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PAULA ZAHN NOW

U.N. Deadline For Iran Expires Tomorrow; Iraqi Violence Escalates; Interview With Connecticut Congressman Chris Shays

Aired August 30, 2006 - 20:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. And thanks, everyone, for joining us.
Tonight, we go in-depth on the top stories, beginning with the growing crises in Iran and Iraq, and the risk that either or both will spin out of control.

Here's where things stand right now. It's only Wednesday, but Iraq's out-of-control violence has already claimed more than 200 lives this week, including 66 in a string of bombings and shootings today.

President Bush starts a new round of speeches tomorrow to bolster support for his policies. He's telling reporters that his speeches shouldn't be seen as political, even though the midterm election is just two months away.

Tomorrow is also the U.N. deadline for Iran to stop its nuclear program or face international sanctions. The Associated Press reports, Iran was processing nuclear material as recently as last night.

And let's get right to the nuclear standoff.

CNN's Aneesh Raman is one of the few Western journalists covering the story from inside Iran. He joins me now live from Tehran.

Aneesh, no sign, it would seem, from Iran's president that he's willing to back down on this issue.

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: None at all, John.

Today, he said that sanctions would not dissuade Iran from pursuing progress. He's standing firm. But, here in Iran, all of this is not just about a nuclear program.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAMAN (voice-over): Iran is showing its defiance of world opinion in a variety of ways, from a major military exercise, to a well-publicized missile test, to street demonstrations.

Now Iran's long standoff with the United Nations over its nuclear program is coming to a head, and the Iranian president shows no sign of conceding anything. At a rare news conference, in which he challenged President Bush to a live TV debate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was standing firm on the nuclear issue. (on camera): Is suspension of the nuclear program at all on the table for any talks that might take place?

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Access to peaceful nuclear energy and power is our -- the right of the Iranian people, who have chosen our right. And, under international law, we want to use that right. Nobody can prevent us from it.

RAMAN (voice-over): But that defiance could come at a cost, international economic sanctions. And that's where ordinary Iranians start to differ.

Most people feel immense pride in the country's nuclear program, especially among those in blue-collar southern Tehran. Here, it's all about making your daily wage and showing no weakness to the West.

"We are not afraid of economic sanctions," says Majid (ph), "because this is not the first time they want to impose them, and, in the eight years of war, we have fought the entire world."

But head to northern Tehran, home to the more affluent, more moderate, and confidence gives way to concern.

"Ordinary people," says 29-year-old Pashman (ph), "are very worried. In the university, and homes, and at workplaces, people are very concerned. I can see that. They are very afraid."

He's part of a generation that has been hit hard by the country's high unemployment. But there's something even worse than sanctions that has people worried. It's the prospect of a military conflict over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Last week, the government launched a massive military exercise, war games to demonstrate Iran's ability to defend itself, in part against potential attacks on its nuclear sites, something that could drag this country into a broader military conflict. That remains the worst-case scenario.

But, with Iran's president recently announcing that the country's nuclear program will not just continue, but actually expand, it's clear that Iranian officials believe, defying the West, especially the United States, on the nuclear issue is the best strategy. It gives their country more influence in the Muslim world, where a majority of people are critical of the U.S.' role in Iraq and its continuing support of Israel.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Aneesh, Iranian officials claim that they're enriching uranium to be used in peaceful power generation. The White House claims, no, Iran wants to make a nuclear bomb. Does anyone really know what Iran's true intentions are?

RAMAN: The short answer is no -- of course, from Iranian officials aside.

But it is the crux of this entire dispute. There has been no smoking gun proving that Iran has a weapons program. There have been unanswered questions put to Iran by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog. They say, as well, they have been blocked from a certain number of Iranian nuclear facilities -- but Iran's government maintaining it's a peaceful program, and saying, suspicion is not enough to sanction the country.

That's key now, because Iranian officials have said before, if any action is taken by the U.N., they may kick out the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, its inspectors, and pursue this program, despite the fact that they say it's peaceful, in secret -- John.

ROBERTS: Aneesh Raman, one of the only Western journalists covering this story from inside Iran -- Aneesh, thanks very much.

Our "Top Story" coverage moves on to the increasingly alarming situation in Iraq no, where they're in the middle of an especially grim week of bloody violence. More than 200 Iraqis have died in bombings and shootings since Sunday alone.

Michael Holmes has the latest tonight from Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. and Iraqi officials had been pleased with a sharp drop in violence this month -- that is, until this week.

Since Sunday, 200 Iraqis have been killed in a bloody string of attacks around the country, more than 200 wounded.

Shurjah (ph) sells everything from food to electronics, and Iraqis travel from miles around to visit, making it a popular target for acts like this. For those who were there Wednesday, talk of a reduction in violence this month means little.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The situation won't get better for me. It goes from worse to worse, and the bloodshed will continue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't want to blame anyone, because the entire situation is not good.

HOLMES: South of Baghdad, in the town of Hillah, an army recruitment center was targeted, a bomb rigged to a bicycle, killing a dozen people, wounding dozens more -- all of this as Operation Together Forward continues -- U.S. and Iraqi troops sweeping through Baghdad's more violent suburbs, an operation successful in reducing sectarian killings in those areas, but clearly not affecting the ability of insurgents to attack elsewhere.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: And, John, despite that catalog of horror -- and there were many other incidents as well -- the U.S. general George Casey said that he thinks the Iraqi military is on course to fully take over security responsibilities in the country over the next 12 to 18 months, with what he called little coalition support -- John. ROBERTS: Well, Michael, how realistic is that assessment, that prediction, given the level of sectarian violence that we see in Iraq these days?

HOLMES: It's always difficult here to tell what's going to happen next week, let alone in 12 to 18 months. But it's true that Iraqi forces are, more and more, taking the lead, particularly as we have seen in Operation Together Forward.

The problem, John, is this. The police are hated and feared and mistrusted by the Sunni population, who see death quads being linked to the police force.

And let's look at the U.S. military. Let -- the Iraqi military rather. At Diwaniya this last weekend, 23 Iraqi soldiers were killed, many more wounded, in a battle with the Mahdi militia, which is linked to Muqtada al-Sadr. The -- the -- how the Iraqi military handles these militias and the death squads which are entrenched in the local population is going to be the real test -- John.

ROBERTS: Yes. And, so far, there doesn't appear to be a plan either.

Michael Holmes for us tonight from Baghdad -- Michael, thanks.

Now, as President Bush prepares to launch a new series of speeches to win public support for the war, he has lost one powerful ally in Congress. Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays, just back from his 14th visit to Iraq, has reversed his position, and now says there should be a timetable for the U.S. to get out.

Shays, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, is now planning to hold hearings on that.

I asked him just a bit earlier about what prompted such a dramatic change.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: Well, first, I'm -- I'm still a strong supporter of our mission in Iraq. I -- I think to leave immediately or prematurely would just be an outrage. We have to stay and complete our mission.

But what I'm seeing is a lack of resolve on the part of the Iraqis. Since January, when they formed -- it took four-and-a-half months to form their government, and now have a government that has been in an office about three months. It's saying the right things. It's not willing to set timelines. It's not willing to do the heavy lifting.

It's confirmed to me by the Iraqis that I have been meeting with in my last two visits and confirmed by people in the State Department and the military. This government needs a push.

ROBERTS: Congressman, Democrats who have articulated the same position of you have been accused by Republicans of wanting to cut and run. Why shouldn't you be accused of wanting to...

SHAYS: Well...

ROBERTS: ... do the same thing?

SHAYS: Well, they haven't. And -- and thank you for giving me the opportunity to point out the differences.

Most Democrats that are saying that say, let's just leave now, or leave in an arbitrary deadline of three months or six months. I mean, that's arbitrary. We attack them. We dissolved their army, police, and their border patrol. And it would be an outrage to leave before we have allowed them to replace their army, their police, and their border patrol.

ROBERTS: But there are some conservative columnists who have accused you now, lumped you in with the defeatists.

SHAYS: Well, you know what? I -- I figure this.

I will just go where the truth takes me. And I will live with the silly criticism. But I have been there 14 times. I know more about Iraq than any member of Congress, any senator. I go there every three -- three months.

I come back with observations and then recommendations. And, now, what am I supposed to say? I have been there during the summer, six weeks ago. I had indications that there were -- a problem. I said, I better come back and see if now they have got some energy. And what I saw six weeks ago is the same today.

ROBERTS: So...

SHAYS: I am just calling it like it is.

ROBERTS: So, what do you -- how do you respond to people who say, well, Chris Shays just saw what happened to Joe Lieberman in a state that has got a strong anti-war sentiment, and your change of position now is just meant to cover your political posterior?

SHAYS: Well, frankly, I'm not sure that this so-called change, as you call it, covers anything.

I'm -- I -- I don't think it necessarily helps me or hurts me. What I knew is this. Half my district is for this war, and half is against. That's a fact. I knew well before any polls with Joe Lieberman that my district was very divided on it. I'm willing to lose the election on the war in Iraq. I just want to make sure we win it and not lose it. And the way we're going now, we're going to lose it.

ROBERTS: With people like you now, Congressman, coming out, saying that there should be a timetable, holding hearings coming up in September in Congress to establish a timetable, does this make it more difficult for President Bush to continue with his current policy?

SHAYS: Well, you know, I think the president does have timelines. He's just not sharing it with people, the way he needs to.

It's a timeline they call conditional. But they know when they want to bring troops back, but it's based on a most optimistic view. My view is that you say the fighting is still going to continue. It's not a timeline when the war ends. It's not even a timeline when we bring all our troops. We're still going to have our troops garrisoned to do operations. It's a timeline to get our -- our troops off the street doing the police work.

ROBERTS: Congressman Shays, always good to talk to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Poll after poll shows Americans are deeply divided about our nation's course in Iraq.

When our "Top Story" coverage continues: A T-shirt makes those divisions more visible and more painful.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS (voice-over): Tribute or travesty? T-shirts with the names of fallen U.S. soldiers and a political message that's guaranteed to make some people's blood boil.

Plus: the end of a road for a marrying man -- now that Warren Jeffs is under arrest, what will happen to secretive polygamist followers?

All that and more when we continue.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Our "Top Story" coverage of the Iraq war continues now with a T-shirt that's causing outrage and even sparking congressional action. The shirt bears an anti-war message, combined with the names most of the 2,600 American service men and women who have died in Iraq.

Keith Oppenheim has the story tonight from Flagstaff, Arizona.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a rural highway in eastern Oklahoma, a stretch of road is dedicated to a fallen Marine. In April of 2004, Corporal Scott Vincent was serving in Iraq, when his unit was attacked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had stopped on a road outside Fallujah, and a suicide bomber pulled up and exploded.

OPPENHEIM: Scott Vincent was killed in action. And, as his parents Royce (ph) and Judy Vincent mourned, they would learn, his name was being used in another way. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Vincent," right there.

OPPENHEIM: On T-shirts and bumper stickers, listed in fine print with the names of hundreds of fallen U.S. military, behind a graphic that reads "Bush Lied. They Died."

The products are designed by Dan Frazier, who runs a Web site business in Flagstaff, Arizona.

DAN FRAZIER, T-SHIRT CREATOR: And I thought that maybe, by putting all those names in a list on a bumper sticker, then people would really get the -- the sense of the enormity of the tragedy.

OPPENHEIM: Frazier been selling the "Bush Lied" shirt for as much as $18, the magnetic vehicle sign for $9. He says some families have asked him to take names of their deceased relatives off his products, but he's refused.

FRAZIER: It's not some evil thing that I'm doing. I'm trying to save lives and prevent more grief, like the grief that they're going through.

OPPENHEIM: Judy Vincent has been lobbying to stop Dan Frazier.

JUDY VINCENT, MOTHER OF FALLEN MARINE: I'm trying to protect my child.

OPPENHEIM (on camera): The memory of him.

VINCENT: In the memory of him and the other fallen heroes. They all deserve to be honored.

OPPENHEIM (voice-over): Vincent's congressman, Dan Boren, has drafted a bill that would require merchants to get permission from living soldiers or from the families of deceased military before printing the names of troops on any item for sale.

REP. DAN BOREN (D), OKLAHOMA: Mr. Frazier can talk all he wants to about: Oh, I'm -- I'm -- you know, this noble cause about ending the war.

His noble cause is about cashing a check at the bank and making some money off dead people. And it's wrong.

OPPENHEIM: Right or wrong, legal experts tell us, because the message on Frazier's products is clearly political, it is constitutionally protected speech.

MARTIN REDISH, LAW PROFESSOR, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: The First Amendment gives him total protection, full -- full protection for what he's saying.

OPPENHEIM: Dan Frazier says, until a law tells him otherwise, there's nothing stopping him from selling signs that list the names of dead soldiers.

Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Flagstaff, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And there's this. There's bipartisan support for two competing bills in Congress to regulate the use of the names of the fallen troops. Both are being considered by the House Armed Services Committee.

We have got more "Top Story" coverage coming up.

But, right now, Melissa Long is in the Pipeline studio in Atlanta with our countdown of the top 10 stories on CNN.com.

Hey, Melissa.

MELISSA LONG, CNN PIPELINE: Good evening, John.

A lot of traffic on the Web site today -- more than 20 million people came to CNN.com.

A lot wanted to learn more about a new study about blood pressure, number 10 on the list tonight. The research shows, workers who put in more than 51 hours a week are at the greatest risk for hypertension. I want to point this out, as well. Interest in this topic began in Japan, where they have a notoriously high-pressure work culture that has given rise to something known as sudden death from overwork. But researchers say, today, Americans work longer hours than the Japanese. Food for thought tonight. Hmm.

Number nine -- San Francisco police say they will recommend murder charges be filed against the man who allegedly went on a hit- and-run rampage with his Honda SUV. One man was killed.

And number eight this evening: a conviction in the killing of Dru Sjodin. A federal jury took less than four hours to find a convicted sex offender guilty of her murder. And now a panel must decide whether he's eligible for the death penalty -- John.

ROBERTS: Thanks very much, Melissa. We will check back in -- in with you a little bit later on.

LONG: OK.

ROBERTS: Shocking numbers about death and violence don't just come from Iraq -- up next, the "Top Story" in city after city here in the United States. What's behind a sudden upsurge in murder?

Plus, the state trooper who recognized most wanted fugitive Warren Jeffs tells how that arrest went down.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Our "Top Story" coverage moves now to America's cities, which are, indirectly, among the casualties in the war on terrorism.

A huge jump in murders is hitting cities from coast to coast. Money to fight crime is now used to fight terrorism. And police chiefs from around the country meeting in Washington today warned of -- quote -- "a gathering storm."

CNN's Deborah Feyerick is just back with the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): No one knows for sure whether 14-year-old Tariq Blue saw his killer. The eighth- grader from south Philadelphia was outside this community center, blocks from his home, when police say someone came up and blasted him in the head with a sawed-off shotgun. Every day, his mom, Lawanda Welton, relives that day.

LAWANDA WELTON, MOTHER OF TARIQ BLUE: It's the worst phone call you can ever get, ever in life.

FEYERICK: Tariq Blue was a popular kid, who had not been in any real trouble.

(on camera): Do you have any idea why?

WELTON: Nope.

FEYERICK: He's 14 years old.

WELTON: Fourteen.

FEYERICK: What is it he could have done?

WELTON: Nothing. Nothing at all.

FEYERICK (voice-over): His murder is one of about 250 in Philadelphia that remains unsolved. And it reflects a nationwide trend. FBI figures show murder for violent crime on the rise in more than 200 cities across America, including Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, Minneapolis, Houston, Washington, Milwaukee, and Las Vegas.

Those figures also show that, last year alone, 16,000 people in the U.S. were murdered, six times the total number of American troops killed in Iraq.

Chuck Wexler (ph) heads a police think tank in Washington, D.C.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The country has a lot of different priorities, terrorism, fighting the war in Iraq. We have to balance that off with homeland security at home.

FEYERICK: The reasons murder and violent crime are going up are as varied as the cities themselves. Police say there might be more guns or gangs. And money once used to fight crime is now going to fight terrorism.

In Houston, officials believe the flood of displaced people from Hurricane Katrina may be to blame. In Las Vegas, methamphetamines are a big factor. And, in Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson says, criminals have intimidated witnesses, threatening to kill them if they speak up.

SYLVESTER JOHNSON, PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: People have to understand that you're safer if this person is in custody, than he's still walking the street. We have to change the mind-set of the community.

FEYERICK: Because there's no single reason, there's also no single cure. So, the nation's police chiefs, along with several mayors, are meeting in Washington this week to figure out what's going wrong.

WILLIAM BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE CHIEF: With 250 million Americans today, we should be able to fight a two-front war, the one external to the borders, and the one that is going on right now within our borders.

FEYERICK: Though today's crime statistics are lower than their peak 20 years ago, police fear, to do nothing at all will cause more pain to innocent families, to people like Wanda Robinson (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Lamar's high school diploma.

FEYERICK: Following what appears to be another random shooting in Philadelphia, she mourns the loss of her grandson Lamar (ph), an aspiring lawyer who was shot in the back, after cashing a paycheck he had earned from his job at a cancer clinic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's getting worse and worse every day.

FEYERICK: Police say, the only way to fix it is for the federal government to make fighting crime as important a priority as fighting terrorism.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: That's sort of a return to the bad old days of a couple of decades ago.

Do -- do police officials believe that the situation can be addressed? And -- and, if it can, how long might it take to get a handle on it?

FEYERICK: They think it is going to take years, in order to get it under control.

They really feel as if they have been abandoned. Here, they finally got control of the situation. And, because of Hurricane Katrina, because of the war, all these programs that were instrumental to lowering crime rates have been cut. And they said, they cannot do that.

And what's interesting about the meeting today is that they have not been together since 1993, which is when they came together to try to get that crime bill passed. They hope that this is the start of another perhaps initiative to get that passed again.

ROBERTS: It's surprising that we haven't heard anything about this in the election campaign, but perhaps we will soon.

FEYERICK: We definitely shall.

ROBERTS: Deborah Feyerick, thanks very much.

More "Top Story" coverage coming your way in just a moment.

First, though, let's go back to Atlanta, and check in with Melissa Long on our CNN.com countdown -- Melissa.

LONG: John, once again, thank you.

The investigation into this weekend's Comair crash, number seven on the list tonight -- the FAA says it violated staffing policy Sunday morning, when only one air traffic controller was on duty at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport, which is where the jet crashed shortly after takeoff. Forty-nine people were killed.

Number six: Ernesto is still a tropical depression tonight. It's moving out over the Atlantic, could get stronger. Forecasters say, it may then move toward the Carolinas. Ernesto brought heavy rain to Florida earlier today. This is a story we covered in great detail today on Pipeline, as well.

And number five: the latest revelation in a high-profile federal probe. Two sources tell CNN that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was the source who revealed the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. The former deputy secretary of state was never indicted by the federal grand jury that investigated that leak -- John.

ROBERTS: The plot thickens, but still doesn't seem to go anywhere.

Melissa, thanks very much.

LONG: Mmm-hmm.

ROBERTS: We will see you a bit later.

Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is in custody tonight. Next, in our "Top Story" coverage: the state trooper who pulled him over on what it's like coming face to face with one of the FBI's most wanted.

Plus: a rare glimpse of the mood inside one of Jeffs' polygamist compounds.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Tonight, polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is just hours away from his first court appearance. Our "Top Story" coverage now turns to the fugitive who has been on the FBI's most wanted list for nearly four months, and who is a self-proclaimed prophet to a community of some 10,000 followers.

We get the very latest from Ted Rowlands in Las Vegas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Warren Jeffs' brother had nothing to say to reporters after leaving the Las Vegas main jail, where Jeffs, the polygamist prophet, is now an inmate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No comment.

ROWLANDS: After more than a year as a fugitive and four months on the FBI's most wanted list, Warren Jeffs was captured during a routine traffic stop.

There are an estimated 10,000 members in Jeffs' breakaway Mormon sect devoted to him and to his beliefs that men should have multiple wives. Jeffs himself is believed to have as many as 40 wives. Authorities say, given the support Jeffs was getting from his followers while he was on the run, his arrest was almost a fluke.

STEVE MARTINEZ, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: I can't think of a better way that it could have gone down, because it went down safely.

ROWLANDS: The FBI had been concerned that Jeffs' arrest could be violent. His most wanted poster warned, "Jeffs may travel with a number of loyal and armed bodyguards."

MARTINEZ: There was some intelligence that we might expect something like that. I'm happy to say that we didn't encounter that, and found no vehicles in the vehicle.

ROWLANDS: When caught, Jeffs was in this luxury SUV with his brother Isaac and one of his wives. The group had no weapons at all, only cell phones, computers, cash, and disguises, including wigs and sunglasses.

The state trooper who made the arrest sensed that Jeffs was more than a little uneasy.

EDDIE DUTCHOVER, NEVADA STATE TROOPER: I noticed Warren was extremely nervous. He was sitting in that -- behind the right -- right front passenger side, and wouldn't make eye contact with me.

ROWLANDS: Jeffs faces charges in Arizona and Utah. Prosecutors from both states have agreed that Jeffs will be transferred first to Utah, where he faces two counts of rape as an accomplice. Each count carries a maximum sentence, on conviction, of life in prison.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Ted Rowlands is live in Las Vegas with us now.

Ted, what went into the decision to extradite Jeffs to Utah before Arizona?

ROWLANDS: Well, clearly, John, the charges in Utah were much more severe.

I talked to a member of the prosecution team in Arizona tonight. They said they fully support the decision to go to Utah first. They also said that they will relish and they will still take their crack at Jeffs when the time is right.

ROBERTS: All right. Ted Rowlands in Las Vegas for us tonight -- Ted, thanks.

Joining me now is someone who has tracked Warren Jeffs for three years. Sam Brower is a private investigator working for the legal team representing some of the people who say they were Jeffs' victims.

Sam Brower, how would you describe the society that Warren Jeffs has created and surrounded himself with?

SAM BROWER, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: The society here in Colorado City and Hildale is just a very, very closed society. The people are very secretive. They mistrust the outside world, especially law enforcement.

And they -- they try and stay to themselves, and -- and secrete themselves from the outside world.

ROBERTS: How -- how hard is it for an investigator, such as yourself, to -- to penetrate that what you call secret society? Some people have said, it's almost like an organized crime family.

BROWER: That's the best way to compare them. It's -- it's very closed, very secret. And it has been very, very hard to try and penetrate it. It's just taken perseverance. You just stay at it. And, over -- over the years, I have been able to make contacts, and -- and so forth inside, but -- but it -- it has been one of the hardest cases I have ever worked on.

ROBERTS: We have heard from wives that were involved in polygamist relationships of tales who -- who have escaped -- of tales of abuse there. How widespread is the abuse, and -- and what form does it take?

BROWER: The abuse happens, and -- and many of the people here, because they're so -- it's such a closed society, aren't even aware that they're being abused.

And it -- it happens regularly. The -- the forms are anything from sexual abuse, child abuse, to breaking up families, avoiding due process in the law by breaking up families. And, when Warren wants something done, the question isn't asked whether it's legal or not. It's just -- it just happens.

ROBERTS: Right. I see.

BROWER: So, abuse takes place in -- in every available form there is.

ROBERTS: So -- so, what's going to happen there in Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, among the membership of the FLDS, now that Warren Jeffs is in custody?

BROWER: Well, I think that there's a -- you know, on the outside, there's a lot of people here that are, you know, saying that, well, you know, we hope the prophet is going to be fine, and -- and -- but, secretly, on the inside, they're breathing a -- a sigh of relief that it's -- it's the beginning of the end.

And -- and, of course, there's going to be an element that's going to be very fanatical and protective of Warren Jeffs. But, hopefully, this will be the -- the time when things can start getting on track, and start to -- to heal and get better here.

ROBERTS: Well, we will also see if somebody steps up to take his place.

Sam Brower, private investigator who has been doing some investigation into the FLDS and Warren Jeffs' cult -- thanks very much, Sam. Appreciate it.

More of our "Top Story" coverage ahead.

First, though, we continue with our CNN.com countdown. And here's Melissa Long in Atlanta once again -- Melissa.

LONG: And it's a shocking case out of Ohio that is falling at the number four spot tonight. Bail has been set at more than $10 million for a couple accused of wrapping their 3-year-old foster child in a blanket and leaving him in a closet, where he died, while they went to a family reunion. They pleaded not guilty.

Number three: Hurricane John threatens Mexico's pacific coast. The storm is now a Category 4, with winds of 135 miles per hour. And forecasters say, it could make landfall some time tomorrow, near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

And don't forget CNN.com/weather, a great resource to stay up to date on weather all across the globe -- John.

ROBERTS: Melissa, thanks very much.

LONG: Sure.

ROBERTS: We will see you again in just a few minutes' time.

LONG: OK.

ROBERTS: Warren Jeffs' followers don't talk to reporters. But, next in our "Top Story" coverage, what happened when a Texas sheriff told some of Jeffs' people that their leader was under arrest?

And later: a health controversy. If you could make your child taller, would you try, despite the costs? We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: We're continuing our "Top Story" coverage of the arrest of alleged polygamist Warren Jeffs.

Back in 2004, Jeffs started a new community in rural Texas. Like all his followers, they're extremely secretive, but at least one outsider has spoken with them since Jeffs' arrest, and has some interesting insights into what they're thinking.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS (voice-over): It's a strange sight in this isolated part of west central Texas, a four-story temple that towers over the desert, surrounded by a 1,700-acre compound called Yearning for Zion.

Near the temple, there's a housing complex for some 70 people, a water tower, a school and community center, a dairy and cheese factory, as well as a concrete mill.

The nearest town is Eldorado, Texas, from where Sheriff David Doran phoned Warren Jeffs' followers to tell them that their leader is under arrest.

DAVID DORAN, ELDORADO, TEXAS, SHERIFF: You could tell it was hard to swallow. There was no comments otherwise, other than they appreciated the information.

ROBERTS: There were suspicions that Jeffs might have been hiding out at this two-year-old compound.

But Sheriff Doran says, there was never probable cause to go in and look for him. After his phone call, however, he asked for an aerial flyover, which obtained these pictures.

DORAN: Just so we can scan through those photographs to see if -- if there's been any mood change or anything different happening.

ROBERTS: Some people in the town fear that Yearning for Zion could be the next Waco. That was the scene of a notorious and deadly standoff in Texas between law enforcement and a different religious sect, the Branch Davidians, in 1993.

DORAN: Eventually, there might be a standoff, or some kind of a situation, with law enforcement here locally was the town's fear. And, so, I think a big stress level has been raised off the community, now that he's in custody.

ROBERTS: Townspeople in Eldorado say, Warren Jeffs' followers keep to themselves, believing they will be spared when God comes to destroy the Earth.

Opinion is divided on whether Jeffs' arrest will change anything. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's kind of been a circus since they have come to town here. And maybe that will take care of itself and be over with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're going to still operate, I'm sure, regardless of what he was -- he's there or not.

ROBERTS: Even though Warren Jeffs is in jail, his followers show no sign they intend to leave West Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: We can get even more insights into what Jeffs' followers are thinking tonight from our next guest. Filmmaker Laurie Allen escaped from a polygamist sect at the age of 16, and just recently made a documentary entitled "Banking on Heaven: Polygamy in the Heartland of the American West."

Laurie, what do you expect is going on in the communities of the Warren Jeffs' FLDS, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, communities tonight?

LAURIE ALLEN, FILMMAKER: Well, I would suspect that there's a mixed bag of emotion there.

Some people, I think, are relieved. Other people, I believe, are probably horrified. Many are scared. Some people are angry. I have gotten a few calls from people, expressing their -- a -- a variety of emotions along those lines.

ROBERTS: Mmm-hmm.

You were in a different polygamist sect, but what's your reaction to Jeffs' arrest?

ALLEN: Well, I was surprised. I thought it was going to take them a while longer to catch him, but I did predict that it would be a traffic stop. So, it's -- it -- it was -- it was -- I was relieved, because I think a lot of the people up there are going to get some pressure taken off of them because of this arrest.

And I was also concerned about the people up there...

ROBERTS: Mmm-hmm.

ALLEN: ... because the -- we don't have the kinds of programs set up for these people that they desperately need.

ROBERTS: Now, you were -- you were in this cult from the age of 3 to the age of 16, when you finally escaped. Give us -- give us some inside insight. At the -- the very root, what are these cults about?

ALLEN: The biggest problem that I perceive is the fact that they're not getting education to the children, because educated people make their own choices. And, when you have children that don't get education, then, people can just indoctrinate them. And they're taught to believe what to think or how to dress, what to do. And this is a major problem. The -- the number-one key to the cleaning-up of these fundamentalist sects is to get education to the children.

ROBERTS: Right.

You have -- you have also said that this -- this is all about the denigration of women. And I want to play a short little clip from your documentary "Banking on Heaven," which really speaks to that aspect of it. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "BANKING ON HEAVEN")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He hit me twice. Once, it was in front of my whole -- all of my children. And he hit me over and over and over again.

The thing of it is, is, whenever I was hit, I honestly thought it was something -- that I was bad. So, when women are abused here, it's really interesting. Instead of going and turning in the abuse, we take it within and say that I'm bad. God hates me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: So, Laurie Allen, how -- how do these women become so trapped in these relationships? How do the men get so much power over them?

ALLEN: Because these people are in their seventh generation of systematic abuse of human rights, and indoctrination, mind control. And they really don't -- like Sam Brower said, they really don't even know a lot of the times that what's being done to them is wrong or illegal.

And this is the problem, because we do not have police protection in these communities, and we're not getting education to these children.

ROBERTS: And how difficult is it for people to escape, such as you did?

ALLEN: It's very difficult. I actually jumped out of a second- story window onto a flatbed truckload of pigs to get out, and -- you know, and was chased for many, many miles, and had a heck of a time.

I was in Central America. And it was extremely difficult for me to get out. But the most difficult thing is, it takes -- it took me almost 20 years to get over...

ROBERTS: Right.

ALLEN: ... the mind control and the things I had been taught, because I never finished the fourth grade. ROBERTS: And -- and what do you expect is going to happen now that Warren Jeffs is in custody? Will -- will more people be able to escape? Will the FLDS begin to fall apart, as Sam Brower suggested? Might another leader step in?

ALLEN: I think there's a lot of possibilities.

And I think the important thing is to -- for these people to know that the American people care about them, and, no matter what happens, that we're going to support them, and get the program set up for them that they desperately need, because they are going to -- there's going to be a lot of tension, a lot of rivalry, and a lot of people branching off into different directions.

And we need to make sure that there's protection in that town for these families, American families and children.

ROBERTS: Laurie Allen, thanks -- Laurie Allen, filmmaker. The film is called "Banking on Heaven: Polygamy in the Heartland of the American West," a shocking look inside polygamist cults.

Laurie, thanks again.

Right now, let's take a "Biz Break." On Wall Street, stocks closed mixed. The Dow gained just under 13 points. The Nasdaq picked up just over 13. The S&P closed virtually unchanged.

Oil prices are back down to $70 a barrel. What a bargain. Gasoline prices are already at their lowest levels since April. And analysts say prices at the pump are due to fall sharply soon. One analyst says, Thanksgiving could see gas as low as $2 a gallon.

And now our "Crude Awakenings," a daily look at gas prices across the country. The states with today's highest prices are in red, the lowest in green -- the average today for unleaded regular, $2.80. And the trend is definitely down.

Now let's go back to Melissa Long in Atlanta in our Pipelines studios to wrap up our CNN.com countdown -- Melissa.

LONG: And, John, coming in at number two, a story about what you can do with technology. There are questions about why a CBS network photo of the incoming "Evening News" anchor, Katie Couric, was altered to make her to appear 20 pounds thinner. Take a look. A network spokesman says the photo was retouched without the knowledge of Ms. Couric or CBS News management.

And, John, number one is a story you have reported on in great detail tonight -- the Nevada state trooper who arrested polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs says, Jeffs' body language was enough to raise suspicions. The trooper says he seemed evasive, started to eat a salad, and wouldn't make eye contact -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. Melissa, thanks very much.

LONG: Sure. ROBERTS: We will see you again tomorrow.

LONG: OK.

ROBERTS: Just about every parent wants their child to grow up strong and tall, but, next, see how far some parents are going to make the second parent of that wish, the tall part, come true.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Tonight's "Top Story" in medicine is one of inches and dollars. How short is not tall enough? And how much money would you pay to cure your child of being short? It takes lots of shots and a lot of dollars to grow just a few inches taller. But you may be surprised at how many parents are doing it and how much they're paying.

Here's Elizabeth Cohen with tonight's "Vital Signs."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is Dustin Hoffman sick? Does Martin Scorsese have an illness? And is something ailing Robert Reich, President Clinton's secretary of labor?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... lower this, until it reaches your head.

COHEN: Well, shortness is now being treated as a disease -- tens of thousands of parents injecting their children every day, in the hope that they can make their kids taller. It often costs hundreds of thousands of dollars for one child.

(on camera): How old is Michael here?

JENNIFER REDA, SON TOOK GROWTH HORMONE: I think he was 3 there.

COHEN: And the little boy next to him?

J. REDA: Same exact age.

COHEN: What did kids say to you?

MICHAEL REDA, TOOK GROWTH HORMONE: They -- they told -- they called me small fry, shrimp, anything they could think of. And I -- I just hated that.

COHEN (voice-over): Michael's preschool teacher called him petite.

J. REDA: I was a little insulted. You know, it's a word you just don't want associated with your son.

COHEN (on camera): Why did you want to take something that would help?

M. REDA: Just to get taller, and, so, everyone would be nice to me, and all the bad stuff would go away.

COHEN (voice-over): When Michael Reda was 7, his parents started him on human growth hormone.

(on camera): So, you got a shot with that needle?

M. REDA: One once a day, yes.

COHEN: Once a day. Wow. Did it hurt?

M. REDA: I got used to it.

J. REDA: I thought he would be more challenged in the business world and even maybe in searching for a spouse.

COHEN: You think short men have a harder time?

J. REDA: I do. I just think we want to think of men as being a little bit larger and capable.

COHEN: So, when Michael first came to see you, he wasn't even on the chart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is right.

COHEN (voice-over): Dr. Fawad Ziay (ph) predicted Michael would grow up to be around 5'5''. After taking growth hormone for two-and- a-half years, Michael grew an extra three inches. Now, instead of being 5'5'' when he grows up, he will be around 5'8''.

(on camera): Did you grow as much as you hoped?

M. REDA: I grew -- I grew more than I hoped.

COHEN (voice-over): But bioethicists like Lori Andrews worry, is it right to use a drug to make your children look a certain way?

LORI ANDREWS, BIOETHICIST: This is part of a slippery slope of parents trying to design their children. And we're starting to see it even as very early stages.

COHEN: After all, Michael wasn't sick. He was just short.

ANDREWS: Nowhere else in medicine do we take healthy children and give them an injection of something that might cause them harm.

COHEN: The vast majority of children do just fine on growth hormone, but some do suffer scoliosis, muscle pains, and headaches.

J. REDA: We entered into it very cautiously. There was a lot of thought process and decision-making prior to giving it to him.

COHEN: Growth hormone isn't cheap. How expensive is it? One inch Of growth costs more than $50,000. Want your child to grow four inches? That will be $200,000, please. And the results are not guaranteed. Insurance paid for Michael's growth hormone. And the Redas couldn't be more pleased with the results.

(on camera): What do you think those three inches have done for him?

J. REDA: I know they have made him a lot happier.

ANDREWS: If the idea is to give your child self-esteem, you should be doing that through parenting, not through drugs.

COHEN (voice-over): That's nonsense, according to Steve Horowitz. At 5'3'', he says he suffers every day because of his height.

STEVE HOROWITZ, FINANCIAL ADVISER: I'm a financial adviser. I see people for a living. People judge you by your -- your height. I would still give anything to put on a couple inches, even at this stage of the game. I would have done anything, and I would still do anything.

COHEN: This drug wasn't around when Steve was a kid, but he did put his son Ira (ph) on it. Ten years of daily injections, and now Ira is 5'9'', and Steve is thrilled his son doesn't have to go through life a very short man.

HOROWITZ: It is an extra hurdle to overcome. And why overcome that hurdle, if you don't have to, if you can have it removed?

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And one more thing: Worldwide sales of human growth hormone are now close to $2 billion a year. But doctors warn, some human growth hormone is being used for anti-aging treatments, without government approval.

We're just minutes away from the top of the hour and "LARRY KING LIVE" -- tonight, exclusive insights on how John Ramsey is dealing with John Mark Karr's false claims about his daughter's murder.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Before we go, this hour's top weather story.

Tropical Depression Ernesto is near Cape Canaveral, Florida, moving back into the Atlantic Ocean. It is expected to strengthen, perhaps become a tropical storm, and head for the South Carolina coast.

A much more powerful storm, Hurricane John, is moving parallel to Mexico's west coast in the Pacific. It's a very dangerous Category 4 storm, with 135-mile-an-hour sustained winds, headed perhaps for a direct hit on Cabo San Lucas.

That's all for tonight -- John Roberts, in for Paula Zahn.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.

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