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Spinach Scare; E. Coli 101; Dueling Leaders; War with Iran?; Cease-Fire Status; Cease-Fire Struggles; Black Dahlia Mystery

Aired September 18, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Danger on your dinner plate. Tonight, another warning about E. coli and fresh spinach. What is being done to keep your family safe?
Middle East crisis over or is it?


YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI, SHALEM CENTER: Hezbollah is still there. Nasrallah's proclaiming victory.


ANNOUNCER: And the kidnapped Israeli soldiers are still missing.


SHLOMO GOLDWASSER, FATHER OF KIDNAPPED SOLDIER: The war finished and my son is not here.


ANNOUNCER: Tonight, we return to the Middle East, one month into the cease-fire. It is really working?

Also, a gruesome murder. A mystery unsolved, even decades later. Tonight, we go inside the real story behind the new hit movie, "The Black Dahlia."

Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here is Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Nationwide, at least 114 cases now of food poisoning, potentially dead food poisoning caused by a rare strain of the E. coli bacterium. 114 cases in 21 states. Two more states were added today.

Investigators, medical detective really, think that they have traced the illness to a number of brands of raw bagged spinach. They're also turning a spotlight on places between the field and your table where the bacteria can get in.

More on what you do about it in a moment from 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta, but first the latest on the outbreak from CNN's Ted Rowlands.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This Wisconsin couple says their 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter suffered kidney failure after eating tainted spinach.

ANNE GRINTJES, PARENT OF VICTIM: There is no drug or pill they can give your child to make your child better. It's almost a wait and see. And as parents, that's the worst thing.

77-year-old Marian Graph (ph) died from kidney failure after eating spinach.

ANN WERGEN, MANITOWOC COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT: The bacteria that she had matches the fingerprint of all of the other people.

ROWLANDS: What investigators can't match yet is what caused the outbreak and until they do, people are being advised to throw away any fresh spinach.

DR. MARK HORTON, STATE PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER: The main recommendation is not to cook the spinach, it's not to eat the spinach. The idea is I think what makes sense to people is if you go in your refrigerator and you pull out a product and you know it's contaminated, you throw it out.

ROWLANDS: There's no formal recall. The FDA does not have power to order one, but grocers around the country have taken spinach off their shelves and restaurants are replacing it on menus.

In Texas, this California trucker was allegedly arrested for allegedly dumping a load of spinach in a creek.

Meanwhile, nervous spinach growers are waiting to find out the cause of the contamination. The stakes are extremely high. If the FDA doesn't find a cause, it could leave a lasting mark on the consumers.

BOB PERKINS, MONTEREY COUNTY FARM BUREAU: We want an answer to this. We have to have an answer to this. It may be that it won't be as precise as we want, but at some point it will be narrowed down to likely causes, and if we can pin it down to likely causes, then we can propose practices that would eliminate those likely causes.

ROWLANDS: The E. coli strain at work is found in animal waste. Industry experts said it could be introduced at any time in the growing process. The most likely scenarios, experts say, are from tainted water or unsanitary conditions during harvest or processing. It could also come from unsafe refrigeration levels during distribution.

FDA officials say to expect more reports of people getting sick.


COOPER: So what's the next step in the investigation? ROWLANDS (on camera): Well, Anderson, more investigators are expected to arrive here in the central coast and they're going to go out and actually go to individual farms. The big problem here is where did this start? And there are so many farms that manufacturer or grow spinach here in this region. They're going to go out and look for clues, but at this point they still just do not know exactly what has caused this. And for that reason, it has really put a halt on the whole industry. And a lot of nervous farmers here are hoping for an answer sooner than later.

COOPER: Yes, a lot of nervous consumers as well. Ted, thanks.

Given the number of places that bugs can get into the food supply, you might be wondering how plausible it would be to do it deliberately. Given the times we live in, it is not quite so outlandish. In fact, it has been done.

Back in 1984 in rural Oregon, disciples of an Indian guru spiked a local salad bar with salmonella bacteria. About 750 people got ill. The question is, could it happen again?

I asked that to 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.


COOPER: So, Sanjay, is there any chance or any evidence that this outbreak was a deliberate attack on the food supply?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They have looked into this, Anderson. It does not appear to be at this point. I mean, they can't say that conclusively, but all the indicators at this point is that it appears to be not deliberate.

COOPER: So how does a deadly bacteria like this get into spinach.

GUPTA: Well, there's one of two ways. And people typically think of E. coli associated with beef, but it can get into the water supply as well. And thus, if contaminated water is used to wash spinach, it will infect the spinach.

Also, this E. coli bacteria, it's a pretty hearty bacteria, so it actually can live in the soil as well. And sometimes if the spinach is in the soil, it can be contaminated that way as well. Both of these are the most likely scenarios; although, they're not sure at this point what exactly has happened here.

COOPER: I mean, if you wash it vigorously, if you cook it, is it OK?

GUPTA: Well, you know, that's interesting, because I asked the same question. The FDA is very clear on this. They're saying if you have it in your refrigerator, throw it out. There's a couple of reasons.

One is, this bacteria appears to be a pretty bad strain. So it can actually multiply on the spinach. It can be actually pretty hard to wash off.

Also, in just the process of handling it yourself with your own hands, you might get it on your hands, subsequently touch a family member and infect people unknowingly.

If you decide do decide to cook it, and again the FDA is saying not to do that for the time being, to throw it out, 160 degrees for 15 seconds usually is enough to kill the bacteria, but you got to make sure you got all the spinach cooked to that temperature.

COOPER: And what are the symptoms of E. coli and how do you treat it if you have it?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, a lot of people watching this, if you have eaten spinach and you have symptoms such as diarrhea, such as a low- grade fever, abdominal cramping, just the general feeling of fatigue, that might be something that warrants a trip to the doctor's office.

Most likely, and the good news is most likely it is very hard to catch so you're probably not going to get it.

There isn't a particular antibiotic. It is a bacteria, but most doctors don't treat it with antibiotics. They just treat it with sort of symptomatic care. So if someone is losing fluids, they'll replace the fluids, et cetera. But it can be just something that takes time to recover from.

COOPER: It was organic spinach. I mean, is that surprising? Should people not take organic spinach?

GUPTA: You know, the thing about organic is that basically that means that there's no pesticides involved. And people make a big deal about that and for good reason. There's no pesticides. But E. coli is a bacteria, so it wouldn't really make a difference whether it was organic or just traditionally produced.

And we actually talked to the FDA about that. And they said if you look throughout history through the past 20 to 30 years, there's really been no significant difference in the number of organic farms versus traditional farms in terms of the outbreaks.

COOPER: If you got it in your refrigerator, can it jump to another food? I mean, you know, you always say about chicken, like don't leave it out on the wood, because it will spread?

GUPTA: Probably not. Probably, like in the fresh bagged spinach for sure not, because it is obviously contained in that bag or in one of those clam shell containers. If you've just had spinach sort of laying out, the bacteria usually finds a particular food and will stick with that food. It's unlikely to jump from one food to another.

And the way that it got on the spinach in the first place, if it was, for example, from contaminated water, it's a lot of water sort of circulating around that spinach to get it infected. So it's very hard for the bacteria to actually jump.

COOPER: Sanjay, thanks. Appreciate it.

GUPTA: Thanks, Anderson.


COOPER: As we said, the E. coli outbreak from spinach has made at least 114 people sick. Here is the raw data. 60 people are in the hospital right now, with 18 suffering kidney failure. One death is confirmed in Wisconsin, another in Ohio is under investigation. Nearly 60 percent of the cases are among people from ages 20 to 64, 75 percent are women. Health officials say that is more likely women, because women eat more spinach, apparently.

A developing story tonight out of Budapest Hungary, where as many as 10,000 protesters are clashing with police and have stormed the headquarters of the country's state television network, setting fires in and around the building. You can see it there, it's pretty chaotic. The riots come after the state aired an audiotape of the country's prime minister admitting he had been lying about the state of the Hungary's economy for the past two years. The protest began outside the parliament and moved to the television station overnight. The clashes led to more than 100 injuries.

One month later and we have not forgotten the peace deal between Israel and Hezbollah. How is it holding up? We'll have a look at that coming up. First, Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.


A security scare at the U.S. capitol today. Police say 20-year- old Carlos Green crashed a stolen SUV through a barricade and ran into the capitol, where he was finally tackled in the basement. Investigators say Green had a loaded gun and crack cocaine. This is the worst security breach since 1998, when a gunman killed two people. The head of the U.S. Capitol Police is promising a security review after today's incident.

In California, along the Los Angeles-Ventura County lines, several wildfires. Firefighters are still trying to get the upper hand on the blaze that has now scorched nearly 75,000 acres. And that's just since Labor Day. Over the weekend, the fire actually doubled in size, thanks to some pretty nasty winds. Two other wildfires are currently burning in California. One forced the evacuation of about 2,500 people over the weekend.

General Motors and Ford, discussing a possible merger. That's according to "Automotive News." Both companies are facing shrinking sales and restructuring their operations. But a merger may never even happen. The newspaper quotes several sources that say the talks aren't active.

Meantime, drivers rejoice. Over the last week, the national average for gas fell 12 cents a gallon to $2.50. That's on top of an 11-cent drop the previous week. The government is predicting fuel costs will continue to slide in the weeks to come, now that the summer gasoline demand is over and that a switch is being made to cheaper winter fuel blends.

It's like an early Christmas present -- Anderson.

COOPER: Or pre-election present, perhaps.

HILL: Aah, could be.

COOPER: Erica, thanks.

HILL: See you later.

COOPER: Well, in the Middle East, a month has already passed since the cease-fire ended the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah. But has there been any progress? Some big questions tonight about whether the truce really is working. We will explore that. Also, what happened to those kidnapped Israeli soldiers?

And they've criticized each other from afar. Now President Bush and his running counterpart are going to be uncomfortably close tomorrow. Both of them speak at the U.N. We'll have a preview of the showdown.

And a murder mystery that has baffled police for decades. It is now the subject of a new movie. We'll go inside the real story of, "The Black Dahlia," when 360 continues.


COOPER: Both President Bush and the President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in New York tomorrow to address the U.N. general assembly. Now, it amounts to a showdown of sorts between the two men who have been waging an increasingly hostile war of words from afar.

CNN's Senior National Correspondent John Roberts reports.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What would the consequences of war with Iran be?

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKY, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think it would be devastating. First of all, we are rather stuck in Iraq. That would compound the problem. The Iranians can respond by making life for us much more miserable than Iraq. They can destabilize Afghanistan. They can let loose Hezbollah. They can precipitate disruption of the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormouse (ph). They can cut their own production.

ROBERTS: Do you think that there is ever any chance to repair relations between the United States and Iran?

BRZEZINSKY: Absolutely. I think there is for several reasons. We need each other. And we can be a force for good in the Middle East if we pursue intelligent policies, really try to settle the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, which both peoples need. Get out of Iraq in some fashion, and to deal with Iran as a serious player in the region. Try to understand their security concerns, try to make them understand ours.


COOPER: That was part of a conversation that John Roberts had with Zbigniew Brzezinsky, the national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter. He is now with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The piece that we were supposed to toss to was a piece looking at the relationship and the possible showdown tomorrow between President Bush and Iran's president. Take a look.


ROBERTS (voice-over): He's a full seven inches shorter than President Bush, but at every opportunity, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just loves to poke the president in the eye.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, PRESIDENT OF IRAN (through translator): Access to peaceful nuclear energy and power is the right of the Iranian people.

ROBERTS: Whether it's his open defiance of the White House on Iran's nuclear program or cozying up to such foes of the U.S., as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez on Sunday, Ahmadinejad has successfully written a tide of growing anti-Americanism in the Muslim world.

Ray Takeyh is author of, "Hidden Iran: Paradox in Power in the Islamic Republic."

RAY TAKEYH, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, I think he is appealing to a larger audience beyond the Western capitals; and frankly even beyond America, to the Muslim capitals, to the Muslim streets, suggesting that there's a new defiant leader that is willing to stand up to the United States.

ROBERTS: And in doing so, Ahmadinejad hopes to drive a wedge this week between the U.S. and its allies at the United Nations who might feel just a little pushed around by the White House.

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): The United States is turning the security council into a basis for imposing its policies.

ROBERTS: The strategy appears to be working. Just today France back-pedaled on its support for sanctions if Iran did not agree to give up its nuclear program.

But how did the mudslinging between Tehran and the White House get so bad? Certainly Ahmadinejad's denial of the holocaust and insistence that Israel be wiped off the map were part of it.

Some people also fault President Bush for what they call increasingly Islamaphobic language that alienates Muslims.

Zbigniew Brzezinsky dealt with Iran as President Carter's national security adviser.

BRZEZINSKY: He talks all the time abut the jihadists, Islamic fanatics, Islamic terrorists, the caliphate that is going to be set up. Suppose the president was talking about the IRA terrorists in Northern Ireland, you know, the Irish terrorists, and instead was calling them all the time, the Catholic terrorists, the papist terrorists, the terrorists who are trying to set up a papacy. It would certainly offend many Catholics.

ROBERTS: There is no question among experts and analysts that Ahmadinejad wants to remake Iran into the Middle East's dominant power. Whether nuclear weapons are a part of that strategy is an open question. But as worrying as Iran's intentions are, so for some people, is what President Bush has in mind.

BRZEZINSKY: And the president sometimes creates the impression that come what may, he is going to address this issue decisive in the next two years. Which I suspect means only one possibility, war, because to resolve this issue may take longer than two years to negotiate seriously.

ROBERTS (on camera): Brzezinsky believes that Iran may be as much as a decade away from developing a nuclear weapon if it goes down that road. But one of President Bush's biggest worries and he doesn't like to talk about this publicly, is that if Iran doesn't agree in the near future to give up its nuclear program, Israel may launch a preemptive strike. And if that were to happen, everyone that I've talked to about it predicts that consequences would be disastrous.

John Roberts, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: A war between the U.S. and Iran is this week's "Time" magazine cover story. We are joined now by "Time" magazine's Editor Rick Stengel, editor of "Time" magazine.

Thanks for being with us.

You know, Ahmadinejad, he's a fascinating character and you write a lot about him this week. Who is he speaking to? I mean, Who is the audience he is trying to appeal to?

RICHARD STENGEL, "TIME" EDITOR: He is actually quite shrewd because he is talking to multiple audiences. You know, when he's in Tehran, he's talking to the Arab street. When he is going to be here in New York, he's talking to international community and he's even talking to Americans.

I mean, in our interview, it says, you know, Americans are good people. I met some of them when I was in New York. Good people like us are logical. They don't want to actually have war. So he knows where his audiences are, and while he is here, he is talking to us.

COOPER: And he knows that he scores points by, you know, jabbing a finger at President Bush as much as possible.

STENGEL: Well, he's scoring points back home, but I think you'll see a slightly more moderate Ahmadinejad here rather than you saw him in the Middle East, because there he is a populist. He's rallying up the street. You know, he gets a lot of popularity because people see him, as you say, shaking a finger at President Bush. I'm not so sure he's going to do that tomorrow.

COOPER: No banging the shoes on the table or anything?


COOPER: You also write in this week's "Time" about what a possible war against Iran would look like. And I mean, there are not a lot of great options there.

STENGEL: There aren't a lot of great options. I mean, they're looking at all the options. I mean, as somebody said, war planners plan, so they are planning. But it's easy to actually do some of the damage that they want to do to Iran's nuclear power facilities. What's hard is how to extricate yourself and what happens afterwards. Would they do something to the straits or Hormouse (ph)? Will they attack Israel?

Of course, you know, Iran shares a border with both Afghanistan and Iraq and the trouble they can cause us in those places is pretty harrowing.

COOPER: But I mean, it's certainly not like the Israeli operation against Iraq, Iraq's program I guess was centered in one location. Iran certainly learned from that attack and has spread out their facilities. I mean, there are a lot of possible targets.

STENGEL: Right. In fact, they say there are about 1,300 targets that we have to hit there in reinforced concrete and there are places that we don't even know about. So you can kind of take out the things that you know and then there's stuff that rises up afterwards that you didn't know about.

COOPER: And the likelihood of sort of boots on the ground seems pretty slim, given the troop disbursal in Afghanistan and Iraq.

STENGEL: Absolutely. Look, a lot of people on the right regret the fact that perhaps we went into Iraq when we should have gone into Iran. And now that we're in Iraq in such a big way, it actually means that we can't actually do what they want to do in Iran.

COOPER: The president, in "Time," pretty strongly says they don't want nuclear weapons. In fact, he's opposed to nuclear weapons. How good is the intelligence that the U.S. has?

STENGEL: You know, it's not so good. And we have had estimates that it's anywhere from two to five years away where they would actually enrich the uranium and could have a weapon. The point where they actually can enrich it is when people think they actually can weaponize it and that is the dangerous period. But we really don't know. I think they are much further away than sometimes we hint at.

COOPER: How strong has Iran become as an actor in the Middle East? STENGEL: Oh, they've become much more muscular and brawny as a result of what happened with Israel. Their support for Hezbollah has made them look very powerful and shrewd in the Arab world. I think they're the giant. They're flexing their muscles now.

COOPER: It's interesting, just listening to some of the rhetoric from President Bush I think a week or two ago. He's sort of almost linking Iran with al Qaeda. I mean, not directly, but saying that they are two sides of the same thread. It seems like this administration is painting certainly Iran and Islamic opponents to this regime with a very broad brush.

STENGEL: Well, actually, as you know, Anderson, in the Middle East, I mean, they look at Bush's depiction of Islam and the Middle East as being so broad and kind of grotesquely large and not being subtle enough and not looking at the complexities. And I think, you know, there's a world of difference between al Qaeda and Iran. And people look at Bush as not being very savvy when he actually links them together.

Complainant: Hmm. It's a great issue of "Time." I appreciate you joining us. Thanks.

STENGEL: Thanks. Great to be here.

COOPER: From a war that could happen, to one that did. Tonight, a close look at the fragile peace between Israel and Hezbollah, or the cease-fire, we should say. It's no longer making headlines, but this story is far from over and we haven't forgotten about it. We will take you there next.


COOPER: A little more than a month ago I came to you from the Israel-Lebanon border as both countries were in the midst of a fierce battle, each side launching daily attacks, killing hundreds of people. Today, there are no more rockets falling from the sky, no major ground battles being fought, but that does not mean that the current cease- fire is working, not when Hezbollah is still armed and not when the two Israeli soldiers whose kidnappings started the conflict remain missing.

CNN's Ben Wedeman gets us up to date.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She came to the offices of the Red Cross with cards wishing her son, Ehud, and another Israeli soldier a happy Rosh Hashanah or a Jewish new year. School children wrote the cards to Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two soldiers captured by Hezbollah on July 12.

Their capture ignited the 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah. Miki Goldwasser is hoping the Red Cross will deliver the cards to Hezbollah and eventually they will reach her son. MIKI GOLDWASSER, MOTHER OF KIDNAPPED SOLDIER: I miss him badly. I want him back home. I want to hug him. I want to kiss him. I want to look into his eyes. I am a mother.

WEDEMAN: And Ehud Goldwasser's father, Shlomo, a veteran of the 6-day-war wonders if this war was worth it?

SHLOMO GOLDWASSER, FATHER OF KIDNAPPED SOLDIER: In a way I am angry also with my government, with my taking decisions, the persons who are taking decisions, they say that they are going to the war. You know, that to bring my son back, our sons back. The war finish and my son is not here.

WEDEMAN: He is not the only one who is angry. Thousands of Israelis have protested what they see as faulty conduct of the Lebanese war, pouring blame and scorn on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his defense minister and the army chief of staff.

Over the weekend, Israeli television aired footage shot by a reservist who served in Lebanon. What comes across is a poorly- planned military campaign, with soldiers complaining of contradictory orders and a shortage of basic supplies, even water.

When the cease-fire went into effect on August 14, Hezbollah still held the two Israeli soldiers and had neither been destroyed nor disarmed.

Government leaders say the Lebanon war was a success. Analyst Yossi Klein Halevi scoffs at their claims.

YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI, SHALEM CENTER: Hezbollah is still there, Nasrallah is proclaiming victory. Throughout the Arab or Muslim world, Hezbollah is now seen as heroes. Among the Palestinians, Hezbollah are seen as active role models. This is seen among Israelis justifiably, left, right, and center, as a failed war that is made all of the more painful because we could have won.

WEDEMAN: Harsh words in a country used to winning its wars.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Jerusalem.


COOPER: Well, we're covering all the angles tonight. We'll take a close look at how the cease-fire is being viewed in Lebanon and in Israel. I'll be joined by guests from both sides of the conflict when 360 continues.


COOPER: It has been little more than a month since Israel and Hezbollah agreed to a cease-fire and much still needs to be resolved. We are covering all of the angles tonight.

We'll soon hear from Israel's ambassador to the U.N., but first joining me now is Hisham Melhem, the Washington bureau chief of Annahar, a Lebanese newspaper.

Mr. Melhem, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: You know, a month ago, a lot of people in Lebanon, even those who didn't support Hezbollah, were loathed to criticize Hassan Nasrallah. Now that the dust has settled, time has passed, what is the perception of Hezbollah among the Lebanese population, which is, you know, obviously a very diverse population?

MELHEM: As many of us expected, the moment the guns fell silent, that Lebanon will go through a round of bitter, painful recrimination. And we are in the middle of it right now between the government on one hand and the leadership of Hezbollah on the other.

Hezbollah has been criticized roundly by the government and by the leaders of various Lebanese communities because of its recklessness sparking this conflict. And many Lebanese are saying that because of Hezbollah's recklessness and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the one hand, and Israel's brutal response and its callousness when it comes to civilian Lebanese lives, Lebanon has paid a tremendous historic price. While the physical destruction can be repaired by financial aid and economic aid, the political damage, the rift between the Sunnis and the Shiites, the rifts between Hezbollah and the various Lebanese communities cannot be repaired. The vanishing trust among the Lebanese cannot be repaired easily.

And so we are in the middle of this round of recrimination. And Nasrallah, himself, who built the huge mythical persona in Lebanon and the Arab world, he's no longer the political icon he used to be before the war and now he's being criticized not only by non-Shiites, but from -- which is interesting -- within the Shiite community, a number of academics, religious leaders and columnists are criticizing him personally.

COOPER: Well, that's interesting. I mean, do you think then it was a net gain -- I mean, I don't want to put it in such simplistic terms, but you know, there was so much talk back a month ago that, you know, Hezbollah has come out of this stronger than ever, you know, elevating the Arab world. In retrospect, you are saying that has weakened. Do you think it was a net gain or do you think that they have lost ground?

MELHEM: Well, I mean, even when Hezbollah claims victory -- and by the way, they're going to organize a huge rally on Friday in the southern suburbs that were destroyed by Israel. They are calling it divine victory to celebrate the divine victory. Many people see this as a pity victory or (UNINTELLIGIBLE) victory at best.

I mean, the Israelis left behind them a mountain of rubbles, and the Lebanese have to sort out all these political and economic problems that they are facing right now.

Yes, in the Arab world, many people have felt proud, a sense of pride because the Hezbollah fighters in the south and the southern Lebanese villages valiantly, and one should say that, resisted the mightiest military force in the Middle East. But at the same time the damage was so tremendous. And as I said, the vanishing trust among the Lebanese cannot be repaired easy. And it's not the Arabs who are going to pay the price, it's the Lebanese who are going to pay the price. And many Lebanese don't want Lebanon to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and they don't want Beirut to be turned into a Tehran in the Mediterranean.

So, the net result on Lebanon is more complex. Hezbollah is boxed into south. It does not have the kind of control, almost total control they used to enjoy before July 12th because of the deployment of the Lebanese forces and the international forces in the south. And that is why Hezbollah now is on the defensive, criticizing the very government that saved them essentially when they negotiated brilliantly with the Israelis and the Americans.

COOPER: A Hezbollah spokesperson said they have as many as 90 percent of their weapons still. Do you think that is true?

MELHEM: I think they are exaggerating. I mean, Nasrallah, himself, said publicly we have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) rockets and missiles from the Iranians. I think the Israelis managed to destroy a great deal probably of the medium range, the heavy rockets that cannot be moved easy.

Look, the Katyushas and antique weapons. They are terror weapons, they are not weapons, rockets that would destroy. And Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets into Israel and they killed 42 Israelis. I mean, it tells you that this is a weapon of terror, it's not the weapon of destruction.

And but now, their ability to use the south as a base and now they are very concerned by the way, because there is an effective, beginning to be an effective arms embargo against weapons from Iran to Hezbollah via Syria. And the navies of Europe are patrolling the Lebanese territorial waters, so it is going to be difficult for Hezbollah to rearm.

COOPER: Interesting. Mr. Melhem, we appreciate you being on the show. It's the first time, and we'd love to have you back. Thank you.

MELHEM: Thank you.

COOPER: As I said earlier, we're covering all the angles of this shaky cease-fire.

Joining me now is Dan Gillerman, the Israeli ambassador to the U.N.

I don't know if you heard what Mr. Melhem was saying, but a little bit more of a positive picture, I guess, from the Israeli perspective that Hezbollah comes out of this weakened.

DAN GILLERMAN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I did hear what he said, and I must say that I agree with everything he says practically, because when you look at the situation at where we were three months ago, and you spent a very long time there during the war, Anderson. Where we were three months ago and where we are today, it's a totally different neighborhood.

Three months ago, southern Lebanon was Hezbollah land. It was a state within a state. It was controlled by Hezbollah. It was controlled by remote control by Iran and Syria, and was a terror base in which no Lebanese soldier would dare step or tread.

Today, we have southern Lebanon with the Lebanese army deploying for the first time in 38 years their own forces there. We have a viable, robust, professional international force being deployed along the border, and in southern Lebanon. We have an arms embargo imposed by the United Nations and international community to prevent the additional shipments and the continued shipments of arms from Iran via Syria to Lebanon and to the Hezbollah. So we have a totally new ball game.

COOPER: But as you know, though, there are many in Israel who are very critical of the way the war was prosecuted, the performance of some of the generals, the politicians. And there are those who say, well look, how can you say this was a success? The Israeli soldiers are still missing and no one knows where they are. Hezbollah still has power, and they haven't disarmed and no one is even talking about disarming them anymore.

GILLERMAN: You know, success is always measured based on expectations. And maybe the expectations were too high and maybe some of the statements made at the beginning of this war created those expectations, but I know for a fact that none of the political leaders of Israel actually felt that a military operation can actually bring the soldiers back.

And I think that this military operation, as opposed to many others in the past, where Israel has always won resounding victories, but very seldom followed it with a political settlement. In this particular case, from the word go we knew that this could not finish without a very real political settlement and diplomatic solution on the ground. And we've started working towards the resolution which eventually became 1701 for exactly the same reason, in order to have the international community insist on the return of our boys, to have them deploy their forces in southern Lebanon, to have an embargo imposed, to have Lebanon exercise its sovereignty over its whole country. And all of this is happening today.

COOPER: Do you have any word on the two soldiers who have been kidnapped?

GILLERMAN: Unfortunately, Anderson, as you know, we are dealing with a very cynical and cruel enemy. Not only don't we have any word, we don't even have a sign of life. The wife of Ehud Goldwasser, whose parents you showed before, is actually here in New York. She will be attending President Bush's speech at the United Nations tomorrow.

We have met today with many world leaders in which our foreign minister has made it very clear that the fact that the soldiers have not been released and there hasn't even been a sign of life from them is a strict violation of 1701.

I actually came to the studio from a meeting which our foreign minister held with Mahmoud Abbas, the first meeting of an Israeli leader with a Palestinian leader held for many, many months. And I must say, we're encouraged, we feel that we may soon get good news. And we will not rest until our boys, until Udi (ph) and Eldad Engilad (ph) are brought home to their families.

COOPER: Wee are out of time, but Ambassador Gillerman, we appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

GILLERMAN: Thank you very much, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up on 360, something very different, something out of the pages of a murder mystery, a Hollywood murder mystery. Right now it's on the big screen, but "The Black Dahlia" is a real case that has stumped police for decades. Tonight, one former detective says he knows who the killer is. We will take you inside the true story, 360 next.


COOPER: Long before it became a movie, "The Black Dahlia" was already one of Hollywood's most gruesome and puzzling murder mysteries. It was the kind of crime that conjures up Jack the Ripper. Police do not know who the killer is, but one former L.A. detective swears he knows. We'll talk to the detective in a moment.

First, the facts of "The Black Dahlia." Here is Peter Viles.


PETER VILES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was 22, her name was Elizabeth Short.

R.J. SMITH, LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE: I think she was innocent and pretty and knew how to charm guys at a bar or a lunch counter.

VILES: Because she died her hair black and liked black dresses, someone called her the black Dahlia. It said she liked night spots, the Pig 'N Whistle, Florentine Gardens.

STEVE HODEL, AUTHOR, "BLACK DAHLIA AVENGER": She was created into this myth of a dark woman, noir woman, which she wasn't. She was a rather naive girl from Medford, Massachusetts.

VILES: James Ellroy's novel makes her a prostitute, but he now says that's fiction.

JAMES ELLROY, AUTHOR, "THE BLACK DAHLIA": She was a pie-faced Irish girl from Boston. She was indestructibly hopeful. She was perseverant. She was persistent. She tried to love that stance is her tragedy.

VILES: Legend has it she was last seen alive right here at the L.A.'s Biltmore Hotel. SMITH: Made phone calls, some minor purchases, and then she walked out the door. And as the legend goes, that was the last time she was seen.

VILES: This part we know. A week later, January 15, 1947, her body was found right about here. She had been cut in half just above the waist.

HODEL: Seasoned veteran homicide detectives get to the scene and their sickened. They've never seen anything like it. They're shocked.

VILES: It was too twisted for words. Explicit photos made the rounds, but the papers didn't publish them.

HODEL: She was surgically bisected in half. The body was washed clean. All blood was washed off. She was carefully posed. She had been tortured for extended hours. Cigarette burns to the back, chunks of flesh were cut from her body and actually placed inside of her private parts.

VILES: Papers did run this photo, heavily air brushed.

SMITH: Corners to the mouth, cut to the ear. The press couldn't show that, and they prettied up her face in the 40s. They drew a blanket over the body.

VILES: So who killed her and why?

Former L.A.P.D. Detective Steve Hodel thinks he knows.

HODEL: I have been to hell for the last three years.

VILES: Hell, because he thinks his own father did it, that he was a psychotic woman hater who believed the murder was a work of art.

VILES: So you picture your dad out there by the light of the moon posing this corpse and believing he is creating art?

HODEL: This was his masterpiece. This was his statement to all surrealists.

VILES: The father died seven years ago. A top prosecutor also believes he was the killer. But the L.A.P.D. doesn't buy it. So the mystery lives on.

SMITH: I don't think we'll ever solve it. You know, everyone has a theory in this town. Two people think their dads did it. People think that Orson Wells did it. The police originally, for a moment, thought the folk singer Woody Guthrie did it. I think this crime is big and unsolvable.

VIELS: Unsolvable and to James Ellroy, beyond words.

ELLROY: We are all looking for a language to explicate the remorseless, horrifying, arrogant and narcissistic rage perpetrated upon her. And in that manner, I feel that Mr. DePalma (ph) fails, all of us fail.

VILES: The whole city failed Elizabeth Short, which is one reason it can't forget what happened to her.

Peter Viles for CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: It is a fascinating case, and as you just saw, there are a lot of people who cannot forget what happened to Elizabeth Short. One of them is the former cop. He is convinced his father killed the Black Dahlia.

I will talk to him more about that, next on 360.



ELLROY: She was a pie-faced Irish girl from Boston. She was indestructibly hopeful. She was perseverant. She was persistent. She tried to love that stance is her tragedy.


COOPER: A quote from the author of the book and now the movie, "The Black Dahlia."

Before the break we told you about the infamous case of a woman tortured, murdered, cut in half in Los Angeles. The crime happened nearly half a century ago; to this day, remains a mystery.

My next guest, however, is convinced his father was the killer. Steve Hodel is a retired L.A.P.D. detective. He's also the author of the book, "Black Dahlia Avenger." Steve joins me now.

Steve, thanks for being with us.

What evidence did you uncover that convinced you that your own father actually committed this crime?

HODEL: Well, it was a long path of a four-year journey, Anderson. First of all, there was a secret album of photos my father had which had a beautiful dark-haired woman that led me to believe that was Elizabeth Short. It was a secret album that was given to me by my stepmother when he died.

COOPER: And we are seeing now these two pictures side by side. Which is, the photo on the left is the one from the album?

HODEL: They're both actually from the album.

COOPER: They're both, OK.

HODEL: Initially I thought they were the same woman, but now, fast forward, and I believe the one on the left is actually Elizabeth Short, the nude.

So that started me. Interesting my father knew Elizabeth Short, but knowing my father's background and everything here in Hollywood, it is not all that surprising.

The second was I began researching this investigation and discovered that a surgeon, or at least a skilled medical person, did the murder. There is no question about that.

COOPER: And your father was a doctor in Hollywood?

HODEL: My father was a doctor and also skilled in surgery. So that was the second blinking red light.

The third, and that really started me down the road was the front pages of the newspaper had a letter sent in by the killer a few days after the Dahlia murder, and it said, turning myself in on Wednesday, January 29, had my fun at the police. And I recognized this as my father's handwriting. He's got a very unusual block printing. It was undisguised and very clear. At that point, I realized, my God, this is the real deal. And I would spend the next three years putting all of the separate pieces together and actually discovering that George Hodel, Dr. George Hodel, who was at the time the head of L.A. County Health Department, V.D. control, was in fact the killer.

COOPER: And I mean, what was it about your father's personality that would lead you to believe he was even capable of such a thing?

HODEL: Well, an amazing renaissance man. 186 IQ, one point above Einstein, played his own piano concerts at the Shrine Auditorium at the age of 9, went to Caltech Institute of Technology, here in Pasadena, at the age of 14. Had an affair with one of the professor's wives. She got pregnant. He was asked to leave after a year. Rode around with L.A.P.D. homicide guys and L.A.P.D. vice as a journalist, a young cub reporter.

COOPER: But clearly had a, you think had a dark side?

HODEL: Had a very dark side. Early on, he was into over the edge very bizarre stuff. He had his own magazine published called "Fantasia." He was very much of a surrealist, and he went on to become a medical doctor, went to Berkeley, and then came back to L.A. and specialized in V.D. and rose to the very top, became the V.D. control officer for the entire city.

COOPER: And you think also the way that her body was positioned, I mean, her body was severed in half, but the way the murder scene was positioned, you think that's a tribute to Man Ray, the surrealist photographer?

HODEL: They were very close friends. Man Ray was here from 1940 to 1950. He was our family photographer. They were kindred spirits. And no question about it, the key to this murder is surrealism.

And in fact, a book has just come out today, separate research, separate independent from my own. It establishes really beyond any doubt that -- it's called the "Exquisite Corpse: Surrealism and the Black Dahlia," and it makes all the links. I made the initial links through a couple of photographs by Man Ray, one called the Minitar (ph), and one called Lovers. And the Minitar (ph) was a monster that devoured maidens on the island of Crete in the Labyrinth. And the body was carefully posed is a very special way, with the hands above the head.

COOPER: Yes, we are seeing a photograph of it now.

HODEL: Ok. Also, geometric pieces of flesh were cut out of the body. Much as you would see in a lot of the surrealist art.

COOPER: Wow. You can find out more about this in your book, which is "Black Dahlia Avenger." It is a fascinating story.

Steve, appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

HODEL: Thank you.

COOPER: We're going to have a look at what's coming up on the radar, when 360 continues. Be right back.


COOPER: A lot of action on the blog. People weighing in on a report on another milestone in Iraq -- 20,000 American troops wounded. After all of that, are we safer?

Jackson at Fort Hood, Texas, writes, "I am about to deploy with the 1st Calvary Division into the Iraq theater of operations. I joined shortly after 9/11 to fight terrorism. Now, I fear that all I am helping to do is facilitate a terrorist attack on American assets, namely U.S. soldiers. We have not helped anything or made anyone safer.

Debbie in Denham Springs, Louisiana, has this to say. "[CNN Coverage] showed me an aspect of our involvement in the Middle East that I wouldn't have known about otherwise. Those soldiers are like my friends, my neighbors -- they're normal people with one major distinction: incredible courage." Here, here.

And about our interview with Nick Clooney on Darfur, Lorie Ann of Buellton, California writes -- I hope I didn't pronounce that wrong. "The U.N. Security Council has a job to do and no excuse, that I can think of, will do. The world community needs to step up to plate on Darfur and all the other issues they drag their feet on."

If you'd like to weigh in, just go to our home page,, weigh in.

Now it's supposed to be peaceful and painless, but are the lethal injections given to death row inmates actually cruel and unusual punishment?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be totally honest with you, I think if Texas could make it hurt more, they would. And I think truth be told, they are probably over there mixing things up on their own.


COOPER: Controversy over the lethal drug combination that some say is taking too long to do what it's supposed to. That's on "AMERICA MORNING," tomorrow, starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.

"LARRY KING" is next.

Thanks for watching. I'll see you tomorrow.


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