This is the third article in a series that looks at some passport records related to Stanley Ann Dunham Obama Soetoro (Ann), with special emphasis on an application she made to renew her passport in August 1968. In part two, we determined that it’s likely that Ann did have a passport that predated the passport she was renewing. Since her then-current passport was issued in July 1965, if she had a preexisting passport, then that passport may have been issued in July 1960, right after Ann allegedly graduated from high school and around the time that her family moved to Hawaii. It’s also possible, however, that the earlier passport had been issued in July 1962, provided that she didn’t extend the expiration date for another two years.
We also looked more closely at instructions on the passport renewal form that required Ann to attach an explanation if any child included on her passport already, or to be included in the future, had naturalized in a foreign state, had sought or claimed the benefits of the nationality of a foreign state, or had formally renounced U.S. citizenship. We determined that at least one, if not all, of these criteria were met by her son Barry, particularly because he attended public school in Indonesia–something that required Indonesian citizenship. Thus Barry had sought and claimed benefits of Indonesian nationality.
It’s important to remember that dual citizenship was not allowed in Indonesia. At least one Indonesian informant stated that Barry would have been required to “revoke” his U.S. citizenship before he could attend school and that he also had to carry an SKBRI–an identity card for Indonesians of foreign descent, especially considering that he was listed at both schools as an Indonesian citizen. [Note: Since being cited in part two, the comment by “zhou tay” has been scrubbed. This link currently contains a similar comment by “zhou tay”.]
Part two ended with a question: Who is Soebarkah? Next, we’ll try to figure out the answer to that question.
Proceeding with an in-depth analysis of the papers, look closely at the back side of Ann’s passport renewal application, which is seen at the top of this post. Under the section relating to Ann’s spouse, she wrote “Indo” where she was supposed to write the passport number belonging to her husband Lolo Soetoro. We can assume that Ann was indicating that Lolo had an Indonesian passport and that he was not included on her U.S. passport. Under the section relating to Ann’s children, she wrote two names:
Barack Hussein Obama and Soebarkah.
We can assume that Soebarkah is a name, because it was listed in the box for names, but also because when the word subarkah (the current spelling for soebarkah) is run through Google Translate, without indicating language and without capitalization, the program recognizes the Indonesian language and does not translate the meaning, but returns the word Subarkah, capitalized, as a proper noun. Subarkah, and its variant Soebarkah, are common Indonesian surnames. In fact, one of Suharto’s pallbearers was Lt. Colonel Asep Subarkah.
In 1972, Indonesia officially changed the spelling of the vowel sound from the Dutch oe to the Indonesian u. We have already observed that Ann used the surname Soetoro but later spelled it Sutoro. Soetoro was the Dutch spelling. Sutoro became the new Indonesian spelling. Similarly, what once was the country of Soematra is now Sumatra.
The instructions above that section of the form read,
AMEND TO INCLUDE (EXCLUDE) CHILDREN
In the boxes below, Ann was to list the names of the children to be included or excluded, each child’s current residence, and each child’s birthplace and birth date. She entered only the two names, Barack Hussein Obama and Soebarkah, the latter of which was written inside parentheses.
Then both names were crossed out. In other words, both names were “struck out.” Referring back to the front side of that same page, the following instructions applied if any child already included or to be included on her passport had naturalized in a foreign state, claimed benefits of foreign nationality, or renounced U.S. citizenship. If any of those stipulations applied to Ann
OR to any other person included in the passport or documentation, the portion which applies should be struck out …
So what can we conclude from this? Good question.
First, she did not sign or date the second page of the form, nor did any consular officer provide an opinion or signature. She listed names only, no residences, no birthplaces, no birth dates. A group photo is supposed to be attached, if there is a child or children included on the passport. There is no photo. No documentary evidence is listed as having been submitted, seen, or returned by any consular officer. Nothing indicates that the case was referred to the U.S. Department of State for some sort of action.
We’re going to assume that this page does indeed represent the reverse side of the renewal application of August 1968 because it is the second page of the similarly-identified form (Form 7-64 SS-299); it follows immediately after the first page of the same form; and it appears as if the person responding to the FOIA request numbered the individual papers in chronological order (P1, P2, P3, etc.), but only on the front side of each paper. In other words, the papers themselves were numbered and both sides were scanned, but the reverse sides were not hand-numbered. (See here, for clarification.)
This page of the application clearly indicates an attempt to renew and amend Ann’s passport. Did she in fact amend the passport? That is another mystery yet to be solved.
Perhaps for the purposes of a renewal and considering the instructions on the front of the page–which speak of striking out the “portion” that applies to a child under certain circumstances–her signature on the front side is sufficient to achieve the purpose of apprising the U.S. government of Barack/Soebarkah’s new status.
Consider again the title/instruction: Amend to include (exclude) children.
Does this mean that when a child is to be added to the passport, the child’s name is written in the box provided, along with other details (residence, birthplace, date of birth); but when a child already on the passport is to be excluded, then the child’s name is written within parentheses?
Others have assumed that the name Soebarkah was written in parentheses to explain or somehow indicate that Soebarkah was another surname for Barack Hussein Obama. In this scenario, the name Soebarkah was put in parentheses in the same way that one puts a woman’s maiden name in parentheses. For example, Stanley Ann (Dunham) Soetoro. In other words, the parentheses serve to indicate that what is inside is meant to supply more information or exists for the purpose of clarification. However, it may not be that simple.
Amend to include (exclude) children
Does the word exclude sit inside parentheses simply to clarify the title of that section, or is it in parentheses to illustrate how the names are to be listed on the form?
If the name is not in parentheses, then the intent is to INCLUDE that person.
If a name is within parentheses, then the intent is to EXCLUDE that person.
If that’s not the function of the parentheses, then where and how, on that form, would a parent indicate which person is to be included versus which person is to be excluded? Were the consular employees simply expected to deduce intent from what’s included within the rest of the file?
Did Ann write Barack Hussein Obama on the form to indicate a desire to include him on her passport? If so, then she should have included a photograph of him, with herself; but there’s no photo and nothing seems to indicate that any photo was ever stapled to the form.
Did Ann write Soebarkah on the form to indicate a desire to exclude him (or her) from her passport, which presupposes that a person by that name already is included on her passport?
By striking out the names, was Ann indicating that Barack Hussein Obama and/or Soebarkah had naturalized in Indonesia, accepted benefits of Indonesian nationality, and/or renounced U.S. citizenship? If so, then there ought to have been supporting documentation submitted to the consular office. So where is it?
If any explanation or supplementary information was supplied, it’s not indicated on the form itself, nor was any included in the release under the FOIA request. Was it withheld to protect the “privacy” of Barack Hussein Obama and/or Soebarkah? If so, then it seems that fact should be indicated in the letter to the requester, in the same way the letter “explained” the absence of any pre-1965 passport applications for Ann.
Note the date of that letter: July 29, 2010. Coincidentally, the letter sent in response to a FOIA request for Lolo Soetoro’s INS records, carried the same date (h/t Papoose), even though different government departments handled the requests, the requesters were different individuals, the cases had two different numbers, and the authors of the letters were different government officials. This certainly suggests coordination from a central location, perhaps through the White House, which required all requests concerning “White House equities” to come to them first. Note also that the letter about Ann’s passport refers to the renewal request of 1968 as an “amendment”, even though it’s clearly checked off as a renewal. Was that a Freudian slip? What exactly was amended?
Was Barack Hussein Obama added to Ann’s passport and was Soebarkah excluded?
As it turns out, there’s disagreement in the literature over for how long a passport remained valid in the Sixties. One source said 5 years; another said 3 years with an option to renew for another 2 years. The latter appears to be the case. Passport laws were changed in 1959 and again on July 26, 1968; new rules went into effect 30 days after July 26, 1968, which may explain why Ann was renewing her passport and why the renewal extended the expiration date only until July 1970.
Were there two different children? Was Soebarkah on her passport prior to August 1968? Or was Ann trying to change the name of the child who was already on her passport to Barack Hussein Obama from Soebarkah? If so, then why? Was she beginning the initial stages of a plan to eventually send Barry to Hawaii to be reared by her mother, as Barack Hussein Obama?
Barry’s school records, the only records we have seen for him from his time in Indonesia, say that he went by the name Barry Soetoro, not Obama, not Soebarkah. So who is Soebarkah? Was Barry Soetoro also Soebarkah?
If so, that may explain why no photo was supplied–there was already one on file for him. Yet the instructions clearly state that photos must have been taken within 2 years of the application. If Barry was Soebarkah, and he was added to Ann’s passport at the time she originally obtained it, in July 1965, then their photo would be out of date by August 1968 and a new photo would be required, if she intended for him to remain on her passport under either name.
That is, unless other amendments to the passport were made and those records have been suppressed, without advising the public that documents were withheld by the government for privacy reasons (or because they were lost, or eaten by bugs, or ruined by floods, or destroyed, or “cauterized”).
Did Barry travel to Indonesia on his mother’s passport under the name Soebarkah? If Soebarkah was not Barry, then who was Soebarkah?
If Barry was not Soebarkah and if Barry did not travel to Indonesia on his mother’s passport under the name Barack Hussein Obama, then how did he get to Indonesia? If she was trying to add Barack Hussein Obama to her passport in August 1968, then he was not already on her passport at that time. So then who was Soebarkah, and was Soebarkah already on her passport?
Ann and Barry had arrived in Indonesia in October 1967, less than a year before Ann renewed her 1965 passport. On what passport did Barry travel to Indonesia?
Lolo Soetoro had his own passport, according to his wife’s renewal application–an Indonesian passport. If Barack Hussein Obama did not travel to Indonesia on his mother’s passport, then did he travel there on Lolo’s passport, as his son?
It seems unlikely that Barack Hussein Obama would be listed on Lolo’s passport. That’s not an Indonesian name and if Lolo adopted him, he would have likely given him an Indonesian name, such as Barry Soetoro or Soebarkah. (See part two for more details about these topics.)
Did Barry have his own passport? It seems unlikely, unless it was an Indonesian passport, perhaps a recently obtained one under the name Soebarkah (or Barry Soetoro).
There seems to be a consensus among some researchers (Chase, WND, e.g.) that Ann was seeking to exclude Barry (by any name) from her passport, which presupposes that he was already on her passport in August 1968 and probably traveled to Indonesia on that passport the year before.
If so, this raises the possibility that Ann was required to renew her passport–because of the changing law or because it would soon expire–but she couldn’t keep Barry on her passport because he had failed one or more of the tests listed above: He’d naturalized in Indonesia and/or renounced his U.S. citizenship, and he also may have claimed benefits of Indonesian nationality, depending upon whether or not his education at the Catholic school in 1968 was somehow sanctioned, funded, or overseen by the Indonesian government.
If all she was doing via this amendment was taking Barry (aka Soebarkah) off her passport, then there would be no need to provide a group photo. There would be no need, perhaps, to supply the residence, birthplace, or birth date. There may have been a requirement to submit documentation explaining why he was being dropped, but maybe not. Perhaps the requirement for the explanatory statement under oath applied only if the person was to remain on her passport. This act, however, would leave Barry without a passport upon which to travel; as we have seen, he traveled extensively, so we’re back to the question of what passport Barry used throughout his life when he traveled back and forth to Indonesia, to Kenya, to the UK, to Pakistan, to Paris, and elsewhere.
Some pro-Obama true believers point to a memo in Lolo Soetoro’s INS records (p. 48) in which officials questioned Barry’s citizenship status and asked for clarification of Barry’s precise relationship to Lolo. Officials apparently determined (somehow) that Barry was a U.S. citizen (at that time) and was technically considered to be Lolo’s stepson because Lolo was married to Barry’s mother. A marriage certificate was included, but there was no document within the released file, such as a birth certificate, that explains how officials decided that Barry was born in Hawaii, and so, on that basis alone, was a U.S. citizen. His mother’s citizenship was not mentioned as a factor to qualify Barry as a U.S. citizen.
Pro-Obama true believers postulate that in August 1968, Ann must have been removing Barry from her passport so that he could obtain his very own U.S. passport. In this scenario, Barry was not adopted by Lolo, despite that his own half-sister at least implied that her father did adopt Barry, although under Indonesian law.
Actually, the situation is much more complex than that. To tease the truth out of all the threads in this tangled web requires knowledge of some factors that to date remain unknown to the public. There are many more questions that remain to be answered:
Did Ann and Lolo register their U.S. marriage by reporting “the marriage to the Civil Registration Office (Kantor Catatan Sipil) in Indonesia?”
Did Ann and Lolo marry again in Indonesia, perhaps under Islamic law? If so, did Ann officially convert to Islam?
In practice, it has been reported that the law and administrative processes make it difficult to register an inter-religious marriage [in Indonesia]. Couples may therefore choose to marry overseas or one party may decide to convert to the religion of the other.
Note that this article refers to the Indonesian law of 1974. Prior to 1974, marriage law in Indonesia fell under the Indonesian Civil Code of 1847. With regard to marriages abroad, that law stated that such marriages were valid provided that
within one year after the return of the spouses to Indonesia, the marriage certificate, executed abroad, shall be copied in the public marriage register of their place of domicile …
and provided that the marriage met other stated criteria, among which was this rule:
A woman may not enter into a new marriage earlier than three hundred days following the dissolution of the previous marriage.
The Indonesian government expected a foreign marriage to be registered within one year of a couple relocating to Indonesia. Ann and Barry joined Lolo in Oct. 1967. In August 1968, almost a year after her arrival, Ann renewed her U.S. passport and may have removed Barry from it, very likely because he was now, according to his school records, a citizen of Indonesia and was either added to his father’s passport (Lolo’s) or he received his own Indonesian passport.
Did Ann use the name Soebarkah when she excluded Barry from her passport, because Indonesian records referred to him by his new Indonesian name, Soebarkah, but on her passport he was listed as Barack Hussein Obama? Or was Barry already listed on her passport as Soebarkah, and she wanted to remove Soebarkah and re-add him as Barack Hussein Obama? If so, then there should be more documentation in that file than has been released.
Did Lolo legitimate Barry, in Hawaii or in Indonesia (or both), as his son? Did Lolo “acknowledge” Barry as his son, whether or not it’s true? Keep in mind that when Lolo and Ann divorced, Barry, although over the age of 18, was listed as a dependent of the marriage; in particular, Lolo, as well as Ann, was responsible for Barry’s education. Was Barry’s birth certificate amended in Hawaii to name Lolo as his father? With regard to legitimacy of a child, the 1847 code said that
no one can dispute the status held by an individual pursuant to his birth certificate. …
Children conceived outside marriage, with the exception of those who have been conceived in an adulterous or incestuous relationship, shall be legitimized by the ensuing marriage of their father and mother, if the latter-mentioned have acknowledged them legally prior to the concluding of the marriage, or if the acknowledgment took place at the time of execution of the marriage certificate. …
If the parents, prior to or at the time of entering into the marriage, fail to acknowledge their natural children, they may subsequently reverse their position by letter of legitimization, granted by the Governor General, following the advice issued by the [Indonesian] Supreme Court.
Again, is the discrepancy in the reported date of the Soetoro marriage possibly explained by the above provisions? Could there be a marriage certificate from Indonesia? A letter of legitimization?
Exactly what Indonesian documents were allegedly purchased, for archival purposes, by Rep. Faleomavaega before the election of 2008? What “embarrassing” information had to be “cauterized” from Barry’s passport files?
Did the Indonesian government officially change Barry’s name to Soetoro (or Soebarkah) on Lolo’s passport or on any Indonesian passport Barry might have had?
The Indonesian Immigration Office is the only authorized government agency with the authority to change a name in a[n Indonesian] passport.
How did Ann, without a job, assure the Indonesian government that she was capable of supporting herself and her child while living in Indonesia? In the absence of a job and with Lolo telling U.S. officials that his income was insufficient, how did Ann assure the Indonesian government that she and Barry would be provided for? Did Lolo’s family supply
a third party letter guaranteeing to support the applicant financially during his/her stay in Indonesia, together with documentary evidence to do so?
What kind of Indonesian visa did Ann and Barry use when they traveled to Indonesia (social visit, tourist, or limited stay/temporary resident under Lolo’s sponsorship)?
According to Lolo’s INS files, in Oct. 1967, Ann was trying to obtain a visa to travel to Indonesia. About four months before, Ann had finally changed the name on her passport to Stanley Ann Soetoro. Why did she wait two years to change to her married name, and why did she change it just as she was preparing to join Lolo in Indonesia and seeking a visa from the Indonesian government for herself and her son?
Granted, some of the information cited above comes from current law and/or concerns British/Indonesian marriages. However, there’s no reason to believe that Indonesian law under Suharto’s police state would have been less stringent. If nothing else, the British articles illustrate the kind of hoops people must jump through when they enter into a “mixed marriage” with an Indonesian citizen.
We know from Barry’s memoir that he and his mother remained in Hawaii for a year after Lolo returned home to Indonesia. During that time, and for months prior, both Lolo and Ann were desperately trying to convince U.S. authorities to waive the requirement that Lolo return home for two years before being allowed to re-enter the USA. Thus, when Barry wrote in his book that he and his mother were waiting for over a year for immunizations and passports, he may not have known the whole truth.
In fact, Lolo and Ann did not want to live in Indonesia, at least not at that time. By reading between the lines of Lolo’s INS records, it’s possible to deduce that Lolo and Ann were keeping all their options open, however.
When Lolo was refused the waiver, Ann very suddenly departed for Indonesia, presumably with Barry. The U.S. government seemed to not know that she had left the country, because they continued to try to contact her in Hawaii. Ann and Lolo must have planned well for the possibility that the waiver would be refused.
Ann and Barry needed an Indonesian visa to enter that country. This article explains that obtaining an Indonesian temporary resident visa
can take a considerable length of time to process … and there is a lot of documentation to provide and process.
Perhaps that’s the long wait that Barry remembered, and he didn’t know or was too young to remember that Lolo wanted to return to the USA.
Another facet of Indonesian law may have played a role in Ann’s decision to send Barry back to Hawaii around 1971. This article contains a short summary of the history of marriage law in Indonesia. If Ann had become an Indonesian citizen, converted to Islam, and married (or remarried) Lolo in a Muslim religious ceremony to grease the skids for an easier life in Indonesia, and if Lolo had adopted or legitimated Barry as his son, then the following excerpt may later have become very important to her thinking:
[U]nder Shafi Islamic law the provisions on child custody generally favour women until the children are considered to be adults, which is around their twelfth birthday …
As an American woman, Ann may have understandably been very reluctant to lose complete custody of her son to Lolo.
So where does all this information leave us? We cannot definitively say, without more evidence, who Soebarkah was. There are people still living who would know and perhaps would explain who Soebarkah was, if any unbiased and responsible member of the media, or any of the many Obama family biographers, would simply ask. So far as I know, no authorized biography has as yet tried to explain or even mentioned Soebarkah.
The bottom line is that Barry, as a child, could not be held responsible for any acts of his parents, guardians, grandparents, or step-parent(s). He can, however, be held responsible for his own actions. If as a child Barry renounced his U.S. citizenship, then he would be ineligible for the presidency of the USA, perhaps even if he revoked that act by age 18.
If Barry ever entered or left the USA on a foreign passport; if he attended college in the USA as a foreign student using benefits obtained as a foreign student; if he did not register for the draft because he claimed foreign citizenship; or if he ever renewed any foreign passport (Indonesian or Kenyan, e.g.) after the age of majority, then he would (arguably in some instances) be ineligible for the presidency.
Will We the People of the United States of America ever learn the answers to all these questions? Perhaps a more important question to ask is:
Why did the media and our so-called representatives in Washington DC fail us so miserably by not asking these questions of candidate Obama?