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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Nuclear Crisis in Japan; Gadhafi Rejects Cease-Fire Offer
Aired April 1, 2011 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. A lot to cover tonight.
A violent day in Syria, protesters shot to death on the street by government security forces. Also, new attacks in Libya in the besieged city of Misrata. Also, new signs of cracks in Gadhafi's regime and possible signs of better organization amongst the opposition.
We also have a stunning new video of Gadhafi forces yelling at a wounded man, telling him to pledge allegiance to Gadhafi, and then they kill him. All of that ahead.
But we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the nuclear crisis in Japan.
Take a look at this new video. This is the closest view yet of Japan's crippled nuclear plant taken from a remote-controlled water- spraying crane. Today, another massive similar piece of pumping equipment departed for Japan. It came from a plutonium reprocessing plant in South Carolina. The machine can be used to pour massive amounts of water on to the rubble or later pump concrete if experts decide to entomb the reactors, the way it was done on Chernobyl.
Also today, a top Japanese official said people from the evacuation zone might not be able to return for months. And Japanese regulators today reprimanded TEPCO, the private company that runs the plant, for letting some emergency workers go into the damaged and highly radioactive facility without dosimeters, which measure radiation. In other words, the workers had no way of knowing how much radioactivity they were being exposed to, a pretty stunning mistake just one of many that TEPCO has made, which has left workers at the plant eating little and running low on protective gear.
The truth is we don't know the full extent of what these workers have had to face, because TEPCO appears to be keeping them from talking.
CNN's Kyung Lah tells us she tried to speak with a woman whose brother works at the plant. She refused, even anonymously, because she said she feared for her bother's safety if she talked. Another man told Kyung she was wasting our time. TEPCO he said was telling workers to stay silent. The company told one of our producers it knew of no such orders.
But when asked whether we could speak with a worker or family member, the company said they are under too much strain to talk.
Yet some are speaking out, mostly online. "Crying is useless," one blogged. Another writes, "We will take our turn to protect you all."
There's a sense of sacrifice running through many of the postings, as well as the understanding it may be the ultimate sacrifice. One worker's mother told an interviewer: They have committed themselves to die, if necessary, to save the nation, and they have accepted they will all probably die from radiation sickness in the short term or cancer in the long-term.
Pretty plain talk and it stands in stark contrast to the kind of talk we continue to hear from TEPCO. "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, despite pledges to be transparent and keep people informed, we continue to hear contradictory statements and statements that lack specifics, most recently the question of radioactive water at the plant and the nearby ocean.
In TEPCO's briefing late last night, an official said levels of radioactive iodine from a pipe near the number one reactor had reached 10,000 times the standard limit. Then, a short time later, the utility said, no, that's wrong and we will get you more information shortly, but they haven't gotten us more information.
A government minister later tried to clear up the confusion saying more testing would be done.
CNN's Kyung Lah has been on the story for weeks trying to cut through the fog "Keeping Them Honest." She joins us now, along with former nuclear plant operator and safety expert Mike Friedlander. Also joining us, Tom Friedlander (sic).
Kyung, is this an attempt at message control backfiring on TEPCO? Are people becoming increasingly upset with this company?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Upset might be an understatement.
If you go onto the blogs and Web sites about TEPCO, Anderson, especially in Japanese, what you start to see is a general public outrage. And the reason we turn to the Web is because there's an anonymity there.
Culturally, a lot of Japanese won't publicly say how they feel. But on the Web, it's a totally different game. There are Web sites where you can find the addresses, the home addresses of the TEPCO executives. And one of those Web threads says, don't forgive TEPCO. Send the executives to jail.
There are other Web sites where you can see the salaries of the TEPCO employees -- the management, that is. And so all of this really does point to the rage that's out there in the Japanese public. They do not trust TEPCO. And as if step into one of these shelters where some of the Fukushima evacuees are, the people who live right around the plant, we keep hearing the same story, that people have been told not to express anything publicly.
So there is a growing resentment, both among the evacuees and also the general public, Anderson.
COOPER: Michael, at this point, what are you most concerned about just watching what's gone on today at the plant?
MICHAEL FRIEDLANDER, FORMER NUCLEAR PLANT OPERATOR: Well, Anderson, there's a couple of things.
Number one, they have made a bit of an effort in terms of bringing in this mega-barge to be able to hold up to four million gallons of contaminated water. But, quite frankly, that's just going to be a drop in the bucket.
We know as a consequences of the hydrogen explosions, that some of the systems that are normally in place to process gaseous and (INAUDIBLE) waste have been damaged or destroyed. And so effectively the kidneys of the power plant have been removed.
And so they're just accumulating water. And they're going to need to process that. But that's more of a technical issue. But we have this whole issue that we have been discussing about, Anderson, it is incomprehensible that they could allow workers to go into the power plant without dosimetry during normal operations, much less in a situation under post-accident conditions like what we're seeing now.
And then of course one day we get a radiation reading and we're all in the international community trying to make sense of it and understand what's going on. There are blogs are going on all over the world earlier in the week about potential criticality going on and things like that. And then they come back a day later and tell us that the readings were wrong. It's just inconceivable in my view.
COOPER: Tom, you have been looking at these pumps that are being rushed to Japan. How is this all going to work, these pumps? They could also be used to contain it with cement as kind of a longer-term strategy. How is it going to work?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, I guess we're going to find out how it's going to work, Anderson. Like everything else, they're kind of stitching it together as they go.
Look, these pumps are so huge, these Putzmeister pumping vehicles, They have to be brought in on this, the largest transport vehicle in the world. It's made in Russia. And what they're going to do is allow them to continue pumping water in on these plants, and concrete if they want to switch to it.
Plus, these newer pumps, they have got three of these on the ground already that work from pretty close to 200 feet away. These will go even a little bit further away. They will allow them to pour in some water on this site if they need to right here. Plus, if they want to switch, they can change over to concrete and actually pour concrete in to start trying to encase all the trouble down here.
Now, Anderson, we have been talking about the danger in all this. Here's what's important to bear in mind when you look at this whole equation. One of the reasons they have this device is not only can it operate a little bit further away from all that radiation, but these can also be operated remotely for up to 1.2 miles away. They're trying to actually expand that to make it operate two miles away.
That is still well within the danger evacuation zone of 12 miles, but, still, Anderson, they get some separation there. You asked how it might work. If you look at the model of Chernobyl, Anderson, you can see where maybe what could happen if they bring these big pumps in, particularly with the ability to pump concrete, is that you start working your way toward a pumping model, just like what they did in Chernobyl to begin with and what they're trying to do now, where you would put some kind of cage in effect around the troubled reactors.
And then, with that cage, you would use these devices to essentially fill in everything with concrete and seal in all the radiation. This is a big job though, Anderson. And when they did it initially in Chernobyl, the initial shelter they put around these things, really it sort of stopped the immediate radiation. But it was a shaky structure.
And now they're trying to replace it because it leaks, they're afraid of it collapsing, with a much more robust structure. So we don't really know what model they would go after, Anderson, or even if they would use these pumps to help fulfill the development of that model. But this is a big, big job that could take weeks or months until you could truly say these things are safe.
COOPER: Michael, has TEPCO -- how do you assess their public statements, their willingness and ability to share information and keep people informed? Because that seems to me where they have really fallen down on the job.
FRIEDLANDER: No, I completely agree with you. You know what? As a former emergency director, right, there's three priorities. One is keeping the core cool. The other one is protecting the health and safety of the general public. And the other one is keeping your workers safe.
The reactors are damaged, so we know the score for point number one. We have seen over the last couple weeks the things going on for point number three. And I guess it remains to be seen, although I certainly see sort of an adverse trend in point number two, in terms of protecting the health and safety of the general public.
By that means, in direct answer to your question, how can you withhold this kind of information from the public? People are trying to make decisions. The world community is out there trying to assist in different manners. And I can't tell if it's a deliberate attempt to save face or if it's simply a situation that they are -- they still continue to be overwhelmed.
We heard the manager yesterday say we have no road map. Anderson, it's incomprehensible to me that there's no road map for how we get out of this. I don't know what to make of it, and it's quite confusing to me. COOPER: Kyung, we learned today that the beef that was tested that supposedly had high levels of radiation, they said they made a mistake. Do people even in Tokyo, do they have confidence in what they're hearing? Do they know what to believe?
LAH: No, absolutely not.
If you think about every single day, it almost appears it's a new food group that is being impacted by this radiation. First, it was spinach, then it was other produce, then it was milk, now it's beef, and then TEPCO saying, oh, we take that back. There is a lot of confusion, especially if you consider there are no other food options here. Most of the food in the grocery store, you have to eat Japanese products.
It only makes sense that, if we are finding trace, and grant it, safe levels, of radioactive material in milk near the Seattle area, radioactive elements in the air in New York, then it's got to be all over Japan. That's how people are thinking.
And the concern is they just don't have any other food options and they're not sure what is safe to eat. There are still long lines for water every single morning and most of the grocery stores in Tokyo. And people are feeling quite helpless because they just don't know what to believe.
COOPER: Michael, briefly, if you were living in Tokyo, would you think twice about what you are eating? How would you deal with that?
FRIEDLANDER: No, it's something you absolutely have to do.
And Sanjay Gupta made a really important point that other day. We can talk at length about the science of low-level radiation and things like that, but that certainly doesn't do anything to address the anxiety that people have over this unknown and unseen phenomena that we call radiation.
What I have been telling my loved ones and friends in the Tokyo area is that, again, I can explain to you all the reasons why it's low-level and you shouldn't be worried about it and it's being monitored. But at the end of the day, if it will give you and your family peace of mind, you should simply avoid those type of fresh fruits and vegetables and be drinking bottled water, bottled juices and canned products that you know were canned and processed before March 11.
It really is a very, very difficult situation and I don't see any end to it coming any time soon.
COOPER: Michael Friedlander, appreciate it, Kyung Lah as well, Tom Foreman. Thanks very much.
An amazing story out of Japan to tell you about, the kind of story you kind of cling to, given all the suffering and hardship the Japanese people have seen. A dog, this dog rescued today three weeks after the quake and tsunami hit. Look at that. The dog was found on a huge pile of debris floating out at sea off the Japanese coast. So, that's when they saw the dog. They were able to rescue the dog.
We're going to bring you the video, the complete story a little bit later on in this edition of 360.
You can follow us on Facebook or on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will try to be tweeting tonight.
Coming up next, the latest from Libya and really some stunning new video for the first time clearly shows how some Gadhafi forces treat the wounded. They're telling at a wounded man, telling him to pledge allegiance to Gadhafi. And then they kill him. We will show you the video ahead.
Also, my interview with four "New York Times" journalists held by Gadhafi's troops, threatened with death, punched, one of them sexually assaulted, held for days with only each other for support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNSEY ADDARIO, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": There were moments when I was -- I couldn't stop crying and I felt so weak and I tried to sort of muffle it. And I was trying not to cry. And, you know, inevitably, one of them was sitting next to me and would say, like, there are people who love you. We're going to get out of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, how they survived, that story ahead.
First, let's check on some other stories making news. Here's Isha Sesay -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson.
Yes, deadly repercussions in Northern Afghanistan from hate speech back home, 12 people killed during an attack on this U.N. compound. It came during a protest against a Koran burning reportedly staged last month by Florida Pastor Terry Jones. Jones, you will recall, planned, then later canceled a Koran burning to mock the 9/11 anniversary last year. That story and much more when 360 continues.
COOPER: New video out of Libya tonight. And I have got to warn you, some of it is really hard to watch. And we have edited it carefully, but we think it's important to really understand the reality of what's happening there.
First, Misrata from the opposition point of view, the fighting in Libya's third largest city raging on. You're looking at burning wreckage of what appears to be some sort of armored vehicle. Watch.
So much destruction in that city, it's just incredible. The really shocking video was taken by Gadhafi loyalists. Now, we don't know if it was a soldier or militia member or someone else from the Gadhafi side who took it. But it shows you how at least in this instance they treated a wounded man. Again, I tell you, it's disturbing video. But we think its brutality is important to see. This is what is happening in Libya.
We don't know precisely where it was taken or when. The wounded man apparently with the opposition or perceived to be with the opposition is yelled at by his captors. Then they demand that he pledge allegiance to Gadhafi. And then they shoot him.
I want to show you then another video. It comes a short time later. It shows the outcome. We see the same man dead in the back of a pickup truck. Now, we don't know who this man was. We don't know what his life was like, but we know that his life ended, executed point blank -- a day in the life of Libya.
Today also saw the regime turn down an opposition cease-fire offer and reaction in Tripoli to the defection of Gadhafi henchman Moussa Koussa.
I spoke with a Tripoli resident earlier today.
COOPER: When you heard that Moussa Koussa had left, had fled Tripoli and is now in London, what did you think; what are people saying about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was personally delighted, and I know the rest of the city was. Certainly, my circle of friends and families and networks were delighted.
It is huge. It was huge. And morale a couple days on is still really, really, really high. And it's quite good news. And a sign of how significant it is that morale is still high, despite some quite significant losses in terms of the armed resistance.
COOPER: When you hear the regime coming out saying, well, he was old, he was sick, we knew he was leaving for medical treatment, this is not that big a deal, what do you think? Do you believe them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe what they say. We don't ever believe what they say about anything. They have lost legitimacy. They have lost authority. They have lost any kind of trustworthiness.
COOPER: We also now know -- there have been numerous reports in a number of publications that basically an envoy from Saif Gadhafi was in England, met with authorities. Do you believe that they may be trying to negotiate some sort of resolution here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not convinced that Gadhafi himself is trying to look for a way out. I think his sense of grandeur, his delusions of grandeur, I mean, he will never escape, I believe.
COOPER: Would it be acceptable to you, to those who oppose Gadhafi who you speak to see him step down and maybe hand over power to his sons and then his sons try to make some sort of a deal with the opposition; is that acceptable? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Considering all the losses, all the heartache, all the sacrifices that we have made, and considering the last 42 years that we and other generations have endured, it is absolutely, categorically unacceptable for anyone who does not intend on democratic -- or on implementing a democratic process to take charge of this country.
We can accept that there may be some kind of transitional government or council, OK, but for that to include or incorporate anyone from the Gadhafi family or regime is, to me, totally unacceptable.
COOPER: One man speaking out in Tripoli.
Let's turn now to Nic Robertson, who is also in Tripoli tonight, and in Ajdabiya, our own Ben Wedeman.
Nic, opposition forces issued demands for a cease-fire today. How did the Gadhafi regime react?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A government spokesman called them impossible demands, silly conditions.
He said that the opposition cannot be serious at this time. He said that how can we possibly be pulling out of these cities? One of the demands was, for example, Misrata. The siege of government forces in Misrata should be over. So, he just flat-out denied it.
I have spoken to people though here who believe he's getting out of his depth and he may not really represent the government. But definitely there was -- it seemed that he was leaving no room open, Anderson.
COOPER: Ben, what's the latest from the front? Did opposition forces regain any ground today?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, they didn't. But what we do know is that they did reinforce their positions.
And what they're doing today that is unusual is that they stopped not just the press from going forward, but actually just anybody with a gun. They seemed to be imposing a certain amount of discipline. We're told that there are now units at the front who are actually organized former soldiers from the old regime.
Now, one bit of information I just received, a bit of time ago is that, apparently, there was a NATO airstrike that mistakenly hit a convoy of anti-Gadhafi fighters. It included a truck full of ammunition and apparently a tank, this according to an eyewitness who said there were also fatalities in that airstrike -- Anderson.
COOPER: And, Ben, obviously, this has been a concern particularly in the last couple of days as we have seen Gadhafi forces basically kind of move away from tanks and start using the same kind of vehicles that the opposition forces have been using. Do we know, is there communication at all between opposition forces in the field and NATO?
WEDEMAN: As far as we can tell, no, there's not. There's barely any communications between the opposition forces themselves, because the cell phone system in the area of Brega has been down for quite some time.
There may be units out there that do actually have proper communications, but, looking around, there's no indication, at least from what we have seen, that they have anything at all -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nic, I have been hearing a lot of talk about possible political solutions, maybe kind of Gadhafi stepping down, turning power over to his son Saif. We just heard from a man in Tripoli who is opposed to any Gadhafi being in power. How realistic is that scenario? Do you hear that a lot around Tripoli?
ROBERTSON: I think it's something that's been out there for while. And this is what Saif was sort of saying several weeks ago. It's sort of based on this concept that, once upon a time, Saif was trying to bring changes and reforms here. Somehow, they didn't get the opposition agreement and then the opposition actually came out, demonstrated against them, took weapons, et cetera, et cetera.
And so it sort of has its basis in that, and that -- part of that was that ultimately Moammar Gadhafi would sort of move to one side. He would become an uncle, a leader figure, or whatever you want. I have heard that that's still in existence, that that would still be palatable for the regime, that he would move away to -- move away to one side.
But that is a huge distance from regime change. But I have had a discussion with somebody here and he says, OK, these two things are not mutually exclusive. The reality is, is that there's a massive sort of diplomatic and political gap.
Who are going to be the intermediaries that will discuss between the regime and the opposition? Where is the trust and how are they sort of going to build their differences to reach regime change and Gadhafi fading into the distance somehow and maybe the distance over a border?
But, potentially, there's diplomatic space, but I just don't quite get and see and I'm not hearing that this is really in existence, that it's really happening. But there is the space. And I think this is the first time we sort of get a sense that there's a possibility here. But it's far from a reality at the moment, Anderson.
COOPER: Ben, the offer by opposition forces, all the talk of opposition forces of some sort of a settlement, is that just an acknowledgement that they don't have the military power on the ground to really effect change and they're willing to come up with some sort of partition? WEDEMAN: Well, I think that it may be an indication simply that they want to put something on the table. It's sort of an olive branch with thorns, because when the offer was made, the cease-fire offer was made, it also came with a statement that said that their ultimate goal is regime change.
And I think that's the thing that we need to focus on. What's clear is that there's no possibility for bridge-building between the opposition and Moammar Gadhafi and his sons. We have gone too far. There just really isn't any way that most people in Eastern Libya are willing to see some sort of peaceful transition, given the blood that's been spilt so far -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ben Wedeman, Nic Robertson, be careful. Thank you.
Coming up: a new round of deadly violence in Syria and now we're getting reports that government forces are actually stealing the corpses of victims, so that they can't be used in political protests at funerals down the road, this just days after Syria's president said he's committed to reform. Well, we will hear from the eyewitnesses who saw people being shot today and who shot that video today. That's next.
And, later, more of my interview with the four "New York Times" journalists who were held captive by Gadhafi forces in Libya for nearly a week, bound, beaten, threatened with death -- their harrowing ordeal in their own words tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had absolute power. Every single thug we met -- hundreds of miles -- had absolute power over us. And you have got none. I mean none. Your hands are bound, nothing. So that's -- your mind just starts racing away all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: New and deadly violence today in Syria, just days after President Bashar al-Assad told his country that the government was committed to reform. And a new outrage: witnesses tell us government forces are actually stealing the corpses of the people they kill. Eyewitnesses in Syria say at least six people are dead and dozens injured after government troops fired on demonstrators today in a suburb of Damascus.
In just a moment, we'll hear from a man who shot this amateur video in Douma who said she was in the middle of peaceful protests when agents opened fire and hit people with sticks.
There were also new protests today in at least five other Syrian cities, places where we haven't even seen protests before. Not exactly the picture of a government committed to reform, reform promised by the country's president for the 11 years he's been in power. On Wednesday, al-Assad gave a national televised speech blaming ongoing violence in Syria on vague enemies and a conspiracy working to undermine the country's stability. In that speech, al-Assad didn't mention lifting a 48-year-old state of emergency law that gives the government sweeping power. They can arrest anyone they want, detain who they want. Even though last weekend, the government promised that was already going to happen: they were going to lift the emergency rule.
So why that didn't happen was explained by diplomats who say, "Hey, these things take time." That's according to the Syrian government. Listen to what Jihad Makdissi, a spokesman for the Syrian embassy in London, told me Wednesday night.
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JIHAD MAKDISSI, SYRIAN DIPLOMAT: When it comes to national security, Syria is like all other nations. You have to take the right step and have the right legislation. And that's why we see, like for instance, America, President Obama said he would shut down the notorious Guantanamo Bay, but it's not done yet. You can't do it overnight. But the difference between here and there is the Syrian president is fully committed, and he's the guarantor of implementing his own words.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Let's just speak the truth here. When he came to power 11 years ago, there was lots of talk about reform. There was also a lot of talk about reform in 2005 before a Ba'ath Party congress. Reform didn't happen, except some changes in the banking laws.
Now he's talking about reform again. And yet the protesters on the streets say they have seen none of it.
Just a short time ago, I spoke on the phone with human rights activist Wissam Tarif in Syria and with the eyewitness who shot some of the video of today's violence. And he's going -- he's going by the name Abu Adnan. That's not his real name.
We should point out we can't independently confirm what they are saying.
COOPER: Some of the video that we saw that you shot, we see -- we see a -- protesters basically lighting on fire a picture, a poster of the president. We also see a person being lifted up, a body in the street. Explain to us what you saw today.
ABU ADNAN, EYEWITNESS: OK. So after the burial it was first of all a secret service used some people with sticks to attack to the protestors. There were a couple thousand of the protestors and after they injured around 100 and arrested the injured people, actually, they closed the entrances for ambulance, so people were getting more mad and angry. And they raised their demands from people want better life and want the promises of the government to become true to they made their demands to we want to take down Assad.
And what had happened is two guys went up and broke down a picture of Assad and burned it. And that's when snipers from the roof started to shoot people. Some people went around, they managed to escape the first sniper's attack, but then secret service and police on the ground started they suddenly use their sticks and Kalashnikovs and opened fire on the ground.
COOPER: And Abu Adnan, I've seen a piece of video. It looks like you're walking towards somebody who it looks like perhaps they've been shot or beaten. They're in an alleyway, and then they are carried out. What was that?
ADNAN: Yes, that was one of our group. His name is Ahmed, and he was shot while he was carrying mobile phone. We were a bit far, so everyone was saying Ahmed was sniped. And everyone run toward him, and but he was shot in the eye, and he was dead when everyone arrived to him. He was trying to take a video from a bit far from the protest. He was like 20 meters far from the protest to take video. And they targeted him first. He was the first guy to...
COOPER: And Abu -- Abu Adnan, how many people did you see shot today?
ADNAN: Ten people. I have the names of eight people and two people I don't know were shot. But I hear that there are three more, so it is a total of 13. Where I saw with my eyes was ten people getting shot. There were three of them from snipers and the other were from Kalashnikov fire. There are around 100 injured people, and most of them were arrested.
COOPER: Wissam, is that close to what you have heard, as well?
WISSAM TARIF, ACTIVIST: Well, first, I'm very glad that someone is talking from inside Syria and describing what's happening. I'm really, really glad to hear the voice of this young gentleman.
Yes, that's what I saw, as well. At a certain point they started chanting the people want to topple the regime. And a group of security thugs supported by a huge number of security officers started beating up people, defying people using sticks and brutal force on them. And then they opened with ammunition on the protesters.
Then the security forces were trying to take the corpses, to basically steal the corpses to prevent a funeral. Protesters tried to take the corpses, as well. There was a fight over the corpses. More shooting happened. More people were injured, and more people were killed.
COOPER: I find it incredible, Wissam, to hear that the security forces are actually taking corpses to prevent funerals so that -- so outrage at funerals doesn't grow. I mean, it's -- it's not only denying people a voice in life; that's -- that's denying them the dignity of their death.
TARIF: Yes, and this is going to become worse. Nevertheless, Anderson, we have to look at the reality. President al-Assad on Wednesday when he was supposed to address the nation, he did not address the nation. He addressed the machinery of oppression in Syria.
He took off the white gloves. He showed the real face, no more masks. And I think the security forces and the army in the country are acting on the speech of the president.
The people who are demonstrating in the streets, those are the Syrian people, who have the right to express their views. And their views is they want to change the fact that we have been living under a dictatorship for the last 40 years.
COOPER: Wissam Tarif, Abu Adnan, thank you for your courage. Thank you for talking to us. Be careful.
TARIF: Thank you, Anderson.
ADNAN: Thank you very much.
COOPER: Two voices speaking out from Syria tonight.
Still ahead, my exclusive interview with four "New York Times" journalists continues tonight as part two of the interview. They were held captive in Libya for nearly a week and believed they would die. How they cheated death, just barely, and how it has changed them.
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ANTHONY SHADID, "NEW YORK TIMES": Looking at death, or coming that close to death, I think it's not only the emptiness and resignation you feel as I happens, but it's something lingers a little while. Press fades away over time, but something you don't necessarily bounce back from right away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We'll talk to them ahead.
Isha Sesay is also following some stories -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a remarkable story out of Japan. The Japanese coast guard rescued a tsunami survivor today: a dog stranded at sea. He was found perched on debris floating off the coast of Kesennuma, a town that was literally washed away three weeks ago. It wasn't an easy rescue, though. We'll tell you how this very lucky dog was eventually brought to safety. That's ahead on 360.
COOPER: Tonight, more of my interview with four "New York Times" journalists captured by the Gadhafi regime. They fully expected to be killed. They're shown here with the Turkish ambassador to Libya, who helped secure their release. Steven Farrell, Tyler Hicks, Lynsey Addario and Anthony Shadid were held for nearly a week. Their driver, whose name is Mohammed, was captured with them. He is still missing.
These four seasoned journalists described the ordeal as the worst of their careers, and they have seen a lot. They have been around the block more than a few times. As you can see in this photo, they're used to being in the thick of things. That's Tyler Hicks on the far light wearing glasses. Lynsey Addario is on the far left in sunglasses.
In their first primetime interview last night they told me how they were bound and beaten, forced to lie on the ground, repeatedly threatened with death. The cruelty would arrive without warning, suddenly. That's where we pick up the interview tonight.
LYNSEY ADDARIO, "NEW YORK TIMES": Each one of us, I think -- I can only speak for myself, but it was this psychological trauma that was the worst. You know, we can all withstand getting punched in the face. I mean, we're all pretty tough. But I think, you know, the mystery of not knowing what's to come, the sort of -- the gentleness mixed with the cruelty, the repeated, you know, being handed over to new people every few hours. I mean, that just tortures you and it makes you -- it breaks you down.
COOPER: That's one of the things that you wrote in the article. It said, "The act is probably less terrifying than the unknown. You don't know when it's going to end or what comes next." Is that really true, that kind of the not knowing -- does your mind -- do you run through scenarios constantly?
SHADID: That's what we did after that. The first 12 hours was tough. You know, we probably should have died in the first 12 hours given the -- you know, the intensity of the firefight, and the positions we were in.
I think after that, as we were talking to each other, it was, you know, what's next? You know, what are the scenarios out there? What might happen to us? And I think that you know, you have little else to do but talk among yourselves. And that -- I think in a lot of ways that unknown was in some ways, you know, the most terrifying thing.
STEVE FARRELL, "NEW YORK TIMES": These guys -- these guys understood power. This is all about power. Power expressed sexually, power expressed in terms of a beating, power expressed in terms of fear. They played power like a musical instrument.
And they had absolute power. Every single thug we met in hundreds of miles had absolute power over us, and you got none. I mean, none. Your hands are bound, nothing.
So that's the -- your mind just starts racing away all the time. And then we constantly were bringing it up, don't think about it, don't think about it. What can you see, what can you hear, what can we do? How can we work this? And it was constantly a case of coming back from -- from the fears that you're projecting and into where you are now and what you can do about it right now. COOPER: One of the things, I think, often being an experience like this, not that I've ever been in anything really close, but when you realize that it's the state itself, which is after you and which has the complete power, you do get a sense as a reporter a little bit more about what it's like for people who are living there and who have been living under this.
And you wrote something close, you wrote, "Over the years all of us have seen men detained, blindfolded, and handcuffed in places like Abu Ghraib or corralled after some operation in Iraq or Afghanistan. Now we were the faceless. Now we were the faceless. We had covered perhaps too dispassionately. For the first time, we felt what it was like to be disoriented by blindfolds, have plastic cuffs dig into our wrists, for our hands to go numb."
Does it -- does this experience change the way you see things?
ADDARIO: It definitely changes the way I see people -- prisoners, definitely. I mean, I never -- I photographed prisoners with hoods on and their hands bound, and I've never thought about what it feels like to be -- to be removed of all of your senses. I mean, it never -- it never dawned on me. Not that I'm insensitive, but I just -- it's never happened to me before.
So definitely, I think that all of us thought, oh, my God. I can't believe we never realized how horrible it is to be blindfolded and bound. I mean, it's just -- it's a horrible feeling.
COOPER: And it's not just a question like, well, is something torture or not? I mean, there's many degrees before it even gets to torture that are horrific.
SHADID: You have to dehumanize somebody, I think, before you can commit violence. And I think that's what happens in a way with blindfolds, with the binding. You know, it would be harder for them, I think, to hit us in the face -- they did, but it would be harder for them to hit us in the face if we weren't blindfolded, if they can see our faces eye to eye.
FARRELL: I've been through this before. And one thing I found in Afghanistan, I did quite a lot this time as well. I asked to go to the toilet more than I actually had to, because there's something, as you say, dehumanization. There's some sort of rehumanizing in an act as personal as that. They have to take you. You have to commit -- they have to untie your hands. And I felt that that did break it down a little bit, just that little bit, that hostility.
COOPER: How do you deal with the fear? I mean, how do you not become sort of overcome with -- with fear?
FARRELL: There's just no point. What's the point? If you panic, you die.
ADDARIO: I think it helped that we were together. I mean, you know, there were moments when I was -- I couldn't stop crying. And I felt so weak. And I tried to sort of muffle it and I was trying not to cry. And you know, inevitably one of them was sitting next to me and would say, like, "There are people who love you. We're going to get out of this. You just have to get" -- and you know, so it's very helpful to have colleagues with you. I mean, we were so lucky that we were together.
COOPER: You had a driver, Mohammed, who was stopped at the checkpoint with you. You're not sure what's happened to him. He hasn't been found. But you think you may have seen his body?
ADDARIO: It's hard to say. I mean, I'll tell you what I did see. And, you know, obviously, it was -- I was in sort of semi shock. You know, this is in the first sort of 20 minutes to an hour after -- after we first got stopped.
And I looked over, and I saw our car. And one of the doors was open. And there was a guy taking our stuff out and putting it on a sidewalk. And I looked down, and next to the driver's side was a man face down with one arm outstretched, and he clearly wasn't moving.
And my initial thought was, it's Mohammed. But I don't -- I didn't see his face. And it's hard to say, because we don't know, you know -- there was so much chaos after the car was stopped.
COOPER: We all rely on locals so often: fixers, you know, taxi drivers, drivers. You must still be thinking a lot about him.
TYLER HICKS, "NEW YORK TIMES": Oh, yes. This has become the focus, and it has been from the beginning. You know, Mohammed has -- has been part of our group that we've been inquiring about. Of course, you know, we've been checking the jails, the hospitals, morgues, everything. And still nothing has come forward. And this is all weighing very heavily on all of us.
This driver was, you know, a great driver, he was working with us, about 21 years old. And we feel this huge responsibility and really...
COOPER: Anthony, you wrote, "If he died, we will have to bear the burden for the rest of our lives, that an innocent man died because of us, because of wrong choices that we made for an article that was never worth dying for. No article is, but we were too blind to admit that."
SHADID: That's right. And I think that -- I think the full impact of that burden, I mean, it's certainly starting to dawn on me. You know, why didn't I leave earlier? Why did I stay as long as I did? You know?
You hope that you're doing it because that story wouldn't have been told otherwise. But even if that story wouldn't have been told otherwise, it wasn't worth someone's life.
COOPER: You must get this question a lot. Why do you do this? What is it -- why do you feel it's important? I mean, all of you are incredibly experienced in incredibly difficult circumstances. You've all risked your lives numerous times. You've had two kidnappings. You've, I believe, had one in Iraq. You've all been in jams. What -- what is it that drives you to do it?
SHADID: I think there are some stories that are worth taking risks for. It is a little cliche, but if there's some meaning to it, that, you know, unless you're there covering it, no one is going to know about it. Unless you're trying to bring meaning to it, to bring a certain depth to it, it won't be done otherwise.
I think that's the question I've been struggling with. Is that the case in Ajdabiya before we get abducted? You know, would that story not have been told otherwise? And I don't know the answer to that, to be honest.
ADDARIO: And I think in a place, you know, in this conflict, particularly, there was no one else on the ground. So if we weren't up at the front line, no one knew what was happening. And you know, you cannot get accurate information. We would ask the rebels, "Hey, has Brega fallen?" And they would say, "Yes, we have Brega," but they lie.
FARRELL: This was one of those stories, this was one of those conflicts where, if you were 20 miles behind the front line, you had as much idea about what was going on as if you were 2,000 miles behind the front line.
FARRELL: What you're trying to do is you're trying to put yourself in a position where you can cut through, cut through this -- this mess and then say, "This is what is happening." And it is the same risk you take that gets that journalistic -- or that information that also puts people in mortal peril. It is the same risk.
And if it works for you, it comes off. If it doesn't work for you, you get the blame. And that's just the way the job is.
COOPER: Is it hard being back? I mean, I know obviously you want to come home after a situation like this. That's completely normal and understandable. But it's got to be strange at the same time to still see this stuff going on. Is it -- I always find it hard going from one world to another. You know, it's -- all of a sudden you're on a plane and then you're in a completely different world, and the world keeps spinning, and nobody knows what you've gone through.
Does it -- is it strange being back?
HICKS: For me, it was really -- I wouldn't say string. It was -- it really -- the reality of how this affects people that I love really came forward. I mean, what you put your family and your friends and your loved ones through and your employer and everyone. It was really quite emotional to come back and see how...
COOPER: More than anything has in the past?
HICKS: Yes, definitely. Because, you know, there are three days that my family, for example, didn't know if I was dead or alive. And that's a lot -- a lot to put your family through and -- and everyone else that you know.
SHADID: I think that -- you know, it's happened to me twice in my life. I was shot in 2002 and then this experience a couple of weeks ago. And that -- looking at death or coming that close to death, I think it's not only the emptiness and resignation that you feel as it happens, but it's something that lingers a little while. You know, perhaps it fades away over time, but it's something you don't necessarily bounce back from right away.
COOPER: I really admire all of you so much. Thank you very much for talking.
ADDARIO: Thank you.
HICKS: Thank you.
SHADID: Thank you.
FARRELL: Thank you.
ADDARIO: Thank you.
COOPER: They're incredibly humble and incredibly talented, remarkable reporters. We're going to have more with Steven Farrell, Tyler Hicks, Lynsey Addario and Anthony Shadid next week on 360. We talked to them for about 50 minutes. We're going to put together, probably, an hour special, as well.
Still ahead tonight, frightening moments for passengers on board a Southwest flight. A plane was forced to make an emergency landing after a giant hole is discovered in the fuselage.
Plus, something to make you smile before you go to bed tonight. Incredible story of survival out of Japan. Three weeks after the deadly quake and tsunami, a dog was rescued out at sea from an -- on top of an island of tsunami debris.
COOPER: Let's check in with Isha with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a staggering death toll in just one day of post-election violence in the Ivory Coast. The Red Cross says at least 800 people were killed Tuesday in the fight for control of the city of Duku. Today forces loyal to the internationally recognized president Alassane Quattara took control of state-run television. Laurent Gbagbo has refused to cede power since the election in November, setting off months of escalating violence.
Eight U.N. workers and four Afghans were killed in an attack on a United Nations building in Afghanistan. The attack happened during a protest against Florida pastor Terry Jones, who reportedly burned a Koran last month.
And Anderson, scary moments aboard a Southwest Airlines flight that was diverted for an emergency landing at a military base in Yuma, Arizona. The cabin lost pressure; oxygen masks dropped down. There was a rapid descent. And passengers say there's a three-foot hole in the fuselage. The FAA says investigators are on the way. There are reports of minor injuries.
Anderson, one passenger telling a CNN affiliate he heard loud popping noises a couple of minutes before the huge hole.
COOPER: Wow. Unbelievable.
COOPER: Must have been hugely scary. Wow.
So good news certainly hard to find these days in Japan, Isha. So we wanted to share this with you. A survival story and a dramatic rescue. Japan's Coast Guard rescued a dog washed out to sea and found floating on debris three weeks after the earthquake and tsunami. Take a look. That's where they first saw the dog on the debris. You can kind of see it.
Japanese TV station NHK says a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the dog off Kesennuma, which has been really destroyed. A small boat was sent out. A rescuer jumped into the sea, carried the dog to safety.
The dog was skittish at first, understandably, but after eating some sausage and cookies, started wagging its tail and licking rescuers' faces. A true reminder of the spirit of survival and how in difficult times, the simplest things can be the greatest reward.
Certainly a happy way to end what has been a very difficult broadcast and a difficult day all around the world.
A lot more from Japan at the top of the hour, starting with the nuclear disaster. Is the emergency response being bungled? Details ahead.