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Graphics pros challenge Obama birth certificate

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 04/28/2011 @ 10:19 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled


Layer of Obama birth certificate in Adobe Illustrator

The most common challenge to the authenticity of the long-form birth certificate released this week by President Obama that is circulating on the Internet focuses on the layers of images discovered when opening the document in computer image programs such as Adobe Illustrator.

While there may be other challenges to the document’s authenticity that bear further scrutiny, it appears that the “layer argument” can be easily explained.

Graphic artists who addressed the issue on blogs and Web forums point out that the format in which Obama’s document was released, Portable Document Format, or PDF, is composed of multiple images.

Tests on other PDF images produce an effect similar to the multiple layers extracted from Obama’s document.

Hawaii Department of Health spokeswoman Janet Okubo explained to WND in an email that the certified copy issued to Obama is a photocopy on safety paper “of the original Certificate of Live Birth.”

She confirmed the state’s previous statement that Department of Health Director Linda Fuddy “personally witnessed the copying of the original Certificate of Live Birth and attested to the authenticity of the two copies.”

Okubo added that Alvin Onaka, the state registrar, whose signature is on the Obama document, “certified the copies.”


Bryan Keith Nixon demonstrates two layers of the Obama birth certificate image posted online

A contributor to the conservative Web forum FreeRepublic.com who goes by the moniker Cartan, explained that the Obama birth certificate was compressed with a software program that “takes the scanned image, and then tries to separate the foreground text from the background into different layers (or objects), which are then compressed independently, using different compression algorithms.”

Cartan said it appeared that compression operations known as Flate and DCT were used for various parts of the scanned image.

The PDF viewer, Cartan explained, “then takes the different objects, decompresses them, and reproduces a fairly accurate copy of the original (much bigger) image again.”

“None of this is an indication of forgery,” Cartan said. “They just wanted to save a few bucks for the bandwidth, it seems.”

Nathan Goulding, National Review’s chief technology officer, confirmed that “scanning an image, converting it to a PDF, optimizing that PDF, and then opening it up in Illustrator, does in fact create layers similar to what is seen in the birth certificate PDF. You can try it yourself at home.”


Layer of Donald Trump birth certificate

He explained that the layers seen in PDF images “are, quite literally, pieces of image data that have been positioned in a PDF container.”

“They appear as text but also contain glyphs, dots, lines, boxes, squiggles, and random garbage,” Goulding said. “They’re not combined or merged in any way. Quite simply, they look like they were created programmatically, not by a human.”

Goulding scanned a PDF of a magazine cover to demonstrate how it opens up in Adobe Illustrator as layers.

The blogger Northern Kentucky Voice demonstrated the layering in a copy of one of the birth certificates released by entrepreneur and potential presidential candidate Donald Trump, who claimed his raising of the issue in media forced Obama to release his long-term birth certificate after nearly three years of continuous pressure from many skeptics.


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