David Solway: The Birth Certificate and the Conspiracy of Suppression
Below is an original essay by David Solway, but first an introduction.
There are at least two basic ways to approach the signal, neutralizing event of American history.
Before I present examples of both by a singular guest-author, I realize I first have to specify what that signal event is. Our non-recognition is testament to many things, not least of which is the event’s almost anti-climactic nature. We might think of the event as only the most visible manifestation, like a sore or lesion, of an underlying sickness in American society that more intangibly has rejected morality, bankrupted the law, and devalued the Constitution. Maybe the shame of it all is why we pretend this manifestation isn’t there.
I refer to the president’s all-but-certainly forged online birth certificate. How could a healthy society with a free press and functioning political system permit this quite apparent fraud to go officially unaddressed and forensically unassessed by any responsible federal authority? It could not. It would be impossible for a healthy democratic society to behave so irresponsiblly, so undutifully, so cravenly. Thus, we are not a healthy, democratic society; nor have we been for some time leading up to this signal presidential fraud. (The new book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, is a history of that transformation.)
So, returning to the two approaches to this signal event: First, there is the personal approach, which grapples with (and sputters over) the realization that there is — even in this age in which the frequent need for identity documents is universal — one law for the mighty and another for the rest; second, there is the scientific approach, which rationally (but not necessarily dispassionately) assesses evidence and probability to conclude We, the People have been sold a nasty bill goods.
David Solway, the erudite and elegant Canadian essayist and poet, takes both approaches, posted here in two parts for the first time. It is no rap on this blog or Solway himself to point out that noted outlets of the “watchdog media,” conservative wing, declined both pieces first. Nothing new, they say — as though pure novelty were a requirement for news and analysis when we know from wall-to-wall coverage of everything from sequestration to Michelle Obama’s bangs that’s never the case. Meanwhile, they have hardly (if in any way at all) exhausted the novelty of the subject in the first place! Call it the Obama Nativity Paradox — old news before it’s covered. At least David Solway will never fall for that.
Let’s Get Real about the Famous Birth Certificate
By David Solway
Preparing for a trip that might involve crossing into the U.S., I happened to look at my passport and was alarmed to discover it was shortly to expire. So began the frantic search for my birth certificate, without which I would be unable to renew the passport. Presentation of an original certificate or a duly vetted and certified copy reproduced in accordance with the Register of Civil Status is mandatory procedure in Canada. If I could not find the precious document among the jumble of papers in the multitude of desk drawers, cupboards, armoires, file cabinets, closet shelves and looseleaf stacks that clutter my study, my only recourse would be to visit the Palais de Justice in Montreal, spend a small fortune on fees, and sacrifice much of the day procuring an official, stamped transcript from the bureaucratic mill.
While searching for the indispensable document, my mind turned to the digital photographic image that the White House released on April 27, 2011—almost two and half years after the president’s inauguration—to corroborate his compliance with Article 2, Section 1, paragraph 5 of the American Constitution, confirming him as a “a natural born Citizen.” It struck me that the passport office in my country would regard such a digital copy as inadmissible and reject it outright. It would not constitute proof of citizenship.
Could the American law be so different from the Canadian that what is manifestly unacceptable here could be treated as completely valid there? Such a discrepancy seemed to me implausible. And yet there was no doubt that the relevant authorities, almost the entire academic and intellectual elite, the media empire as a political bloc and the majority of the electorate had no trouble accepting a mere digital replica of a presumably original document that no one, apart from a sparse handful of government officials, apparently, had ever seen. (Indeed, the original was smothered by Obama’s first Executive Order on January 21, 2009.) Were President Obama a Canadian citizen applying for a passport with an attestation of this nature, he would be summarily turned away.
Luckily, I managed to disinter from the debris of my working life the necessary document—smooth-surfaced, clearly printed on good-stock paper, and displaying the requisite seals, signatures and properly sequenced numbers. I then compared it to the facsimile of the president’s certificate that I keep in my Obama folder and was amazed not only by the enormous difference in professional quality but, as many credible observers have pointed out, by the innumerable errors, flaws and maculae in a document far more significant than mine. People who believe this mimeo to be veridical in its present form are either suppressing the critical part of their minds for reasons best known to themselves, or engaging in a kind of conspiracy to advance a political agenda or ideological commitment.
For the first four years of Obama’s presidential term, even the most skeptical conservatives did not want to touch this issue. Prior to the release of the so-called “long form,” the president’s detractors were wary of being lured into a trap to be sprung by its publication and subsequently made to look like fools. After the fact, conservatives feared that an honest examination of the matter would expose them to ridicule and contempt as a pack of Neanderthal “birthers,” thus damaging their careers, or that a critical discussion could conceivably cost them the election. Well, they lost anyway.
It is no longer necessary or appropriate to act like wilting mimosas and avoid one of the most pressing questions in the land today. Skirting this question out of complacency or indifference, or for dubious reasons such as protecting one’s reputation by quashing scrupulous analysis, by refusing to confront certain indisputable facts, or from fear of association with ostensible disreputables like “birthers” and Tea Partiers, is a species of moral ignominy and abject cowardice. Americans owe it to themselves and to their country to follow the laws and procedures they have put in place to ensure the legitimacy of their electoral process. To wink at those, for whatever reasons, is surely to betray one’s duty to the country. It is a species of omerta, or what the Germans during the Nazi era called Gleichschaltung, coordination of the message, bringing into line.
Admittedly, the courts, many of them staffed with Democratic appointees and complicit judges, are reluctant to deal with the issue; and the authorities in Hawaii, where the famous birth certificate is securely locked away, are diligently stonewalling. These factors alone should alert the public to the likelihood that something untoward is going on. Pressure must be brought to bear. It is high time we show some integrity and courage, look a problem that won’t go away squarely in the face and compel this president to unseal his sequestered records. There is no other way to settle the issue once and for all. We may hope that all would be well. But of course, we must also assume that the evidence that might come to light could be distinctly unpalatable to some and disruptive to all.
The backstory, however, should be more than enough to induce acute suspicion. The entire controversy could be resolved on the instant with a single executive phone call arranging for the immediate release of the original birth certificate, which would be made available for observation and reproduction via the media. Why this has not been done defies comprehension. As Tom Ballantyne Jr. writes in The Western Center for Journalism, “Think of the absurdity of all of the endless debating and legal maneuvering (on the part of the judges and the Obama defense team) when all that is needed, and all that has been needed from the beginning of this insulting charade, is for a judge to simply require the obvious—that his “original” birth certificate be examined. Is there a sentient being on the planet who would not admit that this would end the so-called “side show” once and for all?” The fact cannot be circumvented. A digital facsimile so flawed issued by the president of the United States cannot be allowed to pass without challenge. The conspiracy of suppression is all on the side of those who insist on tarring the reputations and bona fides of those who seek reasonable and satisfactory closure of the question.
A Man of Science Examines the President’s Birth Certificate
by David Solway
A near-complete silence has attended the recent deposition by Lord Christopher Monckton regarding the numerous errors and discrepancies to be found in Barack Obama’s digital copy of his birth certificate. Exactly why a credible report by a trustworthy figure such as Monckton should be so studiously ignored presents an interesting case study in media self-censorship, liberal evasion and conservative pusillanimity. After all, Monckton’s international standing is impeccable. Specializing in investigating scientific frauds at the government level, he was for several years an advisor to British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the appraisal of forged documents. Relying on his impressive mathematical expertise and his knowledge of probability theory, he has published an affidavit, sworn under oath and penalty of perjury, to the effect that the president’s duplicate certification is surely inauthentic. In his words, “the probability that the White House document is genuine is vanishingly different from zero.”
The mathematical discipline of probability theory, Monckton explains, assists in evaluating the likelihood that irregularities are either inadvertent or deliberate, accidental or intentional. “The technique is particularly suitable,” he continues, “for the testing of those documents in which the irregularities are so varied that unless they arose by design—as in the fabrication of a forgery—they cannot be dependent on one another,” that is, the probability of each succeeding irregularity occurring by mere inadvertence is proportionately small. Put simply, the greater the number of irregularities not generated by a single egregious error but part of a cascading miscellany, the greater the probability that the document is a forgery. Studying the forensic data supplied him by Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse investigators, Monckton concludes that the document under the loupe cannot be regarded as valid.
Arpaio, who was vindicated on fraud charges lodged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, has been virulently slandered by such Left institutions as Britain’s Independent (for whom Arpaio’s team consists of “a group of elderly, white, right-wing men” advancing a “racially-motivated conspiracy theory”) and by diverse anti-conspiracy theory sites, but defamation is not an argument. More to the point, perhaps, Lord Moncton cannot be dismissed as a “birther” or a conspiracy-monger or an ignoramus or an elderly white racist. Like any responsible scientist, Monckton is confronting data rather than inventing models. His thesis and his results must be taken into consideration if we are to remain in good conscience.
The affidavit runs to sixteen pages and furnishes a veritable “chain of custody” ranging from the distribution of nine separate “data layers” uncharacteristic of a scanned paper document, to many software abnormalities, to unnaturally irregular letter, word, line spacing and alignment blemishes inconsistent with the manual typewriter on which the original would have been typed, to the problematic “halo effect,” (a sign of manipulation), to the absence of “chromatic aberration” that should appear on documents that have come into contact with a camera lens, to the suspiciously out-of-sequence certificate number, to the curious fact that the birth date of Obama senior is discrepant by two years, to the appearance of the word “African” as a race designator twenty eight years before it came into official use, to various anomalous coding practices, among many other irregularities to which Monckton did not even bother to assign probability values. “The White House document,” he writes, “appears to have been fabricated piecemeal on a computer, inferentially by drawing together digitized data from several genuine birth certificates.”
Monckton has listed thirteen major and distinct irregularities in the digital copy of the birth certificate, many with their own minor subsets, as well as three additional idiosyncrasies pertaining to the president’s identification records, namely: “numerous irregularities in the short-form abstract of his birth record”; his selective-service record which features a two-digit year stamp “contrary to written rules issued by the Department of Defense specifying a four-digit stamp”; and his social security number which “carries a three digit Connecticut prefix even though he had never lived there.” Monckton’s conclusions have been substantially reinforced by Israel Science and Technology, the Jewish State’s prestigious science and technology portal, founded by Israel Hanukoglu, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The analysis carried out by the institute, which includes details additional to Monckton’s study, reveals that the document “has been altered by graphics software.”
Monckton is scrupulously fair and overly cautious in his methodology, assigning probabilities with exceedingly favorable values based on possibilities, however unlikely, to give the benefit of the doubt to inadvertence and normal discrepancy. Nonetheless, the odds that the digital copy of Obama’s birth certificate reflects an extant original are vanishingly small. “I have never found a document,” Monckton avers, “which, when this probabilistic technique is applied, is determined to be so very nearly a forgery as the White House document.” The fact “that there are so many independent irregularities…would be sufficient to demonstrate that the White House document is a forgery.” Taking everything into consideration, Monckton’s verdict is chilling. The mathematical probability that Obama’s identity documentation is true is on the order of 1 in 75 sextillion.
There is no credible way around the issue. It may be claimed that the contentious document has undergone several standard retouching operations in order to repair and clarify a tattered original, thus collapsing the probability ratio to 1 or near 1. But a number of ancillary factors render this argument, for all intents and purposes, effectively null. The problem here is that there are just too many such “retouchings” to inspire confidence in the restorative process; a source document so defective would have needed to be officially reissued in certifiably consistent format, as in my own country of Canada. As well, some of the imperfections, such as the errant number sequence, the lack of chromatic aberration and other comparable items, are not “retouchings” at all, but glaring errors. Finally, if a massive retouching procedure were indeed the case, it would surely have been mentioned by the White House, if only to avoid the eruption of the kind of suspicion that clouds the political atmosphere, despite the virtual agreement on the part of the media, the political authorities, the liberal intelligentsia and much of the public to dismiss the issue as of no account. For the suspicion continues to linger.
Speaking scientifically, we would begin with what is called a null hypothesis, that is, the assumption in this case that the digital copy is authentic. If the data we acquire is not consistent with the null hypothesis, and the deviation is alarmingly large, we start asking questions. The greater the quantity of evidence we accumulate that deviates from an original expectation adopted as part of an experimental procedure, the more plausible it becomes that the errors we detect are not accidental or a statistical fluke and that the null hypothesis is consequently unacceptable. Which it manifestly is with respect to the document under consideration.
Obviously, we must be as careful in our interpretation of the larger meaning of these findings, probabilistic and contextual, as Monckton is in his assessment of the document itself. I am not interested in speculating on the biographical implications of the issue; in other words, a fraudulent document does not indubitably mean that the president was not born in the U.S. But it does portend that something is grievously amiss. What that may be I cannot say. I am concerned only with the nature of the embattled document and am content to let readers draw their own conclusions.
Note: Shortly after this article was written, the Canadian government fast-tracked the application procedure, eliminating the need for a birth certificate but requiring both ancillary documentation and, in the case of renewals, an extant valid passport—which could have originally been issued only if accompanied by an error-free, indisputably authentic birth certificate. The argument remains in force.