Monday, August 22, 2011

Obama's trail of discarded friends



By Wayne Madsen

WMR has discovered that President Obama has viewed the low-budget, fast-tracked production film produced in Indonesia, "Little Obama," released in the Indonesian language last year in Jakarta and due for general release in the United States next year, just in time for the presidential campaign.

However, some of the characters portrayed in the movie have not seen their lives improve as a result of their old friend acceding to the highest political office in the United States. When Obama was 9-years old, his "nanny," an Indonesian named Turdi [like many Indonesians, Turdi uses a single name], saw to Obama's every need: cooking his meals, taking him to the Menteng state elementary school, washing his clothes, and for three-and-a-half months sharing a bedroom with him.  Although Turdi was 19-old at the time he shared a bedroom at the Menteng Dalam house with 9-year old Obama and took care of his needs, WMR has been told that such an arrangement is not unusual according to Indonesian standards. However, in the United States, a 9-year old boy sharing a bedroom with a male 19-year old gay transvestite might raise eyebrows in even the most liberal of neighborhoods.

Lia Sobah

There is also the curious case of Lia Sobah, who claimed to have been adopted by Obama's Indonesian step-father Lolo Soetoro and his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. Lia claimed to have the last name of Soetoro and said she grew up with Obama. WMR has learned, from sources close to the Soetoro family when Obama lived in Jakarta, that Lia was the daughter of the Obama household maid.  Indonesian families often unofficially "adopt" the children of their house maids as their own, sometimes providing them with money for education and other necessities such as clothing.

As previously reported by WMR, Lia was invited to the January 20, 2009 inauguration of Obama in Washington but she did not attend. Maya Soetoro-Ng, Obama's half-sister, the daughter of Lolo and Stanley Ann, criticized Lia as a charlatan trying to gain fame by claiming a relationship with Obama. In fact, Lia was the daughter of the Soetoro's family's maid and was, like many in her category then and now, unofficially "adopted" as one of the Soetoro family members. However, in the case of Barry Soetori, who is now known as Barack Obama, the adoption by Lolo was much more formal and Obama was enrolled in two Indonesian schools, one public and the other Catholic parochial, which means he had to have been an Indonesian citizen to gain admission, according to Indonesian laws promulgated in 1958 uner President Sukarno and re-asserted by President Suharto after he came to power in a CIA-inspired coup d'etat in 1965. Obama lived and went to school in Jakarta from 1967 to 1971.

WMR has also learned more on the military career of Lolo Soetoro. Soetoro attended the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii but was recalled to Indonesia by the Army, then under the command of Suharto, in May 1965 to help prepare for the September coup by Suharto against Sukarno. At the time of his attendance at the East-West Center, where he met and later married Stanley Ann after her divorce from Barack H. Obama, Sr. in 1964, Soetoro was a lieutenant in the Indonesian Army. After his return to Indonesia and the coup against Sukarno, Lolo rose rapidly through the ranks, ultimately achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After leaving the Army, Lolo was hired into the Indonesian oil industry, where, among other companies, he worked for Mobil Oil.

WMR has learned from Indonesians who knew Lolo Soetoro at the time that there was a widespread belief among many Indonesians that Lolo was trained for the coup and follow-on assignments by the CIA while at the East-West Center.  Stanley Ann's employment by Indonesian and international non-governmental organizations like the Ford Foundation (where her boss in New York was Peter Geithner, father of current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner) as well as the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is contrasted by general Indonesian suspicion of white foreigners, known as "bule" in Bahasa Indonesian. In addition, among Sukarno's last acts of defiance against the West was his expulsion of the USAID, US Peace Corps, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and World Bank from Indonesia. For Stanley Ann to have been propelled into the inner workings of Indonesian and foreign NGOs so soon after Sukarno's anti-foreign influence campaign and the 1965 coup that ousted him suggests that Stanley Ann had powerful benefactors and handlers in the U.S. and Suharto governments.

There is also the odd situation of Lolo moving from a house that he owned near the St. Fransiskus school, where Obama attended grades one through three, to a smaller rental home in Menteng, where Obama lived while attending the Menteng Elementary School and where he attended grades four and five. There is some evidence that the CIA moved Lolo to a house they owned to provide better security for Lolo and Stanley Ann, both of whom were important in the post-coup village and rural area "pacification" progem to root out Communist cadres, a program called Project PROSYM, which had a counterpart in South Vietnam called PHOENIX.

The house near the Catholic school, while surrounded by a wall, offered limited security and abutted other houses. However, the detached house in Menteng Dalam, where the Soetoros moved, offered enhanced security, including a fence line and gate where security guards could be posted with an adequate security perimeter to the residence.

Left: Obama's first house, owned by Lolo Soetoro, offered only limited security. Right: the rental house that Soetoro moved to, and may have been provided by the CIA, offered enhanced security.

While Barry Soetoro went on to bigger and better things, the same cannot be said for Obama's friends in Indonesia. Lia died suddenly from a heart attack in 2010 after being reduced to selling grass in her town in West Java. Lia died very poor and virtually unrecognized by Obama.

Turdi, who is now 60, has changed his name to the woman's name of Evi and has moved outside of Jakarta to a smaller village in Java. Turdi/Evi, who remains openly gay, is very poor. A classmate of Obama blames Barry Soetoro for abandoning him after he suffered a serious bicycle accident. The injuries sustained in the accident, which may not have been as serious had the classmate received immediate medical attention, resulted in the man being rejected for military service and a career in the Indonesian armed forces. The man, who is now Obama's age, jokingly said that he ought to "sue Obama" for leaving him unaided and injured at the scene of the accident.

And for British actress, Cara Lachelle, who played the role of Stanley Ann Soetoro in "Little Obama," the co-starring performance did not prevent her from being arrested by Indonesian authorities for possession of marijuana. She is now serving a minimum six-month sentence in an Indonesian prison.

There is something else very apparent with those who are still alive, as well as those recently passed away, who knew the Soetoro family during the late 1960s and early 1970s. There is a fear about talking about what they knew about the Soetoros. It is clear that whatever parties swept through Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia looking for those who knew the Soetoros caused them to fear anyone, especially "bule," who ask questions about Barry, Lolo, and Stanley Ann Soetoro. In January 2008, State Department contractors working for The Analysis Corporation, a CIA contractor firm headed by one-time CIA counter-terrorism and rendition and torture architect John O. Brennan, rifled through Obama's passport files at the State Department. Brennan now serves as Obama's Deputy Director of National Security for Counter-terrorism. If Brennan utilized his old CIA torture and rendition colleagues to sweep through Indonesia looking for those who knew the Soetoros, there is little wonder why so many Indonesians who encountered  the Family Soetoro decades ago are afraid to talk to this day.

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