I'm fascinated by coverups--the efforts made by people to hide inconvenient events or truths under a cloud of clever (and not-so-clever) misdirections and lies.
This becomes even more interesting if the person trying to rewrite the facts has lots of influential supporters, as these individuals seize on certain facts or assertions to build "the legend" of what might have happened.
One of these situations is Barack Obama's birth certificate.
Ordinary people are required to produce certified paper birth certificates to get a passport or a driver's license. The presidency is the highest office in our country--one for which the Constitution demands that the holder be a "natural-born citizen." Why is it that Obama was never required to produce a certified copy of his actual birth certificate to run for President?
I don't know where Obama was born. And other evidence suggests it may well have been in Hawaii. But the cloud of misinformation promulgated by various reporters and government agencies strongly suggests that regardless of where he was born, there's something he's been trying very hard to hide about his birth certificate.
Contra to stories in Newsweek, posts on FactCheck.org and Kos, Obama never actually "released" a birth certificate. The event underlying all these stories started with a post by "Kos" on his blog, on Thursday, Jun 12, 2008 at 08:44:37 AM PDT.
The post contained a jpeg image
, 2427 x 2369 pixels, of a green and white printed form titled "Certification of Live Birth," and bearing Obama's name.
On the original post, at least, Kos said nothing about the origin of the image; simply stating, "In any case, here is Obama's birth certificate."
Four days later, on June 16th, FactCheck.org ("Annenberg Political Fact check")
"Q: Has Obama's birth certificate been disclosed?"FactCheck went on to say that the image had been emailed to them by Tommy Vietor at the Obama campaign.
"A: Yes. His campaign made a copy public after speculation by conservative bloggers that he might not be a natural-born citizen. We asked for and received a copy from the Obama campaign. It is too large to display full size on this page, but you may click on this link to see a copy of the document just as we received it."
They quote Vietor as writing, "there have been some rumors spreading about Obama’s citizenship, so I wanted to make sure you all had a copy of his birth certificate."
The image was 2550 x 3300--considerably taller than the Kos image. The reason is that above the top printed border is a margin some 4 inches high, bearing the green security background but no black overprinting. Otherwise the image appeared identical to the one posted by Kos.
Six weeks later, on August 1, 2008, FactCheck
went farther, claiming: "FactCheck.org staffers have now seen, touched, examined and photographed the original birth certificate." Both these images
depict an absolutely flat "document", with no folds or creases. The entry to the right of the heading, "Certificate Number" is blacked out.
The lower left corner of this form has the label "OHSM 1.1 (Rev 11/01) LASER."
For those unfamiliar with image processing, a resolution of 2550 x 3300 is good enough to show a great deal of detail.
Later FactCheck posted several different images of this same document.
These images--as large as 3072 x 2304--depict a three-dimensional document that is folded and partially shadowed, rather than being perfectly flat with uniform light. Unlike the first image, on these images creases or folds in the paper are clearly visible.
These images also differ from the first image in that the box for "Certificate Number" now shows an entry: 151-1961-010641.
In addition, a clearly visible round pattern--consistent with that made by a seal--is located about one inch right of and below the document's center. Even at 2550 x 3300 resolution, no such pattern is visible on the first image.
No physical copy of this document has ever been produced for independent examination.
As for the claims by staffers from FactCheck.org to have "seen, touched [and] examined...the original," it should be noted that FactCheck.org is also known as "Annenberg FactCheck." Obama was a member of the board of directors of the "Chicago Annenberg Challenge," and then elected by the Board as chairman and president of the CAC. He resigned as chairman and president in September 1999 to run for Congress.
Clearly, Obama was Annenberg's shining star. Thus even if claims by FC staffers are taken at face value, one would scarcely expect such wholehearted, ardent Obama supporters to have been suspicious of a forgery or rigorous in their examination of the document on which Obama's viability as a candidate--and later, legitimacy as president--so obviously depended.
In any case, since no information on the image is inimical to Obama's interests, it's hard to see any logical reason why the White House would not have invited independent witnesses to examine the physical document--unless, of course, it could easily be recognized as a forgery.
Nevertheless, once the images were posted by Kos and FC--and dutifully reposted by dozens of other pro-Obama websites--strategists for the campaign thereafter claimed that Obama had indeed "produced a copy"
of his birth certificate, and that the matter was therefore settled.
Next: There has been a great deal of confusion over whether the image described above, entitled "Certification of Live Birth" is in fact the same as a "Birth Certificate." At first glance there would seem to be no difference, but in 1961 the state of Hawaii issued a much more detailed birth certificate to every parent. It was a hand-filled form (as opposed to the computer-generated "OHSM 1.1" form in the jpegs) containing 23 numbered rectangular boxes of information, including name of hospital, name and signature of the delivering doctor or midwife, and name and signature of the local registrar.
This document was titled "Certificate of Live Birth."
Certificate, certification--to most voters the two terms would have to
refer to the same thing.
Except they don't.
For brevity's sake we will refer to this second, far more detailed form as a "long-form birth certificate."
Some newspaper stories have claimed that Hawaii stopped using long-form birth certificates before Obama was born. This is ludicrous crap, and easily discernable as such. But the unsupported assertion has entered the arsenal of those seeking to debunk the no-birth-certificate story.
Conservatively, tens of thousands of parents and kids in Hawaii have either originals or photocopies of their long-form certificates. Many people have uploaded their own long-form certificates to the Net, showing that this form was used at least two years past Obama's date of birth.
The Honolulu Advertiser ran a story on a woman who gave birth to twin girls the day after Obama was born.
[I saw the original but now the link returns 'error'] By coincidence, the delivery was in the same hospital where Obama claims to have been born.
The woman's name is Elearnor Nordyke, and the article in the Honolulu paper shows her holding up photostats of the long-form birth certificates of her twin girls--again, born the day after Obama, in the same hospital where Obama claims to have been born.
So the long form was clearly being issued when Obama was born. In that case, where is Obama's long-form certificate, the one with all the details available as to hospital, doctor et cetera? If it exists, why didn't the campaign simply release it?
The most logical reasons are either that it doesn't exist, or that and contains information which would be damaging to Obama's "legend."
The campaign strategists obviously knew they had to de-fuse this question--so they called on their friends in the MSM to begin damage control:
One of the organizations that could be expected to provide invaluable help would be CNN. On July 23rd, 2009, Jon Klein, president of CNN/ U.S
., sent an email to a handful of staffers of "Lou Dobbs Tonight" regarding coverage of the controversy about whether Obama was actually a "natural-born citizen."
Klein had previously asked CNN researchers to research the question of why Obama wouldn't produce his original birth certificate. The network's researchers claimed to have contacted the Hawaii Health Dept. and were told (they said) that paper documents were "discarded" in 2001 when the department went to electronic records.
The choice of the word "discarded" is interesting. It implies that the paper copies were destroyed, but carefully avoids saying so directly. It could be used if the paper copies were merely archived or put aside in favor of much more convenient electronic copies. It's usefully ambiguous.
But according to an article by Dan Nakaso of The Honolulu Advertiser (published in USAToday),
the public information officer for the Hawaii DOH, Janice Okubo, said she was not aware of any paper birth certificate records being destroyed when the department converted to electronic records in 2001.
When the department went electronic in 2001, vital records, whether in paper form or any other form, [were] maintained. We don't destroy records.
Any records that we had in paper or any other form before 2001 are still on file within the department," she insisted.
So Klein's story--allegedly the product of CNN's researchers--contradicts the PIO at the state's Health Department.
If Obama was born in Hawaii, as he claims, he must have had a long-form birth certificate. State officials claim they didn't destroy any paper birth certificates. So unless someone other than the state of Hawaii has destroyed it, it should still exist in their records.
If so, why not release it and end the lingering doubts?
Again, there are just two obvious answers: Either it never existed, or it contains information that would be embarassing enough to Obama that he'd rather try to bluff it out.
First, note the word "disclosed"-- as opposed to "released." To the casual voter, the two are synonymous, but clearly they're not. Second: FactCheck (great name) cleverly blurs the distinction between "a copy" and an image. The phrase "We asked for and received a copy from the Obama campaign" suggests a physical copy, rather than an image. But the next sentence admits the truth: No one outside the Obama group has seen more than an image.
Finally there is the consistent use in print stories of a phrase to the effect of, "Hawaii state law forbids the release of birth certificates to anyone but the persons named in the documents or their immediate relatives." Apparently reporters and editors believe this explains to the average reader why the state would not allow investigators to see a copy of Obama's birth certificate.
But this is obviously a red herring--a misdirection. Because the question has never been "Why won't Hawaii show me the certificate," but "Why won't Obama--who can obviously obtain his own--display it to reporters and investigators?"
Article in USAToday, July 28, 2009, by
Dan Nakaso, The Honolulu Advertiser:
Last week, CNN's Lou Dobbs demanded Obama's original birth certificate. CNN/U.S. President Jon Klein told staffers of Lou Dobbs Tonight that the issue is a "dead" story, Kline told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Sunday.
In an e-mail, the Times reported, Klein wrote that CNN researchers determined that Obama's 1961 birth certificate no longer exists because Hawaiian officials had discarded paper documents in 2001 — a claim denied Monday by Hawaiian health officials.
In 2001, Hawaii's paper documents were reproduced in electronic format, but "any paper data prior to that still exists," Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said.
Okubo would not say where Obama's original birth certificate is but said, "We have backups for all of our backups."