Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Video of Bahrain Crackdown; Inside Libya's Crackdown; New Video of Crackdown; Wisconsin Standoff; The Perfect Informant
Aired February 18, 2011 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.
Late new developments in the Wisconsin standoff: thousands of state workers occupying the capital. They are not backing down. They say the governor is destroying their livelihood. He says the state is going broke and he's not budging either. Tomorrow, the Tea Party comes to town. We are live in Madison coming up.
But we begin with breaking news, new video from Bahrain, shocking videos of peaceful protestors being shot point blank. The video you're about to see is disturbing. There's no doubt about it. But we think it's important, because it directly contradicts what officials from Bahrain claim is happening in that country.
The government of Bahrain, the government there says they are using proportional force against protesters. Well, the violence that we are about to show you is not by any definition proportional. The government of Bahrain talks about law and order and keeping security. What you're about to see is the opposite of law and order.
It is exactly what repressive regimes do when they think cameras are not rolling. Only this time the cameras were rolling. You will see, in a second, protestors marching down a boulevard, totally out in the open, hands in the air, chanting "peacefully, peacefully". That's when the shooting by government forces starts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(DEMONSTRATORS IN BAHRAIN)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Video from two cell phone cameras we've edited together to show you. You saw they had no weapons, no place to take cover and no warning; ordinary people, peaceful people paying an awful price for it. The aftermath of it also caught on cell phone cameras. And I want to warn you, this video is also disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(AFTERMATH OF CRACKDOWN ON PROTESTERS) (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: With troops still firing, a man scrambles to get his badly wounded friend to the hospital. Just moments after this video, CNN's Arwa Damon arrived on the scene and asked the man you see in that video what just happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Covered in blood", Muhammad says, "I told everyone to put their hands up as a sign of peace. Then I saw the military crouch down like this. A man standing next to him was shot in the head."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That is what happened in Bahrain today. Arwa Damon joins us now live from Bahrain. Was there any warning that you know about given to these people? I mean, they were advancing with their hands up, saying "peacefully, peacefully" over and over again.
DAMON: No, Anderson, there wasn't. Not based on any account that we heard when we were down there, getting on the scene as you mentioned just a few minutes after this took place, people in complete shock, trying to express themselves.
But angry, petrified but still determined that they were going to continue to move forward despite the fact that these Bahraini military was literally mowing them down it would seem in cold blood. They tried to push forward another time. They stopped, they were praying in front of the military and the police, moving forward.
And then we actually have the police opening fire and the military, not just with bullets but also, in this case in the final case, when tear gassing and that is when everybody eventually was forced to flee the scene.
But this use of force that you saw exhibited in such cold blood is truly, Anderson, astounding.
COOPER: It sounds like there was also a second round of shooting. What did you do when you heard the gunfire? I mean, we saw you were standing there, and you had just been interviewing the man who was soaked in blood who'd carried and I suppose his friend or somebody he was protesting with. What did you do after the shooting began?
DAMON: Well, we ran back with everybody, and we saw the ambulances actually moving forward at that point in time, placing themselves in between the military and the people. And then we saw the demonstrators begin to push forward once again, and then there was a second round by the police, military.
They were firing tear gas. That taking place right after we were actually talking to another man who was just saying to us, yes, I am willing to die for this, for freedom in my country when that barrage broke out. It was so chaotic. People were running, screaming, shouting, bodies were being thrown into the back of ambulances.
And everybody repeating, their (INAUDIBLE) at the use of force that they were coming under by their own -- their own troops, their own army --
COOPER: And Arwa --
DAMON: -- so it really seems, Anderson, as if the government has given orders to the military and to the police, to -- no matter what, don't let them close enough to take the streets.
COOPER: Were they shooting as far as you know directly at the protestors or will the government say well, we were firing in the air and just some people were accidently hit? I mean, that man is saying he saw them firing directly at protestors.
DAMON: Yes Anderson, it will actually be interesting to see what the government says based on the eyewitness accounts there that we heard. The soldiers actually got down on one knee, fired into the crowd. When we were there in the moments that it was happening, we could not be sure if they were in fact doing that.
However, when we came back to review the footage afterwards, we realized that in some of the clips when the camera was pointing back towards the military, you actually see the flash coming out of the barrels of the guns, and it did seem as if they were firing directly down the center of the crowd.
COOPER: Do we know was it bullets, rubber-coated bullets, buckshot, do we know?
DAMON: Not 100 percent. Based on what doctors were saying in the hospital, it does seem as if it was those pellet bullets, but also live ammunition. There was at least one person who had taken a bullet to the skull and based on what we heard, it sounded like it was live ammunition. And you saw in that video that you showed at the beginning of the show how people just fell to the ground mowed down.
And it does seem as if they were using live ammunition, which would be in clear contradiction to anything the government has been saying about trying to use minimal force, if they are opening up with live fire on a group of demonstrators, their hands in the air that are shouting "peaceful".
COOPER: And -- and for the government, I mean, -- well, we have heard them say now for days on television, on CNN is we are responding proportionately. That video is not a proportionate response.
Arwa, I appreciate it. Stay safe.
President Obama spoke by phone today with the king of Bahrain, reiterating his condemnation of violence against peaceful protesters. The White House is not revealing how the king reacted but events today suggest the Bahrainians do not seem to be listening to outside advice. In fact, they seem to be flouting it.
Listen to what Bahrain's special envoy to the U.S. told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux today. Aware of all the violence that's taking place. This is what he said and yes, you're going to hear him use the fact that some stores were losing money to justify opening fire on unarmed human beings.
ABDUL LATIF BIN RASHID AL ZAYANI, BAHRAIN SPECIAL ENVOY TO THE U.S.: The force that was used was proportional, according to the law. They were legal. They were necessary, because they were stopping the -- the shops, the -- the economy it was hurting our national economy. We had to take action, and action was taken by -- by the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Action was taken and you just saw what they did.
On the other side of the Arab world in Libya, people are confronting the brutal Gadhafi dictatorship head-on.
This is the city of Tobruk (ph), they're ripping down a statue of Gadhafi's green book, "The Green Book for Democracy" it reads; scenes like this happening all across Libya. Marchers burning ruling party headquarters, destroying images of Gadhafi, but mostly walking in funeral processions, marching today to bury their dead and coming under gunfire as they did. Reports of 20 killed today alone.
All the while, Libyan state television, well, this is what they keep pumping out, images of the beloved leader, surrounded by adoring crowds. This is in Tripoli. But for the first time in his four decade rule, ordinary Libyans are standing up and speaking out.
Earlier tonight, just a few hours ago, I talked to a man in the city of Benghazi, it's Libya's second largest city. He says there's about 50,000 people who have been protesting in that city today. I asked him was he afraid to be calling, did he fear for his life? Because no matter what he says, and he knows this, he is risking his life to talk to us tonight to tell all of you the reality of what is happening there.
And what he said to me was that in Gadhafi's Libya, you fear for your life every single day. He also said though, enough is enough.
COOPER: Moftah, you live in Benghazi. There have been several days of demonstrations there. What have you seen today?
MOFTAH, LIBYAN PROTESTER (via telephone): Today, there was demonstrations, especially after last night, the massacre of many people. So today -- today is the day of rage that, well, this is the day that everybody agreed to start the demonstrations. Even though, it was started a couple days earlier.
COOPER: We've heard estimates of up to 50,000 people taking part.
MOFTAH: Well, more than that -- believe me. I don't know the number, but I tell you something, we had in the streets about three kilometers long and 30 meters wide, it was packed -- truly packed, you know. I don't know the -- yes, you have people who can calculate the numbers. It's a three kilometers, 30 meters wide, and it's that fully packed by demonstrators, carrying the -- the coffins of the people who have died until we reach a place with the Revolutionary Guard and that's when they started shooting heavily at us with live ammunitions.
Later on, I found out that four people died and -- and many other people were wounded, critically wounded.
COOPER: Are you afraid?
MOFTAH: When you are faced, when you all unarmed and faced by ammunition, definitely nobody -- nobody is going to tell you they are not afraid. But we are determined. We are determined to change this regime, this brutal regime for 40 years. They have no morals, no decency. No sense of decency, and they are willing to take whatever measures you know, to keep them in power.
They would kill people. They won't -- well, they don't care. They brought thugs now on the street. They are roaming the streets right now. A few minutes ago, thugs from other countries, they are not Libyans. But definitely they are not Libyans. We -- they mimic the same actions the Mubarak regime took to let people out of prison, criminals.
Anyway, this is the regime for 42 years. And this is -- he says this is the rule of the people. It's the rule of Muammar Gadhafi. It's the rule of Muammar Gadhafi and only Muammar Gadhafi and his thugs and cronies.
COOPER: There have been attempts by the regime to shut phone service, to shut Internet. Obviously there are secret police all -- all over the place, as you say thugs on the streets. You asked us to use your first name. We -- we offered not to, but you said you wanted -- you wanted your first name used. Why?
MOFTAH: This man always plays on the fear. He makes you afraid of your family, of your friends. He will tell you that his secret police are everywhere. It's time to break this fear barrier. We are -- we reach a point that we don't care anymore. We want this regime to -- to -- to go away. He should go to (INAUDIBLE) join Mubarak and join Ben Ali in Tunisia.
The Tunisians gave a -- showed us the way how to do it. And we will do it, we are determined. I know it's not going to be easy, because this man is insane. COOPER: We've heard reports in Benghazi of police or military handing over their guns to protesters and walking away, soldiers saying they're on the side of the people and -- and -- and mostly pulling out of the city. Have you seen or heard anything like that?
MOFTAH: There were soldiers. They didn't interfere with us. And at the [INAUDIBLE] at the front of the courthouse, they came with three armored cars, tanks and after a few minutes of discussing with them they said, we are with you.
You know, there is -- there is nobody to document what's going on -- he wouldn't allow the media to come to Benghazi. He wouldn't allow the media come to [INAUDIBLE] of Libya.
You know, you -- you -- I saw what happened to you in Egypt. If you come to this country, if you come to this country, they will kill you.
COOPER: Do you fear for your life talking on the phone right now? You're taking a great risk.
MOFTAH: With this -- with this regime you fear for your life all the time, not just talking on the phone. You fear for your life when you're walking on the street, when you're -- when you're talking to your friends. You know, [INAUDIBLE] it's when in Libya, when you come to Libya, when you are talking to somebody, they are always looking at them over their shoulder, seeing who is coming and who's some -- maybe somebody is listening. He -- he -- he made us live in a -- in a scared environment for 42 years. Enough is enough.
COOPER: And what do you --
MOFTAH: Enough, he has to leave.
COOPER: -- what do you want the world to know about what -- what you and other protesters want?
MOFTAH: Well, we want -- we want democracy. We want freedom. We want to live free. I want to -- I want to go on the street feeling nobody is looking after me, you know, not looking out over my shoulder. I -- I need to -- I need to enjoy the wealth of my country.
I am -- I am, I have a Masters degree and I've been working for 40 years. You know, with the salary they've given me, if I take the money they've given me without spending a penny, I cannot buy a piece of land, a couple hundred meters piece of land.
COOPER: On state television in Libya they are showing pictures of pro Gadhafi rallies, I think in Tripoli. Is -- is that -- when -- when you see those pictures, what do you think?
MOFTAH: Well, you know, two things. You know, when you look at the pictures when they tell administration they are taking the children, schoolchildren as they go out as supporters of Gadhafi. Look at them, they're ages 7, 8, 9. Look at most of the pictures.
All you find are military man, you find the regime men, you know, the security men. Gadhafi has no support in Libya. And I'm not -- I don't know the words. I'm not just saying that. This is the reality of it, 40 years, him and his children, you know, controlling this country, squandering the wealth of this country. Treating the people as -- the words I wouldn't say it, you know.
But -- because this man is insane and he has to go.
COOPER: I want to cut this phone call because I don't want you to be on the phone too long. Moftah, I appreciate you talking. The world will hear your voice tonight. And --
MOFTAH: Mr. Cooper -- Mr. Cooper --
MOFTAH: I appreciate the opportunity. The world has to know what's going on in Libya. There are massacres now happening in Libya. There is massacre, this man would not let go unless somebody force him. We want the world to know and the world -- we want the world to stand with us.
COOPER: The world will hear your voice tonight. We'll continue to check in with you. Please stay safe.
MOFTAH: Thank you.
COOPER: You know, we started to get some e-mails from viewers saying there's other things happening in America and -- and happening elsewhere, and you -- and you just kind of move on. I -- I -- just talking to that man, that man risked his life tonight to make that phone call, to let all of us know what's happening in Libya.
So we're going to continue to follow these developments and continue to cover this, because the world should know what's happening. A dictator cannot be allowed to shun the foreign press and to shut off his country and kill his people and not have anybody know their names and know the struggles they are -- are undergoing.
So I just wanted to say that.
The live chat is up and running at AC360.com. We're going to talk with our correspondents in Bahrain and Egypt. We'll also talk with Mideast scholar, Fouad Ajami, about the history unfolding as well as the horror as this uprising continues.
Then later, Casey Wian is in Madison, Wisconsin where teachers and other public employees continue their standoff with the governor over his budget plan -- Casey. CASEY WIAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes Anderson, here in Madison, teachers and other state workers again surrounded the state capital today, closing schools and forcing Democratic lawmakers into a showdown with a Republican state governor over union power and a growing budget deficit. We'll have details coming up.
COOPER: We continue to follow the breaking news at this hour, just extraordinary violence in Bahrain. Evidence -- video evidence of peaceful protesters being gunned down in the streets by Bahrainian -- by -- by the -- by the military and possibly police, as well. Every day for nearly a month now, we've been almost totally unable to predict what happens next.
Today, Libya as tightly run as they come, is coming apart at the seams, at least in the second largest city in the east which has always been a little bit more restive.
In what used to be seen as moderate Bahrain, the government launches a brutal deadly crackdown seemingly thumbing its nose at American calls for restraint.
Helping us to make sense of it all is Professor Fouad Ajami at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the Hoover Institution, also Nic Robertson in Bahrain; and in Cairo, Ben Wedeman joins us.
Professor, you saw the video in Bahrain. I mean, it -- it -- it goes exactly against what the -- the envoy from Bahrain keeps claiming, that these are proportional responses.
FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, I think we witnessed two revolutions, one in Tunisia and one in Egypt. And these are very different revolutions. They are in places which have a national identity, where both the protesters and the people in the armed forces belong to the same nation. They partake of the same national ethos. They may be -- they may be engaged in a fight.
Now when you look at Bahrain, this is different land. They -- Khalifas who run Bahrain, they came from the mainland. They conquered Bahrain. They still have this idea that they're a conquering race and they rule a group of Shia, so this alienation between ruler and ruled runs right through the heart.
COOPER: And the royal family is Sunni, the -- the population is Shia. And many of the -- the soldiers and police come from other countries.
AJAMI: Well, there's a great controversy about this, I believe. And I think there's ample evidence that the forces of order of security in Bahrain are for the main part Pakistanis, and Jordanians and even Sudanese and other mercenaries. They're imported to Bahrain to do the work of the repression.
So the bond between the protesters and the security of -- the forces of security which we saw both in Tunisia and Egypt do not exist in Bahrain.
COOPER: Nic Robertson, you were there, you've seen these security forces up close. What are they like? How did they compare to what we saw in Egypt, for instance?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, in the hours before when the big clashes with the police in Egypt, from the 28th of January we looked at the police outside the mosque where they would gather. They were young boys they had riot gears, on riot helmets. They didn't look trained, they didn't look confident. They were quickly beaten off the streets.
When you look at the police here, you get a feeling of intimidation. They're big. They are wearing really top-line riot -- riot equipment. They're all -- a lot of them that we keep seeing all carrying weapons of some sort or another, be it shotguns, rifles or as we see a lot of tear gas.
And not only that, but they're in very big numbers and very new vehicles. We saw the other night hundreds of GMC-type, suburban type vehicles, large, new, black, all flashing lights. Many police coming out of them well equipped and well organized. It's a completely different force than that that we saw in Egypt. This -- this is, you might say in some ways, a mercenary type force -- Anderson.
COOPER: And -- and -- and Nic, the -- the face they show in Washington is very polished, very nice in suits. How difficult are they making life on the ground for reporters trying to document what is happening there?
ROBERTSON: Well, we -- as we approach that area where the people were gunned down today, there's two tall buildings. We were there pretty much at the same time as Arwa, just a few meters away, but in all the chaos we didn't even know that until we both ran away and were trying to gather our breath from the -- from the tear gassing on the street corner.
There were other journalists there who is, telling us there was a sniper on the roof at one of the buildings there. This -- this is contrary to what the government said. And it's not just the envoy of the United States. We've heard it here from the foreign ministry as well, saying that they had to do this. The country is facing a sectarian offense and they had to crack down and it was for the sake of the economy.
But at the same time, the crown prince here has been given authority by the king to negotiate with all sides. But the protesters are saying how can we trust this? You're saying negotiate and talk and -- and it's time for reflection, time for calm and time for everyone to -- to -- to gather themselves when all this is going on.
Yet all of this continues to go on. They say the government is speaking with two voices, one a voice and the other guns -- Anderson.
COOPER: I -- I want -- I want to go to Ben Wedeman in just a second to talk about Cairo and also Libya. But -- but Professor Ajami, will -- can the government there -- can the regime there hold on. I mean, will their crackdown work?
AJAMI: Well, I think look, there's this causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. This is the lifeline of Bahrain. Bahrain is very important to the house of Saud. Bahrain is that flashpoint between Iran on the one side with its influence in -- in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia on the other.
This regime will have the support of Saudi Arabia and of the Sunni dynasties in the Gulf, because this regime is really very important to them. This is the test case, whether the autocracies can hold or the people could win. One interesting little thing, I mean when we -- the Americans, I mean we are implicated in Bahrain. We have this -- this -- this base for the fifth fleet.
And when you read the WikiLeaks documents, the thing is -- and when I just pulled a couple of things. Here is this repressive king and here is the way he is described in this WikiLeaks documents by American diplomats, personable and engaging -- personable and engaging.
Now, the man who runs the national security in Bahrain is frank and likable. Well, they are likable to the American diplomats. They're not likable to these people being bloodied in the streets.
So we are there in Bahrain and what happens in Bahrain is very important for America's honor and America's reputation and for the way our strategy in the Gulf is built and secured.
COOPER: And frankly, those are the same kind of words we heard to describe Vice President Suleiman, who before he was vice president, when as you said he was a man of the catacombs, when he was head of these intelligence units, he was the guy Washington would deal with because he was the guy you could have dinner with and -- and he wore polished suits.
AJAMI: You have covered power, or you have covered the abuse of power in many places. It's not very difficult for the king of Bahrain to charm American diplomats and American generals. The question is the relations between the Khalifa family with this conquest ethos that they brought with them two centuries ago. You think they would make their home in Bahrain, they still aren't. They still view themselves as a conquering dynasty and a conquering community.
COOPER: Let's move on to Libya.
Ben Wedeman is joining us from Cairo tonight, amazing pictures from Tahrir Square today filled with -- with protesters, people celebrating one week since the revolution. Also wanting to send a message though, to the military to uphold their demands in Egypt -- correct? BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's correct. What we heard was people are celebrating. I mean, there really is this feeling of joy. That -- it's as if today they had just heard the news that President Mubarak had been ousted, a real celebration; but a growing feeling that the military isn't quite in step with the spirit of the times, with the spirit of Tahrir Square.
One man I spoke with, Anderson, saying it's time for Mohammed Tantawi, the Defense Chief, the head of the higher military council to leave and bring in somebody younger, who is more willing to listen to the voice of the people. I think as yet, there's not that sort of confrontation between the protest movement, and the military.
But the feeling is that it might be coming -- Anderson.
COOPER: Let's talk about Libya because I know you've been checking with sources in Libya. We just had a phone conversation with a man who -- I mean again, I cannot emphasize this enough, risking his life to make a phone call to tell the outside world what is happening. I don't know that I would have the courage to do that, given his circumstances.
What are you hearing about what's going on in Libya, Ben?
WEDEMAN: Well, what we're hearing is that basically the eastern part of the country, Benghazi, Bayda (ph) and other cities in the east are in open revolt against Muammar Gadhafi; that in many cities, the people have taken over, the military, the police, are essentially staying in their bases in their installations out of fear of the local populace.
But people in Benghazi were telling me that their fear is that Gadhafi is going to muster his foreign fighters, all the people that he's been financing for years in places like Sierra Leon, (INAUDIBLE), Liberia, Chad and others who are training in Libya who are going to be unleashed on the local populace.
Because like Egypt, there's a feeling that the Libyans, the Libyan army and Libyan police might not do the dirty job; the dirty work of defending the regime -- Anderson.
COOPER: Fouad, you called Libya a penal colony last night in this program. Someone who runs a penal colony doesn't care about killing all the prisoners.
AJAMI: He doesn't care. Look, this guy is a warden, and he's also such a decadent and corrupt man. Again these WikiLeaks documents, he never travels anywhere it's said without his chief Ukrainian, quote-unquote, "nurse". He has four Ukrainian voluptuous blonds, as the WikiLeaks document says.
This is a man who is a sick man, who's used the wealth of this poor, tormented nation. My family lived in Libya for some years. I didn't myself. But, you know, what he has done to this poor population --
COOPER: Poor population in an extraordinarily wealthy country.
AJAMI: Absolutely. But the wealth belongs to him and belongs to his retainers and to his cronies and to his children. And it is devoted to these adventures abroad that Gadhafi has been doing.
It's almost like -- and then there is the ridiculousness of the man himself. It's like Halloween every day. What costume is he going to come up with today? The buffoonery of the man was almost a cover for the tyranny of the man. And I think there too we are going to see a state willing to kill in the way that the Egyptians and the Tunisians were not willing to kill.
This man is, in what I would say, rule or die. He only knows his own turf. He has no respect for his country and no use for his population. It's a tragedy unfolding.
COOPER: We're going to continue to follow it. Fouad Ajami, appreciate as always your expertise; Nic Robertson, stay safe; Ben Wedeman, as well. Thank you very much.
Coming up, thousands of people converge on Madison, Wisconsin, protesting a proposed budget bill that would cut teachers benefits and collective bargaining rights. Is it an attack on unions or a necessary action to keep the state afloat? Two very different opinions depending on who you're going to talk on what side of the political aisle. We'll get the latest, next.
And later, the bizarre story of a man who somehow didn't know that he had a four-inch knife blade stuck in his head for years. How that's possible, I don't know.
COOPER: Tonight in "Raw Politics", the budget battle in Wisconsin that has left schools closed, protesters swarming the capital, lawmakers missing in action. Republican Governor Scott Walker is saying his budget bill saying it is time the state pays its bills and avoids a $3.6 billion deficit. The bill cuts benefits for public workers, including teachers and their collective bargaining rights.
Now, opponents say this is a pure attack on unions, plain and simple, and as crowds of protesters converge on the capital, a group of state legislators, Democrats left the state in order to stall a vote on the bill.
Casey Wian joins us live from Madison with the latest -- Casey?
CASEY WIAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes Anderson. It's been really kind of a wild scene here today in Madison, Wisconsin. As you mentioned, schools closed, that's for the third straight day schools in many parts of the state were closed. That's because so many teachers, tens of thousands of them, were here at the state capital, protesting this budget deficit reduction effort that's been proposed by the state's governor, Scott Walker. What the teachers and other state union workers are angry about is the proposal that would require them to pay more for health and pension benefits. That's a problem, they say.
What's a big problem, they say, what they're most angry about is the effort to reduce their collective bargaining rights. That, they say, is something they are not willing to budge on. The governor says he has no choice but to propose this measure otherwise, he would have to lay off 6,000 state workers over the next two years to help close this budget gap.
Now these protesters that were here all day had some very powerful allies in the minority party here, the Democratic Party in the state senate. As you mentioned, they left the state, which deprived the state senate of the quorum it needs to move this legislation forward. What they said they were trying to do is force the governor to the negotiating table with the unions.
The governor held a press conference late today and he said, I quote, "We can't make a good-faith effort to negotiate because the state does not have any money."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We have bill collectors waiting for us to collect bills and it's time we step up and take care of the bills that we owe, and the fact that the bills will be forthcoming more so in the future. We're going to do what it takes to get this budget on track.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on you for abandoning our children today. At least there's a few teachers who have the guts to stand up against you union thugs and actually teach our children. You're AWOL. You're AWOL.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIAN: Now, the unions say that they are more than willing to negotiate the financial part of this deal but they are not willing to negotiate their collective bargaining rights away. The governor says he's just following the mandate of the taxpayers who elected him in November, Anderson.
COOPER: And it seems like this is kind of only growing. You're going to have more groups coming tomorrow and in the days after that. I even heard Tea Party groups are expected to join in.
WIAN: Absolutely. They're expected to be here tomorrow afternoon. We've heard many of the protesters say you've got to come out here again tomorrow because the Tea Party is going to be here. We know that the state police and the local police are implementing more -- tighter security measures because these two groups are going to be here this weekend, just to make sure that nothing gets out of hand.
As for what happens next week, when schools are going to reopen, when those Democratic lawmakers are going to come back to town, we just don't know. Both sides are really digging in, Anderson.
COOPER: It's a remarkable situation.
Casey, we're going to have more on the money fight in Wisconsin and the possible political fallout for state lawmakers even President Obama. There's also obviously a budget battle on Capitol Hill. We're going to talk about that with two folks from both sides of the aisle in just a moment.
But first let's get a quick update on other stories. Isha has the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the Republican-led House of Representatives approved an amendment that bars any federal agency from spending money to implement the new health care law for the rest of the year. The amendment likely won't survive negotiations with the Senate. Republicans say this is just their first attempt to defund the law.
More than 100 doctors, nurses and health care executives across America have been arrested in nine cities. Federal authorities are calling it the biggest crackdown ever in a single day on Medicare fraud. The alleged fake Medicare billing totals $225 million.
To China now where these x-ray images, Anderson, show why a man had a severe headache for the last four years.
COOPER: What? How is this possible?
SESAY: That is a four-inch knife in his skull. He underwent surgery today to have it removed. The man says he was stabbed in the lower jaw in an armed robbery and no one realized the blade broke off inside his head.
COOPER: Come on.
SESAY: I know. He's doing better. Ok.
And a new study suggests speaking two languages may delay dementia. Toronto researchers studied 450 Alzheimer's patients. Those who were bilingual were diagnosed with Alzheimer's about four to five years later than those who spoke just one language.
Anderson, there are advantages to working with me. I'm here to teach you a whole new language.
COOPER: Yes. British English.
SESAY: Indeed. Your cookies, my biscuit.
COOPER: Exactly. Interesting choice that you picked, of all the things.
SESAY: I just thought it would -- it would resonate.
COOPER: All right. We'll come back to that in a moment. Coming up: more on the Wisconsin budget battle; protests, schools closing, lawmakers fleeing the state, is the proposed budget an attack on teachers and other unions or responsible budget cuts? We have two sides squaring off in a moment.
COOPER: Back to what's happening in Wisconsin where a battle over the budget has closed schools, spawned protests and lawmakers are fleeing the state to avoid a vote. Governor Scott Walker says the bill is necessary to avoid an impending multibillion dollar deficit.
Critics don't like cuts to teachers or other public employees' benefits and collective bargaining rights. President Obama has weighed in now. He says he understands the need to make cuts but that some of what's happening in Wisconsin seems like more of a, quote, "assault on unions".
Joining us live from Washington: Democratic strategist Maria Cardona; and in New York, CNN political analyst and Republican strategist Ed Rollins.
Maria, it's hard to believe that the Democratic lawmakers are basically on the lam right now. Do you support them leaving the state to avoid a vote?
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely, Anderson because what they're doing, as Democratic senators, is they are upholding their values of democracy, fairness, and trying to protect Wisconsin's working families from being railroaded by a Republican legislature and governor who is trying to take away their rights.
COOPER: But wait a minute, does anything actually -- and I'm not taking sides here -- but does anything justify abandoning your job and leaving the state to avoid a vote? That is their job to vote on things.
CARDONA: Absolutely. What they have said is they're willing to come back when the governor is willing to lead and actually willing to come to the table and meet with these employees. Anderson, these employees have tried to meet with the governor more than 17 times. They have said over and over again that they're willing to take pay cuts. They're willing to make contributions to their pensions, but they are not willing to give up their collective bargaining rights that they have had for more than 50 years. Let's talk about it.
COOPER: Ok. So let me ask Ed about that.
I understand the need to cut pay and slash budgets. Why go after collective bargaining?
ED ROLLINS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't know what the governor's reason -- rationalization is. I think the bottom line here and where I take issue here is there are consequences to elections. For the first time in many, many years, Democrats fall to the state. So their premise, and where I really take issue, you say they don't want to do their jobs, they want to uphold their values.
Many, many days as a minority, for months, years, Republicans have gone in, voted, done what they're supposed to do. They were the loyal opposition. It's now these Democrats' obligation to be the loyal opposition. They basically have to make their case in the chamber where they're being paid.
The teachers who should be teaching every day, and I'm sympathetic to unions -- my father was a union leader -- at the end of the day is it better to go back and teach the kids and be paid, as they are, to fight day in, day out in the election box --
COOPER: Do you think this is an effort to bust unions?
ROLLINS: No, absolutely not. This is an effort to balance a budget. The governor said he's got to let 6,000 people go if he can't cut back. These are tough choices.
No governor -- Governor Cuomo here in New York, Democrat icon family, basically has to make tough cuts. Every governor across this country, we have billions and billions of dollars in shortfalls in the states as we have trillions of dollars at the federal level. The consequences of that is you have to make cuts. You have to reset priorities.
COOPER: Maria, what about that? That sounds rational, that you have to make cuts.
CARDONA: Absolutely. There's no question about that, and these public employees have said time and again, they are willing to share the pain fairly. They are willing to have their pay cut. They're willing to contribute to their pensions.
The governor will not meet with them. How is that leading? The governor needs to lead and show leadership. What he's doing is showing an abuse of power. He is showing huge political grandstanding. And by the way, cutting their collective bargaining rights does absolutely nothing to plug the budget hole. It is all political grandstanding on his part. He needs to lead. He needs to meet with these employees and come to the table to find a solution.
COOPER: Ed, do you think it was appropriate for President Obama to weigh in on this?
ROLLINS: No. It's absolutely absurd. The President has got his own problems in Washington, D.C. That's the difference between Republicans and Democrats. We believe state government, cities, what have you; you elect people, they basically make the decisions at that level. The President of the United States should never be involved in a state or city issue. Go deal with the congress today. That's the biggest problem.
COOPER: Is that politics then, him weighing in?
ROLLINS: Sure, it's politics. And then to launch his groups out there basically all over the country. And you know this is the start maybe of the 2010 -- or 2012 election. But at the end of the day, he's got a job to do.
This governor has a job to do. Those legislators have a job to do. And more important, those teachers have a job to do. They should be back in the classroom. They don't want to be in the classroom, surrender their paycheck, let some substitute teacher come in and teach those kids.
COOPER: Maria I saw some folks online saying today that, you know, showing some signs where protesters were saying this is about democracy. Isn't this the result, though, of the election? I mean they did just have an election. This governor did just win. He's doing what he said he was going to do or indicated he was going to do.
How is this -- how is this different than, you know, any minority group not liking what the majority group that is suddenly in power is doing?
CARDONA: Except for he's not doing what he said he was going to do. He said he was leading. When you are a true leader, you bring everybody to the table, who is involved and needing to share the pain equally and fairly. It's been done in other states. Why can't he do the same thing?
He's refused to meet with the employees. They have said they would take the pay cuts. They have said they would make contributions to their pensions. They have said that they would not accept collective bargaining -- taking away of their collective bargaining rights. And I think they are right absolutely right in doing so. It's been something that they've had for 50 years. But it does nothing to plug the budget hole.
Let's come together. Have the governor meet with these employees. Have him be a leader and let's find a real solution.
ROLLINS: We don't believe in mob rules. Governors get elected, legislators get elected; they have to make the decisions. You can't bring the 15,000 people out there protesting and let them all have a vote. They have a vote every November when there's an election.
The people of the state voted, the consequences are that you now have Republican control of the legislature. Republicans basically promised to reset some priorities and it's their turn to do it.
CARDONA: We also don't believe in an abuse of power and that's exactly what this governor is engaging in.
COOPER: All right. Maria Cardona, appreciate your perspective; Ed Rollins as well. Thanks.
ROLLINS: thank you.
COOPER: Just ahead, was he a hero or traitor? An iconic photographer who recorded much of the civil rights movement for history also had a secret life.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: During the civil rights movement in the '60s, a lot of protest marches and sit-ins were recorded for history by a photographer names Earnest Withers. Today, his work is housed in the Earnest Withers museum in Memphis.
In the decades since the civil rights era, we've also learned that the FBI kept tabs on the movement and on the African-American community in general. We've also learned that Withers was himself one of the agency's tipsters.
Here's Soledad O'Brien.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: The perfect informant would be someone good with names and faces, someone who could get inside both large community meetings and small strategy sessions. In Memphis, Tennessee, that someone was photographer Earnest Withers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As an established universally known photo journalist, everyone expected him to be everywhere. He was absolutely the perfect information source for the Memphis FBI office.
O'BRIEN: Theodore Jackson is the sheriff of Fulton County in Georgia, but he began his career as an FBI agent in Memphis.
THEODORE JACKSON, SHERIFF, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: In the '60s, in order to keep the uprising in the neighborhoods down or keep track of what was going on in the neighborhood, there were ghetto informants.
O'BRIEN: The ghetto informant program was an initiative set up by the FBI that ran from 1967 through 1973.
JACKSON: They were just people that you would go out and talk to and just make sure there are no issues going on in the neighborhood.
O'BRIEN: Withers was considered one of the 7,000 members of the ghetto informant program. As part of his duty, he provided the FBI things like copies of newsletters, photos of suspected militants, car tag numbers and home addresses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's better than having a hidden microphone, because here you've got someone who is very knowledgeable and very savvy and can edit out the chaff, and only pass back to the office the valuable wheat.
COOPER: We'll have more of the CNN investigation Sunday night. It's a fascinating documentary. Soledad O'Brien's "PICTURES DON'T LIE" at 8:00 Eastern time, that's on Sunday. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That's it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"PIERS MORGAN" starts now.
See you Monday.