The Enemy Of Obama Is WorldNetDaily's Friend
WND sides against the president and America by supporting the regime of Syrian dictator Assad -- and, by extension, Russia's Vladimir Putin -- on the Syrian civil war.
By Terry Krepel
WorldNetDaily hates President Obama more than it loves America. How else to explain its fealty toward repressive dictators?
WND's Aaron Klein demonstrated this in 2011 by repeatedly running to the defense of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak against a popular uprising and essentially serving as a mouthpiece for the regime. Klein and WND are repeating their embrace of Middle Eastern authoritarianism -- for seemingly no other purpose than to spite their longtime enemy, Obama -- in Syria.
Aaron Klein backs another dictator
Klein was defending the regime of Syrian dictator of Bashar al-Assad as early as May 2012, claiming that "the U.S. is backing protesters, many of whom, informed Middle Eastern security officials tell WND, are now pressing to openly announce an affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood" in Syria. As is his modus operandi for such Obama-bashing claims, Klein quoted no one on the record. He cited the following to back up his reporting:
How many of these are the same people? Who knows? It's difficult to take such reporting seriously with this level of overlapping anonymity.
Not only is Klein hiding behind these supposed anonymous sources, the tone of his article is surprisingly solicitous of Syria's Assad regime, calling it merely embattled and giving the regime's spokesman plenty of space to deny that the regime was responsible for the execution of civilians, including children, in the town of Houla.
Klein seemed strangely desperate to prove that the Houla massacre was committed by opposition forces and not the Assad regime. In a May 29, 2012, article, Klein touted how "Syria presented the United Nations and the U.S. with information that indicates it was a group affiliated with al-Qaida, armed by Turkey, that slaughtered more than 100 civilians in their homes in Houla last week, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials," complaining that "Much of the Western news media blamed Assad’s troops for the massacre."
In a June 2012 article, Klein highlights how "Jordan stated its security officials arrested two jihadists affiliated with al-Qaida on their way to Syria to fight against President Bashar Assad." Klein took Assad's word at face value regarding "foreign terrorists" among his opposition and once again defended Assad from accusations that his troops committed a massacre of civilians in the Syrian town of Houla, again taking a dictator at his word and using anonymous sources for alleged support:
Largely unreported is Syria’s claim that an armed terrorism element is behind the massacre.
At no point did Klein offer any reason why anyone should accept the Assad regime's claims as truth.
Several days later, Klein cited "an informed Syrian government source" to claim that Assad "is preparing a major offensive in the coming days against the opposition targeting his regime." Klein also once again defends Assad from accusations that his troops committed the Houla massacre, citing how "Germany’s leading daily, the Frankfurter 'Allgemeine Zeitung,' quoted sources claiming the Houla massacre was actually committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants."
But as religious blogger Richard Bartholomew pointed out, claims that anti-Assad forces committed the Houla massacre come from people citing anonymous sources, while numerous named eyewitnesses have confirmed that the massacre was the work of the regime.
A March 2013 article by Klein cited "a top Syrian official" and "informed Mideast security officials" to claim that "It was the Syrian opposition and not the Syrian government behind the firing Sunday and yesterday at the Israeli border" and that "it appears the rebels are attempting to create a humanitarian crisis to precipitate the deployment of NATO to fight the Assad regime."
Klein put himself in serious danger of straining arm ligaments patting himself on the back with a March 26 WND article under the screaming headline "NEW SCANDAL THREATENS OBAMA, HILLARY: Report confirms what well-placed sources have been saying." (Note to WND: If the "scandal" headline can't be bothered to provide any hint of what exactly that "scandal" is, it probably isn't a scandal.)
It turns out the article isn't about a "scandal" at all per se, but, rather, an exercise in self-aggrandizement with Klein congratulating himself for purportedly having his reporting confirmed by an actual news organization:
Confirming WND’s exclusive reporting for over a year, the New York Times two days ago reported that since early 2012, the CIA has been aiding Arab governments and Turkey in obtaining and shipping weapons to the Syrian rebels.
But the Times article Klein cited does not confirm some of his more salacious (and, as always, anonymous) accusations, such as that slain U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens "played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria." The Times article says nothing about that.
Klein continued his anonymously sourced ways in a Sept. 9 article claiming that "On the eve of a critical Capitol Hill discussion on Syria and two days before his address to the nation, President Obama has offered Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a way out of any U.S. bombing campaign." Klein's source for this claim? The usual unnamed and untraceable "informed Middle Eastern intelligence officials."
More WND writers defend Assad
Klein wasn't the only WND writer taking the side of Bashar Assad's murderous regime in Syria. Jerome Corsi wrote in a June 20 WND article:
Libyan expatriate sources proven to be credible have posted a gruesome video on YouTube showing a group of Syrian “rebels” brutally beheading a man and shooting two women and tossing their bodies down a hole in the ground.
Given that Corsi once called the researchers who plagiarized from other news articles for a smear job on Obama as "trusted Kenyan professionals," his faith in these supposedly "credible" Libyan expatriates should be skeptically at best.
On the other hand, Corsi's article embedded the video in question, with the tantalizing disclaimer "Viewers are warned that the video is so horrific that it could be psychologically disturbing."
Meanwhile, in another June 20 WND article, Michael Maloof placed his faith in authoritarian Russian leader Vladimir Putin to defend the Assad regime, touting "a little-publicized revelation by Russian President Vladimir Putin his country has evidence chemical laboratories in Iraq produced weapons for the Sunni rebels."
While Maloof conceded that "Putin did not detail the sourcing of that evidence, the name or location of the laboratory," he doesn't explain why a man who stole a Super Bowl ring should be trusted.
Bogus claim on death of priest
Garth Kant writes in a July 1 WorldNetDaily article:
The Vatican has confirmed the beheading of a Catholic priest in Syria.
The first sign that something is wrong with this story is a few paragraphs later, when Kant's quoting of the Vatican is much less confirming than Kant portrays it:
The news release states, “The circumstances of the death are not fully understood. According to local sources, the monastery where Fr. Murad was staying was attacked by militants linked to the jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra.”
Meanwhile, at the same time WND was publishing Kant's article, the video purportedly of Murad's beheading -- which WND luridly touts as "extremely graphic footage" -- was determined to be something else entirely. The UK Telegraph reported:
The footage posted on YouTube shows three men kneeling on the ground surrounded by a group of foreign jihadists, now thought to be a group of Chechen rebels. The crowd whips itself into frenzy and screaming "God is great" some of the rebels slaughter two of the prisoners.
The Telegraph went on to report that Murad was shot to death while defending a monastery from being ransacked by Islamist fighters. He was not beheaded.
Meanwhile, the International Business Times reported that the first user to upload the video on YouTube was a group known for its support of the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad -- which, of course, dovetails nicely with WND's support of the Assad regime.
Kant wrote a WND article the next day admitting his original article was inaccurate -- while trying to spin things away from his shoddy reporting by claiming that "A resounding silence is the reaction of those supporting the U.S. arming of Syrian rebels after the murder of a priest by rebels." Kant also whitewashed his original inaccuracies by declaring, "To be sure, the circumstances of the killing are murky but not the fact the priest was murdered by rebels."
Kant's original article, meanwhile, remains posted and uncorrected.
In the wake of a chemical weapon attack in Syria and a threat by Obama to punish the Assad regime for its role in perpetrating it, WND bolstered its support for Assad by relying on even more discredited sources.
Corsi -- not exactly the most trustworthy and accurate reporter on the planet -- found a new ally in supporting the Syrian government in blaming the chemical attacks on Syrian rebels, not the Assad regime, with this evidence:
With the assistance of former PLO member and native Arabic-speaker Walid Shoebat, WND has assembled evidence from various Middle Eastern sources that cast doubt on Obama administration claims the Assad government is responsible for last week’s attack.
Random, cherry-picked videos assembled by an anti-Muslim activist whose fundraising and even his background as a self-proclaimed former terrorist have been credibly questioned? That's not even Aaron Klein-level anonymous sourcing.
WND editor Joseph Farah followed up with a column citing Corsi and Shoebat's article as "credible evidence" that the rebels were responsible for the chemical attacks.
A Sept. 5 WND article by Maloof credulously repeated the claims of "a 100-page report on an investigation turned over to the United Nations by Russia" that Syrian rebels, not the Syrian government, were responsible for the chemical gas attack. But Maloof didn't mention the important that Russia, which is on the side of the Syrian government, has a vested interest in portraying the rebels as the culprits.
A Sept. 8 article by Maloof began: "Former U.S. intelligence analysts claim current intelligence analysts have told them Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not responsible for the Aug. 21 poison gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, which killed 1,429 people, of whom more than 400 where children." Maloof cited this claim to an obscure group called "Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity."
Among the members of this group Maloof lists is "Larry Johnson, retired CIA and State Department official." If that name sounds familiar, that's because he's the guy responsible for promoting the "whitey tape" -- a purported recording of Michelle Obama using that word at Jeremiah Wright's church. No such recording has ever surfaced, making Johnson a highly discredited anti-Obama activist -- and, thus, cannot be trusted on anything. Maloof, however, seems to feel differently.
Yet another of WND's highly dubious sources popped up in an unbylined Sept. 11 article:
Everyone in Syria, but especially its Christian population, is endangered by the growing surge of violence and atrocities perpetrated by the rebels who are challenging President Bashar al-Assad, according to a Catholic nun who has served community members in Syria for more than two decades.
But Mother Agnes is simply not credible. The New York Times pointed out that she is "a Carmelite nun born in Lebanon who is frequently quoted in the Russian media, and by American critics of Islam, defending the Assad government." The Times goes on to deconstruct her claims:
Mother Agnes has not presented any concrete evidence on the attack and was not nearby when it was carried out. (Her monastery is north of Damascus, not near the site of the attack.) Instead, she has written a rambling, 50-page analysis of the video posted on opposition YouTube channels that contains nothing but speculation that some or all of it was staged.
WND won't tell you any of this, of course -- like Mother Agnes, it too is on the side of Assad and Putin.