The old saying goes, “Seeing is believing,” but in this age of Photoshop, you can’t always trust your own eyes.
E-mails circulating on the Internet contain this image of a billboard purporting Kenya to be the birthplace of President Barack Obama.
An online image of a road sign ostensibly declaring Kenya to be the birthplace of Barack Obama is a hoax, according to the man who posted the original photograph on his website, before someone else apparently fudged it.
“I know that this picture is not taken in Kenya,” said Norway native Jan Krogh, speaking to WND from his current home in Vilnius, Lithuania. “It’s clear that there can be no doubt that it’s some joke or some hoax.”
The image, which has been showing up in e-mail inboxes across the U.S. in recent days, displays a green and white billboard with the message, “Welcome to Kenya, Birthplace of Barack Obama.” It also features some text in Arabic.
Some of the e-mails carrying the photo have written messages such as:
- “Sign on highway in Northern Kenya, near Sudan border.”
- “Just got back from a trip to Africa. One of the places we stopped for fuel was Kenya!!! Couldn’t resist not photographing this billboard.”
While WND has been unable to determine the identity of the prankster, Krogh, 45, said he’s certain the false image was based on his photograph of an actual welcome sign for the Middle East town of Madha, located in Oman on the Arabian Peninsula.
Former journalist Jan Krogh says this photo from Madha, Oman, that he posted on his Geosite website has apparently been altered to proclaim Barack Obama was born in Kenya. (courtesy geosite.jankrogh.com)
“I received this photo in 2002,” Krogh indicated. “It is taken in Oman. I know the photographer.” He said the person who actually took the snapshot is a Swedish colleague.
“If you’re looking at the foreground. It’s the same spot on the metal plots,” he continued. “I can see that it’s the same background. There is a blue spot in the bottom-left corner which I also have on my photo, which is not from the background, but maybe some pollution on the screen.”
A side-by-side comparison of the two images reveals the similarities. Jan Krogh says the sign proclaiming Kenya to be the birthplaces of Barack Obama has obviously been based on a photograph welcoming visitors to Madha, Oman, that is posted on his own website.
On his Geosite website, Krogh, a former journalist for Scandinavian publications who himself has hopskotched the globe, displays numerous images from Oman, including a second photo of the Madha welcome sign taken from a different angle.
The sign welcoming visitors to Madha, Oman, as seen from another angle. (courtesy geosite.jankrogh.com)
“I’m 100 percent sure that these photos were taken where I had written that they were taken,” he told WND.
When WND asked him why he thought someone would surreptitiously take his image and transform it into a message about the American president’s birthplace, Krogh said:
“I have no background to know why. At least in Scandinavia, we don’t care where President Obama was born, if it was in Kenya or any other place in the world.”
He added: “I don’t believe the person who did this did [it] in order to [make] some quick money. “I guess it was maybe some practical joke. I don’t know.”
Jan Krogh, a Norwegian citizen now living in Vilnius, Lithuania, has documented his world travels online. Here he points to a border marker in the European country of Liechtenstein. (courtesy Jan Krogh)
WND informed Krogh of the ongoing controversy in America concerning the constitutional eligibility of Obama to hold the U.S. presidency, and the fact the commander in chief has still not released his long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate to confirm his actual birthplace.
“I’m glad that you are telling me this so I can be prepared when the American Embassy calls me,” Krogh told WND.
Caleb Payne, a former Arabic linguist for the National Security Agency, saw the billboard allegedly from Kenya and tells WND: “I can assure you that the sign is a fake, not because of the picture, but because the Arabic text is completely incorrect. First, it is written left-to-right (Arabic is actually written from right to left) and second: the characters are not connected. Still funny, though! If you are curious, the Arabic reads as follows: Under Kenya is the Arabic for ‘Hawaii.’ The text at the bottom reads: ‘Not Barack Obama’s birthplace.'”
The issue of whether Obama is legally qualified to serve in the White House continues to be one of high importance for many Americans.
Citizens such as Jeanette Walker of Loudon, Tenn., continue to wonder: “Will Obama be required to prove his eligibility for his run in 2012? He should be, just as should anyone else vying for the job. I still believe he’s ineligible.”
In fact, as WND is reporting today, a legislative committee in Arizona has just endorsed a bill that would
require presidential candidates to prove – by submitting a birth
certificate – they are qualified for the office under the
Constitution’s demand that they be a “natural born citizen.”
Ironically, no controlling legal authority ever directly addressed the question of
whether Obama met the requirements to be president,
that is being 35 years of age, a resident for at least 14 years and a
“natural born citizen.”
on a growing list also are asking question, including Tennessee
gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey, Hawaii state Sen. Will Espero, U.S.
Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House
majority leader Tom DeLay, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., U.S. Rep. Trent
Franks, R-Ariz., feminist icon Camille Paglia, New Hampshire State Rep.
Laurence Rappaport, former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, R-Ariz., and prominent
commentators Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Mark Levin,
Lou Dobbs, Peter Boyles and WND’s Chuck Norris and Pat Boone.
WND has reported on dozens of legal challenges to Obama’s
status as a “natural born citizen.” The Constitution, Article 2,
Section 1, states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a
Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this
Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
Some of the lawsuits question whether Obama was actually born
in Hawaii, as he insists. If he was born out of the country, Obama’s
American mother, the suits contend, was too young at the time of his
birth to confer American citizenship to her son under the law at the
Other challenges have focused on Obama’s citizenship through
his father, a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom
at the time of his birth, thus making him a dual citizen. The cases
contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from
qualifying as natural born.
Complicating the situation is Obama’s decision to spend sums
estimated in excess of $1.7 million to avoid releasing a state birth
certificate that would put to rest all of the questions.
WND has reported that among the documentation not yet available
for Obama includes kindergarten records, Punahou school records,
Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia
thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles,
scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical
records, his files from his years as an Illinois state senator, his
Illinois State Bar Association records, any baptism records, and his
“Where’s The Birth Certificate?” billboard helps light up the night at the Mandalay Bay resort on the Las Vegas Strip.
of the dearth of information about Obama’s eligibility, WND founder
Joseph Farah has launched a campaign to raise contributions to post
billboards asking a simple question: “Where’s the birth certificate?”
The campaign followed a petition that has collected more than 490,000 signatures demanding proof of his eligibility, the availability of yard signs raising the question and the production of permanent, detachable magnetic bumper stickers asking the question.
The “certification of live birth” posted online and widely
touted as “Obama’s birth certificate” does not in any way prove he was
born in Hawaii, since the same “short-form” document is easily
obtainable for children not born in Hawaii. The true “long-form” birth
certificate – which includes information such as the name of the birth
hospital and attending physician – is the only document that can prove
Obama was born in Hawaii, but to date he has not permitted its release
for public or press scrutiny.
Oddly, though congressional hearings were held to determine
whether Sen. John McCain was constitutionally eligible to be president
as a “natural born citizen,” no controlling legal authority ever sought
to verify Obama’s claim to a Hawaiian birth.
donation – from as little as $5 to as much as $1,000 – can be made
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Donations of amounts greater than $1,000 can be arranged by calling
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If you’re a member of the media and would like to interview Joseph Farah about this campaign, e-mail WND.
Media wishing to interview Joe Kovacs about this story, please contact him.