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KOLEKSI SEJARAH INDONESIA 1965 BAGIAN KEDUA

 

 

 

Januari 1965

Teuku Markam

Tahun 1957, ketika Teuku Markam berpangkat kapten ( NRP 12276 ), ia kembali ke Aceh dan mendirikan PT Karkam. Ia sempat bentrok dengan Teuku Hamzah ( Panglima Kodam Iskandar Muda ) karena “disiriki” oleh orang lain.

Akibatnya

Teuku Markam ditahan dan baru keluar tahun 1958.

Pertentangan dengan Teuku Hamzah berhasil didamaikan oleh Sjamaun Gaharu.
Keluar dari tahanan, Teuku Markam kembali ke Jakarta dengan membawa PT Karkam. Perusahaan itu dipercaya oleh Pemerintah RI mengelola rampasan perang untuk dijadikan dana revolusi.

Selanjutnya Teuku Markam benar – benar menggeluti dunia usaha dengan sejumlah aset berupa kapal dan beberapa dok kapal di Palembang, Medan, Jakarta, Makassar, Surabaya.

Bisnis Teuku Markam semakin luas karena ia juga terjun dalam ekspor – impor dengan sejumlah negara. Antara lain mengimpor mobil Toyota Hardtop dari Jepang, besi beton, plat baja dan bahkan sempat mengimpor senjata atas persetujuan Departemen Pertahanan dan Keamanan ( Dephankam ) dan Presiden.

Komitmen Teuku Markam adalah mendukung perjuangan RI sepenuhnya termasuk pembebasan Irian Barat serta pemberantasan buta huruf yang waktu itu digenjot habis – habisan oleh Soekarno.

Hasil bisnis Teuku Markam konon juga ikut menjadi sumber APBN serta mengumpulkan sejumlah 28 kg emas untuk ditempatkan di puncak Monumen Nasional ( Monas ). Sebagaimana kita tahu bahwa proyek Monas merupakan salah satu impian Soekarno dalam meningkatkan harkat dan martabat bangsa.
Peran Teuku Markam menyukseskan Konferensi Tingkat Tinggi ( KTT ) Asia Afrika tidak kecil berkat bantuan sejumlah dana untuk keperluan KTT itu.

Sumber

seramoeonline888

Sumber

atjehliterature.

January

Indonesia walks out of United Nations, in protest of Malaysia’s admission.

Buddhism is recognized as an official religion.

Sukarno, under pressure from PKI, declares ban on the Murba Party, whose members included Chaerul Saleh and Adam Malik.

 

Awal januari 1965

Awal januari 1965, dikantor kedutaan Besar RI Di Beograd Yugoslavia datang sepucuk surat yang ditujukan kepada Duta besar Yugoslavia,

Yoga Sugoma (kelak jadi BAKIN),

pengirimnya Pangkostrad Suharto isinya Yoga sugomo ditawarkan untuk pulang ke Jakarta dengan jabatan baru kepala Intelijen Kostrad.

Pebruari1965

February 1965

Anti-PKI newspapers are closed down.

Kahar Muzakkar is killed in Sulawesi.

3 Februari 1965

Dan yang kemudian berlanjut dengan pertempuran-pertempuran yang tidak henti-hentinya, sampai berakhir pada tanggal 3 Februari 1965.

Akhir Jihad Seorang Mujahid

 

Bertepatan dengan hari raya Idhul Fitri, pada 1 Syawal atau tanggal 13 Februari 1965, tiga buah peluru yang ditembakan oleh seorang prajurit yang patuh mendengar perintah atasannya telah menembus dada Abdul Qahhar Mudzakkar.

Pada hari berbahagia bagi ummat Islam diseluruh dunia, telah Syahid seorang hamba Allah yang bernama Abdul Qahhar Mudzakkar. Peluru yang membunuh Abdul Qahhar Mudzakkar itu, adalah peluru prajurit yang taat pada komandannya, sekalipun komandan tertingginya itu adalah bekas serdadu penjajah KNIL, yang tidak mampu menerima jika ajaran Islam menjadi berjaya di negeri-Nya.

Abdul Qahhar Mudzakkar sebagai salah seorang diantara hamba Allah yang berusaha untuk mentaati perintah-Nya, takut kepada siksa-Nya dan taqwa kepada-Nya. Semua yang telah dilakukan dan dijalaninya insya Allah adalah sarana untuk menang dan beruntung dihari mendatang.

 

 

5 Februari 1965

 

tahun  ini menarik karena itu pada tanggal 5 Februari 1965 Yoga sudah tiba di jakarta langsung menghadap Pangkostrad dirumahnya jalan haji Agus salim ,mereka bermusyawarah dan itulah awalnya terbentuk kubu Suharto.

 

Pemanggilan Yoga oleh Suharto mangandung tiga indikasi, pertama Pemangilan Yoga tidak melalui jalan normal, seharusnya penarikanya dilakukan oleh Menpagad Ahmad Yani.karena Yoa adalah perwira AD, kenyataannya Yoga ditarik berdasarkan surat Pangkostrad Suharto. Kedua tujuan kepulangan Yoga kejakarta untuk bersama-sama Suharto menyabot politik Sukarno.

 

Ketiga Mereka bertujuan menghancurkan PKI.

Ketiga indikasi ini bukan kesimpulan Subandrio tetapi diungkapkan oleh

ali Moertopo (salah satu trio Suharto yoga) dengan bangga tanpa tending aling-aling (secara blak-blakan) mengungkapkan hal itu dengan gaya seperti orang tak berdosa.

Bagi Suharto menarik orang dengan cara itu adalah hal biasa, padahal ia sudah melangar garis komado dan hirarki.dengan cara yang inilah ia membangun kubunya,pokok perhatian kubu ini tidak kepada panglima AD tetapi menyangkut Politik nasional dan Internasional ,perhatian kubu tertuju kepada Bung Karno dan PKI.

 

Kubu Suharto disebut juga Trio Suharto-Yoga-Ali yang selanjutnya kista sebut kelompok bayangan Suharto.Mereka bersatu dengan cara tersamar.Mereka bergerak dibawah permukaaan.Awalnya teman lama dan merupak suatu tim kompak ketika berada di KODAM Diponegoro.Kekompakn trio ini sudah teruji saat Pimpinan AD memilih panglima Diponegoro dan kekompakan mereka dilanjutkan di Jakarta.

Saat itu Pimpina AD mencalonkan Kolonel bambang Supeno menjadi Pangdam Diponegoro, rencana tersebut diketahui oelh perwira dissana,saat itu Suharto berpangkat Let.Kol.juga mendengar, walaupun pangkat Suharto lebih rendah dari bambang supeno namun ia berani merebut jabatan tersebut caranya mengunakan strategi kotor namun terselubung .

Saat rencana pengangkatan tersebut bocor,ada sebuah rapat gelap di Kopeng, Jateng, yang dihadiri perwira KOdam Diponegoro, rapat dikoordinir suarto melalui triona Yoga, tetapi Suharto tidak hadir ,intinya rapat merumuskan Suharto harus tampil sebagai Panglima Diponegoro ,jika tidak suahrto dan Yoga akan mengalang kekuatan bersama-sama untuk menolak pencalonan bambang Supeno.

Saat itu Pencalonan bambang supeno menjadi

Pandam Diponegoro 

belum ditanda tangani Presiden Sukarno  sehingga upaya Suharto merebut jabatan tersebut bdengan waktu.

 

Namum scenario Suharto melalui Yoga tidak didukung oleh perwira Diponegoro, yang hadir, hanya satu perwira yang menanda tangani dr Suhardi tanda setuju sedangkan yang lain yang hadir tidak.

 

Yoga semula mengaku pertemuan tersebut tidak dibereitahu kepada Suharto, ini bisa diartikan scenario tidfak dibuat Suharto, Ketika dua Utusan KODAM Diponegoro hendak ke Jakarta untuk meminta tanda tangan presiden tentang pengangkatan Bambang supeno ,barulah Rapat gelap itu disebarkann

 

Berdasarkan memori Yoga, rapat itu adalah gagasan Suharto, pengakuan awal Yoga bahwa Suahrto tidak mengetahui rapat tersebut agar tidak menimbulkan kecurigaan Jakarta bahwa Suharto mengalang kekuatan menolak pencalonan bambang Supeno.tetapi hal ini tidak mendapat konfirmasi apakah rapat gelap itu dikoordinir Suharto melalui Yoga atau inisiatif Yoga sendiri.

Sebagai pembanding ,salah seorang trio Suharto-yog-ali, al moertopo ,menyatakan bahwa saat itu ia sebagai kmandan pasukan banteng Raiders dimnta membantu Yoga melancarkan operasi intelijen.Tidak dirinci operasi intelijen yang dimaksud, tetapi tujuannya untuk mengusahakan Suharto menjadi Panglima Diponegoro,tapi Ali tidak menjelaskan siapa yang memintanya Suharto,yoga atau kedu-duanya .

Terlepas Yoga berbohong atau tidak,tetapi rangkaian pernyatan Yoga dan Ali Moertopo menunjukkan adanya suatu komplotan Suharto.Komplotan yang berfgerak dalam operasi militer. Suharto adalah dalang yang sedang memainkan wayang-wayangnya. Tentu,dalamnngnya tidak perlu terjun langsung.

 

(subandrio)

 

 

Karir Kol Bambabng Supeno sedikit terangkat begitu KSAD baru Letjen Ahmad Yani naik tahta. Oleh Yani, setelah berpulangnya wakasad Gatot Subroto, Supeno diberi jabatan sebagai wakasad *). Meski demikian, Yani tak kuasa juga untuk cepat-cepat memberikan pangkat jenderal. (Hal yang memang sedikit aneh, mengingat asisten Yani saja minimal berpangkat Brigjen). Yani harus mencari momentum tepat sampai anggota Wanjakti lainnya siap berdamai dengan masa lalu Supeno.

*) Soal jabatan terakhirnya Wakasad ini sebetulnya masih memerlukan data pembanding mengingat pegangannya hanya pengakuan istrinya, Ny Sri Kusdiantinah yang mungkin saja awam istilah atau jabatan militer

 

http://anusapati.blogdetik.com/2008/08/22/bambang-supeno/

 

 

 

Maret 1965

March 1965

 

 

11 Maret 1965 Suharto gagal melaksanakan rapat tertinggi KOTI

Maret 1965

Pada bulan Maret 1965 kekuatan Brigade Infanteri ‑5 ditambah I Batalyon pimpinan Mayor B. Yudo Darmojo. Sementara itu pendekatan secara diplomasi terus dilakukan

April 1965

China repeats its offer of small arms from the previous November.

May Gen. Ahmad Yani suggests that “Nasakom” be promoted in the Army.

Sukarno calls for a “Fifth Force” of armed peasantry to be organized.

Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) is formed by former members of the Dutch-organized colonial militia.

 

By  April 1965,

Indonesia began to openly deploy its regular army. A full Indonesian battalion launched an assault upon the  British Parachute Regiment camp at Plaman Mapu, a small hilltop village in positioned near Indonesian border.

Other troops crossed the border and infiltrated to Sebatik Island near Tawau, Sabah facing the Royal Malaysian Regiment and North Borneo Armed Constabulary. Indonesian bombers made several sorties attacking positions near to the border. From 1 July to 8 September1965, 5000 Indonesian troops attacked and blockaded Malaysian Navy Base at Semporna, Malaysian Peninsula, but with no avail. Malaysian people named the raids as  “68 Days of Siege”.

The last Indonesian attacks across the Sarawak border happened just before the peace agreement, known as Jakarta Accord, signed on August 11, 1966. General Soeharto who didn’t like the confrontation from the beginning  was relieved as most of his troops deployed in the front-lines had been already withdrawn to Java in the aftermath of the Communist coup d’état.

 komentar DR Iwan

ini info operasi gayang Malaysia (Dwikora),Suharto memimpin operai ini dari Kalimantan Barat, saya saat menjadi Komanda Tim Kesehatan Pengamanan  Kedatangan Pak Harto Disaat pembukaan perbatasan Indoensia -malaysia di Entikong  Kalimantan Barat, malah sempat membawa tim kes Pam Pres ke pasar disebalah  bagian Malaysia, ini benar-benar jadi peringatan bagi aya pribadi, saya heran mengapa saya yang dipilih sebagai komanda, kemudian saya baru thu saya adalah perwira yang paling senior di Kalimantan Barat,saat POLRI didalam lingkungan ABRI.dngan pangkat Let.Kol Pol, dan kapoldanya Kol.POL.

ternyata kemudian aya memilikipangkat yang sama denagn Pak Bagong . waktu pndah ke Jakarta. Sebagai rasa hormat saya, say spa Selamat Jendral ,bapak memang pantas jadi contoh, saya tahu benar bagaimana bapak dan ibu dulu,kita bersama kumpulkan dana milyaran rupiah untuk membuat  Kamar mandi dan WC  serta Bhakti sosial waktu really IMI mobil Jkarta Jogya, salam buat Ibu Jendral dan juga Pak Bgong saya sungguh banga kepada anda berdua.

 

Lihat foto saat itudiambil dari eksplorasi google

saat itu yang jadi

Kapolda KOL.POl. Bgong dan wakilnya yang kemudian jadi Kapolri  Jendral Rusmanhadi.

info terakhir terkait beliau bekas komandan aya

Semarang – Mantan Kapolri Jendral Purnawirawan Rusman Hadi berharap agar petinggi Polri mengambil langkah tegas terhadap anggota yang terlibat suap. Menurutnya, lebih baik ada dipecat daripada mencoreng nama Polri.

\\\”Kalau sampai ada anggota Polri yang melakukan atau menerima suap, dipecat saja. Tidak masalah, daripada merusak Polri. Karena nila setitik rusak susu sebelanga,\\\” kata Rusman usai menghadiri Reuni Akpol Angkatan 1970-1980 di Akademi Kepolisian, Semarang, Rabu (26\/6\/2013).

Menurutnya, butuh keberanian bagi pimpinan Polri dalam mengambil langkah tersebut. Karena sejak awal suap menjadi salah satu hal yang tidak boleh terjadi di tubuh Polri.

\\\”Ini keberanian pimpinan untuk menindak. Model begitu (suap) sudah sejak dulu tidak dibenarkan, bukan berarti dulu boleh sekarang tidak boleh,\\\” pungkas Kapolri masa jabatan tahun 1998-2000 itu.

Gubernur Lampung Komjen Sjachroedin yang juga merupakan alumnus Akpol menambahkan, kepolisian tidak akan menutup-nutupi jika ada oknum yang terlibat pidana.

\\\”Tidak ada yang menutupi. Bahkan kami pun ingin polisi itu bersih dan berwibawa,\\\” tandasnya.

Isu suap di tubuh Polri muncul setelah Wadir Sabhara Polda Jateng, AKBP Edi Suroso (ES) diamankan pada Jumat (21\/6) lalu pukul 14.00 WIB di Gedung Utama Polri. Bersamanya ikut diamankan Kompol JAP yang bertugas di Mapolda Metro Jaya. Dari tangan ES disita uang Rp 200 juta dalam pecahan Rp 100 ribu. Diduga ia hendak menyetor uang suap untuk SDM Polri terkait jabatan di kepolisian.

(alg/try)

 

April 1965

Duel RPKAD vs SAS

25-01-2013 14:06

Ini cerita tentang the first British SAS soldiers killed by a South East Asian soldier (yg tentu saja diwakili oleh prajurit dari RPKAD/Kopassus )
Setting ceritanya adalah bulan April tahun 1965, ketika Indonesia sedang berkonfrontasi dengan Malingsial. Lokasi pertempuran di desa Mapu, Long Bawan, perbatasan Kalimantan Barat dan Sabah.
Saat itu batalion 2 RPKAD (sekarang Grup 2 Kopassus) baru saja terbentuk. batalion baru ini segera dikirim untuk misi khusus ke kalimantan barat. Mereka mendarat di Pontianak bulan Februari 1965, dan segera setelah itu mereka berjalan kaki menuju posnya di Balai Karangan yang jaraknya puluhan kilometer dari lapangan terbang.
Pos Balai Karangan merupakan pos terdepan TNI yang sebelum kedatangan RPKAD dijaga oleh infanteri dari batalion asal Jatim. Sekitar 1 km di depan pos Balai Karangan adalah pos terdepan tentara Inggris di desa Mapu yang dijaga oleh satu kompi British paratrooper dan beberapa orang SAS. Menyerang pos inilah yang menjadi misi khusus batalion RPKAD. Pos Mapu tersebut sering digunakan sebagai transit bagi personel SAS yang akan menyusup ke wilayah Indonesia. TNI ingin hal ini dihentikan dengan langsung melenyapkan pos tersebut.
Pos Inggris di Mapu tersebut terletak di puncak sebuah bukit kecil yang dikelilingi lembah, sehingga pos ini sangat mudah diamati dari jarak jauh. Selain itu, pos tersebut juga cukup jauh dari pasukan induknya yang kira-kira terpisah sejauh 32 km.
Pasukan RPKAD yang baru datang segera mempersiapkan setiap detail untuk melakukan penyerangan. Prajurit RPKAD yang terpilih kemudian ditugaskan untuk melakukan misi reconnaisance untuk memastikan kondisi medan secara lebih jelas. Mereka juga memetakan pos tersebut dengan detail sehingga bisa menjadi panduan bagi penyusunan strategi penyerangan, termasuk detail jalur keluar masuknya.
Tugas recon ini sangat berbahaya, mengingat SAS juga secara rutin melakukan pengamatan ke posisi-posisi TNI. Jika kedua recon tersebut berpapasan tanpa sengaja, bisa jadi akan terjadi kotak tembak yang akan membuyarkan rencana penyerangan. Oleh karena itu, recon RPKAD sangat berhati-hati dalam menjalankan misinya. Bahkan mereka menggunakan seragam milik prajurit zeni TNI AD untuk mengelabui musuh apabila terjadi kemungkinan mereka tertangkap atau tertembak dalam misi recon tersebut.
Setelah sebulan mempersiapkan penyerangan, pada 25 April 1965 gladi bersih dilakukan. Dari tiga kompi RPKAD yang ada di pos Balai Karangan. Komandan batalion, Mayor Sri Tamigen, akhirnya memutuskan hanya kompi B (Ben Hur) yang akan melakukan penyerangan. Sementara 2 kompi lainnya tetap berada di wilayah Indonesia untuk berjaga-jaga bila terjadi sesuatu.
Dalam penyerangan ini, kompi B diharuskan membawa persenjataan lengkap. Mulai dari senapan serbu AK-47, senapan mesin Bren, peluncur roket buatan Yugoslavia, dan Bangalore torpedoes, mainan terbaru RPKAD waktu itu, yang biasanya digunakan untuk menyingkirkan kawat berduri atau ranjau.
Selesai mengatur perbekalan, Ben Hur mulai bergerak melintasi perbatasan selepas Maghrib. Karena sangat berhati-hati, mereka baru sampai di desa Mapu pada pukul 0200 dini hari. Setelah itu mereka segera mengatur posisi seperti strategi yang telah disusun dan dilatih sebelumnya.
Pos Mapu berbentuk lingkaran yang dibagi ke dalam empat bagian yang masing-masing terdapat sarang senapan mesin. Perimeter luar dilindungi oleh kawat berduri, punji, dan ranjau claymore. Satu-satunya cara untuk merebut pos ini adalah dengan merangsek masuk kedalam perimeter tersebut dan bertarung jarak dekat. Menghujani pos ini dengan peluru dari luar perimeter tidak akan menghasilkan apa-apa karena didalam pos tersedia lubang-ubang perlindungan yang sangat kuat.
Beruntung, malam itu hujan turun dengan deras seolah alam merestui penyerangan tersebut, karena bunyi hujan menyamarkan langkah kaki dan gerakan puluhan prajurit komando RPKAD yang mengatur posisi di sekitar pos tersebut.
Setelah dibagi ke dalam tiga kelompok, prajurit komando RPKAD berpencar ke tiga arah yang telah ditetapkan. Peleton pertama akan menjadi pembuka serangan sekaligus penarik perhatian. Kedua peleton lainnya akan bergerak dari samping/rusuk dan akan menjebol perimeter dengan bagalore torpedoes agar para prajurit RPKAD bisa masuk ke dalam dan melakukan close combat.
Pada jam 0430 saat yang dinanti-nanti tiba, peleton tengah membuka serangan dengan menembakkan senapan mesin Bren ke posisi pertahanan musuh. Segera setelah itu, dua peleton lainnya meledakkan bangalore torpedoes mereka dan terbukalah perimeter di kedua rusuk pertahanan pos tersebut. Puluhan prajurit RPKAD dengan gagah berani masuk menerjang ke dalam pos untuk mencari musuh.
Prajurit Inggris berada pada posisi yang tidak menguntungkan karena tidak siap dan sangat terkejut karena mereka tidak menduga akan diserang pada jarak dekat. Apalagi saat itu sebagian rekan mereka sedang keluar dari pos untuk berpatroli. Yang tersisa adalah 34 prajurit Inggris. Hal ini memang telah dipelajari recon RPKAD, bahwa ada hari-hari tertentu dimana 2/3 kekuatan di pos tersebut keluar untuk melakukan patroli atau misi lainnya. Dan hari itulah yang dipilih untuk hari penyerangan.
Dengan susah payah, akhirnya ke-34 orang tersebut berhasil menyusun pertahanan. Beberapa prajurit RPKAD yang sudah masuk ke pos harus melakukan pertempuran jarak dekat yang menegangkan. Dua prajurit RPKAD terkena tembakan dan gugur. Namun rekan mereka terus merangsek masuk dan berhasil menewaskan beberapa tentara Inggris dan melukai sebagian besar lainnya. Tentara Inggris yang tersisa hanya bisa bertahan sampai peluru terakhir mereka habis karena mereka telah terkepung.
Diantara yang terbunuh dalam pertempuran jarak dekat yang brutal tersebut adalah seorang anggota SAS. Ini adalah korban SAS pertama yang tewas ditangan tentara dari ASEAN. Namun sayangnya Inggris membantah hal ini. Bahkan dalam buku karangan Peter Harclerode berjudul “Para! Fifty Years of the Parachute Regiment halaman 261 pemerintah Inggris malah mengklaim mereka berhasil menewaskan 300 prajurit RPKAD dalam pertempuran brutal tersebut. Lucunya klaim pemerintah Inggris ini kemudian dibantah sendiri oleh penulis buku tersebut di halaman 265, ia menyebutkan bahwa casualties RPKAD hanya 2 orang. Secara logis memang angka 300 tidak mungkin karena pasukan yang menyerang hanya satu kompi. Pemerintah Inggris melakukan hal tersebut untuk menutupi rasa malu mereka karena dipecundangi tentara dari dunia ketiga, bahkan salah satu prajurit dari kesatuan terbaik mereka ikut terbunuh dalam pertempuran tersebut.
Pertempuran itu sendiri berakhir saat matahari mulai meninggi. Prajurit RPKAD yang sudah menguasai sepenuhnya pos Mapu segera menyingkir karena mereka mengetahui pasukan Inggris yang berpatroli sudah kembali beserta bala bantuan Inggris yang diturunkan dari helikopter. Mereka tidak sempat mengambil tawanan karena dikhawatirkan akan menghambat gerak laju mereka.
Sekembali di pos Balai Karangan, kompi Ben Hur disambut dengan suka cita oleh rekan-rekannya. Para prajurit yang terlibat dalam pertempuran mendapatkan promosi kenaikan pangkat luar biasa. Mereka juga diberi hadiah pemotongan masa tugas dan diberi kehormatan berbaris di depan Presiden Soekarno pada upacara peringatan kemerdekaan tanggal 17 Agustus 1965.
Itulah cerita heroik batalion 2 RPKAD, cikal bakal Grup 2 Kopassus

April 1965

Pertengahan April 1965

Pada pertengahan April 1965 ada Pertemuan yang lebih besarkali ini dihadiri 200 perwira di MABES AD , dalam pertemuan ini Nasution dan Yani juga tidak datang.Namun pertemuan ini melahirkan doktrin baru yang dinamaka

tri Uoaya Sakti pencetusnya Suharto.Isinya

tiga janji jujur dari jajaran AD.yang substansinya TNI berhak memberikan saran   dan tugas politik tak terbatas kepada Presiden.

Doktrin baru ini menimbulkan kecemasan baru dikalangan elite Politik dan Masyarakat inteltual , dengan demikian semakin jelas bahwa AD mempertahankan politik dalam Negara ada Negara yang sudah dirintis nasution.Ini berarti Kubu Nasution menang dari kubu Yani yang didukung oleh Presiden Sukarno.

Suharto salah satu perwira yang ditugaskan menjadi perantara mendamaikan Yani dan nasution berada dalam posisi yang tidak enak, karena Suharto mempunyai memori yang buruk terhadap yani dan nasution.penyebabnya adalah perilaku Suharto sendiri yang buruk yang terjadi ketika Suharto masih di Divisi Diponegoro.

Pada saat Divisi Diponegoro mengadakan hubungan baik dengan

pengusaha Liem Soei Liong, Perkawan mereka antara lain menyeludupkan berbagi barang.Suharto pernah berdalih penyeludupan itu untuk kepentingan Divisi Diponegoro, Berita Penyeludupan ini cepat menyebar semua perwira staf mengetahuintya, bahkan terungkap hasil penyeludupan uangnya masuk kekantong Suharto dan Liem Soei Liong.

Saat mengetahui ulah Suharto, Yani marah pada suatu kesempatan malah sempat menempeleng Suharto, karena penyeludupan itu memalukan Korps.

AH Nasution mengusulakn agar Suharto diadili di makamah Militer dan segera di pecat dari AD, namun Mayjen Gatot Subroto mencegah dengan alas an perwira itu masih bisa dibina.Gatot mengusulkan kepada Presiden sukarno agar Suharto diampuni dan disekolahkan di SESKOAD Bandung.

 

Presiden sukarno setuju, karena itu Suharto masuk SESKOAD dan diterima oleh DAN SESKOAD Brigjen Suwarto. Saat itu SESKOAD tidak hanya mengajarkan Pendidikan kemiliteran tapi juga bidang Ekonomi dan Pemerintahan.

Perwira di Seskoad bertugas sebagi guru teori Negara dalam Negara.

Namun akhirnya Suharto membangun kubu sendiri ,kubu ini terbentuk setelah kepercayaan Amerika serikat kepada Kubu Nasution sudah mulai luntur, ini disebabkan fungsi nasution terhadap Pemberontakan PRRI Permesta, Kampanya Pembebasan Irian barat dan slogan Gnyang Malaysia tidak efektif , Tiga hal ini membuat kepentingan Ameriak Serikat di Indonesia khusus Asia tenggara terganggu.sehngga AS tidak akrab lagi dengan Nasution.dari perspektif AS pada mulanya perlu untuk mengimbangi kebijkan Sukarno yang centrung lunak kepada PKI.

Disaat kepercayaan AS kepada Nasution Luntur, Suharto sudah menjabay ZPangkostrad, dan Suharto telah membangun kubu sendiri(Subandrio)

 

 

Mei 1965

May 29

The “Gilchrist letter”: Sukarno accuses Army elements of plotting against him, with cooperation from the British Embassy. (Letter itself generally considered to be a forgery.)

Juni 1965

June

Discussions on “arming the people” along Maoist lines take place; army sidesteps, air force and navy support it.

PKI supporter becomes police commander in Jakarta.

Juli 1965

July

2000 PKI supporters begin receiving military training from Air Force officers at Halim Air Base near Jakarta.

AGUSTUS 1965

August Anti-PKI elements in PNI are purged.

Violence between PNI and NU supporters on one side and PKI supporters on the other heats up in Central and East Java.

Sukarno collapses during public reception.

Sukarno cuts off ties with IMF, World Bank, Interpol; makes August 17 speech promoting anti-imperialist alliance with Beijing, other Asian Communist regimes

Aidit returns from trip to China, makes August 17 speech calling for millions of workers and peasants to be armed.

 

Agustus 1965

Ada peristiwa kecil yang dibesar-besarkan oleh kelompok Suharto, sehingga menjadi peristiwa penting dalam sejarah Indonesia, yaitu perihal Sakitnya Bung Karno .

Dalam buku-buku ditulis sakitnya Bung Karno sangat berat ,dikabarkan D.N.Aidit pernah mendatangkan dokter dari RRC dan dokter tersebut menyatakan Bung Karno sedang kritis, jika tidak meninggal dipastikan ia akan lumpuh

Dari peristiwa ini dianalisis PKI merasa kawatir pimpinan nasional akan beralih ketngan Angkatan darat ,PKI tentu tidak ingin hal ini dan mereka menyusun kekuatan untuk merebut kekuasaan.

Informasi ini tidak dapat dikonfirmasi karena DN Aidit sudah ditembak mati, dan keberadaan dokter RRC juga tidak jelas

Dr Subandrio sebagai saksi ,menyatakana

Bung Karno memang diperiksa dokter cina dari Kebayoran Baru yang dibawa DN Aidit , bukan didatangkan dari RRC ,sesudah diperiksa dokter itu, dr subandrio dan xdr Leimena juga ikut memeriksa Bung Karno ,jadi ada tiga dokter yang memeriksa Bung Karno.

Ketiga dokter yang memeriksa menyatakan Bung Karno masuk angin.penyebabnya beberapa malam sebelumnya Bung Karno meninjau beberapa pasar di Jakarta, untuk melihat harga bahan pokok

12 agustus 1945,menurut pengakuan Kamaruzaman aias Sjam kepala Biro khusus PKI sekaligus perwira intelijen AD, memperkuat dogeng bahwa Bung Karno sakit Berat, ketika Bung Karno sakit berat ia dipangil kerumah DN Aidit tanggal 12 agustus 1965, ia diberitahu seriusnya penyakit Bung Karno dan ada kemungkinan Dewan Jenderal mengambil tindakan segera apabila Bung Karno meninggal, dan DN Aidit memerintahkannya untuk meninjau kekuatan PKI dan mempersiapkan suatu gerakan

Isu dewan jenderal sebenarnya bersumber dari Angkatan kelima yang bersumber dari rencana sumbangan gratis senjata dari RRC .tawaran RRC diterima Bung Karno tetapi Barangnya belum dikirim dan Ide Angkatan kelima belum dirinci oleh Bung Karno.

Karena Menpangad tidak menyetujui Angkatan Kelima, tersebar isu sekelompok Perwira AD tidak puas dengan Bung Karno, is uterus bergulir dimana sekelompok perwira yang tidak puas itu disebut Dewan jenderal akan melakukan Coup terhadap Presiden RI.

Yang paling serius menanggapi Dewan Jenderal itu adalah Let.Kol Untung Samsuri, sebagai salah satu komandan Pasukan Kawal istana, Cakra Birawa ia harus tanggap terhadap segala kemungkinan yang membahayakan keselamatan Presiden.

Ia gelisah ,Lantas Untung mempunyai rencana mendahului rencana Dewan Jenderal dengan cara menangkap mereka.Rencana ini disampaikan Untung kepada Suharto.

Menanggapi ini Suharto mendukung, malah Untung dijanjikan bantuan Pasukan ,ini diceritakan Untung kepada subandrio saat sama-sama ditahan di LP Cimahi Bandung.

Dr subandrio menerima info tentang dewan Jenderal dari wakilnya di BPI dikatakan bahwa ada sekelompok perwira akan mengadakan Coup terhadap Presiden.Setelah menerima laporan dr subandrio melaporkan kepada Presiden sukarno, Dr Subandrio bertanya kepada Ahmad Yani jawan Yani enteng saja Dewan jenderal memang ada tetapi tugasnya adalah Dewan yang merancang kenaikan pangkat.bukan mengadakan Coup.

Merasa tidak puas dr subandrion bertanya kepada Pangkopur II Brigjen Suparjo, jawabannya memang ada dewan jenderal yang sudah siap membentuk menteri baru.

 

(Subandrio)

Operasi Dwikora

17 Agustus 1965

 

Dwikora : Kisah Operasi Pendaratan Tim Marinir Di Pontian, Johor Baru


Operasi ini sebenarnya disebut Ops A, yaitu operasi intelijen yang lebih menekankan hasil pada efek politis daripada efek militer.
Misi yang diemban pasukan ini adalah untuk mendampingi gerilyawan local dalam operasi militer, memberi pelatihan pada kader kader setempat yang dapat dikumpulkan di daerah sasaran, dan setelah dianggap cukup mereka akan kembali ke pangkalan.
Dari keterangan seorang anggota Marinir yang kembali pada tahun 1967, Serma Z. Yacobus, yang dalam operasi tersebut masih berpangkat kopral, di dapat keterangan sebagai berikut :
Tim 3 dari Kompi Brahma II menggunakan kapal patroli cepat, milik Bea Cukai. Tim operasi terdiri dari 21 anggota. Rombongan dibawa menuju suatu tempat diperbatasan pada tanggal 17 Agustus 1964 sekitar pukul 20.00 waktu setempat.
Pelayaran memakan waktu sekitar 4 jam. Setelah mendapat perintah dari masing masing komandan tim dan juga menerima perlengkapan tambahan, sekita pukul 01.30 tengah malam rombongan menerima briefing dari komandan basis II, dilanjutkan dengan embarkasi ke dalam 2 perahu motor yang telah dipersiapkan.
Sembilan orang sukarelawan lokal dari Malaysia juga ikut dalam tim dan akan bertindak sebagai penunjuk jalan. Dengan demikian jumlah tim menjadi 30 orang.
Dengan menggunakan formasi berbanjar, berangkatlah kedua perahu tersebut menuju sasaran. Salah satu mengalami kerusakan mesin dan akhirnya kedua tim pun menjadi satu menuju sasaran. Sekitar pukul 06.30 kedua tim sampai ke daerah sasaran tanpa diketahui oleh musuh.
Operasi bocor … pertempuran dimulai
Ternyata daerah pendaratan merupakan daerah rawa rawa yang berlumpur. Kedua tim memutuskan untuk bertahan di situ yang jaraknya sekitar 50 meter dari pantai pendaratan.
Namun rencana penyusupan ini dikhawatirkan sudah diketahui oleh musuh, sehingga mereka memutuskan untuk tidak melanjutkan gerakan dahulu dan tetap berlindung di semak semak sambil menunggu hari menjadi gelap.
( Memang banyak operasi penyusupan rahasia ke wilayah Malaysia yang sengaja dibocorkan oleh oknum oknum di dalam TNI sendiri ke pihak lawan, menurut artikel tersebut ).
Pukul 19.00 tim baru dapat meninggalkan tempat persembunyian dan mencoba menyusuri medan berawa tersebut dengan susah payah dan pukul 03.00 pagi mereka beristirahat.

Demi keamanan, kedua tim berpisah. Tim I dipimpin Serda Mursid sebagai komandan tim, dan tim 2 dipimpin Serda A. Siagian.
Rupanya kedudukan infiltran sudah diketahui pasukan keamanan setempat, kerana setelah 3 jam pasukan berada di situ, kedudukan mereka sudah dikepung musuh. Diperkirakan kekuatan musuh satu peleton ( 30 – 40 orang ).
Musuh melakukan tembakan pancingan untuk mengetahui posisi pasti pasukan Marinir, disusul dengan ledakan granat tangan. Maka pertempuran pun tak dapat dihindarkan lagi.
Kemampuan bertempur musuh ternyata masih di bawah kemampuan pasukan Marinir. Beberapa orang musuh tertembak mati. Di pihak tim gugur satu orang penunjuk jalan. Merasa tidak dapat mengimbangin Marinir pertempuran tersebut, makan pihak musuh mendatangkan bantuan 2 helikopter dan satu pesawat.
Namun sebelum bantuan tersebut tiba, pasukan Marinir telah bergerak meninggalkan lokasi kontak senjata dan mencari tempat yang lebih aman untuk bertahan dalam rawa rawa tersebut.
Musuh pun kemudian menggunakan anjing penjejak untuk melacak kedudukan tim Marinir.

 

 

Pada tanggal 19 Agustus 1964,

komandan tim memerintahkan 2 penunjuk jalan asal Malaysia untuk melakukan pengintaian dan mencari informasi dengan menyamar berpakaian seperti penduduk biasa. Namun hingga senja, keduanya belum juga kembali.
Untuk mengatasi keragu raguan, komandan tim memutuskan untuk tidak menunggu mereka lebih lama lagi. Pasukan segera bergerak meninggalkan lokasi. Senjata dan perlengkapan keduanya disembunyikan di dalam lumpur untuk menghilangkan jejak.
Dalam perjalanan, tiba tiba tim mendapat serangan mendadak dari musuh. Dengan semangat Marinir “Pantang mundur, mati sudah ukur” tim melawan musuh dengan gigih.
Beberapa musuh terluka. Hal itu didasarkan pada keterangan penduduk setempat yang sempat ditemui tim setelah selesainya pertempuran. Dipihak Marinir, satu orang penunjuk jalan asal Malaysia gugur.
Malam itu tim terpaksa beristirahat lagi sambil berlindung selama satu hari dan selanjutnya kembali bergerak, namun mereka tidak dapat menuju sasaran yang direncanakan karena sudah diketahui oleh musuh.
Hal ini diketahui dari adanya bunyi rentetan tembakan. Rupanya telah terjadi kontak senjata antara tim yang dipimpin Serda Mursid dengan pihak musuh. Tugas tim kedua adalah mengadakan pencegatan, namun karena tim tidak dibekali dengan alat komunikasi, maka tugas ini pun gagal.
Satu jam kemudian pertempuran pun reda. Tim Marinir memutuskan untuk bersembunyi di rawa tak jauh dari perkampungan penduduk. Setelah 1 jam beristiharat, gerakan diteruskan menuju kampung dan sampai di sebuah rumah dan menemui penghuninya yang mengaku bernama Hasan. Hasan ini mengaku keturunan Indonesia asal Jawa.
Di rumah tersebut tim mendapat pelayanan yang cukup baik, sehingga terjadilah percakapan yang kurang hati hati dari tim yang menyangkut penugasan tim.
Tanpa rasa curiga, Hasan pun menyatakan bersedia bekerja sama dengan tim Marinir. Bahkan Hasan pun sudah menunjuk tempat perlindungan yang jaraknya tidak jauh dari rumahnya, sekitar 1 km dari perkampungan.
Pada tanggal 30 Agustus 1964 tengah hari,

datanglah Hasan membawa seorang laki laki yang diakuinya sebagai pamannya ke tempat persembunyian tim, untuk menyampaikan informasi. Kemudian ia menyarankan agar tim berpindah lagi ke gubuk lain sejauh 500 meter dari persembunyian pertama. Karena sudah terlanjur percaya pada si Hasan, tim pun segera bergerak ke lokasi yang ditunjukkan.
Namun apa yang terjadi ?
Sekitar setengah jam kemudian, tim mendapat serangan mendadak sehingga tim kehilangan 2 anggota yaitu Prajurit Satu Kahar dan seorang guide asal Malaysia. Kopral Yacobus terkena tembakan di siku kanan, hingga senjatanya lepas.
Prajurit Satu Siahuri terluka parah, sedangkan Kopral Priyono berhasil menyelamatkan diri ke sungai. Di tengah tengah situasi terjebak tembakan gencar tersebut, musuh berteriak “ Surender !!! … Surender !!!” Teriakan ini diulangi lebih keras “Kalau mau hidup, Surender cepat !!!”
Anggota tim yang pingsan dan banyak mengeluarkan darah ini tertangkap musuh. Selanjutnya mereka dirawat seperlunya oleh musuh dan diserahkan ke Balai Polis setempat.
Ternyata si Hasan ini adalah pengkhianat. Pura pura mau menolong ternyata ada udang di balik batu. Ia mengharapkan hadiah dari aparat keamanan setempat, apalagi jika dapat menangkap pasukan Marinir Indonesia. Siagian sendiri akhirnya tertawan, sedangkan 3 anggota tim lainnya berhasil kembali ke pangkalan di Indonesia dengan selamat.
Regu satu yang dipimpin Serda Mursid akhirnya sampai di Gunung Pulai. Namun karena lokasi sasaran sudah diketahui musuh sebagai daerah tujuan tim, pasukan Marinir dikepung oleh musuh yang jauh lebih kuat.
Terjadilah pertempuran sengit hingga akhirnya pasukan Serda Mursid kehabisan peluru. Mereka tetap gigih melawan hingga akhirnya 3 orang anggota pun gugur, termasuk Serda Mursid sendiri. Sisa anggota regu tertawan musuh.
Maka berakhirlah kisah heroik operasi pendaratan tim marinir di Pontian, Johor Baru, Malaysia.
Nama nama anggota Marinir yang gugur di Pontian :
Prajurit Satu Kahar ( IPAM )
Sersan Mayor Satu Mursid ( IPAM )
Sersan Satu Ponadi ( IPAM )
Sersan Satu Mohamadong ( Pasinko )
Sersan Dua Yacob ( IPAM )
Sersan Dua Tohir ( Batalyon 3 )
Kopral Syahbuddin ( Pasinko )
Kopral Dulmanan ( IPAM )

Sumber :Kisah Kompi X di Rimba Siglayan

 

 

1965

Konflik antara Nasution dan yani tidak gampang didamaikan.

 

Suatu hari di awal tahun 1965 ada pertemuan penting yang dihadiri oleh 12 jenddral di MABES AD.

Sebenarnya Nasution dan Yani juga diundang dalam pertemuan ini,namun kuduanya sama-sama tidak datang.Mereka diwakili oleh penasehat mereka masing-masing.

Pertemuan ini diadakan untuk mendamaikan nasution dan Yani .alhasil pertemuan penting itu tidak mencapau tujuan utamanya karena yang berkonflik tidak datang sendiri hanya diwakli saja.

 

Pada awal tahun 1965 Bung Karno mempunyai ide membentuk Angkatan Kelima tujuannya tujuangnya untuk menampung bnatuan senjata dari RRC ,saat itu persenjataan untuk empat angkatan sudah cukup, karena itu agar bantuan senjata dapat dimanfaatkan secara maksimal Bung Karno mempunyai Ide memntuk Angkatan Kelima, jik persenjataan yang dikirim cukup untuk 40 Batalyon maka angkatan kelima berkuatan seperti itu, tetapi Bung Karno belum memperinci bentuk Angkatan kelima.

Beliau berkata Angkatan Kelima tidak sama dengan Angkatan yang sudah ada, Ini adalah Pasukan Istimewa yang berdiri sendiri, tidak terkait dengan Angkatan Lain.hal ini perlu ditegaskan karena kemudian beredar isu Angkatan Kelima adlah para buruh dan petani yang dpersenjatai .PKI pernah mengatakan hal itu tetapi Bung Karno belu mmerinci bagaiman bentuk Angkatan kelima itu.

Menpagad Ahmad yani sudah menyampaikan langsung kepada presiden Sukarno bahwa ia tidak setuju dibentukanya angkatan kelima,para jendral angkatan lain mendukung Ahmad Yani,empat angkatan sudah cukup menurut mereka

Maslah ini kemudian menjadi pembicaraan dikalangan elite politik, dan pembicraan menjadi berlarut-larut ,juga muncul banyak spekulasi tentang bentuk Angkatan Kelima ,Bung Karno tetap tidak menjelaskan secara rinci bentuk angkatan kelima dan orang yang terdekat dengannya Dr subandrio juga tidak diberitahukan.

(Subandrio)

 

 

 

September 1965

September 16-19

Air Force Gen. Omar Dhani makes secret trip to China.

September 27

Gen. Ahmad Yani speaks against Nasakom in the army and “arming the people”.

September 28

Anti-Communist student leaders ask Gen. Nasution for paramilitary training comparable to what PKI supporters would receive.

September 30

Lt.-Col. Untung, other Diponegoro and Brawijaya Division soldiers, and PKI supporters gather at Halim Air Base, with Gen. Omar Dhani and Aidit present. They leave and attempt to take seven top army generals. Nasution escapes by leaping over the wall of his house, his young daughter is shot and Lt. Tendean, his aide, is taken away. Gen. Ahmad Yani is killed at his house, as are two others. Three other generals are taken alive with Lt. Tendean and the bodies of the dead to Halim, where the remaining live captives are murdered and thrown in the well called Lubang Buaya.

Rebel soldiers take Merdeka Square in Jakarta by the Presidential Palace, the radio and TV stations.

 

21 september 1965

Radiogram Panglima Kostrad Nomor 220 dan Nomor 239 tanggal 21 September 1965, yang ditandatangani oleh Mayor Jenderal Soeharto, isinya perintah agar Batalyon 530/Para Brogade 3/Brawijaya disiapkan dalam rangka HUT ke-20 ABRI tanggal 5 Oktober 1965 di Jakarta dengan “perlengkapan tempur garis pertama.”

 

Dengan adanya radiogram tersebut, muncul dugaan bahwa Soeharto sudah tahu mengnai akan adanya peristiwa G30S paling tidak sejak tanggal 21 September 1965 atau sembilan hari sebelumnya. Sebab, dengan memberikan pasukan Batalyon 530 itu “perlengkapan tempur garis pertama”, Soeharto telah memfasilitasi anggota pasukan tersebut untuk melakukan “gerakannya”.

(hagemman)

Bung Karno memanggil Ahmad yani ,dijadwalkan diterijm aoleh Presiden di istana Negara jam 8.00 tanggal 1 oktober 1965, agendanya Yani akan ditanyakan mengenai Angkatan kelima.

Seorang sumber subandrio mengatakan saat menerima surat pangilan dari Presiden beberapa hari sebelum 1 oktober 1965, Ahmad yani sempat mengatakan saya mungkin akan dicopot dari Menpagad karena saya tidak setuju Angkatan Kelima ,ucapan yani ini cepat menyebar bahkan beredar isu penganti Yani adalah orang kedua di AD ialah Gatot Soebroto

(subandrio)

 

26 September 1965

Pada 26 september 1965 muncul informasi yang lebih jelas tentang Dewan Jenderal, informasi datang dari empat orang sipil, Muchlis Bratanata, Nawawi Nasution dari NU , Sumantri dan Agus Herman simatupang,dari IPKI , bahwa tanggal 21 September 1965 diadakan rapat dewan jenderal di Gedung Akademi Militer Jkarta, Rapat ini mengesahkan Kabinet versi Dewan Jenderal.

Muchlis malah menunjukkan pita rekaman pembicaraan dalam rapat tersebut, dalam rekaman itu ada suara Let jen s.Parman membacakan susunan kabinet dengan susunan sebagai berikut

Latjen AH Nasution sebagai Perdana Menteri

Letjen Ahamd yani sebagai Waperdam I merangkap Menhankam

Mayjen M.T. Hartono Menteri Luar negeri

Mayjen suprapto menteri dalam negeri

Letjen s.Parman Menteri Kehakiman

Ibnu Sutowo menteri Pertambangan

Rekaman ini lantas Dr Subandrio serahkan kepada Presiden Sukarno ,rencana Dewan jendral ini sangat peka dan sifatnya gawat terhadap pemerintahan Presiden Sukarno.

Seharusnya rencana ini sangat rahasia, mengapa bisa bocor ketangan orang sipil ? kesimpulannya ini adalah suatu alat provokasi , jika benar berarti rekaman ini palsu tujuannya mematangkan suatu rencana besar yang semakin jelas gambarannya. Bisa untuk mempengaruhi Untung untuk akan semakin yakin dengan dewan jenderal yang semula kabar angin menjadi benar-benar ada.

Hampir bersamaan dengan isunya Dewan jenderal muncul Dokumen Gllchirst beruka telegram sangat rahasia dari Duta besar Inggris di jakrta Sir Andrew Gilchrist kepada kementerian Luar negeri Inggris, dokumenini bocor ketika hubungan Indonesia –Inggris sangat tegang akibat konfrontasi malaysia soal borneo(sebagian wilayah kalimantan), sat itu Malaysia bekas koloni Inggris baru merdeka ,Inggris membantu malaysia dengan mengirimkan pasukan ek Borneo.

Dokumen ini terletak diatas meja dr Subandrio dalam keadaan terbuka oleh stafnya, surat ini dikirim oleh seorang kurir mengaku bernama kahar Muzakar, tanpa identitas tanpa lamat.

Nmun berdasarkan informasi surat itu sbeleumnya tersimpan dirumah Bill Parmer seorang amerika tinggal di jkarta sebagai distributor film-film Amerika, rumah Bill Palmer sering dijadikan bulan-bulanan demonstrasi Pemudan dan beberapa Golongan yang menentang film porno yang diedarkan dari rumah Palmer.

Isi dokumen sangat gawat isinya, Andrew Gilchrist melaporkan atasan di Kemlu Inggris yang mengarah kepada dukungan Inggris untuk mengulingkan Presiden Sukarno.

Disana ada pembicaraan Gilchris dengan kolega Amerikanya t tentang persiapan suatu operasi milter di Indonesia,Rencana ini cukup dilakukan oleh “our local army friends”

Dr Subandrio selaku ketua BPI mengerahkan intelijen untuk mengecheck otentisitas dokumen itu ,hasilnya membuat dr subandrio yakin bahwa dokumen Gilchrist otentik.

Pada saat dilaporkan kepada Presiden sukarno, beliau terkejut berkali-kali ia bertanya tentang keaslian dokumen itu dan berkali-kali dr subandrio menyatakan dokumen itu asli, dari reaksi Bung Kurno terlhat ia cemas dan membakar Bung Karno karena sebagai target operasi.walaupun beliau tenag-tenag kelihatannya ia terbakar oleh provokasi itu.

Dokumen itu sengaja dibocorkan, agar jatuh ketangan Bung Karno dan PKI dan ini adalah provokasi pertama dan dewan jnderal sebagai provokasi kedua.

Yoga diutus Suharto menemui

S.Parman guna menyampaikan saran agar berhati-hati karena isu bakal adanya penculikan jenderal sudah santer beredar .Parman tidak serius menanggapi saran itu sebab itu hanya isu, Parman bertanya kepada Yoga apakah pak yoaga sudah punya bukti,jawab yoga belum,lantas Parman menyarankan Yoga untuk mencari bukti ,jangan percaya isu sebelum memperoleh bukti.Yoga menyanggupi untuk mencari bukti.

Dr Subandrio berkesimpulan informasi disampai yoga untuk mengetahui reaksi Parman yang dikenal dekat dengan ahmad yani,info itu untuk mengatahui apakah Parman sudah tahu dan sampai sejauh mana antisipasi Parman terhadap isu tersebut ,reaksi Parman mewakili persiapan Ahmad yani.Parman tidak siap mengantisipasi kemungkina yang akan terjadi begitu juga dengan Ahmad yani ,

Dari info ini sudah diketahui Ahmad yani dan para jendral termasuk Parman tidak siap mengantisipasi penculikan. Gerakan memanfaatkan Kolonel latif dan manipulasi kelompok Untung belum tercium oleh kelompok Yani,

Tindakan suharto memberitahu Parman liwat Yoga sangat strategis, jika penculkan gagal ia kan tetap jadi pahalawan karena menyelamatkan Parman.

Secara intuitif Dr Subandrio berpendapat Amerika serikat ikut main didua isu ini, soal sakit Prsesiden DN Aidit tahu presiden hanya sakit masuk angin sehingga target mereka bukan untuk menjebak PKI.Plintiran ISU ini lebih untuk konsumsi publik, jika ada perebutan kekuasaan wajar dilakukan oleh PKI,jika presiden sakit Wajar PKI merebut kekuasaan karena takut negara akan dikuasai Militer dan karena itu wajar pulah PKI dihabisi Militer.

 

http://www.sukarnoyears.com/books/kesaksian.pdf

(Subandrio)

 

28 september 1965

Kolonel Latief mengungkapkan, selain bertemu dengan Soeharto pada tanggal 30 September 1965 di Rumah Sakit Pusat Angkatan Darat (RSPAD), dua hari menjelang tanggal 1 Oktober 1965 (tanggal 29 September 1965), ia juga menghadiri acara kekeluargaan di kediaman Soeharto di Jalan Haji Agus Salim.

Pada pertemuan pertama, Latief memberi tahu adanya isu Dewan Jenderal akan melakukan kudeta terhadap pemerintahan Presiden Soekarno. Menanggapi pemberitahuan itu, Soeharto mengatakan, ia sudah mengetahui hal itu dari seorang bekas anak buahnya dari Yogyakarta yang bernama Subagiyo, yang datang sehari sebelumnya (28 September 1965).

(hagemman)

Apakah sebenarnya yang terjadi baca info dari dokumen CIA dibawah ini

Semenjak kemerdekaan, Indonesia sudah menjadi ladang operasi intelejen dari berbagai negara. Jaringan yang cukup berpengaruh adalah M-16 dari Inggris dan CIA dari AS di samping intelejen RRC dan KGB-nya Uni Soviet.

Semua jaringan intelejen ini bekerja di bidang pengawasan, pengaruh, pengarahan operasi, sampai pengambilalihan kekuasaan di tahun 1965 dari Presiden Soekarno oleh Soeharto yang dilandasi dengan satu kepentingan yang pembuktiannya hanya bisa dilihat dalam kelanjutan setelah kudeta 1965..

Namun, rentetan peristiwa setelah kejatuhan Soekarno membuktikan peristiwa tersebut terencana sangat matang dan canggih.

 

Sebuah dokumen operasi Intelejen CIA 1964 – 1966 yang lengkap dari Amerika Serikat telah dibuka pada publik internasional.

 

Dokumen tersebut telah diterjemahkan dan diterbitkan sebagai salah satu bahan untuk meluruskan sejarah yang selama ini terdistorsi kepentingan Orde Baru.

 

Indonesia di bawah kepemimpinan Soekarno memainkan peranan penting dalam kancah perang dingin antara blok Barat yang dipimpin AS dan blok Timur yang terdiri dari negara-negara sosialis.

 

Kepemimpinan Indonesia terlihat dalam menggalang kekuatan internasional dalam Konferensi Asia-Afrika dan Gerakan Non-Blok maupun NEFO (New Emerging Forces) sebagai garis politiknya untuk menghadapi imperialisme dengan OLDEFO.

 

 

Dokumen CIA yang sebelumnya merupakan dokumen rahasia yang berisi sejumlah informasi penting seputar peristiwa tersebut kini telah terbuka untuk publik.

 

Penerbit Hasta Mitra yang dipimpin Joesoef Isak dan selama ini dikenal sebagai penerbit karya-karya Pramudya Ananta Toer, menerbitkan terjemahaan dokumen CIA itu dalam sebuah buku yang berjudul Dokumen CIA, Melacak Penggulingan Sukarno dan Konspirasi G30S-1965.

 

Mengomentari buku ini, Letjen (purn) Agus Widjojo mengatakan kekuatannya terletak pada kenyataan bahwa ia merupakan dokumen otentik yang menggambarkan kepentingan negara adidaya dalam situasi Perang Dingin

 

 

 

 

. “Pada masa itu ideologi adalah panglima, sehingga dinamikanya antara Barat dan Timur. Namun, faktor intern dalam negerilah yang menentukan terjadinya peristiwa 1965,” ujar putra almarhum Jenderal Soetojo, yang menjadi salah seorang korban peristiwa Gerakan 30 September 1965.

 

Agus menegaskan secara umum teori pertentangan antara sipil yang dipimpin Soekarno dan PKI berhadapan dengan sebagian TNI-AD adalah faktor internal yang menjadi titik lemah bagi masuknya kepentingan konflik perang dingin, dalam hal ini Amerika Serikat, Uni Soviet, dan Cina, yang bukan kebetulan dimenangkan oleh Amerika yang mewakili Barat.

 

Karena itu, Agus Widjojo mengingatkan, bila kita bercermin pada kejadian tahun 1965 itu, dalam situasi krisis multidimensi dan ancaman disintergrasi yang dialami oleh bangsa Indonesia pada saat ini, pilihannya hanyalah melakukan konsolidasi dalam satu rekonsiliasi yang pasti, atau hancur berkeping-keping dalam perang saudara dan intervensi asing di bidang ekonomi maupun politik

 

Keterlibatan Rusia dan RRC

Mengomentari buku yang akan diluncurkan itu, mantan aktivis angkatan 66 dan Forum Demokrasi, Rahman Toleng, berharap agar jangan cuma keterlibatan CIA saja yang dilihat pada waktu persitiwa 1965 tersebut.

Dia juga mengindikasikan keterlibatan agen-agen RRC dan Rusia di belakang peristiwa tersebut. Mantan Wakil Ketua MPRS, pada tahun 1966, Mayjen (Pur) Abdul Kadir Besar, mengingatkan faktor di dalam negeri juga berperan seperti pernyataan Anwar Sanusi (anggota CC PKI/Anggota Front Nasional) sebelum peristiwa 30 September 1965, bahwa ibu pertiwi sedang hamil tua.

 

“Itu merupakan sebuah tanda akan terjadi kejadian besar tersebut. Oleh karena itu, data-data dari dalam negeri pun juga harus dijadikan pembanding dokumen CIA tersebut,” ujarnya.

 

Dalam pandangan Abdul Kadir, PKI punya rencana 4 tahunan dalam demokrasi parlementer-terpimpin ala Soekarno yang yakin akan menang dalam Pemilu.

 

Namun karena peringatan dokter-dokter Cina tentang gawatnya penyakit Soekarno, PKI khawatir TNI AD akan mendahului merebut kekuasaan. “Oleh karenanya, PKI mendahului dengan G30S-nya,” jelasnya.

 

Dokumen Gilchrist

Untuk membaca dokumen CIA ini mungkin dibutuhkan satu latar belakang historis. Seorang purnawirawan perwira tinggi TNI-AD berusaha mendudukkan alur secara kronologis. Dalam pandangannya, peristiwa 1965 dipicu oleh sebuah dokumen yang bernama Dokumen Gilchrist. Gilchrist—duta besar Inggris pada waktu itu—sebagai pelaksana operasi intelejen Inggris dan AS, mengeluarkan dokumen yang berisikan situasi palsu tentang konsolidasi TNI-AD, yang disebutnya sebagai Dewan Jenderal.

Dokumen ini yang dibawa oleh Chaerul Saleh, tokoh Partai Murba ke Soekarno, Subandrio, dan akhirnya Adit.

 

Dalam sebuah pesta sebelumnya di Eropa, Gilchrist pernah berkata bahwa satu kali tembakan akan mengubah Indonesia.

Belakangan baru terungkap, sekretaris dubes Inggris-lah yang mempersiapkan skenario operasi anti-PKI dengan isu amoral, asusila, dan anti-agama yang kemudian dilansir ke sejumlah koran Ibu Kota seperti Merdeka, Berita Yudha, dan Angkatan Bersenjata.

 

Hal ini terungkap karena ada satu dokumen telegram kampanye dengan isu tersebut ke redaksi Merdeka.

 

Menurut sumber itu, menanggapi situasi yang digambarkan Dokumen Gilchrist, Soekarno memerintahkan untuk segera mengatasi persoalan ini.

 

Kolonel Soeparjo dan Kolonel Mursid kemungkinan menolak yang kemudian jatuh ke Letkol Untung sebagai pelaksana G30S.

 

Kalau benar DN Aidit ingin melakukan revolusi dari atas, langkah itu keliru karena dia tidak melibatkan jajaran TNI yang berpihak ke PKI, dan harus diingat Letkol Untung ternyata bukan dari kalangan tersebut.

 

Operasi Pembasmian

Ada hal menarik dalam buku itu, seperti daftar nama 500-an pemimpin PKI yang dikeluarkan oleh CIA dan disampaikan lewat Adam Malik ke TNI-AD yang berbobot perintah operasi pembasmian secara cepat agar PKI benar-benar lumpuh rantai komandonya. Hanya dengan operasi cepat inilah AS percaya dapat melumpuhkan PKI dan dapat menaikkan moral TNI-AD untuk melawan Soekarno dan PKI.

 

Hanya sedikit perwira yang memiliki keberanian dan pengalaman melawan Soekarno, yaitu mereka yang terlibat di PRRI dan Permesta semacam Zulkifli Lubis, Vence Sumual, Kawilarang, dan tentu saja Kemal Idris.

 

Aktivis buruh Dita Indah Sari mengomentari bahwa dokumen-dokumen dalam buku ini memang membuktikan pendanaan dari pemerintah AS yang dijalankan oleh CIA adalah untuk operasi penggulingan Soekarno.

 

Hal ini didahului oleh tindakan mata-mata terhadap semua kegiatan dan keputusan Soekarno, terutama sehubungan dengan konfrontasi dengan Malaysia dan pengiriman relawan ke Malaysia.

 

 

 

 

 

Hal-hal itu terungkap dalam semua dokumen percakapan telepon, telegram, maupun surat rahasia pejabat-pejabat AS baik di Amerika maupun di Indonesia seperti: Lindon Johnson (Presiden AS), Dean Rusk (Menteri Luar Negeri), Mc Namara (Menteri Pertahanan), Howard Jones (Dubes AS di Indonesia), V. Forrestal (Staf Dewan Keamanan Nasional), Mc George Bundy (Assisten Khusus Presiden Urusan Keamanan). Seperti yang tertuang dalam halaman 156-158:

 

Memorandum dipersiapkan CIA untuk State Department (dari Colby untuk Bundy) 18 September 1964 tentang prospek untuk aksi tersembunyi

 

…di antara mereka beberapa telah menunjukkan kemampuan melakukan kegiatan politik tersembunyi meskipun terbatas namun efektif.

 

Lebih jauh ada terdapat sejumlah pendekatan ke kedutaan dan komponen misi lainnya oleh individu-individu—beberapa untuk kepenitngan diri sendiri, yang lain adalah untuk mencari bantuan agar mereka mampu melawan komunisme di Indonesia…untuk itu kami mengajukan sebuah program aksi tersembungi yang intensif, terbatas pada tujuan awalnya, tapi dirancang untuk ekspansi jika situasi mengijinkan.

 

Konteks Perang Dingin

 

Mengenai pengungkapan berbagai dokumen itu, James D. Vilgo, seorang pensiunan Letnan Kolonel AS, menegaskan bahwa dokumen tersebut harus ditempatkan pada konteksnya, yaitu masa Perang Dingin, di mana intelejen AS memang bekerja secara ofensif.

 

“Situasi politik sekarang sudah berbeda, Kongres dan Senat AS justru mengontrol semua kegiatan militer dan intelejen AS, agar tidak bekerja terlalu jauh.

 

Dokumen ini adalah salah satu bukti kontrol yang membuka semua operasi intelejen AS, sama seperti dokumen yang bersangkutan dengan Indocina, Chili, dan ope-rasi di berbagai tempat lainnya.

 

Justru transparansi ini seharusnya diikuti oleh Indonesia yang sedang dalam masa transisi sekarang,” ujarnya.

 

Lebih lanjut ia mengatakan bahwa data-data dari AS ini seharusnya dilengkapi dengan data-data dokumen yang dikeluarkan oleh pihak Indonesia sendiri agar masyarakat tahu sebenarnya apa yang terjadi dan menjadi pelajaran agar tidakterulang lagi.

 

Dalam era reformasi sekarang ini, ujarnya, yang terpenting adalah sebuah usaha untuk mengubah paradigma, terutama dalam pendidikan sejarah yang harus seobjektif mungkin.

 

 

Sebuah komite penyelidikan dapat dibentuk oleh sipil dan melibatkan intelektual dalam dan luar negeri untuk memberikan masukan pada MPR/DPR, sehingga punya kekuatan seperti Kongres dan Senat AS.

 

Dalam pandangannya, soal keterlibatan AS, tidak bisa dilihat secara sepihak karena sebenarnya yang berpengaruh adalah situasi dalam negeri pada waktu itulah yang mengkhawatirkan AS. Posisi AS adalah peninjau yang terlibat kemudian.

 

Cuci Tangan

 

Namun Dr. Salim Said, menegaskan bahwa penerjemahan dan penerbitan buku ini jangan menjadi ajang cuci tangan PKI terhadap peristiwa 1965.

 

Memang Amerika terlibat, tapi aspek-aspek lain juga di luar Amerika harus diperhitungkan, jelas buku ini diterbitkan oleh Hasta Mitra supaya menjernihkan persoalan terutama, soal keterlibatan AS, jangan malahan menjadikannya semakin kabur.

 

Joesoef Isak sendiri menegaskan dalam pengantarnya bahwa penerbitan buku ini sama sekali tidak bermaksud membangkitkan kemarahan rakyat Indonesia kepada dunia Barat.

 

“Kita sepenuhnya sadar bahwa juga di dunia barat maupun di Amerika terdapat cukup banyak unsur-unsur The New Emerging Forces dalam semua tingkatan kehidupan mereka yang sama-sama mendambakan persahabatan dan perdamaian di dunia ini. Sebaliknya kita juga sadar, bahwa kekuatan besar The Old Established Forces masih kuat bercokol dan mengacau rumah tangga kita sendiri,” ujarnya.

 

Ia melanjutkan bahwa itulah sebabnya globalisasi ekonomi-politik dan globalisasi intelejen yang berwatak destruktif bagi kemanusiaan, keadilan yang beradab, dan perdamaian bumi manusia, mutlak juga harus dihadapi dengan kerja sama dan penggalangan globalisasi solidaritas The New Emerging Forces sedunia.

 

 

 

 

Sumber:

-http://mhs.blog.ui.ac.id/wahyu.budi11/2011/08/21/dokumen-cia-melacak-penggulingan-dan-konspirasi-g-30-s-1965/

-Isak, Joesoef, ed. (Kata Pengantar). 2002. Dokumen CIA Melacak Penggulingan dan Konspirasi G-30-S-1965. Jakarta: Hasta Mitra, Agustus.

 

30 September 1965

Oei Tjoe tat, yang juga hadir dalam jam minum kopi pagi (koffie uurtje) pada tanggal 30 September 1965

Pada tanggal 30 September 1965, malam, Presiden Soekarno tidak tidur di istana Merdeka. Menjelang tengah malam, Soekarno meninggalkan Istana Merdeka menuju ke kediaman istrinya, Ny Ratnasari Dewi, di Wisma Yaso, Jalan Gatot Subroto (kini, Museum Satria Mandala). Dalam perjalanan ke sana, Soekarno singgah di Hotel Indonesia untuk menjemput Ny Dewi, yang tengah menghadiri resepsi yang diadakan Kedutaan Besar Irak di Bali Room.

 

Oei Tjoe Tat, salah seorang menteri dalam Kabinet 100 Menteri Soekarno (Kabinet Dwikora), dalam Memoir of Oei Tjoe Tat, Pembantu Presiden Soekarno, yang diterbitkan oleh Hasta Mitra, menyebutkan ia bertemu dengan Subagiyo di dalam tahanan, dan Subagiyo, ia telah memberi tahu Soeharto mengenai akan adanya peristiwa penting pada tanggal 30 September 1965 itu.

Dan, pada pertemuan kedua di RSPAD, Latief menyebutkan ia dan rekan-rekannya akan menjemput paksa para jenderal pimpinan teras Angkatan Darat untuk dihadapkan kepada Presiden Soekarno.

(hagemman)

Dalam pidato 30 September 1965 ia sempat mengkritik pers yang kurang tepat dalam menulis nama anak-anaknya. Nama Megawati sebetulnya Megawati Soekarnaputri, bukan Megawati Soekarnoputri. Demikian pula dengan Guntur Soekarnaputra

(penasukarno)

Bung Karno memanggil Ahmad yani ,dijadwalkan diterijm aoleh Presiden di istana Negara jam 8.00 tanggal 1 oktober 1965, agendanya Yani akan ditanyakan mengenai Angkatan kelima

Namun Ahmad Yani dibunuh beberapa jam sebelum ia menghadap Presiden Sukarno

(Subandrio)

 

G30 S PKI

Ayahku Ditembak Diseret lalu…….

24-01-2013 12:41

credit for Amelia Yani

(Putri pertama alm Jenderal TNI AnumertaHhmad Yani)

Gerakan G 30 S PKI menyisahkan derita mendalam bagi keluarga Jenderal TNI Anumerta, Achmad Yani. Kisah tragis 1 Oktober 1965 ini diceritakan kembali oleh Amelia Ahmad Yani, anak ketiga dari pasangan Jenderal Achmad Yani dan Yayu Ruliah Sutodiwiryo .

Siang itu, Kamis 30 September 1965, udara cerah Jakarta terasa panas menyengat. Aku dan ketiga adiku menunggu kedatangan bapak pulang dari kantornya di Markas Besar Angkatan Darat (MBAD) yang terletak di Jl. Mendeka Utara, Jakarta.

 

Ketika itu bapak menjabat sebagai Menteri Panglima Angkatan Darat (Menpangad) di masa kepempinan Preside Soekarno. Sekitar pukul 14.00, kendaraan Oldsmobile hijau militer bernomor AD-1 dengan disertai regu pengawal memasuki pekarangan rumah kami di jalan Lembang Terusan No. D 48.

 

Sesaat kemudian bapak turun dari mobil. Dia terlihat tampan, gagah dan berwibawa dengan seragam militernya. Aku bangga dengan penampilan bapak yang penuh kharisma.
Usai merima jajar kehormatan dari para pengawal rumah kami, bapak langsung masuk ke dalam rumah.

 

Melihat kami sedang menunggu kedatangannya, dengan penuh kasih sayang bapak menyapa kami. Seperti biasa pula bapak langsung menanyakan keberadaan ibu,
”Ibu Nandi?” (Ibu mana). Kami pun beritahu bahwa Ibu sedang di dapur menyiapkan makan siang.
Sambil menunggu makan siang siap, bapak mengajak kami ngobrol di bar.

 

Siang itu bapak terlihat sangat gembira.

 

Padahal situasi politik di luar rumah bagaikan bara akibat makin kuatnya pengaruh komunis.

 

 

Toh begitu bapak tidak terpengaruh sedikitpun. Hati kami riang sekali. Karena senangnya, bapak tidak sadar bahwa disamping bapak, di bar itu, ada sebuah botol minyak wangi.

 

Karena tersentuh tangan bapak, botol itu berguling dan isinya tumpah membasahi meja bar. Sekejab wangi parfum merebak menguasai ruangan bar.

 

Bapak terkejut, tapi kemudian kembali larut dalam suka cita obrolan kami. Dengan kedua telapak tangannya bapak lalu meraup minyak wangi itu mengusap-usap ke tangan dan badan kami. Sambil mengusap-usap bapak berkata,
“Nek ana seng takon, seko sapa wangine, kandoa seko bapak” yang artinya, “Kalau ada yang tanya darimana kamu dapatkan wangi ini, katakan wanginya dari bapak”.

 

 

Mendengar itu kami tersenyum gembira. Tak lama kemudian ibu memberi kode kalau makan siangnya sudah siap disantap. Kami pun bergegas makan siang bersama.

Setelah makan siang, beberapa jam kemudian, bapak berangkat main golf ditemani pak Bob Hasan.

 

Sore harinya sekitar pukul 18.00 bapak pulang. Sembari berjalan masuk rumah melalui pintu belakang, bapak berpesan kepada pak Dedeng, sopir bapak, agar alat-alat golf segera dibersikan, karena kata bapak sudah tidak akan dipakai lagi.
Setengah jam kemudian bapak terlihat menuju kamar mandi. Percikan air terdengar jelas dari luar. Oh ternyata bapak mandi.

 

Selesai mandi, bapak mengenakan celana panjang warna abu-abu dipadu kemeja putih.

 

Bapak keliatan segar dan keren. Singkat kata malam pun tiba.

 

Malam itu bapak menerima kunjungan Jenderal Basuki Rahmat dan tamu-tamu lain yang tidak kami ketahui siapa mereka.

 

Entah apa yang mereka bicarakan. Disaat yang sama ibu tampak di dapur menyiapkan makan malam untuk bapak.

 

Sedangkan aku dan saudara-saudaraku ada di ruang belakang. Ada yang belajar, ada pula yang menyetel musik. Sementara pembantu rumah kami, Mbok Milah sibuk menyuapi adikku Edi yang saat itu baru berumur 7 tahun.

Setelah makan malam siap, ibu lalu menenui dan pamit kepada bapak katanya mau ‘nyepi’ di rumah Menpangad, rumah dinas bapak di jalan Taman Suropati 10. Ibu ditemani Tante Tinik, teman akrab ibu sejak kecil, Om Tris adik ibu dan Om Sandi, ajudan rumah tangga kami.

 

Malam itu kami semua tidak ada yang ikut menemani ibu. Karena ibu lebih senang nyepi sendiri, tanpa anak-anak.

 

Sekitar pulul 22 malam barulah bapak bebas dari tamu.

 

Beberapa saat kemudian setelah makan malam, bapak langsung masuk ke kamar tidurnya.

 

Sementara kami masih duduk-duduk di ruang belakang sambil menunggu kakakku yang tertua, Rulli, pulang dari Bandung.

 

Ia dan teman-temannya sedang mengikuti latihan Resimen Mahajaya di Batujajar.

 

Ketika ibu pergi nyepi dan bapak masuk kamar, malam itu rumah mendadak sunyi senyap.

 

Apalagi ketika para pengawal dan ajudan bapak pulang ke rumah mereka masing-masing.

Sesekali terdengar anjing menyalak dan menggonggong dari kejauhan.
Baru kira-kira pukul 23.00 sampai 24.00 telpon rumah kami terus berdering. Dari kejauhan si penelpon hanya bertanya dimana bapak.

 

Tanpa merasa curiga kami pun beritahu kalau bapak sudah tidur.

 

Malam kian larut. Rasa kantuk mulai menghantui kami. Satu persatu mulai beranjak tidur. Aku pun demikian.

 

Namun sekitar pukul 14.30 subuh (1 Oktober 1965), kami dikejutkan oleh suara tembakan bertubi-tubi. Terdengar pula hentakan sepatu tentara yang berlarian.
Hiruk pikuk sekali. Semua terjadi secara mendadak dan cepat. Hinggar bingar suasana benar-benar membingungkan. Mendengar itu aku beranikan diri mengintip melalui cela pintu kamar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aku melihat banyak tentara dengan baret merah tua. Aku melihat sesosok tubuh diseret tanpa belas kasihan.

 

Kakinya ditarik oleh dua orang tentara.

 

Tubuhnya diseret menyapu lantai.

 

Ya Alah, itu bapak, kataku spontan.

 

Serta merta aku langsung menghambur ke luar kamar sembari menjerit-jerit,
“Bapaaaak…..! Bapak……..!”.
Seketika aku dan saudara-saudaraku menangis pedih melihat bapak diperlakukan dengan keji.

 

Dengan langkah gontai sambil terus menangis, kami mengikuti para tentara yang membunuh bapak sampai ke pintu belakang.

 

Tiba-tiba para tentara itu berbalik dan menghadrik,
“Kalau anak-anak tidak masuk, akan ditembak juga semuanya”.
Kami ketakutan. Kami gemetaran. Kami semua berlari masuk ke dalam rumah. Sedih, marah, takut, bingung bercampur menjadi satu. Kami tak tahu lagi harus berbuat apa.

 

Beberapa saat kemudian kami mendengar suara kendaraan menderu-deru membawa bapak pergi.

 

Saat itu kami tidak tahu kemana bapak dibawa. Namun segumpal darah hangat tertinggal di ruang makan. Pintu kaca berserakan tertembus peluru. Darah tercecer di sepanjang lantai hingga ke jalan raya, bekas bapak diseret dari dalam rumah. Tujuh butir peluru kosong berhamburan di lantai.
Sejurus tanpa diperintah kami berhamburan masuk ke dalam kamar tidur bapak. Kami berebut mengangkat telpon.

 

Namun sayang, ternyata jaringan telepon sudah disabotase.

 

Segera kami meminta Mbok Milah untuk memanggil Om Bardi, ajudan bapak.

 

 

 

 

Sementara kami duduk dilantai mengelilingi darah bapak sambil berharap bapak tidak meninggal.

 

Disaat itu tiba-tiba munculah komandan penjaga yang dilucuti. Ia bingung. Ia kaget. Apalagi ketika dia melihat darah segar tercecer membasahi lantai. Spontan dia bertanya,
“Ini Darah Siapa?”.

 

Serempak kami menjawab,
“Ini darah bapak”.
Mendengar jawaban kami, sang komandan itu tak lagi berkata-kata.

 

Wajahnya kosong menatap darah bapak. Kami benar-benar dicekam rasa takut, marah dan tidak tahu harus berbuat apa.

(Amelia Yani)

Namun untuk kesekian kali, sial bagi Supeno. Yani yang berada di belakangnya malah terbunuh dalam Gestok 1965. Ia yang praktis bukan lagi perwira yang diperhitungkan, juga ikut digulung oleh penguasa militer baru, Mayjen Soeharto.

——

(http://anusapati.blogdetik.com/2008/08/22/bambang-supeno/

G30S, TERLIBATKAH SOEHARTO ?

Setiap kali memasuki bulan September dan Oktober, ingatan selalu menerawang jauh ke belakang, tepatnya ke peristiwa Gerakan 30 September (G30S) tahun 1965 yang sampai kini masih menyimpan misteri.

Ada pepatah yang menyatakan bahwa orang yang mengiasai informasi, akan menguasai dunia. Pepatah itu tidak mengada-ada, karena kenyataan itulah yang terjadi pada Panglima Komando Cadangan Strategis Angkatan Darat (Kostrad) Mayor Jenderal Soeharto sewaktu Peristiwa G30S terjadi.

Ia adalah satu-satunya perwira tinggi Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia (ABRI) yang tahu persis tentang apa yang terjadi pada tanggal 1 Oktober 1965 dinihari itu.

Data yang telah dipublikasikan selama ini menyebutkan, pada tanggal 30 September 1965 malam, Soeharto telah diberi informasi oleh Kolonel Infanteri Abdul Latief, Komandan Brigade Infanteri I Jayasakti Kodam V Jaya, bahwa akan dilakukan penjemputan paksa terhadap para jenderal pimpinan teras Angkatan Darat, termasuk Panglima Angkatan Darat Jenderal Ahmad Yani, untuk dihadapkan kepada Presiden Soekarno.

 

Agak aneh, mengapa Soeharto tidak melaporkan informasi yang diterimanya dari Latief kepada Jenderal Ahmad Yani, atasannya. Kemungkinannya hanya dua, ia terlibat atau ia hanya menggunting dalam lipatan, yakni mengambil keuntungan dari gerakan yang dilakukan orang lain.

Dalam pleidoinya, Latief mengungkapkan, selain bertemu dengan Soeharto pada tanggal 30 September 1965 di Rumah Sakit Pusat Angkatan Darat (RSPAD), dua hari menjelang tanggal 1 Oktober 1965 (tanggal 29 September 1965), ia juga menghadiri acara kekeluargaan di kediaman Soeharto di Jalan Haji Agus Salim. Pada pertemuan pertama, Latief memberi tahu adanya isu Dewan Jenderal akan melakukan kudeta terhadap pemerintahan Presiden Soekarno. Menanggapi pemberitahuan itu, Soeharto mengatakan, ia sudah mengetahui hal itu dari seorang bekas anak buahnya dari Yogyakarta yang bernama Subagiyo, yang datang sehari sebelumnya (28 September 1965).

 

Oei Tjoe Tat, salah seorang menteri dalam Kabinet 100 Menteri Soekarno (Kabinet Dwikora), dalam Memoir of Oei Tjoe Tat, Pembantu Presiden Soekarno, yang diterbitkan oleh Hasta Mitra, menyebutkan ia bertemu dengan Subagiyo di dalam tahanan, dan Subagiyo, ia telah memberi tahu Soeharto mengenai akan adanya peristiwa penting pada tanggal 30 September 1965 itu.

Dan, pada pertemuan kedua di RSPAD, Latief menyebutkan ia dan rekan-rekannya akan menjemput paksa para jenderal pimpinan teras Angkatan Darat untuk dihadapkan kepada Presiden Soekarno.

 

Adanya pertemuan antara Kolonel Abdul Latief dengan Mayor Jenderal Soeharto menjelang peristiwa G30S membuat kecewa Letnan Jenderal Purnawirawan Kemal Idris, yang sebagai Kepala Staf Kostrad pada tanggal 11 Maret 1966 memimpin pasukan tanpa identitas yang ditempatkan di sekitar Monumen Nasional.

Ditemui wartawan melayat ke rumah Jenderal Besar Purnawirawan AH Nasution, 6 September 2000, Kemal Idris mengatakan, dengan meninggalnya Pak Nas makin sulit pula upaya bangsa ini untuk mengorek tuntas misteri G30S yang hingga kini masih menjadi tanda tanya bagi banyak orang.

Apa yang kita kecewa adalah (karena) Soeharto dua kali didatangai Kolonel Abdul Latief dan dia (Soeharto) menerima laporan bahwa akan terjadi sesuatu pada tanggal 30 September 1965. Saya sangat kecewa sekali kepada Soeharto yang tidak mengambil tindakan apa pun untuk pengamanan (hingga timbul kesan) saat itu, seolah-olah biarlah ada orang mati supaya dia berkuasa, “ ujar Kemal Idris.

Ternyata setelah Soeharto lengser dari jabatannya sebagai presiden pada tanggal 21 Mei 1998, muncul data baru, yang diungkapkan oleh Wakil Komandan Batalyon 530/Para Brigade 3/Brawijaya Kapten Soekarbi (kini, Mayor Purnawirawan). Dalam wawancaranya dengan tabloid berita Detak, yang dimuat dalam edisi 29 September – 5 Oktober 1998, Soekarbi mengatakan, dalam Radiogram Panglima Kostrad Nomor 220 dan Nomor 239 tanggal 21 September 1965, yang ditandatangani oleh Mayor Jenderal Soeharto, isinya perintah agar Batalyon 530/Para Brogade 3/Brawijaya disiapkan dalam rangka HUT ke-20 ABRI tanggal 5 Oktober 1965 di Jakarta dengan “perlengkapan tempur garis pertama.”

 

Pertanyaan yang segera muncul, mengapa Soeharto meminta Batalyon 530 disiapkan dengan “perlengkapan tempur garis pertama” ?

Apalagi kemudian yang terjadi adalah sebagian dari angota pasukan Batalyon 530 terlibat dalam peristiwa G30S. Tidak diketahui apakah perintah serupa diberikan pula kepada Batalyon 454/Para/Diponegoro, yang sebagian anggotanya juga terlibat dalam peristiwa G30S.

Dengan adanya radiogram tersebut, muncul dugaan bahwa Soeharto sudah tahu mengnai akan adanya peristiwa G30S paling tidak sejak tanggal 21 September 1965 atau sembilan hari sebelumnya. Sebab, dengan memberikan pasukan Batalyon 530 itu “perlengkapan tempur garis pertama”, Soeharto telah memfasilitasi anggota pasukan tersebut untuk melakukan “gerakannya”.

 

Belum lagi hampir semua pelaku inti G30S memiliki hubungan yang dekat dengan Soeharto, mulai Brigadir Jenderal Soepardjo, Kolonel Untung, Kolonel Abdul latief, sampai Sjam Karuzzaman.

Itu sebabnya, pada saat G30S berlangsung, Soeharto hanya menunggu perkembangan, dan pada saat yang tepat, dengan cepat mengambil langkah-langkah yang diperlukan, di saat orang-orang lain, termasuk panglima dan perwira tinggi angkatan lainnya, masih bertanya-tanya apa yang sesungguhnya terjadi.

Karena mengetahui siapa saja yang telah dijemput paksa dan siapa saja yang melakukannya, maka saat itu pada prinsipnya Soeharto dapat melakukan apa saja yang dikehendakinya, termasuk dengan mudah membasmi pelaku-pelaku G30S dan mencari kambing hitam untuk dituduh sebagai penanggung jawab atas peristiwa G30S.

Sebagai orang yang memiliki seluruh informasi, Soeharto secara leluasa memberlakukan keadaan darurat. Kemudian menelepon Menteri/Panglima Angkatan Laut Laksamana Madya RE Martadinata, Menteri/Panglima Angkatan Kepolisian Jenderal Soetjipto Joedodihardjo, dan Deputi Operasi Angkatan Udara Komodor Leo Watimena. Dan, kepada mereka, Soeharto memberi tahu untuk sementara Angkatan Darat dipegang olehnya, serta meminta agar mereka tidak mengadaka pergerakan pasukan tanpa sepengetahuannya (dalam hal itu, Panglima Kostrad).

Sebagai kambing hitam, ia menuduh Menteri/Panglima Angkatan Udara Laksamana Madya Omar Dani berada di pihak yang salah, dan Pangkalan Angkatan Udara Halim Perdanakusuma disebutkan sebagai markas pelaksana G30S. Dengan demikian, kehadiran Presiden Soekarno di Pangkalan Angkatan Udara Halim Perdanakusuma dicitrakan sebagai keberpihakan Soekarno pada G30S.

Itu belum semua. Dengan peguasaannya atas seluruh media massa nasional, Soeharto berhasil menjadikan versinya atas peristiwa G30S sebagai satu-satunya kebenaran. Dan, bagi orang-orang yang dianggap “berseberangan” diberi label terlibat G30S, dan dijadikan tahanan politik.

Sejumlah purnawirawan AURI di bawah pimpinan Sri Mulyono Herlambang, lewat buku Menyibak Kabut Halim 1965 membantah bahwa Lubang Buaya yang digunakan sebagai Markas Kelompok G30S berada di wilayah AURI. Tempat tersebut justru berada di wilayah Angkatan Darat.

Pada tanggal 1 Oktober 1965, pukul 06.30, Mayor Jenderal Soehato memerintahkan seorang perwira Kostrad, Kapten Mudjono untuk memanggil Komandan Batalyon 530 Mayor Bambang Sipeno yang menempatkan pasukannya di sekitar Monumen Nasional dan Istana Kepresidenan. Karena Mayor Bambang Supeno tidak ada di tempat, maka Wakil Komandan Batalyon 530 Kapten Soekarbi, yang memimpin pasukan di lapangan, bertanya apakah ia bisa mewakili. Perwira itu menjawab tidak bisa. Namun, pukul 07.30, perwira Kostrad itu kembali, dan mengatakan, Kapten Soekarbi diperbolehkan menggantikan Mayor Bambang Supeno. Tidak lama kemudian datang menghadap pula Wakil Komandan Batalyon 454 Kapten Koencoro.

Pasukan yang ditempatkan di sekitar Monumen Nasional dan Istana Kepresidenan adalah anggota dua batalyon yang diundang Panglima Kostrad Mayor Jenderal Soeharto ke Jakarta untuk mengikuti peringatan HUT ke-20 ABRI pada tanggal 5 Oktober 1965. Sebab itu, Soeharto dengan mudah memanggil pemimpin kedua batalyon itu, dan memerintahkan agar menarik kembali pasukan mereka ke Markas Kostrad.

Soekarbi membantah pernyataan yang menyebutkan bahwa Kostrad tidak tahu kehadiran pasukannya di sekitar Istana dan Monumen Nasional, mengingat anak buahnya bolak-balik ke Markas Kostrad untuk menggunakan kamar kecil (toilet).

Berbeda dengan Soeharto, yang pukul 06.30, sudah mengetahui identitas pasukan yang berada di sekitar Monumen Nasional dan Istana Kepresidenan, Presiden Soekarno dan regu pengawalnya sama sekali masih tidak tahu-menahu mengenai apa yang terjadi.

 

Pada tanggal 30 September 1965, malam, Presiden Soekarno tidak tidur di istana Merdeka. Menjelang tengah malam, Soekarno meninggalkan Istana Merdeka menuju ke kediaman istrinya, Ny Ratnasari Dewi, di Wisma Yaso, Jalan Gatot Subroto (kini, Museum Satria Mandala). Dalam perjalanan ke sana, Soekarno singgah di Hotel Indonesia untuk menjemput Ny Dewi, yang tengah menghadiri resepsi yang diadakan Kedutaan Besar Irak di Bali Room

(hagemman)

Saya ctharien Panjaitan putrid tertua D.I.Pndjaitan saat itu berusia 17 tahun,pada malam hari skeitar jam 4-5.00 pagi rumahnya dikepung oleh pasukan, dan ayahnya D.I>Pandjaitan setelah menegnakan pakaian turun kebawah, tentara yang menegeoung rumah menghormnta,setelah itu memukul nya dengan senjata sehingga jatuh,kemudian diseret keluar dan diabwa dengan kendaraan. Llau saya mengubunggi jemndral nasution melaporkan kejadian ini.

(Catharine Panjaitan,putrid D.I>Panjaitan,matro TV,30 Septemebvr 2013

The officers killed in the G30S events:
Gen. Ahmad Yani
Lt.-Gen. Haryono
Lt.-Gen. Parman
Lt.-Gen. Suprapto
Maj.-Gen. Panjaitan
Maj.-Gen. Siswamohardjo
Captain Tendean (aide to Nasution)
Brigadier-Gen. Katamso
Colonel Inf. Mangunwijoto

What really happened in 1965? Nobody knows. There are dozens of theories, some of them with little evidence in their favor. Many of the participants are now dead; from some of them, we only have the confessions they made after being arrested. Under Suharto, the government routinely banned most books and publications about the 1965 events, which makes the situation even more difficult.

Was the army behind it? Certainly not as an organization. Rebel officers such as Untung probably acted without broad support.

Was Sukarno behind it? Probably not, but who can say. Suharto? There is no direct evidence against him. However, rumors persist that Suharto may have heard of the coup plans before September 30th, and so was ready to take advantage of the disorder beforehand.

Was the PKI behind it? The PKI had made two hopeless attempts to take power before, in 1926 and again at Madiun in 1948. Is it possible that rebellious, undisciplined officers planned the coup, and then the PKI announced its support? Maybe.

Were foreign powers involved? There was heavy involvement by China in Indonesian politics in 1965. Both the United States and the Soviet Union were supplying aid either directly to the government or to their friends in ABRI. The West German goverment supplied secret aid to anti-communists. We know today, too, that the CIA gave lists of Indonesian communists to the Indonesian military during the purges that came after. But did foreign powers help plan G30S? Probably not, but again, we do not know.

It is perhaps most possible that whatever secret plans had been made did not go exactly as the planners intended.

By the end of 1965, a huge wave of popular violence against the PKI had started. In West and Central Java, the army began rounding up Communists, but in many villages, people took the law into their own hands. In some areas, such as East Java or Aceh, Islamic groups (such as the Nahdlatul Ulama youth group Ansor) fought to wipe out communists. However, there was a heavy anti-communist purge on Bali as well. Thousands were sent to prison, and over a year’s time, perhaps more than 250,000 were dead. ABRI did not commit all of the killings, but ABRI officers did arm and train student groups that committed killings, and also did not act to stop the violence until the PKI had been wiped out.

Suharto’s main supporters in ABRI were Brig. Gen. Kemal Idris, Col. Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, and Maj. Gen. Dharsono.

 

 

Gestapu
 
September 30 PKI organizations

Pemuda Rakyat and Gerwani hold mass demonstrations against the runaway inflation in Jakarta.
September 30 In the evening, Lt.-Col. Untung, head of the Cakrabirawa Regiment (Presidential Guards), other Diponegoro and Brawijaya Division soldiers, and PKI supporters gather at Halim Air Base, with Gen. Omar Dhani and Aidit present. The forces are under the tactical command of Brigadier-General Supardjo, who had recently been commanding guerilla forces in the Konfrontasi against Malaysia. They leave and attempt to take seven top army generals. Nasution escapes by leaping over the wall of his house, his young daughter is shot and Lt. Tendean, his aide, is taken away. Gen. Ahmad Yani is killed at his house, as are two others. Three other generals are taken alive with Lt. Tendean and the bodies of the dead to Halim, where the remaining live captives are murdered and thrown in the well called Lubang Buaya.
Rebel soldiers take Merdeka Square in Jakarta by the Presidential Palace, the radio and TV stations.
October 1 Suharto arrives at Kostrad Headquarters overlooking Merdeka Square, takes emergency control of loyal troops after consulting with available generals.
October 1 At 7:00 A.M., the radio announces that “Movement 30 September” (Gerakan 30 September, or G30S) is pro-Sukarno, anti-corruption, anti-United States and anti-CIA.

October 1

Suharto arrives at Kostrad Headquarters overlooking Merdeka Square, takes emergency control of loyal troops after consulting with available generals.

Radio announces that “Movement 30 September” (Gerakan 30 September, or G30S) is pro-Sukarno, anti-corruption, anti-United States and anti-CIA.

Mutinies in five of seven Diponegoro Division battalions support the rebels, as do Naval officers in Surabaya.

Sukarno goes to Halim, consults with Omar Dhani but not with Aidit.

Suharto offers water to hot soldiers in Merdeka Square, they come to his side; ignores messages from Sukarno.

Suharto announces on radio that six generals are dead, he is in control of army, he will suppress coup attempt and protect Sukarno.

Sukarno leaves for Bogor, Aidit leaves for Yogya, Omar Dhani leaves for Madiun.

October 2

Loyal army units retake Halim Air Base.

Mayor of Surakarta supports coup.

PKI supporters march in Yogya.

PKI newspaper Harian Rakyat publishes issue in favor of coup.

Military rebels in Central Java retreat to countryside.

Suharto agrees to Sukarno order taking presidential control of army, but only if Suharto has emergency powers to restore order.

October 3 Bodies discovered in Lubang Buaya. Sukarno, in a radio broadcast, claims the Air Force was not involved.

October 4

Bodies are removed from Lubang Buaya in the presence of print and TV reporters. Suharto is also present.

October 5

Public funeral in Jakarta for dead generals.

October 6

Sukarno meets with his cabinet in Bogor, then finally issues a statement denouncing the attempted coup.

October 8

Demonstration burns PKI headquarters in Jakarta.

October 13

Ansor (the Islamic youth organization associated with Nahdlatul Ulama) holds anti-Communist rallies on Java.

October 14

Suharto begins moving loyal troops into Central Java.

October 16

Sukarno dismisses Omar Dhani as head of Air Force. Suharto is appointed commander of the army.

October 18

Nearly a hundred Communists killed in battle with Ansor youths. Beginning of general massacre of PKI supporters in Central and East Java.

Inflation runs wild in the general uncertainty.

November 1

Kopkamtib security force established with Suharto at head.

November 11

Fighting between PNI and PKI supporters on Bali begins massacre of Communists on Bali.

November 22 Aidit is captured and executed.

The Assembly (DPR), consisting entirely of members appointed by Sukarno, is purged of PKI members.

Sukarno’s 1963 decree is used to ban all books written by members of the PKI and associated organizations.

Muhammadiyah declares jihad against PKI. Sukarno pleads with Muslims to give dead proper burial. Anti-Communist movement spreads throughout Java.

December

10000 PKI supporters have been arrested, many thousand more killed. Anti-Communist massacres are heavy on Bali. The ABRI commander for Aceh announces that Aceh is now free of Communists.

December 13

Major currency adjustment due to inflation: 1000 old rupiah are converted to 1 new rupiah.

Special Military Courts begin holding trials of PKI members.

December 31

Shell signs contract to sell remaining Indonesian holdings to government

 

Siauw Giok Tjhan, Pejuang Bangsa Yang Dihapus Dalam Sejarah

 Siauw_giok_tjhan.jpg

Ia adalah seorang pejuang yang melawan imperialisme hingga akhir hayatnya. Pada akhirnya, ia harus wafat di negeri orang sebagai pelarian politik, bukan di negeri yang ia perjuangkan kemerdekaannya. Namun, namanya tak akan ditemukan dalam buku sejarah resmi versi pemerintah. 

Ia adalah Siauw Giok Tjhan. Anak bangsa yang berasal dari etnis Tionghoa ini memang memiliki naluri untuk menentang penindasan sejak ia berusia remaja. Karakter yang kemudian ia bawa hingga akhir hayat, ketika ia memilih konsisten melawan penindasan yang tak hanya datang dari penjajah asing, melainkan juga dari bangsa sendiri dalam bentuknya yang lain, diskriminasi rasial.

Spirit Nasionalisme

Lahir pada 23 Maret 1914 di Surabaya, Jawa Timur, putra dari pasangan  Siauw Gwan Swie  dan Kwan Tjian Nio ini tumbuh dalam keluarga Tionghoa yang yang telah berintegrasi dengan etnis lainnya di Surabaya. Kondisi itu membuat Siauw Giok Tjhan fasih berbahasa Tionghoa, Melayu dan Jawa.

Siauw Giok Tjhan kecil mengenyam pendidikan di sekolah Tionghoa, Tiong Hoa Hwee Koan. Namun, atas dorongan ayahnya, ia pindah ke sekolah Belanda, Institut Buys dan kemudian ia bersekolah juga di Europese Lagere School. Perlakuan diskriminatif yang dipertunjukkan para siswa Belanda  di sekolah tersebut terhadap siswa bumiputera dan Tionghoa membuat naluri perlawanan Siauw Giok Tjhan bangkit. Hinaan “Cina Loleng” yang kerap terlontar dari mulut para siswa kulit putih seringkali membuat kesabaran Siauw Giok Tjhan habis, sehingga ia sering terlibat perkelahian dengan mereka.

Menginjak usia remaja, Siauw Giok Tjhan harus berjuang untuk menghidupi dirinya dan adik-adiknya karena kedua orang tuanya wafat. Berbekal modal seadanya peninggalan dari orang tua, ia pun menjalankan bisnis penyewaan mobil kecil-kecilan di Surabaya. Ketangguhan jiwa Siauw Giok Tjhan muda dalam menghadapi kesulitan hidup seakan ‘diuji’ pada masa ini.

Ketangguhan jiwa itu pula yang membuat ia tak ‘lari’ dari situasi sosial kala itu, ketika rakyat banyak yang dilanda kesulitan akibat penjajahan.  Siauw Giok Tjhan  pun bergabung dengan organisasi pemuda  Tionghoa, Hua Chiao Tsing Niem Hui, dimana melalui organisasi ini ia banyak membantu rakyat yang didera kesulitan ekonomi.

Selain dengan organisasi tersebut, Siauw Giok Tjhan juga bergabung dengan Partai Tionghoa Indonesia (PTI). Keaktifan ia di partai ini sekaligus menjadi penanda mulai masuknya Siauw Giok Tjhan di kancah pergerakan kemerdekaan. Sebab PTI merupakan partai yang mengupayakan  semua  warga etnis Tionghoa yang lahir dan menetap di Hindia Belanda (Indonesia) untuk memiliki kesadaran bahwasanya tanah air mereka adalah Indonesia . Maka, etnis Tionghoa sebagai bagian dari masyarakat Indonesia pun harus turut serta dalam memperjuangkan kemerdekaan Indonesia.

Kiprahnya di PTI ini pula yang kemudian mengantarkan Siauw Giok Tjhan menjadi anggota Gerakan Rakyat Indonesia (Gerindo), sebuah organisasi berhaluan nasionalis kiri yang dibentuk Amir Sjarifudin dan Muhamad Yamin. Melalui Gerindo inilah, spirit nasionalisme Siauw Giok Tjhan makin membara.

Tak hanya di aspek politik, semangat nasionalisme juga ia manifestasikan di bidang olahraga. Hal itu tampak ketika Siauw  terlibat dalam gerakan pemboikotan terhadap organisasi sepak bola Belanda,  Nederland Indische Voetbaldbond (NIVB) ketika NIVB akan menggelar pertandingan di Surabaya. Saat itu, Siauw Giok Tjhan dan kawan-kawannya berupaya  mengalihkan penonton ke Pasar Turi, dimana di pasar tersebut sedang berlangsung pertandingan yang digelar oleh Persatuan Sepak Bola Seluruh Indonesia (PSSI).

Dalam kancah perjuangan kemerdekaan ini pulalah, Siauw bersinggungan dengan Marxisme. Ia mengenal ideologi itu dari kedua kawannya, Tjoa Sik Ien dan Tan Ling Djie. Perkenalannya dengan Marxisme ini makin membuat spirit nasionalisme  Siauw kian ‘condong’ ke kiri.

Selain dalam organisasi dan partai, Siauw juga berkiprah di bidang jurnalistik. Ia mengawali kiprahnya di bidang tersebut sebagai wartawan  harian Matahari, sebuah koran yang bertendensi nasionalis. Menjelang masuknya tentara Jepang ke nusantara, Siauw pun menjadi pemimpin redaksi koran ini. Pada masa pendudukan Jepang,  harian Matahari mengambil tendensi anti-fasisme Jepang sehingga membuat Siauw dalam posisi yang berbahaya.

Siauw pun menjadi incaran Jepang untuk ditangkap.  Siauw berupaya menghindar dari kejaran Jepang itu dengan mengambil posisi aman menjadi pemilik toko eceran di Malang. Di kota tersebut, Siauw merubah taktik perjuangan.  Ia menjadi anggota organisasi bentukan Jepang yang bernama Kakyo Shokai serta mendirikan organisasi keamanan Kebotai. Di kota Malang inilah, Siauw menetap hingga Proklamasi Kemerdekaan 17 Agustus 1945 dikumandangkan.

Proklamasi kemerdekaan ternyata bukanlah akhir  perjuangan, melainkan jutru awal berkecamuknya revolusi kemerdekaan. Belanda tak ingin melepas bekas jajahan di zamrud katulistiwa ini begitu saja. Dengan membonceng Sekutu dan Inggris selaku pemenang Perang Dunia ke II, mereka berupaya menguasai kembali Indonesia.

Siauw pun kembali berpartisipasi dalam perjuangan mempertahankan kemerdekaan dengan  mendirikan dua organisasi, yakni Angkatan Muda Tionghoa dan Palang Biru. Kedua organisasi ini terlibat dalam kancah pertempuran  melawan tentara Inggris di Surabaya pada 10 November 1945.

Perjuangan Siauw juga berlanjut di ‘wadah’ baru, yakni Partai Sosialis yang didirikan oleh Sutan Sjahrir dan Amir Sjarifuddin. Seperti yang disinggung sebelumnya, Amir Sjarifudin ini merupakan kawan Siauw ketika masih sama-sama berjuang di Gerindo pada masa penjajahan Belanda dahulu.

Tak hanya di partai politik, Siauw juga berjuang melalui Komite Nasional Indonesia Pusat (KNIP) setelah ditunjuk oleh Bung Karno pada tahun 1946. Pandangan Siauw yang menganggap seluruh warga  keturunan Asia maupun Eropa sebagai bagian tak terpisahkan dari revolusi nasional telah membuat ia memperjuangkan disahkannya UU Kewarganegaraan RI di tahun 1946. UU itu mengamanatkan seluruh warga keturunan Asia dan Eropa di Indonesia untuk menjadi orang Indonesia sejati dan turut serta membantu perjuangan kemerdekaan.  Pada masa perang kemerdekaan ini, Siauw juga pernah diangkat menjadi Menteri Negara urusan Minoritas ketika Kabinet dipimpin oleh Amir Sjarifudin pada tahun 1947.

Dukungan Siauw terhadap perjuangan kemerdekaan tidak hanya ia tunjukkaan melalui perjuangan politik atau organisasi, melainkan juga hal-hal yang kecil seperti hidup secara sederhana. Hal itu ia tunjukkan  tatkala  istrinya hendak melahirkan anaknya yang keempat di Malang pada September 1947, bersamaan dengan agresi militer Belanda pertama. Adiknya Siauw, Siauw Giok Bie, hendak menggunakan mobil organisasi Palang Biru untuk mengantar istri Siauw ke rumah sakit.  Tapi Siauw dengan tegas melarang adiknya menggunakan fasilitas milik organisasi, sebab  mobil itu akan lebih baik digunakan untuk menolong  para pejuang yang terluka karena bertempur melawan agresi Belanda.

Di sisi lain, perpecahan yang melanda Partai Sosialis tempat Siauw bernaung makin tak terhindarkan. Perbedaan pendapat yang bernuansa ideologis antara kubu Sjahrir dengan kubu Amir Sjarifudin mengakibatkan kubu Sjahrir memisahkan diri dan membentuk Partai Sosialis Indonesia (PSI) di awal tahun 1948. Sedangkan kubu Amir tetap bertahan di partai Sosialis. Siauw memilih bergabung dalam kubu Amir.

Pada perkembangan selanjutnya, Partai Sosialis pimpinan Amir makin dekat dengan Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI), terutama ketika pertentangan politik menghangat pasca disepakatinya perjanjian Renvile di pertengahan tahun 1948. Partai Sosialis dan PKI beserta beberapa organisasi kiri lainnya membentuk Front Demokrasi Rakyat (FDR) sebagai wujud oposisi mereka terhadap kabinet pimpinan Bung Hatta yang didukung Masyumi. FDR sangat menolak kebijakan kabinet Hatta yang ingin ‘membersihkan’ angkatan perang dari unsur-unsur laskar rakyat.

Puncak dari ketegangan politik itu adalah meletusnya “peristiwa Madiun”, ketika gerakan FDR dianggap sebagai pemberontakan oleh pemerintahan Hatta. FDR pun  ditumpas oleh kabinet Hatta dan angkatan perang pimpinan A.H Nasution. Siauw, sebagai salah satu pendukung FDR juga sempat ditangkap TNI. Namun, tak lama kemudian terjadi agresi militer Belanda yang kedua di akhir 1948.  Siauw pun lolos dari penjara Republik, namun ia kembali ditangkap Belanda.

Integrasi vs Asimilasi

Di akhir tahun 1949,  kemerdekaan Indonesia pun diakui oleh Belanda. Perang kemerdekaan usai, namun masalah kewarganegaraan etnis Tionghoa belum juga tuntas. Guna menuntaskan masalah tersebut, Siauw dan beberapa tokoh Tionghoa lain seperti Oei Tjoe Tat, Yap Tiam Hien dan Ang Jang Goan  membentuk  Badan Permusyawaratan Kewarganegaraan Indonesia (Baperki) di tahun 1954. Siauw pun menjadi ketua umum organisasi ini.

Pada masa itu, secara garis besar ada  dua konsep berbeda yang muncul dari kalangan masyarakat terkait penyelesaian masalah etnis Tionghoa di Indonesia. Kedua konsep itu dipandang sebagai solusi jitu bagi penyelesaian masalah tersebut oleh masing-masing kubu pendukungnya. Kedua konsep itu adalah asimilasi dan integrasi.

Untuk konsep asimilasi, definisinya adalah penyatuan antara dua  etnis dengan menghilangkan seluruh identitas kultural dari salah satu etnis. Dalam konteks masalah Tionghoa, etnis Tionghoa diharuskan menghilangkan seluruh identitas ke-Tionghoaan-nya untuk kemudian bergabung dengan kebudayaan mayoritas rakyat Indonesia yang dianggap kebudayaan ‘asli’ Indonesia.

Sedangkan konsep integrasi mengandung arti persatuan  antara etnis Tionghoa dan etnis lainnya di Indonesia tanpa menegasikan kebudayaan masing-masing etnis. Hal ini sesuai dengan moto Bhineka Tunggal ika, berbeda-beda tapi tetap bersatu dalam naungan negara Republik Indonesia.

Baperki yang dipimpin oleh  Siauw menentang keras konsep asimilasi. Menurut Baperki,  asimilasi tak ubahnya diskriminasi dan tidak sesuai dengan motto Bhineka Tunggal Ika yang mengakui keberagaman berbagai etnis di nusantara berikut segala ‘pernak-pernik’ kulturalnya. Karena itu tak seharusnya etnis Tionghoa menanggalkan identitas kulturalnya untuk bisa bersatu dengan unsur rakyat Indonesia yang lain.

Masalah etnis Tionghoa yang merupakan bagian tak terpisahkan dari masyarakat Indonesia dapat dituntaskan dengan berintegrasi pada kehidupan dan perjuangan masyarakat Indonesia secara keseluruhan, tanpa harus melupakan kebudayaan Tionghoa-nya. Maka, Baperki mendukung konsep integrasi revolusioner sebagai solusi penyelesaian masalah Tionghoa di Indonesia. Dan PKI, yang bertendensi anti rasialisme, juga  mendukung konsep integrasi yang diusung oleh Baperki ini. Tak heran apabila  pada perkembangan politik selanjutnya, terutama di era Demokrasi Terpimpin, Baperki menjadi sangat dekat dengan PKI.

Sementara,  konsep asimilasi  didukung juga oleh beberapa tokoh Tionghoa. Mereka adalah Harry Tjan Silalahi, Kristoforus Sindunata, Ong Hok Ham, serta H.Junus Jahja. Kelompok Tionghoa pro-asimilasi ini mendirikan Lembaga Pembina Kesatuan Bangsa (LPKB) di tahun 1963. LPKB ini mendapatkan banyak dukungan, terutama dari kelompok politik kanan dan Angkatan Darat (AD) yang pada umumnya rival politik PKI. Sebagai tambahan, LPKB ini memegang peranan penting dalam perumusan berbagai kebijakan rezim Orde Baru yang diskriminatif terhadap etnis Tionghoa pasca kejatuhan Bung Karno tahun 1966, termasuk kebijakan pelarangan perayaan Imlek, pelarangan agama Kong Hu Chu dan pergantian nama warga Tionghoa.

Pertentangan antara Baperki dan kelompok pro-asimilasi (LPKB) berlanjut dimasa Demokrasi Terpimpin. Nuansa kompetisi politik antar berbagai kekuatan dimasa itu juga berpengaruh pada rivalitas Baperki dan LPKB. Baperki menjadi organisasi yang dekat dengan PKI. Sementara LPKB didukung oleh AD dan kelompok nasionalis kanan.

Bung Karno sendiri tampak lebih sepakat dengan konsep integrasi yang digagas Baperki. Hal ini terlihat dalam pidatonya ketika Pembukaan Kongres Nasional k-8 Baperki. Dalam pidato itu tampak penolakan Bung Karno terhadap konsep asimilasi. Berikut isi pidato beliau :

Nama pun, nama saya sendiri itu, Soekarno, apa itu nama Indonesia asli ? Tidak ! Itu asalnya Sanskrit saudara-saudara, Soekarna. Nah itu Abdulgani, Arab, Ya, Cak Roeslan namanya asal Arab, Abdulgani. Nama saya asal Sanskrit, Soekarna. Pak Ali itu campuran, Alinya Arab, Sastraamidjaja itu Sanskrit, campuran dia itu.

Nah karena itu, saudara-saudara pun-ini perasaan saya persoonlijk, persoonlijk, pribadi-what is in a name ? Walau saudara misalnya mau menjadi orang Indonesia, tidak perlu ganti nama. Mau tetap nama Thiam Nio, boleh, boleh saja. Saya sendiri juga nama Sanskrit, saudara-saudara, Cak Roeslan namanya nama Arab, Pak Ali namanya campuran, Arab dan Sanskrit.

Buat apa saya mesti menuntut, orang peranakan Tionghoa yang mau menjadi anggota negara Republik Indonesia, mau menjadi orang Indonesia, mau ubah namanya, ini sudah bagus kok…Thiam Nio kok mesti dijadikan Sulastri atau Sukartini. Yah, tidak ?

Tidak ! Itu urusan prive. Agama pun prive, saya tidak campur-campur.Yang saya minta yaitu, supaya benar-benar kita menjadi orang Indonesia, benar-benar kita menjadi warganegara Republik Indonesia.”

Akhir Perjuangan

Selain memperjuangkan integrasi etnis Tionghoa ke dalam masyarakat Indonesia, Baperki dan Siauw juga memperjuangkan nation-building melalui pendidikan. Maka pada tahun 1958, Baperki  mulai  membuka Akademi  Fisika dan Matematika yang diperuntukkan bagi pendidikan  guru sekolah menengah.  Pada tahun-tahun berikutnya, Baperki juga membuka beberapa fakultas baru seperti fakultas Kedokteran, Sastra dan Teknik.

Pada tahun 1962,  perguruan tinggi Baperki itu diberi nama Universitas Res Publica (Ureca). Dalam penyelenggaraan pendidikan di Universitas ini, Baperki punya motto :“pendidikan bukan barang dagangan. Ilmu harus diabdikan untuk kemajuan dan kebahagiaan hidup rakyat banyak!”

Massa anti-komunis merusak gedung Universitas Res Publica (Ureca), yang didirikan oleh BAPERKI, tahun 1966 (Photo Credit: Bettmann / Corbis)

Untuk diketahui, pasca meletusnya tragedi Gestok 1965, Ureca ditutup oleh Soeharto karena dianggap universitas ‘komunis’. Di kemudian hari, rezim Orde Baru membentuk Universitas baru untuk menggantikan Ureca, yakni Universitas Trisakti.

Sementara itu, terkait masalah yang dipandang paling krusial dari masalah-masalah lainnya yang menyangkut etnis Tionghoa di negeri ini, yakni masalah ekonomi, Siauw  juga punya pandangan sendiri.  Menurutnya, tak perlu ada pembedaan antara kapital  milik orang Tionghoa maupun non-Tionghoa di Indonesia. Sepanjang modal itu dimiliki oleh rakyat Indonesia, apapun etnisnya, maka bisa diperuntukkan bagi perkuatan ekonomi nasional serta berguna juga untuk menangkal pengaruh negatif modal asing multinasional.

Tampak bahwa Siauw mentolerir adanya kapitalis domestik di Indonesia, guna melawan pengaruh  negatif kapital asing multinasional yang menurut Siauw sangat eksploitatif. Konsep Siauw ini dikenal sebagai konsep Ekonomi Domestik.

Sementara itu, dinamika politik berjalan cepat dan tak terduga. Tragedi Gestok yang meletus 1 Oktober 1965, merubah secara drastis konstelasi politik nasional. PKI, selaku pihak tertuduh dalam tragedi tersebut, segera dihabisi oleh tentara sayap kanan pimpinan Soeharto yang didukung imperialis Amerika Serikat (AS). Jutaan pendukung PKI dan Bung Karno dibantai serta ditangkapi tanpa proses peradilan.

Sebagai seorang simpatisan kiri sekaligus pendukung Bung Karno, Siauw pun tak lepas dari ‘tsunami’ politik tersebut. 4 Nopember 1965, Siauw  ditangkap dan dibui selama 13 tahun oleh Orde Baru tanpa proses pengadilan. Baperki pun dibubarkan, begitu juga dengan universitas yang dibentuknya, Ureca.

Pada Bulan Mei 1978, Siauw Giok Tjhan dibebaskan dari penjara. Perlakuan buruk yang diterimanya  selama meringkuk di tahanan rezim Soeharto membuat kesehatan Siauw memburuk. Setelah bebas dari penjara, ia pergi berobat ke Belanda.

Selain berobat, kepergian Siauw ke Belanda juga untuk menghindar dari kontrol rezim Soeharto yang dikhawatirkan makin membuat kesehatannya memburuk. Siauw menderita komplikasi beragam penyakit, mulai dari gangguan penglihatan hingga penyakit jantung. Akhirnya, pada 20 November 1981, pejuang bangsa itu meninggal dunia sebagai pelarian politik.

Riwayat juang putra Surabaya yang telah mengabdikan seluruh hidupnya bagi kemaslahatan negara, bangsa dan etnisnya ini seakan hilang dalam sejarah, hanya oleh stigma yang masih ‘sakti’ hingga kini, yakni stigma ‘komunis’.

Hiski Darmayanapenulis adalah kader Gerakan Mahasiswa Nasional Indonesia (GMNI)

 

January 1966

January 1996 note from David Johnson of the Center for Defense Information:
Reproduced here is Dr. Ben Anderson’s introduction to the translations of the official doctors’ autopsy reports on the six generals killed on October 1, 1965 during the so-called left-wing September 30th Movement (GESTAPU) coup attempt in Indonesia. The coup was quickly suppressed by General Suharto and in subsequent months hundreds of thousands of Indonesians were killed by the Indonesian military and its allies. General Suharto eventually took over the government and ousted President Sukarno. The translations of the actual autopsies are not reprinted here, nor are the footnotes to Dr. Anderson’s article. Contact David Johnson for further information.
As with most analyses of events in Indonesia in 1965 that conflict with official Indonesian government views, this important article is not widely known in Indonesia.
These official autopsy records indicate that, contrary to the widely disseminated inflammatory story at the time, the bodies of the generals were not mutilated or tortured. General Suharto’s accusations of mutilation and torture of General Yani and the others by Communists were central to the Indonesian Army’s extraordinarily violent campaign against its opponents. The Central Intelligence Agency has called this “one of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century….One of the ghastliest and most concentrated bloodlettings of current times.”
As former CIA employee Ralph McGehee has written in an article cleared by CIA censors, “Media fabrications played a key role in stirring up popular resentment against the PKI [Indonesian Communist Party]. Photographs of the bodies of the dead generals– badly decomposed–were featured in all the newspapers and on television. Stories accompanying the pictures falsely claimed that the generals had been castrated and their eyes gouged out by Communist women. This cynically manufactured campaign was designed to foment public anger against the Communists and set the stage for a massacre.”

It seems clear that leaders of the Indonesian Army knowingly misled the Indonesian public in order to destroy their opponents and seize power. The autopsies were ordered by General Suharto himself.

 

 

STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS

 

US State Department documents
reveal that Ambassador Marshal Green authorized financial aid to the students.

Ambassador Green’s December 2, 1965 endorsement of a 50 million rupiah covert payment to the “army-inspired but civilian-staffed action group [Kap-Gestapu]… still carrying burden of current repressive efforts targeted against PKI….”
The document immediately following, presumably CIA’s response to this proposal from December 3, 1965 (written by William Colby of CIA’s Far East division to the State Department’s William Bundy), was withheld in full from the volume. (pp.379-380)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ex-agents say CIA compiled death lists for Indonesians

After 25 years, Americans speak of their role in exterminating Communist Party
by Kathy Kadane, States News Service, 1990

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government played a significant role in one of the worst massacres of the century by supplying the names of thousands of Communist Party leaders to the Indonesian army, which hunted down the leftists and killed them, former U.S. diplomats say.
For the first time, U.S. officials acknowledge that in 1965 they systematically compiled comprehensive lists of Communist operatives, from top echelons down to village cadres. As many as 5,000 names were furnished to the Indonesian army, and the Americans later checked off the names of those who had been killed or captured, according to the U.S. officials.
The killings were part of a massive bloodletting that took an estimated 250,000 lives.
The purge of the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI) was part of a U.S. drive to ensure that Communists did not come to power in the largest country in Southeast Asia, where the United States was already fighting an undeclared war in Vietnam. Indonesia is the fifth most-populous country in the world.
Silent for a quarter-century, former senior U.S. diplomats and CIA officers described in lengthy interviews how they aided Indonesian President Suharto, then army leader, in his attack on the PKI.
“It really was a big help to the army,” said Robert J. Martens, a former member of the U.S. Embassy’s political section who is now a consultant to the State Department.
“They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.”
White House and State Department spokesmen declined comment on the disclosures.


Complete article at
http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/countries/indonesia/indonesiacia.html

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebration, Cover-up And A Murky History

Although Western agencies were to try hard to cover up their role in the 1965-66 takeover, celebration of Suharto’s success was garishly open and callous. Time (15/7/66) called the massacres the “West’s best news for years in Asia”, displaying a picture of Suharto on the cover bearing the legend, “Vengeance with a Smile” (“The New Rulers of the World”; “Year 501: The Conquest Continues” by Noam Chomsky, Verso, 1993, p128). Its propaganda message was perverted enough to portray Suharto as having an “almost innocent face”, while describing the new Army regime as “scrupulously constitutional” (“Year 501”, p128). US News & World Report enthused over an Indonesia where there was now hope, and the New York Times (19/6/66) saw “A Gleam of Light in Asia” (“Year 501”, p128; “The New Rulers of the World”). The general thrust of the American media message was that anti-Communist forces had risen up to take back the country, although the NYT’s leading political writer, James Reston, did slyly suggest a deeper US role in the whole episode (19/6/66; “Year 501”, p128). This could surely be guessed at given the very revealing US response. At a much less visible level, from the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, to the Ambassador to Indonesia, Marshall Green, American leaders expressed great satisfaction with the results that had been achieved. By 1968, however, when the CIA published its disinformation book on the Suharto takeover – “Indonesia-1965: The Coup That Backfired” – the US propaganda strategy was to further play down the role of the Indonesian Army, and to picture the massacre as a spontaneous, uncontrollable burst of the people’s fury at the PKI, resulting in an unfortunately high body count.

A brilliant chapter in Noam Chomsky’s “Year 501” (chapter 5, ‘Human Rights: The Pragmatic Criterion’, pp119/37) dissects in typically scathing fashion the covert Western, especially American, encouragement and support for the massacres. What is so evident from his well documented account is the utterly cynical ruthlessness of the US leadership when dealing with those that it defines as its enemies, whether active or potential. Only mobilised public outcry, in America and around the world, can serve as any constraint on such activity. The leading CIA and RAND Corp. policy analyst on Indonesia, Guy Pauker, saw things explicitly in terms of what the Nazis did to the Communists in Germany, and thus what the Indonesian Army should do to the PKI. Even some years before 1965, Pauker had been advocating to the Indonesian military the need to take action and wipe out the Communist opposition. He and others had continued to do so, and in 1969 after the massacres were virtually completed, Pauker reflected with satisfaction that the 1965 coup attempt “elicited the ruthlessness that I had not anticipated a year earlier and resulted in the death of large numbers of Communist cadres” (ibid, p122).

 

 

 

 

 

The U.S. Moves Against Sukarno

Many people in Washington, especially in the CIA Plans Directorate, had long desired the “removal” of Sukarno as well as of the PKI.68 By 1961 key policy hard-liners, notably Guy Pauker, had also turned against Nasution.69 Nevertheless, despite last-minute memoranda from the outgoing Eisenhower administration which would have opposed “whatever regime” in Indonesia was “increasingly friendly toward the Sino-Soviet bloc,” the Kennedy administration stepped up aid to both Sukarno and the army.70
However, Lyndon Johnson’s accession to the presidency was followed almost immediately by a shift to a more anti-Sukarno policy. This is clear from Johnson’s decision in December 1963 to withhold economic aid which (according to Ambassador Jones) Kennedy would have supplied “almost as a matter of routine.”71 This refusal suggests that the U.S. aggravation of Indonesia’s economic woes in 1963-65 was a matter of policy rather than inadvertence. Indeed, if the CIA’s overthrow of Allende is a relevant analogy, then one would expect someday to learn that the CIA, through currency speculations and other hostile acts, contributed actively to the radical destabilization of the Indonesian economy in the weeks just before the coup, when “the price of rice quadrupled between June 30 and October 1, and the black market price of the dollar skyrocketed, particularly in September.”72
As was the case in Chile, the gradual cutoff of all economic aid to Indonesia in the years 1962-65 was accompanied by a shift in military aid to friendly elements in the Indonesian Army: U.S. military aid amounted to $39.5 million in the four years 1962-65 (with a peak of $16.3 million in 1962) as opposed to $28.3 million for the thirteen years 1949-61.73
After March 1964, when Sukarno told the U.S., “go to hell with your aid,” it became increasingly difficult to extract any aid from the U.S. congress: those persons not aware of what was developing found it hard to understand why the U.S. should help arm a country which was nationalizing U.S. economic interests, and using immense aid subsidies from the Soviet Union to confront the British in Malaysia.

Thus a public image was created that under Johnson “all United States aid to Indonesia was stopped,” a claim so buttressed by misleading documentation that competent scholars have repeated it.74 In fact, Congress had agreed to treat U.S. funding of the Indonesian military (unlike aid to any other country) as a covert matter, restricting congressional review of the president’s determinations on Indonesian aid to two Senate committees, and the House Speaker, who were concurrently involved in oversight of the CIA.75
Ambassador Jones’ more candid account admits that “suspension” meant “the U.S. government undertook no new commitments of assistance, although it continued with ongoing programs…. By maintaining our modest assistance to [the Indonesian Army and the police brigade], we fortified them for a virtually inevitable showdown with the burgeoning PKI.”76
Only from recently released documents do we learn that new military aid was en route as late as July 1965, in the form of a secret contract to deliver two hundred Aero-Commanders to the Indonesian Army: these were light aircraft suitable for use in “civic action” or counterinsurgency operations, presumably by the Army Flying Corps whose senior officers were virtually all trained in the U.S.77 By this time, the publicly admitted U.S. aid was virtually limited to the completion of an army communications system and to “civic action” training. It was by using the army’s new communications system, rather than the civilian system in the hands of Sukarno loyalists, that Suharto on October 1, 1965 was able to implement his swift purge of Sukarno-Yani loyalists and leftists, while “civic action” officers formed the hard core of lower-level Gestapu officers in Central Java.78


Before turning to the more covert aspects of U.S. military aid to Indonesia in 1963-65, let us review the overall changes in U.S.-Indonesian relations. Economic aid was now in abeyance, and military aid tightly channeled so as to strengthen the army domestically. U.S. government funding had obviously shifted from the Indonesian state to one of its least loyal components.

As a result of agreements beginning with martial law in 1957, but accelerated by the U.S.-negotiated oil agreement of 1963, we see exactly the same shift in the flow of payments from U.S. oil companies. Instead of token royalties to the Sukarno government, the two big U.S. oil companies in Indonesia, Stanvac and Caltex, now made much larger payments to the army’s oil company, Permina, headed by an eventual political ally of Suharto, General Ibnu Sutowo; and to a second company, Pertamin, headed by the anti-PKI and pro-U.S. politician, Chaerul Saleh.79 After Suharto’s overthrow of Sukarno, Fortune wrote that “Sutowo’s still small company played a key part in bankrolling those crucial operations, and the army has never forgotten it.”80

U.S. Support for the Suharto Faction Before Gestapu
American officials commenting on the role of U.S. aid in this period have taken credit for assisting the anti-Communist seizure of power, without ever hinting at any degree of conspiratorial responsibility in the planning of the bloodbath. The impression created is that U.S. officials remained aloof from the actual planning of events, and we can see from recently declassified cable traffic how carefully the U.S. government fostered this image of detachment from what was happening in Indonesia.81
In fact, however, the U.S. government was lying about its involvement. In Fiscal Year 1965, a period when The New York Times claimed “all United States aid to Indonesia was stopped,” the number of MAP (Military Assistance Program) personnel in Jakarta actually increased, beyond what had been projected, to an unprecedented high.82 According to figures released in 1966,83 from FY 1963 to FY 1965 the value of MAP deliveries fell from about fourteen million dollars to just over two million dollars. Despite this decline, the number of MAP military personnel remained almost unchanged, approximately thirty, while in FY 1965 civilian personnel (fifteen) were present for the first time. Whether or not one doubts that aid deliveries fell off as sharply as the figures would suggest, the MILTAG personnel figures indicate that their “civic action” program was being escalated, not decreased.84 We have seen that some months before Gestapu, a Suharto emissary with past CIA connections (Colonel Jan Walandouw) made contact with the U.S. government.

From as early as May 1965, U.S. military suppliers with CIA connections (principally Lockheed) were negotiating equipment sales with payoffs to middlemen, in such a way as to generate payoffs to backers of the hitherto little-known leader of a new third faction in the army, Major-General Suharto — rather than to those backing Nasution or Yani, the titular leaders of the armed forces. Only in the last year has it been confirmed that secret funds administered by the U.S. Air Force (possibly on behalf of the CIA) were laundered as “commissions” on sales of Lockheed equipment and services, in order to make political payoffs to the military personnel of foreign countries.85


A 1976 Senate investigation into these payoffs revealed, almost inadvertently, that in May 1965, over the legal objections of Lockheed’s counsel, Lockheed commissions in Indonesia had been redirected to a new contract and company set up by the firm’s long-time local agent or middleman.86 Its internal memos at the time show no reasons for the change, but in a later memo the economic counselor of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta is reported as saying that there were “some political considerations behind it.”87 If this is true, it would suggest that in May 1965, five months before the coup, Lockheed had redirected its payoffs to a new political eminence, at the risk (as its assistant chief counsel pointed out) of being sued for default on its former contractual obligations.
The Indonesian middleman, August Munir Dasaad, was “known to have assisted Sukarno financially since the 1930’s.”88 In 1965, however, Dasaad was building connections with the Suharto forces, via a family relative, General Alamsjah, who had served briefly under Suharto in 1960, after Suharto completed his term at SESKOAD. Via the new contract, Lockheed, Dasaad and Alamsjah were apparently hitching their wagons to Suharto’s rising star:

When the coup was made during which Suharto replaced Sukarno, Alamsjah, who controlled certain considerable funds, at once made these available to Suharto, which obviously earned him the gratitude of the new President. In due course he was appointed to a position of trust and confidence and today Alamsjah is, one might say, the second important man after the President.89
Thus in 1966 the U.S. Embassy advised Lockheed it should “continue to use” the Dasaad-Alamsjah-Suharto connection.90

In July 1965, at the alleged nadir of U.S.-Indonesian aid relations, Rockwell-Standard had a contractual agreement to deliver two hundred light aircraft (Aero-Commanders) to the Indonesian Army (not the Air Force) in the next two months.91 Once again the commission agent on the deal, Bob Hasan, was a political associate (and eventual business partner) of Suharto.92 More specifically, Suharto and Bob Hasan established two shipping companies to be operated by the Central Java army division, Diponegoro. This division, as has long been noticed, supplied the bulk of the personnel on both sides of the Gestapu coup drama — both those staging the coup attempt, and those putting it down. And one of the three leaders in the Central Java Gestapu movement was Lt. Col. Usman Sastrodibroto, chief of the Diponegoro Division’s “section dealing with extramilitary functions.”93

Thus of the two known U.S. military sales contracts from the eve of the Gestapu Putsch, both involved political payoffs to persons who emerged after Gestapu as close Suharto allies. The use of this traditional channel for CIA patronage suggests that the U.S. was not at arm’s length from the ugly political developments of 1965, despite the public indications, from both government spokesmen and the U.S. business press, that Indonesia was now virtually lost to communism and nothing could be done about it.

The actions of some U.S. corporations, moreover, made it clear that by early 1965 they expected a significant boost to the U.S. standing in Indonesia. For example, a recently declassified cable reveals that Freeport Sulphur had by April 1965 reached a preliminary “arrangement” with Indonesian officials for what would become a $500 million investment in West Papua copper. This gives the lie to the public claim that the company did not initiate negotiations with Indonesians (the inevitable Ibnu Sutowo) until February 1966.94 And in September 1965, shortly after World Oil reported that “indonesia’s gas and oil industry appeared to be slipping deeper into the political morass,”95 the president of a small oil company (Asamera) in a joint venture with Ibnu Sutowo’s Permina purchased $50,000 worth of shares in his own ostensibly-threatened company. Ironically this double purchase (on September 9 and September 21) was reported in the Wall Street Journal of September 30, 1965, the day of Gestapu.
The CIA’s “[One Word Deleted] Operation” in 1965
Less than a year after Gestapu and the bloodbath, James Reston wrote appreciatively about them as
“A Gleam of Light in Asia”:

Washington is being careful not to claim any credit for this change in the sixth most populous and one of the richest nations in the world, but this does not mean that Washington had nothing to do with it. There was a great deal more contact between the anti-Communist forces in that country and at least one very high official in Washington before and during the Indonesian massacre than is generally realized.96
As for the CIA in 1965, we have the testimony of former CIA officer Ralph McGehee, curiously corroborated by the selective censorship of his former CIA employers:
Where the necessary circumstances or proofs are lacking to support U.S. intervention, the C.I.A. creates the appropriate situations or else invents them and disseminates its distortions worldwide via its media operations.
A prominent example would be Chile…. Disturbed at the Chilean military’s unwillingness to take action against Allende, the C.I.A. forged a document purporting to reveal a leftist plot to murder Chilean military leaders. The discovery of this “plot” was headlined in the media and Allende was deposed and murdered.
There is a similarity between events that precipitated the overthrow of Allende and what happened in Indonesia in 1965. Estimates of the number of deaths that occurred as a result of the latter C.I.A. [one word deleted] operation run from one-half million to more than one million people.97
McGehee claims to have once seen, while reviewing CIA documents in Washington, a highly classified report on the agency’s role in provoking the destruction of the PKI after Gestapu. It seems appropriate to ask for congressional review and publication of any such report. If, as is alleged, it recommended such murderous techniques as a model for future operations, it would appear to document a major turning-point in the agency’s operation history: towards the systematic exploitation of the death squad operations which, absent during the Brazilian coup of 1964, made the Vietnam Phoenix counterinsurgency program notorious after 1967, and after 1968 spread from Guatemala to the rest of Latin America.98
McGehee’s claims of a CIA psychological warfare operation against Allende are corroborated by Tad Szulc:


CIA agents in Santiago assisted Chilean military intelligence in drafting bogus Z-plan documents alleging that Allende and his supporters were planning to behead Chilean military commanders. These were issued by the junta to justify the coup.99
Indeed the CIA deception operations against Allende appear to have gone even farther, terrifying both the left and the right with the fear of incipient slaughter by their enemies. Thus militant trade-unionists as well as conservative generals in Chile received small cards printed with the ominous words Djakarta se acerca (Jakarta is approaching).100
This is a model destabilization plan — to persuade all concerned that they no longer can hope to be protected by the status quo, and hence weaken the center, while inducing both right and left towards more violent provocation of each other. Such a plan appears to have been followed in Laos in 1959-61, where a CIA officer explained to a reporter that the aim “was to polarize Laos.”101 It appears to have been followed in Indonesia in 1965. Observers like Sundhaussen confirm that to understand the coup story of October 1965 we must look first of all at the “rumour market” which in 1965 … turned out the wildest stories.”102 On September 14, two weeks before the coup, the army was warned that there was a plot to assassinate army leaders four days later; a second such report was discussed at army headquarters on September 30.103 But a year earlier an alleged PKI document, which the PKI denounced as a forgery, had purported to describe a plan to overthrow “Nasutionists” through infiltration of the army. This “document,” which was reported in a Malaysian newspaper after being publicized by the pro-U.S. politician Chaerul Saleh104 in mid-December 1964, must have lent credence to Suharto’s call for an army unity meeting the next month.105

The army’s anxiety was increased by rumors, throughout 1965, that mainland China was smuggling arms to the PKI for an imminent revolt. Two weeks before Gestapu, a story to this effect also appeared in a Malaysian newspaper, citing Bangkok sources which relied in turn on Hong Kong sources.106 Such international untraceability is the stylistic hallmark of stories emanating in this period from what CIA insiders called their “mighty Wurlitzer,” the world-wide network of press “assets” through which the CIA, or sister agencies such as Britain’s MI-6, could plant unattributable disinformation.107 PKI demands for a popular militia or “fifth force,” and the training of PKI youth at Lubang Buaja, seemed much more sinister to the Indonesian army in the light of the Chinese arms stories.
But for months before the coup, the paranoia of the PKI had also been played on, by recurring reports that a CIA-backed “Council of Generals” was plotting to suppress the PKI. It was this mythical council, of course, that Untung announced as the target of his allegedly anti-CIA Gestapu coup. But such rumors did not just originate from anti-American sources; on the contrary, the first authoritative published reference to such a council was in a column of the Washington journalists Evans and Novak:

As far back as March, General Ibrahim Adjie, commander of the Siliwangi Division, had been quoted by two American journalists as saying of the Communists: “we knocked them out before [at Madiun]. We check them and check them again.” The same journalists claimed to have information that “…the Army has quietly established an advisory commission of five general officers to report to General Jani … and General Nasution … on PKI activities.”108
Mortimer sees the coincidence that five generals besides Yani were killed by Gestapu as possibly significant.
But we should also be struck by the revival in the United States of the image of Yani and Nasution as anti-PKI planners, long after the CIA and U.S. press stories had in fact written them off as unwilling to act against Sukarno.109 If the elimination by Gestapu of Suharto’s political competitors in the army was to be blamed on the left, then the scenario required just such a revival of the generals’ forgotten anti-Communist image in opposition to Sukarno. An anomalous unsigned August 1965 profile of Nasution in The New York Times, based on an 1963 interview but published only after a verbal attack by Nasution on British bases in Singapore, does just this: it claims (quite incongruously, given the context) that Nasution is “considered the strongest opponent of Communism in Indonesia”; and adds that Sukarno, backed by the PKI, “has been pursuing a campaign to neutralize the … army as an anti-Communist force.”110

In the same month of August 1965, fear of an imminent showdown between “the PKI and the Nasution group” was fomented in Indonesia by an underground pamphlet; this was distributed by the CIA’s long-time asset, the PSI, whose cadres were by now deeply involved:
The PKI is combat ready. The Nasution group hope the PKI will be the first to draw the trigger, but this the PKI will not do. The PKI will not allow itself to be provoked as in the Madiun Incident. In the end, however, there will be only two forces left: the PKI and the Nasution group. The middle will have no alternative but to choose and get protection from the stronger force.111
One could hardly hope to find a better epitome of the propaganda necessary for the CIA’s program of engineering paranoia.
McGehee’s article, after censorship by the CIA, focuses more narrowly on the CIA’s role in anti-PKI propaganda alone:

The Agency seized upon this opportunity [Suharto’s response to Gestapu] and set out to destroy the P.K.I…. [eight sentences deleted]…. Media fabrications played a key role in stirring up popular resentment against the P.K.I. Photographs of the bodies of the dead generals — badly decomposed — were featured in all the newspapers and on television. Stories accompanying the pictures falsely claimed that the generals had been castrated and their eyes gouged out by Communist women. This cynically manufactured campaign was designed to foment public anger against the Communists and set the stage for a massacre.112
McGehee might have added that the propaganda stories of torture by hysterical women with razor blades, which serious scholars dismiss as groundless, were revived in a more sophisticated version by a U.S. journalist, John Hughes, who is now the chief spokesman for the State Department.113
Suharto’s forces, particularly Col. Sarwo Edhie of the RPKAD commandos, were overtly involved in the cynical exploitation of the victims’ bodies.114 But some aspects of the massive propaganda campaign appear to have been orchestrated by non-Indonesians. A case in point is the disputed editorial in support of Gestapu which appeared in the October 2 issue of the PKI newspaper Harian Rakjat. Professors Benedict Anderson and Ruth McVey, who have questioned the authenticity of this issue, have also ruled out the possibility that the newspaper was “an Army falsification,” on the grounds that the army’s “competence … at falsifying party documents has always been abysmally low.”115

The questions raised by Anderson and McVey have not yet been adequately answered. Why did the PKI show no support for the Gestapu coup while it was in progress, then rashly editorialize in support of Gestapu after it had been crushed? Why did the PKI, whose editorial gave support to Gestapu, fail to mobilize its followers to act on Gestapu’s behalf? Why did Suharto, by then in control of Jakarta, close down all newspapers except this one, and one other left-leaning newspaper which also served his propaganda ends?116 Why, in other words, did Suharto on October 2 allow the publication of only two Jakarta newspapers, two which were on the point of being closed down forever?
As was stated at the outset, it would be foolish to suggest that in 1965 the only violence came from the U.S. government, the Indonesian military, and their mutual contacts in British and Japanese intelligence. A longer paper could also discuss the provocative actions of the PKI, and of Sukarno himself, in this tragedy of social breakdown. Assuredly, from one point of view, no one was securely in control of events in this troubled period.117
And yet for two reasons such a fashionably objective summation of events seems inappropriate. In the first place, as the CIA’s own study concedes, we are talking about “one of the ghastliest and most concentrated bloodlettings of current times,” one whose scale of violence seems out of all proportion to such well-publicized left-wing acts as the murder of an army lieutenant at the Bandar Betsy plantation in May 1965,118 And, in the second place, the scenario described by McGehee for 1965 can be seen as not merely responding to the provocations, paranoia, and sheer noise of events in that year, but as actively encouraging and channeling them.

It should be noted that former CIA Director William Colby has repeatedly denied that there was CIA or other U.S. involvement in the massacre of 1965. (In the absence of a special CIA Task Force, Colby, as head of the CIA’s Far Eastern Division from 1962-66, would normally have been responsible for the CIA’s operations in Indonesia.) Colby’s denial is however linked to the discredited story of a PKI plot to seize political power, a story that he revived in 1978:
Indonesia exploded, with a bid for power by the largest Communist Party in the world outside the curtain, which killed the leadership of the army with Sukarno’s tacit approval and then was decimated in reprisal. CIA provided a steady flow of reports on the process in Indonesia, although it did not have any role in the course of events themselves.119
It is important to resolve the issue of U.S. involvement in this systematic murder operation, and particularly to learn more about the CIA account of this which McGehee claims to have seen. McGehee tells us: “The Agency was extremely proud of its successful [one word deleted] and recommended it as a model for future operations [one-half sentence deleted].”120 Ambassador Green reports of an interview with Nixon in 1967:
The Indonesian experience had been one of particular interest to [Nixon] because things had gone well in Indonesia.
I think he was very interested in that whole experience as pointing to the way we [!] should handle our relationships on a wider basis in Southeast Asia generally, and maybe in the world.121
Such unchallenged assessments help explain the role of Indonesians in the Nixon-sponsored overthrow of Sihanouk in Cambodia in 1970, the use of the Jakarta scenario for the overthrow of Allende in Chile in 1973, and the U.S. sponsorship today of the death squad regimes in Central America.122
University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A., December 1984
1. The difficulties of this analysis, based chiefly on the so-called “evidence” presented at the Mahmilub trials, will be obvious to anyone who has tried to reconcile the conflicting accounts of Gestapu in, e.g., the official Suharto account by Nugroho Notosusanto and Ismail Saleh, and the somewhat less fanciful CIA study of 1968, both referred to later. I shall draw only on those parts of the Mahmilub evidence which limit or discredit their anti-PKI thesis. For interpretation of the Mahmilub data, cf. especially Coen Holtzappel, “The 30 September Movement,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, IX, 2 (1979), pp. 216-40. The case for general skepticism is argued by Rex Mortimer, Indonesian Communism Under Sukarno (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1974), pp. 421-3; and more forcefully, by Julie Southwood and Patrick Flanagan, Indonesia: Law, Propaganda, and Terror (London: Zed Press, 1983), pp. 126-34.
2. At his long-delayed trial in 1978, Gestapu plotter Latief confirmed earlier revelations that he had visited his old commander Suharto on the eve of the Gestapu kidnappings. He claimed that he raised with Suharto the existence of an alleged right-wing “Council of Generals” plotting to seize power, and informed him “of a movement which was intended to thwart the plan of the generals’ council for a coup d’etat” (Anon., “The Latief Case: Suharto’s Involvement Revealed,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, IX, 2 [1979], pp. 248-50). For a more comprehensive view of Suharto’s involvement in Gestapu, cf. especially W.F. Wertheim, “Whose Plot? New Light on the 1965 Events,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, IX, 2 (1979), pp. 197-215; Holtzappel, “The 30 September,” in contrast, points more particularly to intelligence officers close to the banned Murba party of Chaerul Saleh and Adam Malik: cf. fn. 104.

3. The three phases are: (1) “Gestapu,” the induced left-wing “coup”; (2) “KAP-Gestapu,” or the anti-Gestapu “response,” massacring the PKI; (3) the progressive erosion of Sukarno’s remaining power. This paper will chiefly discuss Gestapu / KAP-Gestapu, the first two phases. To call the first phase by itself a “coup” is in my view an abuse of terminology: there is no real evidence that in this phase political power changed hands or that this was the intention.
4. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Research Study: Indonesia — The Coup that Backfired, 1968 (cited hereafter as CIA Study), p. 71n.
5. Harold Crouch, The Army and Politics in Indonesia (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1978), pp. 79-81.
6. In addition, one of the two Gestapu victims in Central Java (Colonel Katamso) was the only non-PKI official of rank to attend the PKI’s nineteenth anniversary celebration in Jogjakarta in May 1964: Mortimer, Indonesian Communism, p. 432. Ironically, the belated “discovery” of his corpse was used to trigger off the purge of his PKI contacts.
7. Four of the six pro-Yani representatives in January were killed along with Yani on October 1. Of the five anti-Yani representatives in January, we shall see that at least three were prominent in “putting down” Gestapu and completing the elimination of the Yani-Sukarno loyalists (the three were Suharto, Basuki Rachmat, and Sudirman of SESKOAD, the Indonesian Army Staff and Command School): Crouch, The Army, p. 81n.
8. While Nasution’s daughter and aide were murdered, he was able to escape without serious injury, and support the ensuing purge.
9. Indonesia, 22 (October 1976), p. 165 (CIA Memorandum of 22 March 1961 from Richard M. Bissell, Attachment B). By 1965 this disillusionment was heightened by Nasution’s deep opposition to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
10. Crouch, The Army, p. 40; Brian May, The Indonesian Tragedy (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978), pp. 221-2.
11. I shall assume for this condensed argument that Untung was the author, or at least approved, of the statements issued in his name. Scholars who see Untung as a dupe of Gestapu’s controllers note that Untung was nowhere near the radio station broadcasting in his name, and that he appears to have had little or no influence over the task force which occupied it (under Captain Suradi of the intelligence service of Colonel Latief’s Brigade): Holtzappel, pp. 218, 231-2, 236-7. I have no reason to contradict those careful analysts of Gestapu — such as Wertheim, “Whose Plot?” p. 212, and Holtzappel, “The 30 September,” p. 231 — who conclude that Untung personally was sincere, and manipulated by other dalangs such as Sjam.
12. Broadcast of 7:15 a.m. October 1; Indonesia 1 (April 1966), p. 134; Ulf Sundhaussen, The Road to Power: Indonesian Military Politics, 1945-1967 (Kuala Lumpur and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), p. 196.
13. Ibid., p. 201.
14. Broadcasts of October 1 and 4, 1965; Indonesia 1 (April 1966), pp. 158-9.
15. CIA Study, p. 2; O.G. Roeder, The Smiling General: President Soeharto of Indonesia (Jakarta: Gunung Agung, 1970), p. 12, quoting Suharto himself: “On my way to KOSTRAD HQ [Suharto’s HQ] I passed soldiers in green berets who were placed under KOSTRAD command but who did not salute me.”
16. Anderson and McVey concluded that Sukarno, Air Force Chief Omar Dhani, PKI Chairman Aidit (the three principal political targets of Suharto’s anti-Gestapu “response”) were rounded up by the Gestapu plotters in the middle of the night, and taken to Halim air force base, about one mile from the well at Lubang Buaja where the generals’ corpses were discovered. In 1966 they surmised that this was “to seal the conspirators’ control of the bases,” and to persuade Sukarno “to go along with” the conspirators’ plans (Benedict Anderson and Ruth McVey, A Preliminary Analysis of the October 1, 1965, Coup in Indonesia [Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1971], pp. 19-21). An alternative hypothesis of course is that Gestapu, by bringing these men together against their will, created the semblance of a PKI-air force-Sukarno conspiracy which would later be exploited by Suharto. Sukarno’s presence at Halim “was later to provide Sukarno’s critics with some of their handiest ammunition” (John Hughes, The End of Sukarno [London: Angus and Robertson, 1978], p. 54).
17. CIA Study, p. 2; cf. p. 65: “At the height of the coup … the troops of the rebels [in Central Java] were estimated to have the strength of only one battalion; during the next two days, these forces gradually melted away.”
18. Rudolf Mrazek, The United States and the Indonesian Military, 1945-1966 (Prague: Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, 1978), vol. II, p. 172. These battalions, comprising the bulk of the 3rd Paratroop Brigade, also supplied the bulk of the troops used to put down Gestapu in Jakarta. The subordination of these two factions in this supposed civil war to a single close command structure under Suharto is cited to explain how Suharto was able to restore order in the city without gunfire. Meanwhile out at the Halim air force base an alleged gun battle between the 454th (Green Beret) and RPKAD (Red Beret) paratroops went off “without the loss of a single man” (CIA Study, p. 60). In Central Java, also, power “changed hands silently and peacefully,” with “an astonishing lack of violence” (CIA Study, p. 66).
19. Ibid., p. 60n; Arthur J. Dommen, “The Attempted Coup in Indonesia,” China Quarterly, January-March 1966, p. 147. The first “get-acquainted” meeting of the Gestapu plotters is placed in the Indonesian chronology of events from “sometimes before August 17, 1965”; cf. Nugroho Notosusanto and Ismail Saleh, The Coup Attempt of the “September 30 Movement” in Indonesia (Jakarta: [Pembimbing Masa, 1968], p. 13); in the CIA Study, this meeting is dated September 6 (p. 112). Neither account allows more than a few weeks to plot a coup in the world’s fifth most populous country.
20. Mortimer, Indonesian Communism, p. 429.
21. Of the six General Staff officers appointed along with Yani, three (Suprapto, D.I. Pandjaitan, and S. Parman) were murdered. Of the three survivors, two (Mursjid and Pranoto) were removed by Suharto in the next eight months. The last member of Yani’s staff, Djamin Gintings, was used by Suharto during the establishment of the New Order, and ignored thereafter.
22. Howard Palfrey Jones, Indonesia: The Possible Dream (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1971), p. 391; cf. Arnold Brackman, The Communist Collapse in Indonesia (New York: Norton, 1969), pp. 118-9.

23. Crouch, The Army, p. 150n.
24. Ibid., pp. 140-53; for the disputed case of Bali, even Robert Shaplen, a journalist close to U.S. official sources, concedes that “The Army began it” (Time Out of Hand [New York: Harper and Row, 1969], p. 125). The slaughter in East Java “also really got started when the RPKAD arrived, not just Central Java and Bali” (letter from Benedict Anderson).
25. Sundhaussen, The Road, pp. 171, 178-9, 210, 228; Donald Hindley, “Alirans and the Fall of the Older Order,” Indonesia, 25 (April 1970), pp. 40-41.
26. Sundhaussen, The Road, p. 219.
27. “In 1965 it [the BND, or intelligence service of the Federal Republic of Germany] assisted Indonesia’s military secret service to suppress a left-wing Putsch in Djakarta, delivering sub-machine guns, radio equipment and money to the value of 300,000 marks” (Heinz Hoehne and Hermann Zolling, The General Was a Spy [New York: Bantam, 1972], p. xxxiii).
28. We should not be misled by the CIA’s support of the 1958 rebellion into assuming that all U.S. Government plotting against Sukarno and the PKI must have been CIA-based (cf. fn. 122).
29. Daniel Lev, The Transition to Guided Democracy: Indonesian Politics, 1957-1959 (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University press, 1966), p. 12. For John Foster Dulles’ hostility to Indonesian unity in 1953, cf. Leonard Mosley, Dulles (New York: The Dial Press / James Wade, 1978), p. 437.
30. Declassified Documents Quarterly Catalogue (Woodbridge, Connecticut: Research Publications, 1982), 001191.

31. As the head of the PKI’s secret Special Bureau, responsible only to Aidit, Sjam by his own testimony provided leadership to the “progressive officers” of Gestapu. The issue of PKI involvement in Gestapu thus rests on the question of whether Sjam was manipulating the Gestapu leadership on behalf of the PKI, or the PKI leadership on behalf of the army. There seems to be no disagreement that Sjam was (according to the CIA Study, p. 107) a longtime “double agent” and professed “informer for the Djakarta Military Command.” Wertheim (p. 203) notes that in the 1950s Sjam “was a cadre of the PSI,” and “had also been in touch with Lt. Col. Suharto, today’s President, who often came to stay in his house in Jogja.” This might help explain why in the 1970s, after having been sentenced to death, Sjam and his co-conspirator Supeno were reportedly “allowed out [of prison] from time to time and wrote reports for the army on the political situation” (May, The Indonesian, p. 114). Additionally, the “Sjam” who actually testified and was convicted, after being “captured” on March 9, 1967, was the third individual to be identified by the army as the “Sjam” of whom Untung had spoken: Declassified Documents Retrospective Collection (Washington, D.C.: Carrollton Press, 1976), 613C; Hughes, p. 25.
32. Wertheim, “Whose Plot?” p. 203; Mortimer, Indonesian Communism, p. 431 (Sjam); Sundhaussen, The Road, p. 228 (Suwarto and Sarwo Edhie).
33. Joseph B. Smith, Portrait of a Cold Warrior (New York: Putnam, 1976), p. 205; cf. Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets (New York: Knopf, 1979), p. 89.
34. U.S., Congress, Senate, Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. “Alleged Assassination Plots Involving Foreign Leaders,” 94th Cong., 1st Sess., 1975 (Senate Report No. 94-465), p. 4n; personal communications.
35. Declassified Documents Quarterly Catalogue, 1982, 002386; 1981, 367A.
36. Ibid., 1982, 002386 (JCS Memo for SecDef, 22 September 1958).
37. Indonesia, 22 (October 1976), p. 164 (CIA Memorandum of 22 March 1961, Attachment A, p. 6).
38. Scholars are divided over interpretations of Madiun as they are over Gestapu. Few Americans have endorsed the conclusion of Wertheim that “the so-called communist revolt of Madiun … was probably more or less provoked by anti-communist elements”; yet Kahin has suggested that the events leading to Madiun “may have been symptomatic of a general and widespread government drive aimed at cutting down the military strength of the PKI” (W.F. Wertheim, Indonesian Society in Transition [The Hague: W. van Hoeve, 1956], p. 82; George McT. Kahin, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia [Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1970], p. 288). Cf. Southwood and Flanagan, Indonesia: Law, pp. 26-30.
39. Southwood and Flanagan, Indonesia: Law, p. 68; cf. Nasution’s statement to students on November 12, 1965, reprinted in Indonesia, 1 (April 1966), p. 183: “We are obliged and dutybound to wipe them [the PKI] from the soil of Indonesia.”
40. Examples in Peter Dale Scott, “Exporting Military-Economic Development,” in Malcolm Caldwell, ed., Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia (Nottingham, England: Spokesman Books, 1975), pp. 227-32.
41. David Ransom, “Ford Country: Building an Elite for Indonesia,” in Steve Weissman, ed., The Trojan Horse (San Francisco, California: Ramparts Press, 1974), p. 97; cf. p. 101. Pauker brought Suwarto to RAND in 1962.
42. John H. Johnson, ed., The Role of the Military in Underdeveloped Countries (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1962), pp. 222-4. The foreword to the book is by Klaus Knorr, who worked for the CIA while teaching at Princeton.
43. Shaplen, Time, p. 118; Hughes, The End, p. 119; Southwood and Flanagan, Indonesia: Law, pp. 75-6; Scott, “Exporting,” p. 231. William Kintner, a CIA (OPC) senior staff officer from 1950-52, and later Nixon’s ambassador to Thailand, also wrote in favor of “liquidating” the PKI while working at a CIA-subsidized think-tank, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, on the University of Pennsylvania campus (William Kintner and Joseph Kornfeder, The New Frontier of War [London: Frederick Muller, 1963], pp. 233, 237-8): “If the PKI is able to maintain its legal existence and Soviet influence continues to grow, it is possible that Indonesia may be the first Southeast Asia country to be taken over by a popularly based, legally elected communist government…. In the meantime, with Western help, free Asian political leaders — together with the military — must not only hold on and manage, but reform and advance while liquidating the enemy’s political and guerrilla armies.”
44. Ransom, “Ford Country,” pp. 95-103; Southwood and Flanagan, Indonesia: Law, pp. 34-6; Scott, “Exporting,” pp. 227-35.
45. Sundhaussen, The Road, pp. 141, 175.
46. Published U.S. accounts of the Civic Mission / “civic action” programs describe them as devoted to “civic projects — rehabilitating canals, draining swampland to create new rice paddies, building bridges and roads, and so on (Roger Hilsman, To Move a Nation [Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1967], p. 377). But a memo to President Johnson from Secretary of State Rusk, on July 17, 1964, makes it clear that at that time the chief importance of MILTAG was for its contact with anti-Communist elements in the Indonesian Army and its Territorial Organization: “Our aid to Indonesia … we are satisfied … is not helping Indonesia militarily. It is however, permitting us to maintain some contact with key elements in Indonesia which are interested in and capable of resisting Communist takeover. We think this is of vital importance to the entire Free World” (Declassified Documents Quarterly Catalogue, 1982, 001786 [DOS Memo for President of July 17, 1964; italics in original]).
47. Southwood and Flanagan, Indonesia: Law, p. 35; Scott, “Exporting,” p. 233.
48. Ransom, “Ford Country,” pp. 101-2, quoting Willis G. Ethel; cited in Scott, “Exporting,” p. 235.
49. Sundhaussen, The Road, p. 141. There was also the army’s “own securely controlled paramilitary organization of students — modelled on the U.S.R.O.T.C. and commanded by an army colonel [Djuhartono] fresh from the U.S. army intelligence course in Hawaii”: Mrazek, The United States, vol. II, p. 139, citing interview of Nasution with George Kahin, July 8, 1963.
50. Pauker, though modest in assessing his own political influence, does claim that a RAND paper he wrote on counterinsurgency and social justice, ignored by the U.S. military for whom it was intended, was influential in the development of his friend Suwarto’s Civic Mission doctrine.
51. Noam Chomsky and E.S. Herman, The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism (Boston, Massachusetts: South End Press, 1979), p. 206; David Mozingo, Chinese Policy Toward Indonesia (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1976), p. 178.
52. Sundhaussen, The Road, pp. 178-9. The PSI of course was neither monolithic nor a simple instrument of U.S. policy. But the real point is that, in this 1963 incident as in others, we see conspiratorial activity relevant to the military takeover, involving PSI and other individuals who were at the focus of U.S. training programs, and who would play an important role in 1965.
53. Sundhaussen, The Road, pp. 228-33: in January 1966 the “PSI activists” in Bandung “knew exactly what they were aiming at, which was nothing less than the overthrow of Sukarno. Moreover, they had the protection of much of the Siliwangi officer corps” Once again, I use Sundhaussen’s term “PSI-leaning” to denote a milieu, not to explain it. Sarwo Edhie was a long-time CIA contact, while Kemal Idris’ role in 1965 may owe much to his former PETA commander the Japanese intelligence officer Yanagawa. Cf. Masashi Nishihara, The Japanese and Sukarno’s Indonesia (Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1976), pp. 138, 212.
54. Sundhaussen, The Road, pp. 99-101. Lubis was also a leader in the November 1957 assassination attempt against Sukarno, and the 1958 rebellion.
55. Ibid., 188; cf. p. 159n.
56. Suharto’s “student” status does not of course mean that he was a mere pawn in the hands of those with whom he established contact at SESKOAD. For example, Suharto’s independence from the PSI and those close to them became quite evident in January 1974, when he and Ali Murtopo cracked down on those responsible for army-tolerated student riots reminiscent of the one in May 1963. Cf. Crouch, The Army, pp. 309-17.
57. Sundhaussen, The Road, pp. 228, 241-43. In the same period SESKOAD was used for the political re-education of generals like Surjosumpeno, who, although anti-Communist, were guilty of loyalty to Sukarno (p. 238).
58. Crouch, The Army, p. 80; at this time Suharto was already unhappy with Sukarno’s “rising pro-communist policy” (Roeder, The Smiling, p. 9).
59. Crouch, The Army, p. 81; cf. Mrazek, The United States, vol. II, pp. 149-51.
60. Sundhaussen, The Road, pp. 241-3.
61. Through his intelligence group OPSUS (headed by Ali Murtopo) Suharto made contact with Malaysian leaders; in two accounts former PSI and PRRI / Permesta personnel in Malaysia played a role in setting up this sensitive political liaison: Crouch, The Army, p. 74; Nishihara, The Japanese, p. 149.
62. Sundhaussen, The Road, pp. 188.
63. Mrazek, The United States, vol. II, p. 152.
64. Cf. Edward Luttwak, Coup D’Etat: A Practical Handbook (London: Allen Lane / Penguin Press, 1968), p. 61: “though Communist-infiltrated army units were very powerful they were in the wrong place; while they sat in the Borneo jungles the anti-Communist paratroops and marines took over Jakarta, and the country.” What is most interesting in this informed account by Luttwak (who has worked for years with the CIA) is that “the anti-Communist paratroops” included not only the RPKAD but those who staged the Gestapu uprising in Jakarta, before putting it down.
65. Nishihara, The Japanese, pp. 142, 149.
66.Ibid., p. 202, cf. p. 207. The PRRI / Permesta veterans engaged in the OPSUS peace feelers, Daan Mogot and Willy Pesik, had with Jan Walandouw been part of a 1958 PRRI secret mission to Japan, a mission detailed in the inside account by former CIA officer Joseph B. Smith (Portrait of a Cold Warrior [New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1976], p. 245), following which Walandouw flew on “to Taipeh, then Manila and New York.”
67. Personal communication. If the account of Neville Maxwell (senior research officer at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Oxford University) can be believed, then the planning of the Gestapu / anti-Gestapu scenario may well have begun in 1964 (Journal of Contemporary Asia, IX, 2 [1979], pp. 251-2; reprinted in Southwood and Flanagan, Indonesia: Law, p. 13): “A few years ago I was researching in Pakistan into the diplomatic background of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan conflict, and in foreign ministry papers to which I had been given access came across a letter to the then foreign minister, Mr. Bhutto, from one of his ambassadors in Europe … reporting a conversation with a Dutch intelligence officer with NATO. According to my note of that letter, the officer had remarked to the Pakistani diplomat that ‘Indonesia was going to fall into the Western lap like a rotten apple.’ Western intelligence agencies, he said, would organize a ‘premature communist coup … [which would be] foredoomed to fail, providing a legitimate and welcome opportunity to the army to crush the communists and make Soekarno a prisoner of the army’s goodwill.’ The ambassador’s report was dated December 1964.”
68. Indonesia, 22 (October 1976), p. 164 (CIA Memo of March 27, 1961, Appendix A, p. 8); cf. Powers, The Man, p. 89.
69. Indonesia, 22 (October 1976), p. 165 (CIA Memo of March 27, 1961).
70. The lame-duck Eisenhower NSC memo would have committed the U.S. to oppose not just the PKI in Indonesia, but “a policy increasingly friendly toward the Sino-Soviet bloc on the part of whatever regime is in power.” “The size and importance of Indonesia,” it concluded, “dictate [!] a vigorous U.S. effort to prevent these contingencies”: Declassified Documents Quarterly Catalogue, 1982, 000592 (NSC 6023 of 19 December, 1960). For other U.S. intrigues at this time to induce a more vigorous U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia, cf. Declassified Documents Quarterly Catalogue, 1983, 001285-86; Peter Dale Scott, The War Conspiracy (New York: Bobbs Merrill, 1972), pp. 12-14, 17-20.
71. Jones, Indonesia: The Possible Dream, p. 299.
72. Mortimer, Indonesian Communism, pp. 385-6.

73. U.S. Department of Defense, Military Assistance Facts, May 1, 1966. Before 1963 the existence as well as the amount of the MAP in Indonesia was withheld from the public; retroactively, figures were published. After 1962 the total deliveries of military aid declined dramatically, but were aimed more and more particularly at anti-PKI and anti-Sukarno plotters in the army; cf. fns. 46, 76 and 83.
74. The New York Times, August 5, 1965, p. 3; cf. Nishihara, The Japanese, p. 149; Mrazek, vol. II, p. 121.
75. A Senate amendment in 1964 to cut off all aid to Indonesia unconditionally was quietly killed in conference committee, on the misleading ground that the Foreign Assistance Act “requires the President to report fully and concurrently to both Houses of the Congress on any assistance furnished to Indonesia” (U.S. Cong., Senate, Report No. 88-1925, Foreign Assistance Act of 1964, p. 11). In fact the act’s requirement that the president report “to Congress” applied to eighteen other countries, but in the case of Indonesia he was to report to two Senate Committees and the speaker of the House: Foreign Assistance Act, Section 620(j).
76. Jones, Indonesia: The Possible Dream, p. 324.
77. U.S., Congress, Senate, Committee on Foreign Relations, Multinational Corporations and United States Foreign Policy, Hearings (cited hereafter as Church Committee Hearings), 94th Cong., 2nd Sess., 1978, p. 941; Mrazek, The United States, vol. II, p. 22. Mrazek quotes Lt. Col. Juono of the corps as saying that “we are completely dependent on the assistance of the United States.”
78. Notosusanto and Saleh, The Coup, pp. 43, 46.
79. Nishihara, The Japanese (pp. 171, 194, 202), shows the role in the 1965-66 anti-Sukarno conspiracy of the small faction (including Ibnu Sutowo, Adam Malik, and the influential Japanese oilman Nishijima) who interposed themselves as negotiators between the 1958 PRRI Rebellion and the central government. Alamsjah, mentioned below, was another member of this group; he joined Suharto’s staff in 1960. For Murba and CIA, cf. fn. 104.
80. Fortune, July 1973, p. 154, cf. Wall Street Journal, April 18, 1967; both in Scott, “Exporting,” pp. 239, 258.
81. Declassified Documents Retrospective Collection, 609A (Embassy Cable 1002 of October 14, 1965); 613A (Embassy Cable 1353 of November 7, 1965).
82. The New York Times, August 5, 1965, p. 3.
83. U.S. Department of Defense, Military Assistance Facts, May 1, 1966. The thirty-two military personnel in FY 1965 represent an increase over the projected figure in March 1964 of twenty-nine. Most of them were apparently Green Beret U.S. Special Forces, whose forward base on Okinawa was visited in August 1965 by Gestapu plotter Saherman. Cf. fn. 122.
84. George Benson, an associate of Guy Pauker who headed the Military Training Advisory Group (MILTAG) in Jakarta, was later hired by Ibnu Sutowo to act as a lobbyist for the army’s oil company (renamed Pertamina) in Washington: The New York Times, December 6, 1981, p. 1.
85. San Francisco Chronicle, October 24, 1983, p. 22, describes one such USAF-Lockheed operation in Southeast Asia, “code-named ‘Operation Buttercup’ that operated out of Norton Air Force Base in California from 1965 to 1972.” For the CIA’s close involvement in Lockheed payoffs, cf. Anthony Sampson, The Arms Bazaar (New York: Viking, 1977), pp. 137, 227-8, 238.
86. Church Committee Hearings, pp. 943-51.

87. Ibid., p. 960.
88. Nishihara, The Japanese, p. 153.
89. Lockheed Aircraft International, memo of Fred C. Meuser to Erle M. Constable, 19 July 1968, in Church Committee Hearings, p. 962.
90. Ibid., p. 954; cf. p. 957. In 1968, when Alamsjah suffered a decline in power, Lockheed did away with the middleman and paid its agents’ fees directly to a group of military officers (pp. 342, 977).
91. Church Committee Hearings, p. 941; cf. p. 955.
92. Southwood and Flanagan, Indonesia: Law, p. 59.
93. Crouch, The Army, p. 114.
94. Declassified Documents Quarterly Catalogue, 1982, 002507 (Cable of April 15, 1965, from U.S. Delegation to U.N.); cf. Forbes Wilson, The Conquest of Copper Mountain (New York: Atheneum, 1981), pp. 153-5.
95. World Oil, August 15, 1965, p. 209.
96. The New York Times, June 19, 1966, IV, 4.
97. Ralph McGehee, “The C.I.A. and the White Paper on El Salvador,” The Nation, April 11, 1981, p. 423. The deleted word would appear from its context to be “deception.” Cf. Roger Morris and Richard Mauzy, “Following the Scenario,” in Robert L. Borosage and John Marks, eds., The CIA File (New York: Grossman / Viking, 1976), p. 39: “Thus the fear of Communist subversion, which erupted to a frenzy of killing in 1965-1966, had been encouraged in the ‘penetration’ propaganda of the Agency in Indonesia…. ‘All I know,’ said one former intelligence officer of the Indonesia events, ‘is that the Agency rolled in some of its top people and that things broke big and very favorable, as far as we were concerned.'”
All references to deletions appear in the original text as printed in The Nation. These bracketed portions, shown in this article in bold-face type, reflect censorship by the CIA.
98. Victor Marchetti and John Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (New York: Knopf, 1974), p. 245. For a list of twenty-five U.S. operatives transferred from Vietnam to Guatemala in the 1964-73 period, cf. Susanne Jonas and David Tobis, Guatemala (Berkeley, California, and New York: North American Congress on Latin America, 1974), p. 201.
99. Tad Szulc, The Illusion of Peace (New York: Viking, 1978), p. 724. The top CIA operative in charge of the 1970 anti-Allende operation, Sam Halpern, had previously served as chief executive officer on the CIA’s anti-Sukarno operation of 1957-58: Seymour Hersh, The Price of Power (New York: Summit Books, 1983), p. 277; Powers, The Man, p. 91.
100. Donald Freed and Fred Simon Landis, Death in Washington (Westport, Connecticut: Lawrence Hill, 1980), pp. 104-5.
101. Time, March 17, 1961.
102. Sundhaussen, The Road, p. 195.
103. Jones, Indonesia: The Possible Dream, p. 374; Justus M. van der Kroef, “Origins of the 1965 Coup in Indonesia: Probabilities and Alternatives,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, III, 2 (September 1972), p. 282. Three generals were alleged targeted in the first report (Suharto, Mursjid, and Sukendro); all survived Gestapu.
104. Chaerul Saleh’s Murba Party, including the pro-U.S. Adam Malik, was also promoting the anti-Communist “Body to Support Sukarnoism” (BPS), which was banned by Sukarno on December 17, 1964. (Subandrio “is reported to have supplied Sukarno with information purporting to show U.S. Central Intelligence Agency influence behind the BPS” [Mortimer, p. 377]; it clearly did have support from the CIA- and army-backed labor organization SOKSI.) Shortly afterwards, Murba itself was banned, and promptly “became active as a disseminator of rumours and unrest” (Holtzappel, p. 238).
105. Sundhaussen, The Road, p. 183; Mortimer, Indonesian Communism, pp. 376-77; Singapore Straits Times, December 24, 1964; quoted in Van der Kroef, “Origins,” p. 283.
106. Sabah Times, September 14, 1965; quoted in Van der Kroef, “Origins,” p. 296. Mozingo, Chinese Policy (p. 242) dismisses charges such as these with a contemptuous footnote.
107. Powers, The Man, p. 80; cf. Senate Report No. 94-755, Foreign and Military Intelligence, p. 192. CIA-sponsored channels also disseminated the Chinese arms story at this time inside the United States — e.g., Brian Crozier, “Indonesia’s Civil War,” New Leader, November 1965, p. 4.
108. Mortimer, Indonesian Communism, p. 386. The Evans and Novak column coincided with the surfacing of the so-called “Gilchrist letter,” in which the British ambassador purportedly wrote about a U.S.-U.K. anti-Sukarno plot to be executed “together with local army friends.” All accounts agree that the letter was a forgery. However it distracted attention from a more incriminating letter from Ambassador Gilchrist, which Sukarno had discussed with Lyndon Johnson’s envoy Michael Forrestal in mid-February 1965, and whose authenticity Forrestal (who knew of the letter) did not deny (Declassified Documents Retrospective Collection, 594H [Embassy Cable 1583 of February 13, 1965]).
109. Cf. Denis Warner, Reporter, March 28, 1963, pp. 62-63: “Yet with General A.H. Nasution, the defense minister, and General Jani, the army chief of staff, now out-Sukarnoing Sukarno in the dispute with Malaya over Malaysia … Mr. Brackman and all other serious students of Indonesia must be troubled by the growing irresponsibility of the army leadership.”
110. The New York Times, August 12, 1965, p. 2.
111. Brackman, The Communist, p. 40.
112. McGehee, “The C.I.A.,” p. 423.
113. Hughes, The End, pp. 43-50; cf. Crouch, The Army, p. 140n: “No evidence supports these stories.”
114. Hughes, The End, p. 150, also tells how Sarwo Edhie exploited the corpse of Colonel Katamso as a pretext for provoking a massacre of the PKI in Central Java; cf. Crouch, p. 154n; also fn. 6.

115. Anderson and McVey, A Preliminary, p. 133.
116. Benedict Anderson and Ruth McVey, “What Happened in Indonesia?” New York Review of Books, June 1, 1978, p. 41; personal communication from Anderson. A second newspaper, Suluh Indonesia, told its PNI readers that the PNI did not support Gestapu, and thus served to neutralize potential opposition to Suharto’s seizure of power.
117. Thus defenders of the U.S. role in this period might point out that where “civic action” had been most deeply implanted, in West Java, the number of civilians murdered was relatively (!) small; and that the most indiscriminate slaughter occurred where civic action programs had been only recently introduced. This does not, in my view, diminish the U.S. share of responsibility for the slaughter.
118. CIA Study, p. 70; Sundhaussen, The Road, p. 185.
119. William Colby, Honorable Men: My Life in the CIA (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), p. 227. Crouch, The Army (p. 108), finds no suggestion in the Mahmilub evidence “that the PKI aimed at taking over the government,” only that it hoped to protect itself from the Council of Generals.
120. McGehee, “The C.I.A.,” p. 424.
121. Szulc, The Illusion, p. 16.
122. Southwood and Flanagan, Indonesia: Law, pp. 38-9 (Cambodia). According to a former U.S. Navy intelligence specialist, the initial U.S. military plan to overthrow Sihanouk “included a request for authorization to insert a U.S.-trained assassination team disguised as Vietcong insurgents into Phnom Penh to kill Prince Sihanouk as a pretext for revolution” (Hersh, The Price, p. 179). As Hersh points out, Green Beret assassination teams that operated inside South Vietnam routinely dressed as Vietcong cadre while on missions. Thus the alleged U.S. plan of 1968, which was reportedly approved “shortly after Nixon’s inauguration … ‘at the highest level of government,'” called for an assassination of a moderate at the center by apparent leftists, as a pretext for a right-wing seizure of power. This raises an interesting question, albeit outlandish: did the earlier anti-Sukarno operation call for foreign elements to be infiltrated into the Gestapu forces murdering the generals? Holtzappel (“The 30 September,” p. 222) has suspected “the use of outsiders who are given suitable disguises to do a dirty job.” He points to trial witnesses from Untung’s battalion and the murder team who “declared under oath not to have known … their battalion commander.” Though these witnesses themselves would not have been foreigners, foreigners could have infiltrated more easily into their ranks than into a regular battalion.

 

Managing Indonesia
The Modern Political Economy
John Bresnan
New York
Columbia University Press 1993
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Introduction
In 1965 Indonesia experienced political violence on a scale without parallel in its history and of a kind unknown elsewhere in the late twentieth century. Hundreds of thousands of people, most of them rural supporters of the Communist party, lost their lives. No other nation has experienced a more violent and broadly based reaction to the political Left in our time. The accompanying destruction of the party, then the third largest Communist party in the world, marked a turning point in the history of communism globally. The meaning for Indonesia itself was profound.
In the same year the economic and social deprivation of the Indonesian population reached unprecedented levels. Indonesia was already among the poorer countries of Asia at the time it achieved its independence in 1949. Subsequent civil war and foreign adventure left it poorer still. Amid the chaos of 1965, gross national product fell to only $30 per capita per year, and the food supply to only 1,800 calories per capita per day. These were among the lowest levels in the entire world at the time. Every other country in Asia, including China, India, and what is now Bangladesh, was better off. 1
More than twenty-five years later Indonesia presented a greatly altered political, economic, and social aspect. Power resided exclusively in a strong central executive; a single army general had filled the office of president uninterruptedly since 1966. Many other government offices were also filled by armed forces personnel, and criticism of official conduct was sternly and sometimes severely repressed. At the same time the population was considerably better off in other respects than it had been a generation earlier. Average life expectancy had risen from forty-five years to a remarkable sixty years. Primary education was virtually universal. The average Indonesian was better fed than the average person in China, Indochina, India, or the rest of South Asia. Many of Indonesia’s economic and social development indicators were approaching those of the Philippines, long its wealthier neighbor in island Southeast Asia. 2
What is one to make of these developments? How is one to explain and assess them? Was the violence of 1965 in some sense inevitable for its time and place? Was the authoritarianism and militarization that followed a necessary eventuality? Why has opposition not been more effective over the quarter century since? And how is it that such great economic and social changes have occurred? How significant have external factors been, such as foreign aid and the international price of oil? How significant have domestic factors been, including institutions and individual leaders? Most important, how significant have policies been? And how significant to the policies has been the character of the regime? Was authoritarianism necessary for Indonesia’s economic and social development over the past generation? Is it still? Or is Indonesia, at the beginning of the 1990s, like so much of the rest of the world, moving toward a more open political future?
These are the principal questions with which this study is concerned. They are seldom answered with regard to Indonesia. Indeed, it is among the least known of the populous nations of the earth.
Indonesia is particularly remote—for reasons of geography, culture, history, and policy—from the English-speaking world. Lying midway between the Asian land mass and Australia, the Indonesian archipelago is almost as far away from the North Atlantic nations as it could be. Culturally, the Indonesian people are related principally to the other Malay peoples of peninsular Malaysia and the islands of the Philippines, to the ancient Hindu/Buddhist world of the subcontinent of India and of mainland Southeast Asia, and, as a result of more recent contact, to the Islamic thought and devotion centered in and around the Arabian peninsula. The colonial period of Dutch domination did little to bring the Indonesian people into a significant cultural relationship with the West, and the rejection of that domination, achieved by force of arms and diplomacy at the end of World War II, set the seal on a disposition by the nation’s elite to make their own way, so far as possible, on their own terms. Policies adopted at one time or another over the years of independence with regard to language, education, religion, agriculture, industry, trade, and foreign relations have tended to reinforce the disposition to be a nation apart.
Indonesia is little known even to itself. Its population, estimated at 186 million in mid-1991, is the fourth largest in the world after China, India, and the United States, and is distributed among several thousand islands and among dozens of ethnic groups that have their own identities, speak their own languages, and are large enough to dominate one or another of the nation’s administrative units. Unified administratively in modern times by the Dutch, the Indonesians themselves have only begun the process of exploring the great diversity of history and culture within their own society. This process has been delayed by indigenous traditions that are more oral than literary; by the limited modern education made available to the native population during the colonial period; by fears among national leaders since independence of dangers, both real and imagined, to the integrity of the state; and by a resulting political orientation that has given greater emphasis to the unity that is desired than to the diversity that is ever-present.
An analyst of the Indonesian political economy faces two problems as a result of these circumstances. One is the limited quality of available data. A large volume of quantitative data has been made public by various government authorities, and a large body of reportage has been published by the Indonesian periodical press. At the same time, given the deference traditional to much of Indonesian society and the repression of expression endemic to a military-led regime, little qualitative data are available from Indonesian sources on many issues of political and economic consequence. As a result, one is in constant danger of being overwhelmed by information and at the same time starved for authoritative expressions of what has been thought and felt about major national events, even by those who have participated most directly in them.
A solution to this problem has been sought through confidential interviews with more than a hundred members of the Indonesian elite, beginning in 1983 and repeated, in some cases annually, up to and including 1991. The interviews were conducted with members of the Indonesian cabinet from 1965 on; others who reported directly at one time or another during the same period to General, later President, Soeharto; military officers of flag rank; Muslim religious leaders; heads of state enterprises; leaders of the private business community; leaders of student and other dissident groups; and intellectuals with positions in the major universities, the research institutes of the capital, and the mass media.
The elite thus described has much in common with that already functioning in the 1920s and 1930s. 3 Only the category of military officers is entirely new. Two other significant differences should be noted, however. Many more private business firms of some scale existed by the early 1990s than had existed even in the 1950s and early 1960s. And intellectuals, who before independence were largely employed in the civil service, were now employed in a variety of institutions with varying degrees of independence from the political authorities. The elite has thus been undergoing a long-term process of privatization, increasing the heterogeneity of experience, creating an economic base for a middle class outside the bureaucracy, and encouraging an increasing independence of thought, if not yet of expression.
The interviews provided new information about events since 1965, as well as much commentary on the large volume of materials already published domestically and abroad. The interviews also led to copies of numerous unpublished papers, reports, and other documents. Indonesians have been seriously underrepresented among the writers of their own history, but they are by no means lacking in interest in how it is done.
The analyst of Indonesia’s political economy faces a second problem: conveying one’s findings to a readership unfamiliar with the country. The problem is particularly acute since few books dealing with Indonesia are published in the English language. Few readers can come to a new work with prior knowledge of the subject, as is the case with China or India. One thus runs the danger either of overwhelming readers with more information than they can absorb, or of traversing the ground so quickly that they have no opportunity to weigh the evidence and draw their own conclusions.
With this problem in mind, I decided to limit the present work to a manageable series of chapters concerned with major political and economic events. The study begins with an account of the failed leftist coup of October 1, 1965, the most significant political event in Indonesia since the declaration of its independence on August 17, 1945.
Each of the nine chapters that follows is a case study of a major event that occurred in the ensuing twenty-five years. These events are taken up in chronological order, but they have been selected for the light they shed on leading personalities and their ideas; key elements of the political structure, including the presidency, the army, the civil bureaucracy, students, and Islam; and central factors of the economy, including rice, oil, manufacturing, and foreign aid, trade, and investment. The chapters also explore issues that recur during the period, including corruption, foreign influence, the state’s role in the economy, and the distribution of power and wealth in the society. Each case is described in sufficient detail to convey a firm sense of the immediate environment in which the event took place, its proximate causes, the personalities and ideas most centrally involved, and the group interests at issue as seen by participants themselves. Earlier history is recounted only to the extent it is essential to an understanding of the particular event under discussion.
An epilogue, in which the questions posed in this introduction are recalled and some answers are advanced, follows the case studies.
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Note 1: World Bank, Social Indicators of Development: I989 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, I989). Pakistan was an exception in one respect; its daily supply of calories per capita rivaled that of Indonesia in I965. Back.
Note 2: Van Niel, Modern Indonesian Elite, passim. Back.
Note 3: Ibid. Back.

Managing Indonesia
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1. The Coup That Failed

During the last months of 1965 the Indonesian nation was gripped in a great and tragic madness. It was one of those times in human affairs when the assumptions on which civic life depends are swept away in a flood of hate and violence. In the capital city of Jakarta the children of the elite took to the streets, and public buildings were sacked. In the countryside of Java and Bali, villagers attacked their neighbors with knives and machetes. The dead were too numerous to count; estimates ran into the hundreds of thousands. By the time the killing came to an end, the third largest Communist party in the world lay destroyed.
It is in the nature of such events that controversy should surround the central questions they present. 1
Much of the controversy has concerned the role the Communist party of Indonesia played in the violent coup attempt that set so many other bloody events in motion. Another controversial subject has been the extent to which Sukarno himself might have known in advance about the attempted coup by dissident army officers. Still other questions have concerned the role of Soeharto, the army general who succeeded to power in the aftermath of the killings, and the role of the Chinese and the Americans in the affair. Yet, by far the most disturbing question has been how so many people could die, not anonymously as in modern warfare, but at the hands of their neighbors.
Wholly satisfactory answers to these questions will probably continue to elude us. Too many participants are dead, too many survivors silent. The trauma remains one from which the society can hardly be said to have recovered.
Nevertheless, it is important to search out as best one can the true nature of what happened. For these violent events, and the perceptions of those who survived them, contain the origins of much of what followed.
The Immediate Background to the Coup
The story begins in Jakarta in August 1965. It was a time of great discord in Indonesia’s national government. President Sukarno seemed nominally supreme in his command of state affairs, but this was far from the actual case. He had presided over the banishment from public life of a growing number of nationally prominent personalities and their parties, until his government no longer represented a large portion of the nation’s elite. As his political base narrowed, his role was increasingly reduced to that of balancing the interests and ambitions of the two powerful groups that remained, the Communist party and the army. The party leaders and the army had been deeply divided over a number of issues for many years. Neither side doubted that some kind of showdown would eventually occur between them. At the time, however, both had reason to feel unprepared for such a test of strength.
The Communist Party of Indonesia (Partai Komunis Indonesia, or PKI) had suffered a serious setback during the previous year. Breaking with its own long-term strategy of working in concert with other major groups in the national front, the party had struck out on its own in urging tenant farmers in Central and East Java to take “unilateral action” against their landlords, to make the land they tilled their own. But the campaign was disastrously ill conceived and considerable violence occurred; in the end the party’s rural forces were bested. Meanwhile, the party was progressing in its efforts to infiltrate the army officer corps, but the number of officers it could rely on in a physical showdown was small.
The leadership of the Indonesian National Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, or TNI) had meanwhile been shaken by evidence of significant disunity in its own senior ranks. A seminar that had been called earlier in the year to draw the army’s regional commanders together in a unified stand on matters of national policy had degenerated into polemics. It was the first such meeting since the regional rebellions of the late 1950s had been put down. In the political environment of 1965, army unity in ideological matters had become a high priority. According to participants, a significant minority of commanders held out in support of Sukarno’s increasingly leftist domestic and international priorities.
In the background lay Indonesia’s “confrontation” against neighboring Malaysia. The decision to “confront” the founding of Malaysia in late 1963 may well have been the result of happenstance as much as studied Indonesian intent. In any case, the time could not have been worse from the Indonesian point of view. The country was in the midst of a prolonged drought; rice production was down, and food was in short supply. In addition, the confrontation campaign disrupted Indonesia’s exports and this, in turn, reduced not only the country’s earnings of foreign exchange, but also the government’s revenues, the bulk of which came from taxes on foreign trade. Thus the government was increasingly obliged to finance its own operations by printing paper money. Inflation spiraled. Among the urban population, many of whom depended on civil servants’ incomes, the conditions of daily life became harsh indeed.
The campaign against Malaysia created serious problems for the Indonesian armed forces. The army was organized and trained for territorial defense; most of its units had no experience outside their native provinces. The air and naval arms necessary for invasion had proven hopelessly inadequate in the West Irian campaign. The army leadership also mistrusted both the air and naval services; they had been equipped and trained in recent years by the Russians, and their leaders were on good terms with the local Communist party leaders. Moreover, army intelligence had little knowledge of what awaited invading forces on their arrival on the Malayan peninsula; the first small units sent ashore on intelligence and sabotage missions had been quickly rounded up. But the balance of military forces on either side of the Straits of Malacca was not what weighed most heavily on the army commanders. Their main concern was the domestic political situation. From the outset they had to avoid the Communist party outflanking them on an issue of such strong nationalist appeal. As plans for the invasion of Malaysia advanced, they also had to avoid having their best and most loyal officers and their units removed from Java. The recent Communist party campaign in the countryside of Java left army commanders deeply concerned about their own rear defenses. From late 1964 on, Indonesian army intelligence officers were in secret communication with their opposite numbers in Kuala Lumpur, with a view to limiting the scale and costs of engagement. 2


The anti-Malaysia campaign presented the Communist party, on the other hand, with an opportunity to strengthen its standing with Sukarno and to isolate Indonesia still further from the Western powers. Sukarno was deeply committed personally to the anti-Malaysia policy but, after almost two years, little had happened beyond the war of propaganda; the army was obviously dragging its feet. By the beginning of 1965 the Communist party was pressing for a full role in the cabinet, and under the ground rules Sukarno himself had laid down, the party could not be denied indefinitely. In the early months of the year the party had further unnerved the generals by making two even more threatening proposals: (1) that the commanders of the armed forces, at every level, should be advised by a “troika” of political commissars, one of whom would represent the Communist party; and (2) that “workers and peasants” should be armed in a “fifth force” for the “safeguarding of the revolution.” By March 1965 Sukarno was receiving intelligence reports that some army commanders were making plans to overthrow him. In May he began to support the “troika” idea.
These developments thoroughly alarmed the army leadership, as well as many in the civilian elite. Lt. Gen. Achmad Yani, the army commander-in-chief, was now meeting regularly with a “brain trust” of his closest associates to discuss the army’s deteriorating political position. He protested the party proposals. He denied reports of an army plot against the president. But the party initiatives had placed him and his colleagues thoroughly on the defensive, and civilian friends wondered how long the army could stave off the PKI’s accession to formal power.
All this fed into the tension that was mounting in the background when, on August 3, Sukarno suddenly fell ill. The precise nature of his illness was never clear. He had had a long-term kidney condition and periodically sought treatment in Vienna. On this occasion, however, a team of Chinese doctors was flown in from Beijing, and Sukarno’s personal staff was totally mute about his condition. The impact this development had on both the party and army leaders is not difficult to imagine. Indeed, both were soon engaged in planning their moves should Sukarno suddenly die. Within a few days, Sukarno was said to be recovering; soon he was said to be preparing his annual address for Independence Day on August 17. But leaders of the party and the army were now receiving reports that the other was on the verge of a coup. By early September the Jakarta press was referring to rumors of a possible coup by either the army or the party. As things turned out, it was the army’s most senior officers who were caught unprepared.
The Coup and Its Aftermath

In the early hours of October 1 General Yani and five of his closest army associates, all general officers, were routed from their beds by units of the presidential security guard and told the president wished to see them immediately. Three resisted and were shot and killed on the spot; the other three were bundled into trucks and taken away, along with the bodies of the three dead. The most senior general of all, Abdul Haris Nasution, the celebrated former army commander and now Minister of Defense, also was sought at his home that night but escaped, although an aide was killed and Nasution’s young daughter mortally wounded. (Nasution had gone over a garden wall to the grounds of the Iraqi ambassador’s neighboring residence, but broke his leg in the fall and remained hidden there until well after dawn.)
The following morning Radio Indonesia announced that army units under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Untung, the commander of a battalion of the presidential guard, had forestalled a coup that was planned by a Council of Generals. The statement declared, inter alia: “Power-mad generals and officers who have neglected the lot of their men and who above the accumulated sufferings of their men have lived in luxury, led a gay life, insulted our women and wasted government funds, must be kicked out of the army and punished accordingly. The army is not for generals, but is the possession of all the soldiers of the army who are loyal to the ideals of the Revolution of August 1945.” 3 A later broadcast reported that a Revolutionary Council would be named as the “source of all authority in the Republic of Indonesia.” 4 President Sukarno was said to be safe, but his whereabouts were not disclosed.
In a matter of hours, amid continued uncertainty about where either Sukarno or the missing generals were, the uprising was brought under control by Major General Soeharto, commander of the Army Strategic Reserve, without a shot being fired. Sukarno was found to have gone to a nearby air base, as had D. N. Aidit, the leader of the Communist party. The army occupied the air base during the night of October 1, after Sukarno had been advised to leave and the Communist party chairman had fled. The bodies of all six missing generals were found a few days later in a well on the edge of the base. Nasution’s daughter died of her wounds soon thereafter. The violence of these deaths, coupled with the breach of Guided Democracy convention, infuriated the army leadership that remained and deeply shocked many of the civilian elite.
Meanwhile, the leaders of several army units in Central Java declared their support for the Revolutionary Council. The mayors of several towns did the same. There were a few mass demonstrations of support by local communist organizations. Otherwise, the province remained in a state of suspended animation until mid-October, when a battalion of paratroopers arrived from Jakarta to bring the rebel units to heel. The arrival of this battalion seems to have spurred the local Left to action. Roadblocks were set up; telephone lines were cut. The paratroopers made a show of strength in one town after another, and by the end of the month the rebel army units agreed to follow orders and leave the province.
By this time, however, attacks were beginning on Communist party offices and on Chinese property in several cities of Central Java, anticommunist demonstrators had been fired on, and reports were circulating that religious and nationalist leaders had been killed. By early November, still able to control only a single town at a time, the paratroopers began arming youths from religious and nationalist organizations. The affair was soon thoroughly one-sided, and killings occurred on a massive scale.
A short story written by Umar Kayyam in 1966 provides a fictional account, based on an eyewitness interview, of an army “sweep” through a rural communist stronghold:
Suddenly people were running through the streets screaming that the army had taken the village of B. The army had moved in quickly and silently, passing through barricades the people had thought impenetrable, attacking without warning. What kind of force were they dealing with? Some kind of spirit? The army was everywhere.
The farmers, drilled by Hassan and their own leaders, fought relentlessly. They took up guns, Molotov cocktails, sharpened bamboo poles, any available weapon. The reactionary army was their enemy. It had come and it would kill them and rob them of their land unless they destroyed it first.
But one by one the villages of the Subdistrict fell. Resistance was soon crushed, and the outcome of the fighting was horrible. Insufficiently trained, the farmers resisted blindly and in a single day the whole (of) T. had fallen and was occupied by the army. The farmers in their frenzy set fire to their own homes and granaries. Those who didn’t surrender were cut down mercilessly. Corpses lay sprawled on the dikes of the rice fields, along the banks of the rivers, and on the footpaths throughout the countryside. One quarter of the inhabitants of the Subdistrict were dead and nearly half of the surviving men taken captive. 5
In East Java no army units declared support for the Revolutionary Council. The commander of the naval base at Surabaya did so, however, on October 1, and the following day the communist labor union began a previously announced program of taking over the state enterprises in the province. On October 13 the Islamic youth organization, Ansor, held rallies in several towns, which were followed by attacks on Communist party offices; at one such rally, eleven party supporters were hacked to death. On October 18 a clash between communist and Ansor youth left ninety-seven dead. In the next few days several thousand Communist party supporters were reported massacred. Army units seemed to have been directly involved in the killing by the end of October, but chiefly in the towns. In the villages religious leaders seemed to have been given their head. By mid-November killings had taken place throughout the province. 6
In Bali rumors were soon circulating about what was happening in Central and East Java. On November 11 a clash between communist and Nationalist Party youths left seven dead. By the first week of December the killing was widespread.
Fictional accounts tell of youths interrogating their friends and former teachers, even their family doctors. Brutal beatings took place. Groups were taken to a river bank and shot. Others were made to sit at the edge of their graves, and then shot. 7
Satyagraha Hoerip, in “The Climax,” describes a district in which hundreds were killed in a three-week period. “Even those with only minimal connections [with the Communist party] had been killed. Others were given to the authorities, then taken back at night and taken out of town.” 8 The story’s narrator describes his efforts, eventually successful, to avoid killing his brother-in-law.
In each province, after several weeks of this mass butchery, local army leaders appeared to have decided that the violence had gone far enough. By late November military authorities in Central Java had prohibited unauthorized arrests and were warning against “excesses.” By the end of December those in East Java were doing the same. In Bali paratroopers had to be rushed from Central Java to bring the situation under control. But violence continued in all three provinces well into 1966.
Equally fierce action was taken against Communist party members and supporters in several other parts of Indonesia. In Aceh, in the far north of Sumatra, the population was, as it is now, overwhelmingly Islamic, and Communist party followers were few in number, perhaps totaling only several thousand; attacks on them were sufficient for the military commander to announce in December that the province had been “entirely purged in a physical sense of PKI elements.” 9 In the adjoining province of North Sumatra, members of an army-supported labor union attacked members of the Communist party’s union, many of them migrants from Java working on state plantations; members of Muslim and Christian youth groups attacked other known Communist party followers in the vicinity of Siantar, again with the loss of several thousand lives. In West Java, where the Communist party was not particularly strong, the army might have forestalled wider killing by its quick arrest of more than ten thousand party activists; close to ten thousand others were estimated to have been killed there nevertheless. In these and other parts of Indonesia, however, the scale of violence did not approach that of the densely populated provinces of Central and East Java and Bali.
Who Was Responsible?
Much later, men close to the army leadership of the time would deny that any central command ever authorized army units to carry out mass executions. They have argued that initially the army was not at all in control of the situation in much of Java. Some of the army’s most trusted commanders and their units had already been removed from Java and were in North Sumatra and West Kalimantan, committed to the campaign against Malaysia. The army has also claimed that it was in fact the army itself that eventually brought the killings to an end. Nevertheless, the army certainly played an active role in the deaths of countless numbers of people, not only through the paratroopers sent to Central Java under the command of Gen. Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, who made no attempt to disguise the role his men played, but also through the many civilian youths whom these and other units organized, armed, and transported. At no time did General Nasution, General Soeharto, or any other figure in the army leadership publicly condemn these actions of army units, or call publicly for an end to the violence. The army leadership knew more or less what was happening and, by its action and inaction, sanctioned it.
Yet, it is also true that much of the killing, with and without army involvement, was carried out by civilians. In Central Java these were principally members of the conservative wing of the National Party, the once-dominant party in the region, commanding the loyalties of the traditional elite down to the leaders of the villages. The Nationalists had seen their position steadily eroded as Communist party strength grew, challenging their heritage as the major party of the national revolution, the party of Sukarno, the rightful heir to the positions and perquisites of the former colonial regime. They also had witnessed a deep split in their party over whether to enter into an alliance with the Communist party or stand apart from it. The same was true in Bali. In East Java, on the other hand, the killing was done principally by followers of the Nahdatul Ulama, the region’s major Islamic party, led by its youth wing, Ansor.
Evidence also indicates that some of the worst of the killing was centered in areas that had previously seen violence between Communists and anti-Communists. In September 1948, when the republican government was confronted by superior Dutch forces in Java, its own military and paramilitary units experienced great dissension. A group of procommunist officers took control of the town of Madiun, declared a revolutionary government, and touched off an ill-coordinated and poorly executed revolt. Communist party leaders, apparently caught unprepared, nevertheless gave the revolt their support. Loyal army units, among which the Siliwangi Division was most prominent, recaptured the town of Madiun in two weeks and put down the entire rebellion in two months. Armed rebel units, however, killed scores of civilians in the surrounding district in the course of the rebellion, and Islamic teachers and civil servants seemed to have been singled out for execution. In the aftermath a few party leaders fled, but most were captured and executed. Some thirty-five thousand of their armed followers were held under arrest for a time. Retribution also was exacted by the Muslim community in a wave of violent attacks on party followers in the Madiun area. 10
At the time of the attempted coup in 1965 conflict had been raging between the two groups for almost two years. The violence was touched off by a Communist party campaign in support of land reform, which inspired violent incidents across the whole of rural Central and East Java. What began with knifings and kidnappings escalated to group battles, with as many as two thousand on each side using clubs, knives, and machetes. According to one authority, it was the largest outbreak of violence in the recorded history of rural Java up to this time. 11
The Land Situation
The land situation in Java was indeed critical. Some 54 percent of rural households on Java owned less than half a hectare (or less than 1.1 acres); another 13 percent were landless. Although in certain localities a small rural elite held sizable portions of land, a large landlord class simply did not exist in Java. Rather, Java’s population growth had led to the progressive fragmentation of all landholdings. In addition, the increasing demand for land led to a constant increase in the value of land. Both these processes were driving an increasing number of poor farmers into daily wage labor, and obliging tenants and sharecroppers to accept less and less equitable terms in order to remain in farming.
The national government paid little attention to this problem until radical unionists in the late 1950s forcibly took over foreign-owned plantations. Up to this time land ownership had been regulated by an agrarian law promulgated by the Dutch colonial authorities in 1870. But a legal basis had to be provided for the expropriations in order to assure the security of plantation exports. So long as the plantations were legally the property of foreign owners, their products faced seizure by court order in foreign ports.
Nevertheless, the national political consensus was that a limit should be placed on the amount of land any one family could hold, and the surplus should be distributed to the landless. When Parliament passed the new land law in September 1960, it limited the amount of land any family might own or control through mortgages or leases. In the case of irrigated rice land in densely populated areas the limit was 8 hectares, or approximately 17.6 acres. The excess was to be registered with government officials who would then distribute it to landless peasants; owners were to be compensated over a period of years. The Department of Agrarian Affairs initially estimated that 1 million hectares would be available for distribution. By 1963, however, this had been scaled down to about one-third that amount. By the end of 1963 the government was reporting that only one-tenth of the latter figure, or some 35,000 hectares, had so far been distributed. Communist critics claimed the true figure was less than 20,000 hectares.
Wolf Ladejinsky, writing in early 1964 and using official data, concluded that not more than 6 percent of the four to five million sharecroppers on Java could possibly ever receive any land under the law. Few landlords with any sizable holdings were on this island, where two-thirds of Indonesia’s population lived, and some districts had no land to redistribute at all. A more important question, in Ladejinsky’s view, was the terms of tenancy. The law required that all agreements between landowners and tenants were to be in writing and registered with local authorities, but by 1964 this was honored chiefly in the breach; of several million probable agreements in all of Java and Bali, only twenty thousand had been recorded. 12 The law also required that landlord and tenant should each receive 50 percent of the crop, but the law failed to specify the sharing of expenses, such as the cost of fertilizers. Moreover, landlords frequently loaned money to their tenants for various purposes. Rural economic relations were far more complicated than the new agrarian law had taken into account. Ladejinsky concluded, in a private report to the government, that although the new law was on the books, “All else appears to be as of old.” 13
The Communists’ Rural Strategy
About the time the new land law was enacted, the Communist party was beginning to work vigorously to build a rural base, particularly in Java. The party had obtained only 16.4 percent of the total vote in the national parliamentary elections of 1955. But 88.6 percent of its vote was in Java, and much of this support was believed to be concentrated among abangan peasants in Central and East Java. Abangan are largely peasants and lower-class townsmen in Java whose religious tradition consists of animistic, Hinduistic, and Islamic elements, with emphasis on the former two. 14 In the local elections of 1957 the Communist party supplanted the National Party as the leading party in Central Java. This was attributed, in part, to the party’s appearance as an energetic and effective champion of abangan values against the interests of the santri community. Santri are largely traders and richer peasants in Java whose religious tradition consists of “a careful and regular execution of the basic rituals of Islam.” 15
Party leaders might well have seen a need for a new and stronger rural base. The mass base the party had developed by the late 1950s was largely made up of organized workers of firms and plantations formerly owned by the Dutch and other foreigners. In many cases, these workers had taken control of the enterprises that employed them in 1957, but they became increasingly vulnerable following the introduction of martial law later the same year. Army officers were put in charge of the enterprises, and some did not shrink from using force to establish their authority. Party leaders may also have been responding to critics within the party who were unhappy about the leadership’s accommodation to some of the authoritarian features of Sukarno’s Guided Democracy. In any event, party leaders decided to enlarge and tighten up their organization among the general rural population. In 1958 preparations were begun for a first National Peasants Conference to launch a concerted drive to organize the rural population.
The main feature of this drive was a “go down” movement, a campaign to encourage party cadres in cities and towns to go to the villages, become familiar with conditions there, and educate the peasants about the policies and programs of the party. The “go down” movement was needed because party cadres were mostly townsmen unaccustomed to the physical conditions of rural life, and reluctant to spend long periods in the villages. They also faced obstacles there from village authorities, the well-to-do, and traditionalist advocates of village harmony. In some villages, divided among hostile factions, party support tended to come from unemployed youth and other radicalized elements, but these were mostly illiterate, accustomed to showing deference to people of higher status, and unversed in the ways of modern organization. So it was decided to introduce organizers from outside the villages, and to put the authority and prestige of the party’s leadership behind the effort.
The National Peasants Conference of April 1959 resolved that the most important aspect of party work in the villages was to bridge the gap between urban party cadres and villagers through the “three togethers”–living together, eating together, and working together. The official position was that this would be a gradual process, both to educate the cadres and to win the peasants’ confidence. Nevertheless, the party chairman, D. N. Aidit, on the occasion of the Conference, authorized an attack on landlord interests and, on the party’s behalf, demanded that the traditional division of crops be changed from 60:40 in favor of landowners to the same ratio in favor of their tenants. 16
The Communists’ Rural Offensive
There the matter rested until December 1963. At that time, having given scant attention to the subject for several years, Aidit called on the party to undertake a “rural offensive” in support of land reform. The peasants, he said, had to take “unilateral action”–to “take the law into their own hands.” 17 This marked a radical break with the past: the long-term party strategy of maintaining a united front with other parties was put aside; for the first time the theme of a struggle between the haves and have-nots was introduced into the villages in a direct and organized way; and, finally, the established social and political allegiances and traditional values of social harmony and deference were challenged. 18
The timing of this initiative was well chosen; it so happened that in the last months of 1963 and the first months of 1964 parts of Java and Bali were experiencing the worst drought in living memory. Without any rain the irrigation channels stood dry, and rats infested the villages in search of food. Village stores of rice were ravaged; even trees around people’s homes were shorn of their leaves. Reuters reported in February 1964 that a million people were starving in Central Java. Antara, the official Indonesian news agency, reported that thousands were starving in Bali. D. N. Aidit himself was quoted as saying, “People are now eating virtually anything edible.” 19
Serious conflicts were soon occurring in Central and East Java as a result of unilateral peasant action. By April 1964 the press was reporting serious outbreaks of violence over peasant actions throughout Central Java. By June the incidents had spread to East Java and were being reported daily in the Surabaya newspapers. The clashes were marked from the outset by knifings and kidnappings, and soon large-scale confrontations were taking place. Factions took to burning down the houses of hostile elements and destroying their crops in the field. Groups of between three hundred and four hundred, and even as many as two thousand, were reportedly involved in some incidents. In a number of places, police intervention led to serious loss of life.
These developments created considerable alarm among leaders of the National and Nahdatul Ulama parties. The Islamic party leaders were particularly incensed, because the Communist party appeared to be engaged in a broad offensive against Islamic interests. Many of the holders of sizable plots, especially in East Java, were santri family heads. Often the owners of extensive tracts of land were Islamic religious institutions. The Communist party had only recently tried to have Sukarno declare the leading Muslim student organization illegal. Islamic leaders, feeling increasingly threatened by the direction Guided Democracy was taking, viewed the attack on Muslim land rights as the last straw.
The uproar was muted in the controlled Jakarta press, and Sukarno sought at first to put the weight of his authority behind the land reform program. In July 1964 a special session of the Supreme Advisory Council resolved that implementation of the program should be speeded up. In August, in his annual Independence Day address, Sukarno criticized the slow pace of the program. But by early December Aidit was acknowledging that the party’s opponents were getting the better of his cadres. Then Chaerul Saleh of the Murba Party claimed he had documents showing that the Communist party planned a coup. On December 12, in an atmosphere of great tension, Sukarno called a meeting of the heads of the ten then-legal political parties. After thirteen hours the meeting ended in a unanimous call for a truce in interparty conflict. But the violence continued well into 1965.
In May 1965, at a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist party, Aidit blamed the situation on party cadres who had acted impetuously and without regard to party guidelines. But it is difficult to avoid the opinion that he and the other party leaders had misjudged the situation. In breaking the line on their own long-term “national front” strategy, the party leaders had succeeded chiefly in isolating themselves from the other national groups in the Sukarno coalition. By attempting to instigate confrontation along class lines, the party leaders also had revealed the weakness of class-consciousness, as well as the enduring strength of traditional attachments to party and religion among the rural population.
In August and September 1965 reports in the local press of Central and East Java indicated a resurgence of conflicts in these provinces, particularly of incidents in which youth groups–attached to the Communist party, on the one hand, and the Nationalist Party and Nahdatul Ulama, on the other–engaged in violent attacks on each other.
Longer-Term Contributions to the Violence
Sartono Kartodirdjo, who has documented the history of unrest in Indonesia’s rural society over several centuries, has argued that the events of 1965-66 were part of a long-established pattern of political competition that was at least as intense in the countryside as in the towns. Radical social movements arose with some regularity among the lower social strata, the oppressed, and the underprivileged. These movements did not, however, arise only from conditions of economic deprivation and oppression. A strong element of millenarianism also emerged in the late colonial period. “The severe threat to the Javanese sense of identity posed by an increasingly heavy foreign political and cultural hegemony produced a powerful reaction in peasant society, expressed in an intense longing for a restoration of an idealized traditional order.” 20 If the Communist party thus drew on utopian hopes that were important in Javanese culture from very early times, the reaction to the party’s intrusion from early 1964 on also had a basis in a powerful tradition.
Of the intensity of relations between party politics and religion in rural Java, Clifford Geertz, writing in the late 1950s, had this to say:
Because the same symbols are used in both political and religious contexts, people often regard party struggle as involving not merely the usual ebb and flow of parliamentary maneuver, the necessary factional give-and-take of democratic government, but involving as well decisions on basic values and ultimates. Kampong (village) people in particular tend to see the open struggle for power explicitly institutionalized in the new republican forms of government as a struggle for the right to establish different brands of essentially religious principles as official: “If the abangans get in, the koranic teachers will be forbidden to hold classes”; “If the santris get in, we shall all have to pray five times a day.” The normal conflict involved in electoral striving for office is heightened by the idea that literally everything is at stake: the “If we win, it is our country” idea that the group which gains power has a right, as one man said, “to put his own foundation under the state.” Politics thus takes on a kind of sacralized bitterness. 21
The bloodshed in the countryside was further influenced by popular ideas of political history, learned by every Javanese peasant from the stories of the wayang . Benedict Anderson has argued that power has generally been regarded in traditional Javanese thought as highly concentrated–in the capital city, in the palace, and in the person of the ruler, “who personifies the unity of society.” 22 Sukarno had demonstrated this concern for unity time and again in his attempts to create by rhetorical invention–of which Nasakom , the union of nationalism, religion, and communism, was an example–symbols of a unity that did not exist in the society. The same concern was seen in the dogged refusal of the largely Javanese elite to recognize the claims of the “outer islands” for a larger measure of autonomy in the 1950s. In this tradition, in which a diffusion of power is seen as weakness, Anderson argued that as “Power begins to ebb away from the center, the reigning dynasty loses its claim to rule, and disorder appears.” 23 And “a ruler who has once permitted natural and social disorders to appear finds it particularly difficult to reconstitute his authority. Javanese would tend to believe that, if he still had the Power, the disorders would never have arisen.” 24
Those Javanese who were taking their cues from what was occurring in the capital city in October 1965 were presented with ample evidence that anticommunism was in the ascendancy. The same government radio station that had carried the leaders’ announcements of the attempted coup, and thus encouraged the uprisings that followed for a short time in Central Java, was now reporting widening popular demonstrations, and army arrests, directed against the Communist party and its subsidiary organizations. Many of those involved in the demonstrations and arrests in Jakarta were thoroughly convinced that the Communist party had been behind the coup, and they were using the situation to wreak vengeance on the party and its people. They did so not only because of the deaths of the generals and the attempt to take control of the government, but also in return for all the intimidations they had suffered themselves at the hands of party activists in the past. Thus, reactions to the coup on the part of the capital’s elite provided a further sanction to the rural anticommunist pogrom.
One is left, then, with a partial answer to the principal question with which this discussion began. The deep divisions within Indonesian society, divisions of religion, economic interest, social class, and political party, appear to have been at the root of the violence. These divisions were exacerbated by the procommunist revolt of 1948, by the national and local elections of 1955 and 1957, and, most recently and deeply, by the campaign of the Communist party to change the traditional rules that governed the use of land. The failure of the attempted coup provided an impetus to anticommunists in the countryside to wreak vengeance on those who had been attacking and intimidating them for almost two years. Moreover, traditional political thinking that placed a high value on the direction of events in the capital city could only have provided further encouragement to anticommunists in the provinces. Finally, the army’s own actions contributed directly to the scale of the violence, and sanctioned the violence of others.
Some Remaining Issues
The number of dead was never determined. Official and unofficial estimates ran from 78,500 to 500,000. Whatever the number, one has to assume that many others died as an indirect result of the violence and the breakdown of family and community relations. Prominent among these would have been such vulnerable groups as infants, children, and the elderly, especially those from the poorest families who must have been on the edge of survival in the drought years of 1963 and 1964. Routine registrations of births and deaths, which had been unreliable even in normal times, were useless for this period. Data from the census of 1961 were not sufficiently analyzed to provide a basis for later comparison. And when preparations for the 1971 census were being made, it was found that all the 1961 data had been thrown away. So reliable estimates of mortality for the districts in which the violence occurred could never be made.
Among other issues, the role of the Communist party in the attempted coup has been a matter of considerable controversy. The coup itself did not involve any known members of the party directly. That the party was involved in planning the coup–as much as that seemed a foregone conclusion to many anticommunists in the elite–is not grounded in conclusive evidence. It is known from their own testimony at their later trials, and from criticisms by surviving remnants of the party both in Indonesia and abroad, that some party leaders knew the coup was going to take place. It is possible that Aidit had a larger hand in the affair than this. But we have no proof and it is possible we never shall.
What Sukarno knew, and when he knew it, is also uncertain. The most damaging evidence was circumstantial. On the morning of October 1, Sukarno fled to the same air base to which Aidit fled, and at which the bodies of the six generals were later found. He met during the day with some cabinet ministers, the heads of the other armed services, and one army general representing the coup leaders. He was later reported to have told the general that he wanted no more bloodshed, that the movement should be stopped. When he prepared a public statement late in the day, however, he announced only that he was taking over the temporary leadership of the army. He did not denounce the attempted coup, or express regret at the deaths of the generals, until October 6. These circumstances were enough to arouse grave suspicions about his role, and he was to be dogged by them in the months that followed.
Several years later speculation arose outside Indonesia as to whether Soeharto himself might have had some advance knowledge of the coup. 25 Soon after the night of September 30 the story was put out to journalists that Soeharto had gone fishing that evening with a son. In 1968, in an interview with a foreign journalist, Soeharto corrected this account to reveal that he had gone that evening to a military hospital to visit a sick son and, while he was there, Colonel A. Latief,
a central figure among the plotters of the coup, came and spoke to him briefly. The colonel was well known to Soeharto, who had been his commanding officer. Critics have inferred that Latief came to inform him of what was about to happen and to ensure that Soeharto would not intervene. Soeharto has suggested that Latief must simply have been checking
on his whereabouts. It seems probable that the plotters would indeed want to satisfy themselves that Soeharto, who
was next in command to succeed to army leadership, had not been alerted to any untoward events that might occur
later that night. That he was not on the list to be kidnapped was probably because many of the plotters had served
under his command in the Irian campaign, and he was close enough to the plot leader, Untung, to have attended his wedding. In addition, the plotters might well have calculated that they could “handle” Soeharto; it was well known that Yani did not take him seriously. In any event, Soeharto was awakened at about five the next morning by Mashuri, a prominent lawyer and secretary of the local neighborhood administration, who had reports that shots had been heard
in the vicinity of Nasution’s house. Mashuri later said that the surprise with which Soeharto greeted his early morning report was undoubtedly genuine. Nevertheless, the meeting with Latief remains a curious event, as does the long delay
in reporting it.
The Chinese role is also a matter of speculation. That the Chinese leadership in Beijing enjoyed a warm relationship with D. N. Aidit and the other leaders of the Indonesian Communist Party is beyond question. Chinese leaders had encouraged the newly aggressive stance of the Indonesian party leaders, to the point of having first suggested the idea of an armed “fifth force.” Chinese officials in Beijing also initially greeted the news of the coup with much satisfaction, congratulating the members of the Indonesian delegation who were in the Chinese capital for the annual October 1 celebrations. There is no evidence, however, that Chinese leaders either knew of the plot in advance or were party to it. Many Indonesians were nevertheless convinced that the Chinese had known, and were involved. Among them were the leaders of the anticommunist student demonstrators, who were soon attacking official Chinese property in Jakarta, and Soeharto himself, who was to remain personally opposed to official recognition of the Chinese government for almost twenty-five years.
The most curious misunderstanding of the whole tragic affair, however, is the continuing belief in the West that primarily Chinese and Indonesians of Chinese descent died in the killings. 26 Both groups have long been objects of attack in periods of social unrest in Indonesia, and 1965 was no exception. Their schools were closed, and their shops and even homes were ransacked in many towns. But Chinese-Indonesians were not prominent among the members of the Indonesian Communist Party, unlike the situation in neighboring Malaysia. Chinese also were not present in any large number in the countryside after 1959, when a presidential decree ordered resident aliens out of the villages as part of a program to reduce their role as middlemen in the economy. Later efforts to calculate the number of Chinese victims have yielded estimates as low as two thousand. 27 Alien Chinese and Chinese-Indonesians undoubtedly lived in great fear for many months, and close to 10,000 opted to leave the country in 1966-67. But the violence was largely to property, and the number who left Indonesia was not to be compared with the estimated 100,000 who left in 1959-60. 28
The impression abroad might have resulted from press reports of the ransacking of the embassy and other property of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Jakarta. The press also reported the anti-Chinese action in Aceh, where an overzealous army commander ordered the entire community of several thousand Chinese-Indonesians out of the province. These hapless people were stranded in the port city of Medan for several years, refugees in their own country. The Chinese government carried two shiploads of them to China before official relations collapsed and it became impossible to continue the rescue effort. Christian churches looked after the rest until the matter was finally taken up by higher authorities. The army commander’s order was reversed, at least in practice, and the people were permitted to return to Aceh.
Controversy has also surrounded the issue of possible American involvement in the coup. Colonel Untung, in his first radio announcement, claimed that his action was intended to forestall a government takeover by a Council of Generals sponsored by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The charge of CIA complicity has been repeated from time to time, but the evidence is highly circumstantial. The CIA did take the unusual step of making public a 1968 report concluding that the coup was directed by the leaders of the Communist Party of Indonesia. 29 Much later it was revealed that, following the failure of the coup, a political officer of the U.S. embassy in Jakarta turned over the names of several thousand communists to Indonesian army headquarters and kept track of those killed or captured. 30 As to American complicity in the coup attempt itself, however, there is no more support than in the case of the PRC.
Ramifications of the Coup
The horror of the events of 1965 in Java and Bali had few comparisons in the contemporary world. Gunnar Myrdal, searching for a way to describe the killings, compared them with the partition of India and the continuing war in Vietnam. 31 The comparisons had some foundation, for the Indonesian violence did erupt in part out of deep religious intolerance, as the partition of the subcontinent had, and also emerged out of a life-and-death struggle over political ideology, as had the war in Vietnam. But there was a third element, which linked the events in Indonesia to the Great Leap Forward occurring in China in the mid-1960s, and that was the intrusion into rural society of a radical national political program. Like those other tragedies, what occurred in Indonesia must be seen, in the end, as the result of monumental political failure.
The failure was not that of any one individual, although a few individuals mattered disproportionately. Yani had indeed been corrupted by his experience as a member of Sukarno’s palace circle, was open to the charge of neglecting the welfare of the army rank and file, and was in no sense a leader of the political Right, a deficiency which left a large part of the political spectrum without a national spokesman. Aidit failed to appreciate the vulnerability of his position, and permitted himself to be caught up in a rebellious adventure for which he was quite unprepared. Over a longer period of time, he had aimed to come to power as the leader of a revolutionary party, but by parliamentary means, without a revolutionary army. The imbalance between these ends and means seems, in retrospect, to have been fatal to his enterprise.
Yet Yani and Aidit had come to play the roles they did in 1965 principally because the Indonesian government had by this time come to represent so little of the body politic. Indeed, one might seriously question whether the Indonesian government ever did, from the declaration of independence in 1945 on, represent the bulk of the Indonesian people in a meaningful way. It was frustration of this magnitude that had led the “outer islands” to rebel against the Jakarta government in the late 1950s. And it was the same intense frustration that had led to the reaction against the communist ascendancy in the political heartland of Java in 1965.
Sukarno may well be remembered by future generations of Indonesians for his contributions to their independence and national unity. It was argued at one time that he lacked only the skills to administer the independent and unitary state he helped to found. But the events of late 1965 raised a much larger question: Had Sukarno led the nation in creating a political order it could live with? Not only he, but a large part of the national elite as well, had participated in the creation of a state in which all power was lodged at the center, and had then acquiesced in his pronouncement of a one-man dictatorship over the whole. It was this investment of all authority over a large and varied society in a single person that invited rebellion. And it was the effort of Sukarno and his ministers to exercise authority with increasingly limited means that led to resistance and reaction.
The social impact of so many deaths, whatever the number, as well as the arrests that occurred–official reports put these at 106,000 in 1966, at 200,000 in 1967, and, later, it was estimated that as many as 500,000 had been arrested at some time or other, although most were quickly released–remains largely a matter of speculation. After 1965 the number of religious conversions grew dramatically, particularly in Central Java; increasing numbers of people turned to mystical Javanese cults and to Christianity. Many village families migrated–to the towns or the “outer islands”–to escape the stigma of having been on the losing side. The wives of some of those arrested divorced them. But of the widows and orphans, and the men who survived and were eventually, after many years, released, next to nothing is known.
A political outcome of the deaths, arrests, and intimidation of the remainder of the political Left was to leave the Indonesian elite even more conservative than it had been before. Most members of the elite at the time were civil servants or members of the armed forces. The remainder were, for the most part, politicians who, in the spirit of Guided Democracy, were similarly appointed to their posts and dependent on their government salaries for a living. The Communists, never numerous in these circles, nevertheless loomed large because of the aggressiveness of their representatives in the national front and the mass media. The elimination of radical voices from these arenas in the last months of 1965 permitted the conservative majority in the elite to express their traditional political values without effective opposition.
It was probably inevitable that as the political life of the capital city became increasingly chaotic the urban economy should worsen. Later estimates placed the per capita income of Indonesia in 1965 at the lowest level in all of Asia. Food availability was low, and life expectancy short. These conditions greatly exacerbated the political situation. With so much of the capital city dependent on government employment, it was not long before student protests, which initially had been targeted at the Communist party, began to take aim at the government itself.
The virtual destruction of the Communist party by the end of 1965 facilitated this redirection of attention. So long as there was a stand-off between the party and the army, Sukarno had room to maneuver, to play one side against the other. Now only the army and the president remained. It was just a matter of time until one or the other would emerge as the sole holder of power and authority in the nation.
——————————————————————————–
Note 1: The literature on the failed coup is large and varied. Early accounts include Hughes, Indonesian Upheaval , and Shaplen, Time Out of Hand . Early analyses include Anderson and McVey, A Preliminary Analysis , Lev, “Indonesia 1965,” pp. 103-1O; Wertheim, “Indonesia Before and After the Untung Coup,” pp, 115-27; Hindley, “Political Power,” pp. 237-49; Notosusanto and Saleh, The Coup Attempt , and Van der Kroef, “Interpretations of the I965 Indonesia Coup,” pp. 557-77. Later assessments that focus their attention on one or another of the major actors include Legge, Sukarno ; Mortimer, Indonesian Communism ; and Crouch, The Army and Politics in Indonesia . Back.
Note 2: Mackie, Konfrontasi . Back.
Note 3: “Initial Statement of Lieutenant Colonel Untung,” in Anderson and McVey, A Preliminary Analysis , p. 122. Back.
Note 4: “Decree No. I on the Establishment of the Indonesian Revolution Council,” in Anderson and McVey, A Preliminary Analysis , p. 123 Back.
Note 5: Kayyam, “Bawuk,” p. 168 Back.
Note 6: A rare eyewitness account of the killings in East Java, in which military personnel and Ansor youth are described as beheading a truck-load of victims, is excerpted in Jones, Injustice, Persecution, Eviction , p. 115. Back.
Note 7: A collection of short stories describing such events appears in Aveling, ed. and trans., Gestapu , p. 110. Back.
Note 8: Ibid., p. 39. Back.
Note 9: Crouch, The Army and Politics in Indonesia , p. 143. Back.
Note 10: Kahin, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia , pp. 290-305; see also Ann Swift, The Road to Madiun: The Indonesian Communist Uprising of I948 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Modern Indonesia Project, 1989), p. 116. Back.
Note 11: Kartodirdjo, Agrarian Unrest , p. 22. Back.
Note 12: Ladejinsky, “Land Reform in Indonesia,” pp. 343-44. Back.
Note 13: Ibid., p. 343 Back.
Note 14: The abangan tradition is an “intricate complex of spirit beliefs, and a whole set of theories and practices of cunning, sorcery, and magic ” (Geertz, The Religion of Java , p. 5). Also, and perhaps later, abangan is a “derogatory term to denote Javanese who do not take Islamic religious learning seriously”; Koentjaraningrat, Javanese Culture , p. 197. Back.
Note 15: Geertz, The Religion of Java , p. 6; also see Koentjaraningrat, Javanese Culture, p. I96. Back.
Note 16: Hindley, The Communist Party of Indonesia , pp. 160-80; Mortimer, Indonesian Communism , pp. 276-95. Back.
Note 17: Mortimer, Indonesian Communism . Back.
Note 18: A principal source on the PKI campaign is Mortimer, Indonesian Communism . For reactions in East Java, see Walkin, “The Moslem-Communist Confrontation,” pp. 822-47. For reactions in Central Java, see Kartodirdjo, Agrarian Unrest . For a discussion of rural poverty, class structure, and peasant conservatism in West Java, see Aidit, Kaum Tani Mengganjang Setan-Setan Desa (Farmers destroy the village devils), which contains no hint of the “unilateral action” campaign that began in late I963. Arguments that greater weight should be placed on class structure are found in Wertheim, “From Aliran to Class Struggle”; and Margot Lyon, Bases of Conflict . Back.
Note 19: Mortimer, Indonesian Communism , p. 300. Back.
Note 20: Kartodirdjo, Agrarian Unrest , p. 98. Back.
Note 21: Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures , p. 167. Back.
Note 22: Anderson, “Idea of Power in Javanese Culture,” p. 22. Back.
Note 23: Ibid., p. 21. Back.
Note 24: Ibid., p. 19. Back.
Note 25: Wertheim, “Suharto and the Untung days,” pp. 50-51; Benedict Anderson and Ruth McVey, Letter to the Editor, New York Review of Books , June 1, I978. Back.
Note 26: See, e.g., editorial, “Lilliputian Politics in Huge Indonesia,” New York Times , April 25, I987. Back.
Note 27: Coppel, Indonesian Chinese , p. 58. Back.
Note 28: Mozingo, Chinese Policy Toward Indonesia , p. 250. Back.
Note 29: Central Intelligence Agency, Indonesia 1965. Back.
Note 30: Kathy Kadane, “U.S. Officials’ Lists Aided Indonesian Bloodbath in ’60s,” Washington Post , May 21, I990. Back.
Note 31: Myrdal, Asian Drama , p. 378. Back

 

1965 – 1967

 

 

 

 

 

 

October,1st .1965

Sudarmono

Itu dari posisi ini yang Sudharmono mulai naik nya. Pada Oktober 1965, Mayor Jenderal Soeharto diangkat menjadi Panglima Angkatan Darat dan bergabung KOTI sebagai Officer Staf. Suharto menjalin hubungan dengan Sudharmono masa-masa tegang dalam sejarah Indonesia dan itu jelas bahwa Sudharmono mendapatkan kepercayaan Soeharto. Pada 11 Maret 1966, ketika Suharto menerima Powers Darurat dari Sukarno, Sudharmono lah yang direproduksi salinan surat yang akan didistribusikan kepada Perwira Militer lainnya. Keesokan harinya, pada tanggal 12 Maret tahun 1966, Sudharmono juga satu untuk menulis dekrit melarang PKI

 

 

December 1965

 

 

 

 

 

December 1965
Cabinet session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The September 30 coup
Much mystery has been associated with the actual coup attempt on September 30, 1965. In this attempted coup, six of seven top military officers were murdered. Soon after, media fabrications about how these men were treated before being killed were to play a big part “in stirring up popular resentment against the PKI. Photographs of the bodies of the dead generals – badly decomposed [after being dumped in a well] – were featured in all the newspapers and on television. Stories accompanying the pictures falsely claimed that the generals had been castrated and their eyes gouged out by Communist women” (“Deadly Deceits”, pp57/8). The September 30/1 October coup is known as the “Gestapu” affair, with the attempt itself being crushed by the commander of the Army’s strategic command, Major-General Suharto, within fewer than 24 hours (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p45). Aspects about the coup attempt have led to speculation about the possible role of an agent provocateur (or provocateurs). Was it in fact part of a more comprehensive CIA/Suharto plot? Peter Dale Scott has evidently made the strongest case, based on detailed analytical research, that even the coup attempt was probably manipulated from the inside by Suharto and the CIA (Pacific Affairs, volume 58, no.2, Summer 1985).
But the swift labelling of the Gestapu affair as a botched Communist grab for power has generally prevailed ever since, becoming a standard item of mainstream historical writing. Whatever the exact truth here, it is fascinating to see how the spurious Suharto/CIA version of history has regularly got reproduced, and in the most respected histories. For example, eminent (and very conservative) Oxford University historian, John Roberts, has had this to say: “Food shortages and inflation led to an attempted coup by the Communists (or so the military said), and in 1965, the Army stood back ostentatiously while popular massacre removed the Communists to whom Sukarno might have turned. He himself was duly set aside the following year and a solidly anti-Communist regime took power” (“Shorter Illustrated History of the World”, BCA, 1994, p547). So while Roberts does signal a doubt about the nature of the coup, he goes on, incredibly enough, to: (1) promote the blatant and easily demonstrable lie that the military had nothing to do with the genocide; (2) actually give the massacre a positive tone in the sense that it was purportedly “popular”; and, (3) then give the new regime a similarly positive tone in that it was “solidly” founded. All this can justly be called the crudest propaganda. Even Roberts’ expressed reservation about the coup seems tailored as well to help transmit the idea of a considered, judicious judgement. Such then is the best tradition of Western history-making on matters of this sort; and the fate of some one million people, brutally butchered, is cavalierly consigned to the dustbin of capitalist history.

One of the problems in investigating the 1965-69 genocide is the lack of reliable documentary evidence of the more specific details of what happened. Most of the killings during the peak period – from October 1965 through to March 1966 – were dispersed in action, and done at night in the countryside by small bands. “The New Rulers of the World” claimed to show the only extant photograph of any of the killings. Unlike the case with the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Indonesian official and unofficial records are very scanty. This seems to have been deliberate policy to a large degree so as to not only prevent scrutiny at the time, but also obfuscate any future efforts to establish the truth, or, worst of all, accountability. However, we do now know crucial elements of the American and British connections to the murders.

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

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GESTAPU
SEPTEMBER 30, 1965

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1970

 
 
 
 
 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
 
 

US Interpretation of events – The Coup and its Aftermath

By 1965 Indonesia had become a dangerous cockpit of social and political antagonisms. The PKI’s rapid growth aroused the hostility of Islamic groups and the military. The ABRI-PKI balancing act, which supported Sukarno’s Guided Democracy regime, was going awry. One of the most serious points of contention was the PKI’s desire to establish a “fifth force” of armed peasants and workers in conjunction with the four branches of the regular armed forces (army, navy, air force, and police; see Organization and Equipment of the Armed Forces , ch. 5). Many officers were bitterly hostile, especially after Chinese premier Zhou Enlai offered to supply the “fifth force” with arms. By 1965 ABRI’s highest ranks were divided into factions supporting Sukarno and the PKI and those opposed, the latter including ABRI chief of staff Nasution and Major General Suharto, commander of Kostrad. Sukarno’s collapse at a speech aThe circumstances surrounding the abortive coup d’état of September 30, 1965–an event that led to Sukarno’s displacement from power; a bloody purge of PKI members on Java, Bali, and elsewhere; and the rise of Suharto as architect of the New Order regime–remain shrouded in mystery and controversy. The official and generally accepted account is that procommunist military officers, calling themselves the September 30 Movement (Gestapu), attempted to seize power. Capturing the Indonesian state radio station on October 1, 1965, they announced that they had formed the Revolutionary Council and a cabinet in order to avert a coup d’état by corrupt generals who were allegedly in the pay of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. The coup perpetrators murdered five generals on the night of September 30 and fatally wounded Nasution’s daughter in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate him. Contingents of the Diponegoro Division, based in Jawa Tengah Province, rallied in support of the September 30 Movement. Communist officials in various parts of Java also expressed their support.
The extent and nature of PKI involvement in the coup are unclear, however. Whereas the official accounts promulgated by the military describe the communists as having a “puppetmaster” role, some foreign scholars have suggested that PKI involvement was minimal and that the coup was the result of rivalry between military factions. Although evidence presented at trials of coup leaders by the military implicated the PKI, the testimony of witnesses may have been coerced. A pivotal figure seems to have been Syam, head of the PKI’s secret operations, who was close to Aidit and allegedly had fostered close contacts with dissident elements within the military. But one scholar has suggested that Syam may have been an army agent provocateur who deceived the communist leadership into believing that sympathetic elements in the ranks were strong enough to conduct a successful bid for power. Another hypothesis is that Aidit and PKI leaders then in Beijing had seriously miscalculated Sukarno’s medical problems and moved to consolidate their support in the military. Others believe that ironically Sukarno himself was responsible for masterminding the coup with the cooperation of the PKI.
And rumors that he was dying also added to the atmosphere of instability

n a series of papers written after the coup and published in 1971, Cornell University scholars Benedict R.O’G. Anderson and Ruth T. McVey argued that it was an “internal army affair” and that the PKI was not involved. There was, they argued, no reason for the PKI to attempt to overthrow the regime when it had been steadily gaining power on the local level. More radical scenarios allege significant United States involvement. United States military assistance programs to Indonesia were substantial even during the Guided Democracy period and allegedly were designed to establish a pro-United States, anticommunist constituency within the armed forces.
In the wake of the September 30 coup’s failure, there was a violent anticommunist reaction. By December 1965, mobs were engaged in large-scale killings, most notably in Jawa Timur Province and on Bali, but also in parts of Sumatra. Members of Ansor, the Nahdatul Ulama’s youth branch, were particularly zealous in carrying out a “holy war” against the PKI on the village level. Chinese were also targets of mob violence. Estimates of the number killed–both Chinese and others–vary widely, from a low of 78,000 to 2 million; probably somewhere around 300,000 is most likely. Whichever figure is true, the elimination of the PKI was the bloodiest event in postwar Southeast Asia until the Khmer Rouge established its regime in Cambodia a decade later.
The period from October 1965 to March 1966 witnessed the eclipse of Sukarno and the rise of Suharto to a position of supreme power. Born in the Yogyakarta region in 1921, Suharto came from a lower priyayi family and received military training in Peta during the Japanese occupation. During the war for independence, he distinguished himself by leading a lightning attack on Yogyakarta, seizing it on March 1, 1949, after the Dutch had captured it in their second “police action.” Rising quickly through the ranks, he was placed in charge of the Diponegoro Division in 1962 and Kostrad the following year.
After the elimination of the PKI and purge of the armed forces of pro-Sukarno elements, the president was left in an isolated, defenseless position. By signing the executive order of March 11, 1966, Supersemar, he was obliged to transfer supreme authority to Suharto. On March 12, 1967, the MPRS stripped Sukarno of all political power and installed Suharto as acting president. Sukarno was kept under virtual house arrest, a lonely and tragic figure, until his death in June 1970.


The year 1966 marked the beginning of dramatic changes in Indonesian foreign policy. Friendly relations were restored with Western countries, Confrontation with Malaysia ended on August 11, and in September Indonesia rejoined the UN. In 1967 ties with Beijing were, in the words of Indonesian minister of foreign affairs Adam Malik, “frozen.” This meant that although relations with Beijing were suspended, Jakarta did not seek to establish relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan. That same year, Indonesia joined Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore to form a new regional and officially nonaligned grouping, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN–see Glossary), which was friendly to the West.
Data as of November 1992

 
 
 

Communist daily ” Harian Rakjat” in its October 2 edition
expresses support for the Gestapu movement

 

 

 

 

1 Febnruary 1966
Promoting Suharto to 5-star General

 

2 February 1966
Sukarno and Navy Command

 

4 August 1966
Cabinet Meeting

 


17 August 1966
Independence Day

 


5 October 1966
Armed Forces Day

 
 
 

4 August 1966
Meeting at Merdeka Palace of newly appointed Cabinet

 
 


5 October 1966

Ghosts of a genocide
The CIA, Suharto And Terrorist Culture
Excerpt.
During the period 1965-69, and especially during 1965-66, a series of mass murders took place in Indonesia which led to the institution in power of President Suharto and the opening up of the country to Western capitalism. Possibly more than a million people were slaughtered. In the documentary film on globalisation by John Pilger, “The New Rulers of the World” (2001 – screened on TV1, 10/10/01), there are scenes of some of the relatives of the victims of the massacres secretly exhuming the bones of their loved ones. As Pilger notes, evidence has increasingly come to light of the murderous role that the US and British governments performed both in initiating and in helping perpetrate the killings, and in the creation of the long reign of terror that ensued. The full story amounts to a remarkable and chilling record of capitalist genocide, cover-up, and subsequent foundation of a model which was then widely applied elsewhere in the Third World to eliminate the enemies of the West and ensure future profits. To a quite considerable extent, the new rulers of the world built capitalist success on the Indonesian genocide, and the platform it served for globalising Indonesia and the rest of the planet.
To date, the true story of what really happened is only partially told, only partly visible through a fog of propaganda and deception, and a dearth of information. However, trying to help unravel it, and to disclose it to a wider audience, is to embark on a greatly enlightening journey into the human psyche, into the political economy of capitalism, and into the meaning of the Western tradition of the Enlightenment today – the values of freedom, democracy, justice, truth, and respect for human rights. One comes face to face with the reality and psychology of political ideology, violence and civilised values, and what these mean in relation to the philosophical concept of truth. In such matters, if any conception of “truth” has an inevitable, insoluble element of subjectivism, there is always the question of the actual facts in the most fundamental and reportorial sense: who was killed by whom, where, how and why?

A Western Conspiracy Of Silence
The lack of investigation of the Indonesian genocide has been due to a range of reasons but the central reason has undoubtedly been the huge vested interest of both the Suharto regime and ruling Western forces in leaving the past undisturbed. “Western governments and much of the Western media preferred Suharto and the New Order to the PKI [Indonesian Communist Party] and the Old, and have been in many cases comfortable with the simple statement that some hundreds of thousands of ‘Communists’ were killed. A close investigation of who was being killed – and why – ran the risk not just of complicating a simple story but of uncovering skeletons in the New Order closet” (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966: Studies from Bali and Java”, edited by Robert Cribb, Monash Papers on Southeast Asia, no.21, 1990, pp. 5, 6). Instead: “If anything, the Indonesian killings have been treated as if they fall into an anomalous category of ‘accidental’ mass death” (ibid, p16).
More specifically, a number of Western organisations – most eminently, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – ran
from the start a carefully calculated disinformation campaign to mislead, and confuse any close scrutiny of the massacres.
Pretext for the genocide was given by a failed coup on September 30, 1965. The coup affair was apparently a venture by some young, middle-ranking officers to overthrow the existing Army high command. They might have feared the Army’s generals were about to stage their own coup to topple President Sukarno, and therefore decided to strike first. Allegations
of Communist involvement were quickly made when in actuality the PKI was innocent of this. Media fabrications whipped
up fear and hatred towards the Communists and other alleged subversives. Former CIA agent, Ralph McGehee, who visited Aotearoa/NZ in 1986, has revealed how: “To conceal its role in the massacre of those innocent people the CIA, in 1968, concocted a false account of what happened (later published by the Agency as a book, “Indonesia-1965: The Coup that Backfired”) . . .

At the same time that the Agency wrote the book, it also composed a secret study of what really happened.
[One sentence deleted] The Agency was extremely proud of its successful [one word deleted] and recommended it as a model for future operations [one-half sentence deleted]” (“Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA”, Sheridan Square, 1983, p58). Deletions identified in the text just quoted were enforced by the CIA under McGehee’s legal obligations as an ex-agent. McGehee had once had access to the CIA’s secret account of the coup and its aftermath and based his report of events on this.

Much mystery has been associated with the actual coup attempt on September 30, 1965. In this attempted coup, six of seven top military officers were murdered. Soon after, media fabrications about how these men were treated before being killed were to play a big part “in stirring up popular resentment against the PKI. Photographs of the bodies of the dead generals – badly decomposed [after being dumped in a well] – were featured in all the newspapers and on television. Stories accompanying the pictures falsely claimed that the generals had been castrated and their eyes gouged out by Communist women” (“Deadly Deceits”, pp57/8). The September 30/1 October coup is known as the “Gestapu” affair, with the attempt itself being crushed by the commander of the Army’s strategic command, Major-General Suharto, within fewer than 24 hours (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p45). Aspects about the coup attempt have led to speculation about the possible role of an agent provocateur (or provocateurs). Was it in fact part of a more comprehensive CIA/Suharto plot? Peter Dale Scott has evidently made the strongest case, based on detailed analytical research, that even the coup attempt was probably manipulated from the inside by Suharto and the CIA (Pacific Affairs, volume 58, no.2, Summer 1985).


But the swift labelling of the Gestapu affair as a botched Communist grab for power has generally prevailed ever since, becoming a standard item of mainstream historical writing. Whatever the exact truth here, it is fascinating to see how the spurious Suharto/CIA version of history has regularly got reproduced, and in the most respected histories. For example, eminent (and very conservative) Oxford University historian, John Roberts, has had this to say: “Food shortages and inflation led to an attempted coup by the Communists (or so the military said), and in 1965, the Army stood back ostentatiously while popular massacre removed the Communists to whom Sukarno might have turned. He himself was duly set aside the following year and a solidly anti-Communist regime took power” (“Shorter Illustrated History of the World”, BCA, 1994, p547). So while Roberts does signal a doubt about the nature of the coup, he goes on, incredibly enough, to: (1) promote the blatant and easily demonstrable lie that the military had nothing to do with the genocide; (2) actually give the massacre a positive tone in the sense that it was purportedly “popular”; and, (3) then give the new regime a similarly positive tone in that it was “solidly” founded. All this can justly be called the crudest propaganda. Even Roberts’ expressed reservation about the coup seems tailored as well to help transmit the idea of a considered, judicious judgement. Such then is the best tradition of Western history-making on matters of this sort; and the fate of some one million people, brutally butchered, is cavalierly consigned to the dustbin of capitalist history.

One of the problems in investigating the 1965-69 genocide is the lack of reliable documentary evidence of the more specific details of what happened. Most of the killings during the peak period – from October 1965 through to March 1966 – were dispersed in action, and done at night in the countryside by small bands. “The New Rulers of the World” claimed to show the only extant photograph of any of the killings. Unlike the case with the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Indonesian official and unofficial records are very scanty. This seems to have been deliberate policy to a large degree so as to not only prevent scrutiny at the time, but also obfuscate any future efforts to establish the truth, or, worst of all, accountability. However, we do now know crucial elements of the American and British connections to the murders.

 

International Mass Murder Incorporated

Along with Marshall Green’s appointment in June 1965 as Ambassador to Indonesia during the critical period leading up to the Gestapu affair, had been the arrival earlier in 1964 of a new, activist CIA Chief of Station, “Bernardo Hugh Tovar, a naturalised Colombian who had spent years in the Philippines with the CIA’s Edward Lansdale in the early 1950s” (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, p243). Lansdale had specialised in unconventional warfare techniques against opponents of the Filipino regime. Later, Tovar, went on to CIA dirty work in Indochina.
Thanks to the dedicated digging of researcher Kathy Kadane, we have learnt that the CIA and American Embassy officials in Jakarta passed on the names of Communist organisers and activists to Suharto’s death squads (e.g. San Francisco Examiner, 20/5/90; “Year 501”, pp131/33).
Kadane found that: “The US government played a significant role by supplying the names of thousands of Communist Party leaders to the Indonesian Army, which hunted down the Leftists and killed them, former US diplomats say . . . As many as 5,000 names were furnished to the Indonesian Army, and the Americans later checked off the names of those who had been killed or captured, according to US officials . . . The lists were a detailed who’s who of the leadership of the Party of three million members, [foreign service Robert] Martens said” (“Year 501”, p131; Examiner, 20/5/90; see also “The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p7).


In an interview with Kadane, Robert Martens, a former member of the US Embassy’s political section (and when interviewed, a State Department consultant), acknowledged: “It really was a big help to the Army . . . They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment” (San Francisco Examiner, 20/5/90; also see Washington Post, 21/5/90; Boston Globe, 23/5/90). By 1990, several American newspapers at least were willing to print some hard material contesting the official version of events, although what should have been seen as a sensational and most important story was in fact, as might be expected, little used by the media. The Examiner report (20/5/90) declared that: “Silent for a quarter century, former senior US diplomats and CIA officers described in lengthy interviews how they aided Indonesian President Suharto, then Army leader, in his attack on the PKI”. Ex-diplomat and political section chief, Edward Masters, who had been Martens’ boss, confirmed that “CIA agents contributed in drawing up the death lists” (ibid.). Joseph Lazarksy, who was the deputy CIA station chief in Jakarta when Suharto took over, has admitted that the list of names was used as a “shooting list” by the Indonesian Army. All this, of course, was denied in 1990 by a CIA spokesman.


“Kadane reports that top US Embassy officials acknowledged in interviews that they had approved of the release of the names” (“Year 501″, p131). These officials included Ambassador Marshall Green, deputy chief of mission Jack Lydman, and Edward Masters. According to Howard Federspiel, the then Indonesia expert for State Department intelligence: ‘No one cared as long as they were Communists, that they were being butchered; no one was getting very worked up about it” (ibid, p131). Green has commented that: “I know we had a lot more information [about the PKI] than the Indonesians themselves” (Examiner, 20/5/90). Likewise, Masters said that the Indonesian intelligence was “not as comprehensive as the American lists”. Martens supplied the American-compiled lists to an Indonesian emissary over a number of months. This emissary was an aide to Indonesian minister Adam Malik who in turn passed them on to Suharto’s headquarters. Lazarsky disclosed that information about who had been captured and killed came back from the Suharto command centre. “By the end of January 1966, Lazarsky said, the checked off names were so numerous the CIA analysts in Washington concluded the PKI leadership had been destroyed” (ibid.). It is important to record here “that in many cases Party members were killed along with their entire families in order to prevent the possibility of retaliation in the future” (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p11; also note the Time {17/12/65} report cited earlier).


Direct US complicity in the mass murders was actually already known from “cable traffic between the US Embassy in Jakarta and the State Department” (“Year 501”, pp123 & 132; & “Confronting the Third World”, pp177/83). For instance, Secretary of State Dean Rusk had instructed Ambassador Green on October 29 1965, that the “campaign against PKI” must continue and would receive US military aid to do so (“Confronting the Third World”, p181). US cable exchanges showed a high level of concern about whether or not the army would have the resolve to carry out the genocide. On October 14 1965 Green had cabled Washington that: “Their success or failure is going to determine our own in Indonesia for some time to come” (ibid, p180). Later, on November 4, 1965, Green told Rusk that Embassy staff had made it clear that the Embassy and the US government were “generally sympathetic with and admiring of what Army doing”; and a few days later reported that the Army was acting “ruthlessly” carrying out “wholesale killings” (ibid, p181). Green ensured “carefully placed assistance which will help Army cope with PKI”, to facilitate what the CIA called the “destruction” of the Party (ibid.). It needs to be noted that relevant US documents for the three months preceding September 30 1965 have been withheld from public scrutiny. As Kolko observes, given all the other material available, “one can only assume that the release of these papers would embarrass the US government” (ibid, p177). As Kolko suggests, too, the Suharto takeover could have already been planned for such an opportune moment.


On Bali an estimated 80,000 people, or roughly 5% of the population, were killed. “The populations of whole villages were executed, the victims either shot with automatic weapons or hacked to death with knives and machetes. Some of the killers were said to have drunk the blood of their victims or to have gloated over the numbers of people they had put to death” (“The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali” by Geoffrey Robinson, Cornell University Press, 1995, p1). In chapter 11 of his profound, in-depth study on Bali, Robinson goes into some detail as to extent and nature of US involvement in the massacres. His overall assessment is that: “Even if it is not possible to establish definitively the extent of US complicity, it can be demonstrated that US policy contributed substantially to the seizure of power by the military under Suharto and to the massacre that ensued” (ibid, p282). As he emphasises, at least as early as 1957, US policy initiatives had been deliberately exploiting and encouraging “internal political cleavages in Indonesia with the intention of bringing down the established government” (ibid). On Bali, it was the arrival of the military with death lists and logistical support that mobilised the slaughter on a large scale. There was an orchestrated propaganda campaign to both instigate and legitimate the killings of those defined as the enemy. The Western-created myth of exotic Bali as a marvellously peaceful island so appropriate as a tourist Mecca masks a violent tradition, and Bali’s part in the 1965-66 genocide was actually not quite the aberration it might seem.


Like Kolko, Robinson has analysed and reproduced key aspects of US documentation relating to the opportunity presented by the Gestapu affair. “Just days after the coup, the CIA in Jakarta telegraphed to the White House: ‘The Army must act quickly if it is to exploit its opportunity to move against the PKI’: CIA Report no.14 to the White House, 5/10/65” (ibid, p283). US officials were then well aware that the Army was inciting popular violence against the PKI, and the strategies of murder which were being employed. Despite its delight, the Johnson Administration still “put on a public show of tolerant noninterference in Indonesia’s ‘internal affairs'”(ibid, p284). In addition to such observations, Robinson draws attention to several matters connected with Indonesian public media during 1965 that are most suggestive of a typical CIA operation aimed at destabilisation of an existing government. For instance, an inflammatory newspaper Api Pancasila mysteriously emerged only days after the coup attempt and later just as suddenly disappeared, having contributed to the creation of an anti-Communist frenzy (ibid, p2 85).

 

The Empire Soldiers On
The British connections to all this have emerged in a variety of ways. Most damning have been the revelations from official documents. Whereas the Foreign Office has regularly denied that Britain was involved in the fall of Sukarno, new revelations in the mid/late 1990s showed that British Intelligence agencies and propaganda specialists carried out covert operations to overthrow the regime. Mark Curtis, author of “The Ambiguities of Power: British Foreign Policy since 1945” (Zed Books, 1995), had an excoriating editorial in 1996 in The Ecologist (Vol.26, no.5, September/October, 1996, pp202/04). Titled “Democratic Genocide”, it presented his findings “from recently declassified secret Government files”. Quotes immediately below in the next three paragraphs are from his editorial unless otherwise indicated.
Curtis states that: “The secret files reveal three crucial aspects of the British role”. The first was its intention to get rid of Sukarno. “According to a CIA memorandum of June 1962, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and President John Kennedy ‘agreed to liquidate President Sukarno, depending on the situation and the available opportunities’. In the late 1950s, Britain had aided covert attempts to organise a guerrilla army to overthrow Sukarno”. By 1965, the British Ambassador to Indonesia, Sir Andrew Gilchrist, was telling the Foreign Office that: “I have never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change” (see also “The New Rulers of the World”). Gilchrist went on in October 1965, after the Gestapu affair, to strongly press the generals to take ruthless action against the Communists. Meantime, the US Embassy had declared: “Now is the ideal time in some ways for the Army to be committed to a struggle to the death with the PKI”.

The second way that Curtis identifies that Britain undermined Sukarno in the 1960s was through specific covert operations, including carefully targeted propaganda like stories about China’s supposed links with the Indonesian Communist Party leader. Another action had more sinister implications. Indonesia had been in confrontation with Britain over the federation of Malaysia. Gilchrist suggested that word be passed on to the Indonesian generals that British forces would “not attack them whilst they are chasing the PKI. The C-in-C [British military commander in Singapore] thinks that this has some merit and might ensure that the Army is not detracted [sic] from what we consider to be a necessary task”. This suggestion was duly implemented, and a “secret communication was made to the Generals through the American contact”. Britain’s third type of role was indeed characterised by the “extremely close relations between the US and British embassies in Jakarta”. The US and Britain apparently agreed on supplying arms to “Moslem and nationalist youths”, i.e. the civilian-based death squads that the Indonesian military high command was initiating and sustaining in the field. With cynical black humour, this covert aid (weapons, etc.) was dubbed “medicines”. In “The New Rulers of the World”, Roland Challis, once a BBC correspondent in the region during 1964-69, observed that at one stage some Indonesian troops were taken by ship from Sumatra to new killing fields in Java. The troop transport vessel sailed down the Malacca Strait escorted by two British warships.

An insight into the meaning of free trade in such creatively innovative situations is highlighted by a memo written by the then Labour Foreign Secretary, Michael Stewart, to Prime Minister Harold Wilson during the genocide: “It is only the economic chaos of Indonesia which prevents that country from offering great potential opportunities to British exporters. If there is going to be a deal with Indonesia, as I hope one day there may be, I think we ought to take an active part and try and secure a slice of the cake ourselves”. So already, while the slaughter was in process, British strategists were planning an Indonesia designed to fit their business requirements. As we have seen, these plans took fruition at the conference held in Switzerland in 1967 courtesy of Time-Life Corp. when Time and Co. followed up their celebration of the massacres with practical facilitation of the economic gains – at a party where they cut up the cake with the Indonesian clients who had carried out their dirty work (“The New Rulers of the World”). Professor Jeffrey Winters of Northwestern University has pointed out that the imposition by Western capital of such a comprehensive package on a country at a one-off event appears so far to have been unique to Indonesia (ibid.). Perhaps Afghanistan is the next candidate? After all, while Afghanistan itself is resource poor it is very strategically placed for access to the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia. The US has ambitions for a gas pipeline from Central Asia running through Afghanistan (see e.g., NZ Listener, 13/10/01, p23).

More of the evidence of Britain’s involvement in the Indonesian genocide has been published in Paul Lashmar and James Oliver’s book, “Britain’s Secret Propaganda War 1948-1997” (Sutton Publishers, 1998). In late 1965, Britain sent a senior Foreign Office official and propaganda specialist to assist on the spot with the anti-Sukarno campaign. Foreign service operative, Norman Reddaway, was given 100,000 pounds by Foreign Office head, Joe (later Lord) Garner, to manipulate the media and told to do anything he could to get rid of Sukarno. Reddaway has said that the removal of Sukarno was considered a huge success, with Indonesia becoming one of Britain’s biggest customers for arms. British operations included coordinated activity by Foreign Office personnel, MI6 (Britain’s external Intelligence agency), and Army psychological warfare officers to spread anti-Sukarno propaganda. Reddaway’s unit aided pro-Western elements in the Indonesian military. As well as actions based in Singapore, and directly on the ground in Indonesia, Britain’s Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) eavesdropping agency listened in to the Sukarno government’s communications and passed on relevant information to his military opponents.

 
 

The Disinformation Game
An article in the Guardian (1/8/01), titled “Our Bloody Coup in Indonesia: Britain colluded in one of the worst massacres of the century” by Isabel Hilton, has indicated that a 1966 study carried out at Cornell University “discovered that what most of the officers [in the Gestapu Affair] had in common was not any association with the PKI, but a connection with General Suharto”.
As Hilton says “there is also evidence that the British and US responsibility for the fall of Sukarno goes back to the event that triggered it – an alleged Leftwing coup attempt in 1965”. Lt. Col. Untung, the supposed leader of the officers involved, was a known anti-Communist and some of his colleagues had been trained in the US. “It has been known for more than ten years that the CIA supplied lists of names for Suharto’s assassination squads.
What is less widely known is that the supposed pro-Communist coup that triggered the crisis was almost certainly the work of the CIA” (ibid.). Hilton points out “that the British and American governments did not just cover up the massacre: they had a direct hand in bringing it about”; and, furthermore, they succeeded “in selling a false version of events that persists to this day”. An intriguing aspect of the “Gestapu” affair is its very name. The term was allegedly coined as an acronym by an Indonesian army officer, “presumably with the intention of investing it with the aura of evil associated with the term ‘Gestapo'” (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p46). Although the word would surely mean little in this sense to the average Indonesian, it would certainly have a suitably sinister ring in the Western media.

Roland Challis, the BBC correspondent, “has described how British diplomats planted misleading stories in British newspapers at the time” (Guardian, 1/8/01). Conservative media like the Atlantic Monthly systematically whitewashed the genocide. The Atlantic Monthly assured its readers that Suharto “is regarded by Indonesians who know him well as incorruptible . . . In attacking the Communists, he was not acting as a Western puppet; he was doing simply what he believed to be best for Indonesia” (Guardian, 1/8/01). This just happened to include “the granting of lucrative concessions to Western mining and oil companies”, along with such bonuses as the buying of British military aircraft (ibid).
It is sobering to recall that not too long ago Don McKinnon, as NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs (and now Commonwealth Secretary General!), was telling us how Indonesia was his kind of democracy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) was most happy to indicate Indonesia as a development success story. In the past, too, McKinnon brazenly justified Indonesia’s annexation of East Timor where some 200,000 people, about a third of the total population, had been killed by Suharto’s forces (e.g. TV1 6pm News, 21/3/95). Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975 was carried out with Western, including Australasian, complicity. In fact, newly released documents show President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, gave Suharto’s invasion the green light (NZ Herald, 8/12/01; Press, 8/12/01). Then, too, there has been the subjugation of West Irian. Suharto has apparently been a bigger mass murderer than Pol Pot (compare the figures for Khmer Rouge genocide in “The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p18). NZ’s dirty little collaborationist role in all of this is a story still to be told.

Significantly enough, 1965 was the year that NZ was “finally briefed on ASIS [Australian Secret Intelligence Service] in order to facilitate official discussions being held in Canberra with delegations from Wellington and London” (“Oyster: The Story of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service” by Brian Toohey & William Pinwill, William Heinemann, 1989, p110). Previously, the NZ government had not been officially informed of this Intelligence agency’s existence. Over the years, ASIS was involved in various projects to destabilise the Sukarno regime. In fact, “Sukarno’s Indonesia was the main playground for ASIS attempts at ‘dirty tricks'” (ibid, p96). The working relations betw
“By June 1965, when the ANZUS* Ministers met in Washington for their annual consultations [US] Secretary of State Dean Rusk was voicing deep concern about the extent of Communist influence” (ibid, p100). State Department records show that Rusk “expected there would be some effort by various groups to prevent the PKI from further solidifying its control” (ibid). At the very least, ASIS played a part in creating a climate conducive to mass murder, and then joined in American and British rejoicing at Sukarno’s downfall. In point of fact here, it was specifically praised by the US Ambassador to Australia at the time, Ed Clark, for acting as much as it could to overthrow the Sukarno government; and this aid included “exchanges of top level intelligence, both formal and informal, to . . . possibly more active participation in Sukarno’s downfall” (ibid, p102). Even the CIA relied a lot on ASIS reporting in 1966 when Indonesia was in turmoil. A Captain Edward Kenny later testified that he had worked as an ASIS operative in the destabilisation programme but had resigned in disgust over the bloodbath. Critical to the covert action, he claimed, was the bribing of high-ranking Indonesian military officers. Whatever the exact mechanisms of destabilisation involved, the NZ government – certainly some key politicians and officials – must have been well aware of much of the real story of events. Along with trade and investment ties, until relatively recently NZ had also been a military partner of the Suharto regime, training personnel and selling equipment. *ANZUS – the 1951 military treaty between Australia, NZ and the US. The US unilaterally suspended NZ from it, in 1986, as punishment for NZ’s nuclear free policy. It still exists between Australia and the US. But as far as New Zealand is concerned, it is dead. Ed.een the CIA and ASIS were very close.

The maxim that truth is the first casualty of war is an old wisdom. But in 2002 it is more vital than ever to keep it in mind. During the Cold War, a constant refrain of the free press was the Communist atrocity story. Whether fact or fiction depending on the occasion, the theme was a recurring one. The obvious implication was that the Communist foe used methods of political control that the West and its allies would never stoop to use. Instead, values that the West supposedly stood for like freedom and democracy meant that Western forces consistently kept some measure of human decency in tailoring means to ends. Yet the 1965-66 Indonesian genocide clearly showed that any supposed regard for human rights could even be openly discounted in the media celebration of a particularly gruesome outcome. To carry this off convincingly, the right propaganda spin was critical. For the most part it was essential to deny any Western responsibility, or at least only admit this to a carefully calculated degree, and then only in a properly contrived context. So in the Indonesian case, as we have seen, the massacres were presented as the outraged response to a botched Communist takeover; a spontaneous, uncontrollable uprising of the masses; a desperate mobilisation in self-defence, etc. The victims were systematically dehumanised in all sorts of ways – some general in technique, others very much adapted to cultural and regional/local factors.

 
 
 

Cover-up Continues – “Ignorance is Strength”

With regard to the media, my own personal experience of the treatment by Christchurch’s Press of the Indonesian genocide has proved very illuminating. Some of this was once written up and published in Peace Researcher (first series, no.13, June 1987), as ‘The Free Press and the CIA’. This particular piece was prompted by the initial refusal of the Press to publish a letter of mine to the Editor, originally sent in September 1986. My letter had contended that certain recent items in the Press on Indonesia showed how CIA-inspired propaganda works in the West. In the letter I specifically took up the issue of the Gestapu affair and the alleged Communist coup. I had included the statement that analysts like Peter Dale Scott “demonstrate that even the coup attempt was manipulated from the inside by Suharto and the CIA. This coup attempt was the excuse for the planned systematic murder of Communist and other groups”.
After a direct personal approach and remonstrance with the then Editor, the matter of actual publication was resolved and my letter duly appeared. Various other related matters came to converge with this particular concern and so a Peace Researcher article took shape as well. The Press is a long time apologist for US foreign policy, whatever the crime, and has regularly used the atrocity story against American enemies while covering up and protecting the perpetrators of Western terrorism. In Suharto’s case, applying the pragmatic criterion of human rights, it turned against him like other media when the Indonesian President had obviously reached his “use-by” date.


In October 2000, there was a sense of deja vu when a letter of mine to the Press Editor was similarly declined on the topic of the Indonesian genocide. Ironically enough, the Press has a Latin motto proclaiming that “there is nothing useful which is not honourable”; and advertises itself as dealing with “every issue”. My October 2000 letter was another comment on a Press article about Suharto, the Gestapu affair and the massacre. Following the non-appearance of my letter, I next resubmitted it by hand, once more unsuccessfully. This time, I decided against going into the newspaper offices and trying to argue with the editor over the matter. Rather it is best written up here as yet another example of the continuing general cover-up of Western participation in the genocide. First of all, the letter is reproduced as follows:

“Peter Fry’s article blaming former President Suharto for the genocide of Communists, Chinese and other peoples in Indonesia during 1965-67 (Press, 2/10/00, p9) only tells part of the story. The massacres were deliberately planned and orchestrated by key Intelligence and military forces within the Western alliance. There is now ample documentation and admission of what really happened. In his book, ‘Deadly Deceits’, former CIA agent Ralph McGehee revealed how the Agency falsely portrayed the coup attempt against Sukarno as ‘Communist’, and how the CIA embraced the whole episode, including the massacres, as a model for future covert Third World interventions. American and British embassy staff in Indonesia drew up hit lists of victims for Suharto’s death squads as shown for example by declassified British files described in The Ecologist, vol.26, no.5, September/October 1996, p202. Today, Suharto is a scapegoat for the Western betrayal of the Indonesian people”.

Ever since economic crisis hit Indonesia and the Suharto regime started to crumble, the West has been disassociating itself from the regime and placing all the blame for Indonesia’s woes on the notoriously corrupt ruling family. This has been a standard, well practised tactic with a number of dictators that the West, particularly the US, has strongly supported in the past. These rulers have been ditched at strategic points, and the transition then made (or attempted) to the establishment of more acceptable rulers. Dramatic examples of this well tried practice include Marcos in the Philippines, “Baby Doc” Duvalier in Haiti, and Mobutu in Zaire/Congo. On the eve of the new Millennium, and in completely cynical fashion, Time actually launched its own campaign on Suharto’s abuse of the Indonesian economy. The World Bank’s development model was now the target of unashamedly hypocritical criticism, and not only by the Bank. A May 1999 cover story of Time (24/5/99) grandly proclaimed: “Suharto’s Billions. Luxury homes, fine art and private jets – our special investigation undercovers the former Indonesian leader’s staggering family fortune” (see also Murray Horton’s cover story on the NZ connections in Foreign Control Watchdog, no.92, December 1999). So this media wing of the Time-Life Corporation which hosted the 1967 business conference in Switzerland, a meeting that wrote the rules for foreign investment and trade in Indonesia, has now rounded quite nastily on its former client, a dictator whom it helped protect for many years. The political economy of the media and human rights is most fascinating.

 

Myth-making And New Spin
As indicated, my letter to the Editor of the Press in October 2000 was directed against an article by Peter Fry, billed as “formerly an Army colonel and defence attache in Indonesia”. The headlines for his article read: “Suharto’s double double-cross: As Indonesia grapples with Suharto’s legacy of corruption, Peter Fry questions the role the general played in the 1965 coup”. It was a most interesting article with not a hint of Western involvement in the whole episode. Suharto, the coup makers, the PKI and Sukarno shared all the blame, with Suharto coming in for special attention. A summary of Fry’s article is needed for an adequate examination of what he had to say. Until indicated, the quotes below come from his Press article. Fry maintained that: “On the eve of the coup, the PKI were confidantes to the President and at the brink of achieving political power through legal and peaceful means, while their arch-enemy, the Indonesian Army, was becoming increasingly at odds with Mr Sukarno”. As Fry rightly puts it, the official story that the PKI plotted and engineered the Gestapu affair does not make sense. “It seems unlikely that the PKI, poised to assume power legally, would have chanced its future on such an unpredictable mechanism as a violent coup d’etat”. Fry goes on to portray the coup attempt as a revolt by disillusioned officers, who invited PKI participation at a late stage, and that the PKI leadership then “gave the plan its cautious support”. He suggests that somehow Sukarno was in on it too and would announce his support for the coup makers at the appropriate moment.

However, as Fry points out, the plotters had inexplicably failed to ensure that Major-General Suharto was included on the list of generals to be purged. This was the result, Fry suggests, of Suharto’s “double double-cross” of the coup makers whereby Suharto was “fully part of the conspiracy” which he then betrayed. Next, to save the Army’s image, Suharto used the PKI as a scapegoat, picturing the Party as the instigator of the plot all along. In Fry’s words: “The Communists were easily blamed, but more was possible. Their guilt could be managed to obliterate all trace of Army complicity and eliminate the PKI. For the people of Indonesia the worst was to come. The horror was yet to be played out”. Fry goes on to emphasise the butchery and how: “The forces of retribution were unleashed, masked as spontaneous acts of revenge by local people”. He concludes by saying, whatever the truth of Suharto’s role in the coup attempt, “he did not fail to seize the opportunities presented to him, and in the bloody aftermath, ruthlessly destroyed the PKI and its supporters”.
Fry’s Press piece fits in with the recent Western approach of putting most of the blame for the genocide on Suharto, and certainly avoiding any Western responsibility. Some progress has been made, I suppose, in one sense. My 1986 letter to the Editor alleged that Suharto and the CIA manipulated the 1965 coup attempt from inside. Now we have reached the stage where Suharto’s role at least is being suggested by Establishment sources. On the other hand, of course, CIA connections to mass murder have always been highly sensitive and this is now especially true in the new era, after September 11, 2001, of the US/British “war on terrorism”. US government politicians and officials do not want the ghosts of previous American State-sponsored terrorist campaigns to come back and haunt them. In 1994 a lengthy US State Department document was released that disclosed details of major covert operations conducted by the CIA in Indonesia during the 1950s. It showed how the Eisenhower Administration secretly intervened in backing armed opposition groups on the islands of Sulawesi and Sumatra, supplying advisers, arms and communications equipment among other things. This bid to overthrow Sukarno had been in reaction to his efforts to nationalise Western commercial enterprises. But in 2001 a State Department study of the 1965-66 events in Indonesia was suppressed from public scrutiny by the Bush Administration. And this was even before the “war on terrorism”!

Controversy in the US over the State Department book was reported in July 2001 (Radio NZ, 29/7/01; Independent [London], 20/7/01). A copy of it was accidentally obtained in the US by the National Security Archive, an organisation that campaigns for access to declassified official documents. This State Department study is very revealing of the US role in the massacres. It further documents diplomatic cables showing how the US Embassy supplied the names of Communist Party members to the Indonesian army in Jakarta, and also American funding for a militia group (death squad). It shows, too, how the US worked to lower estimates of the number of people killed, and discloses that the US information given to the Indonesian military high command contributed to the murder of more than 100,000 PKI members. One of the documents sent to Washington states: “The chances of detection . . . of our support in this instance are as minimal as any black bag operation can be” (Independent, 20/7/01). According to the Archive, the book says that in December 1965, Marshall Green, as US Ambassador, “endorsed a 50 million rupiah (3,500 pounds) covert payment to the Kap-Gestapu movement leading the repression” (ibid). “Kap-Gestapu” was a special, militant anti-Communist group set up by the Army to spearhead the genocide – literally “action command to crush Gestapu”. NB. The Archive has posted one of two disputed volumes on http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB52/

More widely interpreted, this then is what the American idea of freedom means for the Third World, today most dramatically represented by Bush’s “war on terrorism”. Any resistance to US-led globalisation is to be similarly crushed, one way or another. Globalisation supposedly represents the inexorable advance of Western civilisation to which the rest of the world has to conform or else . . . Ex-Ambassador Green once “told writer Tad Szulc of a 1967 interview he had with Richard Nixon. Green said, ‘The Indonesian experience had been one of particular interest to [Nixon] because things had gone well in Indonesia. I think he was very interested in that whole experience as pointing to the way we should handle our relationships on a wider basis in Southeast Asia generally, and maybe in the world'” (In These Times, July 4-17, 1990). With President Bush unleashing the CIA and covert operations against anybody whom this very Rightwing Administration considers a “terrorist”, it is most likely that the Indonesian model will be dusted off and implemented again (for a rare academic scrutiny of Western terrorism, see “Western State Terrorism”, ed. Alex George, Polity-Blackwell, 1991).

 

The Indonesian Model – “Jakarta is Coming!”
After the fall of Suharto, despite continuing efforts by much of the Western Establishment to cover up the record of destabilisation of the Sukarno government, it is becoming easier for those concerned to research and communicate on the issue. In particular, the Indonesian Institute for the Study of the 1965/66 Massacre – Yayasan Penelitian Korban Pembunuhan 1965/1966 – is engaged in this work. In March 2001, it declared that: “After the downfall of Suharto’s military regime, it is now possible at last to carry out serious research regarding the extent of the massacres, as well as the imprisonments, and flagrant abuses of power perpetrated during more than 30 years of the Suharto regime, a regime which has brought Indonesia to its knees economically, morally and socially”
(the Institute’s e-mail address is: korban65_66@hotmail.com).
The militarised national security state instituted by Suharto has been scrutinised in the past, to some extent at least. Ten years after the military takeover in 1965, it was estimated that about 100,000 political prisoners were still being held “in a vast number of prisons, detention centres, work camps and military units” (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, p100). Known as “tapols” (from “tahanan politik”, meaning political prisoner), the jails were regularly replenished with inmates following arrests on the pretext of alleged involvement, directly or indirectly, in the Gestapu affair. Likewise, some years later, researchers found that: “More than 15 years after the coup [attempt], the regime’s sustained anti-Communist propaganda and terror campaign effectively continues” (“Indonesia: Law, Propaganda and Terror” by Julie Southwood & Patrick Flanagan, Zed Books, 1983, p133). This pattern was long to prevail.

Most grotesquely, in Stalinist fashion, supposed leading Gestapu participants were periodically executed after show trials in order to remind the populace of the importance of obedience to governmental authority, and this practice carried on into the 1990s. Writing in July 1990, Joel Bleifuss observed that “since 1985, 20 people have been executed for their alleged role in the coup or for membership in the PKI. These deaths were a product of Indonesia’s formal judicial system. That was not the case, however, with the so-called ‘mysterious killings’ of some 5,000 Indonesians during the ‘anti-crime’ campaigns of 1983/86. President Suharto writes in his 1989 autobiography that these deaths were in fact officially sanctioned summary executions of suspected criminals” (In These Times, July 4-17, 1990). The legacy of the genocide was obviously a lasting one throughout the 32 years of Suharto’s rule; and it took many and diverse forms.
As indicated earlier, ex-CIA agent Ralph McGehee has flagged the significance of the CIA’s Indonesian 1965-66 operation as a model for other covert operations. Among a range of aspects, there are certain features we can readily identify: (1) cultivation of Rightwing military elements; (2) using an alleged atrocity to inflame public opinion; (3) general media manipulation to incite violent reaction; (4) instigation and logistic support for civilian vigilante groups; (5) swift and hard coordinated response targeted at the mass elimination of opponents, or potential opponents; and, (6) a continuing programme of disinformation and cover-up. Since some of these principles, if not all, were already standard guidelines for US covert operations, the perceived US success might have resided in the overall package and its secret, effective coordination. Perhaps manipulation of the Gestapu affair was the key element. At one point in his book, “Deadly Deceits”, McGehee refers to the “CIA [one word deleted] operation” (p57). Peter Dale Scott has suggested that the missing word is “deception” (“Year 501”, p123). Peter Fry, please take note. Whatever the exact success of the deception performed, there is no doubt that the greatest sense of US satisfaction came from wiping out the PKI.

When he visited Aotearoa/NZ in 1986, McGehee told us that probably the clearest example of the model’s application was the Pinochet* takeover in Chile in 1973. This CIA operation involved agents like Dr Ray Cline who later tried to set up a so-called “ANZUS think tank” here at the time of the mid-1980’s crisis over visits by American nuclear warships to NZ. As part of the psychological warfare programme leading up to the Pinochet coup in Chile, the warning slogans, “Jakarta, Jakarta”, and “Jakarta is coming”, were painted on walls around Santiago. “Covert Action in Chile: 1963-1973”, a staff report to a US Senate Select Committee, showed that: “In addition to support for political parties, the CIA mounted a massive, anti-Communist propaganda campaign. Extensive use was made of the press, radio, films, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, direct mailing, paper streamers, and wall painting. It was a ‘scare campaign’ . . .” (US Govt., 1975, p15). This campaign was aimed at goading the political opposition “or the Chilean military into action” (ibid, p23). *General Pinochet, dictator of Chile, 1973-90. A particularly brutal military coup overthrew the elected Leftwing government, headed by President Allende, who was amongst the thousands killed. Ed.
Besides the 1973 Chilean coup, among the many other coups in which the CIA has been a prime agent after Indonesia 1965, was that in Cambodia in 1970, of which many observers noted the same complex of CIA plotters, Japanese secret societies and oil interests behind the military takeover there. Even Suharto’s Army was implicated (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, pp239/40). “Suharto remained ‘our kind of guy’, as the Clinton Administration called him, as he compiled one of the most horrendous records of slaughter and other abuses of the late 20th Century” (“September 11”, Noam Chomsky,
Allen and Unwin, 2001, pp 78/79).

 

The Indonesian model
Excerpt relsating to Indonesia
Again, in this connection too, the advantages of the Indonesian model are plainly evident: in the future, the US will be seeking opportunities for mass slaughter of those it targets, and wherever this can be engineered covertly the better. This can mean employing proxies as much as possible to fight and wipe out the enemy in any ground fighting. “Former CIA Director William Colby, in an interview, compared the [US] Embassy’s campaign [in Indonesia] to identify the PKI leadership to the CIA’s Phoenix Program in Vietnam. In 1965, Colby was the director of the CIA’s Far East division and was responsible for directing US covert strategy in Asia” (San Francisco Examiner, 20/5/90). When in 1962 he took over this position, Colby “said he discovered the US did not have comprehensive lists of PKI activists” in Indonesia, and he identified this “as a gap in the intelligence system” (ibid.). He was then obviously instrumental in taking action to remedy this situation. Colby had been strongly criticised following disclosure of human rights abuses in the Phoenix Program, and in 1990 he was appealing in the public arena to the Indonesian 1965-66 model as justification for the strategy of targeting selected individual opponents.

Phoenix was basically an assassination project run by US special forces and aimed at cadres of the National Liberation Front (popularly known as the Viet Cong). The far greater visibility of the Vietnam War had led to political and media scrutiny of Phoenix and the probable 41,000 death toll that it had exacted (“The CIA: A Forgotten History”, p145). Ever since, exposure of the Phoenix operation has been a sore point with the American unconventional warfare establishment (e.g. see “Special Men and Special Missions: Inside American Special Operations Forces 1945 to the Present” by J Nadel & J Wright, Greenhill Books, 1994, p114). Hence the concerted Western publishing/film programme to glamourise special forces and their employment; similarly to some degree for the CIA. However, as Douglas Valentine, author of “The Phoenix Program” (William Morrow & Co., 1990) warns us, “Phoenix” is reborn; “Wherever governments of the Left or Right use military and security forces to enforce their ideologies under the aegis of anti-terrorism…But, most of all, look for Phoenix in the imaginations of ideologues obsessed with security, who seek to impose their way of thinking on everyone else” (pp. 428/29).

Michael Ignatieff has coined the term “virtual war” to describe those Western interventions in the post-Cold War era that have sought “to achieve their ends at the lowest possible military cost”, at least for the Western forces making war (“Virtual War: Kosovo And Beyond”, Chatto & Windus, 2000, p162). Virtual war in his terms refers to the sort of war that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) conducted over Kosovo where: hostilities are not formally declared as according to traditional practice; fighting is almost totally one-sided with high-tech weapons wielded at will overwhelmingly by one of the participants; legal questions are constantly canvassed; Western audiences view the conflict on television in some ways as a sort of video game; and where the outcomes are left indeterminate to a large degree. Such virtual wars are relatively remote in concern for Western publics, although international opinion still has limits of tolerance of the level and extent of violence. September 11, 2001 has changed much of this with the virtual war on Kosovo dramatically contrasted with the current war on Afghanistan, and the more general “war on terrorism”. Western publics are now far more involved in what is being sold as a continuing global struggle to the death. In this connection, Ignatieff’s warning about the potential for escalation of “violence which moralises itself as justice and which is unrestrained by consequences” stands as ever more urgent (ibid, p163 and concluding pp214/15). As Ignatieff also aptly declares, “deceptions have become intrinsic to the art of war” and therefore “a good citizen is a highly suspicious one” (ibid, p196).

Guy Pauker, who as we have seen was one of the policy architects of the Indonesian genocide, went on after the successful implementation of his advice in this Asian country, to examine the world situation and the prospects for continued American rule. Most significantly, ” . . . the struggle for control of the world’s resources between the advanced industrial powers (the ‘North’) and the underdeveloped countries of the Third World (the ‘South’)” came to be seen by Pauker and many other Rightwing analysts “as the most explosive threat to long-term US security” (“Beyond the Vietnam Syndrome: US Interventionism in the 1980s” by Michael Klare, IPS, 1981, p23). Pauker gave this outlook “further articulation in a widely-discussed 1977 RAND Corp. report” where he considered the prospect “that mankind is entering a period of increased social instability and faces the possibility of a breakdown of global order as a result of sharpening confrontation between the Third World and the industrial democracies” (ibid). Pauker was then looking ahead to the 1980s when he thought there was a growing likelihood of such conflict erupting. In the intervening years between 1977 and 2001, while there have been serious armed conflicts none of these has thankfully generalised on to wider fronts. However, a lot of world problems have only got worse, and the West seems to be getting mired in the Middle East and Central Asia with the planet’s diminishing oil and gas reserves at stake.

 

Brave New Wars?
As New World Disorder reigns, President Bush has labelled the US/British war on Afghanistan the first war of the 21st Century, while warning countries from Iraq to North Korea that they could well be next on the US hit list. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, Suharto’s New Order, long legitimated by the US until just recently, has ended in ignominy, debacle and disgrace with deep uncertainty for the near future. It has all unravelled to such a degree that the country is now being seen as a huge potential risk to Western prosperity and security with a predominantly Muslim population of some 220 million close to Australasia. Presently ruled by a precariously stable government, Indonesia is charged with volatile issues ranging from secessionist movements to political legitimacy at the centre. The country could well become another candidate for the US “war on terrorism”, at least in the sense of certain targeted groups and areas. Australasian forces have intervened in East Timor for ostensibly humanitarian reasons but how much has Australia (and other Western powers) got an eye on oil and gas resources, let alone other minerals? We should recall here that implicit in the US National Security Council strategy on Indonesia in the 1950s was the possible de facto partition of the country. This is a strategy that the US and other Western states have successfully implemented in Africa and other parts of the Third World.

Free trade and investment are core elements of the globalisation cultural package that the US and the rest of the West want to roll over the Third World, now meeting especial resistance in regions with large Muslim populations. It was surely salutary that Indonesia was a country which, even on official projections, was deemed one of the least likely to benefit from the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) Uruguay Round that closed in the mid-1990s. As GATT changed into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the conflicts that are generating the terrorist wars of the early 21st Century only increased in tension. Just one of the many contradictions inherent in all of this is that between US national security and its commitment to free trade and open markets (suitably defined and manipulated), and thus the export of military technology worldwide, enabling other countries to strengthen their capacity to eventually challenge the US more effectively (“Virtual War”, p210).
American intervention in Indonesia has demonstrated the pitfalls of economic and military policies toward the Third World that threaten to haunt us all for the foreseeable future unless those who care can rally sufficient support in the years ahead. Terrorism threatens to be employed continually in a truly vicious cycle. Breaking this cycle will take concerted commitment (see the latest Covert Action Quarterly, 71, Winter 2001 for some relevant articles. http://www.covertactionquarterly.org).

 

Economic plan

In 1966, with most of the bloodbath completed, the US Embassy and an US Agency for International Development (AID)-sponsored “Harvard [University] economist, fresh from writing South Korea’s banking regulations”, had helped Indonesian administrators write the country’s economic plans, later refined and finalised at the 1967 Geneva conference. Selling points at the Geneva conference were: “political stability . . . abundance of cheap labour . . . vast potential market . . . treasurehouse of resources” (ibid.). Later, a development team from Harvard, funded through the Ford Foundation, made sure that everything was running according to what the foreign controllers of Indonesia had prescribed.

As David Ransom (cited above) and others have shown, there had previously been a very extensive and coordinated US educational, cultural and economic input into the Indonesian elite which took power in 1965. By 1954, the National Security Council had “decided that the US would use ‘all feasible covert means’ as well as overt, including ‘the use of armed force if necessary’, to prevent the richest parts of Indonesia from falling into Communist hands” (“Confronting the Third World”, p174). In particular, Ransom’s research drew attention to what he called the “Berkeley Mafia”, a clique of Indonesian economists trained at Berkeley, the University of California. These economists had great influence on the military high command in the early 1960s, and rose to be the mandarins of Indonesia’s “modernisation” in Suharto’s New Order. Incorporated in the comprehensive American programme were the Ford Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations, RAND Corporation, Rockefeller Foundation, and some universities, among various other bodies. Peter Dale Scott has described this programme and its ramifications in considerable detail (see his ‘Exporting Military-Economic Development: America and the Overthrow of Sukarno’ in “Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, edited by Malcolm Caldwell, Spokesman Books, 1975, pp209/63). By 1965, some 4,000 officers of the Indonesian armed forces had received military training in the US, while the top staff had been schooled in integrated “military economic” development and given a pro-American political orientation. Writing in 1970, Ransom considered – at that stage of knowledge – and since this politicised aid programme was so pervasive in influence, that “neither the CIA nor the Pentagon needed to play any more than a subordinate role” in the 1965 takeover (Ramparts, October 1970, p45). We now know that this was not true but what is so striking from the research of analysts like Ransom and Scott is the extent and depth of the US policy of subversion, using a whole range of methods to effect the eventual objective.

In the several years just prior to September 1965, while loans and aid had been severely cut back, military assistance was actually increased, although this was also stopped in early 1965 when Indonesia’s confrontation policy with Malaysia became acute, and Sukarno had stepped up his nationalisation of foreign oil and rubber firms. As early as 1959, the military controlled sub-economy, which was focused on the oil company, Pertamina, led some Western journalists to see the armed forces enforcing a “creeping coup d’etat” (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, p236); and over time, too, more and more government ministries were usurped by the military. Pertamina itself, indeed, served as a convenient conduit for foreign money to the military. Besides certain Western oil companies, Japanese oil firms and other Japanese interests were connected with those plotting Sukarno’s overthrow and the demise of the PKI.

 

Indonesia in 1965/66 – A British view
The political struggle in Indonesia that prevented escalation of the Indonesian Confrontation into a full scale war – a British socialist viewpoint of Indonesia in 1965 & 1966.

During the Indonesian Confrontation (1963-1966), unrest within Indonesia probably accounted for the spasmodic involvement of Indonesian Forces against the Federated States of Malaysia. America remained aloft from the conflict although having been willingly supported by British Commonwealth countries in Korea, as she (US) was attempting to introduce democracy within Indonesia and more importantly, negotiating for long term sales of oil from Indonesia at the time. Had President Sukarno been singly focused with his threat to crush Malaysia, then the conflict may have escalated to a full scale war, and America would have had to support the British Commonwealth countries.
Gestapu coup attempt
By 1965 Indonesia had become a dangerous cockpit of social and political antagonisms. The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) with rapid growth aroused the hostility of Islamic groups and the military. The ABRI-PKI balancing act, which supported Guided Democracy regime of President Sukarno, was going askew. One of the most serious points of contention was the desire of the PKI to establish a “fifth force” of armed peasants and workers.
The Indonesian killings
One of the biggest massacres in the history of Indonesia took place in 1965/66, when from half a million to two million people were killed in the suppression of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI).

Ex-agents say CIA compiled death lists for Indonesians
The following article appeared in the Spartanburg, South Carolina Herald-Journal on May 19, 1965, then in the San Francisco Examiner on May 20, 1965, the Washington Post on May 21, 1965, and the Boston Globe on May 23, 1965. The version below is from the Examiner:
“Revolution and counter-revolution in Indonesia”
“Confused reports of Officers plotting, coups and countercoups which filtered through to the Western press were the first indication of a major revolutionary upheaval in Indonesia.
The recent events unfolded against a now familiar background of social and economic crisis in a backward country. The regime of Sukarno, despite the superficial appearance of stability has been exposed as rotten to the core. The analysis of the Indonesian events provides us with an object lessen in the fate of Bonapartism, bourgeois and proletarian.”
Bonapartism and bankruptcy
Since the end of the war (WW11), all the countries of the so-called “third world” have passed through a period of uninterrupted social convulsions, as the result of the growing gap in the terms of trade with the advanced capitalist countries. The Indonesian economy is a model of bankruptcy. At one time, Indonesia was a rice-surplus area; now it has to import 150,000 tons of rice every year. The once flourishing tin and rubber export industries have dwindled away. Only oil remains as an-imported earner of dollars.
The Indonesian economy is heavily in debt to the world banking community, especially to US bankers, Each year, the budget deficit doubles, The expected figures for this year is around 1,000 billion rupiahs. The value of the rupiah has sunk to a hundredth of its legal value, as the result of the chronic inflation which in the past six years has caused the cost of living to increase by 2,000 %.
In spite of this catastrophic economic collapse, the State spends 1,000 million US dollars a year on arms. i.e. 75% of the budget. The Bonapartist regime is riddled with corruption. In the midst of mass privation, low wages and a huge housing problem, Sukarno and his elite live like kings. Sukarno occupies a white mansion; formally the residence of the Dutch governor; surrounded by sumptuous furniture and expensive works of art. “Its three splendid state-rooms are museum-like in scope and feeling. Each is lavishly draped, carpeted and furnished. Each is hung with a fragment of Sukarno’s extensive collection of heroic canvasses.” Under his direction, huge sums have been lavished on prestige buildings like the Hotel Indonesia in Djakarta where, to quote the Sunday Times, “Three million people, mostly poor, live …. in low buildings …mostly falling apart.”
Indonesia boasts one of the most inept and useless of all parasitic ruling cliques. “We are not facing economic difficulties” Sukarno blithely protests. “The Indonesian people are faring well, reasonably well. Just compare us with India or some other countries. We have a new variety of rice that will give twice as much production as normal rice. It is quite an achievement for our own research centre. I wrote a poem about it, I was so happy. But it is untranslatable.”
Unfortunately, Sukarno’s creditors do not seem to have developed a taste for untranslatable poetry as a substitute for economic progress. They expected the economy to improve after the transfer of West New Guinea to Indonesia in 1963; to no avail. The World Bank attempted to lure Sukarno into deflation by an offer of additional loans to the tune of 142 million pounds. Instead of taking up the offer, Sukarno proceeded to burn the British Embassy in Djakarta and declare war on Malaysia – a move which cut off a further 200 million dollars worth of foreign trade. The US. was concerned. In reply to repeated American demands to shore up the economy, Sukarno announced to the world; “Economics bores me.” To the very last, he maintained that in twenty years, Indonesia would be “the richest country in the world”.
Faith may be able to move mountains but it had no effect in moving the Indonesian economy out of the red. The poverty and hardships of the masses led to an extraordinarily rapid growth of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). With the economy sliding downhill fast, Sukarno was forced to nationalise increasing numbers of foreign enterprises. To do this, he was obliged to lean on the support of the PKI – a process which did not go unnoticed in Washington.
Menshevik policy of the PKI
The whole lesson of the post-war period is that the elementary tasks of the bourgeois (democratic) revolution in backward countries cannot be solved on the basis of capitalist property relations. The weak bourgeoisies of the ex-colonial countries are too inextricably bound up with international finance capital to carry the nationalist revolution through to the end. Nor can they compete with their advanced industrial competitors for world markets. As a result, there is a constant deterioration of their economic status vis-a-vis the advanced capitalist countries.
The ruining of the economies of backward countries creates conditions of acute and permanent social crisis. On the one hand the old self-contained peasant society is steadily under-mined, on the other hand, the capitalist class is unable to put across its forms on the whole of society. The rise of military police states all over the “third world” is merely a surface expression of the inability of the colonial bourgeoisie to solve the problems of their own revolution. Only by the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, in alliance with the poor peasants, can the backward countries begin to solve their economic and social problems.
Nowhere in the “Third World” has the workers movement made such rapid strides in the last decade as in Indonesia. The PKI, which had virtually ceased to exist after the abortive coup of 1948, has grown into the third largest Communist Party in the world, only the Chinese and Russian Parties being larger. Its total paid up membership is three million, It commands the support of ten million trade unionists and organised peasants. Most important of all, it claims the allegiance of 4O% of the Indonesian army. Politically, it is aligned with Peking in the Sino-Soviet dispute, and maintains close contact with the Chinese Stalinists. A revolutionary combination, one might think. But one would be wrong; The policy of the PKI is one of blatant class collaboration. Since the 1948 fiasco, the PKI leadership has attempted to prove its own impotence by ingratiating itself with Sukarno. All traces of revolutionary ideology have been systematically deleted from the Party Programme. Thus the 1962 Programme and Constitution of the PKI outlined the Partys task as the establishment of a “people’s democratic state”. And what might this queer specimen be; Socialism? Capitalism? Worker State? The Programme goes on to clarify the class content of this “peoples democratic state”. It would be a “democracy of a new type”, based, not upon the working class, but on a bloc of workers and peasants with a strange and motley collection of “Allies”. This latter-day popular front would include “the urban petty bourgeoisie, the intellectuals, the national bourgeoisie, the advanced aristocratic elements, and patriotic elements in general
From such confusion, it is difficult to extract any positive conclusion concerning the class nature of the “people democratic state” since the above is simply a list of all classes and strata of present day bourgeois Indonesia. One might therefore justly conclude that the “revolutionary” Peking oriented Programme of the PKI is the maintenance of the status quo!
In all its documents, the PKI goes out of its way to avoid all mention of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Instead, the PKI refers to the “authority” of the “people”, a formula which offends no one. The class collaboration of the PKI attained its most bare faced expression in 1955 when it openly advocated a national coalition, and offered to water down its already insipid programme to a list of entirely non communist aims.
The unutterably philistine mentality of the PKI leadership is revealed in all the pronouncements of its chief “theoretician”, Aidit. As always with Stalinism, the “theory” is merely a crude apology for the betrayals of the leadership. Thus, using the sophist argument of “stages” Aidit puts off the question of the socialist revolution to the far distant future, “When we complete the first stage of our revolution which is now in progress, we can enter into friendly consultation with other progressive elements in our society and, without an armed struggle lead the country towards socialist revolution. After all, the national capitalists in our country are both weak and disorganised. At present, in our national democratic revolution, we are siding with them and fighting a common battle of expelling foreign economic domination from this soil”.
The Aidit argument condemns itself. If the national bourgeoisie is so weak and disorganised, all the more reason to sweep them aside and set up a workers and peasants government. As a matter of fact, as Lenin pointed out a hundred times, it is precisely the weakness of the national bourgeoisie that makes them a reactionary stumbling block in the path of the democratic revolution in backward countries. They doubt their ability to control the forces unleashed by a civil war, they equivocate, and finally they are driven into the arms of reaction out of fear of their own working class. For this reason it is entirely reactionary to attempt to separate mechanically the democratic and socialist phases of the revolution in backward countries. Either the democratic revolution ”grows over” into the dictatorship of the proletariat, or it succumbs to the hammer blows of reaction.
The “Leninist” position of Aidit and co. is in fact identical to that of the Mensheviks against whom Lenin waged a relentless struggle right up to 1917. The Mensheviks argued that the socialist revolution was out of the Question in Russia, because the bourgeois democratic revolution had yet to take place. Thus, the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat was relegated by them to a distant (and therefore safe) future, fifty, a hundred, or even three hundred years hence. First we complete the “first stage” then, when this is “completely attained” , we “enter into friendly agreements” with those who might be interested in the ”second stage”. A very pretty schema.
Events were posed altogether differently by history, which, alas , does not deem it at all necessary to follow the dictates of a Plekhanov or an Aidit. 1n 1905, the Mensheviks were forced with a clear choice: proletarian revolution, or reaction? While the workers struggled with reaction in the streets, Plekhanov gave his reply: “They should not have taken to arms”. Aidit today faces his 1905.
Palace Revolution

Bonapartist Government arises out of a social crisis, where no one class, group or party is capable of achieving stable government. The bonapartist dictator directly or indirectly basing himself upon the army, achieves political equilibrium by ”balancing” the antagonistic interests – playing off one class against another. This is what imparts to the bonapartist dictator his peculiar aura of isolation and individualism; because he represents no particular interest, (other than his own) the illusion is created of a power standing above society and regulating it “in the national interest”. In reality bonapartism always represents defence of the status quo and therefore in the last analysis always comes down on the side of the ruling class.
The delicate balance of forces which is the precondition for bonapartism is bound to he temporary and precarious. Sooner or later equilibrium is destroyed and illusory stability gives way to civil war. Thus, a Bonapartist regime must be considered, monolithic or paternalistic facade notwithstanding, as a regime of transition which is the prelude to the victory of revolution or reaction.
At 0600hrs. on Thursday 30th September, 1965 Radio Djakarta broadcast an announcement that an obscure officer of the palace guard, a Lt-Col Untung had President Sukarno under protective guard, and that loyalist forces had crushed a CIA take-over plot. Within hours, Radio Djakarta issued another statement that President Sukarno was safe and well and that a Communist coup had been crushed by Gen Nasution. The bonapartist illusion was shattered.
Initial reactions in the West were that this was just another power struggle caused by the illness or death of Sukarno. The Times, ever tasteful, thought that he had “ceased to be a factor on the Indonesian political scene”. As it happened, Sukarno was alive, but the Times had grasped the correlation of’ forces admirably. In the whole course of the struggle Sukarno and his Cabinet were pitifully isolated. The government was suspended in mid-air. The real political struggle had passed into the streets.
Little by little the picture became clearer. We may accept the accusation of a CIA plot and an attempt by the Stalinist middle stream of the officer caste to liquidate the generals and forestall a right wing coup planned for October 5th. 1965, as an accurate outline of the initial upheaval. Sukarno’s illness, his moves against foreign enterprises and his increasing dependence on the PKI, on top of the general bankruptcy of the Indonesian economy would be more than enough to interest the State Department in secret negotiations with the reactionary upper stratum of the officer caste (Gen Nasution is virulently anti-Communist). On the other hand, the army generals would need little persuading to liquidate the hated influence of the PKI and establish open military rule.
As a matter of fact, we have certain proof of at least one previous attempt of the CIA to oust Sukarno. In the late 50s, an anti-Sukarno guerrilla movement developed in Sumatra. The pilot of a rebel plane shot down after bombarding an air-field was a CIA agent called Allen Lawrence Pope. He was sentenced to death, but later reprieved on Sukarno’s personal order, “because I did not want to spoil the good relationship between Indonesia and America”.
That a rightist plot existed need not be seriously doubted. The PKI, as we have seen, was quite satisfied with the status quo. On the other hand, it is clear that the so-called ”Revolutionary Council” of Untung was a Stalinist front organisation composed of prominent Stalinists, fellow travellers and political non-entities. The ”respectable” members of the Council disowned it immediately Nasution looked like gaining the upper hand. There can be no doubt that the PKI leadership was behind this preventative coup. It has emerged, however, that Sukarno himself knew all about it at least 24 hours in advance, having been informed of the generals plot by the pro-PKI Air Chief, Dhani. Sukarno was in his palace in Djakarta protected by the palace guard on the night of the coup, but fled to Bogor with the help of Dhani when the fighting got out of hand.
The treachery of the PKI now stands revealed. With three million members, ten million supporters and 40% of the army under its control, its sole concern was to keep the masses out of the struggle, to confine it to a palace revolution.
Instead of publishing full details of the right wing plot, instead of mobilising the masses in a general strike and appealing to its supporters in the army to disarm their officers and join hands with the workers for the overthrow of the whole rotten regime, they made a secret pact with Sukarno to murder the offending generals. Unfortunately for them Nasution escaped and called out his troops. The palace revolution crumbled at a touch.
The gathering reaction

It is an elementary rule of revolutionary strategy that it is always an advantage if the other side is seen to strike the first blow, thus justifying the actions as self-defence. The PKI by its criminal policy, far from keeping the generals out, handed them power on a plate.
The provocative actions of the wretched ”Revolutionary Council” proved an excellent weapon in the hands of Nasution. Moslem reaction was incited. The PKI headquarters in Djakarta was stormed and burned by a mob of several thousand youths, shouting ”Kill Aidit”. Mobs roamed the streets, sticking up posters reading “Crush the Communists”. A mob outside the American Embassy chanted “Long Live America”, A mass rally of 500,000 demanded action against all who participated in the “September 30th Movement”. The murder of the six generals and the senseless killing of the six year old daughter of Nasutian, were used to fan the flames of reaction. The demands forwarded by this demonstration to the government (i.e. to Nasution ) showed that the programme of reaction has already crystallised.
It will not be long before the reactionary generals, with great reluctance of course, submit to the pressing demands of the mob. The above programme will be implemented.
And what of the PKI? Instead of pursuing a vigorous offensive against reaction which even now, at the “11th hour” could save the party, the leadership remains prostrate before Sukarno. While Communists struggle with the mobs of reaction, the PKI continues to be represented in the Sukarno cabinet, supporting his demagogic appeals for “national unity”, a return to the old stability, etc. Ominously, however, Aidit has gone into hiding.
Aidit may hide, but there is no hiding place for the three million Communist workers and peasants who are placed at the mercy of a bloody reaction. In the teeth of all the cowardly appeals of the leadership, the mighty PKI masses are clearly moving into action. The revolt in Central Java has spread to Sumatra, and is still growing. Indonesia has been split asunder. The Daily Telegraph, with some insight, analysed the situation in an editorial of October 12th. 1965, entitled:
“The civil war in Indonesia”
”It is plain from the events of the past ten days in Indonesia that it is not another palace coup that has rocked the Sukarno Republic, but a spreading civil war. The land of confrontation is confronting itself, The three heads of this dragon, Moslem, nationalist, Communist are biting at each other, and fighting has spread from Java to Sumatra and the long smouldering rivalry of forces over which Dr Sukarno presided for so long has burst into flame. If the army suspected a Communist coup, it was clearly surprised by its sudden ruthlessness and disorganised by the loss of its six murdered generals. Now it is clear that Dr Sukarno is in Army protection, that he has countenanced its campaigns against the Communist guerrillas and finally abandoned the pretence that his Nassakom or United Front still exists.”
The behaviour of the PKI leadership was craven to the last. To the very last moment before Sukarno switched sides, they identified themselves with him and his demagogic appeals to national unity. More than likely they still do. They behave like a cur that licks its master’s hand as he kicks it in the belly.
Where the state power is openly challenged in a civil war, all possibilities of “moderation”, of a ”middle way” vanish in thin air. If Sukarno emerges, at the end of the civil war, as the man in charge it cannot be on the same basis as before. He will no longer be a one Man dictator, keeping himself on top by balancing the classes, but as a puppet of the generals. The old order is irrevocably lost. It was both stupid and reactionary of the PKI leaders to appeal for its restoration.
It is by no means certain, however, that the revolt will be crushed. True, the PKI leaders have still not called an insurrection. But the PKI masses are reacting spontaneously to the threat of reaction. Their great numerical strength, and the complete rottenness of Indonesian society may yet bring victory. It is not impossible that the PKI leadership, or a section of that leadership, will realise the futility of attempts to restore the status quo, and support the development of a mass insurrection. If so, then this would certainly take the form of a protracted guerrilla war, the classical weapon of Stalinism in the Colonial Revolution.
More likely, however, the PKI leadership will carry their work of disruption to the bitter and bloody end. Ether they will actively discourage their members from fighting, in a craven and quite utopian effort to conciliate the forces of reaction, or they may temporarily lend their support to a guerrilla war, or even a general strike, not with a view to seizing power, but simply in order to obtain a stronger hand in secret negotiations with Nasution and/or Sukarno.
Whatever the outcome, the disastrous policies of the Stalinist leadership in Indonesia, will certainly have the initial result of causing widespread disillusionment of the masses in that country. A series of defeats of the present revolutionary movement would usher in a whole period of militarist reaction resting on the apathy and bitterness of the PKI masses. Not for nothing did the Daily Telegraph editorial express evident satisfaction at the chaos in Indonesia. The defeat of the Indonesian proletariat would be the best possible buttress to the crumbling edifice of Malaysia.”
President Sukarno was stripped of Presidential power on 12th. March 1966, however remained a symbolic President and a puppet of the “Generals” until a year and a day later when he was ousted on 12th. March 1967, replaced as President by General Suharto.

 

Managing Indonesia
T
he Modern Political Economy
John Bresnan
New York
Columbia University Press 1993

2. Sukarno Yields to Soeharto
In the center of the government quarter of Jakarta in the mid-1960s lay one of the largest open squares within the precincts of a modern city, nearly a full kilometer long on every side. From the early nineteenth century, this square was known as Koningsplein, or King’s Square, and on its northern side the Dutch colonial government built a palace to serve its governors-general. On December 27, 1949, the Dutch flag in front of the palace was taken down for the last time, and the flag of the new Republic of Indonesia was raised in a simple ceremony before a crowd of several hundred people. The square was subsequently named Medan Merdeka, or Freedom Square. The palace was known in early republican days as the Presidency, but by the 1960s, in the spirit of Guided Democracy, the building was again a palace, officially, and was named Istana Merdeka, or Freedom Palace.


The first raising of the Indonesian flag before the palace was reenacted each year on August 17, the anniversary of the proclamation of Indonesia’s independence in 1945. By the early 1960s the event was attended by throngs of people who stretched across the great square almost as far as the eye could see, while in demarcated ranks in front stood groups representing the armed services, the government departments, the boy scouts and girl scouts, the political parties and their affiliated youth and student groups, labor groups, farmers’ organizations, women’s associations, and all the rest, wearing uniforms or carrying banners that identified their attachments. Before such an assembly Sukarno was a spectacular orator, stirring the feelings of the great masses of people to a high pitch, until tens of thousands chanted with him, roared in response to him, exhibiting, as nothing else could, the power of his claim that a mystic union existed between himself and the Indonesian people. Resounding with his phrases, the palace and the square before it were filled with an emotional charge of very high voltage in the political imagination.


By March 11, 1966, however, when a morning meeting of the cabinet was to take place in the palace, opinion in the capital had turned against Sukarno. His purpose in calling the meeting was to obtain a statement from the cabinet denouncing the student demonstrations that had been creating an uproar in the city. Even as the day began, students were amassing in front of the palace. The atmosphere was tense. Two weeks earlier, presidential guards had shot and killed two students. But on this day, the forces that had been building up against the president would prevail.
Events Leading to March 11
Mass violence of the kind that swept the towns and villages of Central and East Java did not occur in Jakarta. Army units based in the capital city and its vicinity had come quickly to the support of General Soeharto, as had the Siliwangi Division responsible for the province of West Java, which constituted the capital’s immediate hinterland. The army units available to Soeharto were, however, countered for some time by units of the other services on which Soeharto could not rely, including the navy, the air force, and the police. In addition, army leaders did not arm civilian youths in the capital in any significant number; on the contrary, they attempted to keep what control they could over civilian demonstrators. The result was that, although violence did occur, it was directed principally against property, not persons, and was highly selective, not indiscriminate.
What was significant in Jakarta, as a result, was not violence so much as the threat of it, and the growing estrangement that developed in this environment between activist army officers and students on the one hand, and Sukarno and the political figures long associated with him on the other. The issue was initially the Communist party, but as Sukarno remained unyielding, and the economy neared collapse, the issue became the president himself.
Some sense of the spiraling of feelings on either side can be gained from a brief review of the larger events that followed the failure of the September 30 Movement.


On October 1 Sukarno declared that he was taking personal command of the armed forces. On the following day, after a tense meeting, General Soeharto was given responsibility for ‘the restoration of security and order.’ 1
Late on the night of October 3, after the bodies of the generals were discovered at the air force base, Sukarno made a radio broadcast in which he denied accusations that the air force had been involved in the affair.
On October 4 the bodies were removed from the well in the presence of a large assemblage of journalists, photographers, and television crew. Soeharto, who was present, spoke briefly for radio and television, suggesting that the president’s assessment was not acceptable to the army. It was not possible, he said, that the incident was unconnected to certain members of the air force. He also suggested that the Communist party had been involved. 2
On October 5 a massive funeral was held for the slain officers. The funeral was attended by almost everyone who mattered in the noncommunist elite–except Sukarno, who sent an aide.
On October 6 Sukarno presided at a meeting of the entire cabinet at the ‘summer palace’ in Bogor, about an hour’s drive from the capital. He now condemned the killing of the generals, said he had not approved of the formation of the Revolutionary Council, and appealed for calm. Two members of the Central Committee of the Communist party attended the meeting and read a statement dissociating the party from what they termed ‘an internal army affair.’ 3
On October 8 a rally organized by anticommunist students was attended by tens of thousands. Speakers called on the government to ban the Communist party. Posters read: ‘Crush the PKI! Hang Aidit!’ One group of youths went from the rally to Communist party headquarters and set the building on fire.
On October 11 Sjarif Thajeb, an army medical doctor and Minister of Higher Education, ordered the closure of fourteen leftist institutions of higher education, including Res Publica University, which was owned and operated by a Chinese-dominated organization, and ordered the Communist party’s student organization to halt its activities. On October 15 Res Publica was gutted by fire.
On October 16, presumably in a move to moderate the situation, Sukarno dismissed Omar Dhani as head of the air force, and appointed Soeharto commander of the army. At the ceremony installing Soeharto, the president spoke of the coup attempt as ‘a ripple in the ocean of revolution.’ 4
On October 21 Sukarno issued a number of decrees, which in the rhetoric of the time were described as ‘commands,’ one of which prohibited unauthorized demonstrations.
In late October a new and larger anticommunist student organization was formed at a meeting at Sjarif Thajeb’s home. This was the Indonesian Student Action Front (Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Indonesia, or KAMI)
(Kami also is the Indonesian word for ‘we’). 5
By early November the army was rounding up leading figures in the Communist party and its affiliated organizations in Jakarta. Three members of the party Central Committee were arrested, and a fourth was shot. Aidit himself was captured and summarily executed in Central Java on November 22. 6
The deepening political divisions reflected in these events worked their way quickly through the economy. Commodities were already in short supply, and prices were rising rapidly. In November rice mills were placed under government supervision, and in December all foreign trade was placed under government control. By mid-December the government also decided to grant a large New Year’s bonus to government employees. There were an estimated four million government employees of one kind or another at the time, and further inflation was bound to follow the government action. The problem was confounded even further when the government hastily announced a ‘currency reform,’ called in all the currency in circulation, and introduced one new rupiah note for every thousand old ones.

The timing could not have been worse. At this season of the year, about nine months from the last rice harvest and three months before the next one, rice supplies were traditionally low and prices were pressing upward; the approaching year-end holidays added further to the pressure on prices. A buying panic followed the announcement on the currency, and the price of rice rose by two-thirds in a single day. By the end of December foreign exchange reserves were exhausted, and prices had reached a record growth of 500 percent for the year. Nor was any end in sight. On January 3 the price of gasoline was increased by 400 percent, and fares on Jakarta buses by 500 percent. 7
These economic developments produced a rapidly widening reaction among the anticommunist students in Jakarta. On January 10 the Indonesian Students Action Front opened a seminar at the University of Indonesia on the state of the economy. On the same day the Action Front also sponsored a rally that adopted a statement entitled ‘Three Demands of the People,’ calling for the banning of the Communist party, a halt to inflation, and the purging of leftists and incompetents from the cabinet. On January 15 the cabinet again met in Bogor, and Sukarno invited all the leading student organizations to send representatives. The Student Action Front mobilized thousands of anticommunist students in Jakarta and Bandung, and trucked and bussed them to Bogor. When they were outside the spacious Bogor palace grounds, some of the students tried to climb the high iron fencing, and warning shots were fired by the presidential guard. 8
Sukarno on this occasion compared himself to Martin Luther and proclaimed, ‘I will not move a millimeter.’ 9 He called on those who believed as he did to organize a Sukarno Front in his support. Leaders of numerous organizations made statements in support of Sukarno in the next few days, among them the leaders of the National Party and the Nahdatul Ulama, the nation’s foremost political parties, other than the Communist party, that were still legal. Soeharto followed suit, issuing a statement that the army ‘stands behind the President/Great Leader of the Revolution and awaits his further commands.’ 10
At this point, perhaps buoyed by this show of support, Sukarno overplayed his hand. On February 21 he announced a new cabinet of a hundred members. Notably missing from the long list was Nasution, at this stage the most prominent military figure in the nation and the army’s most prominent anticommunist. On February 24, the day the new cabinet was to be installed, a huge outpouring of students surrounded the Jakarta palace starting early in the morning. The army also had troops in place, separating the students from the presidential guard. Frustrated, students halted traffic and let air out of the tires of scores of vehicles, blocking the roads to the palace, and obliging Sukarno to order helicopters to bring some of his cabinet officers to the ceremony. As the cabinet, having been sworn in, was having tea, shots were heard. Students had broken through the army buffer, and presidential guards had fired, this time into the crowd. Two students were shot dead. 11
Events now moved swiftly. A massive procession marked the funeral on February 25 of one of the students, a rightist activist from the medical faculty of the University of Indonesia. In a lengthy meeting with Soeharto that same day and into the night, Sukarno insisted that the students be stopped, and again Soeharto gave in. The Student Action Front was declared ‘dissolved’ and demonstrations were banned. At the same time, on the advice of army officers, student leaders moved out of the University of Indonesia campus–and into the intelligence headquarters of Colonel Ali Moertopo, a long-time aide to Soeharto. 12
On February 28 Subandrio–a vice premier, the foreign minister who was seen as the architect of Indonesia’s increasingly warm official relations with Communist China, and a focus and symbol of the entire conflict–told a crowd of Sukarno supporters that terror on the part of the government’s enemies would be met with terror. A new anticommunist organization, nominally of high school students, held a rally at the University of Indonesia, and Subandrio was hanged in effigy. Leimena, another vice premier, ordered the University closed. Army guards were posted but ignored Leimena’s order, and the Women’s Action Front, joined by Yani’s widow, brought food to feed the large number of students who were now occupying the campus around the clock. 13
By early March Soeharto was under increasing pressure from some of his officers to take aggressive action. According to an official army history, he met with Sukarno on March 6 and warned, ‘I would not be responsible if some officers permit their troops to violate discipline and join the people’s action.’ 14
That evening he met with the principal anti-Sukarno officers: Ahmad Kemal Idris, chief of staff of the Strategic Reserve, Soeharto’s own former unit, and Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, commander of the Paracommando Regiment.
Sukarno now evidently feared that a showdown was imminent. On March 8 he issued an Order of the Day reminding members of the armed forces that it was their duty to be loyal to him as president of the republic. Nationalist supporters of Sukarno attacked the United States embassy. Anti-Sukarno students, now under yet another name and led by a militant Muslim student leader, occupied the foreign ministry and ransacked the building; occupied a Ministry of Education building; and attacked the New China News Agency office, a People’s Republic of China (PRC) consular building, and a PRC cultural center.
On March 10 Sukarno met with party leaders and demanded they sign a statement condemning the student demonstrations. After discussions that lasted five hours, language was agreed on and all signed.
Thus, for almost six months, the Indonesian state was increasingly divided between two poles of power. At issue by now was not only the legality of the Communist party, the foreign policy tilt toward Beijing, the mismanagement of the economy, and the whole cast of policy in the direction of revolutionary change. Among an elite that had all along been largely traditional in its orientation, at issue now was the duality in government, the lack of unity, and the prolonged absence of any kind of stability in the nation’s affairs.
The Events of March 11
On March 11 the cabinet met at the palace on the square. The topic was again the student demonstrations. Again the students were in the streets in the vicinity of the palace, letting air out of the tires of vehicles, and bringing traffic to a halt. Notably absent was Soeharto, pleading a sore throat. The atmosphere in the room was said to be tense. Sukarno began by calling on his ministers to resign if they were not prepared to follow his leadership. At this point an aide rushed to his side with a message: large numbers of unidentified troops were in the square and were advancing on the palace. Alarmed, Sukarno rushed from the room, followed by Subandrio and Chaerul Saleh, and fled the palace grounds by helicopter.

By early afternoon it was established that Sukarno was at the palace in Bogor. Three major generals of the army– Amir Machmud, Basuki Rachmat, and Andi Muhammad Jusuf–went to Bogor by helicopter to see him. They found Sukarno in the company of Subandrio, Leimena, Chaerul Saleh, and one of Sukarno’s wives, Hartini. Discussions among them went on for some hours. When the talks ended, the generals returned to Jakarta, carrying a short letter signed by Sukarno and addressed to General Soeharto, instructing him “to take all measures considered necessary to guarantee security, calm, and stability of the government and the revolution, and to guarantee the personal safety and authority of the President/Supreme Commander/Great Leader of the Revolution/Mandatory of the MPRS in the interests of the unity of the Republic of Indonesia and to carry out all teaching of the Great Leader of the Revolution.”

15
Soeharto acted promptly. On March 12, on the president’s behalf, he signed a decree banning the Communist Party of Indonesia. On March 18, having failed to persuade Sukarno to dismiss them, he ordered the arrest of Subandrio and other leftist cabinet members. Soeharto aides were soon referring to the March 11 letter as the Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret (Letter of Instruction of March Eleven) from which was coined the acronym Super-Semar . The acronym gave the letter, and Soeharto, a symbolic tie to one of the most mystical and powerful figures in the Javanese wayang .
For all their ambiguity, the events of the day were powerfully evocative of the forces operating in Jakarta at the time. They also were revealing of the personality of the new chief executive.

The Student Movement
The mass mobilization of anticommunist students, some of whom by January were demanding that Sukarno be arrested and tried for complicity in the attempted coup, was a new element in Indonesian political life. Students had played a significant role in the country’s political history before. Indonesian students in Europe were the leading advocates of national independence in the 1920s. On August 16, 1945, youth leaders had kidnapped Sukarno and Hatta and prevailed on them to issue an immediate declaration of national independence. Indonesian youths also fought in the revolution; in a battle recounted in schoolbooks for every Indonesian child to read, armed youths held off more than a division of British and Indian troops in Surabaya for ten days in November 1945–a battle that marked a turning point in the independence struggle. But university students–even secondary school students–had been few in number in 1945, the children of middle-ranking officials in the prewar colonial government. By 1965, with the rapid growth of the civil service after independence, some nine thousand students attended universities in Jakarta, and tens of thousands were in the city’s secondary schools. 16
The initial decision to organize Jakarta’s students to take political action after October 1 was made by two youthful Muslim and Catholic leaders: Subchan Z. E., vice chairman of the Nahdatul Ulama, and Harry Tjan, secretary general of the Catholic Party. Mar’ie Muhamad, secretary general of the large nonparty Islamic Student Association
(Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam, or HMI) was present as well. The three had found common cause during the previous year in trying to counter the increasingly aggressive initiatives of the Communist youth and student organizations. A principal battleground had been the national youth federation, which was part of the national front. Another was the campus of the University of Indonesia, which was the scene of continuing demonstrations and counterdemonstrations from early 1965 on. Learning that the air force was training young communist activists in the use of small arms, one of the three young men met with General Nasution to arrange the same training for anticommunist youth. The date was September 28. 17
When the Revolutionary Council was announced on the state radio on the morning of October 1, the young men had no doubt that the Communist party was behind the event. Their first thought was to flee the city and seek the protection of the Siliwangi Division. But one of the group, Catholic activist Lim Bian Kie (who later changed his name to Jusuf Wanandi), had a position with the Supreme Advisory Council and a government jeep with palace plates, and it was decided to send him in search of information; Lim drove through the square, saw the army units in formation there, and found the palace staff in a state of confusion: no one knew where Sukarno was. As time passed without further news, the youth leaders waited. When the state radio announced in the evening of October 1 that army units under the command of General Soeharto were in control of the city, they saw as well as anyone the significance of the event. 18

After their big rally of October 8, the religious youth leaders had paid their first call on General Soeharto. The student movement now grew in size and complexity. While most of the city’s students were Javanese, much of the organizing was done by activists of other ethnic origins–students from the more aggressive cultures of Sumatra and Sulawesi, and a handful who were of Chinese descent. Also, although most of the demonstrators were Muslims of varying persuasions–the Islamic Student Association had provided the bulk of the manpower to counter the Communists on the campus of the University of Indonesia–some of the leaders were Christians. The leadership group also acquired members who were democratic socialists in orientation, who identified with the old Socialist Party (Partai Sosialis Indonesia, or PSI), and who were soon publishing a daily newspaper and operating a string of radio stations in the name of the student movement. It was a loosely knit phenomenon, and it held together marvelously well–so long as its purposes were few and simple.

The student leaders were in touch with Soeharto and his associates on a more or less daily basis from early October on. The students had to deal with the army. They needed permission to travel at night in spite of a curfew. They needed funds to organize and transport their demonstrators. They needed to be sure their demonstrations would not be stopped. And they needed small arms to defend themselves. So student leaders consulted regularly with officers of the Strategic Reserve, notably its two principal commanders, Ahmad Kemal Idris and Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, and with the Strategic Reserve’s principal intelligence officers, Ali Moertopo and Yoga Sugama. The students also needed physical protection as the atmosphere grew increasingly heated. It was out of fear that their lives were in danger from pro-Sukarno military units–chiefly members of the presidential guard, and, after January, the marines–that they agreed to move in with Ali Moertopo’s intelligence staff. It was the first intimate contact between student leaders and members of the army who were close associates of Soeharto. 19
Relations between the student leaders and these army men were antagonistic almost from the beginning. The students wanted to get rid of Sukarno while their own movement had momentum, and before he could build a countermovement of his own. As far as the students were concerned, Soeharto and his associates were overly cautious, wanting to be sure of every step before it was taken. Ali Moertopo and his fellow intelligence officers, on the other hand, viewed the students as young hotheads who could bring the government down but could not put a new one in its place. More immediately, Soeharto and his associates did not want any more student martyrs; one more student martyr of either the Left or the Right, they feared, could plunge the city into a level of violence they could not hope to control. 20

The Army Activists
The students gained considerable strength from their open alliance with anti-Sukarno activists among the army officer corps. These officers also lent a good deal of credence to Soeharto’s warning to Sukarno that they might take action against him.
The senior figure was Brig. Gen. Ahmad Kemal Idris. His father was a Minangkabau from West Sumatra, a region that has produced an inordinate share of the intellectuals, politicians, and businessmen of modern Indonesia. Kemal Idris had a sizable reputation for speaking his mind in plain language–and for taking direct action. In 1952, as a young cavalry officer of the Siliwangi Division, he had made the dramatic gesture of placing an armored unit in front of the Presidency with its cannons aimed at the building; this was at the height of an army protest over a cabinet decision to sack Nasution, as well as other accumulated grievances, an incident that set in train a series of events that eventually led to the fall of the cabinet. In 1956 Kemal Idris was implicated in another plot by Siliwangi officers, this one touched off by allegations of corruption against Roeslan Abdulgani, the Nationalist foreign minister;
Abdulgani was eventually charged and convicted, but not before Kemal Idris and others had been relieved of their commands.
Sukarno refused to approve any further appointments of Kemal Idris for several years; Kemal Idris managed to be reinstated only by offering to serve in the Congo with the Indonesian detachment that was part of the United Nations forces there. On his return to Indonesia he served under Soeharto in the Strategic Reserve and, in an extraordinary show of defiance of the president by army commander Yani, was designated to lead Sukarno’s pet project, the invasion of Malaysia. Kemal Idris is thought to have been against the proposed invasion, and was later said to have done what he could to delay it. 21
Certainly no love was lost between Kemal Idris and Sukarno. And by March 1966 Kemal Idris was in effective command of the army’s crack units in Jakarta.
The other principal activist officer was Colonel Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, commander of the elite Paracommando Regiment, which was at the core of Kemal Idris’s reserve forces. Sarwo Edhie was born in Central Java and had his early career in the Diponegoro Division. He stood in the jago or ‘fighting cock’ tradition of the region and was early drawn to more adventurous pursuits. He was trained as a paratrooper and, in 1957, led a daring raid on a rebel-held airfield in Sulawesi. On October 1, 1965, by his own account, he had asked permission of Nasution and Soeharto to lead the predawn raid on the air base to which Sukarno and the Communist party leaders had fled. He also personally led one of his battalions in putting down the army rebellion in Central Java in late 1965, and trained and armed the youth groups responsible for much of the killing there. Later, he captured headlines in Jakarta when he went to the University of Indonesia, addressed a student rally, and, in a further show of support, registered himself as a student.

22
Both men said later that, along with Maj. Gen. Hartono Rekso Dharsono, the commander of the Siliwangi Division, they had wanted to depose Sukarno as a prelude to a thorough reform of the political system. Kemal Idris said that the main purpose of the troops in the square was to frighten the president. Both men said they also thought they might be able to arrest a few cabinet officers as the men came out of the cabinet meeting; Soeharto had told them to arrest certain Sukarno cabinet officers when they had the opportunity, but had left it to them as to how to proceed. The two officers also claimed they had not been ordered to put the troops in front of the palace on March 11; both said they had decided it on their own. They also said they did not give details to Soeharto beforehand. 23 It
is inconceivable, however, that Soeharto did not know what was afoot. Both Ali Moertopo and Yoga Sugama, intelligence officers who were reporting to Kemal Idris at Strategic Reserve headquarters, were Soeharto aides from Diponegoro days, and undoubtedly were keeping him fully informed.
The principal aim of the anti-Sukarno officers, then, was to follow up Soeharto’s warning to Sukarno five days earlier, and to make the point more strongly that his personal security could not be guaranteed by his own security guard, but only by the leadership of the army itself. That accomplished, talks would no doubt ensue. Soeharto would be able to say that the troops were not there on his orders, that some of his hot-headed officers were threatening to take action against the president, and that he could not predict what they might do next unless the president were to demonstrate greater confidence in him and give him a wider mandate. And there was a good deal of truth to this view of the situation.

The Letter of Instruction
The message the three generals took to Bogor, then, was that Sukarno had to give Soeharto increased executive authority if he was to keep the army in line. If not, Soeharto would not accept responsibility for what might happen.
The three do not seem to have been especially qualified to serve as ‘king makers.’ What seems to have led to their selection was their presence at the palace that morning when Sukarno had fled. The three also were on good terms with Sukarno.
Amir Machmud was the Jakarta area commander at the time. He was a Sundanese from West Java, where he had helped put down a rebellion that had aimed to establish an Islamic state, and later served under Soeharto in the West Irian campaign. He had the reputation of being equidistant between Sukarno and the hard-line Nasution camp. When Sukarno had complained to him back in January about the increasingly aggressive student demonstrations, Amir Machmud issued orders that in the future they were to be ‘chanelled through the proper authorities in an orderly and proper way.’ 24
Basuki Rachmat was a politically experienced man who had helped to run the martial law authority under Nasution’s direction after 1959, and was the commander of the Brawijaya Division of East Java on October 1.

Visiting in Jakarta at the time, he had quickly come to Soeharto’s support. He was named Minister of Veterans Affairs in the Sukarno cabinet of a hundred, from which Nasution had been excluded. He was seen as a moderate reformer who was probably willing to see Sukarno remain as head of state, but with some curtailment of his decision-making powers. He also had a reputation for keeping his own counsel. He was the senior member of the group and, according to Amir Machmud, Soeharto initially thought of sending him to Bogor alone.

25
Andi Muhammad Jusuf was a titled aristocrat from Bone in Sulawesi, a man long experienced in politics. When his own former superior officer in Sulawesi had gone into rebellion in the 1950s, Jusuf supported the army leadership in Jakarta and tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a truce. When the Communist party launched a verbal attack on General Nasution and others in 1960, and the army had rounded up the entire Central Committee ‘for interrogation,’ Jusuf was one of the commanders in the ‘outer islands’ who used the occasion to ban the party in his area. He was in 1966 the Minister of Basic Industry in Sukarno’s cabinet. In addition, he had a brother-in-law who was a member of the palace staff, and for this reason it was thought that his going to Bogor would ‘ease the way’ for the group.

26
Only Amir Machmud has spoken for the public record on the origin of the ‘letter of instruction.’ According to his accounts, Soeharto had asked the three generals to assure Sukarno that the army commander could bring the security situation under control if the president would place full confidence in him. Sukarno is said to have been extremely angry at the start of the discussion. He accused the army leaders of failing to follow his orders to control the students and their own troops. Moreover, he asked, what more did he need to do to show his confidence in Soeharto? According to Amir Machmud, the letter was his own idea. Basuki Rachmat wrote out a draft. Sukarno met with Subandrio, Leimena, and Saleh, heard their opinions, then retired to his study for an hour before sending the draft back with proposed changes. Basuki Rachmat wrote out a final draft. What changes were involved in these several drafts is unknown. Sukarno then met in a reception room with all six men, asked to have the letter typed on his letterhead, and signed it.

27
General Nasution later remarked that the three generals realized only on the trip back to Jakarta that the letter constituted a transfer of power. It is highly unlikely, however, that either Sukarno or Soeharto failed to realize the import of what was involved. Sukarno and his advisers might have seen the letter as assuring their personal safety and buying time to rebuild their political forces. The letter was brought from Bogor directly to Soeharto’s home. Soeharto then went to Strategic Reserve headquarters, where his staff assembled and the letter was read. It was quickly decided that the letter was enough to enable Soeharto to ban the Communist party.
Sukarno soon made it clear that he did not construe his letter as having given Soeharto authority to act independently. He issued a statement that he was responsible only to the Assembly that had elected him president for life and to Almighty God. He issued ‘commands’ and in other ways attempted to exercise the powers and prerogatives of the presidency. But he did not rescind the letter. And his efforts to restore his position were met with a slowly diminishing response from his supporters in the army, the other armed services, and the political parties. Trials of coup plotters, Communist party leaders, and former cabinet officers reflected badly on Sukarno. And Soeharto was no longer to be outmaneuvered. The letter gave him only a thread of legitimacy, but with patience and persistence he slowly reined the president in.

On June 21, 1966, a Provisional Consultative People’s Assembly confirmed the transfer of authority of March 11, making it impossible for Sukarno to revoke it, and called on Sukarno for an explanation of his actions in connection with the September 30 Movement. On March 12, 1967, the Assembly revoked Sukarno’s title and powers and appointed Soeharto acting president. On February 28, 1968, the Assembly appointed Soeharto president pending elections.
Thus the long history of Indonesian army contention with the country’s civilian leadership reached an end. That history had included kidnappings and arrests of cabinet officers, and at least one kidnapping of a prime minister. The motives were sometimes personal. But the central theme was corporate. Army commanders, not the least of them Nasution, had stood for an army role in national policy-making ever since 1945.
Yet the army leaders were not much different from the civilian leaders with whom they had contended. By the 1960s, even a sympathetic observer concluded that army officers, being involved in current politics as they were, had acquired the political habit of settling for small gains and individual rewards. They had failed to close ranks, just as the political party leaders had, and failed to use their collective strength to create a strong and effective government. Material corruption and moral deterioration were as widespread within their own ranks as among the rest of the elite. 28 Now they were left to decide the future course of the government.


The Question of Succession
It was not clear at the beginning of these events that Sukarno would be removed from the presidency. There was a good deal of indirect evidence to link him with the September 30 coup attempt, and many members of the elite later concluded that he must at least have known that something of the kind was going to occur. On the other hand, his position was almost sacrosanct, and the constitutional situation was delicate. If Sukarno were found guilty of having broken the laws of the nation the previous September, the validity of his delegation to Soeharto in March 1966 would be open to question. Also, having forestalled an unconstitutional military push, most of whose leaders had previously served under his own command, Soeharto had to avoid even the appearance of unconstitutional action on his own part. Soeharto seems to have entertained for some time the possibility of Sukarno’s remaining as titular head of state. The man continued to enjoy strong support among the population, especially in Java, and among some elements of the armed forces. When the Parliament adopted a resolution early in 1967 calling for Sukarno’s trial, Soeharto opposed it on the grounds that the evidence was not sufficient to charge him. But it was not in Sukarno’s character to accept a ceremonial role, and as the months passed he made that abundantly clear.
A further consideration was that the only likely candidates to succeed to the presidency in the early months were General Nasution and the Sultan of Jogjakarta, and neither showed any serious taste for the prospect.
Nasution has been seen by many commentators as indecisive, especially at times of crisis. He had given important political support to Soeharto by coming to his headquarters on the afternoon of October 1, his leg in a cast, and indicating his approval of Soeharto’s actions of the day. Some felt this merely reflected Nasution’s reputation as a stickler for regulations: Soeharto was the officer in line to act for Yani in his absence. But it was well known in army circles that the two men were not close–that Nasution had relieved Soeharto of his divisional command over charges of corruption. Nasution also was vastly more experienced on the national political scene, and had a much clearer sense of direction than Soeharto did at this point; he had put some stiffening into Soeharto’s position more than once before March 11. But because he was experienced, he must also have known that as a Sumatran he would not be acceptable to the Javanese commanders who dominated the army, or the Javanese politicians who dominated the civilian elite. As a confirmed Muslim, he also knew he would be viewed with some suspicion by the abangan element among these same men. 29 So Nasution, outmaneuvered by events, chaired the Congress that stripped Sukarno of his titles and installed Soeharto in his place.


The Sultan had been a national hero from the time he declared for the revolution against the Dutch and gave sanctuary to the revolutionary leaders in his capital, the city of Jogjakarta, in Central Java. He was briefly active in national politics in the early 1950s; as Minister of Defense, he had supported Nasution’s plan to demobilize large numbers of soldiers and use scarce resources to build a modern army–a plan rejected by politicians who stood to lose constituencies of military groups with ties to themselves. The Sultan then retreated to private life, except for the ceremonial tasks of his inherited office. His strength in 1966 was that he had the aura of royalty about him, had been neutral in the political wars of the previous decade, and was revered by many of the common people of Java. The Sultan told one supporter that although he knew Sukarno had to go for the good of the country, he simply could not bring himself to take part in his downfall. 30 He also observed to an aide that the army generals were not the people pressing him to take the presidency. 31 So the Sultan also hung back, served for a time with Soeharto as a member of a short-lived triumvirate, and later served as his vice president.


Soeharto also had reason to hesitate. Aside from the constitutional element, he might well have shared the Sultan’s scruples, and indeed close associates were to say much later that Soeharto eventually did feel a burden of guilt over his role in Sukarno’s fall. 32 Also, having had no previous role in national politics, he was almost unknown outside
army circles, and it was some months before people prominent in the political life of the capital concluded that Soeharto was the man to succeed to the presidency. Nor was much known about him. A naturally reticent man, he kept his opinions largely to himself. When he finally consented to the writing of a biography, his biographer had to inquire how he preferred to spell his name.

33
Clearly the country was going to have to get used to a very different kind of leader.
Soeharto and the Army
The first insight into Soeharto that was made clear on March 11 was that the army had been more than his career. It had been his family–or, more accurately, it had given him the warmth and security his family never did.
Soeharto was born the son of a village official in Central Java in 1921. His father was responsible for the village irrigation system; not a small thing, as the position gave its holder the right of use of two hectares of village-owned rice land, enough to provide considerable economic security and social position in village society. But Soeharto had an unsettled childhood. His parents separated when he was only forty days old, and he lived with one, then the other, and later with a series of relatives and family friends. One of these, with whom Soeharto went to live at age fifteen, was a dukun , a traditional healer and seer, as well as an irrigation official like his father.

 

September 30, 1965.

General Abdul Harris Nasution
gives the eulogy at the funeral
for the officers killed

   

The officers killed in the G30S events:

Gen. Ahmad Yani
Lt.-Gen. Haryono
Lt.-Gen. Parman
Lt.-Gen. Suprapto
Maj.-Gen. Panjaitan
Maj.-Gen. Siswamohardjo
Captain Tendean (aide to Nasution)
Brigadier-Gen. Katamso
Colonel Inf. Mangunwijoto

What really happened in 1965?
Nobody knows. There are dozens of theories, some of them with little evidence in their favor. Many of the participants are now dead; from some of them, we only have the confessions they made after being arrested. Under Suharto, the government routinely banned most books and publications about the 1965 events, which makes the situation even more difficult.

 

Coup and counter-coup. 1965 chronology of events
Kerry B. Collison

Sunday, October 1. 2006

By 1964 and 1965, the Indonesian economy was in terrible shape. Shortages of food and clothing were common. Prices during 1965 increased by 700 percent, and the price of rice increased even more. The government’s budget deficit was running at 300 percent. Millions of people collected a government salary, but it was worth less and less each month. ABRI personnel in particular found themselves unable to support themselves without engaging in smuggling or other corrupt activities. The 1957-58 rebellions, the West Irian campaign, and the preparations for Konfrontasi had all been expensive for both the government as a whole and for ABRI.
September 30 In the evening, Lt.-Col. Untung, head of the Cakrabirawa Regiment (Presidential Guards), other Diponegoro and Brawijaya Division soldiers, and PKI supporters gather at Halim Air Base, with Gen. Omar Dhani and Aidit present. The forces are under the tactical command of Brigadier-General Supardjo, who had recently been commanding guerilla forces in the Konfrontasi against Malaysia. They leave and attempt to take seven top army generals. Nasution escapes by leaping over the wall of his house, his young daughter is shot and Lt. Tendean, his aide, is taken away. Gen. Ahmad Yani is killed at his house, as are two others. Three other generals are taken alive with Lt. Tendean and the bodies of the dead to Halim, where the remaining live captives are murdered and thrown in the well called Lubang Buaya.
The officers killed in the G30S events:
Gen. Ahmad Yani
Lt.-Gen. Haryono
Lt.-Gen. Parman
Lt.-Gen. Suprapto
Maj.-Gen. Panjaitan
Maj.-Gen. Siswamohardjo
Captain Tendean (aide to Nasution)
Brigadier-Gen. Katamso
Colonel Inf. Mangunwijoto

What really happened in 1965? Nobody knows. There are dozens of theories, some of them with little evidence in their favor. Many of the participants are now dead; from some of them, we only have the confessions they made after being arrested. Under Suharto, the government routinely banned most books and publications about the 1965 events, which makes the situation even more difficult.
Was the army behind it? Certainly not as an organization. Rebel officers such as Untung probably acted without broad support.
Was Sukarno behind it? There is interesting evidence, but answers to this question remain somewhat inconclusive. If Sukarno intended to rid himself of opponents, he failed: the eventual losers were his political allies.
What about Suharto? There is no direct evidence against him. However, rumors persist that Suharto may have heard of the coup plans before September 30th, and so was ready to take advantage of the disorder beforehand.
Was the PKI behind it? The PKI had made two hopeless attempts to take power before, in 1926 and again at Madiun in 1948. Is it possible that rebellious, undisciplined officers planned the coup, and then the PKI announced its support?
The coup plotters may have been motivated by President Sukarno’s illnesses–assuming that a weaker president meant that the government could be taken more easily. This sort of thinking may have led them to overestimate their own strength. It might also be possible that Sukarno’s worsening health caused the coup plotters to act too soon.
Were foreign powers involved? There was heavy involvement by China in Indonesian politics in 1965. The Chinese government in Beijing seemed to already know the names of the generals who had been targeted before the announcements on the middle of October 1–and the Chinese list of names included Nasution as a victim, even though he had escaped. Long after the coup in Jakarta was suppressed, on October 19, Chinese news stories expressed support for it.
Both the United States and the Soviet Union were supplying aid either directly to the government or to their friends in ABRI. Some official Soviet news stories were critical of the coup events, however. The West German goverment supplied secret aid to anti-communists. We know today, too, that the CIA gave lists of Indonesian communists to the Indonesian military during the purges that came after. But did foreign powers help plan G30S? Probably not, but again, we do not know.
It is perhaps most possible that whatever secret plans had been made did not go exactly as the planners intended.

By the end of 1965, a huge wave of popular violence against the PKI had started. In West and Central Java, the army began rounding up Communists, but in many villages, people took the law into their own hands. In some areas, such as East Java or Aceh, Islamic groups (such as the Nahdlatul Ulama youth group Ansor) fought to wipe out communists. However, there was a heavy anti-communist purge on Bali as well. Thousands were sent to prison, and over a year’s time, perhaps more than 250,000 were dead. ABRI did not commit all of the killings, but ABRI officers did arm and train the student groups that committed killings, and also did not act to stop the violence until the PKI had been wiped out.
1964
January 25 A ceasefire between Malaysia and Indonesia, arranged after several diplomatic trips by Robert F. Kennedy of the United States, goes into effect.
PKI confiscates British-owned properties.
February 6 “Maphilindo” meeting in Bangkok between representatives of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Subandrio flies to Bangkok, but snubs the main dinner hosted by the Thai foreign minister.
February 13 Lampung is made a province.
Central Sulawesi is separated from North Sulawesi and made a province; Southeast Sulawesi is separated from South Sulawesi and made a province.
March 3 Second round of “Maphilindo” talks in Bangkok fall apart.
March 7 Gurkhas clash with Indonesian regular troops along the border in Sarawak.
March 25 Sukarno, at a public rally, tells the U.S. ambassador in attendance to “go to hell with your aid”.
April Violence related to land reform spreads in Central Java.
May Sukarno puts air force chief Omar Dhani in charge of Konfrontasi.
May 30 Volunteer fighters recruited on Java for “Konfrontasi” leave for border areas of Kalimantan.
June 1 Indonesia agrees to withdraw forces from border areas with Malaysia in exchange for continued negotiations.
June 13 Major clash between Indonesia-based guerillas and Malaysian forces in Sarawak.
June 17 British forces defeat a group of Indonesian-based guerillas in Sarawak.
June 18 Three-day summit in Tokyo between Sukarno, Macapagal of the Philippines, and Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia. The three leaders agree to call together an “Afro-Asian Conciliation Commission” to settle their differences.
TVRI, government-run television station, begins broadcasting.
July 21 Rioting between Malays and Chinese in Singapore kills 21.
August 17 Unsuccessful rogue landings, led by Indonesian paratroopers, on the shore of Malaya in Johore. 49 are killed, the rest are captured. Australia sends troops to help defend Malaya.
August 17 Sukarno gives his “Year of Living Dangerously” speech (“vivere pericoloso”).
August 27 Sukarno reshuffles his cabinet, passing over Aidit for top posts.
September 2 Second wave of unsuccessful Indonesian paratroop landings in Johore, near Singapore. All are killed or captured.
September 2 Rioting breaks out again in Singapore.
September Group of pro-Sukarno intellectuals led by Adam Malik (Badan Pendukung Sukarnoisme) criticizes the PKI.
September 9 Indonesian raids into Malaya are brought before the United Nations Security Council.
September 17 U.N. Security Council votes 9-2 to condemn the Indonesian raids, but the Soviet Union vetoes the resolution.
October Sekretariat Bersama Golongan Karya or Sekber Golkar (Secretariat of Functional Groups) is founded by army interests.
Sukarno requests and receives from the Soviets a promise of new military equipment to help with the Konfrontasi campaign against Malaysia.
October 17 Nuclear research reactor at Bandung produces its first chain reaction.

Army shakeup reduces prestige of Omar Dhani, transfers best troops to Suharto.
November PKI establishes secret bureau to coordinate infiltration of army units.
Sukarno travels to China for secret meetings.
Australian troops have skirmishes with Malay communists along the Thai-Malaysian border.
November Australia starts military conscription as a hedge against possible war.
People’s Republic of China offers 100,000 small arms to Indonesia to arm a peasant militia, if Indonesia wants.
Bank of China assets in Indonesia given to Indonesian government.
December Chaerul Saleh claims to have evidence that the PKI is planning a coup.
December 4 Mobs attack and burn the U.S. Information Service libraries in Jakarta and Surabaya.
December 17 Badan Pendukung Sukarnoisme–a movement to counter PKI influence by invoking Sukarno’s own pancasila principles–is banned by Sukarno as a “CIA plot”.
Street scene, Jakarta, 1965. The banner says “45 TAHUN PKI” (45 Years of the PKI) and displays famous communists in history, including Marx, Stalin, and Mao. Sukarno is also added in for political expediency.
By 1964 and 1965, the economy was in terrible shape. Shortages of food and clothing were common. Prices during 1965 increased by 700 percent, and the price of rice increased even more. The government’s budget deficit was running at 300 percent. Millions of people collected a government salary, but it was worth less and less each month. ABRI personnel in particular found themselves unable to support themselves without engaging in smuggling or other corrupt activities. The 1957-58 rebellions, the West Irian campaign, and the preparations for Konfrontasi had all been expensive for both the government as a whole and for ABRI.
One Rupiah note with a portrait of Sukarno, 1964. At the time, this note was almost worthless.
1965
January 1 Malaysia is seated in the U.N. Security Council.
January 6 Twenty-one publications that had supported the Badan Pendukung Sukarnoisme are closed down.
January 7 Indonesia walks out of the United Nations (effective March 1), in protest of Malaysia’s admission.
January 17 Aidit gives a speech calling for millions of workers and peasants to be armed to carry out Konfrontasi against Malaysia.
January 29 British Gurkha troops execute secret counterstrike into Indonesian territory on Kalimantan.
Buddhism is recognized as an official religion.
January 31 Three leaders of the Socialist Front in Malaysia are arrested on charges that they were planning to found a “government-in-exile” in Indonesia.
Sukarno, under pressure from PKI, declares ban on the activities of the Murba Party, whose members included Chaerul Saleh and Adam Malik.
February Anti-PKI newspapers are closed down.
February 3 Australia sends combat troops to Sarawak and Sabah.
February Kahar Muzakkar is killed in Sulawesi.
March Leftist naval officers mutiny in Surabaya.
April China repeats its offer of small arms from the previous November.
April 24 Sukarno orders all foreign-owned enterprises to be nationalized.
April 25 Indonesian Army troops attack British camp at Plaman Mapu.
May Gen. Ahmad Yani suggests that “Nasakom” be promoted in the Army.

May 25 Indonesian raiders make an unsuccessful landing in Johore east of Singapore.
May 17 Aidit calls for elections.
Sukarno calls for a “Fifth Force” of armed peasantry to be organized.
Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) is formed by former members of the Dutch-organized colonial militia.
May 29 The “Gilchrist letter”: Sukarno accuses Army elements of plotting against him, with cooperation from the British Embassy. (Letter itself generally considered to be a forgery.)
June Discussions on “arming the people” along Maoist lines take place; army sidesteps, air force and navy support it.
June 17 Gen. Ahmad Yani gives a speech at Manado stating that “arming the people” according to the PKI’s concept is “unnecessary”.
Indonesian-based raiders strike near Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. 5000 Chinese squatters in the area are resettled further away from the border by the Malaysian government.
PKI supporter becomes police commander in Jakarta.
July 19 Gen. Nasution gives a speech rejecting the PKI’s concept of “arming the people”.
July 20 Sukarno declares that if British raids occur against Indonesian territory, “Singapore will be destroyed”.
July 2000 PKI supporters begin receiving military training from Air Force officers at Halim Air Base near Jakarta.
July 30 Demonstration attack the U.S. Consulate in Medan.
August Anti-PKI elements in PNI are purged.
August 5 Sukarno collapses during a public reception.
August 7 Demonstrators occupy the U.S. Consulate in Surabaya for five days.
August 7 Malaysia and Singapore sign papers agreeing to separate into two nations, after several weeks of harsh talk between Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Malay members of parliament, including Dr. Mahathir (later president of Malaysia).

August 9 The separation of Malaysia and Singapore is ratified in the Malaysian parliament.
A court in Surabaya issues a death sentence to a Chinese shopkeeper accused of hoarding.
Violence between PNI and NU supporters on one side and PKI supporters on the other heats up in Central and East Java.
Sukarno cuts off ties with IMF, World Bank, Interpol.
August 17 Sukarno gives a speech in Merdeka Square promoting an anti-imperialist alliance with Beijing and other Asian Communist regimes, and warning the Army not to interfere. He also states that he will take the PKI’s idea of “arming the people” under consideration, and make the final decision on the matter.
Aidit returns from trip to China, makes August 17 speech calling for millions of workers and peasants to be armed.
August 26 Government of Singapore announces that it has foiled a plot backed by Indonesia and local communists to assassinate Lee Kuan Yew.
September 8 U.S. Consulate in Surabaya is barricaded by PKI demonstrators for two days.
September 11 Embassy of India is attacked and burned by a mob.
September 14 Subandrio and Aidit speak to a PKI rally, urging in sharp language that “thieves and corruptors” be removed from high offices, and that PKI members should be alert for possible trouble.
September 16-19 Air Force Gen. Omar Dhani makes a secret trip to China.
A Chinese doctor examines Sukarno secretly; Sukarno is diagnosed with a serious and worsening kidney disease. The diagnosis is kept secret, but is made known to Aidit, Subandrio, and possibly others, including the Chinese government in Beijing.
Inflation begins to skyrocket; prices for some items increase nearly 50 percent in a week’s time.
September 22 Army takes control of the distribution of rice in Jakarta.
September 22 Aidit, in a public speech, states that Sukarno has surrounded himself with men who “have no political support”.
September 23 Sukarno declares the total dissolution of the Murba party.
September 25 Sukarno gives a speech stating that Indonesia was entering the “second phase of the revolution”, which would be the “implementation of socialism”.
September 27 Gen. Ahmad Yani speaks against Nasakom in the army and “arming the people”.
September 28 Anti-Communist student leaders ask Gen. Nasution for paramilitary training comparable to what PKI supporters would receive.
September 28 The PKI Minister of Agriculture states that “subversive elements” who were supposedly responsible for the economic crisis should be shot.
September 30 PKI organizations Pemuda Rakyat and Gerwani hold mass demonstrations against the runaway inflation in Jakarta.
September 30 In the evening, Lt.-Col. Untung, head of the Cakrabirawa Regiment (Presidential Guards), other Diponegoro and Brawijaya Division soldiers, and PKI supporters gather at Halim Air Base, with Gen. Omar Dhani and Aidit present. The forces are under the tactical command of Brigadier-General Supardjo, who had recently been commanding guerilla forces in the Konfrontasi against Malaysia. They leave and attempt to take seven top army generals. Nasution escapes by leaping over the wall of his house, his young daughter is shot and Lt. Tendean, his aide, is taken away. Gen. Ahmad Yani is killed at his house, as are two others. Three other generals are taken alive with Lt. Tendean and the bodies of the dead to Halim, where the remaining live captives are murdered and thrown in the well called Lubang Buaya.
Rebel soldiers take Merdeka Square in Jakarta by the Presidential Palace, the radio and TV stations.
October 1 Suharto arrives at Kostrad Headquarters overlooking Merdeka Square, takes emergency control of loyal troops after consulting with available generals.
October 1 At 7:00 A.M., the radio announces that “Movement 30 September” (Gerakan 30 September, or G30S) is pro-Sukarno, anti-corruption, anti-United States and anti-CIA.
Gen. Omar Dhani issues a statement supporting the rebels.
Mutinies in five of seven Diponegoro Division battalions support the rebels, as do Naval officers in Surabaya.
Sukarno goes to Halim, consults with Omar Dhani but not with Aidit.
Suharto offers water to hot soldiers in Merdeka Square, they come to his side. He ignores messages from Sukarno.
Suharo offers the army leadership to Nasution. Nasution refuses.
Suharto announces on radio that six generals are dead, he is in control of the army, and he will suppress the coup attempt and protect Sukarno.
Senior leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama go into hiding. Ansor, the Islamic youth organization associated with Nahdlatul Ulama, releases a statement that it and NU have nothing to do with the coup attempt (despite claims by the rebels that four NU leaders are part of G30S).
October 1 Sukarno leaves for Bogor, Aidit leaves for Yogya, Omar Dhani leaves for Madiun.
October 2 Loyal army units retake Halim Air Base.
Mayor of Surakarta supports the coup.
PKI supporters march in Yogya.
PKI newspaper Harian Rakyat publishes issue in favor of coup.
Military rebels in Central Java retreat to countryside.
Suharto agrees to Sukarno order taking presidential control of army, but only if Suharto has emergency powers to restore order.
Omar Dhani retracts his earlier statement supporting the coup.
October 3 Bodies discovered in Lubang Buaya. Sukarno, in a radio broadcast, claims the Air Force was not involved, and that he went to Halim Air Base of his own free will, simply to have a means of leaving the area if necessary.
October 3 Ansor releases a statement urging its members to help the Army restore order.
October 4 Bodies are removed from Lubang Buaya in the presence of print and TV reporters. Suharto is also present.
Nahdlatul Ulama issues a statement calling for the PKI to be banned, possibly under pressure from Ansor activists. Senior NU leaders do not sign it until the day after or later.
October 5 Public funeral in Jakarta for dead generals.
October 6 Sukarno meets with his cabinet in Bogor, including Subandrio and PKI members Lukman and Njoto, then finally issues a statement denouncing the attempted coup. Njoto is detained by Army officers after the meeting.
October 6 The newspaper “Djalan Rakyat” in Surabaya publishes a letter from Aidit describing the September 30 events as an “internal army affair”.
October 8 Mass demonstration in Jakarta (possibly of more than 100,000) demands the dissolution of the PKI. PKI headquarters in Jakarta are burned.
October 13 Ansor holds anti-Communist rallies across Java.
October 14 Suharto begins moving loyal troops into Central Java.
October 14 Antara news agency offices reopen under new, non-PKI management.
October 16 Sukarno dismisses Omar Dhani as head of Air Force. Suharto is appointed commander of the army.
October 18 Nearly a hundred Communists killed in battle with Ansor youths. Beginning of general massacre of PKI supporters in Central and East Java.
October 27 KAMI student activists group is founded.
Inflation runs wild in the general uncertainty.
November 1 Kopkamtib security force established with Suharto at head.
November 11 Fighting between PNI and PKI supporters on Bali begins massacre of Communists on Bali.
November 22 Aidit is captured and executed.
The Assembly (DPR), consisting entirely of members appointed by Sukarno, is purged of PKI members.
Sukarno’s 1963 decree is used to ban all books written by members of the PKI and associated organizations.
Muhammadiyah declares jihad against PKI. Sukarno pleads with Muslims to give dead proper burial. Anti-Communist movement spreads throughout Java.
December 10000 PKI supporters have been arrested, many thousand more killed. Anti-Communist massacres are heavy on Bali. The ABRI commander for Aceh announces that Aceh is now free of Communists.

December 13 Major currency adjustment due to inflation: 1000 old rupiah are converted to 1 new rupiah.
Special Military Courts begin holding trials of PKI members.
December 18 Sukarno, in a meeting with Suharto and Nasution, orders them to give him assurances that they will carry out his commands as President. Suharto replies that the Army will carry out Sukarno’s orders that are consistent with their mission of protecting national security.
Posted by Kerry B Collison in Eye on Asia at 08:11

 

 

 

Gestapu: The CIA’s “Track Two” in Indonesia
By David Johnson, 1976
October 1995 note from David Johnson: This is a paper I wrote in 1976. It is presented here in its original version. It was written to encourage Congressional investigation of the issue by the Church Committee at the time. This paper was circulated privately but never published. It may have some enduring merit. Comments and criticisms are welcome.

As evidence that the subject matter is still relevant, please note this recently declassified quotation:
“From our viewpoint, of course, an unsuccessful coup attempt by the PKI might be
the most effective development to start a reversal of political trends in Indonesia.”


Then-US Ambassador to Indonesia Howard Jones
March 10, 1965
Chiefs of Mission Conference, Baguio, Philippines
Quoted in Audrey R. Kahin and George McT. Kahin, “Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia,” 1995, p.225]

David T. Johnson
Center for Defense Information
1500 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 20005
202-862-0700
djohnson@cdi.org
(* “Track Two” was the name given to a CIA covert operation undertaken in Chile in the fall of 1970 at the direction of President Nixon. Its purpose was to use all possible means to prevent Allende from assuming the presidency. Knowledge of Track Two was very tightly held. The State Department, the Defense Department, the American Ambassador in Chile, and the Forty Committee were not informed. Track Two was partially responsible for the murder of General Schneider, the Chilean Army Chief of Staff who opposed efforts of other military officers to stage a coup. Track Two failed in its objective in 1970. Other analogies to the Indonesian events are the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the Reichstag fire.)

Introduction
This paper presents the preliminary outline of a new interpretation of the events in Indonesia in 1965 that climaxed in the “coup” attempt of October 1st and the actions of the September 30th Movement (GESTAPU). It is argued that the September 30th Movement was not an action by “progressive” or dissatisfied middle-level military officers, nor a creature of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), nor was it stimulated by President Sukarno. GESTAPU was an instrument directly in the hands of General Suharto (and probably General Nasution) [1995 note from David Johnson: today I would delete the reference to Nasution] and most likely a creation of the Central Intelligence Agency for the purpose of “saving Indonesia from Communism” in a desperate situation.

GESTAPU served the crucial function of providing a legitimate pretext for the drastic extermination of the PKI. It was calculated to put the reins of power quickly into the hands of Suharto and to place Sukarno in a restricted position.
GESTAPU worked. It is probably the most successful covert operation that the CIA has ever carried out. The participation of the CIA in GESTAPU–its “fingerprints on the gun”–cannot be proven unless the Congress digs hard to find the truth, as was done partly in the case of Chile. The CIA connection is hypothesized because it seems a logical outcome of U.S. policy toward Indonesia and because of the relative sophistication and complexity of the GESTAPU operation. Because of the close contact between the Indonesian Army and U.S. Defense Department advisers and attaches it is probable that certain of these personnel were also involved.

It is not maintained that the thesis of this paper is necessarily correct or proven. The author’s hope is to demonstrate that it is sufficiently plausible that further research along these lines will be conducted by those more knowledgeable than he and that those in a position to do something about it will begin to look into the secret official record. The thesis is presented without a great deal of hedging but the author is aware that many of the facts he uses are open to a number of alternative explanations. Of course, many “facts” are in dispute. This first draft assumes some knowledge on the part of the reader of the basic events of the time and of the existing interpretive controversy. No special attempt is made here, however, to refute alternative theories. Only a portion of the supporting material is indicated.
Gestapu: The CIA’s “Track Two” in Indonesia

The events of October 1, 1965, in Indonesia and their origin may truly be called “a riddle wrapped in an enigma.~ There is no consensus among students of Indonesia about the “correct” explanation. All existing theories have their articulate and plausible critics. Probably the majority of careful Indonesian scholars have abandoned the search for explanation. GESTAPU is an enormously complicated puzzle in which the pieces never fit together, their shape constantly changes, and new pieces keep appearing.

In an earlier age of innocence, the attributing to the CIA of a significant causal role in international affairs was a disreputable enterprise in which most professional analysts seldom engaged. With the revelations of recent years, however, the inhibitions on serious study of CIA activities have somewhat broken down. We also know far more than we did ten years ago about the extent of CIA operations and how the CIA works. In many cases, including Indonesia, we still know very little about what the CIA actually did over the years. But more than before we can feel on safe ground to think that the CIA was active. This is not CIA scapegoating, left-wing propaganda, conspiracy fascination, or a search for simple-minded solutions. It is a necessary and important research effort that must be undertaken before it can be seriously rejected. Of course, the great secrecy that envelops the subject places substantial restrictions on what normal academic research can accomplish.

This paper is based in the first instance on the author’s reading of the recently released CIA Research Study “Indonesia-1965: The Coup That Backfired.” The author has also read nearly everything available in English in the Library of Congress on the events of 1965. The major source material that has not been examined, except as described in secondary sources, is the large body of records of post-October 1 interrogations of prisoners held by the Indonesian Army and the records of the numerous trials that have been held. Undoubtedly new insights can be derived from these materials. The author’s knowledge of Indonesia in general is relatively sparse, although he has visited the country and spent some time in previous years studying Indonesian political development. The present paper is the product of a month of very intensive research on the events of 1965 as well as some limited examination of studies on the CIA.
U.S. Assessment of Indonesia
At some point in 1964 or 1965 (probably late 1964) the deterioration of U.S. relations with Indonesia and the left-ward drift of Indonesia had gone so far that the U.S. faced the need to reassess its policy toward Indonesia with an eye toward adopting new policies. Howard Jones, the American ambassador at the time, has described the extremely pessimist official assessment of how bad things had gotten from the American point of view. Ewa Pauker and Guy Pauker at RAND have described the projection of near-term PKI takeover and the pessimism about the ability of the Indonesian Army to reverse the apparently inevitable flow of events.

Jones indicates that a number of important meetings were held in which U.S. policy toward Indonesia was reassessed, beginning at the State Department in August 1964 after Sukarno’s Independence Day speech, his most anti-American statement up to that time. The March 1965 annual meeting of U.S. mission chiefs held in the Philippines with Averell Harriman and William Bundy, was also important. Ellsworth Bunker, personal representative of President Johnson, spent 15 days in Indonesia in April 1965 evaluating the situation. There were undoubtedly other secret and perhaps more important meetings in which U.S. policy was put together.
The U.S. seems to have faced essentially six options with regard to Indonesia:
1. A hands-off policy of continuing much the same as before, letting things drift. (Of course, the U.S. had never been passive toward Indonesia and this can only be characterized as a hands-off policy in contrast to the other options.) The probable result would be that Indonesia would go Communist. There seems to have been near unanimous official agreement on the inevitability of Communist takeover in Indonesia if existing trends continued. The most important country in Southeast Asia would be lost. The U.S. effort to save Vietnam (bombing of North Vietnam began in February 1965) would probably be frustrated and all of Southeast Asia would be threatened. Clearly, this was an unacceptable option.
2. Try to get Sukarno to change his apparent policy of leading Indonesia toward Communist rule. The Embassy under Ambassador Jones had been pursuing this course for years, with little success (in American eyes). Sukarno had made more than clear his determination to continue his left-ward drive, both domestically and in foreign policy. Most Washington officials had given up on Sukarno and many agreed that “Sukarno has to go.” Some identified him as a “crypto- Communist.” This option was simply unworkable.

3. Eliminate Sukarno. Apparently this was considered, but rejected. The consequences would be too unpredictable. The Communist Party and its affiliates were so large and so extensively embedded in Indonesian society and political life that even in the absence of Sukarno’s protection they might be able to hang on and prosper. An effort to go after the PKI in such circumstances would probably result in a very unpredictable and dangerous civil war which the United States, preoccupied with Vietnam, was not in a position to handle. A danger of killing Sukarno was that those who might be identified with it would be discredited because of Sukarno’s enormous popularity in Indonesia, which efforts to undermine over the years had been unable to shake. Blaming an assassination on the left would not be credible because of the close alliance between Sukarno and the Communists. The PKI would have no plausible motive for such an action. An arranged “natural” death for Sukarno would leave the PKI as a very important force in Indonesia, and perhaps as the logical successor.
4. Encourage the Indonesian Army to take over the government. The Embassy had been pushing this option for years with some success but without achieving the final objective. Disunity within the Army had prevented any such explicit step to date and there seemed to be other inhibitions on a direct military takeover. The Army as a whole was still unwilling to move directly against Sukarno. Sukarno’s determination to resist any further expansion of the Army’s role was clear. In fact, he was doing much to try to “domesticate” and undermine the Army as an independent, anti-Communist force. Even in the event of an Army coup, without a solid pretext for quickly eliminating the PKI and a means of controlling Sukarno, the prospect of civil war would arise for the same reasons indicated in Option 3. While the U.S. could continue to cultivate military officials and try to stiffen their “backbone,” Army takeover via some sort of coup would not resolve the problem in Indonesia.

5. Try to undermine the PKI and get the Communists to take actions that would discredit themselves and legitimize their elimination. (Option 6, the fabrication of such a discrediting, is a variant of this option.) Such a step would also necessitate moving against Sukarno as he probably would never permit the Army to act forcefully against the PKI no matter how objectionable the PKI might appear to be. A variety of covert efforts were mounted to try to damage the PKI’s reputation and provoke it to misbehavior. These included linking the PKI with China, trying to show that the PKI did not really support “Sukarnoism” (the BPS episode), and the fabrication of documents and the attributing of provocative statements to PKI spokesmen (printed in non-Communist papers). But Sukarno helped to frustrate these efforts by banning almost all non-Communist political and press activity. The PKI was careful not to go too far and not to provide the excuse for its elimination. As PKI Chairman Aidit said, “We are prepared to tolerate insults and threats. We will not be provoked. If the army spits in our faces we will wipe it off and smile. We will not retaliate.” Option 5 was continually tried but it did not seem to be working.
6. If the PKI would not provide its own death warrant, the pretext for extermination had to be fabricated for it. The optimum implementation of this option would serve to eliminate both the PKI and Sukarno as dominant forces in Indonesian political life. This option appears to have been the one finally chosen, although the point at which commitment to it was irrevocable is very uncertain. Parts of the other options, other “tracks” continued at the same time.

Background to October 1st
Undoubtedly, elements of the Indonesian military (and other anti-Communist groups) were also considering what to do about the drift of Indonesia toward Communist rule. It was highly unlikely, however, that the U.S. could sit passively and expect that Indonesians on their own would do what had to be done. American analysts seemed to have concluded that no Indonesian group on its own had the capability and will to do what was necessary to prevent Communist takeover. American initiative and cooperation were necessary.
The U.S. over the years had built up close relationships with many Indonesians, particularly in the Army. In fact, this was the essence of U.S. policy toward Indonesia over the previous five or more years. The coincidence of U.S. and anti-PKI Army interest would make natural, and simply a continuation of patterns already established, a collaboration and pooling of resources to carry out the best means available for stopping the PKI and “saving” Indonesia. The CIA provided a pool of expertise and technical capability for devising and implementing a relatively sophisticated and delicate maneuver.

The problem of lack of Army internal cohesion, as indicated in Option 4, remained a stumbling bloc. Efforts were made to achieve unity in moving against the PKI (and necessarily Sukarno) but although most generals agreed that the PKI had to go, some very important officers–notably the Army Chief of Staff General Yani– were apparently unwilling to take steps that would severely damage Sukarno. After the failure of attempts to secure Army unity, the U.S. and the collaborating generals (principally Suharto and Nasution) [1995 note: again, I would today delete Nasution] decided that the urgency of the threat and the need for quick action required working with those who were willing. It was necessary to move in spite of the absence of Army unity.
Actions were undertaken to try to polarize Indonesian politics between the Communists and others, an effort that it was hoped might move the reluctant generals to the “right” side. The Gilchrist letter seems to have been part of a covert effort to stimulate distrust and antagonism between Sukarno and General Yani. It appears, however, that General Yani remained something of a Sukarno-loyalist. General Yani had become dispensable and probably he stood in the way of what had to be done.
The “Generals’ Council” rumor, frequently considered the product of PKI work, was probably an important element of the CIA-Suharto covert operation in preparing the ground for GESTAPU. The rumor served a number of useful purposes. It helped to further the heightening of tension and uncertainty in Indonesian political life. It served to stimulate mistrust between Sukarno and certain generals that the CIA wanted to break with Sukarno. It alarmed the PKI and might even make it take the provocatory step that was hoped for. It provided a focus for debate and rumor that distracted attention from the real “conspiracy.” It bore a resemblance to something that actually existed, General Yani’s “braintrust,” and thus provided a ready target group for the GESTAPU operation, plausible victims for the “PKI’s” atrocities. The rumor helped to create a climate in which people would find GESTAPU at least superficially plausible, especially immediately on October 1st. There would be widespread belief in the imminent threat of a Generals’ Council coup and “unwitting” people (notably the soldiers used by GESTAPU on October 1st) would be willing to take actions that they might otherwise question. The General’s Council rumor helped to create something of a “controlled environment” in which certain planned stimuli would produce a relatively predictable response. Finally, the rumor was an important part of the cover story for why the PKI might be believed to have taken the action to be attributed to it.


The exploitation of the Sukarno’s health rumor mill was another important part of the cover for GESTAPU. Unfortunately for the cover story, however, it turns out to have been one of the weak links. The post-1965 explanation of why the PKI allegedly carried out GESTAPU attributes a major role to the presumed fear on the part of the PKI that Sukarno was about to die. Chinese doctors are alleged to have convinced Aidit of this. The problem is that Sukarno recovered rapidly from his illness in August 1965 and Aidit, who was in constant contact with Sukarno, had more than sufficient time to find out about Sukarno’s health for himself and to turn off any plans that were based on Sukarno’s imminent demise. (The implausibility of this story may in part account for the growth of theories that attribute the authorship of GESTAPU to Sukarno and place the PKI in a subordinate role. Even the Suharto government seems to have adopted this “explanation.~) In 1965, however, the circulation of rumors by the CIA-Suharto group served to create a climate that would make GESTAPU plausible as well as the PKI’s complicity in it.
It does seem clear that the PKI Politburo held meetings in August 1965 at which the health of Sukarno was discussed, as well as the Generals’ Council rumors, and probably the existence of “progressive” officers. What was actually said about these subjects, however, is far from clear. The official Army version, presented through “confessions,” probably took real events, kernels of truth, and spun them into the required pattern.
A very interesting question is whether the Untung group made contact with the PKI, perhaps to get the PKI to directly implicate itself or at least to take actions that could later be interpreted as “participation in GESTAPU.” It seems likely that the GESTAPU conspirators would have considered it risky to acquaint anyone not “in the know” with what was going on. The danger would have been very great that the PKI would be suspicious and pass the information to Sukarno who would investigate. The PKI was constantly on the alert for “provocations.” There is a possibility, however, that some vague intimation of GESTAPU was passed to Aidit via a source that Aidit would have found credible. If so, it appears that Aidit rejected PKI participation, despite later trial evidence.

An overlooked source of information on the relationship, if any, between the PKI and a “progressive” officers GESTAPU group is an article by the leftist journalist Wilfred Burchett that was originally published in November 1965. Burchett, relying on “an Indonesian whom I know as having close contact with the PKI leadership and who escaped the army dragnet in Jakarta,” states that the PKI received “documentary” evidence of the existence of a Generals’ Council in August and informed Sukarno about it. Burchett continues:
“In late September, Colonel Untung, head of the presidential guard, learned of the planned coup from independent sources. He approached leaders of the PKI, among others, revealing what they had known for some time, and urged joint action. to thwart the coup. The PKI leaders reportedly refused on the ground that such an action would be “premature” and that as long as Sukarno remained at the helm everything possible should be done to maintain unity, while all patriotic elements within the armed forces should remain vigilant to deal with any coup from above.”
Of course, we have no way of knowing if this is what happened but it is possible.
The backgrounds of Lt. Col. Untung, the alleged leader of the September 30th Movement, and his colleagues have been examined by a number of independent scholars. The picture that emerges is not that of a group of “progressive” or disgruntled officers, but rather of a group of successful and professional military officers who had exhibited signs of anti-PKI views, had been given sensitive positions in which their past and present political affiliations and views would have been subjected to careful examination, and some of whom–perhaps the most important ones–had recently been trained in the U.S. (General Supardjo and Col. Suherman) and undoubtedly exhaustively “vetted” by the CIA and U.S. defense intelligence.
What seems to link most of the GESTAPU officers together is not their “progressiveness” but their association, both past and present, with General Suharto. Those participants, particularly in the Air Force, not overtly linked with Suharto may be considered CIA-Suharto “assets” activated to play their role in the GESTAPU scenario. The penetration of the Air Force and the Palace Guard by anti-PKI Army forces (and the CIA) is at least as plausible as the degree of penetration attributed to the PKI. The vigilance of the anti-PKI generals in keeping PKI influence out of their officer corps is well known, as is the effort to keep track of and penetrate the more leftist branches of the military services.
Before examining what took place on October 1st it is important to recognize that (if the thesis of this paper is correct) we are looking at a collection of actors and a sequence of events that were put together primarily to accomplish a very immediate and urgent task: the discrediting of the PKI (and its allies) in as dramatic and quick a fashion as possible, and the immobilization of factors that might complicate the situation. While some thought had obviously been given to cover, it is doubtful that extensive effort was put into constructing a cover story that would withstand close, dispassionate scrutiny . The ability of the Cornell researchers, after only a few months of research using primarily written materials, to reveal the weaknesses of the immediate cover story is testimony to its inherent crudeness. The CIA-Suharto group probably felt that, if they moved quickly and drastically enough, there was little likelihood that much foreign effort would be put into examining GESTAPU in detail. Certainly no Indonesian would he disposed to raise doubts.

A certain refinement of cover and justification for actions that, for the most part, had already been taken (the murder of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians) was provided by the obviously spurious Aidit “confession” and the fabricated confession and show trial of Njono. Untung was also put on trial early in 1966. Even sympathetic foreign journalists have raised questions about these early trials (no foreign journalists were permitted to attend and only selected Indonesians). We do not know at what point the Indonesian authorities found out about the Cornell study and other evidence that apparently their story was not going over abroad as well as they had hoped. It seems probable that the trials of Dani and Subandrio were primarily milestones in the campaign to remove Sukarno and less parts of the GESTAPU cover story. It was the trial of Sudisman in 1967 and that of Sjam in 1968 that were explicitly calculated for their effect on the foreign skeptics. Of course, Suharto has had other reasons as well for continuing the show trials.
The Events of October 1st
The major military units involved on the side of the September 30th movement were officially under the command of General Suharto’s KOSTRAD, the Army’s Strategic Reserve. The semi-official Indonesian Army history of GESTAPU states: “Both the 454th and 530th Battalions together with the 328th Kudjong Battalion of the Siliwangi Division were under the operations command of the 3d Paratroop Brigade of the Army’s Strategic Reserve.” The Army book observes further that “KOSTRAD troops were scattered all over Indonesia, as [sic] that at the time of the coup General Soeharto had only the dc Kudjava and dc Parakomando battalion around Djakarta. Other KOSTRAD troops were at ‘the other side.'”
The major mission of these KOSTRAD “coup” units was to take up positions around the crucial Merdeka Square, controlling Sukarno’s Palace, the Indonesian Radio station, and the central telecommunications facilities.

One company of soldiers from the Palace Guard, the Tjakrabirawa, are said to have participated, together with KOSTRAD elements, in the kidnapping-murder of the six army generals. Lt. Col. Untung had been since May 1965 commander of one of the three Tjakrabirawa battalions. Considering Untung’s position, this participation is quite possible, although it could have introduced a perhaps unnecessary complication into the proceedings. General Sabur, the commander of the Palace Guard, played a very unclear role in the GESTAPU and its aftermath. Although jailed for a period after 1965, he has been released and no charges have been brought against him. Whether Untung could have acted without Sabur’s knowledge is uncertain. Only a few Tjakrabirawa troops were really necessary on October 1st, and they could have been KOSTRAD soldiers in Palace Guard uniforms. The extraordinary lack of professionalism in the execution of the “kidnappings” makes it unlikely that “unwitting” Tjakrabirawa troops played a significant role. Their role seems to have been that of making the first contact at each of the victim’s home.

In the early morning hours of October 1st GESTAPU troops went to the homes of seven generals. Three of the generals, including Army head General Yani, were killed immediately and their bodies and three other generals were taken to a place called Lubang Buaja (Crocodile’s Hole) on the outskirts of Halim Air Force Base. More than 100 troops surrounded the house of General Nasution but in a “near miraculous” escape, Nasution got away by climbing over a wall and hiding in the bushes. The fiction that one of his aides was captured and successfully impersonated one of the best known men in Indonesia for some hours afterwards (a crucial element in the CIA Research Study version of events), need not puzzle us. No such thing happened and General Nasution was meant to “escape,” (The shooting of his daughter, apparently by accident through a door, seems too ghastly to have been part of the GESTAPU plan, although her death and funeral were very important in whipping up the subsequent fury against the PKI. Nasution’s much commented upon “moodiness” after October 1st may in part be accounted for by his remorse about not taking better precautions to protect his family.)
General Nasution, the leading anti-Communist military figure in Indonesia, had to be on the list of victims of GESTAPU. His absence would have been incredible. He was not, however, a member of General Yani’s “Generals’ Council.” The fact that it was General Suharto, rather than the more well known Nasution, who took the leadership of the counter-GESTAPU forces may have a complicated explanation. We do not know the subtleties of the Suharto-Nasution relationship. The most probable explanation is that the immediate appearance of Nasution as the head of the anti-PKI effort would have aroused suspicions. Some stories have Nasution being kept “protected” in a hidden place on October 1st from 6 AM until 7 PM when he finally appeared at KOSTRAD headquarters. Other reports have him at KOSTRAD headquarters on the morning of October 1st. Nasution is alleged to have broken his ankle in climbing over the wall, probably part of the cover story for why it had to be Suharto who took the lead.

Among the more incredible “mistakes” of the GESTAPU movement was the failure to try to kill or kidnap the two generals in Djakarta who had operational command of military forces in the area, General Suharto and General Umar. Ruth McVey has commented on how extraordinary this omission was, in view of the fact that Col. Latief was one of the major GESTAPU conspirators: “Col. A. Latief headed the mobile force of the Djaya (Djakarta) Division and had commanded a series of interservice capital defense maneuvers; he must have known the basic provisions for an emergency in the capital.” In fact, Col. Latief seems to have been one of Suharto’s men. McVey states: “Latief, also a Diponegoro Division officer (Suharto’s former division), had fought under Suharto during the revolution; at the time of the Irian campaign he was at the Mandala Command headquarters in Ambone….He was assigned to KOSTRAD; his command at the time of the coup, Brigade I, was one of the KOSTRAD infantry brigades.” Latief, according to Suharto himself, visited him on the night of September 30th at the hospital where Suharto was seeing his ill son. Another account has Col. Latief paying a visit to the military hospital on the morning of October 1st where Nasution’s injured daughter had been brought. General Suharto and General Umar worked closely together almost immediately from the beginning on October 1st in “defeating” GESTAPU.
One general who was supposed to have originally been on the list of GESTAPU victims because of his position on General Yani’s staff was General Sukendro. He was in Peking on October 1st. In fact, Sukendro was a close associate of Nasution and had the reputation of a man with intimate associations with the American military and the CIA. Sukendro came back from Peking with the story that on October 1st Chinese officials had shown Indonesians a list of the murdered generals before it had been announced. (Intimations of Chinese involvement in GESTAPU were rampant in the early months after October 1st but faded to nothing after their purpose had been served.)

What exactly occurred at Lubang Buaja where the six murdered and captured generals were taken and eventually dumped into a well is uncertain. Why they were taken there seems clear. Lubang Buaja, despite stories that “secret” military training of PKI people was occurring there, was well known as a place where Air Force officers since July had been conducting training of volunteers for the Malaysian Confrontation. Those trained included youths from both PKI and other organizations. The quick murder of the generals and their alleged mutilation by Communists was the core of the GESTAPU scenario. Whether there were people from Communist organizations present at Lubang Buaja is uncertain. It is possible that unwitting volunteers had been brought there to lend their presence to the proceedings. This could have been complicating however. It was sufficient that the dastardly deed be done at a place that was known as a gathering spot for the training of PKI volunteers. “Confessions” could be produced later.
There are a few indications that if, in fact, there were “volunteers” present at Lubang Buaja on the morning of October 1st they were not necessarily from PKI organizations. The eye-witness account used in the CIA Research Study states that there were civilians crowding around the prisoners yelling “kill the unbelievers,” rather extraordinary words for Communists to be uttering. Accounts seem . to agree that the generals were almost unidentifiable, bloodied and beaten up, wearing pajamas, and blindfolded. Mortimer states that, among other non-Communist youths, people from the Moslem Ansor youth organization were expected at Lubang Buaja for training on October 1st. We may speculate that the GESTAPU officers present may have told anti-PKI youths that they had captured the killers of the generals.

Whoever killed and “mutilated” the generals, their murder served several important purposes for GESTAPU. Most importantly, it could be blamed on the PKI. The murder of General Yani opened the way for Suharto to take over control of the Army and implement the wrap-up of GESTAPU. It was standing procedure for Suharto to become acting Army head whenever Yani was not available. Suharto’s behavior on October 1st seems to be that of someone who is immediately aware that Yani is dead. We find no discussion in accounts of October 1st of efforts by Suharto to locate and rescue captured generals until late in the day. He acted very quickly to take charge. He exhibited none of the uncertainty and hesitancy that characterized nearly everyone else on October 1st.
The killing of the generals was also important in inhibiting Sukarno from declaring in favor of the September 30th Movement, a danger that could have upset the scenario but which had been taken into account. The fact that Lubang Buaja could also be associated with the Air Force (although, contrary to general impression, it was not in fact located on Halim Air Force Base) was also useful in assuring that General Dani and the Air Force would not be tempted to throw their military forces behind the September 30th Movement. Once it became known what an enormous crime had been committed by the “progressive” GESTAPU–political murder was very rare in Indonesia–no one was likely to jump on the band-wagon and complicate the planned failure of GESTAPU. Of course, the discrediting of the leftist Air Force and General Dani was part of the purpose of GESTAPU.

It is probable that the killing of the generals was communicated as rapidly as possible to Sukarno so that he would not think of backing GESTAPU. Accounts have a helicopter flying over Lubang Buaja, perhaps part of Sukarno’s (or Suharto~s?) efforts to verify absolutely that it was true. Sukarno was also probably told how the PKI was linked to the murders. His early knowledge that Nasution had probably “escaped” also served to inhibit any impulse to support GESTAPU.
When the first message of the September 30th Movement was broadcast over Radio Indonesia around 7 AM it was announced that Sukarno was being protected and that certain prominent persons who were to be targets of the Generals’ Council action had also been taken under “protection.” This was actually part of a deliberate action to control the behavior of and information available to leading non-GESTAPU political figures whom, if at large, could interfere with the GESTAPU scenario. PKI Chairman Aidit was brought to Halim very early on October 1st. (His wife states that he was kidnapped from his home.) Dani was brought to Halim. (Accounts differ on this.) Sukarno was brought to Halim. Most of Sukarno’s advisors, such as Subandrio, Njoto, and Ali Sastroamidjojo, were not in Djakarta. Reports have it at if they had been in Djakarta they were on the list of persons to be “protected.” Although there was some contact between these individuals at Halim, much of the time they were kept separated from each other in different houses with GESTAPU messengers going back and forth. (The phones had been cut in Djakarta. Only the Army had an emergency communication system functioning.) Aidit in particular was kept “protected” from any contact with Sukarno.
From the CIA Research Study account we learn that “Aidit definitely was accompanied by two bodyguards, who stayed with him the whole day of the 1st while he was at Halim and who accompanied him on the plane on his flight from Halim to Jogjakarta on the morning of the 2nd.” The actual function of these “bodyguards” seems obvious. (It is remarkable how little role, even in the official accounts, Aidit seems to have played at Halim in guiding the movement that he is alleged to have been responsible for.)

Back at Merdeka Square, the GESTAPU-KOSTRAD troops had occupied the radio station at about the same time that the generals were being kidnapped. The use of the radio to broadcast a carefully prepared series of messages was a crucial part of the GESTAPU operation. The fact that Suharto, located just across the square in KOSTRAD headquarters, took no action until the evening to put the radio off the air–although he says that he very quickly decided that something was wrong–was suspicious and “explained” in the official version in terms of Suharto’s desire to avoid violence. (His tolerance toward troops who had apparently killed or abducted six leading Army generals is remarkable.) In fact, Suharto deliberately waited to “retake” the radio station until the planned messages were completed. This he accomplished without firing a shot. (In the whole GESTAPU affair, including outside of Djakarta, only a handful of people were killed other than the generals.)
The most important characteristic of the first 7 AM GESTAPU radio broadcast in which the existence of the September 30th Movement was announced was that it was unclear whether GESTAPU was pro- or anti-Sukarno. The deliberate creation of uncertainty was necessary in part so as to prevent anyone “unexpected” from involving themselves. The fact that the name of Sukarno was not invoked in support of GESTAPU, which any genuine leftist coup attempt would probably have faked if necessary in order to increase the chances for success, probably made GESTAPU seem somewhat anti-Sukarno. The emphasis on its being “inside the military” was calculated to prevent anyone, especially the PKI, from taking to the streets and getting in the way. Basically, the impact of the 7 AM message was to confuse people and keep them sitting still waiting for the next message. In any event, given the climate of rumor in Djakarta, GESTAPU was not an implausible event, although who was behind it and what it was to accomplish was uncertain.

Another apparently calculated aspect of the first radio broadcast was the statement that a Revolutionary Council was going to be set up, with the implication–later made very clear–that it would be the new government. It was not until the afternoon that the “rather peculiar assortment of names” on the Revolutionary Council was announced. The indication of the abolition of the existing cabinet, however, was apparently partially intended to provide a rationale and gloss of legality for General Suharto to take quick command of the Army without consultation with Sukarno. In justifying his behavior afterwards, Suharto has cited the fact that GESTAPU had overthrown the existing government and therefore he was free to act on his own. (One of the contradictions in the post-1965 explanation of GESTAPU is that if the Untung group was primarily concerned to execute a limited operation to purge the Army of leading anti-PKI generals, why was it necessary to set aside the existing government, giving the operation the clear flavor of a political coup?)
Even the term “Revolutionary Council” may have been devised as another bit of dust thrown in the eyes of the confused public. Apparently the last time that “Revolutionary Councils” had been established in Indonesia was in 1956 and 1957 when some of the dissident anti-PKI regional military commanders had done so.

Although the radio announcement of the membership of the new Revolutionary Council, “the source of all authority in the Republic of Indonesia,” was not broadcast until about 2 PM, we will discuss it here. It seems possible to discern several functions for this message. The rather heterogeneous and lack-luster membership seems calculated to discourage anyone from rallying to support. (Clearly, few, if any, of the non-military members of the Council had been informed before hand. A better selection could have been faked if assuring the success of the “coup” had really been important.) The unknown middle-ranking officers took the top positions for themselves. The heads of the non-Army military services were prominently displayed as members of the Council, perhaps part of the overall plan to prevent uncontrolled military forces from involving themselves in the GESTAPU events. Linking the heads of the Air Force, Navy, and Police with GESTAPU would make it possible to label any unwanted military action by these forces as part of the GESTAPU revolt.
It is uncertain how much additional calculation was put into the membership list. A handful of PKI officials from affiliated organizations were included, but none of the top PKI leaders. This again would discourage unplanned PKI involvement Later analyses of the membership indicate the possibility that the CIA’s “experts” on communism may have devised the list according to their calculation of a plausible “stage” which the “revolution” in Indonesia had reached. In October 1965 The Washington Post published a story by Chalmers Roberts, apparently based on CIA briefings, that said U.S. officials reported to have evidence that Sukarno, through a coup, had “intended to turn his country into an Indonesian version of a Communist ‘People’s Democracy.'” We may guess that as part of the devising of a cover story for GESTAPU the CIA experts tried to simulate the kind of government that the PKI and Sukarno (apparently little distinction was made) might plausibly have been expected to set up if a pro-Communist coup occurred in Indonesia in the fall of 1965.


The 1968 CIA Research Study states that “the Revolutionary Council was the perfect Communist front organization.” Justus van der Kroef has provided the most extensive exposition of the “People’s Democracy” thesis, along the lines of Eastern European experience. Actually, judging by a more careful study of Soviet and Chinese examples, the PKI membership on the Revolutionary Council was too limited and the composition of the Council was far from being a “perfect” simulation. (The eight year old CIA Research Study contains several rather amateurish efforts to show the traces of Chinese Communist ideology or practice in the GESTAPU events, reflective of the spirit of the times.)
The behavior of Sukarno on October 1st, the subject of much speculation later on, seems to be that of someone who is unsure of what is going on, but wary and trying desperately to get a handle on the situation. The GESTAPU officers did not actually keep him prisoner at Halim Air Force Base–General Supardjo’s role seems to have been that of a rather skilled handler of Sukarno, keeping up the GESTAPU pretence–and permitted him to send and receive messages and selected visitors. To the extent possible, however, information and advice available to Sukarno was controlled. (Sukarno’s later emphasis on his being at Halim of his own free will was in the context of the rising anti-PKI hysteria. Sukarno struggled to keep it under control and did not want people to think that the “PKI-GESTAPU” had kidnapped him.)
We must assume that the CIA had prepared a psychological assessment of Sukarno which was an ingredient in planning the GESTAPU operation. How accurate and insightful the CIA’s profile may have been we do not know. Considering the obsession of Westerners with Sukarno’s sex life and the image of irresponsibility and irrationality that had been built up about him, we may suspect that the assessment was not highly useful. Some Americans seem to have considered Sukarno a coward and Howard Jones cites a Washington view, circa 1958, that Sukarno “did not have the intestinal fortitude to order the Indonesian military into action since it would split the country. Sukarno had worked all his life to unite his country; he was the last man to take an action that would result in a division that might be irrevocable.” The view of Sukarno as unwilling to take decisive and divisive military action against other Indonesians could have been a factor in the planning of GESTAPU. Sukarno’s lack of ruthlessness would be exploited.


One of the clearer indications of the absence of collusion between Sukarno and the GESTAPU officers, and of their willingness to ignore him when necessary, is the fact that (according to the CIA Research Study) at about noon on October 1st Sukarno told General Supardjo to stop the September 30th Movement. However, some important radio broadcasts had yet to be made, and the rationale for the apparently fabricated incriminating October 2 Harian Rakjat editorial would have been destroyed if General Supardjo had immediately stopped GESTAPU. The GESTAPU actions continued in Djakarta until the evening.
At about 1 PM an announcement, over General Sabur’s name, was broadcast that “President Sukarno is safe and well and continues to execute the leadership of the State.” This seems to have been a genuine statement from Sukarno, and implied his rejection of the September 30th Movement. Sukarno did not leave Halim until about 8:30 PM when he went to Bogor, having failed to prevent Suharto from taking over the Army.
In addition to the GESTAPU radio broadcasts containing the details of the Revolutionary Council, the other important afternoon message was a statement attributed to General Dani, the leftist Air Force Chief of Staff, expressing support for the September 30th Movement. This was broadcast at 3:30 PM. The means by which this “Order of the Day” was elicited from Dani, or whether it was fabricated, is uncertain. The statement carried a dating of 9:30 AM, before Sukarno’s radio message, although it was not actually broadcast until six hours later.

The CIA Research Study comments on this “incredibly poorly timed” message of General Dani: “Two hours after Sukarno had studiously avoided committing himself over the radio the Air Force Chief Dani had pledged support of the Air Force to the coup.” The peculiarity of this was accentuated by the fact that Dani was considered to be a man who carefully calculated his steps to fall in line with Sukarno. It seemed impossible that Dani could take such an action without Sukarno’s endorsement. Perhaps in the confused and controlled circumstances at Halim the GESTAPU officers had managed to convince Dani earlier in the day that Sukarno wanted him to prepare a pro-GESTAPU Order of the Day to have on hand in case of need. (The possibility of straight fabrication exists, although the author has found no emphatic assertion to this effect by Dani.)
Assuming that the Dani message was a planned part of the GESTAPU scenario, it’s purpose, of course, was to incriminate the leftist Dani and the Air Force in the GESTAPU coup attempt and the murder of the generals. (In the early days after October 1st Suharto seems to have been even more interested in defaming the Air Force than the PKI. After all, the Air Force had weapons and the PKI did not.) The Dani message also helped to enhance the plausibility of a PKI newspaper editorial expressing similar views on the next day. Early and unambiguous identification of Dani with GESTAPU would also inhibit him from taking unwanted military action.
Following the broadcast of the Dani statement, there were only a few steps left for GESTAPU, except for the action in Central Java to be examined later. Another incident of incriminating PKI involvement in GESTAPU was the alleged appearance late in the day near Merdeka Square of Pemuda Rakjat (the PKI youth organization) youths armed with Chinese weapons supposedly given to them by the Air Force. They were quickly disarmed by units of the KOSTRAD-GESTAPU 530th Battalion which had already “rejoined” the loyal forces. (Perhaps the incident was arranged in part to demonstrate that the KOSTRAD-GESTAPU units were not really bad.)

This futile arming of “PKI” youths with marked Chinese weapons that were never used is another of the almost endless string of GESTAPU “mistakes.” The CIA Research Study comments: “The weapons were all small arms of Chinese origin, with the ‘Chung’ trademark stamped on them. The Indonesian army was known not to have any weapons of that type. There is absolutely no doubt that the arms were the property of the Indonesian Air Force.” (Suharto is later said to have thrust one of these “Chung” guns before Sukarno as proof of GESTAPU’s evil.)
While the CIA analyst may have “no doubt,” another explanation seems more probable. (Stories of Chinese arms shipments to Indonesia were rife after October 1st but even the CIA Study, in other places, questions their accuracy.) The CIA is known to have had a large store of Chinese weapons at this time, which were used for a variety of purposes, including such “incriminating” schemes. This incident was simply another planned part of the GESTAPU effort to incriminate the PKI in GESTAPU in dramatic fashion. The youths might have been unwitting Pemuda Rakjat but that could have been too dangerous and it seems more probable that they were other youths, or possibly it did not even happen at all.
Apparently there were armed anti-PKI youths in Djakarta already on October 1st who had some idea of what was going on. Donald Hindley has written the following:


“October 1 was an even more confusing day for the civilians of Djakarta….And yet, while the situation was still in doubt, a few civilians did take action to use the September 30 Movement as the excuse for a public attack on the Communist Party. “By the evening of 1 October, several Moslems had met and agreed to form a Moslem Action Command Against Communism. These initial, and very few, activists were members of HMI (Moslem University Student’s Association), PII (Moslem High School Students), Gasbiindo (Indonesian Moslem Trade Union Association), and the Muhammadijah, all of them organizations formerly affiliated with Masjumi. The only politician willing to be involved on that first day was Subchan, a vice-chairman of the NU and, in many ways, atypical of his party’s leadership. That evening the group made contact with the army leadership, in the person of Djakarta commander Major General Umar Wirahadikusuma, who agreed to give them a few weapons. More important, Umar approved the formation of KAP-Gestapu (Action Front for the Crushing of Gestapu: Gestapu being an abbreviation of the Indonesian for ‘September 30 Movement’). The plans for the more narrowly based, specifically Moslem Action Command were quietly dropped. Already, then, the army leadership had proffered its encouragement and (as yet less clearly apparent) protection for those who would spearhead a civilian campaign against the PKI.”
If this is true, it indicates either remarkable prescience (it occurred before any evidence of PKI connection to GESTAPU had been announced) or, in our interpretation, that the GESTAPU action was a CIA-Suharto creation. The list of organizations involved on October 1st reads like a list of those civilian groups who would most likely have been working under CIA guidance. The use of anti-PKI students by the Army after October 1st is well known. The use of similar groups in many countries is also standard CIA practice. The extraordinarily early creation of KAP-GESTAPU with Army support is evidence of how the groundwork for the subsequent exploitation of the GESTAPU events was laid right from the beginning, if not before.

By about 7 PM on October 1st the Army had retaken the Indonesian Radio station and at 8:45 PM an announcement was broadcast that the “counter-revolutionary” September 30th Movement had kidnapped a number of generals but that Sukarno and Nasution were now safe and “the general situation is again under control.”
Then occurred what subsequent observers have considered one of the most puzzling GESTAPU “mistakes,” the appearance on October 2nd (after almost all other papers had ceased publication) of an issue of the PKI newspaper Harian Rakjat containing an editorial and cartoon endorsing the September 30th Movement. There is a remote possibility that the PKI editors were taken in by the messages they heard over the radio and had thrown caution overboard and in fact wrote such an editorial, but it is more probable that it was a fabrication. The Cornell study examined the October 2nd issue of Harian Rakjat at length and raised some doubts about the authenticity of the editorial and cartoon. The Cornell researchers, however, did not go so far as to declare them phony. The Cornell study does state that “the Djakarta garrison commander, Maj. Gen. Umar Wirahadikusumae, issued an order dated 6:00 p.m. on the 1st to the effect that no publications of any kind were to appear without permission of the Djakarta war authority, save for the Army newspapers Berita Yudha and Angkatan Bersendjata, whose buildings were to be guarded to ensure that they did come out.” The Cornell study states that it is “quite likely that the Harian Rakjat office and plant…was occupied by government troops at or not long after the time that Gen. Umar gave this order.”


The Djakarta pattern was followed even to the extent of having another remarkable “escape” of the leading military figure, General Sujosumpeno, the Division Commander, who then put down the coup with ease. Only two officers were killed by GESTAPU, Col. Katamso, the commanding officer in Jogjakarta, and his deputy. The subsequent discovery of their bodies was again used to whip up anti-PKI emotions. The interesting wrinkle in this case is that Col. Katamso was a most unlikely victim of the “progressive” GESTAPU. According to Ruth McVey’s research, Katamso was a relatively pro-PKI military officer and, in Rex Mortimer’s words, “the singling out of Colonel Katamso for destruction seems decidedly perverse.” (We may speculate that as no further victims of the Yani-type were needed, the CIA-GESTAPU group decided that they might as well make a pro-PKI officer the sacrificial lamb in Central Java.)
There were a few alleged PKI demonstrations of support for GESTAPU in Central Java but it appears that, as in Djakarta, most, if not all, were fabricated. The “PKI” action that received most attention was a demonstration in Jogjakarta on October 2nd. Major Muljono, a civic action officer in the Diponegoro Division, was the GESTAPU leader in Jogjakarta. He seems to have been the one that put together the demonstration and other pro-GESTAPU actions. The CIA Research Study states that “The major PKI mass organizations were restrained from action….Apparently Muljono was able to influence the Communist youth more than the PKI leadership.” The Cornell study states that the demonstration in Jogjakarta “appears to have been chiefly a function of connections between the local coup leader, Major Muljono, and civilian youth groups. The demonstration was notable for the absence of PKI, SOBSI, Gerwani, and BTI participants.” Major Muljono was the only important officer in Central Java who was later put on trial. He “confessed” everything.
The wrap up of GESTAPU in Central Java took slightly longer than in Djakarta but followed the same pattern of “Suharto-style” negotiations and immediate, cooperative surrender.


Our analysis is that the basic reason why the CIA-Suharto group decided to extend GESTAPU outside of Djakarta is that they wanted to show that the PKI-GESTAPU was a nation-wide threat so as to justify a nation-wide repression of the PKI. Central Java was the easiest place for Suharto to arrange the necessary GESTAPU actions and PKI “implication.” GESTAPU was limited to a few cities where the Diponegoro Division was concentrated. As the CIA Research Study states, “Nothing of the sort that happened in Semarang, Jogjakarta, and Solo happened anywhere else in Java, not even in East Java, where there were many powerful centers of Communist strength.” The Cornell study comments on the Central Java coup efforts that “what is extraordinary is not the amount of Communist participation in the initial phase of the affair but the lack of it.”
Before concluding, let us consider the fate of the leading GESTAPU conspirators. Some of them were tried and sentenced to death (Lt. Col. Untung, General Supardjo), others were said to have been killed in military clashes (Col. Suherman), and others (Col. Latief) have never been brought to trial or had their execution announced. It is our assumption that all of the leading military officers involved in GESTAPU on October 1st were “witting” actors in the CIA-Suharto plan. There is a remote chance that someone like Untung could have been unwitting but considerations of security would seem to have excluded the possibility of using someone who might easily have informed higher authorities of GESTAPU’s existence or plans. We believe, particularly if the CIA connection is accurate, that these conspirators have subsequently been provided with new identities by the CIA and resettled outside of Indonesia. This kind of resettlement and looking after one’s assets is relatively standard CIA procedure. The temptation to tie up loose ends and prevent any possibility of leaks raises the suggestion that the GESTAPU officers have been eliminated after serving their purpose but, not to be ironic, the honorable men at the CIA would probably consider this to be in violation of their code of conduct.

The official announcements of executions of GESTAPU officers, such as there have been, have been rather vague. For example, although Untung was tried and convicted in early 1966, it was not until September 1968 that Suharto stated for the first time that Untung and three other military leaders of the coup had been executed in December 1967. The 1968 CIA Research Study speculated that Latief was one of those executed in 1967 but in 1972 Latief made his first public appearance as a witness in the trial of Pono, an alleged PKI coup organizer. General Supardjo remained at large after October 1965 and was not arrested until early 1967. Apparently the Army knew where he was and his arrest was timed to serve a purpose in the ouster of Sukarno. In December 1965 it was announced that Col. Suherman and the other important GESTAPU officers from the Diponegoro Division headquarters had been shot dead in a clash with government troops in Central Java. Other Army sources have said that they were actually captured before they were shot. The evidence available to the author indicates that there have been no public or independently verified executions of any of the GESTAPU officers.
Conclusion
Discounting the dubious confessions displayed at the post-1965 show trials, the CIA-Suharto hypothesis seems to have the following advantages over other explanations of GESTAPU:


1. It is consistent with PKI policy and behavior before, during, and after the October 1st events. It explains PKI unpreparedness.
2. It is consistent with President Sukarno’s behavior before, during, and after the events of October 1st. Sukarno had never resorted to political murder.
3. It explains why the coup was launched in such a disadvantageous military situation, why it was carried out with such incompetence, and why it failed so easily. GESTAPU was meant to fail, and quickly.
4. It is consistent with expected U.S. activism. It is highly implausible that the U.S. would have passively permitted Indonesia to “go Communist.” Something had to be done. A desperate situation required desperate measures.
5. It relates the GESTAPU action to those who benefited from it.
6. It is consistent with what we know of the backgrounds of the GESTAPU officers. They were, for the most part, Suharto’s men and there is no evidence, except for that obtained through “confessions,” that they had any pro-PKI inclinations.
7. It explains why General Yani and his associates were killed (and not merely kidnapped or put on trial). There were several strong motives for the CIA and Suharto to get rid of Yani. Victims of the “PKI” were required and in the Indonesian context, Yani was a “constitutionalist,” loyal to the existing regime, as General Schneider was later in Chile.
8. It is inconsistent (a positive value) with a series of highly suspicious trials that were stage-managed by the Indonesian Army for obvious political purposes. As Justus van der Kroef wrote in 1970, “What Indonesians have been reading about Gestapu thus far is likely, in retrospect, to be more valuable as an index to the manipulation of the opinion and feelings concerning the September 30 events than as a contribution to an understanding of the coup itself.” That a few trials, those of Sudisman and Sjam, impressed some foreign observers is only indicative of the fact that the state of the art has advanced since the 1930’s in the Soviet Union.
The Cornell study in 1966 perceived the absence of links between GESTAPU on the one side and the PKI and Sukarno on the other and the essentially reactive behavior of the latter. The Cornell researchers concluded that the GESTAPU actors were entirely within the military establishment. A number of analysts noted the many associations between the GESTAPU officers and General Suharto. In the climate of 10 years ago, however, prior to the revelations of CIA operations, few were willing to take the next step and draw the logical connections that most adequately explain GESTAPU and its origins.

 

 

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GESTAPU
SEPTEMBER 30, 1965

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Friendly Fascism (Excerpt)

 

As a master diplomat for Washington, among further similar achievements, Green’s track record also includes “direct experience of the CIA-sponsored replacement of President Syngman Rhee by the military regime of Chung Hee Park” when he was a US Foreign Service Officer in Seoul, South Korea, in 1960 (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, p243).


Rhee resigned because of student-led disorder and Peter Dale Scott suggests that one of Green’s qualifications for the Ambassador’s post in Indonesia in 1965 was his proven ability at fomenting violent student movements. “Because of the role of students in that eventual military takeover [Park’s coup], Green was widely suspected in Indonesia of encouraging the student activists in the post-coup purge of the PKI” (ibid, p244).

Later, Green was US Ambassador at the time of the Whitlam Labor government’s fall in Australia in 1975. The CIA and other spy and covert action agencies were accused of engineering the fall, and there is much evidence for that interpretation, including the “panic” shown by the CIA over Whitlam’s intention to name a CIA agent in connection with the US Pine Gap spy base in Australia (see e.g. “Oyster”, pp177/80).

One Australian Labor Government Minister has reported an earlier threat made by Green “that if Labor handed control and ownership of US multinational subsidiaries to the Australian people ‘we would move in'” (“Rooted in Secrecy: The Clandestine Element in Australian Politics” by Joan Coxsedge et al, Campaign Against Political Police, 1982, p24).
With regard to Indonesia, Green regularly told Australian audiences that when he was there in the mid-1960s: “we did what we had to do and you’d better be glad we did because if we hadn’t Asia would be a different place today” (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, p244; “The CIA: A Forgotten History” by William Blum, Zed Books, 1986, p220). The pragmatic criterion of human rights is ever triumphant, but may ultimately eventuate in unpleasant consequences as well.

A lovely Press puff-piece by Christopher Moore on Green’s visit to Aotearoa/NZ in 1988 had this to say about the master diplomat: “For nearly 40 years, he trod the delicate tightrope of power politics with considerable skill. The archetypal New Englander, Marshall Green treats life with flinty personal integrity, a bemused view of human foibles and a robust, no-nonsense approach which has seen him confronting student mobs in Jakarta and devious politicians in Washington DC, with the manner of a strict but benign headmaster” (16/3/88). Such then is the Free Press’s portrayal of a man bloodied with the terrorist mass murders of Indonesian and Cambodian peasants. Fittingly, it was observed that Green, after his retirement from the foreign service, was still “active in foreign affairs think tanks and groups examining the world population crisis” (ibid.). For sure, Green was then a director of the Population Crisis Committee. The urbane New Englander had certainly made his own peculiarly personal contribution to this crisis through wholesale slaughter. With a final thoughtful touch, the Press article ends on Green’s considered wish: “I hope that throughout it all I have always remained a realistic humanitarian” (ibid). Exactly. Ironically, 1988, the year of Green’s visit to NZ was also the year of publication of Gabriel Kolko’s book, “Confronting the Third World” (cited above), which presented the damning evidence from cable traffic of Green’s role in the perpetration of the Indonesian genocide.

Another puff-piece in the Dominion Sunday Times (28/2/88) by Richard Long on Green’s 1988 visit was equally enlightening. Long commented that: “He was appointed Ambassador to Jakarta in 1965 when the moderates managed to defeat President Sukarno’s Communist takeover attempt”. We thus have a very neat summary of Western disinformation here from Long who was well known to be close to the US Embassy in Wellington. A standard item in the disinformation package is the line that fascist-style mass murderers are “moderates” (“Year 501”, chapter 5). Long went on to present Green as “far from being an old hawk” – to be sure, the old boy sounded “positively dovish on some issues” (Dominion Sunday Times, 28/2/88). Green praised the Indonesians who had the “great courage to oppose Sukarno”; and said this courage was “demonstrated, not just by the military, but also by other elements throughout the Indonesian bureaucracy and society” (ibid.). Besides all the propaganda previously described, it should be noted that by mid-1964 President Sukarno had become seriously ill (he died in 1970 in a state of virtual house arrest). The only concession by Long to any doubts about Green’s record was the observation that Green maintained “there are great fallacies in the conspiracy theories attempting to link Washington to coups and overthrows in the region”, including Whitlam’s fall (ibid).

 

In the Indonesian case, the problem
for
Mr. Green’s historical integrity is all
the incriminating documentary evidence accumulated in his own name.

 

 

Subversion as Foreign Policy

 

Kahin, George McT. and Kahin, Audrey R.
Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia.
New York: The New Press, 1995. 318 pages.
George Kahin has taught at Cornell University since 1951 and is one of the leading scholars of Southeast Asian history. This book covers Indonesian history from the end of the colonial period through the Eisenhower years.
It stops short of the 1965 coup, which a CIA study described as follows: “In terms of the numbers killed the anti-PKI massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century, along with the Soviet purges of the 1930s, the Nazi mass murders during the Second World War, and the Maoist bloodbath of the early 1950s.”

   

To get anything else out of the CIA about Indonesia, you still need a crowbar, even if you leave out 1965.
But George Kahin was personally acquainted with most of the key players in Indonesian politics during the 1950s, and
he managed even without the CIA’s documents. The importance of this work is that it exposes the covert policy of Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers in Indonesia during the 1950s.
This policy set the stage for the 1960s.
The events of 1965-1966, dismissed at the time by the world’s media as an “abortive Communist coup,” are still hotly disputed, and appear suspicious by any reasonable standard — the whole thing could have been set up by the CIA. That’s a book that cannot yet be written, but at least we’re off to a reliable start.

 

Ex-agents say CIA compiled death lists for Indonesians

After 25 years, Americans speak of their role in exterminating Communist Party
by Kathy Kadane, States News Service, 1990

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government played a significant role in one of the worst massacres of the century by supplying the names of thousands of Communist Party leaders to the Indonesian army, which hunted down the leftists and killed them, former U.S. diplomats say.
For the first time, U.S. officials acknowledge that in 1965 they systematically compiled comprehensive lists of Communist operatives, from top echelons down to village cadres. As many as 5,000 names were furnished to the Indonesian army, and the Americans later checked off the names of those who had been killed or captured, according to the U.S. officials.
The killings were part of a massive bloodletting that took an estimated 250,000 lives.
The purge of the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI) was part of a U.S. drive to ensure that Communists did not come to power in the largest country in Southeast Asia, where the United States was already fighting an undeclared war in Vietnam. Indonesia is the fifth most-populous country in the world.
Silent for a quarter-century, former senior U.S. diplomats and CIA officers described in lengthy interviews how they aided Indonesian President Suharto, then army leader, in his attack on the PKI.
“It really was a big help to the army,” said Robert J. Martens, a former member of the U.S. Embassy’s political section who is now a consultant to the State Department. “They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.”
White House and State Department spokesmen declined comment on the disclosures.
Although former deputy CIA station chief Joseph Lazarsky and former diplomat Edward Masters, who was Martens’ boss, said CIA agents contributed in drawing up the death lists, CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said, “There is no substance to the allegation that the CIA was involved in the preparation and/or distribution of a list that was used to track down and kill PKI members. It is simply not true.”
Indonesian Embassy spokesman Makarim Wibisono said he had no personal knowledge of events described by
former U.S. officials. “In terms of fighting the Communists, as far as I’m concerned, the Indonesian people fought by themselves to eradicate the Communists,” he said.
Martens, an experienced analyst of communist affairs, headed an embassy group of State Department and CIA officers that spent two years compiling the lists. He later delivered them to an army intermediary.
People named on the lists were captured in overwhelming numbers, Martens said, adding, “It’s a big part of the reason the PKI has never come back.”
The PKI was the third-largest Communist Party in the world, with an estimated 3 million members.
Through affiliated organizations such as labor and youth groups it claimed the loyalties of another 17 million.
In 1966 the Washington Post published an estimate that 500,000 were killed in the purge and the brief civil war it triggered. In a 1968 report, the CIA estimated there had been 250,000 deaths, and called the carnage “one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century.”
U.S. Embassy approval
Approval for the release of the names came from the top U.S. Embassy officials, including former
Ambassador Marshall Green, deputy chief of mission Jack Lydman and political section chief Edward Masters, the three acknowledged in interviews.
Declassified embassy cables and State Department reports from early October 1965, before the names were turned over, show that U.S. officials knew Suharto had begun roundups of PKI cadres, and that the embassy had nconfirmed reports that firing squads we re being formed to kill PKI prisoners.

 

Former CIA Director William Colby, in an interview, compared the embassy’s campaign to identify the PKI leadership to the CIA’s Phoenix Program in Vietnam.
In 1965, Colby was the director of the CIA’s Far East division and was responsible for directing U.S. covert strategy in Asia.
“That’s what I set up in the Phoenix Program in Vietnam — that I’ve been kicked around for
a lot,” he said. “That’s exactly what it was. It was an attempt to identify the structure” of
the Communist Party.

Phoenix was a joint U.S.-South Vietnamese program set up by the CIA in December 1967 that aimed at neutralizing members of the National Liberation Front, the Vietcong political cadres. It was widely criticized for alleged human rights abuses.
“You shoot them”
“The idea of identifying the local apparatus was designed to — well, you go out and get them to surrender, or you capture or you shoot them,” Colby said of the Phoenix Program. “I mean, it was a war, and they were fighting. So it was really aimed at prov iding intelligence for operations rather than a big picture of the thing.”
In 1962, when he took over as chief of the CIA’s Far East division, Colby said he discovered the United States did not have comprehensive lists of PKI activists. Not having the lists “could have been criticized as a gap in the intelligence
system,” he said, adding they were useful for “operation planning” and provided a picture of how the party was organized. Without such lists, he said, “you’re fighting blind.”
Asked if the CIA had been responsible for sending Martens, a foreign service officer, to Jakarta in 1963 to compile
the lists, Colby said, “Maybe, don’t know. Maybe we did it. I’ve forgotten.”
The lists were a detailed who’s-who of the leadership of the party of 3 million members, Martens said. They included names of provincial, city and other local PKI committee members, and leaders of the “mass organizations,” such as the PKI national labor f ederation, women’s and youth groups.


Better information

 

“I know we had a lot more information” about the PKI “than the Indonesians themselves,” Green said.
Martens “told me on a number of occasions that … the government did not have very good information on the Communist setup, and he gave me the impression that this information was superior to anything they had.”
Masters, the embassy’s political section chief, said he believed the army had lists of its own, but they were not as comprehensive as the American lists. He said he could not remember whether the decision to release the names had been cleared with Washing ton.

The lists were turned over piecemeal, Martens said, beginning at the top of the communist organization.
Martens supplied thousands of names to an Indonesian emissary over a number of months, he said. The emissary was an aide to Adam Malik, an Indonesian minister who was an ally of Suharto in the attack on the Communists.
Interviewed in Jakarta, the aide, Tirta Kentjana (“Kim”) Adhyatman, confirmed he had met with Martens and received lists of thousands of names, which he in turn gave to Malik. Malik passed them on to Suharto’s headquarters, he said.
“Shooting list”
Embassy officials carefully recorded the subsequent destruction of the PKI organization. Using Martens’ lists as a guide, they checked off names of captured and assassinated PKI leaders, tracking the steady dismantling of the party apparatus, former U.S. officials said.
Information about who had been captured and killed came from Suharto’s headquarters, according to Joseph Lazarsky, deputy CIA station chief in Jakarta in 1965. Suharto’s Jakarta headquarters was the central collection point for military reports from aroun d the country detailing the capture and killing of PKI leaders, Lazarsky said.
“We were getting a good account in Jakarta of who was being picked up,” Lazarsky said.
“The army had a ‘shooting list’ of about 4,000 or 5,000 people.”
Detention centers were set up to hold those who were not killed immediately.
“They didn’t have enough goon squads to zap them all, and some individuals were valuable for interrogation,” Lazarsky said. “The infrastructure was zapped almost immediately. We knew what they were doing. We knew they would keep a few and save hem for th e kangaroo courts, but Suharto and his advisers said, if you keep them alive, you have to feed them.”
Masters, the chief of the political section, said, “We had these lists” constructed by Martens, “and we were using them to check off what was happening to the party, what the effect” of the killings “was on it.”
Lazarsky said the checkoff work was also carried out at the CIA’s intelligence directorate in Washington.

Leadership destroyed
By the end of January 1966, Lazarsky said, the checked-off names were so numerous the CIA analysts in Washington concluded the PKI leadership had been destroyed.
“No one cared, as long as they were Communists, that they were being butchered,” said Howard Federspiel, who in 1965 was the Indonesia expert at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. “No one was getting very worked up about it.”
Asked about the checkoffs, Colby said, “We came to the conclusion that with the sort of Draconian way it was carried out, it really set them” — the communists — “back for years.”
Asked if he meant the checkoffs were proof that the PKI leadership had been caught or killed, he said,
“Yeah, yeah, that’s right, … the leading elements, yeah.”
END
—– This article first appeared in the
Spartanburg, South Carolina Herald-Journal on May 19, 1990, then in the San Francisco Examiner on May 20, 1990, the Washington Post on May 21, 1990, and the Boston Globe on May 23, 1990. The version below is from the Examiner.
http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/countries/indonesia/indonesiacia.html

 

Revelations and mysteries
Four decades after the beginning of the Indonesian Civil War, questions remain about the veracity of accounts of the events both leading up to and during the war provided by the Western governments and by Suharto. The ousting of the Suharto regime and beginning of the Reformation period in Indonesia and the end of the Cold War for the Western governments has allowed greater freedom of information, leading to a significant process of historical revisionism as well as the formation of conspiracy theories around the Indonesian Civil War. Still, mysteries remain over the time period.

Was PKI actually involved in the G30S?
Supporters of Suharto claim that his actions as field general were justified due to the imminent threat of a PKI-led coup to seize power, as had been attempted in 1948. Several critics of Suharto note, however, that the PKI in 1965 had an inclination that was similar to Eurocommunism and had come to prefer parliamentary electoral politics to armed insurrection; in fact, the PKI placed third in a 1955 presidential election, behind Sukarno’s own Partai Nasional Indonesia (PNI) and the Islamist party Masyumi.

These critics allege that Suharto purposefully exaggerated PKI involvement in the assassinations of the generals (both during the war and in subsequent propaganda events held on the anniversary) as mere window dressing for what was his own ruthless quest for power. The critics commonly point out that Suharto had already been involved in a 1959 corruption scandal involving sugar smuggling in the Bandung area, and that since the 1990s post-Cold War period that Suharto’s regime was known for both dishonesty and brutality.
There are several theories about the involvement of the PKI in the G30S movement. They are as follows:
The culprit of the G30S was the PKI
The PKI launced a coup d’etat against the Indonesian Army and the government to launch a communist government in Indonesia.
The G30S was an army Internal Problem
An army clique led by Suharto launched the coup precisely by sneaking into the PKI
The G30S was done by the CIA
The CIA worked together with an army click to destroy the PKI. The aim of CIA in Indonesia at that time was clearly to destroy communism in Southeast Asia.

The G30S was a Meeting Point between American and British Interests
The interests of Britain which wanted Sukarno’s confrontation against Malaysia to end with him losing power and the USA’s interest of ridding the world of communism sparked the G30S.
Sukarno was the Mastermind of the G30S
One of the most controversial theories of the G30S, Sukarno wanted to make the top army officials ‘vanish’ because they threatened his power. The PKI was also pulled into the mess because of its closeness with Sukarno.
The Chaos Theory
Nobody actually did the G30S. There was no grand scenario and it was ultimately affected by field operations.The G30S was a mix of Western nations, the doings of the PKI’s leaders and the army’s corrupt cliques.
Further muddling matters are recriminations of coup plots by both the left-wing and right-wing. As mentioned before, the PKI had in fact launched a coup effort in 1948; lesser known is that the right-wing military faction had already made several attempts on Sukarno’s life.


The Anderson theory
The allegations by the G30S assassins, that they acted to stop a coup by the right-wing Council of Generals and to take power, have always been dismissed by Suharto supporters as absurd. These Suharto supporters state that there was no such Council of Generals and that the G30S was merely a communist coup for whom the assassination of the generals was a prelude to the overthrow of Sukarno.
Recent historical revisionism by a leading American expert on Indonesia, Professor emeritus Benedict Anderson of Cornell University, refutes this quick dismissal. Anderson has put forward a theory that the Civil War was almost totally an internal matter of a divided military with the PKI playing only a peripheral role; that the right-wing generals assassinated on 1 October 1965 were, in fact, the Council of Generals coup planning to assassinate Sukarno and install themselves as a military junta; and that G30S was in fact a movement of officers loyal to Sukarno who carried out their plan believing it would preserve, not overthrow, Sukarno’s rule. The boldest claim in the Anderson theory, however, is that Suharto was in fact privy to the G30S assassination plot.


Central to the Anderson theory is an examination of a little-known figure in the Indonesian army, Colonel Abdul Latief. Latief had spent a career in the Army, and according to Anderson had been both a staunch Sukarno loyalist and a friend with Suharto. In the civil war, however, he was jailed and named a conspirator in G30S, and given a military trial in the 1970s. At his trial, Latief made the accusation that Suharto himself had been a co-conspirator in the G30S plot, and had betrayed the group for his own purposes.
Anderson points out that Suharto himself has twice admitted to meeting Latief in a hospital on 30 September 1965, the namesake of G30S, and that his two narratives of the meeting are contradictory. In an interview with American journalist Arnold Brackman, Suharto stated that Latief had been there merely “to check” on him, as his son was receiving care for a burn. In a later interview with Der Spiegel, Suharto stated that Latief had gone to the hospital in an attempt on his life, but had lost his nerve. Anderson believes that in the first account, Suharto was simply being disingenuous; in the second, that he had lied.

Further backing his claim, Anderson cites circumstantial evidence that Suharto was indeed in on the plot.
Among these are:
That almost all the key military participants named a part of G30S were, either at the time of the assassinations or just previously, close subordinates of Suharto: Lieutenant-Colonel Untung, Colonel Latief, and Brigadier-General Supardjo in Jakarta, and Colonel Suherman, Major Usman, and their associates at the Diponegoro Division’s HQ in Semarang.
That in the case of Untung and Latief, their association with Suharto was so close that attended each others’ family events and celebrated their sons’ rites of passage together.
That the two generals who had direct command of all troops in Jakarta (save for the Presidential Guard, who carried out the assassinations) were Suharto and Jakarta Military Territory Commander Umar. Neither of these figures were assassinated, and (if Anderson’s theory that Suharto lied about an attempt on his life by Latief) no attempt even made.
That during the time period that the assassination plot had been made, Suharto (as commander of the Kostrad) had made a habit of acting in a duplicitous manner: while Suharto was privy to command decisions in Confrontation, the intelligence chief of his unit Ali Murtopo had been making connections and providing information to the hostile governments of Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, and the United States through an espionage operation run by Benny Murdani in Thailand. Murdani later became a spy chief in Suharto’s government.

Anderson’s theory, for all the exhaustive research it has entailed, still leaves open a number of questions of interpretation. If, as Anderson believes, Suharto did have inside knowledge of the G30S plot, this still leaves open several possibilities: that Suharto had truly taken part in the plot and defected; that he had been acting as a spy for the Council of Generals; or that he was disinterested completely in the factional struggle of G30S and Council of Generals. Given that Suharto is infirm, reclusive, and judged as senile by the Indonesian judicial system, the questions raised by the Anderson speculation may never receive an answer from the man himself.

British psyops
The role of the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office and MI6 intelligence service has also come to light, in a series of exposés by Paul Lashmar and Oliver James in The Independent newspaper beginning in 1997. These revelations have also come to light in journals on military and intelligence history.

The revelations included an anonymous Foreign Office source stating that the decision to unseat Pres. Sukarno was made by Prime Minister Harold MacMillan then executed under Prime Minister Harold Wilson. According to the exposés, the United Kingdom had already become alarmed with the announcement of the Konfrontasi policy. A CIA memorandum of 1962 indicated that Prime Minister Macmillan and President John F. Kennedy were increasingly alarmed by the possibility of the Confrontation with Malaysia spreading, and agreed to “liquidate President Sukarno, depending on the situation and available opportunities.”
To weaken the regime, the Foreign Office’s Information Research Department (IRD) coordinated psychological operations in concert with the British military, to spread black propaganda casting the PKI, Indonesian Chinese, and Sukarno in a bad light. These efforts were to duplicate the successes of British Psyop campaign in the Malayan Emergency.
Of note, these efforts were coordinated from a British embassy in Singapore where the British Broadcasting Service (BBC), Associated Press (AP), and New York Times filed their reports on the Indonesian Civil War.
According to Roland Challis, the BBC correspondent who was in Singapore at the time, journalists were open to manipulation by IRD due to Sukarno’s stubborn refusal to allow them into the country: “In a curious way, by keeping correspondents out of the country Sukarno made them the victims of official channels, because almost the only information you could get was from the British ambassador in Jakarta.”

These manipulations included the BBC reporting that Communists were planning to slaughter the citizens of Jakarta. The accusation was based solely on a forgery planted by Norman Reddaway, a propaganda expert with the IRD. He later who bragged in a letter to the British ambassador in Jakarta, Sir Andrew Gilchrist that it “went all over the world and back again,” and was “put almost instantly back into Indonesia via the BBC.” Sir Andrew Gilchrist himself informed the Foreign Office on 5 October 1965: “I have never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change.”
In the April 16, 2000 Independent, Sir Denis Healey, Secretary of State for Defence at the time of the war, confirmed that the IRD was active during this time. He officially denied any role by MI6, and denied “personal knowledge” of the British arming the right-wing faction of the Army, though he did comment that if there were such a plan, he “would certainly have supported it.”
Although the British MI6 is strongly implicated in this scheme by the use of the Information Research Department (seen as an MI6 office), any role by MI6 itself is officially denied by the UK government, and papers relating to it have yet to be declassified by the Cabinet Office. (The Independent, December 6, 2000)


American assistance to Suharto
Often cited by the left as evidence of a broader, international plot to topple Sukarno, a number of revelations were made by former employees of U.S. State Department and Central Intelligence Agency regarding American actions during the Indonesian Civil War.
Beginning in 1990, American diplomats divulged to the Washington Post and other media outlets that they had compiled lists of Indonesian “communist operatives” had turned over as many as 5,000 names to military and intelligence loyal to Suharto. American journalist Kathy Kadane revealed the extent of the secret American support of some of the massacres of 1965-66 that allowed Suharto to seize the Presidency. She interviewed many former US officials and CIA members, who spoke of compiled lists of PKI operatives, which the Americans ticked off as the victims were killed or captured. They worked closely with the British who were keen to protect their interests in Malaysia.

 

Sir Andrew Gilchrist cabled the Foreign Office in London saying:
“…a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change”.
The PKI had won some popular support from the poor, it was this popularity, rather than any armed insurgency that alarmed the American government. Like Vietnam in the North, Indonesia might ‘go communist’. (San Francisco Examiner May 20, 1990)


In 2001, the National Security Archive at George Washington University obtained several internal documents of the U.S. Department of State, bolstering the ambassadors’ claims of American collaboration with Suharto. However, the National Security Archive claims that communications between Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency have been heavily redacted.


References
Anderson, Benedict. “Petrus Dadi Ratu” New Left Review. May-June 2000
“Army in Jakarta Imposes a Ban on Communists.” New York Times. 19 October 1965
Blum, William. Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Black Rose, 1998, pp. 193-198 ISBN 1567510523
CIA Stalling State Department Histories. The National Security Archive. URL accessed on May 23, 2005.
“Jakarta Cabinet Faces Challenge.” New York Times 16 December 1965
“Jakarta Leftist Out As Army Chief.” New York Times 15 October 1965
Kadane, Kathy: “Ex-agents say CIA compiled death lists for Indonesians”, San Francisco Examiner, 20 May 1990.
Lashmar, Paul and Oliver, James. “MI6 Spread Lies To Put Killer In Power” The Independent. (16 April 2000)
Lashmar, Paul and Oliver, James. “How we destroyed Sukarno” The Independent. (6 December 2000)
Lashmar, Paul; Oliver, James (1999). Britain’s Secret Propaganda War, Sutton Pub Ltd. ISBN 0750916680.
“Sukarno Removes His Defense Chief” New York Times. 22 February 1966
“Sukarno Seen Behind Coup” New York Times. 6 October 1965
“Tapol Troubles: When Will They End?,” Inside Indonesia, April-June 1999.

Toer, Pramoedya Ananta (2000). The Mute’s Soliloquy : A Memoir, Penguin. ISBN 0140289046.
[edit]
External links

State Department Historical Advisory Committee’s summary as of September 1, 1999 of the
“Status of Johnson and Nixon Era FRUS High Level Panel Covert Action Cases” (2 pages).
This document shows that the Panel decided on April 20, 1998 to acknowledge covert action in Indonesia, that the CIA completed review of the documents on August 28, 1998, and that the volume then went into page proofs, “however, publication has been delayed.”

Western Covert Intervention in Indonesia, October 1965 – March 1966


David Easter
London School of Economics and Political Science,
UK. Email: D.Easter@lse.ac.uk.
This study examines the role played by the West in the destruction of the Indonesian communist party, the PKI, and the removal of the radical Indonesian president, Sukarno, in 1965-66. After the murder of six generals in October 1965 the Indonesian army massacred thousands of communists and seized power from Sukarno. The United States secretly helped the army in this period by providing intelligence, arms, medicines and radios and by giving assurances that Britain would not attack Indonesia while the army was suppressing the PKI. The US, Britain, Australia and Malaysia also used propaganda to encourage hostility in Indonesia towards the PKI. The article assesses the impact of Western covert intervention and concludes that Western propaganda may have encouraged the mass killings of the communists.

The changes that took place in Indonesia from October 1965 to March 1966 were a watershed in the history of South-East Asia and a major reverse for communism in the Cold War. Prior to October 1965 Indonesia was a radical Third World state. Its charismatic president, Sukarno, was a vocal anti-imperialist, dedicated to resisting what he called the Nekolim (neo-colonialists-imperialists) of the West. Sukarno openly aligned himself with the communist bloc in this struggle, proclaiming support for the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War, establishing close ties with the People’s Republic of China and angrily pulling Indonesia out of the United Nations in January 1965. Sukarno also tried to destabilize his pro-Western neighbour Malaysia through a campaign called ‘Confrontation’. He denounced Malaysia as a British neo-colonialist creation and sponsored a guerrilla insurgency in the country. To leaders in Washington, London and Canberra, Sukarno appeared to be mounting a omprehensive
In internal affairs Sukarno was also moving Indonesia to the left. For many years there had been an uneasily balanced triangle of power in the country between Sukarno, the staunchly anti-communist army and the large Indonesian communist party, the PKI (Partai Komunis Indonesia). During 1964-65 Sukarno increasingly favoured the PKI. Government propaganda campaigns created a siege mentality by warning of Nekolim ‘encirclement’ of Indonesia and alleging American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plots to assassinate Sukarno. The president banned rival political parties to the PKI or allowed them to be taken over by the leftists. He also permitted the communists to gain control over most of the press and the Antara news agency.
It appeared that Sukarno, who was 64 years old and known to be in ill health, was creating the conditions for the PKI to
take control in Indonesia after his death. Such an outcome would have been a major defeat for the West as Indonesia
was a glittering geo-strategic prize. With a population of 103 million it was one of largest countries in the world, it had abundant raw materials and the sprawling Indonesian island chain covered vital sea lanes,.a challenge to Western interests in South-East Asia.
The loss of Indonesia would also outflank American efforts to contain communism in South Vietnam.

Events in the winter of 1965-66 completely transformed the situation. An abortive coup took place in Jakarta on 1 October, which, although unsuccessful, caused the death of six leading army generals. The Indonesian army blamed the coup attempt on the PKI and it retaliated with a ferocious campaign of repression against the party. An estimated 300,000-500,000 people were killed in an anti-communist Terror and the PKI was extinguished as a political force.
The army leader, Suharto, then compelled Sukarno in March 1966 to hand over executive powers to him in what was effectively a military coup. Under Suharto’s leadership Indonesia moved sharply to the right, both domestically and internationally, making peace with Malaysia and breaking ties with China.
Sukarno was marginalized and died while under house arrest in
1970.

This ‘reverse course’ in Indonesia was an important victory for the Western powers in the Cold War.
It removed the spectre of a communist Indonesia and ended Sukarno’s troublesome anti-Malaysia campaign
.
Since the West was such an obvious beneficiary of the reverse course, there has been speculation as to
whether the Western powers were actually responsible for it.

1

Peter Dale Scott has argued that the events of 1965-66 were in fact ‘a three phase right-wing coup – one which had been both publicly encouraged and secretly assisted by U.S. spokesmen and officials’.

2

Scott sees Suharto as the puppet master behind the reverse course, ‘inducing, or at a minimum helping to induce’ the October 1965 coup attempt and then using it as pretext to eliminate the PKI and remove Sukarno. In this conspiracy Scott believes Suharto had strong covert support from the United States, especially in areas like propaganda and secret aid to the Indonesian army. By contrast, the historian H.W. Brands has argued that Washington was not to blame for the changes in Indonesia.

3

Examining the documentary sources Brands could find no evidence of American links to the October 1965 coup attempt and he claims that the United States only gave cautious and limited support to the army in the subsequent power struggle. In short, he thinks that ‘Sukarno’s overthrow had little to do with American machinations. It resulted instead from developments of essentially Indonesian origin’.

4

Other writers have focused on Britain’s role

5

The journalists Paul Lashmar and James Oliver claim in their book Britain’s Secret Propaganda War that ‘the British government secretly helped overthrow President Sukarno of Indonesia, assisting the rise of General Suharto to power’.

6

Lashmar and Oliver draw on interviews with former Foreign Office officials to show that London mounted a covert propaganda campaign against Sukarno after the October 1965 coup attempt. However, Lashmar and Oliver provide little documentary proof and they also make bold claims about earlier Western plotting against Sukarno which are not supported by the evidence

7

This article will seek to answer the question of whether the West was responsible for the reverse course in Indonesia. Using British, Australian and American sources it will examine the covert role played by the West in the destruction of the Indonesian communist party and the ousting of Sukarno.
By the summer of 1965 there was a consensus amongst Britain, the United States, Australia and Malaysia, that Sukarno was an implacable enemy, threatening the stability of the region and leading his country to communism. Both the British and the Americans believed that the longer Sukarno remained in power the greater chance there was of a communist takeover in Indonesia after his death.

8

The Western powers responded to this threat in a similar way: by using propaganda and covert action. For the three Commonwealth powers the immediate problem was Confrontation. Britain and Australia had committed substantial forces to defend Malaysia but for political reasons they were reluctant to openly retaliate for the Indonesian guerrilla raids. If, for example, the British and Australians bombed targets in Indonesia it would confirm to the Indonesian public Sukarno’s warnings about the threat posed by the Nekolim. An open war between Britain, Australia and Indonesia could strengthen the position of the PKI and damage the prestige of the army, hastening moves towards a communist takeover. The Commonwealth allies therefore had to rely on covert pressures to make Indonesia halt Confrontation; British and Australian soldiers secretly crossed the jungle border to attack guerrilla units inside Indonesia and Britain and Malaysia gave aid to rebel groups in the outer Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Sulawesi.

9

In addition, the British and Malaysians used covert propaganda to erode support for Confrontation and encourage disunity in Indonesia.

10

In February 1965 the Information Research Department of the Foreign Office, which specialized in unattributable propaganda, set up the South East Asia Monitoring Unit in Singapore to carry out propaganda directed at Indonesian audiences.

11

London instructed that the propaganda from Singapore should undermine the will of the Indonesian armed forces to attack Malaysia, by representing that their real enemies were the PKI and communist China.
Propaganda should also ‘Discredit any potential successor to Sukarno . whose accession to power might benefit the PKI’.

12

In July the Foreign Office decided to step up its propaganda operations by appointing a Political Warfare Coordinator in Singapore. Norman Reddaway, the Regional Information Officer in Beirut, was selected for the position, although Reddaway would not take up the post until November.

13

Malaysian propaganda against Sukarno and the PKI was disseminated overtly, through Radio Malaysia’s external broadcasts to Indonesia, and covertly, through a ‘black’ radio station, ‘Radio Free Indonesia’, which masqueraded as the work of Indonesian émigrés.

14

The United States’ primary concern was the communist threat. In March 1965 the 303 Committee of the National Security Council approved a CIA-State Department political action programme to reduce the influence of the PKI and communist China and support non-communist elements in Indonesia.

15

As part of the programme the US would ‘develop black and grey propaganda themes for use within Indonesia and via appropriate media assets outside Indonesia’.

16

The aim would be to ‘Portray the PKI as an increasingly ambitious, dangerous opponent of Sukarno and legitimate nationalism and instrument of Chinese neo-imperialism’. The next month the United States effectively abandoned any attempt to work with Sukarno. The veteran American diplomat Ellsworth Bunker visited Sukarno in April but he could find no common ground – he came back convinced that the Indonesian leader ‘was a Marxist at heart’.

17

Bunker warned President Lyndon Johnson that the large and widespread American presence in Indonesia gave the PKI political targets to attack and allowed it to portray those who were friendly to the US, such as the army, as defenders and stooges of the imperialists. He therefore recommended that ‘U.S. visibility should be reduced so that those opposed to the communists and extremists may be free to handle a confrontation, which they believe will come, without the incubus of being attacked as defenders of the neo-colonialists and imperialists’.

18

The Americans should quietly keep in contact with ‘the constructive elements of strength in Indonesia’ and try to give these elements ‘the most favourable conditions for confrontation [with the PKI]’, although Bunker thought that Indonesia ‘would essentially have to save itself’.
Washington put Bunker’s recommendations into effect and adopted what one American official described as a ‘low silhouette’ policy.

19

American diplomats and aid workers were pulled out and the visible US presence reduced. At the same time Washington tried to find ways to influence opinion in Indonesia. Plans were drawn up to improve Voice of America (VOA)’s signal to Indonesia by erecting ten transmitters at Clark Field air base in the Philippines

20

In August US officials also held talks with the Australians in Canberra to discuss possible cooperation in broadcasts to Indonesia

21

It is clear, then, that by September 1965 the Western powers were hostile to Indonesia and trying to use propaganda to combat the PKI. But it was the coup attempt in Indonesia that gave them a real opportunity to do this. In the early hours of 1 October a group headed by Lieutenant Colonel Untung, a left-wing commander in the Presidential Guard, abducted and killed six leading Indonesian generals. Untung’s troops also took over broadcasting facilities in Jakarta and announced the formation of a Revolutionary Council.
The Untung putsch swiftly collapsed. Its armed bands failed to capture the Defence Minister, General Naustion, although they did manage to fatally injure his six-year-old daughter, and Major General Suharto, commander of the army’s strategic reserves, used his troops to regain control of the capital and crush the plotters. By 2 October the coup was effectively over.
What was less easily resolved and which remains a mystery to this day, is whether Untung was acting on behalf of other forces. There has been a welter of conflicting theories as to who was behind the coup attempt.

22

Some on the right have blamed the PKI, Red China, the pro-communist Indonesian Foreign Minister Subandrio or even Sukarno. Others, such as Scott, have constructed an elaborate conspiracy theory that the coup attempt was an army provocation, led by Suharto, to give a pretext for a crack-down on the communists.
There is insufficient space here to assess all the conflicting theories of the coup’s origins but looking at American, British and Australian primary sources it is apparent that despite their interest in covert action and propaganda, the Western powers were surprised by the coup attempt. In the first few days of October American, Australian and British diplomats in Jakarta were shocked and confused and had trouble in finding out what was going on.

23

There is no evidence that the coup attempt was a Western-backed army provocation. Indeed, on 1 October the American Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, Richard Helms, told George Ball at the State Department that the CIA ‘had had absolutely nothing to do with it’.

24

The immediate suspicion of Western officials was of a possible connection to the PKI.

25

Yet evidence for PKI involvement in the coup was not clear-cut. Communist transport and communications unions helped Untung on 1 October by cutting communications in and out of Jakarta and the next day a communist newspaper endorsed the action he had taken. The coup attempt was centred on the Halim air force base and made use of communist cadres being given military training there. But the PKI did not try to mobilize its massive party membership behind the coup and an American ‘clandestine source’ reported that the PKI central committee only decided to give Untung military support after hearing his radio broadcast on 1 October

26

After the coup had failed the PKI denied any involvement and claimed it had been an internal army matter, with junior officers attacking senior officers.
Faced with this conflicting evidence, privately Western policymakers were uncertain how far the PKI was responsible for the abortive coup. US State Department officials believed that the PKI had not planned or engineered the coup attempt.

27

Instead they thought that Untung, without consulting the party, might have put into effect a communist contingency plan to seize power on the death of Sukarno. Certainly there had been a flurry of reports in August-September that the president was seriously ill and these could have sparked Untung into action. Once the coup was underway the PKI felt it had no choice but to get on board. Sir Andrew Gilchrist, the British Ambassador in Jakarta, suspected that the communists only became aware of Untung’s plan at a late stage and joined in because they feared that if the army crushed Untung it would crush them as well.

28

The Australian Joint Intelligence Committee noted that while individual communist groups clearly participated in the coup, ‘evidence of actual PKI involvement – that is of prior planning by the Central Committee – is largely circumstantial’.

29

By contrast, Marshall Green, the US Ambassador to Indonesia, was convinced that party chairman Aidit and other top PKI leaders ‘were almost certainly in on planning’ the coup although he conceded that the ‘PKI decision to participate seems to have been hurried one’.

30

If Western policymakers were unsure about the role of the communists the Indonesian army appeared to have no doubts and it pressed Sukarno for strong action against the PKI. However, the president tried to protect the PKI and he refused to ban the party. He promised a peaceful political settlement and called for national unity, warning that division would only benefit the Nekolim. Reportedly at a cabinet meeting on 6 October Sukarno and Subandrio blamed the coup attempt on the CIA and alleged that the CIA’s aim was to spread confusion before an American and British invasion of Indonesia.

31

The army, though, was not diverted by Sukarno’s appeals for unity and it began to move against the PKI. It arrested communist cadres and encouraged anti-PKI demonstrations in Jakarta. It also tried to mobilize public opinion by taking control of the mass media.

32

The army closed down the communist press while ensuring the continued publication of military newspapers such as Angkatan Bersendjada, Berita Yudha and the English language Jakarta Daily Mail. It took control over Radio Indonesia and the Antara news agency, which was the main supplier of news carried by Indonesian radio stations and newspapers. Through these outlets the army attacked the PKI and linked it to Untung’s coup attempt. On 4 October an editorial in Angkatan Bersendjada lambasted the PKI as ‘devils’ who were ‘injecting poison into the Indonesian nation and the revolution’.

33

Two days later the paper claimed the coup attempt was masterminded by the PKI and called on the government to declare the party illegal.

34

One prominent theme in this propaganda campaign was the murder of the six Indonesian generals. The army-controlled media alleged that members of the PKI youth organization, Pemuda Rakjat, and the communist women’s group, Gerwani, had brutally tortured the generals before killing them.

35

For example, on 10 October Berita Yudha reported that the generals’ eyes had been gouged out. These claims were untrue. Although the generals’ bodies had partially decomposed after being dumped in a well by the rebels, autopsies showed they had not been tortured or mutilated after death.

36

Nonetheless this story became a central feature of the army’s propaganda campaign and a founding myth for the later Suharto regime.
In mid-October Suharto seems to have given approval for army units to deal with the PKI and the army rounded up and killed party members throughout the country. It also armed nationalist and Muslim groups, such as the Ansor Muslim youth organization, and encouraged them to eliminate the communists. The result was a wave of mass killings, spreading across Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi and into Bali by December and then onto Timor, Flores and Lombok. News of the slaughter slowly reached Western diplomats in Jakarta, who had only limited information on what was happening outside the capital. On 9 November an Australian teacher returning from central Java reported ‘All manner of atrocities, stakes through heads, eye gouging, live burials being freely committed by both sides’.

37

On 14 November an American missionary told her embassy of the massacre of 3,400 PKI activists by Ansor at Kediri, in East Java.

38

An Indonesian source informed the British air attaché that PKI men and women were being executed in very large numbers

39

Often they were given knives and told to kill themselves. If they refused they were shot in the back. An American observer in Bali reported ‘many headless bodies encountered on roads’ and a traveller in Sumatra saw Muslim youth group members stop a bus, drag out numerous communist passengers and hack them to death.

40

In February 1966 a visiting Australian diplomat learnt that 250 PKI members had been killed in the town of Kupang in Timor.

41

He was told by the chief of the Public Works Department in Kupang that torture was the customary prelude to death and was in fact carried out in the army establishment next door to his own home. The nightly executions, carried out just outside Kupang, were open to the public provided those who attended took part in the executions. The Army was in complete control of these operations.
Precisely how many were killed in the massacres is not known and may never be known. Estimates varied widely.

42

In January 1966 Colonel Stamboul, an army liaison officer, confided to the British military attaches that the army had no exact idea of the death toll but he estimated 500,000. Others in the army put the figure far higher. Major-General Adjie, the fiercely anti-communist commander of the Siliwangi division in West Java, told the Australian military attaché that nearly two million were killed. Short of hard evidence Western governments were cautious on the scale of the bloodletting. In April 1966 the State Department thought that around 300,000 had died.

43

Even so, the violence from October 1965 to January 1966 would still rank as one of the largest mass killings of the twentieth century. The army-controlled media in Indonesia did not report the massacres. Instead the media stoked up hatred of the communists by portraying them as sadistic murderers, intent on killing their opponents. It alleged that the coup attempt and the murder of the generals had been only the start of the communists’ plans for a reign of terror. Antara reported at the beginning of November that a list had been found in Garut of the names of hundreds of government officials the PKI had planned to kill if the coup had been a success.

44

In December the news agency ran a story that Aidit had offered party activists in Java 25 million rupiahs if they murdered more than 1,000 people on a PKI black-list.

45

Communist atrocity stories were also a prominent feature in the media

46

In November Antara claimed that Pemuda Rakjat members in Sumatra had kidnapped two youths and tortured them for five days, removing eyes and cutting off hands and testicles, before killing them. Another Pemuda Rakjat gang in Sumatra was alleged to have attacked Muslims praying on the bank of a river and again tortured and murdered them. The moral depravity of the communists was emphasized in other ways: Antara reported on 8 December that Aidit had encouraged the Gerwani and Pemuda Rakjat killers of the generals to take part in ‘delirious sexual orgies’ for six months before the coup.

47

In December the Jakarta Daily Mail denounced the communists as ‘mentally and morally perverted creatures who consider slander, abduction, mutilation and murder their way of life’.

48

The paper declared that there was no place for the PKI in God-fearing Indonesia and called on people to ‘Cast out this spawn of hell root and branch’. Such demonization of the PKI could only have fuelled the pogrom against the party. This is certainly what Sukarno feared. The Indonesian president tried to protect the communists from the massacres – he constantly called for calm and national unity, condemned the killings and threatened to punish by death those who used force against the PKI.

49

He also repeatedly warned the press not to incite the public with inflammatory articles and irresponsible reporting.

50

Sukarno and Subandrio both denied stories that the communists had tortured and mutilated the six generals during the coup.

51

They pointed out that the general’s death certificates had not mentioned any ‘abnormalities’. These efforts were in vain though. The army retained control of most of the media and it ensured that Sukarno’s message did not get through to the Indonesian public. Newspapers and Antara frequently failed to publish the text of speeches by the president.

52


Other papers, such as the Jakarta Daily Mail, carried commentaries which distorted Sukarno’s remarks, to make them appear to add up to a case for destroying the PKI.

53

Sukarno was powerless in the face of the massacres. During the period of repression the West gave covert support to the army. The Western powers had been greatly heartened by the events in Indonesia after 1 October. A real chance had appeared to smash the PKI and perhaps remove Sukarno, and the West was anxious that the army leaders fully seized the opportunity. As both the Australian and American embassies put it in telegrams on 5 October, it was ‘now or never’ for the army.

54

The key question was how the West could best encourage and help Suharto and Nasution. Any overt support was likely to be counterproductive as Sukarno and Subandrio would immediately denounce Nekolim interference in Indonesia. The West would therefore have to be circumspect in its approach. For Green the priority was to smear the PKI’s image through propaganda. On 5 October the ambassador had urged Washington to ‘Spread the story of PKI’s guilt, treachery and brutality’, adding that this was ‘perhaps the most needed immediate assistance we can give army if we can find way to do it without identifying it as sole or largely US effort’.

55

The State Department agreed. It had already begun a VOA and information programme connecting the PKI to the coup attempt.

56

Green appeared satisfied with the results. He cabled Washington on 7 November ‘that VOA doing good job’.

57

There are also indications that the CIA carried out covert anti-PKI propaganda after the coup.

58

The Australians were also active in this field. After 1 October the Department of External Affairs gave daily guidance to Radio Australia over its broadcasts to Indonesia.

59

The Department stressed that Radio Australia should not give information to the Indonesian people that the army-controlled internal media would withhold, such as disavowals by the PKI of responsibility for the coup. Instead the station should highlight reports discrediting the PKI and showing its involvement in the Untung coup attempt. The station seems to have faithfully followed these guidelines, for Keith Shann, the Australian Ambassador in Jakarta, was pleased with Radio Australia’s output, describing it as ‘generally good’.

60

For their part the Malaysians tried to blame the putsch on the communists and inflame popular feeling in Indonesia. For example, on 13 October a news commentator on Radio Malaysia read out an editorial from the Beirut newspaper Lissan Al-Hal which claimed that, ‘without the slightest shade of doubt’, the coup was contrived by the PKI.

61

He recalled the murder of Naustion’s daughter and ‘the mutilated bodies of the six Muslim generals. who [were] dismembered, cut to small bits and thrown in a well’. Whipping up feelings further, the newsreader said ‘Such atrocities against Muslims cannot but make the blood boil in every Muslim heart . they open every Muslim eye to the dirty work which no communist lackey would hesitate to do whenever the master dictates’. The British were working on similar lines. The Foreign Office hoped to ‘encourage anti-Communist Indonesians to more vigorous action in the hope of crushing Communism in Indonesia altogether’

62

The Information Research Department would stimulate broadcasts to Indonesia by the BBC, Radio Malaysia, Radio Australia and VOA. It would also try to disseminate propaganda through newspapers read in Indonesia such as the Straits Times. The same anti-PKI message was to be spread by more clandestine outlets, such as a ‘black transmitter’ (presumably Radio Free Indonesia) and ‘IRD’s regular newsletter’, which seems to have been ‘black’ propaganda prepared in Singapore by the Information Research Department’s South East Asia Monitoring Unit.

63

Suggested propaganda themes included ‘PKI brutality in murdering Generals and families, Chinese interference, particularly arms shipments, PKI subverting Indonesia as the agents of foreign Communists’.

64

On 9 October the Foreign Office reported that it was mounting some ‘short term unattributable ploys design British propaganda efforts were strengthened by the arrival in November of Norman Reddaway as Political Warfare Coordinator in Singapore. Reddaway received news on the situation in Indonesia from the embassy in Jakarta and from intelligence sources, which seem to have included signals intelligence, as Britain had broken the Indonesian ciphers.

65

The mistrust could reach ludicrous levels. In mid-October Nasution’s aide quizzed Ethel about reports of British arms shipments to the PKI and asked whether the coup could have been a plot by Britain and communist China

66

He would then supply information that suited British purposes to news agencies, newspapers and radio via contacts in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. This news would be carried out into the world’s media and return to Indonesia, allowing Britain to influence Indonesian opinion. The reports were designed to damage the communists. A draft Foreign Office brief in late November explained that Britain had been ‘blackening the PKI’s reputation within Indonesia and outside,
by feeding into the ordinary publicity media news from Indonesia that associates the PKI and the Chinese with Untung’s treachery plus corresponding covert activity’. Thus, despite some private doubts over communist responsibility for the coup attempt, all four Western powers used the media to pin the blame on the PKI and discredit the party in Indonesia. This propaganda offensive supported the army’s own activities, as the stories on VOA, Radio Malaysia, Radio Australia and the BBC and in the press confirmed the stories in the army-controlled media. The synergy between the two publicity campaigns was not accidental. The British and Americans recycled reports from Radio Jakarta or the army newspapers by broadcasting them back to Indonesia

67

For example, on 5 November the Jakarta Daily Mail claimed that on the day of the coup 100 women from Gerwani had tortured one of the generals by using razor blades and knives to slash his genitals before he was shot

68

In December an Information Research Department official noted that this atrocity story would be included in the South East Asia Monitoring Unit’s propaganda output

69

Furthermore the Indonesian army actively advised the Western powers on the themes they should or should not use in their propaganda. On 2-3 November Indonesian Brigadier-General Sukendro had secret talks in Bangkok with Dato Ghazali Shafie, the Permanent Secretary at the Malaysian Ministry of External Affairs.

70

Sukendro said that Radio Malaysia should not give the army ‘too much credit’ or criticize Sukarno but should emphasize PKI atrocities and the party’s role in the coup. Sukendro also asked for help in ‘the character and political assassination’ of Subandrio and offered to send background information on the Foreign Minister which could be used by the Malaysians. On 5 November an Indonesian military contact also approached the Americans and warned them against broadcasts that implied approval of army actions.

71

An officer in the army information section told Shann that Radio Australia should never suggest that the army was pro-Western or rightist and should mention other organizations, such as Muslim and youth groups, opposing the PKI.

72

As well as using propaganda against the PKI the Western powers helped the army in other ways. The Americans set up a back-channel link to the army leaders through Colonel Willis Ethel, the US Army Attaché in Jakarta, who regularly met with an aide to Naustion. Through this channel the Americans reassured the Indonesian army about British activities and intentions, for although these two groups shared a common interest in the removal of the communists, because of the Confrontation the army was suspicious of Britain.
ed to keep the Indonesian pot boiling’.

73

To Washington these bizarre ideas showed the ‘somewhat naïve international view ‘ of the army leaders, but they genuinely seemed to suspect a conspiracy between London and Beijing.

74

Ethel had to assure them that Britain had not colluded with the Chinese and the PKI

75

Ethel also gave a broader assurance that Britain would not escalate the Confrontation while the army was dealing with the communists. With the approval of London, on 14 October Ethel told Nasution’s aide that the British did not intend to start any offensive military action.

76

In early November the British and Australians reinforced this message.

77

Counsellor James Murray promised General Mokoginta, the Commander of Indonesian Armed Forces in Sumatra, that Britain had no intention of stepping up the Confrontation while the army was engaged with the PKI. Gilchrist and Shann said the same thing to Helmi, an Under-Secretary at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who was close to the army. Shann declared that the army ‘would be completely safe in using their forces for whatever purpose they saw fit’.

78

The Indonesian army could suppress the communists without worrying about British and Australian operations in the Confrontation. In addition, the Americans secretly gave the army material aid. At the end of October Sukendro asked the US for medical supplies, communications equipment, rice and small arms to support the army’s campaign against the PKI.

79

Washington was willing to help but it knew that there were major political risks involved. If American aid was exposed Sukarno and Subandrio would have proof of Nekolim interference in Indonesian internal affairs and this would seriously embarrass both the United States and the army. So the Americans moved carefully. On 12 November the State Department informed the British and Australians that the US had agreed to send $100,000-worth of medical supplies to the Indonesian army via covert channels.

80

The 303 Committee also agreed on 19 November to give the army leaders a secure communications system, to maintain contact with each other and with ‘U.S. elements’.

81

In interviews in 1981-82 Sukendro confirmed that the US had secretly supplied medicines, radios and small arms through the Bangkok CIA station.

82

Money may have been provided as well – in December Green recommended a ‘black bag’ operation giving 50 million rupiahs to Adam Malik, a key figure in KAP-Gestapu, an army-inspired action group that organized anti-PKI demonstrations.

83

Finally, the US supplied the army with intelligence.

84

The American embassy in Jakarta had compiled lists of names of the PKI leadership and senior cadres and, according to Green, this information was superior to anything held by the Indonesian army. After the coup attempt embassy officials passed on to the army lists of names of known PKI leaders. The army could use this information to round up key communists and dismantle the party structure.
The actions taken by the army in suppressing the communists did seem to trouble the consciences of some of the Western ambassadors in Jakarta. In a telegram to Canberra on 19 December Shann wrote that ‘In many cases the massacre of entire families because one member spoke to the Communists, has occurred. Some of the methods adopted are unspeakable . [It has been] a blood-bath of savage intensity, remarkably unpublicised and locally regarded with a ghoulish cynicism’.

85

Gilchrist asked Reddaway in February 1966 ‘What have we to hope from the [Indonesian] generals? 400,000 people murdered, far more than total casualties in Vietnam+nobody cares. “They were communists.” Were they? And are communists not human beings?

86

Yet the massacre of thousands of communists did not affect Western policy.
The logic of the
Cold War meant that the army was fulfilling the Western interest by eliminating the PKI and removing the danger of Indonesia falling to communism. The army was also the only means to dispose of Sukarno and end the Confrontation. Therefore, despite distaste for the army’s methods, the West still wanted to support it. The main problem for this policy was not ethical concerns but the fear that overt aid could embarrass the army in its power struggle with Sukaro and Subandrio.
On 1-2 December 1965 American, Australian, British and New Zealand officials held secret Quadripartite talks to coordinate policy towards Indonesia.

87

The mass killings were not even mentioned. Instead the officials discussed the difficulties in helping the army while Sukarno and Subandrio remained in power. The West still had to take care not to make the army appear to be Nekolim stooges and for this reason it was agreed at the meeting that ‘except for some cautious propaganda (on lines already agreed) we should take no initiative at this moment to help the Generals’.
There was another reason why the West would not offer greater aid, especially economic aid: the army did not seem to want it. In November Sukendro had raised the possibility of the US and Malaysia giving rice, which was in short supply in some areas in Indonesia.

88

But by the middle of December the army leaders seemed to have abandoned this idea. On 13 December Malik told Green that there was an urgent need for food and clothing in Indonesia but Suharto and Nasution wanted to let Sukarno and Subandrio ‘stew in their own juice’.

89

Economic mismanagement hurt the civilian government, not the army, and if the situation worsened Sukarno and Subandrio would be blamed. Malik advised the US not to give aid yet.
Malik’s prediction about the effects of economic distress soon came true. To try and rescue the floundering economy in mid-December Sukarno’s government devalued the rupiah by an order of 1,000 and then quadrupled fuel prices in early January.

90

These harsh fiscal measures provoked mass student protests. An Indonesian Student Action Front, composed mainly of Muslim and nationalist students, organized demonstrations. They linked economic discontent to political protest, demanding not just a reduction in prices but also the removal of left-wing ministers, such as Subandrio, and the formal banning of the PKI. The army gave covert assistance to the students, transporting them to demonstrations and protecting them. The army leaders saw the student protests as a way to undermine Sukarno’s rule and ease him and Subandrio from office.
In their campaign the army and students again received propaganda support from the West. Reddaway reported on 11 February that: We have . stepped up our efforts. The Malaysian black radio is taking our tapes, material written by us in Djakarta is appearing in Middle East Muslim newspapers and being repeated by Radio Malaysia so that Indonesians hear it. The newsletter undoubtedly continues to get through and be read. We pick up anti-Subandrio propaganda circulated within Indonesia and get it published world-wide via news agencies.

91

On 21 February Sukarno tried to reassert his authority by reshuffling his cabinet and sacking Nasution as Defence Minister. But this move backfired. It triggered off even larger student demonstrations, again abetted by the army, and on 11 March troops mounted a show of force outside Sukarno’s palace. Under this pressure Sukarno yielded and he signed a
letter of authority handing over executive power to Suharto. Although Sukarno remained nominally in charge real power was now in the hands of the army.
The Western allies were delighted with the army’s seizure of power.
An American official explained to President Johnson on 12 March that:
It is hard to overestimate the potential significance of the army’s apparent victory over Sukarno (even though the latter remains as a figurehead). Indonesia has more people – and probably more resources – than all of mainland Southeast Asia.
It was well on the way to becoming another expansionist Communist state, which would have critically menaced the rear of the whole Western position in mainland Southeast Asia. Now, though the unforeseen can always happen, this trend has been sharply reversed
.

92

The pro-communist trend had indeed been reversed. During the remainder of 1966 and 1967 Suharto moved methodically to undo all of Sukarno’s policies. He banned the PKI, detained Subandrio, ended Confrontation with Malaysia, rejoined the United Nations and froze relations with communist China. Sukarno was stripped of his remaining powers and died in obscurity.

Indonesia was saved for the West.

The question remains of how far the Western powers were responsible for this outcome. Did Western covert intervention in Indonesia cause the destruction of the PKI and the removal of Sukarno? The origins of the coup attempt in October 1965 remain obscure but on the evidence from currently available American, Australian and British archives it does not seem to have been a Western-inspired or -supported plot. Certainly the West gave covert support to the army after the coup but it appears, as Brands argues, that the indigenous actors were the key to events in Indonesia from October 1965 to March 1966. It was the army that chose to crush the communists and topple Sukarno’s government. While the attitude of the West may have encouraged the army to move against the PKI it probably did not need much encouragement. Nasution, for example, whose daughter had been murdered in the coup, had reasons enough of his own. The United States did help the army by providing radios, medicine, small arms and lists of names and by giving assurances that Britain would not escalate the Confrontation, but this support was not essential to the army’s success.
Western propaganda may have been of more importance in bringing down Sukarno’s regime and in inciting the massacre of the communists. The documentary sources do, for example, corroborate a lot of Lashmar and Oliver’s revelations about British covert propaganda operations in 1965-66. The influence of the West on the anti-communist Terror should not be exaggerated though. The killings were not just political acts in the Cold War, they were also a complex sociological phenomenon and the perpetrators had a wide variety of local motives.

93

The PKI had supported land reform in rural areas and this had created bitter resentment between peasant party members and small landlords. Muslims and, in Bali, Hindus were driven by religious fervour to slaughter the atheist communists. The killings sometimes had racial overtones, such as attacks on ethnic Chinese in North Sumatra. In the frenzy of violence people saw a chance to satisfy personal vendettas. Other factors than propaganda drove civilians to murder suspected communists. The killings were not just a reaction to Western propaganda – they were the culmination of years of built up tension and hatred.
It can also be questioned how large the audience for Western propaganda actually was. Australian officials believed that the only about 60 per cent of the adult Indonesian population was literate and the number of newspaper readers was thought to be just 500,000.

94

Radio was a more important source of news but the number of listeners was still limited. Radio Indonesia estimated in 1963 that there were 3.5 million radio sets in the country with an effective listenership of 17 million, but this might have been an underestimate, as one radio set could be listened to by a large number in a small village which had no other sources of information.
Of the foreign radio stations Radio Australia was generally agreed to be the most popular, indeed an army officer told the Australians in September 1965 that Radio Australia was more popular than Radio Indonesia.

95

It was listened to by the elite – Nasution was said to be a regular listener – and by students, who liked it because it played rock music, which had been officially banned in Indonesia. The BBC Indonesian service had far fewer listeners and was dismissed in an Information Research Department report in June 1965 as being ‘probably only of marginal value’

96

Voice of America suffered from having a weak signal and was difficult to hear.

97

Green complained to Washington on 19 October 1965 about the ‘appalling inadequacy of VOA signal to Indonesia’ and called for emergency measures to give a clear reception.

98

Radio Malaysia was audible, but in the opinion of Gilchrist it was not trusted by Indonesians and therefore had no great influence.

99

The audiences of the West’s covert propaganda outlets are impossible to gauge, but judging by the relatively few newspaper readers and radio listeners in Indonesia, Western propaganda may have only been able to reach and affect a limited number of people.
Nevertheless, there are signs that Western propaganda may have had an impact. The Indonesian government seemed to notice the propaganda campaign and feel threatened by it. In a speech in January 1966 Sukarno declared those unhappy with his leadership should say so openly and ‘not carry out campaigns of secret slander inspired by Nekolim to bring about his downfall’

100

In February an editorial in the Indonesian Herald newspaper, which acted as the mouthpiece for Subandrio’s Foreign Ministry, warned of a ‘Necolim psywar’ being used to ‘subdue our revolution’.

101

On the other side, British officials believed that their propaganda had been effective. Gilchrist wrote in April 1966 that military and political propaganda pressure on Indonesia ‘has had no small effect in breaking up the Soekarno regime’.

102

Reportedly, Sir John Grandy, the British Commander in Chief in the Far East, thought Reddaway’s propaganda work ‘made an outstanding contribution to the campaign against the Indonesians’.

103

The explanations ordinary Indonesians gave for the massacres also appeared to show the influence of propaganda. Western journalists travelling in Java and Bali in the spring and summer of 1966 observed that people repeatedly justified
the killings as self-defence.
Seymour Topping wrote in the New York Times that ‘Many Indonesians say bluntly “It was them or us”‘.

104

He heard rumours in the towns of the PKI digging mass graves prior to the coup and PKI files naming high-ranking army officers, local officials and religious leaders that were to be executed. Stanley Karnow reported in the Washington Post that ‘Everywhere . people sought to justify the destruction of the Communists with the same phrase “If we hadn’t done it to them they would have done it to us”‘.

105

He believed this pervasive attitude was largely due to the ‘the brutal fashion in which the Communists murdered [the] six army generals’. Dennis Warner, quoted an Indonesian in The Sydney Morning Herald as saying ‘I think the murder of the generals and Nasution’s daughter had such an impact on us all, especially when we learnt what was in store for the rest of us, that no one had any sympathy for the PKI’.

106

Clearly, some of the themes of the propaganda campaign are present here but there is a difficulty in separating out the effects of internal army propaganda from Western propaganda, as both were conveying the same message. It is likely that Western propaganda played a secondary, supporting role. The news coming from abroad would have confirmed the stories Indonesians were hearing at home – that the PKI had masterminded the coup, that communist women tortured and murdered the six generals, that the communists had planned to massacre their enemies. Western propaganda helped build up the picture of the communists as menacing, bloodthirsty killers that needed to be eradicated. The impact of this campaign was to dehumanize the communists and make it easier to murder them. As one Indonesian civilian, who executed 18 communists, put it to a journalist in 1966 ‘I did not kill people. I killed wild animals’.

107

To this extent Western covert intervention may have encouraged the massacres in Indonesia in the winter of 1965-66.

Notes
1. Scott, ‘The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno’
2, Scott, ‘The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno’, 239
3. Brands, ‘The Limits of Manipulation’
4. Brands, ‘The Limits of Manipulation’, 787.
5. Lashmar and Oliver, Britain’s Secret Propaganda War, 1-10.
6 Lashmar and Oliver, Britain’s Secret Propaganda War, 1.
7. Lashmar and Oliver allege that in 1962 the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and the American President John Kennedy secretly agreed to ‘liquidate’ Sukarno. This allegation was recently repeated in Blum, Killing Hope. The original basis for this claim is a partially declassified CIA document, Declassified Documents Referencing Service (DDRS), British Library of Political and Economic Science, 1975, Item 240A, CIA Report CS-3/522,563, 17 September 1962. In this document the writer does claim that Macmillan and Kennedy had agreed to liquidate Sukarno. However, although the document has been partially sanitized, it is fairly clear that it is a report from an Indonesian diplomat or intelligence officer which had been obtained by the CIA (the writer tells a Pakistani diplomat that Pakistan should leave the Western bloc and become neutralist; he interchangeably refers to Indonesia and ‘we’ buying parachutes from Pakistan). Furthermore the writer’s claim about the Kennedy-Macmillan plot is, by his own admission, based on ‘impressions I have received in conversations with Western diplomats’ and not on hard evidence. The document might illustrate Indonesian fears about Western intentions but it offers no proof of an Anglo-American plot in 1962 to liquidate Sukarno.
8. The National Archives (TNA) (Public Records Office) CAB 148/19 OPD(65)25, 26 January 1965; National Intelligence Memorandum NIE 54/55-65, 1 July 1965, FRUS, Indonesia 1964-68, vol. 26, 270-71.
9. Easter, ‘British and Malaysian Covert Support’.
10. Easter, ‘British Intelligence and Propaganda’.
11. TNA FO 1101/1, Minute ‘War of nerves Indonesia’, not dated.
12. Easter, ‘British Intelligence and Propaganda’ , 93-4.
13. TNA FO 371/187587, Minute Stanley to Edmonds, 17 June 1966; TNA FO 371/181530, Telegram 2645 Commonwealth Relations Office (CRO) to Kuala Lumpur, 19 October 1965.
14. TNA DEFE 28/144, Minute Drew to PS/Minister, 19 December 1963; TNA FO 953/2140, Telegram 2380 Kuala Lumpur to CRO, 25 October 1963.
15. Political Action Paper, 19 November 1964; Memorandum for 303 Committee, 23 February 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 181-84; 234-37.
16. Memorandum for 303 Committee, 23 February 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 234-7.
17. TNA FO 371/180337, Despatch 10342/65 Stewart to Peck, 26 April 1965.
18. Report from Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker to President Johnson, not dated, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 256.
19. National Archives of Australia (NAA) A1838/555/1/9/1 Part 1, ‘Overseas broadcasts to Indonesia. Discussions with United States’ officials’, Canberra 3-4 August 1965, not dated; Bunnell, ‘American “Low Posture” Policy towards Indonesia’.
20. NAA A1838/555/1/9/1 Part 1, Telegram 2122 Washington to Department of External Affairs (DEA), 22 June 1965.
21. NAA A1838/555/1/9/1 Part 1, ‘Overseas Broadcasts to Indonesia. Discussions with United States’ Officials’, Canberra 3-4 August 1965, not dated.
22. For an examination of the different theories see Crouch, The Army and Politics in Indonesia, 97-134, and Elson, Suharto, 110-18.
23. DDRS, Retrospective Collection, Item 605D, Telegram 800 Jakarta to Washington, 1 October 1965; NAA A6364/4 JA 1965/07, Telegram 1149, Jakarta to Canberra, 1 October 1965; TNA FO 371/180317, Gilchrist to Foreign Office (FO), 3 October 1965.
24. FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 301 footnote.
25. TNA FO 371/180317, Telegram Guidance 398 CRO to Kuala Lumpur, 4 October 1965; NAA A1838/3034/2/18/8 Part 1, Telegram 3445 Washington to DEA, 4 October 1965.
26. DDRS, Retrospective Collection, Item 29C, CIA Office of Central Intelligence, OCI No 2342/65, 28 October 1965.
27. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 1, Telegram 3445 Washington to DEA, 4 October 1965; Telegram 3442 Washington to DEA, 4 October 1965.
28. TNA FO 371/180320, Despatch DH1015/2/5 Gilchrist to Stewart, 19 October 1965.
29. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 7, Note ‘Indonesia, PKI Responsibility for the Attempted Coup’, 9 December 1965.
30. Telegram 1184 Jakarta to State Dept, 26 October 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 335-7.
31. DDRS Retrospective Collection, Item 28E, Telegram CIA/OCI 12980 Jakarta to Washington, 6 October 1965; Retrospective Collection, Item 29A, Telegram CIA/OCI 13185 Jakarta to Washington, 8 October 1965.
32. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 1, Telegram 1156 Shann to DEA, 2 October 1965; NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 2, UPI report 274, 11 October 1965; NAA A6364/JA1965/015 Political Savingram 52, Jakarta to DEA, 15 October 1965; TNA FO 371/180317, Telegram 2083 Gilchrist to FO, 8 October 1965.
33. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 1, Telegram 1169 Jakarta to DEA, 5 October 1965.
34. TNA FO 371/180317, Telegram 2061 Gilchrist to FO, 6 October 1965.
35. Anderson, ‘How did the Generals Die?’
36. Anderson, ‘How did the Generals Die?’. Simons, Indonesia: The Long Oppression, 173-4.
37. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 5, Record of a conversation with Marietta Smith, 9 November 1965.
38. DDRS Retrospective Collection, Item 615C, Telegram 171 Surabaya to Jakarta, 14 November 1965.
39. TNA FO 371/180325, Letter by Charney, 24 November 1965.
40. Lyndon Johnson National Security Files (NSF), Kings College, London, Reel 8 634-6, Telegram 1814 Jakarta to State Dept, 21 December 1965; Sydney Morning Herald, 30 December 1965.
41. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 11, Despatch Starey to DEA, 25 February 1966.
42. NAA A1838/3034/1 Part 2, Visit to Indonesian Military Establishments 20-27 June 1966 by Warner, 30 June 1966. TNA FO 371/186027, Despatch 1011/66 Jakarta to FO, 13 January 1966.
43. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 13 Memo No 601/66 Birch to DEA, 19 April 1966.
44. TNA FO 371/180322, Telegram 2426 Jakarta to FO, 3 November 1965.
45. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 8, UPI report 284, 18 December 1965.
46. TNA FO 371/180323, Cambridge to Tonkin, 9 November 1965; Telegram 2528 Gilchrist to FO, 13 November 1965.
47. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 7, UPI report 264, 8 December 1965; UPI report 265, 8 December 1965.
48. TNA FO 371/180325, Jakarta Daily Mail, 11 December 1965.
49. NAA A1209/1965/6674 Part 1, Telegram 1278 Jakarta to DEA, 22 October 1965; Telegram 1294 Jakarta to DEA, 26 October 1965; NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 8, UPI report 10, 17 December 1965.
50. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 5, UPI report 96, 10 November 1965; NAA A6364/JA1965/015, Savingram 59, Jakarta to DEA, 25 November 1965.
51. NAA A1838/3006/4/9 Part 30, Interview Subandrio and Hastings, 15 December 1965; NAA A6364/JA1965/015, Savingram 62 Jakarta to DEA, 17 December 1965.
52. DDRS Retrospective Collection, Item 611C, Telegram 1195 Jakarta to State Dept, 25 October 1965; NAA A1838/3034/2/1 Part 48, Macdonnell to Ottawa, 18 November 1965.
53. NAA A6364/JA1965/015, Savingram 64 Jakarta to DEA, 23 December 1965.
54. DDRS Retrospective Collection, Item 28C, Telegram CIA/OCI 12848 Jakarta to Washington, 5 October 1965; NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 1, Telegram 1172, Shann to DEA, 5 October 1965.
55. Telegram 868 Green to State Dept, 5 October 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’” 307-8.
56. Telegram 400 State Dept to Jakarta, 6 October 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 308-10.
57. DDRS Retrospective Collection, Item 613A, Telegram 1353 Jakarta to State Dept, 7 November 1965.
58. McGehee, Deadly Deceits , 57-8.
59. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 3, Minute Hay to Minister, 18 October 1965.
60. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 3, Minute Hay to Minister, 18 October 1965; Najjarine and Cottle, ‘The Department of External Affairs’
61. TNA FO 371/180320, Radio Malaysia 2140 hours News Commentary, 13 October 1965.
62. TNA DEFE 25/170, Telegram 1863 FO to Singapore, 8 October 1965.
63. TNA FO 371/187587, Adams to de la Mare, attached diagram, 2 June 1966.
64. TNA FO 371/181455, Telegram 2679 CRO to Canberra, 13 October 1965.
65. TNA FO 371/181530, Telegram 1460 Stanley to Reddaway, 9 October 1965.
66. Easter, ‘British Intelligence and Propaganda’ , 85; TNA FO1101/5, Minute Reddaway to Tovey, 30 October 1965.
67. TNA FO 371/181455, Minute Stanley to Cable, 7 October 1965; Telegram 2679 CRO to Canberra, 13 October 1965.
68. TNA FO 371/180324, Despatch DH 1015/311 Jakarta to FO, 22 November 1965.
69. TNA FO 371/180324, Minute by Weilland, 22 December 1965.
70. TNA FO 371/181457, Record of meeting between Ghazali and Sukendro on 2-3 November 1965, 10 November 1965.
71. Lyndon Johnson NSF, Reel 8, 338-9, Telegram 1357 Jakarta to Washington, 5 November 1965.
72. NAA A6364/JA1965/10, Telegram 1340 Shann to Canberra, 5 November 1965.
73. DDRS Retrospective Collection, Item 610B, Telegram 497 State Dept to Jakarta, 21 October 1965; Johnson NSF, Reel 8, 251-2, Telegram 1139 Jakarta to State Dept, 22 October 1965.
74. Intelligence Memorandum OCI No 2942/65, 18 November 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 372.
75. DDRS Retrospective Collection, Item 611D, Telegram 526 State Dept to Jakarta, 26 October 1965; Johnson NSF Reel 8, 288-289, Telegram 1201, Jakarta to State Dept, 26 October 1965.
76. Telegram unnumbered, Jakarta to State Dept, 10 October 1965; Telegram 1006 Jakarta to State Dept, 14 October 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 317-18; 321-2.
77. TNA FO 371/181457, Record of Conversation with General Mokoginta by James Murray, 9 November 1965; Telegram 2509 Gilchrist to FO, 12 November 1965.
78. NAA A6364/JA1965/10, Telegram 1383 Shann to DEA, 12 November 1965.
79. Telegram 1288 Jakarta to State Dept, 1 November 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 345-7.
80. Telegram 749 State Dept to Bangkok, 4 November 1965; Telegram 951 Bangkok to State Dept, 11 November 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 357-8; 364-6.
81. Memorandum for 303 Committee, 17 November 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 368-71.
82. Bunnell, ‘American “Low Posture” Policy towards Indonesia’, 59, footnote. On the supply of radios see also a letter from the journalist Kathy Kadane to the Editor, New York Review of Books, 10 April 1997.
83. Telegram 1628 Jakarta to State Dept, 2 December 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 379-80.
84. Editorial Note, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 386-7; Article by Kathy Kadane in San Francisco Examiner, 20 May 1990.
85. NAA A6364/JA1965/10, Telegram 1503 Jakarta to DEA, 19 December 1965.
86. TNA FO 1101/30, Gilchrist to Reddaway, 9 February 1966.
87. NAA A1209/1968/9055, Memorandum by Eastman for DEA, 9 December 1966.
88. TNA FO 371/181457, Record of meeting Ghazali and Sukendro on 2-3 November 1965, 10 November 1965; Telegram 1288 Jakarta to State Dept, 1 November 1965, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 345-7.
89. NAA A1838 3034/2/1/8 Part 8, Telegram 8 Washington to DEA, 4 January 1966; Memorandum of conversation, 14 February 1966, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 399-401.
90. NAA A1838 3034/2/1/8 Part 7, UPI report 284, 14 December 1965. NAA A1838 3034/2/1/8 Part 8, UPI report 230, 4 January 1966.
91. TNA FO 1101/23, Minute by Reddaway, 11 February 1966. Reddaway’s comments suggest that the editorial in Lissan Al-Hal broadcast by Radio Malaysia on 13 October 1965 may have been British-inspired.
92. Memorandum Komer to Johnson, 12 March 1966, FRUS, ‘Indonesia’, 419.
93. Cribb, The Indonesian Killings 1965-1966
94. NAA A1838/3034/1 Part 2, ‘Head of Mission Meeting, Bangkok, December 1965, Indonesia’, not dated. NAA A1838/570/5/1/4 Part 1, Upton to DEA, not dated.
95. NAA A1838/555/1/9 Part 2, Conversation Sofjan and Jackson, 21 September 1965; NAA A1838/555/1/9/1 Part 1, Memorandum ‘Radio Australia Indonesian Audience’, by Barnett, not dated; TNA FO1101/1, Gilchrist to Reddaway, 11 August 1965.
96. TNA FO1101/1, Report by Drinkall, 3 June 1965. Audience figures were assessed by the number of letters the station received from Indonesian listeners. While Radio Australia received 16,000 letters a month, the BBC Indonesia service received 4,000 letters a year. NAA A1838 555/1/9 Part 2, Memorandum ‘Australian information policy towards Indonesia’, not dated; TNA FO1101/11, Reddaway to Commander in Chief, 3 March 1966.
97. NAA A1838/555/1/9/1 Part 1, Telegram 2069 Washington to DEA, 17 June 1965.
98. DDRS Retrospective Collection, Item 609G, Telegram 1086 Jakarta to State Dept, 19 October 1965.
99. TNA FO1101/1, Gilchrist to Reddaway, 11 August 1965.
100. NAA A1838/3034/2/1/8 Part 9, Savingram 3 Jakarta to DEA, 19 January 1965.
101. TNA FO1101/23, Indonesian Herald, 3 February 1966.
102. TNA FO 371/186044, Despatch 5 Gilchrist to Stewart, 12 April 1966.
103. TNA FO 1101/32, Telegram 205 POLAD Singapore to Bangkok, 26 September 1966.
104. New York Times, 24 August 1966.
105. Washington Post, 16 April 1966.
106. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 1966.
107. The Australian, 22 April 1966.
References
Anderson B. How Did the Generals Die?, Indonesia, 43 (1987) 109-34.
Brands H.W. The Limits of Manipulation: How the United States didn’t Topple Sukarno, Journal of American History, 76(3) (1989) 785-808.
Blum William Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War 2. London: Zed Books (2003).
Bunnell F. American “Low Posture” Policy towards Indonesia in the Months
Leading Up to the 1965 Coup, Indonesia, 50 (1990) 29-60.
Cribb R. The Indonesian Killings 1965-1966: Studies from Java and Bali.
Clayton: Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University (1991).
Crouch Harold The Army and Politics in Indonesia. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press (1978).
Easter David, British and Malaysian Covert Support for Rebel Movements in Indonesia during the “Confrontation”, 1963-66, The Clandestine Cold War in Asia 1945-65, R. Aldrich, G. Rawnsley and M. Rawnsley. London: Frank Cass (2000) 195-208.
British Intelligence and Propaganda during the “Confrontation”1963-66, Intelligence and National Security, 16(2) (2001) 83-102.
Elson R. Suharto: A Political Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2001).
Lashmar Paul and Oliver James. Britain’s Secret Propaganda War. Stroud: Sutton Publishing (1998).
McGehee R. Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA. New York: Sheridan Square Press (1983).
Najjarine K. and D. Cottle. The Department of External Affairs, the ABC and Reporting of the Indonesian Crisis 1965-1969, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 49(1) (2003) 48-60.
Scott Paul The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno, 1965-67, Pacific Affairs, 58(2) (1985) 239-64.
Simons G. Indonesia: The Long Oppression. Basingstoke: Macmillan (2000).
TNA FO, 371/181457, Minute Stanley to Peck, 25 November 1965.
US Senate Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS). Indonesia 1964-68, vol. 26. Washington: United States Government Printing Office (2001).

 

 

     

 

 

 

1966
February 21 Sukarno names new cabinet, including Omar Dhani and Subandrio, who are wanted for arrest.

March 11 Sukarno tries to hold cabinet meeting while students demonstrate outside. Suharto does not attend. Troops loyal to Suharto, commanded by Col. Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, surround the building. Sukarno flees to Bogor by helicopter with Subandrio and Chaerul Saleh. Three major generals follow Sukarno to Bogor, and discuss the situation with him for several hours. Sukarno signs a document giving broad powers to Suharto, the “Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret” or “Supersemar” letter.
March 12 Suharto, using the new “Supersemar” powers, officially bans the PKI.
March 16 Sukarno issues an announcement that he still has full authority as chief executive, to no effect.
March 18 Subandrio and most of Sukarno’s cabinet are arrested.
September Indonesia rejoins the United Nations.


SEPTEMBER 30, 1965

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End of an Era

1970

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

December 1966

 
 
 
 
 


17 August 1966

Leaving the Independence Day commemoration ceremony

 


March 1967
Student demonstrations

 
 
 

U.S. Assessment of Indonesia

Excerpt from “The CIA’s Track Two)
At some point in 1964 or 1965 (probably late 1964) the deterioration of U.S. relations with Indonesia and the left-ward drift of Indonesia had gone so far that the U.S. faced the need to reassess its policy toward Indonesia with an eye toward adopting new policies. Howard Jones, the American ambassador at the time, has described the extremely pessimist official assessment of how bad things had gotten from the American point of view. Ewa Pauker and Guy Pauker at RAND have described the projection of near-term PKI takeover and the pessimism about the ability of the Indonesian Army to reverse the apparently inevitable flow of events.

Jones indicates that a number of important meetings were held in which U.S. policy toward Indonesia was reassessed, beginning at the State Department in August 1964 after Sukarno’s Independence Day speech, his most anti-American statement up to that time. The March 1965 annual meeting of U.S. mission chiefs held in the Philippines with Averell Harriman and William Bundy, was also important.

Ellsworth Bunker, personal representative of President Johnson, spent 15 days in Indonesia in April 1965 evaluating the situation. There were undoubtedly other secret and perhaps more important meetings in which U.S. policy was put together.
The U.S. seems to have faced essentially six options with regard to Indonesia:
1. A hands-off policy of continuing much the same as before, letting things drift. (Of course, the U.S. had never been passive toward Indonesia and this can only be characterized as a hands-off policy in contrast to the other options.) The probable result would be that Indonesia would go Communist. There seems to have been near unanimous official agreement on the inevitability of Communist takeover in Indonesia if existing trends continued. The most important country in Southeast Asia would be lost. The U.S. effort to save Vietnam (bombing of North Vietnam began in February 1965) would probably be frustrated and all of Southeast Asia would be threatened. Clearly, this was an unacceptable option.
2. Try to get Sukarno to change his apparent policy of leading Indonesia toward Communist rule. The Embassy under Ambassador Jones had been pursuing this course for years, with little success (in American eyes). Sukarno had made more than clear his determination to continue his left-ward drive, both domestically and in foreign policy. Most Washington officials had given up on Sukarno and many agreed that “Sukarno has to go.” Some identified him as a “crypto- Communist.” This option was simply unworkable.

3. Eliminate Sukarno. Apparently this was considered, but rejected. The consequences would be too unpredictable. The Communist Party and its affiliates were so large and so extensively embedded in Indonesian society and political life that even in the absence of Sukarno’s protection they might be able to hang on and prosper. An effort to go after the PKI in such circumstances would probably result in a very unpredictable and dangerous civil war which the United States, preoccupied with Vietnam, was not in a position to handle. A danger of killing Sukarno was that those who might be identified with it would be discredited because of Sukarno’s enormous popularity in Indonesia, which efforts to undermine over the years had been unable to shake. Blaming an assassination on the left would not be credible because of the close alliance between Sukarno and the Communists. The PKI would have no plausible motive for such an action. An arranged “natural” death for Sukarno would leave the PKI as a very important force in Indonesia, and perhaps as the logical successor.
4. Encourage the Indonesian Army to take over the government. The Embassy had been pushing this option for years with some success but without achieving the final objective. Disunity within the Army had prevented any such explicit step to date and there seemed to be other inhibitions on a direct military takeover. The Army as a whole was still unwilling to move directly against Sukarno. Sukarno’s determination to resist any further expansion of the Army’s role was clear. In fact, he was doing much to try to “domesticate” and undermine the Army as an independent, anti-Communist force. Even in the event of an Army coup, without a solid pretext for quickly eliminating the PKI and a means of controlling Sukarno, the prospect of civil war would arise for the same reasons indicated in Option 3. While the U.S. could continue to cultivate military officials and try to stiffen their “backbone,” Army takeover via some sort of coup would not resolve the problem in Indonesia.

5. Try to undermine the PKI and get the Communists to take actions that would discredit themselves and legitimize their elimination. (Option 6, the fabrication of such a discrediting, is a variant of this option.) Such a step would also necessitate moving against Sukarno as he probably would never permit the Army to act forcefully against the PKI no matter how objectionable the PKI might appear to be. A variety of covert efforts were mounted to try to damage the PKI’s reputation and provoke it to misbehavior. These included linking the PKI with China, trying to show that the PKI did not really support “Sukarnoism” (the BPS episode), and the fabrication of documents and the attributing of provocative statements to PKI spokesmen (printed in non-Communist papers). But Sukarno helped to frustrate these efforts by banning almost all non-Communist political and press activity. The PKI was careful not to go too far and not to provide the excuse for its elimination. As PKI Chairman Aidit said, “We are prepared to tolerate insults and threats. We will not be provoked. If the army spits in our faces we will wipe it off and smile. We will not retaliate.” Option 5 was continually tried but it did not seem to be working.
6. If the PKI would not provide its own death warrant, the pretext for extermination had to be fabricated for it. The optimum implementation of this option would serve to eliminate both the PKI and Sukarno as dominant forces in Indonesian political life. This option appears to have been the one finally chosen, although the point at which commitment to it was irrevocable is very uncertain. Parts of the other options, other “tracks” continued at the same time.

 

State Department Historical Advisory Committee’s summary as of September 1, 1999 of the
“Status of Johnson and Nixon Era FRUS High Level Panel Covert Action Cases” (2 pages).
This document shows that the Panel decided on April 20, 1998 to acknowledge covert action in Indonesia, that the CIA completed review of the documents on August 28, 1998, and that the volume then went into page proofs, “however, publication has been delayed.”

Issues for HLP

[FRUS] Volume

Submitted to CIA/NSC

CIA Document Re-Review

State Document Re-Review

Indonesia

64-68, XXVI, Indo; Malay; Phil

Yes (2/98)

17 docs re-reviewed (14 excised; 3 denied

1 doc re-reviewed (denied)

 

Overthrow of Sukarno
The overthrow of Sukarno and the violence that followed it was a conflict in Indonesia from 1965 to 1966 between forces loyal to then-President Sukarno and the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) and forces loyal to a right-wing military faction led by General Abdul Haris Nasution and Maj. Gen. Suharto. On the pretext of stopping a communist coup, Nasution and Suharto led their forces to liquidate the PKI and topple the regime of Sukarno. The pivotal role of Suharto led to his assumption of the Indonesian presidency in 1967.

Prelude to conflict

Indonesian Civil War came after two decades of independence and rule by the leader of the Indonesian Nationalists, President Sukarno. As president of the newly independent republic, Sukarno stressed socialist policies domestically and an avidly anti-imperialist international policy, underpinned by an authoritarian style of rule dependent upon his charismatic personality. These policies led him to create alliances with the Soviet bloc, People’s Republic of China, and to pioneer the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement of post-colonial states at the Bandung Conference. It also created a domestic political alliance with the Communist Party of Indonesia.

Military split
These same policies, however, won Sukarno few friends and many enemies in the Western nations. These especially included the United States and United Kingdom, whose investors were increasingly angered by Sukarno’s nationalisation of mineral, agricultural, and energy assets. In need of Indonesian allies in its Cold War against the Soviet Union, the United States cultivated a number of ties with officers of the military through exchanges and arms deals. This fostered a split in the military’s ranks, with the United States and others backing a right-wing faction against a left-wing faction overlapping with the Communist Party of Indonesia and the Comintern of which it was a part.
When Sukarno rejected food aid from USAID leading to famine conditions, the right-wing military adopted regional command structure through which it could smuggle staple commodities to win the loyalty of the rural population. Several officers, including Suharto, would be caught in such schemes and would be reassigned. In an attempt to curtail the right-wing military’s increasing power, the Communist Party of Indonesia and the left-wing military formed a number of peasant and other mass organizations. The United States Agency for International Development (or USAID) is the US government organization responsible for most non-military foreign aid. …

ndonesia-Malaysia Confrontation
In 1963, a policy of Konfrontasi (Confrontation) against the newly formed Federation of Malaysia was announced by the Sukarno regime. This further exacerbated the split between the left-wing and right-wing military factions, with the left-wing faction and the Communist Party taking part in guerrilla raids on the border with Malaysia, while the right-wing faction largely absent from the conflict (whether by choice or orders of Sukarno is not clear). Year 1963 (MCMLXIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. … The Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation was an intermittent war over the future of the island of Borneo, between British-backed Malaysia and Indonesia in 1962-1966. … The Federation of Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. …
The Confrontation further encouraged the West to seek ways to topple Sukarno, viewed as a growing threat to Southeast Asian regional stability (as with North Vietnam under the Domino Theory). The deepening of the armed conflict, coming close to all out warfare by 1965, both increased popular dissatisfaction with the Sukarno regime and strengthened the hand of the right-wing generals whose forces were still close to the center of power in Jakarta.

G30S” and retaliation
On the early hours of October 1, 1965, a company of soldiers from the Presidential Guard, the Tjakrabirawa, raided the homes of seven of the right-wing anti-Communist generals in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
Three of the generals were killed immediately, among them Lieut-Gen Ahmad Yani, the Chief-of-Staff of the Army. Three other generals were captured. A seventh target, the Defense Minister and Chief-of-Staff of the Indonesian Armed Forces, General Abdul Haris Nasution escaped; his daughter, however, was fatally wounded. Ahmad Yani’s assistants were Maj-Gen S. Parman, Maj-Gen Suprapto, Maj-Gen MT Haryono, Brig-Gen Donald Isaac Panjaitan and Brig-Gen Sutoyo Siswomiharjo. The three captured generals and the bodies of the others were taken to a place known as Lubang Buaya (“Crocodile Hole”) near the Halim Perdanakusumah Air Force Base in Jakarta. The three generals and Nasution’s adjutant, First Lieutenant Pierre Tendean (who claimed he was Nasution to divert the attention of the kidnapping soldiers and allowed Nasution to escape), were subsequently killed and all the bodies were thrown down a well.
The presidential guards also seized the RRI (Radio Republik Indonesia) and Telecommunications Building in central Jakarta. From the RRI building, they broadcast statements calling themselves the “30th of September Movement” (Indonesian: Gerakan 30 September, abbreviated to G30S or Gestapu) led by Lieut-Col Untung bin Syamsuri. They claimed to have arrested several generals belonging to a conspiracy, the “Council of Generals”, that had plotted a military coup against the government of President Sukarno. They further alleged that this coup was to take place on “Army Day” (October 5) with the backing of CIA, and that the Council would then install themselves as a military junta.

Furthermore, the soldiers proclaimed the establishment of a “Revolutionary Council” consisting of various well-known military officers and civilian leaders that would be the highest authority in Indonesia. Additionally, they declared President Sukarno’s Dwikora Cabinet as invalid (“demisioner”).
According to one chief conspirator Lieut-Col Latief, the Palace Guards had not attempted to kill or capture Major General Suharto, commander of KOSTRAD (Komando Strategi dan Cadangan TNI Angkatan Darat – the Army Strategic and Reserves Command), because he was considered as a Sukarno-loyalist and an apolitical general. Suharto, along with the surviving General Nasution, made the counter-allegation that the G30S was a rebellious movement that sought to replace President Sukarno’s government with a Communist government. Upon hearing of the radio announcement, Suharto and Nasution began consolidating their forces, successfully gaining the loyalty of Jakarta Garrison Commander Maj-Gen Umar Wirahadikusumah and Colonel Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, the commander of army special forces RPKAD (Resimen Para Komando Angkatan Darat – Army’s Para-Commando Regiment). Haji Mohammad Soeharto (born June 8, 1921), more commonly referred to as simply Soeharto (Suharto in the English-speaking world), is a former Indonesian military and political leader. … This article or section does not cite its references or sources. …
During the evening of October 1, RPKAD soldiers recaptured RRI and Telecommunications Building without any resistance as the rebel soldiers had retreated back to Halim Base. RPKAD forces proceeded to attack Halim Perdanakusumah AF Base on the morning of October 2, but was stopped by the rebel soldiers in a fierce gunbattle in which several fatalities were inflicted on both sides. A direct order from President Sukarno managed to secure the surrender of the rebel soldiers by noon, after which Suhartoist forces occupied the base. The next day, soldiers discovered the buried remains of the kidnapped generals. The corpses were exhumed, displayed to the press, and buried in a sombre ceremony on October 5, 1965.

Internal military power-struggle
After the assassinations of those generals, the highest ranking officer in the Indonesian military, and third highest in the overall chain-of-command, was Defense Minister and Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Gen. Abdul Haris Nasution, a member of the right-wing camp. However, on October 5 Sukarno moved to promote Maj. Gen. Pranoto Reksosamudra, considered a Sukarno-loyalist, to Army Chief-of-Staff. is the 278th day of the year (279th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. …
After the promotion, the New York Times reported that an unnamed Western “diplomatic report” alleged that Pranoto was a former member of the PKI. Pranoto’s alleged communism, as well as his timely promotion, led them to promote the view that the PKI and Sukarno conspired to assassinate the generals to consolidate their grip on power. (New York Times, October 6, 1965)

Internal military power-struggle
After the assassinations of those generals, the highest ranking officer in the Indonesian military, and third highest in the overall chain-of-command, was Defense Minister and Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Gen. Abdul Haris Nasution, a member of the right-wing camp. However, on October 5 Sukarno moved to promote Maj. Gen. Pranoto Reksosamudra, considered a Sukarno-loyalist, to Army Chief-of-Staff. is the 278th day of the year (279th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. …
After the promotion, the New York Times reported that an unnamed Western “diplomatic report” alleged that Pranoto was a former member of the PKI. Pranoto’s alleged communism, as well as his timely promotion, led them to promote the view that the PKI and Sukarno conspired to assassinate the generals to consolidate their grip on power. (New York Times, October 6, 1965)
In the aftermath of the assassinations, however, Major Gen. Suharto and his KOSTRAD (Army Strategic Reserves) units were closest to Jakarta. By default, Suharto became the field general in charge of prosecution of the G30S. Later, at the insistence of Gen. Abdul Haris Nasution, Pranoto was removed and Suharto was promoted to Army Chief-of-Staff on October 14, 1965. (New York Times, October 15, 1965)
Retaliatory campaign
The installation of Suharto as Army Chief-of-Staff established the right-wing faction’s dominance of the Indonesian Army’s command. In addition to the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), this faction was also hostile toward Sukarno-loyalists, and the Chinese (both Chinese Indonesians as well as expatriates from the People’s Republic of China). For decades, the use of Chinese characters were banned in Indonesia. …
On October 18, a declaration was read over the army-controlled radio stations, banning the Communist Party of Indonesia. The ban included the party itself, and its youth and women’s wings, peasant associations, intellectual and student groups, and the SOBSI union. At the time, it was not clear whether this ban applied only to Jakarta (by then controlled by the Army), or the whole Republic of Indonesia. However, the ban was soon used as a pretext for the Indonesian Army to go throughout the country carrying out extrajudicial punishments, including mass arrest and summary executions, against suspected leftists and Sukarno loyalists. is the 291st day of the year (292nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. … Extrajudicial punishment is a punishment which is conducted without the authority or permission of a court, and encompasses extrajudicial executions or killings performed without legal authority or in contravention of legal code. … This article does not cite any references or sources. …
The Army, acting on orders by Suharto and supervised by Nasution, began a campaign of agitation and incitement to violence among Indonesian civilians aimed at Communists community and toward President Sukarno himself. The regime was quickly destabilised, with the Army the only force left to maintain order. (New York Times, October 19, 1965)

Toppling of Sukarno
As Communists were driven out of government in the months afterward, the troika of Pres. Sukarno, Nasution, and Suharto jockeyed for power. Contemporary reports state that Sukarno was politically weak and desperate to keep power in the hands of his presidency by starting a factional struggle between Gen. Nasution and Suharto, as the two were absorbed in personal ambitions. Troika (Russian: тройка, meaning threesome) is a committee consisting of three members. …
General Nasution was believed to have launched his own bid for power on December 16, 1965, when he won appointment to the Supreme Operations Command, and gained a grip over the traditionally civilian-held portion of the military hierarchy. It was reported that Nasution would have preferred forming a military junta to replace Sukarno. (New York Times, December 16, 1965.)
However, on Feb 1, 1966, Pres. Sukarno promoted Suharto to the rank of Lieutenant General. The same month, Gen. Nasution had been forced out of his position of Defense Minister. By March, Suharto would begin the process of taking power for himself. (New York Times, February 22, 1966)

Consequences
(For more details on this topic, see New Order (Indonesia) The New Order is the term coined by former Indonesian President Suharto to characterize his regime as he came to power in 1966. …)
After being promoted, Suharto was assigned emergency powers on March 11, 1966 through a presidential decree by Sukarno known as the
Supersemar. He would then go on to become president in 1967. Due to Suharto-era censorship and propaganda under his New Order government, the true numbers and ennumeration of casualties from the Civil War are heavily disputed. Other effects of the Indonesian Civil War, however, can be understood in the light of greater press freedom in the post-Suharto era.

Massacres
Beginning in later October 1965, the Indonesian army and its civilian allies (especially Muslim militia groups) began to kill members and associates of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). In most cases the killings were one-sided. In most cases the authorities arrested party members and members and leaders of affiliated organizations and held them in detention for some time before sending them out to be killed over subsequent weeks and months. In some cases, the army and militias organized raids on communist villages or hamlets, slughtering all or most of the inhabitants. The estimates of the death toll of the conflict range from over 100,000 to 3 million, but most scholars accept a figure of around 500,000.[1]

Political imprisonment
It is known that with Suharto’s rise, surviving members of the Communist Party of Indonesia were branded tapol (short for tahanan politik or “political detainee”). During Suharto’s reign, tapol were often given harsh prison sentences without trial, and their property was either seized or destroyed. Spouses, children, and relatives of tapol were subjected to guilt by association. To be branded a tapol meant a permanent outcaste status in Indonesian society, even after completion of a sentence; tapol have sued in modern times for restitution of their right to the franchise and for compensation for their losses.

Possible prison sentences included internal exile to penal colonies on desolated islands within the Indonesian archipelago. These included the Buru island in the Moluccas. Among its more famous prisoners included author and PEN Freedom to Write winner Pramoedya Ananta Toer, who was imprisoned there for alleged membership in a Communist Party literary group, LEKRA. In a book of memoirs (The Mute’s Soliloquy), Pramoedya made detailed allegations of forced labour, starvation, torture and other abuses within the colony. (Inside Indonesia, April-June 1999)

Anti-Chinese laws
While resentment toward Chinese Indonesians by Malay-descended peoples of the archipelago dated back to the Dutch East Indies era, persisting through the Post-Independence era, the Indonesian Civil War unleashed both widescale violence and a new tide of anti-Chinese legislation throughout the archipelago. Stereotypes of the Chinese as disproportionately affluent and greedy were common throughout the time (both in Indonesia as well as Malaysia), but with the anti-Communist hysteria, the association of the Chinese Indonesians with the People’s Republic of China caused them to also be viewed as a communist fifth column.
As a result of this hysteria, Indonesia’s hitherto friendly diplomatic relations with mainland China were severed and the Chinese Embassy in Jakarta burnt down by a mob. Several anti-Chinese laws were passed to curtail Chinese culture and civil rights, including laws banning Chinese language signs on shops and other buildings and mandating closure of Chinese language schools, adoption of “Indonesian” sounding names, and severe limits on Buddhist temple construction. The lasting effects of these laws and anti-Chinese sentiment fostered by the Suharto regime was demonstrated in the organization of anti-Chinese pogroms in 1998.
Military rule
The liquidation and banning of the Communist Party eliminated one of the largest political parties in Indonesia. It had placed third in a 1955 election. It was also among the largest Communist Parties in the Comintern, at an estimated 3 million members. Along with the subsequent efforts by Suharto to wrest power from Sukarno by purging loyalists from the parliament, civilian government in Indonesia was effectively put to an end by the civil war.
In the place of civilian rule, a new system of military rule took hold, based on set-aside seats in the Parliament as well as the dwi fungsi (dual function) doctrine of the military, in taking the roles of both soldiers and administrators. The political parties not banned outright were consolidated into a single party, the Party of the Functional Groups (Indonesian: Partai Golongan Karya), more commonly known as Golkar. Though Suharto would later allow for the formation of two non-Golkar parties, these were kept weak during his regime.

Rise of Islamism
The purging of two secularist parties, the Nationalists and the Communists, had a notable side effect of having given greater space for the development of Islamism in Indonesia. This included liberal, conservative, and extremist groups practicing Islam in Indonesia. It widely believed by observers of Indonesian history and politics that Suharto’s forces whipped up anti-Communist sentiment in part by exploiting conservative Muslims’ fears of “godless” Communism to instigate a jihad against them during the civil war.
As for more mainstream groups, conservative Islamic groups (called the “Central Axis”) became a prop of the regime for some time after the civil war. Liberal Islamic groups, on the other hand, are believed to have defected during the wave of protests before the Indonesian Revolution of 1998.( The Indonesian 1998 Revolution is the term given to a series of protests and political manoeuverings that brought about the end of the rule of the three-decade long New Order government of the autocratic President Suharto of Indonesia. …)
Improved ties with the West

The change in regime from Sukarno to Suharto, though brutal, brought a shift in policy that allowed for USAID and other relief agencies to operate within the country. Suharto would open Indonesia’s economy by divesting state owned companies, and Western nations in particular were encouraged to invest and take control of many of the mining and construction interests in Indonesia. The result was the alleviation of absolute poverty and famine conditions due to shortfalls in rice supply and Sukarno’s reluctance to take Western aid, and stabilisation of the economy.
As a result of his victory in the civil war, Suharto would come to be seen as a pro-Western and anti-Communist strongman regime, similar to that of Augusto Pinochet. An ongoing military and diplomatic relationship between the Indonesia and the Western powers was cemented, leading to American, British, and Australian arms sales and training of military personnel.

Revelations and mysteries
Four decades later, questions remain about the veracity of accounts of the events both leading up to and during the war provided by the Western governments and by Suharto. The ousting of the Suharto regime and beginning of the Reformation period in Indonesia and the end of the Cold War for the Western governments has allowed greater freedom of information, leading to a significant process of historical revisionism as well as the formation of conspiracy theories around the Indonesian Civil War. Still, mysteries remain over the time period. Freedom of information can mean: whether a particular piece of information can be freely created, read, modified, copied and distributed; see free content (as well as free culture and free software) freedom to express ones opinions or ideas, generally, within a society; see freedom of speech the accessibility of… In Parson Weems Fable (1939) Grant Wood takes a sly poke at a traditional hagiographical account of George Washington Historical revisionism has both a legitimate academic use and a pejorative meaning. … A conspiracy theory is a theory that defies common historical or current understanding of events, under the claim that those events are the result of manipulations by two or more individuals or various secretive powers or conspiracies. …

Was PKI actually involved in the G30S?
Supporters of Suharto claim that his actions as field general were justified due to the imminent threat of a PKI-led coup to seize power, as had been attempted in 1948. Several critics of Suharto note, however, that the PKI in 1965 had an inclination that was similar to Eurocommunism and had come to prefer parliamentary electoral politics to armed insurrection; in fact, the PKI placed third in a 1955 presidential election, behind Sukarno’s own Partai Nasional Indonesia (PNI) and the Islamist party Masyumi.
These critics allege that Suharto purposefully exaggerated PKI involvement in the assassinations of the generals (both during the war and in subsequent propaganda events held on the anniversary) as mere window dressing for what was his own ruthless quest for power. The critics commonly point out that Suharto had already been involved in a 1959 corruption scandal involving sugar smuggling in the Bandung area, and that since the 1990s post-Cold War period that Suharto’s regime was known for both dishonesty and brutality.
There are several theories about the involvement of the PKI in the G30S movement.
They are as follows:

* The culprit of the G30S was the PKI
The PKI launced a coup d’etat against the Indonesian Army and the government to launch a communist government in Indonesia.
* The G30S was an army Internal Problem
An army clique led by Suharto launched the coup precisely by sneaking into the PKI
* The G30S was done by the CIA
The CIA worked together with an army clique to destroy the PKI. The aim of CIA in Indonesia at that time was clearly to destroy communism in Southeast Asia.

* The G30S was a Meeting Point between American and British Interests
The interests of Britain which wanted Sukarno’s confrontation against Malaysia to end with him losing power and the USA’s interest of ridding the world of communism sparked the G30S.
* Sukarno was the Mastermind of the G30S
One of the most controversial theories of the G30S, Sukarno wanted to make the top army officials ‘vanish’ because they threatened his power. The PKI was also pulled into the mess because of its closeness with Sukarno.
* The Chaos Theory
Nobody actually did the G30S. There was no grand scenario and it was ultimately affected by field operations. The G30S was a mix of Western nations, the doings of the PKI’s leaders and the army’s corrupt cliques.
Further muddling matters are recriminations of coup plots by both the left-wing and right-wing. As mentioned before, the PKI had in fact launched a coup effort in 1948; lesser known is that the right-wing military faction had already made several attempts on Sukarno’s life.

 

Gestapu: The CIA’s “Track Two” in Indonesia
By David Johnson, 1976

October 1995 note from David Johnson: This is a paper I wrote in 1976. It is presented here in its original version. It was written to encourage Congressional investigation of the issue by the Church Committee at the time. This paper was circulated privately but never published. It may have some enduring merit. Comments and criticisms are welcome.

As evidence that the subject matter is still relevant, please note this recently declassified quotation:
“From our viewpoint, of course, an unsuccessful coup attempt by the PKI might be
the most effective development to start a reversal of political trends in Indonesia.”


Then-US Ambassador to Indonesia Howard Jones
March 10, 1965
Chiefs of Mission Conference, Baguio, Philippines
Quoted in Audrey R. Kahin and George McT. Kahin, “Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia,” 1995, p.225]

David T. Johnson
Center for Defense Information
1500 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 20005
202-862-0700
djohnson@cdi.org
(* “Track Two” was the name given to a CIA covert operation undertaken in Chile in the fall of 1970 at the direction of President Nixon. Its purpose was to use all possible means to prevent Allende from assuming the presidency. Knowledge of Track Two was very tightly held. The State Department, the Defense Department, the American Ambassador in Chile, and the Forty Committee were not informed. Track Two was partially responsible for the murder of General Schneider, the Chilean Army Chief of Staff who opposed efforts of other military officers to stage a coup. Track Two failed in its objective in 1970. Other analogies to the Indonesian events are the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the Reichstag fire.)

Introduction
This paper presents the preliminary outline of a new interpretation of the events in Indonesia in 1965 that climaxed in the “coup” attempt of October 1st and the actions of the September 30th Movement (GESTAPU). It is argued that the September 30th Movement was not an action by “progressive” or dissatisfied middle-level military officers, nor a creature of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), nor was it stimulated by President Sukarno. GESTAPU was an instrument directly in the hands of General Suharto (and probably General Nasution) [1995 note from David Johnson: today I would delete the reference to Nasution] and most likely a creation of the Central Intelligence Agency for the purpose of “saving Indonesia from Communism” in a desperate situation.

GESTAPU served the crucial function of providing a legitimate pretext for the drastic extermination of the PKI. It was calculated to put the reins of power quickly into the hands of Suharto and to place Sukarno in a restricted position.
GESTAPU worked. It is probably the most successful covert operation that the CIA has ever carried out. The participation of the CIA in GESTAPU–its “fingerprints on the gun”–cannot be proven unless the Congress digs hard to find the truth, as was done partly in the case of Chile. The CIA connection is hypothesized because it seems a logical outcome of U.S. policy toward Indonesia and because of the relative sophistication and complexity of the GESTAPU operation. Because of the close contact between the Indonesian Army and U.S. Defense Department advisers and attaches it is probable that certain of these personnel were also involved.

It is not maintained that the thesis of this paper is necessarily correct or proven. The author’s hope is to demonstrate that it is sufficiently plausible that further research along these lines will be conducted by those more knowledgeable than he and that those in a position to do something about it will begin to look into the secret official record. The thesis is presented without a great deal of hedging but the author is aware that many of the facts he uses are open to a number of alternative explanations. Of course, many “facts” are in dispute. This first draft assumes some knowledge on the part of the reader of the basic events of the time and of the existing interpretive controversy. No special attempt is made here, however, to refute alternative theories. Only a portion of the supporting material is indicated.
Gestapu: The CIA’s “Track Two” in Indonesia

The events of October 1, 1965, in Indonesia and their origin may truly be called “a riddle wrapped in an enigma.~ There is no consensus among students of Indonesia about the “correct” explanation. All existing theories have their articulate and plausible critics. Probably the majority of careful Indonesian scholars have abandoned the search for explanation. GESTAPU is an enormously complicated puzzle in which the pieces never fit together, their shape constantly changes, and new pieces keep appearing.
In an earlier age of innocence, the attributing to the CIA of a significant causal role in international affairs was a disreputable enterprise in which most professional analysts seldom engaged. With the revelations of recent years, however, the inhibitions on serious study of CIA activities have somewhat broken down. We also know far more than we did ten years ago about the extent of CIA operations and how the CIA works. In many cases, including Indonesia, we still know very little about what the CIA actually did over the years. But more than before we can feel on safe ground to think that the CIA was active. This is not CIA scapegoating, left-wing propaganda, conspiracy fascination, or a search for simple-minded solutions. It is a necessary and important research effort that must be undertaken before it can be seriously rejected. Of course, the great secrecy that envelops the subject places substantial restrictions on what normal academic research can accomplish.

This paper is based in the first instance on the author’s reading of the recently released CIA Research Study “Indonesia-1965: The Coup That Backfired.” The author has also read nearly everything available in English in the Library of Congress on the events of 1965. The major source material that has not been examined, except as described in secondary sources, is the large body of records of post-October 1 interrogations of prisoners held by the Indonesian Army and the records of the numerous trials that have been held. Undoubtedly new insights can be derived from these materials. The author’s knowledge of Indonesia in general is relatively sparse, although he has visited the country and spent some time in previous years studying Indonesian political development. The present paper is the product of a month of very intensive research on the events of 1965 as well as some limited examination of studies on the CIA.
U.S. Assessment of Indonesia
At some point in 1964 or 1965 (probably late 1964) the deterioration of U.S. relations with Indonesia and the left-ward drift of Indonesia had gone so far that the U.S. faced the need to reassess its policy toward Indonesia with an eye toward adopting new policies. Howard Jones, the American ambassador at the time, has described the extremely pessimist official assessment of how bad things had gotten from the American point of view. Ewa Pauker and Guy Pauker at RAND have described the projection of near-term PKI takeover and the pessimism about the ability of the Indonesian Army to reverse the apparently inevitable flow of events.

Jones indicates that a number of important meetings were held in which U.S. policy toward Indonesia was reassessed, beginning at the State Department in August 1964 after Sukarno’s Independence Day speech, his most anti-American statement up to that time. The March 1965 annual meeting of U.S. mission chiefs held in the Philippines with Averell Harriman and William Bundy, was also important. Ellsworth Bunker, personal representative of President Johnson, spent 15 days in Indonesia in April 1965 evaluating the situation. There were undoubtedly other secret and perhaps more important meetings in which U.S. policy was put together.
The U.S. seems to have faced essentially six options with regard to Indonesia:
1. A hands-off policy of continuing much the same as before, letting things drift. (Of course, the U.S. had never been passive toward Indonesia and this can only be characterized as a hands-off policy in contrast to the other options.) The probable result would be that Indonesia would go Communist. There seems to have been near unanimous official agreement on the inevitability of Communist takeover in Indonesia if existing trends continued. The most important country in Southeast Asia would be lost. The U.S. effort to save Vietnam (bombing of North Vietnam began in February 1965) would probably be frustrated and all of Southeast Asia would be threatened. Clearly, this was an unacceptable option.
2. Try to get Sukarno to change his apparent policy of leading Indonesia toward Communist rule. The Embassy under Ambassador Jones had been pursuing this course for years, with little success (in American eyes). Sukarno had made more than clear his determination to continue his left-ward drive, both domestically and in foreign policy. Most Washington officials had given up on Sukarno and many agreed that “Sukarno has to go.” Some identified him as a “crypto- Communist.” This option was simply unworkable.

3. Eliminate Sukarno. Apparently this was considered, but rejected. The consequences would be too unpredictable. The Communist Party and its affiliates were so large and so extensively embedded in Indonesian society and political life that even in the absence of Sukarno’s protection they might be able to hang on and prosper. An effort to go after the PKI in such circumstances would probably result in a very unpredictable and dangerous civil war which the United States, preoccupied with Vietnam, was not in a position to handle. A danger of killing Sukarno was that those who might be identified with it would be discredited because of Sukarno’s enormous popularity in Indonesia, which efforts to undermine over the years had been unable to shake. Blaming an assassination on the left would not be credible because of the close alliance between Sukarno and the Communists. The PKI would have no plausible motive for such an action. An arranged “natural” death for Sukarno would leave the PKI as a very important force in Indonesia, and perhaps as the logical successor.
4. Encourage the Indonesian Army to take over the government. The Embassy had been pushing this option for years with some success but without achieving the final objective. Disunity within the Army had prevented any such explicit step to date and there seemed to be other inhibitions on a direct military takeover. The Army as a whole was still unwilling to move directly against Sukarno. Sukarno’s determination to resist any further expansion of the Army’s role was clear. In fact, he was doing much to try to “domesticate” and undermine the Army as an independent, anti-Communist force. Even in the event of an Army coup, without a solid pretext for quickly eliminating the PKI and a means of controlling Sukarno, the prospect of civil war would arise for the same reasons indicated in Option 3. While the U.S. could continue to cultivate military officials and try to stiffen their “backbone,” Army takeover via some sort of coup would not resolve the problem in Indonesia.

5. Try to undermine the PKI and get the Communists to take actions that would discredit themselves and legitimize their elimination. (Option 6, the fabrication of such a discrediting, is a variant of this option.) Such a step would also necessitate moving against Sukarno as he probably would never permit the Army to act forcefully against the PKI no matter how objectionable the PKI might appear to be. A variety of covert efforts were mounted to try to damage the PKI’s reputation and provoke it to misbehavior. These included linking the PKI with China, trying to show that the PKI did not really support “Sukarnoism” (the BPS episode), and the fabrication of documents and the attributing of provocative statements to PKI spokesmen (printed in non-Communist papers). But Sukarno helped to frustrate these efforts by banning almost all non-Communist political and press activity. The PKI was careful not to go too far and not to provide the excuse for its elimination. As PKI Chairman Aidit said, “We are prepared to tolerate insults and threats. We will not be provoked. If the army spits in our faces we will wipe it off and smile. We will not retaliate.” Option 5 was continually tried but it did not seem to be working.
6. If the PKI would not provide its own death warrant, the pretext for extermination had to be fabricated for it. The optimum implementation of this option would serve to eliminate both the PKI and Sukarno as dominant forces in Indonesian political life. This option appears to have been the one finally chosen, although the point at which commitment to it was irrevocable is very uncertain. Parts of the other options, other “tracks” continued at the same time.

Background to October 1st
Undoubtedly, elements of the Indonesian military (and other anti-Communist groups) were also considering what to do about the drift of Indonesia toward Communist rule. It was highly unlikely, however, that the U.S. could sit passively and expect that Indonesians on their own would do what had to be done. American analysts seemed to have concluded that no Indonesian group on its own had the capability and will to do what was necessary to prevent Communist takeover. American initiative and cooperation were necessary.
The U.S. over the years had built up close relationships with many Indonesians, particularly in the Army. In fact, this was the essence of U.S. policy toward Indonesia over the previous five or more years. The coincidence of U.S. and anti-PKI Army interest would make natural, and simply a continuation of patterns already established, a collaboration and pooling of resources to carry out the best means available for stopping the PKI and “saving” Indonesia. The CIA provided a pool of expertise and technical capability for devising and implementing a relatively sophisticated and delicate maneuver.

The problem of lack of Army internal cohesion, as indicated in Option 4, remained a stumbling bloc. Efforts were made to achieve unity in moving against the PKI (and necessarily Sukarno) but although most generals agreed that the PKI had to go, some very important officers–notably the Army Chief of Staff General Yani– were apparently unwilling to take steps that would severely damage Sukarno. After the failure of attempts to secure Army unity, the U.S. and the collaborating generals (principally Suharto and Nasution) [1995 note: again, I would today delete Nasution] decided that the urgency of the threat and the need for quick action required working with those who were willing. It was necessary to move in spite of the absence of Army unity.
Actions were undertaken to try to polarize Indonesian politics between the Communists and others, an effort that it was hoped might move the reluctant generals to the “right” side. The Gilchrist letter seems to have been part of a covert effort to stimulate distrust and antagonism between Sukarno and General Yani. It appears, however, that General Yani remained something of a Sukarno-loyalist. General Yani had become dispensable and probably he stood in the way of what had to be done.
The “Generals’ Council” rumor, frequently considered the product of PKI work, was probably an important element of the CIA-Suharto covert operation in preparing the ground for GESTAPU. The rumor served a number of useful purposes. It helped to further the heightening of tension and uncertainty in Indonesian political life. It served to stimulate mistrust between Sukarno and certain generals that the CIA wanted to break with Sukarno. It alarmed the PKI and might even make it take the provocatory step that was hoped for. It provided a focus for debate and rumor that distracted attention from the real “conspiracy.” It bore a resemblance to something that actually existed, General Yani’s “braintrust,” and thus provided a ready target group for the GESTAPU operation, plausible victims for the “PKI’s” atrocities. The rumor helped to create a climate in which people would find GESTAPU at least superficially plausible, especially immediately on October 1st. There would be widespread belief in the imminent threat of a Generals’ Council coup and “unwitting” people (notably the soldiers used by GESTAPU on October 1st) would be willing to take actions that they might otherwise question. The General’s Council rumor helped to create something of a “controlled environment” in which certain planned stimuli would produce a relatively predictable response. Finally, the rumor was an important part of the cover story for why the PKI might be believed to have taken the action to be attributed to it.


The exploitation of the Sukarno’s health rumor mill was another important part of the cover for GESTAPU. Unfortunately for the cover story, however, it turns out to have been one of the weak links. The post-1965 explanation of why the PKI allegedly carried out GESTAPU attributes a major role to the presumed fear on the part of the PKI that Sukarno was about to die. Chinese doctors are alleged to have convinced Aidit of this. The problem is that Sukarno recovered rapidly from his illness in August 1965 and Aidit, who was in constant contact with Sukarno, had more than sufficient time to find out about Sukarno’s health for himself and to turn off any plans that were based on Sukarno’s imminent demise. (The implausibility of this story may in part account for the growth of theories that attribute the authorship of GESTAPU to Sukarno and place the PKI in a subordinate role. Even the Suharto government seems to have adopted this “explanation.~) In 1965, however, the circulation of rumors by the CIA-Suharto group served to create a climate that would make GESTAPU plausible as well as the PKI’s complicity in it.
It does seem clear that the PKI Politburo held meetings in August 1965 at which the health of Sukarno was discussed, as well as the Generals’ Council rumors, and probably the existence of “progressive” officers. What was actually said about these subjects, however, is far from clear. The official Army version, presented through “confessions,” probably took real events, kernels of truth, and spun them into the required pattern.
A very interesting question is whether the Untung group made contact with the PKI, perhaps to get the PKI to directly implicate itself or at least to take actions that could later be interpreted as “participation in GESTAPU.” It seems likely that the GESTAPU conspirators would have considered it risky to acquaint anyone not “in the know” with what was going on. The danger would have been very great that the PKI would be suspicious and pass the information to Sukarno who would investigate. The PKI was constantly on the alert for “provocations.” There is a possibility, however, that some vague intimation of GESTAPU was passed to Aidit via a source that Aidit would have found credible. If so, it appears that Aidit rejected PKI participation, despite later trial evidence.

An overlooked source of information on the relationship, if any, between the PKI and a “progressive” officers GESTAPU group is an article by the leftist journalist Wilfred Burchett that was originally published in November 1965. Burchett, relying on “an Indonesian whom I know as having close contact with the PKI leadership and who escaped the army dragnet in Jakarta,” states that the PKI received “documentary” evidence of the existence of a Generals’ Council in August and informed Sukarno about it. Burchett continues:
“In late September, Colonel Untung, head of the presidential guard, learned of the planned coup from independent sources. He approached leaders of the PKI, among others, revealing what they had known for some time, and urged joint action. to thwart the coup. The PKI leaders reportedly refused on the ground that such an action would be “premature” and that as long as Sukarno remained at the helm everything possible should be done to maintain unity, while all patriotic elements within the armed forces should remain vigilant to deal with any coup from above.”
Of course, we have no way of knowing if this is what happened but it is possible.
The backgrounds of Lt. Col. Untung, the alleged leader of the September 30th Movement, and his colleagues have been examined by a number of independent scholars. The picture that emerges is not that of a group of “progressive” or disgruntled officers, but rather of a group of successful and professional military officers who had exhibited signs of anti-PKI views, had been given sensitive positions in which their past and present political affiliations and views would have been subjected to careful examination, and some of whom–perhaps the most important ones–had recently been trained in the U.S. (General Supardjo and Col. Suherman) and undoubtedly exhaustively “vetted” by the CIA and U.S. defense intelligence.
What seems to link most of the GESTAPU officers together is not their “progressiveness” but their association, both past and present, with General Suharto. Those participants, particularly in the Air Force, not overtly linked with Suharto may be considered CIA-Suharto “assets” activated to play their role in the GESTAPU scenario. The penetration of the Air Force and the Palace Guard by anti-PKI Army forces (and the CIA) is at least as plausible as the degree of penetration attributed to the PKI. The vigilance of the anti-PKI generals in keeping PKI influence out of their officer corps is well known, as is the effort to keep track of and penetrate the more leftist branches of the military services.
Before examining what took place on October 1st it is important to recognize that (if the thesis of this paper is correct) we are looking at a collection of actors and a sequence of events that were put together primarily to accomplish a very immediate and urgent task: the discrediting of the PKI (and its allies) in as dramatic and quick a fashion as possible, and the immobilization of factors that might complicate the situation. While some thought had obviously been given to cover, it is doubtful that extensive effort was put into constructing a cover story that would withstand close, dispassionate scrutiny . The ability of the Cornell researchers, after only a few months of research using primarily written materials, to reveal the weaknesses of the immediate cover story is testimony to its inherent crudeness. The CIA-Suharto group probably felt that, if they moved quickly and drastically enough, there was little likelihood that much foreign effort would be put into examining GESTAPU in detail. Certainly no Indonesian would he disposed to raise doubts.

A certain refinement of cover and justification for actions that, for the most part, had already been taken (the murder of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians) was provided by the obviously spurious Aidit “confession” and the fabricated confession and show trial of Njono. Untung was also put on trial early in 1966. Even sympathetic foreign journalists have raised questions about these early trials (no foreign journalists were permitted to attend and only selected Indonesians). We do not know at what point the Indonesian authorities found out about the Cornell study and other evidence that apparently their story was not going over abroad as well as they had hoped. It seems probable that the trials of Dani and Subandrio were primarily milestones in the campaign to remove Sukarno and less parts of the GESTAPU cover story. It was the trial of Sudisman in 1967 and that of Sjam in 1968 that were explicitly calculated for their effect on the foreign skeptics. Of course, Suharto has had other reasons as well for continuing the show trials.
The Events of October 1st
The major military units involved on the side of the September 30th movement were officially under the command of General Suharto’s KOSTRAD, the Army’s Strategic Reserve. The semi-official Indonesian Army history of GESTAPU states: “Both the 454th and 530th Battalions together with the 328th Kudjong Battalion of the Siliwangi Division were under the operations command of the 3d Paratroop Brigade of the Army’s Strategic Reserve.” The Army book observes further that “KOSTRAD troops were scattered all over Indonesia, as [sic] that at the time of the coup General Soeharto had only the dc Kudjava and dc Parakomando battalion around Djakarta. Other KOSTRAD troops were at ‘the other side.'”
The major mission of these KOSTRAD “coup” units was to take up positions around the crucial Merdeka Square, controlling Sukarno’s Palace, the Indonesian Radio station, and the central telecommunications facilities.

One company of soldiers from the Palace Guard, the Tjakrabirawa, are said to have participated, together with KOSTRAD elements, in the kidnapping-murder of the six army generals. Lt. Col. Untung had been since May 1965 commander of one of the three Tjakrabirawa battalions. Considering Untung’s position, this participation is quite possible, although it could have introduced a perhaps unnecessary complication into the proceedings. General Sabur, the commander of the Palace Guard, played a very unclear role in the GESTAPU and its aftermath. Although jailed for a period after 1965, he has been released and no charges have been brought against him. Whether Untung could have acted without Sabur’s knowledge is uncertain. Only a few Tjakrabirawa troops were really necessary on October 1st, and they could have been KOSTRAD soldiers in Palace Guard uniforms. The extraordinary lack of professionalism in the execution of the “kidnappings” makes it unlikely that “unwitting” Tjakrabirawa troops played a significant role. Their role seems to have been that of making the first contact at each of the victim’s home.

In the early morning hours of October 1st GESTAPU troops went to the homes of seven generals. Three of the generals, including Army head General Yani, were killed immediately and their bodies and three other generals were taken to a place called Lubang Buaja (Crocodile’s Hole) on the outskirts of Halim Air Force Base. More than 100 troops surrounded the house of General Nasution but in a “near miraculous” escape, Nasution got away by climbing over a wall and hiding in the bushes. The fiction that one of his aides was captured and successfully impersonated one of the best known men in Indonesia for some hours afterwards (a crucial element in the CIA Research Study version of events), need not puzzle us. No such thing happened and General Nasution was meant to “escape,” (The shooting of his daughter, apparently by accident through a door, seems too ghastly to have been part of the GESTAPU plan, although her death and funeral were very important in whipping up the subsequent fury against the PKI. Nasution’s much commented upon “moodiness” after October 1st may in part be accounted for by his remorse about not taking better precautions to protect his family.)
General Nasution, the leading anti-Communist military figure in Indonesia, had to be on the list of victims of GESTAPU. His absence would have been incredible. He was not, however, a member of General Yani’s “Generals’ Council.” The fact that it was General Suharto, rather than the more well known Nasution, who took the leadership of the counter-GESTAPU forces may have a complicated explanation. We do not know the subtleties of the Suharto-Nasution relationship. The most probable explanation is that the immediate appearance of Nasution as the head of the anti-PKI effort would have aroused suspicions. Some stories have Nasution being kept “protected” in a hidden place on October 1st from 6 AM until 7 PM when he finally appeared at KOSTRAD headquarters. Other reports have him at KOSTRAD headquarters on the morning of October 1st. Nasution is alleged to have broken his ankle in climbing over the wall, probably part of the cover story for why it had to be Suharto who took the lead.

Among the more incredible “mistakes” of the GESTAPU movement was the failure to try to kill or kidnap the two generals in Djakarta who had operational command of military forces in the area, General Suharto and General Umar. Ruth McVey has commented on how extraordinary this omission was, in view of the fact that Col. Latief was one of the major GESTAPU conspirators: “Col. A. Latief headed the mobile force of the Djaya (Djakarta) Division and had commanded a series of interservice capital defense maneuvers; he must have known the basic provisions for an emergency in the capital.” In fact, Col. Latief seems to have been one of Suharto’s men. McVey states: “Latief, also a Diponegoro Division officer (Suharto’s former division), had fought under Suharto during the revolution; at the time of the Irian campaign he was at the Mandala Command headquarters in Ambone….He was assigned to KOSTRAD; his command at the time of the coup, Brigade I, was one of the KOSTRAD infantry brigades.” Latief, according to Suharto himself, visited him on the night of September 30th at the hospital where Suharto was seeing his ill son. Another account has Col. Latief paying a visit to the military hospital on the morning of October 1st where Nasution’s injured daughter had been brought. General Suharto and General Umar worked closely together almost immediately from the beginning on October 1st in “defeating” GESTAPU.
One general who was supposed to have originally been on the list of GESTAPU victims because of his position on General Yani’s staff was General Sukendro. He was in Peking on October 1st. In fact, Sukendro was a close associate of Nasution and had the reputation of a man with intimate associations with the American military and the CIA. Sukendro came back from Peking with the story that on October 1st Chinese officials had shown Indonesians a list of the murdered generals before it had been announced. (Intimations of Chinese involvement in GESTAPU were rampant in the early months after October 1st but faded to nothing after their purpose had been served.)

What exactly occurred at Lubang Buaja where the six murdered and captured generals were taken and eventually dumped into a well is uncertain. Why they were taken there seems clear. Lubang Buaja, despite stories that “secret” military training of PKI people was occurring there, was well known as a place where Air Force officers since July had been conducting training of volunteers for the Malaysian Confrontation. Those trained included youths from both PKI and other organizations. The quick murder of the generals and their alleged mutilation by Communists was the core of the GESTAPU scenario. Whether there were people from Communist organizations present at Lubang Buaja is uncertain. It is possible that unwitting volunteers had been brought there to lend their presence to the proceedings. This could have been complicating however. It was sufficient that the dastardly deed be done at a place that was known as a gathering spot for the training of PKI volunteers. “Confessions” could be produced later.
There are a few indications that if, in fact, there were “volunteers” present at Lubang Buaja on the morning of October 1st they were not necessarily from PKI organizations. The eye-witness account used in the CIA Research Study states that there were civilians crowding around the prisoners yelling “kill the unbelievers,” rather extraordinary words for Communists to be uttering. Accounts seem . to agree that the generals were almost unidentifiable, bloodied and beaten up, wearing pajamas, and blindfolded. Mortimer states that, among other non-Communist youths, people from the Moslem Ansor youth organization were expected at Lubang Buaja for training on October 1st. We may speculate that the GESTAPU officers present may have told anti-PKI youths that they had captured the killers of the generals.

Whoever killed and “mutilated” the generals, their murder served several important purposes for GESTAPU. Most importantly, it could be blamed on the PKI. The murder of General Yani opened the way for Suharto to take over control of the Army and implement the wrap-up of GESTAPU. It was standing procedure for Suharto to become acting Army head whenever Yani was not available. Suharto’s behavior on October 1st seems to be that of someone who is immediately aware that Yani is dead. We find no discussion in accounts of October 1st of efforts by Suharto to locate and rescue captured generals until late in the day. He acted very quickly to take charge. He exhibited none of the uncertainty and hesitancy that characterized nearly everyone else on October 1st.
The killing of the generals was also important in inhibiting Sukarno from declaring in favor of the September 30th Movement, a danger that could have upset the scenario but which had been taken into account. The fact that Lubang Buaja could also be associated with the Air Force (although, contrary to general impression, it was not in fact located on Halim Air Force Base) was also useful in assuring that General Dani and the Air Force would not be tempted to throw their military forces behind the September 30th Movement. Once it became known what an enormous crime had been committed by the “progressive” GESTAPU–political murder was very rare in Indonesia–no one was likely to jump on the band-wagon and complicate the planned failure of GESTAPU. Of course, the discrediting of the leftist Air Force and General Dani was part of the purpose of GESTAPU.

It is probable that the killing of the generals was communicated as rapidly as possible to Sukarno so that he would not think of backing GESTAPU. Accounts have a helicopter flying over Lubang Buaja, perhaps part of Sukarno’s (or Suharto~s?) efforts to verify absolutely that it was true. Sukarno was also probably told how the PKI was linked to the murders. His early knowledge that Nasution had probably “escaped” also served to inhibit any impulse to support GESTAPU.
When the first message of the September 30th Movement was broadcast over Radio Indonesia around 7 AM it was announced that Sukarno was being protected and that certain prominent persons who were to be targets of the Generals’ Council action had also been taken under “protection.” This was actually part of a deliberate action to control the behavior of and information available to leading non-GESTAPU political figures whom, if at large, could interfere with the GESTAPU scenario. PKI Chairman Aidit was brought to Halim very early on October 1st. (His wife states that he was kidnapped from his home.) Dani was brought to Halim. (Accounts differ on this.) Sukarno was brought to Halim. Most of Sukarno’s advisors, such as Subandrio, Njoto, and Ali Sastroamidjojo, were not in Djakarta. Reports have it at if they had been in Djakarta they were on the list of persons to be “protected.” Although there was some contact between these individuals at Halim, much of the time they were kept separated from each other in different houses with GESTAPU messengers going back and forth. (The phones had been cut in Djakarta. Only the Army had an emergency communication system functioning.) Aidit in particular was kept “protected” from any contact with Sukarno.
From the CIA Research Study account we learn that “Aidit definitely was accompanied by two bodyguards, who stayed with him the whole day of the 1st while he was at Halim and who accompanied him on the plane on his flight from Halim to Jogjakarta on the morning of the 2nd.” The actual function of these “bodyguards” seems obvious. (It is remarkable how little role, even in the official accounts, Aidit seems to have played at Halim in guiding the movement that he is alleged to have been responsible for.)

Back at Merdeka Square, the GESTAPU-KOSTRAD troops had occupied the radio station at about the same time that the generals were being kidnapped. The use of the radio to broadcast a carefully prepared series of messages was a crucial part of the GESTAPU operation. The fact that Suharto, located just across the square in KOSTRAD headquarters, took no action until the evening to put the radio off the air–although he says that he very quickly decided that something was wrong–was suspicious and “explained” in the official version in terms of Suharto’s desire to avoid violence. (His tolerance toward troops who had apparently killed or abducted six leading Army generals is remarkable.) In fact, Suharto deliberately waited to “retake” the radio station until the planned messages were completed. This he accomplished without firing a shot. (In the whole GESTAPU affair, including outside of Djakarta, only a handful of people were killed other than the generals.)
The most important characteristic of the first 7 AM GESTAPU radio broadcast in which the existence of the September 30th Movement was announced was that it was unclear whether GESTAPU was pro- or anti-Sukarno. The deliberate creation of uncertainty was necessary in part so as to prevent anyone “unexpected” from involving themselves. The fact that the name of Sukarno was not invoked in support of GESTAPU, which any genuine leftist coup attempt would probably have faked if necessary in order to increase the chances for success, probably made GESTAPU seem somewhat anti-Sukarno. The emphasis on its being “inside the military” was calculated to prevent anyone, especially the PKI, from taking to the streets and getting in the way. Basically, the impact of the 7 AM message was to confuse people and keep them sitting still waiting for the next message. In any event, given the climate of rumor in Djakarta, GESTAPU was not an implausible event, although who was behind it and what it was to accomplish was uncertain.

Another apparently calculated aspect of the first radio broadcast was the statement that a Revolutionary Council was going to be set up, with the implication–later made very clear–that it would be the new government. It was not until the afternoon that the “rather peculiar assortment of names” on the Revolutionary Council was announced. The indication of the abolition of the existing cabinet, however, was apparently partially intended to provide a rationale and gloss of legality for General Suharto to take quick command of the Army without consultation with Sukarno. In justifying his behavior afterwards, Suharto has cited the fact that GESTAPU had overthrown the existing government and therefore he was free to act on his own. (One of the contradictions in the post-1965 explanation of GESTAPU is that if the Untung group was primarily concerned to execute a limited operation to purge the Army of leading anti-PKI generals, why was it necessary to set aside the existing government, giving the operation the clear flavor of a political coup?)
Even the term “Revolutionary Council” may have been devised as another bit of dust thrown in the eyes of the confused public. Apparently the last time that “Revolutionary Councils” had been established in Indonesia was in 1956 and 1957 when some of the dissident anti-PKI regional military commanders had done so.

Although the radio announcement of the membership of the new Revolutionary Council, “the source of all authority in the Republic of Indonesia,” was not broadcast until about 2 PM, we will discuss it here. It seems possible to discern several functions for this message. The rather heterogeneous and lack-luster membership seems calculated to discourage anyone from rallying to support. (Clearly, few, if any, of the non-military members of the Council had been informed before hand. A better selection could have been faked if assuring the success of the “coup” had really been important.) The unknown middle-ranking officers took the top positions for themselves. The heads of the non-Army military services were prominently displayed as members of the Council, perhaps part of the overall plan to prevent uncontrolled military forces from involving themselves in the GESTAPU events. Linking the heads of the Air Force, Navy, and Police with GESTAPU would make it possible to label any unwanted military action by these forces as part of the GESTAPU revolt.
It is uncertain how much additional calculation was put into the membership list. A handful of PKI officials from affiliated organizations were included, but none of the top PKI leaders. This again would discourage unplanned PKI involvement Later analyses of the membership indicate the possibility that the CIA’s “experts” on communism may have devised the list according to their calculation of a plausible “stage” which the “revolution” in Indonesia had reached. In October 1965 The Washington Post published a story by Chalmers Roberts, apparently based on CIA briefings, that said U.S. officials reported to have evidence that Sukarno, through a coup, had “intended to turn his country into an Indonesian version of a Communist ‘People’s Democracy.'” We may guess that as part of the devising of a cover story for GESTAPU the CIA experts tried to simulate the kind of government that the PKI and Sukarno (apparently little distinction was made) might plausibly have been expected to set up if a pro-Communist coup occurred in Indonesia in the fall of 1965.


The 1968 CIA Research Study states that “the Revolutionary Council was the perfect Communist front organization.” Justus van der Kroef has provided the most extensive exposition of the “People’s Democracy” thesis, along the lines of Eastern European experience. Actually, judging by a more careful study of Soviet and Chinese examples, the PKI membership on the Revolutionary Council was too limited and the composition of the Council was far from being a “perfect” simulation. (The eight year old CIA Research Study contains several rather amateurish efforts to show the traces of Chinese Communist ideology or practice in the GESTAPU events, reflective of the spirit of the times.)
The behavior of Sukarno on October 1st, the subject of much speculation later on, seems to be that of someone who is unsure of what is going on, but wary and trying desperately to get a handle on the situation. The GESTAPU officers did not actually keep him prisoner at Halim Air Force Base–General Supardjo’s role seems to have been that of a rather skilled handler of Sukarno, keeping up the GESTAPU pretence–and permitted him to send and receive messages and selected visitors. To the extent possible, however, information and advice available to Sukarno was controlled. (Sukarno’s later emphasis on his being at Halim of his own free will was in the context of the rising anti-PKI hysteria. Sukarno struggled to keep it under control and did not want people to think that the “PKI-GESTAPU” had kidnapped him.)
We must assume that the CIA had prepared a psychological assessment of Sukarno which was an ingredient in planning the GESTAPU operation. How accurate and insightful the CIA’s profile may have been we do not know. Considering the obsession of Westerners with Sukarno’s sex life and the image of irresponsibility and irrationality that had been built up about him, we may suspect that the assessment was not highly useful. Some Americans seem to have considered Sukarno a coward and Howard Jones cites a Washington view, circa 1958, that Sukarno “did not have the intestinal fortitude to order the Indonesian military into action since it would split the country. Sukarno had worked all his life to unite his country; he was the last man to take an action that would result in a division that might be irrevocable.” The view of Sukarno as unwilling to take decisive and divisive military action against other Indonesians could have been a factor in the planning of GESTAPU. Sukarno’s lack of ruthlessness would be exploited.


One of the clearer indications of the absence of collusion between Sukarno and the GESTAPU officers, and of their willingness to ignore him when necessary, is the fact that (according to the CIA Research Study) at about noon on October 1st Sukarno told General Supardjo to stop the September 30th Movement. However, some important radio broadcasts had yet to be made, and the rationale for the apparently fabricated incriminating October 2 Harian Rakjat editorial would have been destroyed if General Supardjo had immediately stopped GESTAPU. The GESTAPU actions continued in Djakarta until the evening.
At about 1 PM an announcement, over General Sabur’s name, was broadcast that “President Sukarno is safe and well and continues to execute the leadership of the State.” This seems to have been a genuine statement from Sukarno, and implied his rejection of the September 30th Movement. Sukarno did not leave Halim until about 8:30 PM when he went to Bogor, having failed to prevent Suharto from taking over the Army.
In addition to the GESTAPU radio broadcasts containing the details of the Revolutionary Council, the other important afternoon message was a statement attributed to General Dani, the leftist Air Force Chief of Staff, expressing support for the September 30th Movement. This was broadcast at 3:30 PM. The means by which this “Order of the Day” was elicited from Dani, or whether it was fabricated, is uncertain. The statement carried a dating of 9:30 AM, before Sukarno’s radio message, although it was not actually broadcast until six hours later.

The CIA Research Study comments on this “incredibly poorly timed” message of General Dani: “Two hours after Sukarno had studiously avoided committing himself over the radio the Air Force Chief Dani had pledged support of the Air Force to the coup.” The peculiarity of this was accentuated by the fact that Dani was considered to be a man who carefully calculated his steps to fall in line with Sukarno. It seemed impossible that Dani could take such an action without Sukarno’s endorsement. Perhaps in the confused and controlled circumstances at Halim the GESTAPU officers had managed to convince Dani earlier in the day that Sukarno wanted him to prepare a pro-GESTAPU Order of the Day to have on hand in case of need. (The possibility of straight fabrication exists, although the author has found no emphatic assertion to this effect by Dani.)
Assuming that the Dani message was a planned part of the GESTAPU scenario, it’s purpose, of course, was to incriminate the leftist Dani and the Air Force in the GESTAPU coup attempt and the murder of the generals. (In the early days after October 1st Suharto seems to have been even more interested in defaming the Air Force than the PKI. After all, the Air Force had weapons and the PKI did not.) The Dani message also helped to enhance the plausibility of a PKI newspaper editorial expressing similar views on the next day. Early and unambiguous identification of Dani with GESTAPU would also inhibit him from taking unwanted military action.
Following the broadcast of the Dani statement, there were only a few steps left for GESTAPU, except for the action in Central Java to be examined later. Another incident of incriminating PKI involvement in GESTAPU was the alleged appearance late in the day near Merdeka Square of Pemuda Rakjat (the PKI youth organization) youths armed with Chinese weapons supposedly given to them by the Air Force. They were quickly disarmed by units of the KOSTRAD-GESTAPU 530th Battalion which had already “rejoined” the loyal forces. (Perhaps the incident was arranged in part to demonstrate that the KOSTRAD-GESTAPU units were not really bad.)

This futile arming of “PKI” youths with marked Chinese weapons that were never used is another of the almost endless string of GESTAPU “mistakes.” The CIA Research Study comments: “The weapons were all small arms of Chinese origin, with the ‘Chung’ trademark stamped on them. The Indonesian army was known not to have any weapons of that type. There is absolutely no doubt that the arms were the property of the Indonesian Air Force.” (Suharto is later said to have thrust one of these “Chung” guns before Sukarno as proof of GESTAPU’s evil.)
While the CIA analyst may have “no doubt,” another explanation seems more probable. (Stories of Chinese arms shipments to Indonesia were rife after October 1st but even the CIA Study, in other places, questions their accuracy.) The CIA is known to have had a large store of Chinese weapons at this time, which were used for a variety of purposes, including such “incriminating” schemes. This incident was simply another planned part of the GESTAPU effort to incriminate the PKI in GESTAPU in dramatic fashion. The youths might have been unwitting Pemuda Rakjat but that could have been too dangerous and it seems more probable that they were other youths, or possibly it did not even happen at all.
Apparently there were armed anti-PKI youths in Djakarta already on October 1st who had some idea of what was going on. Donald Hindley has written the following:


“October 1 was an even more confusing day for the civilians of Djakarta….And yet, while the situation was still in doubt, a few civilians did take action to use the September 30 Movement as the excuse for a public attack on the Communist Party. “By the evening of 1 October, several Moslems had met and agreed to form a Moslem Action Command Against Communism. These initial, and very few, activists were members of HMI (Moslem University Student’s Association), PII (Moslem High School Students), Gasbiindo (Indonesian Moslem Trade Union Association), and the Muhammadijah, all of them organizations formerly affiliated with Masjumi. The only politician willing to be involved on that first day was Subchan, a vice-chairman of the NU and, in many ways, atypical of his party’s leadership. That evening the group made contact with the army leadership, in the person of Djakarta commander Major General Umar Wirahadikusuma, who agreed to give them a few weapons. More important, Umar approved the formation of KAP-Gestapu (Action Front for the Crushing of Gestapu: Gestapu being an abbreviation of the Indonesian for ‘September 30 Movement’). The plans for the more narrowly based, specifically Moslem Action Command were quietly dropped. Already, then, the army leadership had proffered its encouragement and (as yet less clearly apparent) protection for those who would spearhead a civilian campaign against the PKI.”
If this is true, it indicates either remarkable prescience (it occurred before any evidence of PKI connection to GESTAPU had been announced) or, in our interpretation, that the GESTAPU action was a CIA-Suharto creation. The list of organizations involved on October 1st reads like a list of those civilian groups who would most likely have been working under CIA guidance. The use of anti-PKI students by the Army after October 1st is well known. The use of similar groups in many countries is also standard CIA practice. The extraordinarily early creation of KAP-GESTAPU with Army support is evidence of how the groundwork for the subsequent exploitation of the GESTAPU events was laid right from the beginning, if not before.

By about 7 PM on October 1st the Army had retaken the Indonesian Radio station and at 8:45 PM an announcement was broadcast that the “counter-revolutionary” September 30th Movement had kidnapped a number of generals but that Sukarno and Nasution were now safe and “the general situation is again under control.”
Then occurred what subsequent observers have considered one of the most puzzling GESTAPU “mistakes,” the appearance on October 2nd (after almost all other papers had ceased publication) of an issue of the PKI newspaper Harian Rakjat containing an editorial and cartoon endorsing the September 30th Movement. There is a remote possibility that the PKI editors were taken in by the messages they heard over the radio and had thrown caution overboard and in fact wrote such an editorial, but it is more probable that it was a fabrication. The Cornell study examined the October 2nd issue of Harian Rakjat at length and raised some doubts about the authenticity of the editorial and cartoon. The Cornell researchers, however, did not go so far as to declare them phony. The Cornell study does state that “the Djakarta garrison commander, Maj. Gen. Umar Wirahadikusumae, issued an order dated 6:00 p.m. on the 1st to the effect that no publications of any kind were to appear without permission of the Djakarta war authority, save for the Army newspapers Berita Yudha and Angkatan Bersendjata, whose buildings were to be guarded to ensure that they did come out.” The Cornell study states that it is “quite likely that the Harian Rakjat office and plant…was occupied by government troops at or not long after the time that Gen. Umar gave this order.”


The Djakarta pattern was followed even to the extent of having another remarkable “escape” of the leading military figure, General Sujosumpeno, the Division Commander, who then put down the coup with ease. Only two officers were killed by GESTAPU, Col. Katamso, the commanding officer in Jogjakarta, and his deputy. The subsequent discovery of their bodies was again used to whip up anti-PKI emotions. The interesting wrinkle in this case is that Col. Katamso was a most unlikely victim of the “progressive” GESTAPU. According to Ruth McVey’s research, Katamso was a relatively pro-PKI military officer and, in Rex Mortimer’s words, “the singling out of Colonel Katamso for destruction seems decidedly perverse.” (We may speculate that as no further victims of the Yani-type were needed, the CIA-GESTAPU group decided that they might as well make a pro-PKI officer the sacrificial lamb in Central Java.)
There were a few alleged PKI demonstrations of support for GESTAPU in Central Java but it appears that, as in Djakarta, most, if not all, were fabricated. The “PKI” action that received most attention was a demonstration in Jogjakarta on October 2nd. Major Muljono, a civic action officer in the Diponegoro Division, was the GESTAPU leader in Jogjakarta. He seems to have been the one that put together the demonstration and other pro-GESTAPU actions. The CIA Research Study states that “The major PKI mass organizations were restrained from action….Apparently Muljono was able to influence the Communist youth more than the PKI leadership.” The Cornell study states that the demonstration in Jogjakarta “appears to have been chiefly a function of connections between the local coup leader, Major Muljono, and civilian youth groups. The demonstration was notable for the absence of PKI, SOBSI, Gerwani, and BTI participants.” Major Muljono was the only important officer in Central Java who was later put on trial. He “confessed” everything.
The wrap up of GESTAPU in Central Java took slightly longer than in Djakarta but followed the same pattern of “Suharto-style” negotiations and immediate, cooperative surrender.


Our analysis is that the basic reason why the CIA-Suharto group decided to extend GESTAPU outside of Djakarta is that they wanted to show that the PKI-GESTAPU was a nation-wide threat so as to justify a nation-wide repression of the PKI. Central Java was the easiest place for Suharto to arrange the necessary GESTAPU actions and PKI “implication.” GESTAPU was limited to a few cities where the Diponegoro Division was concentrated. As the CIA Research Study states, “Nothing of the sort that happened in Semarang, Jogjakarta, and Solo happened anywhere else in Java, not even in East Java, where there were many powerful centers of Communist strength.” The Cornell study comments on the Central Java coup efforts that “what is extraordinary is not the amount of Communist participation in the initial phase of the affair but the lack of it.”
Before concluding, let us consider the fate of the leading GESTAPU conspirators. Some of them were tried and sentenced to death (Lt. Col. Untung, General Supardjo), others were said to have been killed in military clashes (Col. Suherman), and others (Col. Latief) have never been brought to trial or had their execution announced. It is our assumption that all of the leading military officers involved in GESTAPU on October 1st were “witting” actors in the CIA-Suharto plan. There is a remote chance that someone like Untung could have been unwitting but considerations of security would seem to have excluded the possibility of using someone who might easily have informed higher authorities of GESTAPU’s existence or plans. We believe, particularly if the CIA connection is accurate, that these conspirators have subsequently been provided with new identities by the CIA and resettled outside of Indonesia. This kind of resettlement and looking after one’s assets is relatively standard CIA procedure. The temptation to tie up loose ends and prevent any possibility of leaks raises the suggestion that the GESTAPU officers have been eliminated after serving their purpose but, not to be ironic, the honorable men at the CIA would probably consider this to be in violation of their code of conduct.

The official announcements of executions of GESTAPU officers, such as there have been, have been rather vague. For example, although Untung was tried and convicted in early 1966, it was not until September 1968 that Suharto stated for the first time that Untung and three other military leaders of the coup had been executed in December 1967. The 1968 CIA Research Study speculated that Latief was one of those executed in 1967 but in 1972 Latief made his first public appearance as a witness in the trial of Pono, an alleged PKI coup organizer. General Supardjo remained at large after October 1965 and was not arrested until early 1967. Apparently the Army knew where he was and his arrest was timed to serve a purpose in the ouster of Sukarno. In December 1965 it was announced that Col. Suherman and the other important GESTAPU officers from the Diponegoro Division headquarters had been shot dead in a clash with government troops in Central Java. Other Army sources have said that they were actually captured before they were shot. The evidence available to the author indicates that there have been no public or independently verified executions of any of the GESTAPU officers.
Conclusion
Discounting the dubious confessions displayed at the post-1965 show trials, the CIA-Suharto hypothesis seems to have the following advantages over other explanations of GESTAPU:


1. It is consistent with PKI policy and behavior before, during, and after the October 1st events. It explains PKI unpreparedness.
2. It is consistent with President Sukarno’s behavior before, during, and after the events of October 1st. Sukarno had never resorted to political murder.
3. It explains why the coup was launched in such a disadvantageous military situation, why it was carried out with such incompetence, and why it failed so easily. GESTAPU was meant to fail, and quickly.
4. It is consistent with expected U.S. activism. It is highly implausible that the U.S. would have passively permitted Indonesia to “go Communist.” Something had to be done. A desperate situation required desperate measures.
5. It relates the GESTAPU action to those who benefited from it.
6. It is consistent with what we know of the backgrounds of the GESTAPU officers. They were, for the most part, Suharto’s men and there is no evidence, except for that obtained through “confessions,” that they had any pro-PKI inclinations.
7. It explains why General Yani and his associates were killed (and not merely kidnapped or put on trial). There were several strong motives for the CIA and Suharto to get rid of Yani. Victims of the “PKI” were required and in the Indonesian context, Yani was a “constitutionalist,” loyal to the existing regime, as General Schneider was later in Chile.
8. It is inconsistent (a positive value) with a series of highly suspicious trials that were stage-managed by the Indonesian Army for obvious political purposes. As Justus van der Kroef wrote in 1970, “What Indonesians have been reading about Gestapu thus far is likely, in retrospect, to be more valuable as an index to the manipulation of the opinion and feelings concerning the September 30 events than as a contribution to an understanding of the coup itself.” That a few trials, those of Sudisman and Sjam, impressed some foreign observers is only indicative of the fact that the state of the art has advanced since the 1930’s in the Soviet Union.
The Cornell study in 1966 perceived the absence of links between GESTAPU on the one side and the PKI and Sukarno on the other and the essentially reactive behavior of the latter. The Cornell researchers concluded that the GESTAPU actors were entirely within the military establishment. A number of analysts noted the many associations between the GESTAPU officers and General Suharto. In the climate of 10 years ago, however, prior to the revelations of CIA operations, few were willing to take the next step and draw the logical connections that most adequately explain GESTAPU and its origins.

 

BENEDICT ANDERSON
PETRUS DADI RATU

 

In the early 1930s, Bung Karno [Sukarno] was hauled before a Dutch colonial court
on a variety of charges of ‘subversion’
. He was perfectly aware that the whole legal process was prearranged by the authorities, and he was in court merely to receive
a heavy sentence. Accordingly, rather than wasting his time on defending himself against the charges, he decided to go on the attack by laying bare all aspects of
the racist colonial system. Known by its title ‘Indonesia Accuses!’ his defence plea has since become a key historical document for the future of the Indonesian people
he loved so well.
Note:
Indonesia Menggugat ( Indonesia Accuses)
Sukarno’s famous defense speech at his trial by the Dutch on 18 August 1930.


Roughly forty-five years later, Colonel Abdul Latief was brought before a special military court—after thirteen years in solitary confinement, also on a variety of charges of subversion. Since he, too, was perfectly aware that the whole process was prearranged by the authorities, he followed in Bung Karno’s footsteps by turning his defence plea into a biting attack on the New Order, and especially on the cruelty, cunning and despotism of its creator. It is a great pity that this historic document has had to wait twenty-two years to become available to the Indonesian people whom he, also, loves so well. [1] But who is, and was, Abdul Latief, who in his youth was called Gus Dul? While still a young boy of fifteen, he was conscripted by the Dutch for basic military training in the face of an impending mass assault by the forces of Imperial Japan. However, the colonial authorities quickly surrendered, and Gus Dul was briefly imprisoned by the occupying Japanese.

Subsequently, he joined the Seinendan and the Peta in East Java. [2] After the Revolution broke out in 1945, he served continuously on the front lines, at first along the perimeter of Surabaya, and subsequently in Central Java. Towards the end he played a key role in the famous General Assault of March 1, 1949 on Jogjakarta [the revolutionary capital just captured by the Dutch]: directly under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Suharto. After the transfer of sovereignty in December 1949, Latief led combat units against various rebel forces: the groups of Andi Azis and Kahar Muzakar in South Sulawesi; the separatist Republic of the South Moluccas; the radical Islamic Battalion 426 in Central Java, the Darul Islam in West Java, and finally the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia [CIA-financed and armed rebellion of 1957–58] in West Sumatra. He was a member of the second graduating class of the Staff and Command College (Suharto was a member of the first class). Finally, during the Confrontation with Malaysia, he was assigned the important post of Commander of Brigade 1 in Jakarta, directly under the capital’s Territorial Commander, General Umar Wirahadikusumah. In this capacity he played an important, but not central, role in the September 30th Movement of 1965. From this sketch it is clear that Gus Dul was and is a true-blue combat soldier, with a psychological formation typical of the nationalist freedom-fighters of the Independence Revolution, and an absolute loyalty to its Great Leader. [3]


His culture? The many references in his defence speech both to the Koran and to the New Testament indicate a characteristic Javanese syncretism. Standard Marxist phraseology is almost wholly absent. And his accusations? The first is that Suharto, then the Commander of the Army’s Strategic Reserve [Kostrad], was fully briefed beforehand, by Latief himself, on the Council of Generals plotting Sukarno’s overthrow, and on the September 30th Movement’s plans for preventive action. General Umar too was informed through the hierarchies of the Jakarta Garrison and the Jakarta Military Police. This means that Suharto deliberately allowed the September 30th Movement to start its operations, and did not report on it to his superiors, General Nasution and General Yani. [4] By the same token, Suharto was perfectly positioned to take action against the September 30th Movement, once his rivals at the top of the military command structure had been eliminated. Machiavelli would have applauded.

We know that Suharto gave two contradictory public accounts of his meeting with Latief late in the night of September 30th at the Army Hospital. Neither one is plausible. To the American journalist Arnold Brackman, Suharto said that Latief had come to the hospital to ‘check’ on him (Suharto’s baby son Tommy was being treated for minor burns from scalding soup). But ‘checking’ on him for what? Suharto did not say. To Der Spiegel Suharto later confided that Latief had come to kill him, but lost his nerve because there were too many people around (as if Gus Dul only then realized that hospitals are very busy places!). The degree of Suharto’s commitment to truth can be gauged from the following facts. By October 4, 1965, a team of forensic doctors had given him directly their detailed autopsies on the bodies of the murdered generals. The autopsies showed that all the victims had been gunned down by military weapons. But two days later, a campaign was initiated in the mass media, by then fully under Kostrad control, to the effect that the generals’ eyes had been gouged out, and their genitals cut off, by members of Gerwani [the Communist Party’s women’s affiliate]. These icy lies were planned to create an anti-communist hysteria in all strata of Indonesian society.

Other facts strengthen Latief’s accusation. Almost all the key military participants in the September 30th Movement were, either currently or previously, close subordinates of Suharto: Lieutenant-Colonel Untung, Colonel Latief, and Brigadier-General Supardjo in Jakarta, and Colonel Suherman, Major Usman, and their associates at the Diponegoro Division’s HQ in Semarang. When Untung got married in 1963, Suharto made a special trip to a small Central Javanese village to attend the ceremony. When Suharto’s son Sigit was circumcised, Latief was invited to attend, and when Latief’s son’s turn came, the Suharto family were honoured guests. It is quite plain that these officers, who were not born yesterday, fully believed that Suharto was with them in their endeavour to rescue Sukarno from the conspiracy of the Council of Generals. Such trust is incomprehensible unless Suharto, directly or indirectly, gave his assent to their plans. It is therefore not at all surprising that Latief’s answer to my question, ‘How did you feel on the evening of October 1st?’—Suharto had full control of the capital by late afternoon—was, ‘I felt I had been betrayed.’


Furthermore, Latief’s account explains clearly one of the many mysteries surrounding the September 30th Movement. Why were the two generals who commanded directly all the troops in Jakarta, except for the Presidential Guard—namely Kostrad Commander Suharto and Jakarta Military Territory Commander Umar—not ‘taken care of’ by the September 30th Movement, if its members really intended a coup to overthrow the government, as the Military Prosecutor charged? The reason is that the two men were regarded as friends. A further point is this. We now know that, months before October 1, Ali Murtopo, then Kostrad’s intelligence chief, was pursuing a foreign policy kept secret from both Sukarno and Yani. Exploiting the contacts of former rebels, [5] clandestine connexions were made with the leaderships of two then enemy countries, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as with the United States. At that time Benny Murdani [6] was furthering these connexions from Bangkok, where he was disguised as an employee in the local Garuda [Indonesian National Airline] office. Hence it looks as if Latief is right when he states that Suharto was two-faced, or, perhaps better put, two-fisted. In one fist he held Latief–Untung–Supardjo, and in the other Murtopo–Yoga Sugama [7]–Murdani.

The second accusation reverses the charges of the Military Prosecutor that the September 30th Movement intended to overthrow the government and that the Council of Generals was a pack of lies. Latief’s conclusion is that it was precisely Suharto who planned and executed the overthrow of Sukarno; and that a Council of Generals did exist —composed not of Nasution, Yani, et al., but rather of Suharto and his trusted associates, who went on to create a dictatorship based on the Army which lasted for decades thereafter. Here once again, the facts are on Latief’s side. General Pranoto Reksosamudro, appointed by President/Commander-in-Chief Sukarno as acting Army Commander after Yani’s murder, found his appointment rejected by Suharto, and his person soon put under detention. Aidit, Lukman and Nyoto, the three top leaders of the Indonesian Communist Party, then holding ministerial rank in Sukarno’s government, were murdered out of hand. And although President Sukarno did his utmost to prevent it, Suharto and his associates planned and carried out vast massacres in the months of October, November and December 1965. As Latief himself underlines, in March 1966 a ‘silent coup’ took place: military units surrounded the building where a plenary cabinet meeting was taking place, and hours later the President was forced, more or less at gunpoint, to sign the super-murky Supersemar. [8] Suharto immediately cashiered Sukarno’s cabinet and arrested fifteen ministers. Latief’s simple verdict is that it was not the September 30th Movement which was guilty of grave and planned insubordination against the President, ending in his overthrow, but rather the man whom young wags have been calling Mr. TEK. [9]
Latief’s third accusation is broader than the others and just as grave. He accuses the New Order authorities of extraordinary, and wholly extra-legal, cruelty. That the Accuser is today still alive, with his wits intact, and his heart full of fire, shows him to be a man of almost miraculous fortitude. During his arrest on October 11, 1965, many key nerves in his right thigh were severed by a bayonet, while his left knee was completely shattered by bullets (in fact, he put up no resistance). In the Military Hospital his entire body was put into a gypsum cast, so that he could only move his head. Yet in this condition, he was still interrogated before being thrust into a tiny, dank and filthy isolation cell where he remained for the following thirteen years. His wounds became gangrenous and emitted the foul smell of carrion. When on one occasion the cast was removed for inspection, hundreds of maggots came crawling out. At the sight, one of the jailers had to run outside to vomit. For two and a half years Latief lay there in his cast before being operated on. He was forcibly given an injection of penicillin, though he told his guards he was violently allergic to it, with the result that he fainted and almost died. Over the years he suffered from haemorrhoids, a hernia, kidney stones, and calcification of the spine. The treatment received by other prisoners, especially the many military men among them, was not very different, and their food was scarce and often rotting. It is no surprise, therefore, that many died in the Salemba Prison, many became paralytics after torture, and still others went mad. In the face of such sadism, perhaps even the Kempeitai [10] would have blanched. And this was merely Salemba—one among the countless prisons in Jakarta and throughout the archipelago, where hundreds of thousands of human beings were held for years without trial. Who was responsible for the construction of this tropical Gulag?

History textbooks for Indonesia’s schoolchildren speak of a colonial monster named Captain ‘Turk’ Westerling. They usually give the number of his victims in South Sulawesi in 1946 as forty thousand. It is certain that many more were wounded, many houses were burned down, much property looted and, here and there, women raped. The defence speech of Gus Dul asks the reader to reflect on an ice-cold ‘native’ monster, whose sadism far outstripped that of the infamous Captain. In the massacres of 1965–66, a minimum of six hundred thousand were murdered. If the reported deathbed confession of Sarwo Edhie to Mas Permadi is true, the number may have reached over two million. [11] Between 1977 and 1979, at least two hundred thousand human beings in East Timor died before their time, either killed directly or condemned to planned death through systematic starvation and its accompanying diseases. Amnesty International reckons that seven thousand people were extra-judicially assassinated in the Petrus Affair of 1983. [12] To these victims, we must add those in Aceh, Irian, Lampung, Tanjung Priok and elsewhere. At the most conservative estimate: eight hundred thousand lives, or twenty times the ‘score’ of Westerling. And all these victims, at the time they died, were regarded officially as fellow-nationals of the monster.

Latief speaks of other portions of the national tragedy which are also food for thought. For example, the hundreds of thousands of people who spent years in prison, without clear charges against them, and without any due process of law, besides suffering, on a routine basis, excruciating torture. To say nothing of uncountable losses of property to theft and looting, casual, everyday rapes, and social ostracism for years, not only for former prisoners themselves, but for their wives and widows, children, and kinfolk in the widest sense. Latief’s J’accuse was written twenty-two years ago, and many things have happened in his country in the meantime. But it is only now perhaps that it can acquire its greatest importance, if it serves to prick the conscience of the Indonesian people, especially the young. To make a big fuss about the corruption of Suharto and his family, as though his criminality were of the same gravity as Eddy Tansil’s, [13] is like making a big fuss about Idi Amin’s mistresses, Slobodan Miloševic’s peculations, or Adolf Hitler’s kitschy taste in art. That Jakarta’s middle class, and a substantial part of its intelligentsia, still busy themselves with the cash stolen by ‘Father Harto’ (perhaps in their dreams they think of it as ‘our cash’) shows very clearly that they are still unprepared to face the totality of Indonesia’s modern history. This attitude, which is that of the ostrich that plunges its head into the desert sands, is very dangerous. A wise man once said: Those who forget/ignore the past are condemned to repeat it. Terrifying, no?

Important as it is, Latief’s defence, composed under exceptional conditions, cannot lift the veil which still shrouds many aspects of the September 30th Movement and its aftermath. Among so many questions, one could raise at least these. Why was Latief himself not executed, when Untung, Supardjo, Air Force Major Suyono, and others had their death sentences carried out? Why were Yani and the other generals killed at all, when the original plan was to bring them, as a group, face-to-face with Sukarno? Why did First Lieutenant Dul Arief of the Presidential Guard, who actually led the attacks on the generals’ homes, subsequently vanish without a trace? How and why did all of Central Java fall into the hands of supporters of the September 30th Movement for a day and a half, while nothing similar occurred in any other province? Why did Colonel Suherman, Major Usman and their associates in Semarang also disappear without a trace? Who really was Syam alias Kamaruzzaman [14]—former official of the Recomba of the Federal State of Pasundan, [15] former member of the anti-communist Indonesian Socialist Party, former intelligence operative for the Greater Jakarta Military Command at the time of the huge smuggling racket run by General Nasution and General Ibnu Sutowo out of Tanjung Priok, as well as former close friend of D. N. Aidit? Was he an army spy in the ranks of the Communists? Or a Communist spy inside the military? Or a spy for a third party? Or all three simultaneously? Was he really executed, or does he live comfortably abroad with a new name and a fat wallet?

Latief also cannot give us answers to questions about key aspects of the activities of the September 30th Movement, above all its political stupidities. Lieutenant-Colonel Untung’s radio announcement that starting from October 1st, the highest military rank would be the one he himself held, automatically made enemies of all the generals and colonels in Indonesia, many of whom held command of important combat units. Crazy, surely? Why was the announced list of the members of the so-called Revolutionary Council so confused and implausible? [16] Why did the Movement not announce that it was acting on the orders of President Sukarno (even if this was untrue), but instead dismissed Sukarno’s own cabinet? Why did it not appeal to the masses to crowd into the streets to help safeguard the nation’s head? It passes belief that such experienced and intelligent leaders as Aidit, Nyoto and Sudisman [17] would have made such a string of political blunders. Hence the suspicion naturally arises that this string was deliberately arranged to ensure the Movement’s failure. Announcements of the kind mentioned above merely confused the public, paralysed the masses, and provided easy pretexts for smashing the September 30th Movement itself. In this event, who really set up these bizarre announcements and arranged for their broadcast over national radio?
Most of the main actors in, and key witnesses to, the crisis of 1965, have either died or been killed. Those who are still alive have kept their lips tightly sealed, for various motives: for example, Umar Wirahadikusumah, Omar Dhani, Sudharmono, Rewang, M. Panggabean, Benny Murdani, Mrs. Hartini, Mursyid, Yoga Sugama, Andi Yusuf and Kemal Idris. [18] Now that thirty-five years have passed since 1965, would it not be a good thing for the future of the Indonesian nation if these people were required to provide the most detailed accounts of what they did and witnessed, before they go to meet their Maker?
According to an old popular saying, the mills of God grind slowly but very fine. The meaning of this adage is that in the end the rice of truth will be separated from the chaff of confusion and lies. In every part of the world, one day or another, long-held classified documents, memoirs in manuscript locked away in cabinets, and diaries gathering dust in the attics of grandchildren will be brought to His mill, and their contents will become known to later generations. With this book of his, ‘shut away’ during twenty-one years of extraordinary suffering, Abdul Latief, with his astonishing strength, has provided an impressive exemplification of the old saying. Who knows, some day his accusations may provide valuable material for the script of that play in the repertoire of the National History Shadow-Theatre which is entitled . . . well, what else could it be?—Petrus Becomes King.
In traditional Javanese shadow-theatre, Petruk Dadi Ratu is a rollicking farce in which Petruk, a well-loved clown, briefly becomes King, with predictably hilarious and grotesque consequences. For Petrus, read Killer—see note 12 above. Suharto notoriously saw himself as a new kind of Javanese monarch, thinly disguised as a President of the Republic of Indonesia.

 

 

The Secret
Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia

Subversion as a Foreign Policy

The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia.
New York: The New Press, 1995. 318 pages.

George Kahin has taught at Cornell University since 1951 and is one of the leading scholars of Southeast Asian history

—————————-

The book reveals a covert intervention by the United States in Indonesia in the late 1950s involving among other things the supply of thousands of weapons, creation and deployment ofa secret CIA airforce and logistical support from the Seventh Fleet. The operation has been kept almost totally secret from the American public for nearly 40 years.
This CIA operation proved to be even more disastrous than the Bay of Pigs-
San Francisco Chronicle

Kahin, George McT. and Kahin, Audrey R.

An extraordinary account of civil war in Indonesia provoked by President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles.

Kahin, George McT. and Kahin, Audrey R. Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia. New York: The New Press, 1995. 318 pages.
George Kahin has taught at Cornell University since 1951 and is one of the leading scholars of Southeast Asian history. This book covers Indonesian history from the end of the colonial period through the Eisenhower years. It stops short of the 1965 coup, which a CIA study described as follows: “In terms of the numbers killed the anti-PKI massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century, along with the Soviet purges of the 1930s, the Nazi mass murders during the Second World War, and the Maoist bloodbath of the early 1950s.” To get anything else out of the CIA about Indonesia, you still need a crowbar, even if you leave out 1965.
But George Kahin was personally acquainted with most of the key players in Indonesian politics during the 1950s, and he managed even without the CIA’s documents. The importance of this work is that it exposes the covert policy of Eisenhower and the Dulles brothers in Indonesia during the 1950s. This policy set the stage for the 1960s. The events of 1965-1966, dismissed at the time by the world’s media as an “abortive Communist coup,” are still hotly disputed, and appear suspicious by any reasonable standard — the whole thing could have been set up by the CIA. That’s a book that cannot yet be written, but at least we’re off to a reliable start.

 

Two Indonesias, Two Americas
June 9, 1998
By Peter Dale Scott
Indonesia is replaying its year of living dangerously, with the potential again for a more democratic society or another spasm of military repression.
As in 1965, the year of a military bloodbath that claimed possibly one million civilian lives, the U.S. government is in a key supporting role. Washington could restrain the army or push it into another violent crackdown.
As in 1965, today’s drama pits two Indonesian national traditions against each other — one, its history as one of the most tolerant Muslim cultures; the other, a long experience of ruthless repression over the last three decades by Indonesia’s army.
But there are two American traditions as well. One is humanitarian, represented by the millions of dollars which the U.S. government has poured into Indonesian human rights groups and other non-governmental organizations. The other tradition, less recognized but with deep historical roots, advocates and teaches the use of repressive violence against Third World populations to maintain “order.”
Sharpened by Cold War fears, those two Indonesias and those two Americas collided tragically in 1965. From the bloodbath, dictator Suharto rose to power. A decade later, he authorized a reprise of those murderous tactics in suppressing an independence movement in East Timor, starting in 1975 and continuing into this year. An estimated 200,000 people — a third of the Timorese population — died.
This spring, as popular demonstrations protested new austerity measures, the first question was: would the army revert to its brutal tradition of mass slaughter. The second question was: how would President Clinton react with the Cold War over but with Washington still viewing Indonesia as vital to Asian economic stability?
The Clinton administration had joined international lending agencies in demanding “reforms” that drove up the price of food, fuel and other necessities. Those price hikes sparked bloody riots, which left more than 500 dead and led to new cases of “disappeared” dissidents. But Suharto’s government finally toppled. With his army divided, Suharto resigned on May 20. His successor, Vice President B.J. Habibie, promised new elections next year.
The U.S.-Indonesian security nexus has a long history, with complex relationships existing beneath the protective blanket of national security. But to many Americans, the brutality of the Indonesian army is simply abhorrent, outside U.S. military traditions and repulsive to America’s democratic values. Many know the story of the 1965 bloodbath through the 1983 movie, “The Year of Living Dangerously,” and others have heard periodic accounts of the atrocities against East Timor.
But there is a dark — seldom acknowledged — thread that runs through U.S. military doctrine which makes the Indonesian repression disturbingly less foreign. Dating back to the founding of the Republic, this military tradition explicitly defended the selective use of terror, whether in suppressing Indian resistance on the frontiers in the 19th Century or in quelling rebellion against U.S. interests abroad in the 20th Century.
The American people are largely oblivious to this hidden tradition because most of the literature advocating state-sponsored terror is carefully confined to national security circles and rarely spills out into the public debate. Over the decades, congressional investigations have exposed some of these abuses. But when that does happen, the cases are usually deemed anomalies or excesses by out-of-control soldiers.
But the historical record shows that military terror has never been fully expunged from U.S. doctrine. The theories survive today in textbooks on counterinsurgency warfare and “low-intensity” conflict.
Some historians trace the formal acceptance of those brutal tenets to the 1860s when the army was facing challenge from a rebellious South and resistance from Native Americans in the West. Out of those crises emerged the modern military concept of “total war” — which considers attacks on civilians and their economic infrastructure an integral part of a victorious strategy.
In 1864, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman cut a swath of destruction through civilian territory in Georgia and the Carolinas. His plan was to destroy the South’s will to fight and its ability to sustain a large army in the field. The devastation left plantations in flames and brought widespread Confederate complaints of rape and murder of civilians.
Meanwhile, in Colorado, Col. John M. Chivington and the Third Colorado Cavalry were employing their own terror tactics to pacify Cheyennes. A scout named John Smith later described the attack at Sand Creek, Colo., on unsuspecting Indians at a peaceful encampment:
“They were scalped; their brains knocked out; the men used their knives, ripped open women, clubbed little children, knocked them in the head with their guns, beat their brains out, mutilated their bodies in every sense of the word.” [U.S. Cong., Senate, 39 Cong., 2nd Sess., “The Chivington Massacre,” Reports of the Committees.]
Though Smith’s objectivity was challenged at the time, today even defenders of the Sand Creek raid concede that most women and children there were killed and mutilated. [See Lt. Col. William R. Dunn, I Stand by Sand Creek.] Yet, in the 1860s, many whites in Colorado saw the slaughter as the only realistic way to bring peace, just as Sherman viewed his “march to the sea” as necessary to force the South’s surrender.
Counterinsurgency
Four years after the Civil War, Sherman became commanding general of the Army and incorporated the Indian pacification strategies — as well as his own tactics — into U.S. military doctrine. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, who had led Indian wars in the Missouri territory, succeeded Sherman in 1883 and further entrenched those strategies as policy. [See Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide.]
By the end of the 19th Century, the Indian warriors had been vanquished, but the army’s winning strategies lived on. When the United States claimed the Philippines as a prize in the Spanish-American War, Filipino insurgents resisted. In 1900, the U.S. commander, Gen. J. Franklin Bell, consciously modeled his brutal counterinsurgency campaign after the Indian wars and Sherman’s “march to the sea.”
Bell believed that by punishing the wealthier Filipinos through destruction of their homes — much as Sherman had done in the South — they would be coerced into helping convince their countrymen to submit. Learning from the Indian wars, he also isolated the guerrillas by forcing Filipinos into tightly controlled zones where schools were built and other social amenities were provided.
“The entire population outside of the major cities in Batangas was herded into concentration camps,” wrote historian Stuart Creighton Miller. “Bell’s main target was the wealthier and better-educated classes. … Adding insult to injury, Bell made these people carry the petrol used to burn their own country homes.” [See Miller’s “Benevolent Assimilation,” published in 1982.]
For those outside the protected areas, there was terror. A supportive news correspondent described one scene in which American soldiers killed “men, women, children … from lads of 10 and up, an idea prevailing that the Filipino, as such, was little better than a dog. … Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to ‘make them talk,’ have taken prisoner people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down as an example to those who found their bullet-riddled corpses.”
Defending the tactics, the correspondent noted that “it is not civilized warfare, but we are not dealing with a civilized people. The only thing they know and fear is force, violence, and brutality.” [Philadelphia Ledger, Nov. 19, 1900]
In 1901, anti-imperialists in Congress exposed and denounced Bell’s brutal tactics. Nevertheless, Bell’s strategies won military acclaim as a refined method of pacification.
In a 1973 book, one pro-Bell military historian, John Morgan Gates, termed reports of U.S. atrocities “exaggerated” and hailed Bell’s “excellent understanding of the role of benevolence in pacification.” Gates recalled that Bell’s campaign in Batanga was regarded by military strategists as “pacification in its most perfected form.” [See Gates’s Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902.]
Independence Struggles
At the turn of the century, the methodology of pacification was a hot topic among the European colonial powers, too. From Namibia to Indochina, Europeans struggled to subdue local populations. Often outright slaughter proved effective, as the Germans demonstrated with massacres of the Herrero tribe in Namibia from 1904-1907. But military strategists often compared notes about more subtle techniques of targeted terror mixed with demonstrations of benevolence.
Counterinsurgency strategies were back in vogue after World War II as many subjugated people demanded independence from colonial rule and Washington worried about the expansion of communism. In the 1950s, the Huk rebellion against U.S. dominance made the Philippines again the laboratory, with Bell’s earlier lessons clearly remembered.
“The campaign against the Huk movement in the Philippines … greatly resembled the American campaign of almost 50 years earlier,” historian Gates observed. “The American approach to the problem of pacification had been a studied one.”
But the war against the Huks had some new wrinkles, particularly the modern concept of psychological warfare or psy-war. Under the pioneering strategies of the CIA’s Maj. Gen. Edward G. Lansdale, psy-war was a new spin to the old game of breaking the will of a target population. The idea was to analyze the psychological weaknesses of a people and develop “themes” that could induce actions favorable to those carrying out the operation.
While psy-war included propaganda and disinformation, it also relied on terror tactics of a demonstrative nature. An Army psy-war pamphlet, drawing on Lansdale’s experience in the Philippines, advocated “exemplary criminal violence — the murder and mutilation of captives and the display of their bodies,” according to Michael McClintock’s Instruments of Statecraft.
In his memoirs, Lansdale boasted of one legendary psy-war trick used against the Huks who were considered superstitious and fearful of a vampire-like creature called an asuang.
“The psy-war squad set up an ambush along a trail used by the Huks,” Lansdale wrote. “When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers silently snatched the last man on the patrol, their move unseen in the dark night. They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire-fashion, held the body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the trail. When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed the asuang had got him.” [See Lansdale’s In the Midst of Wars.]
The Huk rebellion also saw the refinement of free-fire zones, a technique used effectively by Bell’s forces a half-century earlier. In the 1950s, special squadrons were assigned to do the dirty work.
“The special tactic of these squadrons was to cordon off areas; anyone they caught inside the cordon was considered an enemy,” explained one pro-U.S. Filipino colonel. “Almost daily you could find bodies floating in the river, many of them victims of [Major Napoleon] Valeriano’s Nenita Unit. [See Benedict J. Kerkvliet, The Huk Rebellion: A Study of Peasant Revolt in the Philippines.]
On to Vietnam
The successful suppression of the Huks led the war’s architects to share their lessons elsewhere in Asia and beyond. Valeriano went on to co-author an important American textbook on counterinsurgency and to serve as part of the American pacification effort in Vietnam with Lansdale.
Following the Philippine model, Vietnamese were crowded into “strategic hamlets”; “free-fire zones” were declared; and the Phoenix program eliminated thousands of suspected Viet Cong cadre.
In 1965, the U.S. intelligence community formalized the hard-learned lessons by commissioning a top-secret program called Project X. Based at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School at Fort Holabird, Maryland, the project drew from field experience and developed teaching plans to “provide intelligence training to friendly foreign countries,” according to a Pentagon history prepared in 1991 and released in 1997.
Called “a guide for the conduct of clandestine operations,” Project X “was first used by the U.S. Intelligence School on Okinawa to train Vietnamese and, presumably, other foreign nationals,” the history stated.
Linda Matthews of the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Division recalled that in 1967-68, some of the Project X training material was prepared by officers connected to the Phoenix program. “She suggested the possibility that some offending material from the Phoenix program may have found its way into the Project X materials at that time,” the Pentagon report said.
In the 1970s, the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School moved to Fort Huachuca in Arizona and began exporting Project X material to U.S. military assistance groups working with “friendly foreign countries.” By the mid-1970s, the Project X material was going to armies all over the world.
[In its 1992 review, the Pentagon acknowledged that Project X was the source for some of the “objectionable” lessons at the School of the Americas where Latin American officers were trained in blackmail, kidnapping, murder and spying on non-violent political opponents. But disclosure of the full story was blocked near the end of the Bush administration when senior Pentagon officials ordered the destruction of most Project X records. — See Robert Parry’s Lost History: Contras, Cocaine & Other Crimes, and Washington Post, Feb. 22, 1997]
Indonesian Domino
By the mid-1960s, some of the U.S. counterinsurgency lessons had reached Indonesia, too. The U.S. military training was surreptitious because Washington viewed the country’s neutralist leader Sukarno as politically suspect. The training was permitted only to give the United States influence within the Indonesian military which was considered more reliable.
A secret memo to President Johnson dated July 17, 1964, spelled out the political motive. “Our aid to Indonesia … we are satisfied … is not helping Indonesia militarily,” a State Department memo informed Johnson. “It is, however, permitting us to maintain some contact with key elements in Indonesia which are interested in and capable of resisting Communist takeover. We think this is of vital importance to the entire Free World.” [DOS Memo for President, July 17, 1964]
The covert U.S. aid and training was mostly innocuous-sounding “civic action,” which is generally thought to mean building roads, staffing health clinics and performing other “hearts-and-minds” activities with civilians. But “civic action” also provided cover in Indonesia, as in the Philippines and Vietnam, for psy-war.
The secret U.S.-Indonesian military connections paid off for Washington when a political crisis erupted the next summer and fall, threatening Sukarno’s government. To counter Indonesia’s powerful Communist Party, known as the PKI, the army’s Red Berets organized the slaughter of thousands of men, women and children. So many bodies were dumped into the rivers of East Java that they ran red with blood.
In a classic psy-war tactic, the bloated carcasses also served as a political warning to villages down river. “To make sure they didn’t sink, the carcasses were deliberately tied to, or impaled on, bamboo stakes,” wrote eyewitness Pipit Rochijat. “And the departure of corpses from the Kediri region down the Brantas achieved its golden age when bodies were stacked on rafts over which the PKI banner proudly flew.” [See Rochijat’s “Am I PKI or Non-PKI?” Indonesia, Oct. 1985.]
Living Cynically?
Some historians have attributed the grotesque violence to a crazed army which engaged in “unplanned brutality” or “mass hysteria.” But the recurring tactic of putting bodies on gruesome display fits as well with the military doctrines of psy-war, a word that one of the leading military killers used in untranslated form in one order demanding elimination of the PKI.
Sarwo Edhie, chief of the political para-commando battalion known as the Red Berets, warned that the communist opposition “should be given no opportunity to concentrate/consolidate. It should be pushed back systematically by all means, including psy-war.” [See The Revolt of the G30S/PKI and Its Suppression, translated by Robert Cribb in The Indonesian Killings.] Sarwo Edhie had been identified as a CIA contact when he served at the Indonesian Embassy in Australia. [See Pacific, May-June 1968.]
Elite U.S. reaction to the horrific slaughter was muted and has remained ambivalent ever since. The Johnson administration denied any responsibility for the massacres, but New York Times columnist James Reston spoke for many opinion leaders when he approvingly termed the bloody developments in Indonesia “a gleam of light in Asia.”
The American denials of involvement held until 1990 when U.S. diplomats admitted to a reporter that they had aided the Indonesian army by supplying lists of suspected communists. “It really was a big help to the army,” embassy officer Robert Martens told Kathy Kadane of States News Service. “I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.” Martens had headed the U.S. team that compiled the death lists.
Kadane’s story provoked a telling response from Washington Post senior editorial writer Stephen S. Rosenfeld. He accepted the fact that American officials had assisted “this fearsome slaughter,” but then justified the killings. Rosenfeld argued that the massacre “was and still is widely regarded as the grim but earned fate of a conspiratorial revolutionary party that represented the same communist juggernaut that was on the march in Vietnam.”
In a column entitled, “Indonesia 1965: The Year of Living Cynically?” Rosenfeld reasoned that “either the army would get the communists or the communists would get the army, it was thought: Indonesia was a domino, and the PKI’s demise kept it standing in the free world. … Though the means were grievously tainted, we — the fastidious among us as well as the hard-headed and cynical — can be said to have enjoyed the fruits in the geopolitical stability of that important part of Asia, in the revolution that never happened.” [WP, July 13, 1990]
Bringing It Home
Through television in the 1960-70s, the Vietnam War finally brought the horrors of counterinsurgency home to millions of Americans. They watched as U.S. troops torched villages and forced distraught old women to leave ancestral homes. Camera crews caught on film brutal interrogation of Viet Cong suspects, the execution of one young VC officer and the bombing of children with napalm.
In effect, the Vietnam War was the first time Americans got to witness the pacification strategies that had evolved secretly as national security policy since the 19th Century. As a result, millions of Americans protested the war’s conduct and Congress belatedly compelled an end to U.S. participation in 1974.
But the psy-war doctrinal debates were not resolved by the Vietnam War. Counterinsurgency advocates regrouped in the 1980s behind President Ronald Reagan, who mounted a spirited defense of the Vietnamese intervention and reaffirmed U.S. resolve to employ similar tactics against leftist forces in Central America and Africa.
Reagan added an important new component to the mix, however. He authorized an aggressive domestic “public diplomacy” operation which practiced what was called “perception management” — in effect, intimidating journalists to ensure that only sanitized images would reach the American people. Reporters who disclosed atrocities by U.S.-trained forces, such as the El Mozote massacre by El Salvador’s Atlacatl battalion in 1981, came under harsh criticism and saw their careers damaged.
Some Reagan operatives were not shy about their defense of political terror as a necessity of the Cold War. Neil Livingstone, a counter-terrorism consultant to the National Security Council, called death squads “an extremely effective tool, however odious, in combatting terrorism and revolutionary challenges.” [See McClintock’s Instruments of Statecraft.]
Congress objected to excesses of Reagan’s interventions, especially in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. The administration responded with more public relations, insisting that U.S. clients were respecting human rights. The administration covered up political murders as well as large-scale massacres throughout Central America. In the political battles, Congress had only limited success in reining in Reagan’s aid to the armies of El Salvador and Guatemala and the contra rebels of Nicaragua.
Similarly, Congress found that its 1992 prohibition against training the Indonesian army over its atrocities in East Timor was circumvented as well. In March 1998, Congress learned that the Pentagon had continued to train the Indonesian army unit, the Kopassus Red Berets, that had led many of the massacres over the past 35 years and was blamed for kidnapping and torturing political dissidents earlier this year. [WP, May 23, 1998]
A Defense Department official stated that the training program was to “gain influence with successive generations of Indonesia officers.” [NYT, March 17, 1998] U.S. Green Berets taught Kopassus such tactics as “advanced sniper techniques, military operations in urban terrain, psychological techniques [and] close quarters combat.” [See statement by reporter Allan Nairn, May 9, 1998.]
At the time, Kopassus was headed by Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto, a U.S.-trained officer who graduated at the top of his class at Fort Benning, Ga. Prabowo was linked directly to orders to kill 20 civilians in East Timor in 1989. [See The Nation, March 30, 1998.] He was sacked on May 22.
Two Traditions
What is clear from these experiences in Indonesia and elsewhere is that the United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the other of ends-justify-the-means brutality sponsored by counterinsurgency specialists.
Normally the specialists carry out their actions in remote locations with little notice in the national press. That allows the public to sustain its faith in a just America, while hard-nosed security and economic interests are still protected in secret.
But sometimes the two competing visions clash in the open, as they did in Vietnam. With today’s political turmoil, Indonesia may be another case where the shadow struggle steps into the light and the public can judge the real principles behind U.S. foreign policy, for good or ill.
As for the Indonesians, they are facing their own national schizophrenia, finally with a chance that the more democratic side might prevail. What remains to be seen is whether the people of Indonesia can keep a brutal military at bay — and whether the United States will use its influence this time to persuade the Indonesian army to respect human rights

KOLEKSI SEJARAH INDONESIA BAGIAN KETIGA

 

 
 

 

 

 

The September 30 coup
Much mystery has been associated with the actual coup attempt on September 30, 1965. In this attempted coup, six of seven top military officers were murdered. Soon after, media fabrications about how these men were treated before being killed were to play a big part “in stirring up popular resentment against the PKI. Photographs of the bodies of the dead generals – badly decomposed [after being dumped in a well] – were featured in all the newspapers and on television. Stories accompanying the pictures falsely claimed that the generals had been castrated and their eyes gouged out by Communist women” (“Deadly Deceits”, pp57/8). The September 30/1 October coup is known as the “Gestapu” affair, with the attempt itself being crushed by the commander of the Army’s strategic command, Major-General Suharto, within fewer than 24 hours (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p45). Aspects about the coup attempt have led to speculation about the possible role of an agent provocateur (or provocateurs). Was it in fact part of a more comprehensive CIA/Suharto plot? Peter Dale Scott has evidently made the strongest case, based on detailed analytical research, that even the coup attempt was probably manipulated from the inside by Suharto and the CIA (Pacific Affairs, volume 58, no.2, Summer 1985).
But the swift labelling of the Gestapu affair as a botched Communist grab for power has generally prevailed ever since, becoming a standard item of mainstream historical writing. Whatever the exact truth here, it is fascinating to see how the spurious Suharto/CIA version of history has regularly got reproduced, and in the most respected histories. For example, eminent (and very conservative) Oxford University historian, John Roberts, has had this to say: “Food shortages and inflation led to an attempted coup by the Communists (or so the military said), and in 1965, the Army stood back ostentatiously while popular massacre removed the Communists to whom Sukarno might have turned. He himself was duly set aside the following year and a solidly anti-Communist regime took power” (“Shorter Illustrated History of the World”, BCA, 1994, p547). So while Roberts does signal a doubt about the nature of the coup, he goes on, incredibly enough, to: (1) promote the blatant and easily demonstrable lie that the military had nothing to do with the genocide; (2) actually give the massacre a positive tone in the sense that it was purportedly “popular”; and, (3) then give the new regime a similarly positive tone in that it was “solidly” founded. All this can justly be called the crudest propaganda. Even Roberts’ expressed reservation about the coup seems tailored as well to help transmit the idea of a considered, judicious judgement. Such then is the best tradition of Western history-making on matters of this sort; and the fate of some one million people, brutally butchered, is cavalierly consigned to the dustbin of capitalist history.

One of the problems in investigating the 1965-69 genocide is the lack of reliable documentary evidence of the more specific details of what happened. Most of the killings during the peak period – from October 1965 through to March 1966 – were dispersed in action, and done at night in the countryside by small bands. “The New Rulers of the World” claimed to show the only extant photograph of any of the killings. Unlike the case with the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Indonesian official and unofficial records are very scanty. This seems to have been deliberate policy to a large degree so as to not only prevent scrutiny at the time, but also obfuscate any future efforts to establish the truth, or, worst of all, accountability. However, we do now know crucial elements of the American and British connections to the murders.

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

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GESTAPU
SEPTEMBER 30, 1965

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US Interpretation of events – The Coup and its Aftermath

By 1965 Indonesia had become a dangerous cockpit of social and political antagonisms. The PKI’s rapid growth aroused the hostility of Islamic groups and the military. The ABRI-PKI balancing act, which supported Sukarno’s Guided Democracy regime, was going awry. One of the most serious points of contention was the PKI’s desire to establish a “fifth force” of armed peasants and workers in conjunction with the four branches of the regular armed forces (army, navy, air force, and police; see Organization and Equipment of the Armed Forces , ch. 5). Many officers were bitterly hostile, especially after Chinese premier Zhou Enlai offered to supply the “fifth force” with arms. By 1965 ABRI’s highest ranks were divided into factions supporting Sukarno and the PKI and those opposed, the latter including ABRI chief of staff Nasution and Major General Suharto, commander of Kostrad. Sukarno’s collapse at a speech aThe circumstances surrounding the abortive coup d’état of September 30, 1965–an event that led to Sukarno’s displacement from power; a bloody purge of PKI members on Java, Bali, and elsewhere; and the rise of Suharto as architect of the New Order regime–remain shrouded in mystery and controversy. The official and generally accepted account is that procommunist military officers, calling themselves the September 30 Movement (Gestapu), attempted to seize power. Capturing the Indonesian state radio station on October 1, 1965, they announced that they had formed the Revolutionary Council and a cabinet in order to avert a coup d’état by corrupt generals who were allegedly in the pay of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. The coup perpetrators murdered five generals on the night of September 30 and fatally wounded Nasution’s daughter in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate him. Contingents of the Diponegoro Division, based in Jawa Tengah Province, rallied in support of the September 30 Movement. Communist officials in various parts of Java also expressed their support.
The extent and nature of PKI involvement in the coup are unclear, however. Whereas the official accounts promulgated by the military describe the communists as having a “puppetmaster” role, some foreign scholars have suggested that PKI involvement was minimal and that the coup was the result of rivalry between military factions. Although evidence presented at trials of coup leaders by the military implicated the PKI, the testimony of witnesses may have been coerced. A pivotal figure seems to have been Syam, head of the PKI’s secret operations, who was close to Aidit and allegedly had fostered close contacts with dissident elements within the military. But one scholar has suggested that Syam may have been an army agent provocateur who deceived the communist leadership into believing that sympathetic elements in the ranks were strong enough to conduct a successful bid for power. Another hypothesis is that Aidit and PKI leaders then in Beijing had seriously miscalculated Sukarno’s medical problems and moved to consolidate their support in the military. Others believe that ironically Sukarno himself was responsible for masterminding the coup with the cooperation of the PKI.
And rumors that he was dying also added to the atmosphere of instability

n a series of papers written after the coup and published in 1971, Cornell University scholars Benedict R.O’G. Anderson and Ruth T. McVey argued that it was an “internal army affair” and that the PKI was not involved. There was, they argued, no reason for the PKI to attempt to overthrow the regime when it had been steadily gaining power on the local level. More radical scenarios allege significant United States involvement. United States military assistance programs to Indonesia were substantial even during the Guided Democracy period and allegedly were designed to establish a pro-United States, anticommunist constituency within the armed forces.
In the wake of the September 30 coup’s failure, there was a violent anticommunist reaction. By December 1965, mobs were engaged in large-scale killings, most notably in Jawa Timur Province and on Bali, but also in parts of Sumatra. Members of Ansor, the Nahdatul Ulama’s youth branch, were particularly zealous in carrying out a “holy war” against the PKI on the village level. Chinese were also targets of mob violence. Estimates of the number killed–both Chinese and others–vary widely, from a low of 78,000 to 2 million; probably somewhere around 300,000 is most likely. Whichever figure is true, the elimination of the PKI was the bloodiest event in postwar Southeast Asia until the Khmer Rouge established its regime in Cambodia a decade later.
The period from October 1965 to March 1966 witnessed the eclipse of Sukarno and the rise of Suharto to a position of supreme power. Born in the Yogyakarta region in 1921, Suharto came from a lower priyayi family and received military training in Peta during the Japanese occupation. During the war for independence, he distinguished himself by leading a lightning attack on Yogyakarta, seizing it on March 1, 1949, after the Dutch had captured it in their second “police action.” Rising quickly through the ranks, he was placed in charge of the Diponegoro Division in 1962 and Kostrad the following year.
After the elimination of the PKI and purge of the armed forces of pro-Sukarno elements, the president was left in an isolated, defenseless position. By signing the executive order of March 11, 1966, Supersemar, he was obliged to transfer supreme authority to Suharto. On March 12, 1967, the MPRS stripped Sukarno of all political power and installed Suharto as acting president. Sukarno was kept under virtual house arrest, a lonely and tragic figure, until his death in June 1970.


The year 1966 marked the beginning of dramatic changes in Indonesian foreign policy. Friendly relations were restored with Western countries, Confrontation with Malaysia ended on August 11, and in September Indonesia rejoined the UN. In 1967 ties with Beijing were, in the words of Indonesian minister of foreign affairs Adam Malik, “frozen.” This meant that although relations with Beijing were suspended, Jakarta did not seek to establish relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan. That same year, Indonesia joined Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore to form a new regional and officially nonaligned grouping, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN–see Glossary), which was friendly to the West.
Data as of November 1992

 
 
 

Communist daily ” Harian Rakjat” in its October 2 edition
expresses support for the Gestapu movement

 

 

 

 

1 Febnruary 1966
Promoting Suharto to 5-star General

 

2 February 1966
Sukarno and Navy Command

 

4 August 1966
Cabinet Meeting

 


17 August 1966
Independence Day

 


5 October 1966
Armed Forces Day

 
 
 

4 August 1966
Meeting at Merdeka Palace of newly appointed Cabinet

 
 


5 October 1966

Ghosts of a genocide
The CIA, Suharto And Terrorist Culture
Excerpt.
During the period 1965-69, and especially during 1965-66, a series of mass murders took place in Indonesia which led to the institution in power of President Suharto and the opening up of the country to Western capitalism. Possibly more than a million people were slaughtered. In the documentary film on globalisation by John Pilger, “The New Rulers of the World” (2001 – screened on TV1, 10/10/01), there are scenes of some of the relatives of the victims of the massacres secretly exhuming the bones of their loved ones. As Pilger notes, evidence has increasingly come to light of the murderous role that the US and British governments performed both in initiating and in helping perpetrate the killings, and in the creation of the long reign of terror that ensued. The full story amounts to a remarkable and chilling record of capitalist genocide, cover-up, and subsequent foundation of a model which was then widely applied elsewhere in the Third World to eliminate the enemies of the West and ensure future profits. To a quite considerable extent, the new rulers of the world built capitalist success on the Indonesian genocide, and the platform it served for globalising Indonesia and the rest of the planet.
To date, the true story of what really happened is only partially told, only partly visible through a fog of propaganda and deception, and a dearth of information. However, trying to help unravel it, and to disclose it to a wider audience, is to embark on a greatly enlightening journey into the human psyche, into the political economy of capitalism, and into the meaning of the Western tradition of the Enlightenment today – the values of freedom, democracy, justice, truth, and respect for human rights. One comes face to face with the reality and psychology of political ideology, violence and civilised values, and what these mean in relation to the philosophical concept of truth. In such matters, if any conception of “truth” has an inevitable, insoluble element of subjectivism, there is always the question of the actual facts in the most fundamental and reportorial sense: who was killed by whom, where, how and why?

A Western Conspiracy Of Silence
The lack of investigation of the Indonesian genocide has been due to a range of reasons but the central reason has undoubtedly been the huge vested interest of both the Suharto regime and ruling Western forces in leaving the past undisturbed. “Western governments and much of the Western media preferred Suharto and the New Order to the PKI [Indonesian Communist Party] and the Old, and have been in many cases comfortable with the simple statement that some hundreds of thousands of ‘Communists’ were killed. A close investigation of who was being killed – and why – ran the risk not just of complicating a simple story but of uncovering skeletons in the New Order closet” (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966: Studies from Bali and Java”, edited by Robert Cribb, Monash Papers on Southeast Asia, no.21, 1990, pp. 5, 6). Instead: “If anything, the Indonesian killings have been treated as if they fall into an anomalous category of ‘accidental’ mass death” (ibid, p16).
More specifically, a number of Western organisations – most eminently, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – ran
from the start a carefully calculated disinformation campaign to mislead, and confuse any close scrutiny of the massacres.
Pretext for the genocide was given by a failed coup on September 30, 1965. The coup affair was apparently a venture by some young, middle-ranking officers to overthrow the existing Army high command. They might have feared the Army’s generals were about to stage their own coup to topple President Sukarno, and therefore decided to strike first. Allegations
of Communist involvement were quickly made when in actuality the PKI was innocent of this. Media fabrications whipped
up fear and hatred towards the Communists and other alleged subversives. Former CIA agent, Ralph McGehee, who visited Aotearoa/NZ in 1986, has revealed how: “To conceal its role in the massacre of those innocent people the CIA, in 1968, concocted a false account of what happened (later published by the Agency as a book, “Indonesia-1965: The Coup that Backfired”) . . .

At the same time that the Agency wrote the book, it also composed a secret study of what really happened.
[One sentence deleted] The Agency was extremely proud of its successful [one word deleted] and recommended it as a model for future operations [one-half sentence deleted]” (“Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the CIA”, Sheridan Square, 1983, p58). Deletions identified in the text just quoted were enforced by the CIA under McGehee’s legal obligations as an ex-agent. McGehee had once had access to the CIA’s secret account of the coup and its aftermath and based his report of events on this.

Much mystery has been associated with the actual coup attempt on September 30, 1965. In this attempted coup, six of seven top military officers were murdered. Soon after, media fabrications about how these men were treated before being killed were to play a big part “in stirring up popular resentment against the PKI. Photographs of the bodies of the dead generals – badly decomposed [after being dumped in a well] – were featured in all the newspapers and on television. Stories accompanying the pictures falsely claimed that the generals had been castrated and their eyes gouged out by Communist women” (“Deadly Deceits”, pp57/8). The September 30/1 October coup is known as the “Gestapu” affair, with the attempt itself being crushed by the commander of the Army’s strategic command, Major-General Suharto, within fewer than 24 hours (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p45). Aspects about the coup attempt have led to speculation about the possible role of an agent provocateur (or provocateurs). Was it in fact part of a more comprehensive CIA/Suharto plot? Peter Dale Scott has evidently made the strongest case, based on detailed analytical research, that even the coup attempt was probably manipulated from the inside by Suharto and the CIA (Pacific Affairs, volume 58, no.2, Summer 1985).


But the swift labelling of the Gestapu affair as a botched Communist grab for power has generally prevailed ever since, becoming a standard item of mainstream historical writing. Whatever the exact truth here, it is fascinating to see how the spurious Suharto/CIA version of history has regularly got reproduced, and in the most respected histories. For example, eminent (and very conservative) Oxford University historian, John Roberts, has had this to say: “Food shortages and inflation led to an attempted coup by the Communists (or so the military said), and in 1965, the Army stood back ostentatiously while popular massacre removed the Communists to whom Sukarno might have turned. He himself was duly set aside the following year and a solidly anti-Communist regime took power” (“Shorter Illustrated History of the World”, BCA, 1994, p547). So while Roberts does signal a doubt about the nature of the coup, he goes on, incredibly enough, to: (1) promote the blatant and easily demonstrable lie that the military had nothing to do with the genocide; (2) actually give the massacre a positive tone in the sense that it was purportedly “popular”; and, (3) then give the new regime a similarly positive tone in that it was “solidly” founded. All this can justly be called the crudest propaganda. Even Roberts’ expressed reservation about the coup seems tailored as well to help transmit the idea of a considered, judicious judgement. Such then is the best tradition of Western history-making on matters of this sort; and the fate of some one million people, brutally butchered, is cavalierly consigned to the dustbin of capitalist history.

One of the problems in investigating the 1965-69 genocide is the lack of reliable documentary evidence of the more specific details of what happened. Most of the killings during the peak period – from October 1965 through to March 1966 – were dispersed in action, and done at night in the countryside by small bands. “The New Rulers of the World” claimed to show the only extant photograph of any of the killings. Unlike the case with the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Indonesian official and unofficial records are very scanty. This seems to have been deliberate policy to a large degree so as to not only prevent scrutiny at the time, but also obfuscate any future efforts to establish the truth, or, worst of all, accountability. However, we do now know crucial elements of the American and British connections to the murders.

 

International Mass Murder Incorporated

Along with Marshall Green’s appointment in June 1965 as Ambassador to Indonesia during the critical period leading up to the Gestapu affair, had been the arrival earlier in 1964 of a new, activist CIA Chief of Station, “Bernardo Hugh Tovar, a naturalised Colombian who had spent years in the Philippines with the CIA’s Edward Lansdale in the early 1950s” (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, p243). Lansdale had specialised in unconventional warfare techniques against opponents of the Filipino regime. Later, Tovar, went on to CIA dirty work in Indochina.
Thanks to the dedicated digging of researcher Kathy Kadane, we have learnt that the CIA and American Embassy officials in Jakarta passed on the names of Communist organisers and activists to Suharto’s death squads (e.g. San Francisco Examiner, 20/5/90; “Year 501”, pp131/33).
Kadane found that: “The US government played a significant role by supplying the names of thousands of Communist Party leaders to the Indonesian Army, which hunted down the Leftists and killed them, former US diplomats say . . . As many as 5,000 names were furnished to the Indonesian Army, and the Americans later checked off the names of those who had been killed or captured, according to US officials . . . The lists were a detailed who’s who of the leadership of the Party of three million members, [foreign service Robert] Martens said” (“Year 501”, p131; Examiner, 20/5/90; see also “The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p7).


In an interview with Kadane, Robert Martens, a former member of the US Embassy’s political section (and when interviewed, a State Department consultant), acknowledged: “It really was a big help to the Army . . . They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment” (San Francisco Examiner, 20/5/90; also see Washington Post, 21/5/90; Boston Globe, 23/5/90). By 1990, several American newspapers at least were willing to print some hard material contesting the official version of events, although what should have been seen as a sensational and most important story was in fact, as might be expected, little used by the media. The Examiner report (20/5/90) declared that: “Silent for a quarter century, former senior US diplomats and CIA officers described in lengthy interviews how they aided Indonesian President Suharto, then Army leader, in his attack on the PKI”. Ex-diplomat and political section chief, Edward Masters, who had been Martens’ boss, confirmed that “CIA agents contributed in drawing up the death lists” (ibid.). Joseph Lazarksy, who was the deputy CIA station chief in Jakarta when Suharto took over, has admitted that the list of names was used as a “shooting list” by the Indonesian Army. All this, of course, was denied in 1990 by a CIA spokesman.


“Kadane reports that top US Embassy officials acknowledged in interviews that they had approved of the release of the names” (“Year 501″, p131). These officials included Ambassador Marshall Green, deputy chief of mission Jack Lydman, and Edward Masters. According to Howard Federspiel, the then Indonesia expert for State Department intelligence: ‘No one cared as long as they were Communists, that they were being butchered; no one was getting very worked up about it” (ibid, p131). Green has commented that: “I know we had a lot more information [about the PKI] than the Indonesians themselves” (Examiner, 20/5/90). Likewise, Masters said that the Indonesian intelligence was “not as comprehensive as the American lists”. Martens supplied the American-compiled lists to an Indonesian emissary over a number of months. This emissary was an aide to Indonesian minister Adam Malik who in turn passed them on to Suharto’s headquarters. Lazarsky disclosed that information about who had been captured and killed came back from the Suharto command centre. “By the end of January 1966, Lazarsky said, the checked off names were so numerous the CIA analysts in Washington concluded the PKI leadership had been destroyed” (ibid.). It is important to record here “that in many cases Party members were killed along with their entire families in order to prevent the possibility of retaliation in the future” (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p11; also note the Time {17/12/65} report cited earlier).


Direct US complicity in the mass murders was actually already known from “cable traffic between the US Embassy in Jakarta and the State Department” (“Year 501”, pp123 & 132; & “Confronting the Third World”, pp177/83). For instance, Secretary of State Dean Rusk had instructed Ambassador Green on October 29 1965, that the “campaign against PKI” must continue and would receive US military aid to do so (“Confronting the Third World”, p181). US cable exchanges showed a high level of concern about whether or not the army would have the resolve to carry out the genocide. On October 14 1965 Green had cabled Washington that: “Their success or failure is going to determine our own in Indonesia for some time to come” (ibid, p180). Later, on November 4, 1965, Green told Rusk that Embassy staff had made it clear that the Embassy and the US government were “generally sympathetic with and admiring of what Army doing”; and a few days later reported that the Army was acting “ruthlessly” carrying out “wholesale killings” (ibid, p181). Green ensured “carefully placed assistance which will help Army cope with PKI”, to facilitate what the CIA called the “destruction” of the Party (ibid.). It needs to be noted that relevant US documents for the three months preceding September 30 1965 have been withheld from public scrutiny. As Kolko observes, given all the other material available, “one can only assume that the release of these papers would embarrass the US government” (ibid, p177). As Kolko suggests, too, the Suharto takeover could have already been planned for such an opportune moment.


On Bali an estimated 80,000 people, or roughly 5% of the population, were killed. “The populations of whole villages were executed, the victims either shot with automatic weapons or hacked to death with knives and machetes. Some of the killers were said to have drunk the blood of their victims or to have gloated over the numbers of people they had put to death” (“The Dark Side of Paradise: Political Violence in Bali” by Geoffrey Robinson, Cornell University Press, 1995, p1). In chapter 11 of his profound, in-depth study on Bali, Robinson goes into some detail as to extent and nature of US involvement in the massacres. His overall assessment is that: “Even if it is not possible to establish definitively the extent of US complicity, it can be demonstrated that US policy contributed substantially to the seizure of power by the military under Suharto and to the massacre that ensued” (ibid, p282). As he emphasises, at least as early as 1957, US policy initiatives had been deliberately exploiting and encouraging “internal political cleavages in Indonesia with the intention of bringing down the established government” (ibid). On Bali, it was the arrival of the military with death lists and logistical support that mobilised the slaughter on a large scale. There was an orchestrated propaganda campaign to both instigate and legitimate the killings of those defined as the enemy. The Western-created myth of exotic Bali as a marvellously peaceful island so appropriate as a tourist Mecca masks a violent tradition, and Bali’s part in the 1965-66 genocide was actually not quite the aberration it might seem.


Like Kolko, Robinson has analysed and reproduced key aspects of US documentation relating to the opportunity presented by the Gestapu affair. “Just days after the coup, the CIA in Jakarta telegraphed to the White House: ‘The Army must act quickly if it is to exploit its opportunity to move against the PKI’: CIA Report no.14 to the White House, 5/10/65” (ibid, p283). US officials were then well aware that the Army was inciting popular violence against the PKI, and the strategies of murder which were being employed. Despite its delight, the Johnson Administration still “put on a public show of tolerant noninterference in Indonesia’s ‘internal affairs'”(ibid, p284). In addition to such observations, Robinson draws attention to several matters connected with Indonesian public media during 1965 that are most suggestive of a typical CIA operation aimed at destabilisation of an existing government. For instance, an inflammatory newspaper Api Pancasila mysteriously emerged only days after the coup attempt and later just as suddenly disappeared, having contributed to the creation of an anti-Communist frenzy (ibid, p2 85).

 

The Empire Soldiers On
The British connections to all this have emerged in a variety of ways. Most damning have been the revelations from official documents. Whereas the Foreign Office has regularly denied that Britain was involved in the fall of Sukarno, new revelations in the mid/late 1990s showed that British Intelligence agencies and propaganda specialists carried out covert operations to overthrow the regime. Mark Curtis, author of “The Ambiguities of Power: British Foreign Policy since 1945” (Zed Books, 1995), had an excoriating editorial in 1996 in The Ecologist (Vol.26, no.5, September/October, 1996, pp202/04). Titled “Democratic Genocide”, it presented his findings “from recently declassified secret Government files”. Quotes immediately below in the next three paragraphs are from his editorial unless otherwise indicated.
Curtis states that: “The secret files reveal three crucial aspects of the British role”. The first was its intention to get rid of Sukarno. “According to a CIA memorandum of June 1962, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and President John Kennedy ‘agreed to liquidate President Sukarno, depending on the situation and the available opportunities’. In the late 1950s, Britain had aided covert attempts to organise a guerrilla army to overthrow Sukarno”. By 1965, the British Ambassador to Indonesia, Sir Andrew Gilchrist, was telling the Foreign Office that: “I have never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change” (see also “The New Rulers of the World”). Gilchrist went on in October 1965, after the Gestapu affair, to strongly press the generals to take ruthless action against the Communists. Meantime, the US Embassy had declared: “Now is the ideal time in some ways for the Army to be committed to a struggle to the death with the PKI”.

The second way that Curtis identifies that Britain undermined Sukarno in the 1960s was through specific covert operations, including carefully targeted propaganda like stories about China’s supposed links with the Indonesian Communist Party leader. Another action had more sinister implications. Indonesia had been in confrontation with Britain over the federation of Malaysia. Gilchrist suggested that word be passed on to the Indonesian generals that British forces would “not attack them whilst they are chasing the PKI. The C-in-C [British military commander in Singapore] thinks that this has some merit and might ensure that the Army is not detracted [sic] from what we consider to be a necessary task”. This suggestion was duly implemented, and a “secret communication was made to the Generals through the American contact”. Britain’s third type of role was indeed characterised by the “extremely close relations between the US and British embassies in Jakarta”. The US and Britain apparently agreed on supplying arms to “Moslem and nationalist youths”, i.e. the civilian-based death squads that the Indonesian military high command was initiating and sustaining in the field. With cynical black humour, this covert aid (weapons, etc.) was dubbed “medicines”. In “The New Rulers of the World”, Roland Challis, once a BBC correspondent in the region during 1964-69, observed that at one stage some Indonesian troops were taken by ship from Sumatra to new killing fields in Java. The troop transport vessel sailed down the Malacca Strait escorted by two British warships.

An insight into the meaning of free trade in such creatively innovative situations is highlighted by a memo written by the then Labour Foreign Secretary, Michael Stewart, to Prime Minister Harold Wilson during the genocide: “It is only the economic chaos of Indonesia which prevents that country from offering great potential opportunities to British exporters. If there is going to be a deal with Indonesia, as I hope one day there may be, I think we ought to take an active part and try and secure a slice of the cake ourselves”. So already, while the slaughter was in process, British strategists were planning an Indonesia designed to fit their business requirements. As we have seen, these plans took fruition at the conference held in Switzerland in 1967 courtesy of Time-Life Corp. when Time and Co. followed up their celebration of the massacres with practical facilitation of the economic gains – at a party where they cut up the cake with the Indonesian clients who had carried out their dirty work (“The New Rulers of the World”). Professor Jeffrey Winters of Northwestern University has pointed out that the imposition by Western capital of such a comprehensive package on a country at a one-off event appears so far to have been unique to Indonesia (ibid.). Perhaps Afghanistan is the next candidate? After all, while Afghanistan itself is resource poor it is very strategically placed for access to the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia. The US has ambitions for a gas pipeline from Central Asia running through Afghanistan (see e.g., NZ Listener, 13/10/01, p23).

More of the evidence of Britain’s involvement in the Indonesian genocide has been published in Paul Lashmar and James Oliver’s book, “Britain’s Secret Propaganda War 1948-1997” (Sutton Publishers, 1998). In late 1965, Britain sent a senior Foreign Office official and propaganda specialist to assist on the spot with the anti-Sukarno campaign. Foreign service operative, Norman Reddaway, was given 100,000 pounds by Foreign Office head, Joe (later Lord) Garner, to manipulate the media and told to do anything he could to get rid of Sukarno. Reddaway has said that the removal of Sukarno was considered a huge success, with Indonesia becoming one of Britain’s biggest customers for arms. British operations included coordinated activity by Foreign Office personnel, MI6 (Britain’s external Intelligence agency), and Army psychological warfare officers to spread anti-Sukarno propaganda. Reddaway’s unit aided pro-Western elements in the Indonesian military. As well as actions based in Singapore, and directly on the ground in Indonesia, Britain’s Government Communications Head Quarters (GCHQ) eavesdropping agency listened in to the Sukarno government’s communications and passed on relevant information to his military opponents.

 
 

The Disinformation Game
An article in the Guardian (1/8/01), titled “Our Bloody Coup in Indonesia: Britain colluded in one of the worst massacres of the century” by Isabel Hilton, has indicated that a 1966 study carried out at Cornell University “discovered that what most of the officers [in the Gestapu Affair] had in common was not any association with the PKI, but a connection with General Suharto”.
As Hilton says “there is also evidence that the British and US responsibility for the fall of Sukarno goes back to the event that triggered it – an alleged Leftwing coup attempt in 1965”. Lt. Col. Untung, the supposed leader of the officers involved, was a known anti-Communist and some of his colleagues had been trained in the US. “It has been known for more than ten years that the CIA supplied lists of names for Suharto’s assassination squads.
What is less widely known is that the supposed pro-Communist coup that triggered the crisis was almost certainly the work of the CIA” (ibid.). Hilton points out “that the British and American governments did not just cover up the massacre: they had a direct hand in bringing it about”; and, furthermore, they succeeded “in selling a false version of events that persists to this day”. An intriguing aspect of the “Gestapu” affair is its very name. The term was allegedly coined as an acronym by an Indonesian army officer, “presumably with the intention of investing it with the aura of evil associated with the term ‘Gestapo'” (“The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p46). Although the word would surely mean little in this sense to the average Indonesian, it would certainly have a suitably sinister ring in the Western media.

Roland Challis, the BBC correspondent, “has described how British diplomats planted misleading stories in British newspapers at the time” (Guardian, 1/8/01). Conservative media like the Atlantic Monthly systematically whitewashed the genocide. The Atlantic Monthly assured its readers that Suharto “is regarded by Indonesians who know him well as incorruptible . . . In attacking the Communists, he was not acting as a Western puppet; he was doing simply what he believed to be best for Indonesia” (Guardian, 1/8/01). This just happened to include “the granting of lucrative concessions to Western mining and oil companies”, along with such bonuses as the buying of British military aircraft (ibid).
It is sobering to recall that not too long ago Don McKinnon, as NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs (and now Commonwealth Secretary General!), was telling us how Indonesia was his kind of democracy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) was most happy to indicate Indonesia as a development success story. In the past, too, McKinnon brazenly justified Indonesia’s annexation of East Timor where some 200,000 people, about a third of the total population, had been killed by Suharto’s forces (e.g. TV1 6pm News, 21/3/95). Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in 1975 was carried out with Western, including Australasian, complicity. In fact, newly released documents show President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, gave Suharto’s invasion the green light (NZ Herald, 8/12/01; Press, 8/12/01). Then, too, there has been the subjugation of West Irian. Suharto has apparently been a bigger mass murderer than Pol Pot (compare the figures for Khmer Rouge genocide in “The Indonesian Killings of 1965-1966”, p18). NZ’s dirty little collaborationist role in all of this is a story still to be told.

Significantly enough, 1965 was the year that NZ was “finally briefed on ASIS [Australian Secret Intelligence Service] in order to facilitate official discussions being held in Canberra with delegations from Wellington and London” (“Oyster: The Story of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service” by Brian Toohey & William Pinwill, William Heinemann, 1989, p110). Previously, the NZ government had not been officially informed of this Intelligence agency’s existence. Over the years, ASIS was involved in various projects to destabilise the Sukarno regime. In fact, “Sukarno’s Indonesia was the main playground for ASIS attempts at ‘dirty tricks'” (ibid, p96). The working relations betw
“By June 1965, when the ANZUS* Ministers met in Washington for their annual consultations [US] Secretary of State Dean Rusk was voicing deep concern about the extent of Communist influence” (ibid, p100). State Department records show that Rusk “expected there would be some effort by various groups to prevent the PKI from further solidifying its control” (ibid). At the very least, ASIS played a part in creating a climate conducive to mass murder, and then joined in American and British rejoicing at Sukarno’s downfall. In point of fact here, it was specifically praised by the US Ambassador to Australia at the time, Ed Clark, for acting as much as it could to overthrow the Sukarno government; and this aid included “exchanges of top level intelligence, both formal and informal, to . . . possibly more active participation in Sukarno’s downfall” (ibid, p102). Even the CIA relied a lot on ASIS reporting in 1966 when Indonesia was in turmoil. A Captain Edward Kenny later testified that he had worked as an ASIS operative in the destabilisation programme but had resigned in disgust over the bloodbath. Critical to the covert action, he claimed, was the bribing of high-ranking Indonesian military officers. Whatever the exact mechanisms of destabilisation involved, the NZ government – certainly some key politicians and officials – must have been well aware of much of the real story of events. Along with trade and investment ties, until relatively recently NZ had also been a military partner of the Suharto regime, training personnel and selling equipment. *ANZUS – the 1951 military treaty between Australia, NZ and the US. The US unilaterally suspended NZ from it, in 1986, as punishment for NZ’s nuclear free policy. It still exists between Australia and the US. But as far as New Zealand is concerned, it is dead. Ed.een the CIA and ASIS were very close.

The maxim that truth is the first casualty of war is an old wisdom. But in 2002 it is more vital than ever to keep it in mind. During the Cold War, a constant refrain of the free press was the Communist atrocity story. Whether fact or fiction depending on the occasion, the theme was a recurring one. The obvious implication was that the Communist foe used methods of political control that the West and its allies would never stoop to use. Instead, values that the West supposedly stood for like freedom and democracy meant that Western forces consistently kept some measure of human decency in tailoring means to ends. Yet the 1965-66 Indonesian genocide clearly showed that any supposed regard for human rights could even be openly discounted in the media celebration of a particularly gruesome outcome. To carry this off convincingly, the right propaganda spin was critical. For the most part it was essential to deny any Western responsibility, or at least only admit this to a carefully calculated degree, and then only in a properly contrived context. So in the Indonesian case, as we have seen, the massacres were presented as the outraged response to a botched Communist takeover; a spontaneous, uncontrollable uprising of the masses; a desperate mobilisation in self-defence, etc. The victims were systematically dehumanised in all sorts of ways – some general in technique, others very much adapted to cultural and regional/local factors.

 
 
 

Cover-up Continues – “Ignorance is Strength”

With regard to the media, my own personal experience of the treatment by Christchurch’s Press of the Indonesian genocide has proved very illuminating. Some of this was once written up and published in Peace Researcher (first series, no.13, June 1987), as ‘The Free Press and the CIA’. This particular piece was prompted by the initial refusal of the Press to publish a letter of mine to the Editor, originally sent in September 1986. My letter had contended that certain recent items in the Press on Indonesia showed how CIA-inspired propaganda works in the West. In the letter I specifically took up the issue of the Gestapu affair and the alleged Communist coup. I had included the statement that analysts like Peter Dale Scott “demonstrate that even the coup attempt was manipulated from the inside by Suharto and the CIA. This coup attempt was the excuse for the planned systematic murder of Communist and other groups”.
After a direct personal approach and remonstrance with the then Editor, the matter of actual publication was resolved and my letter duly appeared. Various other related matters came to converge with this particular concern and so a Peace Researcher article took shape as well. The Press is a long time apologist for US foreign policy, whatever the crime, and has regularly used the atrocity story against American enemies while covering up and protecting the perpetrators of Western terrorism. In Suharto’s case, applying the pragmatic criterion of human rights, it turned against him like other media when the Indonesian President had obviously reached his “use-by” date.


In October 2000, there was a sense of deja vu when a letter of mine to the Press Editor was similarly declined on the topic of the Indonesian genocide. Ironically enough, the Press has a Latin motto proclaiming that “there is nothing useful which is not honourable”; and advertises itself as dealing with “every issue”. My October 2000 letter was another comment on a Press article about Suharto, the Gestapu affair and the massacre. Following the non-appearance of my letter, I next resubmitted it by hand, once more unsuccessfully. This time, I decided against going into the newspaper offices and trying to argue with the editor over the matter. Rather it is best written up here as yet another example of the continuing general cover-up of Western participation in the genocide. First of all, the letter is reproduced as follows:

“Peter Fry’s article blaming former President Suharto for the genocide of Communists, Chinese and other peoples in Indonesia during 1965-67 (Press, 2/10/00, p9) only tells part of the story. The massacres were deliberately planned and orchestrated by key Intelligence and military forces within the Western alliance. There is now ample documentation and admission of what really happened. In his book, ‘Deadly Deceits’, former CIA agent Ralph McGehee revealed how the Agency falsely portrayed the coup attempt against Sukarno as ‘Communist’, and how the CIA embraced the whole episode, including the massacres, as a model for future covert Third World interventions. American and British embassy staff in Indonesia drew up hit lists of victims for Suharto’s death squads as shown for example by declassified British files described in The Ecologist, vol.26, no.5, September/October 1996, p202. Today, Suharto is a scapegoat for the Western betrayal of the Indonesian people”.

Ever since economic crisis hit Indonesia and the Suharto regime started to crumble, the West has been disassociating itself from the regime and placing all the blame for Indonesia’s woes on the notoriously corrupt ruling family. This has been a standard, well practised tactic with a number of dictators that the West, particularly the US, has strongly supported in the past. These rulers have been ditched at strategic points, and the transition then made (or attempted) to the establishment of more acceptable rulers. Dramatic examples of this well tried practice include Marcos in the Philippines, “Baby Doc” Duvalier in Haiti, and Mobutu in Zaire/Congo. On the eve of the new Millennium, and in completely cynical fashion, Time actually launched its own campaign on Suharto’s abuse of the Indonesian economy. The World Bank’s development model was now the target of unashamedly hypocritical criticism, and not only by the Bank. A May 1999 cover story of Time (24/5/99) grandly proclaimed: “Suharto’s Billions. Luxury homes, fine art and private jets – our special investigation undercovers the former Indonesian leader’s staggering family fortune” (see also Murray Horton’s cover story on the NZ connections in Foreign Control Watchdog, no.92, December 1999). So this media wing of the Time-Life Corporation which hosted the 1967 business conference in Switzerland, a meeting that wrote the rules for foreign investment and trade in Indonesia, has now rounded quite nastily on its former client, a dictator whom it helped protect for many years. The political economy of the media and human rights is most fascinating.

 

Myth-making And New Spin
As indicated, my letter to the Editor of the Press in October 2000 was directed against an article by Peter Fry, billed as “formerly an Army colonel and defence attache in Indonesia”. The headlines for his article read: “Suharto’s double double-cross: As Indonesia grapples with Suharto’s legacy of corruption, Peter Fry questions the role the general played in the 1965 coup”. It was a most interesting article with not a hint of Western involvement in the whole episode. Suharto, the coup makers, the PKI and Sukarno shared all the blame, with Suharto coming in for special attention. A summary of Fry’s article is needed for an adequate examination of what he had to say. Until indicated, the quotes below come from his Press article. Fry maintained that: “On the eve of the coup, the PKI were confidantes to the President and at the brink of achieving political power through legal and peaceful means, while their arch-enemy, the Indonesian Army, was becoming increasingly at odds with Mr Sukarno”. As Fry rightly puts it, the official story that the PKI plotted and engineered the Gestapu affair does not make sense. “It seems unlikely that the PKI, poised to assume power legally, would have chanced its future on such an unpredictable mechanism as a violent coup d’etat”. Fry goes on to portray the coup attempt as a revolt by disillusioned officers, who invited PKI participation at a late stage, and that the PKI leadership then “gave the plan its cautious support”. He suggests that somehow Sukarno was in on it too and would announce his support for the coup makers at the appropriate moment.

However, as Fry points out, the plotters had inexplicably failed to ensure that Major-General Suharto was included on the list of generals to be purged. This was the result, Fry suggests, of Suharto’s “double double-cross” of the coup makers whereby Suharto was “fully part of the conspiracy” which he then betrayed. Next, to save the Army’s image, Suharto used the PKI as a scapegoat, picturing the Party as the instigator of the plot all along. In Fry’s words: “The Communists were easily blamed, but more was possible. Their guilt could be managed to obliterate all trace of Army complicity and eliminate the PKI. For the people of Indonesia the worst was to come. The horror was yet to be played out”. Fry goes on to emphasise the butchery and how: “The forces of retribution were unleashed, masked as spontaneous acts of revenge by local people”. He concludes by saying, whatever the truth of Suharto’s role in the coup attempt, “he did not fail to seize the opportunities presented to him, and in the bloody aftermath, ruthlessly destroyed the PKI and its supporters”.
Fry’s Press piece fits in with the recent Western approach of putting most of the blame for the genocide on Suharto, and certainly avoiding any Western responsibility. Some progress has been made, I suppose, in one sense. My 1986 letter to the Editor alleged that Suharto and the CIA manipulated the 1965 coup attempt from inside. Now we have reached the stage where Suharto’s role at least is being suggested by Establishment sources. On the other hand, of course, CIA connections to mass murder have always been highly sensitive and this is now especially true in the new era, after September 11, 2001, of the US/British “war on terrorism”. US government politicians and officials do not want the ghosts of previous American State-sponsored terrorist campaigns to come back and haunt them. In 1994 a lengthy US State Department document was released that disclosed details of major covert operations conducted by the CIA in Indonesia during the 1950s. It showed how the Eisenhower Administration secretly intervened in backing armed opposition groups on the islands of Sulawesi and Sumatra, supplying advisers, arms and communications equipment among other things. This bid to overthrow Sukarno had been in reaction to his efforts to nationalise Western commercial enterprises. But in 2001 a State Department study of the 1965-66 events in Indonesia was suppressed from public scrutiny by the Bush Administration. And this was even before the “war on terrorism”!

Controversy in the US over the State Department book was reported in July 2001 (Radio NZ, 29/7/01; Independent [London], 20/7/01). A copy of it was accidentally obtained in the US by the National Security Archive, an organisation that campaigns for access to declassified official documents. This State Department study is very revealing of the US role in the massacres. It further documents diplomatic cables showing how the US Embassy supplied the names of Communist Party members to the Indonesian army in Jakarta, and also American funding for a militia group (death squad). It shows, too, how the US worked to lower estimates of the number of people killed, and discloses that the US information given to the Indonesian military high command contributed to the murder of more than 100,000 PKI members. One of the documents sent to Washington states: “The chances of detection . . . of our support in this instance are as minimal as any black bag operation can be” (Independent, 20/7/01). According to the Archive, the book says that in December 1965, Marshall Green, as US Ambassador, “endorsed a 50 million rupiah (3,500 pounds) covert payment to the Kap-Gestapu movement leading the repression” (ibid). “Kap-Gestapu” was a special, militant anti-Communist group set up by the Army to spearhead the genocide – literally “action command to crush Gestapu”. NB. The Archive has posted one of two disputed volumes on http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB52/

More widely interpreted, this then is what the American idea of freedom means for the Third World, today most dramatically represented by Bush’s “war on terrorism”. Any resistance to US-led globalisation is to be similarly crushed, one way or another. Globalisation supposedly represents the inexorable advance of Western civilisation to which the rest of the world has to conform or else . . . Ex-Ambassador Green once “told writer Tad Szulc of a 1967 interview he had with Richard Nixon. Green said, ‘The Indonesian experience had been one of particular interest to [Nixon] because things had gone well in Indonesia. I think he was very interested in that whole experience as pointing to the way we should handle our relationships on a wider basis in Southeast Asia generally, and maybe in the world'” (In These Times, July 4-17, 1990). With President Bush unleashing the CIA and covert operations against anybody whom this very Rightwing Administration considers a “terrorist”, it is most likely that the Indonesian model will be dusted off and implemented again (for a rare academic scrutiny of Western terrorism, see “Western State Terrorism”, ed. Alex George, Polity-Blackwell, 1991).

 

The Indonesian Model – “Jakarta is Coming!”
After the fall of Suharto, despite continuing efforts by much of the Western Establishment to cover up the record of destabilisation of the Sukarno government, it is becoming easier for those concerned to research and communicate on the issue. In particular, the Indonesian Institute for the Study of the 1965/66 Massacre – Yayasan Penelitian Korban Pembunuhan 1965/1966 – is engaged in this work. In March 2001, it declared that: “After the downfall of Suharto’s military regime, it is now possible at last to carry out serious research regarding the extent of the massacres, as well as the imprisonments, and flagrant abuses of power perpetrated during more than 30 years of the Suharto regime, a regime which has brought Indonesia to its knees economically, morally and socially”
(the Institute’s e-mail address is: korban65_66@hotmail.com).
The militarised national security state instituted by Suharto has been scrutinised in the past, to some extent at least. Ten years after the military takeover in 1965, it was estimated that about 100,000 political prisoners were still being held “in a vast number of prisons, detention centres, work camps and military units” (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, p100). Known as “tapols” (from “tahanan politik”, meaning political prisoner), the jails were regularly replenished with inmates following arrests on the pretext of alleged involvement, directly or indirectly, in the Gestapu affair. Likewise, some years later, researchers found that: “More than 15 years after the coup [attempt], the regime’s sustained anti-Communist propaganda and terror campaign effectively continues” (“Indonesia: Law, Propaganda and Terror” by Julie Southwood & Patrick Flanagan, Zed Books, 1983, p133). This pattern was long to prevail.

Most grotesquely, in Stalinist fashion, supposed leading Gestapu participants were periodically executed after show trials in order to remind the populace of the importance of obedience to governmental authority, and this practice carried on into the 1990s. Writing in July 1990, Joel Bleifuss observed that “since 1985, 20 people have been executed for their alleged role in the coup or for membership in the PKI. These deaths were a product of Indonesia’s formal judicial system. That was not the case, however, with the so-called ‘mysterious killings’ of some 5,000 Indonesians during the ‘anti-crime’ campaigns of 1983/86. President Suharto writes in his 1989 autobiography that these deaths were in fact officially sanctioned summary executions of suspected criminals” (In These Times, July 4-17, 1990). The legacy of the genocide was obviously a lasting one throughout the 32 years of Suharto’s rule; and it took many and diverse forms.
As indicated earlier, ex-CIA agent Ralph McGehee has flagged the significance of the CIA’s Indonesian 1965-66 operation as a model for other covert operations. Among a range of aspects, there are certain features we can readily identify: (1) cultivation of Rightwing military elements; (2) using an alleged atrocity to inflame public opinion; (3) general media manipulation to incite violent reaction; (4) instigation and logistic support for civilian vigilante groups; (5) swift and hard coordinated response targeted at the mass elimination of opponents, or potential opponents; and, (6) a continuing programme of disinformation and cover-up. Since some of these principles, if not all, were already standard guidelines for US covert operations, the perceived US success might have resided in the overall package and its secret, effective coordination. Perhaps manipulation of the Gestapu affair was the key element. At one point in his book, “Deadly Deceits”, McGehee refers to the “CIA [one word deleted] operation” (p57). Peter Dale Scott has suggested that the missing word is “deception” (“Year 501”, p123). Peter Fry, please take note. Whatever the exact success of the deception performed, there is no doubt that the greatest sense of US satisfaction came from wiping out the PKI.

When he visited Aotearoa/NZ in 1986, McGehee told us that probably the clearest example of the model’s application was the Pinochet* takeover in Chile in 1973. This CIA operation involved agents like Dr Ray Cline who later tried to set up a so-called “ANZUS think tank” here at the time of the mid-1980’s crisis over visits by American nuclear warships to NZ. As part of the psychological warfare programme leading up to the Pinochet coup in Chile, the warning slogans, “Jakarta, Jakarta”, and “Jakarta is coming”, were painted on walls around Santiago. “Covert Action in Chile: 1963-1973”, a staff report to a US Senate Select Committee, showed that: “In addition to support for political parties, the CIA mounted a massive, anti-Communist propaganda campaign. Extensive use was made of the press, radio, films, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, direct mailing, paper streamers, and wall painting. It was a ‘scare campaign’ . . .” (US Govt., 1975, p15). This campaign was aimed at goading the political opposition “or the Chilean military into action” (ibid, p23). *General Pinochet, dictator of Chile, 1973-90. A particularly brutal military coup overthrew the elected Leftwing government, headed by President Allende, who was amongst the thousands killed. Ed.
Besides the 1973 Chilean coup, among the many other coups in which the CIA has been a prime agent after Indonesia 1965, was that in Cambodia in 1970, of which many observers noted the same complex of CIA plotters, Japanese secret societies and oil interests behind the military takeover there. Even Suharto’s Army was implicated (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, pp239/40). “Suharto remained ‘our kind of guy’, as the Clinton Administration called him, as he compiled one of the most horrendous records of slaughter and other abuses of the late 20th Century” (“September 11”, Noam Chomsky,
Allen and Unwin, 2001, pp 78/79).

 

The Indonesian model
Excerpt relsating to Indonesia
Again, in this connection too, the advantages of the Indonesian model are plainly evident: in the future, the US will be seeking opportunities for mass slaughter of those it targets, and wherever this can be engineered covertly the better. This can mean employing proxies as much as possible to fight and wipe out the enemy in any ground fighting. “Former CIA Director William Colby, in an interview, compared the [US] Embassy’s campaign [in Indonesia] to identify the PKI leadership to the CIA’s Phoenix Program in Vietnam. In 1965, Colby was the director of the CIA’s Far East division and was responsible for directing US covert strategy in Asia” (San Francisco Examiner, 20/5/90). When in 1962 he took over this position, Colby “said he discovered the US did not have comprehensive lists of PKI activists” in Indonesia, and he identified this “as a gap in the intelligence system” (ibid.). He was then obviously instrumental in taking action to remedy this situation. Colby had been strongly criticised following disclosure of human rights abuses in the Phoenix Program, and in 1990 he was appealing in the public arena to the Indonesian 1965-66 model as justification for the strategy of targeting selected individual opponents.

Phoenix was basically an assassination project run by US special forces and aimed at cadres of the National Liberation Front (popularly known as the Viet Cong). The far greater visibility of the Vietnam War had led to political and media scrutiny of Phoenix and the probable 41,000 death toll that it had exacted (“The CIA: A Forgotten History”, p145). Ever since, exposure of the Phoenix operation has been a sore point with the American unconventional warfare establishment (e.g. see “Special Men and Special Missions: Inside American Special Operations Forces 1945 to the Present” by J Nadel & J Wright, Greenhill Books, 1994, p114). Hence the concerted Western publishing/film programme to glamourise special forces and their employment; similarly to some degree for the CIA. However, as Douglas Valentine, author of “The Phoenix Program” (William Morrow & Co., 1990) warns us, “Phoenix” is reborn; “Wherever governments of the Left or Right use military and security forces to enforce their ideologies under the aegis of anti-terrorism…But, most of all, look for Phoenix in the imaginations of ideologues obsessed with security, who seek to impose their way of thinking on everyone else” (pp. 428/29).

Michael Ignatieff has coined the term “virtual war” to describe those Western interventions in the post-Cold War era that have sought “to achieve their ends at the lowest possible military cost”, at least for the Western forces making war (“Virtual War: Kosovo And Beyond”, Chatto & Windus, 2000, p162). Virtual war in his terms refers to the sort of war that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) conducted over Kosovo where: hostilities are not formally declared as according to traditional practice; fighting is almost totally one-sided with high-tech weapons wielded at will overwhelmingly by one of the participants; legal questions are constantly canvassed; Western audiences view the conflict on television in some ways as a sort of video game; and where the outcomes are left indeterminate to a large degree. Such virtual wars are relatively remote in concern for Western publics, although international opinion still has limits of tolerance of the level and extent of violence. September 11, 2001 has changed much of this with the virtual war on Kosovo dramatically contrasted with the current war on Afghanistan, and the more general “war on terrorism”. Western publics are now far more involved in what is being sold as a continuing global struggle to the death. In this connection, Ignatieff’s warning about the potential for escalation of “violence which moralises itself as justice and which is unrestrained by consequences” stands as ever more urgent (ibid, p163 and concluding pp214/15). As Ignatieff also aptly declares, “deceptions have become intrinsic to the art of war” and therefore “a good citizen is a highly suspicious one” (ibid, p196).

Guy Pauker, who as we have seen was one of the policy architects of the Indonesian genocide, went on after the successful implementation of his advice in this Asian country, to examine the world situation and the prospects for continued American rule. Most significantly, ” . . . the struggle for control of the world’s resources between the advanced industrial powers (the ‘North’) and the underdeveloped countries of the Third World (the ‘South’)” came to be seen by Pauker and many other Rightwing analysts “as the most explosive threat to long-term US security” (“Beyond the Vietnam Syndrome: US Interventionism in the 1980s” by Michael Klare, IPS, 1981, p23). Pauker gave this outlook “further articulation in a widely-discussed 1977 RAND Corp. report” where he considered the prospect “that mankind is entering a period of increased social instability and faces the possibility of a breakdown of global order as a result of sharpening confrontation between the Third World and the industrial democracies” (ibid). Pauker was then looking ahead to the 1980s when he thought there was a growing likelihood of such conflict erupting. In the intervening years between 1977 and 2001, while there have been serious armed conflicts none of these has thankfully generalised on to wider fronts. However, a lot of world problems have only got worse, and the West seems to be getting mired in the Middle East and Central Asia with the planet’s diminishing oil and gas reserves at stake.

 

Brave New Wars?
As New World Disorder reigns, President Bush has labelled the US/British war on Afghanistan the first war of the 21st Century, while warning countries from Iraq to North Korea that they could well be next on the US hit list. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, Suharto’s New Order, long legitimated by the US until just recently, has ended in ignominy, debacle and disgrace with deep uncertainty for the near future. It has all unravelled to such a degree that the country is now being seen as a huge potential risk to Western prosperity and security with a predominantly Muslim population of some 220 million close to Australasia. Presently ruled by a precariously stable government, Indonesia is charged with volatile issues ranging from secessionist movements to political legitimacy at the centre. The country could well become another candidate for the US “war on terrorism”, at least in the sense of certain targeted groups and areas. Australasian forces have intervened in East Timor for ostensibly humanitarian reasons but how much has Australia (and other Western powers) got an eye on oil and gas resources, let alone other minerals? We should recall here that implicit in the US National Security Council strategy on Indonesia in the 1950s was the possible de facto partition of the country. This is a strategy that the US and other Western states have successfully implemented in Africa and other parts of the Third World.

Free trade and investment are core elements of the globalisation cultural package that the US and the rest of the West want to roll over the Third World, now meeting especial resistance in regions with large Muslim populations. It was surely salutary that Indonesia was a country which, even on official projections, was deemed one of the least likely to benefit from the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) Uruguay Round that closed in the mid-1990s. As GATT changed into the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the conflicts that are generating the terrorist wars of the early 21st Century only increased in tension. Just one of the many contradictions inherent in all of this is that between US national security and its commitment to free trade and open markets (suitably defined and manipulated), and thus the export of military technology worldwide, enabling other countries to strengthen their capacity to eventually challenge the US more effectively (“Virtual War”, p210).
American intervention in Indonesia has demonstrated the pitfalls of economic and military policies toward the Third World that threaten to haunt us all for the foreseeable future unless those who care can rally sufficient support in the years ahead. Terrorism threatens to be employed continually in a truly vicious cycle. Breaking this cycle will take concerted commitment (see the latest Covert Action Quarterly, 71, Winter 2001 for some relevant articles. http://www.covertactionquarterly.org).

 

Economic plan

In 1966, with most of the bloodbath completed, the US Embassy and an US Agency for International Development (AID)-sponsored “Harvard [University] economist, fresh from writing South Korea’s banking regulations”, had helped Indonesian administrators write the country’s economic plans, later refined and finalised at the 1967 Geneva conference. Selling points at the Geneva conference were: “political stability . . . abundance of cheap labour . . . vast potential market . . . treasurehouse of resources” (ibid.). Later, a development team from Harvard, funded through the Ford Foundation, made sure that everything was running according to what the foreign controllers of Indonesia had prescribed.

As David Ransom (cited above) and others have shown, there had previously been a very extensive and coordinated US educational, cultural and economic input into the Indonesian elite which took power in 1965. By 1954, the National Security Council had “decided that the US would use ‘all feasible covert means’ as well as overt, including ‘the use of armed force if necessary’, to prevent the richest parts of Indonesia from falling into Communist hands” (“Confronting the Third World”, p174). In particular, Ransom’s research drew attention to what he called the “Berkeley Mafia”, a clique of Indonesian economists trained at Berkeley, the University of California. These economists had great influence on the military high command in the early 1960s, and rose to be the mandarins of Indonesia’s “modernisation” in Suharto’s New Order. Incorporated in the comprehensive American programme were the Ford Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations, RAND Corporation, Rockefeller Foundation, and some universities, among various other bodies. Peter Dale Scott has described this programme and its ramifications in considerable detail (see his ‘Exporting Military-Economic Development: America and the Overthrow of Sukarno’ in “Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, edited by Malcolm Caldwell, Spokesman Books, 1975, pp209/63). By 1965, some 4,000 officers of the Indonesian armed forces had received military training in the US, while the top staff had been schooled in integrated “military economic” development and given a pro-American political orientation. Writing in 1970, Ransom considered – at that stage of knowledge – and since this politicised aid programme was so pervasive in influence, that “neither the CIA nor the Pentagon needed to play any more than a subordinate role” in the 1965 takeover (Ramparts, October 1970, p45). We now know that this was not true but what is so striking from the research of analysts like Ransom and Scott is the extent and depth of the US policy of subversion, using a whole range of methods to effect the eventual objective.

In the several years just prior to September 1965, while loans and aid had been severely cut back, military assistance was actually increased, although this was also stopped in early 1965 when Indonesia’s confrontation policy with Malaysia became acute, and Sukarno had stepped up his nationalisation of foreign oil and rubber firms. As early as 1959, the military controlled sub-economy, which was focused on the oil company, Pertamina, led some Western journalists to see the armed forces enforcing a “creeping coup d’etat” (“Ten Years’ Military Terror in Indonesia”, p236); and over time, too, more and more government ministries were usurped by the military. Pertamina itself, indeed, served as a convenient conduit for foreign money to the military. Besides certain Western oil companies, Japanese oil firms and other Japanese interests were connected with those plotting Sukarno’s overthrow and the demise of the PKI.

 

Indonesia in 1965/66 – A British view
The political struggle in Indonesia that prevented escalation of the Indonesian Confrontation into a full scale war – a British socialist viewpoint of Indonesia in 1965 & 1966.

During the Indonesian Confrontation (1963-1966), unrest within Indonesia probably accounted for the spasmodic involvement of Indonesian Forces against the Federated States of Malaysia. America remained aloft from the conflict although having been willingly supported by British Commonwealth countries in Korea, as she (US) was attempting to introduce democracy within Indonesia and more importantly, negotiating for long term sales of oil from Indonesia at the time. Had President Sukarno been singly focused with his threat to crush Malaysia, then the conflict may have escalated to a full scale war, and America would have had to support the British Commonwealth countries.
Gestapu coup attempt
By 1965 Indonesia had become a dangerous cockpit of social and political antagonisms. The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) with rapid growth aroused the hostility of Islamic groups and the military. The ABRI-PKI balancing act, which supported Guided Democracy regime of President Sukarno, was going askew. One of the most serious points of contention was the desire of the PKI to establish a “fifth force” of armed peasants and workers.
The Indonesian killings
One of the biggest massacres in the history of Indonesia took place in 1965/66, when from half a million to two million people were killed in the suppression of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI).

Ex-agents say CIA compiled death lists for Indonesians
The following article appeared in the Spartanburg, South Carolina Herald-Journal on May 19, 1965, then in the San Francisco Examiner on May 20, 1965, the Washington Post on May 21, 1965, and the Boston Globe on May 23, 1965. The version below is from the Examiner:
“Revolution and counter-revolution in Indonesia”
“Confused reports of Officers plotting, coups and countercoups which filtered through to the Western press were the first indication of a major revolutionary upheaval in Indonesia.
The recent events unfolded against a now familiar background of social and economic crisis in a backward country. The regime of Sukarno, despite the superficial appearance of stability has been exposed as rotten to the core. The analysis of the Indonesian events provides us with an object lessen in the fate of Bonapartism, bourgeois and proletarian.”
Bonapartism and bankruptcy
Since the end of the war (WW11), all the countries of the so-called “third world” have passed through a period of uninterrupted social convulsions, as the result of the growing gap in the terms of trade with the advanced capitalist countries. The Indonesian economy is a model of bankruptcy. At one time, Indonesia was a rice-surplus area; now it has to import 150,000 tons of rice every year. The once flourishing tin and rubber export industries have dwindled away. Only oil remains as an-imported earner of dollars.
The Indonesian economy is heavily in debt to the world banking community, especially to US bankers, Each year, the budget deficit doubles, The expected figures for this year is around 1,000 billion rupiahs. The value of the rupiah has sunk to a hundredth of its legal value, as the result of the chronic inflation which in the past six years has caused the cost of living to increase by 2,000 %.
In spite of this catastrophic economic collapse, the State spends 1,000 million US dollars a year on arms. i.e. 75% of the budget. The Bonapartist regime is riddled with corruption. In the midst of mass privation, low wages and a huge housing problem, Sukarno and his elite live like kings. Sukarno occupies a white mansion; formally the residence of the Dutch governor; surrounded by sumptuous furniture and expensive works of art. “Its three splendid state-rooms are museum-like in scope and feeling. Each is lavishly draped, carpeted and furnished. Each is hung with a fragment of Sukarno’s extensive collection of heroic canvasses.” Under his direction, huge sums have been lavished on prestige buildings like the Hotel Indonesia in Djakarta where, to quote the Sunday Times, “Three million people, mostly poor, live …. in low buildings …mostly falling apart.”
Indonesia boasts one of the most inept and useless of all parasitic ruling cliques. “We are not facing economic difficulties” Sukarno blithely protests. “The Indonesian people are faring well, reasonably well. Just compare us with India or some other countries. We have a new variety of rice that will give twice as much production as normal rice. It is quite an achievement for our own research centre. I wrote a poem about it, I was so happy. But it is untranslatable.”
Unfortunately, Sukarno’s creditors do not seem to have developed a taste for untranslatable poetry as a substitute for economic progress. They expected the economy to improve after the transfer of West New Guinea to Indonesia in 1963; to no avail. The World Bank attempted to lure Sukarno into deflation by an offer of additional loans to the tune of 142 million pounds. Instead of taking up the offer, Sukarno proceeded to burn the British Embassy in Djakarta and declare war on Malaysia – a move which cut off a further 200 million dollars worth of foreign trade. The US. was concerned. In reply to repeated American demands to shore up the economy, Sukarno announced to the world; “Economics bores me.” To the very last, he maintained that in twenty years, Indonesia would be “the richest country in the world”.
Faith may be able to move mountains but it had no effect in moving the Indonesian economy out of the red. The poverty and hardships of the masses led to an extraordinarily rapid growth of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). With the economy sliding downhill fast, Sukarno was forced to nationalise increasing numbers of foreign enterprises. To do this, he was obliged to lean on the support of the PKI – a process which did not go unnoticed in Washington.
Menshevik policy of the PKI
The whole lesson of the post-war period is that the elementary tasks of the bourgeois (democratic) revolution in backward countries cannot be solved on the basis of capitalist property relations. The weak bourgeoisies of the ex-colonial countries are too inextricably bound up with international finance capital to carry the nationalist revolution through to the end. Nor can they compete with their advanced industrial competitors for world markets. As a result, there is a constant deterioration of their economic status vis-a-vis the advanced capitalist countries.
The ruining of the economies of backward countries creates conditions of acute and permanent social crisis. On the one hand the old self-contained peasant society is steadily under-mined, on the other hand, the capitalist class is unable to put across its forms on the whole of society. The rise of military police states all over the “third world” is merely a surface expression of the inability of the colonial bourgeoisie to solve the problems of their own revolution. Only by the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, in alliance with the poor peasants, can the backward countries begin to solve their economic and social problems.
Nowhere in the “Third World” has the workers movement made such rapid strides in the last decade as in Indonesia. The PKI, which had virtually ceased to exist after the abortive coup of 1948, has grown into the third largest Communist Party in the world, only the Chinese and Russian Parties being larger. Its total paid up membership is three million, It commands the support of ten million trade unionists and organised peasants. Most important of all, it claims the allegiance of 4O% of the Indonesian army. Politically, it is aligned with Peking in the Sino-Soviet dispute, and maintains close contact with the Chinese Stalinists. A revolutionary combination, one might think. But one would be wrong; The policy of the PKI is one of blatant class collaboration. Since the 1948 fiasco, the PKI leadership has attempted to prove its own impotence by ingratiating itself with Sukarno. All traces of revolutionary ideology have been systematically deleted from the Party Programme. Thus the 1962 Programme and Constitution of the PKI outlined the Partys task as the establishment of a “people’s democratic state”. And what might this queer specimen be; Socialism? Capitalism? Worker State? The Programme goes on to clarify the class content of this “peoples democratic state”. It would be a “democracy of a new type”, based, not upon the working class, but on a bloc of workers and peasants with a strange and motley collection of “Allies”. This latter-day popular front would include “the urban petty bourgeoisie, the intellectuals, the national bourgeoisie, the advanced aristocratic elements, and patriotic elements in general
From such confusion, it is difficult to extract any positive conclusion concerning the class nature of the “people democratic state” since the above is simply a list of all classes and strata of present day bourgeois Indonesia. One might therefore justly conclude that the “revolutionary” Peking oriented Programme of the PKI is the maintenance of the status quo!
In all its documents, the PKI goes out of its way to avoid all mention of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Instead, the PKI refers to the “authority” of the “people”, a formula which offends no one. The class collaboration of the PKI attained its most bare faced expression in 1955 when it openly advocated a national coalition, and offered to water down its already insipid programme to a list of entirely non communist aims.
The unutterably philistine mentality of the PKI leadership is revealed in all the pronouncements of its chief “theoretician”, Aidit. As always with Stalinism, the “theory” is merely a crude apology for the betrayals of the leadership. Thus, using the sophist argument of “stages” Aidit puts off the question of the socialist revolution to the far distant future, “When we complete the first stage of our revolution which is now in progress, we can enter into friendly consultation with other progressive elements in our society and, without an armed struggle lead the country towards socialist revolution. After all, the national capitalists in our country are both weak and disorganised. At present, in our national democratic revolution, we are siding with them and fighting a common battle of expelling foreign economic domination from this soil”.
The Aidit argument condemns itself. If the national bourgeoisie is so weak and disorganised, all the more reason to sweep them aside and set up a workers and peasants government. As a matter of fact, as Lenin pointed out a hundred times, it is precisely the weakness of the national bourgeoisie that makes them a reactionary stumbling block in the path of the democratic revolution in backward countries. They doubt their ability to control the forces unleashed by a civil war, they equivocate, and finally they are driven into the arms of reaction out of fear of their own working class. For this reason it is entirely reactionary to attempt to separate mechanically the democratic and socialist phases of the revolution in backward countries. Either the democratic revolution ”grows over” into the dictatorship of the proletariat, or it succumbs to the hammer blows of reaction.
The “Leninist” position of Aidit and co. is in fact identical to that of the Mensheviks against whom Lenin waged a relentless struggle right up to 1917. The Mensheviks argued that the socialist revolution was out of the Question in Russia, because the bourgeois democratic revolution had yet to take place. Thus, the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat was relegated by them to a distant (and therefore safe) future, fifty, a hundred, or even three hundred years hence. First we complete the “first stage” then, when this is “completely attained” , we “enter into friendly agreements” with those who might be interested in the ”second stage”. A very pretty schema.
Events were posed altogether differently by history, which, alas , does not deem it at all necessary to follow the dictates of a Plekhanov or an Aidit. 1n 1905, the Mensheviks were forced with a clear choice: proletarian revolution, or reaction? While the workers struggled with reaction in the streets, Plekhanov gave his reply: “They should not have taken to arms”. Aidit today faces his 1905.
Palace Revolution

Bonapartist Government arises out of a social crisis, where no one class, group or party is capable of achieving stable government. The bonapartist dictator directly or indirectly basing himself upon the army, achieves political equilibrium by ”balancing” the antagonistic interests – playing off one class against another. This is what imparts to the bonapartist dictator his peculiar aura of isolation and individualism; because he represents no particular interest, (other than his own) the illusion is created of a power standing above society and regulating it “in the national interest”. In reality bonapartism always represents defence of the status quo and therefore in the last analysis always comes down on the side of the ruling class.
The delicate balance of forces which is the precondition for bonapartism is bound to he temporary and precarious. Sooner or later equilibrium is destroyed and illusory stability gives way to civil war. Thus, a Bonapartist regime must be considered, monolithic or paternalistic facade notwithstanding, as a regime of transition which is the prelude to the victory of revolution or reaction.
At 0600hrs. on Thursday 30th September, 1965 Radio Djakarta broadcast an announcement that an obscure officer of the palace guard, a Lt-Col Untung had President Sukarno under protective guard, and that loyalist forces had crushed a CIA take-over plot. Within hours, Radio Djakarta issued another statement that President Sukarno was safe and well and that a Communist coup had been crushed by Gen Nasution. The bonapartist illusion was shattered.
Initial reactions in the West were that this was just another power struggle caused by the illness or death of Sukarno. The Times, ever tasteful, thought that he had “ceased to be a factor on the Indonesian political scene”. As it happened, Sukarno was alive, but the Times had grasped the correlation of’ forces admirably. In the whole course of the struggle Sukarno and his Cabinet were pitifully isolated. The government was suspended in mid-air. The real political struggle had passed into the streets.
Little by little the picture became clearer. We may accept the accusation of a CIA plot and an attempt by the Stalinist middle stream of the officer caste to liquidate the generals and forestall a right wing coup planned for October 5th. 1965, as an accurate outline of the initial upheaval. Sukarno’s illness, his moves against foreign enterprises and his increasing dependence on the PKI, on top of the general bankruptcy of the Indonesian economy would be more than enough to interest the State Department in secret negotiations with the reactionary upper stratum of the officer caste (Gen Nasution is virulently anti-Communist). On the other hand, the army generals would need little persuading to liquidate the hated influence of the PKI and establish open military rule.
As a matter of fact, we have certain proof of at least one previous attempt of the CIA to oust Sukarno. In the late 50s, an anti-Sukarno guerrilla movement developed in Sumatra. The pilot of a rebel plane shot down after bombarding an air-field was a CIA agent called Allen Lawrence Pope. He was sentenced to death, but later reprieved on Sukarno’s personal order, “because I did not want to spoil the good relationship between Indonesia and America”.
That a rightist plot existed need not be seriously doubted. The PKI, as we have seen, was quite satisfied with the status quo. On the other hand, it is clear that the so-called ”Revolutionary Council” of Untung was a Stalinist front organisation composed of prominent Stalinists, fellow travellers and political non-entities. The ”respectable” members of the Council disowned it immediately Nasution looked like gaining the upper hand. There can be no doubt that the PKI leadership was behind this preventative coup. It has emerged, however, that Sukarno himself knew all about it at least 24 hours in advance, having been informed of the generals plot by the pro-PKI Air Chief, Dhani. Sukarno was in his palace in Djakarta protected by the palace guard on the night of the coup, but fled to Bogor with the help of Dhani when the fighting got out of hand.
The treachery of the PKI now stands revealed. With three million members, ten million supporters and 40% of the army under its control, its sole concern was to keep the masses out of the struggle, to confine it to a palace revolution.
Instead of publishing full details of the right wing plot, instead of mobilising the masses in a general strike and appealing to its supporters in the army to disarm their officers and join hands with the workers for the overthrow of the whole rotten regime, they made a secret pact with Sukarno to murder the offending generals. Unfortunately for them Nasution escaped and called out his troops. The palace revolution crumbled at a touch.
The gathering reaction

It is an elementary rule of revolutionary strategy that it is always an advantage if the other side is seen to strike the first blow, thus justifying the actions as self-defence. The PKI by its criminal policy, far from keeping the generals out, handed them power on a plate.
The provocative actions of the wretched ”Revolutionary Council” proved an excellent weapon in the hands of Nasution. Moslem reaction was incited. The PKI headquarters in Djakarta was stormed and burned by a mob of several thousand youths, shouting ”Kill Aidit”. Mobs roamed the streets, sticking up posters reading “Crush the Communists”. A mob outside the American Embassy chanted “Long Live America”, A mass rally of 500,000 demanded action against all who participated in the “September 30th Movement”. The murder of the six generals and the senseless killing of the six year old daughter of Nasutian, were used to fan the flames of reaction. The demands forwarded by this demonstration to the government (i.e. to Nasution ) showed that the programme of reaction has already crystallised.
It will not be long before the reactionary generals, with great reluctance of course, submit to the pressing demands of the mob. The above programme will be implemented.
And what of the PKI? Instead of pursuing a vigorous offensive against reaction which even now, at the “11th hour” could save the party, the leadership remains prostrate before Sukarno. While Communists struggle with the mobs of reaction, the PKI continues to be represented in the Sukarno cabinet, supporting his demagogic appeals for “national unity”, a return to the old stability, etc. Ominously, however, Aidit has gone into hiding.
Aidit may hide, but there is no hiding place for the three million Communist workers and peasants who are placed at the mercy of a bloody reaction. In the teeth of all the cowardly appeals of the leadership, the mighty PKI masses are clearly moving into action. The revolt in Central Java has spread to Sumatra, and is still growing. Indonesia has been split asunder. The Daily Telegraph, with some insight, analysed the situation in an editorial of October 12th. 1965, entitled:
“The civil war in Indonesia”
”It is plain from the events of the past ten days in Indonesia that it is not another palace coup that has rocked the Sukarno Republic, but a spreading civil war. The land of confrontation is confronting itself, The three heads of this dragon, Moslem, nationalist, Communist are biting at each other, and fighting has spread from Java to Sumatra and the long smouldering rivalry of forces over which Dr Sukarno presided for so long has burst into flame. If the army suspected a Communist coup, it was clearly surprised by its sudden ruthlessness and disorganised by the loss of its six murdered generals. Now it is clear that Dr Sukarno is in Army protection, that he has countenanced its campaigns against the Communist guerrillas and finally abandoned the pretence that his Nassakom or United Front still exists.”
The behaviour of the PKI leadership was craven to the last. To the very last moment before Sukarno switched sides, they identified themselves with him and his demagogic appeals to national unity. More than likely they still do. They behave like a cur that licks its master’s hand as he kicks it in the belly.
Where the state power is openly challenged in a civil war, all possibilities of “moderation”, of a ”middle way” vanish in thin air. If Sukarno emerges, at the end of the civil war, as the man in charge it cannot be on the same basis as before. He will no longer be a one Man dictator, keeping himself on top by balancing the classes, but as a puppet of the generals. The old order is irrevocably lost. It was both stupid and reactionary of the PKI leaders to appeal for its restoration.
It is by no means certain, however, that the revolt will be crushed. True, the PKI leaders have still not called an insurrection. But the PKI masses are reacting spontaneously to the threat of reaction. Their great numerical strength, and the complete rottenness of Indonesian society may yet bring victory. It is not impossible that the PKI leadership, or a section of that leadership, will realise the futility of attempts to restore the status quo, and support the development of a mass insurrection. If so, then this would certainly take the form of a protracted guerrilla war, the classical weapon of Stalinism in the Colonial Revolution.
More likely, however, the PKI leadership will carry their work of disruption to the bitter and bloody end. Ether they will actively discourage their members from fighting, in a craven and quite utopian effort to conciliate the forces of reaction, or they may temporarily lend their support to a guerrilla war, or even a general strike, not with a view to seizing power, but simply in order to obtain a stronger hand in secret negotiations with Nasution and/or Sukarno.
Whatever the outcome, the disastrous policies of the Stalinist leadership in Indonesia, will certainly have the initial result of causing widespread disillusionment of the masses in that country. A series of defeats of the present revolutionary movement would usher in a whole period of militarist reaction resting on the apathy and bitterness of the PKI masses. Not for nothing did the Daily Telegraph editorial express evident satisfaction at the chaos in Indonesia. The defeat of the Indonesian proletariat would be the best possible buttress to the crumbling edifice of Malaysia.”
President Sukarno was stripped of Presidential power on 12th. March 1966, however remained a symbolic President and a puppet of the “Generals” until a year and a day later when he was ousted on 12th. March 1967, replaced as President by General Suharto.

 

Managing Indonesia
T
he Modern Political Economy
John Bresnan
New York
Columbia University Press 1993

2. Sukarno Yields to Soeharto
In the center of the government quarter of Jakarta in the mid-1960s lay one of the largest open squares within the precincts of a modern city, nearly a full kilometer long on every side. From the early nineteenth century, this square was known as Koningsplein, or King’s Square, and on its northern side the Dutch colonial government built a palace to serve its governors-general. On December 27, 1949, the Dutch flag in front of the palace was taken down for the last time, and the flag of the new Republic of Indonesia was raised in a simple ceremony before a crowd of several hundred people. The square was subsequently named Medan Merdeka, or Freedom Square. The palace was known in early republican days as the Presidency, but by the 1960s, in the spirit of Guided Democracy, the building was again a palace, officially, and was named Istana Merdeka, or Freedom Palace.


The first raising of the Indonesian flag before the palace was reenacted each year on August 17, the anniversary of the proclamation of Indonesia’s independence in 1945. By the early 1960s the event was attended by throngs of people who stretched across the great square almost as far as the eye could see, while in demarcated ranks in front stood groups representing the armed services, the government departments, the boy scouts and girl scouts, the political parties and their affiliated youth and student groups, labor groups, farmers’ organizations, women’s associations, and all the rest, wearing uniforms or carrying banners that identified their attachments. Before such an assembly Sukarno was a spectacular orator, stirring the feelings of the great masses of people to a high pitch, until tens of thousands chanted with him, roared in response to him, exhibiting, as nothing else could, the power of his claim that a mystic union existed between himself and the Indonesian people. Resounding with his phrases, the palace and the square before it were filled with an emotional charge of very high voltage in the political imagination.


By March 11, 1966, however, when a morning meeting of the cabinet was to take place in the palace, opinion in the capital had turned against Sukarno. His purpose in calling the meeting was to obtain a statement from the cabinet denouncing the student demonstrations that had been creating an uproar in the city. Even as the day began, students were amassing in front of the palace. The atmosphere was tense. Two weeks earlier, presidential guards had shot and killed two students. But on this day, the forces that had been building up against the president would prevail.
Events Leading to March 11
Mass violence of the kind that swept the towns and villages of Central and East Java did not occur in Jakarta. Army units based in the capital city and its vicinity had come quickly to the support of General Soeharto, as had the Siliwangi Division responsible for the province of West Java, which constituted the capital’s immediate hinterland. The army units available to Soeharto were, however, countered for some time by units of the other services on which Soeharto could not rely, including the navy, the air force, and the police. In addition, army leaders did not arm civilian youths in the capital in any significant number; on the contrary, they attempted to keep what control they could over civilian demonstrators. The result was that, although violence did occur, it was directed principally against property, not persons, and was highly selective, not indiscriminate.
What was significant in Jakarta, as a result, was not violence so much as the threat of it, and the growing estrangement that developed in this environment between activist army officers and students on the one hand, and Sukarno and the political figures long associated with him on the other. The issue was initially the Communist party, but as Sukarno remained unyielding, and the economy neared collapse, the issue became the president himself.
Some sense of the spiraling of feelings on either side can be gained from a brief review of the larger events that followed the failure of the September 30 Movement.


On October 1 Sukarno declared that he was taking personal command of the armed forces. On the following day, after a tense meeting, General Soeharto was given responsibility for ‘the restoration of security and order.’ 1
Late on the night of October 3, after the bodies of the generals were discovered at the air force base, Sukarno made a radio broadcast in which he denied accusations that the air force had been involved in the affair.
On October 4 the bodies were removed from the well in the presence of a large assemblage of journalists, photographers, and television crew. Soeharto, who was present, spoke briefly for radio and television, suggesting that the president’s assessment was not acceptable to the army. It was not possible, he said, that the incident was unconnected to certain members of the air force. He also suggested that the Communist party had been involved. 2
On October 5 a massive funeral was held for the slain officers. The funeral was attended by almost everyone who mattered in the noncommunist elite–except Sukarno, who sent an aide.
On October 6 Sukarno presided at a meeting of the entire cabinet at the ‘summer palace’ in Bogor, about an hour’s drive from the capital. He now condemned the killing of the generals, said he had not approved of the formation of the Revolutionary Council, and appealed for calm. Two members of the Central Committee of the Communist party attended the meeting and read a statement dissociating the party from what they termed ‘an internal army affair.’ 3
On October 8 a rally organized by anticommunist students was attended by tens of thousands. Speakers called on the government to ban the Communist party. Posters read: ‘Crush the PKI! Hang Aidit!’ One group of youths went from the rally to Communist party headquarters and set the building on fire.
On October 11 Sjarif Thajeb, an army medical doctor and Minister of Higher Education, ordered the closure of fourteen leftist institutions of higher education, including Res Publica University, which was owned and operated by a Chinese-dominated organization, and ordered the Communist party’s student organization to halt its activities. On October 15 Res Publica was gutted by fire.
On October 16, presumably in a move to moderate the situation, Sukarno dismissed Omar Dhani as head of the air force, and appointed Soeharto commander of the army. At the ceremony installing Soeharto, the president spoke of the coup attempt as ‘a ripple in the ocean of revolution.’ 4
On October 21 Sukarno issued a number of decrees, which in the rhetoric of the time were described as ‘commands,’ one of which prohibited unauthorized demonstrations.
In late October a new and larger anticommunist student organization was formed at a meeting at Sjarif Thajeb’s home. This was the Indonesian Student Action Front (Kesatuan Aksi Mahasiswa Indonesia, or KAMI)
(Kami also is the Indonesian word for ‘we’). 5
By early November the army was rounding up leading figures in the Communist party and its affiliated organizations in Jakarta. Three members of the party Central Committee were arrested, and a fourth was shot. Aidit himself was captured and summarily executed in Central Java on November 22. 6
The deepening political divisions reflected in these events worked their way quickly through the economy. Commodities were already in short supply, and prices were rising rapidly. In November rice mills were placed under government supervision, and in December all foreign trade was placed under government control. By mid-December the government also decided to grant a large New Year’s bonus to government employees. There were an estimated four million government employees of one kind or another at the time, and further inflation was bound to follow the government action. The problem was confounded even further when the government hastily announced a ‘currency reform,’ called in all the currency in circulation, and introduced one new rupiah note for every thousand old ones.

The timing could not have been worse. At this season of the year, about nine months from the last rice harvest and three months before the next one, rice supplies were traditionally low and prices were pressing upward; the approaching year-end holidays added further to the pressure on prices. A buying panic followed the announcement on the currency, and the price of rice rose by two-thirds in a single day. By the end of December foreign exchange reserves were exhausted, and prices had reached a record growth of 500 percent for the year. Nor was any end in sight. On January 3 the price of gasoline was increased by 400 percent, and fares on Jakarta buses by 500 percent. 7
These economic developments produced a rapidly widening reaction among the anticommunist students in Jakarta. On January 10 the Indonesian Students Action Front opened a seminar at the University of Indonesia on the state of the economy. On the same day the Action Front also sponsored a rally that adopted a statement entitled ‘Three Demands of the People,’ calling for the banning of the Communist party, a halt to inflation, and the purging of leftists and incompetents from the cabinet. On January 15 the cabinet again met in Bogor, and Sukarno invited all the leading student organizations to send representatives. The Student Action Front mobilized thousands of anticommunist students in Jakarta and Bandung, and trucked and bussed them to Bogor. When they were outside the spacious Bogor palace grounds, some of the students tried to climb the high iron fencing, and warning shots were fired by the presidential guard. 8
Sukarno on this occasion compared himself to Martin Luther and proclaimed, ‘I will not move a millimeter.’ 9 He called on those who believed as he did to organize a Sukarno Front in his support. Leaders of numerous organizations made statements in support of Sukarno in the next few days, among them the leaders of the National Party and the Nahdatul Ulama, the nation’s foremost political parties, other than the Communist party, that were still legal. Soeharto followed suit, issuing a statement that the army ‘stands behind the President/Great Leader of the Revolution and awaits his further commands.’ 10
At this point, perhaps buoyed by this show of support, Sukarno overplayed his hand. On February 21 he announced a new cabinet of a hundred members. Notably missing from the long list was Nasution, at this stage the most prominent military figure in the nation and the army’s most prominent anticommunist. On February 24, the day the new cabinet was to be installed, a huge outpouring of students surrounded the Jakarta palace starting early in the morning. The army also had troops in place, separating the students from the presidential guard. Frustrated, students halted traffic and let air out of the tires of scores of vehicles, blocking the roads to the palace, and obliging Sukarno to order helicopters to bring some of his cabinet officers to the ceremony. As the cabinet, having been sworn in, was having tea, shots were heard. Students had broken through the army buffer, and presidential guards had fired, this time into the crowd. Two students were shot dead. 11
Events now moved swiftly. A massive procession marked the funeral on February 25 of one of the students, a rightist activist from the medical faculty of the University of Indonesia. In a lengthy meeting with Soeharto that same day and into the night, Sukarno insisted that the students be stopped, and again Soeharto gave in. The Student Action Front was declared ‘dissolved’ and demonstrations were banned. At the same time, on the advice of army officers, student leaders moved out of the University of Indonesia campus–and into the intelligence headquarters of Colonel Ali Moertopo, a long-time aide to Soeharto. 12
On February 28 Subandrio–a vice premier, the foreign minister who was seen as the architect of Indonesia’s increasingly warm official relations with Communist China, and a focus and symbol of the entire conflict–told a crowd of Sukarno supporters that terror on the part of the government’s enemies would be met with terror. A new anticommunist organization, nominally of high school students, held a rally at the University of Indonesia, and Subandrio was hanged in effigy. Leimena, another vice premier, ordered the University closed. Army guards were posted but ignored Leimena’s order, and the Women’s Action Front, joined by Yani’s widow, brought food to feed the large number of students who were now occupying the campus around the clock. 13
By early March Soeharto was under increasing pressure from some of his officers to take aggressive action. According to an official army history, he met with Sukarno on March 6 and warned, ‘I would not be responsible if some officers permit their troops to violate discipline and join the people’s action.’ 14
That evening he met with the principal anti-Sukarno officers: Ahmad Kemal Idris, chief of staff of the Strategic Reserve, Soeharto’s own former unit, and Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, commander of the Paracommando Regiment.
Sukarno now evidently feared that a showdown was imminent. On March 8 he issued an Order of the Day reminding members of the armed forces that it was their duty to be loyal to him as president of the republic. Nationalist supporters of Sukarno attacked the United States embassy. Anti-Sukarno students, now under yet another name and led by a militant Muslim student leader, occupied the foreign ministry and ransacked the building; occupied a Ministry of Education building; and attacked the New China News Agency office, a People’s Republic of China (PRC) consular building, and a PRC cultural center.
On March 10 Sukarno met with party leaders and demanded they sign a statement condemning the student demonstrations. After discussions that lasted five hours, language was agreed on and all signed.
Thus, for almost six months, the Indonesian state was increasingly divided between two poles of power. At issue by now was not only the legality of the Communist party, the foreign policy tilt toward Beijing, the mismanagement of the economy, and the whole cast of policy in the direction of revolutionary change. Among an elite that had all along been largely traditional in its orientation, at issue now was the duality in government, the lack of unity, and the prolonged absence of any kind of stability in the nation’s affairs.
The Events of March 11
On March 11 the cabinet met at the palace on the square. The topic was again the student demonstrations. Again the students were in the streets in the vicinity of the palace, letting air out of the tires of vehicles, and bringing traffic to a halt. Notably absent was Soeharto, pleading a sore throat. The atmosphere in the room was said to be tense. Sukarno began by calling on his ministers to resign if they were not prepared to follow his leadership. At this point an aide rushed to his side with a message: large numbers of unidentified troops were in the square and were advancing on the palace. Alarmed, Sukarno rushed from the room, followed by Subandrio and Chaerul Saleh, and fled the palace grounds by helicopter.

By early afternoon it was established that Sukarno was at the palace in Bogor. Three major generals of the army– Amir Machmud, Basuki Rachmat, and Andi Muhammad Jusuf–went to Bogor by helicopter to see him. They found Sukarno in the company of Subandrio, Leimena, Chaerul Saleh, and one of Sukarno’s wives, Hartini. Discussions among them went on for some hours. When the talks ended, the generals returned to Jakarta, carrying a short letter signed by Sukarno and addressed to General Soeharto, instructing him “to take all measures considered necessary to guarantee security, calm, and stability of the government and the revolution, and to guarantee the personal safety and authority of the President/Supreme Commander/Great Leader of the Revolution/Mandatory of the MPRS in the interests of the unity of the Republic of Indonesia and to carry out all teaching of the Great Leader of the Revolution.”

15
Soeharto acted promptly. On March 12, on the president’s behalf, he signed a decree banning the Communist Party of Indonesia. On March 18, having failed to persuade Sukarno to dismiss them, he ordered the arrest of Subandrio and other leftist cabinet members. Soeharto aides were soon referring to the March 11 letter as the Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret (Letter of Instruction of March Eleven) from which was coined the acronym Super-Semar . The acronym gave the letter, and Soeharto, a symbolic tie to one of the most mystical and powerful figures in the Javanese wayang .
For all their ambiguity, the events of the day were powerfully evocative of the forces operating in Jakarta at the time. They also were revealing of the personality of the new chief executive.

The Student Movement
The mass mobilization of anticommunist students, some of whom by January were demanding that Sukarno be arrested and tried for complicity in the attempted coup, was a new element in Indonesian political life. Students had played a significant role in the country’s political history before. Indonesian students in Europe were the leading advocates of national independence in the 1920s. On August 16, 1945, youth leaders had kidnapped Sukarno and Hatta and prevailed on them to issue an immediate declaration of national independence. Indonesian youths also fought in the revolution; in a battle recounted in schoolbooks for every Indonesian child to read, armed youths held off more than a division of British and Indian troops in Surabaya for ten days in November 1945–a battle that marked a turning point in the independence struggle. But university students–even secondary school students–had been few in number in 1945, the children of middle-ranking officials in the prewar colonial government. By 1965, with the rapid growth of the civil service after independence, some nine thousand students attended universities in Jakarta, and tens of thousands were in the city’s secondary schools. 16
The initial decision to organize Jakarta’s students to take political action after October 1 was made by two youthful Muslim and Catholic leaders: Subchan Z. E., vice chairman of the Nahdatul Ulama, and Harry Tjan, secretary general of the Catholic Party. Mar’ie Muhamad, secretary general of the large nonparty Islamic Student Association
(Himpunan Mahasiswa Islam, or HMI) was present as well. The three had found common cause during the previous year in trying to counter the increasingly aggressive initiatives of the Communist youth and student organizations. A principal battleground had been the national youth federation, which was part of the national front. Another was the campus of the University of Indonesia, which was the scene of continuing demonstrations and counterdemonstrations from early 1965 on. Learning that the air force was training young communist activists in the use of small arms, one of the three young men met with General Nasution to arrange the same training for anticommunist youth. The date was September 28. 17
When the Revolutionary Council was announced on the state radio on the morning of October 1, the young men had no doubt that the Communist party was behind the event. Their first thought was to flee the city and seek the protection of the Siliwangi Division. But one of the group, Catholic activist Lim Bian Kie (who later changed his name to Jusuf Wanandi), had a position with the Supreme Advisory Council and a government jeep with palace plates, and it was decided to send him in search of information; Lim drove through the square, saw the army units in formation there, and found the palace staff in a state of confusion: no one knew where Sukarno was. As time passed without further news, the youth leaders waited. When the state radio announced in the evening of October 1 that army units under the command of General Soeharto were in control of the city, they saw as well as anyone the significance of the event. 18

After their big rally of October 8, the religious youth leaders had paid their first call on General Soeharto. The student movement now grew in size and complexity. While most of the city’s students were Javanese, much of the organizing was done by activists of other ethnic origins–students from the more aggressive cultures of Sumatra and Sulawesi, and a handful who were of Chinese descent. Also, although most of the demonstrators were Muslims of varying persuasions–the Islamic Student Association had provided the bulk of the manpower to counter the Communists on the campus of the University of Indonesia–some of the leaders were Christians. The leadership group also acquired members who were democratic socialists in orientation, who identified with the old Socialist Party (Partai Sosialis Indonesia, or PSI), and who were soon publishing a daily newspaper and operating a string of radio stations in the name of the student movement. It was a loosely knit phenomenon, and it held together marvelously well–so long as its purposes were few and simple.

The student leaders were in touch with Soeharto and his associates on a more or less daily basis from early October on. The students had to deal with the army. They needed permission to travel at night in spite of a curfew. They needed funds to organize and transport their demonstrators. They needed to be sure their demonstrations would not be stopped. And they needed small arms to defend themselves. So student leaders consulted regularly with officers of the Strategic Reserve, notably its two principal commanders, Ahmad Kemal Idris and Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, and with the Strategic Reserve’s principal intelligence officers, Ali Moertopo and Yoga Sugama. The students also needed physical protection as the atmosphere grew increasingly heated. It was out of fear that their lives were in danger from pro-Sukarno military units–chiefly members of the presidential guard, and, after January, the marines–that they agreed to move in with Ali Moertopo’s intelligence staff. It was the first intimate contact between student leaders and members of the army who were close associates of Soeharto. 19
Relations between the student leaders and these army men were antagonistic almost from the beginning. The students wanted to get rid of Sukarno while their own movement had momentum, and before he could build a countermovement of his own. As far as the students were concerned, Soeharto and his associates were overly cautious, wanting to be sure of every step before it was taken. Ali Moertopo and his fellow intelligence officers, on the other hand, viewed the students as young hotheads who could bring the government down but could not put a new one in its place. More immediately, Soeharto and his associates did not want any more student martyrs; one more student martyr of either the Left or the Right, they feared, could plunge the city into a level of violence they could not hope to control. 20

The Army Activists
The students gained considerable strength from their open alliance with anti-Sukarno activists among the army officer corps. These officers also lent a good deal of credence to Soeharto’s warning to Sukarno that they might take action against him.
The senior figure was Brig. Gen. Ahmad Kemal Idris. His father was a Minangkabau from West Sumatra, a region that has produced an inordinate share of the intellectuals, politicians, and businessmen of modern Indonesia. Kemal Idris had a sizable reputation for speaking his mind in plain language–and for taking direct action. In 1952, as a young cavalry officer of the Siliwangi Division, he had made the dramatic gesture of placing an armored unit in front of the Presidency with its cannons aimed at the building; this was at the height of an army protest over a cabinet decision to sack Nasution, as well as other accumulated grievances, an incident that set in train a series of events that eventually led to the fall of the cabinet. In 1956 Kemal Idris was implicated in another plot by Siliwangi officers, this one touched off by allegations of corruption against Roeslan Abdulgani, the Nationalist foreign minister;
Abdulgani was eventually charged and convicted, but not before Kemal Idris and others had been relieved of their commands.
Sukarno refused to approve any further appointments of Kemal Idris for several years; Kemal Idris managed to be reinstated only by offering to serve in the Congo with the Indonesian detachment that was part of the United Nations forces there. On his return to Indonesia he served under Soeharto in the Strategic Reserve and, in an extraordinary show of defiance of the president by army commander Yani, was designated to lead Sukarno’s pet project, the invasion of Malaysia. Kemal Idris is thought to have been against the proposed invasion, and was later said to have done what he could to delay it. 21
Certainly no love was lost between Kemal Idris and Sukarno. And by March 1966 Kemal Idris was in effective command of the army’s crack units in Jakarta.
The other principal activist officer was Colonel Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, commander of the elite Paracommando Regiment, which was at the core of Kemal Idris’s reserve forces. Sarwo Edhie was born in Central Java and had his early career in the Diponegoro Division. He stood in the jago or ‘fighting cock’ tradition of the region and was early drawn to more adventurous pursuits. He was trained as a paratrooper and, in 1957, led a daring raid on a rebel-held airfield in Sulawesi. On October 1, 1965, by his own account, he had asked permission of Nasution and Soeharto to lead the predawn raid on the air base to which Sukarno and the Communist party leaders had fled. He also personally led one of his battalions in putting down the army rebellion in Central Java in late 1965, and trained and armed the youth groups responsible for much of the killing there. Later, he captured headlines in Jakarta when he went to the University of Indonesia, addressed a student rally, and, in a further show of support, registered himself as a student.

22
Both men said later that, along with Maj. Gen. Hartono Rekso Dharsono, the commander of the Siliwangi Division, they had wanted to depose Sukarno as a prelude to a thorough reform of the political system. Kemal Idris said that the main purpose of the troops in the square was to frighten the president. Both men said they also thought they might be able to arrest a few cabinet officers as the men came out of the cabinet meeting; Soeharto had told them to arrest certain Sukarno cabinet officers when they had the opportunity, but had left it to them as to how to proceed. The two officers also claimed they had not been ordered to put the troops in front of the palace on March 11; both said they had decided it on their own. They also said they did not give details to Soeharto beforehand. 23 It
is inconceivable, however, that Soeharto did not know what was afoot. Both Ali Moertopo and Yoga Sugama, intelligence officers who were reporting to Kemal Idris at Strategic Reserve headquarters, were Soeharto aides from Diponegoro days, and undoubtedly were keeping him fully informed.
The principal aim of the anti-Sukarno officers, then, was to follow up Soeharto’s warning to Sukarno five days earlier, and to make the point more strongly that his personal security could not be guaranteed by his own security guard, but only by the leadership of the army itself. That accomplished, talks would no doubt ensue. Soeharto would be able to say that the troops were not there on his orders, that some of his hot-headed officers were threatening to take action against the president, and that he could not predict what they might do next unless the president were to demonstrate greater confidence in him and give him a wider mandate. And there was a good deal of truth to this view of the situation.

The Letter of Instruction
The message the three generals took to Bogor, then, was that Sukarno had to give Soeharto increased executive authority if he was to keep the army in line. If not, Soeharto would not accept responsibility for what might happen.
The three do not seem to have been especially qualified to serve as ‘king makers.’ What seems to have led to their selection was their presence at the palace that morning when Sukarno had fled. The three also were on good terms with Sukarno.
Amir Machmud was the Jakarta area commander at the time. He was a Sundanese from West Java, where he had helped put down a rebellion that had aimed to establish an Islamic state, and later served under Soeharto in the West Irian campaign. He had the reputation of being equidistant between Sukarno and the hard-line Nasution camp. When Sukarno had complained to him back in January about the increasingly aggressive student demonstrations, Amir Machmud issued orders that in the future they were to be ‘chanelled through the proper authorities in an orderly and proper way.’ 24
Basuki Rachmat was a politically experienced man who had helped to run the martial law authority under Nasution’s direction after 1959, and was the commander of the Brawijaya Division of East Java on October 1.

Visiting in Jakarta at the time, he had quickly come to Soeharto’s support. He was named Minister of Veterans Affairs in the Sukarno cabinet of a hundred, from which Nasution had been excluded. He was seen as a moderate reformer who was probably willing to see Sukarno remain as head of state, but with some curtailment of his decision-making powers. He also had a reputation for keeping his own counsel. He was the senior member of the group and, according to Amir Machmud, Soeharto initially thought of sending him to Bogor alone.

25
Andi Muhammad Jusuf was a titled aristocrat from Bone in Sulawesi, a man long experienced in politics. When his own former superior officer in Sulawesi had gone into rebellion in the 1950s, Jusuf supported the army leadership in Jakarta and tried unsuccessfully to negotiate a truce. When the Communist party launched a verbal attack on General Nasution and others in 1960, and the army had rounded up the entire Central Committee ‘for interrogation,’ Jusuf was one of the commanders in the ‘outer islands’ who used the occasion to ban the party in his area. He was in 1966 the Minister of Basic Industry in Sukarno’s cabinet. In addition, he had a brother-in-law who was a member of the palace staff, and for this reason it was thought that his going to Bogor would ‘ease the way’ for the group.

26
Only Amir Machmud has spoken for the public record on the origin of the ‘letter of instruction.’ According to his accounts, Soeharto had asked the three generals to assure Sukarno that the army commander could bring the security situation under control if the president would place full confidence in him. Sukarno is said to have been extremely angry at the start of the discussion. He accused the army leaders of failing to follow his orders to control the students and their own troops. Moreover, he asked, what more did he need to do to show his confidence in Soeharto? According to Amir Machmud, the letter was his own idea. Basuki Rachmat wrote out a draft. Sukarno met with Subandrio, Leimena, and Saleh, heard their opinions, then retired to his study for an hour before sending the draft back with proposed changes. Basuki Rachmat wrote out a final draft. What changes were involved in these several drafts is unknown. Sukarno then met in a reception room with all six men, asked to have the letter typed on his letterhead, and signed it.

27
General Nasution later remarked that the three generals realized only on the trip back to Jakarta that the letter constituted a transfer of power. It is highly unlikely, however, that either Sukarno or Soeharto failed to realize the import of what was involved. Sukarno and his advisers might have seen the letter as assuring their personal safety and buying time to rebuild their political forces. The letter was brought from Bogor directly to Soeharto’s home. Soeharto then went to Strategic Reserve headquarters, where his staff assembled and the letter was read. It was quickly decided that the letter was enough to enable Soeharto to ban the Communist party.
Sukarno soon made it clear that he did not construe his letter as having given Soeharto authority to act independently. He issued a statement that he was responsible only to the Assembly that had elected him president for life and to Almighty God. He issued ‘commands’ and in other ways attempted to exercise the powers and prerogatives of the presidency. But he did not rescind the letter. And his efforts to restore his position were met with a slowly diminishing response from his supporters in the army, the other armed services, and the political parties. Trials of coup plotters, Communist party leaders, and former cabinet officers reflected badly on Sukarno. And Soeharto was no longer to be outmaneuvered. The letter gave him only a thread of legitimacy, but with patience and persistence he slowly reined the president in.

On June 21, 1966, a Provisional Consultative People’s Assembly confirmed the transfer of authority of March 11, making it impossible for Sukarno to revoke it, and called on Sukarno for an explanation of his actions in connection with the September 30 Movement. On March 12, 1967, the Assembly revoked Sukarno’s title and powers and appointed Soeharto acting president. On February 28, 1968, the Assembly appointed Soeharto president pending elections.
Thus the long history of Indonesian army contention with the country’s civilian leadership reached an end. That history had included kidnappings and arrests of cabinet officers, and at least one kidnapping of a prime minister. The motives were sometimes personal. But the central theme was corporate. Army commanders, not the least of them Nasution, had stood for an army role in national policy-making ever since 1945.
Yet the army leaders were not much different from the civilian leaders with whom they had contended. By the 1960s, even a sympathetic observer concluded that army officers, being involved in current politics as they were, had acquired the political habit of settling for small gains and individual rewards. They had failed to close ranks, just as the political party leaders had, and failed to use their collective strength to create a strong and effective government. Material corruption and moral deterioration were as widespread within their own ranks as among the rest of the elite. 28 Now they were left to decide the future course of the government.


The Question of Succession
It was not clear at the beginning of these events that Sukarno would be removed from the presidency. There was a good deal of indirect evidence to link him with the September 30 coup attempt, and many members of the elite later concluded that he must at least have known that something of the kind was going to occur. On the other hand, his position was almost sacrosanct, and the constitutional situation was delicate. If Sukarno were found guilty of having broken the laws of the nation the previous September, the validity of his delegation to Soeharto in March 1966 would be open to question. Also, having forestalled an unconstitutional military push, most of whose leaders had previously served under his own command, Soeharto had to avoid even the appearance of unconstitutional action on his own part. Soeharto seems to have entertained for some time the possibility of Sukarno’s remaining as titular head of state. The man continued to enjoy strong support among the population, especially in Java, and among some elements of the armed forces. When the Parliament adopted a resolution early in 1967 calling for Sukarno’s trial, Soeharto opposed it on the grounds that the evidence was not sufficient to charge him. But it was not in Sukarno’s character to accept a ceremonial role, and as the months passed he made that abundantly clear.
A further consideration was that the only likely candidates to succeed to the presidency in the early months were General Nasution and the Sultan of Jogjakarta, and neither showed any serious taste for the prospect.
Nasution has been seen by many commentators as indecisive, especially at times of crisis. He had given important political support to Soeharto by coming to his headquarters on the afternoon of October 1, his leg in a cast, and indicating his approval of Soeharto’s actions of the day. Some felt this merely reflected Nasution’s reputation as a stickler for regulations: Soeharto was the officer in line to act for Yani in his absence. But it was well known in army circles that the two men were not close–that Nasution had relieved Soeharto of his divisional command over charges of corruption. Nasution also was vastly more experienced on the national political scene, and had a much clearer sense of direction than Soeharto did at this point; he had put some stiffening into Soeharto’s position more than once before March 11. But because he was experienced, he must also have known that as a Sumatran he would not be acceptable to the Javanese commanders who dominated the army, or the Javanese politicians who dominated the civilian elite. As a confirmed Muslim, he also knew he would be viewed with some suspicion by the abangan element among these same men. 29 So Nasution, outmaneuvered by events, chaired the Congress that stripped Sukarno of his titles and installed Soeharto in his place.


The Sultan had been a national hero from the time he declared for the revolution against the Dutch and gave sanctuary to the revolutionary leaders in his capital, the city of Jogjakarta, in Central Java. He was briefly active in national politics in the early 1950s; as Minister of Defense, he had supported Nasution’s plan to demobilize large numbers of soldiers and use scarce resources to build a modern army–a plan rejected by politicians who stood to lose constituencies of military groups with ties to themselves. The Sultan then retreated to private life, except for the ceremonial tasks of his inherited office. His strength in 1966 was that he had the aura of royalty about him, had been neutral in the political wars of the previous decade, and was revered by many of the common people of Java. The Sultan told one supporter that although he knew Sukarno had to go for the good of the country, he simply could not bring himself to take part in his downfall. 30 He also observed to an aide that the army generals were not the people pressing him to take the presidency. 31 So the Sultan also hung back, served for a time with Soeharto as a member of a short-lived triumvirate, and later served as his vice president.


Soeharto also had reason to hesitate. Aside from the constitutional element, he might well have shared the Sultan’s scruples, and indeed close associates were to say much later that Soeharto eventually did feel a burden of guilt over his role in Sukarno’s fall. 32 Also, having had no previous role in national politics, he was almost unknown outside
army circles, and it was some months before people prominent in the political life of the capital concluded that Soeharto was the man to succeed to the presidency. Nor was much known about him. A naturally reticent man, he kept his opinions largely to himself. When he finally consented to the writing of a biography, his biographer had to inquire how he preferred to spell his name.

33
Clearly the country was going to have to get used to a very different kind of leader.
Soeharto and the Army
The first insight into Soeharto that was made clear on March 11 was that the army had been more than his career. It had been his family–or, more accurately, it had given him the warmth and security his family never did.
Soeharto was born the son of a village official in Central Java in 1921. His father was responsible for the village irrigation system; not a small thing, as the position gave its holder the right of use of two hectares of village-owned rice land, enough to provide considerable economic security and social position in village society. But Soeharto had an unsettled childhood. His parents separated when he was only forty days old, and he lived with one, then the other, and later with a series of relatives and family friends. One of these, with whom Soeharto went to live at age fifteen, was a dukun , a traditional healer and seer, as well as an irrigation official like his father.

 

September 30, 1965.

General Abdul Harris Nasution
gives the eulogy at the funeral
for the officers killed

   

The officers killed in the G30S events:

Gen. Ahmad Yani
Lt.-Gen. Haryono
Lt.-Gen. Parman
Lt.-Gen. Suprapto
Maj.-Gen. Panjaitan
Maj.-Gen. Siswamohardjo
Captain Tendean (aide to Nasution)
Brigadier-Gen. Katamso
Colonel Inf. Mangunwijoto

What really happened in 1965?
Nobody knows. There are dozens of theories, some of them with little evidence in their favor. Many of the participants are now dead; from some of them, we only have the confessions they made after being arrested. Under Suharto, the government routinely banned most books and publications about the 1965 events, which makes the situation even more difficult.

 

Coup and counter-coup. 1965 chronology of events
Kerry B. Collison

Sunday, October 1. 2006

By 1964 and 1965, the Indonesian economy was in terrible shape. Shortages of food and clothing were common. Prices during 1965 increased by 700 percent, and the price of rice increased even more. The government’s budget deficit was running at 300 percent. Millions of people collected a government salary, but it was worth less and less each month. ABRI personnel in particular found themselves unable to support themselves without engaging in smuggling or other corrupt activities. The 1957-58 rebellions, the West Irian campaign, and the preparations for Konfrontasi had all been expensive for both the government as a whole and for ABRI.
September 30 In the evening, Lt.-Col. Untung, head of the Cakrabirawa Regiment (Presidential Guards), other Diponegoro and Brawijaya Division soldiers, and PKI supporters gather at Halim Air Base, with Gen. Omar Dhani and Aidit present. The forces are under the tactical command of Brigadier-General Supardjo, who had recently been commanding guerilla forces in the Konfrontasi against Malaysia. They leave and attempt to take seven top army generals. Nasution escapes by leaping over the wall of his house, his young daughter is shot and Lt. Tendean, his aide, is taken away. Gen. Ahmad Yani is killed at his house, as are two others. Three other generals are taken alive with Lt. Tendean and the bodies of the dead to Halim, where the remaining live captives are murdered and thrown in the well called Lubang Buaya.
The officers killed in the G30S events:
Gen. Ahmad Yani
Lt.-Gen. Haryono
Lt.-Gen. Parman
Lt.-Gen. Suprapto
Maj.-Gen. Panjaitan
Maj.-Gen. Siswamohardjo
Captain Tendean (aide to Nasution)
Brigadier-Gen. Katamso
Colonel Inf. Mangunwijoto

What really happened in 1965? Nobody knows. There are dozens of theories, some of them with little evidence in their favor. Many of the participants are now dead; from some of them, we only have the confessions they made after being arrested. Under Suharto, the government routinely banned most books and publications about the 1965 events, which makes the situation even more difficult.
Was the army behind it? Certainly not as an organization. Rebel officers such as Untung probably acted without broad support.
Was Sukarno behind it? There is interesting evidence, but answers to this question remain somewhat inconclusive. If Sukarno intended to rid himself of opponents, he failed: the eventual losers were his political allies.
What about Suharto? There is no direct evidence against him. However, rumors persist that Suharto may have heard of the coup plans before September 30th, and so was ready to take advantage of the disorder beforehand.
Was the PKI behind it? The PKI had made two hopeless attempts to take power before, in 1926 and again at Madiun in 1948. Is it possible that rebellious, undisciplined officers planned the coup, and then the PKI announced its support?
The coup plotters may have been motivated by President Sukarno’s illnesses–assuming that a weaker president meant that the government could be taken more easily. This sort of thinking may have led them to overestimate their own strength. It might also be possible that Sukarno’s worsening health caused the coup plotters to act too soon.
Were foreign powers involved? There was heavy involvement by China in Indonesian politics in 1965. The Chinese government in Beijing seemed to already know the names of the generals who had been targeted before the announcements on the middle of October 1–and the Chinese list of names included Nasution as a victim, even though he had escaped. Long after the coup in Jakarta was suppressed, on October 19, Chinese news stories expressed support for it.
Both the United States and the Soviet Union were supplying aid either directly to the government or to their friends in ABRI. Some official Soviet news stories were critical of the coup events, however. The West German goverment supplied secret aid to anti-communists. We know today, too, that the CIA gave lists of Indonesian communists to the Indonesian military during the purges that came after. But did foreign powers help plan G30S? Probably not, but again, we do not know.
It is perhaps most possible that whatever secret plans had been made did not go exactly as the planners intended.

By the end of 1965, a huge wave of popular violence against the PKI had started. In West and Central Java, the army began rounding up Communists, but in many villages, people took the law into their own hands. In some areas, such as East Java or Aceh, Islamic groups (such as the Nahdlatul Ulama youth group Ansor) fought to wipe out communists. However, there was a heavy anti-communist purge on Bali as well. Thousands were sent to prison, and over a year’s time, perhaps more than 250,000 were dead. ABRI did not commit all of the killings, but ABRI officers did arm and train the student groups that committed killings, and also did not act to stop the violence until the PKI had been wiped out.
1964
January 25 A ceasefire between Malaysia and Indonesia, arranged after several diplomatic trips by Robert F. Kennedy of the United States, goes into effect.
PKI confiscates British-owned properties.
February 6 “Maphilindo” meeting in Bangkok between representatives of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Subandrio flies to Bangkok, but snubs the main dinner hosted by the Thai foreign minister.
February 13 Lampung is made a province.
Central Sulawesi is separated from North Sulawesi and made a province; Southeast Sulawesi is separated from South Sulawesi and made a province.
March 3 Second round of “Maphilindo” talks in Bangkok fall apart.
March 7 Gurkhas clash with Indonesian regular troops along the border in Sarawak.
March 25 Sukarno, at a public rally, tells the U.S. ambassador in attendance to “go to hell with your aid”.
April Violence related to land reform spreads in Central Java.
May Sukarno puts air force chief Omar Dhani in charge of Konfrontasi.
May 30 Volunteer fighters recruited on Java for “Konfrontasi” leave for border areas of Kalimantan.
June 1 Indonesia agrees to withdraw forces from border areas with Malaysia in exchange for continued negotiations.
June 13 Major clash between Indonesia-based guerillas and Malaysian forces in Sarawak.
June 17 British forces defeat a group of Indonesian-based guerillas in Sarawak.
June 18 Three-day summit in Tokyo between Sukarno, Macapagal of the Philippines, and Tunku Abdul Rahman of Malaysia. The three leaders agree to call together an “Afro-Asian Conciliation Commission” to settle their differences.
TVRI, government-run television station, begins broadcasting.
July 21 Rioting between Malays and Chinese in Singapore kills 21.
August 17 Unsuccessful rogue landings, led by Indonesian paratroopers, on the shore of Malaya in Johore. 49 are killed, the rest are captured. Australia sends troops to help defend Malaya.
August 17 Sukarno gives his “Year of Living Dangerously” speech (“vivere pericoloso”).
August 27 Sukarno reshuffles his cabinet, passing over Aidit for top posts.
September 2 Second wave of unsuccessful Indonesian paratroop landings in Johore, near Singapore. All are killed or captured.
September 2 Rioting breaks out again in Singapore.
September Group of pro-Sukarno intellectuals led by Adam Malik (Badan Pendukung Sukarnoisme) criticizes the PKI.
September 9 Indonesian raids into Malaya are brought before the United Nations Security Council.
September 17 U.N. Security Council votes 9-2 to condemn the Indonesian raids, but the Soviet Union vetoes the resolution.
October Sekretariat Bersama Golongan Karya or Sekber Golkar (Secretariat of Functional Groups) is founded by army interests.
Sukarno requests and receives from the Soviets a promise of new military equipment to help with the Konfrontasi campaign against Malaysia.
October 17 Nuclear research reactor at Bandung produces its first chain reaction.

Army shakeup reduces prestige of Omar Dhani, transfers best troops to Suharto.
November PKI establishes secret bureau to coordinate infiltration of army units.
Sukarno travels to China for secret meetings.
Australian troops have skirmishes with Malay communists along the Thai-Malaysian border.
November Australia starts military conscription as a hedge against possible war.
People’s Republic of China offers 100,000 small arms to Indonesia to arm a peasant militia, if Indonesia wants.
Bank of China assets in Indonesia given to Indonesian government.
December Chaerul Saleh claims to have evidence that the PKI is planning a coup.
December 4 Mobs attack and burn the U.S. Information Service libraries in Jakarta and Surabaya.
December 17 Badan Pendukung Sukarnoisme–a movement to counter PKI influence by invoking Sukarno’s own pancasila principles–is banned by Sukarno as a “CIA plot”.
Street scene, Jakarta, 1965. The banner says “45 TAHUN PKI” (45 Years of the PKI) and displays famous communists in history, including Marx, Stalin, and Mao. Sukarno is also added in for political expediency.
By 1964 and 1965, the economy was in terrible shape. Shortages of food and clothing were common. Prices during 1965 increased by 700 percent, and the price of rice increased even more. The government’s budget deficit was running at 300 percent. Millions of people collected a government salary, but it was worth less and less each month. ABRI personnel in particular found themselves unable to support themselves without engaging in smuggling or other corrupt activities. The 1957-58 rebellions, the West Irian campaign, and the preparations for Konfrontasi had all been expensive for both the government as a whole and for ABRI.
One Rupiah note with a portrait of Sukarno, 1964. At the time, this note was almost worthless.
1965
January 1 Malaysia is seated in the U.N. Security Council.
January 6 Twenty-one publications that had supported the Badan Pendukung Sukarnoisme are closed down.
January 7 Indonesia walks out of the United Nations (effective March 1), in protest of Malaysia’s admission.
January 17 Aidit gives a speech calling for millions of workers and peasants to be armed to carry out Konfrontasi against Malaysia.
January 29 British Gurkha troops execute secret counterstrike into Indonesian territory on Kalimantan.
Buddhism is recognized as an official religion.
January 31 Three leaders of the Socialist Front in Malaysia are arrested on charges that they were planning to found a “government-in-exile” in Indonesia.
Sukarno, under pressure from PKI, declares ban on the activities of the Murba Party, whose members included Chaerul Saleh and Adam Malik.
February Anti-PKI newspapers are closed down.
February 3 Australia sends combat troops to Sarawak and Sabah.
February Kahar Muzakkar is killed in Sulawesi.
March Leftist naval officers mutiny in Surabaya.
April China repeats its offer of small arms from the previous November.
April 24 Sukarno orders all foreign-owned enterprises to be nationalized.
April 25 Indonesian Army troops attack British camp at Plaman Mapu.
May Gen. Ahmad Yani suggests that “Nasakom” be promoted in the Army.

May 25 Indonesian raiders make an unsuccessful landing in Johore east of Singapore.
May 17 Aidit calls for elections.
Sukarno calls for a “Fifth Force” of armed peasantry to be organized.
Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) is formed by former members of the Dutch-organized colonial militia.
May 29 The “Gilchrist letter”: Sukarno accuses Army elements of plotting against him, with cooperation from the British Embassy. (Letter itself generally considered to be a forgery.)
June Discussions on “arming the people” along Maoist lines take place; army sidesteps, air force and navy support it.
June 17 Gen. Ahmad Yani gives a speech at Manado stating that “arming the people” according to the PKI’s concept is “unnecessary”.
Indonesian-based raiders strike near Kuching, the capital of Sarawak. 5000 Chinese squatters in the area are resettled further away from the border by the Malaysian government.
PKI supporter becomes police commander in Jakarta.
July 19 Gen. Nasution gives a speech rejecting the PKI’s concept of “arming the people”.
July 20 Sukarno declares that if British raids occur against Indonesian territory, “Singapore will be destroyed”.
July 2000 PKI supporters begin receiving military training from Air Force officers at Halim Air Base near Jakarta.
July 30 Demonstration attack the U.S. Consulate in Medan.
August Anti-PKI elements in PNI are purged.
August 5 Sukarno collapses during a public reception.
August 7 Demonstrators occupy the U.S. Consulate in Surabaya for five days.
August 7 Malaysia and Singapore sign papers agreeing to separate into two nations, after several weeks of harsh talk between Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore and Malay members of parliament, including Dr. Mahathir (later president of Malaysia).

August 9 The separation of Malaysia and Singapore is ratified in the Malaysian parliament.
A court in Surabaya issues a death sentence to a Chinese shopkeeper accused of hoarding.
Violence between PNI and NU supporters on one side and PKI supporters on the other heats up in Central and East Java.
Sukarno cuts off ties with IMF, World Bank, Interpol.
August 17 Sukarno gives a speech in Merdeka Square promoting an anti-imperialist alliance with Beijing and other Asian Communist regimes, and warning the Army not to interfere. He also states that he will take the PKI’s idea of “arming the people” under consideration, and make the final decision on the matter.
Aidit returns from trip to China, makes August 17 speech calling for millions of workers and peasants to be armed.
August 26 Government of Singapore announces that it has foiled a plot backed by Indonesia and local communists to assassinate Lee Kuan Yew.
September 8 U.S. Consulate in Surabaya is barricaded by PKI demonstrators for two days.
September 11 Embassy of India is attacked and burned by a mob.
September 14 Subandrio and Aidit speak to a PKI rally, urging in sharp language that “thieves and corruptors” be removed from high offices, and that PKI members should be alert for possible trouble.
September 16-19 Air Force Gen. Omar Dhani makes a secret trip to China.
A Chinese doctor examines Sukarno secretly; Sukarno is diagnosed with a serious and worsening kidney disease. The diagnosis is kept secret, but is made known to Aidit, Subandrio, and possibly others, including the Chinese government in Beijing.
Inflation begins to skyrocket; prices for some items increase nearly 50 percent in a week’s time.
September 22 Army takes control of the distribution of rice in Jakarta.
September 22 Aidit, in a public speech, states that Sukarno has surrounded himself with men who “have no political support”.
September 23 Sukarno declares the total dissolution of the Murba party.
September 25 Sukarno gives a speech stating that Indonesia was entering the “second phase of the revolution”, which would be the “implementation of socialism”.
September 27 Gen. Ahmad Yani speaks against Nasakom in the army and “arming the people”.
September 28 Anti-Communist student leaders ask Gen. Nasution for paramilitary training comparable to what PKI supporters would receive.
September 28 The PKI Minister of Agriculture states that “subversive elements” who were supposedly responsible for the economic crisis should be shot.
September 30 PKI organizations Pemuda Rakyat and Gerwani hold mass demonstrations against the runaway inflation in Jakarta.
September 30 In the evening, Lt.-Col. Untung, head of the Cakrabirawa Regiment (Presidential Guards), other Diponegoro and Brawijaya Division soldiers, and PKI supporters gather at Halim Air Base, with Gen. Omar Dhani and Aidit present. The forces are under the tactical command of Brigadier-General Supardjo, who had recently been commanding guerilla forces in the Konfrontasi against Malaysia. They leave and attempt to take seven top army generals. Nasution escapes by leaping over the wall of his house, his young daughter is shot and Lt. Tendean, his aide, is taken away. Gen. Ahmad Yani is killed at his house, as are two others. Three other generals are taken alive with Lt. Tendean and the bodies of the dead to Halim, where the remaining live captives are murdered and thrown in the well called Lubang Buaya.
Rebel soldiers take Merdeka Square in Jakarta by the Presidential Palace, the radio and TV stations.
October 1 Suharto arrives at Kostrad Headquarters overlooking Merdeka Square, takes emergency control of loyal troops after consulting with available generals.
October 1 At 7:00 A.M., the radio announces that “Movement 30 September” (Gerakan 30 September, or G30S) is pro-Sukarno, anti-corruption, anti-United States and anti-CIA.
Gen. Omar Dhani issues a statement supporting the rebels.
Mutinies in five of seven Diponegoro Division battalions support the rebels, as do Naval officers in Surabaya.
Sukarno goes to Halim, consults with Omar Dhani but not with Aidit.
Suharto offers water to hot soldiers in Merdeka Square, they come to his side. He ignores messages from Sukarno.
Suharo offers the army leadership to Nasution. Nasution refuses.
Suharto announces on radio that six generals are dead, he is in control of the army, and he will suppress the coup attempt and protect Sukarno.
Senior leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama go into hiding. Ansor, the Islamic youth organization associated with Nahdlatul Ulama, releases a statement that it and NU have nothing to do with the coup attempt (despite claims by the rebels that four NU leaders are part of G30S).
October 1 Sukarno leaves for Bogor, Aidit leaves for Yogya, Omar Dhani leaves for Madiun.
October 2 Loyal army units retake Halim Air Base.
Mayor of Surakarta supports the coup.
PKI supporters march in Yogya.
PKI newspaper Harian Rakyat publishes issue in favor of coup.
Military rebels in Central Java retreat to countryside.
Suharto agrees to Sukarno order taking presidential control of army, but only if Suharto has emergency powers to restore order.
Omar Dhani retracts his earlier statement supporting the coup.
October 3 Bodies discovered in Lubang Buaya. Sukarno, in a radio broadcast, claims the Air Force was not involved, and that he went to Halim Air Base of his own free will, simply to have a means of leaving the area if necessary.
October 3 Ansor releases a statement urging its members to help the Army restore order.
October 4 Bodies are removed from Lubang Buaya in the presence of print and TV reporters. Suharto is also present.
Nahdlatul Ulama issues a statement calling for the PKI to be banned, possibly under pressure from Ansor activists. Senior NU leaders do not sign it until the day after or later.
October 5 Public funeral in Jakarta for dead generals.
October 6 Sukarno meets with his cabinet in Bogor, including Subandrio and PKI members Lukman and Njoto, then finally issues a statement denouncing the attempted coup. Njoto is detained by Army officers after the meeting.
October 6 The newspaper “Djalan Rakyat” in Surabaya publishes a letter from Aidit describing the September 30 events as an “internal army affair”.
October 8 Mass demonstration in Jakarta (possibly of more than 100,000) demands the dissolution of the PKI. PKI headquarters in Jakarta are burned.
October 13 Ansor holds anti-Communist rallies across Java.
October 14 Suharto begins moving loyal troops into Central Java.
October 14 Antara news agency offices reopen under new, non-PKI management.
October 16 Sukarno dismisses Omar Dhani as head of Air Force. Suharto is appointed commander of the army.
October 18 Nearly a hundred Communists killed in battle with Ansor youths. Beginning of general massacre of PKI supporters in Central and East Java.
October 27 KAMI student activists group is founded.
Inflation runs wild in the general uncertainty.
November 1 Kopkamtib security force established with Suharto at head.
November 11 Fighting between PNI and PKI supporters on Bali begins massacre of Communists on Bali.
November 22 Aidit is captured and executed.
The Assembly (DPR), consisting entirely of members appointed by Sukarno, is purged of PKI members.
Sukarno’s 1963 decree is used to ban all books written by members of the PKI and associated organizations.
Muhammadiyah declares jihad against PKI. Sukarno pleads with Muslims to give dead proper burial. Anti-Communist movement spreads throughout Java.
December 10000 PKI supporters have been arrested, many thousand more killed. Anti-Communist massacres are heavy on Bali. The ABRI commander for Aceh announces that Aceh is now free of Communists.

December 13 Major currency adjustment due to inflation: 1000 old rupiah are converted to 1 new rupiah.
Special Military Courts begin holding trials of PKI members.
December 18 Sukarno, in a meeting with Suharto and Nasution, orders them to give him assurances that they will carry out his commands as President. Suharto replies that the Army will carry out Sukarno’s orders that are consistent with their mission of protecting national security.
Posted by Kerry B Collison in Eye on Asia at 08:11

 

 

 

Gestapu: The CIA’s “Track Two” in Indonesia
By David Johnson, 1976
October 1995 note from David Johnson: This is a paper I wrote in 1976. It is presented here in its original version. It was written to encourage Congressional investigation of the issue by the Church Committee at the time. This paper was circulated privately but never published. It may have some enduring merit. Comments and criticisms are welcome.

As evidence that the subject matter is still relevant, please note this recently declassified quotation:
“From our viewpoint, of course, an unsuccessful coup attempt by the PKI might be
the most effective development to start a reversal of political trends in Indonesia.”


Then-US Ambassador to Indonesia Howard Jones
March 10, 1965
Chiefs of Mission Conference, Baguio, Philippines
Quoted in Audrey R. Kahin and George McT. Kahin, “Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia,” 1995, p.225]

David T. Johnson
Center for Defense Information
1500 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 20005
202-862-0700
djohnson@cdi.org
(* “Track Two” was the name given to a CIA covert operation undertaken in Chile in the fall of 1970 at the direction of President Nixon. Its purpose was to use all possible means to prevent Allende from assuming the presidency. Knowledge of Track Two was very tightly held. The State Department, the Defense Department, the American Ambassador in Chile, and the Forty Committee were not informed. Track Two was partially responsible for the murder of General Schneider, the Chilean Army Chief of Staff who opposed efforts of other military officers to stage a coup. Track Two failed in its objective in 1970. Other analogies to the Indonesian events are the Gulf of Tonkin incident and the Reichstag fire.)

Introduction
This paper presents the preliminary outline of a new interpretation of the events in Indonesia in 1965 that climaxed in the “coup” attempt of October 1st and the actions of the September 30th Movement (GESTAPU). It is argued that the September 30th Movement was not an action by “progressive” or dissatisfied middle-level military officers, nor a creature of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), nor was it stimulated by President Sukarno. GESTAPU was an instrument directly in the hands of General Suharto (and probably General Nasution) [1995 note from David Johnson: today I would delete the reference to Nasution] and most likely a creation of the Central Intelligence Agency for the purpose of “saving Indonesia from Communism” in a desperate situation.

GESTAPU served the crucial function of providing a legitimate pretext for the drastic extermination of the PKI. It was calculated to put the reins of power quickly into the hands of Suharto and to place Sukarno in a restricted position.
GESTAPU worked. It is probably the most successful covert operation that the CIA has ever carried out. The participation of the CIA in GESTAPU–its “fingerprints on the gun”–cannot be proven unless the Congress digs hard to find the truth, as was done partly in the case of Chile. The CIA connection is hypothesized because it seems a logical outcome of U.S. policy toward Indonesia and because of the relative sophistication and complexity of the GESTAPU operation. Because of the close contact between the Indonesian Army and U.S. Defense Department advisers and attaches it is probable that certain of these personnel were also involved.

It is not maintained that the thesis of this paper is necessarily correct or proven. The author’s hope is to demonstrate that it is sufficiently plausible that further research along these lines will be conducted by those more knowledgeable than he and that those in a position to do something about it will begin to look into the secret official record. The thesis is presented without a great deal of hedging but the author is aware that many of the facts he uses are open to a number of alternative explanations. Of course, many “facts” are in dispute. This first draft assumes some knowledge on the part of the reader of the basic events of the time and of the existing interpretive controversy. No special attempt is made here, however, to refute alternative theories. Only a portion of the supporting material is indicated.
Gestapu: The CIA’s “Track Two” in Indonesia

The events of October 1, 1965, in Indonesia and their origin may truly be called “a riddle wrapped in an enigma.~ There is no consensus among students of Indonesia about the “correct” explanation. All existing theories have their articulate and plausible critics. Probably the majority of careful Indonesian scholars have abandoned the search for explanation. GESTAPU is an enormously complicated puzzle in which the pieces never fit together, their shape constantly changes, and new pieces keep appearing.

In an earlier age of innocence, the attributing to the CIA of a significant causal role in international affairs was a disreputable enterprise in which most professional analysts seldom engaged. With the revelations of recent years, however, the inhibitions on serious study of CIA activities have somewhat broken down. We also know far more than we did ten years ago about the extent of CIA operations and how the CIA works. In many cases, including Indonesia, we still know very little about what the CIA actually did over the years. But more than before we can feel on safe ground to think that the CIA was active. This is not CIA scapegoating, left-wing propaganda, conspiracy fascination, or a search for simple-minded solutions. It is a necessary and important research effort that must be undertaken before it can be seriously rejected. Of course, the great secrecy that envelops the subject places substantial restrictions on what normal academic research can accomplish.

This paper is based in the first instance on the author’s reading of the recently released CIA Research Study “Indonesia-1965: The Coup That Backfired.” The author has also read nearly everything available in English in the Library of Congress on the events of 1965. The major source material that has not been examined, except as described in secondary sources, is the large body of records of post-October 1 interrogations of prisoners held by the Indonesian Army and the records of the numerous trials that have been held. Undoubtedly new insights can be derived from these materials. The author’s knowledge of Indonesia in general is relatively sparse, although he has visited the country and spent some time in previous years studying Indonesian political development. The present paper is the product of a month of very intensive research on the events of 1965 as well as some limited examination of studies on the CIA.
U.S. Assessment of Indonesia
At some point in 1964 or 1965 (probably late 1964) the deterioration of U.S. relations with Indonesia and the left-ward drift of Indonesia had gone so far that the U.S. faced the need to reassess its policy toward Indonesia with an eye toward adopting new policies. Howard Jones, the American ambassador at the time, has described the extremely pessimist official assessment of how bad things had gotten from the American point of view. Ewa Pauker and Guy Pauker at RAND have described the projection of near-term PKI takeover and the pessimism about the ability of the Indonesian Army to reverse the apparently inevitable flow of events.

Jones indicates that a number of important meetings were held in which U.S. policy toward Indonesia was reassessed, beginning at the State Department in August 1964 after Sukarno’s Independence Day speech, his most anti-American statement up to that time. The March 1965 annual meeting of U.S. mission chiefs held in the Philippines with Averell Harriman and William Bundy, was also important. Ellsworth Bunker, personal representative of President Johnson, spent 15 days in Indonesia in April 1965 evaluating the situation. There were undoubtedly other secret and perhaps more important meetings in which U.S. policy was put together.
The U.S. seems to have faced essentially six options with regard to Indonesia:
1. A hands-off policy of continuing much the same as before, letting things drift. (Of course, the U.S. had never been passive toward Indonesia and this can only be characterized as a hands-off policy in contrast to the other options.) The probable result would be that Indonesia would go Communist. There seems to have been near unanimous official agreement on the inevitability of Communist takeover in Indonesia if existing trends continued. The most important country in Southeast Asia would be lost. The U.S. effort to save Vietnam (bombing of North Vietnam began in February 1965) would probably be frustrated and all of Southeast Asia would be threatened. Clearly, this was an unacceptable option.
2. Try to get Sukarno to change his apparent policy of leading Indonesia toward Communist rule. The Embassy under Ambassador Jones had been pursuing this course for years, with little success (in American eyes). Sukarno had made more than clear his determination to continue his left-ward drive, both domestically and in foreign policy. Most Washington officials had given up on Sukarno and many agreed that “Sukarno has to go.” Some identified him as a “crypto- Communist.” This option was simply unworkable.

3. Eliminate Sukarno. Apparently this was considered, but rejected. The consequences would be too unpredictable. The Communist Party and its affiliates were so large and so extensively embedded in Indonesian society and political life that even in the absence of Sukarno’s protection they might be able to hang on and prosper. An effort to go after the PKI in such circumstances would probably result in a very unpredictable and dangerous civil war which the United States, preoccupied with Vietnam, was not in a position to handle. A danger of killing Sukarno was that those who might be identified with it would be discredited because of Sukarno’s enormous popularity in Indonesia, which efforts to undermine over the years had been unable to shake. Blaming an assassination on the left would not be credible because of the close alliance between Sukarno and the Communists. The PKI would have no plausible motive for such an action. An arranged “natural” death for Sukarno would leave the PKI as a very important force in Indonesia, and perhaps as the logical successor.
4. Encourage the Indonesian Army to take over the government. The Embassy had been pushing this option for years with some success but without achieving the final objective. Disunity within the Army had prevented any such explicit step to date and there seemed to be other inhibitions on a direct military takeover. The Army as a whole was still unwilling to move directly against Sukarno. Sukarno’s determination to resist any further expansion of the Army’s role was clear. In fact, he was doing much to try to “domesticate” and undermine the Army as an independent, anti-Communist force. Even in the event of an Army coup, without a solid pretext for quickly eliminating the PKI and a means of controlling Sukarno, the prospect of civil war would arise for the same reasons indicated in Option 3. While the U.S. could continue to cultivate military officials and try to stiffen their “backbone,” Army takeover via some sort of coup would not resolve the problem in Indonesia.

5. Try to undermine the PKI and get the Communists to take actions that would discredit themselves and legitimize their elimination. (Option 6, the fabrication of such a discrediting, is a variant of this option.) Such a step would also necessitate moving against Sukarno as he probably would never permit the Army to act forcefully against the PKI no matter how objectionable the PKI might appear to be. A variety of covert efforts were mounted to try to damage the PKI’s reputation and provoke it to misbehavior. These included linking the PKI with China, trying to show that the PKI did not really support “Sukarnoism” (the BPS episode), and the fabrication of documents and the attributing of provocative statements to PKI spokesmen (printed in non-Communist papers). But Sukarno helped to frustrate these efforts by banning almost all non-Communist political and press activity. The PKI was careful not to go too far and not to provide the excuse for its elimination. As PKI Chairman Aidit said, “We are prepared to tolerate insults and threats. We will not be provoked. If the army spits in our faces we will wipe it off and smile. We will not retaliate.” Option 5 was continually tried but it did not seem to be working.
6. If the PKI would not provide its own death warrant, the pretext for extermination had to be fabricated for it. The optimum implementation of this option would serve to eliminate both the PKI and Sukarno as dominant forces in Indonesian political life. This option appears to have been the one finally chosen, although the point at which commitment to it was irrevocable is very uncertain. Parts of the other options, other “tracks” continued at the same time.

Background to October 1st
Undoubtedly, elements of the Indonesian military (and other anti-Communist groups) were also considering what to do about the drift of Indonesia toward Communist rule. It was highly unlikely, however, that the U.S. could sit passively and expect that Indonesians on their own would do what had to be done. American analysts seemed to have concluded that no Indonesian group on its own had the capability and will to do what was necessary to prevent Communist takeover. American initiative and cooperation were necessary.
The U.S. over the years had built up close relationships with many Indonesians, particularly in the Army. In fact, this was the essence of U.S. policy toward Indonesia over the previous five or more years. The coincidence of U.S. and anti-PKI Army interest would make natural, and simply a continuation of patterns already established, a collaboration and pooling of resources to carry out the best means available for stopping the PKI and “saving” Indonesia. The CIA provided a pool of expertise and technical capability for devising and implementing a relatively sophisticated and delicate maneuver.

The problem of lack of Army internal cohesion, as indicated in Option 4, remained a stumbling bloc. Efforts were made to achieve unity in moving against the PKI (and necessarily Sukarno) but although most generals agreed that the PKI had to go, some very important officers–notably the Army Chief of Staff General Yani– were apparently unwilling to take steps that would severely damage Sukarno. After the failure of attempts to secure Army unity, the U.S. and the collaborating generals (principally Suharto and Nasution) [1995 note: again, I would today delete Nasution] decided that the urgency of the threat and the need for quick action required working with those who were willing. It was necessary to move in spite of the absence of Army unity.
Actions were undertaken to try to polarize Indonesian politics between the Communists and others, an effort that it was hoped might move the reluctant generals to the “right” side. The Gilchrist letter seems to have been part of a covert effort to stimulate distrust and antagonism between Sukarno and General Yani. It appears, however, that General Yani remained something of a Sukarno-loyalist. General Yani had become dispensable and probably he stood in the way of what had to be done.
The “Generals’ Council” rumor, frequently considered the product of PKI work, was probably an important element of the CIA-Suharto covert operation in preparing the ground for GESTAPU. The rumor served a number of useful purposes. It helped to further the heightening of tension and uncertainty in Indonesian political life. It served to stimulate mistrust between Sukarno and certain generals that the CIA wanted to break with Sukarno. It alarmed the PKI and might even make it take the provocatory step that was hoped for. It provided a focus for debate and rumor that distracted attention from the real “conspiracy.” It bore a resemblance to something that actually existed, General Yani’s “braintrust,” and thus provided a ready target group for the GESTAPU operation, plausible victims for the “PKI’s” atrocities. The rumor helped to create a climate in which people would find GESTAPU at least superficially plausible, especially immediately on October 1st. There would be widespread belief in the imminent threat of a Generals’ Council coup and “unwitting” people (notably the soldiers used by GESTAPU on October 1st) would be willing to take actions that they might otherwise question. The General’s Council rumor helped to create something of a “controlled environment” in which certain planned stimuli would produce a relatively predictable response. Finally, the rumor was an important part of the cover story for why the PKI might be believed to have taken the action to be attributed to it.


The exploitation of the Sukarno’s health rumor mill was another important part of the cover for GESTAPU. Unfortunately for the cover story, however, it turns out to have been one of the weak links. The post-1965 explanation of why the PKI allegedly carried out GESTAPU attributes a major role to the presumed fear on the part of the PKI that Sukarno was about to die. Chinese doctors are alleged to have convinced Aidit of this. The problem is that Sukarno recovered rapidly from his illness in August 1965 and Aidit, who was in constant contact with Sukarno, had more than sufficient time to find out about Sukarno’s health for himself and to turn off any plans that were based on Sukarno’s imminent demise. (The implausibility of this story may in part account for the growth of theories that attribute the authorship of GESTAPU to Sukarno and place the PKI in a subordinate role. Even the Suharto government seems to have adopted this “explanation.~) In 1965, however, the circulation of rumors by the CIA-Suharto group served to create a climate that would make GESTAPU plausible as well as the PKI’s complicity in it.
It does seem clear that the PKI Politburo held meetings in August 1965 at which the health of Sukarno was discussed, as well as the Generals’ Council rumors, and probably the existence of “progressive” officers. What was actually said about these subjects, however, is far from clear. The official Army version, presented through “confessions,” probably took real events, kernels of truth, and spun them into the required pattern.
A very interesting question is whether the Untung group made contact with the PKI, perhaps to get the PKI to directly implicate itself or at least to take actions that could later be interpreted as “participation in GESTAPU.” It seems likely that the GESTAPU conspirators would have considered it risky to acquaint anyone not “in the know” with what was going on. The danger would have been very great that the PKI would be suspicious and pass the information to Sukarno who would investigate. The PKI was constantly on the alert for “provocations.” There is a possibility, however, that some vague intimation of GESTAPU was passed to Aidit via a source that Aidit would have found credible. If so, it appears that Aidit rejected PKI participation, despite later trial evidence.

An overlooked source of information on the relationship, if any, between the PKI and a “progressive” officers GESTAPU group is an article by the leftist journalist Wilfred Burchett that was originally published in November 1965. Burchett, relying on “an Indonesian whom I know as having close contact with the PKI leadership and who escaped the army dragnet in Jakarta,” states that the PKI received “documentary” evidence of the existence of a Generals’ Council in August and informed Sukarno about it. Burchett continues:
“In late September, Colonel Untung, head of the presidential guard, learned of the planned coup from independent sources. He approached leaders of the PKI, among others, revealing what they had known for some time, and urged joint action. to thwart the coup. The PKI leaders reportedly refused on the ground that such an action would be “premature” and that as long as Sukarno remained at the helm everything possible should be done to maintain unity, while all patriotic elements within the armed forces should remain vigilant to deal with any coup from above.”
Of course, we have no way of knowing if this is what happened but it is possible.
The backgrounds of Lt. Col. Untung, the alleged leader of the September 30th Movement, and his colleagues have been examined by a number of independent scholars. The picture that emerges is not that of a group of “progressive” or disgruntled officers, but rather of a group of successful and professional military officers who had exhibited signs of anti-PKI views, had been given sensitive positions in which their past and present political affiliations and views would have been subjected to careful examination, and some of whom–perhaps the most important ones–had recently been trained in the U.S. (General Supardjo and Col. Suherman) and undoubtedly exhaustively “vetted” by the CIA and U.S. defense intelligence.
What seems to link most of the GESTAPU officers together is not their “progressiveness” but their association, both past and present, with General Suharto. Those participants, particularly in the Air Force, not overtly linked with Suharto may be considered CIA-Suharto “assets” activated to play their role in the GESTAPU scenario. The penetration of the Air Force and the Palace Guard by anti-PKI Army forces (and the CIA) is at least as plausible as the degree of penetration attributed to the PKI. The vigilance of the anti-PKI generals in keeping PKI influence out of their officer corps is well known, as is the effort to keep track of and penetrate the more leftist branches of the military services.
Before examining what took place on October 1st it is important to recognize that (if the thesis of this paper is correct) we are looking at a collection of actors and a sequence of events that were put together primarily to accomplish a very immediate and urgent task: the discrediting of the PKI (and its allies) in as dramatic and quick a fashion as possible, and the immobilization of factors that might complicate the situation. While some thought had obviously been given to cover, it is doubtful that extensive effort was put into constructing a cover story that would withstand close, dispassionate scrutiny . The ability of the Cornell researchers, after only a few months of research using primarily written materials, to reveal the weaknesses of the immediate cover story is testimony to its inherent crudeness. The CIA-Suharto group probably felt that, if they moved quickly and drastically enough, there was little likelihood that much foreign effort would be put into examining GESTAPU in detail. Certainly no Indonesian would he disposed to raise doubts.

A certain refinement of cover and justification for actions that, for the most part, had already been taken (the murder of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians) was provided by the obviously spurious Aidit “confession” and the fabricated confession and show trial of Njono. Untung was also put on trial early in 1966. Even sympathetic foreign journalists have raised questions about these early trials (no foreign journalists were permitted to attend and only selected Indonesians). We do not know at what point the Indonesian authorities found out about the Cornell study and other evidence that apparently their story was not going over abroad as well as they had hoped. It seems probable that the trials of Dani and Subandrio were primarily milestones in the campaign to remove Sukarno and less parts of the GESTAPU cover story. It was the trial of Sudisman in 1967 and that of Sjam in 1968 that were explicitly calculated for their effect on the foreign skeptics. Of course, Suharto has had other reasons as well for continuing the show trials.
The Events of October 1st
The major military units involved on the side of the September 30th movement were officially under the command of General Suharto’s KOSTRAD, the Army’s Strategic Reserve. The semi-official Indonesian Army history of GESTAPU states: “Both the 454th and 530th Battalions together with the 328th Kudjong Battalion of the Siliwangi Division were under the operations command of the 3d Paratroop Brigade of the Army’s Strategic Reserve.” The Army book observes further that “KOSTRAD troops were scattered all over Indonesia, as [sic] that at the time of the coup General Soeharto had only the dc Kudjava and dc Parakomando battalion around Djakarta. Other KOSTRAD troops were at ‘the other side.'”
The major mission of these KOSTRAD “coup” units was to take up positions around the crucial Merdeka Square, controlling Sukarno’s Palace, the Indonesian Radio station, and the central telecommunications facilities.

One company of soldiers from the Palace Guard, the Tjakrabirawa, are said to have participated, together with KOSTRAD elements, in the kidnapping-murder of the six army generals. Lt. Col. Untung had been since May 1965 commander of one of the three Tjakrabirawa battalions. Considering Untung’s position, this participation is quite possible, although it could have introduced a perhaps unnecessary complication into the proceedings. General Sabur, the commander of the Palace Guard, played a very unclear role in the GESTAPU and its aftermath. Although jailed for a period after 1965, he has been released and no charges have been brought against him. Whether Untung could have acted without Sabur’s knowledge is uncertain. Only a few Tjakrabirawa troops were really necessary on October 1st, and they could have been KOSTRAD soldiers in Palace Guard uniforms. The extraordinary lack of professionalism in the execution of the “kidnappings” makes it unlikely that “unwitting” Tjakrabirawa troops played a significant role. Their role seems to have been that of making the first contact at each of the victim’s home.

In the early morning hours of October 1st GESTAPU troops went to the homes of seven generals. Three of the generals, including Army head General Yani, were killed immediately and their bodies and three other generals were taken to a place called Lubang Buaja (Crocodile’s Hole) on the outskirts of Halim Air Force Base. More than 100 troops surrounded the house of General Nasution but in a “near miraculous” escape, Nasution got away by climbing over a wall and hiding in the bushes. The fiction that one of his aides was captured and successfully impersonated one of the best known men in Indonesia for some hours afterwards (a crucial element in the CIA Research Study version of events), need not puzzle us. No such thing happened and General Nasution was meant to “escape,” (The shooting of his daughter, apparently by accident through a door, seems too ghastly to have been part of the GESTAPU plan, although her death and funeral were very important in whipping up the subsequent fury against the PKI. Nasution’s much commented upon “moodiness” after October 1st may in part be accounted for by his remorse about not taking better precautions to protect his family.)
General Nasution, the leading anti-Communist military figure in Indonesia, had to be on the list of victims of GESTAPU. His absence would have been incredible. He was not, however, a member of General Yani’s “Generals’ Council.” The fact that it was General Suharto, rather than the more well known Nasution, who took the leadership of the counter-GESTAPU forces may have a complicated explanation. We do not know the subtleties of the Suharto-Nasution relationship. The most probable explanation is that the immediate appearance of Nasution as the head of the anti-PKI effort would have aroused suspicions. Some stories have Nasution being kept “protected” in a hidden place on October 1st from 6 AM until 7 PM when he finally appeared at KOSTRAD headquarters. Other reports have him at KOSTRAD headquarters on the morning of October 1st. Nasution is alleged to have broken his ankle in climbing over the wall, probably part of the cover story for why it had to be Suharto who took the lead.

Among the more incredible “mistakes” of the GESTAPU movement was the failure to try to kill or kidnap the two generals in Djakarta who had operational command of military forces in the area, General Suharto and General Umar. Ruth McVey has commented on how extraordinary this omission was, in view of the fact that Col. Latief was one of the major GESTAPU conspirators: “Col. A. Latief headed the mobile force of the Djaya (Djakarta) Division and had commanded a series of interservice capital defense maneuvers; he must have known the basic provisions for an emergency in the capital.” In fact, Col. Latief seems to have been one of Suharto’s men. McVey states: “Latief, also a Diponegoro Division officer (Suharto’s former division), had fought under Suharto during the revolution; at the time of the Irian campaign he was at the Mandala Command headquarters in Ambone….He was assigned to KOSTRAD; his command at the time of the coup, Brigade I, was one of the KOSTRAD infantry brigades.” Latief, according to Suharto himself, visited him on the night of September 30th at the hospital where Suharto was seeing his ill son. Another account has Col. Latief paying a visit to the military hospital on the morning of October 1st where Nasution’s injured daughter had been brought. General Suharto and General Umar worked closely together almost immediately from the beginning on October 1st in “defeating” GESTAPU.
One general who was supposed to have originally been on the list of GESTAPU victims because of his position on General Yani’s staff was General Sukendro. He was in Peking on October 1st. In fact, Sukendro was a close associate of Nasution and had the reputation of a man with intimate associations with the American military and the CIA. Sukendro came back from Peking with the story that on October 1st Chinese officials had shown Indonesians a list of the murdered generals before it had been announced. (Intimations of Chinese involvement in GESTAPU were rampant in the early months after October 1st but faded to nothing after their purpose had been served.)

What exactly occurred at Lubang Buaja where the six murdered and captured generals were taken and eventually dumped into a well is uncertain. Why they were taken there seems clear. Lubang Buaja, despite stories that “secret” military training of PKI people was occurring there, was well known as a place where Air Force officers since July had been conducting training of volunteers for the Malaysian Confrontation. Those trained included youths from both PKI and other organizations. The quick murder of the generals and their alleged mutilation by Communists was the core of the GESTAPU scenario. Whether there were people from Communist organizations present at Lubang Buaja is uncertain. It is possible that unwitting volunteers had been brought there to lend their presence to the proceedings. This could have been complicating however. It was sufficient that the dastardly deed be done at a place that was known as a gathering spot for the training of PKI volunteers. “Confessions” could be produced later.
There are a few indications that if, in fact, there were “volunteers” present at Lubang Buaja on the morning of October 1st they were not necessarily from PKI organizations. The eye-witness account used in the CIA Research Study states that there were civilians crowding around the prisoners yelling “kill the unbelievers,” rather extraordinary words for Communists to be uttering. Accounts seem . to agree that the generals were almost unidentifiable, bloodied and beaten up, wearing pajamas, and blindfolded. Mortimer states that, among other non-Communist youths, people from the Moslem Ansor youth organization were expected at Lubang Buaja for training on October 1st. We may speculate that the GESTAPU officers present may have told anti-PKI youths that they had captured the killers of the generals.

Whoever killed and “mutilated” the generals, their murder served several important purposes for GESTAPU. Most importantly, it could be blamed on the PKI. The murder of General Yani opened the way for Suharto to take over control of the Army and implement the wrap-up of GESTAPU. It was standing procedure for Suharto to become acting Army head whenever Yani was not available. Suharto’s behavior on October 1st seems to be that of someone who is immediately aware that Yani is dead. We find no discussion in accounts of October 1st of efforts by Suharto to locate and rescue captured generals until late in the day. He acted very quickly to take charge. He exhibited none of the uncertainty and hesitancy that characterized nearly everyone else on October 1st.
The killing of the generals was also important in inhibiting Sukarno from declaring in favor of the September 30th Movement, a danger that could have upset the scenario but which had been taken into account. The fact that Lubang Buaja could also be associated with the Air Force (although, contrary to general impression, it was not in fact located on Halim Air Force Base) was also useful in assuring that General Dani and the Air Force would not be tempted to throw their military forces behind the September 30th Movement. Once it became known what an enormous crime had been committed by the “progressive” GESTAPU–political murder was very rare in Indonesia–no one was likely to jump on the band-wagon and complicate the planned failure of GESTAPU. Of course, the discrediting of the leftist Air Force and General Dani was part of the purpose of GESTAPU.

It is probable that the killing of the generals was communicated as rapidly as possible to Sukarno so that he would not think of backing GESTAPU. Accounts have a helicopter flying over Lubang Buaja, perhaps part of Sukarno’s (or Suharto~s?) efforts to verify absolutely that it was true. Sukarno was also probably told how the PKI was linked to the murders. His early knowledge that Nasution had probably “escaped” also served to inhibit any impulse to support GESTAPU.
When the first message of the September 30th Movement was broadcast over Radio Indonesia around 7 AM it was announced that Sukarno was being protected and that certain prominent persons who were to be targets of the Generals’ Council action had also been taken under “protection.” This was actually part of a deliberate action to control the behavior of and information available to leading non-GESTAPU political figures whom, if at large, could interfere with the GESTAPU scenario. PKI Chairman Aidit was brought to Halim very early on October 1st. (His wife states that he was kidnapped from his home.) Dani was brought to Halim. (Accounts differ on this.) Sukarno was brought to Halim. Most of Sukarno’s advisors, such as Subandrio, Njoto, and Ali Sastroamidjojo, were not in Djakarta. Reports have it at if they had been in Djakarta they were on the list of persons to be “protected.” Although there was some contact between these individuals at Halim, much of the time they were kept separated from each other in different houses with GESTAPU messengers going back and forth. (The phones had been cut in Djakarta. Only the Army had an emergency communication system functioning.) Aidit in particular was kept “protected” from any contact with Sukarno.
From the CIA Research Study account we learn that “Aidit definitely was accompanied by two bodyguards, who stayed with him the whole day of the 1st while he was at Halim and who accompanied him on the plane on his flight from Halim to Jogjakarta on the morning of the 2nd.” The actual function of these “bodyguards” seems obvious. (It is remarkable how little role, even in the official accounts, Aidit seems to have played at Halim in guiding the movement that he is alleged to have been responsible for.)

Back at Merdeka Square, the GESTAPU-KOSTRAD troops had occupied the radio station at about the same time that the generals were being kidnapped. The use of the radio to broadcast a carefully prepared series of messages was a crucial part of the GESTAPU operation. The fact that Suharto, located just across the square in KOSTRAD headquarters, took no action until the evening to put the radio off the air–although he says that he very quickly decided that something was wrong–was suspicious and “explained” in the official version in terms of Suharto’s desire to avoid violence. (His tolerance toward troops who had apparently killed or abducted six leading Army generals is remarkable.) In fact, Suharto deliberately waited to “retake” the radio station until the planned messages were completed. This he accomplished without firing a shot. (In the whole GESTAPU affair, including outside of Djakarta, only a handful of people were killed other than the generals.)
The most important characteristic of the first 7 AM GESTAPU radio broadcast in which the existence of the September 30th Movement was announced was that it was unclear whether GESTAPU was pro- or anti-Sukarno. The deliberate creation of uncertainty was necessary in part so as to prevent anyone “unexpected” from involving themselves. The fact that the name of Sukarno was not invoked in support of GESTAPU, which any genuine leftist coup attempt would probably have faked if necessary in order to increase the chances for success, probably made GESTAPU seem somewhat anti-Sukarno. The emphasis on its being “inside the military” was calculated to prevent anyone, especially the PKI, from taking to the streets and getting in the way. Basically, the impact of the 7 AM message was to confuse people and keep them sitting still waiting for the next message. In any event, given the climate of rumor in Djakarta, GESTAPU was not an implausible event, although who was behind it and what it was to accomplish was uncertain.

Another apparently calculated aspect of the first radio broadcast was the statement that a Revolutionary Council was going to be set up, with the implication–later made very clear–that it would be the new government. It was not until the afternoon that the “rather peculiar assortment of names” on the Revolutionary Council was announced. The indication of the abolition of the existing cabinet, however, was apparently partially intended to provide a rationale and gloss of legality for General Suharto to take quick command of the Army without consultation with Sukarno. In justifying his behavior afterwards, Suharto has cited the fact that GESTAPU had overthrown the existing government and therefore he was free to act on his own. (One of the contradictions in the post-1965 explanation of GESTAPU is that if the Untung group was primarily concerned to execute a limited operation to purge the Army of leading anti-PKI generals, why was it necessary to set aside the existing government, giving the operation the clear flavor of a political coup?)
Even the term “Revolutionary Council” may have been devised as another bit of dust thrown in the eyes of the confused public. Apparently the last time that “Revolutionary Councils” had been established in Indonesia was in 1956 and 1957 when some of the dissident anti-PKI regional military commanders had done so.

Although the radio announcement of the membership of the new Revolutionary Council, “the source of all authority in the Republic of Indonesia,” was not broadcast until about 2 PM, we will discuss it here. It seems possible to discern several functions for this message. The rather heterogeneous and lack-luster membership seems calculated to discourage anyone from rallying to support. (Clearly, few, if any, of the non-military members of the Council had been informed before hand. A better selection could have been faked if assuring the success of the “coup” had really been important.) The unknown middle-ranking officers took the top positions for themselves. The heads of the non-Army military services were prominently displayed as members of the Council, perhaps part of the overall plan to prevent uncontrolled military forces from involving themselves in the GESTAPU events. Linking the heads of the Air Force, Navy, and Police with GESTAPU would make it possible to label any unwanted military action by these forces as part of the GESTAPU revolt.
It is uncertain how much additional calculation was put into the membership list. A handful of PKI officials from affiliated organizations were included, but none of the top PKI leaders. This again would discourage unplanned PKI involvement Later analyses of the membership indicate the possibility that the CIA’s “experts” on communism may have devised the list according to their calculation of a plausible “stage” which the “revolution” in Indonesia had reached. In October 1965 The Washington Post published a story by Chalmers Roberts, apparently based on CIA briefings, that said U.S. officials reported to have evidence that Sukarno, through a coup, had “intended to turn his country into an Indonesian version of a Communist ‘People’s Democracy.'” We may guess that as part of the devising of a cover story for GESTAPU the CIA experts tried to simulate the kind of government that the PKI and Sukarno (apparently little distinction was made) might plausibly have been expected to set up if a pro-Communist coup occurred in Indonesia in the fall of 1965.


The 1968 CIA Research Study states that “the Revolutionary Council was the perfect Communist front organization.” Justus van der Kroef has provided the most extensive exposition of the “People’s Democracy” thesis, along the lines of Eastern European experience. Actually, judging by a more careful study of Soviet and Chinese examples, the PKI membership on the Revolutionary Council was too limited and the composition of the Council was far from being a “perfect” simulation. (The eight year old CIA Research Study contains several rather amateurish efforts to show the traces of Chinese Communist ideology or practice in the GESTAPU events, reflective of the spirit of the times.)
The behavior of Sukarno on October 1st, the subject of much speculation later on, seems to be that of someone who is unsure of what is going on, but wary and trying desperately to get a handle on the situation. The GESTAPU officers did not actually keep him prisoner at Halim Air Force Base–General Supardjo’s role seems to have been that of a rather skilled handler of Sukarno, keeping up the GESTAPU pretence–and permitted him to send and receive messages and selected visitors. To the extent possible, however, information and advice available to Sukarno was controlled. (Sukarno’s later emphasis on his being at Halim of his own free will was in the context of the rising anti-PKI hysteria. Sukarno struggled to keep it under control and did not want people to think that the “PKI-GESTAPU” had kidnapped him.)
We must assume that the CIA had prepared a psychological assessment of Sukarno which was an ingredient in planning the GESTAPU operation. How accurate and insightful the CIA’s profile may have been we do not know. Considering the obsession of Westerners with Sukarno’s sex life and the image of irresponsibility and irrationality that had been built up about him, we may suspect that the assessment was not highly useful. Some Americans seem to have considered Sukarno a coward and Howard Jones cites a Washington view, circa 1958, that Sukarno “did not have the intestinal fortitude to order the Indonesian military into action since it would split the country. Sukarno had worked all his life to unite his country; he was the last man to take an action that would result in a division that might be irrevocable.” The view of Sukarno as unwilling to take decisive and divisive military action against other Indonesians could have been a factor in the planning of GESTAPU. Sukarno’s lack of ruthlessness would be exploited.


One of the clearer indications of the absence of collusion between Sukarno and the GESTAPU officers, and of their willingness to ignore him when necessary, is the fact that (according to the CIA Research Study) at about noon on October 1st Sukarno told General Supardjo to stop the September 30th Movement. However, some important radio broadcasts had yet to be made, and the rationale for the apparently fabricated incriminating October 2 Harian Rakjat editorial would have been destroyed if General Supardjo had immediately stopped GESTAPU. The GESTAPU actions continued in Djakarta until the evening.
At about 1 PM an announcement, over General Sabur’s name, was broadcast that “President Sukarno is safe and well and continues to execute the leadership of the State.” This seems to have been a genuine statement from Sukarno, and implied his rejection of the September 30th Movement. Sukarno did not leave Halim until about 8:30 PM when he went to Bogor, having failed to prevent Suharto from taking over the Army.
In addition to the GESTAPU radio broadcasts containing the details of the Revolutionary Council, the other important afternoon message was a statement attributed to General Dani, the leftist Air Force Chief of Staff, expressing support for the September 30th Movement. This was broadcast at 3:30 PM. The means by which this “Order of the Day” was elicited from Dani, or whether it was fabricated, is uncertain. The statement carried a dating of 9:30 AM, before Sukarno’s radio message, although it was not actually broadcast until six hours later.

The CIA Research Study comments on this “incredibly poorly timed” message of General Dani: “Two hours after Sukarno had studiously avoided committing himself over the radio the Air Force Chief Dani had pledged support of the Air Force to the coup.” The peculiarity of this was accentuated by the fact that Dani was considered to be a man who carefully calculated his steps to fall in line with Sukarno. It seemed impossible that Dani could take such an action without Sukarno’s endorsement. Perhaps in the confused and controlled circumstances at Halim the GESTAPU officers had managed to convince Dani earlier in the day that Sukarno wanted him to prepare a pro-GESTAPU Order of the Day to have on hand in case of need. (The possibility of straight fabrication exists, although the author has found no emphatic assertion to this effect by Dani.)
Assuming that the Dani message was a planned part of the GESTAPU scenario, it’s purpose, of course, was to incriminate the leftist Dani and the Air Force in the GESTAPU coup attempt and the murder of the generals. (In the early days after October 1st Suharto seems to have been even more interested in defaming the Air Force than the PKI. After all, the Air Force had weapons and the PKI did not.) The Dani message also helped to enhance the plausibility of a PKI newspaper editorial expressing similar views on the next day. Early and unambiguous identification of Dani with GESTAPU would also inhibit him from taking unwanted military action.