Return to Transcripts main page


Poisoned Marines; Surviving Disaster

Aired October 7, 2009 - 20:00   ET



CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Breaking news: two massive earthquakes tonight, a tsunami warning in effect.

Is toxic water at Camp Lejeune to blame for a cluster of male Marines with breast cancer? New developments tonight to our special investigation.

MIKE PARTAIN, SON OF MARINE: That's blown me away. I expected to find some, but to double our number with just one story, it just -- it begs to ask, here we are doing little hits and everything. Well, how many people are out there?

BROWN: It's Congress vs. the Marines in a fight to get help for these poisoned patriots.

Also, how would you change your life if you survived a plane crash?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am such a lucky person. I realize that I have gotten a second chance on life.

BROWN: The survivors of the miracle on the Hudson, their stories of what life is like nine months after Captain Sully Sullenberger's heroic landing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have actually reassessed everything in my life, from my friends, to my family, to my career, to my passions, everything I do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a lot of pressure to think I'm supposed to be here for a new purpose, right? And so, I'm not sure I completely embrace that idea.

BROWN: Our series "Second Chances" begins tonight.

Plus, tonight's intriguing person, the predictioneer, the man who claims he can forecast what people will do in almost any situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back in February, I predicted that Iran would develop enough nuclear-grade fuel to make -- quote -- "a bomb."

BROWN: The CIA says he's been right 90 percent of the time.

And did lab workers abuse the frozen body of baseball legend Ted Williams? We're going to take you inside the secret world of cryonics. A former employee who says he's a whistle-blower makes some stunning allegations.


ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now. Here's Campbell Brown.

BROWN: Hi, everybody. Those are the big questions tonight. But we begin as always with the "Mash-Up." It's our look at all the stories making an impact right now, the moments you may missed today. We're watching it all, so you don't have to.

And we begin with breaking news right now, not one, but two huge earthquakes rock the South Pacific, triggering a tsunami alert for much of the region. And people who could be in the path of a potential tsunami are right now racing to higher ground.

We want to go right to the CNN Weather Center and Chad Myers for the very latest on this.

Chad, what do we know?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We know now, Campbell, that at least in the last three minutes, since we have been talking to the USGS in Colorado, that another over 7 earthquake has occurred. That would makes three now just in the past hour. There's the U.S. Here's Hawaii.

There's the very latest on the earthquake. Now, the Samoa earthquake was well east of there in the Tonga Trench. But I'm going to zoom you right into three earthquakes, one 7.8 to 8.0 and the other probably literally aftershocks of those, that a 7.5 and now a 7.1.

And we do have -- in this area, we have this tsunami warning for Vanuatu all the way down almost to the Solomon Islands. Now, we know that by this point in time, the wave would already be there. Now, the watch continues all the way out in the Pacific and literally the watch goes all the way to Hawaii at this hour, the Solomon Islands here, Vanuatu here.

You may remember the name Vanuatu from one of the "Survivor" episodes, literally. Not a lot going on in Vanuatu proper because of the tsunami warnings. But this is kind of a banking area. And almost a little bit like Switzerland, they do that kind of offshore here thing here, the Solomon Islands to the north in the warning as well.

Turning our attention back out to what could be something for Hawaii, it's a long way off. It's five hours off from Hawaii. But here is what we are looking at here from our affiliate KGMB, looking at any waves. These are just normal everyday waves. But if we do see anything, there could be waves out there as tsunamis. That's why the watches and the warnings are out there.

It's going to be kind of a rough night for people here, Campbell. We are going to keep watching this. We know that there's been one wave in Vanuatu, but just one. And that wave was only six inches. You can take that. It's the ones when they get bigger in the coves and they start going up those coves, those are the ones you have to watch out for.

BROWN: Yes. All right. We are going to be keeping an eye on all this. You will, of course, Chad.

MYERS: Of course.

BROWN: And we will be checking in with you later on if there are new updates for everybody. Thanks very much, Chad.

BROWN: We're going to move on now to Afghanistan and a somber anniversary, eight years to the day since the beginning of the war.

In Washington tonight, stepped-up pressure on President Obama to act as the situation on the ground there deteriorates. This afternoon, another high-level White House strategy session, but no timetable for a solution.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a resurgent Taliban; you have a government that is not recognized by all of the people and you have military commanders on the ground saying that they have insufficient troop levels.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president has called himself a skeptic about sending more troops. And we learned today that he now has in hand that request for General McChrystal for up to reportedly 40,000 more troops.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, all his national security team has it as well. But they were meeting today. They did not discuss the troop request. They discussed Pakistan today in the Situation Room at the White House for about three hours. So they won't discuss troops probably until Friday or next week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It took the U.S. and its allies only about a month to come down this road and win Kabul, but, eight years later, they are losing much of the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since 2001, 869 Americans have been killed here. Already, 2009 has been the deadliest year since the war began.

JOHN ROBERTS, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Only 40 percent of people now support the war. That's down four points from July. And 50 percent of people oppose sending in more troops.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not really. That's not my job to ask that question.


BROWN: Leading Republicans, including John McCain, are urging the president to send more troops and send them now, McCain saying it's pretty clear that time is not on our side here. Moving to India reeling tonight from massive flooding brought on by torrential rains, at least 300 people now feared dead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The pictures revealing what is left of the worst floods in decades in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. On the ground, dozens were killed, hundreds of thousands left homeless.

Muhamad Faruq Basha (ph) says he and his family were stranded with no water or food for two days. They survived, but lost everything else. This is Kurnool, a small city with big problems in the aftermath of the floods.

The streets are lined with piles of putrid trash that can turn even the strongest stomach. Massive relief efforts are under way, one example, air force missions to drop to the areas still cut off.

For nearly a week now, four of these helicopters a day have been going to the hardest-hit areas. Their mission, two things, one, to drop relief supplies, and two, to literally pluck people from the floodwaters.


BROWN: The flooding left more than 1.5 million people homeless.

In Chicago today, Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, top administration officials, traveling to the president's hometown to try to address a heartbreaking question: Why are so many Chicago kids dying in the streets there?


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: There have been so many senseless killings of children in Chicago. The city is in shock, and the nation is taking notice. In the past school year, 34 public school students died in violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's men arrived to confront the crushing wave of kids killing kids.

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We simply cannot stand for an epidemic of violence that robs our youth of their childhood.

ARNE DUNCAN, U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY: This is a line in the sand. And we have to get dramatically better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What prompted that visit, that infamous after-school brawl captured on a cell phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A group of grassroots community organizations are upset with the attorney general, Eric Holder, and the secretary of education, Arne Duncan, for not traveling to the Roseland neighborhood to see for themselves the conditions on the ground that helped lead to a rash of youth violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the last four years, this has been escalating. Well, we don't want to see Derrion's death go in vain.


BROWN: Stay tuned to CNN tonight for a special report on the violence in Chicago. That is coming up at 10:00 p.m. on "A.C. 360."

Turning now to Capitol Hill, where Congress is working overtime on a huge defense spending bill. And it's giving Democrats a chance to take on their favorite target, defense contractors.

Senator Al Franken proposing the Pentagon shouldn't hire contractors that make their employers agree in advance not to sue if they are raped by co-workers. Well, who would be against that? Republican Jeff Sessions, for one.


SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: It's a political amendment, really, at bottom, representing a sort of a political attack directed at Halliburton.

SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: The text of the amendment does not single out a contractor by name. And if you read the amendment you would know it. And this amendment would defund any contractor who refused to give the victims of rape and discrimination their day in court.


BROWN: Your Congress at work there, people. The Senate voted in favor of Franken's amendment.

From lawmakers to outlaws and a story straight out of a Springsteen song, an alleged teenage bandit on the loose tonight suspected in as many as 50 burglaries. Law enforcement officers say 18-year-old Harris-Moore cut his teeth breaking into houses. But now he's thinking a whole lot bigger. Here is his story from NBC's "Today Show."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Authorities say they suspect Harris-Moore of stealing boats and planes as he plays catch me if you can with the law. A couple of stolen planes were found crashed. Officers believe Harris-Moore may have learned to fly by purchasing flight manuals with stolen credit cards.

In various Internet blogs, Harris-Moore has attracted a bit of a cult following. His mother, Pamela, who didn't want her face shown on camera, spoke with Seattle's KING-TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think he's kind of enjoying all the drama here? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has he had that kind of personality at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes, I think he thinks he's James Bond.


BROWN: Harris-Moore turned into a full-fledged folk hero. He even has his own Facebook page, his admirers there calling him Jesse James without the murders.

And now a tasty morsel of news we just couldn't resist. A new poll out tonight from Marist Institute asks Americans to name the word or phrase they find most annoying. The runaway winner -- or loser, I guess I should say -- is "whatever" -- 47 percent of Americans say it just makes them crazy. Check out the runners-up.








UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the day.













BROWN: Hey, "it is what it is," which, by the way, got 11 percent in the poll.

And that brings us to the "Punchline" tonight. This is courtesy of Jay Leno with his take on the Obama administration's big hedge on don't ask, don't tell.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": In response to criticism he's not fulfilling a campaign promise, the president's national security adviser said President Obama will overturn the militaries don't ask, don't tell policy at the right time. That's what he said. When asked what the right time would be, he said don't ask; I'm not telling.



BROWN: Jay Leno, everybody.

And that is the "Mash-Up" tonight.

When we come back, did toxic water at Camp Lejeune cause an outbreak of male breast cancer in Marines and their children? It's a special investigation you will only see here. Since our original report, dozens of more men have come forward. Tonight, they are getting ready to take on the military and demand help.


PARTAIN: I don't drink. I don't smoke. I was diagnosed at the age of 39. There's no history of breast cancer anywhere in my family, male or female. I was exposed while my mother was pregnant with me to chemicals in the drinking water. I was poisoned.



BROWN: New developments tonight in a shocking story we first brought you two weeks ago. A group of men who believe they got breast cancer from toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Since we aired that story, more men are speaking out. And Congress is paying attention to what may be a case of poisoned Marines.

CNN's Abbie Boudreau has more on our special investigation now.


ABBIE BOUDREAU, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: These are the faces of a rare disease, male breast cancer, marines or children of Marines who believe their illnesses came from drinking and bathing in toxic tap water at Camp Lejeune decades ago.

Within two weeks after CNN's story first aired, the number of men coming forward with this disease has nearly doubled. The total is now 40, all Marines or their children.

MIKE PARTAIN, SON OF MARINE: That's blown me away. I expected to find some, but to double our number with just one story, and it just -- it begs to ask, how many people are out there with male breast cancer from Camp Lejeune?

BOUDREAU: Mark Partain was one of those we first interviewed. As a result of the story, he's been asked to testify before the U.S. Senate Veterans Affair Committee this week. Partain was born at Camp Lejeune 40 years ago.

PARTAIN: I don't drink. I don't smoke. I was diagnosed at the age of 39. There's no history of breast cancer anywhere in my family, male or female. I was exposed while my mother was pregnant with me to chemicals in the drinking water. I was poisoned.

BOUDREAU: Representative John Dingell has long pushed for cleanup and accountability for contaminated military sites, including Camp Lejeune.

REP. JOHN DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN: Well, it's an outrage. Frankly, it should not be permitted. And it smacks of active deceit, dishonesty, irresponsibility of the environmental concerns, and, quite frankly, putting their people at risk.

BOUDREAU: The Marine Corps says drinking water at Camp Lejeune is now cleaned up, but acknowledges it was badly contaminated.

In a written statement, the Marines point out that several scientific studies have not identified a link between exposure to the historically impacted water at Camp Lejeune and adverse health effects. With no proven link, many of those who are sick are denied VA benefits.

Senator Kay Hagan from North Carolina, where Camp Lejeune is located, says these people deserve help.

SEN. KAY HAGAN (D), NORTH CAROLINA: I think they have worked their entire careers, successfully completing the mission that they were asked to start. And I think it should be our mission to give them complete answers on the water contamination issues. And if we stop now, our mission will not be accomplished.

BOUDREAU: Partain says that would be a start.

PARTAIN: It is up to the Senate and up to Congress to force the Marine Corps to answer these questions and hold their feet to the fire when they give them the answers and make them explain their answers. That's the only way we are going to get to the bottom of the truth of this.


BOUDREAU: Now, this is new information tonight. Senator Hagan has just sponsored a bill that would give VA medical benefits to Marines and their families who may have been exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune -- Campbell.

BROWN: And, Abbie, since the story aired, what kind of reaction have you seen?

BOUDREAU: Huge reaction, Campbell. Since we have -- since this story first aired, we talked about -- to so many retired Marines who say they were also diagnosed with male breast cancer, but who say they didn't have any idea that the water at Camp Lejeune was even contaminated.

And I also want to point out, real quickly, that there are hundreds of other people who have other diseases and other cancers. And they fear their illnesses are also linked to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. And those cases will also be discussed at tomorrow's hearing -- Campbell.

BROWN: All right, Abbie Boudreau for us tonight -- Abbie, thanks very much.

And when we come back, tonight's newsmaker, a whistle-blower who says he witnessed the abuse of baseball legend Ted Williams' frozen body. It's a story that has been making headlines across the country. We have the insider account of what allegedly happened.

Plus, plane crash survivors -- what is life like, really, after a close call with death? We are going to talk to three men whose lives have changed forever.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure we are all familiar with the old saying, stop. Take a minute to smell the roses. Well, stop, take a minute, and smell those roses, because this may be the last time you have the ability to do so.



BROWN: You could say they cheated death -- tonight, what some plane crash survivors are doing with their second chance at life.


BROWN: A horrific tale being told about what happened to baseball great Ted Williams' body after his death. A man who worked at the lab that froze Williams' head claims the slugger was treated no better than a baseball at batting practice -- that former employee here tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LARRY JOHNSON, AUTHOR, "FROZEN": If you had seen what I had seen in that facility, you never really know how you are going to react until you are put under that.



BROWN: Tonight's newsmaker is coming forward with startling accusations about how the remains of the late baseball legend Ted Williams have been cared for.

The Boston Red Sox great died in 2002 and his head was frozen and stored in an Arizona laboratory. But if the claims by a former lab employee in a new book are true, Williams' remains were mistreated in ways we can't even begin to fathom.


BROWN: It was a story almost too bizarre to be true, baseball Hall of Fame legend Ted Williams frozen in time, his head and body stored separately in stainless steel containers in extreme cold. The hope, that one day, medical science would be able to bring him back to life.

But now troubling new allegations about exactly what happened to Williams in that deep freeze and a new spotlight on the strange process known as cryonics.

In 2003, Ted Williams' body was sent here, the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Arizona, the self-proclaimed world leader in cryonics. Alcor has been freezing bodies for 30 years, an elaborate process that begins shortly after a person dies, before their body starts to decay.

The thinking is, the body will be stored until the day medicine catches up with a fatal disease. But now a former COO of Alcor is speaking out, claiming Ted Williams' resting place was anything but peaceful and that his frozen body was actually mistreated by the cryonics company.

Larry Johnson started working at Alcor approximately six months after Williams' body arrived at the lab. In his new book, "Frozen: My Journey into the World of Cryonics, Deception, and Death," Johnson says he unearthed gruesome details in the little more than six months he worked at Alcor.

His shocking claim, that the baseball slugger's head was literally hit by a monkey wrench, compelled in part by his view of the treatment of Williams' corpse, Johnson began copying internal Alcor documents, taking secret photos and wearing a wire to secretly record conversations with fellow employees, including this one with Alcor COO Charles Platt. At one point, Johnson alleges Alcor debated disposing of Williams' body due to a nonpayment.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) JOHNSON: Somebody on the board mentioned converting Ted to a neuro, just keeping his head. What are they going to do with the body?

CHARLES PLATT, COO, ALCOR: That's the threat. It just means basically throwing the body away. I mean, that's not what we would ever normally to, but it's a -- it's a bargaining chip.


BROWN: Alcor issued a statement on its Web site, promising legal action, saying: "The Alcor Life Extension Foundation denies the outrageous allegations against it. Alcor especially denies mistreating the remains of baseball great Ted Williams."

CNN reached out to Alcor, but got no response.

And Larry Johnson is joining me now.

Welcome to you.

JOHNSON: Thank you, Campbell.

We just heard that you started tape recording.

JOHNSON: That's absolutely correct, yes.

BROWN: So, I guess my question would be, why secretly tape record conversations? I mean, you were an employee there. Why not step in and do something about it? Why not quit in protest?

Well, it was -- they were very controlling. I started hearing of some activities that they were involved in that were very concerning. And ,to be honest with you, I was scared. I really didn't know how to handle the situation. Some of the issues I was discovering kind of set me back.

BROWN: Like what? Give us examples.

JOHNSON: Well, I discovered that they had drugs that they kept on stock in refrigerators that have nothing to do with freezing dead people.

For an example, they carried the drug propofol, which everybody now knows what propofol is since the Michael...

BROWN: Because of the Michael Jackson...

JOHNSON: ... Michael Jackson death. That's correct. It's a super high-powered sedative.

And the other drug I found was a drug called vecuronium that they also had on stock, which is a paralytic. And -- and what that drug does is, when you wind up in the hospital, you need to -- to go to ICU and they have to breathe for you. They put that tube down your throat. They give you that drug to paralyze you so you don't fight against the tube.

So, then, the question that came to mind right away was, why is a company storing these kind of medications and carrying these kind of medications with them in their kits when all they're dealing with is dead people?

CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, beyond the story that you're sharing here, their view of the cryonics movement is, what is this? I mean, who are these people? Who pays over $100,000 to have their body frozen?

JOHNSON: Yes. They pay around $150,000 to have a body frozen. And what they do is most of the members, they buy life insurance and they make Alcor the beneficiary of that life insurance policy. So what happens is you join Alcor, you pay monthly dues, and then when you die, the insurance money goes to Alcor, and that is supposed to take care of you for the next couple hundred, couple thousand years, however long it takes them to reanimate you.

BROWN: So what did you think of it as you were working there?

JOHNSON: You know, I thought it was a very interesting concept. I'm a firm believer that it's your right, and when you die, it's totally up to you if you want to be buried, cremated or frozen. I believe an individual has that right to choose.

BROWN: Now Alcor has called you a profiteer. And let's face it, you are. You're out trying to sell this book. I mean no offense by it, but let's look at the facts.

You posted photos on the Internet of other patients and you charge people to see them.

JOHNSON: I did that for about two or three hours before I thought, you know what? This is wrong. I need to stop that.

BROWN: OK. But can you see why people are going to say this guy has no credibility.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. Absolutely.

BROWN: You've got to question his motives. He's a jerk.

JOHNSON: Absolutely. Absolutely. I tell you, I was -- I was out of my mind. And if you had seen what I had seen in that facility, you never really know how you are going to react until you're put under that. And I look back at that time, that point, and I regret every minute of that.

BROWN: You -- you say that Alcor has threatened your life, which they deny.

JOHNSON: Of course.

BROWN: And that you've been in hiding for the past six years. But now, you've come forward. JOHNSON: I've come forward because I feel that people need to know what's going on here.

BROWN: Not because you have a book to sell?

JOHNSON: Absolutely not. I'll tell you the publisher I have now, the question was asked the other day, how much advance did you get. I'll tell you, not one penny. Money does not mean a thing to me, but it means a lot to me --

BROWN: Are you going to make any money if the book sells?

JOHNSON: I'm sure I am. And, you know, it's -- you know, I'll tell you what's more important to me really is to have them regulated. They need to get, gained control of and they need to be dealt with.

BROWN: That is Larry Johnson. His book again called "Frozen." We want to make it clear that Alcor denies all of Johnson's allegations.

Tonight, our new series "Second Chances," spotlighting people who've been given a new lease on life. We catch up with survivors of one of the year's most amazing stories, the miracle on the Hudson. We find out how their lives have changed since that incredible January day when their plain plummeted into the icy river.


BROWN: How would you change your life if you survive a plane crash? Not just a hypothetical question for 155 people aboard a US Airways flight in January. It is a question they still wrestle with every single day.

We all remember Captain "Sully" Sullenberger's heroic landing on the Hudson River. But for the passengers who walked out on the wings of the plane that day, life has changed in ways they never expected. Our series, "Second Chances," begins tonight with the survivors of the "Miracle on the Hudson."


BARRY LEONARD, FLIGHT 1549 SURVIVOR: I am such a lucky person. I realize that I've gotten a second chance on life.

BROWN (voice-over): Barry Leonard still thinks about that fateful day in January when he boarded US Airways Flight 1549. Minutes after takeoff, the plane carrying Leonard and 154 others collided with a flock of geese stalling both engines, forcing Captain Sully to land on the Hudson River. Miraculously everyone survived. Some went on to share their stories on TV.

ALBERTO PANERA, FLIGHT 1549 SURVIVOR: You know, still a little but overwhelming, but I can't stop smiling because I'm just so happy to be alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was so glad to be alive and so thankful to the Lord.

BROWN: But what happens when the camera's go away and life resumes?

LEONARD: Let me tell you there are so many dark moments -- really, really dark moments that, you know, you can't even share with other people because nobody can understand.

BROWN: Leonard, one of the survivors pulled from the brutally cold Hudson River, still has nightmares about falling through the ice.

LEONARD: When I hit the water, it was so cold. That was one of the moments that is very poignant to me as far as I might not survive.

BROWN: He's receiving treatment for PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, sweetheart.

KRISTY SPEARS, FLIGHT 1549 SURVIVOR: Good to see you again.

BROWN: Fellow survivor Kristy Spears suffers from survivors' guilt recalling the deadly plane crash near Buffalo just three weeks later.

SPEARS: Why did we have the great outcome that we did and others weren't so fortunate? I can't explain it.

BROWN: Leonard is taking full advantage of his second chance at life.

LEONARD: I'm going to the American Red Cross and giving platelets because, you know, there are a lot of cancer patients out here that need them in their treatments. And there's a shortage of them right now. It's making a difference in people's lives, giving them a second chance.

DR. CRAIG L. KATZ, DISASTER PSYCHIATRY OUTREACH: We are meaning making creatures. And when something seemingly chaotic and meaningless and random like an aircrafts or other disasters happen, it's part of our DNA to want to make meaning of it.

BROWN: Survivor Spears says she's happy with her life and hasn't felt compelled to make any drastic changes.

SPEARS: That's a lot of pressure to think that I'm supposed to be here for a new purpose, right? And so, I'm not sure I completely embrace that idea.

DENISE LOCKEY, FLIGHT 1549 SURVIVOR: Thank you for saving my life.

BROWN: And Denise Lockey, so emotional after Sully's first flight back to Charlotte, is rethinking just about everything.

LOCKEY: I have actually reassessed everything in my life from my friends, to my family, to my career, to my passions, to everything I do.


BROWN: Joining me now, three survivors of the "Miracle on the Hudson" flight. Brad Wentzel, Carl Bazarian and Glenn Carlson, all with us as we speak.

Welcome guys.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Campbell, glad to be here. Thank you for having us.

BROWN: I'm so glad to talk to you tonight. Before we talk about the second chances here, Glenn and Brad, you guys told us a story that, frankly, we couldn't believe. You actually met for the first time face to face not on Flight 1549, but on a later flight, where you actually ended up sitting next to each other.

Glenn, tell us what happened.

GLENN CARLSON, FLIGHT 1549 SURVIVOR: Yes, it is rather humorous. I was on a flight to -- heading up to New York, sitting in first class. I got upgraded. It was wonderful. I was talking to the flight attendant and was discussing kind of like what had transpired maybe three or four weeks earlier with regard to Flight 1549.

And then in comes a gentleman. He sits down next to me, and he kind of picks up the tail end of a conversation, and I think he -- he said something like, "Well, I really hope lightning doesn't strike twice." And I looked at him, and I said -- I said, "I was on that "Miracle on the Hudson Flight 1549." He goes -- he goes, "So was I." He goes, "I'm Brad Wentzel."

I said, "Brad Wentzel?" I said, "I know Brad Wentzel. I had -- was putting together a list of all the passengers who were on there," and -- and I knew him by his e-mail address, but it was the first time that we actually met face to face.

BROWN: Wow. Brad, you -- you got to have thought, you know, what on Earth are the odds of this?

BRAD WENTZEL, FLIGHT 1549 SURVIVOR: Honestly, when Glenn and I actually met at one of my -- my church, I actually said to Glenn -- or Glenn said to me, he said, "You know, God works in mysterious ways, but he's not even being mysterious at this point." And we -- we're just -- I'm glad to have him as a friend. It's good to know him. And we have good chemistry as buddies.


BROWN: We have a lot more from the "Miracle on the Hudson" survivors, how they changed their lives, now that they've got a second chance, and who they believe brought them through their life or death ordeal in January.


BROWN: Back now to my conversation with three survivors of the "Miracle on the Hudson." They told me how their lives changed in some surprising way that January day as they stood on the wings of their downed plane.


BROWN: Carl, you all got a second chance at life after that crash. And -- and you say that the biggest change for you is that you now have -- have zero room in your life for negativity. Give me an example of that. What do you mean by that?

CARL BAZARIAN, FLIGHT 1549 SURVIVOR: Yes, it's absolutely true. It's -- you know, if I'm in a business setting and there's (ph) negative vibrations of individuals or you feel you're not dealing with good people, quite frankly, I'll just walk out of a meeting. If -- if I'm in a social setting and you just feel that people are playing games and are not, you know, being themselves, I'll just kind of walk out.

And what that translates to is, life is too short, so I'm intolerant of that situation. So it's -- that's the most dramatic change for me.

BROWN: Brad, what's the biggest lesson you learned from this experience? How did it change you?

WENTZEL: Well, I'm a little more patient these days, a little friendlier. And I'm sure we're all familiar with the old saying, "Stop, take a minute to smell the roses"? Well, stop, take a minute, and smell those roses, because this may be the last time you have the ability to do so.

And I just feel blessed to be here. And if I can live my life like this for the rest of it, then 1549 was a great experience for me.

BROWN: Glenn, I know you've -- you've said that you've been inspired to be a better father. What lessons have you wanted your kids to learn from this?

CARLSON: It was funny when I -- when I thought about, you know, what are the options or which ways can you go from something like, you know, after this? It's like, you know, there could be a higher calling. You could end up in the back of a closet in the fetal position, or you can continue. And I -- I think I've chosen -- chosen kind of the path to really continue on a journey to, I think, really be a better father, a better husband, you know, a better brother.

So I'm really looking to set a better example, I think, for the people around me. And the most important people of all -- my kids.

BROWN: Brad, you and Carl worked together that day to help people escape that plane. And I know, since that day, you have developed quite a close friendship. Tell me a little bit about that.

WENTZEL: We had a conversation after the crash, and we actually were talking about the Red Sox. And it was quite funny, because Carl looked at me and said, "Are we talking about baseball?" And I said, "You know we're alive." And I -- I believe -- I believe there's 155 people out there that all said goodbye to their wife and daughter, much like I did in prayer, and it is probably the most powerful emotion I've ever -- ever came across. And that's the bond that we have.

When you hear people talk about the moment of silence, that's what it was. We were all saying goodbye. I think that's why, when we finally do see each other, we're so happy to be around other people who have experienced the same experiences we had, and it makes us feel numb.

BROWN: I know a lot of you have to fly on a pretty regular basis still. Glenn, is it -- is it hard? Is it uncomfortable for you to get on a plane now?

CARLSON: The first few times, I think that there was a novelty to it, right after the crash, and it was kind of exciting. But now it's kind of -- I've gone back to square one, almost, with the -- the -- the naive or, I should say, the neophyte of a traveler that I was maybe 15, 20 years ago. And there's -- you know, turbulence is a little unsettling when we hit it, when we're up in the air.

BROWN: Brad, I've got to ask you, I know you're wearing this special shirt tonight. Tell -- tell me about that. What's the significance?

WENTZEL: I'm actually wearing this shirt for two reasons. One, as we know, it's breast cancer awareness month, and the second reason is, is that this particular shirt was on the crash with me. And it's my message to those people out there who are hurting, suffering. Miracles do happen. You've got to believe that, because we're a living example to that.

BROWN: So let me ask all of you this question, though. Is it a miracle? You know, we all called this the "Miracle on the Hudson."

Do you believe, Carl, it was a miracle? Or was this simply the expertise of a very cool Captain Sully? Or was there, in your view, a higher power at work here?

BAZARIAN: Yes, I think -- I think there -- there was a lot of incredible people, a lot of spiritual people on the flight. And many of us -- and it'll come out in the book -- is that we were basically in meditation and prayer, and we knew that we had no chance. I mean, I -- to me, it's a miracle. There were so many things that went right that it was impossible without the hand of God.

BROWN: Glenn, do you agree with that?

CARLSON: Oh, wholly. I look at -- I look at just very, very rationally, a thousand things had to go right that day, and everything went right. Now, whether you -- whether you want to believe in God or -- or believe that there's a higher being or a higher power, that's up to you. But I -- I just don't see how this could have happened any -- how it really could have happened without something else, you know, kind of being out there.


BROWN: Brad Wentzel there, Carl Bazarian and Glenn Carlson, all survivors of the "Miracle on the Hudson."

And when we come back, tonight's intriguing person is the predictioneer. The man the CIA says is better at forecasting than its own analyst. So what does he think about peace in the Middle East. When we come back.


BRUCE BUENO DE MESQUITA, AUTHOR, "THE PREDICTIONEER'S GAME": I do believe that there's a very good prospect by the end of President Obama's first term, that there will be a serious peace agreement between the Palestinians and the Israelis.



BROWN: Every night, we introduce you to intriguing people. Some are household names, some you've never heard of, but we think you should.

Tonight's intriguing person doesn't exactly have a crystal ball, but he's remarkably accurate in seeing what the future will hold. For 30 years, he's been using something called game theory combined with a computer model to handicap whether something will happen in the world or not.

For example, say, Iran getting a nuclear bomb. The CIA trusts him and with good reason. Their own records show he's been right twice as often as their own analyst.

Professor Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is the chairman of the Alexander Hamilton Center at New York University, also the author of "The Predictioners Game" and he is tonight's intriguing person. Take a listen.


BROWN: So you developed a computer model that basically you argue predicts the future and can be applied to big, global conflicts and help, I guess make political decisions in terms of how to handle it.


BROWN: Explain how it works. BUENO DE MESQUITA: It's really not very complicated conceptually. The model assumes that everybody cares about two things. They care about getting the outcome on the issues, and they care about getting credit for putting agreements together, or if they want, to prevent an agreement. And so, they pursue their self- interest.

People who pursue their self-interest become predictable as far for us not to pursue our self-interest. I only need to know information on a very small group of variables who's going to try to influence a decision, unless everybody is going to try. What do they say they want? Not what in their heart of hearts do they want, not what do they think they're going to get, but what do they say they want? How focused are they on the problem? How willing are they to drop what they're doing and attend to it when it comes up? And how much clout could they exert if the opportunity presented itself?

BROWN: OK. So then you take all those variables and you create a mathematical formula, right?

BUENO DE MESQUITA: Yes. The mathematical formula is created and these variables then inform the model about data that fills in the numbers to the equations.

BROWN: But put it in real world terms for us. Give me an example so people can sort of visualize what you're talking about here.

BUENO DE MESQUITA: Sure. Back in February, I predicted that Iran would develop enough nuclear great (ph) fuel to make a bomb, but wouldn't actually make a bomb. I did that in a (INAUDIBLE) talk where people can watch online.

BROWN: So how did you do it? Explain.

BUENO DE MESQUITA: I spoke to experts who gave me data on those few variables. I didn't ask them what they thought was going to happen. But 80 some-odd players in the game fed it into the model, analyzed it, saw that the Iranian leadership was facing sufficient domestic pressure, not international but domestic pressure to tone down their expectations and that the international pressure was actually delaying. They're getting to the point of making the decision not to build a bomb.

BROWN: So, let me just say, though, you ran that model before the elections and sort of the violence and everything that we saw around the elections. Do you think it still applies?

BUENO DE MESQUITA: Absolutely. In fact, if you take a look at the September 9th, "New York Times" front page, you'll see that the president was told, according to "The Times," that day, that Iran had made a sprint forward and then had deliberately stopped short of building a bomb, which is exactly the prediction.

BROWN: Let's move to the domestic front, because you didn't make a prediction in 1993 that health care reform would pass. BUENO DE MESQUITA: Yes, I did.

BROWN: You got that one wrong.

BUENO DE MESQUITA: Absolutely wrong. The worse prediction I ever did, and it was very detailed.


BUENO DE MESQUITA: Tons of detail. There was also very good reason for it to be wrong, and I learned a lot from it.

BROWN: So generally, though, the theory is kind of based. If I can just simplify it, boil it down on the idea that nice guys finish last, is that fair?

BUENO DE MESQUITA: Well, yes, it is fair. Nice guys do finish last. The world is about self-interest and competition, and the altruists, they get burned.

BROWN: You do have a lot of detractors, you say. You know what? You can't explain away all the stuff with a computer model.

BUENO DE MESQUITA: Yes, I do have a lot of detractors. They have a fundamental problem, however, which is that I have made a point over the years of publishing hundreds of predictions in peer review journal articles before the events occurred, so there's a public track record. The CIA also has a declassified evaluation of over 1,200 applications. In both cases, academics looking at the peer review work and CIA declassified study puts accuracy at 90 percent. So when people say it can't be done, I think what they mean is they don't know how because it's been done.

BROWN: Right. You mention the CIA and how they and companies have used your modeling. But is there something here that people like me, that people like all of us can apply to our every day lives?

BUENO DE MESQUITA: Absolutely. This is why I've put a downloadable version of the model up on my books' Web site. You know, you could apply this to how to best buy a car. You could apply this to family conflict when your children get older. You will discover that with two kids, you're in a losing coalition. They're the winning coalition. And you could use this to help solve that and figure out how you can incentivize them to do what you want.

BROWN: How do I -- how do I get the upper hand in my own household?

BUENO DE MESQUITA: Yes, exactly. Exactly.


BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" coming up just ahead. His guest tonight, Senator John McCain. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: This just in to CNN. All tsunami warnings have been canceled in the South Pacific after three major earthquakes hit. That's it for us.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starting right now.