Sunday, September 11, 2011

The oval office as a covert op

I had hoped to leave the previous post up throughout the day. People need an alternative to all the 9/11 talk. But a couple of readers have asked for my response to a strange article by David Ignatius, in the Washington Post.

Basically, Ignatius compares Obama to a CIA operative in such a heavy-handed fashion that even the least paranoid among us must wonder: "Is Ignatius indulging in metaphor -- or is he giving us something more than metaphor?"
Obama is the commander in chief as covert operator. The flag-waving “mission accomplished” speeches of his predecessor aren’t Obama’s thing; even his public reaction to the death of bin Laden was relatively subdued. Watching Obama, the reticent, elusive man whose dual identity is chronicled in “Dreams From My Father,” you can’t help wondering if he has an affinity for the secret world. He is opaque, sometimes maddeningly so, in the way of an intelligence agent.
Not exactly subtle, is it? One blogger was pissed off by this column...
David Ignatius is screwing the President in public, serving as a proxy for the covert world that has been intimidating the Presidents and his staff since he entered on duty. All of the above is a a fabrication, and Ignatius, in serving up this blatant misinformation (a covert action in and of itself) is in violation of the law.
This blogger goes by the name of Marcus Aurelius, a name previously unfamiliar to me (unless we're talking about the Roman emperor). He links to earlier posts which, in his view, prove that Obama has had a hostile relationship with spook-world.

This piece deals with  Dean Christopher Edley, Jr., of UC Berkeley, who was part of Obama's transition team. Edley made a startling comment on the oft-debated topic of why Obama did not prosecute Bush or Cheney.
President-Elect Obama’s advisers feared in 2008 that authorities would oust him in a coup and that Republicans would block his policy agenda if he prosecuted Bush-era war crimes, according to a law school dean who served as one of Obama’s top transition advisers.
Here's the original Op-Ed news piece featuring Edley. It was published just a few days ago.
Edley responded to my request for additional information by providing a description of the transition team's fears. Edley said that transition officials, not Obama, agreed that he faced the possibility of a "revolt."
Dean Chris Edley volunteered that he'd been party to very high level discussions during Obama's transition about prosecuting the criminals. He said they decided against it. I asked why. Two reasons: 1) it was thought that the CIA, NSA, and military would revolt, and 2) it was thought the Repugnants would retaliate by blocking every piece of legislation they tried to move (which, of course, they've done anyhow).
Details, please. Is Edley offering opinion or something more substantive? Who told him what, exactly?

Later, we learn this:
I never discussed these matters with the President Elect; the summary offered by one of the senior national security folks was, "We don't want to engage in a witch hunt..."
"We don't want to engage in a witch hunt" is very different from "We're scared of getting whacked." So which is it?

How much of an "insider" could Edley have been, anyways? It's not as though he's in the administration right now. He did not talk to Obama directly on this topic; Obama himself never said anything about fear of a revolt. And did anyone, back in 2009, seriously believe that the Republicans would have reacted to the election of a Democrat (any Democrat) any differently than the way they did act?

As for a military/intelligence revolt -- come on. Seriously, what could they have done? They don't go for the Dallas option these days. Besides, there were plenty of people in the intel community who were pissed off at Bush and Cheney; the Agency got treated like crap under Dubya.

Of course, there is a revolt underway right now. This revolt is led by the Koch brothers, Fox News and all the usual suspects. But that rebellion is not what Edley seems to be talking about.

In sum, I don't think that anything Edley has to say debunks anything that David Ignatius has to say.

You probably already know what I have to say: Obama's whole history -- and his family's history -- is spookier than a gothic novel.

My main earlier posts on this topic are here and here and here and here.

(Since I wrote my earlier pieces on that theme, I've had a chance to glance through Janny Scott's A Singular Woman, a bio of Obama's mother. The book offers explanations for some of the anomalies surrounding the strange life of Stanley Ann Dunham, but hardly all. By all means, read that book -- but read cautiously.)
Here's a summary of the key points from my previous work:

In 1981, Obama was allegedly an ill-to-do student at Occidental University in L.A. Yet he chose to make a covert trip to Pakistan -- his first trip out of the country -- at a time when the place was under martial law; the State Department was advising Americans not to travel to that part of the world. Pakistan was, of course, a key part of the covert resupply effort for the anti-Soviet effort in Afghanistan.

There, a local "diplomat" at the U.S. embassy (obviously CIA) set up a meeting with one of the most powerful players in Pakistan -- Ahmadmian Soomro. We are given no explanation as to why a poor student would meet with the nation's most powerful banker and deputy speaker of the Assembly.

At Oxy, Obama took classes in politics, and one of his likely professors (whom I have never named) has a "former" CIA background. (With the CIA, you always have to put the "former" in quotes.) This man was also close to Zbigniew Brzezinski -- who later became a key adviser to and influence on Barack Obama.

At the time, young Obama had an Indonesian passport. It's known that the Agency likes to recruit young men with multiple passports, which can aid in plausible deniability. (For example: Obama's passport would not have a Pakistan stamp.)

Obama never seemed to have any trouble paying for his expensive university career. After college, he went to work for a firm which was later exposed as offering cover for CIA personnel oversees. 

His mother, Ann Dunham, had a remarkably spooky background, working for AID and the Ford Foundation, both well-known for offering cover for the CIA. Although an alleged leftist, she married a man who was the key liaison between Mobil oil and the CIA-installed Suharto regime, which came to power on the backs of some 500,000 corpses. I think it is fair to posit that no real leftist would even have lunch with a guy like that. (Ann made her own mystery trip to Pakistan in 1981 -- and was even learning Urdu!)

There's much, much more to be said on this topic, but I will let you discover it for yourself. Just click on the links given above.

The one factor that I find most telling is this: Barack Obama never mentioned the Pakistan trip (which must have been quite an adventure) in the two autobiographies who wrote before the age of 46. This, despite the fact that he was an ambitious fellow trying to establish his foreign policy credentials.

Come on. You gotta admit that that is weird. 

Wayne Madsen has taken my argument much further (without ever crediting me). But, as is always the case with Madsen, one never knows whether his unnamed sources are fictional.

Maybe David Ignatius could tell us whether I am on the right track...?
When they take you away to Gitmo ask for a cell facing the bay.
Interesting that there's not loads of stuff on Lawrence Goldyn. Most refs I brought up in a quick search said little more than he's gay.

He was only at Occidental for 3 years. He's the Medical Director now at Mendocino Coast District Hospital in Fort Bragg, California. Unusual career path.
Crap....this reminds me of something that's been nagging me for a week or so. I read an article that mentioned *in passing* Obama's CIA connections or background or something. Now I will have to retrace my steps and see if I can find the article. There have been other recent strange remarks, printed in passing, as if in common knowledge, such as Christian Science Monitor's mention of Hillary winning the 2008 primary, vote-wise.
I always thought the step-dad/Mobil was a possible link to potential spookery. Not sure the mom was much more than a certain type of lefty that passed thru the Ford Foundation like industrious ants in that epoch. And i completely agree that the CIA has no appetite or much political mojo to "revolt."

History's arc moves in different paths for most institutions. JFK was more worried about the military, nuts like Generals Wheeler and Willoughby, and a "7 Days in May scenario" if Bay of Pigs, Missile Crisis restraint became too common. Obama has heard some mumblings as well (and whatever happened to Sy Hersh's investigation of the "Crusaders in the armed forces" bent on a new crusade vs. Islam? It would be the top brass, coddled, pugnacious, cave-mannish who would more likely align w/the Koch, Tea Party forces to give us a little taste of Junta Greece.
b: I was not referring to Goldyn.

Oh hell. Might as well put it on the record. I'm talking about a guy named Larry Caldwell.

"Caldwell is an expert on Soviet and post-Soviet foreign and military policies, arms control, and U.S. national security policy. He joined Occidental in 1967. He has served as research associate at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London; as a visiting professor and director of European studies at the National War College in Washington; as a scholar-in-residence in the Office of Soviet Analysis at the CIA; and as a staff member and consultant at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Rand Corporation. He has held Ford, Rockefeller, and NATO research grants, testified before Senate and House committees, and advised congressional and presidential campaigns. He wrote Soviet and American Attitudes Towards S.A.L.T. (1971), Soviet and American Relations: One Half-Decade of Detente (1976), and U.S.-Soviet Relations in the 1980s with William Diebold, Jr. (1980)."

Diebold? Woah. I just noticed that! He's listed as having an OSS background. Died in 2002. Oddly, there does not seem to be a family connection to the Diebolds who make voting machines.

At any rate, I know I read somewhere that Caldwell had a strong link to Brzezinski, but now I can't find the site. Maybe it's no longer online? Damn damn damn! At any rate, Caldwell's cv should tell the story.

Oddly, I have never seen any firm statement that Obama was a student of Caldwell's. But Obama got a political science degree at a time when Caldwell was perhaps the most important prof in that department. It seems unavoidable.
Where does Nancy Pelosi's "Impeachment is off the table" fit in all of this?

Perhaps Obama would have mentioned something about his Afghan adventures if he returned something of value to the CIA. More than likely he was as effective a spook as he is a president.
You're making me more paranoid [if that's possible]. I've read of the CIA connection before, and frankly I've always thought the Passport Department compromise in 2008 was squirrely at best. As they say: there are no coincidences in politics.

What I know in my gut is that Obama was a fraud, has proven himself not up to the job and all the rah-rah drumbeating won't change that fact. Who brought him to the ball is almost immaterial at this point. The damage done is immeasureable to the Democratic Party but even more importantly, to the country at large.

We will now have had 12 years of bad leadership. Can we withstand another four rudderless years?

I just don't know.

Peggy Sue
Caldwell's CV is cached at Google, although its own URL now redirects to Oxy's politics department's front page. During Obama's two years at Oxy, Caldwell was on the CIA.

I hadn't heard of Caldwell in the not-behind-closed-doors Soviet Studies scene. Doesn't sound as though he has been very important in it, unlike Brzezinski. His dual role suggests that CIA money was routed through people at the department to fund trips of the sort that Obama went on to Pakistan. Send those who've got 'horses' to meet top figures in military and intelligence circles in foreign countries. See how they get on at filing reports on those they've met, at keeping their mouths shut, and maybe at collecting a corroboratory snippet or two. If the US is anything like Britain, it's unlikely that Obama was spotted at Oxy; he'd already have been agency property before he went there, and would have come from a family.

I haven't read much on the Obama in Pakistan story. Who was his handler on the trip?
JFK was more worried about the military, nuts like Generals Wheeler and Willoughby, and a "7 Days in May scenario" if Bay of Pigs, Missile Crisis restraint became too common..

That is true, and he expressed his fears of a military coup to K via his backchannel through RFK and another cutout.

However, on Oct. 3 1963, Kennedy family friend and key NY Times reporter Arthur Krock reported this in a front page new analysis piece:

"[...]Among the views attributed to United States officials on the scene, including one described as a "very high American official . . . who has spent much of his life in the service of democracy . . . are the following:
The C.I.A.'s growth was "likened to a malignancy" which the "very high official was not sure even the White House could control . . . any longer." "If the United States ever experiences [an attempt at a coup to overthrow the Government] it will come from the C.I.A. and not the Pentagon." The agency "represents a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone."
... The C.I.A. may be guilty as charged. [...]"

I've always thought Occidental College was a totally weird place for him. It's not a university. It's a small liberal arts college in friggin' Eagle Rock, which is a suburb in Northeast Los Angeles, about as far away from "L.A." as you can get and still technically be in the city. Why wasn't he at UCLA? He's really never added up.
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