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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
North Korea's New Nuclear Threats; Answers From the Wreckage of Air France Flight 447
Aired June 9, 2009 - 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: Tonight, North Korea makes a never- before-heard nuclear threat to the world, dangerous talk, as the fate of two captured American reporters hangs in the balance.
What happened when Laura Ling and Euna Lee were seized on the border? Today, we take you to that border, a rare and remarkable look at what happens there, North Korean guards crossing over, sometimes seizing people trying to escape.
Also, a 360 exclusive interview tonight -- Scott Roeder, the man charged with murdering a doctor who performed abortions, what he says about the deadly anti-abortion violence he's accused of committing and why he predicting more to come.
And, later, they haven't found the black boxes yet from Air France 447, but you will state how answers to the crash are already coming from the wreckage.
We begin, though, tonight tensions dangerously between the U.S. and North Korea, in fact, between the world and North Korea. For the first time, the North Korean government has threatened offensive use of nuclear weapons, the language surprising and alarming -- quote -- "Our nuclear deterrent will be a strong defensive means," they said, "as well as a merciless offensive means to deal a just retaliatory strike to those who touch the country's dignity and sovereignty even a bit."
They're talking about a merciless nuclear offensive -- late word tonight from the U.N. secretary-general he expects China, one of North Korea's only friends, to back tougher sanctions on the North for its nuclear testing and missile launches.
North Korea has already said they will consider sanctions a declaration of war. Meantime, little is known about the whereabouts of these two, reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee, convicted yesterday, sentenced to 12 years of hard labor.
They were captured on China's border with North Korea, accused of trying to sneak into the country. But exactly what happened on that border, what happened around their capture is still unknown.
Tonight, we take you as close as anyone can get. We will introduce you to two people who have lived, worked along the border and reveal to -- they reveal to us just how poorly defined that border is and how routinely it is violated by North Korean guards who cross in search of victims to grab. Filmmaker Jim Butterworth has been there filming the documentary "Seoul Train." He joins us now.
Jim, you spent two months along the Chinese/North Korean border in the same area where we believe these two women were arrested. What is it like there?
Well, it's incredibly bleak.
JIM BUTTERWORTH, DIRECTOR/PRODUCER, "SEOUL TRAIN": I mean, you -- you're standing on the Chinese side, which has farmers and an economy going. And you look across the river, you don't see a border. It's just a river. And on the other side, you see hilly, deforested North Korea. And it's -- you know what is happening there. It is a depressing place.
And it's agonizing...
COOPER: Is it clear where the border is?
BUTTERWORTH: Oh, no, no. I mean, there are a couple of defined border crossings, where bridges go from China to North Korea. And in the middle of that bridge will be a big red stripe that says: "Do not cross this. You are going into North Korea."
But the rest of the border is ill-defined. There is no definition to it at all.
COOPER: For the film you were working on, you had, at one point, to hide in the bushes, as -- as a North Korean patrol actually came out. And I think we have some video that you shot. What -- what happened?
BUTTERWORTH: Well, we were -- we were in north of the -- the northern area of Chinese/North Korean border, along the...
COOPER: Those are the border guards right there, North Korean guards, right?
BUTTERWORTH: Yes, I can't see them. But...
COOPER: OK. Yes, they're smoking.
BUTTERWORTH: And -- and -- so, we were crossing out over the Tumen River, within the North Korean boundary, probably.
And along came a North Korean patrol, six to eight soldiers. And it was a pretty exhilarating experience. We kept filming. And they took a cigarette break and stopped just meters from us, and, fortunately, didn't see us. COOPER: You were there to do a documentary on North Korean refugees, which is actually the same story that -- that Euna Lee and Laura Ling were there to report on, went to the same area as you had gone to.
And the story is about how difficult it is for them to escape, but even more difficult, it seems, is for them to get help once they're in China. There are reportedly tens of thousands of North Koreans in China right now either hiding or working at farms. Some of them are sold into the sex trade.
And I want to show our viewers a clip from your film "Seoul Train" which shows how the underground railroad there essentially tries to help smuggle people out of North Korea and get them asylum. And here -- in this scene, we're going to show you a North Korean family is being helped by an activist. They are trained how to run into the Japanese Consulate in China to try to get help, to try to get sanctuary.
It doesn't work out for them. Let's take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SEOUL TRAIN")
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(through translator): ... without getting stopped by Chinese secret police officers.
We had them disguised as an ordinary South Korean family wearing bright-colored clothes. We had Han-mi carry a ball as if she were...
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(through translator): Han-mi's father and uncle were instructed...
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(through translator): ... push away the police officers near the entrance, so the women and the child could go in...
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(through translator): When they reached the entrance, the men just ran in, not pushing away the police officers. They were probably very nervous. As a result, the child and woman were left outside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, what we are seeing here is -- is -- these are North Koreans who have -- who have gotten all the way to China, and they are trying to get into the Japanese Embassy. And they are being stopped.
How hard is it for them to get any kind of asylum? What happens to these people once they are apprehended by the Chinese authorities? BUTTERWORTH: Well, almost universally, the Chinese authorities will forcibly repatriate these North Koreans back to North Korea. It is a capital offense to defect from North Korea. So, when you are sent back, it's -- it is bad news for the North Koreans.
And that is what established them -- establishes their case as refugees.
COOPER: Jim, stay with us. We are going to have more with you coming up after this break.
We're also -- also going to be joined by Mike Kim, who lived on the border not far from where Euna are Laura are believed to have been captured. We're going to talk to him about his work actually helping people cross over.
Let us know what you think about their situation. Join the live chat right now at AC360.com.
Also tonight, a 360 exclusive -- the alleged killer of Dr. George Tiller speaking out, as Dr. Tiller's clinic announces whether the murder will means it closes for good. We will tell you for what they have decided.
Also tonight, new clues to the crash of an airliner rising from the Atlantic -- the latest on Air France 447 when we continue.
COOPER: Well, more than a day since North Korea's highest court sentenced Laura Ling and Euna Lee to a dozen years hard labor, since then, we have heard nothing from them, very little about the diplomatic effort to free them, no official comment tonight, no progress report, nothing.
They were arrested along a winding stretch of river marking North Korea's northern border. But it is a boundary that is neither well- delineated, nor well-observed by North Korean guards, who often operate on the other side of it.
Mike Kim spent years on North Korea's border with China helping North Koreans escape, ministering to them when they do, experiencing the arrest of a Chinese colleague inside North Korea. He has written a book about his experiences. It's called "Escaping North Korea."
And Jim Butterworth, who you just made earlier, is a documentary filmmaker who made the movie "Seoul Train."
Mike, you have helped hundreds of North Korean refugees, heard their horror stories about being sent to prison camps. And this is the same story that -- that Euna Lee and Laura Ling were working on for Current TV.
You don't think that the -- that Ling and Lee will be put into a prison camp with others. Why?
MIKE KIM, AUTHOR, "ESCAPING NORTH KOREA": I can only speak from our experience.
We had one Chinese staff that was actually detained in North Korea as a result of a refugee informant that had turned him in when he was visiting North Korea. We negotiated his release.
They -- you know, North Korea used him as a bargaining chip. They -- they offered actually to release him if he would help with drug trafficking between the China-North Korea border, and eventually gave a huge ransom amount and negotiated it down to a much lower amount and then paid for his release.
So, I think they're -- they are really wanting to negotiate in these circumstances.
COOPER: You -- you have talked to a lot of people who have been to these prison camps. What -- what is life like in these camps?
KIM: Yes, I have interviewed a lot of people.
In my -- in chapter six of my book, I have a chapter on gulags in "Escaping North Korea." And there is a section, a small section, I have titled "Forced Labor."
And they -- they do work them hard. They get up at 6:00 a.m. They work to 10:00, 11:00 p.m. with very little food. And there's -- I have heard stories of sawing, construction, of cutting wood, mining, these types of things, but also meaningless labor, where they will have -- similar to stories I have heard during the Holocaust, the Nazi regime, where they are having people move rocks to one end of the compound, and telling them to move back -- move it back over and over again.
COOPER: Jim, for the refugees who are -- who are trying to escape, I mean, they are risking their -- their entire lives to do this.
BUTTERWORTH: Well, they're risking their lives and their family lives -- family's lives. If they make it across and if their capture gets publicized, then their entire family back home is at risk, too.
COOPER: And the people, Mike, do they know much about what the -- the world outside North Korea is like?
KIM: It is really unbelievable.
When they come out, they have such little knowledge of the outside world. We -- one of the first things we do is set them up with Chinese TV, South Korean cable, so they begin to learn about the world.
I interviewed one woman who was working for the military near the DMZ on the North Korea side. And her job was to pick up pro-democracy literature being flown in on balloons. And she told me in this interview that she used sticks to pick them up.
And I asked her, "Why did you use a stick?" And her answer was, "Because they told if I picked -- if I touch anything from South Korea, my hands will rot."
And I asked her, "You believed that at the time?"
And she said, "Yes, I did."
COOPER: Jim, this border crossing where -- where you -- we're -- the video we're looking at right now from the movie "Seoul Train" -- do the North Korean guards respect the border or do they -- I mean, I have heard stories they cross over into China and make arrests there.
BUTTERWORTH: They will do that. They have been known to do that.
In fact, when we were, there were -- it was commonly believed that there were hundreds of North Korean agents that actually had infiltrated the Chinese side of the -- the population there, which is almost entirely ethnic Korean.
COOPER: Why would they do that?
BUTTERWORTH: To capture not only refugees that had escaped into China, but also the activists that caught them.
In fact, there is a bounty paid to Chinese citizens that would turn in North Korean refugees. But the bounty is actually 10 times that if they would turn in the activists that would help them or anyone that would assist them.
COOPER: And, Mike, that is what happened to your Chinese colleague; a North Korean agent infiltrated this sort of underground railroad?
KIM: That's right.
It is a big problem. North Korea will send refugees -- spies posing as refugees to infiltrate networks. And, as a result, there have been people assassinated, abducted. And it really threatens to sabotage the work of NGOs there.
COOPER: We have got to leave it there. Mike Kim, Jim Butterworth risked an awful lot to work along the border. We appreciate you telling us what you know.
You can see more of Michael Kim's story at AC360.com. You will find a selection from his book detailing the food shortages, the beatings, the torture inside North Korean prisons -- more online as well from Jim Butterworth's award-winning documentary.
So, the latest up next on a major terrorist attack at a five-star luxury hotel.
Also, Scott Roeder speaking out only to CNN about his alleged crime and the impact it's having on the women's health clinic a murdered doctor ran. And what did David Letterman say for Sarah Palin to call him pathetic? What did she do for him to compare her to a -- well, a slutty flight attendant?
Details of their war of words -- ahead on 360.
COOPER: Still ahead: piecing together the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 and revealing new clues about its final moments, though, first, Erica Hill joins with a 360 news and business bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, at least seven people are dead, more than 40 are injured after a suicide bombing near a five-star hotel Peshawar, Pakistan. Officials say three attackers shot their way into the grounds of the hotel and set off a car bomb. That blast damaged also the building and destroyed dozens of cars.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, two workers are dead, one is still missing after an explosion at a Slim Jim plant. Dozens of people, including several firefighters, were injured.
The Supreme Court giving the green light for Chrysler to sell off most of its assets to Italian automaker Fiat. Now, the court turned down a last-ditch bid, you may recall, to stop the sale. That came from opponents, including consumer groups and three Indiana pension plans.
Ten of the nation's largest banks will repay $68 billion in government bailout money. They got the OK today. Experts say allowing these bank to return the money shows some stability has returned to the system, but caution the crisis is not over.
And a judge in the South American -- in South America, in the country of Suriname, acquitting a Toni Braxton impersonator. You see her there on the left. She was acquitted of defrauding customers by pretending she is the Grammy winner. The woman spent three months in jail after angry fans belted her with beer cans and booed her offstage during a concert.
Some of these people paid up to $53 a ticket, thinking they were going to see the real Toni Braxton.
Now, this woman apparently claims that she was hired by some promoters to play at a private party.
HILL: Very bizarre.
COOPER: Yes, very bizarre.
Just ahead: The man charged with killing an abortion doctor speaks out to CNN. In an exclusive jailhouse interview, Scott Roeder says he is not mentally ill and he is glad the doctor's clinic is now closed.
Also, combing the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 -- does the tail section continue some key clues that caused the crash?
And comedian Stephen Colbert good at creating buzz, but convincing him to get a buzz cut, not so easy, apparently. We will show you what it took. That is tonight's "Shot."
COOPER: "Uncovering America" tonight.
The family of slain abortion provider Dr. George Tiller said today they are closing his Wichita, Kansas, clinic for good, effective immediately. It is one of only a handful of clinics in the entire country that provided third-term -- third-trimester abortions.
The man charged with Dr. Tiller's murder, Scott Roeder, today called the closing of the clinic a victory. He made that comment in an exclusive jailhouse interview with our Ted Rowlands.
Ted joins me now -- Ted.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we had 30 minutes with Scott Roeder, no recording devices. It was just myself, Roeder, a pad of -- and pad a pencil.
At one point, Roeder said that he felt good because he was getting letters of encouragement from across the country. He also talked about the death of Dr. George Tiller.
ROWLANDS (voice-over): Dressed in the same type of maroon inmate outfit he wore here at his first court appearance, Roeder said he didn't want to incriminate himself and didn't answer specific questions about Tiller's murder.
But he did say, if, in the end, he was convicted -- quote -- "The entire motive was the defense of the unborn."
When asked what he thought of the fact that Dr. Tiller is dead, Roeder said -- quote -- "The fact that Tiller's clinic is closed is a victory for all the unborn children -- no more slicing and dicing of the unborn child in the mother's womb, no more needles of poison into the baby's heart."
Roeder said, reports from his ex-wife and others that he was mentally ill, suffering from schizophrenia, were -- quote -- "completely false." He refused to comment on what, if anything, he said to Dr. Tiller that day in Wichita, and said he feared the possibility that he may face federal charges, in addition to the murder charge he's already facing in Kansas.
Afterward, we asked Tiller family attorney Dan Monnat for reaction. DAN MONNAT, TILLER FAMILY SPOKESMAN AND ATTORNEY: Personally, I'm reluctant to, in any way, legitimize Mr. Roeder or anything he stands for by directly responding to his statements. Actually, I'm content to let law enforcement determine whether this defendant merits any attention.
COOPER: Ted joins us now.
What -- did he express any remorse about Dr. Tiller's murder? I mean, he clearly is -- is not saying -- he's not implicating himself. But did he express remorse or reluctance about it?
ROWLANDS: No, not at all. In fact, when I asked him about Dr. Tiller's death, he was quick with his answer, and saying that it was great for the children, the unborn children.
And another thing he never said was: "I'm innocent. You know, get me out of here. I didn't do this." That never came up. He was careful with the things he did say, but quick with his answer about Dr. Tiller's death.
COOPER: What is he like? I mean, just sitting across from him, how different is he than the guy we saw in that -- in that court video?
ROWLANDS: Well, you know, it is -- it's -- it's odd.
He -- he had a kind of a sort of laid-back attitude. He -- he was cautious about the questions I was answering -- asking him, saying "No comment" a lot of times, but then would elaborate. And he would nod a lot of times.
In fact, one time, I said: "Listen, there's a lot of evidence against you. People saw you with a gun shoot this man and point it at other people." And he was nodding and looking at me and kind of sheepishly.
But -- but he was careful. He said his attorney didn't want him to talk. And he kept saying, "Oh, boy, my lawyer is going to be mad now."
But it was an odd conversation. And you get the feeling that he wanted his side out there, he wanted people to hear what he had to say about this, and that he wasn't content just to listen to his attorney and sit in jail.
COOPER: But he is receiving positive letters from people?
ROWLANDS: Yes. That's what he claims.
We tried to verify it with the jail. And we have not gotten a response and whether or not they will verify especially the contents of these letters. But he said -- at one point, I said, "How you feeling?" because he had been complaining about the conditions there -- here.
And he said, "Oh, I -- I feel pretty good because I'm getting all of these positive letters from people around the country."
And I said, "People you don't know?"
And he said, "Yes, people I don't know."
And, then when I asked for -- him to elaborate, he said, "No comment."
Ted Rowlands, appreciate it. Thank you. According.
Dr. Leroy Carhart is an abortion provider in Nebraska who counted himself as a close friend of Dr. Tiller's. They worked together for the past decade. He joins me now live.
Dr. Carhart, your reaction to -- to the decision to -- first of all, to close Dr. Tiller's clinic by his family?
DR. LEROY CARHART, FRIEND OF DR. GEORGE TILLER: Well, this did not come as a surprise to me.
I have known the Tiller family for 20 years. And nobody, no family in this movement, in the -- in the pro-choice movement, has committed or given more than the Tillers have. Jeanne has -- gave the last 20 years of her life, basically, to make this possible, and her children. And they have lost their father. They have lost their grandfather. They have -- she has lost her husband.
The fact that she wants out, I think that is a rational decision. And I have absolutely no bad feelings about that.
COOPER: You probably heard from Ted Rowlands' piece some of the things that this man, Scott Roeder, has said. He -- he says -- he called the -- the closing of the clinic -- quote -- "a victory for unborn children."
How do you respond?
CARHART: Well, I think, you know, the closing of the clinic, Mrs. Tiller said she is going to close the clinic.
But the fact is that we are going to do everything in our power to ensure that women still have an option for late-, second- and the early-third-trimester abortions that are medically indicated.
COOPER: But, as -- as you well know, the number of -- of doctors who actually do this procedure, I think you said there's about 10 of them in the entire country. Are you concerned that, increasingly, they are going to choose not to do this procedure? I mean, how committed are those 10 doctors?
CARHART: I know how committed four of us are. And I know that we already have a new person that is interested to come in and join the three of us that already have been with Dr. Tiller.
We're ready to start a practice tomorrow if -- if we come across the -- the building and the equipment to do that.
COOPER: And can you -- to -- to those people who abhor this procedure, or disagree with it, or maybe don't understand it, what do you say? I mean, why would you choose to do this procedure, when -- when, I mean, you are one of, as you say, only a handful?
CARHART: Well, first of all, to the people that abhor, I would suggest that they don't have it done.
I think the women that need it certainly are the women -- the women that I'm worried about. You know, we hear -- we see protesters that number in the tens, twenties and maybe 1,000 some time. Dr. Tiller and I see thousands of patients every year.
We have a very vocal, terroristic minority of people that are anti-choice. And they have chosen to take the law in their own hands, vigilantism. They have murdered Dr. Tiller. They have murdered four providers before him.
I think the question is, how long is the country going to allow this terrorism to continue, before they crack down and before we have the right to perform a perfectly legal procedure?
COOPER: I want to ask you about a quote that you gave to "The Washington Times" that has raised some eyebrows.
You said Dr. Tiller's murder is -- quote -- "the equivalent of Martin Luther King being assassinated." I think you were talking about its effect upon those who -- who support abortion rights.
One of Dr. King's nieces who is affiliated with the group Priests For Life responded saying -- and I quote -- "For Leroy Carhart to mention the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who worked through peaceful and nonviolent means, in the same breath with that of George Tiller, whose work ended peace and brought violence to babies in the womb, is offensive beyond belief."
CARHART: Well, as -- as you said, she is on the other side. So, I don't expect anything different.
The entire comment that I made, however, was not to compare Dr. Tiller to Dr. King. I said that the sinking of the Lusitania, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the murder of Martin Luther King were turning points in a movement. And this was our turning point. The murder of Dr. Tiller was the turning point for our movement.
COOPER: You believe this really is a turning point, in that it's going to bring more people to -- to continue this practice?
CARHART: Yes, Mr. Roeder mentions the letters he has gotten, which may or may not be true.
I have -- we have gotten -- my e-mail has gone over the limits every day since the Tiller murder, with people asking how they can help, how they can continue -- or what they can contribute to make this practice continue.
And the outpouring has been phenomenal. It -- it's a shame, but Dr. Tiller will be a martyr, unfortunately, for his family. But he has -- he has -- became a martyr for our cause. And I -- I think that the terrorism will stop in this country.
COOPER: Dr. Leroy Carhart, we appreciate your time. Thank you.
CARHART: Thank you, sir.
COOPER: For a look inside one of the few clinics that perform late-term abortions, go the AC360.com right now.
So, what is your take on Scott Roeder and the fan mail that he says he's getting or on Dr. Carhart's comments? You can join the live chat happening now at AC360.com.
Still ahead: solving the mystery of Air France Flight 447, piecing together possible clues in the wreckage. We're going to show you what investigators have found so far, a lot we still don't know. But they are slowly piecing some stuff together.
Also tonight, Mexico's drug war takes another chilling turn. If you think it couldn't get any worse? Now a popular tourist destination turns deadly -- details and the death toll ahead.
And Sarah Palin's new feud, this time with David Letterman -- the question is, who fired the first shot?
When 360 continues.
COOPER: There's news tonight about those air speed sensors we've been reporting on, the crash of Air France Flight 447. A pilot's union says that Air France has agreed to replace the critical part, called a Pitot Tube on all of its Airbus A-330s and A-340 planes within days. Investigators are looking into whether the sensor played a role in the catastrophic crash over the Atlantic.
Meantime, Brazilian searchers today began bringing ashore bodies and wreckage from the crash. Today four more bodies were recovered. Four more people, bringing the total to 28 people found so far. The remains of passengers could yield some important clues about the crash, of course. So, too, could the plane's actual wreckage.
Tom Foreman takes us up close.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is what the jet looked like when it hit that storm. And these are the major pieces that have been found so far that we know of. They're all clues in the mystery of this crash. Start with this tail fin back here. Aviation analysts are looking at it closely. Because they say if this had been attached to the plane when it hit the water, it would have crumpled. Instead, it is largely intact, like this other tail fin from another crash in New York about eight years ago. That was an A-300, not an A-330.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined this tail fin broke off in flight during emergency maneuvers, causing the crash when the plane was responding to turbulence.
Peter Goelz is a former NTSB official.
PETER GOELZ, AVIATION ANALYST: The pilot hit rough air. The rudder snapped full to the left. He then compensated, snapped back. He overcompensated. It snapped back. It snapped back again and then snapped off.
FOREMAN: That's one possibility in this crash, too. Other clues have also been found. Let's take a look at them.
Cabin seats and personal effects that belonged to many of the passengers there. If the seats and these items are from the back of the plane, for example, and they show less crushing damage than those up front, that might suggest they also fell out of the plane as it dropped, meaning maybe that whole section broke up in flight.
Then there's wiring, bits of mechanical parts of the plane. All sorts of things that really have to be looked at closely, looking for signs of, say, fire.
GOELZ: Was there an explosion? Was there anything that gives investigators a hint of what was going on?
FOREMAN: The real key here is still the flight data recorder, believed to be two miles or more down on the bottom of the ocean, amid all these underwater mountains and troughs here.
It's supposed to be emitting a locater signal out in all directions like this. But even though they have a submarine in the water and ships up on top listening for it, they haven't been able to pick it out yet through all of this clutter. And the clock is ticking. This beacon works for 30 days, and already about a third of that time is gone -- Anderson.
COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.
While we wait for answers in the Air France investigation, we're learning new details about the so-called "Miracle on the Hudson." We all remember the pictures, of course. U.S. Airways Flight 1549, forced to ditch in New York's Hudson River after a bird strike back in January.
Amazingly, everyone on board survived, and the pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, was celebrated as a hero. Rightfully so. Well, today, the National Transportation Safety Board opened three days of hearings on Flight 1549. It was a close call. Captain Sullenberger testified, and so did Billy Campbell, a passenger who was in seat 25-A, the second-to-last row of the plane.
And he was the last passenger out the door. His testimony today was simply riveting. Here's Billy Campbell in his own words.
BILLY CAMPBELL, PASSENGER ON FLIGHT 1549: Those of us in the rear took the impact first.
I almost felt like I was on a cruise ship, because as I looked out the window, the plane submerged, and it felt like I was looking out a porthole, as we were underwater.
When we finally came to a stop, sort of feeling the miracle of, wow, survived this crash, immediately water was rushing in through my window. I guess my biggest concern, along with everyone's back there, was how do we get out? I decided the only shot that I had was actually to go to the right side and to start climbing over the seats.
And so I went to row 26 and started to climb over the seats. And I'd like to consider myself a little athletic and in a dry vac (ph) I would have been hurdling those seats. But the water was up to about -- about here on the seat backs, and so we couldn't get much traction. I was able to pull myself over each seat and then kind of fall into the water and then regroup and grab the top and sort of pull myself back over. Did that all the way until I got up to, I think, row 14 or 12 or wherever the wing is.
And the first time that I felt like maybe I might make it.
COOPER: Imagine that. Investigators have released the transcript of the conversation between Sullenberger and his co-pilot and air traffic controller before their landing. We posted it on our Web site, AC360.com.
Coming up next, the drug war in Mexico, erupting at a popular Mexican resort, leaving dozens dead. Is anywhere in the country safe if this place isn't? We'll have the latest from the war next door.
And the first Gitmo detainee arrived in America today. His charges and what his transfer means for other Gitmo detainees, coming up.
Also tonight, meet the newest Internet sensation. His name is Darren, and he has a lot of fans.
COOPER: Popular tourist destination with celebrities including John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor used to vacation is now the front lines of Mexico's escalating drug war. Gunmen killed three police officers in Acapulco early yesterday morning in attacks on two police stations.
The murders came just two days after a four-hour gun battle between soldiers and suspected drug traffickers left 17 people dead. So who's behind the violence? It's tonight's "Crime & Punishment" report. Here's Ed Lavandera.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bursts of gunfire echo through the darkness of Mexico's streets. It's the sound of a drug war, but this time it's different.
RUSTY FLEMING, AUTHOR, "DRUG WARS": You are seeing a new level of the war on drugs in Mexico. And now, of course, you've got an administration that is taking the war directly to these guys. You're going to start seeing them in places that we never thought they existed.
LAVANDERA: but it seems no place is immune. This gun battle took place in the tourist Mecca of Acapulco, a place largely untouched by drug violence until now.
The battle started over the weekend when Mexican troops raided a suspected safe house of the Beltran-Levy drug cartel. When the smoke cleared, more than 3,000 shots had been fired, 50 grenades exploded, and 17 people killed, including two soldiers and two innocent bystanders.
Terrified tourists fled from the area.
Inside the gated house where the gunmen were holed up, soldiers found four handcuffed shirtless men, who claimed to be kidnapped state police officers.
And then yesterday, another rampage of gunfire and explosions. Two police stations were riddled with bullets and pounded with grenades in a coordinated, near simultaneous attack. Three policemen were killed and one wounded.
Reports say state officials were investigating whether it was a retaliatory attack, while Mexican soldiers in trucks and in helicopters kept watch over a nervous resort town.
Some 2,300 people have been killed just this year in Mexico's drug violence, the latest of nearly 11,000 victims since the nation's president unleashed military forces against drug traffickers in December of 2006.
The U.S. State Department has a travel alert warning Americans of the increased levels of violence. The Mexican government says its resort towns are safe, but Fleming disagrees and says open warfare in places like Acapulco is only just beginning.
FLEMING: All of those drugs have to come in, in shipping lanes. And those are shipping ports. So of course, they've got a presence there. And of course, you're going to see as, you know, these guys, their operations become uncovered by the military and the military gets to pursue them, you're going to see more of this kind of violence.
LAVANDERA: A new front in the war on drugs, another town gripped with fear.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Mexico City.
COOPER: Make no mistake about it: this is a war being waged right next door.
Let's dig deeper with Fred Burton. He's vice president of counterterrorism and corporate security for Stratfor Global Intelligence Company and author of "Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent."
Fred, thanks for being with us. What does it mean that these drug wars have now spilled over into Acapulco, a popular resort city?
FRED BURTON, VICE PRESIDENT OF COUNTERTERRORISM AND CORPORATE SECURITY, STRATFOR GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE COMPANY: This is a significant twist, Anderson, in that how much more can the Mexican economy take? We've had the horrific cartel wars. We've had the swine flu. Now we've had this gun battle, the likes of which that you'll see in Afghanistan or Somalia, on the streets of Acapulco. And in essence, we had tourists fleeing in taxis.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, the Mexican government, I was down there for "60 Minutes" and for CNN. The Mexican government is trying to rebuild the federal police force, bringing them into the modern age with new equipment, trying to get better officers, better training.
And they're relying on the Mexican military. They've deployed Mexican military, 45,000 personnel deployed throughout the country. Is the military simply tapped out? I mean, can they actually handle the cartels?
BURTON: I think the military's bandwidth is stretched extremely thin. If you think about the various fronts that they're fighting, from Juarez to Nueva Laredo to now Acapulco. And there's just these flare-ups all over the city.
COOPER: I don't think a lot of people in the United States realize the impact this has on the United States already. I mean, according to the Justice Department, Mexican drug cartels, this is the biggest organized crime threat to the United States.
Do you see it as a national security issue for America?
BURTON: I certainly do. We've been saying that at Stratfor for quite some time, Anderson. If you look at just the impact on the United States, not to mention just the human toll of the drug violence. But their interface with the criminal gangs on the streets of America, there's no city that's not touched by the cartels in Mexico. They are the downstream supply chain of drugs to America. And in essence we need to get a handle on the cartel violence.
COOPER: You talk about the hit on tourism in Mexico. Would you go to Mexico as a tourist? I mean, I went down there a couple weekends ago to Baja, to Cabo and had a nice weekend. It was a guarded compound. You know, one of these development resort.
But there's a lot of people wondering about whether they should travel to Mexico. What do you tell them?
BURTON: I think you have to be very selective. You have to have a high-degree of situation awareness. You've got to use your head. You've got to be careful where you're going and get as much information before you travel.
The problem is, is you could see with Acapulco, is you could be at the wrong place at the wrong time when the cartels decide to move in or the Mexican military tries to move in and capture a high-value target.
COOPER: When I interviewed the Mexican attorney general a couple months ago, he said, "Look, we're making progress." They seem optimistic. Is that just putting on a brave face, or do you think they're making progress against these cartels? Can they destroy these cartels.
BURTON: I think if you look at the body-count alone, we're trending at the same level of cartel-related homicides as we did last year.
We really don't see any change in the security threat inside of Mexico. And if you look at some of these flare-ups like this, like what we had in Juarez when you were there and we last spoke. And then you look at Acapulco, this is a deteriorating situation. And this could happen any place inside the country. That's their span of control.
COOPER: It's scary stuff. Fred Burton, appreciate your expertise. Fred, thanks.
BURTON: Thank you.
COOPER: We've been working on a story that, frankly, boggles the mind. It's about a guy who said he was a war vet, who simply wasn't who he claimed to be. That and the people, important people he fooled.
Joe Johns did the reporting. Here's a quick preview.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man was seemingly the perfect political weapon: a veteran at the Pentagon when it was struck on 9/11. He said he did three tours of duty in Iraq, where he said he was wounded by a roadside bomb.
Back home he said his mission was to help homeless veterans speak out for an end for the war and to campaign, mainly for Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each one of those people that were lost, that's someone mother, someone's father, someone's brother, someone's sister. There's a family that has a void. And clearly, the mission is not accomplished.
JOHNS: A compelling story everyone believed until the day authorities said he was an impostor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all were kind of stunned by this. Because it seemed like such a fundamental betrayal.
JOHNS: Anderson, this is a tricky story to report, because so many people believed him at first. And now many people feel betrayed as well as embarrassed they didn't catch on.
COOPER: Unbelievable this guy got away from it for so long.
Joe, we're going to have the full story tomorrow on "360." Join us for that.
Coming up tonight, though, pictures rarely seen on the border of North Korea and China. Could be the very spot where Laura Ling and Euna Lee were arrested. We'll try to figure out what it tells us.
Back here at home, caught on tape. A cop tasers a great grandmother, 72 years old. The video has people talking. Did the police go too far? Were they right in doing this. You can try to decide for yourself.
And why Sarah Palin is calling David Letterman pathetic when 360 continues.
COOPER: Coming up, we've seen Stephen Colbert's buzz cut. Who ordered the trim and what -- well, what it ended up looking like. It's tonight's "Shot." But first Erica Hill joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama wants Congress to take a pay as you go approach to spending, proposing a law that will require lawmakers cover the cost of federal programs by either raising taxes or cutting the budget. In the 1990s, a similar mandate helped erase the federal budget deficit.
The first Guantanamo Bay detainee to be brought to the U.S. for trial is in a New York jail tonight. Ahmad Ghailani pleaded not guilty today to charges he participating in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.
Those attacks killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
A 72-year-old great grandmother in Austin, Texas, is demanding to know why a police officer pushed her and tasered her during a traffic stop. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on the ground!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (screaming)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now put your hands behind your back. Put your hands behind your back, or you 'e going to be tased again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: The woman was stopped for speeding police. And say she had refused to sign the ticket and began screaming. And then when she got out of the car, officials say the officer pushed her so she wouldn't be hit by traffic.
Police also say the officer gave her five warnings that she would get tasered if she did not stop screaming. She is charged with resisting arrest.
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin isn't laughing at David Letterman's top ten list last night. In fact, she call him pathetic on a radio show today. Here's why she's upset.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LETTERMAN: And No. 2, bought makeup at Bloomingdale's to update her slutty flight attendant look. And...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: There you go.
And meet the new Internet sensation. Just a lighter note here to wrap it up. This is Darren, the waving goat. The waving goat. Watch this. Oh, look. Hey, Darren. Nice to see you, too.
Hey, Anderson cooper. It's Darren.
He lives on a farm in England where school kids love to see his moves, not to mention people sitting in a newsroom all the way across the ocean in New York.
COOPER: He's soon to have his own series, probably.
HILL: It's only a matter of time. Maybe he's going to be on the next "Britain's Got Talent." COOPER: Maybe so.
So Erica, last night was kind of a stroll down memory lane, you and I. We talked about our first concert experiences. I'm still not sure if mine was Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five or Elvis Costello.
But Erica saw Peter, Paul and Mary with her dad.
HILL: Do not laugh...
COOPER: I'm not laughing.
HILL: ... at Peter, Paul and Mary, all right? Fine holiday, too, I might add.
COOPER: At first you thought it was Janet Jackson.
HILL: No, I knew I went to Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation 1814, which I won the tickets to while baby sitting. But I had forgotten that Stevie and I went to see Peter, Paul and Mary.
HILL: My dad, Stevie.
COOPER: You call your dad Stephen?
HILL: When I talk about him I do. I called him "Dad." Anyway.
COOPER: So we asked our viewers to -- and people online to tell us about their first concert experience on the blog. An overwhelming response.
Here's some of our favorite reactions. Tim Gibson said, "Sweet Jesus, my first concert way back in the day, the '70s, was an outdoor three-day, two-night event. It featured Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent and all the good-old-boy rock band of the day.
HILL: That's good stuff.
How about this one: That's old school, but not Mandy, who wrote, "New Kids on the Block?" NKOTB, Davie. "Was my first show. I was 11 I was 11. Made my mom buy me my first bra just in case I ran into Jordan knight. When I got home, still in my NKOTB days, I realized the aforementioned bra was fitting nicely around my waist."
COOPER: Here is Theresa B.'s post: "My first concert was Rick Springfield when I was 14. My mother thought I was going to see Bruce Springsteen, who was too wild, so I had to play 'Jesse's Girl' and explain who he was."
HILL: It's fantastic. He just came out with an album of lullabies and children's tunes.
COOPER: Really? HILL: It's true.
HILL: Had them on my other show a few weeks ago.
And finally, Sue wrote, "I had two first concerts. The real first was Leif Garrett."
HILL: "Rock on, when I was 12. My first grown-up concert was Van Halen in 1982. Rock on!"
COOPER: Yes. Wow. I love it.
HILL: These posts were fantastic.
COOPER: Feel free, AC360.com. I'll have the live blog. You can weight in. We're still got a couple more minutes. So weigh in. Let us know what your first concert was. And we'll keep this thing going.
"The Shot" is coming up next. Stephen Colbert's new do and why it almost didn't happen. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Erica, time for tonight's "Shot."
Last night we showed you Stephen Colbert's hair cut. At first glance, it looked like a bold tribute to our troops. Now we know the real story. Turns out Colbert needed a little persuading from the highest levels of the military. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLBERT: It's going to take more to get me to cut my hair.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I say if Stephen Colbert wants to play soldier, it's time to cut that man's hair.
COLBERT: Wait a second. Wait a second.
OBAMA: General, as the commander in chief, I hereby order you to shave that man's head.
COLBERT: We'll be right back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Good time.
COOPER: Nice job the general did. You've got to love the snazzy camouflage outfit, as well.
HILL: That suit is fantastic. COOPER: It's very cool.
HILL: I bet you they're going to be getting a lot of orders for that.
COOPER: They probably will.
You can see all the most recent "Shots" at our Web site, AC360.com.
A lot more news ahead. Coming up at the top of the hour, some very tough talk. Serious stuff. North Korea issuing a nuclear threat. We dig deep into the fate of two American Journalists, facing prison there. We'll be right back.