Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Threats from North Korea; Family Closes Tiller's Clinic Permanently; Answers Sought from Air France Wreckage; NTSB Opens Hearings on Landing of a Lifetime; Murders in Paradise
Aired June 9, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight North Korea makes a never before heard nuclear threat to the world. Dangerous talk as the fate of two captured American reporters hangs in the balance. What happened when Laura Ling and Euna Lee were seized on the border?
Tonight, we take you to that border, a rare and remarkable look at what happens there with North Korean guards crossing over; sometimes seizing people trying to escape.
Also a "360 Exclusive" interview tonight, Scott Roeder the man charged with murdering a doctor who performed abortions. What he says about the deadly anti-abortion violence he's accused of committing. And why he is predicting more to come.
And later, they haven't found the black boxes yet from Air France 447, but you'll see how answers to the crash are already coming from the wreckage.
We begin, though, tonight with tensions rising dangerously between the U.S. and North Korea, in fact, between the world and North Korea.
For the first time the North Korean government has threatened offensive use of nuclear weapons. The language, surprising and alarming; quote, "Our nuclear deterrent will be a strong defensive means" they said, "as well as a merciless offensive means to deal a just retaliatory strike to those who touch the country's dignity and sovereignty even a bit." They're talking about a merciless nuclear offensive.
Late word tonight from the U.N. secretary general; he expects China, one of North Korea's only friends to back tougher sanctions on the North for its nuclear testing and missile launches. North Korea has already said they'll consider sanctions a declaration of war.
Meantime, little is known about the whereabouts of these two. Reporters, Laura Ling and Euna Lee convicted yesterday, sentenced to 12 years of hard labor.
They were captured on the Chinese border with North Korea accused of trying to sneak into the country. But exactly what happened on that border? What happened around their capture is still unknown. Tonight, we take you as close as anyone can get. We'll introduce you to two people who have lived and worked along the border. And reveal to -- they reveal to us just how poorly defined that border is and how routinely it is violated by North Korean guards who cross in search of victims to grab.
Filmmaker Jim Butterworth has been there filming the documentary his "Seoul Train;" he joins us now.
Jim, you spent two months along the Chinese and North Korean border in the same area where we believe this two women where arrested. What is it like there?
JIM BUTTERWORTH, DIRECTOR/PRODUCER, "SEOUL TRAIN": Well, it's incredibly bleak. I mean, you're standing on the Chinese side which has farmers and an economy going. And you look across the river -- you don't see a border it's just a river. And on the other side you see hilly deforested North Korea and it's -- you know what's happening there. It is a depressing place. And it's agonizing...
COOPER: Is it clear where the border is?
BUTTERWORTH: Oh, no. No. I mean there are a couple of defined border crossings where bridges go from China to North Korea. And in the middle of that bridge will be a big red stripe that says, "Do not cross this. You are going into North Korea."
But the rest of the border is ill-defined. There is no definition to it at all.
COOPER: For the film you were working on you at one point you had to hide in the bushes as a North Korean patrol actually came out. And I think we have some video that you shot. What happened?
BUTTERWORTH: Well, we -- we were in North of the -- the northern area of the Chinese/North Korean border.
COOPER: Those are the border guards right there? North Korean guards, right?
BUTTERWORTH: Yes. I can't see them.
COOPER: Ok, their smoking.
BUTTERWORTH: And -- so we were crossing out over the Tumen River within the North Korean boundary probably. And along came a North Korean patrol, six to eight soldiers. And it was a pretty exhilarating experience. We kept filming and they took a cigarette break and stopped just meters from us and fortunately didn't see us.
COOPER: You were there to do a documentary on North Korean refugees, which is actually the same story that Euna Lee and Laura Ling were there to report on; went to the same area as you have gone to. And the story is about how difficult it is for them to escape but even more difficult it seems is for them to get help once their in China. There are reportedly tens of thousands of North Koreans in China right now either hiding or working at farms. Some of them were sold into the sex trade.
I want to show our viewers a clip from your film "Seoul Train" which shows how the Underground Railroad there essentially tries to help smuggle people out of North Korea and give them asylum.
And here in this scene we're going to show you a North Korean family is being helped by an activist. They are trained how to run into the Japanese consulate in China to try to get help, just trying to get sanctuary. It doesn't work out for them.
Let's take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We trained the family how to and reach the entrance of the -- without getting stopped by undercover Chinese secret police officers. We had them disguised as an ordinary South Korean family wearing bright colored dress. We had Han-mi carry a ball as if she were -- Han-mi's father and uncle were instructed to push away the police officers near the entrance. So the women and the child could go. But things did not turn out the way put it.
When they reached the entrance we just ran in, not pushing away the police officers -- when they reached the entrance we just ran in, not pushing away the police officers -- they were probably very nervous. As a result, the child and woman were left outside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So what we're seeing here is these are North Koreans who have gotten all the way to China and they are trying to get into the Japanese Embassy. And they are being stopped.
How hard is it for them to get any kind of asylum? What happens to these people once they are apprehended by the Chinese authorities?
BUTTERWORTH: Well, almost universally the Chinese authorities will forcibly repatriate these North Koreans back to North Korea. It is a capital offense to defect from North Korea, so when you are sent back it's bad news for the North Koreans. And that's what establishes their case as refugees.
COOPER: Jim, stay with us. We're going to have more with you coming up after the break.
We're also going to be joined by Mike Kim who lived on the border not far from where Euna and Laura are believed to have been captured. We're going to talk to him about his work actually helping people cross-over.
Let us know what you think about their situations. Join the live chat right now at ac360.com. Also tonight, a "360 Exclusive" the alleged killer of Dr. George Tiller speaking out as Dr. Tiller's clinic announces whether the murder will mean it closes for good. We'll tell you what they have decided.
Also tonight: new clues to the crash of an airliner rising from the Atlantic; the latest on Air France 447 when we continue.
COOPER: Well, more than a day since North Korea's highest court sentenced Laura Ling and Euna Lee to a dozen years hard labor. Since then, we've heard nothing from them and very little about the diplomatic effort to free them. No official comment tonight and no progress report, nothing.
They were arrested along a winding stretch of river marking North Korea's northern border. But it's a boundary that is neither well- delineated nor well-observed by North Korean guards who often operate on the other side of it.
Mike Kim spent four years on North Korea's border with China helping North Koreans escape, ministering to them when they do; experiencing the arrest of a Chinese colleague inside North Korea. He has written a book about his experiences; it's called "Escaping North Korea." And Jim Butterworth, who you just met earlier, is a documentary filmmaker who made the movie "Seoul Train."
Mike, you've helped hundreds of North Korean refugees, heard their horror stories about being sent to prison camps. This is the same story that Euna Lee and Laura Ling were working on for Current TV.
You don't think that Ling and Lee will be put in a prison camp with others. Why?
MIKE KIM, AUTHOR, "ESCAPING NORTH KOREA": I can only speak from our experience. We had one Chinese staff that was actually detained in North Korea as a result of a refugee informant that had turned him in when he was visiting North Korea.
We negotiated his release. They -- North Korea used him as a bargaining chip. They offered actually to release him if he would help with drug trafficking between the China and North Korea border and eventually gave a huge ransom amount and we negotiated it down to a much lower amount and paid for his release.
So, I think they are -- they're really wanting to negotiate in these circumstances.
COOPER: You've talked to a lot of people who have been to these prison camps. What is life like in these camps?
KIM: Yes. I've interviewed a lot of people in my -- in Chapter Six of my book -- I have a chapter on Gulags in "Escaping North Korea." And there is a section -- a small section I've titled "Forced Labor." And they do work them hard. They get up at 6:00 a.m. they work to 10:00, 11:00 p.m. With very little food, and there is -- I've heard stories of -- sawing, construction, cutting wood, mining; these types of things.
There's also meaningless labor where they'll have -- similar to stories I've heard during the Holocaust in the Nazi regime, where they're having people move rocks to one end of the compound and then telling them to move back -- move it back over and over again.
COOPER: Jim, for the refugees who are trying to escaping -- I mean they are risking their entire lives to do this.
BUTTERWORTH: Well, they're risking their lives and their family's lives if they make it across. And if they are capture it gets publicized then their entire family back home is at risk, too.
COOPER: And the people, Mike, do they know much about what the world outside North Korea is like?
KIM: It's really unbelievable. When they come out they have such a -- little knowledge of the outside world. One of the first things we do is set them up with Chinese TV, South Korean cable so they begin to learn about the world.
I interviewed one woman who was working for the military near the DMZ on the North Korea side. And her job was to pick up pro-democracy literature being flown in on balloons.
And she told me in this interview that she used sticks to pick them up. And I asked her, "Why did you use a stick?"
And her answer was, "Because they told me if I touch anything from South Korea my hands will rot."
And I asked her, "Do you believed that at the time?"
And she said, "Yes, I did."
COOPER: Jim, this border crossing, where you -- where the video we're looking at right now from the movie "Seoul Train" do the North Korean guards respect the border? Or do they -- I mean, I've heard stories they cross over into China and make arrests there.
BUTTERWORTH: They will do that -- they've been known to do that. In fact, when we were there -- there were -- it was commonly believed that there were hundreds of North Korean agents that actually have infiltrated the Chinese side of the population there which is almost entirely ethnic Korean.
COOPER: Why would they do that?
BUTTERWORTH: To capture not only refugees that have escaped into China but also the activists that caught them. In fact, there is a bounty paid to Chinese citizens that would turn in North Korean refugees, but the bounty is actually ten times that if they would turn in the activist that would help them or anyone that would assist them. COOPER: And Mike that's what happened to your Chinese colleague, a North Korean agent infiltrated this sort of the Underground Railroad?
KIM: That's right. It's a big problem. North Korea will send refugees, spies posing as refugees to infiltrate networks. And as a result there have been people assassinated, abducted. And it really threatens to sabotage the work of NGOs there.
COOPER: We've got to leave it there.
Mike Kim and Jim Butterworth, you've risked an awful lot to work along the border. We appreciate you telling us what you know.
You can see more of Michael Kim's story at ac360.com. You'll find a selection from his book; detail on the food shortages, the beatings, torture inside North Korean prisons.
More online, as well, from Jim Butterworth's award-winning documentary.
So, the latest up next, on a major terrorist attack in a five- star luxury hotel.
Also, Scott Roeder speaking out only to CNN about his alleged crime and the impact he's having on the women's health clinic a murder doctor ran.
And what did David Letterman say for Sarah Palin to call him "pathetic." What did she do for him to compare her to a -- well, a slutty flight attendant; details on their war of words ahead on 360.
COOPER: Still ahead, piecing together the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 and revealing new clues about its final moments.
Though, first Erica Hill joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, at least seven people are dead, more than 40 injured after a suicide bombing near a five- star hotel in Peshawar, Pakistan. Officials say three attackers shot their way into the grounds of the hotel and set off a car bomb. That blast also damaged the building and destroyed dozens of cars.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, two workers are dead and one is still missing after an explosion at a Slim Jim Plant. Dozens of people including several firefighters were injured.
The Supreme Court, giving the green light for Chrysler to sell off most of its assets to Italian auto maker Fiat. Now, the court turned down a last ditch bid. You may recall the "stop the sale" that came from opponents including consumer groups and three Indiana pension plans. Ten of the nation's largest banks will repay $68 billion in government bailout money. They got the ok today, experts say allowing these banks to return the money shows some stability has returned to the system but caution the crisis is not over.
And a judge in the South America -- in South America in the country of Surinam acquitting a Toni Braxton impersonator. You see her there on the left. She was acquitted of defrauding customers by pretending she is the Grammy winner. The woman spent three months in jail after angry fans pelted her with beer cans and boot her off stage during a concert. Some of these people paid up to $53 a ticket thinking they were going to see the real Toni Braxton.
Now, this one apparently claims that she was hired by some promoters to play a private party.
HILL: Very bizarre.
COOPER: Yes, very bizarre.
Just ahead the man charged with killing an abortion doctor speaks out to CNN. An exclusive jailhouse interview, Scott Roeder says he is not mentally ill and is glad the doctor's clinic is now closed.
Also, combing the wreckage of Air France Flight 447; does the tail section contain some key clues that caused the crash?
And comedian Stephen Colbert, good at creating buzz but convincing him to get a buzz cut, not so easy apparently. We'll show you what it took. That is tonight's "Shot."
COOPER: "Uncovering America" tonight, the family of slain abortion provider Dr. George Tiller said today they are closing his Wichita, Kansas clinic for good effective immediately.
It is one of only a handful of clinics in the entire country that provided third trimester abortions. The man charged with Dr. Tiller's murder Scott Roeder today called the closing of the clinic a victory.
He made that comment in an exclusive jailhouse interview with our own Ted Rowlands. Ted joins me now -- Ted.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we had 30 minutes with Scott Roeder, no recording devices. So it was just myself, Roeder, a pad and a pencil. At one point, Roeder said that he felt good because he was getting letters of encouragement from across the country.
He also talked about the death of Dr. George Tiller.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ROWLANDS (voice-over): Dressed in the same type of maroon inmate outfit he wore here at his first court appearance, Roeder said he didn't want to incriminate himself and didn't answer specific questions about Tiller's murder.
But he did say, if in the end he was convicted, quote, "The entire motive was the defense of the unborn." When asked what he thought of the fact that Dr. Tiller is dead, Roeder said quote, "The fact that Tiller's clinic is closed is a victory for all the unborn children. No more slicing and dicing of the unborn child in the mother's womb, no more needles of poison into the baby's heart."
Roeder said reports from his ex-wife and others that he was mentally ill, suffering from schizophrenia were quote, "completely false." He refused to comment on what, if anything, he said to Dr. Tiller that day in Wichita and said he feared the possibility that he may face federal charges in addition to the murder charge he's already facing in Kansas.
Afterward we asked Tiller family attorney, Dan Monnat for reaction.
DAN MONNAT, TILLER FAMILY ATTORNEY: Well, personally, I'm reluctant to in any way legitimize Mr. Roeder or anything he stands for by directly responding to his statements. Actually, I'm content to let law enforcement determine whether this defendant merits any attention.
COOPER: Ted joins us now; did he express any remorse about Dr. Tiller's murder? I mean, he clearly -- is not saying -- he's not implicating himself. But did he express any remorse or reluctance about it?
ROWLANDS: No, not at all. In fact, when I asked him about Dr. Tiller's death he was quick with his answer saying that it was great for the children -- the unborn children. And another thing he'd never said was, "I'm innocent." You know, "Get me out of here, I didn't do this." That never came up.
He was careful with the things he did say but quick with his answer about Dr. Tiller's death.
COOPER: What is he like? I mean, just sitting across from him, how different is he than the guy we saw in that court video?
ROWLANDS: Well, you know, it is odd. He had a kind of a sort of laid-back attitude. He was cautious about the questions I was asking him, and saying no comment a lot of times but then would elaborate. And he would nod a lot of times.
In fact, one time I said listen, there is a lot of evidence against you. People saw you with a gun shoot this man and point it at other people. And he was nodding and looking at me and kind of sheepishly. But he was careful. His said his attorney didn't want him to talk and he kept saying, "Oh, boy, my lawyer is going to be mad now." But it was an odd conversation. And you get the feeling that he wanted his side out there. He wanted people to hear what he had to say about this. And that he wasn't content just to listen to his attorney and sit in jail.
COOPER: But he is receiving positive letters from people?
ROWLANDS: Yes. That's what he claims. We tried to verify with the jail. And we have not gotten a response on whether or not they will verify, especially the contents of this letters. But he said at one point I said, "How are you feeling?" Because he has been complaining about the conditions here and he said, "I feel pretty good because I'm getting all of these positive letters from people around the country."
And I said people you don't know? And he said, "Yes, people I don't know." And then, when I asked him to elaborate he said, "No comment."
COOPER: Interesting. Ted Rowlands, I appreciate it. Thank you. Fascinating.
Dr. Leroy Carhart is an abortion provider in Nebraska who counted himself as a close friend of Dr. Tiller's. They worked together for the past decade. He joins me now live.
Dr. Carhart, your reaction to the decision -- first of all -- to the close of Dr. Tiller's clinic by his family?
DR. CARHART, LATE-TERM ABORTION PROVIDER: Well, this did not come as a surprise to me. I've known the Tiller family for 20 years. And nobody -- no family in this movement, in the pro-choice movement has committed or given more than the Tillers have.
Jeanne (ph) gave her last 20 years of her life basically to make this possible, and her children. And they've lost their father, they've lost their grandfather and she's lost her husband. The fact that she wants out, I think that is a rational decision. I have absolutely no bad feelings about that.
COOPER: You probably heard from Ted Rowland's piece some of the things that this man, Scott Roeder, has said. He said that he called the closing of this clinic quote "a victory for unborn children." How do you respond?
CARHART: Well, I think, you know the closing of the clinic -- Mrs. Tiller says she's going to close the clinic. But the fact is that we are going to do everything in our power to ensure that women still have an option for late second- and the early third-trimester abortions that are medically indicated.
COOPER: But as you well know, the number of doctors who actually do this procedure, I think you said there is about 10 of them in the entire country. Are you concerned that increasingly they are going to choose not to do this procedure? I mean, how committed are those ten doctors?
CARHART: I know how committed four of us are. And I know that we already have a new person that is interested to come in and join the three of us; that he already had been with Dr. Tiller.
We're ready to start a practice tomorrow if we come across the building and the equipment to do that.
COOPER: And can you, to those people who abhor this procedure or disagree with it or maybe don't understand it, what do you say? I mean, do -- why would you choose to do this procedure when, I mean -- you're one of -- as you say only a handful?
CARHART: Well, first of all, to the people that abhor it, I would suggest that they don't have it done. I think the women that need it certainly are the women that I'm worried about. We hear -- we see protesters that number in the tens, twenties and maybe a thousand sometimes; Dr. Tiller and I see thousands of patients every year.
We have a very vocal terroristic minority of people that are anti-choice. And they've chosen to take the law in their own hands, as vigilantes. And they have murdered Dr. Tiller. They've murdered four providers before him.
I think the question is, how long is the country going to allow this terrorism to continue before they crack down and before that we have the right to perform a perfectly legal procedure?
COOPER: I want to ask you about a quote that you gave to "The Washington Times" that has raised some eyebrows. You said Dr. Tiller's murder is quote, "The equivalent of Martin Luther King being assassinated." I think you were talking about its effect upon those who support abortion rights.
One of Dr. King's nieces who's affiliated with a group "Priests for Life," responded saying and I quote, "For Leroy Carhart to mention the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who worked for a peaceful and non-violent means in the same breath with that of George Tiller whose work ended peace and brought violence to babies in the womb is offensive beyond belief."
CARHART: Well, as you said, she is on the other side. So I don't expect anything different. The entire comment that I made, however, was not to compare Dr. Tiller to Dr. King.
I said that the sinking of the Lusitania, the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King were turning points in the movement. And this was our turning point; the murder of Dr. Tiller was the turning point for our movement.
COOPER: Do you believe this really is the turning in that it's going to bring more people to continue this practice?
Mr. Roeder mentions the letters he has gotten which may or may not be true. We have gotten -- my e-mail has gone over the limits every day since the Tiller murder with people asking how they can help, how they can continue or what they can contribute to make this practice continue. And the outpouring has been phenomenal.
It is a shame but Dr. Tiller will be a martyr unfortunately for his family, but he has become a martyr for our cause. I think that the terrorism will stop in this country.
COOPER: Dr. Leroy Carhart, we appreciate your time.
CARHART: Thank you, sir.
COOPER: For a look inside one of the few clinics that perform late-term abortions, go to ac360.com right now.
So, what's your take on Scott Roeder and the fan mail that he says he's getting or on Dr. Carhart's comments? You can join the live chat happening now at ac360.com.
Still ahead, solving the mystery of Air France Flight 447: piecing together possible clues in the wreckage. We're going to show you what investigators have found so far. A lot we still don't know but they are slowly piecing some stuff together.
COOPER: Also tonight, Mexico's drug war takes another chilling turn. You think it couldn't get any worse? Now, a popular tourist destination turns deadly. Details and the death toll ahead.
And Sarah Palin's new feud, this time with David Letterman. The question is, who fired the first shot?
When 360 continues.
COOPER: There's news tonight about those air speed sensors we've been reporting on in the crash of Air France Flight 447. A pilot's union says that Air France has agreed to replace the critical part called pitot tube on all of its Airbus A-330 and A-340 planes within days. Investigators are looking into whether the sensor played a role in the catastrophic crash over the Atlantic.
Meantime, Brazilian searchers today began bringing ashore bodies and wreckage from the crash. Today, four more bodies were recovered. Four more people bringing the total to 28 people found so far. The remains of passengers could yield some important clues about the crash, of course. So, too, could the plane's actual wreckage.
Tom Foreman takes us up close.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is what the jet looked like when it hit that storm. And these are the major pieces that have been found so far that we know of. They are all clues in the mystery of this crash. Let's start with this tail fin back here. Aviation analysts are looking at it closely because they say if this had been attached to the plane when it hit the water it would have crumpled. Instead, it is largely intact like this other tail fin from another crash in New York about eight years ago -- that was an A-300, not an A-330.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined this tail fin broke off in flight during emergency maneuvers causing the crash when the plane was responding to turbulence.
Peter Goelz is a former NTSB official.
PETER GOELZ, FORMER NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OFFICIAL: The pilot hit rough air. The rudder snapped full to the left. He then compensated, snapped back; he overcompensated, it snapped back, it snapped back again and then snapped off.
FOREMAN: That is one possibility in this crash, too.
Other clues have also been found here. Let's take a look at them.
Cabin seats and personal effects that belonged to many of the passengers there. If the seats and these items are from the back of the plane, for example, and they show less crushing damage than those up front, that might suggest they also fell out of the plane as it dropped meaning maybe that whole section broke up in flight. Then there's wiring, bits of mechanical parts of the plane, all sorts of things in here that have to be looked at closely looking for signs of, say, fire.
GOELZ: Was there an explosion? Was there anything that gives investigators a hint of what was going on?
FOREMAN: The real key here is still the flight data recorder believed to be two miles or more down on the bottom of the ocean amid all these underwater mountains and troughs here. It is supposed to be emitting a locator signal out in all directions like this. But even though they have a submarine in the water and ships up on top listening to it, they have not been able to pick it out yet through all of this clutter. And the clock is ticking.
This beacon works for 30 days and already about a third of that time is gone -- Anderson.
COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.
While we wait for answers in the Air France investigation, we are learning new details about the so-called "Miracle on the Hudson." We all remember the pictures, of course. US Airways Flight 1549 forced to ditch in New York's Hudson River after a bird strike back in January. Amazingly everyone onboard survived and the pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger was celebrated as a hero, rightfully so. Today, the National Transportation Safety Board opened three days of hearings on Flight 1549's close call. Captain Sullenberger testified and so did Billy Campbell, a passenger who was in Seat 25-A in the second to the last row of the plane. And he was the last passenger out the door. His testimony today was simply riveting.
Here is Billy Campbell in his own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY CAMPBELL, PASSENGER, US AIRWAYS FLIGHT 1549: Those of us in the rear took the impact first. I almost felt like I was on a cruise ship because as I looked out the window the plane submerged and it felt like almost looking out a porthole as we were under water. When we finally came to a stop -- sort of feeling the miracle of, wow, I survived this crash, -- immediately water was rushing in through my window.
I guess my biggest concern along with everyone's back there was, "How do we get out?" I decided the only shot that I had was to actually go to the right side and to start climbing over the seats. And so I went to row 26 and started to climb over the seats.
I'd like to consider myself a little athletic and in a dry beck (ph) I would have been hurdling those seats. But the water was up to here on the seat backs and so we couldn't get much traction. I was able to pull myself over each seated then I would kind of a fall into the water and then regroup and grab the top and sort of pull myself back over.
Did that all the way until I got up to I think row 14 or 12 or wherever the wing is. And the first time I felt like maybe I might make it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Imagine that. Investigators have released the transcript of the conversation between Sullenberger, his co-pilot and air traffic controller just before their landing. We posted it on our Web site, ac360.com.
Coming up next, the drug war in Mexico erupting at a popular Mexican resort leaving dozens dead. Is anywhere in the country safe if this place isn't? We've got the latest from the "War Next Door."
The first Gitmo detainee arrived in America today. His charges and what his transfer means for other Gitmo detainees coming up.
Also tonight, meet the newest Internet sensation. His name is Darren and he has a lot of fans.
COOPER: A popular tourist destination where celebrities including John Wayne and Elizabeth Taylor used to vacation is in the front line in Mexico's escalating drug war. Gunmen killed three police officers in Acapulco early yesterday morning in attacks on two police stations. The murders came just two days after a four-hour gun battle between soldiers and suspected drug traffickers left 17 people dead. Who is behind the violence?
In tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report, here is Ed Lavandera.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A burst of gunfire echo through the darkness of Mexico's streets. It's the sound of a drug war, but this time it is different.
RUSTY FLEMING, AUTHOR, "DRUG WARS": You are seeing a new level of the war on drugs in Mexico. And now, of course, you've got an administration that is taking the war directly to these guys. You are going to start seeing them in places that we never thought they existed.
LAVANDERA: But it seems no place is immune. This gun battle took place in the tourist Mecca of Acapulco; a place largely untouched by drug violence until now.
The battle started over the weekend when Mexican troops raided a suspected safehouse of the Beltran-Levy drug cartel. When the smoke cleared more than 3,000s shot had been fired, 50 grenades exploded and 17 people killed including two soldiers and two innocent bystanders. Terrified tourists fled from the area.
Inside the gated house where the gunmen were holed up, soldiers found four handcuffed shirtless men who claimed to be kidnapped state police officers.
And then yesterday, another rampage of gun fire and explosions; two police stations were riddled with bullets and pounded with grenades. Three policemen were killed and one wounded.
Reports say state officials were investigating whether it was a retaliatory attack while Mexican soldiers in trucks and in helicopters kept watch over a nervous resort town. Some 2,300 people have been killed just this year in Mexico's drug violence the latest of nearly 11,000 victims since the nation's president unleashed military forces against drug traffickers in December of 2006.
The U.S. State department has a travel alert warning Americans of the increased levels of violence. The Mexican government says its resort towns are safe but Fleming disagrees and says open warfare in places like Acapulco is only just beginning.
FLEMING: All of those drugs have to come in in shipping lanes. Those are shipping ports. Of course they have a presence there. Of course you are going to see as these guys, their operations become uncovered by the military and the military begins to pursue them, you're going to see more of this kind of violence.
LAVANDERA: A new front in the war on drugs, another town ripped with fear.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Mexico City.
COOPER: Make no mistake about it. This is a war being waged right next door.
Let's dig deeper now with Fred Burton. He's vice president of counterterrorism and corporate security for STRATFOR, a global intelligence company and author of "Ghost: Confessions of a counterterrorism agent." Fred thanks for being with us.
What does it mean that these drug wars have now spilled over into Acapulco, a popular resort city?
FRED BURTON, VICE PRESIDENT, STRATFOR: This is a significant twist, Anderson, in that how much more can the Mexican economy take? We've had the horrific cartel wars, we've had the swine flu and now we've had these gun battles, the likes of which that you'll see in Afghanistan or Somalia on the streets of Acapulco. In essence, we had tourists fleeing in taxis.
COOPER: The Mexican government -- I was down there for "60 Minutes" and for CNN -- the Mexican government is trying to rebuild the federal police force bringing them into the modern age with new equipment, trying to get better officers, better training and they are relying on the Mexican military. They've deployed Mexican military -- 45,000 personnel deployed throughout the country. Is the military simply tapped out? Can they actually handle the cartels?
BURTON: I think the military's bandwidth is stretched extremely thin. If you think about the various fronts that they are fighting from, from Juarez to Nueva Laredo to Acapulco and there's just these flare ups all over the city.
COOPER: I don't think a lot of people in the United States realize the impact this has on the United States already. According to the Justice Department Mexican drug cartels, this is biggest organized crime threat to the United States. Do you see it as a national security issue for America?
BURTON: I certainly do. We have been saying that at STRATFOR for quite some time, Anderson. If you look at just the impact to the United States, not to mention the human toll of the drug violence, but their interface with the criminal gangs on the streets of America, there is no city that is not touched by the cartels in Mexico. They are the downstream supply chain of drugs to America. And in essence we need to get a handle on the cartel violence.
COOPER: You know, you talk about the hit on tourism in Mexico. Would you go to Mexico as a tourist? I went down there a couple of weekends ago to Baja, to Cabo and had a nice weekend; it was a guarded compound. One of those development resorts. But there's a lot of people wondering about whether they should travel down to Mexico. What do you tell them? BURTON: I think you have to be very selective. You have to have a high degree of situation awareness. You have to use your head. You have to be careful where you are going and get as much information before you travel.
The problem is, as you could see with Acapulco, you could be at the wrong place at the wrong time when the cartels decide to move in or the Mexican military tries to move in and capture a high-value target.
COOPER: When I interviewed the Mexican attorney general a couple of months ago, he said, "Look, we are making progress." They seem optimistic. Is that just putting on a brave face or do you think they are making progress against these cartels and destroy these cartels?
BURTON: I think if you look at the body count alone, we are trending at the same level of cartel-related homicides as we did last year. We really don't see any change in the security threat inside of Mexico. And if you look at some of these flare-ups like what we had in Juarez when you were there when we last spoke and when Acapulco, this is a deteriorating situation. This could happen at any place inside the country. That is their span of control.
COOPER: It is scary stuff. Fred Burton, appreciate your expertise. Fred thanks.
BURTON: Thank you.
COOPER: We have been working on a story that boggles the mind. It's about a guy who said he was a war vet who wasn't who he claimed to be. That and the important people he fooled. Joe Johns did the reporting. Here is a quick preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man was seemingly the perfect political weapon; a veteran at the Pentagon when it was struck on 9/11. He said he did three tours of duty in Iraq where he said he was wounded by a roadside bomb. Back home he said his mission was to help homeless veterans speak out for an end for the war and campaign for mainly Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each one of those people that were lost, that's someone mother, someone's father, someone's brother, someone's sister. There's a family that has a void. And clearly the mission is not accomplished.
JOHNS: A compelling story everyone believed until the day authorities said he was an imposter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all were kind of stunned by this because it seemed like such a fundamental betrayal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Anderson this is a tricky story to report because so many people believed him at first and now many people feel betrayed as well as embarrassed that they didn't catch on.
COOPER: Unbelievable this guy got away with it for so long. Joe, we're going to have the full story tomorrow on 360.
Up next, caught on tape: a police officer Tasers a great grandmother; she's 72. The video has some people talking. Did the police officer go too far? Or was he in the right.
And why Sarah Palin is calling David Letterman pathetic when 360 continues.
COOPER: Coming up, we've seen Stephen Colbert's new buzz cut in Iraq. Now, see who ordered the trim and what it ended up looking like. It's tonight's "Shot."
But first Erica Hill joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, President Obama wants Congress to take a "pay as you go" approach to spending proposing a law that would require lawmakers cover the cost of federal programs by either raising taxes or cutting budget. In the 1990s, a similar mandate helped erase the federal budget deficit.
The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be brought to the U.S. for trial is in a New York jail tonight. Ahmed Ghailani pleated not guilty today to charges he participated in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. Those attacks killed 224 people including 12 Americans.
A 72-year-old great grandmother in Austin, Texas, is demanding to know why a police officer pushed her and Tasered her during a traffic stop. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground. Now, put your hands behind your back.
Put your hands behind your back. You're going to be Tased again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: The woman was stopped for speeding. Police say she had refused to sign the ticket and began screaming. And then when she got out of the car, officials say the officer pushed her so she wouldn't get hit by traffic. Police also said the officer gave her five warnings that she would get Tasered if she did not stop screaming. She is charged with resisting arrest.
Former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin isn't laughing at David Letterman's "Top Ten" list last night. In fact, she called him pathetic on a radio show today. Here's why she's upset.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": At number 2, bought makeup at Bloomingdale's to update her slutty flight attendant look and...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: There you go.
And meet the new Internet sensation -- a much lighter note here to wrap it up. This is Darren, the waving goat.
COOPER: The waving goat?
HILL: The waving goat. Watch this.
Oh, look, hey Darren, nice to see you, too. Hey, Anderson Cooper, it's Darren.
He lives on a farm in England where school kids love to see his moves, not to mention people sitting in the newsroom all the way across the ocean in New York.
COOPER: He should have his own series, probably.
HILL: It's only a matter of time. Maybe he's going to be on the next "Britain's Got Talent."
COOPER: Maybe so.
So Erica, last night was a kind of a stroll down memory lane. You and I talked about our first concert experiences. I'm still not sure if mine was Grandmaster Flash and Furious Five or Elvis Costello. But Erica saw Peter, Paul and Mary with her dad.
HILL: Do not laugh at Peter, Paul and Mary. All right?
COOPER: I'm not laughing.
HILL: Fine holiday. I watched it with my dad.
COOPER: At first you thought it was Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation.
HILL: No, I knew I went to Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation 1814, which I won tickets to while baby-sitting. But I had forgotten that Stevie and I went to see Peter, Paul and Mary.
HILL: My dad, Stevie.
COOPER: You call your dad Stevie?
HILL: When I talk about him, I do. I call him Dad.
COOPER: We asked viewers and people online to tell us about their first concert experiences on the blog. We got an overwhelming response. Here are some of our favorite reactions.
Tim Gibson said, "Sweet Jesus, my first concert way back in the day in the '70s was an outdoor three-day, two-night event that featured such acts as Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent and all the good old boy rock bands of the days."
HILL: Oh, that's good stuff.
COOPER: Definitely a good one.
HILL: How about this one? That's old school but not Mandy, who wrote, "New Kids on the Block," NKOTB baby, "was my first show. I was 11. Made my mom buy me my first bra just in case I ran into Jordan Knight. When I got home, still in my NKOTB daze, I realized the aforementioned bra was hitting nicely around my waist."
COOPER: Terisa, "My first concert was Rick Springfield when I was 14. My mother thought I was going to go see Bruce Springsteen, who was too wild, so I had to play 'Jesse's Girl' and explain who he was."
HILL: That's fantastic. You know, Rick Springfield just came out with an album of lullabies and children's tunes.
HILL: It's true.
COOPER: Wow. Ok.
HILL: I had him on my other show a couple of weeks ago.
COOPER: There you go.
HILL: And finally Sue wrote, "I have two first concerts. The real first was Leif Garrett..."
HILL: "... when I was 12. My first grown-up concert was Van Halen in 1982." Rock on.
COOPER: Yes. Wow. I love it.
HILL: These posts were fantastic.
COOPER: These are really good. Feel free, ac360.com on the live blog. You can weigh in because we still have a couple more minutes. So weigh in and let us know what your first concert was. Maybe we'll keep this thing going, who knows.
The "Shot" is coming up next. Stephen Colbert's new do and why it almost didn't happen. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Erica, time for tonight's "Shot." Last night we showed you Stephen Colbert's new haircut.
At first glance, it looks like a bold tribute to our troops. Now we know the real story. It turns out Colbert needed a little persuading from the highest levels of the military. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": It's going to take more than a four-star general to get me to cut my hair.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I say if Stephen Colbert wants to play soldier, it's time to cut that man's hair.
COLBERT: Wait a second, wait a second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, is that an order?
OBAMA: General, as your commander-in-chief, I hereby order you to shave that man's head.
COLBERT: We'll be right back.
Well, that's it for the show folks...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Good time.
COOPER: Nice job the general did. You have to love his snazzy camouflage outfit as well.
HILL: The suit is fantastic.
COOPER: It's very cool.
HILL: I bet you they're going to get a lot of orders for that number.
COOPER: They probably will.
You can see all the most recent "Shots" at our Web site, ac360.com.
That does it for 360. Thanks for watching. Have a great night.
I'll see you tomorrow night.
"LARRY KING" starts now.