Sunday, May 15, 2011

TERROR IN LONDON: Anderson Cooper Circa 2006

About a month ago, we left Anderson Cooper, Circa 2006, in Kiryat Shmona, covering the crisis in the Middle East. In case you missed it, here's the link. After a slight diversion, we're back to looking at more of Mr. Cooper's reporting in 2006; this time - terrorist threats in London.

We'll pick up tonight with Anderson leaving Kiryat Shmona and arriving in London in time to anchor 360 on August 10, 2006 ~

"We're coming to you from London's Heathrow International Airport, the busiest airport in the world, a very tense location tonight, a terrifying plot in -- interrupted, police here say. But some of the alleged plotters, including the suspected ringleader, are still out there -- all the angles tonight on the suspects, at least 24 now in custody, on their ties to radical Islam, and possibly links with al Qaeda. We will look at how the plot was supposed to unfold, bombs disguised as bottled drinks on as many as 10 flights bound for -- from Britain to the United States, simultaneous explosions, mass murder, say authorities. Also, back at home, lines at airports, stepped-up security, parts of the U.S. commercial aviation system at threat level red for the first time in history -- everything we're seeing tells us this is serious. And it is not over yet." ~ Anderson Cooper

Earlier that day, David Doss, submitted the following 360 Blog post offering a behind the scenes look at the events of the day.

Early morning call prompts mad dash
A lot of you ask how we operate....
When my phone rang this morning, I looked quickly looked at the clock: 4:15 a.m. Nothing good ever happens at 4:15 a.m. It was our vice president of news coverage. Did I know about the terror plot? Where was Anderson? The assignment desk had already set up a conference bridge -- a kind of discreet party line -- for CNN managers to dial into to sort out the story and the logistics of getting London staffed-up. After all, many of CNN International's considerable resources were already dedicated to the Middle East. As for Anderson, after 28 days in the Middle East -- Cyprus, Lebanon and Israel -- he was driving down from Israel's northern border toward Tel Aviv to start a long weekend break. When I found him, Anderson and his cameraman Neil Hallsworth already had sketchy details of the breaking terror story and were looking into ways to get from Tel Aviv to London. Heathrow airport in London was shutdown. So we looked at flights to Paris and Budapest and then connecting to the Eurostar train. We figured that with air travel paralyzed rail would be a sure way to get Anderson to London. As it turned out, all of the connections were dicey at best, so we arranged a charter jet to a small airfield in the United Kingdom, added a couple of additional CNN producers to fill the seats, and before long, the plane was in the air. All of this happened before 6:30 a.m. Anderson should be on scene and reporting from London by mid-afternoon. Of course, we will continue our extensive coverage from the Middle East as well. John Roberts will anchor our coverage from there.
Posted By David Doss, "360" Executive Producer: 11:47 AM ET

And Anderson submitted the following post later in the day.

No escaping terror's reach
I'm in London. A few hours ago, I was in Kiryat Shmona, Israel, listening to a barrage of artillery fire.
Just after we finished the broadcast this morning at 7 a.m. local time, we started to get word of the alleged terror plot in London. I saw the story pop-up on my BlackBerry, and sure enough, a short time later I got the call from producers at CNN. "Can you get there?" "Yes," though it certainly wasn't easy. We have already assembled a fascinating program covering all the angles on this alleged plot. I'm now on the way to shoot some elements and interviews for the broadcast. It's odd to hop from one place to another so quickly, but it's even odder how world events are increasingly linked -- Hezbollah kidnaps Israeli soldiers, Israel strikes back, Al Qaeda threatens attacks against those supporting Israel, and now this. Is this alleged plot linked to what is happening in Lebanon? Not likely. British police say the investigation of the plot has been under way for months. Michael Chertoff, U.S. Homeland Security chief, put it this way: "This operation is in some respects suggestive of an Al Qaeda plot." But as authorities are quick to point out, the investigation is still under way. The world has gotten very small. We can wake up in Israel and hours later be in London, and terror can strike anywhere.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 3:26 PM ET

Anderson was again reporting Live from London, on August 11th ~

"We come to you tonight in the shadow of Tower Bridge in this grand old city, a city still on edge today. And we begin tonight with breaking news in the alleged plot to blow up airliners -- new word tonight on how authorities knew when to make their move, how they had concrete evidence that the plan was entering its final deadly stages, the simple, but terrifying words that told investigators this was for real. In this hour, we come to you in the shadow of the Tower Bridge, a lovely scene in a city still on edge after the discovery yesterday of this alleged plot to bring down as many as 10 airliners. We begin with breaking news here in London and four words: "Do your attacks now." That was the message to the men who police say were on the brink of blowing as many as 10 airliners out of the sky. CNN has learned that this four-word message was intercepted. And that, along with money wired from Pakistan to the alleged ringleaders told authorities that an attack was imminent. We are learning that tonight and a whole lot more." ~ Anderson Cooper

While the 2006 attacks were thwarted, London was not so lucky in 2005 and Anderson was on the scene reporting. From July 8, 2005 ~

Anderson began that broadcast with, "I'm Anderson Cooper, live in London, a city rocked yesterday by four explosions, a city bruised and battered, a city tonight back on its feet. Four deadly explosions. The death toll has been rising, more than 50 are killed. That is confirmed. The death toll is expected to rise as the investigation into who set these bombs and how they went off continues. ... First, though, take a look at these images, a whole different scene -- London at night, this grand old city, a city not brought down to its knees, a city not brought down by a few bombers, a city whose dignity and determination is intact this evening, despite a mounting death toll and the knowledge that there may be sleeper cells at work in this city right now. Yesterday, after four bombs exploded, time seemed to stand still. Take a look at some of the images we saw yesterday, the images of people's faces frozen, no matter where you looked in the crowd, people stunned by what had happened, a woman with burns on her face, wearing a special mask-shaped bandage, being helped by a stranger who didn't even know her name -- all the eyes in this picture, the same stunned look of disbelief. And here, as happened countless of times, a Londoner who cannot bear to keep her eyes any -- open any longer. Nevertheless, this city is back on its feet. This city this morning woke determined to get back to work, determined to make this city great once again. You know, we continue to be shocked, but we probably shouldn't be -- although, we probably always will be, that the things that surround us, the things which seem so solid really are as thin as tissue paper. All it takes is a bullet or a bomb to make us realize that something, which seems so solid, can suddenly evaporate, just like a puff of smoke."

And ended it with ...

COOPER (voice-over): There you are, riding a double decker bus, a hulking outsized great brood of a big, friendly beast, large enough to whisk dozens of people around town without showing any strain at all. There you are, you're bumping along, lost in the newspaper, oblivious to your surroundings, ignoring the others sitting around you, and the streets and buildings going by. Turning pages, glancing at your watch. And then, an explosion. Whatever was solid suddenly becomes vapor, acrid, sour, dark blistering and burning fumes that make it impossible to see, impossible to swallow, impossible to breathe. No time has gone by at all, really, less than a twitch of a secondhand. But in that no time at all, the world has changed, very probably for a long time to come.

(END VIDEOTAPE)... COOPER: And tonight, the world certainly has changed. And it no doubt will continue to tomorrow as well. Thanks for joining us for this special edition of 360 from London.

And I will leave you with Anderson's Reporter's Notebook from London 2005 ~


Stay turned to ATA to see where Anderson Cooper, version 2006, shows up next!

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ACAnderFan said...

Good post, Wonz. I am really liking this look back. Its nice reading Anderson's old blog posts. Its too bad he doesn't blog anymore. He's good at it and it was always nice to get an idea of what went on behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the videos yesterday and today especially the London 2006 Reporters Notebook and the Ridiculists. Of course I love the Colbert one but the Botox mom comes in a close second. I can't help thinking that if she sees that segment she's deluded enough to think, "Anderson Cooper agrees with me!"

And, for the "Anderson Popping Up Where You Least Expect It" file, I've just started the Bill Carter book The War for Late Night about Leno and Conan O'Brien fighting for the Tonight Show (sort of a sequel to Carter's earlier book about Leno and Letterman fighting for that show).

Anyway, in February 2004 Conan and his producer Jeff Ross have been told they'll get the Tonight Show in four years (later made five) but to keep it a secret. At a NYC bar, Conan and Ross tell a close friend and they all drink a toast to Conan.

They still have to keep this deal a secret because NBC wasn't ready to publicize it yet. From the book,

"They decided they needed some code, some word or phrase the three of them could turn to if they needed to communicate about the still-private plan.

Conan had an idea: Instead of saying "Tonight," they would say "Anderson Cooper 360" every time they wanted to refer to the show in question. Cooper's nightly newscast with that title had recently begun its run on CNN. They toasted Anderson Cooper as well."

Toasting Anderson as well with my Diet Coke.