Return to Transcripts main page


Former IMF Chief Released on Bail; Deadly Crackdown; Is Your Cell Phone Safe?; Man vs. Flood; Inside the War in Congo

Aired May 20, 2011 - 23:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

Tonight, breaking news, late new details in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn sex case; the former IMF director and possible candidate for president of France out of jail tonight -- we've just found out he's at his new home -- his new home until trial, that is, this high- rise building here, out on bail, a million dollars cash and on $5 million bond. That's the building.

Looking at live pictures of the location in Lower Manhattan; DSK, as he's often called, inside under house arrest under armed guard that he's paying for. We did not see him enter the building, the security company responsible for watching him spiriting him inside.

The media, in large part, were camped out at another location nearby, believing that was going to be the place that he would be staying. They camped out into the evening. But it later turned out that DSK was elsewhere.

He'd wanted to stay here, uptown, at his wife's apartment on the Upper East Side, but the apartment said no -- the apartment building said no, not wanting a 24/7 media circus, as you can imagine.

DSK, you'll recall, is facing sex crime charges, seven counts in connection with the alleged attempted rape of a hotel maid. Tonight, a law enforcement source close to the case tells us that DSK allegedly phoned the front desk and invited the receptionist up for a drink shortly after he checked into the hotel. She declined.

In a moment, we'll talk with defense attorney Mark Geragos and New York's former top law enforcement officer Eliot Spitzer.

But first, all we know so far from the beginning.

Here's Susan Candiotti.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was just last Friday, the day before the alleged assault, when Dominique Strauss-Kahn checked into the Sofitel, a luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan. According to a law enforcement source, the head of the International Monetary Fund was looking for company. Within minutes of checking into suite 2806, he called the front desk and invited the female receptionist to join him for a drink. She declined.

Fast-forward to the next day, at around noon. A source tells CNN a mail service attendant thought Strauss-Kahn's suite was vacant and entered the room to retrieve service items. Just minutes later, a 32- year-old African maid noticed the door was ajar and entered the room to clean.

The attendant then left. Following hotel policy, the maid left the door open. Inside, 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn allegedly was naked in the bedroom and grabbed at the maid, chasing her throughout the suite. As she tried to escape, he shut the door and forced himself on her, sexually assaulting her.

JOHN MCCONNELL, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, NEW YORK COUNTY: -- to forcibly rape her. When he was unsuccessful, he forced her to perform oral sex on him.

CANDIOTTI: Just 25 minutes later, at 12:28 p.m., police Strauss- Kahn checked out of the Sofitel. Prosecutors contend he was rushing to get to the airport. The defense claims Strauss-Kahn was rushing to have lunch with his daughter before heading to the JFK Airport for a previously booked flight.

They presented the flight booking records as evidence in court.

WILLIAM TAYLOR, ATTORNEY FOR DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN: He was scheduled to leave JFK at a flight for Paris on that day. And I also have the -- the documentation from Air France which shows that the ticket was bought on May the 11th.

CANDIOTTI: Soon after the alleged attack, the maid was reporting the incident to hotel staff. At around 1:30 p.m., the police were called. No one knew of Strauss-Kahn's whereabouts until he called the hotel from the airport, inquiring about his lost cell phone, a move the defense says proves he's innocent and was not fleeing the country.

But according to a law enforcement source, when police boarded the Air France flight to take Strauss-Kahn into custody, something stood out. The suspect never asked why he was being arrested.

On Monday morning, a disheveled Strauss-Kahn appeared in court, where he was charged with an array of offenses that could put him behind bars up to 25 years. Denied bail, Strauss-Kahn was sent to Riker's.

Meantime, investigators were interviewing witnesses and combing through the crime scene looking for evidence.

According to ABC News, they cut up a small piece of the room's floor where the alleged victim is said to have spat after being forced to perform oral sex on Strauss-Kahn. Wednesday, under intense pressure, Strauss-Kahn resigned as chief of the IMF. In a brief letter to the board, he proclaimed his innocence, saying -- quote -- "To all, I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me."

In court on Thursday, supported by his wife and daughter, a clean-cut Strauss-Kahn was granted some freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have decided that I will grant a bail under the following conditions.

CANDIOTTI: In addition to posting $1 million in cash, and a $5 million bond, Strauss-Kahn was ordered to surrender all travel documents, submit to home detention with an ankle bracelet and 24-hour armed security, while staying at this upscale apartment building on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

Today, just hours before Strauss-Kahn's release from Riker's, the apartment building revoked on the deal, causing the defense to scramble. But late this afternoon, Strauss-Kahn left Riker's to somewhere that will likely be his home until his next court appearance on June 6th.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, Eliot Spitzer is New York's former governor, attorney general, and currently host of "IN THE ARENA" at 8:00 Eastern here on CNN. Mark Geragos is a noted defense attorney. I spoke to both men earlier.


COOPER: So, Mark, we've learned new details now, that the maid followed protocol. When she went into the room, she left the door open, her cart in the door. There had been a room service attendant in the door when she got in who witnessed her coming in, that apparently Strauss-Kahn made some sort of pass at the receptionist when he checked in, invited her up to the room.

Do any of these developments -- certainly, they don't speak well for Strauss-Kahn or they're not in his favor.

MARK GERAGOS, ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, whenever these things come dripping out, you have to take them with a grain of salt, because usually it's the prosecution team, and by that not necessarily the prosecutors, but the police, who are doing the leaking. And a lot of times, that's done specifically to create bad facts that may not in fact be as bad as they sound.

Start to dissect or parse of that a little bit. If there was a room attendant there, if the thing or the cart was blocking the door, then you have to say to yourself, well, then, how in the heck -- what did this guy do. He went, he threw the cart into the hallway, he shut the door, tackled her, and then -- and I don't -- I know this is a family show and a family hour -- but he forced her to have oral sex and she wasn't able to stop herself from doing that?

I mean a lot of these things just don't make a whole lot of sense to me.

COOPER: Do these make sense to you?

ELIOT SPITZER, CNN HOST, "IN THE ARENA": Well, look, I'm with Mark only to one extent. It's hard to understand the fact pattern until you get the entirety of the picture.

The one thing we do know is that 23 members of a grand jury heard her testimony, heard whatever other evidence the prosecution set before it, before -- presumably forensic evidence of some sort, presumably videos, if there are videos, of the now-defendant entering the hotel, in the hallway, and that grand jury said, we indict him.

So clearly, whatever inconsistencies one might see were not sufficient for them to worry about the credibility of the witness. And so I think this is a very powerful indictment. And we have to wait to see what the forensic evidence is. Presumably, now the defense is going to be one of consent, not an alibi defense, and that's going to be hard-fought over.

COOPER: And Mark, I mean the prosecution is saying look, you know hardened detectives who have been on the force a long time questioned this woman, sometimes under tough questioning, and they believe her story is consistent. And they point to the fact that she immediately went to her supervisor at the hotel and reported this.

GERAGOS: Well look, hardened detectives -- I have yet to meet a detective who, once he was invested in the case didn't think it was the greatest case in the world. They don't just stand up and say, aha, I'm going to dismiss it.

And in terms of the grand jury, you can count on one hand, Anderson, the number of grand juries that have rejected indictments on a regular basis. It just doesn't happen. Anything the prosecution puts up there the grand jury is nothing more than a rubber stamp.

This is not -- and I tend to agree with Mr. Brafman, who is the lawyer. When Ben said this is a defensible case, on the face of it, it looks defensible to me. And I would not be so sure -- and I agree with Eliot -- until you see all of the facts -- and what we're getting, I don't for a second, believe are all the facts -- until we see that, we just don't know.

We're speculating. It could be urban legend. A lot of this stuff is released by people who have got an agenda. And you just cannot put a whole lot of stock in it.

SPITZER: Well, let me disagree with a couple of little things Mark said.

First, I think the detectives, Mark -- and you will acknowledge this -- detectives in this unit in particular are very hesitant to proceed with a case that they do not believe they can really prove, especially a high-profile defendant, especially one where they know that the credibility of the victim, the complainant, as they call her, is going to be outcome-determinative. They are going to grill her. They are going to see, is this somebody who has brought 20 allegations like this in the past?

GERAGOS: I would agree, but Eliot -- Eliot, don't you think that there may have been just a little bit of let's "we got to hurry up and do this" because they thought he was leaving the country?

And as I have said before, two words, Roman Polanski, comes to everybody's mind, so they figure, ok, we've got to go. We've got to do something here. Otherwise, if we lose him, we're never going to be able to get him back.

SPITZER: I think that is a fair presumption.

On the other hand, I think they also waited to indict this case almost of necessity until they had some forensic evidence. That forensic evidence -- and you can interpret it many different ways, no doubt -- will either be consistent with consent or not. And I think that is going to be the -- scientific evidence will be dispositive here, because, otherwise, you'll have a he said/she said.

But forensic evidence -- and we won't get too graphic now -- but let's say just one example, let's say there's his skin under her fingernails, which would suggest a fight.

COOPER: But Mark, if the defense is going to argue consensual sex, then forensic evidence doesn't necessarily really seem to matter much, does it?

GERAGOS: Anderson, you took the next comment right out of my head there.

The -- if the forensic evidence is going to show that they had sex, then it's going to be, is it -- is it consensual or not? That -- that also is not necessarily determinative, because these other kinds of surrounding facts, in terms of, ok she says she put a cart in the door. She says there was another attendant there.

How much time elapsed between the time that the other attendant was there and when she made the call? How much time elapsed between the time she made the call or somebody else at the hotel made the call? There's going to be quite a few questions here. And I don't think that forensic evidence becomes so key if it determines or the defense determines they're going to admit there was sex.

SPITZER: Well look, much of what you're saying is correct in a theoretical way, but here is the alternative argument.

If you have evidence of bruising, if you have his blood samples under her fingernails, suggesting she was scraping at him, pushing him back, if you have body fluids in places which would not -- where they would not be if it was consensual, all sorts of things could be there. And we are speculating now, but that's why we need to wait and see what happens, but all sorts of forensic evidence could be highly suggestive and therefore corroborate the story of a victim who is otherwise very credible.

COOPER: Mark, I've heard you say, though that you could even raise doubts about the fact that she did talk to supervisors so quickly.

GERAGOS: Sure. If you've got a situation where, if this was consensual and then she decides it's going to be some kind of a shakedown or a setup, if there was a situation where she went in and said, ok, I'm going to target this guy -- and, believe it or not, that happens -- then the quick response and a story that hews to a script, that becomes problematic for the prosecution, in my mind.

That -- if she comes out there and tells this story, that's almost script-ready, three or four times, that generally is not consistent with somebody who is in shock, who has just had this traumatic experience happen to them.

COOPER: Were you surprised by the bail Eliot?

SPITZER: No, I was not, because bail does not -- is not supposed to really be correlated to the severity of the crime. It's supposed to answer one question: will this defendant come back?

And the conditions of bail were not only the money and the bond, but also the 24-hour security and the fact that he's wearing an ankle bracelet. And let's face it. This is a guy who cannot go anywhere right now without being seen and recognized. And his passport has been surrendered. He will be there at trial. So I think bail was almost inevitable.

The only time you have remand until trial, just about, is in a heinous murder case with somebody who has absolutely no connection to the community.

COOPER: We're going to leave it there.

Mark Geragos, thank you so much.

Eliot Spitzer thanks.

SPITZER: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, let us know what you think. We're on Facebook of course, or follow me on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper. I will try to be tweeting some tonight.

Up next: the murders in Syria continue, dozens dead today. We've just gotten in new video that's shocking, even by the sickening standards of the Syrian regime.

We are going to show you more of that video. It's people risking their own lives to try to save the life of somebody else who has been wounded. We'll talk to the brave woman who is bearing witness to the slaughter. She is on the run tonight, her life in danger, but still brave enough to speak out.

And later, a report that's really completely changed the way I use my cell phone. Like most people, I've used it for years literally, you know, pressing it up against my ear when I talk. If you do that, you need to hear what Dr. Sanjay Gupta is reporting tonight.

He's been working on this report for about a year, raises serious questions about existing research. And you're going to hear from other doctors with major concerns about cell phone radiation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that we have an obligation to inform the public that we cannot say with any degree of certainty that cell phone use is safe.



COOPER: Well, despite the most blatant acts of murder by the regime in Syria, the protests there continued today. Human rights activists report that at least 34 people were killed in Syria today. Protesters took to the streets across the country after weekly Friday prayers and Syrian security forces opened fire on them.

Night after night on this program, we've witnessed the bravery of Syrians, who've given their lives calling for change. It's easy to think all the pictures look the same. It's easy to turn away and grow frustrated that nothing has changed.

But we think we owe it to those dying in the streets to bear witness to their struggle and even to their deaths. We want to show you video of what happened to one man today. And we want you to see the efforts of others brave enough to rescue him with gunshots whizzing around them.

I want to warn you the video is extremely graphic, but we're showing it to you because we think it's important for the world to witness the violence inflicted on innocent people and to witness the heroism in the face of repression.




COOPER: CNN can't independently verify the specifics of the video and we don't know if the man has died or not. Despite the harsh crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, protesters refuse to back down. Yesterday, President Obama praised the Syrian people for demanding a transition to democracy and issued a message to the Syrian leader.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Assad now has a choice. He can lead that transition, or get out of the way. The Syrian government must stop shooting demonstrators and allow peaceful protests. They must release political prisoners and stop unjust arrests.


COOPER: Earlier today, I spoke by phone to Razan Zaytouni, a Syrian human rights activist and lawyer whose husband has been arrested by Syrian security forces. She is on the run tonight, hiding in an undisclosed location.

And remember, as you listen to her, she's risking her life just by talking to us.


COOPER: Razan, more violence across Syria today. Do you know how many people have been killed?

RAZAN ZAYTOUNI, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Today, we have confirmed 34 names, more people who got killed across the country. But about what happened in Idlib last few hours, it's -- eyewitnesses say it's about 50 people got killed, but we haven't got any confirmation yet.

COOPER: And is this because it's Friday and after prayers? People are gathered and they start protesting and then the security forces crack down? Why -- why so many deaths today?

ZAYTOUNI: Today, the security used gunfire in all areas which witnessed protests. Usually, they use -- in some areas, they use shooting; in other areas, they use beatings and arresting. Today, they used gunfire everywhere witness to protests.

That's why the people who got killed, they are from different cities. They're from Homs. They're from Idlib, from (INAUDIBLE) Latakia, Daraa, in the suburbs of Damascus, in the whole country.

COOPER: And we're seeing video where what looks like uniformed either military personnel or police are just firing, at one point even fires right at the person who is taking some of this video.

Is there any order to it? I mean, is there -- is there any rationale for -- for -- for who they're shooting or are they just trying to shoot anyone they can get?

ZAYTOUNI: I think it's just an order to end the protest in any way. And it's according to the -- to how -- how big the protest is. COOPER: Yesterday, President Obama called on Assad's regime to stop shooting demonstrators, to stop unjust arrests and to allow peaceful protests, but he stopped short of saying that Assad had lost all legitimacy and should -- and should -- should step down.

Were you disappointed in what he said?

ZAYTOUNI: Actually, from one side, it has good impact on the people. People felt that the world and the great country of the United States felt about them and continue what is going on, on the ground in Syria, and believe that these demonstrations is peaceful, and it called for freedom, and doesn't believe any of the lies or claims of the regime.

COOPER: I'm watching video of a -- of a protester who has been shot, who is on the back of a motorcycle, and looks in very bad shape and is being driven away.

What happens to someone when they have been shot because is there -- there's -- is there still fear about going to the hospitals?

ZAYTOUNI: It's a problem all the time, because every time they take people who got shot or injured to the hospital, they got kidnapped by the security.

Today, the person who got killed in Daraa, in the suburb of Damascus, the air force security tried to kidnap him from the hospital. But the people of Daraa surrounded the hospital and prevented the security to take him. So it happens all the time.

COOPER: Razan Zaytouni, you're in hiding. Stay safe, please. Thank you.


COOPER: Up next: a 360 investigation I really think you want to watch, particularly if, like me, you press your cell phone against your ear when you talk or if you carry it next to your body in a pocket. Studies say they're safe, but we've uncovered some serious questions about the research.

You'll hear from a leading brain expert who says people should be a lot more concerned. And we'll talk to 360 MD Sanjay Gupta. This report has completely changed how I use my cell phone. Again, I really do think you should watch it.

Later, just incredible -- in the middle of the flooding, look at this: one family's island. They built their own levee to save their home. We are going to show you around.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, chilling new questions about cell phones and cancer, including this. If they're so safe, why do manufacturers recommend holding them more than a half inch away from your head while you talk -- while you talk? Who does that? I certainly have never done that.

If they're so safe, why does one top neurologist who deals with brain tumors daily have this to say?


DR. KEITH BLACK, CEDARS-SINAI MEDICAL CENTER: I don't think any mother, if they knew that there was a 2-1/2-fold increase in their kid developing brain cancer when they were 40 or 50, would allow their kids to use cell phones.


COOPER: The thing is they haven't even tested for kids with cell phones. Notice, he said "if" mothers knew.

The fact is there are plenty of studies out there that show cell phone use is safe. But getting back to "if," what if the research is incomplete, because many cancers take a long time to develop and cell phones haven't been around that long?

Recently, the National Institutes of Health released a study showing that using a cell phone changes the chemistry inside your brain. What if it does more than just that?

Well, we warn you now: there are no answers yet. But as 360 MD Sanjay Gupta found out, there are serious people asking life-and-death questions.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you've ever put a cell phone to your ear, you should listen to what neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Black has to say.

BLACK: There's no way to say that cell phone use is safe. I think that the public has a right to know that there could be a potential risk. The public generally assumes that if one is selling something on the market, that we have had assurances that that device is safe.

GUPTA: To be clear, Dr. Black's message is at odds with headlines from the largest international study on cell phones and cancer. Their conclusion, little or no evidence cell phones are associated with brain tumors.

But if you look just one layer deeper into the appendix of that same study and you'll see something unsettling. It turns out participants in the study who used a cell phone for ten years or more had double the rate of brain glioma, a type of tumor.

And keep in mind: cell phone use in the United States has only been popular for around 15 years. Back in 1996, there were 34 million cell phone users; today, nearly 300 million in use, according to industry figures.

BLACK: Environmental factors take decades to see their effect, not a few years.

GUPTA: So if it may take decades to get a clearer answer, what can we say about cell phone safety now? Scientists here in San Jose, California, are trying to answer that very question.

(on camera): So one of the things we have to do first is literally put the brain inside the head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. It's very light now.

GUPTA (voice-over): The FCC requires all cell phones emit below 1.6 watts per kilogram of radiation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's put some brains in.

GUPTA: In order to test for that, scientists here try and mimic the human brain, with salt, sugar, and water.

(on camera): Let me show you precisely how they do this test. This is a model. This is supposed to approximate the human skull, an adult male. This is my phone we've actually attached there. It's connected at the angle that most people would speak with.

And inside over here, very important, this bubbly liquid inside, that's what represents liquid brain.

It's going to happen as the phone is making a call. After a period of time, this device is going to come over here and start to measure radiation at all sorts of different points in the brain. After that, they're going to take all of those numbers, basically put it on a computer screen, and tell us where the hot spots are and just how high the levels got.

(voice-over): My cell phone measured within FCC limits. But the whole process was, well, surprisingly low tech. And what about different size skulls or children?

BLACK: In children, their skull is thinner, their scalp is thinner so the microwave radiation can penetrate deeper into the brain of children and young adults. And their cells are dividing at a much faster rate, so the impact of the microwave radiation can be much larger.

GUPTA: But there have been no studies on children and cell phone safety.

(on camera): And here's something else that might surprise you. The cell manufacturers themselves actually advise against putting the cell phone right next to your head or really anywhere on your body.

Take a look, for example, with the iPhone 4. The safety instructions specifically say, "When using the iPhone near your body for voice calls, keep it at least 15 millimeters or five-eighths of an inch away from your body."

What if you're a BlackBerry user specifically? They also have safety guidelines. In this case, they say keep it 0.9 inches or 25 millimeters from your body in your head or really even in your pocket.

(voice-over): Dr. Keith Black has been talking about this longer than many. But the voices joining him are becoming louder and more prominent.

The city of San Francisco pushed for radiation warning labels on cell phones. The head of a prominent cancer research institute sent a memo to all employees, urging them to limit cell phone use because of possible risk of cancer.

And the European environmental agency has pushed for more studies, saying cell phones could be as big a public health risk as smoking, asbestos and leaded gasoline.

(on camera): The Federal Communications Commission, the FCC, they set the guidelines for how much radiation a cell phone can emit, and they say cell phones are safe. But how can they be so sure?

"Keeping Them Honest," we decided to come here to try and find out for ourselves, but they declined an on-camera interview.

(voice-over): The type of radiation coming out of your cell phone is called non-ionizing. It's not like an X-ray but more like a very low-powered microwave oven.

BLACK: What microwave radiation does, in the most simplistic term, is very similar to what happens to your food when you put your food in a microwave oven. It's essentially cooking the brain.

GUPTA: But based on their past statements, the FCC isn't convinced there's a real risk and maintain they, quote, "do not endorse the need for consumers to take any precautions to reduce exposure."


COOPER: Sanjay, this piece is really fascinating and terrifying, I've got to say. They're just -- these cell phones haven't been around long enough, it seems like, to really have an accurate sense of whether or not they're safe.

GUPTA: That's the issue. Is that, you know, there haven't been studies to conclusively show that they're dangerous, but there's not studies out there to show that they're conclusively safe either.

The problem is the ubiquity of these, Anderson, and how much we're using them. Even some of the earlier studies, regular cell phone use would be defined as a couple of hours per week for six months. Who uses their cell phones like that? Most people have it planted to their head many hours of the day and for many years to come.

COOPER: And the whole idea that, you know, in the fine print of the owner manual and stuff, it says you're supposed to hold it -- I don't know -- five-eighths of an inch away from your head or something, who does that? I mean, I keep mine pressed. My ear gets warm. I have it pressed against my head so much.

GUPTA: Yes. I don't think most people read the little fine print there. But what I think what's even more impressive about that is that, as much as you hear from the FCC saying, "Look, no precautionary measures are necessary whatsoever," the manufacturers themselves, Anderson, are saying, "Look, five-eighths of an inch away from your ear." I mean, that's impractical, but away from your body in general. Not even in your front pocket, you know, next to your bone marrow, next to your reproductive organs.

COOPER: You're not even supposed to have it in your pocket?

GUPTA: Well, they say you're supposed to keep it five-eighths of an inch away from your body. So it's -- you know, I mean, if you have it in your pocket, it's probably right up against your skin. So it's -- you're supposed to -- you're supposed to put it in these holsters, again, which very few people use, or in a separate bag and carry it with you.

COOPER: Yes, I look like enough of a geek as it is. I'm not going to need a holster. But I mean, I've got to say, after seeing this report, I'm going to get one of those ear pieces and try to use that.

GUPTA: Yes. Well, I was going to ask you if you actually use one.

COOPER: Do you?

GUPTA: You know, I use mine -- I use mine all the time, you know, when we travel overseas. I don't know if you've seen me put this in my ear. I'm actually going to bring you one by your office, bring a safe one to your office, so you're going to have one, as well.

Look, you know, it's one of these things, Anderson. And I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist or even, you know, histrionic about this, but it is a pretty easy thing to do, to use the ear piece.

And again, manufacturers from the cell phones themselves recommend keeping it away from your ear. A wired earpiece is a good way to do that. So I've been using it for years now. Who knows what, 20 years from now, we're actually going to know about this.

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: But, you know, if the results come back that it was a problem, this is pretty protective.

COOPER: There's also, at least from my thinking in the past, when I thought about this -- as a matter of fact, I was just talking about it in the office today, when we were talking about your piece, is that I sort of assume, like, well, look. Everyone uses cell phones. They -- they must be tested and safe and stuff.

But clearly, they just haven't been around long enough. And just because everybody is using them, it doesn't mean that everybody -- you know, that there's not going to be some terrible news about these things down the road.

GUPTA: We find out things years down the road; leaded gasoline, asbestos, even cigarettes. It takes time for some of that data to come back.

And you saw how decidedly low tech the safety testing is. I mean, I was surprised. I thought it would be much more sophisticated. It's not.

And Anderson, let me even tell you, now I've got my cell phone right here. You know, that number that you saw on the piece, 1.6, you know, sort of the absorption rate.

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: If you're on your phone and you're having a bad signal, if you're having a hard time hearing somebody, that means your phone is sending off even more radiation at that time, trying to get you a better signal. That number is not constant. If you had a bad signal, if you're overseas and having a difficult time hearing somebody, you're actually getting more radiation at that time. So these numbers really pop up and down.

COOPER: What is it about the microwave radiation that can potentially cause problems?

GUPTA: That's a good question. So ionizing radiation is one end of the spectrum. That's x-rays. Everyone agrees in large amounts that can be a problem.

Non-ionizing is more like a low-powered microwave oven. You know what a microwave oven can do at high powers; it can cook food. The question is, at low powers for long duration, could this be acting like a little microwave oven next to your head, and causing tissue to heat up and possibly causing damage that way?

Now, we know for the first time this year, from a study at the NIH, that cell phones have an impact on the brain. It changes the way the brain metabolizes around the area of the cell phone. So there is an impact. But the larger question is what is that heating and that increased metabolism going to do in the long run? Could it lead to cancer? That's what a lot of people are trying to figure out.

COOPER: I've actually gotten a rash at one point in my ear from my cell phone from, like, the heat of it. I'm completely going to switch now, based on what you're saying in your report.

You also told me during the break that this Dr. Black treated the lawyer, Johnny Cochran.


COOPER: And what did he tell you about why he thought Johnny Cochran got a brain tumor?

GUPTA: Well, I've been investigating this for some time. It was a conversation with Dr. Black a few years ago. I asked Dr. Black about Johnny Cochran. I said, "Do you have any idea why he got a brain tumor?"

And he replied, almost without hesitation. He said, "It was his cell phone usage."

And I said -- I even said, "Dr. Black, come on, there's been a lot of studies that show that can't be true; there's no link."

And he said, "I'm convinced of it. I'm saying that science simply has not caught up."

Now, people who use their cell phones a lot, you tend to see it; at that time wealthier people, because they're the ones that had cell phones. People who had jobs that required them to be on the cell phones a lot. He's starting to see an uptick in brain tumors in that specific population of people.

And like you, Anderson, it's frightening to sort of think about. But that's what he's starting to see. He's a very busy brain tumor surgeon.

COOPER: Wow. From now, there's no doubt, I'm going to change my behavior on this one.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it. Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thanks, Anderson. Any time.

COOPER: You can see the rest of Sanjay's investigation this weekend on "SANJAY GUPTA MD" Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Up next tonight, one family in Mississippi was determined to save their home from the destructive waters of the river. You're going to meet them. Amazing what they've done to save their home.

And also, there are those who claim, you've probably heard, that tomorrow is Judgment Day. Remember, you've been warned. Ignore at your own peril and join me on tonight's "RidicuList".


COOPER: Well, we've been reporting all week, really, on the devastating flooding in the south, the worst the region has seen in decades, affecting countless people in nine states. So many homes have been ruined already, but some have been saved with extraordinary effort.

Look at this picture of a house in Yazoo County, Mississippi. It's now an island surrounded by a levee after a family went to great lengths to protect their own home and the farm. Martin Savidge reports.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This big island was constructed -- well, it's about 2,200 feet that goes around three acres, sort of a soft-sided square, maybe. And it ranges in height from about 8 feet up to maybe 11 feet. And this is what is keeping, essentially, the floodwaters coming from the Yazoo and the Mississippi, the back water at bay.

When you were doing this, did people think you were crazy?

IRMA HART, LANDOWNER: Well, nobody actually told me that, but by the looks in their eyes, yes, some of them thought I was crazy.

SAVIDGE: Look at this. This gives you a pretty good idea of what it's like to be inside the levee. You can see it running along all up there. But you would never know by standing right here that there was a massive flood just out beyond those walls.

You have electricity.


SAVIDGE: This is what -- I'm amazed. You're cut off from the mainland, but you still have your electricity?

N. HART: Yes. My husband always said we have too much furniture in here.

SAVIDGE: Not any more.

N. HART: But again, we took everything out of the bottom cabinets, raised it up, and all the furniture and everything else is in storage.

SAVIDGE: So what we want to do now is take you next door and show you their son's house. Normally it's only a couple hundred yards walking. These aren't normal times. We'll go by boat.

Now we're out in the Harts' cotton field. Well, what would be the Harts' cotton field; you can see about a thousand acres of it planted out around here. But as you can see, it's nothing but water just about as far as the eye can see.

And this is the levee as seen by the water's side here. And see what they've done here. Sometimes the wind blows so strong across the cotton field, you actually -- you actually get white caps.

This is their son Todd's house. As you can see, his levee is a lot steeper and a lot higher, which means it's a lot deeper down here. But this is that amazing house shot that you see from up above, that lone house standing up against the flood.

TODD HART, IRMA HART'S SON: This is our water pump, to pump water. This is the low spot inside the levee. And it comes down this drainage and it comes through here.

SAVIDGE: If you get a leak, water comes down to this low spot here --

T. HART: That's right.

SAVIDGE: And you use the pump; it goes back up, and you spit it back out.

T. HART: That's right.

SAVIDGE: With their farm fields flooded, the Hart family really doesn't have anything they can do until the floodwaters subside, and the experts say that's probably not going to happen until at least the middle of June.

In the meantime, the family says they've always wanted to have some lakefront property. And they actually find the sound of the waves lapping into the cotton field very peaceful.

In Yazoo County, Mississippi, I'm Martin Savidge.


COOPER: Up next, startling new information about violence against women in Congo. We're going to talk to author Jason Stearns about what's being done to stop it, next.


COOPER: A new study estimates that nearly 2 million women have been raped in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- imagine that, 2 million women. The authors of the study believe the problem may be even worse than they were able documented. United Nations officials have called Congo the epicenter of rape as the weapon of war. Jason Stearns has lived and worked in the central African nation for a decade. His book, "Dancing in the Glory of Monsters" is the story of a war that is every bit as complex as it is cruel. It's an excellent book, I've read it. I talked to Jason earlier.


COOPER: You know, people say look, it's the deadliest conflict since World War II and yet so few people actually even know what's going on there. Why do you think that is? Why has Congo literally kind of dropped off a map or never been put on the map?

JASON STEARNS, AUTHOR, "DANCING IN THE GLORY OF MONSTERS: On the one hand it's a conflict that certainly can -- you can put on the same -- in the same place in terms of scope as the Cambodian or Rwandan genocide or even the Jewish holocaust in terms of number of people killed, 5 million people dead.

On the other hand, it's a very different kind of war. It's a war where there are very different; it's very difficult to identify heroes or villains. There's no Adolf Hitler figure or Pol Pot or no freedom fighters versus dictators. So it's because of this complexity, it's because there have been 40 different armed groups waging war over this territory for many different reasons that people have seemed to care less.

The Rwandan government did have a good reason in 1996 to invade. It was hunting down the people who perpetrated the 1994 genocide. But when those same troops committed then started committing massacres, the United States kind of gave them a blank check.

COOPER: What is it about the Congo that has so fascinated you?

STEARNS: I love the Congo. I mean it's a beautiful place. You know, when rule of law in a state breaks down, a lot of terrible things can happen. And a lot of terrible things did happen in the Congo. But also, I think individual persistence and determination can shine through in a way it doesn't shine through elsewhere.

COOPER: As you write in the book too, it's not just that there was a war in the Congo. There were wars within wars within wars.

STEARNS: In the book I really try to go into this complexity and understand the different motivations. You find very different levels of also moral responsibility and complexity that really -- on the one hand, I try to describe the complexity. On the other hand, I try to weave simple enough a narrative so the people, the general interest reader can understand and care about the conflict.

COOPER: Rape has been used as a weapon throughout the years in this war. Why do you think that is?

STEARNS: Up to and probably over 400,000 women-a-year are being raped.

COOPER: 400,000 a year, that's extraordinary. I had never heard that number.

STEARNS: It's an enormous scale. It's truly terrible. I think when you get down to try to understand why it happens there's various reasons. In some cases, it is used as a direct weapon of war where armed groups go into an area and they try to intimidate the population into providing them resources or punishing the population for collaborating with their rivals.

In other cases, we think that it's because armed groups socialize young combatants into their group. So when a new combatant joins the group, they will make him do a particularly reprehensible or egregious act such as rape in front of other people. And therefore, that could be an explanation for why so many of these rapes are gang rapes carried out in public in front of family members.

COOPER: And the wealth of Congo -- I mean this is not a poor country, this is an extraordinarily wealthy country in terms of natural resources.

STEARNS: The uranium for the Hiroshima atomic bomb, for example, came from the Congo. You have even today, in many of our electronics in the United States, you have tin and tantalum and tungsten sourced from the Congo. So there's an enormous amount of wealth. COOPER: And things like tin and the coltan, everybody has been carrying out pieces of that with them, if you're using a cell phone or you're using electronics because it's used to keep electronics cool, is how I understand it.

STEARNS: That tin is an important -- the tin and the tantalum are important parts in electronics around the world, particularly in the United States. This is actually interestingly sexual violence and conflict minerals that you just described are the issues that have brought the Congo now to national attention in the United States.

COOPER: It's an extraordinary book, "Dancing in the Glory of Monsters" and no one knows more about the Congo than you do. I really appreciate it. I've been reading the book; it's really extraordinary. Thank you so much for being with us.

STEARNS: Thank you so much.


COOPER: Still ahead tonight, this week's CNN hero; a mom who helped create dozens of families by making adoption affordable for them. Her story ahead.


COOPER: This week's CNN Hero is a mom of two, which is a huge job in itself. But in her spare time, she's also helped create 43 other families. Here's how and why.


BECKY FAWCETT, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: I don't care how you become a mother. It's a miracle. One of them making the other one laugh is just the greatest noise ever. I waited a long time for that kind of noise.

Jake and Brooke are both adopted. To adopt our two children, it was over $100,000 in after-tax money paid in full, paid up front.

Adoption in this country can cost between $30,000 and $50,000 depending on the situation.

You ready?

There are plenty of loving homes out there and the only obstacle is this cost of adoption.

My name is Becky Fawcett. And I started an organization that helps people complete the cost of their adoptions by awarding financial grants. I mean it is always the same. As a little girl, I dreamed of being a mother.

Our applicants are hard-working, educated Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, Emmy is the light of my life. She is everything to me.

The expenses were insurmountable and scary. The money that I received from took a lot of weight off of my shoulders.

FAWCETT: We've helped to build 43 families since 2007. We are helping people bring their children home. We're helping all types of families. We believe in family, period. We believe in loving a child, period.

Where is Brookie?

My journey to adoption, it is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Are you my muffin?

Those seeking adoption, there is a happy moment at the end of your story. It takes us all a long time to get there but it is worth the wait.


COOPER: Amazing woman. Since 2007, Becky's organization has awarded more than $300,000 in grant money and has helped to build 43 families, imagine that.

That does it for 360. Thanks for watching.


I'll see you Monday.