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Cell Phones and Cancer; Democratic Congressman's Twitter Problem

Aired May 31, 2011 - 22:00   ET



We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" on a story that we have been out in front of from the very beginning, vital news to anyone -- and these days, that means practically everyone -- who uses a cell phone.

Today, a World Health Organization panel took a fresh look at the medical research and concluded that cell phones are -- quote -- "possibly carcinogenic." In simple English, they might cause cancer, now putting the gadget most Americans carry and many of practically live on into the same category as car exhaust to or to dry cleaning chemicals and the pesticide DDT.

The WHO report comes just days after our own 360 M.D Sanjay Gupta investigated serious questions about the current research on cell phones and cancer.

Now, here's a portion of Sanjay's report which aired as recently as last night foreshadowing today's stunning 180 from the WHO on cell phone safety.


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.

DR. KEITH BLACK, CHAIR OF NEUROSURGERY AND NEUROSCIENCE, CEDARS- SINAI MEDICAL CENTER: 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: (AUDIO GAP) what triggered today's warning, a closer look at the existing studies.

For example, last year, Interphone, a 13-country study, found no overall higher risk of brain tumors, but they did that people who used a cell phone for 10 years or more had double the rate of a cancer called -- called -- excuse me -- glioma -- I'm certainly not a scientist -- a cancer called glioma, which is one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer.

Other studies have been more reassuring. Some, though, have caused new reasons for concern. Earlier this year, researchers using real-time brain scans showed that less than an hour of cell phone use can increase brain activity in the area closest to the phone antenna.

And it's important to point out that cell phone radiation is measured on the assumption that you don't -- you don't hold the phone right up to your ear. Phone-makers, in fact, recommend a half-inch or more.

But as you and I know, hardly anyone actually does that. For years, I, like most of you, have probably pressed the phone against your ear. Well, it turns out even the manufacturers of the phone recommend you don't do that. The studies are confusing and none is done using precisely the same way. So, it's hard to draw conclusions.

And then there's this. Make of it what you will. Our medical producer Danielle Dellorto spoke recently to a researcher, Dr. Henry Lai of the University of Washington. Like the WHO, he's been reviewing cell phone studies.

What he found is that in the studies not funded by the cell phone industry, 67 percent reported negative health effects, like fertility problems, cancers, and certain cognitive problems. But in the studies that were funded by the cell phone industry, just 28 percent did.

Again, that's according to a respected longtime researcher on radiation and its effects on people.

But like just about anything to do with the alleged cell phone cancer link, you can't draw any firm conclusions from that, just like the WHO couldn't draw a firm cancer connection from the studies they looked at. They could only infer possibilities and reasons for concern.

That's why the cell phone industry trade group today said the report does not cell phones cause cancer.

But, "Keeping Them Honest," the report does say they might.

I sat down earlier tonight with 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta to put this all in perspective.


COOPER: So, Sanjay, the World Health Organization has always assured consumers that cell phone radiation had no adverse health effects. Today, it seems quite a different message that they're sending.

GUPTA: It very much does. And this is happening even as what he speak.

What they're saying is that cell phone use and these electromagnetic waves that we have been talking about for some time now, they're going to classify that as a possible carcinogen.

Carcinogen means cancer-causing agent. So this is very different than what we have been hearing from the World Health Organization for some time, where they said there just wasn't enough evidence. Look, this is 31 scientists representing many different countries.

The lead on this is an epidemiologist and scientist out of the University of Southern California. They looked at existing studies, Anderson, many of the ones that you and I have talked about. This wasn't new research.

They looked at the existing studies, including the very large Interphone studies, and after lots of deliberation, more than a week's worth, they came to this conclusion. A possible carcinogenic is how they're labeling it.

COOPER: What is a carcinogen? I mean, there -- other carcinogens are lead and chloroform. But the cell phone industry is coming out saying that they're dismissing this news, saying that coffee is also listed in this group.

GUPTA: Well, the way that they classify these things is, they say (AUDIO GAP) there are things definite carcinogens you might guess, like, for example, tobacco. There are things that are probable carcinogens. This, they're calling a possible carcinogen.

And you're right. Lead is in that category. Chloroform is in that category. Gasoline exhaust is in that category. With regard to coffee, I saw that as well. There's over 200 things that are in this category. With coffee, they say there was some concern that there might be an increase in bladder cancer as a result of coffee consumption, high coffee consumption.

But you're getting a little bit of an idea of the imperfections of the science here. They can't draw a cause-and-effect relationship. And they're not saying that they have done that by any means. But they're saying, looking at all the relevant existing studies, they're changing their stance.

The World Health Organization is changing their stance and saying this is not something that we're going to say has absolutely no evidence, no merit whatsoever. We're saying this is a possible carcinogen and merits more study.

COOPER: So the U.S. government is also very firm in saying that they believe there's insufficient evidence to prove that cell phone radiation poses a health risk. GUPTA: Right.

COOPER: Do you think the WHO decision may now alter that U.S. policy?

GUPTA: I think it might, Anderson.

This is going to be very interesting for us to watch. We have talked about the fact that the FCC says, look, there's absolutely no risk. You don't even need to do anything extra to protect yourself, which we reported on a couple of weeks ago.

You know, the World Health Organization is a very legitimate body of scientists. Again, they represent scientists from all over the world. They all have -- they all have a lot of legitimacy in this world, so I think it will be interesting how we will see the FCC reacts to this and other organizations, for that matter.

Again, they're not saying they're a cause-and-effect relationship here, but they're saying now that this whole idea that it's not possible, that there's no evidence whatsoever, we're not saying that either. So this is a step in another direction for them.

COOPER: And it sounds like the bottom line here today is something that you have been reporting on this program for several weeks now, that cell phones may -- the radiation may cause cancer. So what are the best ways to limit exposure?

GUPTA: Well, that's the interesting thing about this.

With so many things that we talk about on that list that you mentioned, they're more unavoidable. There aren't many things you can do to mitigate your risk. With this, what they say, even in the pamphlets that come with cell phones, they say you should not hold a cell phone right next to your ear. They say you should be at least a half-an-inch to an inch away.

You could use an earpiece. A wire earpiece in this case is what I use. I think that, by simply doing that, the amount of radiation drops off significantly the further and further away it is from your head. We're talking about the brain here. Glioma was the concern, a type of brain cancer, as well as an acoustic neuroma.

These are the things that they're most concerned about here. Move that cell phone away from your ear, use an earpiece like this, and you can greatly mitigate your risk.

COOPER: And I think that's really important. And when you told me that when we did this story I guess it was a week or two ago, I bought an earpiece, and I have been using it since. Or I have been trying to text a lot and keeping the phone away from my body, not in my pocket, like I normally would.

But I don't think most people know that. I mean, everybody you see on the street, they have the phone pressed up against their head. And that's how I have been using it, frankly for years. GUPTA: Most people do.

And I think that what is so interesting about this, Anderson, is we're seeing this sort of unfold real time. And we have talked about this a couple of times over the last couple weeks. This World Health Organization decision, I don't think anybody knew exactly what they were going to say before we heard the announcement this afternoon.

So this is unfolding. And I think as more and more people sort of learn about this, again, the message is absolutely not saying don't use your cell phone. People are going to use their cell phone. The message is that there's a possibility of a risk here. And it's an easy one to address.

Most people can address this pretty easy. And especially children who will likely be using a cell phone for the rest of their lives, should think about this even more so.

COOPER: And studies have not been done on the effects of cell phones on children, right?

GUPTA: There have been none, which I think is surprising. A lot of the concern is that the skin is thinner, the scalp -- the bone is thinner. Could the effect be greater as a result?

COOPER: All right, so get an earphone if you can. And use that, keep the cell phone...


GUPTA: An earpiece.

COOPER: Earpiece. Keep the cell phone away from your body and away from your ear. Even if you don't have an earphone -- an earpiece, just keep it away a few -- less than an inch or so.

Sanjay, appreciate it.

GUPTA: That's right.

COOPER: Thanks very much.

GUPTA: You got it, Anderson. Thank you.


COOPER: All right, let us know what you think about it. We're on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting some tonight.

Still ahead, we have seen a lot of outrageous, shocking images from Syria, but this is perhaps the worst, a 13-year-old boy reportedly tortured and murdered by the regime. His name is Hamza. His death has sparked renewed outrage across Syria. I know it's hard to take, but we feel we owe it to this little boy to bear witness to what has happened to him. We will talk with a human rights activist hiding in Syria right now.

Also, the revealing photograph sent from Congressman Anthony Weiner's Twitter account to a 21-year-old college student. He says he was hacked. But he's now refusing to answer more questions and had a very heated exchange with our reporter today.

We will show you all of it, but here's just a short part.


REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: I'm going to have to ask that we follow some rules here. And one of those is going to be, you ask questions. I do the answers. Does that seem reasonable?-


WEINER: That -- that would be reasonable.


QUESTION: A direct answer.


WEINER: That would be reasonable, you do the questions, I do the answers, and this jackass interrupts me.


COOPER: He was talking about our producer, actually -- more of that exchange ahead.

Ice Essay is following other stories for us tonight -- Ice.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, an incredibly dramatic day in the Casey Anthony trial. Cindy Anthony, Casey's mom, broke down on the stand. She practically collapsed. She had to ask the judge for a break -- coming up, the 911 recording that made her fall apart.


COOPER: Tonight, the questions Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner is refusing to answer about a lewd photograph sent from his Twitter account to a 21-year-old college student.

Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart broke the story on Friday. And the next day, Weiner's office released a statement saying the congressman's Twitter account had been hacked, that he was the victim of a prank.

Over the weekend, Weiner himself tweeted this: "TiVo shot. FB hacked. Is my blender gonna attack me next?"

The New York congressman seemed to be making light of the situation, but has he now hired a lawyer. His office said in a statement: "We have retained counsel to explore the proper next steps and to advise us on what civil or criminal actions should be taken. This was a prank. We were loathe to treat it as more, but we are relying on professional advice."

To bring you up to speed on the details, the college student the lewd tweet was addressed to is Gennette Cordova, who in the past tweeted this: "I wonder what my boyfriend, @RepWeiner, is up to?"

In a statement to "The New York Daily News," Cordova admitted she's a fan of the congressman and said Weiner began following her on Twitter a month or so ago. But as for him being her boyfriend, not so much, according to her statement, which also said: "I have never met Congressman Weiner, though I am a fan. Contrary to the impression that I apparently gave him my tweet, I am not his girlfriend, nor am I the wife, girlfriend, or mistress of Barack Obama, Ray Allen, or Cristiano Ronaldo, despite the fact that I have made similar assertions about them via Twitter."

All right, so she said she wasn't being literal. Still, you can understand why reporters would want some answers from the congressman himself.

Today, in a meeting he had agreed to, Weiner wasn't giving any answers. Listen to this. It goes for a while, but it's interesting.


BASH: You say that you were hacked, which is potentially a crime.

So why haven't you asked the Capitol Police for any law enforcement to investigate?

WEINER: Look, this was a prank that I have now been talking about for a couple of days. I am not going to allow it to decide what I talk about for the next week or the next two weeks. And so I'm not going to be giving you anything more about that today. I think I have been pretty responsive to you in the past.

BASH: But -- but with respect, you're here, which we -- which we appreciate, but you're not answering the questions.

Can you just say why you haven't asked law enforcement to investigate what you are alleging is a crime?

WEINER: You -- you know, Dana, if I was giving a speech to 45,000 people and someone in the back of the room threw a pie or yelled out an insult, would I spent the next two hours responding to that?


QUESTION: This is --

WEINER: I would get back -- QUESTION: This --

WEINER: I would get back --

QUESTION: This is not that situation.

WEINER: I would get back --

QUESTION: This is not that situation, though. You --

WEINER: I would --

QUESTION: -- you were --

WEINER: I would get back -- well, why don't you do it?

Do you want to do the briefing?

QUESTION: You were had your -- you said --

WEINER: Do you want to do the briefing, sir?

QUESTION: -- from your Twitter account --

WEINER: Sir --

QUESTION: -- that a lewd picture was sent to a --

WEINER: Sir --

QUESTION: -- a college student.

WEINER: Sir --

QUESTION: Answer the question.

Was it from you or not?

WEINER: Sir -- permit me -- permit me -- do you guys want me to finish my answer?

QUESTION: Yes, this ques -- this anywhere.


QUESTION: did you send it or not?

WEINER: If I were giving a speech to 45,000 people and someone in the back threw a pie or yelled out an insult, I would not spend the next two hours of my speech responding to that pie or that insult. I would return to the things that I want to talk about to the audience that I wanted to talk to --

QUESTION: All you have to do is say no with respect --

WEINER: -- and that is what I intend to do at this point. QUESTION: All you have to do --

BASH: Can I -- let me --

QUESTION: -- is say no to the question.

BASH: -- let me try -- let me try this question.

The woman who allegedly got this Tweet or it was directed to, this 21-year-old college student in Seattle, she released a statement to the New York "Daily News" yesterday saying that you follow her on Twitter.

Is that true?

Did you follow her on Tweet?

And, if so, how did you find her and what was the reason?

WEINER: You know, I have, I think, said this a couple of ways and I will say it again. I am not going to permit myself to be distracted by this issue any longer. You are free --

QUESTION: All you have to do is say no to that question --

WEINER: You are free -- you're very good at --

QUESTION: If you're not following her on Twitter --

WEINER: Well --

QUESTION: -- say no to the question.

WEINER: -- why don't you -- why don't you let me do the answers and you do the questions.

QUESTION: As soon as you answer the question asked you --

BASH: Congressman, you understand -- you understand that the -- what's going on here, the frustration. We appreciate you coming out here talking to us. You're smiling. You're -- you're cooperating. And that gives, you know, good optics. But you're not answering the question.

So can you answer --

WEINER: This is now --

BASH: -- even the most basic question.

WEINER: This is now day --

BASH: But you're saying the same thing over and over again --

WEINER: This is now day --

BASH: -- but you're not answering the question.

WEINER: -- this is now day three. You have statements that my office has put out --

BASH: But they don't answer the question.

WEINER: There are statements that I have had my offices put out. And there are going to be people who are going to want -- look, this is the tactic. The guy in the back of the room who's throwing the pie or yelling out the insult wants that to be the conversation. I am --

BASH: But you were the one who --

WEINER: Dana, let me --


BASH: -- you were hacked.

WEINER: -- let me --

BASH: That you were hacked.

WEINER: Dana --

BASH: And that's -- and that's a criminal -- a potential crime.

WEINER: Dana -- Dana, let me -- I'm going to have to ask that we follow some rules here. And one of those is going you ask questions. I do the answers. Does that seem reasonable? BASH: I would love to get an answer.

WEINER: That -- that --


QUESTION: A direct answer.

WEINER: That would be reasonable, you do the questions, I do the answers and this jackass interrupts me, how about that as a -- as the new -- the new rule of the game?

QUESTION: Congressman --


WEINER: Let -- let me --


WEINER: Let me just --


WEINER: Let me just --

BASH: Go ahead.

WEINER: Let me -- let me just -- just give you the answer. The objective of the person who is doing the mischief is to try to distract me from what I'm doing. So for the last couple of days that has happened, I have made a decision I'm not going to let it happen today. I'm not going to let it happen tomorrow.

BASH: If this is the non-story that you -- that you say this is and a distraction --

WEINER: I didn't charac --

BASH: Then you --

WEINER: I characterized it as a distraction.


WEINER: You -- I will --

BASH: Do you think that this --

WEINER: -- I will leave it to you to make the decision whether --

BASH: If you think this is just a distraction, you're a sophisticated guy.

Why not just answer the questions and then you'll be done with it?

WEINER: I have been doing that for several days. Now, I choose --

BASH: (INAUDIBLE) didn't ask --

WEINER: -- now I choose --

BASH: (INAUDIBLE) so many questions that you didn't answer.

WEINER: -- now I choose -- I have been -- there are people here who apparently haven't read the statements. I assume that you have. So all I can tell you is this, that this is --

BASH: (INAUDIBLE) statements --

WEINER: -- this is akin, this is akin to someone deciding on day three or day four they want to continue talking about something that I consider a distraction and they make the decision on how I'm going to deal with this. And the decision that I have made is I'm not going to permit it to distract me. I'm not going to permit it to -- to -- to continue on for three, four, five or six more days.

If that's not satisfactory to you, I apologize. But I think that what people really want to talk about are things like the debt limit vote tonight or things like -- like the -- the oppressive disparity between the very well-to-do in this country and people that don't have as much or the fact that it's more and more difficult being in the middle class in this country.

That's what I'm here to work on.

Thank you, guys.


COOPER: Senior congressional Dana Bash, who you saw in that interview, joins me now, along with senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

So, Dana, what -- what questions has he not answered?

BASH: All of the ones you just heard -- heard me asking, Ted Barrett and others.

That -- this is that it's -- just, it's what is so weird about this, Anderson. It is so plausible that Anthony Weiner's Twitter account was hacked. It really is. I mean, the experts we have talked to, it's very, very easy to do.

So the fact that he just won't answer some basic questions, just even say point-blank that it wasn't him, is -- was very weird.


BASH: ... over and over.

COOPER: So, he has not said, that's not a picture of my private parts?

BASH: No. And earlier today, he actually came out and was very gracious and answered reporters' questions earlier in the day as well.

He was asked that question point-blank: Is the picture you? And he gave a similar answer to the one he gave over and over in the clip you just saw.

COOPER: And he wouldn't even say whether or not he was following this -- following her on Twitter, right?

BASH: Would not say -- no, she, the woman we're talking about, this 21-year-old college student, who was the recipient, the alleged recipient of this tweet, she actually said in her statement to "The New York Daily News" -- you showed part of it at the top of the program -- that Anthony Weiner was following her on Twitter.

So that's one of the questions you heard us try to ask: Is that true, and, if so, why would you were following her? Who knows? Maybe she sent some funny tweets. We all follow people for different reasons.

He wouldn't answer that question. He kept talking about the 45,000 people in the room. COOPER: Jeff, why would he secure an attorney? I mean, I get why he would secure an attorney, obviously, but why wouldn't he contact the Capitol Police, if, in fact, this was a hack?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, I can actually understand that.

First of all, hiring an attorney is of no significance, I think.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: He might be hiring an attorney to see it he wants to sue someone -- or -- it doesn't mean he did anything wrong that he hired an attorney.

The weird thing about this story is that he started out being very open and treating it as a joke, and now in this sort of hilarious interview with Dana and Ted Barrett, he's acting like a perp. He's acting like someone who has something to hide, which, of course, extends -- extends the story and suggests he had something to hide.

In his defense, I think we do need to point out that the person behind this is Andrew Breitbart, who's made a practice of targeting Democrats, Shirley Sherrod most notoriously of all. And his stories tend to fall apart on close inspection.

Here, unfortunately for fortunately, depending how -- your perspective, Weiner doesn't really seem to be ending the story. He seems to be extending it.

COOPER: And, Dana, even though just one tweet, if we called the Capitol Police or his office did and asked them to look into it, they would do that, right?

BASH: Absolutely. That is absolutely the protocol here on Capitol Hill.

I talked to law enforcement sources who are very familiar with the protocol here. And they said that if -- it would not be unusual for a member of Congress -- this isn't just an average person -- it's a member of Congress who felt that their account was hacked. If they called the Capitol Police and said, please look into this, I want to know who did this, they would do it.

And I should also note that a spokesman for the FBI, who would also be a potential place that would investigate, it's a member of Congress, they also said that Congressman Weiner has not called to ask for an investigation at all, which is -- as you saw in the questioning, we were asking that.

Well, if you're saying that you were hacked, why not get to the bottom of who did it?

So, he says that it was a prank and he wants to leave it alone and he wants to move on. But that -- it was just a little odd that he wouldn't answer that question. TOOBIN: It's also far from clear that, even if he was hacked, there was a crime committed here.

As far as I'm aware, there's never been a criminal prosecution based on impersonating someone on Twitter. And if Weiner actually sent this lewd photo, I don't think that's a crime either. It's probably bad taste. It certainly wasn't an obscene photo. But I just don't think there is a -- this is really a law enforcement matter. It's really a political matter. And he's handling it how he's handling it.


BASH: It is.


COOPER: Do you get the sense that his strategy is just kind of waiting this out and that -- thinking it will just go away?

BASH: Absolutely. That's what it seems to be.

And he's very cognizant of, as I said, the optics of this story. Earlier today, he actually came out to the cameras, talked to another one of our producers, and was answering some questions. And he walked away,and she started to ask another follow-up question. And he came back and he actually said, I want to come back because I don't want you to have a shot of me walking away from the camera.

And, today, he came over to us and to other reporters, very carefully doing so. He even went to his office and put on a tie. He doesn't want to look like he's running away from this. He's absolutely coming and talking to us. It's just that what he's saying is not answering some basic questions about what all went down, and, as you have both pointed out, raising more questions by doing that.

COOPER: Dana Bash, appreciate it today, Jeff -- Jeff Toobin as well. Thanks very much.

Up next: Syrians rallying around a 13-year-old boy and against the brutal regime that they believed tortured him to death. It's not just Syrians -- tough talk from Secretary of State Clinton about this boy, what happened to him. We will talk with Razan Zaitouneh, a woman who is in hiding right now in Syria.

Later: a searing day in the Casey Anthony murder trial, Casey's mom, Caylee's grandmother, breaking down on the stand. Nancy Grace and defense attorney Mark Geragos join me with two very different perspectives on the case.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight: more evidence that Syria's dictatorship is abducting, torturing and murdering its own children, children like Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, 13 years old, taken by security forces at a protest rally last month. Now, his family had no word for a month about their little boy. Imagine that, the government taking your child and for a month you not having any information about him. Then the government returned Hamza to his family. They returned him dead. His terribly mutilated body was given to the family last week.

Now, we're going to show you some pictures. We're blurring them, but they're definitely -- definitely difficult to look at, so I want to give you warning right now. It's hard to watch, but we think it's important to know what happened to this little boy and what is no doubt happening to others in custody right now.

This is how Hamza's body came home, multiple gunshot wounds, cigarette burns covering his body, his genitals mutilated. A pathologist who did the autopsy saying that what you see is simply the result of the body decomposing. It's not. It just isn't.

Today, Hamza's ordeal drew sharp words from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I too was very concerned by the reports about the young boy. In fact, I think what that symbolizes for many Syrians is the total collapse of any effort by the Syrian government to work with and listen to their own people.


COOPER: According to reports, this little boy's kneecaps were shattered; his penis was cut off.

Their own people are saying, enough, risking their lives to do it, because they say Hamza is not the only child tortured and killed, then returned to his family, the aim apparently to terrorize.

The same thing reportedly happened to an 18-year-old with learning disabilities. This is the Assad regime's M.O. We have seen this time and time again.

Today, the dictator, Bashar al-Assad, declared an amnesty for protesters. That's what their government's calling it, an amnesty. But the amnesty is really no definition of amnesty you or I would ever use or understand. Amnesty for them is you get life at hard labor instead of death.

He also recently said that security forces have made some mistakes handling the uprising. None of this is a mistake. Nor is keeping CNN -- CNN and other media out of the country just a mistake. It's part of a plan.

For weeks, though, activist Razan Zaytouni has been our window into Syria. S he's neither afraid to use her real name or to speak out, even though she is in constant danger.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Razan, when you saw the video of little Hamza's body, were you as shocked as the rest of the world is shocked, or is this what you've come to expect from the Assad regime?

RAZAN ZAYTOUNI, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST (via phone): I should separate between -- as an activist and have been working as a human right activist for the last ten years, I wasn't shocked. We've heard a lot of stories like this. As a human being, for sure, nobody can look at such a picture, at such a crime committed for such children and not be shocked.

COOPER: It doesn't make any sense, though. Why would a regime do this to a 13-year-old child?

ZAYTOUNI: Such things have always happened in Syria. But nobody wanted to believe it at that time. Human rights organizations have always talked about tragic crimes, about awful torture, even for children. I remember many, many other stories like this during last year. But not even during last decades, even before. But at that time, the world didn't want to hear and didn't want to see anything.

Anyway, by making -- practicing this awful torture against -- against the prisoners, they want to send messages to the whole Syrians, that this is what you will have when you continue your protest and your movement. It's a strong message. They want everybody to get scared about continuing.

COOPER: Today President Assad, the dictator in Syria, has announced that he's granting what he calls amnesty to protesters accused of committing crimes. And that's been the headline around the world, that Assad is offering amnesty.

But when you lock at the definition of what he's calling amnesty, it's not amnesty as everybody else in the rest of the world knows it. He's basically just reducing punishment. Instead of getting the death penalty, you get a life sentence at a labor camp. Does anybody believe that in Syria when he's offering amnesty?

ZAYTOUNI: First of all, our prisoners are not criminals, and we refuse to use the word "amnesty." We are not criminals to have amnesty from anybody. The regime, who should ask for amnesty from its own people for the crimes it's committed against them during the last two months, this is from one side.

From another side, yes, they might release some prisoners just because of all the pressure now on the regime from the street and from the international society. But what's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is they will arrest more and more people tomorrow. Only two hours after the degree was issued, dozens of young people that arrested in Damascus today, after they participated in peaceful protests there.

So it means nothing if they will continue to arrest more people.

COOPER: Razan Zaytouni, stay strong. Thank you for being us.

ZAYTOUNI: Thank you, bye-bye. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We found out Razan Zaytouni's husband was taken by security forces weeks ago, and she's had no word of him since.

A lot more happening tonight. Ice Essay joins was a "360 Bulletin" -- Ice.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the Pentagon has refiled charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his alleged co-conspirators in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. This will allow prosecution before a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay after the Obama administration dropped plans to try the men in federal court in New York.

Serbian war crime suspect Ratko Mladic is at the Hague in the Netherlands. The one-time fugitive was extradited from Serbia to face genocide charges in connection with the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995.

There are now just 10 people listed as missing in Joplin, Missouri, after last week's killer tornado. The death toll remains at 142.

And meanwhile, take a look at these incredible scenes, scenes from Joplin. Circus elephants were brought in to help move cars and other heavy debris. Anderson, the circus was in town, basically, on that Sunday when that killer tornado struck. And they've decided to help out in that way.

COOPER: Wow. It's going to be a long road for the people of Joplin. Ice, appreciate it.

Tonight's "Shot" is pretty amazing, Ice. The Indy 500 this past weekend, a new record was set during one of the side events before the race. The video is from Hot Wheels. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go in five, four, three, two, one.


COOPER: That's Tanner Foust in a life-sized version of a toy car, jumping 332 feet off a ramp. According to "Auto Week," he shattered the world record for a distance jump in a four-wheel vehicle. And I actually was the grand marshal in the parade before -- in the day before. Look, I didn't know you had video.

SESAY: I have to say, you're looking pretty buff there, Mr. Cooper.

COOPER: Well, that's the angle. I don't know. It was very -- I've never been to Indianapolis before. People are so friendly there, it's incredible. Hoosier hospitality, it was great.

SESAY: What exactly is a grand marshal expected to do?

COOPER: Well, there's many responsibilities. And I don't really have the time to go into great detail.

SESAY: Really?

COOPER: I was very flattered when I was asked, but I was -- I worried at first that I thought as grand marshal, like I'd have to wear a big, like strange fuzzy hat with a baton and like...

SESAY: You were in a bunny suit. Don't pretend.

COOPER: But I didn't have to. I got to ride in a really cool 1944 car. And so everyone was great, and really, it was an honor to be part of the -- the Indy festival.

SESAY: And you learned to wave like the queen of England.

COOPER: I was working on -- yes, that sort of wave. But no, I -- yes, it's kind of goofy kind of wave, but what's nice about the parade is it's very intimate and so people actually kind of talk to you as you pass by. And everyone, as I said, was great, and it's a great city. And I appreciate -- it was a fun weekend.

SESAY: It was a great honor, and I'd like to add, nice guns, Mr. Cooper.

COOPER: Thank you. I'll get you a permit next time for the gun show.

Serious stuff coming up next. Maybe drama in the trial of Casey Anthony, accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter. Casey's mom broke down on the stand today. We'll show you what happened in court. We'll also show you the events so far. We're talking to Nancy Grace tonight and Mark Geragos.


COOPER: Tonight, "Crime & Punishment." high drama in the Casey Anthony murder trial. The trial started just last week in Orlando, Florida. Twenty-five-year-old Casey, as you know, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee back in 2008.

Now from the opening statement, it's been pretty much bombshell after bombshell, starting with the defense's statement that Caylee wasn't murdered but instead accidentally drowned in the family's pool and both Casey and her father covered it up.

Well, today, Casey's mother, Cindy Anthony, was on the stand sobbing as jurors heard a 911 call she made after Casey admitted to her that she hadn't seen 2-year-old Caylee in 31 days.


CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY'S MOTHER (via phone): We're talking about a 2-year-old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four-nine-three-seven?

CINDY ANTHONY: Spuring. H-E-M-P-E-F-I-N-G. We're in Lindale (ph). Oh, my God. I need to find her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your daughter admitted that your -- the baby is where?

CINDY ANTHONY: That the babysitter took her a month ago. My daughter has been looking for her. I told you my daughter was missing for a month. I just found her today, but I can't find my granddaughter and she just admitted to me that she's been trying to find her, herself.


COOPER: Well, there have been a lot of lies in this case, a lot of dramatic moments that's had incredible twists and turns from the very beginning. Tom Foreman tonight reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Florida courtroom where Casey Anthony's life is at stake, an electric moment. Her lawyer describes her father, George Anthony, finding his 2-year- old granddaughter, Caylee, drowned in a swimming pool.

JOSE BAEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: She immediately grabbed Caylee and began to cry. And cry and cry. And shortly thereafter, George began to yell at her, "Look what you've done! Your mother will never forgive you, and you will go to jail for child neglect for the rest of your fricking life."

FOREMAN: The defense says it was the culmination of a lifetime of sexual abuse and secrets.

BAEZ: And it all began when Casey was 8 years old and her father came into her room and began to touch her inappropriately.

FOREMAN: That's the reason, they say, Casey Anthony joined in a cover-up.

BAEZ: This is not a murder case. This is not a manslaughter case. This is a tragic accident that happened to some very disturbed people.

FOREMAN: But the prosecution and even Casey Anthony's own parents say it's just not true. No accidental drowning, no cover-up, no sexual abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever sexually molested your daughter, Casey Anthony?

GEORGE ANTHONY, CASEY'S FATHER: No, sir. FOREMAN: Prosecutors paint the accused woman as a cunning, self- centered killer, who suffocated her child with chloroform and duct tape, stuffed her into a laundry bag and dumped her in a swamp, then went on a month long spree of partying, drinking, even entering a hot body contest at a nightclub while her family wondered where the little girl had gone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one else lied to their friends, to their family, to investigators. No one else benefited from the death of Caylee Marie Anthony. Caylee's death allowed Casey Anthony to live the good life, at least for those 31 days.

FOREMAN: The challenge for the defense is making sense of Casey Anthony's own behavior. Prosecutors say her computer was used for Google searches on chloroform, neck breaks and shovels. They say she concocted an elaborate story about how the girl was with a nanny, giving a name, talking about when she would see the child, all according to prosecutors, a fabrication.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did she ever seem sad that she did not see her?

ROY "CLINT" HOUSE, WITNESS: Her demeanor never changed. She was the same person.

FOREMAN: Taped conversations with family members are also in evidence. This one with her brother.

CASEY ANTHONY, ON TRIAL FOR MURDER: There's nothing to find out. There's absolutely nothing to find out. If I knew where Caylee was, do you think any of this would be happening? No.

FOREMAN: This one with her mother.

CINDY ANTHONY: If anything happened to Caylee, Casey, I'll die. Do you understand? I'll die if anything happened to my baby.

CASEY ANTHONY: Oh, my God. Calling you guys, a waste, huge waste.

FOREMAN: And then there is this.

G. ANTHONY: I got within three feet of my daughter's car, and the worst odor that you could possibly smell in the world. I've smelled that before. It smelled like a decomposed body.

FOREMAN: Some witnesses describe a different person, a caring mother, close to her child.

MALLORY PARKER, LEE ANTHONY'S FIANCEE: It was amazing. Casey and Caylee had a very, very special bond.

FOREMAN: But which version of Casey Anthony the jurors buy will determine her fate.


COOPER: Well, HLN's Nancy Grace has been following this case from the beginning. I spoke to her earlier, along with criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.


COOPER: Nancy, the prosecution doesn't have a motive, and they don't have a cause of death. Aren't those the kind of two biggest problems that they're facing?

NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: Well, Anderson, as you well know, the state doesn't have to prove motive at all. How are we, the state, supposed to crawl into somebody's mind, especially a defendant on trial for murder, and determine what they're thinking? But as a practical reason, they do need to show that to the jury.

However, I think they are showing motive, Anderson. By all the problems Tot Mom between her and here parents was had finding babysitters. She wouldn't pay for them. The resentment between her and her parents was mounting, when they couldn't take care of Caylee every night.

And it got to the point where the prosecution will allege her babysitter was homemade chloroform.

COOPER: Mark, to you, is the lack of motive, is the lack of -- particularly maybe even more important, the cause of death a big problem for the prosecution?

MARK GERAGOS, ATTORNEY: I think the cause of death is potentially fatal for the prosecution.

But in terms of the motive, when Nancy says you can't crawl into the mind, the prosecution has to crawl into the mind. In order to do a murder prosecution, you have to have malice, and malice is what is the defendant's state of mind. So that's exactly what you're focused on. You have to, No. 1, prove a manner and cause of death, or at least if you can't do that, you've got to give the jury some kind of a credible story as to what happened.

So this is -- you know, the prosecution has an uphill battle, I think. Other than the fact that they're going to resort to what I affectionately call the character assassination evidence.

COOPER: Nancy, are they -- are they assassinating her character? It seems like the defense is kind of doing that to her parents.

GRACE: Yes, Anderson, they are. As a matter of fact, in the last hours, Tot Mom's mother Cindy Anthony has been on the stand, doubled over in tears as she was cross-examined by the defense.

And interestingly, Anderson, her own daughter, Tot Mom, looked on as if she didn't even know who Cindy Anthony was, completely stone faced. And in response to Mr. Geragos, anyone that's been watching the testimony and been in the courtroom knows the state has already established motive. And certainly, a jury is not going to give a gold star to a defendant that manages to hide a 2-year-old's body until it rots and decomposes beyond a determination of cause of death.

Believe me, Tot Mom has told so many lies the cause of death is going to pale in comparison to the rest of the testimony.

COOPER: Mark, when you have a client who has told numerous fabrications to law enforcement and led law enforcement on -- I mean, literally led them to an office building she no longer even worked in, claiming she was working there, isn't her credibility a huge problem for her defense?

GERAGOS: Of course. The credibility is something that's going to always be a problem for any defendant, because that's what prosecutors do. Prosecutors lay out the defendant. They try to get a jury to believe that somebody who lies, therefore you're going to make the leap to therefore they're a murderer. When Nancy says motive has already been proven, I would challenge that.

First, Nancy's argument is, is that they don't need to prove a motive, and now it's abundant that they prove the motive because she couldn't get a babysitter.

The fact remains that the prosecution, if the jury is focused on the evidence, has to show how did they -- how she die, or give us a credible explanation as to how she died and the manner of death and the cause of death. That's Criminal Law 101.

I understand that, if you don't like the person, the easy way out of this is to demonize the defendant. I mean, that's nothing new. But by demonizing the defendant, that's not supposed to supply any kind of evidence or lack of evidence that you've got if you're the prosecutor.

GRACE: Anderson, I hardly think that Tot Mom's own computer searches back in March when Caylee goes missing in June for how do you make homemade chloroform, how do you make weapons out of household items, how do you break someone's neck? These are her computer searches.

And then chloroform turns up in toxic levels in her trunk. Chloroform is found at the scene where the dead body is. That's hardly character assassination. That is hard evidence, Anderson.

COOPER: Mark, is that hard evidence?

GERAGOS: Well, look, all of these things that are supposedly out there, until they get into a courtroom and you see them in a courtroom, you understand what it is, until they've been cross- examined, I don't buy any of it until you see it and the jury is not going to buy any of it...

Nobody is trying to sell it to you, Geragos. Look, nobody is trying to -- all they're trying to -- and when Nancy starts calling her Tot Mom and starts making fun of her, and starts doing all the others, it's just part of the demonization of the defendant.

The defense attorney has been questioning George Anthony very aggressively, the allegation -- making allegations against him that he basically abused Casey Anthony. Why would that play into this case?

I think the defense would have had a very good opportunity, Anderson, if they had stuck with a straight accidental defense. If Tot Mom said she drowned on my watch, it was my fault and I panicked.

COOPER: Nancy, the defense attorney has been questioning Casey Anthony's father, George Anthony, very aggressively. And the allegation -- making allegations against him that I basically abused Casey Anthony. Why -- why would that play into this case?

GRACE: I think the defense would have had a very good opportunity, Anderson, if they had stuck with the straight accident defense. If Tot Mom had said she drowned on my watch. It was my fault. And then I panicked. I didn't want to tell my mother and I set it up to look like a murder.

As crazy as that may sound to the jury, that's what I did. I think she would have had very much an actual shot at a lesser included offense like involuntary manslaughter.

But Anderson, by claiming the reason I didn't tell anybody was because my father and my brother molested me. And then you put George Anthony on the stand, and he's extremely credible and believable, you've got to decide who you believe, Tot Mom or George Anthony. That's what it's going to boil down to.

COOPER: Mark Geragos, Nancy Grace, thank you very much.

GRACE: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Up next, the crew of the space shuttle Endeavor heads home and Sarah Palin is in New York for a highly-publicized stop on her this-is-not-a-publicity-tour tour. She's dining tonight with Donald Trump. Details on that ahead.


COOPER: Let's check back in with Ice on another "360 Bulletin" -- Ice.

SESAY: Anderson, the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour is getting ready to return to Earth, completing Endeavour's last mission. The shuttle is scheduled to touch down at 2:35 a.m. Eastern at Kennedy Space Center.

The Republican-controlled house has rejected a bill that would raise the debt ceiling by about $2.4 trillion. Republicans are sending the message that Congress can't increase the government's borrowing power without cutting spending. Democrats call the move a dangerous political stunt that could rattle the financial markets.

On Wall Street, the Dow added 128 points today, but it wasn't enough to cancel out recent losses. Blue chips fell 2 percent for the month of May. It was the market's worst performance since August.

Steve Jobs is officially on medical leave but will speak at a conference unveiling new software Monday. Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003. He went on indefinite medical leave in January.

And Anderson, Sarah Palin is on her bus tour, as you know. She took a break from visiting historical sites to visit Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York this evening. Palin and her husband had dinner with Trump and his wife, and I'm sure you're wondering, where did they dine?

Well, I went digging for some answers, and you'll never guess who came up with the goods? None other than your boo from the "Real Housewives of Atlanta," Nene.

COOPER: Really?

SESAY: Yes. According to Nene, let's put up her tweet. This is what Nene is telling us. She posted this: that they had pizza, she says, and I'm going to -- no graphic, so I'm going to read it out. "Donald Trump and Sarah Palin just ate at my favorite pizza spot in NYC Times Square, Famous Pizza. Press was everywhere." Who knew she had such skills?

COOPER: Did you say "shedule," by the way? Did I hear a little Britishism?

SESAY: You did hear "shedule," and your point is?

COOPER: I just -- I just -- you know, I just like it when I hear those British expressions, you know.

SESAY: You missed me last night. I was all about the tomatoes.

COOPER: Oh, really? Did you eat them in -- from an "aluminium" can?

SESAY: I ate them at a "sheduled" time.

COOPER: Tally ho, marvelous.

SESAY: Now wave like the queen.

COOPER: All right, Ice, thank you very much.

I should point out, we were going to do a "RidicuList" tonight on a protest by a group which calls itself a church. But then after this weekend, frankly, we decided not to at the last minute, because I basically just don't want to give them any publicity. So we don't have a "RidicuList" for you tonight. I apologize. We'll have one tomorrow. Up next, a stunning 180 on cell phone safety. The World Health Organization now saying cell phones might -- might -- cause cancer. "360" has been on the story from the beginning, even before the WHO panel began meeting. We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta on what he's found out and the WHO report at the top of the hour.