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Gulf Oil Spill Response; Sean Penn on Haiti's Camps

Aired May 19, 2010 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening again. Tonight, keeping them honest. Oil coming ashore in Louisiana and threatening to ride a current towards Florida. So why isn't BP making effort to measure just how much oil is pouring out of that broken pipe? We ask BP's managing director tonight.

Also ahead, what do your kids think about skin color? About race? If you think they're color-blind, you need to see the results of our pilot study. Tonight, how kids learn to care about skin color and where they're getting ideas about race. Influences inside the home and out.

And later, a crime so disturbing it is hard to believe. A man posing as a female nurse online counseling depressed people allegedly to kill themselves. Several did. Who would do such a thing? Find out tonight in crime and punishment.

First up though, keeping them honest. BP, they say they're being transparent but how come it took weeks for them to release video of the oil leaking into the Gulf? And how come they aren't even trying to measure how much is leaking now? You're about to find out.

After weeks of telling us no thanks, BP tonight agreed to answer our questions. First though, the latest. The oil is coming ashore. CNN's David Mattingly here in Venice, Louisiana. You can see he's scooping it out of the coastal waters there.

Louisiana Governor Bobbie Jindal saying this isn't sheen, it's not tar balls. It's deadly, heavy oil in delicate wetlands. Dark sheets of it coming under the booms. Clearly, not all of the spill can be seen on the surface.

And farther out to sea, early indications that fringes of the oil slick have reached the loop current. You can see it in this new satellite shot taken on Monday. It's that long finger at the bottom of the frame. The loop current flows around Florida and out of the Gulf.

BP in the meantime pointing to progress, now claiming they're siphoning off 3,000 barrels of oil a day directly from the leak, up from 1,000 earlier this week. However, the company is still maintaining there's only a total of 5,000 barrels actually leaking everyday. For the first time tonight, you'll be able to hear it directly from the top of BP. Joining us now is BP managing director, Bob Dudley. Thanks so much for being with us. Mr. Dudley, a number of scientists and engineers have estimated the actual amount of oil gushing into the Gulf everyday is somewhere between 20,000 barrels a day and 70,000 barrels.

Your company continues -- and the government continues -- to use this 5,000 barrels a day figure which is really a three-week-old estimate made from satellite images by NOAA. Why are you still using that figure?

BOB DUDLEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, BP: Because it looks like the best estimate from the surface response and the plume that we see at the base of the well itself.

COOPER: Have you actually measured the plume?

DUDLEY: Anderson, this is as similar to taking a soda can and shaking it up and popping it off. There's a tremendous amount of gas in this crude oil. So measuring that is difficult and we have a whole set of activities that are going on underneath the sea. With the estimate itself appears to be a reasonable estimate.

It's not exact. That's what we see at the surface. I think figures of 70,000 barrels -- I even heard a figure today of 150,000 barrels a day which is very alarmist. And in reality, we're containing it at the surface. We're now producing about 3,000 barrels a day to the surface. There's been a noticeable reduction in that plume.

COOPER: But your own people have called the 5,000-barrels-a-day figure highly uncertain, highly imprecise -- and that's from your own people. And your company has repeatedly said that you can't measure the amount flowing out of the broken pipe. But according to numerous independent scientists and engineers, that's simply not true.

I want to read something from "The New York Times." They said, and I quote, "For decades, specialist have used a technique that was almost tailor-made for the problem with undersea gear that resembles the ultrasound machines in medical offices. They measure the flow rate from hot water vents on the ocean floor. Scientists said that such equipment could be tuned to allow for accurate measurement of oil and gas flowing from the well."

And according to "The Times," BP was talking to two researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and was going to have them fly out and then told them not to come out after all. They were going to conduct a volume measurements.

DUDLEY: Anderson, we've got a small city going on a mile and a half down below with between 10 and 12 robots that are manipulating the blowout preventers nearby and the work that we've been doing to design the containment systems. We've had a whole set of parallel engineering tracks in place.

That's what we need to be deploying the resources on is shutting that well as well as controlling it. It's a very difficult flow rate to measure using those techniques with a gas-oil ratio of 5,000-1 right now.

It is, again, that soda can analogy is not far off and that's what we're seeing now when we produce to the surface -- 3,000 barrels a day, 13 million cubic feet of gas along with it. It's very gassy substance.

COOPER: But you had people -- I mean Steven Wereley of Purdue University, mechanical engineering associate professor, you know, who's an expert in computational particle tracking you know, has measured from the little bit of video that's been released so far, he came up with this 50,000 to 70,000 barrels leaking everyday.

If you'd release more video, I mean why not allow people to extensively study, you know, the video that's been released? Tim Crohn (ph) at Columbia has come up with other figures, others at Berkeley have as well.

DUDLEY: We've released the video feeds all over the place. Not only through the Unified Coast Guard Command Center but we've sent it in to Congress. There are people looking at the plume.

COOPER: Wait a minute. It took 23 days for you to release a 30- second video clip and that came only after pressure from the White House and the media.

DUDLEY: I think we have provided information in all directions through this. We have nothing to hide. In fact --

COOPER: But why did it take 23 days to release a 30-second clip of video. I know today you're going to be releasing a lot more video but that's only after pressure from senators and congress people this week.

DUDLEY: Anderson, I'm going to ask you to come down with your crews and visit the engineering center we have. You can see it. The feeds are going everywhere. What we have been focused on --

COOPER: Well, let me just stop there, because apparently when "ABC News" visited last week, or the week before you guys released the video, you turned off the feeds so they couldn't see there were feeds and it was only once information leaked out there was a live feed and media started requesting it that you released it.

I'm just asking why did it take so long to release a 30-second video clip?

DUDLEY: I can't tell you. I think we have been absolutely open. There have been streams of people who have come through the engineering command center in Houston, and we've been streaming information to the Unified Command Center, which the Coast Guard leads in Robert, Louisiana.

COOPER: I'm still -- I didn't get an answer why it took 23 days to release video which you guys had access to, but CNN has now learned that you've agreed to provide access to the 24-hour live feed that you have of the leak to Barbara Boxer's Senate Committee. You're giving it to the committee. Why not allow Americans to see that? To see that 24-hour feed that your executives are seeing all day long?

DUDLEY: Anderson, we have given the feed through the Coast Guard command centers. We can't really give the feed without an approval from the Coast Guard and the government. We have given those feeds to multiple parties. I don't know exactly who they all are but it's not only Barbara Boxer.

There's other feeds to the Interior Department and Department of Energy, I'm sure, who have been very helpful with us.

COOPER: Well actually, I mean Barbara Boxer wrote a letter to your company and said that you guys basically said that to their committee that it was up to the Unified Command, that it wasn't just your decision. But she seems to contradict that.

She said -- and I'm quoting from this letter that she sent you 2 days ago. She said "we're writing to reiterate our request that BP provide us with all video records of the deep water horizon Well and associated spill. After our initial request, BP suggested the video was released under the authorization of the Unified Command.

We've contacted Unified Command, and to day have not identified any restriction on BP's ability to release these records." She's saying essentially that you guys are free to release the video as you wish. So why not release it to the American people so they can watch this thing 24 hours a day if they want?

DUDLEY: Well, I'm not sure. I think we have, Anderson. I don't know exactly where it's all going but we're not hiding anything from this.

COOPER: I want to ask you about the dispersants that you're putting into the Gulf. You don't know the long-term impact of this amount of dispersants underneath the surface and on the surface?

DUDLEY: Not this amount, no. But we see it doing its job and it's effectively a dish soap that breaks the oil into small droplets and the bacteria eats it. It's non-toxic. It's biodegradable. That's what it's designed to do.

COOPER: But, I mean a number of environmentalists have raised concerns about it. In fact, according to the "New York Times," -- I'm quoting, "BP continues to stockpile and deploy oil dispersing chemicals manufactured by a company which it shares close ties even though other U.S. EPA-approved alternatives have been shown to be far less toxic and in some cases nearly twice as effective.

That basically you're using products -- I may have the name wrong -- called Corexit, and according to "The Times," they say 12 out of the 18 EPA-approved dispersants were found to be more effective than Corexit, according to EPA data.

And the toxicity of the 12 was either comparable or 10 to 20 times less according to the EPA. So if there's less toxic things out there, why not use it?

DUDLEY: Anderson, the EPA is very thorough in their test of these. And I can't tell you the shades of gray and the rankings of various characteristics of it. I do know that this particular product -- and there's two products that we're using -- have been stockpiled and they were available for immediate response.

And when we submitted the original spill response plan, they were in that response. The EPA is very thorough about such things.

COOPER: Finally, I wanted to try to clarify something that I read in a U.K. Times article. Tony Hayward on May 13th, the CEO, your boss at BP, said that promised that he was going to stay here until we have fixed it. That was his quote. "Staying in America until we fixed it."

According to the U.K. Times, he's now intending to be in England tomorrow for a board meeting and to celebrate his 54th birthday. Is that true?

DUDLEY: Well, I just saw him before we came here. I don't know anything about that. Tony has worked tirelessly over the last month, has been all across the Gulf states. Met the governors and the claim centers on the beaches to see and talk with people and make sure the spill response is going well.

He's been overseeing the engineering activities that we have daily. I don't really know, but I can tell you that he's one hard- working, dedicated guy on this.

COOPER: I have no doubt about that. I just think, you know he made this promise. I just wanted to verify the U.K. Times report so we'll try to check back with BP for tonight's broadcast. Bob Dudley, I appreciate your time tonight, thank you.

DUDLEY: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, we did get back to BP after that interview. We shot that interview about three hours ago to find out if indeed Mr. Hayward, the company's CEO is leaving the country to go to that board meeting and to have a birthday party.

BP wouldn't comment, but a source close to the company said he is leaving the country for a board meeting. The source didn't comment on the birthday party. So much for the promise to stay until it's fixed.

Also, a reminder, that was just a lengthy portion of our conversation. It's actually about twice as long. We're going to play the entire interview in the next hour, the top of the program on 360, so it'll be 11:00 Eastern time, a fascinating discussion.

Let us know what you think about it. Join the live chat at Up next, what Sean Penn told senators today about the help Haiti still needs and what he's seeing on the ground there. He's been on the ground there for months now. Conditions for ordinary Haitians growing tougher by the day. Sean Penn joins us live. And later, what makes some kids, white and African American, biased towards lighter skin color and what makes others less biased? And what can you do when talking to your kids about race, and answers from our eye-opening pilot study on kids and race.

Recently on "360," Bill Maher, Demi Moore, Dr. Phil, Julia Louis Dreyfuss, John Leguizamo, Shakira, and Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. You don't have to miss the big "360" interviews. Set your DVR for "AC 360".


COOPER: Sean Penn has spent months now in Haiti running a camp for some 60,000 earthquake survivors. He is in Washington tonight, spent the day telling members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about life such as it is in Haiti.


SEAN PENN, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: In many camps, depending upon which area of town you're looking at, you have gang infiltration that is on the rise. Guns are coming up from out of rubble and other places, people are coming out of a state of shock. And the unified spirit is breaking up a little bit into a more desperate spirit, and people might -- becoming much more increasingly vulnerable.


COOPER: The Senate weighing legislation, setting aside $3.5 billion to help Haiti rebuild over the next five years. Some of the problems though, have time frames measured not in years but days, on in the case of the child who Penn watched die of diphtheria earlier this month just hours. Sean Penn heads up the JP Haitian Relief Organization. He joins us now. Sean, you said today, and I quote, "In many cases the bureaucracy of international aid is protecting people to death." And you also called on the U.S. to, quote, "demand full transparency in the way that aid is distributed and accountability for how aid organizations advertise themselves in the solicitation of funds. Full and total transparency."

What did you mean by that? What is the problem in terms of transparency and what's happening on the ground with getting the money out?

PENN: Well it's not the same transparency that one normally talks about. I think that many of the issues are actually available on the websites of the eight organizations themselves. But I think that there is a general sense that when people see a disaster happening in a country like Haiti and this earthquake, that there are certain agencies or NGOs, that they immediately send money to in the belief that those organizations are dispensing medical care, for example, and immediate emergency care.

And that these massive amounts of money that are coming in from a generous public whose heart is in the right place are then being held up for what are much more long term, much more cautious, much less bold actions in terms of disaster relief, which is so much of the acute aid that has to be happening right now so that the rebuilding and the restructuring and the strengthening of the central governance in Haiti can continue.

COOPER: So you're essentially saying -- I mean one of the other things you said in the testimony is that Haiti is poised still on a razor's edge. I mean it could go one way or the other. It sounds like what you're saying is a lot of this money that was sent is kind of being held for longer term issues but there are acute needs right now which aren't getting met.

PENN: Well, you know, at once I think that there has been a long history of mistrust in the various administrations throughout the decades in Haiti. But while we are working very closely with what I think has been our best partner in President Preval, there is still so much suspicion.

And I think systemically, a lot of that is legitimate. But with the man himself and with many of those, the prime minister, minister of the interior -- these are people actively trying to coordinate with U.S. and other international aid, but there's no autonomous fund.

And so while we say we would be promoting central government, even the advertisement of it in the following administration won't have had any foundation. The programs won't have been Haitian. And so while we have fractured ministries, among them, the ministry of health, we've got to be working in a kind of aggressive partnership that has some kind of trust and faith in it.

And also the aid organizations themselves have got to be exercising that kind of pro-activity. Because that's what the money was given to them for in terms of disaster relief. The supplemental bill, the bill that Congress is currently, maybe as early as Friday, will take a look at none of, you know, you'll have words like infrastructure, but you won't actually have the word "medical."

And so we've got immunization programs that have to really happen now or babies are going to die. There's no question about that and in large, large numbers. So these are real emergencies and the United States has made much too great an investment to let it all slide away. But this is a kind of bewildering front row seat that I'm experiencing being in Washington now and finding that the interest in preserving the great work of the United States military and other organizations is -- has gone down to an incredible minimum and a reckless irresponsible minimum.

COOPER: You spent so much time -- you're running a camp of 60,000 people. What is life like in the camp now compared to what it was months ago? You already talked in the testimony about rising tensions, weapons being visible. What's it like now on a daily basis?

PENN: Well, the camp we manage thankfully is not nearly as plagued by those kinds of things as many are. But what was, I think, is not understood well enough is that there are camps that to this day still have not had any aid whatsoever; that there are huge camps like that, that maybe have had a water distribution, a tarp distribution, but might be in a very difficult to service, dangerous security area.

You can have as many as 12,000 people, in the case of Car Fe Fe (ph) for example, where you wouldn't have any chance of relocating people into -- back into their homes because the number of what are called greenhouses -- those houses that have been inspected and are safe -- even if you tried to get services in there, it would be impossible so there still has to be an expansion of planned camps while we work on all of the other options for relocations.

COOPER: Sean Penn, I know it's been a long day, a long many months for you. I appreciate you being on the program tonight. Thanks.

PENN: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Just ahead, tonight, police say he preyed on suicidal people around the world over the Internet, claiming to be a nurse -- a female nurse, encourage them, allegedly, to end their lives, even showing how to tie the noose. A number of people apparently did end their lives because of him authorities say. Tonight, you'll meet the remarkable internet sleuth who caught this person and the shocking truth about why he may get away with all he's accused of, Crime and Punishment tonight.

And later, little kids, young as five years old, many with clear ideas about race and skin color. Could be a lot of reasons for that, but we're going to have more on our pilot study. What influences kids when it comes to skin color and what can parents do about it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the ugly child. Why is he the ugly child?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: He's really, really black.


COOPER: Still ahead, more on our pilot study, kids and race in America. Findings, eye-opening. Tonight, we'll look at what's shaping the way kids think about race. But first Brianna Keilar joins us with a "360" news and business bulletin -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Bangkok turned into a war zone today as Thai military forces cracked down on anti- government protesters. At least five people were killed in hours of intense street battles that ended when anti-government leaders surrendered. A citywide curfew is currently in effect.

In Afghanistan, nearly a dozen insurgents and a U.S. contractor were killed today in an early morning attack on Bagram Air Base. The Taliban claimed responsibility. This is its second major assault in and around Kabul in two days.

And a setback for the Wall Street reform bill. Senate republicans and a number of democrats today delaying a final vote on a bill, raising a few last minute amendments just as it appeared headed for approval. Senate democrats fell short of the votes needed to end debate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that they will try again tomorrow.

And in California, former NASCAR driver, James Neal, has been slapped with a month in jail after leading deputies on a high speed highway chase. Officers actually lost sight of Neal after he reached 140 miles per hour.

COOPER: Yikes.

KEILAR: They caught up with him when his engine blew, and you know, Anderson, he never did win a national race as a NASCAR driver. I think we see why.

COOPER: Yes, unbelievable. Brianna, thanks. Coming up on 360, stalking chat rooms for suicidal people. This is just such a sick story. Police say a man pretending to be a female nurse for years encouraged others to kill themselves. They believe he did it for the thrill of the chase. Disturbing story on tonight's Crime and Punishment report. Also tonight, fascinating look at kids and skin color.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the smart child. And why do you say she's the smart child?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Because you know usually that skin of people, they are more smart than I am.


COOPER: How is bias formed at an early age and why? Where does it come from? Findings from our pilot study ahead.


COOPER: All this week, we've been getting an eye-opening education from kids about race and bias and what skin color means to them. In a pilot study conducted on behalf of 360, psychologists interviewed more than 130 kids in eight different schools, and they found that white kids as a whole have a higher rate of what they call white bias, assigning positive attributes to light skin and negative ones to darker skin. We also learned that black kids also have a bias toward whites but not as much as white kids.

If you want more details about exactly how the pilot study was conducted, you can check out our Web site at

We also showed you some parents who were shocked to know what their kids said. The findings are controversial, and they're unsettling at times. And for all of us, a key question is where does bias come from? Tonight, we look at the influences from outside the home that may have a direct effect on kids. Joining us, Soledad O'Brien. Also, actress, professor and playwright Anna Deveare Smith and Michael Eric Dyson, author of -- professor of sociology at Georgetown.


COOPER: Soledad and I talked to two different panels of parents who watched their kids' tests. A lot of issues emerged, obviously, around race. One issue that came up was beyond their parents. What is influencing kids' ideas of race? Let's listen.


COOPER: I don't have kids, but I would imagine one of the greatest concerns is the messages that your kids are receiving once they leave your door. I mean, you're only with them for a certain amount of time, and they have their friends and, you know, are seeing things on televisions, and -- and those messages are all around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the part of parental responsibility, I've noticed that the media that we allow them to be exposed to does have a lot to do with forming their perceptions and perspectives.

I've -- I've caught myself, my wife and I have caught ourselves with TVs just playing in the house, and there'll be a television show about police chasing folks. And 9 times out of 10 the folks that are being chased look a certain way. And so that's the guy that's bad.

And I noticed it, as a matter of fact, yesterday on a show, that all of the guys that looked a certain way with a darker hue were taken away in the police car on the show. And the one person who was released had a lighter hue of skin. So...

COOPER: You think you get messages from that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. Absolutely.

COOPER: Let's look at Laura, Andrew.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Show me the dumb child.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is he the dumb child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's really black.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Show me the nice child.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why is he the nice child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's the whitest.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Why is he the mean child?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's darker than these.

COOPER: I saw you shaking your head. Where do you think that message came from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's hard -- I mean, our family, the neighborhood we live in, again, I think the media, you know, maybe the TV shows he watches. It comes from everywhere. It's coming from me, I'm sure. I was raised in a very white community. So, clearly, I've, you know, grown up with these -- with my own prejudice, I'm sure. It gets passed on sometimes, you know.

COOPER: And just so you know, what we've seen -- I don't want any of you to feel bad. Because what we've seen is not any different than what we've seen no matter where we've gone. I mean, it's everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's more of a fundamental issue, not necessarily just looking at response from the kids but looking overall how society is built and how it sustains itself, because it's not changing. Because the economic ladders that people have to climb, you will always have people in, I guess, imposed type of barriers to their advancement. And that will be reflective on how they can raise their kids and what schools they send them to and all the other things that can help to alleviate some of the responses that we see that are not pleasant.


COOPER: It's interesting, that that mom, Laura, she was a teacher. And she was stunned at what she saw her little boy do.

ANNA DEVEARE SMITH, ACTRESS: Yes. I think that before we even get to the media, I think what this last father was talking about is extremely relevant, the economy. And that even makes me think, should we be striving for more financial equity and just give up on this project to influence people's attitudes?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR: Well, think it's both/and, not either/or. Because what you just indicated there is, you know, the concentrated effects of poverty. So that the people -- it's not true that white people are not poor, because most people who are poor happen to be white.

But the concentration effects of poverty are different for African-Americans and Latinos. That means that you're living in a poor household. Your parents tend to be much poorer than white parents. You live in a neighborhood where, at least when you're poor and white you see some other role models, the people who are upwardly mobile and climbing the ladder of success. Where you don't see that in black communities. SMITH: Let me quickly, quickly say why, though to this. Because Kenneth and Mamie Clark did their first experiment, which is so important to all of us. I wouldn't be here if they hadn't done that.

It, again, influenced the desegregation of schools. And it seems to me that your test does indicate that -- again, that African- American children are not leaning towards -- have a white-leaning bias to the extent that they did when that first test was done.

However, the economic situation does not necessarily seem to me correlate with the fact that the kids feel better about themselves.

DYSON: Right.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is true, but, to me, the bigger -- when people argue for a seat at the table, you know, you have all these diversity councils. You have people saying, you know -- this is the exact reason why. Because in the media, you have an opportunity to shape the coverage.

And what I say to my kids is, we have conversations about -- we'll watch a story on the local news about a welfare mom who's invariably black. And I'll say, "You know what's interesting? Who do you think -- who do you think the most welfare moms are? Do you think they're black or white?"

And they'll say, "They're black."

I say, "Actually, they're white. Why do you think we might see welfare moms who are black on TV? Why do you think that will happen?"

And they'll throw out a bunch.

I'll say, "You know, a lot of news organizations are in urban centers. What's the easiest thing to drive to? It's just faster to run out and find a black welfare mom than go rural and find a white welfare mom."

So there are many things that you can highlights to kids what the bias that they're seeing. Maybe it's unintentional. But the bias that they're seeing. And my kids look at TV a completely different way.

SMITH: I was talking to one black director right after Obama won, and he was trying to get a movie made about a romance between a black man and black woman in New York, and he just couldn't get any traction. He's a very good director. I said, "What are you talking about?"

And he said, "Well, it's foreign sales."

I said, "What are you talking about? The biggest romance between a black man and a black woman is seen all over the world right now: Michelle Obama and Barack Obama."

It doesn't help. So I think that, even if it's just an excuse, it has an impact on what narratives actually get made.

DYSON: Well, think, for instance, about "Precious." A lot of black people I know said, "I ain't watching that." It's the story of pathology once again. The light-skinned black people are the ones who are the girl's redeemers. The dark-skinned black people are all evil.

And as a result, and I try to say, "Well, it's more complex than that. I think this is a true story that is a slice of life." The problem is not that "Precious" is not an accurate reflection of African-Americans.

COOPER: Other stories aren't being told.

DYSON: It's that other stories are not being told, and this is the only one that gets greenlighted and the other ones don't get greenlighted. So...

COOPER: How do parents go about counteracting those messages? I mean, getting back to what we talked about in the past days. Just talking?

DYSON: We've got to hammer them away with the narratives. We've got to tell the truths of stories that are not often broadcast, literally and symbolically. When you begin to challenge those stereotypes in your own lives and your kids begin to see that, they even have experiences of different...

COOPER: It's not just talk; it's action.

DYSON: It's action and talk.

O'BRIEN: And I would add to that, let them talk about race, as opposed to shutting them down with "in this family, everybody is equal. We don't see color." Because guess what? They see color.

COOPER: We've got to leave it there. Anna Deveare Smith, thank you so much. Michael Eric Dyson, as well. Soledad, thank you.


COOPER: So 60 years after desegregation, as disturbing as it may be to think about, even little kids form thoughts and ideas about skin color and race. The biases may be diminishing, but they are still there. Tomorrow, we're going to talk with Grammy Award-winning artist and activist John Legend about where we go from here. That's tomorrow night, 10 p.m., on "360."

You can join the live chat right now at A lot of folks on it. I'm on it myself. Let us know what you think.

Coming up, a man who allegedly trolled the Internet, creating suicide pacts with others, encouraging them to die and doing it just for the thrill. Details on that ahead.

And later another White House state dinner slip-up. Not crashers this time. This time it's actually a slip-up. We'll show you the video ahead.


COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight, police in Minnesota say a man was posing online as a female nurse, trolling the Internet for years, looking for people who wanted to kill themselves. They say he would offer his friendship, his encouragement, telling them it was OK, and actually helping them to do it with advice.

Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji disappeared in 2008, her family tried desperately to find her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, please, please. I love you so much.

RANDI: But her body would later be pulled from a river in Ottawa, Canada. Suicide.

But as tragic as Nadia's death was, there was something else, something unexpected.

(on camera) A search of her computer files, police say, showed Nadia had been chatting online with someone called Tammy who used the e-mail address Falcongirl, and that the two had entered into a suicide pact. Only Nadia followed through.

(voice-over) It was about the same time Nadia died that this woman, a 65-year-old self-proclaimed computer illiterate named Celia Blay, living in the U.K., grew suspicious about a person she said seemed to be conning people online to commit suicide.

Blay was depressed and visiting chat rooms. The person claimed to be a female nurse, so Blay and a friend set up their own sting and managed to get their first glimpse via Web cam and were shocked to learn she was really a he.

His response?

CELIA BLAY, UNCOVERED THE SUICIDE SCAM: He says, I pretend to be a woman, because that way, if they come looking for me, they will come looking for a woman.

KAYE: Celia then tracked down the nurse's name and address, even the church he attended. He was actually a male nurse from Minnesota, a husband and father who investigators now say preyed on depressed people.

BLAY: He gave them that little nudge over the edge. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew the psychology of it.

KAYE: Instead of getting them help, 47-year-old William Melchert-Dinkel allegedly encouraged them to take their lives by entering into false suicide pacts, giving step-by-step instructions how to die, even offering to demonstrate how to tie the noose via Web camera.

BLAY: He practically worked on a script, very formulated. He'd be very sympathetic. He'd call them "Hon" and say, "I understand. He'd say that he was also depressed. He'd say that he worked in the emergency room and because of his experience, he knew that the most painless way of committing suicide was hanging.

KAYE: But despite what Blay uncovered, she says she got nowhere with authorities in the U.K. So she called police in St. Paul, Minnesota, near his home.

SGT. PAUL SCHNELL, ST. PAUL POLICE DEPARTMENT: Celia Blay, by many standards, teach a lots of us about that diligence and perseverance in an investigation, because she really put her feet to the ground, her fingers to the keyboard.

KAYE: Using computer forensics, it didn't take cops long to figure out Melchert-Dinkel may have helped a man in Britain kill himself. That time, the nurse used the name Li Dao and an e-mail address police tracked back to Melchert-Dinkel's computer.

Police documents show an e-mail from Li Dao in 2005 was found on this man's computer, giving 32-year-old Mark Drybrough instructions how to hang himself. It read, "You can easily hang from a door using the knob on the other side to tie the rope to. Sling it over the top of the door. Attach the noose or loop to yourself. Then step off and hang successfully."

In Minnesota, it's a felony to advise, encourage or assist another in suicide. Melchert-Dinkel is charged with two counts of assisting suicide. Cops say they found photos of Nadia, the college student, on the nurse's computer.

Melchert-Dinkel hasn't entered a plea yet, but the police affidavit says he, quote, estimated he had assisted five or less individuals in killing themselves and admitted, quote, "entering into 10 to 11 suicide pacts online," characterizing it as, quote, "the thrill of the chase."

He added he, quote, "only encouraged suicide and never told anyone to do it but told them it was up to them."

The state board of nursing revoked his license last year. But still, his lawyer told us his client has no plans to plead guilty. The lawyer said Melchert-Dinikel is not a monster, adding, "You're looking at a police affidavit conducted under conditions that were stressful, to say the least. He engaged in a series of events that he certainly regrets."

(on camera) Prosecuting William Melchert-Dinkel may not be easy. Minnesota law doesn't specifically address assisted suicides involving the Internet or suicides that occur out-of-state. So while he may admit to having encouraged suicide, if he didn't physically help kill anyone and simply gave directions, he may walk free. Randi Kaye, CNN, Miami.


COOPER: It's an incredible story. The question is, is it a crime or free speech? We're digging deeper. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us now.

Jeff, what do you make of this?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is so creepy, you know. It reminds me of Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs."

COOPER: And to see him sitting there in his family photo with his poor kids. I mean, oy.

TOOBIN: Just really -- but you can be sure that a jury getting this case will be repelled, but will a judge even let it go to a jury? Because the facts, I'm not sure square with what the statute says assisted suicide is.

Remember, one of these people didn't even live in the jurisdiction. This is a guy who was using a fake name on the Internet. He could say, "I assumed these other people were using fake names, as well. I didn't know these were real people."

COOPER: He thought it was -- that he could say he thought it was all role playing?

TOOBIN: He thought it was role playing. He thought, you know, this was just something that they were all sort of acting out together.

And even -- the assisted suicide laws all came out of the Kevorkian situation, where you had a doctor physically hooking people up to IV's. Here, all you have is electronic communication, not even within the same county in Minnesota.

COOPER: And I guess because the people seem to be -- were in a vulnerable spot anyway and were considering suicide, would that -- would that be part of the thing that might get him off?

TOOBIN: That might be very significant, that these were depressed people. They were likely or it was certainly possible that they were going to commit suicide anyway.

The fact that he had these Internet communications with them. He certainly can't be accused of compelling them to commit suicide. He didn't have any leverage over them. He didn't threaten them. He didn't force them, but he certainly encouraged them. And the legal question is whether that's -- whether that is enough to qualify under the law.

COOPER: I mean, it does make one -- I mean, it's a whole new realm, I guess, of you know, the culpability of people who post comments onto blogs online. TOOBIN: Well, this is a new area of the law in so many ways. You know, we have issues of anonymity on the Web. Is that a protection? That -- that comes up in many different crimes. And also just the evidence that you gather against people. The fact that it is anonymous, it makes it harder. But it also gives people a certain insulation, thinking that they are not really...


COOPER: So you think this might not even go to trial?

TOOBIN: Oh, absolutely. I think there is a real possibility a judge would toss this. I don't know for sure. Fortunately, this is an unusual situation. This doesn't happen a lot. But I think there are significant legal hurdles in this case, and you know, any individual judge, you could see other judges deciding this different ways.

COOPER: I -- just funny -- I read about this story, you know, a couple days ago and I just found it stunning.

TOOBIN: It is very creepy, but creepy is not always illegal.

COOPER: What is going on in this person's head?

Jeff, appreciate it. Thanks. We'll continue to follow it.

Coming up, a state dinner slip-up. Down goes the social secretary. Ouch, a fall. Details ahead.

Also, probably the cutest animal video we have ever seen. Maybe one of the top two. We'll show you the other one, as well. It just gets better. A sloth, baby sloths in an orphanage. How can you not love them? Be right back.


COOPER: Following a number of other important stories tonight. Brianna Keilar joins us again with a "360 Bulletin" -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, U.S. officials are preparing a response to South Korea's expected release tomorrow of a report formally blaming North Korea for the sinking of a South Korea ship in March. Forty-six sailors were killed.

Officials say they are considering a variety of options, from U.N. Security Council action to additional U.S. penalties.

Kelly Preston, the actress, is pregnant. Forty-seven years old, she is, and her husband, 56-year-old John Travolta, have confirmed they are expecting a baby. They have a daughter, Ella, who is 10. The couple's 16-year-old son, Jett, died last year.

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted their second state dinner tonight. They welcomed Mexico's president and his wife and more than 2 other guests, actress Whoopi Goldberg, who you saw there, Eva Longoria, as well as George Lopez. No one crashed the party this time.

But there was another kind of slipup. The U.S. chief of protocol literally slipped on the White House steps and fell just before Mexico's president and first lady arrived for dinner.


KEILAR: But Anderson, she's -- I know. Those are some hard steps but she still looks great. I think she looks great in that dress and one day, she'll just laugh about this.

COOPER: I hope so. All right. For tonight's "Shot," what may be the cutest video ever. These are sloths in a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. The clip is from the Web site

Watch and enjoy.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking foreign language)


COOPER: I've watched this video, Brianna, about ten times already, and I never get tired. That's my favorite shot. Look at that sloth right there.

KEILAR: So cute.

COOPER: I don't know if you're ever -- I've actually held a sloth. And look at -- look at this where they're sharing a thing and the one steals it from the other.

KEILAR: Like "Lady and the Tramp" with a string been.

COOPER: That's true. Exactly. Yes. So it doesn't get...

KEILAR: You held one, though?

COOPER: It doesn't get much cuter than sloths. Yes, they actually have whole like ecosystems living in their fur, all these bugs that live off their poop, I think, if I recall correctly. But we don't really need to go into these gory details as we look at these cute ones. Why ruin it?

KEILAR: I've seen them. The -- I saw some in Panama last year, and they weren't as cute as this.


KEILAR: And these do move awfully slow.

COOPER: Yes. These are two-toed and three-toed sloths. Now, I've got to say, there is another video which is, I think, may be cuter or as cute. We've shown it before. This video did get us...

ANNOUNCER: Got us thinking.

COOPER: I always mess that up. It got us thinking. This is the slow bouris being tickled. This video is on YouTube. I love this video. Look at the little slow bouris with his little clutched firsts. I don't know if we can see the face of this thing. Watch.

KEILAR: Ecstasy right there.

COOPER: I know. How great is this video? It's like, I have never felt something so extraordinary. Oh, don't stop.


KEILAR: He wants more.

COOPER: All right. That's all we have time for.

Up next, tough questions for one of BP's top executives as oil comes ashore on the bayou. The full interview coming up in just a moment.