of the season. Places like New York City, which saw -- saw as little snow fall over the weekend, will see maybe two or three inches on top of that. And then, after that, we're looking at a pretty significant surge of cold air that will be in place for several days to come, likely right on through the end of this week.

This boardwalk, by the way, used to be seven miles long. Now it's four miles long. A little weather history: Back in 1944, a hurricane came through and took out some of the boardwalk. We don't think it's going to get that rough here, Anderson, but roads do get slick, especially in the first couple snowfalls of the season. So, tomorrow morning could be a bit of a headache for folks who live up and down the I-95 Corridor -- back to you.

COOPER: Rob, thanks. Get inside. Get warm. Thanks very much.

MARCIANO: You bet.

COOPER: Months after Katrina and years after 9/11, why can't the government get its act together? Next on 360, the 9/11 Commission's report card point by scathing point, a lot of F's on that report card. We are going to hear the charges and hear from two members of the commission, a Democrat and a Republican, who agree on them.

Later, fast facts on a 60-minute face-lift? That's what they call it. What are the risks? And can 60 minutes really take years off your face? It's a pretty interesting procedure, though there are some people who are kind of doubtful about it. We will give you the real deal.

From across America and around the world, this is 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, imagine this. We are looking back on Hurricane Katrina tonight, reporting on how well it turned out, thanks to the lessons of 9/11 -- that and how well prepared the country is for the next time.

The sad thing is, there's no reason it couldn't have turned out this way. A year-and-a-half ago, the bipartisan commission on 9/11 reported on what went wrong and what needed to change. As we reported at the top of the program tonight, members came out today with a report card. And it is not a good one.

Here's CNN's David Ensor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

THOMAS KEAN, FORMER CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: Some of the failures are shocking.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No sugarcoating it, no mincing words.

TIMOTHY ROEMER, FORMER 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: If my children were to receive this report card, they would have to repeat a grade. We can't afford to repeat the lessons of 9/11 and the losses of 9/11.

ENSOR: An F for congressional failure to mandate radio channels for first-responders, Army, police, fire departments, something Hurricane Katrina showed is needed for every kind of disaster.

JAMES THOMPSON, FORMER 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: Are we going to send policemen and firemen in this nation in to battle against evil without the ability to talk to each other? Are we crazy?

ENSOR: An F, too, failing to build a single terrorist watch list for airlines. Remember the chilling images of Mohamed Atta making his way through airport security on September 11?

Former commissioners said something like that could happen again.

KEAN: It's scandalous that airline passengers are still not screened against all names on a terrorist watch list.

ENSOR: An F for failing to hand out homeland security money to the states and cities most at risk.

KEAN: One city used its Homeland Security money for air- conditioned garbage trucks.

ENSOR: And the Bush administration got a D on its efforts to help secure nuclear materials and other weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union and around the world. But the White House points to all it has done a National Counterterrorism Center, a new intelligence chief, and heightened security at key facilities nationwide.

FRANCES TOWNSEND, WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: I think what's important is what we have accomplished and what we have done to secure the nation. And that's an enormous, enormous amount.

ENSOR (on camera): The former commissioners are only private citizens now. Their opinions get attention, but heavy-lifting, such as getting TV networks and stations to give up audio frequency bandwidth earlier, that could take public outrage.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And the question is, is the public really outraged about this at this point?

After they spoke out today, two commission members sat down with us, former Democrat Congressman Tim Roemer and former Republican Senator Slade Gorton. We spoke earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Congressman Roemer, as -- as report cards go, this is pretty terrible. Four years since 9/11, why hasn't there been more progress?

TIMOTHY ROEMER, FORMER 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: Distraction.

We have a distraction on the part of our leadership at the White House and Congress. They're not concentrating on the right kind of problems. Listen, here, al Qaeda, they're changing. We are not. They're dynamic. We're not.

And they attacked the United States in 1993 with a van, injuring 1,000 people in New York City. In the year 2001, they attacked us with airplanes, legal 3,000 people. We know they may come at us with chemical, biological, maybe nuclear weapons next time. And we're not doing nearly enough. There are 12 D's and five F's and two incompletes. Any child getting this kind of report card would have to repeat grades or fail.

COOPER: Senator Gorton, what about that? I mean, one of the biggest critiques is that the government still hasn't set up a communications system that allows, you know, fire departments to speak with police departments in -- in a disaster. Why hasn't that, in particular, happened?

SLADE GORTON, FORMER 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: That hasn't happened because the National Association of Broadcasters doesn't want to give up the spectrum that is needed by our first-responders.

Congress is going to vote, I hope next week, on whether or not at least to have finally a date on which it will happen. But that date is 2009. It's almost three years from now. That's too far in the future.

COOPER: How much of a problem is -- is pork projects? I heard Lee Hamilton saying some homeland security money is being spent on air conditions for garbage trucks.

ROEMER: Air-conditioned garbage trucks, Anderson, and, also, body armor for dogs. How is this helping us fight the war on jihadist terrorism more effectively?

Look, you can understand -- and Senator Gorton and I both spent time in Congress -- how members of Congress might want to load up some transportation bills with some pork. But to pork-barrel our national security -- for homeland security, we know Washington and New York City are targets. Wyoming and Oklahoma may not get as much money, and that's in America's interests.

COOPER: So, Senator Gorton, I mean, what is it? Is it that the American public has stopped demanding or -- or talking about this? Or the media had stopped talking about it, so politicians have moved on from it? I -- I just don't get -- unless this stuff is under the glare, maybe, or in the headlines every day, does Washington just not, you know, focus on it?

GORTON: I -- I think that that's true.

You know, the irony is, it may be the penalty for short-term success. There has not been another attack in the United States for more than four years on now. And people have moved on. Congressmen have moved on. They figure that politics as usual is -- is going to continue to work.

That is asking for trouble.

COOPER: What about that, Representative Roemer? Because, I mean, that's the line you get from the White House. The -- Scott McClellan, the -- the press secretary said, look, there has not been another attack in the United States, and -- and -- and, you know, that's indicative of -- of the efforts we have been putting into it.

report No, it is not.

In fact, Anderson, al Qaeda attacked us in 1993, waited patiently seven years, wanted to be more spectacular, wanted to kill more people. We report, on page 116 of the 9/11 Commission book, that now al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, are instructing their people to get a nuclear weapon and use it on the United States, an Hiroshima-type activity. COOPER: Senator Gorton, the other thing that we heard from Scott McClellan is, look, the -- this government has been taking the fight to the terrorists in -- in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and -- and that's, you know, part of the strategy, and -- and that is bearing fruit.

GORTON: That is part of the strategy -- strategy, but it is only part of the strategy.

Tim Roemer was exactly right. If there's a number-one danger, that danger is the use of weapons of mass destruction, especially the possibility of nukes. It may not be the most likely, but it's the most dangerous. And to say that we're on a program to solve that problem in 12 or 14 or 15 years is just way too long.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot more stories we are covering tonight.

Sophia Choi from Headline News has a quick update on the headlines -- Sophia.

SOPHIA CHOI, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson.

A dramatic rescue today atop a 200-foot-tall water town at Andrews Air Force Base, near Washington, D.C. A man doing maintenance on the tower had a medical emergency, got cold and lost feeling in his hands. Since the worker could not climb down by himself, a rescue team put him in a basket and lowered him to the ground. He was treated at a hospital and then released.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota has its own leaning tower, although not by choice. The demolition of the 202-foot-tall Zip Feed Mill tower did not go as planned over the weekend. Crews will bring in a crane and wrecking ball now to bring down what was believed to be the state's tallest building. The tower will be replaced by an office and retail center.

At the University of Central Arkansas, the world's largest Christmas stocking -- the stomp of approval came from a rep for Guinness World Records. The massive stock, made by several students, is 53 feet and 10 inches long and about 26 feet wide. It's filled with more than 11,000 toys, which will be donated to needy children.

Western Australia, an amazing sight, a meteor about the size of a basketball streaking across the sky -- a man caught the spectacular light show on his video camera. An astronomer says remnants of the meteor may have gone into the ocean, but if any landed on dry land, a museum would be interested.

So, Anderson, I guess the hunt is on.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Man, that's really cool.

Thanks very much, Sophia. CHOI: Sure.

COOPER: Hi drama in a Baghdad courtroom, as the first witness against Saddam Hussein took the stand and accused him of horrific acts of torture -- we will show you the drama in the court in a moment.

Also ahead, it's billed as a face-lift you can get on your lunch break, but is it too good to be true? A close look up at the latest quick-fix alternative to cosmetic surgery next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: For years, he said Saddam Hussein murdered his family. Today, he told it to the former's dictator's face -- next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, for the first time today Saddam Hussein faced witnesses who accused him of torture and murder. The former Iraqi dictator, seven other defendants tried for crimes against humanity. It is alleged they killed 140 men in the town of Dujail as revenge for an assassination attempt. Now, the crime itself is 23 years old but a Ahmed Hassan Mohammed broke down as if it were yesterday.

CNN's Nic Robertson has more from Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tears from the first witness to go face to face with Saddam Hussein. Just a low metal fence separated Ahmed Hassan Mohammed from the former dictator as he recounted the regime's violence against his family when he was just 15. Reprisals from attempt on the president's life. He described a large grinding machine with blood and hair underneath it. He talked about his own torture, and that of his older brother.

AHMED HASSAN MOHAMMED, WITNESS (through translator): They took my brother. He was 17. A high school student. They beat him we electric cables in front of my father.

ROBERTSON: He went on to describe how his sister shot and his brothers legs burned. Hussein tried to interject. The judge cut him off. The defense attacked Mohammed's credibility, accusing him of having selective memory. And logical inconsistencies. But only a few hours earlier, former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark led Hussein's defense team out of the court. Almost ending the day before it began. Protesting their security. The judge agreed to listen.

And threw at least one person, out of the visitor's gallery, for threatening the defense team. Right in the courtroom.

RAMSEY CLARK, SADDAM HUSSEIN DEFENSE ADVISER: Well, it was three different people, two at one time, but they weren't sitting right together, and they would -- when one particular counsel would look up there they'd -- like that. ROBERTSON: It was a second witness recalling destruction of his family's farm in Dujail that triggered the big sparks to fly. He described how five of his family's orchards were bulldozed. Hussein cut him off shouting. At one point, calling the witness an apostate, although you won't see that on the video released from the court which is being heavily censored. Officials say to protect security.

(on camera): Among the most telling of the emotional outbursts from Saddam Hussein and his half brother Barzan Hassan al-Tikriti, an indication they both know what could be coming. Barzan Hassan al Tikriti saying why don't you just execute us? And Saddam Hussein said, I'm not afraid. You want my neck, then have it. Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, a far different subject, it's been called an one- hour facelift. Quick and easy. A cutting edge procedure with no cutting. What it might not tell you is this, the results aren't that dramatic and it can sometimes be disfiguring. Ahead, a 360 look behind the hype.

Plus, a straight A student suspended for doing what the friends are doing, kissing and hugging in public. So why did she get in trouble? Stay with 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It is one of the fastest growing cosmetic procedures in the country. Cheaper than a traditional facelift and it's billed as something to do on the lunch break. They call it a one-hour facelift. That's the hype. The question is, does it really work? Our senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She wants the look young again.

DR. THOMAS LOIS, AESTHETIC INSTITUTE: That's what you used to be like when she was a youngster. And now we're going to try to get it back again.

GUPTA: With a needle, a thread and a scalpel, Dr. Thomas Lois will restore her youth or her youthful look, anyway. First, he charts his course.

LOIS: We'll make a little incision here.

GUPTA: It's called barbed suture lift. A serrated plastic threat is inserted through the fatty layer beneath the face. The thread is serrated so it pulls back the skin. Both ends are knotted and sealed under the surface.

LOIS: We're going to put these threads just going to get the directions of the threads. GUPTA: And it can be done under an hour. Sounds like the latest and greatest of many lunchtime facelifts but some plastic surgeons warn it may not be the quick fix it sounds like.

DR. ROBERT SILICH, PLASTIC SURGEON, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: There's really no such thing as a free lunch in plastic surgery and cosmetic surgery and that is for years everyone tries to sell less invasive with the same result and I think whenever you go down that road, you really get what you pay for in plastic surgery.

GUPTA: He says too many times she's had to remove the threads in parents of other doctors whose procedures have failed. A delicate operation in and of itself.

SILICH: There are very important nerves in the face which control all of the facial motions and all of the facial movement. And without a really good anatomical understanding of those which certainly every plastic surgeon has, you really run the risk of doing damage.

GUPTA: Nerve damage is only the beginning. Some patients have reported serious facial pain. Also, some have seen the threads coming the surface of the face looking like a railroad track, sometimes even forming scars but Dr. Lois says he's convinced it works and says the patients are lining up for the procedure.

LOIS: A lot of people just want a little bit. They don't want to look that -- that look like some of our actors and actresses look like that they're just in a wind tunnel. You know? They want to look normal looking.

GUPTA: The procedure is less expensive than traditional cosmetic surgery. But as with any operation, there still are risks.

(END VIDEOTAPER)

COOPER: I want to show a before and photo of a patient who was pleased with the thread facelift, and when I look at this, I don't see that much of a difference. What do you see when you look at that?

GUPTA (on camera): Take a look. It's not particularly dramatic. If you look at these images here, a couple of things sort of spring to mind immediately. First of all, looking at the contour of the cheek, the woman on the left obviously is before and this is the sort of suture sort of comes right along here. The goal to try to get this part of her cheek a little bit more elevated, that gives a little bit more youthful appearance.

Let me clear the scene here for a second. Now, this area of the chin, as well. If you sort of pull that up a little bit, it may be hard to tell, Anderson, but the chin is actually pulled up a little bit here, as well, on the after picture. Now, also, some of the sagginess down here in the neck around here that is gone a little bit away. There is fewer lines. A little bit more youthful look down in this part of the neck afterwards, as well.

COOPER: So are there sutures down in her neck, too?

GUPTA: I think -- you know, I don't know exactly what they did with this one, but I think typically the sutures actually come from sort of around the area of the mouth and go behind the ear back here and so it sort of pulls up this entire area. This entire block area up and that's what gives you that sort of youthful look. Some of the chin, some of the cheek, a little bit of the neck, as well, Anderson.

COOPER: And take a look at the full face shot if we can. You also notice some changes there. You know, there are those that say if you go for a minimally invasive procedure, you should expect minimal results.

GUPTA: I don't know that I would completely agree with that in this particular case. You can do a pretty dramatic thing with this relatively simple procedure and get yourself in trouble, maybe, as well. But take a look here. Maybe a little bit more dramatic from the front. Same things, Anderson, we're talking about actually sort of pulling up this part of the face. From the mouth sort of to behind the ear.

And if you look -- That's a before shot obviously. Compare that again to the after. You see the cheeks, maybe a little bit higher up here. The chin, little bit up, elevated and then this is hard to tell because the writings over that. But less of the lines in the neck, as well. Again, giving a little more youthful experience, a little bit more youthful look.

Now, as far as minimally invasive giving you minimal results, if you pull harder, I mean, quite simply, pull harder with this barbed thread you might be able to pull the cheek up even a little bit higher, as well. So you can get pretty impressive results.

COOPER: And it's sort of billed as this one-hour thing to do on the lunch break. That's certainly not the case. It's not just an one-hour procedure and you're done. There are precautions patient haves to take to actually make the surgery work.

GUPTA: Yeah. I mean, some of the precautions are -- we talked to plastic surgeons about this but some of things you have to be mindful of, no coughing, sneezing, crying. They say for three weeks which I thought was sort of interesting. I'm not sure how to avoid all of those things all the time.

Also, clenched mouth talking only for three weeks. No pulling down on your face for a month. These are things the plastic surgeons said you need to avoid. Basically it's just mechanical phenomenon. You're actually putting these sutures in your cheek. Pulling everything up. You're trying to do everything to allow the face to heal in the upward configuration and that's where people get the best results, Anderson.

COOPER: It is fascinating. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you. COOPER: Well, she was a top student who was caught kissing and hugging in public. On school grounds. Her principal suspended her and now she is suing. There is much more to the story. Much more and the case could break new legal ground. We'll tell you why.

Plus, a grim mystery she could not ignore. An obsession, she calls it, to help a stranger, a mother she never met. That and more coming up on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In California a high school student has filed a lawsuit that could break new legal ground. It began with some pretty typical teenage behavior. A hug, a kiss, some hand holding. The usual public displays of affection all on school grounds. Then came a suspension. A teen punished for something her classmates do all the time. And then, what the student's principal told her mother. Here's CNN's Dan Simon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Seventeen-year-old senior high school student Charlene Nguon has always excelled in school.

CHARLENE NGUON, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I just like to learn.

SIMON: This report card it says all, As in every subject. Accompanied with comments like very cooperative, good attitude and works very hard but it is outside the classrooms of Santiago High School in Orange County, California, where Charlene has struggled. For reasons she herself has never been able to understand.

NGUON: I was just confused. I didn't know exactly what I was doing wrong especially because other students were doing the same things.

SIMON: Those other students, she says, teenage couples were showing public displays of affection. Charlene admits to doing the same thing.

NGUON: Holding hands, hugging, kissing. Wasn't like making out. But it was just simple affection.

SIMON: Simple affection?

NGUON: Yeah.

SIMON: And you were doing this out of the open?

NGUON: Yeah.

SIMON: That openness led to clashes with Santiago's principal who claimed it violated school policy and suspended her. Charlene questioned why she was disciplined.

NGUON: Because when I asked him why he was singling us out he just yelled a the me saying don't play that card with me.

SIMON: That card? Charlene is a lesbian. The object of her affection on campus? Another teenage girl. But at home, all of this was a secret.

(on camera): What happened next the subject of a heated court battle. This lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the teen claims the principal phoned Charlene's mother to say why she had been suspended and then disclosed that she is a lesbian.

NGUON: That day I just went to my room and cried and didn't talk to my mom for about a week. And I just -- I wanted to discuss things amongst ourselves and tell my mom when the time was right.

SIMON (voice-over): Her sister recalls Charlene's pain.

EILEEN MALM, CHARLENE'S SISTER: She start crying and saying, Oh my God. You know? She said that she got suspended for kissing another girl. And I told her, I said this is nothing to be ashamed of. You know? It is okay.

SIMON: But it wasn't okay according to the ACLU. The lawsuit blasts the principal. Saying, quote, "He gave no regard to whether Charlene had disclosed this private information to her family or to what the repercussions would be to Charlene at home."

CHRISTINE SUN, ACLU ATTORNEY: I don't think any educator should put students at that kind of risk when he doesn't know really what the consequences will be.

SIMON: Charlene reluctantly agreed to transfer to another school. She says her grades dropped. In part because of the emotional distress. Since then, her family has embraced her and she's also been allowed to return to Santiago for her senior year. Still, she wants the school to acknowledge it was wrong.

NGUON: I just want them to stop discriminating and I don't want other students being discriminated as I was.

SIMON: A Santiago spokesperson said neither the principal nor anyone else connected with the school would speak to CNN. He did add, however, "The school does not engage in discriminatory practices."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIMON (on camera): Anderson, in its response, the defense notes at least one straight couple was also disciplined for public displays of affection and it also argues Charlene could not expect to keep her sexual orientation private since she was so open about it at school. Of course, Anderson, a jury will have the final say on this.

COOPER: They will indeed. Dan Simon, thanks.

A woman's unrelenting search for the bodies of two children brings some closure to a two-year-old murder mystery. Tonight, her story, why she would go so far to help a mother she didn't even know.

Plus, it is never just another day in court when, well, when this guy is the defendant. Sure, he was laughing, shouting matches, unforgettable testimony. We'll have some of the most shocking moments in the Saddam Hussein trial when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: What's happening tomorrow on is on our radar tonight. We'll take you to Mississippi, the new site of a museum costing millions to honor the Army Corps of Engineers. Those are the same engineers, in fact, getting the blame for overestimating the strength of the levee system in New Orleans. Now perhaps the greatest engineering failure in the nation's history. And guess what? The new museum is going to cost $13 million, and you're paying for it.

Also, tomorrow, new look at the life and death of John Belushi. We'll be talking with his partner, Dan Aykroyd and former wife Judith about the real John and how they say it differs from the one portrayed in the Bob Woodward's best seller "Wired."

And as the country and world grapples with the bird flu, Dr. Sanjay Gupta comes face to face with it. Three new cases on his trip to the hot zone, Jakarta. You won't see this story anywhere else on the program tomorrow and on the radar tonight.

I want to thank our international viewers for watching. Just ahead, though, on 360, keeping them honest in New Orleans. Why are so many bodies, why they have not been identified and the bureaucratic nightmare one woman went through to locate her brother.

Also, the woman with a new face is making medical history. The first recipient of a face transplant, her picture tonight and the amazing story behind it.

Then, the sound of a dog laughing, and its remarkable power to make other dogs shut their yaps. Oh. So will we. This is 360. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The calendar says fall. Mother Nature says winter. Folks stuck on the roads say get me out of here. We've got the latest on a massive storm barreling through America tonight.

ANNOUNCER: Early arrival for the polar express as a winter storm system bears down on the East Coast and the country braces for a long, cold and costly winter.

Saddam Hussein defiant. The former Iraqi dictator faces his first witness, questions the court's legitimacy and says he doesn't fear death.

The classic headline is man bites dog, but tonight the new punch line is dog laughs at man. New research on our new best friend's sense of humor. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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