Russian-backed Propaganda Networks Claim Obama is a CIA Agent
by CLIFF KINCAID
July 19, 2011
Wayne Madsen, a regular contributor to the Russia Today propaganda channel, has been making the rounds for a year claiming that Barack Obama or his family members have had CIA connections. Now, the American Thinker, a premier conservative news site, has taken the bait.
In a July 15 post, “The network that produced Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.,” Thomas Lifson cites an article on the site of the Claremont Institute that “raises the intriguing network of connections among President Obama’s family and programs sponsored by the CIA and a variety of fronts and associated groups…” Lifson claims a “history” by the CIA of co-opting “progressive American internationalists” and suggests this may be the case with Obama.
The allegations are that Obama and/or his parents or grandparents had affiliations with companies or foundations with alleged CIA links.
Lifson, editor and publisher of American Thinker, is described in his bio as a former academic with advanced degrees from Harvard who was a visiting professor at Columbia University and Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology.
But the Claremont piece he is promoting and which is titled, “The Chosen One,” admittedly relies on the work of “Self-styled investigative journalist Wayne Madsen,” whose “credibility is certainly checkered.”
In addition to serving as a regular on Russia Today, which recently hired suspected Russian spy Ekaterina Zatuliveter, Madsen has produced a number of scoops that don’t pass the smell test. These include that Obama was a member of a gay bath house, President Bush had an affair with Condoleezza Rice, and that Bush aide Karl Rove arranged a political assassination.
For her part, Zatuliveter is alleged to have been investigating Britain’s nuclear arsenal. Since going to work for Russia Today, she has concentrated on stories embarrassing to Britain’s conservative government.
The author of the Claremont article, Angelo M. Codevilla, has solid credentials. He is a professor of international relations at Boston University and Vice Chairman of the U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors. He wrote, The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It, with an introduction by Rush Limbaugh. He has well-established conservative credentials and a long and distinguished career that includes serving as a U.S. Senate Staff member dealing with oversight of the intelligence services.
But his article in the Claremont Review of Books about Obama includes phrases such as “if Madsen is correct” and “if he is correct.” These are big “ifs,” considering Madsen’s history of scoops that did not pan out.
Who is Wayne Madsen?
Madsen claims to be a former U.S. Naval Officer who managed one of the first computer security programs for the Navy and subsequently worked for the super-secret National Security Agency. Another bio claims that he was an executive at a Fortune 500 company.
His website features a “Boycott Israel” logo and says that he has written for The Village Voice, The Progressive, Counterpunch, Online Journal, CorpWatch, Multinational Monitor, News Insider, In These Times, and The American Conservative. The latter is associated with veteran conservative journalist Patrick J. Buchanan.
We first wrote about Madsen back in 2006, when he accused White House aide Karl Rove of having personally coordinated the assassination of a Lebanese political official, Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. In fact, U.S. and U.N. officials, acting through a special tribunal, have charged the Iranian-supported terrorist group Hezbollah with planting the 2005 car bomb that killed al-Hariri.
In another article, Madsen said President Bush himself was a member of a Christian “blood lust cult,” who “sees no other option than death for those who become his enemies” and “revels in indiscriminate blood-letting.” Madsen wrote about Bush, “He constantly ‘embeds’ himself with the military at Goebbels-like speech fests and makes constant references to God when he refers to America’s ‘victory’ in Iraq, as if God endorses his sordid killing spree.”
A supporter of the view that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were planned by elements of the U.S. Government, Madsen has claimed that Rove was “behind the campaign to ‘get’ Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney who was the first nationally-known politician to question what Bush may have known beforehand about 9/11.”
The leftist McKinney, defeated in the Democratic primary for Congress in 2002, went on to become the Green Party presidential candidate in 2008. She has recently appeared on Iranian government-funded Press TV, talking about her participation in an “anti-terrorism seminar” in Iran. Madsen has also appeared on the Iranian propaganda channel, criticizing U.S. foreign policy and the Israeli lobby.
In his most infamous scoop, Madsen was identified on the cover of the supermarket tabloid, The Globe, as the “National Security Honcho” who exposed Bush’s love affair with his National Security aide Condoleezza Rice. The cover showed a huge picture of Laura Bush with the headline, “Laura Walks Out!” Madsen was pictured in the tabloid and identified as a “Former National Security Administration official” with “explosive revelations” from “a very credible person” who of course was not named.
The Obama/CIA Story
Considered in the context of Madsen’s other stories, the claim about Obama being an agent of the CIA has all the earmarks of disinformation. The effect on a U.S. audience has clearly been to distract attention from Obama’s long history of involvement in the Communist Party-dominated progressive movement, which is now largely bankrolled by billionaire George Soros.
It is interesting to note that Madsen’s articles on Obama begin by claiming that the CIA was trying to influence Barack Obama’s father in order “to counter rising Soviet and Chinese influence among student circles and, beyond, to create conditions obstructing the emergence of independent African leaders.”
The need to counter the rise of Chinese or Soviet communism was obviously part of the mission of the CIA. But the notion that the U.S. opposed “independent African leaders” was out of the Soviet propaganda playbook that emphasized anti-American themes.
Rather than come to be associated with the CIA, which in the public mind still has a pro-American orientation, the concrete evidence of Obama’s mentorship by a member of the Communist Party, Frank Marshall Davis, suggests that foreign intelligence services are involved. The CPUSA was Moscow-controlled and funded and a known vehicle for KGB and GRU infiltration of the U.S. Government. Davis was under FBI surveillance for 17 years.
In addition to his controversial presidential appointments, such as Van Jones, a member of a communist group that made trips to Cuba, Obama made a mysterious trip to Russia in 2005, during which the Russian authorities briefly detained him and confiscated and examined Obama’s passport.
Madsen, however, is more interested in Obama’s alleged CIA connection, an interest that may be motivated by his position as a regular contributor to Russia Today television, a Moscow-funded propaganda channel that is alleged by former Soviet KGB agent Konstantin Preobrazhensky to be a front for the Russian intelligence services and a source of disinformation and propaganda. In one appearance, Madsen claimed that the U.S. has set up a “special security wing” with 1,000 agents to distance itself from any involvement in the 9/11 attacks and that it has evolved into an intelligence operation that monitors journalists and whistleblowers.
The charge that the U.S. was involved in 9/11 is a hallmark of both RT and the Arab-funded Al-Jazeera television channels.
In terms of his “investigative” stories about Obama, Madsen broke the “blockbuster report” on May 24, 2010, that Obama was a long-time member of a gay bath house in Chicago. He also said that former Obama White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel was supposed to be a member. Madsen appeared on a bizarre Internet broadcast, Revolution News, to make the same allegations.
It was later that year that Madsen “broke” the story of Obama’s alleged CIA involvement and promptly appeared on the Alex Jones radio show to discuss these “revelations.” Jones is another Russia Today TV favorite and appeared on the channel to defend Russia’s invasion of Georgia, a former Soviet republic.
As the Claremont article suggests, citing Madsen’s work, the CIA uses assets, fronts and covers. But one of the companies that is cited, a Hawaii investment firm by the name of Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham & Wong, is labeled a CIA proprietary without any hard evidence for this claim. It is further alleged that Obama’s grandmother supposedly had knowledge of this through her work at a local bank.
An examination of this firm, which went bankrupt in 1984, demonstrates that the CIA used the company to provide telephone and mailing address backstops for agents and welcomed information from the man who ran it, Ronald Rewald. But there is no evidence that the CIA ran the company. The further implication that Obama’s grandmother had knowledge of any of this is wild speculation at this point.
Like Obama, there are serious questions about Obama’s grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham. I attempted to answer some of these questions by requesting under the Freedom of Information Act his FBI file and discovered that it had disappeared—a matter covered at the time by the American Thinker and other conservative websites. But the notion that he had any substantial connection to or allegiance to the CIA is undercut by the fact that he is the one who picked Communist Party USA member Frank Marshall Davis as Barack Obama’s mentor in Hawaii.
It would be strange indeed for a CIA agent to facilitate access to Obama by a pawn of the Soviet-controlled CPUSA.
Codevilla admits that Davis was “an unrepentant Communist,” that Obama “adopted the Marxist understanding of American black resentments,” and “shielded his extensive involvement with Marxist ideas and organizations” as a presidential candidate. Yet, Codevilla suggests that Obama may somehow have been transformed into a CIA asset or tool.
If this is the case, one would have expected Obama to have exposed Davis in his book, Dreams from My Father, rather than obscuring his identity as just “Frank.”
Information that Davis was a member of the CPUSA was developed by blogger Trevor Loudon and confirmed by this writer through interviews with sources in Hawaii. I later obtained the 600-page FBI file on Davis, cited extensively in Paul Kengor’s important book, Dupes.
The strenuous effort by Obama aides during the 2008 campaign to suppress this information—by claiming, for instance, that Davis was just a civil rights activist and that his influence on Obama was minimal—suggests that the truth that is truly embarrassing to this administration lies in the President’s connections to an international communist network, not the CIA. Indeed, the CIA allegation against Obama is almost laughable.
Nevertheless, Codevilla insinuates that Obama may have been involved with the CIA through statements such as, “By the 1970s, the people whom CIA had endowed with money and prominence in American domestic life as part of its covert action abroad were grinding their ideological distinctions against one another while engaging in ‘community organizing’ here in America.” The implication is that Obama, a one-time community organizer in Chicago, is one of them. But no hard evidence is provided.
Codevilla writes about “factions and organizations” in American society supposedly under CIA influence which were left-wing and which “bid for recruits.” He then adds, “Young Barry Obama was one of those who affiliated pretty much with the leftward-most among them.”
On his website, Madsen plays down Codevilla’s own doubts about Madsen’s credibility and is now calling the Codevilla report “major confirmation of Obama’s agency links by an intelligence insider.” It is hardly that.
While the CIA has its share of liberals and internationalists, and a faction of the agency was even suspected of engineering covert political action against the George W. Bush presidency because of opposition to the invasion of Iraq, there is no evidence that the CIA is manipulating Obama. In fact, Obama’s pick of former left-wing Congressman Leon Panetta, first as CIA director and now as Secretary of Defense, is evidence that Obama is doing the manipulating.
As we have documented, Panetta had deep ties to the “progressives” in Santa Cruz, California, including Communist Party member Hugh DeLacy. DeLacy was officially exposed as a communist by John Abt, a CPUSA lawyer and member of the Harold Ware communist network that included Whittaker Chambers, who broke with the communists and testified against them, resulting in the conviction of State Department official Alger Hiss for perjury. Correspondence in the DeLacy archives, uncovered by Trevor Loudon, shows that DeLacy himself had ties to Chinese and Soviet intelligence agents.
Caroline May of The Daily Caller broke a real story about what is going on at the CIA when she recently exposed the fact that the agency under Panetta has been making accommodations with the homosexual community to such an extent that it is co-sponsoring a summit on homosexual military issues in September. The CIA once barred homosexuals from employment because of the fear they could be blackmailed by hostile intelligence services.
The timing is bizarre since Bradley Manning, the Army soldier suspected as the main source in the WikiLeaks scandal, has been exposed as a homosexual. The case stands as further evidence that people with sexual identity problems cannot be trusted with classified information or knowledge of state secrets.
Unlike the Madsen story about Obama being a member of a gay bath house, The Daily Caller story about the CIA’s collaboration with homosexual rights groups such as the Human Rights Campaign was confirmed by the CIA itself. Marie Harf, CIA spokesman, told the publication, “Promoting diversity within the CIA’s ranks—in its many forms—is a top priority for the Agency.”
Clearly, the CIA has been changing. It is hardly the anti-communist covert action and research agency it was during the Cold War. So claims about Obama being involved with the CIA only serve to distract attention from what is really going on in the agency.
The claim that Obama is somehow tied up with the CIA, either personally or through his family members, also diverts attention away from how the Russians as well as the Chinese are working to influence U.S. foreign policy and infiltrate the American foreign policy establishment.
The Obama Administration is withdrawing from both Iraq and Afghanistan and is now openly working with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that claims Al-Jazeera as its propaganda channel and is dedicated to America’s destruction. Pakistan, once a U.S. ally, is now embracing China and Iran. And Russia is ecstatic over the new arms treaty with the U.S. and Obama’s opposition to U.S. missile defense. China is suspected in the recent theft of 24,000 sensitive files from a defense contractor.
Regarding this ominous development, Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn, III says that the cyber attacks involve “our most sensitive systems, including aircraft avionics, surveillance technologies, satellite communications systems, and network security protocols. The cyber exploitation being perpetrated against the defense industry cuts across a wide swath of crucial military hardware, extending from missile tracking systems and satellite navigation devices to UAVs and the Joint Strike Fighter.”
The Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35, is supposed to be the successor to the F-22 Raptor, which was cancelled by Obama.
The LaRouche Connection
Madsen has turned up as a reliable source for Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), a publication associated with political extremist and convicted criminal Lyndon LaRouche. EIR calls Madsen a “former U.S. Naval Intelligence Officer” in a report in which he claims that “certain members of the U.S. intelligence and military communities” had an indirect role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
The LaRouche group originally came out of the Marxist left and the Students for a Democratic Society at Columbia University, with LaRouche once describing his network in a 1976 lecture, “What Only Communists Know,” as working to bring into being “a new Marxist international.”
Regarded as pro-Soviet during the Cold War, the LaRouche group came to the defense of Iraq before the first Persian Gulf War, running a piece entitled “Why we must support Iraq.” LaRouche said Saddam Hussein was committed to transforming the Arab world through “scientific and technological progress.” LaRouche, who appeared on Russia Today television earlier this year to claim that the British were interfering in Egypt’s revolution, appeared on Al-Jazeera as a special guest and is believed to have been one of the first to insist that the U.S. and Israeli governments were behind 9/11.
Interestingly, a former LaRouche operative by the name of Webster Tarpley has also been making the claim that Obama or family members had CIA connections. He wrote in his 2008 book on Obama that “…it is quite possible that the spirit of the CIA hovered over candidate Obama’s parents at the time of their wedding, if there was one.”
Tarpley insisted that unnamed “right-wing commentators” were wrong to insist that that Obama and his former associates, such as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, were “seeking to carry out the revolutionary program of Karl Marx.” In fact, he argued, they were all dupes of “certain key parts of the US intelligence community.”
Like Madsen, Tarpley is a regular on Russia Today television.
Tarpley is a proponent of the theory that a faction of the U.S. Government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks and has written a book on the topic, 9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in the USA. Like Madsen, he appears on Iranian-funded Press TV.
The Anti-Imperialist Struggle
Tarpley is also a contributor to the Voltaire Network, founded by the French left-wing activist Thierry Meyssan, who recently made an appearance on Russia Today to argue that the NATO-led intervention in Libya and the unrest in Syria are “steps in a decades-long plan by the US and its allies to completely reshape the face of Africa…” Meyssan hails Russia for preventing the overthrow of the al-Assad regime in Syria.
Historically, Libya and Syria have been Soviet client states aligned with the most radical forces in the Arab world.
Meyssan was invited to Moscow to appear on “the top three political shows on Russian television to present his analysis on the insurrections in the Arab world,” his website proudly announced.
Meyssan described his network and its “Axis for Peace” project as aimed at “initiating a dialogue between world political leaders and intellectuals who want to reach a common understanding and strategy against imperialism and Zionism.”
His books in English include 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate, which argue that Muslims were unfairly blamed for the terrorist attacks.
An “Axis for Peace” conference was held in 2005 and was newsworthy not only for the speakers and topics but who covered it. The conference was covered by Russia Today; TeleSur, the television channel of the Hugo Chavez regime in Venezuela; and Al-Jazeera, the voice of Arab terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Support for the conference in the U.S. came from American Free Press, which claims to be exposing the likes of George Soros but which features interviews with such figures as anti-Israel activist Medea Benjamin as she boarded the Gaza Flotilla to support the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
The conference final declaration read like something written in Moscow. It denounced those who “propagate theories of an international Muslim plot and fuel conflicts between civilizations” and went on to praise the Russian role in global affairs. “We salute the mediation of Russia who stands by the application of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and the presumption of innocence in international relations,” it said. “We call upon the UN General Assembly to support Russia’s efforts in favor of the re-establishment of a multilateral dialogue; to support its strong stance against financing terrorism, double standards in international politics and the interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states.”
Not surprisingly, the Wayne Madsen articles on Obama’s alleged involvement with the CIA surface on the website of Meyssan’s Voltaire network, which means that the Russians are more than happy to spread the notion that the American President is under the influence of the CIA.
*This article is a Special Project of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism.