I first heard of John Woodman in the late spring of 2011 when Foggy at the Fogbow forum posted links to a YouTube video authored by someone with the handle “Springfield Computer Guy”. Almost immediately after the White House released a copy of Barack Obama’s Hawaii “long form” birth certificate on April 27, 2011 several self-proclaimed “computer graphics experts” began releasing YouTube videos and analyses of the file and the document purporting to show that the image was somehow forged. Among these were Karl Denninger, business blogger from Chicago, Douglas Vogt, scanner salesman and conspiracy nut from Seattle, and Albert Renshaw, who posted a video on YouTube as Orangegold1 and claimed to be 37 years old but who, as it turned out, was actually only 16. John Woodman was a math major and the owner of a computer technical support and repair business in Springfield Missouri. John was a life long Republican and was not a fan of President Obama. He was intrigued by the release of the President’s birth certificate and the controversy over the apparent oddities that had been discovered by this gaggle of self proclaimed experts.
John decided that he would look at the forgery claims made by Vogt, Denninger, and the others and figure out for himself if there were anything to these claims. He concluded that if he could conclusively prove beyond any doubt that the document release by the White House on April 27 was a forgery that he would become instantly famous. This decision would lead Woodman on a 3 month investigation in which he would expend hundreds of hours and produce 4 YouTube videos and a book. He ultimately concluded that none of the claims held up under close scrutiny and scientific investigation. In his book John not only addressed the initial forgery claims based on the “layers” that appeared when the LFBC file was opened in Adobe Illustrator but also new claims that appeared such as those made by Paul Irey, a retired typist and printer, who questioned the various typefaces found in the document. John’s videos and a link to his book are included at the end of the article.
Foggy invited John to be a guest on RC Radio soon after John’s YouTube videos appeared. John asked to wait until after the book he was writing was released. John’s book was released on September 1, 2011 and I was privileged to have John as a guest the same evening for a two hour long interview. The show is still available on the web site:
I bought the book for Kindle the first week it was released and read it in one sitting. The book was well written and should be on the reading list for any Birther Debunker worth his or her salt. It is still available on Amazon and through John’s blog.
John also opened his blog to promote his book in August of 2011. On his blog John tackled and debunked new claims surrounding the President’s birth certificate that surfaced after the publication of his book.
John’s book was mostly ignored by the Birthers. One notable exception was the Citizen Wells blog, which took the time to write a fairly detailed review of the book titled John Woodman book “Is Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate a Fraud?”, Citizen Wells analysis and review, Another messenger shooter, Woodman’s motivation. Wells said he had corresponded with John Woodman before writing the article. I could go into a lengthy analysis of Wells’ review but all you need to know about Wells is that a big part of his criticism of Woodman’s book that it does find any evidence to support Wells’ conclusions that Obama is a fraud. Well’s cites Tim Adam’s as source who would know that “it was common knowledge that no birth certificate existed” and the Birther myth that Hawaii Governor Abercrombie said no birth certificate existed. John Woodman addressed both of these myths in the book. Wells ignores this in his review. John provided answers to Citizen Wells’ review on his own blog, Answering Citizen Wells.
Other Birthers who commented on John Woodman accused him of being an “Obot”. Apparently that is about the most vile epithet that they could muster to describe Woodman.
I invited John back on the show several times. I attempted to set up a debate between John and Paul Irey. Paul Irey had appeared previously on my show. Irey’s analysis of the LFBC was based on inconsistencies he claims he found in the typed letters on the LFBC. John addressed Irey’s claims in his book and showed that many of the letters that Irey used were in the same vertical swath of the document and were likely distorted in the scanning and copying process. Irey admitted in an email to me that Woodman was correct with his criticism. Irey initially accepted the offer to debate Woodman but later declined due to pressure from Irey’s promoter , conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi at WND.
John then published a debate challenge on his blog that he would debate any of the people who were alleging that the LFBC was a forgery. I offered Reality check radio as a forum for such a debate. Birther Mark Gillar who hosts a show called the Tea Party Power Hour on BlogTalk radio offered Woodman a spot in a debate with not one, not two, but four “experts” including Mara Zebest, Tom Harrison, Karl Denninger, and Jerome Corsi. Woodman was supposed to have a final 30 minutes one on one with Jerome Corsi. Gillar changed the order and Corsi was on with the others at the beginning of the show. John Woodman had been particularly critical of Corsi in his book. Woodman pointed out that Corsi had made 23 unique claims about Obama’s birth certificate and Hawaiian birth and every claim turned out to be wrong.
One of the more memorable moments in the debate occurred when Woodman nailed Corsi on his claim that an article published in a 50’s era Hawaiian medical journal on vital records had stated that birth certificates were numbered by birth sequence. Woodman stated correctly that the article made no such statement and actually said nothing at all about certificate numbering. Woodman also questioned Corsi about WND’s concealing of information on the birth certificate of Johanna Ah’nee that had been published in a Corsi article pushing Paul Irey’s flawed typographical analysis. The number on the certificate, which was gleaned by Woodman and others from analysis of a photo of the back of the certificate, directly contradicted Corsi’s theory that certificates were numbered by date sequence. Woodman in fact discovered that WND actively hid the certificate number by replacing the original photo with one where they blotted out the non-identifying certificate number by copying a section of blank certificate paper over the bleed-through on the back in a clearly deliberate attempt to keep anyone else from uncovering it. The certificate number was never identifying information since the certificate information is private. Other identifying information was left untouched by WND.
John eventually began looking at another Birther theory that President Obama was not qualified as a natural born citizen because his father was not an American citizen when Obama was born in 1961. The senior Obama was a foreign student and British subject having been born in Kenya Protectorate in the 1930’s. The “two citizen parent” theory as it came to be called was first promoted by the professional poker player and part time attorney Leo Donofrio in late 2008. Donofrio filed an a lawsuit days before the November 2008 general election in an attempt to force the New Jersey Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells from conducting the election in New Jersey. The suit was dismissed and eventually the Supreme Court rejected the case on December 5, 2008.
The two parent citizen theory found new advocates when Charles Kerchner, a retired US Navy Lt. CMDR, and his New Jersey attorney sidekick Mario Apuzzo took up the cause. John Woodman began to engage Apuzzo in debate on several venues including both Mario’s and Woodman’s blogs. This debate led John to research the definition of the term natural born citizen by scouring every source he could. John published a series of articles on his blog that could have easily filled another book. The articles are marked by the same attention to accuracy and detail as was John’s book on the birth certificate.
When Sheriff Arpaio’s “Cold Case Posse” began work last year John Woodman offered to share his work with them. That they chose to ignore Woodman’s offer to help attests to the lack of integrity of Mike Zullo and the CCP. They were obviously aware of John Woodman’s work because Zullo felt he had to address it briefly in his initial press conference in April 2012. The Birther excitement over the CCP shenanigans and the 2012 ballot challenges kept the Birth issues in the news probably longer than they really deserved to be. This kept Woodman engaged in the issues probably longer than he ever intended to be.
As with many of us anti-Birthers the 2012 election caused John Woodman to become introspective about continuing to blog about the Birthers. John announced several months before the election that he had written and would publish his final article. Finally, just a couple of weeks ago John closed his blog to new comments. We had been kidding John about his threatened retirement for months because idiocy by the likes of the Cold Case Posse kept drawing him back into the fray.
John Woodman will always hold a special place of honor among anti-Birthers and conspiracy theory debunkers. John had no political motivation to engage in hundreds of hours of research in such far reaching fields as compression algorithms and English common law from the 1600’s. He would have been perfectly happy if his research had found some huge conspiracy to hide the President’s real place of birth or that he was ineligible. John had one primary motivation – that was to find the truth. In John’s case that was not just a platitude; it was obviously what guided him all along.
So thank you John Woodman. Here is to your integrity. It is refreshing to find a conservative about whom I can say that. (Just kidding ;) ). I wish you and your family the best. We who are interested in the truth owe you a debt of gratitude.
John Woodman’s videos may be found here:
John Woodman appeared as a guest on RC Radio multiple times. Here are the shows in chronological order:
September 1, 2011:
January 21, 2012 following the debate on Mark Gillar’s program:
July 3, 2012: John returns to talk about the Cold Case Posse
August 7, 2012 John was a caller on this program: