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Wednesday, November 4, 2009
WND Solicits for Legal Defense Fund -- But Won't Come Clean About Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Nov. 3 WorldNetDaily article by David Kupelian is a solicitation for WND's legal defense fund regarding claims over its CAIR-bashing "Muslim Mafia" book. But Kupelian has not been forthcoming about it, which should give pause to any potential donor.

"Muslim Mafia" is built around interns working undercover and CAIR and stealing documents. Kupelian writes:

Although CAIR contends Chris Gaubatz stole the documents, WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah has previously explained in a letter to Congress that the CAIR material was legally obtained by the young investigator, who had been asked by CAIR officials "to shred documents he believed might be criminal evidence … and involve matters of national security."

"On advice from counsel, he collected those documents and preserved them. None of the documents were 'stolen,'" Farah said. "They were, in fact, handed to him by CAIR employees for destruction. All of the documents are available for review by appropriate law-enforcement authorities and, in fact, some have already been provided to them."

Farah concluded by saying Gaubatz's "patriotic activities within CAIR, an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, were done on advice of counsel at every step, and were in accordance with District of Columbia and Virginia state law."

But WND thus far has not named the attorneys who advised it regarding "Muslim Mafia,' nor has it publicly detailed the legal precedents upon which WND's claim that the documents are not stolen rests.

There are other things going on behind the scenes as well that Kupelian has thus far failed to disclose. A Nov. 2 WND article by Art Moore reveals that another organization funded the "research" that resulted in "Muslim Mafia":

[Co-author] Dave Gaubatz told WND the "research project pertaining to CAIR was conducted in a professional and legal manner."

He said it was "funded by a high profile U.S. organization with very close ties to senior law enforcement and U.S. government officials."

Gaubatz said he cannot name the group now, but noted it is not SANE, the Society of Americans for National Existence, as widely believed.

"This organization is very professional, and every step of the research was coordinated with their legal team and senior personnel," he said. "From the very onset of the research, our researchers observed intelligence in CAIR documents which appeared to be national security concerns."

Moore, bizarrely, doesn't ask his boss, Joseph Farah, about this mysterious funder, even though he, as the publisher of the book, must know who it is. Such is the self-serving nature of reporting on yourself. Moore also doesn't admit the obvious: This is all a promotional strategy for the book.

There's another hole in the case that's not being publicly addressed. Moore writes:

CAIR claims that as "David Marshall," Chris Gaubatz signed a confidentiality and nondisclosure agreement in which he agreed he would not divulge to others any trade secrets, confidential information or other proprietary data. Politico reported, however, CAIR officials say they can't find the agreement Gaubatz allegedly signed.

But at no point has Chris Gaubatz denied signing a confidentiality agreement. And given the clandestine nature of the operation, one can easily speculate that Gaubatz, in his document-stealing frenzy, made the confidentiality agreement he signed disappear somehow. Moore curiously didn't pursue that.

People should refrain from donating to WND's legal defense fund until they know who funded the undercover operation that resulted in the book -- and whether they will be contributing to legal defense efforts as well. 

They should also refrain from donating until they are aware of all the facts in the case. Precedent calls for such prudence.

WND similarly solicited legal defense donations regarding the libel lawsuit filed against it by Clark Jones, a Tennessee car dealer and supporter of Al Gore, regarding articles WND published before the 2000 presidential election that made claims about him he asserted were false. WND fought the lawsuit for seven years, even though -- as we detailed -- WND made no effort to fact-check the articles before publishing them. (They were written by outside writers, not WND employees, and were purchased from the authors for publication.)

Then, shortly before the case was to go to trial in March 2008, WND abruptly settled the lawsuit, in part by admitting that "no witness verifies the truth of what the witnesses are reported by authors to have stated. Additionally, no document has been discovered that provides any verification that the statements written were true." WND also stated: "Discovery has also revealed that the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context."

WND admitted publishing false claims about Jones, something it could have avoided by fact-checking before publication instead of years after the fact. This means WND has a history of failing to perform due diligence, resulting in serious financial and reputational costs to the organization.

WND has never provided a public explanation of why it fought Jones' lawsuit for seven years -- using defense fund money to do so -- when it knew or should have known he was right all along.

Such lack of accountability should be a red flag to any potential contributor to WND's legal defense fund.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:16 AM EST

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