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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Deadly Outbreak of Swine Flue; Military Memo: It's Torture; Taliban on the Move; Bullied to Death?
Aired April 24, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, it is here and it kills. Breaking news: a fast-moving new strain of the flu and at this hour the death toll is rising. Swine flu breeds in pigs, spreads then from person to person. It's infected eight people in this country, 1,000 people in Mexico. 1,000 people in Mexico right now, 68 people there have died. That's up from 60 just a few hours ago.
Right now Mexico City is virtually shut down. Cities across the American southwest are on alert. And just now the Associated Press moved a bulletin saying that 75 students at a high school here in New York City have now fallen ill with flu-like symptoms and are being tested for swine flu.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to join us shortly. But first Randi Kaye has the breaking news.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Swine flu on the move. And now health officials say the same virus that's killed dozens in Mexico is also in the U.S. Just hours ago another case of the deadly flu found here in San Diego; that makes eight. In Mexico, more than 1,000 people infected, at least 68 dead.
DR. RICHARD BESSER, ACTING DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: We are worried as well. Our concern has grown since yesterday.
KAYE: All of the victims in the U.S. have recovered. But in Mexico City, schools are closed. Libraries and museums shut down; residents wearing masks.
The Centers for Disease Control is working closely with California and Texas to learn more about the victims. Swine flu is typically found only in pigs, or in people who have been around pigs. Health officials are stumped. None of the U.S. patients had direct contact with pigs. Only one had visited Mexico.
JOHN BARRY, AUTHOR, THE GREAT INFLUENZA: Clearly there is evidence of human-to-human transmission.
KAYE: Remember 2003 when SARS exploded? It spread from China to 37 countries in a matter of weeks. More than 770 people died.
BARRY: There is a real possibility that this is the next pandemic. You would find one community after another would have probably somewhere between 20 percent and 30 percent of the entire population would get infected with this virus. The overwhelming majority of those people would have a terrible two or three days and a week later, they're fine.
KAYE (on camera): The World Health Organization says the world is now closer to an influenza pandemic than at any time in the last 40 years. On a scale of one to six, the organization puts the threat level at three, a pandemic alert.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: We want to get the latest now from Mexican capital. Tracy Wilkinson is Mexico City Bureau Chief for The Los Angeles Times. She joins us now by phone.
Tracy, what's the scene like there now? 1,000 people so far have been infected, right?
TRACY WILKINSON, L.A. TIMES MEXICO CITY BUREAU CHIEF (via telephone): Right. 1,000 are suffering from flu that officials suspect is the swine flu. And as you mentioned, dozens of people have died, 60 and counting, more than 60 now dead.
Of which, it should be said, only 20 have been directly linked to the swine flu, but it is thought that many of these others are also from the same strain. I wouldn't say that there's panic in Mexico City, but there is alarm.
This has dominated TV, radio, and newspapers all day long with officials telling people, telling the public what to do, what precautions to take, distributing the surgical masks, people wearing those, schools closed from day care through university, private and public, that's millions of students.
COOPER: So they've actually shut down all the schools?
WILKINSON: Yes, in Mexico City and the State of Mexico which is the part of the state that is around the city, the capital of Mexico; an area of 20 million people. So this is a huge thing.
And the schools will be closed through the weekend and possibly next week as well. They haven't decided, but they will decide in the next day or so. They've canceled, for this weekend, concerts, sporting events. They're closing museums, libraries.
COOPER: Is it mostly old, or are there very young who have died due to this?
WILKINSON: No, and that's the strange thing. And that's what has particularly worried and perplexed health authorities here is that no, it is not the usual vulnerable populations of the elderly and the young.
This has been heretofore healthy people, young adults, people in their 20s, early 30s. So that is what is particularly worrisome about this.
COOPER: And do we know where this thing started?
WILKINSON: Well, we don't. Most of the cases have been tied to here in Mexico City and the surrounding state. However, there are a handful of cases in about six different states all over the country.
So no, we don't know -- we don't yet know where exactly it started and how exactly it started.
COOPER: And in terms of what the government is doing, I mean, you said they shut down the schools. Are there plans for quarantine? Or how do they deal with those who are infected?
WILKINSON: No -- well, people who are infected are in hospitals. They are talking about having to possibly shut down offices and you know, workplaces starting next week.
I think, again, that decision they'll make over the next few days as they see how much this spreads. The death rate, they said, was slowing.
So I think they feel like they may now have -- start to have a control over it, but people who are sick are in the hospital. That's right.
COOPER: It is scary stuff.
Tracy Wilkinson, L.A. Times Bureau Chief from Mexico City, we appreciate your time tonight. Thank you. Stay safe.
Let's "Dig Deeper" now with our own 360 MD, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, how serious is this?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it sounds like it's fairly serious in part because there seems to be evidence of human-to-human transmission. Typically when you think of swine flu, you think of a flu that is passed because of contact with pigs.
But there's clearly human-to-human transmission here. And also, Anderson, this is a virus the world has really never seen before. You and I have talked about this sort of thing, viruses that sort of emerge.
You know, they're doing a lot of investigations on this. It's a bit of a mystery now. But if you sort of start to look at the makeup of this virus, it's made up of several different viruses. They're calling it a swine virus, but look at all the things that they're starting to figure out.
First of all, it seems to have components of the North American swine virus, the avian influenza, bird flu. We've talked a lot about this. Not the worst kind of bird flu, but a component of it. Human influenza which makes it contagious from human-to-human and also forms of swine influenza from Asia and Europe.
We've been making a lot of calls today Anderson on this. All the infectious disease organizations are concerned about this in part because they don't know exactly from where it originated. We're not sure just how virulent or just how large the mortality rates are going to be. And they're not sure exactly where it is going.
So they've got to figure this stuff out before we can really get a sense of how big a problem it is.
COOPER: Yes, as you and I were reporting in our Planet in Peril documentary this past year, we spent a lot of time in Africa looking at what the next pandemic is, where it will come from...
COOPER: ...or how it will spread.
And as -- to reiterate what you said and what's so troubling is, this isn't -- it's not just a zoonotic virus crossing from an animal to a human which would limit the amount or number of people who would actually get infected. The fact that it's now passing from person to person is of concern.
COOPER: And as we saw in Africa, you know, in these remote places, viruses cross over all the time. But now, because of air travel and increased roads, a virus that used to stay geographically isolated can now spread around the world very quickly.
I just want to show some of what we saw in central Africa a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: On the side of the road, there's pangolin for sale, snakes, monkeys -- and markets selling bush meat are packed with people.
DR. NATHAN WOLFE, EPIDEMIOLOGIST VIRUS HUNTER: Would you check the blood of these monkeys at all?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely we would...
COOPER: Dr. Wolfe estimates 4.5 million tons of bush meat are taken from central Africa's forests every year. A task force of leading conservation groups says the bush meat trade is the single biggest threat to Africa's animal species. And that's making it more of a threat to humans.
WOLFE: Contact with some animal in this remote village that previously might have led to the jump of a virus into that community that would have maybe infected a few people, maybe infected one person, probably would have died out.
Now all of a sudden that remote village is immediately connected to the major city and through air transportation and ships through the rest of the world.
So something that's in the middle of nowhere here, for example, can potentially, you know, be in New York in the course of 48 hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So Sanjay, we have 68 dead people now in Mexico City, we have 1,000 people infected in Mexico City. We've got a handful of cases known in the United States already. Now we just have this breaking news that just crossed on the wire minutes ago about possibly 70-some- odd high school students in New York City are now going to be tested for this because they have fallen ill.
Is this a pandemic, a global epidemic?
GUPTA: Well, it's a good question because of your interview there, you get the sense that it's so hard to pinpoint that question because is this because of air travel? Is it because of something else that's causing these sorts of spurts of activity all around the world?
There are criteria, Anderson, to sort of call something a pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one of the things you've got to ask, is this something that is new? We answered that question.
It is new. This is a virus the world hasn't seen before. Does it cause severe disease? It's killing people. It has caused the death of 68 people now in Mexico, as you mentioned. Is it easily transmissible and sustainable in a population?
That is a little bit of a question mark still. It does appear to be transmissible. How sustainable is this? Is this something that's just going to fade away over the next couple days or are we going to be talking about this next week? We don't know the answer to this.
But this is a true medical investigation, Anderson. People are working on this right now. After they figure out what it is, now they've got to figure out where it's going.
COOPER: I don't want to -- we don't want to freak anyone out. Just in terms of symptoms, what should somebody be looking for, and what should they do if they suddenly feel like they've got flu? And how do you separate it from just a normal flu?
GUPTA: It's going to be hard. As you just reported what's happening in New York City, its several people in a certain community start to come down with flu-like symptoms. And these are the same sorts of things that are different than just a cold, in addition to having a runny nose, headache, fever. You might get the muscle aches, overwhelming fatigue. It's going to come on pretty quickly. The fever is going to be pretty high, usually over 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
And also, if people around you are also getting sick, its sort of speaks to this person-to-person transmission. You're absolutely right though to sort of urge people not to be freaked out here. It's unlikely to happen to anybody who's watching right now.
But it may happen in clusters. And if it does, the public health officials are going to need to be on top of that and possibly sterilize the school like they're doing in New York City and try to get people treated.
COOPER: All right, we'll stay on top of this as well. Sanjay I appreciate it. Dr. Sanjay Gupta for us tonight.
A quick reminder, that an encore presentation of Planet in Peril, you saw that African video, the interview that we did, on these zoonotic viruses. That's all part of our Planet in Peril report.
Lisa Ling, Dr. Gupta and I traveled all throughout the world for this. It's going to be shown again this weekend at 11:00 Eastern time, Saturday and Sunday night.
Also, of course, there's a lot more online. You can go to AC360.com right now for facts on swine flu from the CDC.
And if you'd like to chat online right now with other viewers and with Erica and I, join the live chat happening now at AC360.com or check out Erica Hill's live web cast during our commercial breaks. You can only see it though on the Web site.
Up next, more breaking news: a newly discovered military memo on techniques they labeled more than a dozen times in a single document as torture.
Also, remember the outrage over these pictures from Abu Ghraib? Well, the Defense Department is about to release hundreds more despite critics' warning they'll embarrass America and inflame the Muslim world.
Tonight, a new look behind the scenes at how and why the White House has approved this.
Later tonight, a string of new developments in the Craigslist killings, reports of new evidence linking suspect Philip Markoff's pistol to the crime and more. We're going to bring you up to speed on that.
And new action in the bullying death of this 11-year-old boy, we reported the story last night. We'll show you what law enforcement is now doing after our reporting and a major public outcry.
And an all-star exclusive 360 interview, Bono with the questions, George Clooney with the answers only here tonight on 360.
COOPER: We've got more breaking news tonight. There's been a debate, of course, over harsh interrogation techniques and whether or not one or several of them were torture.
Well, new evidence has now come to light. A memo in which some of the military people who helped devise these techniques flat out called them torture. The memo dated July 2002 was sent to the Pentagon's Chief lawyer. It came from the Military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency which is the group that ran the SERE program which used many of these interrogation techniques to train American forces to resist interrogation.
In the memo, the military is warning that use of these techniques could hurt American personnel when and if they're ever taken prisoner.
In part, it reads, quote, "The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel."
It goes on to detail why torture frequently leads to unreliable confessions and once used makes it impossible for interrogators to go back and get useful information using standard techniques.
Now, the unsigned author has used the word torture no less than 13 times to describe the activities in this two-page memo. If that weren't enough in just a few weeks the world will get a new look at alleged abuse at American military prisons, hundreds of new photographs.
360 was first to report it last night. On top of the pictures already out there, images that inflamed the Muslim world so much that support for America's presence in Iraq plummeted nearly overnight.
Tonight we're learning why the White House decided to release these pictures along with the so-called torture memos even though it could mean taking a big hit around the world and politically here at home.
Ed Henry takes us behind the scenes.
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The decision to release photos of U.S. personnel allegedly abusing prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan could spark another scandal like Abu Ghraib.
Coming after last week's release of Bush memos justifying alleged torture of terror suspects is inflaming conservatives who charge the President is making the country less safe.
JOHN FEEHERY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It's humiliating not only to Americans but it's humiliating to Muslims and it's going to have long- term ramifications for our intelligence strategy in the next ten years.
HENRY: Top White House aides flatly reject that charge, saying both decisions to release documents were driven by open records lawsuits the President didn't think he could win.
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There was a lot of back- and-forth in his mind over the course of several weeks about ensuring that this protected those that keep us safe, that it protected our national security.
HENRY: In the case of the Bush memos, top aides say the President took a very hands-on role at the final meeting. Mediating a dispute evenly split between advisers like CIA Director Leon Panetta who opposed the release and Attorney General Eric Holder who favored it.
Deliberations dragged on late into the night until finally in Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's office, the President called for one person on each side to debate, releasing the memos won out.
And as the President prepared for a trip to Latin America, he announced his decision and literally began dictating the public statement explaining the move.
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Working the White House is like the guy on the variety shows who spins all the plates at once. And I've never seen a president with more plates spinning at the same time.
HENRY: Republicans believe this debate at the end of the first 100 days will distract from the President's push for health reform and other big issues and seemed delighted at the prospect.
FEEHERY: He's going to spend a lot more time on these soothing bruised egos on Capitol Hill and it really is going to hurt his agenda, his domestic agenda on the Hill. There's no doubt about it.
HENRY: Surprisingly, some Democrats agree and are urging the president to give in to calls for an outside panel to investigate the torture issue.
BEGALA: It seems to me he's making a mistake in saying he doesn't want some independent commission to look at it, because that can take it off of his plate.
HENRY (on camera): In fact, former president George W. Bush initially opposed creation of the 9/11 Commission but eventually gave in, a scenario that could play out again.
Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.
COOPER: Just a reminder, we're going to continue to follow tonight's breaking news, the memo that uses the word torture 13 times arguing it doesn't work and should not be used.
And even as that sinks in, there's late word tonight that America's enemy is on the move again in Pakistan.
First they marched to within 60 miles of the capital. Now, a new twist on the ground. The question is, is the danger over or about to grow? Nic Robertson is on the scene.
Also tonight, new developments in the Craigslist killing. New potentially incriminating evidence against that man, suspect Philip Markoff.
And later President Obama's first 100 days, new photos, an Up Close look, very personal, at times heartwarming images. Life for the Obama's inside the White House. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: New warning today from America's top general in the war on al Qaeda and the Taliban. David Petraeus told Congress that recent Taliban advances in Pakistan threatened, in his words, the country's very existence; Pakistan's very existence. A country with nuclear weapons, it should be pointed out.
And as he spoke Taliban forces were actually pulling back slightly from a crucial province. This is the kind of intimidation they've been leaving behind. This is a photo from The New York Times. That's a barber in Buner Province, looking at the sign painted on his shop, shave is strictly forbidden it reads in Arabic.
No shaving, no education for women in Taliban-controlled areas, beatings, bindings -- blindings for women not in burqas, death for those who resist.
The latest now from Nic Robertson.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These Taliban may look like they're pulling back from their latest offensive, but what they are showing reporters here, just 60 miles from the capital, may be deceptive. They are not all leaving.
SAM ZARIFI, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: The withdrawal is only for the non-local Taliban and that the local Buneree Taliban are still very much there.
ROBERTSON: Faced with a government threat to pull out or be kicked out by the army, the Taliban seem to be backing down, but probably only for now. The Taliban presence in Pakistan has grown over the past five years to a staggering level.
ZAFIRI: The Taliban officially control between 8 million to 10 million people.
ROBERTSON: It has been growth by stealth from safe havens in the south along the border with Afghanistan where the population is already in tune with the Taliban's religious agenda, moving northward and then looping toward the capital, Islamabad and threatening the important city of Peshawar.
And that's not all. Now the Taliban are also infiltrating the province that's home to the capital, claiming responsibility for a deadly attack on a police academy there last month.
Despite the obvious threat, Pakistan's Prime Minister says the country's nuclear weapons are safe. U.S. experts believe those weapons have been taken apart and stashed in different military bases.
(on camera): Reality is, the Taliban are not yet capable of taking the capital, but they are shaking confidence in the country. Politicians appear paralyzed. But many here think there should be national unity. There is only infighting.
(voice-over): And when many think the military should be responding with full force, much of Pakistan's conventional military supported by U.S. tax dollars stands along the border with rival India, unprepared and out of position to fight an insurgency.
And if the Taliban pressures alone don't threaten stability here enough, consider this. Much of the largest province is in revolt against the government. Relations with Afghanistan and India are extremely tense. And the United States and Britain are leaning on the government for action, it seems unable to take.
ROBERTSON: So it's perhaps hardly surprising under all that pressure that we hear pushback from the government here. They say that they want more help with the army, more retraining to fight an insurgency, more equipment to help them fight a war that they're just not ready and able to fight -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nic Robertson, stick around. Nic, we want to talk to you coming up right after the break. I want to talk about why the Pakistan army isn't doing more to stop the Taliban.
And you heard Nic saying that they want more money for more retraining. We've been giving them billions for an awfully long time. Could the militants actually get their hands on the nukes in Pakistan? We'll talk it over with Nic and terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank.
And last night we told you the heartbreaking story of this little boy, Jaheem Herrera. Endlessly bullied, kids called him gay in school. He was just 11 years old. He took his own life. He hung himself.
Now the D.A. is asking questions in the school of some of those kids. We've got the latest details on the investigation.
And superstars who to make a difference; we asked Bono and George Clooney to share the stage for an exclusive interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BONO, ACTOR: Hey.
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: How is that? How are you doing?
BONO: Very good. Very good. Hey Jude don't make it bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The twist, Bono asked George Clooney the questions. The interview when 360 continues.
COOPER: A moment ago you saw Nic Robertson's look at how Pakistan is fighting and in some ways failing to fight the Taliban. Nic joins us now along with terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank.
Nic, I mean, you talked before about the Pakistan military just before the break. Why are they not more aggressive in fighting these militants? I mean, they've signed peace deals in North Waziristan and South Waziristan and now you have the Taliban 60 miles away from the capital.
ROBERTSON: You know, that's what's most perplexing, Anderson, isn't it, because they're not getting the right political signals that the politicians here are telling them that they'd rather make a deal.
But what we're seeing in other parts of the country where the army went hard against the Taliban, close to the Afghan border, there was a huge amount of destruction of homes and innocent civilian lives. And that's what the government says they're concerned about now.
That if they go crashing in hard against the Taliban, then they lose a lot of popular support, and that's one of the things that they say is holding them back.
COOPER: Well and Paul, that's the key to fighting an insurgency. You don't go in necessarily hard and slaughter everyone around. You try to be surgical. Do they have -- and they have a million troops in Pakistan.
It's an enormous, huge, huge military. Do they have paramilitary forces? Can they fight an insurgency? Do they know how?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, they have a lot of troops. In 2003 and 2004, they went in very, very hard into the tribal areas and they killed a lot of people. They alienated people and then the Taliban rose up and then they cut peace deals with these groups.
So they've not had a very effective counterinsurgency strategy. They don't really have that capability that experience. They're much more about going after India, much more about the India standoff.
COOPER: Well, you were saying 80 percent of the troops are on the Indian border.
CRUICKSHANK: That's absolutely right. Since the Mumbai massacre in November last year, there's been more tension between India and Pakistan. And that means that the Pakistani military has been more focused then recently on India.
COOPER: You know, Nic, we've seen pictures of what happens to people, especially girls, women, who live in Taliban-controlled areas inside Pakistan.
I mean, we've seen public floggings of women if they go out of the house without a male family member escort. We've seen, you know, people stoned. Do they have popular support? I mean, why don't people rise up against them?
ROBERTSON: Well, I think one of the reasons they can't rise up is because they don't have that sort of local support from the army or the police. The police just aren't paid enough either and would rather stay in their headquarters than go out and face the Taliban.
So people don't have the support to rise up against them. There are some of these places like the Swat Valley, this was a ski resort. Lots of tourists used to go there, international tourists.
A lot of the people there are very -- are much more cosmopolitan than you might imagine for some of the hill-like areas in Pakistan.
But, having said that, this is an area, the Pashtun area, the border with Afghanistan, where those Taliban values of real conservative Islam, the values of -- the sort of Pashtunwali, the code of honor among people, are still really strong. So when an outside force comes in against them, they band together and fight them.
So you've got, on the one hand, yes, people don't -- a lot of people don't have an affinity for them, but at the same time, they will stand by them and support them.
COOPER: Paul, Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said that we're moving closer to the tipping point. How bad -- I mean, could the government -- could the Taliban take over Pakistan, and could they get control of nuclear weapons?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, NYU CENTER ON LAW & SECURITY: I don't think they could do either of those things. The Pakistani military is just too strong. But they're getting closer and closer to Islamabad.
Now, there are encouraging signs within Pakistan. There's an emerging backlash against these militants. There was this beating of a 17- year-old girl recently in the Swat Valley, and of course, this caused outrage across Pakistan.
COOPER: That's the videotape right there that people are watching.
CRUICKSHANK: Absolutely. And this has caused outrage.
COOPER: So people in Pakistan at large are seeing what's happening and are outraged?
CRUICKSHANK: That's absolutely right. And -- but, you know, at a certain point the military has got to intervene, but it needs many more capabilities. The United States needs to help with training in this regard in counterinsurgency. This is a military which has not had much experience with these sorts of techniques, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Paul Cruickshank, appreciate your expertise. And Nic Robertson, stay safe in Pakistan. Nic, thanks.
Join the live chat happening now. Let us know what you think about what's happening in Pakistan and all the other stories we've been reporting on, AC360.com. Also Erica Hill is broadcasting during commercial breaks on the Web.
Next on the program, a jailhouse visit for the accused Craigslist killer. The parents of med student Phil Markoff see their son for the first time since his arrest. And the mother of the woman he allegedly murdered describes the devastation of losing her daughter. All of the latest developments on the story.
Plus an update on the shocking story, a child taunted by classmates kills himself. This little boy 11 years old; he hung himself. Now a prosecutor wants to know if he was bullied to death. We'll have a live report on that.
COOPER: A Craig -- accused Craigslist killer Mark -- Phil Markoff remains under suicide watch tonight as the case against him appears to be getting stronger. Police now say they have new evidence connecting him to the murder of an aspiring young actress.
And there's more. The families at the center of this shocking crime are speaking out. Randi Kaye has been following the latest on the story. She joins us again with the details -- Randi.
KAYE: Hi there, Anderson.
First of all, today was the first day that Phil Markoff's parents could actually see him in jail. They're divorced. But they went together. They showed up there this afternoon in a black limousine. They spent about two hours inside with him. And they didn't say anything to the media. Of course, they were shouted at with many questions, but they didn't respond at all.
COOPER: How shocked they must be.
KAYE: They're very brave for actually getting through this -- this crowd of media there. But the lawyer -- Markoff's lawyer actually spoke on their behalf. He said that anyone who is locked up right now is suffering. And then he had this to say just on behalf of Philip Markoff's parents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SALSBERG, MARKOFF'S ATTORNEY: They asked that if you have questions, that you ask questions of me. And so, you know, they love their son very much. They're supportive of him. And that that's what they -- that's what they would say if they were speaking themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Also today, the mother of one of the victims in this case, Anderson, Julissa Brisman, who was murdered in this case, her mother released a statement today. Today actually would have been her 26th birthday.
She says that she spoke to her daughter every day. And in part, this is what her statement said: "The feeling of losing my daughter in this way and the pain she must have felt will haunt me for the rest of my life. She won't live to see her dreams. We will hold Julissa in our hearts every day."
COOPER: And what about the evidence in the case? I mean, there seems to be mounting evidence against Philip Markoff. KAYE: Yes, and none of this seems to be very good for Philip Markoff. We have a couple of things to tell you about.
First of all, a fingerprint from the Rhode Island case; he hasn't been charged in that case...
KAYE: But they are looking at him. Investigators say that he did attack a third victim in the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, Rhode Island. Well, now there are media reports tonight saying that they have matched a fingerprint on the wall in that hotel room to Philip Markoff.
Also the "Boston Globe" and other news outlets reporting tonight that the gun that was taken from Philip Markoff's apartment in Quincy, Massachusetts, during that search warrant that was executed earlier this week, that that gun matches the bullets that were used to kill Julissa Brisman, the murder victim in this case. She was shot three times. One was a fatal shot to the heart.
And one other thing that I just want to note, which I think is important. Philip Markoff's fiancee's father is speaking out for the first time. He has said, you know, a lot of people have wondered, well, if she lived with Philip Markoff...
KAYE: ... and he did do this, could she possibly have known?
And now, just as of yesterday, the fiancee's father said that there is no way, if indeed Philip Markoff is guilty, that she had any idea what was going on.
COOPER: Well, we haven't heard anything more from the fiance, other than that e-mail that she sent to -- I think it was ABC.
KAYE: No, she's been coming out in his defense. But that's all we've heard from her.
COOPER: Right. All right. Randi, appreciate it. Randi Kaye reporting.
We're going to have a lot more ahead. We're going to be talking -- taking a look at the breaking news. Mexico City, 1,000 people right now infected with this -- this swine flu. We're going to talk to someone in Mexico City who is understandably concerned. Sixty-eight deaths there. A number of cases here already in the United States. A thousand people, as I said, infected in Mexico City.
Looking into some 70 people, high school students, right here in New York City who may be infected. They've come down with something. That's going to be investigated.
We'll have a live report from Mexico City, coming up.
Be right back.
COOPER: More now on our breaking news. A deadly new strain of the swine flu that spreads, not just from swine to people but from -- then person to person. That's what's making -- giving people a lot of concern.
At least 68 deaths being tied to it in Mexico right now. In Mexico City, a thousand people infected. Eight known cases here in America.
The Associated Press is reporting right now about 75 high school kids here in New York City are ill and are now being tested. Mexico City already on high alert; as I said, 1,000 infected.
Joining us now on the phone is Maria Ortiz, a college student in the capital. Maria, how concerned are you and your friends?
MARIA ORTIZ, COLLEGE STUDENT IN MEXICO CITY (via telephone): Excuse me? The connection's sort of bad.
COOPER: How concerned are you and your friends about this flu?
ORTIZ: Well, it's sort of a divided opinion. Some of my friends actually canceled exams for tonight. And then again, I was planning on going to a concert later, but I called a friend, and that's still on. So really, I'm not sure.
I mean, I know a lot of parents are concerned. But as far as my friends go and people at my school, it's sort of divided. Some are not going out. Some are going on with their plans.
COOPER: Some people are canceling their plans. They don't want to go to a concert. They don't want to be around a lot of people?
ORTIZ: Yes. I mean, a lot of, like, massive public events have been canceled. But as far as I know, like certain, like, theater shows and smaller concerts are still -- are still scheduled. So...
COOPER: Has your school been shut down? Because I understand a lot of the schools all -- in Mexico City have been.
ORTIZ: Yes, yes. Today -- well, last night around 11:30, the president declared, the health secretary was canceling school, like all levels, public, private, universities, public schools, everything.
COOPER: Are you walking around with a mask?
ORTIZ: Well, I went out to lunch today, and I wasn't wearing a mask. But I saw -- I saw a couple of people wearing masks, but not most of them.
COOPER: Do you plan to?
ORTIZ: No. Well, I'm actually not going to go out later. I wasn't too concerned until I started reading the news, like, two hours ago. So I might cancel my plans.
COOPER: What concerns you the most?
ORTIZ: Well, I don't know, putting my parents through the grief of having me sick, basically.
COOPER: And do you have any sense of -- I mean, you don't know of anyone, though, who has gotten sick?
ORTIZ: Well, I mean, not with diagnosed influenza. I mean, my mom felt sick last week. I had a friend who was sick two days ago, but she's fine now. So personally, I don't know anybody that's been diagnosed.
COOPER: Well, I hope it stays that way. Maria, appreciate you talking with us tonight. Maria Ortiz from Mexico City. Certainly a lot of concern in a lot of parts of Mexico City tonight and here in the U.S. We are tracking this thing very closely.
In the last few weeks, this other story that we've been reporting about, we told you about two heartbreaking stories. Two young boys whose families say they were bullied to death. The question is who's to blame. And tonight a prosecutor wants to know.
Take a look at a picture: Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover. You should know his name. You should look at his face. His mom says he was taunted at his Massachusetts school. Kids there called him gay. They said he was feminine. On April 6, he hanged himself in his home. He was just 11 years old.
Now, take a look at Jaheem Herrera. You should also know his face and his name. He was also 11. He was harassed, bullied by students at his Georgia school. Kids there made fun of the way he spoke. They, too, said he was gay. Jaheem committed suicide on April 16. He also hung himself.
His mom complained about the bullying to school officials, but the slurs continued. Now the district attorney is launching an investigation.
David Mattingly joins us from Atlanta for the very latest -- David.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it's been about a week since he killed himself. And this fifth grader, a lot of questions were left behind.
We're looking at right now what sort of investigation is going on. And the answer is, in some ways, what investigation? Police tell me they had stopped asking questions when Jaheem's death was ruled a suicide. And only today the district attorney says her office will be looking into this. But at the same time, she's lowering expectations that we could see anyone going to jail over this.
She says she will look and see if any laws were broken regarding threats or assault by the bullies themselves. But if you're looking for any prosecution of parents or school officials, it's apparently not going to happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GWENDOLYN KEYES FLEMING, DEKALB COUNTY D.A.: I doubt there will be anybody that will be held criminally for any kind of activity at the school system level.
But really, I know what we're talking about, crimes and that type of thing. But certainly as a mom and a member of the community, my goal beyond just looking to see if there's a crime is to figure out if there is a way we can prevent this from happening in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: But here's the thing with this, Anderson. Things like this weren't supposed to be happening now. The school system is described by experts as having a thorough anti-bullying program. Teachers and administrators are supposed to take any allegation of bullying seriously and do something about it.
Jaheem's mother says she complained to the school multiple times about what was happening to him, and it didn't stop.
COOPER: Are school officials investigating this at all?
MATTINGLY: Well, they probably are, but they're not talking about it, if they are. The superintendent is supposed to speak publicly for the first time since Jaheem's death. That's supposed to happen next week.
We got a press release today. Take a look at it. It doesn't say a lot. Only they want to reassure the community that they're concerned; they care about the well-being of their students. They're committed to a safe and nurturing environment, and that they're going to reinforce the way they address unacceptable behaviors.
So far nothing about the bullies or the adults at the school who were supposed to be protecting Jaheem.
COOPER: We're going to continue to follow this. David Mattingly, appreciate it.
The problem is far greater than maybe any of us realize. The National Association of School Psychologists says that more than 3 million kids are bullied each year; three million. The question is did the bullying drive these two boys to kill themselves? And if so, who should be held accountable and how?
Joining us now, senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and Sally Vilardi, she's with the Committee for Children which created an anti- bullying program taught in schools around the world. Her 11-year-old son had also been a victim of bullying.
Jeff, what's the Dekalb County district attorney actually looking for? I mean, is she going to be interviewing 11-year-old children, and how is that going to work?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is definitely a tragedy, but it's very hard to believe that it's going to be seen as a crime. Because as you point out, the would-be perpetrators, would-be defendants, would-be suspects, whatever you want to call them, they're 11 years old, too.
And in very rare circumstances 11-year-olds have been prosecuted. But certainly something like this where you're likely talking about words, abusive, mean words, but just words or perhaps pushing around, that's the kind of thing that's always dealt with at the school level: suspensions, expulsions. Criminal law almost never comes into play, even when a tragedy like this follows.
COOPER: Sally, as we said, your child was victimized by bullying. How should bullying be dealt with? I mean, especially in an extreme case like the one that occurred in Dekalb.
SALLY VILARDI, COMMITTEE FOR CHILDREN: The tragedy here is that, you know, Jaheem's mother advocated for her son so admirably.
COOPER: And Carl's mom did the same thing in Massachusetts.
VILARDI: Yes. Yes, they did, and it fell on deaf ears. You know, I mean, with bullying, you have to act quickly. And you're reliant on a school to know what to do.
I was very fortunate, you know. The school that my son was at acted very quickly. You know, the kids were spoken to; the parents were informed. You know, the school took actions.
For example, the principal, the next day, walked into the playground at recess with my son and played with him. You know, it was a loud, silent message that, you know, we're watching you, and you won't go unnoticed.
COOPER: Jeff, can a school be held liable? I mean, I've heard cases of adults who were teased as kids and then tried to, you know, sue the school.
TOOBIN: That's a possibility. You could have a civil lawsuit, a failure to supervise, a failure to discipline kids sufficiently and, thus, to protect Jaheem.
But, you know, we have to know a lot more about the facts here. We have very sketchy reports about what actually went on. And these cases, when they are cases, are very dependent on exactly what happened and what the teachers knew and what the administrators did and if they acted reasonably. We don't really know those details, and those details will be the whole story.
COOPER: So Sally, you're saying the key is not just, you know, an anti-bullying pledge that people in the school take. It's specific action. It's specifically talking to the kids involved, to their parents, to other bystanders who witnessed it. Because other kids, even if you're not involved in the direct bullying or being bullied, they witness. They know what's going on.
VILARDI: Yes. And you know, programs can be put in place, but implementing the program and getting a school-wide adoption is critical. And, you know, yes, we've got 39 states with anti-bullying laws, but we've got to get from, you know, policy to action. And when a school actually really does implement with fidelity a program, you can get good results, because kids can understand how to have bystander power.
COOPER: It's -- it's sickening that we've had to report on this twice now in the last two weeks.
VILARDI: I know. It's just...
COOPER: Two 11-year-old boys.
VILARDI: It's heartbreaking. I mean, my heart goes out to these mothers. I just -- it really is.
COOPER: Yes. It's shocking. I pray we do not have to report on this -- this specific case again. But we'll certainly continue to follow the bullying situation.
Sally Vilardi, appreciate your expertise and Jeff Toobin, as well.
Up next, we're going to take a look at the world's most influential people, at least two of them. We asked Bono to interview George Clooney. We'll show you what happened when those two stars collided.
And President Obama as he's never really been seen before, at least in the first 100 days. Kind of a behind-the-scenes look: exclusive photos with his daughters behind the scenes during his first 100 days in the White House.
Be right back.
COOPER: George Clooney is more than a well-known actor and director. He's also a tireless champion of the people in Darfur, Sudan, trying to stop the genocide there. Hundreds of thousands, of course, have died in ethnic clashes. Entire villages have been burnt down, millions displaced.
For his efforts "TIME" Magazine has named George Clooney one of the 100 most influential people this year. The special issue hits newsstands next Friday. That's when we'll also air a "TIME" 100 and AC 360 special, "The World's Most Influential People."
"TIME" asked U-2's lead singer, Bono, to write Clooney's profile. And both stars talked about serious issues like Darfur. They also tackled lighter topics. Here's the 360 exclusive. They're interviewing each other at Rose Theater, at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of jazz at Lincoln Center here in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BONO, MUSICIAN/ACTIVIST: You know, when in Ireland, Irish people claiming President Obama, they put an apostrophe on the "O." And of course, they claim you. And you're Irish. Are you an O'Clooney? Are you at all aware -- I mean, how far back is your Irishness?
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: My great-grandfather.
BONO: Is there anything, DNA. I mean, I know you've been known to scrap?
BONO: I've certainly witnessed some drinking. I haven't -- singing, I'm afraid to say I haven't.
CLOONEY: Be glad you haven't heard me singing.
BONO: What is your...
CLOONEY: I am -- our family's very Irish, you know, still. Irish- Catholics. Grew up in a very sort of -- sort of rooted in Midwestern now, you know, in America. But very Irish, sort of, you know, family, big families. I've only been there a couple of times, which is the funniest thing for me. I should spend much more time.
BONO: I know. You should stay where you are. That's all I have left. Really, I just want to thank, you know, whoever it was, your great-grandparents, your forefathers, the potato famine, whoever I have to thank...
BONO: Just be glad you made it on the boat. You're...
CLOONEY: I swam here, the whole way.
COOPER: For a behind-the-scenes look at the interview, go to our Web site, AC360. And again, catch more of it one week from tonight: "TIME" 100/AC 360 special, "The World's Most Influential People" next Friday. See who else made the list.
Up next, the first 100 days in the White House; new photos of the Obamas including Sasha and Malia. Most of these you've never seen before. It's our "Shot of the Day."
COOPER: Time for tonight's "Shot," an intimate look at the first family, the Obamas including the two first daughters. We have behind- the-scenes photos. You can see them in this week's "TIME" magazine, taken by Callie Shell. She turned down an offer by the president to be the official White House photographer, opting to work for "TIME" instead. Here's her personal take on the Obamas.
CARRIE SHELL, PHOTOGRAPHER: I wanted to try to share the relationship between the president and the first lady.
It was the very first formal dinner at the White House, the governors' dinner. And Earth, Wind and Fire played. They had started with "September" and lots of energy. And then they went to the song "Fantasy." And so it's a slow dance. And everybody, you know, started slow dancing. And he started slow dancing with her.
It was a Sunday and they had a whole day of budget meetings. And then he got to dance with his wife.
And there's another photograph where she's kind of dusting off his black tie suit before he has to meet the receiving line. At the same time, she's also the person who kind of jokes around with him and sends him back out there and says, "OK. You decided to be president, so let's go greet 200 people."
There's a photograph of Sasha in the Oval with her father talking. And they just returned from Chicago. And he had gone over to the Oval Office. And she had just walked into the Oval. And he said, "How did you get here?"
And she said, "I just walked over."
And he said, "Did you not get lost?"
And she said, "Oh, I don't get lost."
And what's wonderful now is that they can drop in and see him in the Oval. Or he can run into, say, Malia after he had done seven meetings.
He just walked out of a videotaping for ESPN. And he ran into Michelle and his older daughter, Malia. And she was talking about her day at school.
He reached over, and he held her head, because he just wanted to make sure he heard everything she said, I guess. And I think he also wanted to make sure she knew he was listening. And he loved that moment.
I mean, and then they went upstairs, and we walked back to the Oval. And he just said, "Isn't she smart? She's so smart."
If you can always remember that these people are allowing you into their lives to take a piece of them every day and show them the respect they're giving you, then I think you build a relationship. And I think it's your responsibility to let them know they can trust you.
COOPER: Wow. Terrific pictures.
You can see all the most recent "Shots" on our Web site, AC360.com, and also all the pictures in "TIME" magazine.
A program reminder: Wednesday night, 7 Eastern, a CNN primetime event, "100 Days of the Obama Presidency." Don't miss our special coverage. Plus you elected them, now grade them. You get to rate the president, Congress on CNN's NATIONAL REPORT CARD. That's Wednesday night right here on CNN.
That does it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts now. Have a great weekend. We'll see you Monday.