By Mary Fanning and Alan Jones  |  May 12, 2015

An apparent mismatch between fingernail sets on Barack Obama Sr.’s left hand, captured in two ‘photographs’ purportedly snapped inside a Honolulu International Airport terminal, reveals that at least one of the images is likely a digital creation, a joint investigation by The American Report and 1776 Channel has determined.

The exact dates on which the pictures were supposedly taken remains unknown, but the grainy color images seemingly portray Barack Obama Sr.’s alleged visit to Honolulu during the 1971 Christmas holiday season.

One image depicts young Barack Obama with his alleged father while a second snapshot portrays Obama Sr. posing with the President’s alleged mother Stanley Ann Dunham.

Striking differences between the appearance of the fingernails on Obama Sr.’s left hand raise troubling questions about the authenticity of the supposedly decades-old photographs.

The image featuring Barack Obama Jr. appears to have been distributed by Reuters while the image featuring Dunham appears to have been distributed by the Associated Press, with the names of those wire services appearing in the bottom left corners of identical images served by Google and Bing search engines.

American Thinker published a preliminary analysis of the two airport images in April 2014 in which author Shawn Glasco deduces that the images were likely photographed in late December 1971 or early January 1972. Glasco suggests that the images may have been captured on different days while noting that the photographer and Obama Sr. appear to have been standing in the same exact spots when both pictures were taken.

“It is inferred that the two photos were taken during Obama Sr.’s departure at Honolulu International Airport (HIA) – possibly in January 1972, or, due to the Christmas trees appearing in the background, as early as late December 1971.” – Shawn Glasgow, American Thinker, April 2014

A 1776 Channel investigation has concluded that the airport family gathering portrayed in these images of Barack Obama Sr.’s Honolulu arrival or departure likely never happened. Both airport images appear to have been manufactured, perhaps to propel the official narrative of Barack Obama’s family history as told in his memoir “Dreams from My Father.”

Barack Obama Sr. is wearing the same suit and tie in both images, yet has completely different looking left ‘hands’.

The fingernails depicted as belonging to Barack Obama senior in the photograph with young Obama appear to be manicured or possibly even deformed. The tips of those fingers appear white and mildly resemble the fingernails of patients suffering from a medical condition known as ‘nail clubbing’ or ‘clubbed fingers’.

The fingernails depicted as belonging to Barack Obama senior in the photograph with Stanley Ann Dunham appear healthy, in stark contrast to the photo in which Obama Senior has his ‘left arm’ wrapped around young Barack.

The only remotely-plausible explanation for the white fingernail tips is some sort of finger-tip bandages applied as a result of Obama Sr.’s first car accident in Kenya. The bandages scenario would require the presumptions that Obama’s fingertips were injured, that the images were photographed on different days, that Obama Sr. wore identical outfits each day, that he stood in precisely the same spot for each photograph, and that he removed the bandages between the time the photographs were taken.

Images contain additional anomalies

Additional anomalies detected within the airport terminal images suggest that both images were likely assembled using a raster graphics editor computer application such as Adobe Photoshop.

The faces of all three individuals seen in the foreground of the images, Obama Sr., Obama Jr., and Stanley Ann Dunham, appear to have been photographed under different lighting conditions, suggesting that the images may be composites.

Artifacts and distortions observed along the edges of Barack Obama Sr. suggest masking problems during the creation of composite images. These include the ‘halo’ effect and distortions in the blending and ‘feathering’ of the human subject with the background.

There are also proportional problems, such as the similarity in size of the heads of Barack Obama Sr. and Jr. and the small, distant appearance of the airline agent(s) behind the counter.

The positions of Barack Obama Sr.’s left ‘arms’ appear unnatural in both images. His arm is wrapped around Obama Jr. in one image and around Dunham in the other image.

Obama Sr.’s right arm appears unnaturally narrow in the photograph with Dunham.

The airline agents behind the counter appear to possibly be the same person, but the different looking watches worn on each agent reveal that they are perhaps two different individuals.


The image of Barack Obama Sr. with Stanley Ann Dunham features Christmas tree lights which cover part of Obama Sr.’s right cheek, revealing poorly-blended masking.

An anomaly discovered within the blue interchangeable sign hanging from a metal L-shaped pole adjacent to the counter inside the airport terminal is the sign’s ‘San Francisco’ lettering: Each white letter appears to be aligned along the Y-axis and identical in height to the other letters.

The laws of perspective appear to be absent, suggesting that the letters may have been individually imported into the image.

The Honolulu airport ticket lobbies during the 1960s featured check-in counters with metal poles from which interchangeable signs were hung to identify the current city. These were equivalent to modern LED displays which electronically identify flight numbers and cities.

The sign hanging above the counter behind Barack Obama Sr. and Jr. reads ‘San Francisco.’

Identifying the specific airport terminal seen in the Obama family images

The ‘San Francisco’ sign is only one anomaly that opens up the possibility that the airport terminal featured in the image is not the Honolulu International Airport. The airport terminal could even be located outside of the United States.

A black and white photograph of the Pan American Airways ticket lobby inside the Honolulu International Airport’s old terminal, as it appeared in 1960, reveals many similarities to the terminal in the Obama airport photos, yet there a stark differences as well.

After reviewing available historical photos 1776 Channel was unable to confirm which specific airport terminal the snapshots were purportedly taken in. The Honolulu International Airport has long featured both overseas and inter-island terminals, and has undergone many changes over the years as a result of new construction projects.

The Hawaii International Airport ceased operations at the old terminal in 1962 when it opened a brand new overseas terminal.

The Pan-Am ticket lobby seen below was located in the old terminal which ended operations in 1962 according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s Airport Division official website.

The counters in the old terminal are similar but not identical to those seen in the Obama family photos supposedly taken in 1971. The metal poles from which city signs hang in the old Pan Am terminal are virtually identical to those seen in the Obama family photos.

The old Pan Am lobby features windows that are not seen in the Obama family photos.

A lighted sign inside the airport terminal seen in the Obama family photos appears to read ‘Philippine Airlines.” Philippine Airlines has provided scheduled service to Honolulu since the 1950s, but also flies from Manila to Jakarta and other destinations.

The man standing in front of the counter on the far left side of the image featuring Barack Obama Sr. and Jr. appears to be wearing non-western clothing, perhaps including an Indonesian-style fez hat, and also appears to have a beard.

Possible media obfuscation

A version of the photograph “Barack Sr. & Jr.” published on the internet by the Chicago Tribune was cropped at the bottom in such a way that the fingernails are not visible. The top and sides of the Chicago Tribune photograph do not appear to have been cropped.