June 18, 2012

The CIA: spooking American politics for three decades

Sam Smith

There are plenty of people, corporations and institutions to blame for the collapse of America over the past thirty years:  Wall Street, the mass media, mega corporations and the fact that four of the past five presidents went to Harvard or Yale.

But one perp that has (as is often the case) avoided attention and mention is the Central Intelligence Agency.

Yet in many ways the CIA symbolizes much of went wrong with America: an obsession with control, substituting colorful incidents for useful policy, data obsession over social intelligence, power over progress, action over wisdom, and death over life.  

Lyndon Johnson summed it up well when he described the agency as full of full of up of boys whose families sent them to Princeton but wouldn't let them into the family brokerage business.

There are plenty of international examples that support this case, but virtually unmentioned has been the dramatic role of the CIA in our choices for president or vice president since 1981. In every election, someone with direct ties to the agency was elected.

This is not a conspiracy theory, this is a cultural fact. We have elected agency linked, employed, or trained politicians and don’t even talk about it. You don’t need a conspiracy when folks just take it for granted.

Or are kept in ignorance. The media doesn’t let anyone know about it. Yet for an agency that is supposed by law not to interfere in domestic politics it is at least worth mentioning.

I grew up in a culture close to where these things were happening. Things like my Harvard classmates getting involved in the agency or being used for tests of LSD. Or being spied on as a 1960s alternative newspaper editor. Further, only in the past few years have I discovered evidence of my own father's participation in the OSS connected Operation Safehaven, designed to keep the Nazis from hoarding art, gold and other wealth at the end of the war. This is not my imagination; I have a note from one of the surviving OSS officials confirming my suspicions. My father never said a word.

The media shuns this kind of thing and ridicules all who ask questions, but I've had enough personal experience and covered enough stories to believe, for example, that, absent contrary evidence, Barack Obama and his family were in some way part of America's shadowy elite.  The irony of all this, of course, is that if Obama's past could be better documented, we might find that it wasn't his birth that should interest us at all, but family and personal connections to American intelligence that should greatly please the very conservatives questioning his provenance.

What follows is an effort to fill some of the holes from matter in our overstocked archives. Read it, think about it and reach your own conclusions.

Barack Obama

Progressive Review, 2009 - As we have noted, one of the unanswered questions about Barack Obama is how a young politician of such little achievement got so far so fast - from state senator to president in four years. To understand this phenomenon, it is important to recognize that if a young Obama was vetted or otherwise used by the CIA, it was not all that unusual. From the 1950s on, the agency repeatedly interfered in the education of the talented young by recruiting or co-opting them for its own purposes. Yale's Skull & Bones Club, for example, was a classic case of a recruitment camp for future intelligence types. The purpose - for the short run - is more information, and - for the long run - a supply of US future government officials whom the agency trusts and can use. And it often begins with a bright college student an insider thinks might fill the bill. . . .

Bill Blum, Anti-Empire Report - The question that may never go away: Who really is Barack Obama? In his autobiography, "Dreams From My Fathers", Barack Obama writes of taking a job at some point after graduating from Columbia University in 1983. He describes his employer as "a consulting house to multinational corporations" in New York City, and his functions as a "research assistant" and "financial writer." The odd part of Obama's story is that he doesn't mention the name of his employer.

However, a New York Times story of 2007 identifies the company as Business International Corporation. Equally odd is that the Times did not remind its readers that the newspaper itself had disclosed in 1977 that Business International had provided cover for four CIA employees in various countries between 1955 and 1960. The British journal, Lobster Magazine -- which, despite its incongruous name, is a venerable international publication on intelligence matters -- has reported that Business International was active in the 1980s promoting the candidacy of Washington-favored candidates in Australia and Fiji. In 1987, the CIA overthrew the Fiji government after but one month in office because of its policy of maintaining the island as a nuclear-free zone, meaning that American nuclear-powered or nuclear-weapons-carrying ships could not make port calls. After the Fiji coup, the candidate supported by Business International, who was much more amenable to Washington's nuclear desires, was reinstated to power.

In his book, not only doesn't Obama mention his employer's name; he fails to say when he worked there, or why he left the job. There may well be no significance to these omissions, but inasmuch as Business International has a long association with the world of intelligence, covert actions, and attempts to penetrate the radical left -- including Students for a Democratic Society -- it's valid to wonder if the inscrutable Mr. Obama is concealing something about his own association with this world.

Wayne Madsen Report - WMR has obtained additional details on Business International Corporation, the CIA front company where President Obama spent a year working after graduating from Columbia University in 1983.

BIC used journalists as non-official cover agents around the world. The firm published weekly and fortnightly newsletters for business executives. . .

On February 24, WMR reported: "For one year, Obama worked as a researcher in BIC's financial services division where he wrote for two BIC publications, Financing Foreign Operations and Business International Money Report, a weekly newsletter.

An informed source has told WMR that Obama's tuition debt at Columbia was paid off by BIC. In addition, WMR has learned that when Obama lived in Indonesia with his mother and his adoptive father Lolo Soetoro, the 20-year-old Obama, who was known as 'Barry Soetoro,' traveled to Pakistan in 1981 and was hosted by the family of Muhammadmian Soomro, a Pakistani Sindhi who became acting President of Pakistan after the resignation of General Pervez Musharraf on August 18, 2008. WMR was told that the Obama/Soetoro trip to Pakistan, ostensibly to go 'partridge hunting' with the Soomros, related to unknown CIA business. The covert CIA program to assist the Afghan mujaheddin was already well underway at the time and Pakistan was the major base of operations for the CIA's support . . .
Through its contacts with leading liberals around the world, BIC sought to recruit those on the left as CIA agents and assets. . . .

Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, and his father, Barack Obama, Sr., met at the University of Hawaii in 1960 in a Russian-language class. . . After marrying Indonesian national Lolo Soetoro, Dunham moved with Barack Obama, Jr. to Indonesia in 1966. . . Dunham left Indonesia in 1972, returning to Hawaii with her son. Dunham periodically made trips back to Indonesia, as well as to Pakistan, while working for the Ford Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the latter commonly used by the CIA for official cover agents.

Dunham Soetoro was in Indonesia when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Barack Obama visited Lahore, Pakistan, where his mother worked as a "consultant," in 1981. . .

Wayne Madsen –"It is now evident, from information gleaned from African-American associates of Obama's in Chicago in the mid-1980s, that Stanley Armour and Madelyn Dunham, like their [anthropologist] daughter Stanley Ann Dunham, have fabricated personal histories" including omitting their involvement with the OSS” For example, Madsen suggests that Obama's grandfather, far from working in an American furniture store in the 1950s, appears to have been assigned to Beirut as an intelligence agent.

George W. Bush

 Problematic as the CIA may be, there is no evidence that they actually hired George W. Bush. He was, however, thanks to his father’s role in the agency, and the CIA’s watch, to put it politely, subject to considerable influence. Anyone who got is as much trouble both needed help and was vulnerable to control. A few projects in which the agency may have been interested:


George W. Bush and partners receive more than $2 million of Harken Energy stock in exchange for their failing oil well operation, which had lost $400,000 in the prior six months. Bush puts up about $500,000 and gets a $120,000 annual consulting fee along with $131,250 in stock options. After Bush joined Harken, the largest stock position and a seat on its board were acquired by Harvard Management Company. Harvard agrees to buy 1.35 million shares of Harken for $2 million and invest another $20 million in Harken projects.

Jim Yardley NY Times - In his earliest known tie to the Enron Corporation, President Bush, then an oil man in West Texas, joined an energy drilling venture organized in 1986 by a subsidiary of Enron. The drilling operation - which succeeded in striking oil and natural gas in Martin County - came as Mr. Bush's company, the Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation, was struggling to stay afloat during a collapse in world oil prices. The company was also in final negotiations to be taken over by a Dallas-based company, Harken Energy. Executives involved in the drilling venture characterized it as an ordinary business deal. Enron Oil and Gas, then an exploration subsidiary with offices here in Midland, served as operator and majority partner. 


Harken Energy, with George W Bush on the board, gets rescued by aid from the BCCI-connected Union Bank of Switzerland in a deal brokered by Jackson Stephens, later to show up as a key supporter of Bill Clinton. The deal was also pushed along by another Clinton friend, David Edwards. Edwards will bring BCCI-linked investors into Harken deals including Abdullah Bakhsh, purchases $10 million in shares of Stephens dominated Worthen Bank. The CIA was directly involved in BCCI.

GHW Bush

GWH Bush, president or vice president for 12 years, had been head of the CIA. He was also a member of Yale’s Skull & Bones club, a favorite recruiting source of the agency. A few of his other adventures:


According to the Realist, CIA official Fletcher Prouty delivers three Navy ships to agents in Guatemala to be used in the Bay of Pigs invasion. Prouty claims he delivered the ships to a CIA agent named George Bush. Agent Bush named the ships the Barbara, Houston and Zapata.

Bay of Pigs invasion fails. Right-wingers blame Kennedy for failure to provide air cover. CIA loses 15 men, another 1,100 are imprisoned.


John F. Kennedy is assassinated. Internal FBI memo reports that on November 22 "reputable businessman" George H. W. Bush reported hearsay that a certain Young Republican "has been talking of killing the president when he comes to Houston." The Young Republican was nowhere near Dallas on that date. When CIA director, Bush will request many of the Kennedy assasination files.

According to a 1988 story in The Nation, a memo from J. Edgar Hoover states that "Mr. George Bush of the CIA" had been briefed on November 23rd, 1963 about the reaction of anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Miami to the assassination of President Kennedy. George says it ain't him, admits he was in Texas but can't remember where.


Jerry Ford names George Bush CIA director, his fourth political patronage job in a little over five years. Bush later claims this is the first time he ever worked for the CIA.

Bush holds first known meeting with Noriega. Noriega starts receiving $110,000 a year from the CIA.

Noriega found to be working for Cubans as well, but keeps his CIA gig.

Bush sets up Team B within the CIA, a group of neo-conservative outsiders and generals who proceed to double the agency's estimate of Soviet military spending.

Senate committee headed by Frank Church proposes revealing size of the country's black budget -- intelligence spending that, in contradiction to the Constitution, is kept secret even from the Hill. According to journalist Tim Weiner, Bush argues that the revelation would be a disaster and would compromise the agency beyond repair. By a one vote margin the matter is referred to the Senate. It never reaches the floor.

Chilean dissident Orlando Letelier is assassinated by Chilean secret police agents. CIA fails to inform FBI of pending plot and of assassins' arrival in US. CIA claims the hit was the work of left-wingers in search of a martyr.


From a Washington Post article by Bob Woodward and Walter Pincus: "According to those involved in Bush's first political action committee, there were several occasions in 1978-79, when Bush was living in Houston and traveling the country in his first run for the presidency, that he set aside periods of up to 24 hours and told aides that he had to fly to Washington for a secret meeting of former CIA directors. Bush told his aides that he could not divulge his whereabouts, and that he would not be available." Former CIA chief Stansfield Turner denies such meetings took place.


CIA starts using BCCI as a conduit.

Bill Clinton


Bill Clinton, according to several agency sources interviewed by biographer Roger Morris, works as a CIA informer while briefly and erratically a Rhodes Scholar in England. Although without visible means of support, he travels around Europe and the Soviet Union, staying at the ritziest hotel in Moscow. During this period the US government is using well educated assets such as Clinton as part of Operation Chaos, a major attempt to break student resistance to the war and the draft. According to former White House FBI agent Gary Aldrich Clinton is told by Oxford officials that he is no longer welcome there."

The Skull & Bones connection

Ron Rosenbaum, Esquire Magazine, September, 1977 - Take a look at the hulking sepulcher over there.  Small wonder they call it a tomb.  It's the citadel of Skull and Bones, the most powerful of all secret societies in the strange Yale secret-society system.  For nearly a century and a half, Skull and Bones has been the most influential secret society in the nation, and now it is one of the last. In an age in which it seems that all that could possibly be concealed about anything and anybody has been revealed, those blank tombstone walls could be holding the last secrets left in America. You could ask Averell Harriman whether there's really a sarcophagus in the basement and whether he and young Henry Stimson and young Henry Luce (Time magazine) lay down naked in the coffin and spilled the secrets of their adolescent sex life to 14 fellow Bonesmen.  You could ask Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart if there came a time in the year 1937 when he dressed up in a skeleton suit and howled wildly at an initiate in a red-velvet room inside the tomb.  You could ask McGeorge Bundy if he wrestled naked in a mud pie as part of his initation and how it compared with a later quagmire into which he so eagerly plunged.  You could ask Bill Bundy or William F. Buckley, both of who went into the CIA after leaving Bones - or George Bush, who ran the CIA/President - whether their Skull and Bones experience was useful training for the clandestine trade. You could ask J. Richardson Dilworth, the Bonesman who now manages the Rockefeller fortune, just how wealthy the Bones society is and whether it's true that each new initiate gets a no-strings gift of fifteen thousand dollars cash . . . .

Boston Herald - Sen. John F. Kerry expounds on many issues in his presidential campaign, but he's completely silent on one topic: his membership in Skull and Bones, Yale's infamous secret society. "John Kerry has absolutely nothing to say on that subject. Sorry," said Kerry spokeswoman Kelley Benander. . . There's also another high-profile member of the club: President Bush.

Bonesmen already are buzzing over the prospect of the first Bones vs. Bones presidential race should Kerry win his party's nomination and face Bush in 2004. "Bones don't care who wins," said author Alexandra Robbins, whose book "Secrets of the Tomb" pierced the secrecy shrouding the 171-year-old society. "If Kerry wins, it's still a Bones presidency." Robbins calls the group "probably the most secretive and successful club in America," and adds, "It's also pretty bizarre."

Every year, 15 Yale juniors are tapped for the club, which holds meetings twice a week in a crypt-like building known as the "Tomb." Robbins described the interior, replete with skulls and skeletons, as a cross between the "Addams Family" and a slightly shabby English men's club. There are bizarre initiation rites, including a ceremony where new members must spend an evening before a roaring fire in the Tomb recounting details of their sexual history to fellow members.

Kerry was tapped for the club in 1968, two years after Bush, whose father and grandfather were also Bonesmen. Kerry's brother-in-law from his first marriage, David Thorne, was Bones. So was the late husband of Kerry's current wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. The Bones alumni roster is flush with CIA officials, business moguls, congressmen and Supreme Court justices.

The media-spy connection

 Progressive Review -  In a move roughly akin to the ACLU hiring a CIA director for its president, National Public Radio has named the czar of American broadcast agitprop as its CEO. Kevin Klose has been director of the US International Broadcasting Bureau, which runs or coordinates all major American broadcast propaganda including the Voice of America and Radio Marti. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia operate under the oversight of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the same body that supervises IBB. Kevin Klose was president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from 1992 to 1997.

This is not the first time America media and propaganda have been seamlessly joined. In 1976, the president of the CIA-connected Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty was former CBS president Sig Mickelson. Ironically, one of the few journalists who raised questions about the relationship of media and the CIA -- to the detriment of his career at CBS -- was Daniel Schorr, now at NPR. Carl Bernstein, in a contemporary article in Rolling Stone, estimated that 400 American journalists had been tied to the CIA at one point or another, including such well known media figures as the Alsop brothers, C.L. Sulzberger of the New York Times, and Philip Graham of the Washington Post.

Later the New York Times reported that the CIA had owned or subsidized more than 50 newspapers, news services, radio stations, and periodicals, mostly overseas. And, says NameBase Newslines, at least 22 American news organizations employed CIA assets, and "nearly a dozen American publishing houses printed some of the more than 1,000 books that had been produced or subsidized by the CIA.

When asked in a 1976 interview whether the CIA had ever told its media agents what to write, William Colby replied, 'Oh, sure, all the time.'" With the bad press, American intelligence began becoming more subtle. As one CIA asset, Gloria Steinem said, "The CIA's big mistake was not supplanting itself with private funds fast enough." One of the results of an increasing sophistication was the creation in 1973 of a Board for International Broadcasting to obscure any CIA control of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. But all this is history and largely forgotten even in media circles. Thus, it is not suprising that there have been signs the Washington inner party is feeling its oats again. In 1996, the Council on Foreign Relations suggested that the CIA be allowed once more to use journalists and clergy as cover for its operations. As NameBase Newslines points out, "For 70 years, [the CFR has] rarely recommended anything that has not become policy." In such an environment, for NPR to hire the head of national broadcast agitpunkt seems more than a little risky.


Anonymous said...

The "burglars" who broke into the Watergate were all CIA. The burglary was their initiative and was handled in such a way that they seemed to want to be caught. Nixon was polling well ahead of his Democrat opponent, so a risky burglary attempt offered nothing to his campaign and, rather, destroyed his presidency. There had been great pressure to elevate George HW Bush to the vice-presidency after the resignation of Agnew. (Bush won the vice-presidency in 1981, and an assassination attempt against Reagan followed shortly after).

Serious researchers into the JFK assassination frequently find themselves assigning great suspicion on the CIA's Counter-Intelligence office run by James Angleton. A number of Angleton's men in 1963 became the Watergate burglars a decade later.

Anonymous said...

I think you meant "GHW Bush" not "GWH Bush"

Anonymous said...

Carter was not a made man, hence his exile. Nixon's November surprise against Humphrey scuttled peace talks. This treason was replayed by Bush in the surprise against Carter. Iran/Contra then became synonymous with the Reagan administration, drawing in minor players like Clinton. The Watergate era was made permanent in Buckley v. Valeo, wherein Wall Street gets to set national priorities. Theory predicts that further October surprises would be rare, and contests would be close, because candidates are vetted well in advance. But the donor class sometimes has preferences, rewarding Clinton over Dole, or abandoning McCain. The elected branches fail not only because of bargains struck, but in order to be selected for high leadership, there must be a fatal flaw. Obama's vulnerabilities are readily obvious, preventing him from going off script.

Anonymous said...

Re the CIA and Obama which Madsen has apparently written a book about, I can only say I don't take anything that Wayne Madsen writes very seriously since his track record, from what I've seen, is awful. The best I can say for him is that he has been fed bad information by the CIA and others to pollute the atmosphere and send people off in wrong directions. (That also applies to much of what appears on Global Research.) I remember when he wrote, as if it was a fact, that the fighting in 2009 in northern Lebanon between Al Qaeda supporters and the Lebanese army was intended to clear the area of the Palestinian refugee camp, Nahr al-Bahrad, to build a US air force base that would give the US an ability to strike Washington's ME enemies (as if they needed another one), but anyone who knew anything about Lebanon would have realized that the story was complete BS and that, apart from Hezbollah, no political party in Lebanon could get away with supporting it.

Also, he seems to be recipient of a steady stream of confidential info from CIA sources. Why him and not Giraldi, McGovern, or Scheuer who were actually in the CIA and have probably greater access to the public.

That being said, there is no question in my mind that Obama was groomed by outsiders for the job and if the CIA had anything to do with it it was minimal. A good place to start would be to find out who was behind his speaking appearance at the Democratic Convention in 2004 which is what I wondered at the time. There is considerable evidence that he had ties at the time to wealthy Chicago Jews, like Lester Crown and the Pritzkers, who had ties to Wall Street and in the Chicago Jewish Daily News a week before the election, Abner Mikvah, one of Clinton's lawyers said he would be "the first Jewish president."

In any case, I believe he was chosen by Wall Street and the major banks because only a Democrat, and a popular one, could get away with bailing them out and that this would need to happen was already known (according to the NYT) the previous March. McCain might not have been in on it, but putting Palin on the ticket (one of Bill Kristol's major successes!) was almost a guarantee that he would lose. It is reported that he wanted Joe Lieberman but the party nixed it, a ticket that might have won. Wall Streeters knew enough about US politics that had McCain won, had he tried to do what Obama did and bail out Wall Street, not only would the Democratic base be out in the streets but the Republican base, which hates Wall St, as well, would have been out there with them.

Another reason for picking Obama was that he would put a human face on US imperialism but those who chose him knew that would only work for so long, but the decider wouldn't have been the CIA which, since the days of the Reagan administration, at least from what I've been able to see, just doesn't have that kind of political power and certainly would not have been involved in selecting the speakers for the 2004 DNC. Giving him a position at BIC might have been its way of "training" Barack, but no more than that.


Anonymous said...

Agreed on Madson. He doesn't impress.

(You missed one, Sam: "GWH Bush, president or vice president for 12 years")

Anonymous said...

And you're going to vote for Obama, Sam. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Webster Tarpley.net has also done extensive research into Obama's & his parents' CIA identity.including their role in supporting the genocidal ANTI-communist CIA coup in Idonesia, which as this article says,would if they knew it, elicit cheers from the suckers who have been brainwashed into insanely believing ANTI-communist CIA-Wall ST.stooge Obama is a..communist (!) by the Glen Beck-D'nesh D'sousa-type charlatans & the billionaires who fund them