[ETAN-key] Historian Claims West Backed Post-'65 Coup Mass Killings in Indonesia, But Didn't Mastermind Sukarno's Overthrow
John M Miller
fbp at igc.org
Mon Jun 22 18:53:44 EDT 2009
The Jakarta Globe
June 18, 2009
Historian Claims West Backed Post-Coup Mass Killings in '65
by Armando Siahaan
photo: Members of the Youth Wing of the Indonesian Communist
Party (Pemuda Rakjat) are guarded by soldiers in Jakarta as they
are taken to prison by open truck on Oct. 30, 1965. AP
Western governments supported the mass murder of more than half
a million alleged communist supporters in the wake of the 1965
coup, a noted historian said on Wednesday.
Speaking on the opening day of an international conference in
Singapore to discuss arguably the darkest chapter in Indonesia's
history, Bradley R. Simpson, an assistant professor at Princeton
University and an expert on Indonesia, said that the US and
British governments did everything in their power to ensure that
the Indonesian army would carry out the mass killings.
Simpson, the author of "Economists with Guns: Authoritarian
Development and US-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968," said the
administration of US President Lyndon Johnson initially provided
expressions of political support to the Suharto regime after the
coup on Sept. 30, 1965.
He said the US government then provided covert monetary
assistance to the Indonesian Army, while the CIA provided the
small arms from Thailand.
The US government also decided to provide limited amounts of
communications equipment, medicine and a range of other items,
including shoes and uniforms, he said.
"The United States was directly involved to the extent that they
provided the Indonesian Armed Forces with assistance that they
introduced to help facilitate the mass killings," Simpson said.
Simpson said the British government extended an emergency loan
of 1 million pounds ($2 million) to Indonesia in late 1965 and
promised not to attack Borneo if Indonesia withdrew soldiers
engaged in a conflict with British-backed Malaysia.
But Simpson said that he found "zero evidence" that the US
government masterminded the coup, in which communist-leaning
founding President Sukarno was effectively replaced by
Western-leaning future dictator Suharto.
"There is a lot of evidence that the US was engaged in covert
operations ... to provoke a clash between the Army and the PKI
... to wipe them out," Simpson said, referring to the Indonesian
David Jenkins, former foreign editor of the Sydney Morning
Herald, said that the Australian, British and US embassies were
aware of the mass killings, but did not raise a single protest
to the systemic slaughter launched by the Army against the PKI.
None of the embassies believed the PKI had initiated the coup.
The Australians believed the coup was an internal army affair
with the last-minute backing of the Communist Party, said
Jenkins, basing his arguments on statements by officials.
"Australia was pinning its hopes on Suharto," he said.
Jenkins said the US assessment also suggested that the coup was
not run by the PKI, but that they came on board as the coup
Despite the embassies acknowledging that the PKI was not
involved, they did nothing to protect them from the military.
"The 1965-1966 Indonesian Killings Revisited" is the largest
conference on the subject, which remains taboo in Indonesia.
The three-day event, held by the National University of
Singapore and the Australian Research Council, involved more
than 30 scholars from around the world, including Indonesia.
More information about the ETAN-Key