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U.S. Blocks Germany, France, Russia, Canada From Contracts in Iraq; Deadly Flu Outbreak; Two Cops Killed in Ambush Over Road Widening Project

Aired December 10, 2003 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST (voice-over): Payback time? U.S. blocks some allies from lucrative contracts in Iraq.

A deadly flu outbreak. Vaccine shortages. Why are health authorities caught off guard?

Two cops killed in an ambush over a road widening project?

Police say it's hopeless, but Dru Sjodin's family says, keep hope alive.

Our special series, "Secret Societies." Tonight, one of America's most exclusive, Skull and Bones. What goes on inside this crypt.

And the bizarre story of how talking about Michael Jackson landed one woman in the hospital.

ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.


COOPER: Good evening to you. Thanks for joining us on 360. Development in the Michael Jackson case that's not good news for the defense. That confidential document leaked yesterday which said the abuse allegations were unfounded may not be worth the paper it was printed on. We'll get to that in a few minutes.

But first, our top story tonight -- should countries that opposed the war in Iraq be able to bid on lucrative reconstruction contracts? No way, says the Bush administration, today moving to keep billions of dollars from trading partners like France, Germany, Russia, even Canada. Those countries are outraged, and the European Union may take action. Senior White House correspondent John King has details.


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president welcomed members of the Iraqi National Symphony to the Roosevelt Room, happy to talk music but not about another major diplomatic dustup. At issue, a White House decision to block Iraq war opponents from nearly $20 billion in U.S.-funded reconstruction contracts. Bush critics call it hardball retaliation. The White House prefers to call it rewarding allies.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These are countries that have been with us from day one. These are countries that are contributing forces, that have been making sacrifices.

KING: This Pentagon memo says restricting the big contracts to Iraqi war allies should encourage the continued cooperation of coalition members. But the administration also hopes the lure of big reconstruction contracts might convince other nations to offer troops, or as the memo put it, "limiting competition for prime contracts will encourage the expansion of international cooperation in Iraq."

Sixty-three countries were declared eligible for contracts worth $18.6 billion, from major coalition allies like the United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, Spain and Poland to Costa Rica, Latvia and tiny Micronesia.

Left off were opponents France, Germany, Russia and even Canada, which disagreed with the Iraq war but offered troops early in Afghanistan.

Canada's incoming prime minister called the decision hard to fathom. France suggested it violated international law. And Germany's foreign minister promised a protest.

JOSCHKA FISCHER, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We noted the reports today with astonishment, and we'll be speaking about it with the American side.


COOPER: John King now joins us. John, I guess France, Germany, Russia not really surprised. But why Canada? Why have them on this list?

KING: Well, U.S. officials say, Anderson, in this first round, the money is going as now only to those who were most supportive. Canada could be the first off the list, though. It has pledged reconstruction money to Iraq. U.S. officials say sending troops is not a precondition for getting any of these contracts, but they say the war opponents have to stop criticizing the Bush administration and offer both diplomatic and financial support to the post-war effort. Perhaps with the changing of prime ministers in Canada, that situation could change.

COOPER: All right. John King at the White House tonight. Thanks, John.

Quite a bit of money has already been spent on rebuilding Iraq. Here's a quick news note for you. So far the Pentagon and USAID have awarded 15 contracts for Iraqi reconstruction. They are worth a total of $5.4 billion, according to the Coalition Provisional Authority. Now, 17 companies became the primary contractors. All of them American.

Meanwhile, across Iraq today, the fighting against insurgents goes on. Today in more than 50 raids, U.S.-led forces captured dozens of suspected attackers. This is exclusive video of one such raid south of Baghdad, where coalition officials say some of those caught are believed responsible for an ambush last month. That ambush killed seven Spanish intelligence officers.

Today, new developments back here at home in the Michael Jackson investigation. Confirmation prosecutors believe there is a witness to the alleged abuse. And allegations that someone in Jackson's entourage may have intimidated the alleged victim. CNN's Art Harris has the story.


ART HARRIS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When child welfare workers interviewed Michael Jackson's alleged abuse victim in February, the boy denied he'd been sexually molested. And his mother also said nothing improper occurred, according to the case worker's report.

Sources close to the prosecution tell CNN that there was a Jackson employee nearby during at least part of that interview. And they say that the Jackson presence had a, quote, "intimidating effect." Said another source, "to say there was intimidation going on is an understatement."

And how might an alleged perpetrator's employee nearby affect a child's story?

DR. ASTRID HEPPENSTALL-HEGER, CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE EXPERT: I mean, the implied message to the child is, I'm here to prevent you from saying anything bad about Michael Jackson.

HARRIS: The mother says she was unaware of abuse at that time. Sources close to the prosecution also say at least one incident of abuse was witnessed by the accuser's brother.

According to the Los Angeles Department of Family and Children Services, the agency got a hotline tip from the boy's school that he'd skipped classes the day after the February ABC documentary featuring Jackson with a cancer-stricken child. The superstar said the boy had been on sleepovers at his Neverland ranch, where they slept in the same room, but not in the same bed.

When case workers met the family, the report says Jackson was called "a father figure" by the boy's mother, who said her children were never left alone with the entertainer. A CNN legal analyst heard what the defense represented as the family praising Jackson on a tape recorded by a defense private investigator, also in February.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE NEWSOM, 360 LEGAL ANALYST: And just one month after these alleged tapes were made, both the mother and the alleged victim in this case signed written affidavits under penalty of perjury stating that Michael Jackson never acted inappropriately towards the victim in this case.

HARRIS: Experts say children don't always tell everything.

HEPPENSTALL-HEGER: Defense attorneys can say to a child, well, are you lying now, or were you lying then? And it's not a lie. None of it was a lie. It was just part of getting permission to tell.

Art Harris, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: We're going to talk more about this development in the Michael Jackson case with 360 legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom in a few minutes.

Well, there was high drama in the courtroom today in the trial of sniper suspect Lee Boyd Malvo. A key witness for the defense tells the jury Malvo was not able to tell right from wrong during the Washington area sniper shootings. But then in cross-examination, a potential bombshell that contradicts the insanity defense.

CNN's Jeanne Meserve has details.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lee Malvo was legally insane at the time of the sniper shootings, according to two defense psychiatrists. In the words of Dr. Neal Blumberg, "Lee Malvo was unable to distinguish between right and wrong and was unable to resist the impulse to commit the offense." Legal experts say that testimony may not be enough to convince the jury.

STEPHEN SALTZBURG, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: The care and the planning and the leaving of notes, the drawings that Malvo left in the jail and his confession to the police, all of those things are going to speak, I think, more loudly than the psychiatrists are.

MESERVE: Under cross-examination from prosecutor Robert Horan, the defense psychiatrists diverged on whether Malvo was insane when he shot Kenya Cook in Takoma, Washington, eight months before the sniper slayings. Blumberg said he was, but Dr. Dianne Schetky said she believed Malvo did know right from wrong at that point.

BARRY BOSS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's damaging to the defense, because it shows that at a point at which he was not indoctrinated, he understood right from wrong, yet he was still willing to kill.

MESERVE: Blumberg testified Malvo spoke with a friendly Kenya Cook for several minutes before shooting her in the face. But Schetky testified Malvo was so scared and conflicted that he soiled his pants afterwards.


MESERVE: Prosecutor Robert Horan pressed Blumberg on whether he changed his opinion on Malvo's insanity over time. Blumberg insisted he had not, that he felt Malvo met the legal criteria since day one. Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Jeanne Meserve in Virginia. Thanks, Jeanne.

We're following a number of other stories right now cross- country. Let's take a look. Goose Creek, South Carolina -- saying I'm sorry. At a high school where students were raided at gunpoint, this is the raid right here on video. Officials, they are now apologizing. Police raided the school last month looking for drugs. They found none.

West Palm Beach, Florida. Second chance. A boy who is serving a life sentence for killing his 6-year-old playmate is getting a new trial. You may remember this case. Lionel Tate, he was 12 at the time, and the defense said he may have been imitating pro wrestling moves he saw on TV. An appeals court says Tate was too young to understand what was happening at his trial back in 1999.

College Park, Maryland. New Nixon tapes. Newly released tapes show that in 1972, President Richard Nixon told his chief of staff that Ronald Reagan, who was then governor of California, was, quote, "strange and an uncomfortable man to be around," end quote.

Washington. Campaign finance ruling. A decision by the Supreme Court upholds a ban on unlimited donations to political parties, known as soft money. The ruling also upholds limits on political ads by advocacy groups before elections.

Atlanta, Georgia. Bobby Brown has been charged with battery for allegedly hitting his wife, singer Whitney Houston, over the weekend. Houston and Brown were affectionate in the courtroom appearance, but Houston had a visible bruise on her left cheek. And that's a look at the stories cross-country right now.

The flu claims another victim. A tragic story of an American soldier home from Iraq. Now he has to bury his little boy.

Also, the Coast Guard steps in south of the Bahamas, where hundreds of Haitian migrants were packed onto this sailboat. We're going to tell you what happened next.

And continuing our week-long look at secret societies. Conspiracy theorists say this one rules the world. We'll get as close as we can to Yale's Skull and Bones.

First, let's take look inside "The Box." The top stories on tonight's network newscasts.


COOPER: Sad story to report. A family is grieving tonight. A soldier serving in Iraq, home on a holiday leave, now has to bury his baby boy. The child died from the flu. Adrian Baschuk reports.


ADRIAN BASCHUK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alvin Beaumont was a soldier fighting in Iraq but returned to Colorado, a father whose 14 month-old son, Jeremy, died days earlier fighting the flu. For this family, the epidemic is as tough a battle as the war.

You wanted a hero's homecoming, not this.

ALVIN BEAUMONT, SOLDIER LOST SON TO FLU: Yes, this was definitely unexpected. Definitely unexpected.

BASCHUK: Loneliness on the holidays drove Alvin's wife Lindsey and the baby, living in Germany, home to her parents in early November. She always feared Alvin becoming a casualty of war, not Jeremy with a 104-degree temperature.

LINDSEY BEAUMONT, SON DIED FROM FLU: Just crankiness, irritability. He didn't really want to be talked to. He just really wanted to be with me.

BASCHUK: The family says what happened next was unimaginable.

(on camera): Last Sunday, Jeremy was brought here to Penrose Community Hospital where they doctor prescribed him antivirals plus Tylenol and Motrin. Two days later the symptoms were gone. The next morning, Lindsey tried waking Jeremy in his crib.

L. BEAUMONT: And I just rolled him over and he didn't wake up, and at that point I just yelled, "oh, my god, somebody call 911."

A. BEAUMONT: When they said it was my 14-month-old son, I had to sit down.

BASCHUK: Jeremy might have welcomed home his dad a hero if he had been vaccinated. His 8-year-old relative wonders about the tragedy.


BASCHUK: Jeremy's parents urge others to get their kids vaccinated now. Adrian Baschuk, CNN, Colorado Springs.


COOPER: That's so difficult looking at those pictures. Now the spreading flu is, without a doubt, this week's midweek crisis. As we've been telling you, vaccine supplies are dwindling across the nation. This year's flu has hit sooner than usual. Our medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now. Hey, Sanjay.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. That story of Jeremy is not a unique one unfortunately. This is a significantly worse flu season. But why and how much so? We found out.


GUPTA (voice-over): There's no doubt this year's flu season hit hard and early. DR. JULIE GERBERDING, CDC DIRECTOR: It has not reach what we call the epidemic threshold in terms of deaths from influenza-like illness, but we wouldn't be surprised to see that happen given the pattern that's emerging right now..

GUPTA: Not surprised, because this time last year no states had reported widespread cases of flu. This year 13 states have done so. Hardest hit had been Colorado with the deaths of nine children. Near Nashville, Tennessee, several schools closed now due to flu absenteeism.

The early onset has resulted in record numbers getting this year's flu shot, which means more people are protected. But the flu vaccine itself is in short supply in some areas and does not contain the Fujian (ph) strain. That's a variety missed in this year's vaccine planning.

DR. SCOTT HARPER, CDC: We do know, however, this family of viruses causes more severe influenza seasons in general.

GUPTA; Even with the stronger virus, this year is not expected to come close to the great flu pandemics of the past, such as in 1918 when almost one-third of Americans were infected with the flu. Because of the vaccine, the population has broader immunity now, but that doesn't mean it's going to be an easy winter.

DR. WALT ORENSTEIN, CDC: In the decade of the '90s, on average, about 36,000 people died from influenza. This could be more severe.

GUPTA: At this point there's not a lot epidemiologist can do, but they are already working on next year's vaccine.


COOPER: Let's talk about, at what age can kids start getting flu shots?

GUPTA: I think people are often surprised but the answer is often 6 months to 23 months. Not only to start getting flu shots at that age, but that's when it's recommended.

They are considered high risk. Five times more likely to be hospitalized. A kid of that age, between 6 months and 2 years develops the flu, more likely to develop asthma, more likely to die. So, really important in that particular age group.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay Gupta, thanks very much.

Well, let's look at what's going on around the globe right now. Here's the "Uplink." Gardez, Afghanistan: deadly raid. U.S. troops say the bodies of six Afghan children, two adults have been found in the ruins of a compound the U.S. attacked last Friday. Military officials say the compound was used by terrorist with ties to the Taliban and al Qaeda. The deaths bring the total number of Afghan children killed in weekend raids to 15. In the Atlantic: check out this video of one of the Coast Guard says is one of the largest migrant interdictions in months. 361 Haitians were packed on a 54-foot sail boat trying to reach Miami. Unbelievable pictures.

Moving on, Oslo, Norway: Nobel Peace Prize accepted. Shirin Ebadi, is the first Iranian to receive the honor. She has fought for human rights despite criticism from some in her own country. At today's ceremony, she criticized the U.S., without naming it, saying human rights are being violated in the war against terror.

Baghdad, Iraq: big payout. The United States government is paying Halliburton twice as much as other companies to import gas from Kuwait into Iraq. The company once run by vice president Dick Cheney is in some cases, charging more than $3 a gallon. That is tonight's "Uplink."

Our special series, secret societies continues tonight. We take you to Yale University and the exclusive Skull and Bones. What are those people doing in that crypt?

The president was a member, they made a movie about it. We're going to try to separate fact from fiction.

Also ahead, a gruesome discovery in the case of three missing teenagers in Indiana.

And have you heard about the Air Force cadet who could be expelled for refusing to name a fellow cadet who gave her a sip of whiskey? You will not believe the details about this case. We'll talk about it coming up.

That gets us to today's "Buzz." "Would you snitch on a friend to avoid punishment?" Vote now at We'll have results at the end of the program.


COOPER: Well, tonight we continue our series on secret societies. With a look at Yale University's Skull and Bones. Its members are some of the most influential people in America and are sworn to secrecy.

Here's CNN's Adaora Udoji.


ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The home of Skull and Bones coined the tomb looks like a windowless fortress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are people who think they run the world and it's just a giant conspiracy.

UDOJI: Consider the members, three American presidents, including George W. Bush and his father, senators and titans of every industry. Not one has spoken publicly since its founding in 1832. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's secret and it's elite, it can't be good.

UDOJI: Rumors are fueled by movies like the "Skull" and stories the tomb contains daggers, coffins and the skull of Apache chief Geronimo. There are 15 juniors on this campus who come next April will be chosen or tapped as they say to join. And In what's been described as a bizarre ritual, they'll become members for life.

GRAHAM BUETTCHER, SECRET SOCIETY EXPERT: People talk about how there is this sort of ritual rebirth where you are plunged naked into water and -- by some accounts mud and then you are kind of born again into the -- into the society. You emerge from the water a bonesman.

UDOJI: Alexandra Robbins who interviewed more than 100 members writes many believe Skull and Bones has been running the United States for years. Retires Yale professor Gaddis Smith rejects conspiracy theories.

PROF. GADDIS SMITH, RETIRED YALE HISTORY DEPT.: I think that's largely coincidence. Although it's probably not much different from Yale graduates in general who were high achievers.

UDOJI: Only those knighted as it said, know for sure and they are not saying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think anyone is home.

UDOJI: Adaora Udoji.


COOPER: Adaora didn't have the access number to the tomb.

Well, journalist Alexandra Robbins who was just mentioned wrote the book, "Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power." She joins us from Washington with more on the secret society at Yale.

Alexandra, thanks for being with us tonight.

What goes on inside that crypt?

ALEXANDRA ROBBINS, AUTHOR, "SECRETS OF THE TOMB": Well, let's talk about the most prevalent of rumors, which is that members must lie naked in a coffin and masturbate while recounting their entire sexual histories. I'm going to say straight out, that's not true. But it does illustrate something that I found surprising, which is that a lot of the conspiracy theories we hear, even the more outrageous ones, are based on nuggets of truth. In April...

COOPER: Basically people talk about -- there's a lot of just talking about their sexual history.

ROBBINS: Yes. In April, members are initiated. In May they are whisked away to Skull and Bones private island, which is Deer Island about 350 miles from where you are in New York City. And about as soon as they come back, in September, for their regular Thursday and Sunday night meetings, they launch right into the activity called sexual history. And during the sexual history, each member must during an entire evening devoted to him or her, stand in an intimate dimly lit room in front of a painting of a woman and must recount their entire sexual history. And that's an activity supposed to take between 1 to 3 hours. Don't mean to offend you because I know you're a Yale man, but I went to Yale and I don't think Yalies have that much material.

COOPER: I want to put on the screen what our current President George W. Bush who is probably now the most famous member of Skull and Bones had to say about it. He talked to "Time" Magazine. "Time" asked him, did you have any qualms say about joining an elite secret club like Bones?

Bush, "No qualms at all. I was honored. I fairly nonchalant. I didn't view it as a great heritage thing. I didn't take it all that seriously."

I guess he didn't take it to much seriously while he was at Yale. I guess he didn't do very well. You know, the conspiracy theorists say that this organization runs the world. That seems ridiculous. It seems like a glorified frat.

ROBBINS: Oh, Skull and Bones is much more than a glorified frat. I guess you can take George W. Bush as an example. I don't think he took it as nonchalantly as he said. I mean, this is a guy who reportedly spent a weekend during his Skull and Bones year trying to get a tattoo of a skull and cross bones. George W. Bush has duly followed Skull and Bones agenda which is to get members into positions of power and then for those members to hire other members. And since he became president, he's appointed several members of his administration from Skull and Bones. Also, unlike fraternities, Skull and Bones, he has this weird preoccupation with death. They worship a goddess. They condone the stealing of valuable item it seems. It's more than a fraternity.

COOPER: But one of the people he appointed was the Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago. I mean, if they're trying to get Skull and Bones people to rule the world, I'm not sure Trinidad and Tobago is the place to start.

ROBBINS: Well, one of his top choices for secretary of defense was reportedly Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx. He's a bonesman. He had to withdraw for health reasons. But most recently, Bill Donaldson, head of the SEC, he's is a bonesman. The assistant attorney general of the largest litigation component in the Justice Department is a bonesman. The list goes on and on. I find it hard to believe it's a coincidence.

COOPER: All right, Alexandra Robbins, it's a fascinating book "Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, The Ivy League, And the Hidden Paths of Power."

You probably talked to more bonesman than anybody else. We appreciate you talking to us tonight thanks.

ROBBINS: More than I wanted to. Thank you very much.

COOPER: Our look at "Secret Societies" continues tomorrow when we'll examine what's considered the largest secret society on earth, the Free Masons. Find out what they are doing to survive in the 21st century. Then Friday a Secret Society of a different sort. We'll look at what is perhaps the country's most despised group, the Ku Klux Klan.

The family of Dru Sjodin, the missing North Dakota student won't give up hope.

And what does Michael Jackson have to do with a car crash caught live on the radio?

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Time for "The Reset." Tonight's top stories. Iraq, the U.S.-led coalition reports the capture of those responsible for the ambush and killing of seven Spanish intelligence officers last month. The military says the attackers and their leader were among dozens of Iraqi insurgents arrested in more than 50 raids today.

Clinton, Illinois -- a woman and her boyfriend face murder charges in last September's drowning death of her three children. Authorities say the pair slid a car off a boat ramp with the youngsters inside and tried to make it look like an accident. No motive is disclosed yet.

Sources close to the prosecution, the Michael Jackson case, tell CNN when child welfare workers interviewed the alleged victim, one of Jackson's employees was nearby. During that interview the boy denied he was sexually molested. Sources say the presence of the employee could have intimidated the boy.

And tonight's justice served -- the latest twist in the Michael Jackson case. You'll remember that yesterday a confidential government memo surfaced. In it, child welfare officials said they believed last February, the abuse allegations were unfounded. Today, sources tell CNN, one of Jackson's employees was nearby when child welfare workers interviewed the alleged victim. They say that may have intimidated the child when he told the interviewers he had not been sexually molested.

Joining us now, 360 legal analyst Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. Kimberly, good to see you tonight. How significant could this be, especially given all that we've learned in the last couple of days about what the defense believes happened. That a Jackson employee might have been present while child welfare workers interviewed this young child?

NEWSOM: Well, this definitely could contribute to an atmosphere of intimidation and coercion. It could greatly damage the defense's case if they believe that, in fact, this little boy was intimidated, maybe this would explain prior inconsistent statements that he didn't feel it was OK to come forward to talk about Michael and it would be highly inappropriate for, during an investigation, for a Jackson employee or someone from his camp to be present during an interview of that nature so it's interesting to see whether or not that person was actually in the room or just close by. Obviously that would probably affect what the child would have to say.

COOPER: The other big news from today, CNN has confirmed that prosecutors believe that this boy's brother was an eyewitness to at least one alleged incident of abuse. I mean, how significant is that to this case? I mean, the notion of an eyewitness would be pretty significant.

NEWSOM: It is significant evidence to show that not just one person's word against Michael Jackson but two people. Especially an eyewitness to the actual incident. That's very rare that you find something like that happening in sexual assault or child abuse cases. It would be very damaging to the defense but in this case, what we do know is that it is the victim's brother. So there is naturally going to be some questions that the jury is going to have about bias and whether or not these are credible statements and did he come forward at an earlier date? Has he changed his story or made any inconsistent statements? So it could play either way.

COOPER: You know, we are told charges are supposed to be filed sometime next week, the week of December 15. Maybe on Monday, maybe not, who really knows. How much will become clear once charges are actually filed?

NEWSOM: So much is going to become clear. Right now there's a lot of uncertainty as to when these acts of sexual abuse and molestation occurred. Were they during this time frame before the documentary, before the taped statements we've talked about on this show, before this investigation by the child abuse agency, or did it come after the fact?

That would explain why they didn't say anything about it before if these statements preceded the actual conduct and actions of abuse. So we'll know much more because on this complaint, he will allege specifically when this occurred and they can say that it's between a certain time frame, between certain months.

It can be over an extended period of time and that gives the prosecution some leeway because they don't have to specify an exact date but just a general time frame. Then we'll know what we're dealing with and we'll know whether or not these alleged other statements that were made will be damaging against the prosecution or not.

COOPER: Well, Kimberly, on a different subject, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that your husband won the election yesterday for mayor of San Francisco. I want to congratulate you. How does it feel to be the first lady of San Francisco?

NEWSOM: Well, I like being first lady of 360 but being first lady of San Francisco is not so bad. It's a great town and we're really proud that he has the opportunity to serve San Francisco. It's going to be a lot of fun.

COOPER: Well, congratulations to you and your family.

NEWSOM: Thank you.

COOPER: All right. Talk to you later.

Now to the Air Force Academy where a cadet is caught between a code of ethics and her conscience. 19-year-old Christina Fifer voluntarily turned herself in for taking a sip of whiskey. She's underage for alcohol, now faces expulsion if she doesn't reveal the name of the cadet who gave her the drink. Why is there a severe punishment? A little background.

An Air Force investigation found that alcohol was involved in at least 40 percent of assault cases. So under a new policy, any cadet 21 or older who provides alcohol to a minor faces dismissal. The academy officials declined to comment on this case but we've asked the ethicist for "The New York Times" to weigh in on the difficult position this young woman is in. Randy, good to see you.

Nice to see you.

COOPER: Your take on this. Is she right to hold out?

RANDY COHEN, ETHICIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": What's even more striking than whether she's right is how wrong the Air Force Academy is.

COOPER: Wrong, why?

COHEN: Well, this is an utter contrast to the lack of enthusiasm they showed to pursue serious charges of sexual assault over many years.

COOPER: That's the history which sort of sets up --

COHEN: And you have to see this case in that context. Here's a kid, who, by all accounts, a fine cadet, turns herself in for an extremely trivial violation, was already punished, seems to embody all the values of the institution, the kind of person who you would encourage. And they're really, really --

COOPER: So you don't have a problem with the original punishment which was 60 days suspension for a sip of whiskey.

COHEN: When I was 18 -- she's 19 -- when I was 18, that was legal to have a drink so it's hard to see this as a transgression at all -- as an ethical transgression but it is against the law. It is a service academy. They have rigorous standards. And sure, it seems to me a harsh punishment, but OK.

COOPER: But see, your real problem is with the next punishment, this next step which is that she is unwilling to name the person who gave her the sip of whiskey.

COHEN: Right. Right. When you start multiplying charges, adding more serious charges against an essentially trivial offense, that's when you have to look very carefully at the way that the judicial system is constructed.

COOPER: But the Air Force says, look, she is violating a direct order. We have ordered her to name this person.

COHEN: Right. Well, is that order just? It's not like they are trying to break up the cocaine cartel that's smuggling serious drugs onto the campus. The availability of liquor is easy. When they reference this to the sexual assault charges, it's not the victims whose drinking was a problem, it's the perpetrators. That's what they have to be looking at. You know, it may be that 40 percent of them have been drinking but 100 percent of them were wearing socks, I understand. That these are not necessarily causal relationships. That they seem to not take sexual assault seriously and they seem to take this very honorable young woman excessively serious.

COOPER: It will be interesting to see what happens. Randy Cohen, good to talk to you.

COHEN: Thank you.

COOPER: This brings us to today's "Buzz" question. What would you do? Would you snitch on a friend to avoid punishment? Vote now at Results coming up.

Still to come tonight -- Dru Sjodin's family is not giving up hope that she's alive despite a grim comment about her fate from local law enforcement. We're going to talk to Dru's brother in just a moment.

Also ahead, the search for three missing teenagers in Indiana may have come to a very grisly end. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Right now we turn to the ongoing search for missing college student Dru Sjodin. Family members say they are holding out hope she is still alive though a local sheriff has said that is unlikely. Sven Sjodin is Dru's brother. He joins us now from Los Angeles. Sven, thanks very much for being with us.

I want to play you something the sheriff, Dan Hill recently said and let's talk about it. Let's play that.


SHERIFF DAN HILL, GRAND FORKS COUNTY, N.D.: It looks at this time like, you know, there's no chance that we're going to find Dru alive. I believe that it's more of a recovery than a rescue at this point in time.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: You disagree with that, yes?

SVEN SJODIN, DRU SJODIN'S BROTHER: Yes, I do. Yes, I do. Mr. Dan Hill is a representative, I understand, of, you know, the Grand Forks County Sheriff's. He is not someone we had come in contact with up until the point of that particular interview. He'd never contacted my family, nor has he really been much a part of the investigation, from my understanding.

I also believe that -- and I was also told that it is not the feeling of the investigators that are actually, you know, handling this case that she's not alive. We have absolutely no information that would state that she's not alive and we're going to continue with our mission, which is to find Dru. You know, it's been the same since the beginning and it's not going to change until we have something absolute that says she's not out there.

COOPER: Understood. Sven, some disturbing information has come out. Traces of Dru's blood was found in the vehicle of the suspect, a knife was found as well, now a shoe. When you hear stuff like that, what do you do?

SJODIN: Well, my understanding of the blood is that it's speckles and splatters of blood. I've cut my finger and probably bled more than a speckle or a splatter if that's a good enough description.

A knife, I would have to understand that he'd have to have a weapon in order to sequester, you know, my sister within his vehicle. You know, she's a tough girl. If she didn't feel completely threatened at that point, she probably would have fought her way away from him.

You know, my belief is that the evidence within the car is not sufficient enough to not believe that she's not alive and I'm going to hold strong with we're going to find her.

COOPER: Sven, you are in Los Angeles tonight. You are awaiting the birth of your child. If I could ask a personal question, how are you doing in all of this? You've got to be under tremendous pressure.

SJODIN: Yes, you know, it's an interesting situation to be put in. It's not something that you ever can prepare yourself for. I have a tremendous support group through my faith, through my church, through my family, my wife, my son, my father, my mother, you know, I have a tremendous support from, my aunts and uncles and cousins and friends.

It really helps to not be alone in this. I can see how it would be really difficult if you had a very small family and you were, you know, disconnected from, any type of support groups. Really my strength is my family's strength. We all talk about it on a daily basis and we believe what we're saying.

COOPER: Well, Sven, there are a lot of people out there praying for you and for Dru and your family. I wish you peace in the coming days. Thank you, Sven. The search for three missing Indiana teenagers has taken a grim turn this evening. Police unearth grisly evidence today in the basement of a house. Julie Unruh of affiliate WGN reports.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have found two bags which we think are containing human remains.

JULIE UNRUH, WGN CORRESPONDENT: A gruesome discovery buried in the basement of this Hammond, Indiana home. Police, evidence technicians, forensic specialists, as well as cadaver dogs, invaded 4933 Ash Avenue this morning. Neighbors say police had been watching the home for days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were under surveillance for three days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What brought us here is an investigation regarding three missing persons.

UNRUH: For months, law enforcement have been looking for 16- year-old James Vergone (ph) and 13-year-old Michael Dennis, as well as an unidentified third boy, age 19.

Posters like this one of Dennis have been hanging in Hammond for a month. With today's latest developments along Ash Avenue, neighbors fear the worst. They say two to three men lived inside this home, keeping odd hours and exhibiting strange behavior, often trying to lure young kids inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see them out in the back yard from my back door cutting grass with scissors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen them one time they tore up the concrete and took concrete out there and then like a week later they grabbed like 30 bags and relaid it.

UNRUH: Recently?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, like three weeks ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even if we don't talk and laugh, we speak. These people didn't even speak, no wave, no nothing. They'd come on the porch, smoke a cigarette, back in the door.


COOPER: We're going to talk more about this with David Rutter. He's been covering this story as managing editor of "The Post-Tribune" newspaper. He joins us tonight from Hammond. David, thanks for being with us. What do you know about this suspect and what's the latest?

DAVID RUTTER, "POST-TRIBUNE": We're not going to identify the name, but we have done a lot of checking today and what we found out, he's a 49-year-old man. He has served, at least from what we can tell, one extended prison term for homicide in Illinois, bases on the homicide of a young male in Elgin, Illinois.

Previous to that he had been in the army in his 20s and was dishonorably discharged in an event related to a homicide of another young male in West Germany where he was serving in the U.S. military.

So we're tracing from events right now back as far as we can to see -- to put him in some context and see what his past is.

COOPER: I understand he's been arrested. Has he been charged?

RUTTER: No. In Indiana it doesn't have to happen simultaneously. They'll have 48 hours before they decide an the official charge. He has been arrested on a warrant affidavit for murder, which is pretty specific, and so there is broad expectation that he is going to be charged within the next 48 hours.

COOPER: And briefly, is it known why police have searched his house, how they came to him?

RUTTER: Well, there have been 2 of other teenage boys who were missing have been sought for -- ever since September 10 when they left notes with their families that they were essentially running away. So they've been sought for some time.

The other teenager had been missing since early in the spring. He's a 19-year-old. And I think the missing teens, coupled with concerns in the neighborhood, somebody called the police department and said we're concerned about what's going on in this house, and they held this man under observation for three or four days, we believe. And then finally their suspicions got to the point they felt they had enough information to seek a warrant.

COOPER: All right. David Rutter with the "Post-Tribune," appreciate you joining us, David.

Now to a small town in South Carolina where a man is behind bars, accused of shooting to death two sheriff's deputies. He said he was acting in self-defense and wants to stop a road project outside his parent's house. Details from CNN's Mike Brooks.


MIKE BROOKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The scene: the rural South Carolina home of Arthur Bixby. Sunday morning an Abbyville (ph) sheriff's deputy went to the house to investigate a dispute over land for a planned highway. When they hadn't heard from the deputy for about 40 minutes, additional deputies responded. Minutes later, the heart-stopping officer down was heard over the radio.

After a 14-hour standoff, in what officials call a horrendous gunfight, 37-year-old sheriff's deputy Danny Wilson and 63-year-old constable Donny Ouzts lay dead.

CHIEF ROBERT STEWART, S.C. LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION: We were fired on with AR-15's. With what, at this point, we believe to be 7 millimeter magnums, high-powered weapons. BROOKS: Inside the house, Arthur Bixby, wounded during the siege and his son Steven. Law enforcement authorities tell CNN they believe the whole incident was planned. The doors were barricaded and suicide notes were found.

On Tuesday, Steven Bixby was arraigned on two counts of murder and criminal conspiracy.

STEVEN BIXBY, SHOOTING SUSPECT: Why did I do? We didn't do it? They started it. They started it. And if we can't be any freer than that in this country, I'd just as soon die.

I'm originally from New Hampshire where the motto is "Live Free or Die." Ruby Ridge, Waco, this country has shown what it is. I love this country. I just can't stand the bastards in it.

BROOKS: Mike Brooks, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: All right, moving on tonight. Nobel Prizes got you down? Feeling depressed because all your friends got one except you? Well, we've got some good news for you, we're taking the Nobel Prize all the way to the "Nth Degree." That's coming up.


COOPER: Welcome back. Time to check on tonight's "Current." America West is going to start selling ad space on its tray tables. The move offers advertisers an affluent captive audience virtually guaranteed to see their product with a hatred that burns like a thousand suns by the time the flight lands.

The largest known prime number has been identified after years of computation by thousands of computers linked together for the project. It's 2 to the 20,996,000 and 11th power minus 1. The discovery was hailed as a breakthrough for the five remaining Americans who know anything about math. I'm not one of them.

Sean Penn has been offered the lead role opposite Nicole Kidman in a new Sydney Pollack thriller, according to "Variety." The offer apparently came from executives who didn't know Penn claims he's being punished for his political views. Apparently, didn't get the memo.

The Sci-Fi Channel is suing NASA, claiming NASA is part of a conspiracy to cover up the facts of a 1965 UFO incident in Pennsylvania. In defending itself against the suit, NASA will be represented by a special team of government lawyers.

And many people find radio talk shows fascinating, irritating or worse. Jeanne Moos has the story now of one listener for whom talk radio turned out to be painful, literally.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Talk radio became crash radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hear a whack, crash.

MOOS: All in defense of Michael Jackson?

CHERYL PICKER, CRASH VICTIM: Michael Jackson, leave the guy alone.

MOOS: 44-year-old Cheryl Picker was driving along this Long Island highway when she pulled over to the shoulder to call into a talk show to defend Michael.

PICKER: Maybe those are the parents that are pedophiles, Curtis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, look -- Cheryl, are you OK? Cheryl? Cheryl? Hello, Cheryl?

PICKER: Please call the cops!

MOOS: At first, the hosts of WABC's "Curtis & Kuby in the Morning" show didn't realize their caller was in a car. Another driver reaching for some papers rear-ended Cheryl's SUV as she pulled onto the shoulder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watching her SUV do a complete flip, she's now upside down, the cell phone has dropped to the floor, which is really the roof.

MOOS: As thousands of radio listeners eavesdropped, a good Samaritan came to the rescue.

PICKER: Get me out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you, Cheryl?

PICKER: Get me out of here. The doors are open. Get me out. Get me out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're calling for an ambulance, ma'am.

PICKER: No, no, I've got to get out of the car.


MOOS: Cheryl was hospitalized with bruises and a back ache, but nothing broken. She had never before called a radio talk show, and she won't call again, at least...

PICKER: Not from my car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe God was exacting retribution on her for defending Michael Jackson.

MOOS: She took a whack.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheryl, are you OK? MOOS: For Whacko Jacko.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COOPER: All right, moving on. They gave out Nobel Prizes, and if you didn't get one, well, guess what, it turns out you're not alone. We'll take one Nobel Prize to "The Nth Degree."

And tomorrow, one of the oldest, most mysterious groups in America, the Free Masons are the focus of our "Secret Societies" series.

But first, today's "Buzz." Would you snitch on a friend to avoid punishment? Go now, Results when we come back.


COOPER: Time now for "The Buzz." We asked you if you would snitch on a friend to avoid punishment. Thirty-seven percent of you said yes, 63 percent said no. Not a scientific poll, just your buzz.

Tonight, taking the Nobel Prize to "The Nth Degree." Two researchers share the Nobel Prize in medicine today for their contributions to the development of magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.

Since the news of their prize was announced, another MRI researcher has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an unprecedented ad campaign, arguing he should have won as well. Raymond Damadian has been quoted as saying, "had I never been born, there would be no MRI."

Much of the scientific mainstream seems to disagree. But Damadian makes a compelling argument, especially when you look at the images we put together to simulate what today's world would be like if, in fact, he had never been born.

Chilling images, indeed. But maybe I'm biased. After all, I know what it's like to get shut out for a prize you clearly deserve. Twice in my lifetime, in fact, I had a solid shot at one of the world's most prestigious awards. I lost for no reason, except I didn't have the same connections as the winners -- specifically, "Shakespeare in "Love and "A Beautiful Mind." But do I cry about it? Well, yes, a little, sometimes in the lonely hours of the night.

But the point is, I look to the future. After all, maybe Dr. Damadian will win a different Nobel Prize for something else, like his theory that the world is only 6,000 years old. Good luck with that.

That wraps up our program tonight. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


in Iraq; Deadly Flu Outbreak; Two Cops Killed in Ambush Over Road Widening Project>

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