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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
America Votes 2008: Obama Rising?; Kanye West's Mom Dies; Plastic Surgery Danger; Are We Alone?; Prisoner Tortured?
Aired November 12, 2007 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We have been waiting for race for president to warm up, and now it has. Barack Obama, closing the gap, finally catches fire in a rock-star performance the country is talking about. It happened this weekend. We will tell you about it tonight.
And Hillary Clinton says, hey, turn up the heat. The question tonight, will either of them turn heat into votes?
Also tonight, as I said, we're digging deeper into the death of Donda West, Kanye West's mother, after surgery, apparently cosmetic surgery, here in Los Angeles. We're going to look at the kinds of procedures that millions of Americans undergo and what can go wrong with those procedures and what you need to know before going under the knife.
Also tonight, with new calls for the government to get involved, a 360 investigation into the possibility we're not alone. You will hear researchers, astronauts, even a former president of the United States, talk about what they saw, and hear from the UFO skeptics, too -- all the angles tonight.
We begin with our top story, the fireworks, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama acting like political heavyweights, as the Iowa caucuses get closer and the whole country starts focusing on whether she or he or someone else truly has what it takes to be president.
New polling on the Democratic side shows the race tightening. Saturday, at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Des Moines, Democrats made their pitch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we are really serious about winning this election, Democrats, then we can't live in fear of losing it. This party, the party of Jefferson and Jackson, of Roosevelt and Kennedy has always made the biggest difference in the lives of the American people when we led not by polls, but by principle, a party that doesn't just offer change as a slogan, but real, meaningful change, change that America can believe in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It was a speech which electrified the room. Barack Obama, that bit about leading by polls, clearly a swipe at Bill Clinton and of course Hillary.
She actually spoke before Senator Obama, but took a preemptive shot at his theme of change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to have a Democratic president because we have big challenges to meet.
So, we are ready for change.
But you know what? Change -- change is just a word if you don't have the strength and experience to make it happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now to talk about it, former Presidential Adviser David Gergen, along with CNN Contributor and Radio Talk Show Host Roland Martin.
David, a columnist for "The Des Moines Register" said Obama's performance -- and I quote -- he said: "The passion he showed should help him close the gap on Hillary Clinton by tipping some undecided caucus-goers his way. His oratory was moving. And he successfully contrasted himself with the others, especially Clinton, without being snide or nasty about it."
Can one speech really be a turning point?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Not one speech alone, but this speech has changed the expectations and the sense -- the sense of how this race is going, Anderson.
But it's very important to see it in a context. You know, all year, we have had Hillary steadily opening a bigger and bigger lead against Barack Obama. And, then, in that debate a couple of weeks ago, she stumbled a little bit, didn't change the dynamics, but stumbled.
And there have been some other stumbles in her campaign. And, so, she seemed vulnerable. But the question people had was, oh, OK, she may be vulnerable, but does Barack Obama have what it takes to take it away from her? Does he have that fire in his belly? Does he have that passion? Because you have to get up every day saying, I want this and I'm going to take it away from her.
And, for the first time, Saturday night, people heard that passion. And there were 9,000 in that hall when -- when he spoke, many of them who will vote in the caucuses. And that's what got -- that's what has the political world buzzing now, because, combined with her stumbles and his suddenly turning on the engines, could make it a much more interesting race.
COOPER: Roland, I want to talk to you about that passion. But, first, let's -- let's play another clip from the Obama speech. He took several jabs at Clinton without mentioning her by name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I am running for president because I am sick and tired of Democrats thinking that the only way to look tough on national security is by talking and acting and voting like George Bush Republicans.
When I -- when I am this party's nominee, my opponent will not be able to say that I voted for the war in Iraq or -- or that I gave George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran, or that I support Bush- Cheney policies of not talking to leaders that we don't like.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Roland, to me, what he does so deftly in this speech -- and I read the whole transcript of it -- is that he sets himself in contrast to Hillary Clinton, and makes you believe that there is another way to govern.
Then, the next morning, on "Meet the Press," he seemed to have none of that fire. What is up with Barack Obama? I mean, can he carry forward from that speech?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think first of all, we have to understand that they're two different settings.
In Iowa, he was speaking to some 9,000 people -- 3,000 of his supporters. Yet, when he was on "Meet the Press," it was really a one-on-one conversation. "Meet the Press" is a dialogue with Tim Russert and also really that whole Washington group. And so, on that kind of show, you really want somebody who's thoughtful, who is able to explain their issues.
He can't always be on fire. And I think one of the reasons why people are so surprised with what took place on Saturday is because the national stage that he's been on frankly has been the debates, and he has not done well in those debates, because it is not, in many ways, a way where he can really project himself. This event was different. He was on stage by himself, in his elements, feeding off the crowd. That's what matters. What he has to figure out is picking the moments.
I think what is going to be a real test again is going to be on Thursday, at the debate in Nevada, as to how he performs in that debate. Can he follow up what took place on Saturday with the upcoming debate? That's going to be critical.
COOPER: David, Senator Clinton is way ahead, of course, in national polls, but in Iowa, in New Hampshire, it's a different story. It's a lot closer race. She also had some setbacks recently, her campaign admitting to planting questions at an event in Iowa, or at least one question. Is she really vulnerable? Is she really stumbling? Or is this just the latest narrative that the media is running with, and next week, they're going to be on to something else?
GERGEN: Well, I thought that the media did overreact to her debate performance. I thought, substantively, she was stronger than given credit for.
But, stylistically, she reverted to sort of the old Hillary, and she was more strident. And I thought that was a -- I thought that was a stumble. And then we had the -- her -- her husband, very surprisingly, seemingly seeming to stumble as he defended her.
And then her campaign had to come out and admit this, that they had some planted questions along the way. All of those things together, Anderson, were not, I think, threatening -- that threatening to her, unless Barack could catch on fire. And that's -- and that's what I think has been interesting, that the -- it's the -- it's the two together.
And I think Roland is right. A lot now depends on the CNN debate on Thursday night.
But let me just say this. What we have seen from Hillary Clinton is a woman who's been a little bit tentative. She is a fighter. She is -- she will not go quietly into this good night. And I think what you're going to see on Thursday, and I think what you're going to see in other situations, is the same thing that happened to Barack, is, you can let this thing slip away from you unless you come out -- unless you come out and show that kind of passion: I really want to be your president. I wake up every day thinking I should be your president.
People want that in their next leader.
COOPER: We're going to leave it there.
MARTIN: And, Anderson, I think that...
COOPER: Sorry, Roland.
Very briefly, Roland. What?
MARTIN: Well, again, I think what -- what you're also going to see is, you're going to see Obama. He's going to have to keep the pressure.
And I think, also, David, he's feeding off of John Edwards. By having the two of them tag-team Clinton, that helps both of them, but I think it helps Obama more than it helps Edwards. GERGEN: I agree with that.
COOPER: All right. We're going to leave it there.
David Gergen, Roland Martin, always good to have you. Thanks.
MARTIN: Thank you.
COOPER: Now to new details about the unexpected death of Donda West, the rap -- the mother of rapper and hip-hop mogul Kanye West.
It appears she may have died from complications of cosmetic surgery, and may have had a medical condition that made the procedure risky.
Here's what we know. Donda West was 58 years old. On Saturday night, 911 was called to her home after she had stopped breathing. She was taken to a nearby hospital in Southern California, where she was pronounced dead.
The coroner's office said it appeared that West may have died from surgical complications, but they didn't specify what kind of surgery she had had. We have heard conflicting reports from West's publicist, who first told CNN that West died after undergoing a cosmetic procedure, then later denied she had undergone surgery at all.
Now, the most startling new development today is this. A Beverly Hills plastic surgeon says that West consulted him about cosmetic surgery months ago, and he told her he would not perform the procedure until she passed a stress test for her heart and got full medical clearance. Here's why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANDRE ABOOLIAN, PLASTIC SURGEON: She had a condition that was of concern, but, unfortunately, I can't tell you about it because of patient confidentiality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The surgeon says he last talked to West two weeks ago, and as far as he knows, she never followed up with the medical tests that he recommended. He also said he doesn't know if she had cosmetic surgery elsewhere.
An autopsy is expected to be conducted by Wednesday.
Meantime, Kanye West, who was about to begin a U.K. tour, has rushed back to Los Angeles.
KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: This is my mother.
DONDA WEST, MOTHER OF KANYE WEST: Hello. Hi. COOPER (voice-over): Kanye West and his mother, Donda, their affection for each other was immense.
KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: All I want to say, mom, I love you, and thank you for having me.
DONDA WEST, DONDA WEST'S MOTHER: It's a blessing that I got to be his mother.
COOPER: Their pride in each other, obvious.
D. WEST: But I always believed in him.
COOPER: Unlike the troubled relationships of some young superstars -- Britney Spears and her mother, Lynne, Lindsay Lohan and her mother, Dina, Kanye and his mother thrived in each other's company.
Donda raised Kanye largely by herself and wrote about it in a book published last May. She described her parenting style as giving and receiving.
D. WEST: I think, because Kanye knew that I listened to him, then he really didn't have a big problem listening to me.
COOPER: Donda wasn't a typical stage mother. She had her own career as an English professor at Morris Brown College in Atlanta and, later, as chair of the English and Speech Department at Chicago State University.
KELLY ELLIS, PROFESSOR, CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY: Students would come back to me and talk about her class as being one of the high points of their college careers. She was very passionate about African-American literature and about history.
COOPER: So, it came as a blow to her when Kanye dropped out of college.
D. WEST: Now, of course, I was disappointed, because here I am, an English professor, or an educator, and I have been for so many years. And to me, to get at least one degree was just essential.
COOPER: Years later, after he achieved worldwide success, they could laugh about it.
D. WEST: We're all happy...
K. WEST: You know, I told you. I said, I had a college professor in my life my whole life, so what do I need school for? So...
COOPER: Donda left her academic career in 2004 to oversee her son's businesses and to run the Kanye West Foundation, dedicated to lowering high school dropout rates. D. WEST: It feels like the most fulfilling thing I could ever do.
COOPER: Setting aside her own achievements, Donda wrote in the epilogue to her book, "I'm as grateful for having had Kanye as I am for life itself."
COOPER (on camera): She was just 58 years old.
Now, we don't know yet what actually caused Donda West to die so unexpectedly. But we do know that, if she did indeed have cosmetic surgery recently, she is not alone.
Nearly 11 million cosmetic procedures were performed in America last year, 7 percent more than in 2005. Nearly 2 million of those procedures involved surgery.
It's become so common, it raises the question, are many people going under the knife too casually?
With that, here's CNN's David Mattingly.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You can see it in Sharon Osbourne's face and Pamela Anderson's cleavage, medical science doing what no diet, no exercise, no makeup could ever hope to accomplish.
But not everyone emerges from plastic surgery ready for their close-up.
DR. RICHARD D'AMICO, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLASTIC SURGERY: This stuff has been mainstreamed. Hand because the media is buzzing with, you know, the afternoon face-lift, the weekend this, the quickie that, that the public needs to remember that this is still surgery, and it needs to be approached in a careful way.
MATTINGLY: D-lister Kathy Griffin claims she had life- threatening complications after failed liposuction in 1999.
"First Wives Club" Author Olivia Goldsmith actually died about a week after a surgery to remove loose skin from her chin.
Experts cannot stress enough how important it is that your doctor asks a lot of questions.
D'AMICO: There should be a physical examination and, very often, a checkup by the patient's doctor, their regular doctor, and appropriate lab tests based on the procedure that they're considering.
MATTINGLY (on camera): The chances of dying from cosmetic surgery is actually very low, fewer than one in 50,000, according to one study. And that's just for outpatient clinics. But no procedure is risk-free. And, no matter how you slice it, surgery isn't pretty.
Take a look at rock star Gene Simmons and his longtime live-in Shannon Tweed after his and her face-lifts on their reality show.
What happened was sometimes a little hard to watch. But, when all's healed and on the red carpet, people generally like what they see. A survey this year found 34 percent of women and 18 percent of men would consider a little nip here or a little tuck there.
Liposuction, eyelid surgery and breast reduction are in the top five choices for both women and men.
(voice-over): But try telling that to Kenny Rogers, who gambled on eye surgery that he says left him too tight around the eyelids, and actress Tara Reid, who says a bad breast enhancement cost her jobs.
But the risks don't stop some stars from going back for more, and more, and more.
David Mattingly, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Well, we're digging deeper on this tonight, talking next with a top plastic surgeon, as well as a woman who lived through a Botox nightmare.
Also, these stories:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (voice-over): From Christopher Columbus, to Jimmy Carter, to astronauts with the right stuff, they all say they have seen UFOs. And there's new pressure on the government to investigate. Tonight, 360 investigates bringing believers and skeptics together.
Also tonight, he steps off a plane into a new American nightmare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told me, we -- you are not a suspect. We're -- we're just going to ask you some questions and we will let you catch the next plane.
COOPER: Wrongly suspected of terrorism, sent to a country that tortures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He hit me like crazy.
COOPER: Now he's telling his story, demanding answers from the Bush White House. We're "Keeping them Honest" -- only on 360 tonight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We're continuing with more on the death of Donda West, the mother and manager of rapper Kanye West. She died unexpectedly over the weekend, apparently from complications after surgery, possibly cosmetic surgery.
Joining me now is Dr. Seth Yellin, a plastic surgeon and director of the Emory Facial Center in Atlanta.
Also with me is Irena Medavoy, a former model and actress, and now a blogger for "The Huffington Post." She says a Botox treatment she underwent in 2002 went terribly awry.
Appreciate both of you being with us.
Dr. Yellin, Donda West apparently died after undergoing cosmetic surgery. How common is that? We don't hear about it very much.
DR. SETH YELLIN, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Well, Anderson, as you know, cosmetic surgery in general is very safe. However, it is surgery, and it has its risks.
Earlier on, you heard a gentleman quote a statistic of about one in 50,000 deaths from cosmetic surgery. However, you have to understand that not all surgical procedures are created equally. And the...
COOPER: What are the riskiest ones?
YELLIN: Well, I think that, when you're dealing with abdominal surgery, more than facial surgery, and more than breast surgery, you have an increased risk of things like clots from the legs forming and perhaps going to the lungs, causing pulmonary embolism.
COOPER: Are you talking about liposuction and -- and stomach stapling?
MATTINGLY: Yes, those sort -- well, not stomach stapling, but liposuction and abdominoplasty, where the muscles of the abdominal wall are tightened, those tend to lead to higher risk than things such as breast augmentation and facial surgery.
COOPER: Irena, you had complications after getting Botox. Had you been warned of any possible complications?
IRENA MEDAVOY, CLAIMES SUFFERED BOTOX COMPLICATIONS: I thought it was very safe. But, remember, I had a dermatologist that did neurological work on me. So, he was trying to fix my migraines. So, it was something that I never would have thought that I could have gotten ill, so ill, and lost, you know, so many hours and times in life over a silly thing like Botox.
COOPER: Dr. Yellin, the plastic surgeon who -- or cosmetic surgeon -- who apparently Donda West saw several months ago for advice about a possible procedure put out a statement, saying that he told her that she needed to have a medical procedure.
I want to put his quote up on the screen. He says: "I always insist on a medical clearance for women over 40. And, in this instance, it was particularly important because of a condition she had that I felt," and then he goes on to say -- anyway, he goes on to say that he felt she was particularly vulnerable to this form of procedure.
Why would -- why would you need a medical clearance before?
YELLIN: Well, I think first of all, the public needs to recognize the fact that cosmetic surgery is surgery.
You're having anesthesia. There are risks that are common to all procedures, such as bleeding, infection and anesthesia complications. We really try to take the safe road. And it is very important to medically clear all of your patients prior to surgery. I would agree 100 percent with that surgeon's assessment.
I think that getting general medical clearance and cardiac clearance in particular in a patient with risks, such as Ms. West, is very important. And I would stress the -- the fact that all cosmetic surgeons who perform surgery to the standards that you and I would expect in an American-trained surgeon would do the same thing.
COOPER: Irena, do you think people do this too -- too quickly? I mean, you -- we see young girls now going in for -- for cosmetic surgery. What advice do you have for people out there who are thinking about going under the knife?
MEDAVOY: That fashion is not medicine. It isn't surgery, that, you know, it's all elective.
If you really want to do it, and it's something that you think is going to change your life, I just -- I just know I'm never going to do anything again. I haven't for five-and-a-half years. I think my life is -- you know, is worth being with my son and having a life with my husband, than trying to capture every single second of being perfection.
There is nothing that is truly perfection, I think, and that surgeons sometimes -- and I don't -- not this surgeon, or not making a blanket statement -- but, I believe, sometimes, there's greed involved, where, you know, you -- you get stuck into, I need to have this done because everyone around me is doing it.
My dentist, the other day, was fixing a cavity. He took my lip up and he said, oh, my God, I haven't felt a natural lip in a month.
COOPER: Wow. That's incredible.
COOPER: Dr. Yellin, your -- your advice. I mean, I see people in the malls going in for things which I'm -- I sort of wonder, should people be doing this kind of stuff in a mall?
YELLIN: Absolutely not.
You know, it is -- it is important to sort of reinforce that cosmetic surgery does more than just make someone look a little bit younger. For many people, it's an important aspect of their profession to allow them to maintain their competitive edge, to have the self-confidence in themselves, to be the best that they can be.
And I can tell you that most surgical procedures, most cosmetic interventions are extremely safe. And, when performed by properly trained and board-certified surgeons, you have to understand that the risks are really inherently very small.
The fact that this story about Ms. West is news speaks to the rarity of this complication. And the fact is that patients should not be scared or frightened of visiting with their cosmetic surgeons, discussing openly their medical conditions, as well as their cosmetic issues...
YELLIN: ... and coming to a mutually agreeable solution.
I really do not want this story to scare people unnecessarily. I want them to recognize that it is surgery, that there are inherent risks, that proper medical procedures must be followed. But, done properly...
YELLIN: ... these procedures are extremely safe.
COOPER: And the key is to go to a reputable surgeon in all things, as in all matters.
YELLIN: Without -- without question.
COOPER: Dr. Yellin, appreciate your time. Thank you.
COOPER: And, Irena Medavoy, thanks for -- so much for being on and talking about your experiences. I appreciate it.
YELLIN: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Up next tonight on 360: They say they saw UFOs, true believers gathering in Washington, D.C. And, if you think this is a convention of oddballs, well, you better think again. So, are they telling the truth? What did they really see? We will let you decide next.
COOPER: Well, in the latest Democratic debate, Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich said he had seen one. So has Jimmy Carter. So did a pilot who traveled from Iran to Washington so he could speak out today about his encounter with a UFO.
Now, unidentified flying object means just that, unidentified. It says nothing about what or from where. But, for years now, polling has shown that a majority of Americans believe the government, our government, simply isn't telling all it knows about those lights in the sky, whatever they are.
Well, tonight, CNN's Gary Tuchman investigates.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you flew on Air France from Nice to London on January 28, 1994, your captain says he saw a UFO 1,000 feet long just outside your window.
JEAN-CHARLES DUBOC, RETIRED AIR FRANCE CAPTAIN: It seemed to be a huge flying disk.
TUCHMAN: The now retired pilot is one of 14 men, mainly former government and military officials, from seven different countries talking about their UFO experiences.
DUBOC: It disappeared in about 10 to 20 seconds.
TUCHMAN: This conference took place in Washington, and the cast of characters was almost strangely, well, conventional. One of the believers, former Governor of Arizona Fife Symington.
FIFE SYMINGTON, FORMER ARIZONA GOVERNOR: I saw something that defied logic and challenged my reality.
TUCHMAN: During a visit to Phoenix, Symington described to me what he saw.
SYMINGTON: If you -- if you had been here 10 years ago, and standing up out here and looking up there at the lights and the view, you would have been astounded. You would have been amazed.
TUCHMAN: The so-called Phoenix lights were seen by many people in 1997. Skeptics say they were military aircraft or flares, but not the former governor.
SYMINGTON: It was probably some sort of an alien spacecraft.
TUCHMAN: Lots of agreement on this panel -- this retired Iranian air force pilot said he saw a UFO while flying.
GENERAL PARVIZ JAFARI, FORMER IRANIAN AIR FORCE PILOT: It looked similar to a star, but bigger and brighter.
TUCHMAN: General Parviz Jafari says he tried to fire a missile, but much of his plane became inoperative.
JAFARI: All the instrument was fluctuating. The radio had garbled. Even, I couldn't have communication with my pilot in my back seat, who was operating the radar.
TUCHMAN (on camera): So, your -- so, none of your equipment worked. Your missiles didn't work. Do you think it's because this was an alien from another world?
JAFARI: Oh, yes. Yes.
TUCHMAN: You're sure of that?
JAFARI: Yes, I'm sure.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): This retired U.S. Air Force sergeant stationed in England said he walked up to a UFO that landed in a forest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It maneuvered through the trees and shot off at an unbelievable rate of speed.
TUCHMAN: A man running for president just said he saw a UFO.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did. And the rest of the account -- it was an unidentified flying object.
TUCHMAN: And so did a man who was president.
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I and about 25 others saw something in the air that changed colors and was round.
TUCHMAN: Although Jimmy Carter says he doesn't think it was another planet, most of these people differ on that point and want the FAA to investigate all these claims.
But the FAA says that's not its job. "We manage the aircraft that we're talking to. UFOs are called UFO's because they're unidentified and we're not talking to them."
And it's precisely because no one's talking that everybody here is trying harder to make them believe.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, we're going to talk with the man who organized the conference, coming up next. He also made a film about 50 years of what he calls official contradictions and denials.
We'll also hear from a noted astronomer and UFO skeptic -- skeptic. We'll be right back.
COOPER: We don't take sides on 360. We like to present you with the facts and information from different angles and let you make up your own minds about things.
That's particularly true with mysteries. And for many Americans, there's no mystery greater than UFO's.
James Fox helped organize today's UFO-related event in Washington. He directed the film "Out of the Blue." He joins me now, along with astronomer, former Air Force pilot and skeptic James McGaha.
Thanks for being with us, both of you.
Let me start off with you, James Fox. You helped to organize the panel. Why? What are you hoping to accomplish?
JAMES FOX, DIRECTOR, "OUT OF THE BLUE": We want to establish the fact that the phenomenon is real and it's taking place worldwide. And the reason why we got a panel of 14 high-ranking military and government officials from seven countries, who these guys officially investigated these cases for their governments and militaries.
So it's not like private investigators. These are official military and government people.
COOPER: But James Fox, to those who say, look, there's no actual evidence. I mean, there's no recovered spacecraft. There's no actual evidence, what do you say?
FOX: I would say, well, we have photographic, radar confirmation, visual confirmation, landing trace cases. There were imprints in the ground where these things reportedly landed. You know, and these government and military officials are telling us these things are real. I think we should listen.
COOPER: James McGaha, I know you're skeptical. Why?
JAMES MCGAHA, UFO SKEPTIC: Well, UFO's are basically a modern space-age mythology. It's a conspiracy wrapped in superstition and myth and magic.
People see lights in the sky, and somehow they equate those lights in the sky to spacecraft from another world. It's really wish fulfillment. It's almost a fairy tale among many people to believe that somehow either doom or salvation is coming from the sky. This is a very old concept in human thinking.
But I should say, when we talk about pilots, there's this incredible misidentification idea about pilots being trained observers. Pilots are not trained observers; they're trained to fly airplanes. They are some of the worst people at identifying objects in the sky that aren't other airplanes. They're trained to react quickly in an airplane, which very often makes them react to wrong stimuli.
COOPER: James Fox, what about that?
FOX: Let me say something.
Mr. McGaha, although I do respect your opinion on this, you keep misleading the public when you say that these are ambiguous distant lights off at a distance. These are not.
These are unambiguous, up close and personal cases where, in one case in Bentwater in 1980, they actually touched the UFO on the ground. And this was witnessed by 80 people on the ground.
MCGAHA: I am quite skeptical that anyone touched anything at Bentwater's. It wasn't Bentwater's. It was actually at Wood Ridge (ph).
FOX: With all due respect, sir, I don't think you were there.
COOPER: James McGaha, why shouldn't there be more investigation? Why shouldn't -- what this panel was calling for, essentially, is some sort of government investigation of it. Why shouldn't there be further investigation?
FOX: Well, there have been investigations...
MCGAHA: Well, what...
FOX: Well, hang on a second. Let me just state this clearly. One of the things that...
MCGAHA: What are we going to...
FOX: You keep interrupting me sir, please. One of the things I want to mention very quickly is that the official position from the Air Force is that they terminated Project Blue Book in 1969, and there have been no official investigations since then.
However, we found evidence that suggests the contrary on a number of cases.
In Tehran, the general said the Americans were making discreet inquiries about the case -- excuse me, there as well as Bentwater's, England. The colonel said that the OSI came in and investigated that.
COOPER: So you believe there is government investigation going on? You just want it more public?
FOX: They're making discreet inquiries, unofficially, yes.
COOPER: James McGaha, final thoughts?
MCGAHA: They're making -- yes. Yes, they are making discreet inquiries about strange things that happened, not about UFOs or alien spacecraft. That's not what's going on at all.
FOX: They are responsible for the security and the deployment of nuclear weapons. If you think they're out there hallucinating, why do they all get promoted?
COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there.
MCGAHA: If we had time, I could actually tell you what happened that night. It's -- it's very prosaic, involving lights in the sky and that's all.
FOX: It's not lights in the sky, sir, thank you.
COOPER: No doubt a debate we're not going to settle tonight, but we do appreciate you guys talking about it.
James Fox, James McGaha, thank you.
COOPER: A story the government next doesn't want you to see. A husband and a father on his way home to his family ends up in hell. The U.S. government said he was a terrorist and sent him to Syria, where he says he was tortured. Turns out they were wrong. How could it happen? We're "Keeping them Honest," next.
COOPER: This next story is one the government didn't want you to know about, probably because it shows just how terribly wrong the so- called war on terror went five years ago.
Details about what happened to a Canadian software engineer in the fall of 2002 are just now coming to light, and it is a terrifying tale that says a lot about our country today.
"Keeping them Honest", here's CNN's Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We now know Washington wanted to keep this story a secret.
It was 2002 at JFK Airport in New York, almost exactly one year after the terrorist attack of 9/11. A husband is flying home on American Airlines Flight 65. He has a layover here to change planes, and then suddenly, he simply disappears. He never gets home to Canada.
MONIA MAZIGH, WIFE OF MANER ARAR: He told me, I'll call you as soon as I arrive in Montreal.
CARROLL: Her husband, Maner Arar, was stopped at JFK. U.S. Customs agents told him something he didn't know, tat he was on the U.S. terror watch list. MANER ARAR, DEPORTED TO SYRIA: They told me, you are not a suspect. We're just going to ask you some questions and we'll let you catch the next plane. But this did not happen.
CARROLL: No one said why, he says, but Arar was arrested and soon moved to this detention center in New York. Hours would pass, then a day, then longer. He was allowed no calls.
Arar's wife was in a panic. She called the airlines, the Canadian embassy. No one could tell her anything. It was as if he'd vanished.
MAZIGH: I was just left waiting and that wait, wait, wait without nothing.
CARROLL: In New York, a federal INS agent told Arar they suspected he was affiliated with al Qaeda, a charge Arar vehemently denied. The agent said they were flying him to Syria. Arar was stunned. He had left there 16 years ago to become a Canadian citizen.
ARAR: I protested. I said, "If you send me back to Syria, I'll be tortured."
CARROLL: In fact the U.S. State Department's own literature says torture is most likely to occur under questioning in Syria.
(on camera): And what did they say in response to that?
ARAR: Well, they just didn't care.
CARROLL (voice-over): Finally, six days after being taken into U.S. custody, Arar says he was allowed to call. His wife is relieved to hear from him and then horrified.
MAZIGH: He said, "I'm in New York. I'm in Brooklyn, in federal prison bureau, something like that. And I need a lawyer. I might be deported to Syria."
CARROLL: Arar begged the INS agent not to send him.
ARAR: For me, it was very clear that the message is, we don't care. That's why we are sending you to Syria. We're sending you there to be tortured.
CARROLL (on camera): I'm just wondering psychologically what that must have been like for you at that point.
ARAR: I lost hope. I was disoriented. I just wanted a miracle to happen.
CARROLL (voice-over): October 8, 12 days after being held in U.S. custody, Arar is flown to Jordan, then Syria.
ARAR: During the entire trip, frankly, I was constantly thinking about, once I am in Syria, how can I avoid torture? That was all I was thinking about. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Well, just ahead, we'll tell you what he faced when he finally reached Syria.
Plus, why the U.S. Coast Guard now is under fire in the wake of a massive oil spill. Next on 360.
COOPER: Before the break we told you the terrifying story about a Canadian software engineer who was arrested in New York's Kennedy Airport in 2002. He was told he was on the U.S. terror watch list, and 12 days later he was deported to Syria, his homeland, which he'd left years before and where he knew that torture awaited him.
This is a story the U.S. government did not want you to know about. "Keeping them Honest," once again, here's CNN's Jason Carroll.
CARROLL (voice-over): Maner Arar, an engineer, husband and father, accused by U.S. officials of being affiliated with al Qaeda, now in a Syrian prison awaiting interrogation.
ARAR: I just wanted to end my life.
CARROLL (on camera): So you look around in this room for anything at all...
CARROLL: ... to kill yourself with?
ARAR: I would rather die than, you know, face torture.
CARROLL (voice-over): Day one, he says there were threats; day two, the beatings began.
ARAR: He asked me, do you know what this is?
I said, yes, it's a cable. And he hit me like crazy. It was so painful to the point where I forgot every enjoyable moment in my life.
CARROLL: Interrogators accused Arar of training at a terrorist camp in Afghanistan. When he denied it, denied any connection at all, they beat him more.
ARAR: They kept telling me all the time that I was lying to them.
CARROLL: Then he says they threatened electric shock.
ARAR: Just to hear the screams of people being tortured, you would say to yourself, I'm going to tell them whatever they want me to say. CARROLL: Back home, Arar's wife worked with Canadian officials, hoping to find him, hoping to get him released.
MAZIGH: My daughter was all the time asking me where my Dad is coming. And I said, you know, he will come soon.
CARROLL: Nearly a year would pass before this would end. Arar remembered one especially violent session.
ARAR: Because of fear, I couldn't control my muscles and my nerves anymore. So imagine the clothes that I urinated in. I kept them on. I kept them on for like two months, and that alone was like very humiliating.
CARROLL: And while his family had no idea where he was, his pain was made even worse, because he had no idea if anything had also happened to them.
ARAR: That alone was -- was torture in its own, not knowing. See, I got all this -- I had all those scary thoughts in my mind: Are my kids being kidnapped like me? Is my wife being kidnapped?
CARROLL: Arar says the interrogators broke his will. He finally signed a confession he had received terrorist training in Afghanistan, a country he says he has never been to. And that same day, he was released and sent back to Canada -- 10 months and 10 days since he had landed in New York since he had last seen his family.
ARAR: Frankly, given what I had gone through, I didn't expect that I would ever be reunited with my family again.
MAZIGH: I felt that this was another person, not the person that I married.
CARROLL: Three years later, an independent Canadian commission found the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had given the U.S. inaccurate and inflammatory information about Arar. Canada paid Arar's family $11.5 million. The prime minister apologized and said the U.S. should also clear Arar's name.
STEPHEN HARPER, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: The government of Canada has ever right to go to bat for one of its citizens when the government believes a Canadian is being unfairly treated by another country.
CARROLL: Which brings us to today, more than five years since Arar's terrible ordeal began. The U.S. still has his name on the terror watch list. The Department of Justice says classified information shows he's a threat.
So Arar is suing the federal government, alleging the U.S. rendered him to Syria to be tortured.
ARAR: This terror -- the justice system is diminished, what is the difference, then, between the United States and the other countries? CARROLL: "Keeping them Honest," we wanted to know why Arar, who holds a Canadian passport, was sent to Syria. The Justice Department declined an interview and in a statement said it received assurances from Syria he would not be tortured and Arar was lawfully deported.
But during this congressional hearing two weeks ago, the secretary of state admitted mistakes were made.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm aware of the inquiry. And as I said, we do not think this case was handled as it should have been.
CARROLL: For Arar that's not enough. He wants compensation and an official apology.
(on camera): Do you think you're going to get what you're asking for here?
ARAR: Things take time. A year, two, five years, 10 years, but I am hoping that one day the American government will do the right thing.
CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, Ottawa, Canada.
COOPER: We're going to stay on the story and let you know if Maner Arar gets an apology.
We're following several other stories tonight as well.
Erica Hill from Headline News is here with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in Pakistan tonight opposition leader Benazir Bhutto under house arrest. Authorities are trying to prevent the former prime minister from staging a march tomorrow against emergency rule in Pakistan. She was briefly confined to her villa on Friday to halt a similar protest.
The 18-year-old in Finland who carried out a deadly school shooting spree last week and a 14-year-old in Pennsylvania suspected of plotting one have been in touch. That's according to an attorney for the Pennsylvania boy, who says the teens shared a fascination with the Columbine school attack and exchange e-mails after meeting online.
The Finish boy shot himself to death after killing eight others.
San Francisco Bay. House Speaker and California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi questioning the Coast Guard's response to that massive oil spill. She wants to know why the public wasn't told sooner that more than 50,000 gallons of oil had leaked from a damaged ship after it hit the Bay Bridge in heavy fog last week.
And on Wall Street, the losing streak continues, the Dow falling 55 points to finish below 13,000 for the first time since August. The NASDAQ lost 43, the S&P shed 14 -- Anderson.
COOPER: Up next, how Actress Julianne Moore and a New York couple are bringing worldwide attention to a disease which affects 1 million people worldwide, but you've probably never heard of it. Meet the CNN heroes when 360 continues.
COOPER: You know her as an award winning actress who often plays thoughtful and complicated characters. Well, in real life, Julianne Moore is also a mother of two who fights to help cure some of today's toughest illnesses.
As our CNN hero sharing the spotlight series continues, Moore introduces us to her heroes -- a couple from Staten Island, New York, battling a little known and often misdiagnosed disease.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time you're ready.
JULIANNE MOORE, ACTRESS: I think people hear about these diseases and they think, oh, you know, forget it. It's incurable. Well, I don't think so. I really don't.
My name is Julianne Moore and my heroes, Tom and Peg Lindsey who are working very, very hard to bring awareness and find a cure for tuberous sclerosis.
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex affects approximately 50,000 Americans and 1 million people worldwide.
Undiagnosed and untreated TSC can be fatal.
MOORE: Tuberous sclerosis causes benign tumors to grow in major organs.
PEGGY LINDSEY, "MEDICAL MARVEL": Tommy was born on June 27, 1999.
At about five weeks, I started to see his shoulder twitch a little bit. They gave him CT scans and, you know, it was terrible.
TOMMY LINDSEY, "MEDICAL MARVEL": Finally, after an MRI, they realized that they were looking at tumors in Tommy's brain.
P. LINDSEY: First, the neurologist came in and he said, your son has tuberous sclerosis. He'll never walk. He'll never talk. You should consider an institution.
But in talking to other people, life wasn't that bad. It's not a death sentence. He does have a chance. T. LINDSEY: We made a pact that we weren't going to allow this to happen to anyone else if there was anything we could do about it. We decided we wanted to make tuberous sclerosis a household name.
It's just as common as cystic fibrosis. Yet, no one in the medical community is very familiar with it.
We were sending out all of these letters and trying to get some kind of recognition without an answer back from anyone until the day that I ran into Julianne Moore.
MOORE: And I'm walking along the street and I hear, Julianne Moore. Hi, my name is Tommy and this is son, Tommy. He has a disease called tuberous sclerosis and we just had brain surgery.
T. LINDSEY: I tried to get the last three and a half years of his life out in 20 seconds. I said, you know, I'm just one father. My wife is one mother. We need somebody to help us out.
MOORE: Since then I've kind of been involved as their spokesperson.
T. LINDSEY: She went and testified before Congress with me. She comes to every fundraiser. Remarkable woman. Remarkable, remarkable woman.
In four years, the Lindseys and Julianne Moore have raised more than $1 million to help find a cure for tuberous sclerosis complex.
T. LINDSEY: It seems to me now that my life was almost mapped out, it was supposed to happen.
Tommy was given to me for a reason. We were supposed to find a cure.
P. LINDSEY: I feel like we might not be helping Tommy, but we're helping the next kid.
MOORE: When you deal with something that's this extraordinary, you are saying I'm going to educate other people in the world about this. I'm going to make this part of the kind of fabric of our lives. And that's what they've done.
COOPER: What a great story. For more on the fight by Julianne Moore and the Lindseys, you can go to CNN.com/heroes and that's where you can also vote for the CNN hero who has most inspired you. The viewers' choice is going to be honored on December 6 in a ceremony hosted by myself as well as Christiane Amanpour.
For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is next. If you're watching here in America, "LARRY KING" is coming up.
I'll see you tomorrow night.
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