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April 10th, 2008
09:25 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 4/10/08

In tonight’s show, new pictures of the white temple at the Yearning for Zion ranch in Eldorado, Texas. In this temple adult men allegedly consummated their “spiritual marriages” to their teenage brides.

Also, the stunning revelation that local authorities in Texas had a confidential informant inside Warren Jeffs’ polygamous sect for four years. So why did it take so long for them to raid the ranch? David Mattingly will look into that.

And Dale Barlow, who reportedly was named by the alleged 16 year old victim, is living in Colorado City, Arizona even though there is an arrest warrant out for him in Texas. So why is he still at large tonight? Gary Tuchman is on that story.

Finally, the war in Iraq. It was started by one president and likely will be finished by another. Michael Ware has an extended interview with the commander on the ground, Gen. David Petraeus. We want your thoughts on this interview so we are extending the live blog. Tonight we’ll be posting comments starting at 10p ET and we’ll stop at 11:20p ET.

Be sure to check out our new live web camera from the 360° studio. The shot features a behind the scene look at the set. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA


Filed under: Live Blog
April 10th, 2008
07:21 PM ET

African Warriors in the heart of London

Maasai warriors sit on the 'tube' in London, on their first trip outside of Tanzania. They are in London to run the world famous marathon.

 

Six Maasai warriors chanting their traditional songs and jumping in their sandals made of car tires, a sight I am used to seeing in Kenya.
But in London?!
It turns out they are here to run the London Marathon, competing in the 26-mile race in their traditional Shuka robes and heavy buffalo hide Elongo shields. Because I've spent time with the tribe in East Africa, I was invited to spend some 'training' time with them.

We first met at Trafalgar Square. Under Nelson's column with the giant lions at its base, their 24-year-old leader, Isaya, directed the chanting that they frequently use to scare off real lions in Northeast Tanzania. I greeted Isaya in his native Kiswahili language, and he was pleased to meet someone based in his homeland.
Since they arrived, the Maasai have become the toast of the town. Fleet Street's reporters have clamored to spend time with them; TV crews have followed their every move. And they seemed tired of the attention. Remember, none had even left their country before, let alone taken a train or a plane or eaten an English breakfast – something the press here absolutely 'ate up'. All a bit overwhelming.

 

 

For all the attention, their purpose is to raise money for their tiny village called Eluai, where two out of three children die because of dirty water. They hope to bring in 60,000 pounds (around $120,000) to achieve a permanent water source for their village.

We went with them on their first rides on the subway – called "the tube" here. We admired the tall buildings of the gleaming Canary Warf business area together – they had never seen a building taller than a story or two before their trip.
But all they really wanted to talk about was how they were on a mission. As warriors, or Moran, they have the ultimate responsibility for safety and health in their village. And they are using a pretty spectacular method to secure it.
I asked Isaya though if there's anything else he wanted to do here. Yes, he said, "to see the Queen of England." Perhaps with all the attention they will.
 
– David McKenzie, CNN Correspondent


UPDATE: Many of you have asked how to help: http://www.maasaimarathon.org/

 


Filed under: David McKenzie • Maasai
April 10th, 2008
06:24 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: Up and down

I hope it is as beautiful where you are reading this as it is in NYC today… I also hope this perfect spring day isn’t a tease. I want to put the cold weather stuff away for good!

It’s a lovely day for flying – too bad many of you who want and need to fly somewhere today may be grounded. Another 900+ flights canceled by American Airlines today. I know I touched on this yesterday, and I definitely prefer to be safe, but how did it get this bad? Nearly 2,500 flights now canceled over the past three days, 140,000 passengers stranded, and this afternoon word the American MD-80 fleet won’t be ready before Saturday. I think it’s going to take more than a voucher to win some travelers back.

Senator Barack Obama doesn’t think “don’t ask, don’t tell” works. He told The Advocate, “I think there's increasing recognition within the Armed Forces that this is a counterproductive strategy.  "We're spending large sums of money to kick highly qualified gays or lesbians out of our military, some of whom possess specialties like Arab-language capabilities that we desperately need. That doesn't make us more safe."

It’s interesting he’s bringing this up. Yes, I know he gave the interview to The Advocate after being criticized for not giving the gay press enough attention, but the headline did grab me. I wonder how aggressively Obama would pursue a change in the policy? I wonder how the country would react to the issue this time around? I’d like to find out.

FULL POST


Filed under: Erica Hill
April 10th, 2008
06:10 PM ET

Searching for Warren Jeffs’ Words

Jeffs

Among the many restrictions on members of the FLDS polygamist sect, one of the most severe is on music. Warren Jeffs, the church's self-proclaimed prophet who is now in jail, imposed a total ban on popular music.

But Jeffs penned and recorded many of his own songs with church members. Over the years we’ve gotten hold of about 12 of these songs and often played parts of them during our news coverage. Hearing the words and often the voice of Jeffs on these low-tech recordings is creepy. But you can’t help but be drawn in. It is like peering through a keyhole and getting a glimpse of the old-fashioned obeying, orderly, and devoted world on the other side.

When news of the raid on the YFZ ranch began to break, one of the first details we learned was that the name of ranch came from a song written by Jeffs called “Yearning for Zion.” Naturally, we wanted to find the song—and that became my mission. FULL POST


Filed under: Polygamy
April 10th, 2008
05:52 PM ET

Why not arrest the man whose alleged attacks sparked the raid?

Officials in Mohave County, Arizona have every capability of arresting Dale Barlow, the 50-year-old man who is alleged to have beaten, choked and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl after their "spiritual marriage."

It's that girl's phone call to authorities in Texas, and an arrest warrant for Barlow, that sparked the raid on the compound of the polygamist FLDS sect in west Texas last Thursday.

Law enforcement officials say Barlow is here in Arizona, and they could arrest him if Texas asks them to. But they tell us they have NOT received an arrest warrant.

So the obvious question is why?

– Gary Tuchman, 360 Correspondent


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Polygamy
April 10th, 2008
05:47 PM ET

America really does run on Dunkin’

Pentagon

When you are a Pentagon correspondent, as I have been since....oh...I don't want to say how long….you learn that news comes from the strangest places in the 17.5 miles of Pentagon hallways. 

In fact just the other day one of the CIA liaison officers who works here and I were chatting, in the hallway, and he pointed his ‘best intel’ came from hanging out at the Pentagon’s Dunkin Donuts counter in the morning where he could “run into everybody” he needed to talk to without wasting time in endless meetings.

Sometimes you get news by just being in the hallways. You can really get a feel for when things seem to be other than normal, when people are in a crisis mode.

But sometimes you get the most important news by just keeping track of the tidbits and waiting a few weeks for a story to move off the front page. Once it's out of the headlines, then it's time to get down to business and talk to my various deep throats around here.

So here's a tidbit, but it's darn interesting. 

FULL POST


Filed under: Barbara Starr • Pentagon
April 10th, 2008
04:19 PM ET

Escaping a closed society, and unlearning all you know

Over the years we have worked with many children and youth from isolated sects and cults.  This includes the Branch Davidian children during and after the Waco siege (described somewhat in the book “The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog”).  

Each of these experiences is somewhat different but a major challenge for all of these children is dealing with the “modern” world. In many cases, these children have been taught that “outsiders” and “non-believers” are evil and will harm them.  They have been taught that the outsiders will not understand their spiritual and holy practices (e.g., polygamy or spiritual marriage at age 12 or 13). 

They often have been taught that it is a virtue to confuse or lie to the non-believers – all of which make conventional assessment, interviewing and evaluation very difficult until some kind of trusting relationship can be formed between a child and the clinician or interviewer.

FULL POST


Filed under: Dr. Bruce Perry
April 10th, 2008
02:34 PM ET

Polygamy investigation: informant for 4 years, but no action?

Polygamy

Texas officials talk of an "excellent dialogue" they had developed with leaders of the polygamist compound in West Texas over the last four years.

We're finding out today that dialogue was apparently filled with lies and deception.

Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran tells me he and his deputies had been to the ranch many times since construction began...but until the raid last weekend, never saw any teenage girls who appeared to be pregnant or have children.

The sheriff says he was aware of polygamy practices at the compound. And, he says he had a confidential informant who had provided information over the last several years.

But court documents show the informant was a FORMER member of the sect. And the sheriff told me the informant said nothing that could have given him the legal means to go in looking for sexually abused teeage girls. He was unclear about what exactly the informant had told him about whether there was abuse of underage girls.

A search warrant unsealed last night reveals what had been hidden from authorities for so long:

FULL POST


Filed under: David Mattingly • Polygamy
April 10th, 2008
12:59 PM ET

Behind the Scenes: “We Look Healthy, But Inside We’re Rotting”

CNN's Paula Newton reports on the impact of Zimbabwe's delayed election results.

The calm and tightly controlled streets of the capital city here, Harare, are hard to fathom. Why aren’t we seeing protests in the streets, panic at the banks and brawls in the food lines? When I asked one young Zimbabwean about it he explained, ‘It’s like a person, on the outside we look healthy, but inside we’re rotting,” he said.

On a rare, undercover journey into the Zimbabwean countryside, we tried to find ‘the rot’ and we didn’t have to look long. We passed several police checkpoints, dodging police all the way along our route before we joined a journey made by millions here each day, an all-consuming hunt for work and food.

FULL POST


Filed under: Paula Newton • Zimbabwe
April 10th, 2008
11:53 AM ET

Anxiety at the polygamist sect - and loyalty, too

Gary Tuchman reports

Polygamist families from a town raided in 1953 react to this week's Texas raid. CNN's Gary Tuchman reports from Arizona.

There is anxiety in the air in the towns where most of the FLDS members live:  Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah.

The members of Warren Jeffs' polygamist church are not supposed to watch TV or read newspapers. But alas, the ones who have talked to my producer Amanda Townsend and me are aware of the raid that has taken place at their sect's ranch 800 miles away in Texas. Authorities removed 416 children citing a danger of abuse arising from the marriage of gown men to girls as young as 13.

This community has been raided before, but it was a long time ago.  People over 60 still remember and talk about the raid of 1953 where about 260 children were taken from their families. They teach their children and grandchildren it could happen again.

Well, now it has happened again–in even larger numbers–and this will only increase the feelings among church members of victimization and fear of outsiders.   People here say they believe another raid could now happen here at any time.

Invariably, you ask hard core followers here about why they're not offended about children marrying adults, and they tell you if God wants that to happen, that takes precedence over man's laws. 

FULL POST


Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Polygamy
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