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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Evidence of North Korea Nuclear Test?; Ohio Congressman Pleads Guilty to Corruption Charges
Aired October 13, 2006 - 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, everyone.
A lot of stories breaking tonight: another Republican congressman in trouble; and frightening new details about North Korea's nuclear test.
ANNOUNCER: Did they or didn't they? New evidence tonight that North Korea wasn't faking it when they said they tested a nuke.
Congressional corruption -- another lawmaker pleads guilty, more grim news for Republicans trying to hang on to the House and Senate.
Plus: 300 million Americans, what are all these people doing to all these animals? Wildlife expert Jeff Corwin joins us.
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Reporting tonight from the CNN studios in New York, here is Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: And we begin tonight with breaking news about a very dangerous development in a very dangerous country.
Just a few hours ago, CNN was the first to learn that North Korea's claims that it -- that it tested a nuclear device may, in fact, be true. If so, a dictator who defies the world could soon be armed with a nuclear weapon.
We're covering the breaking news around the world from all the angles.
CNN White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is in Washington. CNN's Dan Rivers is in Seoul, South Korea.
But we begin at the Pentagon with the man who broke the story, CNN's Jamie McIntyre.
Jamie, what is the latest?
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, two U.S. officials tell CNN that the United States now has, in hand, preliminary evidence of radioactivity from a North Korean test site, supporting the U.S. belief that North Korea did, in fact, test a nuclear device last Monday, Korea time.
The evidence is preliminary, but the official says, if confirmed, the United States will be in a position to say definitely that North Korea was testing a nuclear device.
The evidence was enough -- enough to prompt the office of John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, to draft the following statement: "Preliminary analysis of air samples collected on October 11 has detected radioactive debris consistent with the North Korean nuclear test in the vicinity of Punggye on 8 October." The statement goes on to say that "Additional analysis is ongoing and will be completed in a few days."
But an official tells CNN that, even though the statement was sent in advance to key members of Congress, a decision was made late in the day not to release it publicly. The official tells CNN that the decision was based on the reluctance to issue a formal U.S. government statement based on preliminary results, and might need further analysis, as well as concern that the release of such a statement on the eve of a vote on sanctions in the United Nations could be seen as an attempt to influence the outcome.
Now, if confirmed, these test results would go a long way to substantiate the U.S. government's working theory that the nuclear test was basically a failure, as one official put it, more fizzle than pop. The U.S. believes the device was in the range of a quarter- kiloton. That's far less than the 4 kilotons that the North Koreans told the Chinese before the test -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, Jamie, just to -- to -- to restate what we know and what we don't know, just say it again, that -- that -- what have we learned now? This is confirming that a preliminary test has indicated some positive reaction, some positive presence for radioactivity?
MCINTYRE: Well, the big thing they were looking for is evidence of radioactivity, because that's un -- an undeniable signature of a nuclear test.
The first air sample they took on Monday came back with nothing. The second one they took on Tuesday came back positive. But what they want to do now is make sure that -- that that test result is accurate, that it's not a false positive, that it's solid enough to go to the world community and say, we have got the proof in our hands.
And, at the end of the day tonight, they decided it needed more analysis, and they were going to wait to issue that statement.
COOPER: Jamie broke the story. Stay tuned, Jamie. Stay with us.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is covering the White House angle. She joins us now from Washington.
Suzanne, the White House says no -- no option in dealing with the North Korean government is off the table. If the nuclear test is, in fact, confirmed, what does that mean?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, I want to point out, Anderson, that the White House says it has no confirmation that North Korea conducted a nuclear test.
I spoke with the spokesman of the National Security Council, Fred Jones, this evening, who said to me: We have seen the various press reports. We still have no definitive statement on the event. The intelligence community continues to analyze the data.
This really doesn't contradict Jamie's reporting, but, of course, they want to make absolutely sure, before they make an official statement. But whether or not this really makes a difference at all, in terms of strategy, no. Early on, the White House had decided they were going to treat this test, essentially, as a worst-case scenario, that they were going to take a hard-line stand.
And it really was an opportunity to draw this red line, if you will, to try to get those galvanized in the six-party talks, to get tough on North Korea. And, ultimately, perhaps it will give a boost for the Bush administration tomorrow, when it goes to the United Security -- United Nations Security Council, looking for those tough sanctions in that resolution.
Now, politically it's a different story here. It does make a difference, because, ultimately, it gives ammunition to President Bush's critics to say, look, this is a U.S. failed policy, and North Korea established -- developed nukes on your watch -- Anderson.
COOPER: Want to bring in CNN's Dan Rivers, also, who is live in Seoul, South Korea.
Dan, already, the -- the -- the threat level there is pretty high.
DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It's a very tense country, South Korea, at the moment, with what they think now is a nuclear neighbor just to the north, with this massively heavily defended border, the most heavily defended border in the world, with two million soldiers either side.
Let me just give you what we know, in terms of Jamie's story here. We're being told by the Defense Ministry spokesman that the U.S. has informed them of their findings. Now, we don't know exactly what those findings are or how certain they are. But we understand that the Blue House here, which is the equivalent of the White House, is going to make a statement about all this within an hour.
The speculation is that this may have been detected by a plane out of Okinawa in southern Japan at the Kadena air force base, a WC- 135-W, a Constant Phoenix, which is -- which looks like a normal plane, basically, equipped with a load of equipment to -- to pick up any -- any particles of radioactivity in the air.
The Air Force Technical Application Center, we understand, is responsible -- is the body that's responsible for detecting a nuclear test. And this plane was -- was the same type of plane used after Chernobyl in 1986, the Russian nuclear reactor disaster -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jamie, do we know how long it's going to take for the U.S. to get actual confirmation?
MCINTYRE: Well, you know, what they do is, again, they take these test results, which initially came back positive, and then they analyze them.
And we don't know, for instance, how much radioactivity we're talking about. The U.S. believes it was a very small test, smaller than they intended, and it could have released only a very small amount of radioactivity. If, for some reason, someone decides that the results are inconclusive, then, they're going to have to rely on further testing, before they make a -- a statement, or they're going to have to -- to back off a little bit.
And that's why you have not seen a public release of the statement tonight. And that's why you have seen the caution reported by Susan Malveaux at the White House, where they say they don't have a definitive answer. But it is the first real indication that maybe they're heading in the direction of confirmation.
COOPER: Suzanne, what is the White House hoping to achieve at the U.N. tomorrow?
MALVEAUX: Well, they're being really cautious about this, because, of course, they're -- they're trying to push through this very tough Security Council resolution.
They're trying to get full support of this. But, again, they have been in this position before, where China and Russia have balked. So, essentially, what they're doing is saying, look, you know what? There may not be a vote. It may not go our way, so we're not publicly going to look like we're trying to bully either one of those allies here.
But this is a resolution that, while the administration didn't get everything it wanted, it certainly is much tougher than what we have seen in the past, so, they really want to push this forward. But they, again, Anderson, are being very cautious. It's a -- it's a very delicate and sensitive situation, with Russia and China in particular.
COOPER: And, Dan Rivers, the South Korean government has also been -- been handling this very delicately. What are they hoping to see out of the U.N.?
RIVERS: Well, I think they're very concerned about any sanctions that are going to make North Korea any more unstable.
The last thing they want, really, is for very tight sanctions to cause the economic collapse of Kim Jong Il's regime. That would spell disaster, as you can imagine. You know, if they have got -- successfully tested a nuclear device, there's a massive army up there. It could spell all sorts of problems for South Korea, in terms of, you know, possible conflict, in terms of refugees and in terms of the economy. So, they are urging caution. They agree that, you know, something has to be done, but they are more in line with the Chinese here, that they don't want something to be done that will destabilize Kim Jong Il's regime. They have already, by the way, introduced some of their own measures.
For example, they have stopped rice and fertilizer exports to the north. And, already, a huge shipment of cement, which was being sent up to help out in the flooding earlier in the summer, has been stopped as well. So, they have done some measures. They're worried about sanctions, and -- and the effect that will have on Kim Jong Il's regime.
COOPER: Dan Rivers, in Seoul, appreciate it.
Suzanne Malveaux, in Washington, and, Jamie McIntyre, as well, great reporting.
If North Korea is nuclear, the president's option aren't great.
Daniel Poneman was a National Security Council member for the Clinton and first Bush administrations. He joins me now from Washington.
Daniel, thanks for being with us.
First of all, what do you make of this report?
DANIEL PONEMAN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL MEMBER: Well, I think it's appropriate that they're responding cautiously.
Obviously, the question on everyone's mind, up until now, when there had been only a seismic signature, was whether, in fact, there had been a fissional, fissionable device. If these reports bear out, and if they're confirmed, that is certainly what it looks like.
COOPER: For those who are opposing sanctions, does -- does this report or does an actual confirmation of a nuclear test make it harder to oppose sanctions?
PONEMAN: I think it would make it harder to oppose sanctions, because it's that much more conclusive evidence that North Korea has crossed the Rubicon, that they are a nuclear weapons state. And all the implications of that, with the instability that it could generate in the region, with the arms race it could generate throughout the world, I think calls upon the world for a very strong response.
COOPER: The Security Council is meeting tomorrow, obviously, to work on this resolution.
The diplomats say the resolution could prevent materials for weapons programs and luxury goods from entering North Korea. There was this quote from John Bolton, who said, maybe will be a little diet for Kim Jong Il.
But, in truth, I mean, how -- how effective can these sanctions really be?
PONEMAN: I think the most important thing in what we're witnessing in the Security Council now is that the resolution come out clearly, firmly, unanimously, and that it send a clear signal to North Korea that the international community is unified.
I think, frankly, the sanctions themselves, in the first instance, could be some modest, and still be effective, if the message is clear, because they can always be made stronger.
COOPER: It -- it -- it's also questionable how much they can really weaken this regime. I mean, this is a regime in which two million people, you know, are starving to death, and -- and they don't really seem to care much about that.
PONEMAN: Well, the -- both aspects, Anderson, of what you just said are very important and -- and correct.
This is an autarkic regime. They are very self-sufficient. They don't care that much about what happens to the people. But what we do have is supplies coming from China of oil and food that, if curtailed, could really bring it to its knees, probably.
COOPER: And -- and a North Korean regime brought to its knees, does that create a vacuum of power, which is as dangerous or if not more dangerous than the current regime?
PONEMAN: Well, one might argue that the one thing more dangerous than Kim Jong Il with nuclear weapons is Kim Jong Il in a state of collapse with nuclear weapons. That's a good point.
However, I think that what you are hearing from the Chinese so far would suggest they are not prepared to push things that far.
COOPER: Daniel Poneman, appreciate your expertise. Thanks.
PONEMAN: Thank you.
COOPER: It's not just nuclear weapons.
Coming up, we are going to take a look at the daily terror that defines life in North Korea -- exclusive images smuggled out, at great risk, to those who smuggled out these pictures. We are going to show you Kim Jong Il's reign of terror and what happens to his enemies.
Also tonight, another bombshell -- with elections just around the corner, a congressman cops a plea, one more headache for Republicans. See how voters are reacting to Capitol corruption.
And 300 million Americans, a preview of our special report next week -- tonight, Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin joins to us talk about the uneasy coexistence between all those people and a world of wildlife -- all that and more ahead on 360.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Pictures of Kim Jong Il at a military parade -- the country is good at those kind of things. They're also good at scaring their neighbors.
North and South Korea are still technically at war. The truce that ended their hostilities back in 1953 was a cease-fire only, not a peace treaty. And now, along the border, tensions are as high as they have been in years. American troops and South Korean troops stare north along the demilitarized zone, and North Korean troops stare back. It is a mind game, in many ways, but a mind game with real and deadly consequences.
Martin Savidge reports.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): South Korean soldiers prepare for battle in the DMZ. It is a fight where the only weapon is a pair of eyes, and the only thing shot is a glance.
(on camera): The DMZ stretches 150 miles, separating north and south, but nowhere else do the two sides come as close as they do here in Panmunjom, literally separated only by inches, 16 inches of concrete.
(voice-over): Soldiers who serve on the southern side are handpicked to be imposing. The minimum height for Americans is 6 feet. South Koreans must be at least 5 feet 8 inches. That's 2 inches taller than average in their country.
South Korean guards stand in a martial arts stance, their bodies only half exposed to the north, making them less of a target. Across the way, the North Korean soldiers are said to be the best fed in a nation that has suffered years of famine, but a number of them still look gaunt and drawn. They often stand sideways, facing each other.
MAJOR JOHN RING, JOINT SECURITY BATTALION: The reason for that is, if one of those soldiers decides he wants to defect, the other soldier's duty is to shoot that soldier and prevent him from defecting.
SAVIDGE: Tensions rise during official meetings on the DMZ, as more guards come out. North Korean soldiers occupy a nearby building, which American soldiers have called the monkey house, referring to how the guards inside peek out.
U.S. officers suspect the building houses heavy weapons, which are outlawed under DMZ rules.
Looking for possible violations of the armistice is a favorite pastime of both sides here. Cameras sprout almost everywhere, adding eyes that never blink. The weather may change, but not the dangerous game.
American soldiers bring their own level of psychological warfare. Unlike the South Koreans, they prefer not to wear sunglasses to hide their eyes. They don't wear raincoats in the rain or winter coats in the snow, believing that projects weakness.
RING: It's almost a demonstration of your mental and physical toughness, always, out here.
SAVIDGE: Whether the American tactic earns North Korean respect isn't clear, but U.S. soldiers believe they have earned something else.
RING: I would say that, yes, they -- they hate us. You can see it in their eyes, when they look at us.
SAVIDGE: At Panmunjom, if looks could kill, the body count on both sides would be high.
Martin Savidge, CNN, in the DMZ.
COOPER: Well, the North Korean troops are trying to keep visitors out, but they're also trying to keep their own countrymen in. For ordinary North Koreans, life is harsh. Kim Jong Il rules by terror, as you are about to see.
We want to warn you, this next report from the CNN documentary "Inside the Secret State" is graphic.
Here's CNN's Frank Sesno.
FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): North Korea, March 2005, a crowd has been ordered to gather in an open field. A party official makes an announcement. Children have been brought to watch.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD (through translator): Mom. I want to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Just hold on, and let's watch them go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It looks scary.
SESNO: The sentence is about to be passed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): All the workers who came here today and the inhabitants of the nearby village are about to learn the punishment for these crimes.
SESNO: Three men are about to die.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): How stupid these criminals are. Kim Jong Il is great in comparison to these worthless criminals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Carry out the death sentence immediately! SESNO: These people have committed the crime most damaging to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il. They made contact with the outside world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They have been involved in the illegal act of aiding people to defect the country. They trafficked women across the border to China. We have to protect North Korea from the outside influence and build up a strong guard to keep these influences out.
SESNO: Three policemen step forward and raise their rifles. On the left, a prisoner is tied to a pole.
SESNO: This video was passed from person to person along a secret underground network, powerful evidence of public executions under the regime of Kim Jong Il.
COOPER: A rare look inside North Korea -- Frank Sesno reporting there on just one of a string of crises and headaches for the Bush administration. There's also Iraq, of course, and what our top ally, Britain, is now saying about getting out. A British general says our troops are making the security situation worse, not better. We will have details ahead.
And a congressman pleads guilty to -- well, takes a plea to corruption charges. What effect is yet another bad headline having on the GOP? We will take a look at that.
First, a break -- you are watching 360.
COOPER: An the unwelcome headline for Republicans: Ohio Congressman Bob Ney today pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a convicted ex-lobbyist who was once one of the most powerful men in Washington. Simply put, Ney allowed himself to be bought and sold.
CNN's Joe Johns has more on the congressman-turned-criminal.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On this Friday the 13th, the Republican Party has a slew of bad luck omens for the midterm elections. And like Jason from the movie, they just don't seem to go away.
Besides former Congressman Mark Foley, whose Internet chat logs with former pages are striking fear in the hearts of GOP candidates, the one who keeps coming back is Jack Abramoff, the fedora-wearing- lobbyist-turned-government-witness who is at the heart of a guilty plea today on corruption charges by disgraced Ohio Congressman Bob Ney. Court documents in the Ney case read like an attack ad writer's dream. He pleaded guilty to accepting trips worth $170,000, along with meals and concert tickets. He could face 27 months in prison and up to $60,000 in fines. In a statement, Ney blamed Abramoff and Washington.
"I never acted to enrich myself or to get things I shouldn't," he said. "But, over time, I allowed myself to get too comfortable with the way things have been done in Washington, D.C., for too long."
Ney's party wants him out.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What Congressman Ney did is not a reflection of the Republican Party. It's a reflection of Congressman Ney, and he ought to step down.
JOHNS: The Republican leadership pledged to expel Ney when Congress reconvenes in November. But that's not nearly the end of it. Jack Abramoff's reported ties to Republican Senator Conrad Burns of Montana have caused problems in his tight race for reelection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
NARRATOR: Conrad Burns, delivering for Jack Abramoff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: He has been charged with no crime, and gave back about $150,000 in donations he received from Abramoff and his associates.
Burns says he wasn't influenced by Abramoff, but, as recently as last night's debate, he was still defending himself on the issue.
SEN. CONRAD BURNS (R), MONTANA: You have been beating up on me for 18 months on Jack Abramoff. I broke no law.
JOHNS: The Montana race is said to be the only Senate race in the country where an incumbent is clearly threatened by alleged ties to Abramoff.
And some once firm House GOP districts, including the seat of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who resigned, are not so firm anymore either.
AMY WALTER, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE COOK POLITICAL REPORT": I think there has been collateral damage done in a number of House races, most specifically Tom DeLay's old seat and Bob Ney's old seat.
JOHNS: Republicans are trying to conjure up some bad luck for Democrats, hitting Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid for what the GOP calls a shady land deal. Reid has aggressively defended the deal, saying it was all above board and perfectly legal.
The story hasn't caught as much traction, partly because the GOP controls the Congress. And, if you think all this is scary, just remember, Halloween is still two weeks away. Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, and, tonight, Republican Jim Kolbe is reportedly the subject of an FBI investigation. Authorities are looking into one allegation involving the Arizona representative and a camping trip he took way back in 1996 with, among others, two male former congressional pages.
One person on the trip was told that CNN -- has told CNN that Kolbe was overly friendly with one of the pages. But that source says he saw no sexual activity. A Kolbe spokesman says the congressman is shocked and stunned by the allegations, and added that there is no basis or truth to any of them.
The stories appear to be hitting home with traditionally Republican voters. New polling today from Gallup shows Democrats now drawing even with Republicans among frequent churchgoing white voters, up 21 points since July.
Some perspective now from John Mercurio, senior editor of "The National Journal"'s "Hotline."
John, thanks for being with us.
JOHN MERCURIO, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE HOTLINE": Thank you.
COOPER: You know, Democrats really seizing on Ney's criminal actions to portray the Republican Party as a culture of corruption. How will Ney's legal troubles impact the elections, do you think?
MERCURIO: Well, you know, I really can't help note the irony that Bob Ney and this whole -- this whole Abramoff investigation and the scandal has been going on for almost two years.
It never really gained the traction that Democrats wanted it to gain, as they tried to -- to score points on this culture of corruption. The Mark Foley scandal has been going on for less than three weeks, and, yet, that's already having such a direct impact.
Republicans always are hurt worst by sex scandals, and not by scandals involving money. It's just the issue of hypocrisy when you talk about the sort of moral values party.
Democrats, on the other hand, are always hurt by scandals involving money, not by sex -- obviously, President Clinton surviving the -- the Monica Lewinsky thing.
Democrats, though, I think hitting Ney really hard on this issue, saying he needs to resign; he still accepts a congressional salary, and he needs to step down right now.
COOPER: Yes. It's surprising, I guess, that he has pled guilty, and, yet, has not resigned.
MERCURIO: Right. Exactly.
And I think that's why Republicans moved so quickly today. You just heard Tony Snow and the House Republican leadership saying he needs to step down right now, or we will take -- undertake the process of expelling him.
COOPER: Democrats, obviously, making a concerted effort to -- to score points on this Mark Foley scandal in various races across the country. Do -- do they risk going too far, I mean, of sort of overplaying their hand on this?
MERCURIO: This is an important hand. This is an important strategy that the -- that I think we're going to see, like you say, in several races.
But you're right. I think they do risk overplaying the strategy, much like the Republicans did in 1998, when they overplayed, as they now acknowledge, the Monica Lewinsky -- the story about the president and his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
So sure, I think there are certain legitimate issues to be raised about Republicans and Democrats in terms of personal issues. There's a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, Don Sherwood, who's admitted an extramarital affair and is now struggling to hold onto his seat.
But yes, a backlash is something I think Democrats really need to be careful about.
COOPER: Republicans also now seem to be kind of shifting, concentrating resources on a few races, trying to preserve the majority standing in Congress. Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, as well. Is that going to work?
MERCURIO: Well, I think that's what we need to do. The Senate has always been less attainable for Democrats, and I think what they're trying to do, as you say, is to put up this firewall in certain states so that Democrats can't get to that six-seat gain that they need to take back the Senate.
What that points out, though, is something that's extremely important going into the last 25 days of this election, and that's the financial advantage that Republicans have traditionally and still enjoy in this election year. And that is a tremendous advantage for them both in the House and the Senate.
COOPER: All right. We'll see if it works. John, appreciate it. Thanks.
MERCURIO: Thank you.
COOPER: John Mercurio.
Congressional scandals aren't the only thing, of course, worrying Republicans. There's a new voice calling for bringing the troops home. That voice is Britain's top general. A live report from Iraq on what he said and the implications of it.
And later, John Walsh from "America's Most Wanted" and I look into the FBI's mystery case files. A 360 special report. That comes up at the top of the hour in about half an hour. Stay tuned.
COOPER: More troupe tonight for the White House on Iraq. Britain's top general quoted in a London tabloid saying that his troops should leave Iraq soon, because their presence is only making the situation worse. He is now -- worse, I should say.
He's now edging away from those precise words, but really not from behind the sentiment.
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GEN. RICHARD DANNATT, BRITISH ARMY CHIEF: We don't want to be there forever. We have been there for three and a half years. Three and a half years ago, we had some 27,000, 30,000 soldiers there. We're now down to 7,500.
And in deed, in southeast Iraq, which the British are responsible for, there are four provinces. We've also handed two of those provinces over to Iraqi control, and the third province we're well on the way to. So we're going in the right direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Obviously, a little bit of a different tune. CNN's Michael Ware has been spending time lately with British forces. He joins us tonight live from Basra.
Michael, the British general that we just saw, Richard Dannatt, said that foreign troop presence in Iraq is basically exacerbating the security situation.
Is that a common perception among British commanders on the ground?
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it's certainly clear from hear in southern Iraq with the British forces that General Dannatt is not alone in his concerns.
There is a belief among some officers that the mere presence of British forces real in southern Iraq is inciting attacks. In Maysan province, where much British blood has been spilled, and where six royal military police officers were executed by a Shia militia in 2003, a battle group was garrisoned in the main town.
Now, in five months that camp was hit by 281 mortars, prompting the battle group commander to empty the garrison and disburse his forces into the desert.
Now, speaking days before General Dannatt went public with his concerns, the battle group commander said that one of the major reasons for his decision to empty the camp was that the base had become a magnet for attacks.
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LT. COL. DAVID LABOUCHERE, QUEENS ROYAL HUSSARS: We were a constant reminder of everything that the locals had decided was bad about the British, and, therefore, there were lots of people queuing up -- in their lack of a job, et cetera, they were always available -- to have a go at the British.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARE: So on the ground here General Dannatt is reflecting the concerns of some of his officers. Indeed, a senior British diplomat this evening highlighted to me the political factions here in southern Iraq gain traction and credibility on the street from their strikes against British forces.
Now, while there's no suggestion that the troops should leave now from military and diplomatic officers, there are invitations that that time for departure may be coming sooner than many people think -- Anderson.
COOPER: Michael, you've also spent, probably, more time with U.S. troops on the ground than just about any reporter I know. What about U.S. commanders? Did they believe? I mean, the ones you talked to on the record, off of the record believe that their presence is making this situation worse?
WARE: by and large, American commanders that I speak to find that their presence here is a necessity. That there's simply no way around it, No matter how ugly the reality is.
However, that concern that the presence of American troops is, in fact, inflaming violence, has been echoed by some of these commanders. So they're not ignorant to the fact that the presence of American troops also helps to contribute to the cycle of violence, Anderson.
COOPER: You're embedded with British forces right now in Basra, and people used to point to Basra as a success story, a place of relative calm. What's it like now?
WARE: Well, right now this is an extremely hostile environment for the British troops. In just 24 hours that we spent over the past several days, there was seven attacks on British bases in the city itself.
That's from small arms fire, from an IED roadside explosion on a passing vehicle, to mortar and 107 millimeter rocket attacks, the Katyushas, on the British bases and their compound. The Brits have to go out heavily armed, armored, whenever they leave their perimeters. Anderson.
COOPER: Michael Ware, stay safe. Michael in Basra tonight.
While Britain and the U.S. debate when and whether to pull troops out of Iraq, a striking number of Iraqis have already left on their own. Here's the raw data.
The United Nations estimates that more than a million Iraqis have fled to neighboring countries in recent years. Of those who stayed behind, 1.5 million are internally displaced because of the violence.
Here is some more raw data for you: 300 million Americans. With the country about to hit that milestone, how is that affecting wildlife and humans alike? We'll take a look at that, coming up next.
COOPER: Well, if the U.S. Census Bureau is right, the population of this country is going to reach a staggering 300 million by Tuesday, Tuesday morning, to be precise. That's 100 million more Americans in just the last 39 years alone.
Next week we're going be looking at the many ways that this number, 300 million, is changing lives. And not just human lives either.
COOPER (voice-over): It is a cascade effect.
JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE EXPERT: As the human population of our species increases over the next few decades and we create more energy to sustain our needs and, you know, the temperature around the world increases over time, it's having a dramatic effect.
COOPER: Not only on humans, says wildlife expert Jeff Corwin, but a population of 300 million and growing in the U.S. also puts intense pressures on complicated wildlife relationships.
CORWIN: The insects come up, because it's warmer a month before the birds do. The birds arrive hungry after flying thousands of miles, and their food source is gone. So we'll start seeing mass extinctions in areas like that.
COOPER: Corwin also says we're quickly expanding into natural places.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope you've got a shotgun. There he is.
COOPER: Where only animals and plants live.
CORWIN: We're competing for the same resources, whether that's territory or habitat or water or air or food.
COOPER: People can adapt to more people and warmer temperatures, but most animals can't.
CORWIN: Polar bears don't say, "Gee, the world is going to be a little warmer. Let's find out a way to sort of, you know, pull out the shag so I'm not overheating and find alternatives to a loss of ice to hunt on." They'll pay the price.
COOPER: And naturally so many people in so many more places means a lot of unplanned close encounters.
But as people push animals out, animals have to go somewhere. The loss of habitat and global warming, together with pollution and spread of disease, all made worse by human population growth, have already caused the extinction of many species.
CORWIN: Today in the United States we have at least 900 species of wildlife that are critically endangered. They're federally recognized as endangered species.
COOPER: The birds, the plants, the animals, insects, clean air, clean water, all delicately connected, and when a species disappears, critical links with broken.
Before long, we may be asking ourselves, how did this happen on our watch?
CORWIN: We're not just punishing ourselves, we're punishing the next generation to come.
COOPER: As 300 million of us chip away at the natural habitat, some animals are learning to adapt. But some aren't doing as well. Coming up, more from wildlife expert Jeff Corwin and the survival skills for both animals and people.
And remember this bizarre scene: a delivery man with a bomb strapped to his body? Who killed him and why? Tonight we look at the FBI's mystery case file for the infamous crimes that still haven't been solved. John Walsh joins us for that.
COOPER: We heard a bit before the break from wildlife expert Jeff Corwin on the uneasy new balance between the wildlife and the human population, about to hit 300 million Americans.
He joined me again earlier tonight. We started off talking about eagles.
COOPER: So these are some of the animals whose habitat is being threatened by the increasing population. This is a golden eagle?
CORWIN: It is a golden eagle. And of course...
CORWIN: Absolutely gorgeous creature. This is a male. This represents a creature with an uncertain future.
COOPER: Where do they live?
CORWIN: Well, these animals are quite adaptive. They can take on all sorts of habitat, from forested areas to semi-desert areas to plains and savanna-like habitat, but these creatures require a tremendous amount of space. And an animal like this is consuming upwards to eight, 10 pounds of food every week, needs a large home range.
And really up into the early parts of the 1920s and '30s, these animals were shot to the point of near extinction.
These are our baby puma, our baby mountain lion. They're just a few weeks in age, but what they share in common is that they're very, very large creatures, and both this species and the eagle require a huge home range. You can find these animals from Florida to California.
COOPER: Even now? They are...
CORWIN: Even now. Of course, we're having a problem now where, oh, probably five, six, seven times a year throughout the United States someone is injured by a creature like this, by a mountain lion.
And more often than not it comes to direct competition where animals like this are losing their habitat, being forced to go into the human environment, crisscross their paths with human beings, and that's where trouble can take place.
This is an alligator snapping turtle. It is the largest fresh water turtle in North America. It gets up to 250 pounds.
COOPER: Wow. How big is that one, do you think?
CORWIN: This guy is about 25 pounds.
You can see how it would perfectly blend in with rotten debris at the bottom of the water. Despite his amazing ability to survive, time tested, this creature is disappearing. It's an animal that's heavily hunted for food.
The American alligator was on the brink of extinction. Nearly wiped away, but because of good conservation -- you can hold him.
COOPER: That's all right.
CORWIN: You sure? Because of good conservation they've made an extraordinary comeback. I mean, they were reduced to the fews of thousands. And today, there's well over a million of these animals living throughout the southeastern habitat.
COOPER: They were reduced because of hunting?
CORWIN: Two things. Habitat loss, hunting, vilification. People just killing them out of ignorance or fear in some cases. And also, the pet trade.
COOPER: There are stories of alligators attacking people. You hear that all the time, especially down in Florida. How much of a reality is that? CORWIN: Well, it is a reality. It is a possibility. This is a wild animal.
COOPER: You talk about encroaching habitat and people want, you know, a lakeside house, and you know, that's their habitat.
CORWIN: And that's exactly the issue. Each month 4,000 people relocate to Florida, so when human beings invade that habitat, we risk the chance of having a situation where we could be injured.
Now, the reality is that millions and millions of people encounter alligators every year with very few problems. Since we've been reporting alligator attacks, less than 17 fatalities have ever occurred between human beings and alligators, but it can happen.
COOPER: So what's the lesson of all this? You know, all these animals that we've seen.
CORWIN: Well, ultimately the lesson is, is that our survival is very much dependent upon the success of creatures like this.
And even beyond that, there's the aesthetic loss. Without having this incredible biodiversity, I mean, alligators, there's only two species of alligators on the planet. Twenty-two crocodilian species, but only two alligators. One is Chinese. Almost gone. And the American alligator, you know, an amazing part of our natural history. To lose that what does it say about us as stewards of our resources?
COOPER: Jeff, thanks.
CORWIN: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, we're going to have our animal "Shot of the Day" shortly. An elephant hits the campaign trail, but, first, Erica Hill from Headline News has a 360 bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, the Pentagon is disputing a coroner's ruling that says American forces deliberately killed a British journalist at the start of the Iraq war.
A British coroner today concluded Terry Lloyd was injured in the crossfire between U.S. and Iraqi forces but died later after U.S. soldiers shot him in the head. The Pentagon says American troops followed all applicable rules of engagement.
In Vermont tonight police in Burlington questioning a man in connection with the disappearance and killing of a college student. Investigators say 21-year-old Michelle Gardner-Quinn vanished over the weekend. She was last seen walking back to her dorm after a night of bar hopping with friends. Her body was recovered today.
And on Wall Street another record day for the Dow. The blue chips moving closer to that 12,000 mark, closing the day at 11,960, up 12. The NASDAQ tacked on nearly 11. The S&P basically flat, but still managed to add on two before the week.
COOPER: Are you feeling the excitement on that, Erica?
HILL: On the Dow?
HILL: I'm just beside myself. I mean, I'm constantly checking all day long.
COOPER: I know. I'm looking to see how my gummy bear futures are doing.
Let's check out "The Shot" today. A really big campaign stunt down in Texas. I mean, we've all seen campaign stunts. This is that guy Raj from "The Apprentice".
COOPER: "The Apprentice" reject. He's now a congressional candidate, and he rides an elephant across the Rio Grande -- or around the Rio Grande.
COOPER: Yes. And he had a mariachi band on hand. He's running for a congressional seat in Pennsylvania. And I guess...
HILL: So of course he would go to the Rio -- Rio Grande, running in Pennsylvania. Because the Schuylkill was busy?
COOPER: Exactly, yes. Clearly he is running, you know, trying to talk about border security, the last border security, and he decided to ride around on the elephant and have the mariachi band.
HILL: It's amazing how many elephants are getting through these days. In fact, I think that's really what we should be focusing on. Elephants.
COOPER: I know. Yes. Lou Dobbs is going to have a special on it next week.
HILL: Look forward to it.
COOPER: All right. Erica, thanks.
HILL: See you later.
COOPER: Stay tuned for that.
Serious stuff up next. Serious and frankly fascinating. Unsolved mysteries, a look inside the FBI's mystery case files with John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted". That's a 360 special coming up next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" joins me for a look at crime from the FBI's mystery case files. A 360 special next.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome to this special edition of 360. The FBI's mystery case files. They haunt those left behind, both the families of the victims and the FBI agents determined to solve them.
ANNOUNCER: Little girl lost.
PATSY RAMSEY, JONBENET RAMSEY'S MOTHER: If I were a resident of Boulder, I would tell my friends to keep -- keep your babies close to you.
ANNOUNCER: A cold case they thought they'd solved.
JOHN MARK KARR, CONFESSED TO KILLING JONBENET RAMSEY: I love JonBenet. She died accidentally.
ANNOUNCER: But the D.A. had the wrong guy. Now what?
A pizza delivery man caught robbing a bank.
GRAPHIC: Can you please take these handcuffs off?
ANNOUNCER: That's what he said just before the bomb around his neck blew up. Was he an accomplice to the crime or the victim of a deadly game?
And burglars with a taste for high end jewelry and low tech weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've done things like threw liquid soap in front of the security guard.
ANNOUNCER: Robbers as slippery as soap. They've made off with millions. Why they're so hard to catch.
Across the country, and around the world, this is a special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360: "FBI's Mystery Case Files". Reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: In the blunt language of police work, they're called cold cases. And though the FBI insists most are open and active, the reality is that many investigations have simply run out of leads and hit a wall.
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