A decade before President Obama’s mother Stanley Ann Dunham arrived with young Barack in Jakarta to push for World Bank, Ford Foundation, and Central Intelligence Agency-promoted economic solutions for the massive underdeveloped island nation, the CIA had set its sights upon two U.S.-trained Indonesians to eventually replace the leftist nationalist government of President Sukarno. When that plan failed to materialize, the CIA decided, with the help of Army Chief Suharto and his loyalists, who included Lt. Col. Lolo Soetoro, Barack Obama’s Indonesian step-father, to launch a bloody military coup in 1965.
Archived CIA files contain information on the agency’s top contenders to lead Indonesia after the hoped for ouster of Sukarno in the 1950s. One of Indonesia’s early diplomats, Soedjatmoko, known as “Koko” by his U.S. intelligence handlers, became a fixture while posted to the UN in New York, first at Lake Success and later at UN Headquarters in Manhattan, at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York and the Ford Foundation-funded and CIA-linked School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. Koko became a critic of Sukarno’s non-aligned foreign policy and domestic policies that opposed Indonesia’s exploitation by Western corporations.
Koko, while a member of Indonesia’s United Nations delegation, enrolled in Harvard’s Littauer Center for Public Administration, one of many locales for CIA recruiting operations on U.S. campuses and a center that participated in the creation of the CIA’s Office of National Estimates.
The other CIA favorite was economist Sumitro Djojohadikusumo, Both Koko and Sumitro came from Indonesia’s elite and both were members of the inaptly-named Indonesian Socialist Party (PSI), which stood much further to the right than Sukarno’s Indonesia National Party (PNI). While in New York, the CIA paired the two Indonesians off with the “Vietnam Lobby” that pushed Ngo Dinh Diem into the presidency of South Vietnam. The Vietnam Lobby, which was backed by the perennial Socialist candidate for President of the United States Norman Thomas, grouped together a number of anti-Communist Asian political movements, including the Committee for Independence of Vietnam and the India League, the latter opposed to the non-aligned policies of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Upon the independence of Indonesia in 1949, Sumitro became the Minister of Trade and Industry followed by Minister of Finance. Sumitro favored the free access by Western companies to Indonesia’s natural resources, including rubber, oil, and tin, and he particularly favored investments from Dutch firms. The Netherlands was Indonesia’s former colonial power.
Sumitro, likely at the urging of his CFR friends in New York, appointed as an official adviser to the Indonesian Finance Ministry the head of theGerman bank Deutsche Außenhandelsbank Schacht. The adviser was none other than Hjalmar Schacht, the economic brains behind Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
However, the story does not end there. Sumitro’s son, Prabowo Subinato, is contesting the recent presidential election that saw him soundly beaten by Jakarta’s populist governor, Joko Widodo. Prabowo, a former general and graduate of the Fort Benning, Georgia commando school, was also briefly married to the daughter of Suharto. Prabowo, who was responsible for carrying out heinous massacres of civilians in East Timor and West Papua, also fancies himself as an Indonesian version of Turkey’s founder and strongman Kemal Ataturk.
Obama’s family connections to Indonesia’s most ruthless political leaders, including Prabowo and Suharto, are similar to his connections with Kenya’s Odinga family, rivals of incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta. These family links pose actual conflicts-of-interest for U.S. relations with both countries.