Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Operation Swarmer Continues; Taliban Gaining Power in Pakistan?; Spring Break Serial Killer?

Aired March 17, 2006 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with a question from another war a long time ago: Is it the light at the end of the tunnel or the headlight of an oncoming train, or both?
All angles on Iraq tonight, reassuring and sobering, often from the same voice in nearly in the same breath -- 75 percent by this summer. Today, with operations still under way in the Sunni triangle, the second-ranking American commander in Iraq said he expects that Iraqi forces will be in control of 75 percent of Iraqi territory by the end of the summer.

Now, that same general, Peter Chiarelli, also called the possibility of a civil war higher now than at any time in the last three years -- insurgents today gunning down Shias taking part in a pilgrimage.

And with the president reaffirming a policy of democracy around the globe, the sniping and worse keeps getting -- keeps growing from within his own party.

We begin tonight with the latest from the ground, Operation Swarmer. What is it and what is it not?

Here's CNN's Nic Robertson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): An Iraqi soldier shows a U.S. soldier a suspect vehicle in the distance and calls for a U.S. helicopter to check it out, exactly the type of cooperation both armies want to spotlight.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL SKIP JOHNSON, U.S. BRIGADE COMMANDER: And Iraqis have had the lead. And I think that's important, as we transition.

ROBERTSON: Operation Swarmer, highly publicized as the biggest air assault since the invasion of Iraq three years ago, is revealing as much about boosting the image of the Iraqi security forces, as it is about catching the 100 insurgents Iraqi officials say are in the area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is truly a joint effort. They have the lead. We're here in a support role. And -- and they execute. So, they have done a remarkable job. ROBERTSON: The job, in this case, chasing down insurgents over a large rural area of scattered farms, as directed by Iraqi intelligence. But how remarkable were the Iraqi troops compared with their past performances?

LIEUTENANT COLONEL LOU LARTIGUE, 101ST AIRBORNE: Today, they have put together, you know, company and battalion-size operations, participating in a large air assault, linking up on the ground with coalition forces, and putting that together. I think it was a great display.

ROBERTSON: Another ringing endorsement.

But when we were choppered around, what did we see? Iraqi troops, better equipped than last year, armored Humvees in place of civilian pickups, villagers apparently so relaxed about having their farm searched, they were cooking bread for troops and journalists alike.

But it is what we didn't see that is perhaps most revealing. We deposit see a raid actually taking place. So, we're relying on the military's own assessment. We asked to stay overnight to see more, but were told that wasn't possible; it was too short notice to arrange.

By the time we left, more than 50 of the 150 households in the target area had been searched, six moderate to small weapons caches discovered, and about 50 people taken into detention. Of those, at least 17 were later released.

But officials say they also developed possible leads in the recent attack on the nearby Samarra shrine that triggered a massive wave of sectarian violence.

COLONEL ALI, IRAQI BRIGADE COMMANDER (through translator): And we found some detainees. They provide us with good information about Golden Mosque -- Golden Mosque attack.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Normally, on -- on big military operations, there are reporters embedded, you know, even in the first waves. And then you guys report once, militarily, it's OK to report. That clearly wasn't the case in -- in this operation. Why?

ROBERTSON: There were two reasons, it seems, Anderson.

This was a -- perhaps one of the first big operations for this unit from the 101st Airborne. And they hadn't perhaps developed the contacts with journalists that other units have during their periods in the country.

And, perhaps, the other reason here is that they wanted to control this operation. It was going to be fast-moving. They didn't want to be encumbered with reporters. And, perhaps, there were concerns about how the operation would go. Would it portray the sort of image that they wanted it to? -- Anderson.

COOPER: And how -- I mean, what is your sense? How significant an operation was this, really?

ROBERTSON: I think moving into this area was significant.

Troops, Iraqi and U.S. security, hadn't been into this area before. It was an area insurgents were known to be in. How many they catch is still to be -- is still to be determined. The operation is still ongoing.

It was important at an operational level to get so many Iraqi troops. A battalion working with a battalion of U.S. troops, that's something we haven't really seen before. But how substantive is it, really? All the U.S. commanders we talked to said, absolutely, you couldn't put the Iraqi troops out there alone to do this at this time.

They say it's going to be a long time before they're ready to do something this complex and this big alone. But the message was to show the insurgents that, with U.S. support, Iraqi security can do something like this. So, it was a -- an important message for Iraqis to see it, but perhaps not so significant, in terms of the development to the army -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, well said. Nic Robertson, thanks.

On now to Washington and doubts among some Republicans about the president's notion, now official policy, that the best way of keeping Americans safe is to push for democracy in every corner of the globe.

You will recall that, six years ago, Mr. Bush campaigned against nation-building. All that changed, of course, on 9/11.

And, as CNN's Elaine Quijano reports, we have come a long way since then.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the central tenet driving President Bush's foreign policy, supporting and promoting the spread of democracies worldwide, reaffirmed in the updated National Security Strategy released Thursday. The president says democracy is key to ultimately making the world safer.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We believe that democracy is the right of every man and woman in this world. And we understand that history says loud and clear that democracies do not war.

QUIJANO: But some see the Bush administration's approach as too sweeping.

SUSAN RICE, SENIOR FELLOW IN FOREIGN POLICY STUDIES, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It's almost cast as the castor oil of U.S. foreign policy, that can cure everything from the common cold to nuclear proliferation. QUIJANO: Even in Republican circles, there's now a shift in the discussion of democracy.

LORNE CRANER, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE: There's an old school of democratic development that says, get an economy, get a middle class, get a democracy, in that order. And that is, in -- in some ways, what some people are saying within the Republican party. We need to go a little slower.

QUIJANO: Critics say the recent sectarian violence in Iraq illustrates why pushing for democracy worldwide may be unrealistic.

MARINA OTTAWAY, SENIOR ASSOCIATE/DIRECTOR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT DEMOCRACY AND RULE OF LAW PROJECT: Once people are given a choice, they vote for whoever they want. And they -- and what is quite clear is that, in divided countries, countries that have divided along ethnic lines or confessional lines, people tend to vote their identity. This is what happened -- this is what happened in Iraq.

QUIJANO: But the administration argues that forming democracies in places like Iraq is a long and difficult process.

STEPHEN L. HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It should surprise no one that freedom has allowed the expression of sectarian identity and the surfacing of sectarian grievances.

QUIJANO (on camera): Despite the tension in Iraq, some Republicans are standing firmly with the White House in its approach. They agree with the administration's assessment that the Iraqi people are still better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, joining us now, Joe Klein, a columnist for "TIME" magazine, and Christopher Hitchens, contributing editor for "Vanity Fair."

Appreciate both of you being on the program.

Joe, let me start off with you.

Operation Swarmer, what do you think was going on?

JOE KLEIN, COLUMNIST, "TIME": I -- I don't think it was a very big deal.

I mean, I don't want to dispute Nic, but -- who is on the ground there, but there have been much larger operations using Iraqi battalions. The sweep in Tal Afar, the holding in Tal Afar last -- late last year, involved at least two, maybe three or four, Iraqi battalions. Almost all of them were Peshmerga, though. And -- and that's the dirty little fact about all of this Iraqi army we are building.

COOPER: So, you're saying...

KLEIN: They're all ethnically unique. I mean, there are no blended battalions.

COOPER: So, you're saying this operation was -- was, what, hyped?

KLEIN: I think that -- that, yes, it was hyped by someone.

And it was certainly overplayed by all of us here in -- in the states, at the cable networks.

COOPER: Christopher, I want to talk a -- a little bit about politics in -- in Washington, if we could. The level of dissension within the Republican Party right now, does it surprise you, on Iraq, on other subjects?

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "VANITY FAIR": No. Actually, I'm surprised by how long it has taken to come about, because, remember, the president and the vice president, or Governor Bush, as he then was, and -- and Mr. Cheney, ran in 2000, very explicitly, against nation-building, against humanitarian intervention, against all of this kind of thing, against any over -- overseas involvement, really, at all.

And it shows, I think -- it still does show -- that, in some ways, their hearts aren't quite in it. They still hope they can do it a little bit on the cheap. And they know there are many people on their party on the extreme right, like Pat Buchanan, and then on the so-called realist right, like Scowcroft and Kissinger, who have always doubted it.

It has really only been loyalty that has kept -- kept a lot of conservatives in line.

COOPER: Joe, what happens with all that dissatisfaction? I mean, does it -- does -- does the White House just try ride it out, hope that it all goes away?

I mean, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, there's a lot of people who have been calling for his head. And you have talked to a lot of people in the Pentagon who are surprised he's still there. But he looks like he's -- there's no sign of him going.

KLEIN: Well, Rumsfeld ran the most criminally incompetent military campaign, you know, in -- in -- in the last 100 years, perhaps in American history.

COOPER: You say that why, because he tried to do it...

(CROSSTALK)

KLEIN: Why? Because -- why? Because they -- he thought that, once we got to Baghdad, the deal was over.

On May 1, 2003, Tommy Franks pulled out of his headquarters in Qatar, the same day that -- that the president gave his speech, "Mission Accomplished."

During the next two months, they removed 500 intelligence officers from Baghdad, leaving Ricardo Sanchez, who took over, with only 27. They did not plan for the notion of an insurgency, when their intelligence people were telling them that there was an insurgency.

COOPER: Christopher, do -- are you surprised Rumsfeld is still there?

HITCHENS: Yes, I am, a little bit. I mean, the -- there was a time, I think, a while back when he talked about offering his resignation. It was sort of a fan dance. But I think either he or the president should make up their minds about this and stop the speculation, because, apart from anything else, the speculation is demoralizing.

COOPER: Demoralizing. Also, I mean, you have now Republican Senator Norm Coleman saying that there should be some White House staff changes. Do you agree with that, Christopher?

HITCHENS: Ah. I have -- I have always yearned to say, not my problem.

(LAUGHTER)

HITCHENS: I -- I don't know if I should be allowed to counsel the president or not.

The thing about reshuffles is, though, that they can be demoralizing, too. You say new broom, you know, fresh faces, and so on, you -- you're condemning the people you have been working with as having been inept or -- or worn out. It doesn't always have the desired effect, in other words.

COOPER: And, Joe, certainly, this is a president who does not seem prone to do that sort of thing.

KLEIN: But these guys have stayed on far longer than almost any Cabinet team in recent memory. I mean, they have been there for five, six years. I just saw Norman Mineta on television. I mean, I think that -- that, you know, that -- that, you know, he's going to build a mausoleum for himself there.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

HITCHENS: Is he still there? I had no idea.

KLEIN: Yes, he -- he is absolutely still there.

HITCHENS: Well, that's a disgrace in itself.

KLEIN: And the fact is -- the fact is that, if -- you know, and when I speak to the uniformed military, this is what they say: The president and the administration has to begin taking this war far more seriously. It's still a peacetime mentality.

HITCHENS: Yes.

KLEIN: A lot of people are rotated out. Generals who are very effective are rotated out.

You mentioned Pete Chiarelli at the top of the broadcast. He was extremely effective. He was out for a year. Now he's back, thank God. But people like David Petraeus, who was excellent, is out. And even within the intelligence structure in the Pentagon, you have maybe 75 people analyzing Iraq, and only eight of them are full-time.

COOPER: Christopher...

HITCHENS: I think...

COOPER: Go ahead.

HITCHENS: I think the thing people won't forgive -- I'm sorry. Were you going to ask me about this?

COOPER: No. No. Go ahead. I was -- yes. Go ahead.

HITCHENS: Well, the president often tries to sort of look tough and ruthless and so on. But, in fact, he's -- he's obviously a bit of a softy.

I'm thinking -- was thinking, while Joe was talking, how long he allowed Tenet to stay, for example, and, instead of firing him, which was the obvious and necessary thing, let him retire, and then gave him a Medal of Freedom. I think we can all remember where we were standing and sitting when we heard the news that George Tenet was getting a Medal of Freedom.

COOPER: But, you know, it's interesting...

(CROSSTALK)

HITCHENS: ... absolute national disgrace.

COOPER: It's interesting, what Joe says about -- about this administration not taking this war seriously, not putting everything into it.

I mean, you travel around the country and you don't feel that there is a war going on. And I -- it's not -- it's not just this administration. It's every -- it's all of us. I mean, it doesn't feel...

KLEIN: Absolutely.

COOPER: None of us have been asked to sacrifice, really. None of us -- there is not a sense of...

KLEIN: And that...

COOPER: ... as you had in other wars, probably in World War II, of -- of the nation being at war.

KLEIN: And that fact, more than any other, burns the recent Iraq combat veterans who have come home more than any other fact.

People say to me: We went to war. The country went to the mall.

And, you know, I -- I talk to one guy whose mother said, you know, during World War II, we had clothing drives. We had aluminum drives. Why aren't we collecting clothing for the children of Iraq? Why hasn't the president called all of us together?

HITCHENS: Well, why aren't they doing it, then?

Look, nothing is stopping them doing that. They can -- they can contact a -- a lot of people, including people I know, who are dying to have people try and help.

KLEIN: But...

(CROSSTALK)

HITCHENS: People like yourself, who are in the anti-war movement, have been missing this chance for a long time. Of course, there's a lot we can do to help the people of Iraq dig up the mass graves, identify the victims, help the Marsh Arabs, where they're reflooding their devastated environment that was massacred by Saddam Hussein...

KLEIN: Now, Christopher...

HITCHENS: ... help the Kurds to build up their autonomy, their -- help the women of Iraq fight off two kinds of theocrat.

There's tons of stuff to do. And I'm very glad to hear that you finally want it done.

But no -- you don't have to...

KLEIN: No. No...

(CROSSTALK)

HITCHENS: Are you waiting for presidential permission to help the Iraqis and Kurds fight against fascism?

KLEIN: Now, Christopher...

COOPER: Joe, I will let you respond, and then we have got to go.

KLEIN: Yes.

I was in the anti-war movement, until the first boots hit the ground. And, then, I realized that we had absolutely no choice but to get this right. The problem since then is that the administration hasn't taken it seriously enough, not enough troops, not the right equipment, not the right intelligence backing, and no strategy. HITCHENS: SpiritofAmerica.org. If you -- if anyone wants to type that into their little search engine, SpiritofAmerica.org will give you enumerable opportunities to help out the people of Iraq and -- and support the cause there.

COOPER: We will leave it there.

KLEIN: Good idea.

COOPER: Christopher Hitchens, good to have you on the program.

Joe Klein, as well, thank you very much.

Critics of the administration have said the war in Iraq has taken away troops and attention from Afghanistan -- tonight, sickening evidence the Taliban have not gone under way -- a videotape which shows the brutality of the Taliban, which is still very much alive.

And back here in America, in Florida, wild fun is what most of those on spring break right now have on their minds, except one visitor who may have murder on this mind. Police in the Sunshine State are searching for a serial killer in a spring break hot spot.

Also ahead tonight, the connection between a shocking murder of the mid-'80s and the even more terrible death last month of grad student Imette St. Guillen.

Across America and around the world, this is 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, a sickening videotape has surfaced made by the Taliban.

Now, you might have thought the Taliban were crushed when America invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. They were not, however. And, tonight, you will see dramatic evidence of what the Taliban are up to in the areas that they still control.

And we want to warn you, some of these images are very brutal. But, then again, so is the Taliban.

CNN's Mike Chinoy reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE CHINOY, CNN SENIOR ASIA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a new video just released by the Taliban, an apparent declaration that, despite U.S. forces, it has simply picked up and moved, and remains as defiant as ever -- these men executed, their bodies dragged through the streets, a chilling scene, the Taliban claims, recorded by their own cameraman.

Journalist Ahmed Rashid.

AHMED RASHID, AUTHOR, "TALIBAN: ISLAM, OIL AND THE NEW GREAT GAME IN CENTRAL ASIA": It's very similar to what has been going on -- or what was going on in the early period of the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. They are hanging people and torturing people who they consider as un -- un-Islamic.

CHINOY: The Taliban appear to have moved from Afghanistan and taken effective control of much of the rugged Pakistani tribal area called Waziristan. And this is the result, a brutal system America went to war in Afghanistan to destroy, now recreated just across the border in Pakistan.

Reinforcing that impression, the video, initially acquired by the online journal "Asia Times," was not shot in some remote mountain hideout, but in Waziristan's main town, and shows events which reportedly occurred just in the last couple of months.

This is the market, crowds gawking at the bodies of those executed by the Taliban -- this one obscenely posed with a porcelain dog perched on his head.

(on camera): Some things on the video are so gruesome, we can't show them. They include beheadings, Taliban carrying the severed heads of those they have executed around in the market, before placing those heads on a pole, for all to see.

(voice-over): So pervasive is the Taliban's grip that a reported 70,000 Pakistani troops have been unable to dislodge them, despite fierce battles like this. Instead, Waziristan has not only become, in many ways, a miniature Taliban-style state. It's also said to be a key staging ground for jihadi fighters, who cross back into Afghanistan in lightning strikes against American troops.

SAMINA AHMED, SOUTH ASIA PROJECT DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Judging by this documentary that they have made, their boasting about what they have done, it seems that they have a fairly comfortable position, that they are -- they don't feel threatened, that they are pretty much in control.

CHINOY: In control, and a walk down the mountain back into Afghanistan.

Mike Chinoy, CNN, Islamabad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, fears that Florida's spring break has become the hunting ground for a serial killer, that story is coming up.

But, first, Virginia Cha from Headline News joins us with some of the other top stories we are following -- Virginia.

VIRGINIA CHA, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Anderson.

Well, tonight, we have a warning about the so-called morning- after pill. The FDA reports that there are now six cases of women dying after ignoring the manufacturer's instructions. The RU-486 abortion pill actually involves a number of pills, all to be taken orally.

But some users opt not to do that. The FDA says that has resulted in fatal bacterial infections in two recent cases and four previous cases.

Santa Fe, New Mexico -- tragedy at a medical clinic today, when a full-size GMC truck plowed into a waiting area. The truck was traveling at a fairly high rate of speed when it went 20 to 30 feet right into the clinic. Three people died. At least eight people, including the driver, were injured.

And take a look at how quickly you could have a brush with death. A mini-cam, the equivalent of a black box for highway accidents, recorded this truck swerving in front of a car on the Long Island Expressway in New York. Now, the camera is expected to improve highway safety, as experts get a better understanding of the dynamics of traffic accidents. Miraculously, the driver survived. His neck is in a brace, and he has some scrapes and bruises. And, apparently, he had the luck of the Irish with him today -- Anderson.

COOPER: Unbelievable video.

Thank you very much, Virginia.

CHA: OK.

COOPER: Florida has the grim distinction of being associated with some horrific serial killers. Well, tonight, authorities fear that a new serial killer may be working the Sunshine State. We will get the details on the story that is taking shape right now, in the middle of spring break there.

And, later, our special hour: "We Were Warned." Is there a looming energy crisis that would dwarf anything America or the world has ever seen, and what would it look like? -- next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, right now, thousands of college students in Florida are enjoying spring break. But, as they party, they probably have no idea that a predator may be stalking them. Police fear, a killer is among the crowd, a serial killer, no less.

CNN's John Zarrella reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Daytona Beach, one city, two worlds -- spring breakers celebrating their annual rite in the beachside bars and clubs.

(CHEERING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spring break 2006!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's awesome! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah!

ZARRELLA: Less than a mile away, neon lights are replaced by the flashing lights of police cars. The streets are less than friendly here, but, in both places, the buzz is about a killer, a serial killer, police say, who has shot three women to death since December.

Scholanda sits alone and nervous on a darkened street corner.

SCHOLANDA, CONCERNED ABOUT POTENTIAL SERIAL KILLER: If I don't have anybody to walk me, I -- I have a cell phone in my pocket. It don't have no minutes on it, but I can call 911 real quick.

ZARRELLA: Police say they have no suspects, but believe the killer is male. Profilers believe that his victims are what are called substitute victims, meaning people victimized in place of a killer's source of conflict or stress.

LESLIE SCAVONE, PROGRAM COORDINATOR, HALIFAX URBAN MINISTRIES: We want you to let you know about the serial murders in the area. If you see any girls getting into the -- a car by themselves, try to remember the license plate number, the color of the car.

ZARRELLA: Leslie Scavone is with the Halifax Urban Ministries.

SCAVONE: Are you visiting or are you -- do you live here?

ZARRELLA: For a week, she and other volunteers have walked the streets, warning women. Tonight, she's with the spring break crowd.

Sonia Gysland is here with friends from Madison, Wisconsin.

SONIA GYSLAND, STUDENT ON SPRING BREAK: But we had plans to come to Daytona, like, months ago, so it was already set. But I think, if we knew there was a serial killer previously, I don't think we would have come here.

ZARRELLA: Police say the killings are not connected to special events, like spring break. All the victims were killed at night. They lived what police call high-risk lifestyles and appear to have gone willingly with their killer. Ministry volunteers say, two of the three were known prostitutes.

(on camera): The body of the first victim -- her friends called her Sissy (ph) -- was found here, stuffed in this narrow alleyway. Now her friends have scribbled messages to her on this piece of cardboard.

(voice-over): Carol (ph) says she's a retired prostitute. The girls on the street now, she says, are more careful.

CAROL, CONCERNED ABOUT POTENTIAL SERIAL KILLER: People out here, they know how to choose their -- the people they jump in cars with.

ZARRELLA (on camera): Well, what happened, do you think? Why did these people get in the car with this guy? CAROL: Well, I think it's a dope dealer, you know, because it's someone that they're -- that's trusted. These girls are getting in the cars with them willingly.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Just a few blocks away, minister volunteer Leslie Scavone runs into frustration.

SCAVONE: What are you doing out here by yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What am I doing out here? I'm waiting on my husband.

SCAVONE: OK. Be careful. You know -- you know there's a killer out here, girl.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes. Yes.

ZARRELLA: Ministry volunteers fear the killer will always have targets, because the police believe women on the street won't pass up an opportunity to make a living.

John Zarrella, CNN, Daytona Beach, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, on the West Coast, three days and three murders, all at Denny's restaurants -- is there a connection, or is it just an eerie coincidence?

And she's called the Barbara Walters of the Middle East. And, for speaking out against a country, she nearly died -- tonight, her incredible story of determination and survival.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAY CHIDIAC, TELEVISION ANCHOR: Some angels are protecting me. And I hope they will keep on doing it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Here in New York tonight, immense anticipation that an indictment is near in the savage killing of Imette St. Guillen, the grad student who was raped and killed and dumped along a local highway. A grand jury met today and, by all accounts, authorities continue to build their case against this man, suspect Darryl Littlejohn, who continues to maintain his innocence.

That's the "today" story. But the case also has a connection to another murder here in New York, a notorious one two decades ago.

CNN's Rick Sanchez reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Four o'clock in the morning, closing time for the bars of New York City. A young student leaves one local hot spot with a man, and hours later she's found dead. This is not the 2006 murder of Imette St. Guillen, but another murder of a different student 20 years ago.

LINDA FAIRSTEIN, FMR. NYC SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Jennifer was 18 years old, a very vibrant, very happy young woman.

SANCHEZ: Jennifer was just a week away from her freshman year in college. It's a case Linda Fairstien, then an assistant district attorney with the city's sex crimes division, remembers all too well.

FAIRSTEIN: There may or may not have been an attempt at a sexual encounter. There was no evidence to suggest there was. But there was a fight, an argument about something. And from the evidence we tried to reconstruct, it appears Jennifer tried to run away and then she was beaten and she was strangled.

SANCHEZ: An early morning cyclist found Jennifer Levin's bruised body, her clothes torn and disheveled, beneath a tree in Central Park. And within hours, police were led to the home of this man, then 19- year-old Robert Chambers.

FAIRSTEIN: When his mother called him from his bedroom, awakened him at 2:30 in the afternoon, and he came to the door to meet with the two homicide detectives as Jennifer's friend, they noticed the severe, deep, fresh scratches lining both sides of his face.

SANCHEZ: Detectives took Chambers to the Central Park police precinct and grilled him for hours before he finally broke down and confessed that he had killed Jennifer. His defense, it was an accident. And if anyone was to blame, it was Jennifer herself.

ROBERT CHAMBERS, KILLED JENNIFER LEVIN: She wrapped her underwear around my wrists so they were locked and they were behind my back, because I was leaning on my hands. And she just pushed me back like this and then got on top of my chest.

FAIRSTEIN: It was the first time that we heard the defense in a case being "rough sex," the expression that the tabloids played over and over again.

SANCHEZ: And that made the case a cause celeb for the city's tabloids. They called it the "Preppie Murder."

FAIRSTEIN: It was, I think, very much characteristic of the times. Rape was the only crime in the '70s and into the '80s considered to be a victim-precipitated crime. It happened because of something the woman did to allow it to happen.

SANCHEZ: It was also the first time a New York City prosecutor would attempt, though unsuccessfully, to introduce DNA as evidence.

FAIRSTEIN: The judge ruled that this DNA was too new, too unreliable scientifically. SANCHEZ: There are similarities between this murder in the summer of 1986 and the Imette St. Guillen murder only weeks ago. Both victims were young, attractive students, both were strangled, both were last seen leaving bars at closing time, and both bars were owned by the same New York City family, the Dorrians.

FAIRSTEIN: Probably the biggest shock for me after learning of Imette St. Guillen's death was hearing that The Falls was owned by the Dorrian family. And it was like a complete flashback to 20 years earlier.

SANCHEZ: Fairstein says in 1986, Dorrian's Red Hand was famous as a hangout for underage drinkers, and owner Jack Dorrian went to great lengths to help one of his regular customers.

FAIRSTEIN: Jack Dorrian put up his own house for part of the bail money to get Robert Chambers out of jail. He took Chambers' part in this case to the extent that he closed us, police and prosecutors, out of the bar. We were not allowed to go there to do our normal investigation.

He turned the -- he closed the bar down during the day and turned it over to the defense team. And literally, Jack Dorrian fed them witnesses, called the kids and told them to come in, told them not to talk to the police, not to go to the D.A.'s office to be interviewed, but to help the defense.

SANCHEZ: Police investigating the Imette St. Guillen murder say Jack's son, Danny Dorrian, who co-owns and manages The Falls, lied to them several times before admitting he told bouncer Darryl Littlejohn to escort Imette out, placing her in the hands of the man they say raped and killed her.

Linda Fairstein says that doesn't surprise her at all.

FAIRSTEIN: In my experience, if the devil with a capital "D" had walked into Dorrian's Red Hand, Jack Dorrian would have bought him a drink and then signed him up to work there as a bouncer.

SANCHEZ: After nine days of deliberation with a jury likely to hang, prosecutors made a deal with Robert Chambers, five to 15 years in prison for manslaughter. A short sentence, Fairstein says, given his unrepentant attitude shown in this now infamous home video shot at a party while Chambers was awaiting trial and shown on the tabloid TV show "A Current Affair."

CHAMBERS: Oops.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ah!

CHAMBERS: I think I killed her.

SANCHEZ: His bad behavior and continued drug use kept him behind bars for the full 15 years.

A key difference in the St. Guillen case, Fairstein says, is that this time science will play a much bigger part.

FAIRSTEIN: I think you're going to see some -- some very impressive forensic results that will continue to come out of the medical examiner's office in the weeks to come because they have so many dozens of pieces to -- to investigate.

SANCHEZ: CNN has tried to reach the Dorrian family for comment, but our calls have not been returned. This State Liquor Authority is investigating The Falls for hiring an uncertified ex-convict as a bouncer. And that could mean closing time for one Dorrian-owned establishment for good.

Rick Sanchez, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, there's a deadly string of restaurant shootings in California. Since Wednesday, three gunmen have opened fire at three Denny's restaurants.

We'll have the latest.

And later, a special hour of 360. We were warned a frightening scenario of what could happen if a hurricane and a terror attack wiped out our nation's oil supply.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, we have seen it before, a gunman opens fire at a restaurant. It does happen. But for the most part, these incidents are rare. Well, that all changed this week with three deadly shootings in three straight days.

Tonight, the chilling 911 call.

CNN's Dan Simon reports from California.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If you happen to be the P.R. person for the Denny's restaurant chain, this has been an especially bad week. Not one...

CHIEF JOE CORTEZ, PISMO BEACH POLICE DEPT.: It just appears that he walked through and calmly started shooting in every direction.

SIMON: ... not two...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The individual that was shot and pronounced dead is located inside the restaurant.

SIMON: ... but three separate shootings in three days at three Denny's restaurants across California. A total of five people dead, including the trigger man himself in what was the first and most frightening incident of the three.

CALLER: He shot himself!

DISPATCHER: He shot himself?

CALLER: Yes, he shot himself!

DISPATCHER: OK. Stay on the line. Hold on.

SIMON: In Pismo Beach, California, authorities released a 911 call placed only moments after a gunman shot four people Wednesday afternoon, killing two of them. Police say 60-year-old Lawrence Woods apparently had no motive when he walked into the restaurant and immediately started firing, before turning the gun on himself.

Fourteen hours later, early Thursday, in Ontario, California, another man was killed after being shot in a Denny's parking lot. Police said a fight got out of hand.

Then, early Friday morning in Anaheim, one man was killed, another wounded after another fight broke out inside this Denny's. No suspects in either one.

Shootings at fast food restaurants or in public places are all too common. But three shootings in three days at the same food chain is something that's apparently never happened before.

KAREN STERNHEIMER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: It's something that we can relate to, we can visualize ourselves in that situation. And that's what makes it more scary.

SIMON: USC sociologist Karen Sternheimer says shootings like this have the ability to create unwarranted, widespread fear.

STERNHEIMER: I think it's important for customers to know that this isn't a Denny's problem. This is a societal problem.

SIMON: Denny's, whose P.R. department has been putting in overtime, says, "Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. These circumstances bring into sharp focus the prevalence of violence in our community and our country. They serve as a reminder of our shared responsibility to increase community vigilance in an effort to stop such acts."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Dan, in that Pismo Beach rampage, one of the victims tackled the shooter?

SIMON: Well, Anderson, that's a very compelling aspect to this story. Investigators say when they went back and reviewed the surveillance video in that incident, it shows one of the victims, 73- year-old Harold Hatley, trying to wrestle the shooter to the ground, and in the process he got himself killed.

Mr. Hatley is described as a former military man and an ex- sheriff's deputy. But tonight people in that community are also calling him a hero because authorities say his actions in the end probably saved some lives -- Anderson.

COOPER: Oh, terrible. Dan, thanks.

A story of bravery ahead about a woman in Lebanon whose enemies tried but failed to silence her.

And, a special hour of 360 on the ever-rising price of oil and what life may be like when gas goes for $6 or $8 or even $10 a gallon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your worst-case scenario?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My worst case scenario is so bad that you don't want to go there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: All that when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, speaking your mind can get you in trouble, even in this country. But nothing compares to what can happen if you speak your mind in other parts of the world. In Lebanon, for instance, there's a woman whose forthrightness nearly cost her her life.

CNN's Brent Sadler reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): To many in the world, this woman is a huge television news star. To millions of viewers, a kind of Barbara Walters of the Middle East, always strong- willed, often making enemies.

On her talk shows in Lebanon, May Chidiac fearlessly trampled on leaders, if not nations. Her last broadcast assault came six months ago.

The target of her scorn was Lebanon's powerful neighbor, Syria, which was suspected of several assassination in Lebanon. All of the victims had been vocal critics of Syria. And so now, after a murderous act, some wonder if May Chidiac's Syria show struck too deeply.

MAY CHIDIAC, TV ANCHOR: I heard a blast and I felt it at the same time. I was still awake. I saw like a black snow falling over me.

SADLER: A bomb ripped through Chidiac's SUV. Somehow, she crawled away, her hair ablaze, her body sliced to sleds.

CHIDIAC: I saw my hand attached to my arm with a small piece of -- of skin, but so I hoped that they could save my -- my hand. SADLER: In fact, Chidiac would lose her hand and half of her arm. The bomb also tore away most of her left leg. Terrible burns and shrapnel wounds cover much of her body.

CHIDIAC: I still have pieces of metal in the face, near the cheek here and all over my body.

SADLER: She says now there are times when she's wondered if death would have been better.

(on camera): You can't always be so upbeat. There must be times when you feel despair?

CHIDIAC: Of course. There is times when I feel despair, there's times when I cry, when I feel pain, a lot of pain. This is my fifth month of treatment.

SADLER: For months, Chidiac's been subjected to grueling physical therapy at a special rehabilitation center near Paris.

CHIDIAC: He's putting so much pressure on me. He's making me crazy.

SADLER: When the pain is too much, she says, she imagines the bomber who nearly killed her. And to overcome the pain, she says, is to defy him.

CHIDIAC: I imagine I have the enemy in front of me and I have to kick him.

SADLER: Her bomber, she imagines, is Syria, suspecting her sharp tongue went too far.

SADLER: No proof, just our guesting. But you know who is the enemy in Lebanon for the time being? It's Syria. And we were people talking against Syria.

SADLER: Chidiac was fighting then, she says, and vows the attack will not deter her when she returns to the screen.

CHIDIAC: Never. It won't be me. It won't be me. I'm -- I'm a fighter.

SADLER: She is learning literally how to rewire herself, how to get her brain and her remaining damaged muscles to control a new prosthetic hand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentle. Close. Wow. Wow.

CHIDIAC: I think there are some angels are protecting me. And I hope they will keep on doing that.

SADLER: May Chidiac, who may have paid dearly for her strong voice, vows to prove she will not be silenced every step of the way.

CHIDIAC: Hey! The first time I do it. SADLER: Brent Sadler, CNN, Valentin (ph), Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A remarkable lady.

In just a few hours, May Chidiac will undergo her 22nd operation. We understand she is watching us tonight.

And May, we wish you all the best.

A look at what's on the radar in a moment.

First, Virginia Cha from HEADLINE NEWS joins us with some of the business stories we're following tonight -- Virginia.

VIRGINIA CHA, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi there, Anderson.

(BUSINESS REPORT)

COOPER: Virginia, thanks very much.

On the radar tonight, the story people can't seem to stop arguing about. E-mails still pouring into the blog over the guy who got his girlfriend pregnant and is now suing to walk away from his responsibilities as a father.

People calling the case "Roe v. Wade for Men."

Jim from Glendale, California, writes, "In the old days, you know, they would call this 'Roe for (pretend) Men,' a cad, a bounder, and any other kind of name. You father a child," he says, "at the very least, you pay. Simple."

"The issue is not the woman. It's the kid. The kid has its right to your money."

Patrick in Glendale, Arizona, says, "The real crux of the issue here is if women have the ultimate right to choose all outcomes in regards to their body, do they not also ultimately bear the responsibility for those outcomes? With right, come additional responsibilities."

And from Daniel in Charlotte, North Carolina, "This is an issue that needs to be heard by the court. Honestly, if federal courts have nothing better to do than hear cases about how much responsibility a fast-food chain has for the mental capacity of its customers, this case could offer something more than a meaningful distraction."

And Daniel, it is certainly no distraction for us.

We want to thank our international viewers for watching.

Coming up, the perfect storm and a perfect nightmare. A hurricane, oil supplies cut off. Al Qaeda attacks, gasoline goes through the roof, the economy tanks. Americans wake up to find ourselves living in a third world country.

Does it sound far fetched? Well, maybe not. "We Were Warned," that's the title of a provocative and, frankly, chilling CNN special report coming up next.

From New York on St. Patrick's Day, this is 360

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NARRATOR: In Houston, Texas, it is a terrifying time. The streets are deserted. Businesses are closed. Entire neighborhoods are locked and lonely.

Just the day before, gridlock finally gave way to exodus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Out this door to the right.

NARRATOR: As residents fled, one step ahead of this year's monster storm, Hurricane Steve. No one yet realizes how much it will alter the landscape, starting right here in Houston, headquarters for much of big oil.

The region is home to nearly two dozen major refineries. Together, they process about a fourth of all the oil used in America.

This is the calm before this storm.

COOPER: The winds are just constant now. And it's like a thousand (INAUDIBLE).

NARRATOR: Category 5 Hurricane Steve slams ashore with winds of nearly 200 miles an hour. The death toll is modest, but the physical damage is breathtaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A storage tank has been tipped over here and torn apart.

NARRATOR: Especially oil refineries, storage facilities and hundreds of offshore platforms badly damaged.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines