Attorney Leo Donofrio, who has led some of the numerous challenges to President Obama’s eligibility, mistakenly has interpreted recent WND reports as adding “very heavy weight” to a conclusion that Obama was born in Hawaii.
What are the WND articles that led Donofrio to this conclusion?
- WND has reported here and here that letters in recently released State Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service files state Barack Obama Jr. was born in Hawaii after various government officials had inquired about the child’s citizenship status;
- WND also has reported that Barack Obama Sr. could not have traveled to Kenya during the summer of 1961, because he remained in Hawaii to attend classes and work to earn needed money for his expenses.
Yet, Donfrio misses several key points:
- Had a Kapio’lani Medical Center-generated long-form birth certificate listing Barack Obama Sr. as the father been available in the 1960s, Ann Dunham would most likely have produced it to satisfy questions then being asked about the child by Immigration and Naturalization Service officials who were investigating the visa status of her husbands – Obama Sr. in 1961 and Lolo Soetoro in 1967.
- WND can find no reference to any birth certificate record for Barack Obama Jr. that was produced contemporaneously by the family in response to the government inquiries about the child’s citizenship status that arose during the 1960s.
- No hospital patient records have surfaced for Dunham giving birth in Kapi’olani Medical Center to corroborate the birth certificate released by the White House on April 27. Nor have any patient records emerged for Dr. David A. Sinclair to attest that Dunham was his patient during her pregnancy and that he attended the birth, as the birth record released by the White House suggests.
- Obama Sr.’s presence in Hawaii during the summer of 1961 does not preclude the possibility that Ann Dunham may have traveled alone to Kenya to convince the African family of Barack Obama Sr. to accept her as his wife, under the presumption that the baby was Obama Sr.’s biological son.
- The public record demonstrates that not only did the INS have doubts that Barack Obama Sr. and Dunham were married, it also was concerned there was no proof Obama Sr. was the biological father.
On page 345 of his autobiography “Dreams from My Father,” Obama seems to indicate proof of his ancestry was lacking in a reference to his father’s third wife, Ruth Nidesand, and his half brother, Mark Obama Nidesand.
“Unlike my mum, Ruth has all the documents needed to prove who Marks’s father was,” he writes. “So of all the Old Man’s kids, Mark’s claim is the only one that’s uncontested.”
Nothing in the public record yet proves beyond a doubt that Obama Sr. is the biological father or that Obama Jr. was born in Hawaii.
In addition, WND has recently reported, documents from the Kenyan government show Kenyan intelligence has investigated the possibility Obama was born in the African nation. Kenyan agents have interviewed step-grandmother Sarah for her claims that Obama was born in Mombasa and have reported that relevant files during the time Obama is believed to have been born appear to be missing.
Whose child is this, and where was he born?
WND has also reported that the INS suspected the marriage between Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham was a sham to extend Obama Sr.’s visa as a foreign national by claiming to have a U.S. citizen wife and a U.S. citizen son.
The INS came to the same conclusions WND reached after three years of exhaustive research: No marriage certificate exists for Barack Obama Sr. and Dunham; that even after the supposed date of the marriage, Obama Sr. and Dunham resided at separate addresses in Honolulu; and that within weeks of the birth of Barack Obama Jr., Dunham left Honolulu with the infant and traveled to Seattle where she enrolled in night courses at the University of Washington.
After her marriage to Lolo Soetoro, Dunham found herself once again answering questions about her son, this time to determine whether he could properly be considered the step-child of her second husband.
The State Department and INS documents regarding the Obama family in the 1960s lack any hospital-generated birth certificate documentation that would support the verbal testimony by Obama’s mother that he was born to her marriage with Barack Obama Sr.
Perhaps the clearest explanation of why the Obama family wanted to report the son was Hawaii-born is given in a technical report written by Robert Bennett, the chief of the Bureau of Health Statistics of the Hawaii Department of Health. The1955 paper was published in a Hawaiian medical journal to explain the vital records system he was then implementing for the Hawaiian Islands.
In an article entitled “Vital Records in Hawaii,” published in the Hawaii Medical Journal, Vol. 15, No. 2, November-December 1955, Bennett and his co-author, George Tokuyama, chief of the Registration and Records Section, wrote:
The requirement of a birth certificate throughout the country to show citizenship, during World War II, gave a great impetus to the completeness of registration. This and other factors have made a birth certificate the principal document an American citizen uses to prove legal facts about himself. Almost every parent knows that a baby must be registered soon after birth, not only to meet requirements of the law, but to protect the child later in life.
Obama Sr. forgets to list his son
Within two months of Barack Obama Sr.’s supposed marriage to Dunham, INS officials were expressing concern about whether the marriage was legitimate or a sham contrived by Obama Sr. to extend his visa.
A memo in Obama, Sr.’s immigration file dated April 12, 1961, presented below, provides additional confirmation that Obama Sr. was not living the life of a faithful husband and father.
The document memorializes a phone call from a Mrs. McCabe, identified as a foreign student adviser at the University of Hawaii.
The memo began by expressing McCabe’s concern that Obama was married to Stanley Ann Dunham on Feb. 2, 1961, even though he had a wife in Kenya.
|Memo in Barack Obama, Sr.’s INS file dated April 12, 1961
McCabe told the INS that Obama Sr. “has been running around with several girls since he first arrived here and last summer she cautioned him about his playboy ways.”
Given Barack Obama, Jr.’s birthdate of Aug. 4, 1961, Ann Dunham was presumably pregnant with his child while Barack Obama Sr. continued to pursue other women as he lived alone in his bachelor apartment near the university.
The last paragraph of the memo further makes clear that the INS had become sufficiently suspicious to doubt that the marriage was legitimate:
Recommend that Subject be closely questioned before another extension is granted – and denial be considered. If his USC (U.S. Citizen) wife tries to petition for him make sure an investigation is conducted as to the bene-fide (sic) of the marriage.
The author of the memo, INS official Lyle H Dahlin, noted in hand at the bottom that the INS advice at the time was that no immediate action should be taken, while noting the importance of complying with the last paragraph quoted in full above.
On Aug. 31, 1961, when Barack Obama Jr. was less that 1 month old, Barack Obama Sr. filed with the INS for an extension of his visa, as seen here.
Interestingly, on this INS form filled out in the month Barack Obama Jr. was born, Barack Obama, Sr. incorrectly lists his wife’s name as “Ann S. Dunham” instead of “Stanley Ann Dunham,” and he neglected to mention that he had any children.
Obama Sr. also listed his address at 1482 Alencastre St. in Honolulu, a bachelor apartment he never shared with his wife or child.
As seen below, a memo to the file written by William Wood, dated Aug. 31, 1961, the same day Obama Sr. filed his visa extension application, strongly suggests the INS was already suspicious the marriage Obama Sr. reported was the type of sham marriage foreign nationals frequently arranged to a U.S. citizen.
|INS memo to file, Aug. 31, 1961
The handwritten note suggests Barack Obama Jr. was born in Hawaii earlier that month, but it gives no authority for that determination.
Under Chapter 57 of the 1955 Revised Law of the Territory of Hawaii, a family in 1961 could report a birth as Hawaiian with merely the word of a family member or witness.
WND has previously reported that the address presented in the August 1961 newspaper birth announcements in Honolulu was the grandparents’. The birth could had been reported in person to the Hawaii Department of Health Office in downtown Honolulu by the grandparents, possibly without Barack Obama Sr., Ann Dunham or the infant child having been present.
There is no indication whatsoever that Barack Obama Sr. or Dunham submitted to the INS either a marriage certificate or a Hawaiian birth certificate for their son.
Evidently, the signed statement of the University of Hawaii foreign student adviser was sufficient for the INS to extend Obama Sr.’s visa privileges for another year, obviating the need to investigate further whether or not he was actually married to Dunham and whether or not he was the biological father of the child.
Obama a stepchild to Lolo Soetoro
Passport documents released for Barack Obama Jr.’s mother by the State Department on July 29, 2010, did not include any birth certificate documentation for him, despite one hand-written memo to the file claiming he was born in Honolulu.
The State Department release indicated that Lolo Soetoro, Obama’s stepfather, petitioned the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the State Department in 1967 to obtain a waiver to return to the U.S. to rejoin his wife and her infant son.
A WND timeline drawn from the State Department FOIA release of passport documents indicates that Lolo Soetoro returned to Indonesia on July 20, 1966, after completing his studies at the University of Hawaii. He was required to complete a mandatory two-year residence in Indonesia before he could be granted a visa to return to the U.S.
A letter written Aug. 21, 1967, by Sam Benson, an INS officer in California, suggested there was nothing in the file to determine the status of the spouse’s son.
Benson referred to Section 101(b)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, which defined a “child” as an unmarried person under the age of 21. The child, born either in or out of wedlock, could be a stepchild, provided the child had not reached the age of 18 at the time the marriage creating the stepchild status occurred.
Evidently addressing whether Barack Obama Jr. qualified as a stepchild to Lolo Soetoro under the terms of the legislation, an INS official submitted a poorly typed and difficult-to-decipher memo to the file, seen below, dated Sept. 14, 1967, without identifying his or her position.
Letter in State Department file
The memo is written pursuant “to inquiry from Central office regarding the status of the applicants’ spouses’ child by a former marriage.” (sic)
The next paragraph reads as follows, presented without correction, except for inserting the number “1” where the document itself types a bracket character, possibly because of a faulty typewriter:
“The person in question [Barack Obama, Jr.] is a united states citizen by virtue of his birth in Honolulu, Hawaii Aug. 4, 1961. He is living with the applicants’ spouse in Honolulu. He is considered the applicants step-child, within the meaning of Sec. 101(b)(1)(B), of the act, by virtue of the marriage of the applicant to the childs’ mother on March 15, 1965.”
The person writing the document does not reference having examined any birth document in the attempt to establish Barack Obama Jr.’s citizenship.
Instead, the document suggests the memorandum is written as a result of a conversation, possibly with Barack Obama’s mother, in which the information was conveyed by her and simply accepted as offered, without documentary verification.
When did Ann Dunham move to Hawaii?
From the few available facts about Ann Dunham’s transition from Mercer Island to Honolulu, and then on to Seattle, a plausible scenario could well include a trip to Africa.
In his autobiography “Dreams from My Father,” Obama says on page 16 that the decision to leave Washington state for Hawaii was made by his grandfather, Stanley Dunham.
So when the manager of the furniture company where [Stanley Dunham] worked happened to mention that a new store was about to open in Honolulu, that business prospects seemed limitless there, what with statehood right around the corner, he would rush home that same day and talk my grandmother into selling their house and packing up yet again, to embark on the final leg of their journey, west, toward the setting sun … (ellipsis in original)
This would suggest the Dunham family moved to Hawaii sometime before Aug. 21, 1959, the date Hawaii became a state
Then, on page 23, Obama affirms poetically the family arrived in Hawaii in 1959, a statement that would seem to fix the date with certainty:
Hawaii! To my family, newly arrived in 1959, it must have seemed as if the earth itself, weary of stampeding armies and bitter civilization, had forced up this chain of emerald rock where pioneers from across the globe could populate the land with children bronzed by the son.
Yet, like much in the Obama family timeline, this date is by no means certain.
The many newspaper biographies written about Ann Dunham during the 2008 campaign repeatedly document that she graduated from Mercer High School in Mercer Island, Wash., in June 1960 and that she did not move to Hawaii until after she had graduated.
“After she finished high school, her father whisked the family away again – this time to Honolulu, after he heard about a big new furniture store there,” wrote Amanda Ripley in Time on April 9, 2008. “Hawaii had just become a state, and it was a new frontier. Stanley [Ann Dunham] grudgingly went along yet again, enrolling in the University of Hawaii as a freshman.”
Janny Scott, in a biography of Ann Dunham published this year, “A Singular Woman,” describes, beginning at page 66, two Ann Dunham escapades in the summer of 1959. They included running away in a car to San Francisco, apparently with a high school boyfriend. The stunt prompted the intervention of her father.
“But as senior year wound down, it became apparent that the Dunham’s were moving on,” Scott wrote on page 70, implying the Dunham family stayed in Washington State at least until Ann graduated in June 1960.
Reading further, Scott places the date the Dunham family moved to Hawaii at the end of 1959, certainly after October 1959:
Stanley’s work selling furniture in Seattle had dried up. Hawaii, in its newness, was courting transplants. The mayor of Honolulu and a delegation of Hawaii businessmen had been at the Seattle Chamber of Commerce in October, talking up business opportunities. Madelyn would have been happy to stay put, her brother Charles remembered. Her career in banking was flourishing. Stanley Ann had no interest in moving, either. Some said she wanted to attend the University of Washington, where many of her friends were headed. Or she may have wanted to go east to the University of Chicago. (pages 70-71)
Ann Dunham’s photograph in the 1960 Mercer Island High School yearbook, as seen here, has been widely published:
Ann Dunham: 1960 Mercer Island High School yearbook
WND has previously published correspondence from Stuart Lau, university registrar in the Office of Admissions and Records at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, that establish Dunham began taking classes there Sept. 26, 1960.
Did Stanley Dunham move to Hawaii alone?
The apparent discrepancy might be resolved if Stanley Dunham moved to Hawaii alone before August 1961, with his wife and daughter remaining behind in Washington state until Ann completed high school a year later. Or Stanley and Madelyn Dunham could have moved together to Hawaii before August 1961, leaving Ann behind to stay with friends and finish high school.
A photograph circulating on the Internet, seen below, could lend support to the conclusion Stanley Dunham was in Hawaii before the end of September 1959.
The photograph shows Barack Obama Sr., apparently at a dock arriving in Hawaii, welcomed by Stanley Dunham without his daughter.
Barack Obama with Stanley Dunham
WND has previously reported that Barack Obama Sr. arrived in the United States on a BOAC flight from London to New York, on Aug. 3, 1959, and that he was in Hawaii prior to the Sept. 21, 1959, start of classes at the University of Hawaii.
The photograph raises the question whether there was a connection between Barack Obama Sr. and Stanley Dunham before Ann Dunham supposedly met her future husband when the two were enrolled in a Russian language course at the University of Hawaii.
Barack Obama Jr. has admitted in “Dreams from My Father” that his grandfather introduced him to Frank Marshall Davis, the well-known communist author and journalist from Chicago, suggesting Stanley Dunham was comfortable with close ties to well-known leftists in Hawaii.
On pages 76-77 of the autobiography, Barack Obama Jr. explained he was introduced by his grandfather to Davis, writing Davis “would read us his poetry whenever we stopped by his house, sharing whiskey with Gramps out of an emptied jelly jar.”
In the photograph, Barack Obama Sr. is seen surrounded by well-wishers, wearing ample necklaces of traditional Hawaiian flower leis.
Upon arriving in Honolulu in September 1959, Obama Sr. was recognized immediately as a celebrity, with newspaper articles in the Honolulu press and the university newspaper announcing that he was to be the first African-born student to attend the University of Hawaii.
Barack Obama Sr.’s appearance at the center of the photo wearing Hawaiian leis is an indication that it was taken at his arrival in Hawaii, not his departure. Visitors traditionally are given the leis when they arrive, not when they leave.
Stanley Dunham is seen in the photograph to the immediate left of Barack Obama Sr., standing casually with his hands in his pants pockets.
The two women to Obama Sr.’s right, and possibly one of the four persons at the left edge of the photograph to Obama Sr.’s right, appear recognizable from photographs of students at a University of Hawaii East-West Center party that WND previously posted.
Stanley Ann Dunham is not seen in the group photographs.
Conceivably, the occasion is Barack Obama Sr.’s departure to the mainland in 1962 to Cambridge, Mass., to begin graduate studies at Harvard.
But Stanley Dunham’s presence at the departure would not likely be such a cordial event, given that the official Obama story maintains that Barack Obama Sr. was leaving behind his wife and his son.
In November 1959, Barack Obama Sr., wearing what may be the same suit he wore on arriving in Hawaii, was photographed at a cocktail party with the University of Hawaii president. The photo was given prominence on page 1 of the University of Hawaii student newspaper, as seen below.
Barack Obama Sr. at a University of Hawaii East-West Center cocktail party
“Ka Leo O Hawaii,” University of Hawaii newspaper, Nov. 5, 1959
There is no doubt that when he arrived in Hawaii in the fall of 1959, Barack Obama Sr. was well known and well received.
The bar in the red-light district of Honolulu
On page 77 of “Dreams from My Father,” Obama discusses Frank Marshall Davis and writes:
I was intrigued by old Frank, with his books and whiskey breath and the hint of hard-earned knowledge behid the hooded eyes. The visits to his house always left me feeling vaguely uncomfortable, though, as if I were witnessing some complicated, unspoken transaction between the two men, a transaction I couldn’t fully understand. The same thing I felt whenever Gramps took me downtown to one of his favorate bars, in Honolulu’s red-light district.
In Hawaii, WND has hired private investigators and spoken with several retired Honolulu policemen from the 1961 era in an attempt to determine the location of the bar in the red-light district that Obama mentions in his autobiography.
The consensus of the WND informants is that it was Bill Lederer’s Bar located at Two Hotel Street.
WND informants told WND that Ann Dunham frequented Bill Lederer’s bar, unaccompanied, in the rebellious months when she first arrived in Honolulu, after finishing high school in Washington in June 1960.
A Honolulu Record report published in 1957 indicates the bar was frequented by William J. Lederer, a Navy officer who went on to pen a number of best-selling books, including co-authorship of the 1958 novel “The Ugly American.” The author, however, evidently was not the person for whom the bar was named or even related to him.
As seen below, the picture side of a 1950s post card shows the interior of Bill Lederer’s bar and the address side showed the bar’s trademark, the owner’s distinctive bald head:
Bill Lederer’s Bar post card
Bill Lederer’s Bar post card
Barack Obama Jr.’s birthdate of Aug. 4, 1961, would put his date of conception at the earliest at about Nov. 4, 1960, assuming there was a full nine months of pregnancy.
If Ann Dunham met Barack Obama Sr. in a Russian language course that began Sept. 26, 1960, she likely became pregnant from within six weeks of meeting him.
Their divorce decree states they were married Feb. 2 1961, in Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii, which would be approximately three months after Barack Obama Jr. was conceived, if the baby went full-term.
Ann Dunham, when she arrived in Hawaii, was rebellious, having preferred to attend the University of Washington or the University of Chicago.
The fact that her studies were not foremost on her mind when she arrived in Hawaii is obvious from her grades in the two courses she took in the Fall Term 1960. According to the transfer credits registered on her University of Washington transcript, her grade point average was 1.35, approximately a “D” average. The two courses were Introductory Philosophy and Introductory Russian, the course where supposedly she met her future husband.
So, to recap, if Ann Dunham arrived in Hawaii in June 1960, she was pregnant within five months of arriving on the islands, and she was married within eight months.
If Barack Obama Sr. was not the biological father, there may well have been other candidates, even if their identities were unknown to anyone, except perhaps to Ann Dunham herself.
Why would Ann Dunham go to Kenya to have her baby?
WND has previously reported the INS considered the marriage between Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham to be a sham entered into by Obama Sr. to extend his visa.
WND has also established that within weeks of the baby’s birth, Ann Dunham left Honolulu to attend night classes at the University of Washington in Seattle.
That Ann Dunham did not return to Honolulu until after Obama Sr. left in September 1962 to begin his graduate studies at Harvard suggests the possibility an estrangement between the conception of the baby and the birth had eliminated or eroded whatever bond might have existed between the two.
Surprisingly, even if Ann Dunham had reason to believe Obama Sr. was not the biological father, that fact alone may not have precluded her from going to Kenya, perhaps because she may have thought she could convince Obama Sr. to be her husband in more than name only.
Perhaps Ann hoped that she could persuade senior members of the Obama family in Kenya that she was a well-chosen daughter-in-law and her son was a desirable grandson.
With her leftist ideological vision and the many comments she made to friends after arriving in Seattle with her infant son, Ann Dunham may well have harbored the hope of becoming the Eva Peron of Kenya.
Should this scenario turn out to be true, Ann Dunham may have spent a considerable portion of her available funds paying for the journey.
Why would a pregnant Ann Dunham travel to Kenya?
If Ann Dunham had been successful in persuading Obama Sr. and his family in Africa to accept her, she might have ended up in the desirable position of being the U.S.-born wife of a U.S.-educated Kenyan husband, who faced bright political prospects after he returned to Kenya with an advanced graduate degree obtained from a prestigious U.S. university.
With the last six months of her pregnancy missing in her documentable chronology, it’s possible she was not in Hawaii during that time. Air travel from Honolulu was becoming increasingly more accessible to the average person by 1961.
That Ann Dunham was rejected both by the Obama family in Kenya and by Obama Sr. in Honolulu also provides an explanation for her precipitous decision to leave Honolulu as quickly after the baby’s birth as possible.
Hope followed by rejection would then define the emotions that explain Dunham’s behavior during her 1961 pregnancy.
Moreover, if the baby was born in Kenya, the actual date of birth might have been earlier than Aug. 4, 1961.
Very possibly, the grandparents decided to register the baby’s birth with the Hawaii Department of Health when they knew their daughter was returning to Honolulu from Africa.
That Ann Dunham as an 18-year-old took an infant baby to Seattle by herself to rent an apartment and begin night courses would make more sense if the baby had been born in Kenya earlier than Aug. 4, 1961, the date of birth consistently advanced in the official Obama nativity story.