Thursday, February 21, 2013 4:02 AM
Pt. 2 of "The Conspiracy of Suppression," an original essay by David Solway
Pt. 1 is here.
A Man of Science Examines the President's Birth Certificate
by David Solway
A near-complete silence has attended the recent deposition by Lord Christopher Monckton regarding the numerous errors and discrepancies to be found in Barack Obama’s digital copy of his birth certificate. Exactly why a credible report by a trustworthy figure such as Monckton should be so studiously ignored presents an interesting case study in media self-censorship, liberal evasion and conservative pusillanimity. After all, Monckton’s international standing is impeccable. Specializing in investigating scientific frauds at the government level, he was for several years an advisor to British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the appraisal of forged documents. Relying on his impressive mathematical expertise and his knowledge of probability theory, he has published an affidavit, sworn under oath and penalty of perjury, to the effect that the president’s duplicate certification is surely inauthentic. In his words, “the probability that the White House document is genuine is vanishingly different from zero.”
The mathematical discipline of probability theory, Monckton explains, assists in evaluating the likelihood that irregularities are either inadvertent or deliberate, accidental or intentional. “The technique is particularly suitable,” he continues, “for the testing of those documents in which the irregularities are so varied that unless they arose by design—as in the fabrication of a forgery—they cannot be dependent on one another,” that is, the probability of each succeeding irregularity occurring by mere inadvertence is proportionately small. Put simply, the greater the number of irregularities not generated by a single egregious error but part of a cascading miscellany, the greater the probability that the document is a forgery. Studying the forensic data supplied him by Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse investigators, Monckton concludes that the document under the loupe cannot be regarded as valid.
Arpaio, who was vindicated on fraud charges lodged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, has been virulently slandered by such Left institutions as Britain’s Independent (for whom Arpaio’s team consists of “a group of elderly, white, right-wing men” advancing a “racially-motivated conspiracy theory”) and by diverse anti-conspiracy theory sites, but defamation is not an argument. More to the point, perhaps, Lord Moncton cannot be dismissed as a “birther” or a conspiracy-monger or an ignoramus or an elderly white racist. Like any responsible scientist, Monckton is confronting data rather than inventing models. His thesis and his results must be taken into consideration if we are to remain in good conscience.
The affidavit runs to sixteen pages and furnishes a veritable “chain of custody” ranging from the distribution of nine separate “data layers” uncharacteristic of a scanned paper document, to many software abnormalities, to unnaturally irregular letter, word, line spacing and alignment blemishes inconsistent with the manual typewriter on which the original would have been typed, to the problematic “halo effect,” (a sign of manipulation), to the absence of “chromatic aberration” that should appear on documents that have come into contact with a camera lens, to the suspiciously out-of-sequence certificate number, to the curious fact that the birth date of Obama senior is discrepant by two years, to the appearance of the word “African” as a race designator twenty eight years before it came into official use, to various anomalous coding practices, among many other irregularities to which Monckton did not even bother to assign probability values. “The White House document,” he writes, “appears to have been fabricated piecemeal on a computer, inferentially by drawing together digitized data from several genuine birth certificates.”
Monckton has listed thirteen major and distinct irregularities in the digital copy of the birth certificate, many with their own minor subsets, as well as three additional idiosyncrasies pertaining to the president’s identification records, namely: “numerous irregularities in the short-form abstract of his birth record”; his selective-service record which features a two-digit year stamp “contrary to written rules issued by the Department of Defense specifying a four-digit stamp”; and his social security number which “carries a three digit Connecticut prefix even though he had never lived there.” Monckton’s conclusions have been substantially reinforced by Israel Science and Technology, the Jewish State’s prestigious science and technology portal, founded by Israel Hanukoglu, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The analysis carried out by the institute, which includes details additional to Monckton’s study, reveals that the document “has been altered by graphics software.”
Monckton is scrupulously fair and overly cautious in his methodology, assigning probabilities with exceedingly favorable values based on possibilities, however unlikely, to give the benefit of the doubt to inadvertence and normal discrepancy. Nonetheless, the odds that the digital copy of Obama’s birth certificate reflects an extant original are vanishingly small. “I have never found a document,” Monckton avers, “which, when this probabilistic technique is applied, is determined to be so very nearly a forgery as the White House document.” The fact “that there are so many independent irregularities…would be sufficient to demonstrate that the White House document is a forgery.” Taking everything into consideration, Monckton’s verdict is chilling. The mathematical probability that Obama’s identity documentation is true is on the order of 1 in 75 sextillion.
There is no credible way around the issue. It may be claimed that the contentious document has undergone several standard retouching operations in order to repair and clarify a tattered original, thus collapsing the probability ratio to 1 or near 1. But a number of ancillary factors render this argument, for all intents and purposes, effectively null. The problem here is that there are just too many such “retouchings” to inspire confidence in the restorative process; a source document so defective would have needed to be officially reissued in certifiably consistent format, as in my own country of Canada. As well, some of the imperfections, such as the errant number sequence, the lack of chromatic aberration and other comparable items, are not “retouchings” at all, but glaring errors. Finally, if a massive retouching procedure were indeed the case, it would surely have been mentioned by the White House, if only to avoid the eruption of the kind of suspicion that clouds the political atmosphere, despite the virtual agreement on the part of the media, the political authorities, the liberal intelligentsia and much of the public to dismiss the issue as of no account. For the suspicion continues to linger.
Speaking scientifically, we would begin with what is called a null hypothesis, that is, the assumption in this case that the digital copy is authentic. If the data we acquire is not consistent with the null hypothesis, and the deviation is alarmingly large, we start asking questions. The greater the quantity of evidence we accumulate that deviates from an original expectation adopted as part of an experimental procedure, the more plausible it becomes that the errors we detect are not accidental or a statistical fluke and that the null hypothesis is consequently unacceptable. Which it manifestly is with respect to the document under consideration.
Obviously, we must be as careful in our interpretation of the larger meaning of these findings, probabilistic and contextual, as Monckton is in his assessment of the document itself. I am not interested in speculating on the biographical implications of the issue; in other words, a fraudulent document does not indubitably mean that the president was not born in the U.S. But it does portend that something is grievously amiss. What that may be I cannot say. I am concerned only with the nature of the embattled document and am content to let readers draw their own conclusions.