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TheRepository

Here’s anther of the old draft Obama Conspiracy Theories articles that I’m adding to the “Lost Articles” series. In this essay, I attempted to evaluate the credentials of Douglas Vogt, someone who claimed to be an expert capable of recognizing a fake scanned PDF document. Vogt later filed a lawsuit in Washington State, and even named me as a participant in his alleged forgery conspiracy. So here’s the article:

In a recent press release, Douglas Vogt, president of Archive Index Systems, a wholesale dealer of scanning hardware and software (AKA wholesalescanners.com), puts forth a claim that he is an expert in scanning and scanning software. He says Obama’s long form is a fake. (See my article: “Expert” claims: birth certificate fake.)

Digging in to his claimed credentials from 2011 we find:

I have a unique background for analyzing this document. I owned a typesetting company for 11 years so I know type and form design very well. I currently own Archive Index Systems since 1993,which sells all types of document scanners worldwide and also developed document imaging software (TheRepository). I know how scanners work.

Here the subject of the sentence is a little ambiguous; did Vogt develop “TheRepository” or did his company develop the software? This is an important point because an imaging software developer is expected to know more about how it works under the covers than a company executive.

The first curious thing I came across in trying to resolve this question was a broken hyperlink. On the home page of Archive Index Systems, there is a list of products and on the bottom right a section on software and a link to TheRepository; the link is “http://www.the-repository.net/” an off-site link. (The working link is: http://www.archiveindex.com/the_repository.html.)

So I conclude that at some time in the past “TheRepository” was described on a web site other than Archive Index Systems, and that site is no longer there. I tried to run the demo from http://www.archiveindex.com/repository/demo.html, but again, it linked to the dead domain. The links to the user manuals were not working, even though they pointed to the archiveindex site.

As of December 2015, all of the links above have been removed from the Archive Index web site.

I searched the Internet for other references to that site, and I came up with one on a Linux forum from 2003 with comments by someone named “Doug” which I will assume is Doug Vogt. He wrote:

Don’t bother we already have a Linux document imaging program that does everything you would need and its cheap. Go to http://www.the-repository.net

Nothing really technical came out of that discussion.

So, it appears that there is no available evidence one way or another that Doug Vogt has any software expertise, or that he has any special knowledge of the PDF files created by scanners beyond someone in the general population. It further appears that whatever software his company developed is no longer in their product line. Even if he did develop software, that doesn’t imply any special knowledge of the internal format of PDF documents. I developed software using the Adobe API to created PDF files that was used in vital records, but I never had to get involved with the internal format of PDF files–the Adobe tools took care of all that.

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3 Responses to TheRepository

  1. avatar
    HistorianDude December 24, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

    Back when I wrote my analysis of Vogt’s “20 Points of Forgery” I too spent some time looking at his qualifications… specifically those he had offered in his affidavit before the court. This is what I came up with:

    Profile of a Crackpot: The “Credentials” of Douglas B. Vogt

    Vogt begins his affidavit by establishing what he understands to be his credentials for performing his “analysis.”

    I received my bachelors of Science degree (sic) from California State University at Northridge CA in Business Administration. I was an accountant in Los Angeles and Seattle until I went into business owning a typesetting company (Nova Typesetting) for eleven years, and have extensive knowledge and experience in type, typesetting, form design, book and science journals including math books. I currently own Archive Index Systems, Inc. since 1994, a company that sells document scanners, wide format scanner (sic), document imaging software and multi function printers. I have extensive knowledge of how scanners function, their capabilities and the software than comes with them. My company also developed and sold document imaging software as well as other imaging and scanning programs. I have sold and installed document imaging systems in city and county governments, and thus have knowledge of municipal and county document imaging programs and procedures, including the design and implementation of such programs. Additionally, I have a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Acrobat. These factors will be crucial in understanding what has occurred with Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth and other forgeries Paul and I have discovered.
    I am also a science writer and a member of the Geological Society of America. I have written three science books, two of which are philosophy of science books.

    These are essentially the same credentials offered to the court by Orly Taitz prior to Vogt’s January 2012 “expert testimony” in the Georgia ballot challenge hearing, Farrar et. al. v. Obama. Writing in the decision for that case, and speaking specifically of Vogt and Irey, Judge Michael Malihi observed that:

    (T)wo of Plaintiffs’ witnesses testified that Mr. Obama’s birth certificate was forged, but neither witness was properly qualified or tendered as an expert in birth records, forged documents or document manipulation.

    Birth records, forged documents, and document manipulation – these remain the key areas of expertise necessary to lend authority to Vogt’s “analysis.” But even the most casual perusal of his offered credentials reveal that the shortfall identified by Judge Malihi is severe. Vogt demonstrates no formal training or even significant on-the-job experience in any of these three relevant fields. In each he is at best an enthusiastic amateur. In none does he go on to display even incipient competence.

    Vogt tries instead to build a sense of gravitas through is his prior ownership of a “typesetting company.” But as we will see, typesetting proves to be relevant to almost none of Vogt’s claims of forgery. He endeavors to claim the mantle of a software developer by noting that his company has “developed” information systems, but betrays no evidence of ever having personally written a single line of computer code.
    He asserts “knowledge of municipal and county document imaging programs and procedures,” ignoring that his theories have nothing to do with document imaging programs of any sort. He claims a certain ambiguous familiarity with scanners and scanner software if for no other reason than that he sells them, but as we will see this failed to help him identify the scanner hardware and software used to create the PDF of the President’s long form. Ultimately, the claims he makes in this affidavit have nothing to do with his “credentials” in any way.

    More fascinating though is the second, very short paragraph of his proffered CV. While it also has nothing whatsoever to do with the content of this affidavit, Vogt’s is compelled to bring attention to his “science writing” and self assumed status as a “philosopher.” Vogt sees himself as an extraordinary person of genius and discernment and so is unable to satisfy himself with his otherwise fully respectable accomplishments as a small business owner. For more than three decades, Vogt has desperately sought recognition as a savant in areas for which he never actually bothered to prepare himself. At some point he crossed the line from idiosyncratic dilettante to full blown crank. His “science writing” is rank pseudoscience and unrefined crackpottery. By putting this history front and center, Vogt shows that he is oblivious to how completely it undercuts his credibility as a reliable analyst. Briefly exploring this in a little more detail helps reveal that Vogt’s general relationship with reality is purely coincidental at best.

    His first book, 1978’s Reality Revealed, is a garbled and gullible survey of New Age paranormality ranging from Uri Geller’s spoon bending, to Kirlian photography, to Pyramid Power, to the magical properties of crystals. His publisher’s website announces the book with this description of the author:

    Douglas Vogt is a geologist and science philosopher. He has funded and directed three expeditions to the Sinai desert where he was the first person since Baruch (Jeremiah’s grandson) to discover the real Mount Sinai. He discovered all the altars that Moses describes in the Torah. In addition he was the first person since Moses to see the real Abraham’s altar also located at Mount Sinai and not in Jerusalem. He has discovered the code systems used by Moses when writing the surface story of the Torah, which enabled him to decode the Torah and other earlier books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

    Vogt is apparently not actually a geologist at all. His sole degree is an undergraduate business degree, and what he describes in his book is not geology, but instead (the very different) amateur archeology. So we find that the current affidavit is not an anomaly. Vogt has a 35 year history of claiming expertise he does not actually possess.

    When he refers to his “membership” in the Geological Society of America, he is further gilding a nonexistent lily. The Society’s membership rules establish that the only category of membership for which he qualifies is “Affiliate,” and the standard for that category is that the prospective member…

    Must be neither professionally trained nor employed in geology or a related field (i.e., any physical and biological sciences or other disciplines such as engineering, geography, or anthropology) related to geoscience, nor currently studying such science at the collegiate level.

    In other words, to become “a member of the Geological Society of America” one needs no actual qualifications whatsoever. The only conceivable reason for including this detail in the affidavit is to imply a level of recognition that he has not actually received, and hope that those reading this abbreviated CV do not bother to check.

    His second “science book,” 1996’s Gravitational Mystery Spots of The United States, uses the absurd theories of his first book to explain things that actually do not even exist. There is nothing mysterious about “mystery spots.” Most of them are depression era tourist traps with completely ordinary explanations in the P.T. Barnum tradition.

    The publisher’s description of his third “science book,” 2007’s God’s Day of Judgment, The Real Cause of Global Warming manages to fully capture both the bizarre confusion of his thinking and the classic crank’s affliction of grand delusion:

    This book contains both scientific and religious topics. You will learn after you read chapters 2 and 3, that you cannot separate the two. Mr. vogt (sic) came to this conclusion after discovering the exact number of years between geomagnetic reversals (polar reversals) was secretly imbedded in all the dimensions values given in the Torah, using a simple multiplication formula (chapter 2). The paramount reason the author was able to discover what nobody before him was able to was because of an information theory of existence that unlocked everything including the correct model that created the original Hebrew Alphabet. He developed this philosophy in 1977 and it will eventually have a profound effect on all the fields of science.

    1977 was more than 35 years ago. Science has advanced remarkably on several fronts since then. Vogt’s theories have yet to have had their promised profound effect.

    In short, Douglas Vogt is a crackpot in the classic mode of an Immanuel Velikovsky, convinced that he has unlocked a great cosmic truth and is just waiting for the rest of humanity to catch up. There can be little doubt Vogt considers himself a member of that small club of brilliant thinkers who were ignored or reviled in their own time. But as Carl Sagan wrote, “(T)he fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

  2. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy December 24, 2015 at 11:04 pm #

    Vogt asserted that Obama’s long form came out of a document imaging system because, he said, there was a federal law requiring states to image all their documents. That would give some relevance to his expertise EXCEPT that there is no such law and the State of Hawaii is on record saying that Obama’s long form was a photocopy of a paper certificate. States have to have electronic birth records, but they don’t have to be images, and Hawaii so far as anyone knows never imaged their old records, but rather entered the textual data only. I don’t know if Vogt ever worked specifically with vital records imaging systems, but I doubt it. I have worked on such systems, and competed in several competitive bids for statewide contracts, and I never heard of his company.

    I should add that nowadays, Vogt’s imaging claims are even more nonsensical since there aren’t any paper records to image. Hospital electronic medical records systems (EMR) can talk directly to state electronic vital records systems (EVRS). Birth records in state systems are all electronic. So how could a law require images?

    And while he might have some experience with municipal and county procedures–and even state procedures–that experience is with electronic systems, not the manual ones being used in 1961.

    HistorianDude: He asserts “knowledge of municipal and county document imaging programs and procedures,” ignoring that his theories have nothing to do with document imaging programs of any sort.

  3. avatar
    Notorial Dissent December 26, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    It comes down to Vogt didn’t know what he was talking about then, and still doesn’t to this day.