March 28-29, 2011 – SPECIAL EXCLUSIVE REPORT. Obama’s mother began her Indonesian field work at height of complaints about CIA involvement with foreign “research”
By Wayne Madsen
In a continuation of WMR’s investigation of the CIA backgrounds of President Obama and his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham Obama Soetoro, we have obtained a copy of an important report written by University of California-Los Angeles anthropology professor Dr. Ralph Beals for the Officers and Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and delivered to the annual meeting of the AAA on November 17, 1966 in Pittsburgh.
Beals’ significant report remains relatively obscure to those outside the field of applied anthropology but what it detailed is a critical indictment of the CIA and Defense Department in co-opting young and inexperienced field anthropologists like Dunham Soetoro to conduct “data mining” for CIA and Pentagon covert “counter-insurgency” operations. Dunham Soetoro’s receipt of funding from the Ford Foundation is a troubling aspect of President Obama’s upbringing. Far from being raised by a leftist “flower child” of the 1960s who for a time reportedly lived on food stamps, young Barack Obama was raised in a family that was never without need or want but benefited from a CIA-funded regime that permitted anthropologists like Dunham Soetoro to collect large tax-free salaries abroad while conducting dubious research for the CIA via foundation-laundered funding. (Read the rest of the story by clicking “Full Story”)
In its investigation of U.S. intelligence activities in the 1960s and 70s, the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence chaired by Senator Frank Church (D-ID) discovered that one-third of all the hard and social sciences grants awarded by the “Big Three” foundations – Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie – involved CIA money. In some cases, the CIA-funded “research” was later used for the CIA’s torture, counter-insurgency, “termination with extreme prejudice,” and surveillance of targets abroad and within the United States.
With a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Hawaii under her belt, Dunham Soetoro moved with her seven-year old son to Jakarta to be with her husband , Indonesian Army Colonel Lolo Soetoro – a hit man for the CIA-installed Suharto regime — to ply her intelligence agency apprenticeship in mapping the political and social allegiances of the people of the island of Java, a longtime island of opportunity for CIA machinations.
Dunham Soetoro’s work in Indonesia for USAID and Ford followed by two years President Lyndon Johnson’s dictate to Secretary of State Dean Rusk: “I am determined that no Government sponsorship of foreign area research should be undertaken which in the judgment of the Secretary of State would adversely affect United States foreign relations.” According to the Beals Report, this presidential directive placed the government in a commanding role in deciding who and what projects, including foreign anthropology research, would be funded. For good measure, to ensure that such research had a military or intelligence predicate, Rusk assigned oversight for foreign area research to Thomas L. Hughes, the Director of Intelligence and Research for the State Department.
As Dr. David Price, a pre-eminent expert in the use of anthropologists by the CIA and Pentagon in clandestine operations wrote in a 2009 article in Critique of Anthropologytitled, ” Subtle Means and Enticing Carrots: The Impact of Funding on Cold War Anthropology ,” the Ford Foundation, State Department, and CIA were “involved in intricate covert political interventions in Indonesia. One of the top witting or unwitting U.S. assets in Java was Dr. Clifford Geertz , a pioneer in the anthropological surveys of Java for the CIA and would have most certainly have known Dunham Soetoro in Java or may have even been her de facto “control officer.”
Geertz had an unusual interest in the Balinese blood sport of cockfighting. Price cites Professor Nancy Scheper-Hughes, director of the Medical Anthropology program at the University of California-Berkeley and whose investigation of an Israeli-based ring of human organ traffickers led to a number of arrests by the FBI of a number of perpetrators. [It is interesting to note that in her investigation of the Israeli organ theft operation, which targeted unsuspecting poor people in developing countries, Scheper-Hughes discovered that one of the motivating factors for the Israeli heft of organs from non-Jews was, as she stated in a 2008 lecture, "revenge, restitution, reparation for the Holocaust - the attitude being "'we're gong to get every single kidney and liver and heart that we can. The world owes it to us."]
In the Indonesia context, Scheper-Hughes wrote of Geertz:
“Clifford Geertz’s celebrated Balinese ‘cockfight” scenario was developed within the larger context of a national political emergency that resulted in the massacre of almost three-quarters of a million Indonesians, though it took Geertz three decades to mention the killings that had engulfed his Javanese field site, now forever associated in our minds with those semiotic fighting roosters.”
In the context of current events, where President Obama has, without a thought for the carnage wrought on innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and now, Libya, has ordered wanton attacks by drone aircraft, Special Forces units, U.S. Army Stryker units, “precision-guided” munitions (including those tipped with depleted uranium warheads), and, in the case of Libya, stand-off Tomahawk cruise missiles, the involvement of Dunham Soetoro with “blood sport” aficionados like Geertz , a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the CIA-linked Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, raises troubling questions. If Geertz was a role model for Obama’s mother, and his mother was a role model for Obama, there is a distinct possibility that the President of the United States was raised within a household where mass murder of civilians was not considered a crime against humanity.
Geertz was the beneficiary of the largesse of CIA-linked philanthropic foundations, Rand Corporation, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), CIA, and Pentagon funding in Java and Bali at the same time Dunham Soetoro was a young field anthropologist in western Java. Price writes that Geertz “ignored the Indonesian political setting that gave rise to death squads, military and police terror, institutionalized unemployment, and eventually to the bloodbath that followed the US-backed coup against Sukarno.” And it was in this very environment that Obama’s mother chose to raise her son who has stated that the massacre of between 750,000 and 1 million Indonesians was not known to his mother before she ventured to join her husband in Indonesia. Obama is either ignorant of history or engaged in a dishonest campaign to divorce his family from genocide in Indonesia that the record clearly indicates that they were involved to varying degrees in carrying out for the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administration.
Geertz’s role as a patron for Dunham Soetoro is also problematic when one considers that Geertz, who first entered Indonesia under the aegis of the Ford Foundation (and CIA)-funded Project Modjokuto in 1954. The project was conducted through the auspices of the CIA-funded Center for International Studies (CENIS) at MIT and Harvard University. Modjokoto was similar to the Pentagon’s Project Camelot in Chile in the 1960s, which represented the use of anthropologists to conduct counter-insurgency studies among various ethnic groups in countries ripe for U.S. covert intervention.
The Beals Report cites the CIA’s use of universities to carry out social science research: “There have also been disclosures of contracts involving the Central Intelligence Agency and certain U.S. universities, undertakings which appear to pose a threat to the integrity both of the universities as sponsors of social research and to the social sciences themselves.”
The Beals Report states that Camelot, funded by a contract to the Special Operations Research Office at American University, used American social scientists who attempted to enlist Chilean social scientists, to carry out “a study of the social political factors related to the possibility of internal warfare in that country.” The research was conducted some nine years before a bloody CIA-directed coup saw the assassination of democratically-elected President Salvador Allende, on September 11, 1973, and the imposition of a fascist regime under General Augusto Pinochet. The history of Obama’s mother’s involvement with anthropologists who were likely involved in Camelot may have been a factor in his failure to apologize while visiting Chile for the CIA’s involvement in the assassination of Allende and its suspected involvement in the later murder of former President Eduardo Frei Montalva. Apologies for CIA crimes do not appear to be in Obama’s political lexicon.
Modjokuto was the brainchild of the CIA’s former assistant director of research and reports, Max Millikan, and Walt W. Rostow, who would later become a national security adviser to President Johnson. Supporting Modjokuto with a view that data gleaned from the project could ultimately be used to oust President Sukarno was Frank Wisner, Sr., a top CIA clandestine services official. Modjokuto’s intentions were to transform Indonesia into a modern economic consumer-oriented nation-state, ripe for Western investment but resistant to armed insurgencies. It was a goal championed by Geertz and, later, Dunham Soetoro.
Another CIA operative who engaged in the use of anthropologists to carry out counter-insurgency campaigns was Colonel Edward Lansdale, who , in the CIA’s campaign in the Philippines against Communist Huk guerrillas, broadcast messages in Tagalog from a loudspeaker mounted on a small aircraft flying above heavy cloud layer. The Huk-controlled villages that the curses , based on local myths, being broadcast by the aircraft were messages from the gods. In fact, Lansdale obtained the local cultural information from anthropologists on the CIA’s payroll. Lansdale was later implicated in the CIA’s and Pentagon’s role in the conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy.
As Professor Price points out in his article, Millkan and Rostow were the brains behind the co-option of anthropologists and U.S. development assistance programs to carry out the war against Communism. In a 1954 CIA point paper written by Millikan and “WWR” (Walt Whitman Rostow), titled “Notes on Foreign Economic Policy,” it is stressed that . . . “free world success in seeing the underdeveloped countries through their difficult transition to self-sustaining growth would deny to Moscow and Peking the dangerous mystique that only Communism can transform underdeveloped societies.”
When Dunham Soetoro went to Indonesia in 1967 to help in the CIA’s and General Suharto’s anti-Communist “mopping up” operations, the use of anthropologists as CIA field agents had the support of McGeorge Bundy, who became the National Security Adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson and who was succeeded by Walt Rostow, one of the masterminds of Modjokuto. After leaving the White House, Bundy became the President of the Ford Foundation, the organization that laundered CIA money for Geertz’s Modjokuto work and Dunham Soetoro’s Communist targeting in post-Sukarno Indonesia.
An even darker side to the CIA’s use of anthropologists in its research was the involvement of the CIA front, the Society for the Investigation of Human Ecology and the Human Ecology Fund, in research projects that involved the study of sex, stress, and refugees. These studies, a personal favorite of CIA director Allen Dulles, involved the study of human pain, methods of persuasion, and enhanced interrogation practices. The CIA “human ecology” projects link the CIA’s MK-ULTRA, MK-NAOMI, and MK-DELTA psychological operations to field programs such as those involving both Ann Dunham and her husband, Lolo Soetoro, a participant in counter-insurgency operations in Indonesia and West Papua om the island of New Guinea. The Beal Report cites “large and unstudied” New Guinea as being “saturated” by an “increasing number of social scientists” who began encountering one another in the field.
The CIA’s money-laundering process for Obama’s mother’s anthropology field work in Indonesia and Pakistan.
President Obama’s upbringing in such an environment may explain his approval for the continued operation of the Guantanamo Bay gulag, the torture of Private First Class Bradley Manning in Quantico, and the continued operation of CIA “black sites” that are involved in the worldwide kidnapping and torture of detainees. In other words, the possible exposure of Obama to such practices at a young age may have created a “Manchurian candidate” in reverse, a president who obeys every command emanating from the top secret lairs of Langley.
WMR previously reported that Dunham Soetoro’s and Lolo Soetoro’s alma mater, the University of Hawaii, which hosted the CIA-funded East-West Center, was one of CIA director Richard Helms’ five favorite universities for “behavioral sciences” studies. Behavioral science was also of keen interest to the Rockefeller family. The Beals Report states that after President Johnson, on September 15, 1965, presented “a major new program in international education and in the communication of scholarly knowledge and thought on a broadened international basis,” the Division of Behavioral Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council formed a committee under Donald Young of Rockefeller University to advise the government on behavioral sciences research, in coordination with the Departments of Defense and State. The Rockefeller Foundation had been involved in funding a number of anthropological studies that were geared to the forced assimilation of the native Indians of northern Central America into nation states, including Guatemala and Mexico. The Rockefeller-funded program, linked to the CIA, was conducted through the “Yucatan Linguistics Surveys.”
Senator Fred Harris (D-OK) held hearings before his Subcommittee on Government Research on foreign area research in the area of behavioral studies. Committee files indicate that the “research” involved the State Department, USAID, the Peace Corps, US Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation. The Beals Report cites the National Defense Education Act as an important tool used by the Pentagon and CIA to ensure that universities succumbed to the foreign research dictates of the U.S. military and intelligence or risk losing their funding.
Dunham Soetoro’s later work for the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Indonesia and Asian Development Bank in Pakistan came at a time when developing countries were prime targets for American anthropologists who were working for entities in addition to the CIA. As Professor Price points out: “In the 1970s and 1980s, applied anthropologists found a small funding gold mine in the superpowers’ competition for clients as USAID, the World Bank, and IMF contested for the debts and loyalties of the Third World.” Contrary to the “invented” biography of Dunham Soetoro as some female version of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, Prince points out the result of the various projects funded by USAID, World Bank, and others: “Arguably, in the end, the debt created by most of these projects turns out to have had a greater societal impact than the social, health, or agricultural benefits they produced.”
Professor Price provides a summation of the actual goals of foundations, such as Ford, in their funding of projects such as those of Dunham Soetoro in Indonesia and Pakistan:
“. . . these foundations serve as intergenerational anti-devolutionary fortresses which protect large portions of amassed capital from inheritance and estate taxes – allowing family members to manage these funds, and direct research in areas of direct interest to the families and their investments.”
The chief foundations that use tax-exempt provision to push overt and covert agendas are the “Big Three” – Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller – as well as Duke and Kellogg. Price points out of the role of anthropologists in this grand design of the foundation families, “Anthropology was earning its keep as a passive player in America’s imperial braintrust.”
The Beals Report contains a paragraph that directly applies to the suspicious field work carried out in Suharto’s Indonesia by Dunham Soetoro beginning in 1967: “There are strong reasons to believe that private research organizations offering ‘systems’ approaches, but without competent social science staffs or sufficient experience with problems of foreign research, are contracting to do very large Camelot-type studies in countries where these are acceptable to U.S. Ambassadors and the host governments. Experienced personnel do not exist for research on this scale. Young, partially trained, and inexperienced people are being recruited and in some cases literally seduced by extravagant salaries. Former Peace Corps personnel are being recruited to provide local country “expertise,” an action not likely to produce proper advice, and one certain to undermine the integrity of the Peace Corps.”
Local suspicions of the activities of anthropologists in nations like Indonesia are described in the Beals Report: “Some problems are particularly acute in the so-called developing countries, especially where there is limited understanding of social science and its purposes and possible utility, or where anthropology formerly was associated with the goals and administration of colonial governments.”
In a major criticism of the CIA’s use of anthropologists abroad, the Beals Report declares: It is reported that: Agents of the intelligence branches of the United States Government, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency, have posed as anthropologists or asserted that they were doing anthropological research. When in fact they were neither qualified as anthropologists nor competent to do basic anthropological studies. Journalists and others from the United States and elsewhere have also posed as anthropologists, and even though not involved in secret intelligence work for agencies of their governments, they have, through their behavior, created difficulties for legitimate anthropologists and their research.” [It should be noted that after graduating from Columbia University in 1983, Barack Obama went to work for Business International Corporation, an entity that admitted to the use by the CIA of its journalists abroad as CIA agents under journalistic "cover."]
Beals launched a second broadside against the CIA for its use of anthropologists abroad (and appears to be a reference to those in Dunham Soetoro’s category): “It is reported that: “Some of those qualified by training to call themselves anthropologists, and representing themselves as engaged in anthropological research, have actually been affiliated with United States intelligence agencies, especially the Central Intelligence Agency. This has come about through direct employment by these agencies, or through accepting grants from certain foundations with questionable sources of income [emphasis added], or through employment by certain private research organizations. In some cases, such persons have falsely represented themselves as still being associated with universities, although their prior academic affiliations no longer existed.”
And in a third criticism of the CIA’s use of anthropologists (and another possible reference to people like Dunham Soetoro), Beals states: “It is said that: Some anthropologists, particularly younger ones, who have encountered difficulties in securing funds for legitimate research, have been approached by obscure foundations or have been offered supplementary support from such sources, only to discover later that they were expected to provide intelligence information, usually to the Central Intelligence Agency. Some anthropologists are reported to have sought such support and to have accepted commissions willingly.” Beals states that some of the foundations and “alleged foundations” could not be listed by name but could be “identified among those that do not publish balance sheets indicating the sources of their funds.” Beals adds, “a few anthropologists report that they were approached by U.S. Embassy officials in the countries where they worked, or that they were interviewed by representatives of intelligence agencies after they had returned.”
Beals concludes with two additional stark warnings about the use by U.S. intelligence of anthropologists abroad: “Although some individual anthropologists have been guilty of behavior that threatens to impair the access to foreign areas by their colleagues, the greatest dangers have actually come from contracts, actions, and projects of the United States Government and of some academic and private research organizations , even though these did not primarily involve anthropological activities.” In addition, Beals states, “in several countries of South and Central America, Africa, and Asia financing from certain United States governmental sources is suspect and in some cases completely unacceptable. These sources include such mission-oriented agencies as the Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Information Agency, and the Department of State.” One of Dunham Soetoro’s first jobs in Jakarta was one funded by the USIA – one of the suspect agencies cited in the Beals Report.
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. He has written for several renowned papers and blogs. Madsen is a regular contributor on Russia Today. He has been a frequent political and national security commentator on Fox News and has also appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and MS-NBC. Madsen has taken on Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity on their television shows. He has been invited to testifty as a witness before the US House of Representatives, the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and an terrorism investigation panel of the French government. As a U.S. Naval Officer, he managed one of the first computer security programs for the U.S. Navy. He subsequently worked for the National Security Agency, the Naval Data Automation Command, Department of State, RCA Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation. Madsen is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Association for Intelligence Officers …
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