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Terrorists Threaten to Kill American Hostage; Who Will Try Saddam Hussein?

Aired June 15, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Good evening, I'm Anderson Cooper.
A grainy tape, impossible demands, an American's life hangs in the balance. 360 starts now.

New video of Paul Johnson, the American hostage in Saudi Arabia. Terrorists say obey our demands, or Johnson will die.

Handing over Saddam. The U.S. and Iraq debate who takes control of the captured dictator and when.

The Peterson case heats up with a call to clear the courtroom. A request for a mistrial denied. And new details on Peterson's strange behavior.

What to give the gung ho grad? How about a new pair of breasts. One mother's gift has critics crying foul.

Will Americans watch "Sex and the City" without the sex? How the red-hot drama is getting cleaned up for cable.

And grooving on God. Faith gets fashionable. Christian nightclubs, godly clothes. The Bible as a teen magazine? How far Americans are going keeping the faith.

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

COOPER: Good evening. The clock is ticking on a death threat against the life of Paul Johnson, the American kidnapped in Saudi Arabia over the weekend. 72 hours. That is how long kidnappers say they will hold Johnson before killing him. The threat, along with demands, came on this four-and-a-half-minute videotape posted on the Internet just late this afternoon. The tape is grainy but the reality of its message very clear. CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is blindfolded, a tattoo prominent on his left arm. The captive saying he is missing American Paul Marshall Johnson.

PAUL JOHNSON, AMERICAN HOSTAGE: Paul Marshall Johnson. I worked on Apache helicopters. FEYERICK: The 49-year-old New Jersey native works for defense contractor Lockheed Martin. He's an expert on Apache helicopters and night vision systems. His kidnappers claim to be the Saudi branch of Al Qaeda. A masked man holding an automatic weapon identifies himself as the group's military leader. He demands the release of, quote, all our prisoners in Saudi custody, and the withdrawal of all westerners from the Arabian peninsula. Otherwise, he says the kidnappers will kill Johnson within 72 hours, this Friday.

Johnson's son, sister and mother remain secluded at an undisclosed location in New Jersey. Yellow ribbons and signs dotting the family's hometown.


FEYERICK: U.S. intelligence officials tell CNN the Web site where the video appears has been used in the past by Al Qaeda affiliates. An intelligence official says, quote, we take the warning seriously; U.S. policy is not to negotiate with terrorists.


COOPER: It's just a sickening tape. He looks to be wearing bandages on the head, I think on the neck as well.

FEYERICK: Exactly. I spoke to a counter-terror expert who says that the way the bandages are positioned over the eyes it's not clear whether in fact he's injured or whether in fact they're just making sure that he never sees the face of those who are holding him.

COOPER: All right. Just a horrible story. Deborah, thanks very much.

Earlier I talked about the videotape and the efforts to find Johnson with Adel Al-Jubeir, foreign policy adviser to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah.


COOPER: There has been a demand made on this videotape released on the Internet for the Saudi government, your government, to release Al Qaeda hostages -- al Qaeda prisoners it is holding. Will you respond to that?

ADEL AL-JUBEIR, FOREIGN AFFAIRS ADVISER TO SAUDI CROWN PRINCE: Well, we are looking at the situation. We're assessing it. We're consulting with the U.S. because we're dealing with an American citizen. And then we will make decisions on what the next steps are. But our history has been one of not negotiating with terrorists.

COOPER: What do you know about this group that is holding Mr. Johnson?

AL-JUBEIR: If, in fact, it is the group that is headed by a person by the name of Al-Muqrin it is an Al Qaeda group in Saudi Arabia. He is currently their leader and he is on our most wanted list. They have been ruthless in terms of murdering innocent people on the streets. They've changed their tactics. But we're relentless in going after them.

COOPER: You said the policy of the Saudi government is not to negotiate with terrorists. In the incident in Khobar on May 29, there was some sort of negotiation, which allowed, I believe it was, three hostage takers to depart on their own. Have you been able to track them down? And why was a decision made to negotiate then?

AL-JUBEIR: But, Anderson, there was no decision made to negotiate with them then. The stories that came out saying this were erroneous.

The security forces had three priorities. One, to secure the perimeter and evacuate all innocent people from the neighborhood. Number two was to look after the well-being of the hostages. And number three was to try to capture the terrorists. When they believed that the terrorists were about to begin killing the hostages, they stormed the building. The priority being to account for all the hostages. Three of the terrorists got away. Their ringleader was wounded and captured.

There was no absolutely no -- there's no basis to the argument or the charge that Saudi Arabia in any way tacitly or directly negotiated with the terrorists. We don't do this. We haven't done that in all of our history and we don't intend to start now.

COOPER: Are Americans safe in Saudi Arabia?

AL-JUBEIR: I believe so. People have to make a decision on their own. But we believe so. We believe that we have the terrorists on the run. Yes, it is dangerous. Yes, it will continue to be dangerous. But we don't believe that it has reached a point where it is a crisis or where people should be evacuated.

Keep in mind, Anderson, that in a county like Dade County, you have 200 homicides a year. And compare that to the number of people killed in all of the terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia over the last two years.

COOPER: Some other westerners in Saudi Arabia have been concerned about possible collusion between Saudi security forces and Al Qaeda groups. Do you believe Al Qaeda groups have made any sort of inroads into Saudi security forces?

AL-JUBEIR: Absolutely not. We don't see any evidence of that. If they had, they would be going after high value targets like military installations, like government buildings, and not after housing compounds where innocent people live.

COOPER: Adel Al-Jubeir, I appreciate you being on the program. Thank you.

AL-JUBEIR: You're most welcome.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Turning to Iraq now. In just 15 days the handover of sovereignty, but the big question is what will happen to that country's former sovereign, Saddam Hussein. President Bush said today there can't be a risk that somehow Saddam would end up avoiding trial. He said Saddam won't be given to the Iraqi interim government until, and I quote, appropriate security is in place first. That changes what Iraq's interim prime minister said just yesterday, that Saddam would be transferred to Iraqi authorities in the next two weeks. With details on the president's concerns, here's CNN White House correspondent John King.


JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president won't promise to immediately surrender custody of Saddam Hussein when the new Iraqi government assumes sovereign powers two weeks from now.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want to make sure that he is secure. He's a killer. He is a thug. He needs to be brought to trial.

KING: Iraq's new leaders are already organizing a tribunal to hear allegations of mass murder, torture and corruption.

GHAZI AL-YAWAR, IRAQI INTERIM PRESIDENT: We have an excellent, credible judiciary system. We are different than him.

KING: The former Iraqi president has been in U.S. custody for six months and the administration hopes to transfer him soon, believing a trial run by the new government could be a unifying force. But one White House worry is that Saddam loyalists might try to spring their former leader, and the administration has a legal justification ready if it decides to wait because of security concerns.

DAN SENOR, COALITION PROVISIONAL AUTHORITY SPOKESMAN: We also do not have to hand him over until there's a cessation of active hostilities. The repatriation doesn't begin until after that. Hostilities unfortunately continue.

KING: A good deal of the violence is blamed on militias loyal to Muqtada Al-Sadr. This Pentagon document, two months ago, set kill or capture Al-Sadr as the mission for coalition forces. Mr. Bush now takes a much softer line.

BUSH: The interim Iraqi government will deal with Al-Sadr. In the way they see fit. They're sovereign.

KING: The president held out his guest, Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, as an example to Iraq as it prepares to take the first steps out of military occupation.


KING: In the Rose Garden today the president also stood by a fresh assertion from Vice President Cheney that Saddam Hussein had, quote, long established ties to Al Qaeda. Most intelligence analysts say there's not much evidence to back up that claim. But the president cited the Baghdad-based operations of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and an alleged e-mail from Zarqawi to Al Qaeda intercepted by U.S. intelligence. The president said that's evidence enough for him. Anderson, this president's critics rush to note that e-mail was intercepted months after Saddam Hussein was knocked from power.

COOPER: John, this may not be a question you can answer, but is the White House concerned at all that the president went too far in the original statement basically saying that the U.S. was going to hunt and kill or kill or capture Muqtada Al-Sadr?

KING: No, that was a Pentagon statement. Of course, it was backed up by the White House. The administration says that was the circumstances on the ground at the moment. There was not the plan in place to transfer sovereignty.

I asked an official tonight, what if troops came in contact with Al-Sadr right now? The official said it would depend on what he was doing. If he was not doing anything provocative, there were not weapons involved, he would most likely be let go. They want to leave this problem for the new government to deal with.

COOPER: Fascinating what a couple of weeks difference makes. John King, thanks.

Let's put a Saddam trial in perspective for a moment. If Saddam Hussein does go before a war crimes tribunal, he would be only the second former head of state to be tried for such crimes. Slobodan Milosevic was the first in 2001. He made his first appearance at the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague, accused of crimes against humanity, genocide. His trial still ongoing.

General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, until recently, was considered medically unfit to stand trial for human rights abuses during his '73 to 1990 rule. But just last month, the Chilean court lifted his immunity, paving the way for a possible trial.

Today's buzz is this. What do you think? Should the U.S. hand over Saddam Hussein to the Iraqis on June 30th? Log on to, cast your vote; results at the end of the program tonight.

Shake, rattle and roll in southern California. That tops our look at what is happening right now cross-country. About 30 minutes ago, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Baja, California, Mexico, and was felt in San Diego. A local TV station there reports Sea World has been evacuated as a precaution. There are no reports of damage or injury. As we said this happened 30 minutes ago. We're following the story. Going to bring you any updates.

In Washington tonight a new study says one in three Americans had no insurance during the last two years. The problem is especially acute among African-American and Hispanic families. Families USA, which is the group that did the study, they also say that Texas has almost 44 percent of its population under 65 with no health coverage. Indianapolis, Indiana, now; Baptists split. The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant denomination, is cutting its ties with the Baptist World Alliance. SBC leaders say the world body is becoming too liberal, accepting women as ministers and including gays and lesbians.

Phoenix, Arizona, now. Hard time, part time. Country music singer Glen Campbell will serve ten nights in jail for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. He's also on probation for two years. Not a major story, of course, but it does allow us to show what may be the best mug shot of the year.

And Seattle, Washington, unlawful entry. A man robs a fast food outlet by crawling through the drive-in window with a gun. Take a look at that. He robbed the store and a customer, then he crawled right back out again. Police think he's also responsible for five other fast food robberies.

Washington, D.C. Remember when the Agriculture Department called ketchup a fresh vegetable? Now you can have some fries with that. Those batter-coated fries now count as fresh vegetables, at least for inventory purposes, according to a new ruling by the agency. Mmmm, batter-coated fries. That's a quick look at stories cross-country for you tonight.

"360" next, Michael Jackson's multimillion-dollar settlement. The pop star pays his first accuser big dollars to drop civil charges. Find out just how much he paid out. And will that be used against him this time around? We'll take a closer look.

Plus, Scott Peterson's alibi. Police testify they noticed something fishy. Hear why they had their suspicions from the beginning.

And keeping the faith. Religion getting hip, from nightclubs to rap music. Christianity goes pop. All that ahead.

First your picks, the most popular stories on, right now.



MICHAEL JACKSON, ENTERTAINER: There have been many disgusting statements made recently concerning allegations of improper conduct on my part. These statements about me are totally false. As I have maintained from the very beginning, I am hoping for a speedy end to this horrifying, horrifying experience to which I have been subjected.


COOPER: Well, in a few moments we're going to have new developments in the Scott Peterson murder trial. But first Michael Jackson. You just saw him back in 1993 responding to accusations that he molested a 13-year-old boy. Now, that case was settled, and the terms of the settlement secret for the past ten years. Tonight the secret is out. Court TV has obtained the financial details of that agreement. According to the network, Jackson paid the boy more than $15 million. Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom is one of just a handful of people to have seen the document. She joins us in tonight's "Justice Served."

First, Lisa, full disclosure, you used to work for the law firm which, for a while, represented this young boy in this trial.


COOPER: This is the first time you have actually, or really anyone has, gotten to look at this document. What did you learn?

BLOOM: That's right. Well, first of all, the dollar amount. It's over $15 million. $15,331,000 paid to the boy. Now, there are several pages that are redacted, that are whited out of the document. But our sources are telling us that is additional payments from those pages of about $5 million to the attorney, Larry Feldman. $1.5 million to each of the boy's parents for a total of $3 million, an additional several million dollars to the boy, for a total of almost $25 million.

COOPER: We should point out we tried to reach Jackson, the Jackson camp several times today. They did not respond to our request. So we tried that.

Fascinating, though, that they were paying the parents of this boy. I haven't heard of that before.

BLOOM: I never heard of that, either, and I did dozens of child sexual abuse civil settlements during that same time period in that same jurisdiction. I don't know why the parents were paid, except to be sure that they would be confidential too, as to everything pertaining to the agreement.

The agreement goes on for page after page after page about confidentiality. That's clearly the main focus of the agreement is buying the silence of everyone involved, including Michael Jackson, who had to keep all the matters confidential as well.

COOPER: But it also denies any wrongful acts.

BLOOM: Absolutely. Like every settlement agreement in every civil case, the defendant, here Michael Jackson, denies that he's done anything wrong, Any wrongdoing. On the other hand, the agreement provides that on the negligence claims money is being paid. Now as an attorney, what that means to me is, insurance money is probably the bulk of what paid this agreement. Insurance companies will pay on a negligence claim, not on an intentional claim, and I think that's what happened in this case.

COOPER: So is there any way that this document, the details we're just learning about for the first time, could actually make its way into the ongoing trial? BLOOM: It could. That would be up to the D.A., Tom Sneddon, in the current criminal case, if he wants to bring in prior acts, if he wants to bring in a 1993 accuser, as he has the right to do under California law. But he didn't do it during the grand jury. But if he chooses to do that during the trial, he could bring this in as a supporting document to support the boy's allegations.

COOPER: Interesting. Very unlikely, though, that the boy himself would be able to testify?

BLOOM: We don't know yet. The boy could testify. He's 24 years old. He lives in New York. He didn't testify during the grand jury. I don't know whether he wants to or not. If he's subpoenaed, he could be required to come and testify.

COOPER: All right. Court TV's Lisa Bloom, thanks very much.

BLOOM: Thank you.

COOPER: Moving on to the Scott Peterson trial, where it was a dramatic day at his murder trial. The first police officer to talk to Peterson shortly after his wife Laci was reported missing testified today. CNN's Ted Rowlands has the latest from the courthouse.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Day nine in the double murder trial against Scott Peterson centered on testimony from Jon Evers, the first Modesto police officer to talk to Peterson the night his pregnant wife Laci, who he's accused of killing, was reported missing.

Evers was the third officer to tell the jury that Peterson, when they talked to him at his home, seemed cooperative but had trouble answering specific questions from police concerning his fishing trip that day. Peterson, according to police testimony, hesitated and mumbled when asked what he was fishing for. He also, according to police, had trouble answering a question about what type of bait he used.

Under cross-examination from Defense Attorney Mark Geragos, Evers admitted that Peterson was cooperative, and seemed very upset that night, which, supporters say, explains his trouble with answering questions about his fishing trip.

JACKIE PETERSON, MOTHER OF SCOTT PETERSON: I'm surprised he could speak at all. I wouldn't have been able to.

ROWLANDS: Also on cross-examination, the defense was able to use Evers and other officers to deflect some of the suspicion surrounding the idea of a Christmas Eve fishing trip. Geragos asked the officers if they were aware that Laci Peterson's stepfather, Ron Grantski, was out fishing in another area that day, and the same time as Scott Peterson says he was in the San Francisco Bay.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ROWLANDS: Defense Attorney Mark Geragos asked the judge in this case for a mistrial after one of the officers testified that he saw Peterson swear and throw down a flashlight in apparent disgust, after he had that conversation about the fishing trip with investigators. This was news to the defense. It wasn't in any of the police reports. The judge denied Geragos' mistrial, but he did admonish the prosecutors that they should have shared that with the defense counsel.

We are expecting more police testimony when court resumes at 9:00 tomorrow morning. Anderson?

COOPER: All right, Ted. Thanks for that from California tonight.

Israel's leader not going to court. That story tops our look at global stories in tonight's "Uplink."

In Jerusalem, one legal hurdle fewer for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Israeli attorney general drops a bribery case against him, saying there is insufficient evidence to prosecute.

On Arabic television networks, a very public apology. A group of religious leaders with the web address is running ads on the Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia networks apologizing for Iraqi prisoner abuse. The 30-second spot you see here features Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy expressing deep sorrow, in their words, for the abuses.

Southern Spain, now. Phone calls and fist fights. Secret service agents guarding President Bush's daughter Jenna were involved in a minor altercation with two men trying to steal a cell phone. According to officials, Jenna Bush was sitting nearby when two men tried to take the phone from an adjacent table. Jenna Bush was not hurt.

In India, movie madness. Police are guarding dozens of movie theaters across the country after the premiere of "Girlfriends," which tells the tale of a love affair between women. The film comes out of India's movie industry, dubbed Bollywood.

And today and yesterday, conservative Hindu groups vandalized theaters in protest, saying they plan to light themselves on fire if the screenings continue. That is tonight's "Uplink."

360 next, American held hostage. Now, a disturbing videotape and a deadline, 72 hours or else. We'll take a closer look at Al Qaeda's new terror tactic with CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen.

Also tonight, designer bibles, Christian nightclubs. Why is Christianity going pop? Part of our special weeklong series, keeping the faith.

And a little later, finding their religion. Bush and Kerry battle it out over the Vatican. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mary, turn away from Satan. Jesus, he loves you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't know the first thing about love.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am filled with Christ's love. You are just jealous of my success in the Lord.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not a weapon. You idiot.


COOPER: That was a scene from the movie "Saved," a satire about life at a Christian high school. "Mean Girls" meets "The Passion of the Christ" is how the director and co-writer describes the movie. But the founder of the Christian film and television commission says "Saved" is, and I quote, a bigoted and anti-Christian movie that mocks the Christian faith. Moviegoers, of course, will make up their own minds.

But we've been noticing more and more pop culture commingling with faith, not only at the movies, but in fashion and even on the party scene. In fact, in part two of our special series, "Keeping the Faith," CNN's Jason Bellini shows us how some teens are, well, groovin' on God.


JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gabriella Pabeilo (ph) gets ready to spend her Saturday night praising God on the dance floor. Club Worship in Reading, Pennsylvania, injects Christian lyrics into the beats of house and hip-hop music.

GABRIELLA PABEILO, PATRON, CLUB WORSHIP: I want to express my feelings screaming and being wild for God.

BELLINI: Gabby's ex-boyfriend, Thomas Bucklin, is into God and hip-hop, in that order. He admits the music is more cutting edge at secular clubs, but here...

THOMAS BUCKLIN, PATRON, CLUB WORSHIP: It's a whole different experience. You know, when God is here you see people dancing with joy. You know, grinding is not an option in your mind. It doesn't come to your mind.

BELLINI (on camera): Another unspoken message here is that Christianity is cool, that you can be just as cool as the other kids, even while dancing to music that has Christian lyrics and Christian themes.

BELLINI (voice-over): By providing this drug and alcohol-free environment, the organizers of Club Worship say teens build self- esteem through religious ecstasy. Christian ministries are using the same clever marketing to make the bible more attractive to teens. In "Refuel and Revolve," the complete New Testament is packaged as a teeny-bopper magazine.

Pop culture is using religion for its ends, as well. Jesus t- shirts and bible verse belts are the rage right now at the trendy clothing boutique Intuition in Los Angeles.

JAYE HERSH, STORE MANAGER, INTUITION: We're a trend-driven retailer and this is part of the trend right now. And I don't know how long it will last. But we'll ride it for as long as it does.

BELLINI: Customers decide whether to wear the apparel in the spirit of mockery or reverence.

PABEILO: We kind of pushed the envelope so far with the MTV crowd that everyone's just like, wow, this is kind of scary. Let's bring back this, like, virginal innocence thing because that can be cool, too.

BELLINI: Pop culture promoting innocence? Lord knows.

Jason Bellini, CNN, Reading, Pennsylvania.


COOPER: Joining me from Denver, Colorado, to talk more about religion and pop culture, Professor Lynn Schofield Clark, an assistant research professor in the University of Colorado School of Journalism. Part of the research team at the school's resource center for media, religion and culture. She edited a number of books, including "From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural."

Professor, thanks for being with us. I guess this cross- pollination between pop culture and religion is not really anything new, but I feel like we're seeing it more and more.

LYNN SCHOFIELD CLARK, ASSISTANT RESEARCH PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: That's right. I think it's not really new. It goes back to the middle of the 19th century, actually, when you first start to see the rise of industrialization. That's when people started to mass-produce lots of things. So you start to see things like Christian symbols on greeting cards and statues people can put in their homes. I think what is new now is the proliferation of distribution channels. Now you can buy things from Wal-Mart or Target that you used to only be able to get maybe at a Christian bookstore or at the Cathedral gift shop.

COOPER: And part of that, as well, is the Internet.

CLARK: Yes, exactly. The Internet has become a big marketplace for lots of things. We know that about half of the people in the U.S. who use the Internet regularly make purchases online. And so, we know that a lot of people are probably doing purchasing of religious goods, as well. COOPER: I'm also fascinated by the repackaging of the bible in many different ways. You have this magazine now, sort of looks like a glossy fashion magazine, "Revolve," here it's called. What's the idea behind that?

CLARK: Well, I think that evangelicals have always been interested in trying to use whatever means they can to reach out to people; expressing their faith to others has been always an important goal for that religious tradition. And so part of "Revolve and Refuel," the idea is that there are a lot of young people who are probably not going to pick up a bible that has small print and no illustrations, but would pick up something that looks more like a glossy magazine.

COOPER: And it's interesting, because I was talking to some people about this story, and some people are sort of cynical about it and say, well, you know, this is not so good. And then there are others, especially you know, evangelicals who are saying look, there's nothing wrong with this. This is getting God's word out, and so what if it's in a glossy magazine.

CLARK: Yes, actually, among evangelicals it's surprisingly not very controversial at all. I think people are very interested in getting the word out. But that's not to say that there aren't critics. I think that there are some people who are critical of it, both on the very conservative side, on the fundamentalist side, thinking that this is cheapening the Bible, and that it needs to be more true to the word, that there's something in the word itself. And then also on the more liberal side, too; there are critics there, as well.

COOPER: Well, it's also going to be interesting to see, just in terms of the culture, how long it remains sort of at the level it is at now, where you see celebrities wearing, you know, these t-shirts with slogans and stuff.

CLARK: Yeah, right. Madonna, I guess, was recently seen wearing a shirt that said, "Mary is my home girl."

COOPER: We'll see how long that one lasts.

CLARK: Right.

COOPER: It's a fascinating topic, professor Schofield Clark. Thank you so much for being with us, Lynn.

CLARK: Sure, thank you.

COOPER: Tomorrow night, as our series "Keeping the Faith" continues, faith and healing. You're going to meet a patient who battled a serious illness with a belief in a higher power, and a doctor who believes in treating the soul. Thursday, "Spreading the Word." The unprecedented phenomenon, Christian books topping the best-seller list. I'll talk with the authors of the apocalyptically "Left Behind" series. And on Friday, "Interfaith Families." They come together in good faith, but sometimes it is that faith that also tears them apart. A look at the hurdles faced by one interfaith family.

New video of Paul Johnson, the American hostage in Saudi Arabia. Terrorists say obey our demands, or Johnson will die.

What to give a gung-ho grad? How about a new pair of breasts? One mother's gift has critics crying foul. Will Americans watch "Sex and the City" without the sex? How the red hot drama is getting cleaned up for cable. 360 continues.


COOPER: And welcome back to 360, where our top story tonight, it's chilling, to say the very least. An American in Saudi Arabia who hadn't been seen since Saturday was seen today on an Internet videotape posted by his captors. Those who are holding Paul Johnson say he has 72 hours to live.


PAUL JOHNSON, JR.: Paul Marshal Johnson, Jr., American, sir. I'm an American out of the United States. In the front end of the Apache helicopter. I work on an Apache helicopter.


COOPER: It's a heavily edited videotape, as you can see. Johnson, a contractor with the aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin, seems to be saying he works on Apache helicopters. After the bandaged Johnson, a masked gunman appeared to demand, first, that Saudi Arabia free all al Qaeda prisoners it's holding and second that Westerners leave the Arabian Peninsula. The or else is Paul Johnson dies.

In a moment, more of the tape and this disturbing story with terror analyst Peter Bergen.

But first, let's look at our other top stories in tonight's Reset.

In Basra, a bomb wrecks an important oil population. The insurgents' attack has shut down the facility. Officials think it will take a couple of days to restore the pipeline.

In Washington, new passports on the way, but not any time soon. Facial recognition technology is required by Congress to be implemented as a security measure. U.S. allies face a fall deadline for incorporating the technology into their passports, as well. But experts don't think anyone is going to be ready by then.

In Baghdad, a changing of the guard with the transition of power in Iraq. The U.S.-led coalition will get new military leadership, as well. This man, General George W. Casey, Jr., has been nominated to lead the Iraq military effort. If confirmed, he'll be the only four star general on the ground there.

That's a quick look at our top stories tonight.

Now reaction to that videotaped death threat against American Paul Johnson.

Joining me from Washington, CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen.

Peter, thanks for being with us.

I should say Paul Johnson. I said his name wrong.

As you look at this tape, Peter -- and it just was released several hours ago -- what jumps out at you?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, unfortunately it's reminiscent of some other videotapes we've seen -- for instance, the Danny Pearl videotape and also the Nick Berg videotape. Danny Pearl executed by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the leader, the military commander of al Qaeda; Nick Berg executed by Zarqawi, the leader of an al Qaeda like group in Iraq.

The fact that this videotape has come out and they're saying that 72 hours before Paul Johnson may be killed is very, very troubling, because the demands are not going to be met. You just had Adel al- Jubeir on your program saying the Saudi government doesn't negotiate with terrorists. And I don't...

COOPER: And yet, though, the kidnappers know that these demands aren't going to be met, I'm assuming.

So why make them? BERGEN: I don't know. I mean that's a, you know, it's hard to get inside their minds.

Another thing, by the way, I noticed on the video you just saw, was that he appears to be wearing -- Paul Johnson appears to be wearing some kind of orange clothing. And if you'll remember the statements they made, they made maybe a reference to the orange clothing that al Qaeda prisoners have in Guantanamo Bay, because in a previous statement, these kidnappers have said they're going to treat the same -- their hostages the same way that people in Guantanamo are treated or people in Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad.

COOPER: Nick Berg, of course, wearing a similar outfit, as well. I suppose part of the idea of this tape is -- I mean even if the government is not going to respond to the demands, is that this is -- it's sort of used for recruitment purposes. I mean this sort of elevates this man, I forgot his name, Aziz al-Moqrin, I mean it sort of elevates him in this community.

BERGEN: Yes, and clearly he's been very active. He's behind an attack, the Khobar attack that you referenced just now, in which 22 people were killed; and also an attack on an oil facility in a city called Yanbu, which killed several people on May 1.

So this guy is leading the military wing of al Qaeda in the kingdom, is very public, in a way, the same sort of way that we've seen with Zarqawi in Iraq, and is clearly a very dangerous individual.

COOPER: They're also very aware of using the media and public relations. I mean the fact that this man was taken on the weekend, they already have this video up, already all over the Internet, being seen around the world, you know, they are well aware of how the media works.

BERGEN: Indeed. I mean they quickly had a statement posted on the Internet. Then they said we will have a videotape posted. That came out just in the last few hours. So it's a group that is keenly aware of the propaganda advantage they have of showing these sort of very disturbing pictures and unfortunately it will not be, I think, the last time that we see these kinds of pictures from this kind of group.

We've seen it, as I said, with Danny Pearl in the past. We've seen it with Nick Berg. And now we see it with Mr. Johnson.

COOPER: Well, you can only imagine how the Johnson family is feeling right now. They're not talking, but of course our thoughts and our prayers are with them.

Peter Bergen, thank you very much.

Today in the pulpit of American politics, turning to domestic politics here at home, you hear two distinct sounds. While some are saying religion has no place in the presidential campaign, some Catholic voters are saying you've got to have some faith. And since the followers of faith are a crucial voting bloc, politicians like President Bush and Senator John Kerry, both religious men themselves, are paying attention. It's not just a matter of keeping faith, it's also a matter of raw politics.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thank you for the opportunity to speak to this convention.

COOPER (voice-over): When President Bush addressed the Southern Baptist Convention today, it was a continuation of a focus on religion and religious groups that could make a difference in a tight election.

MSGR. LORENZO ALBACETE, ST. JOSEPH'S SEMINARY: I think it could make a significant difference at a regional scale. Obviously, depending on -- in the tradition of the swing vote component, religious people tend to be very committed.

COOPER: The Baptists are not the only religious group the president is courting. When he went to Rome this month to meet with the pope, the president asked the Vatican to encourage U.S. Catholic bishops to speak out more about social issues like abortion and gay marriage. Presidential hopeful John Kerry says Bush's request was out of line.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it was entirely and extraordinarily inappropriate and I think it speaks for itself.

COOPER: And John Kerry isn't the only person seemingly troubled by the focus on faith in politics. Many Democratic and Republican analysts, who refuse to be named, told us they felt Ron Reagan's comments at his father's funeral were aimed at President Bush.

RON REAGAN, JR.: Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians -- wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage.

COOPER: When asked about those remarks, President Bush responded.

BUSH: I think it's important for people of religion to serve. I think it is very important for people who are serving to make sure there's a separation of church and state.

COOPER: It's a big difference from 44 years ago, when John Kennedy was running for the White House. Then, some worried that Kennedy would tow the Vatican's line, that as president, his faith might cause him to chip away at the solid wall separating church and state.

Today, however, thanks to raw politics, some believe that wall is slowly tumbling down.

REV. BARRY W. LYNN, AMERICANS UNITED FOR SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: I think many Americans are deeply troubled whenever you see efforts, as we've seen with the Bush-Cheney campaign, to enlist churches as a part of their political machine, or when you see people apparently trying to divide Americans along religious lines.


COOPER: Well, moving on to a different story, one of those stories that maybe you're going to have to shake your head about. For her graduation, a teenage girl went from an A -- well, actually, went from a B to a C. We're not talking about grades. You're going to meet a mom who gave her daughter breast implants for doing well in school. The girl says she wanted them. The mom says she deserved them. The story, up next.

Also tonight, safe sex and the city. The show hits the syndication circuit tonight without all the steam. Will it be worth the wait?

360 continues.


COOPER: Well, apparently, they're not giving watches or cars for graduation anymore. According to some doctors, the new hot item, at least for girls, appears to be breasts. Heather Panzer went from 34B to 34C when she got saline implants as a graduation present from her parents last year. What were she and her parents thinking, you might ask?

Well, that's what I did when I spoke with Heather and her mother, Becky, and ethicist Dr. Bruce Weinstein.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: I've seen a picture of you before the breast enlargement and you looked great then.

Why did you feel you needed to get your breasts enlarged?

HEATHER PANZER: Well, I just felt that it was an area that I was lacking in, personally. I never got -- I never got teased, I never got ridiculed, and I figured that I achieved all of my goals as far as academics. I just graduated summa cum laude from Dowling in finance. And I just, I felt that at the time it was one area that was lacking and if I could do something about it...

COOPER: Lacking because, I know you want to be an actress or a model, you've said.


COOPER: Why -- do you think this is going to help you?

H. PANZER: I believe so, yes. That wasn't the sole reason why I did it. But I believe that it's going to be nothing, you know more of a help than a hindrance.

COOPER: Because, I mean, you know, like Meryl Streep, who's a great actress, you don't think about the size of her breasts as the first thing.

H. PANZER: Well, oh, of course not. Of course not.

COOPER: There are some parents out there who are going to think well, look, it's one thing if your kid wants to do this on their own, but you I mean not only sanctioned it, you helped pay for it.


COOPER: I mean what kind of a message does that send to your daughter?

B. PANZER: Well, it's not so much a message that she got from me, but it was a message that I got from her. She excelled in so many areas, I felt that she had proved herself to me and this was something that she really, really wanted and I felt she deserved it. So I just said if you do your homework and check it, make sure it's safe and everything, I have no problem with it.

COOPER: We want to talk to Bruce Weinstein, who's the ethicist who's standing by.

Bruce, you're listening to this.

What do you think?

DR. BRUCE WEINSTEIN, "THE ETHICS GUY": Anderson, it is unethical for parents to buy their children breast implants as a graduation present. And it is unethical for two reasons. First of all, this is major surgery and it is not without risks. It is not like getting your hair colored. People with breast implants can develop bleeding. They can develop leakage or breast deflation and even autoimmune disorders like fibromyalgia can result from breast implant augmentation.

But this is not the major reason why it is unethical for parents to give the gift of bigger breasts. What kind of a message does this send? What it sends -- it tells your child that your mind isn't really important, your soul isn't really important, your spirit isn't really important, what's ultimately most important is the size of your breasts. And it completely undercuts the very purpose of an education, which is namely to improve one's mind, one's spirit.

This sends the women's movement back 30 years or more.

COOPER: Becky, you disagree with that, I take it.

B. PANZER: I disagree with that. Io think it sends the women's movement 30 years ahead because it just proves that she has got power. Not only is she summa cum laude in school, she's not -- not only is she very bright and talented and a very giving girl and a smart girl, but she's also has a sense of empowerment now because this is something that she wanted and she also paid for half of it.

WEINSTEIN: What it means, though, is that one's sense of empowerment, as you put it, comes from outside of one's self rather than from within. Why not use the $7,000 to buy an encyclopedia or a trip to Europe or a down payment on a house? This sends such a bizarre message to one's child. Now, 20 years ago, we couldn't have even have had this debate, because it would have been laughed out of every broadcast medium in the United States. And it's just a sign, I think, of the degradation of our culture that we're even discussing this semi-seriously. It is ridiculous for parents to even consider giving their child breast implants.

COOPER: Heather, any second thoughts? Any doubts?

H. PANZER: I have no second thoughts whatsoever.

COOPER: Becky?

H. PANZER: If I have to do it again, I'll do it all over.

B. PANZER: No second thoughts at all.

COOPER: All right, thank you both for being with us.

Thank you.

H. PANZER: Thank you.

COOPER: And Bruce, as well.

Thank you.

WEINBERG: Thank you.

B. PANZER: Thank you.

COOPER: A pleasure.


COOPER: There you go. Sanitized and syndicated, "Sex and the City" returns to TV. Just ahead, the steamy series debuts tonight. But will viewers actually tune in to watch the cleaner version? That's next.

Also tonight, playing the presidential election -- it's not on computer. We'll take the game to "The Nth Degree."


COOPER: Tonight, Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha will slip into their minolos (ph) and jimmies and slide over to basic cable. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, then you are obviously not a "Sex and the City" fan. The show, about four women looking for love or sex or at least the perfect pair of shoes, ran for six years on HBO. Tonight, it begins a run on TBS on basic cable, which begs the question -- will fans tune in to "Sex and the City" without the sex?


COOPER (voice-over): It's a show about friendship.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People do live happily ever after.


COOPER: Relationships.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll just wait for you outside.


COOPER: Shopping...


COOPER: And, of course, sex.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's talk about sex, baby.


COOPER: But what happens when the four women of "Sex and the City" clean up their acts for basic cable? In other words, will fans follow "Sex and the City" without the sex?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Because it's not the real thing, you know? It wasn't like the original. Nothing beats the original.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The "Sex and the City" without the sex is just the city. So it makes no sense.

COOPER: Let's take a look at what you won't see. For one thing, free-spirited Samantha will get a lot less, uh, face time.




COOPER: For example, her photo shoot on HBO. Her photo shoot on TBS. Samantha supports her local firefighter on HBO and on TBS. Did you notice something was missing? It's not just the look, it's the language, the "Sex and the City" speak. Think modelizer, celebutante, cashmiracle, trisexual, cosmopolitan flirtini. All those can stay. Other language will just have to go. What sounded something like this on HBO...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss Mother_______.


COOPER: Sounds more like this on TBS.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss why have you not returned my last 200 phone calls?


COOPER: Editors at HBO Productions have been working feverishly to off the offending scenes, but have they also slashed the sizzle?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that there's a whole lot of people who never saw "Sex and the City" on HBO who will discover it now and won't know what they're missing.

COOPER: So will the faithful follow their favorite fashionistas to the land of PG-14 TV? Or will they find a new flock in TBS' 88 million potential viewers? Both networks are hoping the answer will be, in the words of Mr. Big (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


COOPER: We'll see.

I should point out TBS and HBO are owned by Time Warner, which, of course, also owns us.

Time to check on some Pop News in tonight's corner.

Let's take a look.

There's talk of creating a reality show about flying into space. The series will feature contestants vying for a chance to board an actual Russian spaceship. We hear the stakes are very high. The winner lands a seat on the rocket. The losers are jettisoned somewhere near Venus.

The ex-wife of Viggo Mortensen is suing the actor. She wants Mortensen to pay more child support. It looks like their dispute could head to court where, instead of battling the dark forces of Sauron, Aragorn may come face to face with an even tougher enemy -- his wife's attorney. Hex.

Despite all her problems, Courtney Love will be touring this summer and concert promoters may want to think about cashing in on Love's legal obligations by selling a select number of tickets that entitle fans to a box seat at her concert and a front row seat at her next court date.

Coming up next on 360, odds you're a Democrat, even if you're a Republican, the game of politics to "The Nth Degree."

First, today's Buzz. You still have a couple of minutes to weigh in on it. Should the U.S. hand over Saddam Hussein to the Iraqis on June 30? Log onto Cast your vote. The results when we come back.


COOPER: Time now for The Buzz.

Earlier, we asked you: should the U.S. hand over Saddam Hussein to the Iraqis on June 30? Sixty-two percent of you said yes, 38 percent of you said no. Not a scientific poll, but it is your Buzz and we appreciate you voting.

Tonight, playing politics to "The Nth Degree." And we mean playing literally. A software publisher is about to release a computer game based on the next presidential election. It lets players be George W. Bush or John Kerry. It lets them campaign state to state, raise funds, have debates, be interviewed on TV, the whole shebang. We don't know what any of this actually looks like, but, hey, what a great idea.

It would be fun even as a board game, don't you think? You could land on find your foot in your mouth, lose two turns. Pregnant chad, plus one vote. Air commercial -- attack ad of die roll is odd, positive if even. Poll shows you ahead if you're roll is odd, behind if you're even. Hold thousand dollar a head fundraiser, dice show how many supporters actually attend. You're denounced by Rush Limbaugh if roll is odd or Al Franken if the roll is even.

The game would go on and on, of course, until ultimately one of the players is elected president and the other gets to endorse Viagra.

I'm Anderson Cooper.

Thanks for watching 360.

Coming up next, PAULA ZAHN NOW.


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