As it does every year at this time, has compiled its annual list of the most “spiked” stories of the past year – those major news events of 2002 that were either underreported or unreported by the mainstream media.

While most news organizations present year-end retrospective replays of what they consider to have been the top news stories of the previous 12 months, WND’s editors have always found it more newsworthy to publish a year-end compilation of the important stories most ignored by the establishment press.

WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah has sponsored “Operation Spike” every year since 1988, and since founding WorldNetDaily in May 1997 has continued the annual tradition. For the past five years, WND has invited its readers to join in and submit what they considered the most underreported stories of the past year in the site’s “Operation Spike” forum.

Based on reader responses, plus input from WorldNetDaily’s editors, here are WND’s picks for the 10 most underreported stories of 2002:

Saudi Arabia’s funding of terror and hostage-taking of American citizens. With a massive PR campaign, Saudi Arabia has tried to downplay its image as the home country of terrorist overlord Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers. But the evidence keeps piling up that the desert kingdom, with its promotion of the radical Wahhabi school of Islam worldwide, is not a friend of the U.S. In May, a lawsuit charged the U.S. with covering up FBI evidence of a massive Saudi network to finance terrorist fronts in the United States, including Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaida.

Meanwhile, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., has accused Saudi Arabia of covering up its active participation in kidnappings of American citizens. Congress held hearings in a year-long effort to get to the bottom of several cases of Americans held hostage in Saudi Arabia, including Californian Pat Roush, whose two daughters were snatched from the United States 17 years ago and held in Saudi Arabia by their estranged father.

Anti-American groups behind anti-war movement. While anti-war rallies in Washington and across the nation drew plenty of media attention, the radical anti-American groups behind the events received virtually no scrutiny. The big Washington, D.C., march was organized by Ramsey Clark’s International ANSWER group, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, which says the real threat to the world is not from Iraq, but the United States. Its D.C. rally included a “people’s inspection team” that called for “unfettered access and a full declaration of U.S. non-conventional weapons systems.”

ANSWER is a spin-off of the World Workers Party, which says “our goal is a society run by the workers, not just as pawns in a capitalist political game but as collective owners of the social wealth.” The party notes that this “is not a new idea. Karl Marx put socialist ideology on a scientific footing a century and a half ago.”

Investigative reporter Kevin Coogan told WorldNetDaily the WWP “isn’t horrible simply because it is leftist or Marxist per se; it is horrible that both groups’ raison d’?tre has been on cheerleading the worst Stalinist and human rights abusing governments in the world, from Pol Pot to Saddam, as long as they are feuding with America.”

One of the anti-war movement’s icons is former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who told WND, “I would be in favor of the impeachment of President Bush for high crimes and misdemeanors. Murder is a high crime and misdemeanor, and I can’t think of any better definition than murder when he talks about American service members and putting them in a war which is not only illegal but is based on a foundation of lies.”

Planned Parenthood’s cover-up of the ongoing molestation of underage girls by adult males. WND reported last May that researchers with a pro-life group called Life Dynamics found “irrefutable evidence” that abortion-rights organizations such as Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation “knowingly conceal” the crimes of sexual abuse of minors “while aiding and abetting the sexual predators who commit them.”

A Life Dynamics researcher – impersonating a 13-year-old girl made pregnant by a 22-year-old boyfriend – told the clinics that she wanted an abortion “because she and her boyfriend did not want her parents to find out about the sexual relationship.” The group said that in 91 percent of their calls, the person they reached at the center agreed to conceal the statutory rape.

Planned Parenthood’s national office told WND that it had carefully reviewed a summary of the report, but refused to give a response, declaring, “There won’t be any statement. We’ve also read what WorldNetDaily has written on this issue,” before abruptly hanging up the phone.

Evidence from the investigation, however, is now being used in legal action around the country, including a trial in Alaska.

Sen. Patty Murray’s comments about Osama bin Laden. On the heels of a media firestorm over comments by Sen. Trent Lott, the mainstream media gave little notice to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray’s praise of Osama bin Laden as a nation-builder worthy of praise, in contrast to the United States.

In a session with high school students Dec. 18 in her home state of Washington, Murray asked why bin Laden is “so popular around the world.”

The second-term senator said bin Laden has been “out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building health-care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven’t done that.”

Murray then asked the students: “How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?”

The spread of the homosexual agenda in the nation’s public schools. With the support of both the National Education Association and the American Civil Liberties Union, groups such as Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, and the Gay-Straight Alliance have greatly expanded their presence in America’s public schools during the past year.

GLSEN is known for celebrating cross-dressing and distributing classroom materials such as “Jesse’s Dream Skirt” and “In Mommy’s High Heels” to elementary-age boys. The group’s October annual conference included sessions such as “Mobilizing Young Same Gender Loving Men,” “Responding Effectively to the Right Wing,” “Using Music to Deconstruct the Heterosexist Meaning of Family” and “Transgender Mind, Body, Spirit.”

“Anti-bullying” measures have become another major inroad for homosexuals in public schools. Special rooms with inverted pink triangles are now designated as “safe zones” where children who believe they are homosexual, or just those with gender identity confusion or questions, are frequently counseled by homosexuals. For more subtle inroads into the nation’s public schools, one training manual recommends that teachers wear a “LesBiGay positive” button or a T-shirt with a “Straight, But Not Narrow” slogan, or a pink triangle, and avoid using traditional terms such as boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband and broaden their language to include “partner, lover, significant other.” Teachers also are advised to use “permanent relationship” instead of “marriage.”

Hayward, Calif., public schools passed a unanimous resolution last year allowing teachers to “come out” in class and talk about homosexuality in front of students as young as six-years old.

The Islamic jihad against Christians worldwide. Last spring, little attention was paid to a protest in front of the United Nations building in New York by victims of “radical Islam’s jihad ideology,” including representatives of the more than 2 million Sudanese who have died in a jihad imposed by the Khartoum regime, Nigerians suffering under imposition of Islamic law in northern states and Indonesian Christians driven from their homes and slaughtered by a militant group called Laskar Jihad.

Meanwhile, in China, top-secret government documents confirm that an oppressive and sometimes violent campaign against unregistered religious groups has been orchestrated by the very top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. In Saudi Arabia, three Ethiopian Christians detained for six months without charges were severely beaten and tormented under the authority of a Saudi prison official in Jeddah.

In Pakistan, a Christian sentenced to death for blasphemy against Islam was acquitted by his country’s Supreme Court, but international groups monitoring his case warned his life still is threatened by militant Muslims. At least seven other Pakistani Christians were imprisoned at the time for alleged blasphemy against Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

WND reported that in Sudan, the militant Muslim regime is slaughtering Christians who refuse to convert to Islam. Villagers in one region say that when women are captured by government forces they are asked: “Are you Christian or Muslim?” Women who answer “Muslim” are set free, but typically soldiers gang-rape those who answer “Christian” then cut off their breasts and leave them to die as an example for others.

Militant Islam as a factor in the D.C. sniper case. The shooting spree that terrorized the nation’s capital area was one of the year’s biggest stories, but the radical Muslim faith of the two men charged with the murders – including their ties to Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam and possibly other groups — largely was dismissed as a possible motive.

An WND reported, John Allen Muhammad’s profile fits a pattern of a disaffected outcast who becomes increasingly radicalized under the influence of Islamism, according to a military analyst who writes frequently about terrorism. Muhammad, he said, seemed to follow the model of Westerners John Walker Lindh, Richard Reid and Jose Padilla – men exposed to Islamism who become disenchanted with the movement’s pace and progress and who take the road to jihad.

The impact of the Total Information Awareness program in the Office of Information Awareness in the Homeland Security Department. Can the government be trusted with a powerful software system able to scan billions of private computer transactions every day? The data-mining program is designed to flag terrorist activity, and its makers point out that privacy protections are built in that would sever names and other personal information from the data and allow analysts access to personal data only if they meet certain legal standards. But many Americans, from both the left and right, insist that citizens should test every new law by how it might be “enforced by our worst enemies.” Jon B. Utley of the Ludwig von Mises Institute says: “Think about maybe a Hillary Clinton enforcing these laws to ‘investigate’ conservatives.” Civil libertarians also have been raising concerns about the USA Patriot Act — a swiftly passed, 342-page bill that few Congress members had time to read – which gave federal investigators sweeping new powers to probe terrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Congressional hearing proves questionable environmental science contributed to World Trade Center towers’ early collapse. WorldNetDaily’s Whistleblower magazine reported that the original design for the twin towers stipulated asbestos covering for the steel support beams.

Environmentalists, however, objected to the use of the fire retardant material and New York City enacted a ban on its use during the time of the towers’ construction in 1971, as pointed out during a June 2002 congressional hearing. Had it not been for the poorly installed insulation and the lack of asbestos in the upper floors of the towers, scientists testifying before Congress agreed, the towers would have stayed standing longer, undoubtedly saving many lives as occupants would have had time to escape.

“Asbestos was an early victim of junk science and enviro-fear propaganda,” said Arthur Robinson, who is also a founder of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.
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.

“We the People’s” thwarted attempt to challenge the legality of the federal income tax. A tax forum that promised to be an epic confrontation between the federal government and the “tax honesty” movement fizzled when the congressman who had agreed to shepherd the event backed out. We The People, an organization that disputes, on various grounds, the legality of the federal income tax, had been urging Americans to hold off filing their 2001 income tax returns until after the planned hearings in Washington, D.C., last February.

After a lengthy hunger strike by the group’s leader, Bob Schulz, U.S. government officials agreed to the requested hearing. The tax group had expected, at the forum, “to prove conclusively that the IRS does not have the legal authority to force employers to withhold taxes from the paychecks of their employees, or to force most Americans to file a return or pay the income tax.” The group said that “if the research is confirmed publicly, most Americans may be entitled to a refund of 100 percent of the income tax paid or withheld in 2001.”

However, Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., who initially was supportive of the group’s efforts to get answers from the government, later accused the group of disseminating “misleading information” and ultimately canceled “Operation Wait to File until the Trial,” declaring, “I will not be a party to advocating the non-payment of federal income taxes.”

The entire affair received almost no mainstream media coverage.

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