I just finished a 20-minute phone interview with Peter Rehnquist, the fellow who has made available a video that purports to show Barack Obama being born in Kenya. Due to technical problems, my recording of the interview didn’t work, so this will have to come from memory.
In my previous article, I pointed out a number of points folks have made that led them doubt the authenticity of the video. I asked Mr. Rehnquist how he reacted to the fact that the video is being met with skepticism everywhere. He replied by saying that he believes the video is authentic, inviting me, and he sounded sincere, to prove that it was not.
So we went through some of the issues already discussed on the blog.
- The wrong flag? He claimed that that image “was in existence” in 1961 although not yet adopted. (No proof offered.)
- Big baby with teeth? He said that some babies have teeth. (This is true 1 of 2000 births.) Then he suggested that perhaps the video was actually a re-enactment made by Obama Sr. in Kenya when Barack was 6 months old. He really suggested that! I pointed out that baby Obama was seen by Governor Abercrombie of Hawaii within a few weeks of the birth. Mr. Rehnquist said perhaps they went back and forth to Africa.
- Calendar on the wall marked, but later in the video not marked? He said that maybe there were two calendars, the second shot done because the first was fuzzy. (Of course no one could know that the first one was fuzzy until after the film was developed days later.)
- I asked Mr. Rehnquist specifically where the video was taken, and he said Mombasa. I asked about the King George VI hospital photo from Nairobi on the wall. He thought the two hospitals might have had the “same owners”. I asked why it wasn’t framed; he said it as a poster.
- When I started talking about the video format, it was obvious that he was aware of the objections made that Super 8 video didn’t exist in 1961, answering before I mentioned that detail. He said that maybe that was a “typo” and it really was regular 8 mm. I had asked him whether he had seen the full 15 minutes of the video and he said that he had; however, further conversation made this muddy. Apparently he himself has not handled the film. His “contact in Kenya” sent him the images “on a DVD”. He said something, and the Skype connection garbled it, about his contact perhaps being persuaded to release more of the video. He also mentioned something about $10,000 necessary to get access to the film. He mentioned that Donald Trump should pay some money to get the whole film.
- I specifically questioned him about the fact that the video was shot at 24 frames per second when amateur 8mm equipment runs at 16 frames per second. This one took him by surprise. He asked me if 24 FPS technology didn’t exist in 1961, and of course I said that it did, for professional equipment. He said that perhaps they brought in a “big camera” to take the film – lots of “rich people went to that hospital”. (The film is clearly of amateur quality.)
- I said I didn’t think the woman in the film was Ann Dunham. He thought it was.
I am only guessing here, but the fellow sounded sincere, and that he sincerely wanted to believe that the film was authentic and was asking me to help him understand objections to the film’s authenticity. He kept mentioning his “Kenyan contact” as the one who was making the decisions, who would provide explanations to objections, who was wanting $10,000, who had the original footage, and who controlled what would be released or not. The hospital scene looks very African to me, and the flag of Kenya pin on the doctor is something much easier to obtain in Kenya than here. What Rehnquist said sounded so very much like the email exchanges that I had with a Kenyan detective a while back who was trying to lead me on to send him more money for a “spy cam” video from a Mombasa hospital of a contemporary interview. (I shared with Mr. Rehnquist a little of my experience with the Kenyan detective.)
It was a cordial call and he gave me permission to publish the recording, which I wish had worked out.
Just moments after I got off the phone, I got an email from blog commenter bgansel9 sharing a link that they also posted on my other article, pointing out that the distinctive x-ray artwork that appears on the calendar in the video was done by photographer Steven N. Meyers, in 2005 according to the artist. bgansel9 also provided a link to the 2013 calendar with that image. You can buy your own copy of the 2013 calendar here. I suppose that it is just coincidence that August 4 is a Friday in both 1961 and in 2013. bgansel9 is hereby awarded a gold star junior detective award from Obama Conspiracy Theories.
Just for reference, here’s the calendar image from the video.
And here is the image from the back of the 2013 calendar.
After receiving these images, I sent an email to Mr. Rehnquist saying:
I regret to inform you that your contact in Africa is attempting to defraud you. I just learned a couple minutes ago that the calendar on the wall in the video is a 2013 calendar with "1961" put on it. The flower image is modern. See here to order the calendar:
Here is an image showing the picture from the calendar in the video.
The artist who did the images didn’t start doing this kind of work until 1971.
I hope you haven’t lost any money.
Poor idiot probably thinks “Birdemic” actually happened too.
Thank you Doc. The artist thanks you too. He said he will probably be contacting his publisher and seeing what legal recourse he might have. He stated he didn’t like having his images associated with lies and fraud.
ETA: Actually, the gold star should go to TRI-OX at The Blaze who posted the info first. I did not have contact with that commenter, but, they set me on the trail so, if TRI-OX finds this post, very good detective work.
I fear he will have to go to Kenya for that recourse.
Hold it just a cotton-picking minute. The film is a RE-ENACTMENT made 6 months or more AFTER the birth? He actually said that? A re-enactment?? In that case it provides ZERO evidence as to where the birth took place. You could re-enact Mitt Romney’s birth in Detroit and pretend he wasn’t born in Canada, when everyone knows he was. And why go to Kenya to stage a re-enactment? You could stick a Kenyan flag (whether it existed in 1961 or not) on the wall in Honolulu just as easily. In fact, there is not the slightest evidence this film was shot anywhere near Kenya, as it only shows interior scenes. Hospitals look the same all over the world.
And Mr Rhenquist’s response? He says unless you show him film of the birth in Hawaii, then his is true. Sure. And Lincoln was really Daniel Day Lewis, unless there is movie footage of Abe playing himself.
I’m thinking I’m going to get a calendar because i want to see if the Canterbury Bells graphic is actually placed on the August calendar page. I suspect it may not be and they chose another month instead. (This will eat at me unless I verify it. I’m strange that way).
His words. He offered a “re-enactment” FILMED IN KENYA as one an explanation of why the birth didn’t look right.
I have one on order. I’ll let you know.
I understand they are his words. Of what possible value is a “re-enactment” as evidence for where te actual birth occurred? What difference does it make where a re-enactment is filmed?
I have to agree that this defense is just mind-bogglingly inane.
I’m sure they could have recreated that scene in a storage unit somewhere in the heartland of the Mid-west and no one would know the difference. 😛
“A fool and his money are soon parted.” Kenyans hardly take second place to Nigerians in the originality of the scams they run—there are just so many more Nigerians.
The woman in the video doesn’t even marginally resemble Ann Dunham, aside from her race.
“I specifically questioned him about the fact that the video was shot at 24 frames per second when amateur 8mm equipment runs at 16 frames per second. This one took him by surprise. He asked me if 24 FPS technology didn’t exist in 1961, and of course I said that it did, for professional equipment. He said that perhaps they brought in a “big camera” to take the film – lots of “rich people went to that hospital”. (The film is clearly of amateur quality.)”
Only 16mm was shot at 24 FPS; that was the frame rate for sound films. 8mm did not have room on the film for an optical sound track. 8mm was always silent.
If it was shot on 16mm, most likely it would have been filmed on negative film, and a print made. Back then, 16mm film, either positive or negative, was breathtaking in price.
“Rich people”? Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham were impecunious students.
Funny. Peter’s very first sentence in his interview with Vice.com was “An associate from Africa contacted me and said that he had a VHS transfer of the original Super-8 film.”
So it’s an 8mm film, which was transferred to VHS, which was in turn converted onto a DVD?
Also, while you say it got “muddy” as to whether he’d seen the supposed 15-minute video, in the Vice interview he actually describes what he says appears in the rest of the video.
“I just learned a couple minutes ago that the calendar on the wall in the video is a 2013 calendar with “1961” put on it.” – Actually, after having looked at the Meyers graphic and the width of the calendar and then seeing the lines going down the side of the one in the video, it appears they may have created a 1961 (do it yourself?) calendar and pasted the graphic onto the top of that one page. Does anyone else see this?
Plus, he’s Romanian with a Swedish surname.
The calendar is more interesting than that. One of the writers at Crooks and Liars noticed the calendar was doctored.
You can see a copy of the blown-up frame here.
I’m under the impression that Rehnquist is his own contact… AND, I’m still not convinced this isn’t the late Chief Justice’s grandson (William Rehnquist’s grandson’s name is Peter Rehnquist).
Mr. “Rehnquist”, ahem, should watch driver ed films from the ’60s, to learn how it’s done.
It’s $4.99 (with free shipping) on eBay:
It looks like he did watch “Alien Autopsy”
Same herky jerky camera work.
Apart from all the tiny details that can be glossed over is the technical aspects of childbirth. I have no experience birthing babies but some friends who have tell me that there’s a lot more to it than just pulling up the blanket and finding a dry, smiling baby lying on pristine sheets.
I still cannot figure out why the hospital would put Ann Dunham’s maiden name on the clipboard – and written in enormous letters using a special marker that I don’t think was even available in 1961 – when her married name would carry much more weight in Kenya.
If/when you find someone who accepts this as evidence of Obama having been born in Kenya, please send them to me. I have a bridge in their favorite color.
Since when did they start requiring huge studio shot portraits of the patient to be attached to their paperwork? Since that’s a picture readily available on the internet, I guess they required her to bring it in? And why is everything typewritten, except her name, which is written in marker in huge letters to insure you can see it? The fact that ANYone is trying to claim this is real is hilarious to me.
But it’s very calculated “herky jerky camera work.”
It shows a seemingly attached umbilical cord (conveniently held in place by the doctor’s fingers), then pans away. And when it pans back a couple of seconds later, the cord’s already been cut.
It’s a basic rule of low-budget film: if you keep the events that would require special effects off-camera, then you don’t need to go to the trouble of making them look good or convincing.
It’s the same reason why you first see the baby fully-delivered, and not in the process of crowning or being pushed out.
You can find them here, Bernard (this is a site Rehnquist posted to, and some of them are actually convinced): http://www.stripersonline.com/t/869023/vindication-obama-kenyan-birth-video-revealed
Now that would be a special effect that would need a LOT of heavy planning and careful execution (especially considering that baby did NOT come out of that woman’s womb).
Can you see if there is a clamp on it? You have to apply a cord clamp or tie it off before cutting it and there should be at least 1″ of clamped/tied cord left on the baby. It’s too crappy and herky-jerky for me to see the baby’s abdomen.
Well it obviously would’ve required procuring a baby that actually looked like a newborn, or having a convincing-looking fake baby. Preferably the latter, given what’ll be done with it.
The fact that delivering mothers are commonly draped with blankets would actually make the delivery itself somewhat easier to fake. The ‘mother’ could actually be positioned through a hole in the bed, and the baby is ‘delivered’ through a fake vagina.
Now in a regular film you could exploit the editing process itself to hide when you swap the fake baby for a real baby. Here, since the film is supposedly uninterrupted, you’d probably have to splice it together around one of the momentary blips in the 8mm film, and do your darndest to match the position and movement of the camera.
And all of that is a lot of trouble that is avoided by simply having the child born off-screen.
At 17 seconds you see the doctor holding the cord at the base, and the nurse moving in with what look like scissors. It then pans down to the baby’s face, and when it pans back up at 19 seconds it seems to have already been cut. It then pans up to the mother’s face, and at 22 seconds the nurse is taking it away.
You can see the baby’s abdomen, fuzzily, at about second 24 and 28. It certainly doesn’t appear to have a clamped off or tied cord.
FWIW, though, this is one of those ‘good practice’ type things. It’s a noteworthy anomaly, sure, and one more thing to add to the problems with the video, but it’s also the sort of thing that could perhaps be chalked up to crappy foreign medical treatment.
I’m not saying that’s what happened *here*. But it’s an important thing to remember when being skeptical: sometimes anomalies are just anomalies.
I asked him this and he said he was not a relative. We had a video call at least from his end, so I know what he looks like, and he did have a thick slavic accent.
He did say something about liking some of Rehnquist’s decisions and that he saw the judge at a party once.
It’s a passport photo.
Doc, I don’t think he’s being very honest with you, but, I realize he didn’t come right out and verify any of my concerns. 😛
Oh, and by the way, I do a really nice southern drawl for a Yankee, myself. Accents can be faked. Not to say it definitely was, but, more proof is needed that it’s real.
When I looked at a full-screen shot of the calendar, I didn’t see that every number was a 4. I see where they get it in their blow up, but you really have to be careful blowing stuff up because the software makes stuff up.
Doc, can you describe what he looked like? Here’s a picture of Rehnquist’s grandson:
The numbers on the calendar in the video are at the top of the date box, while the numbers from the “Ghost Spirits” calendar are at the bottom (according to this image)…
“Due to technical problems, my recording of the interview didn’t work, so this will have to come from memory.”
A likely story, Doc (heh). Thanks for another hilarious report from the trenches!
I hope it turns out the film is an attempt to yank the birfer’s chain and cash in on their want-to-believe. It’s a reprehensible thing, but hey, they deserve it. They should know better, but, if they did, they wouldn’t be birfin’.
That is certainly a possibility. It could go either way.
Loren, sweetie, there would be blood all over the bed baby and everything else and the baby would be just about dead by the time “Ann” was cuddling him if the cord was not clamped/tied before being cut.
It is NOT optional in humans…
I congratulate Steven N. Myers on the most subtle viral calendar marketing campaign ever.
Hmmm. The Peter I talked to had a close clipped beard and my recollection was that his hair was a lighter shade of brown than the fellow in the photo. His face was oval shaped and appeared narrower than the photo. However, close-up videos distort features.
I could not swear that the two are different, but I really doubt they are the same.
The problem is that he called 5 minutes early. I had a video camera set up as well as an audio recording, but I didn’t have a chance to double check either. The audio failed because the mike switch was off, and the video failed because I hit the wrong button. I was nervous and rushed.
Doc, something else about the calendar, which is another dead giveaway. “AUGUST 1961” is set is Arial. Arial was designed in 1982. Also, it is not kerned (more space between the ‘1’ and the ‘9’ than between the ‘9’ and the ‘6’, etc.), as it would have been by a typesetter in the 1960s.
Open a word processor, type “AUGUST 1961” in Arial Bold, and compare to the calendar. It’s the default spacing that you’ll get in Word, etc.
What I’ve learned:
Hospitals enlarge passport photos and attach them to a patient’s chart.
They’ll kindly circle the date of a birth DURING a delivery.
It is normal to have flags, pens and calendar designs from the future in Kenya.
Small women have very large babies replete with teeth and developed eyes.
Said babies cause but a small amount of bleeding during their birth or from umbilical cord surgery.
It is normal to reenact a birth.
One generally goes back to the same hospital and employs hospital personal.
Then everyone acts the best they can while cameras film.
This is like any other birth reenactment that common people do every day.
A person who doesn’t have much information on a video they’ve provided is VERY interested to talk to anyone on the phone.. oh and he wants $10,000
This is supposed to be a Re-enactment, made 6 months after the actual birth. Well that might explain the lack of bloodshed – but why fake the umbilical cord?
Are we to believe that Ann Dunham Obama took a SECOND trip to Kenya, with baby Obama in tow (in 1961 type airplanes for about 20 hours each way), for no strong reason six months after her first trip? ….. and that evidence for either trip is completely non-existent? Why do this?
You’d think a Re-enactment, especially if it used professional high speed color cameras, would have (among other things) shown the proud papa, and used the mother’s married name, and generally be considerably better quality since it could be posed, rehearsed, re-shot, etc.
Because … ummmm …. it’s a Kenyan ritual birth re-enactment, to satisfy tribal requirements? Umm, yeah, that’s it. Take that and run with it, birfers. I’m sure you have no qualms about distorting the customs of far away people. Or inventing new ones for them. LOL
Ahahaha! We come full circle back to Kerning! LOL
Yeah, all they needed was one of these:
I used to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association and vendors there had life-sized mannequins, including mothers delivering babies with levers you could push the baby out with. They were used for training. You’d be surprised all the crazy stuff I have on the hard drive.
He also said something to that effect to me twice.
Yes, I can see that. What they should have done was use that 1952 King George VI picture as the Calendar image insert. Using a modern image was dumb.
You know, there are vintage calendars on eBay … Look! Here a British one of an African subject! 😛
I’m sure they thought nobody would ever be able to hunt down the image info. LOL Not that I can take credit for it myself, and I really do want to thank TRI-OX at The Blaze, I’m amazed they came up with it. But, the fact remains, they used an image that was able to be traced and now that video is worth nothing. 😛
I love this crowd-sourced debunking.
Just a quick question? How did that Sharpie travel back in time to 1961? They sure were foolish to leave the sharpie laying on the calender.
The sharpie brand was launched in 1964 … doh! So close.
Well, not really. Sharpies have evolved, bear little resemblance to the original models. (If memory serves ….)
I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liLqI_BEQFQ
Did you read on?
“PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN ACTUAL CALENDAR PAGE OR PHOTOGRAPH IT IS A PRINT THAT WAS REMOVED FROM A 1ST EDITION PUBLICATION!”
So, using that one would have been dumb as well.
It was a sarcastic suggestion Paul! The calendar pictured was from the 70s. Placing a girlie calendar in a delivery room would have been hysterical, appropriate for a spoof of the spoof.
You can find early 60s calendars….and every other prop a good fake would have required….but these ‘producers’ didn’t make the effort…or didn’t know how to go about it …. or (*ahem* cue laughter) respect their intended audience enough.
So…this story is “broken” by Vice.com?
And…Vice Films is listed as the production company and distributor of “Nimrod in Cannes (2012)”?
I smells a rat.
Obviously, by re-enacting his birth in Kenya, Baby Obama was renouncing his American citizenship. (Just ask any birther for details.) That’s the real scandal — The President is a Born Again Kenyan!
I’ve sent him a link to this thread, I’m sure he’ll probably find it and laugh. 😛
He seemed to have a pretty good sense of humor. He told me he thought the baby looked more like George Foreman.
No, you see, it’s a *Muslim* Kenyan ritual birth re-enactment. (Need to have that reference.) Obviously during the original birth some Muslim prescription was botched and they had to re-do it so they could later prove Caliph Obama had a proper chain of religion. 😉
Time machine use proves that the Big Conspiracy was already behind it back in 1961. Now it all falls into place! 🙂
Over on Freerepublic the birthers are saying its an Obama campaign trick to discredit the birthers! Wow.
Still it’s saner than claiming the video is legit.
The Freepers seem slightly closer to reality than e.g. the WND crowd (since the latter mostly swallowed the “Muslim ring” story whereas the former didn’t).