Return to Transcripts main page


Middle East Crackdowns Continue; Gabrielle Giffords' Road to Recovery

Aired February 17, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

Tonight: people standing up to the repressive governments peacefully and being beaten, tear gassed and gunned down in the streets, new images and chilling accounts from Bahrain and new video smuggled out of Libya, regimes in both countries saying they're responding appropriately. Evidence from both countries seems to indicate otherwise.

Also tonight, what Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is going through on her amazing road to recovery. 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta walking in her footsteps as he goes through rehab at the same hospital that's treating her.

And later: a couple wrongly accused of shaking their child, shaken baby syndrome, the girl and her twin sister taken away. The question tonight, is shaken baby syndrome being misdiagnosed, and are good parents paying the price? Sanjay also fills us in on that.

We begin, though, as always, "Keeping Them Honest."

The brutal crackdowns in Libya and Bahrain, a new wave of violence against peaceful protesters, violence justified by regimes using the same old lies.

In Bahrain, the regime there is claiming that this ambush in the middle of the night on sleeping protesters, including women and children in tents, was a case of meeting force with force. These protesters were peaceful and the government responded with tear gas, flash grenades and buckshot. There are also numerous firsthand accounts of handcuffed people being beaten and kicked by police.

In Libya, what you are seeing is an extraordinary sight, protesters burning Gadhafi's picture, chanting, "Your turn has come. Enough, enough."

Two states on opposite ends of the Arab world, one a U.S. ally, one an old adversary, both now with blood spilled in the streets, both regimes claiming what you just saw and what you will see a lot more of tonight either isn't what it seems to be or isn't really happening at all.

We have got video, reporting and voices from the region that say otherwise. Bahrain, of course, is a U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. The kingdom is claiming their crackdown overnight was a justified police action, not a deadly ambush.


ABDUL LATIF BIN RASHID AL ZAYANI, BAHRAINI SPECIAL ENVOY TO UNITED STATES: We always use force that is proportional. The force was proportional. The minimum possible tear gas was used to be effective enough to disperse the people.


COOPER: That's Bahrain's special enjoy to the U.S. tonight on "THE SITUATION ROOM," his government claiming protesters in Pearl Roundabout were armed with swords, posing a threat to state security.

He says even some had pistols, also claiming protesters got plenty of warming of the attack and were given ample ways to leave before riot police went in. Yet, reporter after reporter, witness after witness, protester after protester, says that isn't so.

Of course, like many regimes, the government has been making it difficult for reporters to take pictures, but here's one view of the assault, four now dead in what you just saw, six killed since the crackdown began, the health minister saying at least 225 wounded, but outside observers put the number several times higher.

Protesters gathering at one local hospital chanting, "With our blood and souls, we will fight for the martyrs." That was the scene inside the hospital. State TV not showing these kind of pictures, running video instead highlighting wounded police officers.

And throughout the day, new video is turning up online that's also not on state TV from Bahrain and from Libya, a dictatorship that's been under the grip of one man, Moammar Gadhafi, for the last 41 years. This was posted on Facebook, itself an act of enormous bravery when you think of how brutal the Gadhafi regime is. That's just a sampling of the crackdown in Libya, where protesters used social media to call for they called a day of rage and were met by deadly force in several major Libyan cities.

We have conflicting numbers obviously right now of the death toll. One estimate puts the death toll at 21. We cannot independently verify that, however, and there are estimates ranging much higher and smaller.

If you turned on government-controlled Libyan television, this is what you would have seen today, Gadhafi at a pro-government rally greeted by an adoring crowd. Business as usual. Nothing strange here. Keep moving along.

And just as the Mubarak regime did in Egypt, Gadhafi is blaming the U.S. and Israel for the protests and his supporters are encouraged to chant against Al-Jazeera. Here's how state-run TV described today's scene. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The masses renewed their pride of him and their everlasting (INAUDIBLE) with him in the (INAUDIBLE) of the march of the freedom and the people's authority in Libya and building up the future with insistence and high moral spirits.


COOPER: It's like a bad script from a movie made by a dictator.

Today, Libya's American ambassador said Libya is a free country where people can express their ideas. We don't see much proof of that in Libya, and in a moment, we will talk to Fouad Ajami and others about the reality of the dictatorship there.

First, though, Bahrain, where stories from Pearl square continue coming out, no matter what officials try to say or do about it. "The New York Times"'s Nick Kristof tells of a doctor handcuffed by police in the square, beaten, he said, his pants pulled down, threatened with rape.

ABC's Miguel Marquez also attacked overnight by what he said were thugs, his assault caught on tape. Listen.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, ABC NEWS: He said no. He said no. He said no.

All right, all right, all right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go.

MARQUEZ: I'm going. I'm going, I'm going. (INAUDIBLE)


MARQUEZ: I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going.

We're journalists here. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm hit. I'm going. I'm going.

I'm going to my hotel.

I just got beat rather badly by a gang of thugs. I'm now in a marketplace near our hotel where people are cowering in buildings. I mean, these people are not screwing around.


COOPER: Miguel Marquez joins us now from NBC, along with CNN's Nic Robertson and Arwa Damon, all in Bahrain.

Miguel, you were actually in the middle of reporting from the demonstrations when you got attacked. Who attacked you? You said it was thugs. Was it uniformed police officers? And, also, was there any warning? Because the government is now saying they warmed protesters in the square.

MARQUEZ: It was certainly uniformed, in riot gear, military individuals, I believe. I only said thugs, because when four or five or six guys are beating you with sticks, it feels a heck of a lot like thugs.

They may have had some warning, but it came extremely quickly. We were in a hotel very close to the square. The police or the military pulled up alongside a highway next to the square, and within three to four minutes of them pulling up, they unleashed everything they had, which to my eyes and to what I was seeing was tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades, and shotguns, because we saw several people who had been shot at the hospital...

COOPER: And, Miguel, what...

MARQUEZ: ... directly into -- into the square.

COOPER: Miguel, when the government says that this was a proportional response, meeting force with force, were there weapons among the protesters? Had there been acts of violence by the protesters that night?

MARQUEZ: No. I had been among the protesters for hours prior to that happening, and then had watched them go to bed, basically, and there was no sign of weapons with the protesters.

COOPER: So protesters are sleeping. The government official -- the government police, military show up. Within three minutes, they start this attack.

Nic, this big crackdown in the last 24 hours, do we know the damage at this point? Do we know an accurate death toll, how many wounded?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the best, most accurate death toll we have at this time is four people dead, hundreds wounded.

It still isn't clear. Just a few hours ago, we heard that 70 people were still missing. One of those who died only died in the last few hours or so. It's still not clear. There were more than 1,000 police, I would say, and then we saw the army come. And dozens and dozens, well over 50 armored personnel carriers, tanks were deployed as well to secure the area.

It was massive, massive by anyone's standard, very well and precisely coordinated military style operation. There's no getting away from what it was, Anderson.

COOPER: And, Arwa Damon, we're also now hearing accounts of people who were handcuffed and say they were -- continued to be beaten, ambulance drivers not being allowed to take people from the square or to even go to the square. You actually talked with a family who was asleep in the square last night when they got hit by tear gas.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson.

We met a woman named Zana Kwerda (ph) at the hospital. Now, she and her two children, little girls, ages 6 and 8, were sleeping inside a tent with other women and their kids when she said they woke up coughing, choking on tear gas.

She said at that point, they didn't evacuate the tents right away. They were trying to hold their ground when she says the police actually set the tent on fire, describing how it went up in flames around them. She says her 6-year-old grabbed onto her, was crying, mommy, mommy, please call the police.

And she told us that she had to tell her little girl that it was actually the police that was doing this to them. And she was vowing that the demonstrations are going to continue, that, if they quit, everybody is going to die. She was highlighting the point that they had absolutely no warning whatsoever that the authorities were going to use these kinds of measures.

And just quickly, we also met an ambulance worker who had been wounded. He was saying that they were blocking them from entering the square. They were forced to walk into the square, leave the ambulances behind, and then they were opened fire on as well, Anderson.

COOPER: Miguel, when these demonstrations in Bahrain began, they were kind of limited in scope of what people were calling for. We're now seeing those images at the hospital of people who are just outraged, loved ones who have lost people, who have been wounded, who themselves have been hurt.

It seems now they are now calling for the downfall of this regime, something they weren't necessarily calling from on days ago.

MARQUEZ: It has certainly grown, and we have seen that trend other places, is that the anger over the first two deaths in these demonstrations has caused the protesters to increase what they want.

Essentially, they want the royal family here to go, maybe not entirely, be something more like a figurehead government or a figurehead monarchy, sort of like the U.K., but they want the prime minister, who has been in power for 40 years, to go, and they want a much broader set of constitutional reforms now.

COOPER: And, Nic, obviously this presents real challenges for the United States. Bahrain is an ally, and there's also sectarian issues between Sunni and Shia that the U.S. is concerned about a country like Iran coming in and trying to make hay with.

ROBERTSON: And Saudi Arabia is concerned as well. There's a causeway between Saudi Arabia to Bahrain that they're -- Saudi Arabia (INAUDIBLE) country -- has a large Shia population. So, they're very concerned, and for the United States and beyond, if you have a Shia Shia-led government here, the fear would be that Iran has an influential foothold on this side of the Persian Gulf.

If you have a Shia revolt in Saudi Arabia, this -- for not only the United States, but for the rest of the world, would (AUDIO GAP) threaten the oil fields that are in the east of Saudi Arabia as well. So, it raises many, many questions, not least of which as well the U.S. Fifth Fleet that docks here in Bahrain. With a Shia-dominated government that people fear would be influenced by Iran, would the U.S. Fifth Fleet be able to use the ports here? So, it's a huge, far- reaching question.

COOPER: Nic Robertson, Arwa Damon, stay safe.

Miguel Marquez, I'm glad you're doing OK. And stay safe as well.

A quick reminder: You can weigh in on what you're watching. The live chat right now is up and running at

Coming up, the violence in Libya, the crackdown there. And did the United States miss warning signs about what's going on, not just in Libya, but Bahrain and other places, and have there been mixed messages coming from the administration? We will talk to former CIA Director James Woolsey and professor Fouad Ajami next.

And later, a rare look at what the days are like for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on her road to recovery. Dr. Sanjay Gupta actually taking us inside the rehab facility, going through some of the programs that she's going through to show you how you basically try to rewire the brain. It's a fascinating walk through Giffords' therapy. We will be right back.


COOPER: Well, as Nic Robertson said a moment ago, the uprising in Bahrain puts the U.S. in a very tough spot. The protests and crackdown is happening in a city state that is home port to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which guards the Persian Gulf.

It's happening to a close ally that sits just off the coast of Saudi Arabia, another close ally obviously. So, the question tonight is, did the U.S. government fall short when it comes to steering Bahrain toward democracy in the run-up to this? Did they miss warning signs? Last October, Bahrain held parliamentary elections. In December during a town hall meeting there, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed the balloting as a positive step.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I am very impressed by the progress that Bahrain is making on all fronts, economically, politically, socially.


COOPER: Prior to those elections, which Secretary Clinton called fear and fair, the government rounded up hundreds of suspected opposition members, Human Rights Watch calling it a return to full- blown authoritarianism.

The Obama administration, it continued -- quote -- "has failed to speak out about what's become a serious human rights crisis."

As for missing signals on the bigger picture, the administration actually ordered advisers last August to produce a secret report on potential problems throughout the region. According to "The New York Times," it identified flash points, especially Egypt.

Want to talk about Bahrain and also Libya.

Joining me now, former CIA Director James Woolsey and Professor Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, as well as with the Hoover Institution.

Professor, let's start with Bahrain. What do you make of the crackdown there now?

FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Look, all this -- the praise of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain is a fraud. This has always been a tyranny. This has always been a Sunni ruling regime ruling a restive Shia population -- 75 percent of the population of Bahrain are Shia.

They're cut out of power. They have no say in the country. Bahrain is -- as you said, is in the shadow of Saudi Arabia. They receive support from Saudi Arabia. It's a flash point, if you will, between Iran on the one side and Saudi Arabia on the other. It's a rotten regime. It's a corrupt regime. It's a tyrannical regime. And we now see it for what it is.

COOPER: And yet it is our corrupt regime. It has been an ally to the United States, a bulwark against Iran.

JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: The key thing I think is the Fifth Fleet headquarters. This is a difficult situation, but I think the administration hasn't gotten this right yet.

Ronald Reagan got this right. If it was an evil empire, you call it an evil empire, but at the same time you can shake hands and smile and work with it. But you don't cut back on your defense of the principles of equality and law and rule of law and so forth.

And we have tacked so much toward accommodating verbally, and not criticizing at all, not only Egypt and Bahrain, but Iran, that...


COOPER: You were saying we should have been much more aggressive in siding with protesters in Iran back in 2009?

WOOLSEY: Clearly. Well, not necessarily siding directly with the protesters -- don't want to look like you're controlling them -- but certainly criticizing -- a year-and-a-half ago, criticizing the regime for cracking down on them. Look, what that regime does, under their -- one thing -- it's a terrible thing -- but under their ideas, virgins go to heaven. So, when they get a young girl, as in prison...

COOPER: You're talking about in Iran?

WOOLSEY: ... in Iran, they rape her before they kill her.

This -- that's about as hideous as you can get. We never say a word about these sorts of things.

COOPER: I'm always fascinated, in Iran, they actually mandate the size of stones that they use to stone people.

WOOLSEY: Yes, right.

COOPER: They don't want stones which are too big that will kill somebody too quickly, don't want too small to not injure them enough.


COOPER: But Libya is also now -- you have this bizarre Moammar Gadhafi ruling 41 years. Can he maintain power? They are ruthlessly cracking down.

AJAMI: Well, look at Gadhafi. Look at this great Arab upheaval. It broke out in Tunisia. It skipped Libya and moved east to Egypt . So there he sits with Egypt on one side and Tunisia on the other, and they both had their moments of rebellion.

Moammar Gadhafi has long ceased to be a clown. He's a killer. He is a terrible ruler. And he holds Europe to ransom. He has oil. And he has also threatened them always that he would unleash on them waves of immigrants, African immigrants. Not a subtle man, he said he will make Europe black. He will just simply flood them with immigrants.

And so he runs this big penal colony, Libya. It's all his. It's his. It's his sons'. And it is this odd creature, this Libyan state. And if there was any decent order of states, there would be an expeditionary force that would liberate the Libyan people from this tyrant.

But with oil money and with the location he has, he holds Europe to ransom. And the Americans, for our part, we gave him a reprieve several years ago because supposedly he turned over his weapons of mass destruction. So, in 2004, we basically said, ah, maybe Gadhafi, he is now coming in from the cold.

He hasn't changed. This is a monster. And the Libyan people are suffering for this. And this is the longest serving Arab ruler. He's called the dean of Arab rulers.

WOOLSEY: Fouad said two key words there: oil money.

We could well see oil go above the $147 a barrel that it got to two years ago. This -- the fact that we have not done anything substantial to move away from our dependence on oil -- most all of what the administration and Congress have been looking at with respect to the environment has to do with electricity generation, not with our oil dependence, which is a separate thing, really.

And we're going to find oil shooting up very high if we end up having a revolution in Bahrain and in the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia. And in a way, it's our own fault for having wasted all these years in not moving away from oil.

COOPER: It is such a fascinating time, though. And to be a fly on the wall in the White House now would be extraordinary, because it's the convergence of so many competing things.

On the one hand, OK, there's concerns about oil, there's concerns about security interests. There's also the very real American desire to see democracy flourish throughout the world, to side with the right side in these conflicts. And yet there's all these competing interests in Egypt.


COOPER: Libya seems clear as far as the U.S. standard is, based on Gadhafi and his record.

WOOLSEY: Right. These things do conflict. And this is not easy. This is a difficult situation.

And we don't have alternatives, democratic alternatives, the way they did back in the '80s say Cory Aquino, when we went after Marcos or helped move him out. They don't have the kind of resilience in the situation that we had in the Eastern Europe say when the wall went down.


COOPER: To hear these envoys, though, continue to kind of trot out the same lies that they have always told, you know, to hear Libyan government officials blaming the U.S., or to hear Gadhafi blaming the U.S., blaming Israel, that's the same stuff Mubarak does -- that's the stuff he has always done for years to try to have an outside enemy to kind of keep tension off himself.

AJAMI: Look, these Arab autocrats have had it very good for a long time. What they have done is they have run what I insist on calling penal colonies. They basically imprison their people. And they have told the rest of the world...

COOPER: And it's that bad?

AJAMI: Absolutely, in my opinion.

Look, eight Arab governments practice torture -- 360 million Arabs, that's the population of the Arab world -- we are now witnessing their crisis. These rulers basically told us, we will keep the peace. If you just avert your gaze from the terrible things we do, I, Hosni Mubarak, will give you order on the banks of the Nile. I, Moammar Gadhafi, will give you order in the deserts of Libya. I, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, will repress the Tunisian people. And we will be moderate in the world abroad, but we will -- whatever we do here at home doesn't matter.

COOPER: Right. We will wear nice suits and stuff when we come and visit you, but at home, we're going to rip out your fingernails. Right.


AJAMI: These people are monsters.

When you think of the Libyan people, deprived -- they are rich people. They have massive amounts of oil. But the money doesn't belong to them. It belongs to Moammar Gadhafi. It belongs to his son.


COOPER: Right, his sons who are out like partying in St. Barts and traveling around the world.


AJAMI: You love his son's name. One son is called Saif al- Islam, the sword of Islam, just to intimidate people. Another son, Hannibal. And another son pays Beyonce $2 million to come and perform for his son, $2 million for one evening's performance. The scandal of these rulers...

COOPER: We tried to confirm that at one point, and we weren't able to confirm that, but I have heard that story.


AJAMI: I'm going to do it without confirmation.

COOPER: OK. All right.


AJAMI: I'm an academic.


AJAMI: So I'm just going with it. And I think what we have seen is this incredible revolution of discontent. That's what you witnessed in Egypt.


COOPER: The idea that anybody, whether it's some celebrity or just anybody, would sit in a restaurant with any son of Moammar Gadhafi and entertain them or be in their company is a sickening thought. WOOLSEY: Yes. Well, that's it.

COOPER: What do you think is going to happen? Can the Bahrain government -- will the crackdown work there?

WOOLSEY: I don't know. I'm -- I agree with Fouad. It's a bad government. We should have been taking a more principled stand with respect to its repression before.

But, on the other hand, it's where the Fifth Fleet is located and we really need to be able to keep Iran from dominating the Gulf. This business where they were going to send two warships or a freighter, military freighter and a warship, and then now it looks like maybe they have backed off for a while, through the Suez Canal into Eastern Mediterranean, this -- this is a very delicate and difficult situation.

And you could see region-wide war come about as a result of a miscalculation between say the Israeli navy and the Iranian navy or something like that.

COOPER: Do you agree with that, Fouad?

AJAMI: Well, I always agree with Jim. And I know that Jim's focused on Iran.

My focus these days, my focus is on the Arab condition, on these 360 million people, these aged rulers, corrupt, decadent, repressive, and their young populations trying to figure out what is their place in the world. What does it mean to be an Arab today? What is their share of this universe?

And when you look at the economics of the Arab states, miserable, the 40 percent that lives below the poverty line, the repression, the plunder, the huge money stolen by these rulers, and we have bet on them. That has been the American bet, on the autocrats. And I will tell you what really is at the heart of it, Anderson, fundamentally. Our pact, our bargain with the autocrats has come apart.

WOOLSEY: We're going to have a very difficult situation, I think, between perhaps Egypt and some of the other neighboring states and Israel now coming up with the Muslim Brotherhood saying -- and not only the Muslim Brotherhood, but also Ayman Nour and ElBaradei saying we can't stay with this treaty between Egypt and Israel from now on. We have to redo that.

That could be a very serious problem. And, as you say, Anderson, this is really hard to sort out...

COOPER: It's uncharted water at this point.

WOOLSEY: ... because there are countervailing indicators. You want to stand up for what's right. You have -- the United States has to do that.

COOPER: Yes. WOOLSEY: But, also, we need the Fifth Fleet.

COOPER: I got to go.

Jim Woolsey, appreciate your expertise, Fouad Ajami as well.

Coming up: an extraordinary look inside the rehab facility where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is recovering from a gunshot wound. Dr. Sanjay Gupta actually got inside the facility and kind of went through a lot of the therapies to kind of show how they work. It's an extraordinary look. Stick around for that.

And then later: a heartbreaking story of a couple wrongly accused of abusing their 8-month-old baby. They were accused of shaken baby syndrome, led to a nightmare for the family, falsely accused. They did nothing wrong. And we're going to look at the whole notion of shaken baby syndrome. It may not be what you think or as clear as you think.

We will be right back.


COOPER: Tonight, a remarkable inside look at what Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is going through every day as she recovers from being shot in the head last month in Arizona.

360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta was granted extraordinary access to the very facility in Houston, Texas, where Giffords is undergoing rehab. Playing the patient, he shows us the kind of therapy that she goes through every day. Here's Sanjay.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For about an hour most days, Congresswoman Giffords does this.

(on camera) So you're going to sing it and if I mouth it, then you can do that. You can tell me what that means.

(singing) Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good. Sometimes I come in and that's all they can do. And...

GUPTA: And that's significant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's significant, because it gives me a clue, "Hey, they know this song, and they want to fill it in."

GUPTA (voice-over): It's called music therapy. Most people never see how it or much of the technology, big or small in this building, actually works. So I will show you as if I, like Congresswoman Giffords, were a patient of Dr. Francisco and his team.

(on camera) It seems like a pretty long day.

DR. GERARD FRANCISCO, TIRR: It is a long day.

GUPTA (voice-over): Every patient here has suffered a catastrophic injury and gets tailored therapy for an average of 28 days.

FRANCISCO: After a brain injury or stroke, there is a tendency for the patient to forget one side of the body.

GUPTA: Just neglect it?

FRANCISCO: Just neglect it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You'll start to feel, like, some tingling in your calf.

GUPTA (voice-over): But this bike doesn't let you forget.

(on camera) These are the little chords here actually attached to my muscles in my leg. And as my leg is moving, it's sort of predicting which muscle should be using, and it's giving that muscle a stimulation.

(voice-over) They call this the Superman device. Learning to walk without the burden of my body weight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirty percent of your body weight has been taken out.

GUPTA: Surprisingly, the shopping cart is also used as part of therapy.

(on camera) Take a look here. Obviously, Julie helping, for example, if I have right leg weakness, really sort of moving my leg along, preventing me from falling.

SHAP SHADRAVAN, SPEECH THERAPIST: I say, "OK, you said 'len.' It's 'pen.' Use your lips."

GUPTA (voice-over): Now remember, with Congresswoman Giffords, speech is also a concern, especially since she has a trache, and learning to use it is a part of therapy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what sticks out in the patient. What we have here is a speaking valve. If they're tolerating that, we'll try to get them to speak.

GUPTA: But here's the thing. All these different therapies work together. For example, remember music therapy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to go lean two, three, four. Push up, two, three, four.

GUPTA: The music isn't just rehabilitating the mind; it's also teaching patients to walk. And sometimes... UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I'll give them a song to kind of get their mind off of the pain.

(singing) Oh, when the saints go marching in.


COOPER: It's really cool to see that rehabilitation up close. When people talk about rewiring the brain, what does that mean?

GUPTA: Yes. I learned a lot through this whole process, as well. You know, rewiring the brain basically means that you're trying to use what are redundant pathways in the brain. The brain has lots of different pathways that do the same activity. You want to use some of those new pathways.

What I found fascinating, though, Anderson, for example, when I was riding that bike, you typically think of the brain sending a signal down to the muscle. In this case, you get a little shock into your muscle during the various stages of riding the bike. That's sending a signal back up to the brain, and that's sort of causing this rewiring process.

The whole focus in this rehab, Anderson, is use the weak side. Don't ignore it; don't neglect it. Use the weak side as much as possible. And early recovery, because of that, is the best sort of recovery. That seems to be the mantra there.

COOPER: And what's next for Giffords?

GUPTA: You know, a lot of it has to focus now on occupational therapy. I mean, she's made some amazing gains, as you just saw there, Anderson. But things like even, you know, brushing your teeth, using a spoon, the types of therapies they have to teach people to do that. To put your pants on, something simple. You would put your pants on typically standing up, not lying down. So there's things that we just take for granted that she's going to learn again.

Also, there's -- even while we were there, Anderson, there's this new robotic arm, which is being brought in to therapy centers to essentially teach people how to use their limb in a way again that they hadn't used in some time. In this case, you see me doing it by playing games. Focus your concentration. That works on cognition. And it also uses that arm that's weak.

COOPER: And as a neurosurgeon, you've actually sent people to rehab, but you were saying this is the first time you've really done it yourself?

GUPTA: Yes. I've never been through this process myself. And I've got to say, you know, we send patients to rehab, and as a neurosurgeon, I was sort of amazed at just how it works, learning the process, and also seeing how effective it is. As I said in the piece there, Anderson, 28 days on average to rehab from some of these catastrophic injuries. If you think about it, that's pretty fast.

COOPER: Yes, it's incredible. Sanjay, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, Sanjay is going to be back to explain a form of child abuse known as Shaken Baby Syndrome. Now, we've all heard about this, but it's actually become a much more controversial diagnosis than you might realize. We're going to meet one couple wrongly accused of violently shaking one of their daughters and how that accusation turned their world upside down.

Plus, BP releases a statement about the payments to victims of the Gulf oil spill that is going to, no doubt, anger some of those victims.

And Isha is following some of the other big stories for us tonight -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, demonstrators crowded into Wisconsin's capital building today to protest a controversial budget bill. We'll see why they were so angry and why some lawmakers who are also opposed to the bill skipped town altogether. That and more when we come back.


COOPER: Imagine being wrongly accused of child -- child abuse and having your children actually taken away from you. That happened to one Washington, D.C., couple who were suspected, incorrectly, of shaking their baby.

Children who are, in fact, victims of the condition known as Shaken Baby Syndrome can suffer severe, sometimes life-long injuries. In a few moments, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta is going to explain what happens when a child is shaken violently. We're also going to look at the legal implications when accusations are made. It's actually a syndrome which is actually a lot more complex than people realize.

First though, Randi Kaye, on one case and how a system designed to protect kids traumatized a family.


GREG CAPLAN, FATHER: Is there a pony on my head?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The nightmare for Greg and Juliana Caplan begins at their Washington, D.C., home, August 30, 2007. Juliana is changing one of her 8-month-old twins' diapers. The other is playing on the floor.

JULIANA CAPLAN, MOTHER: I heard a thud, which I knew was her head and that she had fallen back and bonked her head on the floor.

KAYE: Hours later, the baby starts vomiting. They rush her to the emergency room, where doctors keep her overnight. The next day, doctors conclude there are signs of retinal hemorrhaging, bleeding in the membrane of the eye. Then doctors turn the Caplans' world upside- down.

G. CAPLAN: We were told that there was a concern that she might have been abused, and that they had called in their child abuse specialist to interview us.

KAYE: Immediately, Child and Family Services placed a medical hold on the little girl to keep her in the hospital. They suspect something called Shaken Baby Syndrome, for which retinal hemorrhaging can be a red flag. But no doctor can say for sure the child has been shaken.

Then for the Caplans, it gets worse.

J. CAPLAN: The social worker -- it's still emotional to think about it. I mean, she told me that "We have to remove the other child."

And I said, "Now, wait, let's talk about this."

KAYE (on camera): Child and Family Services didn't wait for a full investigation to take action. About 24 hours after their injured baby was taken to the hospital, social workers removed her twin sister from the home. They showed up here with two police cars, lights flashing. It was around 1 a.m.

Mr. Caplan says that he was told to wake his daughter up, remove her from the crib, and hand her over. The couple says they weren't even told where their daughter was being taken.

(voice-over) Peter Nickles handled the Caplan case for the city.

PETER NICKLES, FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C., ATTORNEY GENERAL: There was a significant suspicion, not conclusive at the time, but significant suspicion that they had suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome. Now, within...

KAYE (on camera): Does that suspicion warrant removing the uninjured child immediately?

NICKLES: Yes. Their mandate is to take the child into, effectively, a protective custody status until there can be a probable cause hearing.

KAYE (voice-over): And while they wait for that hearing, the police report is released, showing, quote, "five examining physicians gave no indication or cause to support abuse."

Still, the twins remained in foster care at just 8 months old.

(on camera) What was it like to think of them living in foster care?

J. CAPLAN: I mean, it's terrible. I don't know what to tell you. You know, I mean, here we are several years out, and it's like, I don't think I'll ever be able to talk about it without being emotional. KAYE (voice-over): Then, after more than two weeks in foster care, a judge at a hearing on the case finds no probable cause for abuse. But it's not over yet.

October 17, the city -- that is Washington, D.C. -- offers to cut a deal. If the couple undergoes anger management and psychological evaluations, and acknowledges neglect, they can avoid a trial. The Caplans reject it.

Weeks later, November 15, the news the Caplans have waited for. The city announces the case is dismissed.

G. CAPLAN: We were able to get a medical expert witness to testify that it is, in fact, possible and plausible that a child with a head size like our daughter had would be susceptible to trauma, to bleeding in the head upon little to no trauma and that that, in combination with retching and vomiting, could be a perfectly innocuous explanation for the retinal hemorrhaging.

KAYE: You might think the story, the nightmare for the Caplans, ends here, but it doesn't. On December 11, 2007, Child and Family Services labeled their investigation, quote, "inconclusive," automatically adding the Caplans to the city's child protection registry. That means, if their daughters are injured, even on the playground, the Caplans are automatically suspects.

It takes more than seven months for the Caplans to get their names removed from the child abuse registry.

(on camera) Do you have any regrets about how this case was handled? Do you believe that some steps should have been handled differently?

NICKLES: No, I do not.

KAYE: No regrets at all?

NICKLES: I have no regrets about the way the case was handled.

KAYE: Do you believe the city was overly aggressive...


KAYE: ... in handling the Caplans' case?

NICKLES: No, absolutely not.

KAYE: The Caplans say it cost $75,000 to defend themselves. Now they are suing for $1 million, alleging recklessness and malicious acts by the D.C. government, its agencies, and individual employees.

J. CAPLAN: They have no systems and no regard and nothing in place to make sure that innocent families don't get caught up in the net.

KAYE: A net that's already entangled them for years. Randi Kaye, CNN, Washington.

COOPER: The case in that -- the Caplans', you know, family is a terrible case. It's a hard thing, though, to figure out. There's a fine line authorities are walking here. Obviously, you don't want -- you want to err on the side of caution, and yet, you don't want to take away babies from parents who aren't guilty of anything.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, these are very unusual criminal cases, because they almost always work the same way. Some child is brought, terribly injured, to a hospital. The hospital looks at the evidence and says, "This child was shaken." That's the whole case. There are no witnesses. The whole criminal cases tend to be brought on the basis of expert medical testimony. And expert medical testimony can sometimes be seen different ways.

It's a real diagnosis. There are definitely people who have Shaken Baby Syndrome, but sometimes there are gray areas which lead to very difficult calls.

COOPER: Yes, Sanjay, how do you diagnose it?

GUPTA: Well, you know, first of all, it's important to keep in mind when you think about a baby, especially a newborn, Anderson, the head, if you ever looked at a baby, the head is much bigger, relatively speaking, than the body. And that's important, because when you think about shaking a baby, you've actually got a lot of force being generated by the head because of that size discrepancy.

The diagnosis, as Jeff I guess -- I think is alluding to, can be somewhat challenging, although there are a few important things. Let me show you a couple of images here.

For example, this is a CAT scan. It's one of the first tests that's done. Accidental head injury. You see sort of a real sort of specific area of blood here on the brain. That's that white over here, Anderson and Jeff.

Over here, this is abusive head trauma. This is sort of this layering of blood all along here and some of the blood into that. It might be a little bit hard to see. The point is it looks different on a CAT scan. That's just one test.

One of the big things that comes up a lot is actually taking an ophthalmoscope and looking in the back of the eye. This is a retinal hemorrhage that is accidental. In this case, this was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. You see sort of the diffuse hemorrhaging over here?

Compare that over here to retinal hemorrhages. Again, that's shaking, increasing the pressure in the intracranial space, the skull space, and causing these sort of sensitive blood vessels behind the eye to bleed. It is not absolutely conclusive that someone that has these hemorrhages has been abused in some way, but about 85 percent of the time you're going to see these hemorrhages in a child abuse -- shaken baby case. COOPER: But Sanjay, there's other things that could explain some of these symptoms, right?

GUPTA: One of the big key things is here is to look for other injuries, as well. So look for the things in the head. Let me give you one example. You know, when someone has abusive head trauma, in 71 percent of cases you're going to see evidence of prior abuse. So previously broken bones, bruising.

Think about when you're shaking the baby, holding them by the rib cage. A lot of those babies have rib fractures. If you're holding them by the legs, a lot of them have leg fractures. So the preponderance of evidence, putting it all together seems to be what's so key.

COOPER: Jeff, you were saying that this reminds you of something your law professor used to say? What is that?

TOOBIN: Some people think that some crimes are so terrible that not even innocence is a defense.

In other words, when you have a damaged child, everyone is so angry. Everyone is so frustrated. Everyone wants to blame someone, that you sometimes get a momentum for these cases that is not always supported by the facts.

And also, sometimes when you have people who are not well defended, who don't have good lawyers, these cases are always about battles of experts. Most of us look at those CAT scans, those retinal scans, we don't know what they mean. So you need experts on both sides...

COOPER: And that costs money.

TOOBIN: And that costs a lot of money.

COOPER: So what's the answer here? I mean, if this is clearly -- this does happen. People are shaken and get injured like this, and yet there are also these other cases like the Caplans where it seems the parents are kind of wrongly accused. Should there be a review of these cases?

TOOBIN: Well, I think, certainly, good lawyering and good medical experts are the best thing that can happen now.

But there has to be more research done on what a shaken baby -- what you can prove. I mean, some of these tests didn't even exist 20 years ago. Presumably in 20 years, we'll have better tests that will establish more with greater certainly.

But it's funny, you know, Sanjay used the phrase preponderance of the evidence. The standard in criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt. And you don't want to guess, when you have a tragedy of this magnitude, because when you have parents or caregivers, they are either -- committed horrible, horrible crimes are they are the most heartbroken people in the world. These cases are very, very hard to manage, one way or the other.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, thanks very much.

Sanjay, thank you, as well.

GUPTA: Thank you.


COOPER: Difficult situation.

More ahead. BP promised to pay all legitimate claims from the oil spill in the Gulf. Remember that? But now they're saying they may be giving away too much money. Details ahead.


COOPER: And Isha joins us again with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

What do you got, Isha?

SESAY: Anderson, there's a battle over Wisconsin's state budget that's forced dozens of schools to shut down. That's because thousands of teachers and other public employees held a third day of protests at the state capital.

Now, they're upset about the governor's plan to eliminate collective bargaining rights of most public workers. Sixteen state senators, most of them Democrats, didn't show up for a vote on the Republican-sponsored budget bill today, calling those provisions unfair.

BP officials say payouts to victims of its massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year are too generous. The company says the region's losses are being overstated. So far, the Gulf Coast claims facility has paid out roughly $3.5 billion of the $20 billion BP has allocated to pay for damages.

On Wall Street, all three major indexes finished the day at their highest levels in more than two years. The Dow soared 30 points to close at 12,318. The NASDAQ rose six, and the S&P added four points.

And over the next couple of nights, the northern lights could shine more than usual, and at lower altitudes. It's all due to a massive sun spot nearly eight times the width of Earth that's unleashed the largest solar flare in four years, Anderson.

COOPER: Wow, those are cool pictures.

SESAY: Yes. You're a science geek. I know you like this kind of stuff. I bring it for you.

COOPER: Yes, I appreciate that.

We did have a "RidicuList" for -- for everyone tonight. We simply ran out of time. We'll do another one, obviously, tomorrow. A lot more ahead at the top of the hour, starting with the deadly crackdowns in Bahrain and also in Libya and the corrupt regimes, which aren't telling -- well, they're not telling the truth to the world about what's really happening on the ground. Details ahead.