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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
Posted 9/25/2013

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:

  • "informed Middle Eastern security officials"
  • "Middle Eastern security officials" (it's not clear if these are as "informed" as his other group of "Middle Eastern security officials")
  • "Egyptian security officials"
  • "Several knowledgeable Egyptian and Arab security officials"
  • "One Egyptian security official"
  • "An Egyptian military attaché"

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.

Middle East security officials told WND Syria has sent information to the U.S., U.N. and other international bodies indicating the house-to-house slaughter was carried out by a group affiliated with al-Qaida that came from North Africa.

According to Syria, the jihad organization entered Syria via Turkey, where the militants were first armed. Syria did not blame Turkey directly for the massacre, the security officials said. The Syrian report stated Turkey likely believes the al-Qaida elements were going to fight Assad’s regime.

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.

While the Times report claims most of the weapons shipments facilitated by the CIA began after the latest presidential election, Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND have said U.S.-aided weapons shipments go back more than a year, escalating before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi.

In fact, the Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND since last year describe the U.S. mission in Benghazi and nearby CIA annex attacked last September as an intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels in the Middle East, particularly those fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.


Now the New York Times has bolstered WND’s reporting, citing air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders describing how the CIA has been working with Arab governments and Turkey to sharply increase arms shipments to Syrian rebels in recent months.

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.

The Libyan expatriates forwarded the video to WND to make bolster their claim that the “rebel forces” about to be armed by the Obama administration are made up of radical Islamic terrorist groups with international ties to al-Qaida.

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.

Franciscan Father Francois Murad was killed by Syrian jihadists on June 23.

Catholic Online reports jihadits accused Father Francois of collaborating with the Assad regime.

The publication has obtained this video it believes shows his beheading.

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 film is too grainy to be able to confirm the identity of either of the victims as Father Francois. While the video's title refers to the killing of a priest and a bishop, none of the participants in the actual video refer to any such actions, and only accuse the victims of being collaborators and 'shabiha', a reference to pro-government militia members.

Father Pizzaballa, a colleague in the Franciscan Friars of the Custody of the Holy Land, to which Father Francois belonged, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that none of their priests were the victims in the video.

"None of our priests have died in this manner. All our priests are alive. Reading the reports circulating in the media I conclude that they have mixed up events," he said.

Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies Director for Human Rights Watch said: "Confusion may have arisen because of the appearance of this video around the same time that the news came out that Father Francois had been killed.

"Human Rights Watch has been conducting an in-depth investigation into this video, and it looks like it may have been filmed in a different location several months ago, long before Father Francois was reportedly killed."

Yasser, a Syrian activist who has been researching the killings in the video said that the incident took place "months" before the priest's death.

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.

Discredited sources

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.

On top of that, Corsi writes that "Russian media sources have consistently reported Syrian military have discovered rebel warehouses containing chemical weapons agents and have documented rebel chemical weapons attacks on the Syrian civilians the military." Given that Russia is in bed with the Assad regime, why trust anything the Russian media has to say?

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.


Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, the mother superior of St. James Monastery in Qara who previously has served as a source of information for WND, describes the horrors to which she was witness. One was the threat from Muslims that Christians of Maaloula would be beheaded if they did not convert to Islam.

In a question-and-answer interview with RT recently, she voiced doubt about the validity of rebel statements protesting the Aug. 21 gas attack near Damascus and expressed outrage at the “massacre” of civilians by members of Jabhat al-Nusra, the most influential of the rebel groups fighting Assad.

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.

It seems likely that the nun’s idiosyncratic study of the video evidence would have attracted little attention, but for the fact that she was subsequently presented as an expert witness to events by Russia Today, the Kremlin-owned news network that is promoted on the Russian foreign ministry’s Web site.

In an interview with RT two weeks ago, Mother Agnes said that she was convinced, based on her study of the footage posted online, “that the whole affair was a frame-up. It had been staged and prepared in advance with the goal of framing the Syrian government as the perpetrator.”

“The key evidence is that Reuters made these files public at 6:05 in the morning,” she continued. “The chemical attack is said to have been launched between 3 and 5 o’clock in the morning in Ghouta. How is it even possible to collect a dozen different pieces of footage, get more than 200 kids and 300 young people together in one place, give them first aid and interview them on camera, and all that in less than three hours? Is that realistic at all?”

However, a close look at what appears to be the early Reuters report Mother Agnes cited as evidence suggests that her suspicion was ill-founded. The report’s time stamp indicates that it was posted online on Aug. 21 at “6:05 a.m. EDT,” or Eastern Daylight Time, the time zone used in New York, which is seven hours behind Syria. That means that the report, based on video of the attack’s victims, appeared just after 1 p.m. in Syria that day — 10 hours, not 3, after the first video of the victims was posted online.

WND won't tell you any of this, of course -- like Mother Agnes, it too is on the side of Assad and Putin.

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