America’s vulnerability to a nuclear terrorist attack tops the list of the 10 most “spiked” or underreported stories of the last year, according to an annual WND survey.

Around the close of each year, most news organizations present their retrospective replays of what they consider to have been the top news stories in the previous 12 months.

However, the editors of WorldNetDaily always have found it more newsworthy to publish a compilation of the most important unreported or underreported news events of the year – to bring forth perhaps for one last time major news stories that were undeservedly “spiked” by the establishment press.

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

Here, with our readers’ help, are WorldNetDaily editors’ picks for the 10 most underreported stories of the past year.

1. America’s vulnerability to nuclear terrorism.

The United States faces an “inevitable” al-Qaida attack with weapons of mass destruction, according to Yossef Bodansky, the former director of the U.S. Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, yet the federal government has not prepared detailed civilian contingency plans that could serve as a deterrent against such an attack.

In 2004, reports surfaced that Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network bought tactical nuclear weapons from Ukraine in 1998. And WorldNetDaily first broke the story of al-Qaida’s purchase of suitcase nukes Oct. 3, 2002. Paul Williams, an FBI consultant on international terrorism said then that bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network purchased 20 suitcase nuclear weapons from former KGB agents in 1998 for $30 million.

Williams reported al-Qaida also has obtained chemical weapons from North Korea and Iraq.

While Iran continues to deny its nuclear program is for anything other than peaceful purposes, Tehran has bought massive amounts of beryllium, a metal vital to the process of initiating the chain reactions needed to create a nuclear weapon.

U.S. military sources told WorldNetDaily Iran’s secret uranium enrichment site, revealed by an Iranian opposition group, is housed below a luxury development complex in which civilians live. Iran obtained weapons-grade uranium and the specific design for a nuclear bomb from an exiled Pakistani nuclear scientist.

2. Sandy Berger’s pilfering of classified documents in an apparent attempt to sanitize President Clinton’s legacy. The criminal investigation of the former national security adviser – accused of pocketing highly classified terrorism documents prior to the Sept. 11 Commission hearings – virtually disappeared from the media after it first was reported in July. In October, after many months of silence, a Justice spokesman told WND a criminal investigation was ongoing, but he would not provide details about its nature or timing.

The after-action review of the millennium celebration taken by Berger conflicts with his testimony before the 9-11 commission, prompting some Republicans to charge he stole the documents to protect the Clinton administration.

3. The U.S. border as a conduit for terrorists. President Bush continued to press for a guest-worker program for aliens from Mexico, which critics blasted as an amnesty plan for illegals.

As WorldNetDaily reported, the president is facing a revolt against his proposal from members of his own party, who are looking to tighten security at the nation’s border.

In Central America, criminal gangsters, revolutionaries and Islamic terrorists are joining forces in an effort to overthrow governments of U.S. neighbors and smuggle operatives into and out of the U.S., according to senior police and intelligence sources

In early 2004, Pentagon officials confirmed human smuggling rings in Latin America were attempting to sneak al-Qaida operatives into the U.S., information first reported in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin more than a year ago.

Recently, the government of Mexico raised eyebrows with word that it published a new guide offering advice on how to cross the border into the U.S. illegally.

4. The validity of the Swiftboat vets’ charges against Sen. John Kerry. The more than 250 veterans who challenged the Democratic presidential candidate’s version of his war record and subsequent anti-war activities were shut out of the mainstream media until Internet sites such as WorldNetDaily and talk radio made it impossible for them to be ignored.

Then mainstream media repeated the assertion by Kerry supporters that the claims against the senator were debunked, without providing evidence. Those who offered evidence contended the military’s records supported Kerry’s version of events, without mentioning the swiftboat vets’ assertion that it was Kerry himself who wrote the “official record” in many instances, in after-action reports.

The campaign was forced to backtrack on Kerry’s long-held assertion that he was in Cambodia illegally on Christmas Eve in 1968. Kerry had claimed his swiftboat was ordered to Cambodia by President Nixon while the president denied to the world that any U.S. military forces were engaged in the country. The event was “seared, seared” into his memory, Kerry said on many occasions, including from the Senate floor. It was an experience that helped him conclude the war was immoral and worthy of protest. But Nixon did not become president until Jan. 20, 1969, and none of Kerry’s former crew members, including those who campaigned for him, backed his story.

5. America’s out-of-control judiciary. Ruling on cases brought largely by the American Civil Liberties Union, many judges across the nation continued to reshape America according to an activist agenda, not the U.S. Constitution. A few of 2004’s many examples:

6. Uncontrolled immigration. Illegal immigration into the U.S. has accelerated in the last year, since President Bush proposed a temporary worker program critics call a limited amnesty that would allow millions to remain in the U.S. legally. Just three weeks after the president’s announcement of the plan, U.S. Border Patrol officials reported a 15 percent increase in the use of fraudulent documents at the world’s busiest land border crossing. More than half of those caught using phony documents say the president’s offer of de facto amnesty motivated them to attempt to sneak into the United States, the report added.

In the coming year, another 3 million illegal aliens will enter the country, walking or driving across the border with impunity while new security procedures guard airports from illegal entry. Among them are a growing number of people categorized as “other than Mexicans,” including many from nations with populations hostile to the United States – Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran and Iraq.

As WorldNetDaily has reported, a number of Americans say Bush’s plan is giving them physical symptoms of anxiety, and some are even contemplating leaving the U.S. out of a sense of betrayal.

Arizona voters’ approval of a referendum clamping down on illegal aliens is bolstering a grass-roots effort that may result in similar measures across the nation.

7. The Philadelphia 5. A group of 11 Christians was “preaching God’s Word” to a crowd of people attending the Philadelphia “OutFest” event and displaying banners with biblical messages when they were arrested after a confrontation with a group called the Pink Angels, described by protesters as “a militant mob of homosexuals.”

The Christians spent a night in jail, eight charges were filed, including criminal conspiracy, but none of the Pink Angels was cited or arrested.

After a preliminary hearing in December, Judge William Austin Meehan ordered four of the Christians to stand trial on three felony and five misdemeanor charges. If convicted, they faced a maximum of 47 years in prison. Also, one female teenage protester faced charges in the juvenile justice system.

A videotape of the OutFest protest apparently showed no criminal activity being committed.

Earlier this month, a judge in Philadelphia dismissed all criminal charges, stating the United States is “one of the very few countries that protects unpopular speech.”

8. The U.N. oil-for-food scandal. In one of the largest corruption eruptions in world history, Saddam Hussein embezzled at least $21.3 billion from the United Nation’s Oil-for-Food program between 1997 and 2003, and very possibly channeled untold stolen riches into the hands of terrorists, including al-Qaida.

While the world would never have known about the super-scam had U.S. soldiers not retrieved documents Saddam didn’t have time to destroy before his hasty retreat from Baghdad, the responsibility for the disastrous program falls directly at the doorstep of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

As WorldNetDaily reported, a U.S. congressional committee revealed money taken by Saddam from the U.N. oil-for-food program was used as reward payments to families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

The U.N. Security Council launched the program in 1996 supposedly so Iraq could raise funds for food, medicine and other humanitarian goods in spite of sanctions against the Saddam regime.

Iraq sold more than $67 billion worth of oil before the program was ended by the U.S. invasion last year.

Although Oil-for-Food is one of the biggest financial scandals in world history, so far it seems not to have made much of a dent on the organization that perpetrated it, the United Nations.

9. Genocide in Darfur. The United States is calling the rape, pillaging and slaughter of blacks in western Sudan by the Islamist Khartoum regime and its Arab militia allies “genocide.” It marked the first time in history that a state which is party to the Genocide Convention has formally charged another state while the genocide is still in progress.

As WorldNetDaily reported, some analysts have asserted Khartoum’s obstruction of humanitarian aid offers clear and unambiguous evidence of an intent to destroy African tribal groups in the region. The All Africa Conference of Churches, a continent-wide group, has warned that Darfur resembles Rwanda 10 years ago when up to a million people were slaughtered as the world looked on.

The conflict between mainly black rebels in Western Sudan and government-backed Arab militiamen has led to the deaths of tens of thousands and about 1.2 million refugees.

Separately, Sudan’s Islamist regime in the Arab and Muslim north declared a jihad on the mostly Christian and animist south in 1989. Since 1983, an estimated 2 million people have died from war and related famine. About 5 million have become refugees. But analysts say the Darfur slaughter essentially is part of the Khartoum regime’s effort to Arabize and Islamize the entire country. The Darfur situation is more complex, because the African tribes involved are Muslims. Nevertheless, they are not Arab Muslims, and they reject the Khartoum regime’s imposition of its brand of radical Islam.

10. Saddam links with al-Qaida. Richard Clarke, the former U.S. government counterterrorism official, insisted Saddam Hussein had no connection to al-Qaida, but in 1999 he defended President Clinton’s attack on a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant by revealing the U.S. was “sure” it manufactured chemical warfare materials produced by Iraqi experts in cooperation with Osama bin Laden.

A former member of Saddam’s secret police corroborated the connection in an interview, saying he worked for a man who was Saddam’s envoy to al-Qaida. Abdul Rahman al-Shamari confirmed he was involved in assisting Ansar al Islam, an al-Qaida affiliate responsible for attacks against Kurdish and Western targets in northern Iraq. Besides weapons, al-Shamari said, Saddam’s secret police, the Mukhabarat, helped the al-Qaida-affiliated terror group financially “every month or two months.”

Related special offer:

“FREE Guide: What To Do If A Nuclear Disaster Is Imminent”

Related stories:

Most ‘spiked’ stories of 2003

Which stories got ‘spiked’ last year?

10 most ‘spiked’ stories of 2001

Most under-reported stories of 2000

Biggest spikes of 1999

Most under-reported stories of ’97

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.