Two topics – Barack Obama and Islam – dominated the hottest reports of 2012, so it perhaps is no surprise that the single story most in demand by readers combined the two subjects: Jerome Corsi's report about the wedding ring that Obama has been wearing for decades – even before his marriage.
The report on WND.com, one of the biggest independent news sites in the world, documented how Obama drew puzzled looks from colleagues even as a student at Harvard Law when, as a bachelor, he was wearing a gold wedding band on his wedding-ring finger.
Photographs indicated the ring is the same ring Michelle Robinson put on his finger at the couple's wedding in 1992.
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Arabic-language and Islamic experts told WND the ring appeared to be adorned with the first part of the Islamic declaration of faith, the Shahada, which states: "There is no god except Allah."
Photographs published by the New Yorker from Obama's time at Occidental College, taken by fellows students, indicate that the ring Obama wore three decades ago is the one he is wearing in the White House.
To date, there's been no explanation of why Obama wore the band on his wedding-ring finger before he was married, although a satirical edition of the Harvard Law Review in 1990 listed among Obama's "Latest Accomplishments" his efforts at "Deflecting Persistent Questioning About Ring On Left Hand."
In second place was a report about the national media finally paying attention to the Obama eligibility issue after Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., held a news conference announcing his investigative team's conclusion there is probable cause to believe forgery and fraud were involved in the White House release of a birth document for Obama from the state of Hawaii.
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Arpaio's special five-member team probed allegations brought by members of the Surprise, Ariz., Tea Party that the Obama birth certificate released to the public by the White House might be a forgery.
The posse also has examined Obama's use of a Social Security number that corresponds to a Connecticut address, even though the president apparently had no links there.
The posse is comprised of three former law enforcement officers and two retired attorneys with law enforcement experience.
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The story detailed the results of the investigation, which found that besides the existence of probable cause to believe Obama's document is fake, the posse urged the elevation of the investigation to a criminal probe.
The report said the posse had identified at least one person of interest in the alleged forgery. Mike Zullo, Arpaio's lead investigator, said his team believes the Hawaii Department of Health engaged in a systematic effort to hide from public inspection any original 1961 birth records it may have in its possession.
"Officers of the Hawaii Department of Health and various elected Hawaiian public officials may have intentionally obscured 1961 birth records and procedures to avoid having to release to public inspection and to the examination of court-authorized forensic examiners any original Obama 1961 birth records the Hawaii Department of Health may or may not have," Zullo said in the report.
The investigators said the evidence contained in the computer-generated PDF file released by the White House as well as important deficiencies in the Hawaii process of certifying the long-form birth certificate establish probable cause that a forgery has been committed.
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The report said the Cold Case Posse advised Arpaio that members believe forgers committed two crimes. First, they say it appears the White House fraudulently created a forgery that it characterized as an officially produced governmental birth record. Second, the White House fraudulently presented to the residents of Maricopa County and to the American public at large a forgery represented as "proof positive" of President Obama’s authentic 1961 Hawaii long-form birth certificate.
In the No. 4 slot was the closely related "Sheriff Joe: 'Tons' More shocking Obama Info," which detailed how Arpaio predicted that much more information would be coming eventually from the Cold Case Posse, which continues to operate today.
Arpaio called details about the Obama birth certificate and Selective Service registration "probably the biggest censorship blackout in the history of the United States."
The famed sheriff said at the time: "I'm going at it strictly as a law-enforcement guy investigating a possible forgery and fraud. I'm sticking with that, but I'll tell you one thing. We got tons of other information that could be very shocking, too, but I'm sticking now with just the [forgery] investigation and possible criminal violations."
He has explained his original intent with the posse was to put to rest all the claims suggesting Obama was not meeting the constitutional requirements to hold the presidency.
"I told these guys, 'I want you to do a good job. I hope we clear the president,'" he explained. "I said give me the microfiche in Hawaii to show that he was born in that hospital. Give us the microfiche. … And that would clear everything up. But as we went into it with an open mind, now we're coming to a conclusion that we may have some forged documents revolving around this situation."
No. 5 was "Postman: Ayers Family put 'Foreigner' Obama Through School," in which a retired U.S. Postal Service carrier recalled to Corsi that former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers' parents helped finance Obama's education, and believed he was a foreign student.
Allen Hulton, who was commended for 39 years of honorable service with the USPS, gave a sworn affidavit to investigators commissioned by Arpaio to determine whether Obama is eligible for Arizona’s 2012 election ballot. Hulton recorded about three hours of video interviews with WND.
Hulton said the Ayers' family was on his route, and he learned of the couple's enthusiasm and support for a black foreign student. One bright, warm Chicagoland day, he recounts, he met the student who fit Mary Ayers' description in front of the Ayers home in Glen Ellyn, Ill. That young man, Hulton is convinced, was Barack Obama.
In spot No. 6 was "Arab Spring run Amok: 'Brotherhood' Starts Crucifixions."
The report explained how the so-called Arab Spring – in which strict Muslims have taken control of several Middle East and North African nations from Islamic moderates who often cooperated with the West, has gone out of control.
The report said there have been confirmed reports from the Middle East media that Muslim Brotherhood operatives "crucified those opposing Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace while abusing others."
Raymond Ibrahim, a fellow with the Middle East Forum and the Investigative Project on Terrorism, said the crucifixions are the product of figures the Middle East media call "partisans."
"Arabic media call them 'supporters,' 'followers' and 'partisans' of the Muslim Brotherhood," Ibraham said. He said the victims can be anyone, including Egyptian Christians.
WND Jerusalem Bureau Chief Aaron Klein documented how "Osama bin Laden" successfully donated twice to Obama's presidential re-election campaign, using a Pakistani Internet Protocol and proxy service, a disposable credit card and a fake address.
The report raised huge questions about the legitimacy of campaign finance laws in the United States and the Obama effort to cash in.
The "bin Laden" donations included a listed occupation of "deceased terror chief" and a stated employer of "al-Qaida."
For a time, "bin Laden" was set up on the official campaign website to contribute more to Obama's campaign. The name also was registered as a volunteer.
The report said after the "foreign" contribution was sent, "bin Laden's" email address received several solicitations from Obama’s campaign asking for more donations.
At No. 8 was "Obama's 'Missing Year' at Columbia Found?" which revealed that two separate database reports from the National Student Clearinghouse have contradicted Obama's claim he attended Columbia University for two years.
The reports added to the intrigue generated by Obama's unwillingness to discuss his time at the Ivy League institution, his refusal to release educational records and the fact that many political science students and faculty there in the early 1980s say they don't remember him.
Swirling amid the black hole of information are a host of theories about Obama's whereabouts – particularly during the 1981-1982 school year – including speculation he was working for the CIA in Pakistan.
The clearinghouse, with permission from Columbia, decided to make an exception to its media policy and address WND's inquiry into the discrepancy. Why do clearinghouse records indicate Obama was at the school only during the 1982-83 school year while Obama and Columbia’s spokesman have insisted he began attending the New York City school in the fall of 1981?
Janine Greenwood, vice president and general counsel for the clearinghouse, told WND there was a "computer error" in their system that has been corrected. She said she confirmed with Columbia that Obama was at the university for two academic years, not one.
"We basically had two records running simultaneously, and it just depended on how you input the name and the other information as to which records you got," she explained to WND in an interview.
Social Security number
"Obama's Social Security Number Challenged" was No. 9, a report that said questions remain about the validity of Obama's Social Security number.
The report said Ohio private investigator Susan Daniels filed suit in Geauga County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court demanding that Jon Husted, Ohio secretary of state, remove Obama's name from the 2012 ballot until Obama can prove the validity of his Social Security number.
Daniels, who has vetted thousands of Social Security numbers for numerous other clients, has done her homework. In her filing, she thoroughly documents her contention "that Barack Obama has repeatedly, consistently, and with intent misrepresented himself by using a fraudulently obtained Social Security Number."
To acquire appropriate standing in court, Daniels went to the trouble of establishing herself as a valid write-in candidate for president.
Daniels started her investigation in August 2009. Given her profession, she has been able to access a variety of proprietary databases. What she learned without much trouble is that Obama has been using a Social Security Number with the prefix "042" since 1986.
As she discovered, the "042" number is reserved for the exclusive use of individuals who register in Connecticut. When she ran 10 sequential numbers before and after Obama's, all returned with the documentation "issued 1977-1979 in CT."
But by all accounts, as Daniels thoroughly documents, Obama was then a 15-year-old living in Hawaii. There is no record of him even visiting Connecticut in or near this time frame.
And closing the Top Ten list was the report "Iran: Discovery Will Collapse Christianity."
WND writer Reza Kahlili, who formerly was a spy in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, wrote about proclamations in Iran's press about a so-called "Gospel of Barnabas."
It's supporters said it would cause the collapse worldwide of Christianity.
Iran's Basij Press claims it was written in the 5th or 6th century and predicts the coming of Muhammad and the religion of Islam. The "Barnabas Gospel" claims Jesus never was crucified, was not the Son of God and He predicted the coming of Muhammad.
Basij Press said the "discovery" would undermine Christianity by casting doubt on the Bible.