Gary Poyssick, an expert on Adobe Systems Inc. software, continues to maintain there is something “fishy” about the Obama long-form birth certificate released by the White House.
“What the White House released is not a simple scan,” Poyssick told WND. “Something digital came between the paper and the glass.”
Poyssick had a working relationship with the San Jose-based tech company when it counted no more than 14 employees, and he continues to advise and write on Adobe software products
Poyssick, who today devotes his energies to running The Online Fisherman in Tampa, Fla., has written more than 50 titles about Adobe software, the printing industry, coding and programming, website development and workflow management.
His initial reaction was to declare the birth certificate an outright forgery.
“I could have done a much better replica myself, if the president had asked,” Poyssick told The Political Sandbox blog when the birth certificate first appeared and he opened the document in Adobe Illustrator. “The guy that did this is a bimbo in that he forgot to ‘flatten’ his works to soften the background edges so the fake letters blended, softly into the green paper.
Observing that the birth certificate document had multiple layers when opened in Adobe Illustrator, Poyssick was amazed the White House had released an electronic PDF file that had not been “flattened” so as to remove all evidence that it had been modified.
If the image had been scanned from the original, as the White House claimed, then what Poyssick expected to see was a “bitmap” image that is essentially a one-dimensional grid, without multiple layers.
Now, Poyssick acknowledges that the layers and other artifacts he initially observed, such as “clipping masks,” could have been produced if Optical Character Recognition, or OCR, software had been turned on when the document was scanned.
Poyssick describes “clipping masks” by the analogy of an image in which a girl with long hair stands in the breeze in front of a gas station and junky cars.
“The image – and the woman – are beautiful, except for the Ford Falcon in the background,” he explains. “To isolate and ‘silhouette’ the hair, and place her on the beaches of Jamaica, one would use ‘clipping masks.’”
In his second post yesterday, Poyssick agreed that turning on OCR software could generate the layers and clipping masks he first observed.
Still, he asks, why would anybody turn on OCR software?
OCR software is designed to read printed words into word processing software so the text can be manipulated.
“A file resulting from OCR software intercepting the original ‘on the glass’ is not the same as a ‘regular everyday scan,” Poyssick wrote yesterday. “Anyone wanting to investigate the document – be they journalists or simply curious to see the truth – would need a ‘flat’ scan without layers, and certainly without clipping masks.”
He told WND that layers and clipping masks were not his only problem with the Obama birth certificate document.
What about the green pattered security paper on which the document was printed?
“Scanners have white plastic behind the scanned document, not patterns identical to 1961 ledger paper,” he wrote. “You would have had to put an identical piece of paper behind the original Long Form to create such a background pattern.”
The problem is that the alignment to match the lines perfectly, as seen in the long-form birth certificate supplied by the White House, would be nearly impossible to achieve by hand.
“The resolution of the surrounding pattern is also – on close examination – different than the ledger paper on the Long Form,” he noted.
Then there is the issue of bitmap vs. letterpress images in the characters seen on the document.
“Some of the letters are very soft, while others are very jagged,” he observed. “All the characters on the page should look the same, and would if the scan were done using normal accepted workflows.”
Poyssick noted that letterpress letters are created by a metal arm physically striking the surface of the paper, resulting in the printed characters having a soft look.
“The fact that there are some ‘hard edged’ characters on the document and some soft letters on the document is evidence that some of the letters were processed differently,” he wrote. “There is no telling whether it was done by software or by human intervention.”
Finally, Poyssick singled out the issue of kerning, a process in which the horizontal space between certain letters is altered to make reading easier.
“Old typewriters provided exactly the same horizontal space for each letter of the alphabet,” he argued. “An example is the capital letter ‘T’ and its common companion, the lower-case ‘o.’”
Manual typewriters were unable to “tuck” the lower-case “o” underneath the “cap” of the letter “T.”
But word processing programs, in contrast, that can be programmed to examine subsequent letters can adjust the horizontal space between letters in a process known as “kerning.”
“In conclusion, I cannot say the document is a forgery or that conditions could not have generated clipping masks in the PDF file I originally saw from the White House,” he summed up. “Equally important, however, nobody can say it was an original.”
Poyssick insisted that document authentication could only be done from a scan of the original long-form birth certificate unaltered by the OCR process, together with the layers and clipping masks the process can generate.
The problem is that the original document has never been shown to the public, as it remains hidden away in the vault of the Hawaii Department of Health in Honolulu.
But even though Poyssick is trying to be even-handed in his evaluation, his concerns are evident.
“The reality is that clipping masks are commonly used not to scan a document for preview or printing, but to merge or compose one or more images,” he says in the final analysis. “It is – in my opinion and my opinion only – a document that was, in fact, merged from several originals.”
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