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Aftermath of a Massacre; No-Fly Zone over Libya?; Testing to Graduate

Aired March 10, 2011 - 23:00   ET



Last night we began with a reporter who had escaped from the surrounded city of Zawiya. They said a massacre was taking place. Well tonight, the deed is done. The city has fallen and Gadhafi's forces are trying to hide evidence of what went on there, and trying to hunt down those who fought them.

The Libyan dictatorship is gaining ground tonight and not just in Zawiya but the east, as well. And the dictator's son, confident and cool, now threatens to crush the opposition without mercy. The world continues to watch.

NATO ministers who met today suggested that there isn't yet a good reason to act, saying there must be a quote, "demonstrable need." We have new video tonight that shows you just how fierce the fighting has become.

First, I want to show you what it's like fighting in the streets of Mesrata. The city still in opposition hands tonight but surrounded. This is what it looked like Sunday under relentless pounding from Gadhafi's forces.




COOPER: Small handful of poorly-armed opposition fighters, no match for Gadhafi's forces. This is a crowded city -- Libya's third largest -- packed with people with a war running through it, being fought without consideration for the lives of civilians, being fought with air strikes and artillery fire as I said, against poorly-armed people without military training.

Is this demonstrable need?

As for Zawiya, new video as well, this is what it looked and sounded like as time was running out: a stream of prayers coming from loud speakers; Gadhafi's artillery crews bombarding the town.



COOPER: Later, the silence speaks not of calm but of conquest. After a week of onslaught, government forces had beaten Zawiya into submission by pounding it into pieces on the ground.

A nearby mosque hit by a shell. The prayer space now a boulder field. "God is great" the photographer keeps saying again and again. "God is great."

Doctors have been shot at, ambulances shot at, reporters captured and tortured. And now as you'll hear from someone who was just there, the regime is trying to erase the evidence, clean the blood off the streets, get the boulders out of the streets as well and hunt down those who can tell the story.

Time has run out in Zawiya.

Time may have also run out to the east in the oil town of Ras Lanuf. Government forces now apparently with a strong advantage. Our Ben Wedeman was there. We'll talk to him shortly. Opposition fighters, many of them civilians, all of them inexperienced, now in retreat after days of pounding from the air -- time running out.

And back in Tripoli, where those who once protested now hide in their homes, Seif Gadhafi was doing interviews, telling CBS's Mark Phillips that opponents of the regime would be shown no mercy. "Just squash them," he was asked? "Yes," he replied. Yet talking to other cameras, he's also trying to paint this crackdown as some kind of rescue mission. Listen.


SEIF GADHAFI, MOAMMAR GADHAFI'S SON (through translator): I receive hundreds of calls from the east daily, and they are stating "Save us." They are begging us and pleading for us to save them, and my answer is two words -- listen to me, I want those armed groups to listen to me real well, and I want the people in the east to hear this, as well. We are coming.


COOPER: White House spokesman Jay Carney today said the administration has already, taken and I quote, "swift and dramatic actions", and it has when it comes to freezing Libyan assets. As for doing what the Libyan opposition says it needs most now, and needs urgently, namely a no-fly zone, NATO is reviewing options. Members making no decisions today, possibly doing nothing until Monday and putting tight conditions on military action.


ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Firstly, there must be a -- a -- a demonstrable need. Secondly, there must be a clear legal basis and thirdly, a strong regional support.


COOPER: We'll talk in detail tonight about that no-fly zone with General Wesley Clark and Fouad Ajami.

We'll also check in with all our reporters who are risking their lives inside Libya right now to bring us the facts.

First tonight, Bill Neely of Britain's ITV, the first reporter into Zawiya after it fell to Gadhafi's forces.


BILL NEELY, INTERNATIONAL EDITOR, ITV NEWS: We were the first journalists to reach the town's center, driving past dozens of burned out cars and tanks.

A quarter of a million people live in Zawiya or they did. This is a ghost town. Shops closed. Houses empty. Streets filled only with debris.


COOPER: And that was just the beginning. I spoke to Bill Neely earlier this evening.


COOPER: Bill, you were the first reporter into Zawiya after it's been taken over by Gadhafi forces. What did you see when you first got there?

NEELY: Well, first of all frankly I was stunned that we were allowed in. And we have been trying to get in for four days and we had been sent back every -- every day, yesterday having cameras stolen.

But today, they let us in. They said we could go in for 30 minutes. And it was a scene of utter devastation. I -- I've covered a lot of violence, but I've never seen anything quite like that in such a confined space. The mosque -- the minarets completely demolished. We saw many, many tanks being loaded up onto transporters, completely burned out.

Bulldozers and diggers pushing away dozens of burned out militia vehicles, quite an extraordinary fight that the rebels put up for seven days. I mean, take the worst terrorist bombing that you've seen, add a tank battle and throw in an artillery barrage, and you get some idea of the devastation in that square.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to show viewers everything, because as we were leaving, in fact, when we were at the hospital trying to get some idea of the death toll and the numbers of injured, an army commander approached us. He took our videotapes. He completely stripped us of television equipment and sent us on our way.

At least we weren't detained. At least we could come away with some idea of what had happened. And Zawiya is completely devastated.

COOPER: Yes, at least you weren't beaten, subjected to -- to mock executions as another British TV crew was the -- the other day. In -- in terms of -- of -- what's interesting is that it seems like the Gadhafi regime is trying to cover up what happened there, they're trying to erase any evidence of it.

NEELY: Well, I think a lot of the army commanders were surprised to see us in the square in the first place. As I say, one of them gave us 30 minutes but the other one took away all our tapes and they have been sealing this town off for days. When we went in there today, they were literally cleaning away the evidence.

I mean, there were road sweepers out there trying to get rid of where we saw bloodied military clothing, all the bullets. I mean, extraordinary number of munitions, ammunitions, spent bullets on -- on the ground. And I think they may be trying to clean it up in another way and erase evidence in another sense.

When I was there on Sunday, I went to the hospital and spoke to doctors. They were quite clear that there had been a massacre in Zawiya. They were talking about the indiscriminate use of force on civilians. They kept saying the people we're treating are civilians. And they also stressed that they treated both sides, that they also treated the army.

But they said this was a war crime and indeed under the Geneva Convention, if you do not take due care with the lives of civilians in a military assault, you are potentially guilty of war crimes.

But also the doctor said it was absolutely certain, and one -- one of them said I was wearing my white coat this morning and government troops fired on me and they told me about two other medical assistants who had been shot dead in Zawiya. Again, that is a clear war crime under the Geneva Convention.

So it could be that Gadhafi also wants to clear that kind of evidence away. When I was at the hospital, I recognized a trauma specialist that I've met on Sunday and he was the one who said there had been a massacre.

I made a move to approach him and he looked at me and he just did that, as if to say don't acknowledge me, don't come near me, please. I understood straight away that he was in danger if I had engaged him in any kind of conversation with the army right beside him.

So I think those doctors in Zawiya hospital are probably in some danger now, and there is a big roundup of residents, of young men, dozens being arrested, mass arrests there. And I think those young men also are in for a torrid time over the next few days.

COOPER: This is a town that's very close to Tripoli. The fact that -- no doubt Gadhafi will now claim this is a major victory. But -- but the fact that it took so long for his better-trained, you know highly-trained, probably the best unit they have in the Libyan army to take the town, what does that tell you?

NEELY: Anderson, I think you've put your finger on it. It -- it is a victory for Gadhafi in one sense in that this was the back door for Tripoli, if you like. This was his -- his backyard, and he's now closed that door. All of the West really is in his grip and under his control. I don't think, for example, in Tripoli you're going to see any popular uprising at all.

But on the other hand, as you say, it took the Khamis Brigade, that's the brigade, the 32nd Battalion run by Gadhafi's fifth son Khamis, which the WikiLeaks revelations told us U.S. diplomats called that the best-trained and the best-armed battalion.

It took that battalion a week. It took them dozens of tanks. It took them hundreds, possibly thousands of men and hundreds of vehicles to take basically one square mile, even less than that with a few -- I mean, you could call them a rag tag army and they didn't really have that many munitions. They had a few anti-aircraft guns. It took them a long time to take that area.

Now, Seif Gadhafi, his most prominent son is talking about a big military offensive in the east. If it took them that long to take Zawiya, how long will it really take for them to regain control of Benghazi or Tobruk, which are really big cities?

On the other hand, they do have momentum now. They have got the rebels in the east on the back foot; they attacked them today by land, air and even sea. So Gadhafi has got military momentum on his side.

COOPER: Well, Bill Neely, I appreciate the reporting. Stay safe. Thank you.

NEELY: Thanks, Anderson, a pleasure.


COOPER: Well, let us know what you think on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'll be tweeting tonight as well, live tweeting.

Next, as the battle for Libya gathers force, we'll check in with more of the correspondents on the ground, up close as government forces roll in with opposition fighters who just days ago might have been ordinary civilians.

Later, what a no-fly zone might look like and whether or not it should be imposed. John King is at the wall with that.

Also NATO's former supreme commander General Wesley Clark joins us along with Professor Fouad Ajami.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From almost the moment we arrived on the outskirts of Ras Lanuf, the shelling and bombing began. There's aircraft overhead, just bombed over there in an area where we saw there was a -- there's a military camp.



COOPER: President Obama goes before cameras tomorrow morning to talk about rising energy prices due in no small part to the Libyan crisis. Opposition fighters are now retreating from the oil port of Ras Lanuf after heavy government air strikes and late today new video surfaced from Mesrata, which right now is reported to be ringed by government forces, there has been heavy fighting there.

The new video from Sunday is just now coming to light.

Joining me now is Ben Wedeman, who is following opposition fighters in eastern Libya and Nic Robertson in Tripoli. And in Dubai, Alex Crawford of Britain Sky News, who was the only western TV journalist inside Zawiya at the height of the battle.

Ben, you were in Ras Lanuf today during the bombardment. What did you see, what happened?

WEDEMAN: What we saw Anderson was a city under bombardment from sea, land and air. The -- in mid morning, we saw sort of puffs of smoke all around the city as mortars were being fired. There was apparently fire from the sea. Some of those mortars landed, one of them right next to the hospital in town. Another hit a mosque.

That sort of set off a panic among the opposition forces, who basically one after another in pickup trucks, cars, trucks, started heading out of the city. They said they just didn't have the defenses in which to hide during this bombardment. So essentially they pulled out of town.

At this point, it's not clear who's really in control of the city but we saw them regrouping on the outside of town near a checkpoint, which also came under fire and the -- the fighters are sort of paralyzed by these continual overhead flights by the Libyan air force jets.

Every time one comes over, all the cars screech to a halt. Everybody has to jump out of the cars and go hide in the -- in ditches or in the desert, in the sand, wherever you can find any place of protection. What we're seeing is the opposition is completely outgunned, really encircled at this point, being pushed back and back toward Brega.

And, of course, the worry is that this is the beginning of an offensive that could reach the gates of Benghazi -- Anderson.

COOPER: What's amazing, Ben, in just watching them and listening to your reporting is just their lack of organization this far into the battle. I mean, it's one thing initially to have -- to be poorly organized. When they retreat, I mean, is there an order given, ok, it's time to pull back, or is it just individuals making up the choice, ok, now I'm leaving?

WEDEMAN: It -- it's just a mad rush to the rear. There is no order. There are no orders. There's no organization. I mean, basically you see the same guys who jumped into a car in Benghazi perhaps, perhaps or Tobruk, the same bunch of guys jumps back into that car and drives to the rear. Sometimes you see them arguing along the way, different groups saying we should stay and fight, we should dig trenches, let's move forward.

Often times it's "Let's get in the car and get the hell out of here." There's no organization. There have been attempts, and we've seen it day after day, experienced military officers who left the Libyan army, who are trying to tell them, look, it's not so good to move ahead. Get defensive positions. Strengthen your positions where you are rather than rush madly ahead, only to rush madly backwards.

No, it's not. Amazingly, after all of this, there doesn't seem to be any organization emerging from this anarchy, for lack of a better word -- Anderson.

COOPER: Alex, Zawiya has also fallen to Gadhafi control. Now, we see they are trying to clean up the evidence of what happened. But you were there and you saw it for yourself. You say it was a massacre, yes?

ALEX CRAWFORD, SKY NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it's absolutely shocking to think I was there four days ago. The international community had four days to try and help those people.

And you know, Ben Wedeman is absolutely right, certainly in Zawiya there was no coordinated army response from the rebels. The number of defections were in ones and twos. When I asking how many people defected today, how many people defected yesterday, they would say rather proudly, we had one, we had two.

And we have actual film evidence of ambulances being fired on, of a hospital being attacked, of young children, a 10-year-old boy amongst them being fired on. The soldiers went down the streets. They are even attacking the mosques, the most sacred of places.

This was whole-scale killing of civilians. Doctor after doctor, nurse after nurse told us, and we could see it for ourselves: people, university professors, students, engineers, all being attacked. And there was nothing they could fight back with. This was a town that was fighting for its life. They were not really rebels in the true sense of the word. They were just trying to survive, to stay alive.

COOPER: Nic, you were at a Seif Gadhafi pep rally or essentially a kind of a press conference/pep rally in Tripoli today. His language seems to be getting tougher, talking about squashing anyone who opposes them.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He had a big threat for the people in the east. He said there are thousands of people who are calling us from the east, from Benghazi every day. He said I want them -- I want them to listen to me now, and I want the rebels in the east to listen to me now as well, we are coming.

But this was sort of a -- a fire up the young people, this was a young crowd there. And he had some sort of horrific tales to tell them to fire them up. He talked about all the money that the government had put into the east, Benghazi housing project -- 62,000 houses that have been built.

But now he said all that money, the billions of investment was all being wasted in Benghazi and the east. And he told a story of -- of some video that the government has apparently found on the Internet, which portrays supposedly rebels cutting somebody's throat, then cutting their heart out, then boiling the heart, then stamping on the heart.

And this was all done to sort to rally the -- rally the young people, make them afraid, make them afraid that they -- of the people in the east so that they were perhaps have to go and fight them. He said so far we haven't called on reservists to come and fight.

But it's clear that this government is -- is preparing its people, particularly the young people here, for the potential of a -- of a very long fight -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ben Wedeman, stay safe, Nic Robertson, as well. Alex Crawford, thank so much for your reporting again tonight.

Still ahead, the anti-Gadhafi forces on the ground are out manned, out-gunned as we have been talking about. But is a no-fly zone really the answer? We're going to talk about it. The military options with General Wesley Clark and Professor Fouad Ajami -- two very different perspectives.

Also, we'll talk to the Libyan doctor on the run from Gadhafi's army right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You cannot imagine how -- how many -- how many casualties we received there. I mean amputations and head injuries. We -- we just received a man with a whole -- with his whole brain is out. You -- you cannot imagine how brutal it was.


COOPER: Well, NATO defense ministers met in Brussels today talking about the option of a no-fly zone over Libya. NATO's secretary general said the group is ready to act and has started 24/7 surveillance of Libya's airspace but there has to be a clear mandate from the United Nations for a no-fly zone to be imposed.

In Washington, the top U.S. intelligence official gave a very grim prediction to the Senate Armed Services Committee. James Clapper said Gadhafi is in it for the long haul. His regime's air defense is substantial, it's firepower superior to the opposition and he predicts Gadhafi will win it.


JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL DEFENSE: I mean, this is a kind of a stalemate back and forth, but I think over all -- longer term, that the regime will prevail.


COOPER: Clapper said it comes down to the fact that Gadhafi's regime simply has more logistical resources. So is a no-fly zone the answer, a way to break that stalemate? With more about what a no-fly zone would actually look like and some of the issues involved, here's John King.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, let's start with the reason the opposition says it desperately needs a no- fly zone or some NATO military installation. You've been covering this.

This is Ras Lanuf and you see the fighting, opposition forces literally running from the scene because they say in recent days, Gadhafi has been using air superiority, ground superiority, even naval vessels to fight them in these coastal cities and they say they desperately need help.

Now, how would a no-fly zone work? You could take short term steps before you are ready for full implementation, using drones, ships in the Mediterranean, you could conduct surveillance over Libya.

You could pick up intelligence chatter, pass it on to the opposition and you could jam the communications of Libyan pilots and other pro-Gadhafi forces. That's one step that would be taken pretty quickly, U.S. officials tell us.

But to have the big no-fly zone, that would require covering all these Libyan air installations. Now, the ones in the north, of course, are most important. You could crater the runway, and Senator Kerry has suggested that. They, of course, could fill in those potholes but temporarily you would disrupt takeoff and landing.

How would you do this? You would start, using some naval vessels. The United States already has significant resources in the Mediterranean Sea. Right now they're conducting humanitarian operations. Many of them could be converted to a no-fly zone.

But the bulk of the operations would come from here. NATO air bases in Italy that were used back in the Clinton administration for the no-fly zone operations up in Bosnia. This is where you would have to fly the jets down in this range here.

Now, no one suggests the United States and NATO don't have the power to do this, but they do say, Anderson, it would come at least initially at a high price; hundreds of millions of dollars and potentially lives, as well. The circles here, Gadhafi's anti-aircraft capabilities; the purple circles, surface-to-air missiles with a range of up to 200 miles; the tighter circles are smaller, more localized anti-aircraft, but Gadhafi does have that at his disposal.

And anyone says, as you have this conversation, the American people would have to be told there would be costs, not only in dollars, but potentially in lives. But Anderson, as we map out how it might work, we do know this tonight, any decision by NATO to do that, to implement a no-fly zone, days, probably weeks away -- Anderson.

COOPER: It's not clear that the opposition has weeks. John thanks.

Joining us live from Chicago, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark; he's a senior fellow at UCLA's Burkle Center for International Relations. And here in New York, Fouad Ajami, professor of Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Fouad, NATO was saying that there needs to be -- there are three things to -- three criteria met for a no-fly zone. Number one is demonstrable need. Some would say killing civilians in a town like Zawiya is demonstrable need. You say Gadhafi is smart and he's not going to do a Srebrenica style massacre that would force the international community to get involved.

FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Absolutely. Look, this man is a jackal; he knows what he's doing. You don't rule for 42 years, you don't play the western democracies the way he's played them and be a fool. He's not going to do a Srebrenica. He's going to wait.

He has these people in his grip and his mercy. He will settle his accounts with them in a big way.

COOPER: You're saying he's not going to do it not because he doesn't want to do it but he knows that would prompt intervention.

AJAMI: He'll kill them. These people are going to vanish into his prisons. Remember when we started doing this story, I told you this man is a warden and Libya to him is a big prison. This was to him a prison riot. He's now rounding up the prisoners and he will do with them what he needs to do with them much later.

I think the arguments of NATO -- they wreak of such abdication and such cowardice. Here is one argument that says we can't do it because there has to be demonstrable need. Is this not demonstrable need in Zawiya? Is this not demonstrable need elsewhere? There is demonstrable need.

And another thing, which I like, which is amazing -- again, we must bear in mind says NATO the sensitivities of the region. We can't intervene there because people in Ramallah would be upset. People in Amman would be upset. So we can't rescue Libyans. Because we must respect the sensitivities of the region as NATO defines them. Because from the region, on the ground, from Benghazi, people are telling us in every way they can, they want rescue and we can say we can't you because we'll offend you if we rescue you. I think the sham of this is laid bare. COOPER: Wesley Clark, is there a demonstrable need, in your opinion? What does that mean?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: I think there's certainly the United States would like to be engaged on the side of emerging democracy in the region. The question is how to do it most effectively.

This is a civil war. There's clearly a right and wrong side as far as we're concerned morally and democratically in this. There's no love loss for Gadhafi. On the other hand, we don't have any legal principle that says when people are in a civil war that you're going to go in there and automatically jump in on top of it.

That's why these countries of NATO are saying, "What's the need?" If you can create a humanitarian need, get a U.N. Security Council resolution, authorizing action, maybe you can do it. But that need as the Professor Ajami says -- Gadhafi is smart. He's going to keep this below the threshold at which NATO is impelled to take action.


COOPER: Is it possible to get the U.N. to take action? I mean if you're passing the buck to the U.N., and you have Russia and China who are not likely to, you know, authorize the intervention in a country like Libya, aren't you stuck then?

CLARK: Well, there is a problem with Russia and China, there's no doubt about it. But if the need were great enough, they could be embarrassed and do it. In 1999 -- or 1998, we had a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing humanitarian action under Chapter 7 in Kosovo, which later was the legal basis for NATO action in 1999 in Kosovo.

It's not impossible. It could be done. It hasn't been done. And the problem is that Gadhafi's moving this show forward. He's got the momentum on the ground, as Retired General Jim Clapper, our director of National Intelligence said today.

If you look at the balance of forces and the momentum, of course it's going to go back and forth. But there are no signs that the Gadhafi forces now are crumbling. He does have a technical military superiority, so just flying aircraft over the top of him, even if you take out his air defense, unless you're willing to intervene against the tanks and the ships. And that's not a no-fly zone.

Now you're talking about something else and you're going to need some people on the ground to tell friend from foe and now you're actually getting engaged. So what's the basis for this?

COOPER: There are other --

CLARK: That's the question. It can be done but what's the basis?

COOPER: Fouad, I was reading Nick Kristoff's column in he quotes a former Air Force general who says, if we can't do a no-fly zone against a third rate military like Libya, we might as well stop spending money on the military. That some generals are making it seem harder than they think it really is; that even flying some planes over Libya might send a message to Gadhafi's forces to stop.

AJAMI: Absolutely. This is General McPeak, I believe, who was an Air Force general. Look, we have great generals. We have a great general with us today. It's not about the generals. We can hear from one general who says it's mission impossible. Another general can say we can do it.

It's about the President of the United States understanding the stakes and the struggle, understanding the meaning of Libya, understanding the meaning of tyranny, understanding the whole idea of rescue. That this is what America does in these situations.

We rescued the Bosnians. We didn't quibble with the legalities. And I think General Clark knows all this better than all the rest of us. We rescued them -- the Kosovars (ph) in 1999. We could do it if we want to.

The President of the United States doesn't want to do it. And I think we can see what's happening in Libya with such great clarity. When Zawiya fell, one person from Zawiya said, describing the grief and the sorrow, he said, "There's no animal in the streets, there's no bird in the sky."

This is it. We can see what's happening in Libya. And I think if the President doesn't want to speak to it, if the President doesn't want to do this rescue, it doesn't matter what the generals, what this military expert would say and what that military expert would say.

And then we say there has to be regional consensus. Well, look, the Arabs are telling us no-fly zone, it's ok. The Africans are saying it. But it's not really about the Arabs and the Africans, it's about the Libyans themselves. And so the talk about regional sensitivity is just an alibi for doing nothing.

COOPER: Fouad Ajami, General Wesley Clark, appreciate your -- both your expertise. Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, the voice from inside Libya, a doctor describes bloody and brutal fighting, the bombing of mosques, and medical clinics. How he is treating opposition fighters and unarmed civilians and even Libyan government forces with terrible injuries and running out of supplies.


COOPER: More new video now coming out of Libya, a video we just received, purportedly taken on Sunday. I want to warn you right now it's very difficult stuff, very hard to take, but we are determined to show you the reality of what is happening. The Gadhafi regime does not want you to see these images.

We reported in Zawiya they are already sweeping the blood off the streets, carting away the wreckage and hunting down anyone they suspect. So that's why we're showing you these videos.

A child wounded in the fighting in Mesrata. This is what it looks like when wars are fought on city streets. The people who live there: old, young, it doesn't matter, they end up paying a very heavy price. These will not be the last such images we see.

We spoke earlier by phone tonight with a doctor who says he's treating opposition fighters, government forces and unarmed civilians alike with horrible injuries. He says Gadhafi's regime is bombing mosques while people are praying and that he's running out of medical supplies after fleeing from Ras Lanuf to Brega, because medical clinics are being bombed.

For his protection, we're not using his name and I will tell you we cannot independently verify what he is saying.


COOPER: What is the situation in Brega?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, right now we just come to Brega from Ras Lanuf because our main station was in Ras Lanuf. After we did the evacuation, we just rush up to the old Brega clinic, which was bombed again. Even the old Brega clinic is bombed. So we moved to the other clinic at the new Brega.

Right now we are running out of supplies, because most of our supplies was at Ras Lanuf clinic, and both of them were bombed, as you know.

COOPER: How heavy was the fighting in Ras Lanuf?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You cannot imagine how heavy it was. It was very heavy until the moment that they hit the -- I mean the clinic with three different missiles. I think two of them were coming from air jets and one coming from the seaside. It was so close to the storage area of the clinic.

But you cannot imagine how many casualties we received there. Different casualties at different -- I mean, amputations and head injuries. We just received a man with whole -- with his whole brain is out. You cannot imagine how brutal it was.

COOPER: Are you seeing civilians as well as fighters who have been wounded?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of civilians. At least -- I mean the ones that I take, because we evacuated a lot of patients. I transferred six patients. Three of them were civilians, totally civilians, not armed ones; just young people going there, totally unarmed people.

COOPER: What do you want the world to know what is happening right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to know how brutal it was. I mean they're just ignoring everything. They are just ignoring hospitals, ignoring mosques. Can you imagine that they hit the mosque while the people were praying there? Can you imagine that?

They hit the hospital. We were trying to help people. We all have volunteers from Benghazi, from al Baida, from (INAUDIBLE); all the volunteer doctors, we're not armed. We are totally unarmed doctors. All of us came to Brega and Ras Lanuf just to help people. We even help the -- I mean myself two days back, I've been hit at one point trying to help one of the forces of Gadhafi. I mean, I was trying to help a soldier, and my own ambulance has been hit. We had to go to some other vehicle to go with that injured man.

COOPER: When you hear that NATO met today and they say that they're still waiting for events on the ground, they're still watching what's happening, they're watching -- waiting for what they say is demonstrable need, what do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is disappointing. I mean we cannot imagine how the world is treating us. We just, I mean, we just need them to treat us as humans. We don't want anything.

Just give us a break. Don't let that bombing and that aircraft destroying Libya. They are destroying us, they are destroying the hospitals, destroying the mosques, making all of the people ready to leave now. Can you imagine a man, in his own home, as a refugee?

They are destroying them, just -- I mean let them have some common sense. Why they didn't do the no-fly zone? We need it. They are bombing us. They are bombing anything.

COOPER: Does it seem that Gadhafi is winning right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I mean, the last day, this day, it was the most serious and the most -- I mean, it is bloody like hell. It is so bloody. And he has more and more -- he's increasingly aggressively -- I don't know what's happening to him.

COOPER: The battle is intensifying?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More and more. More and more.

COOPER: I know you have work to do. Stay safe. Thank you for talking to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Anderson. Thank you.


COOPER: Coming up, "Perry's Principles". Should high school students have to pass a standardized test before they can get their diplomas? It's a heated debate. Some say the tests aren't fair to minority students. Others say they're the best way to gauge who is ready for the real world. Both sides, next.


COOPER: Tonight in "Perry's Principles", the debate over requiring high school students to pass standardized tests to graduate. Now, some say the tests make sure only students who ready to go to college or start a career get diplomas. But critics say the tests are unfair to low income minority and Special Ed students. It's a debate that's raging in Rhode Island right now.

Here's education contributor and principal, Steve Perry.


STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): It will soon take more than good grades and a senior project to graduate from high school in Rhode Island.

(on camera): Your interest is to raise the bar and trying to come to a center where you don't hurt the kid, but you don't just send a kid out into the world.


PERRY: With a diploma that doesn't really mean anything more than the paper than it's written on.

GIST: How do you just say to a student you did everything you could, you're not ready and the likelihood that you're going to be successful wherever you go is pretty dim but here we're going to give you a diploma anyway? I don't think that's in the child's best interest. It's really a problem.

PERRY (voice-over): Beginning with the class of 2014, student will have two opportunities to score at least partially proficient on a statewide test in order to graduate. The ACLU says that could make it difficult for some kids to get a diploma.

ANNE MULREADY, RHODE ISLAND ACLU: There are many children who scored very poorly. They were children with limited English proficiency, children with disabilities, African-American children, and Latino children.

The test was designed to show schools what they needed to do to improve instruction but not designed to determine whether a particular student should graduate.

PERRY (on camera): What if there's a new test, another test that says this one is designed to measure a single child's capacity?

MULREADY: We don't support high stakes testing. Our concern is that we don't penalize students who haven't had the benefit of schools that provided them with all the tools that they needed.

PERRY: The commissioner said that this is but one part of a comprehensive effort to overhaul secondary education. What's your reaction to what she's trying to say?

MULREADY: We all hope that we can improve the quality of what happens in schools. However, we don't think a result on a single test is necessarily predictive of somebody's future success. There are things like leadership skills, creativity, computer literacy skills that are increasingly important in the real world. Those are the things that no test is going to measure.

PERRY: I think what we expect from a high school graduate is that they have a certain level of math competency and reading comprehension and competency. How do we measure that across the board, across the state?

MULREADY: Those things are typically measured as grades, as we all traditionally showed our proficiency.


COOPER: It's stunning when you think that a student can go through 13 years of schooling and still not have the knowledge they need to graduate.

PERRY: It's more than stunning, it's disgusting. When you have a child who has done what they needed to do for 13 years of their life and we as educators cannot say to that child that they are in fact, prepared for life, there's something very wrong with that. We can't just test the children and then punish the children with an exit exam.

What we need to do is we need to test the educators themselves and see what we're teaching and determine whether or not that's enough for the students.

COOPER: Principal Steve Perry, thanks.

PERRY: Thank you.

COOPER: We'll be right back.


COOPER: Isha Sesay is following other stories for us. She joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson emotions ran high today at a controversial congressional hearing on the radicalization of Muslim Americans. Committee chairman Peter King defended his decision to hold the session. Representative Keith Ellison, the first American Muslim elected to Congress, broke down in tears.


REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: This (INAUDIBLE) bravely sacrificed his life to try to help others on 9/11. After the tragedy, some people tried to smear his character solely because of his Islamic faith. Some people spread false rumors and speculated that he was in league with the attackers because he was a Muslim. But it was only when his remains were identified that these lies were exposed.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SESAY: Well, Congressman Ellison criticized the hearing as unjust and un-American.

A spokesman says Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who is recovering from being shot in the head, plans to attend the launch of the space shuttle "Endeavor" on April 19th. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is the shuttle mission's commander.

In southwest Alabama, you can see the terror on this woman's face as a tornado makes a direct hit on the hardware store she's in. 12 security cameras were rolling and here's what she is seeing. The tornado blasted the front door off its hinges and knocked out power. A handful of people were in a nearby shopping center were injured.

And Anderson, in Tacoma, Washington, an amazing rescue story to tell you about. A boxer named Sugar collapsed during a dog training class. She wasn't breathing. The trainer started CPR. He later said he had never done CPR on a dog before. But it worked, Sugar was revived and she's now being treated for heart conditions. I know.

COOPER: Oh, Sugar.

SESAY: I know. I think they said it was mouth to nose.

COOPER: Yes. I should learn how to do that. That probably could save --


SESAY: You should learn how to do that. I'll test you when you come to New York.

COOPER: If you bring a dog.

SESAY: I can find one.

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

Piers Morgan starts now.

I'll see you tomorrow.