Obama: All in the Company — Part IV
By Wayne Madsen.
SPECIAL REPORT – August 25/26, 2010
Barack Obama’s employment as an editor for CIA front Business International Corporation (BIC) after his graduation from Columbia University in 1983, came at a time when such small business and political risk consulting firms were mushrooming and their ranks growing with retired senior CIA personnel. The expansion of BIC and similar firms in the early 1980s also came at a time when major corporations were phasing out their internal risk departments and relying more on companies like BIC.
However, Obama’s contacts with the CIA came earlier than his work for BIC. Obama’s attendance at Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1979 to 1981 is significant considering the college’s close ties with the CIA. Occidental’s President, Richard C. Gilman, who retired in 1988, was a habitué of Los Angeles’s version of New York’s Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles World Affairs Council (WAC). As a director of the WAC, Gilman rubbed shoulders with fellow WAC directors John McCone, a former CIA director; Simon Ramo, chairman of top CIA contractor TRW, Inc.; and the wealthy oil magnate Armand Hammer, chairman of Occidental Petroleum, himself no stranger to intelligence-oriented intrigue.
Occidental was, for many years, a top target for CIA recruiting efforts. WMR has obtained a CIA memorandum, formerly Secret and dated February 8, 1967, that details the CIA’s “100 Universities Program,” which, as stated by the author, “originally conceived [redacted] as a recruitment technique. Its purpose was to make better known on the campuses of America the very existence of the CIA and its mission and role in Government, to illustrate the vast range of vocational opportunities in the Agency.”
A formerly Secret CIA memorandum for the Deputy Director for Administration from the acting Director of Personnel, dated February 8, 1979, discusses an active CIA recruitment effort at Occidental College on February 1, 1979. Obama reportedly attended Occidental later in 1979. The memo states, “[redacted] our [redacted[ recruiter, reports that he briefed approximately seventy students at Occidental College in Los Angeles on 1 February and was very well received. He added that while they did not interrupt his presentation, about fifteen to twenty members of the Socialist Democratic Alliance demonstrated outside as he spoke and that their chanting of “CIA, go Away” could be heard. Larry also reported that the seventy attending his briefing was the largest number ever to attend a briefing at the school by an employer.” A burning question is whether “Larry” ever tried to recruit a young Barack Obama, Jr. at Occidental and whether he was successful at the enthusiastically pro-CIA campus in 1979.
Obama’s mother’s employer and the CIA
Stanley Ann Dunham’s employer in Indonesia, the Ford Foundation, had a long-standing relationship with the CIA. While ostensibly working on micro-financing and rural development projects in Indonesia, Dunham’s grant paymaster was Peter Geithner, the father of current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
The rural development project funded by the Ford Foundation had long been a cover for U.S. intelligence activities in Indonesia. An Indonesian Permanent Mission to the UN bulletin dated November 19, 1959, states that a Ford Foundation grant funded the Village Community Development Bureau’s work with “development projects in line with village custom and tradition.”
The Ford Foundation helped establish two Cold War institutes at Columbia University and Harvard, two universities where Obama graduated. In the post-World War II years, Ford Foundation money helped create the Russian Institute at Columbia and the Russian Research Center at Harvard to promote the study of Soviet and Russian history and politics for a cadre of CIA Kremlinologists. In fact, Dunham and Obama, Sr. met at a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii in 1960. Obama. Sr.’s scholarship was courtesy of a partly CIA-funded operation called Airlift Africa, designed to educate and gain influence over a new generation of eastern and southern African leaders in the same year the USSR was doing the same by establishing the People’s Friendship University of Moscow, later renamed Patrice Lumumba University.
The Ford and Rockefeller Foundations continued to fund Columbia’s Soviet studies programs through the early 1980s, while Obama was allegedly a student enrolled in a Soviet studies program taught by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former National Security Adviser under President Carter.
The Ford Foundation also funded CIA-directed propaganda campaigns around the world. In 1967, Shepherd Stone,
born Shepherd Arthur Cohen, a former New York Times reporter and director of international affairs for the Ford Foundation, became president of the International Association of Cultural Freedom (IACF), which saw its name change from the Congress of Cultural Freedom after its direct funding from the CIA ceased.
Much like Barack Obama’s post-Columbia employer, BIC, the Ford Foundation, through groups like the IACF, curried links with some of Europe’s main leftist political parties, including the British Labor Party, the West German Social Democrats, and the French Socialists.
However, not every world leader was lulled into a false sense of security by the Ford Foundation. A formerly Secret CIA “Current Intelligence Weekly Summary,” dated April 20, 1962, reports that Burmese strongman Ne Win ordered “the Asia Foundation and Ford Foundation to wind up their activities” in Burma. The CIA report attacks Ne Win for his decision to toss out both CIA-linked organizations, stating, “Ne Win is a narrow nationalist with a suspicious conspiratorial outlook, a short temper, and a tendency toward snap decisions.”
Columnist Murray Kempton, writing in the October 3, 1967, New York Post lambasted Stone, the IACF, and the Ford Foundation for their close links to the CIA. Kempton wrote, “One standard apology for the CIA used to be that its subsidies were a considerable force for cultural progress, and that it could not really be distinguished from, say, the Ford Foundation. This is a sounder comparison than one would have thought possible before reading the annual report of the Ford Foundation, after which it is difficult with confidence to distinguish the international activities of the Ford Foundation from those of the CIA.”
Kempton cites the Ford Foundation’s $8 million grant to MIT’s Center for International Studies, adding that the center was established with CIA funds. In 1966, one of the architects of the Cold War policies of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, McGeorge Bundy, took over as the President of the Ford Foundation. Bundy also worked with the Council on Foreign Relations and CIA officers Allen Dulles and Richard Bissell to create a carve-out in the post-World War II Marshall Plan that covertly steered aid money to anti-Communist groups in Italy and France. After President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Bundy began directing U.S. covert operations as chairman of the super-secret “303 Committee” in the Johnson White House.
Bundy signed a Secret memo on February 27, 1961, in which the Sprague Committee report on U.S. Information Activities Abroad was circulated to senior officials. The Sprague Committee, chaired by Mansfield D. Sprague of CIA-rife New Canaan, Connecticut, was commissioned by President Eisenhower and included Allen Dulles, CIA director, and the committee’s executive director, Waldemar A. Nielsen, who was “loaned” by the Ford Foundation. The committee recommended integrating “psychological factors” into the United States “informational system.”
The CIA’s funding of foundations such as Ford and Rockefeller was so prevalent during the 1960s, New York Congressman William Fitts Ryan of New York introduced legislation in 1967 that would have prohibited the CIA from “granting, contributing, lending, or otherwise paying, directly or indirectly, any of its funds to any foundation or philanthropic organization,labor organization, publishing organization, radio or broadcasting organization, or educational institution — including organization composed of students or faculty members — incorporated in the United States.”
In a case eerily reminiscent of the post-gall bladder surgery death of Pennsylvania Democratic Representative John Murtha last February, in September 1972, Ryan died suddenly following surgery on an ulcer and after he cast a vote against new Vietnam War appropriations.
Ryan was particularly incensed over the CIA’s use of the National Student Association (NSA) and its global counterpart, the International Student Conference (ISC), to recruit agents. In fact, the Airlift Africa project that brought Obama, Sr. to the University of Hawaii appears to have been part of a larger CIA program to use the NSA and ISC to recruit young college students into its ranks. The CIA funded technical assistance, education, and student exchange programs, via the NSA and ISC, with Third World nations like Kenya and Indonesia, the home countries of President Obama’s father and step-father, respectively.
Although Airlift Africa received a $100,000 grant from the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation to pay for African students personally selected by the CIA’s Kenyan nationalist asset, Tom Mboya, a mentor of Barack Obama, Sr., to travel to the United States to study at various colleges (Obama, Sr. was the first African student to attend the University of Hawaii), the CIA used a series of front foundations to launder money for such projects. The chief CIA fund used for such purposes in the early 1960s was the New York-based J. M. Kaplan Fund. The CIA used a network of other funds to pass money through the Kaplan Fund. These funds included, according to a March 1967, Ramparts magazine article, the Borden Trust of Philadelphia, the Price Fund of New York, the Edsel Fund of San Francisco, the Beacon Fund of Boston, and the Kentfield Fund of Dallas.
In 1958, a CIA-linked group called the Western Regional Assembly met at Lake Arrowhead, California in a seminar titled “The United States and Africa.” Among those in attendance was Walter P. Coombs, the executive director of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council; Arthur N. Young, Trustee of Occidental College; and Frank LaMacchia, identified as “economic officer, American Consulate General, Nairobi, Kenya.” However, the Julius Mader book published in 1968, “Who’s Who in the CIA,” identified LaMacchia as a CIA officer assigned to Nairobi, as well as Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, Seoul, and Baghdad.
The Lake Arrowhead conclave was told that for Africa’s emerging nations, “furtherance of education on the college level is important, and the number of scholarships for Africans to American institutions of higher learning should be increased.” In 1959, the CIA, likely though LaMacchia in Nairobi, and Mboya, kicked off Airlift Africa that saw 230 African students airlifted to the United States, including Barack Obama, Sr., a friend of Mboya, to Hawaii, via funding from the Kennedy and an entity called the African-American Students Foundation.
The Lake Arrowhead attendees also heard Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Joseph C. Satterthwaite warn, “persistent and ingenious Communists, skilled in subversive and revolutionary tactics, must be reckoned with” in Africa. The Airlift Africa project was a form of reckoning with the pro-Communists in Africa.
One of the Kenyan politicians who LaMacchia and Mboya kept a close eye on was Kenyan left-wing nationalist leader Oginga Odinga, whose son is now Kenya’s Prime Minister. Odinga, a Luo like Mboya and Obama, Sr., had cultivated close relations with Soviet bloc countries and was dispatching Kenyan students to the east bloc for college educations.
One of the agencies that worked closely with the CIA to fund anti-communist student activities abroad was the US Agency for International Development (USAID), another one of Stanley Ann Dunham’s employers in Indonesia. The CIA student operations were conducted through Langley’s Covert Action Division No. Five, within the Plans Division. One of the chief missions of the CIA’s foreign students was to infiltrate leftist student movements to either disrupt or recruit.
Obama’s grandmother and money laundering for the CIA
In our previous report on Obama’s family and the CIA, WMR reported on the use of a Honolulu-based front company, Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham & Wong, (BBRDW) Inc., to pay off various Asian dictators, including President Suharto of Indonesia, who seized power in 1965 in a CIA-inspired anti-communist coup, merely two years before Stanley Ann Dunham and seven-year-old Barack moved to Jakarta to be with Dunham’s new husband, Lolo Soetoro, a senior officer in Suharto’s fascist armed forces. BBRDW used the facilities of the Bank of Hawaii to transmit funds to CIA operatives and dictators in Asia. The bank vice president in charge of the escrow accounts used for such purposes was Madelyn Dunham, Obama’s grandmother, who died just two days before her grandson was elected President of the United States in 2008.
Although the CIA and Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye brushed off suggestions that BBRDW, which failed amid charges that it was a Ponzi scheme, was a CIA front, WMR has obtained from CIA files a letter, dated April 13, 1984, sent from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii to the Justice Department’s Internal Security Criminal Division and the CIA’s Legislative Office forwarding a Honolulu article on the firm. The article reveals that the CIA stepped in to halt an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigation of BBRDW in January 1983. IRS Honolulu agent Joseph A. Campione confirmed that his IRS bosses in Washington, DC had ordered him to halt his investigation of BBRDW. The CIA’s station chief in Honolulu, Jack Kindschi, retired from the CIA and joined BBRDW after it was established.
Ron Rewald, BBRDW’s principal, was recruited in 1976 by the CIA’s chief officer in Chicago. In addition to BBRDW, Rewald created a number of other CIA front firms in Honolulu, including H&H Enterprises and Canadian Far East Trade Corporation. Other firms that were joint CIA ventures with foreign millionaires, included Hawaiian-Arabian Investment Company and U.S. and United Arab Emirates Investment Company, registered in Hawaii and involving Rewald, millionaire Indonesian Indri Gautama, and UAE prince Saud Mohammed of the emirate of Sharjah.
Rewald told the Hawaii Investor that millions of dollars in CIA funds were “freely co-mingled” with the funds of innocent investors in accounts such as those maintained in the Bank of Hawaii, as well as in overseas accounts. BBRDW accounts in Hawaiian and overseas banks were used to launder money for the Sultan of Brunei, Philippine banker Enrique Zobel and his close friend President Ferdinand Marcos, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Gandhi’s son and future Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and President Suharto of Indonesia.
Grandmother Madelyn’s bank also had dealings with another CIA bank, Nugan Hand Bank of Australia, through which the CIA funded the constitutional coup d’etat against Australian Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975. After Nugan Hand collapsed in the late 1970s, co-founder Frank Hand was found slumped over the steering wheel of his parked car near Sydney. Hand was shot through the head although a rifle on the seat beside him had been wiped clean of fingerprints. The world of Pacific finance that Obama’s banker grandmother dealt with in the 1970s and 1980s dealt with much more than loaning money for beachfront properties in idyllic South Pacific settings.
Obama and Transparency — Not!
Curiously, buried deep in the CIA files is an obscure invitation to then-CIA director Stansfield Turner to attend a “30th Anniversary of Teaching” for “Gil’s” award from the American Chemical Society at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii on April 3, 1979. It was at the East-West Center where Barack Obama, Sr. stayed in 1960 and where Stanley Ann Dunham met Lolo Soetoro in 1965. The East-West Center also served as a CIA front activity for the grooming of future Asian leaders from Japan and Okinawa to Indonesia and Micronesia.
Oddly, the name of the group celebrating the anniversary is redacted in the unclassified invitation, which also reveals “Gil’s” 30 year teaching stint at the University of Hawaii and University of Illinois. The ceremony for “Gil” follows a “Division of Chemical Education Dinner.” The return address on the invitation’s envelope is also redacted and two pages of the file on the anniversary and award ceremony are withheld from disclosure. Previously, WMR reported that the University of Hawaii served as one of five universities favored by CIA director Richard Helms for the CIA’s behavioral modification projects, part of the CIA’s Office of Science and Technology’s MK-ULTRA and Project Artichoke programs, which employed the use of, among other drugs, LSD for the CIA’s human subjects.
One of President Obama’s chief campaign promises was to run the most transparent administration in history. Considering the fact that his own personal history is one of the most opaque of any past president, there is little wonder why Obama’s administration is the least transparent in recent history.
Madsen is a regular contributor on Russia Today. He has been a frequent political and national security commentator on Fox News and has also appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and MS-NBC. Madsen has taken on Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity on their television shows. He has been invited to testifty as a witness before the US House of Representatives, the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and an terrorism investigation panel of the French government.
As a U.S. Naval Officer, he managed one of the first computer security programs for the U.S. Navy. He subsequently worked for the National Security Agency, the Naval Data Automation Command, Department of State, RCA Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation.
Madsen is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Association for Intelligence Officers (AFIO), and the National Press Club. He is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.
To read Part I click HERE.