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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
U.S. Grills "Hostile" bin Laden's Wives; Record Flooding Moves South; May the Force be with Education
Aired May 12, 2011 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening everyone.
We begin tonight with breaking news; a "360 Exclusive." We've learned for the first time that U.S. intelligence has gained access to the three wives of Osama bin Laden swept up during the raid that killed him. Details you'll only hear here, including why America is unhappy with the arrangement it's getting from the Pakistani intelligence services.
There's more tonight. New details we're uncovering about how complacent bin Laden was in his Pakistani hideout, how he didn't have an escape plan; details giving intelligence experts even more reason to believe he thought he could rely on a network of Pakistani protectors to keep him safe.
Put it all together and it's not a pretty picture tonight. As one of Pakistan's leading opinion writers put it in a recent column, "If we didn't know that bin Laden was in Abbottabad, we are a failed state. If we did know, we're a rogue state."
Tonight, "Keeping Them Honest," some of the latest facts to support that view. Recall last night we asked Pakistan's American ambassador Husain Haqqani about whether U.S. intelligence would be given access to bin Laden's wives.
COOPER: I've talked to one former Bush administration official who had dealings over the years in Pakistan who said sometimes Pakistani officials promise one thing but -- but don't deliver on it. When -- when do you actually expect U.S. officials to get access to be able to interview and/or interrogate these women?
HUSAIN HAQQANI, PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: I'm not going to go into the specifics of intelligence cooperation. All I'm going to say is that the people who deal with these matters in the U.S. government will within the next two to three days, be talking to you and others and they will make it very clear to you of what exactly is the state of play.
COOPER: Can you at least guarantee that U.S. officials will be allowed access to -- to bin Laden's wives who are in custody?
HAQQANI: Pakistan and the United States will continue to share intelligence the arrangements are going to be worked out between both our sides.
COOPER: Well, in fact, what we've just learned is that what the ambassador either didn't know or knew and wasn't saying is the interrogations had already begun. But as you'll hear in a moment, CNN national security analyst, Fran Townsend is getting exclusive inside information about snags in that process.
I also asked the ambassador about the evidence, more of which CNN's Barbara Starr is reporting tonight of a bin Laden support network, and questioned him about his own government's inconsistent statements on that subject.
The interior minister categorically denied that there was any kind of support network to our correspondent. The ambassador told me the matter was still under investigation then refused to comment further. Now, sources are telling us that when Navy Seals raided the bin Laden compound, they found no signs he had either a plan to escape or the means to destroy the gigabytes of data recovered from his hideout.
The bottom line, our sources thinks he felt safe. The question is, was it out of laziness or because he knew he had the right people looking out for him?
New details on that and exclusive details on the interrogation of his wives now from CNN national security analyst Fran Townsend, who was Homeland Security Adviser in the last administration and currently serves in the Department of Homeland Security and CIA External Advisory Committee; also late reporting on the possible bin Laden support network from Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr and Reza Sayah in Pakistan.
So Fran, you have some breaking news -- news tonight, new details about bin Laden's wives. What are you hearing from your sources about the ability of the U.S. to interrogate them?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It was very interesting, Anderson. After your interview, it was clear that people were frustrated, people on both sides -- both the Americans and the Pakistanis -- with whatever it was he was unwilling to say.
And so I heard both from Pakistani -- a Pakistani official and American officials that in fact the American intelligence had had access to the three bin Laden wives in Pakistan. They were -- they -- they got access in the presence of Pakistani intelligence. The three women were together at the time, and they were quite hostile is how it was described to me. They were quite hostile to the American officials, the American intelligence folks who were there. The eldest wife of the three seemed to speak for the group.
COOPER: This is the Yemeni woman?
TOWNSEND: That's right.
And Anderson, you know, it was described to me and I think, my sense was that the American officials felt like this was at least some progress that this was early going. They didn't expect any major breakthrough --
TOWNSEND: -- but there was at least some progress and there had been an exchange of intelligence -- an ongoing exchange of intelligence between Pakistani and American officials.
COOPER: I understand I was wrong -- actually the Yemeni is not the eldest. But so -- so your understanding is U.S. intelligence was able to try to talk to these women, but they were all together, which is obviously not the way they would want to try to interrogate or talk to -- talk to them. And Pakistani intelligence was in the room at the time?
TOWNSEND: That's exactly right.
Anderson, as you point out, the preferred way that you would do this, of course, is the American intelligence officials would not have another service like the Pakistanis in the room with them. They would question the women one at a time separately, and try to find inconsistencies in these stories and get leads.
That's not the arrangement that's currently in place, but both sides reinforced to me that in fact they were talking about what the ground rules, if you will, would be, and that this was an ongoing process; that we were just at the beginning that this was an ongoing process.
COOPER: Now I understand you also spoke with the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, who I talked to last night in the program. What did he have to say about this?
TOWNSEND: Well, he would -- I asked him about these -- these facts that we just talked about. He absolutely did not want to comment, refused to comment. Although I will say to you Anderson, it was interesting because he didn't seem unhappy with the news that I knew. He was not upset with it. He just said he wouldn't comment. In fact, he wanted me to talk to American intelligence officials.
COOPER: Will U.S. officials be able to speak to the bin Laden wives again? Do we know that? That may -- and maybe he speak to them more on terms which will benefit the United States?
TOWNSEND: It was certainly the impression I was left with, that it was likely that American officials would have additional access. I think right now the question is what will those ground rules be? And in fact, the Pakistani ambassador, before we got off the phone, said he was traveling to Pakistan tomorrow.
COOPER: Reza, I want to bring you in here. Fran is saying this move was basically a kind of an effort by the Pakistanis to change the narrative, the perception that they had been uncooperative. How much of a concern has that been among Pakistani officials you've talked to?
REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it's a big concern. For 11 days now, ever since this U.S. raid, Pakistan's government and its military has been pummeled with questions and criticism how bin Laden was allowed to hide out here. The criticism culminating last week with none other than U.S. President Barack Obama coming out and saying that he believed bin Laden had a support network here and he didn't rule out that that support network included elements within Pakistan's security establishment.
Obviously this puts tremendous pressure on Pakistan. It fuels those old questions that maybe they're playing a double game, maybe they're being selective in what type of extremist that they're going after. And they were under pressure to change that perception and I think they're in a position where they know they have to change it with more than rhetoric and words. They have to make a substantial move and I guess access to these wives is one small step.
COOPER: So some people in the United States are going to be listening to this Reza and say well, look, why wouldn't Pakistan allow access to the United States to -- to interview these -- these women?
SAYAH: Yes, and that's the balancing act Pakistan has to play. On one hand, they have to cooperate with the U.S. on the other hand they have to address a domestic crowd, a public that has been embarrassed by this episode. A public that for the past week has viewed the Pakistani military as being pushed around by the U.S.
They have to change that perception, the military does. This is a very proud and usually respected military. If they go out right after this raid where U.S. forces came deep into their territory and went out without being detected, if they come out and give access to these wives to the U.S., that's not going to help changing that perception.
I think they're going to try to create the impression that moving forward they're going to do things on their own terms when it comes to matters on their own soil. But again at the same time, they have to be seen as cooperating with their partner, the U.S., as well. It's a balancing act.
COOPER: Barbara Starr, we're learning some new details about what -- well, I think "The Washington Post" called -- referred to as Osama bin Laden's fixation with attacking the United States. It actually caused some friction within his movement, right?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know Anderson, U.S. officials who are looking at the intelligence haul from all of this say he appeared to be very much fixated on trying to get his followers to launch another attack on the United States. He wanted to see another mass attack, mass casualties. He knew that this would be the kind of thing that would make the American people react.
In that so-called diary of his, there is -- and other handwritten documents, there's discussion of -- of how to attack, when to attack, attacking as we've talked about on some of these anniversary dates, like the anniversary, the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 coming up. He also apparently, by all accounts, was trying to recruit American minorities to fight for him.
But the real bottom line now, we -- we have all of these -- these statements out there about what he was trying to do. How effective was he? Fine, he had command and control from this compound but could he effectively communicate with his operatives, get them to launch attacks? Could he get communications back from them?
That is still something we really don't have a good fix on -- Anderson.
COOPER: You know, Reza, it's interesting. You talked to the interior ministry in Pakistan. The ambassador here has said well, yes clearly he had some sort of support network. The interior minister categorically said to you -- categorically -- bin Laden didn't have a support network in Pakistan.
Do they still stand by that? If he was sending messages and receiving messages back, that would have at the very least seem to indicate some sort of support network.
SAYAH: Yes, look, the interior minister -- and I think most government officials -- are clarifying that they don't believe he had a support network that included elements within Pakistan's current security establishment and government. I don't think even the government here is ruling out that there may be rogue or retired elements from the security establishment that may have helped him.
You have to remember, to many here in the security establishment, you know, 20 years ago, Osama bin Laden was a brother in arms. He fought alongside a lot of the spy agents here in a successful Afghan jihad against the Soviets. And now many are calling on the same security establishment to turn on him. So it's plausible that some retired or rogue elements may be involved in a support network here. And I don't think even the government here is ruling that possibility out.
COOPER: All right. Reza Sayah, I appreciate the reporting. Fran and Barbara, stick around with us. A lot more to talk about, including more breaking news, late word the entire bin Laden raid was captured on helmet video cameras.
And another exclusive about the raid itself, we've been wondering what was happening outside the compound while the raid was going on. We know the details of the raid now. The questions are, did Pakistani authorities show up, the military, the police? After all, the U.S. was attacking for 40 minutes and if they didn't show up, why not?
Well, now for the first time, we're hearing some details from Pakistani locals about what they saw outside the compound.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, you can follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'll try to be tweeting some tonight.
And later from the Middle East, a scene of unbearable cruelty and remarkable courage under fire, snipers in Syria -- I don't know if you've seen this video -- snipers in Syria, gun down a man with a motorcycle. Then they try to stop his friends from either saving him or even recovering his body if he died. You'll see them real time just how far people will go in the name of simple human decency to save a friend.
We'll also talk to an incredibly brave woman in Syria on the run tonight, hiding from government thugs who've already arrested her husband. That's just ahead.
First, let's check in with Isha Sesay -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the wall of water is moving south tonight down the Mississippi. Memphis still flooded. Vicksburg, water rising. Sandbagging in parishes across parts of Louisiana and in New Orleans, the river now stands at flood stage. Live reporting tonight ahead on 360.
COOPER: More on the breaking news tonight, reporting exclusively that Americans have already interrogated three captured wives of Osama bin Laden; the conditions less than ideal, the cooperation apparently rocky. Sources telling us they're hoping to work out better and more productive arrangements.
We're also getting fresh reporting on growing suspicions that bin Laden was comfortable enough, complacent enough to suggest some kind of a network within Pakistan was protecting him or at least working with him.
There's other breaking news, as well. CBS News reporting that tiny helmet cameras worn by each SEAL team member captured the entire raid from obviously, from multiple perspectives and the killing of bin Laden, as well. CBS David Martin (ph), reporting that officials are using the video to reconstruct a more accurate version of exactly what happened.
Now from us, yet another angle you won't see anywhere else, it comes from CNN's Nick Payton Walsh who spent time today near the bin Laden compound. He found rage at America, not unexpected. But in addition he also uncovered an exclusive. Stories the locals are telling about mysterious encounters with shadowy troops just as the raid was going down.
NICK PAYTON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The strongest emotion you can count on seeing from the town where Osama bin Laden lived is rage at the United States. Not for bin Laden for living here under the noses of locals or for plotting in his diary more attacks against the West or a Pakistani army or police who run this town but didn't get to the site of the raid for more than 40 minutes, by which time the Navy Seals were long gone.
(on camera): Well, no Pakistani military officials serving all retired would talk to us on camera about their response when an American helicopter swooped in over Abbottabad. One retired official did tell us though that he was awoken by the sound of the American's detonating the helicopter that crash landed here, after which the sound of small arms fire and the unusual noise of a helicopter in the night sky did, he says, cause the army to respond quickly.
But the question still remains, why was the Pakistani military so slow to respond in a town as militarized as this?
(voice-over): The helicopter burned as the news slowly emerged of what happened, even though locals had no idea who their neighbor was. Some tried to approach during the raid, saw no Pakistani police or army around, but remember one mysterious detail; men with laser- sighted rifles encircling the compound speaking a local -- that's right, a local language.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We never saw their clothes but they were speaking Pashtu and told us to go away. After a while, one of our normal electricity black out ended and the light came back on, they told us to turn them all off.
WALSH: It's possible these men were Seals trained in Pashto or even Afghan commandos known to sometimes help U.S. Special Forces. Other locals were shaken awake by the thud of helicopters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We tried to go there and they pointed their laser guns on us and said no, you can't go. They were speaking Pashtu, so we thought that they were from Afghanistan, not America.
We heard three small blasts and one big one. And after that we went inside, soon the noise of the helicopters disappeared. Fifteen minutes later we came out of our houses. And after five minutes, a few police arrived then seven or eight army and then a whole lot of them.
WALSH: That would mean it was nearly an hour after the assault began before any Pakistani authorities even showed up. But the nearest police station is just over five minutes drive away, the army's base even closer. Caught off guard perhaps, never expecting the U.S. to attack, and bin Laden to hide right under their noses.
COOPER: And Nick joins us now from Islamabad. Nick, I mean, how is it possible that -- that the military or police would not have shown up if -- if what you're hearing is right -- for nearly an hour? That seems hard to believe given all the -- the noise, the explosions that -- that must have been going on. WALSH: Absolutely. I think that is the enduring question from this. It also perhaps helps explain to people who might be wondering why was bin Laden able to hide out there for so long? If it takes them an hour to respond to a large helicopter raid like this, it woke locals. This seems to have caused massive consternation in the village around, it's going to be pretty hard for those same security services to track down a man like bin Laden keeping himself to himself inside the house there.
Remember, locals didn't really reach out to the police there. They don't trust them. They consider them to be greedy, corrupt, inefficient. So their arrival I think was much considered to be (INAUDIBLE) -- to be outside as coming into the village rather than welcome help -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nick, Fareed Zakaria had suggested last week, and, again, there is no -- we don't know, but he suggested it's possible maybe someone from the U.S. called the military and said, look -- as the operation began -- saying look, there's an operation going on, you know, don't interfere. Is that possible?
WALSH: I have to say, I'm very skeptical about the idea of the Americans tipping off the Pakistanis. Before this operations trust is at an old time low, they really weren't communicating. They were at each other's throats frankly over a series of issues here based around the U.S. drone campaign.
Also, from our experience, the Pakistani military isn't actually that smooth a machine. You can imagine a phone call being made by the Americans to some part of the Pakistani military's higher ups and they are taking a significant amount of time for that to trickle it down.
WALSH: I mean even at NATO in Kabul, for example, their communications aren't that fast when they are trying to liaise with the Pakistanis -- Anderson.
COOPER: That's a good point.
Nick, I also want to bring in Fran Townsend now and Barbara Starr in Washington.
Fran, we just heard a local person telling Nick that there were people outside the compound during the raid keeping locals away, who may have been speaking a Pashtu dialect. If that is in fact true, would that surprise you at all?
TOWNSEND: Well, it would surprise me, Anderson.
The only thing one can imagine -- and I don't know -- but is that -- if the Navy SEALs brought with them some people to put on their perimeter to help them who spoke the language, so that they didn't -- so that no one else tried to get into the compound. But it's bizarre. And as you point out, the length of time that it took for the response is, frankly, inexplicable. COOPER: Yes.
Barbara, we're getting also fresh evidence that bin Laden was pretty comfortable in that -- in that compound. What have you learned so far?
STARR: Well, let me get to that in a second, Anderson.
I want to go back to what both Fran and Nick and you were chatting about. What we did learn today is of the 24 Seals that landed on the ground about one-third of them actually, our sources tell us, went and did perimeter security. They were outside the compound walls trying to keep local people away.
We have this now from multiple sources. There seems to be no question that these men that were seen were U.S. military commandos.
On the question of bin Laden's complacency, what our sources are telling us is, look, he had no escape plan. What was he doing, waiting on a third floor in a bedroom for the Navy SEALs to come busting up the stairs? He had no escape plan. There is no evidence that he tried to destroy this mountain of intelligence material that the Seals were taking away.
At the end of the day, he lived in this location for five years, didn't move, didn't seem to worry about it. And he basically was caught with three other men, his -- one of his sons, a courier, and the courier's brother.
That's not a lot of firepower, you know, even on a good day, let alone when you have got a bunch of Navy SEALs coming through your walls. So, he clearly must have felt complacent or he got lazy, but the thinking is he was complacent and he felt he was in a place where he would safe.
COOPER: Well, and I guess that's -- there -- it could be complacency, it could be laziness after that amount of time.
It could also be that that the reason he felt safe is he felt that there was a certain amount of security or -- or had some folks, you know, his network, watching after him. Again, there's no way to know at this point.
STARR: Well, I think that's right.
I mean these people did practice very significant what you call operational security. These couriers that we keep talking about, we know now that they used thumb drives. We're all familiar with those, the little computer thumb drives. Somebody would show up at the compound, take the thumb drive, go to the next town, deliver it to another courier that they didn't even know. And it goes from town to town to town.
This is how he communicated. This is how he so-called e-mailed out to his operatives. He felt that he was clearly in a place where he had support; he had people watching out for him. What he didn't know, of course, is that the U.S. government was keeping an eye on him for the last many months.
COOPER: And Fran, U.S. officials have not ruled out the possibility of some sort of collusion between bin Laden and members, either current or former, of Pakistan's intelligence services, have they?
TOWNSEND: That's right, Anderson. But I should say everyone I spoke to today -- and I spoke to three different people on this subject -- all made the point to me that there was -- there has been no evidence, they have seen no information to support the idea that there was someone in -- an official inside the Pakistani military or intelligence that was supporting him. They can't rule it out, but they haven't found anything so far that would support it.
COOPER: Fran Townsend, great job today of working a lot of sources, I appreciate that; Barbara Starr, as well.
And Nick Paton Walsh as well; as always thank you so much. Stay safe.
Coming up: the latest from Syria, unbelievable images we are seeing now, security forces just firing on demonstrators, killing civilians in the streets. And you're going to see a heroic effort to try to retrieve a mother and son lying in the street; just the latest disturbing scene from an uprising that has left hundreds dead according to human rights groups.
Also, I will speak with the wife of a political activist, an activist herself, a human rights activist. Her husband has been taken, arrested. She doesn't know where he is or what's happened to him. She is now in hiding, but she is determined to speak out. She wants her voice heard.
Plus, a watery state of emergency throughout the South, the Mississippi River cresting at a record level in Memphis, flooding on the move. We'll get a live update from Martin Savidge in Memphis next.
COOPER: Well, across the South and the Lower Midwest, about three million acres of farmland are flooded tonight, and the waters are still rising along the Mississippi River.
Here's what it looks like in Memphis, where the river crested this week at a record level, leaving as many as a thousand properties underwater. The flooding, well, it is moving steadily south.
Take a look at Vicksburg, Mississippi, historic town already hit hard by floodwaters. The river hasn't even crested there yet.
Farther south: Louisiana bracing for the rising water. In St. Mary Parish, they're piling up sandbags to try to save the church there. Some 26 parishes in the state have declared states of emergency.
In New Orleans, the river is already at flood stage, and the Army Corps of Engineers has begun opening more bays at a spillway that directs water into Lake Pontchartrain. They have also warned they may open another spillway, which would spare New Orleans, while flooding Southeastern Louisiana instead.
Martin Savidge joins us now from Memphis.
What are you seeing with the flooding where you are, Marty?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, even though the floodwaters have begun to recede here in Memphis, there are still pockets of misery. And this is a clear example of one of them.
We're in North Memphis tonight. And this was, still is, I guess, a mobile home park that had anywhere from 100 to 150 units in it. Water is now in every single one of those units. The water has been there now for up to one week. Everybody here got out safely. That's because they had days' notice to begin preparing to leave. But still, everything they left behind is now ruined.
There are about 800 people that were forced to evacuate by the high water; 400 remain in shelters tonight. Anywhere from 800 to a thousand properties in the city that were affected by the water. But again, it is beginning to recede. The only bad news now: rain is once again back in the forecast. It's expected to move in later tonight and in fact, there are concerns by officials here. There could be flash flooding.
COOPER: And the area that's affected is obviously enormous; you have Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Southern Illinois. We're still looking at thousands of people who could still need to be evacuated in the coming days.
SAVIDGE: Right. And the real concern here is, of course, that so far, so far the levees and the system has worked as was expected and was hoped by many of the officials. But there's still that nagging fear in the back of many people's minds that if you just had one breach of one levee or one thing that went wrong, it would be catastrophic with all the water that is out there on the Mississippi and the various tributaries tonight.
So that is what is in the back of people's minds. Nobody is relaxing at this point and, of course, as you say, it is a slow-moving event. It's not going to get to Vicksburg until a week from today. So they are going to be under the gun, and they are going to be with a lot of concern for seven more days and nights.
COOPER: And then we were talking about this last night. You can kind of chart this on your calendar when the water is going to arrive. You were saying I think in New Orleans, it may not arrive until around the 23rd or 24th -- if memory serves me correct -- is that right?
SAVIDGE: Right. But as you just pointed out, they're at flood stage already down there. It's just a couple inches above flood stage, but that's when the problems begin. It's only going to continue from there, continuing to rise. So they face several weeks now of problems, and again, as we know down there, that is a state and that is a city that is very much remembering what happened to its levees back in the days of Katrina in 2005.
And five years may have gone by, but these are different levees now that are going to be pressured in different ways. So no one is going to be sleeping soundly down there for quite some time.
COOPER: Martin Savidge, appreciate it. Thank you.
A lot more we're following tonight. Let's check in with Isha; she's got a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, former senator John Ensign could face prosecution in his sex and lobbying scandal. The Senate Ethics Committee has sent its findings to the Justice Department saying there is evidence Ensign engaged in improper conduct and broke the law. Ensign resigned after it came to light that he had had an affair with a female aide and allegedly helped her financially.
Robert Mueller could stay on as FBI director after his 10-year expires in September. President Obama is seeking a two-year extension, which would require congressional approval.
U.S. Marshals will auction off some of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski's personal effects later this month with the proceeds going to some of his victims. Among the items that are going up for sale: typewriters, driver's licenses and checks and his original handwritten manifesto.
And Anderson, another battle in the Facebook-Google war; it turns out Facebook was behind an e-mail campaign to journalists last week accusing Google of violating users' privacy. Facebook admitted it hired a PR firm to focus attention on the issue, but Anderson, it's denying that it intended it to be a smear campaign.
SESAY: Not pretty.
COOPER: All right Isha. We'll check in with you shortly.
Still ahead, more violence, more arrests in Syria, more death. I'm going to talk to the wife of a political activist. She's a human rights activist herself. Her husband has been taken away, snatched off the street, she says. He has been in hiding for weeks. She's still in hiding, been there for weeks, moving around, trying to stay ahead of authorities. We'll talk to her.
Plus, disturbing video that claims to show demonstrators under fire: they try to retrieve the bodies of two injured people from the street. You have to see this video from Syria.
COOPER: Well, in Syria where it's Friday morning, security forces are preparing for new anti-government protests expected across the country after Muslim prayers. Human rights groups say at least 776 protesters have been killed so far across Syria since mid-march.
Now, I want to show you a video that appears to show Syrian security forces firing on demonstrators in Daraa as they try to retrieve two people lying in the street, reportedly a mother and son who appear to have been shot. Now, we can't verify the video's authenticity. And we should warn you the images are disturbing.
But it shows you, we think, not just the brutality of this regime that's killing their own people, it shows you the great lengths that some people will go to, the risks they will take, to help others in need. Look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(AMATEUR VIDEO OF CRACKDOWN IN DARAA, SYRIA)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: As you can see the men were able to retrieve the woman's body without getting shot themselves. She appears dead, though we can't be certain. Reaching the man is harder. First they tried to use a rope to pull the motorcycle out of the way. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(AMATEUR VIDEO OF CRACKDOWN IN DARAA, SYRIA)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And then in this next clip, you'll see one of the men throw some sort of a metal pole across the street where people we can't see are also trying to reach this man.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(AMATEUR VIDEO OF CRACKDOWN IN DARAA, SYRIA)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: People crying "God is great." They eventually succeed. Hard to tell, though, if the man is alive or dead. You might be wondering why are they making such effort to retrieve people who may be dead and why would the government be shooting people trying to get at some bodies?
The government has, we've been told, repeatedly shooting at people who try to retrieve the bodies of those they've already shot because often times the funerals of the dead who have been killed become protests. So the government doesn't want to give the bodies to the families, to the protesters because they're afraid more protests might break out.
Thousands of protesters in Syria have been arrested. We got word today that a political activist Wael al-Hamada was arrested. He's been in hiding for weeks now.
So has his wife, a woman named Razan Zaytouni, one that we've spoken to before on this program. She's a human rights activist. She is still in hiding right now. She's not backing down even though her husband has been arrested.
She's determined to continue to speak out, to use her name and talk about what is happening no matter the risk. I talked to her earlier tonight.
COOPER: What happened to your husband? How was he taken?
RAZAN ZAYTOUNI, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST IN SYRIA (via telephone): I just heard a few hours ago that he was taken yesterday noon from his job. He wasn't going to his job for weeks now because they tried twice to arrest him before during the last few weeks. I don't know what exactly happened yesterday and why he went there. I only got news from his colleague that he got arrested.
COOPER: Why do you think he was arrested?
ZAYTOUNI: He's an activist also. He's wanted and there were two attempts to arrest him before. Two weeks ago they break into our house and arrested his little brother as a hostage because they didn't find him.
COOPER: How long have you been in hiding for now?
ZAYTOUNI: It's a few weeks now.
COOPER: And are you moving around, are you trying to stay in one place?
ZAYTOUNI: Yes, I'm moving around every few days, yes. They cut the Internet connections in different places where I were. They cut my mobile phone. It's like they surround you from all sides.
COOPER: What do you want the world to know about what is happening in Syria right now?
ZAYTOUNI: What's happening is crimes against Syrian people, daily committed against them; daily killing people only because they want to protest peacefully. Daily. Children got killed in this way. A woman got killed in this way. Everybody should know what is going on and should know that these people want one thing, their freedom to start a new future with freedom and democracy and dignity.
COOPER: We're seeing a video right now of people being arrested and put into a van and just being punched and beaten inside the van. What happens to people once they're taken away, do you know?
ZAYTOUNI: They take them to the security branches, practice all kind of torture against them: electricity, beating on their bodies, some think even sexual violations, all kinds of torture, all kinds. COOPER: In the past, I've gotten some tweets from people when I said that we were talking to you who say that we shouldn't use your name, that we shouldn't put your on TV because we're putting you in more danger.
I've tried to explain your perspective, but some people here don't seem to understand why you feel it's so important.
ZAYTOUNI: It's so important because the whole time the official media say those eyewitnesses are lying, those eyewitnesses don't use their names. All videos we put on YouTube is fake. We want to say no, we are real people. We have names. We have families who got arrested, who got tortured. In spite all of that, we want to keep going. Nothing will stop us.
COOPER: Do you worry that the regime is just too strong, that they're willing to kill too many people; they're willing to do anything to stay in power?
ZAYTOUNI: It's nothing related to strength. This regime doesn't understand any other language but the violence. It's not something new.
COOPER: Can you defeat them?
ZAYTOUNI: With our insistence, with people getting peacefully in this way, in this civil way. In spite of everything, I think for sure we will defeat them.
COOPER: And if -- if they come for you, if they take you, what then?
ZAYTOUNI: What then? I'm only one person. I'm only one individual. Everything will keep going.
COOPER: Razan Zaytouni, please be careful as you can, and please try to stay safe. Thank you so much for your courage.
ZAYTOUNI: Thank you. Bye.
COOPER: The courage of that woman is just incredible.
A quick programming note: we had planned to run my interview with British Prime Minister Tony Blair tonight. Due to breaking news, we weren't able to. We hope to have it for you tomorrow. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF U.K.: People say, what should we worry about most? Would it be Afghanistan? Would it be Iraq? Would it be Pakistan? Would it be Yemen? Would it be Somalia? And the answer to that question is all of those, I'm afraid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I talked to him about Syria, as well. Again, we hope to bring you the full interview with Tony Blair tomorrow on 360.
Up next tonight: big oil on Capitol Hill facing some tough questions about high prices at the pump. The ranking Republican on the committee, Senator Orrin Hatch, says the hearings are a dog-and- pony show, and he brought a picture to prove it.
COOPER: A lot more happening tonight. Let's check in with Isha with another "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Anderson, this new video, which CNN cannot independently verify, reports to show rebel forces in Libya fighting Tuesday to take control of Mesrata's airport. Tonight, there are conflicting reports about who is actually in control of the city.
A spokesman for the Transitional National Council said all of Mesrata has been liberated, but spokesmen for the Libyan rebels said forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi were still in control of parts of the port city.
A retired U.S. autoworker was convicted today of being an accessory to Nazi war crimes. In a legal battle that stretched over three decades, German prosecutors accused the 91-year-old Ukraine native of being a guard at a Nazi death camp in Poland.
On Capitol Hill, five big oil executives defended the tax breaks they get, despite record profits. Democrats want the tax cuts repealed, saying the bill would save $21 billion over ten years. One Republican called today's hearing, a quote, "dog-and-pony show," saying Democrats are only trying to score political points since the bill has virtually no chance of being passed.
And Anderson, Tiger Woods limped off the golf course today and dropped out of the players' championship after only nine holes. His return to golf after suffering knee and Achilles injuries was short- lived. It's now unclear if he'll compete in the U.S. Open next month. I'm no psychic, but the golfing gods are not happy with him.
COOPER: All right. Isha thanks.
Up next, see how the creator of "Star Wars," George Lucas, is changing education in America. He could be helping your child's classroom.
COOPER: Filmmaker George Lucas is obviously best known for creating the "Star Wars" movies. What you may not know is he's also a driving force in changing education in America. He's donated a lot of his fortune to create a new world of learning.
With tonight's "Perry's Principles" here's CNN education contributor, Steve Perry.
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: "Star Wars" creator, George Lucas, conquered the empire with the power of the force. Now he's conquering education with the power of the Internet.
GEORGE LUCAS, "STAR WARS": I strongly believe that education is the single most important job that the human race has.
PERRY: Edutopia.org is a free, non-profit site that highlights what works in schools with blogs, articles and videos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at ways for students to deepen their knowledge and work with their own knowledge so that they can become the authors of their own learning.
CINDY JOHANSON, THE GEORGE LUCAS EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION: So often you find that people know that their educational system could be better, but they're not always sure exactly in what way. So what we've tried to do at Edutopia.org is to shine a spotlight on innovation in real schools happening right now around the country, sometimes around the world, and show people with the power of video what it looks like. And not just show them what it looks like but how it's taking place.
PERRY: One of the biggest challenges that I see in education is that when a school is successful, people begin to say that that can't be replicated.
JOHANSON: We try in our coverage to show tips and strategies that can be adapted, that can be extended to other environments.
PERRY: Like in southern California, where Michelle Smith lives.
MICHELLE SMITH, PARENT: My son is dyslexic. There were a lot of challenges that he was facing in a traditional school setting. So I started self-educating myself on charter schools.
PERRY: What were some of the strategies you used to do research?
SMITH: I spent a lot of time on Edutopia.
PERRY: So you saw strategies in individuals who you felt were successful?
PERRY: You did it ala carte essentially of what you thought might be the best school for your son.
PERRY: Using clips from Edutopia, Smith produced a video illustrating the vision she had for a new charter school and went over to the school board. SMITH: This is our school site. This is context middle school 2011.
JOHANSON: These are people who care. They're change agents in education and they come from all these different viewpoints, these vantage points; administrators of schools, parents, teacher leaders. So often with education, it's about what's wrong, the problems in education, yet there's this force of people out there on the front lines.
PERRY: It gives them ownership. They built it, they'll test it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, often you don't have the chance to show kids that education is real, that there's value to it, and they get a chance to put that all together. Once in a while, the magic happens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a lift.
COOPER: You know, I mean it does seem like just this never- ending challenge. What can everybody do to improve schools?
PERRY: Well, we know what works in schools. You've heard me say this before, Anderson. It's no mystery to us what works in schools. And in fact Edutopia tells us, it's got thousands of different examples from throughout the country and world, not just in urban schools or suburban schools but all schools in between and within the classroom. So parents and educators can look on the Edutopia.org and have a better understanding of what's working.
COOPER: Steve Perry, thanks.
PERRY: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, that does it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.