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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Guardsmen Arrested; Border Drowning; Gaza Meltdown; Deadly Mission; Campus Killers; Hospital Death; Honor Killings; Little Kids, Giant Steps
Aired June 13, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): (UNINTELLIGIBLE), who worked the border region in El Paso. He's seen cartels and smugglers recruit young enforcement agents looking for fast cash.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they can do the same thing that we do to them. Put somebody undercover to see if the guy will bite.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Having an audio difficulty there.
So we want to go right back again now and try again with Ed Lavandera's piece on these three National Guardsmen accused of helping smuggle immigrants -- illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.
LAVANDERA: Sgt. Julio Pacheco, a decorated Iraq War veteran, from a family of eight children. His attorney describes the family as humble and poor. They live in a wood frame house.
PHIL JORDAN, FORMER DEA SPECIAL AGENT: There would be a guy that they would, you know, test or try to recruit.
LAVANDERA: Phil Jordan is a former DEA special agent who worked the border region in El Paso. He's seen cartels and smugglers recruit young enforcement agents looking for fast cash.
JORDAN: They can do the same thing that we do to them -- put somebody undercover to see if the guy will bite.
LAVANDERA: At this point, there's no evidence that Pacheco and two other National Guard soldiers were working for Mexican smugglers, but federal investigators say Pacheco, Private Jose Torres and Sergeant Clarence Hodge smuggled illegal immigrants on eight different occasions.
This criminal complaint alleges Torres organized the moving of illegal immigrants pass border checkpoints. Pacheco allegedly sent this cell phone text message to Torres last week. "We need to take 24 people to make that happen and you will get $3,500, does that sound good?" Torres allegedly replied back, "24 will be tuff 2 fit but I'll try."
Pacheco's attorney says he's not guilty.
(on camera): The Department of Homeland Security reports that since 2004, there have been about 280 corruption investigations of federal agents along the U.S./Mexico border. Last year, there were 66 cases. So far this year, there have already been 52.
(voice-over): These two Border Patrol agents were paid $186,000 in bribes to help smuggle people into southern California. They pleaded guilty and were sentenced to six years in prison.
And this Customs agent pleaded guilty to allowing hundreds of illegal immigrants to drive through his checkpoint. In exchange, he was paid almost $70,000 and given a Lexus.
Federal officials say these cases are not the norm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a regrettable and fortunately rare fact of life in law enforcement that every once in a while, policemen or National Guardsmen or someone else winds up getting corrupted.
LAVANDERA: But Phil Jordan says it only takes one corrupt agent to allow a potential terrorist into the country.
JORDAN: There's no greater government to work for than the United States government. So when these guys sell out, I mean, we've got a problem because that's our first line of defense.
LAVANDERA: Which makes the accusations against soldiers like Pacheco, Torres and Hodge all that much more disturbing.
KING: And Ed Lavandera is Dallas tonight.
Ed, you mentioned in your story these cartels recruiting American law enforcement agents. Tell us about the tactics they use.
LAVANDERA: It was rather surprising what they have done. There are a number of agents across the border that we've talked to who say that these agents -- as you heard Phil Jordan mention in that piece, they're essentially using the same tactics that U.S. agencies are using against them.
So it's not uncommon for these agents on this side to say that we're followed. They know what time we leave for work, what time we come home, which bars we hang out, where we hang out with our kids, which parks we go to, and all in the essence of trying to perhaps catch someone in a compromising situation so they can hang that over their head or just trying to figure out who might be vulnerable. And as Phil Jordan said, once you work for them once, they own you.
KING: Remarkable story. Remarkable reporting. Ed Lavandera, thank you.
KING: The three accused Guardsmen were working on the border as part of Operation Jump Start. Here's the raw data on the program.
It was started by President Bush on May 15 last year. The goal? Secure the border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The force? Roughly 6,000 National Guard troops for two years.
Over the same period, the Border Patrol plans to add 6,000 agents. And since Operation Jump Start began, nearly 1 million illegal immigrants have been caught along the U.S./Mexico border.
The act of crossing the border takes many forms and it often involves difficult choices both for those trying to enter the United States and the agents trying to stop them. Those choices can have deadly consequences.
Here are two stories and two polar opposite outcomes from Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have three that came out of that 1414. 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, CROSSED RIO GRANDE INTO U.S. (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 23, 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 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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (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.
MESERVE: The Border Patrol's own infrared cameras captured the women's struggle. Eventually, they disappeared beneath the water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (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.
ASST. CHIEF ALAN LANGFORD, U.S. BORDER PATROL: There was no findings of misconduct. There's -- to the best of my knowledge, it's been presented to the U.S. attorney, and he declined prosecution.
MESERVE: Ismael's father sued for $320 million. The government settled for a lesser undisclosed amount. Lawyers are expected to file for court approval this week.
(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.
(voice-over): Border Patrol Agent Daryl Lee was on patrol in February of 2006 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 if -- 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.
KING: And now to a troubling day in the Middle East. About 150,000 American troops already sitting on a powder keg and someone may have just lit the fuse again. And that's just the latest bombing in Iraq. There's also political murder by bombing in Lebanon.
And as CNN's Ben Wedeman tells us, what amounts to a civil war among Palestinians.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gunmen mark their territory, strutting into the main square of the West Bank city of Nablus. And letting loose with a deafening volley of machine gun fire.
These militants from the Fatah movement's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) martyrs brigade say this is their turf and Hamas had better stay away.
With factional fighting racking Gaza, fears are growing that violence will spread here.
If we have to fight, we'll fight, says brigade leader Abud Akubi (ph). We don't want to, but we'll fight to protect ourselves.
Fatah has warned that if Hamas's Gaza offensive continues, it will pay the price of the West Bank.
(on camera): If Fatah does move against Hamas in the West Bank, it's already got the upper hand. Israel has jailed most of the group's civilian leadership. And the military leadership is deep underground.
(voice-over): Soon after flexing their muscles, Fatah gunmen went into action. Besieging the offices of a Hamas-run television station. And arresting its staff. Then exchanging fire with their Hamas foes.
Caught in the middle of this power struggle is most of the population of Nablus, the biggest city in the West Bank. Despite the looming specter of civil war spreading here, the old city's market is busy. But there are worries Gaza's decline into anarchy is a symptom of the collapse of the Palestinian authority.
The problem is the security services don't obey the government any more, says shopkeeper Ahman Salem (ph). They only answer to a few people.
This, combined with a feeling of hopelessness from people who can only watch while gunmen shatter their dreams.
The two sides are fighting for the throne, says the vendor Abu Mohammad (ph). And we, the people, are the ones who lose.
The men with the guns, however, probably aren't taking that into account.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, Nablus on the West Bank.
KING: And joining us now to discuss more about the troubles in the Middle East, Ben Wedeman in Jerusalem, CNN's Brett Sadler in Beirut, and CNN's Hala Gorani in Baghdad.
Ben, I want to start with you. Given what you've just reported in that piece there, is the Palestinian authority as we have known it simply dead? Is there any way to resurrect this unity government?
WEDEMAN (on camera): It's not dead, but it's basically going to be split, John, into two parts, one dominated by Hamas in Gaza, the other dominated by Fatah in the West Bank.
Now, this clearly is a prescription for even more instability, and the feeling here is that things are simply just going to get worse as these twos factions possibly spread their fight from Gaza to the West Bank -- John.
KING: And Hala, Ben talks about things possibly and most likely getting worse in Gaza and the Palestinian territories. You have the attack again one of the most sacred Shiite sites in Samarra. Are we seeing potentially a major escalation of sectarian violence there?
HALA GORANI: Potentially we are. Right now major cities in Iraq are under a curfew. So the question is, once this curfew is lifted, what will happen.
We remember what happened 16 months ago when that same mosque was damaged, that golden dome of the Samarra mosque was destroyed.
Now, there is a question as well as to what this will do politically. Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric, withdrew 30 of his loyalists from parliament. So this is weakening the government and this is making the passage of major benchmark laws a lot harder. And this is not good news as well for the Americans.
KING: And so Brent, a weakening government in Baghdad, a troubled Palestinian authority in the Palestinian territories and now an attack on an anti-Syrian lawmaker in Beirut. Yet another attack on an anti-Syrian lawmaker in Beirut. What is the fate of the Signora government backed by the United States at this point?
BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, John, this was the sixth Lebanese MP to be killed in the past two years, another massive blast shook the Lebanese capital. This means that the very politically divided politics in Lebanon essentially between the anti-Syrians led by the Signora government backed by the United States are up against those that are supported by Syria and Iran.
That opposition is led by Hezbollah. At the same time this political divide, it's been fueled by increased tension here and increased violence. That is inflaming anti-Syrian criticism inside this country by the politicians such as Walid Eido who was killed.
It is getting critically dangerous here on multiple fronts, and there are many, many concerns that this escalating situation will lead to more loss of life and bring in more parts of the country -- John.
KING: And Brent, have you been in the region for so long. You know it as well as anyone. Connect the dots if they can be connected to what you're seeing happen in the Palestinian territories, what is happening in Iraq right now and what is happening on the streets of Beirut where you are.
SADLER: Well, John, they can be connected in the sense that U.S. policy is now under assault in three battlefields. Inside Iraq for the past four years, now in Ramallah and Gaza on the Palestinian Israeli tract and in increasing ways here in Lebanon.
Let's not forget the Lebanese army is embroiled in a vicious bloody battle to the death against extremists holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp in the North.
Also, we're seeing a series of bomb attacks over the past four weeks here in many parts of Lebanon. This latest one was the latest attack against the anti-Syrian opposition. Syria denies all involvement in all this violence, but its (UNINTELLIGIBLE) opponents here by America say it is the hands of Syria supported by Iran that's behind all this -- John.
KING: And Ben, as you listen to Brent describe what people in the region say is a failure of U.S. policy, what are people in the region saying the United States must and should do now?
WEDEMAN: Many people I've spoken with seem to agree that it's diplomacy that's need. This administration isn't very good at diplomacy. They won't talk to Hamas. They won't talk to Iran. They won't talk to Syria.
But really, the alternative to old style fairly boring diplomacy is clearly not working. They say the United States has simply got to give up grand schemes for bringing democracy to the region or changing regimes. They've just got to start talking to everyone, enemies as well as friends -- John.
KING: And Hala, help us if you can understand the mixed message of Muqtada al-Sadr.
On the one hand, after this bombing of the sacred Shiite site, he says do not have violence in the street. And yet in his next breath, he criticizes and says it's all because of the hand, if you will, of the occupying U.S. forces.
What do we expect of Muqtada al-Sadr?
GORANI: Well, he is squarely putting the blame on the coalition forces, on Americans. As you mentioned, the invisible hand of the occupier saying that either directly or indirectly it is the Americans that are responsible for what happened in Samarra.
Now, on a regional basis, if I can add something, this Iraq War, one of the issues is how much it is exacerbated some of the other conflicts around Iraq.
These three conflicts -- because of all the actors in Gaza, in Lebanon, in Iraq that have a hand or interests in it, is really exacerbating a situation across the regions. So these conflicts are separate, but they're related. Solving one without solving the others is becoming increasingly difficult -- John.
KING: Hala Gorani in Baghdad, Ben Wedeman in Jerusalem, Brent Sadler in Beirut, bringing perspective to you from the region as only CNN can. Thank all three of you very much.
And still ahead, hear from the Navy SEAL who went into the battle in Afghanistan outnumbered 150 to four. He's the only survivor and now he's telling his remarkable tale. You'll hear it next.
Also tonight, these stories.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING (voice-over): You're supposed to get better at the hospital. They're supposed to help you in the emergency room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife is dying, and the nurses don't want to help her out.
KING: A woman died. The hospital's under fire. The story generating national outrage.
You've seen the pictures from a world away. Parents killing daughters, brothers killing sisters. Cold-blooded murder in the perverted name of pride and honor. Now it's happening closer to home. Honor killings in the West, ahead on 360.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICHOLAS BURNS, UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE: As General Pete Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said about six weeks ago, that the Iranians had been transferring arms to the Taliban inside Afghanistan. Some of those arms shipments have been intercepted by NATO forces.
It's quite surprising because as you remember, the Iranians had said they were the mortal enemies of the Taliban in 2001 and 2002. But there's irrefutable evidence the Iranians are now doing this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Nicholas Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs on what he calls irrefutable evidence that Iran is supplying arms to the Taliban.
The hard line Islamic militia has been battling U.S. and NATO forces since less than a month after 9/11 almost six years ago.
During that time, almost 400 U.S. service personnel have died in Afghanistan.
Among them, members of a four-man Navy SEAL team dropped into a remote area of Afghanistan, only to be met by an overwhelming force of Taliban and al Qaeda.
The story of their heroic battle against overwhelming odds is told in a book just out titled, "Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Red Wing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team Ten."
Joining me now, that lone survivor, the author of that book, Marcus Luttrell.
KING: I want to go back to the beginning. It's June 2005, Operation Red Wing drops you in northeastern Afghanistan, deep in al Qaeda territory. Describe your mission.
MARCUS LUTTRELL, AUTHOR, "LONE SURVIVOR": Early in the night, we moved about four clicks in to overlook a village where a suspected HBT close to bin Laden was being held up. We were going to be in for about 40 -- 24 to 48, even possibly 72 hours to watch this guy and then call in for reinforcements if anything happened.
KING: And while you were waiting, you encounter some Afghan civilians -- a farmer, a teenage boy. About an hour after you release them, you come under attack. What happened?
LUTTRELL: The 100 plus Taliban soldiers walked up on top of us and down our flanks. And then I took the initial shot. After we had located them -- actually, our lieutenant is the one who spotted them first. And then the gunfight ensued.
KING: And it's four guys fighting 100 Taliban soldiers. Describe the battle.
LUTTRELL: Intense. I really can't -- horrific, fun, exciting, exhilarating. In the beginning it was everything that a frogman dreams of. There was four of us, so that means that there was more of them, four of us. So it didn't get bad until we started losing guys.
I guess the initial volley lasted about five minutes on top of that ridge. And then Mike had gave the call to fall back. When we did, the terrain was so steep that we didn't have an option to walk down or crawl down or even advance towards the ambush. That's normal protocol is to advance towards the ambush, but there were so many of them. Every time we would kill somebody up on top of the hill, another one would fill his place.
The way it seemed to work out is every time I'd put my foot down and take one step to the left, someone would follow behind me and take one step to the right and get shot.
Each one of the guys on the team were shot multiple times. I just started crawling to the nearest military base, which was about nine clicks away. And I crawled about four clicks, well into the next day.
And then I got shot again by three more guys. That firefight ensued. They chased me for about another mile. That ended in my favor, obviously, because I'm still sitting here, and then I crawled another three and a half miles till I finally found some water. It was overwhelming.
Every time I decided I needed to sit down and just wait a second, you know, I'd get back up and keep moving.
KING: You run into these villagers, and you wrote in your book what's going through your mind at the time. You're thinking, "What about all the death there had been in these mountains? What if these guys had lost sons, brothers, fathers, or cousins in the battle against the SEALS? How would they feel about me, an armed, uniformed member of the U.S. military staging various gun battles, blowing Afghanis up on their very own tribal land?" You're thinking that. How did they treat you?
LUTTRELL: Right off the bat, they treated me with respect and dignity and they didn't bring me any harm. I told them that I had been shot and that I needed a doctor. So they picked me up and carried me down to their village.
KING: So you're staying in the village and you learn about this ancient Pastun (ph) custom, a 2000-year old tribal law which says a wounded traveler rescued by this tribe in this village will be protected. Tell us about that.
LUTTRELL: That is the custom. Once I asked for help and they took me in, that no matter what, it's their -- it's a 2000-year-old tradition, you know. They weren't going to give me up. And if the Taliban wanted me, they were going to have to fight for me.
And it was amazing. I mean, I would look out -- they'd transfer me from house to house. And I would look up in the trees and there would be, you know, the villagers with AKs, you know, and bottles of water up there just standing guard.
KING: Even to the point where the Taliban leader sends a note into the village saying either you hand over the American or every member of your family will be killed. What did that tell you about the people who were protecting you? LUTTRELL: That that was the most amazing thing I've ever -- I've ever witnessed. It's just the fact that they would put their whole village, their wives, their sons, their daughters, you know, all their lives on the line just to protect me because I asked for it says a lot about their culture.
I mean, that was a hard lesson learned for me. I mean, I went over there with one agenda and that was to kill everybody who had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. And here in the middle of all that, and all that hatred, you know, after they had killed my buddies and everything, I wander into a village that was sympathetic to the coalition forces. It's -- am lucky? Yes, I am lucky.
KING: Marcus Luttrell, a fascinating book and a fascinating story. Thank you very much for your time.
LUTTRELL: Yes, thank you.
KING: Just ahead on 360, nearly two months after the Virginia Tech massacre, new findings on how troubled students slip through the cracks.
Plus, a leap of faith and a new language. One kindergarten pushing the envelope on globalization.
KING: The hunt is on tonight for a gunman who opened fire in a mall parking lot, injuring a woman he had been accused of stalking and killing her father. It happened in Columbia, South Carolina. Police say the gunman was out on bail on the stalking charge when he confronted the woman and her father and then opened fire. The father died at the scene. The 21-year-old suspected shooter was last seen driving away in a green Honda Accord.
A federal report commissioned after the Virginia Tech killings was released today, and its conclusions are sobering. It found that confusion over complicated privacy laws is a serious obstacle to preventing the kind of violence that devastated Virginia Tech back in April.
The report calls for new federal guidelines to clarify just how information can be shared legally under privacy laws. Until that happens, the report says, troubled students like the Virginia Tech shooter will likely continue to fall through the cracks.
Here's CNN's Randi Kaye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a sniper on the university tower firing at will.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was our initiation into campus shootings. Charles Whitman, the University of Texas tower shooter. August 1, 1966, he fired for more than 90 minutes. In the end, 16 were dead. Dozens injured. Why after more than four decades are scenes like this one still playing out?
KRIS MOHANDIE, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: We still have places where there are pockets of denial and it's in those circumstances that we find the conditions coming together, the perfect storm to allow somebody to slip through multiple cracks.
KAYE: Forensic Psychologist Kris Mohandie has studied campus mass murderers. He says Whitman told his school counselor he fantasized about climbing up the tower with a deer rifle and picking people off.
Mohandie says at least two-thirds of these incidents involve what he calls a leakage of fantasy life.
(on camera): That's right in line with an investigation just released by "USA Today." The newspaper analyzed 110 college campus murders since 1991 and found in at least 15 of the cases, the killer showed signs of being a danger.
So why aren't they being stopped? About once a year, the paper found, a campus murder is committed after administrators fail to act when warned about threats.
(voice-over): Like in the case of Virginia Tech shooter Seung- Hui Cho. His own professors warned administrators he was a danger. One even refused to continue teaching him.
Cho had imaginary girlfriend named Jelly and called himself Question Mark before he suddenly slaughtered 32 and took his own life.
MOHANDIE: What is extraordinary is that we -- that we see these patterns repeating themselves where we know better. We know that we need to make sure that a person who is found dangerous to himself cannot legally purchase a firearm. Let's not make it easy for him.
We know that if you have somebody that's spooking other students on campus, that he needs to be dealt with.
KAYE: About a third of campus killers analyzed by "USA Today" had recently experienced some form of rejection. From a girlfriend or a faculty member who gave them a bad grade.
Like San Diego University graduate student Frederick Davidson. In August 1996, he fatally shot three professors from the committee that reviewed his master's thesis.
MOHANDIE: Obviously fit the bill in terms of being depressed, a bit paranoid, feeling like he was being victimized by his committee.
KAYE: Davidson pleaded guilty and is serving life in prison.
MOHANDIE: They do not have the coping skills to deal with normal life events. They overreact to them, and it punctures their inflated sense of pride, their grandiosity, their narcissism, and they believe that they're justified to strike back in order to settle the score.
KAYE: A warrior mentality that not even bells and whistles seem to be able to stop.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
KING: In Washington, the House of Representatives passed a bill drafted in response to the Virginia Tech killings. That measure would fix flaws in the national gun background check system that allowed Seung-Hui Cho to buy weapons despite his mental health problems.
The National Rifle Association, which usually opposes gun control laws, has endorsed that bill and it's expected now to pass the Senate.
Still ahead, an old world tradition endures, taking a deadly toll on young Muslim women.
Plus, a hospital with a terrible track record. A dying patient and her desperate family. A call to 911 ignored. Ahead on 360.
KING: You'll hear a 911 call in just a minute, made as a woman lay dying and no one did anything to help her. Her death has touched off a national outcry over what happened and especially where it happened.
Here's CNN's Ted Rowlands.
CALLER: My wife is dying.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): By the time her frantic boyfriend called 911 through an interpreter, Edith Rodriguez was on the floor in agony.
DISPATCHER: What do you mean, she's dying?
CALLER: She's vomiting blood.
ROWLANDS: Her boyfriend begged for help. But, to the 911 dispatcher, that request didn't compute, because Edith was already in a hospital.
DISPATCHER: Why aren't they helping her?
CALLER: They're watching her -- they're watching her there and they're not doing anything. They're just watching her.
ROWLANDS: Witnesses say Edith Rodriguez collapsed on the floor of the emergency room at Martin Luther King Jr. Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles. Hospital staff, they say, didn't lift a finger to help, something the 911 dispatcher found hard to believe. DISPATCHER: Paramedics are not going to pick him up or pick his wife up from a hospital because she's already at one.
ROWLANDS: Eight minutes later, another call comes in to the same 911 center from someone else at the hospital.
DISPATCHER: What's your emergency?
CALLER: There's a lady on the -- on the ground here in the emergency room at Martin Luther King.
DISPATCHER: What would you want me to do for you, ma'am?
CALLER: Send an ambulance out here to take her somewhere where she can get medical help.
DISPATCHER: OK, you're at the -- you're at the hospital, ma'am. You have to contact them.
CALLER: They have -- they have a problem. They won't help her.
DISPATCHER: Well, you know, they're -- they're the medical professionals, OK? You're already at a hospital. This line is for emergency purposes only. This -- 911 is used for emergency purposes only.
CALLER: This is an emergency, mister.
DISPATCHER: It's not an emergency. It is not an emergency, ma'am.
CALLER: It is.
DISPATCHER: It is not an emergency.
CALLER: You have to see how they are treating her.
DISPATCHER: OK. Well, that's not a criminal thing. You understand what I'm saying? We handle...
CALLER: Excuse me. If this woman (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and dies, what do you mean this is not a criminal thing?
ROWLANDS: Less than a half-hour later, Edith Rodriguez was dead. Her siblings say they are furious that their sister wasn't given the help that she needed.
EDDIE SANCHEZ, BROTHER: You go there to get help, and nothing happens. It's like, you get ignored, like -- like if you're nobody.
CARMEN RODRIGUEZ, SISTER: We're just devastated that -- the way she was treated and the way she was left there, like an animal, you know? She's a -- a person. You don't -- you don't do that. Even animals are treated better. ROWLANDS (on camera): According to the coroner, Edith Rodriguez died of a perforated bowel. There was a surveillance camera here at the hospital which recorded the last 45 minutes or so of her life.
And, according to witnesses, she spent it on the floor vomiting blood. More than a month after this took place, it is still unclear why nobody was there to help her.
ZEV YAROSLAVSKY, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERVISOR: The video is a lot more alarming than the audio.
ROWLANDS (voice-over): L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has seen the tape, which, because of an ongoing sheriff's investigation, has not been released.
YAROSLAVSKY: Not one person out of a couple of dozen, including citizens and staff and doctors and nurses, didn't lift a finger to help her, just -- just ignored her. Even the janitors who were cleaning up the vomit from around the -- the woman who was on the floor, did a very elegant job of cleaning up the vomit, but didn't do a thing to help her. It was just indescribable.
ROWLANDS: The sheriff's department is investigating how dispatchers handled the two calls.
According to a supervisor, they have never had a call for an ambulance from a hospital. They are concerned, however, that one of the dispatchers may have been rude.
The chief medical officer and a nurse are no longer employed as a direct result of what happened.
Since September of last year, the hospital has been undergoing a forced restructuring because of a long history of problems.
While no one from the hospital would talk to us about this case, a letter sent yesterday to the county board said, in part, quote, "We have served thousands of patients well and a few very poorly."
Hopefully, none as poorly as they seem to have treated Edith Rodriguez.
Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.
KING: What a horrible story.
Just ahead, are honor killings on the rise here in the West?
Plus, if you speak it, will kindergartners learn it? One school's brave experiment with mandarin, next on 360.
KING: In London a Muslim father was convicted this week of murdering his daughter in a so-called honor killing. He believed she shamed her family by falling in love with the wrong man.
That simple fact is chilling enough. But the case of Banaz Mahmod may be just the tip of a cultural iceberg.
More now from CNN's Paula Newton.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this cell phone video, the story just pours out of Banaz Mahmod and so does her panic and fear. As her boyfriend records it all, Banaz lays on a hospital bed describing what she herself still couldn't believe.
It was New Year's Eve 2005 in London and Banaz's father, an Iraqi Kurd and devout Muslim told her to grab her suitcase and go with him to her grandmothers. There, she was forced to drink alcohol to prep her for what was to come.
She says, I finished the drink, I finished all of it, and then he got up, she says, and left the room.
Banaz says when he came back, armed with surgical gloves, she was sure he would try to kill her. She ran from her grandmother's house, smashed a window, hysterical as she called for help.
She ended up in hospital that night, her boyfriend at her side. And she told police the whole story. Her family wanted her dead.
Banaz had left an abusive marriage arranged by her family, and then fell in love with an Iranian Kurd who wasn't part of her clan. She knew her new love, coupled with the failure of her marriage, brought shame to her family and that they believe the only way to restore the family's pride was through a so-called honor killing.
(on camera): That night, Banaz left this hospital with an offer from authorities, a safe house. She turned that offer down and sealed her fate. She returned to her family, believing her father could never bring himself to kill her.
He didn't. At least not with his own hands.
Just weeks after leaving hospital, Banaz was abducted by two men, raped, strangled with a shoelace and then her naked body literally packed into this suitcase, only to be found months later buried in a suburban backyard, miles from home. That shoelace still tied around her neck.
Her boyfriend still lives in hiding with his grief.
RAHMAT SULEMANI, BOYFRIEND OF MURDER VICTIM: They were poor -- they were just heartless people. My life went away pretty much when Banaz did. The only thing which was keeping me going was the moment to see the justice being done for Banaz.
NEWTON: A London court mound Mahmod Mahmod guilty, convicted of ordering his own daughter's murder. Banaz's uncle, Ari Mahmod, also convicted of murder.
But two men charged with actually carrying out the crime fled back to Iraq.
CAROLINE GOODE: Banaz was a caring, loving young woman with the whole of her life in front of her, and that life has been brutally cut short by the very people that should have loved her and protected her. In any terms, the ultimate betrayal.
NEWTON: A sobering admission from police considering their report shows they questioned her version of events.
Official figures show as many as a dozen women a year in Britain are the victims of honor killings. But the figure could be much higher.
Apparent suicides for young Asian women are three times the national average and there's little explanation for that.
Banaz's sister, Bekhal, worries about being the family's next target. She now lives at a secret location and wears a full veil, convinced she must hide from her own family. Her arranged marriage fell apart, too.
BEKHAL MAHMOD, SISTER OF MURDER VICTIM: Just escalated to a big argument and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the main one really, Uncle Ari, he was the one that was saying, you know, if I was his daughter, I should be, you know, killed by now and turned into ashes, you're bringing shame.
NEWTON: For her family and clan, Banaz was the picture of shame deserving of death. Even from the grave, her pleas for help are resonating here as police investigate more than 100 suspicious deaths, wondering how many victims of so-called honor killings have gone unnoticed.
Paula Newton, CNN, London.
KING: Up next, see what happens when some kids at one school are told not to speak English, but Mandarin.
KING: You know the book, "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"? Well, I bet you didn't learn this in kindergarten -- how to speak Mandarin Chinese. I know I didn't. Mandarin, of course, is the official language of the most populace nation on the planet. And with China's growing influence in the world, Mandarin is being offered for the first time as an emerging course in a San Francisco public school.
Here's CNN's Dan Simon.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Of all children's songs, here's one you've probably never heard.
(SINGING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SIMON: It's in Chinese. Mandarin, to be exact. The only language spoken in Angelica Chang's kindergarten class at Starr King Elementary School in San Francisco. It's been that way from the very first day of class to this day. The very last.
It's a full scale immersion program. All subjects from math to art taught in Chinese. The idea, if the teacher only speaks in Chinese, the kids will eventually pick up the language.
Even the disciplining is done in Chinese. This boy is in trouble for some shenanigans during lunch.
(on camera): If you have the sense that they don't really understand, do you ever go -- go to English?
ANGELICA CHANG, TEACHER, STARR KING ELEMENTARY: No. You don't ever go -- that's a big no, no. You don't ever do that. We don't reteach subjects because you want them to be actively making that knowledge comprehensible to themselves.
SIMON (voice-over): These students aren't fluent yet, but they've nailed the basics of a really complicated language.
Here, the teacher wants the students to describe their drawings. The assignment was to draw their favorite activity.
Josie says she likes going shopping with her best friend.
Julian says he likes camping.
CHANG: It's beyond belief. I see them, the little brains working.
SIMON: What makes it all the more remarkable, none of these kids, not even the ones with Chinese heritage come from families that speak Chinese at home.
CHANG: Chinese is a very musical language and the kids are very in tune to that aspect of language. So they pick up things really fast.
SIMON (on camera): The kindergarten class here is the first of its kind in San Francisco. In fact, Starr King is one of the few public or private schools in the entire country to offer a Mandarin immersion program, a recognition of China's growing influence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know how to read all of it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, cool.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
SIMON (voice-over): For some parents, putting their kids in the immersion program took a real leap of faith.
KHALIAH MITCHELL, PARENT: It's just challenging. And that's what I'm into. I'm into challenging children's minds. You know? I mean, they're like little robots, you know. You can teach them anything.
SIMON: It was sad saying good-bye on this last day of school, but all are expected to continue with the immersion program next fall, when these kids enter the first grade as Chinese-speaking students.
Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
KING: Adorable kids. Looks like a remarkable program.
Up next, you weigh in on our coverage. We'll read some of your e-mails to the blog.
KING: A number of stories getting a lot of attention on the blog tonight.
On the death of Edith Rodriguez in an L.A. emergency room, Moses -- no address given -- writes: "It is sad!!! I am an emergency room nurse and currently working on my medical doctor's license, so I know this from first hand experience. We as a nation need to wake up and realize what is happening to our health care system."
About our story on people trashing FEMA trailers, Joseph in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, says: "It may be too expensive or too time consuming to go after these people, but surely, FEMA got their social security numbers before assigning a trailer to them. Until these people reimburse taxpayers for destroying their trailer, they should remain ineligible for all types of government assistance."
And on the border problems, this from Christina in Chicago: "They followed the money. Corruption knows no boundaries, does it? But, think on this: the borders are just the same as they were on September 10, 2001. Does that make anyone nervous?"
And as always, we welcome your thoughts. Just go to CNN.com/360blog. Follow the links and please weigh in.
Now, here's John Roberts with a look at what's coming up tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He spent time on death row. Now investigators want a retired Army soldier to face a general court martial where he could get the death penalty for a triple murder back in 1985.
How DNA evidence could affect a case of Army Master Sergeant Timothy B. Hennis (ph).
His story, tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," beginning at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.
Back to you, John.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's it for us tonight. Thank you for watching. We'll see you again tomorrow.
For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is next.
Here in the states, "LARRY KING," coming up.
Have a good night.
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