Skip to comments.The Bush "Guard memos" are forgeries! (Nonpartisan printing expert weighs in)
Posted on 09/12/2004 2:34:43 PM PDT by not_apathetic_anymore
First off, before I start getting a lot of the wrong kind of mail: I am not a fan of George Bush. But I am even less a fan of attempts to commit fraud, and particularly by a complete and utter failure of those we entrust to ensure that if the news is at least accurate. I know it is asking far too much to expect the news to be unbiased. But the people involved should not actually lie to us, or promulgate lies created by hoaxers, through their own incompetence....
This is a long page with many graphics...click on the link
(Excerpt) Read more at flounder.com ...
Bump (you beat me to it!)
I don't believe that flounder.com requires excerpting. Please do not excerpt unless required.
This is news? *snicker*
No, I kid. Thanks for posting it.
Worth looking at and I agree... The Public is entitled to a full accounting. The information that CBS used was intended to influence and election and should now be presented for full claification in the public domain. Sources need to be revealed and if complicity by the Kerry Campaign is involved then the law shall preside.
The Bush "Guard memos" are forgeries!
First off, before I start getting a lot of the wrong kind of mail: I am not a fan of George Bush. But I am even less a fan of attempts to commit fraud, and particularly by a complete and utter failure of those we entrust to ensure that if the news is at least accurate. I know it is asking far too much to expect the news to be unbiased. But the people involved should not actually lie to us, or promulgate lies created by hoaxers, through their own incompetence.
There has been a lot of activity on the Internet recently concerning the forged CBS documents. I do not even dignify this statement with the traditional weasel-word alleged, because it takes approximately 30 seconds for anyone who is knowledgeable in the history of electronic document production to recognize this whole collection is certainly a forgery, and approximately five minutes to prove to anyone technically competent that the documents are a forgery. I was able to replicate two of the documents within a few minutes. At time I a writing this, CBS is stonewalling. They were hoaxed, pure and simple. CBS failed to exercise anything even approximately like due diligence. I am not sure what sort of "expert" they called in to authenticate the document, but anything I say about his qualifications to judge digital typography is likely to be considered libelous (no matter how true they are) and I would not say them in print in a public forum.
I am one of the pioneers of electronic typesetting. I was doing work with computer typesetting technology in 1972 (it actually started in late 1969), and I personally created one of the earliest typesetting programs for what later became laser printers, but in 1970 when this work was first done, lasers were not part of the electronic printer technology (my way of expressing this is I was working with laser printers before they had lasers, which is only a mild stretch of the truth). We published a paper about our work (graphics, printer hardware, printer software, and typesetting) in one of the important professional journals of the time (D.R. Reddy, W. Broadley, L.D. Erman, R. Johnsson, J. Newcomer, G. Robertson, and J. Wright, "XCRIBL: A Hardcopy Scan Line Graphics System for Document Generation," Information Processing Letters (1972, pp.246-251)). I have been involved in many aspects of computer typography, including computer music typesetting (1987-1990). I have personally created computer fonts, and helped create programs that created computer fonts. At one time in my life, I was a certified Adobe PostScript developer, and could make laser printers practically stand up and tap dance. I have written about Microsoft Windows font technology in a book I co-authored, and taught courses in it. I therefore assert that I am a qualified expert in computer typography.
187th scanned in from my Word document, original 1200dpi, scanned at 600dpi
187th screen shot from 18-August-1973 memo
111th captured from screen shot of 4-may1972 memo
111th enlarged from CBS justification image
The probability that any technology in existence in 1972 would be capable of producing a document that is nearly pixel-compatible with Microsofts Times New Roman font and the formatting of Microsoft Word, and that such technology was in casual use at the Texas Air National Guard, is so vanishingly small as to be indistinguishable from zero.
If someone had come forward presenting a lost painting by Leonardo da Vinci, which used acrylic paints including Cadmium Yellow and Titanium White, art experts would roll of the floor laughing at the clumsiness of the forgery. (Acrylic paints were not known until the 1920s, although some histories date them as late as the late 1940s, and some as late as 1955; Cadmium Yellow was not known until 1840, and Titanium White was not available as an artist's pigment until 1921). Yet somehow a document which could not be created by any of the common office technology of 1972 is touted as authentic.
Apologists that try to claim these documents are authentic have pointed out that there were technologies for doing electronic typesetting, for doing proportional fonts, and even doing something that resembles superscripting. One document cited as proving that a typewriter could do superscripting is a document which is part of the files released by the White House and the Pentagon. I was able to locate this document, which was said to have been used by CBS as "proof" that superscripting was possible. The excerpt shown here is from page 15 of the document.
Let's look at some comparisons. Realizing that we are working from several times removed from the "original" document supplied to CBS, it is still worth doing some comparisons. On the left I show several images. The first element, the 187th, is from a document I printed on my printer, at 1200dpi and scanned at 600 dpi. It is obviously enlarged here. Note the "th" is approximately centered on the top line of the "7". The second image is a screen capture from the 18-August-1973 memo. While some details are lost (perhaps CBS could post some hi-res scans as gif files?), note that the "th" is superscripted, and apparently by the same amount; note the "th" is approximately centered on the top line of the "7".
Next, we get the 111th image. The image I show is a screen capture from the CBS document which claims to be a memo dated 04-May-1972. Note the "th" is approximately bisected by the top line of the 1. So this seems to also be in the same position as the position Microsoft Word uses. But when we look at the "th" of the image which is apparently used to justify the fact that a typewriter could do a superscript, we find that it is not a superscript, but in fact a character that appears to be simply raised from the nominal baseline by approximately 10%, but does not exceed the top of the line. This proves that there was a typewriter that had a "th" key, but it looks so different from the previous three examples that it is hard to believe that such a typewriter could have created the same memos.
Now let's look at the comparison of the two 111th in a calibrated fashion. What I did was create a set of equally-spaced vertical lines, then I stretched the CBS justification image so the characters all lined up. Note they are monospaced. The "th" takes up one character position. Then above it, I stretched the image from the 04-May-1972 image (in both cases maintaining the aspect ratio) until the digits lined up. Even in proportional fonts, the digits are always designed to have the same width to simplify doing columns of digits. Note how the "th" is not quite aligned right, and the spacing is not uniform. So we take a typewriter with a monospaced font and a ligature, and claim that it justifies the existence of a memo in variable-pitch font, with a different superscripting mechanism (suspiciously like that of Microsoft Word!)?
.Using arguments like this would be equivalent to someone justifying the genuine da Vinci by saying that yellow paint existed, and white paint existed, and ignoring the obvious fact that Cadmium Yellow or Titanium White could not exist. Some have contended that since Times New Roman was a typeface invented in the 1940s (according to Linotype, the copyright holder for Times New Roman, it was first used by the New York Times in the edition of 3 October 1932; the original TimesTM font is stated to have been created in 1931 for the London Times; in either case, however, the date is established as being earlier than 1972), it is not unreasonable that it could exist in 1972. Yet I knew most of the sites that, in 1972, had printers and computer-based formatting technology that could have printed a document in proportional-spaced fonts, and these included MIT, Carnegie Mellon (where I did my work), The University of Southern California Information Sciences Institute (USC-ISI), and Xeroxs Palo Alto Research Center (where the personal computer as we know it was invented). I no longer recall how many XGP printers existed, but I believe the number was not much more than a dozen. None of these printers could print more than about 180 dots per inch, a quality somewhat lower than a contemporary fax, yet the image I downloaded from the CBS site appears to have been printed on a printer of much higher resolution. The only other printer I am aware of in the 1970s that could print at reasonable quality was a research prototype I saw at Xerox PARC, called EARS, which could print at 300 dpi. It was not created until 1971, and I remember it has having several large cabinets of extremely expensive computer components controlling it. It was a hand-built, one-of-a-kind printer. All other technologies were quite elaborate and clumsy mechanical devices, and although there were some proportional-spaced typewriters (such as the IBM Executive) and print production technologies (such as the VariTyper), none of these would have produced something that was a near-perfect match for Times New Roman under Microsoft Word. Don Knuths seminal work on computer font technology (TEX and Metafont: New Dimensions in Typesetting) was not printed until 1979, on experimental printing equipment at Xerox Research. Phototypesetters of the era projected one character at a time onto a film, then moved the template containing the photos of the characters, then exposed the next character. They were exceedingly slow relative to, say, a typewriter, and cost a LOT of money. The resulting film had to be developed, and a printer plate had to be created from this negative. It seems unlikely that this technology would have been used to create private memos. My aunt ran the printing division in a local company in the late 1960s, and I know what technology she was using (it was leading edge for its time). It would not have been available to a military base--at least in the administrative offices--in 1972, nor would it have been practical. It used technology that was a precursor of modern laser printers, but it was all purely optical, using VariTypers, large-scale cameras, and a very primitive form of xerographic technology.
Some have argued that the documents are forgeries because the characters are kerned. Kerning is an operation which tucks characters together to compact space. However, Microsoft Word by default does not kern text. The text of the memo is not kerned. Kerning is a pairwise operation between characters, and each character pair that can be kerned has a specified kerning value. Microsoft fonts and many others come with accompanying kerning data. But kerning is complex, and computationally expensive, and therefore would have slowed down redisplay in a WYSIWYG editor. However, Times New Roman uses a characteristic of Microsoft TrueType fonts called the ABC dimensions, where the C dimension is the offset from the right edge of the bounding box of the character to the next character. If this offset is negative, the character with the negative C offset will overlap the character which follows (in some technologies, the distance from the start of one character to the start of another is called the escapement, so a negative C offset gives an escapement which is less than the character width). This gives the illusion of kerning, or what I sometimes call pseudo-kerning. I discuss the ABC width mechanism in some detail in a book I wrote in 1997 (Win32 Programming, with Brent Rector, Addison-Wesley, 1997, p. 1104). I have attached sample output from a program I used to create illustrations for that book, one of which shows the characters fr and one of which shows the C offset of the f character is 2. ALL technologies I am aware of in 1972 that would have been available for office work (not, say, the sort of production book typesetters that major publishers might have had) could only advance an integral number of units, and could not tuck in the characters like Microsofts Times New Roman font under Microsoft Word does, by using a negative partial-character offset. Examine carefully the fr in the word from in the 18-August-1973 memo. The r is tucked under the f in the same way a Microsoft font does it. In 1972, technology available in the office, including proportional typewriters, could not do this. So it is clear that the only way this document could have been done is using a modern computer font, and the placement is pixelwise identical to Microsofts Times New Roman. The work we did at CMU could not support kerning or pseudo-kerning of text. We knew about kerning, but our software could not support it. I have not examined a New York Times of 1972, but I would be extremely surprised if the font used at that time exhibited any form of kerning (I should point out that Linotype machinesthe hot-lead machineshad paired characters such as fi, which were actually a single slug. Character sequences like these are called a ligature and were a special case of kerning. Common ligatures included fi, fl, ffi, ffl, among others. This was an example of kerning built into the font definition, and Linotype machines had separate keys that dropped these slugs into place. Lead type set by hand also had similar ligatures. The illustration is scanned from The Unicode Standard Version 3.0, Addison-Wesley, 2000, p.804).
Hot lead type could not kern, because of the need to have a Linotype machine drop slugs into a frame, which was then filled with hot lead. Any publishing technology that used hot lead typesetting could not support kerning, except by the aforementioned ligatures. Any technology that used hand-set type could not support kerning without such a high expense that it is unlikely it was ever done. Not even Word supports kerning without selecting a special option (and if selected, the resulting document does not look like the memo). But somehow, magically, the font used by some hypothesized piece of equipment in 1972 works the same was as a font that uses a set of ABC width parameters that did not exist until TrueType fonts existed. Microsoft delivered the first version of TrueType for Windows in April of 1992, and the original TrueType font format was developed by Apple and delivered in May, 1991.
Based on the fact that I was able, in less than five minutes, to replicate one of the experiments reported on the Internet, that is, to type in the text of the 01-August-1972 memo into Microsoft Word and get a document so close that you can hold my document in front of the authentic document and see virtually no errors, I can assert without any doubt (as have many others) that this document is a modern forgery. Any other position is indefensible. I was a bit annoyed that the experiment dealing with the 18-August-1973 memo was not compatible, until I changed the font to an 11.5-point font. Then it was a perfect match, including the superscript th. In 1972, we expressed fonts in integral pixel sizes, and a fractional pixel size would have been meaningless. Until we got high-resolution printers in the 1990s, I am not aware of any application-level technology that supported fractional point sizes (Adobe PostScript could, but the high-level interfaces to it, to the best of my recollection, only allowed integers to be specified for sizes). I do not believe a typesetting program or typesetting technology that worked in fractional point sizes could have existed in 1972 or 1973. However, this might be an accident of the many levels of transformation from the original (wherever that is) and the photocopying, scanning, document conversion, and re-printing. The 11.5-point font could represent a reduction to 96% of the original size in the various transformations. In which case, the coincidence of the match is again extremely unlikely unless the document were a forgery.
William of Occam (or Ockham), a 13th century philosopher, summed it up in what is now paraphrased as given a choice between two explanations, choose the simpler explanation (or as he said it, entities are not to be multiplied without necessity). You cannot assemble a set of assertions about what MIGHT have been possible using a variety of unrelated technologies that existed in 1972, and somehow magically combine them into a single technology that could have existed in the offices of the Texas Air National Guard, used for casual memos, and produced the memos in question that are VIRTUALLY PIXEL-LEVEL IDENTICAL TO THOSE PRODUCED BY MICROSOFT WORD.
There are numerous other clues to indicate an amateur at work. In many cases, there is a space preceding the st or th, in an attempt to prevent Word from automatically superscripting these. Of course, any experienced Word user knows that this automatic superscripting can be instantly undone just by typing Control-Z as soon as it happens, but an amateur would not know this. Many have commented on the anomalies of the curly quotes, another piece of Word automation which would not have been found in documents of the era. I know that our fonts did not have left and right quote marks because of limitations of the character sets, which could only have 95 or 96 printable characters. Most of our contemporaneous printers used 7-bit ASCII fonts, which had no option for specifying curly quotes, nor did our software automatically generate them, as Word does. Not only are these documents forgeries, they are incompetently done forgeries. They make the forger of a da Vinci-with-acrylics look positively sophisticated by comparison.
It does not take a sophisticated expert in forensics or document authentication to spot these obvious forgeries. The forgery is obvious to anyone who knows the history and technology of digital typesetting, not to mention to any intelligent 12-year-old who has access to Microsoft Word.
So we have the following two hypotheses contending for describing the memos
* Attempts to recreate the memos using Microsoft Word and Times New Roman produce images so close that even taking into account the fact that the image we were able to download from the CBS site has been copied, scanned, downloaded, and reprinted, the errors between the "authentic" document and a file created by anyone using Microsoft word are virtually indistinguishable.
* The font existed in 1972; there were technologies in 1972 that could, with elaborate effort, reproduce these memos, and these technologies and the skills to use them were used by someone who, by testimony of his own family, never typed anything, in an office that for all its other documents appears to have used ordinary monospaced typewriters, and therefore this unlikely juxtaposition of technologies and location coincided just long enough to produce these four memos on 04-May-1972, 18-May-1972, 01-August-1972, and 18-August-1973.
Which one do you think is true? Which one would a 13th-century philosopher think made sense? How many totally unlikely other juxtapositions are expected to be true? How could anyone believe these memos are other than incompetent forgeries?
This letter concentrates only on the raw technology of the fonts and printing. It does not address many of the issues others on the Internet have raised, such as the incorrect usage of military titles and abbreviations, incorrect formatting relative to prevailing 1972 military standards, etc. I am not qualified to comment on these. All I can say is that the technology that produced this document was not possible in 1972 in the sort of equipment that would have been available outside publishing houses, and which required substantial training and expertise to use, and it replicates exactly the technologies of Microsoft Word and Microsoft TrueType Fonts.
It is therefore my expert opinion that these documents are modern forgeries.
Please feel free to quote this material, use any of my images, etc. if you are reposting. I do ask that you provide a link to this page.
But you undoubtedly were going to have posted the whole article and been saved the reprimand:)
Like this one maybe? It has to be a genuine da Vinci, I mean, look at all the embedded secret clues!
Now THIS was awesome... case closed.
Best technical explanation of the forgeries I've seen yet, thanks!
OUCH! It hurts when the real experts get mad. As he alludes to in the article, it's akin to art critics finding a poor forgery. If you can't do a better job of forging something, don't bother!
OK! I am liking this! I already knew it though. Back in 1973 my girlfriend and I worked for a company which was using "State of the Art "printing technology. We worked in an area which was known as "Composing Department."
No way did I believe (once the subject was mentioned) that The National Guard was capable of producing superscripts and such as are evident in the CBS forgeries. I did some clerical work in the military, and the equipment I was using was unlike anything that we used in that Private Company a few years earlier.
The notion of the National Guard having SOTA equipment for typing purposes is nonsense. I am not sophisticated enough to back up my words with evidence, but still it has been very obvious to me since this Pandora's box was opened by Buckhead, Howlin, and others. I feel very fortunate that such persons are out here with us on this forum
It will be news when a document expert says these are not forgeries. Remember the only expert produced by CBS is a handwriting expert.
The font existed in 1972; there were technologies in 1972 that could, with elaborate effort, reproduce these memos, and these technologies and the skills to use them were used by someone who, by testimony of his own family, never typed anything, in an office that for all its other documents appears to have used ordinary monospaced typewriters, and therefore this unlikely juxtaposition of technologies and location coincided just long enough to produce these four memos on 04-May-1972, 18-May-1972, 01-August-1972, and 18-August-1973.
To this I would add an additional factor that reduces the vanishly small chance of this happening to one "Rather" smaller.
Not only would the 1972 typist have to have access to "Rather" sophisticated equipment and know how to use it, he would have to know how to set up and configure that equipment in such a way as to exactly match a typeface spacing etc. Thus, this is similar to the proverbial "infinite number of monkeys typing on an infinite number of IBM Selectric Composers for an infinite time" coming up with a TANG memo in 1972 that would years later exactly match a 2004 era Microsoft Word document.
Perhaps a trivial observation but one I haven't yet seen made this explicitly.
If these memos were produced in 1972 and 11973, it would be easier to believe that a time traveller did it than to believe that it is sheer coincidence.
So what you're saying is Dan is full of crap?
check out his resume!
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