Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Birth Certificate

I haven't been following the Obama birth certificate kerfluffle, but other people have been. Including a guy who who claims to be a forensic document examiner. Let me start with a little background:

Barack Obama may be on a world tour surrounded by a fawning media, but Sunday an expert in electronic document forensics released a detailed report on the purported birth certificate -- actually a "Certification of Live Birth" or COLB -- claimed as genuine by his campaign. The expert concludes with 100% certainty that it is a crudely forged fake: "a horribly forgery," according to the analysis published on the popular right-wing Atlas Shrugs blog.
So there is a question about Obama's birth certificate and whether he is actually a US Citizen.

The analysis was done by a person who calls himself Techdude.
Techdude's detailed report, which runs more than 3000 words and 20 pages with extensive magnified illustrations and comparisons, reaches the following conclusion about the documented that was first published on the Daily Kos extreme left-wing blog and subsequently publicly endorsed by the Obama campaign, both in statements by official spokesmen, and featured on its "Fight the Smears" website. Here are some of conclusions:

"The (Daily) KOS image security border pattern does not match any known specimen from any known year. It does not match the pre-2006 nor does it match the post-2006 certificate patterns. The placement of the text in all of the pre-2006 and post-2006 certificates are almost identical pixel location matches while the image?s text placement does not match any known specimen from any known year. The shape and kerning of the fonts used in the 2006 through 2008 certificates are identical while the shape and kerning of the fonts used in the image does not match any known specimen. The KOS image shows clear signs of tampering such as the mismatch in RGB and error levels, visible indications of the previous location of the erased security border, easily detectable patterns of repeating flaws around the new security border, EXIF data that says the image was last saved with Photoshop CS3 for Macintosh, and finally a technician from Hawaii who confirms it just looks wrong."
There are images on the first linked site and many more at Atlas Shrugs.

So what does this tell us about Obama? Nothing. If the document is a forgery it may be a red herring: something done to generate controversy so that the real document can later be produced to discredit those who bought into the "not a citizen" riff.

Or it may be Obama is not a citizen of these 57 (or is it 59?) States.

Keep your eye on this one. How ever it turns out it will be interesting.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


LarryD said...

IANAL, but my understanding is that US law says you're a citizen born either if one of your parents is a US citizen or if your were born in the US.

Which I would have thought would have preempted the hullabaloo over both McCain and Obama's status.

However, the notion that the birth certificate produced for Obama is a forgery make me itch.

Snake Oil Baron said...

I guess the deal is that you can't just be a citizen but you need to be born in the country or an area of land considered US territory. I am not even an American let alone well schooled in US law and history so I don't know where the rule is but I understand that it was put in place to prevent a foreign power like Britain or other monarchy from sending in some personable spy, gaining citizenship and ruling under loyalty to that power.

Wouldn't he have to show some ID at some point? I mean you can't just walk into the White House for your swearing in without doing some paperwork can you? If they have this rule about birth there must be a means of verifying it mustn't there?

I am leaning toward the setup idea. Send in a phony certificate, wait for everyone to make a stink then burst the rumor with the real one. It would not gain them much in political terms but it would give a lot of Democrats a laugh.

Or else there is a piece of paper somewhere, in some country which has the "wrong" religion written on it and this was a desperate diversion tactic. Conformation of apostasy to... whatever religion that is he belongs to might be something worth sitting on until after November.

Will Brown said...

The requirement is that one must be born a US citizen. Some actual experience with this circumstance may prove useful.

My son was born in Munich in the then-Federal Republic of Germany. Much as in the US (and most other countries as far as I know), being born in Germany makes one a potential German citizen. He had until his 18th birthday (if I recall correctly) to register such a claim with German officialdom.

His mother being British, he can also provide documentary evidence of their relationship to claim British subject status, with no time/age limit on his doing so.

After his arrival home from the krankenhaus (one of the few German words I remember how to spell correctly - hospital), his mother and I took him, my passport, her passport, our marriage certificate, his certificate of live birth from the Munich hospital and a few US dollars to the US consulate in Munich. They copied the forms, kept the money and provided we three with a US certificate of live birth - as a US citizen - in our son's name, issued by the US Department of State. Thus, my son was not born a resident of any state, but a citizen of the United States. I, for example, am a born resident of California and thus also a US citizen by birth, so we both meet the basic qualification for the Presidency, if by two different mechanism's.

Presuming Obama's mother wasn't on US military active duty (as a dependant spouse, say), a foreign-posted Department of State FSO or the like, then she did something very like the same for her son. If so, then finding a copy of his State Department-issued certificate of live birth shouldn't prove too burdensome. Nor should proving it's provenance.

There remains the alternative that she failed to do these fairly straightforward things and "acquired" a document for registration purposes, being fairly confident none of normal officialdom (schools, motor vehicles, etc) makes much effort to confirm a proffered document's legitimacy.

I would think that a quite straightforward background search (by US law enforcement - nobody has a right to privacy from them :))) into this issue would resolve this question within a few days at most. Since there is a constitutional requirement to satisfy in this case, I would also think (IANAL) there ought to be grounds for some interested body to file an action in the US courts to obtain such final resolution.

As regards the religion question, the form provided by State has a space for such information. "None" is an acceptable answer, but so is "no preference" which is the course my then-wife and I chose to exercise on solicited advice.

In any case, such a catagory is more a reflection of the belief's of the parent(s) then the identified individual at that point in his/her life, so I fail to see the practcal relivance to Obama's present political asperations. He makes no secret of his boyhood rearing in a Muslim environment, after all.