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.
A holy war of sorts broke out in Britain over a Christmas stamp which some said was offensive to members of the Hindu faith, purportedly showing Hindus worshipping Jesus Christ.
The stamp featured a man and woman with Hindu markings adoring the baby Jesus, and was one of six mother-and-child stamps making their debut.
"Would the worldwide Christian community feel comfortable if the government of India issued a Diwali stamp with a Christian priest offering worship to baby Krishna?" asked Ramesh Kallidai, secretary general of the Hindu Forum of Britain.
The stamp designer, Anglican priest Irene Von Treskow, chose the picture for Royal Mail, saying it was so interesting to see a Mughal painting with a Christian subject, adding the image is not offensive.
"How can it be?" she asked. "It is 17th century art."–
In an amazing and previously unreported story filed from Copenhagen, Denmark, WND international correspondent Anthony LoBaido revealed that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had sent hordes of female assassins to Denmark as well as other European destinations to wipe out Kurdish refugees and defectors fleeing Iraq, and even had installed spies on the Danish Refugee Council, according to the Danish Red Cross.
The assassins infiltrated Iraqi opposition circles to kill and maim leading Kurdish and Iraqi opposition leaders by means ranging from poisonings to car crashes. Graduates of a two-month training course held outside Baghdad, these "Mata Hari" hit squads were code-named Operation Falcon. According to British intelligence, they were staffed by belly dancers, actresses and artists who claim to be seeking asylum.
"The regime is using women because they would raise less suspicion," said Dr. Ayad Allawi, secretary general of the London-based Iraqi National Accord and a former ally of Saddam. "In our culture, we don't expect women to spy or kill. This is the most substantial operation we have seen for years."
Most Washington power players thought Abramoff was gone and buried in a federal prison, and didn’t even realize he was released – let alone that he was penning what is clearly the most devastating attack on special interest power in decades. Days before its Nov. 7 official release, scores of lobbying shops scoured the town to obtain one of the few copies in circulation to prepare their spin and damage control.
From the reaction on Capitol Hill, Abramoff is the new public enemy No. 1. He not only outs powerful senators and congressmen, and reveals previously unknown inside information, but he sets forth a reform plan which would rock the fraternal inside-the-Beltway culture.
A year before the Western world woke up to the reality of suicide bombers with the 9/11 attacks on America, WND exposed the training of Palestinian children in the ways of jihad, with Palestinian television featuring macabre "Sesame Street"-type TV shows teaching toddlers to sing jihad songs about murdering Jews.
In one song on the "Children's Club," very young children are shown singing songs about wanting to become "suicide warriors" and to take up "a machine gun" to direct "violence, anger, anger, anger" against Israelis.
During the show, which features children aged 4-10, one young boy sings, "When I wander into Jerusalem, I will become a suicide bomber." Afterward, other children stand to call for "Jihad! Holy war to the end against the Zionist enemy."
"It's very scary - it's a state-run educational system that teaches its children to be martyrs," said Meyrav Wurmser, Ph.D., an expert in Middle East politics. "Children are taught to idealize death, to view it as a positive. In many cases, they are told that death is not death at all, but rather the beginning of a new life."
One of the defining issues – and perhaps the most strongly felt – in the 2000 presidential election was first brought to light by WorldNetDaily.
Three days before the Nov. 7 election, Jon Dougherty reported that many members of the United States military were unable to vote for their next commander in chief. The issue was one that could affect the election's outcome.
"The military has a much higher participation [of overall voters] in the voting process" than does the general voting public, a Defense Department spokesman told WND. In the 1996 election, he said 64 percent of service members participated; 40 percent of those were absentee ballots.
After the election, Dougherty continued to probe allegations from service personnel and their families that they either never received asked-for absentee ballots, or got them too late to vote.
Ambassador Joseph Wilson's attorney demanded Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely retract a statement he made to WND that the man at the center of the CIA leak case "outed" his own wife as a CIA employee in conversations more than a year before her identity was revealed in a syndicated column.
A demand letter was sent by Christopher Wolf to both Vallely and WND.
It disputed Vallely's claim that Wilson mentioned Valerie Plame's status with the CIA in conversations in 2002 in the Fox News Channel's "green room" in Washington as they waited to appear as analysts.
"As you know, that assertion and the claim that Ambassador Wilson revealed to you or to anyone that his wife worked for the CIA is patently false, and subjects you and anyone publishing your statements to legal liability," stated the letter.
It continued: "We are writing to demand that you immediately retract the assertion attributed to you and to insist that you stop making the false allegation. In addition, we request that you identify all persons or entitites (sic) to whom you made any claim that Ambassador Wilson revealed his wife's employment at the CIA to you."–
In his column, "Voter fraud, again!," WND Editor Joseph Farah revealed that election mailers sent out by the California Democratic Party and signed by President Bill Clinton, urging newly registered Hispanic voters to vote for Democrats, was apparently intended for a target group that included non-registered non-citizens.
Furthermore, as detailed in Farah's column and subsequent news stories by reporter Julie Foster, the mailers contained an unofficial "voter identification card" – the "Clinton card" – which the president urged recipients to take to the polls.
It's believed that with California's lax election laws (which prohibit poll workers from checking voters' ID), non-registered non-citizens presenting such a card at a California polling place could have voted in the Nov. 7 election.
A second worker upset over Wal-Mart's newly-contrived "gay" agenda quit the retail chain to take a stand for Christianity, and cited a report from WND about another woman who also decided she'd had enough.
Karin Laginess, of Auberndale, Fla., told WND it was as if "God hit me" when she saw the earlier WND report about Janet Baird.
Baird, of Ohio, heard the shocking new plans that WND had reported directly from the mega-corporation's international headquarters: that the company is, in fact, contributing to the financial and moral agenda of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
"It broke my heart to see them choose to side themselves with what I call such an immoral organization. I just sat and cried," said Laginess.
WND broke the story of a young woman in need of a double lung transplant saying she had been betrayed by Duke University Medical Center after doctors had her move near the college to prepare her for a transplant, only to tell her "out of the blue" she wouldn't be getting new organs and she should go back home.
Two months later, WND also broke the story that the woman was finally breathing on her own with a new set of lungs courtesy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"Don't always believe what people tell you," Lauren Averitt said from her hospital bed where she was recuperating from surgery. "[Duke] told me to go home and die, and instead I'm a few miles down the road with new lungs.
"It's a miracle – I'm a miracle."
The private company that contracted for security services at Dulles and Newark International Airport in New Jersey, where Islamic terrorists hijacked two of the four jumbo jets on Sept. 11, 2001, was under fire for hiring foreigners as screeners, but the same firm had been pressured by the federal government two-and-a-half years before to rehire Arab non-citizens after they filed a religion-bias complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Airport security experts said the EEOC settlement – which also mandated Muslim-sensitivity training for all Argenbright Security Inc. employees – went a long way toward explaining why 87 percent of the checkpoint screeners at Dulles were not U.S. citizens. All seven Muslim complainants worked as Dulles screeners at the time.
"If I were Argenbright and being investigated, I'd tell them, 'You want to sue us? Go talk to the damn EEOC. They're the ones who forced these people on us,'" said Steve Elson, a former Federal Aviation Administration airport-security inspector.
When a Wal-Mart customer complained to the retailer that the store was replacing its "Merry Christmas" greeting with "Happy Holidays," she received a response from customer service that prompted calls by the Catholic League for a nationwide boycott.
"Walmart is a world wide organization and must remain conscious of this," the Wal-Mart representative replied. "The majority of the world still has different practices other than 'christmas' which is an ancient tradition that has its roots in Siberian shamanism. The colors associated with 'christmas' red and white are actually a representation of of the aminita mascera mushroom. Santa is also borrowed from the Caucuses, mistletoe from the Celts, yule log from the Goths, the time from the Visigoth and the tree from the worship of Baal. It is a wide wide world."
Catholic League president Bill Donohue pointed out that when using the company's online search engine, if the word "Hanukkah" is entered, 200 items for sale are returned. The term "Kwanzaa" yields 77. But when "Christmas" is entered, the message returned says: "We've brought you to our 'Holiday' page based on your search."
In an interview with second lady Lynne Cheney, the "Today Show's" Matt Lauer equated the Islamic radicals in Fallujah terrorizing Iraq with George Washington's Revolutionary War army.
When the vice president's wife rebuffed Lauer for equating Washington's troops with the radical Muslim terrorists then clarified his line of questioning, he came back: "I'm just saying, but the insurgents believe they're fighting for a cause as well. They don't believe any less than we believe."
"Well, but Matt, you're being awfully relativistic here, "Cheney answered. "I mean, the insurgents are killing Iraqis by the hundreds, Iraqis by the thousands. It's not as though this is a matter between just 'on the one hand on the other hand.' We are on the side of freedom. I think that idea is so powerful and does give us wind at our back."
In a case thrust to the national stage by cable news channels, a jury in Redwood City, Calif., found Scott Peterson guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his wife and second-degree murder for death of his unborn child.
A pregnant Laci Peterson, 27, disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002 from her Modesto home. Her body and the body of her unborn son, named Conner, washed ashore four months later in San Francisco Bay, in the area where her husband said he was fishing.
Prosecutor Rick Distaso told the jury Scott Peterson could not stand the thought of being trapped in a "dull, boring, married life with kids."–
"He wants to live the rich, successful, freewheeling bachelor life," Distaso said. "He can't do that when he's paying child support, alimony and everything else. He didn't want to be tied to this kid the rest of his life. He didn't want to be tied to Laci for the rest of his life. So he killed her."–
The Russian publication Kommersant published a newly located photograph of a U.S. hostage-taker in Iran circa 1979 bearing a striking resemblance to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Iranian leader steadfastly denied he was involved in the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the holding of 52 Americans for 444 days despite assertions to the contrary of some of those hostages and former Iranian President Abholhassan Bani-Sadr, who says he was a ringleader and the liaison with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Charges by the ex-hostages were made shortly after Ahmadinejad came to power June 24, 2005. But from the beginning, the White House and State Department made it clear they would rather not know the truth about Ahmadinejad because it would place the U.S. in a position of refusing to permit a head of government into the country to attend U.N. meetings.
In response to e-mail generated by a WND story noting Google didn't mark Veterans Day for an eighth straight year, the search engine giant created a form letter explaining the non-commemoration of the holiday was deliberate and out of reverence.
"Thank you for your note," read the form response. "We understand your concern and interest in seeing a Veteran's (sic) Day Google logo. If we were to commemorate this holiday, we'd want to express reverence; however, as Google's special logos tend to be lighthearted in nature, this would be a particularly challenging design. We wouldn't want to create a graphic that could be interpreted as disrespectful in any way."
Five years ago today, WND was ranked the 991st largest website in the world, according to Alexa, a Web monitoring firm.
The fast-growing newssite had move up 526 places over the previous six months.
"There are only a handful of U.S.-based newssites substantially larger than WorldNetDaily," explains Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer. "They include CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, ABC News, Fox News – all major corporate conglomerates. Only the DrudgeReport of those news-oriented enterprises designed explicitly for the Internet – is larger than WorldNetDaily."
ABC-TV was forced to apologize for a raunchy intro segment to a "Monday Night Football" broadcast.
The feature, meant to spoof the ABC's hit show "Desperate Housewives," shows Philadelphia Eagles' Terrell Owens in an empty locker room with Nicollette Sheridan, who stars in the show, wearing only a towel.
Sheridan provocatively asked Owens to skip the game for her. After she dropped her towel, he agreed to be late for the contest and hugged her.
"We have heard from many of our viewers about last night's MNF opening segment and we agree that the placement was inappropriate," ABC said in a statement. "We apologize."
WND broke the international story of the betrayal of Laos' Hmong tribesmen, recruited as CIA Special Forces soldiers to fight side-by-side with Americans during the Vietnam war.
Until WND's roving international correspondent Anthony C. LoBaido spent a year traveling throughout Thailand and Laos, at considerable personal risk, documenting the plight of the Hmong, no other news organization worldwide has been willing or able to document this important story.
"In this age of global media, who wonders at how this final liquidation can be taking place? It is a symbol of the agenda of the United Nations, Clinton administration and U.S. State Department – hatred of Christians and anti-Communists," charged Dr. Michael Korpi, an award-winning filmmaker interviewed by LoBaido.
Singer Linda Ronstadt, who made headlines during the 2004 presidential campaign by expressing solidarity with filmmaker Michael Moore, kicked it up a notch and compared current U.S. political trends with events in Nazi Germany.
"People don't realize that by voting Republican, they voted against themselves," Ronstadt told USA Today regarding the race for the White House.
On the issue of the ongoing battle in Iraq, Ronstadt added, "I worry that some people are entertained by the idea of this war. They don't know anything about the Iraqis, but they're angry and frustrated in their own lives. It's like Germany, before Hitler took over. The economy was bad and people felt kicked around. They looked for a scapegoat. Now we've got a new bunch of Hitlers."
"People have to understand what we're talking about here. The president of the United States is an internationalist," said Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo. "He is going to do what he can to create a place where the idea of America is just that – it's an idea. It's not an actual place defined by borders. I mean this is where this guy is really going."
Tancredo lashed out at the White House's lack of action in securing U.S. borders, and said efforts to merge the U.S. with both Mexico and Canada is not a fantasy.
"I know this is dramatic – or maybe somebody would say overly dramatic – but I'm telling you, that everything I see leads me to believe that this whole idea of the North American Union, it's not something that just is written about by right-wing fringe kooks. It is something in the head of the president of the United States, the president of Mexico, I think the prime minister of Canada buys into it."–
The collapse of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center shortly after being struck by airliners occurred because New York City banned the use of asbestos as a fire retardant during the buildings' construction, one industry expert has alleged.
"The Trade Tower design – the one referred to as able to resist the crash of a Boeing 707 – specified the use of asbestos insulation on the supporting columns," said chemistry professor Art Robinson.
"This was used on all columns up to the 64th floors. Then, however, in 1971 when the Trade Center Towers were still under construction, New York City banned this use of asbestos," Robinson, who is also a founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, said.
"Asbestos was an early victim of junk science and enviro-fear propaganda," Robinson said. Environmental activists "were joined by opportunistic lawyers and businessmen who reaped large profits from the anti-asbestos program. There was not a shred of evidence that insulating buildings with asbestos was harmful to human health," he added.
WND news editor Diana Lynne's exclusive story, entitled "'Condo commandos' caused ballot snafu," revealed how Palm Beach County's "condo commandos" – leaders at condominium complexes for those 55 and older – and other Gore operatives created the perceived need for a recount by giving the wrong instructions to loyal voters about how to cast their ballots in the Nov. 7 election.
The bad information, in turn, created confusion that ultimately contributed to more than 19,000 ballots being thrown out.
"I don't even know if I voted correctly," said 75-year-old condo commando Sam Oser. "You're dealing with older folks who come in on crutches and in wheelchairs. They're used to voting a certain way all these years and it was switched."–
A new video game, released to coincide with the 41st anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy let players recreate the shooting in Dallas and earn points depending on how accurately their shots match the official version of events as documented by the Warren Commission, which probed the assassination.
"JFK Reloaded" was called "despicable" by a spokesman for Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, the late president's brother.
"We believe that the only thing we're exploiting is new technology," said a spokesman for the game's parent company.
Players, who take on the role of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, lose points if they hit first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's "Know Your Customer" proposed plan required banks to report "unusual" customer activity – including simple deposits and withdrawals – to the government.
Banks would create "profiles" of customers to flag behavior or transactions that seemed to be out of the ordinary. Such "suspicious" behavior would be passed on.
Exposure of the plan in WorldNetDaily led privacy activists to bombard the FDIC with more e-mails and faxes than the agency had ever previously received. Ultimately, the U.S. Senate voted 88-0 to stop the proposal.
Long before President Bush authorized the recent "surge" in Iraq, before Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resigned his position under criticism for deploying too few troops and before Americans saw their family members in the National Guard deployed and re-deployed multiple times, Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin sounded the alarm that U.S. estimates of 5,000 terrorists in-country meant a whole new war requiring many more coalition troops.
Coining the term, "Iraqifada," Farah pointed to guerilla-war experts who said in such conflicts, the conventional forces need at least a 20-to-1 manpower advantage. Indeed, a British officer, a veteran of the street fighting in Londonderry, said the numbers should actually be much higher, more like 50 to 1. The average the Indian army holds in the Jammu and Kashmir area is close to 100 to 1.
U.S. military planners did not count on a stiff guerrilla war following the conventional conflict, reported G2 Bulletin.
Ackley worked with WorldNetDaily Editor and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah in the early 1990s when the latter served as editor of the Sacramento Union, then the oldest paper west of the Mississippi.
In 1987, Ackley became daily columnist for The Union, eventually producing six short-item columns plus an essay each week, making him one of the few seven-day columnists in the country.
At a time of year when many think about "peace on Earth," Planned Parenthood expanded its controversial "Choice on Earth" holiday greeting-card theme, increasing its stock of cards and T-shirts for sale.
"Our supporters are so energized by the vicious criticism of our holiday card that we're printing additional cards and limited-edition 'choice on Earth' T-shirts," said Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt.
"Planned Parenthood believes in every individual's right to make choices and live in peace with our planet and wishes people of all beliefs a peaceful and safe holiday season," she said.
"What 'choice on Earth' really means is 'abortion on Earth,' pro-life activist Jim Sedlak told WND. "In the season that celebrates the birth of Jesus, it is absolutely outrageous to have cards celebrating the death of babies."–
Radio legend Paul Harvey, who had been completely voiceless for three months, credited God with healing him in order to broadcast an important message regarding the war on terror.
"Inescapably, I was haunted by the possibility that I might not broadcast again," Harvey said of his mysterious ailment.
He explained how an epiphany taught him a new way to pray.
"You remember Jesus had prescribed for his disciples a perfect prayer, the essence of which is 'Thy will be done.' My prayers so often had been a shopping list of things I wanted to be done, and I began to pray for what He wanted.
"And doors began to open. I was led to a voice specialist. An outpatient procedure reinforced a weakened muscle alongside a vocal cord and within minutes, the voice which had been mostly mute for weeks came back to life."–
"All you college kids out there, check your state laws, check your campus laws," Hannity said.
"Get your little tape recorders if legal, and I want you to start recording these left-wingers. Bring it to this program and we'll start airing it every single time on this program. I'm sick of this indoctrination. I'm sick of this left-wing propaganda."–
Hannity's call to action came in the wake of the case of a 19-year-old freshman who was sharply rebuked by an English professor for inviting a war hero on campus.
"Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors," said the professor.
Nov. 29, 2003: DNA tests prove one of the 20th-century's best-known figures, Charles Lindbergh, had a second family in Germany that apparently remained hidden from his wife, according to three siblings who claimed to be his children.
Dyrk and David Hesshaimer and their sister, Astrid Bouteuil, said they had no plans to stake claim as legal heirs.
Bouteuil, who now lives in Paris, said she discovered the identity of her father after coming across more than 100 letters in the attic of her mother's house in Ammersee, Upper Bavaria.
The man who won the hearts of millions around the world for his non-stop solo flight from New York to Paris in 1927 met Hesshaimer in Munich in 1957 when he was 55 and maintained the relationship until his death in 1974, the siblings claimed.
Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., continued his verbal volley with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sparked by his earlier characterization of Miami as a "Third World country" in an interview with WND.
The governor responded with a letter addressed to Tancredo's Washington office that, "The bottom line is Miami is a wonderful city filled with diversity and heritage that we choose to celebrate, not insult. Miami has been my home for years and I am looking forward to returning there in January."
Citing a current issue of TIME magazine that described Miami as a "corrupt, exorbitant mess" where locals are fleeing in droves, Tancredo fired back: "Florida, like America itself, attracts people from many places, and immigrants always bring diverse cultures, races, and religious beliefs to our shores. It is precisely because of these diverse origins, cultures and languages that Florida and America depend on a few things to hold us together. One of the most important things that contributes to cohesion and not fragmentation is the English language and the evidence suggests that this is something that fewer and fewer Miamians share."
It's apparent, he added, fewer and fewer residents of that city even think of themselves as Americans.