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The Annotated Zullo
On November 9th, 2012 erstwhile Maricopa County Cold Case Posse (MCCCP) “Investigator” Mike Zullo signed a massively expanded and updated second “affidavit” concerning his alleged investigation into the identity documents of President Barack Obama.1 I refer to it as an “alleged investigation” because there is very little investigative work to be found within the pages of the affidavit. To the extent it recounts lines of enquiry, they without exception all end in futility. To the extent it purports to recount “facts,” they are all recounted second hand, most of them ruthlessly plagiarized from the “work” of other birthers. 2 To the extent that anyone appears to be the principal investigator here, it is certainly not Mike Zullo but instead a person who is not even officially a posse member; birther “journalist” Jerome Corsi of the right-wing website World Net Daily (WND). And to the extent this affidavit represents a statement from Mike Zullo, it represents the near complete abandonment of even the pretense that he is an unbiased investigator instead of an ordinary, run-of-the-mill birther. The affidavit appears to serve three purposes: First, it is an opportunity for Zullo to vent his personal frustration with how badly he believes he was treated by officials from the State of Hawai‘i. His complaints to that effect show blissful ignorance of the fact that Zullo was entirely responsible for setting the tone and tenor of that adversarial relationship. Genuine law enforcement investigations generally commence with the presumption that other agencies of government will extend their willing cooperation. Zullo instead approached the Hawaiian Department of Health under the presumption that they were already the enemy, engaging in a sort of “ambush investigation” more characteristic of the O’Reilly Factor than any workmanlike pursuit of evidence. Arriving unannounced and unconvincingly pretending to be a real police officer rather than a civilian volunteer, Zullo quickly managed to antagonize just about every non-birther with whom he came in contact during the course of his two visits to Hawai‘i. Second, the affidavit attempts to mask the general failure of the “investigation” by hiding it behind a smoke screen of other people’s “work.” Certainly were it to reflect only that of the MCCCP it would be a very short document indeed. Of the 68 numbered paragraphs in Zullo’s affidavit, only three of them actually offer any new information or sources uncovered as a result of the MCCCP investigation. Every other item of information (real or fabricated) is lifted often verbatim and never with attribution from preexisting accusations found in the birther blogosphere long before this “investigation” was even conceived. Though the affidavit is notarized to be Zullo’s, at least seven paragraphs (more than 10% of the total) are demonstrably not even authored by him, but instead by Jerome Corsi. Of the 22 paragraphs that contain anything Zullo can honesty consider his “personal knowledge,” more than a third of them (9) are vacuous narrative filler. Another 8 of them are either speculation or
www.wnd.com/files/2012/11/ZulloAffidavit.pdf As used in this review, “birther” refers to any individual who has promoted as true the theory that Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States, and therefore not eligible for the presidency. It fully encompasses any and all of the theories relating to place of birth, citizenship of parents or loss of citizenship via naturalization by other nations.
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arguments owning no legitimate reason for inclusion in what is supposed to be a factual affidavit. The remaining five paragraphs consist of Zullo’s extended whine regarding how everything he tried to accomplish in Hawai‘i completely failed. They are more or less accounts of different people slamming their doors in his face. Third (and probably the primary reason for drafting the affidavit at all), World Net Daily needs to periodically blow the dog whistle, and in the absence of anything vaguely resembling real news on the birther front, the MCCCP has served as a useful tool with which to manufacture fake news to fill the columns of Joe Farah’s cash cow. There can be very little doubt by any serious observer that the entire MCCCP birther investigation was initiated by, driven by, supported by, marketed by and primarily served the purposes of WND. Birtherism has proven profitable to Farah and Corsi, with unknown amounts of money already skimmed from flaccid billboard campaigns, letter writing scams and solicitations for promised rewards on which they ultimately reneged. The birthers are a flock that WND is not finished shearing. The MCCCP has proven to be a really nice set of clippers.3 This review was originally intended as a sober, paragraph by paragraph critique of this latest “affidavit.” Confronted with the magnitude of its dishonesty and incompetence, a purely professorial tone became impossible to maintain. Zullo’s affidavit does not deserve to be merely exposed; it also deserves to be laughed at. I will try to keep the chuckling down for the most part.
“I am over the age of 18 and a resident of Arizona. The information contained in this affidavit is based upon my own personal knowledge and, if called upon as a witness, I could testify competently thereto. I am a former sworn law enforcement officer and criminal investigator. Since 2007, I have been duly appointed by the elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Joseph Arpaio, as the chief investigator of his Cold Case Posse.“ Comments: The very first paragraph reveals the first and most important problem with this affidavit. Zullo asserts that the contents of this affidavit are based upon his “own personal knowledge.” Legally, “personal knowledge means knowledge of a circumstance or fact gained through firsthand observation or experience,” i.e. something that the witness saw or heard, not something they learned about from a
This does not appear to be the first “affidavit” that WND and Corsi have drafted for the signature of a third party birther and on which they went on to base manufactured “news articles.” In January of 2011, WND began promoting a similar document signed by a man named Tim Adams (see: World Net Daily, January 24, 2011 “Hawaii official now swears: No Obama birth certificate,” http://www.wnd.com/2011/01/254401/). In a March 2011 interview on the Reality Check Radio Show Adams admitted that “I had been willing to do an affidavit last June. But I’m po’[sic], so this past year, some of the folks at World Net Daily, or affiliated with World Net Daily, they paid for someone to draw the thing up. They sent it up here and I had it notarized and signed and swore out the statement and sent it back.” (see: Reality Check Radio Blog, March 31, 2011, http://rcradioshow.blogspot.com/2011/03/rcradio-march-31.html ).
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third party or read on the Internet.4 As will be repeatedly seen, Zullo’s assertion that the contents of the affidavit are “based upon (his) own personal knowledge” is almost entirely false. As already noted, a full 60% of the affidavit has been told to him by Jerome Corsi or gleaned from other sources on the Web. And as Orly Taitz was recently reminded by a judge in one of her legion of court cases, “(E)vidence is not stuff printed from the Internet.” In those few sections where he does have personal knowledge, it is primarily personal knowledge of people telling him to go away. In short, Zullo fails to get past his second sentence without telling a lie. Curiously, in this affidavit, Zullo also uncharacteristically downplays his law enforcement experience. This is almost certainly as a result of being previously pilloried in the press and online for padding his resume. At the second MCCCP press conference held on July 17, 20125 Zullo claimed that during his five years as a police officer in Demarest, New Jersey, he had been a detective “almost the entire time.” But the Demarest police force consists of three sergeants, nine patrolmen, five “special police,” thirteen crossing guards and exactly zero “detectives.”6 He also claimed “six and a half, seven years as a licensed investigator in the State of New Jersey, owning (his) own corporation before (he) moved out here (to Arizona) in 1993.” In fact, according to the State of New Jersey he was only a licensed investigator for two years. When confronted with this discrepancy at the second MCCCP press conference, he backpedaled and attempted to claim that those were only the years he worked for himself;7 an excuse that still does not square with New Jersey licensure records. In actuality since leaving New Jersey, Zullo’s occupation has been primarily associated with used auto sales.8
“Under the Arizona Constitution and Arizona Revised Statutes, the Sheriff has the authority to request special assistance from a volunteer posse (‘the Cold Case Posse’), a special five-member team of experienced investigators located in the county, to assist him in the execution of his duties. The individually-selected team deputized by the Sheriff includes former police detectives and attorneys who work voluntarily and at virtually no expense to the taxpayer whenever the sheriff authorizes an investigation to address any issue as the Sheriff deems appropriate.“ Comments: While the number five has been asserted repeatedly as the membership of the MCCCP, the only actual members who have ever been formally identified are Zullo himself, and Phoenix attorney Denise
USLegal.com, Definitions, http://definitions.uslegal.com/p/personal-knowledge/ MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012. An unofficial transcript can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/100805605/Unofficial-Transcript-of-the-Arpaio-Maricopa-County-Cold-Case-PossePress-Conference-July-17-2012. A video of the press conference can be found here: http://youtu.be/alVzyfptF80 6 http://www.demarestnj.net/Police.php 7 MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012, Transcript page 21. 8 CBS5AZ.com, Jun. 23, 2012, “Cold Case Posse lacks law enforcement experience,” http://www.kpho.com/story/19094741/cold-case-posse-lacks-law-enforcement-experience
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O’Rourke.9 At one point or another, persons who were acknowledged by Zullo to have also at least participated in this “investigation” include Corsi, birther Photoshop expert Mara Zebest, birther System Analyst Garret Papit and (briefly) Tea Party Tribune founder Tim Selaty, none of whom are “located in the county,” and all of whom had a prior allegiance to the birther cause. The claim of acting “at virtually no expense to the taxpayer” was proven false after the MCCP’s first visit to Hawai‘i when it was revealed10 that the trip had cost Maricopa County Taxpayers at least $9,600. No information is available on the cost of subsequent trips or who might have paid for them. It might also merely be a coincidence that both trips of which we are aware took place over long holiday weekends.
“In August 2011, a group of citizens from the Surprise Arizona Tea Party organization called upon the Sheriff in his office and presented a petition signed by approximately 250 residents of Maricopa County, requesting the Sheriff’s Department to investigate whether a document posted on the official website of the White House on 27 April 2012 and purporting on its face to be an electronic image of the ‘long form’ or original Hawaiian birth certificate of President Barack Hussein Obama was genuine.” Comments: This paragraph appears to be trivially true as far as it goes, though unless Zullo was in attendance he cannot claim personal knowledge of these details. What it also conveniently fails to acknowledge is the contribution of Jerome Corsi to the petition’s origin, execution and delivery. The petition arose as the result of a speech by Corsi to the Surprise Arizona Tea Party on the evening of Wednesday, August 17th 2011. It was carried to Sheriff Arpaio the following day by Corsi and some Tea Party representatives whereupon Arpaio committed to an “investigation.”11 Corsi later spent between 18 (Corsi’s account12) and 16 hours (Zullo’s account13) briefing the MCCCP before any attempt at original work began. He then conducted (under MCCP auspices if not deputation) additional “research” at the behest of the posse and formally participated in the March 1st press conference.
MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012. Transcript page 10. The Huffington Post, June 21, 2012, “Donation To Joe Arpaio's Birther 'Cold Case Posse' Rejected By Maricopa County,” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/joe-arpaio-cold-case-possebirther_n_1616991.html?utm_hp_ref=politics 11 World Net Daily, August 18, 2011, “Arizona sheriff promises Obama-eligibility probe,” http://www.wnd.com/2011/08/335261/ 12 MCCCP Press Conference, March 1, 2012. Transcript page 19. The unofficial transcript can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/83474057/Arpaio-Transcript-1-MAR-12. A video of the press conference can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uICO4l5PRcs. 13 MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012. Transcript page 24.
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Zullo and Corsi then “co-authored” and published for sale a report on the investigation which was found by attorney Loren Collins to have large sections lifted verbatim14 from Corsi’s previously published book, “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” At the time of the second press conference, Zullo admitted to alone having recognized proceeds of about $1,500.15 There is no word on actual final payout.
“If the image of the birth certificate were not genuine, the question might arise whether Mr [sic] Obama had been born within the jurisdiction of the United States and thereby complied with the requirement under Article II of the U.S. Constitution that the President be a ‘natural-born citizen.’” Comments: This is the core birther accusation, though it gets the actual reasoning completely backwards. Birthers insist that the President’s birth certificates are forgeries because they believe he was born in Kenya, not the other way around. This “investigation” has largely been an exercise in trying to retroactively support that original prejudice.
“The petitioners expressed their concern that, until that point, no law enforcement agency had ever gone on record as indicating that it had investigated or was willing to investigate whether President Obama was eligible to hold his office. The petitioners said that lack of resources and jurisdictional challenges had inhibited any such investigation elsewhere.” Comments: It may very well be true that the petitioners said this. The petition itself has never been publicly released, and no detailed public record exists of what was discussed at the August 18th meeting. But unless Zullo was present at this meeting, he does not have personal knowledge of what transpired, or what the petitioners said.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/83868764/A-Question-of-Eligibility-Comparison-Chapter-1 and http://www.scribd.com/doc/84047804/A-Question-of-Eligibility-Comparison-Chapter-2 15 MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012. Transcript page 20.
The Annotated Zullo
“Sheriff Arpaio commissioned the Cold Case Posse to undertake the investigation requested by the petitioners. The principal focus of the investigation is the electronic document on the White House website that President Obama had presented as the image of his long-form birth certificate to the American people and the citizens of Maricopa County at a White House press conference on April 27, 2011 when he said: ‘We provided additional information today about the site of my birth… Yes, in fact I was born in Hawaii, August 4, 1961 in Kapi‘olani Hospital.’” Comments: If this is the actual “principal focus” of the investigation it receives surprisingly short shrift in this affidavit. Out of 68 paragraphs, only four have anything substantively to do with the “electronic document on the White House website.” In contrast, the birth certificate of Virginia Sunahara gets three times as many paragraphs devoted to it simply due to the superfluous speculation that her certificate number was stolen by the alleged forger16 for use on Obama’s.
“For 17 years from 1991 until the year before the Presidential election of 2008, the annually-revised biography written by Mr [sic] Obama and circulated by his literary agents had contained the words ‘Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.’” Comments: This paragraph contains at least the second and third blatant falsehoods offered by Zullo in this affidavit. First, as Zullo is certainly aware, Miriam Goderich (the individual responsible for editing the original pamphlet that included the error regarding the President’s place of birth) is on the record that the mistake was hers alone and that the President neither wrote the biographical blurb nor provided the information of a Kenyan birth.17
During the first MCCCP press conference, Zullo and Corsi announced that “We have identified a person of interest in the forging of the birth certificate” (Transcript page 17). In the ten months since that announcement there has been no follow up regarding any such individual. 17 “You're undoubtedly aware of the brouhaha stirred up by Breitbart about the erroneous statement in a client list Acton & Dystel published in 1991 (for circulation within the publishing industry only) that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. This was nothing more than a fact checking error by me -- an agency assistant at the time. There was never any information given to us by Obama in any of his correspondence or other communications suggesting in any way that he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. I hope you can communicate to your readers that this was a simple mistake and nothing more.” Political Wire, May 17, 2012, “Literary Agent Says 1991 Booklet was a Mistake,” http://politicalwire.com/archives/2012/05/17/literary_agent_says_1991_booklet_was_a_mistake.html
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Second, there is no evidence that the blurb was “annually-revised.” In fact, only a single revision has been shown to have occurred in that entire 17 year period.18 This revision was apparently to reflect only that the title of the President’s first book had changed. This information (to the extent it is true) is also not the product of any MCCCP investigation, and cannot be considered as Zullo’s “personal knowledge.” It was originally uncovered by the website Brietbart.com.19
“The official Parliamentary Debates of the Kenyan National Assembly for 25 March 2010 records that Mr [sic] Orengo, the Minister of Lands, said: “If America… did not see itself as a multiparty state or nation, how could a young man born here in Kenya, who is not even a native American, become the President of America?” Comments: Kenyan Minister of Lands James Orengo did in fact make those remarks. Since he is patently not in position to know where the President was actually born, he can certainly be forgiven for overreaching in his argument before the parliament. As “evidence” goes, the statements are unrefined hearsay. This information (to the extent it is true) is also not the product of any MCCCP investigation, and cannot be considered as Zullo’s “personal knowledge.” It was originally uncovered by the website World Net Daily almost a year and a half prior to the commencement of the posse “investigation.”20
The Daily Mail (online version), May 18, 2012, “Barack Obama was still 'Kenyan born' in 2007 according to his literary agency...two months after announcing his bid for the U.S presidency,” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2146622/Barack-Obama-Kenyan-born-2007-according-literary-agency-months-announcing-bid-U-S-presidency.html#ixzz2EkuP7kMm 19 Breitbart.com, May 17, 2012, “The Vetting - Exclusive - Obama's Literary Agent in 1991 Booklet: 'Born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii'[sic],” http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/05/17/The-VettingBarack-Obama-Literary-Agent-1991-Born-in-Kenya-Raised-Indonesia-Hawaii 20 World Net Daily, April 11, 2010, “Kenyan official: Obama born here,” http://www.wnd.com/2010/04/139481/
The Annotated Zullo
“The investigation has closely examined the procedures for registration of births at the Hawaii Department of Health and various statements made by officials of the Hawaiian government over the last five years in connection with the authenticity of Mr [sic] Obama’s birth records. We have chronicled a series of inconsistent and misleading representations that various officials of the government of Hawaii have made since 2007 on the question of what birth records, if any, are held by the Hawaii Department of Health.” Comments: As this review progresses we will have the opportunity to test the truth of those assertions. Certainly, Zullo’s opinion that the statements made by Hawaiian officials were “inconsistent and misleading” is subject to an alternative viewpoint; i.e. that clear and consistent statements by these officials have been tendentiously reinterpreted to fit the Procrustean bed of the investigator’s prejudice. Most importantly, we will be able to determine whether or not there is truth to the claim that the investigation has “closely examined” anything.
“In February 2012, I reported to Sheriff Arpaio that there was probable cause to consider that the White House image of Mr [sic] Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery, and specifically that it was not a true and accurate photographic image of a genuine birth record. I advised the Sheriff that the forgers had probably committed two crimes: first fraudulently creating a forgery that the White House had characterized, knowingly or unknowingly, as an officially-produced governmental birth record; and secondly, fraudulently presented to the residents of Maricopa County and to the American public at large a forgery that the White House represented as “proof positive” of President Obama’s authentic 1961 Hawaiian birth certificate.” Comments: There is little reason to doubt that this is exactly what Zullo did that February.
“These conclusions were reinforced by input from numerous experts in the fields of typewriting, typesetting, computer-generated documentation, forensic document analysis and Adobe computer programs, as well as comparisons with numerous other birth records and expert reviews of Hawaii state law and of the regulations, policies and procedures of the Hawaii Department of Health.” Comments: We begin here to reach some significant areas of concern with the MCCCP’s actual “investigating.” I start by noting as of this writing the Posse has never actually presented a single individual who could 8
The Annotated Zullo
justifiably be considered an expert in most of these fields, and certainly none in any field relevant to the actual issues under investigation. We have good reason to understand21 that the “experts” in “typewriting, typesetting and computergenerated documentation” he is referring to here include Mr. Paul Irey and Mr. Douglas Vogt, though neither appears to have ever been acknowledged by the MCCP itself, and none of their “work” has ever actually been reflected in any MCCCP news conference, press release or subsequent affidavit. Mr. Irey has (1) no actual expertise with typewriters other than as an Air Force clerk typist many decades ago22, (2) offers no actual argument regarding any text on the document which might have been typeset, (3) has previously retracted much of his original set of publicized findings after conceding they were in error, even going so far as sending “an email to Orly Taitz, Jerome Corsi, Doug Vogt, and others advising them of the problems with his analysis and asking them not to use it,”23 and 4) is on record as asserting that he “knew it was forgery” before he had ever studied it.24 Mr. Vogt claims to have “11 years in the typesetting business and 18 years selling scanners, designing document imaging software and installing such systems in city and county offices… in the Northwest.”25 But again, he offers no criticism actually related to typesetting, and his experience with scanners and scanner software is primarily as a salesman. Furthermore, his rationale for declaring the certificate a fake has been completely rejected by the posse as reflected in the press conference videos. No actual expert in “forensic document analysis” has ever been identified by the Posse. Even worse, during the July 17th Press Conference Zullo stated that he had been unable to actually find one. To excuse the lack of actual expertise by his fallback, system analyst Garret Papit, Zullo admitted that: “The other thing I want to bring to your attention is we reached out to numerous - I want to say numerous - businesses that do nothing but find experts that are court certified in fields of digital forensics, which is an emerging science, um, computer animation, and we asked them if they could find someone that we would compensate to look at the document. I want to let you know that every one of these businesses that do
Paul Irey, October 14, 2012, Letter to Redacted (as reprinted by Obamaballotchallenge.com): http://obamaballotchallenge.com/obama-birth-certificate-graphics-expert-paul-irey-to-testify-at-indianapolisballot-challenge-hearing 22 “So my claim to understand this process actually comes from my 4 years in the Air Force from 1955 to the end of 1988 [sic]. I was typing at the office headquarters directly under commanding officers of the several Air force groups I was assigned to and in those years produced a lot of typewritten documents.” Comment by Paul Irey on the Raised on Hoecakes Blog, June 13, 20122, http://raisedonhoecakes.com/ROH/2011/06/12/dear-birthers-grasping-at-straws-hurts-the-conservativecause/#comment-1075 23 Reality Check Radio Blog, December 1, 2011, A Conversation with Paul Irey, http://rcradioshow.blogspot.com/2011/12/conversation-with-paul-irey.html 24 RC Radio Interview with Paul Irey, June 23, 2011, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rcr/2011/06/24/reality-checkradio 25 Comment by Doulas Vogt on the Obama Conspiracy Theories Blog, May 31, 2011, http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2011/05/expert-claimsbirth-certificate-fake/
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this kind of work reported back to us that no one wanted to touch it because of the nature of the document.”26 His original “expert” on Adobe computer programs, Mara Zebest, was (like Irey) a confirmed birther before ever bothering to pretend an analysis of Obama’s birth certificate. Her expertise is dated at best, having co-authored a handful of user guides for Adobe Photoshop more than a decade prior, and for versions that have long been obsolete. It is also worth noting that for almost a year she publicly maintained as proof of forgery theories that have been directly debunked by the other “experts” on the Posse. The “expert” who supposedly reviewed “Hawaii state law” and “the regulations, policies and procedures of the Hawaii Department of Health” appears to be Phoenix Attorney Denise M. O’Rourke. Her thin online resume gives little sense regarding her specific areas of practice, but If Zullo has honestly reflected her conclusions (See discussion after Paragraph #31) then this is clearly not an area of law in which she can claim expertise. In short, Zullo’s claim of participation by any “experts” in this investigation is at best undemonstrated.
“The investigation further determined that the Hawaii Department of Health has engaged in what the Sheriff’s investigators believe is a systematic effort to hide from law enforcement and the public whatever original 1961 birth records the Hawaii Department of Health may have in its possession. The posse has also accumulated evidence that the Hawaii government and its agencies had changed their policies and procedures in a manner calculated to hinder our law-enforcement investigation.” Comments: Let’s set aside for a moment the more arcane debate over whether or not this genuinely deserves to be called a “law-enforcement investigation.” Let us instead concentrate on what is actually being described by this paragraph. First and foremost, the Hawai‘i Department of Health is tasked by statute27 to protect the vital records in its possession from disclosure to unauthorized third parties. It takes not the slightest effort to understand that a member of a volunteer posse from some county sheriff’s department in Arizona is an
MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012, Transcript page 5. This is an example of where Zullo attempts to impute a sinister interpretation to something that most likely has a very different meaning. Here he wants people to think that “no one wanted to touch it” because of its connection to the White House. More likely is that competent forensic document forensic refused to touch it because it is a scan of a document, and therefore pretty much useless for forensic determination of authenticity. 27 HRS § 338-2. “Authority and duties of the department of health The department of health, herein referred to as the department, shall: (1) Establish a central bureau of public health statistics with suitable offices properly equipped for the safety and preservation of all its official records.” http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol06_Ch03210344/HRS0338/HRS_0338-0002.htm
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unauthorized third party. It is frankly bizarre to suggest that there might be some nefarious purpose behind the Hawai‘i Department of Health doing their job well, but that is the bridge that Zullo is trying to sell with this paragraph. Were this an actual law-enforcement investigation associated with an actual law-enforcement action or court case, there are provisions within Hawaiian statutes that would allow access.28 Zullo and his posse do not appear to have made any serious effort to comply with them, at least as of now. Finally, while Zullo alleges certain ambiguous changes to “their policies and procedures,” he never actually gets around to describing any such changes anywhere in this affidavit. This author is aware of no changes that have taken place in the last two years, i.e. that could have possibly been intended to hinder the MCCCP.
“In furtherance of the investigation, which has now continued for more than a year, I have twice visited Hawaii within the last six months. On the first occasion a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Detective and I presented our credentials to the offices of the Hawaii Department of Health and requested to speak to Mr [sic] Alvin Onaka, the chief registrar of births, a simulacrum of whose signature-stamp had appeared on the on the electronic document on the White House website. We had hoped to ask Mr [sic] Onaka if he would verify the authenticity of the White House released document and to verify the legitimacy of the registrar’s stamp bearing his signature. Additionally we hoped to ask him to allow us, for law enforcement reasons, to inspect the original document and, in due course, to subject it to forensic examination.” Comments: This is the point at which the Zullo affidavit becomes an extended and often surreal whine about how badly he feels he has been treated by the state of Hawai‘i, along with a display of investigative and legal cluelessness that would likely have been avoided by a real police investigator. It seems almost inconceivable that any competent investigators would spend the time and money to travel the 2910 miles from Phoenix to Honolulu without already having contacted the officials he intended to visit, apprised them of his travel and purpose, and discussed with them the proper procedures for accessing records which (as he certainly should have known) are protected by law. To the extent that Zullo feels that he is involved in an adversarial encounter with the Hawai‘i Department of Health, that relationship was established by his decision to arrive unannounced, flash badges and demand to see the State Registrar under the false color of a law enforcement activity. It is unclear if Zullo acted out of malice or ignorance, and ultimately does not matter. This ham-handed and often abusive and invasive approach to a group of government officials who had already spent four
See for example HRS §338-18 (b) (9), http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/vol06_ch03210344/HRS0338/HRS_0338-0018.htm
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years dealing with often abusive and invasive birther activists certainly poisoned any spirit of cooperation that the Department of Health might have otherwise had toward the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse. For all the “hope” Zullo and his beard, Maricopa County deputy Brian Mackiewcz, carried into the Department of Health that day, it appears to have been completely unleavened by the most casual effort to research what the requirements were for a third party to gain access to these records. Had he contacted even his own state’s Department of Health beforehand, he would have known that what he was asking for wouldn’t be allowed in Arizona, let alone Hawai‘i.
“However, when we presented our credentials at the front desk of the Hawaii Department of Health, much to our amazement we were informed that Mr [sic] Onaka does not speak to the public. We explained that we were on official business. Nevertheless, we were not permitted access to Mr [sic] Onaka.” Comments: Pause must be taken at this point to consider the question of Zullo’s breathtaking naiveté. Dr. Alvin T. Onaka is the Registrar of Vital Statistics for the State of Hawai‘i, a position of not insignificant importance. Zullo arrived completely unannounced, demanded a meeting, and actually believed they would simply say, “Sure.” In all likelihood he and his detective friend were not the most amazed people in that room, and protestations of “official business” could hardly have softened the impression. Remember, this is an organization that had been so abused by birthers over the previous four years that at one point a law was actually passed to protect them from “vexatious requestors.”29 Zullo’s attempt to bluster his way into a surprise meeting should have been expected to be met with resistance. What “credentials” were shown that he might imagine would be compelling? Certainly he must have known that even the real detective with whom he travelled was so far out of his jurisdiction that he was indistinguishable from any typical mainland tourist. Zullo carried with him no warrant, summons, subpoena, or even nice letter from a judge somewhere. It can be no surprise that Dr. Onaka’s staff told him to go away. Sadly as we will see again and again, Zullo failed to glean the most obvious lesson from this, the first of his consistent failures in Hawai‘i.
The Honolulu Advertiser, April 29, 2010, “Hawaii passes bill to curb clamor for Obama birth certificate,” http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2010/Apr/29/ln/hawaii4290353.html
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“At our insistence we did have the opportunity to speak with Deputy Attorney General Jill Nagamine. During our meeting Ms. Nagamine refused to verify the authenticity of the PDF file released by the White House. As a matter of fact Ms. Nagamine would not provide us with any confirmation that the document was created by the Hawaii Department of Health.” Comments: The introduction of Jill Nagamine into the narrative is the most certain indication that Zullo had already been identified as “just another birther.” Ms. Nagamine has been the attorney of record for the Department of Health on every birther action that has been filed in the state thus far. She has dealt gracefully and effectively with the repeated attempts of birthers such as Andy Martin, Orly Taitz, Nellie Ristvedt and the still anonymous “Miss Tickly / TerriK” to circumvent the law and access the President’s birth records. Any hopes Zullo had of intimidating his way into access died the moment Nagamine became aware of his presence in Hawai‘i. And as per Zullo’s account she did her job and declined to violate Hawaiian law by confirming or denying the contents of vital records to which Zullo was not entitled access.
“Ms. Nagamine accused us of trying to get a verification of a birth record without legal authority to do so, even though the document had been offered for public view via the World Wide Web. She constantly evaded answering every question about the legitimacy of the document by hiding behind State statutes.” Comments: One must ponder Zullo’s conception of the difference between “hiding behind” State statutes and complying with them. DAG Nagamine was completely correct in her accusation. It is a simple objective fact that Zullo was trying to get a verification of a birth record without legal authority to do so. The fact that the President had already released his records on the Web is irrelevant to the State of Hawai‘i’s obligation to protect their vital records. The President may do anything with a copy of his birth certificate that he wants, but the Department of Health does not legally have the same latitude. For DAG Nagamine to have answered Zullo’s questions would have been a violation of the law. She correctly declined to do so.
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“We also visited the Kapi‘olani Hospital, which the White House website identifies as the place of Mr [sic] Obama’s birth. We had discovered as the result of our enquiries that the hospital, at the relevant time, had maintained a separate record-keeping system by which all births in the hospital were recorded. This document is stored in the hospital archives. These archives are accessible by the public by hospital permission. We asked to see the birth records for 1961 but were less than politely refused. At no time did Kapi‘olani Hospital ever confirm that Mr [sic] Obama was born in the hospital. Nor did they confirm that they were in possession of his birth records.” Comments: Whereas Zullo’s ignorance of relevant Hawaiian law might be remotely understandable, the effort to get unidentified hospital employees to violate Federal law is more difficult to excuse. Without any possible way of knowing whether the “result of (Zullo’s) enquiries” is true, let’s pretend that it is and that the hospital maintains a half century old archive of births. Under Title II of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)30 such records are “Protected Health Information,” and subject the healthcare provider to severe civil penalties should they be disclosed to any third party without express permission from the persons whose information is involved. So either Zullo has been badly misinformed or is telling the fourth deliberate falsehood of this affidavit; these archives are not “accessible to the public with hospital permission.” Under the law, such permission is not the hospital’s to give. As in his experience with the Department of Health, Zullo’s actual complaint here is that he was unable to convince the hospital to violate the law.
“Having regard to the elaborate non-cooperation we received from the State of Hawaii, and upon close examination of the evidence, it is my investigational opinion, shared by the Sheriff, that forgery and fraud have been committed in key identity records, including President Obama’s long form birth certificate; his computerized short-form birth abstract; his Selective Service Registration card.” Comments: It is difficult at this point to refrain from full-fledged mockery. “It is my investigational opinion” must rank right up there among the most self-importantly vacuous prologues to a logical non sequitur ever committed to a “sworn affidavit.” Zullo ignorantly went to Hawai‘i completely unprepared, hoping to make an end run around the law with bluff and bluster. He was met by professionals who knew their jobs, who knew the law and who
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Pub. L. No. 104-191, 110 Stat. 1936 (1996)
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were completely unintimidated by his swagger or his plastic badge. “Elaborate non-cooperation” need not be an effort to cover up fraud. It is also a very effective way of dealing with pretentious nincompoops. It is also worth noting that the “elaborate non-cooperation” does not appear to have actually been all that elaborate. By Zullo’s own account it consists of (1) not granting him an audience with the official he wanted to see; (2) granting him an unscheduled meeting with a state attorney, and (3) informing him of the legal requirements he would need to satisfy before he could receive information.
“The Cold Case Posse has also noted that Mr [sic] Obama’s first Executive Order issued on his first full day as President, was to seal all of his own past records from public scrutiny. Documentation that is not available for Mr [sic] Obama includes not only his original birth records but also his baptism records, his adoption records, his kindergarten records, his Punahou school records, his Occidental College records, his Columbia University records, his Columbia University thesis, his Harvard Law School records, his Harvard Law Review articles, his scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, his passports, his medical records, his files from years as an Illinois State Senator, and his Illinois Bar Association records.” Comments: With this paragraph Zullo plunges completely down the birther rabbit hole, plagiarizing birther emails, blogs and forum posts going back three years31 that even then were widely recognized as absurd. Zullo starts with his fifth lie of the affidavit. President Obama’s first Executive Order does absolutely nothing to seal any of the President’s “past records from public scrutiny.” Executive Order 1348932 of January 21, 2009 comes very close in fact to doing the exact opposite. It deals for starters only with “Presidential Records,” i.e. records generated by a sitting President while they were in office. Consequently, not a single one of the records on Zullo’s list were affected by it. Furthermore, the EO merely rescinded the tighter restrictions imposed by President George W. Bush when he took office in 2001, actually making it easier (not harder) to access the records it really does deal with. As to the list of “missing” documents,33 can anyone take seriously a complaint about not being able to see the President’s kindergarten records? What do you suppose an opposition researcher would find useful in them? A particularly socialist finger painting style? A suspicious predilection towards the color red?
For example: The Free Republic Forum, July 30, 2009, “Obama's first act as President EXECUTIVE ORDER 13489 banning release of any of his records,” http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2304500/posts 32 Available here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2009-01-26/pdf/E9-1712.pdf 33 It appears to derive originally from a list compiled by original Birther lawyer Phil Berg that was posted to one of the several now-defunct earlier versions of his obamacrimes.com website. Almost the identical list was published in an extended article on WND on June 9, 2009, “Obama: Where have all his records gone?” http://www.wnd.com/2009/06/100613/
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Even worse, a number of items on the list are complete figments of the birther imagination. There never were any adoption records because the President was not adopted. There never was a Columbia “thesis” because Columbia was an undergraduate program not a masters or doctoral program demanding one. There never were any “scholarly articles from the University of Chicago,” because the President was not a full professor on tenure track and had no obligation to write any. And everything else on the list is the sort of record that no President in all of American history has ever previously been expected to release. Finally, as to Zullo’s “personal knowledge,” there is no indication that he has made any personal attempt to research, locate or investigate any of the additional “records” on this list.
“The then Republican governor of Hawai’I, Linda Lingle, stated during an interview on New York’s WABC radio in 2008 that in an attempt to quell the Birth Certificate issue she had the Birth Certificate inspected by the state’s director of health, Chiyome Fukino.” Comments: Ignoring that Linda Lingle is still a Republican, Zullo gets the occurrence of this interview wrong by two years. This interview took place on Sunday, May 2, 2010,34 not in 2008. Zullo can make no claim to this interview as being his “personal knowledge.”
“Lingle is quoted, ‘So I had my health director, who is a physician by background, go personally view the birth certificate in the birth records of the Department of Health, and we issued a news release at that time saying that the president was, in fact, born at Kapi‘olani Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii. And that’s just a fact and yet people continue to call up and e-mail and want to make it an issue and I think that it’s again a horrible distraction for the country by those people who continue this.’” Comments: It is curious that Zullo uses the form “Lingle is quoted” rather than “Lingle said” since copies of the interview are widely available online for listening.35 It appears that Zullo has never actually listened to the interview and is quoting it second or third hand from other sources. He certainly cannot claim to have any personal knowledge of what was said. Other than that, the quotation is accurate.
World Net Daily, May 5, 2010, “Hawaii governor announces 'exact' place of Obama birth,” http://www.wnd.com/2010/05/150125/ 35 A Birther edited version can be found here: http://youtu.be/GO6R8E20bio
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“On October 31, 2008, Dr. Chiyome Fukino released the following statement: ‘There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes HRS §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record. Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics, who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures. No state official , including Governor Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai‘i.’” Comments: With the exception of the insertion of a stray comma, this is an accurate reflection of Dr. Fukino’s statement.36 Again, however, Zullo can make no claim to this being his “personal knowledge.”
“Month’s later, in July of 2009, she added another comment: ‘I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of the Hawai’i State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawai‘i and is a natural-born American. I have nothing further to add to this statement or to my original statement issued in October 2008 over eight months ago.’ Significantly, Fukino changes the wording from viewing Sen. Obama’s ‘original birth certificate’ to having ‘seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawai‘i and is a natural-born American.’” Comments: This is an accurate reflection of Dr. Fukino’s July 2009 statement.37 But Zullo makes here no effort to actually explain why he feels it is “significant” that Dr. Fukino used different wording here to describe the document she inspected than she did in October 2008. She can’t actually be accused of “changing the wording,” since it is a completely different statement and the original remains available with original wording completely intact. And to all but the most determined semantic hair-splitter, an “original birth certificate” is exactly the “original vital record” that would verify the president’s Hawaiian birth, to the exclusion of any other. Further, what would be the effective nefarious motive of such a change in wording? These two statements (along with Governor Lingle’s later radio interview) have an inescapable intent that cannot
News Release – State of Hawai‘i, October 31, 2008, http://hawaii.gov/health/about/pr/2008/08-93.pdf News Release – State of Hawai‘i, July 27, 2009, http://hawaii.gov/health/about/pr/2009/09-063.pdf
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be dodged by a flaccid quibble. They are clearly intended to confirm that Barack Obama was born in Hawai‘i and that his original birth certificate exists and says so… without setting too broad a precedent regarding the exercise of her statutory discretion by releasing any more information than is absolutely necessary. They are both published under her name on official letterhead, and both are available on the Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s website. Does Zullo imagine that they conceivably do not actually say what they are intended to say? This is a classic (and completely unoriginal) example of the willful denial practiced by adherents of the birther weltanschauung. It betrays a certain amount of magical thinking in which specific turns of phrase or uses of words are imagined to have a talismanic power to protect speakers or writers from accountability for what they actually say. And of course, it must be noted that nothing in this paragraph can be legally considered Zullo’s “personal knowledge.”
“The Governor of Hawai’i, Mr [sic] Neil Abercrombie, has said that he was present when Mr. Obama was born. Later, however, he retracted that statement and acknowledged that he did not see Obama’s parents with their newborn son at any hospital, although he remembers seeing Obama as a child with his parents at social events. There is no evidence to support that claim. No doctor or nurse who attended his birth has come forward to say so.” Comments: Here we find the sixth of Zullo’s outright lies. Governor Abercrombie cannot be shown to have ever “said that he was present when Mr. Obama was born,” and therefore no retraction can have taken or did take place. It is clear that Zullo is unaware of any such actual quotation, since he makes no effort to provide more than a hearsay paraphrase. The anti-birther website TheFogbow.com38 has collected the comprehensive catalog of every public mention Neil Abercrombie has ever made on the issue.39 The closest that Abercrombie can be shown to have said anything like what Zullo asserts is in his December 27, 2010 interview on CNN,40 where he says, “It's a matter of principle with me. I knew his mom and dad. I was here when he was born. Anybody who wants to ask a question honestly could have had their answer already." (emphasis added). Since he was speaking in 2010 from Hawai‘i, “here” can only be a reference to being in Hawai‘i, and not a claim to having been present in the hospital at the birth.
Full disclosure: I am among the original members of The Fogbow, posting as “Epectitus.” TheFogbow.com, “What Governor Abercrombie Said and Didn't Say,” http://www.thefogbow.com/specialreports/abercrombie/ 40 CNN, December 27, 2010, “Governor Vows to End Birther Controversy,” http://whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/27/governor-vows-to-end-birther-controversy/
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The “later” retraction that Zullo asserts took place is actually a paraphrase (not a quotation) of Abercrombie found in the New York Times on December 24, 201041; three days prior to the CNN interview. While birther theories often require the rending of the time space continuum to be possible, and while three days is a much smaller leap than their usual years or decades, a “later” retraction cannot take place before the comment it is supposed to be retracting. It is clear that Zullo’s intention here is to try and impeach Abercrombie’s reliability as a witness to Obama’s childhood by first lying about and then revising history regarding what Abercrombie might have said. And all of this is done using information of which Zullo can have no actual “personal knowledge.” I want to also make special note of a tiny but curious detail. After consistently failing to use the standard American English language convention of punctuating the title “Mr.” with a period, Zullo suddenly gets it right for the first time (and just ten words after having gotten it wrong again). The reason for this event appears to be that at this point, the affidavit is rather explicitly not Zullo’s. The next seven paragraphs are clearly the work of (you guessed it) Jerome Corsi, lifted almost verbatim from a January 18, 2012 article on the subject he wrote for WND.42 Corsi published that article more than six months before the MCCCP investigation was even created and its verbatim inclusion in what is ostensibly Zullo’s affidavit cannot be excused as information uncovered by the posse and innocently reported by Corsi at the same time. It is a clear demonstration that the investigation has never been more than a deceptive attempt to give status and credibility to Corsi’s otherwise disreputable reporting on WND. From womb to tomb, the MCCCP “investigation” has been Jerome Corsi’s creature. It becomes less and less clear what actual investigation was performed by the MCCCP at all.
“Abercrombie told the Honolulu Star Advertiser he was searching within the Hawaii Department of Health to find definitive vital records that would prove Obama was born in Hawaii, because the continuing eligibility controversy could hurt the president’s chances of reelection in 2012.” Comments: Noting first that Zullo can have no “personal knowledge” of what Governor Abercrombie told the Honolulu Star Advertiser, here we find the seventh of his (or at this point, Corsi’s) falsehoods. The interview43 does not say that the “controversy could hurt the presidents chances of reelection in 2012.”
The New York Times, December 24, 2010, “Hawaii’s Governor Takes On ‘Birthers’,” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/25/us/25hawaii.html?_r=0 42 World Net Daily, January 18, 2011, “Hawaii governor can't find Obama birth certificate,” http://www.wnd.com/2011/01/252833/#ixzz1BRJWqnL8 43 The Honolulu Star Advertiser, January 18, 2011, “’This is a collaborative endeavor,’” http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorials/20110118_This_is_a_collaborative_endeavor.html
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It acknowledges only that “it has a political implication for 2012 that we simply cannot have,” but does not explain what that implication might actually be. In every interview where Abercrombie was explicit regarding the reason for his search, he stated that it was to defend “the memory of (Obama’s) parents insulted by people whose motivation is solely political."44
“Abercrombie said the birth certificate issue would have ‘political implications’ for the presidential election ‘that we simply cannot have.’” Comments: Again, Zullo can claim no “personal knowledge” of this. But this time he is close enough.
“Abercrombie did not report to the newspaper that he or the Department of Health had found Obama’s long form, hospital-generated birth certificate. The governor only suggested that his investigations to date had identified an unspecified listing or notation of Obama’s birth that someone had made in the state archives.” Comments: Noting again that Zullo can have no “personal knowledge” of what Governor Abercrombie told the Honolulu Star Advertiser, as with Dr. Fukino’s statements earlier, Zullo resorts to determined semantic hairsplitting to try and portray the governor’s (not very glib) statement as not actually saying what it is clearly intended to say. In response to this question: “You stirred up quite a controversy with your comments regarding birthers and your plans to release more information regarding President Barack Obama's birth certificate. How is that coming?” The governor answered: “It was actually written I am told, this is what our investigation is showing, it actually exists in the archives, written down.” He does not mention any “listing” or “notation.” He says directly in response to a direct question about the birth certificate that “It actually exists in the archives.”
The New York Times, December 24, 2010, “Hawaii’s Governor Takes On ‘Birthers’,” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/25/us/25hawaii.html?_r=0
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“Abercrombie did not say to the newspaper that he or the Hawaii Department of Health had found Obama’s long form, hospital-generated birth certificate. Nor did he say that he had personally seen any birth record for Obama. The governor only suggested that his investigations to date had identified an unspecified listing or notation of Obama’s birth that someone had made in the state archives.” Comments: Zullo! You just said that! Was it really necessary copy and paste the same Corsi paragraph twice, just to add a single sentence?
“‘It was actually written, I am told, this is what our investigation is showing, it actually exists in the archives, written down,’ Abercrombie said.” Comments: Yes... That is what he was reported to have said. Abercrombie has no reputation for eloquence.
“Conceivably, the yet undisclosed birth record in the state archives that Abercrombie has discovered may have come from the grandparents registering Obama’s birth, an event that would have triggered both the newspaper birth announcements and availability of a Certification of Live Birth, even if no longform birth certificate existed.” Comments: At this point the affidavit (or the original Corsi article from which it is copied verbatim) is no longer a discussion of evidence or an investigation and is simply launching into pure speculation. Of course, in the following paragraphs we will now have the opportunity to examine some of this speculation in more detail. But speculation is of rather patent uselessness in what is supposed to be an affidavit regarding facts that are the “personal knowledge” of the attestant.
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“Our investigation has revealed that in 1961, as Hawaiian law then stood, Obama’s grandparents , Stanley and Madelyn Dunham, could lawfully have made an in-person report of a Hawaiian birth even if the infant Barack Obama Jr. had been foreign born.” Comments: With this paragraph Corsi is still the author of this affidavit, though copying from a different article.45 As originally written, this paragraph read “WND has reported” rather than “Our investigation has revealed,” and it linked to an earlier WND article that appears to be scrubbed from the WND archives. At least WND’s own link is broken. In actual fact, little about this paragraph is actually true. Certainly, in those cases where a child is not born in a hospital or in the presence of a healthcare provider a process for obtaining a birth certificate must exist. Hawai‘i’s process (in 1961 as today) is virtually identical to that of all 49 other American states. At no point did Hawaiian law ever allow grandparents to make such a declaration unless they were personally present at the birth. More to the point, it is illegitimate to accept that (as Corsi suggests) any registrar would allow the reporting of such an event without any other evidence at all, especially without evidence of there even being a baby. As early as 1911, Hawai‘i was vigorously stressing the integrity and accuracy of their vital records. Act 96 of the Laws of the Territory of Hawai‘i,46 passed that year and governing the issuance of “Certificates of Hawaiian Birth” until 1955 went into great depth regarding the evidence required before such a certificate would be issued. Rather than something as casual as a mere “in-person report,” the law prescribed that: “All applications shall be by sworn petition, in which the party shall set forth circumstantially all the facts upon which his application rests, and shall be accompanied by sworn affidavits of witnesses. The Secretary and such persons as he may designate and appoint may examine, under oath, any applicant or person cognizant of the facts regarding any application and for that purpose he and they are hereby authorized and empowered to administer oaths, subpoena and compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books and papers, punish for contempts and, generally, to exercise the same authority with regard to their special jurisdiction as is by law conferred on District Magistrates.” And then, to put as fine a point as possible on the fact that they were committed to protecting the integrity of the records and ensuring their authenticity, Section 2 of the law read:
World Net Daily, January 24, 2011, “Hawaii official now swears: No Obama birth certificate,” http://www.wnd.com/2011/01/254401/ 46 http://tiny.cc/254e6
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“Any applicant or any person, who shall give or offer any false testimony, oral or written, under oath, in support or respect of any application for a certificate under the provisions of the foregoing Section, shall be deemed guilty of perjury and shall be punishable accordingly.” In 1955, the Territorial Public Health Statistics Act47 was passed, and these were the laws in place at the time of President Obama’s birth. In terms of “Certificates of Hawaiian Birth,” the law is essentially unchanged from the 1911 version. All such applications were still via sworn petition. The Secretary’s powers of examination under oath were copied verbatim from the 1911 law. The perjury clause is retained, and in reflection of their explicit intention to prevent aliens from registering “Hawaiian Births” they incorporated into the law itself a several hundred word long citation to relevant other laws regarding immigration, admissibility of evidence, fraud and penalties for perjury (to include deportation), and citizenship. In short, the law in effect at the time of President Obama’s birth was more explicitly focused on preventing the sort of fraud that Corsi & Zullo assert was “common” than that of any other contemporary State laws of which I am aware. The State of Hawai‘i Department of Health Public Health Regulations48 in effect at the time are further explicit that any such certificates, alterations to certificates or delayed certificates should be supported with “such evidence as (the Director of Health) deems necessary to support the allegations and to preserve the authenticity of the certificate.” Additionally, an account of the Territory of Hawai‘i’s process published in late 1955 (after the passage of the 1955 Territorial Public Health Statistics Act)49 notes that, “To secure a ‘Hawaiian birth certificate’ a magistrate’s hearing may be required at which witnesses testify, or the certificate may be issued on the basis of documentary evidence.” It already stretched credulity to propose that any vital records office anywhere in the world would simply accept a report of a birth and issue an official birth certificate based solely on the verbal report of alleged grandparents. But much of Corsi’s discussion here (and even more of Zullo’s presentation at the second MCCCP Press conference) consists of what can only be understood as an egregious and intentional slur on the government and people of Hawai‘i. Compare for example what the law says above with Zullo’s false assertion during the second MCCCP press conference that, “In 1955 through 1982, Hawai‘i had a law that basically said you could come in and you could declare that birth as long as you were an adult and you could prove residency.”50 That statement is a complete falsehood. Zullo’s intention there was to portray the State of Hawai‘i as sloppy, inferior, corrupt and untrustworthy in the issuance and control of their vital records. He even went on to suggest that “every birth certificate that you see from the State of Hawai‘i” is unreliable and conceivably even a “national security issue.”51
http://www.scribd.com/doc/117573269/Hawaii-Statutes-of-1955-Chapter-57-Vital-Records Downloadable here (by clicking item #117): http://gen.doh.hawaii.gov/sites/har/admrules/default.aspx 49 Bennett, Charles G. and Tokuyama, George “Vital Records in Hawaii.” Hawaii Medical Journal, Nov.-Dec. 1955, page 129, www.wnd.com/files/CHARLESBENNETT.pdf 50 MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012, Transcript page 10. 51 Ibid. Page 11.
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But as we know from the actual law (which Zullo at least pretends to have had “our attorney” look at), none of this is true. So the slur can be considered neither gratuitous nor inadvertent. It is deliberate and knowingly dishonest.
“The newspaper announcements of Mr [sic] Obama’s birth do not prove he was born in Hawaii, since they could have been triggered by the grandparents registering the birth as Hawaiian. They might have then paid for the announcements themselves.” Comments: The assertion that Obama’s grandparents might have paid for the birth announcements has long been discredited even by Jerome Corsi’s own research and reporting.52 In both 1961 and today, birth announcements were received by newspapers directly from the Department of Health. Obama’s announcements are also embedded deeply within scores of other such announcements and are identical in form and format, establishing that they were not somehow uniquely or specially derived. Corsi & Zullo’s hypothesis is that Obama’s grandparents took advantage of Hawaiian laws regarding “Certificates of Hawaiian Birth.” We will cover that theory in more detail as it develops in this affidavit. But it is important to note that at this point they are confabulating two completely different theories of how the newspaper announcements arose. They are apparently speculating that infant Obama was registered for a “Certificate of Hawaiian” birth which would have automatically triggered a birth announcement from the Department of Health, and that his grandparents also paid for a birth announcement which would be both redundant and unlikely to show up in the paper along with scores of announcements generated from a completely different source. It is not clear whether Corsi & Zullo are confused themselves, or deliberately trying to be confusing to the affidavit reader.
World Net Daily, July 22, 2009, “Hawaiian newspapers don't prove birthplace,” http://www.wnd.com/2009/07/104678/
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“However, we have learned that it was not uncommon for local newspapers to publish birth announcements paid for by individuals reporting the birth in the local paper, even if the child was born elsewhere. If so, the registration of an out-of-country birth as Hawaiian would have been reported in the same way as an in-country birth. Neither of the two advertisements states that Obama was born in a particular hospital. Both give very limited information.” Comments: This claim by Zullo (or is it Corsi?) is notable in only one respect; he claims “it was not uncommon” and yet has to this point never made public a single example of this common occurrence. One would expect that there be genuine evidence behind such a claim competent to raise it above the status of idle tendentious speculation, but alas no sign can be found among the hundreds of articles Corsi and WND have published, or in any of the news conferences or videos released by the MCCCP. The only evidence that we actually have shows that Obama’s birth announcements are identical in form and format to those of scores of other children born in hospitals and reported by the Department of Health at the same exact time.
“To date the purported undisclosed birth record in the state archives that Abercrombie has claimed to have discovered as being ‘actually written’ has never been made public. Being located in the state archives, this document should be available for inspection by the general public without restraint.” Comments: Having previously established that Abercrombie was referring to the president’s original birth certificate, this paragraph is simply another (I have lost count now) deliberate falsehood. The document to which Governor Abercrombie referred was publicly released by the White House on April 27, 2011.53 The additional assertion that somehow any document located in the Hawaiian state archives “should be available for inspection by the general public without restraint” is simply a reflection of either Corsi & Zullo’s own confusion, or another attempt to deliberately mislead. It is apparently based on the belief that the “archives” to which Governor Abercrombie was referring are different from the archives in which the Department of Health stores original birth records. Hawai‘i does have a “State Archives,”54 but a search of its catalog will show that it does not include birth records and Abercrombie never mentioned “state archives.” Those records are stored instead in bound volumes located on the first floor of the state Department of Health… i.e. in the Department of Health’s
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archives.55 Those archives (the ones to which Abercrombie was referring) are, of course, legally unavailable “for inspection by the general public.”
“From Abercrombie’s admission, it is legitimate to infer that this record, if it indeed exists, was not in the possession of the Hawaii Department of Health, which may have no record of the in-country birth of Mr [sic] Obama either in hard copy form, such as a long form birth certificate, preserved in its vault as described by Dr. Chiyome Fukino . If such a document existed, Abercrombie would have had it within minutes of his request .” Comments: This paragraph extends the alternative universe’s version of Abercrombie’s statements that has served as the fake foundation of Corsi & Zullo’s desperate effort to explain away and obfuscate the clear statements of two Hawai‘i Directors of Health, one Hawai‘i State Registrar, and two Hawai‘i governors. All have testified that President Obama’s original birth certificate exists and is stored exactly in the same place and manner as all other Hawaiian birth certificates. Remember, neither Abercrombie nor Lingle ever claimed personal access to the records. It is unclear to this writer that simply being the Governor could meet the requirements under HRS §338-18 to be considered a person having “direct and tangible interest in a public health statistics record.” Both Governors Lingle and Abercrombie apparently depended on the testimony of their respective Directors of Heath as the basis of their own statements. So Abercrombie would likely never have “had it” at all, let alone within minutes of his request.
“Mr [sic] Obama’s long form birth certificate would have been preserved in a hard-covered bound volume along with the other long form birth certificates of that period. This record would have been easily accessible to the Department of Health upon the governor’s request, had it existed.” Comments: As per the statements and interviews of Dr. Chiyome Fukino, President Obama’s long form birth certificate absolutely is “preserved in a hard-covered bound volume along with the other long form birth certificates of that period.” It absolutely is “easily accessible to the Department of Health” (or as easily accessible as any other birth certificate) as demonstrated by the fact that over the course of the birther campaign it has been so accessed at least three times.
MSNBC, April 11, 2011, “Ex-Hawaii official denounces 'ludicrous' birther claims,” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42519951/ns/politics-more_politics/t/ex-hawaii-official-denounces-ludicrousbirther-claims/#.UMIFCXfm6Uk
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“Dr. Chiyome Fukino also gave an interview to CNN on April 26, 2011, in which she states that she simply went into the vault and inspected Obama’s original birth certificate. Inferentially, it should have been that easy for Governor Abercrombie to locate it as well.” Comments: Once again, the lack of Zullo’s “personal knowledge” raises its head. But ignoring that the Governor probably does not legally have personal access to the vital records at all, there has never been any indication from Governor Abercrombie that the records were hard to locate. However, in the interview that Dr. Fukino gave to CNN in April of 2011,56 she also never said that “she simply went into the vault and inspected Obama’s original birth certificate.” To the extent that she characterizes it, she asserts that she was escorted by the Registrar, Dr. Alvin Onaka, indicating that even for the Director of Health it is not “simply” a process of going into the “vault” and inspecting anything. “He (Onaka) is the one that took me to see the document,” she said.
“This circumstance also suggests that the birth record of Mr [sic] Obama was not at that time recorded in the Department of Health’s computerized database that has been in use since 2001.” Comments: I can come up with no rational theory of how this suggests anything of the sort. Governor Abercrombie made his comments in January of 2011. The Fukino interview took place in April of 2011, but recounts actions she took in October 2008. A copy of the President’s computer generated short-form has been available to the public since June of 2008, and it is dated June 7, 2007. Where is there any suggestion that it was not already in the database?
CNN, April 26, 2011, “Health Director, Dr. Chiyome Fukimo 'Obama was 100 percent born here',” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9D4n6_Uifk
The Annotated Zullo
“In March 2012, Sheriff Arpaio held a Press Conference during which he and I presented an outline of those aspects of the investigation that would not compromise the safety of witnesses or the integrity and future course of the investigation. At that time, we had concluded that there was probable cause that forgery and fraud had been committed in respect of four documents.: the long form or original birth certificate for Mr [sic] Obama which contained multiple errors and anomalies, many of them serious; the short form computer generated abstract of Mr [sic] Obama’s birth record that the Democratic Party had published in 2007, which was printed using a form of words not current at the relevant date; the selective-service document for Mr [sic] Obama which contained a two-digit year-stamp contrary to specifications written by the Department of Defense to the respect, that the year of issue should be expressed in four digits on the stamp, and contrary to any other selective-service registration document that we have been able to examine; and we are aware that the social security number, which has a prefix that at the date of issue was unique to Connecticut even though Mr [sic] Obama has never resided in the state.” Comments: There are already a significant number of published responses to the specific details of Zullo’s charges here, comprehensively demonstrating both incompetence on the part of the MCCCP and the ultimate falsehood of their conclusions regarding the president’s long form birth certificate and his selective service registration. I will only note here in passing that Zullo is misrepresenting his own press conference. Neither the computer generated short-form nor the President’s social security number was ever mentioned. I refer readers to the comprehensive rebuttal to the specific claims of the press conference that can be found on The Fogbow.57
“In an attempt to verify whether or not Mr [sic] Obama and his mother had arrived in the United States at or around the alleged date of his birth, we contacted the National Archives to obtain microfilms of the I-94 immigration landing records for the year 1961. All such records were and are available for the entire year of 1961, except for those on the alleged date of Mr [sic] Obama’s birth (August 4), three days before that date, and three days after that date. The Archivist and his staff did not tell us how the missing records came to be lost, and offered no hope that they would ever come to light.” Comments: This is another example of the incestuous working relationship between Jerome Corsi and the MCCCP, since Corsi was the specific person who allegedly carried out this effort. It is further unclear if Zullo can testify from “personal knowledge” regarding this part of the “investigation” or if Jerome Corsi is the only
The Fogbow, March 2012, “SPECIAL REPORT: The Cold Case Posse Preliminary Report, OR Shurff Joe's Got Nothing New Under the Arizona Sun,” http://www.thefogbow.com/special-reports/first-arpaio-press-conference/
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one who can do so. But laying that aside for now, the affidavit’s account leaves out some rather salient details: First, in the March 22, 2012 article at WND58 where Corsi gave his account of this research, he reveals that they were looking at international flights arriving in Hawai‘i and New York and it is only the records for Hawai‘i that are incomplete, not those from New York. Unfortunately for the birther theory, all travelers originating in Kenya would have arrived through New York in 1961. So the gap in Hawaiian records is irrelevant. It seems further clear that the Obamas were not found in the New York records since Corsi has not reported what would otherwise be the gun to end all birther smoking guns. Second, the “missing week” was also missing from the original microfilm which the National Archives told Corsi had been made in August of 1961. So unless the MCCCP theory is that Barack Obama was the subject of a conspiracy to conceal his ineligibility for the presidency when he was still less than one month old, no nefarious motive can seriously be attached to the fact that the information is missing. Third, the claim here that “the Archivist and his staff did not tell us how the missing records came to be lost” is directly contradicted by Corsi’s account in the WND article. In that version, the archivist wrote Corsi a letter in which she explained that “the missing data was due to poor quality control that allowed multiple cards to be fed through a document feeder and become bunched together, obscuring the images underneath.” Her account is supported by the microfilms themselves where, as Corsi acknowledges, “a few bunched records are observed at the end of Reel 184.” This is exactly the point at which the gap in records commences. It goes without saying that Corsi & Zullo do not accept this explanation. It is blatant falsehood, however, to assert that no explanation was provided.
“After three months of further investigation, the Sheriff held a second press conference to announce, with my support, that it was no longer a question of probable cause: it was now certain that that the document on the White House website was a forgery. The sheriff also announced that the investigation would continue: and it has continued ever since.” Comments: Consider for a moment what the Sheriff’s office has announced here. Were these conclusions confidently held (and this were an actual police investigation) the evidence assembled would at this point be presented to an appropriate prosecutorial agency in order to gain a criminal indictment pursuant to a trial. Only in the circumstances of such a trial could the determination be made that anything was “certain.” In those trials the jury (if it is a jury trial) or the judge (if it is not) has responsibility as “trier of fact”; i.e. to decide, from the evidence, whether something existed or some
World Net Daily, March 22, 2012, “Immigration records missing for week of Obama's birth,” http://www.wnd.com/2012/03/immigration-records-missing-for-week-of-obamas-birth/
The Annotated Zullo
event occurred. Once those facts have been determined, the judge is then also the “trier of law”; i.e. responsible to decide whether or not the determined facts break the law. A sheriff’s department is neither. In short, the only legitimate response to this assertion is, “Not your job, Mike!” If Arpaio had genuine confidence that the evidence was this convincing, the only appropriate action would have been to turn it over to a prosecutor. Instead, we got a press conference. And as of this writing it is six months since that conference and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has not even hinted an intention to turn it over to anybody. Furthermore, Arpaio has been rather explicit regarding his personal confusion regarding to whom an appropriate prosecutorial agent might even be.59
“The purpose of holding press conferences was and is to notify the public that an investigation is in progress, with the aim of obtaining additional information that might be helpful to the investigators in reaching the truth. As a result of both press conferences, additional material of this kind became available to us.” Comments: It’s safe to concur that these could be some of the purposes of holding press conferences. They are not an inclusive list however. Other potential reasons include generating activity on the WND website, to engage in propaganda or partisan political spin, or to create diversions from other events that the conferees would prefer to keep on the down low. The first press conference was held just before scheduling hearings for the class-action lawsuit against Sheriff Arpaio (Melendres v. Arpaio) in Federal District Court. The second Arpaio press conference was held two days before its start.
MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012. Transcript page 28.
The Annotated Zullo
“Our investigation concludes that President Obama’s long-form birth certificate is a computer generated document; that it was manufactured piecemeal and electronically; and that it did not originate as a copy of a true paper record from a bound volume, as claimed by the White House and by the Governor of Hawaii and by the Director of the Health Department, cited in a press release issued April 27, 2011, by the Governor to coincide with the publication of the document on the White House website .” Comments: Yes, that is what the MCCCP claims to conclude. But as we have seen to this point (and will continue to see) this was never a genuine conclusion but a desired outcome that the MCCCP struggled mightily to justify.
“Most importantly, the ‘registrar’s stamp’ in the computer generated document released by the White House may have been imported from another unknown source document. The fact that the stamp cannot have been placed on the document pursuant to state and federal laws is one of the many indications that the document is a forgery and, therefore, that it cannot be relied upon as verification, legal or otherwise, of the date, place or circumstances of Mr [sic] Obama’s birth.” Comments: Mike Zullo is not competent to render an expert opinion on the technical details of the White House electronic image, so testimony to this effect belongs in someone else’s affidavit. Sadly for the MCCCP, none of their identified “experts” are significantly better qualified than Zullo. That said, only a tour de force of special pleading can lead Zullo to select a single component from the digital image with which to make this case. This is because all the other components, alone and in concert, render the conclusion of a deliberate human forgery absurd. The Registrar’s stamp is one of only two features that do not scream automatic computer artifact, but Zullo simply ignores the vast corpus of other evidence that directly contradicts his desired conclusion. Not only can the stamp have been “placed on the document pursuant to state and federal laws,” there are two Directors of Health and the Registrar himself who have independently given verbal assurances for which they are legally accountable that the president was born on the date, in the place, and according to the circumstances reflected on that document image.
The Annotated Zullo
“The Registrar’s date-stamp exhibited a similar grave anomaly, allowing it to be moved about electronically within the document - which would have been impossible if the document were the scanned and certified document that official statements profess it to be. The Registrar’s signature-stamp and date-stamp were computer generated images that were imported into the document. They were not electronic images of actual rubber stamp imprints inked by hand or machine onto a paper document. Accordingly, the document on the White House website is, at minimum, misleading to the public in that it has no legal import and cannot be relied upon as a legal document carrying the full faith and credit of the State of Hawaii and verifying the date, place and other circumstances of Mr [sic] Obama’s birth. A photograph of the Registrar’s date-stamp is exhibited and marked ‘MZ2.’” Comments: First and foremost, the two features in question here are not unique on the electronic image in the ability to select and move them around. This is true of all eight components of the document called “monochrome bitmasks.” Unfortunately for Zullo’s theory, the rest of them do not fit easily into the theory of an actual, intelligent, human forger. For one example, the identical “grave anomaly” can be seen in another component that consists of part of a date-stamp, part of the preprinted birth certificate form, and a single cursive stroke from a handwritten date. It too can be “moved about electronically within the document.” But what sense does such a component make from the perspective of human forgery? What human forger would cobble together such a bizarre chimera of unrelated parts and then import it as a single object? A photograph of this feature is exhibited and marked “FA1billion.” Other objects include two features that exhibit again the identical “grave anomaly,” yet consist entirely of meaningless dots and squiggles that are ultimately invisible on the whole image. Taken as a whole, the document actually mocks Zullo’s theory of deliberate, human forgery and instead displays all the expected features of an ordinary paper document that was scanned and then run through a set of optimization algorithms for posting to the Internet.
The Annotated Zullo
“These and numerous other errors and anomalies observed from extensive forensic scrutiny of the electronic image downloaded from the White House website were inconsistent with features to be expected when a paper document is placed on the glass plate of a scanner so that it can be captured as an electro-photographic image, or when it is scanned and then processed either to enhance the clarity of the image by optical character recognition or to reduce file-size by file-compression or optimization .” Comments: Not only is Zullo incompetent to offer such testimony from “personal knowledge,” none of the technical conclusions in this paragraph are true. Perhaps the most comprehensive debunking of the substance of these claims can be found in the book Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud? (and its associated on-line blog) by politically conservative computer professional John Woodman.60 They deserve little additional attention here. It is worth noting in passing that Mr. Woodman made a concerted effort to contact the MCCCP for the purpose of providing an alternative technical perspective to those of the committed birthers that the posse engaged for this “investigation.” He was all but completely ignored.61 That the MCCCP was aware of Woodman’s work is demonstrated by his mention by name in Video #5 from the March 1, 2012 MCCCP press conference. But they never responded to any of his offers of assistance. Also noteworthy is the failed attempt by Zullo to sound technically competent by this paragraph’s egregious misuse of jargon he patently does not understand. For example Zullo completely misemploys the phrase “electro-photographic image” which is a term of art from photocopying and printing but has nothing to do with digitally scanning an image for publication to the web. Likewise, “optical character recognition” has nothing to do with “enhance[ing] the clarity” of a digital image, but is instead concerned with converting the analog image of text into digital data.
John Woodman, Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud? (Clifton, New Jersey: Bright Horizon Press, 2011) Investigating the Obama Birth Mysteries, July 18, 2012, “Statement Regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s July 17, 2012 Press Conference: Part 1,” http://www.obamabirthbook.com/http:/www.obamabirthbook.com/2012/07/statement-regarding-sheriff-joearpaios-july-17-2012-press-conference/
The Annotated Zullo
“Furthering the investigation, I returned to Hawaii for a second time. I met Mr [sic] Duncan Sunahara, the brother of Virginia Sunahara, an infant born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, the alleged date of Mr [sic] Obama’s birth there. Ms [sic] Sunahara died the following day, August 5, after breathing difficulties. When I met Mr [sic] Sunahara he had recently applied to the Department of Health in Hawaii for a copy of his deceased sister’s birth certificate. He told me that the department had gone to great lengths to deny him a copy of the original long-form birth certificate that a close relative is entitled by law to request and the Department is obliged by law to supply. The Cold Case Posse is compelled to consider the question why this little girl’s 1961 long-form birth certificate was so disconcerting to the Hawaii Department of Health that it did not wish to issue a copy to Mr [sic] Sunahara upon request. Comments: The next seven paragraphs are noteworthy for (again) contributing nothing new to the factual record,. They simply reflect Zullo’s retracing of the previous steps, reasoning and activity of earlier birther activists Dean Haskins62 and Nellie Ristvedt (“Butterdezillion”)63. Zullo delivers yet another in his long line of blatant falsehoods, however, when he asserts that “a close relative is entitled by law to request and the Department is obliged by law to supply” a long-form birth certificate. No such laws exist. Zullo is aware (as demonstrated in the next paragraph) that this assertion was tested in court on March 8, 2012 in front of the Honorable Judge Rhonda A. Nishimura. These same arguments were presented by the lawyer for the plaintiff Duncan Sunahara in the case of Sunahara v. Hawaii Department of Health (Hi. Cir. Ct.). They lost. The Hawai‘i Department of Health’s treatment of Mr. Sunhara’s request for a copy of his deceased sister’s long-form appears to be completely ordinary, with the exception of the participation by birther activists demanding exceptions to the rules.
The Birther Summit, January 5, 2012, “WAS BABY VIRGINIA SUNAHARA’S IDENTITY STOLEN?,” original since purged, copy available at http://myveryownpointofview.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/dean-haskins-and-duncansunahara-cross-post/ 63 Butterdezillion’s Blog, May 19, 2011, “HDOH Funny Business Regarding Virginia Sunahara,” http://butterdezillion.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/hdoh-funny-business-regarding-virginia-sunahara/
The Annotated Zullo
“I obtained from Mr [sic] Sunhara a copy of the proceedings in the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii, in which the Deputy Attorney General, Ms [sic] Nagamine, appeared before Judge Rhonda Nishimura on March 8, 2012 to argue that Mr [sic] Sunahara was not entitled under Hawaiian statute to see, still less obtain, a certified copy of his deceased sister’s original 1961 long-form birth certificate.” Comments: This paragraph is certainly true, but it is odd that Zullo had to go all the way to Hawai‘i to get a copy from Mr. Sunahara when the proceedings and all case filings have long been available on-line.64
“During the proceedings, the Attorney General implied that Mr [sic] Sunahara’s request arose from an underlying interest in obtaining evidence that might assists in determining whether the document on the White House website is indeed a forgery. Ms [sic] Nagamine said Mr [sic] Sunahara ought to be satisfied with a short form extract of the birth record rather than a long-form printed image of the original copy in the bound volume for 1961 in the vaults of the Health Department.” Comments: This is a reasonably accurate paraphrase of the position of the State of Hawai‘i. There can also be no doubt that what he asserts was “implied” by the State (i.e. that the motivation for the request was pursuit of evidence to support a particular birther theory) was completely true. The lawsuit was conceived, encouraged and supported by birther activist Dean Haskins for this and no other reason.
“Ms [sic] Nagamine also said that the entire volume or birth certificates inferentially containing not only Ms [sic] Sunahara’s long-form original birth certificate but also those of the twins born at about the same date had been removed to a special, secure location with very limited access. I do not know what purpose the Department of Health had in preserving these records at all, unless it was to show them upon request to family members and others – such as law enforcement – with a legitimate and statutory interest in seeing the documents. ” Comments: Even ignoring that the MCCCP has no “legitimate or statutory interest in seeing the documents,” this is an exceptionally odd paragraph by any measure. Certainly it takes little thought to recognize that there are a number of very good reasons for preserving records such as birth certificates above and beyond letting family members or law enforcement ”see them.” They contain information that is critical to establishing identity, citizenship and enabling access to a countless number of services and privileges,
For example: http://www.scribd.com/doc/77333481/SUNAHARA-v-HAWAII-DOH-et-al-HI-CIR-CT-Complaint-forDeclaratory-Judgment
The Annotated Zullo
both public and private. The protection and preservation of such source documentation has been part of the western civil tradition since civil (as opposed to religious) vital records were first instituted across Europe by Napoleon Bonaparte at the turn of the 19th century. It is the information to which family members and “others” are entitled access, not the documents themselves. Mike Zullo’s personal inability to recognize a “purpose” other than satisfying the agenda of his “investigation” cannot be considered a useful standard for determining what is or is not true.
“Ms [sic] Nagamine said that accessing the original birth records was difficult and expensive. However, in Dr. Chiyome Fukno’s interview with CNN she stated that she simply went into the vault and inspected Obama’s original Birth Certificate. I am told by Mr [sic] Sunahara that he was willing to pay any reasonable fee to cover the cost. Our investigation indicates that the Health Department’s fee is not great: attorneys for Obama had paid $10 for a certified copy and $4 for a second certified copy. Inferentially, such small fees are an indication that the difficulty of consulting the records is not very great: for they are normally kept in bound volumes on specially-designed shelves known to librarians as “stacks”. A picture of Mr [sic] Onaka pulling out a book of birth records from 1972, just nine years after the year that is of interest to our investigation, shows how small the difficulty in consulting the records is likely to be. The photograph is marked “MZ1”, annexed and signed as relative hereto.” Comments: This paragraph contains a number of willful misinterpretations and confabulations by Zullo. In the order they occur: First, DAG Nagamine’s argument was not that it was “difficult and expensive” to access any single specific record, but that it was difficult and expensive to access originals as a standard process for generating certified copies for general use. This was the very reason the process was digitized in 2001 and photocopies of the original long-forms were replaced with the more efficient and cost effective computerized abstracts. To casually allow exceptions to the current standard process would frustrate the expense and purpose of the installed systems. Second, as already discussed in the comments to Zullo’s paragraph #37, Dr. Fukino never said “that she simply went into the vault and inspected Obama’s original Birth Certificate” at any point during the CNN interview. Third, the fees alleged here as paid by President Obama are those standard fees charged by the State of Hawai‘i for copies normally delivered as computerized abstracts.65 They do not reflect any effort to consider the real cost associated with deviating from the standard procedure. The inference he draws
The Annotated Zullo
from those fees is absurd on its face. They reflect payment for the act of an office worker printing a document from his or her desk, not the costs of leaving one’s general work area, entering a secured storage location, locating a volume containing the record in question, locating the record, taking it to a third location to be photocopied, returning the original to its storage location, then certifying the photocopy before handing it over to the requestor. Zullo’s entire purpose for this paragraph appears to be to argue that it is so easy for the Department of Health to break its own carefully considered rules that they should just break them for anybody who asks. As someone who pretends to be involved in law enforcement, he should simply know better.
“The reason why law-enforcement investigators wish to examine the original long-form birth certificate of Ms [sic] Sunahara relates to the practice of the Health Department to number each birth certificate sequentially with the last two digits of the year followed by a five-digit number incremented sequentially by a date-stamp that advanced the counter by 1 after every stamping. At that time, approximately 48 births occurred every day in Hawaii and were required to be registered. They were sequentially stamped in order of date of birth. ” Comments: Were this Zullo’s genuine concern, it does not actually require an examination of the original long form birth certificate. The number stamped on the original is required to be the same number reflected on the short-form abstract already in Duncan Sunahara’s possession. While the possibility that those numbers could be different is the theory being pursued here by the MCCCP, neither they nor any other birther investigator have ever demonstrated an exception or made a compelling case as to why they believe it may have happened in this instance. Second, there is no good reason to accept (and much evidence that contradicts) the claim that birth certificates were “sequentially stamped in order of date of birth.” In fact, the birther insistence that they were numbered in that fashion has always been directly contradicted by the publicly available examples of Hawaiian birth certificates from August of 1961. While this will be discussed in far greater detail over the next several paragraphs it is important to keep in mind that the entire birther theory is dependent on the assumption without evidence that this was how certificate numbers were assigned. If that assumption is wrong (and we will show that it is wrong) all the rest of Zullo’s discussion becomes moot. Third, yes, “approximately 48 births occurred every day in Hawai‘i and were required to be registered.” But almost none (if any at all) were registered the same day of the birth. And even Zullo will eventually concede in this affidavit that they were not numbered at the time they were registered.
The Annotated Zullo
“Photostat images of the long-form original birth certificates of twin daughters born to Eleanor Nordyke at Kapi‘olani Hospital August 5, 1961, one day after the alleged birth of Mr [sic] Obama at the same hospital, have been drawn to the Cold Case Posse’s attention. They had been published in the Honolulu Advertiser. As a result of examining these images, the Cold Case Posse has reason to suspect that the sequential number on the computer-generate short-form abstract that the health department released to the family is not the same as that which appears on the long-form original birth certificate that was issued for Ms [sic] Sunahara.” Comments: This paragraph inexplicably tries to obfuscate the actual and well documented line of birther reasoning that piqued their interest regarding the Sunahara birth certificate. The Sunahara birth did not come to light until long after birthers first became aware of the Nordyke certificates and were already deeply involved in speculation regarding the numbering of Hawaiian birth certificates.66 Once it was discovered that a child born within a day of Obama had also died soon after, birthers launched the wild speculation that Obama’s certificate number had been stolen from that of the dead child.67 This was all taking place long before her actual certificate number was finally revealed.68 It was subsequent birther frustration that when the number was revealed it contradicted their theory that generated the newer ad hoc theory that her long-form might contradict her now inconvenient short-form. As a result, birther Dean Haskins (of the now defunct “Birther Summit”) encouraged and helped facilitate a lawsuit by Virginia Sunahara’s brother Duncan for the purposes of obtaining a copy of the long-form. He lost that case on March 8, 2012. What possible reason might Zullo have for pretending a completely different line of reasoning in this affidavit, particularly since his ghostwriter Corsi had been so deeply involved in every earlier phase of this chain of speculation? One possibility is that he is trying to falsely make it look more like an original investigation on the part of the MCCCP. Another is that he actually does not understand the history here and is just making stuff up as he goes.
World Net Daily, July 28, 2009, “Unveiled! Hawaii's 1961 long-form birth certificates,” http://www.wnd.com/2009/07/105347/ 67 World Net Daily, May 17, 2011, “The dead infant and the birth-certificate mystery.” http://www.wnd.com/2011/05/300201/ 68 The Birther Report, January 5, 2012, “WAS BABY VIRGINIA SUNAHARA'S IDENTITY STOLEN?” http://obamareleaseyourrecords.blogspot.com/2012/01/update-on-lawsuit-filed-against-hawaii.html
The Annotated Zullo
“Examination of the birth certificates issued to the parents of the Nordyke twins shows that their registration numbers,, [sic] 61/10637 and 10638, preceded the number on Mr [sic] Obama’s short-form and long-form certificates, which is shown as 61/10641, even though he was born a day earlier than they were. Ms [sic] Sunahara was born August 4, 1961, and her certificate was stamped by the Hawaii registrar August 8, but her number was 11080. The table summarizes the position: Name of Child Barack Obama Virginia Sunahara Susan Nordyke Gretchen Nordyke Comments: Once again, Zullo betrays either a remarkable deficit of investigative skill or a deliberate desire to ignore and conceal evidence that contradicts his theory. The table he presents is hardly the complete sample of certificates and certificate numbers available for comparison. At least two other relevant certificates can be included to give a more comprehensive view: One belonging to a gentleman named Stig Waidelich was made public as part of a series of CNN segments broadcast in April of 2011,69 just prior to the President’s surprise release of his long-form. Another belonging to a woman named Johanna Ah Nee was accidentally revealed by WND70 and then quickly scrubbed by them once they realized that the information on the certificate contradicted their desired narrative.71 The more complete table (sorted by date and time of birth) would be: Name of Child Barack Obama Virginia Sunahara Susan Nordyke Gretchen Nordyke Stig Waidelich Johanna Ah Nee
Date and time born Aug 4 at 7:24 pm Aug 4 at 9:16 pm Aug 5 at 2:12 pm Aug 5 at 2:17 pm
Registered Aug 8 Aug 10 Aug 11 Aug 11
Certificate# 10641 11080 10637 10638”
Date and time born Aug 4 at 7:24 pm Aug 4 at 9:16 pm Aug 5 at 2:12 pm Aug 5 at 2:17 pm Aug 5 at 6:45 pm Aug 23
Registered Aug 8 Aug 10 Aug 11 Aug 11 Aug 8 Aug 24
Certificate# 10641 11080 10637 10638 10920 09945
CNN, April 26, 2011, “CNN Birther investigation: 'No doubt' President Obama was born in Hawaii,” http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/26/cnn-birther-investigation-no-doubt-president-obamawas-born-in-hawaii/ 70 World Net Daily, September 11, 2011, “How does Obama's document stack up against genuine BC?” http://www.wnd.com/2011/09/342937/ 71 Investigating the Obama Mysteries, September 13, 2011, “I Catch WorldNetDaily Scrubbing Information that Directly Contradicts One of Dr. Jerome Corsi’s Most Important Fraud Theories!” http://www.obamabirthbook.com/http:/www.obamabirthbook.com/2011/09/i-catch-worldnetdailyscrubbing-information-that-directly-contradicts-one-of-dr-jerome-corsis-most-important-fraudtheories/ 39
The Annotated Zullo
What should be readily noticed when the certificates are sorted by date and time of birth is that whatever process was used to number them, it was absolutely not birth order. Further, the certificate number for Stig Waidelich (who was born on the same day as the Nordykes) is almost 300 numbers higher than theirs at a time when fewer than 50 children were being born a day in the entire state. Would Zullo argue that 300 babies were born on Oahu in just the four and ½ hours between Stig Waidelich and the Nordyke twins?
“Mr [sic] Obama’s birth certificate was registered August 8, 1961. The Nordyke twins’ birth certificate was registered August 11, 1961. Even if the sequential numbering had followed the date of registration rather than the date of birth, Mr [sic] Obama’s certificate should have been automatically assigned a number lower, not higher, than the numbers allocated to the certificates of the Nordyke twins. And the number currently assigned to Ms [sic] Sunahara is entirely out of sequence.” Comments: All this paragraph identifies is a second theory regarding how certificates were numbered that is simply, demonstrably wrong. The numbers were not sequenced based on registration date either. This is further demonstrated by the certificates of Stig Waidelich and Johanna Ah Nee. Neither of them would fit the theory of numbering by date of registration.
“One possible explanation for the out-of-sequence serial numbers might have been that several serialized piles of birth certificates were registered at different hospitals. However, Ms [sic] Verna K. Lee, an official responsible for the recording of births in Honolulu in 1961, when interviewed by a reporter for wnd.com, said that this was not the case. Ms [sic] Lee was the local registrar who apparently signed the document on the White House website (it is possible that the forgers lifted her signature from another birth certificate and inserted it electronically into the computerized compilation that is now on the White House website).” Comments: In this paragraph, Zullo merely identifies a third theory regarding how certificates were numbered that is wrong. It should be noted however that the unidentified “reporter for wnd.com” referred to by Zullo here is… you guessed it… Jerome Corsi. And it is also important here for a brief diversion necessary to fully understand and evaluate the value of this particular interview. Completely missing from this affidavit is any discussion of a theory that served as the centerpiece of the MCCCP’s July 17, 2012 press conference; a theory that Zullo heavily bolstered with information allegedly 40
The Annotated Zullo
obtained from this same interview. In that press conference, Zullo tried to make the case that penciled annotations on the Obama long-form provided further proof that it had been fraudulently tampered with.72 Most if not all of this new theory originated not with anybody associated with the MCCCP, but on another birther website that has a long established history of faking evidence.73 Zullo then went on to show images (some taken directly from that other website) of what he claimed was the official 1961 coding manual that explained those annotations. Before doing so, Zullo asserted that in Corsi’s interview with Ms. Verna Lee, she “confirmed” the account of those codes that he then went on to present.74 It was quickly proved by anti-birther investigators that Zullo was deliberately lying and presenting fabricated evidence to fraudulently make this claim.75 76 77 In subsequent interviews, Zullo and his videographer Mark Gillar gamely tried to excuse the fraud as a simple mistake and promised that they actually had the real documentation in their possession and would soon release it. But the claimed “real” manuals have never surfaced, and the MCCCP (as shown by this affidavit) has completely stopped making the fraudulent argument altogether. Returning to this affidavit, Zullo & Corsi now will spend several paragraphs in which they again depend on Verna K. Lee as the primary (if not only) source of support for their spurious theory regarding how Hawaiian birth certificates were sequentially numbered. But we must keep in mind that during the July 17, 2012 press conference they also depended on her as a key support for what turned out to have been their fake claim regarding the penciled annotations.78 At that same press conference, Zullo was asked by an attending reporter if he would release the recording of the Verna K. Lee interview and he dissembled, saying “That’s gonna be up to the Sheriff.”79 That recording has still never been made public. As a result, we have no way of actually checking the account given here of Ms. Lee’s discussion, the clarity of her recollection, or her confidence in the details. At 95 years old, Ms. Lee’s recollections (even freely given) after 50 years are certainly subject to a reasonable amount of sensitive skepticism. But this writer also has personal experience with phone interviews by Jerome Corsi and can attest first hand to his pugnacious, leading and often disingenuous treatment of interviewees. It is worth noting that when Zullo attempted a follow up meeting with Ms.
MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012. Transcript pp. 5-8 The Daily Pen, Feb 29, 2012, “VITAL RECORDS INDICATE OBAMA NOT BORN IN HAWAII HOSPITAL (PART 2),” http://thedailypen.blogspot.com/2012/02/vital-records-indicate-obama-not-born_29.html 74 MCCCP press Conference, July 17, 2012. Transcript page 5. 75 Obama Conspiracy Theories, July 18, 2012, “Code ‘9’: the Cold Case Posse’s big lie,” http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2012/07/code-9-the-cold-case-posses-big-lie/ 76 Obama Conspiracy Theories, July 21, 2012, “Cold Case Posse video fraud: it gets worse,” http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2012/07/cold-case-posse-video-fraud-it-gets-worse/ 77 Investigating the Obama Birth Mysteries, July 24, 2012, “Exposed: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Birther Scam — Here’s the Proof that Arpaio’s Posse Fabricated Evidence and Lied to the Nation,” http://www.obamabirthbook.com/http:/www.obamabirthbook.com/2012/07/exposed-sheriff-joe-arpaio-corsibirther-scam-heres-the-proof-that-arpaios-posse-fabricated-evidence-and-lied-to-the-nation/ 78 MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012. Transcript pp. 5-7 79 Ibid. Pp. 24-25
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Lee during his second trip to Hawai‘i, once she realized who he was and why he was there she refused to meet with him. The police were actually called to get him to leave.80 In short, absent the actual recordings of Corsi’s phone interview with Verna K. Lee, nothing claimed by either Zullo or Corsi regarding her recollections can be accepted at face value.
“Ms. Lee was surprised that the numbers were out of sequence. Ms. Lee made recorded statements to a WND reporter during a phone interview. I have personally listened to these recordings. On the recorded conversation Ms. Lee said that all of the birth certificates received in a month were ordered chronologically by date and time of birth and numbered sequentially at the end of each month. The only exception – not relevant in the present case – was that birth certificates from the islands and from one local out-station in Oahu were grouped separately, so as not to under-represent births outside Honolulu or unattended births occurring at home in the 50% statistical samples by which only even-numbered births were reported to the Federal Government as mandated by the U.S. Office of Vital Statistics.” Comments: For only the second time in this affidavit, Zullo’s typical failure to place a period at the end of personal titles is suddenly replaced by the correct form, signaling that this paragraph was also authored by somebody other than Zullo. The convention used to identify the reporter also changes dramatically from “a reporter for wnd.com “in the prior paragraph to “a WND reporter” in this one. My suspicion is that Jerome Corsi is again the author at this point, which would make sense since it was Corsi that conducted the alleged interview. There is no doubt, however, that the author wanted to put as fine a point as possible on the impression that Zullo was writing this, specifically by calling out that, “I have personally listened to these recordings.” This unfortunately creates a glaring inconsistency with Zullo’s previous account. During the July 17th MCCCP Press conference, Zullo described the circumstances surrounding the alleged interview in this way: “I asked Mr. Corsi to contact Miss Lee, while I monitored the call, and recorded it.”81 If Zullo had actually been on the phone, then he would (for perhaps the first time in this affidavit) be secure in the contention that it reflects his “personal knowledge” (at least regarding what Ms. Lee said, if not the process used by Hawai‘i to number birth certificates in 1961). But between the press conference and this affidavit, either Zullo has backpedaled from his original account, or Corsi and Zullo failed to synchronize their stories. The suspicion that Corsi is writing at this point is further reinforced by the fact that much of the very next paragraph is redundant to this one, though it reverts to Zullo’s peculiar style.
The Phoenix New Times, September 20, 2012, “Joe Arpaio's "Birther" Chief Gets Cops Called on Him During His Pursuit of 95-Year-Old Woman in a Nursing Home,” http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2012/09/joe_arpaios_birther_chief_gets.php 81 MCCCP Press Conference, July 17, 2012. Transcript page 23.
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As already seen, the complete set of birth certificates publicly available directly contradicts the numbering process Corsi & Zullo claim was described to them during the interview with Verna Lee. When they are sorted by certificate number rather than date and time of birth, a rather different pattern emerges… one that is more consistent across all the certificates publicly available at this time. With the sole exception of the baby who died immediately after birth, the certificates all end up in surname alphabetical order. Furthermore, the numeric distances between them neatly correspond to the distance between them on the alphabet. Name of Child Ah Nee, Johanna Nordyke, Susan Nordyke, Gretchen Obama, Barack Waidelich, Stig Sunahara, Virginia Date and time born Aug 23 Aug 5 at 2:12 pm Aug 5 at 2:17 pm Aug 4 at 7:24 pm Aug 5 Aug 4 at 9:16 pm Registered Aug 24 Aug 11 Aug 11 Aug 8 Aug 8 Aug 10 Certificate# 09945 10637 10638 10641 10920 11080
Now why would it make sense that they be sorted alphabetically by surname? The answer is an obvious one. Remember, there was no computerization of these records in 1961, and the ability to manually find a certificate when needed would have been facilitated by already having sorted them in the way they would be actually be searched; by name. Requests for copies of birth certificates will almost never come with certificate number. They will often come without a birth date and never with time of birth. Being able to quickly search volumes of records by surname provides an obvious advantage. But whatever process was actually used to sort Hawaiian birth certificates prior to numbering, the six certificates known from the month of Obama’s birth prove that it cannot have been by date of birth.
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“Ms [sic] Lee has said that birth certificates from the hospitals in Oahu were sent directly to the central office of the Department of Health in Honolulu. The birth certificates were all numbered at the end of each month by one person. When Ms [sic] Lee was asked whether there might have been mistakes in numbering the birth certificates, she insisted that they were numbered correctly and in sequence. The long-form original certificates were inspected twice for accuracy by two different clerks and then signed by the registrar. They were kept together secured in a certain room until they were all numbered at the end of the month. They were not allowed to become out of order and were not numbered incorrectly. (It should be noted that the Nordyke twins were born minutes apart and their respective certificate numbering was not only on date but on time as well. This indicates that the clerk scrutinized the documents prior to placing them in chronological order for the proper numbering.) Based on Ms [sic] Lee’s representation, I consider it highly unlikely that a birth certificate so far out of sequence as that which now appears on Ms [sic] Sunahara’s short-form birth abstract could have been accepted at a registrar’s office managed by Verna K. Lee.” Comments: Given the general redundancy between this paragraph and the one prior, there is no need to also repeat most of the comments. A few special points that should be noted however include at least the following: First, the fact that the Nordyke certificate numbers are as they are says precisely nothing about clerk scrutiny. If (as suggested previously) they were sorted alphabetically by surname then there is no worse than a 50:50 probability that those two would end up in the order that they did even with no scrutiny whatsoever of birth date or time. Second, it is absurd to take at face value any claims that any manual process would be completely error free. Not that it matters since the only reason to suspect error here is if we were to believe the process suggested by the MCCCP was the actual one in the first place. And of course, that theory cannot survive the actual evidence.
“It is also possible that investigators are being misled into devoting attention to the number on Ms [sic] Sunahara’s original long-form birth certificate, which may after all turn out to be different from that of Mr [sic] Obama and identical to that which appears on her short-form computer abstract. For that reason among others, investigators would like to inspect and, in due course, forensically to examine the volumes of long-form certificates for 1961, and specifically the long-form original birth certificates for Mr [sic] Obama, for Ms [sic] Sunahara, and for the Nordyke twins.” Comments: Curiously, this is the first time Zullo hints at the suspicion that the number on Virginia Sunahara’s longform might be the same number found on Obama’s certificates, even though that was the original (and remains the only) reason Virginia Sunahara’s certificate has ever been of interest to birthers. This 44
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theory was already being bandied about on birther websites (to include WND82) going back more than a year and a half. Previously in this affidavit Zullo offered a completely different reason for pursuing her records; their failure to reconcile with the Nordyke numbers under his spurious theory of how they had been sequenced. It seems odd that after all this time he still has so much trouble keeping his story straight. Yes, it is very possible that “investigators are being misled into devoting attention to the number on Ms [sic] Sunahara’s original long-form birth certificate,” and as Jerome Corsi’s amanuensis, the source of that misdirection should not be difficult to determine, even for Mike Zullo. All that said, the affidavit has by this point degenerated into a catalog of mere suspicions, none of them original to the MCCCP. Worse, they are suspicions that Zullo is explicit about having failed to confirm. So what exactly would Zullo “testify competently thereto” if “called as a witness?” That he has suspicions he is unable to support? That he has theories for which he has no evidence? That there are things he “would like” to do but has proven incapable of doing?
“A possibility that the investigators are constrained to bear in mind, given the numerous other defects in the document on the White House website, is that the number on the document is not a genuine registration number assigned to his birth certificate in 1961, but was issued when the short-form document was generated during the 2008 presidential campaign. It is possible that the Health Department does not want the public to see the original 1961 birth records because forensic examination might establish that the forgers had made a mistake in assigning to the forged long-form document on the White House website a number that was out of sequence and that may (or may not) be identical with the long-form original birth certificate of Ms [sic] Sunahara. This is one reason why the investigators have asked to see the original bound volumes from the stacks.” Comments: Again, Zullo continues to layer speculation on top of speculation, all of it premised on a foundation demonstrated to have no merit in the first place. Through it all he is excruciatingly careful to avoid any explanation, no matter how prosaic and powerful, that does not conform to his conviction that the President’s birth certificate must be a forgery. Given a set of data points (the birth certificate numbers) that never supported his theory of numbering in the first place, he concludes the data must be fake before considering that his theory is simply wrong. A genuine investigation does not proceed by piling on ad hoc complexity in order to salvage a prejudice. As with most committed conspiracy theorists, Occam’s Razor is anathema to the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse.
World Net Daily, May 17, 2011, “The dead infant and the birth-certificate mystery.” http://www.wnd.com/2011/05/300201/ 45
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“I am additionally concerned that the Hawaii Department of Health has not offered any testimony that the modern computerized data now used to generate the short-form abstracts have been safeguarded from numerical or other data manipulation. All that the Attorney General of Hawaii offered to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office as proof that Mr [sic] Obama was born in Hawai’i was a computer generated list of birth registrations that was contained in a ring binder. Pages could easily be removed, added, or removed, altered and reinserted at will. There was no level of security other than closing the rings on the binder holding the pages together.” Comments: Affidavits are for attesting to facts, not concerns. Zullo’s “concern” is no more appropriate here than is his opinion regarding ice cream flavors. “All that the Attorney General offered” to the MCCCP is all that they are permitted by law to offer anyone who does not have a direct and tangible interest in the records they maintain; the public birth index.83 Since it is a public index, expectations of tight security are oddly misplaced. It is also unclear whether or not Zullo even bothered to ask anybody about the integrity of the Department of Health’s databases before including this otherwise gratuitous complaint in his affidavit.
“The investigators have obtained an affidavit from an individual who went to the Department of Health when some of the first questions were raised about Mr [sic] Obama’s birth certificate. That individual states that when he first went to the main office of the Hawaii Department of Health in Honolulu, Mr [sic] Obama’s name did not appear in the computerized registration list in the ring binder, but when he went back approximately 14 days later to re-examine the same list he was surprised to see that Mr [sic] Obama’s name now appeared on it.” Comments: Abandoning all pretense of “personal knowledge” Zullo now tosses anonymous hearsay into the mix. That said, this story has circulated in one form or another since at least February of 2010 when “John Charlton,” the pseudonymous editor of the birther website The Post & Email claimed to have received computer printouts of the Hawai‘i Birth Index that did not show Obama’s name.84 Unfortunately it turned out that he had requested the wrong printout, specifically the one that listed “Certificates of Hawaiian Birth” and not regular birth certificates. When the correct index was identified, Obama’s name was right where it was supposed to be.
HRS §338-18 (d), http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/vol06_ch0321-0344/HRS0338/HRS_0338-0018.htm The Post & Email, February 26, 2010, “Okubo responds to public outcry for investigation,” http://www.thepostemail.com/2010/02/26/okubo-responds-to-public-outcry-for-investigation/ (subscription required)
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Given all that Zullo has told us about this alleged other affidavit (which is of course almost nothing), the only thing that can be said with certainty is that it’s an uncorroborated anecdote. That and $2.55 will get you a grande latte.
“Notwithstanding this affidavit, it is plausible that an original birth record for Mr [sic] Obama exists in Hawaii. Our investigation has discovered that at that time Hawaiian law contained a provision that permitted a Hawaiian parent of a child born anywhere in the world or any adult purporting to represent that parent, the right to register the child as Hawaiian-born. It is for this reason that two entries in the “Births” column of the local newspapers at the time do not constitute evidence that Mr [sic] Obama was born in Hawaii. They are merely evidence suggesting that that a birth certificate was issued for him in Hawaii, and they tell us nothing about whether or not he was born there. In particular they do not – as the White House document purports to do – identify the hospital of birth.” Comments: Didn’t we already cover the birth announcements back in paragraph’s #22 and 23? That they weigh heavily on Zullo’s arguments is indicated by the fact that he takes another swing at them, this time by again misrepresenting Hawaiian laws as they stood in 1961. The legal “provision” which Zullo ambiguously references here can only be the 1955 Territorial Public Health Statistics Act, governing the issuance of “Certificates of Hawaiian Birth” between 1955 and 1982. And as we already saw in the discussion following Paragraph #31, the actual law directly refutes this audaciously dishonest claim. Zullo seems intent on leaving the false impression that under this law Hawai‘i knowingly allowed their vital records to contain deliberate lies. After all, if the child was born in Kenya it would be perjurious to put “Honolulu” in the field labeled, “Place of Birth.” Hawai‘i Department of Health spokesperson Janice Okubo noted in July of 2009 that, “If you were born in Bali, for example, you could get a certificate from the state of Hawaii saying you were born in Bali. You could not get a certificate saying you were born in Honolulu. The state has to verify a fact like that for it to appear on the certificate.”85
The Washington Independent, July 17, 2009, “‘Birther’ Movement Dogs Republicans,” http://washingtonindependent.com/51489/birther-movement-picks-up-steam
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“If Mr [sic] Obama had not in fact been born in Hawaii, the long form original birth certificate would not have stated that he had been born in a particular hospital at a particular time, and would not have borne the signatures of the attending physician and registrar. The newspaper entries would have been identical whether he had been born in Hawaii or elsewhere in the world; but the birth records would not have been identical.” Comments: Since the President’s long-form birth certificate does show a particular hospital and is signed by the attending physician and the registrar, one can only approach this paragraph the same way one might approach a Zen koan. Or perhaps one might ask the relevant question, does Zullo have a single example of a Hawaiian birth certificate and attendant newspaper birth announcement that would give anyone reason to suspect this was not all simply hand waving created from whole cloth? Maybe the newspaper announcements would be identical, or maybe there were no birth announcements at all for out-of-state births. Who can tell? Zullo has made no effort to test whether or not this bald assertion here is worthy of any confidence.
“The existence of this law permitting out-of-country births to be registered as though they were Hawaiian births is a further reason why the Sheriff wishes his forensic investigators to be given access to the original bound volumes of birth certificates for 1961, and to be permitted to carry out forensic scrutiny of the volumes and of certain individual certificates, including that of Mr [sic] Obama.” Comments: Wait. I admit to a little confusion here. What are affidavits for again? Exactly? Are they supposed to be attestations of facts? Or are they supposed to be arguments why somebody should get to do something they are not otherwise allowed? Is this supposed to be equivalent to the offering of testimony by a witness, or the presentation of an argument from an advocate? I ask these rhetorical questions to put as fine a point as possible on how completely this affidavit has gone off the rails. Yes… we are fully aware that the MCCCP “wishes” to get their hands on the original bound volume of birth certificates that contains the one for the President of the United States. And Zullo should by this time be equally aware that he’s not going to get within ten feet of the door where the records are kept based on reasoning and authority as pathetic as that which characterizes his affidavit.
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“For these reasons, it is necessary for the investigators to bear in mind the possibility that the intention of the Hawaii Department of Health in refusing to allow Mr [sic] Sunahara to have a certified copy of the original birth certificate of his deceased sister is to conceal forgery and fraud within the department itself.” Comments: Back to Sunahara again? Wasn’t that issue covered back in paragraphs #47 through 55 and again in #58 through 60? One thing both Zullo and Corsi really could have used when they were preparing this affidavit is a good editor. The only new thing here is the direct accusation of criminal behavior on the part of the Hawai‘i Department of Health. And it causes any serious readers to ask themselves, “What took him so long?” Obama has had either his long or short-form publicly available on-line since June 13, 2008. The Hawai‘i Department of Health has known this since at least June of 2008 when the fact checking website Politifact.com carried comments regarding the posted short-form from the Hawai‘i Department of Health’s spokesperson, Janice Okubo.86 Regardless of whether or not they actually engaged in fraud themselves, they have the legal accountability and responsibility for maintaining the integrity of their records. To know that a forgery of one of their records was circulating on the web and to remain silent is, itself, the commission of Misprision of Felony under 18 U.S.C. § 4: “Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” Now the MCCCP is a Johnny-come-lately to the entire birther issue (as long as you pretend Corsi’s not part of the MCCCP). For more than four years miscellaneous birthers have repeatedly declared that they had “proof” that Obama was born in Kenya, or that his released birth certificates are forgeries as the MCCCP claims now. If that was true, a criminal case against the Hawai‘i Department of Health would have been the obvious strategy for blowing this thing wide open. After all, criminal cases do not need to leap the hurdle of Article III standing to be heard; a hurdle that has strangled scores of birther civil cases in their cribs. But here we are into a fifth year of birtherism, and not a single criminal case has been filed. Every birther lawyer without exception has instead chosen the civil route, and lost every time. Similarly, the MCCCP has now been sitting on at least some of their “evidence” for more than a year now, and has yet to even pump fake turning it over to any prosecutorial entity.
Politifact.com, June 27, 2008, “Obama’s birth certificate: Final chapter,” http://www.politifact.com/truth-ometer/article/2008/jun/27/obamas-birth-certificate-part-ii/
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The conclusion is inescapable not just that birthers have no actual evidence of fraud or forgery on the part of this president, but that they know they don’t.
“The Cold Case Posse’s law-enforcement investigation in Mr [sic] Obama’s birth certificate continues, taking account of the additional information obtained both as a result of the Cold Case Posse’s own enquiries and as a result of assistance from the public following publication of some of our results by the Sheriff at the March and July 2012 press conferences.” Comments: Okay.
“The law-enforcement investigation by and on behalf of the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, would be greatly assisted, and could be brought swiftly, inexpensively, and decisively to an end, if the Department of Health and the management of the Kapi‘olani Hospital were willing to allow courtrecognized forensic experts selected by the Sheriff of Maricopa County to inspect and forensically examine the volumes of long-form original birth certificates for 1961 and the birth records kept by the Kapi‘olani Hospital for that year. It should be noted that forensic experts are trained in the management and preservation of paper records, and will cause no damage to the records in the course of their forensic examination.” Comments: This is the way the affidavit ends, not with a bang but a whimper. In fourteen pages of rambling, redundant and sometimes tortured prose, Corsi and Zullo manage to establish that their alleged yearlong investigation of President Obama’s birth certificate has proven to be an abject failure. Almost every claim they make, accusation they toss, story they tell or theory they propose is old news, stolen from more dedicated journeyman birthers than themselves. Vast amounts of it have long been objectively dismembered, but they remain oblivious. Too lazy to even try and conceal the participation by Corsi in the drafting of this dog, large swatches are simply cut and pasted from Corsi’s pre-MCCCP work. In every single case where they actually can be shown to have pursued a source or piece of information they wanted, they came up with nothing. They have uncovered not a single new document, detail or reliable piece of authoritative testimony. And as if simple incompetence were not enough, this affidavit, allegedly sworn under penalty of perjury, contains so many bald face lies that I actually completely lost count. At the beginning, I cited the three obvious reasons for this affidavit. The shoe that we are all waiting to drop is the non-obvious reason. For that, we will have to wait and see.
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The Annotated Zullo, Version 1.3, © 2012 Frank Arduini Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is wildly encouraged. Any part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without any express written permission from the author whatsoever. December 21, 2012
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This is another of the components of the PDF version of President Obama’s long-form birth certificate available on the White House Website. Like the Registrar’s stamp, it is a monochrome bitmask. Like the Registrar’s stamp it can be moved within the document if that document is opened in Adobe Illustrator. Like the Registrar’s stamp it is reflected as a “link” in the Layer’s tool, and it is reduced and rotated in exactly the same manner. In short, it contains all of the same features and anomalies as the Registrar’s stamp which Zullo asserts are evidence that it was imported from another document. The problem is that only a blithering cretin of a forger would have created such an object as this one, or worse imported it into the certificate. It contains part (but only part) of a date stamp (inexplicably missing the first, second and fourth digits of the year), part of the preprinted text from the standard birth certificate form, and a single cursive stoke from the handwritten date by Dr. Sinclair. It is clear proof that whatever created the different components of the PDF, it was not a rational, thinking human being. It instead bears all the characteristics of the product of an unthinking, automatic computer optimization algorithm. This explanation for the “layers” in the White House PDF file was floated within hours of the first birther claims of forgery. But for almost a full year (from April 27, 2011 until March 1, 2012) the very existence of layers… any layers… was promoted by birthers as conclusive proof of forgery. This is true of birthers associated with the MCCCP as well, to include Mara Zebest and their video narrator, Mark Gillar. At the first MCCCP Press conference however, that long held position completely crumbled. Acknowledging that optimization algorithms absolutely do split ordinary scans into multiple layers, the Posse overcorrected and changed the complaint from “there should be no layers” to “there aren’t enough layers.” By the second MCCCP Press conference the story had changed again from “there aren’t enough layers” to “there aren’t the right layers.” Each change in the story was an incremental move towards acknowledgment that the automatic optimization explanation is correct.
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Appendix A: Paragraph Table
This table serves as a reference for clarifying the nearly complete failure of the Maricopa County Cold Case Posse as reflected in this affidavit. Each numbered paragraph shows in the second column whether or not the content actually is or is not the product of Mike Zullo’s “personal knowledge.” Out of 68 paragraphs, only 21 can be certainly characterized in that manner with one more being possible but uncertain. None… not a single one… constitute useful “evidence” of the sort Zullo might ever be called upon to testify regarding in a court of law. The next three columns characterize the content as either “narrative filler,” “speculation, inference or argument,” or accounts of “investigative failure” on the part of the posse. The only paragraphs not so categorized (a total of 4) are claims of actual information. Of the 22 paragraphs that can possibly be characterized as Zullo’s “personal knowledge,” 9 are simply narrative filler. Five are accounts of Posse efforts that simply failed. And the remaining eight are either baseless speculation or attempts to argue why he really should have been allowed to see those darn documents after all. The final column represents standard birther material that Zullo lifted without attribution, often verbatim from other sources. Fully 2/3rds of this document is simply a distillation of ordinary birther hand wringing of the sort found all over the Internet.
Paragraph: Personal Knowledge Narrative Filler Speculation, Inference or Argument Investigative Failure Lifted from Other Sources
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Y Y N Y N Y N N Y&N Y N Y Y Y Y Y Y Y N
X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 53
X X X
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Paragraph: Personal Knowledge Narrative Filler Speculation, Inference or Argument Investigative Failure Lifted from Other Sources
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N Y ? Y Y Y N N N N Y N N N N Y N N N N N N N N N N
X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
X X X X X X X X X X X X 54
X X X X X X X X X X X X X
X X X X X
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Paragraph: Personal Knowledge Narrative Filler Speculation, Inference or Argument Investigative Failure Lifted from Other Sources
64 65 66 67 68
N N N Y Y
X X X X X
X X X
The Annotated Zullo
Appendix B: Comments on the Monckton Affidavit
In association with this affidavit, World Net Daily also released an affidavit from the increasingly crankish British politician, Christopher Monckton.87 In that affidavit, Monckton purports to prove mathematically that President Obama’s long-form birth certificate is a forgery. Disguised behind a baroque façade of technically deficient rhetorical hand waving, it consists substantively of a single, very simple probability calculation. The basis for his calculation is the elementary rule of probability that the probability of any two events happening by chance is equal to the product of their probabilities of happening by chance individually. For example, the probability of flipping a coin and it coming up heads is 0.5. The probability of it happening twice in row is 0.5 x 0.5, or 0.25. The probability of it happening three times in a row is 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5, or 0.125. Et. Cetera, ad infinitum. Monckton applies this rule against what he calls “irregularities” in the White House PDF, and pretends that he has calculated the probability that all of them occurring at the same time in the same document is essentially zero. His problem is that to do that calculation he must know the actual probabilities of the individual irregularities. And he does not and cannot actually know them. So he just makes some up. The Achilles’ heel of his approach is in the first sentence of his third paragraph, where he says, “I rely on the findings published by investigators acting on the instance of the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona in two press conferences, given on 1 March and 17 July 2012 respectively.” Thus his problem is the classic problem of probability calculations across all of mathematical history; garbage in, garbage out. The “irregularities” he cites are not irregularities at all. They are the completely ordinary artifacts of ordinary scanning and optimization and thus have a probability (given the same hardware and software) of exactly 1. Multiply 1 by itself as many times as you want, the answer is still 1. His choice in paragraph 20 to “assign small probabilities (somewhat close to 0)” is arbitrary and illegitimate. Actually, rather than simply arbitrary, it is a deliberate loading of the dice to achieve a predetermined outcome. In short, Monckton’s math is excruciatingly correct, and equally excruciatingly irrelevant to the president’s birth certificate.
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