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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Stock Markets Take a Beating; Al Qaeda and Taliban on the Comeback in Pakistan?

Aired February 27, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Tonight, a 13-year-old boy is not just lucky to be home safe. He's lucky, resourceful, gutsy, you name it. He was kidnapped at gunpoint, bound and gagged. But he got away, thanks in part to a safety pin. We will explain in a moment. This may be the survival story of the year.

We begin tonight, however, with a big dose of pain for tens of millions of Americans who invest in the stock market. Stocks got hammered today. The Dow Jones average tumbled 416 points, its steepest drop since the markets reopened after 9/11, billions of dollars erased in just a few hours of very hectic trading.

We have two questions tonight. Why did it happen? What happens tomorrow.

For answers, we turn to CNN's Ali Velshi.

Ali, what happened?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is one of the biggest drops on Wall Street that we have ever seen.

It started in Shanghai, a big drop on the Chinese market, one that had not been expected. And it was so big that it triggered sell- offs across Europe. And then finally by the time markets opened in the United States, everybody expected a drop. They didn't expect one this big.

Through the morning, we saw losses, 100 points after the first six minutes of trading, and then through the afternoon 200 points, 300 points. And, then, at 2:59, it was down by 300 points, within a minute, 400 points, within another minute, 500 points, finally, 546 points lower, before things pulled back.

Just before 4:00, the bell started ringing, and there was resounding boos on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, because the traders there sensed something was wrong. This wasn't normal, to see that kind of sell-off.

Well, they were right. Within an hour after that, we heard from the Dow Jones and the New York Stock Exchange that there was some sort of technical problem, a problem we are still trying to get to the bottom of. But this has now started again in Asia Markets are open. And, if it doesn't stop, we might see more problems tomorrow morning -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, if it was Asian markets which got this started, what are the markets doing right now in Asia, because that is going to affect what happens tomorrow morning here in America?

VELSHI: The big one to worry, about, Japan. The Nikkei is down. It's been down between 3 and 4 percent. We have seen markets across Asia down.

The one place where this started, though, Shanghai, it's actually sort of bobbing and weaving between up and down. If this doesn't get settled in Asia, if someone does not decide this has to stop, we are so interconnected -- that's what we saw this morning -- we could see it again tomorrow.

COOPER: A couple days ago, Alan Greenspan talked about the possibility of a recession. How likely is that?

VELSHI: Well, you know, it was probably part of the perfect storm that caused today's rout. There were the problems in Asia. There was this bombing in Afghanistan.

There were some economic reports that suggested the economy is slowing down. And then in the background was Alan Greenspan's comments about a recession. Probably, on its own, it's not that big an issue. It certainly got people thinking. The folks we have talked to say, don't panic. If you hold stocks, wait until we know what the story is. Nobody ever wins by locking in your losses.

COOPER: And 400-and-something points is dramatic. But what was really dramatic was just that it happened in such a quick amount of time.

VELSHI: That's right.

COOPER: The actual points, in total percentage, is relatively small.

VELSHI: This market has been going straight up for months and months and months.

Most people say it was due to pull back a little bit. If this happened over a week or a couple weeks, we wouldn't blink. If it was 200 points today, we wouldn't blink; 400, 500 points, it makes people wonder.

If it doesn't happen again tomorrow, we should be OK.

COOPER: All right. Ali Velshi, appreciate it.


COOPER: Thanks very much. Now a look at how today's plunge compares to some record-setting days on Wall Street. Here's the "Raw Data."

As we mentioned, the Dow lost 416 points today, or more than 3 percent. But, as we also touched on, its biggest one-day point loss was 684 points, when the markets reopened on September 17, 2001, after the 9/11 attacks. Still, the biggest percentage loss in history, December 12th, 1914, when the Dow lost 24.39 percent or the first day -- on the first day of trading after the stock exchange shut for more than four months due to World War I.

Now a phone call and six chilling words: "It's Clay, and I have been kidnapped." Imagine getting a phone call like that from your son or your daughter.

Well, fortunately, and amazingly, Clay Moore made it after his escape from captivity. His family spoke out today. They talked about Clay's remarkable getaway -- that's him at the press conference -- something straight out of the TV show "MacGyver." Remember that? He was a 13-year-old boy, now safe.

His suspected kidnapper is still on the run. Authorities on Florida's west coast, where the drama has been playing out since Friday, put it very simply today. This guy picked the wrong kid to kidnap, they said.

Details now from CNN's David Mattingly.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirteen-year- old Clay Moore's escape from an armed kidnapping was a happy ending to an ordeal that could have ended so badly. And, as details come out, how he got away sounds nothing less than astonishing.

STEVE KELLE, STEPFATHER OF CLAY MOORE: He really kept his head about him and did everything he was supposed to be doing. And that is why he is here with us today.

MATTINGLY: Kidnapped at gunpoint while waiting for the school bus, all Clay had to stay alive were his wits, his poise, and something so small, something so seemingly insignificant, his kidnapper probably never noticed it hanging from the hole in his jacket sleeve, a safety pin, too small to use as a weapon, but big enough to become the key to his freedom.

KELLE: I asked him last night, as we were kind of going over the story, what made you think to put a safety pin in your mouth? And, in his words, he said, just thought it would be helpful.

MATTINGLY: He had no idea how helpful it would be.

Clay was driven out to the a farm, blindfolded, gagged with his own sock, tied to a tree with duct tape, and then left alone. When he was sure his abductor was gone, Clay went to work, spitting out the sock, but accidentally spitting out the safety pin as well. What could he possibly do?

KELLE: It was sweaty, he says, and so it helped get the -- the things off of his eyes. So, he was able to see where it was. So, he actually maneuvered himself around, and -- and grabbed a stick that he used to pick the safety pin back up off the ground with his mouth, incredibly enough.

MATTINGLY: Even more incredibly, Clay was able to drop the pin from the stick into the palm of one of his tied-up hands. He then started poke away at the sticky tape, until he punched enough holes in it to break free.

Much easier said than done, it took Clay 30 minutes to an hour to gain his freedom. But, in the end, it was an escape that would have made even MacGyver proud, as Clay calmly got help and called his stepdad.

KELLE: I heard a voice as calm as if he was calling from a friend's house. And he told me, "Steve, it is Clay, and I have been kidnapped."

And it went from there, and we found him, and he was safe.

So, I think I got the story right.


COOPER: Incredible story, David.

What is happening now with the case? And where is this alleged kidnapper? Do we know?

MATTINGLY: Well, authorities in Florida say they are going to catch him, and they are going to catch him soon.

There was a lot of optimism at this news conference today, in terms of getting ahold of Vicente Ignacio Beltran-Moreno. He is 22 years old, 5 feet, 5'', 140 pounds, goes by the nickname "Nacho."

Authorities are saying they give a lot of credit to young Clay Moore, who gave them a very accurate description of this man in the very early days of this investigation. So, they expect this to be wrapped up soon.

COOPER: Well, let's hope so.

David, appreciate it -- David Mattingly.

Stranger abduction is rare, as you probably know, but it does happen often enough that every child and parent should be prepared.

Some tips now from family safety expert Bob Stuber. I spoke with him earlier tonight.


COOPER: So, Bob, what do you think about Clay Moore? His story is just incredible.

BOB STUBER, FAMILY SAFETY EXPERT: Yes, it is a very incredible story.

And it's -- it's good to hear the story, in a lot of ways. We are seeing more and more stories these days where kids are escaping because they are not just sitting back and taking a passive position. And that is the main message I think everybody has to get across that works in this field.

For years, kids were taught don't try to do anything. You might inflame this guy or you might make him mad. First of all, the guy is a nut. He's crazy anyway. So, you are not going to make him mad.

And, second of all, if you don't do something, then it's probably going to be a very tragic outcome.

COOPER: It seemed, with this young man, the key was him remaining -- I don't think calm is probably the right word, but at least thinking ahead. He saw this safety pin on him. He took it off and put it in his mouth before he was tied up.


It is -- I think you are right. It's a matter of thinking ahead. Obviously, he was the kind of person who had either been taught there were things that he could do, or he has just that type of personality. A lot of kids don't. And that is why it is so important that parents and educators and such have to give them the kind of ideas that they will need in a situation like this, or they won't think of it.

The one downside on this whole case, the escaping side was great, and thank God for it. However, he never should have never, ever gotten in that car to start with. Even though this guy had a gun, you still don't get in the car.

COOPER: Well, what do you do if someone is approaching you with a gun?

STUBER: Well, if somebody approaches you with a gun -- here, let me break it down for you this way.

If somebody pulls up and they have a gun -- now, first of all, a child predator, in most -- a vast majority of all cases, is not going to shoot you, because that is not what this crime is about. And they don't want to attract any attention.

But, if you were walking down the street, somebody came up to you in a car, they point a gun, they say, get in the car, you say, no. Now, if you get into car, you are probably going to die. If you take off running, there is only a 50 percent chance that this person will choose to shoot at you.

COOPER: Obviously, what a lot of people don't think about is, if you do run, you run in the opposite direction that the car is going. STUBER: Yes. Run in the opposite direction, so that -- that the person has to turn around. And, still, you're at a place where people can come and help you.

If you do end up getting wounded or injured, you are much safer there than you are out in the woods. So, getting away, I give the -- high marks, definitely high marks, but I wish he had never gotten in that car to start with.

COOPER: The other scenario people often talk about is the idea of being locked in the trunk of a car.

STUBER: Yes, locked in trunk of a car is not an uncommon place to be in this situation.

And this takes us back to these commonsense types of choices. You could kick and scream all you want. Nobody is going to hear you. Nobody is going to see you. But, if you disconnect the brake or taillights, which is very easy to do -- I could show a 3-year-old how to do it -- they are right there, accessible in the trunk -- you have actually increased the percentage, 50 percent, that the cops will pull the car over, because it has no brake or taillights.

Then, they are going to hear you, and -- and come to your aid. Little choices like that, common sense, is what makes the difference.

COOPER: Well, it is good to be here, talking about a little kid who got away, Clay.


COOPER: Great story.

Bob, thanks for your perspective. Thanks.

STUBER: Thank you.


COOPER: It goes without saying Clay Moore's escape brings back memories of Shawn Hornbeck, the Missouri teenager who was freed last month, after four years in captivity. Here is an update on him.

An attorney for his family says that Shawn has been in therapy since his rescue. They say he is grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder. The family is together, according to the lawyer, but not at their home, which is being renovated. Shawn, who only completed the third grade, is not yet in school.

Ben Ownby was the other teen found in Michael Devlin's apartment. He went back to school just a couple weeks ago. And he is back with his Boy Scout troop, working to earn a merit badge in first aid, we are told.

From terror here at home now to America's war on terror -- Vice President Cheney got a rude awakening today, a suicide bombing outside the air base where he was staying in Afghanistan -- up next, what happened and why the months ahead in Afghanistan may be particularly deadly.


COOPER (voice-over): Unfinished business, unfinished war.

ART KELLER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: You just leave a reservoir of infection, even stronger, to come back after you.

COOPER: He should know. He was the CIA's man in Afghanistan.

Next: the Taliban comeback, the suicide bombings, what America's ally, Pakistan, is doing about it, and what it isn't.

Later: She says she has got the secret.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is incredible power inside every single human being.

COOPER: In print, on "Oprah," she says it can make you rich, bring you love, even keep you thin. And people are spending millions on it. So, what is the secret?

Later on 360.



COOPER: Though Vice President Cheney is homeward bound tonight, he was in Pakistan to warn President Musharraf that al Qaeda is making a comeback in his country. Then, in Afghanistan, he got a wakeup call of his own, a suicide bombing at Bagram Air Base, close enough to rattle Vice President Cheney and shake any notion that the war in Afghanistan is finished.

Details of that from CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Security is always tight at sprawling Bagram Air Base. And it was tighter than usual as the vice president's party prepared to fly out, when, suddenly, at the edge of the base, a commotion.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL JAMES BONNER, BAGRAM OPERATIONS MANAGER: A suicide bomber detonated himself outside of the front gate of Bagram airfield.

FOREMAN: The vice president says he heard the deadly explosion, even though, according to the Pentagon, he was more than a mile away, inside the base. He was hustled into a bomb shelter, but not for long.

MARK SILVA, "THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE": The preparations for the vice president's departure were already under way, but they speeded up mightily.

FOREMAN: The vice president left. And, a short while later, the Taliban claimed they launched the suicide bomber, because they knew in advance Mr. Cheney would be at Bagram.

The White house says, not likely.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It is clear that you have -- you have -- you have got the Taliban attempting to assert itself.

FOREMAN: The Taliban has been asserting itself much more in Afghanistan lately. Coalition forces here have seen a steady rise in improvised explosive attacks and suicide bombings, trademarks of the war in Iraq.

(on camera): So, what is going on? What is happening here? Military analysts say, in effect, fighters affiliated with the Taliban are operating in this largely uncontrolled southern part of Afghanistan into Pakistan and in the tribal areas. And they have effectively set up a trade route into Iraq.

They are believed to be sending fighters across rural Iran, around the coalition strong points in Iraq, and then meeting up with insurgents in the western part of that country.

(voice-over): And, once there, these fighters are believed to be studying the most effective ways of hitting the Americans, then taking those ideas back to Afghanistan.

BRIGADIER GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: And also bear in mind you have Syria, which is to west of Iraq, which is a safe haven for the introduction of new ideas and an opportunity for insurgents to go across that border, re -- refit, regroup, and reintroduce themselves into the fight.

FOREMAN: It all paints a picture of a war that goes well beyond the borders of just two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, a war that some military strategists fear is getting harder to contain.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, the Taliban took responsibility, as Tom said, for the attack that targeted Vice President Cheney, but it carried all of the signs of al Qaeda.

Up next, we will show you where both groups are working together and why a former CIA officer says the U.S. is not doing enough to stop them.

Plus: getting whatever you want out of life. One self-help guru says all you need to know is the secret. What is the secret? We will tell you when 360 continues.


COOPER: Paying the price for a peace deal.

Why Pakistan's truce is making the war on terror tougher for Americans fighting in Afghanistan -- next on 360.


COOPER: You're looking at video right there of Taliban fighters near the Afghan and Pakistan border. U.S. officials say the area is a safe haven, not only for the Taliban, but also for al Qaeda.

Just today, the new director of national intelligence warned that more action has to be taken against al Qaeda in Pakistan. Inside that county, both groups appear to be flourishing, say intelligence experts. And a former CIA operative fears the war in Iraq has a lot to do with it.

CNN terrorist analyst Peter Bergen explains.


PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST (voice-over): In Afghanistan, suicide attacks, like the one the Taliban claims targeted Vice President Dick Cheney, were all but once unthinkable.

ART KELLER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: They didn't believe in suicide. They believed that was a sin against Islam. And now there are waves and waves of suicide bombers being dispatched. So...

BERGEN: He knows firsthand. Art Keller is a former CIA officer who was most recently based on the Afghan-Pakistan border; 2001 was the start, a single suicide attack in Afghanistan -- before that, none.

The number crept up gradually, until 2005, when there were 27 attacks. Finally, last year, the number of suicide attacks in Afghanistan jumped more than 400 percent to 139.

KELLER: A very strong cultural prohibition has been eroded. And that is the influence of al Qaeda in the -- the so-called Afghan Arabs.

BERGEN: Keller has seen this, and he's seen the growing use of IEDs and other weapons used in Iraq. And he's made a connection that worries him.

KELLER: Well, Iraq is really a -- a training ground. Tactics from Iraq have migrated, especially the employment of IEDs and suicide bombers.

BERGEN (on camera): A certain irony.

KELLER: Yes, it is. It seems like the reverse of the way the war on terror was supposed to work. BERGEN (voice-over): We met Keller where he lives, in New Mexico. It's a landscape similar to Waziristan, the wild and lawless tribal region of western Pakistan on the Afghan border. Keller spent time there last year chasing al Qaeda. His job was to gather intelligence about the terrorists from his post on a Pakistani army base.

KELLER: Probably, the movie image that people have of spies running around with guns is -- couldn't be further from the truth. You are more like a spider sitting in a web, waiting for people to get caught.

BERGEN: Waziristan is believed to be a kind of enemy sanctuary for hundreds of foreign terrorists, possibly including Osama bin Laden himself and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri.

At the same time, he says, CIA sources were increasingly directed to the war in Iraq.

(on camera): You didn't really feel there were enough Americans on the job?

KELLER: No, no. I know for a fact that the people there were incredibly shorthanded. That is why it was such a challenging situation.

BERGEN: I mean, we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars every year on our national security. We can't send enough people to look for al Qaeda in Pakistan. That is....

KELLER: Yes, I mean, all I can do is report is the ground truth that I saw.

BERGEN: So, where do the resources go?

KELLER: Well, I think a great deal of the resources have gone to Iraq. So, it's -- I don't think it is appreciated that the CIA is not really a very large organization, in terms of field personnel.

So, we do not have an infinite amount. And, if you do a couple larger deployments, that uses up a lot of people, because we also have the rest of the world that we have to keep an eye on.

BERGEN: So, the Iraq war shortchanged the fight against al Qaeda?

KELLER: I definitely think it put a dent in it. We have not stopped the fight, but it certainly, from a resource issue, stretched people incredibly thin.

BERGEN (voice-over): The CIA declined to comment on operational matters to CNN. However, they did say they are going all out in the hunt for al Qaeda's leaders.

But the Taliban have flourished in the years that they were thrown out of power in Afghanistan. They now rule quite openly in Waziristan, either co-opting or killing traditional tribal leaders. They even administer their own harsh justice.

Keller obtained Taliban-produced obtained videos sold openly in local markets. They serve a as brutal and graphic warning to those who might resist the Taliban.

KELLER: But those are obviously bodies displayed in a -- in a public area as an object lesson.

BERGEN: Three men tortured, executed, their bodies paraded through a dusty town before a large public gathering.

Another video speaks to the peril facing the Pakistani army in the tribal regions. It is a Taliban raid, planned and executed with precision, targeting a Pakistani army outpost.

Attacks like these led to truce agreements in 2005 and 2006. The Pakistani government promised it would scale back military operations, if tribal leaders would give up Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.

KELLER: I believe the Pakistani government kept up their end of the deal, but, on the other end, it has not been very successful.

BERGEN (on camera): So, the bottom line is, these peace deals are -- seem to have empowered al Qaeda, empowered the Taliban?

KELLER: I would say it has given them a free hand. I mean, it was successful in -- in one measure, in that attacks against the Pakistani military went down dramatically after the signing of the peace deal. But the question is at what cost.

BERGEN: Well, I think we know that the cost is pretty high for U.S. and NATO troops on the other side, right?

KELLER: Yes. To use a medical analogy, it is like quitting a course of antibiotics too soon. You just leave a reservoir of infection, even stronger, to come back after you.

BERGEN (voice-over): The Taliban in their black turbans, gun- toting mullahs in camouflage, foreign jihadis training, launching deadly attacks, graphic evidence that al Qaeda and their allies in the Taliban have largely survived the West's furious assaults, and that what didn't kill them has only made them stronger.



So, what can be done to address this Taliban and al Qaeda resurgence? Is it just a matter of more troops, more money?

BERGEN: Well, the Bush administration has asked for $10.8 billion for reconstruction, to build up the Afghan police, to build up the Afghan army, to -- more aid, also for more troops. The British are putting in more troops.

I think that is all good. But I think we also, collectively, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and NATO has to try and sort out the tribal areas, try and deal with these militants. It is a question of collective security for all the countries involved. And we need to be creative.

COOPER: Peter Bergen, appreciate it.

Joining me now is the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., Mahmud Durrani.

Mr. Ambassador, thanks for being with us.

You heard the piece, Peter Bergen's reporting. This peace deal that your government with -- with tribal elders, militants in Waziristan, Pakistan said it was a positive step to fighting terror. Since then, U.S. officials are saying attacks along the Pakistan- Afghan border have gone up some 300 percent.

In your opinion, has this deal strengthened the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan?

MAHMUD ALI DURRANI, PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO UNITED STATES: I think you somehow manage to keep one eye shut and one eye open.

You don't seem to realize what is happening in Afghanistan. Taliban are in Afghanistan. They're carrying out raids every day. There is the suicide bomb. They captured two district headquarters.

And everybody is crying about north Waziristan. North Waziristan is a small area. And I do not think that the deal that we signed with them has helped the extremists and the terrorists, not at all.

COOPER: The unit I was with, the 10th Mountain Division, who were right along the border -- I was with them back in September -- going on patrol basically along the border, they told me point blank, they see people crossing that border all the time, attacking, and then running back across into Pakistan.

Do you believe that that happens?

DURRANI: I believe that a lot of people cross the border. In fact, I am sure you know, on a daily basis, about 200,000 people cross the Pakistan-Afghan border.

And it becomes very difficult to discern who is a fighter, who is just going to meet family. There would be -- I would agree, there would be some people crossing the Pakistan-Afghan border, and probably Taliban, and maybe al Qaeda.

But what you need to realize, that -- that 90 percent of the problem is in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan. Ten percent of the problem is in Pakistan. You just seem to refuse to accept that there is a problem in Afghanistan. I am very happy that Mr. Bush, on the 15th, brought out his new agenda and he brought out five points, what needs to be done in Afghanistan.

Unless you resolve Afghanistan, you can turn Pakistan upside down, and this problem won't go away.

COOPER: I don't think anyone is denying that there's clearly a problem in Afghanistan in support for Taliban elements in many places in Afghanistan and most likely al Qaeda, as well.

Clearly, the Bush administration thinks there's also a problem in Pakistan. Otherwise, Vice President Cheney would not have visited and spoke with your president.

The Pakistan military certainly has lived up to its side of the deal in this deal in Waziristan. And you've left checkpoints. You've returned to the bases.

Have foreigners been expelled, because my understanding is that is part of the deal. These tribal militants, these tribal elders, were supposed to expel al Qaeda elements or expel foreigners in the region. The reports we're getting is that, really, the number of al Qaeda elements or Taliban have grown.

What's your understanding? Have you seen people being expelled?

DURRANI: To the best of my knowledge, most of the people have been expelled. There was some concession for people who are married there, who decided to give up arms, who give up their weapons. For them they can stay. But there are a couple of dozens; not more than that.

I don't think that the number of people in the northern Waziristan area have grown. I mean, the foreign fighters and foreign extremists.

COOPER: Is that information you keep track of? I mean, if someone -- if a foreign fighter was expelled from Pakistan, would you be able to, you know, provide that information publicly? Are you able to track how many foreign fighters might have been expelled?

DURRANI: I do not keep track of the strict numbers, but I am totally involved with keeping myself informed that what is going on in North Waziristan because I have to come to speak to people like you. So I have to be current. I am current as -- you know, with the knowledge and I know what's going on. And I talk to the intelligence, the military and everybody right to the president's office.

COOPER: So why do you think it was that this deal was signed, attacks in Eastern Afghanistan shot up 300 percent?

DURRANI: I think they have shot up 300 percent, because you have no control in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is 20 times larger that the total tribal area. People are free to go. The number of troops in Afghanistan is 20,000. We have twice that number in 1/20th the area.

Look at the scale. Look at the -- in Afghanistan there is total dilution of troops to area. You don't have enough people. The Taliban can go and come wherever they like. They can hide in all the places. There is zero control. I don't know why you don't see that.

COOPER: So just to be clear, you don't believe Pakistan bears any responsibility in that 300 percent increase?

DURRANI: I don't think so. I don't think Pakistan bears responsibility for 300 percent, maybe out of the 300 percent, maybe 5 percent or 6 percent or so, but not for the 300 percent. No, sir.

COOPER: Ambassador Durrani, we appreciate your perspective. Thanks you, sir.

DURRANI: You're welcome.

COOPER: Tonight we take you right into the battle zone along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border for a look at what U.S. forces are facing on the front lines. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): Captain Dye (ph) doesn't know for sure, but he believes Taliban militants are learning how to make IEDs from foreign fighters trained in Iraq.

The soldiers fire mortars to clear areas they've been attacked from in the past.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They maybe have 30 guys in this whole area. Now I'm estimated it's probably about 250.

COOPER: The terrain is extremely difficult: the slopes steep, the environment treacherous.


(on camera) Back in September I went on patrol with Captain Dye (ph) and his men from the 10th Mountain Division. We're going to have more of my report in 360 special, "Afghanistan: The Unfinished War" in the next hour.

And we're focusing a lot on Afghanistan these days, because frankly, if you talk to all the solders that they all basically say the same thing. They feel that -- that the war in Afghanistan has not gotten the attention that it needs, that the focus has gone to Iraq, and they are fighting a battle that they say is as tough, if not tougher, than the battle that many of them were fighting when they were serving in Iraq. So we're going to be focusing a lot on Afghanistan in the coming weeks and months.

First, some remarkable claims from a remarkably successful self- help guru. How money, love, even a better body can be yours, well, for a price.


COOPER (voice-over): She says she's got the secret.

RHONDA BYRNE, AUTHOR, "THE SECRET": There is incredible power inside every single human being. COOPER: In print, on "Oprah", she says it can make you rich, bring you love, even keep you thin, and people are spending millions on it. So what is the secret?

And later, anchor Bob Woodruff's long road home, from Iraq and brain injuries that nearly took his life. What happened when he woke up, after 36 days in a coma, on 360 tonight.


COOPER: Ah, the secret. When Norman Vincent Peale wrote "The Power of Positive Thinking" in 1952, DVDs didn't exist, and Oprah Winfrey wasn't born yet. The book was a huge success anyway. It's still out there.

Fast forward now to 2007 and a new self-help sensation, a book and DVD called "The Secret". Think of it as positive thinking on steroids perhaps. Sales are soaring, in part because of Oprah and in part because self-help sells.

Tonight, we look behind the hype, starting with CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A diamond ring, a husband, a new job -- ask, believe, and you will receive. The author of "The Secret", the latest self-help sensation, says it's that easy.

BYRNE: There is incredible power inside every single human being.

KAYE: Australian television producer Rhonda Byrne has apparently discovered how people can get whatever they want. She says it comes from ancient wisdom, unlocked from history and science. And she's sharing this secret for a price: 1.5 million DVDs sold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your wish is my command.

KAYE: A seat on Oprah's couch, the golden ticket for any author.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: So our thoughts are the most powerful thing that we have.

KAYE: And a "New York Times" best seller. Not bad for a book Byrne wrote in less than a month.

Wondering what the secret is? It's the law of attraction. Think of yourself as a magnet. What you attract into your life is what you get. What you believe, good or bad, becomes reality.

This boy in the documentary believes he's going to get a new bicycle. He does. This woman gets a diamond necklace.

(on camera) In essence, it's the power of positive thinking, so it's best, Byrne says, to stay upbeat. Take a look at these desserts. If the secret holds true, I could eat any one of these and not gain an ounce. That's because Byrne says it's not the food that makes us fat, but thinking the food will make us fat that makes us fat. So why not dig in?

(voice-over) It's no secret that Barbara Capozzi is a believer. She's sure the secret will recharge her love life.

(on camera) Have you closed your eyes and focused and believed that the right man would come your way yet?

BARBARA CAPOZZI, FAN OF "THE SECRET": Yes, I'm working on that now, and actually, I went yesterday to buy a focus board which is where you put up photos of what you really want to come to fruition. And one of the photos I'm going to put up is a ring.

KAYE: An engagement ring?


KAYE: Don't you think, though, that if it was this easy, if we could just focus on something or believe in something, it would come our way, that by now we would all be millionaires and maybe have a cure for cancer and who knows what else?

CAPOZZI: I don't have a doubt that it works.

KAYE (voice-over): Dr. John Norcross calls "The Secret" pseudo- scientific, psycho-spiritual babble.

DR. JOHN NORCROSS, UNIVERSITY OF SCRANTON: It's just New Age packaging of centuries-old snake oil. It promises an ancient secret, hidden powers and mysterious transformations, if only you buy this product.

BYRNE: I couldn't believe all the people who knew these...

KAYE: If Norcross is right, the real secret to "The Secret's" success may not be the power, but the packaging.

SARA NELSON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "PUBLISHERS WEEKLY": The title is very smart, very smart. This appeals to something very universal in people. And I think no one ever went broke underestimating the unhappiness of the American people and their desire for self- improvement.


COOPER: Well, someone might say what's the harm to be done if someone wants to believe in "The Secret"?

KAYE: We did ask that question, and Dr. Norcross, the skeptic in our story, he actually is very concerned about this. He calls the book, actually, dangerous. He says that most people who are reading books like this have somewhat of a -- of a hopeless outlook to begin with. And the danger is that, if what they're believing or focusing on isn't coming true and they look at the book or the DVD and they see everybody else's stuff is happening for them, they're going to start to blame themselves. And what will happen is you will see this downward spiral, and their self-esteem will just hit the ground.

So that's his concern, but there are still the believers out there. You saw, Anderson, the woman Barbara who was in the story. She -- her career had been flat for a while, and she started focusing on herself in a suit and believing that she was going to be going on interviews. And within weeks of believing on this and focusing on that picture of herself in a suit, she says that she got two job offers.

So there are the believers out there.

COOPER: Interesting. Randi, thanks. Appreciate it.

As Randi is reporting, not everyone is sold on "The Secret". Just ahead, I'm going to talk to a skeptic and also to a true believer who appears in the DVD version of the best-selling book.

Plus, later on tonight in our 11 a.m. hour, ABC anchorman Bob Woodruff's amazing return to reporting 13 months after he nearly died in Iraq. What his road to recovery has been like when 360 continues.



Six months later, how was your love life?

They called me and wanted to date me. Now I have three dates a week. They are fighting over me.


COOPER: That's a clip from the DVD "The Secret", the latest success story in the world of self-help. The DVD and the book by the same name are making author Rhonda Byrne a lot of money.

But not everyone is sold on "The Secret". Some are calling it old-fashioned snake oil in a new package.

Joining me now is Jerry Adler, secret editor at "Newsweek", and best-selling author John Assaraf, who's featured in the DVD version of "The Secret". Guys, thanks for being with us.

Jerry, let me start with you. What is your problem with "The Secret"? You wrote an article in "Newsweek" all about it.

JERRY ADLER, SENIOR EDITOR, "NEWSWEEK": Well, it's magical thinking, really, is -- is the main thing. And it tells you that you can control the world outside you just by your thoughts, and the universe will give you whatever you want.

Most people would love to believe that, but most people give up believing it at about the age of 6.

COOPER: What's wrong with believing that? What's wrong with the notion that, you know, you can be optimistic and change the course of events?

ADLER: There's nothing wrong with believing that, as long as you understand that events aren't going to change unless you take action yourself.

One of the -- one of the women in the film cures herself of cancer by visualizing herself healthy and not taking medical treatment. I don't think that's -- that's good medical advice, and I don't think it's good psychological advice for all the people who don't get cured of cancer.

COOPER: John, what is new about "The Secret"? I mean, a lot of people are saying, "Look, this is just kind of the same old self-help stuff just repackaged in a much clever way."

JOHN ASSARAF, AUTHOR AND ENTREPRENEUR: Well, I think, Anderson, the thing that's new about this secret is that there's a lot of new evidence that's coming up in quantum physics and neuroscience that's really showing that our thoughts do control the vibration of our body in every cell in our body.

And we know that every thought has an electrical and a chemical balance to it, as well. And so when you're thinking positive thoughts, you're actually emitting a frequency from your heart and your brain that, through the law of resonance or frequency, you're attracting to it everything that resonates with that.

And so we're dealing with science now, which is a lot better than what we had in the past, which was through the sages or the mystics of the time. And so we're dealing with a much better prepared information-gathering that's happening through science.

COOPER: John, is this really science or is this pseudoscience?

ASSARAF: Well...

COOPER: Sorry. John, what about it? I mean, that's what critics are saying; this is just basically kind of gobbledygook you're talking about.

ASSARAF: Well, I know right now if you look at quantum physics, we've really been understanding quantum physics for just the last 50 years. So it's a relatively new science.

And what it's pointing to -- and I believe we're on the verge of a human breakthrough in our understanding, just like we have when we discovered the light bulb or when we discovered a lot of different things in our society like the world isn't flat.

So I think we're on the verge now of understanding the relativity between our thoughts and what we're attracting. So we're not clear exactly how it works, but we're also not clear as to how electricity works when we go and turn on the light switch. But we have light that works, and we all are grateful for that.

So I think we're on the cusp, on the verge of understanding more today than we ever knew possible, and that's what science is doing for us. And that's really the take.

COOPER: Jerry?

ADLER: Well, look, you know, the science gives us the scientific method. And if you -- if you want to prove that this is -- that this scientific, there's an easy way to do it. It's called a controlled experiment.

Take 100 women with cancer and tell them to visualize themselves getting healthy and not to see a doctor. And then take another 100 women and give them medical treatment. And at the end of three years let's see who does -- who does better. That's an experiment. And that will tell you whether it's scientific or not.

COOPER: Isn't there a danger, John, that if you are telling people -- that if this book is telling people that, you know, visualize your cancer away, someone is not going to go out and get medicine?

ASSARAF: Well, no. I don't think that anybody should not go out and get medicine. I can tell you a story from my own personal life.

When I was 21 years old I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, severe ulcerative colitis. I was taking 25 pills a day. I was taking cortisone shots. And I was doing Betnisol (ph) enemas, if we want to be very, very clear.

I started to visualize. I started to say affirmations. I started to write out that I am healthy. I started to eat properly. I started to exercise. I took action, which is an integral part of making things happen.

And with that five weeks later, I didn't have to take any pills left. And that was really my introduction to the power over the mind.

Now we call it psycho-neuroimmunology, and we didn't know what it was called then. But that was the beginning for me to understand that. Ever since then I've built multimillion dollar companies, teaching people how to apply it in their businesses and what our company, One Coach (ph) does. And the results speak for themselves.

And so I don't have to have all of the scientific evidence. I have the proof and the results that we are getting for ourselves that our clients are getting all over the world and joining their company. So it's imperative that people understand that you've got to take action, and you've got to really think the right thoughts, because that sets everything up.

COOPER: OK. And Jerry, you say a lot of this, though, is marketing, that they've sort of tagged into the sort of "Da Vinci Code" style? ADLER: Yes, books -- books like this come out -- come out by the dozens every year. There are dozens of people who go around the country speaking about it. What makes this one unique is -- is that it tells you you're getting a secret, if it packages it as -- as this ancient wisdom handed down through the ages, that the elites kept to themselves. And you for $25 can now -- can now be a part of it, and who wouldn't want that?

COOPER: Well, we're going to have to leave it there. Jerry Adler, John Assaraf. Appreciate you guys taking the time. Thanks. Appreciate it.

ASSARAF: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: There's no secret what happened in one Florida town when someone made a wrong turn. And there are some strange twists. You may be surprised where this happened and who didn't help with the rescue effort. That's our "Shot of the Day", next on 360.


COOPER: Coming up, "The Shot of the Day". A driver takes a crash course right at the DMV. Look at that. Wait until you see who was the on the scene. Our "Shot of the Day" is coming up.

But first, Kiran Chetry joins us with the "360 Bulletin".

Hey, Kiran.


Well, more than 140 people that were claiming they were abused by priests may now have to wait to bring their cases to court. The Roman Catholic diocese of San Francisco is saying that it's going to file for bankruptcy at midnight, and that move puts all the lawsuits on hold. One person called the decision, quote, "morally bankrupt."

In Michigan, hundreds of people are waiting to be rescued. Icy conditions left them stranded on Parsons Island. This i-report video we received, though, is a Coast Guard ice cutter, trying to clear a pathway to the island. It was not successful. The ferry stopped running last Friday.

In San Francisco, the earth gave way. Heavy rain triggered a massive landslide. It happened atop famed Telegraph Hill. More than 100 people living in the area were evacuated. No one was injured.

And the story that we told you about at the top of the program, the huge loss on Wall Street. At one point stocks fell more than 500 points. At the end of the day, the Dow was down 416 points, the worst single-day drop since the market reopened after the September 11 attacks.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day on Wall Street.

Back to you, Anderson. COOPER: It all depends on what happens to those Asian markets. Kiran, thanks very much.

A new development in a story we've been following for months. A polygamist on trial for rape in Arizona is free tonight. The charges against him were dismissed. That's because prosecutors' star witness refused to testify.

Randolph Barlow is the man. He was a member of Warren Jeffs' polygamist sect, and he was charged with raping his 16-year-old bride four years ago. He was 28 of the time. Prosecutors say the alleged victim, now 20, has been intimidated by Jeffs' followers.

Time for the "Shot of the Day". This one unfolded, out of all places, at a DMV office in Florida. The tape shows people at the DMV waiting to take the driving test. Everything is normal, and then boom, right through the window, a car slams through.

The driver was supposed to retake a driving test at the office. She couldn't because her car was experiencing mechanical problems -- yes, clearly.

This accident injured 11 people. Amazingly, no one was killed. Take a look again at that again.

And then look on the scene. Who was there? There's a guy in a Superman costume just walking around. Yes, he didn't actually do anything, which was odd, because he was Superman and all, but he was there. Good to see Superman is back on the scene.

And what was Superman doing at the DMV? We don't know.

Still to come tonight, the attack that came too close for comfort to Vice President Cheney. And later, Bob Woodruff's amazing story of survival and recovery from injuries in Iraq. Stay tuned for more 360.


COOPER: Imagine waking up one day, not being able to recognize your own children. Worse than that, not even remembering that you have children. That's what happened to ABC's Bob Woodruff.

He spent 36 days in a coma after nearly dying in a roadside bombing in Iraq. Now he's telling his story, a story of survival and recovery. That's coming up.

But first, a clear sign of growing trouble in Afghanistan. A suicide bomber blew himself up today at one of the gates to Bagram Air Base, where Vice President Cheney was staying. At least 15 people were killed.

More on that from CNN's Tom Foreman.