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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Father of Suspect in Holloway Case Offers Suspicious Advice; Does Iran's New President Have a Secret Past?; Scientologist Explains Tom Cruise's Recent Anti-Psychiatry Comments; Shawn Colvin Talks About her Battle with Depression
Aired June 30, 2005 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening, everyone. Did the father of the lead suspect in the disappearance of Natalee Holloway really tell his son if there's no body, there's no case?
7:00 p.m. on the East Coast, 4:00 p.m. on the West; 360 starts now.
COOPER (voice-over): If you don't have a body, there's no case -- the fatherly advice Judge Paul Van Der Sloot allegedly gave his son. But is that really true? If Natalee is never found, will the accused simply walk free?
Iran's newly-elected president. Does he have a secret past as a hostage-taker?
DAN SHARER, FORMER US HOSTAGE IN IRAN: As soon as I saw the face, it rang a lot of bells to me. He was there. He was there in the background.
COOPER: Tonight, can America deal with a leader who may have once ransomed our people?
And Tom Cruise on the airways, attacking psychiatry and anti- depressants. Tonight, a Scientologist explains why they call psychiatrists frauds.
And Grammy-award winning sensation Shawn Colvin speaks out about her battle with depression and how medication and therapy helped her regain her life.
ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
COOPER: Good evening again. We begin tonight with the search for Natalee Holloway and the kind of fatherly advice you would never want to hear. That advice, according to prosecutors in Aruba, came from the father of the Dutch teen arrested shortly after her disappearance. What he allegedly said is something you would expect a defense attorney to tell a murder client -- certainly not a parent. CNN's Rick Sanchez has the latest, including troubling new details about what the young suspect and Natalee may have been doing in the final hours before she vanished.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time since the disappearance of Natalee Holloway, authorities are detailing how they believe Deputy Judge Paul Van Der Sloot may have interfered with their investigation, by coaching his son, Joran, on Aruban law.
KARIN JANSSEN, ARUBAN CHIEF PROSECUTOR: They were speaking about the situation, that if you don't have a body, there is no case.
SANCHEZ: CNN has tried unsuccessfully to contact attorneys for Paul Van Der Sloot and Joran Van Der Sloot, and is continuing to seek comment.
Meanwhile, Natalee's mother, Beth Twitty, tells us she is meeting with Aruban authorities daily, and is pressing them to continue asking questions. Twitty is convinced that whatever happened to her daughter began right here, at the place considered the most popular tourist spot in Aruba. It's where Natalee Holloway met up with Joran Van Der Sloot.
Workers and regulars we talked to say they recognize Joran, because he was something of a regular himself at Carlos 'n Charlie's.
This local, who asked that we conceal his identity, says he remembers seeing the 17-year-old at the club whenever a new wave of tourists arrived.
(on camera): Joran fancied himself, from what you could see on the nights when you saw him there, as typical 17-year-old guy, ladies' man?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like most of the guys that go there, local guys. It's not just him. It's almost every local guy that goes there, or any other -- not just Carlos 'n Charlie's, any other bar where there are tourists, they just, you know, have fun with tourists sometimes, you know, even something more. Depends. Up to you.
SANCHEZ: And he says, it depends on the person you're with. Workers, including those serving drinks at Carlos 'n Charlie's the night the young Alabama girl disappeared, tell us they saw Natalee with Joran, that she was drinking heavily, that she was dancing on tables with friends. It's behavior, though, that is not unusual at a night club known for tall drinks, Jell-O shots and conga lines, where free tequila is offered for the asking.
Tourists seem to be drawn to the booze and wild parties found at Aruban nightclubs. In fact, party busses pick many of them up from area hotels on what amounts to a cocktail party on wheels, like this one, known by locals as the Banana Bus.
The driver tells us his last stop of the evening is always Carlos 'n Charlie's.
Exactly what happened though on that Monday morning May 30, when Natalee, Joran and two other young men left Carlos 'n Charlie's is still not known. But authorities are now explaining, extensively, how the Van Der Sloots may have interfered, by reaching out to potential witnesses.
JANSSEN: A couple of day after the arrest of the minor suspect, the parents asked friends of Joran, who was interrogated by the police, what he told them, and what he told to the police.
SANCHEZ: In an unusual bit of detail from Aruban authorities, they got even more specific.
JANSSEN: They were speaking about the situation, that if you don't have a body, there is no case.
SANCHEZ (on camera): Are you convinced that Joran had something to do with your daughter's disappearance?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE'S MOTHER: Absolutely. I'm convinced that all three of those individuals have something to do with her disappearance. All three, all three are tied together in my mind, as her mother, as tightly as they can be.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): If there is any sign of Natalee, police hope that now, with the help of Dutch Marines, they'll be able to find it. And they will focus much of their effort on the beach, on the western edge of the island. It's where Joran now says he left Natalee.
We took diver and rescue expert Joe Houston there, to ask him what would happen to an object in those waters.
(on camera): Because of the winds and the currents, it would do what?
JOE HOUSTON, EQUUSEARCH: It would have a tendency to go away from the island.
SANCHEZ: Away from the island?
SANCHEZ (voice-over): To illustrate the point, we found a dead crab, tossed it into the water. Just as Houston suggested, it immediately began drifting away from the beach.
(on camera): Probability of finding anything that's put in the water offshore here is pretty -- is basically nil, almost impossible?
SANCHEZ (voice-over): A scenario Aruban police and this determined but worried mother are hoping they never have to face.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, Rick, when and where is that Texas team going to do their dive?
SANCHEZ: We're going to be able to show you. As a matter of fact, if you look just over my shoulder, Anderson, you'll be able to see the area. Right over there, past that cot, as you look closely, you'll see the wave starting to come over that area.
The problem is, even though that's where they're going to do it, they're not able to do it until they get a vessel that's big enough -- for two reasons. It needs to be big enough for them to be able to get enough divers on the boat. And also it's extremely choppy out there, and it's going to be hard for them to do it unless they get a boat that has the right size hull so they'd be able to stabilize themselves while they're in that area. But as soon as they get that boat, they tell me, they're going to be out there right away.
COOPER: All right. Rick Sanchez live in Aruba. Thanks, Rick.
As you just heard Rick report, prosecutors say that Paul Van Der Sloot told his son, without a body, there is no case. If that is true, it is a very disturbing turn in the search for Natalee Holloway, a search that is now more than four weeks old. So far, three suspects are in custody, not one of them has been charged with a crime. Meanwhile, Natalee's family, as you saw, continues to demand answers, continues to search, and so far, they're getting very little information.
Joining me from Palm Beach, Aruba is Arlene Ellis-Schipper, an attorney in Aruba.
Arlene, is that really true, that if there is no body, there is no case?
ARLENE ELLIS-SCHIPPER, ATTORNEY: That is not true. There has been a case in Holland, a famous case, Angelique Van Os (ph), where a man was convicted without the authorities ever finding the body. But there of course has to be enough evidence.
COOPER: And at this point, I mean, if these three young men stick to a story and there is no physical evidence of either Natalee or other sorts of physical evidence, it would be very hard to make this case?
ELLIS-SCHIPPER: Yes, of course. It makes it much harder. You have to have very, very good evidence for a judge to be convinced and to convict without the authorities ever finding a body, yes.
COOPER: The prosecutor also accused Paul Van Der Sloot of obstructing justice. How serious a crime is that? Is it a crime in Aruba?
ELLIS-SCHIPPER: Well, obstruction of justice is a criminal offense in our code of -- in our criminal code. However, there is an (INAUDIBLE) clause that excludes family members in the first degree. So for Mr. Paul Van Der Sloot, it would not apply.
COOPER: So for him, it doesn't apply because he's the dad.
ELLIS-SCHIPPER: No, correct. Correct.
COOPER: Fascinating. On Monday, a judge is expected to decide whether or not to hold Joran Van Der Sloot for another two months. Is this the kind of thing he's going to consider the accusation of collusion, or can he not take that into account because it was his father?
ELLIS-SCHIPPER: No, he can take it into account. There's a whole assessment that the judge of instruction has to make. The same kind of assessment that was made when he entered -- when he granted the pre- trial detention. He has to look at suspicion, whether there's enough probable cause, whether there are severe objections to his release. And one of those objections can be collusion.
COOPER: Aruba is a small island. I'm sure you know most of these people. What's your impression of Paul Van Der Sloot?
ELLIS-SCHIPPER: Well, I know him as a very kind, shy man, actually. So I was very surprised for him to be suspected of something like this.
COOPER: Arlene Ellis-Schipper, appreciate you joining us. Thanks very much for your perspective.
Coming up next on 360...
ELLIS-SCHIPPER: You're welcome.
COOPER: ... did Iran's new leader take dozens of Americans hostage? Some former hostages say there is something familiar about his face.
Also tonight, music and the man, U2's Bono drops by to tell us what America needs to do to save Africa in his opinion.
And a little later, 360 goes in-depth again tonight on Scientology and Tom Cruise. They oppose anti-depressants and psychiatry. We're going to find out why, and also talk to Grammy Award-winning singing sensation, Shawn Colvin. She says anti- depressants gave her her life back.
A lot of different perspectives tonight. Stay with us.
COOPER: Is it a ghost from the past or just a case of mistaken identity? That's the question. A very strange development to report in Iran where the recent presidential runoff election seems to be have been won by a dark horse hardliner that few people outside that country had ever heard of.
On the other hand, a few Americans who were held hostage in Tehran for 444 very long days in the late 70's after the Iranian revolution have been studying the face of the new president and rubbing their eyes and saying, wait a minute, we know this guy.
Brian Todd investigates.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One look at Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and some former hostages were sure this man, Iran's president-elect, was among their captors a quarter century ago.
SHARER: As soon as I saw the face, it rang a lot of bells to me.
TODD: It may ring bells to Dan Sharer, but what do experts say? We spoke to Peter Smerick, former FBI special agent. For a decade, one of the bureau's premiere photography experts.
We showed Smerick several current still photos of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a picture of the president-elect when he was a student in 1979, and pictures of one hostage taker who Ahmadinejad is being compared to.
(on camera): The two pictures that we seem to be comparing most are this picture of a hostage taker with a hostage from 1979, this picture from about the same time period of Mr. Ahmadinejad in his student days.
What are the fundamental similarities and differences that you can tell me from those two photos?
PETER SMERICK, FORMER FBI PHOTO EXPERT: What I observed in the year book photograph is what appears to be a large space between the eyebrows, where in the photograph of the hostage holder, I see a very, very small space between the eyebrow hairs.
TODD: What about the nose comparison?
SMERICK: Now, the noses appear to be similar, but this might be considered more or less a class characteristic. In other words, there is nothing in these photographs that tell me it is a unique nose to one person.
TODD: Smerick also points out differences in the moustache and beard -- but says time, camera angle and shadows could account for that. So we showed him two pieces of videotape frozen next to each other, a recent image of Ahmadinejad on the left, on right, a hostage taker from 1979.
SMERICK: In this particular instance, the earlobe of the individual photographed in 1979 appears to be squared off at the base, where the ear lobe of the current president of Iran seems to be more rounded and like a peninsula coming down to a little bit of a point.
The nose was of interest to me, because in this image, there appears to be a hook type of nose, where over here, even though the image is very, very poor, it appears to be more angular. TODD: Bottom line? Smerick says while there are facial similarities between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the 1979 hostage taker in these pictures this is one case where he would be non-conclusive.
Meanwhile, Iranian officials denied Ahmadinejad took part in the 1979 takeover. And some hostages say he was not among their captors.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Fascinating to see them compared like that.
360 next, mission man. The one and only Bono stops by 360, gives the lowdown on Live 8, and delivers a message to President Bush.
Also tonight, the battle over antidepressants. Scientologists call them evil, so does Tom Cruise. We'll talk to a believer.
And a little later, the other side from Grammy Award-winning sensation Shawn Colvin, a singer/songwriter who says drugs, antidepressants help her beat depression.
COOPER: Well the moment is gone, but the passion remains, of course, for Bono. Twenty years ago, he and U2 stole the show at Live Aid. Back then, the concert about charity for Africa.
This Saturday's, Live 8, another star-studied affair. It's about the message, a direct plea to President Bush. The plea is for the president and the members of the G-8 to double the aid for Africa and drop the debt for good. That's the hope and the mission of Bono, who joined me earlier from London.
I started by asking him about the connection between Live 8 and next week's G-8 summit in Scotland.
BONO, SINGER, U2: Live 8 is very important because the last few days in Gleneagles, remember eight of the most powerful men in the world are meeting on a golf course, OK, it's a golf course. And they have to, you know, sign on the dotted line. They have to find agreement with each other or all this optimism will be will be flittered away. That's why hundred of thousands of people will be out on the streets -- millions of people around Europe, at the eight different sites, just saying -- willing them on, sort this out once and for all.
COOPER: Bono, Live Aid, the target audience was people around the world to try to raise money. Live 8 -- really, is your target audience the world leaders?
BONO: Live Aid -- the original Live Aid 20 years ago was about charity. You know, we all put our hands in our pocket. This is not about charity. This is about justice. This is about people getting out on the streets, tuning in, being educated about what their tax dollars can achieve in the impoverished continent of Africa and elsewhere.
COOPER: How does America, in your estimation, stack up? And as you go into this G-8 meeting, what do you want to see America doing? Because, I mean, what Americans will say, or what this administration will say is, look, we've done more for Africa than any American president. That's what the Bush White House is saying.
BONO: Yeah, they have done a lot. But they started from a very low place. And that's sad. So, we're trying to turn that around now. And I think -- as I say, if it's targeted, focused aid spent well to reward good government. I think Americans are the most generous people in the world.
And if they feel the money is not going down a rat hole, they're ready to stand up and say spend this. It's a matter of pride for the American I meet that when people see the American flag around the world, they go wow!
COOPER: Bono, you've come under some criticism in "The Guardian" recently. In London, "The Guardian" paper wrote this. I just want to read you something where they say, "Bono and Geldof, basically, are lending legitimacy to power. From the point of view of men like Bush and Blair, the deal is straightfoward, we let these hairy people share a platform with us. We make a few cost-free gestures. And in return, we receive their praise and capture their fans."
BONO: I am a hairy person. Guilty, your honor. Is there some degree of being used here? Yes. But I'm not a cheap date. And neither is Bob Geldof.
And I think that it's churlish to see what Blair is doing to leading this Gleneagles G-8 summit in the next week as being insincere. We've got to get out there applaud them when they do the right thing and boo them and hiss them when they do the wrong thing.
COOPER: Bono, it's great to talk to you. Have a great concert. Good luck in all of your endeavors. Thanks.
BONO: Thank you so much, Anderson. As always.
COOPER: Tom Cruise on the airways attacking psychiatry and antidepressants. Tonight, a scientologist explains why they call psychiatrists frauds. And Grammy-award winning sensation Shawn Colvin speaks out about her battle with depression and how medication and therapy helped her regain her life. 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: Do you know what Aderol is? Do you know Ritalin? Do you know now that Ritalin is a street drug? Do you understand that?
MATT LAUER, TODAY SHOW: The difference is...
CRUISE: No, Matt -- Matt, I'm asking you a question.
LAUER: I understand there's abuse of all of these things.
CRUISE: No, you see, here's the problem. You don't know the history of psychiatry, I do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was Tom Cruise on the "Today Show."
As you may know, we devoted our second half hour last night to Tom Cruise and Scientology -- in particular, their opposition to psychiatry and antidepressants. And we asked you to e-mail us what you think about the religion and Tom Cruise's recent behavior.
We got thousands of e-mails from you. It was an overwhelming response. You had a lot to say.
K. Baggese from Mountain View, California, wrote "Tom Cruise is arrogant and naive. He has no clue what he is talking about, having led a sheltered and self-obsessed life. He should mind his own business."
Now, we should point out, we're not out to bash Tom Cruise. Everyone has a right to their opinion. We do care about facts on the program. And we're trying to separate facts from opinion.
Petra from San Ardo, California, had another view. She said, "A few years ago, I went to the doctor for a physical pain. I was immediately told that I was suffering from depression. They put me on antidepressants and my life became a living hell. They never bothered to look for anything. People need to realize that psychiatrists are not the answer for everything that goes wrong in your life. Tom has a very good message and we could learn something from it."
Petra, interesting point.
Tom Cruise goes farther than actually saying psychiatrists aren't the answer for everything that goes wrong in your life. He says they aren't the answers at all, ever, never. They're frauds, according to him.
And finally from Betty from Concon, Texas, this reaction to Tom Cruise. "He was so presumptuous to think that he knows more than anyone else about psychiatry. Just because he may have read some history books about psychiatry, means little until he's had to live with or take care of someone with a debilitating psychiatric condition, he cannot know." We think this is an important discussion to have. And I'm continuing with it tonight. Send us your thoughts throughout this hour. Log onto CNN.com/360. Click on the "Instant Feedback" link.
Now, as you've heard, one of the tenets of Scientology is that psychiatry is a scam, basically, and that mood-altering drugs are harmful. Our next guest supports those views, and considers himself a long-practitioner of alternative medicine.
Dr. Julian Whitaker is with an organization called the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, established by the Church of Scientology to expose what the church calls psychiatric violations of human rights.
Dr. Whitaker, we appreciate you being on the program from Los Angeles tonight.
DR. JULIAN WHITAKER, CITIZENS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: I appreciate you having me. Thank you very much.
COOPER: Why do you, why do Scientologists believe psychiatry is a fraud?
WHITAKER: Well, first, let me separate myself from Scientology. I do support the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. I think they do a good job. But let's talk about psychiatry, and my view of psychiatry as a medical doctor.
I didn't realize until just a couple years ago that all psychiatrist diagnoses are clusters of human behaviors that are voted on and then classified as a disease.
I thought that there was some kind of actual test that you would do to determine whether someone was ADD, or someone was ADHD. But when I found out that they were behavioral disorders and they had no basis, no measurable quantity.
COOPER: But that's not true, according to mental-health groups. They say, look, you put brain scans up of someone who is severely depressed.
WHITAKER: Let me make this point. First, the 9 million kids taking Ritalin have not had brain scans. Secondly, there's no measurable evidence in the brain scan that they can show duplicates the kids taking Ritalin.
COOPER: But let's not confuse -- let's just be very accurate about what we're talking about. Overmedication of children on Ritalin is a separate topic and an interesting topic and we should talk about it. But brain scans of people in depression or schizophrenic, that's what we're talking about. If you put up a schizophrenic person's brain scan on a chart and someone who is not, is there a difference.
WHITAKER: That I don't know.
COOPER: OK. WHITAKER: But if you are looking for actual scientific measurements of chemical imbalance, you're not going to find it.
You know, all of a sudden, we have accepted the fact that there's no measure of chemical imbalance, when they talk about depression or other mental diseases, which they've classified as disease -- and now we're talking about brain scans. Well, brain scans don't have anything to do with chemical imbalance, which is what everyone is being told, and that's dishonest. They have no measure -- they have no measure of any kind of chemical imbalance.
COOPER: So how would you treat somebody with depression, who came to you and said, look, I'm having suicidal thoughts, or I'm hearing voices, whatever the form of mental, you know, level mental illness is?
WHITAKER: First, the way I would treat someone who comes with depression, I'd do a medical evaluation, to find out if there's some medical disease for which they are having a problem. Secondly, if there's no medical disease for which they're having a problem, or we can find some other conditions where their health is lowered, I simply improve their health. You see...
COOPER: Through what, vitamins? I mean, I notice on your Web site, you're selling a lot of vitamins. So that's really through vitamins?
WHITAKER: People feel better when they exercise more. People feel better when they get more sunlight. People feel better when they are around their families more. People feel better when they get more sleep.
COOPER: And that -- you're saying that always works?
WHITAKER: There are all kinds of things.
COOPER: I mean, there are plenty of people who would say, look, I've tried to exercise, I've tried to eat better. You know, I'm in a funk and I can't get out of it.
WHITAKER: Well, when you say, does that always work? I'd say absolutely not. Do prescription drugs always work? No. As a matter of fact, some -- most of the prescription drugs now, the SSRIs carry a warning label on it that it increases suicidal depression.
COOPER: Are you opposed to any form of psychiatry? I mean, not -- when Tom Cruise, for instance, talks about psychiatry, he basically says, you go to a psychiatrist, you get drugged up and sent to electroshock therapy.
The National Institute of Mental Health says basically a combination of talk therapy and medication is the most effective treatment for depression. What's wrong with that?
WHITAKER: If you're asking if I'm opposed to psychiatry, let me say, I'm opposed to unscientific actions of anyone wearing the mantle of a doctor.
COOPER: So talk therapy...
WHITAKER: Psychiatrists -- psychiatry -- talk therapy is wonderful. My mother gave great talk therapy. I have a daughter who gets the best psychiatric treatment from our golden retriever. I mean, talk therapy is wonderful. It allows a person to verbalize feelings. But psychiatrists don't talk anymore. They drug.
COOPER: So if someone presents -- I mean, if someone is hearing voices and believes their radiator is talking to them, you would recommend they talk to their dog?
WHITAKER: I don't recommend anyone talking to the dog. And I kind of am upset that you would imply that I would do that.
COOPER: Well, you said it. I mean, you said...
WHITAKER: People that talk, people that talk, whether it's to a psychiatrist, but less so to someone else, when you talk, you verbalize feelings. It begins to lessen the impact upon them. I'm not telling people to go talk to their dog.
COOPER: So the Centers for Disease Control say that about one in 10 Americans who aren't hospitalized are going to have a major depressive disorder at some point. Are they just -- are they just -- and they basically say, you know, they recognize depression, they recognize ADD and other medical disorders. Are they just wrong?
WHITAKER: OK. Now, are these mental disorders? Or are these symptoms of clusters of activity and emotions that the psychiatric group have said were diseases? You see, that's what they are. They're not a disorder. I mean, how about -- let's see -- how about mathematics difficulty? That's a disease in the psychiatric manual. How about...
COOPER: What about schizophrenia? I mean, is schizophrenia something that is treatable with vitamins or exercise or something like that?
WHITAKER: Well, actually, schizophrenia is something that is treatable with vitamins. There was a doctor, Abram Hoffer, who formed the orthomolecular, which means treating conditions naturally, who had some very good success, excellent success with Niacin and a large amount of vitamins. And there is a lot written on that. So, yes, schizophrenia can be treated with that.
COOPER: Because the (INAUDIBLE) for that, you know, something like lithium or something, which allows people to function.
WHITAKER: And other -- the other orthomolecular substances allow people to function. So there's a variety of things that are not drugs that can allow people to function. But here's the problem -- here's the problem I have with drugs, OK?
COOPER: Go ahead. WHITAKER: They're extremely powerful. When I see a patient and I see that they have had four or five years of an SSRI or Prozac or Paxil or Wellbutrin, it's very difficult to withdraw them from the drugs. Sixty to 75 percent have withdrawal problems.
Now, if that's the case, is it good to start someone on these drugs, and say, hey, you're going to take them for the next 20 years?
And these drugs also are extremely powerful in altering the emotional makeup of the individual. When I talk to some of the people on them, it's like they're not there. These are very, very powerful agents.
COOPER: But there are plenty of people out there, millions of people out there who have taken these drugs and say, look, you know what, I feel better. My life is better. I can go back to work, I can function. I can have feelings again. What's wrong then, if that's what works for them, if taking Prozac or one of these drugs works for them, what's wrong with that? Or talking to a psychiatrist, what's wrong with it?
WHITAKER: Well, if the psychiatrists are going to do a medical exam, if the psychiatrists are going to treat the individual for medical problems, if it wasn't just going to talk and write up a script, I wouldn't have a problem with that.
I don't simply talk to my patients and write a script. We try to find out what's wrong with them medically. And psychiatrists really don't do that.
Now, whether you're against that or not against that, you have to realize that psychiatrists do not do medical tests with their patients. They give them diagnoses, which have been voted on by other psychiatrists, and they create a mental disease, which they list as a diagnosis, and then it opens the floodgates of third-party payers, and it opens the floodgates for payment for the drug.
WHITAKER: So those are realities. And the reality is, if you are tagging people with a disease that you've voted on, for which there's no acceptable, measurable problem, that's not pseudoscience, that's simply not science.
COOPER: Dr. Julian Whitaker, we appreciate you (INAUDIBLE) and we appreciate you coming on to talk about it. Thank you.
WHITAKER: Thank you very much for having me.
COOPER: Here's something interested we downloaded today on the subject of Tom Cruise's new movie. Despite predictions that adverse publicity about his affliction with the -- or affiliation, I should say, with the Church of Scientology and over the top quality maybe of his declarations of love for Katie Holmes might hurt "War of the Worlds," the film has today set a record for Paramount Pictures in the last 24 hours or so since it's opened, grossing $21.3 million on its opening day in North America, and another $13.35 at box offices in 46 countries around the world. That is the best debut Paramount says they have ever had.
Next on 360, more on this debate between the Church of Scientology, Tom Cruise and the psychiatric community with our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta. A different perspective from one we just heard.
Also tonight, the singer Shawn Colvin talks about what she says anti-depressants have done for her, notwithstanding what Tom Cruise says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUISE: I don't live my life based on what other people think I should do. OK? And I don't care what people say. I know what Scientology is. It's -- let me just tell you, it's extraordinary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The studier of conventional and new-age religions gives his opinion on Scientology. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUISE: Here's the thing you have to understand with psychiatry, OK. There is no science behind it and to pretend that there is a science behind it is criminal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Criminal. You just heard that -- the same echoed from Dr. Whitaker. Tom Cruise going off on "Access Hollywood," insisting that all science behind psychiatry is not only bogus, but criminal.
We're not sure, you know, exactly why Tom Cruise says that, but we just heard Dr. Whitaker saying it. We do now our 360 M.D., Sanjay Gupta, has another perspective. He joins you us from Atlanta.
Sanjay, good to see you.
They call it a pseudo-science, they say it's not even science and that you can't prove a chemical imbalance exists -- true?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can't measure a specific chemical imbalance. The first part of your -- the first part of their statement, the pseudo-science, just simply is not true. I mean, there have been decades and decades of research published in scientific journals, scientific studies.
They talk about having read the papers. Well there are papers out there and they are scientific papers. The chemical imbalance is where I think a lot of people get hung up, Anderson. You can't measure if someone has a decreased serotonin level, for example, but we've come beyond that for some time now, Anderson.
There are actually brain images and -- that you can measure to show what a depressed brain looks like versus a non-depressed brain.
Let's take a look at some of the images here. You can tell, the brain on left is a depressed brain. It's obvious to anybody, this is a particular kind of scan that shows activity in the brain. A normal brain -- a lot more activity.
Why is that?
When you don't have enough neurotransmitters firing, making the connections, your brain doesn't activate in the area that is it should. And you can see what a normal brain should look like. That is an objective measure, Anderson, of depression.
They also talked about ADHD -- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Again, these are things that can be measured. An ADHD brain is on the left side there. You can see, it's mainly on the right side of the brain that things are activating. They should be activating sort of all over and on the left side as well. You see a non-ADHD brain, again, it's different than the ADHD brain. These are measurements that people take. This is the science that people have been talking about and this is what a lot of treatment is predicated on.
COOPER: So, when they say no science and it's criminal to say there is such a thing as science, that's the science, you're pointing to; that there is science?
GUPTA: Yes, I'm just shocked that they say that. I mean, there is science and it's published and people have duplicated it. That's what science is.
COOPER: OK. I just want to remind to our viewers, you are not a psychiatrist, you are a neurosurgeon and I guess, know a fair amount about the brain -- I would hope so at least, since you're operating on people's brains.
GUPTA: That's right.
COOPER: Dr. Whitaker says anti-depressant drugs do more harm than good and that they can promote suicide. How dangerous are these drugs? I mean, we've heard of cases of people, especially young people, committing suicide.
GUPTA: And Dr. Whitaker is not presenting a new argument here. People have looked at this. The FDA has looked at this. The pharmaceutical companies have looked at this.
The question is this. Depression, in and of itself, is a risk factor for suicide. That is part of the reason why people want to do it get depressed. That is part of the reason why such a stigmatized disease needs to be addressed and treated quickly. Could it be the disease or could it be the drugs that's actually prompting the suicide? A lot of people believe untreated depression has even a higher risk of suicide, than people who do get treated. So, you know, I mean it's...
COOPER: But they also say: Look, there are millions of kids who are just getting drugged up in their schools with Ritalin and all these drugs and over-medicated.
GUPTA: And you know, here we're starting to get into something that may be more a reflection of society. Perhaps there is some argument, Anderson, that's true -- that we do over-medicate our society; that we tend to throw a pill at our social ills, to some extent. And that's where it becomes a little bit tricky.
But this is a real science. There is people -- there are people who have benefited tremendously by these medications, by electroconvulsive therapy, as well, by talk therapy. All of these things have helped people turn their lives around.
COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, we appreciate your perspective as well. Thanks very much.
Coming up next on 360, we continue the discussion about Scientology. Some countries don't say it's a religion. In the United States, it's recognized as a religion. We're going to talk to once scholar who has studied it.
We'll also talk to Grammy-winning singer Shawn Colvin. She gives us her perspective on the psychiatry debate. She tells us, how she says, anti-depressants helped change her life.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUISE: ... It addresses man, it says is a spiritual being, OK? And it gives people tools that they apply to their life to improve conditions. And that's what it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Tom Cruise talking about Scientology, about which we spoke earlier with J. Gordon Melton, who is managing director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, in Santa Barbara California. He's also the author of, among other works, a book called "The Church of Scientology."
Take a look.
COOPER: The former director of the Cult Awareness Network said and I quote, "Scientology is quiet likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult the country has ever seen. That organization went bankrupt, I guess, after repeatedly being sued by Scientologists. I've read it's now run by Scientologists.
But the U.S. government says it's religion and I know you agree. What makes it a religion?
J. GORDON MELTON, AUTHOR: It answers the three basic religious questions of: Where did we come from? Why are we here? And where are we destined to go?
COOPER: And as we heard tonight, they are very opposed, obviously, to psychiatry and anti-depressants and other forms of -- some other forms of medication. Why is that? I mean, what is their treatment? It seemed -- I've read about auditing and they take classes. Can you explain what the basic belief system is?
MELTON: Basically, they developed a prejudice against psychology and psychiatry back in the '40s when Hubbard encountered psychiatry at a time when lobotomies and electroshock treatments were being done. And they have continued that kind of hostility.
COOPER: Their critics, though, say part of that abhorrence of psychiatry is financial reasons. I mean, that's what some critics are saying, because the classes that they are offering -- I meant its a very -- it's a form of counseling really. People pay thousands of dollars for a varying level of courses in which they talk about past memories and childhood experiences.
Is that correct?
MELTON: Somewhat correct. Over a period of time -- and Scientology is really designed for a lifetime of participation. Over a period of time, you would pay about the same thing that you would pay if you were an active church member in supporting your church. It's only when you decide to do a lot of Scientology, in a very, very short time, that the bills begin to mount up in what you would think of as multiple thousands of dollars.
COOPER: You've studied a number of new religions.
Does anything about Scientology strike you as appreciably different in the way they -- I mean, their critics say they're very secretive: the way they raise money; the way they are, you know litigious? Does any of that surprise you?
MELTON: Scientology is one of the most litigious groups in the country. It has chosen a format which has seen the court as an avenue to justify its position. It attempts to vindicate charges against its founder in the courts. And that has been an avenue that's used.
Its methods of raising money are pretty up front and quite common with other esoteric groups. So its money practices are quite standard. Its secrecy is very much like can other esoteric groups. Almost all esoteric groups get that name, because they have some kind of secret that's only let out to a small numbers of more dedicated members.
COOPER: It's a fascinating subject and a big subject to try to get one's arms around. We appreciate you joining us, Mr. Melton, for your perspective. Thanks very much.
MELTON: Very good.
COOPER: In a moment, we're going to talk to Shawn Colvin about her experiences. But let's find out what's coming up at the top of the hour on PAULA ZAHN NOW. Hey, Paula.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Anderson. We'll also be talking about Tom Cruise tonight.
But we will also have the real-life story behind a movie to be directed by James Cameron, the man who won a boatload of Oscars for Titanic. It centers on a sport you've probably never seen before, free-diving. Without SCUBA gear, people actually ride a sled underwater to a depth that's the equivalent of a 55-story building holding their breath for up to five minutes. We're going to take you inside this incredible, dangerous and absolutely spectacular, beautifully sport.
COOPER: Yeah, it certainly is. Paula, thanks very much. That's at the top of the hour.
Coming up next, though on 360, treating depression. For singer Shawn Colvin, the blues is more than just a musical genre. We're going to hear what she has to say about Tom Cruise and antidepressants. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUISE: It's not a cure. And it's actually lethal. These drugs are dangerous. There is a hormonal thing that's going on. That is scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances with people, there's no science behind that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Tom Cruise again.
Three-time Grammy winner Shawn Colvin is perhaps best known for her number one hit "Sunny Came Home." Colvin says Sunny was her nickname for a few years, which is ironic, because in life, well, her life was anything but sunny. Colvin had battled depression for a lot of her life. She credits antidepressants in part for treating her problem.
Shawn Colvin joins us now from Austin, Texas. Shawn, it's great to see you here.
SHAWN COLVIN, SINGER/SONGWRITER: Thank you, Anderson. COOPER: When you hear Tom Cruise say what he said about Brooke Shields, say what he said about psychiatry and antidepressants, what did you think?
COLVIN: Well, I was stunned, frankly. I mean, I don't -- I think like a lot of people, who was wondering, where did this come from? Because it seemed critical, judgmental, unfeeling.
And I think what strikes me most about it, is that personally, I gained something from someone's experience. People like William Styron, Mike Wallace, Art Buchwald, all who were outspoken about their depressions, and many other people. To read what they went through, for them to be public about what they went through was really helpful to me.
And I don't see Tom Cruise talking about what he's gone through. That's what interests me with people. That's what makes me want to listen. That's where I find courage.
COOPER: You mean, he's been critical of others and not really talking about his own experiences in Scientology?
COLVIN: Exactly. Thank you.
Yes. I assume the judgment is coming from his religion. So talk to me about your religion. I want to know more about it. Don't criticize someone like Brooke who had fertility treatments, gave birth, all of which I don't think Tom has gone through. So why attack her?
COOPER: Tom Cruise, he said that antidepressants mask the problem -- that there's no such thing as a chemical imbalance.
Do you think that's true? What's your own experience?
COLVIN: I think that's a careless statement. Back it up. Talk to me. You know, where are you getting that?
My experience tells me that I could get everything in order in my life, including stopping drinking, drugs, going to a psychiatrist, looking at my past. There was still a problem. It was chemical. I believe it because I took medicine to alter the chemistry, and I got better.
COOPER: They seem to say -- with this doctor I talked to tonight, that you go to a psychiatrist, and they instantly give you medication or electroshock therapy. Your experience in going to psychiatrists? Is that what happened to you? Was talk therapy an important part of it?
COLVIN: Yes, it was, talk therapy was an important part. And I credit my therapist who I saw for a long time in knowing me and being objective enough about me to say, there's something else going on here. You need to see somebody else that can talk to you about medication and depression. Because -- go ahead.
COOPER: I think for someone who hasn't gone through it, it's probably impossible to put yourself in that shoe. So, kind of if you can, walk us through it. I mean, I don't know if you heard of the doctor earlier, Dr. Whitaker, who works for an organization which is supported by the Scientologists, who says -- or supports an organization supported by the Scientologists -- who says, basically, look, there are other things you can do. You can exercise, you can eat better, you can get a medical checkup. You can talk to your loved one, your dog. You don't have to go for antidepressant medication. Is it -- was it -- would that have been possible for you?
COLVIN: Well, I think a person who's suffering from depression owes it to themselves to look at all of the possibilities. And I did. You know, I did. I went down them one by one. And I -- I -- those -- all of those things combined did not take care of the problem.
COOPER: And so for someone who is sitting out there right now, you know, trying to make up in their own mind, their own choice about do you go to a psychiatrist? Do you go to a Scientology-approved group? Do you make vitamins? What's your message?
COLVIN: I say look at all of your options. I say get educated. I say listen to people, look at what's resonating in your heart. But get -- it's like any disease, you know. Get -- I'm impressed, Lance Armstrong lives around here. A big message with the "Live Strong", the Lance Armstrong Foundation, is to get educated, find your options, seek as many opinions as you can. That's the best anybody can do for their own treatment of any illness.
COOPER: And is that your message to Tom Cruise, too?
COLVIN: Yes. My message to Tom Cruise is tell me about you. Tell me about what's happened to you. And why you are where you are. Tell me about you. Don't tell me what you think of me or Brooke or anybody else.
COOPER: And treatment has helped you. You're working, your doing great. Your life is very changed, yes?
COLVIN: Unquestionably. Unquestionably. I can go only so far without medication. And living in a small enough world, I actually could cope with the depression. When my career began to take off and I had a lot more work to do and a lot more to deliver, and it was a life I wanted, it was a dream that I had had, I couldn't do it anymore. And the best work that I've done, I've done on antidepressant medication. I felt pain, I've pondered. I've, you know, I've sought. I mean, it didn't make me a flat out boring person, it just restored me.
COOPER: You definitely don't seem like a boring person. Shawn Colvin we really appreciate you being on the program. Thanks very much.
COLVIN: Thank you.
COOPER: CNN's primetime coverage continues now with Paula Zahn.
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