Asa we've mentioned, WorldNetDaily has spent the past several days obsessed by a person's attempt to sell on eBay what is claimed to be a a certified copy of Barack Obama's birth certificate issued in a Mombasa, Kenya, hospital in 1961. WND initially expressed skepticism, even trotting out Jerome Corsi -- who knows his fake Obama documents from Kenya -- to cast doubt on the claim.
But as eBay has tried to warn people away from it by warning of the likely fraudulent nature of the offer, noting its policy forbidding the sale of certain government documents, and repeatedly removing it from its website, WND has decided to treat it as real and is now in league with the seller. A July 2 WND article quotes the seller, "colmado_naranja," as saying that after he posts a video about the alleged certificate on YouTube, "I will be heading over to WorldNetDaily to talk with Joseph Farah. I will disclose everything to them." (The article adds: "But there has been no video or verbal contact with WND.")
WND repeats the seller's claim that he is "a self-proclaimed 'collector of old Dominican and Cuban money' and has worked in the Congo." But WND has revealed no evidence that it has done any investigating into the background of "colmado_naranja."
However, a blogger at the Barackryphal website has -- and what he found raises numerous questions about the seller's trustworthiness:
So "colmado_naranja" is apparently Lucas Smith, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Another quick round of Googling promptly turns up this story from the Syracuse Post Standard:
Jim Jr. was born with one kidney. It kept him going for the first 18 years of his life. He rarely missed school, and even felt fine the day a school nurse took his blood pressure and realized something was wrong. Go see a doctor, she told him. Right away...
Jim Jr. was put on the national kidney transplant list in November 2001, five months after doctors diagnosed him with end stage renal disease...
In late 2002, a man from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, sent an e-mail to the family. The man, who called himself Lucas Smith, said he was 23 years old and had emigrated from Russia five years earlier. He had seen the Web site and, Smith said, he wanted to help.
The Wilsons stopped searching for a donor. Smith passed all of the medical, physical and psychological tests. They thought he was going to save their son's life.
Then, on May 3, 2003, Smith sent Jim Wilson Sr. an e-mail saying he wanted to be compensated for donating his kidney.
Wilson said they would pay his airfare, but because it was illegal to receive money for an organ donation, they wouldn't give him any other cash.
Five months after holding out a lifeline, Lucas Smith disappeared.
Jim Wilson Sr. called the Cedar Rapids police.
Yes, at least one Lucas Smith of Cedar Rapids, Iowa has previously attempted to extort money for a valuable commodity in his possession, only to never deliver on it. Maybe it's the same Lucas Smith of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Maybe not.
Another FreeRepublic poster ran Mr. Smith's name through the archives of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, and unsurprisingly, Lucas Smith has a criminal history. Most notably, in 2000 he pled guilty to passing several bad checks after opening a bank account with false information, and in 1998 he received a deferred judgment on a charge of forgery.
WND might want to get serious about engaging in its supposed mission of investigative journalism before promoting this story any further. Then again, WND has a lower standard of fact -- well, actually, no standard of fact -- when the target is one of its political enemies. After all, it has yet to admit it was wrong in repeating never-verified allegations by the utterly discredited Larry Sinclair.