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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Hostage Released; Three Earthquakes in Iran; Mine Survivor Goes Home; Survival and Recovery; Katrina Insurance Battle; Crossing the Line; Last Chance Hotel
Aired March 30, 2006 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: "Keeping them Honest." He took on big tobacco. Now, this Katrina victim is taking on the insurance industry, claiming they're cheating homeowners hit by the hurricane out of millions of dollars.
And, how clean is your kitchen? Watch health inspectors make house calls.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON SCHNITZER, LAB DIRECTOR, SANI-PURE FOOD LABORATORIES: Microbiologically, it was a horror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: They're searching for bacteria, and finding it where you least expect it.
From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, thanks for joining us. We may never know why Jill Carroll was released or why she was taken, for that matter. It really doesn't matter at this point. What matters is that she is alive and well and on her way home.
The American journalist was held hostage for nearly three months in Iraq. Her captors, on occasion released video tapes like this, one of her begging for her life. They vowed to kill her.
Today they simply let her go. People credit Carroll's freedom to her strength and courage. There's something else that she had on her side as well, luck.
CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson has the latest.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Less than two hours after she was released, Jill Carroll was already appearing on Baghdad TV, receiving gifts, including the Koran from the Iraqi politician who helped get her to safety. She'd lost none of her reporter's instinct for telling the story.
JILL CARROLL, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: I was treated very well. It's important people know that, that I was not harmed. They never said they would hit me, never threatened me in any way. And I was happy to be free. I want to be with my family.
ROBERTSON: Despite the good treatment, she had learned little of where she was being held, cut off from the outside world, except once being allowed to watch TV.
CARROLL: I really don't know where I was. The room had a window, but the glass was, you know, you can't see -- and it's curtains, and you couldn't hear any sound. So I would sit in the room. If I had to take a shower, I walk two feet, you know, to next door, take a shower, go to the bathroom, come back.
ROBERTSON: Her freedom had come a little after noon in Baghdad. Back home in the U.S., her family learned of her release in real time. First, in a phone call directly from Jill. Then on TV.
JIM CARROLL, JILL CARROLL'S FATHER: We got the call this morning. I got the call a little before 6:00. Jill called me directly. And it was quite a wake-up call, to say the least. And she's doing well. I was glad to see her on TV this morning. She's apparently in good health and mentally strong and we're all very pleased about that.
ROBERTSON: It was all a shock to her family, and even to Jill herself.
CARROLL: They just came to me and said OK, we're letting you go now. That's all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you in your knowledge that there was a negotiation to make you free?
CARROLL: I don't know. I don't know what was going on. They didn't tell me what was going on.
ROBERTSON: She walked from where her captors let her go into a small office belonging to a Sunni political party, clutching a letter written in Arabic, asking for help. And that's when she revealed her freedom.
JIM CARROLL: It was a fantastic conversation, obviously. We're feeling ecstatic. It's been a long haul. And we're done with it now. And want to make sure all of us thank the people who helped and also make sure all of you in the media, particularly, don't forget the other American hostages and other hostages of all nationalities still being held in Iraq.
ROBERTSON (on camera): From her worst days in captivity until now, Jill Carroll appears to have lived up to her reputation of being a tough woman.
Incredibly, the coming days and even months, former hostages say, could be equally challenging as she readjusts to her freedom and gets to grips with everything she's been through.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.
COOPER: Well, a lot of people are wondering why Jill Carroll would have such kind words to say to the people who stole her freedom and nearly took her life.
Joining me now is Giandomenico Picco. He was once taken hostage in Lebanon. He is a former hostage negotiator for the U.N. He's had a remarkable career in this line of work.
Hostage taking now and hostage takers is very different than the kind you were experiencing in Beirut years ago. How so?
GIANDOMENICO PICCO, FORMER U.N. HOSTAGE NEGOTIATOR: Well, first of all, a different time and different place. So that itself gives a difference of picture. But I think that the groups that we are used to deal with in the past, 20, 25 years ago are quite different from the ones we dealt with the last 10 years.
When it comes to hostage taking, for instance, a very simple accounting of the history of hostage taking the last 30 years would tell us that the traditional groups, as I call them for lack of a better word, would have actually kept the hostages at time for many, many years, as we know with Terry Anderson for seven years. But eventually, the large majority was released.
If you look at the situation over the last 10 years, and the new groups that have came about from Kashmir to Afghanistan to Southeast Asia to Iraq, many of them actually deal with the hostages in a much harsher way.
I suppose it is fair to say that the number of hostages killed by these groups is much, much higher.
COOPER: And they're dealing with a different constituency. In the case -- with the way it used to be, they were trying to communicate with you, with the U.N., with outside forces. Here they're trying to, as you said, deal with their constituency.
PICCO: Yes, I think the objective of the entire operation is different. And I'm not speaking for every single case that happened in Iraq, for instance, because even there we have differences. But I have to say it seemed to me over the years that the traditional groups, as I call them, actually was trying to make a -- send a signal to the enemies or to us, the other side.
With regard to the al Qaeda type of groups, I think they're not really speaking to us; they're speaking to their own. Many times to their own sympathizers, to those on the fence who may actually join them.
COOPER: How -- I mean, of the hostages you have dealt with, I mean, how do they survive? What is the key to survival when taken hostage, do you think?
PICCO: It has a lot to do with how long they've been taken and their reaction is to that very incredible and, you know, quite painful experience. So it varies very much. And it varies very much also if you look at the kind of treatment they have received -- have they been tortured? Have they been actually deprived of space? And being chained -- many have been chained.
COOPER: It sounds like -- I talked to one woman earlier who had been taken hostage in Iraq. And I mean, she spoke Arabic, she was attempting to make herself into a human being in their eyes. Does that really work? Or with some of these groups, does that not matter?
PICCO: No, I would say that if my theory is correct -- and it's just a theory like many others based on some facts -- if we expect the al Qaeda type of groups, for instance, to either enter negotiations or to be sensitive to what we may say to them, I think we're making a mistake. I don't think that would happen. The more traditional groups may be of a different kind, and therefore, this kind of attitude may have some kind of affect.
COOPER: So with the al Qaeda groups, it is not about negotiation, it is not about trying to get some -- I mean, they're, as you said, communicating with their constituents, they're sending a message to those people?
PICCO: I don't think that the al Qaeda groups actually are interested in negotiations at all.
PICCO: And therefore, even trying to negotiate, I don't think would lead anywhere.
COOPER: Which makes it all the more terrifying. It's a fascinating case. Giandomenico Picco, thanks for joining us. Thank you.
PICCO: Thank you.
COOPER: We have a lot ahead and we'll talk to "TIME Magazine" Baghdad Bureau Chief Michael Ware in a little bit. He, himself, was taken hostage very briefly in Iraq.
A lot more ahead. Stay with us.
COOPER: We have some breaking news to report out of Iran. Reports are as many as three quakes hitting the western part of that country, magnitude 6.0. That is a preliminary number. Three earthquakes hit an area of western Iran overnight, the strongest magnitude of 6.0. We -- the earliest reports say there are at least 10 people dead. Again, those are early reports. We'll bring you more information as we get it. Back home in West Virginia, a man heading home says he'll probably just hang around, you know, and hold the kids and stuff like that. Sounds like nothing much to you, but for Randy McCloy, it is the biggest and best something there is.
Nearly three months ago, he was at the edge of death. The sole survivor of the Sago Mine disaster. Tonight, well, see and hear for yourself.
Here's CNN's Chris Huntington.
CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Frail and pale and holding his wife Anna's hand, Randal McCloy, Jr., walked on his own today into a room full of applause for a brief public appearance before heading home.
RANDAL MCCLOY, JR., SAGO MINE SURVIVOR: I'd just like to thank everybody for their thoughts and prayers. I believe that's it.
HUNTINGTON: Miracle is the word everybody uses to describe Randy and his remarkable recovery. Anna uses it, the doctors use it, and now, thanks to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin, it's the new name of Randy and Anna's street in their little town of Simpson. Their miracle of returning home has come true, ahead of schedule.
ANNA MCCLOY, WIFE OF SAGO MINE SURVIVOR: I believed the whole time that it was going to happen, but not this soon. So, I'm getting exactly what I wanted, you know, and what we wanted.
HUNTINGTON: Throughout this nearly three-month ordeal, Anna has been steadfast that her husband would survive. Even on that horrific and confused night in early January, Anna held firmly to that conviction. She was right. But while Randy is the only one of the 13 trapped miners to have come out of Sago alive, his miracle is also a burden.
R. MCCLOY: That right there probably upset me the most. Because I just felt lonely like I'm the only one?
HUNTINGTON: McCloy gave his first interview to NBC's "Today Show," saying he thinks constantly about the families of his fellow miners.
R. MCCLOY: I feel bad for them and wish the best for them. Hope they can grieve and get it over with and then try to live their life. Find a way to do that.
HUNTINGTON: McCloy recalled that after the mine explosion, in the pitch dark, with their methane detectors sounding the alarm, they knew they were in real danger.
R. MCCLOY: You can really not tell yourself enough to be prepared because you're blindsided because you can't see. You're running like a goose in a damn mine and you don't even know where you're going. And we all knew there was nothing you could do. We all knew that. We knew we, you know, was going to end up taking the bullet on that one.
HUNTINGTON: McCloy managed to dodge that bullet, but just barely. And only now do his doctors concede that when they first saw him, they did not think he'd make it.
DR. JULIAN BAILES, MCCLOY'S NEUROSURGEON: Honestly, no. I mean, we were very, very tenuous with him. He was really on death's doorstep when he got here, multi-organ failure, shock, dehydrated. But we got the organs saved and got them functioning. And then the second week he began to open his eyes and awaken.
HUNTINGTON: I asked Anna when she believed Randy had turned the corner?
A. MCCLOY: When randy had first said his first word, I knew -- I knew then. It was a familiar word. And I knew then that Randy was going to be perfectly fine.
HUNTINGTON: Can you tell us what he said to you?
A. MCCLOY: I don't think it's appropriate.
HUNTINGTON: What was he reacting to?
A. MCCLOY: He was mad, aggravated. And you know, it's just something that he would normally say if he was mad and aggravated. So when I heard this familiar word, I knew that Randy was doing perfectly fine. His personality and character were still there.
HUNTINGTON: Randy has spent the past month and a half undergoing physical and mental therapy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you remember what month it is?
R. MCCLOY: August?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: March.
R. MCCLOY: March, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: March, and what year, two thousand and...
R. MCCLOY: Four.
HUNTINGTON: But McCloy knows he has a long way to go.
R. MCCLOY: And it's kind of like the saying, how to eat an elephant. One bite at a time.
HUNTINGTON: McCloy faces months of therapy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to need therapy. He's going to need a lot of work on speech, language, memory, thinking -- thinking, his emotions, working his interpersonal relationship. It is hard enough to maintain a personal relationship when you're normal, basically speaking. Especially with the opposite sex.
HUNTINGTON: But once again, Randal McCloy seems to be well ahead of his doctors. He is already back on the job he never wanted to give up -- being a father and a husband.
A. MCCLOY: One day I was standing by Randy's bed, and he looked at me and he says, Anna? And I said yes? And he said will you -- will you marry me? And I said -- it kind of scared me, and I'm like, Randy, we're already married. He says, no, I know that. I just want to remarry you. He said this is my second chance of life and I want to do it all over again and make it better.
HUNTINGTON: Chris Huntington, CNN, Simpson, West Virginia.
COOPER: It is remarkable. You heard the word miracle in that piece. You hear it a lot in connection with this story, even from some doctors. We talked about Randy McCloy and miracles tonight, with 360 MD Sanjay Gupta.
COOPER: Sanjay, it was just amazing to see Randy McCloy out there actually talking. How do you think he's doing?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think doctors are always hesitant to use the word, miracle, although you heard that term a couple of times from the doctors who have been caring for him.
He's doing remarkably well. I mean, Anderson, if you think about it, he sort of had a stroke of his entire brain. That's what the carbon monoxide poisoning did to his brain. And just after three months, he's had such a remarkable recovery. You saw him walking into that news conference of his own power today, actually able to talk to people, you know, obviously understanding speech, being able to execute speech as well.
He's still a little weak on that right side, Anderson, which is relevant because that's probably the left side of his brain, which is responsible for speech. So it may take some time for him to get back. But he's on a great trajectory.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, he said one of his arms wasn't as powerful as he would like it to be. That's related to the brain?
GUPTA: Yes. You know it's interesting, is that the left side of your brain controls the right side of your body. And I was watching him very closely. You may have noticed this as well, that news conference, he really didn't move his right arm very much. He also seemed to be favoring that right leg. So the left side of the brain, also responsible for speech. And he didn't say a lot there today. It was obvious that he could understand.
But I got the sense, you know, from a neurosurgical standpoint, that he would still need quite a bit of rehab probably for that left side of his brain. But again, the fact that he's had this much recovery this quickly, bodes very well for him.
COOPER: Why do you think it was that he was able to survive when the others weren't?
GUPTA: Well, a couple of things. One is that is that he was young. And I think with age, comes resilience. And I think that certainly played some benefit for him. But he also had this collapsed lung, which is also significant, I believe, because he just may not have been breathing in as much carbon monoxide as a result of that. And so he didn't have the intoxication of carbon monoxide that some of the other miners did. That may have played a role. The other thing, Anderson, as well, somebody said to me that he may have actually suffered in the explosion, that explosion that occurred, initially, and he may have been injured and thus the other miners were actually giving him some of their oxygen, as well. It is hard to know. He may talk about it at some point. But these are some speculations. But I think his age and his collapsed lung certainly had a large role.
COOPER: It is certainly a great day for him and for his family and for all of us who have been following this story. Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up, homeowners hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. They are suing insurance companies, and a high priced lawyer is leading the charge. Insurance companies, though, say they're the good guys. Who's right? We're "Keeping them Honest," tonight.
Also, will all Palestinian women soon need to wear veils? Or will Hamas let them keep their western values? Another potential side effect of democracy in the Middle East, when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well in our "Keeping them Honest" segment tonight, suppose your house felt the punch of Hurricane Katrina? And suppose it was ripped apart by driving winds, pelting rain, a storm surge. Which of those things really caused the damage? Should it even matter? That's become a multimillion dollar question for homeowners and insurance companies. Now their battle is in the courts and it is getting very ugly, indeed.
CNN's Sean Callebs is "Keeping them Honest."
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mississippi Lawyer Dickie Scruggs took on big tobacco in the mid 90s, and won billions. Now, in the aftermath of Katrina, he's going after insurance giants and firing the salvo, that this time it's personal.
DICKI SCRUGGS, LAWYER: It is as personal as anything in my life that's ever happened to me.
CALLEBS: Like so many others in the Gulf region, Scruggs' home was destroyed. He had the maximum federal flood insurance and got $250,000, just a fraction of his home's value.
SCRUGGS: Most of our house was completely torn away.
CALLEBS: Scruggs' homeowners insurance said it was flooding and not wind that leveled the house. And his policy doesn't cover flooding. It would have covered wind damage. Scruggs says it's ludicrous to think that powerful hurricane winds caused no damage to his house. He says people are being bullied by insurance companies.
JULIE ROCHMAN, AMERICAN INSURANCE ASSOCIATION: Well, I think Mr. Scruggs would like to portray himself as a bit of a Robin Hood.
CALLEBS: Insurance Industry Spokeswoman Julie Rochman says Scruggs is misguided and is misleading people who suffered so much already.
ROCHMAN: I also think he's being cruel to people, to give them what many cases will turn out to be false hope, that he's going to find them a pot of gold someplace.
CALLEBS: She says the industry handled 3 million claims and more than 90 percent of those have been resolved. But there are hundreds of thousands that haven't. Many houses close to the water now look simply like this. A plain slab. To determine what was damaged by wind and what by water, engineering firms are hired by insurance companies.
But Scruggs has documents showing engineers contracted by State Farm actually changed some findings from wind damage to water.
SCRUGGS: It's fraud. It's cheating.
CALLEBS: This report from the Forensic Analysis and Engineering Company, dated October 23rd, says "The primary and predominant cause of damage to the subject property was due to hurricane force winds." However, about two months later on January 3rd, a new and what turned out to be the official report presented to State Farm, said it wasn't wind after all, saying "The movement of the house across the street with minimal wind damage is consistent with the buoyant force applied to the building by rising water allowing wind to move the house."
FAEC says the October findings were a draft report and engineers received more complete data for the second assessment. The engineering company goes on to say that State Farm never asked any of their employees to alter their conclusions.
SCRUGGS: They told them that they're not going to pay them anything as a result of water damage when in fact, the first engineering report from their own engineer said it was all wind.
CALLEBS: State Farm says it did nothing wrong.
ROCHMAN: I'm not aware of any company that's out there telling their engineers what to find. The engineers are independent.
SCRUGGS: I'm still mad. I'm still mad as hell about this. I really am. Their argument is that it was flood. You had a flood and there's an exclusion in the policy for flood, and so we're not going to pay.
CALLEBS: Scruggs is suing five insurance companies that covered 90 percent of Gulf resident -- State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide MetLife and USAA. He's representing more than 1,000 homeowners, including his powerful brother-in-law, Senator Trent Lott, whose Pascagoula home was also destroyed.
SCRUGGS: And made it as nice as we could.
CALLEBS: Scruggs doesn't need insurance money to rebuild his 1.5 million home. He's rich. But Scruggs is the exception. Instead of filing a class action suit or filing hundreds of suits, Scruggs says he's going to file a handful of what he calls pilot cases, hoping to set precedence.
The insurance industry says again, Scruggs is misguided.
ROCHMAN: I think the most important thing for people to understand is that each claim has to be adjusted separately. Each home is different.
CALLEBS: And what about those homeowners who paid premiums for years, now being told they are getting nothing.
SCRUGGS: Well, it's just a matter of outrage. This is a looting and a mugging that's going on for this region of the country.
COOPER: Well, you know, Sean, as you well know, anyone down there will tell you, I mean, so many people have had this problem. They'll say, well, look, the insurance company says it's the flood, but wasn't it the hurricane winds which caused the flood in the first place?
CALLEBS (on camera): Well that's certainly the argument that Dickie Scruggs is making. If you think about it, in many areas along the Gulf, and virtually all, they were punished by hurricane winds for hours and hours and hours before that storm surge came in.
And the insurance company will say, when all you have left is a slab, how do you go about determining exactly what was caused by wind and what was caused by water? Well, they say they have some very technical ways of doing this.
And really, both sides say what's at stake is the future economic growth in that area. Scruggs says these homeowners need the money if it's going to remain a vital part of the country. However, the insurance industry says nothing could be further from the truth. They say, in essence, contracts would be rewritten and that would have a chilling effect on industry in the future and almost in an immediate fashion.
One thing we should point out, Anderson, we called all five insurance companies. MetLife didn't call us back. The other four say they are going to vigorously defend their flood exclusion policy.
COOPER: It is going to be up for a court to decide. Sean, appreciate you showing all sides of it tonight. Thanks.
The battle on the Mexican border, when we come back, brings out the worst in people and sometimes the best. Two border stories tonight, both caught on tape -- one of horror and cruelty, the other incredible bravery. We'll have those stories and this...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HECTOR DE LA CRUZ, INSPECTOR, L.A. HEALTH DEPARTMENT: The bacteria doesn't care whether or not it's growing in Jack's kitchen, Suzy's kitchen or Ari's kitchen, or the restaurant down the street. They just want a place to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, what about that, Jack and Suzy? You ever wonder about getting food poisoning from eating out? Well, it turns out the real threat is much closer to home. A report for the strong of stomach only when 360 continues.
COOPER: The battle on the border. Last night we were on the Arizona-Mexico border in the Tucson sector, where they are apprehending 2,000 illegal immigrants every single day -- 2,000, it's a remarkable number. A game of cat and mouse played out there every day, with major consequences for all of us. Those crossing the border and those trying to catch them have to make difficult choices, choices that can have very different outcomes.
CNN's Jeanne Meserve explains.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have three that came out of that 14-14. They're already across the drag road.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Every day Border Patrol cameras help catch illegal immigrants crossing the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass, Texas.
But some days they capture much more. Events that tell us about the best within us and the worst.
ISMAEL MARTINEZ (through translator): Here's the point that we got into the water. We crossed through here.
MESERVE: Ismael Martinez, his mother, his sister and three others waded across the Rio Grande to the United States in the early morning darkness of September 23rd, 2004, to join Ismael's father, who had a job milking cows on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Border Patrol cameras saw them, and agents found them.
STEPHEN F. WHITE, MARTINEZ FAMILY LAWYER: They came out, all six of them, and prepared to be arrested. But that's not what happened.
MESERVE: In a deposition, one of the agents says he told the Mexicans to go back to their F-ing country. The Mexicans say they were ordered back into the water at a deep stretch of the river.
Could you swim?
MARTINEZ (through translator): No.
MESERVE: Could your mom swim?
MARTINEZ (through translator): No.
MESERVE: Could your sister swim?
MARTINEZ (through translator): No.
MESERVE: In a videotaped statement, a Mexican who was in the group says they asked the Border Patrol for help, but the agents instead threw rocks.
GERARDO OJEDA, VIDEOTAPED STATEMENT OF BORDER CROSSER (through translator): Because of the rocks they were throwing, the women started panicking, and not being able to feel the bottom of the river, they became desperate and were grabbing on to us, trying to save themselves. The river's current kept taking us further out.
MESERVE: The Border Patrol's own infrared cameras captured the women's struggle. Eventually they disappeared beneath the water.
MARTINEZ (through translator): My mom and sister, I couldn't see them.
MESERVE: They drowned, along with another woman in the group. In depositions, the Border Patrol agents deny ordering the Mexicans back into the river or throwing rocks. And an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security did not result in any disciplinary action.
ALAN LANGFORD, U.S. BORDER PATROL: There was no findings of misconduct. To the best of my knowledge, it's been presented to the U.S. attorney and he declined prosecution. There was no evidence indicating that it occurred.
MESERVE: But Ismael's father is suing for $240 million. The case is pending.
WHITE: Because I don't think anybody should be put in the circumstance that they were put in. It shouldn't happen anywhere. It certainly shouldn't happen in the United States. MESERVE (on camera): The drownings and the alleged misconduct are horrific, but in this very same stretch of river a tale of heroism. And it happened right there.
Border Patrol Agent Daryl Lee was on patrol last February 22nd, when again Border Patrol cameras saw illegal immigrants entering the U.S. When Lee approached them, the immigrants went back in the water and one got in trouble.
DARYL LEE, U.S. BORDER PATROL: They came to a point where he took his last little breath. He had kind of struggled up, his face barely broke the water this time, and he just kind of bubbled a little bit and went down. And that's when I made my decision, you know, that he wasn't going to -- probably not coming back up.
MESERVE (voice-over): Video from Border Patrol cameras show Daryl Lee diving into the water, swimming towards a man he could no longer see. And then a bubble. A successful rescue.
LEE: I just felt that I couldn't live with myself if I stood by and didn't do everything within my ability to save another human life.
MESERVE: One river, two stories, that turn a lens on us as well as our neighbors.
Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Eagle Pass, Texas.
COOPER: Well, last night we covered a lot of ground on our reports on illegal immigration. But there was one stop we didn't get to, and it was right in Arizona. It once held some of the most hated prisoners of the 20th century. Today it has a special role in border security. It's where thousands of people are shipped out every year.
Covering all the angles, CNN's Rick Sanchez.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It sits on 23 acres, among the cactus in Arizona's Sonora desert, a site that originated as a prisoner of war camp where Nazis were detained during World War II. This is where we arrive, at the Florence Detention and Processing Center, a last stop for those apprehended in America's battle to secure its borders.
(On camera): These are people who are going to be removed from the United States because they're here illegally?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eventually.
SANCHEZ: And they're likely going to a country other than Mexico?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. SANCHEZ (voice-over): In fact, the majority of the men and the women in this facility are from places like Honduras and Guatemala, too far away for them to be driven across the border, so they're flown instead. The few Mexicans here are detained because they're convicted criminals.
It's not a prison, but make no mistake, some of these men and women can be dangerous. Officials say some have to be separated and placed in these small cells for disciplinary reasons or because they themselves choose to be there.
(On camera): So they come to you and they say I want to be put in a cell by myself?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want protective custody, for these reasons.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): They won't be their long, though. The average stay for detainees is only 16 days. That's how long it takes to process them, barring legal challenges that can either prolong their stay or get them released.
(On camera): Mr. Johnson, how are you? Why don't you have a seat.
(Voice-over): That's what Efwit Johnson (ph) from Cameroon is hoping for. He says he was a political prisoner and is now seeking asylum.
EFWIT JOHNSON (ph) PRISONER: They'll eventually kill me.
SANCHEZ: They'll kill you?
JOHNSON: Yes, because I run from the prison.
SANCHEZ: Johnson left the African nation of Cameroon on a freighter. But like most of these detainees, he arrived here by crossing the U.S.-Mexican border into Arizona. Arizona leads the nation in undocumented border crossings, which explains why no facility in the country ships out more people than this one.
But while they're here, they get three squares. In fact, they're fed the same food that U.S. soldiers eat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly before they leave, they can't fit into their street clothes because they put on some weight.
SANCHEZ: That's interesting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's kind of ironic.
SANCHEZ: A lot of calories.
They also get something most have never experienced -- medical and dental checkups.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first time they have talked to a medical provider in their entire life.
SANCHEZ (on camera): Never sat in a dentist chair?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never sat in a dentist chair...
SANCHEZ: Until they were detained in the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): As a result of 9/11 and rising concerns over illegal immigrants, officials at Florence have a new motto for how they handle undocumented arrivals. It used to be, catch and release. Now, it's catch and return.
Rick Sanchez, CNN, Florence, Arizona.
COOPER: Well, coming up on 360 for a different kind of story, why your kitchen may actually be making you sick. Germs. We're talk about a lot of them, lurking in your microwave, your oven. We're going to show you what our germ detective found. And we warn you, it's not exactly pretty. Next on 360.
How many deaths occur from food borne illness each year? 5,200
COOPER: Well, when you think of food poisoning, you may think of restaurants ignoring health codes. But in fact, the culprit may be much closer to home -- as close as your kitchen.
CNN's Randi Kaye has been investigating. What she found? Well, it might just horrify you. It definitely made some of us here at 360 well, look twice at our own kitchens.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hector De La Cruz, an inspector with the Los Angeles Health Department, prowls through pantries, raids refrigerators and scopes out sinks. He's knocking on bacteria's door.
With 76 million people in this country suffering from food borne illnesses each year, De La Cruz and the L.A. Health Department are looking to clean up California kitchens. So they've developed an at home test similar to those used in restaurants around the country.
We asked if he would tag along as we checked out three Los Angeles area kitchens and what might be lurking inside them. Our test kitchens belong to Ari and Vera Miller and their two children; Jack Smiler and his cat; and Suzy Wells and her family. (On camera): Ari, we're here to inspect your kitchen. De La Cruz and his assistant, Kathy, get right to it. Checking refrigerator temperature and inspecting the food. On the surface, the Millers' kitchen is spotless.
ARI MILLER, HOME OWNER: Like a good marriage, we never go to bed angry, we never leave dishes in the sink.
KAYE: But De La Cruz has concerns about the sponge, the dish towel and Mom's chicken barley soup. At first he was just slightly concerned, but then Ari Miller revealed the soup was still hot when it was put in the fridge.
HECTOR DE LA CRUZ, INSPECTOR, L.A. HEALTH DEPARTMENT: You got any other dark deep secrets in there?
KAYE: That increases the possibility bacteria will grow where the soup didn't cool properly.
DE LA CRUZ: This is what we consider a potentially hazardous food product, meaning that it could, at the proper temperatures and the right amount of time, start to support the growth of microorganisms that could get you sick.
KAYE: If De La Cruz was concerned, we thought maybe we should be, too. So we took a sample of Mom's homemade soup to send to the lab.
(On camera): Please forgive me if we find something in your soup, Mom.
(Voice-over): And we grabbed the sponge and the dish towel for testing, too.
Then we were off to Venice Beach, to Jack's Smiler's house.
While De La Cruz went to work inspecting the kitchen, Smiler went online to take the Health Department's food safety test.
JACK SMILER, HOME OWNER: I see a score of 72 points.
KAYE: But Smiler took it all in stride.
SMILER: I don't think that we need -- that your personal kitchen needs to be held to the same standards that a public kitchen should be held to.
KAYE: But would a restaurant chef hang his fly swatter with his pots and pans?
DE LA CRUZ: You have the fly swatter with the clean pots and pans.
KAYE (on camera): That's a no no.
(Voice-over): So we decided to help Smiler out. We sent his fly swatter to the lab. We also took some leftover steak and a sample from the floor around his cat's litter box to see what she may be dragging around the house and into the kitchen.
Now, it was time to visit Suzy Wells' house in Los Angeles. Our final kitchen impressed even our meticulous inspector.
DE LA CRUZ: You received an A.
SUZY WELLS, HOME OWNER: Oh, thank you.
KAYE: But De La Cruz's test only captured what the eye could see. What the eye couldn't see was sent off to this New Jersey lab. And the results were surprising.
While the health inspectors gave the Millers' kitchen an A, Ron Schnitzer, the lab director who tested our samples, had a different grade in mind.
RON SCHNITZER, LAB DIRECTOR, SANI-PURE FOOD LABORATORIES: Microbiologically, it was a horror.
KAYE: The Millers' sponge turned up over 1 million bacteria per milliliter. That's a lot of bacteria in just about one-fifth of a teaspoon. The lab found 840 chloroforms in the sponge, too, which means when the Millers thought they were cleaning up, they were actually spreading bacteria; same story on the dish towel.
But the worst offender? Mom's homemade chicken barley soup.
MILLER: The soup sometimes stays out. And my mom's soup is a mixture of old things that she just, you know, throws in, some of the stuff in there might be suspect.
KAYE: The soup surprised even our lab director. It had more than 50 times the amount of bacteria than is expected in prepared foods. It had 5 million bacteria and 2.5 million chloroforms -- all that in less than a teaspoon of soup.
SCHNITZER: It probably started out with a bad ingredients to start with, with very high bacteria counts. Probably improperly cooked, then transferred into non-clean -- with non-clean utensils into a non-sterile container. So just one problem after another.
KAYE: And remember Jack Smiler's home? The health inspectors gave him a C. But in the lab, he came out ahead and so did his cat. The sample from his kitty's litter box had less bacteria than anything we tested in the Miller's kitchen.
So is it really possible to keep our kitchens that clean? Or will bacteria continue to get the best of us?
DE LA CRUZ: Bacteria doesn't care whether or not it's growing in Jack's kitchen, Suzy's kitchen or Ari's kitchen or the restaurant down the street. They just want a place to grow.
KAYE: Bottom line -- Inspector De La Cruz can't visit everyone's home, so you have to be your own inspector. Let foods cool before refrigerating them. Change your sponges often, wash your dishtowels, and clean, clean, clean.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Los Angeles.
COOPER: I didn't know you had to let things cool before you put them in the refrigerator. Uh-oh.
8,500 people in Los Angeles have taken the online test you saw in Randi's piece. If you want to see you would do, you can go online to www.lapublichealth.org and click on inspect your home kitchen. Good luck. Lots of luck.
Could the outcome of a democratic election lead to fewer rights for women in the Middle East? We're going to take you there next.
But first, Erica Hill, from "HEADLINE NEWS," joins us with some of the other stories we're following -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Anderson.
Fear of inflation dogged the market today. Stocks ended the day mixed on news that the nation's gross domestic product, and therefore the economy, remains strong. The Dow fell 65 to close at 11150. The S&P 500 was off just over 2 1/2 points. But the NASDAQ managed to tack on 3, ending at 2340 -- its second straight day to finish at a five-year high.
Delta pilots today marched through Atlanta's airport to protest the airline's plans to cut pay and benefits. It was one of several protests. Other airports are being picketed by pilots who say they'll strike if their job contracts are thrown out.
And crude oil prices spiked at more than $67 a barrel today. That's the highest in nearly two months. Worries about gasoline supplies for the summer driving season are behind that rise -- Anderson.
Erica Hill, thanks very much.
COOPER: A quick update now on the breaking news that we are following out of Iran. Three earthquakes, one after the other, in Iran's western Lorestan province. The strongest measuring a magnitude 6.0. At least 10 people are dead, according to an Irani news network. More than 260 people have been hurt. Many of the casualties coming in villages where people live in permanent brick and mud houses. Because of that, because so many of the houses were flattened, local officials say they expect the death toll to rise. We will continue to follow that story.
Up next, Palestinian women, they are among the most liberated in the Arab world, believe it or not. But will the election of the radical party Hamas undo decades of freedom?
Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.
COOPER: Well, in what was unthinkable not long ago, Hamas is now in control of the Palestinian government. It's an organization the United States, many western European countries and Israel consider to be a terrorist group. Whatever you call it, it is the first radical Islamic party to win a free election in the Arab world. And with radical Islam, comes the question, what happens to tolerance for other religions? What happens to women?
Here's CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This upscale bar is not in London or in New York. It's in the Palestinian town of Ramallah on the occupied West Bank.
The Islamic movement Hamas has just started running the government here, but that doesn't stop Nadia Najjab and her friends from running up their tab.
What did you feel yourself when you realized that Hamas had actually won?
NADIA NAJJAB, BIR ZEIT UNIVERSITY: Shock. Very shocked, actually. And I couldn't believe it at the beginning. I felt it was a dream.
AMANPOUR: A bad dream for women like Nadia who fear Hamas will impose strict Islamic law.
What most Westerners don't realize is that historically Palestinian women have been among the most liberated and educated in the Arab world.
NAJJAB: You should see the shock when I say I'm Palestinian, as if they want to confirm the stereotype they have about Arab women.
AMANPOUR: And Nadia breaks all those stereotypes. She's a professor of psychology at the prestigious Bir Zeit University. And today she's headed to class to deliver a lecture on Freud and his theories of sexual development.
(On camera): It's interesting to come here to the West Bank and hear your teacher talk about Freud and sexual identity.
What are you getting out of this class?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like, you know, you actually have a chance to talk about this, because there are a lot of taboos in this society where if you do go out, you can't have these conversations.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): But this freedom of expression, even freedom to dress, is exactly what so many on this campus fear losing now that the Islamists are in charge.
NAJJAB: That's why I was worried about Hamas winning the election, because I believe in a secular state where religion is something up to you.
AMANPOUR: And they, you think, want an Islamic state?
NAJJAB: Of course. I hear Hamas leaders say it all the time. We believe that Islam is the solution to everything.
AMANPOUR: And that is most definitely the view of Um Nidal, a Hamas member of the new Palestinian parliament. She makes no attempt to disguise her militancy.
(On camera): What is this big portrait here?
UM NIDAL, HAMAS MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT (through translator): This is my oldest son, Nidal (ph), who died a martyr. And this is my son, Mohammed, who was killed attacking an Israeli settlement.
AMANPOUR: Do you want to see Palestine as an Islamic state? Do you want all women to be veiled like you?
NIDAL (through translator): We are an Islamic society, this is one of the most important issues, but it's only an invitation, not a decree.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): That is the Hamas line. But in the Gaza Strip, where they've been strong for two decades, it's almost impossible to find a woman who isn't veiled.
(On camera): We're at the Islamic University of Gaza right now. And before I'm allowed to go in and do any interviews and talk to any of the women here, I have to wear this abaya. I already had a veil on, but that wasn't enough.
(Voice-over): A monitor inspects all female students entering the campus, their abayas, the baggy cloak that hides their figures must pass the test.
(On camera): Do you feel free behind all of that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel free. I'm so free. More than anyone without the scarf.
AMANPOUR: But why should I not see your face?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I want to be for my husband just.
AMANPOUR: Just for your husband?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, not for other.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not -- the thought that we are very strict, you know, because we're wearing kanjaba (ph), or we're wearing this. We are not so strict. You know, we do whatever we want to do. We can dance, we listen to music, we sing together, we laugh, we tell jokes. But in a way, it's liberated, you know, men is an aside and we are an other side.
AMANPOUR: When we walked into an English class, these students were having a vigorous discussion about feminism, of all things. Are you feminists? Because you know that the image in the West is that you are not feminists, in fact, you're the opposite.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So they don't understand the real meaning of feminists. And we here have all the rights.
AMANPOUR: There are many Palestinian women now who are not veiled.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to ask these women, are they Muslim? It's an order from Allah to wear his shall (ph). If you are a Muslim, you must do so.
AMANPOUR: What would you say to her back?
NAJJAB: I see an implicit threat that you will face God. Hamas came to the government through elections, by elections, right? By democracy. And democracy means accepting the other.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Christiane Amanpour CNN, Gaza.
COOPER: Fascinating look at life under Hamas.
"On the Radar," our program last night from the Arizona-Mexico border. Tonight the blog is filling up with your comments on illegal immigration.
Tom in Hubbard, Ohio, writes, "My grandparents got here legally, 100 years ago. The answer is for all these folks to revolt, overthrow their poor governments and stay in their own countries. The U.S. border should be like another Berlin Wall as far as I'm concerned."
But whatever your point of view, Steve in Lewisville, Texas, says something that just about everyone here can agree on. "The immigration system is broke," he says, "and needs to be fixed."
More 360 in a moment. Stay with us.
COOPER: "LARRY KING" is next. He's got more on Jill Carroll's release. Plus friends of the minister murdered in Tennessee.
Thanks for watching. See you tomorrow night.
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