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Mass Kidnapping in Iraq; Should Bush Administration Ask Iran for Help?; The Debate Over Attachment Therapy

Aired November 14, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everybody. Thanks so much for joining us.
There's some important news coming into U.S. -- into us, that is, here at CNN all the time. And, every night, we choose the top stories.

Tonight: mayhem in Iraq -- a wave of brazen kidnappings targeting educators and teachers this time. Are things desperate enough to ask Iran for help?

And a shocking "Top Story" in crime -- parents on trial for keeping children in cages. How can they claim they did nothing wrong?

And on to tonight's "Top Story" in science -- a big shakeup, some amazing pictures of what a major earthquake can do to a house like yours.

We have picked the kidnapping of dozens of people in Baghdad as our "Top Story" tonight. Right now, all of Baghdad's universities are shut down because of this attack. It happened at a research institute. Dozens of gunmen in police uniforms surrounded the building, rounded up as many as 100 people, and then drove off with them.

Just a couple hours ago, we got word that most of the hostages have been freed.

Michael Ware in Baghdad has the very latest tonight on that violence.

So, Michael, what's the latest on these kidnappings?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, it has been quite a remarkable day here in Baghdad.

I mean, what started this morning with a mass kidnapping here in the capital has ended just a few hours ago in the middle of the Baghdad night, with the Ministry of Interior saying most of the hostages who were taken earlier in the day have been released.

Now, this whole affair began at 10:00 a.m., Baghdad time, when, according to the Iraqi minister for higher education, in a nationally televised address to parliament, said that as many as 80 gunmen in army or police uniforms surrounded and then entered a research institute, segregating men from women, locking the women in a room, and taking an unknown number of the men away in more than 20 vehicles.

Now, throughout the day, speculation continued as to who was behind this. And, also, the numbers of men who had been taken varied, according to government officials, as the day evolved. We heard as few as 40, as many as 150. What we have now heard from the Ministry of Interior is that most of those taken, these 40 to 150, have been released -- Paula.

ZAHN: And there is still strong suspicion at this hour that Shiite militias had something to do with these kidnappings -- the U.S. government putting tremendous pressure on the Iraqi government to clamp down on them. Will it make any difference at all?

WARE: Well, I mean, this could be a great test. I mean, this may be a very illustrated kind of event.

Once we know what happened behind the scenes, should we ever find out, it can tell us a lot about the relative power of the prime minister vs. these militias, most of which are buried within his government. This could have been a victory politically for the prime minister, or this may have been some other kind of negotiations sorted out behind closed doors.

So, at this stage, we don't know what impact it is going to have. Until we know who did it, until we can rule out Sunni insurgents, then, honestly, there's going to be more questions to be asked than there are answers.

ZAHN: And we will come back to you if we get any of that information nailed down.

Michael Ware, thanks so much for the update.

The situation in Iraq has reached the point that British Prime Minister Tony Blair says it is now time to ask Iran to help by ending its support for extremists. But the Bush administration refuses to talk with Iran until it stops its nuclear program.

Our Aneesh Raman is in Tehran, and is one of the few Western reporters inside that country.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iran's president was smiling today, his confidence visible, as he announced, Iran expects to be producing nuclear energy by February, despite protests from the U.S. and around the world.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We will commission some 3,000 centrifuges by this year's end. We are determined.

RAMAN: But Ahmadinejad's confidence goes far beyond nuclear energy. The Iranian president insisted, his country will become a nuclear power soon, and that Western nations, especially the U.S., will have to sit down with Iran on its terms. AHMADINEJAD (through translator): Today, the Iranian nation possessions the full nuclear fuel cycle. And time is completely running in our favor, in terms of diplomacy.

RAMAN: Iran's president leaves little doubt he's looking to dethrone America's dominant influence in the Middle East.

And with Iraq's growing sectarian violence, Ahmadinejad is betting the U.S. will have to deal, one on one, with a country it hasn't had diplomatic relation with since Americans were held hostage there in 1979. But he made it clear he won't just come to the table because he's asked.

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): If they fix their behavior toward us, we will have a dialogue with them. But they have their own way of thinking. Think really they own the world. They always sort of look down on you.

RAMAN: He says Iran speaks from a position of strength. It has built alliances over the years with groups like Lebanon's Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas.

And Iran sits on some of the world's largest oil reserves. It has all built toward this, a defining moment, that could establish Iran, instead of the U.S., as the dominant player in Middle Eastern affairs. That desire is widespread in this country, even among the president's critics -- at this reformist newspaper, one question for Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Iran accepts that the U.S. is a superpower. But, every time Iran's power is discussed, the U.S. portrays it as a threat.

RAMAN: For the U.S., Iran isn't just a threat. Although Iran denies it, the U.S. says it is a state that sponsors terror by sending weapons to Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories. And Iran is still pushing ahead with uranium enrichment, in open defiance of the U.N.


ZAHN: So, Aneesh, what is the -- the belief there, that, if there are ever going to be direct talks, that Iran will offer very distinct preconditions?

RAMAN: Yes, exactly, which is why, at the moment, Paula, it seems at an impasse.

Iran has said, both on the nuclear front -- and they have lumped it now into any talks over Iraq -- that they won't talk to the U.S., unless the U.S. backs off pressure over its nuclear program. The Bush administration has shown -- shown no sign that they will do that.

The big question that the Bush administration faces is, what do they fear more? Do they need desperate help in Iraq enough to get Iran involved, and, in doing so, create a new superpower in the Middle East and mitigate any pressure that might exist on the country to stop its nuclear program? Full-steam ahead from Iran's government on its nuclear program -- no sign they are going to back down -- Paula.

ZAHN: I know you have had chance to talk to a number of Iranian citizens. What do they have to say about this perceived newfound power on the world stage?

RAMAN: It is interesting.

There's a huge disconnect between the people and the leadership here. The people aren't as concerned with how Iran is perceived in the world. What they are concerned with is the economy here that is languishing in unemployment and high inflation.

One guy, Babak (ph), an engineer who I spoke with a few days ago, when we rode a bus around Tehran, pretty much put it the best I have heard it.

We want, he said, Iran and the U.S. to talk, not because it raises Iran's stature, but because the U.S. could help Iran's economy.

Iran's president was voted in to fix the economy, hasn't done it yet. The pressure is mounting for him to do so -- Paula.

ZAHN: All right, Aneesh Raman, thanks so much.

So, is it time for the U.S. to reach out to our so-called enemies, like Iran, to help end the war in Iraq?

Joining me now for a "Top Story" panel, former Army Green Beret Major Bob Bevelacqua, and Mara Rudman, a former national security adviser to President Clinton, now a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress, Robert Pollock, senior editorial writer for "The Wall Street Journal," who has also filed many stories from Iraq.

Good to have all three of you with us.

Major, do you think it is a smart thing for the United States to engage in direct talks with Iran and Syria?


And the reason I say that is because we haven't done that in the past. And look at what it has got us. I believe that communication is the best way of fixing most broken relationships, whether it is between two countries or between a husband and wife. If you don't talk, go to the lawyers, because you are going to get a divorce.

We have got to engage other nations, whether we like the leadership or not. Even if we agree to disagree, we have got to have some type of dialogue.

ZAHN: Are we talking about broken relationships here, Bob, or out-and-outright enemies of the United States? ROBERT POLLOCK, SENIOR EDITORIAL WRITER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, I think we're talking about outright enemies. And that doesn't mean, of course, we can't talk.

Look, who -- who -- who could have anything against that? The question is, you know, what do we expect to get going in, and what are we prepared to give up in -- in -- in order to get that?

And I think the Iranians are clearly intent on moving forward with their nuclear program. And, if -- if the -- if the price of an agreement is for us to say, basically, well, we don't care about that, that doesn't seem like a very fair deal to me.

ZAHN: But that's not going to happen. And -- and the...

POLLOCK: Well, no, it's not going to happen.

ZAHN: ... Bush administration has made that pretty darn clear.


ZAHN: That's a nonstarter.

POLLOCK: They made that clear, which -- which leads me to -- to the question again: Why do people think we are going to get anything very much out of talking to Iran?


ZAHN: And that's...


ZAHN: That's what I want to ask Mara.

What is there to yield from any direct talks with these two countries?

RUDMAN: Well, there's a number of things that -- that the Iranians are looking for, as -- as your reporter made clear, that the Iranian people are desperate on the economic front.

With respect to Iraq, there are a number of issues there that are on the table. And, in fact, it is why Secretary -- former Secretary of State Baker has put out there the very real possibility of engaging with Iraq -- with Iran and with Syria, with respect to Iraq.

And I think that we can do that, as the United States, and still stay very firm, with respect to the nuclear issue, regardless of what the Iranians say about it. And I think it is a proposal that we need to be entertaining in a very serious way, without, for one second, reducing our strong position with respect to Iranians' nuclear capacity. And I think that Prime Minister Blair is in the same place on that.

ZAHN: So, Major, what do you think the consequences are of not holding these kind of talks that Mara just mentioned?

BEVELACQUA: Status quo, Paula, no movement, a very stagnant situation in Iraq.

And I -- you know, let -- let's -- let's just lay it out on the table. Iran and Syria have been actively involved in creating problems in Iraq and destabilizing the region. They are activity involved. They are laundering money. They're training, assisting, advising terrorists and insurgents. They're shipping in IEDs. We should put lay that out on the table and say, guys, we know what you have been up to. Here's the proof. Let's have a discussion about that.

ZAHN: Well, they know we know that, right, Bob?


BEVELACQUA: Sure. Well, how could they know that? We -- we never -- we have never confronted them directly on that, because there's no political dialogue.

POLLOCK: Well, there is plenty of political dialogue.

We actually have diplomatic relations with Syria. We talk to them all the time. We have got nothing out of...

ZAHN: You're not talking about top-level diplomatic...


BEVELACQUA: We don't talk to them all the time.


POLLOCK: There is top-level diplomatic dialogue with...

BEVELACQUA: What planet are you on?

POLLOCK: ... with Syria.

They have an embassy here. We have an embassy there. There's plenty of...


RUDMAN: And -- and our ambassador...

POLLOCK: Syria -- there's nothing new to be done with Syria.

On Iran, we have had plenty of dialogue, through the European Union.


BEVELACQUA: And that attitude has gotten us into the situation that we're in right now. That is -- that's the staunch Bush line that has gotten us in this position we're in right now.

RUDMAN: Our ambassador has been out of Syria for, what, how long now? For -- for some period of time.

BEVELACQUA: Kind of hard to talk when you don't have an ambassador in country.

ZAHN: What about that, Bob?

POLLOCK: We have normal diplomatic relations with Syria. They have an embassy here.

Look, Warren Christopher, in the 1990s, went to Syria something like two dozen times to get them to be helpful on Israeli-Palestinian peace process. What did he get for it? Nothing.

We have -- you know, we have talked to them about Iraq as well. What have we gotten for it? Nothing.

Look, I'm not against talking to them. I'm just saying, don't get your hopes up. I don't expect much.

ZAHN: And -- and, Major, a quick final thought on what the best thing we -- is that we could hope for coming out of these kinds of talks.

BEVELACQUA: The only thing I'm hoping for is somebody finally wakes up and said, we should be launching a counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq.

It's broken. It's not a conventional war. It's an insurgency. The only way you fight that is with a counterinsurgency. And I hope the Iraq Study Group gets that. We have got to do a counterinsurgency.

ZAHN: Well -- well, we're just beginning to see the faint outlines of what that group may have to offer. And we will continue to report on that in the days to come.

Major Bevelacqua, thank you.

Mara Rudman...

RUDMAN: Thank you.

ZAHN: Robert Pollock...

POLLOCK: Thank you.

ZAHN: ... glad to have you all three of you together.

BEVELACQUA: Thank you.

RUDMAN: Thanks. ZAHN: We are going to move to tonight's "Top Story" in politics: a stampede for the White House. Out of more than a dozen men and one very-high profile woman, who really who has a chance?

And, then, later, the "Top Story" in crime -- two foster parents on trial for child endangerment, how can they say they put their kids into cages to protect them?


ZAHN: Tonight's "Top Story" in politics is the race for president.

Yes, yes, yes, I know. It has only been a week since the midterm elections. But to raise money, make contacts, and get organized for the 2008 primaries and caucuses, potential candidates need to get going now. That's why former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani just filed the paperwork to form a presidential exploratory committee. He wasn't the first, and certainly won't be the last.


ZAHN (voice-over): The field of political opportunity is wide open. Senator Hillary Clinton consistently runs first in polls among Democrats.

Until a few weeks ago, the top tier also-rans were men who have run for president before: former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, Senator John Kerry, at least until he blew his joke, former NATO Commander Wesley Clark, Senator Joe Biden of Delaware, and Al Gore, thanks in part to his movie on global warming.

Democrats who want a fresh face are increasingly looking to Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. He's quickly moving up in the polls. Also in the fresh-face department, Iowa's moderate governor, Tom Vilsack, whose home state holds the first presidential caucus, and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.

Among Republicans, the obvious front-runner is Senator John McCain of Arizona, who has put a lot of effort into mending political fences with conservatives. Yet, in some crucial primary states, McCain runs second to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. If Giuliani and McCain turn out to be too moderate, conservatives may gather around Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, whose resume includes running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

The field gets even more conservative from there: Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist, Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, one-time Congressman Newt Gingrich, and California Congressman Duncan Hunter.


ZAHN: And one of the most connected political insiders in the country joins me now to talk about 2008 and a little bit of 2006. Arianna Huffington is the editor of one of the most popular political blogs on the Web, Always good to see you. Welcome to town.


ZAHN: Let's talk about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama right off the bat. They are getting a tremendous amount of attention.

Is America ready for the first female candidate for president and first African-American candidate for president?

HUFFINGTON: Absolutely. I don't think that will be a problem at all. I think the question is...

ZAHN: So, you're -- you're saying...


ZAHN: ... you don't think we're racist or sexist?

HUFFINGTON: No, I really -- I really think that, in the same way Colin Powell, when the right candidate comes along, who can inspire America, as Colin Powell did, and as, I believe, Barack Obama could do, then, America is ready.

And, in the same way with Hillary Clinton, I think Hillary's problem is not that she's a woman. It's that she exudes fear, fear that, somehow, she is going to lose this great prize that is so close to her. And, as a result, it is all so calculated and so triangulated, that there isn't that kind of authenticity that I think the American people are longing for right now.

ZAHN: So, does -- does that mean you think the American public is cynical about her campaign?

HUFFINGTON: I think the -- I think the American public has been through so much spinning, so much misleading, that they are longing for leaders who will stand up and speak the truth, and speak for what they believe. And that, I think, is going to be the litmus test for '08.

ZAHN: And, of course, Barack Obama hasn't really cleared any litmus test yet.


But you know what, Paula? I don't really think it's a problem that he hasn't been in the Senate too long, as if, if he had cast another 1,000 votes, he would be readier to lead America.

The question is, can he run a campaign that, again, exudes the kind of power to touch people that he exuded when he spoke at the Republican -- at the Democratic Convention in Boston?

ZAHN: Of all of the Republican contenders that -- that -- whose names we have heard bandied about, who will be standing a year-and-a- half from now?

HUFFINGTON: Well, here's my prediction. It is going to be John McCain and the non-John McCain.


ZAHN: And who is the non-John McCain?

HUFFINGTON: The non-John McCain will be defined by his opposition to the war in Iraq, because John McCain has sown that spot for himself.

Not only does he want us to stay in Iraq.

ZAHN: He wants to add more troops.

HUFFINGTON: He wants us to add more troops, right, because he -- he wants escalation to be the road to peace. Where have you heard that before?

So, Giuliani, who has just announced, his position on Iraq is too close to McCain's. , I'm looking at some dark horse, somebody like Chuck Hagel, somebody who has tremendous credentials, foreign policy credentials included, but who has taken a very different stance on Iraq from John McCain, and who perhaps may emerge as the real opponent.

ZAHN: Let's talk about the challenge the Democrats are now up against, now that they have seized control of both houses of Congress.

Here is what the president had to say yesterday about what lies ahead for that party.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The opposition party won -- won the Senate and the House. And what's interesting is that they're beginning to understand that with victory comes responsibilities.


ZAHN: So, do you think the Democrats will prove to the American public they can lead?

HUFFINGTON: Well, so far, Nancy Pelosi is proving that by endorsing Murtha, which was a controversial and -- and very brave decision. And she endorsed...


ZAHN: Who, of course, is your choice as well.


(LAUGHTER) HUFFINGTON: But Jack Murtha is the man who changed the dynamic around the war in Iraq, because, you may remember, Paula, that, a year ago, when he first spoke out, on November 17, against the war, it was a very different country we were living in. It was a very controversial statement.

And his own party was against him, in terms of the leadership of the party. Rahm Emanuel acknowledged that he with filled with gloom at the fact that '06 would be dominated by the Murtha perspective.

But Nancy Pelosi had the guts to back him then and to back him now.

ZAHN: Got...

HUFFINGTON: That's good news.

ZAHN: ... 10 seconds left.

How long will it take for the Republican Party to fuse itself together, after these tremendous losses in this midterm election?

HUFFINGTON: I think longer than we think, because conservatives are pulling away from -- from the party and from the message.

ZAHN: Arianna Huffington, that was only seven seconds.


ZAHN: I owe you three the next time you come back. Great...

HUFFINGTON: Thank you so much.

ZAHN: ... of you to stop by.

HUFFINGTON: Thank you.

ZAHN: Nice to see you in person, for a change.

Tonight's "Top Story" in crime involves two parents in a case that shocked the nation. Is there any defense for building what looked like cages around their children's beds? They're picking a jury to decide.

But the real eye opener is what some experts is creating rage may be actually the best thing for certain parents with problem children. We have an in-depth look at the controversy over what is called attachment therapy.

We will explain when we come back.


ZAHN: Our "Top Story" in crime tonight begins with a question that you might find blatantly ridiculous on its surface: Is keeping kids in cages a form of child abuse? Well, today, an Ohio court began choosing a jury that will decide whether a couple with nearly a dozen kids should be jailed for what some see as a form of heartless cruelty.

But, as Rusty Dornin shows us, reaching a verdict in this case may not be as simple as it seems.


RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the headlines hit, Michael and Sharon Gravelle were made out to be monsters.

Last year, a county social worker found these, bunk beds with wooden slats and chicken wire, built for some of the Gravelles' 11 adopted children who had special needs. Word spread quickly. People were hearing the Gravelles had caged their kids.

One neighbor was appalled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That -- that makes me ill.

DORNIN: But the couple fought back. They brought reporters into their home to explain. Michael Gravelle gave no excuses. He said it was to protect the children...


DORNIN: ... children seen here, who, he claims, sometimes got up at night and started fires or tried to hurt their siblings.

MICHAEL GRAVELLE, DEFENDANT: No. I -- I did it the way that we thought we needed to do, and -- and that keep our children safe.

DORNIN: Following more than a year of court hearings, the children were taken from the couple and placed in new foster homes. The Gravelles now face 16 felony charges of child endangerment.

Sharon Gravelle's attorney says he will try to convince the jury these were definitely not cages.

KEN MYERS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL AND SHARON GRAVELLE: Again, you can see the wood slatting. Here's an alarm. You close the door.

DORNIN: The alarm would go off when the children got out of bed at night. Punishment, says the sort of, was not the intent.

MYERS: They -- they weren't told, go to your cage and I will lock you in. These beds do not have locks. They had alarms, so that the parents could find out when they were getting out of bed.

DORNIN: Social worker Elaine Thompson saw the beds more than a year ago, but never reported it.

ELAINE THOMPSON, SOCIAL WORKER: But I also understood the behaviors of these kids, and that the Gravelles had legitimate reasons for needing to keep these kids safe.

DORNIN: Now the social worker also faces a court trial on felony charges of child endangerment.

Sharon Gravelle told us tonight that, to deal with the severe emotional problems of her foster children, she practiced something called attachment therapy, which involves, among other things, creating a highly disciplined structure and providing what she called abundant constant love.

While officials say the children did not appear physically abused, at least one boy told authorities he was punished and kept in a bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I recall, Michael (ph) said 91 days. And that was for urinating in his -- in his cage.

DORNIN: The defense says, emotionally disturbed children often make things up. And some of the children's testimony has been misconstrued by the prosecution.

Family therapist Greg Kack (ph) says the beds weren't appropriate, but the Gravelles aren't the only ones to blame.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody who was in and out of that home -- and there must have been a lot over the years -- should have seen what we all finally saw, and made some kind of judgment about it.

DORNIN (on camera): And, in this northern Ohio town, there is still fierce debate about whether the Gravelles are criminals or parents who made very poor judgments in a tough situation.

Rusty Dornin, CNN, Norwalk, Ohio.


ZAHN: And testimony in that trial is expected to begin some time after Thanksgiving. They could get one to five years in prison for each of the 16 felony charges against them.

And that could depend on the extremely controversial theory of attachment therapy, the belief that aggressive and violent behavior in children can be improved by extreme discipline.

Ted Rowlands has been looking into attachment therapy, including some cases that have had shocking results.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are too stubborn! I need you to...

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Watching this training video of an adult sitting on a child may seem disturbing, but some people are convinced that this just may be the only way to build a bond between out-of-control children and frustrated parents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My way. Yell, "My way."

ROWLANDS: This is attachment therapy, a controversial practice of last resort for some parents, used mainly on foster children or adopted children from other parents when parents have lost control.

The therapy can include restraining children, isolating them with alarms on doors or even cages and other harsh punishments to reinforce rules. The goal is to ultimately create a situation where the child realizes that it needs its parents.

Don Tibetts and his wife practiced a form of attachment therapy called holding on their newly adopted two and a half year old daughter Krystal.

DON TIBETTS, USED ATTACHMENT THERAPY: If she was having a tantrum or being disobedient, then when we would all of the sudden go in there and initiate this therapy.

ROWLANDS: Don said a therapist told them because Krystal had been abused that this was the best way to build an emotional attachment.

TIBETTS: He taught us to double up our fists, put pressure on the abdomen and induce her into a rage so that she would cry and that she would kick and that she would scream and supposedly work out all of her anger issues.

ROWLANDS (on camera): Didn't at some point didn't this feel wrong?

TIBETTS: Yes, it did feel wrong but they teach us to ignore those feelings.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): Don says that was the case a year later when while disciplining Krystal using the holding therapy, her heart stopped and she died.

Over the past 10 years, there have been other child deaths involving forms of attachment therapy. 10-year-old Candace Newmaker died of suffocation during a now outlawed therapy called rebirthing, where a child is wrapped in blanket to simulate being back in the womb.

Four-year-old Cassandra Killpack died after her parents forced her to swallow more than a gallon of water and five-year-old Logan Marr suffocated after she was duct taped to a high chair.

In all three cases, at least one adult was convicted and sent to prison. Ten years ago Terry Levy was featured as part of an "ABC News" report using what he called aggressive forms of attachment therapy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't trust anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't trust anybody.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't trust anybody.


ROWLANDS: Levy and his partner Michael Orlans now say they no longer believe that aggression works.

MICHAEL ORLANS, EVERGREEN PSYCHOTHERAPY CENTER: It just didn't feel very good to do that kind of therapy.

ROWLANDS: While they disagree with some practices, they defend their profession saying critics are mistakenly just focusing on the horror stories.

Well, they're throwing out the baby with the bath water because it is a real problem and there are real solutions that work.

ROWLANDS: There's no formal licensing process for people using or teaching attachment therapy and no clear count on how many people are practicing it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love challenging children. I love the defiant, destructive ones.

ROWLANDS: One therapist seen here in a parent training video is a former dog trainer. She says she's taught her version of attachment therapy to more than 28,000 people. Critics, like author Jean Mercer, who wrote a book on the subject, call attachment therapy a cult. And she's worried about how many children may be subjected to it.

JEAN MERCER, PSYCHOLOGIST: Unless somebody gets hurt or unless the child gets older and reports this or unless the parent changes their mind and reports it, there is no way anyone is ever going to know about it.


ZAHN: To watch that take place on videotape is brutal. You had that one parent admitting that this extreme form of discipline feels wrong. So why do they do it?

ROWLANDS: Well some of these parents are at their wits end, literally. They're at the step of giving the child back to either foster care or trying to find someone else to take the child. So they are very vulnerable. They are looking for answers.

And sometimes fall into this and sometimes they're not properly trained as you saw in some cases, it turned tragic. A note the man that we had at the top of the piece ended up serving five years in prison and says he doesn't spend any day without thinking about the fact that he killed his own daughter.

ZAHN: So what is the bottom line on this? We heard people practicing it who have all but given up on it. Obviously people believe this works in some cases. ROWLANDS: They think the future of this -- the practitioners that no longer use the holding therapy or any of these extreme discipline therapies say there's a need -- there are kids and there's only going to be more kids and something needs to be figured out. They are prescribing the same type of treatment -- seeing these kids and these parents, but let's eliminate the holding and the things that could be dangerous.

ZAHN: Ted Rowlands, fascinating and disturbing all rolled into one.

Tonight's top story in health is a matter of life and death. A new warning says only one-third of our nation's hospitals are doing the right things and doing them quickly enough to save heart attack victims. That's coming up. Also, a top law and order story.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're the worst convicted terrorists we have. Think they're safe out here on the Colorado Plains? Think again. I'm Drew Griffin. That report next on PAULA ZAHN NOW.



ZAHN: We've already had our top story in crime tonight. Now onto our top story in punishment. It is the startling result of a CNN investigation that shows major criminals operating inside what should be one of the most secure prisons in America.

Supermax is the sprawling maximum security federal prison in Colorado, a $60 million warehouse for the very worst criminals. Mass murderers, terrorists, isolated for life. Well, at least that was supposed to be the plan. But there is dramatic new evidence that some of those criminals might be plotting terrifying crimes from behind bars. Investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reveals the dangers inside the Alcatraz of the Rockies.


GRIFFIN (voice-over): Here in the shadows of the Colorado Rockies are many of our worst known terrorists. Ramzi Yousef, the first World Trade Center bomber. 9/11 wannabe Zacarias Moussaoui, the shoe bomber Richard Reid. The Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph. The Unibomber, one of the Oklahoma City bombers, al locked up for life in the nation's toughest prison, Supermax.

Almost every hour is spent in these cells. Eat here, shower here. Solid doors and narrow windows make it hard to even see another inmate. Yet official documents show the prison is understaffed. Phone calls are not always monitored, neither is the mail. Supermax is a danger of becoming super lax.

(on camera): If those terrorists being held inside Supermax are plotting and planning their next attack right now, chances are the federal government wouldn't even know it.

(voice-over): Who says so? The Justice Department itself. Last month the inspector general said the Bureau of Prisons quote, "is unable to effectively monitor the mail of terrorists and other high risk inmates in order to detect and prevent terrorism and criminal activities."

One criminal case in point, the 18th Street Gang marks its turf and runs drug sales near downtown Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What has happened is that every street corner now has a gang.

GRIFFIN: The gangs extort kickbacks. They call it taxes or rent from the street dealers.

SOSA: You'd better pay your taxes, pal, or else you're going to get killed or you're not going to deal dope in my town.

GRIFFIN: The man running the drug gang? The FBI says it is Ruben Castro, from his cell at Supermax.

(on camera): And even though he's behind bars and away for life, he still holds that power?

SOSA: Most definitely.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Prosecutors charge for the past three years, Castro has been able to give orders in telephone calls and coded letters from Supermax.

SOSA: And he uses his girlfriend, wife or mistress or whatever she is or any other person that will take a message out.

GRIFFIN: Inmates are allowed only a handful of calls a month, but the Justice Department report says half of those phone calls were not monitored in the last year that it checked.

The Madrid train bombings in 2004 triggered the recent Justice Department report. After those attacks, investigators discovered an al Qaeda follower had been writing to terror suspects in Spain from his cell at Supermax, yet the staffing levels have continued to drop. The report says personnel assigned to the check mail and phone calls often are sent to cell blocks instead as substitute guards.

MIKE SCHNOBRICH, PRISON GUARDS UNION: I think they are pulled from those positions on occasion more often than they should be to work in other parts of the prison to make sure we're that maintaining security there.

GRIFFIN: The guard force has fallen well below what it was when Supermax opened. Last year, a minimum manpower figure was set. Supermax is now under that. Inmates too often are winning a war of wits.

TERRI FLYNN, ASST. U.S. ATTORNEY: They have time and they have the patience to figure out ways to communicate with each other.

GRIFFIN: Prosecutor Terri Flynn helped convict two leaders of the Aryan Brotherhood this fall, of starting a race war at the Lewisburg Federal Prison in Pennsylvania by sending out a message from Supermax written in invisible ink.

FLYNN: In the case of the Lewisburg message, it was written in grapefruit juice. And pretty much you write it in a Q-tip or a toothpick and then the back of it is heated up and the message becomes visible.

GRIFFIN: The gang also used a code based on how many letters were printed or written in long hand.

FLYNN: This would be a C.

GRIFFIN (on camera): It's somewhat ingenious.

FLYNN: It is. The decipher system was that was developed by Sir Francis Bacon in the 15th century.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): We did try to get answers from the warden here at Supermax. He declined to be interviewed on camera. So did the top prison officials in Washington. Colorado legislator Buffie McFadyen district includes Supermax. She says money must be found soon to beef up security here.

(on camera): If somebody is in there right now over that hill and they are plotting and planning a terrorist attack, there's a good chance that we wouldn't know about it, yes?

BUFFIE MCFADYEN, COLORADO STATE REP.: Absolutely. It could happen. Could happen. And that should be frightening for any citizen in the United States of America.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Drew Griffin, CNN, Florence, Colorado.


ZAHN: And there's one other fact to add here. Colorado senators are asking Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to support their request to build a $12 million fence around the Supermax prison.

We have some fascinating pictures to show you. They're from tonight's top story in science. Check this out. Coming up next, see what happens to a house like yours in an earthquake like this. It's a big one.


ZAHN: I don't know how many of have you ever been through an earthquake. I certainly have, living on the West Coast, a bunch of them, and they are really scary. And tonight, we have picked a top story in science that illustrates what exactly could happen to your home in an earthquake. Today, scientists in Buffalo gave a wood frame house a jolt equal to a 6.7 quake. What they learned from the damage could make your home a lot safer. Here's Rob Marciano.


ROB MARCIANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three bedrooms, a cozy den, the table is even set for dinner, but the location might leave a little to be desired.

ANDRE FILIATRAULT, STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: This is a full-scale, two story, 1,800 square foot townhouse with an attached garage, and it's mounted on our shake tables here and we're going to submit it to large earthquake.

MARCIANO: Andre Filiatrault is an engineering professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His team spent a month building this house in a huge lab last spring. Now they plan to shake it apart with a simulated earthquake.

FILIATRAULT: In the other corner over there we have a whole set of instruments that measure how much this foundation moves.

MARCIANO: The house is equipped with 250 sensors to monitor every nook and cranny. Eight cameras will film what happens inside. But what's most important is what happens in the basement, so to speak.

(on camera): Now we're actually underneath the dining room where this house sits on top of this huge shaker. This is it. This is what's going to do it, isn't it Andre?

FILIATRAULT: That's right. That's one of the shake tables. I said, there are two of them. And this shake table has eight actuators, basically big pistons. You can see one of those here. You can see the stainless steel piston here, the shaft of the stainless steel piston, and basically this is going to move up and down during the shaking and in 15 seconds, you're going to see very high velocity displacement and so on to reproduce the motion.

MARCIANO (voice-over): The 1994 earthquake in Northridge, California, raised serious doubts about wooden buildings. Filiatrault says that half of the estimated $40 billion in property loss and all but one fatality were a result of collapsed wooden structures.

(on camera): The Northridge quake measured 6.7 in magnitude. And that's exactly what engineers here are gearing up to simulate with this 80,000-pound townhouse. It will be the largest wooden structure to ever undergo this type of test. Engineers really don't know what's going to happen, but we're about to find out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please stand by.

MARCIANO (voice-over): Within a few seconds, one of the eight cameras dies. In one room, computers, TVs and lamps go flying. In the garage, a station wagon rocks and rolls. In one room where all of the furniture have been braced and bolted down, the bookcases and television are still intact.

Plates slip and slide, but like a magic trick remain on the kitchen table. But the house severely damaged with large cracks in the walls. Studying all this will help engineers design better wooden buildings. Some day this fake quake could save your life.

Rob Marciano, CNN, Buffalo, New York.


ZAHN: Well, we hope it does. The study cost $1.2 million and was funded by the National Science Foundation.


ZAHN: The Nasdaq added 24 points. The S & P, nearly nine points. The chiefs of GM, Ford and Daimler-Chrysler met with President Bush at the White House to talk about trade, energy and health care costs. But the automakers say they are not looking for a federal bailout.

Home Depot reported lower quarterly earnings and cut its forecast as shares lost ground. It's one company that's beginning to feel the effects of the slowdown in the housing market.

On to tonight's top story in health. A new study says if you have a heart attack and manage to get to an emergency room, you can still be in big trouble.

Coming up, what hospitals need to do, but aren't.

Patients beware.


ZAHN: The top story in health that we picked tonight, startling new evidence that most people who go to the emergency room with heart attack symptoms don't get the treatment they need fast enough.

Heart attacks kill about a half of a million people a year in this country, so you can see how important it is to get treatment fast.

Here's senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta on why so many E.R.'s aren't ready and what's being done to try to change that.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It starts as an uncomfortable pressure in the chest, then a squeezing pain that spreads to your arms, back, neck or jaw. The clock has just started to tick. You are suffering from a heart attack.

(on camera): And according to the American Heart Association, 850,000 people have heart attacks every year. Twenty percent of them don't survive. (voice-over): Turns out where you're treated makes a difference. Yale researchers found the E.R.'s that work the fastest save the most lives.

DR. HARLAN KRUMHOLZ, CARDIOLOGIST, YALE UNIV.: Only about one in three hospitals are treating even half of their patients under 90 minutes.

GUPTA: In the E.R. the priority is speed. Minutes mean life or death.

The key: quickly unblocking the artery. The most effective way: a balloon angioplasty. Doctors pass a catheter through a blood vessel up into the heart. They inflate this tiny balloon, then insert a mesh stent that expands to keep the artery open, allowing blood to get to the heart as quickly as possible.

(on camera): And cardiologists say all of that needs to happen within 90 minutes. Taking longer means you're 40 percent more likely to die from a heart attack.

DR. BRYAN MCNALLY, EMERG. PHYSICIAN, EMORY SCHOOL OF MEDIC.: We wanted to provide an efficient means of, you know, coordinating care. We knew we needed to do a better job of streamlining and identifying these patients.

GUPTA: The Yale study found setting up the angioplasty equipment while the heart attack patient is en route saves 15 minutes. Having a cardiologist on site at all times cuts down 14 minutes. Requiring the angioplasty team to assemble immediately saves 19 more minutes.

(on camera): A simple phone call system, paging the entire angioplasty team at once instead of hunting them down individually can shave another 13 minutes.

And keep in mind, while getting treated within 90 minutes is the minimum goal, get an even faster response could mean leaving the hospital with no heart damage whatsoever.

(voice-over): It's not cheap. Just training paramedics is going to cost hospitals thousands of dollars.

Dr. Mrumholz says it's well worth the investment.

KRUMHOLZ: Faster treatment saves lives. There's No question about it. But every minute wasted is jeopardizing more heart muscle.


ZAHN: Doctor, these numbers are absolutely scary. You've got two-thirds of all the hospitals in the country, including some of what are considered the best, that aren't treating heart attack victims fast enough. What is it we're supposed to do as patients or advocates for patients? Where are we supposed to go? GUPTA (on camera): Well, a couple of things. You know, one little thing you and I have talked about on your show, Paula, is that, you know, when you live in a particular community, you find out a lot about the schools and the grocery stores and things like that. You need to find out the about hospitals, as well.

If you're someone who has a heart condition or are worried about possibly having heart attack, find out what hospital in your area is the best, in terms of actually getting that care faster.

But also, I think one of the things that's starting to happen, Paula, is this movement -- a lot of changes that need to take place aren't that difficult. We're talking about streamlining minutes here and there. That can actually make huge difference. And I think the awareness is getting out there that just cutting a few of those minutes can save a lot of lives.

So I think it's going to start to happen at a lot of hospitals around the country.

ZAHN: It's kind of hard to research that, though. Isn't it, doctor?

GUPTA: Well, I mean, you know, there's a lot of hospitals out there that will give you energy if they have a cardiologist on standby, if they have an angioplasty unit, the medication that they give in the emergency room, and are they available. You can ask those questions.

You know, it's always amazing to me as a physician how much we spend actually researching things like schools, but I bet you you can ask most people and they won't know much about the hospital that they'd likely be taken to in the case of an emergency.

ZAHN: Thanks for the house call tonight, doctor.

We'll be right back.

GUPTA: Thank you.



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