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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Marine Massacre?; What my Son Saw; Haditha's Fallen Marine; The Other War; After the Riots; Tillman Investigation; Indonesia Earthquake; After the Tsunami

Aired May 30, 2006 - 23:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's plenty of evidence civilians were killed in Haditha -- 24 bodies were counted.

At the morgue, women and children among the dead. Many images too graphic to show. But the dead can't speak.

So at CNN's request, a human rights organization went back to Haditha with a camera to interview survivors. The interviewer found three, all children.

For each, the story begins here. Where a roadside bomb struck a humvee carrying American Marines, killing one of them.

It was 7:30 in the morning. 12-year-old Safa Younis was getting ready for school. She says she was the only survivor in her house. Eight relatives killed.

SAFA YOUNIS, FAMILY KILLED (through translator): A bomb exploded on the street outside. We heard the sound of the explosion, and we heard shouting. We were inside the house when U.S. forces broke through the door. They killed my father in the kitchen. The American forces entered the house and started shooting with their guns. They killed my mother and my sister Noor (ph). They killed her when they shot her in the head. She was only 15 years old. My other sister was shot with seven bullets in the head. She was only 10 years old. And my brother, Mohammed (ph), was hiding under the bed when the U.S. military hit him with the butt of a gun, and they started shooting him under the bed. The U.S. military then shot me, and I was showered in blood. We couldn't leave the house because the U.S. military surrounded the area with a large number of soldiers.

CHILCOTE: Safa's cousins, 8-year-old Abdul Rahman Walleed (ph) and 9-year-old Iman Walleed (ph) were next door in the first house entered by the Marines. They say seven were killed in this house

IMAN WALEED (ph), SEVEN KILLED IN HOUSE (through translator): They entered the house, they burned the room, and my father was inside the room. Then they attacked my grandmother and grandfather and threw a bomb. Me and my brother, Abdul Rahman, were injured. I saw how they killed my mother, Asma (ph), and I saw how they killed my grandmother.

CHILCOTE: Iman (ph) is initially poised. She has clearly told the story many times. She needs no questions to prompt her.

IMAN (through translator): My grandmother, she decided to open the kitchen door. Before she opened it, she said, maybe they will break it otherwise. I wish she hadn't.

CHILCOTE: Iman's (ph) brother, Abdul Rahman, doesn't say much. The interviewer asked him to show his wounds.

Off camera, a voice in the room is heard asking, he didn't have a weapon. What danger did he pose? But there is an intriguing variation in Iman's (ph) account. The third time she tells it, she says she was expecting the bomb.

IMAN (ph) (through translator): I was planning to go to school. I was about to get out of bed. I knew the bomb would explode, so I covered my ears. The bomb exploded. The bomb struck an armored vehicle. I don't know if it was a humvee or an armored vehicle. When the bomb exploded, they came straight to our house.

CHILCOTE: The question is, was her expectation of the explosion a premonition? A fear based on the sound of the passing convoy? Or was it based on some knowledge? The interviewer does not follow up and says the 9-year-old got confused and got her story mixed up.

All three children were wounded. Iman (ph) and Abdul Rahman were treated at a U.S. hospital in Baghdad. Safa Younis says she wants tough justice for those who killed her family.

YOUNIS (through translator): I want them to be tortured and killed. And I want them to leave our country.

CHILCOTE: The people in these houses were not the only ones to have been killed. Others died in this house, too. But the survivors here did not want to talk.

Ryan Chilcote, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Now Congressman Murtha -- he's a powerful Democratic member of Congress from western Pennsylvania, as well as a harsh critic of President Bush on this war. He has few doubts about what happened and what should be done about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: The worst thing is the cover-up. I'm convinced they knew about this. The services knew about it. The chain of command knew about it, and that has to be investigated because this thing should have been made public.

The Iraqis already knew about it. The damage this does to our credibility, the damage this does to us fighting Muslims when they think this is a policy of the United States when they don't punish.

And the Marines think, well, maybe we can get away with something like this. This is no good. So the commandant of the Marine Corps is over there talking to the troops, but this has to be clear that United States policy does not endorse something like this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Congressman Jack Murtha.

Now, whatever it was that happened and the investigations that are under way, it haunts one Marine so much that he felt compelled to open up to his mother.

Lance Corporal Ryan Briones told her that he saw the bodies of two dozen Iraqi civilians after they were allegedly shot by U.S. Marines. And his mom says those images have left him shaken.

Here's CNN's Dan Simon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lance Corporal Ryan Briones (ph) may be a tough Marine, but his mom says right now he's fragile.

SUSIE BRIONES, MOTHER OF U.S. MARINE: It was horrific. It was a terrible scene. The biggest thing that keeps to his mind is the children that were there.

SIMON: Children and adults unarmed. Allegedly killed by U.S. Marines in his unit. His mother says he had to carry away the body of a little girl. An image he still cannot get out of his mind.

BRIONES: Her head was blown off or something. Her brains splattered on his boots. And that's what affects Ryan the most is that he had to pick up this child's body to put her in a body bag.

SIMON: Briones told "The Los Angeles Times," he was asked to photograph the scene and ordered to help remove the bodies. He is quoted as saying, "I can still smell the blood. This left something in my head and heart."

Mrs. Briones says she'll never forget the phone call she got from her son that day.

BRIONES: It was the hardest phone call that I received. He was calling me, and he was telling me some information that -- and -- but I didn't know what to do with that information.

SIMON (on camera): He told you that he observed these dead bodies, these civilians, who had been killed by the U.S. military, did he not?

BRIONES: He said that they had shot them, yes. He did say that. But he wasn't in when they did the shooting. He wasn't there. He was there to do the cleanup. That's what he was instructed to do.

SIMON (voice-over): Earlier that day, Briones' best friend, T.J. Terrazas, was killed in a bomb blast that also wounded another Marine. That bombing allegedly sparked a rampage by members of the unit.

Mrs. Briones says that in the places where her son went to take pictures and remove the bodies, he saw no survivors.

(On camera): What's going through his mind now in terms of what happened that day with those civilians, those children being killed?

BRIONES: He's feeling remorseful. Because he's part of the military group. He's part of the United States military. And although he has no say so in anything with regards to giving words or, you know, saying -- giving the command to go and do this or go and do that, he's part of that.

SIMON (on camera): Briones is back at Camp Pendleton. He's no longer speaking to reporters. It's not clear if his silence is self- imposed. His mother worries that he may never fully recover from what he says he saw in Haditha.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: What no one seems to dispute is that the critical events in Haditha began with the death of a Marine.

Yesterday was the first of many Memorial Days when his family will remember and honor him.

Here's CNN's Keith Oppenheim.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, the grave of Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas shows signs of Memorial Day visitors. Flowers frame the inscription, a devoted son, brother and grandson who loved his country.

Miguel Terrazas was 20 years old when he was killed last November on his second tour of duty in Iraq.

MARTIN TERRAZAS, MIGUEL'S BROTHER: He was a motivated person. He liked everybody to be happy.

OPPENHEIM: His older brother, Martin, told us about Miguel and showed us the church where Miguel had his first communion and his funeral.

We saw the parks where Miguel played games, the high school where he played football. And we went to the taco shop where once both brothers worked.

What were you told about how he died?

TERRAZAS: I just was told that it was a roadside bomb.

OPPENHEIM: Martin says the family is now learning, in the wake of that bombing, that Miguel's fellow Marines are being investigated for the alleged killing of as many as 24 Iraqi civilians.

Martin says he is offended that members of his brother's unit are being investigated because he says insurgents used civilians as cover.

TERRAZAS: My brother told me, when he came back from his first tour, that these people hide behind their own families, you know? And they hide with explosives. They would sleep with them, you know?

JORGE TERRAZAS, MIGUEL'S GRANDFATHER: this is where my grandson used to sleep here when he comes down here and he was staying here on leave.

OPPENHEIM: You associated this room with your grandson?

T. TERRAZAS: Absolutely. It was his bedroom.

OPPENHEIM: Jorge Terrazas, Miguel's grandfather, has made something of an indoor memorial for his grandson, including a display of his Marine uniform.

J. TERRAZAS: One thing that really hurts is, you know, 1:00, 2:00 o'clock in the morning, get up, and I find my wife crying right there.

OPPENHEIM: Your wife was here, in tears, in the middle of the night?

Jorge believes there needs to be an investigation into what happened, but there are some things he simply can't believe.

(On camera): Does the idea that Marines could have acted criminally after your grandson died, does that sound impossible to you?

J. TERRAZAS: Not to me. It sounds absolutely impossible.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Since the news of the investigation emerged, Miguel's large and close family has been struggling.

J. TERRAZAS: Every time we see that on television, you know, it comes on, there comes my grandson's likeness on the television screen, his name, and it's like it happened yesterday.

OPPENHEIM: It brings all the pain back?

J. TERRAZAS: All the pain back.

OPPENHEIM: And that is making it hard for the family of a fallen Marine to grieve.

Keith Oppenheim, CNN, El Paso.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A fallen hero. Well, these allegations bring back memories for some of one of the darkest moments in the Vietnam War, the My Lai massacre. Here's the raw data.

On March 16th, 1968, American troops killed at least 407 Vietnamese civilians, men, women and children in the village of My Lai. The commander, Lt. William Caley was the only American court martialed for the atrocity. He was sentenced to life. President Nixon freed him three years later.

In Afghanistan, U.S. troops are facing a major threat. A Taliban force trying to make a comeback.

We'll take you on the hunt for Taliban fighters as U.S. forces try to stop Afghanistan from falling apart.

Plus, the real story of what happened to Pro Football Star Pat Tillman. A CNN investigation into how he was killed in the line of duty.

And whole villages flattened, thousands killed. We'll have the latest from Indonesia, a country hit hard by last year's tsunami, now living with another horrible tragedy.

All that and more when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, on a day like today when bombings in Iraq and rising casualty counts dominate the news, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that U.S. forces are really still fighting two wars.

The other war, the battle in Afghanistan, appeared to be almost finished when the Taliban was booted from power several years ago. A democracy installed.

But as CNN's Brent Sadler reports now, that war is getting tougher every day.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sprawl of Kandahar Airfield, southern Afghanistan. Regional command headquarters for U.S.-led coalition forces, battling a nationwide surge in attacks by anti-government rebels.

Army pilots inside this U.S. Blackhawk helicopter fly fast and low. Machine gunners have their weapons locked and loaded. Hostile territory below. Snoopy, scans every nook and crevice as the ground whips by.

Mud huts, dried-out gullies and patches of rough terrain, places for the enemy to hide and shoot.

In recent weeks, the pace and scope of insurgent attacks have increased. New Taliban fighters claim U.S. military officials infiltrated from across the border in Pakistan. Taliban groups have mounted coordinated attacks, but suffered heavy losses. Improvised roadside bombs are often aimed at U.S. convoys. Even in previously less dangerous areas where hostile engagements have risen.

COL. FRANK STUREK, COMMANDER TASK FORCE WARRIER: Over the last about two weeks we've had at least one every day, one either direct fire contact or indirect fire, or an IED strike, or we find an IED.

They're not hindering anything that we're doing. We've been very effective against them. I have had not one seriously wounded casualty.

SADLER: U.S. troops who have done much of the heavy lifting since the Taliban were overthrown more than four years ago are now engaged in "Operation Mountain Thrust," a theater-wide effort to crush the Taliban, stabilize the south and instill confidence in a growing multinational effort to prevent Afghanistan sliding backwards.

American soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade, based out of Fort Polk, Louisiana mount up. Ready for a possible firefight in Zabol Province.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get into your vehicles now where you're sitting.

SADLER (on camera): When describing this terrain, some 9,000 square miles of dust, rocks and high mountains. The Taliban has largely been suppressed by U.S. forces here in Zabol Province, but the Taliban is by no means defeated.

(Voice-over): Afghanistan is now in the throes of a pivotal transition. From overall American to NATO military command. Supporting a moderate, democratically-elected government in Kabul.

STUREK: We've inserted ourselves in the area where the Taliban has traditionally operated with impunity. And we've been doing that by supporting the Afghan national army, getting out there and being with the people, and it's been successful.

SADLER: But U.S. troops know there's more fighting ahead, amid a quickening tempo of battle.

Brent Sadler, CNN, with U.S. forces in Zabol Province, southern Afghanistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the Afghan capital of Kabul had its share of violence yesterday when riots and widespread looting broke out after a military truck plowed into a dozen civilian cars and hit a group of pedestrians.

Now, the military says faulty brakes are to blame for the crash. The cause of the riots, though, is far more complicated than that.

Here's CNN's Barbara Starr. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day after riots shook the city, British troops working for NATO took CNN on a foot patrol in this neighborhood called Maro Hill (ph).

For some of Kabul's residents, there is no time to think about rioting and violence. They are too busy just trying to live.

But everyone here knows about the traffic accident that sparked the riot. It began Monday morning after a U.S. military truck crashed into a dozen Afghan vehicles when its brakes failed. An angry mob soon surrounded the U.S. convoy.

BRIGADIER NICK POPE, FIRST U.K. SIGNAL BRIGADE: There was some evidence that a lot of the crowds, which are normal crowds who just arrive on the scene to see what was happening, were incited by a very small group of individuals.

STARR (on camera): Brigadier Nick Pope of the 1st U.K. Signal Brigade has been all around Kabul since the violence broke out.

(Voice-over): When the British patrol asked the local elder how things are going, he says things are terrible. The people here need water. That is their priority.

(On camera): Here in one of Kabul's poorest neighborhoods, the people say they don't want any more violence. They want security. But they also want military forces to be more careful as they operate around the city.

(Voice-over): It's now estimated that more than 1,000 people may have participated in shooting, rock-throwing, looting and torching. Commanders now believe after the initial car accident, there was a flurry of cell phone traffic across the city, people being called out into the streets.

U.S. troops involved in the initial accident have told their commanders they definitely saw weapons being fired at them from the crowd. And they fired only to defend themselves. And coalition sources say not firing just over the crowd, but into it.

But everyone is shocked at how quickly Kabul, an island of relative stability in Afghanistan, spiraled into violence. People here say it is a sign that many in the country are growing increasingly upset at the U.S. presence, but also feel Afghan President Hamid Karzai's, government has a long way to go before it can assure people of their security.

Barbara Starr, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, it was in Afghanistan that Pat Tillman who quit a pro football career to join the Army was killed back in 2004. Mystery, of course, still surrounds the case. Now a CNN investigation uncovers new and disturbing details about his death.

Plus, we'll take you to the aftermath of Indonesia's earthquake. See what is being done to help the survivors, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, Pat Tillman was the professional football player who gave up fame and fortune to fight for freedom. He died violently in Afghanistan on the frontlines, but also in the fog of war.

Tonight, however, we know more. And after this report, so will you. CNN has been investigating what happened to Tillman and what happened when the Army started investigating.

The details take some time to tell, but as Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre now reports, those details paint a chilling story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pat Tillman's devotion to duty, honor, country ended with his death in a desolate section of eastern Afghanistan.

ANNOUNCER: A lateral for Pat Tillman!

MCINTYRE: His devotion began when the star safety for the Arizona Cardinals gave up a multimillion dollar pro football deal the day after September 11th. He joined the Army Rangers.

CPL. PAT TILLMAN, U.S. ARMY: My great grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, and a lot of my family has gone and fought in wars and I really haven't done a damn thing as far as laying myself on the line like that. And so I have a great deal of respect for those that have.

MCINTYRE: It would be 26 days after Tillman's memorial service, more than a month after his death, before the Army would publicly acknowledge what the Rangers who were with him in combat knew almost right away. Tillman's death was from friendly fire. He was hit in the head by three bullets fired by American soldiers who say they mistook him for the enemy.

Much, but not all of the story of what went wrong that April day in 2004 can be found in thousands of Army documents obtained by CNN.

Many details from the Army documents are being televised here for the first time. And while the heavily blacked-out documents provide some answers, they also raise substantial questions that three separate Army investigations have failed to resolve.

Tillman's platoon was on a mission in eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. His platoon was trying to flush out enemy Taliban, or al Qaeda fighters.

CNN took these Army topographic maps of the location where Pat Tillman was killed and independently created the first detailed television animation of what happened to Tillman and the Army Rangers that day.

The platoon's problems began with a broken-down humvee, which had to be towed by a local truck and was slowing the platoon. The platoon was split into two groups on orders of a commander at a base far away, according to Army documents.

The split was ordered over the objections of the platoon leader. There was a concern back at the base that the broken humvee was causing unacceptable delays to the mission.

CNN military analyst retired Brigadier General David Grange has commanded Rangers himself and also lost a soldier to friendly fire.

GEN. DAVID L. GRANGE, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Here you had the senior guy on the ground saying, I don't want to split my force. Someone that's not there on the ground, but on a radio in a tactical operations center is saying, split it. You know, do you take the word of the guy on the ground or not? You know, usually the guy on the ground knows what's going on.

MCINTYRE: Corporal Tillman was with the first group that pressed on, moving safely through a deep canyon and arriving at a small village. The second group with the humvee in tow included Tillman's younger brother, Kevin, who also enlisted with Pat after September 11.

That second convoy led by the truck towing the broken humvee followed a different route, but found the terrain too rugged, so they backtracked and followed the first group deep into the narrow canyon. Though they were just a half hour back, the first group was unaware the second group was coming up behind them. In the canyon, the second group was ambushed from above by enemy fighters.

GRANGE: There was confusion in the force. People were scared. Very restricted terrain. The sun's going down. A lot of shadows. So the light is not dark enough to use night vision goggles, but it's in between.

MCINTYRE: To add to the confusion, in the deep canyon, the two groups lost radio contact. But Pat Tillman's group heard the gunfire back in the canyon and turned back to help. Tillman, as described in his Silver Star citation, showed great courage under fire in leading a small rifle team, including an Afghan soldier, to the top of the ridge to engage the enemy.

Down below, a humvee armed with a .50 caliber machine gun and four soldiers with other weapons pulled out from behind the truck and broken humvee. As they emerged from the canyon, the soldiers in the vehicle were firing with an abandon that one Army investigator would later say demonstrated gross negligence.

The soldiers would later say they thought the enemy was all around them. As they fired in all directions, they began hitting U.S. troops.

Down in the village, the platoon leader was hit in the face and another soldier shot in the leg. From Tillman's position up on the ridge, came anguished cries of alarm. First, the friendly Afghan soldier was shot and killed by the soldiers in the Ranger vehicle. The soldier standing alongside Tillman described what he witnessed in a sworn statement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): A vehicle with a .50 cal rode into our sight and started to unload on top of us. Tillman and I were yelling, stop, stop! Friendlies. Friendlies, cease-fire! But they couldn't hear us.

MCINTYRE: According to another sworn statement obtained by CNN, the driver of the humvee was initially confused when he saw the Afghan soldier with Tillman on the ridge, then realized others in his humvee were firing on fellow rangers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I yelled twice, we have friendlies on top. The crew must have not heard me because my vehicle opened fire on them. I screamed, no! And then yelled repeatedly several times to cease-fire. No one heard me.

MCINTYRE: Tillman threw a smoke grenade to signal they were Rangers and for a few moments it appeared to work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): We thought the battle was over, so we were relieved, getting up, stretching out, talking with one another, when I heard some rounds coming from the vehicle. They started firing again. That's when I hit the deck and started praying.

MCINTYRE: The soldier hit the deck when the vehicle fired on them again. That's when the soldier says Tillman was hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I know this, because I could hear the pain in his voice as he cried out, cease-fire! Friendlies! I'm Pat Tillman, damn it! He said this over and over again until he stopped.

MCINTYRE: Moments later, a sound caught the attention of the soldier next to Tillman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I heard what sounded like water pouring down. I then looked over to see a river of blood coming down from where he was. I had blood all over my shoulder from him and when I looked at him, I saw his head was gone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, he left America to fight terror. Pat Tillman returned wrapped in a flag. Coming up, the search for answers. What documents show about possible negligence and deceit and Army efforts to actually hide the whole truth.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It's been two years since former NFL Football Player Pat Tillman was shot to death by his fellow Army Rangers in Afghanistan. And as we've been showing you this evening, there are many unanswered questions about precisely how that happened. And two years later, there's yet another Army investigation under way.

CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre and CNN Senior Investigative Producer Scott Bronsteen (ph) have combed through thousands of documents. And what they found includes accusations of negligence and deceit.

Here again, Jamie McIntyre.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: Two years and three investigations have produced a mountain of files. But there is still a long list of unanswered questions about the death of Pat Tillman at the hands of his fellow Rangers. Why were Tillman's body armor and uniform burned by his fellow soldiers after he was killed? Why did some soldiers change their testimony from investigation to investigation? And should some Rangers have faced courts martial?

COL. JOSEPH G. CURTIN, U.S. ARMY SPOKESMAN: But simply put, the family is not satisfied with the information they're getting and they have asked for more details. And simply put, we owe the family honest answers.

MCINTYRE: In part because of the family's anger and disillusionment, the Pentagon has launched a fourth investigation, a criminal probe into whether Tillman's death was negligent homicide, as well as a separate review of whether the Army engaged in any intentional deception.

(on camera): It's been two years. Is there an excuse for this taking that long?

EUGENE R. FIDELL, ATTORNEY, MILITARY LAW PROFESSOR: I can't think of one.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): Eugene Fidell represents military clients in his private practice and teaches military justice at American University in Washington. He reviewed the Tillman documents at CNN's request, examining the charge made by one investigator that stories changed after his initial probe.

(On camera): Is there anything here that could be considered a smoking gun?

FIDELL: I don't know that we have a smoking gun at this point. What we do have is an initial investigator who thought that there should be, let's say, a serious look at criminal negligence. We have people changing their stories. We have somebody being given a grant of immunity.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): In the documents the Army blacked out names and other identifying information. So it's unclear exactly whose testimony changed and when.

But the initial investigation conducted by an Army captain CNN has identified as Richard Scott contains much harsher judgments than those reached in a later probe by a one star general.

Tillman had climbed onto a ridge to help his fellow Rangers fight an enemy ambush, when he, another Ranger and an allied Afghan soldier with him were fired on from a U.S. Army humvee coming out of the canyon.

In a sworn deposition given five months after Tillman's death, Captain Scott says from his investigation, it was clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, TESTIMONY OF CAPT. RICHARD SCOTT: The stories have changed. They have changed to, I think, help some individuals.

MCINTYRE: Scott states that in the retelling, some distances have grown longer, some lighting conditions worse and even the position of the allied Afghan soldier changed. In his deposition, Captain Scott says of one soldier in the lead vehicle that fired on Tillman...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, TESTIMONY OF CAPT. SCOTT: I think he demonstrated gross negligence. He recognized the individual, the Afghan soldier, wasn't shooting in his direction, but he shot and killed him anyway.

MCINTYRE (on camera): In this stack right here that we were looking at, this is where one of the first investigators offers his opinion when he's being questioned that there might be gross negligence involved in this. How significant is that?

FIDELL: It's quite significant because that original investigation was the one closest in time to the events in controversy by an individual who caught witnesses, presumably when their memories were fresh and expresses the opinion that gross negligence had been committed.

MCINTYRE (voice-over): Captain Scott notes the Rangers in the lead vehicle firing on Tillman were not being shot at themselves at the time. And that, quote...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, TESTIMONY OF CAPT. SCOTT: There were numerous attempts to signal to that lead vehicle that the friendlies were up on that ridge line.

MCINTYRE: The documents show the numerous attempts included soldiers yelling into radios to cease fire, Tillman's smoke grenade, the driver of the vehicle yelling to cease fire and finally Tillman and the soldier next to him waving their arms frantically over their heads. But the firing continued with no attempt to properly identify the targets. It was, in the opinion of Captain Scott, a lack of discipline that should have brought serious punishment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE, TESTIMONY OF CAPT. SCOTT: The other difficult thing, though, was watching some of these guys getting off with what I thought was a lesser of a punishment than what they should have received.

GRANGE: If someone lied under oath on the investigation to cover themselves or cover someone else, that's inexcusable.

MCINTYRE: One key decision occurred early on, when after a humvee broke down and had to be towed, officers far away ordered the platoon split up. That, over the objections of the platoon leader. The documents show the officer who made the original decision to split the platoon was later granted limited immunity to change his testimony about who above him knew about his order. He would later explain that it was only a clarification of his original testimony. But both Mr. Fidell and General Grange found the grant of immunity unusual.

GRANGE: The immunity issue does raise a few red flags because, I mean, why -- unless they had accurate statements, why would you have to give immunity to anyone?

MCINTYRE: And on the issue of Tillman's uniform, which was burned by soldiers after his death? Well, the Army's most recent investigation concludes Tillman's uniform and body armor should have been preserved. It disputes the idea it was burned in an attempt to cover anything up. The soldiers thought they were disposing of a biohazard. The Army says so far seven soldiers have received various reprimands.

CURTIN: There were three officers and four enlisted personnel that were -- all of them were disciplined, all received administrative reprimands. One soldier was demoted and fined and three others were dismissed from the Ranger regiment itself.

MCINTYRE (on camera): While no one was found grossly negligent nor less than truthful in the follow-up investigations, more serious charges could result from the ongoing probe, which is looking at questions of criminal negligence, intent to cover up and the awarding of Tillman's Silver Star.

(Voice-over): But to some legal experts, the punishments in the Tillman case so far seem light.

FIDELL: The punishments that have imposed have been on relatively junior people and they have been relatively informal, non- judicial punishments, non-record punishments, things that never leave the unit or simply firing somebody from the Rangers. To a Ranger that's a big deal, but it's not like going to the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, for example.

MCINTYRE: And the Army says it learned a lesson from the delay in notifying the Tillman family about how their son died. The Army now has new procedures to ensure suspected friendly fire deaths are reported right away.

CURTIN: The unit erred on the side of caution to get all the facts first to determine that indeed a friendly fire event had occurred. And that shouldn't have happened. In hindsight, as soon as it was suspected, they should have told the family about it.

MCINTYRE: The Army has expressed its deepest regrets to the Tillman family and is promising the fullest accounting possible.

CURTIN: The bottom line is, we will go where the truth leads us and we will get the answers to the best of our ability.

MCINTYRE: For some of Pat Tillman's family that promise rings hollow. After being led to believe he was killed by the enemy, even awarded a posthumous silver star, they wonder if any government investigation will ever reveal any of it. Who killed Pat Tillman? Exactly why it happened and why it's been such a struggle simply to learn the truth.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, we will continue to follow the investigation.

In central Indonesia, the death toll from Saturday's earthquake is now more than 5,700. Entire towns were flattened. And now it's a race against time to find survivors and treat the injured. We'll have the latest on the relief efforts and an update on the damage.

Also, another "Dispatch From the Edge." I filed it from Sri Lanka, 18 months ago after the tsunami. We'll look back and give you an update on where things stand today, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In central Indonesia, U.S. military personnel began arriving today to set up a field hospital. The death toll from Saturday's earthquake climbed to more than 5,700. The magnitude 6.3 quake flattened whole villages, leaving thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of people, homeless. When death came early Saturday, it came without warning. Many people were still asleep in their homes. Those who survived, for them, it is now a race against time.

Dan Rivers reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The desperate need is now being met by a huge response. A nerve center has been set up in the worst hit district of Bantu. Eight agencies from around the world are here to help. Medical supplies are among the thousands of boxes being sent out to remote villages. Staff, using any available vehicle they can lay their hands on. Local cars driven by local people, packed with a life-saving cargo. A fleet of helicopters is also in operation, vital to cut down journey times and deliver supplies fast.

The man overseeing it all says the situation's not as desperate as it was in the province of Aceh after the tsunami.

BO ASPLUND, U.N. AID COORDINATOR: Aceh was a very different situation. The local administration was basically wiped out. Here, they're in control and running things. The infrastructure here has not been damaged anywhere near the situation in Aceh. So it's an easier context within to work. RIVERS (on camera): But many villages here have suffered awfully. This is Banda Jawa (ph). We felt one of the numerous aftershocks which continually unnerved this traumatized community, sending them often fleeing from the rubble.

Of the 50 houses in this village, 49 of them have been completely destroyed, reduced to just piles of rubble. Only one has survived, and that belongs to the village chief. It's over there. And the reason that's still standing is because it's made of reinforced concrete.

(Voice-over): But most poor farmers here can't afford steel rods to make their houses strong. Already they're cleaning off the bricks, ready to rebuild the same insubstantial structures which just proved so deadly.

This village has received no help yet. Its inhabitants forced to scavenge through the rubble for anything worth salvaging. The task for the aid agencies is huge -- getting to the most vulnerable and trying to end their misery.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Bantu, Indonesia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Almost a year and a half ago an earthquake off the western coast of Indonesia touched off the tsunami that ended up killing more than 200,000 people.

Tonight, an update on one of the countries that was in its path, Sri Lanka. I went to Sri Lanka days after the tsunami struck. And I write about the experience in my new book which just came out last week, "Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters and Survival."

Tonight's dispatch takes us back to Sri Lanka, a little more than a week after the tsunami, when we were searching for two missing children.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Their faces silently stare from the front page a Sri Lankan paper, 5-year-old Jennia Dari (ph) and her 7-year- old brother Sunara (ph), shown here with their parents. The paper alleges the kids were kidnapped after being rescued from the tsunami.

(On camera): We set out to discover what really happened to these two kids.

(Voice-over): We drove to where they were last seen, the town of Galle, where more than 1,000 people died. Sunara (ph) and Jennia Dari (ph)They were in a car with their parents on a family vacation when the tsunami hit.

(On camera): Ananda DaSilva (ph) saw the car submerged in this ditch. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They came and tried to turn this car.

COOPER: They were actually -- they were down in the water trying to turn the car over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

COOPER (voice-over): The newspaper claimed the Sunara (ph) and Jennia Dari (ph) were alive when they were pulled from the water. DaSilva (ph) remembers it differently.

You think both of them were dead?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Four of them were -- died, definitely.

COOPER: The newspaper said a man on a motorbike took the kids away, hinting he was a kidnapper. But eyewitnesses led us to this man, Lul Hamisiri (ph). He tried desperately to save the little Jennia Dari's (ph) life.

LUL HAMISIRI (ph) (through translator): I saw the child laying on the ground and immediately I picked up the child and gave her mouth to mouth.

COOPER: Hamisiri (ph) took Jennia Dari (ph) to a nearby hospital, even though he says she was already dead. Jennia Dari's (ph) brother, Sunara (ph), was found half an hour later, underwater. Eyewitnesses insist he was dead. His body handed over to Sri Lankan soldiers.

We went to the hospital where Hamisiri (ph) says he gave Jennia Dari's (ph) body to doctors. When we got there, it was easy to see why any record of her arrival was impossible to find. The hospital was a washed out shell, nearly destroyed by the surging ocean. Before we left, the head of the hospital confirmed what all other eyewitnesses had told us. Jennia Dari (ph) was dead.

(On camera): So the girl is dead? 100 percent?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

COOPER (voice-over): The hospital told us where she was likely buried, at the end of a dirt road in a freshly dug mass grave. No grave markers showed the spot, just rubber gloves of morgue workers left behind, a sandal buried in the mud.

This is the final resting place of more than 1,000 people. Likely among them, 5-year-old Jennia Dari (ph) and her 7-year-old brother, Sunara (ph), children, who it turns out, were not kidnapped, not sold into slavery. Two little children who were simply swept away.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): The tsunami killed more than 35,000 people in Sri Lanka; 14 of the country's 28 districts suffered damage. But 18 months later, the country is seeing some progress. One measure, shelter. Thousands were left homeless, of course, by the waves. More than 103,000 homes were destroyed. Since then, nearly 9,000 new homes have been built. And more than 32,000 are still under construction.

Still, there are concerns that growing violence by Tamil rebels in the country could hurt the process. And there have been a growing number of attacks and the violence there is escalating.

We're going to have more "Dispatches from the Edge" in the days ahead.

Coming up, another reason why new college grads need jobs. Most of them, it turns out, owe big bucks on their student loans. Take a guess what the average debt is. We'll have the answer when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Coming up, we'll look at what's "On the Radar."

First, Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," has some of the business stories we're following -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, U.S. stocks tumbled today as oil prices rose. The dollar fell and Wal-Mart released a disappointing sales report. The Dow dropped 184 points, the S&P 500 fell 20, and the NASDAQ lost almost 46.

Meantime, President Bush nominated Henry Paulson, the chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow. Paulson is a 32-year Wall Street veteran, a former Nixon administration official, and a big contributor to Republican candidates.

And lots of diplomas swimming in red ink. Two out of three you undergraduate students are going into debt to go to college. The Department of Education data from a dozen states shows the average debt now stands at more than $19,000. Most often, it's due to the federal government, Anderson. I've got a chunk of that myself still.

COOPER: Erica, thanks.

"On the Radar" tonight, our special hour last night on "The Da Vinci Code," a lot of reaction on the blog, especially to Tom Foreman's piece on Leonardo Da Vinci, himself, and where he ranks among great men in history.

Rodney in Milwaukee says someone else should top the list. "Thomas Jefferson -- The father of modern democracy. What else has had a greater effect on the state of the world today?"

In Marshfield, Massachusetts, Penny writes, "I think Gandhi should make the list."

From Kathleen in Aberdeen, New Jersey, "Jesus Christ. No other name stirs more controversy...and no other name brings more hope!"

But Christine in Canton, Ohio, is torn. "Hmmmmm," she writes, "I am trying to decide between Albert Einstein and Lou Dobbs."

Yikes! On the blog, in the headlines and "On the Radar" tonight.

More of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," a former Marine fights back after being attacked by a gang of thugs while walking home. Quick on his feet, the Marine killed one of the criminals, scared off the rest with a pocket knife. He's being hailed as a hero. He thinks otherwise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS AUTRY, FORMER MARINE: In no way, shape or form am I a hero. At the most, I'm just a victim of circumstance. You know, I don't believe that I should be called a hero. It's people out there doing stuff really for kids and people and nations. And none of that happened last night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: See the rest of CNN's exclusive interview with the victim tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.

Thanks for watching 360.

"LARRY KING" is next with an exclusive interview with a legendary actress, Elizabeth Taylor.

See you tomorrow.

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