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WND's Other Russia Apologists, Part 2

WorldNetDaily columnists have continued their admiration for Vladimir Putin and their smears against Ukraine -- but there's one columnist who's deviating from the pro-Russia norm.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 11/16/2023

As befits a "news" organization that has long admired Russian leader Vladimir Putin, WorldNetDaily columnists have taken Putin's side in his war on Ukraine, and that love has continued. Hanne Nabintu Herland complained in her April 26 column:
The forced politicization of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine may easily backfire. As the Ukrainian government is now engaged in a militant, atheistic, Soviet Union-type of manhunt and persecution against traditional Orthodox Christians, despite their pledged loyalty to Ukraine, this may be a mistake that will impact the Russia-Ukraine war in unexpected ways. What happens domestically when you begin attacking your own history? "The Ukrainian authorities are sadly ignorant of the spiritual laws that govern the universe. Instead, they spit upon the Church and the saints," says Metropolitan Luke of Zaporozhye. Almost half of the Ukrainian population adhere to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.


The world-famous Monastery of the Caves, the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra, dates back to the 11th century. It is the holiest site in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and now at the center of attention, as the current government has decided to expel the church from this site, pledging to take its hundreds of years old holy relics and turning these over to museums. The thousand-year-old monastery is to be a place for arts, crafts and military rehab.

Herland is being quite vague about what is happening here. At no point did she note that, as ConWebWatch has documented, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church continues to have ties to the Russian Orthodox Church, which is headed by a staunch ally, Patriarch Kirill. A breakaway sect, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, has formed independent of Moscow -- the existence of which Herland doesn't mention at all (also, Russia refuses to recognize the church). The Ukrainian government took over the monastery because the UOC continues to remain affiliated with Moscow despite pledges to the contrary.

Still, Herland insisted on whining: "When the Western-affiliated government follows atheistic Soviet tactics of harassment and persecution of the Ukrainian Church, they ignore the very greatness of their own history that made Ukraine such a center for spirituality in the East." Again, she falsely portrayed the UOC as be persecuted for their religion when, in fact, they are facing consequences for continued links to Russia at a time when Russia is waging war on Ukraine.

That's just rank dishonesty -- but then, we're used to that from Herland.

Richard Blakley

Richard Blakley -- a top WND Putin apologist -- has been very busy on the Russian propaganda front. He complained in a July 18 column that Ukraine (and, by extension, the U.S.) didn't want to negotiate with Russia over a war that Russia unilaterally started:

It seems that with the olive branch extended last Christmas someone would want to talk with Putin and ask questions. For example, what are your "national interests?" What are "the interests of your citizens?" And how do you explain your view that the West is trying to "destroy Russia?"

Perhaps Putin's interests include eliminating U.S. funded Ukrainian bio-labs, or immoral stances the West has taken on marriage and gender. Who knows what his points are, if you refuse to talk with him.

Instead of speaking with Putin, CIA Director William Burns stated that while most conflicts end in negotiation, Russia was not serious about real talks. An adviser to Zelensky stated Putin needed to return to reality and acknowledge it was Russia that did not want talks.

So, by Dec. 25, 2022, Putin said he wanted to talk, but the West and Ukraine said Putin does not want to have peace talks. It seems like if you can stop the killing, everyone would jump at the idea.
Blakley didn't mention that if Russia wanted peace, it could simply withdraw from Ukraine. Instead, he weirdly chose to blame Democrats because "the 2024 elections are fast approaching, and the Democrats will need more funds – for their political coffers." He also didn't explain why, if Putin is so concerned with "immoral stances," he's waging war on a neighboring country, killing thousands of people for no reason.

Blakley continued being a Putin apologist in his Aug. 1 column, in which he blamed unrest in the region on the CIA (and not, you know Russia), then justified Russia's taking of Crimea because the toppling of corrupt Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych in 2014 was purportedly engineered by the U.S.:

Fast-forward to February 2014. Joe Biden, Obama's point man in Ukrainian affairs, was in Kyiv and "watched anti-government protesters fill the streets in what became known as the Maidan revolution." "Masked militants" demanded a change in government and constitution. Duly elected Ukrainian President Yanukovych was accused of being pro-Russian and anti-European with his policies, because he refused to sign an EU agreement. He had been elected "in balloting that international observers considered reasonably free and fair." According to filmmaker Oliver Stone's four-hour interview with Yanukovych, a deal that Yanukovych had agreed to was tossed aside "when well-armed, neo-Nazi radicals forced him to flee the country with repeated assassination attempts." The next day, "a new pro-Western government was established and immediately recognized by the U.S. (as in the Chavez 2002 coup)."

Prior to this, Russian intelligence intercepted a telephone call between Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. This call detailed their selection of Yatsenyuk as prime minister once Yanukovych was ousted. The telephone call was leaked to the international media.

Unfortunately, in this Maiden revolution, protesters and police officers lost their lives. The slain activists are known as "the Heavenly Hundred." Stone stated it "seemed clear that the so-called 'shooters' who killed 14 police men, wounded some 85, and killed 45 protesting civilians, were outside third-party agitators."

"Many witnesses, including Yanukovych and police officials, believe these foreign elements were introduced by pro-Western factions – with CIA fingerprints on it." Stone compared this overthrow to the 2002 and 2014 Venezuela protests. He stated the plan is to "create enough chaos, as the CIA did in Iran '53, Chile '73, and countless other coups, and the legitimate government can be toppled." Continuing, Stone stated, "It's America's soft power technique called 'Regime Change 101.'"

This toppling of the Ukrainian government forced Putin to respond. While Crimea was part of Ukraine, Russia had an agreement with the former Ukrainian government to use Crimea as a warm-water port. With the toppling of the government, Russian military annexed Crimea. Putin felt Russia's national security was threatened, because Russia's two main warm-water ports are Tartus in Syria and Sevastopol in Crimea.

Blakley again claimed that Putin -- who, again, unilaterally started the war against Ukraine -- really wants to be a peacemaker:

On Dec. 25, 2022, and again, on Jan. 6, 2023, Putin offered peace talks, but instead of speaking with Putin, Biden-appointed CIA Director William Burns stated that while most conflicts end in negotiation, Russia was not serious about real talks.

July 10, 2023, Biden said that Ukraine is not ready to join NATO. This is very odd since Biden had been pushing Ukrainian membership in NATO since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Even stranger, while this is what Putin wanted to address with Biden before the war began, Biden refused to talk with Putin, stating that Ukrainian NATO membership concerns were a non-starter for negotiations.

With this overreaching CIA and bumbling Biden administration mess, what's the objective now?

Blakley didn't explain why the U.S. and Ukraine should negotiate with a terrorist. Still, he pushed Russia's case again in his Aug. 28 column:

Recently, I learned that Russia feels betrayed that NATO is involved in Ukraine, for Moscow views this is in violation of promises made at the negotiations for the reunification of Germany. Apparently, Feb. 9, 1990, Secretary of State James Baker, under President George H.W. Bush, told Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev that "if we maintain a presence in a Germany that is a part of NATO, there would be no extension of NATO's jurisdiction for forces of NATO 1 inch to the east."

Blakley didn't explain why Russia has any reason to be threatened by a defensive alliance like NATO. He went on to assert that "there are many reason [sic] that Russia invaded Ukraine" and once again complain that nobody wants to try and make peace with a warmonger like Putin, instead blaming the U.S. for trying to make money off the war (which, again, Russia started):

July 30, Putin stated Russia is ready for peace with Ukraine, but in mere hours after he spoke, there was a drone attack on Moscow damaging two office blocks. Does this sound like an escalation or de-escalation of the war?

As noted, a few weeks ago, Saudia Arabia held a peace conference without Russia in attendance. Real peace talks involve the warring countries. What could these talks have been about? U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters, "We are not looking at these talks as generating any concrete deliverables," but instead, it is "'a chance for a number of countries around the world' to hear directly from Ukraine 'about the horrors their country has suffered at the hands of Russian aggression.'" So these "peace negotiation" were not "peace negotiations" at all. What could they have been for?

Let's see, in November of 2022 Ukraine was told to act like they wanted peace, so they could get more money, and seven days later Biden asked for money for Ukraine. Well, what do you know, six days after the Russia-uninvited "peace negotiations," on Aug. 11, 2023, Biden called for another $24 billion for Ukraine.

Then on Aug. 18, Biden approved F-16s for Ukraine. Does this sound like an escalation or de-escalation of the war?

Is Ukraine really looking for peace, or is Ukraine and U.S. operatives looking for more money they can channel to who knows where?

At no point does Blakley postulate that since Russia started the war, it's Russia's responsibility to de-escalate its war.

For his Sept. 7 column, Blakley called on a couple fellow Putin apologists to help make his pro-Russia case:

Recently, Tucker Carlson spoke in Budapest, Hungry, noting that Russia has a population of 143 million, while Ukraine has a population of 43 million, meaning, in a war, Ukraine is probably going to run out of people first. Having a modern military with sophisticated weaponry, Russia is also a nuclear power, while Ukraine is not. So, will Russia allow itself to lose this war? Is Ukrainian membership in NATO worth world annihilation? If Vladimir Putin is evil, should he begin to lose, just what might he do?

Carlson also interviewed Col. Douglas MacGregor. Counter to fake-news coverage, the colonel stated Ukraine is losing the war. He said 400,000 Ukrainians have died and only 50,000 Russians. MacGregor believes the Ukrainians are running out of men, and when Zelensky loses his last soldier, he will retire to one of his resort homes purchased from siphoning off U.S. money.

On that basis, Blakley fearmongered that U.S. troops will soon be drawn into fighting in Ukraine:

When Zelensky runs out of soldiers, who do you think is going to fill the boots? If it is United Nations peacekeeping forces, the soldiers will largely be U.S. troops. Fake-news-swayed popular opinion has resulted in an August 2023 Newsweek poll in which 47% of age 18-26 (Gen Z) support sending U.S. troops to Ukraine. They are the ones who would go. Will they be adept at dodging the cluster bombs?

President Biden has already sent more U.S. troops to Europe. The prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, stated that Western boots on the ground in Ukraine means World War III has begun, and Hungary's people realize how very dangerous this situation is.


America will have to decide what it wants. Are we callus enough that it doesn't matter who's dying as long as they are not Americans? Are we ready to continue ratcheting up this war to start World War III? Are we ready for missile strikes on America? Are we all lost in the maze of the Ukrainian war and not observing what China is doing in the meantime? Is Ukrainian NATO membership worth U.S. boots on the ground in Ukraine?

Again, Blakley offered no reason why Russia should not end a war it chose to start.

Blakley spent his Sept. 20 column complaining that every single penny of the U.S. money going to Ukraine hasn't been completely accounted for:

Sept. 4, 2023, the New York Times asked, "Where is the money?" concerning Ukrainian funds. Wow! What a surprise. Money is missing! Giving billions to a known corrupt money-siphoning group of people ended up with money going missing. Where was the New Times when Reuters reported $37 billion missing in Ukraine in 2014? Well, it could have been worse. It only took the New York Times nine years to wake up to reality.

In a February USA Today article, John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, said, "When you spend so much money so quickly, with so little oversight, you're going to have fraud, waste and abuse." In fact, concerning this he said there would be "massive amounts." Ukraine only scored 33 out of 100 in the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which is near the worst third of 180 countries.

Of course, the Pentagon has said it made an accounting error and the missing $6.2 billion the Times cited is simply due to the Defense Dpartment overpriced the value of military equipment sent to Ukraine. So, the Pentagon does not know how much equipment costs, so it is overpriced by billions? Boy, doesn't that make you want to pay taxes? If they can't get the price right now, what makes you think they ever got the price right? Remember that this is your taxpayer money that funds the Pentagon "budget."


Maybe we should spend less on Ukraine and more on problems killing Americans. Even a CNN poll stated the American people oppose more aid for Ukraine.

Blakley weirdly didn't mention Russia at all in his column, let alone the fact that one sure way to stop sending U.S. money to Ukraine is for Russia to stop waging a vicious, destructive war against it.

Farah spreads Russian propaganda

WND editor Joseph Farah became a full-blown disseminator of Russian propaganda in his July 21 column:

Remember those stories about the secret Ukrainian bio-labs? It was just Russian disinformation, right? Not really.

It's getting new currency in the U.N. now that Russia and China are getting behind a charge of censorship against the U.S. that will not go away anytime soon.

Worried about this is the U.S. State Department, which has launched an active outreach campaign to neutralize Russian accusations that U.S. military biologists had violated the provisions of the Biological Weapons Convention, as stated by the Russian Defense Ministry and a bold new presentation made on July 14 by Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov.

Kirillov claims that documents acquired from Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine demonstrate a plot by the Pentagon to test unregistered medical products on local populations with the subsequent approval of regulatory bodies in favor of Big Pharma.

According to him, this was accomplished via a "network of subordinate biolaboratories and intermediary organizations," including Metabiota, which is funded by Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden? What do bio-labs have to do with Hunter Biden?


Moscow has claimed that secret American biological-warfare labs in Ukraine were a justification for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

"U.S. President Joe Biden himself is involved in the creation of biolaboratories in Ukraine," Russia's State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said, according to state media.

"An investment fund run by his son Hunter Biden funded research and the implementation of the United States' military biological program. It is obvious that Joe Biden, as his father and the head of state, was aware of that activity," said Volodin.

Farah then asserted, "It's not far-fetched." Actually, it is. As PolitiFact pointed out, "There are no U.S.-run bioweapons facilities in Ukraine, which joined the U.S. in signing the 1972 convention that prohibited the development, production and possession of biological weapons," adding that "the line from Ukraine’s biological research to Hunter Biden is convoluted, with the younger Biden at least a few degrees of separation away from the labs in question, rather than directly bankrolling their operation." PolitiFact further summarized:

  • The new Hunter Biden narrative is based on his affiliation with an investment firm that raised money for and invested in Metabiota, a startup that does work related to global health. It’s unproven that Biden was involved with the investment decision.
  • Metabiota separately received money from the Pentagon’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency for subcontracted work related to the biological research labs in Ukraine. That work involved helping to train and otherwise support scientists at those facilities.
  • PolitiFact found no evidence that Metabiota’s work assisting staff at the labs in Ukraine was directly financed by Hunter Biden or his investment firm. Metabiota said that the work it performed in Ukraine was fully financed by the DTRA.

As backup for all this, Farah cited only dubious right-wing sources like the New York Post, the Daily Mail and Gateway Pundit. He did not explain why anyone should trust those highly biased sources, why anyone should take anything members of the Russian government -- which has a history of mucking about in American politics -- at face value. All that matters is the Russians hate Biden as much as he does, so he will never fact-check them, no matter how bad it looks for him to parrot Russian propaganda. Indeed, he pushed more wacky claims from them:

Additionally, Kirillov claims that an increase in the number of non-endemic Asian tiger mosquitoes has already been recorded in southern and central Europe, with populations having established in five federal districts of Germany. Furthermore, another mosquito species (Culex modestus), a vector of West Nile fever, has been identified in Sweden and Finland.

Maybe a pandemic is being readied as another election year surprise.

Kirillov goes on to charge that the work of U.S. military biologists is "aimed at the formation of 'artificially managed epidemics' not controlled by the Biological Weapons Convention." He also claims to have seized documents proving that the Pentagon maintained bioweapons research institutions in Ukraine through Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and was participating in bio-warfare in the mainly Russian-speaking Donbass from 2014 to 2022.

Farah then name-checked his favorite ex-Fox News host: "That was what drove Tucker Carlson to find the truth about this story. Then he was fired and ridiculed. Tucker is always right." No, he's not.

Farah concluded by actually rooting for the Russians:

With other friends in Cuba, Brazil, throughout Latin America and Africa, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, including admirers in Canada and Mexico, maybe Russia will have another shot at the U.N.

Like I said, it's all quite plausible.

Like we said, it's not plausible at all, and Farah's blind trust in Russian propaganda doesn't make it any more so -- and it demonstrates how much he apparently hates America.

Ilana Mercer

WND columnist Ilana Mercer has been a supporter of Russia's war against Ukraine, though she has also expressed support for Ukraine's Nazi imagery-invoking Azov Battalion in a June 2022 column because it's fighting for white people (not surprising logic from a native South African who tried to make an intellectual case for apartheid). Mercer's WND columns have grown more sporadic, but she continues to back Russia and bash Ukraine. In a December 2022 column, amidst anti-immigrant and anti-vaccine rants (touting how those who didn't get a COVID vaccine are "healthy pure-bloods"), took a shot at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for capitulating to Russia:

"It's biblical, Zelensky: a leader who fails to haggle for the lives of his people is a failed leader." Since the command-and-control U.S. media purge any news of peace talks with Russia, we're none-the-wiser to the fact that at least Israel, France and Turkey are currently active in mediating peace talks.

Ever wonder how Zelensky and family could have remained safely ensconced in Ukraine, as over a million of his countrymen have been forced to flee? The little runt is very likely heavily protected by the best of our Special Forces, or by a private, paramilitary security company paid for by the American taxpayer. A kept man, his flesh softer than sin under the khaki costume, Zelensky has no incentive to quit his shabbily self-serving "heroics," now that the world's greatest deliberative body has authorized billions for his upkeep and that of his country for posterity, in sickness and in health.
Mercer didn't raise the possibility that Russia should withdraw and end its unprovoked war against Ukraine.

Mercer began her Aug. 10 column by quoting herself defending Russia being white, right-wing and Christian: "By America's prescriptions, Russia should be a woke, minority white, multicultural sewer, awash with MeToo, BLM, and Antifa sensibilities." She never did get around to explaining how all that justifies Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- though she did approvingly quote political scientist John Mearsheimer, who has been perpetually wrong about Russia and Ukraine -- but again attacked Zelensky:

"Win or die, dummies" is what Ukrainians are being instructed by the U.S. Uniparty, its NATO marionettes and their leader Zelensky, who is protected by the above forces.

The "win or die" policy imperialism, vis-à-vis Ukraine, was seconded, on Aug. 7, by Joni Ernst, Republican U.S. senator from Red Oak, Iowa. Ernst proves, in the end, that it is as Dr. Johnson said: "There is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea." Neoconservative or neoliberal, louse or flea, a pest is a pest is a pest.

Um, isn't Russia the "pest" here given its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine? Mercer continued with a defense of Russia and Putin:

Putin is a reactionary Russian patriot, a natural ally of any sovereign, conservative nation-state. The American objective is to end Russian sovereignty and make it over in the woke image of America: a radical Jacobin stronghold. By America's prescriptions, Russia should be a woke, minority white, multicultural sewer, awash with MeToo, BLM and Antifa sensibilities.

As your columnist had remarked in commentary about "America's radical, foreign-policy Alinskyites," in March 2021, "Certain national-conservative governments in Eastern Europe should be natural allies to conservative policymakers stateside, if such unicorns existed. Vladimir Putin's, for example. Before his death … Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, one of Russia's bravest and most brilliant sons, praised Putin's efforts to revive Russia's traditional Christian and moral heritage. For example:

"'In October 2010, it was announced that "The Gulag Archipelago" would become required reading for all Russian high-school students. In a meeting with Solzhenitsyn's widow, Mr. Putin described "The Gulag Archipelago" as "essential reading": "Without the knowledge of that book, we would lack a full understanding of our country and it would be difficult for us to think about the future." … If [only] the same could be said of the high schools of the United States.' (Via The Imaginative Conservative.)"

Actually, students are required to read only certain excerpts from the book -- which, in full, exposed the horrors of labor camps under Stalin -- and the book mandate hasn't stopped Putin from praising Stalin and downplaying the bad things, or from running a Stalin-esque crackdown on dissent to his rule (as Alexei Navalny can attest) or launching a Stalin-esque war on Ukraine. Mercer continued with the Putin praise for defending white people and hating LGBTQ people:

For a long while, the Russian president patiently tolerated America's demented, anti-Russia monomania. As our country sank into the quicksands of what conservatives call "Cultural Marxism" – by contrast, and since the get-go, your columnist has framed the new, woke Western dispensation as anti-whiteness – Putin's inclinations have remained decidedly reactionary and traditionalist.

The Russian leader had prohibited public sexual evangelizing by LGBTQ activists. He comes down squarely on the side of the Russian Orthodox Church, such as when vandals, the Pussy Riot whores, obscenely desecrated the cathedral of Christ the Savior. He has also welcomed as refugees persecuted white South Africans, where America's successive governments refuse to acknowledge that the latter are under threat of ethnocide. Also, policies to stimulate Russian birthrates have been put in place by the conservative leader.

Ukraine, for its part, is led by a vainglorious fool. "Zelensky is a kept man, his flesh softer than sin under the khaki costume." For all his Jewish-lineage boasting, Zelensky ought to know that, in the Hebrew Bible, a "leader who fails to haggle for the lives of his people is considered a failed leader."

But wouldn't Zelensky be more of a failed leader if he sold out his people to oppression under an invading force under the guise of achieving "peace"? Mercer has offered no evidence that Putin offers anything but subjugation and oppression to Ukraine -- and, thus, no reason for Zelensky to negotiate with terrorists.

Not a Putin apologist

There may be a lot of pro-Russia apologists at WND, but they're not all Putin puppets. James Zumwalt used May 24 column to liken Vladimir Putin to the subject of the Jim Croce song "Bad Bad Leroy Brown," declaring that in invading Ukraine, Putin "bit off more than he could chew, having started a bar fight with someone tougher. Croce's description of Brown at fight's end is not too dissimilar to that of Putin's military today – looking 'like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone.' At least Brown's fight is over; Putin's is still ongoing." Zumwalt went on to complain in a very WND way about this as well, noting that Russians trying to avoid getting conscripted into the war are claiming to be transgender:

Not until months later, however, did members of Russia's legislative branch (Duma) discover a ploy some draft dodgers, perhaps preferring to remain in Russia or simply unable to get out, were using to avoid the draft. In 1997, the Duma had passed a law authorizing transgenders to change their gender identity simply by modifying it on their passport with a medical permission slip. In an ultimate slap in the face to Putin's war, at least 3,000 Russian males have recently changed their gender identity under that law. Finally recognizing this loophole, the Duma is working on legislation to mandate more than just a gender identity declaration and medical note by requiring body-altering surgery as well.

Zumwalt further took Putin to task for botching things in Ukraine:

Putin, who came to power in 2000 as a democratically elected president, has manipulated the government machinery to basically establish an autocracy. In 2020, the country's constitution was manipulated to keep him in power until 2036. There is no way the Russian people will tolerate this should the war in Ukraine not end soon.

The conflict now boils down to an unbending Ukrainian resolve and a tyrant's ego. Absent a major battlefield change – such as Putin pressuring Belarus to open a new front in Ukraine – or Ukraine's weapons suppliers withdrawing, a gambling man would bet Putin's days are numbered. Similar to Russia's last czar, Nicholas II, who violently learned the hard way over a century earlier, not listening to your people comes at a very high price.

Zumwalt took another shot at Putin's war in his Sept. 27 column, noting that Russia's annual Victory Day parade, normally a grand affair, was so subdued this year that "There was but one tank in the parade, underscoring how much Russia is hurting." He then noted the rogue countries Putin is turning to in order to keep the war going: "The Ukraine war has become such a drain on Moscow that it is unable to manufacture sufficient ammunition and weaponry to replace what it has expended and lost. It needs help and is looking to its friends – China, Belarus, Iran and North Korea – to provide it. The question becomes, how much help are they willing to provide?"

Just because Zumwalt did one thing right doesn't mean ConWebWatch has forgotten things he's done wrong, like pushing nasty attacks against Alexandria Osasio-Cortez. He and WND also face legal peril after a Zumwalt column (which is still live at WND) promoted a far-right podcaster's false claim that an official with voting-tech company Dominion confessed to changing vote totals and worked with Antifa; that official is suing the podcaster and others for defamation, though not Zumwalt or WND.

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