September 4th, 2009
10:24 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Cartel threat

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/03/14/mexico.bodies.found/art.juarez.bodies.02.afp.gi.jpg caption="Police look on as one of the nine bodies found in a common grave near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is removed."]

Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

The drug war in Mexico among cartels and government forces has become increasingly violent over the past year. The U.S. – Mexico border, especially, has experienced a dramatic surge of violence ever since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the drug cartels. Authorities believe cartel leaders are responsible for a shooting that killed 17 patients and wounded two others in a drug rehabilitation center earlier this week. A Mexican civic group said last week that Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, had the most slayings per capita in 2008 of any city in the world.

One documentary filmmaker has been reporting on the drug cartels for many years and he says his life has been threatened by narco-traffickers. He was recently informed by sources that if he ventures across the border, he will be spotted, kidnapped and likely tortured and killed. This may sound like hyperbole, but in today’s Mexico – where more than 50 journalists have been killed for covering this story in the last decade, such a threat must be taken seriously. Gary Tuchman investigates.

We also have part three of our series on the black market for human organs. Our investigation continues into the thriving and illegal trade of human body parts. Drew Griffin introduces us to some of the desperate donors who gave up pieces of themselves – literally. But they were left not with large cash payments, but rather with big scars and even bigger problems.

Susan Atkins, who was convicted of stabbing Sharon Tate as part of the Manson murders, was denied parole this week. Atkins is the longest serving female inmate in the California prison system and this was her 18th parole hearing. Ted Rowlands sat down with her husband, James Whitehouse, who is a Harvard-educated attorney and married Atkins in 1987. He’s spent years lobbying for her release. Ted Rowlands will explain what this ruling means for the case.

President Obama is facing a backlash around the country today, after it was announced he give a back-to-school speech to students around the country next Tuesday at noon. But many schools are saying they won’t show his speech and a handful of states have made the decision not to show the speech in any of their schools. Some parents are saying they may keep their children out of school because they’re not sure what the President will say. Former President George H.W. Bush gave an address to students in 1991 and in 1988 President Reagan took questions from middle school students and it was broadcast live. How did this become such a contentious issue?

Anderson will be live from Afghanistan next week where he will be embedded with the military on the frontlines of the fight against the Taliban. Earlier today, A NATO jet blasted two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban, setting off a huge fireball that killed approximately 90 people. Fifty-one U.S. troops died in Afghanistan last month, making it the deadliest month for American forces in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Will the Obama administration send more troops to the region? More on the situation in Afghanistan tonight and don’t miss our special coverage from Anderson, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Michael Ware and Peter Bergen in Afghanistan next week.

What else are you following today? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Felecia

    I'm a returning college student. I was assigned to give a short speech on someone I admire. I chose Anderson Cooper. It went very well and several in the audience did not know about his background. I hope that they will take a look at 360* and enjoy it as much as I do.

    September 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm |