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Jesus Tomb Mystery Creates Controversy; Taliban and Al Qaeda Joining Forces?

Aired February 28, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: There's new word tonight not just on where Osama bin Laden may be, but also what he and his followers are up to -- a new report on how al Qaeda has rebuilt its connection with the Taliban and is now training them in even deadlier tactics than they have used before.
We begin tonight, however, with the growing storm over an earthshaking claim, that the burial place of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and their possible son has been located, a discovery the could rock the faith and alter a story shared by two billion Christians today and billions more down through the centuries.

The claim is made in a television documentary called "The Lost Tomb of Jesus." The question is, could it be true? The storm began on Monday, when filmmakers showed off the tombs to promote their documentary.

Today, the controversy is heating up, as archbishops and archaeologists weigh in, calling both the documentary and the promotion of it a publicity stunt of biblical proportions.

Tonight, we will hear from one of the filmmakers and the critics.

We begin with the controversy.


COOPER (voice-over): The new documentary makes an explosive claim, supported, filmmakers say, by scientific evidence: Perhaps the body of Christ just decomposed, disintegrated into dust and bones, and was buried in this tomb in this stone box.

JAMES CAMERON, FILMMAKER: To a layman's eye, it seemed pretty darn compelling.

COOPER: But, to William Dever, one of the world's preeminent archaeologists, it seems like something else.

WILLIAM DEVER, ARCHAEOLOGIST: It looks more like a publicity stunt than any kind of real discovery.

COOPER: The Discovery Channel documentary, produced by James Cameron of "Titanic" fame, airs this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole constellation of evidence is pointing that this is the holy family that we are looking at. COOPER: Scientist Charles Pellegrino worked on the documentary. He insists there is compelling evidence Jesus and his family were all buried in the tomb, arguing that finding burial boxes inscribed with all their names, all grouped together in the same tomb, is just statistically astounding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give or take roughly 800 years of a population the size of the city of Jerusalem to produce this combination of names just once.

COOPER: Dever says, that's just rubbish.

DEVER: They're not scholars. They're not experts. They didn't discover this material. And I'm afraid they already have gone much too far. I don't know a single archaeologist in this country or in Israel who agrees with their findings.

COOPER: Dever bristles at the documentary's alleged DNA discovery, the claim that, since DNA recovered from the supposed Jesus and Mary Magdalene's ossuaries doesn't match, perhaps the two were married. Call it "Da Vinci Code" deja vu.

DEVER: "The Da Vinci Code" is fiction. And a lot of this story is fiction as well. I mean, to argue, from DNA evidence, that the Jesus in this tomb is not related to Mary, presumably Mary Magdalene, and, therefore, that they are not siblings, so they must be married, does strain one's credulity, doesn't it?

COOPER: Dever argues, the movie is built on a bunch of meaningless coincidences, that scholars have only begun to scratch the surface of what is buried beneath Jerusalem.

DEVER: And, in archaeology, you always have to look at the larger picture, not at the individual study, which may seem to be unique and extraordinary, and turns out to be very ordinary after all.

COOPER: But one Kansas City pastor perhaps put it best. "To think this mystery will be solved as easily as 'CSI: Jerusalem,'" he wrote, "is ludicrous."


COOPER: James Cameron is the producer of "The Lost Tomb of Jesus"

The director is Simcha Jacobovici. He also co-authored the companion book, "The Jesus Family Tomb." He joins me in Washington. Also there, Sandra Scham, editor of the journal "Near Eastern Archaeology."

Appreciate both of you being with us.

Sandra, let me start with you.

First, the DNA. Filmmakers say the DNA tests could prove that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. Do you buy that? SANDRA SCHAM, EDITOR, "NEAR EASTERN ARCHAEOLOGY": Well, as far as I know, the DNA test only proved that two of the individuals in the tomb were not related to each other by blood.

And, from what I understand, having seen the film and read the reports about it, they didn't do DNA tests on anyone other individuals in the tomb, because they didn't really find any bones. The tests were done on residues, I believe, from the ossuaries.

So, really, you have DNA tests of two individuals, proving that they're unrelated. We don't have a whole corpus of DNA testing from -- from ossuary burials that we can compare it to, to -- to say that it's very strange to find two unrelated individuals in this kind of tomb. Surely there were family tombs. That's true. But it does not necessarily mean that, if you find an unrelated individual in the tomb, that they were married, certainly.

COOPER: Simcha -- Simcha, what about that?

SIMCHA JACOBOVICI, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER: You have to take all the evidence together.

The fact is, there is a tomb. The fact is, there's a Jesus, son of Joseph, in the tomb. That's undisputed. The fact is, people say these are common names. It's the only Jesus, son of Joseph, ever found, out of thousands of ossuaries, in a provenanced archaeological context.

Next to him are two Marys. Next to him, there's a Jose, the only Jose ever found out of thousands of ossuaries. And it matches the nickname given to the brother of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark.

And then there's -- one of the Marys is called Mariamne. And Mariamne is the Greek version of Mary that scholars, Harvard professor Bovon, in our films say that's the real name of Mary Magdalene. So, you take the archaeology. Then, you take the epigraphy. You take the text. You take the statistics.

I have heard all kinds of people, like professor Dever, giving opinions. He is an archaeologist. When I want to know about statistics, I go to statisticians. And, when we went to statisticians, they told us that the odds, after eight months of study, the odds are 600-1 in favor of this tomb being the tomb of the Jesus of Nazareth.

COOPER: OK. Let me -- let...

JACOBOVICI: So, what are we -- what are we doing? We're reporting the news. We're telling academics: Hey, this is significant. Study it.

COOPER: Well, actually -- actually, you're not. What you're doing is, you're -- you're making a public announcement at a media event.

There are Scientists who are saying, look, if you really want to tell academics, you would write in a peer-reviewed journal and submit this to scientific scrutiny.

JACOBOVICI: I'm not an academic. Anderson, I'm not an academic. I'm a journalist like you.

And, for 27 years, scientists have kept quiet about this tomb. What we're doing is, we're calling attention to the world.


JACOBOVICI: The DNA -- we didn't conduct the DNA tests. One of the five best paleo-DNA labs in the world, Dr. Carney Matheson, conducted the DNA tests.

COOPER: OK. Let me jump in.

Simcha, what -- just to respond to what you said, the critics would also say that the reason scientists have sort of not paid attention to this tomb is because they disregarded this long ago.

But I -- but I want to bring in Sandra.

You heard some of what Simcha is saying. Your response.

SCHAM: Well, I think my response is -- well, their -- the implication is that people disregarded this on purpose.

I mean, obviously, when they first -- first -- when the archaeologist, Kloner, first excavated these ossuaries, he noted the names. They -- they are common names. I'm not going to address the statistical analysis now.

But I might also add that, in the '90s, I believe, they excavated tombs not far from there, in north Talpiot, where they found similar names. And -- and, in those tombs, the bones themselves, they found as many as three or four individuals in one ossuary.

So, the idea that, even the inscriptions on the ossuaries really identifies the one individual therein is sort of strange. It's just there are so many anomalies here.

They don't have the direct evidence. They don't -- they have the ossuaries themselves. They are provenanced, but they are really unable to go in and reconstruct the tomb very well, except with the use of the robotic cameras and going in and -- and looking at it after the fact.


COOPER: Simcha, I want to give you the chance to respond, because what people are saying is, if -- if this -- if you really feel strongly and confident in the results you got, why not submit it to a peer-reviewed scientific journal?

JACOBOVICI: I repeat again, I got no results. I'm a filmmaker.

I have a skill set. It's journalism. I have two U.S. Emmys in investigative journalism. What I did is, I took the skills of investigative journalism and brought them to bear on a biblical archaeological story.

Now, I'm coming and telling the world in the book, in the film that's going to air on Discovery on Sunday night: Here's the evidence. Here's the DNA evidence. Here's the statistics evidence. Let's not listen to archaeologists saying -- giving their opinions about statistics. Let's go to statisticians. Let's go to forensic archaeologists, who -- I followed the scientists, and I recorded what they said, not what I say.

And now I'm reporting it to the world. And I hope that this will be the beginning of the story, not the end of the story.

COOPER: All right.

JACOBOVICI: Scientists should weigh in.

COOPER: Well, we're going to leave it there. And they certainly are weighing in.

Simcha, we appreciate your perspective, Sandra as well. Thank you very much, both of you -- interesting discussion.

The idea that Jesus is buried in a tomb goes against, of course, the teachings of the Bible, and, as it turns out, the beliefs of many Americans. Here's the raw data.

According to a poll from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 78 percent of Americans view the Bible as the word of God. Thirty-five percent of those polled say it is the actual word of God and it's to be taken literally; 43 percent say the Bible is the word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally.

The split and the uproar over this documentary raises the question, when it comes to what is in the Bible, where does science fit in, or does it ever?

CNN's Tom Foreman investigates.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The idea that God touches the Earth and makes miracles is a cornerstone belief for many Christians.


FOREMAN: John Cavadini, a theology professor at Notre Dame, teaches about miracles, and says they can't be proven or disproven by anyone.

CAVADINI: Because to believe that something is a miracle is to believe that it was a special act of God. And there's nothing that can prove that it was or wasn't a special act of God, nothing that you can observe. FOREMAN: Still, scientists try.


CHARLTON HESTON, ACTOR: Behold his mighty hand.


FOREMAN: Take the parting of the Red Sea, which allowed Moses to escape the Egyptians. The Bible says the lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind, and turned it into dry land.

Researchers with the American Meteorological Society say, indeed, intense wind or an earthquake could cause shallow water in that region to recede dramatically and then rush back in, just like the Bible says.

What about walking on water? Some researchers say it happens all the time. Although the Sea of Galilee is not known to freeze, they say, once a century or so, patches of ice appear, and maybe Jesus strolled on these.

(on camera): All this can be a slippery slope. Showing how something might be done does not prove it was done that way. And even the scientists don't always agree with each other.

(voice-over): Archaeologists have sought biblical sites all over the globe. They suggested that the ark that held the Ten Commandments might be in Ethiopia, or Egypt, or Israel. Jesus' tomb has been found in the Israeli capital, Jerusalem, not once, but three different times in different places, not to mention those researchers who think it may be in Kashmir, or even Japan.

And Noah's Ark, various sources say that great ship of biblical lore came to rest in Turkey, or Egypt, or Iran.

So, John Cavadini says it again.

CAVADINI: You can't prove that that was a miracle. You can't disprove that that was a miracle. Miracles don't prove the faith. They're invitations to faith.

FOREMAN: After all, if you have got proof, it's not really faith at all.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, up next: a sect that falls outside the mainstream and, lately, afoul of the law. They practice polygamy right here in America. They preach close-knit families, but some say they're actually tearing families apart and keeping them apart, on orders from their leader, Warren Jeffs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER (voice-over): The search for his mother, a cold wall of silence.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Elsie Jessop. Do you know Elsie Jessop?

We're looking for Elsie Jessop.

COOPER: Trying to find his mom, taking Warren Jeffs to court to do it.

Also, only on CNN, a look inside a Taliban training camp -- the deadly lessons al Qaeda is teaching them. And he should know. He says he's in touch with Osama bin Laden -- next on 360.



COOPER: We continue our focus on Afghanistan, a war many Americans seem to have forgotten about in recent months -- tonight, the hunt for Osama bin lade Laden.

There are new reports that a Taliban field commander in Afghanistan says he is in personal contact with the al Qaeda leader. In a moment, we are going to talk to CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen about those claims. Peter has been investigating the link between al Qaeda and the Taliban, an alliance that may expose U.S. troops to even greater danger in the months ahead.

Here's Peter's exclusive report.


PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST (voice-over): Mopeds loaded with explosives, young men preparing to die, attacks carried out, to deadly effect -- the Taliban claims it has thousands of suicide bombers standing by, ready to attack the Afghan government and NATO troops in a threatened spring offensive.

Taliban propaganda videos, which are widely available in markets in Afghanistan and Pakistan, brag about the jihadists' capabilities. CNN obtained the videos from a private intelligence company, IntelCenter.

Here is Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's top military commander in Afghanistan, explaining how the religious fervor of young jihadists is the perfect weapon against the might of the West.

Here he is with an international collection of Muslim extremists, today's al Qaeda in the flesh.

ART KELLER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I just fear for the day that people in the Taliban might decide that they want to start undertaking operations in different theaters of conflict. BERGEN: Former CIA officer Art Keller hunted al Qaeda last year in the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan, from which the Taliban and its allies have launched raids into Afghanistan.

KELLER: Al Qaeda is swimming in a Taliban sea. They -- really rely...

BERGEN: Keller screened the al Qaeda and Taliban videos with us, and found the suicide attacks to be particularly alarming.

A moped, a common form of transportation in Afghanistan, is packed with high explosives.

KELLER: As much explosive power as you can cram onto it -- it's like a series of networked mortar bombs.

BERGEN: The bomber, a young man dressed in the uniform of the Afghan army.

KELLER: That demonstrates the -- one of the huge problems in Afghanistan may be the degree to which sympathizers penetrate the ranks.

BERGEN (on camera): He seems pretty happy.

KELLER: Yes, he does. It's -- it's disturbing, the degree to which al Qaeda tactics, suicide tactics, are finding their way into Afghanistan. There was a huge cultural prohibition against suicide. They would fight to the death, but they would not commit suicide.

BERGEN (voice-over): The suicide bomber hits an Afghan army bus. That attack was in Kabul, just one of 139 suicide attacks in Afghanistan last year, a 400 percent increase over the previous year.

In addition to suicide attacks, the jihadists are now replicating with deadly results that signature weapon of the Iraqi insurgency, the IED. IED attacks in Afghanistan doubled last year, to 1,677, according to the U.S. military.

A military vehicle vaporizes in a massive explosion. Al Qaeda's cameras capture it all. The DVDs, which cost about 50 cents in local markets, are a preview of what could be a deadly spring, if Mullah Dadullah and his allies live up to the promise of their propaganda.


COOPER: Peter Bergen joins me now.

Peter, in a video obtained by ITN, this guy Mullah Dadullah claims that he is in contact with Osama bin Laden. He says -- and I quote -- "It's hard for anyone to meet bin Laden himself now, but we know he's still alive. He's not yet martyred. Information about him is easy to get. His comrades stand shoulder to shoulder with us. They keep us informed."

He says he hasn't actually met with him since 2001. Are -- are his claims credible? I mean, who is this guy?

BERGEN: Well, Mullah Dadullah, the guy that we saw in the piece, the top military commander -- by all accounts, quite an effective military commander -- for the Taliban, suddenly becoming more prominent, behaving a bit like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, I think, in these tapes that we have just seen, firing weapons, giving interviews to jihadist Web sites, and now also to ITN and to -- he's made, by the way, the same claim, Anderson, to Al-Jazeera, that he's in touch with bin Laden.

He's not saying that he's meeting with bin Laden, but, somehow, messages -- messages are going back and forth.

I don't think that's an implausible claim. Certainly, the Taliban and al Qaeda are, you know, together, operating -- using the same personnel, using the same techniques, et cetera. So, you know, assuming that bin Laden isn't dead, which I think is a reasonable assumption, I think it's quite plausible that top Taliban commanders are exchanging information.

COOPER: U.S. intelligence has been indicating they think bin Laden is hiding in northwest Pakistan in this area known as Chitral.

If they have been able to pinpoint his whereabouts in -- in sort of a specific area, why is it still so tough to find him?

BERGEN: Well, I think the idea that he's in the northern part of the northern-west frontier province in Pakistan, perhaps in Chitral, that's a working hypothesis. That's not really good information.

I mean, I think that's the working hypothesis of U.S. military officials that -- that we spoke to when we were in Afghanistan, if not in Chitral, perhaps just to the south in area called Bajur. But that's a hypothesis. It's not real-time information.

With Ayman al-Zawahri, the number two in al Qaeda, I think there's been better information. There have been strikes against him that narrowly missed killing him. But, with bin Laden, my strong impression, based on many conversations I have had over the years, is, there hasn't been good information about bin Laden since the battle of Tora Bora in December of 2001, when he disappeared.

COOPER: And we're seeing more and more IEDs. We're seeing more and more suicide bombings. Is that direct evidence that al Qaeda is training the Taliban in this, or is this just something that the Taliban has picked it from these videos or -- or somewhere else?

BERGEN: I think it's both, because some of the videos we just showed in the piece are al Qaeda videos. And some of the people that appear on these videos are Arabs, not Afghans.

So, you know, they're morphing together tactically and ideologically. Certainly, there's a certain amount of copycatting from Iraq. But, also, al Qaeda is helping these guys, the Taliban, do these operations.

COOPER: All right, Peter Bergen, thanks very much.

BERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, the first American wounded in Iraq and hailed as a hero four years ago, now he's back in the news with a surprise announcement: He's gay, and he wants to help overturn don't ask/don't tell.

Plus: A young man goes to court to find his mother, filing a lawsuit against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. Why he thinks Jeffs can help him -- next on 360.


COOPER: Some veterans of the war in Iraq will never forget one gruesome day, the day their lunch hour turned deadly. They were inside the mess hall, a massive tent about the size of a football field, surrounded by 10-foot-high concrete barriers. They thought they were safe. They weren't.


DEAN HOFFMEYER, PHOTOGRAPHER, "RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH: It was very quiet. And my ears were ringing. And I heard the sounds of moaning. And I heard one man scream. And that was the point that I reached for my camera and thought, somebody is going to want to see what happened in here.


CAPTAIN JUSTIN UHLER, STRYKER BRIGADE, FORT LEWIS: It just rocked the whole area. I mean, the ground physically shook.

MASTER SERGEANT SHANE BRIEL, STRYKER BRIGADE, FORT LEWIS: Oh, I would say I probably blown a good 30 -- 30 feet or more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember thinking to myself, man, a mortar round came off in here.

HOFFMEYER: It was just a very loud, very intense crack, like getting hit by a football player and punched in the face at the same time.

SPECIALIST ALEJANDRO SOTO, STRYKER BRIGADE, FORT LEWIS: I didn't know what happened at first. It just felt like somebody had pushed me. And I remember just laying there, thinking, OK, this is like when you're dead.


COOPER: What happened next would change lives forever, harden military resolve, and lead to a massive manhunt.

Don't miss a special, "Lion in the Village," tomorrow on 360 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. We have been following the story of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs for more than six months now -- tonight, a new twist in the story.

Jeffs, you will know, is awaiting trial in a Utah jail on charges stemming from a marriage he arranged between an underaged girl and a much older man.

Now he is also facing a lawsuit that appears to be the first of its kind. It was filed by a young man whose greatest wish is to find his mother.

CNN's Gary Tuchman tonight "Keeping Them Honest."


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Johnny Jessop was raised in the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church. His father had two wives. And Johnny has a lot of brothers and sisters.


TUCHMAN: And perhaps because he was the youngest, Johnny said he was doted on by his mother, Elsie.

JESSOP: I love my mother. I mean, she was the greatest mother in the world.

TUCHMAN: So, that is why it was devastating and incredibly confusing when Warren Jeffs, the leader of the polygamist sect, whose followers consider him a prophet, told Johnny's brother to pass on a message.

(on camera): So, your brother told you what?

JESSOP: He told me that Warren Jeffs wanted me out, and, if I don't get my stuff, they're going to throw it out on the street.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): So, at the age of 13, Johnny said goodbye to his mother and hit the road.

JESSOP: And she was actually crying.

TUCHMAN: He hasn't lived with mom in the five years since. He hasn't even talked to her in the last two years, because he doesn't know what happened to her.

JESSOP: I want to be reunited with my mom. I want to see her.

GREG HOOLE, ATTORNEY: It's literally unthinkable to do something other than what the prophet directly tells you to do. And, if the prophet tells you you're going to kick out your son or you're not going to talk to your son, these people do it.

TUCHMAN: Greg Hoole is a lawyer now helping Johnny Jessop.

Johnny, who says he was never close to his father, is one of an estimated 400 to 700 former members of Warren Jeffs' church known as the lost boys.

HOOLE: This is just part of a systemic pattern of Warren Jeffs kicking out young men, in order to make more women available to perpetuate the practice of polygamy.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Do you know where his mother is?

HOOLE: We don't know.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Johnny sent a letter to Warren Jeffs, who is in prison, charged with being an accomplice to rape by arranging a marriage of an underage girl.

He writes to Jeffs: "I know that you alone have the ability to allow her to see me again. Life has been so hard without her. She is the only person that I totally trust. All I want is to see her and be her son. I know she still loves me and wants to be my mother."

HOOLE: It's a simple, heartfelt request.

TUCHMAN: But, because Jeffs has not responded, a most unusual lawsuit has been filed.

HOOLE: He's not looking for money. He's not looking for anything but the opportunity to be reunited with his mother.

TUCHMAN: The suit asks a judge to compel Jeffs to disclose where Johnny's mother is. It is known in the community that Jeffs ordered Elsie Jessop to leave Johnny's father and move in with another man and his family.

(on camera): Why hasn't she called you?

JESSOP: Probably because she can't. She's being watched too close.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): So, why can't you just ask people in the church's border towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, where Elsie Jessop is?

(on camera): Ladies, can I ask you a quick question?

(voice-over): The reason: Jeffs' followers are ordered not to talk to outsiders.

We ask at the post office.

(on camera): OK. We're looking for Elsie Jessop. You don't know anything about her?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... familiar name to me.


(voice-over): We ask at the grocery store.

We're trying to find Elsie Jessop. Do you know Elsie Jessop?

(voice-over): The store manager doesn't want us there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) don't need to talk. I will call the officers and have you removed.

(voice-over): We're "Keeping Them Honest," so we get in our car and explore other parts of Jeffs' kingdom.

We go to the house where Johnny Jessop was raised by his mom. A new family now lives there, but is not at home.

A neighbor across the street surprises us by talking, saying she does know Elsie and her son, Johnny.

(on camera) He's one of the "Lost Boys" who's filed suit to try to find out where she is. You've no idea. You haven't seen her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Not that I can recollect.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): One woman is even more talkative.

(on camera) Do you know Elsie Jessop?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I knew her from her son.

TUCHMAN: We're looking for her, because her son is looking for her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I know her son. I don't know where she is right now.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Johnny, who wants nothing to do with the church or polygamy, is not surprised we found nothing. He's gone back looking himself.

JOHNNY JESSOP, SUING TO FIND MOTHER: It's been pretty hard. I don't really know how I got through it, but I did.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Johnny may very well win his lawsuit. But even if a judge orders Warren Jeffs to talk, there's no way to physically force Jeffs to do so if he doesn't want to.

(voice-over) And Johnny, who now has a job and hopes to get a GED someday, knows that.

(on camera) If you do get to see your mom, and I sure hope you do... JESSOP: Sure.

TUCHMAN: ... what's the first thing you want to do?

JESSOP: Give her a big hug and tell her how much I love her.


COOPER: What has Johnny been doing all these years since being kicked out?

TUCHMAN: The answer is quite startling and depressing. Actually, for some of the years, Johnny just lived with other kids, other "Lost Boys", no adult supervision. And he was basically squatting in houses.

Some of the time he spent with older siblings but never his mother. There were actually, Anderson, two court case in which a judge said that Johnny had to go back to his mother. His mother was at the court. But when he came back here to Hilldale, Utah, they said they didn't want him, and Johnny left again.

The last two years have been better for him. A foundation in Salt Lake City 300 miles north of here takes in Lost Boys, gives them free room and board, and that's where Johnny's been living the last couple of years.

COOPER: What are Warren Jeffs' lawyers saying about this lawsuit?

TUCHMAN: Well, it's not clear how they feel. It's also not clear who will be representing him in this case. His criminal lawyers may not represent him in this civil suit. We called the criminal lawyers, and there was no comment coming from them about this case.

But I will tell you one thing, Anderson. This place gets stranger and stranger every time we come here. It really almost feels like the old Soviet Union or the old East Germany or today's North Korea. People are just afraid to talk. They're afraid to be seen with us. Most people just really scattered on that story, because if they're seen with us, they could get in trouble.

COOPER: Hard to believe this is in the United States. Gary Tuchman, thanks.

You can read more about Johnny Jessop and his fight to find his mom on the 360 blog. Also, I'm interested, of course, in hearing your thoughts about the story. Log onto You can e-mail us your thoughts.

Straight ahead a different group of followers and another side of polygamy.


COOPER (voice-over): He said, "I do." She said, "I do." And so did she.

Practicing polygamy in a country where the law says three's a crowd.

Also, the first American wounded in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a unique story. I'm in a position to share with the American people.

COOPER: Tonight his toughest battle yet against those who think people like him can't be heroes, as well.






COOPER: Warren Jeffs made that creepy recording before becoming a fugitive and landing in a Utah jail.

Before the break, we told you about a lawsuit that appears to be the first of its kind. A young man, Johnny Jessop, now 18 years old, who is suing the polygamist leader, not for money but for information about his mother. He hasn't seen her since he was 13, when Jeffs allegedly kicked him out of his home and the church.

Jeffs has a reputation, frankly, for splitting up families in the sect. But his followers aren't the only ones living in fear. You're about to meet a man who doesn't support Warren Jeffs, but he does worry about being torn apart.

Once again, CNN's Gary Tuchman.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): He is a married man, but not just any married man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm married twice, actually, to this beautiful young lady here and to this beautiful young lady here.

TUCHMAN (on camera): And I'm wondering if any of these beautiful young ladies are going to, in time, object to you being with another beautiful young lady you consider a wife. What about you, Lisa?


TUCHMAN: Never bothers you?


TUCHMAN: What about you, Helen? Never bothers you?


TUCHMAN: There's never a time where you say, I want you to myself?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Helen was 20 when he married 21-year-old Ariel 11 years ago. Lisa was 18 when she married him two years ago.

(on camera) Were you happy when Lisa came into the house as a sister wife?


TUCHMAN: No question about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I was on cloud 11 for a long time.

TUCHMAN: That's higher than -- that's higher than cloud 9.


TUCHMAN: Would you like to see him take another wife?


TUCHMAN: And another one after that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dear God, our eternal father in heaven, we bow our heads before you this evening.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Ariel and his wives call themselves fundamentalist Mormons. He works as a math and science teacher.


TUCHMAN: They have a total of nine children. Helen has given birth to seven of them. She works as an accountant.

Lisa, who stays at home, has given birth to two, including newborn Ruben (ph), who was born prematurely and is just home from the hospital.

The oldest of the nine children is only 9 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're grateful for the lord Jesus Christ and for the prophet Joseph Smith.

TUCHMAN: Husband and wives believe the Mormon Church, which was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830, should not have abandoned polygamy.

(on camera) Do you think Joseph Smith would consider you and people who believe like you true followers?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): They are very conservative. The mercury over 100 degrees here in northern Arizona. Everyone is covering their arms and legs.

A conservative or not, our discussions got a bit free wheeling.

(on camera) You would never be with more than one wife at the same time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean in the bedroom.



TUCHMAN: I was trying not to be so blunt about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to be explicit.

TUCHMAN: Ariel and his wives live in the town of Centennial Park, that's less than five minutes away from Colorado City, Arizona, where thousands of supporters of FBI fugitive Warren Jeffs live. The people of Centennial Park do not support or follow Jeffs, but they do support the polygamist lifestyle. And because of that there is great fear here of government prosecution.

(on camera) How worried are you that some day your family could be split up? It's happened in the past. It's part of your history. How worried are you that authorities will come in here and say you're a polygamist, you're under arrest?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's definitely a concern. It's a constant concern.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): When they leave their community as a married threesome, they act low profile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I tried putting my arm around both of them when I walked into a restaurant recently. And they felt uncomfortable, so I stopped.

TUCHMAN: The children regard both women as their mothers, no matter which one gave birth to them.

(on camera) So the new baby that Lisa just gave birth to is your baby, too?


TUCHMAN: And Lisa, when I say that, is there a twinge in your heart saying, "That's my baby"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. TUCHMAN: "She came out of me."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. When I had my first baby and seeing how much Helen loved him just made me love Helen more. It was incredible.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Indeed, the wives love each other, too and admit they would be delighted with even more love in the home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would have been happy if he'd married another wife the day I got married. That is what I was hoping for.

TUCHMAN: Ariel, who comes from a family of 16 mothers and 100 siblings, says he's open to his wives' request for sister wives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When they put pressure on me to get another wife, what they really mean is pray about it. So that's what I'll do. When they get too overbearing I just get down on my knees and ask God to take this away from me.

TUCHMAN: He's open to the concept.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pray that you'll bless us with your spirit.

TUCHMAN: But Ariel says God has to give the final OK.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Centennial Park, Arizona.


COOPER: Hidden lives in America.

Coming up, he was the very first American wounded in Iraq. A decorated Marine who tonight reveals he's gay and fighting to overturn "don't ask, don't tell," when 360 continues.



LEONARDO DICAPRIO, ACTOR: The American film industry has always taking its obligations to society very seriously, and it's stepping up once again. Tonight we're proud to announce that for the first time in the history of the Oscars, this show has officially gone green.


COOPER: Well, a study found that Hollywood is actually not very green. In fact, it's a big polluter. Even though stars back environmental causes and studios crank out movies with earth-friendly messages, here's what's happening behind the scenes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reality is that a big movie production uses lots of trucks, vans, trailers and generators and lights, and that's how we make the movies that the entire world loves.


COOPER: Studio executives say they are making changes. We're "Keeping Them Honest" coming up in the next hour on 360.

Well, first a story about courage and a Marine standing up for what he believes in. Staff Sergeant Eric Alva was a Marine who gained national attention for something that happened to him in Iraq.

Tonight he's back in the spotlight, hoping to change something happening right here at home.


COOPER (voice-over): He was the first U.S. military serviceman wounded in Iraq.

STAFF SGT. ERIC ALVA, U.S. MARINE: Does everybody know how I got hurt?

COOPER: And one of the first Iraq vets to receive a Purple Heart. Marine Sergeant Eric Alva became an instant celebrity. He had some pretty high-profile visitors while he was recovering, including President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld.

He sat down with everyone from Oprah Winfrey to elementary school students to tell his story. And what a story it was. Alva was wounded just three hours into the ground war on March 21, 2003. He stepped on a land mine, and it exploded.

ALVA: As I was laying there on the ground and I was bleeding and stuff, and I just kept praying to God to not let me, you know, pass away because I still wanted to see my mom and dad and my sisters.

COOPER: Alva ran marathons before the war. In the explosion, he lost his right leg. And at first thought, he lost a lot more, a sense of who he was.

ALVA: I remember, you know, thinking, you know, crying and just thinking, you know, like I don't want to be like this, God, just take me. I can't be like this, you know. And the biggest road to recovery is the first part is accepting that you're injured, accepting that you are disabled now, an amputee. But in the beginning, I didn't.

COOPER: He finally did accept his disability and learned to drive with one foot.

Alva has always talked openly about his injuries and his struggle to recover, but there was one thing he didn't talk about publicly until today.

ALVA: I have a unique story. I'm in a position to share with the American people why I have come forward. I was the first American wounded when the war started, and who would have ever guessed that the first American wounded was a gay Marine? COOPER: Alva announced he was gay at a news conference held to call for a change to the "don't ask, don't tell" law that prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military.

ALVA: I come forward to you today to help Congressman Meehan and others to show that there are people like myself among the ranks of men and women in the armed forces. I ask that you give them the chance to serve openly, to have the opportunity to be judged for who they are.


COOPER: Well, I spoke with Eric Alva earlier tonight.


COOPER: Eric, you've been retired now from the Marines since 2004. Why are you speaking out now about this?

ALVA: It took a while for me to realize after I got injured, you know, I knew I was going to be discharged from the United States Marine Corps. I wasn't going to make it a career anymore. You know, subsequently losing my leg, I knew I didn't want to. It would have been hard.

And I guess after, you know, being discharged and starting a new chapter in my life, going to school to be a social worker, I knew I wanted to do more.

And the basis of that foundation really came from my partner, you know, encouraging me to -- because I've always mentioned that at home and often that I wanted to help people, and I just didn't know how. And then it hit me, you know, this is the time. This is -- this is what I want to do.

I want to empower people. I want to help people. I want to lobby. I want to make sure that people are treated equally in this country.

COOPER: What was it like being a gay Marine?

ALVA: It was difficult at times. I -- of course, one of my key moments of stress came when the policy was about to be implemented in 1993. We started having these meetings, these briefings of what the policy was going to be like and how we should adapt to it and adjust to it or, you know, go along once it was implemented.

So my fear was that, you know, the topic of gay people in the military was always coming up too often. I thought that maybe I was going to, you know, show too much, you know, distress and finally be caught or something.

COOPER: I want to read you something that someone who opposes having gays in the military said, retired Lieutenant Colonel Bob Maginnis. He said, "We're not making a moral judgment about homosexuality. We're making a judgment that, as a category of people, their suitability for the type of mission, the 24/7 very remote location, zero privacy, very demanding, never off duty environment is just not there."

What do you think?

ALVA: I beg to differ. I beg to differ on that statement. Because the 24/7, the capability of what a person, a man or a woman, regardless if they're gay or straight, anybody can do the job that they want to do if they apply themselves.

And as a gay Marine myself, you know, there was a lot of stressful moments in the military, because it's not an easy job. And my No. 1 goal was, of course, to do the job at hand and accomplish the mission that I was given and everything.

COOPER: So there may be some people who were watching who say, well, look, why do you need to come forward? I mean, there's this policy. You can serve, but you just can't talk about it. You can't be open about it. What's wrong with that?

ALVA: You know, people are going to -- people are exactly going to say that, you know, that there's a policy already in place, you know. People just, you know, want people to come in the military and, you know, you can serve. That's what we're telling you: you can serve but we just don't want to hear about it.

Either way, regardless of the fact that people even under that policy and people who want to follow that policy are missing the whole point at issue, Anderson.

I mean, you know, what we're doing is continuing to discriminate -- discriminate against people in general. I mean, we have to look at overall -- the overall big picture of what harm will it do. I mean, unit cohesion is going to still exist.

Because you know, serving alongside people who knew I was gay, you know, when we had to build foxholes or something, you know, before going into Iraq and things like that, the fact of the matter is that I was watching someone else's back because I was protecting them from the enemy and vice versa. They were protecting -- protecting my back.

The issue is not at hand about, you know, still keeping a secret. The issue at hand is how people are still being treated in this country. And the ban needs to be lifted so that we send a signal to the rest of the world that we treat our people in this country fairly and equally and with all the rights and the freedoms that everyone else still gets.

COOPER: Well, Eric, it's an honor to talk to you. I appreciate you talking today. Thank you.

ALVA: Thank you. I appreciate it, likewise.


COOPER: Well, just ahead. Another announcement today by another war veteran. He's gunning for the White House. Not a surprise but still news. Coming up, how it changes the race.

Plus, from hybrid cars to hemp clothing stores, they love to talk green. But there's new evidence that shows Hollywood may not be so green at all. We're "Keeping Them Honest" when 360 continues.


COOPER: Some breaking news in east central Kansas. You can see there on the radar a massive storm front that brought tornados, heavy rain and hail through the region.

The storms destroyed at least one house, damaged a couple buildings, knocked down power lines and trees and also left flash floods in their wake. Video you're seeing there from KC-TV. Flash flood warnings were issued in six counties in Kansas and across the border in Missouri.

No reports of injuries so far. We'll keep watching it.

Kiran Chetry joins us right now with some of the other headlines and a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Anderson, federal judge in Miami ruling today that suspected al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla is mentally competent to stand trial on terrorist and conspiracy charges and to assist in his own defense, even if he chooses not to do so.

Padilla's trial is set to begin April 16, although lawyers in the case said that several pending motions could actually delay its start.

And in another Florida courtroom, a three-judge panel upheld a lower court ruling giving custody of Anna Nicole Smith's remains to her infant daughter's court-appointed guardian. The court lifted the stay placed last week on the earlier ruling. This now clears the way for the former "Playboy" Playmate to be buried in the Bahamas next to her son.

On Wall Street, stocks rebounded after yesterday's brutal sell- off that shaved 416 points off the Dow. It was the biggest single day point loss in almost five and a half years.

Trading was volatile, but the Dow closed 52 points higher today. The S&P 500 added nearly 8, and the NASDAQ climbed more than 8 points, as well.

And helping to calm investors' anxiety today, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who testified before the House Budget Committee. Bernanke told lawmakers that the market seemed to be working well and that yesterday's sell-off has not changed the Fed's view on U.S. economic growth.

That's a look at your business and news. Anderson, back to you. COOPER: Kiran, thanks very much.

Time for the "Shot". I don't know if you've seen this, Kiran. Baby Sumatran tiger twins and two 5-month-old orangutans that have apparently become fast friends. All four were abandoned by their mother shortly after birth. Aw.

For the past month, they lived side by side at a zoo in Indonesia. They play, they nap together in the same nursery.

Sadly, one of the veterinarians says the friendship is not likely to last. As they grow up, sure, their natural survival instincts are going to kick in, which is kind of a polite way of saying the tigers will start looking at their friends as food.

Tigers start eating meat when they're three months old. Let's hope by then the four are separated.

Coming up, it really is a jungle out there when it comes to the presidential race, as we'll show you. Another big cat just got into it today on the David Letterman show, no less.

Later, what about Al Gore. Fresh from victory at the Oscars, the Gore presidential buzz, well, is growing. Talk about that next on 360.


COOPER: Tonight, it could change everything that two billion Christians believe about the death of Jesus. But some are calling it a publicity stunt of biblical proportions. We're talking about the new documentary, "The Lost Tomb of Jesus".

To say it's causing a stir would be a massive understatement. Just ahead we'll look at the film and the facts. We'll hear from the people who made the movie and the scientists who say it just doesn't add up.


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