It’s All About Oil.

March 29, 2009

To quote the French:  The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Change you can believe in.

On January 28, 2009, Obama appointee, retired 4 star Admiral Dennis Blair was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Director of National Intelligence.  The DNI chief reports directly to the president and defense department chief and co-ordinates all other national intelligence agencies. It prepares the National Defense Estimate annual report to congress.  The office of DNI was created by the Bush administration in response to the 9/11 attacks.

Admiral Blair has an impressive resume: Rhodes Scholar, Russian speaker, attended East-West Center at the University of  Hawaii in 1968, former Commander-in -Chief of U.S. Pacific Command:

PACOM area of responsibility

PACOM area of responsibility

From 2003 to 2007, Blair was president of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a nonprofit corporation that manages federally funded national security research and development centers. He stepped down in the face of concerns that his positions on the boards of major defense contractors presented a conflict of interest.

Excerpt from article by

Author:
Joanna Klonsky, Associate Editor

updated: February 9, 2009

Dennis Blair

Retired four-star Admiral Dennis C. Blair is President Obama’s director of national intelligence (DNI)–confirmed by the U.S. Senate on January 28, 2009. Blair, a thirty-four-year Navy veteran, is the former commander-in-chief of U.S. Pacific Command.

He also served as associate director of central intelligence for military support, coordinating intelligence and military operations under the Clinton administration. He was director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, and commanded the Kitty Hawk Strike Group aircraft carrier and the destroyer Cochrane.

Admiral Blair advised congress in 1999 that U.S.-Indonesian  military co-ordination should be resumed. The above article does not mention that Admiral Blair’s 1999 advice came  just one day after the outbreak of an Indonesian Army massacre of civilians in Dili, East Timor.  Blair has contended that he was not aware of the Indonesian army’s  massacre, although evidence has been produced indicating that he did.  The army killings in Dili increased after the congressional approval of the new pact.  What is clear is that for some time the U.S. military and intelligence agencies have had a cordial relationship with Indonesia’s murderous dictators.

The massacre in Dili was about oil.

USPACCOM unified command

The top U.S. officer in the Pacific (unidentified, not Blair) met with Indonesia's president to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to the region and applaud Indonesia’s role in security initiatives.

Blair Senate Appearance.

In a 2007 appearance before the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation,  retired admiral Dennis Blair urged the U.S. to pursue increased automobile mileage efficiency among the major auto makers in order to relieve stress on the military in the security of oil supplies.

Blair clearly emphasizes, throughout his senate testimony, that a large part of U.S. military commitment in the Pacific theater and Central Asia and the Middle East is the protection and preservation of energy (oil, natural gas) supplies.  In my post of March 1, 2009 I noted that the U.S. interest in Afghanistan and support of the Taliban throughout Afghanistan’s war with the invading Soviet Union  (which began in 1979-1980), included  an interest in extending an oil pipeline connecting the Middle East and Asia.  An effort to build the pipeline with the aid of trained Taliban workers was discontinued due to pressure from American feminist groups over the Taliban’s treatment of women.  Unocal attempted to take over the pipeline project from the U.S. Government but dropped the proposal.

It’s about oil.

Here’s an excerpt from Dennis Blair’s committee presentation:

In the late 1970s two serious threats to Persian Gulf oil were identified by the Carter Administration, which became seized by the issue. The first was a potential Soviet invasion from the north into the oil regions around the Gulf, a concern heightened by the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The second was an aggressive and fundamentalist Iran, which was led by a regime that had permitted and then exploited the takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran. In response, the department of defense created the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, the RDJTF, a planning headquarters and contingency force that could quickly deploy to the Gulf to defeat a major land invasion.  In 1983 as part of its general military build up against the Soviet Union, the Reagan administration upgraded this task force to a regional command like the European Command and the Pacific Command, where I served and where I ultimately commanded. So this Central Command had full time responsibility for U.S. interests in the region.

U.S. interests in the region – does that mean oil?

This article has an interesting timeline of events for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.  I can’t vouch for all the facts but it is tantalizing.

Obama plans to send 17,000 additional troops into Afghanistan to beef up the “war on terror”.  Along with this change comes an offer by his administration to “negotiate” with the “moderate” factions of the Taliban.  Thus Obama can argue that he will have two options for bringing peace to Afghanistan, a carrot and stick approach, if you will:  more troops and more bombing, or a settlement of differences.  In addition to bringing peace, the carrot and stick will also help build a new pipeline.  I doubt that feminist groups  this time will be able to stand in the way of the pipeline — not under a “progressive, feminist friendly” president.

Recall Ann Dunham Soetoro’s resume of helping poor women:  with microloans in Pakistan and Indonesia, cataloging various native crafts during major massacres in Indonesia under the auspices of the Ford Foundation (working for Peter Geithner, the Treasury Secretary’s father), USAID, and the World Bank (all of which are widely believed to have CIA associations).  Ann Dunham Soetero’s connection to these mineral rich regions is Barack Obama’s connection to these mineral rich regions.

Here’s a little bit of history about past DNI chiefs:

George W. Bush’s first DNI chief was John Negroponte, who previously held a position under Condaleeza Rice when she was NSA chief.  Negroponte served under Ronald Reagan as ambassador to El Salvador during Reagan’s dirty wars in Central America in the 1980’s, and was implicated in the training of death squads and the cover-up to congress of their barbarous activities.  A staunch anti-communist, he was appointed ambassador to Mexico during the populist Chiapas uprising, and suspected of using ruthless countermeasures against them. George Bush’s second DNI chief was Mike McConnell, a member of the controversial and influential quasi-governmental body, the Carlyle Group. Recall that the Carlyle Group is a conglomerate of American defense department chiefs, the two Bush presidents, and Saudi oil interests, among others.

Dennis Blair is Obama’s new DNI chief –another man with a strong resume protecting oil.

The more things change … the more it’s still about oil.

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The Soetoros and the Indonesian Massacres 1965-1999

March 24, 2009

No wonder Barack Obama didn’t write a book called Dreams from My Mother.

The president has said that he wished he had written a biography of  his mother, the late Ann Dunham Soetoro, rather than his father, Barack Obama, Sr.  And he might have done it well since he lived with her for lengthy periods. But perhaps that tome would have been called Nightmares from My Mother, or Bad Dreams from My Mother and Stepfather.  The more I read about the Dunham family the more fictionalized and fabricated they seem; Obama’s mother, in particular, since she is so often trotted out posthumously for photo ops.  Her story, as presented by Obama, is simple:  she was a free spirit who transcended type casting, spent her life doing for others and preserving native Indonesian crafts.  Lolo Soetoro was hardly worth mentioning.O.K., but this is the way it really was:

Indonesia 1965-1968. There was an ongoing massacre of PKI party communists and suspected communists in Jakarta and across Java by the Indonesian Army and anti-communist Muslim student jihadists. There is no doubt that the U.S. had strategic and economic interests in the Indonesia controlled by Sukarno, and those interests had a bloody reprise.

Time magazine described it this way: “Communists, Red sympathizers and their families are being massacred by the thousands…Army units executed thousands after interrogation in remote jails. Armed with wide-blade knives called parangs, Moslem bands crept at night into the homes of Communists, killing entire families, burying the bodies in shallow graves. The murder campaign became so brazen in parts of rural East Java that Moslem bands placed the heads of victims on poles and paraded them through villages….Travelers from these areas tell of small rivers and streams that have been literally clogged with bodies, river transportation has at places been seriously impeded.”
Pretty horrific by any standards, even genocidal ones.
Yet, Ann Dunham Soetoro, according to all of the MSM hype and Obama’s whitewash of an autobiography, was teaching English as an American Embassy employee while her husband, Lolo, an Army Colonel under the monster Suharto was busy working as an oil company geologist cum government liaison. The Dark Side of Paradise, by Geoffrey Robinson, makes clear the implication of complicity in the monstrous events by both the Army and the U.S. Embassy.  I can’t link to p. 284 so I’ll quote: “the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta noted in a cable to the department of State…the U.S. government is generally admiring of what the army is doing”. Approval (for the killings) came from the U.S. Embassy.  Excerpt

Approval for the release of the names came from the
top U.S. Embassy officials, including former
Ambassador Marshall Green, deputy chief of mission
Jack Lydman and political section chief Edward
Masters, the three acknowledged in interviews.

Obama’s autobiography says little or nothing about the dread which must have been prevalent among the peasant populous during this period despite the fact that more than a million were imprisoned and used by the big corporations (timber, mining, oil) as slave laborers.  In his autobiography, Obama says virtually nothing about his step-father Colonel Lolo Soetoro, save that he was easygoing, friendly.

According to one fluff article available on the internet Obama returned to Indonesia for Christmas and summer holidays with his mother for many years.  During those years, Obama would have been mature enough to take note of the intense political oppression imposed by Suharto and the dread connected with reprisals directed at any party brave enough to criticize the regime.  The U.S. supported the dictator and Ann Soetoro went from her English teaching job with the embassy to employment with USAID and the (allegedly) CIA connected Ford Foundation in 1965 or this in 1966.

More questions than answers attach to Ann Soetoro during her lengthy stay in Indonesia.  The more one investigates the paucity of information about her activities the more one wonders about the lack of detail.  The blizzard of banal impressions about Ann Soetoro’s personality has buried or replaced the record of her life.  These are some of the nagging questions:

I have not been able to locate Ann Soetoro’s curriculum vitae.  Did she produce any scholarly work other than her long awaited dissertation?

Did Ann Soetoro work in Ghana and Thailand?  If so, during what years and for whom did she work?

What “scholarships” enabled young Obama to attend the prestigious and elite Punau school in Hawaii while his mother was “too poor” to afford it?  Ann Soetoro was also allegedly the recipient of a “scholarship” to continue her M.A. anthropology studies at the Univ. of Hawaii.

Why did she earn an undergraduate degree in math and then switch to anthropology?

Micro-financing of peasant women in East or West Timor seems like a front for something else (CIA?) since the massacres within that province wiped out nearly a third of the population and in many areas the gendercide of males was as high as 80%.  Much of the population of East Timor was relocated to West Timor.  (See my earlier posts on this subject).

To whom was Ann Soetoro teaching English while under U.S. Embassy auspices during the horrifying massacres and imprisonments during 1967-1968 and the decades long slave labor and torture regime?

Why would the Ford Foundation finance anthropological studies into native fabrics and iron working during this time? Or was this Ann Soetoro’s cover for another kind of research in the countryside?

And Obama says nothing about his mother’s residence in Indonesia during the brutal Suharto invasion and occupation of East Timor beginning in 1975.

My developing theory is that the important shaping of Obama’s character is connected to Indonesia, as much as or more than either Hawaii or Chicago.  If his step-father  was a top honcho in the brutal Suharto regime and Lolo had plenty of American military friends from the embassy, how might that have affected the boy?  If his mother’s work was of such great importance that she stayed on in Indonesia while her son returned home, are we to believe cataloging native crafts was this important work?

If Obama returned often to Indonesia to see his mother as he grew older wouldn’t he have been aware of the horrific events in Indonesia during his stays there and mentioned them as critical events in his otherwise superficial life story?

How are we to believe his stories of reacting strongly to racial and color slights when he lived in a land of genocide without being scarred or apparently even particularly moved by that fact?

And ,finally, what should one make of Obama’s appointment of Admiral Dennis Blair as the new Director of National Intelligence while it it is widely alleged that Blair helped win approval for a resumption of military cooperation with Indonesia  in  1999 despite yet another massacre carried out by Indonesian troops at Dili, East Timor?


Ann Dunham Soetoro in East Timor, Indonesia

March 20, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post summarizing some of the information collected about Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham Soetoro, her work history and residence in Indonesia.  Following the bread crumbs of an important public personage who accrued a long career in public agencies shouldn’t be difficult, but it is.  Although the mother of the president has had a lot written about her much of it is as inconsequential and not revealing as this, mostly fluff beyond a brief summary of countries and agencies.  I have found little in the way of job titles, bosses names, verifiable projects, specific accomplishments.

One thing does stand out sharply, the absence of the mention by Obama or Soetoro or any of the “friends” that claim to have been intimate with the family, of one of the great massacres of the twentieth century. As far as I know the MSM has also been strangely incurious about the context of Ann Soetoro and Barack Obama’s Indonesian existence, although some must be of an age to remember the events. Reports confirm that at least 500,000 suspected communists were slaughtered by the Indonesian military and religious militias between 1965 and 1968, most between 1965-1966.  Up to 2,000,000 were killed and imprisoned between 1965-1975.  Obama’s autobiography, Dreams from My Father, speaks about his personal awakening to “cruelty” during his four year residence in Jakarta, but does not discuss mass murder, murder and political opression that must have been facts of every day life.  Ann Soetoro, an anthropologist, focused specifically on poverty and women’s issues, while working in rural areas, could not have failed to register the murder and disappearance of so many victims during and after Suharto took power.

Ann Soetoro lived many years in Indonesia under the Suharto dictatorship.  Her husband had been an army engineer and later a government liaison to Mobil Oil Co.  As such the family must have been well positioned and well off in the employ of the Suharto government.  Ann returned to Hawaii, allegedly for educational purposes, several times but spent most of her career in Indonesia.  However, between 1960 and 1999 Indonesia remained a subject of controvery due to its egregious human rights violations.  Ann Soetoro and Obama make no mention of these horrors.

In 1975  Indonesia invaded East Timor, a small former colony of Portugal, and oil producing neighbor state.  A pattern of mass murder and male gendercide was quickly established by the invaders.  The slaughter and the logistical support given to it by the Ford administration were denounced by the United Nations.  Hundreds of thousands of East Timor residents were forceably displaced into West Timor.

See the report and documentaton here.  Excerpt:

East Timor Truth Commission report uses declassified U.S. documents to reveal support for Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor from 1975 until U.N. sponsored vote in 1999

National Security Archive provides more than 1000 documents to East Timor Truth Commission after Bush Administration refuses cooperation

East Timorese youth being tortured and killed by member of the Indonesian military (Released by Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta in 1996)

“I’m assuming you’re really going to keep your mouth shut on this subject?”
– National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger to his staff in October 1975 in response to reports that Indonesia had begun its attack on East Timor.

Washington, D.C., November 28, 2005 – Today, East Timorese President Xanana Gusmão transmits to Parliament the final report of East Timor’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) on human rights violations committed in East Timor between 1974 and 1999, and the National Security Archive is making available to the public some of the more than 1,000 formerly classified U.S. documents that it provided to assist the work of the CAVR.

A report from the University of Hawaii where Ann received received her PhD. indicate that Ann Soetoro was living in West Timor during this period while she pursued cultural preservation of native weaving and Obama visited her there on his way to Pakistan in 1981.

Curious.


Human Rights Case Against Exxon Mobil Goes Forward

March 20, 2009

http://i1.democracynow.org/1999/1/6/what_did_mobil_know_the_killing

The groups allege that the oil giant gave logistical support to the Indonesian Army, including lending excavating equipment to dig mass graves. Thus far, twelve mass graves have been dug up. An estimated 2,000 Acehnese torture victims have been buried in the Aceh area since 1990.

A federal judge Wednesday said there is sufficient evidence for a jury to decide whether Exxon should be held liable for the actions of Indonesian soldiers who, while guarding Exxon assets, allegedly beat, shot, tortured and raped villagers eight years ago.

Exxon lawyers at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison argue there is no evidence that the soldiers who reportedly injured the plaintiffs were the same guards assigned to protect gas fields and not among the thousands of other troops the Indonesian government deployed to the village of Aceh to restore order there. Exxon also disputes that it had control over the soldiers guarding Exxon facilities.

U.S. District Judge Louis Oberdorfer of the District of Columbia concluded a jury must decide whether to hold Exxon accountable for the alleged actions of the soldiers.

Mobil Oil’s presence goes back at least one hundred years.  The company’s operations expanded between 1965-1968.  During that period the Indonesia army and Islamic coup against Sukarno and the subsequent massacre of a half million to two million suspected leftist, described as one of the worst massacres in history.

An excerpt concerning the nation-wide catastrophe

Kenneth Orr uncovered some information about the killings while studying the Indonesian school system. The stories he recorded give a vivid picture of the different ways in which the killings affected individuals: a schoolteacher sitting on a hastily assembled investigating committee to decide which of his colleagues should die, helping to prevent completely uncontrolled slaughter by doing so; a clever “entrepreneur” making a fortune selling fake PNI membership cards to known PKI leaders; a massive shortage of teachers in the years following the killings; and a girl in the back row crying silently when the events of 1965 were discussed in a civics class in 1981.


PEPFAR-Rick Warren’s HIV/AIDS Africa Program

March 9, 2009

Rick Warren is a jerk.  I don’t care what Obama says about his good pastor friend, or how many excuses Melissa Etheridge makes on the man’s behalf.  Finding a reason to respect him can be a problem and it’s not because he’s narrow and bigoted against women and the LGBT communities. It’ s becasue those qualities in a person with that much power can be and have been lethal.

Much has been said about Warren’s HIV/AIDS work in Africa.  Obama praised the pastor to the rafters for his drug treatment efforts and outreach to the vast number of AIDS related orphans

But the faith-based solution naturally brought with it skewed policies that limited prevention options and led to what Jacobson calls the “profoundly ineffective” spending of AIDS money: with $20 billion spent on treatment over the past five years, but six new infections for every person treated. “No one doesn’t want people to have access to treatment,” she says. “But my argument is about the tradeoff. You can’t treat your way out of this epidemic.”

The new faith-based arm of the AIDS movement Warren had energized asked for, and got, a number of obstacles to prevention services: a prohibition on needle exchange programs for drug users; a ban family planning services in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission clinics; and the anti-prostitution loyalty oath, which required all groups receiving PEPFAR funding, including those that work with sex workers, to condemn prostitution.

Warren’s assurances to the backers of World Net Daily, a conglomerate of wealthy, religious reactionaries intent on converting secular/governmental institutions into  those with a religious agenda

his number one priority in his AIDS work was the salvation of non-Christians.  Warren has made clear that his collaboration with non-evangelical AIDS activists wouldn’t lead him to compromise on his biblical convictions.

Efforts were made by progressives to change Warrens faith based focus to a science based criteria

The response of Warren and his fellow conservative PEPFAR supporters was cynical and swift. Staging a press conference on the day of the National Prayer Breakfast, four days before Lantos’s death, Warren joined a menagerie of stalwart anti-choice leaders, including Reps. Chris Smith, Marilyn Musgrave and Joe Pitts, and activists Wendy Wright, Chuck Colson and Day Gardner. The group declared that the Lantos revision would “pour billions into the hands of abortion providers with little or no regard for the pro-life, pro-family cultures of recipient countries,” strip abstinence programs of their funding and, by lifting the prostitution pledge, enable the sex trafficking of women. Lantos’s reauthorization bill lost every point on reproductive health, and PEPFAR was reauthorized in its flawed state.

It would be interesting to find out how this exceptionally flawed bill passed again with a majority of Democrats in the congress in 2008.

The HIV/AIDS programs instituted by Warren’s proteges included these:

offering faith-healing to disease-stricken congregants. Other PEPFAR grantees, as Jacobson’s colleagues in the global AIDS movement have witnessed, use their funds to promote fundamentalist interpretations of marital roles, advising women that if their husbands beat them, they should try harder to please them.

And this is the kicker:

Warren further entangles religion and treatment in his very own “Purpose-Driven Nation,” Rwanda. He offered to extend an undisclosed amount of aid to the country if it adopted his bestselling book as an action plan for the nation, using churches as centers for capacity building and American evangelical leaders as medical and development advisors to the Rwandan parliament.

Read the entire article here.

Obama has renewed PEPFAR with some of the same restrictions which existed in the Bush program, but Dr. Dybul, who headed the funds dispersals, and controversial in his own right resigned his post after Hillary Clinton was confirmed as Secretary of State.

Dr. Dybul’s departure was both celebrated and condemned.

Jodi Jacobson, a former head of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, which wants financing for all aspects of women’s reproductive health, including abortion, wrote a blog post titled “Dybul Out: Thank You Hillary!!!” It argued that he had worked too closely with the far right, and she accused him of lobbying to please the Roman Catholic Church by letting its relief groups refrain from distributing condoms.

Michael Gerson, a former Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist, shot back that “blogging extremists” like Ms. Jacobson had lied about Dr. Dybul’s record.

At the heart of the debate was the difficult bipartisan compromise behind Mr. Bush’s AIDS plan. It is the darling of two groups that normally oppose each other: foreign policy liberals who want to help Africa and evangelical Christians who support mission hospitals there.

Dr. Dybul was straddling some personal fences too: he was one of the Bush administration’s few openly gay officials, a doctor who had treated AIDS patients in San Francisco and Africa, and he had donated to Democratic causes.


Albinos Killed for Body Parts-Tanzania

March 9, 2009

Roaming the internet can be an eye opener. A jaw dropper. Imagine. All the horrors in the world and all the ignorance that fuels it.
Albinos in Kenya and Tanzania are killed for their body parts. Bodies, already buried are dug up and dismembered to make potions for those desiring to get rich.

excerpt:

Mluge is an albino, and in Tanzania there is a price for his pinkish skin now.

“I feel like I am being hunted,” he said.

Discrimination against albinos is a serious problem throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but recently in Tanzania it has taken a wicked twist: At least 19 albinos, including children, have been killed and mutilated in the past year, victims of what Tanzanian officials say is a growing criminal trade in albino body parts.

Many people in Tanzania — and across Africa, for that matter — believe albinos have magical powers. They stand out, often the lone white face in a black crowd, a result of a genetic condition that impairs normal skin pigmentation and strikes about one in 3,000 people here. Tanzanian officials say witch doctors are now marketing albino skin, bones and hair as ingredients in potions that are promised to make people rich.

In other news in Kenya, authorities sought the execution style murderers of of two human rights advocates:

excerpt:

Oscar Kamau Kingara was the head of the Oscar Foundation, which had released a report on extrajudicial killings and the disappearance of thousands of Kenyans in police custody. John Paul Oulu was the foundation’s communications and advocacy director. They were killed on their way to meet with a senior member of Kenya’s top human rights group.


Was Obama’s Mama a Spook?

March 1, 2009

Yes, I said it.  Do I have your attention?  Spook. From Merriam-Webster, ghost, undercover agent or spy.  Tip of the hat to Cinie’s World (2-27-09). An interesting post by this blogger, donning a tinfoil chapeau and heading where the bread crumbs crumble caused me to rush to my own way back machine to take a look at the  political connections of Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, aka S. Ann Dunham, Ann Soetoro, S. Ann Dunham Sutoro.

Obama’s maternal line, the Dunham family has been dredged ad nauseum by Obama in his two autobiographies, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope. It has been discussed and analyzed by the MSM, in an effort to “acquaint” the electorate with a portrait of a non-threatening biracial man, palatable scion of an all-American, middle class family, roots planted firmly in the American mainstream. However, it seems the frequency of the retelling of Obama’s family story ensures only a repetition of a superficial, shopworn, schmaltzy story; a short-on-facts narrative of struggle courage, racial confusion, family contradictions  and mother love.  There’s a de rigeur narrative around Obama’s maternal grandmother but since she refused to give any interviews and is now  deceased, much is unknown.

Let’s go back to the early 1960s, the height of the Cold War. The Dunhams moved to the state of Washington and enrolled their daughter in a “progressive” high school where she stood out from the other students as quietly mature, a quirky free thinker and proto “feminist”. Ann next studied anthropology at the University of Hawaii. There, in a Russian language class, she met Barack Obama, Sr., a polygamous and already married Kenyan Muslim. Six months later Barack Jr. was born.

Barack Sr. soon abandoned Ann to continue earning his economics degree at Harvard University, later returning to Kenya and employed by Shell Oil. At some point Ann was employed by the Ford Foundation.

The Ford Foundation is alleged to have had connections to the CIA. Current Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner’s father, Peter Geithner was:

director of the Asia program at the Ford Foundation, a New World Order operation. Peter Geithner oversaw the “microfinance” programs developed in Indonesia by Ann Dunham-Soetoro, Barack Obama’s mother. Geithner’s maternal grandfather, Charles F. Moore, was an adviser to President Eisenhower and vice president of Ford Motor Company.

See here. Ann Dunham went to work in the microfinance department headed by Geithner.

Skip ahead in time a couple of years to 1966. The U.S. has stepped up its involvement in the war in Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson is President. Civil Rights activists, from SNCC to women’s liberation, are exploding into the streets. Cointelpro has been reformulated to infiltrate and undermine such protests.  But here is where it gets weird, requiring a tinfoil hat.  S. Ann Dunham has been tagged by the political right as a leftist, even a communist. There is no evidence that I know of that links Ann Dunham to any civil protest organization, political group or foundation.

Instead, Ann Dunham married foreign student, Lolo Soetoro, a well-to-do Indonesian Muslim she met upon her return to the University of Hawaii and in 1966 moved with him and seven year old Barack, to a newly Americanized Indonesia, finishing the throes of a human rights disaster.  Ann made no comment about the  massacres that had taken place the prior year, but continued to catalog local crafts.  Barack was officially adopted by Soetoro and remained in Indonesia for two-four years.

Indonesia is the fifth richest nation in the world in natural resources. It has abundant supplies of natural gas, copper, nickel, and oil. It is also the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Sukarno, Indonesia’s communist-leaning leader, had been overthrown the previous year and been replaced by a western leaning general, Suharto. Here’s an excerpt of the article describing the events surrounding Sukarno’s fall.

The situation varied across the country; in some areas the army organized civilian groups and local militias, in other areas communal vigilante action preceded the army.[16] The most widely accepted estimates are that at least half a million were killed.[17] Many others were also imprisoned and for the next ten years people were still being imprisoned as suspects. It is thought that as many as 1.5m were imprisoned at one stage or another.[18] As a result of the purge, one of Sukarno’s three pillars of support, the Indonesian Communist Party, had been effectively eliminated by the other two, the military and political Islam, although of the two, the military were in the position of unchallenged power.  According to Amnesty nternational, life went from bad to worse for the peasants of Indonesia.

Ann’s new husband, Lolo Soetoro, an army geologist, went to work for Mobil oil. Ann had one more child, Maya. Soetoro, a devout Muslim, wanted more children. Ann wanted to continue her work teaching English and to continue her anthropological studies. She returned to Hawaii with Barack and worked toward her PhD. Years later she returned to Indonesia to complete work on her dissertation. Barack, now a teenager, chose to remain in Hawaii.

Here there is a muddle. It isn’t clear to me, from anything I have read so far, what Ann Dunham Soetoro did for a living during this and subsequent trips other than teach English, or catalog native handicrafts. This is what confuses me: if Ann Dunham was a “leftist” and the Ford Foundation would certainly have been aware of her background, why would they hire her to work in a sensitive position? Would she, as a leftist, been willing to reside in a country that had just massacred hundreds of thousands of other leftists? Would she be willing to live with a former army landowner returning to a position with Mobil Oil?  Would she have two husbands who worked for oil companies?

Jump into the time machine again, and reset it to 1986. Ronald Reagan is the U.S. president. G. H. W. Bush is the V.P.  The White House is embroiled in the Iran-Contra affair. Here’s an excerpt of the article, describing other middle eastern the political complications involved in this scandal:

It began as an operation to improve U.S.-Iranian relations, wherein Israel would ship weapons to a relatively moderate, politically influential group of Iranians; the U.S. would then resupply Israel and receive the Israeli payment. The Iranian recipients promised to do everything in their power to achieve the release of six U.S. hostages, who were being held by the Lebanese Shia Islamist group Hezbollah. The plan eventually deteriorated into an arms-for-hostages scheme, in which members of the executive branch sold weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of the American hostages.

The Russians remained mired in Afghanistan battling the Mujahadeen following their invasion of that country in 1980. 1986 was the year that the Afghan branch of the Taliban established hegemony in Afghanistan with the help of  Taliban operating in Pakistan. This is the year Ann Dunham arrived in Pakistan. This is also the year Osama Bin Laden was given sanctuary in Pakistan.  An Dunham Soetoro worked for microfinance departments of USAID, underwritten by the CIA.

Once again, the U.S. (as it had in indonesia) backed Islamic fundamentalists against communism. And, once again, Ann was employed as a USAID bank specialist in “microfinance” for poor women. I don’t know Ann Dunham’s level of skill in reading and speaking Russian, but there is an odd convergence for her

trip with her young daughter along the Silk Road in 1986 and

  • Russian language studies,
  • work for the Ford Foundation and USAID (also widely believed to be connected to the CIA)
  • work financing projects for poor women in an exceedingly volatile anti-American period
  • a detailed knowledge of Islamic cultural norms.

Not only was this dangerous duty, but must have been perhaps more hazardous  for a white Western woman in  fundamentalist Pakistan. Again, the same question: If Ann Dunham was a known and unrepentant leftist would USAID have hired her to perform services under these sensitive conditions?  Would the Ford Foundation have hired her and employed her for years as she cataloged handicrafts?

Back to the time machine. Reset the time machine backward to 1981. Barack Obama, Jr., before he moves on to Harvard University, travels to Pakistan to “visit friends”, although travel to Pakistan for American citizens is severely restricted. Does he travel on an American or an Indonesian passport?

I am puzzled by Ann Soetoro’s arrival in Indonesia and Pakistan during these very turbulent years.  This contact with two very divergent countries, and her son’s travel there in 1981 raise my eyebrows.  Maybe something there, maybe not.  Security conditions for a woman and a small girl child seem questionable. Here’s an excerpt from Windfalls of War

For 10 years, the Center received most of its Afghanistan education project funding from USAID. But after Congress ended government-sponsored aid to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, USAID stopped funding the Center. Still, it wasn’t without funding for long.

In 1997, Unocal, an American oil company, stepped in with an offer.

Unocal hoped to facilitate a business relationship with the Taliban in order to promote a natural gas pipeline project. The company was the development manager for the seven-member Central Asia Gas pipeline consortium that also included Saudi Arabia’s Delta Oil, Indonesia Petroleum, three other companies and the Turkmenistan government.

Unocal offered the Center an up-to-two-year contract worth as much $1.8 million to train Afghan men to build pipeline, which would run from Turkmenistan through a Taliban-controlled portion of Afghanistan to Pakistan, where it would be marketed. The pipeline could also be extended into India.

Well, both of Obama’s father figures were oil men.  Obama’s peculiar mixture of corporatism, pragmatism and tolerance for a weird combination of rightist and leftist political thinking come from somewhere.

Whatever Ann Dunham Soetoro thought about two of the huge political theaters of our time, she said nothing.

Jump ahead in the time machine to Obama’s sojourn at Harvard, his father’s alma mater, home of east coast movers and shakers, his do nothing tenure as editor of the Harvard Law Review and his selection as go-to guy by some of the biggest and most powerful investment bankers in the world.  But that’s another story.