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tv   Nightline  ABC  February 3, 2010 11:35pm-12:05am EST

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tonight on "nightline," day of reconning. self proclaimed spiritual guru james arthur ray is charged with three counts of manslaughter, after three clients die in a sweat lodge ceremony gone wrong. we'll have the latest on his arrest. caught on camera. a plane, carrying a family of american missionaries is shot down in a drug operation the cia participated in. mother and baby are killed. tonight, we reveal what really happened. it's a "nightline" investigation. and, er haiti. we're imbedded with the american doctors working overtime inside the quake zone, confronted by a situation that is a very long way from home.
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>> announcer: from the global resources of abc news with terry moran, martin bashir and cynthia mcfadden in new york city, this is "nightline," february 3rd, 2010. >> good evening, i'm terry moran. and we begin tonight with the arrest of motivational speaker and self-proclaimed spiritual guru james arthur ray. he was charged today with three counts of manslaughter. one for each person who died in a sweat lodge ceremony last fall at his spiritual retreat. dan harris first investigated the fatalities and this suspect for "nightline" in october and he's got tonight's report. >> reporter: it is a stunning fall from grace for a man who was once one of the fastest rising stars in the $11 billion a year self-help industry. one of the featured teachers in the megabest selling book and dvd "the secret." >> most people look at their current state of affairs and
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say, this is who i am. that's not who you are. >> reporter: which argue you can get whatever you want through the power of your thoughts. a guru who tonight is in jail, facing three charges of manslaughter. the arrest today of james arthur ray is a culmination of a nearly four-month investigation as to what happened at this makeshift structure, known as a sweat lodge, traditionally used as part of a native american say motherny. >> this is a result of a shooting? >> no, a sweat lodge. >> a sweat lodge? >> yes. >> okay. >> reporter: ray was guiding one of those ceremonies here in arizona when three people died and 18 others were rushed to the hospital. one of the victims were liz newman, a long-time devotee of ray. we spoke with her daughter a short time ago. >> i think this needed to happen, because i believe we needed to make an example of this situation, and that you can't be so careless with people lives. >> reporter: liz newman and
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other victims passed out in the sweat lodge, which was filled with steam. participant beverly bunn says despite the warning signs, ray urged people to stay inside. >> there was a lot of people spitting, throwing up. he encouraged -- he said, it's normal. if you have any pain or anxiety of anything going on in your body, your mind is stronger than that, and you can overcome that. >> reporter: ray's lawyers say he never physically stopped anyone from leaving. melinda martin, a former james ray employee, was on the scene, as well. she says as the ceremony went on, the injuries got worse and the scene became more frighteni frightening. >> one guy had fallen into the pit in the middle, fallen into the pit of molten rocks and burned his arm, and all the white of his skin was gone, and it -- the skin was just hanging off of his elbow. so, down his leg, down both sides of his arms and he was
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staring, not reacting to the burned arm, and i was trying to take care of him, and miss mindset was getting back into there. i'm not done, i have to go back in. >> reporter: he went back in? >> he did. >> reporter: because of the enormous power ray has over his followers, she said. during this crisis, as his followers lay sick and dying, his former employee, melinda martin, performing cpr on one of the victims, says ray simply stared. >> i look up and he's watching from stand-up position. he didn't offer to help. he didn't say anything. nothing at all. and he was kind of just looking around. i'm sure he was shocked. but so was i. that didn't stop me from getting down on the ground and working and trying to get people back to life.
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>> reporter: did you see him do anything to help anybody? >> no, nothing. >> reporter: ray's attorneys say he did everything possible to help out at the scene, but according to local police, ray did not give them a statement that night, and that he returned to california the following day. when we first met andrea puckett, liz newman's daughter, back in november, she told us that no one from ray's organization called her to tell her she was in the hospital, and when she arrived at the hospital, she found her mother in a coma. >> it was difficult. knowing that just, you know, a week and a half earlier i dropped my mom off at the airport, and she was in perfect health. watching her gasp for breath was the hardest thing i've ever done. >> reporter: who do you blame for this? >> i think a lot of fault falls on james ray. like i said, they knew each other for seven years. she trusted him to keep her safe.
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and when she needed him most, he left. he didn't contact our family and just left her there to die. >> reporter: ray's bond has been set at $5 million. tonight, abc news has learned that ray, who once had a best selling book, may not have the money to post bond. i'm dan harris for "nightline" in new york. and in a statement tonight, ray's attorney called the deaths a terrible accident and the charges unjust, adding that ray cooperated with authorities every step of the investigation. we will continue to follow this case, and our thanks to dan harris for tonight's report. when we come back, a mother and baby killed. and this plane was shot down, and it's caught on camera. so, why is the cia in the crosshairs? ♪ the wrightnows
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fo for nearly nine years, loved ones of american missionary veronica bowers and her infant daughter charity were left to ask why. why was this family mistaken for drug smugglers, shot down in an operation as the cia looked on? today, they may have some answers, but now, it's justice they seek. our chief investigative correspondent brian ross has the report. brian? >> reporter: terry, this is the story of how two innocent americans, a mother and her infant daughter, were killed, and how some members of congress
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say the cia has spent the last nine years covering up its role in their deaths. it all happened a long time ago, but it was only today the full extent of the cia's failures and alleged deceit came to light. there are some who will never forget what happened that day in april 2001, when this plane was shot down in a cia operation in peru. >> when my daughter was shout out of the air and my granddaughter was murdered, as far as i'm concerned, and nobody has had to pay any price for it, it's unbelievable. it's immoral. it's not right. >> reporter: as part of a u.s. effort to stop drug smuggling from south america, the cia aircraft mistakenly identified the aircraft as likely belocking to a drug smulinger. >> we're trying to remain covert. >> reporter: the cia could not have been more wrong about who was on the plane.
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they were american missionaries from michigan, jim and veronica bowers. also on board the plane was the bowers' then 6-year-old son cory and their infant daughter, charity. >> nobody's been punished for it. nobody nobody's been health accountable. rrl over the course of one hour and 49 minutes, cia personnel would never correct their mistake. and, in fact, would violate again and again what were thought by the white house to be strict rules of engagement, including a check of the plane's tail number. that did not happen. >> you know, we can go up and attempt the tail number but the problem with that, if he is dirty and he detects us, we can't chase him. >> reporter: had their read the tail number, the cia could have learned the plane was registered to a church group. >> see, i don't know if this is
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ban dee toe or if it's amigo, okay? >> okay. >> no se. >> so if we get him to land and check? >> okay. >> okay, before, you know? >> ah, si, si, very good. >> reporter: soon, the gun ship arrives on the scene. they contact the bowers plane with a warning in spanish, "we will shoot you down." the bowers' pilot was on a different frequency, and never heard the warning. >> i can see him. >> reporter: unlike drug smugglers, the plane was not flying low, and now the cia pie lots are beginning to have their doubts. >> this guy doesn't fit the profile. >> okay, i understand this is not our call, but this guy is at 4,500 feet, he's not taking any evasive action. >> reporter: but the cia pilots did nothing to stop the
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peruvians as they pushed ahead to phase three. >> is three phase authorized? >> you sure it's ban dee toe? >> yes. >> are you sure? >> yes. >> okay. >> okay. >> if you're sure. >> reporter: then, more serious doubts, quietly white house perred. >> that is [ bleep ]. >> i think we're making a mistake. >> i agree with you. >> the cia should have radioed to the peruvian interceptor and said abort, stand down. >> reporter: the cia says its pilots did not have the authority to stop the operation. a minute and a half later the gun ship opened fire. bowers' pilot screams in spanish for them to stop. >> tell him to terminate. >> no, don't shoot. >> tell him to terminate. >> no mas. >> no mas, no mas. >> god.
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>> he hit him now. >> can we terminate phase three? >> okay, there. >> reporter: the damage was done, as the plane caught on fire, trailing black smoke, it headed for the river to land. veronica bowers was already dead from a bull let through her chest. infant charity died from a bullet in the head. >> it's a terrible, terrible thing to see your child being killed and to see your daughter and your granddaughter being murdered. to me, that's what it was. for a mistake? oh, of course it was a mistake. but why? how come it was a mistake? >> right there. >> yeah. >> reporter: not long after the plane was floating upside down in the river, the cia director in washington was telling white house officials it was just an unavoidable error. >> when the cia director comes to you and you know him and trust him and he says, we followed all the procedures, you
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believe him. the problem was, that the cia was apparently lying to its own director. >> reporter: in congress today, the cia was accused by a top republican of running a nine-year-long effort to stonewall and mislead congress, fafling to reveal how long and why all the program's strict rules were ignored by the cia. >> if the rules as outlined had been followed the bowers' plane would not have been shot down. >> i want to know the truth. i want to know why. i want to know why my baby's gone. don't they understand that? >> i want somebody to have to stand up and say, i was responsible. i want them to know what a mother's heart is like. you can feel the last touch, the last kiss she gave you when you said good-bye. not knowing it was going to be
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the last one. and i want somebody to tell me why they killed my girl. why they killed my child. >> reporter: today, the cia said its nine-year-long investigation had determined there was no cover-up, but that 16 cia employees should be disciplined, including, we learned the woman then in charge of counternarcotics. many of the 16 are no longer with the cia, and one of them told us his discipline was no more than a letter of reprimand placed in his file, which he was told would be removed in one year. that's the punishment for his role in the wrongful deaths of two innocent americans. terry? >> and those answers, brian, took nearly nine years to arrive. what a scandal. our thanks to brian ross for that report. when we come back, we imbed with american doctors who have traded the comforts of home to with american doctors who have traded the comforts of home to help those who need it most. [ male anner ] welcome to the now network population 49 million.
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>> a >> announcer: "nightline" continues from new york city with terry moran. >> nearly $800 million have been donated to earthquake relief in haiti, but many have volunteered mantower, including medical expeer these. we spent four days imbedded with american doctors working there in dire conditions. david wright reports, and a warning, some of these pictures are graphic. >> 7-year-old boy, yesterday, his father was trying to dig someone out of the rubble and when he did that, the pick
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accidentally pung chired him. >> you're looking at a big hole right here. >> reporter: it's a tough job, even for those with all the right background and training. >> i'm an er physician by training, so i think we're kind of used to chaos, but i don't think anything really prepares you for this. >> i was scared when i landed, a little bit. weren't you? >> reporter: they're doctors from around the united states. >> here's a little area for lounging so we don't get psychotic. >> reporter: who have volunteered to join the university of miami's project medi-share. >> we're going to have a second isolation tent tomorrow for different things. >> it's my first time in a disaster area like this. >> this is probably the closest, our hopefully the closest that i will ever get in my lifetime to a war zone. >> reporter: same goes for many of these doctors. >> i didn't sleep so well last night but i'm not quite sure if
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that has something to do with the malaria proflak sis of what's going on. >> reporter: sleep or no sleep, but sninz, the o.r. is full. three operations under one makeshift roof, and a woman in labor. o.r. one, a converted picnic table. this is where they treat the youngest victims. first patient, a girl with a leg wound down to the bone. >> we have no blood and no laps. >> just like a real hospital. >> we took muscle, rotated it around to cover the bone in her leg, is true plastic surgery. you know, this is a tent, sitting on the dirt in an airfield. >> reporter: and it's getting harder to get visas to send patients to the u.s. >> a patient whose treating physician here is coming to pick him up tomorrow and is just giving the bird, if you pardon the expression, to homeland
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security, putting him on a plane, and we're going to see what happens. >> reporter: the first wound vax have arrived. >> there's no consent. there's no dictations. there's very little paperwork. we are just doing cases that need to be done. >> okay, okay. >> reporter: a patient picked up from a tent city in the heart of port-au-prince. >> he is paralyzed. he hasn't moved. >> shoulders out of the way to get better visualization of the spine. >> we don't know where she came from. we don't know who treated her initially. she obviously has a displaced fracture in her femur. >> our x-ray machine just went kaput. >> reporter: with 11 surgeries in one day, these doctors barely break to eat. but they do manage to step
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outside the o.r. to wiltness the birth of a newborn named david. >> oh, my god. >> nice. that's -- something to smile about right there. >> reporter: then, it's back in for five more hours of surgery. >> bless you. >> it is either this or nothing, and so we just do the best with what we have. >> this is my home. >> i like what you've done with it. >> reporter: it's a long way from the coconut grove. >> got my bug spray. my suitcase that has, like, extra food, got some water, drinks in there. i've got a flashlight. that's pretty much all i brought. a couple pairs of scrubs, that's it. >> reporter: the doctors grab sleep when they can. in a big tent, just like the patients. no running water, few economy sure comforts at all. military rations are gourmet meals. at night, the patients keep
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coming. a 6 month old baby named jude. >> we found this baby up at a clinic in the epicenter, in the mountains, and you can see it right here, the brain is right under here. >> busy day, as you can tell. it's time to get some rest and get ready for the next onslaught. >> reporter: the next morning -- >> a lot of vomiting, diarrhea. they need oral rehydration. that's the message we have to get out there. >> two transfer here. >> reporter: there's simply no room for them. and there are others, like the boy with the axe wound who needs to get out. >> he's doing excel leapt now, but five, six days from now when he starts developing an infection -- >> reporter: medevac's back to the states have been stalled for two days. >> it's ballooning into a mushroom crowd for all of us. >> reporter: patients with infectious diseases are moved into isolation tents.
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the conditions could be better. in the o.r., another amputation is repaired, but by nightfall -- the patient has died. not from the surgery, but from tetan tetanus. it's not true, says her sister. on sunday, medevacs to the states have, thankfully, resumed. julian, the boy with the axe wound, finally made it to a hospital in tampa, along with a girl with the enlarged heart. but others, like this boy, who needs a skin graft, are still waiting. >> you look at the people down here, and a lot of them have nothing. and the kids you see, their mom has died, their dad has died, their sister has died, and they are asking to go home with you, and they just got to make sure you count your blessings. >> reporter: and here, as hard as it is, it's easy to count your blessings. many of these doctors say they plan to come back.
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i'm david wright for "nightline" in port-au-prince. >> count all of our blessings. remember the people of haiti, and the doctors doing such important work. our thanks to them. and our thanks to david wright. we'll be right back. first, here's jimmy kimmel, with what's coming up. >> jimmy: thanks, terry. on the show tonight, dr. phil, nick jonas, demetri martin, and iranian turtles in space. stay up, let's h
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