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CNN Live Sunday

Identity Theft Victim Discusses Her Case; Parisians Celebrate Soccer Team's Success; Roger Ebert in Serious Condition at Chicago Hospital

Aired July 02, 2006 - 17:00   ET


DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: I'm Daniel Sieberg at the Kennedy Space Center. Find out why today's shuttle mission was scrubbed and why the next scheduled launch could be very special.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: And later, brazen drug deals caught on tape. They weaknesses not at the border with Mexico, but at the border with Canada.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody needs to put themselves in my shoes and know that this could happen to them.


WHITFIELD: We'll introduce you to this woman, who has been arrested again and again for someone else's crimes. It's an extreme case of stolen identity. So why can't she clear her name?

Hello and welcome to CNN LIVE SUNDAY. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. All that and more after this check of the headlines.

Shuttle mission scrubbed. Storm clouds have once again -- and rain -- scrubbed the mission that was scheduled for earlier today. A new launch is expected for the Fourth of July.

In Gaza, an Israeli air strike on the empty offices of the Palestinian prime minister. An Israeli official tells CNN the operation was carried out as a warning amid tensions over the capture of an Israeli soldier. Despite those tensions, Israel did allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza today.

U.S. officials say yesterday's taped message is from Osama bin Laden. The tape was posted on an Islamic Web site. It's bin Laden's second message in as many days.

Mexico is holding its presidential election today. The candidates include an ally of outgoing leader Vicente Fox and a former Mexico City mayor. Keeping you informed, CNN, the most trusted name in news.

Discovery's mission delayed, again. Threatening skies force NASA to scrub the shuttle launch for a second straight day. They will try again on Tuesday. Daniel Sieberg is live from the Kennedy Space Center. Daniel? SIEBERG: Hi, Fred. That's right.

In fact, the weather was so bad at one point this afternoon we had to move our operations inside here, you can call it CNN mission control, it was Groundhog Day all over again for the astronauts. They went through all the motions this morning, they came out in the astro van, walked out, waved to the cameras, made their way towards shuttle Discovery. They got positioned in there, they were wedged into their spots inside the orbiter, they got as far as closing the happen door before they heard the announcement that really no one wanted to hear.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have announced a scrub for today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not have a chance to launch today.


SIEBERG: And of course that was because of the weather in the area, we've been talking a little bit about that over the last few days or so, people anticipating various thunder and lightening storms. And not long after that was scrubbed, there was a press conference here, a briefing that wrapped up an hour and a half ago and the mission team director John Shannon spoke about why it was necessary to scrub.


JOHN SHANNON, SHUTTLE MISSION TEAM DIRECTOR: Nobody is going to remember that we scrubbed a day or two day a year from now, but if we go launch and get struck by lightening or have some other problem that will be very memorable. So we're going to -- since we have taken this much time we are going to make sure that the weather conditions are right and we'll launch when we're ready.


SIEBERG: And they are hoping those weather conditions will be right on Tuesday. That is when the next launch is scheduled at 2:38 in the afternoon, that of course is July 4th. So NASA says they would love to give a gift to the nation on its 230th birthday and have shuttle Discovery launch that afternoon.

The weather on Tuesday afternoon a little better prediction than today. About a 40 percent chance that thunderstorms or lightning in the area would delay the launch. That would delay it until Wednesday. This launch window is open until July 19th and after that they will have to wait until late August.

The turnaround time for the next 48 hours or so is going to be pretty tight. They are going to have to top off the liquid hydrogen that is onboard that helps to power the electricity or the fuel cells that are on the shuttle. And that helps with, obviously, the space walks. They need some of this electricity. So they need this third space walk to happen, they would like it to and that would happen if they can get all this hydrogen sorted out.

So we'll have to wait and see until Tuesday afternoon. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, Dan. And what about the payload? What happens to it?

SIEBERG: Well, payloads, you are talking about the stuff, basically, including some of the science experiments that are on board, they are going to have to take a lot of that stuff out. One of them interestingly contains thousands of tiny fruit flies which is - fruit flies a pest to most of us but in this case they are being used a as an experiment that helps to better understand how the human immune system would work in space. These fruit flies, sad to say, their life span is very short. They are basically going to be dead by the time the have to try again Tuesday so they are going swap them out with some other experiments. That's just part of the process that they have to do between now and then.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dan Sieberg, thanks so much at the Kennedy Space Center.

SIEBERG: You bet.

WHITFIELD: Well, NASA needs specific weather conditions, of course, to launch Discovery. For more on that let's check in with meteorologist Bonnie Schneider, is it safe to look that far ahead, to Tuesday?

BONNIE SCHNEIDER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: We can get a little bit of an idea of what's happening, a different dynamic setting up even right now. This is radar and you can see there's plenty of rain in the Cape Canaveral area, we've had some very strong thunderstorms there and we still have some very strong thunderstorms over much of Florida at this hour, stretching from Jacksonville down through Tampa and even across towards Ft. Myers. Very heavy downpours of rain and gusty winds with a lot of lightening as well, but as we look ahead, we can show you our computer model as we go right into the future and show you what we can expect for Tuesday for the launch then. Isolated showers, inland thunderstorms with a temperature of 82 degrees. That's a 60 percent likelihood of a launch.

One of the reasons why -- notice it says inland thunderstorms. What that means the thunderstorms will be further inland. What we saw yesterday and we saw today, we had upper level winds coming from the northwest that was blowing some of those cloud tops right over the space station. However we are going to see some improvements. The upper level winds on Tuesday are likely to come out of the east.

That will push the clouds and all those electrical charges away from the Kennedy Space Center. So hopefully we can get everything going and looks like the weather looks a little bit better, which is some very good news.

The weather doesn't look so good in Chicago. We have rain there. We also are watching for strong thunderstorms across New York City. Look at this a new thunderstorm watch box now in effect and that does include New York City. This will go until 11:00 p.m. tonight. We'll be watching it very closely. We could get strong summertime storms up towards New York as well.


WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Bonnie.

Well, Discovery is now scheduled to launch at 2:38 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, CNN will bring you in-depth coverage as NASA makes its third attempt to get the shuttle crew in orbit.

Israel upped the ante with Hamas overnight in its bid to force the release of a captured Israeli soldier. An Israeli chopper sent missiles into the office of the Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. The empty building was heavily damaged. The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called the attack inadvisable. But today Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to intensify the campaign, Israel says all the Hamas-lead government needs to do is free Corporal Gilad Shalit captured by militants a week ago.


SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: They can get rid of it in one moment if they release the soldier, the operation will be over in a moment's time. It's up to them. But they cannot keep the soldier as a hostage and then complain.

SAEB ERAKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: Now things are slipping outside our fingers like sand. I am really very worried tonight. I have a lot to be concerned about. If the Israelis, as I expect, expand and escalate the situation in Gaza by going in with tanks and planes and F-16s and so on, I am afraid that this will not only widen the cycle of violence and counter-violence and extremism in this part of the world between us and the Israelis, but this will translate and transmit to the region. The last thing this region wants is more extremists. We have enough extremism.


WHITFIELD: Egypt is working to win the Israeli soldier's release, but diplomats say efforts are being hampered by the wide divisions within the Palestinian leadership.

Another round of violence today in Baghdad. A bomb went off at dusk at a busy market. Four were killed and 22 wounded. And a roadside bomb hit a police patrol in this Baghdad neighborhood earlier in the day, two officers and two civilians were injured.

Iraq's government has unveiled a list of the country's most wanted fugitives. Forty-one names are on it. At the top Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri. He was deputy commander of Iraq's armed forces under Saddam Hussein. Saddam's relatives outrank several suspected al Qaeda leaders. His daughter is number 16, his first wife comes in at 17.

Iraq's national security adviser says Abu Musab al Zarqawi has been buried in a secret location somewhere in Baghdad. The Al Qaeda in Iraq leader was killed in a U.S. air strike last month. His family has sought to have his body returned home to Jordan but that government said no.

The "New York Times" has been blasted with criticism for writing about government counterterrorism techniques. Straight ahead what the paper's editor is saying.

And a crook takes your identity and gives you his rap sheet. I will speak with a woman living that very nightmare.


WHITFIELD: Other headlines making news across America now, it's a working holiday weekend for New Jersey lawmakers who missed yesterday's deadline to approve a new state budget. Governor Jon Corzine responded by signing an executive order shutting down state government until a budget is passed.

Authorities in eastern Washington say all three people on board this experimental plane died when it crashed during a landing. The plane went down yesterday about 30 miles north of Davenport. The identities of the deceased have not been released.

And near Pittsburgh the search continues for a teenaged girl still missing after a boating accident yesterday. Witnesses say the boat capsized after going over the high land park dam on the Allegheny River, seven people were plucked from the water but a 42-year-old victim later died.

Disgraceful, harmful even criminal. That's what top Republicans are saying about the "New York Times," they are angry about the papers decision to reveal details of the government's secret surveillance programs. Today the "Times" editor fired back today.

Following this war of words, CNN's White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux who joins us from Washington. Suzanne?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred those war of words certainly heating up today over whether or not it was a correct decision by the "New York Times" to reveal that secret program essentially trying to track terrorist banking transactions. And it certainly comes at a time when both Democrats and Republicans are trying to shape the debate over the Iraq War, both sides arguing that they are better capable of protecting the American people.

Now, today we heard from the executive editor of the "New York Times" who defended the paper's decision after President Bush called it disgraceful, that editor saying that the White House likes to have it both ways, on the one hand confiding with the press about successful programs but then rebuking them when it does not suit their needs. Ultimately the editor saying that he just does not buy the administration's case here that disclosing this program jeopardized national security.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL KELLER, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "NEW YORK TIMES": It's an election year. Beating up on the "New York Times" is red meat for the conservative base. But I don't think this is all politics. I think the administration is a little embarrassed. This is the most secretive White House we have had since the Nixon White House.


MALVEAUX: Now, on the other side we heard from Congressman Peter King from New York, Republican, who believes that the "New York Times," rather, should be prosecuted for treasonous acts, what he says goes against the Espionage Act.


REP. PETER KING, (R) NY: The only way you are going to stop the leaks is to go after the leakers, number one, and you do that by, if you have to, put the "Times" reporters and the editors before the grand jury and cite them for contempt and put them in jail until they agree to disclose their sources.


MALVEAUX: So, of course, Fred, as both sides try to gain the upper hand on this issue when it comes to the Iraq debate as well as the disclosure of that secret program, President Bush and the White House are using this July 4th holiday to make the case that now is the time for patriotism and support for U.S. troops. On Tuesday the president is going to be visiting Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he will be with U.S. soldiers and their families.


WHITFIELD: And possibly even watching the shuttle launch all together. We will see.

Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much, from Washington.

Well, she's a victim of identity theft. So why is she the one who went to jail? Ahead on CNN, the most trusted name in news.


WHITFIELD: Every week at this time we bring you the stories we consider the best of CNN. We begin with a victim of identity theft, not just once but again and again and again, and in more ways than the obvious. Dan Simon first filed this report for "AC 360."


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every time Stancy Nesby looks in the rear view mirror she can't help but wonder if she's about to be pulled over.

STANCY NESBY, IDENTITY THEFT VICTIM: Everybody needs to put themselves in my shoes and know that this could happen to them. SIMON: A 30-year-old single mom with four kids who holds two jobs, working as a nurse's assistant, life was hard enough before her problems with police.

NESBY: It's made it hard for me to smile and be the normal person like I felt I was at first.

SIMON: It started four years ago when Stancy was pulled over for speeding in the Bay Area. She admitted going too fast but couldn't understand why she was being arrested.

NESBY: I ended up going to jail that day. They didn't believe anything I was saying.

SIMON (on camera): It turned out Stancy had a warrant for her arrest. The police database had showed she had been busted for cocaine possession back here in San Francisco's seedy Tenderloin District back in 1999 but that she never showed up for court appearances. Stancy had to spend three days in jail. The problem -- she was innocent.

(voice-over): Police later confirmed it when her fingerprints didn't match the real suspect who used Stancy's name.

NESBY: I have had nightmares about this.

SIMON: She says police told her they would fix the problem, but two months later, Stancy was arrested again this time at her home in Berkeley. Once again, she says when the officers discovered the error they told her they would help her clear her name.

But three months later, Stancy was arrested again in yet another jurisdiction.

SIMON: And it didn't end there, from 2002 to 2004, she was arrested other detained seven times by five police departments. In one instance hauled off right in front of her children.

NESBY: The kids were crying. And basically, they ended up, you know, throwing me on the ground and sticking their knees in my back.

SIMON: Every time she says authorities promised to fix the problem but didn't.

NESBY: Maybe it's because I'm not a rich person, that they feel like I'm nobody. But I am somebody and I have feelings and I don't think they should ruin people's lives like this.

SIMON: Stancy filed this lawsuit against San Francisco, claiming false imprisonment and be emotional distress after failing to remove her arrest warrant from state databases. Her attorney says the case is clear-cut.

MATT GONZALEZ, NESBY'S ATTORNEY: You think you have seen so many cases that you are jaded to what you are going to see but this one still hits you at a visceral level. You just look at it and you say this is not right.

SIMON: The city says it's not responsible for correcting faulty arrest warrants. It also notes that Stancy was never arrested in San Francisco but concedes she was wronged.

MATT DORSEY, CITY ATTORNEY SPOKESMAN: This is something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. You pray it doesn't happen to you.

SIMON: No one has taken responsibility for Stancy's ordeal. The courts rules against her twice. Her attorney says he will appeal to the State Supreme Court if necessary.

GONZALEZ: Bureaucracies don't change because people wake up and want to make them more efficient. They generally change because they are forced to take responsibility for something that they are doing that they shouldn't be doing.

NESBY: I just can't believe that people that are supposed to be helping, you know, people that are supposed to protect and serve, would actually hurt somebody who is innocent.

GONZALEZ: Even though a judge dismissed her lawsuit, the court asked the D.A. to remove the warrant from the database which finally cleared her name. Still, she can't help looking in the rearview mirror. Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.


WHITFIELD: And you can see more stories on identity theft on Anderson's Cooper show, "AC 360," airs weeknights at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

And joining us live for more on this legal limbo she's found herself in. Stancy Nesby, who is joined by one of her attorneys, Bryan Vereschagin. Good to see both of you.

Good to see you as well.

Well, Ms. Nesby, let me begin with you. Can you hear me okay?


WHITFIELD: OK. Good. Let me begin with you, Ms. Nesby. First, this has to be a nightmare as a victim, myself, of identity theft, I know in part what you are going through but arrests time and time again, tell me what it's like for you as soon as you leave the home, you must have a level of paranoia.

NESBY: Yes, that is true. I just deal with it day by day. Basically, it is a nightmare, it's really scary to leave the house not knowing if I am going to be arrested again or not.

WHITFIELD: So after the city had said to you, as we saw in the piece, that they would clear it up, what was your understanding of what that meant? NESBY: My understanding was that I wouldn't go to jail any more, that the warrants were still outstanding but I would not go to jail. I had paperwork and so on and so forth. Promises from the police department and the police officials that I would not go to jail.

WHITFIELD: And so Mr. Vereschagin, why is it that you insist that the city bear some responsibility in helping to clear up her name?

BRYAN VERESCHAGIN, NESBY'S ATTORNEY: Well, the city's position all along has been that they have no statutory duty to correct knowingly false warrants and bad warrants. We disagree with that. The city has also taken the position that it never arrested Stancy. But we have now learned new information and new evidence within the last month that indicates that that was a misrepresentation.

In fact, what we are dealing with are electronic warrants that are sent statewide throughout California. And San Francisco in certain of these instances was in fact having Ms. Nesby arrested even though they promised they wouldn't.

WHITFIELD: So is there some sort of database or somewhere like that that can be corrected or where police, perhaps consult to see if her fingerprints match you know, this suspect's or if she is, indeed who she says she is? It seems like there would be a simple database with that kind of information, right?

VERESCHAGIN: It's not that simple. There are local, state and federal databases that all contain varying criminal information. In this situation, San Francisco promised Ms. Nesby that they would put in sufficient information into the statewide -- California statewide warrant system which would prevent her from being arrested pursuant to these warrants.

We later found out in the course of litigating this matter that they did not put that information into statewide systems.

WHITFIELD: Well, we asked the city to join us live along with this discussion with you all but they refused, saying that their taped comments would suffice, so once again, let's hear from Matt Dorsey, who is a city attorney representative on tape.


MATT DORSEY, CITY ATTORNEY SPOKESMAN: It really isn't a question of whether we are sympathetic, we are. It wasn't a question of whether she was harmed. Stancy Nesby was definitely harmed. This is something that I don't think you would wish on your worst enemy. You pray it doesn't happen to you.

But it really comes down, in this case, to whether there's liability on the part of the city, to what extent taxpayers should be responsible for that. It's our position and its our job to defend the interests of city taxpayers. That there is no liability. And the courts have agreed with us twice.


WHITFIELD: So, Ms. Nesby, who do you hold liable for this terrible mix-up?

NESBY: Well, I hold them responsible, the city, because it shouldn't have happened. The reason of that is if they were -- if I went to court and I was, you know, I was given clearance, they should have went forth to protect me, rather than protect the impostor. They protected their impostor as if she was the innocent one. And here I am being treated like I'm really guilty.

WHITFIELD: Well, Ms. Nesby and Mr. Vereschagin, we are going to continue to follow your story and hopefully this will all be resumed and you can reclaim your identity and reclaim some normalcy back in your life. Thanks so much for sharing your points of view.

NESBY: You're welcome.

VERESCHAGIN: Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Well, Mexico votes today. It's an election that could have a major impact on millions living right here in the U.S., we will show you what's at stake.

Plus he serves on the front lines in the war zone, hear what a U.S. soldier has to say about his mission in Iraq.

And how vulnerable is the American border? Find out through the camera lens of U.S. government agents later on CNN LIVE SUNDAY.


WHITFIELD: Here's what's happening right now in the news. An Independence Day launch now on the schedule for shuttle Discovery. NASA called off today's launch because of stormy weather for the second straight day. The launch is set for Tuesday, 2:38 p.m. Eastern, 11:38 a.m. Pacific. CNN will have extensive coverage of the planned lift off, as well as prep beforehand and an in-depth post launch report.

A coalition helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan today killing the pilot. One crew member was injured. Military officials say the chopper was not brought down by enemy fire. They are still investigating the exact cause.

The CIA confirms it was Osama bin Laden in an audio message released yesterday. On the tape the terrorist leader calls on Sunnis in Iraq to rise up against Shiites. Bin Laden also warns world leaders not to send troops to Somalia, where Islamic militants have taken control of the capital city.

An escalating crisis in the Middle East. Today Israel fired missiles at the empty offices of the Palestinian prime minister, a Hamas leader. Officials say the attack was a warning to Hamas to secure the release of an Israeli soldier kidnapped by militants a week ago. Mexican voters are select a new president today. He will replace Vicente Fox, retiring because of term limits. And whomever voters do choose, it will have an impact on you as well. Chris Lawrence explains.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here's why Mexico's selection is important to average Americans.

OCTAVIO PESCADOR, UCLA: Mexico is the third largest trading partner of the United States.

LAWRENCE: Why its immigration policies matter.

JACK KYSER, L.A. COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: If you snapped your fingers and undocumenteds disappeared from southern California, our economy would probably grind to a halt.

LAWRENCE: And why Americans may now need to worry about which candidate is elected.

PESCADOR: There is no way that no one, left, center or right, won't threaten the relationship between the U.S.

LAWRENCE: Dr. Octavio Pescador is a college professor. Alberto Aviles, a marketing director. Both are U.S. citizens who moved from Mexico many years ago.

ALBERTO AVILES, VOTER: Just because we left the country, that doesn't mean that we are not Mexicans.

LAWRENCE: Aviles will drive to Tijuana, Sunday. He's one of the few expatriates who will actually cast a vote. More than 10 million Mexicans are living in the United States, less than 1 percent requested absentee ballots.

AVILES: I'm disappointed of the way this process was implemented.

LAWRENCE: Aviles says Mexicans living in the United States had to register in Mexico, inconvenient for people who live far from the border and too risky for those in the U.S. illegally. After the election, Pescador says Mexico's immigration policy could shift one of two ways. One candidate could request more money to create jobs in Mexico.

PESCADOR: In a nutshell is, help us help you.

LAWRENCE: And the other might be more willing to negotiate with the United States on a guest worker program.


WHITFIELD: And CNN will bring you Mexico's election results as soon as they are available. News in our world wrap tonight: rescuers are searching for three missing American hikers, high in the Peruvian Andes. They were last seen on a path that local authorities say is for experts.

Violent clashes between police and activists in Bangladesh. Officials say an opposition activist was fatally shot and a police officer beaten to death in the capital of Dhaka. The activists demand sweeping election and governmental reform.

A top American music producer could get four years in prison when sentenced Tuesday in a Dubai courtroom. Dallas Austin pleaded guilty today to bringing cocaine into the United Arab Emirates where he was to attend a birthday party for model Naomi Campbell earlier. We spoke with Cox's newspapers reporter Don Melvin, who has visited Austin in prison.


DON MELVIN, REPORTER, COX NEWSPAPERS (on phone): I had brief contact with him. I went to visit him and I must say that from what I could see of it, the jail is nowhere near the rat-infested pit that one might imagine from the Turkish jail in "Midnight Express," in the movie, 1978 movie. Very clean, very well-maintained, there didn't seem to be little dictators throwing their power around.


WHITFIELD: You can see the entire interview with Don Melvin next hour.

Iraqi insurgents again on the offensive. A round of bombings bloody Baghdad today. At least four people were killed and 22 wounded when a bomb ripped through a local market. The city also saw two assassination attempts on government leaders. The attacks follow a massive bombing yesterday that killed at least 62 people.

The war in Iraq, tens of thousands of U.S. troops have gone in and each of their experiences is unique. CNN's Nic Robertson spent time with an army sergeant on combat patrol in Ramadi.


SEAN STONER, U.S. ARMY: When we get there, he needs to grab it.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sergeant Sean Stoner is neither average nor ordinary.

STONER: I'm from Chesapeake, Virginia, it's a nice place. Hopefully, I get to go back there one day.

ROBERTSON: He is a typical soldier.

STONER: Well, honestly, you know, no one likes being here. But we have a job to do. We all signed on the line. Just don't let us get shot.

ROBERTSON: His father did three tours in Vietnam.

STONER: Slow down a little bit.

ROBERTSON: He's on his second in Iraq.

STONER: These are better humvees, they've got more armor on them.

ROBERTSON: Fear is the enemy.

STONER: One of my soldiers, also a close friend and he was injured in that IED that they hit. He was a gunner on the truck, both of his legs were broke, compound fractures. So, they were pretty bad.

ROBERTSON: Do you ever think that could be me?

STONER: All the time, all the time. And you try not to think about it because the more you think about something like that, the less you're going to think about doing your job.


This soccer stadium here is a place for children to come play soccer and here was the insurgents reusing it to cachet weapons. We found a pretty good amount of stuff along this side over here, which is now torn down.

ROBERTSON: Explosives, IED material?

STONER: Yes, cachet, weapons, explosives, all sorts of stuff. That looks like a base plate. Yep, that's exactly what that is. I know we put a huge dent in their efforts to repel us, but, we put a very large dent, I'm sure there's still more. There's always more. So, more.

ROBERTSON: Those mortars are the kind of things they're firing at your base on a regular basis?

STONER: I wish they were just firing those. Those are only 60 millimeter. We normally get hit with the 82 millimeter or the 120 millimeters.

ROBERTSON: Bigger ones?

STONER: Yes. If they were just shooting those at us, that would probably be a little bit better. When we first got here, any time we stepped foot outside the building, we had to be in full gear. Now, things have calmed down a little bit. We can stand outside and smoke a cigarette without having to put all this stuff on.

ROBERTSON: So, what advice does he have for Washington on when troops like him should pull out?

STONER: It's war. People are going to get hurt and it's just we're here for a reason. So, as long as they need us here we need to be here. We need their support. Which, from what I understand, the American public does support the soldiers, they might not support the cause, but they do support the soldiers, which is always appreciated.

They don't really see exactly what's going on here, they just see what the media shows them. And I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But out here in Ramadi, we don't get a lot of media. So, you don't really see too much about Ramadi. It's mostly all Baghdad, which, I'm guessing is because Baghdad is a little safer than out here. I'm lucky I haven't had one hit my truck yet.

But I had men in one vehicle in front of us hit by one. Killed one of our platoon members and injured three others, four others. It's not easy to take. But, you know, because we work with each other so much, it's like a family. We can't stop the war just because one of our friends gets killed.

ROBERTSON: Are you going to be a changed guy when you go back home?

STONER: I definitely think so. I think all of us will be changed. My parents are extremely proud of me. They tell me all the time how proud they are of me. I don't really know what to say about it. I'm just glad that they support me in what I do.

Feels good to come back safe.

ROBERTSON: Another mission over.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Ramadi, Iraq.


WHITFIELD: Well, the dirt is flying. Next on CNN, find out which of racing's biggest names got their start this way?


WHITFIELD: Suddenly the Fourth of July forecast is even that much more important. CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider in the Weather Center. How is it looking for everybody out there?


WHITFIELD: Well, Parisians have good reason for such revelry like that. Le Bleu, the French World Cup soccer team is one game away from a shot at the world championship title. This from a team expected to do little more than just show up for the tournament. CNN's Jim Bittermann from the Champs de Elysees.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It really doesn't take much in France, just a win over Brazil and produce salesmen are putting on silly hair, the sporting newspaper is putting out a special edition, and the tourist shops are already decked out with football flags of France and Portugal, the next team fans here are now, only just now confident they can beat. Christian Bever (ph) will tell you though, that feeling is really, very few.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If we could beat Spain and Brazil, today everything is possible.

BITTERMANN: Bever (ph), like many here, really didn't believe the French team would get anywhere. It really seems logical not to get your hopes up. After all, there have been a lot of troubles here lately and look what happened when everyone got to thinking Paris had a chance to host the Olympics.

But that's probably one reason everyone partied so hard after France beat Brazil Saturday night, why armies of cleaning men had to attack the Avenue Champs Elysees Sunday morning. Why Suliman Sabere (ph) found so many champagne bottles to sweep up. It's normal he said, people had good reason to celebrate.

In the cafes, the victory was just as delicious as a morning croissant with jam. Even non-football fans, like Eric Martin (ph), could feel the change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There was a certain morosity, maybe now a certain movement toward dynamism possibly.

BITTERMANN: Well, let's not put too much intellectual thought into this. But Martin and others pointed out that just collectively following the exploits of 11 men on a football field can swing the national mood from gloom to glee.

(on camera): In many ways, the celebrations represented a triumph for lowered expectations. The French came into the World Cup saying their coach was incompetent, their team too old and rating their chances as just about nil. Now that they have come this far, there seems to be a growing feeling that perhaps, just perhaps, they could go all the way. Hope has come alive here and will thrive unless a pesky opponent tries to get in the way. Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


WHITFIELD: And this just in. Popular movie critic Roger Ebert is in serious condition following emergency surgery. He had undergone surgery to remove a cancerous growth on his salivary gland back in June -- the 16th of June. But then there were complications last night. At around 8:00 p.m., a blood vessel burst near the site of that operation. The 64-year-old Roger Ebert has had four cancer surgeries as of recent, including the two on his salivary gland. And when we get any more information on him, we'll be able to bring that to you. But right now, listed in serious condition.

Susan Roesgen is here now with a preview of what's ahead.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT: You know Fredricka, so often when a soldier or a sailor or a marine is killed overseas, the parents don't really know what happened. They are not able to talk to anybody who was there. Well tonight at six o'clock, I talk to the family of a fallen marine and with a marine in Iraq who tried to save him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. RICK POSSELT, USMC: I used to go to him for everything. Every time I screwed up a radio, he'd be there to fix it. Every time I needed music to download off his computer, he was there. He was a great Marine and a great person.


ROESGEN: You will hear that full interview in about 25 minutes. Then at 7:00, Fredricka -- Noah's Ark has it really been found? Once again somebody thinks they have found it, but not where most think it might be. So we'll have a live interview with the person who believes he has found Noah's Ark at 7:00.

WHITFIELD: Can't wait to hear those details. All right, thanks so much, Susan.

Well, NASCAR is well-known, it's a well-known name and the sport itself altogether. But how about running on dirt tracks? Some of NASCAR's biggest names got their start at dirt track warriors. Miles O'Brien previews tonight's "CNN PRESENTS."


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The now NASCAR driver Tony Stewart tips his hat to the skill of dirt drivers. After all, he got his start on dirt, and now owns one of the most celebrated dirt tracks in the country, Eldora Speedway in Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I make my living driving on pavement every week, but I have always been more interested in dirt racing than pavement. To be on a dirt track, a lot of times is like being on a gravel road. If you go just a little bit too fast, the car is going to slide. If you hit the gas too hard, it spins the tires and kicks the rocks up. If you try to stop too fast, you skid. You lock up the brakes. That's what makes driving on dirt more technical.

O'BRIEN: Technical, indeed. Stewart wiped out the night we saw him race at Eldora.

SCOTT BLOOMQUIST, DIRT TRACK DRIVER: Me, personally, most of the NASCAR races, I'll turn them on, I'll be asleep after the first 20, and hope somebody wakes me up for the last 10.


WHITFIELD: "CNN PRESENTS: Dirt Track Warriors," maybe the biggest sport you have never heard of, tonight at 8:00 Eastern only on CNN.

They bragged that they were better than Fedex. Now they are busted. The border war on drugs coming up in three minutes. That's right here on CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WHITFIELD: Operation Frozen Timber has put more than 40 suspects and several aircraft on ice. CNN's Jeanne Meserve worked the story for "A.C. 360."


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: In just 30 minutes a helicopter drops two large loads of Canadian marijuana in the Washington state wilderness. This, agents say, is the perfect smuggling scheme. Audacious, simple, successful until now. Law enforcement has seized 4 tons of marijuana, 800 pounds of cocaine, several aircraft and made more than 40 arrests in the U.S., six in Canada.

JOHN MCKAY, U.S. ATTORNEY, WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON: There are drug runners, there are off loaders, there are attorneys, there are pilots and there are owners.

MESERVE: This is marijuana from British Columbia, known as BC bud because it consists only of the flowering tips of the plant with a high concentration of the active ingredient THC.

LYNN GARDINER, CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: This is pretty much gourmet marijuana. I mean it's very specialized and very potent.

MESERVE: It is also very expensive. Wholesaling for as much as $5,000 a pound in Los Angeles. One helicopter can carry a million dollars worth. The traffickers boasted in a "Playboy" article last year that they operated with impunity even during periods of heightened threat level. We're better than Fed-Ex one crowed.

Drop, drop, bag away, bag away, we have the bag locked up this time.

MESERVE: They didn't know they were already under investigation or that in the coming months at least two of their choppers flown by unlicensed pilots would crash.

The terrain to mask themselves. Radar can't see them here.

MESERVE: Immigration and customs enforcement special agent Peter Ostrovsky takes us along a smuggling route, demonstrating how a remote mountain valley can be a safe corridor, shielding a helicopter from detection as it slips from Canada into the U.S. We touched down in a small clearing only about 60 feet wide, used by traffickers.


MESERVE: And hundreds of spots like this in the forest?

OSTROVSKY: Absolutely hundreds of spots. Just a wide spot in the road, that's all it is.

MESERVE: The engine never stops. We linger only for the minute or two it would take to offload marijuana and on load cocaine. OSTROVSKY: We're going to lift off here. If you do the same thing, you just lift off then you turn around and depart the area.

MESERVE: Mission accomplished.

OSTROVSKY: Mission accomplished, exactly.

MESERVE: Lasing through this national forest, logging roads like this where people wait to pick up the drugs the helicopters drop. The camera on a customs and border protection surveillance plane 6,000 feet in the air that captures me and my crew on the ground can also record a drug transfer or track a helicopter, if it knows where to look in this vast wilderness.

It truly is like finding a needle in a hay stack.

MESERVE: With at least 30 valleys leading south from Canada and innumerable landing spots in the 3.2 million acres of forest land here, intelligence and cooperation on both sides of the border in the air and on the ground have been critical to this bust. But law enforcement has no illusions.

OSTROVSKY: We can put a dent in the them but we can't change the terrain out here. This terrain's here forever, you know, we can't change mother earth and the smugglers are going to continue to exploit this kind of terrain.

MESERVE: For now, they are trafficking drugs but officials say these same methods could be used to sneak in terrorists or weapons of mass destruction. Not just here but elsewhere on the northern border where a stunning landscape offers a cloak for smugglers. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, over the Cascade Mountains.


WHITFIELD: I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Susan Roesgen's up next.