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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Politics Kills Treaty for Disabled; Brink of Chemical Warfare
Aired December 6, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks.
Good evening, everyone. We begin tonight, as we do every night, "Keeping Them Honest." Looking for facts. We're not taking sides or pulling for Democrats or Republicans. You can get that on plenty of other cable channels. Our goal is just reporting. Real reporting. Finding the truth. Trying to call out hypocrisy where we find it or in tonight's case a baffling case of flip-flopping.
Now we've been doing some digging on a story that we reported on last night, frankly. And it gets stranger and stranger the more we look into it. It's kind of a long story but stay with me because it basically is just weird.
On Tuesday, the Senate rejected a U.S. treaty aimed at protecting the rights of disabled people around the world. It's modeled on the Americans for Disability Act. A hundred and twenty-five other countries had ratified it but in the full Senate 38 Republicans voted no leaving the treaty five votes short of ratification.
Now what we learned today is really interesting, is that some of these very same senators actually supported the treaty before they voted against it. Some even pledged their support publicly.
Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri was one of the flip-floppers, so is Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, also Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas. We asked all of them to come on the program, but guess what, they all declined, they're all silent on this. Senator Moran was actually a co-sponsor of the measure to actually ratify the treaty and even put a press release back in May proclaiming his support for the treaty.
I want to show you something else. Here's Senator Moran with former Senator Dole in June. Dole, a war veteran, former Republican Senate leader, is a longtime supporter of disability rights and a strong advocate of this treaty.
So just before Tuesday's vote, he came to the Senate chamber, 89 years old, frail in his wheelchair. He thought it was that important that it might make a difference him being there. But it didn't. Some of the senators like Senator Moran broke their word and then blocked the treaty. Others just voted no and we even don't know why.
But those are the names scrolling there, scrolling next to me. We called nearly all of them, too. Not one of them would agree to come on tonight and defend their position. So why did they vote no? Because they wouldn't come on, we can't know for sure but what we do know is this. Some powerful conservative groups lobbied very aggressively against the treaty, including the Heritage Foundation, the Susan B. Anthony List PAC, the Family Research Council and Rick Santorum's Patriot PAC.
And "Keeping Them Honest," they used arguments that really just did not square with the facts that they weren't true like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: This is a direct assault on us and our family. To hand over to the state the ability to make medical determinations and see what is in the best interest of the child and not look at the wonderful gift that every child is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now former senator and presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, led the charge against the U.N. treaty. He brought his 4- year-old disabled daughter Bella to his events warning that the treaty threatened American sovereignty and would allow the U.N. to make decisions about disabled children in America.
But that's just not true. Here's what Senator John Kerry who fought hard to get treaty ratified said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I have great respect for both Rick and his wife Karen, and their daughter and their family. He's a strong family man. But he either simply hasn't read the treaty or doesn't understand it, or he was just not factual in what he said. Because the United Nations has absolutely zero, zero, I mean, zero ability to order or to tell or to even -- I mean, they can suggest, but they have no legal capacity to tell the United States to do anything under this treaty. Nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, as we told you last night, former Republican, repeat, Republican attorney general, Dick Thornburgh, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July basically saying exactly that. There's nothing in the treaty that interferes with U.S. federal or state laws. Nothing.
That didn't stop Mr. Santorum from sending out this e-mail to supporters after the vote saying, "You did it. You made it happen. If it weren't for you the U.S. Senate wouldn't have defeated the United Nations Convention on the Eights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)."
He went on to day, quote, "This treaty would have given the U.N. oversight of the healthcare and education choices parents with special needs kids make. Had it passed, CRPD would have become the law of the land under the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause, and would have trumped state laws and could have been used as precedent by state and federal judges."
Again, that's not true. So why the fudging of facts. We also asked Senator Santorum on the program tonight. He, too, declined. So like the others who won't explain themselves, we can only guess their motivations and frankly some of this is kind of so baffling we'd be taking some wild guesses. We don't really want to do that.
The treaty supporters including Senator Kerry simply say that politics and a paranoia about the U.N. trumped the rights of the disabled in this vote.
Ted Kennedy, Jr., the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy is a health care attorney and advocate for people with disabilities. When he was 12 years old he lost his leg to bone cancer. That is a picture of him taken with his dad about six years after that. He's a strong supporter of the U.N. disabilities treaty. He hasn't given up on it. I spoke to him earlier today.
COOPER: It sounds to me, it's one thing to lose based on facts, it's another thing to lose based on things that are completely made up and it seems like you guys lost based on stuff that had nothing to do with the actual treaty.
TED KENNEDY, JR., ADVOCATE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Well, it's true. It's a sad day for people with disabilities and it's a sad day for the U.S. Senate because you ask yourself, Anderson, who could be against a treaty that basically affords people with disabilities the same rights and opportunities as everyone else that doesn't cost the United States one extra penny?
We're talking about affording disabled Americans including disabled American veterans the same opportunities overseas as they have here at home. Unfortunately, our cause, the cause of disability rights, was caught up in U.N. politics. And the politics of home- schooling and Rick Santorum and Glenn Beck, the politics of the far right that intimidated many senators including seven senators who had verbally affirmed their support for this bill, including Senator Moran who was the cosponsor.
COOPER: He actually --
KENNEDY: Of the -- of the treaty.
COOPER: He actually --
KENNEDY: He ended up voting against the treaty.
COOPER: Right. He stood by John McCain's side and supporting this and did he give you any reason why he reversed himself?
KENNEDY: Well, I think that in the last week or so, a lot of fiction, a lot of innuendo was drummed up by Senator Mike Lee and Senator Santorum and others about how this treaty may impact homeschooling. OK? That has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the treaty itself.
COOPER: But this treaty does not affect U.S. law.
KENNEDY: No, it doesn't affect U.S. law but I think that they weren't -- they -- evidently they didn't feel like it gave them that sort of guarantees that they were looking for, but, in fact, when it passed the Foreign Relations Committee on the 13-6 vote, a number of these concerns were actually incorporated.
COOPER: This was really a treaty about people with disabilities overseas.
KENNEDY: This is about bringing the rest of the world up to the U.S. standards. OK? And so it does impact Americans who travel overseas. Who go work overseas. Somebody who -- somebody with a disability who wants to stay in a hotel in a foreign country or go to work in a foreign country or hail a taxi in a foreign country. Not to mention the fact that it also impacts 650 million people around the world.
Children with disabilities around the world who, unlike the United States, do not have access to a public school education. It affords them huge rights and for the United States to not be in the vanguard -- we have been in the forefront of disability rights and disability rights has always been a bipartisan cause in the -- from the Rehab Act of 1973 to special education where people like my dad worked with Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Lowell Weicker, so many other Republicans in a bipartisan way because disability crosses every single socioeconomic barrier.
So I think what is upsetting about this vote is now all of a sudden disability law which has never been political before is now suddenly politicized.
COOPER: I mean, besides John McCain, you had former Senator Dole.
COOPER: You had Dick Thornburgh, former attorney general.
COOPER: Who I guess is the father of a disabled child?
KENNEDY: That's correct, yes.
COOPER: And I guess if anybody would knew about the impact on U.S. law, the former attorney general of the United States would have a pretty good idea if this impacts U.S. law.
KENNEDY: Well, I think that's a very good point. We did have eight Republicans and I take my hat off to them because they had to face very stiff pressure by the far right not to join with the -- with the Democrats to vote this treaty. As you know, we need 66 votes, two-thirds majority, to pass a treaty in the country. But we had the support of former President Bush, President Herbert Walker Bush. As you mentioned, Dick Thornburgh, former attorney general who understands U.S. law probably better than anybody else in that -- in the country. We had people like Senator Bob Dole and his wife Elizabeth who were on the floor at the time, who's been a staunch advocate for disability policy.
So this shouldn't be, Anderson, this should not be a partisan issue. The rights of people with disabilities. I mean, come on. And yet, it has been politicized, unfortunately.
COOPER: Are you hoping that next year you might bring this up again?
KENNEDY: Yes. We're going to come back. As you know, you know, it took for Africans-Americans, for gay Americans, for women, the struggle for equal rights and justice took many, many years and so, too, it is in the disability rights movement. And, you know, I just think this cause, this treaty will happen because it's inevitable. How can you deny the rights of millions of people around the world and so I do think it's going to come back.
Senator Kerry has made a promise to bring it back. And, you know, we're hoping one day that this treaty will pass. In the very near future, in fact.
COOPER: Thanks so much for being with us.
KENNEDY: Thank you for raising this important issue, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, let us know what you think. You can follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting tonight.
There are growing fears the conflict in Syria could soon enter an even more horrifying new chapter with possible chemical weapons. We want to talk about what such an attack would mean for the people of Syria who've already endured s much. The death toll alone, according to one estimate, could be staggering.
We also want to see if this is just hype, because obviously given the situation, what U.S. experience in Iraq, there's a lot of people who think this is just loose talk trying to encourage some sort of intervention into Syria. We'll talk to former CIA officer Bon Baer about that and also to 360 MD Sanjay Gupta.
Plus an activist inside Syria, what he has to say about the potential threat, next.
COOPER: Syria's government is under intense scrutiny tonight as the world awaits the Assad regime's next move. And as we've reported this week, new intelligence shows that Syrian forces have started combining chemicals that could be used to make deadly sarin gas for weapons. And as we told you last night, NBC News is reporting Syria is actually loading those chemical weapons into bombs. CNN has not confirmed the NBC report.
Now all of this comes amid a string of opposition victories. Recently they took control of key oil fields, they saw advances in Aleppo and some reports suggesting they now surround the capital of Damascus. One opposition spokesman even tells CNN they started what they believe to be the end battle of this war.
If the intelligence on the chemical weapons, though, is true, these latest events by the opposition only seem to add incentives to the Syrian government to actually use them. The Assad regime, we should say, denies having chemical weapons, claims the reports are being used to justify an international invasion.
After more than 20 months of fighting and according to opposition leaders more than 40,000 civilian deaths, Syria's civil war appears to be at a crossroads. Tonight I spoke to Zaidoun, a Syrian opposition activist.
COOPER: Zaidoun, the reporting that the Assad regime might be preparing to use chemical weapons are -- are people there aware of the possibility and if so what's been the reaction?
ZAIDOUN, SYRIAN ACTIVIST: Well, I mean, it's just possible. Yes. Because if you ask me a few weeks or a few months ago, would the regime use jet fighters, I would have told you I doubt. But now the regime is using jet fighters against the people so why wouldn't the regime use chemical weapons?
Now frankly speaking there's no concrete evidence that there is a sign of so. Just the media reports. However, people are really panicking.
COOPER: At this point, what do you hope for? I mean what do people there -- if there is hope of somehow stopping this slaughter, what is the hope? I mean, is the hope that someone will intervene, the United States, NATO or -- I mean, there's been a lot of hope of that in the past, obviously, it hasn't happened. What are you hoping for now? Is there hope?
ZAIDOUN: Well, for me, I mean, personally, I'm for the majority of the Syrian people, nobody has any hope in anything. OK? There's just fight continuing until the people win because this is -- this is happening for sure. I mean, we will win in the end. We are sure that the international community would not do anything at all, will not do anything.
Nobody cares about us. Everybody cares for their interests. That's it. We understand that now. Very much clearly. And we are not scared -- I mean, at least personally I'm not scared of the chemical weapon. Does it make a difference to die with a bullet with a chemical weapon? Which death is more painful? With chemical weapons or with bullet?
I haven't tried both types of death but I don't think there's a difference whether you are dying with chemical weapons or with a mortar, with a tank shell, with a rocket, with a bullet. I don't know why people would care about chemical attacks.
COOPER: Did you ever think it would get to this point? I mean -- how do you get through each day? Because as you say, the world has just watched this happen. And we continue to watch it happen every night.
ZAIDOUN: Well, Anderson, simply stated like this. When the Syrian people started their revolution, they wanted really freedom. Because it is justice for all. Democracy. We expect -- we know this regime is really brutal. We expected brutality but not this much. At least not for me. No, I didn't expect this.
I didn't expect to happen at any place on the globe. No where. Not even in Alfred Hitchcock's -- I mean, a Hitchcock movie. Nobody could think of what we are seeing right now.
Is it worth it? Yes. Thank god we have this revolution. I don't know how we lived with this regime for four decades. Thank god we have this revolution. We are paying lives. Our life is just ruined. Just ruined. But thank god we have this revolution.
I thank god we tested the international community so that we understand in the future that this is our own problem. No one cares about anyone in this world. And thank god we will win this battle on our own without anybody's help.
Enough. Enough. Even if it takes us another 100,000 people. Enough. This is not a regime. This is anything you can -- I don't know what you want to call it. Killing, killing, killing, shelling, shelling, mortars, jet fighters, helicopters, rockets. Against what? Civilians? Enough.
COOPER: Zaidoun, thank you very much for talking.
ZAIDOUN: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: As you just heard the fear of sarin gas, it's very real tonight. So what are people there facing if the Assad regime does -- does use what they have or believe to have?
I spoke with CNN contributor and former CIA officer Bob Baer and chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Bob, we talked about this last night but explain again what one warhead filled with sarin could do.
ROBERT BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, one of these shells and the standard shell of Syrians put this in is a 122 millimeter shell, what's supposed standard artillery piece, and if they were to drop this into a dense area, into Damascus or a suburb of Homs or Hama, it doesn't matter which town, it would instantly kill 18,000 within the first few minutes. COOPER: Just from one --
BAER: And go up from there.
COOPER: One shell?
BAER: One single shell would immediately kill 18,000 people. You know, this is a liquid. It's dispersed. It sticks on you. You get a few -- a little bit in your system and you're dead.
COOPER: Sanjay, what does it actually do to somebody who comes in contact with it?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it affects these very particular receptors in the brain and let me just preface it by saying that, you know, it is odorless, it is tasteless, and it's colorless. So it's very hard to even know, you know, that it's there, because of those things, and also by touching it, as Bob was just talking about. But also by inhaling it or eating food or drinking water that's been contaminated with it.
You can also get poisoned so you see, this is a substance that can affect you in many different ways and you might not know that it's there. Just from top to bottom, if someone has been affected by it, it's sort of like the on switch in the body you're stuck on. So your pupils, they start to become very constricted. You get headaches. You develop this flushing almost in your nose, in your sinuses.
You become very congested but ultimately it's like the on switch stuck on in your body and ultimately that can lead to convulsions in the body and ultimately your diaphragm which allows you to breathe, as Bob again is describing, it's tough to talk about, but that diaphragm seizes up and that ultimately it leads to respiratory failure and death.
COOPER: And there is an antidote but I mean how effect is it?
GUPTA: You have to give it very early. You have to give it almost right away, sometimes even protectively in a situation they talk about. You may remember when we were overseas in some of these places, Anderson, we were given these kits that had atropine in it, not just one vial but a few. Again as Bob mentioned, because you give it once and then you may have to give it again a few minutes later.
It essentially sort of -- atropine, for example, works as sort of unstuck that on button. But it has to be given quickly if it's going to be given.
COOPER: The other thing I found alarming, Bob, from what you and I talked about is that, you know, we think, OK, well you can -- you can bomb these sites from the air and eliminate them but that doesn't work.
BAER: Well, Anderson, it doesn't work because if you hit one of these sites and especially there's multiple shells at the site, it just disperses the material. So it's not like we can go in with pinpoint bombing and destroy them from the air which would be ideal if we could because it will kill everybody in -- you know, in a wide swath of a city or a base.
COOPER: So how do you have to try to --
COOPER: Do you have to dismantle the stuff on the ground?
BAER: You have to dismantle it. Apparently there are teams out there that could possibly go in at some point. There are 18-man teams. But, you know, you'd have to fight your way in. That's the problem. And we're talking about an invasion of Syria to really secure these sites. At the very last minute, they could move the stuff around. The intelligence is not perfect. The Syrians could explode it in the middle of an attack. You just don't know. And there are no good options for disposing of this stuff.
COOPER: Is it known how much he has?
BAER: I don't know how much he has. You know, for me, the important thing is and I keep on getting this question is, well, we heard this about Iraq, about they had weapons of mass destruction.
COOPER: Right. People are skeptical about this. They said, this is -- this is a pretext by some for getting involved in Syria.
BAER: It's not, Anderson. I assure you. U.S. intelligence community was deep into Syrian VX and sarin. There are binary agents know all about it. This is not being hyped. At any level.
COOPER: Let me just push back on that. I mean, if this stuff has existed in Syria for, you know, all the time that Assad has been in power and hasn't been used, why -- and it seems to have been stored safely thus far, where's the proof that it's, you know, been put into warheads or, you know, how do we know for sure?
BAER: Well, that's the question. Has it, in fact, been put in warheads? Has it, in fact, been mixed? Sanjay could address this but I believe you've got a couple of weeks to use these things once it's been mixed.
We also don't know at what point would the Assad regime resort to using sarin. It's my hypothesis, knowing the Alawites, that they will if they start getting slaughtered. It very well could happen. They will use it.
COOPER: Sanjay, for people who are at risk, I mean in areas where the Assad regime might use them or could use them or some other group, what can they do to protect themselves? Is there something you can do to protect yourself?
GUPTA: Yes, I mean, presumably they don't have access to any of these medications. The atropine, for example, you've got to get out of that area which sounds really simplistic, but, you know, keep in mind this -- because it's odorless and tasteless and you know, very hard to detect in that way. You just have to get out of that area. And also because you can get poisoned again by ingestion, inhaling or just simply touching it, it can be on your clothes, for example. Your clothes could be a vehicle so you get out of the way.
You take off your clothes or anything that may have been exposed to it, soap and water, you know, try and rinse your body as much as possible. Also one thing as it tends to be a heavier gas as compared to what else is in that area, so it tends to linger closer to the ground. So simply trying to get to higher elevation can help.
Again this sounds like very simplistic things but there's really short of a medication being given right away, there's really not much else you can do.
COOPER: It's really scary stuff. Bob Baer, appreciate it. Sanjay, as well. Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: You got it.
COOPER: Well, the picture on the cover of "The New York Post" that's raised a lot of disturbing questions capturing the final moment of a man's life before he was run over by a subway train, I'm going to speak to the man who took that photograph in a primetime exclusive, next.
COOPER: Hundreds of children working on a ranch under orders of jailed to polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, pulled out of school into forced child labor. Wait until you see what these children did when our Gary Tuchman got on the scene and started asking questions ahead on 360.
COOPER: Well, his death shocked New York City. Today, the family of man shoved on the subway tracks and in to the path of an oncoming train gathered for his funeral a day after the suspect was arraigned on second-degree murder charges.
There's still, of course, questions of what exactly happened on that subway platform. This "New York Post" cover is perhaps the enduring image showing the failed attempt to get out of the oncoming train.
Many that saw that asking why no one was able to get him off the tracks. The person who's faced perhaps the most scrutiny is the photographer who took the picture, R. Umar Abbasi, he joins me now in a live primetime exclusive. I appreciate you being with us.
R. UMAR ABBASI, FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER FOR THE "NEW YORK POST": Thank you for having me.
COOPER: Before we start, you had wanted us to make clear that we are not paying you for this interview. You did not request us. You did not request any money nor of course, do would we ever pay for an interview. You wanted us to make that clear.
COOPER: At what point did you realize something was going on? I mean, there was an altercation between this man, Mr. Han and the alleged suspect.
COOPER: Did you see him being -- did you see that altercation?
ABBASI: No. I had entered the subway station from the 46 side, 47th Street and I had walked in about 100 feet in to the station. I was not aware of any confrontation. And from my peripheral vision, I saw a body being flung on to the tracks and there was a collective gasp that went in to the air that really got my attention.
COOPER: You could kind of hear a gasp from other people?
ABBASI: Correct. Because the train travels from north to south and I was at the southern end so you know somehow the wind and the sound travels that wind.
COOPER: About how far away were you from Mr. Han?
ABBASI: I can guess from now on hindsight and looking at the photograph with how many cars were in to it and where Mr. Han was, I was about 20 feet in to the station and I have learned that a New York subway station is about 600 feet so probably Mr. Han from the entrance there, he was maybe another 100 feet so there is about I would say 400 feet.
COOPER: You had your camera in your hand?
COOPER: You were there for another assignment. You were just happened to be there.
COOPER: What was your initial reaction? What did you do instantly start to do?
ABBASI: Well, people started waving their hands and screaming because a few moments earlier they had made an announcement that the train will be approaching the station. And I could see the distant lights of the approaching train.
COOPER: We're showing the one photo you took in which you can't -- it looks like Mr. Han is on the track, but you don't see the train. Was the train far away at that point?
ABBASI: You see out in the distance there's a little long line and that is the lights -- those are the lights of the train are and they're bouncing off the rails. COOPER: OK, so even at that point and very dark, there was a train approaching at that point in.
COOPER: OK, because I think when a lot of people saw that picture and they didn't see a train, it seemed to people like, OK, he is just sitting on the track. Somebody could have helped him.
ABBASI: Right, correct. And from where I was, I could have screamed my lungs out probably nobody would have heard it. Since my camera is always in my hand and it is always on and it goes in to sleep mode. And the only way I thought at that moment was to start clicking away, using the shutter to fire the flash and maybe --
COOPER: You thought that might warn the conductor?
ABBASI: Yes. Make him aware that there's -- this is unusual. There's a burst of light hitting him and catch Mr. Han on the track.
COOPER: And this is the next photo. Were you looking through the viewfinder?
ABBASI: No, no. It was stable, you know, and on what you call on the street as shooting from the hip.
COOPER: So you had just the camera out just shooting like that?
ABBASI: No, out here.
COOPER: Out to the side?
ABBASI: Yes, to the side, stable and shooting.
COOPER: And I understand you said there were other people much closer to him than you were.
ABBASI: Yes, absolutely. In the photograph if you look at it, maybe lighten it up, you see a group of people out there and that is where the north side of the entrance is on 49th Street.
COOPER: And I mean, I've been in situations where in riots where people have been beaten in front of me, killed in front of me. I've been in situations and taken pictures of it and intervened. You never know.
I personally believe until you have been in this situation it's very easy to sit at home and judge based on pictures saying I would do this, but until you've been in a situation with a potential threat to yourself, you don't know how you're going to react.
Did you -- did you realize there had been an altercation? Did you realize there was a suspect? And did you see that suspect?
ABBASI: I got a blur of this suspect and I had imagined, you know, we all imagine what we would do in a situation like that. But when you are in a situation, at least myself, when the situation actually happened, instinct took over and all those plans that you do this, you do that, you -- one reacts and that is what I reacted.
And that is the best way I thought that I could alert the conductor. And I started moving towards running towards Mr. Han and I saw a man approaching me and that was the person who had pushed Mr. Han.
And I realized because he seemed agitated and as he was approaching, he was cursing or using profanities and he went by me and I saw him coming. I braced myself and stood on the side.
COOPER: You were actually worried about him doing something to you?
ABBASI: Yes, pushing me on to the tracks realizing that he had just pushed Mr. Han on the tracks.
COOPER: So you're going toward Mr. Han but this man is coming toward you?
COOPER: The suspect.
COOPER: So you go against the wall.
COOPER: So the suspect is actually moving away from Mr. Han and there are other people who are closer who the suspect is moving away from. So theoretically if other people were to be involved they were closer to Mr. Han and further away from the suspect than you were?
ABBASI: Correct. That is a correct analysis.
COOPER: So, I also understand that after Mr. Han was hit and apparently a doctor present or there was a lady who was a doctor, I believe --
COOPER: Started doing CPR and someone else in the crowd, people in the crowd gathered around and with their cell phone cameras were taking pictures.
ABBASI: Yes. They were. The crowd totally closed on and I had to stand and try to move them back.
COOPER: At that point, were you still taking pictures?
ABBASI: I moved them back. I took maybe a few shots of the stretcher and the firemen had come and there was some crowd control going on. COOPER: In retrospect, do you feel you should have done something different or could have done something different?
ABBASI: Until one is in that situation, it's very hard to say. And on hindsight, I would say I would -- had Mr. Han, run the other direction. And looking at the image on it, there were only about three cars in to the station and all he had to do was outrun three cars and he would have lived.
COOPER: His wife early reports he was drinking. I believe some alcohol found on him, as well so it's unclear what his --
ABBASI: I'm not aware of that. I'm not aware of his interaction with his wife.
COOPER: Right. For you, what has this been like? I mean, not only to witness an event like this is horrific, but then to come under the kind of criticism you have come under from people who were not there, what is that like?
ABBASI: They were not there. They are, you know, I look at them as armchair critics and when you are in a situation, you realize what it is and it was a very fluid situation. The photographs are still.
You see the train and you see Mr. Han at one spot. But in reality, the train is moving towards him. I do not know what speed it is, but it was really fast. The whole thing happened really fast.
COOPER: I also find it interesting because I read your account in "The New York Post" the next day, which I found changed the way I looked at the situation, frankly when I heard your account.
COOPER: That's why I wanted to have you on because I think it's important to have your voice on this, but you didn't know what photos you had. You brought the police back to the post office and they looked at the photos.
COOPER: You had no idea what you had captured.
ABBASI: No. No idea. These photos are dark. I'm a professional, you know, I take good photographs if I may say for myself and these photographs were dark because my camera had the settings of Times Square. It was a bright day.
And so was my flash gun. If I had set my camera to take photographs in a subway then I would be firing at full power and the flash cam doesn't recharge so fast on full power unless I'm carrying battery pack on my waist.
COOPER: Have you ever seen somebody being killed before?
ABBASI: No. I have never. It's very traumatic experience and like every time if I have to narrate the whole thing, it's reliving it. I did not sleep for close to 36, 40 hours.
COOPER: And obviously we talked about his funeral. To his family, what would you say?
ABBASI: I -- as I have said earlier that Mrs. Han, if I could have, I would have saved him. It wasn't important to get the photograph. The photograph came out as a result of my effort or what I could think at that moment to do.
Even at this moment, I think, you know, I wish I had the presence of mind to say, Mr. Han, run in the other direction. I did hear people saying, get up, get up, but I don't know why anyone did not reach out.
I live with the image, the first night I could not sleep. I could hear the sounds. I don't want to be too graphic about it for respect for the family, but I could hear all of the sounds. Mr. Han did not scream or anything.
This is how fast it transpired. You look at the photograph and it's like -- it's chilling to me even today. It's like a man looking at his end and the oncoming train, the metaphor for it, death staring him down.
COOPER: You obviously didn't have a photo where the photo was published on the front page of the paper. So I won't really ask you about that but I guess -- again, I -- you know, my position on this is -- and it's really changed.
That until you are in a situation, you don't know what someone has gone through and I'm sorry you were in that situation. I appreciate you coming on to talk about it.
ABBASI: Thank you very much for having me.
COOPER: Thank you.
Coming up, another story that's really a story we have been following for years now. The youngest members of the polygamist sect run by Warren Jeffs. He is in jail. They are supposed to be in school. So why are hundreds of kids spending hours of day doing manual labor on a ranch without getting paid? A 360 follow up next.
COOPER: Duchess Katherine left the hospital earlier today with her husband, Prince William, an update on her condition ahead on 360.
COOPER: Tonight, 360 follow and a glimpse inside the fundamentalist church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs, the FLDS. Now he is in prison right now serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting two underage girls he had taken as his brides. But just last week, we reported the state of Texas asked to seize an FLDS compound where authorities say that Jeffs and his followers abuse kids. Sect members have denied any abuse took place there.
Well, now we are learning in Jeffs' absence that church members are busy raising money and they're using its youngest members to do it. The church normally reclusive community near the Arizona-Utah border rarely ventures outside the seclusion of their private ranches in large groups.
But that's exactly what happened this week and Gary Tuchman caught up with them. Here's what happened in Gary's report.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We received a tip that Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the polygamist FLDS sect, had ordered all schools closed for a week. So children could go to work picking pecans off trees at a private ranch.
We did not know what to expect driving to the outskirts of Hurricane, Utah, 23 miles northwest of their fundamentalist enclave, holy cow. The tip was true, hundreds of children, many of them very small working on a ranch. They were accompanied by some mothers and a few men, but it was mostly the kids.
When we got out of the car to find out more about what was going on, we saw something that caught us off guard. The children and their mothers scattering, first slowly and then it started picking up steam.
They started running in the opposite direction from where they saw us in our camera. The ranch is huge and they were given an urgent directive to get as from us as quickly as possible.
(on camera): The paranoia among FLDS leaders is intense and that's because they know we're here to ask questions. Like why is it OK to pull the children out of school just so they can toil as free laborers and what's happening with all the money they're making?
(voice-over): We do know that the property the ranch is on is owned by a Nevada businessman who is not in the FLDS. I reached the man's nephew on the phone. He works with his uncle.
(on camera): On that ranch, we were there and saw hundreds of children from the FLDS, the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church harvesting the pecans. We're wondering if that's an arrangement you know about.
(voice-over): The nephew said somebody else would get back to me with answers but nobody did. We went to Las Vegas looking for the property owner. We went to his company's office.
(on camera): Do you run the office?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just -- I'm the receptionist.
TUCHMAN: OK. But is Mr. Yamagata here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, he is not.
TUCHMAN: Do you know where he is?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not.
TUCHMAN: Is there anyone else here that might know where he is?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): We then tried to find him at his home, but he lives behind these palm trees in this private gated community. Law enforcement authorities believe the money made from harvesting pecans goes directly to Warren Jeffs and his church.
Mothers of some of the children I talked to off camera acknowledge they get no money for this work. Men helping to maintain security as scores of vans and cars came streaming in behind the gates were not surprisingly unhelpful.
(on camera): Sir, can we ask you a quick question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, thank you.
TUCHMAN: Can you tell us why all the children are out of school and making money for the church while picking pecans?
(voice-over): As the children who spent eight hours in the fields on this day continued to work, a neighbor who owned an adjacent farm let us on her land. But when we arrived, the FLDS pecan pickers were chased away from us again.
Dorothy is a hog farmer and mother of two who says this is FLDS child labor has gone for a week or two for many years and she says she feels desperately sorry for the FLDS children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FLDS do not let their children talk to other children or adults.
TUCHMAN (on camera): So you see the children like coming up to the fence and picking pecans and they ignore you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes or they run.
TUCHMAN: They run away from you? They've been running away from us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TUCHMAN: They ran away from you and you're next door on the ranch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. In the past I have seen them here past dark and in the wintertime when it's cool. I mean, I don't let my kids out. Once the sun starts to go out, it's too cold for children to be out especially working.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): We went to the city hall in Colorado City, Arizona where the FLDS is headquartered the try to find out what's going on.
(on camera): Hi. This is Gary Tuchman from CNN. I have a question if you can come to the door for a second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nobody here that --
TUCHMAN: Well, you're here and says 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and right now it's 12:40 p.m.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right, but I have no statement. You need to talk to the --
TUCHMAN: You have no statement. You don't know what the question is yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know it.
TUCHMAN: You know it. OK.
(voice-over): Mothers did not want to talk either.
(on camera): I do know that there's children in the community picking pecans in the pecan fields. Not far from here. What do you think?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't care to comment. Thanks.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Another FLDS mother told me off camera her kids have fun picking the pecans. When I responded that school was canceled for a week and families were not being given a choice about this. She declared it's all good because it's being done for God and for her prophet, Warren Jeffs.
COOPER: Gary, it seems like it's being done for the profit of this alleged prophet Warren Jeffs. What are the legal implications here regarding kids not even being paid? These are children working for free for a profit-making enterprise?
TUCHMAN: I mean, there's certainly potential for legal peril here. The question is, does this landowner who's paying for this work to be done know that hundreds of children are doing the work? We don't know if he knows anything.
That's why we came here to Las Vegas to find this guy to have him answer some questions, but he's had 28 hours to respond to us and we haven't gotten in touch with him yet.
We also want to know, Anderson, what the district attorney, the prosecutor in Washington County, Utah, thinks about this. His name is Brad Belnap. He is a good guy. He prosecuted Warren Jeffs successfully in the first of the two trials.
And when I called him to ask him what he thought, he said I don't know anything about it. It's been a very well-kept secret. So based on the facts that we uncovered in our report, Belnap is telling us this does raise a red flag. He is going to look in to it, but right now it's too early to see what will happen legally.
COOPER: It's impossible to believe that somebody associated with the ranch didn't know that these children are working on it. Not like, you know, somebody must know, whether the owner or not. We'll continue to follow it. Gary, great reporting. Thank you.
Software tycoon, John McAfee is no longer on the run tonight instead he is in a Guatemalan police hospital. The latest developments on that coming up.
COOPER: A lot more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks has the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, software creator, John McAfee, was rushed to a Guatemalan police hospital today with heart problems according to his attorney. It happened just hours after officials rejected his bid for asylum there. McAfee's lawyer says she will fight his extradition to Belize where authorities want to question him about his neighbor's murder.
Apple will start making a computer in the U.S. next year. CEO Tim Cook says "Business Week" this move is part of an effort to boost the U.S. unemployment rate. For years, Apple has faced criticisms for working conditions at its supply factories in China.
Mom to be Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has left the hospital where she was treated for acute morning sickness. Her husband, Prince William, escorted her to a waiting car. The palace has yet to announce a due date for the new royal who will be next in line to the throne after dad -- Anderson.
COOPER: Susan, thanks very much. We'll be right back.
COOPER: This is where we usually we bring you "The Ridiculist," but we ran out of time tonight though. We'll have it again tomorrow night. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now. At 10 p.m. Eastern joins us in another edition of 360.