Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Foley Fallout; The Killing Fields: Africa's Misery, the World's Shame
Aired October 5, 2006 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Investigations were launched, subpoenas issued and an apology made by the man under growing pressure to resign, House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: When you talk about the page issue and what's happened in the Congress, I'm deeply sorry that this has happened.
And the bottom line is that we're taking responsibility because ultimately, as someone has said in Washington before, the buck stops here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Hastert also said he will not step down as speaker. Meantime, FBI agents were interviewing Kirk Fordham, who resigned yesterday as the chief of staff for the Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds.
Fordham, who used to be Mark Foley's chief of staff, says he warned Hastert's office more than two years ago about Foley's inappropriate conduct with pages. A charge that Hastert's office is flatly denying.
Today also uncovered new information about one of the former pages at the heart of the scandal.
Here's CNN's Brian Todd.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): June 2002, then Congressman Mark Foley steps up on the House floor to address the departing class of pages.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARK FOLEY (R), FLORIDA: Above all, cherish your families. Let them know how much you appreciate them giving you this chance. And let them know how much you appreciate their love to make you the people you are.
TODD: He goes on to name about a dozen pages he'd gotten to know during that term. One of them may be at the very center of the unfolding scandal.
On its Web site, ABC news reported a lurid instant message exchange between one sender identified as Foley and another person whose monitor was redacted, redacted except on one line that ABC mistakenly left up, but we have blocked up. From Maf54, ID'd by ABC as Foley. You're in the boxers, too. The reply, nope just got home. Maf54: Well strip down and get relaxed.
Once a blogger found that conversation, various news organizations, including CNN, traced the young person's monitor through Internet search engines and matched with the name of a former House page who now says he works for the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Congressman Ernest Istook of Oklahoma.
Istook's office would not confirm that the young man works there. But Istook later said this to a CNN affiliate:
REP. ERNEST ISTOOK (R), OKLAHOMA: No, media reports have claimed that someone who is currently on my campaign staff is a victim of Mr. Foley's misconduct. Whether that is true or not, the point is, we're talking about a victim, not a defendant. This is a young man who is bright. He is hard working. He does not deserve the public embarrassment that he's facing right now.
TODD: CNN is told the FBI wants to interview this young man. If and when he is interviewed, the young man may have a high profile lawyer by his side.
The "Daily Oklahoman" newspaper reports He's hired Steven Jones, the attorney who represented Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh.
(On camera): Our repeated calls to Steven Jones were not returned. Jones did confirm to the newspaper that he had been hired, but he did not say why.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
ROBERTS: There are far more questions than answers in this story. For every allegation, there's a denial or a conflicting version of the alleged facts.
Months ago a government watchdog group gave the FBI emails that Mark Foley allegedly sent to a former page, which raises the question, why wasn't a full scale investigation launched way back then? The answer depends on who you ask.
Here's CNN's Drew Griffin.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): According to government sources, the FBI says the now infamous exchange between a Congressman and a page didn't rise to the level of a crime. And those sources say the FBI investigation was hampered because the group that provided it the email on July 21st of this year wouldn't name the page and edited the messages.
That group's president, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Sloan says the FBI is wrong.
MELANIE SLOAN, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS: I would call that a lie, in fact. On July 21, 2006, I sent to the FBI the emails. They were not redacted in any way like they're claiming now. The kid's name is on the email. His full name and his email address, as well as the name of the Congressional staffer to whom he was sending the emails.
GRIFFIN: Sloan is president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a group that has been criticized for being anti- Republican. Conservatives charge that crew and it's Democratic supporters held back the memo until just before November's elections.
Sloan, a former prosecutor, says she sent the email to the FBI as soon as she got it because she was concerned for the safety of the pages.
Did this rise to the level of something you thought needed to be investigated?
SLOAN: It absolutely did. The statement that the emails themselves didn't contain criminal activity right on the face of them, that's true. There's nothing sexually explicit in the emails themselves. The problem with the email is that they suggest criminal activity. They suggest that this is man who might be involved in making improper sexual advances towards minors.
We thought it was very important that the FBI take a look at these and start investigating. But then we found out this past Monday, because the FBI announced it was going start a preliminary investigation that they must not have engaged in any investigation over the past couple of months.
GRIFFIN: CNN asked other law enforcement agencies what action they might have taken based on the initial emails.
The New York police told CNN, "In principle, a complaint such as the one that was lodged against Representative Foley -- for example, from a parent -- would result in an online investigation. That might have included having a police officer pose as a minor to set up a sting online.
The Peachtree City Police Department in suburban Atlanta specializes in tracking down suspicious e-mails adults send to children, aiming to arrest would-be predators.
CHIEF JIM MURRAY, PEACHTREE CITY POLICE: We issue subpoenas for their email address and who they are and who they're registered with. And then we find them.
GRIFFIN: The FBI declined comment on camera to CNN, but government sources tell CNN the email was sent to three separate FBI squads, including the cyber squad. And CRE President Melanie Sloan says there was no follow up with her.
(On camera): Did you send it to some inbox that you knew would not get attended to?
SLOAN: No. And I'm going to tell you for the first time exactly who I sent it to because now that the FBI has been deciding to lie about what I sent and what they received, I sent it to an agent, a special agent in the Washington field office.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Melanie Sloan gave us the name, and we called that FBI agent in question. So far she has not returned our call.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.
ROBERTS: Well, whether or not Mark Foley's alleged conduct leads to criminal charges, the scandal is certainly threatening to do political damage to his party.
No one needs to remind the Republicans that the midterm elections are now just 33 days away.
Earlier I spoke with "TIME" Columnist and Author Joe Klein about that.
ROBERTS: Joe, do you expect that Dennis Hastert is going to resign either before the election or afterwards? A Republican strategist I talked to today said he doesn't see that because the Republican Party gets no credit for sacrifice -- Trent Lott's resignation, Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay. He said what they need to do is attack and not capitulate to the mob.
JOE KLEIN, "TIME" COLUMNIST: Well that's, you know, play one in the Republican playbook has always been to attack. And I would expect that in this case, Hastert is going to do his darndest to stay on because at this point if you get significant members of the leadership resigning, not only Hastert, but Tom Reynolds was in charge of the Republican campaign committee, you have chaos. You have chaos within a month after the election.
What you may well see, especially if the Republicans lose the House, is Hastert not running for the speakership again, and a real shake-up in the leadership of the House Republican ranks.
ROBERTS And some people I talked to say they believe that he will run again for the speakership, will probably win as a show of solidarity, but because he doesn't, quote, "love the job anymore," may not stay in it for the entire two years.
KLEIN: Well, you know, as Mariel Cromo (ph) used to say, between now and then a pope will be born, which means that anything can happen. I think that what Republicans are going to be really looking for -- and we haven't seen indications of this yet, is whether the sands are really just sifting out of the bottle on the electro front, whether they are beginning to really lose traction in the House.
And if they lose the House, you can't guarantee what people are going to be thinking about Hastert and the rest of the leadership team between now and then.
ROBERTS: Obviously a lot of benefit accrues to the Democrats, but do you buy the argument being made by Republicans that the Democrats are behind this?
KLEIN: I don't know. We'll see. You know, most of the indications we have seen so far is that there are disaffected Republicans behind this. But, you know, it's not unusual for the opposition party to smear stuff on the other party.
ROBERTS: But Republicans have been doing it for years. But for Republicans to say this is all the Democrats' fault, well that's silly. I mean, couldn't the Republicans have gotten this out of the way a year ago when they first learned about it?
KLEIN: Yes, they could have. That is silly and it's awkward. And what we're seeing here is like the third string of the Republican revolution.
The first string was Newt Gingrich, who was a brilliant strategist. Had a lot of problems, but he was a brilliant strategist and brought them the power in 1994.
Then you had Tom DeLay who was the hammer, who was a real serious tactician.
But both those guys, who were really the brains of the operation, are gone now. And what you have is people who really don't know how to manage a crisis. It's become very, very clear this week that the Republicans are in trouble in that respect.
ROBERTS: Beyond this Foley issue, are the Republicans seriously wounded going into this election?
KLEIN: Well, they may well be. I mean, the Republican revolution, starting with Ronald Reagan, was built on four pillars -- low taxes, fiscal responsibility, national security and most important of all, traditional values. And traditional values has gone out the window this week. National security is in peril in Iraq. Fiscal responsibility, gone for years now. The own thing left is low taxes.
So we'll see whether the Republican Party can keep together with these kind of pressures on it. You already see the fiscal responsibility sorts, the national security sorts and the traditional value sorts this week beginning to snipe at the leadership.
ROBERTS: It'll be an interesting four weeks.
Joe Klein, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
KLEIN: Good to be here.
ROBERTS: The Mark Foley scandal has put Republicans on the defensive and it has impacted the party's wallet. Here's the raw data. According to the Congressional watchdog group, Center for Responsive Politics, several Republican candidates have said they will get rid of at least $20,000 that they received from Foley. In the past 10 years the former Florida Congressman's campaign and political action committee have contributed at least $740,000 to other GOP candidates and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Foley has nearly $3 million left, but he'll likely find few takers for that cash.
Well coming up, in Afghanistan today, NATO took full command of all of the forces fighting the Taliban, including 12,000 American troops. A ceremony marked the turnover, which comes five years after the war on terror began in Afghanistan.
Coming up, a grim prediction from the general leading the troops. And what he says it will take to crush the Taliban.
Now let's go back to Anderson in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, John. Thanks very much.
We are here in Africa looking at countries on the brink. Vibrant life is everywhere, but so is violence and so is pain. The question is, can these young children, boys and girls, be pulled from a crumbling edge back to stable ground? Many are trying.
Coming up, a look at how an art program is helping Sudan's so- called lost boys.
Plus, regional peace deals exist on paper, but rebel armies exist, as well. My interview with one of the Congo's last warlords, a wanted man accused of war crimes, but it seems no one is willing or able to arrest him, even though it seems everyone knows where to find him.
This is a special edition of 360, "The Killing Fields."
ROBERTS: A ceremony in Afghanistan today. NATO is expanding its role. They now control some 31,000 troops from about three dozen countries, including 12,000 U.S. troops. They are now engaged in what amounts to the first ground war in NATO's 57-year history. The handover comes as NATO's top commander warns there aren't enough king's horses or enough king's men, for that matter, to repair this fractured country.
Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reports.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With violence growing, commanders are warning more emphatically than ever before that winning in Afghanistan can't be done by the military alone.
Reconstruction is just as important. More than anything Afghanistan needs roads and jobs.
This, as NATO takes over fighting the Taliban, which has in recent months become as aggressive as it has ever been since the U.S. overthrew it five years ago.
In the southern and eastern sectors, where fighting is heaviest, British, Canadian and 12,000 U.S. forces will now operate under a NATO flag. Attacks are on the rise in part because fighters in Pakistan are more freely crossing into Afghanistan.
LAWRENCE KORB, SENIOR FELLOW COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: There is no doubt about the fact that this agreement between Pakistan and basically the people on its border has allowed the Taliban and al Qaeda sanctuary.
STARR: And now NATO'S top commander warns that 20,000 NATO forces and another 20,000 U.S. troops won't defeat the Taliban.
GENERAL JAMES JONES, SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, NATO: Afghanistan will not be resolved by military means.
STARR: Military commanders have long said reconstruction is vital, but questions are emerging about whether even that part of the strategy can change the dynamics on the ground.
SENATOR BILL FRIST (R), MAJORITY LEADER: The Taliban is on the rise, and we do need to capture the hearts and the minds of the Afghan people. A lot of them are just farmers by day, but when the Taliban stick arms in their hands, they say, well, I guess I'm a Taliban.
STARR: Frist and others are calling for more effort to bring Taliban elements into the fold of the Afghan government in hopes of stemming the fighting. But commanders say there is one overwhelming problem -- the money from the opium crop.
JONES: It allows the opposition to build the IEDs that kill and wound innocent civilians and wound and kill soldiers of the alliance.
STARR (on camera): Military commanders know they must come to some accommodation with the Taliban. But they are still convinced that building roads and schools will be the ultimate weapon for success inside Afghanistan.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ROBERTS: Nic Robertson is our senior international correspondent and has spent a lot of time in Afghanistan covering the situation there. He joins us now from our London bureau.
And Nic, could the Taliban ever be successfully integrated into the Afghan government? Wouldn't their goal be to take over the country once they got some reigns in power?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is their stated goal right now. The dynamic with the Taliban has really shifted over the past five years. If you remember back in 2001, it was the President Hamid Karzai who essentially let the Taliban leave Kandahar when he moved in and took control of that city.
In the last couple of years the government there has extended an olive branch, if you will, to the Taliban and some sort of reconstructed Taliban did stand in elections. A couple were actually elected and are in the new government, that reconstructed Taliban.
But the situation is different now. The Taliban now fighting to displace the government, to get Hamid Karzai out, to get NATO out, to get the U.S. troops out. So it's very difficult to imagine the government integrating them there, but this is the traditional way of solving problems in Afghanistan, to make a deal with your enemy. So it is conceivable. The government will try to do it somehow.
ROBERTS: Can roads and schools, as Barbara Starr reported, be the ultimate weapon to solving the situation in Afghanistan? Or does there also need to be action along the Afghan/Pakistani border to stop those Taliban from coming across the border, stop those Taliban fighters from coming over from Pakistan?
ROBERTSON: The border has to be sealed. And it's an incredibly difficult border to seal. And it has to be sealed because if you don't seal it, it doesn't matter how much work you do you on the Afghan side, you will have enemies crossing over from the Pakistani side.
Schools, roads, health clinics are part of the solution, but what you are fighting against is a history in Afghanistan along the border of the government never really having full control with the tribes of outsiders being traditionally treated with suspicion. It could take decades, a generation, before you convince people there that you're there to help, despite the number of schools that you may build.
When we were there in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. troops had built a school. It was a beautiful school. Eight classrooms. It could take about 80 children. It was destroyed the night that it was finished. The day it was finished, the Taliban came in, blew it up and destroyed it. The villagers are getting a mixed message there, if you will, John.
ROBERTS: I remember that story, Nic. And U.S. forces were very frustrated about that.
If the violence does not begin to subside, do you expect that President Bush is going to put pressure on Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf to reign in the Taliban or to break that peace deal that he signed with those tribal leaders?
ROBERTSON: You know, President Musharraf is the United States' big ally in the war on terrorism. Without his complete 100 percent support, al Qaeda cannot be defeated. They have taken sanctuary in his country. That's where the Taliban are basing themselves. That's where the bombers who attacked in London went back for training.
So it has -- to win the war on terror, it has to have the support of the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. The question is, can he deliver? And there are analysts, intelligence security analysts in the region who believe that Pakistan President Musharraf is not strong enough to defeat al Qaeda and the Taliban inside his country. So President Bush will therefore need to put all the pressure he can on them to deliver.
ROBERTS: Well, whichever way it happens, certainly the need for a solution in Afghanistan growing more and more desperate by the day.
Nic Robertson in London, thank very much. Appreciate it.
Now let's go back to Anderson in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- Anderson.
COOPER: You know, John, they did it after Katrina struck and they are doing it here now. Kids, traumatized by war and disaster. They don't have to put into words the horrors they have seen war.
And later, a warlord wanted for war crimes, accused of terrible things. As I found out, though, he's very easy to track down. The question is, why can't authorities here do it?
This is a special edition of 360, "The Killing Fields."
Democratic Republic of the Congo
There are over 4 million orphaned children in the DRC. More than a quarter of children ages 5 to 14 have jobs.
COOPER: Here in the Congo, alone, Amnesty International says 400,000 boys and girls have been displaced.
In Sudan, the numbers may be even higher. A lot of the young Sudanese refugees walked hundreds of miles to neighboring Chad to find a new home. The reality is they can't escape what they have lived through. The pain is so great that some of the kids can't even talk about it. There are ways -- other ways, however, to express the horror, as 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta found out.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They are young boys and they are lost. They dream at night, but they dream of guns firing, homes burning, people dying. They are the newest generation of lost boys from Sudan.
Their dreams are too painful to talk about, so for the time being, they draw horrible drawings.
Did you lose anybody in your own family? Were any of these people family members?
Unlike most of the children I've met, this 12-year-old doesn't smile or make eye contact. We don't show his face. He is still terrified that he will be harmed or killed. He is now an orphan.
JENNIFER MELTON, SOCIAL WORKER: I came here knowing that that was their experience, so it is always shocking to see, even though you know that that's what happened. When you ask somebody to draw something at their home, that that's their immediate memory, that it's not, you know, a dog or their best friend or their school, that that is their immediate memory. And it is shocking and it's disturbing, but we have to allow a way for them to express it.
GUPTA: You see, with physical trauma, it is easier. A bandage, a stitch, some medications. With emotional trauma, it's not always clear what will help the healing.
Does this work?
MELTON: Yes. I think absolutely. It works differently for different children. Some children, you know, they need to verbalize what they went through more. Other children don't necessarily know how they might not have the words to describe what they experienced. So art, drawing, it's just, it's another way that they can express it and get it out and share it with their friends and share it with their parents, whoever, because you know, families, friends, they don't always know how to start talking about it. So there needs to be something to help it.
GUPTA: One key to healing -- expressing the hurt. Color on paper. After three years, this is perhaps the first time their emotions have been addressed. It feels like it might be too late. The pain is so deep.
(On camera): There is also a lot of power behind some of those images as well. Take a look at these images. You hear chanting. We lost our parents and families because of one genocide, killing and burning. They talk a lot about these pictures that they are drawing. This is the passion behind it.
MELTON: They appreciate the opportunity to express it. They haven't had anyone to ask them directly. They experienced it all together. And amongst them, you know, they have their resources, but they haven't had an outsider come in and say, tell me what happened. Tell me how we can help. GUPTA: Does it help you feel better to draw?
He says it doesn't relieve all of the pain. I can't imagine it would. But the lost boys are finally being found. And delicately, image by image, the torn psyche of a generation is being repaired.
COOPER: I guess there is some concern about retraumizing kids by having them sort of relive these experiences.
GUPTA: Yes, I mean this is a debate that comes up all the time in psychology. But I've talked to several people here on the ground in Congo, and they absolutely believe that it works. With the drawings, they're not saying the drawings themselves are going to somehow fix all these problems these kids have endured. But it does open up a dialogue. A lot of these kids won't talk to you at all. Getting them to draw first does seem to help.
COOPER: All right. Sanjay, thanks. Appreciate it.
Coming up, I got a chance to look a warlord straight in the eye and ask him about charges of atrocities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There have been allegations that you have committed war crimes and violated human rights. Is that true?
GENERAL LAURENT NKUNDA, PREBEL LEADER: In this area or out of this area?
COOPER: Out of this area. They say that in Kisangani, in 2002, that you ordered the execution of 160 people. Is that true?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We'll have his answer coming up, as I confront a rebel leader who has no intention of giving up his weapons.
You're watching a special edition of 360, "The Killing Fields."
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The DRC boasts many natural resources including: Gold, diamonds, copper and coltan, a mineral used in cell phones. However, more than 75 percent of people live on less than one dollar a day.
COOPER: The war that began here in the Congo in the late '90s was waged by dozens of warring armies and militias, groups with little control and a lot of weapons.
A peace deal in 2003 officially ended the fighting, but their fighting really never stopped. The violence continues and some warlords have refused to give up their weapons.
One of them in particular is refusing to give up his weapons, waiting to see what happens to the elections which are coming up in just a few weeks.
I went and found the warlord in his mountain top hideout.
COOPER (voice-over): In a rain soaked valley in eastern Congo, a rebel army sings of war. They may appear a motley bunch. Some have no shoes, others mismatched uniforms. But they do have weapons and the power to disrupt the Congo's fragile peace.
Their leader agreed to meet with us. But to find him, we had to travel to his remote hilltop hideout.
We're on our way to see General Laurent Nkunda. He's a rebel commander with several thousand troops. So far he's been unwilling to give up his weapons.
(On camera): He's been accused of a host of war crimes and human rights violations. His troops are known to have looted villages, raped women. He's been accused of ordering the summary executions of dozens of prisoners.
The Congolese government issued an international arrest warrant for him, but so far it seems no one's been able or willing to apprehend him.
(Voice-over): General Nkunda controls about 1,200 square miles in eastern Congo, an area roughly the size of Rhode Island.
Getting to him, however, isn't easy. Checkpoints are everywhere and his soldiers are wary.
That's Jason Stearns. He's a Congo expert with the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization which monitors conflicts around the world.
JASON STEARNS, CONGO EXPET, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: He says there's no problem. He's told the general we're coming.
COOPER: The soldiers get in one of our vehicles to show us the way. At General Nkunda's compound, security is tight. His soldiers are heavily armed.
COOPER (on camera): What is your plan?
GENERAL LAURENT NKUNDA, PREBEL LEADER: Our plan is that if the election will be conducted, we will talk with the one who will win the election. If there will be a disaster, we will be an alternative to protect the people and to relieve the situation.
COOPER: There have been allegations that you have committed war crimes, violated human rights. Is that true?
NKUNDA: In this area or out of this area?
COOPER: Out of this area. They say that in Kisangani in 2002 that you ordered the execution of 160 people. Is that true?
NKUNDA: Not true.
COOPER: They say that in 2004 there are allegations that in Bukabu (ph), your soldiers looted widespread, committed many rapes. In fact, human rights watch cites an incident of a woman being raped in front of her husband and her children. And one of your soldiers, they say, raped a 3-year-old child.
NKUNDA: No. It's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
COOPER: So this stuff happened before you got here?
NKUNDA: Before I got there.
COOPER (voice-over): Despite his denials, abuses by General Nkunda's soldiers are well documented.
Jason Stearns was in the town of Bukabu (ph) when the general's soldiers took over.
What did you see?
STEARNS: Well, you see, walking through the neighborhoods at night, you hear people screaming left and right as soldiers breaking into houses, pillaging, personal friends of mine, close to mine, had their children raped...
COOPER: They were raping children?
STEARNS: They were raping children. His troops would.
COOPER: Aid workers believe hundreds of thousands have been victimized by soldiers from various armies and rebel groups.
While General Nkunda talks reconciliation, his army continues to train for war. His officers get refresher courses in military tactics, like how to conduct an ambush.
The U.N. is trying to get all of these militia troops to join a new national army, trying to get Congolese to think beyond their ethnic or tribal identity.
General Nkunda, however, wants his troops loyal to him.
He is one of the Congo's last remaining warlords, waiting for elections, positioning himself for whatever the future may bring.
COOPER (on camera): Well, there's no easy end to the power struggle in central Africa or the health problems.
An illness, nearly unheard of in the U.S., is a constant worry for workers in refugee camps. One case can become an epidemic in the blink of an eye. That's next on 360.
COOPER: The things most Americans take for granted, like clean tap water, are beyond dreams for most people here in Africa.
Cholera is a water-born illness, and contact with the deadly bacteria is almost inevitable.
360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta visited a refugee camp. A doctor for whom preventing an outbreak is a healthy obsession.
GUPTA: Early July, an 8-month-old baby in eastern Congo suddenly falls ill. She would soon be known as patient zero.
She came from the Kukindi (ph) community, along Lake Albert. Her family was so alarmed, they walked the 60 kilometers to the Geddy (ph) refugee camp.
Of course they didn't know it, but when they took their sick baby to Getty (ph), the largest refugee camp in Congo, she was infected with a deadly bacteria.
Locals call it chogerot (ph), and it scares them. The rest of the developed world knows it as cholera.
(On camera): Is cholera your biggest concern as working for a medical organization?
LAURA SNOXELL, MEDAIR PROGRAM OFFICE: Definitely. Cholera is one of the biggest concerns because it spreads so rapidly with people living in very difficult conditions.
GUPTA: UNICEF reports 125,000 cases here in sub-Saharan Africa last year. That's a sharp rise because with so much contaminated water, the bacteria can spread quickly, like here, at Getty (ph).
SNOXELL: There's been a big outbreak of cholera because there are about 50,000 people living in very cramped conditions without proper toilets or access to clean water.
GUPTA (voice-over): Quickly, there would be several deaths. Victims die from dehydration. The number of infected cases jumped to 109. But then Dr. Blaze Gaya (ph), the only doctor for this 50,000 refugee camp, begins to fight back. This is his home. These are his people.
First, he separates the infected from the healthy.
(On camera): This may be the most important room when it comes to containing a cholera outbreak. This is an isolation center. Now, before you go in there, you got to wash your hands with this bleach like substance and then you actually go over here, as well. And before you walk into the center, you got to clean your feet just by dipping it in this bleach like substance.
Come on, let's take a look.
As you can see, the room is now empty, but this room at one time held lots of cholera patients who were being isolated from the rest of the camp.
Take a look at one of these gurneys look like. It is not particularly nice. It has a little hole in there for people because people have such bad diarrhea. It is important to get them antibiotics. It's important to give them fluids. And it's also important to keep very specific records, like these.
Now, there are no fancy computers to keep track, but they do have this book, Cholera Epidemiology. They actually get the job done.
Take a look inside this book. July 8, the first case of cholera in this most recent outbreak. That's patient zero, the baby girl.
(Voice-over): Tracing ever single case is really important. The best treatment is often these rehydration salts and antibiotics, such as doxycycline.
Also key, making the right diagnosis. There are many water-borne illnesses here, so singling out the disease in a teaming camp of brutalized refugees is a huge challenge.
(On camera): It is difficult to imagine how one takes care of refugees in a place like this. Take a look at this medical center here.
(Voice-over): This is the wall that is riddled with bullet holes. Rebels came here and took the beds, they took the refrigerators, they took the solar panels.
(On camera): There is no electricity in here anymore. And most importantly, for cholera patients, this is a laboratory that used to have two microscopes, which were also stolen. Instead you just have slides which are still waiting to be read.
(Voice-over): Despite everything, the relief agencies working in this camp have made enormous progress in halting the epidemic and by tracing it back to where it began.
(On camera): One of the hallmarks of preventing cholera in the first place, is making sure you have clean water. That can be hard, but actually taking these chlorine tablets and dropping them in a bucket like this can disinfect a whole bunch of water. This camp is lucky because they actually have a sanitation system actually pumping water from the river over there to that platter, providing clean water in the first place.
(Voice-over): So for now, the cholera epidemic is contained. But the father, who brought his sick baby here, patient zero, is still grieving. She did not survive the chogerot (ph).
COOPER: How hard is it to detect?
GUPTA (on camera): It can be incredibly difficult here. You know, you saw the microscopes actually got stolen out of the laboratory by these rebel militia groups. A lot of times they'll just start the antibiotics. You know, this is something we don't do in the United States, but here you have no choice. You have to assume it is something and you start the medication.
COOPER: And there was also a case of plague?
GUPTA: Yes. You know, and that sort of speaks to the point of how hard this is to diagnose. In that same province, there are about 70 cases of suspected plague. The World Health Organization is trying to figure this out. But a lot of the symptoms, at least early on, can be very similar to cholera and some of these other water-borne diseases. So the question becomes, do you just start treatment? Because if you don't, half of those people will die.
COOPER: Sanjay, thanks. Appreciate it.
In our time here, we have seen beauty. We have seen generosity and selflessness. But the list of problems facing the people of the Congo and Sudan, well, is very daunting.
COOPER (voice-over): Jason Stearns, of International Crisis Group, joins us again tonight. He seeks out solutions for populations that live in conflict.
Jason, thanks for being with us.
First of all, I mean, the problems here in the Congo, corruption, a lack of infrastructure, governments which are basically kleptocracies, predator governments, are there solutions?
STEARNS: There are. I think the first thing we need to realize is that the current period we're entering into is going to be the most crucial period in the peace process.
COOPER: Why is that?
STEARNS: We're going into elections right now. Elections is a step in the right direction. This is the first elections in 40 years great for the Congolese people, so it's a great moment
COOPER: This is major elections, biggest election effort in the U.N. history. There's two candidates left. Why is it so important for the Congo?
STEARNS: It is very important for the Congo because it is the only way of getting out of the impasse you currently have. You have a government that is shared between all of the former warlords and it's very difficult to do anything because everybody is pulling in opposite directions.
COOPER: But it's not like these two candidates are, you know, have any kind of real track record on human rights or on helping people.
STEARNS: Well, that could be true, yes. But the problem is we don't have an alternative. We need these elections to go forward. But the point I was trying to point out is in the short term, elections, although it's a step in the right direction, can be destabilizing because through elections, you're creating a whole new class of disenfranchised people, as we do who lose the elections. And those people, the temptation's going to be great to take up arms to contest the elections again through violence.
COOPER: And we've already seen there are still people who, militia leaders, who are carrying around weapons, who are waiting to see what happens.
So, it seems like the intense effort has got to be on the part of the international community.
STEARNS: Exactly. There's a couple of concrete things they can do. First of all, I think they need to create a national army. It's very important. It's been done...
COOPER: Instead of all these warring militias?
STEARNS: Exactly. I mean, I think that it's, a lot of donors are uncomfortable feeling that they're investing money in an organization that's actually guilty of human rights abuses. But it's done in Sierra Leone, it's done in Liberia. The forces are doing it in Iraq now. I think it could have a very direct impact on the well- being of Congolese if you create a national army actually to protect people and doesn't harm them.
The second thing they need to do, the U.N. peacekeeping troops are planning on downsizing in the next couple of years for financial considerations, especially the United States, that provides a quarter of the U.N. peacekeeping budget here. It's thinking of next year withdrawing some of that money. We can't let the well-being of the Congolese suffer because of domestic financial considerations. There's not a lot of money. We need to keep investing in the Congo.
And perhaps the third thing we can do is to make the Congolese state work for the Congolese, not against the Congolese. We've supplied over half of the Congolese budget, the international community does. We need to use that financial leverage to actually to create accountable state institutions.
COOPER: Because there is no accountability right now? STEARNS: There is no accountability now. And if we don't create that, you're going to have a shadow of a state. And we're really not going to create long-term solutions.
The problem with the international community often is we have very short-term solutions. We go to elections, we declare victory, we go home. We can't do that. We need to stay on for the long-term, that's 15, 20 years.
COOPER: At least that. Jason Stearns, appreciate it. Thanks very much, with the International Crisis Group.
You can find information on how to help the people of the Congo and Sudan on the 360 blog. Go to cnn.com/360blog.
We have seen a lot of things here. Things that none of us will ever forget. Life and death and hope and survival. All unfolding day after day.
Coming up next, we'll have my reporter's notebook.
ROBERTS: Right now, though, a 360 bulletin.
John Mark Karr, a former suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey killing, will not face child pornography charges in California after all. They judge said prosecutors don't have enough evidence to make the misdemeanor pornography charge stick in court. Investigators admitted to losing computer evidence vital to the 5-year-old case. Karr was release and had no comment leaving the Sonoma County courtroom.
Mourners came from across Amish country today, to attend traditional funerals for some of the victims of Monday's school shooting in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. Cars were rerouted from the area to make way for horse and buggy traffic. Four of the little girls killed were buried today. A funeral for the fifth will be held tomorrow. Charles Carl Roberts bound and shot 10 girls at an Amish school before killing himself. Authorities believe he had planned that attack for days.
And on Wall Street, the third straight record close for the Dow. The blue chips gained 16 points to close at -- listen to this -- 11866. The S&P hit a new 5-1/2 year high, closing up three points. And the NASDAQ gained 15. Great day on Wall Street.
We'll get back to Anderson right after this. Stay with us. You're watching 360.
COOPER: The Congo is a country of irony, cruel ironies. It has wealth, yet millions are dirt poor. The land is fertile, but 70 percent of its people are malnourished. And while I was shocked at the scope of this tragedy, I was equally astonished at the will here to prevail.
We're going to take a look now at my reporter's notebook. The pictures you're going to see are from Pierre Andrews Peterson (ph), from Getty Images.
COOPER (voice-over): There are moments in the Congo when you find it hard to believe that a place like this really exists. In the Congo, you can feel the earth, you smell it, the rawness, the thin line between life and death.
There are some things you see, some things you hear that simply are unbelievable. Women gang-raped, who now have to hide because of the stigma they face. You look in their eyes, there's nothing you can say. I'm sorry sounds so small.
Everywhere you go, you're surrounded. Curious kids, smiling stares. They run alongside your car, yelling, muzumgu (ph), muzumgu (ph), white guy, white guy. You can't help but laugh.
There is corruption. There's fighting. Rebel armies that rape and loot. Decades of rulers here have failed the people. But the people are the strength of this land. The burdens they bear every day up hill and down. I know I'm not as strong as them -- men, women, children. Here, no one gets a break. It is unconscionable, when you think about it, that this land which is so rich, remains so poor.
In the ground there's gold, there's diamonds, tin and coltan. You can chisel it out with simple tools, sometimes even with your bare hands. But the riches, they're squandered. They're siphoned off, lost for good. They have been for generations.
The mountains, the forests, lush, green, but threatened. The mountain gorilla is their best hope for a future. You can sit within feet of them. They're as curious about us as we are of them.
There is something about the Congo that gets under your skin. The pulse of life, the throb of pain. Millions have died here, though few seem to have noticed. How many more millions will it take before something is done?
COOPER (on camera): A lot of you have been writing to us about what you've been seeing here on the 360 blog. Here's what's on the radar, on the blog.
Laura, in Lubbock, Texas, writes, "What human being can look at a child and so violently take her innocence, then go on with life as though he's done his job? We can help organizations like Heal Africa, but what are we doing to the animals that perpetrate this brutality?"
And this, from Michael in Montreal, "I worked in Goma and the Lake Kivu area in the 1980s, and it was like paradise there. It was a time of peace. To read about the situation there, that little girl who had been raped by soldiers, is heart-wrenching. How humans can turn paradise into a living hell!"
And finally, David in Columbia, South Carolina, had this to say, "As a father of two girls, I weep at the vision of a sweet 5-year-old in which all security and innocence was so brutally erased by. I cannot even think of the words to describe the individuals who would do such a thing. It moves me to action. My action to take is still undefined, yet my resolve is now set. Who else is on board?"
That's what's on the radar, on the 360 blog.
We'll have more of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.
ROBERTS: Tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," the scandal involving former Congressman Mark Foley has many people wondering what they should do if they are victims of inappropriate behavior in the workplace.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People need to know what the policy is. And there need to be consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: What you need to know when your superior crosses the line, and the latest developments in the Foley investigation, tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.
That's it from state side. Now, let's go back to the Congo for our last word. And here's Anderson.
COOPER: Hey, John. Thanks very much. Appreciate that.
We're going to have more from Africa tomorrow night on the special edition of 360. Appreciate you watching it. I know a lot of the stuff is tough to see. We think you want to know about it. It is important and it is very much the reality of what is happening here.
We'll have more from this region tomorrow. Good night.
"LARRY KING" is next.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com