On July 17, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona presented a second press conference in which he reiterated earlier claims that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery.
In his first press conference on the subject (March 1, 2012) Sheriff Arpaio and his posse brought to the American public the same claims that birthers had been making about Mr. Obama’s birth certificate for some time. Virtually all of the claims made by Arpaio and his posse, however, had been debunked in the book I wrote on the subject, which had been released some 6 months prior to the press conference. This was before Arpaio’s “investigation” even began.
Many were also debunked by other authors, such as Frank Arduini. Unlike myself, I understand that Mr. Arduini is an Obama supporter. I have just reread his paper on Mara Zebest’s birther claims, which are the same claims presented by Arpaio’s posse (in fact, by the same person!) Whatever Mr. Arduini’s political affiliation, his technical comments are accurate.
Another debunking of the Mara Zebest claims was available here (Update, 2020: This has now disappeared, with no web archive). A brief debunking is here. All of these debunkings publicly appeared before the Cold Case Posse even began their “investigation.”
Arpaio’s Posse Completely Failed to Recruit Viewpoints from Both Sides, and Brushed Away the Most Extensive Investigation that Had Been Conducted Regarding the Forgery Claims and the Birth Certificate.
As soon as Sheriff Arpaio announced he would be conducting an investigation (September of 2011) I wrote to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office, as the only person to have already conducted a full, independent and impartial investigation — and to have authored a book on the forgery theories — and offered my assistance. My investigation was essentially full-time for some 3 months, or approximately 500 hours of very careful research which yielded, by my estimation, around 20 new interesting items of information that were largely, and in some cases completely, unknown.
Sheriff Arpaio’s office never replied.
Instead, they received literally days’ worth of “briefing” from birther conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, public backer of some 23 different conspiracy theory claims that had already — all — been factually debunked in my book. I had found no significant claim backed by Corsi that could stand up to scrutiny.
They followed up on this by making Corsi — a person with a direct and substantial financial interest in the existence of a “forgery” — a member of their investigative team.
To give you an idea of what we’re talking about here, Corsi at one point claimed to be on track for selling 100,000 copies of his book “Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President.” These were generally selling, as near as I can determine, for around $20 each. You do the math on WorldNetDaily’s projected gross sales. WND has their own publishing arm, and a great many of these sales were via WND’s web site. This means they didn’t have to split the profits on those particular sales with anybody else (like Amazon.)
Of course most of these sales were prior to the Arpaio venture. But in addition to the book sales, WorldNetDaily has sold a variety of other “birther gear,” and solicited donations from the public for “independent investigations” and a “Where’s the REAL Birth Certificate?” billboard campaign. They are currently selling more than a dozen “eligibility products” and are still soliciting donations, at up to $5,000 a pop. Monthly, if you wish. They’ve also used the supposed “forgery” to drive traffic to their web site, where they make further profits through advertising (“Power Companies HATE This!”), sales of other WND products, etc.
And an ebook on the investigation itself, authored by Corsi and lead investigator Michael Zullo, went on sale the day before their March press conference, with profits split between Corsi and Zullo. (Mr. Zullo claims to have made less than $1500 from the ebook sales, which he says he gave to his church.)
Critics will be quick to point out that I have myself recently added “donate” buttons to this site and asked readers to consider making a contribution (and in fact, a monthly one if they are willing and able).
The problem is not in presenting an honest product to the public and making a profit by so doing. That’s called free enterprise, and it is a system I wholeheartedly support.
There are two places where there’s a problem. The first is when people profit by presenting invalid and false information and/or products to the public. As mentioned above, Corsi and WorldNetDaily have a long track record of presenting spectacular claims that do not stand up to scrutiny — as shown in the book that I wrote — and of using those dubious claims as a means to advertise and motivate people to buy their claim-related products.
The second problem is when a supposedly professional investigative team — an official law enforcement agency — conducts a high-profile “investigation,” makes a person with a known and substantial personal financial interest in the outcome of that investigation an integral part of their “investigative team,” and then has their lead investigator split the profits with him.
What kind of “investigation” was that?
Others besides myself who had written articles critical of the birther forgery claims, to my knowledge, were likewise not contacted by Arpaio’s posse. (I specifically confirmed this, for example, with Mr. Arduini.)
It is not as if I and these other authors are that difficult to find. A number of people have commented publicly and critically on the birther forgery claims. And Arpaio’s posse can’t credibly claim they didn’t know I existed. Aside from being easily findable through search engines, YouTube videos and the like — and the fact that I actually took the initiative to contact them — they actually mentioned my name during their first press conference.
I was not asked or informed that I would be mentioned, or given any chance whatsoever to rebut what they said.
What kind of “investigation” was that?
Arpaio claims (as he did in today’s press conference) “My initial intent was to clear the President of the United States.” In light of the completely one-sided way that his posse’s “investigation” has been conducted, the claim seems literally laughable.
Joseph Farah Was Sent the Evidence that Not One of the Corsi-Backed Claims Could Stand Up to Scrutiny. WorldNetDaily Never Uttered One Word About That Evidence. Instead, They Continued to Publicize the Debunked Birther Claims, with an Advertisement on Virtually Every Page.
Incidentally, Jerome Corsi’s editor Joseph Farah at WorldNetDaily was one of the first people in the world to be given a copy of my book. I sent an electronic copy to Mr. Farah via his personal assistant a day or two before the book was published, and my wife followed up a couple of weeks later with a complimentary physical copy addressed to Mr. Farah. This was basically at his personal assistant’s request.
Although a couple of weak attempts have been made by Corsi’s “experts,” to my knowledge not one single significant point in the 221-page book has ever been successfully debunked. The only thing that I have so far had to retract in the nearly 10 months since publication was my inadvertent erroneous use of the phrase “Democrat Party,” when “Democratic Party” is the proper name for that organization.
Neither Jerome Corsi (whom I actually debated on internet radio back in January) nor his boss Joseph Farah have the slightest excuse for not knowing that the masses of information they have been peddling to the public are absolute baloney. I have not followed WND’s articles since early this year, but from what I saw until that time, they continued to publish multiple birther articles weekly for months after they received a copy of my book, and every article that I saw advertised their birther wares. Usually, multiple times.
Corsi would later be dispatched by Arpaio’s posse to examine flight records from 1961, and (according to tonight’s press conference) to phone 95-year-old Verna Lee, the local Registrar of record listed on Obama’s birth certificate. Corsi was also a member of the official Arpaio press team at their first press conference in March; and birther activist Mara Zebest authored the Posse’s official report.
“Party Unity, My A**” — Arpaio’s Official Report Was Authored by Disgruntled Hillary Supporter With an Activist Anti-Obama Axe to Grind.
In an early interview, Mara Zebest sounded as if she was simply a random, uninvolved graphics expert who got a phone call one day and was shocked to examine the PDF file posted by the White House and discover that the President of the United States was attempting to foist a forgery off on the American public.
There’s a lot more to it than that, however.
Ms. Zebest is known to have been a dedicated anti-Obama activist from the 2008 primary season, when she publicly stated of Mr. Obama, “It’s what I live for – my goal to make him a mockery of the very crowd he seeks for adulation.” (comment # 424 by mzebest)
[In post #503 of the same thread, Ms. Zebest both identifies herself by name and invites “Firebelle Puma” to visit Amazon.com to see books Ms. Zebest has worked on.]
That site — pumapac — was a hub for “PUMAs,” disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters who, when asked to unite behind presumptive nominee Obama, responded: “Party unity, my a**!” (“P.U.M.A”) and continued to oppose Obama’s nomination.
Since When Does a Professional Investigative Team Repeat Long Debunked Claims?
We’ve already noted that virtually every claim made in Arpaio’s initial press conference had been shown to be invalid or false before they ever even began their “investigation.”
And as far as I can tell, every significant new claim made by Arpaio’s team in March was entirely debunked within days of the press conference. Most notable of these, in my opinion, was the claim that the postmark on Obama’s Secret Service registration from 1980 was proof of forgery regarding that document. Because the “19” was missing from “1980,” Arpaio’s team claimed that somebody had fraudulently created the postmark from a recent postmark stamp, by removing (or otherwise not using) the “20” and arranging other numerals to read “80.” Presumably, an insert for the year “2008” might have been used, with that date cut in half and the “08” inverted to make an “80.”
This claim was entirely debunked, literally the very next day, by Mr. Kevin Davidson of ObamaConspiracy.org, who noted that the stamp read “USPO” rather than “USPS.” The “United States Post Office” was replaced by the “United States Postal Service” (USPS) in July of 1971. Postmark stamps were replaced as they wore out, with the last known “USPO” stamp apparently surviving until 1987.
What kind of “investigative” operation is it, when one of your most important claims — in which you publicly accuse “someone” (Arpaio will never say who, but it’s supposedly not the President!) of having forged the Selective Service registration of the President of the United States — a serious crime — and your accusation is debunked by someone on the internet the next day?
What kind of “investigative” operation is it, when you actually then repeat that debunked accusation, in another press conference, 4-1/2 months later, as Arpaio did today? (“We also looked into the President’s Selective Service form, and we believe that that form is fraudulent.“)
The Arpaio Posse’s New Claims from the July 17, 2012 Press Conference
Today Arpaio’s posse presented several new claims.
At this time, I am going to go ahead and post this as “Part 1.” I intend to return later to comment on the claims that Arpaio’s posse made today.
Update and Part 2: It turns out that Sheriff Joe’s Posse fabricated evidence and lied to the nation in their press conference last week. See here.