The Unauthorized Biography of Barack Obama

unauthorized biography

The Unauthorized Biography of Barack H Obama

by Webster Tarpley

Progressive Press (2008)

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Book Review

Published in the lead-up to the 2008 election, Tarpley’s unauthorized biography of candidate Obama makes some uncanny predictions about his administration’s pro-corporate and pro-war policies. While some aspects of the book are purely speculative – namely those related to Obama’s psychological make-up – Tarpley raises important concerns about Obama’s background which still haven’t received the public attention they deserve.

Tarpley was one of the very first to publicize the extensive links Obama’s family had with the CIA, as well as his early grooming for the presidency – starting at Columbia University under the tutelage of Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Bzrezinski.

Obama’s CIA Career

Following his graduation from Harvard Law School, Obama himself went to work for a CIA front company called Business International Corporation (the New York Times exposed BIC as a CIA front company on 12/27/77). Tarpley cites former Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) leader Carl Oglesby (writing in Ravens in the Storm) that BIC’s main goal was to infiltrate student and leftist groups.

After leaving BIC, Obama became a civil rights lawyer and so-called “community organizer.” In actuality, he served on the board of a number of “progressive” foundations like the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC). Tarpley, who examines the funding and specific activities of these foundations, questions the genuineness of their progressive credentials. All the evidence suggests they actually played a “gatekeeper” or “counterinsurgency” function similar to the programs McGeorge Bundy pioneered as head of the Ford Foundation.

Obama and the Agenda to Privatize Chicago Schools

In fact CAC itself, where Obama was a board member for six years (three years as chair), appears to have replicated Bundy’s 19968 strategy to pit minority boards (in Chicago they were called Local School Councils) against the New York City teachers unions. As Tarpley discovered, the campaign to give LSC’s the power to fire teachers and school principals was championed – not by grassroots minorities – but by business interests headed by Thomas Ayers.

Ayers, by coincidence, happens to be the father of Obama’s pal the former Weather Underground “terrorist” Bill Ayers. Ayers senior has impeccable corporate credentials, which include heading Commonwealth Edison for seven years in the seventies and serving on the board of General Dynamics, Searle, Chico Pacific, Zenith, Northwest Industries, First National Bank of Chicago and the Chicago Tribute.

This may possibly explain his son Bill’s “magical ability” to secure foundation funding. Ayers wrote the grant to secure Annenberg funding for CAC, and he credits himself as one of its co-founders.

By Obama’s own admission, the project on which CAC spent $100 million was unsuccessful in improving the education achievement of black students. What the CAC did accomplish, very successfully, was to drive a wedge between minority parents and the teachers unions, when they could have united to block extensive federal and state education cutbacks. It also threw Chicago schools into such chaos they became ripe for school privatization efforts (ie creation of private Charter schools), championed by the same elite business lobby that pushed through the 1988 School Reform Act. The latter created the LSCs, which ultimately laid the groundwork for former White House staffer Ron Emanuel to close 49 Chicago public schools in favor of private charter schools.

Bill Ayers: the Bomb Making Terrorist

As Tarpley points out, this raises the tricky question of how Bill Ayers transformed himself from a bomb making terrorist to a tenured Professor of education at the University of Illinois-Chicago and a pre-eminent education reformer. Tarpley and others allege the Weather Underground was actually a US intelligence creation, formed with the specific objective of infiltrating and shutting down SDS. This view is substantiated by FBI documents that came to light in 1973 reveling the role of agent provocateurs in instigating much of the violence attributed to the Weathermen – evidence Ayers used to have his own weapons and bomb-making charges dismissed.

Considerable circumstantial evidence supports these allegations. First is the striking “coincidence” that many of the Weather Underground leadership were, like Ayers, the sons and daughters of wealthy members of the corporate elite. Second is the report of former SDS members that the Weathermen, who did no fundraising to speak of, appeared to have unlimited funds to spend on organizing and military-style training. Third are their classic (successful) Cointelpro-style schemes to undermine. And last is the troubling question of how Bill Ayers can openly brag about his terrorist activities in his 2002 book Fugitive Days – and instead of the facing the death penalty for conspiracy to commit murder, enjoy status and privilege as a tenured professor of education.