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Misrepresented passport photos revive Obama ‘birther’ conspiracy theory

Misrepresented passport photos revive Obama 'birther' conspiracy theory - Featured image

Author(s): Bill MCCARTHY / AFP USA

Far-right radio host Stew Peters claimed photos of an old passport prove Barack Obama was born in Kenya, reviving a years-old conspiracy theory that he was born outside the United States and ineligible for the White House. This is false; the pictures, posted by the former US president’s half-brother Malik Obama, show a British passport that belonged to their father.

“Malik Obama is dropping docs proving Barack Obama was born in Nairobi, Kenya and was thus a FAKE and ILLEGITIMATE President,” Peters, who has previously promoted anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories, said in April 12, 2023 posts on Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.

Screenshot from Twitter taken April 13, 2023

Similar claims spread widely across social media after Malik Obama tweeted three pictures of an old British passport that says it was issued in Nairobi, Kenya and lists “Mr. Barack Hussein Obama” as the bearer.

“I tried to get fake ass to put this in his library but he wouldn’t,” Malik Obama, whose relationship with his half-brother is known to be strained, in the April 11 tweet.

The allegations that the passport belonged to Barack Obama build on the conspiracy theory — promoted for years by former president Donald Trump — that he was not born in the United States. The US Constitution requires that the president be at least 35 years of age, a natural-born citizen, and a resident of the country for at least 14 years.

But the passport was not the first Black president’s; it belonged to his father Barack Obama Sr, a Kenyan economist.

“It’s my father’s passport,” Malik Obama said in an April 13 email to AFP, adding that he will be putting it up for auction.

Details in the passport indicate it could not have belonged to the two-term Democratic former president. The document’s issue date is listed as April 29, 1959, but the younger Obama was born August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

His parents divorced when he was two years old, and he was raised by his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and his maternal grandparents, according to his presidential library.

Malik Obama also tweeted on April 12 a fourth picture of the passport’s photo page. The photo does not show Barack Obama, but appears to show Barack Obama Sr.

AFP has debunked other misinformation stemming from Obama’s Kenyan ancestry, including here, here and here.

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Originally published here.