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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Did al-Zarqawi kill Nicholas Berg? Donald Rumsfeld surprises troops in Iraq. One American crusades against al Qaeda on the Internet. Get a vasectomy or go to jail? A look at one judge's approach to convicted criminals.

Aired May 13, 2004 - 19:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Anderson Cooper.
New details new questions about the life and death of American Nick Berg in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Officials now say it's likely Nick Berg's killer, the man behind this mask is the wanted terrorist al-Zarqawi but new questions tonight about what happened to Berg before his death.

Embattled defense chief Donald Rumsfeld shows up in Baghdad, morale boost for troops or crisis management 101?

Terror online, one American's crusade against al Qaeda on the Internet.

Interrogating terrorists, how far is too far? Do the gloves come off when interrogating al Qaeda?

And, get a vasectomy or go to jail, is this judge's approach toward convicted criminals creative or crazy?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, we begin with the murder of Nicholas Berg. The website that showed the brutal killing claimed the man wielding the knife was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Now, after close analysis, the CIA believes that is likely true.

Zarqawi is the leader of an Islamist terrorist group that the U.S. says has close ties to Osama bin Laden. He's blamed for a host of terror plots in Iraq and elsewhere. He may be the most active, most dangerous terrorist in the world today.

Berg's family, meanwhile, continues to speak out against the U.S. government saying they are in part to blame for his capture and killing. There's also a strange new twist in the investigation into exactly what happened to Berg before he went to Iraq and once there, on the story for us tonight in Washington CNN Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena; in Berg's hometown, CNN's Maria Hinojosa.

We begin in Washington. Kelli what's the latest? KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it turns out that Nicholas Berg has a peripheral connection to accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, that's according to government sources. Berg's father said in an interview that it all begin in Oklahoma.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BERG, FATHER OF NICHOLAS BERG: Nick went to Oklahoma University and he was taking a course that was in a remote campus and you're on a bus. That remote campus was near the airport where some terrorist people, who no one knew were terrorists at the time, they were just fellow students, were also taking that bus.

And someone asked him how to -- asked him basically to let him use his computer and he did. I mean college kids do that all -- all the time and it turned out that this guy was a terrorist and that he, you know, used my son's e-mail amongst many other people's e-mail who he did the same thing to, however...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a friend of your sons?

BERG: Not a friend of my sons, not even an acquaintance, just a guy sitting next to him on the bus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ARENA: U.S. officials say that Berg shared his password with that individual and that password turned up in Moussaoui's possession. The FBI tracked Berg down and his father says that his son cooperated fully.

Now we're not exactly sure about the timing here but we do know that Moussaoui took flight lessons in Oklahoma and some law enforcement sources that I spoke to, Anderson, suggest that the earlier connection would have raised eyebrows and could be the reason that the FBI felt compelled to question Berg at least three times while he was detained.

COOPER: So, Kelli, right now this story is really only confirmed by Berg's family, nothing you're hearing from the FBI?

ARENA: Oh, no, no, no. I've got this confirmed by U.S. officials, Anderson.

COOPER: You have got it confirmed.

ARENA: Absolutely.

COOPER: OK, very strange story indeed, an odd coincidence with that. Thanks very much, Kelli.

ARENA: You're welcome.

COOPER: In West Chester, Pennsylvania this evening preparations are underway for the funeral of Nick Berg while his family continues to insist the U.S. government is partly to blame for his death. CNN's Maria Hinojosa has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After three days of silence and seclusion, Nick Berg's father emerged. There were no tears, instead forceful accusations.

BERG: Nicholas Berg died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. The al Qaeda people are probably just as bad as they are.

HINOJOSA: His son, he says, supported the war, supported President Bush. Father and son, he said, on opposite ends of the political spectrum.

BERG: I would like to ask George Bush a question. I would like to ask him if it's true that al Qaeda offered to trade my son's life for the life of another person and, if that is true, well I need that information.

HINOJOSA: Meanwhile, more questions about who held Nick Berg and why. CNN spoke to the Iraqi police chief in Mosul who confirmed Berg had been detained but within hours had been handed over to the U.S. military that in direct conflict with statements from the FBI which denies Berg was ever in U.S. custody and with statements made by the coalition spokesman yesterday.

And the Berg family provided the Associated Press an e-mail from Beth Payne, a U.s. Consular officer in Iraq saying: "I have confirmed that your son, Nick, is being detained by the U.S. military in Mosul. He is safe. He was picked up approximately one week ago."

People who saw Berg in Baghdad after he was released from detention but before he disappeared say Berg told them he was handed over to U.S. forces by the Iraqi police. Chilean journalist Hugo Infante quoted Berg.

HUGO INFANTE, CHILEAN JOURNALIST, FRIEND OF NICK BERG: Because the Iraqi police catch me one night in Mosul and they saw my passport. My passport -- in my passport I have of course my Jewish last name and had the Israeli stamp and they got, this guy thought that I was a spy, so they put me with the American soldiers and the American soldiers put me in jail for two weeks.

HINOJOSA: Throughout the day in Berg's hometown, reminders of grief and a father who said he son wanted to see the good in all people.

BERG: The al Qaeda that killed my son didn't know what they were doing. They killed their best friend. Nick was there to build Iraq not to tear it down. He was there to help people, not to hurt anyone.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HINOJOSA: But for the Berg family, the hurt still surrounds a central question. Out of all of the people in Iraq why was their son the one that was picked up and detained? Why was their son picked up and taken by terrorists? And these questions, of course, they have to deal with as they prepare to say a final goodbye tomorrow -- Anderson.

COOPER: Maria Hinojosa thanks very much for that.

We're going to try to work out the time line a little bit later on, on 360, exactly where Nicholas Berg was in Iraq and when.

We're also going to talk to one of his friends who is still in Baghdad who saw him shortly before he disappeared. That's coming up later on 360.

To the man who is at the center of the prison abuse firestorm now, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. While he may be under fire on Capitol Hill over the scandal, he found a more supportive audience today when he paid a surprise visit to Baghdad.

CNN's Ben Wedeman was there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight time zones from Washington, inside Abu Ghraib Prison, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seemed liberated from a scandal that began here.

On a surprise visit to Iraq, the outwardly buoyant American defense secretary touched on the scandal when meeting with soldiers in the mess hall at Abu Ghraib.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: And it's been a body blow for all of us.

WEDEMAN: But he was far more focused on bolstering morale and calming the storm.

RUMSFELD: The right thing for us to do is to come out here and look you folks in the eye and tell you that we think you're terrific. We admire your service.

WEDEMAN: The warm reception here a far cry from Washington's angry denunciations and calls for resignation.

Outside the prison walls, a far chillier reception from Iraqis waiting for news of imprisoned relatives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through interpreter): He will do nothing good. It's just propaganda. He will do nothing.

WEDEMAN: Three military policemen from Abu Ghraib are facing courts martial. More trials are expected.

Later in the palace built by Saddam Hussein, Rumsfeld held what was billed as a town meeting, then was mobbed by enthusiastic soldiers.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WEDEMAN: On the plane ride over, Secretary Rumsfeld told reporters the purpose of his trip to Iraq was not to throw water on a fire but, even though he got a welcome break from the barrage of criticism in Washington, it's sure to be ready for him when he gets back -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Ben Wedeman, live in Baghdad thanks, Ben.

Today was Donald Rumsfeld's seventh visit to Iraq. Here's a quick flashback for you. Five of the trips were made after the war started in March of last year. Rumsfeld was last in Iraq this past February to assess security needs.

Rumsfeld's first trip came in December, 1983, as special Middle East envoy for President Reagan. Rumsfeld held a 90-minute meeting with Saddam Hussein who, of course, at the time was an ally of the U.S. in the Iran-Iraq War. What a difference a couple of years make.

Secretary Rumsfeld's boss continues damage control here at home. That story tops our look at news "Cross Country."

President Bush was talking education in West Virginia today but he also touched upon the Iraqi prison abuse scandal saying the actions of a few do not reflect the U.S. military as a whole.

Little Rock, Arkansas, Democrat John Kerry on the campaign trail along with his former Democratic rival retired General Wesley Clark. Clark said Kerry has a history of public service while others "put on their cowboy boots and put their feet up on the desk."

Attica, Kansas, up close and personal with a tornado, take a look. Three homes were damaged near the Oklahoma line, unbelievable images. Look carefully. You can see one of the homes being picked up by the tornado there. Power lines got knocked out but there were no injuries reported, glad to say.

In Washington, Lewis and Clark anniversary, the National Archives displays documents relating to the famous journey to the American West 200 years ago. Some of the items on the explorers' shopping list for the journey ink stands, sealing wax, soup and opium, who knew?

That's a look at stories "Cross Country" tonight.

Can you imagine heading off for Iraq for work right now after seeing the beheading of Nicholas Berg? Tonight a number of new Halliburton employees are on their way. Susan Candiotti has their emotional story coming up.

Plus, al Qaeda on the Internet, are they using Yahoo to spread their message of terror?

And the thin line between interrogation and torture, when does one become the other and, when interrogating al Qaeda should the line still exist? We'll take a closer look at that.

First, let's take a look at your picks, the most popular stories on cnn.com right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, for many American contractors heading to Iraq, the decision to go is agonizing leaving behind family and friends and, of course, the safety of home for the certain danger of a war zone.

It's a decision made even more difficult now by the videotaped murder of Nicholas Berg and yet tonight, as CNN's Susan Candiotti found out, there are still many Americans willing to take the risk.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another day, another busload of civilian workers getting ready to leave for a year of living dangerously in Iraq. The last thing each is given on the way out the door a bulletproof vest. For labor foreman Kevin Kibedo (ph), a stark reminder four colleagues at Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root, already have been killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry this happened, you know, and there will be others and I just hope I'm not one of them.

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Kevin, why did you decide to take the job?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know there's money in it. I've missed some work. The economy has been bad.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): The money is good. By law the first $80,000 a year overseas is tax free. The job comes with death benefits too, a promise of lifetime payments for surviving spouses.

(on camera): How do you plan to protect yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay with a lot of people, I believe, and pray, you know, because I'm not going over there for no adventure, you know.

CANDIOTTI: Right behind them two more classes going through survival training. This day's lesson gas masks and chemical suits.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never been separated like this before.

CANDIOTTI: But for Vergie (ph), no protection from heartache.

(on camera): When she came to you and said I'm going what did you say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you're not. I'll kidnap you. I'll lock you up.

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Outside, two busses are waiting, one for Iraq, another for Afghanistan. It will be four months before this couple sees each other again, from Vergie, one promise. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll be back.

CANDIOTTI: Susan Candiotti, CNN, Houston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, a "Fast Fact" about Halliburton. Founded 85 years ago, the company employs more than 100,000 people in over 120 countries. There are more than 24,000 Halliburton employees and subcontractors working in Iraq and Kuwait. Thirty-five employees have died there since March of 2003.

There was new violence in southern Iraq. That tops our look at global stories right now in the "Up Link." Let's take a look.

Gunfire and explosions in Karbala as American forces clash with fighters loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Five militia members were killed in separate incidents, which also included fighting in Najaf and Kufa.

Guatanamo Bay, Cuba now, the International Red Cross has given the Bush administration a report outlining concerns they have about the treatment of detainees at the U.S. base at GITMO.

The Australian government is investigating reports that suspected Taliban fighter David Hicks, shown here, had been abused at GITMO and the families of British detainees say they want investigations as well.

In London, photo controversy, the "Daily Mirror" is rejecting a claim from the British government that photos of British troops abusing Iraqi detainees are fakes. The government says "The Mirror's" editor should resign if it's proven the photos are fakes.

New Delhi, India now, Ghandi family dynasty revived, former Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi's widow is in line to become prime minister after a stunning defeat of the ruling coalition. Italian born Sonya Ghandi married into the family in 1968.

That is a quick look at what's going on around the globe.

Walking a thin line right now in the war on terror, exactly what does the CIA do to make al Qaeda suspects talk? We'll try to find that out coming up.

Plus, do you Yahoo? Meet one man who says al Qaeda does and is on a personal crusade to stop them.

And a radical solution for deadbeat dads, meet a Kentucky judge who says go to jail or get a vasectomy. Do these kind of sentences actually work? I'll ask him coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In Kentucky alone, families are owed more than $1.2 billion in back child support. That's just in the state of Kentucky. The problem is so bad that some deadbeat dads who owe more than $10,000 are being given a drastic choice by one judge there. They can either go to jail for 30 days or have a vasectomy.

Judge Michael Foellger who says he has the legal authority to issue such a controversial option joins us now from Cincinnati. Judge Foellger, thanks for being on the program.

JUDGE MICHAEL FOELLGER: Sure.

COOPER: You've been doing this for over a year now. How many men have you proposed this too?

FOELLGER: I'd say about six. It's been about a half a dozen.

COOPER: How many have taken you up on it?

FOELLGER: Most of them. I only had one just flat out not accept the offer, in other words the option and just said just give me the 30 days but most of them actually seemed relieved at some alternative to keep coming back but most of these men have been there several times obviously because they've reached the point where they just owe too much money.

COOPER: Now it's obviously controversial but you don't do this to all sort of men. It's only a certain category people who, what, have been -- have more than four kids with three different women? How do you decide who you sentence or suggest this to?

FOELLGER: Well, obviously I just made my own determination. In fact, it was a case that finally got to the point I said this is enough. That gentleman had four children by three different women and was probably $20,000 or $30,000 behind, so I sort of established my own criteria.

I obviously didn't copy this off anyone. I just decided, sir, this is enough. You've reached the point where you can't hardly make this work. You're not going to be able to pay this so let's don't have any more.

So, because he was so far behind and in contempt of court I sentenced him to the 30 days, which is the practice and then said, you know, I'll give you an option if you'll get a vasectomy I'll probate the 30 days.

COOPER: So, generally it's men who have more than four kids with three different women and owe more than like $10,000 in back child support. It's obviously controversial. We got a quote from the executive director of the ACLU in Kentucky and they said, we're going to put it on the screen, they said:

"The government should not be able to coerce anyone, whether directly or indirectly, to give up your constitutional protections. We're opposed to any type of sterilization that's forced or coerced by any government agency."

Are you coercing these men? FOELLGER: I don't think so. It's their choice. They have the option to take the 30 days, which they've already gotten. They've more than earned the 30 days and I'm giving them an opportunity, and really the majority of the men have an appearance of relief that they can put an end to this thing.

COOPER: Who pays for it? Who pays for it?

FOELLGER: Well, they're going to have to pay for it but since this news broke, since one of the reporters locally discovered it, there's been some talk shows on and some of the public had recommended that the government pay for it. It's a savings in money. The incarceration funds cost more than the cost of the vasectomy, so maybe the government should pay for it.

COOPER: But do they still have to pay the back child support?

FOELLGER: Of course, yes.

COOPER: All right.

FOELLGER: They're paying a certain amount to stay out of jail is what it amounts to.

COOPER: But now you're not -- do you suggest that women go through this as well, I mean have tubal ligation I think it's called?

FOELLGER: Well, I've considered it. Now, first of all, the child support docket is, the majority -- the vast majority are men. There are some mothers paying for foster care and there are some mothers paying fathers also but the vast majority are men.

Now the women come into the picture more often in neglect and abuse cases and I did have a woman that had eight children, all by different men. She was a prostitute that refused to use birth control and the state, we've removed every one of her children. That's a great cost to the state.

I proposed to her, I just suggested why don't you consider a tubal ligation and she said, "well judge, I already did it," so that case went by the wayside. I would certainly consider a less intrusive method of either sterilization or birth control in women who have abused and neglected their children or murdered their children and continue to have children.

Obviously the news again has brought to my attention, I've been getting suggestions from other members of the public and attorneys that there are methods like possibly shots.

COOPER: But the response you're getting is overwhelmingly positive so far?

FOELLGER: Absolutely.

COOPER: Interesting.

FOELLGER: In my area it's overwhelmingly positive.

COOPER: Interesting, Michael. Judge Michael Foellger, appreciate you being on the program, thank you.

FOELLGER: Sure, you're welcome.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Interrogating terrorists how far is too far, should the gloves come off when interrogating al Qaeda?

Terror online, one American's crusade against al Qaeda on the Internet.

And, all good things must come to an end but are you tired of all these season finales? We think it's overkill, 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for the "Reset," of tonight's top stories.

In Baghdad, surprise visit from Donald Rumsfeld. The defense secretary met with troops today. He also visited the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison promising the world that U.S. soldiers who abused and tortured detainees there will be brought to justice.

West Chester, Pennsylvania, these words today from the father of Nicholas Berg. "They don't know what they were doing." That was Michael Berg talking about the terrorists who beheaded his son. Michael Berg tells CNN his son was there to build Iraq not tear it down. A private funeral service for Berg will be held tomorrow.

Oklahoma City, stay of execution for a Mexican man convicted of murder. A court postponed the death sentence of this man so a hearing can be held on the state's failure to tell him of his right to contact the Mexican Consulate after his arrest for the murder of two people.

And in West Palm Beach, Rush Limbaugh makes his opinion known. The conservative radio talk show host took out these full page ads in local newspapers attacking the prosecutors who are looking into whether he illegally purchased painkillers.

Well, our big story tonight, while making funeral plans, Nicholas Berg's father is blaming the U.S. government for his son's death. Today the family provided the Associated Press with an e-mail from a U.S. consular officer in Iraq saying "that Nick had been detained by the U.S. military in Mosul. He is safe." An Iraqi police chief also confirmed the development.

With new details emerging about Nicholas Berg's travels in Iraq, I want to try to break it down for you, a time line of exactly what Nick Berg was doing in Iraq and when.

March 14, he entered Iraq. Ten days later, March 24, he was detained in Mosul. March 31, the FBI agents visit Berg's parents in America saying they're trying to confirm their son's identity. April 5, Berg's family takes legal action demanding his freedom. The next day Berg is released. April 9, Berg's last e-mail to family. The next day Berg checks out of Baghdad hotel and tells the consulate he was traveling by car to Kuwait.

Five days later the consulate sends private contractor to the hotel to see if Berg is still there. And a month later, this past Saturday, Berg's decapitated body was found in Baghdad. Then, as we all know, on Tuesday the sickening video of his beheading was put on an Islamic website.

While staying at the Baghdad Hotel, Berg regularly chatted with and shared a drink with Huge Infante, a Chilean journalist. I talked with him just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Hugo, you last saw Nicholas Berg on April 9, a day before he disappeared, the day before he checked out of his hotel and was never seen again until we've seen him in the video. What did he tell you about what had happened to him prior to April 9? Who had held him in Mosul?

HUGO INFANTE, CHILEAN JOURNALIST, FRIEND OF NICK BERG: Yes, actually, I was in the lobby when he came back from Mosul. He just say, I will be there in just two days. He say to me, well, I've been 15 days in Mosul, because I was arrested by the Iraqi police, and then these people put me in jail with the American soldiers. He said to me he was treated good. But the Iraqi police -- they thought he was a spy, because he has an Israel stamp on his passport...

COOPER: Let me interrupt you, he was saying that he was arrested by Iraqi police, but then they -- the Iraqi police turned him over to U.S. soldiers? That's what he told you?

INFANTE: Yes, exactly. Yes, he told me that he was turned over to the CPA in Mosul.

COOPER: Did he tell you how he was planning on getting out of Iraq because the U.S. CPA, the coalition authorities say they offered him a flight out and he refused.

INFANTE: He didn't say nothing about the U.S. military or the coalition authority offering him a ticket to come. He didn't say nothing. Just he say to us, and of course me in the lobby, I will be back, because there's no more business here. Actually, he wasn't worried about his security here in Iraq.

COOPER: Because I read one account from someone who works in the hotel where you're staying who said that he was dressed like an off- duty soldier all the time in cutoff T-shirts, and was well known in the neighborhood as being this American all by himself.

INFANTE: Yes, yes, actually, yes, that was true. He was known as the American guy. He used sometimes his translator and his own driver. And sometimes the people say -- the people say to me, he just used to take a car outside the hotel. Any car passing the hotel.

COOPER: When you saw the videotape, how shocked were you?

INFANTE: I was really shocked. Because I thought the guy was in the States with his family in Philadelphia.

COOPER: You thought he had gotten home safely?

INFANTE: I thought he was in the States. When I saw the video, it was him. I was really shocked.

COOPER: It's a tragedy, no matter how you look at it, or how it happened.

INFANTE: Yes, of course.

COOPER: Hugo Infante, we appreciate you being on the program.

Thank you.

The Berg family has repeatedly blamed the U.S. government in part for their son's killing. We want to know what you think. Today's buzz is this. Does the U.S. government share some of the responsibility for Nicholas Berg's death? Log onto CNN.com/360. Cast your vote. We're going to have results at the end of the program.

Tonight there is more potential fallout from the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. The CIA finds itself getting unwelcome attention with questions about its interrogation techniques used against top level al Qaeda prisoners. CNN national security correspondent David Ensor reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials confirm that after 9/11, new rules were approved by the president, allowing additional forms of pressure by the CIA against al Qaeda prisoners. They refused to be more specific. Former officials say that pressure includes sleep deprivation, use of heat, cold, light and loud noise. The "New York Times" reports that in the case of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad (ph), interrogators have used a technique known as water boarding in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown.

U.S. officials say they are now certain that Muhammad personally killed "Wall Street Journal" reporter Danny Pearl by beheading him with a knife.

While refusing to comment on interrogation techniques, one official said if Pearl's killer suffered, quote, "a bit of discomfort, that would not bother this official one bit." In the wake of the photos of abuse in Iraq, some in Congress are now calling for Geneva Convention protection for all prisoners. Even terrorist leaders.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: We can't be hypocrites. We can't go out there and say one thing and do another, and debase ourselves and debase our own people.

ENSOR: But shortly after 9/11, President Bush decided the U.S. would not give that protection to prisoners from non-state entities like al Qaeda that do not themselves honor the convention.

STEPHEN CAMBONE, UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE: To grant terrorists the rights they so cruelly reject would make a mockery of the Geneva Conventions.

ENSOR: U.S. intelligence officials draw a sharp distinction between what they see as the illegal abuses of Iraqi prisoners, and the pressure the CIA puts on al Qaeda prisoners, pressure officials stress has been specifically approved in writing by the White House and the Justice Department. David Ensor, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Sleep deprivation, loud noise, heat, light, all suspected in questionable tactics of interrogation. The question is, what is acceptable and what crosses the line? Joining me from Boston, Mike Ritz, a former U.S. army interrogation officer and founder and CEO of Team Delta, private company that gives workshops on interrogations and other military tactics. Mike, good to have you on the program again. So there's this report that the CIA has basically, for top level al Qaeda people, using sort of more persuasive, I guess, techniques. Why are those techniques working where when the ones you teach may not?

MIKE RITZ, FMR. U.S. ARMY INTERROGATION OFFICER: Well, I think what you're faced with here is that, you know, we at Team Delta don't believe that any sort of torture works for several different reasons. No. 1, which is the most common reason that you're hearing right now in the media, is that basically a prisoner is willing to tell you whatever you want to hear, just to stop the torture and the abuse. So, you know, we don't feel like it's necessary to resort to these types of actions.

COOPER: But clearly, for the top level al Qaeda people, the CIA -- according to these reports -- feels that it was necessary to take things to another level. This water boarding. How does this water boarding work? Someone is strapped down and their heads put under water?

RITZ: I've heard of this in the past. You know, at the hands of our enemies. This has historically happened in other torture cases. By the way, I'm not a torture expert, I'm an interrogation expert. So I don't know the exact details of it. But I will say that, you know, I think what this all really boils down to is, we as a society, we're going to have to determine, we're going to have to look at the Geneva Convention and the situation we're faced with in Iraq, and we're going to have to determine, to what length are we willing to go and to what length is society willing to accept what sort of abuse we will carry out at the hands of a prisoner or not.

COOPER: But I mean, the techniques that you teach and the ones that you have learned yourself, and practice yourself, I mean, they're more about manipulating the prisoners. They're more about tricking them. More about sort of developing a relationship with them. It would seem, I mean, if there are -- I mean, do they automatically work? Is it a guarantee that it's going to work?

RITZ: Our methods, Anderson?

COOPER: Yes.

RITZ: Oh, absolutely. We're raising the stress level. We want to create in that prisoner reactionary state. We want that prisoner -- much as you would have a fight with a loved one and blurt out something, we want to get that same effect with the prisoner. And then we will guide along the questioning process to get the information we need. You've got to remember, it is not up to us as interrogators to determine what sort of actions we do take, and what guidelines we have to follow. That is up for society and their own set of morals to determine that for us. I think it definitely does need to be done, and it does need to be communicated. People have got to start discussing this.

COOPER: And that's the debate underway right now. Mike, good to talk to you again.

RITZ: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: As the world grimly learned this week with the beheading of Nicholas Berg, al Qaeda and its allies are getting their message out on the Internet. But at least one man is trying to stem the tide. However he's run up against one of the world's largest Internet companies, according to him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): When he's not running his homeless shelter in Albuquerque, New Mexico or his radio talk show Jeremy Reynolds is on the Internet hunting al Qaeda.

JEREMY REYNOLDS, INTERNET ACTIVIST: There is a war -- actually pro-terror being waged on the Internet by radical Islamics.

COOPER: He says he's started trying to take down al Qaeda websites after 9/11 complaining to the ISPs, the Internet service providers that hosted them.

REYNOLDS: I've spoken over the past two and a half years to scores of ISPs, most of them, once they understand, that they hosted terrorist related sites, it comes right down.

COOPER: Reynolds recently found a message board called Global Islamic Media, which experts say is the real deal, where al Qaeda supporters and their sympathizers posted propaganda and information.

PAUL EEDLE, AL QAEDA EXPERT: The Global Islamic Media e-mail list is our most credible source for al Qaeda strategy and thinking.

COOPER: Reynolds also found out that Global Islamic Media was being hosted by Internet giant Yahoo!. He says he complained to the company, sending them a message headlined, "Do You Yahoo!? Al Qaeda Does" and asking them to take the site down. He said that it violated the companies company's terms of service, which prohibit among other things, content that's threatening, hateful or otherwise objectionable.

REYNOLDS: I'm saying that Yahoo! is being irresponsible by allowing these groups and such people to pass out these thoughts on a mass basis on the Internet.

COOPER: He says he didn't get a response at first. And Yahoo! declined CNN's request for an interview. But several weeks after Reynolds first complained, and after we called, the site was taken down. Reynolds' victory was short-lived. Not only did al Qaeda sympathizers use other message boards to use, but Global Islamic Media slightly changed its name and reappeared days later again on Yahoo!.

After Nicholas Berg was beheaded, you could find links to the video posted there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, once again, Jeremy Reynolds complained to YAHOO! asking the company to take the site down. Once again, we called YAHOO! for a response. They did not respond.

Well, everyone in Washington talks about the news from Iraq, John Kerry is talking about healthcare. Does he have any hope of getting his message out in today's political climate? That coming up in "Raw Politics."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The news from Iraq is dominating the headlines all week, but John Kerry has pretty much stay on message, focusing on healthcare on the campaign trail. Is anyone listening? It's all about "Raw Politics."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yesterday members of the United States Congress saw more than 1,600 additional pictures.

COOPER (voice-over): While Americans were absorbed by the prisoner abuse sandal in Iraq this week, Democratic hopeful John Kerry was busy talking about something else.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a plan to provide healthcare.

COOPER: Today in Arkansas, yesterday in Florida, the Kerry camp dedicated the whole week to healthcare. But nationally his message this week has been largely overshadowed by news from Iraq. And what grabbed headlines was his relative silence on the much talked about topic of prison abuse. CARLOS WATSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Even if John Kerry had an extraordinarily clear and bold position here, make no mistake about it, it would have been very difficult for him to break through the news cycle.

COOPER: To be sure, Kerry did criticize the administration.

KERRY: Secretary Rumsfeld apologized on Capitol Hill, but the chain of command goes all the way to the oval office.

COOPER: But he faced a furious backlash from Republicans accusing him of politicking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think a lot of it, as I said this morning, is politically charged.

COOPER: Some Democratic consultants say not making headlines nationally is part of Kerry's strategy.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: The Kerry campaign has clearly made a decision to focus on local issues, as well as national concerns, to get into the local newspaper, local TV stations and to make headlines where it matters, where voters live.

COOPER: And that strategy may be working in some critical states like Ohio and Florida, where Kerry is now leading. Being absent nationally, to be present locally, that is raw politics.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So how does one run an effective campaign when world events are gobbling up all the headlines? Joining us here in New York, Democratic strategist, Jeffrey Pollock. And in Miami, Republican strategist, Tara Setmayer. Appreciate both of you being on the program.

Jeffrey let me start off with you. Why doesn't John Kerry need to show the American public why he would make them safer at this point? Why isn't he talking more about Iraq?

JEFFREY POLLOCK, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well in general, when there's a war going on, the president has to define whether or not it's been successful. So the incumbent's really -- it's upon the incumbent to say, I've succeeded, the challenger doesn't need to. It's a referendum on what the incumbent has done. And in this case, the Bush administration has clearly failed.

COOPER: So, you think this election is going to boil down to a referendum on President Bush, not so much on John Kerry?

POLLOCK: I think as it relates to war in particular, it will be a referendum on whether or not he did a good job. And yes, in general, incumbent presidencies have a tendency, when the election comes about, to be a referendum on the incumbent.

COOPER: Tara, how is it that when John Kerry does talk about Iraq, the Republicans say he's politicizing it?

TARA SETMAYER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it depends on the context in which he's discussing Iraq. I think that it is a clear strategy on the part of the Kerry campaign to stay away from this prisoner abuse scandal, because he also has a credibility problem in this. By his own admission, he participated in atrocities in Vietnam.

So he has contradiction in terms here, because he praises his Vietnam -- touts his Vietnam service, but yet, he also has a credibility problem as far as prisoner abuse, because he himself participated in atrocities in Vietnam.

So it's smart on the part of the Kerry campaign to back away from this. And he also doesn't want to become part of the propaganda machine in the Middle East by disparaging the soldiers, and the 140,000-plus soldiers who are doing a good job, who are liberating the people of Iraq.

COOPER: But Tara, there are people who will differ with you on your assessment of John Kerry's war record there, I'm sure Jeffrey among them. But, I mean, you didn't really answer the question, which is, why is it that John Kerry talks about Iraq and he's accused of politicizing it. But when President Bush talks about 9/11, and uses images in 9/11 commercials, that's OK?

SETMAYER: Well, the difference is that 9/11 is an event that the president presided over. It is the centerpiece of his presidency. Everything that has taken place since then has been in reaction to an attack on U.S. soil.

So, the president has every right to reference 9/11, because that is a referendum on his presidency, and he has led this country with honor. And he's fought for the national security of the American people.

COOPER: OK, Jeffrey...

SETMAYER: We are safer today. And that's the reason why it's legitimate for the president to use 9/11.

POLLOCK: OK, that's fine if you're going to say that, although I disagree.

SETMAYER: Of course you do.

POLLOCK: But you can't then come back and say it's politicizing for John Kerry to make any comment on what's going on in Iraq.

SETMAYER: No, it's not about any comment. It's about accusing the president of being responsible. That's the difference.

(CROSSTALK)

POLLOCK: Tara? The president is responsible. The president is the chief. The president is in charge of the military. The buck does stop at the president's desk. So he's in charge of what's going on in Iraq. Does he have direct responsibility for it? Probably no.

COOPER: Tara, point of thought.

SETMAYER: But to a certain degree, let's keep things in perspective here. The president is not directly responsible. We have a chain of command. We have an investigative arm of the military. And that chain of command is working. We are investigating. And those soldiers will be prosecuted.

COOPER: Tara Setmayer, appreciate. Always good to talk to you. And Jeffrey Pollock, thanks very much.

POLLOCK: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: So it's the phrase the military shout made famous by Al Pacino in the movie "Scent Of a Woman." Coming up, ohaah! I did it badly there. The salute to the defense chief from soldiers who seem to enjoy saying it for just about anything.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Hooooaaaah!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: There you go, that's how you say it. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, today if you watched Donald Rumsfeld in Iraq, you heard a particular cry over and over. Can I get it? Where is it? Hello? anyone? All right. They won't do it. It was something else very distinctly American.

CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The defense secretary wasn't so much interrupted by applause. He was interrupted by huah! The secretary and the general were showered with more than 30 huahs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many reservist in here or guardsman?

MOOS: A military exclamation they say means everything and anything except no.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My first chance as president to say, huah!

MOOS: A writer who spent four years at west point studying modern military culture calls huah an all-purpose word.

DAVID LIPSKY, AUTHOR, "ABSOLUTELY AMERICAN": Every language has one word you can do without. Like on the Sopranos, you couldn't go without forget about it.

MOOS: You can forget about the origin of huah, nobody seems sure.

(on camera): Can't even decide how to spell the word, let alone pronounce it.

(voice-over): The New York Fire Department seems to have barred the Marine pronunciation. The army says it differently.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me a huah to shake the marble!

MOOS: There's even a huah energy bar in flavors ranging from raspberry to peanut butter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you say huah, that's the best compliment you can give them in the army.

MOOS: Once in a while, you hear a lonely huah!

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: He's from Kansas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huah!

RUMSFELD: How many from Illinois here?

Now you're talking.

MOOS: Then there's Al Pacino's scent of a huah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it reflects the magic power of that word, that you can say huah enough times you can win an Academy Award. That's the power of huah.

MOOS (on camera): Sounds like a lot of hooey to me.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, huah, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: All right. Time to check on some pop news in tonight's "Current." Lets take a look.

The church of England is heading to cyberspace. For the first time ever it is getting a Web pastor, who will preach over the Internet. Anyone caught illegally sermon swapping will be subjected to eternal spam.

Courtney Love, is rumored to be complicating a reality series of her own, that's according to a posting on her Web site. The camera follows her every move. In a twist this time, they won't be court ordered.

Researchers say they've uncovered evidence that baseball dates back to at least 1791. A Pittsfield document from that year, first the people playing baseball. Experts aren't really sure about the authenticity. But Pete Rose is laying odds down that it's the real thing.

And last week it was "Friends," tonight we say good-bye to "Frasier." Though, both are guaranteed a long life in syndication. Whether it's sitcom or reality series, ending or season cliff hangers, TV executives are pulling out all the stops to keep the viewers tuned in. Some call it hype, we call it final episode "Overkill."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): It remains arguably the most famous season finale cliffhanger in television history. On March 21st, 1980, "Dallas" left its viewers wondering who shot J.R. Eight months later, more than 81 million tuned back in for the answer, and the season- ending cliff hanger was born. More than 20 years on, and the networks are still trying anything to keep us hooked. When the Sopranos ends it's season in early June, it will no doubt carry on the cliff-hanger tradition. Leaving viewers wondering which of which of Tony's friends, family or enemies could start the new season, well, six feet under. Of course, saying good-bye to reality requires less long-term planning. Nearly 25 million tuned in to the "Survivor" finale, or sort of finale. The final finale where another all-star is awarded a million dollars airs tonight. 28 million watched Bill become "The Apprentice." We'll have to wait until May 19th to say good-bye to the latest bachelor and his possible bride. It's safe to say there will be new batch to battle it out on the beach or in the boardroom or the bachelorette house, just months from now. No cliff-hangers needed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm busting you out of this hell hole.

KELSEY GRAMMER, "FRASIER": What?

COOPER: Then there are the shows that are saying good-bye for good. Tonight it's "Frasier's" farewell after 11 seasons on the year. Last week more than 52 million saw the final episode of "Friends." In 1983, 125 million fans watched the final M.A.S.H. Audiences may be shrinking, but the final episode frenzy grows. And so does are sense of season-ending "Overkill."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Time now for "the Buzz." Earlier we asked you, does the U.S. government share some of the responsibility of Nicholas Berg's death? It's a controversial question and his parents are claiming they do. Fifty-one percent of you say, yes, 49 percent said no. It's not a scientific poll, just your "Buzz." Thanks for voting.

We can take your batters and balls or bails. Don't know what I'm talking about, apparently I don't either. I'll take it to "The Nth Degree," later.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: Tonight taking bad news to "The Nth Degree."

As if the things we and other journalist have been forced report over the last few days, weren't upsetting enough, now comes this. The ICC has declared the doosra illegal. What the heck am I talking about? I'm talking about cricket. You've got your overts (ph), you've got your stumps and batters and bails and your googlies and whatnot. In Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan, who's the world record wicket taker, thank you very much, has been bowling the doosra which spins away from right-handers instead of coming into them like a normal offbreak. And now the ICC says that's chucking. And chucking just isn't cricket, as everyone knows. So he can't do it anymore. This on the eve of the big meeting where the whole hot potato before wicket thing has to be ironed out. Talk about a crisis. In answer to the question, I know you're probably asking yourselves, no, I have no idea what I just said. But thanks for watching.

I'm Anderson Cooper, "PAULA ZAHN NOW" is next.

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


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