Continuing in its annual year-end tradition, has compiled its list of the most “spiked” stories of the past year – those major news events of 2003 that went either unreported or underreported by the mainstream media.

Of course, almost every news organization presents a year-end retrospective replay of what each considers to have been the top news stories of the previous 12 months. But 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. As is its custom, WND has invited readers to join in and submit what they considered the most underreported stories of the past year in the site’s “Operation Spike” forum.

The envelope, please

Based on a mountain of reader responses, plus input from WorldNetDaily’s editors, here are WND’s picks for the 10 most underreported stories of 2003 – which WND editor and CEO Joseph Farah will be discussing New Year’s Eve on CNN:

1. The de-Christianization of America via the court system

From the judicial banning of the 10 Commandments (and subsequent expulsion of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore) to the outlawing of the “Under God” phrase from the Pledge of Allegiance to litigation aimed at banning everything from Christmas nativity scenes to the very mention of the word “Jesus” in graduation ceremonies – 2003 saw a wholesale explosion of judicial activism, the net effect of which has been to further erase America’s Christian history and institutions from public life.

So egregious and far-reaching have been the judiciary’s anti-Christian decisions this year that WND devoted no less than three complete editions of its acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine to the unconstitutional judicial assault on traditional America:

At the core of the judicial deconstruction of Christian America, of course, is this phrase – “the constitutional separation of church and state” – a reference to the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. However, the words “separation,” “church,” or “state” are not found in the First Amendment, and, as WND showed through 2003, the entire “constitutional separation of church and state” is a recent fabrication of activist judges who have ignored the Constitution’s clear meaning.

As U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist says in November’s Whistleblower magazine: “There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the Framers intended to build the ‘wall of separation’ [between church and state].”

2. NASA’s use of a green-friendly but inferior material on heat shields that broke up prior to the shuttle disaster

One day after last February’s tragic re-entry explosion of the Columbia space shuttle, WorldNetDaily revealed in an exclusive report that the irreparable launch-time damage to the external tank’s foam insulation, which broke free and slammed into the leading edge of the left wing, was likely due to environmental correctness.

With the help of internal NASA documents, WND showed that for the past six years America’s federal space agency has used a more “environmentally friendly” – and inferior – material for foam insulation.

“In other words,” WND founder Joseph Farah wrote in July, “human lives and millions of dollars in technology were put at risk because of the environmental fad.”

Back in 1997, wrote Farah, during the 87th space shuttle mission, similar tile damage to the Columbia’s was experienced during launch when the external tank foam crashed into some tiles during the stress of takeoff. Although the damage in that case was not catastrophic, investigators then noted the damage followed changes in the methods of “foaming” the external tank – changes mandated by concerns about being “environmentally friendly.”

Here’s what that NASA report said: “During the … mission, there was a change made on the external tank. Because of NASA’s goal to use environmentally friendly products, a new method of ‘foaming’ the external tank had been used for this mission and the (previous) mission. It is suspected that large amounts of foam separated from the external tank and impacted the orbiter. This caused significant damage to the protective tiles of the orbiter.”

Ultimately, NASA’s more environmentally friendly “foaming” methods ended in one of the great tragedies of 2003.

3. The legal implications of the Supreme Court’s ‘sodomy’ ruling

“The state cannot demean [homosexuals’] existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, speaking for the majority in June’s historic and far-reaching Lawrence v. Texas decision striking down Texas’ sodomy law.

In so doing – that is, in shifting the basis of legality from the time-honored sexual morality underpinning Western Civilization to the post-Christian ethic of “consent” – the court effectively opened the door not only to homosexual marriage, but to legalized polygamy, incest, bestiality, and other previously prohibited relationships, all based on their consensual nature. In other words, traditional notions of morality no longer matters – if it’s consensual, it’s fine.

The September edition of WND’s monthly Whistleblower magazine explored the implications of this trend in detail. Titled “THE END OF MARRIAGE?,” this special report exposed a widespread “gay-rights” campaign, supercharged by the court’s sodomy decision, to radically redefine and ultimately destroy the family.

And the August Whistleblower, titled “LAW-LESS,” included Justice Antonin Scalia’s scathing dissent, in which the justice said the sodomy opinion “is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda.” Noting ominously that the decision, and the stated logic behind it, “effectively decrees the end of all morals legislation,” Scalia added: “If, as the Court asserts, the promotion of majoritarian sexual morality is not even a legitimate state interest, none of the above-mentioned laws [that is, “criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality, and obscenity”] can survive rational-basis review.”

Which is to say, it’s only a matter of time before every sexual relationship becomes worthy, not only of legitimacy, but of constituting a legal basis for marriage.

4. Persecution of Christians worldwide, especially those in countries seen as “friends” of the U.S.

Once again, one of the establishment press’ great unreported stories this year has been the extent and brutality of persecution of Christians around the world – even in nations America considers friendly, moderate, “partners” in the war on terror.

As it has in previous years, WorldNetDaily reported during 2003 on the widespread persecution of Christians around the world, in “unfriendly” places, such as:

But increasingly on our radar were stories of the persecution, imprisonment and murder of Christians in so-called “friendly” nations. A few examples:

5. A major federal study that found no connection between gun laws and gun violence

Virtually ignored by the news media, a comprehensive review of America’s gun control laws, conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found no proof whatsoever that gun laws – including waiting periods and bans on certain weapons – reduce gun-related violence.

A task force of CDC scientists reviewed 51 published studies dealing with the effectiveness of eight types of gun-control laws, including mandatory waiting periods and gun registration, bans on certain types of weapons and ammunition, concealed weapons regulations, child-access prevention measures, “zero tolerance” for guns in schools, and laws prohibiting felons from purchasing firearms.

In every case, the CDC task force found “insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness.”

Understandably, Second Amendment proponents applauded the study, while gun-control groups dismissed the study and called for more studies. But the media all but ignored it.

6. The continued vulnerability of U.S. airports

Despite a major effort since Sept. 11, 2001, to tighten security at the nation’s airports, a major hole in security persists, WND reported earlier this year.

Although it’s attracted little media attention, the “ramp” or “back side” of an airport, where unscreened workers and vendors have access to baggage, air cargo, food supplies, mechanics’ equipment and the aircraft itself, represents the gateway to the next terrorist attack on U.S. airliners, predicts a former airline security consultant.

Forget about hijackers getting on board your flight with knives, or even guns, and start worrying about bombs that may already be on board, says Charles G. Slepian, a security analyst who worked for TWA and now heads the Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center in New York.

He says the most likely way terrorists will bring down a jetliner today is by planting small plastic explosives on board – in the ceiling of the lavatory, in the pouch under your seat, in your food, or in the belly of the plane where unscanned air cargo rides.

Talking to Slepian, who’s also an attorney, makes you never want to fly again – at least not until the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, buttons down the back side of airports as it’s done the front side, where elaborate screening stations have been set up.

And just last month, an internal Homeland Security Department memo obtained by WorldNetDaily advised airports and air carriers to tighten security over passenger aircraft and air cargo during the holiday season.

U.S. officials explain that air cargo and the back side of airports, where jets are serviced, are still relatively vulnerable to terrorism more than two years after al-Qaida terrorists hijacked and crashed four jumbo jets on the East Coast.

Based on recent al-Qaida chatter, U.S. intelligence remains concerned that the terrorist group plans to use jets to attack nuclear, chemical or hazardous-materials facilities during the holiday season.

“Al-Qaida could attack U.S. LNG [liquid natural gas], nuclear and chemical facilities (manufacturing and HAZMAT storage) using aircraft, either passenger or cargo aircraft, the latter loaded with explosives,” warns the Homeland Security memo, which was distributed Nov. 21 to federal agencies and law enforcement.

7. The ominous free-speech implications of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law

Although the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law made the front-page of every newspaper and the top of every news broadcast in America earlier this month, what was lacking, or “spiked,” was any real reporting on the ruling’s disastrous effect upon political free speech in America.

As WND’s Joseph Farah explained following the 5-4 decision, “this legislation, shockingly upheld by the court, represents one of the biggest attacks on First Amendment freedoms in America’s history. It’s no exaggeration to say Congress, the president and the court killed freedom of speech with their actions.”

“Let’s say I, Joe American, want to make my voice heard in opposition to a congressional candidate in my district 59 days before the election,” wrote Farah. “I believe there is a compelling reason to reject a particular candidate – and no one in the media is willing to examine my pet cause. Even the opposing candidate is missing the boat – either through ignorance or oversight.

“So, I decide to take out a small ad in my local newspaper – on my own initiative and with my own meager financial resources.

“Do you know this wholesome, perfectly appropriate, civic-minded action is illegal under the new law?”

Farah offered another example, this time from real life, to bring the point home:

    A couple years ago, Leo Smith of Connecticut decided he would use his business website to do just that – urge the defeat of his congressional representative, Republican Nancy L. Johnson. He decided to add a new section to an already existing Internet site to advance the cause of her challenger, Charlotte Koskoff.

    Just a few days later, Smith was contacted by Koskoff’s campaign manager. No, it wasn’t a call to thank him for his efforts. It was a warning of legal problems he might encounter because of campaign-finance regulations.

    Smith was told by the Federal Election Commission that he was in violation of federal law because he had spent more than $250 in expressing his political views without disclosing his identity and filing the required reports.

    Never mind that Smith didn’t spend anything (except time) creating the new page. The FEC, however, insisted in an advisory opinion that the value of the computer hardware and software is factored into its calculations. If a computer used to express political viewpoints cost more than $250, the FEC said, its owner would have to meet the filing requirements.

Of course, this was before the McCain-Feingold legislation, said Farah. “It’s only going to get worse now.”

8. The Beltway sniper investigation “hero” Police Chief Charles Moose was so obsessed with avoiding “racial profiling” that he seriously hindered the investigation

When the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area was terrorized by serial snipers John Mohammed and Lee Boyd Malvo in October, 2002, the nation’s media focused their spotlights on Montgomery County, Maryland’s then-Chief of Police Charles Moose. To the nation, Moose was the hero of the sniper investigation and the personification of enlightened police work, and book and movie offers and other accoutrements of fame flooded in after the suspects were finally collared.

But Moose wasn’t the hero the media portrayed him to be.

Just hours after the Beltway snipers shot out a crafts store window, kicking off their three-week rampage, a pizza delivery man on shift next to the store told local police he saw two short-haired black males leave the scene – laughing and “high-fiving” each other – in a dark, older-model car, WorldNetDaily reported.

But the sniper task force led by Moose ignored the early eyewitness account and focused instead on a white suspect in a white vehicle, according to police investigators, who later spoke out about what they called racially correct “tunnel vision” during the nation’s largest manhunt.

In fact, so intent was Moose with not “painting some group,” as he once remarked to the media, that he withheld vital information not only from the public and media, but from his own troops. As WorldNetDaily reported, police union officials charged that Moose knew the descriptions of the Beltway snipers at least one day before releasing the information to his own patrol units. They said the delay not only jeopardized the lives of citizens, but also the safety of police officers.

In the aftermath of the investigation, Moose constantly came into conflict with police ethics officials – leading to his eventual departure from the department – over his desire to profit financially from the tragedy by writing a book about it while still in office, a violation of the department’s ethics standards.

9. The Terri Schindler-Schiavo case

Unlike some of this year’s most “spiked” stories, the dramatic case of Terri Schindler-Schiavo received massive media coverage – especially during the electrifying countdown to her planned death by court-ordered starvation, and the last-minute intervention by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the state’s legislature.

So, why is this story included in WND’s list of “spiked” stories? Because spiked also refers to reporting so biased or one-sided as to amount to “spiking” the truth of the matter.

Thus, although major national media reported almost daily during key periods of the unfolding Schiavo drama, most mainstream media reports, such as those by the Associated Press:

  • claimed in headlines and in text that Terri Schiavo was in a “persistent vegetative state,” although that is a key point under contention between medical experts for the two sides of the debate. Many medical professionals, therapists – and the girl’s parents – insist she is conscious, responsive, and wants to live.

  • virtually ignored or buried the fact that Terri’s husband and legal guardian, Michael Schiavo – who has been trying for years to have Terri’s feeding tube removed, so she will die – lives with another woman and has had two children with her.

  • rarely mentioned that Michael Schiavo “remembered” that Terri had long ago told him she wouldn’t want to be kept alive by artificial means, only after he had won a million-dollar malpractice award – money meant for Terri’s rehabilitation. Later, Schiavo pressed his court case to remove his wife’s feeding tube and cause her to die by starvation and dehydration.

  • routinely claimed Terri Schiavo suffered a “heart attack,” although that too is hotly disputed by those in favor of Terri’s remaining alive. In fact, some defenders of the brain-disabled woman’s right to live have called for a thorough investigation of the circumstances of Terri’s mysterious collapse and subsequent brain-damage, to eliminate the possibility of foul play on Michael Schiavo’s part.

The spectacle of Terri’s husband fighting in the courts for years to end her life, while her parents strive desperately to win guardianship so they can just take her home and take care of her, presented a story that just didn’t add up to many people who read only “mainstream” news coverage of the case.

But for readers of WorldNetDaily’s comprehensive coverage – widely credited with leading the onslaught of outrage (at one point resulting in 10 e-mails per second to Gov. Jeb Bush) urging a reversal of the court order to kill Terri Schiavo – the story made sense, since they got the whole story, at least as much as is currently known.

10. Human bio-chip implant arrives for cashless transactions

As WND revealed in an exclusive report, last month at a global security conference in Paris, an American company announced a new syringe-injectable microchip implant for humans, designed to be used as a fraud-proof payment method for cash and credit-card transactions.

Presented as an advance over credit cards and smart cards – which without biometrics and other safeguard technologies are subject to theft and identity fraud – the chip was introduced by Applied Digital Solutions.

While the company’s CEO called the chip a “loss-proof solution” whose “unique under-the-skin format” could be used for a variety of identification applications in the security and financial worlds, privacy advocates and civil libertarians consider the development an ominous invasion of privacy, ultimately paving the way for corporate or governmental tracking of citizens’ every movement in a 1984 nightmare scenario.

Moreover, many Christians find it ominously close to the dreaded “mark of the beast” foretold in the biblical book of Revelation, without which one could neither buy nor sell.

When WND began covering Applied Digital Solutions and its products like “Digital Angel” back in early 2000, Dr. Peter Zhou, who was the company’s chief scientist for development of the implant, told WorldNetDaily he was a Christian, but had no concerns about abuse of the technology.

“A few years ago there may have been resistance, but not anymore,” said Zhou. “People are getting used to having implants. New century, new trend.” Just like the cell phone, he said, Digital Angel “will be a connection from yourself to the electronic world. It will be your guardian, protector. It will bring good things to you.” The scientist added, ominously: “We will be a hybrid of electronic intelligence and our own soul.”

As for last month’s announcement, the “cashless society” application has been discussed previously by Applied Digital. But the announcement in Paris represented the first formal public announcement by the company of such a program.

It received almost no media publicity.

If you’d like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the WorldNetDaily poll.

Previous stories:

Which stories got ‘spiked’ last year? (2002)

10 most ‘spiked’ stories of 2001

10 most ‘spiked’ stories of 2000

Biggest spikes of 1999

Most under-reported stories of ’97

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