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Michael Jackson's Death: Accident or Homicide?; Talking With the Taliban?

Aired July 9, 2009 - 22:00   ET


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, breaking news in the Michael Jackson investigation, a source close to the family telling us they are aware it could turn into a criminal probe.

And 360 has learned the scope of that probe is widening, in fact, a picture coming into focus of a multi-doctor, multistate, multifaceted human conveyor belt used to provide Michael Jackson exactly what he wanted, and apparently what he wanted in great quantities, powerful prescription drugs.

Randi Kaye has been breaking stories all week long. And she joins us once again tonight with this 360 exclusive live from Los Angeles.

So, Randi, I know you're learning easily described as some very disturbing details into Michael Jackson's alleged drug history.

What are you finding?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, I have right here actually a confidential police document.

Now, this is from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office. It is from 2004. It contains confidential interviews done with two of Michael Jackson's former security guards, interviews done in preparation for the child molestation case against Jackson.

He was acquitted in that case, you may recall, but there is plenty right here that really paints a very dark picture of Jackson's apparent drug habit and the sophisticated operation that was in place to apparently help him get the drugs and the doctors he may have been getting those drugs from.

We are not naming the security guards, but, according to this document that we have, one of them told investigators Jackson was taking -- quote -- "10-plus Xanax pills a night." And he said that he expressed concerns about that to other Jackson employees, and was told by one -- quote -- Jackson "was doing better" because he was down from 30 to 40 Xanax pills a night, down from that.

So, 30 to 40 Xanax pills a night. This is information, Erica, coming right from his own security guards.

HILL: Those -- and those numbers are just -- they're almost unfathomable, Randi. What is there in that document, if anything, that's a little bit more specific about how Jackson supposedly got his hands on all of those drugs?

KAYE: One of the security guards told investigators that he would get Xanax prescriptions at pharmacies for Jackson under -- quote -- "fictitious names," including the security guard's own name. He named three other employees who said -- who he said were also getting prescriptions for the pop star under their names.

Now, the other security guard questioned actually backed that up. According to the document, he also said he had picked up prescriptions for Jackson that were in other people's names.

HILL: So, what about the doctors, then, Randi? What did security guards say about the doctors that Jackson was apparently getting the drugs and the prescriptions from?

KAYE: Well, we're not going to name the doctors, but one of the security guards actually named five doctors that he said were writing prescriptions for Michael Jackson. Again, not all of those prescriptions were in Michael Jackson's name.

This security guard said, in several states across the country, New York, Florida, California, just to name a few, he personally drove Jackson to different doctors' offices, which really paints a picture of doctor-shopping.

And that is in line with what our source close to the investigation is telling us. He told us that investigators want to interview every doctor who ever treated Jackson. So, if he was going around the country getting prescriptions, you can see how wide the net really seems to be getting in this investigation.

HILL: It's amazing to think about. Did any of these former employees ever use the word addiction?

KAYE: Well, one of the security guards described Jackson as sharp and -- quote -- "in tune" before the doctors' visits. And, then, afterward, he said he would be -- quote -- "out of it" and sedated.

Now, that same guard said that he talked to one of the doctors. He told investigators that the doctor told him -- quote -- "Jackson was addicted to Demerol," but said he was giving Jackson a placebo to wean him off of it.

Now, according to the document that we have, the security guard who really provided most of the information here quit his job with Jackson after he says -- quote -- "Jackson fell on his face in a hotel room and hurt himself."

This employee told investigators that he told Jackson he was just not comfortable getting prescriptions for him, and he left the job.

HILL: Wow, some incredible information there. I know you also spoke with a friend of Jackson's, the guy who apparently tried to jump-start his career in Las Vegas after the child molestation trial. Did he have any insight for you?

KAYE: He sure did.

We spoke with man a named Jack Wishna. And he's known as sort of an international deal-maker. And he knew Jackson for 10 years, he told us. He said that, when they were trying to get his show started in Vegas back in 2006, he often appeared -- quote -- "drugged-up and incoherent." That's how he described Michael Jackson.

He said, sometimes, he was so weak -- that's his word -- so emaciated and thin, that he had to use a wheelchair, that Michael Jackson was getting around Las Vegas in a wheelchair. Now, eventually, the stage show and the comeback was canceled, because this man told me that he just said -- he just said he just wasn't up to it.

KAYE: It's incredible to -- to picture Michael Jackson getting around in a wheelchair in that state.

HILL: He mentioned that he was drugged-up, appeared drugged-up. But did he ever witness Jackson taking any drugs? And, if -- and, if so, what were they?

KAYE: Well, he says that Michael Jackson would never use drugs in front of anyone. He just said, that's something that he never did.

But he said, the general attitude among Jackson's employees and his doctors who hung around him all the time was -- quote -- "Let's keep the golden goose going and let's just keep him happy." He said, nobody really tried to stop Jackson from taking all the drugs and from harming himself.

He said that he -- he was taking all kinds of drugs, including the Xanax that I mentioned earlier, 30 or 40 pills a night at one point. It's just really hard to believe.

HILL: And it's a sad picture on so many levels.

Randi Kaye, thank you.

"Digging Deeper" now into not only the sheer magnitude of these drugs, but also the type, and -- and how anyone could get to this point.

We want to bring in 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, when -- when you listen to some of the that information that Randi just gave us, as many as 10 Xanax a night, down from 30 to 40, how is that possible that someone could actually take that much of -- of this drug?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I will tell you, nothing about this has been -- been normal or usual.

So, the first thing that struck me, as a doctor, is, I want to know, you know, what the dosage of these pills were.

But, leaving that aside, no matter how you cut it, this is an extremely high dose of Xanax. Typically, what happens, Erica, in situations like this, is that people start off taking a few, and they take more and more, and they build up tolerance. That's something that people are familiar with.

You just eventually get to a point where you're taking more and more. When we were studying addiction, for example, for a CNN special, one of the pain doctors told me that he had a patient that took 80 Vicodin a day, 80 Vicodin a night. So, you can get to that point. It is -- it is very, very rare, but -- but it can happen.

HILL: And you mention addiction. Xanax is actually -- actually highly addictive, correct?

GUPTA: It is -- it is very highly addictive. And that's determined by a couple of things.

One is that, if you stop taking it, the withdrawal is just awful. People can have tremors. They can even have seizures. They get the shakes. They can have sweats. It's a really, really awful process. And that usually is what dictates -- dictates addiction.

HILL: Well, one other -- one other person is reported to mention an addiction to Demerol, which was reportedly, according to this person, being treated at that time by a doctor with placebos. Would there be any connection between the treatment perhaps for an addiction to Demerol and -- and this seeming addiction to Xanax?

GUPTA: You know, these are two entirely different classes of drugs.

When you are talking about pain pill -- or pain medications like Demerol -- and the Xanax falls into what is known as a benzodiazepine, big name, but a different class of drugs. There are various medications you use to sort of wean people off narcotics or wean people off benzos. But you don't usually inter -- interchange them. So, to say that they were giving Demerol to wean off Xanax or something like that, or vice versa, seems -- seems very unlikely.

HILL: Is the Demerol any sort of a red flag to you? I mean, that's a big pain medicine, isn't it?

GUPTA: I'll tell you what. Absolutely. I think it's a red flag. And when you start mixing these types of medications at the doses that we're talking about, you're talking about something catastrophic potentially happening here.

Specifically, you start to shut down one's ability to drive their own breathing. So, they're just simply not able to breathe on their own. And they can lapse into coma, obviously, as a result of that. So, yes, it's a huge red flag. Even with the tolerance that I was just talking about, these doses are just exceedingly high for any human being.

HILL: It's amazing that -- that a body or a person could withstand any of that.

As we heard from Randi, it sounded like there was a lot of -- or there was a lot of visiting of doctors around the country, what a lot of people might call doctor-shopping.

GUPTA: You know what is so -- yes, there was. And I -- and I saw some of that same stuff.

You know what's interesting, as we have been investigating this, Erica, over the last couple of weeks now, is that how little regulation there is towards preventing that very thing. I mean, doctor-shopping does occur, 100 percent. I can tell you it occurs. I have patients in my neurosurgical practice who I know have doctor- shopped in the past.

You go from one pharmacy to the next. You can forge names. You get medications in all sorts of different ways. And it's very hard to stop. What we really need and what this speaks to, I think, Erica, is some sort of national registry that can, minute-by-minute, track the -- the people who are obtaining this level of medication, narcotics, benzodiazepines, and other drugs, that are potentially dangerous in these doses.

So, we don't have it. And it's remarkable how much this sort of thing happens.

HILL: I only have time for a quick yes or no. But do you think that is something that could actually change just based on the celebrity of this case in particular?

GUPTA: I think people are talking about this more than ever before. They're talking about substances being controlled. The answer -- you said a quick answer.


GUPTA: The answer is yes.

HILL: All right, good. I will take it.

GUPTA: All right.

HILL: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, always good to have you with us. Thanks.

GUPTA: Thanks, Erica.

HILL: Well, let us know what you think about all this. Join the live chat happening right now at I'm on there, and along with some of the staff here at A.C. 360.

As you may have noticed, though, Anderson is not with us tonight. That's because he's on his way to Africa for an exclusive interview with President Obama.

Up next, though, it's another 360 exclusive tonight, Michael Ware uncovering the outlines of a potential deal to end the fighting in Afghanistan. Learn who's pitching it, how it would work. And the gotcha here? A sit-down with the Taliban leader who right now has a $10 million American bounty on his head.

And, a little bit later, a look at the lives of the Jackson brothers and sisters, some famous, some forgotten.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has always said that his family is first and his fans are second.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I know that he's so happy that you are here supporting him.


HILL: LaToya, Marlon, Tito, Rebbie, what they're doing today -- when 360 continues.


HILL: Tonight, a 360 exclusive about a possible opportunity to end the fighting in Afghanistan.

What used to be called America's forgotten war is now America's fastest-growing war and President Obama's top priority. At least 635 Americans have died in combat there since the fighting began. There's a massive American offensive under way right now, and no one expects it to be the last one. But what if it could be?

Tonight, in a 360 exclusive, Michael Ware has learned about talks involving Pakistan and the Taliban and how a deal to end attacks on Western forces just might -- might -- be reached.


MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I came to these mountains to unravel how the Taliban in Afghanistan are based from here across the border in Pakistan.

In these remote mountain valleys of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, the Taliban can hide, train, smuggle weapons, and launch military strikes against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

For generations, the border here has been little more than a vague blur among the peaks. And that is what is crippling the American effort in Afghanistan.

(on camera): To put it simply, America cannot win the war in Afghanistan. It certainly can't win it with bombs and bullets, and it can't win it in Afghanistan alone. But part of the answer lies here, where I'm standing, in these mountain valleys in Pakistan on the Afghan border, because this is al Qaeda and Taliban territory. Right now, there's as many as 100 Taliban on that mountaintop between the snowcapped peaks and amid those trees. They're currently under siege from local villages, who are driving them from their bunkers. But, at the end of the day, it's the Pakistani military who tolerates the presence of groups like the Taliban.

And it's not until America can start cutting deals with these people that there's any hope of the attacks on American troops coming to an end.

(voice-over): The key leader the U.S. may have to deal with is this man, Mullah Mohammed Omar, the one-eyed cleric who actually created the Taliban and led its regime, the man who, after the 9/11 attacks, sheltered Osama bin Laden, choosing war with the U.S., rather than surrender bin Laden.

Even with a $10 million reward on his head, Mullah Omar has defied all American attempts to capture or kill him. He still commands the Afghan Taliban as they continue killing U.S. and NATO troops. He and other top commanders do all of this, according to U.S. intelligence, from sanctuaries here in Pakistan.

It was the Pakistan military who helped create the Taliban. When the CIA was funding many of these same Afghan groups in the 1980s in their war against the Soviets, it was the Pakistan military that delivered the money, expertise and weapons, like Stinger missiles.

Now, for the first time, in this CNN interview, the Pakistan military concedes it still maintains contact with the Taliban. At the military headquarters, we met Major General Athar Abbas, who concedes, the army's links with the Taliban were toned down after 9/11, but:

MAJOR GENERAL ATHAR ABBAS, PAKISTANI ARMY SPOKESMAN: But, having said that, no intelligence organization in the world shuts its last door on any other organization.

WARE: And, more than talking to the Taliban, the general says the Pakistan military can actually get the Taliban to sit down with the United States and broker a cease-fire.

(on camera): And that's where Pakistan can perhaps provide valuable assistance to the American mission?

ABBAS: I think, yes, that can be worked out. That's possible.

WARE (voice-over): And this is one of the men who says he can help work that deal.

GENERAL HAMID GUL (RET.), FORMER ISI DIRECTOR GENERAL: People like me, who serve the cause of the freedom of Afghanistan.

WARE: Former CIA ally General Hamid Gul, once the head of Pakistan's equivalent of the CIA, known as the ISI, he is famed as the godfather of the Taliban.

GUL: The guarantees can be given, no problem. WARE (on camera): How? In terms of American national interests, who does America need to dialogue with?

GUL: Mullah Omar, nobody else.

WARE (voice-over): Mullah Omar, the most important Taliban leader.

But to get him and the other Taliban to the table, Pakistan wants something in return. It wants the United States to use its influence to rein in Pakistan's number-one military rival, India.


WARE: India's close association with the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan worries the Pakistanis. And the Pakistanis accuse India of supporting armed separatists in one of Pakistan's provinces.

Senior U.S. officials tell CNN, the Obama administration is willing to raise those concerns with India, and that the U.S. is willing to talk with Mullah Omar and other Taliban commanders -- Erica.

HILL: It will be interesting to see if those talks ever actually happen.

Michael Ware live for us in Baghdad with that exclusive, thanks.

Just ahead tonight, one of the least likely stories imaginable: a brutal war erupting between a polygamist sect and Mexican drug cartels.

And the latest from Iran, where nighttime chants of "God is great" are giving way to daytime battle cries of "Death to the dictator" and a brutal response from the government -- all that and more ahead on 360.


HILL: Coming up: A polygamist sect in Mexico takes on the drug cartel, with deadly consequences.

But, first, Randi Kaye joining us again with a 360 bulletin.

Hey, Randi.

KAYE: Hi there, Erica.

We begin with the deadliest day in Iraq since American forces pulled out of Iraqi cities, at least 60 killed today in bombings throughout the country. The worst attack was in the northern city of Tal Afar.

The U.S. government is warning that the swine flu may be back, and be back stronger, by fall. At a flu summit today, officials said a vaccine should be ready by mid-October. Underscoring the urgency, President Obama interrupted his work at the G8 Summit to address the conference by phone.

Recent studies show that Americans still are not inclined to splurge at the mall. Sales trackers Thomson Reuters says retail sales for June fell 4.9 percent, compared to a gain of 1.9 percent the year before. This was the 10th straight monthly sales decline.

And are you interested in a green-collar job? Do you keep track of your frenemies? Are you planning a frugal staycation?


KAYE: Do you even know what I'm talking about?

If not, you can look it up. They are three of about 100 new words added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Check it out. The green-collar is an adjective used to describe people who work with the environment. A frenemy, in case you want to know, is essentially a -- a fake friend. And a staycation is a vacation spent at home or nearby.


KAYE: I like the staycation. I tried it recently. And I got to tell you, it was very relaxing.

HILL: It was good. I remember hearing very positive reports on it, because, Randi, we're really friends, not frenemies.

KAYE: That's right.


KAYE: So, you know I staycationed.


HILL: I do.

Randi, thanks.

Just ahead on 360: American polygamists battling Mexican drug cartels, it is a fight that has now turned deadly -- the story and the secrets behind a compound full of U.S. citizens just ahead.

And, a bit later, his brothers and sisters, Michael Jackson's siblings, their sorrow, their struggles -- tonight, an "Up Close" look at all of them -- when 360 continues.


HILL: Two more Americans dead as a result of the violence in Mexico, those victims gunned down this week by drug cartel killers.

Now, in addition to being U.S. citizens, they were also members of a large polygamist sect with roots on this size of the border.

Gary Tuchman has been following this story. He joins us now from El Paso, Texas.

Gary, kind of an odd entwine here of two stories that 360 has been following very closely.


Over the last several months -- and several years, for that matter -- we have done a lot of stories about polygamy and a lot of stories about Mexican drug cartel violence, but we never imagined the two topics would mesh like this in a very tragic way.

We're in El Paso, Texas. Just to our south is the Mexican state of Chihuahua. In Chihuahua, there's a small town that was founded about 80 years ago by American Mormons from Utah who went down there because they were angry the Mormon Church decided to make polygamy against the religion. So, they settled there.

Eighty years later, not all of the people are polygamists, but they are all very vocal against drug cartel violence. Well, apparently, they made members of the drug cartel very mad.

This week, about 15 gunmen went inside one of the homes, dragged two men out of the homes who are both American citizens who have 10 children between them and killed them in a very violent way.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): How did hundreds and hundreds of American polygamists end up living in Mexico for the last eight decades? After the mainstream Mormon Church abandoned the practice of polygamy in the 1890s, not all Mormons were happy about it.

Some groups that wanted to continue the practice of plural marriage broke off from the church. Some settled here on the Arizona- Utah border. Others who did not want interference from U.S. law enforcement moved north to British Columbia, Canada.

And, in 1924, the LeBaron family moved south to Mexico, 130 miles from El Paso, Texas, in the town of Galeana in the state of Chihuahua. It's where community members started the Church of the Firstborn of the Fullness of Times. They have lived here for a good part of the century, about 1,000 of them working as farmers.

And, though illegal in Mexico, like the U.S., some still practice polygamy. Today, members of the LeBaron family are very well-known in the local community for their opposition to the drug cartels and their kidnappings.

BENJAMIN LEBARON, CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN OF THE FULLNESS OF TIMES: We want to be an inspiration and -- and a -- and the conscience of all the afflicted people from kidnapping.

TUCHMAN: This man, 32-year-old Benjamin LeBaron, would not back down to the cartels after his 16-year-old brother, Eric, was kidnapped this past May. He refused to pay a $1 million ransom. But Eric was eventually released.

Benjamin LeBaron held rallies and marched on the state capital when another church member was kidnapped. And, earlier this week, the man you see in the video, Benjamin LeBaron, was killed, dragged from his home, and shot gangland-style. The LeBarons have been part of this Mexican community for decades. And with the recent drug violence crippling the country, they suffer along with them.


HILL: Really, Gary, it seems pretty obvious that this killing was some sort of message to this community that really had been fighting back. So, what's the reaction been in the community? Are they essentially backing down?

TUCHMAN: Well, you're right. It was a message.

There was a note found near the bodies that said: We are very angry that 25 of our people were arrested following these killings, arrested for drug violations. They said, don't ever do it again. And there was note. It was a warning clearly.

But the members of this town, Colonial LeBaron, say they will not back down. They admit they're scared. They say they don't have arms. Mexican weapons laws are very strict, so they don't have guns to protect themselves. That worries them.

But they say they will continue to fight. They will continue to make an issue about this. At the very least, they want more protection from the state government in Chihuahua and the national government out of Mexico City.

HILL: All right, Gary, thanks.

Tell us what you think about this story. You can join the live chat. It's happening right now at

And we're going to keep Gary Tuchman around, because we're going to dig a little bit deeper on this battle between the polygamists and the Mexican drug cartels. We will take a look at what's at stake here, what this means for America. We are going to take you inside that war next door.

Plus, there are allegations of racism at a Philadelphia-area pool. Dozens of children say they were kicked out simply because of their race. The swim club denies it. We have the details.


HILL: Before the break we told you about a polygamist community, a breakaway sect from the Mormon Church, called Mexico home. Hundreds of Americans belong to this polygamist group, and this week two of its members were killed by a drug cartel. They were described as crime fighters who stood up to the cartels and who died defending what they believe in.

Fred Burton is a counterterrorism expert joining us tonight from Austin, Texas. Also with us Gary Tuchman, who is in El Paso tonight.

Fred, Americans, as we learned from Gary, beaten, dragged out of their homes and murdered in cold blood. It seems pretty brazen, but in some respects is this really just another day, sadly, in Mexico?

FRED BURTON, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: Erica, I'm afraid you're right. The area where this took place is a disputed territory. You have the Juarez and the Sinaloa cartel fighting over this geography.

What I find more troubling is that this location has the largest concentration of Mexican federal law enforcement and military than any place we have ever seen here at Stratfor, following Mexico for the past two or three years.

So I look at this more as a failure on the part of the Mexican authorities to protect Mr. Le Baron and his family after the abduction of his brother.

HILL: What do you think that failure stems from? Is it the fact that the government simply can't control these drug cartels? Or is it more about corruption?

BURTON: I think it's a combination of both. I think that you're looking at the inability to secure and hold territory. I think you're looking at intelligence gaps here as to what this group may do. And it's really unclear as to who may have murdered him, although the leading suspects are clearly probably El Chapo who leads the Sinaloa cartel.

HILL: Gary, you talked a little bit before the break about the residents there, how they're not backing down and they're afraid. But have they talked at all about whether or not they feel they're getting any support from the local law enforcement? And this was, essentially we're told there was an anonymous tip and that two guys end up dead?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have had troops move into their town right now. So they take relief about that. But they are absolutely still scared, as are many people throughout the entire nation of Mexico.

My team and I were in Tijuana a couple of months ago, and we talked to a family with small children. The small children never leave their house anymore. The parents talk about how they were out all hours of the night when they were kids. Mexico is a very difficult place to live right now because there's so much terror, and people are just very frightened everywhere, particularly in this little town, Colonia Le Baron.

One thing that was surprising, though, and Fred, I want to pose this to you, a point that Gary brought up earlier, was the fact that Eric, the little brother, 16-year-old brother of Benjamin Le Baron, one of the victims Gary told us about, was kidnapped recently, held for ransom. They wanted a million dollars. The family didn't pay, and they returned this young boy. That sounds like it's rather out of character. BURTON: It is. It's very odd that no ransom was exchanged. And I find that very odd. Now, of course, this could be a new tactic, meaning if no money was paid to release this child, that may be a new public relations kind of move that the kidnap and ransom negotiators may have taken. Just don't announce that a ransom was actually paid.

HILL: OK. So they made an announcement.

Moving forward, basically, Fred, I have to say it doesn't paint a real -- it doesn't give a lot of confidence of how things are run in Mexico. But do you think that they are starting to make effective changes?

BURTON: We see no stop or slowdown this year of the violence. In fact, we're trending on the same kind of body count stats from last year. There's no segment, as Gary said, that's -- of the country that's not touched by this cartel violence. And again, and I hate to say it, but this is just another day in Mexico.

HILL: We hope something will change soon, but it makes you wonder when. Fred Burton, good to have you with us.

And Gary Tuchman, thank you.

Fred Burton, by the way, writing about America's role in Mexico's surging gun trade. It's a fascinating read. You can check it out at

He also clarifies some of the numbers that have been out there in terms of how many guns are actually coming to Mexico from the U.S. A great read there.

Tomorrow night we have a 360 investigation with some help from Erin Brockovich. A crusader, a champion for people's rights, we actually teamed up her with on a story -- you won't believe it -- about the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. It is not over yet.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a preview.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Desperation is mounting here. Families are terrified about their health.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Death, cancer. Everyone deserves a future.

GUPTA: This is the largest environmental disaster ever.

ERIN BROCKOVICH, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: We have to convince someone that inhaling cancer-causing chemicals is bad for you. It just doesn't make any sense to me at all. Somebody has to protect these people because they're going to find out ten years too late. It will be the "oops" moment -- "I do have cancer. I am sick" -- and then there will no recourse for them.


HILL: Everyone deserves a future, and they also deserve answers. That story, the search for justice, tomorrow night here on 360.

Coming up tonight on 360, new protests erupting in Iran. Thousands take to the streets, and not just demonstrators.

And later, family tragedy. A look at the Jackson siblings, from their very public grief to their private lives. An up-close look just ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael, when you left us, a part of me went with you. A part of you will live forever within me.



HILL: In Iran an anniversary sparking new protests today. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 people filling the streets of Tehran on the tenth anniversary of a major student uprising there against the Islamic regime.

Protestors using this occasion to resume demonstrations against the outcome of last month's presidential election. Police armed with batons dispersed crowds with tear gas.

The new demonstrations come after a relative lull following last month's bloody crack down.

Joining me now, Reza Azlan. He's the author of "How to Win Caustic War" and a contributor to "The Daily Beast." It's always good to have you with us.

REZA AZLAN: Thanks, Erica.

Today is the tenth anniversary of that uprising at Tehran University. I think most important, they're more experienced now than they were a decade ago. The uprising at Tehran university often referred to as the 18 tier massacre, That was the date the massacre occurred, which is today of course, July 9, was primarily students, university students calling for greater rights, greater freedoms. And it was easy for the government at that time to just say that this was a threat to the stability of the state and then to crush the protestors without any kind of response, any kind of reaction or consequences.

Ten years later the protestors now are a little bit more sophisticated. They understand that the way to change this regime is by using the legal means that the regime gives you, limited as they are, to your advantage to, in a sense, shame the regime, to say that what you stand for is not what you are actually doing in practice. And in a way it makes it much harder to stamp out a movement by just opening fire on protestors like they did ten years ago. HILL: Well, and it's also easier to get that message out because of the technology that's available to them today.

AZLAN: Well, you're absolutely right. You know, ten years ago there was this incredibly iconic movement that I wrote about in the Daily Beast today when a young protestor by the name of Ahmed Batavi (ph) took a shirt stained with blood and held it aloft. And that picture, which was splashed on the cover of "The Economist" the next day, became really the symbol for that student uprising.

No, multiply that by 100, by 1,000. I mean, you think of the image of that poor woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, who was shot by a Basij member and watching her slowly pass away. That image was seen millions of times around the world. So it's a whole new world that these protestors are dealing with, as well.

HILL: And you mentioned, too, using that to their advantage, not in the way they protest but the technology to shame the regime into showing that they are not what they say they are. At this point though, is there any way for the Iranian government to regain its religious or even its electoral legitimacy, or is that irreparably tarnished?

AZLAN: It is irreparably tarnished. Perfect way of putting it Erica. Unless this government figures out some way to at least address some of the grievances and demands of this massive protest movement, which is not really a pro-reform movement. It's really an anti-Ahmadinejad movement that has swept up at least half of the population if not more. It's going to have a real legitimacy problem moving forward.

HILL: But in terms of -- there's that problem but then there's also the reality, which sometimes is tough to understand in a country like the U.S.

We're a little tight on time. What is -- what are the chances that we're going to see real regime change in Iran or even democracy one day?

AZLAN: Well, you're definitely going to see democracy one day. I mean, the Iran of 2009 bears no resemblance to the Iran of 1979 or '89 or for that matter '99.

Seventy percent of the population under 30, 50 percent under 24. Democracy is coming to this country, but it's going to be a long, slow process. And right now, the real issue is that the revolutionary guard, the military intelligence apparatus is becoming much more politicized. They're gaining control over the state, and this has really galvanized some of the major factors within the regime itself to join the protest movement.

HILL: Truly just the beginning of the story. Reza Azlan, always great to have you. Thanks.

AZLAN: Thanks, Erica. HILL: At the G-8 summit in Italy, President Obama said G-8 members and their partners in the world's emerging economies have made important strides in combating climate change.

The critics were quick to point out the meeting didn't produce specific targets for reducing greenhouse emissions -- greenhouse gas emissions, that is.

Tomorrow Mr. Obama will meet with the pope, and then it is on to Ghana where he'll sit down with Anderson for an exclusive interview.

Back at home, President Obama has a lot on his plate. And there are new poll numbers that suggest some of his supporters are growing impatient. Tom Foreman has the "Raw Politics."


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost six months after taking office, President Obama is still taking the world by storm. Highly popular overseas and at home, too.

However, the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found a Jekyll and Hyde side to his support. Seventy percent of those surveyed say he is a strong leader. Almost as many say he is tough enough, but just 53 percent say he has a clear plan for solving country's problems.

All three measures are way down from February. At "The Washington Post" Chris Cillizza is watching the shifting tides. He says Democrats are holding firm; it's the independents who are restless.

JOHN CILLIZZA, "THE WASHINGTON POST": People are saying, wait a minute. We elected this guy to fix the economy. Is it unfair to expect the president to fix the economy in six months? Yes. Does that mean it doesn't matter in terms of politics? No. The key to Democratic successes, both in 2006 and as well as President Obama's win in 2008 is that independents largely voted like Democrats.

FOREMAN: On the recession, health care, and the wars, the president wants patience.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Change doesn't happen overnight.

FOREMAN (on camera): But even overseas reviews are now mixed. A new international study found that in many nations, including China, Mexico, and Indonesia, people believe President Obama will push America's relations with their countries in the right direction eventually.

(voice-over) But so far they find those policies still lacking on military power, respecting international law, global warming.

Steven Kull runs the nonpartisan STEVEN KULL, WORLDPUBLICONION.ORG: There's a perception still that the U.S. is kind of a bully, that it pushes countries around. We're looking for some real changes, some fundamental changes in U.S. foreign policy, and we don't see those changes yet.

FOREMAN: And that's changing numbers abroad and at home for President Obama.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


HILL: Up next, kicked out for being black? A day-care center says dozens of children were forced from a pool because of their race. The swim club denies it. We have the details. We'll let you decide.

And back in the spotlight since their brother's death. We take an up-close look at Michael Jackson's eight brothers and sisters, their lives, their relationships with the pop star. That's ahead.


HILL: The world lost a star, but they lost a brother. Tonight as the Jacksons mourn the death of the King of Pop, we're learning much more about this famous and understandably heartbroken family. Here now, the Jacksons up close.


HILL (voice-over): They started this journey together.


HILL: And now the Jackson family grieves together, mourning the brother whose star shined the brightest.

MARLON JACKSON, BROTHER OF MICHAEL: I would like you to give our brother, my twin brother Brandon a hug from me. I love you Michael, and I'll miss you.

HILL: Marlon Jackson, barely a year and a half older than Michael, speaking of his twin who died at birth.

The closeness of this family has been well-documented and increasingly public. Speaking at the BET Awards, Janet spoke of their Michael.

JANET JACKSON, SISTER OF MICHAEL: To you Michael is an icon. To us, Michael is family. And he will forever live in all of our hearts.

HILL: While the Jacksons may be the most famous family in music history, only a few of the nine children raised by Joe and Katherine Jackson managed to make a career of their talent.

Forty-three-year-old Janet is perhaps the most well-known after Michael. The actress and singer was on a film set when she learned about her brother's death.

Fifty-nine-year-old Rebbie Jackson is the oldest of the siblings. She had a hit single in the mid-80s, is married with three children and calls Las Vegas home.

La Toya, 53, made headlines when she posed for "Playboy" and again for a tell-all book. She's now divorced, living in Beverly Hills.

Shortly after the memorial, the three sisters addressed their brother's fans.

LA TOYA JACKSON, SISTER OF MICHAEL: I just want to thank you all for being here for him. He loves you very, very much. Thank you.

HILL: As for the surviving members of the Jackson 5, Jackie is a divorced 58-year-old dad of two who promotes his sons' music career.

Fifty-five-year-old Tito, the guitarist for the group, is also divorced. He was recently a celebrity judge on a British reality show.

Marlon is married with three children. There were reports the 52-year-old was working at a San Diego department store last year. Perhaps not the life their parents imagined, but the lesser known siblings may have been the lucky ones.

MARLON JACKSON: We will never, never understand what he endured. Not being able to walk across the street without a crowd gathering around him. Being judged, ridiculed. How much pain can one take?

HILL: Fifty-four-year-old Jermaine, the original lead singer of the group, has been married and divorced three times.

JERMAINE JACKSON, BROTHER OF MICHAEL: I said, Michael, why did you go? Why did you leave? Why did you leave me? I -- what was going through my mind, Larry, I wish it was me there instead of him.


HILL: Logon to to trace the family tree of the Jacksons. You can also read part of La Toya's controversial book there.

Let's get a check now of some of the other headlines with Randi Kaye in this "360 Bulletin." Hello, again. The hardest working woman at this network, I think, Randi.


Four workers at a historic black cemetery in Chicago are facing felony charges in a grisly grave-digging scheme. They're accused of digging up hundreds of corpses and reselling the plots. The suspects allegedly dumped the remains in a remote part of the graveyard or reburied them with other bodies. In Pennsylvania a day-care center that paid to use a private swim club's pool on a weekly basis is alleging racial discrimination, a charge the club denies. Day care officials say swim club members made racist comments about the black and Hispanic children who came to the pool and then canceled their swimming privileges.

New details in that deadly monorail accident at Disney World. A local television reporting that the workers in charge of monitoring the tracks were actually outside the park at a nearby Denny's restaurant at the time of the crash, leaving a maintenance worker in charge. A 21-year-old train operator was killed.

Disney says it has suspended three employees pending an investigation but gave no other details.

And an unusual request from a California animal shelter. It's looking for television sets for its cats. Workers noticed rescued felines are actually drawn to the shelter's only television not just for the warmth. They allegedly like watching TV.

The shelter says being a couch potato can help these abused and neglected animals get used to being around people again.

I don't know about you, but I have a cat. I do have a cat, and he does tend to watch a movie with me when I'm watching TV.

HILL: You know, sometimes Lulu (ph) does like to jump at the TV, every now and then. I'll have to watch a little more closely now. I'll report back.

KAYE: My cat actually once went behind the TV to see what was going on there. He couldn't understand how the animals were on the TV.

HILL: That's good. You could have won money with that on one of those shows.

KAYE: Yes.

HILL: Right now somebody has a chance to win a T-shirt, on our "Beat 360" winners. Our daily challenge to viewers, of course, a chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption to a picture we post on the blog every day.

Tonight's picture, actor George Clooney attending the opening ceremony of the Nobel Batiste Ball (ph) in Santa Vitrio (ph), Italy.

Our staff winner tonight, Chuck. His caption: "Sure, Anderson Cooper is considered king of the silver foxes, but can he do jazz hands?"


HILL: We know he can't, because he refuses to dance, so your loss, AC.

Our viewer winner, R.J., with this caption, which I love: "Ten times, ten times Erica Hill has turned me down."


HILL: You know...

KAYE: Is it true?

HILL: Randi, we're friends. If I ever heard from George Clooney, don't you think you'd know?

KAYE: Yes, I do. I don't think you'd be turning him down.

HILL: I would drop you an e-mail. Go for it. I could get you a "Beat 360" T-shirt, George Clooney. I'm just saying. R.J., yours is on the way.

Still ahead, on a New York subway train a spirited tribute to Michael Jackson. The music was blaring, the riders grooving. It was all good. It's also tonight's "Shot."

Plus, the latest details in tonight's breaking story. The widening investigation of Michael Jackson's death and the possibility it could lead to criminal charges.


HILL: Ready for tonight's "Shot"? A dance visual for Michael Jackson. The day after he died on a New York subway in the last car of the Brooklyn bound El train to be exact. Take a look.




HILL: Apparently, a Jackson fan used Twitter to spread the word about the celebration. As the train raced towards Brooklyn, the party really heated up.

Just another day in the New York City subway, Randi. Just like every day on my way to work.

KAYE: I've never seen people having such a good time on the subway or getting that close to each other.

HILL: Me either. I think I live on the wrong subway line.

KAYE: A nice way to honor him, though.

HILL: It is. It really was. Randi, thanks.

That was the joy. But coming up at the top of the hour, there is the hard news, the exclusive story. Randi Kaye will be back with you. What 360 is learning about the widening investigation into what may have been Michael Jackson's staggering drug habit. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)