On This Day in WND History

WND, which debuted in May of 1997, is now celebrating its 15th anniversary. In honor of that, here are some key events in the history of WND.

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April 1st

'America doesn't leave its heroes behind' (2003)

On this day, four years ago, Americans rejoiced at the news female POW Pfc. Jessica Lynch had been rescued from her Iraqi captors the day before.

"People are parading through town in their cars beeping horns. It's wonderful," Linda Davies, Lynch's kindergarten teacher in West Virginia told the Charleston Gazette.

According to reports, an Iraqi resident of Nasiriyah who spoke English approached NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders and told him Lynch was being held in Saddam Hospital.

Lynch, who had been captured in an ambush the week before, was recovered by "very brave coalition forces" with two broken legs, a broken arm and at least one gunshot wound.

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April 2nd

Loaded photograph (2005)

A high school barred a student from posting a photograph of her Marine brother because it prominently showed rifles, breaking the school's zero-tolerance policy on weapons.

Principal Cynthia Richardson at McKay High School in Salem, Ore., worried about the impact of the gun photo.

"What message am I sending to my students if I post that picture?" she asked.

Richardson was flooded with e-mails over the issue, many of them attacking her, and was mentioned on Rush Limbaugh's radio show.

She insisted her decision had nothing to do with being politically correct or anti-military.

"I am a very, very strong advocate of the military," she said. "I have a husband who served six years in the Navy."

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April 3rd

No shock, no awe: It never happened (2003)

When U.S. bombs first pounded Baghdad, Fox News and other TV media breathlessly declared that the Pentagon's promised "shock and awe" campaign was "under way." In fact, it never took place, U.S. officials say.

The Pentagon at the last minute pulled its telegraphed super-punch, which was intended to quickly knock out Saddam Hussein's regime, officials say.

Shock and awe, as planned, was supposed to be a short but ferocious and nonstop bombing campaign simultaneously directed across a broad number of targets – from command-and-control centers in Baghdad to the Baath Party headquarters there to the Republican Guard divisions in the field. More firepower was to be unleashed on Iraq in just the first few days of the operation than in the entire 38-day air campaign of the 1991 Gulf war – with the goal being to stun Saddam's regime into surrendering.

"What we are doing now is not the plan I was reading up to February," said a U.S. official closely involved in the operation from its inception. "It was supposed to be four days of intense bombing followed by ground fighting."

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April 4th

Islamists enraged by coverage of pope's death (2005)

While millions – probably billions – around the world mourned the passing of Pope John Paul II, Islamist grief grinches were filling Muslim websites with complaints of all the media coverage on Arab news networks.

One writer said viewers of Al-Jazeera were "annoyed" with continuous reports eulogizing the pontiff, whom the user described as an "old tyrant."

"What is mortifying is that this hooligan channel pretends [to defend] Islam," added the user, who wrote under the name Muhib al-Salihine on the Islamic News Network, a website often used by Islamist terrorists operating in Iraq.

"What is more humiliating – I think that it was Al-Arabiya channel – is that the imam of a mosque ... praised the memory [of the pope]," said Seri Eddine le Libyen on the same site, according to Agence France-Presse.

"I have started to hate Al-Jazeera for the multiplicity of information on the grieving" for the pope, said another.

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April 5th

Saddam's 'gruesome' war crimes (2003)

When it comes to war crimes, Saddam Hussein's reputation preceded him.

In the 1991 Gulf war, the Iraqi dictator racked up 16 violations of the law of war under the Hague and Geneva conventions, according to an unclassified report written by Pentagon lawyers in 1992.

Some of them involved "gruesome" tortures by amputation, electric shock, electric drills, acid baths, rape, forced self-cannibalism, dismemberment and ax beatings, according to the "Report on Iraqi War Crimes: Desert Shield/Desert Storm," a copy of which was obtained by WorldNetDaily.

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April 6th

China clipped U.S. plane in 'electronic ambush' (2001)

Six years ago, it wasn't British military personnel captured by Iranians dominating the front page – it was the "well-laid electronic ambush" of a U.S. Navy surveillance plane clipped by a Chinese fighter and forced to land at a Chinese electronic-surveillance airbase.

An intelligence report cited Chinese sources who indicated the capture of the prized aircraft and its crew was payback.

"The operation – in addition to netting Beijing a sensational intelligence technology scoop – satisfied a thirst for vengeance" over a series of U.S. "affronts," the report said. "China ... chose its moment for exacting retribution for what it regarded as a series of American affronts, some dating from Bill Clinton's day."

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April 7th

Nobody can explain Vince Foster inconsistencies (1998)

Americans skeptical of the official pronouncement of former Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster's 1993 death as suicide were given further reason to question how the close associate of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton died when WND reported on a recently released FBI memo containing significant inconsistencies

Further, all the official investigators who might have been the source of the faulty observations pleaded ignorance and refused to accept responsibility.

WND contacted the FBI's Washington Field Office and a media representative said no information could be provided as to the author of the memo, particularly since she did not possess a copy of it. When asked if she would like a copy faxed to her, she responded, "No, I don't want to get involved in this."

A quick check on WND's Site Search page reveals years of coverage on this still-strange death and one that is likely to be re-examined in the press during the upcoming presidential-election cycle.

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April 8th

Forget? No way, says southern heritage group (2001)

On this day six years ago – one day before the 136th anniversary of General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House – WND reported on efforts of a southern heritage group to petition Congress to conduct "a thorough, non-partisan" review of what it said were "neglected injustices" committed by Union troops and generals in the South during the 1861-65 War Between the States.

The group's request for Congress to examine its charges, along with consideration of a suit to force the payment of reparations to people of historic Southern ancestry, came alongside the issue of paying reparations to blacks for years of slavery, which was declared illegal by Lincoln in 1863.

"The shame of war crimes and acts of vengeance against southern Americans in action [is] perhaps best described by [Union] Gen. William T. Sherman, who said: '... about 20 percent of our effort (in Georgia and South Carolina) was against military objectives. The rest [80 percent] was sheer waste and destruction.'

"Sadly, such unconscionable depredations were all too common across the South during both the war and Reconstruction.

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April 9th

ACLU: Jail school officials for prayer (2005)

The ACLU sought to have officials at a New Orleans school district fined or jailed for not stopping prayer at a high school baseball game.

Public prayer at school-related functions is "un-American and immoral," contended ACLU of Louisiana's executive director, Joe Cook.

Cook said it's "time to put out the welcome mat to believers and non-believers alike at all public school functions across the state and the nation. Children and parents whose beliefs are different from the majority must not be made to feel like outsiders in their own schools."

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April 10th

Air Force One defenses, diagrams posted online (2006)

A government document posted to the website of an unnamed Air Force base containing "specific" information about the anti-missile defense system of Air Force One, the president's official airplane, raised an alarm with Air Force officials.

"It is not a good thing," said Lt. Col Bruce Alexander, director of public affairs for the Air Mobility Command's 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base, which operates the fleet of presidential airplanes. "We are concerned with how it got there and how we can get it out. This affects operational security."

The website document contained detailed maps of the two plane's interiors, including the location where Secret Service agents are stationed. The location of Air Force One's medical facility "where a terrorist armed with a high-caliber sniper rifle could detonate the tanks that supply oxygen" was also shown.

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April 11th

Smoking gun in the e-mail? (2000)

A stash of unrecorded West Wing e-mail totaled close to 1 million, not the 100,000 first reported, and included messages from the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign, WND learned.

Some estimates put the number of e-mails from intern Monica Lewinsky to White House officials at about 4,000. But a computer contractor familiar with the White House e-mail system claims it's closer to tens of thousands – the biggest chunk addressed to Ashley Raines, a former White House aide who's reportedly Clinton's goddaughter.

"When I heard the number, I couldn't believe they talked that much," the contractor said. "They must have been busy typing all day long. I don't know if they did any work."

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April 12th

Forget 'The Alamo'! (2004)

The rallying cry of "Remember the Alamo" was suddenly "Forget 'The Alamo'" – at least when it came to the Disney film which took in a meager $9.2 million in its opening weekend.

"I'm shocked, quite honestly, at the number," said Chuck Viane, Disney's head of distribution. "If I could only figure out what went wrong, you'd never let it happen again. The movie deserved better than it did."

The $100 million epic, which recounts the last stand of American heroes including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, finished in third place behind a resurrected "Passion of the Christ" and "Hellboy."

The poor box-office showing came on the heels of a WND report focusing on allegations the film was filled with revisionist history and political correctness.

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April 13th

'Kill Bush' T-shirt for sale (2005)

An online store that boasts of giving online-selling opportunities to "individuals, organizations and businesses to create, buy and sell customized merchandise online" decided it wasn't going to give any more opportunity to the marketer of a T-shirt with the words "Kill Bush" and a phony bloodstain.

The shirt's black and red lettering on yellow said:

For God's Sake ...

KILL BUSH

Save the United States

and the Rest of the World

Eventually, the company put a message up on the former page, saying: "Hate related materials are in violation of our terms of service and are prohibited from being sold through CafePress.com."

No word on whether the Secret Service called.

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April 15th

Librarian attacked for promoting 'Marketing of Evil' (2006)

Librarians recommend books, right? It's their job.

Well, one Ohio State University librarian who recommended "The Marketing of Evil" by WND's David Kupelian for the school's required freshman-reading list found himself under "investigation" after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment, saying Kupelian's book made them feel "unsafe."

Scott Savage, his accusers charged, was "anti-gay" and his suggestions "homophobic tripe."

Professor J.F. Buckley let Savage know what he thought of his book pick an e-mail: "Rather than waste your time with the paucity of intellectual rigor that Kupelian brings to the table, I encourage you to visit his website, and see for yourself his unmitigated homophobia and xenophobia. In short, he is a pontificating, phobic, cultural atavism bemoaning the loss of an (Anglo) America that only existed on such shows as "The Lone Ranger."

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April 16th

Quack in the USSR (2003)

Actor and anti-war activist Tim Robbins said the United States is now viewed by much of the world as the Soviet Union once was, "as a rogue state."

"In the 19 months since 9-11, we have seen our democracy compromised by fear and hatred," Robbins said in a speech to the National Press Club.

"Basic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity of the home have been quickly compromised in a climate of fear. A unified American public has grown bitterly divided, and a world population that had profound sympathy and support for us has grown contemptuous and distrustful, viewing us as we once viewed the Soviet Union, as a rogue state."

"A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio ... and Cooperstown. If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications."

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April 17th

Illegals vs. Dobbs' job (2006)

Illegal-alien activists who pulled off major rallies in several cities shifted part of their focus by targeting a newsman they saw hurting their cause.

An "Ax AOL" campaign was organized to coincide with a national action by various groups defending illegal immigration, but the real target of their wrath was Lou Dobbs of CNN.

But why Lou Dobbs?

According to the organizers: "Lou Dobbs has become the champion zealot of bashing 'illegal immigration' each night at CNN promoting HR 4437 as the only way of dealing with 'Broken Borders' to protect the USA. The only way to stop Lou Dobbs, the raving populist xenophobe, is to invoke 'The Achilles heel: AOL.'"

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April 18th

In the beginning ... (1997)

WorldNetDaily.com was first registered as a domain name. Less than a month later, May 4, 1997, it launched as a website.
Several other names were considered, including DailyPlanet.com. "But I didn't want anyone to think I had a Superman complex," said co-founder Joseph Farah. "Besides, it was already taken." The predecessor to WorldNetDaily – Farah's first website – was actually called etruth.com. "But I wanted a name that would instantly get across that this new creation was 'a daily newspaper online' – a daily newspaper without the paper," Farah added.
April 19th

Elian doctor worked for Hillary (2000)

The pediatrician who advised the U.S. government on how best to handle Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez – who told the press the 6-year-old Cuban refugee is being "horrendously exploited" and should be "immediately" removed from Miami relatives' home – was a member of then-first lady Hillary Clinton's secretive health care task force.

"Elian Gonzalez is now in a state of imminent danger to his physical and emotional well-being in a home that I consider to be psychologically abusive," Redlener wrote in his letter to federal officials.

He added: "I believe there is no justification whatsoever to wait any longer in carrying out actions that I believe are legally appropriate and, more importantly, clearly in the best interest of this child who continues to be horrendously exploited in this bizarre and destructive ambiance."

Redlener based his analysis on a videotape showing the boy saying he didn't want to go back to Cuba. Three days later, Gonzalez was taken by force.

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April 20th

Uncle Osama wants you (2000)

Sixteen months before Osama bin Laden sent 19 of his followers to destroy the World Trade Center and attack the Pentegon, WND reported on the terror master's efforts to recruit volunteers from among Muslim youths in Pakistan to engage in war against the United States.

The call to arms against Washington came in the form of small, glossy, poster-sized messages depicting burning U.S., Indian and Israeli flags, as well as a "locked and loaded" image of an AK-47 rifle.

The messages circulated in Pakistan's staunchly conservative Northwest Frontier Province said, "The youth should contact us as soon as possible. Territorial boundaries have no importance in our eyes. All land belongs to God."

The solicitation, attributed to bin Laden, concluded, "No one can stop me."

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April 21st

Gender-bender bill lets employees choose (2003)

California Democrats, lead by a San Francisco lawmaker, passed a bill on this day mandating fines of up to $150,000 against business owners – including Bible bookstores and nonprofit organizations such as the Boy Scouts – for refusing to hire cross-dressing and transsexual job applicants.

The bill's subjective definition of "gender" was "identity, appearance, or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the victim's sex at birth."

"If I have a Christian bookstore, how could I possibly follow this law?" one Republican assemblyman asked. "How could I possibly have an employee that's here today in a dress, tomorrow may come in a suit, and then stay in a dress? How can I possibly employ this employee and still have the Christian bookstore and live by my faith?"

"You are messing with people's perception of their souls and their afterlife," said another.

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April 22nd

Fiddler on the spoof (2006)

An Israeli cartoon competition to find the "best, sharpest, most offensive Jew-hating cartoons ever published," launched in response to an Iranian daily newspaper's international cartoon contest focusing on the Holocaust, picked for its winner a "fiddler on the roof" takeoff on September 11.

All the hoopla over the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammed – and the subsequent decision by Iran to sponsor a cartoon contest on the Holocaust – inspired Israelis Eyal Zusman, actor and playwright, and Amitai Sandy, graphic artist and publisher of Dimona Comix Publishing in Tel-Aviv, "to fight the fire with humor."

"You should only poke fun at your own kind. We'll show the world we can do the best, sharpest, most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published!" Sandy promised when the contest went online. "No Iranian will beat us on our home turf!"

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April 23rd

Airport forces girl to remove fake leg (2003)

A year and a half after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a teen-age athlete and her family were outraged after airport security officials forced the girl to remove her prosthetic limb in public.

Kathleen O'Kelly-Kennedy, Australia's tallest female basketball player, said she was humiliated when forced to prove her right leg was a prosthesis in front of dozens of other horrified airline passengers.

"It is quite clear when I lift my pants that I wear a leg prosthesis," O'Kelly-Kennedy said.

"I had also given it a few whacks so there was no doubt that it sounded like a false leg. It was too much that security staff then chose to frisk me, from ankle to hip, in front of dozens of other passengers. I had already taken my shoes off, which made standing difficult, and I was not even offered a seat."

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April 24th

Bird-brain pitcher (2003)

A minor-league pitcher in the Chicago Cubs organization was booted from his Florida nest and faced criminal charges after knocking a bird from its perch with a baseball.

"Jae-kuk Ryu is no longer a Daytona Cub," said Buck Rogers, the team's general manager.

The 19-year-old South Korean, who throws a 96-mph fastball, was demoted to the Lansing Lugnuts in Michigan.

Before a spring-training game against the Port St. Lucie Mets, Ryu took several tries to aim for and successfully knock an osprey from its nest.

After WND gave the story national exposure, the Daytona Cubs were flooded with hundreds of angry e-mails, including this one:

"Jae-kuk Ryu is cruel, a monster, has no regard for life and has no place in baseball, minor or major leagues. This is an outrage and if you don't do something to remove this player, you are just as liable as this vicious a-- of a human. Send him back to wherever he came from, after he finishes his jail term, pays fines and all cost associated with treating this semi-endangered species of regal bird. Furthermore, we will boycott all games until he is removed – permanently."

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April 25th

Ashleigh Banfield slams war news coverage (2003)

NBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield slammed her colleagues in television news over coverage of the war in Iraq, saying the realities of the conflict never reached American viewers.

Banfield, in a speech at Kansas State University, lashed out at "cable news operators who wrap themselves in the American flag and go after a certain target demographic."

The dig was a veiled swipe at Fox News Channel, whose war coverage included a patriotic tinge. Canadian-born Banfield hosted "MSNBC Investigates" on the No. 3 cable news network, MSNBC. While MSNBC's ratings improved during the war, the network still came up short in the ratings game behind No. 1 Fox and CNN.

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April 26th

Radio talker Laura Ingraham diagnosed with cancer (2005)

Breast cancer – two of the scarier words in the English language.

On this day in 2005, WND readers learned popular radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham had been diagnosed with breast cancer during a routine exam. The author of the best-selling book, "Shut Up & Sing: How the Elites in Hollywood, Politics and the U.N. are Subverting America," called into her own show from the hospital to say she was 'blessed to be surrounded by people who love' her and to ask listeners to pray for her.

"I am absolutely blown away by how helpful and kind everyone has been – including total strangers who have experienced the same roller coaster of emotions," she said. I will have an operation and within a few days will know more about the future. I am hopeful for a bright future and a "normal" life (well, scratch the "normal" part). And remember, I'll be back sooner than you think.

Indeed. Ingraham is still going strong today.

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April 27th

Oxymoron? Fed chairman supports gold standard! (2001)

Then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's own words – written in 1966 and supporting a gold-backed U.S. economy – were dredged up in a lawsuit charging that agency with manipulating and suppressing the price of gold.

"... Under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy's stability and balanced growth," he wrote. "In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value" for the dollar.

"This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold," he wrote. "Deficit [government] spending is simply a scheme for the 'hidden' confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights."

Despite his role as head of the very Fed his earlier analysis condemned, a congressional source told WorldNetDaily that Greenspan still agrees with the premise of his article in 2001.

An ounce of gold on April 27, 2001 was valued at $264. On April 27, 2007, the price of gold is about $685.

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April 28th

Hasta la vista, billboard! (2005)

Arnold Schwarzenegger was not amused.

A controversial billboard promoting Spanish-language television station KRCA in L.A. that placed the city of angels in Mexico was "divisive" and "unnecessary" and should come down, the governor said.

On the controversial billboard, the "CA" state abbreviation after "Los Angeles" was crossed out and the word "Mexico" added in its place. In the center of the billboard, placed within the L.A. skyline, was an image of the Angel of Independence, a well-known monument in Mexico City, further suggesting the merging of Los Angeles and Mexico. It also said, "Tu Ciudad. Tu Equipo," or "Your City. Your Team."

"If they want to be responsible, they will take it down," the governor added. "Those mistakes are made. Maybe some marketing person said, 'Do that and it will create a lot of media attention and we'll get great free publicity.' And maybe they didn't think it all the way through. I think it is time to take it down now and say it's a mistake and move on."

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April 29th

Concealed guns prevent mass shootings (1999)

Before Virginia Tech – before Columbine – the research data revealed what's only become clearer with each tragic mass shooting – allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces options for killers and saves the innocent.

WND reported on a recently released study by John R. Lott, Jr. and William M. Landes of the Chicago University School of Law that concluded "shall-issue laws" for concealed carry weapons had a "significant impact on multiple shootings." Indeed, the authors wrote, "It is the only law-related variable that appears to have a significant impact."

"We also find that shall-issue laws deter both the number of multiple shootings and the amount of harm per shooting," said the study. In addition, the authors discovered that shooting deaths were steadily increasing before a number of states began passing "shall-issue" or "concealed-carry" laws several years before.

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April 30th

Casino becomes no-Bible zone (2003)

"Thou shalt not place Bibles in our casino hotel rooms."

Such was the commandment from the flashy, new Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, home of the Borgata Babe cocktail waitress and shower-stall-for-two.

The $1.1 billion resort broke ranks with all other casinos, refusing to allow the Gideons to place a Bible in any of its 2,002 hotel rooms.

"What we've found is there's such a diversity of gaming customers that visit Atlantic City, by putting one generic publication in there you're not fulfilling the needs of everybody," Borgata spokesman Michael Facenda said.

"You could do the Mormon Bible, the Quran, the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Greek New Testament. ... Where we ended up is we're not going to put anything in there," he said.

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