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PAULA ZAHN NOW

U.S. Soldiers Charged in Death of Iraqi Civilian; Interview With Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha; 11 Members Of One Family Remove Stomachs; War Between Oprah Winfrey and World of Hip-Hop Heating Up

Aired June 21, 2006 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good of you all to stop by tonight. Glad to have you with us.
Tonight, our top story is the war in Iraq -- major developments on two fronts, alleged atrocities by Americans, and the growing debate on when to bring the troops home.

Tonight, seven Marines and one sailor are charged with murder in the death of an Iraqi civilian in April. They allegedly pulled the unarmed man from his home in Hamandiyah and shot him, without provocation.

In the other alleged atrocity, "The L.A. Times" says Marines investigators conclude that senior officers in Iraq failed to follow up on questionable accounts of the deaths of 24 Iraqis last November. Marines allegedly went on a rampage in Haditha after another Marine was killed by a roadside bomb.

And there is no stop to insurgent violence in Iraq. It includes a shocking attack north of Baghdad. Gunmen kidnapped 50 workers today at a factory that makes school benches and blackboards.

All this news is the backdrop tonight for the politics of bringing the troops home. At this moment, the Senate is still debating two Democratic proposals. One would have all U.S. forces out of Iraq by July 1 of next year.

Now on to today's Marine Corps announcement that eight American servicemen are charged with murdering an Iraqi civilian. It has the potential to land another demoralizing blow to the military's image in Iraq. The men are now being held at Camp Pendleton in California.

Ted Rowlands there, and he just filed this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After an investigation that lasted more than a month, seven Marines and a Navy corpsman have been charged with killing this Iraqi civilian, 54-year- old Hashim Ibrahim Awad.

LT. COL. DAREN MARGOLIN, U.S. MARINE CORPS: There is sufficient evidence at this point to charge all of them with premeditated murder. ROWLANDS: One of the Marines charged is Private 1st Class John Jodka. His father says his son is a hero, not a criminal. And he was talking tough after charges were announced.

JOHN JODKA, FATHER OF ACCUSED MARINE: You want to fight me? Come on. You're fighting -- I'm fighting for my son. I'm fighting for my hero. I'm fighting for my hero, my Marine hero.

ROWLANDS: Lance Corporal Robert Pennington is another Marine who has been charged.

TERRY PENNINGTON, FATHER OF ACCUSED MARINE: How is it going, buddy?

ROWLANDS: The 21-year-old's father actually got a call from his son while watching at his Washington state home, as the Marines made the announcement.

PENNINGTON: I'm angry that they listen to these obviously trumped-up charges and go to this extent. It's just unconscionable to me.

ROWLANDS: Awad's family first reported on May 1 to the Marines that he had been murdered. They later showed CNN a receipt left by investigators that shows that Awad's body was exhumed and taken for an autopsy. Awad's brother says, when Marines showed up that night, they went directly to Awad's home.

SADOON IBRAHIM AWAD, BROTHER OF HASHIM IBRAHIM AWAD (through translator): They didn't search his house. They took him immediately. He was seized by two soldiers, each on one of his sides, because he was disabled.

ROWLANDS: All eight of the accused are being held in solitary confinement in this military jail at Camp Pendleton. And, according to the Marines, they will remain there until the military justice system determines their fate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROWLANDS: And next up in the military justice system for these eight is what's called an Article 32 hearing. Basically, it is a preliminary hearing or a grand jury hearing.

It may be separate, or they may all have a hearing at the same time. The Marine Corps says that is something they haven't decided. The Marine Corps emphasizes, these Marines are presumed innocent until proven guilty -- Paula.

ZAHN: Ted Rowlands, thanks so much for the update.

This, of course, is a crucial night in the history of the Iraq war. Tonight, senators are locked in a bitter battle of their own, a forceful debate over whether to begin laying the groundwork to bring American troops home. Here's congressional correspondent Dana Bash. She has been on Capitol day -- Capitol Hill today all day long. She has the very latest for us now on that debate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He had to wait all day to speak, the nominee for president just two years ago, now viewed by many Senate colleagues as hurting his party by calling for withdrawal from Iraq.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: And it is not an abandonment of Iraq. It is, in fact, a way of empowering Iraq to stand up on its two feet.

BASH: Senator John Kerry's proposal would pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by July 1, 2007. Republicans looked on with delight as some Democrats labeled Kerry's plan a mistake.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: And a plan to arbitrarily set a date, in my view, to leave is not a plan.

BASH: Most Democrats back a competing proposal, urging the president to begin a phased troop withdrawal this year, and submit a plan for further troop reductions.

SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: This is not cut and run, or cut and jog, or cut and anything else. It is an attempt to articulate a policy based upon the reality of Iraq.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: But letting the Iraqis know that we're not there for as long as they want us is key to avoiding a culture of dependency.

BASH: Democrats hope the election-year debate taps voter anxiety about the rising U.S. death toll and financial cost.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: One hundred percent of the Democratic Caucus believes it's time for change, and 100 percent of the Republican caucus believes it's time to stay the course.

BASH: Republicans said both Democratic plans, any specific talk of withdrawal timelines, give hope to insurgents and terrorists.

SEN. JOHN WARNER (R), VIRGINIA: But this is a timetable, a timetable that could well cripple -- cripple -- the ability of this new government, created by the courageous actions of the Iraqi people time and time again in elections.

SEN. GORDON SMITH (R), OREGON: Al Qaeda is counting on us to set a date.

BASH: GOP senators didn't offer their own plan, happy, they said, to stoke Democratic differences and paint them as weak on national security.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: A policy of retreat, a policy of appeasement, a policy of surrender.

BASH: Hillary Clinton was among the Democrats making the case, voters won't be fooled by Republicans looking to escape political blame for a failed Bush Iraq policy.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: It is wrong, plain and simple, to turn this serious debate about our policies and national security into a partisan squabble, designed to mislead voters. This is politics at its worst.

BASH: But some Democrats remember how easily the Bush White House beat them on national security in the last two elections, and worry talk of troop withdrawal now plays right into Republican hands.

Dana Bash, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: One of the most forceful voices in Congress calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq belongs to Democratic Representative and 37-year Marine Corps veteran John Murtha of Pennsylvania. He wants all U.S. troops out of Iraq by July of next year.

And he joins me now from Washington.

Thanks so much for being with us.

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Nice to be with you, Paula.

ZAHN: At the same time, sir, that you're calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces, you now have the Iraqi national security adviser saying that his country just isn't ready for that, that that would be a big mistake, that you only have the transfer of power accomplished in four out of 18 provinces.

MURTHA: Well, Paula, we have been there three years.

And -- and this is longer than the Korean War. It's longer than World War I, and almost as long as the war in Europe, World War II. So, we have been there a long time. Our Americans have sacrificed.

And then, when you say 80 percent of the people in Iraq want us out of there, all the countries in the periphery want us out of there, and it just gets down to, are we making progress?

ZAHN: But if the national security adviser, Congressman, is saying that his country is not ready for U.S. troops to leave, aren't you guilty of what some of your critics are suggesting, of -- of surrendering to the terrorists?

MURTHA: They said the same thing in Vietnam. They said the same thing, that they weren't ready; we couldn't take -- or they couldn't take over. And, finally, five years later, and 37,000 deaths later, we were forced out. Now, we're either going to have to have a plan to get out in a reasoned way and -- and deploy -- redeploy to the periphery, or we are going to be forced out of there. That's what it amounts to.

Sometimes, you have to change direction.

ZAHN: We learned today that seven Marines and one Navy medical corpsman will be charged with killing an Iraqi civilian. As a decorated Marine yourself, do you think that these incidents prove that this war is starting to erode the values of the U.S. military?

MURTHA: Well, it breaks my heart.

I think Abu Ghraib was the first indication that some of our moral values were being eroded. The stress out there, the heat, every day, they go out and they see a friend killed. Somebody loses an arm. Somebody is blown apart. And, so, day after day after day, maybe something doesn't happen for 10 or -- five or 10 days.

But, then, all at once, it happens. Then they're redeployed two and three times. Vietnam, most people were only deployed once. We had a draft. We spread out the pain. The pain is being suffered by only a few people. And they're going back and back over and over again.

I think it is the worst stress of any war that I have ever seen.

ZAHN: Even greater than Vietnam?

MURTHA: Much -- much worse than Vietnam. Vietnam, we had an idea who the enemy was. Here, the troops tell me at the hospitals, we don't know who they are. And this is part of the problem.

We have to depend on Iraqis. They even -- somebody walked into a mess hall and blew up people. So, you never know when you're going to be attacked. And that wears on their mind. It stresses them. And then they are going to overreact, like they did in this case.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And Representative Murtha went on to tell me that he believes we will start to see a reduction of troops in Iraq just in time for the midterm elections in November.

We turn now to our nightly countdown of the top 10 stories on CNN.com. Nearly 19 million of you logged on today.

At number 10 -- President Bush today urged North Korea to abandon plans to test a long-range missile, but rejected any direct dealing with the North Korean government, saying all negotiations should be done through multi-party talks.

Number nine -- an update on a case we have been following. Police in Los Angeles say they have new evidence linking two elderly women to the death of one of two homeless men on whom they took out insurance policies. Police say the women collected millions of dollars after both men were killed.

Numbers eight and seven coming up next, plus much more on the tense standoff, as North Korea is poised to test a missile that could reach the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN (voice-over): "Beyond the Headlines" -- showdown in space, what might be the first critical test for our defense missile system. Could we bring down a North Korean missile and make Star Wars a reality?

And the "Eye Opener" -- an incredibly difficult choice. If you're healthy, but almost certain to develop stomach cancer, would you have your stomach removed? Amazingly, most of this family has decided to do just that. Hear their story just ahead.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Still ahead: If North Korea test-launches a ballistic missile, could the U.S. try to shoot it down?

First, though, here's what's happening at this moment, the first day of summer. I bet you knew that. It's already a long, hot summer of fires. Near Santa Maria, California, 800 firefighters are now battling a 10,000-acre blaze in the Los Padres National Forest.

Now, outside Sedona, Arizona, 600 firefighters are trying to keep flames from jumping a highway and roaring into an area of evacuated homes. A dozen planes and helicopters and dozens of brush-jumping fire trucks are battling that blaze with hot-spot crews.

And, in Colorado, the 9,000-acre Mato Vega fire has closed Highway 160 near Fort Garland. Three hundred homes have already been evacuated there.

Wildfires have already charred more than three million acres across the country so far this year. That's more than four times last year's total for the same time period.

Now, just a few moments ago, we heard from Congressman John Murtha, who thinks the U.S. should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq now. But, in a House vote last Friday, 42 of Murtha's fellow Democrats deserted him and sided with Republicans on the issue.

And that same heated debate is going on right now tonight in the Senate. And while most Republicans see eye to eye, some Democrats want a timetable for troop withdrawals. Others are against it.

So, at a time when both the president and the Iraq war are unpopular in the polls, why are Democrats in such disarray over an issue that could help them win in November, if you believe the polls?

Well, let's ask three members of the best political team in TV, chief national correspondent John King, correspondent Dana Bash, who covers Congress for us, and senior political analyst Bill Schneider, that covers all things political for us.

Good to see all three of you.

I'm going to fire the same question at the three of you. We are very disciplined. You are going to get about 20 seconds apiece.

So, if you believe the polls and the fact that the majority of Americans want troop withdrawals to start now, John King, why can't Democrats get on the same page and seize the reins on this one?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, there are a number of political reasons, but let me start with, God forbid, the substance. They simply disagree. There are genuine policy disagreements.

Those like Senator Kerry say, get the troops out within a year. Those like Senator Levin say, no, bring some troops out just to send a signal to the Iraqis, but no firm timetables. That would be dangerous. And others, like Senator Lieberman, say, let's not talk about this at all. Don't talk about withdrawal at all, bad signal to enemy.

So, one reason is genuine policy disagreements.

ZAHN: Dana?

BASH: Well, Paula, you know, the Democratic leader, Harry Reid, actually tried to get his caucus united. He tried for weeks in meetings with them to say, look, we have got to come up with something that gets us on the same page. And he wasn't able to do that.

Why? Because of what John just articulated, that there really are fundamental differences in policy. What you will likely see tomorrow, though, Paula, are Democrats say -- saying that they at least will have the majority of their caucus supporting one thing. And that is that a phased troop withdrawal should begin this year.

ZAHN: You think that's likely to happen, Bill?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think they're likely to -- a majority of Democrats, yes. It won't pass.

But they're facing intense polarization from two different sides, a liberal base that's angry and energized against the war in Iraq, and a Republican opposition, which is ready to charge the Democrats with being gutless and weak on national security. That's a lot of pressure.

ZAHN: Let's talk about the leadership among Democrats on the Hill, John, so many folks vying for a leadership position.

Take a look at the sea of faces and where they stand on this issue. You have got John Kerry, Russ Feingold, Barbara Boxer with one plan, Carl Levin, Jack Reed with another, not to mention their party leader, Harry Reid.

So, who is running the show?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Well, Paula, you know the old joke about the Senate. There are 100 senators who, each and every day, look in the mirror and see the next president of the United States.

But there also are some other issues as well. Some of them are running for president. And it's a fact of political life that the Republicans simply are more disciplined than the Democrats. That is a truism.

And this is also a reminder that, even when you have an unpopular war like this one, the presidency has unrivalled power. The bully pulpit of the presidency, even when you're trying to sell an unpopular war, allows you to speak with one very loud voice. The Democrats don't have that.

ZAHN: And, Bill, you were saying you -- you think this vote will take place, but it's not going to -- the resolutions won't fly after all. So, what's the point of this posture-fest?

SCHNEIDER: Well, I think the point is, the Democrats are trying to seize the offensive on an issue where the Republicans really are vulnerable.

But, somehow, they have managed to look divided and dispirited and defensive on this issue, because they're talking about the things they disagree on, which, as John said, they are real, instead of showcasing the many things -- many other things that they really do agree on.

ZAHN: So, Dana, why wouldn't they wait, then, until they have this unified front?

BASH: There's one answer. And that is November.

Look, I mean, the bottom line is that, as Bill alluded to this before, we talk often about Republicans and how they have to try to appeal to their base, who are sometimes quite disgruntled. Democrats have similar problems.

And Democrats, especially the left part of their -- their party, really have one issue, Paula. And that is their anger, outright anger, about the Iraq war. And they want their representatives, their senators, to do something about it, to hold the president's feet to the fire.

And that's something that's going to play out, not only in 2008, but also in 2006. But I can tell you that, in terms of looking at 2006, I have talked to many Democrats who are in charge of that, who say they are worried about the fact that they maybe lost an opportunity here, because they are unified in saying the president -- there needs to be more oversight for the president, and that you need to elect Republicans (sic) in Congress to do that.

And, instead, they really focused on the one issue they don't agree on. And that's troop withdrawal.

ZAHN: And, John, with all this talk about Democratic divisions, the truth is, the Republicans aren't completely united on the issue of Iraq and how quickly to bring these troops out. What is the president's biggest vulnerability going into the midterm elections?

KING: Well, you heard a bit from Senator McCain on the floor today, saying there have been serious mistakes in Iraq. There have been setbacks. Many Republicans believe that.

But the key for Republicans right now is that their voters, Republican voters' support for the war hasn't slipped that much. When President Bush was reelected, in January 2005, 81 percent of Republicans supported his handling of the war in Iraq.

That number has slipped six points to 75 percent. But that's not bad. If the president can hold that, 75 percent Republican support, when it comes to the war in Iraq, he will keep unity in the Senate, in the House, in the congressional elections. Watch that number. If it begins to slide, the president will face some opposition from his party.

ZAHN: Can he hold that up to the midterm elections, Bill Schneider? Quick answer.

SCHNEIDER: Well, I don't think the Republicans can hold, for a simple reason.

In a midterm election, people don't vote for an alternative. They vote against something. There's a great myth about 1994, that it was a vote for the Contract With America. You know what? Americans didn't know they were voting with the Contract With America until the election was over.

ZAHN: Yes. Surprise.

(LAUGHTER)

ZAHN: Thank you, trio, John King, Dana Bash, Bill Schneider. Glad to have all three of you on tonight.

Meanwhile, we move on to another very important issue. A North Korean missile remains on the launchpad tonight. If it goes up, could the U.S. use its missile defense system to bring it down? Some fascinating technology to talk about tonight.

And a little bit later on: Why would 11 members of one family decide to have surgery to remove their stomachs, and be smiling about it, as you have just seen in this family photo? You will find out, coming up.

But, right now, number eight on our CNN.com countdown, reported it at the top of our show -- seven Marines and a Navy corpsman now being held at Camp Pendleton tonight, they have been charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with the killing of an Iraqi civilian near the town of Hamandiyah.

Number seven -- newly revealed FBI documents on playwright Arthur Miller. The files show the agency began investigating Miller's alleged ties to the Communist Party in the mid-1940s. Arthur Miller died last year at the age of 89 -- numbers six and five when our countdown continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: There is a whole lot of nervousness around the world tonight over the possible launch of a North Korean long-range missile capable of crossing the Pacific and reaching the U.S. It would be the first test of a Korean missile designed to carry a nuclear warhead that far.

And, today, at a summit with European leaders in Vienna, President Bush explained why he thinks the world should be concerned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It should make people nervous when nontransparent regimes that have announced that they have got nuclear warheads fire missiles.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZAHN: Well, one possible U.S. response could be the very first use of an anti-missile defense system first imagined way back in the 1980s.

After billions of dollars and decades of false starts, everybody is wondering, will it be used, and, more importantly, will it work?

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has been investigating that and takes us all "Beyond the Headlines" tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If North Korea launches its long-range ballistic missile, called the Taepodong- 2, could the $11 billion missile defense program installed by the Bush administration really work?

If the launch were an attack, could we shoot down the North Korean missile, a feat described as the equivalent of stopping one moving bullet using another moving bullet. There have been 10 tests of the U.S. interceptor. Only half have worked.

JOHN PIKE, GLOBALSECURITY.ORG: If the missile defense system was a baseball player and had a batting average of .500, you would say it was doing pretty good. If it's only working half of the time, and it's the only thing standing between you and an incoming hydrogen bomb, you would say it's not working very well at all. STARR: The five tests that failed, one as recently as last February, had various technical problems. Pentagon officials say, those have been solved, and they are now confident the missiles would work during an attack, mainly because there were four consecutive successful hits against target missiles in 2001 and 2002.

But that was four years ago. Since then, much of the technology has been upgraded.

But one defense official familiar with the program acknowledges the major criticism, that the testing done so far is not realistic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All systems are go for launch. Stand by for the terminal count.

STARR: That it's all been scripted out ahead of time, as most weapons tests are. Analysts say the U.S. may still have problems shooting down anything more complex than a single warhead. The biggest risk still may be the continuing uncertainty about North Korea's real intentions.

PIKE: And it is possible that, one day, they will provoke a crisis, get in over their head, and suddenly we will find ourselves in a shooting war with them. Under those circumstances, you might hope that you had a reliable missile defense, because they might not prove completely deterrable.

STARR (on camera): If North Korea does test its long-range missile in the days ahead, don't expect the U.S. to try and shoot it down.

Instead, the Pentagon will activate all of its missile defense technology to try and observe the North Korean launch. Then, later this summer, a new round of anti-missile testing by the U.S. will begin. Officials say that round will be more realistic testing to try and make sure that all of the technology works in the future, in case there is an attack.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And, in an interview with our own Lou Dobbs tonight, U.N. Ambassador John Bolton rejected any direct talks with North Korea and called a missile launch unacceptable.

Coming up next: a startling choice. Find out why 11 cousins decided to have their stomachs surgically removed. They will explain.

And your privacy for sale -- Congress looks into the booming business of selling your most personal information.

On to number six on our CNN.com countdown now -- the Senate knocks down a Democratic proposal to raise the minimum wage from the current $5.15 an hour. That's the ninth time since 1997 that the Senate's vote -- or voted down a raise. Number five -- the bodies of two young American soldiers kidnapped and slain by insurgents are now back on their way back the U.S. PFC Kristian Menchaca and PFC Thomas Tucker were taken during an attack last Friday. A third U.S. soldier was killed in that same ambush -- number four on our list just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: First, here's what's happening at this moment. Another suicide ambush in Afghanistan and warnings of heavier fighting to come. Two Canadian soldiers were injured in an attack on a convoy near Kandahar. Four others people were also hurt. 10,000 coalition troops are still fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Well, it seems its new fences are going up on MySpace.com to make it safer for young people to use. Some new security features include restrictions prohibiting adults from contacting young users if they don't already know their full names or e-mail addresses.

On to our crude awakenings now, a daily look at gas prices all over the country. The states with today's highest prices are in red, the lowest in green. That map has stayed the same for a couple days. The average today for unleaded regular $2.84 a gallon. Here's a trend over the last month or so.

Now, tonight's eye opener. Imagine this. A possible death sentence passed down from generation to generation, a deadly gene killing again and again and again. It's not unusual for some women with a very high risk of breast cancer to protect themselves and have their breasts removed. But what if you had to give up your whole stomach or face deadly stomach cancer? Ted Rowlands has the remarkable story of a family in peril in tonight's eye opener.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROWLANDS (voice-over): The people posing for this photograph are all members of the Bradfield family. None of them has a stomach. To understand why 11 cousins would all agree to have their stomachs removed, you have to go back two generations to their grandmother, Golda Bradfield.

In 1960 she died of stomach cancer but also passed along a genetic mutation which was a virtual death sentence to seven of her eighth children. Over the years these cousins watched their parents die of stomach cancer. Then in 2003, one of them got it.

MARK ALLEN, HAD STOMACH REMOVED: My brother gave his life to give us a chance to live.

ROWLANDS: David Allen was in his late 40s when he died of stomach cancer. Before he did, he had his blood tested by Doctor David Huntsman, a Canadian genetic researcher in Vancouver. Dr. Huntsman was able to find the mutated gene which was passed down from Golda Bradfield.

ALLEN: I think all of us had a feeling it was either hereditary or environmental condition that our parents had been in when they were younger. But once my brother was diagnosed and the test results came back, yeah, we were all sure.

DR. DAVID HUNTSMAN, BRITISH COLUMBIA CANCER AGENCY: Once you can find out the genetic basis of that risk, you can start sorting out who is at risk and who isn't. Then you can -- for the people who are really at risk for the condition, they can start making informed choices as to how to reduce their chances of dying of cancer.

ROWLANDS: Eighteen other cousins were tested, 11 ended up positive for having the same mutated gene. All 11 made the very dramatic but as they put it, necessary choice to have their stomach completely removed.

LAURA POLLARD, HAD STOMACH REMOVED: People said, oh, you're so brave. It wasn't brave. Because we considered that we didn't have a choice.

ALLEN: As soon as I found out that I was positive, I wanted it taken care of now.

ROWLANDS: Mark Allen and Mike Slabaugh were two of six family members that had their surgery performed at Stanford Medical Center by Dr. Jeff Norton.

DR. JEFF NORTON: They all went perfect, actually perfect. It's amazing.

ROWLANDS: When a stomach is removed, the intestine is brought up to take its place.

NORTON: We can bring that all the way up and sew it to the esophagus. We actually make a little bit of a pouch.

ROWLANDS: The pouch formed by the intestine acts as a reservoir, allowing small amounts of food to collect before it is digested. The pouch, however, is not the same as having a stomach. Connie, Kitty and Diane say Thanksgiving 2004 was their last supper because the next week they all had their stomachs removed at Stanford by Dr. Norton.

Before the operation, they were each tested for signs of cancer and nothing showed up, but after the surgery when their stomachs were analyzed, all three had cancer in the lining, which doctors say most likely would have killed them. The women say they like to celebrate their new life together. They say living without a stomach is not easy, especially when it come to eating and keeping food down.

CONNIE GASAWAY, HAD STOMACH REMOVED: You can almost be guaranteed it's going to come back up if you eat too fast.

ROWLANDS: Kitty says she can't eat many of her favorite vegetables and can no longer drink anything a half an hour before or after a meal.

KITTY ELLIOT, HAD STOMACH REMOVED: There's no more glass of wine with my dinner. ROWLANDS: All three women say they have lost considerable weight. Connie lost the most, more than 100 pounds. What is not lost are the family ties that bind these cousins together. They met recently, some for the first time, at a reunion in Las Vegas. It was a chance to compare scars, thank the doctors who saved their lives and remember the Bradfields before them who died.

MARK SLABAUGH, HAD STOMACH REMOVED: All those people that have gone through what a lot of us have gone through and didn't have the chance to be here and live out the rest of their lives if you're like me, I thank god every day that we had the opportunity that they didn't. Thank you. Our parents didn't have a chance. They all died early. I think we will probably have more than a normal life span as a result of having the surgery.

POLLARD: They all would have been so pleased to see us sitting around and having the fun they had and telling the stories and laughing and joking and so it was really -- it is a celebration as well as honoring those that aren't here.

ROWLANDS: There is some concern for the next generation of Bradfields. Two of the cousins' children have already tested positive for the gene. They say, barring any medical breakthroughs, they'll have their stomachs removed in a few years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometime before 30 I'll have the surgery.

ROWLANDS: Doctors don't know the long-term consequences of living without a stomach, but they say they're encouraged by the Bradfields.

HUNTSMAN: Looking how healthy this family is now, how well they've done after having a very sort of drastic cancer reduction surgery, I think is a testament to what can be done because these people will now live to be old and they'll enjoy their grandchildren where as, many of them wouldn't have.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: So lucky to have had access to that genetic testing. Other people at high risk have had ovaries, colons or thyroid glands removed before cancer strikes.

We turn next to identity theft and the alarming ways people are buying and selling your most personal information legally and otherwise. We'll explain.

What is up with Oprah and hip-hop artists? Does she really have a beef with them?

Now, number four on our CNN.com countdown. Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants are on a hunger strike to protest what they say is a lack of protection for their legal team. Today another of their lawyers was killed in Baghdad. He is the third one murdered since the former Iraqi leader's trial began in October. Number three is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Now your most personal information at risk tonight. Some members of Congress are outraged. It is bound to make you very angry, too. Private data brokers, people who make their living snooping for private, personal and financial information, maybe even yours, and selling it to others.

Now if that sounds like it should be illegal, you are in for a few surprises. There were hearings about it today on Capitol Hill. And our technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg noticed a very familiar face in the witness chair, someone he's reported on before.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. ED WHITFIELD (R), KENTUCKY: So Mr. Vitelle, my question is, did you and your company Accusearch obtain and cell consumer cell phone records and other nonpublic personal information that was obtained through pretexting lies deceit, or impersonation?

JAY PATEL, OWNER, ABIKA.COM, ACCUSEARCH: Mr. Chairman, I would like to invoke my Fifth Amendment rights.

WHITFIELD: So you're refusing to answer all of our questions on the right of self-incrimination afforded to you under the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

PATEL: Yes sir.

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jay Patel was on Capitol Hill today, summoned by lawmakers to answer questions about the data broker industry. While Patel said little today, he was more than happy to answer CNN's questions nearly two years ago, before the idea of making money by dealing in personal information became such a controversial topic.

PATEL: I don't even believe in privacy too much. But first, like most people when they discuss privacy, why do we need privacy? That's the question? Why do people need privacy?

SIEBERG: His company can track down a name from an e-mail address or instant message log-in, find an unlisted phone number, verify a person's salary. In fact, Abika has more than 300 ways to help you snoop on others and more than 300 ways to help them snoop on you, all this without the person ever knowing about it.

When Patel and his staff receive a request for information, they often get nothing more than a name and last known address. They send that information to private investigators, court researchers and keepers of various data bases. Abika will even create a psychological profile of a person. To see how easy it is, I requested a search on myself.

So I mean, you have my Social Security number. Is there the possibility that someone can steal my identity because this information was so easy to get?

PATEL: If you see, we don't release the Social Security number, the last four digits are X'd out. So in your whole profile, you'll see that it's not released to anyone.

SIEBERG: Could someone else found that as easily as you?

PATEL: Social security numbers are the easiest thing to find as such.

REP. CLIFF STEARNS (R), FLORIDA: Mr. Chairman, I don't think we have any privacy at all if these gentlemen can find any one of these things.

SIEBERG: Even though Jay Patel, as well as 10 other data brokers weren't talking at today's hearing, others were. One in particular used to go beyond simple searches, dubbing in fraud and deception. James Rapp is a former data broker. He demonstrated how he would scam utility companies into helping him with a phony billing inquiry.

My father and I, junior and senior, I think you may have him confused with me. We don't have your father. We have you. I say, well this is my Social. Oh, no that's not the one we have. Here's the one we have. It's just playing a game and when you convince them that they're wrong, they want to prove to you that they're right or they want to help.

SIEBERG: The fancy term for it is social engineering. But really it is just old-fashioned trickery. It is likely how someone got Adam Yuzuk's cell phone records.

ADAM YUZUK, FRAUD VICTIM: I'm just angry and I apologize. But I'm just really angry that these people steal information and now I'm caught up in it and I'm defending counter claims that are utter nonsense.

SIEBERG: Yuzuk testified that his Cingular account was compromised by one of this data brokers who likely pretended to be him. It is a common practice called pretexting and laws across the U.S. are murky at best.

YUZUK: Everybody is a little confused as to what to do with it. They kind of think it could fit into this and it could fit into that, but it's not quite this, not quite that. And, again, I apologize for being simplistic about it. Why is it clear if you steal it from my mailbox? That's a problem. If you take it off of the Internet pretending to be me, it's OK.

SIEBERG: Cingular has filed suit against the data broker it suspects compromised Yuzuk and says we're working with law enforcement and policy makers. We've enhanced our internal safeguards and we continue to investigate the methods used by data burglars as we crack down on their practices.

(on-camera): The bottom line is with all of us so connected on the Internet with countless data bases containing our personal details, whether we shop online or at a store, combined with the frailty of human behavior, we're all vulnerable to having our valuable information turned into a commodity.

Daniel Sieberg, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: I guess we didn't realize until recently just how vulnerable we all are. One more thing, Congress will continue to dig into data mining tomorrow when it calls on police agencies to defend their use of data brokers to gather information without a warrant.

Right now we're going to take a quick biz break. On Wall Street, stocks blasted off, boosted by some high earnings. The Dow rocketed back up to 11,000 today, up 104 points. The NASDAQ scored -- I should say soared up 34 points and the S&P gained 12 points. FedEx was a real high flyer with fourth quarter earnings up 27 percent, beating Wall Street expectations by a wide margin.

Morgan Stanley earnings also were up for the quarter, more than doubling compared to a year ago, beating analyst estimates by 30 percent.

And finally Piaggia, the company that makes the Vespa, the modern art version of the motor scooter, is going public.

Coming up next is Oprah guilty of dissing rappers? A growing war of words between hip-hop artists and one of the world's most powerful entertainers.

First, number three in our CNN.com countdown. In Texas a condemned man protests his death sentence up until his execution last night. Lamont Reese called his sentence quote murder and refused to walk to the death chamber forcing guards to carry him. Reese was convicted of a triple murder, but always maintained his innocence.

Number two on our list is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: The war between Oprah Winfrey and the world of hip-hop is heating up tonight as some hip-hop artists point out their music is wildly popular around the country. But while Oprah has invited other entertainers to be on her show, you won't find hip-hop in Oprah's hood. Here's entertainment correspondent Brooke Anderson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Oprah Winfrey, one of the most powerful and beloved celebrities in the world. But now, the queen of daytime TV is catching some high profile heat.

CHRIS "LUDACRIS" BRIDGES, RAPPER/ACTOR: I feel like she doesn't respect my opinion and therein lies the problem.

ANDERSON: Rapper and actor Ludacris feels he was mistreated when he appeared on her talk show with the cast of the film "Crash."

BRIDGES: As soon as I got on there, I felt like in my opinion, I was automatically judged.

ANDERSON: Talk turned from the film to explicit rap lyrics. But Ludacris says his response to the criticism was edited out of the show. Winfrey recently discussed the Ludacris flap on a New York radio station.

OPRAH WINFREY ON THE ED LOVER SHOW ON POWER 105.1 IN NYC: I said, Ludacris, a lot of people who listen to your music aren't as smart as you are. So they take that some of that stuff literally when you were just writing it for entertainment purposes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And art.

WINFREY: I think that there has to be responsibility with it just like I have to have some responsibility with what I do and say on my stage every day.

ANDERSON: This controversy has led other rappers, including 50 Cent and Ice Cube to lash out at Oprah, saying she discriminates against hip-hop artists by not booking them on her show. Ice Cube told "FHM" magazine quote, "for 'Barbershop' she had Cedric the Entertainer and Eve, but I wasn't invited." Maybe she's got a problem with hip hip-hop. But Winfrey says that's not the case.

WINFREY: I listen to some hip-hop. I'm been accused of not liking hip hop, but that's just not true. I'm opposed to some of the music that offends my sensibilities. That's when, you know, you're degrading women and marginalizing women.

ANDERSON: While Oprah hasn't singled out any particular videos, it sounds like Ludacris is pimping all over the world. And 50 Cent's candy shop had raised the ire of critics for their graphic content.

WINFREY: My point is you don't have to bitch and hold me down in order to make music.

ANDERSON: Ice Cube is appealing to Oprah to schedule a forum on her show to discuss the issue.

ICE CUBE, RAPPER/ACTOR/PRODUCER: If she don't really like the content that we're using, have us on. Let's talk about is it.

ANDERSON: Oprah's company, Harpo Productions, told CNN it has no comment on the anti hip hop allegations and no word on whether Oprah will devote a future show to this topic, a possibility that gives Ludacris mixed emotions.

BRIDGES: It is something that we need to address, but it being on her particular show, my comments got edited out before. Who's to say that the same thing wouldn't happen again.

ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZAHN: And coming up at the top of the hour, please join Larry King and his guests tonight. He'll be in heaven, all nine female Democratic senators as they launch a new women's agenda.

Coming up next, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. We'll say farewell to the father of that immoral line.

First number two on our CNN.com countdown, the families of two U.S. soldiers murdered by Iraqi army trainees are learning more details from the military on its findings about their loved ones deaths. The soldiers were killed two years ago near Balad, Iraq.

Number one, in Florida a deadly gun battle erupts inside a Federal prison. Officials say a guard open fired on FBI agents who were trying to arrest him and others accused of running a sex for drugs conspiracy at a women's prison. The gunman and a Federal agent were killed in that shootout. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: We close tonight with a Las Vegas giant who has died. You might not know his name, but you probably know the phrase Manny Cortez made famous. When he was head of the city's Convention and Visitor's Authority, he chose the line, "what happens here, stays here" to market the city he so loved, and now it has made its way into commercials and pop culture in a big way.

And that's it for all of us here tonight. Thanks so much for being with us. We'll be back the same time, same place tomorrow night. Hope you join us then. Until then, have a great night. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in two seconds.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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