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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Pentagon Says American Soldier Murdered While Captive; New Man Chosen to Lead Iraq

Aired May 28, 2004 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Anderson Cooper.
An American soldier believed killed in combat, the Pentagon now says he was murdered by his captors, 360 starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): A new man chosen to lead Iraq but is the U.S. looking to the U.N. for a bailout?

They thought he was a combat casualty. Now they say he was captured and murdered. What happened to Sergeant Donald Walters?

Is the Pentagon counting enemy killed or not? What's up with the on again off again policy?

America's most wanted is this woman's nephew. What she thinks about his alleged path to terror.

The pop king gets a tentative trial date and both sides get a peak at the other side's evidence.

And global warming wipes out America, a celebration of our favorite disaster movies.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Live from New York this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: Good evening.

We begin the words "full sovereignty." You hear them a lot when it comes to Iraq's future but today President Bush used those two words in response to doubters, vowing he will yield total control to new Iraqi leadership 33 days from now on June 30th.

And that new Iraqi leadership is taking shape. This man will be the new interim prime minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi. He's a neurologist, a former exile, unanimously approved today as prime minister by the Iraqi Governing Council of which he is also a member. All of this is welcome news to the White House where today the talk was of handing over power.

From the White House tonight here's CNN's Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Standing in the Rose Garden with a European ally, the president tried to be crystal clear about the power of the new Iraqi government and the role of the United Nations in creating it.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Complete and full sovereignty to an Iraqi government that will be picked by Mr. Brahimi of the United Nations. He said give me full sovereignty. I said I mean full sovereignty.

BASH: Reassuring words also used in a phone call to Russia's Vladimir Putin from a president working to convince skeptical Security Council members the U.S. will give them what they want full surrender of political control in Iraq.

Returning to the U.N. and relying on its special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to create an Iraqi government, not where Bush officials thought they would be after issuing pre-war ultimatums like this.

BUSH: Will the United Nations serve the purpose of its founding or will it be irrelevant?

BASH: Then four months later.

BUSH: The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities so we will rise to ours.

BASH: But the post-war problems, officials admit, were worse than expected and the American-led coalition had little success in building the peace. For example, the powerful Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani refused to meet with U.S. Administrator Paul Bremer but agreed to sit down with Mr. Brahimi.

IVO DAALDER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: We found out that it may not be as easy to use just raw military power to achieve victory and that we need something else. We need legitimacy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: And with five months until the election, even some conservatives in the president's own party admit that the president simply does not have a choice but to rely on the U.N. Those conservatives who are not fans of the United Nations now say Mr. Bush is backed into a corner and he doesn't have a choice -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Dana Bash at the White House thanks.

Sergeant Donald Walters is one of the more than 800 Americans to die in Iraq since the war began but only now more than a year after his death are we learning new details about just how he was killed.

The Pentagon says the Army sergeant wasn't killed in combat after all. He was taken prisoner. Then he was shot to death. Sergeant Walters' family has already lived through his death. Now they must live through his murder. CNN's Ted Rowlands reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The family of Sergeant Donald Walters has spent more than a year thinking he died in a firefight in Iraq but Army investigators now say he was actually murdered while being held prisoner.

STACIE WALTERS, WIFE OF SGT. DONALD WALTERS: I still have nightmares even after a year but now this just makes it even worse.

ROWLANDS: Walters and members of the 507th Army Maintenance Company, which included Jessica Lynch, were ambushed in southern Iraq on March 23, 2003. It's believed that while Lynch and six others were taken prisoner by one group of Iraqis, Walters who witnesses say was wounded in the leg during a fierce gun battle was taken by a different group. The family says they're told it was Saddam's Fedayeen loyalists.

Lynch, of course, was rescued and others taken with her freed. The Army now says Walters was not killed in the firefight. He was taken hostage and later shot twice in the back.

ARLENE WALTERS, MOTHER OF SGT. DONALD WALTERS: I'm very angry, you know. They took him into a room and shot him in the back.

ROWLANDS: Because of his battlefield heroics, Donald Walters was awarded the prestigious Silver Star at a ceremony in April. Fellow soldiers say Walters fought courageously saving others. Jessica Lynch released a statement today saying in part:

"These new revelations, while upsetting, should not in any way detract from the enormous impact and role that he played that day, including saving many lives."

S. WALTERS: I was hoping that after the Silver Star ceremony that I could try and start putting my life back together and try to move ahead and now this has just totally devastated me all over again.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It's hard to imagine.

Later on 360, we'll talk with former POW Ron Young, Jr. about what happened to Sergeant Walters.

In war progress towards victory is often measured in two ways, ground captured, enemy killed. In Iraq, the ground has been taken but the Pentagon appears to be flip-flopping on whether counting and releasing the number of enemy dead is such a good idea.

Here's CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During the Vietnam War, the military learned a tough lesson. Counting the enemy dead said little about which side was winning the war. So it's no surprise a senior officer who served in Vietnam won't discuss the number of enemy killed in Iraq.

GEN. PATER PACE, VICE CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I will not get into X number of dead versus Y number dead. That's not what we do. That's not what this is about.

STARR: But reality is different.

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY: Coalition forces returned fire resulting in three enemy killed. I think on the last number there were five enemy killed. We believe six were killed.

STARR: Officials deny there is a new policy to count the enemy dead.

KIMMITT: The sheer volume of people that we have had to kill to achieve this is not something that I'm...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But earlier this week you were giving us numbers and all of a sudden yesterday we stopped getting numbers.

KIMMITT: You're right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that a change in policy?

KIMMITT: Not at all.

STARR: A slight acknowledgement after some battles when it's possible to count the dead the Pentagon will.

BRIG. GEN. DAVID RODRIGUEZ, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR OPERATIONS, J-3 JOINT STAFF: In certain engagements they'll come out and say, you know, they lost approximately this number of people.

STARR (on camera): Behind the scenes some military personnel worry that enemy body counts have crept back into the Pentagon as a means of demonstrating the success against the insurgency in Iraq.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the Pentagon might be tracking insurgent deaths but says they don't have the ability to count all Iraqi casualties. There are some independent estimates though. Here's a quick news note.

Iraqibodycount.net estimates that between 9,000 and 11,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of coalition military activity. They get their numbers from media and eyewitness accounts. The Associated Press says more than 5,000 Iraqis have died violently since the declared end to major combat operations. They got that figure by compiling morgue records from Baghdad and three provinces and an estimated 3,500 civilians were killed in the first Gulf War.

Today's "Buzz" is this. Should the Pentagon release to the public the number of people U.S. troops have killed in action? What do you think? Log onto cnn.com/360, cast your vote. We'll have results at the end of the program tonight.

Moving on, as if high gas prices were not enough to give you a headache, new concerns tonight about gas that damages your car. That's happening "Cross Country." Let's take a look.

Shell stopped selling gas at 500 stations in the south because of high sulfur levels that can ruin fuel gauges. The tainted gas originated at a refinery in Louisiana. The company, well they say they're investigating.

In Baltimore now, unthinkable crime, two men arrested for the murders of three children. It gets worse. One of the kids was beheaded, the two others partially beheaded. Police say the suspects are related to each other and to the victims. There is no clear motive for the gruesome crime.

In Miami now, doctor charged. Prosecutors say a doctor and his business partner, those two there, sold diluted cancer and AIDS drugs in a scheme that netted nearly $60 million. Now they're charged with racketeering, product tampering and other crimes. They face up to 250 years in prison, if convicted. No word on any possible victims right now. The doctors' attorney says he will plead not guilty.

In Los Angeles, you're about to see a lot more of Michael Moore. The already famous documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11," this is shot from some of it, has a distribution deal now. Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein personally bought the rights after Disney declined to distribute it. That means it is coming to a theater near you.

And that's a look at stories "Cross Country" right now.

360 next, trial date set for Michael Jackson and a preview of the evidence against him. We'll go live to the courthouse for that.

Also tonight fighting depression, a new pill that offers new hope but are there some potentially dangerous side effects? Dr. Drew Pinsky joins us live to talk about it.

And the American suspected of helping al Qaeda, did this convert get mixed up with terrorists? How could it have happened? His aunt joins us live.

First let's take a look at your picks, the most popular stories right now on cnn.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON: I'd like to thank the fans around the world for your love and your support from every corner of the earth, my family who's been very supportive, my brother Randy who's been incredible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It's a very grateful Michael Jackson at an earlier hearing in his child molestation case. We don't know what his mood is tonight. He wasn't at today's hearing, didn't have to be, though he would have heard for himself the judge set a tentative trial date.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Monday, September 13th, the day set for the trial of Michael Jackson but even the judge conceded that date is a target and not a certainty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Mr. Jackson is very happy to be here today.

JOE JACKSON, FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: This is a good day.

MARQUEZ: A good day, said Joe Jackson, after his son's lawyers argued that his $3 million bail is excessive. Bail guidelines, said Jackson lawyer Thomas Mesereau, indicate that bail for causing a death, using a weapon of mass destruction is only $1 million. The prosecution calls Jackson a flight risk. The judge said he would rule on bail later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael indeed is innocent. The prosecution is not as forthcoming as they should be.

MARQUEZ: The enormity of the case against Jackson became clear as lawyers argued over evidence, the defense saying it believes there are at least 400 pieces of physical evidence, thousands of pages of documents and some 50 to 100 witnesses.

A source close to the accuser's family tells CNN two of the prosecution's witnesses may be flight attendants from planes chartered by Jackson on which the accuser flew, the source saying the attendants may testify. Jackson asked that alcohol be mixed with Coca Cola which was then allegedly shared with the accuser and his siblings.

BRIAN OXMAN, JACKSON FAMILY ATTORNEY: We will have no comment concerning what the witnesses are or what they're going to say. This case needs to be tried in court.

MARQUEZ: In April, Jackson pleaded not guilty to charges of committing and attempting to commit lewd acts against a child under 14, serving alcohol to a minor to assist in the acts and one conspiracy charge that contains 28 individual acts of extortion, child abduction and imprisonment. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ: Now the next hearing for the Jackson case is scheduled for June 25 when the judge will consider releasing the full transcripts or at least a redacted copy of the transcripts of the grand jury and also the full indictment that the grand jury handed up -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Miguel Marquez thanks very much from California.

An earthquake in Iran tops our look at what's happening right now around the world. Let's take a look at the "Up Link."

At least 23 people died after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit about 80 miles west of Tehran. The quake shook eight provinces in central and northern Iran and was followed by 12 aftershocks.

The U.S. and Europe now, safe skies, the European Union and the United States signed an antiterrorism agreement for sharing information about passengers on transoceanic flights.

Santiago, Chile, a surprise ruling a court votes to strip immunity from former dictator Augusto Pinochet clearing the way for trial on human rights charges. Pinochet's lawyer has suggested he will appeal the decision.

And in Haiti and the Dominican Republic thousands homeless, the Red Cross says more than 15,000 people have been left with no place to live tonight. Devastating flooding has already killed at least 900 people and that death toll is likely to rise.

In China, look at these images, a dam burst, one person has died, 17 are missing after heavy rainstorms caused a dam to break in Hubei Province, 12 children among those missing.

And that is a look at what's going on right now in the "Up Link."

Every day, of course, we remember the men and women fighting and dying overseas. This weekend, as is tradition, we salute them as well as those from past conflicts.

In Washington this weekend, World War II will be remembered when a long awaited memorial is finally dedicated. You're looking right now at a live picture of that memorial on the National Mall, a beautiful picture as the sun is setting.

This event, this memorial took years of hard work but it all started with one man, his story now from CNN's Ed Henry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Credit for the new memorial has mostly gone to celebrities like Tom Hanks and Bob Dole but the idea came from a self described common man Roger Durbin who served under General Patton at the Battle of the Bulge. MELISSA GROWDEN, ROGER DURBIN'S GRANDDAUGHTER: Roger Durbin was a tremendous patriot. He, as you said, did not finish high school. He went to work to help support his family and enlisted in the Army because he really felt that was his duty as an American.

HENRY: After the war, Durbin returned to Ohio and lived a quiet life as a postman but something had been gnawing at him for years and at a political fish fry in 1987 he spoke up.

REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D), OHIO: And all of a sudden I heard this booming voice. Congresswoman Kaptur, why is there no World War II memorial in our nation's capital where I can bring my grandchildren. And I turned and I looked across this huge crowd and I thought where is that voice coming from?

All of a sudden I saw this very sturdy looking older gentleman who had his feet firmly planted and glasses and a twinkle in his eye and a real square jaw and he was standing like this.

HENRY: It took Kaptur six years to get Congress to approve the memorial. The dream of an everyday American was realized and Bill Clinton honored Durbin at the groundbreaking. Durbin died in 2000.

GROWDEN: I know Roger Durbin is here in spirit. I felt that from the very beginning. When we came to the memorial for the first time on Wednesday all of us felt this very strong pull to the Ohio column and it's almost for us like he is buried here.

HENRY: Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Roger Durbin will just be one of the many American heroes remembered and memorialized this weekend.

360 next a new drug to fight depression does it offer new hope or new concerns? We'll talk about that with Dr. Drew Pinsky who joins me live.

Also tonight, Scott Peterson, the trial set to begin more than a year after his wife was found murdered. The jury is set and a surprising jury it is. Find out who they are ahead.

Also from Christianity to Islam how a young convert may have got caught up with terrorists. His aunt joins us live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, so many Americans affected by depression. Tonight the depression debate reignited. A new drug coming this summer promises to help more depression sufferers fully recover but there are dangers and the consequences could be deadly according to some.

The drug is called Cymbolta. It acts on not one but two brain chemicals believed to be linked to depression but is more necessarily better? Dr. Drew Pinsky joins us live from Los Angeles to talk about this treatment. Dr. Drew thanks for being on the program.

DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTION SPECIALIST: My pleasure, thank you.

COOPER: This drug not yet approved by the FDA, perhaps going to happen this summer, but it's called a dual action antidepressant. What exactly does that mean and why are so many people interested in this?

PINSKY: Well, it's -- there's only one drug like it on the market so far and what we're talking about here is dual action biology, that is to say people are very familiar with the serotonin drug, the so-called serotonin reuptake inhibitors and they have a single mechanism of action. It's a very selected and very focused mechanism.

COOPER: That works on serotonin.

PINSKY: Serotonin. There's now a drug -- these newer drugs are working on not just serotonin but also norepinephrine, which is another brain chemical responsible for mood.

In the old days, they were trying to get more and more selective, so people have a misunderstanding that perhaps they were trying to get a single mechanism of action but I would think of this, these new agents as perhaps two bullets at specific targets as opposed to a buckshot approach which is the way medicines used to be.

COOPER: So, I mean I know -- what's interesting is that a lot of this stuff kind of isn't know how exactly it work this brain chemicals.

PINSKY: That's true.

COOPER: But what do we know about serotonin and norepinephrine? How do they differ?

PINSKY: Well, they're very different mechanisms, mostly in terms of the side effects, in terms of how these medications affect people that take them but norephinephrine tends to be more of a stimulant effect. People can have more effects on anxiety. Anxiety can get worse. They could have sleeplessness, headaches, these sorts of things.

Thus far the only medication that has a dual mechanism is Effexor. What's interesting about these drugs though, in spite of them being dual mechanisms, so far they've really not shown to be more efficacious than the single mechanism drugs but there is -- this is -- this new medicine is supposedly hope for the future.

COOPER: Well, there's also concern. There was a 19-year-old young woman named Traci Johnson who was in a clinical trial for this drug. She actually, she killed herself during the clinical trial when she was taken off this drug. She'd been off it for some four days. She was on a placebo. PINSKY: Right.

COOPER: And we've heard stories in the past about suicide, particularly with people on antidepressants or coming off them. Should we be concerned about it?

PINSKY: People, patients beware that medication every time you take a medication there's a potential of some sort of horrible side effect and antidepressants are no -- no exception from this.

Depression, suicide, whether you come on the medicine or off the medicine there's always a risk. Some data suggests that as many as one out of five people with depression will commit suicide. Over half of people with depression will need some sort of long term ongoing care, some kind of long-term ongoing medication.

But remember that it's not just medication that can cause destabilization. Even in days when people used talk therapy, just sitting down and talking to somebody can destabilize people to the point that there can be some sort of decompensation like suicidality is really, people need to realize every time you have an interaction with the medical system there is a risk and with medication that risk can be quite substantial.

COOPER: Now there have been some eyebrows raised about this new drug coming out perhaps this summer, if it is approved by the FDA by Eli Lilly, because their patent for Prozac is expiring around the same time. Is that just a coincidence?

PINSKY: Oh, I'm sure it's no coincidence that drug companies need to find a way to maintain profitability. I think this -- in fact this particular drug had been on the shelf for some time and they pulled -- it's a relative of Prozac and they took it off the shelf, started studying it at higher doses and found that lo and behold it does seem to have some beneficial effect.

The main benefit being that it has a very, very rapid mechanism of action so people feel better and it also tends to affect pain more, so people that have aches and pains associated with depression have greater relief. So, the hope is that this will keep people on antidepressants to remission, perhaps long.

But, again, as you pointed out we really don't know the full spectrum of side effects of this medication. It's not yet been FDA approved and that poor young woman that committed suicide this is a whole other interesting topic. She was taking six times the recommended dose and she was a healthy person. That's how these things are studied and yet look at the horrible outcome.

COOPER: Yes, just terrible for her family. Dr. Drew Pinsky thanks very much.

PINSKY: My pleasure.

COOPER: I should point out that we tried to contact Eli Lilly but the company did not respond today. However, a spokesman for Eli Lilly previously has stated that the company does not believe the drug caused this young woman Johnson's suicide.

A quick news note now on depression, according to the May issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter one out of eight women will have an episode of major depression at some time in their lives and women are twice as likely to suffer depression as men.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): America's most wanted is this woman's nephew. What she thinks about his alleged path to terror.

They thought he was a combat casualty. Now they say he was captured and murdered. What happened to Sergeant Donald Walters?

And global warming wipes out America, a celebration of our favorite disaster movies, 360 continues.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: 360 next. An American suspected of ties to terrorists. His aunt joins us live. But first, a look at tonight's reset

In Baghdad, new prime minister is picked. The Iraqi governing council makes a surprise announcement choosing this man, Iyad Allawi is the prime minister of Iraq's interim government. Allawi is a Shiite Muslim, council member, a long-time Anti-Saddam exile and a longtime ally of the CIA. After some initial hesitation, the U.S. endorsed the decision.

Green Bay, Wisconsin, Kerry on the attack. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry continued to push his new national security strategy. Kerry also accused President Bush of undermining U.S. security with what he called blustery arrogant foreign policy.

In Washington, no more mixed signals after a couple of days of conflicting messages. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge issue a joint statement citing credible intelligence of an al Qaeda terror threat. They say information from multiple sources indicate an attack attempt may happen during the period leading up to the fall elections. That's a quick look at the reset tonight.

The seven people identified this week in connection with possible terror threats include the name of a U.S. citizen who converted to Islam as a teenager. How did Adam Gadahn go from a California farm to allegedly participating in an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. It's a question that may not be answered until authorities talk with Gadahn. Tonight we talk with Nancy Pearlman, Adam Gadahn's aunt. She joins us now from Los Angeles. Nancy, thank you very much for being on the program.

When you first heard your nephew's name mentioned by the U.S. government as a person of interest, as someone who they said had done translation for al Qaeda, who had participated in terrorist training camps, what did you think?

NANCY PEARLMAN, ADAM GADAHN'S AUNT: We were shocked. We were surprised. It's hard to believe that that's the Adam that was my nephew, is my nephew. We are very loving, peaceful, caring family. And I can't believe that there's any association with terrorism. I hope that this is a big mistake.

COOPER: I know you haven't talked to him in several years. I know his dad hasn't and his brothers really haven't. When was the last time you talked to him and what did he say he was doing?

PEARLMAN: The last time I spoke with...

COOPER: Or that your family heard from him.

PEARLMAN: It was five years ago, when he came back for a visit, to visit with us before my dad passed away. And then he spoke with his parents about two years ago to let us know that he had married an Afghan refugee and was having a child. And we were under the impression that he was living peacefully and happily.

COOPER: Did you have any sense of how he was earning a living or how he was living overseas? I mean, it's expensive.

PEARLMAN: Actually, it's not necessarily that expensive. In many other countries, particularly Pakistan, you can live inexpensively. And we believing he was writing scholarly works on Islam and publishing them in magazines and newspapers.

COOPER: Did you see any of the scholarly works or did he ever send them?

PEARLMAN: No, I have not seen them. But I believe that it's important that he was always working hard after he finished his high school work. And he took jobs and supported himself.

COOPER: I spoke with the Imam at the mosque, the man who actually oversaw Adam's conversion to Islam back in 1997, I believe it was. He was also expelled from that mosque. He actually served two days in jail and did community service for assault which I think he pled guilty -- he pled guilty to assault and battery. Were you around at that time? Do you know what that was about?

PEARLMAN: Yes, I was around at that time. But we never heard of this until the media brought it up. In these last two days. We know of an Adam who was very strong in working with individuals, in terms of being a peaceful, caring, loving individual. He was not violent. He was not, in our estimation, in any way is he dangerous or violent. We are a family that believes in peace and nonviolence and hate terrorism. And this is just a real shock to have him presented in this light. This is not the Adam that we know.

COOPER: I can't imagine how much of a shock it is for you. Nancy Pearlman, I appreciate you being on the program. Thank you very much.

PEARLMAN: You're welcome.

COOPER: For an Oregon couple, the truth hurts. It turns out their son, U.S. army Sergeant Donald Walters was not killed in action last year in Iraq. Instead, after a war crimes inquiry, Pentagon officials say now that he was captured and then killed, shot twice in the back. Murdered. On March 23 of last year, Walters was with fellow members of the doomed 507th maintenance company, including Jessica Lynch when they were ambushed in southern Iraq. Why is it that some prisoners of war are killed, others live? It's a hard question to answer. Joining me now from Washington, former P.O.W. in Iraq, now CNN's special contributor, Ron Young Jr. Ron, good to see you again.

RON YOUNG JR., CNN SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR: How are you doing, Anderson?

COOPER: I'm doing all right. I guess the most dangerous time for someone when they are captured, and you've been through this experience, is those few hours immediately after they are first taken. Why is that so dangerous?

YOUNG: What really happens is, I mean, you're in the middle of a heated battle. We hit the ground and we took off running. And after about an hour and a half, the Iraqis finally got to us. And we're laying down on a bank and they don't know what our intentions are, if we're trying to lure them closer to kill them, you know, meaning them harm and things like that so, you know, for us and them, not knowing which -- each other, the opponent's trying to do, it becomes a very sticky situation of how to actually give yourself up without getting yourself killed.

Me and Dave couldn't understand what they were saying and we got on our knees, and they started yelling louder. And I said, maybe they want us to get back down. And we got down and then, of course, they kept yelling. So I got our knees and I said, Dave, I think they want us to stand up. And we stood up and one of them shot at me at point- blank range. That's really why it's such a dangerous position to be in.

COOPER: And it's so frustrating, I mean, for families involved, and there's so much hope and disappointment, because, I mean, some people from the 507th were taken hostage. I mean, obviously we know about Jessica Lynch and Shoshana Johnson and the others. And yet Walters, it seems, wasn't taken to a hospital as some of them were.

YOUNG: Exactly. That's kind of an intriguing mystery for me also. We were finally handed over to the regular military, and we were actually handed over also to Fedayeen soldiers who took us to Baghdad to have us interrogated further. Jessica Lynch was, of course, in Iraq, in the middle of combat. So they didn't know she was alive. The other 507th guys that I was in prison with, they were actively fighting. So by the time they were surrounded, they were taken into custody and taken somewhere to be interrogated. The only thing that I can figure really happened to him is that his vehicle was probably taken out as the rest of them were trying to drive across the desert and get away. So he was stranded behind them and ended up with a particularly vicious group of people.

COOPER: You know, we've all seen the video of Private First Class Matthew Maupin, who, as far as we know, is still being held, he is still missing somewhere. We haven't seen video of him. He was detained on April 9. What is particularly scary, as we're looking at this video now, is this guy is being held by terrorists, by insurgents. You were being held by regular army, so to speak. It's a different situation. What's the best way someone in that situation -- what can they do to survive? What do you try to do?

YOUNG: Well, you're taught, basically, to play on the emotions of the people who are holding you. Basically you want to be seen as an equal being, that you love your family and you care about things a lot, that you're over there basically because the government told you to. That's really the best line of reasoning. And usually these people -- for them to actually see that you're a human being and that you feel pain just like everyone else, and you sympathize somewhat with their position, but you're under orders, and you're under a different government's rule, and you have to carry out orders as being a part of the military.

COOPER: Yes. And as we saw with Nicholas Berg they can know all the stuff about you and it can still not really matter. It's a tough thing. Ron Young Jr., it's great to talk to you again. Thank you very much.

YOUNG: Thank you. Appreciate you having me.

COOPER: All right. Here's a fast fact for you. On that fateful day, March 23, 2003, when Sergeant Walters' convoy was ambushed, 31 troops died in Iraq on that day, the vast majority of them in Nasiriyah. It was in fact the deadliest day of the war for U.S. forces.

Moving on now. Getting into the head of a Scott Peterson juror. Up next, with opening statements set to begin this Tuesday, we're going to take a close look at the jury and you're going to be surprised by some of the people who have been put on that jury.

Also tonight, embedded journalists in Iraq, the subject of a new play by Tim Robbins. He shares his view of the war and the media's role in it. That ahead.

And a little later, before "The Day After Tomorrow," there was the "Poseidon Adventure." That used to be my favorite movie as a kid. Riding the wave of disaster films, films that Hollywood loves to churn out. We'll take a look at the best of them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It has been a long jury selection process. In "Justice Served" tonight, Scott Peterson. He is entitled to have his case presented before a jury of his peers. A social worker, a firefighter, a former cop have now been selected to hear that case. They, and the other jurors, will decide if Peterson, accused of killing his wife and unborn child, is guilty or innocent, if he should live or die.

Today, we learned some information about the roster of jurors, and the details are fascinating. Earlier, I spoke to Paul Lisnek, trial consultant and author of "The Hidden Jury."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: All right, Paul, let's start with juror number 8510. This is a man who consulted his parish priest before he said he could give someone the death penalty. What do you make of that?

PAUL LISNEK, TRIAL CONSULTANT: What I make about it is this guy is somebody who is never going to put Scott Peterson to death. I mean, to go to your priest to say, is it OK if we put someone to death? Is that all right? And get a priest's permission? Even though the priest told him it's OK, because he would have had to have done that for him to stay on the jury, the odds are this guy would never sentence Scott Peterson to death. So you can be comfortable about him on the death phase.

COOPER: Juror 8659 is a woman who married her husband after he had been convicted of murder. Defense juror?

LISNEK: There is a great story with her. She actually was not on the original jury. They had the original jury set, and juror number nine was a man who said, by the way, I got a note from my boss, he won't pay me, can I go? Judge says, go ahead. She's the fill-in. She is the one who shows up. And so what they get instead is this person who probably made the prosecution cry a little bit on their way home that night.

COOPER: Because it changed the dynamic of the jury.

LISNEK: Absolutely. It went from a predominantly male jury to an even split jury. And plus, you add in the fact that's probably defense-oriented. She's got enough dealings with the system in sort of a way that would help the defense. Dealing with defendants.

COOPER: A male jury versus female jury. What's the difference?

LISNEK: You know, it's fascinating. A lot of people think that Scott would have been better off with an all or mostly male jury, because, you know, hey, he's this jock kind of guy. And the men on the jury actually are sort of jock kinds of guys.

But the truth is, and research tells us they will actually hold him to a harder standard, especially because of his behavior. Now, it's true that having an affair doesn't mean you murdered anybody. But the odds are that these male jurors will hold that against Scott a little bit more than maybe even some of the females might.

COOPER: One alternate juror said she is willing to quit her job to serve on the jury. I mean, that must raise some sort of red flag.

LISNEK: It would give me cause for pause here, to have a juror who says, willing to quit my job. This is not about justice. Does she want to be there because justice must be done? I think there's something more to it. Don't know what it is, but it obviously didn't bother the judge. And of course, she's an alternate, so she may never make her way to the jury.

COOPER: Another alternate, a retired man whose future son-in-law -- and this is fascinating -- future son-in-law owns the restaurant that Scott and Laci Peterson used to own. And also he's a boater who believes there's no direct evidence against Peterson. Are you surprised he was picked?

LISNEK: Is this stunning? You know, obviously he said he can be fair, or the judge would never have let him stay on. He's probably defense-oriented, because while he didn't know Laci or Scott personally, he says, but he had some familiarity, there's connections there. You have to assume, if anything, it's a positive leaning. And I think he even said, that if anything, it would be positive leaning. And it's a trial for Scott's life, you ought to give him every benefit.

Having said that, with the trial with this kind of focus and attention, having gone through, you know, 1,500 jurors in the community, it's a little surprising that when you get down to those last 18 or so, that somebody who actually has that kind of a direct familiarity with the Peterson family, and Scott and Laci themselves, would end up on the jury.

COOPER: Fascinating. Paul Lisnek, thanks very much.

LISNEK: Pleasure, Anderson. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: 360 next. It's payback time for Mother Nature. Up next, "The Day After Tomorrow" arrives today, the latest in a long, long line of Hollywood disaster flicks. We're going to check out the best of them ahead.

Also tonight, always outspoken, actor Tim Robbins stops by to talk about his play on embedded reporters in Iraq.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Just some of the embedded journalists. A familiar image, of course, from the war in Iraq. Their role is the subject of a play written and directed by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins. Called "Embedded," the play ends its three-month run in New York next Thursday. It is controversial. But that, of course, is nothing new for the always outspoken Robbins, who stopped by recently to talk about politics, Iraq and much more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Why, at this time, I mean, at this place, have a satire about what's going on in Iraq, and about the war?

TIM ROBBINS, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: Well, out of frustration, I guess. A need to tell a different story than was being reported at the time in the news. You know, during the war, I was listening to Pacifica Radio, and I was reading accounts from "The Guardian" in the U.K., and "The Independent." And I was hearing a different version, especially regarding the Jessica Lynch story.

COOPER: And yet, I mean, there are plenty who -- you know, there are a lot of Web sites that are dedicated to what they say is bias in "The Guardian." I mean, that perhaps you see it as unbiased because they agree with your point of view?

ROBBINS: There's not -- there's no black and white involved here. The way I gather information is going to all the sources and trying to discern the truth out of that.

But I think the essential problem with the embedding process is that it would be very difficult for me to report an incident of -- a friendly fire incident, because I like these guys if I'm hanging around with them. And they're protecting me, so I feel indebted to them. So, so in a way, the reporter has to kind of reject that protection. And I know it's dangerous, and I know there's very few rare individuals that will do that. And I'm not saying the embedded process is totally worthless. I'm saying, there has to be both. There has to be a mixture of the embedded journalists that are getting access to information from the United States military, and the other ones, who are able to get access to the culture that we're affecting.

COOPER: You came under a lot of criticism during -- I mean, a year ago around this time, for your stance on the war. I mean, do you feel a sense of vindication?

ROBBINS: Well, yeah, it's a -- that's not a really good word, because vindication has a certain arrogance to it. I don't feel that. I feel -- I feel like, if anything, I would love for us all to learn from this, and that there are ways -- and there are certain news outlets that are capable of discerning the truth in a way that is not prejudiced by the ownership.

And I think the reason I was attacked, and Susan and other people were attacked, was to try to send a message to shut up. And I think that that's the most important time to talk, because it sends a message that, you know, we are still living in a democracy and a free speech area, and you should be encouraged to resist if you have to, in a crucial time. It's not just when it's convenient.

COOPER: Tim Robbins, thanks very much.

ROBBINS: My pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: All right, time to check on some lighter pop news in tonight's "Current." Let's take a look.

Alec Baldwin is teaching an acting class this summer. He's reportedly going to give students an intensive, week-long session on tips to being a good actor, which of course include hard work, being in the moment, and most importantly, perhaps, getting a share of the profits.

Avril Lavigne caused some trouble at MTV. The singer reportedly made a rude gesture on the air. To avoid any fines for indecency, the network immediately cut her off so they could, of course, resume putting on videos of scantily-clad dancers bumping and grinding.

And finally, it is Fleet Week in New York, and what better way, we think, to honor sailors than with a salute from some other sailors. Yes, our favorite commercial, produced for the Japanese navy. We bring you the sailors of the "Seaman Ship."

(MUSIC)

It's a real commercial from Japan, I promise.

Anyway, moviegoers have loved disaster films from the very first at least as far back as "The Last Days of Pompeii" in 1913. What's even more amazing, given the way things are just now with real catastrophe always in the offing, is the fact that we continue to love disaster films. Witness the much anticipated opening this weekend of "The Day After Tomorrow."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Now, this is a disaster. Global warming causes the ice cap to melt. The melting causes flooding. The flooding causes cooling. The cooling causes a new ice age.

Old-fashioned disaster films were not nearly as sweeping as this.

Sure, a very big ape climbing up the Empire State was potentially disastrous for the building's brickwork, and potentially disastrous for traffic down below on 34th Street, but it's not exactly what you'd call a global calamity.

Decades later came "Airport." A really, really bad day, to be sure, but only at the airport itself.

Equally, you wouldn't want to be one of the poor saps inside "The Towering Inferno." But over on the other side of town, you might not even be aware of any of this.

Same with "The Poseidon Adventure." If you're one of the jokers trapped in the hull of the overturned ship, things look, well, disastrous. But elsewhere, in Washington, D.C., say, people are having lunch.

But disaster now is bigger than that. Way bigger. There's no escaping it. It's worldwide, gigantic, all-encompassing. From "Independence Day," to Steven Spielberg's "A.I.," to "The Day After Tomorrow." They're not disaster films anymore, they're doomsday films.

And one other thing, we noticed that poor old New York, which understandably was off limits for a long time after 9/11, seems now to be OK for filmmakers to afflict again. Odd to say, we take this as a good thing. New York has shown that it can stand up to pretty much anything at all.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We certainly can.

Coming up on 360, the Bozo the Clown controversy. Yes, even clowns get a little fired up. We take that to "The Nth Degree."

And on Monday, we kick off our week-long series, "Paranormal Mysteries." Do you believe? A lot of people do. We'll take you to a supposedly haunted prison with a supposedly professional ghost-hunting team, and ask the question, are ghosts phantoms or pure fantasy?

First, today's "Buzz." What do you think? Should the Pentagon release to the public the number of people U.S. troops have killed in action? Log on to cnn.com/360. Cast your vote. Still have a few moments. Results when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for "The Buzz." Earlier we asked you, should the Pentagon release to the public the number of people U.S. troops have killed in action? Eighty-eight percent of you said yes; 12 percent of you said no. Not a scientific poll, but it is your buzz, and we appreciate you voting.

Tonight, taking Bozo to "The Nth Degree."

It's been a tough week for clowns. First, a circus clown was arrested for child porn. He went by the unfortunate name Spanky.

Now there's a Bozo brouhaha. In the Hall of Fame of Clowns -- and yes, there is one in Milwaukee -- Bozo is right up there with the big names. Poodles, Coco and Snowflake, just to name a few. Those of you who know your clown history know that Larry Harmon is credited with creating Bozo. He franchised the character to television stations across America, beginning in the 1950s.

But when an amateur clown historian -- and yeah, there is one -- his name is Buck Wolf, began looking into Bozo, he discovered that Mr. Harmon didn't actually invent the big-shoed one. That honor goes to a Capitol Records executive Alan Livingston. And the first man to play Bozo, Vance "Pinto" Colvig.

As you can imagine, it's led to a clown kerfuffle. Larry Harmon's plaque was removed from the Hall of Fame and replaced today by Colvig's.

But come on, people, aren't our hearts big enough for more than one Bozo? Harmon may not have been the first, but he trained more than 200 Bozos in his career, and popularized the character to such a degree that today, no doubt, each and every one of you knows at least one Bozo. Think about it.

That's 360. Thanks for watching. Have a great Memorial Day weekend, and I'll see you on Monday. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."

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