June 13, 2009

The Obama family and the CIA

President Obama's parents appear to have had a lot more contact with the CIA or with people in contact with the CIA than most Americans' parents have had. And they had more brushes with violent skullduggery than most would want to endure.

The following facts about Barack Obama's background may well have no important implications, but, then again, they might be worth thinking about since, after all, he is President of the United States.

Consider Barack Obama Sr.

In Kenya in the 1960s, the three main power players were

- the elderly Kikuyu leader Jomo Kenyatta, whose closest ties were with the British

- the dynamic young Luo politician Tom Mboya, who was publicly funded by the American AFL-CIO and was widely believed to be on the CIA payroll

- and the Luo prince and Kenyan Vice-President Oginga Odinga, who sent his son Raila Odinga (the current Prime Minister, who claims, dubiously, to be Obama's first cousin) to college in East Germany and negotiated a huge arms deal with the Soviets.

Kenyatta used Mboya to squeeze out of power his fellow Luo, Odinga. Then the Kikuyus turned on Mboya since he appeared to be the aging Kenyatta's natural successor.

Obama Sr., a Luo, got to Hawaii on the Tom Mboya Airlift, a sizable Cold War initiative to provide young Kenyan elites American college educations. (The Kennedy clan put up some of the money for the second wave of the Tom Mboya Airlift.)

Obama Sr.'s ideology was well to the left of Mboya's, at least when he was in America (and when he was in closest contact with the President's mother). In 1965, back in Kenya from Harvard, he published an attack on Mboya's centrist economic plan. Obama Sr. called for much more rapid expropriation of European and Asian properties in Kenya:
It is mainly in this country one finds almost everything owned by non-indigenous populace. The government must do something about this and soon.

As I wrote in America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's "Story of Race and Inheritance:"
Fortunately for Obama Sr., the equally confident Mboya didn’t seem to much mind the young upstart’s critique. Obama Sr. eventually wound up working for Mboya, perhaps united by their shared emphasis on nationalism over tribalism. With Odinga out of the picture, Mboya appeared the logical successor to the elderly Kenyatta as the biggest big man in Kenya. But Obama Sr.'s drinking—his custom was to walk into San Chique, a Nairobi nightspot, and immediately order four shots of Jack Daniel’s—and Kenya’s growing tribalism worked against his advancement.

Having sidelined Odinga‘s Luo Left, Mboya‘s Luo Right was now expendable too. Kenyatta and his fellow Kikuyu insiders were getting very rich indeed. Why should the gravy train halt and somebody else’s relatives get on just because the old man died?

On the morning of July 5, 1969, Obama Sr. happened to run into Mboya on a shopping street in Nairobi. They joked briefly and parted. Minutes later, as Mboya emerged from a pharmacy, a Kikuyu gunman murdered him. The killer is said to have asked the police after his arrest, “Why don’t you go after the big man?” Yet, nobody bigger was ever arrested. (Most Mboya fans today blame the murder on a conspiracy among Kikuyu insiders, but generally don’t implicate the aged Kenyatta himself.)

Obama Sr. was called to testify at the trial. Five years later, according to the Boston Globe, he told a friend “that he had seen Mboya‘s killer and claimed to be the only witness who could identify him.” (I am not aware of corroboration for that assertion from other sources, however.) Obama Sr. would say he was shadowed by Kenyatta‘s security agents.

Mboya's name is mentioned only once, in passing, in Dreams from My Father, which might be a significant elision considering the role Mboya played in his father's life and the eyewitness role his father played in Mboya's death.

Obama's remarried mother had a job at the CIA-infested U.S. embassy in Indonesia in the later 1960s, following the bloody right-wing coup of 1965. "The Americans were mostly older men, careerists in the State Department, the occasional economist or journalist who would mysteriously disappear for months at a time, their affiliation or function in the embassy never quite clear." (I.e., Obama is implying that the itinerant economists and journalists had CIA or other U.S. intelligence connections.)
Over lunch or casual conversation they would share with her things she couldn’t learn in the published news reports. They explained how Sukarno had frayed badly the nerves of a U.S. government already obsessed with the march of communism through Indochina, what with his nationalist rhetoric and his politics of nonalignment-he was as bad as Lumumba or Nasser, only worse, given Indonesia’s strategic importance. Word was that the CIA had played a part in the coup, although nobody knew for sure. More certain was the fact that after the coup the military had swept the countryside for supposed Communist sympathizers. The death toll was anybody’s guess: a few hundred thousand, maybe; half a million. Even the smart guys at the Agency had lost count.

I was thinking that Obama's parents probably knew a lot more people who knew CIA people than, say, my parents did. (However, now that I think of it, my parents were old friends with Lockheed Skunk Works aircraft designer Henry Combs and his wife. Combs is "the irascible genius" (according to his boss Ben Rich in Skunk Works, which you should read) who designed the superb "double-delta" shape of the SR-71 spy plane in the early 1960s, still the fastest airplane ever. Combs also worked on the U-2 spy plane in the 1950s. The CIA was the main client for both of his planes, so my parents had one degree of connection to the CIA.)

A major problem with thinking about the influence of the CIA and other intelligence organs down through history is that discussion tends to polarize between those who see the CIA as the puppetmaster pulling the strings everywhere through carefully organized plans, and those who scoff at such thinking as "conspiracy theorizing."

But what if there's a more realistic middle ground for conceptualizing the influence of the CIA? Perhaps CIA agents are less master conspirators and more just participants in an international version of what Tom Wolfe in Bonfire of the Vanities memorably described as the Favor Bank operating among New York civil servants (cops, prosecutors, file clerks, etc.):
“Everything. . . operates on favors. Everyone does favors for everyone else. . . If you make a mistake, you can be in a whole lot of trouble, and you're going to need a whole lotta help in a hurry. . . But if you have been making your regular deposits in the Favor Bank, then you’re in a position to make contracts. That’s what they call big favors, contracts.

In fact, Mr. and Mrs. Obama were, in a sense, exactly the CIA's kind of people: leftists, but not Communists, who were well connected in foreign capitals (Nairobi and Jakarta, respectively). Perhaps the CIA had a friendly interest in them? Strengthening an anti-Soviet Left by subsidizing leftist intellectuals had been a prime mission of the CIA since the 1950s. And perhaps they had their eye on young Obama Jr. as the right kind of person to know, as well.

The most mysterious period in Obama's life is from 1981 to 1985, beginning with his trip to Pakistan to stay with Occidental college friends from that crucial country's political elite (he vacationed on the estate of the politician who was briefly head of state in 2008) through his transfer to Columbia's high-powered international relations program (e.g., Zbigniew Brzenski's was based there at the time) where he roomed with a rich Pakistani, through his only real job working for Business International, a newsletter firm that set up meetings between American CEOs and foreign leaders. His description of those years in Dreams from My Father is considered vaguely unsatisifactory by readers of the book from many different political points of view.

Various theories have been put forward to explain the paucity of information on Obama's New York years: Obama claims he was monastically reading philosophy and taking long walks. Other have suggested, with varying levels of credibility:
- that Obama was depressed (his visiting sister Maya asked his mother, “Barry’s okay, isn’t he? I mean, I hope he doesn’t lose his cool and become one of those freaks you see on the streets around here.”)
- that Obama was, like The Clash (a band who broke up in 1983 in large part due to the devastating amount of cocaine readily available in New York at the time), binging on drugs;
- that Obama couldn't afford to socialize because he'd blown his grandmother's whole allowance on drugs when he first got there;
- that Obama was monastically fighting to stay off drugs by avoiding socializing during a drug-dominated era in NYC;
- that Obama was committing crimes with Bill Ayres;
- that Obama was depressed because he dumped his white girlfriend for anti-miscegenation reasons;
- that ghostwriter Bill Ayres' just plugged in an account of an old girlfriend of Ayres's;
- that Obama had gone gay;
and so forth and so on.

Another possibility, now that I think about it, was that if, say, Obama's early 1980s life involved some favor banking (e.g., his mom or dad asking for help from their old Agency contacts in getting him transferred to Columbia in return for which, perhaps, he'd stay friendly with sons of the Pakistani elite and occasionally report in on what Pakistani inner circles were thinking), well that might be something he wouldn't have wanted to mention in his 1995 memoir written to impress Hyde Park liberals.

Now all this is 110% pure conjecture, but it might help explain a number of things about the President. For example, his two-decade long fondness for Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., who sermonizes about how the CIA did this and or did that (invent aids, introduce crack to kill African Americans, etc.). For most Americans, that just sounds ridiculous, but for members of the Obama family, the CIA wasn't just some mythical beast, it was a living presence in their lives.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

I am thinking he was a flaming gay at Columbia and it's been hidden.

TGGP said...

Business International was very S.D.S connected and in fact may have helped cause the split between the Oglesby & Dohrn/Klonsky (later resulting in the Weathermen) factions.

Lucius Vorenus said...

that ghostwriter Bill Ayres' just plugged in an account of an old girlfriend of Ayres's

Thank you.

headache said...

Interesting read, but couldn't you make the post any longer!! All that stuff about the African big men vying with each other as to who would drive out the Europeans first sounds so old to my Afrikaner ears. The fact that they were not thinking about building up the infrastructure, like the Afrikaners were doing in South Africa, but only about laying their hands on the property of others tells you everything you need to know about them. And Obama is their kid!

Anonymous said...

I want to know what Steve thinks about Percy Sutton's contention that he got Obama into Harvard Law school at the behest of Kahlid Mansour.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Anonymous: I am thinking he was a flaming gay at Columbia and it's been hidden.

If you read the Chicago Law School exams [and assume e.g. that they weren't written for him by Sunstein], then it is abundantly obvious that Obama is simply OBSESSED with questions concerning sodomy.

People trying to understand Obama & his motivations really need to key in on his adolescent relationship with the known bisexual pedophile & Chicago communist, Frank Marshall Davis.

Anonymous said...

I have always been really weirded out at how the Indonesian slaughter of 1965 has been shoved down the memory hole.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that the less one knows about the CIA, the more likely one is to believe that it introduced AIDS and crack here. Familiarity breeds blah blah blah. If you get to see the CIA as regular guys fumbling around their jobs like everybody else, Wright's victimological theories would probably seem far-fetched to you.

Anyone, I don't know any spooks and these theories seem far-fetched to me.

Gay liberation greased the skids for any and all STDs. The HIV virus just took advantage of those conditions. If it wasn't HIV, some other deadly bug would have taken advantage of them. The people who wrote that story about Sodom and Gomorra were using fairy tales not to entertain, but to impart good practical advice to their followers. One disregards such advice at one's peril.

The cultural changes of the 60s removed some of the stigma of drug use. Surprise, surprise, drug use went up and new drugs appeared.

Truth said...

"All that stuff about the African big men vying with each other as to who would drive out the Europeans first."

Wait a minute, is that African big man stuff; or is that why you Afrikaners left Holland in the first place?

Oooh Hah det!

Lucius Vorenus said...

The Volokh Conspiracy: Of all the firms in all the world, Obama had to walk into the one that years before had closer ties to SDS than any other mainstream business in the world. What luck!

Wow, and even then, he still claimed to have felt like a spy behind enemy lines - do you suppose that that could have been Ayers the ghostwriter taking a shot at Oglesby and Business International?

testing99 said...

Oh please Steve.

Obama, a son of a Muslim, born a Muslim, raised a Muslim, was indeed, a Muslim during his time at Columbia. No one knew him around campus (Mr. BMOC at Harvard and Occidental where EVERYONE knew him) because he was at the mosque with questionable characters.

What else would fit for a modern day Adam Gadahn, than to play faux Jihadi for a while?

The guy had already hung out with Jihadis in Occidental, he arrived in NYC to room with a Pakistani man he did not know out of those connections, and through the Mosque went to Pakistan, Jihad Central.

Seems you're ignoring the Islam in the Room Steve.

For a more complete picture of what the Coup in Indonesia would look like, and what happened to Mboya, I would recommend in order, Eric Ambler's "State of Siege" and "Dr. Frigo" ... the latter about Central America but still quite applicable to Kenya.

After the colonial powers left, everyone with a brain knew there would be settling of accounts, a struggle between systems (catch the dismissal of the Islamist program in State of Siege, where one character notes that the program of more Mosques won't make the desperately poor nation any richer). And so on. Quibbling about how polygamous Muslim tribal foreigners slaughtered each other over who had the right to loot the treasury and spread the graft among kith and kin is like quibbling about how sausage is made.

Immature and irrelevant. This is why Steve you get out of your depth here. It's not as if the French, Brits, Russians, Chinese, Indians, and everybody else don't participate in the odd coup helping now and then.

If the entire world was made up of nice Middle class ladies who tea in Omaha Nebraska, no one would need secret intelligence services to find out nasty little secrets or make sure friends not enemies stay in power in geographically or resource-critical pits. But sadly this is the world we have.

airtommy said...

10 comments so far, and only one (1965 slaughter memory hole) is even in the ballpark of reality. This thread looks hopeless.

Good post, Steve. You might be onto something.

Anonymous said...

"occasionally report in on what Pakistani inner circles were thinking"

This is so stupid. Why would Pakistanis tell Obama anything?

Anonymous said...

C'mon Steve, this stuff is beneath you.
What he did in NY a generation ago is irrelavent. What he is doing now is disasterous. Let's work on the present.
With a little luck, Obama will go the way of Carter and be back in chicagoland in 4 years.

John Seiler said...

Hmmmmm. In addition to Obama's CIA connections:

Bush Sr. was CIA director, and was succeeded by Bush Jr. in the presidency.

According to "Partners in Power," by Roger Morris, in the 1960s Bill Clinton worked for the CIA.

Irving Kristol, the "godfather of Neoconservatism," co-founded Encounter, a CIA front. He also was managing editor of Commentary and co-founded The Public Interest.

Bill Buckley founded National Review with James Burnham and Willmore Kendall, all former CIA agents.

Former agent of the OSS (predecessor to the CIA) and later CIA Director William Casey managed Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign.

And let's not forget that "feminist" movement co-founder Gloria Steinem worked for the CIA in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

In its final days, the Soviet Union was run by former KGB boss Yuri Andropov and his protege, Michail Gorbachev. Today, Russia is run by former KGB agent Vladimir Putin.

Maybe declining empires end up being run by their intelligence agencies.

(Except for the Morris book, the above info all came from Wikipedia articles.)

SAD said...

On a more mundane note, have you considered whether Obama was depressed because he was suffering from seasonal affective disorder when experiencing real winter for the first time in his life in New York. One of my friends from college in Chicago had grown up in California. After the first winter she learned she'd be warmer if she zipped up her coat. After the second winter she learned she might not fall down as much if she wore boots. After the third winter she learned she'd be warmer if she wore a hat etc...

Anonymous said...

oooh I'm in the ballpark of reality.

Here, maybe I can hit one out of the park: the horrifying Rwanda-style events in Indonesia when considered as a reaction to fears of an indigenous communist revolution paving the way for a PRC invasion can be usefully compared to the British response to the communist insurrection in Malaysia. The latter was the only successful and humane counterinsurgency action... ever. The former was people getting up in the middle of night and clobbering their neighbors to death with rocks. There are OBVIOUS LESSONS TO BE GAINED HERE ARE THERE NOT. And yet no one is making use of them. What gives.

RepeatsHimself said...

Anon above wrote:

the horrifying Rwanda-style events in Indonesia when considered as a reaction to fears of an indigenous communist revolution paving the way for a PRC invasion can be usefully compared to the British response to the communist insurrection in Malaysia

But that action is way over rated. That particular preemptive slaughter was mostly just Malays killing ethnic Chinese. They did not need too much encouragement. This was the nth replay of the old “abused peasantry finally rising up against the rapacious minority” trick.

dearieme said...

"Indonesia .... the military had swept the countryside for supposed Communist sympathizers." If that is a reference to the slaughter of the Chinese, it's odd that he didn't mention the racial aspect. Eh?

Anonymous said...

What is the SDS?

Steve, why should we read this book you recommend in your post?

i am the walrus said...

Great post, Steve. The CIA has perfected every known method of regime change from military invasion to nonviolent revolution. Obama's campaign was strangely similiar to many of the CIA-sponsored color revolutions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (we'll never know what the reaction would have been if he had lost). Of course, I'm sure the CIA would never ever use such methods here in the US.

By the way, testing99 should go to work for the CIA/Mossad as a disinformation agent to at least get paid for all the work he does for them.

Anonymous said...

Assuming the facts of Cashill's piece are accurate, it seems obvious that Ayers wrote Dreams of My Father.

~ Svigor

Anonymous said...

"occasionally report in on what Pakistani inner circles were thinking"

This is so stupid. Why would Pakistanis tell Obama anything?

I dont think we are in the territory of Pakistanis ushering Obama into their their rooms and whispering "Barry, dont pass this on but...here are our secret plans, thought you would like a look."

But he might pick up odd snippets of low-level gossip, stuff they might not share so easily with a foreign white leftist.

Anonymous said...

"Obama Sr., a Luo, got to Hawaii on the Tom Mboya Airlift, a sizable Cold War initiative to provide young Kenyan elites American college educations. (The Kennedy clan put up some of the money for the second wave of the Tom Mboya Airlift.)"

There's no evidence that Obama, Sr. was on the Mboya airlift, Steve, as per examination of the historical records (see footnote #25), and contemporary anecdotal evidence  (8th graph from bottom).

I'm not pushing any narrative, except perhaps that we question, in detail, what we have been fed by the sycophantic media.

Anonymous said...

That particular preemptive slaughter was mostly just Malays killing ethnic Chinese

No it wasn't, particularly not on Bali.

Anonymous said...

Wait, I misread you, because you were being so stupid - there was no pre-emptive slaughter in Malaysia. The slaughter of Communists and suspected Communists was in Indonesia. What happened in Malaysia was a Communist insurrection, and the Communists were mostly Chinese. If there HAD been a pre-emptive slaughter in Malaysia there wouldn't have been an insurrection, which involved things like completely innocent rubber plantation workers getting their arms sawn off and set on fire.

Seamus said...

The latter [i.e., the British response to the communist insurrection in Malaysia] was the only successful and humane counterinsurgency action... ever.

I take it that your omission of the British response to the Mau Mau insurrection in Kenya was a deliberate one?

Anonymous said...

I take it that your omission of the British response to the Mau Mau insurrection in Kenya was a deliberate one?

That response was neither humane (obviously) nor ultimately successful - look at Kenya now, the Kikuyu got pretty much everything they wanted, while Malaysia is observably not under PRC control. Why are you even bringing it up?