Rael defends claims of cloned baby
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Clonaid stunned the world last week by claiming that a woman had given birth to the first-ever cloned human being, a little girl the company is calling Eve.
Clonaid, founded by members of a sect called the Raelians, believes mankind was created by extraterrestrials. It says Eve will not undergo genetic testing to compare her DNA to her mother's, which would prove or disprove Clonaid's claim. Is the cloning legitimate or just a publicity stunt?
Rael, the spiritual leader of the Raelian movement, stepped into the "Crossfire" on Thursday with hosts Paul Begala and Robert Novak to defend his sect's beliefs.
BEGALA: I do hope you'll understand why we are skeptical. Let me read to you from your own organization's Web site -- the Raelian Web site. This is how they describe your organization. "On the 13th of December, 1973, French journalist Rael was contacted by a visitor from another planet, asked to establish an embassy to welcome these people back to Earth. The extraterrestrial was about 4 feet in height, had long dark hair, almond-shaped eyes, olive skin and exuded harmony and humor."
If, in fact, we are cloned from these folks, how come we're not 4 feet tall with olive skin and exuding harmony and humor, sir?
RAEL: Yes, these people are not alien. They are the Elohim of the Bible. These extraterrestrial ... came on the Earth a long time ago. And through DNA and genetic engineering, they did create life on Earth. If you check in the original Bible in Hebrew, you don't have the word "God," but "Elohim." It means in Hebrew "those who came from the sky." And the Bible is the oldest atheist and godless book describing the creation of life on Earth by a very advanced civilization, the Elohim.
BEGALA: But why don't we look like them? If we are cloned from them, why don't we look like them?
RAEL: We look like them. They created us in their image, if that's a question. And they send a lot of messengers. Moses and Ezekiel in the Bible describe contact with UFO and the Elohim, and Jesus, who was a son of one of them and a girl from the Earth.
NOVAK: Sir, I'd like to ask you some very practical, concrete questions. When you announced the cloning of the baby Eve, it was announced that she would be revealed in eight days. That would be, if my count is right, on Saturday. Will we see the baby on Saturday?
RAEL: I don't think so because there was some very bad news two days ago. First of all, I want to be very clear. The cloning company and the Rael movement [are] completely separate. And the cloning company belongs to Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, who is a bishop in our organization, but it's a private company. And the Raelian movement, our religious organization, is completely separate. There is no link, no investment. I don't know where the laboratory is. I don't know the name of the scientist. I don't know the mother of the child. And I know absolutely nothing. We support her ...
NOVAK: Tell us what the bad news was. You said you had some bad news a couple of days ago.
RAEL: Dr. Boisselier made a public announcement about that. The bad news two days ago was that a judge in Florida signed a paper saying that the baby Eve should be taken from the family, from her mother. And when I heard about that, Dr. Boisselier was about to start with [journalist] Michael Guillen [to set up] some DNA testing to prove [to] the world that it was true. And I called her immediately because to take away this poor baby from a mother just because she was cloned, I think this is completely crazy. I understand when you take away children because the mother or the family abuse a child or when there is violence, but just because she's a clone?
So I called Dr. Boisselier, and I said, "If I was you, I would not test anything." Because like last year, when she was about to clone a baby already in America, her telephone was tapped by the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]. And then they [found] the laboratory, and they ask the first customer to [shut down] the company. And I am sure they will do the same this time and find the baby.
NOVAK: So in other words, we will not see the baby or any evidence of the baby on Saturday, correct?
RAEL: A judge in Florida signed a paper saying that to protect the child, it has to be taken away from the mother. And I cannot understand why something like that should happen. And I think every family in America, if there is a healthy baby, even if it's cloned with the mother, I don't see why [they] would be separated.
BEGALA: But Rael, even if that's the case, and if you produced her bodily, she would be taken into custody, why can't you show evidence? Why can't you show tests? Why can't you show photographs? Why can't you show videotape? Why can't you show DNA evidence that would prove this? Because, you know, I'm telling you, you're not persuading a lot of people so far.
RAEL: Maybe Dr. Boisselier will do that. She was about to do it with Michael Guillen, this journalist, and with an independent team, and I don't know what she will do. Once again, she's in Europe right now. I called her, and I said, "If there is any risk that this baby is taken away from the family, it's better to lose your credibility. Don't do the testing because what is important is the child and not to prove the world that you are right." And I think she agreed with me.
NOVAK: I just want to get your connection. You were the founder of the cloning company, were you not?
RAEL: At the beginning, I created a company that was [shut down] by the Bahamian government because it was just a P.O. Box and a Web site. ... People were against cloning after Dolly the sheep was cloned. And so I created a seed company, if you like, to see the feasibility. And then the Bahamian government [shut down] the company because there was strong pressure from French government because, as you know, I am French.
There is a lot of religious persecution, not only against the Raelians, but against the Jehovah's Witnesses [and] the Scientology church. There are terrible laws in France. And Dr. Boisselier herself lost her job in France because she was a member of our religion, and lost custody of a child. I cannot imagine that happening in America, and the judge [wrote] on the paper, because you are Raelian, we should take away your child. That's France today, where you have no more freedom. And so the company was [shut down,] and then Dr. Boisselier created this private company to do it.
BEGALA: What else am I to conclude when you cannot offer any evidence of your claim -- a rather outlandish claim that you've cloned a human baby -- but that this is, in fact, just a publicity stunt, and a damn successful one, at that?
RAEL: You know, Dr. Boisselier, one more time, created a private company. And her reputation is at stake, and I think she will do everything she needs to make her company. She's Raelian. If she was a Christian, you would not ask the pope. If she was a Jew, you would not ask her rabbi. I just support her psychologically, spiritually ...
BEGALA: We're asking for proof, sir, with all due respect. No matter what her religion or yours, we would ask for proof to back up a claim that you cloned a human being. And we're just not going to get it, are we?
RAEL: I am, one more time, not involved in the company. I don't know where is the laboratory. I don't want to know where is the laboratory. I don't want to know the scientists. This is her business. She will make a lot of money, I hope, with that. But we, as a religious organization, don't want to be involved in any company. But we support her. Why do we support cloning? Because thanks to cloning, you will be able soon to give the world eternal life.