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Iran Flexing Military Muscle; Airlines Say They Need A Break; How the Ramseys Were Cleared; New Threats in Iraq

Aired July 10, 2008 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, Iran's show of military might -- test firing ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

But is it -- is there more to it or less to it than meets the eye?

Also, the new advance in DNA technology that led to a stunning twist in the notorious cold case -- the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

And former hostages recount the darkest days of their five year ordeal. They tell their gripping stories exclusively to CNN.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


A second day of missile testing in Iran and new questions about launch of at least seven ballistic missiles yesterday. Now some are questioning whether the Iranians actually faked a photo of those launches.

Let's bring in senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre.

He's following this story for us, a fascinating story.

What are you picking up?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, a senior U.S. senior intelligence -- a senior official with access to U.S. intelligence confirms that Iran fired eight missiles, seven of them yesterday, one today, including that long-range Shahab-3 missile.

But what's undermining Iran's credibility a little bit is a photograph distributed by AFP that was taken from the Shepa News Agency (ph), an arm of the Iranian Republican guard. It shows four missiles being launched simultaneously. Except the problem is the original photo turned up, as well, and it shows only three missiles being launched simultaneously. The middle one has just a rocket launcher.

Now, the U.S. military believes that that's an SA-2 missile that was fired later on that accounted for the second day of strikes. But let's just show you. We've put this picture into Photoshop just to demonstrate how easy it is to change a missile that has three missiles firing into one that's four. I mean all I do here is select the clone tool from my Photoshop, which is here on my laptop. I pick up some of this smoke that's at the bottom, which is where -- it looks like they took it from one side of the picture and maybe put some of the smoke up here. And then it looks like they went over and grabbed part of this missile from the other side and put it in there. And now you can go back there and you can dress that up a little bit.

BLITZER: So you could actually put 10 or 20 missiles up there the way they are apparently doing?

MCINTYRE: Yes. In fact, some people have done that. You could. Yes. Very easily you could take another missile and just put one right here, for instance. You could just put another missile right in the middle there. In fact, on the Internet, they're mocking this so much that you can find pictures of this with dozens of missiles going in each direction.

BLITZER: But there's no doubt that they actually did launch some of these missiles -- maybe not all of them that they bragged about -- but some of them were launched, including that long-range missile with, what, about a 1,200-mile radius?

MCINTYRE: Right. And that, of course, could theoretically hit Israel. And there's no doubt that and that they were sending a message and that they have the capability. But it also looks like -- this also underscores that this is a ploy to, you know, to make that show of force a little bit of propaganda value. And somebody -- we don't know who, if it was a low level person or a high level person, decided this picture would be more impressive the more missiles they put in.

BLITZER: Yes. All right. But they don't know we're watching like it like hawks. There's a lot of smart people out there.

Jamie, thanks very much.

I want to continue our discussion on this.

Jamie, why don't you go this way and we'll bring in the former secretary of defense, William Cohen who's joining us right now.


BLITZER: What do you make of this Photoshopping of these pictures that the Iranians what they may be up to?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY, THE COHEN GROUP: Well, there's good news and bad news in this. The bad news is that they do appear to have the capability of launching multiple rockets simultaneously. Whether it's three or four, I think, is not the real issue. The question is, they can do it on a multiple basis.

The good news out of all of this is, by virtue of them having taken this action, they have concentrated the minds of many people around the country. Total, for example, from France, an energy company; Petronas in Malaysia, another energy company; now refusing to invest in Iran. So they have now engaged in a very counterproductive exercise where other countries now see their actions as being destabilizing. Iran not a place to invest for the future. So it's cutting against their own interests.

Now, they may be doing this in order to enhance their bargaining position and say, OK, we don't want a negotiate from a position of weakness. But what it has done in the last -- it has undercut their ability, I think, in many ways. And it has increased the ability of our allies to now bring more pressure upon Iran.

BLITZER: How much of a real threat does Iran pose right now?

Apparently, they don't have any nuclear weapons capability -- at least not yet.

How much of a real threat do they pose to U.S. troops in the region, whether in Iraq or Kuwait or in the Gulf in general -- or to Israel, for that matter?

COHEN: If they were to launch these missiles at our bases in Iraq, that would be very dangerous for us. If they were to launch them against our facilities in Bahrain, where we have the fleet tied up, that would be dangerous. UAE, any of the countries -- Qatar, where we have a subcommand of the Central Command there.

So we have great interests at risk by these types of missiles.

Israel is also at risk from this type of missile, forget about the nuclear warhead.

And so this is a serious issue in terms of their capability. That's why I think it's much more important now that we engage them directly, but we also intensify the -- the economic sanctions that we can place against them, saying you can't play this game. This is very dangerous and you're undermining stability in the region.

BLITZER: Secretary Cohen, thanks for coming in.

COHEN: A pleasure to be with you.

BLITZER: The blame game in the skies -- U.S. airlines say they're at the financial breaking point and they want passengers to ask Congress to give them a break. For some aggravated fliers, that's going to be a tough sell. The big issue right now for the airlines -- and you guessed it -- that would be the cost of fuel.

Let's go back to Carol Costello. She's got some details -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're beginning to sound like a broken record, aren't we?

You know, we're talking about a letter signed by 12 airlines urging passengers to lobby Congress on their behalf.

A good idea?

Well, it depends on whether you're in an airport and your flight's late.


COSTELLO (voice-over): It's getting harder and more expensive to fly, but the airlines say don't blame us -- blame the oil speculators. CEOs from 12 airlines signed an open letter to their customers asking them to pull together to reform the oil markets, then urging fliers to go to a Web site to lobby Congress on the airlines' behalf to regulate market speculation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just seems inappropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To blame the oil speculators is ridiculous, as well. The price of oil is going up. It's not because of oil speculators. It's because more people around the world are demanding and using oil.

COSTELLO: The airlines' plea to pull together may be the toughest part for many airline passengers, who have been trapped on runways for hours with little explanation, forced to pay 15 bucks for checked bags, charged $25 for a fuel surcharge, etc. etc. And if you read the whole open letter, there is no guarantee things will improve for consumers, even if fuel prices do go down.

TYSON SLOCUM, PUBLIC CITIZEN: Maybe these airlines should have thought a little harder about this e-mail that they sent out to make some pledges of improved service on their own before asking consumers to act on their behalf to call Congress to reign in these speculators.

COSTELLO: Still, Slocum says the airlines are not insincere about what fuel costs and about what they believe speculators are doing to their industry.

SLOCUM: There is a legitimate case to be made that the airlines are not necessarily the culprit of recent fare increases, but rather sustained high oil prices.

COSTELLO: And Slocum, who heads a consumer group, is slated to testify before Congress himself, to say oil speculators are driving up oil prices. And he says while the airlines' open letter isn't perfect, he does agree whole-heartedly with this line: "The nation needs to pull together to reform the oil markets and solve this problem."


COSTELLO: I did call on four of the airlines, you know, who signed the letter, to ask how much the price of your ticket might drop if oil prices fall. But I didn't hear back from any of them -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Maybe you will. You never know.


BLITZER: Carol, thanks very much.

Here are some of the stories we're working on this hour.

Jesse Jackson now calling his open mike mistake dumb and wrong. His new reaction to that shocking remark he made about Senator Barack Obama.

And California's fight against flames -- 10,000 people evacuated, 49,000 acres burned.

Also, a cold case cracked open -- the new DNA technology that cleared JonBenet Ramsey's family.

And closing in on a notorious Nazi doctor.

Is a half century search about to pay off?

Stay with us.



BLITZER: It was a dramatic twist in a decades-old case and now we're learning more about the new method of DNA testing that finally cleared the family of JonBenet Ramsey of her murder.

CNN's Brian Todd has visited the high tech lab where the DNA was being analyzed.

What is this new DNA test all about -- Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's called touch evidence DNA testing. Essentially, they can now pick up a suspect's invisible skin cells on an object, even if it was there for years, and match it up. It's only been widely used for about a year, but in this instance, it provided a dramatic turn in a cold case more than 11 years old.


TODD (voice-over): This office park in Lorton, Virginia may seem an unlikely setting. But this is where the evidence finally turned in the Ramseys' favor. The labs of Bode Technology, where prosecutors from Boulder, Colorado came for what's called touch evidence DNA testing.

How is it different from traditional bodily fluid DNA tests?

ANGELA WILLIAMSON, DNA ANALYST, BODE TECHNOLOGY: Touch samples are samples you can't see. You can't look at an item and say there's touch evidence. It's not a bloodstain. It's not a seminal stain. It's an area where you think that person may have been grabbed.

TODD: DNA analyst Angela Williamson handled the Ramsey case. She can't show us the long johns belonging to JonBenet Ramsey they tested here. But she takes us through the process with a pair of shorts. (on camera): This is essentially where the analysis process begins. Say I'm the perpetrator and I've grabbed this piece of clothing, pulled down or pulled any other direction and then left it.

Angela, you're going to tell me how you take the sample from this particular piece of clothing, a skin sample.

WILLIAMSON: So once we know that information, we would mark the area where we think that you have made contact. In this case, I mark quite a large area like this. And I would also include the inside. Then you just get your scalpel blade and take a fine layer of shavings from the top surface.

TODD (voice-over): The shavings from my skin cells are placed in a small vial. For hard surfaces, swabs are used. Next step -- extraction using machines like this centrifuge to remove dies, dirt, bacteria from the skin cell DNA sample.

WILLIAMSON: That one takes about two hours. We have one that takes almost two days.

TODD: Next, the samples are copied, amplified. Extraneous DNA is cleaned out in these hoods with U.V. rays. Then they can get a profile.

In the Ramsey case...

WILLIAMSON: The DNA profile that we obtained is attributed to an unknown male. There is an X-Y chromosome present.


TODD: So in some instances like the Ramsey case, evidence that you can't even see -- invisible skin cells -- can turn a corner. Now, one important part of this, touch evidence is used at the state and local levels on cases, but federal agents tell us there are certain types of touch evidence they don't use because the technology has not been perfected yet. This is when there are only minute amounts of skin cell DNA available and you could get a false positive from that -- Wolf.

BLITZER: But they had enough of this DNA for the Ramsey for the Ramsey -- for the Ramsey test, I assume?

TODD: The people at Bode Technology say they did have enough. They got enough scrapings from that one pair of long johns that belonged to JonBenet Ramsey to have a credible sample there.

BLITZER: What are the pitfalls that authorities are talking about in terms of false positives?

TODD: Well, there's an example here that you can cite. Say you and I shake hands, I get your touch DNA on my hand. Maybe I shake hands with someone else, get theirs on my hand. Then I go and strangle someone to death. There is a chance that your touch DNA could be on that person's neck and you might become a suspect. But analysts at Bode tell us that the DNA of the person who actually does the strangling is going to be the dominant feature on that victim's neck.

BLITZER: Wow! Amazing, amazing technology. Amazing, indeed.

All right, Brian, good work.

They're the insurgents' weapons of choice in Iraq, responsible for terrorizing coalition forces and Iraqi civilians alike -- improvised explosive devices or IEDs. Now imagine something even more frightening -- flying IEDs.

Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

She's watching this story for us.

A very disturbing new development on the ground in Iraq.

What's going on -- Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Wolf, there has been so much talk about the security situation getting better in Iraq -- and it is. But still, new threats on the streets.


STARR (voice-over): Last month here in Baghdad's Adamiyah neighborhood, 18 civilians were killed and 29 wounded when a large explosion rocked the neighborhood -- one of the latest examples of yet another type of bomb being used by insurgents -- improvised rocket assisted mortars or I-RAMs.

MAJ. GEN. MICHAEL OATES, U.S. ARMY: There's an improvised munition, locally fabricated, not done by a person without skill and it's largely confined to the Baghdad area. It does concern us.

STARR: These I-RAMs are sometimes called flying IEDs. But these aren't the IEDS -- roadside bombs being planted on the roads. With these, insurgents line the back of trucks with launch tubes. Using Iranian-made rocket charges, they propel cylinders full of explosives, like mortar and tank shells, sometimes over walls more than 20 feet high -- the type surrounding U.S. bases.

OATES: It is, you know, a homemade multiple launch rocket system and it is very dangerous. And we attempt to -- we'll attempt to eliminate this threat.

STARR: This type of technology has been used before. A similar configuration may have been used by the IRA in a 1991 attack on Number 10 Downing Street.


STARR: Now in Iraq, already three U.S. troops have been killed by these so-called flying IEDs. But it is, again, Iraqi civilians, largely unprotected on the streets, that are suffering the most from these new killers -- Wolf.

BLITZER: But do the Iranians have their fingerprints over these new flying IEDs?

Are they providing this to the insurgents to kill Americans?

STARR: Well, I have to tell you, Wolf, that is what the U.S. military's trying to assess at this point. In several of the attacks using these, what they have found is Iranian origin 107-millimeter rocket technology and a growing belief that it's the so-called special groups backed by Iran that are behind all of this, fabricating these types of weapons and putting them out there.

Still no definitive evidence Tehran is directly behind it, but the fingerprint evidence, if you will, is growing -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I can only imagine the restraint a lot of these troops -- U.S. troops are going through right now in avoiding going into some of those Iranian bases and targeting where these kinds of weapons are being made. I assume the U.S. government knows pretty much what's going on. But that's -- that would escalate the situation pretty dramatically and it's clearly not going to happen, at least not now.

Barbara is over at the Pentagon working for us, as she always is.

New information on what happened to Barack Obama's plane that forced an unexpected landing.

And an exclusive interview with three former hostages -- their chilling and emotional account of an unimaginable ordeal.

Stay with us.



BLITZER: Let's check back with Carol.

She's monitoring some other important stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- what do you have, Carol?

COSTELLO: Well, Wolf, it's a fight against the flames and the smoke in Northern California. Up to 10,000 people forced out of their homes in Butte County. Nearly 50,000 acres have burned there. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says his state's crews are maxed out and he's asking President Bush for more firefighters.

Not guilty by reason of insanity -- that plea coming today from Brian Nichols during jury selection in his trial. He's the man accused in the Atlanta courthouse shooting rampage. You'll remember that happened back in March of 2005. Nichols' own lawyers admit he shot and killed three people at the courthouse and then a federal customs agent after escaping. But they say he could not tell right from wrong during the shootings.

He could have been hacked. Defense lawyers for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick offering that explanation today. Kilpatrick is facing eight felony charges in a case involving some potentially problematic text messages. The "Detroit Free Press" published excerpts from those messages in January -- and they were quite steamy. They're between Kilpatrick and a former top aide he's accused of having an affair with. His lawyers tell the newspaper that hackers could have created those texts, so they should not be used as evidence.

Senator Barack Obama's campaign plane was not tampered with -- that word today from federal investigators looking into the incident on Monday. Obama's plane had to make an emergency landing in St. Louis when the evacuation chute partially opened during the flight. The NTSB says there is no indication the chute was tampered with or that any components were missing.

Having hours, not seconds, to prepare for an earthquake -- it's an early warning system that scientists in California are working on. They say it detected subtle geological changes in rock formations at the San Andreas Fault hours before two small earthquakes hit a couple of years ago. In one case, the changes happened 10 hours before the quake hit.

And there could be water on the moon and we're finding that out because of samples taken during the Apollo space mission. Scientists have been studying ancient volcanic glass beads the astronauts brought back on Apollo missions in the '60s and '70s. They found water inside the beads. And it's the first time it's been conclusively found inside these kinds of samples -- back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: So the plot continues.


BLITZER: It thickens a little bit up there.

What's going on, on the moon, maybe on Mars?


BLITZER: All right. Carol, thank you.


BLITZER: American hostages holding out hope on their darkest days.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very, very painful. It was very painful. And I couldn't -- I couldn't lift my chin. My head got so heavy, I was just like this.


BLITZER: The former captives are now speaking exclusively to CNN. This is a gripping, emotional, must-see interview. We'll share it with you.

Also, what Jesse Jackson is saying now -- this a day after his rather crude remark about Senator Barack Obama -- a remark that made headlines.

And it's her first album as the first lady of France -- what critics are saying about the new release by Carla Bruni Sarkozy, "Life with the French President."

Stay with us.



BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Happening now, four people detained in what Turkey is calling a terrorist attack outside a U.S. consulate in Istanbul. Six people died in a shootout after gunmen opened fire.

Also, not amused -- a Florida amusement park worker fired because he brought a gun to work. He says a new law protects him, but Disney says no way.

Keeping the faith in the middle of madness -- they did it by thinking of their families. Three Americans rescued after years of captivity in Colombia now talking to our own Headline News anchor, Robin Meade. Stand by for that.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


Off the cuff, but on mike -- Jesse Jackson himself calls his now notorious remarks about Senator Barack Obama "crude and hurtful."

Here's what he said on Fox News, not knowing his microphone was open.


REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOWPUSH COALITION: See Barack been, um, talking down to black people on this faith based. I wanna cut his (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE) off.


BLITZER: CNN's Don Lemon broke the story for us. He landed that first interview with Reverend Jackson moments later.

Don is joining us now live.

Thanks very much, Don, for coming in.

You spoke once again with Reverend Jackson today, this a day after the rather embarrassing -- should we say embarrassing -- humiliating remarks...

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. BLITZER: ...disgusting remarks he made about Senator Obama.

Update us on what he told you.

LEMON: Well, you know, you said crude and hurtful. Today, he was much stronger with his language, Wolf. He said he was dumb and wrong. And when I spoke to him this morning by telephone, he sounded tired. And he said you know what, Don, I really don't want to do an interview. I am exhausted. I'm in Indianapolis. And this thing has just gone way beyond what I thought it was going to go.

And I said would you please come on and talk to us, give us more context about what you meant, what the response has been, how -- what are people saying about you and to you. And he talked to me about that.

And then he talked to me about that what he called dumb and wrong, those comments he made during a taping of a program.


JACKSON: The problem is people again last night. We'll talk. We talk often, as a matter of fact. And so, you know, sometimes you do -- you do stuff that's just dumb. And I was like dumb and wrong. And I think my pain -- it really goes beyond its offense to the campaign, because so many children (INAUDIBLE). And we work so diligently. And we are right now mobilizing a million parents on parental responsibility to reclaim their children. I urge children not to use self-degrading and vulgar or violent language. I don't have a knife. I've never scratched anyone. That's just trash talk. We've got to get beyond that.

LEMON: The response to that was, I said, why did you say you wanted to cut, whatever, and he said, well, it was just trash talk and I should not have been doing that.

I also asked him about when he was answering the question; he was talking about reaching out to Barack Obama. I started by saying, have you spoken to him, have you reached out to him. He said I've reached out to him several times. Bill Burton, his campaign manager has, you know, said that he, you know, he accepts his apology, and they want to move on. But he has not yet personally spoken to Barack Obama. But he said that will happen soon, Wolf.

BLITZER: What do you think? I know you've covered both of these politicians for a long time. The long-term relationship that's going to evolve between Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson?

LEMON: I covered them for a long time in Chicago. You know, there is a back story there, because there is some, maybe a professional rivalry because they're both in the same city, both politicians, both of them running for president. But Jesse Jackson said that doesn't really factor into this. He was just speaking, and he did something he should not have done. I asked him about that as well. Take a listen.


JACKSON: We endorsed Barack before he announced, and without solicitation, and without setting forth any high standard. I knew he had the stuff. We never knew he could make all these hurdles and get to where he is now. He was the right idea, the right man, the right time, the right message, enough money, and some people, the more people know them, the less they like them. In his case, most people know him, the more they like him. He just kind of grew on people. Now he stands now as a rural transforming, redemptive figure. That's good news for all of us.


LEMON: And Wolf, he did reiterate the fact that he thinks that Barack Obama's campaign, what's happening to Barack Obama was years and years, decades in the making from the civil rights movement and not a new phenomenon. And he wants that to get out to the public, Wolf.

BLITZER: I had a chance to speak with his son, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., earlier today. And I've got it tell you, he is heart sick of what his dad said. He's a huge supporter of Barack Obama. He's been very active in the campaign, for more than a year and a half. But he's just so upset. He put out that rather blunt statement yesterday. I know you know him as well.

LEMON: Yes, I did. He put out that statement and I reached out to him as well. He said if anyone is going to handle it fairly, it will be you, and Wolf, and CNN. Because we're the fair network. He said, but I just want to stick by what I said on that statement, and that statement is really, everything I have to say. And boy, you saw the terms. He put it out there bluntly. And he stands by that -- Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Don Lemon doing some excellent work for us. Thanks very much. We'll continue to watch this story.

LEMON: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: By the way, Reverend Jackson is just the latest public figure to get burned by a hot mike. Then presidential candidate Senator John Kerry was singed in March 2004 in an aside about the Bush administration.

JOHN KERRY: These guys here are the most crooked, lying group I have ever seen.

BLITZER: When he was running for president in 2000, George W. Bush was caught giving a blunt assessment of a "New York Times" reporter.

Even the president dubbed the great community indicator, Ronald Reagan had a serious communication. Listen to the joke captured as he prepared for his weekly radio address at height of the cold war.

FMR. PRES. RONALD REAGAN: My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you today that I have signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

BLITZER: It was a joke. But some people didn't like it.

The Soviet military, by the way, went on alert after that comment, which caused, as I said, an international uproar.

Mickey Mouse versus "The New York Times"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They know when they're driving home and they're assaulted by a criminal, Mickey Mouse is not going to be there to protect them.

BLITZER: Mickey Mouse versus the National Rifle Association. Don't know where we got "The New York Times" into that comment. The NRA, guns in an amusement park? One Florida security guard says, why not. Make that former security guard.

And a nightmare at the hands of Colombian rebels. How did those American hostages make it through? It's an exclusive interview; we've got it for you.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Three former hostages are giving new details of their five-year nightmare at the hands of Colombian rebels. And the overwhelming reunions they received with their families. They spoke exclusively to Robin Meade, anchor of "MORNING EXPRESS" on "CNN HEADLINE NEWS," telling her how they held out hope on even in their darkest days.


ROBIN MEADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take me to your darkest day in captivity. What was happening and how did you survive that day?

MARC GONSALVES, FORMER FARC HOSTAGE: In the first months of our captivity, we were at that point locked in boxes at night. And they would unlock the boxes to let us out. And that night I dreamt about my daughter, who was my little girl, and still is. And I had this dream about her that was so real. She was sitting on my lap and I was -- she had little braids in her hair. And it was a wonderful dream, with all of my family. But the problem was, I woke up. It hurt. It was very, very painful. It was very painful. And I couldn't lift my chin. My head got so heavy, I was just like this.

And we weren't allowed to speak to each other, the three of us at that time. But Keith saw from the other corner of the camp from his box that I was in a very hard, difficult moment. And these two guys, they came over, and they put their arms around me. When they did that, I just started balling. I cried a lot.

But something happened that day, at night, the evening, before the sun went down. Again, we came close to each other, the three of us and we were looking up. And there was a rainbow -- this is a true story -- there was a rainbow up there. And the three of us, we had our arms around each other and we were looking at it. Tom said, I wonder if it's a sign. Well, I believe in God. And I looked at that rainbow, and I'll never forget it. And I held that rainbow; I took it as something --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember that.

GONSALVES: As something for me, and for us that we're going to live. And we're going to go home. No logic told me that. Nothing that I saw happening told me that we were going to live. But something moved my spirit, and I always believed that we were going to live, and that we were going to come home one day. I just never knew when.


BLITZER: Marc Gonsalves also shared about one item he brought back with him from his ordeal.


GONSALVES: This is the chess board. Here are the pieces.

MEADE: How did you make the pieces?

GONSALVES: I was able to carve with a broken piece of a machete.

MEADE: You carved chess pieces with a broken piece of machete?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just woke up one day and did. He said, guys, I'm going to make a chess set. He just started. He said, I'm making a chess set. I'm tired of this.

MEADE: And your captors allowed you to do it or did you hide it?

GONSALVES: No, they allowed me to do it. Some of the lower ranking guards actually took an interest to see if I was going to be able to finish it.

MEADE: They wanted you to carve it?

GONSALVES: And then later they wanted me to carve some for them.

MEADE: How often did this keep your mind sharp and pass the days?

GONSALVES: That's the point that I wanted to make was that this chess set here must have gotten wouldn't you say hundreds of hours of between all the hostages. It was a way for us to stop thinking about the cruel situation that we were in.


GONSALVES: And to think about something else, and exercise our minds.

MEADE: It looks great. It's incredible.

KEITH STANSELL, FORMER HOSTAGE: We would sit chained, thanks to this guy right here, something -- he just woke up and said, we've got to do something. Eight months, I think it was?

GONSALVES: Three months.

STANSELL: Three months he spent carving this, just nonstop. We might get hit, the camp would be moved and Marc would roll up the chess set and keep going. We would sit there in the mornings, on a piece of plastic, in chains, just playing chess. When you're doing that, you're free. Your mind is engaged. You are not a prisoner. And that's the game. That's the victory. They don't even know it. They can look at us playing it, but we're not there, we're somewhere else doing that.


BLITZER: What an interview. You can see much more of robin's interview with these released American hostages, tomorrow morning. Their emotional story in their own words will be on "MORNING EXPRESS" with Robin Meade tomorrow morning, 6:00 a.m. eastern. Wow.

Nazi hunters believe they may be closing in on a former concentration camp doctor, notorious for his gruesome experiments.

Let's go to CNN's Mary Snow. She's working this story for us.

How close do these Nazi hunters believe they are right now to this man called -- the so-called doctor of death?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, they feel they're close enough that they believe they're laying the groundwork with law enforcement agencies to find the Nazi war criminal in the near future. Now I spoke with the man who's leading the search. He says he is particularly encouraged by people offering up information.


SNOW: The hunt for one of the most wanted Nazi war criminals, Aribert Heim, is taking this man to South America. Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff is convinced he's close to finding the man called Dr. Death who's been on the lam for nearly half a century. Zuroff, who works with the Jewish Human Rights group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, is circulating this computer generated image of what Heim might look like at the age of 94.

EFRAIM ZUROFF, SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER: Our guess is that it's the people here who might be able to solve the mystery.

SNOW: Zuroff is targeting the city of Puerto Montt in Chile, because Heim's daughter lives there.

We reached Zuroff by phone from southern Chile.

Why do you believe he's still alive? ZUROFF: There are several reasons. One is the fact that there is a bank account in Berlin with 1.2 million euros, which the kids can claim if they prove that he's dead. And they never claimed the money.

SNOW: Heim eluded arrest in 1962. Those who study the Holocaust say he fled West Germany before being tried for a reign of terror in which he was blamed for murdering hundreds of people at the concentration camp in Austria.

RAFAEL MEDOFF, WYMAN INST. FOR HOLOCAUST STUDIES: He earned the nickname Dr. Death because of his barbaric experiments on Jewish prisoners, which included injecting poisons into, directly into prisoners' hearts, amputating their limbs with or without anesthesia, and other kinds of unimaginably cruel practices.

SNOW: Zuroff publicizes his trip to Chile and Argentina; he was also confronted by an angry protester.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of my country.

ZUROFF: You take a person who murdered hundreds of people himself and why'd he murder them? Because he was a Nazi and they were Jews. Or they were communists.

SNOW: While he might face some resistance, Zuroff is hoping money will provide incentive for information. His organization is offering a roughly half million dollar reward for Heim's whereabouts, noting time is running out to find him.


SNOW: Zuroff is heading next to Argentina and now believing he's narrowing down the area where Heim might be.


BLITZER: All right. Mary, working the story for us. Update us when we get some more information.

Argentina, by the way, was a primary refuge for many Nazis. The late president, Juan Peron, was a Nazi sympathizer who blasted the post war Nuremberg trials as infamy, his word. Peron paved the way for Nazis and collaborators fleeing Germany to come to Argentina, even going as far as organizing rescue missions. It's estimated hundreds of war criminals took refuge in Argentina.

Some of the stories we're working on this hour, Disney at odds over a Florida law. The dispute cost one man his job and could lead to a lawsuit.

And has France's first lady hit the right note with her first album since her husband took office? Her pop record comes out this week. What the critics are saying about Carla Bruny Sarkozy and what she's singing about her husband.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: It's all about the good times at Disney World, right? Well, mostly. Now a hot political issue is in play, and it's the NRA versus Disney. Our Susan Candiotti is tracking this story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And here we go. My dear friends --

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unarmed security guard Edwin Sotomayer knows he's in a heap of trouble as he arrives at work at Disney World. He even alerted the media in advance and rolls his own camera to capture the moment.

I was greeted by a whole bunch of nice cop members, including Orange County. I've not been made contact with Orange County so far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you step out of the car?

SOTOMAYER: Sure, I'll step out of the car. No problem.

CANDIOTTI: Sotamyer was driven to a meeting with Disney bosses and fired a few days later.

SOTOMAYER: I feel betrayed.

CANDIOTTI: The fired Disney security guard argues he should be protected by a new Florida law that allows workers like him who have a concealed weapons permit to keep a gun locked in a car at work. Any kind of work. But Disney argues fireworks made them an exception.

The entertainment giant cites an exemption in the new law that if you have a federal permit to import or deal in explosives, private companies can forbid concealed weapons in a parking lot. The bill's author says the exemption was not intended for Disney but mainly for defense contractors and others who deal in ammo and explosives.

The National Rifle Association calls Disney's actions arrogant and says they interfere with the second amendment right to carry a gun.

WAYNE LAPIERRE, CEO, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: The people of Florida are overwhelming on the side of being able to protect themselves when they get off at 2:00, at 3:00 at night. They know when they're driving home and they're assaulted by a criminal, Mickey Mouse is not going to be there to protect them.

CANDIOTTI: Disney says Sotomayer violated its policy of zero tolerance for guns anywhere on the property. But Sotomayer isn't buying it.

SOTOMAYER: As much as I love Disney, I have the second amendment right.

CANDIOTTI: Disney says its top priority is the safety of all of its employees and visitors.


CANDIOTTI: The NRA says that nine states have so-called parking lot laws. The Florida Chamber of Commerce has taken this to court and is challenging it in court. It is citing a study that says people would be less likely to go to a store or workplace, anyplace at all, if they know that workers have guns locked in their cars. The Florida attorney general says it might help Mr. Sotomayer if he goes to them if he wants to challenge this law's constitutionality -- back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Intriguing stuff. All right. Susan Candiotti reporting.

At a fund-raiser last night with Hillary Clinton, Senator Barack Obama almost forgot to remind supporters to help Senator Clinton to relieve her campaign debt. A new e-mail from Clinton shows it's very much at the front of her mind. Let's go to our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton.

Abbi, what is the senator doing?

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, this was supposed to be a Hillary Clinton campaign t-shirt but it's turned into a Hillary Clinton campaign debt relief effort. There was a competition that the Hillary Clinton campaign was running at the end of May in the last throws of the campaign, Project T-shirt, pick the new official campaign t-shirt. There were a number of entries.

And then today, after she suspended her campaign, we find out the winner. It's this one. For everyone that has been counted out but refused to be knocked out, this one is for you.

It's offered for $50 online and in an e-mail to supporters, Hillary Clinton, says, please buy one to help pay down the campaign debt. At last estimate, that was at about $22 million. The e-mail says, I think the winning t-shirt still makes a wonderful statement about everything you and I accomplished.

Wolf, we've seen about a half dozen of these e-mails asking for contributions since she suspended the campaign.

BLITZER: Half of that debt is the debt that she and her husband provided the campaign. The rest is to vendors, among others. She's trying to repay those vendors. She needs 11 or $12 million.

TATTON: A lot of t-shirts.

BLITZER: That's right. It's still a lot of money Abbi. Thank you.

What do you get the man who has everything? How about a piece of high-priced real estate with his own name on it. We're talking about our own Larry King and his latest, well-deserved honor. We'll share it with you. That's coming up.

Plus, she's gorgeous and the first lady of France. Now she's got a brand-new album. We're asking, do people want to hear it?

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: He got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his 40th anniversary in broadcasting so how will Larry King top that now that he's in his 50th anniversary? Let's discuss the possibility of a Hollywood square, L.A. naming the intersection at Sunset - an intersection near Sunset in honor of the king of talk. Here's what he had to say.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Someone asked me today, what's it like to have a street named after you? I had to admit, when I was 7 years old, I used to hang around in Brooklyn and say to myself, someday, I want a street named after me. Are you kidding? This is a pinch myself dream.


BLITZER: Congratulations to Larry King. Well, well deserved.

Let's get back to the Jesse Jackson controversy. The crudeness of Jackson's comment about Barack Obama caught on tape may be outrageous but the subject that led to it is very serious, African- American fathers missing from their children's lives.

Our special correspondent Soledad O'Brien has more on that.


SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Brandon Brown is the face of one of the most dire statistics in the black community. What did you do wrong?

BRANDON BROWN, FATHER: Not knowing my dad. That's one mistake.

O'BRIEN: The son of a single mother. At 20, he got his girlfriend pregnant. They never married. Now he's got two kids by two different women.

PROF. RONALD MINCY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Non-marital child bearing has become a norm in the African-American community. We have figured out a myriad of ways to enable young women to raise children in the absence of father. I think that's a huge problem.

O'BRIEN: Brandon is trying to be a better father.

Do you worry about your kids continuing the cycle?


O'BRIEN: Not at all?

BROWN: No, because I'm going to change it up.

O'BRIEN: On Father's Day, Senator Obama lectured about this very issue.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But if we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that too many fathers are also missing. Too many fathers are M.I.A. Too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes. They've abandoned their responsibilities. They're acting like boys instead of men.

O'BRIEN: In his self-described crude way, it's what Reverend Jackson calls talking down to black people. But plenty of black leaders, many of them young, say Reverend Jackson's got it wrong.

STEVE PERRY, AUTHOR, "MAN UP": Black people have the power and capacity to transform ourselves. The old guard says we need somebody to come in and save us.

O'BRIEN: But the solution is not as simple as young men like Brandon, committed to poverty. The problems are deeper; entrenched poverty in the inner cities and the high rate of joblessness for black men compared to white men, staggering incarceration rates in the black community.

To what degree is money really the motivating reason why many men don't spend time with their children?

MINCY: It is very difficult in this society for a man to marry, to sustain a family, to sustain a relationship with a woman, children, et cetera, if he can't fulfill the provider role.

O'BRIEN: Soledad, O'Brien, CNN, reporting.


BLITZER: And Soledad will have much more on the African-American experience in an upcoming special, CNN presents "Black In America." It airs July 23rd and July 24th at 9 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.