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. Bill Blum provides new light on the subject. 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.
Colony Net, 2008 –In an effort to shore up his foreign policy credentials during the primary campaign, the junior senator from Illinois – then in a tight primary contest with Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania – bragged about the time he had spent in Pakistan. He argued that Clinton’s foreign policy “experience” consisted only of quick photo ops, while he had spent “quality time” with “real people.” Not only that, he had actually gone on a partridge-hunting trip near the Pakistan city of Larkana. His partridge-hunting apparently impressed the gun owners of Pennsylvania very little, inasmuch as Clinton won that primary by 10 per cent.
Eager to impress the Pennsylvania crowd with his “foreign policy experience” and knowledge of guns, Obama thus let slip the fact that he’d been to Pakistan. (It is believed that he made two trips to Pakistan.) There must have been more to that trip than meets the eye, however, because the candidate has said virtually nothing about it since. You won’t find anything on the Obama campaign site. . .
Astute readers may have begun to wonder how a struggling young college student with a divorced, middle-class mother managed to fund a three week trip to Pakistan. . . But Barry Obama-Soetoro was off shooting partridges in Pakistan, hosted by a young man named Muhammed Hasan Chandio. Chandio’s family owned a substantial amount of land in the region, and Obama apparently met him while both were students. (Chandio is currently a financial consultant in New York, and a donor to the Obama campaign.). . .
Another of Obama’s hosts in Pakistan was Muhammadian Mian Soomro, Obama’s senior by about 11 years, son of a Pakistani politician and himself a politician, who became interim President of Pakistan when Pervez Musharraf resigned in August of 2008. Soomro has said that “someone”� personally requested that he “watch over” Barack Obama, but will not name that individual . . .
A trip to Pakistan is no doubt more than a jaunt to a Florida beach. Few Americans would consider traveling there now, thinking it to be a dangerous place. In 1981, when one of Obama’s possible two trips there occurred, it was less safe. Because of the war between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union, millions of Afghan refugees fled to Pakistan, which was under martial law. The Afghan “mujahedeen” fighters had bases in Pakistan, and they moved back and forth to fight the Soviets. . .
In the early 1980s, Pakistan was one of the destinations Americans were prohibited from visiting – it was on the State Department’s list of banned countries. Non-Muslims were not welcome, unless they were on official business, formalized through the embassy of the country of origin. The simple truth is that no young American would have a reason to or be able to visit Pakistan in 1981, unless he was on official government business of which the State Department was aware. . .
Adding to the mix is the fact that Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, had visited at least 13 countries in her lifetime, and had worked for companies that required travel to Pakistan. Her employers appear to have included the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Ford Foundation, Women’s World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. Note that USAID and the Ford Foundation have (allegedly) been used as covers for CIA agents. . . .
The story of Business International also includes its 1960s joint meetings with members of SDS at the prodding of Carl Oglesby. Not everyone was happy at the idea – including Bernadette Dorn – and probably for good cause.
Obama also was one of eight students selected to study sovietology by Columbia professor Zbigniew Brzezinski who, if he wasn’t a CIA official, was as close as you can otherwise get. Brzesinski is now a member of Obama’s inner circle.
If the Obama Pakistan story sounds somewhat familiar, it may because the Review was one of the few places that reported one of Bill Clinton’s similarly interesting trips:
“1960s: 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.”
Paul Street Z Mag – Conventional wisdom holds that Obama entered national politics with his instantly famous keynote address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. But, as Ken Silverstein noted in Harper’s in the fall of 2006, “If the speech was his debut to the wider American public, he had already undergone an equally successful but much quieter audition with Democratic Party leaders and fund-raisers, without whose support he would surely never have been chosen for such a prominent role at the convention.
The favorable elite assessment of Obama began in October of 2003. That’s when “Vernon Jordan, the well-known power broker and corporate board-member who chaired Bill Clinton’s presidential transition team after the 1992 election, placed calls to roughly twenty of his friends and invited them to a fund-raiser at his home. That event,” Silverstein noted, “marked his entry into a well-established Washington ritual-the gauntlet of fund-raising parties and meet-and-greets through which potential stars are vetted by fixers, donors, and lobbyists.”
Drawing on his undoubted charm, wit, intelligence, and Harvard credentials, Obama passed this trial with shining colors. At a series of social meetings with assorted big “players” from the financial, legal and lobbyist sectors, Obama impressed key establishment figures like Gregory Craig (a longtime leading attorney and former special counsel to the White House), Mike Williams (the legislative director of the Bond Market Association), Tom Quinn (a partner at the top corporate law firm Venable and a leading Democratic Party “power broker”), and Robert Harmala, another Venable partner and “a big player in Democratic circles.”
Craig liked the fact that Obama was not a racial “polarizer” on the model of past African-American leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Williams was soothed by Obama’s reassurances that he was not “anti-business” and became “convinced…that the two could work together.”
“There’s a reasonableness about him,” Harmala told Silverstein. “I don’t see him as being on the liberal fringe.”
By Silverstein’s account, the good “word about Obama spread through Washington’s blue-chip law firms, lobby shops, and political offices, and this accelerated after his win in the March  Democratic primary.” Elite financial, legal, and lobbyists contributions came into Obama’s coffers at a rapid and accelerating pace.
The “good news” for Washington and Wall Street insiders was that Obama’s “star quality” would not be directed against the elite segments of the business class. The interesting black legislator from the South Side of Chicago was “someone the rich and powerful could work with.” According to Obama biographer and Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell, in late 2003 and early 2004:
“Word of Obama’s rising star was now spreading beyond Illinois, especially through influential Washington political circles like blue chip law firms, party insiders, lobbying houses. They were all hearing about this rare, exciting, charismatic, up-and-coming African American who unbelievably could win votes across color lines. . . [his handlers and] influential Chicago supporters and fund-raisers all vigorously worked their D.C. contacts to help Obama make the rounds with the Democrats’ set of power brokers. . .
According to Mendell, Obama now cultivated the support of the privileged few by “advocat[ing] fiscal restraint” and “calling for pay-as-you-go government” and “extol[ing] the merits of free trade and charter schools.” He “moved beyond being an obscure good-government reformer to being a candidate more than palatable to the moneyed and political establishment.” .
“On condition of anonymity,” Silverstein reported two years ago, “one Washington lobbyist I spoke with was willing to point out the obvious: that big donors would not be helping out Obama if they didn’t see him as a ‘player.’ The lobbyist added: ‘What’s the dollar value of a starry-eyed idealist?'”