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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Deadly Lies; Missed Signals, Mixed Messages; Inside Giffords' Rehab; Washington Couple's Nightmare; Bumpy Road to Reform; Clarence Thomas' Neutrality Questioned
Aired February 17, 2011 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Tonight: People standing up to the repressive governments peacefully and being beaten, tear gassed and gunned down in the streets, new images and chilling accounts from Bahrain and new video smuggled out of Libya, regimes in both countries saying they're responding appropriately. Evidence from both countries seems to indicate otherwise.
Also tonight: what Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is going through on her amazing road to recovery; 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta walking in her footsteps as he goes through rehab at the same hospital that's treating her.
And later: a couple wrongly accused of shaking their child, shaken baby syndrome, the girl and her twin sister taken away. The question tonight, is shaken baby syndrome being misdiagnosed, and are good parents paying the price? Sanjay also fills us in on that.
We begin, though, as always, "Keeping Them Honest."
The brutal crackdowns in Libya, in Bahrain, a new wave of violence against peaceful protesters, violence justified by regimes using the same old lies.
In Bahrain, the regime there is claiming that this ambush in the middle of the night on sleeping protesters, including women and children in tents, was a case of meeting force with force.
These protesters were peaceful and the government responded with tear gas, flash grenades and buckshot. There are also numerous firsthand accounts of handcuffed people being beaten and kicked by police.
In Libya, what you are seeing is an extraordinary sight: protesters burning Gadhafi's picture, chanting, "Your turn has come, enough, enough."
Two states on opposite ends of the Arab world, one a U.S. ally, one an old adversary, both now with blood spilled in the streets, both regimes claiming what you just saw and what you will see a lot more of tonight either isn't what it seems to be or isn't really happening at all. We have got video, reporting and voices from the region that say otherwise.
Bahrain, of course, is a U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. The kingdom is claiming their crackdown overnight was a justified police action, not a deadly ambush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDUL LATIF BIN RASHID AL ZAYANI, BAHRAINI SPECIAL ENVOY TO UNITED STATES: We always use force that is proportional. The force was proportional. The minimum possible tear gas was used to be effective enough to disperse the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Bahrain's special enjoy to the U.S. tonight on "THE SITUATION ROOM," his government claiming protesters in Pearl Square were armed with swords, posing a threat to state security.
He says even some had pistols, also claiming protesters got plenty of warning of the attack and were given ample ways to leave before riot police went in. Yet, reporter after reporter, witness after witness, protester after protester, says that isn't so.
Of course, like many regimes, the government has been making it difficult for reporters to take pictures, but here's one view of the assault.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(CLIP OF GOVERNMENT ASSAULT ON PROTESTERES IN MANAMA, BAHRAIN)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Four now dead in what you just saw, six killed since the crackdown began; the health minister saying at least 225 wounded, but outside observers put the number several times higher.
Protesters gathering at one local hospital chanting, "With our blood and souls, we will fight for the martyrs." That was the scene inside the hospital. State TV not showing these kind of pictures, running video instead highlighting wounded police officers.
And throughout the day, new video is turning up online that's also not running on state TV from Bahrain and from Libya, a dictatorship that's been under the grip of one man, Moammar Gadhafi, for the last 41 years. This was posted on Facebook, itself an act of enormous bravery when you think of how brutal the Gadhafi regime is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(GOVERNMENT CRACKDOWN ON PROTESTERS IN LIBYA)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's just a sampling of the crackdown in Libya, where protesters used social media to call for what they called a day of rage and were met by deadly force in several major Libyan cities.
We have conflicting numbers obviously right now of the death toll. One estimate puts the death toll at 21. We cannot independently verify that, however, and there are estimates ranging much higher and smaller.
If you turned on government-controlled Libyan television, this is what you would have seen today, Gadhafi at a pro-government rally greeted by an adoring crowd. Business as usual, nothing strange here, keep moving along.
And just as the Mubarak regime did in Egypt, Gadhafi is blaming the U.S. and Israel for the protests and his supporters are encouraged to chant against Al-Jazeera. Here's how state-run TV described today's scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The masses renewed their pride of him and their everlasting co-adherence (ph) with him in the (INAUDIBLE) of the march of the freedom and the people's authority in Libya and building up the future with insistence and high moral spirits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's like a bad script from a movie made by a dictator.
Today, Libya's American ambassador said Libya is a free country where people can express their ideas. We don't see much proof of that in Libya. And in a moment, we will talk to Fouad Ajami and others about the reality of the dictatorship there.
First, though, Bahrain, where stories from Pearl Square continue coming out, no matter what officials try to say or do about it. "The New York Times'" Nick Kristof tells of a doctor handcuffed by police in the square, beaten, he said, his pants pulled down, threatened with rape.
ABC's Miguel Marquez also attacked overnight by, what he said, were thugs, his assault caught on tape. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, ABC NEWS: He said no. He said no. He said no.
All right, all right, all right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go.
MARQUEZ: I'm going. I'm going, I'm going.
I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going.
We're journalists here. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm going. I'm hit. I'm going. I'm going.
I'm going to my hotel.
I just got beat rather badly by a gang of thugs. I'm now in a marketplace near our hotel where people are cowering in buildings. I mean, these people are not screwing around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Miguel Marquez joins us now from ABC, along with CNN's Nic Robertson and Arwa Damon, all in Bahrain.
Miguel, you were actually in the middle of reporting from the demonstrations when you got attacked. Who attacked you? You said it was thugs. Was it uniformed police officers? And, also, was there any warning? Because the government is now saying they warmed protesters in the square.
MARQUEZ (via telephone): It was certainly uniformed, in riot gear, military individuals, I believe. I only said thugs, because when four or five or six guys are beating you with sticks, it feels a heck of a lot like thugs.
They may have had some warning, but it came extremely quickly. We were in a hotel very close to the square. The police or the military pulled up alongside a highway next to the square, and within three to four minutes of them pulling up, they unleashed everything they had, which to my eyes and to what I was seeing was tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades and shotguns, because we saw several people who had been shot at the hospital --
COOPER: And Miguel, what --
MARQUEZ: -- directly into -- into the square.
COOPER: Miguel, when the government says that this was a proportional response, meeting force with force, were there weapons among the protesters? Had there been acts of violence by the protesters that night?
MARQUEZ: No. I had been among the protesters for hours prior to that happening, and then had watched them go to bed, basically, and there was no sign of weapons with the protesters.
COOPER: So protesters are sleeping. The government official -- the government police, military show up. Within three minutes, they start this attack.
Nic, this big crackdown in the last 24 hours, do we know the damage at this point? Do we know an accurate death toll, how many wounded?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the best -- most accurate death toll we have at this time is four people dead, hundreds wounded.
It still isn't clear. Just a few hours ago, we heard that 70 people were still missing. One of those who died only died in the last few hours or so. It's still not clear. There were more than 1,000 police, I would say, and then we saw the army come in. And dozens and dozens, well over 50 armored personnel carriers, tanks were deployed as well to secure the area.
It was massive, massive by anyone's standard, very well and precisely coordinated military style operation. There's no getting away from what it was -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Arwa Damon, we're also now hearing accounts of people who were handcuffed and say they were -- continued to be beaten, ambulance drivers not being allowed to take people from the square or to even go to the square. You actually talked with a family who was asleep in the square last night when they got hit by tear gas.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson.
We met a woman named Zana Kwerda (ph) at the hospital. Now, she and her two children, little girls, ages 6 and 8, were sleeping inside a tent with other women and their kids when she said they woke up coughing, choking on tear gas.
She said at that point, they didn't evacuate the tents right away. They were trying to hold their ground when she says the police actually set the tent on fire, describing how it went up in flames around them. She says her 6-year-old grabbed onto her, was crying, "Mommy, mommy, please call the police."
And she told us that she had to tell her little girl that it was actually the police that was doing this to them. And she was vowing that the demonstrations are going to continue, that, if they quit, everybody is going to die. She was highlighting the point that they had absolutely no warning whatsoever that the authorities were going to use these kinds of measures.
And just quickly, we also met an ambulance worker who had been wounded. He was saying that they were blocking them from entering the square. They were forced to walk into the square, leave the ambulances behind, and then they were opened fire on as well, Anderson.
COOPER: Miguel, when these demonstrations in Bahrain began, they were kind of limited in scope of what people were calling for. We're now seeing those images at the hospital of people who are just outraged, loved ones who have lost people, who have been wounded, who themselves have been hurt.
It seems now they are now calling for the downfall of this regime, something they weren't necessarily calling from on days ago.
MARQUEZ: It has certainly grown, and we have seen that trend other places, is that the anger over the first two deaths in these demonstrations has caused the protesters to increase what they want.
Essentially, they want the royal family here to go, maybe not entirely, be something more like a figurehead government or a figurehead monarchy, sort of like the U.K., but they want the prime minister, who has been in power for 40 years, to go, and they want a much broader set of constitutional reforms now.
COOPER: And Nic, obviously this presents real challenges for the United States. Bahrain is an ally, and there's also sectarian issues between Sunni and Shia that the U.S. is concerned about a country like Iran coming in and trying to make hay with.
ROBERTSON: And Saudi Arabia is concerned as well. There's a causeway between Saudi Arabia to Bahrain that the -- Saudi Arabia (INAUDIBLE) east of the country -- has a large Shia population. So, they're very concerned, and for the United States and beyond that if you have a Shia-led government here, the fear would be that Iran has an influential foothold on this side of the Persian Gulf.
If you have a Shia revolt in Saudi Arabia, this -- for not only the United States, but for the rest of the world, would (AUDIO GAP) threaten the oil fields that are in the east of Saudi Arabia as well. So, it raises many, many questions, not least of which as well the U.S. Fifth Fleet that docks here in Bahrain.
With a Shia-dominated government that people fear would be influenced by Iran, would the U.S. Fifth Fleet be able to use the ports here? So, it's a huge, far-reaching question.
COOPER: Nic Robertson, Arwa Damon, stay safe.
Miguel Marquez, I'm glad you're doing OK. And stay safe as well.
A quick reminder: You can weigh in on what you're watching. The live chat right now is up and running at AC360.com.
Coming up, the violence in Libya, the crackdown there and did the United States miss warning signs about what's going on, not just in Libya, but Bahrain and other places, and have there been mixed messages coming from the administration? We will talk to former CIA Director James Woolsey and Professor Fouad Ajami next.
And later, a rare look at what the days are like for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on her road to recovery; Dr. Sanjay Gupta actually taking us inside the rehab facility, going through some of the programs that she's going through to show you how you basically try to rewire the brain. It's a fascinating walk through Giffords' therapy.
We will be right back.
COOPER: Well, as Nic Robertson said a moment ago, the uprising in Bahrain puts the U.S. in a very tough spot. The protests and crackdown is happening in a city state that is home port to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, which guards the Persian Gulf. It's happening to a close ally that sits just off the coast of Saudi Arabia, another close ally obviously.
So, the question tonight is, did the U.S. government fall short when it comes to steering Bahrain toward democracy in the run-up to this? Did they miss warning signs? Last October, Bahrain held parliamentary elections. In December during a town hall meeting there, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed the balloting as a positive step.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I am very impressed by the progress that Bahrain is making on all fronts, economically, politically, socially.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Prior to those elections, which Secretary Clinton called free and fair, the government rounded up hundreds of suspected opposition members, Human Rights Watch calling it a return to full-blown authoritarianism.
The Obama administration, it continued -- quote -- "has failed to speak out about what's become a serious human rights crisis."
As for missing signals on the bigger picture, the administration actually ordered advisers last August to produce a secret report on potential problems throughout the region. According to "The New York Times," it identified flash points, especially Egypt.
COOPER: Want to talk about Bahrain and also Libya.
Joining me now -- former CIA Director James Woolsey and Professor Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies as well as with the Hoover Institution.
Professor, let's start with Bahrain. What do you make of the crackdown there now?
FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Look, all this -- the praise of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain is a fraud. This has always been a tyranny. This has always been a Sunni-ruling regime ruling a restive Shia population -- 75 percent of the population of Bahrain are Shia.
They're cut out of power. They have no say in the country. Bahrain is -- as you said, is in the shadow of Saudi Arabia. They receive support from Saudi Arabia. It's a flash point, if you will, between Iran on the one side and Saudi Arabia on the other. It's a rotten regime. It's a corrupt regime. It's a tyrannical regime. And we now see it for what it is.
COOPER: And yet it is our corrupt regime. It has been an ally to the United States, a bulwark against Iran.
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: The key thing I think is the Fifth Fleet headquarters. This is a difficult situation, but I think the administration hasn't gotten this right yet.
Ronald Reagan got this right. If it was an evil empire, you call it an evil empire, but at the same time you can shake hands and smile and work with it. But you don't cut back on your defense of the principles of equality and law and rule of law and so forth.
And we have tacked so much toward accommodating verbally, and not criticizing at all, not only Egypt and Bahrain, but Iran, that --
COOPER: You were saying we should have been much more aggressive in siding with protesters in Iran back in 2009?
WOOLSEY: Clearly. Well, not necessarily siding directly with the protesters -- you don't want to look like you're controlling them -- but certainly criticizing, a year-and-a-half ago, criticizing the regime for cracking down on them. Look, what that regime does, under their -- one thing -- it's a terrible thing -- but under their ideas, virgins go to heaven. So, when they get a young girl, as in prison --
COOPER: You're talking about in Iran?
WOOLSEY: -- in Iran, they rape her before they kill her.
This -- that's about as hideous as you can get. We never say a word about these sorts of things.
COOPER: I'm always fascinated, in Iran they actually mandate the size of stones that they use to stone people.
WOOLSEY: Yes, right.
COOPER: They don't want stones which are too big that will kill somebody too quickly, don't want too small to not injure them enough.
COOPER: But Libya is also now -- you have this bizarre Moammar Gadhafi ruling 41 years. Can he maintain power? They are ruthlessly cracking down.
AJAMI: Well, look at Gadhafi. Look at this great Arab upheaval. It broke out in Tunisia. It skipped Libya and moved east to Egypt. So there he sits with Egypt on one side and Tunisia on the other, and they both had their moments of rebellion.
Moammar Gadhafi has long ceased to be a clown. He's a killer. He is a terrible ruler. And he holds Europe to ransom. He has oil. And he has also threatened them always that he would unleash on them waves of immigrants, African immigrants. Not a subtle man, he said he will make Europe black. He will just simply flood them with immigrants.
And so he runs this big penal colony, Libya. It is all his. It's his. It's his sons'. And it is this odd creature, this Libyan state. And if there was any decent order of states, there would be an expeditionary force that would liberate the Libyan people from this tyrant.
But with oil money and with the location he has, he holds Europe to ransom. And the Americans, for our part, we gave him a reprieve several years ago because supposedly he turned over his weapons of mass destruction. So, in 2004, we basically said, ah, maybe Gadhafi, he is now coming in from the cold.
He hasn't changed. This is a monster. And the Libyan people are suffering for this. And this is the longest serving Arab ruler. He's called the dean of Arab rulers.
WOOLSEY: Fouad said two key words there: oil money.
We could well see oil go above the $147 a barrel that it got to two years ago. This -- the fact that we have not done anything substantial to move away from our dependence on oil -- most all of what the administration and Congress have been looking at with respect to the environment has to do with electricity generation, not with our oil dependence, which is a separate thing, really.
And we're going to find oil shooting up very high if we end up having a revolution in Bahrain and in the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia. And in a way, it's our own fault for having wasted all these years in not moving away from oil.
COOPER: It is such a fascinating time, though. And to be a fly on the wall in the White House now would be extraordinary, because, I mean it's the convergence of so many competing things.
On the one hand, ok, there's concerns about oil, there's concerns about security interests. There's also the very real American desire to see democracy flourish throughout the world, to side with the right side in these conflicts. And yet there's all these competing interests in Egypt.
COOPER: Libya seems clear as far as the U.S. standard is, based on Gadhafi and his record.
WOOLSEY: Right. These things do conflict. And this is not easy. This is a difficult situation.
And we don't have alternatives -- democratic alternatives, the way they did back in the '80s say with Cory Aquino, when we went after Marcos or helped move him out. They don't have the kind of resilience in the situation that we had in Eastern Europe say when the wall went down.
COOPER: To hear these envoys, though, continue to kind of trot out the same lies that they have always told, you know, to hear Libyan government officials blaming the U.S., or to hear Gadhafi blaming the U.S., blaming Israel, that's the same stuff Mubarak does -- that's the stuff he has always done for years to try to have an outside enemy to kind of keep attention off himself.
AJAMI: Look, these Arab autocrats have had it very good for a long time. What they have done is they have run what I insist on calling penal colonies. They basically imprison their people. And they have told the rest of the world --
COOPER: And it's that bad?
AJAMI: Absolutely, in my opinion.
Look, eight Arab governments practice torture -- 360 million Arabs, that's the population of the Arab world -- we are now witnessing their crisis. These rulers basically told us, we will keep the peace if you just avert your gaze from the terrible things we do, I, Hosni Mubarak, will give you order on the banks of the Nile. I, Moammar Gadhafi, will give you order in the deserts of Libya. I, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, will repress the Tunisian people. And we will be moderate in the world abroad, but we will -- whatever we do here at home doesn't matter.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Coming up: an extraordinary look inside the rehab facility where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is recovering from a gunshot wound. Dr. Sanjay Gupta actually got inside the facility and kind of went through a lot of the therapies to kind of show how they work. It's an extraordinary look.
Stick around for that.
And then later: a heartbreaking story of a couple wrongly accused of abusing their 8-month-old baby. They were accused of shaken baby syndrome, led to a nightmare for the family, falsely accused. They did nothing wrong.
And we're going to look at the whole notion of shaken baby syndrome. It may not be what you think or as clear as you think.
We will be right back.
COOPER: Tonight, a remarkable inside look at what Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is going through every day as she recovers from being shot in the head last month in Arizona.
360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta was granted extraordinary access to the very facility in Houston, Texas, where Giffords is undergoing rehab. Playing the patient, he shows us the kind of therapy that she goes through every day.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For about an hour most days, Congresswoman Giffords does this.
(on camera): So you're going to sing it and if I mouth it, then you can do that. You can tell me what that means.
Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are. MAEGAN MORROW, MUSIC THERAPIST: Good. Sometimes I come in and that's all they can do. And --
GUPTA: And that's significant.
MORROW: That's significant, because it gives me a clue, "Hey, they know this song, and they want to fill it in."
GUPTA (voice-over): It's called music therapy. Most people never see how it or much of the technology, big or small in this building, actually works. So I will show you as if I, like Congresswoman Giffords, were a patient of Dr. Francisco and his team.
(on camera): It seems like a pretty long day.
DR. GERARD FRANCISCO, TIRR: It is a long day.
GUPTA (voice-over): Every patient here has suffered a catastrophic injury and gets tailored therapy for an average of 28 days.
FRANCISCO: After a brain injury or stroke, there is a tendency for the patient to forget one side of the body.
GUPTA (on camera): Just neglect it?
FRANCISCO: Just neglect it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You'll start to feel, like, some tingling in your calf.
GUPTA (voice-over): But this bike doesn't let you forget.
(on camera): These are the little chords here actually attached to my muscles in my leg. And as my leg is moving, it's sort of predicting which muscle should be using, and it's giving that muscle a stimulation.
(voice-over): They call this the Superman device: learning to walk without the burden of my body weight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirty percent of your body weight has been taken out.
GUPTA: Surprisingly, the shopping cart is also used as part of therapy.
(on camera): Take a look here. Obviously, Julie helping, for example, if I have right leg weakness, really sort of moving my leg along, preventing me from falling.
SHAP SHADRAVAN, SPEECH THERAPIST: I say, "OK, you said 'len.' It's 'pen.' Use your lips."
GUPTA (voice-over): Now remember, with Congresswoman Giffords, speech is also a concern, especially since she has a trache, and learning to use it is a part of therapy. SHADRAVAN: This is what sticks out in the patient. What we have here is a PNV (ph) speaking valve. If they're tolerating that, then we'll try to get them to speak.
GUPTA: But here's the thing. All these different therapies work together. For example, remember music therapy?
MORROW: I'm going to go lean two, three, four. Push up, two, three, four.
GUPTA: The music isn't just rehabilitating the mind; it's also teaching patients to walk. And sometimes --
MORROW: And I'll give them a song to kind of get their mind off of the pain.
Oh, when the saints go marching in -- some kind of thing like that.
COOPER: It's really cool to see that rehabilitation up close. When people talk about rewiring the brain, what does that mean?
GUPTA: Yes. I learned a lot through this whole process, as well. You know, rewiring the brain basically means that you're trying to use what are redundant pathways in the brain. The brain has lots of different pathways to do the same activity. You want to use some of those new pathways.
What I found fascinating, though, Anderson, like for example, when I was riding that bike, you typically think of the brain sending a signal down to the muscle. In this case, you get a little shock into your muscle during the various stages of riding the bike. That's sending a signal back up to the brain, and that's what is sort of causing this rewiring process.
The whole focus in this rehab, Anderson, is use the weak side. Don't ignore it; don't neglect it. Use the weak side as much as possible. And early recovery, because of that, is the best sort of recovery. That seems to be the mantra there.
COOPER: And what's next for Giffords?
GUPTA: You know, a lot of it has to focus now on occupational therapy. I mean, she's made some amazing gains, as you just saw there, Anderson. But things like even, you know, brushing your teeth, using a spoon, the types of therapies they have to teach people to do that, to put your pants on, something simple. You would put your pants on typically standing up, not lying down. So there's things that we just take for granted that she's going to learn again.
Also, there's -- even while we were there, Anderson, there's this new robotic arm, which is being brought in to therapy centers to essentially teach people how to use their limb in a way again that they hadn't used in some time. In this case, you see me doing it by playing games. Focus your concentration. That works on cognition. And it also uses that arm that's weak.
COOPER: And as a neurosurgeon, you've actually sent people to rehab, but you were saying this is the first time you've really done it yourself?
GUPTA: Yes. I've never been through this process myself. And I've got to say, you know, we send patients to rehab, and as a neurosurgeon, I was sort of amazed at just how it works, learning the process, and also seeing how effective it is. As I said in the piece there, Anderson, 28 days on average to rehab from some of these catastrophic injuries; if you think about it, that's pretty fast.
COOPER: Yes, it's incredible. Sanjay thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, Sanjay is going to be back to explain a form of child abuse known as Shaken Baby Syndrome. Now, we've all heard about this, but it's actually become a much more controversial diagnosis than you might realize.
We're going to meet one couple wrongly accused of violently shaking one of their daughters and how that accusation turned their world upside down.
Plus, BP releases a statement about the payments to victims of the Gulf oil spill that is going to, no doubt, anger some of those victims.
And Isha is following some of the other big stories for us tonight -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, demonstrators crowded into Wisconsin's capitol building today to protest a controversial budget bill. We'll see why they were so angry and why some lawmakers who are also opposed to the bill skipped town altogether. That and more, when we come back.
COOPER: Imagine being wrongly accused of child -- child abuse and having your children actually taken away from you. That happened to one Washington, D.C., couple who were suspected, incorrectly, of shaking their baby.
GREG CAPLAN, FATHER: Is there a pony on my head?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The nightmare for Greg and Juliana Caplan begins at their Washington, D.C., home, August 30, 2007. Juliana is changing one of her 8-month-old twins' diapers. The other is playing on the floor. JULIANA CAPLAN, MOTHER: I heard a thud, which I knew was her head and that she had fallen back and bonked her head on the floor.
KAYE: Hours later, the baby starts vomiting. They rush her to the emergency room, where doctors keep her overnight. The next day, doctors conclude there are signs of retinal hemorrhaging, bleeding in the membrane of the eye. Then doctors turned the Caplans' world upside- down.
G. CAPLAN: We were told that there was a concern that she might have been abused, and that they had called in their child abuse specialist to interview us.
KAYE: Immediately, Child and Family Services placed a medical hold on the little girl to keep her in the hospital. They suspect something called Shaken Baby Syndrome, for which retinal hemorrhaging can be a red flag. But no doctor can say for sure the child has been shaken.
Then for the Caplans, it gets worse.
J. CAPLAN: The social worker -- it's still emotional to think about it. I mean, she told me that "We have to remove the other child."
And I said, "Well, wait, let's talk about this."
KAYE (on camera): Child and Family Services didn't wait for a full investigation to take action. About 24 hours after their injured baby was taken to the hospital, social workers removed her twin sister from the home. They showed up here with two police cars, lights flashing. It was around 1 a.m.
Mr. Caplan says that he was told to wake his daughter up, remove her from the crib, and hand her over. The couple says they weren't even told where their daughter was being taken.
(voice-over): Peter Nickles handled the Caplan case for the city.
PETER NICKLES, FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C., ATTORNEY GENERAL: There was a significant suspicion, not conclusive at the time, but significant suspicion that they had suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome. Now, within --
KAYE (on camera): Does that suspicion warrant removing the uninjured child immediately?
NICKLES: Yes. Their mandate is to take the child into, effectively, a protective custody status until there can be a probable cause hearing.
KAYE (voice-over): And while they wait for that hearing, the police report is released, showing, quote, "five examining physicians gave no indication or cause to support abuse."
Still, the twins remained in foster care at just 8 months old.
(on camera): What was it like to think of them living in foster care? J. CAPLAN: I mean it's terrible. I don't know what to tell you. You know, I mean here we are several years out, and it's like, I don't think I'll ever be able to talk about it without being emotional.
KAYE (voice-over): Then, after more than two weeks in foster care, a judge at a hearing on the case finds no probable cause for abuse. But it's not over yet.
October 17th, the city -- that is Washington, D.C. -- offers to cut a deal. If the couple undergoes anger management and psychological evaluations and acknowledges neglect, they can avoid a trial. The Caplans reject it.
Weeks later, November 15, the news the Caplans have waited for. The city announces the case is dismissed.
G. CAPLAN: We were able to get a medical expert witness to testify that it is, in fact, possible and plausible that a child with a head size like our daughter had would be susceptible to trauma, to bleeding in the head upon little to no trauma and that that, in combination with retching and vomiting, could be a perfectly innocuous explanation for the retinal hemorrhaging.
KAYE: You might think the story, the nightmare for the Caplans, ends here, but it doesn't. On December 11, 2007, Child and Family Services labeled their investigation, quote, "inconclusive," automatically adding the Caplans to the city's child protection registry. That means, if their daughters are injured, even on the playground, the Caplans are automatically suspects.
It takes more than seven months for the Caplans to get their names removed from the child abuse registry.
(on camera): Do you have any regrets about how this case was handled? Do you believe that some steps should have been handled differently?
NICKLES: No, I do not.
KAYE: No regrets at all?
NICKLES: I have no regrets about the way the case was handled.
KAYE: Do you believe the city was overly aggressive --
KAYE: -- in handling the Caplans' case?
NICKLES: No, absolutely not.
KAYE: The Caplans say it cost $75,000 to defend themselves. Now they are suing for $1 million, alleging recklessness and malicious acts by the D.C. government, its agencies, and individual employees.
J. CAPLAN: They have no systems and no regard and nothing in place to make sure that innocent families don't get caught up in the net. KAYE: A net that's already entangled them for years.
Randi Kaye, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Up next, "Perry's Principles". Nearly one year ago, all the teachers of a poor-performing Rhode Island high school were fired, now many of them are back on the job with new orders to follow in the classroom and even in the lunch room. An update on the school, ahead.
COOPER: And Isha joins us again with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."
What have you got, Isha?
SESAY: Anderson, there's a battle over Wisconsin's state budget that's forced dozens of schools to shut down. That's because thousands of teachers and other public employees held a third day of protests at the state capital.
Now, they're upset about the governor's plan to eliminate collective bargaining rights of most public workers. Sixteen state senators, most of them Democrats, didn't show up for a vote on the Republican- sponsored budget bill today, calling those provisions unfair.
BP officials say payouts to victims of its massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year are too generous. The company says the region's losses are being overstated. So far, the Gulf Coast claims facility has paid out roughly $3.5 billion of the $20 billion BP has allocated to pay for damages.
On Wall Street, all three major indexes finished the day at their highest levels in more than two years. The Dow soared 30 points to close at 12,318, the NASDAQ rose six, and the S&P added four points.
And over the next couple of nights, the northern lights could shine more than usual, and at lower altitudes. It's all due to a massive sun spot nearly eight times the width of Earth that's unleashed the largest solar flare in four years -- Anderson.
COOPER: Wow, those are cool pictures.
SESAY: Yes. You're a science geek. I know you like this kind of stuff. I bring it for you.
COOPER: Yes, I appreciate that.
Almost one year ago, all of the teachers at a struggling Rhode Island high school were fired. It was a radical move to reform one of the worst schools in the state: just seven percent of juniors were proficient in Math in 2009. Not even half the students were graduating.
A year later, many of the teachers are back on the job with a new mandate. In tonight's "Perry's Principles," education contributor and principal, Steve Perry has this update.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: Before the start of the school year, all 88 teachers at Central Falls High School got their jobs back.
DEBORAH GIST, RHODE ISLAND EDUCATION COMMISSIONER: A lot of people misperceived that the termination of the teachers at the school was reflective of a belief that all of the teachers were poor performing. And that's actually not the case. We needed the teachers to commit to the reform plan.
PERRY: And they did. The teachers union and the school district agreed to a longer school day, more after school tutoring, eating lunch with students and tougher teacher evaluations.
So did you end up paying them more?
FRANCES GALLO, CENTRAL FALLS SUPERINTENDENT: Yes.
PERRY: Central Falls is a poor community. Where did you get extra money?
GALLO: Through the school improvement grant dollars, we had promised that if we secure those dollars, then there will be a $3,000 stipend per teacher.
PERRY: Each teacher got an additional $1,800 for professional development.
So what did you get? Has the school improved?
GALLO: I didn't get the piece I expected to get, because then human beings took a long time to heal and I'm still not sure they've healed their wounds from last February.
PERRY: So in a town which the average income is $22,000 and the average teacher now is making approximately $76,000 what are the community members paying for?
JAMES PARISI, R.I. FED. OF TEACHERS AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS: The highest paid teachers are making about $76,000, which quite honestly I don't think is enough for the committed professionals that are in that school district.
PERRY: But they're not successful. You have a 93 percent fail rate. That is undeniable.
PARISI: And you think that's caused by teachers not performing?
PARISI: I don't think the teachers are responsible. I think there's a lot of things. I think the failure of the district to have a math curriculum that gives kids what they need, the failure of the district to get kids to attend school on a regular basis.
PERRY: You're one high school in town. What do you hope is going to happen?
GALLO: Well, we've done a number of things. We're offering p.m. schools for those students who prefer to come at a different time in a smaller setting. We've reached out to students who had previously dropped out and are trying to pull them back in. We have outside evaluators evaluating teacher performance and are working very hard to help those who are either basic in their skills or unsatisfactory to say this is your year, this is your opportunity, and you must improve. And if not, we're back to where we were.
COOPER: So Central Fall High Schools is one of the lowest performing schools in Rhode Island. How do you boost a school like that?
PERRY: I don't know that you can necessarily boost a school. I think schools like that are sinking ships and the best thing you can do is get all the passengers off. One of the ways that you can do that when it comes to education is give children access to schools outside of the district whether they be public or private.
Also you have to start from scratch: new leadership team, new teachers, all the way down to the lunch ladies and security officers. You have to start from scratch. You can't expect a failing school to be fixed. Can it be better? Yes. But will it no longer be failing? Not so.
COOPER: Interesting. Principal Perry thanks.
Coming up next tonight, "Raw Politics"; why some members of congress have an issue with what the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas does for a living and how it's tied to the fight against health care, when we continue.
COOPER: Well, a question tonight. Is there disorder in the court when it comes to President Obama's health care law? With multiple cases winding their way through the appeals court, the Supreme Court could be asked to rule on whether the law is constitutional. And when and if that happens, some members of Congress, Democrats, say that Justice Clarence Thomas shouldn't be involved because of his wife's political activities.
Dozens of house democrats sent a letter to Justice Thomas asking him to recuse himself if the health care law ends up on the court's docket. His wife, Virginia, is a conservative lobbyist and Tea Party supporter who has ties to groups that have spoken out against the health care law.
So should Justice Thomas recuse himself?
I spoke with Jeffrey Toobin and New York Congressman Democrat Anthony Weiner.
COOPER: Congressman Weiner, Justice Thomas' wife is a well-known long-time conservative political activist in Washington. No one should be surprised that she's opposed to health care law. Why are you calling for Justice Thomas then to recuse himself if a case challenging the law reaches the Supreme Court?
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Well, primarily because it's the law of the land. Judges are required to recuse themselves whenever they or a member of their spouse have a financial interest in the outcome. He has to recuse himself because the appearance is clearly there that he has a stake in the outcome.
COOPER: Jeff, do you think that's true?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I don't. And I -- because I think the difference here is what do you mean by a stake? She has a political stake. The foundation she's worked for are rooting against health care.
But in terms of a stake in the outcome, none of these foundations are going to make any extra money if health care reform is struck down.
COOPER: Does it just raise the specter, though, of a conflict of interest?
TOOBIN: I don't think there is even a specter of a conflict of interest. Just because she takes a position on an issue doesn't mean that he has to get out of any case where she takes a position.
COOPER: Congressman Weiner, what about Justice Elena Kagan? I mean she was the Obama administration's solicitor-general when the health care law was being debated, couldn't her impartiality be questioned as well?
WEINER: Well, first of all she said she was in a grand total of one meeting where it never came up. She was not involved with it at all. But Kagan is a good example. She's recused herself from more than 50 percent of the cases that she's heard so far because of the appearance.
And let me just say this. She definitely does have a financial interest, being Mrs. Thomas. She's now the CEO of a company that brags on its Web site it has influence over the outcome and is raising money to try to stop this thing from happening.
I mean, I'll give you another example. There is also the appearance that Justice Thomas has intentionally concealed his financial interest. Since 1996, she's reported on his filing, that there's been no income from his wife when in fact, there was $686,000 coming into their household. So the appearance is there.
TOOBIN: It's certainly right that Clarence Thomas should have filed the disclosure form. COOPER: You have to amend more than 20 years of disclosure.
TOOBIN: It was certainly inexcusable.
But the fact that Jenny Thomas worked for the Heritage Foundation was well known. The fact of how much she made only came out when he filed the form. It's not like it was a secret that she worked for this organization or any of the other political organizations.
COOPER: This decision, in the end, is up to Clarence Thomas. No one else can tell him, right?
TOOBIN: And that's one of the defects in the Supreme Court's procedures that the issue of recusal is completely up to the Justices. There is no legal procedure. It's just up to their good faith.
COOPER: Congressman Weiner, do you really expect Justice Thomas to recuse himself?
WEINER: If he did, it would be the first time I agreed with anything he did. So, perhaps I'd be surprised.
Look, I want to point out something that you just alluded to. The fact is, because there is no place to appeal this decision is a reason why Justice Thomas should take extra care here. If we're going to have this be seen as on the level, something the Supreme Court has suffered from since Bush v. Gore, this is going to be an important test about whether or not he's doing this right.
TOOBIN: It's worth mentioning, I think maybe the real agenda here is Clarence Thomas is a sure vote to find this law unconstitutional. He's probably the surest vote on the whole court. I think that's really why Congressman Weiner and his colleagues want to get him off the case, which is understandable.
COOPER: Congressman, true?
WEINER: Well, it doesn't change the facts. It doesn't change the fact that there's $700,000 of income coming into his household. It doesn't change the fact that for years they denied this.
And I'll say one other thing. In many cases, Clarence Thomas has recused himself when it's come to cases involving Wachovia where his son works. This is not very different, because his wife would benefit if her firm is able to show they were able to get this ruled unconstitutional.
COOPER: We'll watch it.
Congressman Weiner, we appreciate it. Jeff Toobin as well, thanks.
COOPER: That's it for 360. Thanks for watching.
Piers Morgan starts now. I'll see you tomorrow night.