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United States Imposes Sanctions on Libya; Americans Escape Libya

Aired February 25, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

Tonight in Tripoli, families are once again hiding in their homes, as gunmen rule the streets and the dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, and his sons continue to oversee the killing of unarmed protesters and continue to lie about what they are doing right now. Gadhafi today telling Libyans they should be singing and dancing in the streets.

Well, I want to show you what his people are really doing in the streets and what's being done to them in those streets, as protests swept Tripoli today. The Gadhafi regime, which claims it would never kill its own people, is killing its own people again. More died today. More will likely die tomorrow.

By all accounts, what we are witnessing, what we are watching, what Gadhafi and his henchmen are doing, is wholesale butchery. Take a look at what happened today. People leaving Friday prayers at a mosque in Tripoli were attacked. The call had gone out to protest after prayers, but government forces were there, waiting with weapons. Watch. The firing goes on and on, troops shooting not to warn or wound, we are told, but to kill.

You will hear shortly from a protester who was there in that crowd. There is also new video coming in by the hour, just now. We just discovered some footage. We don't know the precise location, but we do know it was taken today, just as the person who took it was hit.

We don't know what happened to the person taking those images. We have no reliable casualty figures either from that incident or many others across Tripoli. The terrible truth is, we simply do not know and we do not know what happens to the people in these video clips, to the badly wounded protesters like this man here, or elsewhere in this -- to this injured mercenary.

This is a remarkable moment, though. You see a mercenary, apparently a foreigner, in camouflage, the man on top of him apparently shielding him, covering him with his body, he and a small circle of protesters protecting this mercenary from the angry mob, protecting a man who just moments before was apparently roaming the streets with orders to kill, "Keeping Them Honest," orders from the man who showed up today in Tripoli's Green Square with his henchmen and a promise to open up his arsenals and turn Libya into a red flame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (through translator): We are prepared to break any aggression by the people, the armed people, and the time will come when all the ammunition warehouses will be open for the people to defend the country.

I came here in order to greet you, greet your courage, and I tell you to repel them. Moammar Gadhafi is not a president, neither a king, nor a head of state, neither any high position, but the people love him because we are the glory with dignity.

Look, America. Look. Look to the Libyan people. This is Moammar Gadhafi, among the Libyan people, among the masses of the Libyan people.


COOPER: He speaks about himself in the third person. That was Gadhafi defiant. There was also Gadhafi the clown.


GADHAFI (through translator): Here, youth, take your liberty efficient everywhere, in the streets. Dance. Sing. Live with dignity. Live with high morals. Moammar Gadhafi is one of you. Dance. Dance and sing and be happy.


COOPER: Dance and sing and be happy.

A killer promises to open up his arsenal to crush dissent. Dance and sing and be happy, he says. He hires outsiders to turn streets into killing grounds, and he tells his people to dance and sing and be happy.

We hear gunfire echoing throughout the night, and we are told, he says, that the people should dance and sing and be happy. It's not just the father spreading lies and threats. It's the son as well today. His name is Saif. And for years, he's traveled in the West in slick suits, giving speeches and shaking hands with dignitaries and well-known singers, pretending to be a man of civilization and reform.

He's cast his lot with his father now, and claims everything is normal. Take a look at this new interview he did, the son did, with CNN Turk, Saif first caught by a photographer with a smile and a wink right to the camera.

I got to tell you, when we first saw that, we couldn't frankly believe that. There's blood in the streets, but after years of living and feasting on millions in oil money, being protected and pampered, this man is cocky and smug as ever. We don't know what's going on in his head, but his words are defiant and disastrous.

SAIF AL-ISLAM GADHAFI, SON OF MOAMMAR GADHAFI: We have plan A, plan B, plan C. Plan A is to live and die in Libya. Plan B is to live and die in Libya. Plan C is to live and die in Libya. COOPER: He continued to blame outside terrorists for the uprisings. And most shocking of all, he said the regime would never kill its own people.

He lies and he smiles and he winks. Global pressure is starting to build today. There's no doubt about that. The hope is, it's the beginning of the end. The fear is what Gadhafi might do between now and then.

And just in case there is anyone listening tonight who might believe the Gadhafis when they say they would never kill their own people, though I find it hard to believe anybody would believe it at this point, tonight, another voice, more proof, a man who says he saw people die today on the streets of Tripoli after Friday prayers.


COOPER: What happened when you left -- what happened after mosques today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People were in groups walking down the streets. And military came, and they tried to shoot at people. And they weren't -- they wasn't shooting to kill -- they wasn't shooting to scare people off. They were shooting to kill. They killed people in front of my eyes, children, old men.

COOPER: You saw people dying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I saw -- I have seen people dying.

COOPER: Who was doing the shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Military, military people. They call them revolutionary committees.


COOPER: Was it special forces?


COOPER: Yes, it wasn't special forces? It was revolutionary committees?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It was revolutionary committees. They had AK-47. And they were shooting at people and people were armed. We thought -- we started throwing rocks at them. We have sticks, rocks. People had knives. And they were shooting with machine guns.

COOPER: What was it like for you to see this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was -- it was very, very -- I couldn't believe this. People were running off all in every direction.

We want the United Nations and the United States to get -- to have a no-fly zone over Libya. That's what we want to do. We don't want any military intervention in Libya. We want -- we don't want them in our country. We can do this on our own.

I know that the United States doesn't give a damn about us. I know that the United States, all they care about is the oil, oil prices going up. And I know all they care about the oil. I just want them to help these people. They are dying every day. And are arms -- they don't have weapons.

COOPER: And you feel a no-fly zone would help you on the ground?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, no-fly zone, because he would not be able to use -- to use planes. He would not be able to use shoot us from the skies, because he can -- he can -- he can destroy the whole city in just minutes with the -- with airplanes.

Pilots have landed in Malta. They have asked pilots to strike the city, but they refuse, because they couldn't strike their own people. So they landed their planes in Malta. So he's running out of options.

People are trying -- people -- more people joining the revolution every day. Military officers, generals in the army are supporting the people. He's losing his best supporters. It's only a matter of time.

COOPER: Thank you for talking to us. I know it's a great risk. We will continue to talk with you in the days ahead. Thank you.


COOPER: I want to bring in Ben Wedeman now in Libya, foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty, and Professor Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, as well as the Hoover Institution.

Ben, we have seen these remarkable crowds today in Benghazi, where you are, rallying in support of people in Tripoli. But as we have heard from the people in Tripoli, it is another story altogether. Are people in Benghazi in close contact with people in Tripoli? And can they do anything to influence events on the ground there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very close contact. Well, they're in very close contact.

In fact, people are constantly handing me phones of their relatives in Tripoli to talk to them, to gather information. So the cell phones work. So you can actually get in contact with Tripoli very easily.

They're doing what they can here. In fact, we're hearing that there is a move to put together some sort of force that might be able to go help the people of Tripoli in fighting back against the regime. But the problem is that, whereas the regime in Tripoli has airplanes, tanks, armored personnel carriers and helicopters, there's very little in the way of heavy machinery, heavy weaponry that could be used against those forces here. It's mostly RPGs, AK-47s some surface-to- air missiles, but not the kind of weaponry they would need to really bring down the regime. And, also, it's a very long way. It's more than 1,000 kilometers between Benghazi and Tripoli.

COOPER: That was going to be my next question. So, if it's 1,000 kilometers and some force is moving toward Tripoli, I'm assuming the Gadhafi regime would have advance notice and have an opportunity to attack anyone on that road.

WEDEMAN: Yes. And let's not forget that right smack-dab in the middle of that is the city of Surt on the Mediterranean coast, which is Gadhafi-controlled territory.

We have seen that gradually the cities along the coast have fallen to the anti-Gadhafi forces, but there is a long stretch of very thinly populated territory that divides eastern from western Libya.

COOPER: Jill, tonight, President Obama signed an executive order on sanctions which targets the Gadhafi government, while protecting the assets that belong to the people of Libya. That's a quote.

How is that supposed to work?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We just got a briefing a few minutes ago from a treasury official, Stuart Levey.

And essentially any of the assets that are held first by the regime -- and the regime includes -- and they specifically are named here -- Moammar Gadhafi and four of his children -- any assets that are held in U.S. financial institutions or U.S.-controlled financial institutions anywhere in the world are frozen.

So, again, it has to do with the regime and then also the government, assets by the central bank and that sovereign wealth fund -- that's where all the oil money goes -- that is all frozen. It's held in those institutions. And then it will be eventually returned, they say, to the Libyan people.

We asked, how much money is there? And they didn't say specifically, but they said it is substantial sums, by any account.

COOPER: Fouad, do sanctions make any difference whatsoever to what is happening in Tripoli?


We must remember that Gadhafi endured a generation, 15 years or so, of sanctions. We also have another case of sanctions which our viewers will remember very well, which is Saddam Hussein, who endured sanctions from 1991 to 2003, when President George W. Bush decapitated his regime.

The sanctions never worked. Anyone with money, anyone with huge amounts of money, as Gadhafi does, can break these sanctions, can bust them with great ease. And one thing we know about the sanctions, to pass sanctions, and if you bring the sanctions -- particularly if you come to the Security Council, and do a round of sanctions in the Security Council, well, there you need the Russians and the Chinese.

And the only kinds of resolutions and provisions that would pass in the United Nations are really mild. These sanctions really don't -- this is not what this conflict now is about. It's a fight between -- it's a tale of two cities, if you will. Tripoli is fighting for its life. Benghazi is a relatively free city. And this fight between the new Libya living on hope now and the old Libya living on terror is a fight to the finish. And the sanctions really don't apply to it.

COOPER: I was sitting there watching Gadhafi's son, Saif, who I guess is the most presentable of all the thuggish sons and the most sort of Westernized just most polished, and -- who does try to represent himself and has for years tried to represent him to the world as the new Libya.

But he is as thuggish, in the end, Fouad, as the representatives of the old regime.

AJAMI: Well, I think these people, the house of Gadhafi, they have crossed the Rubicon. It's over for them. They now live in a different world. There are no more meetings for them in New York with the glitterati. They can't come to universities and be wined and dined.

This is over. They are now fighting for their dominion in the only primitive way they know. And, if you allow me, in many ways, I think of this fight -- I have been thinking about this in the last few days. There was -- this is a kind of -- this is almost the Spanish Civil War in the '30s. This is the Spanish Civil War, with Gadhafi playing the role of Franco, and a free country, a liberal country, a humane country, facing the guns of a very brutal regime, willing to kill its own people to survive.

COOPER: And do you think he is able to hold on for a long time, or do you think are we talking days?

AJAMI: Well, you know, I don't know. I think this is a question that one really can't answer with any confidence.

You can see that all the assets of the regime are collapsing around him. You can see his diplomats quitting on him. And we don't know what he will decide. I think, sometimes, we romanticize these guys, like Saddam, like Gadhafi.

We take them at their word, when they say I fight to the finish, I will die on the soil of my own country. We all remember that amazing scene when our forces flushed out Saddam from his spider hole and he came out without firing a shot. And he came out saying: I'm Saddam Hussein. I'm the president of Iraq and I'm willing to negotiate.

The same may be true of Gadhafi and his children. These are not people bred to fight and die. You never fight and die if you have massive accounts and bank accounts overseas. You go and unite with the funds and the wealth you plundered.

COOPER: We are going to have more with Ben and Jill and Fouad in a moment.

A quick reminder: The live chat is up and running right now at

Up next: horror stories from Americans who finally got out of Libya. Remember, they were stuck on that ferry, a nightmarish wait day and night on that ferry in Tripoli Harbor, guns crackling all around them. You will hear directly from them.

And, later, inside Gadhafi's mind, as close as we can get, rare perspective from a man who was by his side for years, worked as a translator for Gadhafi. I talked to him about what that was like and how he says he was constantly living in fear. We will also talk to a former CIA officer with sources in the intelligence community in Libya. And he will tell us what he's hearing from them.


COOPER: People in Libya say -- and when we talk to them on the phone every day -- and we talk to numbers of them every day on the phone -- they say they want the world to know the truth about what they are seeing, about what they are going through. Many want outside help, but they don't want others to liberate them.

We hear that time and time again. They want to liberate themselves.

I spoke with another protester earlier tonight. And he told me this revolution has to belong to the people who are fighting for it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing I'm happy about right now is that we are we are taking things into our own hands. And, I mean, unlike -- with all due respect to the Iraqis, somebody came in to give them democracy. And, you know, this way, this is like we earned it, hopefully, when we do get it...


COOPER: And that's what you want; you want democracy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes. And we want to earn it by ourselves.


COOPER: They want to earn it, another voice telling the story from Tripoli -- 168 others are beginning to tell their own stories from Malta tonight, Americans who finally made it out. The weather cleared. Their ferry left Tripoli Harbor and about six hours later docked in the Maltese port of Valletta. They arrived with stories, some of them horror stories, of what they had seen and lived there. Ivan Watson was there to greet them. He joins us now from Malta.

Ivan, you saw the ferry come into the port today in Malta today. What did the passengers say? What was their mood like?

IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was very strange to see a destination normally for hundreds of thousands of tourists from cruise ships and now it's part of an exodus of people fleeing Libya right now.

And there have been a number of boats now arriving throughout the night, Anderson, here. The people we talked to, they came out. They said most of them had spent days and nights trapped inside their houses, hiding from the gunfire out in the streets, unable to connect with the outside world, because the Internet had been shut off and because the telephones had been shut off as well.

You remember those strategies that were used by Hosni Mubarak also in Egypt to the east of here. Take a listen to what one young woman had to say to us, an American of Libyan descent who traveled with eight family members to Malta today.


YUSEF TEKBALI, EVACUEE: Well, we were in our house for four days without leaving our house, because we heard gunshots outside, machine guns, I'm pretty sure, protesters clashing with police, stories we were hearing from friends about complete massacres of their neighborhoods, things like that.

But I think what really, really just kind of drove us to leave was the night Gadhafi gave his speech and threatened...

WATSON: This is Saif al-Islam, the son, or...

TEKBALI: No, no, Colonel Gadhafi, when he gave a speech and he threatened -- I mean, his speech, and to hear him say he's going to come house to house and door to door if we don't stop what -- or if the Libyan don't stop rising up against him, those aren't empty threats.


WATSON: And, Anderson, what's really surprising is all of these Libyans that I talked to are still too scared to speak out against Moammar Gadhafi out loud on camera, even when they have reached safety on another island. The culture of fear there is still very, very strong.

COOPER: That's interesting. Ivan, appreciate it. Thanks.

We spoke about sanctions before the break, the White House tonight blocking access to Libyan assets in America. And before putting out that executive order, the White House signaled the possibility of tougher measures to come.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are no options we're taking off the table. But what we're focused on are the options that we can take to affect the situation in the near term. And we would like to see the kind of concerted, broad-based international action that can compel the Libyan government to cease and desist from the actions it's taking against its own people.


COOPER: One thing we have heard constantly from Libyans that we have spoken to in Tripoli is that they said they would like a no-fly zone over their country to prevent Gadhafi from using helicopter gunships or fighter jets against them or bring in foreign mercenaries, more foreign mercenaries into Libya.

The woman who we spoke to last night, trapped in her apartment for more than five days, she's especially impassioned about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: the only way something can happen is to put the right kind of action, the right kind of movement. And the first step, make Libya a no-fly zone. If you make Libya a no-fly zone, no more mercenaries can come in.


COOPER: By the way, we did speak to her today. She didn't want to speak again tonight, just for -- out of security concerns. But she says she is doing OK, under the circumstances.

"We are dying," though, she went on to say, "and there needs to be action."

I spoke tonight with the retired four-star General Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme allied commander, and asked him if a no-fly zone was a possibility.


COOPER: General Clark, I talked to a woman last night in Tripoli who was desperate, begging the world for some for some action. And she was saying a no-fly zone. Is that a possibility?

WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Yes, a no- fly zone is a possibility, although the latest word that I received through press reports was that the French are opposed to the no-fly zone. That will have to be hashed out in NATO. But it is a possibility.

COOPER: In terms of action that could be taken, military action or other sort of action, what do you see? What are the possibilities?

CLARK: Well, you know, first of all, you have got to have a basis for it. So, some kind of a humanitarian resolution, acting under Chapter 7 of the United Nations, gives a legal basis for it. Then you have to determine what's the object of the action.

Presumably, it's to alleviate humanitarian suffering. So, where there's a food crisis, you could insert troops, you could deliver supplies, you could take airfields and so forth. If it becomes more pointed, if -- going against these mercenaries who are in there and actually intervening in the violence, then it's a different matter and you have different sets of objectives and different forces.

COOPER: It would seem, though, that this is the time that the U.S. would be trying to communicate via whether intelligence connections or other countries to that inner circle of Gadhafi and essentially saying, look, the time is now to get off the fence and take this guy out or remove him somehow from power.

CLARK: I'm sure that's being done. I would be surprised if lots of messages haven't been delivered, pointedly, as well as by the message delivered by all of the international outcry in the coming together of international institutions.

COOPER: The other question is, what comes after Gadhafi? And I guess, if the U.S. took a very hands-on military role in removing him, then all of a sudden the U.S. somehow is expected to play some sort of a role in what comes next. And I don't think that's a role the U.S. really wants to be in.

CLARK: I think that's exactly right. It's not -- this is not Iraq. It's -- but it is 6.5 million people. It's a big country. It's spread out. It's a Libyan problem, essentially.

But, right now, we're in this terrible quandary, because there is violence. His mercenaries have, I think, a very limited half-life in this situation. People are still outraged. And protesters are converging on Tripoli, it seems. And I think we will see something decisive in the near future.

COOPER: You think the clock's ticking? You think -- I mean, you don't think this can drag on for weeks?

CLARK: I don't think it a -- no, I don't think it can drag on for weeks, because Gadhafi doesn't have that kind of staying power.

First of all, the sanctions and the international outcry will chill all his relations with any -- even with the African countries, where he's purchased so much support, secondly, that there's enough anger in the hearts of the Libyan people directed against Gadhafi's regime, that he's lost legitimacy.

So, bit by bit, the elements of the police and the army and the mercenaries, they will be looking for their own way out.

COOPER: General Wesley Clark, appreciate it. Thank you.

CLARK: Thank you, Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, coming up: the future of Libya with or without Gadhafi, what that might be like. We will talk again with Professor Fouad Ajami, Jill Dougherty, and Ben Wedeman in Benghazi.

Plus: new insights into Gadhafi's regime. I'm going to talk with a former insider, his former translator. More than 30 years ago, he took part in a plot to overthrow Gadhafi. He was exposed. He had to flee the country. I will talk also with a former CIA officer with sources close to Libyan intelligence.


COOPER: The crisis in Libya is getting bloodier by the minute. The U.N. secretary general says more than 1,000 people have been killed in the unrest.

Now, here's where things stand tonight on the ground. The red dots mark cities liberated by anti-government forces. In the east, Tobruk, Benghazi and Mizrata. In the west, or in Tripoli, anti- government forces say they've also taken control of Az Zintan, Zawiya, and Brega. We don't have reporters on the ground there.

Tripoli, marked by the green dot, remains under Gadhafi's control. With the opposition closing in, Gadhafi appears to be digging in.

One American evacuee told CNN he saw carnage in Tripoli. Here's what he described, quote, "The army was using heavy machine guns and automatic rifles against little kids that were carrying nothing more than pebbles." Little kids, he said.

I want to play again for you what Gadhafi said today in Tripoli's Green Square. Listen.


MUAMMAR GADHAFI, LEADER OF LIBYA (through translator): We are prepared to break any aggression by the people, the armed people. And the time will come when all the ammunition warehouses also be open for the people to defend the country.


COOPER: Well, how brutal will the end game get and what will it take to stop Gadhafi? I spoke earlier to Bob Baer, intelligence columnist from and the author of "The Company We Keep: A Husband and Wife's True-Life Spy Story." He's a former CIA officer.

And also I spoke with Professor Abubaker Saad, a former Gadhafi aide and now a history professor at Western Connecticut State University. In the late '70s he took part in a plot to overthrow Gadhafi. The plot was discovered, the planned coup foiled, forcing Professor Saad to flee the -- flee Libya.

Here's what I talked to him and Bob Baer about earlier.


COOPER: Bob, what are Gadhafi's military capabilities at this point?

BOB BAER, AUTHOR, "THE COMPANY WE KEEP": He is reduced to about 5,000 soldiers, regular soldiers. He has a large number of civilians. He's handed out arms to mercenaries, mainly from Chad and Niger. But regular forces isn't much, about 5,000, about a division.

COOPER: And he has special forces which are controlled by one of his sons, right?

BAER: Saif (ph) controls the 32nd Battalion. It's an elite battalion mainly made up of his -- his tribe and loyalists, but it's nothing in terms of the forces he's facing, and these large number of protesters.

COOPER: Professor Saad, does he trust his own military around him?

PROFESSOR ABUBAKER SAAD, WEST CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY: No. He never did. Even when I was -- from the very beginning, since he came to power, you have to remember the first coup, first attempted coup against him happened only one year after he took over power.

COOPER: And so professor, you actually were involved in an attempted coup against him, that his intelligence services reportedly intercepted before it happened. How -- how effective are his intelligence services?

SAAD: His intelligence services were very effective in past years. And the reason -- in recent years, actually, they began to disintegrate a little bit because of the fact that he favored his militia and his security forces over the military. You have to remember as -- what Bob was saying, that he doesn't have control over the military.

And even the military that he has, even the ones who defected, really they were not trusted by him, and they were not armed and trained as well as his security forces.

I mean, I tell you an example that, when I was working for him, one of the -- one of the officers actually confided in me once, and he was with the rank of a major. He said that -- "I am carrying a pistol, I am carrying a rifle." And he said, "I don't have any ammunition on me."

COOPER: He didn't want the people around him to have bullets in their weapons?

SAAD: Exactly. He doesn't -- exactly. Exactly, Anderson. He didn't trust the military. So he really cut them short all the time because he was afraid that they might take him over and remove him from power.

COOPER: Bob, when you look at how dictators like this often end up and get taken out, I was thinking about Kabila (ph) in Congo, shot by somebody within his own inner circle. How do you see this playing out? And do you think that's the most likely scenario for Gadhafi?

BAER: What I heard early this morning was that Gadhafi may go only a couple more days before he has to leave Tripoli. This is what the inner circle is saying. They said he can't hold on much longer.

COOPER: Where are you hearing this? You talked to somebody inside?

BAER: Yes, yes, from Libyan intelligence, who I've known for 25 years. I can't tell you whether they're passing out disinformation, but he says that Gadhafi has completely lost his mind. The inner circle is afraid that he's starting -- going to use artillery on the cities, these rocket launchers that fire about 36 rockets. He's capable of anything.

They're also telling me that he released from prison 110 fundamentalist, Islamic fundamentalists and given them arms. And what he's told them to do is attack foreigners.

Now, we know that he's come out and said al Qaeda is taking over this rebellion. The fact is that he's helping. The west turns to him and says, "We'll help you stop this." But of course, it's not going to work.

COOPER: Professor, when you saw him speak today, and when we've seen him speak the last couple of days, I mean, you know him. You used to translate what he would say. How did you -- what did you see when you saw that man? How did he seem to you?

SAAD: I've been observing him very closely, and I'm trying to read the signals from his face, from his hand gestures. This is a desperate man who is willing to go down with everybody else. He's not going to go down by himself.

COOPER: Bob, how do you see this playing out? And what should viewers, what should we be watching for over the next 24, 48 hours?

BAER: People inside the inner circle are hoping that there's somebody from outside that will come in and intervene. And you know, the best thing that could happen if he was assassinated at this point.

I see a spasm of violence in the retaking of Tripoli. I think he's capable of killing a lot of people before he's finally forced out. This administration is going to be faced with the dilemma: do we intervene if foreign hostages are taken? Do we intervene? Do we have enough troops? I see it getting a lot worse.

COOPER: Professor, when we look at Gadhafi speak, I mean, any outsider will say, "Well, look, this guy, whether he's crazy or not, he certainly seems nonsensical and ridiculous and, you know, rambling and incoherent.

When you actually -- I mean, when people were actually working for him, and I know you tried to have a coup against him and ultimately had to flee the country for your life, but I mean, did you see him as ridiculous then? Were you just scared of him? Or I mean, what did the people around him, how would you talk about him?

SAAD: Everybody was afraid. It is the element of fear, because he was very brutal from the very beginning, with anybody who opposed him. Especially -- and his brutality really began to manifest itself very clearly, and everybody in Libya began to notice it, particularly those of us who were working for him and were close to him.

It just started with his green book, publishing of his green book, what he called the green march over Libya, which basically to destroy every Libyan institution -- political, social, economic, whatever it is -- and then everything fits in his regime. He did that in 1973. That's where, really, most of the Libyans began to turn away from him completely.

Before that, it was mainly the east. The east never accepted him. The day he took over power, the east never accepted him.

COOPER: Yes. Bob, at this point, from an intelligence perspective, I would assume that the U.S. would be trying to contact, and I don't know what other kind of relations they have with the inner circle or others in the intelligence field inside Tripoli right now, but I would assume they would be trying to contact them and sending them very clear messages: "You've got to take action against this man, and you have to do that now."

BAER: Oh, I think absolutely. That state, the CIA has had connections with Libya after Lockerbie was settled. It was a very close connection, and I'm sure right now that this administration is sending messages: "Cease and desist. Otherwise we're going to do something."

COOPER: Bob Baer, appreciate your expertise, and professor Saad, as well. Thank you so much.


COOPER: Still ahead tonight, Gadhafi not backing down. His threats only getting worse. Our panel weighs in on where this crisis is headed next. We'll talk to Fouad Ajami and Ben Wedeman in Benghazi and Jill Dougherty. Isha Sesay has tonight's other headlines -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anders, when we come back, I'll have the latest on the first court appearance of that young Saudi national arrested on terror related charges. The 20-year-old man is facing a charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. We now know how he intends to plead. That and much more just ahead.


COOPER: Right before we went on air, we got a video off of Facebook, a new video shot today. We don't know the exact location of it, but it appears to show the camera person who took this video. It seems as if they got shot. Let's watch.





COOPER: Again, we can't confirm what happened to that person nor their condition at this point.

Over and over, when you talk to people in Tripoli or Benghazi, it's not religion they speak of or political ideology. They speak of simply wanting a normal life.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to be -- I want our voice to be heard. I want people to know that we are -- we are here in Libya. We want freedom, we want democracy, and we don't want Gadhafi.


COOPER: One of the protesters in Tripoli tonight.

Let's bring back in Ben Wedeman, who's in Benghazi, Jill Dougherty and Fouad Ajami, as well.

Fouad, I mean, as you watch a video like that, as you, again, you hear these voices, what -- and as we go into this weekend, what are you going to be watching for in the hours and the days ahead?

FOUAD AJAMI, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, I was watching Ben Wedeman today, and something happened. There was an image which, in a way, captured for me what the fight was about. There was Ben Wedeman was facing the camera and behind him this mass of people in Benghazi. This is not Egypt. This is a very sparsely populated country, a huge country. But there was this big crowd in Benghazi. And behind them was the rolling sea on a stormy day.

And I thought, here I've seen a metaphor for this. These people will have to win, or they will have to be -- will have to die and submit to Moammar Gadhafi. And indeed, what they are telling us from Benghazi, what the crowd or the people are saying is, either we win or we will die. In fact, what he has in store for them is a new period of servitude if he were to prevail. So I think they will fight. And they understand, for the most part, that they are on their own.

And we have to understand here as Americans, that President Obama does not want to take ownership of this issue. In fact, when he talks about multilateral solutions, he's been very clear and very honest, I think, in his own way that he doesn't want to do much about Libya.

I think there's something odd about our president, and it's something that a colleague of mine has pointed out, the great literary editor of "The New Republic," Leon Wieseltier. He says, in fact, President Obama is really convinced that American imperialism is a problem, that any intervention in the Middle East would be seen as a deed of imperialism.

I happen to disagree with him. I happen to believe in humanitarian intervention. But that's the call that's come from the white house.

COOPER: Ben, when you talk to people in Benghazi, do they talk about hopes for military intervention by outside powers?

WEDEMAN: Some people do. Some people think that's the only salvation for them in this situation. Many of them would like to see the imposition of a no-fly zone.

But publicly, really what you're hearing is they don't want any foreign intervention, any military intervention. In fact, the city council of Benghazi met this evening, and they voted unanimously against any form of foreign intervention, military or otherwise.

The public stance is they're going to fight this man, this dictator, and they're going to fight him alone, and they're hoping they're going to win, because otherwise things could get very bad here -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ben, in terms of oil production, the east is vitally important. How much control do they have over the oil in the east in anti-Gadhafi territory now?

WEDEMAN: Well, in the eastern part of the country, they have complete control over that oil. And there is a lot of pressure to completely cut it off.

But I spoke with somebody in the committee that runs Benghazi, and they said that just to strangle -- just to cut off the flow of funds to the government of Tripoli, they would be more than happy to completely cut it off.

But technically, it's a problem. Some of these pipelines are so old, that if you stop pumping, they quickly become blocked with wax from the residue of the oil. So they have to maintain a certain level of production. But our understanding is that the workers in those oil fields and the engineers along the pipeline are fully in support of the anti-Gadhafi forces -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jill, what are you hearing about the next steps in terms of the administration? Are there next steps?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are. But it's really -- because of the unpredictability of the situation, they have really a wide panoply of things that they can do. I mean, we've been talking about the sanctions. And one reason for the sanctions not only is to hit Gadhafi and hit members of his government, but try to peel away members of the government who realize that they could end up having their livelihood or their lives affected very strongly by these sanctions. So in other words, isolate them from him.

Then also they're talking about using intelligence, U.S. intelligence to monitor exactly what's going on in there. And then finally, we're reminded constantly by the officials here that the military is involved in this, in all of the planning. So I think you have to say that they don't obviously want to take military action. But that is part of the planning, too.

And significantly, Jay Carney said today that it's not the end point, that there could be more. And that they are building a case against Gadhafi. And that could mean taking him to the ICC, you know, the International Criminal Court. There are a lot of different things...

COOPER: Right. Fouad, I was rereading some Tom Friedman stuff from years ago. And he was writing about sort of a sense of shame in the Arab world. And I remember you saying that you think shame has quit the Arab lands now. What do you mean by that?

AJAMI: You're absolutely right. I mean, when you look at the Arab world today, I have this simple dichotomy of cultures. They're either guilt cultures or shame cultures. In the Arab world always, traditional Arab society, had this element of shame. You could shame a ruler. You could shame Hosni Mubarak. You could shame someone, even, like (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but shame quit the Arab land. Arabs came to see a world without limits. These rulers could do anything.

Look at this republic of farce and cruelty, both farce and cruelty, that this man, Moammar Gadhafi, and his children have imposed on these poor people. They captured them 42 years ago. They won them, so to speak. And they do all kinds of things without shame. And I think this is the dilemma of the Arab world today.

I've pointed this out in an earlier discussion with you, Anderson. We were talking about the Africans have had missions of rescue for African people who were trapped and who had terrible regimes. The Arabs haven't. This element of shame that we need to see in the Arab world again.

COOPER: Fouad, again, I appreciate you being with us all week as you have been.

Jill and Ben. Ben, please stay safe.

A lot more happening in the world tonight. A man arrested in Texas for allegedly attempting to build a weapon of mass destruction was in court today. Details from inside the courtroom ahead.

And a crucial move in the budget battle in Wisconsin, one that's not getting support from the protesters who have been gathered at the state capital.


COOPER: Checking other headlines tonight, Isha Sesay joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, the Saudi national who is in the United States on a student visa is planning to plead not guilty to a federal charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Twenty-year-old Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari was in court today. He allegedly bought chemicals and other explosive equipment and researched targets, including the home of former president George W. Bush.

Wisconsin's state assembly today passed a controversial budget bill that thousands had been protesting. The bill changes benefits and limits collective bargaining rights for teachers and most state workers. The bill still has to pass the state senate, where it faces a tough fight.

Stocks closed higher today, but fear over Libya and oil made it the worst week for the market since November. The Dow was up 62 points, ending the week at 12,130.

And Anderson, after Charlie Sheen went on yet another radio rant, production on "Two and a Half Men" has been canceled for the rest of the season. Sheen told "The Alex Jones Radio Show" that he'll go make movies with superstars instead of, quote, "working with idiots." The irony.

COOPER: Yes, if the guy wasn't on a coke binge when he made that rant, he's a complete jerk. He's a jerk either way. But if that wasn't the ravings of someone who was high, then there's no excuse. Because what he said was unbelievable. I don't know if you heard that rant, but...

SESAY: Yes, I did.

COOPER: It's -- yes.


COOPER: Anyway, again, yes, let's hope. And again, I feel bad for his dad and his family and his kids.

Anyway, Isha, thanks very much. See you Monday.

We'll go back to Libya at the top of the hour.