Obama Research compiled by Nick Bryant

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State Department Documents and Publications
November 9, 2010
Indonesia Visit Recalls Obama's Formative Years
BYLINE: Stephen Kaufman, Staff Writer
SECTION: NEWS FROM AMERICA.COM AND THE WASHINGTON FILE
LENGTH: 803 words
Washington -- Barack Obama said it felt "wonderful" to return to Indonesia as
president of the United States many years after he had lived in the country for four
years as a boy, and he thanked the Indonesian government for posthumously
awarding his late mother a gold medal for her research into the role of women and
microcredits in Indonesian villages.
"The sights and the sounds and the memories all feel very familiar, and it's
wonderful to be able to come back as president and hopefully contribute to further
understanding between the United States and Indonesia," Obama said November 9
in a press conference with Indonesian President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono.
"I feel great affection for the people here," he said, adding that the trip, curtailed
slightly by the eruption of Mount Merapi, was "a shorter visit than I would like."
At a state dinner following the press conference, Yudhoyono presented an award
honoring Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, who had brought her family to Indonesia
and conducted research that led to "a scientific paper of high quality regarding the
role of women and microcredits in the villages," Yudhoyono said.
Obama said the honor "speaks to the bonds she forged over many years with the
people of this magnificent country" and said his mother believed that by educating
women "we are, in fact, developing the entire country."
OBAMA RECALLED "JOYOUS TIME" IN MEMOIRS
In 1967, 6-year-old Barack and his mother left their home in Hawaii for Jakarta.
They came to join his new stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, who had been forced to abandon
his studies at the University of Hawaii when he was conscripted into the Indonesian
army. The future president was soon enrolled in a local public school and became
known to friends as "Barry Soetoro." Taller, foreign and of a different ethnicity than
his friends and classmates, Barry stood out, but he soon made friends, and his
mother encouraged him to learn Indonesian and rapidly acculturate to his new
surroundings.
When then-Senator Barack Obama wrote his book The Audacity of Hope, which was
published in 2006, he reflected on the four years he lived in Indonesia as "a joyous
time, full of adventure and mystery."
"We lived in a modest house on the outskirts of town, without air-conditioning,
refrigeration or flush toilets," Obama wrote in Audacity. His best friends were "the
children of farmers, servants, tailors and clerks," and his years in Jakarta were "days
of chasing down chickens and running from water buffalo, nights of shadow puppets
and ghost stories and street vendors bringing delectable sweets to our door."
He joined an Indonesian Boy Scout troop and played soccer, or football, which
would not become popular in the United States until years later. The future
president also displayed a naughty schoolboy side, getting in trouble for crashing
through a bamboo fence at school.
But young Obama's life in Jakarta also exposed him to a sense of poverty, suffering
and natural disaster that many Americans were unacquainted with. "The world was
violent, I was learning, unpredictable and often cruel," Obama later wrote in his
1995 book Dreams from My Father.
Compared to many of his Indonesian neighbors, Barry was relatively well-off. His
stepfather surveyed roads and tunnels for the army, and later got a job with Mobil
Oil. His sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, was born in Jakarta, and his mother earned
additional income for the family by teaching English to Indonesian businessmen at
the U.S. Embassy. Obama said his mother's ties to Indonesia never diminished,
despite her decision to separate from Soetoro and move back to the United States in
1972. "For the next twenty years she would travel back and forth, working for
international agencies for six or twelve months at a time as a specialist in women's
development issues, designing programs to help village women start their own
businesses or bring their produce to market," he wrote in Audacity.
With the help of his sister, Maya, their mother's doctoral dissertation, Surviving
Against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia, was revised and published as a book
by Duke University Press in 2009.
wrote that his upbringing and exposure to a new culture "made me relatively selfsufficient, undemanding on a tight budget, and extremely well-mannered when
compared to other American children."
But his mother ultimately decided to send him back to Hawaii to continue his
schooling. "She now had learned ... the chasm that separated the life chances of an
American from those of an Indonesian. She knew which side of the divide she
wanted her child to be on. I was an American, she decided, and my true life lay
elsewhere," he wrote in Dreams.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov)
The Guardian (London) - Final Edition
May 22, 2004
Obituary: Melvin Lasky: Cold warrior who edited the CIA funded Encounter
magazine
BYLINE: Andrew Roth
SECTION: Guardian Leader Pages, Pg. 23
LENGTH: 1048 words
Melvin Lasky, who has died aged 84, was, as editor of the magazine Encounter from
1958 to 1990, and of Der Monat (the Month) for 15 years, a combatant in the
struggle to keep western intellectuals in the United States' cold war camp.
But in 1967, it was disclosed that both Encounter and Der Monat had been covertly
financed by the US Central Intelligence Agency and Mel's reputation shrivelled. But
it was to be another 23 years before Encounter closed.
Mel had been an anti-Stalinist combatant long before it was fashionable. It was
certainly no secret from me, having shared seven years of secondary and higher
education with him in New York. Those surprised by the CIA's use of Trotskyists and Mel had been one - forget the agency's cynical realists knew that the most
dedicated enemies of the Communist party were those who hated it long before the
cold war.
The leading CIA fingerman in the international trade union movement was Jay
Lovestone, US Communist party general secretary before he turned anti-Stalinist.
Encounter's first co-editor was our classmate Irving Kristol, known at college as a
"Lovestonite".
If I could greet Mel with restrained warmth, being a neutral in the cold war to which
he was so committed, it was because of our shared history. Mel was born near me in
the central Bronx at Crotona Park, on whose frozen lake my mother taught me to
skate. We both wound up in the huge new all-boys academic high school, De Witt
Clinton, and then at the free College of the City of New York (open to the top tenth of
New York's high school graduates.)
The 1500 students entering in 1935 endured the most turbulent four years, while
swotting to get some of the few jobs going in the depression. Almost half of its
students were the sons of Jewish immigrants who had left their families behind in
Hitler's path. At that time, Mel seemed an intellectual Trotskyist, espousing the
dissident anarcho-syndicalist POUM in the Spanish civil war. In his first
autobiographical pamphlet, he describes himself as initially a social democrat, a
term which did not have its contemporary meaning. In that time, within NYC's
Russian-Jewish community it referred to the embittered remnants of the Russian
party, which had been smashed by the Bolsheviks. Mel's origins in the antiCommunist Russian-Jewish community help explain why, at 22, he became literary
editor of the New Leader, an organ of anti-Communist Jewish liberals. He held the
post from 1942 to 1943. In 1944, Mel belatedly signed up, as a US Army combat
historian in Europe.
Postwar, with the cold war, Der Monat was launched in Berlin in 1948 with Mel as
editor, a job he did until 1958 and again from 1978 to 1983. His intellectual and
linguistic abilities were never in question, and in 1958, as the Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament took off, Mel replaced Irving Kristol - co-editor since 1953 with poet
Stephen Spender - on Encounter. At that time, many British intellectuals had
clustered around Kingsley Martin's New Statesman, which tended towards a cold
war neutrality. US government thinking was that if a Labour government were
returned to power, dissident left-wing MPs would make it difficult for the US to
retain Britain as a secure ally.
Encounter's function was to combat anti-Americanism by brainwashing the
uncertain with pro-American articles. These were paid for at several times the rate
paid by the New Statesman and offered British academics and intellectuals free US
trips and expenses-paid lecture tours. There was no room for the objective-minded
in this cold war to capture intellectuals.
Enormously industrious, Mel doubled up by running publishing houses for his
masters. The premise was that they published pro-American books knowing that
the bulk of each edition would be purchased by US agencies to donate to bookstarved libraries in the third world.
Even at its peak Encounter had never claimed a circulation above 40,000. Its
spider's web began to come apart in 1966-67 with publication of pieces in the New
York Times and the radical magazine Ramparts. And Thomas Braden, previously a
CIA divisional chief, confirmed in the Saturday Evening Post that, for more than 10
years, the CIA had subsidised Encounter through the Congress for Cultural Freedom
- which it also funded - and that one of its staff was a CIA agent. (Lasky had been the
CCF's sometime executive secretary). The magazine also covertly received British
government money.
Mel's co-editor, Professor Frank Kermode, resigned, proclaiming he had been misled
by Mel. "I was always reassured that there was no truth in the allegations about CIA
funds."
Mel admitted breezily that "I probably should have told him all the painful details."
Spender also quit the monthly and many contributors pulled out.
The CIA funds, had, in fact been replaced in 1964 by Cecil King's International
Publishing Corporation - the then owners of the Daily Mirror - which bought the
magazine. King's deputy, Hugh Cudlipp, sprang to Mel's defence, insisting that
"Encounter without him (Mel) would be as interesting as Hamlet without the
Prince".
Encounter staggered on, while control in 1974 passed from IPC to the Carus
Corporation. Mel remained its editor until 1990, Conrad Black provided some
capital but the magazine folded in 1991. Lasky spent more time in Berlin than in his
Chelsea home.
In those days when we shared an education together amidst the political turbulence
of 1930s New York, Mel appeared as a very vocal poseur, anxious to become a
fashionable critic like Edmund Wilson. When, much later, we occasionally bumped
into each other at Gatwick airport, when I was returning from holidays and he was
off to his main home in Berlin, I saw he had grown thinner on top and thicker about
the middle, but what never altered was his sardonic half-sneer and nasal whine.
His books include Africa For Beginners (1968), Utopia And Revolution (1977), and
The Use And Abuse Of Sovietology (1988). His autobiography, On The Barricades
And Off, was published in 1989. He and his wife, Brigitte Newiger, were divorced in
1974. His partner Helga Hegewisch survives him, as do his son and daughter by his
marriage.
Melvin Jonah Lasky, editor, born January 15 1920; died May 19 2004
Publication Logo
The Washington Post
April 4, 2009 Saturday
Regional Edition
Real-Life Dad Behind 'Eight Is Enough' Also Sparred With Buchanan on 'Crossfire'
BYLINE: Patricia Sullivan; Washington Post Staff Writer
SECTION: METRO; Pg. B05
LENGTH: 812 words
Tom Braden, 92, author of the memoir-turned-television series "Eight Is Enough"
and a former CIA official who became the liberal voice on CNN's talk show
"Crossfire" in the 1980s, died of cardiac arrest April 3 at his home in Denver.
Mr. Braden, a syndicated newspaper columnist, was best known for his
autobiographical novel about his life as the father of eight children, which was
published in 1975 and adapted as an ABC comedy-drama two years later. Mr.
Braden was also one of the early practitioners of the televised arguments that
masquerade as interview shows when he became the sparring partner of former
Nixon adviser Pat Buchanan on "Crossfire" in 1982.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Mr. Braden's Chevy Chase home became an informal salon
for the journalistic and political elite, where Henry Kissinger spent Christmas Eves,
AFL-CIO chief Lane Kirkland spent Thanksgivings and Mr. Braden and his vivacious
wife, Joan, entertained everyone from former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara
to next-door neighbor and NBC anchorman David Brinkley.
As a CIA official in the early 1950s, Mr. Braden was head of the International
Organizations Division, which promoted anti-communism by secretly funding
groups including the AFL-CIO and the National Student Association, sending the
Boston Symphony Orchestra on a European tour and publishing Encounter
magazine. After Ramparts magazine exposed the CIA's system of funding anticommunist front organizations all over the globe, Mr. Braden defended the program
in an article in a 1967 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. He said the secret
program was his idea.
Keeping secrets from Congress, he wrote, simply made good sense: "In the early
1950s, when the cold war was really hot, the idea that Congress would have
approved many of our projects was about as likely as the John Birch Society's
approving Medicare."
In 1977, Mr. Braden replaced former Robert F. Kennedy campaign aide Frank
Mankiewicz on a nationally syndicated WRC radio spot called "Confrontation,"
paired against the conservative Buchanan. The radio show jumped to late-night TV
on "After Hours" on the old WDVM with local broadcaster Gordon Peterson as the
moderator.
Mr. Braden and Buchanan became known as the "Punch and Judy" of Washington
commentators. Guests left the broadcast studio saying they felt as if they'd been in a
bar fight. Others never got to speak at all because Mr. Braden and Buchanan were so
intent on attacking each other's positions. Later, CNN picked up the show and
renamed it "Crossfire." Mr. Braden was replaced in 1989 by political journalist
Michael Kinsley.
Mr. Braden was not a natural performer on radio or TV. His voice, Washington Post
reporter Stephanie Mansfield wrote, sounded "like a cement mixer stuck in reverse."
Media critic Jeff Cohen, in a 2006 retrospective look at liberals in the media,
objected to Mr. Braden being cast as Crossfire's voice "on the left," calling him "a
haplessly ineffectual centrist . . . a guy who makes Alan Colmes look like an ultraleft
firebrand."
But Mr. Braden's columns critical of the Nixon White House in the 1970s landed him
on the president's enemies list, along with many other liberals.
Thomas Wardell Braden II was born Feb. 22, 1917, in Greene, Iowa. He left high
school during the Depression and was sent to New York by his parents to work as a
printer for a family friend. He graduated in 1940 from Dartmouth College, which
admitted high school dropouts.
Mr. Braden was one of a handful of Americans who went to England in 1941 to serve
in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in the British army during World War II. In 1944, he
transferred to the U.S. Army and was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services, a
wartime forerunner to the CIA.
Mr. Braden joined the CIA in 1950, working as an assistant to Allen W. Dulles, who
became CIA director. In 1954, he bought the Blade-Tribune newspaper of Oceanside,
Calif., with a $185,000 loan from Nelson Rockefeller, the industrialist and later New
York governor, for whom his wife worked. Mr. Braden unsuccessfully ran for
lieutenant governor in 1966 on the Democratic Party ticket.
Two years later, Mr. Braden sold his newspaper and returned to the Washington
area. His memoir, "Eight Is Enough," grew out of the syndicated newspaper column
he wrote after another Washington journalist, Joseph Alsop, told him that his best
writing was about his family.
Mr. Braden also wrote "Sub Rosa: The OSS and American Espionage" (1964) with
fellow OSS alumnus and columnist Stewart Alsop.
His wife of 50 years, Joan Ridley Braden, died in 1999. One of their sons, Thomas W.
Braden III, died in 1994.
Survivors include seven children, David Braden of Taipei, Taiwan, Mary Braden
Poole of Arlington County, Nicholas Braden of Washington, Susan Braden of Takoma
Park and Joanie Braden, Nancy Braden Basta and Elizabeth Braden, all of Denver;
and 12 grandchildren.
The New York Times
October 30, 2007 Tuesday
Late Edition - Final
Obama's
Enhanced Coverage Linking
Obama's -Search using:
* Biographies Plus News
* News, Most Recent 60 Days
Account of New York Years Often Differs From What Others Say
BYLINE: By JANNY SCOTT
SECTION: Section B; Column 0; Metropolitan Desk; THE LONG RUN; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 1521 words
Barack Obama does not say much about his years in New York City. The time he
spent as an undergraduate at Columbia College and then working in Manhattan in
the early 1980s surfaces only fleetingly in his memoir. In the book, he casts himself
as a solitary wanderer in the metropolis, the outsider searching for a way to ''make
myself of some use.''
He tells of under heated sublets, a night spent in an alley, a dead neighbor on the
landing. From their fire escape, he and an unnamed roommate watch ''white people
from the better neighborhoods'' bring their dogs to defecate on the block. He takes a
job in an unidentified ''consulting house to multinational corporations,'' where he is
''a spy behind enemy lines,'' startled to find himself with a secretary, a suit and
money in the bank.
He barely mentions Columbia, training ground for the elite, where he transferred in
his junior year, majoring in political science and international relations and writing
his thesis on Soviet nuclear disarmament. He dismisses in one sentence his first
community organizing job -- work he went on to do in Chicago -- though a former
supervisor remembers him as ''a star performer.''
Senator Obama, an Illinois Democrat now seeking the presidency, suggests in his
book that his years in New York were a pivotal period: He ran three miles a day,
buckled down to work and ''stopped getting high,'' which he says he had started
doing in high school. Yet he declined repeated requests to talk about his New York
years, release his Columbia transcript or identify even a single fellow student, coworker, roommate or friend from those years.
''He doesn't remember the names of a lot of people in his life,'' said Ben LaBolt, a
campaign spokesman.
Mr. Obama has, of course, done plenty of remembering. His 1995 memoir, ''Dreams
From My Father,'' weighs in at more than 450 pages. But he also exercised his
writer's prerogative to decide what to include or leave out. Now, as he presents
himself to voters, a look at his years in New York -- other people's accounts and his
own -- suggests not only what he was like back then but how he chooses to be seen
now.
Some say he has taken some literary license in the telling of his story. Dan
Armstrong, who worked with Mr. Obama at Business International Corporation in
New York in 1984 and has deconstructed Mr. Obama's account of the job on his blog,
analyzethis.net, wrote: ''All of Barack's embellishment serves a larger narrative
purpose: to retell the story of the Christ's temptation. The young, idealistic, wouldbe community organizer gets a nice suit, joins a consulting house, starts hanging out
with investment bankers, and barely escapes moving into the big mansion with the
white folks.''
In an interview, Mr. Armstrong added: ''There may be some truth to that. But in
order to make it a good story, it required a bit of exaggeration.''
Mr. Armstrong's description of the firm, and those of other co-workers, differs at
least in emphasis from Mr. Obama's. It was a small newsletter-publishing and
research firm, with about 250 employees worldwide, that helped companies with
foreign operations (they could be called multinationals) understand overseas
markets, they said. Far from a bastion of corporate conformity, they said, it was
informal and staffed by young people making modest wages. Employees called it
''high school with ashtrays.''
Many workers dressed down. Only the vice president in charge of Mr. Obama's was
a researcher and writer for a reference service called Financing Foreign Operations.
He also wrote for a newsletter, Business International Money Report.
''It was not working for General Foods or Chase Manhattan, that's for sure,'' said
Louis Celi, a vice president at the company, which was later taken over by the
Economist Intelligence Unit. ''And it was not a consulting firm by any stretch of the
imagination. I remember the first time I interviewed someone from Morgan Stanley
and I got cheese on my tie because I thought my tie was a napkin.''
Mr. Obama arrived in New York in August 1981, at age 20, from Occidental College
in Los Angeles. According to his memoir, he passed his first night in an alley near
109th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, unable to get into his apartment. The next
morning, he bathed at a hydrant alongside a homeless man.
Like other transfer students, Mr. Obama lived off campus and bounced from one
apartment to another. For a while, he said, he lived with a Pakistani whom he calls
Sadik. He recalls that when he lived in a walk-up on East 94th Street, he would chat
with his Puerto Rican neighbors about the Knicks or the sound of gunfire at night.
He writes that ''it was only now that I began to grasp the almost mathematical
precision with which America's race and class problems joined; the depth, the
ferocity, of resulting tribal wars; the bile that flowed freely not just out on the
streets but in the stalls of Columbia's bathrooms as well,'' where the graffiti was
both racist and anti-Semitic.
In a long profile of Mr. Obama in a Columbia alumni magazine in 2005, in which his
Columbia years occupied just two paragraphs, he called that time ''an intense period
of study.''
''I spent a lot of time in the library. I didn't socialize that much. I was like a monk,''
he was quoted as saying.
He said he was somewhat involved with the Black Student Organization and antiapartheid activities, though, in recent interviews, several prominent student leaders
said they did not remember his playing a role.
One person who did remember Mr. Obama was Michael L. Baron, who taught a
senior seminar on international politics and American policy. Mr. Baron, now
president of an electronics company in Florida, said he was Mr. Obama's adviser on
the senior thesis for that course. Mr. Baron, who later wrote Mr. Obama a
recommendation for Harvard Law School, gave him an A in the course.
Columbia was a hotbed for discussion of foreign policy, Mr. Baron said. The faculty
included Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser, and Zalmay
Khalilzad, now the American ambassador to the United Nations. Half of the eight
students in the seminar were outstanding, and Mr. Obama was among them, Mr.
Baron said.
Michael J. Wolf, who took the seminar with him and went on to become president of
MTV Networks, said: ''He was very smart. He had a broad sense of international
politics and international relations. It was a class with a lot of debate. He was a very,
very active participant. I think he was truly distinctive from the other people in that
class. He stood out.''
Mr. Obama graduated in 1983. In his memoir, he says he had decided to become a
community organizer but could not persuade anyone to hire him. So he found ''more
conventional work for a year'' to pay off his student loans.
''Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond
traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors -- see myself in a suit and
tie, a briefcase in my hand -- and for a split second I would imagine myself as a
captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it
was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of
resolve,'' Mr. Obama wrote.
Cathy Lazere, his supervisor at Business International, described him as self-assured
and bright. ''He was very mature and more worldly than other people -- on the
surface kind of laid back, but kind of in control,'' she said. ''He had a good sense of
himself, which I think a lot of kids at that age don't.''
After about a year, he was hired by the New York Public Interest Research Group, a
nonprofit organization that promotes consumer, environmental and government
reform. He became a full-time organizer at City College in Harlem, paid slightly less
than $10,000 a year to mobilize student volunteers.
Mr. Obama says he spent three months ''trying to convince minority students at City
College about the importance of recycling'' -- a description that surprised some
former colleagues. They said that more ''bread-and-butter issues'' like mass transit,
higher education, tuition and financial aid were more likely the emphasis at City
College.
''You needed somebody -- and here was where Barack was a star -- who could make
the case to students across the political spectrum,'' said Eileen Hershenov, who
oversaw Mr. Obama's work for Nypirg. The job required winning over students on
the political left, who would normally disdain a group inspired by Ralph Nader as
insufficiently radical, as well as students on the right and those who were not active
at all.
Nearly 20 years later, Mr. Obama seemed to remember the experience differently.
Gene Karpinski, then executive director of U.S. PIRG, a federation of state watchdog
groups, met Mr. Obama in Boston. It was at the time of the 2004 Democratic
convention, when Mr. Obama delivered the speech that made him a party luminary.
Mr. Karpinski introduced himself. And, he recalled, Mr. Obama told him: ''I used to
be a PIRG guy. You guys trained me well.''
Pacific Free Press
June 10, 2010 Thursday 7:16 AM EST
The Second Jewish Disaster
BYLINE: William Blum
LENGTH: 2485 words
Jun. 10, 2010 (Atlantic Free Press delivered by Newstex) -The Second Worst Thing by William Blum l The Anti-Empire Report
The worst thing that ever happened to the Jewish people is the Holocaust. The
second worst thing that ever happened to the Jewish people is the state of Israel.
Things internationally are so dispiriting there's nothing left to do but fantasize. I
picture Turkey, as a member of NATO, demanding that the alliance come to its
defense after being attacked by Israel. Under Article 5 of the NATO charter an armed
attack on one member is deemed to constitute an armed attack on all members.
That is the ostensible reason NATO is fighting in Afghanistan ” the attack against the
United States on September 11, 2001 is regarded as an attack on all NATO members
(disregarding the awkward fact that Afghanistan as a country had nothing to do
with the attack). The Israeli attack on a Turkish-flagged ship, operated by a Turkish
humanitarian organization, killing nine Turkish nationals and wounding many more
can certainly constitute an attack upon a NATO member.
So, after the United States, the UK, Germany, France and other leading NATO
members offer their ridiculous non-sequitur excuses why they can't ... umm ... er ...
invoke Article 5, and the international media swallows it all without any indigestion,
Turkey demands that Israel should at least lose its formal association with NATO as
a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue. This too is dismissed with scorn by the
eminent NATO world powers on the grounds that it would constitute a victory for
terrorism. And anti-Semitism of course. [For complete article reference links, please
see original at www.killinghope.org here.]
Turkey then withdraws from NATO. Azerbaijan and five other Central Asian
members of NATO's Partnership for Peace with Turkic constituencies do the same.
NATO falls into a crisis. Remaining member countries begin to question the
organization's policies as never before ... like please tell us again why our young men
are killing and dying in Afghanistan, and why we send them to Kosovo and Iraq and
other places the Americans deem essential to their endlessly-threatened national
security.
When Vice President Biden tells the eminent conservative-in-liberal-clothing
pseudo-intellectual Charlie Rose on TV that "We have put as much pressure and as
much cajoling on Israel as we can to allow them [Gaza] to get building materials in,"
1Rose for once rises to the occasion and acts like a real journalist, asking Biden:
"Have you threatened Israel with ending all military and economic aid? ... Have you
put the names of Israeli officials on your list of foreigners who can not enter the
United States and whose bank accounts in the US are frozen, as you've done with
numerous foreign officials who were not supporters of the empire? ... Since Israel
has committed both crimes against the peace and crimes against humanity, and
since these are crimes that have international jurisdiction, certain Israeli political
and military personnel can be named in trials held in any country of the world. Will
you be instructing the Attorney General to proceed with such an indictment? Or if
some other country which is a member of the International Criminal Court calls
upon the ICC to prosecute these individuals, will the United States try to block the
move? ... Why hasn't the United States itself delivered building materials to Gaza?"
When Israel justifies its murders on the grounds of "self-defense", late-night TV
comedians Jay Leno and David Letterman find great humor in this, pointing out that
a new memoir by China's premier at the time of the 1989 Tiananmen Square violent
suppression defends the military action by saying that soldiers acted in "selfdefense" when they fired on the democracy activists. 2
When Israel labels as "terrorists" the ship passengers who offered some resistance
to the Israeli invaders, the New York Times points out that the passengers who
resisted the 9-11 highjackers on the plane which crashed in Pennsylvania are called
"heroes". (As an aside, it's worth noting that the United States uses 9-11 as Israel
uses the Holocaust ” as excuse and justification for all manner of illegal and violent
international behavior.)
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reminds its readers that in 2009 Israel attacked a
boat on international waters carrying medical aid to Gaza with former
congresswoman Cynthia McKinney aboard; and that in 1967 Israel attacked an
American ship, the USS Liberty, killing 34 and wounding about 173, and that
President Johnson did then just what President Obama is doing now and would have
done then ” nothing.
And finally, Secretary of State Clinton declares that she's had a revelation. She
realizes that what she recently said about North Korea when it was accused of
having torpedoed a South Korean warship applies as well to Israel. Mrs. Clinton had
demanded that Pyongyang "stop its provocative behavior, halt its policy of threats of
belligerence towards its neighbors, and take irreversible steps to fulfill its
denuclearization commitments and comply with international law." 3 She adds that
the North Korean guilt is by no means conclusive, while Israel doesn't deny its
attack on the ship at all; moreover, it's not known for sure if North Korea actually
possesses nuclear weapons, whereas there's no uncertainty about Israel's large
stockpile.
So there you have it. Hypocrisy reigns. Despite my best fantasizing. Is hypocrisy a
moral failing or a failure of the intellect? When President Obama says, as he has
often, "No one is above the law" and in his next breath makes it clear that his
administration will not seek to indict Bush or Cheney for any crimes, does he think
that no one will notice the contradiction, the hypocrisy? That's a callous disregard
for public opinion and/or a dumbness worthy of his predecessor.
And when he declares: "The future does not belong to those who gather armies on a
field of battle or bury missiles in the ground", 4does it not occur to him at all that
he's predicting a bleak outlook for the United States? Or that his conscious,
deliberate policy is to increase the size of America's army and its stockpile of
missiles?
Comrades, can the hypocrisy and the lies reach such a magnitude that enough
American true believers begin to question their cherished faith, so that their number
reaches a critical mass and explodes? Well, it's already happened with countless
Americans, but it's an awfully formidable task keeping pace with what is turned out
by the mass media and education factories. They're awfully good at what they do.
Too bad. But don't forsake the struggle. What better way is there to live this life?
And remember, just because the world has been taken over by lying, hypocritical,
mass-murdering madmen doesn't mean we can't have a good time.
Bad guys and good guys
In Lahore, Pakistan, reported the Washington Post on May 29, "Militants staged
coordinated attacks ... on two mosques of a minority Muslim sect, taking hostages
and killing at least 80 people. ... At least seven men armed with grenades, highpowered rifles and suicide vests stormed the mosques as Friday prayers ended."
Nice, really nice, very civilized. It's no wonder that decent Americans think that this
is what the United States is fighting against ” Islamic fanatics, homicidal maniacs,
who kill their own kind over some esoteric piece of religious dogma, who want to
kill Americans over some other imagined holy sin, because we're "infidels". How can
we reason with such people? Where is the common humanity the naive pacifists and
anti-war activists would like us to honor?
And then we come to the very last paragraph of the story: "Elsewhere in Pakistan on
Friday, a suspected U.S. drone-fired missile struck a Taliban compound in the South
Waziristan tribal area, killing eight, according to two officials in the region." This, we
are asked to believe by our leaders, is a higher level of humanity. The United States
does this every other day, sending robotic death machines called Predators flying
over Afghanistan and Pakistan, to send Hellfire missiles screaming into wedding
parties, funerals, homes, not knowing who the victims are, not caring who the
victims are, many hundreds of them by now, as long as Washington can claim each
time ” whether correctly or not ” that amongst their number was a prominent
infidel, call him Taliban, or al Qaeda, or insurgent, or militant. How can one reason
with such people, the ones in the CIA who operate the drone flights? What is the
difference between them and a suicide bomber? The suicide bomber becomes one of
the victims himself and sees his victims up close before killing them. The CIA
murderer bomber sits safely in a room in Nevada or California and pretends he's
playing a video game, then goes out to dinner while his victims lay dying. The
suicide bomber believes passionately in something called paradise. The murderer
bomber believes passionately in something called flag and country.
The State Department's Legal Advisor justifies the Predator bombings as ... yes, "selfdefense". 5 Try reasoning with that.
These American drone bombings are of course the height of aggression, the ultimate
international crime. They were used over Iraq as well beginning in the 1990s. In
December 2002, shortly before the US invasion in March, the Iraqis finally managed
to shoot one down. This prompted a spokesman for the US Central Command, which
oversees US military operations in the Middle East, to call it another sign of Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein's "campaign of military aggression." 6
This particular piece of hypocrisy may have actually been outdone by Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld's comment about the US flights and bombings over Iraq
during that period: "It bothers the dickens out of me that US and British pilots are
getting fired at day after day after day, with impunity." 7
Send me a stamped self-addressed envelope for a copy of the revised edition of "An
arsonist's guide to the homes of Pentagon officials".
When politicians misbehave. By speaking the truth.
The German president, Horst Koehler, resigned last week because he said something
government officials are not supposed to say. He said that Germany was fighting in
Afghanistan for economic reasons. No reference to democracy. Nothing about
freedom. Not a word about Good Guys fighting Bad Guys. The word "terrorism" was
not mentioned at all. Neither was "God". On a trip to German troops in Afghanistan
he had declared that a country such as Germany, dependent on exports and free
trade, must be prepared to use military force. The country, he said, had to act "to
protect our interests, for example, free trade routes, or to prevent regional
instability which might certainly have a negative effect on our trade, jobs and
earnings".
"Koehler has said something openly that has been obvious from the beginning," said
the head of Germany's Left Party. "German soldiers are risking life and limb in
Afghanistan to defend the export interests of big economic interests." 8
Other opposition politicians had called for Koehler to take back the remarks and
accused him of damaging public acceptance of German military missions abroad. 9
As T.S. Eliot famously observed: "Humankind can not bear very much reality."
What is the opposite of being a conspiracy theorist?
David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker magazine and former Washington Post
reporter, has a new book out, "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama". In
the three pages Remnick devotes to Obama's 1983-4 employment at Business
International Corporation in New York he makes no mention of the well-known ties
between BIC and the CIA. In 1977, for example, the New York Times revealed that
BIC had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries during earlier
years of the Cold War; 10BIC also attempted to penetrate the radical left, including
Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). 11
Did Remnick not think it at all interesting and worthy of mention that the future
president worked for more than a year with a company that was a CIA asset? Even if
the company and the CIA made no attempt to recruit Obama, which in fact they may
have done? It's this kind of obvious omission that helps feed the left's conspiracy
thinking.
Because Remnick has impeccable establishment credentials the book has been
widely reviewed. But none of the many reviewers has seen fit to mention this
omission. And the way it works of course is that if it's not mentioned, it didn't
happen. And if you mention such a thing, you're a pathetic conspiracy theorist. Like
me, who discussed it in the January edition of this report. 12
Spam, myself and my readers
As some of you now know, someone hacked into my website and used my address
book to send out emails to many of the readers of this report. The emails indicated
that they had been sent by me and directed people to a website which sells
handbags, shoes and watches. What bothers me the most about this incident is that
several of my readers believed that it was actually me who had sent out the emails,
that I was peddling handbags, shoes and watches. The only thing I sell are books.
But I think these readers have now learned something about spam. And hopefully
about me.
Oh, by the way, can I interest any of you in some nice T-shirts, hats, or sunglasses?
Notes
1. Charlie Rose Live, June 2, 2010 program ??
2. Associated Press, June 4, 2010 ??
3. State Department press conference, May 24, 2010 ??
4. Talk given in Moscow, July 7, 2009, text released by the White House ??
5. National Public Radio, March 26, 2010 ??
6. Washington Post, December 24, 2002 ??
7. Associated Press, September 30, 2002 ??
8. London Times Online, May 31, 2010 ??
9. Associated Press, May 31, 2010 ??
10. New York Times, December 27, 1977, p.40 ??
11. Carl Oglesby, "Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar
Movement" (2008), passim ??
12. William Blum, The Anti-Empire Report, January 3rd, 2009 ??
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
August 7, 1981, Friday
'Literaturnaya Gazeta' on US Chemical and Germ Weapons for Afghanistan
SOURCE: (a) Tass in English 1503 gmt 5 Aug 81
Text of report of 'Literaturnaya Gazeta' article of 5th August, ''Gases and bacilli for
export''
SECTION: Part 1 The USSR; A. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS; 3. THE FAR EAST ;
SU/6795/A3/1;
LENGTH: 350 words
'Literaturnaya Gazeta' writes today [5th August] that ''the malicious liars in
Washington have to this day no proof, nothing except gossip, about the alleged use
of chemical weapons by Soviet troops in Afghanistan''. ''And this is natural because
the Soviet government was the initiator of the international ban on any types of
chemical and bacteriological weapons'', the newspaper stresses commenting on a
statement by US Secretary of State Alexander Haig about an alleged use of chemical
weapons by the Russians in Afghanistan.
''The inspection proposed by Mr Haig might be started, say, in Kabul, with the
stockpile of captured American arms that were taken from Afghan counterrevolutionaries. I was recently shown there hand grenades with CN gas, the latest
specimen of the CIA's contraband arms supplies to the rebels. Perhaps Mr Haig is
actually prepared to make an inspection and to tell us frankly in what way CIA
agents are taking chemical weapons to Afghanistan?
''And here is another object for inspection by Mr Haig - American hand-grenades
with CS-517 gas captured from the rebels. Such grenades were used twice by them.
Once near the city of Herat last year and then in the area of Gazni last spring. These
grenades have distinct factory markings: ''Made at the Federal Laboratory in
Salisbury, Pennsylvania, USA.'' But inasmuch as Mr Haig is making so much noise
over, we agree to inspect any time, even tomorrow, the secret chemical arsenal in
Pennsylvania and other sources of supply of such weapons to the Afghan bandits'',
the dispatch says.
A group of staff members of the Maryland University, who have been in Pakistan for
several months now, are busy with mysterious laboratory tests at the scientific
medical centre in Lahore. Professor B. Lodh, the noted Pakistani scientist, accuses
the visiting American experimentalists in Lahore of ''testing on people new means of
chemical and germ warfare''.
''So, in accordance with Mr Haig's wishes, there are many places, like the abovementioned one, worthy of ''verification measures'', the newspaper says.
The Press Trust of India
September 3, 2008 Wednesday
Obama's mother may have spent five years in Pakistan
SECTION: NATIONWIDE INTERNATIONAL NEWS
LENGTH: 399 words
DATELINE: Islamabad Sept 3
US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama's mother Ann Dunham may have spent five
years in Pakistan, working as an employee of the Asian Development Bank, about 15
years ago.
In a story headlined "Obama's mother stayed in Pakistan for five years", leading
Urdu newspaper 'Daily Waqt' reported that Dunham was hired as a consultant by
the Asian Development Bank and travelled often from Lahore to Gujranwala.
"Ann Dunham lived in Pakistan for five years. During this time, Barack Obama also
visited his mother and stayed for a few months. Ann Dunham was hired as a
consultant by the Asian Development Bank for Pakistan's Agricultural Development
Bank's Gujranwala Agricultural Development Programme. This programme began in
1987 and ended in 1992," the report said.
Obama's Pakistan connection was widely speculated in both the local and
international media since his infamous remark last year that if elected as President,
he may send troops to Pakistan to hunt down terrorists.
According to the daily, Dunham monitored funds received for the agricultural
programme from the Asian Development Bank and trained mobile credit officers of
the local agricultural bank.
"She stayed for five years in Hilton International Hotel (now Avari Hotel) in Lahore
and after returning from Pakistan, she died from cancer within three years," the
report said.
Obama himself has been citing his 1981 visit to Pakistan in a bid to counter rivals'
accusations that he lacks foreign policy experience.
"Mr Obama visited Pakistan in 1981, on the way back from Indonesia, where his
mother and half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, were living. He spent about three weeks
there... Staying in Karachi with the family of a college friend, Mohammed Hasan
Chandoo, but also traveling to Hyderabad, in India," a report in the New York Times
quoted his campaign manager as saying.
Obama is believed to have had a number of Pakistani friends during his college days,
and it was that friendship that brought him to Pakistan.
In Obama's memoir "In dreams from my father", he talks of having a Pakistani
roommate when he moved to New York, a man he calls Sadik, who "had overstayed
his tourist visa and now made a living in New York's high-turnover, illegal
immigrant work force, waiting on tables".
During his years at Occidental College, Obama befriended Wahid Hamid, a fellow
student who was an immigrant from Pakistan and travelled with Obama
there.
The Sunday Times (London)
January 28, 2007
Secrets of Obama family unlocked
BYLINE: Michael Sheridan Jakarta and Sarah Baxter Washington
SECTION: OVERSEAS NEWS; News; Pg. 25
LENGTH: 1296 words
WHEN Barack Obama, America's newest presidential hopeful, was hit by allegations
that he had attended a radical Islamic madrasah school as a boy in Indonesia, the
claims spread like a virus through the media and internet.
It was a lie -the school was barely more religious than British church schools - but it
was also a sign that Obama's chances of winning the presidency depend to an
unusual degree on his life story and character.
The race is on to define the gifted but little-known senator for Illinois and The
Sunday Times can reveal that his heritage is far more diverse and astonishing than
anything American voters have heard so far.
Obama, 45, has two half- sisters, one living in Britain, and five surviving halfbrothers, the eldest of whom converted to Islam, and whose stories span the globe.
Nobody was more surprised to hear that Obama had reportedly been educated in a
madrasah than Julia Suryakusuma, a close friend of his mother until her death from
ovarian cancer in 1995.
Suryakusuma, 53, one of Indonesia's most outspoken feminist writers, has fearlessly
taken on extremist Muslim clerics in print. Last week she described Ann Dunham,
Obama's mother, "as a liberal and a humanist", who learnt to speak fluent
Indonesian and adored the culture.
"She was interested in religions but didn't follow one. She was a free thinker,"
Suryakusuma said. "She was a pioneer and when she came to Indonesia she was
ensnared and enchanted."
On the coffee table in her cool modern house in Jakarta, full of the beautiful
Indonesian fabrics and carvings which captivated her friend, lies an album of
photographs which record the happy times.
There is Dunham, pale-skinned, jolly and frizzy-haired, celebrating with her friends
at an art gallery opening or a drinks party, wearing the baggy, free-flowing clothes
often favoured by bohemian western women in Asia. She always seemed to be
laughing.
"You know Ann was really, really white," smiled Suryakusuma, looking through the
album, "even though she told me she had some Cherokee blood in her. I think she
just loved people of a different skin colour, brown people."
Dunham was from Wichita, Kansas, but her parents moved to Hawaii in search of a
better life. According to Obama, a distant ancestor was a "full-blooded Cherokee".
Dunham's first marriage was to a Kenyan student, also called Barack Obama,
but he left the family to study at Harvard and returned to Africa.
She went on to marry Lolo Soetoro, another foreign student, and moved to his native
Indonesia with six-year-old Barack in 1967, after the new dictator Suharto
summoned the country's citizens home.
Soetoro became a government relations consultant with a big US oil company. "He
changed when he came back to Indonesia," Suryakusuma recalled. "Men can be a
certain way when they are in the West and when they come back they are sucked
into their own culture."
In his memoir, Dreams from My Father, first published in 1995, Obama
does not conceal the estrangement between his mother and stepfather as Soetoro
made compromises with Indonesia's power elite. They divorced and he died
decades later of a liver complaint.
At 10, Obama returned to Hawaii, where he lived with his grandparents and
attended an elite private school. His mother went back to Indonesia with Obama's
half-sister Maya, now a professor at the University of Hawaii, and became an expert
on the "feminine crafts", such as weaving and basket-making, practised by the
women of Java.
Suryakusuma recalled that Dunham called her son "Berry" -Barry with an
Indonesian lilt. "We were both mothers and we talked about how difficult it was for
a mother to separate herself and send her child away, but she was really concerned
about Barry's education."
She first met Obama when he came to visit his mother as a young adult. "She was so
proud of him. I remember she was glowing with pride when he became the first
black president of the Harvard Law Review.
"You know, having a white mother and a black father and coming to Indonesia,"
Suryakusuma reflected, "I could see he had the same kind of empathy with people
that his mother had."
Obama's multi-hued heritage has put a distance between him and the AfricanAmerican community, which has been reluctant to claim him as a "brother".
America's white community, in contrast, has embraced Obama as a hopeful
affirmation that the fabled melting pot can transcend race. With his middle name
Hussein (like Saddam) and surname Obama (like Osama), he is a rare and exotic
figure in American politics.
"I believe the American electorate is ready to support leaders who embody the
American dream despite their differences. In doing so, we affirm ourselves as a
tolerant people," said William Galston, a senior fellow in public policy at the
Brookings Institution in Washington.
Yet there are details in Obama's life that have yet to be subjected to full scrutiny. It
may not be the information itself that matters, according to Galston, but "how
Obama talks about the facts as they emerge and handles questions and
controversies".
The Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet was the first to spot in 2004, when
Obama burst on the national stage at the Democratic party convention, that his
memoir, Dreams from My Father, contained "composite" characters and changed
names.
"Except for public figures and his family, it is impossible to know who is real and
who is not," she pointed out.
Obama admitted as much in his introduction, saying he had altered characters "for
the sake of their privacy". As with the revelation that he took cocaine in his youth, he
appears to have been candid about potential areas of controversy.
Obama's African family is particularly complicated. By his own account, his father
never really left Kezia, his first wife, in Kenya. She bore Obama Sr two children, Roy
and Auma, who now works in social services in Berkshire.
They were separated, Obama's mother claimed, but "it was a village wedding and
there was no document that could suggest a divorce".
His own father and mother's wedding in Hawaii may not have been properly
documented either. "How and when the marriage occurred remains a bit murky, a
bill of particulars that I have never quite had the courage to explore," Obama
writes in his memoir.
After his father left Ann and two-year-old Barack to study at Harvard, he went to
Africa with another American woman, Ruth, who became his third wife. She bore
him two sons in Kenya, one of whom died in a motorcycle accident, but Obama
Sr continued to see Kezia.
"Traditionally, she was still his wife," a relative explained. Kezia went on to bear two
more sons, Abo and Bernard. Although their paternity is disputed by some relatives,
Obama Sr regarded them as his own. Later in life, he fathered another son, George,
by a young Kenyan woman.
After his parents split up, Obama saw his father only once before learning that he
had died in a car crash in Kenya in 1982.
eldest brother Roy moved to America and went on to convert to Islam.
Obama, in contrast, became a committed Christian while he was working as a
community activist in Chicago. Last week he denounced the reports that he was
educated in a madrasah as a "ludicrous" smear.
Larry Sabato, professor of political science at the University of Virginia, believes
Obama's richly textured African and Indonesian background will attract voters, no
matter how controversial it is.
"America loves a success story -the new generation that rises from the sins and
misfortunes of the older generation," Sabato said.
In Indonesia, Suryakusuma said she could still feel the "warm" presence of Obama's
mother Ann. "She would be so proud if she knew about Barry, so proud to think that
her little boy would be running for president of the United States."
Additional reporting: Dewi Loveard in Jakarta
Xinhua General News Service
SEPTEMBER 28, 1991, SATURDAY
pakistan prime minister meets afghan mujahideen leaders
LENGTH: 205 words
DATELINE: islamabad, september 28; ITEM NO: 0928180
pakistan prime minister nawaz sharif today had an intensive discussion with afghan
mujahideen leaders on the situation in afghanistan with both the sides stressing the
need for an early political solution of the afghanistan issue, the official associated
press of pakistan (app) reported. during the meeting which lasted three hours and
was held in lahore, 265 kms southeast of islamabad, all the afghan mujahideen
leaders spoke on the current situation in afghanistan and particularly referred to
the need for an early political settlement of the issue, pakistan foreign secretary
shehryar khan was quoted as saying in lahore. the mujahideen leaders appreciated
pakistan's support to mujahideen and affirmed the need for unity at this "critical
time" in the discussions, shehryar khan said. it was agreed at the discussions that a
delegation, representing afghan mujahideen and to be led by sibghatuallah
mujaddadi, president of the afghan interim government based in peshawar,
pakistan, will be in new york tomorrow (september 29) in connection with the u.n.
general assembly session, where the members of the delegation would meet the
foreign ministers and in particular the soviet foreign minister, shehryar khan said.
United Press International
February 15, 1993, Monday, BC cycle
Afghan president said to offer to step down
BYLINE: BY ANWAR IQBAL
SECTION: International
LENGTH: 618 words
DATELINE: ISLAMABAD, Pakistan
Another peace delegation left Pakistan on Monday for Kabul for talks with the
warring Afghan factions amid reports that President Burhanuddin Rabbani has
agreed to step down.
Diplomatic and Afghan sources in Islamabad said Rabbani agreed to resign his
office, but not immediately, as demanded by his rival Gulbadin Hekmatyar.
The dispute is one key issue behind a series of clashes between the various
mujahideen groups who have continued to fight each other since last April, when
they won a 13-year war against a Soviet-installed government.
The sources said Rabbani now is proposing that he stay in power for another year
before he resigns, thereby giving the nine main mujahideen parties time to finalize a
future administrative setup and to hold the elections demanded by Hekmatyar's
Hezb-i-Islami party.
Rabbani earlier had insisted that he should be allowed to complete the two-year
term to which he was elected. Most mujahideen groups, however, have refused to
recognize the consultative council that elected Rabbani in December to a two-year
term after he completed an initial four-month term.
A Hezb-i-Islami spokesman denied a report from Kabul that Hekmatyar had agreed
to let Rabbani rule for another year.
''As far as we are concerned, he is an illegitimate ruler and we want him to quit as
precondition for our talks with his Jamiyat-i-Islami party,'' the spokesman said.
Hekmatyar previously agreed to give Rabbani's party an equal share with other
parties in any future administrative setup, but he is unwilling to recognize Rabbani
as the sole ruler.
Rabbani, who appears to be losing his military grip on Kabul, asked one of
Hekmatyar's allies in Pakistan, the religious Jamaat-i-Islami party, to negotiate a
peace between him and Hekmatyar.
The Jamaat chief, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, flew Monday to Kabul with an eight-member
delegation on a plane sent by the Afghan government. The peace talks come during a
cease-fire that took effect Monday.
Rabbani's special envoy, Syed Noorullah Emad, traveled from Kabul to accompany
the negotiators and returned from Pakistan with them.
The Jamaat-i-Islami developed close ties with several Afghan mujahideen groups
during their 13-year war against the Soviet army and the Soviet-installed
Communist regime in Kabul.
Qazi had a lengthy meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Pakistan, John F. Monjo,
before his departure for Kabul.
Sources in his Jammat-i-Islami party said Monjo, who drove to Qazi's headquarters
in Lahore, indicated a change in U.S. Afghan policy during the talks.
The United States previously was unwilling to accept Hekmatyar as a major partner
in any government in Kabul because of his fundamentalist beliefs.
But the U.S. attitude apparently changed after Rabbani failed in a Jan. 19 offensive to
oust Hekmatyar from the area surrounding Kabul.
The U.S. goverment also observed a change in Hekmatyar's attitude toward other
moderate Afghan groups, including the former Communist militia of Gen. Rasheed
Dostum, the sources said.
Hekmatyar previously refused to have any dealings with Dostum because of his
association with the former Communist regime. But he now appeared willing to
negotiate a future arrangement with him, diplomatic sources in Islamabad said.
The warring factions in Kabul officially observed the truce which took effect Monday
morning to help the peace talks, although fighting stopped in most places by
Saturday night.
The truce was negotiated by Gen. Hameed Gul, former chief of Pakistan's military
intelligence, who supervised training and arms supplies to the Afghan guerrillas
during their war against the Soviet army.
The Associated Press
July 12, 1980, Saturday, PM cycle
Rebels Claim to Kill 18 Soviets in Afghan Fighting
SECTION: International News
LENGTH: 447 words
DATELINE: ISLAMABAD, Pakistan
Anti-communist Afghan rebels today claimed to have killed 18 Soviet troops,
arrested five others and destroyed one helicopter, three tanks and three other
military vehicles in four separate attacks in Afghanistan.
Informed diplomatic sources here said small scale guerrilla activity was going on in
areas mentioned by the rebels but each incident could not be independently
confirmed.
The Islamic Alliance for Liberation of Afghanistan, a five-party grouping of the
Moslem rebels fighting Afghanistan's Marxist government and the Kremlin's 6 1/2
month intervention in their homeland, said 11 Soviets were killed and one
helicopter was shot down in Ghazni City, capital of the southeastern province of
Ghazni.
It said the Mujahideen rebels, or freedom fighters, killed seven Soviets and seized
five others in the town of Korbagh, in Parwan province north of the Afghan capital of
Kabul. There, three military vehicles were destroyed, the rebels said.
At a farm in Nangarahar province, located close to Afghanistan's eastern border
with Pakistan, the rebels destroyed one Soviet tank, the group said, adding that
fighting continued today at Jalalabad, the provincial capital.
The group said that in the southeastern province of Paktia, rebels captured two
tanks which were in a good condition but because the rebels are not trained to man
tanks they were set afire.
Meanwhile, the Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda, in a dispatch from
Kabul, quoted Afghanistan's defense minister as saying the government's armed
forces in recent months had considerably improved its "combat capacity" because of
help from the Kremlin. The Soviets poured some 80,000 Red Army troops into
Afghanistan in December to help the Marxist Kabul government in its two-year fight
against the rebels.
Afghan Defense Minister Mohammad Rafi was quoted as saying the army enjoyed
"active support" from the population and had dealt "heavy blows" against rebel
forces.
His comments ran counter to Western reports out of Afghanistan this week that the
rebels were being joined by thousands of defecting Afghan army troops who
brought with them sophisticated Soviet-made small arms.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan National Alliance, a group of five banned opposition
parties, said their country had become "a graveyard, and the nation is completely
paralyzed" because of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and a ban on political
activities in Pakistan.
The group, meeting in Lahore, 180 miles southeast of here, warned Pakistani
President Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq that if democracy was not returned to the
country within six weeks it would launch a nationwide agitation to remove his
government.
The Economist
March 7, 1992
Changing spies
BYLINE: FROM OUR PAKISTAN CORRESPONDENT
SECTION: World politics and current affairs; ASIA; Pg. 34 (U.K. Edition Pg. 66)
LENGTH: 308 words
DATELINE: LAHORE
CYNICS sometimes call Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) the
Invisible Soldiers of Islam -- and with reason. Under Zia ul Haq, ISI generals covertly
fuelled the Afghan jihad (holy war) against the Kabul government while disabling
democratic opposition in Pakistan.
Why then was the ISI's head, Major-General Asad Durrani, sacked on March 1st?
Presumably because the ISI was failing to implement the government's new policy
of support for the United Nations peace plan for Afghanistan. Last December, the ISI
failed to persuade its Afghan mujahideen clients to release Russian prisoners of war.
Superficially, Lieutenant-General Javed Nasir, appointed on March 3rd to replace
General Durrani, fits the ideological mould. He belongs to the Tableeghi Jamaat
(Association of Missionaries) and is "a rigid preacher of Islam". The difference is that
he will toe the government line.
Some describe the appointment by the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, as "a balancing
act". Recently, Mr Sharif has come under fire from the Jamaat-i-Islami, a
fundamentalist Muslim partner in the ruling coalition, for "selling out" to the United
States by freezing Pakistan's nuclear programme and supporting the UN plan.
General Nasir's Islamic credentials may reassure the Jamaat that Pakistan has not
abandoned hardline Afghan groups like Gulbuddin Hikmatyar's Hizbe Islami.
The appointment should also end the ISI's feud with the Intelligence Bureau, a
civilian agency directly answerable to the prime minister. The bureau's head, Imtiaz
Ahmed, considered General Durrani too close to General Mirza Aslam Beg, who as
army chief defiantly criticised the sending of Pakistani troops in 1990 to help
America in the Gulf war. Just as General Beg's meddling led to his sacking, so too
with General Durrani. General Nasir has been warned.
IPS - Inter Press Service
November 6, 2008 Thursday
PAKISTAN-U.S.: OBAMA
'WILL BE GOOD' FOR MUSLIM NATION
BYLINE: Beena Sarwar
LENGTH: 939 words
DATELINE: KARACHI, Pakistan, Nov 6 2008
The most-watched polls ever in the world had their share of attention in Pakistan.
The nation was glued to news updates, TV talk shows, call-ins from Pakistanis living
in the United States and speeches by President-elect Barack Hussein Obama.
Chatter in tea-stalls and living-rooms continues to be dominated by the U.S.
presidential elections. The constant barrage of information streaming in from
dozens of television channels in multiple languages has ensured that "even an
illiterate person has been educated about these elections," said Abdul Jabbar, a
driver.
"This is the first time that someone with a dark skin has come into a position of such
power. Everyone is happy about it," Jabbar added.
Repairmen gathered by a broken elevator in an upmarket Karachi apartment
building on the evening of Nov 4 seemed elated. "He will be the first black president
of the U.S.," said one, indicating newspaper items to his colleagues as they squatted
on the floor over cups of sweet, milky tea.
Electric light from the broken elevator's open shaft illuminated the Urdu daily Aaj
Kal that he held open. They looked at a picture of Obama superimposed over an
image of the White House. A repairman poked his head out of the elevator shaft to
take a look. "I think this will be good for Pakistan," he said.
Many Pakistanis hope Obama's Muslim heritage will make him more understanding
of their culture, even though the president-elect has consciously distanced himself
from this heritage, even dropping the use of his middle name, Hussein.
As a student in Lahore told a TV reporter, explaining why Obama's election has
given hope after eight years. "He has some cells of Muslim blood."
Another student disagreed, saying that while Obama may be good for the United
States, "it doesn't make much difference to Pakistan."
There has been interest here about Obama's "Pakistan connection," stemming from
a college friend whom he mentions in his memoir Dreams From My Father. He is
also reported to have traveled to Pakistan in 1980 (when his mother Ann Dunham
worked here with a micro-credit finance project ) and in 1981 to visit a college
friend.
"Pakistanis grudgingly share the global excitement of Mr. Obama's victory,"
contends Islamabad-based political analyst Nasim Zehra, "Grudgingly, because many
have not forgotten his campaign rhetoric of possibly attacking Pakistani territory to
combat terrorism."
Former newspaper editor and ambassador to Washington Maleeha Lodhi, currently
a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, told a TV anchor that such rhetoric may
perhaps have been an attempt to "act and sound tough on Afghanistan and Pakistan"
since Obama had opposed the war in Iraq.
However, as Zehra points out, Pakistanis, who have a greater understanding of the
complexity of the terrorism problem and bear the high costs of this violence, "found
resolve to attack their territory both aggressive and na?ve." As many as 3,000
military and paramilitary and many more thousands of civilians have been killed
over the last five years as the "war on terror" has escalated.
"This notwithstanding, Pakistanis at the same time hope for and expect Obama, as
president, to be more patient, wiser and more multilateralist in the conduct of U.S.
foreign policy. There is also expectation in Pakistan that behind his combative
electioneering rhetoric exists a more informed outlook that will determine
America's choices," Zehra said.
victory speech both sober and thoughtful. He also indicated his willingness to reach
out and dialogue rather than use force. As he said in Chicago on the night of Nov. 4,
"the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of
our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty,
opportunity, and unyielding hope."
Obama's priorities were also indicated by his positive references to the working
poor, to women, the importance of building schools and creating jobs, and the
acknowledgement that "we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street
suffers".
The U.S. elections also reinforce the importance of the electoral process, a lesson
that many consider necessary for Pakistan to learn, given that its democratic
process has constantly been interrupted by governments being toppled under a
constitutional amendment introduced by a military dictator, or by military rule
itself.
Asked by a Pakistani reporter if the United States stood at a "moral crossroads"
given the policies of the past eight years and the change that has been promised, a
commentator responded with words that have consonance here: "That's why we
have elections. That is the beauty of the democratic process. People were not happy
with the previous policies, and the people have spoken."
Americans of Pakistani origin participated enthusiastically in the Obama campaign.
They included Omar Ali, a medical doctor in Illinois, who observed that the
campaign "mobilized more people than any U.S. campaign in history, and they were
friendly, enthusiastic, fair-minded and diverse Whites, Indians, Pakistanis,
Christians, Muslims, people of every group America at its best."
"I think he is very smart, and his campaign was probably the best-run campaign
history, so I have no doubt he will be competent and will pick good people and get
them to do good work," added Ali in a message sent to an e-mail list.
"Having said all that, I know he will be president of the United States, not some new
The Australian
May 15, 2003 Thursday All-round Country Edition
Fighting terror on a shoestring
SOURCE: MATP
BYLINE: Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor
SECTION: FEATURES-TYPE- FEATURE; Pg. 13
LENGTH: 973 words
Underfunding ASIS and ASIO betrays a serious lack of intelligence in this budget
WANT to hear something spooky? An extremely well informed foreign gentleman
(no need to be more specific) told me recently his Government hardly thought it
worthwhile to maintain a dedicated liaison effort with the Australian Secret
Intelligence Service.
The reason? ASIS is just so tiny that it is not a real organisation. It does some good
work in South-East Asia, but even there it is far from comprehensive and, in the eyes
of professionals in this field, has never reached critical mass.
ASIS is the nearest Australia has to a Central Intelligence Agency. It collects foreign
intelligence. It is a front-line agency for preventing terrorist attacks against
Australia. Its budget last year was $60 million. Just to give you an off-the-wall
comparison, that is about the same as the East-West Centre, an academic think-tank
you've probably never heard of, dedicated to improving US-Asia-Pacific relations,
located at the University of Hawaii.
We don't have anything like the resources of the US, but this is ridiculous. ASIS's
budget for this coming year will increase to $79 million. That is a big improvement
but it is still far short of what is needed. When most of your personnel operate
overseas you don't buy a big capacity for $79 million.
The situation is even worse for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Its
budget last year was $85 million. The Government's Budget documents are, as usual,
a model of opacity, based no doubt on Soviet precedents in the concealment of
information.
But ASIO's operating budget now appears to be $95 million.
This is just totally inadequate to the task. The Government has increased defence
expenditure to more than $15 billion in 2003/04, including all the one-offs such as
funding the war on Iraq. This takes defence spending close to 2 per cent of Gross
National Product. This is highly necessary and is justified mainly by the war on
terrorism.
But as the terrible suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia this week, in which an Australian
was killed, shows, the threat of mass terrorism, carried out by al-Qa'ida or similar
groups, is still very strong.
The armed forces play a crucial role in the fight against terrorism. But they cannot
stop a September 11, a Bali bombing, or the type of attack we saw in Riyadh this
week. The most likely way to stop such an action is through intelligence, domestic
and foreign.
In other words ASIO, and to a lesser extent ASIS, are the front-line agencies in the
war against terrorism. This column has supported the Government's attempts,
thwarted in the Senate, to modestly increase ASIO's powers so that it can combat
terrorism more effectively. But much more important is to give ASIO more
resources.
During the long Cold War, the primary threat to Australia, and the world, was a
devastating nuclear exchange. ASIO played its role in limiting this threat by
countering espionage by the Soviet Union.
Its work today involves the far more difficult and diffuse task of preventing al-Qa'ida
agents or sympathisers, or agents or sympathisers of similar groups, from
conducting mass terrorism against Australia. Yet ASIO today is much smaller than
during the Cold War.
According to people who monitor al-Qa'ida linked web sites and other al-Qa'ida
related communications, Australia appears in this chatter, as an enemy, all the time.
In fact analysts are frankly surprised at the frequency and prominence of Australia
in these communications. That means, as NSW Premier Bob Carr among others has
pointed out, that the likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia is actually very high.
Additional commandos in the army, new refuelling aeroplanes -- these are all
welcome and necessary, but they are far less likely to stop a terrorist action than
effective work by ASIO.
At the same time, all of ASIO's traditional tasks, and most of the traditional threats,
need to be dealt with.
Australia has recently re-established relationships with North Korea and Libya.
North Korea has a history of using its diplomatic network for drug-smuggling,
seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction technology and terrorism.
Libya has a record of using its diplomatic network for WMD technology and
terrorism.
Indeed when it last had an embassy here it actively recruited Arab-speaking
Australians to fight in a terrorist brigade, which is one of the reasons it was asked to
leave.
On balance, and notwithstanding this history, it is probably still a good idea to
resume these diplomatic relationships, to try to talk Pyongyang out of its nuclear
madness, and to try to make a buck out of Libya. But both these embassies surely
will require extensive watching by ASIO.
And watching, whether embassies or potential terrorists, is extremely labourintensive. There are numbers of Australians who have received explosives training
in al-Qa'ida terrorist camps. Professional intelligence people would scoff at the idea
of watching such people around the clock. ASIO doesn't have the manpower and it's
a waste of resources.
That is really bureaucrat-speak because it is not a waste of resources if such
surveillance stops someone from conducting an act of mass terrorism.
This is where the structure of Australia's counter-terrorist effort is wonky. Daryl
Williams is politically weak. Because there is no single co-ordinating body, and
certainly no single senior cabinet minister responsible for counter-terrorism
overall, no one is really fighting for the resources ASIO needs. More bureaucratically
powerful agencies such as Defence make sure their part of the intelligence effort is
well funded.
But the needs of the nation remain unmet. There is a serious lack of intelligence in
this budget.
Copyright 1998 THE STATESMAN (INDIA)
November 29, 1998
Are not all wars stupid?
SECTION: Pg. News
The epic wars of ancient times seem to have been fought over what Herodotus, the
world's very first historian, calls "Woman-stealing".
As it happens, he was not thinking of the Ramayana, which, of course, is a prime
example of his assumption. His Histories is confined to a somewhat narrow corner
of the world of which the centre was Greece and its boundaries a circle of about two
hundred miles.
In Ramayana, Ravana, the King of Sri Lanka, abducts Rama's beautiful wife, Seeta,
leaving Rama no option but to do his duty as a Kshatriya, to invade Sri Lanka to
rescue his wife.
He raises a vast army, builds a bridge across the strait that separates Sri Lanka from
India, defeats Ravana's army. Thousands of soldiers die and suffer wounds and
much havoc is caused to Ravana's capital and its environs.
And so the beautiful Seeta is rescued, but only to be discarded. For Rama says to her:
"We cannot live together, any more. How can a Kshatriya take back a wife who has
lived so long in a stranger's house?"
The wars over "woman-stealing" about which Herodotus writes are not much
different.
Io, the daughter of a Greek KIng, was beautiful. One day she heard that a foreign ship
had arrived at a nearby port. So she went to take a look at the goods the ship had
brought for sale. That was when, "suddenly the Phoenician sailors ... made a rush,
bundled her aboard the ship, which cleared at once and made off."
The Greeks, for their part, soon went on a princess-raiding expedition of Egypt.
Almost as though in exchange for their Io, they brought back the daughter of some
Egyptian king, Medea.
It is these raids and counter-raids for stealing beautiful princesses that are said to
have worked on the mind of a young man called Paris, the son of Priam, "to steal
himself a wife from Greece."
Paris had heard of a ravishingly beautiful princess called Helen. He carried out a raid
into her father's realm and managed to abduct Helen.
And thus began the Greek version of Ramayana: the Trojan War.
What better cause to fight a war than a beautiful woman? But Rama's attitude to
Seeta after her rescue seems to bear out Herodotus' common sense advice: "It seems
stupid, after the event, to make a fuss over it. The only sensible thing is to take no
notice.'
Sensible? But what tribal chief, whether Greek or Phoenician, would remain sensible
when some hooligans had kidnapped his daughter? Even if he was aware that there
was no real prospect of rescuing the stolen girl unravished - or indeed alive. There
was honour to be satisfied, an insult avenged. They were red-blooded men swayed
by emotions.
And stupid? - But are not all wars stupid? What was America's rationale for going
into Vietnam or Britain's into the Falklands? - or Soviet Russia's into Afghanistan?
DECLARED AIMS
At least, in those prehistoric times, they fought wars for declared aims. Not, as they
do today, promote secret wars in distant countries in pursuit of strategic aims.
Such as the Secret Wars which are the subject of Bob Woodward's book, Veil, which
covers the activities of the American C I A, through the eighties.
But let me begin by pointing out what Bob Woodward, intentionally or otherwise,
has omitted from his book. I went through its index and found no entry either for
"Encounter" or "The East-West Centre".
Encounter was a monthly magazine published in London, and in the sixties and
seventies, it had come to be regarded as "required reading" for those of us who
professed to be liberal intellectuals. Its scholarship and literary merit was of a very
high order. It was edited by Stephen Spender, one of Britain's most renowned poets,
and men and women of formidable talents were among its regular contributors.
And the East West Centre in Honolulu was an institution where scholars from the
East and the West forgathered, discussed issues, held classes and seminars.
It turned out that both Encounter and the East West Centre were funded by the CIA,
to promote its own strategic pursuits, and that discovery horrified many people who
had earlier been full of praise for them.
PUT OFF
Personally I don't see why they should have been so put off. After all if the C I A
spends some of its money to support a highbrow magazine which, left to its own
resources, had little chance of surviving? - well, why not? good for the C I A! Then
again, who but Uncle Sam has the sort of money to spend on treating scholars from
third-world backyards to all-expenses-paid holidays to enable them to mingle with
their counterparts from the richer lands?
But then subtle persuasion is not the C I A's style. The "Agency" believes in strongarm tactics, what the Americans call, "Kicking ass". Swing the sledgehammer ... and
bang!
Their rough and ready methods often create unforeseen fissures and reverse
resentments. And there is growing evidence that this is what has happened to the
network of agents they created in the wild hills that divide Baluchistan and the
Frontier Province of Pakistan.
Here the Pathans and the Baluchi have been nursing tribal feuds for centuries. It was
across their divide that the C I A built up its network of killer agents. They had to do
this through a sister service, Pakistan's own I S I. The Americans poured in money,
the gadgetry, the weapons, the knowhow; the I S I did the recruiting and training.
The combined efforts produced an elite corps of secret agents, the equals of the
Hamas or the Hizbulla in the arts of sabotage, arson, assassinations.
For ten years it worked without a hitch. Then the cold war stopped. The C I A pulled
out its forces from Pakistan. The flow of dollars suddenly ceased. And here were
these hundreds of men, highly trained, with neither control nor targets for the skills.
The old feuds reasserted themselves. Baluchis, Pathans found their own patrons.
There were others who were only too ready to take them on, and give them tasks
that were tailor-made for their skills.
In January 1993, one of these men, Mir Aimal Kansi, loitered near the gate of the C I
A's headquarters in Virginia. It was time for the offices to open. Presently a blue
Volkswagen drove up and paused for a red light. Kansi pulled out his AK-47 and
blew off the head of its driver, Frank Darling, who even though a C I A agent, had
worked in Karachi in a civilian capacity. Then Kansi fired more point-blank shots at
the waiting cars, killing four C I A agents and wounding another. Then he walked
away to his parked car and drove off. That same night, he took a PIA flight to
Karachi.
Two years later, another killer squad killed three C I A workers in Karachi, who, too
were working under cover, but of course they were known to their killers.
A C I A veteran, Victor Machet, now retired, said in an interview: "We did some
pretty dirty things together in Afghanistan."
Well, it looks as though others too have learned to play the same games. Osama Bin
Laden does not have to lok far for trained super-commandos.
www.consortiumnews.com/2010/020110a.html
Vietnam Replay on Afghan 'Defectors'
By Douglas Valentine
February 1, 2010
After waging an eight-year “dirty war” against the Taliban, the U.S. government is
acknowledging that the “insurgent” enemy is part of the “fabric” of Afghan society
and is encouraging low- and mid-level Taliban defectors to switch sides.
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U.S. and NATO officials are offering bribes drawn from a billion-dollar “Peace and
Reintegration Trust Fund” to get Taliban fighters to defect. Taliban leaders have
condemned the buyout strategy as a “trick” and warn that offers of reconciliation
will be futile unless all foreign troops leave Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, the gesture toward “peace” has resonated well
with opinion leaders and with elements of the U.S. public tired of war. But there is a
darker side to such “reconciliation” plans. In the past, defector programs have been
essential parts of brutal U.S. pacification efforts.
For example, the so-called Chieu Hoi “Open Arms” program in Vietnam is touted by
U.S. military strategists as having produced positive results by offering “clemency to
insurgents.” But even the publicity surrounding the “Open Arms” program had an
offensive, propaganda component, seeking to make “pacification” of the Vietnamese
countryside appear more humane.
Indeed, defector “amnesty” or “clemency” or “open arms” programs had little to do
with genuine “reconciliation,” but rather were just one component of the overall,
aggressive CIA intelligence and counterinsurgency operations.
Former CIA Director William Colby told me that CIA political action teams in
Vietnam (like Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan) employed defectors
whose job was to “go around the countryside and indicate to the people that they
used to be Vietcong and that the government has received them and taken them in,
and that the Chieu Hoi program does exist as a way of VC currently on the other side
to rally.”
Defectors “contact people like the families of known VC,” Colby said, “and provide
them with transportation to defector and refugee centers.”
Managing Language
Master spy Colby, who died in 1996, would certainly have agreed that information
management – language – is the essence of political warfare in general and defector
programs in particular, not just aimed at the indigenous population in the field but
also at the American body politic back home, which starts to see the war in a kinder,
gentler light.
The first step in this process is concocting a slogan that appeals to the sensibilities of
the target audiences – and particularly Americans – which is why defectors
programs are given names like “amnesty” or “clemency” or “open arms.”
Such cleverly crafted slogans may have no basis in reality. Instead, by appealing to
American (if not Vietnamese or Afghan) sensibilities, these slogans serve as the first
step in creating an aura of necessity around the violent repression of those
Vietnamese or Afghans who won’t do the “reasonable” thing and come over to the
American side.
Apart from using Madison Avenue-style slogans, the CIA also garners public
approval by composing and planting distorted articles in foreign and domestic
newspapers. The stories often portray the CIA’s operations as pleasant-sounding
Civic Action programs that are advertised as fostering freedom, patriotism,
brotherhood, democracy.
In CIA jargon, this manipulation of language is called “black propaganda” and is the
job of political and psychological (PP) warfare officers in the covert action branch.
“PP” officers played a major role in packaging the Phoenix Program for sale to the
American public as a program designed "to protect the people (of Vietnam) from
terrorism."
Intelligence Potential
Despite the warm and fuzzy language, these intelligence programs also have a nasty
side. The CIA launches a covert action program like the Taliban defector program
only if it is seen to have “intelligence poten­tial,” such as collecting information on
an enemy's political, military and economic infrastructure.
And defectors have superlative “intelligence potential.”
Not only are defectors valued for their ability to sap the enemy's fighting strength
and morale, but having worked on the inside, they can provide accurate and timely
intelligence on enemy unit strength and location. They also can serve as guides and
trackers, and after defecting, many are immediately returned to their area of
operations with a reaction force to locate hidden enemy arms or food caches.
Others defectors, after being screened and interrogated by security officers, are
turned into double agents. Defectors who return to their former positions inside
enemy military units or political organizations are, as Colby explained, provided
with a "secure" means of contacting their CIA case officer, to whom they feed
information leading to the arrest or ambush of enemy cadres, soldiers, and secret
agents.
Defector programs also provide CIA “talent scouts” with cover for recruiting
criminals into counter-terrorist and political action programs. Burglars, arsonists,
forgers and smugglers have unique skills and no compunctions about conducting
brutal interrogations. In Vietnam, the entire 52nd Ranger Battalion of the South
Vietnamese Army was recruited from Saigon prisons.
With President Barack Obama’s Afghan “surge” providing cover for more expansive
covert actions, CIA political and psychological warfare experts are moving to the
forefront of the occupation; and their Provincial Reconstruction Teams are at the
forefront of this “intelligence” surge, which explains why the Taliban defector
buyout program is being launched now. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Afghan ‘Dirty
War’ Escalates.”]
A Case Study
Already, under cover of Civic Action, the CIA has been waging “a dirty war” against
the Taliban using black propaganda, defectors, criminals, assassinations, selective
terror, indefinite detention and a slew of other devious tactics disguised as bringing
freedom and democracy, but in fact providing internal security for President Hamid
Karzai and his corrupt regime.
The CIA refined these practices in Vietnam, where it waged clandestine political and
psychological warfare, often working within the U.S. Information Service (USIS).
Ostensibly, the U.S. Information Agency had as its raison d'être the promotion of the
"Amer-ican way." In its crusade to convert the world into one big happy Chamber of
Commerce, the USIS employed all manner of “media,” from TV, radio and satellites
to armed propaganda teams, wanted posters, and selective terror.
Frank Scotton, a CIA officer under cover with the USIS, played a large role in political
and psychological operations (psyops) in Vietnam. A graduate of American
University's College of International Relations, Scot-ton received a government
graduate assistantship to the East-West Cen-ter at the University of Hawaii.
According to legendary CIA officer Lucien Conein, it was there that Scotton was
recruited into the CIA.
About the CIA-sponsored East-West Center, Scotton said, "It was a cover for a
training program in which Southeast Asians were brought to Hawaii and trained to
go back to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos to create agent nets."
After arriving in Vietnam in 1961, and initiating his vast agent net, Scotton turned
his attention to “energizing" the Vietnamese through political action that advanced
American policies.
Finding Assets
In looking for individuals to mold into unilateral political cadres, Scotton turned to
the CIA's defector program, which in April 1963 was placed under cover of the
Agency for International Development and named the Chieu Hoi (Open Arms)
amnesty program.
There Scotton found the raw material he needed to prove the viability of CIA
political action and psywar programs. In Pleiku Province, Scotton worked with
Vietnamese Special Forces Captain Nguyen Tuy (a graduate of Fort Bragg's Special
Warfare Center who commanded the Fourth Special Operations De-tachment) and
Tuy's case officer, U.S. Special Forces Captain Howard Walters.
As part of a pilot program designed to induce defectors, Scotton, Walters and Tuy
set up an ambush deep in Vietcong territory and waited until dark. When they
spotted a VC unit, Scotton yelled in Vietnamese through a bullhorn, "You are being
misled! You are being lied to! We promise you an education!" Then, full of purpose
and allegory, he shot a flare into the night sky and hollered, "Walk toward the light!"
To his surprise, two defectors did walk in, convincing him and his CIA bosses that "a
deter-mined GVN unit could contest the VC in terms of combat and propaganda."
Back in camp, Scotton told the VC defectors that they had to divest themselves of
untruths.
“We said that certainly the U.S. perpetrated war crimes, but so did the VC. We
acknowledged that theirs was the stronger force, but that didn't mean that
everything they did was honorable and good and just," Scotton said. (Today, you
could substitute Taliban for VC.)
The chief of CIA covert action programs, Tom Donohue, recognized the value of
intelligence obtained through defectors, and authorized the establishment of Chieu
Hoi programs in each of South Vietnam’s provinces. In typical CIA style, there was
nothing in writing, and nothing went through the central government.
The CIA’s security officer would oversee the Chieu Hoi Program in the provinces. If a
defector had potential, the province security officer put him on an airplane and sent
him to the central CIA re-indoctrination center, where he was plied with special
attention and wowed with CIA gadgetry. The food was spectacular, full of protein,
and the bullets weren’t flying.
Reeducation and Brainwashing
The training was vigorous, but the defectors were treated well, receiving medical
care for infections while putting on weight. Other defectors would explain the
beauty of the American Way, and other applicable lessons of the day.
This brainwashing is "precisely" what political warfare is all about: Having been
selected into a "special" program and given "special" treatment, defectors are taught
the corporate sales pitch, cross-trained as interchangeable parts for efficiency, then
given one last motivational booster shot of schmaltz.
Scotton called his program “motivational indoctrination.”
While sounding almost comical – brimming with the over-the-top enthusiasm of an
Amway convention or a religious revival – these programs, in reality, were deadly
serious business. Today, they are conducted secretly at high-security CIA bases in
Afghanistan.
All defector debriefing reports are certainly sent to the CIA station in Kabul for
analysis and collation. Translations are, typically, never considered accurate unless
read and confirmed in the original language by the same person, but that rarely
happens.
The defector program also will likely be exploited by Taliban secret agents, just as
the Chieu Hoi program was penetrated in Vietnam.
According to Douglas McCollum, who monitored the Chieu Hoi program in three
provinces in Vietnam, “It was the biggest hole in the net. They'd come in; we'd hold
them, feed them, clothe them, get them a mat. Then we'd release them, and they'd
wander around the city for a while, and then disappear.”
Defectors and Phoenix
In June 1967, the CIA’s Chieu Hoi defector program was incorporated within its
newly established Phoenix Program, as it was organized by CIA officer Nelson
Brickham, who appreciated Chieu Hoi as "one of the few areas where police and
paramilitary advisers cooperated."
The Phoenix program was designed to coordinate all intelligence programs in South
Vietnam so the CIA could better identify and neutralize Viet Cong political cadre. As
Brickham said, “My motto was to recruit them; if you can't recruit them, defect them
(that's Chieu Hoi); if you can't defect them, capture them; if you can't capture them,
kill them."
Brickham also emphasized that Chieu Hoi was a means for the CIA to develop
“unilateral penetrations unknown to the [South Vietnamese] police." In other words,
if the CIA follows a similar approach in Afghanistan, the Taliban defector buyout
program would be conducted unilaterally by the CIA, apart from the Karzai
government.
From 1967 onwards, all "rallied" VC cadre were included in Phoenix neutralization
statistics, and by 1969 more than 100,000 defectors had been processed through 51
Chieu Hoi centers.
The Phoenix Program sought to resolve the “revolving door syndrome” by arranging
through the SIDE (Screening, Interrogation and Detention of the Enemy) Program
the construc-tion of permanent detention facilities; a registration system
coordinated with Chieu Hoi programs; and judicial reform aimed at the rapid
disposal of pending cases, as devised by Robert Harper, a lawyer on contract to the
CIA.
Through Phoenix, the CIA also began a policy of offering Chieu Hoi status to
informers.
From the language of the Phoenix reports, one could easily think that the Chieu Hoi
program was a great success. But many Chieu Hoi defectors simply regurgitated the
American line in order to win amnesty, make a quick visit to their families, enjoy a
few home-cooked meals, and then return to the war for independence, fat and
rested.
Genuine Chieu Hoi defectors were pariahs who were not accepted back in their
villages.
Jim Ward, the senior CIA officer in charge of Phoenix in the Delta (1967-1969)
described the Chieu Hoi defection process as follows: Upon arriving at the Chieu Hoi
center, the defector was "interviewed" and, if he had information on the Vietcong
infrastructure (VCI), was sent to the CIA’s Province Interrogation Center; if he had
tactical military information, he was sent to military interrogators.
Next came political in-doctrination, lasting from 40-60 days, depending on the
individual. "They had a formal course," said Ward. "They were shown movies and
given lectures on democracy."
Upon graduation each was given an ID card, a meal, some money, and a chance to
repent.
Psy-War
Despite his praise for the Chieu Hoi program, Ward said that "Amer-icans should
have been targeted only against the North Vietnamese and left the South
Vietnamese forces to handle the insurgency," even though such a strategy would
have precluded Phoenix.
The same lesson applies in Afghanistan. In the eight-plus years of occupation, the
U.S. and NATO forces have come to be viewed by many Afghanis as occupiers
responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. So, the United States
must rely on psychological ploys, rather than any appeal to nationalism, to win the
Afghanis over to the American Way of doing things.
That is how rewards and bounty programs have become business as usual. That is
why the U.S. is instituting a defector program, with a publicity campaign managed in
the field by psyops teams replete with radios, leaflets, posters, banners, TV shows,
movies, comic books falling from planes, and loudspeakers mounted on trucks to
spread the word – much as happened in Vietnam.
On Jan. 22, 1970, 38,000 leaflets were dropped over three villages in Go Vap District.
Addressed to specific VCI members, they read: "Since you have joined the NLF, what
have you done for your family or your village and hamlet? Or have you just broken
up the happiness of many families and destroyed houses and land? Some people
among you have been awakened recently, they have deserted the Communist ranks
and were received by the GVN and the people with open arms and family affection.
“You should be ready for the end if you remain in the Communist ranks. You will be
dealing with difficulties bigger from day to day and will suffer serious failure when
the ARVN expand strongly. You had better return to your family where you will be
guaranteed safety and helped to establish a new life."
Similar psyops leaflets will be aimed at creating defectors in Afghanistan. The
Taliban will be portrayed as a socially disruptive force that will inevitably lose. But
the Americans can only reach the "people" only through "media" like leaflets and
loudspeakers – an indication of just how far removed the CIA is from the reality of
life in Afghanistan’s rural villages.
And while the CIA relies on cartoons to sell itself, the Taliban go from person to
person, proving that technology was no substitute for human contact. Ultimately,
the United States was defeated in Vietnam for just this reason.
Though packaged as a new initiative, the Taliban defector buyout program simply
heralds a replay of the Vietnam experience in Afghanistan – nothing new in the grim
world of counterinsurgency.
Douglas Valentine is author of The Phoenix Program, which is available through
Amazon, as well as The Strength of the Wolf and the new book Strength of the Pack.
http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/14/%E2%80%98it%E2%80%99s-happeningfaiz%E2%80%99.html
‘It’s happening, Faiz’
By Naomi Lazard | InpaperMagzine
February 14, 2011
Faiz Ahmed Yasser Arafat
With friend Yasser Arafat
I met Faiz in 1979 when he was 68. It was in Honolulu. We had both been invited to
what was billed as a writer’s conference. We were from several countries, some
Americans, and the others from countries lining the shores of the Pacific Ocean,
Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and others. Faiz didn’t fit any of these criteria. I
never knew what brought him there. But that question had no importance and never
came up. We were guests of the East-West Center, which I understood to be a quasiCIA cold war institution designed to keep track of Pacific Basin political maneuvers.
Within a very short time it was clear Faiz was the group’s vital centre.
At the East-West Center there were lots of meetings, lots of talk about crosspollination between cultures. We were there to cross-pollinate each other. It was 25
years ago in February; it is now the 25th anniversary of the beginning of our
translation project. It was a condensed and intense time. Faiz left after six weeks.
Bhutto was executed while we were in Honolulu. Faiz was greatly affected. Bhutto’s
trial and execution cast a terrible pall over all our time there.
But beyond politics, national villainy and disasters, what happens when a supremely
gifted, immensely endowed, highly articulate artist suddenly appears in the midst of
aspiring writers struggling to find their voices and their way? I was there and know
the answer. This man from the ancient culture on the other side of the world
entered that curious so-called inter-cultural writers’ workshop like a blast of
enlightenment in the form of an elderly, soft-voiced, short, rather stout eminence. It
was obvious he was eminent. He was also highly amused by the proceedings, given
to frequent bursts of throaty infectious laughter.
The proceedings, the venue itself, were, to an objective eye, amusing. The building,
sited within a park-like area (it’s hard to get away from the verdant Hawaiian
landscape) was without windows. You could not look outside from any room at the
Center; the rooms were sealed against daylight. Something else — we were there
during the rainy season. It rained everyday, sometimes hard. Nevertheless, the
sprinkler system was never adjusted for the weather. In the intervals the rain
abated for a while, day or night, the well-functioning sprinklers caught you,
wherever you were, with their drenching spray. It was also clear that his eminence
and I shared a keen disregard for the nonsensical proceedings. Every time I looked
at him he was laughing too.
So it was laughter that drew us together. It was poetry that sealed the bond. I read
the translation of his work by Victor Kiernan. I saw at once his poetry was of the
highest order. I compared it to the great contemporary poets of our time, Pablo
Neruda, Nazim Hikmet, Elytis and George Seferis.
The idea took root in me that I must translate these poems into English. This was a
voice that must be heard in the West. At that time what was known in the United
States about Islam was almost totally negative. I was convinced that this beautiful
poetry was needed, not only for its own sake, but as tonic and antidote. Faiz was
willing. We started the project that became the purpose and occupation of our time
in Hawaii. It could be done because, though I was ignorant of Urdu and semi-literate
in the cultures of India and Pakistan, Faiz was perfectly bilingual.
Faiz’s poems had music and a humanity I couldn’t resist. They literally inhabited me,
they sang in my consciousness. The quality of truth in his poetry is embedded in the
spirit that animates it. It was the truth that hit me with the force of a blow to the
heart.
This is the power of art. This is what came out of that writers’ conference in
Honolulu in 1979 — the poems that Faiz and I worked on together; I, finding the
contemporary English idiom, Faiz, the control, reading my English and letting me
know if I had succeeded in finding the meaning, music, feeling tone for his Urdu.
This was a process we developed in Honolulu, surrounded by the parking lot
architecture, mainly for four wheeled vehicles, not for the two-legged creatures that
drove them.
I believe our translations were the single body of work that emerged from that
cross-pollination of souls. For me the four years spent working with Faiz, finding
what equivalent I could for his poems, were the most rewarding years of my life. It
was an experience I treasure to this day. Faiz didn’t live to see the book of his
selected poems the Princeton University Press published in 1987. I called it The
True Subject after something he told me he had learnt studying to be a Sufi — that
the loss of the beloved is the true subject of poetry.
Now we come to the crossroads of the present. Immense political upheavals are
shaking rulers in their boots. Dictators are falling like ninepins, one after another. It
is enough to gladden the heart of even the staunchest of cynics. It’s happening, Faiz,
it’s happening. The rotten systems are being blasted away by the will of the people.
Yesterday the Tunisians, today the Egyptians, tomorrow..?
–The writer is an eminent American poet who has published several collections of
poetry. The True Subject, her translation of Faiz’s poetry was first published in 1987
by Princeton University Press
M2 PRESSWIRE
August 21, 2000
CIA
Director of Central Intelligence names Deputy Director for Intelligence, Associate
Deputy Directors for Intelligence
LENGTH: 553 words
Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet announced today the appointment of
Winston P. Wiley as CIA's new Deputy Director for Intelligence. Wiley succeeds John
E. McLaughlin, who was appointed Acting Deputy Director of Central Intelligence on
June 29, 2000.
Wiley has served as Associate Deputy Director for Intelligence (ADDI) since July
1997.
Wiley holds a B.A. in economics from The American University and a M.A. in Public
Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
University. Before joining the CIA, Wiley spent three years in the Army Security
Agency as a Russian linguist.
Wiley has held a wide range of analytic and senior managerial positions in the
Directorate of Intelligence, including Chief, Persian Gulf Task Force. Wiley also
served as the Deputy Chief, DCI Counterterrorist Center, and then Chief, DCI
Counterterrorist Center prior to being named ADDI.
Tenet also announced today the selection of Jami Miscik to succeed Wiley as ADDI.
Miscik, a native of Redondo Beach, California, joined the CIA in 1983 as an economic
analyst after receiving a BA in political science and economics from Pepperdine
University and a MA in International Studies from the University of Denver.
Miscik completed a rotational assignment to the National Security Council as
Director for Intelligence Programs and, upon returning to CIA, was named Executive
Assistant to the DCI. She was subsequently appointed Deputy Director of the DCI's
Nonproliferation Center and then Director of the Office of Transnational Issues,
Directorate of Intelligence.
Additionally, Tenet announced the appointment of Martin C. Petersen to the new
position of ADDI for Strategic Planning and Programs.
Petersen, a native of Lynwood , California, received a BA in political science with
high distinction from Arizona State University and a MA in Asian Studies from the
East-West Center, University of Hawaii. Petersen served with the US Army in
Vietnam.
During his CIA career, Petersen held a series of analytic and senior managerial
positions dealing with East Asia, including Director of the Office of East Asian
Analysis. Following the reorganization of the Directorate of Intelligence in 1997,
Petersen was chosen as the first Director of the Office of Asian Pacific and Latin
American Analysis. In 1999, Petersen became Director of Strategic Programs,
Directorate of Intelligence.
In making the announcements today, Tenet said: " I have asked Winston, Jami, and
Marty to continue to pursue the DI's objective of providing the best possible
intelligence support to senior policymakers, the Congress, the diplomatic, military,
and law enforcement communities as well as to other national customers."
"The key to securing this objective is a focus on meeting the needs of the customer,
the continued development of substantive expertise, and building strong alliances
and partnerships with collectors, other communities of analysts, and experts
outside the intelligence community," Tenet added.
((M2 Communications Ltd disclaims all liability for information provided within M2
PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2
PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.net on the world wide web.
Inquiries to [email protected])).
The National Journal
OCTOBER 14, 1995
Pinched Pitchmen
BYLINE: DICK KIRSCHTEN
SECTION: FOREIGN POLICY; Pg. 2529; VOL. 27, NO. 41
LENGTH: 3640 words
Earlier this year, the U.S. Institute of Peace, a
federally financed Washington think tank, was targeted for the
ultimate peace dividend: Abolition. The institute is one of
several tiny agencies now on Capitol Hill's chopping block that
were created during the Cold War to export democracy and expand
American engagement overseas through innovative and essentially
nongovernment channels.
A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released in
February pegged the institute and three kindred agencies--the
Asia Foundation, the East-West Center and the North-South
Center--as entities that ''could be eliminated without directly
affecting U.S. foreign policy.''
Government auditors also have their knives out for the
somewhat larger National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which
operates in the private sector to support activities--such as
those of Chinese dissident Harry Wu--toward which official U.S.
diplomacy turns a blind eye.
A forthcoming General Accounting Office analysis is
expected to question whether the endowment's functions are
duplicated by the Agency for International Development (AID),
which spends six times as much through its own recently created
Center for Democracy and Governance.
All of these agencies are being squeezed by a Republicanled drive to reorganize and consolidate America's foreign policy
bureaucracy to adapt to the changed realities of the post-Cold
War era. The GOP initiative is driven in part by pressure to
reduce the deficit and in part by the desire to take preelection
potshots at President Clinton's handling of international
affairs.
Though minuscule compared with cutbacks in defense and
foreign aid, the hits being absorbed by modestly budgeted
democracy-building programs are alarming to scholars who believe
that the spread of democracy and open markets is vital to future
U.S. security interests.
Because democracy promotion was a conspicuous theme in
Clinton's 1992 campaign and is frequently proclaimed as a pillar
of his Administration's foreign policy, it's tempting bait for
''the Republican sharks already circling in the 1996 electoral
waters,'' said Thomas Carothers, a former State Department lawyer
who's now a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace.
Carothers, writing in the Washington Quarterly, warns
that GOP critics ''may incorrectly associate democracy promotion
with what they perceive as a misguided muddle of 'feel good'
tendencies in the Clinton Administration's foreign policy, such
as multilateralism and humanitarianism, rather than recognizing
it as a solidly bipartisan policy component that took shape under
Republican Administrations.''
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
scholar Joshua Muravchik, a self-styled Reagan Democrat and
forceful proponent of projecting American ideals abroad, said in
an interview that ''a kind of diluted isolationism'' was expected
to take root in the United States after ''so many years of
carrying the big burdens of the Cold War.''
But Muravchik, author of Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling
America's Destiny, published in 1992, lamented pending cuts in
international broadcasting and pro-democracy programs. ''These
are the programs that I especially cherish: the instruments of
U.S. political engagement with the world and for spreading our
ideas and doing political battle,'' he said.
At the Washington office of RAND, the California-based
think tank that's partly financed by the government, political
scientist Graham Fuller, a former vice chairman of the CIA's
National Intelligence Council, said democracy building in much of
the Third World requires a long-term commitment. ''Ultimately the
world will move toward a greater degree of democratic practice
and democratic participation and, indeed, needs to,'' he said.
''But the process of getting there is going to be extremely
painful for most of the countries involved.''
Fuller said efforts to export Western ideology will face
''sharp rejection in societies that feel threatened.'' But he
added that programs that teach the mechanics of democracy at the
grass-roots level, such as the NED's, should be continued.
''Information is the most powerful weapon available on the global
scene for bringing about change.''
SURVIVING AMBUSHES When Winston Lord, the State Department's top Asia hand,
was
invited to Capitol Hill this summer to discuss U.S. security
policy toward East Asia and the Pacific, he beat the drums for a
high-profile American military and diplomatic presence in the
region. But he also put in a plug for a less official and far
less expensive form of engagement.
Stressing the Administration's commitment ''to champion
humane values and the movement toward more open societies'' in
the region, he urged Congress to ''fully support nongovernmental
organizations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy and
the Asia Foundation, which are often better-placed than
governments to foster positive change.''
In a $ 1.6 trillion federal budget, the nongovernment
agents of public diplomacy and democracy building are small
potatoes. The NED, the Institute of Peace, the Asia Foundation
and the two regional centers together receive less than $ 100
million. Nonetheless, although appropriations for 1996 are not
yet final, it's readily apparent that Congress does not have in
mind full support for such agencies.
The NED is looking at a $ 4 million--or 12 per cent--cut
from its 1995 budget of $ 34 million. But that's a far cry from
the $ 48 million budget that Clinton proposed--but did not get-for the agency in 1993. No stranger to congressional ambushes,
the endowment escaped narrow brushes with extinction in the
Democratic-controlled House in 1991, and again in 1993.
Hostility toward the NED runs particularly high at the
Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that's in fashion among
Washington's newly empowered conservatives. And even National
Review magazine, the bible of the right wing establishment,
snipes from time to time that the International Republican
Institute, a subsidiary of the NED, is poorly managed.
A November 1993 Cato Institute report argued that
''promoting democracy is a nebulous objective that can be
manipulated to justify any whim of the special-interest groups-the Republican and Democratic Parties, organized labor and the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce--that control most of (the) NED's
funds.'' It added that ''the end of the Cold War has nullified
any usefulness that such an organization might ever have had.''
Despite such criticism, the NED maintains bipartisan
backing on Capitol Hill that includes support from the new
Republican leadership. And its budget is faring much better this
year than those of the four smaller agencies tagged by the CBO as
candidates for elimination.
The Asia Foundation, after a Senate subcommittee proposed
zeroing out its budget, is braced for a reduction of at least a
third from its 1995 spending level of $ 15 million. A House panel
proposed cutting $ 5 million from the Institute of Peace's 1995
budget of $ 11.5 million; but allies in the Senate restored the
cut, and a final spending level is to be worked out in
conference.
Congress is also seeking to phase out federal support for
the university-based East-West and North-South Centers, which
foster contacts between U.S. scholars, journalists and business
leaders and their counterparts in Asian and Pacific nations and
Latin America. Congress created the East-West Center in Hawaii in
1960 as a nonprofit educational center. The North-South Center,
located in Miami, came into being in the mid-1980s.
House appropriators this year bushwhacked the East-West
Center's 1996 budget request of $ 20 million (down from $ 24.5
million in 1995), proposing no funds at all. In the Senate,
however, $ 10 million was approved. The North-South Center, which
received $ 4 million in 1995, will take a 75 per cent cut to $ 1
million for 1996.
The drive led by Senate Foreign Relations Committee
chairman Jesse A. Helms, R-N.C., to eliminate the U.S.
Information Agency (USIA) and AID as independent agencies and
fold them into the State Department casts even greater
uncertainty over the future of U.S. efforts to directly engage
foreign audiences and support pro-democracy dissidents. In
addition to their own activities in that field, USIA and AID also
bankroll grants for the smaller, independent agencies.
Concern about duplication and unnecessary overhead
predates Helms's campaign to consolidate international activities
within a streamlined State Department. In 1993, the U.S. Advisory
Commission on Public Diplomacy, chaired by Tom C. Korologos, who
now heads USIA's oversight board for international broadcasting,
called for better coordination of the government's democracy
promotion activities.
''There is much to be done, and there are good reasons
for diversity,'' the public diplomacy commission reported. And it
added that ''the partnership between public and private
organizations in democracy assistance is uniquely American and a
valuable asset.''
But the Korologos panel hastened to add that a
scattershot approach can also produce problems. ''Commissioners
also find inadequate coordination, program duplication and
worthwhile projects hampered by insufficient resources. All too
often, agencies with host country contacts and experiences in
promoting democracy do not receive democracy assistance funds,
while those that do lack experience and contacts.''
USIA director Joseph D. Duffey, in an interview,
suggested that such criticisms are dated. ''Mistakes have been
made,'' he said, but he insisted that lessons have been learned.
In an era when fewer resources will be available for democracy
promotion, he argued that the government will be able to spend
its money more wisely.
AID's administrator, J. Brian Atwood, a former director
of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs,
one of the NED's four ''core'' subsidiaries, denied in an
interview that there is any overlap between his agency's
democracy programs--currently budgeted at $ 200 million a year-and NED activities.
''There have been concerns recently, as we go through
this period of great budget pressures, that maybe there is
duplication,'' he said. ''The General Accounting Office has
raised this issue, and certainly (Rep.) Ben Gilman (R-N.Y.,
chairman of the House International Relations Committee) has
raised it.''
In a Sept. 15 letter to Gilman, Atwood promised to
develop guidelines to improve coordination between AID and the
NED and submit them for the House committee's review by next
February.
Atwood's letter endorsed the continued independence of
the NED, which, he noted, ''has been able to act in some
instances where the U.S. government, for foreign policy reasons,
prefers not to become directly involved in providing
assistance.'' He added that the NED can act more quickly than
governmental bureaucracies and described its small grants as
''seeds'' that larger organizations, such as AID, can later
''nourish'' with increased financial support.
AFTER THE CREST, A CRASH The 1980s were exciting times. A wave of democratic
transitions
swept across Latin America, Africa and Asia and crested in
Central Europe as the Soviet empire came apart at the seams. Now,
though, much of the glamour has disappeared from the democracy
promotion business.
What ''only a few years ago seemed like a pioneering
venture, has become an established form of international
assistance,'' the NED declared in a 1992 strategy document
addressing the new needs of the post-Cold War era.
If democracy building is an institutionalized tool of
American foreign policy, it has also become a legitimate target
for congressional fine-tuning and oversight. The brunt of such
attention, for example, is now being felt at the Free Trade Union
Institute, the NED subsidiary run by the AFL-CIO.
When the NED and its four operational auxiliaries were
formed in 1984, organized labor, by dint of its long involvement
in international affairs and overseas organizing, was better
prepared than its sister institutes to immediately channel
support to pro-democratic forces, such as Poland's Solidarity
movement.
As a result, the labor institute over the years has
dispensed a disproportionate amount of NED grants. Now, however,
Congress has stipulated that the NED distribute funds equally to
each of its subsidiary institutes.
''That hurts,'' said Paul J. Somogyi, the labor
institute's executive director, who said that the equalization,
''coupled with the over-all $ 4 million reduction in the NED
budget, implies an immediate 52.6 per cent cut in our programs.''
He acknowledged that cuts were inevitable, but said ''it would
have helped if (they) had been spread out over a couple of
years.''
NED president Carl Gershman, in an interview,
acknowledged that ''clearly, the surge of democracy that we saw
in the '80s has now ebbed.'' In fact, he added, because of the
difficulties that were to be expected in the consolidation of new
democracies, the world is now seeing ''a reverse wave'' in which
fledgling democracies are suffering setbacks.
''A country like Russia doesn't make a transition to
democracy just because the old regime fell apart,'' Gershman
noted. Because many factors militate against smooth transitions
to market economies and open societies, democracy assistance is
needed now more than ever, he argued. ''The issue in the '90s is
predominantly the need to consolidate the gains of the '80s.''
Gershman denied that, as some critics maintain, the
endowment seeks to impose American values on other nations and
cultures. ''Democracy, as we understand it, is not something that
is purely an American idea,'' he said. ''Nor do I accept the
notion that there are cultures that are inherently
undemocratic.''
The endowment, he counters, provides ''meaningful
support, encouragement and solidarity'' to individuals in closed
societies who seek it. ''This is not a form of social engineering
where we go out and try to reshape other people's priorities.''
The Carnegie Endowment's Carothers, however, cautions
that there are limits to what the United States can accomplish in
the area of democracy promotion and a danger of building
expectations that cannot can be fulfilled. He contends that
''pro-democracy rhetoric has been badly overused,'' both by the
Clinton Administration and the Republican Administrations that
preceded it.
During the 1980s, Carothers wrote, Americans ''got in the
habit of taking far too much credit'' for the emergence of new
democracies. ''Lost in the excitement,'' he added, was ''the fact
that in most regions, U.S. efforts to promote democracy were
largely responses to--rather than causes of--democratic
transitions.''
Noting that ''democratization is deeply troubled in
Russia, (and proceeding) much slower than expected in Eastern
Europe,'' he argues that the Clinton Administration finds itself
at risk of being held to blame for ''events that are only
marginally subject to U.S. influence.''
Carothers argues ''there is not much case to be made that
the United States can or should be doing much more than it
currently is to promote democracy abroad.'' Gershman and his
allies just hope that Congress will permit them to do as much.
PR Newswire
October 21, 2003 Tuesday
First-Ever, Asia-Pacific Region, Homeland Security Summit Convenes in Hawaii
SECTION: FINANCIAL NEWS
LENGTH: 437 words
DATELINE: HONOLULU Oct. 21
Top government leaders, senior business executives, and security, technology and
anti-terrorism experts will meet at the Inaugural Asia Pacific Homeland Security
Summit & Exposition in Honolulu, Hawaii, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village from
November 19-21, 2003. The Summit is being organized by the State of Hawaii in
collaboration with the U.S. Pacific Command, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security
Studies, the US-ASEAN Business Council, the East West Center, and the Pacific Basin
Economic Council. More than 500 attendees are expected.
The Summit will provide information for government and corporate leaders to
develop strategies to meet the new security challenges, such as critical
infrastructure protection, promoting secure commerce and trade, defending against
weapons of mass destruction and protecting the public's health.
"The Summit will enhance awareness of cultural sensitivities that have to be taken
into consideration when managing security issues throughout Asia-Pacific," said
Governor Linda Lingle.
Confirmed speakers include Admiral Thomas Fargo, Commander of U.S. Pacific
Command (PACOM); The Honorable James Woolsey, former head of the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) and vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton; Wong Kan
Seng, Singapore's Minister of Home Affairs; Ambassador Crecensio Arcos, Director
of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of International Affairs;
Lieutenant General William Lennox, Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at
West Point; and world renown Al-Qaeda and terrorism expert, Dr. Rohan Gunaratna
of Singapore's Institute of Defense & Strategic Studies.
Also in attendance will be His Excellency Mr. Ong Keng Yong, Secretary General of
ASEAN and all ten ASEAN Ambassadors to the U.S.
The Summit will be an ideal forum for developing solutions to public and private
sector security threats in the Asia-Pacific region. Sessions are designed to maximize
participant interaction, stimulate new ideas and innovative approaches through
keynote addresses, plenary forums, and roundtable discussions. Complete details
are available at www.scd.state.hi.us/summit .
The Australian
May 15, 2003 Thursday All-round Country Edition
Fighting terror on a shoestring
SOURCE: MATP
BYLINE: Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor
SECTION: FEATURES-TYPE- FEATURE; Pg. 13
LENGTH: 973 words
Underfunding ASIS and ASIO betrays a serious lack of intelligence in this budget
WANT to hear something spooky? An extremely well informed foreign gentleman
(no need to be more specific) told me recently his Government hardly thought it
worthwhile to maintain a dedicated liaison effort with the Australian Secret
Intelligence Service.
The reason? ASIS is just so tiny that it is not a real organisation. It does some good
work in South-East Asia, but even there it is far from comprehensive and, in the eyes
of professionals in this field, has never reached critical mass.
ASIS is the nearest Australia has to a Central Intelligence Agency. It collects foreign
intelligence. It is a front-line agency for preventing terrorist attacks against
Australia. Its budget last year was $60 million. Just to give you an off-the-wall
comparison, that is about the same as the East-West Centre, an academic think-tank
you've probably never heard of, dedicated to improving US-Asia-Pacific relations,
located at the University of Hawaii.
We don't have anything like the resources of the US, but this is ridiculous. ASIS's
budget for this coming year will increase to $79 million. That is a big improvement
but it is still far short of what is needed. When most of your personnel operate
overseas you don't buy a big capacity for $79 million.
The situation is even worse for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation. Its
budget last year was $85 million. The Government's Budget documents are, as usual,
a model of opacity, based no doubt on Soviet precedents in the concealment of
information.
But ASIO's operating budget now appears to be $95 million.
This is just totally inadequate to the task. The Government has increased defence
expenditure to more than $15 billion in 2003/04, including all the one-offs such as
funding the war on Iraq. This takes defence spending close to 2 per cent of Gross
National Product. This is highly necessary and is justified mainly by the war on
terrorism.
But as the terrible suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia this week, in which an Australian
was killed, shows, the threat of mass terrorism, carried out by al-Qa'ida or similar
groups, is still very strong.
The armed forces play a crucial role in the fight against terrorism. But they cannot
stop a September 11, a Bali bombing, or the type of attack we saw in Riyadh this
week. The most likely way to stop such an action is through intelligence, domestic
and foreign.
In other words ASIO, and to a lesser extent ASIS, are the front-line agencies in the
war against terrorism. This column has supported the Government's attempts,
thwarted in the Senate, to modestly increase ASIO's powers so that it can combat
terrorism more effectively. But much more important is to give ASIO more
resources.
During the long Cold War, the primary threat to Australia, and the world, was a
devastating nuclear exchange. ASIO played its role in limiting this threat by
countering espionage by the Soviet Union.
Its work today involves the far more difficult and diffuse task of preventing al-Qa'ida
agents or sympathisers, or agents or sympathisers of similar groups, from
conducting mass terrorism against Australia. Yet ASIO today is much smaller than
during the Cold War.
According to people who monitor al-Qa'ida linked web sites and other al-Qa'ida
related communications, Australia appears in this chatter, as an enemy, all the time.
In fact analysts are frankly surprised at the frequency and prominence of Australia
in these communications. That means, as NSW Premier Bob Carr among others has
pointed out, that the likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia is actually very high.
Additional commandos in the army, new refuelling aeroplanes -- these are all
welcome and necessary, but they are far less likely to stop a terrorist action than
effective work by ASIO.
At the same time, all of ASIO's traditional tasks, and most of the traditional threats,
need to be dealt with.
Australia has recently re-established relationships with North Korea and Libya.
North Korea has a history of using its diplomatic network for drug-smuggling,
seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction technology and terrorism.
Libya has a record of using its diplomatic network for WMD technology and
terrorism.
Indeed when it last had an embassy here it actively recruited Arab-speaking
Australians to fight in a terrorist brigade, which is one of the reasons it was asked to
leave.
On balance, and notwithstanding this history, it is probably still a good idea to
resume these diplomatic relationships, to try to talk Pyongyang out of its nuclear
madness, and to try to make a buck out of Libya. But both these embassies surely
will require extensive watching by ASIO.
And watching, whether embassies or potential terrorists, is extremely labourintensive. There are numbers of Australians who have received explosives training
in al-Qa'ida terrorist camps. Professional intelligence people would scoff at the idea
of watching such people around the clock. ASIO doesn't have the manpower and it's
a waste of resources.
That is really bureaucrat-speak because it is not a waste of resources if such
surveillance stops someone from conducting an act of mass terrorism.
This is where the structure of Australia's counter-terrorist effort is wonky. Daryl
Williams is politically weak. Because there is no single co-ordinating body, and
certainly no single senior cabinet minister responsible for counter-terrorism
overall, no one is really fighting for the resources ASIO needs. More bureaucratically
powerful agencies such as Defence make sure their part of the intelligence effort is
well funded.
But the needs of the nation remain unmet. There is a serious lack of intelligence in
this budget.
The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon)
April 28, 1990 Saturday
Correction Appended
FOURTH Edition
DEFENSE WITNESS SAYS HE MET BRENNEKE IN PAKISTAN
BYLINE: JOHN PAINTER JR., of the Oregonian Staff<
SECTION: LOCAL STORIES; Pg. D01
LENGTH: 797 words
Saturday, April 28, 1990
CORRECTION: Published correction ran 4/29/90:
A defense witness in the federal false declaration trial of self-proclaimed CIA agent
Richard J. Brenneke testified Friday that he first met Brenneke in 1967 at the Royal
Thai Air Base in U Taphao, Thailand, and again in 1980 at the airport in Lahore,
Pakistan.
Some editions of The Oregonian reported Saturday that defense witness William
Northrop first met Brenneke in Pakistan.
DEFENSE WITNESS SAYS HE MET BRENNEKE IN PAKISTAN
Summary: Testimony indicates the defendant may have been running arms to
Afghanistan
A defense witness in the trial of self-proclaimed CIA contract agent Richard J.
Brenneke said Friday that he first met Brenneke in 1967 as he was ``transporting
cargo into the Lahore airport'' in Pakistan.
William M. Northrop, himself accused of conspiring to illegally sell arms to Iran in a
case the government dropped in 1986, said he didn't know for sure what the cargo
was.
But Northrop said he knew where it was headed. It was destined for the
``demilitarized zone between Afghanistan and Pakistan for delivery to the
Mujahideen Afghan rebels.''
The rebels were conducting a guerrilla war against Soviet troops then occupying
their homeland.
Northrop said that he was ``99.9 percent sure that Brenneke was involved in an
American-sanctioned operation'' and the inescapable impression was that Brenneke
was running arms to the rebels.
Northrop, an American who also holds Israeli citizenship, said at the time he was
``running Jews out of Iran.''
``I had eight refugees I desperately needed to get out of Pakistan,'' he said, and at the
International Lahore Hilton, he and Brenneke struck a deal.
Northrop said he provided Brenneke with two passes into the border demilitarized
zone and Brenneke had the refugees flown from Lahore to Rome.
At the time, Brenneke was traveling on a Swiss passport ``issued in the name of
Hans Heinker or something like that,'' Northrop said.
Northrop also testified that he knew Brenneke had CIA connections in Switzerland.
The Brenneke case has drawn widespread attention because Brenneke has
contended in court that top eagan campaign officials, including George Bush,
negotiated secretly in Paris with Iran to delay the release of 52 American hostages
until after the 1980 presidential election.
Brenneke is accused of lying about his CIA ties and about those he named as
allegedly attending the meeting in Paris. Earlier in Brenneke's trial, a CIA personnel
man, Eldon I. Hatch, testified that the agency could find no record of Brenneke's
employment.
In a 1988 court case, Brenneke named Bush, who was a vice-presidential candidate
in the fall of 1980; William J. Casey, the late CIA director who then was managing the
Reagan-Bush campaign; and Donald P. Gregg, who then was a CIA agent assigned to
President Carter's national security staff. Gregg served as Vice President Bush's
national security adviser and is now is the U.S. ambassador to South Korea.
Iran released the hostages Jan. 20, 1981, the day Bush and Ronald Reagan were
sworn into office.
If convicted of lying in the earlier case, Brenneke, a West Linn consultant and writer,
could be sentenced to five years in prison and fined $10,000.
Denver defense lawyer Michael Scott failed to get admitted as evidence a number of
affidavits that were prepared for the ``brokers of death'' federal prosecution, which
was dismissed after the key witness died in England.
The brokers of death affidavits were supposed to show the jury that the CIA had lied
in the past about its records and employees, thereby casting doubt on Hatch's
testimony and the government's case against Brenneke.
However, U.S. District Judge Malcolm F. Marsh ruled the documents were irrevelant
and hearsay. He refused to allow the jury to see the affidavits or to hear testimony
on them from Northrop, one of the 17 defendants in the New York prosecution, U.S.
vs. Samuel Evans.
The defendants in the 1986 brokers of death case were charged with trying to sell
more than $2 billion worth of American-made arms to Iran.
Brenneke remained in the coronary care unit in St. Vincent Hospital and Medical
Center on Friday and did not attend the trial, at which only Northrop testified.
Marsh recessed the case until 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, when Brenneke is expected to take
the stand briefly to identify an exhibit.
He will be followed by Richard V. Allen, a former national security adviser to
President Reagan. Allen appeared briefly at the Brenneke trial Friday.
Marsh said Allen should appear Tuesday, but if Brenneke remains in the hospital,
the trial likely will be recessed until he is discharged.
Brenneke was hospitalized Tuesday night with chest pains. He has a history of heart
problems.
FEDERAL JURY ACQUITS BRENNEKE
BYLINE: JOHN PAINTER JR., of the Oregonian Staff <
SECTION: LOCAL STORIES; Pg. A01
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Saturday, May 5, 1990 FEDERAL JURY ACQUITS BRENNEKE
Summary: The Lake Oswego businessman declares ``justice was done'' upon being
cleared after accusations of lying to a federal judge claiming to be a contract agent of
the CIA
A federal jury in Portland on Friday unanimously acquitted Lake Oswego
businessman Richard J. Brenneke of lying to a federal judge about his CIA
connections.
The eight-woman, four-man jury reached a verdict shortly before 5 p.m. and by 5:10
p.m., it was all over.
``Hand over your verdict to the bailiff,'' U.S. District Judge Malcolm F. Marsh said to
jury foreman Mark Christoff.
Marsh then read the not-guilty verdict.
Brenneke, 48, and his two lawyers, Michael Scott of Denver and Richard H. Muller of
Portland, were visibly relieved. Scott slumped in his chair and Brenneke slouched
forward, bent his head and laid his spectacles on the counsel table.
The government had accused Brenneke of lying in court in Denver in 1988 when he
said he had worked as a contract agent for the CIA and that he knew of a 1980
meeting in Paris where top Reagan campaign
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figures, including George Bush, made a deal with representatives of Iran to delay the
release of 52 American hostages until after the election. He also was charged with
three other related counts.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. O'Rourke of Denver hurriedly strode from the
courtroom after the verdict and refused to comment.
Brenneke left the courtroom with Scott, went into a nearby men's room and let out a
couple of loud victory whoops.
In the lobby, Muller said: ``Justice was done. You never want to sell the common
sense of your fellow Americans short.''
Outside, facing a wall of cameras and reporters, Brenneke's first act was to borrow a
reporter's cellular phone and call his wife to tell her of his acquittal.
As he dialed, he exclaimed: ``I feel great! The system works and I feel great.
``Come here! Come here!'' Brenneke yelled at his lawyers. They closed in and he put
an arm around them. ``I got two of the finest lawyers in the world and they're
standing right here,'' he said. ``They're happy, we're pleased, we told the truth. We
told the truth all along and by God, it was believed.''
Scott said Brenneke was going to have a T-shirt made that would say, ``I Survived A
Bush-wacking.''
In its indictment, the federal government also claimed Brenneke lied when he said
William Casey, the late CIA director and then-campaign manager for Ronald Reagan,
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and Donald Gregg, who was a CIA agent at the time assigned to the Carter White
House and now the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, were at the Paris meeting.
Brenneke, who lives in West Linn and runs a Lake Oswego consulting business, was
in Denver to appear on behalf of a friend, Henrich Rupp, who was being sentenced
for bank fraud. Brenneke also said Rupp worked for the CIA and was accused in the
indictment of lying about that.
The government called a number of witness, including Gregg, who said he was
spending a weekend on the Deleware shore when Brenneke said he was in Paris.
Other witnesses said both Bush and Casey did not leave the United States the
weekend of Oct. 18-19, 1980. A CIA witness testified the agency had no record of
Brenneke or Rupp as employees.
Asked how much the case had cost him, Brenneke replied, ``Everything I have except
my integrity and my knowledge. I haven't quit. This is just the start. We're gonna tell
the truth. We're gonna tell the truth.''
``Read his book,'' interjected Scott.
The Denver lawyer said the jury's verdict did not mean that witnesses such as Gregg
and Richard V. Allen, Reagan's national security adviser and now a consultant, lied
under oath at the trial or that Bush did secretly travel to Paris.
The verdict ``means that the jury did not find my client guilty,'' Scott said.
During the course of the trial, Brenneke appeared to surprise even his own lawyers
when he asserted he never saw Bush in Paris and that his earlier statements were
merely the relaying of reports by others. He also said he did not believe the reports
of Bush being in Paris were true.
In Washington, D.C., Stephen Hart, deputy White House press secretary, declined to
comment on the case.
Brenneke said his wife wasn't present at trial because she ``couldn't take it and
because of the threats made against us I didn't want her here.''
Brenneke said there had been threats made against him, his wife and other people,
but he declined to elaborate.
``Honey, it's me. I just have been found not guilty,'' Brenneke said to his wife, Ann,
after being connected by phone.
A shout of joy could be heard through the receiver.
``I'm standing on the courthouse steps,'' he said, his voice breaking, ``with a whole
bunch of people in front of me and I had to call you and tell you. Say a prayer and say
thanks. The system works, dear.''
Brenneke said he hoped the case was over. ``I hope that we have said what we
wanted to say in the courtroom. I hope the government understands that I'm not
guilty.''
The trial was briefly delayed last week when Brenneke was hospitalized with chest
pains. He had open-heart surgery in March 1989.
Outside the courthouse, Brenneke repeatedly said, ``Read my book,'' and avoided
some specific questions about the case.
In his closing argument, O'Rourke, the prosecutor, portrayed Brenneke as a rejected
CIA job applicant who wanted to be a CIA agent, operating on ``the fringes,'' trying to
make arms deals, trying to get into intelligence gathering, but always reduced to
playing at the edges of action, never getting involved in the real thing.
Scott argued that the defense produced abundant evidence that the CIA, as well as
the U.S. Customs Service, used Brenneke's services around the world, which lent
credibility to Brenneke's other assertions.
ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo of Richard J. Brenneke
B&W Photo of Richard J. Brenneke by Steve Dipaola of the Oregonian Staff
Africa News
July 9, 2000
Kenya Politics;
The Kenyatta Succession Race In The 1960s Was Intense And Deadly
BYLINE: Ken Opala, The Nation (Nairobi)
SECTION: NEWS, DOCUMENTS & COMMENTARY
LENGTH: 2676 words
Nairobi - The President's advanced age complicated Kenya's politics, then polarised
along Oginga Odinga and Tom Mboya rivalry. The key question was: What will
happens with Kenya without Kenyatta?
Butere MP Martin Shikuku was concerned. But the politicos stayed clear of the
matter. "Mr. Shikuku expressed opinion that Kanu Parliamentary Group should
consider how the future of the country would be governed if Mzee happened to be
absent. No discussions took place on this subject," according to minute 9/67 of
September 1967.
The battle was overbearing, uncomfortably hovering over the Cabinet. Tom Mboya,
Oginga Odinga, Njoroge Mungai and Mbiyu Koinange were accused of openly jostling
for power.
A second subterrenean force, shrewd and powerful, drew Munyua Waiyaki, Njoroge
Mungai, Bildad Kaggia, Ochieng Oneko and Dennis Akumu.
A third column of two influential but secretive men; Charles Njonjo and Bruce
Mackenzie - had its own idea on Kenyatta's replacement.
It was thus a fluid moment. And the war showed in acrimonious letters that flew in
the Cabinent.
The Succession spokes revolved around Odinga and archrival Mboya, whose
eventful life was cut short by an assassin in July 1969. Mboya, killed at the age of 39,
was first among All the President's Men.
"Mboya was very very clever. He knew what he was doing. The chap was smart,"
says Dr Munyua Waiyaki, a former minister in both Kenyatta and Moi governments.
Waiyaki opposed Mboya in the1960 elections. Earlier, he had been an official of
Mboya-led Nairobi Progressive Congress, before he co-found Kanu.
He recalls how Mboya was opposed to Kanu but later hijacked it when it emerged it
had national appeal. For instance, the secretary general post was earmarkd for
Njoroge Mungai but Mboya placated the would be Kanu leader James Gichuru to
support him (Mboya).
Mboya was a political genius. At times, President Kenyatta, aware of his foreign
influence, gave him the carte blanche to shape Kenya's history. He dispensed with
Oginga Odinga, a key figure in freedom struggle and a man who almost singlehandedly, fought for Kenyatta's release from detention.
The power battle between Mboya and Odinga was dramatic, an anti-climax of sorts.
Its climax was the fall-out between Odinga and Kenyatta. At the centre was the CIA
who bankrolled programmes aimed at filling gaps in the political landscape that
could pave way for communism.
In terms of ideology, Mboya and Odinga were world's apart. The former was sly and
shrewd while Jaramogi was principled. But the differences hardly stopped there.
Whereas Mboya was avowed anti-communist, his rival described capitalism as
"imperialism". Mboya was the epic organiser, tactician, a conservative. Odinga had
the ethnic appeal, a radical. Perhaps their meeting point was their ethnicity and area
of origin, Nyanza, and that both were ambitious.
"Mboya wanted the presidency. The rivalry a question of success, nothing personal
between the two," says Dr Waiyaki.
Politics is not Christianity. One gains swathes of support by being shrewd and
cunning. This was Mboya's philosophy, a major departure from Odinga's belief that
politics is religion: to win, play it true and right.
Unfortunately, Odinga's fate was sealed by forces outside Kenya: CIA.
"Total void" hardly appears in the dictionary of political leadership. Indeed, Odinga's
dispension nurtured a new concept on Kenya's political landscape. Koinange was
now the shaker and pusher.
"Kenyatta, after being subjected to the manipulation by Odinga and Mboya, was
forced to abandon the Luo camp and opted for his own tribe," says John Keen.
Koinange, Njoroge Mungai and Njonjo formed a new triumvirate.
The fight between Mboya and Koinange was protracted, silent and never spilt over
into public. Indeed, 31 years since Mboya's killing and 19 since Koinange's death,
little has ever emerged about their bitter battle to control their space close to
Kenyatta.
Sunday Nation investigations reveal political intrigues that defined the Succession
battle.
Kenyatta was torn between two dominant forces Odinga and Mboya. "By 1965,
Parliament was torn right in the middle between the conservatives (Mboya's camp)
and radicals (Odinga's)," says Keen, who was himself radical.
Mwai Kibaki, a moderate, attributed Kanu wrangles to "lack of party policy," he said
in a paper on reorganisation of the party.
Kenyatta, afraid the conflict would break the party, refused to call party elections
between 1963 and 1966. The central party machine remains weak. There were two
Kanus A and B and a number of branches were bogged down in wrangles.
Kanu held chiefly because of loyalty to Kenyatta.
To many of his friends, Kenyatta was hardly in control. A number of statements
attributed to Kenyatta ended up embarrassing him.
For example, circumstances surrounding Joseph Murumbi's resignation as VP
almost turned an embarrassment to Kenyatta. Murumbi, Daniel arap Moi's
predecessor, was Kenya's second vice president. He replaced Jaramogi Odinga who
had resigned the same year following a a systematic plot by Mboya and those in the
Cabinet opposed to communism, to clip his powers.
After bruising over the intended resignation for two months, Kenyatta made a
public statement to allay fears Murumbi's decision was political. It was because of
poor health, he told Kenyans.
"Mr. Murumbi informed the President that the strain of continuing poor health was
making it physically difficult for him to perform to the satisfaction of his high
standards, the onerous official and social duties attached his office. He therefore
expressed the wish to be relieved of his post of vice president as soon as could be
conveniently arranged. Mr. Murumbi pledged himself to continue as a staunch
supporter of the government and Kanu, " said the official statement, september 20,
1966.
This disgusted Murumbi. He had written a letter to Kenyatta on July 21,1966 asking
to resign on August 31 asking to venture in commerce, and had got a job as the
chairman of Rothmans Pall Mall (Kenya) Ltd, an international tobacco- maker.
The statement disgusted Murumbi. He telephoned Kenyatta on the night the
statement was made, complaining that it misrepresented him threatened to spark a
state of anxiety within the public. Kenyatta was forced to retract two days later.
"Although the damage has already been done by the first statement, I hope that
things will now be all right as a result of the correction," Murumbi later wrote to
Kenyatta.
But in a personal letter to a friend, British MP Leslie Hale, three months later,
Murumbi said he "plunged" out of politics because things were going wrong. He fell
short of saying Kenyatta was not in control.
"One is that I had for sometime made up my mind that I had had enough of politics
and, secondly, things in Kenya are not going the way they should and I am afraid
that people outside have got a false impression of the stability of this country.
"Thirdly, I think we have thrown overboard all our soocialist principles and we will
have to pay dearly for this in the long run."
Observers were convinced the succession battle was beyond Kenyatta' s handling.
Old age was only helping to complicate his fight for political longevity at State
House. Indications were apparent the Cabinet was at war with itself.
Probably the biggest but yet unknown feud drew Mboya and Koinange, the man who
later emerged the ultimate power-broker in the Kenyatta government. In Kiambu,
his home, Koinange was referred to as kanyoi (razor) and in the corridors of power,
he was equalled to Kissinger, in reference to the all- powerful Secretary of State of
United states, Henry Kissinger
The battle between the two was was steep, personal and bordered on the ridiculous.
"Koinange did the running of the government. But he never came to the forefront. Of
course, Mboya was uncomfortable with this," according to Waiyaki.
Sometime in May, 1964 during a meeting on the federation of east african countries,
which resulted in EA Community's formation, Mbiyu Koinange kept the delegation
waiting for him for hours at the airport. Mboya who was in the group that waited.
He was appalled, so he complained to Kenyatta.
Koinange came to know of the correspondence. In a letter to Kenyatta a couple of
days later, he wrote: "My Dear Prime Minister. You will have received a letter from
Thomas Mboya, the Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs referring to the
recent East African Federation meeting at Kampala, Uganda, and my being unable to
attend.
"Sir, you know my loyalty to you personally, to our Kanu party; of my loyalty to
Kenya and latterly my loyalty to our new Indepdent Council of Ministers. My loyalty
is beyond doubt, therefore my Prime Minister, 1 frankly feel that there is no need for
me to reply to this Mr. Mboya's letter. It is unfortunate, ill-timed, egoistic and if I
may say so, an irresponsible letter which is skillfully designed by one of my
colleagues to endanger good working spirit among us."
To attack Mboya was to provoke him, as Murumbi would say later. Koinange's letter
opened a can of worrns. Mboya, known for his knack for sarcasm, went for the
jugular.
"I regret to have to say that the contents of the letter are nothing but irrelevant, nor
do they even pretend to dispute the facts stated in mine the fact that we waited for
Mr. koinange for more than three hours and the fact that he made no effort to send a
message about his "illness".
Mboya Kenyatta that he was ready to have the issue discussed in the Cabinet. But he
dismissed Koinange.
"In regard to Mr. Koinange's loyalty and his attitude to Federation, this is really his
own problem and nothing to do with me or the letter I wrote to you. "
The quarrel and power wrangles hardly stopped there. About two years later,
Koinange was on the warpath, accusing his colleague of usurping the powers of
other Cabinet members. The issue was the intention of the government to buy
residence for its ambassador in New York.
Mboya had asked the government to allocate funds towards this cause.
In a letter to Mboya, Koinange argued that the ambassador should have followed the
"correct" procedure; deal directly with the Office of the President. "As for your part,
brother, you should have confined your suggestions to your colleague in the Office
of the President, who in turn should have brought up the matter to the foreign
affairs committee."
He said President Kenyatta appointed Joseph Murumbi, the VP, to preside over the
meetings of the foreign affairs committee.
"The President has not yet terminated this appointment. It is out of place for you to
have suggested that our colleague, the Minister for Finance J. S Gichuru should
arrange for a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee . .. this definitely interferes
with the appointment made by the President and should, therefore, be avoided."
This letter, dated December 16, 1966 was copied to the entire Cabinet. A fortnight
later, Mboya replied, in his characteristic sarcasm.
"I believe that my views reflect the feeling of most ministers and I have no hesitation
in writing that this matter should be discussed among ministers with the Minister of
Finance in the chair . . . I am glad that Mr. Murumbi has responded to my letters very
positively and without any of the interpretations which you somehow manage to
read into the letter," said Mboya.
The battle revolved around the top seat. Koinange, after years in the doldrums as he
watched Mboya and Odinga dominate the post-independence politics, seized on
Odinga and Murumbi' s departure to assert himself.
A former Energy Minister says Koinange was powerful. You could not see how
manipulated Kenyatta. He was one of the smartest men "I have ever met." He was so
sharp he could undercut friends and foes alike.
But other contenders had different brand for Kenya's most schematic politician.
"Kangaroo" was the name Murumbi and Kenyatta had for Mboya. Murumbi was
convinced Mboya had set in motion events to grab the presidency.
In a letter to Kenyatta dated May 15, 1965 discussing reorganisation of Kanu at the
Coast, Murumbi said: "Kangaroo, for reasons known to himself, has entrusted the
reorganisation to Ronald Ngala.
It is apparent that the latter wishes to use this opportunity to strengthen his own
position at the Coast, especially now that the executive powers of the regional
assembly has been reduced to nil. What is dangerous is that Ngala is mobilising
support from his old Kadu clique, European, Asians and African."
He asked that someone from the headquarters should join Coast PC Mwai Mathenge
to supervise the exercise to prevent Ngala from conducting the polls to his
advantage.
The letter continued: (Ngala and Mboya) are, so far as it is discernible, politically
opposed. Perhaps to say that they are "politically opposed" is not right. A better
explanation would be to say that they are political rivals. But as you know, there are
no limits to which Kangaroo will stoop to try to gain alliances to further his own
political ambitions.
"It would appear that kangaroo and Ronald Ngala have reached some secret
arrangement that if Ngala is allowed to secure control of the Coast, he will support
Kangaroo to achieve some of the many ambitions he is trying to foster. "
Murumbi asked the President that the reorganisation of the party branch be closely
supervised to prevent the two from achieving their ends. "Both are cunning, ruthless
and ambitious men."
In another undated letter to Kenyatta, Murumbi warned that Kanu should not look
at Paul Ngei alone as a threat. "He is a real threat only because he is being propped
up by Mboya. The real menace is the link that will emerge between them after the
elections. Mboya's strategy may look complex but is logical and follows from all we
know him."
It was Mboya who had written to Kenyatta on March 17, 1965 asking the President
to arrange a Kanu party conference for Mombasa in ten-day's time " to ensure
harmonious and effective integration . . . and thus pave way for effective branch
elections
The Cabinet could hardly fathom Mboya's plot. John Keen, Kanu's organising
secretary, whose brief was also to organise the party's meetings, was concerned that
he was being shortcircuited.
In February 1966, he circulated a letter among MPs drawing attention to problems
of party organisation, especially delays in convening delegates conference. Keen
attacked Mboya as the person responsible for the delay.
lronically, Murumbi thought Keen was a fox. He told Kenyatta that Keen was the
most disloyal member of the party and that he should be sacked immediately.
"He has openly and repeatedly attacked the President and other leading officials of
the party it is clear that John Keen is not working for the party but working in
support of a number of candidates being backed and financed by Mboya.
"It is true that in a number of cases, we sabotaged the party from within in the hope
that Kenya comes up with a true socialist, nationalistic government," says Keen
It was during the same time that Murumbi complained to Kenyatta of the existence
of a "fifth-columnist element within Kanu who are out to wreck it and destroy your
personal leadership."
In a letter to Kenyatta, Murumbi observed that whereas the Kanu constistutionn
stipulated that single person could hold two positions within the party, and further
that the secretary general was to be a full time official of the party, "the fact is that
T.J Mboya is not only secretary general but also minister for Labour and chairman of
the Nairobi branch."
The emerging of Koinange could hardly contain the Mboya phenom. Mboya was still
the first among equals in the List of All the President's Men. Discontent in the
Cabinet was apparent.
"It got to a level that Kenyatta was listening to Mboya too much," says Dr Munyua
Waiyaki. "The party started falling apart in the latter years."
Probably this is why Mboya had to go. .
Africa News
July 11, 2004 Sunday
Kenya;
How CIA Thwarted Odinga's Quest for Political Power
BYLINE: The East African Standard
LENGTH: 845 words
Three days after the first batch of students reported to Lumumba Institute, Western
intelligence - but mainly the US Central Intelligence agency - delivered a small note
to Jomo Kenyatta through US ambassador William Attwood.
If the institute was to have any meaning, it had to axe the Russians from running the
Lumumba Institute and its control taken away from Odinga and his allies.
Although politically Kenya was masquerading as non-aligned it was known that
Tom Mboya, one of the CIA's pointmen, and a bevy of US-trained politicians who had
just entered the government - and led by Dr Julius Gikonyo Kiano - were
sympathetic to the capitalist West.The West knew it was too early for Odinga to
come out and confront Jomo Kenyatta before he had trained the party cadres.
The chairman of the Lumumba Institute, Mr B. M. Kaggia , walking near the statue of
Patrice Lumumba accompanied by the secretary and registrar B. F. F. Oluande
Koduol.
But Odinga was surprised when on March 25, Narok East MP Justus ole Tipis gave
notice of a motion urging the government to take over Lumumba Institute and place
it under the Ministry of Education "like any other institute".
Tipis also wanted a new board appointed "with no political mandate".
The communists - Russians and Chinese - in the city panicked.
Two student leaders, Mr David Munyendo (secretary general) and Mr G Mwitumi
(chairman), were immediately dispatched to the city centre from Lumumba
Institute to issue a "strong" press statement: "We wonder why [Tipis] has not
moved such a motion calling upon the government to take over the bus services or
Kenya Breweries." Behind this confrontation were lecturers at Lumumba Institute.
Odinga had recruited a close ally, Mr Oluande Koduol as the new registrar. A
graduate of India's Aligarl University, Koduol was the perfect match for the job. He
started off by organising seminars but was always restless.
"He didn't look like a serious man," says Wanguhu Ng'ang'a, some 40 years later.
The first salvo against capitalism was fired on April 8, when Koduol invited Mr
Okello Odongo, an Assistant Minister for Finance, to the institute to deliver a speech
that was to test the waters and lay the groundwork for the bitter feud between
Odinga and Mboya. It was here that Odongo said: "Uhuru would be meaningless if
economic power was never transferred."
Tom Mboya hit back at Odongo and Odinga in a lengthy article publsihed in the local
papers. He wanted the institute closed and from then on the plot to inject
Communism into Kenyan politicians started to face a major test. Odinga's allies had
to do their best to save the institute from a possible closure. Even Mr Ronald Ngala,
the Kilifi South MP, demanded openly that the government either take over the
institute or just close it.
Although Odinga did not quickly show his face, his loyal lieutenant, Mr Luke Obok,
harsly criticised Ngala, saying: "If Mr Ngala is upset by the presence of some Russian
teachers on the staff of the institute, as a good nationalist he should also demand
and agitate the nationalisation of several other institutions in Kenya which are run
and controlled by Americans, the British, Germans and Israelis." The institute's
student leader, Mr David Munyendo also defended the two Russians, saying they
"were not teaching foreign ideologies. They teach principles ..." It was Munyendo
who did the dirty work, saying what the West did not want to hear.
"We know the Lumumba Institute is a stab in the back of neo-colonialism and
capitalists who would like to see the institute in the hands of an administration that
has American Peace Corps and CIA," he said. "American and British bootlickers are
ganging up to defeat the institute". That was on April 29, just a month after they had
registered as students.
At a meeting held on April 30, 1965 at the institute, it was agreed that students
marshal support and attend the parliamentary debate on April 31 and listen to the
private members motion moved by Tipis. Mboya was prepared for them and he said
he was worried that "the country had started to see things which had completely
distorted the original intention of President Kenyatta".
Although he never mentioned Odinga by name, Mboya said it was "bad" that
"someone should begin to transform the institute into a place where party officials
and organisers began to think they were a class above others the moment they took
studies there, thus departing from the policies of Kanu, its manifesto and its
leaders."
It was a clear reference to the Communist nature of the training the students were
undergoing.
Mr Waira Kamau, the Githunguri MP, and one of the registred students, warned that
"as an insider if the government will not take over the institute, not long will pass
before there is fire and bloodshed in the country".
With those warnings, the private members motion by Tipis was passed and
Lumumba Institute was to be registered under the Ministry of Education and its
syllabus vetted.
The Communist plot was now on its knees.
Africa News
July 2, 2000
Kenya Politics;
CIA Plotted Odinga's Removal From Office
BYLINE: Ken Opala, The Nation (Nairobi)
SECTION: NEWS, DOCUMENTS & COMMENTARY
LENGTH: 2548 words
Nairobi - Political intrigues forced the founding President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, to
abandon a very good friend and ally in the struggle for independence, Jaramogi
Oginga Odinga.
Fresh information dug up by the Sunday Nation reveals that the Central Intelligence
Agency, fearing the socialist-leaning and Odinga's growing influence in the first
years of Independence, cut a deal with Kenyatta to dump his Vice-President.
Jaramogi Odinga's Western-leaning Cabinet colleague and arch rival, Tom Mboya, a
most shrewd tactician, was picked to spearhead the scheme.
Sunday Nation investigations have revealed that contrary to the common belief that
Odinga and Kenyatta fell out because of the former's political ambition, it was the
Americans who sealed Odinga's political fate in mid- 1960s.
In June, 1964, a month after Odinga and fellow Cabinet Minister Joseph Murumbi
returned from a trip to the Soviet Union and China, which had been sanctioned by
Kenyatta to seek weapons to combat the Shifta threat, the American Ambassador to
Kenya, William Attwood, called for emergency talks with Kenyatta, then the Prime
Minister.
The possibility of Kenya -- a strategic point in America's push for capitalism in Africa
-- becoming communist was unsettling. Kenya was considered the gateway to the
landlocked East and Central African countries.
Kenya could be used as a conduit for arms to CIA-backed groups fighting communist
regimes. Conversely, the Eastern bloc would have preferred to use Nairobi to
channel weapons to socialist groups.
The country was, therefore, a soft underbelly for ideological punches. Odinga was
seen as a diehard communist while it was believed that the elderly Kenyatta could
be easily manipulated. It was against this background that it was feared Kenya
tottered on the brink of a communist takeover.
Just before Independence, John Keen, had planned to form the Communist Party of
Kenya. He had consulted with Odinga and Pio Gama Pinto, the young Goan politician
who been detained during emergency and who, like Mboya, was very shrewd.
A year before Independence, Keen had led a delegation of the African Parliamentary
Group to East Germany and the Soviet Union to help quell disturbances between
Luos and Kikuyus studying there. In the delegation were John-Marie Seroney,
Munyua Waiyaki, George Nthenge, George Githii and Peter Areman.
Keen, a former assistant minister now retired from politics, told the Sunday Nation
last week: "I knew the effort (to create a Communist party) would be against the hill
because of the Americans and the British. Naturally, I had a number of recruits but
Odinga and Pinto were at the helm."
Ambassador Attwood had firm instructions from his bosses in Washington to move
fast to stem the Soviet and Chinese influence in Kenya. After discussions with
Kenyatta, it was agreed that international labour unions bankrolled by the CIA
would stop funding Mboya and his Kenya Federation of Labour.
Then, the American Federation of Labour and the International Confederation of
Trade Unions (ICFTU) were heavily subsidising the operations of the KFL, Cotu's
precursor, whose secretary general was Mboya. The CIA, through the ICTFU, gave
the KFL $1,000 a month, a huge sum of money those days.
For Kenyatta, the talks with Attwood were opportune. He was wary of Mboya,
darling of the West and friend of American President John F. Kennedy.
"For balance, Kenyatta assured (the Ambassador) that Russian and Chinese aid to
the leftist leader, Odinga, would also end," says RAMPART, a report on CIA
operations in Africa, whose copy Vice-President Joseph Murumbi made available to
Kenyatta.
Part of the deal was that Kenyatta should soon drop Odinga, then perceived to be in
the payroll of the Soviets and the Chinese. The Americans, Mboya and fellow Cabinet
Minister Bruce Mackenzie, the only ranking white in the Kenyatta government,
embarked on a mission to cut Odinga down to size.
Two years later, a sequence of events consigned him to political limbo. One man
who was clearly happy with Odinga's near political demise was Ambassador
Attwood. In 1967, at the end of his tour of duty, he quipped: "Odinga and the
demagogues were out of office. The men moving up... were unemotional,
hardworking and practical-minded," he was quoted by RAMPART, as saying. The
demagogues referred to were Odinga's allies Bildad Kaggia, Achieng Oneko, Munyua
Waiyaki, John Keen and Denis Akumu.
The feud between Odinga and Mboya went beyond mere political ambition. It was
the local part of the larger Cold War between Communist Russia and Capitalist
America.
Odinga's successful trip to the USSR and China in April/May 1964 sent ripples
within the CIA and America, in general.
"They believed those arms (which the Odinga/Murumbi team managed to acquire)
were to be used by those sympathetic to the Communist structure of government
against Kenyatta's government," Keen recalls. "They were mere fears."
But in Kenya's first coalition government of 1962, the colonial regime refused to
appoint Odinga as a minister because of his perceived communism- leaning
ideology. "... Jomo Kenyatta wanted me to be a minister in the coalition government
but the British government adamantly refused," he said in a paper, "Let the People
of Kenya Africa and the World Know", published on June 28, 1962. But he added: "It
is currently apparent that socialist education in Russia has generated faster
progress than capitalist education in America."
During April/May 1964, "Odinga was chosen to visit the Soviet Union because the
communists thought 'one day (he) might occupy the highest seat," Alan Hutchinson
wrote in his book, China's African Revolution.
Chinese and Soviet efforts to expand communism in Africa started as the continent
began emancipating itself from colonialism. Between 1963 and February 1964,
Chinese embassies were established in Zanzibar, Kenya, Burundi, Tunisia and Congo
(Brazzaville)....they often became points of contact, not just between the Chinese
government and the government of the country concerned but also for establishing
contacts much further afield," says lan Geig in his book, The Communist Challenge to
Africa: an Analysis of the Contemporary Soviet and Chinese Policies.
As the CIA asserted itself in Africa, the Communists declared an all-out war.
At one time, Information and Broadcasting Minister Achieng Oneko and his Somali
counterpart, Ali Mohamed Hirawe, were invited to China because they were in a
strategic position to influence the information flow in favour of China.
This strategy worked well in Somalia and Tanzania where broadcast organs were
instructed not to carry stories damaging China, according to Geig.
Intelligence reports reveal that a cell of Chinese spy agents was discovered in Kenya
in 1965. They were allegedly involved in an arms smuggling operation. The arms
were later linked to Odinga.
The same year, Gama Pinto was assassinated. He was an avowed critic of the
"imperialist" West and the week before, he had decided to resign his parliamentary
seat to go and join socialist forces fighting for liberation in Angola and Mozambique.
His death shocked Odinga and devastated Murumbi. At his funeral, Odinga said
Pinto was killed because of his ideology. Murumbi, who was very close to Pinto,
resigned from the government the following year, upset that someone who fought
so hard for Kenya's emancipation could be killed because of his beliefs.
Three months after Pinto's death, Kenyatta made it clear that Kenya had no room for
communism. The statement took many by surprise as Kenya was supposed to be a
middle-of-the-road country. "...to us communism is as bad as imperialism ... it is a
sad mistake to think that you can get more food, more hospitals or schools by crying
"communism"," Kenyatta said in his Madaraka Day speech in 1965.
"It is naive to think that there is no danger of imperialism from the East. In world
power politics, the East has as much designs upon us as the West and would like us
to serve their own interests. This is why I reject communism. I speak plainly on this
subject today because time has come for us to do so in order to leave no room for
confusion," Kenyatta stressed.
This was a direct affront on Odinga who, the previous year, had negotiated with
Russia and China huge assistance to Kenya.
In 1966, the Defence Minister claimed 180 Kenyan students in the East were
receiving military training not authorised or sponsored by the government. Of these,
70 were in Bulgaria and the rest in East Germany, USSR and Egypt. He demanded
that the training be discontinued.
But in a confidential letter to Kenyatta dated May 8, 1965, Murumbi had asked the
president to post a "student adviser" to Moscow with instructions " to keep an eye"
on all students from Kenya in the USSR and other satellite states.
"You will excuse me if I have taken up a matter which is rightly under the portfolio
of the Ministry of Education, but I am doing so because of the political implications
involved by the presence of our students in foreign countries," Murumbi.
The number of students in Bulgaria reached 206 in 1973. British writer Geig argues
that Mboya's assassination was engineered by the communists. "The assassin of
Mboya ... was found to have been granted commission in the Bulgarian army after
receiving (military) training."
That there was so much fear that Odinga was out to subvert the government was
evident when on April 26, 1966, a Kanu Parliamentary Group meeting at Harambee
House expressed fear of insurgents seeping in through Lake Victoria and through
Namanga.
"(Kenyatta) revealed that the government would be putting a patrol boat in Lake
Victoria very soon, that the Ministry of Home Affairs will take the necessary steps to
erect gates across all roads suspected to be capable of permitting subversive
elements," said an item in the minutes of the meeting chaired by Kenyatta.
The fear was that Tanzania would ferry arms to Odinga through Namanga border
point and Lake Victoria.
By 1974, about 930 Soviet diplomats had been stationed in Africa. Kenya had 39, at
least 13 of them suspected to be KGB agents.
There is no information to link Odinga to the Communist spy cells in East Africa.
Those close to him in the 1960s claim that though he used to get funds from the
East, he never used his links to plot against Kenyatta's government.
However, the Parmat report reveals, "the chief beneficiary (of CIA's programme in
Kenya) was Tom Mboya." As the trade union boss, Mboya was an ideal candidate for
ClA's purposes. Kenyatta, says the report, was not "considered sufficiently safe."
Mboya allegedly joined the CIA jetset, travelling around the world on funds released
by CIA conduits, among them the Africa Bureau and the International Confederation
of Free Trade Unions, "which played a key role in Kenya. Mboya later became
ICFTU's regional representative.
It is noteworthy that though Americans used trade unions to infiltrate Africa, they
did not have a tradition of labour organisation. In fact the US does not have a Labour
Party.
In a confidential letter to Kenyatta dated June 25, 1964, the secretary- general of
Kenya Federation of Progressive Trade Unions, Ochola Ogaye Mak'Anyengo,
lambasted the ICTU. "(It is) a neo-colonialist agent and its operation in Africa is to
the detrimental of our people."
He claimed that the ICFTU had funds for special missions to disrupt governments
and influence policy. He asked Kenyatta to close its Nairobi office.
"We are sure that a lot of money is being poured into East Africa and particularly,
Kenya, by the ICTU, not to help organise workers but to build certain individuals for
the purpose of carrying on their plans and aims."
Kenyatta never responded. Three months later, Mak'Anyengo, Akumu and other
trade unionists petitioned Kenyatta again.
"In August 1962 (KFL) secretary general Peter Kibisu was publicly issuing insulting
statements against you. It should be noted that Kibisu was not alone in the
campaign." (On a number occasions, KFL youths frustrated Kenyatta when he tried
to address public rallies upon his release from detention).
It was alleged that between January 1,1959 and August 31,1961, KFL received
Sh288,573.30 from the ICFTU and Sh300,304 from American Federation of Labour.
Last week, Akumu, a former Member of Parliament, said Mboya had always been
bankrolled by the Americans. In the early 1960s, Akumu said, Mboya received
$40,000 from ClA-backed Peace With Freedom organisation for the publication of
the weekly Mfanyi Kazi newspaper in both English and Swahili.
According to the RAMPART report, in 1964, when the USSR and Russia pledged
assistance to Nairobi, CIA communication in Kenya went into overdrive. "... 1964
also brought dangers of "political instability" serious enough to make radio
communications with the Nairobi Embassy eighth highest on the State Department
roster for the year."
The Americans had realised that Odinga was becoming more influential on the
international scene than Mboya. To counter this, the Americans decided to placate
Kenyatta and possibly accommodate him as much as possible.
Then, Kenyatta was closer to Odinga than Mboya. But "he was torn right in the
middle between the two forces of might," says Keen.
The Americans promised Kenyatta as much as $100 million in aid in three years
compared to China's $5.3 million pledge to Odinga for 1964 -1969.
Both Mboya and Odinga were considered stooges of the superpowers. "This is a case
of one being declared guilty by association," Mboya said of his alleged links with the
CIA. He said his association with international labour unions was neither personal
nor clandestine.
But a letter dated June 11, 1964, to Mboya from Robert Gabor, director Peace with
Freedom Inc, a ClA-backed lobby, says: "I shall make ... arrangements to ship the
necessary printing equipment before my departure so that there will not be a long
delay starting the weekly newspaper and probably the start of the publishing.
"I will stay in East Africa for approximately one month and I hope this will give us
enough time to discuss all the details of our various projects and to get them
underway. I would like to visit Kampala, Dar es Salaam and Lusaka."
"Knowing that Mboya was close to the Americans, Odinga had to find his own
powerbase," says Keen. "Naturally, he had to chose the East."
By 1967, the Americans were firmly in control in Kenya. The British were not left
out in the ideological scramble for Kenya. They had their pointmen within the
Cabinet, among them Daniel Moi, Bruce Mackenzie, Charles Njonjo and James
Gichuru.
When Odinga arrived with the Soviet assistance, Agriculture Minister Bruce
Mackenzie and Finance Minister James Gichuru immediately left for UK to solicit
funds.
On June 3, 1964, Britain announced a Pounds60.6 million package in military and
financial aid. Of the amount, Pounds36.1 million was a gift and Pounds224. 5 in long
term loans. "We feel only Britain could be so generous," a government statement
said.
*Next week, read about Jaramogi Oginga Odinga's trips to Moscow and Beijing and
the shipload of soviet arms that were uncovered in Mombasa.
The Nation (Nairobi)
March 13, 2010 Saturday
CIA Documents Offer Insights Into How the Cold War Shaped Politics in Kenya
[analysis]
BYLINE: Murithi Mutiga
LENGTH: 1705 words
DATELINE: Nairobi
The 2012 General Election is shaping up as a contest between Raila Odinga and a
loose coalition with one objective: stopping Mr Odinga from becoming president.
Declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents indicate the politics of the
1960s were similarly shaped by the efforts of Jaramogi Odinga, Raila's father, to
succeed Jomo Kenyatta and the determined campaign of a loose coalition of rivals to
stop him.
The documents record strategies used by the anti-Odinga camp and offer profiles of
the key players involved.
The 1960s tactics, including efforts to whittle down the elder Odinga's allies in
Parliament, constitutional changes aimed at weakening the opposition and dirty
tricks including the planting of a consignment of arms in Mr Odinga's office, are
almost exactly the same those animating the political scene today.
The CIA recorded that the anti-Odinga alliance was unlikely to survive because it did
not have a solid ideological base.
"Because the moderate alliance is inter-tribal, it would have a hard time uniting
behind one candidate unless it was simply a compromise to block Odinga. The
longer Odinga remains outside government, however, without the prestige and
patronage of office, the dimmer his threat will appear," the dispatches say.
The CIA carefully monitored the succession battle because the agency shared an
interest in keeping Jaramogi from the presidency because of his links with
Communist countries.
In its memos to Washington spread over several months in 1966, the CIA recorded
the relative strengths and weaknesses of the various candidates in the battle to take
the reins of power in the post-Kenyatta era.
Mr Odinga is consistently cast in negative light in the reports. This is not surprising
because the CIA believed Mr Odinga was receiving financial support from the Soviet
Union and China, two of America's great rivals at the time.
The reports concede that he had a "strong popular following" but insist that Mr
Odinga drew the bulk of the financial muscle that helped him put together a
formidable political machine from the Soviet Union and China.
The dispatches to Washington form an important historical record due to their
efforts to explain the divisions in Cabinet which contributed to the ethnic
polarisation which remains a challenge to Kenya today.
Mr Kenyatta used Tom Mboya, Mr Odinga's Luo rival, because he recognised his
brilliance as a political tactician despite the fact that Mr Kenyatta did not trust Mr
Mboya.
The papers also offer insights into a little-known alliance formed to manage the
Kenyatta succession.
Called the Kenya Group, the alliance brought together Kenyatta's inner circle under
Mr Mboya's leadership. It successfully marginalised Mr Odinga and his allies in an
attempt to clear the way for one of the group to take power.
Mr Mboya is cast in the memos as intelligent and popular due to his background in
trade unionism, but he is also described as having "driving ambition and an arrogant
manner," traits that had "earned him many personal enemies".
The declassified documents offer never-before-published insights into how the Cold
War shaped internal politics in Kenya and ultimately decided the Kenyatta
succession.
They also reveal the extent to which the CIA monitored the activities of the key
leaders in Mr Kenyatta's government. Here are excerpts from the memoranda that
are housed at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Texas.
"(In 1963), Kenyatta's reputation as leader of the Mau Mau insurgency a decade
earlier, the consideration he earned during nine years of detention by the British,
and his role in presiding over the final steps to freedom, lent him a status
unmatched among most Africans, but contributed to the unease of the economically
important European and Asian communities. His ability to manage the day-to-day
problems of an independent government remained to be tested.
Odinga, the leader of the Luo, was the only other figure with a strong popular
following. Apart from his tribal position, he had established a power base largely
through astute dispensation of Communist funds supplied by both Moscow and
Peking (Beijing).
An estimated 1,000 or more men in reasonably important positions in the
government, civil service and trade unions owed personal allegiance to Odinga, who
either had sent them to study in Communist countries or supplied them with regular
financial aid. Several key Members of Parliament owed their positions to him.
For a long time, Kenyatta tried to remain above the factional and tribal disputes
within his government. Even after his "kitchen Cabinet," loyalists with whom he had
associated since Mau Mau days convinced him that Odinga was becoming a threat to
Central Kenya hegemony, Kenyatta refrained from direct action for fear of losing the
support of the Luo and precipitating a tribal struggle.
When Kenya became a Republic in December 1964, however, Kenyatta as new
president took his first move against Odinga. He moved Odinga up to the new vicepresidency where he enjoyed less real authority and no right of automatic
succession. At the same time, Kenyatta moved his fellow Kikuyu into key Cabinet
posts.
Mr Odinga's influence nevertheless spread, his organisation grew and he was widely
regarded as Kenyatta's heir apparent. By exploiting the discontent of the masses and
the frustration of the backbenchers in Parliament, Odinga lieutenants had built a
sizeable following by early 1965 among the dominant Kamba tribe which dominated
the military and, even a faction of the Kikuyu in addition to the Luo.
They appeared to have substantial support in Parliament and although they were a
minority in the Cabinet, they were setting the pace there.
While Kenyatta and his senior ministers remained silent and inactive in the face of
the government growing unrest and disunity in the country and increasing
opposition to the government, a number of second and third-echelon leaders began
to coalesce into what eventually became known as the Kenya Group.
These younger, progressive leaders were disturbed by the effectiveness of
Communist propaganda and the failure of the country's leadership to present any
effective resistance to Odinga's bid for power. Many of them were being undermined
in their own constituencies and feared that Odinga would pick them off one by one.
They felt that the apathy and divisiveness of the older ministers were permitting
Odinga to capture the party by default. Their initial discussions were limited to
plans for working together and supporting each other in their own constituencies
against Odinga's attacks.
As the discussions continued, the group began to assume shape and direction,
attracting other energetic, constructive elements of varying tribes, all anxious to
unite against the common danger - Odinga.
In late February 1965 while the KG (Kenya Group) was still in early gestation, the
Odinga political forces received a crippling blow - the assassination of Pio Gama
Pinto, a dedicated Communist, and their principal brain and paymaster. It has never
been determined who was responsible for his liquidation but, following this loss,
Odinga's power eroded steadily.
Two months later, in April 1965, the KG moved into action. Parliament's defeat of
two Odinga-backed candidates for legislative offices impressed Kenyatta with the
opposition to Odinga.
A parliamentary debate on arms smuggling from Communist countries further
revealed the pent-up resentment toward the extremists.
When the army seized a cache of Communist-supplied arms in the basement of
Odinga's office, Kenyatta finally seemed to realise the seriousness of Odinga's threat.
As coup rumours swirled around Nairobi, and British troops stood by at his request,
Kenyatta for the first time openly attacked an Odinga lieutenant - as it happened a
Kikuyu whose disloyalty challenged Kenyatta's authority in tribe as well as
government (Bildad Kaggia, a freedom fighter who was an ally of Jaramogi Odinga).
In a rapid succession of events, Kenyatta sent back a shipment of arms supplied by
Moscow under terms humiliating to Kenya, and Parliament approved government
take-over of the new Soviet-supported Lumumba Institute (now named the Pan
African Christian College) which Odinga had helped establish as a political training
centre for Kanu cadres of his own selection.
A Kanu party convention at which the KG hoped to force a direct confrontation was
postponed for nearly a year, however, as Kenyatta gradually restricted the
extremists while trying to preserve tribal balance and unity. When the convention
was finally held in March (1966), the victory was sealed.
Steamroller tactics planned and executed by Mboya and a few KG members
removed all the extremists from party office.
Odinga, who had been the single party vice-president, refused to run for one of
seven regional vice-presidencies established under a revised party constitution.
A month later, on April 14, Odinga resigned from both government and Kanu to
form an open opposition party. Following his course were some 30 MPs, including
the minister for Information (Achieng Oneko) and two assistant ministers.
Kenyatta moved forcefully to prevent Odinga's new Kenya People's Union from
gaining momentum. Police kept Odinga's men under surveillance and seized the
passports of many.
Kenyatta also acted to cut off Odinga's external financial support. Eleven communist
diplomats and newspapermen known to have channelled funds to Odinga were
expelled.
Kenyatta warned the Soviet and Chinese ambassadors that he would sever
diplomatic relations with their countries if further assistance were provided to
Odinga. The Soviet ambassador was told he would be held responsible for such
activity by the Eastern European embassies.
"Kenyatta and his moderate alliance will remain under constant pressure, however
well they have used their prestige and authority against Odinga. They will hear
continuing charges that they have made Kenya a stooge of the US and Britain, and
may find attention turning increasingly to the country's economic and social
problems. Young Kanu leaders, in particular, unless they see greater astuteness
among government officials than they have seen in the past, will be vulnerable to
the lures of an Odinga by another name."
The Washington Post
April 23, 1978, Sunday, Final Edition
CIA Oil Figures Raise Some Eyebrows;
CIA Oil Figures Raise Eyebrows Among Experts
BYLINE: By Richard Harwood and J. P. Smith, Washington Post Staff Writers
SECTION: First Section; A1
LENGTH: 2209 words
This is a story about the Central Intelligence Agency and the domestic energy
policies of the American government.
It begins, in a public sense, last April, when President Carter revealed in a television
appearance that he had received "disturbing" new findings about world energy
supplies.
There is less oil and gas available in the world, he said. than the government had
previously believed. It was therefore imperative that an energy bill be passed "to cut
down the waste of energy."
His fears were underscored eight months later, on Christmas Day, when The New
York Times reported that Saudi Arabia, with its oceans of oil, may have far less
productive capacity than previously believed. This information, said the Times,
came from "leading energy experts."
It was, in fact, the CIA which had raised the alarm about the Saudis, and it was the
CIA that had provided Carter with the ammunition for his warning.
Carter acknowledged his debt to the CIA during his television appearance. In so
doing, he also acknowledged the dependence of the White House and of the
Congress on the CIA in the formulation of domestic energy policies.
For good or ill, the CIA is the government's most important single source of
international energy information, including estimates of how much is out there and
how much is available to the United States.
This may seem both unfortunate and sinister to the agency's critics. It is an
inevitable and sensible role for the agency in the minds of others including the
respected international energy expert at the Library of Congress, Herman Franssen.
"The CIA." he says "probably has the best act in town. Nobody else can do it; the only
other source would be the companies."
Energy Secretary James R. Schlesinger Jr. says the CIA's role in making estimates of
foreign oil capacity in connection with the domestic energy plan is to be expected,
"given that the CIA has been at work for years on the question of estimating . . . the
trends in foreign capacity and foreign intentions with regard to production."
"What falls outside of the traditional compass of the intelligence community is that
this has gone public," Schlesinger says.
There is another question about the CIA and energy policy, however. It is directed at
the agency's capabilities and the quality of its work.
Specifically, there is widespread doubt in the energy community about the validity
of the CIA report cited by the president last April and about the CIA report cited by
the Times in December.
Theheart of the April report was a CIA prediction that the Soviet Union would be
importing up to 3.5 million barrels of oil per day by the mid 1980's. Previously, the
assumption had been that the Soviets would continue to be self-sufficient in meeting
their oil and gas needs.
The CIA's revisionist analysis is now under serious challenge by West European
intelligence agencies by the Library of Congress, by a number of major oil
companies, by the Soviets and, somewhat surprisingly, by Schlesinger.
The same is true of the revisionist analysis of the Saudi oil fields, prepared by the
CIA's Bureau of Economic Research. Classified secret and never released expect in
the form of a leak to The New York Times.
The response to the Times' version of the CIA's Saudi report has ranged from
ridicule to astonishment. The critics include the State Department, the General
Accounting Office, the Arabian American Oil Co. (Aramco), the Saudi government
and, to a lesser extent, Schlesinger.
In summary, the CIA claimed that the Saudi oil fields were, in effect, wearing out,
partly because of mismanagement, and that their ability to produce oil was far less
than previously believed.
This revisionist conclusion may have been reflected in the unexplained gyrations
that began appearing in December in the CIA's biweekly reports on world oil
supplies.
In November, the agency estimated the productive capacity of the Saudi fieldsat 11.5
million barrels a day. In December that estimatewas cut to 10.5 million barrels. In
January it was cut to 8.8 million barrels.
These vanishing millions of barrels of oil baffled consumers of the CIA's intelligence
reports. They were further baffled in February, when the CIA again shifted gears and
reported Saudi capacity at 10.5 million barrels.
This upward revision, according to Schlesinger, was "a result of certain articles in
The Washington Post," articles that had reported the gyration in the agency's
estimates and had further reported that between November and February the CIA
had lopped 5 million barrels a day off the "surplus production" capability of the 13
members of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).
The confusion sowed by all this in the international oil community carried a special
irony, since that community is heavily populated with present and former CIA
people.
Schlesinger, a CIA director of the Nixon administration.
They include:
Walter McDOnald, former director of the CIA's energy analysis section, who is now a
Schlesinger aide as deputy assistant secretary of energy for international affairs.
Frank Pagnotta, another Schlesinger aide, who worked for the CIA's deputy director.
Philip Woodside, the international oil specialist for the General Accounting Office,
who spent more than a decade with the CIA as an oil analyst in the Middle East and
Latin America.
George W. Cave, the CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, who is a former Aramco
employe.
Raymond H. Close, the former CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia, who retired from the
agency last year and now works for the Saudis.
There are, in addition, scores of known or suspected CIA operatives, alumni and
cooperators with an abiding interest in oil.
Two of the best known and most respected in international oil circles are Mike
Ameen of the London office of the Mobil Oil Corp., and Jack Bridges, a former
congressional aide who now works for the Saudis as director of the King Faisal
Foundation with offices in Northern Virginia.
They ritually deny CIA ties, but there is no doubt that they have CIA contacts and
intimate relationships with the Saudis.
This web of relationships is nothing new in the oil business. For years, the CIA and
the international oil companies have worked closely together out of a community of
interest.
Frank Jungers, board chairman of Aramco until last year, is candid on that point:
"For years out there [in Saudi Arabia] we had a good relationship with the agency,
partly because I thought it would make things easier."
He said the industry-wide practice was to maintain "liaison" with the CIA. But
involvements sometimes were more direct. Ashland Oil, for example, said it was
surprised to find some years ago that the CIA was using the company as a cover for
an agent operating abroad.
The agency also maintains a network of clandestine contacts with foreign nationals
operating state-run oil companies. It may be coincidence, but the CIA compound in
Saudi Arabia is located directly across the street from the Ministry of Petroleum and
Minerals.
These contacts have paid off frequently.
Years before the Mexican government made public its extensive oil finds in Chiapas
and Tabasco, the CIA circulated top-secret reports that Mexico was sitting on
billions of barrels of oil. These reports grew out of contacts with Petroleous
Mexicanos (Pemex) the state oil company.
With the rise of new technologies, the CIA has developed other information sources.
Spy satellite systems track the movement of oil tankers, conduct aerial surveys,
photograph drilling operations and collect geographic evidence of mineral and oil
deposits. Its agents have also cooperated with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Then there is the time-honored drudge work, the collection of data from thousands
of technical publications, newspapers, journals and radio broadcasts.
From all these sources - spies, friends, satellites and statistical tomes - come the
special CIA studies and the biweekly energy estimates that are circulated to senior
officials in the White House, the State Department, the National Security Council, the
Energy and Treasury departments and congressional committees.
This is the data that is crucial to government planning and domestic policymaking in
the energy field.
The dependence on the CIA in these matters is reflected in the comment of an
Energy Department official who concedes, "The department simply does not have
the kind of people on hand to verify the CIA analysis."
It is reflected in a recent comment by CIA Director Stansfield Turner: "I'm just so
proud of what we have contributed in the past nine months to the public debate on
major issues." He was talking about enrgy.
"I intend to keep on with this program," he said. "I will be criticized sometimes for
supporting the administration's policy and sometimes for not supporting it."
His agency's contribution to the "debate" on energy is correct in the sense he
intended and in the narrower sense that a lot of the "debate" swirls around the
accuracy of the CIA's Soviet and Sauid studies.
James Akins, the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, is something of an energy
expert himself. He is a former director of the State Department's Office of Fuels and
Energy.
He describes the CIA's woeful analysis of the Saudi oil fields as "absolutely
pernicious." What is more, he said, it "gives the Saudis the perfect excuse to cut
production" at a time when U.S. officials are pressuring the Saudis to increase
production capacity to avert a worldwide oil supply shortage in the next four or five
years.
His skepticism grows, in part, out of a personal experience. While in the State
Department some years ago, Akin says, he headed off a classified CIA report
forecasting a world tanker shortage. He thought the analysis was questionable. Time
proved him right. There is a glut of tankers in the world today, and tanker prices and
shipping costs are at their lowest level in decades.
This skepticism infects the Saudis and the Americans who run their oilfields. Abdul
Aziz Turki, the deputy petroleum minister, said, "We in the Ministry of Petroleum
found no reason to reply to such reports because they are ridiculous and obviously
untrue." The Saudi minister of planning, Hisham Nazer, laughed at the report, while
sarcastically telling an American visitor, "How am I to say this is not true if it comes
from your mighty CIA?"
The most rigorous dissent from the CIA's reported Saudi conclusions came from
former CIA operative Philip Woodside, in a report for the GAO.
Woodside toured the Saudi fields in December, and upon his return reported that he
found no uncommon problems, no evidence of mismanagement and no technical
obstacles to much higher levels of production.
The CIA has not replied to these criticisms. It has not released its Saudi report or
publicly acknowledged its existence. Schlesinger talks about the report with the
caveat that what he is talking about is "hypothetical."
So the controversy over the report's validity is one-sided and, in that circumstance,
produces much speculated about the agency's motives and integrity.
In the past and in other areas of study, the CIA's reputation for objective and
sensible analysis has been relatively good. But in this energy arena, charges are
glying about the "political motivation" of the agency.
At the time the CIA's Saudi study was reported in the Times, Sen. Frank Church (DIdaho) wa accusing the agency - in another connection - of tailoring its facts to its
needs.
"We found," he said, "that the CIA was reporting the facts that they wanted to find."
On oil production, he said, the agency "tended to accept a level of production that
they'd hoped for without weighing other information."
A more common allegation is that the agency has produced gloomy data to give
political support to the Carter energy program.
Asked about the shifting view of Saudi production in the CIA report, and
administration official said, "There is certainly a political element in it."
And there even have been suggestions that the agency downgrades the oil capacity
of the Saudi in order to influence the three-pronged relationship between the United
States, Israel, and the Arabs.
No one has produced any evidence to support these allegations, and Schlesinger
rejects them vehemently. "That's ridiculous," he says. "In my experience I can recall
only rare circumstances in which they deviated only slightly from what they
regarded as the objective truth or could be referred to as [their having] political
motivations. I just don't think that that's part of it. The agency can be wrong as
everybody else in this area, but by and large they've done pretty good work."
What has changed, as Schlesinger has noted, is the public emergence of the CIA as a
contributor to domestic policymaking in the field of energy. Its role in this area in
the past was not talked about, and it was thus not a vulnerable target for
examination.
That changed last April when President Carter waved the CIA report before the
television cameras in support of his energy proposals.
He opened the question that has yet to be answered fully: how good are the CIA
estimates?
The Times (London)
August 8 1986, Friday
Times Diary: Liquidating Sukarno
BYLINE: PHS
SECTION: Issue 62530.
LENGTH: 342 words
Amazing revelations from the other side of the Atlantic. In a book to be published
this autumn, The CIA: A Forgotten History (Zed Books), the American author
William Blum reproduces part of a sensational 1962 CIA report which suggests
Supermac and JFK talked about 'liquidating' the troublesome President Sukarno of
Indonesia. The author of the CIA report, which has been declassified under the
American Freedom of Information Act, states: 'I have concluded from the
impressions I have received in conversations with Western diplomats that President
Kennedy and PM MacMillan agreed on the following matters in their recent meeting
and will attempt to carry these things out. ' He goes on: 'They agreed to liquidate
President Sukarno, depending upon the situation and available opportunities. (It is
not clear to me whether murder or overthrow is intended by the word liquidate).'
Sadly for history, the name of the CIA officer who penned this extraordinary report
has been deleted.
It apparently refers to a meeting between the leaders in Washington from April 27
to 29, 1962. At the time, Sukarno was vehemently opposed to a British-backed plan
to create a Malaysian Federation, consisting of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, North
Borneo and British-protected Brunei. CIA mischief in the abortive 1958 coup to
overthrow Sukarno is well documented. It is not known if any Anglo-US action was
taken following the supposed discussion. Sukarno eventually lost power to General
Suharto in 1967. He died of natural causes three years later.
Lord Stockton was not available for comment this week, but his grandson,
Alexander, tells me that a check on the private papers at his home, Birch Grove, has
revealed 'no such items' on the Kennedy-Macmillan agenda. One of the most highlyplaced M16 officers at the time assures me he had no knowledge of the alleged
discussion. Nor does he believe that liquidate could have meant bumping Sukarno
off. 'However, they might well have discussed the best way of getting rid of this
awkward fellow. '
The Washington Times
October 28, 2009 Wednesday
Top donors rewarded with White House perks;
Offered access to bowling alley, briefings, movie theater
BYLINE: By Matthew Mosk THE WASHINGTON TIMES
SECTION: A, PAGE ONE; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 2423 words
During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores
of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with
administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall
meetings.
High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials
in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in
contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal
Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.
One top donor described in an interview with The Times being given a birthday visit
to the Oval Office. Another was allowed use of a White House-complex bowling alley
for his family. Bundlers closest to the president were invited to watch a movie in the
red-walled theater in the basement of the presidential mansion.
Mr. Obama invited his top New York bundler, UBS Americas CEO Robert Wolf, to golf
with him during the president's Martha's Vineyard vacation in August. At least 39
donors and fundraisers also were treated to a lavish White House reception on St.
Patrick's Day, where the fountains on the North and South Lawns were dyed green,
photos and video reviewed by The Times and CBS News also show.
Presidential aides said there has been no systematic effort to use the White House
complex to aid fundraising, though they acknowledge the DNC has paid for some
events at the presidential mansion.
Many guests at the White House not only had fundraising connections, but also have
personal friendships with the president, Mr. Obama's aides said.
"Contributing does not guarantee a ticket to the White House, nor does it prohibit
the contributor from visiting," said Dan Pfeiffer, deputy White House
communications director.
"This administration has across the board set the toughest ethics standards in
history. As a result, we have reduced special-interest influence over the
policymaking process to promote merit-based decision-making," he added.
But veteran Washington observers say the Obama-era perks still carry shades of the
so-called "donor maintenance" programs of past administrations, when Bill Clinton
rewarded fundraisers with White House coffees and overnight stays in the Lincoln
Bedroom and George W. Bush invited "Pioneers" to Camp David or his Texas ranch.
And the donor access raises questions about the fervor of Mr. Obama's stated
commitment to clean up what he once called the "muddy waters" of Washington,
where political cash is exchanged for access, ethics experts said.
"Once you start trading money for access, you set up a situation where donors
eventually say, 'Well, actually I have another favor to ask,' " said Scott Thomas, a
former Democratic appointee to the Federal Election Commission.
"It starts setting up that relationship. If you help with the money, we'll do something
nice for you. And that is a slippery slope."
Democratic Party officials told The Times that there is "absolutely no correlation"
between fundraising and attendance at White House events.
"I don't think it's surprising that people that support the president do go to
functions at the White House and have other access, but there are many, many more
Americans who attend events and town halls and other things at the White House
every single day," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said.
Only select members of the public, however, were provided access to a series of
invite-only briefings by senior administration officials organized by the DNC.
Over the summer, for instance, one of Mr. Obama's deputy chiefs of staff, Jim
Messina, flew to Los Angeles and San Francisco to provide in-person briefings to a
small collection of top donors to explain the administration's plan for tackling health
care legislation and counter the rising tide of opposition at town-hall meetings. In
another, a group was briefed by one of Mr. Obama's top economic advisers, Austan
Goolsbee.
And festive events at the White House, such as parties thrown to celebrate Cinco de
Mayo and July Fourth, were underwritten in part or in full by the DNC. Guests lists
for those functions have not been made public.
Menu for access
The DNC has presented a menu of exclusive access opportunities to top givers,
according to internal DNC documents provided to potential donors and obtained by
The Times.
Top-tier donors gain membership to the DNC's National Finance Committee or to
the ultra-exclusive National Advisory Board, both of which meet four times a year,
including this week at the Mandarin Hotel in Washington.
"They have an opportunity to meet senior members of the Obama Administration
and senior members of Congress, and to hear from political analysts and policy
experts," according to the internal DNC documents.
Mark Gilbert, a Florida businessman who raised more than $500,000 for Mr. Obama,
said he gets regular e-mails from the White House on topics that interest him - in his
case, economic policy - and he occasionally joins special conference calls for Mr.
Obama's political supporters. The calls are frequently timed to follow up on a major
news development out of the White House.
"Any time something major takes place, they follow it up with a conference call with
someone who was involved with the policy decision," Mr. Gilbert said. "Anything
that has to do with the Treasury, I get an e-mail."
Mr. Gilbert said the same practice was routine during the presidential campaign, and
it helped Mr. Obama's supporters feel like partners.
"I think they're doing a very good job keeping people up to date, trying to keep
people well-informed," Mr. Gilbert said.
A senior party official involved in devising the DNC program, who spoke only on the
condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said
the party took pains to design it so access to senior officials would be tightly
controlled. Supporters would have the chance to meet party leaders. But the DNC
wanted to rule out requests to pair donors with officials on specific issues. The
paramount objective, the official said, was to avoid putting party leaders in the
position of being asked to deliver on a specific request.
Rewards for those who supported the president's 2008 campaign have been doled
out in less formal ways. Two top bundlers, for instance, described invitations to
bring their families to the private bowling alley at the Eisenhower Executive Office
Building, adjacent to the White House. Both spoke on the condition they not be
named because they did not want to damage their relationship with the White
House.
The White House said such invitations could have come through any of scores of
staff members, and could have occurred without any input from the president or his
senior aides.
In interviews, top Obama donors described different methods for arranging such
perks. Some said they contacted Reggie Love, the president's personal assistant, to
request appointments or White House access. Others said they arranged meetings
through regional finance directors at the DNC.
"Many people know Reggie because they met him on the trail over the two years he
traveled with the president, which is why they reach out to him, but that is not
exclusive to donors," a White House official said.
The courtship of top donors is overseen by Rufus Gifford at the DNC in consultation
with White House political director Patrick Gaspard, party officials confirmed.
Their activities are not new to presidential politics. But they offer a contrast to the
public face of the president's fundraising operation, which has always focused on its
efforts to reach out to grass-roots supporters who send small-dollar donations
through the Internet.
Muddy waters
Presidents have run into trouble using the White House to entertain political donors
in the past, most notably in 1997, when it was discovered that Mr. Clinton had used
White House coffees, overnight stays in the Lincoln Bedroom and rides aboard Air
Force One to cultivate and reward political support. Mr. Clinton said the sleepovers
were justified because the guests were not only donors, but also close friends.
"The Lincoln Bedroom was never sold," Mr. Clinton said at the time.
President George W. Bush rewarded his 246 "Pioneers," who raised at least
$100,000, with perks that included overnight stays at the White House and Camp
David, parties at the White House and Mr. Bush's Texas ranch, state dinners with
world leaders and overseas travel with U.S. delegations to the Olympics and other
events, according to a 2004 review by the Associated Press.
As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama acknowledged he suffered "from the same
original sin of all politicians, which is we've got to raise money," but said that he
would fight against donor influence if sent to the White House.
"The argument is not that I'm pristine, because I'm swimming in the same muddy
water," Mr. Obama said during a campaign appearance. "The argument is that I
know it's muddy, and I want to clean it up."
Democratic officials said they think it is important to note that Mr. Obama's efforts
to reward major donors are, in their view, on a far smaller scale than those of any
other recent president.
"I would say that from our reckoning, our research, there are fewer donors getting
fewer things, whatever you may call them, from this White House than from any
White House in memory," Mr. Woodhouse said.
Since taking office, Mr. Obama has pledged that his administration will be "the most
open and transparent administration in history" and has agreed to make public the
names of those who sign into White House visitor logs, though a request from The
Times for logs that show visits from his top 45 bundlers has so far gone unfilled.
Requests for guest lists to various White House events, such as a recent cocktail
reception surrounding the celebration of the Pittsburgh Penguins' National Hockey
League Stanley Cup victory or the Latin music concert last week, have also been
denied repeatedly.
Doling out ambassadorships
The most traditional aspect of the Obama administration's continued outreach to
donors has involved the time-honored practice of doling out ambassadorships to his
most prolific financial benefactors. The task of matching up bundlers to foreign
posts was overseen by Chicago lawyer David Jacobson, who served during the
campaign as the deputy to finance chairwoman Penny Pritzker, several of Mr.
Obama's ambassadors said in interviews.
Shortly after Mr. Obama's election, Mr. Jacobson was assigned the title of special
assistant for presidential personnel. From that perch, he approached top bundlers
and asked them to provide him with their top six choices for foreign postings.
Mr. Jacobson eventually returned to most of the bundlers with word of their
postings. For young music executive Nicole Avant, that meant the Bahamas. For
veteran political fundraiser Alan Solomont, it was Spain. A request for comment
from Mr. Jacobson was routed to the White House.
For a number of supporters who began the 2008 race in the camp of a rival
candidate, there have been other rewards.
When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton prepared to lead a delegation to El
Salvador to attend the inauguration of President Mauricio Funes, she invited one
ambassador, two diplomats, three congressmen, and McAllen, Texas, construction
company executive Alonzo Cantu. Mr. Cantu also happened to be a major fundraiser
for her primary campaign. He later contributed to Mr. Obama's general election bid.
Still others have been invited to sit on a wide array of presidential commissions and
advisory panels. Several top bundlers, including Ms. Pritzker and Mr. Wolf, sit on the
president's Economic Advisory Board, which has been helping him navigate the
nation's financial crisis. This fall, top bundlers Andres Lopez and Abigail Pollak were
tapped to join the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum
of the American Latino.
With many of the president's top bundlers now serving in ambassadorships, and
therefore unable to help with a 2012 re-election bid, the DNC has started the
process of recruiting a new round of top givers.
The DNC began cultivating these donors this summer, when Mr. Obama's health care
legislation was facing strong opposition from vocal opponents at town-hall
meetings. The president's top political advisers took commercial flights to
California, paid for by the DNC, for meetings with key donors in Los Angeles and San
Francisco.
Top White House advisers told about 25 DNC donors in Los Angeles to remember
that Mr. Obama "has been counted down or out and surprised people" before, said
one bundler who attended a California meeting, but spoke on the condition he not
be named.
The most exclusive access to the president has been reserved for Mr. Obama's losest
friends, many of whom also served as donors and bundlers during his campaign.
When the president hosted a Ramadan banquet at the White House, he invited three
top fundraisers, Hasan Chandoo, Wahid Hamid and Lutfi Hassan. Mr. Chandoo and
Mr. Hamid, who both raised between $100,000 and $200,000 during the campaign,
had been college roommates of Mr. Obama's.
Marty Nesbitt, who bundled between $50,000 and $100,000, and John Rogers, who
bundled more than $500,000, have both spent time with Mr. Obama in the White
House, including joining the president in the White House movie theater, which Mr.
Obama's aides said is nothing surprising.
As with past administrations, Democratic officials have made plain that the
president views the access provided to close friends as something different from
any sort of orchestrated program to reward political donors.
"Many of the people mentioned in this story have been friends and associates of the
Obamas for decades - including college roommates and family friends whose
relationships predate and are separate from the president's career in public
service," Mr. Pfeiffer said.
Also as with previous administrations, however, it can often be difficult to
distinguish between a president's friends and his financial backers.
Several of those interviewed said they only met Mr. Obama by virtue of their efforts
to assist his Senate and presidential campaigns.
"No, they're not all friends," said Lanny Davis, a Washington Times columnist and a
Democratic lawyer who helped the Clintons respond to allegations about Lincoln
Bedroom guests back in the 1990s. "They are supporters of the Democratic Party
who are generous with their financial support, and without them we would not be
able to compete against our Republican opponents."
The Story of Barack Obama's Mother
By Amanda Ripley / Honolulu Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2008
Each of us lives a life of contradictory truths. We are not one thing or another.
Barack Obama's mother was at least a dozen things. S. Ann Soetoro was a teen
mother who later got a Ph.D. in anthropology; a white woman from the Midwest
who was more comfortable in Indonesia; a natural-born mother obsessed with her
work; a romantic pragmatist, if such a thing is possible.
"When I think about my mother," Obama told me recently, "I think that there was a
certain combination of being very grounded in who she was, what she believed in.
But also a certain recklessness. I think she was always searching for something. She
wasn't comfortable seeing her life confined to a certain box." (See pictures of the
world reacting to Obama's win.)
Obama's mother was a dreamer. She made risky bets that paid off only some of the
time, choices that her children had to live with. She fell in love—twice—with fellow
students from distant countries she knew nothing about. Both marriages failed, and
she leaned on her parents and friends to help raise her two children.
"She cried a lot," says her daughter Maya Soetoro-Ng, "if she saw animals being
treated cruelly or children in the news or a sad movie—or if she felt like she wasn't
being understood in a conversation." And yet she was fearless, says Soetoro-Ng.
"She was very capable. She went out on the back of a motorcycle and did rigorous
fieldwork. Her research was responsible and penetrating. She saw the heart of a
problem, and she knew whom to hold accountable."
Today Obama is partly a product of what his mother was not. Whereas she swept
her children off to unfamiliar lands and even lived apart from her son when he was a
teenager, Obama has tried to ground his children in the Midwest. "We've created
stability for our kids in a way that my mom didn't do for us," he says. "My choosing
to put down roots in Chicago and marry a woman who is very rooted in one place
probably indicates a desire for stability that maybe I was missing."
Ironically, the person who mattered most in Obama's life is the one we know the
least about—maybe because being partly African in America is still seen as being
simply black and color is still a preoccupation above almost all else. There is not
enough room in the conversation for the rest of a man's story. (See pictures of eight
months of Obama's diplomacy.)
But Obama is his mother's son. In his wide-open rhetoric about what can be instead
of what was, you see a hint of his mother's credulity. When Obama gets donations
from people who have never believed in politics before, they're responding to his
ability—passed down from his mother—to make a powerful argument (that
happens to be very liberal) without using a trace of ideology. On a good day, when
he figures out how to move a crowd of thousands of people very different from
himself, it has something to do with having had a parent who gazed at different
cultures the way other people study gems.
It turns out that Obama's nascent career peddling hope is a family business. He
inherited it. And while it is true that he has not been profoundly tested, he was
raised by someone who was.
In most elections, the deceased mother of a candidate in the primaries is not the
subject of a magazine profile. But Ann Soetoro was not like most mothers.
Stanley Ann Dunham
Born in 1942, just five years before Hillary Clinton, Obama's mother came into an
America constrained by war, segregation and a distrust of difference. Her parents
named her Stanley because her father had wanted a boy. She endured the expected
teasing over this indignity, but dutifully lugged the name through high school,
apologizing for it each time she introduced herself in a new town.
During her life, she was known by four different names, each representing a distinct
chapter. In the course of the Stanley period, her family moved more than five
times—from Kansas to California to Texas to Washington—before her 18th
birthday. Her father, a furniture salesman, had a restlessness that she inherited.
She spent her high school years on a small island in Washington, taking advanced
classes in philosophy and visiting coffee shops in Seattle. "She was a very intelligent,
quiet girl, interested in her friendships and current events," remembers Maxine Box,
a close high school friend. Both girls assumed they would go to college and pursue
careers. "She wasn't particularly interested in children or in getting married," Box
says. Although Stanley was accepted early by the University of Chicago, her father
wouldn't let her go. She was too young to be off on her own, he said, unaware, as
fathers tend to be, of what could happen when she lived in his house. (Read
"Obama's Half Brother Makes a Name for Himself in China")
After she finished high school, her father whisked the family away again—this time
to Honolulu, after he heard about a big new furniture store there. Hawaii had just
become a state, and it was the new frontier. Stanley grudgingly went along yet again,
enrolling in the University of Hawaii as a freshman.
Mrs. Barack H. Obama
Shortly before she moved to Hawaii, Stanley saw her first foreign film. Black
Orpheus was an award-winning musical retelling of the myth of Orpheus, a tale of
doomed love. The movie was considered exotic because it was filmed in Brazil, but it
was written and directed by white Frenchmen. The result was sentimental and, to
some modern eyes, patronizing. Years later Obama saw the film with his mother and
thought about walking out. But looking at her in the theater, he glimpsed her 16year-old self. "I suddenly realized," he wrote in his memoir, Dreams from My Father,
"that the depiction of childlike blacks I was now seeing on the screen ... was what my
mother had carried with her to Hawaii all those years before, a reflection of the
simple fantasies that had been forbidden to a white middle-class girl from Kansas,
the promise of another life, warm, sensual, exotic, different." (Read "The Five Faces
of Barack Obama")
By college, Stanley had started introducing herself as Ann. She met Barack Obama
Sr. in a Russian-language class. He was one of the first Africans to attend the
University of Hawaii and a focus of great curiosity. He spoke at church groups and
was interviewed for several local-newspaper stories. "He had this magnetic
personality," remembers Neil Abercrombie, a member of Congress from Hawaii who
was friends with Obama Sr. in college. "Everything was oratory from him, even the
most commonplace observation."
Obama's father quickly drew a crowd of friends at the university. "We would drink
beer, eat pizza and play records," Abercrombie says. They talked about Vietnam and
politics. "Everyone had an opinion about everything, and everyone was of the
opinion that everyone wanted to hear their opinion—no one more so than Barack."
The exception was Ann, the quiet young woman in the corner who began to hang
out with Obama and his friends that fall. "She was scarcely out of high school. She
was mostly kind of an observer," says Abercrombie. Obama Sr.'s friends knew he
was dating a white woman, but they made a point of treating it as a nonissue. This
was Hawaii, after all, a place enamored of its reputation as a melting pot.
But when people called Hawaii a "melting pot" in the early 1960s, they meant a
place where white people blended with Asians. At the time, 19% of white women in
Hawaii married Chinese men, and that was considered radical by the rest of the
nation. Black people made up less than 1% of the state's population. And while
interracial marriage was legal there, it was banned in half the other states.
When Ann told her parents about the African student at school, they invited him
over for dinner. Her father didn't notice when his daughter reached out to hold the
man's hand, according to Obama's book. Her mother thought it best not to cause a
scene. As Obama would write, "My mother was that girl with the movie of beautiful
black people playing in her head." (See behind-the-scenes pictures of Obama on
Inauguration day.)
On Feb. 2, 1961, several months after they met, Obama's parents got married in
Maui, according to divorce records. It was a Thursday. At that point, Ann was three
months pregnant with Barack Obama II. Friends did not learn of the wedding until
afterward. "Nobody was invited," says Abercrombie. The motivations behind the
marriage remain a mystery, even to Obama. "I never probed my mother about the
details. Did they decide to get married because she was already pregnant? Or did he
propose to her in the traditional, formal way?" Obama wonders. "I suppose, had she
not passed away, I would have asked more."
Even by the standards of 1961, she was young to be married. At 18, she dropped out
of college after one semester, according to University of Hawaii records. When her
friends back in Washington heard the news, "we were very shocked," says Box, her
high school friend.
Then, when Obama was almost 1, his father left for Harvard to get a Ph.D. in
economics. He had also been accepted to the New School in New York City, with a
more generous scholarship that would have allowed his family to join him. But he
decided to go to Harvard. "How can I refuse the best education?" he told Ann,
according to Obama's book. (See pictures of Obama's convention week journey.)
Obama's father had an agenda: to return to his home country and help reinvent
Kenya. He wanted to take his new family with him. But he also had a wife from a
previous marriage there—a marriage that may or may not have been legal. In the
end, Ann decided not to follow him. "She was under no illusions," says Abercrombie.
"He was a man of his time, from a very patriarchal society." Ann filed for divorce in
Honolulu in January 1964, citing "grievous mental suffering"—the reason given in
most divorces at the time. Obama Sr. signed for the papers in Cambridge, Mass., and
did not contest the divorce.
Ann had already done things most women of her generation had not: she had
married an African, had their baby and gotten divorced. At this juncture, her life
could have become narrower—a young, marginalized woman focused on paying the
rent and raising a child on her own. She could have filled her son's head with wellfounded resentment for his absent father. But that is not what happened.
When her son was almost 2, Ann returned to college. Money was tight. She collected
food stamps and relied on her parents to help take care of young Barack. She would
get her bachelor's degree four years later. In the meantime, she met another foreign
student, Lolo Soetoro, at the University of Hawaii. ("It's where I send all my single
girlfriends," jokes her daughter Soetoro-Ng, who also married a man she met there.)
He was easygoing, happily devoting hours to playing chess with Ann's father and
wrestling with her young son. Lolo proposed in 1967.
Mother and son spent months preparing to follow him to Indonesia—getting shots,
passports and plane tickets. Until then, neither had left the country. After a long
journey, they landed in an unrecognizable place. "Walking off the plane, the tarmac
rippling with heat, the sun bright as a furnace," Obama later wrote, "I clutched her
hand, determined to protect her." (See pictures of Michelle Obama's hair.)
Lolo's house, on the outskirts of Jakarta, was a long way from the high-rises of
Honolulu. There was no electricity, and the streets were not paved. The country was
transitioning to the rule of General Suharto. Inflation was running at more than
600%, and everything was scarce. Ann and her son were the first foreigners to live
in the neighborhood, according to locals who remember them. Two baby crocodiles,
along with chickens and birds of paradise, occupied the backyard. To get to know
the kids next door, Obama sat on the wall between their houses and flapped his
arms like a great, big bird, making cawing noises, remembers Kay Ikranagara, a
friend. "That got the kids laughing, and then they all played together," she says.
Obama attended a Catholic school called Franciscus Assisi Primary School. He
attracted attention since he was not only a foreigner but also chubbier than the
locals. But he seemed to shrug off the teasing, eating tofu and tempeh like all the
other kids, playing soccer and picking guavas from the trees. He didn't seem to mind
that the other children called him "Negro," remembers Bambang Sukoco, a former
neighbor.
At first, Obama's mother gave money to every beggar who stopped at their door. But
the caravan of misery—children without limbs, men with leprosy—churned on
forever, and she was forced to be more selective. Her husband mocked her
calculations of relative suffering. "Your mother has a soft heart," he told Obama.
As Ann became more intrigued by Indonesia, her husband became more Western.
He rose through the ranks of an American oil company and moved the family to a
nicer neighborhood. She was bored by the dinner parties he took her to, where men
boasted about golf scores and wives complained about their Indonesian servants.
The couple fought rarely but had less and less in common. "She wasn't prepared for
the loneliness," Obama wrote in Dreams. "It was constant, like a shortness of
breath." (See pictures of how Obama prepares a speech.)
Ann took a job teaching English at the U.S. embassy. She woke up well before dawn
throughout her life. Now she went into her son's room every day at 4 a.m. to give
him English lessons from a U.S. correspondence course. She couldn't afford the élite
international school and worried he wasn't challenged enough. After two years at
the Catholic school, Obama moved to a state-run elementary school closer to the
new house. He was the only foreigner, says Ati Kisjanto, a classmate, but he spoke
some Indonesian and made new friends.
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, but Obama's household was
not religious. "My mother, whose parents were nonpracticing Baptists and
Methodists, was one of the most spiritual souls I ever knew," Obama said in a 2007
speech. "But she had a healthy skepticism of religion as an institution. And as a
consequence, so did I."
In her own way, Ann tried to compensate for the absence of black people in her
son's life. At night, she came home from work with books on the civil rights
movement and recordings of Mahalia Jackson. Her aspirations for racial harmony
were simplistic. "She was very much of the early Dr. [Martin Luther] King era,"
Obama says. "She believed that people were all basically the same under their skin,
that bigotry of any sort was wrong and that the goal was then to treat everybody as
unique individuals." Ann gave her daughter, who was born in 1970, dolls of every
hue: "A pretty black girl with braids, an Inuit, Sacagawea, a little Dutch boy with
clogs," says Soetoro-Ng, laughing. "It was like the United Nations." (Watch a
slideshow of Joe Klein's exclusive interview with Obama.)
In 1971, when Obama was 10, Ann sent him back to Hawaii to live with her parents
and attend Punahou, an élite prep school that he'd gotten into on a scholarship with
his grandparents' help. This wrenching decision seemed to reflect how much she
valued education. Ann's friends say it was hard on her, and Obama, in his book,
describes an adolescence shadowed by a sense of alienation. "I didn't feel [her
absence] as a deprivation," Obama told me. "But when I think about the fact that I
was separated from her, I suspect it had more of an impact than I know."
A year later, Ann followed Obama back to Hawaii, as promised, taking her daughter
but leaving her husband behind. She enrolled in a master's program at the
University of Hawaii to study the anthropology of Indonesia.
Indonesia is an anthropologist's fantasyland. It is made up of 17,500 islands, on
which 230 million people speak more than 300 languages. The archipelago's culture
is colored by Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Dutch traditions. Indonesia "sucks a lot of
us in," says fellow anthropologist and friend Alice Dewey. "It's delightful."
Around this time, Ann began to find her voice. People who knew her before describe
her as quiet and smart; those who met her afterward use words like forthright and
passionate. The timing of her graduate work was perfect. "The whole face of the
earth was changing," Dewey says. "Colonial powers were collapsing, countries
needed help, and development work was beginning to interest anthropologists."
(See behind the scenes photos of Obama.)
Ann's husband visited Hawaii frequently, but they never lived together again. Ann
filed for divorce in 1980. As with Obama's father, she kept in regular contact with
Lolo and did not pursue alimony or child support, according to divorce records.
"She was no Pollyanna. There have certainly been moments when she complained to
us," says her daughter Soetoro-Ng. "But she was not someone who would take the
detritus of those divorces and make judgments about men in general or love or
allow herself to grow pessimistic." With each failed marriage, Ann gained a child
and, in one case, a country as well.
Ann Dunham Sutoro
After three years of living with her children in a small apartment in Honolulu,
subsisting on student grants, Ann decided to go back to Indonesia to do fieldwork
for her Ph.D. Obama, then about 14, told her he would stay behind. He was tired of
being new, and he appreciated the autonomy his grandparents gave him. Ann did
not argue with him. "She kept a certain part of herself aloof or removed," says Mary
Zurbuchen, a friend from Jakarta. "I think maybe in some way this was how she
managed to cross so many boundaries."
In Indonesia, Ann joked to friends that her son seemed interested only in basketball.
"She despaired of him ever having a social conscience," remembers Richard Patten,
a colleague. After her divorce, Ann started using the more modern spelling of her
name, Sutoro. She took a big job as the program officer for women and employment
at the Ford Foundation, and she spoke up forcefully at staff meetings. Unlike many
other expats, she had spent a lot of time with villagers, learning their priorities and
problems, with a special focus on women's work. "She was influenced by hanging
out in the Javanese marketplace," Zurbuchen says, "where she would see women
with heavy baskets on their backs who got up at 3 in the morning to walk to the
market and sell their produce." Ann thought the Ford Foundation should get closer
to the people and further from the government, just as she had. (See pictures of
Obama's daughters at Inauguration.)
Her home became a gathering spot for the powerful and the marginalized:
politicians, filmmakers, musicians and labor organizers. "She had, compared with
other foundation colleagues, a much more eclectic circle," Zurbuchen says. "She
brought unlikely conversation partners together."
Obama's mother cared deeply about helping poor women, and she had two biracial
children. But neither of them remembers her talking about sexism or racism. "She
spoke mostly in positive terms: what we are trying to do and what we can do," says
Soetoro-Ng, who is now a history teacher at a girls' high school in Honolulu. "She
wasn't ideological," notes Obama. "I inherited that, I think, from her. She was
suspicious of cant." He remembers her joking that she wanted to get paid as much as
a man, but it didn't mean she would stop shaving her legs. In his recent Philadelphia
speech on race, in which he acknowledged the grievances of blacks and whites,
Obama was consciously channeling his mother. "When I was writing that speech," he
told nbc News, "her memory loomed over me. Is this something that she would
trust?" When it came to race, Obama told me, "I don't think she was entirely
comfortable with the more aggressive or militant approaches to African-American
politics." (See pictures of the world reacting to Obama's win.)
In the expat community of Asia in the 1980s, single mothers were rare, and Ann
stood out. She was by then a rather large woman with frizzy black hair. But
Indonesia was an uncommonly tolerant place. "For someone like Ann, who had a big
personality and was a big presence," says Zurbuchen, "Indonesia was very
accepting. It gave her a sense of fitting in." At home, Ann wore the traditional
housecoat, the batik daster. She loved simple, traditional restaurants. Friends
remember sharing bakso bola tenis, or noodles with tennis-ball-size meatballs, from
a roadside stand.
Today Ann would not be so unusual in the U.S. A single mother of biracial children
pursuing a career, she foreshadowed, in some ways, what more of America would
look like. But she did so without comment, her friends say. "She wasn't stereotypical
at all," says Nancy Peluso, a friend and an environmental sociologist. "But she didn't
make a big deal out of it."
Ann's most lasting professional legacy was to help build the microfinance program
in Indonesia, which she did from 1988 to '92—before the practice of granting tiny
loans to credit-poor entrepreneurs was an established success story. Her
anthropological research into how real people worked helped inform the policies
set by the Bank Rakyat Indonesia, says Patten, an economist who worked there. "I
would say her work had a lot to do with the success of the program," he says. Today
Indonesia's microfinance program is No. 1 in the world in terms of savers, with 31
million members, according to Microfinance Information eXchange Inc., a
microfinance-tracking outfit.
While his mother was helping poor people in Indonesia, Obama was trying to do
something similar 7,000 miles (about 11,300 km) away in Chicago, as a community
organizer. Ann's friends say she was delighted by his career move and started every
conversation with an update of her children's lives. "All of us knew where Barack
was going to school. All of us knew how brilliant he was," remembers Ann's friend
Georgia McCauley. (See pictures of Obama in Asia.)
Every so often, Ann would leave Indonesia to live in Hawaii—or New York or even,
in the mid-1980s, Pakistan, for a microfinance job. She and her daughter sometimes
lived in garage apartments and spare rooms of friends. She collected treasures from
her travels—exquisite things with stories she understood. Antique daggers with an
odd number of curves, as required by Javanese tradition; unusual batiks; rice-paddy
hats. Before returning to Hawaii in 1984, Ann wrote her friend Dewey that she and
her daughter would "probably need a camel caravan and an elephant or two to load
all our bags on the plane, and I'm sure you don't want to see all those airline agents
weeping and rending their garments." At his house in Chicago, Obama says, he has
his mother's arrowhead collection from Kansas—along with "trunks full of batiks
that we don't really know what to do with."
In 1992, Obama's mother finally finished her Ph.D. dissertation, which she had
worked on, between jobs, for almost two decades. The thesis is 1,000 pages, a
meticulous analysis of peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia. The glossary, which she
describes as "far from complete," is 24 pages. She dedicated the tome to her mother;
to Dewey, her adviser; "and to Barack and Maya, who seldom complained when
their mother was in the field."
In the fall of 1994, Ann was having dinner at her friend Patten's house in Jakarta
when she felt a pain in her stomach. A local doctor diagnosed indigestion. When Ann
returned to Hawaii several months later, she learned it was ovarian and uterine
cancer. She died on Nov. 7, 1995, at 52. (See pictures of Obama in Russia.)
Before her death, Ann read a draft of her son's memoir, which is almost entirely
about his father. Some of her friends were surprised at the focus, but she didn't
seem obviously bothered. "She never complained about it," says Peluso. "She just
said it was something he had to work out." Neither Ann nor her son knew how little
time they had left.
Obama has said his biggest mistake was not being at his mother's side when she
died. He went to Hawaii to help the family scatter the ashes over the Pacific. And he
carries on her spirit in his campaign. "When Barack smiles," says Peluso, "there's
just a certain Ann look. He lights up in a particular way that she did."
After Ann's death, her daughter dug through her artifacts, searching for Ann's story.
"She always did want to write a memoir," Soetoro-Ng says. Finally, she discovered
the start of a life story, but it was less than two pages. She never found anything
more. Maybe Ann had run out of time, or maybe the chemotherapy had worn her
out. "I don't know. Maybe she felt overwhelmed," says Soetoro-Ng, "because there
was so much to tell."
—With reporting by Zamira Loebis and Jason Tedjasukmana/Jakarta
Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville)
January 16, 2010 Saturday
Student name was Obama;
he wasn't on a Fulbright;
FACT: His citizenship is not in question and he wasn't foreign student.
BYLINE: CAROLE FADER
SECTION: Pg. A-4
LENGTH: 759 words
Times-Union readers want to know:
Is it true that President Barack Obama,
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under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid from a Fulbright scholarship as
a foreign student at Occidental College, and that the Supreme Court has agreed to
hear a case involving his citizenship?
And, is it true that a federal judge has ordered Obama
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to prove his eligibility to be president in court on Jan. 26?
These chain e-mails, more attempts to prove that Obama
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is not a natural-born citizen qualified to be president, just keep circulating through
area in-boxes.
If you put stock in the first e-mail, you've been April Fooled.
The second claim is just plain false.
Let's take a closer look at e-mail No. 1.
As pointed out by the fact-checking sources snopes.com and FactCheck.org, the email is dated April 1, 2009. As in April Fool's Day. It's a hoax.
Although the e-mail begins with the tag "AP," making it seem as if it came from The
Associated Press, it did not. FactCheck.org contacted the news organization and
received this statement: "The story purported to be from The Associated Press on
April 1 is fake."
Here are the other giveaways, as listed by snopes.com, a well-respected Web site
that confirms or debunks rumors and urban legends, and FactCheck.org, a nonprofit,
nonpartisan, fact-finding project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the
University of Pennsylvania:
- The e-mail purports that a group, Americans for Freedom of Information, released
the college transcripts. At the time, there was no such group (although someone has
since registered a Web site with that name that makes fun of the people who think it
really exists). Besides, Obama's
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transcripts from Occidental College in Los Angeles have never been released, neither
by Obama
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nor the college.
- Obama
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attended Occidental for two years as an undergraduate student under the name
Barry Obama,
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not Soetoro (his stepfather's surname). FactCheck.org and Snopes.com quote
Occidental's director of communications, Jim Tranquada, as saying that public
documents at the time list him as Barack Obama
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and that "all of the Occidental alumni I have spoken to from that era [1979-81] who
knew him, knew him as Barry Obama.
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"
- Fulbright scholarships are given for foreign student study in the U.S., but almost
always for graduate work. Obama
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was an undergraduate at Occidental and, although he was on scholarship according
to the Los Angeles Times
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and Boston Globe, it was not a Fulbright.
- There's no evidence, according to the fact-checking sources' research into
newspaper archives and databases, that Britain's Daily Mail or any other major UK
newspaper published a front-page article, "Obama's
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Eligibility Questioned" as the e-mail says.
- The U.S. Supreme Court declined without comment to hear a lawsuit challenging
Obama's
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eligibility on Dec. 8, 2008, according to a report in The Washington Post and other
media outlets. There are currently no eligibility cases scheduled before the court.
- The e-mail also makes reference to Gary Kreep of the United States Justice
Foundation's release of results of its investigation into Obama's
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campaign spending, showing that he spent $950,000 with 11 law firms in 12 states
to block disclosure of his personal records. In reality, there is no record of any such
investigation and Gary Kreep responded to an inquiry by saying that the e-mail was
a hoax.
Another variation of the e-mail includes a photo of Obama,
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his stepfather, mother and sister, along with a registration form for Barry Soetoro
from the St. Francis of Assisi School in Indonesia, snopes.com reports. The form,
ostensibly completed by Obama's
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stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, lists a nationality of "Indonesian." Just because his father
listed him as such, however, doesn't mean Obama
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was a citizen, according to the Indonesian government. Besides, the same form
shows that the birthplace of Barry Soetoro is Honolulu, which makes him a U.S.
citizen from birth regardless of what his alien parent's nationality was.
E-mail No. 2 asks for prayers for U.S. District Court Judge David Carter, who, it
claims, refused to hear Obama's
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request for dismissal and set a court date for Jan. 26 for Obama
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to "release his birth certificate in a timely manner."
In truth, Carter had already dismissed the case (Barnett v. Obama
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) in an Oct. 29, 2009, order, according to the U.S. Party/Case Index, a database of
court records and documents.
[email protected], (904) 359-4635
Corcoran monica January 18 2009
WANT SOMETHING CHECKED OUT?
If you see or hear about something that needs a Fact Check, e-mail
[email protected]
Pakistan Times
Obama’s Larkana Connection
Submitted by Azhar Masood on July 10, 2008
http://www.pak-times.com/2008/07/10/obamas-larkana-cnnection/
United State’s Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has a connection
with Larkana, city of Bhuttos of Pakistan. In 1981 Obama as a student visited
Larkana for a partridge hunting session. His host was one Hasan Chandio. City of
Larkana was renamed. Its original name before the raj was Chandka. Chandios are
still considered be the biggest landlords of Sindh.
During his visit to Pakistan he stayed in Hasan Chandio’s residence and later he
traveled to interior Sindh for partridge hunting. In Sindh partridge hunting is
considered as a symbol of good hospitality.
Hasan Chandio is Obama’s Pakistani friend who lives in Westchester County of New
York. Obama also made friends with another Sindhi currently Chairman of Senate
Muhammadmian Soomro who hails from Shikarpur hardly one hour’s drive from
Larkana. He lived at Muhammad Ali Society residence of Ahmad Mian Soomro father
of Chairman Senate Muhammadmian Soomro.
While tracing this story this scribe found from Time Magazine that Obama’s mother
was a regular visitor of Pakistan and she had little knowledge of Urdu. Officially
Barack Obama has so far not made his Pakistani connections public but he was
quoted by Soomro that in Pakistan he came to know about Sunni and Shia sects.
Time Magaine
The Story of Barack Obama's Mother
By Amanda Ripley / Honolulu Wednesday, Apr. 09, 2008
Each of us lives a life of contradictory truths. We are not one thing or another.
Barack Obama's mother was at least a dozen things. S. Ann Soetoro was a teen
mother who later got a Ph.D. in anthropology; a white woman from the Midwest
who was more comfortable in Indonesia; a natural-born mother obsessed with her
work; a romantic pragmatist, if such a thing is possible.
"When I think about my mother," Obama told me recently, "I think that there was a
certain combination of being very grounded in who she was, what she believed in.
But also a certain recklessness. I think she was always searching for something. She
wasn't comfortable seeing her life confined to a certain box." (See pictures of the
world reacting to Obama's win.)
Obama's mother was a dreamer. She made risky bets that paid off only some of the
time, choices that her children had to live with. She fell in love—twice—with fellow
students from distant countries she knew nothing about. Both marriages failed, and
she leaned on her parents and friends to help raise her two children.
"She cried a lot," says her daughter Maya Soetoro-Ng, "if she saw animals being
treated cruelly or children in the news or a sad movie—or if she felt like she wasn't
being understood in a conversation." And yet she was fearless, says Soetoro-Ng.
"She was very capable. She went out on the back of a motorcycle and did rigorous
fieldwork. Her research was responsible and penetrating. She saw the heart of a
problem, and she knew whom to hold accountable."
Today Obama is partly a product of what his mother was not. Whereas she swept
her children off to unfamiliar lands and even lived apart from her son when he was a
teenager, Obama has tried to ground his children in the Midwest. "We've created
stability for our kids in a way that my mom didn't do for us," he says. "My choosing
to put down roots in Chicago and marry a woman who is very rooted in one place
probably indicates a desire for stability that maybe I was missing."
Ironically, the person who mattered most in Obama's life is the one we know the
least about—maybe because being partly African in America is still seen as being
simply black and color is still a preoccupation above almost all else. There is not
enough room in the conversation for the rest of a man's story. (See pictures of eight
months of Obama's diplomacy.)
But Obama is his mother's son. In his wide-open rhetoric about what can be instead
of what was, you see a hint of his mother's credulity. When Obama gets donations
from people who have never believed in politics before, they're responding to his
ability—passed down from his mother—to make a powerful argument (that
happens to be very liberal) without using a trace of ideology. On a good day, when
he figures out how to move a crowd of thousands of people very different from
himself, it has something to do with having had a parent who gazed at different
cultures the way other people study gems.
It turns out that Obama's nascent career peddling hope is a family business. He
inherited it. And while it is true that he has not been profoundly tested, he was
raised by someone who was.
In most elections, the deceased mother of a candidate in the primaries is not the
subject of a magazine profile. But Ann Soetoro was not like most mothers.
Stanley Ann Dunham
Born in 1942, just five years before Hillary Clinton, Obama's mother came into an
America constrained by war, segregation and a distrust of difference. Her parents
named her Stanley because her father had wanted a boy. She endured the expected
teasing over this indignity, but dutifully lugged the name through high school,
apologizing for it each time she introduced herself in a new town.
During her life, she was known by four different names, each representing a distinct
chapter. In the course of the Stanley period, her family moved more than five
times—from Kansas to California to Texas to Washington—before her 18th
birthday. Her father, a furniture salesman, had a restlessness that she inherited.
She spent her high school years on a small island in Washington, taking advanced
classes in philosophy and visiting coffee shops in Seattle. "She was a very intelligent,
quiet girl, interested in her friendships and current events," remembers Maxine Box,
a close high school friend. Both girls assumed they would go to college and pursue
careers. "She wasn't particularly interested in children or in getting married," Box
says. Although Stanley was accepted early by the University of Chicago, her father
wouldn't let her go. She was too young to be off on her own, he said, unaware, as
fathers tend to be, of what could happen when she lived in his house. (Read
"Obama's Half Brother Makes a Name for Himself in China")
After she finished high school, her father whisked the family away again—this time
to Honolulu, after he heard about a big new furniture store there. Hawaii had just
become a state, and it was the new frontier. Stanley grudgingly went along yet again,
enrolling in the University of Hawaii as a freshman.
Mrs. Barack H. Obama
Shortly before she moved to Hawaii, Stanley saw her first foreign film. Black
Orpheus was an award-winning musical retelling of the myth of Orpheus, a tale of
doomed love. The movie was considered exotic because it was filmed in Brazil, but it
was written and directed by white Frenchmen. The result was sentimental and, to
some modern eyes, patronizing. Years later Obama saw the film with his mother and
thought about walking out. But looking at her in the theater, he glimpsed her 16year-old self. "I suddenly realized," he wrote in his memoir, Dreams from My Father,
"that the depiction of childlike blacks I was now seeing on the screen ... was what my
mother had carried with her to Hawaii all those years before, a reflection of the
simple fantasies that had been forbidden to a white middle-class girl from Kansas,
the promise of another life, warm, sensual, exotic, different." (Read "The Five Faces
of Barack Obama")
By college, Stanley had started introducing herself as Ann. She met Barack Obama
Sr. in a Russian-language class. He was one of the first Africans to attend the
University of Hawaii and a focus of great curiosity. He spoke at church groups and
was interviewed for several local-newspaper stories. "He had this magnetic
personality," remembers Neil Abercrombie, a member of Congress from Hawaii who
was friends with Obama Sr. in college. "Everything was oratory from him, even the
most commonplace observation."
Obama's father quickly drew a crowd of friends at the university. "We would drink
beer, eat pizza and play records," Abercrombie says. They talked about Vietnam and
politics. "Everyone had an opinion about everything, and everyone was of the
opinion that everyone wanted to hear their opinion—no one more so than Barack."
The exception was Ann, the quiet young woman in the corner who began to hang
out with Obama and his friends that fall. "She was scarcely out of high school. She
was mostly kind of an observer," says Abercrombie. Obama Sr.'s friends knew he
was dating a white woman, but they made a point of treating it as a nonissue. This
was Hawaii, after all, a place enamored of its reputation as a melting pot.
But when people called Hawaii a "melting pot" in the early 1960s, they meant a
place where white people blended with Asians. At the time, 19% of white women in
Hawaii married Chinese men, and that was considered radical by the rest of the
nation. Black people made up less than 1% of the state's population. And while
interracial marriage was legal there, it was banned in half the other states.
When Ann told her parents about the African student at school, they invited him
over for dinner. Her father didn't notice when his daughter reached out to hold the
man's hand, according to Obama's book. Her mother thought it best not to cause a
scene. As Obama would write, "My mother was that girl with the movie of beautiful
black people playing in her head." (See behind-the-scenes pictures of Obama on
Inauguration day.)
On Feb. 2, 1961, several months after they met, Obama's parents got married in
Maui, according to divorce records. It was a Thursday. At that point, Ann was three
months pregnant with Barack Obama II. Friends did not learn of the wedding until
afterward. "Nobody was invited," says Abercrombie. The motivations behind the
marriage remain a mystery, even to Obama. "I never probed my mother about the
details. Did they decide to get married because she was already pregnant? Or did he
propose to her in the traditional, formal way?" Obama wonders. "I suppose, had she
not passed away, I would have asked more."
Even by the standards of 1961, she was young to be married. At 18, she dropped out
of college after one semester, according to University of Hawaii records. When her
friends back in Washington heard the news, "we were very shocked," says Box, her
high school friend.
Then, when Obama was almost 1, his father left for Harvard to get a Ph.D. in
economics. He had also been accepted to the New School in New York City, with a
more generous scholarship that would have allowed his family to join him. But he
decided to go to Harvard. "How can I refuse the best education?" he told Ann,
according to Obama's book. (See pictures of Obama's convention week journey.)
Obama's father had an agenda: to return to his home country and help reinvent
Kenya. He wanted to take his new family with him. But he also had a wife from a
previous marriage there—a marriage that may or may not have been legal. In the
end, Ann decided not to follow him. "She was under no illusions," says Abercrombie.
"He was a man of his time, from a very patriarchal society." Ann filed for divorce in
Honolulu in January 1964, citing "grievous mental suffering"—the reason given in
most divorces at the time. Obama Sr. signed for the papers in Cambridge, Mass., and
did not contest the divorce.
Ann had already done things most women of her generation had not: she had
married an African, had their baby and gotten divorced. At this juncture, her life
could have become narrower—a young, marginalized woman focused on paying the
rent and raising a child on her own. She could have filled her son's head with wellfounded resentment for his absent father. But that is not what happened.
S. Ann Dunham Soetoro
When her son was almost 2, Ann returned to college. Money was tight. She collected
food stamps and relied on her parents to help take care of young Barack. She would
get her bachelor's degree four years later. In the meantime, she met another foreign
student, Lolo Soetoro, at the University of Hawaii. ("It's where I send all my single
girlfriends," jokes her daughter Soetoro-Ng, who also married a man she met there.)
He was easygoing, happily devoting hours to playing chess with Ann's father and
wrestling with her young son. Lolo proposed in 1967.
Mother and son spent months preparing to follow him to Indonesia—getting shots,
passports and plane tickets. Until then, neither had left the country. After a long
journey, they landed in an unrecognizable place. "Walking off the plane, the tarmac
rippling with heat, the sun bright as a furnace," Obama later wrote, "I clutched her
hand, determined to protect her." (See pictures of Michelle Obama's hair.)
Lolo's house, on the outskirts of Jakarta, was a long way from the high-rises of
Honolulu. There was no electricity, and the streets were not paved. The country was
transitioning to the rule of General Suharto. Inflation was running at more than
600%, and everything was scarce. Ann and her son were the first foreigners to live
in the neighborhood, according to locals who remember them. Two baby crocodiles,
along with chickens and birds of paradise, occupied the backyard. To get to know
the kids next door, Obama sat on the wall between their houses and flapped his
arms like a great, big bird, making cawing noises, remembers Kay Ikranagara, a
friend. "That got the kids laughing, and then they all played together," she says.
Obama attended a Catholic school called Franciscus Assisi Primary School. He
attracted attention since he was not only a foreigner but also chubbier than the
locals. But he seemed to shrug off the teasing, eating tofu and tempeh like all the
other kids, playing soccer and picking guavas from the trees. He didn't seem to mind
that the other children called him "Negro," remembers Bambang Sukoco, a former
neighbor.
At first, Obama's mother gave money to every beggar who stopped at their door. But
the caravan of misery—children without limbs, men with leprosy—churned on
forever, and she was forced to be more selective. Her husband mocked her
calculations of relative suffering. "Your mother has a soft heart," he told Obama.
As Ann became more intrigued by Indonesia, her husband became more Western.
He rose through the ranks of an American oil company and moved the family to a
nicer neighborhood. She was bored by the dinner parties he took her to, where men
boasted about golf scores and wives complained about their Indonesian servants.
The couple fought rarely but had less and less in common. "She wasn't prepared for
the loneliness," Obama wrote in Dreams. "It was constant, like a shortness of
breath." (See pictures of how Obama prepares a speech.)
Ann took a job teaching English at the U.S. embassy. She woke up well before dawn
throughout her life. Now she went into her son's room every day at 4 a.m. to give
him English lessons from a U.S. correspondence course. She couldn't afford the élite
international school and worried he wasn't challenged enough. After two years at
the Catholic school, Obama moved to a state-run elementary school closer to the
new house. He was the only foreigner, says Ati Kisjanto, a classmate, but he spoke
some Indonesian and made new friends.
Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, but Obama's household was
not religious. "My mother, whose parents were nonpracticing Baptists and
Methodists, was one of the most spiritual souls I ever knew," Obama said in a 2007
speech. "But she had a healthy skepticism of religion as an institution. And as a
consequence, so did I."
In her own way, Ann tried to compensate for the absence of black people in her
son's life. At night, she came home from work with books on the civil rights
movement and recordings of Mahalia Jackson. Her aspirations for racial harmony
were simplistic. "She was very much of the early Dr. [Martin Luther] King era,"
Obama says. "She believed that people were all basically the same under their skin,
that bigotry of any sort was wrong and that the goal was then to treat everybody as
unique individuals." Ann gave her daughter, who was born in 1970, dolls of every
hue: "A pretty black girl with braids, an Inuit, Sacagawea, a little Dutch boy with
clogs," says Soetoro-Ng, laughing. "It was like the United Nations." (Watch a
slideshow of Joe Klein's exclusive interview with Obama.)
In 1971, when Obama was 10, Ann sent him back to Hawaii to live with her parents
and attend Punahou, an élite prep school that he'd gotten into on a scholarship with
his grandparents' help. This wrenching decision seemed to reflect how much she
valued education. Ann's friends say it was hard on her, and Obama, in his book,
describes an adolescence shadowed by a sense of alienation. "I didn't feel [her
absence] as a deprivation," Obama told me. "But when I think about the fact that I
was separated from her, I suspect it had more of an impact than I know."
A year later, Ann followed Obama back to Hawaii, as promised, taking her daughter
but leaving her husband behind. She enrolled in a master's program at the
University of Hawaii to study the anthropology of Indonesia.
Indonesia is an anthropologist's fantasyland. It is made up of 17,500 islands, on
which 230 million people speak more than 300 languages. The archipelago's culture
is colored by Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Dutch traditions. Indonesia "sucks a lot of
us in," says fellow anthropologist and friend Alice Dewey. "It's delightful."
Around this time, Ann began to find her voice. People who knew her before describe
her as quiet and smart; those who met her afterward use words like forthright and
passionate. The timing of her graduate work was perfect. "The whole face of the
earth was changing," Dewey says. "Colonial powers were collapsing, countries
needed help, and development work was beginning to interest anthropologists."
(See behind the scenes photos of Obama.)
Ann's husband visited Hawaii frequently, but they never lived together again. Ann
filed for divorce in 1980. As with Obama's father, she kept in regular contact with
Lolo and did not pursue alimony or child support, according to divorce records.
"She was no Pollyanna. There have certainly been moments when she complained to
us," says her daughter Soetoro-Ng. "But she was not someone who would take the
detritus of those divorces and make judgments about men in general or love or
allow herself to grow pessimistic." With each failed marriage, Ann gained a child
and, in one case, a country as well.
Ann Dunham Sutoro
After three years of living with her children in a small apartment in Honolulu,
subsisting on student grants, Ann decided to go back to Indonesia to do fieldwork
for her Ph.D. Obama, then about 14, told her he would stay behind. He was tired of
being new, and he appreciated the autonomy his grandparents gave him. Ann did
not argue with him. "She kept a certain part of herself aloof or removed," says Mary
Zurbuchen, a friend from Jakarta. "I think maybe in some way this was how she
managed to cross so many boundaries."
In Indonesia, Ann joked to friends that her son seemed interested only in basketball.
"She despaired of him ever having a social conscience," remembers Richard Patten,
a colleague. After her divorce, Ann started using the more modern spelling of her
name, Sutoro. She took a big job as the program officer for women and employment
at the Ford Foundation, and she spoke up forcefully at staff meetings. Unlike many
other expats, she had spent a lot of time with villagers, learning their priorities and
problems, with a special focus on women's work. "She was influenced by hanging
out in the Javanese marketplace," Zurbuchen says, "where she would see women
with heavy baskets on their backs who got up at 3 in the morning to walk to the
market and sell their produce." Ann thought the Ford Foundation should get closer
to the people and further from the government, just as she had. (See pictures of
Obama's daughters at Inauguration.)
Her home became a gathering spot for the powerful and the marginalized:
politicians, filmmakers, musicians and labor organizers. "She had, compared with
other foundation colleagues, a much more eclectic circle," Zurbuchen says. "She
brought unlikely conversation partners together."
Obama's mother cared deeply about helping poor women, and she had two biracial
children. But neither of them remembers her talking about sexism or racism. "She
spoke mostly in positive terms: what we are trying to do and what we can do," says
Soetoro-Ng, who is now a history teacher at a girls' high school in Honolulu. "She
wasn't ideological," notes Obama. "I inherited that, I think, from her. She was
suspicious of cant." He remembers her joking that she wanted to get paid as much as
a man, but it didn't mean she would stop shaving her legs. In his recent Philadelphia
speech on race, in which he acknowledged the grievances of blacks and whites,
Obama was consciously channeling his mother. "When I was writing that speech," he
told nbc News, "her memory loomed over me. Is this something that she would
trust?" When it came to race, Obama told me, "I don't think she was entirely
comfortable with the more aggressive or militant approaches to African-American
politics." (See pictures of the world reacting to Obama's win.)
In the expat community of Asia in the 1980s, single mothers were rare, and Ann
stood out. She was by then a rather large woman with frizzy black hair. But
Indonesia was an uncommonly tolerant place. "For someone like Ann, who had a big
personality and was a big presence," says Zurbuchen, "Indonesia was very
accepting. It gave her a sense of fitting in." At home, Ann wore the traditional
housecoat, the batik daster. She loved simple, traditional restaurants. Friends
remember sharing bakso bola tenis, or noodles with tennis-ball-size meatballs, from
a roadside stand.
Today Ann would not be so unusual in the U.S.A single mother of biracial children
pursuing a career, she foreshadowed, in some ways, what more of America would
look like. But she did so without comment, her friends say. "She wasn't stereotypical
at all," says Nancy Peluso, a friend and an environmental sociologist. "But she didn't
make a big deal out of it."
Ann's most lasting professional legacy was to help build the microfinance program
in Indonesia, which she did from 1988 to '92—before the practice of granting tiny
loans to credit-poor entrepreneurs was an established success story. Her
anthropological research into how real people worked helped inform the policies
set by the Bank Rakyat Indonesia, says Patten, an economist who worked there. "I
would say her work had a lot to do with the success of the program," he says. Today
Indonesia's microfinance program is No. 1 in the world in terms of savers, with 31
million members, according to Microfinance Information eXchange Inc., a
microfinance-tracking outfit.
While his mother was helping poor people in Indonesia, Obama was trying to do
something similar 7,000 miles (about 11,300 km) away in Chicago, as a community
organizer. Ann's friends say she was delighted by his career move and started every
conversation with an update of her children's lives. "All of us knew where Barack
was going to school. All of us knew how brilliant he was," remembers Ann's friend
Georgia McCauley. (See pictures of Obama in Asia.)
Every so often, Ann would leave Indonesia to live in Hawaii—or New York or even,
in the mid-1980s, Pakistan, for a microfinance job. She and her daughter sometimes
lived in garage apartments and spare rooms of friends. She collected treasures from
her travels—exquisite things with stories she understood. Antique daggers with an
odd number of curves, as required by Javanese tradition; unusual batiks; rice-paddy
hats. Before returning to Hawaii in 1984, Ann wrote her friend Dewey that she and
her daughter would "probably need a camel caravan and an elephant or two to load
all our bags on the plane, and I'm sure you don't want to see all those airline agents
weeping and rending their garments." At his house in Chicago, Obama says, he has
his mother's arrowhead collection from Kansas—along with "trunks full of batiks
that we don't really know what to do with."
In 1992, Obama's mother finally finished her Ph.D. dissertation, which she had
worked on, between jobs, for almost two decades. The thesis is 1,000 pages, a
meticulous analysis of peasant blacksmithing in Indonesia. The glossary, which she
describes as "far from complete," is 24 pages. She dedicated the tome to her mother;
to Dewey, her adviser; "and to Barack and Maya, who seldom complained when
their mother was in the field."
In the fall of 1994, Ann was having dinner at her friend Patten's house in Jakarta
when she felt a pain in her stomach. A local doctor diagnosed indigestion. When Ann
returned to Hawaii several months later, she learned it was ovarian and uterine
cancer. She died on Nov. 7, 1995, at 52. (See pictures of Obama in Russia.)
Before her death, Ann read a draft of her son's memoir, which is almost entirely
about his father. Some of her friends were surprised at the focus, but she didn't
seem obviously bothered. "She never complained about it," says Peluso. "She just
said it was something he had to work out." Neither Ann nor her son knew how little
time they had left.
Obama has said his biggest mistake was not being at his mother's side when she
died. He went to Hawaii to help the family scatter the ashes over the Pacific. And he
carries on her spirit in his campaign. "When Barack smiles," says Peluso, "there's
just a certain Ann look. He lights up in a particular way that she did."
After Ann's death, her daughter dug through her artifacts, searching for Ann's story.
"She always did want to write a memoir," Soetoro-Ng says. Finally, she discovered
the start of a life story, but it was less than two pages. She never found anything
more. Maybe Ann had run out of time, or maybe the chemotherapy had worn her
out. "I don't know. Maybe she felt overwhelmed," says Soetoro-Ng, "because there
was so much to tell."
—With reporting by Zamira Loebis and Jason Tedjasukmana/Jakarta
International The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=144397&Cat=9&dt=11/1
/2008
Capital suggestion
Dr Farrukh Saleem
Sunday, November 02, 2008
The man who became a senator at the age of 43 and the senator who would now
become the president at the age of 47. Obama is a graduate of Columbia University
and Harvard Law School. He has been a civil rights lawyer, a community organizer
and an academic (he taught constitutional law at University of Chicago Law School
for 12 years).
America has been holding presidential elections for the past 224 years but this 56th
quadrennial presidential election is unique in more ways than one. This is the first
time that an African-American has been nominated by a major American political
party as their presidential nominee. This is the first time that two sitting US senators
are running against each other. This is the first time that the Republicans and the
Democrats have nominated nominees who were both born outside the continental
Untied States; Obama was born at Kapi’olani Medical Centre for Women & Children
in Honolulu , Hawaii , and McCain in the Panama Canal Zone (up until 1999, the zone
was administered by the US under a perpetual lease). If and when Obama wins,
Senator Joe Biden would be America’s first Roman Catholic vice-president.
Interestingly, Barack Obama II has a Jacobabad connection. The man who would be
the president of the United States and Muhammed Hasan Chandio, a financial
consultant who now lives in Armonk in the town of North Caste in Westchester
County, are college friends (Chandio is a Baloch tribe in Sindh). In 1981, at the age of
20, Obama visited Karachi and stayed with Hasan Chandio’s family. Exactly 27 years
ago, Obama was hosted by the Honourable Ahmad Mian Soomro at his Muhammad
Ali Society residence. Obama then went on to Jacobabad on a partridge hunting trip
and was once again Ahmad Mian Soomro’s guest.
Intriguingly, in 1981 the Soviet-Afghan war was at its peak and the US Department
of State had a warning for Americans travelling to Pakistan. There is speculation
that Obama who at that time also travelled under his Muslim name of Barry Soetero
may have travelled to Pakistan using an Indonesian passport. For the record, Barack
Obama Jr was born to Barack Obama Sr, a black Kenyan, and Ann Dunham, a white
American. Barack Obama Sr and Ann Dunham were divorced when their son was
two. Obama Sr met his son only once after the divorce (Obama Sr died in a car
accident in 1982). Ann Dunham later married Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian Muslim
(Obama’s mother died of ovarian cancer in 1995). Barack is married to Michelle and
the two have two offspring, Malia Ann and Natasha.
Obama recently stated that he learnt the Sunni-Shia distinction while he was in
Pakistan. Does he also know that Jacobabad has a literacy of 23 per cent, the lowest
in Sindh? And that illiteracy and crimes of honour are correlated? And that
Jacobabad has the highest rate of crimes of honour; an average of 90 honour killings
a year (Hyderabad has a literacy rate of 44 per cent and an average of five honour
killings a year)?
How would America’s Jacobabad policy be under an Obama administration? To be
certain, America is a nation-state with multiple centres of power and America’s
foreign policy is the result of a process — not a person. The White House is a centre
of power and so is the Department of State, the Department of Defence, the
intelligence community, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations, the media and the think-tank community. All these
centres of power interact and also fight turf wars. America’s Pakistan policy is —
and will be — the consequence of this interaction as well as the interdepartmental
turf battles.
Obama has said a lot between February 2007, when he announced his presidential
campaign, and now. I consider most of that as rhetoric part of a political campaign to
entice American voters. In the meanwhile, all of America’s power centres have been
interacting and infighting to determine America’s direction in South Asia. Based on
what is being leaked to the media by America’s intelligence community, the
additional combat brigades being ordered by CENTCOM and a whole host of other
factors it appears that an Obama administration — or McCain for that matter — will
be expanding the South Asian war theatre.
The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist [email protected]
April 1, 2009
Final Nail In Obamas Lack Of US Citizenship Coffin?
AP- WASHINGTON D.C. - In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obamas
qualifications for the presidency, the group Americans for Freedom of Information
has released copies of President Obamas college transcripts from Occidental College.
Released today, the transcript indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro,
received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate at
the school. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a
court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The
transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a
fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program.
To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship. This
document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obamas detractors
have been seeking.
The news has created a firestorm at the White House as the release casts increasing
doubt about Obamas legitimacy and qualification to serve as president. When
reached for comment in London, where he has been in meetings with British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown, Obama smiled but refused comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at the report stating
that this was obviously another attempt by a right-wing conservative group to
discredit the president and undermine the administrations efforts to move the
country in a new direction.
Britain's Daily Mail has also carried the story in a front-page article titled, Obama
Eligibility Questioned, leading some to speculate that the story may overshadow
economic issues on Obamas first official visit to the U.K.
In a related matter, under growing pressure from several groups, Justice Antonin
Scalia announced that the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear arguments
concerning Obamas legal eligibility to serve as President in a case brought by Leo
Donofrio of New Jersey. This lawsuit claims Obama's dual citizenship disqualified
him from serving as president. Donofrios case is just one of 18 suits brought by
citizens demanding proof of Obamas citizenship or qualification to serve as
president.
Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation has released the results of their
investigation of Obamas campaign spending. This study estimates that Obama has
spent upwards of $950,000 in campaign funds in the past year with eleven law firms
in 12 states for legal resources to block disclosure of any of his personal records. Mr.
Kreep indicated that the investigation is still ongoing but that the final report will be
provided to the U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder. Mr. Holder has refused to
comment on the matter.
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
January 12, 2008 Saturday
'He told us he was an African prince. We believed him';
An aura of leadership so surrounds Barack Obama
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that in the past week U.S. election observers were practically ready to crown him 11
months in advance. But where did his charisma come from? Jessica Leeder and Rod
Mickleburgh go to Chicago and Hawaii to discover the makings of the man who may
become the first American black president
BYLINE: Jessica Leeder and Rod Mickleburgh
SECTION: FOCUS; PROFILE: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE PRESIDENT; Pg. F1
LENGTH: 4380 words
Even in the face of creeping gentrification, Chicago's far South Side is a gritty, dismal
place. Low-rise buildings stretch for kilometres across crumbling sidewalks that
front shuttered stores long mummified by rusted metal grates. Some churches keep
their doors locked all day; visitors must ring the bell. Call a cab and it rarely shows
up.
In the 40 or so blocks that make up the city's most hardscrabble neighbourhood,
public transportation is scarce. But few people walk, not wanting to chance being
hassled in a place where even U.S. postal workers leer at women passing by.
The streets were rougher still in 1985, when a caramel-skinned 23-year-old some
called "Babyface" arrived from New York to help tackle social issues hobbling the
community. Although he could not have realized it at the time, his arrival marked
the beginning of an ambitious journey for someone who had been raised mostly in
Hawaii.
He looked like an African American, but with a mother from Kansas and father from
Kenya, Barack Obama
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did not really know what it meant to be black in urban America until he reached
Chicago. He decided to get to know his new surroundings - on foot.
Rev. Alvin Love, head pastor at Lilydale First Baptist Church, was sitting in his office
when "Barack rang the doorbell. I looked out the window. I didn't see a car. I go
down, I see this skinny guy with big ears."
The clergyman was surprised, but impressed. "The very fact that he was walking
through the community said to me he was someone who, if he didn't know the
community, at least was trying to get a feel for it - and wasn't afraid."
Mr. Obama
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soon captivated Mr. Love with his novel ideas about how to mobilize people, how to
knit together ethnic and religious groups that had never before co-operated. "He
said to me, 'Your issues of unemployment and crime in the community are the same
issues the Baptists are having and the African Americans are having. Let's put all the
other things aside. If we're going to tackle issues ... let's see if there's a common
ground for all of us.'
"That really was unheard of. To actually just sit down over issues ... and do that with
ethnics and Catholic priests, that was something."
Over the years that followed, Mr. Love watched as Mr. Obama
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used the South Side almost like a laboratory as he honed what has, two decades
later, become his trademark: an ability to solve problems by bridging what seem like
insurmountable gaps between opposing factions.
At the same time, he became steeped in African-American culture and found
something he had searched for since childhood - a clear sense of his own identity.
Now, at 47, Mr. Obama
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is threatening to eclipse the favoured Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party's
presidential nomination, a prize that could very well make him the first black
person ever to reside in the White House.
As one long-time adviser says, he's "made to be president ... This is an individual
who transcends politics."
PART 1: WHERE THE ROAD
BEGINS AND ALMOST ENDS
Barack Hussein Obama
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's earliest memories of the country he wants to lead are set against a backdrop of
the next best thing to paradise: tall, swaying palms and the pounding surf of Hawaii.
To those who knew his mother, Mr. Obama
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's birth was a surprise. Ann Dunham was raised largely in Kansas by working-class
parents who eventually wound up moving to the 50th state. She was 18 and just
starting out at the University of Hawaii in 1960 when she met a provocative Kenyan
exchange student named Barack Obama.
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He already had a wife and child back home, but said he was divorced. The two fell in
love and defied convention by running off to marry in secret. Six months later, on
Aug. 4, 1961, Barack Obama
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Jr. was born in Honolulu. But by the time he had turned 2, his parents' marriage had
begun to fray. His father won a scholarship to Harvard University, but there wasn't
enough money to bring his family along. So Ann stayed in Hawaii with young
"Barry." A year later, the Obamas divorced.
Many years later, Mr. Obama
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said the departure of his father affected him deeply. "Every man is trying to live up
to his father's expectations, or make up for his mistakes," he told his biographer,
David Mendell. "In my case, both things might be true."
At the time, however, life was too much of a whirlwind for the loss to hit home. By
the time Mr. Obama
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was 6, his mother had fallen in love with another exchange student. Lolo Soetoro, an
Indonesian Muslim, was a budding businessman when he whisked the family off to
Jakarta, young Barry's first brush with real poverty. Universal electricity had arrived
only a few years earlier; many homes were just bamboo huts.
There were few foreign families in their neighbourhood and Barry spent about four
years there. When he was 10, his mother, concerned about his future, sent him back
to Hawaii to live with his grandparents.
He was enrolled at the elite Punahou School, a private institution north of Waikiki
Beach on the outskirts of Honolulu where cars are banned and teachers traverse the
lush 76-acre campus in golf carts. Other famous students over the years have
included America Online co-founder Steve Case, eBay titan Pierre Omidyar and
golfer Michelle Wie.
The school was an easy five-block walk from his grandparents' 10th-floor apartment
in a building that, since the launch of his presidential campaign, has been overrun
with journalists. (Recently, one reporter was nabbed shimmying up an outdoor pole
in an attempt to gain access to the upper floors.)
In his memoir, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Mr. Obama
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says his exploration of what it means to be black in America began at Punahou,
which boasted a diverse student body but only a handful of black faces (even now
only 2 per cent of Hawaiians are African-American). Annual tuition is about $15,000
although, like him, many students attended on scholarships.
Still, there were no obvious signs that Barry had trouble fitting in. Yearbook pictures
show a smiling, happy-go-lucky student. "He was a smart, active, funny guy ..."
recalls Tom Kreiger, a fifth-grade classmate. "He told people he was an African
prince. We believed him."
In high school, however, cynicism and confusion over his racial identity intensified.
He grew more rebellious, experimenting with drugs and allowing his grades to slip.
"Pot helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it," he wrote,
adding: "Not smack, though."
Basketball was a welcome distraction. Although Mr. Obama
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spent much of his time on the bench, Dan Hale, a teammate who now coaches
basketball at the school, has vivid memories of how Barry would step in to break up
fights when pickup games overheated.
He seemed to dislike confrontation, others have said, but Mr. Hale remembers him
as "an intellectual ... worldly," and says that playing basketball on a multiracial team
likely "helped Barry see that it was possible for people from all walks of life to get
along."
And, in fact, Mr. Obama
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writes in his memoir that "at least on the basketball court, I could find a community
of sorts, with an inner life all its own. It was there that I would make my closest
white friends, on turf where blackness couldn't be a disadvantage."
Even so, some of his old acquaintances say they were surprised to learn of the angst
he was feeling. "I had no idea what he was going through," says Eric Kusunoki, his
old home-room teacher. "He certainly never wore it on his sleeve. He was always
very upbeat, very personal."
According to Mr. Kusunoki, "We are all minorities here. We grow up pretty
comfortable with each other. So I think Barry was able to experience more freedom
than he might have had elsewhere, and thus he was able to be himself, work things
out and develop more than he would have, otherwise."
PART 2: SEEKING ANSWERS
ACROSS THE WATER
In his senior yearbook, Mr. Obama
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thanks the "choom gang" (chooming is island slang for smoking marijuana) and says
in his memoir: "Junkie. Pothead. That's where I'd been headed: the final, fatal role of
the young would-be black man."
But somehow he kept his grades high enough to win a scholarship to Occidental
College in Los Angeles, where he hung out in coffee houses, took part in rallies and
developed the analytical mind he seemed to have inherited from his intellectual
father. "He seemed to have gotten some purpose in life during those two years at
Occidental," his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has suggested.
Yet he soon tired of Occidental, and in 1981 transferred across the country to
Columbia University in New York. There, while sharing an apartment on the Upper
West Side, he received a call from an African aunt, who informed him that his father,
by then an alcoholic, had died in a car accident. The news was a mighty blow even
though the two had seen each other only once since the divorce - a visit his father
made to Hawaii when his boy was just 10.
After that, Mr. Obama
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spent much of his time at Columbia soul-searching. He took up jogging and lifting
weights, and adopted a solitary lifestyle.
"I spent a lot of time in the library. I didn't socialize that much. I was like a monk," he
says in a 2005 Columbia alumni magazine.
But by the time he graduated in 1983, Mr. Obama
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had finally chosen a career. "I decided to become a community organizer," he writes.
"When classmates in college asked me just what it was that a community organizer
did, I couldn't answer them directly. Instead, I'd pronounce on the need for change.
... Change won't come from the top, I would say. Change will come from a mobilized
grassroots.
"That's what I'll do. I'll organize black folks. At the grassroots. For change."
Yet it was more than a year before he found a satisfying job changing things. First, to
start paying back his loans, he joined Business International Corporation, a New
York consulting and research firm where he was surprised to find himself tantalized
by the lure of corporate life.
"Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond
traders, I would catch my reflect- ion in the elevator doors - see myself in a suit and
tie, a briefcase in my hand - and for a split second I would imagine myself as captain
of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it was I
had told myself I wanted to be, and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve."
Perhaps propelled by that guilt, Mr. Obama
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left the company after about a year, did some half-hearted community organizing in
Harlem and felt somewhat uninspired.
Then, one day, he saw an ad in The New York Times that would change everything.
The Calumet Community Religious Conference, a community organizing agency
financed by Catholic churches, was looking for an African American willing to run for little pay - a program for the South Side's black community, which was being
hurt badly by the collapse of the steel industry.
Although not especially religious (he now carries a Bible when campaigning), Mr.
Obama
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decided to inquire. Already his natural charisma was winning people over.
"I remember thinking, 'Man, he's very young' ..." says Loretta Augustine-Herron,
who interviewed him. "he had so much knowledge, it was amazing - we knew he
was the one for us."
He had spent a mere four years on the mainland, much of it in academe, so he also
had much to learn. "His background did not make it automatic that he would
understand this group of people," recalls Greg Galluzzo, a Calumet employee who
was his mentor. "He had to stretch himself. He had to learn what it's like to grow up
in an African-American working-class community."
Mr. Galluzzo feels that the early challenges taught the future politician some
valuable lessons. "In organizing, your first job is to build relationships and bring
large groups of people together to act coherently on a common project," he explains.
"The only thing you've got working for you is your personality and ability."
In his first few years on the street, Mr. Obama
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claimed many small victories that, more than 20 years later, still stand out. He
helped residents of Altgeld Gardens, a notorious housing project, have toxic
asbestos removed from their apartments; he landed a job-training office for the
area, and helped with such basics as having potholes filled and garbage cleaned up.
Eventually, he also persuaded people to band together and became known for
arranging meetings between community members and city officials, then excusing
himself to sit at the back of the room and watch what happened.
"He was really was into leadership building," Mr. Love says. "His real idea was, 'I'm
here to facilitate this, but this is your baby. If you don't do something in your
community it's never going to happen.' "
Mrs. Augustine-Herron thinks that Mr. Obama
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succeeds because "he listens. ... Some people listen and they hear what they want to
hear. He actually understands what your issues are, what you feel the problem is."
She also sees a personal payoff. "I think he needed to do that for himself as much as
for us. I think he needs to feel good about what he can do."
In 1987, a more personal quest for his fulfilment led him to join the South Side's
high-profile Trinity United Church of Christ, whose motto is "unashamedly black
and unapologetically Christian." A black Jesus looks down from the stained-glass
window.
At the time, it was run by Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., who writes on the African
roots of Christianity and often preaches in a dashiki, the colourful garb of West
Africa. He predicted that uniting the local churches was impossible, but Mr. Obama
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stayed anyway, some say to satisfy his craving to belong to black society.
That year, he also a suffered a personal loss when Harold Washington, the first
African-American mayor of Chicago he had come to idolize, had a heart attack and
died in his office. Before long, he decided to leave and study law at Harvard. "He
realized that, if he didn't expand his horizons ... he would not be able to bring about
the changes he wanted to bring about," Mrs. Augustine-Herron says.
Although he recalls Mr. Obama
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as a bit "young and impatient," Mr. Love was surprised that he moved on so soon. "I
think what he wanted to see was drastic physical change in the community. What he
actually did was he taught people to make change. We kept the movement going."
PART 3: CRIMSON BRINGS OUT
HIS TRUE COLOURS
He didn't take long to make an impression when he arrived on the fabled campus,
with his leather bomber jacket, his pack of cigarettes and rough edges from Chicago.
He developed a reputation for his remarkable ability to synthesize mind-boggling
issues. Former classmates often recall how, rather than try to dominate an
intellectual debate, he would listen quietly, vacuum up all that he could and only
then speak his mind.
Michael Froman, a classmate and informal adviser, told The Washington Post that
Mr. Obama
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stuck out for "his ability to lead, to guide a group of politically diverse - and divisive people toward a common goal, to wrestle intellectually with some of the most
difficult and complex problems of the day, understand different perspectives and
take a position based on principle but made all the more sound by his appreciation
of alternative points of view."
During his first summer break, back in Chicago working at a law firm, he met
Michelle Robinson, a Harvard grad from a black, working-class family on the South
Side he would eventually marry. (They now have two young daughters.) By the time
he returned school, dating was ruled out, giving him more time to study. In 1990, he
made history by being appointed the first black to head the prestigious Harvard Law
Review - a post that garnered him media attention as well as a contract to write the
memoir that appeared five years later.
He also drew fire for adding conservative students who had supported him to the
Review's masthead - once again unafraid to bring opposites together.
Then another coup: Lawrence Tribe, regarded as the premier U.S. constitutional
scholar, made Mr. Obama
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his research assistant. In a recent interview with Time magazine, Prof. Tribe said
that "I've known senators, presidents. I've never known anyone with what seems to
me more raw political talent. He just seems to have the surest way of calmly
reaching across what are impenetrable barriers to many people."
After his four years at Harvard, Mr. Obama
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could have had his pick of top-flight legal jobs. Instead, he struck up a relationship
with Judd Miner from a small constitutional and civil-rights firm in Chicago. "The
fact that he was thinking about us suggested income was not the first order of
business in his mind," Mr. Miner says. For one thing, he didn't seem to want to spend
his whole life was be a lawyer. "What drove him was a desire to be involved in
policy."
While deciding his future, Mr. Obama
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returned to his old community project to help arrange a voter-registration drive.
Yet, even with close confidants, he rarely expressed any desire to run for office.
Some Harvard classmates recall him talking about becoming Chicago's mayor, but
Mr. Miner says that, in all of their discussions in 1992 (the two had many lunches
before Mr. Obama
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finally joined the firm), there was no real indication that his new colleague was
eyeing the Illinois Senate.
Part 4: THE LONG-AWAITED
POLITICAL DEBUT
Only three years later, in September, 1995, Mr. Obama
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announced his candidacy for the state Senate. With few political connections, he
drummed up support the same way he started his old organizing job: He set out
walking.
Night after night, he knocked on South Side doors and told anyone who would listen
why he thought he had enough experience to run. "What if a politician were to see
his job as that of an organizer, as part teacher and part advocate, one who does not
sell voters short but who educates them about the real choices before them?" he
asked one reporter.
"As an elected public official, for instance, I could bring church and community
leaders together easier than I could as a community organizer or lawyer. ... We must
form grassroots structures that would hold me and other elected officials more
accountable for their actions."
His lofty ideals helped him win the seat, but when he arrived in Springfield, he
learned that he would have to be more of a realist to accomplish anything in the
capital.
"He came with high credentials and he had to live up to them," recalls Chicago
lobbyist Paul L. Williams, an occasional Obama
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adviser. "Barack was the Harvard Law School guy, the smart guy, the ideological guy.
He wasn't your old-time back-slapper. Barack wouldn't allow you to buy dinner for
him, those kinds of things. He was on the up and up. He always felt he was going on
to greater things."
In his office, he hung paintings of Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin
Luther King, now making no secret of his ambition.
Dan Shomon, then a middle-aged political adviser assigned to help the young
senator develop a legislative strategy, said their first meeting made him weary. "I
have no time for Obama,
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" he now recalls telling his boss. "He wants to pass 500 bills and change the world."
He and Mr. Williams agree Mr. Obama
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's big challenge was figuring out how to function within the political culture he
encountered. He "struggled early on with frustrations with the slow process," Mr.
Shomon says, but soon was up to speed, joining a legislative poker league and
playing golf. The biggest lessons involved colour. "I don't think he ever looked at
somebody, thinking they were black or white," Mr. Shomon says. "That's something
he had to learn."
Soon, he began to get things done, and recently told The New York Times that was
when he learned that "if you're willing to listen to people, it's possible to bridge a lot
of the differences that dominate the national political debate. I pretty quickly got to
form relationships with Republicans, with individuals from rural parts of the state,
and we had a lot in common."
But in 2000, his ambition led to his first big setback. He was trounced when he made
an impulsive bid for a seat in the U.S. Congress and the election turned nasty. "The
undercurrents were that Barack wasn't black enough," says Mr. Shomon, who
managed the campaign. "He did have to learn to manoeuvre the minefield of black
politics."
The defeat "rattled" Mr. Obama,
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but, "looking back, I think it was the best thing that ever happened. The 2000 race
was really his initiation. If he had not been through that, everybody believes he
would not have been ready for the 2004 Senate race."
PART 5: A STAR
IS BORN
When Mr. Obama
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tentatively launched his run for a U.S. Senate seat in 2003, friends could sense that
the mark left by his embarrassing loss three years earlier had yet to fade. "When
you're running in your early stages, there is this gnawing concern that maybe you're
going to go to ... an event and no one is going to show up," says Judd Miner, the
lawyer. "In the early days, my wife and I would get a call, would we go to an event
and bring some friends, just in case.
"You could watch him, and it was clear he got better, and audiences got more
receptive."
The following July, he was given a golden opportunity: to give the keynote address
to thousands of Democrats who had gathered to make Senator John Kerry their
presidential candidate. A virtual unknown when he took the stage of Boston's
FleetCenter, he seemed light-years away from any run for the White House - this
was just a litmus test to see if he could get into the Senate.
"In no other country on Earth," he told them, "is my story even possible." Then, as he
delivered his message of nationalism and unity, the crowd seemed to catch fire.
Approaching his climax, he declared: "The pundits like to slice and dice our country
into Red States and Blue States. ... We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to
the Star and Stripes, all of us defending the United States of America."
The next day, newspapers announced that the Democrats had a new star. The
question went from would Mr. Obama
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win a Senate seat to would a Senate seat be enough?
To his old friends back in Chicago, the answer has been obvious for almost 25 years.
"After working with him that first year, I just absolutely knew," insists Loretta
Augustine-Herron, who conducted that pivotal first interview. "We used to talk
about it. We'd say he's going to be the first African-American president."
Where he stands
He has charisma, but do his policies match his persona? Highlights of Barack Obama
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's campaign platform:
High priorities
Health care for all, ending the war in Iraq and social security.
Abortion
Pro-choice.
Capital Punishment
Supports capital punishment in certain cases.
Education
Supports a new school construction program to improve crumbling schools.
Supports recruitment of a "new generation" of teachers, improving teacher pay and
improvement in early-childhood education. Opposes school vouchers. Has called for
a "STEP UP" summer learning program for disadvantaged children through
partnerships between community groups and schools. Supports increased funding
for Head Start. Opposes reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind law until it
undergoes reform. Supports merit pay for "master teachers," but opposes merit pay
for teachers based on test outcomes.
Energy/the Environment
Pledges to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, with a goal of 80 per cent by 2050, and
make the U.S. a leader in the effort to combat climate change by leading a new
international global warming partnership. Supports implementing a cap-and-trade
program to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Pledges to invest $150-billion over
the next 10 years to develop and implement "climate-friendly energy supplies,
protect our existing manufacturing base and create millions of new jobs." Pledges to
double federal spending on clean-energy research. Supports efforts to reduce
dependence on foreign oil and to reduce oil consumption by 35 per cent by 2030.
Would require that 25 per cent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.
Gay Marriage
Supports civil unions. Opposes gay marriage.
Health Care
Health-care platform focuses on a new national health plan that covers the country's
uninsured. The plan would guarantee eligibility, provide coverage similar to the
federal employee health-insurance program, offer "affordable" premiums, co-pays
and deductibles, and allow enrollees to keep their coverage when they change jobs.
He would introduce a requirement for all children to have health insurance and
pledges to expand eligibility for Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance
Program. Businesses that do not provide insurance to their employees would be
assessed a fee based on a percentage of their payroll. His plan would allow states to
continue developing their own reform plans.
Immigration
Supports comprehensive immigration-reform legislation that combines increased
border enforcement with a path to legal citizenship for illegal immigrants already
living in the U.S.
The war in Iraq
Spoke out against the war in Iraq when he was a state senator in Illinois, but was not
in Congress when the vote to authorize the use of force was taken. Supports a plan
to immediately begin troop withdrawal from Iraq at a pace of one or two brigades a
month, to be completed by the end of 2008. Has called for a new constitutional
convention in Iraq, to be convened with the United Nations.
Social Security
Opposes privatization of Social Security. Has pledged to take steps to keep Social
Security and Medicare solvent. Promises to amend federal bankruptcy laws to keep
companies from choosing bankruptcy to avoid private pension obligations.
Promises to eliminate the income tax for seniors who earn less than $50,000 a year.
Stem Cell Research
Supports expansion of federally funded stem cell research, including embryonic
stem cell research.
Taxes and Budget issues
Supports repeal of tax cuts for upper income earners to pay for health care. Opposes
repeal of the estate tax.
Sources: Boston Herald, www.barackobama.com
Jessica Leeder is a Globe and Mail writer based in Toronto and Rod Mickleburgh is a
member of the paper's Vancouver bureau.
Los Angeles Times
January 29, 2007|Larry Gordon | Times Staff Writer
Occidental recalls 'Barry' Obama
The Eagle Rock liberal arts college is quick to claim the Illinois Democrat as an alum.
He says he has 'fond memories' of the school.
Memories of 1980 at Occidental College's Haines Hall have the standard fragments
of the era: stereos blasting the B-52's through the dorm, pot-fueled bull sessions
about the revival of draft registration, late-night cramming for economics exams.
That otherwise private nostalgia took on public significance this month when a
former Haines Hall resident from Hawaii known at the time as Barry announced that
he was forming an exploratory committee to run for president of the United States.
Ads by Google
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is usually described as an alumnus of Columbia University,
where he earned his bachelor's degree, and of Harvard Law School.
But the Illinois Democrat began his undergraduate education at Occidental, and the
1,825-student liberal arts college in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles
isn't shy about claiming him as an alumnus for his two years there (1979-81) on full
scholarship. Perhaps, some think, it's where his political and oratory skills were
nurtured.
Despite the somewhat awkward facts that Obama transferred from Occidental and
that his official website biography doesn't even mention the campus, old friends and
former teachers at the well-regarded 120-year-old school proudly described him as
a serious scholar and a good athlete who helped the JV Tigers basketball team to an
undefeated season.
Though some express surprise at his current prominence, classmates recall a slim,
good-looking teen with a moderate Afro, a taste for Casa Bianca's Hawaiian-style
pizza (pineapple and ham) and a role in protesting college investments in firms
doing business in South Africa during the apartheid era.
In his 1995 autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," Obama recounted how he
was accepted into "several respectable" colleges but chose Occidental "mainly
because I'd met a girl from Brentwood while she was vacationing in Hawaii."
On Friday, in an e-mailed response to questions from The Times, Obama said he had
"fond memories" of Occidental. "It's a wonderful, small liberal arts college. The
professors were diverse and inspiring. I ended up making some lifelong friendships
there, and those first two years really helped me grow up."
Roger Boesche, a professor of politics who's cited as Obama's intellectual mentor at
Occidental, said the young man from Honolulu was "a very thoughtful student and a
very curious student."
February 22, 2010 Monday 12:57 PM EST
Pastor: Barack Obama
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was a CIA operative during the 1980s
LENGTH: 369 words
Feb. 22, 2010 (Digital Journal delivered by Newstex) -According to Reverend James David Manning, U.S. President Barack Obama
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was an operative for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the 1980s.
On Feb. 16, Honorable James David Manning claimed President Barack Obama
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was a CIA operative and used his status at Colombia University as a cover up to
travel to Pakistan in 1981 during Operation Cyclone when the United States and the
Taliban were working together to fight off the Taliban, according to Atlah Media
Network. Obama
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was a political science major and graduate of Columbia University in 1983. Manning
said Obama
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was recruited by the CIA in 1981 when he was a student at Occidental College in Los
Angeles because the agency was searching for Muslims who were fluent in Farsi and
other Islamic customs. œObama
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was perfect as an undercover agent," Manning said. œObama
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became the lead agent in the arms and money supply to the struggling Taliban army
against the Soviet war machine. Obamas cover was flawless and skills as an agent;
incredible. Manning said its public knowledge Obama
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traveled to Pakistan in 1981 but doesnt know how frequently he went there. When
the President returned to the United States in the mid-1980s, Manning said he
pressured the State Department to allow him to enter Harvard Law School where
œhe excelled. However, Manning believes he could have been a multi-million dollar
lawyer to cleric or the Supreme Court Justice but Obama
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did not have proper background credentials as US citizen or as a student of
Occidental College or Columbia University. The Pastor also said his œconvenient
marriage to the First Lady, Michelle Obama,
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helped give him citizenship to the US and a œsolid background. Throughout the
2008 Presidential campaign, then-Senator of New York brought up the situation
with Tony Rezco and, once again, Pastor Manning included the issue in his video.
Manning said he will provide the necessary documentation at a trial that will be held
between May 14 and May 19 called the œColumbia Obama
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Treason Trial. Then, the Pastor will present his case against Obama,
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who he says is holding the American people œhostage.
Newstex ID: DIJO-0001-42268496
Black Enterprise
October, 2004
FAVORITE SON
BYLINE: By Kenneth Meeks, Additional reporting by Joyce Jones & Stephanie Young
SECTION: PROFILE; Pg. 88
LENGTH: 3911 words
HIGHLIGHT: Barack Obama, America's latest political star, is expected to become the
next black U.S. senator. Could his victory put him on the path to the White House?
He gave the speech of his life. With grace and confidence, a relatively unknown
Illinois state senator stood before a sea of cheering delegates at Boston's
FleetCenter, home to this year's Democratic National Convention. In an electrifying
keynote address, the poised politician spoke of his lineage; uniting a nation across
racial, ideological, and economic lines; and, most importantly, the promise of the
American dream.
"If there's a child on the South Side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me,
even if it's not my child," he told delegates as they exploded into applause and
cheers during his speech. "If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for
her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my
life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being
rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil
liberties. It's that fundamental belief -- I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's
keeper -- that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual
dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. . . There's not a black
America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the
United States of America."
After his address of unity and hope -- one that energized a party and set the tone for
the presidential race to come -- the nation witnessed the birth of a new political star:
Barack Obama. They not only saw a man who is almost assured of ascending to the
U.S. Senate representing the state of Illinois, but a politician pundits say has the
timber to one day become America's first African American president.
So who is this candidate many speculate is in contention for the White House? To
answer that question, BLACK ENTERPRISE went on the road with Obama -- to three
cities on a campaign tour through southern Illinois -- a month before he stepped
onto the national stage. We discovered his platform, his political passion, his
background, and the aspirations of "a skinny kid with a funny name who believes
that America has a place for him."
ON THE ROAD
On a warm and rainy June morning in Springfield, the state capital, the 42-year-old
three-term senator who represents Chicago's South Side addresses a packed room
of mostly white, blue-collar workers at the AFL-CIO building. In the back of the
room, a unionist holds up a sign that reads: "The Land of Lincoln Loves Senator
Obama."
Today, Obama listens to Ada Owens, a Decatur woman who worked at the
Bridgestone/Firestone manufacturing plant for 27 years before it closed in 2001.
The plant, which employed as many as 1,200 people, shut down as a result of the
recall of Firestone tires that dominated headlines several years ago. Now, Decatur is
on the verge of becoming a ghost town.
"I was able to get a negotiated package but too young for Social Security, so that
meant I had to go out and look for another job," Owens says in a shaky voice worn
by three years of economic despair and hardship. "For younger workers who didn't
have a retirement option, it's been horrible. A lot of older folks have died of heart
attacks because of the stress. We hear that the economy is looking up and that there
are jobs out there, but they are not decent jobs where you can support your families.
And they're not here in Decatur. That's what we lost."
Owens' story underscores a larger problem facing Illinois and the heart of Obama's
campaign. As Owens recounts her story, the politician nods his head, his face etched
with concern and compassion. When she finishes, Obama calmly takes the
microphone and collects his thoughts before addressing the issue head-on. He
conducts an informal poll of the 100 or so in the room, finding that half have either
lost jobs or knows such a casualty. Despite President George W. Bush's pledge to
create millions of new jobs this year, Obama says many pay a fraction of those
originally lost. "What I'm hearing everywhere I go is a middle class that is feeling
squeezed because their jobs are moving overseas, and they are economically
insecure," he says. "We lost 150,000 manufacturing jobs and we have not been
benefiting from the economic growth that has been taking place. Collectively, what
we're experiencing is erosion of the economic status. We have some people -- a
small slither of the economy -- who have done better than they've ever done before;
a middle class that is shrinking; and a greater and greater difficulty on the part of
the working class . . . to get into the middle class. That is the story that we have to
reverse."
Throughout the room, heads nod in agreement. Obama seems to connect with a
constituency that ranges from black churchgoers like Owens to white unionists
threatened by the outsourcing of jobs to China, India, and Mexico. An older white
man in the fourth row eyes Obama cautiously as the politician outlines his four-part
program called "REAL U.S.A. Corporations Plan." His platform is designed to
counteract the despair that corporate outsourcing breeds by, among other things,
getting the federal government to advocate more effectively on behalf of workers
and communities in the World Trade Organization and making sure that tax codes
give incentives to companies that keep jobs in America. When he finishes, the room
erupts with applause.
"I could be wrong about him," says Owens. "We won't know until he gets into office,
but I think he says what he means. And if he doesn't, then he will have me to answer
to. He will be held accountable."
AGAINST THE ODDS
The next stop is East Alton, a city on the Mississippi River with a population just shy
of 7,000. It's roughly an hour and a half drive to East Alton, where Obama faces the
machinist union, and it's a great opportunity to get to know the man behind the
campaign. Next month, he could possibly replace Republican Peter G. Fitzgerald,
who is not seeking reelection. And an Obama victory would move the Senate
Democrats -- at present outnumbered 51 to 48 -- one seat closer to a majority. This
year also marks the first time Democrats have the possibility of gaining control of
the Senate, with strong Democratic hopefuls in Southern states like South Carolina,
North Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana.
As it stands, Illinois doesn't look good for Republican challenger Alan Keyes, who
entered the race in August. He was hastily chosen by the GOP after a tabloid scandal
knocked the former Republican candidate, Jack Ryan, out of the race. Ryan, 44, is a
Wilmette native and a Goldman Sachs investment banker who dropped out of the
race in late June when unsealed portions of his 1999 divorce case revealed claims
from his former wife, actress Jeri Ryan, that Ryan took her to sex clubs and tried to
talk her into having public sex with him. The story came at a time when the
challenger was trailing Obama in the polls by 20 points. Obama's only comment was
that Ryan's divorce documents were "not a campaign issue."
In 1988 and 1992, Keyes unsuccessfully sought a Senate seat in Maryland, earning
38% and 29% of the vote, respectively. However, according to published reports, his
credibility suffered when the media learned in 1992 that he had paid himself a
salary of $ 8,500 a month from his campaign funds. He later sought the Republican
presidential nomination, earning 4% of the vote in the Illinois presidential primary
election in 1996 and 9% in 2000. Four years ago, the native New Yorker criticized
Sen. Hillary Clinton for moving to another state for political reasons. In August,
Keyes moved from Darnestown, Maryland, to Calumet City, Illinois, to set up
temporary residence for his campaign. Keyes told CNN that he justified his move as
"responding to the people of Illinois who have asked me to come and help them with
a crisis situation."
Although Obama refuses to respond to negative pols, Donna Brazile, political
consultant and Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign manager, says at some point
Bush and the Republican machine will descend on Illinois to try to derail him.
"Therefore, he will need the active support of John Kerry and the rest of the
Democratic Party. There is no question that the era of electing black power
candidates is over. Now you're electing individuals who have expanded their power
base and are looking at larger goals. I think Barack's positioning in the race will suit
him well to become a leading voice of African American issues, as well as American
causes that African Americans should be a part of. He has his pulse on the real issues
facing voters this fall. Nobody thought he would come out of that primary alive,
given that he had two [rivals] who had a great deal of gravitas, but he came out more
than OK." He came out strong and well positioned.
Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) remembers talking about Obama's long-shot candidacy a
year ago with Democrats in Washington, D.C. They all expected Illinois Comptroller
Dan Hynes, the leading candidate, to win the primary in March. Instead, Obama beat
out all six Democratic hopefuls by an incredible 53% of the vote. "Frankly, a lot of
people in Washington were dismissive of Barack's candidacy; a lot of people in D.C.
believed that if you can't win a House seat, how are you going to win a Senate seat?"
(In 2000, Obama lost by a 60% to 31% margin when he challenged incumbent Rep.
Bobby Rush, a former Black Panther, for a seat in the House of Representatives.)
If Obama wins, it will be a milestone for African Americans. To date, there have been
two African American senators since Reconstruction -- Edward William Brooke, who
represented Massachusetts when he was elected in 1966, and Carol Moseley Braun,
another Illinois politician who held office for one term after she was elected in 1992.
Rep. Denise Majette is also looking for a seat after winning the Democratic
nomination in Georgia. Says Davis: "I think that Denise has a difficult race. Georgia is
a state that has never elected a black to the position of U.S. Senator. Illinois has, and
there are certain historical advantages in the state of Illinois that I think certainly
favor Barack's candidacy."
Obama ran a smart campaign in the primaries. He brought together white liberals
and African Americans, gaining endorsements from Carbondale City Council
member Sheila Simon, daughter of the late Sen. Paul Simon, the most respected
liberal Democrat in downstate Illinois, and former Sen. Max Cleland from Georgia, a
popular veteran who lost both legs and an arm in the Vietnam War and who
introduced Kerry at the Democratic National Convention. Obama also gained votes
from heavily Republican and predominantly white areas in the southwestern and
northern portions of the state -- places like DuPage County, where a black candidate
was never expected to get backing.
If Obama wins and becomes the only African American in the U.S. Senate, Braun
warns that he will have demands placed on him by both Illinois voters and a
"national constituency."
"He won't be able to get away with just representing his state, which most senators
can do," explains Braun, who didn't endorse any candidate during the primary.
"[Other senators] can represent their state and that's really the only expectation
that anybody has of them. [Obama is] going to have to learn to balance the needs of
his state against the larger national constituency right off the bat, and without
necessarily having the resources or staff to do the job. But I'm sure he's up to it."
But not every African American believes this notion of a national constituency.
Maintains Vernon E. Jordan Jr., senior managing director at Lazard L.L.C. and a
member of BE's Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street: "His constituency is the
people of Illinois. They elected him and it is them he will be responsible to. [He's not
being elected to be] the representative of all black people. He's being elected to be
the Democratic senator to represent the people of Illinois. That is his only mandate."
NEXT STOP ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
East Alton is a small community a stone's throw away from St. Louis, where many
young Altonians moved for jobs. The rain has all but stopped, and a small crowd of
150 people are already in their seats when Obama walks into the room shaking
hands with his right hand as he places his left hand on the other person's shoulder,
elbow, or forearm. He always looks people directly in the eye. He is masterful at
connecting with people reagardless of age, gender, or race.
At the Machinist Hall, Obama reiterated his pro-labor campaign speech, his stance
on the Free Trade Agreement, China, and the ills of the Bush administration. When
he finishes, the room erupts with applause, and he easily melts into the crowd,
listening to ideas and answering people's questions. An hour or so after he arrived,
Obama and his entourage are back on the road, this time headed south to
Carbondale to attend a $ 50-a-plate fundraiser in his honor. From Carbondale, his
motorcade will drive four hours north to Peoria and is scheduled to arrive around 2
a.m. Campaigning is a grueling process, but he's up to the challenge.
But Obama doesn't only need votes; he needs money. And he has managed to raise
loads of it. Of the first million that his campaign raised, half came directly from BE
100s and small minority-owned companies. He received initial donations from
Chicago-based contributors like John W. Rogers Jr., CEO of Ariel Capital Management
L.L.C. (No. 1 on the BE ASSET MANAGERS list with $ 16.1 billion in assets under
management) and his wife, who gave more than $ 21,000. Employees of Loop
Capital Markets L.L.C. (No. 3 on the BE INVESTMENT BANKS list with $ 113 billion
in total managed issues) put up in excess of $ 24,000. And Louis A. Holland,
managing partner of Holland Capital Management L.P. (No. 10 on the BE ASSET
MANAGERS list with $ 1.9 billion in assets under management) personally
contributed close to $ 10,000. Obama's support extends beyond the boundaries of
the Windy City to investment bankers in New York City such as Vernon Jordan, who
along with his wife, sponsored Obama's first big Washington fundraiser last fall at a
time when his underdog campaign didn't look good and long before anybody knew
him. "Several friends of mine said to me, 'I'm coming because of you,' and they came,
they saw, and they heard him. They took in what he had to say and I think they too
felt his commitment and his passion and were moved by his eloquence enough that
they wrote checks," Jordan explains. "So I am just very impressed by him as a man,
as a lawyer, as an individual, and as someone who chose not to go to a law firm but
to be a community organizer and to do something about community problems. I felt
when I first met him and listened to him that I was listening to myself 40 years ago
and so I am very excited about his candidacy, very excited about the possibility that
he will serve in the United States Senate."
Rogers, who has known Obama and his wife, Michelle, for well over 10 years, says
that as a state senator, Obama has been extremely effective in helping the black
business community by providing strategic advice. "Whenever any of us had issues
of concern or things that needed to be addressed, Barack has been very responsive.
He basically gives people insight into how the government works. Having a peer -someone our own age -- in government who can sit down and tell entrepreneurs
how the state process works, how you work within it, and what buttons to push
shows us the way. He's shedding light on how the process really works."
Obama has always been a strong advocate for small and minority-owned businesses.
"[They] are crucial to the American economy," he asserts. "An overwhelming
number of jobs in our society have been created by small and minority-owned
businesses. I'm proud to see more African Americans generate the capital and the
technical knowledge needed to start their own companies. They are taking
ownership [of their destiny], and not just working for somebody else, [because
owning your own business] is the recipe for long-term wealth and stability for any
community.
"But more needs to be done," he continues. "I see my role as helping to open doors
that have previously been closed for small businesses across the country -- black,
white, Hispanic, or Asian. The more we can do to encourage assistance through the
SBA and other organizations; the more we can promote exports in other countries.
And the more we can incorporate technology into small and minority-owned
businesses, the more successful we will be as a country."
Obama says this initial core of financial contributors helped him establish credibility
early on, and that allowed him to raise additional money. As of the end of the second
quarter filings with the Federal Election Commission, Obama raised an astonishing $
9.8 million with $ 3.3 million in cash toward his election bid, outpacing most of this
year's senatorial candidates.
And he has proven to be a shrewd money manager. During the primary, he held on
to his money until the last few weeks and then he hit the airways with an impressive
(and effective) television blitz. With seven candidates in the race, there was a bloc of
undecided voters, and when people started to make up their minds in the last couple
of weeks, Obama had a barrage of spots.
A CONNECTION WITH MANY CULTURES
Born in Hawaii, Obama is the son of an African exchange student from Kenya and a
white woman from Kansas. He rarely saw his father, who left the family when
Obama was 2 to attend Harvard and then later returned to his native Kenya, where
he worked as a government economist. (At age 21, Obama learned that his father
had died in a car accident.)
When Obama was 6, his mother married an Indonesian oil manager, and the family
moved to Jakarta, Indonesia. As a teenager, Obama returned to Hawaii to live with
his grandparents and attended one of the island's top prep schools. He was a lone
black child raised by his white mother and grandparents. But he gained the ability to
connect with people from various national, cultural, and racial backgrounds. "I grew
up with whites and blacks and Asians within my own family and surrounding
communities. It's an enormous advantage in an America that is changing everyday
in that it requires us to work together across racial, cultural, and ethnic lines,"
Obama says. "But I was affected by the problems that I think a lot of young African
American teens have; they feel that they need to rebel against society as a way of
proving their blackness. And often, this results in self-destructive behavior. I've
written about the fact that when I was in high school, I experimented with drugs and
I played a lot of sports, but didn't take my studies particularly seriously. But I was
fortunate to have a foundation and values from my family that helped me to
overcome some of those destructive attitudes."
Although he always considered himself a good student in high school, Obama says
he didn't get serious about his scholarship until his third year in college, when he
transferred to Columbia University in New York. Filled with political idealism, he
became a community organizer in Harlem after graduation. But he couldn't afford to
stay in New York City on his salary. When he decided to leave Harlem, he wrote to
organizations across the country looking for work and received only a single reply
from a church-based group in Chicago that was trying to help residents of poor
South Side neighborhoods cope with a wave of plant closings -- an experience that
would begin to shape Obama's political career.
Three years later, he left the church organization to attend Harvard Law School, and
in 1990, he became the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review.
Armed with a law degree that matched the likes of Fortune 500 leaders, Obama
could have designed a high-powered legal or corporate career. He turned down an
opportunity to clerk with a chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Washington, D.C., circuit and jobs working for prestigious Wall Street law firms.
Instead, he returned to Chicago to practice civil rights law, representing victims of
housing and employment discrimination and working on voting rights legislation for
small public interest firms. He later started teaching at the University of Chicago
Law School but did not pursue a tenure-track post. He decided to go into politics.
When Obama announced his intention to run for U.S. Senate, he had already built a
solid track record on issues affecting working-class families. He expanded a
program to provide healthcare to Illinois children. He wrote and passed a law that
gives $ 100 million in tax breaks to working-class families. He wrote and passed
landmark legislation to end racial profiling among state law enforcement agencies.
The bill also required a videotaped confessions in murder cases. And while Obama
doesn't have statistics that chart the results of his bill since being signed into law,
the ACLU applauded his effort to make law enforcement agencies in Illinois keep
track of all traffic stops and the race of the individual. Obama was also one of the few
candidates to publicly oppose the war in Iraq.
Win or lose in next month's election, Obama represents a new form of leadership.
For more than three decades, black political leadership has largely been tied to civil
rights activism, with two distinguishable traits: a willingness to agitate with
firebrand conviction and the ability to mobilize large groups of blacks behind a
common cause. Today's black politicians, however, talk less about equal access and
more about education and economic opportunities, viewing themselves as coalition
builders and economic developers seeking to appeal to broad constituencies and
abandoning rhetoric that would tag them as liberals. It's a group that includes
former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, who ran an unsuccessful Senate campaign in 2002,
and Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. of Tennessee, who is expected to make a run for the
Senate in 2006.
It's Rogers of Ariel Capital Management who sums up Obama best: "If you're a
leader and you care about people, you're going to reach out beyond your local
community and help people nationally. I think Barack will be an extraordinary
national leader. Dr. King was able to fill an enormous void with his extraordinary
gifts. There is an enormous void in this country and Rev. Jackson can't fill it all. We
need other strong dynamic leaders who can be a voice for the voiceless. I think it's
our responsibility that all of us who are privileged and given the opportunity to,
reach back and help bring others up. And Barack does it extraordinarily well."
As Obama's campaign motorcade meanders through country roads and small towns,
we come to a stop on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. It's
early evening, and the sun starts to disappear behind the trees. Inside the SIU
Student Center, an estimated crowd of 600 conservative Illinois residents are
waiting for Obama's entrance. For Obama, inside are more people to reach and more
voters to sway. And it's one step closer to Washington.
States News Service
April 22, 2010 Thursday
PRESIDENT OBAMA
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ANNOUNCES MORE KEY ADMINISTRATION POSTS, 4/22/10
BYLINE: States News Service
LENGTH: 1083 words
DATELINE: WASHINGTON
The following information was released by the White House:
Today, President Barack Obama
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announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration
posts:
Christopher A. Masingill, Federal Co-Chair, Delta Regional Authority
Mary Minow, Member, National Museum Library Services Board
Catherine E. Woteki, Under Secretary for Agriculture for Research, Education and
Economics, Department of Agriculture
President Obama
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said, I am grateful that such talented individuals have chosen to serve in my
administration at this important time for our nation. I look forward to working with
them in the coming months and years.
President Obama
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also announced his intent to appoint Rene Mauborgne to serve as a Member of the
Presidential Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Her bio
is below.
President Obama
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announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration
posts:
Christopher A. Masingill, Nominee for Federal Co-Chair, Delta Regional Authority
Mr. Masingill is currently serving as Governor Mike Beebes Recovery
Implementation Director for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as well
as the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, which acts as the official liaison
between the Governors office and the federal delegation, federal agencies and the
National Governors Association. He is also the Governors chief policy advisor to the
Arkansas Economic Development Commission and Arkansass official Designee and
Alternate on the U.S. Delta Regional Authoritys board of directors. Before that, he
served the Governor as his 2006 gubernatorial campaign manager. Prior to working
for Governor Beebe, Mr. Masingill was Representative Mike Rosss District Director
and also served as Senator Blanche Lincolns Special Projects Assistant during
Congresss establishment of the Delta Regional Authority. Mr. Masingill has also been
active in professional and community organizations including previously serving as
an executive officer on the Arkansas Economic Developers Association Board of
Directors and is currently a member of the Friends of Small Business Advisory
Board for the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center. He also
serves as a reserve deputy sheriff for Garland County, Arkansas.
Mary Minow, Nominee for Member, National Museum Library Services Board
Ms. Minow is an attorney, consultant, and a former librarian and library trustee. She
has made presentations and consulted for libraries and library associations in over
25 states on free speech, privacy, and copyright issues. She manages the Stanford
Copyright and Fair Use website, and founded the LibraryLaw blog. Ms. Minow
teaches digital copyright as an adjunct at the San Jose State School of Library Science
and at the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She serves
on the board of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and she chairs the
Intellectual Freedom Committee of the California Library Association. She is past
chair of the Cupertino Library Commission and past president of the California
Association of Library Trustees and Commissioners. She is coauthor with Tomas
Lipinski of The Librarys Legal Answer Book. Ms. Minow earned her Bachelor of Arts
degree from Brown University, her master of library science degree from the
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her law degree from Stanford University.
Catherine E. Woteki, Nominee for Under Secretary for Agriculture for Research,
Education and Economics, Department of Agriculture
Dr. Catherine E. Woteki currently serves as Global Director of Scientific Affairs for
Mars, Incorporated, where she manages the companys scientific policy and research
on matters of health, nutrition, and food safety. From 2002-2005, she was Dean of
Agriculture and Professor of Human Nutrition at Iowa State University. Dr. Woteki
served as the first Under Secretary for Food Safety at the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) from 1997-2001, where she oversaw U.S. Government food
safety policy development and USDAs continuity of operations planning. Dr. Woteki
also served as the Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics
at USDA in 1996. Prior to going to USDA, Dr. Woteki served in the White House
Office of Science and Technology Policy as Deputy Associate Director for Science
from 1994-1996. Dr. Woteki has also held positions in the National Center for
Health Statistics of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1983-1990),
the Human Nutrition Information Service at USDA (1981-1983), and as Director of
the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of
Sciences (1990-1993). In 1999, Dr. Woteki was elected to the Institute of Medicine
of the National Academy of Sciences, where she has chaired the Food and Nutrition
Board (2003-2005). She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (1974). Dr. Woteki received her
B.S. in Chemistry from Mary Washington College (1969).
President Obama
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also announced his intent to appoint the following individual to a key
administration post:
Rene Mauborgne, Appointee for Member, Presidential Advisory Board on
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Rene Mauborgne is the Co-Director of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute and
Affiliate Professor of Strategy at INSEAD, the world's second largest business school
located in Fontainebleau, France. Prior to this, she held the title of the INSEAD
Distinguished Fellow of Strategy and Management and Senior Research Fellow also
at INSEAD. Professor Mauborgne is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum at Davos.
She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Nobels Colloquia Prize for
Leadership on Business and Economic Thinking 2008 and the Eldridge Haynes
Prize, awarded by the Academy of International Business and the Eldridge Haynes
Memorial Trust of Business International, for the best original paper in the field of
international business. Professor Mauborgne is the co-author of the international
bestseller Blue Ocean Strategy (Harvard Business Press), which is being published
in 42 languages. She has published numerous articles on strategy and managing the
multinational which can be found in: Academy of Management Journal, Management
Science, Organization Science, Strategic Management Journal, Administrative
Science Quarterly, Journal of International Business Studies, Harvard Business
Review, and Sloan Management Review.
Cox News Service
November 16, 2001 Friday
LEGAL CHALLENGE BREWING TO PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS ORDER
SECTION: Washington, General News
LENGTH: 737 words
DATELINE: WASHINGTON
Historians and archivists are mounting a challenge to the Bush administration's
move to curtail the public's access to presidential records, but what sort of challenge
it will be remains unclear.
Scott Nelson, an attorney for the Public Citizen Litigation Group, said his
organization will probably file suit against the National Archives and the National
Archivist shortly after Thanksgiving. That strategy has support among historians,
but leaves archivists cold.
"I don't think that filing a lawsuit precludes you from exploring other avenues to
resolve the issue and it may make it more likely that those would bear fruit," Nelson
said. "I'm not too optimistic that the White House is going to change it's mind on
this."
Steve Hensen, president of the American Society of Archivists, opposes such a
lawsuit.
"I think, realistically, that our only real hope is for Congress to reassert its primacy
in all this," he said. "The executive order violates the spirit and letter of the law."
A group of historians and archivists, including Hensen, has scheduled a Dec. 7
meeting with Chief White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales to discuss ways to soften
the order. A congressional subcommittee's recent hearing on the issue has sparked
hopes that Congress might eventually turn its attention to the matter.
If a court fight does come about, Public Citizen will be on familiar ground. The group
successfully challenged a U.S. Justice Department directive issued during President
Ronald Reagan's tenure that instructed the National Archivist to acquiesce to a
sitting president's wishes involving requests for records. A three-judge federal panel
that included two Republican appointees overturned the directive.
Reagan didn't give up. Days before leaving office in 1989, he signed an executive
order governing the release of his records. Bush's Executive Order 13223 replaces
the Reagan order and is more restrictive, according to historians and archivists.
Under the order, people seeking records must demonstrate a "need to know." It also
requires the national archivist and the sitting and past president, or his or her
representative, to review all requests.
The presidents would have to state objections within 90 days, but could take longer
to consider requests for large numbers of records. If an incumbent or former
president seeks to block release of records, the person seeking the records could go
to court. Records would remain sealed during litigation.
Historians say the order guts the 1978 Presidential Records Act, which provides for
the release of records after 12 years. The first records to become available under the
Act are from the Reagan years and were due out in January. The Bush White House
has three times used extensions to delay release of the some 68,000 records.
Gonzales has said that the White House wants to establish a process for release of
the records. White House officials have also stated national security concerns.
The records in question involve confidential advice given to a president. Historians
say they provide insight into how presidents make decisions, and that exemptions
already exist to protect national security. They also point out that a number of
members of the Bush administration also served in the Reagan White House.
"These are not personal papers," Hensen said. "They've stood the Presidential
Records Act on its head by re-declaring presidential papers as private papers. "
Hugh Graham, professor of history and political science at Vanderbilt University, has
been researching Reagan's civil rights policy. His request for records involving
advice given by former Attorney General Edwin Meese has so far been denied.
Graham said that while he believes a court fight is inevitable, he feels for the
National Archivist. He said the executive order reduces the Archivist to an "errand
boy."
"It seems to me there are two major reasons why we need what we got from the
Presidential Records Act," Graham said. "That is public ownership of the papers so
they won't be destroyed, and, at some reasonable point, making the papers available
so that everyone would know what government is doing. The very practical reason
is to chill the temptations to abuse power...If (presidents) have a reasonable
confidence that their misdeeds will be hidden forever, they will yield to temptation."
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