Who Are America’s Oligarchs?

April 11, 2009
Why is this man smiling

Why is this man smiling?

Like his mother, Ann Dunham Soetoro, the media has sold Barack Obama as a “Leftist”.  I don’t believe this story about mother or son. What better camouflage for a corporatist/opportunist/operative than soft focus “Leftist”?  While investigating the theory that Obama’s mama, Ann Dunham Soetoro, was a possible CIA covert operative stationed in Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan, I have been taken in many directions. Most investigative paths led back to Southeast Asia. After a coup  and the corporate “opening” of one of the most resource rich countries in the world, Indonesia became one of the poorest-per capita-nations in Asia, with low educational levels and enormous divisions between rich and poor .

Summarizing some of my earlier posts, life-behind-the-malls

Poor area of Jakarta

Poor area of Jakarta

I followed the connections between Peter Geithner (long time head of the Ford Foundation’s Asia Division) and Ann Soetero. The Ford Foundation in Asia is widely held to be connected to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.  Ann Dunham Soetoro worked extensively with the Ford Foundation as well as the U.S.A.I.D. and the World Bank, both considered sometime partners in covert operations. Barack Obama’s step-father, Lolo Soetoro was a high ranking military officer in Suharto’s Army and a government liaison between the Indonesian military government and the international oil industry.

Peter Geithner’s son Tim, Obama’s Treasury Secretary, was raised primarily in China and Southeast Asia. As Clinton undersecretary for Asian Affairs and high ranking officer in the International Monetary Fund, it was Geithner’s monetary medicine that led to a worsening of the Asian financial catastrophe — which wrecked the economies primarily of Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea.  Many experts believe Geithner’s monetary policy led to the crash of the Southeast Asian economies. Other factors in the collapse were overvalued real-estate assets and outside currency manipulations. Foreign capital had been pouring into the Southeast Asian economies, due to high interest rates relative to the dollar. When American interest rates began to rise, capital flowed toward American investments, out of Asia. Thailand was forced to “float” its currency against the dollar. This resulted in the crash of the value of the Asian currencies and a deep retrenchment of real estate values.  The financial collapse called for a massive infusion of IMF funds.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

The foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN countries believed that the well co-ordinated manipulation of their currencies was a deliberate attempt to destabilize the ASEAN economies. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused George Soros of ruining Malaysia’s economy with “massive currency speculation.”

The economic crisis also led to a political upheaval, most notably culminating in the resignations of President Suharto in Indonesia and Prime Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh in Thailand. There was a general rise in anti-Western sentiment, with George Soros and the IMF in particular singled out as targets of criticisms.

George Soros

George Soros

Soros is also reviled in some quarters for his speculative manipulation shorting of the British Pound Sterling.  The British government fought back with massive central bank intervention but was unable to defend its currency which lost 20% of its value.  With this attack, Soros made (I won’t say earned) more than 1.1 billion dollars in a single day.

Soros doesn’t just anticipate currency devaluations, his hedge fund movements and his dire warnings often cause the events.

From Wikipedia:

When investment regulations restricted his ability to run the funds as he wished, he quit his position in 1973 and established a private investment company that eventually evolved into the Quantum Fund.

Soros is also a former member of the Carlyle GroupRecall that the Carlyle Group’s members include former defense department and CIA heads as well as members of the Saudi royal family.

According to Wikipedia this is the focus of the Carlyle Group’s financial interests:

Carlyle invests primarily in the following industries: aerospace and defense, automotive, consumer and retail, energy and power, health care, real estate, technology and business services, telecommunications and media, and transportation. The Carlyle Group’s investments are focused on East Asia, Europe and North America, with most investment money coming from the United States (65%), Europe (25%), Asia (6%), Latin America, and the Middle East. Defense investments represent about 1% of the group’s current portfolio; for example, Carlyle owns 33.8% of QinetiQ, the recently privatized British defense contractor.

Hmmm…CFR’s interests, healthcare, automotive, electric power,real estate, all Obama’s primary interests in the Economic stimulus package. And…
Interesting that Britain is also privatizing ITS military.

According to Wikipedia:

In late 2006, Soros bought about 2 million shares of Halliburton.

With this information on the table, tell me, do you think Obama is going to end the war? Or will he continue to fill the coffers of Halliburton?

From Chinadaily BBS

Soros likes to portray himself as an outsider, an independent-minded Hungarian emigre and philosopher-pundit who stands detached from the US military-industrial complex. But take a look at the board members of the NGOs he organises and finances. At Human Rights Watch, for example, there is Morton Abramowitz, US assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research from 1985-89, and now a fellow at the interventionist Council on Foreign Relations; ex-ambassador Warren Zimmerman (whose spell in Yugoslavia coincided with the break-up of that country); and Paul Goble, director of communications at the CIA-created Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (which Soros also funds). Soros’s International Crisis Group boasts such “independent” luminaries as the former national security advisers Zbigniew Brzezinski and Richard Allen, as well as General Wesley Clark, once Nato supreme allied commander for Europe. The group’s vice-chairman is the former congressman Stephen Solarz, once described as “the Israel lobby’s chief legislative tactician on Capitol Hill” and a signatory, along with the likes of Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, to a notorious letter to President Clinton in 1998 calling for a “comprehensive political and military strategy for bringing down Saddam and his regime”.

George Soros was Barack Obama’s primary, early deep-pocket supporter through MoveOn.Org.  Is Soros a conventional “Leftist” or an opportunist who exploits the gaps caused by social transition and political instability?  My guess is that he’s the same type of “Leftist” as Obama.

Soros has also speculated that an international reserve currency will replace the dollar

China recently proposed greater use of Special Drawing Rights, possibly as an eventual global reserve currency. “In the long run, having an international accounting unit rather than the dollar may, in fact, be to our advantage …

Where is the “advantage” for the average American citizen?

So, Soros backed Obama. Then, Obama has chosen Tim Geithner (architect of the IMF collapse of the Indonesian and Thai economies) to rescue America from the financial collapse created by unregulated banks and hedge funds. Seems to me like a cluster fuck of the American taxpayer.

Soros and Geithner have something else in common. Both are members of the Council of Foreign Relations, which some believe to be the most influential private foreign policy group in the world.  CFR publishes Foreign Affairs.  It’s policy think tank is the Rockefeller Institute (closely allied with the Ford foundation). According to Wikipedia:

Journalist Joseph Kraft, a former member of both the CFR and the Trilateral Commission, said the Council “comes close to being an organ of what C. Wright Mills has called the Power Elite – a group of men, similar in interest and outlook, shaping events from invulnerable positions behind the scenes.”

Corporate members of the board of CFR

One long term and influential member of the CFR is Henry KissingerTimothy Geithner was an associate of Kissinger and Associates from 1986-1989.  Since Kissinger’s clients and activities are totally secret, we don’t know what Geithner actually did while with Kissinger and Associates.

the Times then-national security correspondent, Leslie Gelb, reported that the Midland Bank of Britain was also one of the special influence-purchasing clients of Kissinger Associates that paid Treasury Secretary-Designate Geithner and his colleagues “slightly more than $150,000 yearly for varying services.”

The new order is globalization: the sweeping away of national institutions and borders and transitioning to free trade, mobile international labor markets, mobility of capital movement, worldwide corporate structures.  Looking at your family and neighbors — how many are affected by NAFTA, immigration, job loss, outsourcing, …?

Is the U.S. just another country to be destabilized in the global leveling process?
In this article the author takes up globalization fostered by interests in both the political Left and the political Right.

In his book, Promoting Polyarchy, William Robinson describes the formation of a new hegemonic bloc that has emerged to lead the process of globalization. This bloc consists of various economic and political forces that have become the dominant sector of the ruling class throughout the developed world. The politics and policies of this ruling bloc are conditioned by the new global structure of accumulation and production. This historic bloc is composed of the transnational corporations and financial institutions, supranational economic planning agencies, major forces in the dominant political parties, media conglomerates, and technocratic elites in the Third World.

The new integrated circuits of world production and finance are possible because information technologies allow the centralization of decision making along with a geographic decentralization of production. The results are world mobility for investments, markets,and production, which leads globalists to harmonize a wide range of fiscal, monetary and industrial policies across national borders. Therefore, it is the logic of global accumulation, rather than national accumulation, that guides the political and economic behavior of the ruling bloc.   (Emphasis mine)

In the U.S., the globalist ruling bloc has three main factions: neo-liberal structuralists; free-market conservatives, and liberal regulationists. Their debates dominate Washington and don’t correspond to the familiar political categories of the industrial era. The same is true of the anti-globalist camp, which contains both the anti-imperialist left and the reactionary populous right.

The globalists consolidated ideologically in the early 1980s under the policy of the Washington Consensus. Developed to deal with the debt crisis in Latin America and Mexico, its main principles were privatization, free trade, high interest rates, and a sharply diminished role for the state in economic activity and social services. This became the policy mantra of the Reagan revolution, and a siren call for the new Democrats. However, the recent Asian crisis has exposed important contradictions and major splits in the globalists camp. Foremost is the question of how best to structure the new world economy, with the debate centered on IMF policies.

Obama’s mama had a cover:  a leftist do-gooder.  Obama’s acorn didn’t fall far from it’s tree. Left and Right have one goal – weilding power for the accumulation of riches.  Left and Right are embodied in one person, and that person is Barack Obama.


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.