This is the first in a two-part series examining how researcher Ron Polland created a forged duplicate of the Obama long-form birth certificate released April 27 by the White House. This article details the methodology Polland used to deconstruct the White House document for the purpose of reconstructing his forged version. The second article will examine Polland’s belief that the White House document was forged and his deductions about the alleged forger.
Researcher Ron Polland, known for his forensic investigation of Barack Obama’s short-form birth certificate, now has constructed from scratch a duplicate of the document released by the White House in April, seeking to validate his contention that it was created by a forger.
“I created Obama’s short-form birth certificate in 2008,” Polland told WND, “and now I made Obama’s long-form birth certificate.”
As WND previously reported, Polland has demonstrated that during the 2008 presidential election race, the Obama campaign posted an image of a short-form Obama Certification of Live Birth that actually was a forgery created by Polland, not a scan of an original certificate obtained from the Hawaii Department of Health.
“My recreation of the short-form was so convincing, the White House posted it on the White House website, claiming it was the real deal,” Polland told WND. “In August 2008, I successfully duplicated the short-form in what I believe is the only way it could have been made. Now I have re-created the long-form with a forgery of my own that I believe most people will find hard to distinguish from the forgery the White House released.”
Polland has worked virtually non-stop for the last two months to deconstruct the long-form birth certificate posted on the White House website to determine precisely how it was constructed. His effort was the first step in the process of producing his own forgery of the Obama birth document.
Since April 27, WND has published the analysis and testimony of more than 20 computer and imaging experts who have demonstrated anomalies in the White House-released long-form birth certificate. Some believe the document is a forgery.
“To prove to my satisfaction that the long-form birth certificate was forged, I had to understand precisely how each anomaly was created,” Polland said, “and then I had to be able to use these techniques to produce a forgery of my own. I had to put myself in the forger’s shoes to figure out what he was trying to accomplish and why he made it look the way he did.”
Polland’s standard was that his forgery had to be good enough that most observers would find it hard to tell it apart from the image the White House released.
“My results confirm that the PDF document is a one-of-a-kind image forgery meant to resemble a birth certificate document but with flaws and complexities purposely added to lead investigators down blind alleys and dead ends,” he said. “In short, this PDF document was never intended to be a genuine copy of an actual Hawaii State certified birth certificate.”
For comparison purposes, Exhibit 1 shows the long-form birth certificate released by the White House, while Exhibit 2 shows the recently completed Polland forgery.
Exhibit 1: Obama long-form birth certificate released April 27 by the White House
Exhibit 2: Ron Polland forgery of Obama long-form birth certificate
The easiest way to distinguish the Polland forgery from the White House-released document is to observe that the date of the registrar’s stamp in Polland’s forgery is March 15, 2011, while the date of the stamp in the White House document is April 25, 2011.
A PDF file of the Polland forgery is obtainable here. It allows readers with Adobe software to examine how its multiple layers and various links compare with the layers and links observable in the White House PDF.
How he did it
“I conducted the two-month research study on the PDF document released by the White House because it was supposed to be a certified copy of Obama’s birth certificate, and I wanted to determine exactly how it was made,” Polland explained to WND.
He used a three-step process: 1) identifying and deconstructing the individual document elements; 2) reverse-engineering the technologies required to produce them; and 3) reconstructing the individual elements and combining them into a composite PDF document.
“I took each anomaly in the document – such as the white halo effect, or the curve at the left margin that looks like the document is receding bent into a book – until I figured out how the anomaly was created in Adobe software,” he said.
Polland explained that it was “a systematic process similar to what the CSIs do on TV when they are trying to identify what happened to crime victims.”
“Beyond the science, however, it is still a lengthy, trial-and-error exercise,” he said, “taking hours and days just to eliminate the things that do not work or do not look precisely like the White House document.”
His plan was to identify the features and characteristics he saw in the White House document, determine where the features and characteristics came from – including sources outside the document – and apply whatever methods were necessary to replicate the effects.
“Every time I thought I could not make it look any closer to the White House document, I found a way to improve upon it, even if it took more time to do it,” he said. “There was nothing easy about making this forgery.”
Polland explained: “As I did with the short form, I began my analyses by placing myself in the role of the forger and asking questions like, ‘What do I need to create first?’ and ‘How do I create it?’ keeping in mind the enigma of the short-form and how difficult it was to decipher.”
Polland noted that “the starting point for the creation of a forged birth certificate begins with constructing a blank form and filling it in with data, analogous to the process of completing a paper form.”
In a 58-page document titled “How I made Obama’s long-form birth certificate,” available in its entirety here, Polland details the step-by-step methods he used to make the long-form birth certificate.
Readers are warned that Polland’s explanations in the 58-page document can be technically dense, even to those with expertise in Adobe software.
Perhaps the best way to understand how Polland created the forged Obama birth certificate is to watch four videos he put together to illustrate his methods.
In the first video, Polland demonstrates how a number of the anomalies observed in the White House document, such as the “white halo” effect visible behind the text letters, were created using Adobe Acrobat. The demonstrations in the first video make use of birth certificates that Polland knew were made from authentic copies issued by the Hawaii Department of Health.
Polland demonstrates a feature of Acrobat known as “adaptive compression” that separates a scan image into three components – color, gray scale and monochrome (black) – to reduce the size of a PDF document without sacrificing image quality. It is the adaptive compression feature, in combination with other image factors, that led to the creation of some of the unusual-looking anomalies found in the document.
In the second video, Polland demonstrates the structure of the White House document.
He analyzes how the alleged forger created a blank template from an existing birth certificate form, removing or replacing used areas and redrawing some of the elements – such as the form boxes – in preparation for entering the information particular to Obama.
The video shows how a forger would have searched for suitable “donor certificates” to provide the framework for his template, as well as the parts for his forgery, based on how contemporaneous they were to Obama’s certificate.
“This PDF forgery is the equivalent of a Frankenstein monster but with infinitely more parts needed to make it,” Polland said.
The second video also includes a demonstration of how a few components of the published birth certificates of the Nordykes – twins born in Honolulu the day after Obama’s birthdate – made their way into the composite document that became the White House release.
One of the first things that Polland noticed about the White House document was the similarity between the hand-written dates in the Nordyke certificates and those in Obama’s.
He also believes the signature of Stanley Ann Dunham was copied off a Social Security application.
Thus, his research served another purpose – the identification of source documents from which a forger allegedly hijacked his components. The White House document, Polland believes, is a forgery within a forgery, and many times over.
In the third video, Polland illustrates how parts of the text in the White House document allegedly were made from the text of birth certificates issued about the same time.
He also shows how a forger could have “recycled” sections of a birth certificate, such as taking the hospital name and splitting it into individual letters and groups of letters for use as street names.
In the fourth video, Polland shows how a forger could have created the “back layer” of the certificate itself – the main background on which appear the white haloes, grayish letter outlines, pieces of black text, the black lines of the form, parts of the signatures and other assorted oddities.
The fourth video explains why these features had to be independently created and then combined into separate images before being added to a fabricated image of security paper to produce the peculiar effects that are seen in the White House document.
Polland demonstrates his contention that all of these components were created in Photoshop and then finalized into a smaller set of layers that were imported into Adobe Illustrator, where the actual PDF document would be produced.
Polland emphasizes that no background or lines, no text or other characters, and no special effects such as the curve into the left margin were copied from the White House document and pasted into his forgery.
He said he created from scratch every element that appears in his forged birth certificate, including the green hash-mark security paper background and the black lines of the form itself, independently from what was contained in the White House document.
“The bottom line is that the forger had a detailed plan in mind for his creation and carried it out with a great deal of precision – especially when it came to adding the little pieces of text and form elements to the security paper background on top of a template of white haloes,” Polland said.
He concluded: “There is no recipe for making a forgery like this, except for the ones I’ve authored in recreating the short-form birth certificate. It takes a combination of artistic ability and technical expertise to create this forgery, but the human factors behind its development are no less important. Basically, you have to adopt a sense of ‘anything goes’ and throw logic and reason out the window if you wish to take on the role of the forger.”