Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Multi-Talented Mr. Cooper

This weekend we saw Anderson Cooper, the journalist, in the CNN documentary Taliban and Anderson Cooper the reality TV fan on Watch What Happens Live! on Bravo.

First, Anderson Cooper, the journalist ~ TALIBAN

Anderson sat down with Norwegian freelance journalist Paul Refsdal, to interview him about the time he spent embedded with the Taliban, in October 2009. In the first segment we are shown video footage of the Taliban preparing for battle. Then we learn why Refsdal wanted the assignment and that he had to gain approval from the Taliban. We also meet Dawran, a commander, who would hold Refsdal's fate in his hands.


The second segment begins as we learn of Refsdal's past reporting from war zones. There are many different Taliban groups fighting for many different reasons, but they share a strict interpretation of Islam. Refsdal begins filming and things start to get tense as no one knows exactly what to expect. Slowly the fighters begin to relax and Dawran (their commander) grants Refsdal full access in agreement for not revealing their location. Some interesting footage follows.


The third segment shows the Taliban gathering before an attack, awaiting their orders. We meet Omar, a local sub-commander, who has brought his fighters in to help with the attack. We learn that Dawran's son is one of his fighters and barely the same size as the weapon he carries. We see the fighters prepare their weapons and set off for battle. And then footage of the attack. Then we learn there was no report of the attack. At the end of the day Dawran goes to his home/hideout to spend time with his young children - he is both a fighter and a father.


Segment four shows the Taliban fighters in their spare time. Their favorite sport is throwing rocks. (Remember this is Afghanistan.) Their are rules to the game and we witness one such contest - a slice of everyday life in the Taliban. Abdul Rachman, a Sharia Judge pays a visit. He's used by the Taliban to enforce their strict religious laws. While Refsdal is originally fearful of the visit, his fear quickly fade as Rachman explains to Refsdal his interruption of the Sharia laws. The local people want the Taliban, when there is no Afghan government presence then the Taliban is the government. Refsdal believes the Taliban will be part of the solution for Afghanistan.


In segment five, Paul Refsdal's luck runs out! We see more footage of the Taliban fighters preparing for another attack. We learn just how ill-equipped the fighter's really are, yet they continue to fight, sometimes doing 2 or 3 attacks a day. Between attacks they talk on their walkie talkies and night gives way to singing. Their entertainment is that which they make for themselves. On the 8th day, it seems that the Americans are ready to respond to the Taliban's attacks. Refsdal was awoken around mid-night; Dawran comes to get him and they take cover.


In the final segment Dawran informs Refsdal that a dozen of his people have been killed in the Special Forces raid. He is actually crying about the turn of events. Dawran flees with his family and Omar offers Refsdal to come to his house. Refsdal returns to Kabul and decides to embed with Omar and after 4 weeks they reconnect and start out walking to Omar's hideout. An Al-Qaeda fighter comes and says he has information the Refsdal was a spy for the coalition while he was imbeded with Dawran -- and that Refsdal and his interpreter would be executed that night. Refsdal begins to reason/bargain with his captor - beginning with a request for ransom. Refsdal negotiates and is given options and he accepts converting to Islam. He keeps his word, but Omar does not. Omar wants conversion and a $20,000 ransom. Refsdal is given a phone to arrange for the money himself. "This is Afghanistan. I'm negotiating with the kidnappers and I'm making my own ransom calls." Refsdal manages to make some additional calls and get word to Dawran asking for help. Omar is called from Dawran and is under pressure from the Taliban to release Refsdal. Five days into the kidnapping things take what may be a fatal turn. He is possibly being sold to another group. Day six he is told he is being released. Refsdal and his interpreter are loaded onto a truck. It all comes down to one turn - to the right and he has been sold, to the left and he his being set free. Refsdal is released and returns to Norway. Dawran's hideout is destroyed two weeks later and two of his children are killed. Omar gets back into the hostage taking business, kidnapping, then releasing another journalist. Anderson asks Refsdal - "Was it worth it?" Listen to Refsdal's answer here ~


Then it was time for Anderson to head over to the Bravo Clubhouse on Sunday for Watch What Happens Live!

Anderson's Tweet ~

And then it was show time where there was talk of the RHOA, a bow, a game, gifts and more. Watch and enjoy!

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

And a picture from Twitter ~

I must say, as much as I admire and respect Anderson Cooper the journalist, seeing Anderson's lighter side provided a lot of laughs ~ Wonz.

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On_Love_Street_With_Jim_Morrison said...

The Taliban special was pretty good. Amazing that journalist got so much access. CNN should have more shows like this on in the future.

I LOVED Anderson on WWHL. Best WWHL ever. Anderson was so funny and just seemed to be in a really good mood. I like seeing him like that, and he seemed to get along well with NeNe. The boxers or briefs twitter question was pretty funny. Cannot wait to see the after show later today, if its anything like the other WWHL after shows it is going to be hilarious.

Lauren--NY said...

Everybody likes a little variety. Thanks, Wonz.

judy said...

After seeing Ne Ne on the HWOA, I think she has the most personality.
AC likes her, and she would be a perfect candidate to read "the bulletin," on 360. She has it all, she's appealing and real and they have a rapport.
If actors can report the news, real people can read it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you ATA for the WWHL post. It was so good. I don't know how to thank you enough. Anderson is really having fun with the show, and I love to see it.

aries moon said...

The Taliban documentary was pretty intense--the up close look at how the Taliban operates was unlike anything I've ever seen. Paul Refsdal is a very brave man to attempt to capture the lives of those volatile fighters--he must've been on edge every second.

AC, Andy C and Nene had me laughing throughout the whole WWHL show--AC's ability to go from serious to silly is something I've always loved about him.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Taliban special was great. very thought provoking.

Thought WWHL was hystericial. Anderson looked like he was having a great time. Have to watch the after show.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting all the clips. You did a great job. Will you also post the aftershow?