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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Inside Gadhafi's Libya; No-Fly Zone over Libya?; Computer Scientist Creates Caner App

Aired March 9, 2011 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight we begin with direct evidence that Moammar Gadhafi is killing civilians, slaughtering his own people, and trying to cover it up, hide it from you, trying to hide it from the entire world. It's happening in the city of Zawiya, the phone lines are cut there, cell service is shut down. So is the Internet. Reporters are banned.

But tonight, you will hear what is happening. And they are not from some anonymous voice on a bad phone line. You're going to hear it from a British reporter named Alex Crawford of Sky News who got into Zawiya and spent days there documenting what she calls a massacre.

She arrived there last Friday and immediately witnessed large numbers of protesters marching towards Libyan tanks. A few had pistols but the vast majority were unarmed. And no one fired as they marched. Then Libyan forces began shooting them down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX CRAWFORD, SKY NEWS REPORTER: At this point, the Gadhafi regime is insisting to reporters in Tripoli that his forces are in control here.

Well, this is how he's trying to stay in power. But the rebels have their own firepower, courtesy of army defectors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We have more from Alex Crawford in just a moment.

For days she documented the battle, still believed to be raging right now in Zawiya. You will also hear from a woman trapped inside another town, Mesrata, another city under attack by Libyan government forces.

And we're going to talk with our Arwa Damon, who spoke exclusively with the resistance leader who now has a huge bounty on his head from Gadhafi. We will also talk with our team of correspondents spread out across Libya.

In the east, opposition forces are fighting back hard with captured weapons, including Katusha rocket launchers and anti-aircraft artillery. But the Libyan air force is pounding them even harder, hammering them with heavy artillery and airstrikes around Ras Lanuf. Yet it is in cities farther west where wholesale slaughter is taking place. Several times now, the Gadhafi regime has claimed they have recaptured Zawiya. But those reports were false. And we know that now because of Alex Crawford from Sky News, who was there.

The regime has also said again and again that reporters are free to go wherever they want in Libya to cover the story. That too we know is not true -- that too is not true. Yesterday, reporters in a hotel in Tripoli were told they would be shot dead for merely going up on the hotel roof.

And late tonight new word that a BBC news team trying to get to Zawiya was detained for 21 hours, beaten by members of the army and secret police, hooded and subjected to a mock execution. They were finally released and managed to get out of Libya.

So did Alex Crawford, the Sky News reporter who spent three days in Zawiya, witnessing firsthand the repeated attacks by Gadhafi forces against poorly armed civilians with no military training, Libyan civilians who simply want an end to the rule of Gadhafi.

I spoke to Alex a short time ago. And we're going to play you a lot of the interview, because it clearly shows what Gadhafi is doing to his own people. And remember as you listen to Alex, Gadhafi does not want you to hear what she is saying. He is trying to cover up what's happening in Zawiya, but thanks to Alex Crawford, he has failed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Alex, first of all, you and your crew were able to do what no -- no other reporters in Libya were able to do, actually get into Zawiya and stay there. How did you get in?

CRAWFORD: Well, I think timing was absolutely critical, Anderson, because we went in on the Friday, on the day of Friday prayers.

And although there had been fighting earlier on that day, there certainly wasn't the massive military ring around the town that there is now. We had to go through several checkpoints to get there, but we -- we managed to -- we were with a -- a very sympathetic person who drove us in.

And as we arrived, there was a -- a huge march going on of several thousand people. So we got out of the car and we just saw this wave of people coming towards us and realized that they were all anti- Gadhafi people. They were all civilians. I didn't see anyone in army fatigues or army uniforms or anything. They were just this huge body of people, children amongst them.

(CROSS TALK)

COOPER: And we're -- we're looking -- we're looking at the video right now. Essentially, they were marching it looks like, for the most part unarmed and then just got fired upon.

CRAWFORD: Yes, there were a few people, very few people, I would say about half a dozen people, at the head of the group who had -- one person on the car, for instance, had a pistol. One person who was wandering along the side had Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder.

But mostly, the huge majority were just civilians walking, were unarmed, and they were just chanting anti-Gadhafi slogans and calling on him to leave. They walked -- they were marching towards the military lines that had been set up. A tank was in front of (AUDIO GAP) and a number of military vehicles.

And as they got close, they opened fire. And they didn't just open fire once or twice. And they didn't just fire over them. They fired into them. And the casualties were instant and immediate, and they carried on firing.

COOPER: And we're seeing people run away right now from that firing.

What -- what's so important, not only remarkable about your reporting, but what's so important about it is because pretty much each step of the way, you show evidence, direct evidence, irrefutable evidence that the Gadhafi regime is not telling the truth in many of their public statements.

For instance, they repeatedly say they have not fired on unarmed protesters. You -- you personally witnessed them doing just that.

CRAWFORD: They did not just once, but scores of times. I mean I can't even count how many times they did it over the entire period that we were there.

And we were in Zawiya for -- from Friday midday until Sunday afternoon. And there was continuous, constant, repeated shelling, firing, bombing, attacking of that town. And the military got closer and closer and got -- basically, it's trying to strangle the town.

And the people inside it, they aren't -- I mean to call them a rebel army is just -- is just not the case there. There may be rebels in the east, a rebel -- sort of rebel army made up of this -- defections from the Gadhafi army, but in this town, they are 99 percent civilians.

There are a few soldiers who have defected -- very, very few, and they have brought with them some weaponry, but they are vastly outnumbered by the civilians in the town. This is a town that is under siege, being constantly attacked, and there is a massacre going on there.

COOPER: The other lie that the regime has been telling which -- which your reporting again highlights and points out is this claim by Gadhafi and his son and his spokesmen that they're fighting al Qaeda and that al Qaeda has drugged, you know, Libyan teenagers with hallucinogenic pills. Again, what you just said shows that to be completely false.

CRAWFORD: I saw absolutely no evidence of any al Qaeda either influence or input or anything to do with terrorism at all. The only terrorism appeared to be coming from outside and focusing in on this town. Everyone I spoke to -- and there were hundreds of people, thousands who I was mixing and mingling with in the hospital, in the mosque, in town, in the square. Amongst the -- some of the defectors, they -- they are primarily people who live in that town. They're very determined to try and (AUDIO GAP) that there was no al Qaeda influence.

I had a couple of colleagues, journalist colleagues, who were in Tripoli who (AUDIO GAP) network was still up. They were texting me and saying at the moment, they're saying that -- the government spokesman here is saying that they have retaken the town.

And I said, well -- they could hear all the firing in the background of my telephone conversations with them. And it was a complete lie. Later on that day, they said apparently the forces have moved in and they have regained control and they say that you're lying.

At this point, we were under fire, being shelled on -- gunfire all around. It wasn't even just one side. It was top, bottom, left, right, in front, behind, absolutely under attack. And as soon as the government forces pull -- pulled back, the place was filled with Zawiya civilians and residents again.

If -- if they weren't against Colonel Gadhafi before, they absolutely are to a man and woman now. There is no one there who wants him. And the only way that that town can be taken control of by the -- the authorities or the Colonel Gadhafi forces is if they actually took up residence in the town and never left.

COOPER: You also report on something we have heard many reports of, but have not directly seen. You actually were in an ambulance that was fired on by Libyan government forces.

CRAWFORD: Yes. We got -- we -- we ourselves were -- were fired on whilst we were in the ambulance. At the front of the ambulance, there were two doctors clearly identifiable in green medical gowns.

But, also, at the hospital, we have got on film two -- at least two ambulances who came in with bullet holes all the way down one side. The back rear window had been shot out. So the whole of the window was taken out.

And whilst I was there and my crew were there, there were people being unloaded from the ambulance. And the -- the shelling was landing right next to the hospital. They -- the actual doctors and medical staff who were around the stretcher trying to take in this wounded civilian. There were about 25, 30 of them, all (AUDIO GAP) blue medical gowns, green medical gowns, white medical gowns, thought they were being attacked, and scattered.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're going to have more with Alex in a moment.

Join us on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'm live tweeting during the broadcast tonight. Up next, Alex on Gadhafi's constant claim he's only battling against trained fighters in Zawiya.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAWFORD: Ninety-nine percent of them are civilians. They are women. They are children. They are old people. They're not fighters. They're not soldiers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Later, they're outmanned and outgunned -- a report from the front lines and a look at how Western airpower could change the equation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, much of what is happening in Libya threatens to be hidden, unknown. The regime is doing everything they can to make it hard on reporters there, not only allowing them to go where they want to.

A BBC crew, as we mentioned, was held for 21 hours, beaten, they say, and even subjected to a mock execution. We have talked to Libyans every night on the phone and they have told us what they have witnessed. But now a reporter from Sky News, Alex Crawford, got into Zawiya, and stayed through several days of fierce fighting.

At times, she and her team thought they might die. They saw a lot of civilians die; a lot of wounded, too.

Her reporting is direct evidence, gathering evidence that Gadhafi is lying about who he is fighting and how he is doing it.

More now of my conversation with Sky News' Alex Crawford.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: One of the things I found so moving, I mean, beyond -- beyond the injuries and the -- and the courage of people who were defending for themselves against this -- this onslaught, was them coming up to you and saying, "Please, please, get these pictures out, please tell our story," because otherwise their deaths will be in vain, and -- and no one will know really the truth about what is happening there right now and continues to happen there right now at -- at this hour.

For you, you used the word "massacre". Are you saying what is happening there is a massacre?

CRAWFORD: Well, the true sense of the word "massacre" is large-scale deaths, right? There are large-scale deaths going on there, and these are primarily -- I mean, seriously, they are -- 99 percent of them are civilians. They are women. They are children. They are old people.

They're not fighters. They're not soldiers. They're just people who are -- who are criticizing and who want a change of government. Now, I -- I don't -- you know, if that's not a massacre, I don't know what is.

They actually can't do much to defend themselves. They are -- they are (AUDIO GAP) to even leave. There's a -- they can't even get out of the way of the firing. And -- and they are continuing to be (AUDIO GAP). And that's why, at -- at the end, there was almost constant firing, but one particular brave individual managed to get us out under fire.

And it was so important for them to know that we were going to be able to broadcast the pictures to the world, because as far as Gadhafi authorities are concerned, that didn't happen. The march didn't happen. There aren't tens of thousands of people in Zawiya who are critical of him, Gadhafi, and they aren't being shelled and they aren't being killed.

And if we hadn't actually had the help and support of these incredibly courageous people, they would still be saying that. But now -- now that the pictures, I would suggest, have put a -- put paid to those lies.

I mean, you know, they -- they -- how can we make up those pictures? They -- we saw people dying with horrible injuries, and they are civilians. They are -- boys are as old as my son, who is 15. They are young men.

I saw -- I saw one young man who looks as though he was -- you know he might be a university student, if he -- if he was living in Britain or America. He had glasses on. He was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. He didn't look at all like a soldier.

He was being shown at the last minute as these tanks were rolling into the square how to use a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. And someone was saying, put it on your shoulder, put it on your shoulder. Just try to kneel a bit and just fire. And he says Allahu Akbar and goes off to fight and probably is not alive now.

I mean, this -- this is -- these are civilians. So, I don't know what -- if that isn't a massacre, I really don't know what is.

COOPER: Well, Alex, I have been just so struck by your reporting over these last several days. And thank you for -- for talking with us. And I'm so glad you're safe. And I'm so glad you have been able to tell the world what is really happening, the truth about what is happening in Zawiya.

Thank you.

CRAWFORD: Thanks for asking me on Anderson.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Alex Crawford, who is now in Dubai.

Contrary to government promises, she was not free to go wherever she liked to report the story. And neither are Nic Robertson, Ben Wedeman and Arwa Damon. Arwa is in Benghazi. And Ben Wedeman is in Brega. And Nic is in Tripoli tonight.

Nic, you were on your way to report from Zawiya today when you guys were -- were actually turned around by -- by government officials. You had made it there a couple days ago to the outskirts to the Libyan -- on the Libyan government side. And I just want to show our -- remind our viewers some of what you saw over there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's the sound of heavy machine gunfire. It sounds -- heavy machine gunfire cracks, the shots -- just ducking for cover. We're ok behind this wall.

That's a crack, probably not so far away from where we are right now. I'm just taking cover behind this wall, where we're ok.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, that was on the Libyan government side. They had said they are -- they were in control of Zawiya. Obviously, as you saw, there was still battle raging.

Do we know what the situation is right now in that city, because Alex Crawford left on Sunday?

ROBERTSON: We really don't have the latest information. It's been almost impossible to get any clear details out of there.

The best we had was when a doctor left the day before yesterday. And we haven't had (AUDIO GAP) since then. It is surrounded. There is -- the electricity we understand has been cut off. Cell phone service there cut off.

So, it's just -- without getting somebody coming out of there now, it's impossible to know.

What we have seen on state television is pictures of people, Gadhafi supporters, celebrating at sunset last night. It said live and it said "Zawiya now" in English on the state TV screens. But we could see from where these people were demonstrating it wasn't in the center of Zawiya, where the rebels are. Buildings are slightly taller, several stories, maybe five, six, seven stories high. This was on the outskirts.

So even the government's attempts to show they're in control aren't convincing at this stage, Anderson. We just don't know what's happening in the center of the city right now.

(CROSS TALK)

COOPER: And -- and all weekend long, the government was saying they had retaken the city. And -- and Alex was hearing that when she was still there with the opposition forces who were still in control of the center of the city. Arwa, you spoke with an opposition leader today, Abdel Jalil, in -- in Benghazi. The regime has now placed a $500,000 bounty on his head. I want to play some of what he told you earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MUSTAFA ABDEL JALIL, HEAD OF LIBYAN NATIONAL COUNCIL (through translator): It has to be immediate action. The longer the situation carries on, the more blood is shed. That's the message that we want to send to the international community. They have to live up to their responsibility with regards to this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So the leaders in Benghazi, are they saying clear and -- and are they all agreement -- in agreement that they want a no-fly zone?

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Anderson, they most definitely do.

And, in fact, there's an increasingly growing level of frustration and anger at the fact that it is taking so long to even implement. They continue to reiterate the fact that this is not the time for political debates. This is not the time for bureaucratic red tape.

There are people out there who are dying every day. The opposition can, realistically speaking, only take this battle so far. And, in fact, the international community, global leaders do have a choice to make here. Either they recognize the legitimacy of the National Council, they support the opposition, they put a no-fly zone in place, they take other measures, or, by inaction, they end up supporting Gadhafi, who is a man who, after 42 years of enacting brutal tactics against his own people, is right now wanted by the International Court.

That's the choice that the global leaders have to make.

COOPER: And -- and this man actually reached out to President Obama, right? He wrote him a letter?

DAMON: That's right. He did write him a letter around a week ago. He says that they have not received a direct response. They did receive word that the U.S. is trying to get a resolution pushed to -- through the U.N.

We do know that there have been other forms of communication between various opposition leaders and the White House. But at the end of the day, it's still just communication at this stage, and communication is not what these opposition fighters are looking for.

They need action and they need action before their bullets run out. There's a lot of guts, there's a lot of will down at that front line, but they just don't have the military power, the military might to be able to hold off Gadhafi's forces forever.

(CROSS TALK)

COOPER: Yes.

DAMON: And the big fear is that if they do begin to get pushed back, you're not dealing with a man who is known to show mercy on those who oppose him -- Anderson.

COOPER: He certainly doesn't have a track record of that.

And coming up, we're actually going to talk to a former -- an admiral who actually years ago flew fighter jets over Libya, and knows a lot about their air defense system. And we'll talk to him coming up.

But Ben, at one point a couple of days ago, I remember you describing the opposition forces as -- as almost cocky. At this point, what -- what is the situation on the ground? I mean, has their advance toward Tripoli -- I assume that's just been shut down altogether. Are they in retreat? What's the latest?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The advance is a thing of the past now, Anderson. What happened today was they came under intense artillery and missile barrage from the Libyan government forces. They're not quite as cocky as they used to be.

We were at the hospital in Ras Lanuf watching as, you know, one ambulance after another came out with wounded fighters. One doctor said there's about 25 wounded coming in, in just the space of a few minutes.

We saw some of those fighters, their comrades out in the parking lot of the hospital basically breaking down. They're really coming under a lot of pressure from the Libyan government forces. The advance has stopped completely.

Now the worry is, it's going to start moving the other way; that the Libyan army is simply just softening them up before moving forward.

We did see in the afternoon a lot of rocket launchers, a lot of pickup trucks full of heavy machine guns and anti-aircraft guns moving from the east towards the front. But you have to realize that the other side has tanks, heavy artillery, aircraft, helicopters. It's an uneven fight and it's really starting to show -- Anderson.

COOPER: Nic Robertson, stay safe, Arwa Damon as well. Ben Wedeman, many thanks.

Still ahead tonight: inside Mesrata, the site of fierce fighting over the weekend, where opposition fighters beat back Gadhafi forces. No one believes the battle is over, including the young woman you're going to hear from coming up. But she says she has new information about what's happening in Zawiya. She says she just talked to somebody who -- who got out of there -- her eyewitness account next.

Also, word that NATO is getting closer to a decision on whether to create a no-fly zone over Libya -- new details on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Opposition forces say the town of Mesrata east of Tripoli remains under their control tonight. The streets, they say, are calm for now. But fighting in Mesrata has been fierce in recent days.

Bloody clashes over the weekend left dozens dead, dozens wounded according to a doctor at Central Mesrata Hospital. He said a 3-year- old child was among those killed.

I want to warn you that this next video is disturbing. The voice narrating it says, "These are the people who tried to attack the city of Mesrata on March 6th." That was on Sunday. CNN cannot independently confirm where or when that video was shot nor who those people are. They are wearing uniforms. Likewise, we can't confirm witness reports in Mesrata because we don't have reporters there.

Earlier, I talked to a young woman in Mesrata about what she has seen and what she's bracing for. She also says she has a contact in Zawiya and talked about that. For her safety, we're not identifying her.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I understand you know somebody who just got out of Zawiya. What did they say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were just telling us how bad the situation in Zawiya. He had to leave Zawiya 30 kilometers out of Zawiya just so he could get cell phone reception. He told us that everything has been cut off. All the sources of communication: telephone services, both cell phone, their electricity has been cut off, their water has been cut off, and they're shooting from tanks, from guns, essentially everything.

The situation is so unsafe. They're breaking into houses. They're not leaving, like even children are getting killed. Like, they're not -- the thing is, they're not -- they're not leaving anybody out. Do you know what I mean? They're like shooting aimlessly at people; anyone who tries to step out.

I have a friend whose uncle passed away the day before yesterday and they couldn't even get out to bury him because of how unsafe the situation is.

COOPER: What is the situation where you are in Mesrata?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As of today, it's pretty calm. But it's really unpredictable, like we can't even sleep. Every time we hear a sound, it's like automatically you think it's like a helicopter or we think it's firing. So it's really, really, really stressful.

COOPER: There have been repeated attempted by Gadhafi forces to retake Mesrata. At this point, though, they haven't been able to do that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, they haven't been able to do that. The thing is so many people in the battle that happened on Sunday, 20 people were killed. One of them was a 2-year-old, a lot of them were civilians; they weren't even equipped with weapons. The number of injured was very, very, very high, like in the 80s.

My brother was at the hospital and he pretty much -- he said the situation inside the hospitals was a massacre. Like, all the injuries that have been sustained are either to the head and to the neck. So it's obvious that Gadhafi, he doesn't have a limit to who he's killing and how he's killing them.

COOPER: The injuries being to the head and neck, those are efforts to kill, not to scare away protestors or to wound.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, not to just injure, exactly.

COOPER: The -- every night on this program, we've been talking about the lies that the regime Gadhafi regime has been telling. One of the lies that Seif Gadhafi has been repeating over and over again is that Mesrata is essentially being held hostage, the people of Mesrata, the third largest city in Libya. Some 500,000 people, they're being held hostage by 40 to 50 al Qaeda fighters. That's one of the stories he's been telling.

At this point, it's not even necessary to kind of disclaim it. But just in case anyone still might believe what he says, is that what the situation is in Mesrata?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. It definitely isn't. After 42 years of Gadhafi's lies, anything that comes out of his mouth is pretty much either absurd or a lie. Like we don't even watch his speeches because they'll just -- they just frustrate us so much because everything he says is a lie.

COOPER: What do you want the world to know about what you need and what is happening there now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want the world to know that it's -- what they see on TV is not even half of what is actually going on. The situation is so unreal. It's horrendous.

I mean what leader of a country brings in people from different countries to kill his own people? How many more people have to die before world leaders like Obama and Stephen Harper actually take a stand? I mean condemning what Gadhafi is doing at this point is definitely not enough anymore. Condemning what he's doing while innocent lives are being taken is ridiculous. Like do the people I love being killed not matter?

It's just -- it's horrific to see what's going on in Libya and to see that people who actually have power around the world are not doing anything about it.

COOPER: Do you -- you know you're taking a risk by making this call?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I just -- it's the least I can do at this point, because I can't just sit back and watch what's happening without actually doing anything, right?

And I mean at the end of the day, as a Libyan, I just want freedom and I just want what's best for my country. So by taking this risk, I mean it's worth it.

COOPER: Stay safe. Thank you for talking to us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No problem. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot of brave people.

Coming up, there are reports that we could hear as soon as tomorrow whether NATO might approve a no-fly zone over Libya. Tonight, we'll look at what that actually would mean.

I'll talk to a navy pilot who has led no-fly operations before. He also led a squadron back in 1986 over that -- in that U.S. bombing mission in Libya. So he's actually flown fighter jets over Libya. He'll tell us about what kind of air defense systems they have.

Then later, an update on Egypt: new clashes in liberation square, violent clashes. And word that Mohammed ElBaradei -- that man -- is planning to run for president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, the countdown is on to a possible decision whether a no-fly zone would be imposed over Libya. We could hear as soon as tomorrow from NATO defense ministers who are scheduled to meet in Brussels to discuss the options. One key component maybe close to falling into place, there are reports that the Arab League may soon voice its support for a no-fly zone.

In the town of Ras Lanuf in eastern Libya, Ben Wedeman reports the opposition is getting desperate, outgunned, inexperienced and under the constant threat of air strikes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ahmed Fatouri (ph) left his clothing store in Benghazi to carry a SAM-7 surface-to- air missile but he knows he has little chance of hitting one of those planes. He's losing hope that the much discussed no-fly zone will ever materialize.

AHMED FATURI: Just talk. No have any action, just talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Just talk, he says. Well, there has been a lot of talk about a no-fly zone.

We wanted to know how hard would it really be, what would that actually look like? Joining us live from Princeton, New Jersey: Anne- Marie Slaughter, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University; she's also former director of policy planning for the State Department. In Washington, Professor Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Study; he's also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. And retired 4-star Admiral John Nathman; as a naval aviator and carrier commander, he led no-fly operations in Iraq and Bosnia. He was also the lead FA-18 pilot in the 1986 strike on Libya.

Admiral let me start with you. Just how difficult would it be to establish a no-fly zone over Libya?

ADM. JOHN NATHMAN, U.S. NAVY (RET.): Well, I think that's a great question. I think before we just assume away that a no-fly zone is going to be effective, I think particularly for the American public, they have to understand as Secretary Gates has been warning, that this is not a trivial issue.

The first thing you have to do is establish it, and then you have to enforce it. And this -- right now Libya has a current operational, integrated air defense system. And if you want to establish a no-fly zone in Libya, you're going to have to locate it, you're going have to target it, and you're going to have to destroy it.

And as Secretary Gates made it clear the other evening in testimony on the Hill, you are attacking Libya to do this. It's not only --

COOPER: How hard is that to do? I mean to actually locate that stuff and take it out?

NATHMAN: Let me talk about that right now. That's important. You're going to be stripping away critical assets.

If you think about it, the big communications intelligence and signals intelligence aircraft primarily come from the United States Navy and the United States Air Force. Those assets are critical to other strategic theaters, like Afghanistan, Iraq, the Western Pacific, particularly what's happening in Korea and what we see happening right now with Bahrain and the Persian Gulf.

COOPER: But are we talking about a month-long thing to take out assets on the ground?

NATHMAN: Well, you're going to be taking out assets on the ground but you're going to be going after kind of a triad of capability. You're going to be going after command and control assets. You're going to be going after surface-to-air missile systems and anti-aircraft systems. Many of those systems are mobile. So it may take us a while to locate most of those to make sure that the no-fly zone that we establish is -- can be efficiently patrolled.

Now, part of this is what I'm listening to on the news today, people are assuming away that a no-fly zone is going to fix this particular problem on the ground.

If you look at your pictures right now, it's urban conflict. We know who the bad guys are. They're the forces supporting Gadhafi. And we know -- we don't know exactly who the good guys are. And if you look at it on the ground, they all look the same. So how are we going to separate out who the good guys and the bad guys are and just suppressing MIGs from flying isn't the answer. COOPER: Let me bring in Anne-Marie Slaughter. You hear the former admiral saying it's an incredibly difficult thing to do. Why then do you say it's essential to do?

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: I think the admiral is absolutely right to make clear what it entails. That this is not something we undertake lightly, nor should we think it can -- it will automatically turn the tables.

But we've got a lot of difficult choices here, and the no-fly zone clearly will help some. We're also seeing lots of pictures of aircraft bombing oil installations, bombing people directly. The people on the ground who are doing the fighting understand that this is -- this isn't boots on the ground, this is just stopping the aircraft. And they think it will make a decisive difference.

From my perspective, we have to try. If we do not try, we are choosing not to act. We don't have a -- you know, there's no sort of just being a bystander.

COOPER: You're saying that's a choice?

SLAUGHTER: If we don't act, we're choosing not to act in the eyes of the Libyan opposition and many across the Middle East, we're basically siding with Gadhafi.

COOPER: You think it would be interpreted as siding with Gadhafi if we don't do something?

SLAUGHTER: I do. Because if Gadhafi retakes these towns and massacres those who were opposed to him, which is what he will do, what the -- what the Libyan opposition will see, what the youth in Egypt and across the Middle East will see, what every Islamic country that have now petitioned the U.N. Security council for a no-fly zone will see is that we were asked and we did nothing and Gadhafi won the day.

COOPER: Fouad, there are those who say well, look, what people may see are pictures of civilians, Libyan civilians killed in U.S. air strikes in an attempt to take out anti-aircraft batteries.

FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, look, I think we've gone through this argument and this idea that somehow or another that America has dirty hands and we are guilty in the Middle East and we can't come to the rescue of these people.

These are very, very weak arguments and these amazing people that you have put on this show time and again, these simple people, older people, young women who reach out, conquer their fear and speak to us of their dilemma. The dilemma is that this is a popular uprising against a tyrant, and not only is it this Libyan uprising, by the way, it's really taking off from what Anne-Marie said. It's also this Arab spring, this Arab awakening, this wider Arab awakening in the region.

We must support this awakening. There is no alternative. Nothing happened in the Arab world for decades which has been decent. This is the first decent chance that Arabs have. We have no choice but to support them and protect them against this man.

COOPER: Admiral John Nathman, appreciate your expertise.

NATHMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Anne-Marie Slaughter as well and Fouad Ajami as well. As always.

Still ahead tonight, breaking news: dramatic, controversial move in the battle over the budget in Wisconsin; we'll have details on that.

Plus, the actor picked to play former vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin in a new movie. Hint, it is one of these three. Find out who it is.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Checking with Isha Sesay for an update on other stories in a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in Cairo, at least 44 people were injured when gangs loyal to Egypt's security apparatus assaulted pro-democracy activists in Tahrir Square. CNN can't independently confirm when this video was shot. It purports to show the attacks.

Meantime, Mohammed ElBaradei, Nobel laureate and former head of the U.N. Nuclear Agency, said he will run for Egypt's presidency as long as a new democratic system is in place.

And breaking news, Wisconsin's Republican-led state senate has passed Governor Scott Walker's proposed restrictions on collective bargaining for public employees. They got around a Democratic walkout by stripping financial provisions from the bill.

In Arizona, a federal judge entered not guilty pleas on behalf of Jared Lee Loughner, the 22-year-old man accused of fatally shooting six people and wounding 13 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Loughner faces 49 charges related to the mass shooting in Tucson.

NPR's chief executive officer Vivian Schiller has resigned after a series of controversies at the public broadcaster. In the latest incident, NPR's former senior vice president for fund-raising was shown in an undercover video calling the Tea Partiers, quote, "racist and scary" and questioning whether NPR needs federal funding.

Ok, Anderson, it's quiz time for you. Which of these actors will play Sarah Palin in a new film about the 2008 presidential election? Julianne Moore, Tina Fey, or Julianna Margulies?

COOPER: I actually know the answer to this.

SESAY: You what -- you just cheat?

COOPER: No, no. I actually met somebody involved in the production of this a couple of weeks ago. Julianne Moore, right?

SESAY: Yes, Julianne Moore, you're right. Point for Anderson. The redhead got the role. Julianne Moore will play John McCain's folksy former running mate. Some may have considered this a bit of a long shot though. She's not exactly the spitting image of the former Alaska governor. Many may have guessed that indeed it would be Tina Fey, that she would have the inside track, after her spot-on impersonations of Palin during the campaign.

Were you surprised, Anderson? Because I was.

COOPER: You know, I didn't give it much thought. But I'm sure it will be an interesting movie. I think it's made by the same person who did --

SESAY: "Recount"

COOPER: "Recount", yes, which was obviously really well done. So it should be great.

SESAY: Yes.

COOPER: Still ahead, connecting cancer patients to doctors and scientists who might be able to save their lives. A computer scientist who won his own cancer battle invents a solution.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In "The Connection" tonight, a computer scientist who beat cancer is now helping others do the same. His personal medical battle convinced him patients needed a better way to communicate with doctors and scientists, so he invented a cancer app.

Here's Dan Simon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marty Tenenbaum is a Stanford-trained computer scientist who made millions during the dot- com boom of the 90s. He pioneered e-commerce technology. Now he says he's building something far more significant.

(on camera): Do you see this as the most valuable work you've ever done?

MARTY TENENBAUM, CEO, COLLABRX: By far. I come into work with a different feeling than I ever had in anything else I've ever done. I have a chance to save some lives today.

SIMON (voice-over): The chance to save lives was a calling. After Tenenbaum nearly lost his own life to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

TENENBAUM: I had all the money in the world and no time. And just like panic, is this all there is?

SIMON: But Tenenbaum didn't panic. He used his expertise and the workings of the web and his entrepreneurial focus to find answers.

(on camera): That experience led to a Cancer Commons, a web application that aims to bring together patients, doctors and scientists from around the globe. Kind of a social networking app to share the best treatment options for melanoma.

(voice-over): Right now, for example, patients can learn what drugs offer the most promise. And where clinical trials are happening that can allow a patient to get the treatment.

TENENBAUM: Basically by answering just a handful of questions on a single screen, we can get enough information to be able to tell that patient, to advise that patient what additional test they might need in order to be able to get the answers that they're seeking.

SIMON: The Cancer Commons editorial board consists of some of the most reputable doctors in the country, including Dr. Keith Flaherty, an oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and lecturer at Harvard Medical School.

DR. KEITH FLAHERTY, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: I'm enormously excited. Having been in this field of trying to translate scientific understanding of cancer into treatments, I have to say it's been one of my major frustrations.

SIMON: So far the site is just for melanoma. But Tenenbaum says he'll be expanding to cover all major forms of cancer.

TENENBAUM: We're not going to cure cancer, we don't do science. But I think that we can significantly improve the outcomes for cancer patients, maybe 50 percent.

SIMON: And like his Acura racecar that goes 160 miles-an-hour, he's in a hurry to get it done.

Dan Simon, CNN, Palo Alto, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That's it for 360. Thanks for watching.

Piers Morgan starts now.

I'll see you tomorrow night.