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Lebanese Cabinet Orders Troops to Deploy to Southern Lebanon; Hispanics and ACLU Sue City of Hazleton; No Explosives Found after Seattle Port Bomb Scare; JonBenet Ramsey Suspect Will Be Extradited to U.S.

Aired August 16, 2006 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, another one of our troops has been killed in Iraq. One hundred and ten Iraqi civilians being killed each and every day, more than at any time since the beginning of the war in Iraq.
We'll have a special report from Baghdad tonight. We'll be going live to the White House.

And there's outrage tonight after a top illegal alien activist has defied immigration officials and our laws. She is taking refuge in a Chicago church, trying again to avoid deportation back to Mexico.

We'll have that special report. And among our guests, a leader of the church that's giving her sanctuary.

We'll also have the very latest for you on what appears to be a breakthrough in the JonBenet Ramsey case.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Wednesday, August 16th.

Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

A wave of violence today sweeping across Iraq's three largest cities. Insurgents killed another American soldier today.

In Baghdad, bomb explosions killed 22 people. In Basra, to the south, gunmen attacked the governor's office. In Mosul, police killed six insurgents.

The White House today defended the president's management of this war and insisted Iraq is not on the verge of civil war. But Iraqi officials say nearly 3,500 Iraqi civilians were killed last month. The highest number in any month since the beginning of this war.

Harris Whitbeck tonight reports from Baghdad on another deadly day of violence in Iraq.

Ed Henry reports from the White House on the Bush administration's assertion that the United States is making progress in this war. And Brent Sadler reports from Beirut tonight on international efforts to turn the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah into a permanent peace.

We begin with Harris Whitbeck in Baghdad -- Harris.

HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, dozens of people died in bombings in Baghdad today. Two car bombs went off within minutes of each other in a busy commercial street. The explosions went off a couple of hours before the curfew in the city, a time when the street was busy, but with shoppers and people trying to finish their day before heading home.

Earlier today, another bomb went off, once again in a market square frequented by day laborers waiting for work. The violence was not limited to the capital.

The southern city of Basra is under a mandatory curfew after gunmen attacked the governor's office. The attackers were members of a tribe who believe their sheik had been ordered killed by provincial officials. British soldiers in warrior-fighting vehicles arrived in the restive city to quell the violence.

Iraqi Health Ministry officials say the civilian death toll in July was the heaviest since the war broke out. One hundred and ten people a day died, most of them in Baghdad.

While an additional 4,000 U.S. troops are now accompanying their Iraqi counterparts, patrolling some of the city's meanest streets, the violence just doesn't seem to go away -- Lou.

DOBBS: Harris, thank you.

Harris Whitbeck from Baghdad.

The Pentagon now admits that a huge explosion that killed more than 60 Iraqis in Baghdad Sunday was in fact a bomb attack. Earlier, the U.S. military had disputed the Iraqi accounts and instead said the explosion was the result of a gas leak. That explosion part of one of the most deadly attacks in Iraq in weeks. Terrorists detonated four car bombs in a span of 30 minutes. Sixty-three people were killed, 140 other Iraqis wounded.

A soldier wounded in combat in Iraq has died of his wounds in the hospital. He was wounded four days ago in a firefight with insurgents in Baghdad.

Now 2,602 of our troops have been killed in this war. Another 19,511 wounded, 8,886 seriously wounded.

The White House today strongly defended the president's conduct of the war in Iraq. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow insists President Bush is not frustrated with the progress of U.S. forces in this war. Some newspapers have reported the president has expressed concern about Iraq in private meetings.

Ed Henry reports now from the White House -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, Tony Snow taking strong issue with the report in "The New York Times" claiming that Monday, at a lunch at the Pentagon with foreign policy scholars, the president expressed frustration both with the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people for not showing enough support for the American mission. Tony Snow said he spoke this morning with all four scholars who were there, and they all feel that the president was not frustrated.

But I can tell you one participant I spoke to said the president did seem, in his words, concerned about the situation in Iraq. Eric Davis (ph), a professor at Rutgers University, told me the president opened this private lunch by saying a lot of American lives are being lost, a lot of American money being spent, and yet there are still major problems ahead. And he wanted to hear solutions from these scholars.

But when I asked Professor Davis whether he felt the president signaled any shift in policy to address it, he said absolutely not. The president, once again, said he's committed to staying the course, finishing the job.

This coming, as you noted, Iraqi authorities reporting July the deadliest month for Iraqi civilians. Tony Snow asked today whether he believes, in fact, Iraq is already in civil war. He said no, and then added that he believes, in fact, violence is decreasing in some areas of Iraq.


TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There has been some -- some improvement, at least in the situation on the ground, slightly. Yes, you have a number of sectarian violence operations going on, but you've also seen now in targeted neighborhoods in Baghdad there has been a notable decrease in violence in three of the neighborhoods that have been targeted in the last week. And that's -- that's obviously a promising sign. That's not a victory lap.


HENRY: Now, tomorrow, 21 retired generals, diplomats and national security officials will release an open letter to President Bush demanding a dramatic change in U.S. policy toward both Iraq and Iran. They're charging the administration's hard-line approach has actually made the situation worse -- Lou.

DOBBS: Ed, thank you.

Ed Henry reporting from the White House.

The White House today also said it expects Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah. But the Lebanese government has not said whether or not it will force Hezbollah to give up its weapons. The Lebanese cabinet today ordered troops to begin deploying to southern Lebanon.

Brent Sadler reports from Beirut -- Brent. BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: Good evening, Lou.

It seems to be a positive step, that the Lebanese army will deploy to the south in the early hours of tomorrow morning. Already tonight, engineering units are bridge-building over the Litani River. And the idea is that they will spread out from the Litani piece by piece to the blue line. That's Israel's border with Lebanon. But there are many problems, not least the fact that the cabinet of Lebanon in Beirut today decided to go ahead with this move despite the fact that Hezbollah will retain its weapons and that its fighters will still stay in the area.

Now, under this plan as now envisaged, Lou, United Nations peacekeepers, some 2,000 of them already stationed in south Lebanon, will take over positions vacated by Israel step by step. The Lebanese army would then take over those positions in a phased withdrawal. But already, Israel is saying that it might stop troop withdrawals until a robust international peacekeeping force adds to those peacekeepers already on the ground.

Now, Fouad Siniora, the Lebanese prime minister, said that this was an important if not an historic deployment because it will be the first time in decades that the Lebanese army goes to the south and represents state authority in that volatile border zone. However, at the end of the day, Lou, Lebanese army troops will still have to deal with an armed Hezbollah and Hezbollah fighters in the south. And that could make nations thinking about sending troops to south Lebanon think twice -- Lou.

DOBBS: Brent, thank you very much.

Brent Sadler reporting live tonight from Beirut.

Israel today threatened to end its withdrawal of troops from southern Lebanon if Lebanese soldiers do not move into the south quickly. Israel is also refusing to end its air and sea blockade of Lebanon. The Israeli military is trying to stop Hezbollah from receiving any new weapons or ammunition from Iran or Syria.

Chris Lawrence reports now from northern Israel.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Three days in, and the cease-fire holds. But Israel had threatened to stop its pullout from south Lebanon until the Lebanese army agreed to deploy across the Litani River by Thursday.

Hezbollah has refused to disarm and reiterated its right to fight Israeli soldiers still in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, is the job finished or not?

LAWRENCE: This injured soldier's eye took the brunt of a Katyusha rocket. He suggests Israel's pullout may have come too soon. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hezbollah still wants to destroy Israel, and so -- so do a lot of our neighbors. So it's not , you know -- it's not peace. It's a cease-fire.

LAWRENCE: Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni said Israel's war with Hezbollah is not over and won't be until U.N. peacekeepers join the Lebanese army along the border, as ordered in the U.N. resolution.

TZIPI LIVNI, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: A full implementation of Resolution 1701 can lead to a change in the region in Lebanon and lead to a better future for us all. We must ensure that the end result of the process will be the full and complete disarmament of Hezbollah.

LAWRENCE: While negotiations continue, some Israelis are returning home. But evidence of the war is everywhere, including craters from Katyusha rockets buried in the middle of busy streets.

(on camera): Even the hospital itself took a direct hit. A Katyusha landed right here and injured several of the patients inside.

(voice over): This woman was hit by a separate rocket just hours before the cease-fire took effect. Dana bin Shlomo (ph) says the Katyushas damaged more than just her body. They punctured a myth that she and other Israelis were safe from Hezbollah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They could fire Katyushas any day. The kids are outside playing. It's frightening. It's very hard to go back to routine.

LAWRENCE: Doctors across northern Israel say cases of post- traumatic stress are soaring.


LAWRENCE: And another concern that a lot of Israelis have, many of them feel that their government never should have agreed to any cease-fire that did not guarantee the return of the two Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped by Hezbollah just before this conflict started. While she addressed United Nations officials today in New York, the Israeli foreign minister reiterated Israel's demand that those two soldiers be immediately released -- Lou.

DOBBS: Chris, thank you very much.

Chris Lawrence, reporting tonight from northern Israel.

There was a major security alert on a transatlantic flight today. United Flight 923 flying from London to Washington, D.C., was diverted to Boston's Logan International Airport after a woman aboard the aircraft was involved in a confrontation. Two F-15 fighter jets escorted the airliner in to Logan International. But as it turned out, the woman was not a security threat. It appears she had some form of anxiety attack.

Police tonight ordering workers to evacuate a terminal at the Port of Seattle because of a bomb scare. Search dogs detecting what appears to be a suspicious substance in a shipping container that originated in Pakistan.

A bomb disposal unit is at this hour checking into the contents of the container. Police have set up a 2,000-foot perimeter around that container. We'll bring you any developments on this story as they occur.

Still ahead, fury tonight after a top illegal alien activist takes refuge in a Chicago church trying to avoid deportation to Mexico.

We'll have that special report. And I'll be talking with the leader of the church giving the activist sanctuary.

And the illegal alien lobby suing a town that's had a belly full of illegal immigration, and a government that won't do anything about it. They're cracking down on landlords and employers of illegal aliens. Some activist groups don't like that.

We'll have the report.

And new evidence tonight that e-voting is an even bigger threat to our democracy than many originally feared. A threat that many election officials seem to believe is negligible or even nonexistent.

And a man under arrest tonight in the JonBenet Ramsey case nearly a decade after the 6-year-old girl was murdered.

We'll have complete details.

All of that and more coming right up.


DOBBS: Tonight, an illegal alien who faces deportation back to Mexico is defying the law and taking refuge in a Chicago church. Elvira Arellano believes the church offers her legal sanctuary, and tonight she is still refusing to leave the clutch. Her defiance comes as illegal alien amnesty supporters file their first-ever lawsuits against local communities, communities that are struggling to fight the flood of illegal aliens into their communities.

Jonathan Freed reports tonight from Chicago on a church's mission helping an illegal alien avoid and fight deportation.

Christine Romans reports the story of the aggressive new attempts on the part of our nation's courts to stop local communities fighting illegal immigration.

We begin with Jonathan Freed in Chicago -- Jonathan.

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, it has been -- it is the second day...


FREED (voice over): Elvira Arellano says she just wants to be able to stay in the United States with her 7-year-old son Saul (ph), who is an American citizen.

ELVIRA ARELLANO, ILLEGAL ALIEN FIGHTING DEPORTATION: I am not terrorist. I am not criminal. I love my son. My son say to me, "Please stay here with me." I'll stay here.

FREED: For now, here is the Adalberto Methodist Clutch in Chicago where she has been holed up since Tuesday after she failed to report to local immigration authorities for deportation. She's claiming the ancient rite of sanctuary.

Immigration officials released a written statement saying, "By failing to report to immigration authorities as required, Ms. Arellano is now considered to be a fugitive from the law. "

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch of Homeland Security says it will arrest and deport her at what it calls an appropriate time and place. Despite her claim of sanctuary, U.S. law gives immigration agents the right to enter church property and make an arrest.

Arellano was first deported in 1997 after trying to cross the border with Mexico using false documents. She eventually managed to come across illegally. And in 2002, was discovered to be working on a cleaning crew at O'Hare International Airport, using a false Social Security number. She's managed to delay deportation since then because her son was receiving care for a medical condition, which has since improved.


FREED: Lou, I spoke to Reverend Walter Coleman just a few minutes ago, right before we went on the air, and I asked him what his position would be if the immigration authorities showed up here at his church. He told me that they will not resist, but he hopes that the authorities will respect the claim of sanctuary -- Lou.

DOBBS: Jonathan, thank you.

Jonathan Freed reporting from Chicago.

And that brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you believe illegal aliens who have anchor babies in the United States should be immune from deportation? Yes or no?

Please cast your vote at We'll have the results here later in the broadcast.

Hazleton, Pennsylvania, recently enacted tough new laws to combat the influx of illegal aliens, in part out of frustration that the federal government is doing almost nothing to stop illegal immigration. Hazleton, Pennsylvania, stepped in where the federal government failed to act. The laws primarily target people who hire illegals and landlords who rent to them. Now Hispanic activists and the ACLU are suing the city of Hazleton.

Christine Romans reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This town decided to fight illegal immigration itself.

Hazleton, Pennsylvania, population 31,000. Starting next month, it will fine landlords $1,000 a day for knowingly renting to illegal aliens. It will deny permits to businesses that hire them. And it makes English this town's official language.

But a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and activist groups charges Hazleton's crackdown on illegal aliens constitutes discrimination and is driving immigrants out of town.

WITOLD WALCZAC, ACLU, PENNSYLVANIA: They really perceive this as a war on all immigrants, not just against those people who are here illegally.

ROMANS: He says local landlords and employers aren't qualified to identify who is legal and who is illegal.

The lawsuit charges anyone who looks or sounds foreign regardless of their actual immigration status will not be able to participate meaningfully in life in Hazleton.

Mayor Lou Barletta...

MAYOR LOUIS BARLETTA, HAZLETON, PENNSYLVANIA: That's totally untrue. In fact, we've gone to great lengths to make sure that this ordinance will not encourage racial profiling or discrimination.

Everyone in the city of Hazleton, regardless if you were born and raised here, or if you just moved here today, will need to come to city hall to receive a permit. So it has nothing to do with race. And as I've said many times, illegal doesn't have a race.

ROMANS: He says legal immigrants have nothing to fear and are welcome in his town.

BARLETTA: We are targeting illegals. When the quality of life of the city is being destroyed right before your eyes, I cannot sit back and watch it happen to my city.

ROMANS: And he says his local government is simply stepping in where the federal government failed, enforcing immigration laws.


ROMANS: But this lawsuit also claims Hazleton's crackdown is illegal because immigration enforcement is federal jurisdiction. An important test for many other local governments who, frustrated by a complete lack of federal action to enforce immigration laws, Lou, are stepping in, looking to Hazleton as a model and trying to enforce the laws themselves.

DOBBS: So I wonder if the ACLU and these activist organizations then would recommend and participate in lawsuits against federal officials who are refusing to uphold their constitutional oaths of office and failing, too, in -- well, failing to follow the Constitution and enforce existing federal immigration law?

ROMANS: The ACLU says it's democracy. If you don't like the way your elected officials at the federal level are working, you need to vote them out of office and start all over.

DOBBS: Why doesn't that apply then to the local community, and why are they interfering there, I wonder?

ROMANS: That's a very good point, Lou.

DOBBS: Christine, thank you very much. A very good report.

Still ahead here, an alarming new report today from just how flawed electronic voting is. We'll have a special report on our democracy at risk.

Also, a top illegal alien activist tonight continuing to defy immigration officials, taking refuge at a Chicago Methodist church. I'll be talking with the leader of the Methodist church here tonight.

And a major break in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case, a case almost a decade old. A suspect has been arrested.

We'll have the very latest for you here tonight.


DOBBS: This broadcast, as you know, has been reporting extensively on what is being called an electronic voting machine debacle in the Ohio special election. A new report shows problems with e-voting machines in that election were even worse than election officials first thought. And amazingly, some election officials still believe the machines actually performed well.

What's worse? Those machines and ones like them will be used all over again all around the country for the upcoming midterm elections in just 12 weeks.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The May primary election in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, using Diebold electronic voting machines was a debacle. The Election Science Institute, independent researchers commissioned by the county, found damning evidence that the electronic voting machines had major problems.

STEVE HERTZBERG, ELECTION SCIENCE INSTITUTE: We're missing data. We're missing critical components within the election. The board of elections cannot find it, and we believe that that is probably the greatest issue we're facing in this election. What are equivalent to what might be ballots in ballot boxes in the old days now turned into ones and zeroes.

PILGRIM: The report found the machine's four sources of vote totals, individual ballots, paper trail summary, election archives, and the memory cards, did not all match up. The totals were all different.

The report concludes, "These shortcomings merit urgent attention. Relying on the system in its present state should be viewed as a calculated risk."

But the secretary of state of Ohio, Kenneth Blackwell, is still in denial. His office saying today, "The machines work. There is nothing wrong with the machines."

That is not what the report concludes. "The current election system, if left unchanged, contains significant threats. One likely result is diminished public confidence in a close election."

Cuyahoga County has, at last count, more than 1.3 million people, the most populous county in Ohio, including the city of Cleveland. It represents a critical mass of voters. But the report says the situation may not be resolved by the November election this year or even the 2008 presidential election.

REP. STEPHANIE TUBBS JONES (D), OHIO: There's a lot of work to be done in Cuyahoga County. I hope that it can be accomplished. But we have to be very, very careful, because everybody expects that their vote's going to count.

PILGRIM: The secretary of state's office today blamed poll workers for not carrying out procedures properly. Diebold has said the same thing, blaming human error.


PILGRIM: The county board of elections says they need to get to the bottom of this. They want the authors of the report, the scientists to sit down with Diebold and agree on what went wrong. They will then take measures to fix the problems.

And the scientists welcome that opportunity. They say it's important for the entire country that this issue is resolved -- Lou.

DOBBS: For the entire democracy. And just about 12 weeks remaining in which to do so.

Kitty, thank you very much.

Kitty Pilgrim.

Taking a look now at some of your thoughts.

Neil in Maryland wrote in to say, "Lou, I work for the Census Bureau and we're not allowed to ask if someone is here legally or otherwise. It's virtually representation without taxation. No wonder elected officials love illegals. They can't vote but are included in the district's population. How sweet is that?"

It depends on your perspective.

And Jean in New York, "For those of us who went through the INS legally and paid a lot of money in the process, will there be any chance for a refund in Bush decides to grant free citizenship to people who are in the United States illegally?"

It's not just up to Mr. Bush, we would like to point out, mercifully.

Jeff in Maryland, "Dear Lou, after watching Brent Wilkes, I now know that my income decrease is just my imagination. It has nothing to do with cheap labor undercutting my labor contracts."

And Dale in Massachusetts, "Lou, pardon my language, but Mr. Wilkes is completely full of...!"

And Alex in New York, "Dear Lou, I am one of many college educated, unemployed New Yorkers who can't find a job. Please tell Mr. Brent Wilkes to stick his head back up..."

And we'd like you to send us your thoughts, We'll have more of your thoughts here later in the broadcast.

Up next, a disturbing new twist in the story of two U.S. Border Patrol agents who face 20 years in prison while a Mexican drug smuggler, thanks to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Texas, has been set free with full immunity. An exclusive television interview. Her first with one of the jurors in this incredible case.

And an illegal alien tonight taking refuge in a Chicago church trying to avoid deportation. Should places of worship also be a sanctuary for those who break the law?

I'll talk with the bishop of the Methodist Church. She says yes.

And a major breakthrough in the 10-year-old murder case of JonBenet Ramsey. A suspect tonight is in custody.

We'll have the latest on this fast-breaking story.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Just want to bring you up to date on a breaking story on that bomb alert at the port of Seattle. Over just the last few minutes, law enforcement officials there have told us they have found no explosives in that shipping container that originated in Pakistan.

Police evacuated the terminal and focused on that container after search dogs apparently thought they had detected a substance that could have been explosive. Again investigators and local authorities have just said no explosives were found in that container. So that is good news here tonight. And tonight, law enforcement officials say they have under arrest a suspect in the killing of JonBenet Ramsey, the 6-year-old girl from Boulder, Colorado, who was murdered almost a decade ago. The suspect in this long running murder case was arrested tonight in Thailand. Rusty Dornin has the very latest for us from the CNN Center in Atlanta. Rusty?

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the fascinating part about all of this, it comes as a shock to us, but apparently this man, John Mark Carr, his name had popped up in the investigation a few months ago and Patsy and John Ramsey, the little girl's parents, did know about the suspect.

Now, from what we understand, he's a 41-year-old second grade school teacher who might have lived at one time in Conyers, Georgia. Apparently John Ramsey telling reporters tonight in a statement that he was glad that his wife Patsy, before she died in June, after a bout with cancer, at least knew that there was another suspect because, of course, she and her husband were under an umbrella of suspicion for many, many years in this case.

The Boulder police often concentrating on the Ramseys, even though they claimed an intruder had come into the house. So far what we know is that he was arrested or is being held in Bangkok, Thailand, under unrelated sex charges but is expected to be brought back to the United States within the next two days -- Lou?

DOBBS: Do we know, Rusty, at this early moment in these developments, do we know what the breakthrough was that led authorities to this suspect?

DORNIN: No. That is still very unclear. All we know is that his name popped up on the radar -- now, KUSA, a television station in Denver, is claiming that he confessed to some details of the case that only the police would have known. But that is according to KUSA in Denver and we have not confirmed that.

DOBBS: Rusty Dornin, thank you very much, reporting tonight from CNN Center in Atlanta.

Tonight an illegal alien who faces deportation back to Mexico is refusing to surrender herself to U.S. immigration officials. Elvira Arellano has taken refuge in a Chicago Methodist church with her 7- year-old son. She says this church offers her indefinite sanctuary. Her case is quickly becoming a metaphor for all that is wrong with this nation's broken immigration system. Joining me from Chicago tonight to discuss the issue is United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcano. Good to have you with us, bishop.


DOBBS: This is an unusual situation, the church there giving her sanctuary. On what basis?

CARCANO: Well, let me say that it's not an unusual situation. From the beginning of the Old Testament, the community of faith has provided refuge for persons who are foreigners. We have provided refuge for persons who were in slavery in this country in the 1980s.

DOBBS: Bishop, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to suggest historically. I'm referring to in the current age of which we live, the idea of anyone who is wanted by law, legal authorities, law enforcement, taking refuge. Churches do not typically do that. I can't think of a case in the last several years. Can you?

CARCANO: I can think of several cases, but I want to focus on this particular case.

DOBBS: Sure.

CARCANO: The Alberto United Methodist Church has given assistance to a young woman who is struggling to keep her family together, to stay together with her young son. It is an issue of justice. This is a young woman who is a leader in that church, who stands out of her Christian conviction that our laws are unjust.

DOBBS: She's a member of the Methodist church?

CARCANO: Not only is she a member of Alberto United Methodist Church, she is the colay (ph) leader, the highest lay position that one can hold in a local church.

DOBBS: And let's talk about this young lady, if we may, bishop. She was first arrested in 1997. She's been deported. She has returned in violation of U.S. immigration laws and has subsequently given birth to a child in this country while breaking the laws. What is the church's view on that?

CARCANO: I can't speak about her legal situation. What I can speak to is the fact that her son is a U.S. citizen.

I can speak to the fact that the United Methodist Church views the immigration policies of this country as unjust. It is seeking the reformation of our immigration policies, stands with families like Ms. Arellano's family, requesting that this government look at the impact on families. If we really care about children in this country, this is an opportunity to care for a child.

DOBBS: I think you would agree with me, bishop, this country cares a lot about children. We also care a lot about laws. And on what basis does the church become involved in political decisions and in matters of state?

We have a huge debate in this country going on now about government leaders overwhelmingly, it seems, on a given day involving religion, AND now religion involving itself in government. While all of us who are concerned about a separation of church and state, don't you find this to be a difficult path to follow?

CARCANO: We're not talking about partisan politics in this situation. We're talking about lifting up a matter of conscience for this country, a moral and ethical issue. It is from that perspective that the United Methodist Church speaks.

DOBBS: And if authorities do enter the church, what will be your reaction, that of the United Methodist Church?

CARCANO: I can't speculate on that. I do know that we will be prayerfully observing, watching, standing with this congregation and with Ms. Arellano.

DOBBS: Bishop, we thank you very much -- Bishop Carcano, we appreciate it very much, we wish you well.

CARCANO: Thank you.

DOBBS: Tonight, immigration officials estimate there are more than 500,000 fugitive illegal aliens now living in the United States. These are illegal aliens who have been ordered deported and have either slipped into the country or have never left, but have avoided either court dates or authorities or both. Thousands of these illegal aliens, of course, are now seeking sanctuary in a number of cities which have sanctuary laws. A church sanctuary is a relatively unique development.

We will be continuing as we examine what is happening in this country and around the world and the influence of certain policies in Iraq, the Middle East, particularly the Hezbollah and Israeli truce. We'll be talking with three of the country's very best political minds when we continue. Stay with us.


DOBBS: There is, according to many who have taken a look at the case of the two U.S. Border Patrol agents prosecuted and convicted in El Paso, Texas by the U.S. attorney there, a case in which the drug smuggler who was apprehended was given complete immunity to testify against them.

There is further evidence of great irregularities in this case, adding just more questions to a case that is confounding and frustrating to just about everyone who looks at the facts.

Our Casey Wian is in El Paso, Texas tonight. He talked with one of the jurors in the case. Her first interview on television. Casey Wian reports.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was the last holdout on the jury that convicted Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean of violating a Mexican drug smuggler's civil rights, assault and obstruction of justice. She doesn't want us to show her face or use her name, but she does want the public to know she doesn't believe they're guilty as charged.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember being in the jury room, talking with the other jury members, crying. I remember when the verdict was read. I felt like I was going to go through the floor.

WIAN: Why were you crying? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think because I felt like I had made a decision and it was probably a wrong decision, but I had to make a decision.

WIAN (voice-over): Agents Ramos and Compean also had decisions to make during their pursuit of a Mexican drug smuggler driving a van loaded with nearly 800 pounds of marijuana. The smuggler got out of the vehicle, ignored the agent's orders to stop, and they thought he had a gun, so they fired. One shot hit the smuggler in the buttocks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe them. I believe that they felt danger at the time, and that they had a split second decision to make and they felt their lives were in danger. And they felt that they had to do what they had to do.

WIAN: The juror said she felt pressured to change her vote to guilty because of an early agreement the jury made to reach a verdict no matter what.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had been there two weeks, felt like there was a lot of time invested into the trial, and it was going to be my fault if there was a mistrial or a hung jury.

WIAN: Compean's attorney and independent legal experts say that's not likely to result in a successful appeal based on jury misconduct. The juror says she would have stood her ground had she known the agents faced 20 years in prison.

(on camera): Does this verdict still bother you today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does bother me. And I know now is -- I haven't been able to speak about it before. I have nightmares about it. I think about their kids, their families, their wives, what they're going through, and it's just devastating.

WIAN: The juror says the worst thing she could have done was to give in to the other jurors. She's offering support to the Border Patrol agents saying she'll do anything she can to help them stay out of prison.

Casey Wian, CNN, El Paso, Texas.


WIAN: T.J. Bonner is the president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union representing border patrolmen, joining us tonight from Houston, Texas. T.J., this case is -- how would you characterize it?

T.J. BONNER, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: This is a travesty, Lou. This case, as you noted, has so many irregularities, any of which standing by themselves call for an independent investigation. But when you put them together, you wonder how in the world the U.S. attorney could have went forward with the case.

DOBBS: Well, the U.S. attorney not only went forward with the case, T.J., the assistant U.S. attorney in the case, the prosecutor, actually said that -- words to the effect that she thought, at one point, it is more important to prosecute law enforcement than it is drug smugglers and criminals. I mean, I don't know what we're dealing with here.

BONNER: Right, not once but twice. First time 750 pounds of marijuana smuggled across, amnesty or immunity -- I'm sorry. The second time, 10 months later, another 1,000 pounds, and they -- just to get the testimony of this drug smuggler, they let him off the hook for smuggling nearly a ton of marijuana into the United States? What's wrong with this U.S. Attorney's Office?

DOBBS: Well, what's wrong with the U.S. attorney's office? I've got to ask you what in the world is wrong with the U.S. Border Patrol? The head of the Border Patrol should be all over this. I mean, I cannot understand their reticence.

It looks -- Congressman Poe said straightforwardly he thinks somebody is paying off the government of Mexico here. And he's talking about Washington, D.C. You start with Alberto Gonzalez at the U.S. Attorney's Office, President Bush. I mean, these are serious charges, and it smells to high heaven.

BONNER: And when you see this lack of support coming from the top, it's no wonder that morale is in the toilet, Lou.

DOBBS: Morale is in the toilet?

BONNER: Yes. I've been in for 28 years, Lou. This is the worst I've ever seen it. Agents are now afraid to go out and do their job. They're wondering, am I going to be prosecuted next?

DOBBS: We had a number of people write into this broadcast with the announcement of the Arellano-Felix arrest, the Tijuana cartel -- one of the cartel leaders today by the Coast Guard, suggesting that the Coast Guardsmen be very, very careful for fear somebody will make a deal with the government of Mexico and with a deal this size, they're saying the Coast Guardsman could face capital punishment.

Why in the world did this case get this far? What is your union going to do? Why isn't there more of a show of support from your members and for other Border Patrol officers? And why isn't this Border Patrol officer who was involved with this drug dealer being questioned rather critically here?

BONNER: Very interesting questions, Lou. As to why this Border Patrol agent who was in cahoots with his childhood friend drug smuggler, why he's not being investigated? You'd have to ask the Department of Justice and the Office of Inspector General. Likewise, you need to ask them the hard questions about why this case went forward in first place.

DOBBS: Oh, I already have.

BONNER: I know. They put out a three-page statement, and now they're hiding behind that. But when you read that statement, it's all based upon the smuggler's lies. The smuggler claims he didn't have a gun. Well, of course, he's going to claim he didn't have a gun.

DOBBS: Let me ask you this. You've been checking into this. You have got some information in terms of the drug cartel working across the border from El Paso and, frankly, on this side of the border as well. Quickly tell us what you think is going on?

BONNER: Well, I'm not sure what's going -- I can tell you the facts, Lou. And the facts are that these agents acted properly. They reported the shooting verbally to their supervisors. They did everything by the book, and they end up in front of a jury and they're convicted by an overzealous assistant U.S. attorney.

DOBBS: You've been told as well, have you not, that this drug smuggler, in point of fact, had been rumored to be going after the agents, Compean and Ramos?

BONNER: Yes, that's what I've been told, that he was going after them.

DOBBS: What is your best judgment about the influence and the strength and the power of the drug cartel -- the Mexican drug cartel on the community itself in El Paso?

BONNER: Well, it's not just El Paso.

DOBBS: I understand, but El Paso is where the jury was and lives and it's where this case is. What's your sense of that?

BONNER: The cartels have such a tremendous reach into almost every border community, Lou. There's so much money, you can't even begin to fathom it. And, you know, they're clearly involved in this.

DOBBS: These families have been ruined just paying their legal expenses. The Border Patrol, we put up on our Web site places where they can send their money to help. Anyone concerned about these men and their families can send money. Is the Border Patrol Council, is your union, going to take care of these people?

BONNER: We are. We have set up the fund, Lou. The response from the public has been overwhelming. Today alone 350 letters of support with very generous donations, about $15,000 came in just today. People out there -- and it's a shame because our tax dollars were used to prosecute these poor agents.

DOBBS: Right. T.J., there's a lot here, but I think a lot of people need to hear that you and the union that you lead are going to back these men up because they have been forsaken by a lot of people who should be supporting them with all of their strength. It is good to know you are, and that they're fighting back.

BONNER: We are backing these two fine agents to the hilt, Lou. We're not going to back down from this. We're going to ensure as long as we have any funds at all, that they do not go to prison. No matter what the bond is, we'll post that bond, keep them out of prison, fight on appeal and restore their good names.

DOBBS: T.J. Bonner, we thank you for being here. And go to for information on if you want to support these men and their families and their legal defense. The addresses and where you can send that money if you want to help is there. It's T.J. Bonner, thank you.

Coming up at the top of the hour here on CNN, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer, reporting tonight from Jerusalem -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou.

We're following the breaking news in the JonBenet Ramsey murder mystery. There's been an arrest in the case. We have several reporters working the story. They'll bring us all the latest developments.

We'll also be joined by the famed criminal defense attorney Robert Shapiro.

And we also have new details on that London plane that was diverted today to Boston. Was it a security threat or an overreaction? CNN's Brian Todd is in Boston for us.

And the Israeli military says it's now begun handing over some of its positions in southern Lebanon to U.N. forces. We're live on both sides of the border. All that, Lou, coming up right at the top of the hour -- Lou.

DOBBS: Wolf, thank you very much. Wolf Blitzer.

A reminder now to vote in our poll, do you believe illegal aliens who have anchor babies in United States should be immune from deportation? Yes or no. Please cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up here in just moments.

Tonight, the fallout from wars gone bad, the war in Iraq, the war between Hezbollah and Israel. I'll be joined by three of the country's best political analysts. We'll be talking about the chaos in Iraq. Is it a civil war? And is there a failure of U.S. policy in the Middle East and what about those upcoming midterm elections? Stay with us.


DOBBS: Joining me now Ed Rollins, Republican strategist, former Reagan White House political director. Michael Goodwin, columnist "New York Daily News." Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman. Gentlemen, let's start with the president saying we're safer but not yet safe. How does that strike you?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It strikes me as the cheapest type of politics. Let's get to the bottom line here.

DOBBS: Let me see, is that Democratic strategist? ZIMMERMAN: That's Democratic strategist. But you know something, I think all Americans ought to be truly concerned about an administration that has, its own 9/11 commission has pointed out they've not done the job on Homeland Security. And in fact, the Republican Congress has voted repeatedly against the funding to inspect cargo containers, to secure our borders and ports. This is not just a Democratic concern. I think all Americans have to be concerned about this administration's failure to meet the things to make America safer.

ED ROLLINS, FMR. WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think we need far more, greater due diligence. I don't feel particularly safer as an American. The guard was down before September 11. I think law enforcement, I think the White House, I think the Congress, Democrats and Republicans have worked very hard to protect us much better. Our intelligence network, I'm not convinced is ...

DOBBS: All right but the politics of it.

ROLLINS: The politics are that the Democrats basically are waffling and attempting to make this an issue and I think it's an issue that they will not win on. I think Americans today feel this president, this administration, have done the best they can to, they may argue about the war, but I think this particular issue --

DOBBS: Go back to Robert now.

ZIMMERMAN: When this president and his administration try to make the war on terrorism a partisan issue by attacking the patriotism of those who differ with him, it's an affront to every American and it speaks to the cowardice of this White House.

ROLLINS: I'll remind you of just one thing. It was Mr. Lamont who basically, with a lot of Democrats, who took out Joe Lieberman, who had the courage to stand up and basically vote his conscience. So, before we throw --

ZIMMERMAN: He can vote his conscience, doesn't mean he was right.

DOBBS: Michael Goodwin, a man in the middle.

MICHAEL GOODWIN, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS" COLUMNIST: Well here I am, just perfect. Listen, I think that Iraq is fair game for politics. I think every part of every policy is fair game for politics. The issue I think ultimately, substantively, what is America going to do about Islamic fascists around the world? Right now I think President Bush has a very aggressive, on our feet, offensive position. The Democrats, I'm afraid, I'm going to say I'm afraid the Democrats sort of want to fight terrorism but not here and not there and not this way and not that way. So how do they want to fight terrorism?

ZIMMERMAN: We want to fight terrorism where the terrorists are. That means going to Afghanistan.

GOODWIN: There aren't terrorists in Iraq?

ZIMMERMAN: Well, thanks to the Bush administration, they've made Iraq a breeding ground. But this administration has absolutely destroyed its credibility to deal with Iran.

ROLLINS: People like George Soros (ph) and Howard Dean, I mean, if you want to be portrayed as the party that is not going to be and stand up and fight wherever there are terrorists, I think then you are going to get hurt.

ZIMMERMAN: Ed, we'll be portrayed by our record, which is voting for increasing funding for terrorism and having the Bush administration and the Republicans take that funding away.

GOODWIN: One of the things that's going on, Bill Clinton, for example, trying to separate Iraq from the war on terrorism and trying to separate Hillary Clinton's vote from Iraq. I don't think either one of them are going to work. I think people do recognize that as badly as Iraq is going and as many mistakes we have made, it is important. You see what happened with Israel. When Israel did not knock Hezbollah out, Hezbollah is stronger. That's what's going to happen in Iraq.

DOBBS: Irrespective of the politics of the critically important domestic politics are that involved off of all of these issues, Iraq, the Arab/Israeli conflict, framed as the Hezbollah/Israeli conflict by American media now for better than four weeks, when it was really a proxy battle between the United States, Iran, and Syria. We have an upcoming midterm election and one recent poll showing most Americans still believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Is this an election which we're going to see significant change? Is it an election in which incumbents are going to be restored? Or is there an awareness right now, on the part of the public, and a hunger for awareness of the facts?

ROLLINS: Well, the public is very frustrated by the inability of the Congress to deal with what they think are things that are very important in their common life, which are gas prices, security, a whole variety of things. But I think it's going to turn on, I think Democrats would love to nationalize this election and make it about the war in Iraq. I don't think Republicans are going to allow that to happen. And I think at the end of the day they will be more successful. Because what they'll do is they will take some of the extremists in your party, Robert, and you're not one of them, but one of the extremists in your party and point out the inconsistencies.

DOBBS: He wasn't until tonight.

ZIMMERMAN: Let me say something. The best thing my party could do is hire Ed Rollins. I'll put that on the record. But the reality for the political climate today, despite the Bush administration's best efforts, they can't hide behind the deceit and the misstatements about the war on terror. 9/11 and the war in Iraq and London are not connected.

DOBBS: What if, and we've got about 30 seconds, what if poor old Joe Lieberman, cast aside, shunned by his party, is the path to the future, an independent and people sort of look to that right and that left and say let's find a middle way.

GOODWIN: I think it is one of the ironies of this season, Lou, that people like Joe Lieberman are not more respected. With so much polarization going on, we need more people in the center, not fewer.

DOBBS: Well, we can thank the people of Connecticut or at least the Democrats that voted in that primary for creating another one anyway.

Robert Zimmerman, we thank you. Michael Goodwin, Ed Rollins, gentlemen, as always.

The results of our poll, 93 percent of you do not believe illegal aliens, who have anchor babies, should be immune from deportation. We thank you for watching. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with Wolf Blitzer reporting from Jerusalem, Wolf.


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