Why are there white dots on the Obama birth certificate, and how did they get there?
These are questions asked by Tom Harrison, a software designer with more than 30 years experience in graphic design. Harrison – a 58 year-old Dartmouth graduate with a background in mathematics, physics and computer science – believes the dots prove the document is a forgery.
The Oregon-based computer software business he manages, TS4, has done general computer consulting, embedded design, software and web design, and integration and networking since 1980.
He has used Adobe Illustrator since 1989.
Harrison’s expertise is demonstrated in his report to WND, which includes detailed instructions that allow the reader to duplicate his results using Adobe software.
“I’ve read a lot about the purported Obama birth certificate, but I have not seen anywhere (until now) the simplest proof that it is a forgery: the overwhelming evidence provided by the presence of two ‘white dot’ groups in the image,” he explained to WND.
“While many apologists have claimed the layering of the document is a natural outcome of optimized scanning, there is one thing that the scanning process cannot do, even if it is separating layers: it cannot create two separate colors for any given pixel,” he said.
In other words, if you lift an item out of an image, what is left is nothing: transparent space. In fact, all the apologists claiming validity of the document point out that the “white” (actually, transparent) space behind the lifted images is expected. In this case, however, there are two colors associated with the pixels in those two subgroups – green underneath and opaque (not transparent) white on top, and – if anyone is confused by the difference between transparent (rendered white by convention) and opaque white – the “white is not underneath the subgroup, visible when the subgroup is made not visible, but is actually the pixel color when the subgroup is visible – exactly the opposite of claimed “normal” effects.
Put simply, the white dots, he contends, are evidence of two different colors occupying the same pixel, a result that is not possible if the Obama birth certificate were simply a scan.
Two separate colors occupying the same pixel result when one color is in one layer and the second color is in another layer, demonstrating that the document was created electronically, with the layers being used to transplant manipulated information into the final product.
“If the document were indeed scanned, there could not be varied green hues behind the white dots,” Harrison insisted. “No scanner has X-ray vision. Nothing really complicated: No pixel can have two colors from a scanner.”
What is Harrison’s explanation for why the white dots were left in the final Obama birth certificate?
“I suspect it was an early attempt at visually editing out some inconvenient spots, somewhere else in the document,” he answered. “That method wouldn’t work too well, so I think the composer simply dragged them off to the side to try something different, then forgot about them.
“Once de-selected, they would be practically invisible when placed as they were, over the mottled safety paper background.”
As evidence of this, Harrison cites the two blue boxes that pop up to surround the dots when image groups 1 and 2 are selected in the Adobe Illustrator’s pop-up box, as demonstrated in the next section of this article.
To the untrained eye, the blue boxes appear to contain nothing of importance, and it is difficult to understand why the boxes are on the document, unless the person who assembled the electronic birth certificate file placed the boxes there for some reason.
Harrison believes the creator of the document made the error because of a “tight schedule, difficult job, guilty conscience” and “didn’t double-check the removal of ‘junk.'”
White dots in the Obama birth certificate
When the Obama birth certificate is viewed in Adobe Illustrator, two groups of white dots are identifiable in two separate layers in the document.
As seen in Exhibit 1, Harrison says the top group of white dots – identified when a blue rectangle pops onto the document when the first image group in the layers pop-up box is clicked on – was placed into the document as an outside link that was scaled 24 percent and rotated -90 degrees.
Exhibit 1: Layer 3, top blue box identifying white dots in Obama birth certificate.
The second group of white dots is seen when a blue rectangle pops into the document when the second image group in the layers pop-up box is clicked on. Again, the links box identifies that the second group of white dots was placed into the document identically to the first, by being scaled 24 percent and rotated -90 degrees, as seen in Exhibit 2.
Exhibit 2: Layer 3, bottom blue box identifying white dots in Obama birth certificate.
Exhibit 3 shows one of the white dots in an extreme magnification. The ruler lines can be tracked to verify that Exhibits 2, 3 and 4 come from the top portion of the document.
Exhibit 3: Enlargement of white dot in top box, Layer 1, Obama birth certificate.
Exhibit 4 shows the group of white dots in the top box identified with layer 1.
Exhibit 4: White dot group appears, top box, Layer 1, switched on, Obama birth certificate.
Looking closely in the upper right of the screen shot, the large white dot seen in Exhibit 3 can be found in Exhibit 4.
Next, switching off Layer 1 makes the top box and the white dots disappear, as can be seen in Exhibit 5.
Exhibit 5: White dot group disappears, top box, Layer 1 switched off in Obama birth certificate.
What is apparent in Exhibit 5 is that with Layer 1 switched off, the blue box and the white dots at the top of the document disappear. What is now seen in the place of the white dots is the green/white of the security paper occupying the pixels where Layer 1 had placed white dots.
Exhibit 6 shows the bottom box, with white dots visible, as Layer 2 is switched on.
Exhibit 6: White dot group appears, bottom Box, Layer 2 switched on in Obama Birth Certificate.
To distinguish the white dots in Layer 2 from the noise of the green-white in the security paper, Exhibit 7 shows one of the white dots from the bottom box in extreme magnification.
Exhibit 7: White dot in extreme magnification, bottom box, Layer 2 switched on in Obama birth certificate.
When the second image group in the layers pop-up group is switched off, the blue box and the white dots again disappear, as demonstrated in Exhibit 8.
Exhibit 8: White dot group disappears, bottom box, Layer 2 switched on in Obama Birth certificate.
White dots seen against blue background
To make the white dots even clearer, a blue background layer was added to the document, placed “behind” the other objects.
As can be seen in Exhibit 9, the white dots in the top and bottom boxes are visible when Layers 1 and 2 are click-selected and the green security paper is switched off in Layer 9.
Exhibit 9: Top and bottom white dot groups seen against blue background, Layers 1 and 2 switched on, security paper background switched off in Layer 9, Obama birth certificate.
As can be seen in Exhibit 10, the white dots in the top and bottom boxes disappear when Layers 1 and 2 are switched off and the green security paper is switched off in Layer 9.
Exhibit 10: Top and bottom white dot groups disappear against blue background, Layers 1 and 2 switched off, security paper background switched off in Layer 9 of Obama birth certificate.
Exhibit 11 shows the top box of white dots in close-up.
Exhibit 11: Close-up – Top box of white dot groups seen against blue background, Layers 1 and 2 switched on, security paper background switched off in Layer 9 of Obama birth certificate.
Exhibit 12 shows the bottom box of blue dots in close-up.
Exhibit 12: Close-up – Bottom box of white dot groups seen against blue background, Layers 1 and 2 switched on, security paper background switched off in Layer 9 in Obama Birth Certificate.
Seen in extreme close-up, in Exhibit 13, the bottom group of white dots appears arranged in a manner that impressionistically could be seen as representing a butterfly.
Exhibit 13: Extreme close-up – Bottom box of white dot groups seen against blue background, Layers 1 and 2 switched on. Security paper background switched off in Layer 9 of Obama Birth Certificate.
Grabbed and moved around as objects, the two groups of dots can be placed at the top of the document, giving the appearance of a large butterfly chasing a smaller butterfly, as seen in Exhibit 14.
Exhibit 14: “Repositioned” top and bottom group of white dots in Obama Birth certificate.
Harrison proposes the following thought experiment to understand why the white dots prove the document is a forgery:
- Imagine a window envelope, of the type used by banks for statements, in which the address of the client shows through a clear plastic window.
- There are two layers of paper visible to the observer: the envelope and the portion of the contents visible through the transparent “hole” in the envelope.
- Now imagine taking a picture of that envelope and printing the picture: What was previously the composite of two pieces of paper is now just one piece of paper.
- With the envelope in hand, the contents could be removed and the bank statement read.
- With only the picture of the envelope in hand, no part of the statement is visible or retrievable, except the address.
- Now take just one more step in the experiment: Place a small, opaque adhesive sticker on the transparent envelope window, so that it covers just one letter in the address on the bank statement inside, take another picture of the envelope and print it.
- On the envelope, you can remove the sticker, and again you can see the complete address. You can still open the envelope and read the entire statement.
- On this new picture, however, you can erase the image of the sticker, or perhaps cut it out, but you will not be able to see the letter covered by it – the camera cannot capture what it cannot see – and you still cannot get access to the statement.
How exactly does this apply to the Obama birth certificate?
- Recall the adhesive dot on the window envelope in the thought experiment: The picture of the window envelope did not have the information under the dot, even if the dot was cut out of the picture, or somehow “erased.”
- Just as the paper of the envelope, and the adhesive dot added to the window on the envelope, both obscured the statement kept inside, both of the images (dots and background safety paper) obscure the blue background, because both the white dots and the green safety paper are made of opaque color.
“Now ask this question,” he continued. “How does a paper document, scanned by the White House to show to the world, have two opaque colors on the same spot, when the camera – the scanner – cannot see any more than one color for each pixel?
“The answer is, simply, it can’t, and it didn’t. A scanner does not have X-ray vision anymore than a camera does. Any spot on a document that is simply a scan of paper can have only one color associated with it. If there are two, then the document must have been created from multiple images layered together instead of a piece of paper.”
If this is still not clear, the expert suggested the following: Have someone take a picture of you with a football hidden behind your back, not visible to the camera.
“Will you ever be able to extract the football from that picture?” he asked. “Of course not.
“However, if you take a picture of a football, and a separate picture of yourself, you can ‘hide’ the picture of the football behind yourself, using Adobe Illustrator or similar products, simply by placing the picture of yourself ‘in front of’ the picture of the football in the document.
“When done, the football would not be visible to a casual viewer, but could still be retrieved – made visible – using the software that composed the multiple-image document, by turning ‘off’ the image placed in front of the football.”
He stressed that the White House file does not consist of just one image, but nine distinct images merged together, with the first eight positioned “in front of” – that is, so you see them first – the large background image (image 9), consisting of the green “safety paper” and outlines, as well as some text.
Exhibit 15 shows the file, with the first eight images, marked with numbered red boxes, displayed over the ninth (the safety paper background).
Exhibit 15: Layers in Obama birth certificate
He further stressed that two colors on even one pixel in this document means at least two separate image layers, from different sources, were deliberately placed together.
In this case, it means, Harrison believes, that multiple images were assembled to create a document that did not exist as a genuine whole.
As additional evidence, the computer expert cited gray pixels that lingered within letters on the document, such that when the seventh layer, containing the registrar text/signature stamp, was removed from the document, gray pixels remain visible, suggesting the forger did not take the time to erase “tracks of the forgery.”
Exhibit 16 shows the registrar’s text/signature stamp that is visible when the seventh layer is turned on. Looking closely, gray pixels can be seen in the “OF” and the “TXE” of the stamp.
Exhibit 16: Registrar text/signature stamp with Layer 7 turned on. Note gray pixels in center of “OF” and “TXE”
Figure 17 demonstrates the gray pixel residue that remains visible even after Layer 7 is switched off and the registrar’s text/signature stamp disappears from the document.
Exhibit 17: Registrar text/signature stamp with Layer 7 turned off. Note gray pixels in where “OF” and “TXE” were in registrar’s stamp
Harrison found similar residue traces under the first “Aug” stamp in Box 20 on the Obama birth certificate, as well as in the second “Aug” stamp in Box 22.
Exhibit 18 shows the first “Aug” stamp in Box 20.
Exhibit 18: “Aug” Stamp in Box 20 with Layer 4 turned on
Exhibit 19 shows the various shades of green and gray that remain “underneath” the letters on the background image when Layer 4 is switched off.
Exhibit 19: “Aug” stamp in Box 20 with Layer 4 turned off
The same effect can be seen in the second date stamp, “Aug,” seen in Box 22 when Layer 5 is turned on, as shown in Exhibit 20.
Exhibit 20: “Date A …” and “Aug” stamp in box 22 of Obama birth certificate
Exhibit 21 shows that underneath the opaque pixels in “Date A …” and “Aug” in Box 22 there are more gray and green pixels.
Exhibit 21: “Date A …” and “Aug” stamp in Box 22 disappear with Layer 5 switched off
“All of the nine image elements are imported into the blank document, not just the white dots,” he explained.
“That is the whole point: Since all the elements, except the fully-opaque background image (9th group), show “second color” artifacts underneath (on the 9th group safety paper) when “turned off,” they all represent elements that were added “in front of” the 9th group (containing the safety paper background).”
From there, he concluded:
- “It’s that second color that distinguishes an element “lifted away” from the original image (leaving behind either transparency, default uniform color, or simply a copy of the lifted image) from an element “added to” the document.
- “The prep for the document, with the fuzzy but incomplete erasure (as under “OF” in the registrar stamp and the second “AUG”) and non-erased areas (as under the dots and the first “AUG”) demonstrate not some sort of automatic computational operation doing post-scan optimization, but a manual process by a not entirely competent graphics person trying to create a document from bits and pieces found elsewhere.”
He encouraged careful observation of all the links placed in the document.
“All links are rotated -90 degrees, which I suspect means the editor simply had the document laying on its side while assembling it, to fit his screen, or that the scanner used to fetch the image pieces was scanning to landscape mode, requiring the editor to crop and rotate the pieces he wanted to use.”
He also pointed out that all links are scaled 24 percent, except the large background/safety paper image, which is 48 percent.
“That suggests at least two scan processes, at different resolutions (one of the noted artifacts), requiring different scaling of the pieces.”
Here is how Harrison described the manner in which he believes the Obama birth certificate was constructed:
- “The individual pieces were edited – cropped, contrast enhanced, adjusted, etc. – then assembled to form the clumsy whole, complete with resolution differences, dithering differences, duplicated elements like the birth order boxes, and places where two opaque colors cover each other, something that cannot be the result of a scanned piece of paper, where there can only be one color at any one pixel position.
- “White over green, or dark gray over green, or black over gray – whatever combination you find – is simply not the result of a scan, but of an assembly of at least two distinct images.
- “At the very least, image 9 (the safety paper background) and image 8 (the bulk of the basic certificate text) were taken from different originals.
- “Image 8 is high-contrast, apparently scanned in monochrome, without safety paper background, while image 9 is lower in both resolution and contrast, was scanned in color and shows dithering at boundaries (like the edges of characters and the transition of lines).”
His conclusion is that the document is a forgery.
In the end, Harrison summarized, “the assembly shows the one irrefutable hallmark of not being the result of a scan of a single original: multiple colors on the same spot, one hidden behind the other.”