Barack Obama’s Father Identified as CIA Asset in U.S. Drive to “Recolonize” Africa During Early Days of the Cold War

<Dirty Work 2: The CIA in Africa: Stuart Inc, Lyle: 9780905762814: Books[Source:]

By Gerald Horne

Covert Action Magazine

Over the last decade, the U.S. has been quietly expanding its covert intelligence empire in Africa as part of a growing geopolitical rivalry with China.

A new book published by Susan Williams, entitled White Malice: The CIA and the Covert Recolonization of Africa, reminds us that the likely consequences will be disastrous.

Williams’s book updates an earlier study edited by Philip Agee, Ellen Ray, William Schaap and Louis Wolf, entitled Dirty Work 2: The CIA in Africa.

She focuses mostly on the ties between Ghana and the Congo roughly between 1957 and the coup in Accra in 1966, and the close relationship between early paramount leaders Kwame Nkrumah and the assassinated Patrice Lumumba; however, she manages to cover other hotspots as well.

The deep CIA penetration of Africa was evident in the Agency’s apparent recruitment of Barack Obama Sr., a protégé of Tom Mboya, an anticommunist, pro-capitalist Luo from Kenya who had served as the African representative of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICTFU), which received covert CIA funding through the AFL-CIO. The U.S. was trying to groom Mboya as a replacement for Kenya’s first Prime Minister Jomo Kenyatta, who was perceived as more left-wing. (for more details, see Gerald Horne, Mau Mau in Harlem: The U.S. and the Liberation of Kenya. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2009). Obama was brought to the University of Hawaii in an exchange and then studied economics at Harvard, though his career floundered when Mboya was assassinated in 1969.
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Barack Obama Sr Source: Wikipedia

Williams notes that the CIA generally specialized in “assassination, overthrowing elected governments, sowing conflict between political groups and bribing politicians, trade unionists and national representatives at the UN,” all clandestine and coercive strategies that were applied in Africa. Other strategies took the form of soft power initiatives; the secret sponsorship and infiltration of educational facilities, artistic endeavors, literature and Africa-focused organizations.” [465]

“Covert action of any sort, said Frank Church, the Idaho Democrat who chaired the Senate Select Committee investigation into the abuses of the CIA, was nothing more than ‘a semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies’—and worse.” [475]

Still, despite the revelations emerging from this senatorial investigation, the author reprimands the “narrow focus” of this body which “largely neglected CIA operations elsewhere in Africa,” beyond Congo. This body’s findings also “were weakened by its reliance on the testimony of CIA officials.” [506]

The industrious author mines archives in Austria, Belgium, Ghana, The Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Britain, the United Nations and, of course, the U.S., outstripping the 1970s’ congressional investigation. [527-528]

Still, she argues accurately that “the files released in 2017-18 under the JFK Assassination Records Collection Act contain a wealth of information that is not available elsewhere…but they are heavily redacted.” [420] Nonetheless, President Biden has postponed further releases—for the time being.

Kwame Nkrumah, first leader of independent Ghana in 1957, had studied in the U.S. “between 1935 and 1945,” principally at historically Black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. [15]

There he became acquainted with leaders of the Left, including W.E.B. Du Bois and his spouse, Shirley Graham Du Bois, along with actor-activist Paul Robeson, whom he invited to Accra to serve as a professor by 1962.

Although the foregoing leaders played a sterling role in forging solidarity, the same cannot be said for all of the hundreds of “American Africans,” to use the descriptor applied to them. Franklin Williams, a former NAACP leader, was U.S. envoy to Ghana in 1966 when Nkrumah was overthrown and he was widely suspected of complicity. [495] Pauli Murray, a justifiable heroine of the anti-Jim Crow movement in the U.S., was considered by a leading scholar of Ghana to be “something more than an unwitting asset” of U.S. imperialism. [190]


The author also points the finger of accusation at Horace Mann Bond, father of yet another civil rights hero: Julian Bond. [58] Intellectuals, e.g., novelist Richard Wright and Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, were apparent unwitting tools of the CIA. [62, 64].

She manages to include Barack Obama, Sr., in this circle of iniquity (though she has him arriving in 1962 on these shores although the president was born in 1961). [206]



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12 thoughts on “Barack Obama’s Father Identified as CIA Asset in U.S. Drive to “Recolonize” Africa During Early Days of the Cold War

  1. “The Clandestine Birth of the Boy from Brazil


    Barack Obama II is allegedly a seed of a native Kenyan, Barack Obama, Sr. and an American woman, Stanley Ann Dunham, with Scottish-Gaelic roots. Yet, there is little or no evidence that they ever lived together as husband and wife to procreate a child. The above photo of Obama, Sr. and Stanley Ann was taken at the international airport in Hawaii around Christmas 1971.

    In fact, when Obama, Sr. arrived in Hawaii to attend the University of Hawaii; he was greeted by a contingent of U.S. Naval personnel and Stanley Armour Dunham, Stanley Ann’s father. A national security analyst contends that the CIA might well have assigned Dunham to keep an eye on Obama. In other words, “Grams” Dunham had been Barack Obama, Sr.’s CIA handler.[6]”


  2. The last decade?! When I was working with the ANC in Zambia in the 1980s, both the UK and the US were involved in surveillance and penetration of the ANC and SWAPO (South West Africa Peoples Org). And later, in South Africa, both the Dems and Republicans were penetrating the ANC’s election campaign but perhaps the biggest interference and control of the ANC, came from the BRITISH LABOUR PARTY, headed by Tony Blair. In fact, I would assert that it was the Labour government, that turned the ANC away from a progressive post-apartheid South Africa, most probably by ‘turning’ Thabo Mbeki who succeeded ‘The Old Man’ as prez.


  3. You worked with the ANC, Bill? How fascinating. I think she means the last decade has been mainly focused on thwarting Chinese economic expansion in Africa. Towards the end of the article, she talks more about the motivations of the 1960s, mainly extending economic imperialism when formal European colonization ended.


  4. Sorry for the pronoun confusion. I was thinking of the book and wasn’t sure if Horne was speaking for himself or quoting Ellen Ray. I think China’s African involvement in the 50s and 60s.took a different form (ie political subversion) than it does now (mainly loans and direct investment). I think the latter is far more threatening to Wall Street interests.


    • Well of course! China in the 50s and 60s, was a whole other ballgame. An aunt of mine spent 3 months touring China in the 50s as a guest of the Party and hung out with the Chairman. I find it difficult to cast myself back into that analogue universe, unfortunately.


  5. Pingback: Barack Obama’s Father Identified as CIA Asset in U.S. Drive to “Recolonize” Africa During Early Days of the Cold War – La Voix De La Libye

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