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Joshua Gillin
By Joshua Gillin May 12, 2017

Fake news: Clinton Foundation has no ships, didn’t smuggle refugees

Fake news again targeted the Clinton Foundation with a story that falsely said a ship owned by the nonprofit was caught smuggling hundreds of people into the United States.

"Clinton Foundation Cargo Ship Raided At Port Of Baltimore Reveals Sick Secret," read the headline on a May 11, 2017, post on, a site we know traffics in bogus news articles.

The secret, according to the story, was that 460 undocumented "refugees from places like Yemen and Syria" were hidden in 14 shipping containers aboard a ship called the Chelsea.

The story said some refugees told authorities they had paid $40,000 for passage to the United States. Some of the other containers, the post claimed, carried other contraband, like illegal fruit and several kinds of drugs.

The article was flagged by Facebook users, as part of the social media site’s efforts to cut down on fake posts being shared in news feeds. It has appeared on other sites, as well.

The Clinton Foundation was recently the subject of fake news posts that falsely said Chelsea Clinton had been charged with fraud for essentially stealing from the nonprofit, which was shut down.

This particular fake story, like so many others, originated at, a parody website that has been the source of several fake news stories that we’ve previously checked. This story originally appeared on May 11.

Featured Fact-check publishes bogus posts keyed to topics designed to troll conservatives. The site’s creator, a man who said his name is Zeke Wilekenmeyer, has told PolitiFact he deliberately worked to get gullible readers to share his stories to prove those readers don’t rely on facts.

The articles quite often end up being passed around on multiple websites, often without an indication that they are fake.

One way to tell if the story is made up, beyond its absurdity, is a link allegedly to a CNN story that is actually to a Forrest Gump meme that reads, "Are you stupid or something?"

Just to be sure, we contacted the Clinton Foundation, which said no, they didn’t own or operate any cargo ships.

The picture included with the original fake story is a crude Photoshopped image that really is a press photo of the Port of Baltimore. But the port also picked up on this fake story the same day it appeared, tweeting out:

We checked the cargo manifest on this fake news and found the claim didn’t hold water.

We rate it Pants On Fire!

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Pants on Fire
"Clinton Foundation cargo ship raided at Port of Baltimore" caught smuggling 460 undocumented immigrants.
in Internet posts
Thursday, May 11, 2017

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Fake news: Clinton Foundation has no ships, didn’t smuggle refugees

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