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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Afghan Violence Rising; Vanished in Aruba; Surviving Sharks; Inside Scientology
Aired June 29, 2005 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Kyra Phillips, for more details on that story. And we're going to follow this story all night here on CNN. ANDERSON COOPER 360 starts right now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Kitty, thanks very much.
Dutch marines agree to head to Aruba to help in the search for Natalee Holloway. It is 7 p.m. on the East Coast, 4 on the west. 360 starts now.
The search for Natalee. Marines on the way. But are there more clues still to be found on the beach, at the club Natalee was last seen at. Tonight, retracing her steps and an emotional appeal from Natalee's mom.
A Florida beach reopens after two shark attacks. Tonight, weary about the waters this weekend? We've got survival skills you need to know in case you encounter a killer shark.
And Tom Cruise goes toe-to-toe with Matt Lauer, criticizes Brooke Shields. He says psychiatry is bogus and medication a scam. But is any of it true? Tonight we'll talk with medical experts and an exclusive interview with a senior member of scientology.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Good evening again.
In a moment, word from Aruba that Dutch marines will head to the island to help in the search for Natalee Holloway. But first, the latest on that downed U.S. chopper.
This is the way today's matter-of-fact Defense Department news release put it. Seventeen service members were on board a CH-47 Chinook helicopter that crashed in mountainous terrain west of Asadabad, Afghanistan on June 28th. Initial reports indicate the crash may have been cautioned by hostile fire. The statement went on to say the status of the service members is unknown.
President Bush talked a lot last night in his address to the nation about staying the course in Iraq, mentioning it by name 91 times. Afghanistan was only mentioned twice. And 20,000 U.S. troops still are there and 29 of them have died in the past three months at the hands of insurgents and the extensively (ph) vanquished Taliban. CNN Terrorism Analyst Peter Bergen is recently back from the region. He joins us from Washington.
Peter, it's good to see you.
Some 38, including these most recently killed, this year so far in Afghanistan. In all of last year, 52 Americans killed. Fighting is intensifying. Why?
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: I think it's basically two factors. One is the weather. It's traditional in Afghanistan to start fighting in the spring. Basically the area where that helicopter went down would basically be a place where you couldn't fight in the winter or be completely blanketed in snow. So starting April, May, Afghans tend to start the fighting season. So that's what we're seeing.
The other factor is the fact that we're seeing parliamentary election in Afghanistan in September. The Taliban were not able to interrupt last year's presidential election in any meaningful way. They certainly want to interrupt preparations for the September presidential election. So I think the weather and the upcoming presidential election are probably the two most important factors.
Have the Taliban, you know, suddenly gained new strength? I don't really think so. I just think that they're trying to insert themselves. Unfortunately the security situation in Afghanistan is really, I think, gone south in the last two or three months. I mean we've had bombs go off in Kabul, we've had kidnappings of an aide worker in Kabul, and we're also seeing the kinds of attacks -- I guess this Chinook.
So, you know, while I've been very optimistic about a lot of developments in Afghanistan, the last two or three months have, you know, really given one pause. And it's sort of ironic that Ambassador Khalilzad, who of course was the United States ambassador there, is leaving right at the moment where things are sort of not going particularly well and he's going to Iraq to become the ambassador there where, of course, things are going rather poorly.
COOPER: Well, I mean, how strong is the Taliban right now and where are they? I mean, you know, we hear that they have Web sites and spokesmen. How can that be?
BERGEN: Well, they're reasonably strong. I mean, you know, there were 30,000 Taliban soldiers before the war. I imagine many of those were killed or left the Taliban. There might be, you know, low thousands still around. Many of them in Pakistan. Pakistan continues to be a haven for the Taliban. That's because historically there's been links between the pastunes (ph) on the Afghan side of the border and on the Pakistan side of the border. And it's also a 1,500 mile long border with some of the roughest terrain in the world. So it's really rather (ph) simple to go back and forth.
COOPER: All right, Peter Bergen, appreciate that. From Afghanistan now to the island of Aruba where the search continues for Natalee Holloway. The 18-year-old American girl has now been missing for, well, more than 30 days. More Dutch marines are scheduled to arrive shortly to help in that search. But a lot of frustration mounting over what seems to be the snail's pace and misstep in this investigation. CNN's Rick Sanchez has been digging into that story there in Aruba. He went last night to the bar which Natalee was last seen in hopes of turning up someone who may remember something.
Any luck, Rick?
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we talked to a lot of people there. And it's a strange combination of both employees, of course, who were regularly there and regulars, people who tend to go to Carlos n' Charlie's from time to time. Their explanation of what happened that night is that they saw Natalee there and Natalee was doing what a lot of kids do when they come here from the United States, either for spring break or to celebrate their graduations, a lot of drinking takes place at this establishment. There's a lot of dancing on the tables.
But it's part of the atmosphere. It's part of something that happens. And according to the folks there, they say that they saw Natalee, they saw Joran as well, the young man who's been said to have been the very last person who was with Natalee on that very night and they say that there are some serious questions as to what was going on. And some of the employees have told me that, frankly, there was an awful lot of people there, Anderson, for the five chaperones to be able to handle.
COOPER: Is Joran van der Sloot a regular there?
SANCHEZ: Oh, no question. We talked to an awful lot of people on the island and people who have frequented that particular bar, Carlos n' Charlie's as well, and they say that he is a regular. He's a 17-year-old young man, although he told some of the ladies on that night that he was older than that. Some 19, some 23, interestingly enough. They say he does what a lot of the young men on this island do, they almost get to know the schedule of when the cruise ships are going to come in. They know when some of the parties are going to be held there and they show up hoping that they will meet, you know, a young lady and do often times what young people do, establish some type of relationship, be it long term or short term.
COOPER: And a lot of people still coming to the islands, still partying hard there while the search for Natalee goes on.
Rick Sanchez, thanks very much.
Coming up next on 360, I'm going to talk to Natalee's mom, hear why she thinks the judge knows what happened to her daughter -- the judge who was released now by the authorities, and how she is getting through every day. It's hard to imagine how she's doing that. Also ahead tonight, surviving a shark attack. What you need to know -- you know we've all heard about, you know, you're supposed to punch a shark in the nose. Well does that really work? We'll talk to an expert about that.
Also Tom Cruise igniting controversy over his beliefs. Taking on Matt Lauer, Brooke Shields. We're going to take an in-depth look on what he's saying what he's saying. His beliefs in Scientology.
We also want to hear from you. Send us an e-mail. Will his views that you've heard in the last couple day stop you from seeing "War of the Worlds," the movie which opens tonight.
COOPER: We spoke earlier this evening with Natalee Holloway's mother, Beth Twitty, who has been there on Aruba since her daughter disappeared on May 30th and has been through every difficult day in the search for her and the investigation into her disappearance. It's like a roller coaster she says. It's hard to imagine what that must be like for her.
COOPER: Beth, when I talked to you earlier, you asked me, is today Wednesday. Do the days seem like they all blend together for you?
BETH TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S MOTHER: Well, they do. And I'm beginning to think now even the weeks are blending together. And I try not to give myself -- I try not to really worry about what day it is but just kind of where we are.
COOPER: Have you talked with the prosecutor in this case? And I'm not asking you to divulge it at all. But, I mean, do you feel like you know where they're going with this thing?
TWITTY: I feel like I know that those three individuals will be -- or are responsible. And I don't have any specific information that I can disclose. But, you know, I don't think it's been a question ever that these three boys are tied closely together in regards to Natalee's kidnapping.
COOPER: What about the judge? I mean, the father of Joran, Judge Paul van der Sloot. Do you, in your mind, is he still a suspect?
TWITTY: Absolutely. And I'm not saying that he had the actual involvement with her kidnapping. But what I have felt from May 31st and through that visit at his home was the absolute confirmation I needed that he definitely, definitely has information that he needs to step forward and be the man that he is and disclose that information.
COOPER: What about him gave you that feeling?
TWITTY: You know, when I think back on it, it wasn't specifically what he said but it was specifically what he wouldn't respond to. And also, I have never sat across from a man in a well- ventilated room and seen him sweat so to where it only increased in intensity as the conversation progressed. And, you know, proceeded to drip from him and land on the table where his wife would have to get up and get a kitchen towel to wipe it.
COOPER: Wait a minute, he was sweating so much he was dripping on to the table and his wife had to wipe off his sweat while he was talking?
TWITTY: Yes. Yes.
COOPER: You'd think he'd . . .
TWITTY: From him.
COOPER: You think he's used to the heat. I mean, he live there's.
TWITTY: You know, I've acclimated myself to it now and I'm not profusely sweating when I'm seated in a well-ventilated room. And it wasn't only that. Don't get me wrong. But, you know, during that 90- minute conversation, you know, I had a goal in mind and my goal was to see if I could get any clue that he had some information. And I got it. And I know he does. And I will never, never let go of that.
COOPER: I want to read you something that Anita van der Sloot said, Joran's mother. She said, "why is the finger being pointed at Joran? Because he's the son of a judge?" she asks. "But there is no proof he did anything. Investigators have lost control and don't know what to do anymore."
How does she strike you? You've met with this woman. Does she -- do you think she knows what's going on?
TWITTY: You know, either she's an excellent actress or she's in complete and total denial. And I might go with total denial because here is a 17-year-old male that is at Carlos n' Charlie's buying alcoholic drinks for their patrons. And here is a young 17-year-old male who's seated at a Texas hold'em table that I see on video footage myself. And here's a 17-year-old male seated at a poker table with his father in a tournament. I mean, you know -- and he's out until 3:00 a.m.? How many night as week can a 17-year-old male be out running the streets at 3:00 a.m. and the father say that he sneaked out.
COOPER: I hope this isn't too personal a question. If it is, you know, don't answer it. My brother died many years ago, when I was much younger, and in the months afterward I remember there was really one time a day for me was the hardest. In the mornings I'd wake up and really for a second not remember he was gone. And I know every day is a nightmare for you and it's a situation. But are some moments worse than others?
TWITTY: You know, I think at night it's worse for me. You know, some people would think that morning would be but, you know, a couple of mornings, you know, yes, they're extremely difficult. But, you know, I feel like as soon as I get up and get going then I'm back on a direction and I am on a path that I don't want to let up on this because, you know, the answers are right here on this island. It's not very big. The answers are here. We know a lot of the suspects that have the information, we've just got to quit letting these individuals toy with the interrogators and give the information. And I think they are on it. They know that he is continually lying. But, you know, it's just a process that we're going through.
COOPER: Beth, it's good to talk to you. I'm sorry we have to keep talking to you. I'm sorry this continue to go on and we think about you and pray for you.
COOPER: Well, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us now with a look at some of the other stories we're following tonight.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS: Anderson, we're starting off with that security scare from not to long ago in Washington. A plane triggered a security alert that forced the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol. It all unfolded within the past hour. The unidentified plane flew into restricted airspace. Military jets were scrambled. And we've just learned now the president was temporarily relocated. The scare, however, was brief. After a few minutes the alert was called off and the evacuation over.
Along the Israel/Lebanon border, a deadly clash. An Israeli soldier is dead, five others wounded after fighting with Hezbollah. Israeli forces say they opened fire on Hezbollah cell after it entered the Shebba Farms area. Hezbollah members then returned fire. And later, Israeli planes attacked two Hezbollah positions in Southern Lebanon.
In Fresno, California, a jury recommends death for Marcus Wesson who killed nine of his children last year. He was also convicted of sexual abuse. Wesson had fathered at least two of the children with his own daughters. Formal sentencing is set for July 27th.
In Canada, the health minister says his country can't be the drugstore for the United States. He is now considering legislation that would ban bulk exports of prescription drugs and said the top priority must be the health of Canadians and ensure they have supply of affordable medication.
And that's the latest from Headline News at this hour.
Anderson, back over to you.
COOPER: Erica, thanks very much.
I was reading some e-mails. Getting a lot of e-mails from our viewers about this situation with Tom Cruise. We're going to be looking at that in this next half hour.
Don't forget, for free you can watch video of some of the day's top stories on cnn.com. You can just click on the video link.
Coming up next tonight on 360, the surf is up but is it safe to swim this weekend on the Fourth of July? We'll talk with a shark expert about ways to protect yourself and survive a shark attack.
Also tonight, Tom Cruise. He's got a new movie but you might have missed that with all the talk on Scientology and his attack on Matt Lauer. Tonight, an up close look at Scientology. Why do they oppose antidepressants? We'll talk to Scientologist, we'll also talk to some psychiatrists.
We'll also look at what impact, if any, this may have on his movie career and what you at home think of him. You can also e-mail us at cnn.com/360. Click on the instant feedback link.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well no doubt many of you are making plan for this Fourth of July weekend. But if you go swimming, no doubt recent reports of two shark attacks within three days off the Florida Panhandle may be in the back of your mind. Now I've always heard you should punch a shark in the nose if you're attacked, but is that really true? To find out we're joined from Panama City, Florida, with some tips on how to stay out of a shark's way. George Burgess is curator of the International Shark Attack File.
George, thanks for being with us.
You're standing right now in shallow water. What are the chances you'd actually have a run-in with a bull shark there? Where are you most likely to find them?
GEORGE BURGESS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: You're most likely to find them at the end of the pier behind me. In fact, fishermen on the end of the pier right now are fishing for sharks. They've got baits in the water. And they're actually putting chum in the water.
COOPER: Well, wait a minute. If there are fishermen putting chum in the water right now, I see what looks like two kids swimming behind you. Is that a smart thing to do?
BURGESS: No, that sure isn't and this is exactly why we have these kinds of incidents.
COOPER: So, I mean, I understand this young boy who had his leg amputated, he was fishing standing in waste deep water fishing with shrimp. I mean, obviously people shouldn't do that. Why isn't the word getting out on that?
BURGESS: Well, obviously that's a situation where some public education is definitely in order. And there are some dos and don'ts and we're seeing some of the don'ts behind us right now.
COOPER: So are the sharks -- they're not necessarily going for humans, they're going for fish or what they think is may be fish but it's actually someone fishing or someone surfing? Is that right?
BURGESS: Yes, that's most often the case. But once in a while you have attacks like we've had in this last week here where a larger shark actually considers a human being an appropriate size prey item. The problem here is that you have bat fishes in the water and the bigger fish feeding on them. When you have bigger fishes in the water, then the sharks are going to be out there looking for them. And sometimes mistakes can be made.
COOPER: So what do you do if you are attacked by a shark. I mean I've always heard you punch it in the nose. Does that do anything?
BURGESS: Yes, that's an effective way to do that sort of thing when you're -- if you're under attack. But keep in mind that the nose is just north of the mouth and if you make a mistake and go a little too far down, you're sticking your hand in the mouth.
COOPER: So the best offense is a defense, I guess, just don't obviously be swimming in waters where people are fishing and chumming like they are right now?
BURGESS: Yes. The fact of the matter is, that shark attacks are a very rare phenomenon,. But if we can just sort of follow some common sense things, we can keep those numbers down.
COOPER: So do you -- I said about the nose. Do you also -- I mean, what about hitting them in the gill or the eyes? I mean does any of that make sense? Is there anything else you can do?
BURGESS: Certainly if you're actually under attack, my standard recommendation is to do whatever it takes to get away, and that includes poking them in the eyes, putting your finger in their gills, which are sensitive, and pounding them like mad.
COOPER: All right, George, appreciate you joining us.
George Burgess, thanks very much.
Coming up next on 360, Tom Cruise. Is his embrace on Scientology, is it destroying his career? We're going to take a closer look. Over this next half hour we're looking in-depth at Tom Cruise and Scientology. He calls psychiatry and antidepressants basically evil. Are they? We're going to have the response from both sides. We'll talk to a senior Scientologist. We'll also talk to some doctors.
And we want to hear from you. Do to Tom Cruise's views, will you not see his new movie which opened today, "War of the Worlds"? Send us an e-mail by logging on to cnn.com/360. You can click on the instant feedback link. Or does it change the way you view him, even if you will see the move? E-mail us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Well today Tom Cruise's new film "War of the Worlds" hits theaters. And for the actor, a lot is riding on the success of this film. In recent days, Cruise has stunned audiences by lecturing "Today Show" Host Matt Lauer, as well as Actress Brooke Shields, on what he believes are the evils of psychiatry and antidepressant medication.
Now this week the reaction from the medical community has been swift and strong. In the next half hour, we're focusing not only on the newly-noticed side of Tom Cruise, the more vocal side, but we're focusing on the beliefs he holds, the beliefs of Scientology. Is Tom Cruise right about antidepressants and psychiatry? By the end of this half hour, we think you'll be able to decide for yourself. We begin with a close-up look at Cruise and his fiance and the beliefs that bind them.
COOPER, (voice over): While Tom Cruise appeared at a press conference about his new film, "War of the Worlds," it was his new love, actress Katie Holmes, and the religion they now share, Scientology, that interested many of the reporters.
TOM CRUISE: There's things in my life and Scientology and tools that I've spoken of before that I apply to my life that help me, you know, to overcome barriers and problems and that has been extraordinary in my life.
COOPER: Holmes, a Catholic, has talked about her interest in Scientology, telling "People" magazine, I know how important it is to Tom and I want to be able to share that with him. But how? Does Scientology have rules of courtship? Public displays of affection appear to be OK.
What about guidelines of conversion? Scientologists are typically reluctant to talk to the media. But the New York Center gave me a two-hour tour of their facility. And agreed to answer our questions via e-mail.
On the subject of dating. Ed Parken's (ph), Scientology's vice president of cultural affairs, says there are no rules. The church does not try to regulate personal lives. "We provide a path by which people can become more honest." And that path is through conversion. Rick Ross studies new religions like Scientology.
RICK ROSS, RELIGION EXPERT: I think that Tom Cruise has Katie Holmes on the fast track of indoctrination and absorption into Scientology.
COOPER: If Holmes converts, one of the first things she'll go through is what the church calls a purification rundown. It takes place on one of the upper floors here at the New York Center. A person, or faten (ph), as they're called in Scientology, exercises, sit in a sauna and takes vitamins to clear the body of toxins. Parken's says, "by ridding the body of these toxins, an individual can experience spiritual relief."
Katie Holmes could also seek spiritual relief through auditing sessions. Church auditors use a device called an e-meter (ph), seen here in Scientology literature, to sort through negative parts of a person's past.
ROSS: So really what the e-meter does is it measures your nervous tension. And it enables the auditor to dig deeper into the things that are bothering you.
COOPER: Information from auditing sessions goes into a confidential, personal file kept by the church. Since they began dating, Cruise and Holmes have been spotted with this woman on several occasions. She's Jessica Rodriguez, a ranking member of the church. In our e-mail interview, Parken would not say if she's Holmes' auditor saying, "Jessica Rodriguez was invited along on the tour by Ms. Holmes as a friend."
SHARON WAXMAN, "NEW YORK TIMES": They are surrounded by Scientology people a lot. This is not a very small part of their personal lives. It's something that involves their professional decisions, their career decisions.
CARROLL: Tom Cruise makes no secret of his support for Scientology. The studio allowed Cruise to have an information tent on the set of "War of the Worlds." Recently, Cruise fired his long-time publicist, replacing her with his sister, also a Scientologist.
The tabloids claim Holmes is cutting off ties to her old friends. But she is ignoring her critics. Publicly, the couple appears happy, too happy for cynics.
OPRAH WINFREY, TV PERSONALITY: Have you ever felt this way before?
CARROLL: They say Cruise's over-the-top proclamation about his new love on "Oprah," looked more like a publicity stunt. After all, critics say both actors are out promoting new films.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you stunned or puzzled by criticism that love and religion might have distracted from the movie and your exuberance?
I just don't pay attention to it. I do my work. I live my life and, you know, it's, you know, it's never effected anything before. It doesn't matter, you know? It's: What do I do? I make my movies and I live my life in the best way that I feel that I can.
And you know, I can't control what people are going to say or do. They're going to say and do what they want and the thing is, that's not ever going to change how I live my life.
CARROLL: Scientologist are firm believers in past lives and reincarnation. For now, it seems, in this life Cruise and Holmes are inseparable in both body and in spirit.
Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, Scientologists say their beliefs are a religion but we should point out not everyone sees it that way. Here are stats we downloaded during our research.
According to the German government, Scientology is not recognized as a religion in their country, in Germany. Now they -- also in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Ireland, Italy, and Great Britain as well as, Israel and Mexico.
As promotion for Tom Cruise's new film has intensified in the last few days, the star has been startling people with some of his on camera performances. This week on "The View," where he tried to poke fun of himself for jumping on Oprah's couch and perhaps, erase memories of his less-than-cordial interview with Matt Lauer.
CNN's Rudi Bakhtiar has the tapes.
RUDI BAKHTIAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tom Cruise was jumping on the furniture again. This time at a taping of "The View" in the company of his new love, Katie Holmes. But the press began wondering what was up with him before this, like when the normally tame Tom Cruise took Matt Lawyer to task on "Today."
TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: Matt, I'm asking you -- Matt, I'm asking you a question.
MATT LAUER, HOST, "TODAY": I understand there is abuse of all of these things.
CRUISE: No, you see, here's the problem. You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do.
BAKHTIAR: What was supposed to be an appearance to promote his new movie, "War of the Worlds," turned into a tirade over psychiatry and psychotropic drugs.
CRUISE: Here we are today, where I talk out against drugs and psychiatric abuses of electric shocking people,OK, against their will, of drugging children with them not knowing the effects of these drugs. Do you know what Adderall is, do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug? Do you understand that?
BAKHTIAR: Tom, a dedicated Scientologist, towed the church's anti-psychiatry line and continued his criticism of Brooke Shields for using drugs to battle her postpartum depression.
CRUISE: The thing I'm saying about Brook is that there's misinformation, OK, and she doesn't understand the history of psychiatry. She doesn't understand, in the same way that you don't understand, Matt. BAKHTIAR: This isn't the only time since the "War of the World's" tour began that the actor has appeared to have lost the plot. It started with the now infamous visit to "Oprah" and his exuberant declaration of love for Katie Holmes.
WINFREY: Have you ever felt this way before?
BAKHTIAR: It continued with a speech about the virtues of Scientology on "Access Hollywood."
CRUISE: I don't care about what people say, I know what Scientology is. It's -- let me just tell you, it's extraordinary.
BAKHTIAR: And he traveled from talk show to talk show, showing his newly-effusive, some would say erratic, side.
CRUISE: I think about ten weeks ago.
BAKHTIAR: His strong stance against psychiatry has some wondering: Is this one self-controlled star getting a bit eccentric?
CRUISE: I've never agreed with psychiatry, ever.
BAKHTIAR: And recently, Anderson, while Cruise was in Germany promoting his new film "War of the Worlds," he was asked an interview if he believes aliens exist.
His answer and I'm quoting from this German newspaper -- magazine that is, "Yes, of course, are you really so arrogant as to believe we're alone in this universe? Millions of stars and we're supposed to be the only living creatures? No, there are many things out there, we just don't know."
It will be interesting to see how his fans respond.
COOPER: Yes. Rudi Bakhtiar, thanks. The movie opens tonight.
Still to come on 360: Is Tom Cruise hurting his image?
What do you think? We're going to take a look at how Hollywood is dealing with all of this media coverage of Cruise's relationship and his beliefs.
Also tonight, we're looking at the beliefs in depth. Scientology's opposition to psychiatry. Tom Cruise lectured Matt Lauer and Brook Shields over it, but why is his religion taking such a strong stand?
We'll talk to a senior Scientologist and a psychiatrist as well.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUER: But aren't there examples where it works?
CRUISE: Matt, Matt, Matt, you don't even -- you're glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is. If you start talking about chemical imbalance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with these theories, Matt. OK, that's what I've done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: Life is overwhelming. Life is not easy. Life is tough and you need something that really works and helps you actually, not promises to help you, then fail. And that's why I've always loved Scientology, because it offers help and it works.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was actor John Travolta there on "LARRY KING LIVE," a couple years ago. He, Tom Cruise and many other celebrities have embraced Scientology. And in this half-hour, we're trying to get at the facts about Scientologist's critique of psychiatry and antidepressant medication.
Joining me from Los Angeles, in a 360 exclusive interview, is Bruce Wiseman, a 35-year member of Scientology and U.S. national president of its Citizen Commission on Human Rights, a Scientologist group dedicating to fighting, what it calls, psychiatric violations of human rights.
Appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much.
BRUCE WISEMAN, SCIENTOLOGIST: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Tom Cruise keeps saying that he knows the history of psychiatry. He opposes it and you do, too. Why?
WISEMAN: Well, one needs to just look at what psychiatrists do. You know, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights was founded in 1969, as you said, to investigate and expose psychiatric abuse and psychiatric violations of human rights. At that time, Anderson, patients were warehoused in mental hospitals that were similar to concentration camps.
When CCHR was founded, the church recognized this was an area of abuse that needed reform and...
COOPER: Well, what is the problem with psychiatry today, in your estimation?
WISEMAN: Well, the problem with psychiatry today is, is that it's a fraud. Psychiatry pretends to be a science when, in fact, it is not. Psychiatry...
COOPER: But I mean, the same criticism is leveled against Scientology, that, you know, it's all based on pseudo-science and that it's a fraud.
WISEMAN: Scientology is a religion. It deals with the spirit of man. Psychiatry is a materialistic practice that pretends to be a science. Do you know, Anderson, and I think it's important that the audience know, that so-called psychiatric mental disorders are voted into their billing bible. There's no science here. None whatsoever. They vote. This is behavior. There's no science...
COOPER: Do you claim that there is a scientific basis to beliefs in scientology?
WISEMAN: There's a religious basis to it. These things are not comparable at all.
COOPER: But you have -- you have like e meters. You have these instruments which you believe measure things within the body. So you think there's a component of science to your beliefs.
WISEMAN: Well, I'm not here to talk about scientology. I'm here to talk about psychiatry. Scientology is a religion. It expands man's spiritual nature. It improves his relationship with his family, with the universe, and with the creator. Psychiatry is a pretense at science.
COOPER: You don't believe it has helped anybody?
WISEMAN: How can it help someone? You talked about the anti- depressant drugs. Anderson, studies at Harvard, studies at Yale, studies at Columbia, studies at the State University of New York tied these drugs to acts of suicide and/or violence, yet the psychiatrist slaps a label on a child who looks out the window or buts into line, and puts them on these mind-altering drugs.
COOPER: But just factually speaking, though, the actual number of suicides or side effects is actually quite small compared to the number of people who say they derive very real life-saving benefits from these drugs.
WISEMAN: Factually speaking, studies show that people on these anti-depressant drugs commit suicide almost twice as much as those who don't. Studies...
COOPER: Well, wait a minute, wait a minute -- what that -- what you're really -- there's no clear, necessarily correlation between the drugs themselves. You can make the argument that these are people who are, you know, have real problems and maybe would have committed suicide anyway, and perhaps the drugs didn't help them.
But you're just saying, categorically, no drugs work.
WISEMAN: No. And it's important to understand the difference when you say the words drugs. We're talking about mind-altering drugs. We're not talking about medicines that actually help. Insulin, or antibiotics, we're talking about mind-altering drugs.
COOPER: Like aspirin, for instance. Can you take aspirin for a headache? I know headaches is what got you into scientology in the first place.
WISEMAN: Sure you can. Sure you can.
But let me back up to something you said earlier, that these studies actually do show a causal relationship. If you read the literature, and psychiatrists should read their own literature. It makes it very, very clear that there is a causal relationship. The studies show people not suicidal or violent, then take the drugs and become so.
I think it is a travesty. I think it's criminal that psychiatrists pretend -- pretend that they are a scientific discipline. And in fact, push these drugs off on unsuspecting children.
COOPER: Let me ask you, though, because what you have been talking about is drugs. And what Tom Cruise keeps talking about is drugs and electroshock therapy. He makes it sounds as if anyone who goes to a psychiatrist gets pumped full of drugs and suddenly gets electroshock therapy against their will. That's misleading. I mean, the number of people who actually get electroshock therapy, electroconvulsive therapy is tiny compared to the number of people who enter into talk therapy. Are you opposed to talk therapy as well from psychiatrists?
WISEMAN: 100,000 people a year get electroshocked, Anderson.
COOPER: Right, and 10 million people get anti-depressant medication. So, relatively speaking, it's a tiny number given the number, given the number of people who are actually in better therapeutic situations. So, are you opposed to talk therapy?
WISEMAN: I'm opposed to any psychiatric practice that pretends to be a science, and it's not.
Let me go back to the instance of shock treatment. A five-year- old knows not to put his finger in a light socket, yet a psychiatrist will run hundreds of volts of electricity through someone's brain and pretend that it's therapy. This is barbaric. It's absolutely barbaric that this practice continues.
COOPER: But you -- but what essentially you mean is that you are opposed to talk -- I mean not every psychiatrist pumps you full of medication. The idea is -- and the standards of care are -- that you are supposed to enter into a discussion, a dialogue, you are supposed to enter into talk therapy. And medication is usually considered as a last result in the ideal.
What is the difference between the classes which scientology offers, which seems to me a very expensive form of therapy, and going into a therapist's office and talking about your early life, your early emotional issues, the same things which scientology seems to address?
WISEMAN: Scientology addresses the spirit. Psychiatry damages the brain. These drugs are brain damaging. Shock treatment is brain damaging.
COOPER: But, sir, with all due respect, that's a slogan. Let's get away from bumper sticker slogans and let's actually talk. What is wrong with talk therapy?
WISEMAN: It's the truth. And whether it's talk therapy, or drug treatment, or shock treatment, all of these things are designed to treat disorders which the diagnostic, statistical manual, which is psychiatry's billing bible, clearly admit, have no biologic basis. They say they can't even define what a mental disorder is. They say they can't tell the difference between one mental disorder and another mental disorder.
COOPER: So, is any form of counseling, other than with a scientologists, or scientology approved group, inappropriate?
WISEMAN: Communication is a universal solvent. Pretending that someone has got some kind of chemical imbalance. That's the falsehood. There is no chemical imbalance. And yet...
COOPER: OK, but if communication is the universal solvent, then it's OK to go to a psychiatrist and communicate and talk and talk about, you know, experiences -- cognitive therapy. That's OK?
WISEMAN: But, the psychiatrist pretends that there's a chemical imbalance, and they're going to treat this with drugs, or with shock, or...
COOPER: But that's not true, sir. That not all psychiatrists pump you full of medication. I mean, that's just simply not true. There are plenty of people who are with psychiatrists who don't receive medication, who are in talk therapy.
But I just want to make sure we're accurate, you're saying that's still wrong, because this person is a fraud, basically.
WISEMAN: I'm saying that they're pretending to be a science when they are not. That they are a pseudo-science. That -- that whatever treatment they're using is based on a falsehood. It's based on a lie. It's based on a pretense that there's some underlying, chemical basis that there's a medical problem when, in fact, there is not. And I think the public is being -- has been misinformed, teachers have been misinformed about the subjective nature of psychiatric diagnosis. And the violence-inducing nature of the drugs used to treat them. I think it's criminal, frankly.
COOPER: Bruce Wiseman. We really appreciate you joining us tonight. It's rare to actually talk to -- I've never talked to you. I really do appreciate it. It's an interesting perspective. And we value everyone's perspective on this program. Thanks very much for joining us.
WISEMAN: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: Coming up next on 360. You just heard a follower of scientology call psychiatry, basically, a fraud. Coming up, we're going to have another viewpoint from the American Psychiatric Association.
Also tonight, Tom Cruise -- he's getting more vocal about his beliefs in scientology. Is it going to hurt his career? We'll find out ahead.
COOPER: for knowing nothing about drugs like Ritalin and Adderall. Now we don't take sides on 360, we cover all the angles, which is why we asked Dr. Nada Stotland to respond to what Cruise said. Dr. Stotland is the vice president for the American Psychiatrics Association. She joins us now from Chicago. Doctor, thanks for being with us.
You just heard Bruce Wiseman say, essentially, that you're a fraud, psychiatry is a psuedo-science. Your response.
NADA STOTLAND, AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION: Well, I'm glad to be here to talk about real medial science. I hate to think of people out there suffering from real diseases being told that there is nothing wrong with them. Our mental disorders are listed along with all the other medical disorders in the international classification of diseases...
COOPER: Right, but he's saying basically you guys, you doctors get together and come up with, you know, classifications and just put them in a book.
STOTLAND: Yes. So do the cardiologists and the cancer doctors and everybody else. That's how we define what's troubling people, what's causing their symptoms.
COOPER: They also are saying that there's no scientific proof of a chemical imbalance, that you basically just label -- put that label on someone, say: Oh, you're chemically imbalanced, and you give them medication -- true?
STOTLAND: We have brain pictures of people who have depression and people who don't. You can see the difference in their brain images. You can see when they are treated successfully, either with medication or with psychotherapy or both, their brain return to normal.
COOPER: How many people who come to see a psychiatrist end up getting medicated or getting shock treatment?
STOTLAND: Shock treatment...
COOPER: Is it -- does everyone do it or is talk therapy -- do some people just get talk therapy?
STOTLAND: Absolutely. And for mild to moderate cases, for example, of depression, talk therapy works just as well as medication. If you have a more serious case, you probably need to have both.
COOPER: So, he says 100,000 people getting shock treatment, ECT, every year -- and the National Mental Health Association backs up those numbers -- it sounds like a lot of people -- 100,000.
STOTLAND: Well, it's not a lot of people compared to how many people have depression. And you know, it's easy to describe that as an inhumane treatment. Let's talk about surgery, let's talk about playing with knives. Surgery is -- also could be described as a brutal treatment. It's something that we do to cure people. And electroshock therapy, which is done now with anesthesia and with permission from the patient, can help people who would otherwise die of depression.
COOPER: Dr. Stotland, this is a topic we really should be focusing on a lot longer. We'd love to have you back, as we would love to have Bruce back on to discuss this as well. We appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much.
STOTLAND: Thank you.
COOPER: I want to very quickly find out what is coming up at the top of the hour on "PAULA ZAHN NOW."
PAULA ZAHN, HOST, "PAULA ZAHN NOW": Hi, Anderson. Thanks. It's in eight minutes or so if you all are counting or looking at your digital clock like I am.
Tonight: A new development in out on-going investigation about some Ford vehicles that have caught fire while parked and actually turned off. Hundreds of cases have already been reported from all over the country, but now one Iowa family says their Ford truck started a fire that turned out to be deadly.
We're going to have that story at the top of the hour, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. About seven minutes from now. Paula, thanks.
Coming up next on this special edition of 360: Is Scientology destroying Tom Cruise's career? We'll look at what his new image may mean for his future in Hollywood.
Also, we asked you if Tom Cruise's recent behavior would stop you from seeing his new movie or change the way you think about him. Here's one of your e-mails.
COOPER: Some different views there from our viewers.
Now, we've all see the changes on camera, behind the scenes, Cruise is also some making some surprising moves. He fired his long- time publicist, replacing her with his sister who is also a follower of Scientology. He's OK with his religion, the question is: Is Hollywood and is the moving-going public?
Joining us now, is Dave Karger, a senior writer for "Entertainment Weekley," my favorite entertainment magazine. Dave, good to see you.
DAVE KARGER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Thank you.
COOPER: I want to put up this poll which "Entertainment Weekly" put out. Will Tom Cruise's strange behavior, basically, help or hurt "War of the Worlds?" This is what people had to say: 61 percent of people like him less now that he's been saying this stuff.
Steven Spielberg's got to be nervous.
KARGER: And I think the studios, Paramount and Dreamworks, behind this movie are, too. I do think, however, that the "Entertainment Weekly" reader is a little bit smarter than your average bear. If you watch the "Oprah" interview, those women in the audience were eating it up, every -- all of his behavior. Granted that was before the Matt Lauer.
COOPER: Yes. But that's like eating candy -- but afterwards you're like: Wait a minute, was that really a good thing or -- At the time it seems exciting, but then as it sort of dawns on you what you just saw, it sort of, maybe it changes.
KARGER: It is a little creepy at times, too. And I think it -- there was definitely some inappropriate -- you know, the Brook Shields stuff, the Matt Lauer stuff was definitely inappropriate...
COOPER: It was interesting because Matt Lauer seemed to giving him an opportunity to back away from some of the bashing of Brook Shields, but he really just stepped more into the breach.
Does -- how much of this has to with the change of publicists?
KARGER: I think a decent amount of this does.
KARGER: When your publicist, which is someone who really is supposed to objectively help you deal with your image and deal with the media and your public appearances. When that person becomes your sister, I think it's something of an enabling mechanism...
COOPER: Pat Kingsley was his former publicist. A very powerful Hollywood publicist.
KARGER: Hard-nosed. Yes, very tough. And now, Leanne Devette (ph), who was really something of an unknown quantity; no one really had worked with her before.
COOPER: And so, when you were doing interviews in the past, when one was doing interviews, in the past, with him, there were set guidelines, things were tightly -- because a good publicist really isn't about trying to get you in the paper, a good publicist, in a case like Tom Cruise, someone so famous, it's often about limiting your exposure.
KARGER: Right. I mean a magazine like "Entertainment Weekly," we won't let a publicist dictate what we can or cannot ask, but I'm sure Pat Kingsley tried to do that with other outlets; maybe with some success. But I do think a lot of it has to do with this new addition to his team.
But what's interesting is that -- I think an argument that is pretty salient is that this is a guy who's been at this for 20 years...
KARGER: It's not like Russell Crowe, who has always kind of been a guy that people couldn't connect to on a "I like him" kind of basis. So, I think the public might not have as huge a problem with him as the industry will. I think something similar to what happened with Mel Gibson...
COOPER: Of course -- Yes -- but of course, if the movie is a huge hit, no one in Hollywood cares about what he thinks, as long as the movie's a hit.
KARGER: True, but "Passion of the Christ" was a huge hit and you still heard people say: I don't want to work with Mel Gibson now, because of what he said and the film that he made.
COOPER: Do you think it's going to be a hit?
KARGER: I do. I think it's going to make -- it has a six-day opening weekend, so it's probably going to make a $130 million dollars over the next six days.
COOPER: All right. I want to see it. Dave Karger, good to see you again. Thanks very much, from "Entertainment Weekly."
Thanks for watching this edition of 360. I hope you learned something, hope you made up some minds, one way or the other.
CNN's prime time coverage continues right now with Paula Zahn.
ZAHN: Imagine that, a six-day weekend.
COOPER: I know.
ZAHN: We could live with that.
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