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Up to 175 Killed in Suicide Attacks in Iraq; Search Continues For Trapped Utah Miners

Aired August 14, 2007 - 20:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: We are going to be talking about the breaking news coming out of Hawaii, of course, with the possibility of a hurricane hitting there soon, but also these new pictures.
These are the ones that we have been getting out of that mine. We're also going to be talking to Bob Murray. What is actually going on down there? For example, where is that water coming from? We will answer that for you.

And then we're going back to Iraq. Here is some of the latest video, because the talk is that the surge was working, in fact, that statement made today by a general. But, tonight, a report from the ground with some staggering numbers. We will break it down and take you there.

Also, a national outrage, that's what we have uncovered here. You see some of these men that you see in these pictures? They have been to Iraq or Afghanistan. But suddenly they come back and they're either fired after being there or fired when they tell their bosses they're thinking about going back. The number is startling of how many people this has happened to. We're going to continue to bring it out in the open for you.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): A playground of all things catches fire. And now they're shutting down other playgrounds. What in the world is going on?

This man was accused of rape and allowed to walk streets of Newark, New Jersey. This man is furious about it. Sanchez and Dobbs together again.

Careful what you do with your iPhone, unless you want your bill to look like "War and Peace." Uh-oh. It is out in the open, too.


SANCHEZ: All right. We're inside the control room. That's where we are going to begin this newscast, because we want to be as close as possible to a couple of stores that are breaking as we speak. In fact, a couple of them developed over the last 15 minutes or so.

First, northern Iraq where at least three, possibly four suicide bombings have taken a horrific toll; 175 people are dead, perhaps more than 200 wounded. This on a day when the Army's top commander announced that the surge was working. We're going to be taking you there live.

There is also this breaking news. You heard Suzanne Malveaux talking about this a little while ago, this situation out in L.A. This is a wildfire that has been burning in L.A.'s Griffith Park. Now, apparently, it is threatening an observatory. That's the picture of people who have been gathering in the area, taking a look at what is coming in. That's coming in from one of our affiliates, KCAL, by the way, there in Los Angeles.

And then this report, another major story, it is a state of emergency that has been declared in Hawaii. A hurricane is now headed their way.

And CNN's Reynolds Wolf is going to be joining us from Big Island.

Reynolds, here is the thing about the situation with Hawaii. My being from Florida, I know the difference. They get a lot of big waves there. And this storm could provide a pretty big surge. How serious could this be?

REYNOLDS WOLF, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, in terms of a surge, Rick, we can see anywhere from I would say a 10- to 12-foot surge.

But one huge advantage that they have here in the state of Hawaii, unlike your home state of Florida, is, Florida, you will notice, there are so many homes that are built right close to the water. Here, where we're situated on the southern end of the Big Island of Hawaii, we're high up on a bluff. And that's pretty much where you will see most of the homes built in this corner of the state. They're very fortunate in that regard.

But in terms of the waves, they're going to see some monstrous waves make their way on the southern shore. In fact, take a look at this video that we have now. The waves that we have seen have been anywhere from, say, 10 to 15 feet in height, some of them a little bit smaller. But the forecast is calling for some heavier wave action, anywhere from say, 20,, maybe as high as 25, as we make our way to the late evening and overnight hours. And into tomorrow, the waves will slowly begin to diminish.

One thing very interesting is that, at this point, Rick, we have a hurricane watch that is in effect for all of the Big Island and a tropical storm warning that is in effect as we speak. From where I'm standing, the eye of this storm is expected to pass about 80 miles south of this.

But as you know, Rick, personally -- I know you have been through so many of these storms -- this storm is a mint. It's about 420 miles wide. So, even though the eye is going to be well to our south, it makes no difference. We're still going to see some action here in terms of the strong wind, the waves, and, of course, don't forget the rain.

Although we haven't seen much over the last couple of hours, we could still see anywhere from five to 10 inches of rainfall. No question, that could cause some serious flooding -- back to you.

SANCHEZ: All right. Reynolds Wolf, he is going to be hanging in there for us.

We will get back to you, Reynolds. Anything changes, let us know.

Now to Utah, where we're seeing new video today from underground, where six miners are trapped and the situation turns even more desperate.

The latest now from CNN's Brian Todd, who has been standing by.

Brian, do they know where these guys are yet?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rick, they do believe they know where they are. And that's what makes the slow pace of this operation so frustrating to the men who are in charge of it.


TODD (voice-over): Rescue miners dig furiously as their boss narrates.

BOB MURRAY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, MURRAY ENERGY CORPORATION: See the jack? It's moving up now against the roof. Now, once they get the jack turned against the roof, they seal it.

TODD: In a video his crew shot from the mine, Robert Murray shows how slow and dangerous this work is.

MURRAY: And you are here right now, right at the furthest point that we have driven towards the trapped miners, a distance of about 700 feet from where we started.

TODD: Seven hundred feet in, just over a third of the distance to the area underground where the six missing miners were believed to be when the cave-in struck nearly nine days ago. Since then, there have been no signs of life. But all hope is not lost. Other miners have survived longer underground, according to the U.S. Mine Rescue Association.

Spring 2006: Two miners last two weeks in an Australian mine before being rescued.

November 2005: A Chinese miner is rescued after 11 days. He tells journalists he drank his own urine.

LEE MCELPRANG, FORMER MINER: Nobody knows what these guys went through.

TODD: Lee McElprang mined these hills for 44 years, but not at Crandall Canyon. He says he crawled out after one collapse that killed one of his buddies and injured two others.

MCELPRANG: You have got to wait until the dust settles. You can get on your knees and run out of air. You can stand up and be in air.

TODD: When you get to the highest point you can, he says, breathe what air you can. Ration out your food. And as for the water in the mine...

MCELPRANG: Yes, that water -- that water is potable. They tell me you can go 10 days without eating, as long as you got water to drink.


TODD: McElprang says that miners should also try to find what they call bleeder tunnels that are designed to let dangerous gases escape.

Now, this is all in the event that the miners are not injured or in shell shock. Lee McElprang says there is no way to describe to outsiders just how quickly these mines can cave in or how devastating those first concussions can be -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Brian Todd following the situation there from Utah -- we thank you, Brian.

Brian was talking, by the way, about that work that is being done underground. Now, here's what it looks like down there. We have got some pictures I think we can show you. See that right there? That's actually what it looks like going down 1,600 feet into that tube.

The diameter of that thing is about eight to nine inches. Now, you see that wire mesh right there? Now you're going into one of those chambers that we have been describing for you all this day.

And, now, the camera is going to turn slightly to the right, and you will see now the very top of that -- or the ceiling of the cave or the chamber, as we have been describing it. I will tell you what.

Let's do this now. Let's bring in Bob Murray. He's the president and CEO of Murray Energy. He's been following the situation.

As we're looking at that video, we're trying to figure out why that water is falling down from the ceiling. What is that water? Where is it coming from?

MURRAY: Well, that water that you see, Mr. Sanchez, in that photograph is coming from the bore hole itself, down which the camera has been placed.

However, there is water in the mine. The mine has water throughout. It comes generally out of the bottoms. That water you see in that photograph, sir, came from the bore hole itself.

SANCHEZ: That means, if those guys, these six miners, are still down there, and, you know, heaven hope that they're still alive, they would at least have that, which is one of the things that makes you perish first, the lack of water. Let's go back to the pictures, Will (ph), if we can. I want him to help us understand this.

We see that wire mesh on top of that. What is that holding back? Is that a created cavern or is that a naturally made cavern we're looking at down there?

MURRAY: No, that is how we supported the roof of the mine, Mr. Sanchez, when the mining was initially done. And there is much, much hope for these miners yet. And you just mentioned one of the reasons why.

You see, the roof was never disturbed. That wire mesh and that roof bolting was done when the mining was done. It was not disturbed by the seismic shocks, only the ribs. There has been no cave-in. The roof is still there, just the seismic shocks that has blown in the ribs, plus the fact there is water, plus the fact that there may be pockets of air. It gives us every reason for hope that they're still alive.


SANCHEZ: There is something else. I'm going to interrupt you for just a minute, because there is something we were all curious about.

When we looking at this video -- and I don't know if we have got that shot or not -- I think that may be number four, Will -- where you see something that looks like I don't know if it is a tool bag. There it is, right there. What are those things? And is it possible that they may belong to the trapped miners that you're looking for?

MURRAY: That is a bag, sir, in which the belt repairmen held splices. And there were men working in close vicinity to that bag.

And the belt is there. You can see it in that camera picture. You can see the belt itself.


SANCHEZ: Why is it still there, though? Is it normal to leave the equipment or to leave your bag down there, or could it belong to one of the six miners?

MURRAY: No, it could have belonged to one of the six miners. And that's, of course, in the proximity of where we thought the miners were. And we have drilled two holes into that area.

Unfortunately though we have not found live miners, but we have seen some of the evidence of their work there, sir.

SANCHEZ: How tall is that ceiling, by the way? I'm about 5'9''. Could I stand up without having to slouch?

MURRAY: It is 8 foot. The coal seam is 8 foot. But the good part about this is, Mr. Sanchez, everywhere, even after the earthquake in this seismic disaster, there is two-and-a-half to five-and-a-half feet of void there, which is a lot of void to hold air, fresh air, to sustain the life of our miners.

And we're telling their families -- I have met with them twice today. I showed them all the pictures. These pictures were prepared for the families, to show them the rescue effort going on and as well on the drilling on the mountain.

SANCHEZ: Mr. Murray...


MURRAY: And...

SANCHEZ: Go ahead. Finish off. I'm sorry, sir.

MURRAY: No, that's fine, sir.

I have great hope that they're still alive.

SANCHEZ: Thank you for being with us, Bob Murray, president and CEO of Murray Energy, who has obviously been as busy as you can possibly be out there, and it has obviously been very important for you.

We will get back to you, sir. We thank you.

Tonight, there's a follow-up on an illegal immigrant released on bail after being charged with raping a 5-year-old. Newark officials have now rescinded his bail. It's too late, though, because, while he was out, he was charged with killing three college students execution- style while he was out on bail.

Jose Carranza -- you see him there -- was on bail, even though he was charged with raping a minor, because Newark officials don't tell the feds when they have nabbed a criminal alien. This is called a sanctuary policy that we have been looking into. We put a map up so you could see it.

Newark is not the only place in the country that uses it, by the way. You see a couple dozen there. In fact, it is almost showing some of the areas where some are calling it almost a don't ask, don't tell policy when it comes to criminal aliens.

Lou Dobbs, who is outraged about this, joins us to talk.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Good to be with you, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right.

This character Carranza, he's in jail because he allegedly raped a 9-year-old, actually, raped her for something like four years. What do you think they should have done the moment they received this guy there in the jail?

DOBBS: Well, there are a lot of questions that go with yours, Rick.

The question is, first of all, why did this person get into the country illegally to begin with?


DOBBS: Because we have an open borders policy.

We have over a half-million criminal illegal aliens at large in this country. In this case, this alleged perpetrator is free on bond for two of the most heinous crimes. So, that's the first issue. The second issue is that immigration wasn't even contacted by law enforcement or the prosecutors.

SANCHEZ: And they're supposed to be.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: I went to Honduras on this system they set up, these Conair flights where they are taking these guys back to Tegucigalpa and such.

DOBBS: Exactly. Right.

SANCHEZ: And they said they have a system set up, a database now, where these guys are supposed to call and say, look, we picked this guy up last night, he's an illegal alien, and he raped a child or he has a DUI or whatever.


DOBBS: In point of fact...

SANCHEZ: But why aren't they doing that?

DOBBS: Because they have sanctuary laws. And nearly every major city in this country does, in violation of the 1996 immigration law. And...

SANCHEZ: Well, the 1996 law says they're supposed to cooperate with the feds.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: It doesn't mean -- but you don't want them...


DOBBS: They have absolute strictures against cooperation, so that they don't offend the community.

SANCHEZ: But there is a difference. Let's be careful with the word cooperation. You're not saying that you want the locals to start enacting new laws and going after these guys, going after the -- quote -- "illegal aliens," right? Because... DOBBS: You know, it is a much simpler world than the open borders, amnesty advocates would have you believe, Rick. It is called law.

We enforce law in this country. We don't pick and choose. We don't let mayors of major cities, like in New York, Mayor Bloomberg, or in Newark, New Jersey, or San Francisco, or Los Angeles, or Houston, decide what the law will be.

SANCHEZ: Why don't the feds, the guys at the U.S. Senate, the guys at the Congress, have the intestinal fortitude to pass a comprehensive reform bill that would take care of this, so these guys don't have to be dealt with at this level?


DOBBS: You don't need a single law added to the books. You need enforcement of what is existing. This is a cop-out, this comprehensive immigration nonsense.


SANCHEZ: All right. Well, let's go through it real quick.

DOBBS: Well, no, let's go through it real quick here first.


DOBBS: We have a border that is wide open six years after September 11.


DOBBS: Second, we have immigration laws being violated in every major city in this country.

SANCHEZ: We agree on that.

DOBBS: And we need to stop it.



DOBBS: We don't need a new law. We need some people with guts.


SANCHEZ: But if you give the law a chance, what it was trying to do was say, from now on, anybody who has come here as of January 1 of this last year, we're going out and we're going round them out and pick them up. And anybody else here who is here, you want to stay, you have got to pay $5,000. You have got to be fingerprinted. We want to know where you are. We want to account for you. And that way we could separate the good from the bad, right?


DOBBS: If you want to re-debate comprehensive immigration...

SANCHEZ: No. My point is, we're letting the locals do something that the feds should be doing, and we walked away from a law that would have allowed the feds to do it. That's the point.

DOBBS: Now, see, there's an interesting point. We're letting the locals.

This government, this is a republic. We have a federal government, state governments, county and local governments, all with a -- with proportionate powers, under the Constitution.

SANCHEZ: Mm-hmm.

DOBBS: And the fact is that local government has a strong role in enforcing federal laws of all sorts, whether they be drug laws, whether they be immigration laws, no matter what.

And the idea that the local or state governments are so subordinate that they could not govern their communities is absurd.

SANCHEZ: So, you don't think them going out and passing, enacting these laws is all very nilly-willy? You think it's better that they do it than the government, than the federal government?

DOBBS: I think the Congress and this administration are filled with cowardly just fools.

SANCHEZ: You're not going to get a lot of disagreement there.

DOBBS: How could you permit, as Congress, passing laws, a president not to enforce them, and why should the American people stomach either party who is pushing this nonsense?

SANCHEZ: Lou Dobbs, always a pleasure. I enjoy talking to you.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: Here is something else that I want you to see tonight. Talk about a lack of respect. I want you to watch this carefully. Here it is.





DOBBS: Listen to them, and they're laughing. It is called fire in the hole. Have you seen this before? They're pranks on the Internet that are downright cruel and disrespectful. But they think it is funny, and they're catching like wildfire. That's what we're bringing out in the open.

But next, the breaking news from Iraq, where today's death count is staggering and a major change from what U.S. commanders have been saying.

Also, an outrage here at home, servicemen and women who did their duty on the front lines and then were mistreated by employers when they got home. It is wrong and it is against the law. We're bringing it out in the open.

Later, is he going to be hurt by a new movie about a September 11 massacre, one you probably never heard of?


SANCHEZ: Uh-oh. Look out. See that car? It is heading right for us, at least for the guy with the camera. This is some of the best and some of the -- that's a slow-mo -- some of the scariest videos of the day.

Welcome back, everybody.

Let's go right to breaking news now. Details are still coming in on a massive suicide bomb attack in Iraq. Reports are saying that suicide bombers set off three to four blasts, killing as many as 175 and wounding as many as 200 in northern Iraq.

Now, I think you're going to be able to see today's combined attacks made this one of the deadliest days so far. See the one at the bottom? That is today's, 175. It pretty much falls in line with some of the others that you have seen in the past. That's what is making this so important and so effective.

It is bound to raise some serious questions about the effectiveness of the surge, something the head of the Army in fact just talked about today before this attack.


GENERAL GEORGE CASEY, ARMY VICE CHIEF OF STAFF: There was progress in Iraq every day. And I -- I was back there over the weekend. And there continues to be progress. The surge is having the intended military effect. Our guys are seeing progress on the security front.


SANCHEZ: Let's take you now to Iraq.

CNN's Arwa Damon is following things for us there.

Arwa, will today's bombing undermine claims like that made by the general, that the surge seems to be working? Does this almost serve as a reply or answer to that?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rick, let me first start off by saying that I have been hearing the exact opposite of what we just heard there from General Casey from Iraqis that I have spoken to.

They in fact will tell you that they believe that life is just getting worse by the day. What the U.S. military is looking at is their only casualty counts, positive trends, if you will, that they're seeing on the ground. And the Iraqis are not quite feeling just that.

It is also fully expected that, whilst the surge is concentrating on certain parts of the country, the U.S. troops are just not here in the numbers needed to secure Iraq as a whole, as we saw in today's attack. The area where that attack took place, that left such a devastating death toll, is one where there really aren't that many boots on the ground -- Rick.

SANCHEZ: Well, speaking geopolitically, this happened in an area to the north near the Kurdish area which we have been told and have read that has been peaceful, compared to the rest of Iraq. Does that make this attack more significant than some of the others we have talked about in the past?

DAMON: Well, Rick, let's look at the exact area. It is called Nineveh Province. It's in the northwestern part of the country. Yes, it does border the Kurdish part of the Iraq, but it also borders Syria. And it has been a known fighting ground between U.S. forces and elements of al Qaeda in Iraq, as well as other Sunni extremist groups, for the last four years now.

Also, it is a known transit point for foreign fighters coming in from Iraq and it has been the scene of a number of devastating attacks over the last years. The Yazidi population has been targeted there. There's been for tit-for-tat violence between Sunnis and Shias.

And al Qaeda has continued to maintain something of a foothold, especially in this portion. This is very vast terrain, difficult to control, especially if you don't have the number of American boots on the ground needed there.

SANCHEZ: Arwa Damon following the story for us there from Iraq -- we thank you, Arwa.

Coming up, the law says that you're not supposed to fire people, soldiers who go to Iraq and Afghanistan. Their job is supposed to be protected. Well, it is happening in the thousands. That's what we have learned as we have been checking on this story.

In fact, this soldier got the axe. Why did his employer choose to fire him? We're going to tell you that. We're going to bring it out in the open.

And then this is scary. What caused a school playground to suddenly -- this is the term that is being used to describe it, a spontaneous fire, no explanation for it. And it could happen again. That's why you need to know and we're bringing it out.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez. Tonight, we continue to bring out in the open something that is making a lot of you mad. It's the treatment of men and women sent to serve in Iraq and in Afghanistan. If you join the National Guard, if you get called up, if you go to Iraq, you shouldn't be fired from your job. That's not me saying that. That's the law. Federal law says so.

But between 2004 and 2006 we have found out 16,000 veterans have filed complaints about that happening to them. Their employment status or lack thereof has been diminished, taken away.

Joining us now is Lieutenant Colonel Charles Schlom. He's an Army Reserve helicopter pilot who spent five months in Afghanistan, lost his job after telling his boss that he might be deployed.

Mr. Schlom, thanks so much for being with us.

So, you went to your boss and you said, look, there is a possibility that I am going to get called up. So, he fired you?

LIEUTENANT COLONEL CHARLES SCHLOM, U.S. ARMY RESERVE: That's exactly what happened, Rick, yes.

SANCHEZ: Is there any possibility that you may have been doing something else that may have angered him in the process, that maybe he didn't think you were a good employee?

SCHLOM: Not at all, Rick. I had always been a good sales leader in my territory, had won numerous rewards every year that I was there. I was a very good employee for them.

SANCHEZ: So, why do you think he did it?

SCHLOM: Well, he did it for the reason that I would leave a rather gaping hole in a $15 million territory that I manage.

SANCHEZ: But it's not like he's going to have to pay you while you're gone. He could maybe have somebody in the interim, right? Why get rid of you altogether?

SCHLOM: Well, that's a good question. Basically because they did not know the law, and they thought it would be more expedient to replace me with a -- my supervisor's personal friend to take the territory.

SANCHEZ: We got ahold of something here. This is your review. This is your work review from 2003. I want the viewers to be able to see this. I'm going to read it.

Go ahead. Let's put it up on the screen.


SANCHEZ: "Chuck had a great year in delivering revenue growth in his region year over year, with some significant highlights with led to winning the Bronze Pinnacle award." That's your employer talking about you in 2003. You must have felt pretty good when they put that out, huh?

SCHLOM: Oh, absolutely.

SANCHEZ: Doesn't sound like a guy who is going to be fired.

But now listen to this. This is a statement they put out after they had to explain why they fired you: "Considered abrasive and confrontational" -- that's you they're talking about -- "lacking in the necessary technical knowledge, and providing little to no value in the sales process."

What do you make of that?

SCHLOM: I would make of that a bit of a contradiction, as prior to them writing that, they handed me a sales award about four weeks prior to writing that. So, there is a little bit of a disconnect somewhere.

SANCHEZ: Are you still going overseas, by the way? You all set up to go?

SCHLOM: No, I have already returned from my duty in Afghanistan. And I'm currently employed as a defense contractor, training soldiers for duty in Afghanistan and Iraq.

SANCHEZ: The viewers just a little while ago saw somebody sitting next to you. That's George -- I'm going to have a tough time.



SANCHEZ: George Aucoin. All right. I know you told one of our producers that you knew it was hard to pronounce your name.

All right. Here is what is interesting about this. And here is the reason we want to talk to you. He's not your only client, right? You're representing a bunch of guys who are going through the same -- who are in the same boat.

AUCOIN: Rick, thanks for having us on.

Yes, I am. It is not an isolated phenomenon. It is really -- there's cases like this across the country.

SANCHEZ: Well, that's a problem. Tell us what employers are doing all over the country to really hurt these soldiers who are going overseas? It is easy to say they're gone. But, if it is a law, how can they get away with it?

AUCOIN: By and large, most employers are supporting the troops, and they're following the law.

A few employers don't quite get it yet. And my experience is, they tend to be the larger employers. For example, the defendant in Chuck's case is a Fortune 500 company, SPX Corporation, with revenues of over $5 billion a year.

It is the larger companies that have a problem with diffused management, and wind up making decisions, or their managers do, that get the company in trouble.

SANCHEZ: This is unbelievable. That's why we're really keying in on it. We're going to continue to follow the story. By the way, we should mention to the viewers that we did follow up with the company who hired you and they said they didn't want to come up because there is pending litigation. We certainly understand that, but if at any time they change their minds and they want to come back here on the show and talk about this, we'd be more than happy to have them. And you can guarantee that we're going to stay on this story. In fact, we're planning another segment on it tomorrow. Chuck Schlom, George Aucoin, we thank you, both, for being with us. A hundred and fifty years ago. Thanks.

AUCOIN: Thank you, Rick.

SANCHEZ: We have moved over to the smart board for you to bring to you up to date on some of the hot videos of the day. We gather them so you don't are to. Out of control in Sonoma, California. Take a look at this. See that car as it comes up against that barricade. Imagine being the guy who's taking these pictures and provided them to LiveLink. He's sitting right behind that barricade as a car comes at him. You can see the damages caused by the barricade itself, which by the way, is made of pure concrete.

And I'm going to show you the next video. This in Texas, Arlington, Texas. This is called spontaneous combustion. What you're looking at, right there, that's a playground. And all of a sudden, apparently, the wood chips started to decompose, they got hot enough to actually ignite. The school district there says it's concerned about this. They closed some other playgrounds until they go in and look to make sure. They obviously don't want something like this to happen when kids are actually playing on there.

Now, video No. 3, you remember when David Mattingly went out and did this story? It was on the Illinois River? There he gets hit in the chest. Wait, there is a better one. Watch this one. Bang. Right there. It happens again. Those are silver carp, by the way.

Now, we've got new video coming in now that we're going share with you of someone else also on the Illinois River. This guy has decided to do something called extreme bow fishing. The boaters actually go out and, boom, he nails them. See, hot one right there, watch. See, he got it. There's a tether on it and now he's going to pull it in and there it goes. This started as a bet in a bar that he'd be able to do it. He did and now as a result, they're actually calling this an official sport. Got you. Those are today's top videos.

And this is the next story we're going to be talking about, 150 years ago, on September 11, there a horrible massacre. In fact, listen to this.


MEL SMITH, HISTORIAN: SMITH: Bodies were left, many of them lying around, shallow graves, at best, for a few. The bodies were stripped of the clothing.


SANCHEZ: It was a massacre. OK, but what does the massacre have to do with him? What would that horrible page in history affect his chances to be president? It's OUT IN THE OPEN. Stay with us.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back. You're going to see some things behind me, you're going to see Mitt Romney, you're going to see the video of some thing that's described as a massacre in a movie. This is OUT IN THE OPEN right now. It's controversial movie about to play out on some of the movie screens. The question is, what does it have to do in this case with Mitt Romney, for example? And is it Hollywood gone awry? Well, here now, putting it together before we get into the politics, just the movie now, here is Brooke Anderson.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A serene meadow in the southwest corner of Utah, 150 years ago, this valley was the site of carnage.

SMITH: Bodies were left, many of them lying around, shallow graves, at best, for a few. The bodies were stripped of the clothing and they were boldly dug up -- it showed the evidence of the mangling by animals.

ANDERSON: Mel Smith was a Mormon. He lives near this site. He's a historian and expert on what's become known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1857. That year, on September 11, 120 defenseless pioneers, men, women and children, traveling by wagon train from Arkansas were slaughtered by Mormons, re-enacted in a controversial new film.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mormons, do your duty!

ANDERSON: The notorious event is chronicled in the new film "September Dawn" starring John Voight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is almost an anatomy of religious fanaticism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jehovah created me to be your god on earth.

ANDERSON: Historians disagree over what motivated the Mormons to attack and over who ordered it. The movie embraces the argument that it was Brigham Young, then head of the Church of Latter Day Saints, but that's fiercely disputed. KATHLEEN FLAKE, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: You cannot support the argument that Brigham Young either ordered this massacre, or condoned it once it happened.

ANDERSON: While the LDS church won't comment on the movie itself, a spokesman tells CNN, "We believe the weight of historical evidence shows that Brigham Young did not authorize the massacre." The church does not deny, however, that Mormons were involved. And it's built a monument to the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The orders of those in authority are that all the immigrants must die.

ANDERSON: The filmmakers insist they have no particular ax to grind. But in the film they do draw parallels between the Mountain Meadows Massacre and today's Islamic fanaticism.

CHRISTOPHER CAIN, DIR CO-WRITER "SEPTEMBER DAWN": It was on September 11th, which I found kind of ironic and it involved a religious fanatical group of people, who in the name of God, went off and created this horrible massacre.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm the voice of god, and anyone who doesn't like it will be hewn down.

ANDERSON: Even before the film's release, Mitt Romney's adherence to present day Mormonism has been the subject of wide debate in his bid for the presidency with 30 percent of potential voters saying in a February poll they'd be less likely to vote for a candidate who is Mormon.

MITT ROMNEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not running as a Mormon. And I get tired of coming on a show like yours and having it all about Mormons.

ANDERSON: So, will Romney see the movie? The filmmakers say they've invited him to screen "September Dawn," but Romney has so far decline. His spokesman told CNN: "Our campaign doesn't get involved in movie reviews."

RAPHAEL SONENSHINE, CAL STATE UNIV FULLERTON: I think he'd be foolish to speak about the movie. You certainly don't try to elevate sort of a piece of popular culture into a political adversary.

ANDERSON: Politics aside, Mel Smith believes this film may be the impetus for a long overdue discussion about a dark day in American history.

SMITH: I think what we have to do is finally approach the situation and say, you know, let's forgive those people for some terrible mistakes.

ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Mountain Meadows in southwest Utah.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SANCHEZ: All right, we said we were going to get into the politic of this. Let's do that right now. Does this movie hurt Romney and is Hollywood wrong to present Mormons in this light, even if it's a historical case? Syndicated radio host, Michael Medved, says other groups are getting a pass, specifically, he says, Muslims. That's what he said, as a matter of fact, in an op-ed piece that he wrote for "USA Today."

Michael, thanks for joining us, as usual, great to have you here.


SANCHEZ: Hey, this is a drama. It is a historical piece. And they chose this topic. What's wrong with that?

MEDVED: Well, what's wrong with it is that they deliberately take every negative view they possibly can of the darkest day in Mormon history. There is no way you can make a pretty picture about the Mountain Meadows Massacre...

SANCHEZ: But, what's the difference between that and a movie about, let's say, the crusades or -- listen, I'm a Catholic, I'm really proud of being a Catholic; but I know there were popes who did some horrible things back then.

MEDVED: Well, without question. But the truth is the Catholic Church is very well established. It's been around for a long time, and the nation is largely overcome its anti-Catholic prejudice. Nobody is making a big deal over the fact that Rudy Giuliani is a Catholic.

It is a huge deal that Mitt Romney is a Mormon. And as your piece by Brooke Anderson said, that 30 percent of Americans, some polls show even more who say they won't vote for a Mormon. I'm not a Mormon. I happen to believe, however, that it is terribly unfair to try to focus on an episode 150 years ago today and to negate the fact and ignore that Mormons today are good neighbors, patriots, serve in the military, are not involved in massacring anybody.

SANCHEZ: I get that. And I think most Americans do, too. But, do you think this particular movie company actually targeted Mitt Romney? They made the movie with trying to get to Romney in mind?

MEDVED: No, not at all. Not at all. I spoke to John Voight today, the star of the film, on my radio show, and it's very clear, they were not -- did not have an agenda to attack Mitt Romney. They did have an agenda, however, and it comes off in the trailer, and everything else, to attack Brigham Young, who is a more significant figure in Mormon history. And attacking Brigham Young is attacking the essence of Mormon history and Mormon heritage in this country.

SANCHEZ: We're moving fast today. And I'm told we're down to about 20 seconds. But, your point is, OK, they're tough on the Mormons. Why aren't they this tough when it comes to Muslims? That's your point in the op-ed piece today, right? MEDVED: Exactly. In other words, the makers of the film say they want to show impact of religious fanaticism, how bloody it can be. There are examples of that about Muslim terror, Hollywood has all but ignored that. There is a TV show called "24" but on the big screen, movies about terrorism always feature American or European terrorists, almost never, never focuses on the very real-world threat of Islamonazi terror.

SANCHEZ: Michael Medved, what do you say we do this again, huh?

MEDVED: Look forward to it.

SANCHEZ: All right, thanks for being with us. "September Dawn" is scheduled, by the way, to be seen in about a thousand theaters. What effect is it has on voters? Who do we direct that question to? Well, none other than CNN's senior analyst, Bill Schneider joining us now.

How about it, Bill? I mean, do you think the voters care one way or another? Or can they separate the difference between politics and a movie?

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR POLITICAL ANALYST: They can separate politics from the move. It is a movie. Look, you know, "The Right Stuff" did not elect John Glenn. "Fahrenheit 9/11" was a very popular movie, but it didn't defeat George Bush. I recently saw a movie called "Goya's Ghost" which was about the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. I don't think anyone expects Rudy Giuliani or Joe Biden or Sam Brownback to have to answer for that. No, I don't think it will have a major effect at all.

SANCHEZ: Well, what do you do if you're Mitt Romney? Do you play this and play the victim in this case or do you mention it all? Is it going to help him or is it going to hurt him?

SCHNEIDER: I agree with Mike Medved, I don't think he's going to mention it at all. The Mormon issue does come up. It is an unfamiliar issue, religion, really to a lot of Americans. And I was, frankly, and continue to be shocked by the 30 percent, some polls do show more, who say they would not vote for a Mormon. I think that figure is too high. I think a lot of Americans simply don't know what a Mormon is, they're unfamiliar. When they see Mitt Romney and when they hear him, they'll probably say, well, he's just an ordinary person just like me. He's articulate. You know, he's a success. And they probably won't be bothered by that. I think the figure is overstated.

SANCHEZ: Bill Schneider, did we mention part of the best political team in TV? I think we did. Thank you, bill. Appreciate it.

All right now, watch this. Is it funny? Or is this the kind of thing that makes you sick to watch?





SANCHEZ: Music in the background, lots of laughing, lots of jokes. It's all set up. We've more of this coming up. Why is this type of cruelty so big all of a sudden on the Internet? We're exposing it. We'll be back.






SANCHEZ: See that. That's the video that had a couple of us screaming mad today while we were doing our editorial meeting. I'm going to show you more of it and talk about it in just a bit. But first, a little good news for you. We want you to meet tonight's "CNN Hero," he's struggling to help his kids survive in one of the toughest places in our world, all while fighting a legacy of violence and poverty. Here it is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, we're rolling.


ROBERT DUVAL, CNN HERO: In the main center for the last two years the background music that we had while the kids were playing were gunshots, machine gunshots.

Some of these kids have witnessed the worst atrocities. They live in the mud and no running water.

No electricity. No garbage pickup. No food. Nothing.

My name is Robert Duval. I am the founder of the training center they call L'Athletique d'Haiti, athletes of Haiti.

These are women's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

The kids never miss practice and they're disciplined enough to keep focused on something positive.

And I left this country very young. And I came back, I had a shock. What happened to my country, you know?

I started asking questions and I was thrown in jail. When I came out, I was down to 90 pounds. That means skin and bones. That just turned my life around.

This field could be a dumping ground.

Now, it's basically an after school program.

One of the driving forces that has made our program so successful is that one plate of food we give them a day, because sometimes if those kids don't get that, they just won't get a plate of food.

We are soccer, track, basketball, table tennis and we have karate now.

A hero is a kid who accepts, uplifts himself in the most adverse conditions, maintains the course and really does succeed in changing his life.

I feel that youth is important because the youth is the future.

What I do is a drop in the bucket. The kids, he may have the most immense talent, but if you don't nourish it, he'll never know what he could have become.


SANCHEZ: Can you say good for him? To learn more about Boby Duval and his work, just go to

All right, here's another one of those fire in the hole videos that we've been bringing OUT IN THE OPEN tonight. Here it is. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you guys want?


Fire in the hole!


SANCHEZ: I mean, it's just -- I don't know, combination of cruel, disrespectful in the name of fun. We're bringing it out. Stay with. Got a lot of them and a conversation about it.


SANCHEZ: It is an annual tradition at Cathedral High School. You know the drill. You TP the school before you start, the principal gets mad, but then everybody gets a chuckle out of it, but never anything like this. Look at this. It's the biggest toilet papering job that certainly any of us have ever seen, done with the consent with a wink and a nod, I suppose, of school officials.

Now, what that is one of those pranks that I guess you could say most of us accept. The one you're about to see, that even includes music with it, is not.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire in the hole.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire in the hole!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire in the hole!


SANCHEZ: And with me now to talk about this is Officer Bill Sombo of the North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania Police Department. He's not laughing about this. As a matter of fact, he's making some arrests, four of them, we understand.

Officer, you know what makes me mad about this. I come from a working class family, OK? My mom has been in a factory most of her life. My dad worked as a busboy. These are -- they're working people, working Americans and there's such a disrespect with what is going on here to treat them that way. Just a personal aside, but it's got -- I can only imagine how mad you are trying to track these guys down and when you finally caught them, what did you say to them?

OFFICER BILL SOMBO, NORTH HUNTINGDON, PENN, POLICE DEPT: I asked them what the problem was and they said that they received all this information off the Internet and were trying to promote themselves on the Internet with videotapes that they were going to run. And unfortunately they couldn't do that because their battery went dead on their camera.

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, it's one thing to be funny and put some stuff on the Internet, but not if it's at the expense of other people. I mean, you know, we've got a thing in my culture, it's called face. You know, when you're look at somebody in the eyes and you throw a coke in their face, I mean, that's about as disrespectful as you can get. Have you talked to these kids' parents about what they're doing?

SOMBO: Yes, we have.

SANCHEZ: What did they say?

SOMBO: Well, they're not happy with them. They're still good kids, they feel and that they're work on trying to resolve this problem. And they're very unhappy with what's going on. And we're working on getting this -- the charges filed and this resolved.

SANCHEZ: We've got one we can show the viewers now, what exactly they do. Because you almost pick up a little bit of music and little bit of conversation the way they put this thing together. Let's watch one of those and we'll come back and talk on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fire in the hole.

Fire in the hole.

Fire in the hole.

Fire in the hole.

Fire in the hole.


SANCHEZ: Yeah, that's what they call it, by the way, "Fire in the Hole." Now, tell me about the arrests you've made. Four of them, right? So far?

SOMBO: That's correct. Yes, that would be four juveniles.

SANCHEZ: Describe them to us. Who are they? What are they like? Where do they come from? Are they poor kids, rich kids? What's going on?

SOMBO: They're average family kids that we're not going to relinquish their names at this time.

SANCHEZ: No, that's OK.

SOMBO: But they're not in custody. They've been released back to their parents. And the biggest problem with this whole incident is the fact that the Internet sites that are promoting the "Fire in the Hole" incidents that they want them to graduate from throwing the pop to throwing some type of a small firecracker bomb that is made out of a mixture that they have and they also have a site where they've requested -- one of the kids requested that they graduate from the soda pop and/or the bombs and want to have somebody shot between the eyes with a nine millimeter.

SANCHEZ: Oh my goodness.

SOMBO: And that's not this group of kids, here. That is on the Internet sites that have been promoted, ebombsworld, MySpace is also promoting the "Fire in the Hole. Whether they're promoting it or they're just airing it, but there is ratings on these videos and it's encouraging the kids to do their self-promotion on the videotape.

SANCHEZ: And you know what, the way you're describing it, I mean, what they could possibly progress to, you know, I was talking about cruel and disrespectful. That's just downright dangerous. Officer Sombo, you're a good man to join us. We appreciate your time, sir.

SOMBO: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: Larry and Bill Maher coming up next, and we'll see you tomorrow.