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Mexican Drug Cartels Operate with Impunity; Cindy Sheehan to Travel to Iraq; Political Hypocrisy
Aired July 15, 2007 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: She is Cindy Sheehan, one of America's most famous protestors. Baghdad bound.
Did you say Iraq? You're going to go to Iraq?
CINDY SHEEHAN: I'm going to go to southern Iraq.
SANCHEZ: Are you worried that if you go to Iraq, you know, it's going to be Baghdad Cindy? No, she says, not worried. She's on a mission. And she plans to take on the speaker of the house as well.
Also, is it true that any of your officers or officers in the past have taken money from these guys? It doesn't exist?
Drug smugglers, running wild in Mexico. I go on assignment there into a small town where I couldn't even get a police officer to go in and escort me. So I go in alone, but I'll take you with me.
Also, a rape trial where the words rape, victim and assailant are banned from the courtroom. Try arguing this case. Straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Hello again, everybody, I'm Rick Sanchez. We're going to start here in B control. A lot of news coming in. Big problems tonight with two of the countries the U.S. depends on and has been depending on to win the war on terror. But are they more of a liability at this point than an asset? Here's the deal. With the insurgency roiling Iraq, the Bush administration is quick to blame Iran and Syria for destabilizing Iraq's young government. But today comes the word that nearly half the foreign fighters now terrorizing Iraq are actually from Saudi Arabia. Yes, that Saudi Arabia. The U.S. ally where 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from. The other country that's problematic, Pakistan. That country's president, Pervez Musharraf, may be indirectly helping Al Qaeda get its act together. Staying in Pakistan, and what is a major turn of events, Islamic fighters in a lawless region that borders Afghanistan have ended a truce with the government. Now, remember, Musharraf promised that he would be able to keep Al Qaeda in check, under control. But attacks in this region this weekend have killed at least 70 people, including Pakistani troops, as well as police officers. This truce has been the subject of a painful second-guessing game. U.S. officials are complaining that Musharraf's hands-off stance has made the region, Pakistan, an even bigger base now for Al Qaeda. Here's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley on this very topic just today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHEN HADLEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Al Qaeda is nowhere in the position today than it was before 9/11. And it's nowhere in the position it would have been had we not been working hard on this problem for the last five or six years. But what we've seen in the last year or so is a problem in the northwest territories in Pakistan where the President Musharraf had a very aggressive strategy of using force against Taliban and Al Qaeda in that area, and over a year ago, he reached an understanding with tribal leaders that they were going to police Taliban and Al Qaeda. And the truth is, it did not work. And what we've seen pooling of the Taliban, training, operational planning, President Musharraf understands it has not worked. We understand it has not worked. And what you're beginning to see now is his taking steps to bring new troops in place to get control of that situation.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: So that's the explanation of Musharraf and Pakistan as problem one. Here's problem two. Saudi Arabia, Washington's long- time ally in the heart of the Middle East. Today's "Los Angeles Times" includes a disturbing story filed from Baghdad. It says that 45 percent, 45 percent of all the foreign militants that are now in Iraq, fighting against U.S. soldiers, killing many civilians, actually come from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, friend to the United States or at least the royal family. "The Times" story is source to a senior U.S. military officer, who said 50 percent of Iraq's Saudi fighters enter the country as suicide bombers. And his statistics show that Saudi fighters far outnumber Syrians or Iranians. The U.S. senator says the Saudi government needs to do something.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN WARNER, (R) VIRGINIA: Saudi Arabia is a nation with which we try and do business. They're on the border. They have considerable influence on the Sunni factions within Iraq, and we continue to urge Saudi Arabia to do everything they can to -- to do everything they can to bring about stability. It's not in Saudi Arabia's interest for Iraq to implode in a violent civil war. That's not in their interest. And I hope they come to that conclusion soon.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now, the fight for Iraq playing out between the White House and the Congress. A senate debate resumes this week. And as we told you just yesterday, for the first time President Bush is now facing a legislative challenge from some leaders that are within his own party. Here's the very latest now on Mr. Bush, his legacy and his foreseeable problems from correspondent Ed Henry.
ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president is on the defensive over a plan by two senior Republicans, John Warner and Richard Lugar, to limit the mission of U.S. troops in Iraq. So National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley tried to shift the focus to what the plan does not do. HADLEY: If you listen to Senator Warren and Senator Lugar, the things they are not calling for, they are not calling for an arbitrary withdrawal schedule.
HENRY: Yes, but the Republican duo is demanding that the president come up with a new plan in October that would begin redeploying U.S. troops by the end of the year. A serious intra-party challenge to the commander-in-chief.
SEN. JOHN WARNER, (R) ARMED SERVICES CMTE.: We're co-equal branches, the president and the congress, and we just have to sometimes slug things out.
HENRY: Trying to stave off that slugfest, the White House is pleading for patience until September, when General David Petraeus submits a progress report on the military surge.
HADLEY: Congress in May set out a schedule and structure for that process in consideration that it begins in September.
HENRY: But Democrats insist that process actually began last week with a preliminary report showing some progress on security, with few gains from the Iraqi government.
SEN. JACK REED, (D) ARMED SERVICES CMTE.: Without a political solution, our military efforts will just buy time but not success.
HENRY: And veteran Republicans like Senator George Voinovich are telling the president's inner circle time is running out. CNN has learned that in a phone conversation last week, Voinovich told top aide Karl Rove the president's legacy is on the line. And the way to save it is to come up with a workable plan to pull out troops as soon as possible.
SEN. GEORGE VOINOVICH, (R) FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE.: They do want to put the pressure on. But the sooner we can exit there in a sensible way that we ought to be doing that.
HENRY (on camera): In private, Senator Voinovich is a little more blunt, using a profanity to describe the White House's handling of Iraq, charging the administration "blanked up the war." And while Voinovich is giving the White House until September, he's privately warning if there's not a dramatic new strategy then, he will endorse a Democratic plan, mandating a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops. Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
SANCHEZ: Cindy Sheehan is back in the news, and apparently back in the front lines of the anti-war movement. Now, she sold her Crawford camp and headed home back in May. Now she's back and she's targeting a Democrat. She told me that she wants the war funding cut and the president impeached, and she says if the dems don't do it, she'll take on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
SANCHEZ: You are willing to announce your candidacy to go up against Speaker Pelosi?
CINDY SHEEHAN, ANTI-WAR ACTIVIST: Exactly, by July 23rd when my caravan for humanity and accountability gets to Washington, D.C., if she has not announced that she's putting an impeachment back on the table, green lighting people to support the resolution 333 that's already in there to impeach Dick Cheney, announce or let impeachment resolution go through against George Bush, then I will run against her in California's eighth.
SANCHEZ: Are you ready to announce right now here on CNN that you are prepared now to run?
SHEEHAN: I am absolutely. I've given her until July 23rd and I will run against her.
SANCHEZ: She's not going to announce the impeachment of George Bush or legislation --
SHEEHAN: Then I guess I'm going to run against her.
SANCHEZ: So you are going to run against her?
SHEEHAN: Yes and I'm very excited. I've gotten support from all over the country, and we're going to go forward with it.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
SANCHEZ: That's as definitive as she has been on this subject.
Also, I was taken aback when I asked her a question about what her plans were. She told me she's going to Iraq. I asked her if that's going to cause big problems for her, ala Jane Fonda in Vietnam. Perhaps turn her into a Baghdad Cindy of sorts. She answers it quite directly as well. More of my interview with Cindy Sheehan, that's coming up in about 30 minutes. You'll want to see it.
Now, the sex scandals plaguing the Roman Catholic Church and the rising cost for the church. With the scheduled trial looming, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to a staggering payout to settle lawsuits stemming from alleged abuse by priests. The story now as filed by CNN's Kara Finnstrom.
KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Parishioners flocked to mass Sunday in Los Angeles as word spread of the Archdiocese's record settlement, $660 million to 508 people who have accused priests of sexual abuse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the culprits need to be taken to justice, just like anybody else, whether they're priests or not priests.
MYRITA VARNA, PARISHIONER: I don't believe that all these claims are legitimate, and those that are, they should forgive.
FINNSTROM: The settlement, which attorneys tell CNN will be finalized Monday, is by far the biggest payout in a child molestation scandal that's rocked the Roman Catholic Church.
MARY GRANT, ALLEGED VICTIM: No resolution, guilty verdict or settlement magically takes away the pain of having been raped and molested by catholic priests in this archdiocese.
FINNSTROM: Mary Grant is an alleged victim herself and heads up SNAP, the Survivor's Network for those Abused by Priests. The group held a press conference late Saturday, where alleged victims expressed mixed feelings about any settlement.
ESTHER MILLER, ALLEGED VICTIM: It means that Mahoney decided for a purely business decision to settle this so that he wouldn't stand in front of God and colleagues and the media in a courtroom and tell what he knew and be culpable.
FINNSTROM: That's Cardinal Roger Mahoney, head of the L.A. Archdiocese. Church attorneys had been scheduled to appear in court Monday in the first of 15 civil trials brought by alleged victims with the possibility Mahoney would testify. Mahoney had long fought releasing the confidential files of accused priests. But church attorneys say under the agreement, the archdiocese will no longer contest their release and a private judge will mediate any objections from individual priests. Part of the reason the L.A. Archdiocese has seen so many lawsuits, in 2003, the state legislature responded to outrage over the national scandal by lifting the statute of limitations on filing child abuse lawsuits for one year. They could be filed regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred. By year's end, 500 suits had been filed.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
FINNSTRMO: The Cardinal Mahony held a press conference late this afternoon to share the church's reaction and some of his own personal feelings. He says he's met with a lot of the alleged victims himself and is hoping this settlement will help bring them some closure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARDINAL ROGER MAHONY, ARCHBISHOP OF LOS ANGELES: I said even though I can't restore what was lost, there is good that has come out of this. And the fact that you stepped forward as victims to tell your stories to ask to be recognized, to ask me to accept responsibility for that and to offer personal apologies, they said all of that has helped for the future. Knowing that all they suffered is not a total loss.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
FINNSTROM: And the cardinal was questioned repeatedly about whether he made mistakes in the handling of all of this. At one point he said he really felt he'd reached some spiritual lows, where everything he did, nothing that he did seemed to be right, everything seemed to be wrong. Rick?
SANCHEZ: As a Catholic, we were discussing this very story this morning, my family. And my wife turns to me at one point and she says, who's going to pay for this? And I'm wondering if this isn't the very same question a lot of people all over the country are asking themselves. Do we know the answer to that question, Kara?
FINNSTROM: Well, he did say today that it's going to be split. A lot of the exact details coming out tomorrow. But it's going to be split between the Archdiocese insurers who will carry a pretty big load and some of the religious orders that were involved with specific priests who face these accusations.
SANCHEZ: Kara Finnstrom, following that story for us. We thank you for bringing us up to date.
Well, there's a massive manhunt under way, this is taking place in Wyoming. We've been following this here in the NEWSROOM throughout the day. It's a sniper. He guns down a singer on stage right in the middle of her performance. In fact, during a song. While others watched. It's a full story that's coming up right here in the NEWSROOM.
Also, an army reservist taking the Pentagon to court. Why? He says he's already been there four times. Doesn't want to go back for a fifth. Send somebody else, he says. I've done my share. And he says his family needs him more than Uncle Sam does in Iraq. This is a soldier's story, it's coming up.
Also, a town not under rule of law, but complete lawlessness, death threats issued to American journalists in Mexico. I go into Mexico, into a town that police told me, to my face, we won't go with you there, it's too dangerous. I'll take you. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.
SANCHEZ: Final farewells, Lady Bird Johnson, part of American history, laid to rest today in her beloved Texas hill country. Relatives and close friends were on hand this afternoon as the former first lady was buried next to her husband at the LBJ Ranch. Earlier thousands of admirers lined the streets of Austin, Texas. Some waved wild flowers as the funeral procession passed by. Lady Bird Johnson leaves a rich legacy as a political wife, business woman and environmental activist. Remember, she started the project to put wild flowers all over the highways of Texas. It spreads to different parts of the United States. That was her idea. She died Wednesday at age 94.
Other news across America. In Wyoming, police are searching for a man who may be a trained sniper. David Munis is a member of the Wyoming National Guard. While authorities say they believe that he shot and killed his estranged wife in the middle of a song that she was singing at a local bar and then he took off.
A Texas zookeeper is recovering today after a very close encounter with a tiger. Dozens of visitors to the San Antonio Zoo watched in horror yesterday as the tiger mauled its zookeeper inside a cage. The zoo was evacuated as a precaution. The zoo officials say the public was never really in any danger.
A woman fell to her death last night. This is at a Christian music festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Witnesses say that the victim plunged 50 feet from a bungee-like ride that's called air glory. The unidentified woman died a few hours later at a local hospital.
Now to the campaign trail where the Republican field is a bit less crowded today. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore says he's dropping his bid for the presidency. Gilmore blames his late start and a hectic primary season. He's the first of the 10 GOP presidential candidates to officially drop out.
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards is kicking off an eight-state tour tonight in New Orleans. In about an hour, Edwards is going to join community leaders there for a walking tour of the lower ninth ward. He said today that the U.S. has a more moral responsibility to help New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina. Edwards also outlined a rebuilding plan for the city. It includes a new V.A. hospital for downtown New Orleans and a jobs program to help 50,000 residents gain work skills.
What would you ask the presidential candidates, if you could? Well here's your chance. CNN is teaming up with Youtube for the next presidential debates. To submit your videotaped questions, just go to cnn.com/youtubedebates. The first debate airs July 23rd, only on your home for politics, we are CNN.
A warning for American journalists, on the U.S./Mexico border, stop reporting on drugs or you'll be killed. I crossed the border to show you what my colleagues are up against there. It's an unbelievable look behind the lines, straight ahead right here in the NEWSROOM.
And then, she sold her camp in Crawford, Texas. Now she's back with a bang. It's my sit-down with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, it's coming up in about 15 minutes.
SANCHEZ: We welcome you back to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Rick Sanchez. Do your job and we'll kill you. At least one Texas newspaper tonight is taking that warning to heart. It's pulling some of its reporters out of a border city in Mexico, this after the Mexican drug cartel warned that it's going to kill some of the journalists who report on their business. In our "on assignment" segment tonight, I find myself in that situation in Mexico, seeing what some of my colleagues are up against. I couldn't even get a police officer to accompany me or escort me into this one town.
SANCHEZ (on camera): U.S. authorities are telling us they are deliberately pushing border crossers further out into more remote areas. We're about 40 or 50 miles from the more populated San Diego- Tijuana crossing area which is directly behind us. This is the U.S. border. But look what happens as we walk over here. It's not just a broken border, I am leaning into the United States right now. This is practically no border at all.
(Voice-over): This low fence is not the only reason smugglers are attracted to this desolate Mexican border town of Jacume. Here's another. These hills that provide perfect lookout posts, so smugglers in Mexico can monitor the movements of the U.S. border patrol. Bob Mitchell lives on the U.S. side, just across from Jacume. He can see why this is a perfect spot for smugglers.
BOB MITCHELL, LIVES NEAR BORDER: You can see they've got a 180-degree view about 10 miles in each direction here.
SANCHEZ: From their high ground they can see and control the mountains, trails and ravines. U.S. border patrol won't comment about Jacume, but Mexican police tell us the area is so dangerous, they generally stay away.
(On camera): Because of the mountain, because of the deserts, because of the isolation, you're not able to go in there and really do your job. You don't have the advantage?
(Voice-over): With nothing more than handguns, police tell us they're outgunned. But what about the people who live in the town? After a ten-mile dusty, dirt road drive, we found residents seemingly afraid to reveal the truth about this place.
(On camera): Drug smuggling and people smuggling, do you know anything about that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.
SANCHEZ: you don't know anything? Are there any people who come in here and do that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't know.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): But off-camera, at least one local resident made a tacit admission telling us, we are all innocent, until they catch us, that is. The man who lives in this house told us that smugglers pay him up to $10 a person to pick up illegals and hold them until it's time to cross the border, and then there's Teresa Perez, a local shop keeper who has lived here for 38 years.
(On camera): Have you seen a change much?
TERESA PEREZ, JACUME SHOPKEEPER: The town has grown, she says. We asked her if she thinks the police should do more.
SANCHEZ: Do you think they're complicit? You can't say? We can say this, in Jacume, a local police officer was recently accused of accepting $5,000 a week from smugglers for protection. We asked the police commissioner directly if his men are corrupt. Is it true that any of your officers, or officers in the past have taken money from these guys? It doesn't exist? Back on the U.S. side, Bob Mitchell says the U.S. border policy that forces illegals to cross in remote open areas has changed the place where he lives.
MITCHELL: We're mostly very fed up here with the behavior of the government and the management of this, quite frankly.
SANCHEZ: Jacume makes for the perfect area. The steep geography, the isolation. The apparent willingness of residents and some say the police means in this place smugglers are kings of the mountain.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
SANCHEZ: Let's bring in a reporter now who knows this dangerous situation. He knows how dangerous these assignments can be when you go into the border. Mike Marizco is a freelance journalist. He's good enough to join us. He writes for a website that's called borderreporter.com. Mike, how are you doing? You there?
MIKE MARIZCO, FREELANCE REPORTER, BORDERREPORTER.COM: I'm fine. How about yourself, Rick?
SANCHEZ: Pretty good. Hey, these border towns, are they essentially corrupt?
MARIZCO: Yes. But let's put it into a little bit of context. The corruption doesn't begin in these border towns, the corruption doesn't end with these border towns. What we have is a situation where there is so much money in narco trafficking and illegal immigration smuggling, that there are people in all levels of law enforcement on both sides of the border who have been involved.
SANCHEZ: Should this threat that they're putting out then be taken seriously? How dangerous are these guys?
MARIZCO: Well what we're talking about is an area controlled by the gulf cartel. The gulf cartel has been at war, for lack of a better term, the joint operating agreement that makes up these (INAUDIBLE) cartels.
MARIZCO: And what we have here is a situation where the gulf cartel is breaking a lot of the rules. They -- you know, some of the things that haven't been done in the past, kidnapping of U.S. agents, kidnapping of Americans, threatening different people, crossing the border and threatening DEA agents on the U.S. side, some of these things are now recurring. And what we have is a situation where the gulf cartel has been operating with some severe impunity in the (INAUDIBLE) area.
SANCHEZ: Well you saw me during that interview I had with the police officer there where I asked him, I said look, there are reports that a couple of your guys have been on the take from these guys. Is it common to see police officers on the other side of the border be on the take from these guys? MARIZCO: Yes. There's situations, for instance, and I'll talk a little bit about the state that I focus on here, Sonoma, Mexico. In Sonora, we've had a situation in February and March where 13 different police officers were gunned down over a period of three weeks. Many of these were (INAUDIBLE) with the Sinaloa Federation, some of them with the Gulf Cartel. The entire situation finally culminated in an attack in the town of Pananea (ph), which lies about an hour-and-a- half south of the U.S.-Mexico border with Arizona.
SANCHEZ: Wow, Mike, we're going to have to wrap it up. I'm getting a wrap from our producers. But it's interesting, because it almost sounds like you're saying it's safer for them in many cases to be aligned with the drug smugglers than it is with the folks that they're supposed to be working for, which is the people of Mexico.
Mike, thanks so much for bringing us up to date on that. We'll check back with you.
MARIZCO: You're welcome. Thank you.
SANCHEZ: CNN, by the way, is committed to providing the most reliable coverage of news that affects your security. Stay tuned to CNN for the latest information, right here, day and night.
Don't write her off just yet. Cindy Sheehan's new plans for the future. I'm going to sit down and talk to this anti-war activist, ask her about her visit to Iraq, ask her about whether she wants to actually run against Nancy Pelosi. That's coming up in just a little bit.
And then this guy, sitting right here, is going to be talking to us. What you got?
JOSH LEVS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, come on, you're getting in my shot. (INAUDIBLE). Check this out. Allegations are flying right now. And you know that case of the alleged D.C. madam? Well, we're going to talk about which private phone numbers are now available for you to see online. That is coming up in just a few minutes, right here.
SANCHEZ: Ouch. We'll be right back. Josh is going to join us on set.
SANCHEZ: We welcome you back. Here's what's happening right now. Comments misunderstood. That's the word out of Baghdad today about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his claim that Iraq's armed forces could keep Iraq secure should U.S. forces leave "anytime they want." That's what he was said to have said yesterday. But a top aide of the prime minister is now saying, and this report just came in, that al-Maliki meant that efforts to bolster Iraq's security forces should continue side by side with any U.S. withdrawal.
A report in The Los Angeles Times is now saying about half of the foreign fighters in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia. That far outnumbers insurgents from Syria, Lebanon or North Africa. The Times quoting a senior U.S. official, saying that 50 percent of the Saudi militants come to Iraq to carry out actual suicide bombings.
Also this, two deadly bombings in northwestern Pakistan where al Qaeda and Taliban militants have recently regained strength. In the first attack, two suicide bombers rammed their vans packed with explosives into a Pakistani police and army convoy, 14 people were killed. Later a suicide bomber detonated near a line of police recruits, killing 17.
Time now for "What You Say." Tonight I set out to find out what you have to say about the following question. According to the U.S. intelligence analyst this week, al Qaeda is now stronger than it was prior to the Iraq War. Well, what does that say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If al Qaeda, in six or seven years, is back up to 9/11 strength, then we're obviously not doing something right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes me wonder if the work we're doing over there, is it all in vain or are we actually getting something done over there?
SANCHEZ: Do you think al Qaeda is an organization that we'll be able to eventually stamp out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that if not only us, but everybody throughout the world will come together and know that, you know, we're not going to stand for terrorism, and all gather together, I think we can get it done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the Democrats have undermined it a lot. And I think they've hurt our efforts and I think they've hurt our soldiers, and I think they've caused death in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does bother me, especially with everybody over there, you would think they would be losing strength instead of gaining strength.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do measure success? I just think it's too early.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, I think they've made good progress in Iraq. But we've been over there a long time and there's still a lot to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Al Qaeda is still number one?
SANCHEZ: Al Qaeda is stronger now than it used to be.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So they have to pay for that?
SANCHEZ: Who has to pay for that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think al Qaeda. SANCHEZ: So we should charge them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SANCHEZ: Charge al Qaeda?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, charge the terrorists.
SANCHEZ: Because they've gotten too strong?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, because they are stronger than...
SANCHEZ: Who do we bill? Who do we send the check to?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government. The government.
SANCHEZ: The government of al Qaeda?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SANCHEZ: Do you think they'd pay it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
SANCHEZ: Just months after Cindy Sheehan dropped out of the anti-war effort, she has returned, back in May, she sold her camp in Crawford, Texas, near the president's ranch and headed home. Now she's targeting a Democrat. Sheehan told me she wants the president impeached. She wants the funding cut. And if the Dems don't do that, she says she's going after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's seat in Congress. Oh, yes, she's also talking about taking a trip over to Iraq.
SANCHEZ: Are you worried that if you go to Iraq, you know, it's going to be "Baghdad Cindy," just like it was "Hanoi Jane"? I mean, this is like Jane Fonda goes to Vietnam. That you may end up hurting your cause?
CINDY SHEEHAN, ANTI-WAR ACTIVIST: Well, apparently we're going to meet with tribes who are not, you know, at war with the United States. They are trying to work for reconciliation.
SANCHEZ: So you're not going to talk to anybody who could be perceived as an enemy of the United States? Because you know what's going to happen. I'm sure you're wise enough to know that people are going to say, well, there goes Cindy Sheehan. She's meeting with the enemy. She's on the other side.
SHEEHAN: Well, actually, the people of Iraq aren't our enemies. We're occupying their country. And I'm going to meet with tribes who are working at reconciliation to try and stop the violence that's going on. And I think that's very important to stop the violence, from them killing our soldiers to our soldiers killing Iraqis.
SANCHEZ: Are you somewhat pleased with what happened this week with the House essentially saying that they want the troops out by April?
SHEEHAN: Well, no, because I think it's just a political ploy, because George Bush has said he will veto any bill that has a timeline for withdrawal.
SANCHEZ: Is it a good start?
SHEEHAN: No. Because George Bush said he would veto any bill. I know most of the people in the House are against the war, but the only way you can stop the war is to pull back the funding.
Give the generals enough money to bring our troops home safely and securely, reparations to the people of Iraq, and take care of our veterans when they come home.
So what you're saying is, if the House and Senate tomorrow go in and say, we're going to impeach George Bush and we're going to cut the funding for the war in Iraq, then you, Cindy Sheehan, would be satisfied, short of that, nothing?
SHEEHAN: Well, right. Yes. I would be satisfied. We need to impeach George Bush to bring the troops home. He has said over and over again they're not coming home while he's president. Dick Cheney and George Bush have committed impeachable offenses. And that is the House's constitutional duty is to institute impeachment proceedings.
SANCHEZ: This is personal for you. You say it was their policies, or lack thereof, you say, that ended in the death of your son.
SHEEHAN: Well, it's personal for me. I can't bring my son back. But there are millions of people in harm's way for the lies of the Bush administration. And we need to help those people, to save their lives.
SANCHEZ: Let's go back to the topic we were just discussing.
SANCHEZ: If those things don't happen, the impeachment of George Bush, the cutting of the funds for the troops, then you are willing to announce your candidacy to go up against Speaker Pelosi?
SHEEHAN: Exactly. By July 23rd, when my Caravan for Humanity and Accountability gets to Washington, D.C., if she has not announced that she is putting impeachment back on the table, green-lighting people to support the Resolution 333 that's already in there to impeach Dick Cheney, announce or let impeachment resolution go through against George Bush, then I will run against her in California's 8th.
SANCHEZ: Are you ready to announce right now here on CNN that you are prepared now to run? SHEEHAN: I am absolutely. I've given her to July 23rd. And I will run against her.
SANCHEZ: She's not going to announce the impeachment of George Bush or any legislation.
SHEEHAN: Then I guess I'm going to run against her.
SANCHEZ: So you are going to run against her?
SHEEHAN: Yes. And I'm very excited. I've gotten support from all over the country and we're going to go forward with it.
SANCHEZ: You get slammed on the right, you know that, obviously, but I've been hearing you getting slammed on the left as well. Does that hurt?
SHEEHAN: Well, it hurts more than being slammed on the right. I don't even listen to the people on the right. But it's very challenging to people's, you know, way of life when an independent candidate comes up and challenges the two-party system, which I think needs to be challenged. Not only does Speaker Pelosi needs to be challenged, but our two-party system needs to be challenged, too.
SANCHEZ: Cindy Sheehan, thanks so much for being with us.
SHEEHAN: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Appreciate your time.
SHEEHAN: It was great. Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Now to the D.C. madam case. Talk about a hot-button issue in Washington. This involves allegations of sex and of money. And some would say it also involves hypocrisy on the part of some of Washington's most powerful people. Here's CNN's Josh Levs. He has been working on -- putting this thing together for us.
Tell us -- it's really about where this thing stands, other than a lot of folks are really nervous in Washington.
LEVS: They really are. OK. You know if you follow a TV drama these days, sometimes you watch one episode, and it feels like it's so confusing you need a flow chart just to get through that? That's kind of what has happened here. Only it's actual people, and a lot of them have a lot of power in Washington.
So what we're going to do right now is trace you through the steps and characters in the case of the alleged D.C. madam.
LEVS (voice-over): The story begins with Deborah Jeane Palfrey and the agency he ran for 13 years until closing it in 2006.
DEBORAH JEANE PALFREY, ALLEGED D.C. MADAM: The firm Pamela Martin and Associates operated as a legal high-end erotic fantasy service.
LEVS: She says it was sexual, but did not offer sex. It provided female companions beginning at $275 for 90 minutes. But this federal indictment says in reality, Palfrey sold sex. It alleges prostitution and charges her with racketeering and money laundering.
Palfrey says she rejected a plea deal and vowed to prove her innocence, and she says that meant exposing some clients. Her lawyer denied suggestions that the goal is to blackmail clients into pressuring authorities to drop the case. He said the goal is to get clients to testify she did not sell sex.
MONTGOMERY SIBLEY, PALFREY ATTORNEY: Well, I don't know why that's blackmail. I call that due process of law, sir.
LEVS: Palfrey says she routinely shredded documents to maintain client confidentiality. But she has these phone records that she says include calls to clients. After she gave these to ABC News, Randall Tobias, a top State Department official, resigned. According to ABC, he said he had patronized Palfrey's business for massages, not sex.
Meanwhile, in a court filing, Palfrey named Harlan Ullman as a client. He's a former Navy commander and leading theorist behind the "shock and awe" strategist for the Iraq War. Ullman said the allegations did not dignify a response.
Hustler publisher Larry Flynt offered $1 million to anyone who could find evidence of a U.S. lawmaker or other prominent office holder having illicit sexual or intimate relations.
LARRY FLYNT, HUSTLER PUBLISHER: I'm only exposing the hypocrisy.
LEVS: Flynt says one of his consultants discovered a phone number for Senator David Vitter on the list. The records date back to before Vitter won his seat in 2004. The Louisiana Republican admitted being on the list. He said he had committed a very serious sin and had received forgiveness from his wife.
She once joked to Newhouse News Service that if her husband cheated, she would respond more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary Clinton. Last year Vitter told The New Orleans Times-Picayune "infidelity is a threat to traditional families."
LEVS: And so now, Rick, there's almost something of a gold rush, people looking to see if they can find the next person and get $1 million.
SANCHEZ: Can you imagine what it's like for these guys? Not the ones who have already been named, but even those who haven't yet been named, who know they're on, oh, my goodness.
LEVS: So much fear. And if you see these...
(CROSSTALK) SANCHEZ: How do you sleep at night?
LEVS: You're not asking me, are you?
SANCHEZ: No, no, not that you're on it. I mean, I'm a married guy. I could only imagine what...
LEVS: There's a lot of fear.
SANCHEZ: By the way, is this stuff going to be public? Are people going to be able to look at the phone records?
LEVS: Yes. Here is what has happened. This is wild. You know, a court has said she could not release the phone records, but then the court switched course. So now all the phone records are available on her Web site. You can piece through them.
I was actually going to print them out and show you them, because they are mammoth, but then I realized I would be killing a lot of trees. It wasn't worth it. But at her Web site, deborahjeanepalfrey.com, she's posted all of them.
And what that does is it opens up this gold rush to literally everyone who are now going to piece through these phone numbers, see if they can find somebody really important, get a million bucks out of Larry Flynt.
SANCHEZ: Killing a lot of trees and possibly killing a lot of careers in this case, by the way.
LEVS: You got it, yes.
SANCHEZ: Thanks, Josh.
LEVS: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Love having you here.
LEVS: Love to be here.
SANCHEZ: All right. We'll do it again.
Yet another day of heavy fighting in Lebanon. We're going to bring you that. Government troops pound a refugee camp where Islamic militants are holed up. Details ahead in the NEWSROOM.
Also a rape trial where the word "rape" is banned. How could that be? Why would a judge do that? We'll explain straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
SANCHEZ: We welcome you back to the NEWSROOM. I'm Rick Sanchez here in B Control. Let's go global now with stories from around the world. Eight weeks into their confrontation in the Palestinian refugee camp, Lebanese troops and Islamic militants continue to trade fire. Two more soldiers have been killed in the fighting. But a military spokesperson is saying that the army made "tangible progress today." More than 200 people have died since clashes began in May.
Scores of wanted Palestinian militants are coming out of the shadows and turning in their weapons under a new Israeli amnesty deal. It was cemented at a meeting last month between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. The goal of the amnesty, to boost Abbas' Fatah movement in its face-off with the militant Hamas.
He has already been the foreign minister and the prime minister three times. Today Shimon Perez takes up a new role as Israel's president. It's a mostly ceremonial job, but Mr. Perez says he won't let that stop him one bit from working to end the conflict with the Palestinians, which he calls his biggest challenge.
The biggest challenge for the Bush administration is Iraq. But have pro-Israel members of this administration helped create the Iraq problem? Are they too pro-Israel in some cases? Mayor Ed Koch has a new book out. He's our "Sunday Spotlight" guest tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Israel's a great country. They're our friends. We've been -- but do you worry sometimes that people in our government, and I'll name names, you know, Feith, Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Kristol, these are guys who are in there fighting Israel's fight, yet inside the U.S. government. Is that a problem?
ED KOCH, FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: You know, is it a problem for Irish-Americans to be supportive of the Republic of Ireland? Or Lebanese-Americans? I'm a Jewish-American. Don't I have a right to remember the country of my ancestry?
SANCHEZ: No, I get that, sir. And I respect it in fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: The irascible Ed Koch. Not many like him. Good conversation. Here tonight at 10:00, we are going to be bringing it to you, at 10:00 Eastern that is.
Innocent until proven guilty, the words are the very bedrock of our legal system. But in Nebraska, one woman says a judge has taken that to an offensive extreme by banning the word "rape" from her rape trial.
More now from CNN's Carol Costello.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Pamir Safi is on trial for the second time, accused of raping Tory Bowen. His first trial ended with a hung jury after a war of words. Safi's attorney had convinced Nebraska Judge Jeffre Cheuvront to ban words like "rape," "sexual assault," "victim," and "assailant," arguing they might influence the jury.
And that ruling applied even to Safi's alleged victim, Tory Bowen.
TORY BOWEN, ALLEGED VICTIM: I was mortified. I didn't know what to do. My first question to Pat (ph) was, can I say this in a different language? I didn't think that the judges had that authority to ban what happened from me in the courtroom.
COSTELLO: At the first trial, Bowen testified for 13 hours without violating the judge's ban, but this time around she wanted to be able to speak freely, so she went public and women's rights groups backed her up with a public protest.
ANGELA ROSE, VICTIMS' RIGHTS ADVOCATE: We're just not going to stand for it. So they have got the scarves over their mouths to show that victims should be given free speech.
COSTELLO: Banning words isn't unheard of. The judge in Kobe Bryant's rape trial banned the word "victim" to describe the woman accusing Bryant of rape.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The use of the label "victim" assumes that a crime took place. And it's the jury's job to decide whether a crime takes place, not the witnesses.
COSTELLO: But the Nebraska judge's order went a lot farther. His ruling not only applied to witnesses, but to the alleged victim's testimony. Bowen says the ruling left her with few words to adequately describe what happened to her, so she refused to sign a court order forbidding her to utter words like "rape," even though disobeying such an order could bring a contempt charge with jail time, a fine or both.
BOWEN: What happened was rape. Sex means consent. And what happened was not consent.
COSTELLO: Safi's attorney is frustrated, too, he was eager to prove his client's innocence, and says the judge's ruling was correct.
CLARENCE MOCK, DEFENDANT'S ATTORNEY: Trials should be deliberations based upon reason and the facts and the law, not about who can think up the most juicy terms to apply.
COSTELLO: As for where Bowen's case goes now, her lawyers are going to try to move the case out of the Nebraska.
Carol Costello, CNN, New York.
SANCHEZ: Dahmer, the Virginia Tech shooter, troubled thoughts, violent acts, and red flags. In just about eight minutes, "CNN'S SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNIT" takes an in-depth look at the "Criminally Insane."
But first, the panther, the puppy, and the milk of animal kindness. Not exactly something you'd find in nature. But you will hear. We'll bring it to you. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Let's take a look now at some of the week's most unusual stories. A replica Viking ship has successfully launched. Oh, and it's made of 15 million popsicle sticks did you know? Many glued together by school children. The man behind it, Captain Rob (ph), wants to sail it across the North Atlantic. And he's looking for some volunteer crew. Just in case you guys are interested over here, Stefan (ph), Roger (ph), no? No takers, huh?
One of these is not like the others. Amidst the squirming mass of puppy, a two-week-old baby black panther rejected by its mother at a Serbian zoo. But there's a happy ending. He was taken up by the puppy's ma, a very charitable Rhodesian ridgeback. What's a Rhodesian ridgeback? Anybody heard of them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big dog.
SANCHEZ: Big dog. Thank you.
The Virginia Tech shooter, the Unabomber, and many others next. "CNN'S SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT" takes a look at the "Criminally Insane." I'm Rick Sanchez, you're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news. See you at 10:00.
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