By Frank Arduini
Be Vewy,Vewy Quiet. We’we Hunting Obots!
Carl Gallups was in a reflective mood. Not necessarily because he wanted to be. And certainly not because it came to him either naturally or easily. Gallups was in a reflective mood because he had been confronted by a disgruntled birther in a public forum and had no choice but to reflect.
On September 11, 2013 Carl Gallups was appearing on one of the latest of the birther internet radio shows to metastasize across the World Wide Web, Mike Volin’s baroquely named wheresobamasbirthcertificateXcom show. A loyal listener named Ed had called in to observe that:
A lot of us don’t feel like Zullo and Team Arpaio that they’re moving with this thing. They’re not stepping up with this thing and taking action. Because, you know, we remember way back, what was it? February? March? When you and Mike Zullo went to CPAC? Yeah, well, you know. About that time we heard you and some from Zullo too, you know, so many VIPs were coming on board, these were wealthy VIPs and they could move this thing into a state and federal court. And they had the power to get this into the media and make this thing move. And it’s been like six months or so, and we’ve seen absolutely nothing, Carl. Absolutely zero.
Gallups was in a tough spot. It was not his own show, so he knew he couldn’t smugly change the subject or accuse the caller of being an Obot. Volin had already vouched for Ed as somebody he “works with.” Ed’s account was certainly on the money, and far more accurate than the alternative version Gallups was about to spin up. But the faithful were listening, and Gallups needed to put lipstick on this pig. The result was almost unrecognizable to anyone who had been paying attention to the previous months of Posse “progress.”
Gallups began, of course, by repeating Arpaio’s silly claim (believed by exactly no one) that his original intention for launching the investigation had been to “vindicate Obama.” He then repeated the equally false assertion that “The news media shut it down and refused to report it.” In reality of course, the news media did report it; but simply not in the way Gallups would have preferred.
At that point, Gallups launched into a version of history that managed to actually contradict pretty much everything he had been saying himself for the previous year and a half:
So immediately Arpaio starts, you know, trying to get a hold of congressmen and federal courts and all of his connections to deal with this and nobody will, will touch it. So, so, for, it went on hold for about a year and a half. I mean, they kept investigating. They kept digging. They kept finding more and more stuff. They were overwhelmed how deep and dark and dirty this thing went. But nobody would touch it.
Trying to align this account with the actual timeline runs into an immediate rending of the time-space continuum as well as irreconcilable contradictions with both known facts and Gallups’ own prior claims. The first Posse press conference was on the first day of March, 2012. A “year and a half” afterwards would take us all the way to September 1, 2013… less than two weeks prior to the moment Gallups was speaking. Certainly, Gallups could not really have been claiming that nothing had actually happened until just ten days prior.
And Arpaio’s general disinterest in the birth certificate “investigation” had by that point become painfully clear. The last time he had been coaxed into a discussion specifically about Zullo’s work was the Freedom Friday interview months earlier during which he admitted that he hadn’t even bothered to read the Reed Hayes report. When the subject came up (generally in the course of interviews on other subjects) the Sheriff invariably glossed over it with platitudes of support while never hinting he had a clue regarding the details. And nowhere in the months of florid hand-waiving by Zullo or Gallups was there even a hint that
Arpaio had ever lifted a finger to contact any let alone “all of his connections” to help.
But even more significantly, during that entire period Gallups had insisted almost non-stop that large numbers of “VIPs with standing” were already on board or getting there, and that they were “making promises” to get the investigation moved to “a higher level.” It was during that period that Gallups had promised the first “huge announcement” prior to the Electoral College certification. It was during that period that he launched the first of his “Plan Bs.” It was during that period he had announced the “Big Plan A.” And if we take his claim of “a year and a half” literally, that window would also include the trip to CPAC, followed by the trip to CSPOA.
And even that only accounted for thirteen months.
All that time Gallups had been reassuring his listeners again and again that “progress (was) being made,” that “important players” were involved, that “monumental” things were about to break that would “grab national and international attention.” Now suddenly he was telling them that none of that had been true. For that entire time things had actually been “on hold,” during which “nobody would touch it.”
One sentence later Gallups leaped back though the wormhole and suddenly was in March again.
And then remember, Ed, you said “Way back in March.” Well, (Laughing) that’s just been a handful of months ago. When remember, prior to that nothing was happening. Nothing was moving. Nobody would talk to anybody about it. But just a handful of months ago Mike Zullo and I decided we’d make one last ditch effort and try to bring some people on board.
This of course was a reference to the CPAC trip, a trip that even Zullo had slipped up at least twice prior to call “a fishing expedition.” Gallups now confirmed that dismal assessment. And it was the period since that meeting that Ed had called “absolutely nothing, Carl. Absolutely zero.” It was about to get a completely different interpretation by Gallups.
Ed. And so we did, and I believe God opened some doors and led us into the, into the, uh, offices of people who finally listened to us. Congressman Steve Stockman was one of ‘em who sat down with us for hours. There were others. And uh, and so, the bottom line is, Ed, here’s where we are now. The investigation is still going forward. We have persons of interest now. Mike Zullo is on top of this every day.
In short, Gallups really had nothing to tell Ed or the other listeners that was different from what he had been telling them the whole time that (he had just admitted) nothing had actually been taking place.
After a passing slap at the Xerox workflow, offering a long string of excuses for congressional inaction, and completely pretending that the CSPOA affair had never happened at all, Gallups then gave the first hint that they were already anticipating the failure of the “Big Plan A.”
I can promise you that Mike Zullo, Sheriff Arpaio, are going to move it forward as far as they can take it. Their goal is to get it to a Congressional investigation. If that happens it will blow this thing wide open. If it doesn’t happen, let’s say Stockman backs out, or some other congressmen back out, let’s say everybody just gets cold feet and doesn’t deal with it , then we have a Plan B. And I don’t want to give it all away right now. But Zullo and Arpaio have talked about it at length. Mike and I have talked about it. Other people who are involved in this. We have a Plan B to get every piece of evidence that they have, and it’s amazing what they have that they haven’t even released not counting the affidavit that’s been released with 200 points of evidence, uh, but they will release every bit of it in a multi-faceted releasing fashion.
This thing is moving along. It’s getting deeper and deeper and darker and darker. And, and people are making promises to us that they’re going to move it to a Congressional investigation and all we can do is wait for them to keep their promise. If they keep it, you will see the results of it. If they don’t keep it, then Mike Zullo has a Plan B.
Right. It was moving along, but they already were preparing for it to go nowhere. Only halfway through the “three to six month” window of the “Big Plan A,” they were spinning their wheels and they knew it. Frankly, any talk of lettered plans had by this point devolved into unrefined farce. The only observations that can be made with any confidence at this point is that being planful was not among the virtues of either Gallups or Zullo. None of their “definitive plans of action” had managed to survive first contact with reality. Instead of following any plans, they had leaped from one “fishing expedition” to the next, counting on divine intervention to make up for their own inability to get any influential person to take them seriously. What would follow now would be not be a Plan B to “release every bit of it in a multi-faceted releasing fashion,” but instead an equally ineffective and amateurish attempt at vendetta.
Gallups had telegraphed his rising irritation at the end of August when he had referred to the Obots as his “prime suspects” and spoke of “the whole other branch of investigation” being opened up. The Birther Report posted that audio clip the next day under the headline, “Team Arpaio: Obamabots Now SUSPECTS?! Obots going CRAZY over Obama Fraud Case!” In a mere six days the Obots had gone from being “completely irrelevant” to the focus of Posse attention. If anyone needed an indication of how severely stung Zullo and Arpaio had been by the Xerox workflow, that was it.
The online responses of the two communities (Birther and Obot) could not have been more complementary. The comment sections of birther blogs filled with celebration over the impending imprisonment of the Obots for crimes that to this point neither Zullo nor Callups were able to describe. Simultaneously on the Obot forums and blogs, commenters speculated giddily (and often jealously) over who among them would be targeted by the Posse’s crack team of investigators.
Gallups’ initial comments indicated that NBC’s team would be near the top of that list. The birther rank and file made no mystery of their hopes that it would instead be headed by Bill Bryan (“Foggy”) of The Fogbow and Kevin Davidson (“Dr. Conspiracy”) of the Obama Conspiracy Theories Blog. But both Bryan and Davidson were non-anonymous and therefore difficult for Gallups or Zullo to portray as criminal types. NBC’s team on the other hand offered two Obots who were not only anonymous, but one of them had already also proved willing to directly invade the birther echo chamber. That of course was RC of the Reality Check Radio Blog.
On September 6th, in response to the hints from Gallups that RC was the most persistent thorn in his side and therefore worthy of labeling a “person of interest,” RC called Zullo directly to ask. When RC declined to break his veil of anonymity, Zullo hung up. By the time RC called back to try again, Zullo had managed to call Gallups and surreptitiously conference him in. In perfect symmetry, RC recorded the conversation.
The call itself is actually not particularly edifying. RC repeatedly asks if he is a person of interest. Zullo refuses to answer until such time as RC provides “valid United States identifiable background information checked identification.” (Hey, no one ever said that Zullo couldn’t string together large numbers of redundant adjectives.) In the back and forth that followed each managed to get in an insult or two, Zullo reaffirmed that his straw man standard for the Xerox workflow is “one push of a button” and the call ends.
Later that same day, RC’s call became a subject of discussion on Freedom Friday, eventually also posted to PPSIMMONS as an audio clip titled, “WHAT?! Obamabot Calls Zullo and Gallups on Phone! SUSPECT IN CASE?” Gallups’ description of the conversation is on occasion in factual variance with the recording of the call, but not in a way that is very significant. What was more interesting was that it had goaded Gallups into an even more explicit version of the threat from the week before.
One of the latest developments in the Arpaio case is that the, I gotta be careful of what I say here, but that the investigation is now pointing to some people of interest who are known Obamabots. And they have been doing deep investigations of these people. And they’ve discovered some amazing ties across this land to some very important people. And that’s all I’m gonna say right now. Amazing. Here before unknown ties.
This is one of those clips where it is particularly fun to listen to Gallups’ dramatic presentation, filled with great tension and ominous import while the words actually say very little. How “deep” the alleged investigations could have been is questionable since earlier that same day Zullo had demonstrated that he had no clue who RC even is, though by the end of the clip Gallups is again hinting that RC is the key suspect. And again, the stark contradiction between Gallups’ earlier claim in the same audio clip that Obots are “irrelevant” and his final assertion that they are tied to some “very important people” strains credulity.
It was five days later that Gallup offered the caller Ed his ill considered, internally contradictory explanation for why the Posse had accomplished essentially nothing. A week and a half later, on September 23rd The Fogbow’s Bill Bryan received an email from Mike Violin who had been progressively raising his profile among the birthers in association with “Sheriff’s Kits” he had assembled from Posse materials. Bryan had offered to enter the lion’s den and give Volin a full two hour interview with the de facto “head obot” on Volin’s blogtalk radio program. Volin was turning him down.
After close consultations with members of the team it would not be prudent for me to interview you, mainly due to several obots are now the focus of a law enforcement criminal investigation this would only be a conflict due to my attachment to the Sheriff’s Kits.
The prospect of their Obot antagonists being frog-marched to prison was fresh meat to the birther rank and file. It became a fantasy of such orgasmic pleasure that it successfully distracted Ed and his brethren from the actual state of affairs. On PPSIMMONS and Freedom Friday almost nothing was heard about any new VIPs coming on board, the Xerox workflow, the birth certificate itself, or (especially) the looming deadline for culmination of “The Big Plan A.”
October 12, 2013 was the last day of the window. It was Friday, and Zullo was scheduled for a full hour on Gallups’ show. The first segment (part 1 and part 2) was spent with what was supposed to be a demonstration by Zullo of his incredible investigatory skills regarding his pursuit of the Obot “persons of interest.” Instead he merely demonstrated that he knew how to use Google but not how to interpret the results. Bloggers Bill Bryan and Kevin Davidson were his targets, and for all the effort Zullo had put into his investigations he proved unable to learn a single thing about them that was both true and not already publicly available online. Worse, he got much of what he had discovered spectacularly wrong. During this entire episode of attempted well poisoning, Gallups provided comedic relief by repeatedly being unable to tell the two of them apart.
The next segment (part 3 and part 4)commenced where the first had left off, but with the addition of Carl Gallups’ son Brandon immediately demonstrating that he was even easier to confuse than his father was. Having mentioned in the first segment that Davidson had professional experience in the design and implementation of vital statistics software, Brandon had stumbled upon an Internet joke website from the earliest days of the birther movement, “The Republic of Kenya Birth Certificate Generator.” The website had nothing whatsoever to do with Kevin Davidson, but Brandon announced that it was “Dr. Conspiracy’s website” and that he was at that moment creating a Kenyan birth certificate for Michael Zullo. It was good for a laugh, but not for Brandon Gallups’ credibility.
But it was during that second segment that Zullo effectively threw in the towel regarding the birth certificate investigation. For more than 17 months, Zullo’s entire theory of forgery had been based on the discussion of specific digital anomalies that had been found on the Whitehouse.gov PDF. Mark Gillar’s videos, Zullos presentation to the CSPOA and to Congressman Woodall, even Mike Volin’s “Sheriffs Kits” all revolved around details like the “layers,” the “halos,” and the “movable registrar’s stamp.” With all of these having been proved to be the ordinary results of an ordinary scan on a Xerox WorkCentre, Zullo was now prepared to toss that entire line of inquiry under the bus. He did so with a comment that even Gallups seemed unprepared to hear:
Let me say something Carl. You know we have been focused on this issue and, you know, your listeners, everybody is so intently focused on the birth certificate. And I just really want to make it clear. The birth certificate as it’s, in the form that it is now, a PDF file is absolutely of no evidentiary value. It’s useless. And it doesn’t really matter to an extent other than from a conspiratorial standpoint in the commission of felonies. It doesn’t matter about all these anomalies because this thing has no evidentiary value. It is nothing. It is absolutely nothing, and the American people were shown absolutely nothing.
The admission was so shocking to the birther audience that upon returning from break, Gallups knew he had a fire that desperately needed to be put out.
Listen, we’ve had several callers during the break that were just freaking out about a statement you made. I want to give you an opportunity to straighten that out. That you made a statement that the birth certificate, the PDF birth certificate file is “of no evidentiary value.” I knew exactly what you mean by that, but make it very clear for our listeners.
Instead of the restatement Gallups was hoping for, Zullo dug in deeper. Zullo was even more explicit that the entire basis of the previous two plus years of Posse work, the anomalies, were no long an issue that would work for them
The PDF file in its present form, in other words as a PDF file, an image is of no evidentiary value. In other words you cannot take that PDF file and use it as a legitimate birth certificate. ‘Cause it just isn’t. You need a hard copy document that has a state seal on it and registrar’s stamps that could be verified to some level. And this thing just doesn’t do that. So constantly, you know, shifting gears and looking at this anomaly and that anomaly, look. We know the anomalies are there. We know this thing’s plagued with problems. That’s not the issue any longer. The fact is it has no evidentiary value as a birth certificate.
This was essentially the exact thing Obots had been saying since the first birther theory of forgery was raised following the April 27, 2011 release. It was the first observation made by almost all of the actual digital document experts who had commented on it. The entire exercise of trying to prove the forgery of a paper document based upon an analysis of its digital image had always been a fool’s errand. Every birther “analyst” from Mara Zebest to Reed Hayes was trying to analyze a document that none of them had ever even seen.
Now that the Xerox workflow had eviscerated the Posse’s work, Zullo (though not Gallups) finally realized the wisdom of that simple truth. He was now taking the position that anomalies didn’t matter at all, so what would it matter that the Obots could prove them all to be completely ordinary? The Whitehouse.com PDF no longer actually even mattered at all.
Gallups was audibly panicked. With Zullo having failed to salvage the investigation with a second try, Gallups desperately tried to put words in his mouth.
It is not a birth certificate. It is fabricated fraudulent mess … And so what you meant by “it has no evidentiary value” is the fact that it’s just a useless piece of paper. But that does not take away from the fact that there is criminal activity in the fabrication of it and the presentation of it as his, uh, as his identifying document. I mean somebody forged a document. Somebody created a document. Somebody committed some felonies. So, it is of criminal value but it’s no evidentiary value as far as him taking that, or anybody taking it and using it as a birth certificate. Did I say that correctly?
In response, Zullo did what he does best. He sidestepped the question so deftly that it must have left Gallups’ head spinning.
Yeah, you can print that thing out a thousand times and it’s never worth anything more than the paper it’s printed on.
The rest of the program contained a few moderately interesting exchanges about more Obots and the Xerox workflow, and an entertaining call to the show from Bill Bryan himself. But the damage was done. The birth certificate forgery argument had been completely conceded and would never again take center stage except within the general birther community, a place where lies never die. Zullo’s flaccid investigation of the Obots would continue, and as we will see later periodically would turn over more kibble to toss at the faithful. But none of it would ever manage to be at the same time interesting, damaging and true.
Perhaps the single most important detail of this October 12, 2013 Freedom Friday broadcast was the thing it never said. At the sign off of the show, Gallups “Big Plan A” ended with even less fanfare than the world does in a T.S. Eliot poem. As the fall of 2013 broke across the country, the Posse “investigation” entered its third year with nothing to show for its effort. What could possibly be next?
Other of course than for the shattering of the entire universe?
To be continued…
[RC: This is the ninth in a series of guest articles by Frank Arduini. Here is Part VIII.]
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