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Zullo’s fundamental lie

Let’s put aside for a second all the technical claims from Mike Zullo, Commander of the volunteer Cold Case Posse in Arizona, and look at the more basic question of what his investigation was all about.

What Mike Zullo has maintained throughout his public career, and  emphasized in his December 15, 2016, press conference, is that his goal was to “clear the document,” Obama’s birth certificate, to make sure it was legitimate. That statement is facially false.

On May 23, 2012, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett received an official verification from the State of Hawaii, signed and sealed, verifying the key information on Barack Obama’s published birth certificate, making him eligible to run for President of the United States. That cleared the document, satisfying Secretary Bennett, and also Brian Reilly, a member of the Cold Case Posse. If Zullo wanted to “clear the document,” he was done. He could get back to transporting drunks to the Jail.

Birthers, and perhaps Zullo, note that the Bennett Verification, while it clearly documents the facts of Obama’s birth, does not address the question of the paper certificate itself, something a verification is not designed to do. The State of Hawaii, because of persistent questions from the public, created an Obama FAQ page sometime in the Summer of 2009. Within a day of the release of Obama’s long form birth certificate the page had been changed to say:

On April 27, 2011 President Barack Obama posted a certified copy of his original Certificate of Live Birth.

That verifies that the White House published certificate is a copy of the certified copy of Obama’s original. That clears the birth certificate.

These are the facts that a real law enforcement investigation would have considered conclusive, but the Cold Case Posse was a volunteer who had some sort of police job many years ago, not a real police detective. No one not bound and determined to prove the birth certificate a forgery would have continued given those facts. Only a radically biased investigator would give credence to any of the sources Zullo used early on. And only a radically biased investigator would have pushed aside competent testimony from persons like Dr. Neal Krawetz.

There were conspiracy theories flying around, technical analyses provided by unqualified arm-chair detectives. Perhaps Zullo wanted to rule them out? In fact he embraced them.

That first news conference was a disaster. The technical reports fell apart under scrutiny. All of the things that Zullo said were impossible characteristics of a real scanned document, turned out to be the normal output of a Xerox machine and rotation on a Mac. Zullo had a bitter lesson that the birther conspiracy theorists were incompetent, but it did not dissuade him coming back to them time and again.

Zullo once said on the Carl Gallups radio program that he refused to accept evidence from anyone without doing a background check on them. Question: did Zullo do a background check on Mara Zebest, author of one of the ill-fated technical reports Zullo included in his first press conference? If he did, he would have learned that Zebest was known for making disparaging remarks about Barack Obama on the Internet before the birth certificate was released. He would have known she was a deeply-biased source.

If he wanted to “clear the document” he not only had an official verification, but proof that the conspiracy theorists were biased and inept. But of course, Zullo never wanted to clear the document. If he was an honest broker, he would have retracted all the falsehoods he told as soon as he learned better, but years went by before he sort of  admitted it on the Hagmann radio show a couple of weeks ago.

Giving up on technical analysis, Zullo focused on contextual criticism, making bold claims about what was allowed on birth certificates. Someone gave him a fake race code table, and he heard what he wanted to hear from an aging former Hawaii Department of Health clerk. He put on a second press conference. What is most troubling about these claims is that Zullo had in his hands another birth certificate that completely contradicted his evidence. Within a day, the centerpiece of Zullo’s race coding theory came crashing down, partly through research done by this blog. Zullo must have been aware almost immediately that he had  been duped by whoever provided him with the fake race code table. He knew his investigation misfired again. He could have awakened to the realization that the birther conspiracy theories were based on falsehoods. If he wanted to clear the document, he could have done it, but he persisted.

Zullo made a third essay into proving Obama’s birth certificate a forgery (not clearing it) with the affidavit he gave that was filed in the Alabama case of McInnish v. Chapman. In that affidavit, Zullo claims that investigators (“investigator” means unqualified birther volunteer) discovered a certificate numbering scheme that excluded Obama’s certificate as being legitimate. Not only did the certificate numbering scheme invalidate Obama’s birth certificate, it invalidated every certificate known from Hawaii from August of 1961! Zullo knew this at the time. And a couple of weeks ago Zullo admitted, perhaps because of pressure from this blog, on the Hagmann show, that his certificate numbering scheme was false.

Anyone who wanted to clear Obama’s birth certificate, and who had been painted into a corner three times by birther conspiracy theorists, should have realized that the only fakery involved was on the part of the birthers. Obama’s birth certificate had been repeatedly verified.

Given the fact that Zullo had done image analysis, context analysis and historical analysis of Obama’s birth certificate, and in every instance what he thought was wrong turned out to be correct, where do we ever see Zullo speaking out in favor of the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate. Where do we see his news conference saying that the obscure race codes were right, the 1-it layers were right, the halos were right, the certificate number were right. Given that Zullo stumbled on these items, they must be hard to get right. Yet rather than provide a balanced presentation, Zullo maintained consistently throughout his public presentations that Obama’s birth certificate case a forgery. That behavior is totally inconsistent with someone trying to clear the document. It is totally consistent with someone Hell-bent on tearing it down.

Of course Zullo has made a fourth attempt this past December, but this one is falling apart too. Zullo refuses to release the forensic reports. His document examiner from Hawaii refuses to release his report, citing Zullo as its owner. His forensics institute in Italy refuses to discuss any technical issues because of confidentiality. The video presentation Zullo gave clearly doesn’t show what he said it does (see here and here).

Zullo lied. He never wanted to “clear the document.” He desperately needed to prove it a forgery, so as not to go down in history a a fool. Well Mike, you have 7 more days to bring Obama down. After January 20, nobody will care.

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12 Responses to Zullo’s fundamental lie

  1. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 13, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    Zullo has never offered a rebuttal to any of the critical articles that appear on this blog, nor has ever left a comment here, at least not under his own name.

  2. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG January 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

    Oh, I’m sure a handful of birther die hards will still care. They’ll hiss and recoil any time Ex-President Obama is mentioned doing some kind of humanitarian work, or enjoying a book tour, or just goofing around with a selfie stick and being generally a fun guy. Muttering under their breath “He never was legally President, so how can he be Ex-President?”, while family members roll their eyes and tell them to shut up already. Then questioning why they can’t just ship said relative off to the home already.

  3. avatar
    Reality Check January 13, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    Doc you are correct. There is no way to give Zullo the benefit of the doubt. After months of work and two press conferences were destroyed by the work of you and others he presented an entirely different and demonstrably wrong theory in the 64th month of the investigation. The only conclusion is that he launched in to the investigation with a predetermined outcome and after five years has been unable to craft any credible evidence to support his false presupposition.

  4. avatar
    Pete January 13, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    The lie was shared by Joe Arpaio. Arpaio never wanted to “clear” the President’s birth certificate.

    Or, if he did, there sure as hell isn’t the slightest evidence of it.

    That behavior is totally inconsistent with someone trying to clear the document. It is totally consistent with someone Hell-bent on tearing it down.

    Correct.

    Of course Zullo has made a fourth attempt this past December, but this one is falling apart too.

    I beg to differ. His fourth attempt isn’t “falling apart.” It’s quite transparently total bullsh*t, and it “fell apart” before they even tried to put it together.

    Manure does that.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy January 13, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

    While I suspect that’s true, Zullo could have been conning Arpaio. Arpaio lacks the competence ti understand any of what the Cold Case Posse said.

    Pete: The lie was shared by Joe Arpaio. Arpaio never wanted to “clear” the President’s birth certificate.

  6. avatar
    brygenon January 13, 2017 at 9:20 pm #

    In the article, Dr. Conspiracy writes:
    “I do not know the exact date of the update to that page, but a commenter on this blog mentioned on June 2, 2011, long prior to the start of Zullo’s investigation. The page says: ‘On April 27, 2011 President Barack Obama posted a certified copy of his original Certificate of Live Birth.'”

    I can push that back to 28 April 2011, the day after the release.
    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2011/04/looking-at-the-long-form/#comment-109836

    The Hawaii Department of Health’s link is likely to break, right about the time this blog retires, as the White House site is getting a new webmaster.

  7. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 13, 2017 at 10:04 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    While I suspect that’s true, Zullo could have been conning Arpaio. Arpaio lacks the competence ti understand any of what the Cold Case Posse said.

    Zullo played Arpaio like a cheap violin.

  8. avatar
    Reality Check January 13, 2017 at 10:25 pm #

    Oh I think Arpaio let himself be played. He understood who formed his base.

    CarlOrcas: Zullo played Arpaio like a cheap violin.

  9. avatar
    CarlOrcas January 13, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

    Reality Check:
    Oh I think Arpaio let himself be played. He understood who formed his base.

    Arpaio is incredibly vain. He had visions of taking down a sitting President. If he had any idea how baseless the whole thing was he wouldn’t have been such an easy mark for a con man like Zullo.

    And, of course, it got him a lot of votes over the years out in the Sun Cities!

  10. avatar
    Reality Check January 13, 2017 at 11:04 pm #

    Arpaio probably pissed his pants with excitement when Brian Reilly presented the Surprise Tea Party petition. It was when he figured out there was a lot of money to be made from the Birther bullsheet.

    CarlOrcas: Zullo played Arpaio like a cheap violin.

  11. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG January 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm #

    Reality Check:
    Oh I think Arpaio let himself be played. He understood who formed his base.

    And now, without a tough guy badge to hide behind, I foresee him playing the role of forgetful, easily distracted codger. “I’m sorry, your honor. My trick bladder is acting up. Could you repeat that?”

  12. avatar
    alg January 14, 2017 at 10:48 am #

    CarlOrcas: Zullo played Arpaio like a cheap violin.

    Nahhh…it was more like an old broken fiddle.