Did threats silence media on Obama probe?
Bob Unruh - WND
NOTE: In case you missed the news conference of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “Cold Case Posse,” you can view it here.
The lead investigator in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s review of the authenticity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate today unloaded a bombshell about the case: that he was told by sources members of the media were threatened with federal investigations should they continue to report on the birth certificate issue.
Lead investigator Mike Zullo told WND that as he was preparing information to be presented to the public “it was clear that the mainstream media was not going to be in attendance” at the sheriff’s scheduled new conference, where he presented facts suggesting both fraud and forgery in the image of a Hawaiian birth certificate that the White House released last yearas “proof positive” of Obama’s eligibility for office.
“During our investigation, we actually were told [that media] had been threatened with FTC investigations. Commentators [had been] threatened with their jobs,” Zullo said.
The threats were so intimidating that some individuals quit their positions over safety concerns for their families, he said.
So the problem became to get the information to the American public in spite of an intentional media blackout, since citizens still must make critical leadership decisions about their government through the election process.
The solution was an ebook with details from the investigation, the evidence that was accumulated, and the issues that remain for Arpaio and his investigators to pursue.
Zullo has been blasted in recent days for coordinating the book project with longtime political writer Jerome Corsi. Much of the online criticism stems from a single AP article that links Zullo to “well-known political conspiracy writer” Corsi and includes a statement that Corsi “denied using Sheriff Joe Arpaio … as a promotional tool to sell his books and theories.”
It cites Zullo “as the co-author” of the ebook. But it fails to mention the evidence presented by the investigation indicating crimes of fraud and forgery.
Zullo told WND that he had no interest in working on an ebook but was faced with the question of how to get the information to the American people absent national media coverage. There were interests outside of Arizona, he was convinced, making obvious efforts to censor the information and never allow it to move beyond the borders of Arizona.
Zullo told WND that as an investigator he sought transparency, and he just wanted the information made available to everyone who wished a closer look. He said it was not an easy decision. He knew he would be ridiculed by the media if the information was released, but the alternative of allowing the information to be squelched and people kept in the dark was just too much of an injustice. He decided to allow the ebook project in order to disseminate the facts of the case: that there is probable cause to believe Obama’s birth certificate document is a forgery.
Corsi confirmed that Zullo was very reluctant to do the book. The prospect of being reimbursed financially from his investigation never was his intention. But Corsi pointed out that Zullo contributed six months of his time to the investigation. Corsi also said he was acutely aware of the financial sacrifice Zullo made over the last six months, having to devote much of his time to the investigation. The posse investigation was not subsidized by taxpayers.
The bigger question, Zullo said, is how can an investigator or a law enforcement officer ignore findings that indicate deception at the highest levels of politics. Zullo said it’s a very serious and alarming concern that casts doubt on the integrity of the vetting of presidential candidates.
“If the evidence took us the other way, and the sheriff proclaimed this thing to be authentic, the news would have traveled from Arizona to New Jersey to Hawaii in milliseconds,” he said. “If I wrote a book about it, I would have been hailed a hero.
“All we’re trying to do here is get this information out there and keep it out there. Had the mainstream media done their job, we wouldn’t have done [this book].”
He said now media members have started calling him a “kook” and an “old geezer” for reporting on the facts that resulted from the investigation.
“The media just wants to come destroy people’s credibility,” he said. “They’re trying to vet [investigators] when they should be vetting the next presidential candidate of the United States.”
He said that many people didn’t come forward with their knowledge about Obama “out of fear.”
“The information that we got, which these people refused to step forward with out of fear, but shared afterward, came independently – they don’t even know each other – from distance parts of the country, that investigations of major media outlets [were planned] if they continued reporting,” he said.
“Our system is broken because the vetting process used to rely on the free press. We don’t have a free press any more,” he said.
Although the numbers may have been small, there was support for Zullo’s perspective, even in the media.
In a column at American Thinker, Cindy Simpson quoted Ronald Reagan in support of Zullo’s work.
“Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, ‘Trust, but verify,’” she wrote. “President Obama told us he released his official long-form birth certificate on April 27, 2011. Can we trust him, and should we verify?
“Most of the reporters’ questions at the end of [Arpaio's] press conference were statements in defense of Obama, and the subsequent coverage by major news outlets asserted that rumors about the president’s birth certificate were ‘debunked’ and ‘discredited,’ but gave no details of the debunking or discrediting,” she marveled.
“As the sheriff also noted at the conference, no specific or official investigation has ever been reported, unless we can count Savannah Guthrie, apparently the only reporter allowed to touch and photograph the original long-form certificate after it was released, or the two representatives of Factcheck (neither noted as having an relevant professional experience in document examination) who photographed the short-form certification posted in 2008,” she wrote.
“To paraphrase another favorite Reagan quotation, ‘It isn’t so much that the mainstream media are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so,’” she added.
She noted that after reporters attacked the message at the news conference, they “questioned the motives of the sheriff and even the political affiliation of the posse’s lead detective, Mike Zullo.”
She said the focal point for a true reporter would be the issue at hand – the validity of Obama’s documents.
“Was the document posted by the White House a scan of an original certified document? Based on the analysis of the posse’s experts, it was not. In fact, the posse has traced the image to a specific computer where it resided a mere 20 minutes before it was uploaded, and has identified a ‘person of interest.’”
She suggest three possible answers: purely innocent anomalies to “touch up” an image and someone purposely tinkering to create the appearance of suspicion.
“Third, if the certificate is indeed an intentional forgery, we have witnessed the greatest fraud of the century,” she said.
“In my local paper, there was not even a single line devoted to the posse’s stunning assertions. What happened to ‘Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The posted birth certificate of a sitting president a possible forgery!’”
Nick Martin at TPM editorialized that the book sale “gives Zullo a financial motive to continue stoking the flames of a conspiracy theory that has been debunked numerous times by an array of independent investigations.”
But the details of the investigations were absent in his piece.
The sheriff himself also noted only one side of the issue was being reported.
In a commentary in the Arizona Republic, he wrote of reporters, “They were practically salivating at the opportunity to embarrass me, my highly capable group of volunteer investigators and literally anyone else who would dare show in interest in the possibility that this investigation would lead to any real credible evidence into what they claim has already been ‘looked into’ or ‘widely debunked.’”
Arpaio also has defended the book.
“We needed a book precisely because we knew in advance the mainstream media would impose a blackout on any serious law enforcement investigation into Obama’s identification documents and his eligibility to be president,” Arpaio told WND.
He explained that the book is intended to bypass the filter the establishment media tries to impose on news. WND provided a live-stream Internet broadcast of the Arpaio press conference last Thursday for the same reason.
Martin wrote that the sheriff also failed to mention that much of the evidence concerned questions about the digital scan “that was already investigated and proven to be false” by another investigative agency, National Review Online.
There were signs, however, that the national media’s silence was creating concerns.
Wrote Jeff Crouere at the St. Tammany Slidell Sentry: “Despite a mountain of evidence and new allegations of fraud, the national news media refuses to cover the Obama birth certificate scandal.”
He cited the discoveries from the Arpaio investigation.
“Such a bombshell should have led the national news coverage throughout the country. Instead, it was completely ignored by a corrupt network of media elites who are decidedly liberal and wholeheartedly support Obama’s re-election,” he wrote. “The vast majority of the American people have been denied the truth by a media who want to shield Obama.”
He called reporters nationally “liberal sycophants” and said, “If these allegations had been made about a Republican president there would have been a media firestorm greater than Watergate and Iran/Contra combined.
“Not surprisingly, the media acted like partisan Democrats in the news conference after Arpaio’s team announced their findings. Instead of asking questions about the Obama documents, the reporters were more interested in asking Sheriff Arpaio about his political affiliation, his relationship with the tea party and his motives for the investigation.
“What the media conveniently overlooked was the expert testimony and the evidence presented by Arpaio’s group of investigators. Potentially, a major crime has been committed at the highest levels of our government, and the media attacked the messengers.”