ANOTHER SAYS FORGERY CONCLUSIONS “DEBUNKED”…BUT BY WHOM?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 30, 2017) — On Friday and Saturday, a number of mainstream media reports stated that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio announced that he plans to “continue” the investigation into the “long-form” birth certificate image posted on the White House website in April 2011 which Arpaio’s probe declared a “computer-generated forgery” more than five years ago.
However, in his videotaped remarks, that is not what Arpaio pledged, and in fact, he made no pledge at all other than to reiterate that which his chief investigator, Mike Zullo, stated at three different press conferences: that the long-form birth certificate image claimed by Obama to represent “additional information about the site of my birth” is a fraudulent government document.
“Joe Arpaio is still looking for Obama’s birth certificate,” reads one headline from Arizona Central.
“This week, he’s making the rounds in California, where he announced he’ll be resuming his search for the truth about Barack Obama’s birth certificate,” wrote editorialist Laurie Roberts in AC.
Her column ends with the question, “He’s speaking, but who’s listening?”
Below that is a set of photos from what Roberts described as a “‘Birther’ press conference” held on December 15, 2016, the complete video of which appears below.
Roberts did not detail the substance of that third and final press conference about the birth certificate investigation in which Zullo demonstrated that “nine points of forgery” found in the Obama birth certificate image were confirmed by two outside forensic analysts as having emanated from an original Hawaii-generated birth certificate belonging to one Joanna Ah’Nee.
The Arizona Republic’s Megan Cassidy reported the results announced during the presser that day, although employing the now-familiar “birther” moniker used to describe anyone questioning Obama’s birthplace and, by extension, his eligibility to serve as President of the United States as a constitutionally-required “natural born Citizen.”
As evidenced by its reaction, the media was listening closely to what Arpaio had to say on Friday both prior to and during his remarks made at a Fresno, CA Republican fundraiser.
On August 25, Arpaio received a presidential pardon for a misdemeanor criminal contempt conviction originating from a lawsuit which alleged racial profiling on the part of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
In a press conference which took place before Arpaio spoke at the fundraiser, Arpaio answered a barrage of questions from a reporter, said by Newsweek to be employed by Valley Public Radio, about the birth certificate investigation he launched in August 2011 at the request of 242 of his constituents, concluded just before he left office on December 31, 2016.
To its credit, KTAR, with assistance from the Associated Press, reported prior to Arpaio’s appearances in Fresno that the December 15 presser revealed the findings of the two forensic analysts. However, its title misreported that “Arpaio plans to continue investigation into Obama birth certificate,” referring to an interview Arpaio gave to the San Jose Mercury News on Tuesday.
As The Post & Email reported, a summary of the Mercury News interview written by Casey Tolan states that Arpaio’s “effort to prove that former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is fake” has been “debunked.”
The article does not say that Arpaio claims to “continue” the birth certificate investigation; it quotes Arpaio as having said, “I’m not going away” and expressing a “renewed ‘mission’ to fight for conservative ideas around the country.”
At the conclusion of the December 15 presser, Arpaio indicated that all of the evidence gathered over the 5+-year probe would be provided to federal authorities and Congress with the understanding that the investigation was concluded given Arpaio’s re-election loss to Democrat Paul Penzone.
An email sent on Thursday to Tolan by this writer asking who exactly had “debunked” the Arpaio investigation’s findings received no response.
As the KTAR article demonstrates, many in the media, either purposely or erroneously, have conflated the birth certificate investigation with identifying Obama’s birthplace, which Obama claims is Honolulu, HI. “Arpaio has gone as far as to send a deputy and member of his volunteer posse to Hawaii to talk to officials. He was one of the nation’s leading voices on the debunked controversy, often referred to as birtherism, over Obama’s birthplace,” the article states, while at the same time, correctly quoting Arpaio as having said that Obama’s place of birth was never a focus of the probe.
“I don’t care where he’s from,” Arpaio said in an address to a Tea Party group in September of last year. “A forgery, a fraudulent government document…he last I heard is a violation of the law,” Arpaio told GMN Telemedia in November 2014. “If you did it, you’d be in jail tomorrow, or at least somebody would look into it…”
“I don’t see any major media outlets talking about it; isn’t that interesting?” Arpaio asked the interviewer at one point. He repeated that “My thrust is over a fake, forged document” over any other factors in Obama’s life narrative.
In a 4:14 video clip from the Friday press conference in Fresno presented by Channel 12, Arpaio is seen responding repeatedly to the Valley News reporter’s expressions of incredulity about the stated findings of the investigation.
“I’m not a computer guy,” the 85-year-old former sheriff said, “but I will tell you, we put the nail in the coffin, just by chance, before I left office…” He then referred to the birth certificate of Johanna Ah’Nee, believed to be a source document for the Obama image by the two forensic analysts, stating that their conclusion was that the Obama image “is fake.'” “I don’t know what else you need,” Arpaio said.
After the reporter insisted that the conclusions were “well-debunked,” Arpaio asked, “Why does the media always say it’s been debunked? There is nobody that looked at that press conference,” referring to the December presser.
“I can’t tell if you’re serious or not,” the reporter insisted.
“Of course I’m serious; why don’t you look at our report?…The facts are there; just look at it,” Arpaio responded.
The reporter then incorrectly said that other law enforcement entities had reached “the opposite” conclusion to Arpaio’s, with which Arpaio immediately took issue. “There is no law enforcement agency that ever touched this,”Arpaio said. “I’m the only one in the country that ever investigated this…Where is everybody? Where is the FBI?”
The reporter continued to insist that Arpaio’s probe spanned “eight years,” the time Obama spent in the White House, and not five, to which Arpaio responded, “Stay tuned…There’s no statute of limitations.”
The Post & Email can find no evidence that Arpaio said he would “continue” the investigation now that he is out of office. However, he has suggested that he might seek another elected office.
Very few journalists appear to have requested interviews of Zullo since the Arpaio administration ended its 24-year tenure in December, even though Zullo was one of the investigators cited by major media as having traveled to Hawaii to gather information and evidence.