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History or histories: the 20th century


Legendary Member
Not a precise fit, but relevant both then and now.

July 14, 2016
Two Terrors of the French Revolution
by Mark Twain


There were two ‘Reigns of Terror’, if we could but remember and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passions, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon a thousand persons, the other upon a hundred million; but our shudders are all for the horrors of the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty and heartbreak? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief terror that we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror – that unspeakable bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.

Excerpted from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.


Legendary Member
Far East, historical perspectives, latest, USA
The CIA’s Involvement in Indonesia and the Assassinations of JFK and Dag Hammarskjold | OffGuardian
Published on July 24, 2016
Comments 14
The CIA’s Involvement in Indonesia and the Assassinations of JFK and Dag Hammarskjold
by Greg Poulgrain and Edward Curtin, via Global Research


The truth about Indonesian history and the United States involvement in its ongoing tragedy is little known in the West. Australian historian, Greg Poulgrain, has been trying for decades to open people’s eyes to the realities of that history and to force a cleansing confrontation with the ugly truth. It is a story of savage intrigue that involves the CIA and American governments in the support of regime change and the massive slaughter of people deemed expendable. In his latest book, The Incubus of Intervention: Conflicting Indonesia Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles, Poulgrain shows how President John Kennedy tried to change American policy in Indonesia but was opposed by Allen Dulles and the CIA, resulting in JFK’s murder. Kennedy’s death, preceded by that of UN Secretary- General Dag Hammarskjold, then led to the US backed murder of millions of Indonesians, Papuans, and East Timorese.
While an academic historian with meticulous credentials, Poulgrain is also a rare bird: a truth teller.
In this interview, he greatly expands on many issues in his books, including Allen Dulles’s and Kennedy’s conflicting strategies regarding Indonesia, Dulles’s involvement in the assassinations of JFK and Dag Hammarskjold, CIA involvement in the ouster of Indonesian President Sukarno, and the subsequent slaughters throughout Indonesia and West Papua.
For people of conscience, his is a voice worth heeding.
In the introduction to The Incubus of Intervention you ask the question: “Would Allen Dulles have resorted to assassinating the President of the United States to ensure his ‘Indonesian strategy’ rather than Kennedy’s was achieved?” You say it is up to the reader to decide and that is why you have written the book. There is a bit of ambiguity in that second statement. What have you concluded?

Slowly, slowly… I came to understand the role of Indonesia in the differences that emerged between Allen Dulles and John F Kennedy. My lecturing/research on Indonesian history and politics, which I’ve now been doing for several decades, kept me on track. A memorable interview with Indonesian former vice-president, Adam Malik, less than a year before he died, left me puzzled as to why he wanted to impress on me the importance of Indonesia in relation to the Sino-Soviet rift. I did not realize until much later that, once the rift was detected, Indonesia was used by Allen Dulles as a wedge to split them further apart.

Visiting Indonesia from Brisbane is much less of an expedition than travelling from the USA so, over the years, I’ve spoken with many people there about Sukarno and the politics of the ‘60s. Although I include 19th and 20th century history as part of the history I teach, my focus remains the 1950s and 60s, when Indonesia was struggling to find its feet as an independent country. The Dutch had remained for more than three centuries because they were presiding over the world’s richest colony.

Before the war in Vietnam reached full pitch, Washington’s attention was on Laos. Allen Dulles had long been keeping an eye on Indonesia but in government policy or official announcements Indonesia rarely received any mention at all, despite its political volatility, its immense wealth of natural resources and the sheer size of the country. It is many times larger in population than most countries in Southeast Asia – the 4th largest in the world – and as the world’s longest archipelago it is slung across the equator for a distance equivalent to that between Los Angeles and Newfoundland.

The Indonesian populace in 1963 considered JFK a hero, during and after his presidency; so the fact that his strategy to bring Indonesia ‘on side’ in the Cold War is not well known outside Indonesia really highlights our lack of awareness of Indonesia. And how many readers are aware of Allen Dulles’ covert operations in Indonesia? – such as in 1958, which was the largest CIA operation outside Vietnam according to Colonel Fletch Prouty who once worked alongside Dulles. I am assuming the reader is not familiar with Indonesia of the 1960s and even less familiar with the respective strategies of Kennedy and Dulles, so I really have to throw some light on these to enable the reader to see there is startling evidence linking the two, centered on Indonesia. It was an extraordinary political duel, and the triumph of Dulles led not just to the death of Kennedy but to the death of millions. It is on-going…

Could you share with us this background and their respective strategies?

The potential wealth of the archipelago, particularly oil and minerals, caught the attention of Allen Dulles as a lawyer in the 1920s. He was representing Rockefeller Oil interests against Henri Deterding, the legendary oil mogul of the Netherlands East Indies. Having first started in Intelligence at the time of the First World War, Allen Dulles was still closely linked with Rockefeller oil interests when he became DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) in the 1950s. His expertise was regime change and this was his ultimate aim in Indonesia. His anti-Sukarno strategy had begun more than three years before John F. Kennedy was elected president, and it came into conflict with Kennedy’s pro-Sukarno stance. Kennedy’s Indonesia strategy involved befriending Indonesia as a Cold War ally as this was a prerequisite for Kennedy’s Southeast Asian policy dealing with Laos and the burgeoning problem of North and South Vietnam. In 1961, Dulles did not reveal to Kennedy the depth and intricacy of subterfuge he’d initiated with Indonesia as the focus, nor was Kennedy aware of the extent and elaborate nature of Dulles’ strategy.

Was Allen Dulles’s Indonesian strategy just about Indonesian oil and mineral wealth?

The Cold War was raging in the early 1960s with Washington pitted against the Sino-Soviet bloc. Driving a wedge between Moscow and Beijing was one of the resolutions of the Rockefeller Brothers panel when it met in 1958 – the panel which included persons such as DCI Dulles and his former associate from postwar Berlin, Henry Kissinger, whose concept of ‘limited nuclear war’ was attracting attention. When an ideological split between Moscow and Beijing was confirmed in the early 1960s, Dulles regarded this intelligence as so vitally important that he informed neither the ailing incumbent president, Eisenhower, nor the Secretary of State who took over in 1959 from John Foster Dulles (Before dying of cancer, John Foster refused his younger brother Allen the privilege of stepping into his shoes as Secretary of State, Allen’s lifelong ambition.)

Nor did Allen Dulles inform the new president, John F Kennedy, that the Sino-Soviet split was real. During his first year in office in 1961, Kennedy all too soon became Dulles’ nemesis. During the second year, with Dulles still as powerful as ever but no longer DCI, the Cold War reached its apogee with the Cuban missile crisis. In the third year of Kennedy’s presidency he intended to implement his Indonesia strategy so as to justify his intervention in the New Guinea sovereignty dispute. In essence, this involved pouring in US aid in order to turn Indonesia towards the West. Kennedy had intended using the same Indonesian army officers which Dulles had been training at US bases since 1958, training in readiness to assume power. Kennedy’s intention to utilize these same troops for massive civic aid programs was the very opposite of Dulles’ intention. But most of all, Kennedy intended to keep Sukarno as president whereas in Dulles strategy Sukarno was the arch-enemy. Under the aegis of Sukarno’s radical nationalism, the Indonesian communist party had been gathering millions of members, driven by poverty and the attraction of owning a small patch of land to grow rice.

I am reminded of how Dulles, who was so treacherous, also didn’t inform Kennedy that the CIA had learned that the Soviets knew of the date of the Bay of Pigs invasion more than a week in advance and had informed Castro. So Dulles knew the invasion would fail but went ahead with it anyway. He then blamed Kennedy. He was devious beyond belief.

A former head of British intelligence once described Allen Dulles as the “greatest intelligence officer who ever lived” and while this comment referred to his activities in the 1940s his Indonesia strategy certainly supports the accolade. Dulles became aware of the bonanza of minerals and oil in Netherlands New Guinea before the Japanese wartime occupation of Indonesia. In the mountains of New Guinea one of the Rockefeller companies discovered the world’s largest primary deposit of gold. In addition to this, the oil that was discovered in record quantity was free of sulphur (so oil-refining was not required).

However, to gain control over these natural resources, first the Dutch colonial administration had to be removed. When Dutch colonial rule in the Netherlands East Indies ended in 1949, the Dutch retained New Guinea and stayed another twelve years. Dulles helped Kennedy to choose in 1962 between Dutch or Indonesian rule over the Papuan people – he chose the latter- by ensuring the UN option would not occur. The UN option involved secret discussions in 1961 between Kennedy and the UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold. Kennedy favoured intervention by the UN because it meant he would not have to choose between Indonesia (whom he needed as a Cold War ally in Southeast Asia) and the Dutch (who were NATO allies). Hammarskjold was going to deny both Dutch and Indonesian claims to sovereignty and instead grant the Papuan people independence.

The thought of Papuan independence must have incensed Dulles.

‘The Incubus of Intervention’ shows how and why Allen Dulles prevented Dag Hammarskjold from using the United Nations to bring the New Guinea sovereignty dispute to an end. Dulles’ intervention and the death of Hammarskjold is a ghastly precedent for the tragedy that occurred when JFK’s proposed visit to Jakarta was stopped in Dallas. Kennedy’s visit – as Dean Rusk explained to me in a hand-written letter – was to bring Malaysian Confrontation to a halt and this would only have reinforced Sukarno’s position as ‘president for life’. Kennedy’s proposed visit meant the death of Dulles’ Indonesia strategy.

Had the vast gold and copper deposits in the mountains of West New Guinea (West Papua) remained under the control of President Sukarno, they would have been used primarily to benefit the Indonesian people. The opposite occurred once Indonesia was under the control of General Suharto – indeed, outside the building in Jakarta when the contract was signed with the Rockefeller company, Freeport Indonesia, army tanks were heard patrolling the streets. Vast oil deposits in Sumatra, and oil in other parts of Indonesia, were also exploited. Two of Dulles’ close associates later benefited from the bonanza of natural resources – Admiral Arleigh Burke of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Kissinger joined the Freeport board of directors. When the price of gold was at its height several years ago, the size of the Freeport mining operation could be gauged by the annual turnover which was almost $20 billion.

Do you think Kennedy’s Indonesian strategy would have worked?

Kennedy’s Indonesia strategy would have worked: that was the problem facing Allen Dulles. Stopping Malaysian Confrontation quite possibly may have landed him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. Had he not attempted to secure his Indonesia strategy – that is, had he not been prepared to go to Jakarta to stop Confrontation in order to get Congress to resume US aid to Indonesia, winning the 1964 presidential elections would have been next to impossible. His major foreign policy move in Southeast Asia would have been deemed a failure, so he had no option.

It was easy for Kennedy’s detractors to depict his Indonesia strategy as driven by personal political ambition, because the key factor was that he was supporting President Sukarno; and because Sukarno had received such bad press in the USA, such a move by Kennedy seemed fraught with political danger. Sukarno throughout his entire political career back to the 1920s had promoted nationalism but still he was branded by some as a communist, or communist sympathizer; even Kennedy, for that matter, was labelled by some extremist media as a communist. For Dulles’ Indonesia strategy to receive sufficient support from persons in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kennedy’s personal ambition was seen as cutting across the national interest, disrupting the strategy of using the Indonesian army as a political vehicle against the Indonesian communist party, the PKI. Both Moscow and Beijing were endeavouring to gain influence on the PKI, the latter by promoting the PKI role in Malaysian Confrontation, and the former by discouraging the PKI from participating; instead, Moscow preferred elections to be held so the numerical advantage of the PKI could be brought to bear. The rivalry between the two was intense, and ideological disputes were increasingly evident. Kennedy’s visit would have closed down the opportunity to use the PKI as a wedge to drive the Sino-Soviet dispute into open hostility.

After the PKI was decimated in late 1965-66, under orders from General Suharto’s military cohorts, open hostility flared in the form of tank battles along the Sino-Soviet border. Had Kennedy proceeded with his visit to Jakarta and his Indonesia strategy succeeded, we can only surmise whether or not the Sino-Soviet dispute would have turned into such open conflict or whether the tragic turn of events in Indonesia, 1965, would ever have occurred. Or would General Suharto like a toadstool have found another way to surface.

You do not say if you have concluded that Dulles had JFK assassinated because of the Indonesia issue. What is your position on that?

Have you seen that 50-minute interview on Youtube by Colonel Fletcher Prouty where he says his former CIA boss, Allen Dulles, in his last few year as Director, was organizing assassinations so regularly and so ruthlessly that Prouty called it “Murder Incorporated”?

Yes. Prouty’s insights are invaluable.

For example, take the plane crash which killed UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold in the Congo in 1961. Last year, 2015, a UN investigation finally decided his death was political assassination. Playing a crucial role in this investigation were documents (ten letters by a South African intelligence agency) unearthed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the late 1990s. The name of Allen Dulles was directly linked with the plane crash.

The interview I conducted with Hammarskjold’s right-hand man, George Ivan Smith, which is included in ‘The Incubus of Intervention’ introduced another motive – Indonesia rather than the Congo – for the involvement of Allen Dulles in the tragic death of Hammarskjold.

Can you talk about that interview? What you write about the Hammarskjold assassination, JFK, and Indonesia is new and very important.

George Ivan Smith explained that Hammarskjold was planning to make an historic announcement in the General Assembly when he returned from the Congo – which he never did. The announcement he had intended was for the United Nations to intervene in the long-running dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands over sovereignty of West New Guinea. Had Hammarskjold done this, he would have totally disrupted the ‘Indonesia strategy’ of Allen Dulles. The CIA had already assassinated the first president of the Congo after being granted independence: this is what the US Senate investigated in 1975 and found Allen Dulles was directly involved in instigating this assassination.

What George Ivan Smith told me – combined with the evidence from Bishop Tutu – provided a motive for Allen Dulles’ involvement in the death of Hammarskjold that was centred on Indonesia rather than the Congo.

What I am saying is that in 1961 Hammarskjold unwittingly threatened Dulles strategy and that in 1963 Kennedy also threatened Dulles strategy without being fully aware of what Dulles was planning or the years of covert scheming that had gone into that planning. This is what I have labelled the ‘Indonesia strategy’ of Allen Dulles. By 1963, with Netherlands New Guinea and its unannounced bonanza of natural resources now a part of Sukarno’s Indonesia, Dulles’ strategy was on several levels which I’d like to restate:

1) It involved using Indonesia, or the Indonesian communist party (PKI ) as the ‘wedge’ to widen the rift between ‘Moscow and Peking’ (Beijing)

2) Dulles’ intervention in Indonesia in 1958 led to full-scale training in the USA of two-thirds of all Indonesian army officers, in readiness for regime change (which came in 1965)

3) Exploitation of the world’s largest primary deposit of gold (and copper) in West New Guinea, and the world’s purest oil, with no sulphur, was a boost for Rockefeller companies (linked with Dulles since the 1920s.)

So the answer to your question is ‘yes’ – Indonesia offered immense benefits in terms of the Cold War struggle, and (when regime-change took place in Indonesia) immense benefits in terms of gold, copper and oil. (West New Guinea also has one of the world’s largest deposits of natural gas.)

Neither Hammarskjold nor Kennedy was aware of how high the stakes were and neither had more than an inkling of how ruthless Dulles could be. The Indonesia context, firstly in 1961 and then again in 1963, provided a motive for murder – first Hammarskjold and then Kennedy.

I have often thought of Kennedy and Hammarskjold as linked by a certain astute intelligence and a spiritual dimension. So Dulles had them both killed?

Official records show DCI Dulles often used gambling metaphors when weighing up the chance of success for correctly predicting what some foreign leader would do, or predicting the outcome of one of Dulles’ own projects. For instance, he’d say there was a “better than even” chance of success. After Hammarskjold’s plane crash in 1961 prevented the UN Secretary-General from interfering in the Indonesia strategy which Dulles had set in motion five years earlier, inexorably moving towards regime change, by 1963 the cumulative evidence confirming the rift in the Sino-Soviet bloc made a successful outcome of this strategy even more critical. In 1963 Kennedy’s proposed visit to Jakarta, while threatening to undo years of intelligence work on the massive amount of natural resources in Indonesia that would be accessible after regime change, also threatened Dulles’ Cold War machinations. Had Kennedy proceeded, the current Dulles’ strategy of using Indonesia as a wedge in the Sino-Soviet split would be undermined. Malaysian Confrontation, by sending the Indonesian economy into screaming inflation, was working in two ways for Dulles: while it set the scene for the exit of Sukarno, at the same time, it added to the rift and rivalry between Moscow and Beijing. As such, Kennedy’s visit to Jakarta could be seen as contrary to the national interest, and for the Joint Chiefs of Staff this carried far more weight. Stopping Kennedy became an imperative for Dulles. Having removed Hammarskjold, Dulles’ options now – to use his own inimitably callous metaphor – were “double or nothing.”

Could we jump ahead to the 1965-6 period when regime change took place and the slaughter commenced? What can you tell us about the killing of the generals, where the blame lay, Suharto’s links to the CIA, etc.? I know you have delved deeply into that.

Killing the army generals (rather than kidnapping and taking them to Sukarno to explain rumours of a coup) was not on the agenda of the 30th Sept Movement, according to one of the key persons in the Movement, Colonel Abdul Latief. Killing them changed everything – changed Indonesian history, led to General Suharto taking power and wreaking mayhem, one of the largest mass-murders in the 20th century. The Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) under DN Aidit was the largest communist party outside the Sino-Soviet bloc, and its decimation was a turning point in the Cold War. The serious discord between Moscow and Beijing, identified six years earlier and closely monitored by the CIA, was made far worse by the fate of the PKI. What had once been described as a monolithic communist bloc now had Moscow and Beijing hurling blame and abuse at each other and this soon led to open hostility (eg. tank battles on the Ussuri River.) The continued war in Vietnam, despite US losses, served this same end. In the early 1970s, the population of Beijing was even subjected to trial-runs in the event of nuclear attack from the Soviet Union involving mass-evacuation of the streets into underground shelters.

I know you spoke to Latief. What did he tell you?

My interview with Colonel Latief was in Cipinang prison a few days after Suharto resigned. I’d arrived in Jakarta in May 1998, just after the rioting and burning had started – the last person through the airport before it was closed – and became involved in the supply-chain delivering food to the 60,000 Indonesian students who were occupying the parliament building. Student protest did much of the work (up to the final thumbs-down by US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright) which forced the resignation of Suharto. One of the students who also delivered food to persons in prison – such as Latief, who had been in prison for 30 years – helped me into Cipinang.

The three main army persons in the 30th Sept Movement were Latief, Untung and Supardjo. Latief was commander of the Jakarta military command. It was essential to have him on side for the plan to kidnap half a dozen generals. “There was no plan to kill the generals, no plan to kill anybody,” Latief repeated to me several times. The person described as head of the Movement was Lt. Colonel Untung, commander of the palace guard; but the highest ranking officer was Brig-General Supardjo, based in Pontianak, Kalimantan, as part of the on-going confrontation with Malaysia. He’d been asked over to Jakarta by General Suharto (who was running the Confrontation campaign) but the first person he visited when he arrived was Sjam (full name Kamaruzaman) who was the actual leader of the Movement. This visit by Supardjo was only two days before the kidnapping began. His higher rank as general added respectability to the Movement and he acquiesced in the plan to move against the ‘Council of Generals’ accused of planning a coup against President Sukarno. He could see the Movement lacked any coherent strategy or military planning, but as such an urgent threat needed immediate response he was willing to let it proceed. It cost him his life.

John Roosa’s book, Pretext for Mass Murder, confirms Sjam was the leader of the Movement. Roosa explains Sjam’s role in relation to the Special Bureau, a covert group within the PKI which Aidit started in late 1964 to befriend persons in the armed forces who might have been supportive of the PKI. Since the early 1950s, Aidit had known of Sjam’s skill in becoming involved in an issue from both sides of the political fence and obviously thought he was the man for the job, even though he had no formal military training. Apparently what Aidit did not know was that Sjam’s military experience during the 1945-49 struggle for Indonesian independence against the Dutch involved close contact with Suharto. Nor did Aidit realize the implications of this military bond which predated his own link-up with Sjam: indeed, it should raise serious questions about Aidit’s control over Sjam in the Special Bureau when Sjam’s ultimate allegiance was to Suharto.

Did Suharto support this group?

Among the members of the 30th Sept Movement, there was no question that Suharto discretely supported the group but it did not dawn on them that Suharto and Sjam may have been operating together as one unit.

So why did they trust Suharto?

When I asked Latief why the Movement trusted Suharto so much before the fateful night when the generals were kidnapped, he answered as follows: “He was one of us”….. Latief and Suharto were close friends. They had family links and military ties that went back to the 45-49 independence struggle, where Latief briefly met Sjam for the first time, but the Suharto-Sjam link during the 1950s leading up to Sjam’s role in the Movement remained unknown to Latief – until it was too late and the killings had occurred. Latief said when he was thrown into prison, the bullet shot into his knee was left untreated, and he was also stabbed with a bayonet. At first he was left without food in prison; he told me he was so hungry he caught a rat and ate it.

In retrospect Latief’s evidence makes a mockery of the court proceedings: after all, he had visited the house of Suharto a few days before the kidnapping to explain to Suharto the plan to kidnap the generals. Any such operation would have been stomped on immediately by Indonesia’s strategic command, Kostrad, but this did not happen because the commander of this elite unit was Suharto himself. If it could be argued that Suharto kept this information to himself for the ultimate benefit of Indonesia, then he must also accept responsibility for the death of the generals – which opened the path to the presidency for none other than the ultimate benefit of Suharto. On the morning of 1st October when troops from the Movement occupied Merdeka Square, a central location in Jakarta, the fact that Suharto’s Kostrad headquarters remained untouched even after the first radio announcement was tantamount to a statement of alliance between him and the 30th September Movement. On one side of the square was the US Embassy, on another side was Kostrad headquarters, and opposite was the Radio station from where the Movement made its first announcement at 7.15am that a number of generals had been arrested and that an Indonesian Revolutionary Council would be established in Jakarta. The ten-minute broadcast gave the name of Untung as leader of the Movement.

According to another person I interviewed, Indonesian Air Force intelligence officer Lt. Colonel Heru Atmodjo, who was accused of involvement in the Movement and spent 17 years in prison, the first radio announcement was written by Sjam but perused and approved by Untung, whereas the second radio announcement just after midday was entirely the work of Sjam. The second radio announcement was attempting a dramatic restructuring of rank and power – while all the time holding Sukarno as the supreme commander – and as a result of this announcement the Movement has subsequently been labelled as attempting a ‘coup’. Only in hindsight did Latief realize the Movement which he had supported was actually politically motivated or – one might say – infected by the presence of Sjam.

In his defence statement, Latief told the court not only that he visited the house of Suharto a few days before 30th Sept and outlined the plan, but also that they spoke again on the night of 30th September when Suharto was visiting his son in hospital. The court dismissed Latief’s remarkable information as irrelevant. Nor was the court told that, after hearing from Latief that the kidnapping operation would take place that very night in the early morning hours of 1st October, Suharto then paid a secret visit to the official residence of Brig-General Supardjo at Cempaka Putih, in Jakarta. (He also had a family home in Bandung.) The late-night secret visit was witnessed by a Lt. Colonel who took note but did not mention it, of course, during the subsequent years of terror under Suharto. More than two years before Suharto’s resignation, a very high-ranking Indonesian officer, together with a prominent politician, informed me of this visit by Suharto to the residence of Supardjo. Suharto not only knew of the plan to kidnap the generals but was accepted as one of the group.

How and when did Suharto manipulate the kidnapping and murder of the generals as a pretext for the slaughter of the PKI?

A remarkable PhD thesis completed in June 2014 by J. Melvin, ‘The Mechanics of Mass Murder’, shows how Suharto, on the morning of the 1st October 1965, had issued orders to begin arresting and culling the PKI in faraway northern Sumatra. Before the PKI had even been named as possible culprits – indeed, even before it was known that the fate of the generals was not kidnapping but murder – Suharto was blaming the PKI for the deaths of the generals. He issued orders for retaliation against the PKI. When this gruesome preparatory work of Suharto becomes better known (and I think John Roosa will soon publish another book incorporating this vital information) the role of Suharto in the death of the generals will be seen as his ‘crossing the Rubicon’ – but in this case it was a river of blood.

Suharto’s intelligence aide, Ali Murtopo, later tracked down two of the drivers of the trucks which had transported the troops involved in the kidnapping and murder. Murtopo killed both drivers a week or so later, perhaps because they had information which, in some way, might have linked Suharto to Sjam, or information relating more directly to the death of the generals.

Sjam admitted in court his responsibility for the death of the generals – during the kidnapping the last-minute orders were ‘dead or alive’ and those who survived the kidnapping were later executed with a bullet in the head – but Sjam claimed all this was on instructions from Aidit, bolstering the case that the PKI was responsible.

Taomo Zhou has shown in her article ‘China and the Thirtieth of September Movement,’ (‘Indonesia’ 98,October 2014) that the transcript of a discussion between Chairman Mao and Aidit bears remarkable resemblance to what took place in Jakarta on the fateful night when the six generals were killed – the event which Indonesian terminology refers to as G30S. However, the transcript is historically contaminated by the murderous events that took place on the night of 30th September. With G30S in hindsight, Aidit’s complicity can be read into the transcript to such an extent that kidnapping is all too readily replaced by murder. Taomo Zhou states that “The Chinese leaders were aware of the PKI’s plan to prevent the anti-Communist army generals from making a move to seize power “- but murder (as Latief explained) was not on the agenda, so to attribute any more than kidnapping into Aidit’s intention would seem to be reading into the transcript more than intended in the original meaning. Because of the way the term G30S is used in the summing up, Taomo Zhou implies murder was on the agenda: “Recent research indicates that a clandestine group within the PKI, which included Aidit but excluded other members of the politburo and the rank and file of the party, planned G30S.” And again: ”A clandestine group within the PKI independently made the plan, which was then shared by Aidit with the top Chinese leaders in advance.”

If Aidit is to be held responsible for the events which took place that night – and by this I mean the killing rather than the kidnapping of the generals – and that Sjam was acting on Aidit’s orders, then it would have been on Aidit’s instructions that G30S troops did not occupy Kostrad headquarters because Suharto was considered as one who was supporting the Movement.

Although Aidit did not mention any name, it may well have been the highest ranking officer (ie. Suharto rather than Supardjo) whom he was referring to when he told Chairman Mao “we plan to establish a military committee… The head of this military committee would be an underground member of our party.” The duplicity of Suharto, like Sjam, went a long way back into Indonesia history. In 1948, Suharto was the emissary sent by General Nasution to investigate the military strength and political unity of the movement in Madiun who, apparently under communist leadership, were steadfastly unwilling to conduct negotiations with the Dutch. “Do you negotiate with a burglar in your house?” was one of the rhetorical questions asked at this time. Suharto supported the intransigence of the left-wing groups in Madiun and, according to the military commander of Madiun, Soemarsono, (now 96 years of age and living in Sydney, where I spoke with him three months ago) Suharto was accepted by the PKI when he was in Madiun because of his strongly pro-left stance. Perhaps this was why Aidit, who in the postwar days was a young left-wing figure and only became head of the PKI in the early 1950s, was willing to accept the purported hand of friendship Suharto offered as Kostrad commander in Jakarta in 1965.

Suharto’s deviousness is breathtaking.

General Nasution knew Suharto over a period of two decades, from the days of the struggle for independence to 1965, and then for another three decades when Suharto was president. (Nasution 1918-2000 passed away two years after Suharto resigned.) Over a period from 1983 up to 1996, I visited Nasution many times to talk over aspects of Indonesia history. Hanging on the wall next to where we talked was a painting of his young daughter who was accidentally shot on the night of 30th Sept 65 when troops came to kidnap him, but failed. He escaped by climbing over the fence into an Embassy which was next to his house, but in the fracas his daughter was killed and so too was his adjutant, Lt Tendean. Nasution told me – without putting it in so many words – that his wife always blamed Suharto for the death of their daughter: for the rest of her life – that is, three decades of living in Jakarta – she never again spoke to Suharto.

Suharto has always claimed he had no prior knowledge of what the 30th Sept Movement was intending to do. Indeed, according to the three-tiered system he himself introduced to apportion blame, anything less than complete denial would have seen Suharto himself in Category One which was ‘prior knowledge’ and punishable by death.

What was Suharto’s link to the CIA and the 30th September movement?

When I asked Nasution about the role of the CIA, if any, in G30S, he told me that Sjam and Suharto had been observed in Bandung (where the Indonesian army has an officer training school, referred to as SESKOAD) visiting the commander of that school. The name of the commander was Colonel Suwarto and he was closely allied with the CIA, a detail Nasution stressed and one that is generally known by Indonesian scholars of this period. For me, Suwarto was an interesting character – quite apart from the fact that he had a wooden leg – because his American friend was Guy Pauker, well known as a close associate of Allen Dulles. When I asked Pauker if he’d met Suharto before he was president, he denied that he had. However, Pauker commented that Allen S. Whiting (his former friend in RAND and later State Dept Counselor) was the first person to point to the incipient split between Moscow and Beijing as a definite schism. Even in 1963 there were still relatively few who interpreted this split as genuine, but among those who did was Ambassador Marshall Green. [see: footnote 65 in Harold P. Ford’s article ‘Calling the Sino-Soviet Split’ published by CSI, Winter ‘98-99]. Having arrived in Jakarta in 1965 only months before the 30th Sept Movement, Green arranged for the Indonesia army to receive top-level communication gear to coordinate the widespread massacre of the PKI. Also supplying thousands of names, Green’s macabre contribution to the Cold War was, in effect, the decapitation the PKI.

Nasution’s own intelligence cohorts would have been the source of the reported sighting of Suharto and Sjam in Bandung. Assuming this is correct and Pauker’s denial also correct, then Suharto and Sjam might have been talking with Suwarto in one room, with Pauker in the adjacent room: a highly improbable situation, of course. Suwarto was the former instructor of Suharto when he attended SESKOAD, shortly before being appointed commander of the campaign to oust the Dutch from Netherlands New Guinea. (Today this Indonesian province, West Papua, has been controlled by the Indonesian army virtually since the signing of the New York Agreement in 1962, arranged by Allen Dulles’ long-term friend, Ellsworth Bunker.)

I’d like to point out something that emerged as a result of the interview with Colonel Latief. When going through the court testimonial of Sjam, some details he provided deserve closer attention as they are contradicted by Latief’s statement – and he was very adamant when he made the statement to me in Cipinang – that he had never seen Sjam before 30th Sept 1965. Yet in Sjam’s court evidence, he states that when Aidit and he set up the Special Bureau to ascertain or pinpoint persons in the army who might be sympathetic to the PKI position, this process involved a few meetings. Sjam claimed he held several meetings with Latief and Untung, and that the purpose of the meetings was to plan a counter-move to the so-called Council of Generals who were planning to move against President Sukarno.

This is clearly incorrect if Latief had never met Sjam before 30th Sept. Rather than simply say, ‘Well, perhaps Latief is not correct,” another way to view this is to ask, ‘How was it that Suharto was a close friend of the four main persons in the Movement, Supardjo, Sjam, Untung and Latief?’ (Untung had served in the New Guinea campaign to oust the Dutch in 1962, with Suharto as his commanding officer.) Is there not also a possibility that Suharto, using his long-standing friendship with Untung and Latief and his inside-knowledge of where their political sympathies lay, actually suggested to Sjam (as part of his Special Bureau work) to approach Untung. And then for Untung to approach Latief. If this were the case, then we have a situation where Latief would have visited the house of Suharto in the days prior to G30S, to tell him of the action the Movement intended to take, when Suharto actually knew already. This may have reinforced Latief’s perception that Suharto’s role was supportive only, with no link between Sjam and Suharto, and so may have been a reason why Suharto did not have Latief executed, as he did the others in the Movement.

So you have concluded that Suharto was, together with the CIA, the puppeteer behind it all?

Increasingly, as further evidence is compiled years after the event, Suharto is taking on the appearance of the Kostrad commander at the centre of a web. He had made plans – even before the event occurred – to strike at the PKI for the events which occurred on the night of 30th Sept. And through Sjam he was able to ensure the kidnapping event (as planned by Latief, Untung and Supardjo) was turned into the murder of the generals; and through Sjam’s position with Aidit, Suharto ensured the event was turned into a tragedy of epic proportions, from which Indonesia has yet to recover.

So Suharto comes to power, the massacres ensue, and West Papua is exploited by American mining giant Freeport McMoRan. After all these years, do you see any hope for West Papuan independence?

The main issues facing the Papuan people in the western half of New Guinea, now two Indonesian provinces called Papua and West Papua, all stem from the continuing presence of the Indonesian army. Although there are Papuan regional representatives and a Papuan governor of each province, the Indonesian army rules everyday life, as it has since it first arrived in the territory in December 1962.

Ousting the Dutch colonial power in 1962, the Indonesian rule arrived in the form of an army of occupation and – although it is not as obvious to the casual observer now as it was during the Suharto era – the mentality of occupation, exploitation and annihilation has continued to the present day.

I am not using the word ‘annihilation’ as a simple descriptive term. The word ‘genocide’, of course, is abhorrent, and people visiting Papua/West Papua today would see Papuans in urban areas apparently living freely, and in the more remote regions Papuans still live in villages much as they did during and before the brief Dutch period. Yes, there have been some positive changes but in terms of infant mortality and other important life-indices, the statistics for the quality of life lived by some indigenous Papuans are worse than the worst in Africa. This is precisely what angers the Papuan people. They are 20 times the national average of HIV-Aids and the usual response from Jakarta is that the Papuans are primitive and their sexual practices have led to the shocking statistics. But the reality is – and here I can speak from personal experience having interviewed a medical officer who had investigated the problem – the Indonesian army has been responsible for bringing prostitutes to Papua (as part of the varied business interests of the army in Papua) and ensuring all the prostitutes – they came from Surabaya – were HIV-infected. The medical officer actually interviewed the prostitutes and they said they were picked to go to Papua because they were infected.

I am reminded of methods used to exterminate the native peoples of North America, smallpox, alcohol, etc.

The army even manufactures its own brand of raw alcohol notorious for its methanol toxicity. One morning in Nabire I remember walking along the street and coming across a dead Papuan, dead from drinking the cheap alcohol, I was told. It has been sold everywhere for many years, but now the Papuan governor has introduced a total ban on alcohol. This move might have been inspired by good intentions but will create a thriving black-market dominated by smuggling which will be controlled by the military. Selling logs to China and other places, despite repeated moratoriums on logging, is a business that reaps hundreds of millions of dollars for the army in both provinces, Papua/West Papua. But this is more ecological annihilation.

What did you mean when you used the word genocide?

Let me return to the question of genocide. US Congressman Eni Faleomavaega once asked me to find out more about the killing that took place in the highlands in 1977 – mass killing. The Indonesian army used four Bronco OV10 fighter/bomber planes, ex Vietnam, strafing and bombing non-stop for four months in the highlands. Valley after valley of people working in the gardens tending their sweet-potato crops, villages that had been there for generations – suddenly attacked by the new boss from Jakarta. A Dutch doctor in the highland town of Wamena took note of the number of widows visiting the hospital there the following year and calculated the death toll was above 20,000 people. I have also met Christian missionaries who were in the area when this massive killing spree took place. For one woman, so bad was the horror she was traumatized for the rest of her life. During my first visit to Jayapura in 1978, I recall one night a young boy about 12 years of age came out from under a building, pleading with me: “They kill my mother, they kill my father, and now they kill me.” I had no idea what he was talking about: only later I found out what had happened in the highlands, from where the child had fled, walking for weeks.

The Dutch doctor also noted that four plain-clothed Americans were acting as advisers for the Indonesian pilots involved in this non-stop bombing and strafing. They were providing advice to the pilots on how best to attain better angles and approaches as they searched for new targets beyond the main Baliem valley. The surrounding region which took only minutes to reach by plane took many hours to reach by road transport. This fertile region was the most densely populated of all areas in the entire territory and Papuan communities had lived there for centuries. This was where Richard Archbold (a former CEO from Standard Oil in pre-war days) landed in his giant flying-boat. He dubbed the place “Shangri-La” because the Papuans were so peaceful – men, women and children working in the fields until 2pm, then the men washing the children in the river before conducting school lessons while the women retired to the village to prepare the evening meal.

Do you have figures on how many people in “Shangri-La” were slaughtered in this genocide?

In a land such as Papua, because of the rugged terrain and remoteness, there is always great difficulty in obtaining accuracy of demographic information. The figure of 100,000 Papuans used to be bandied about as the death toll resulting from Indonesian army repression, over the years; but this was chosen only because the Human Rights group which promoted the figure had that number of names and addresses of people, missing or dead.

This included persons who were known to have been dropped by helicopter over the sea, or persons forced into a latrine only to have their head pushed under and held there until death. Two decades ago, I discussed this very issue with prominent Papuan activists and realised, while they knew the figure was much higher, the purpose in claiming the figure of 100,000 was because it was indisputable. To gain a better idea of the total number, however, I checked the population figures available from the last census held before the Dutch departed, and with it I compared the statistics available from eastern New Guinea, populated by Papuans with similar culture but under the former colonial control of Australia. The dividing line between east and West Papua is simply a meridian, 141 degrees East, which was agreed upon by the Dutch in the western half, and in the eastern half British and German (before Australia took control after the First World war.) in places, this dividing line which became a colonial border ran straight through the middle of some villages.

So in Netherlands New Guinea in 1960 there was a census, and in the eastern half called Papua New Guinea (PNG) the Australian administration also conducted a census in 1960. PNG always had more inhabitants than the western half but it was the rate of growth that was crucial because it gave a basis of comparison with the similar Papuan culture in the western half. The rate of growth of the PNG Papuan population from 1960 to 2002 was then calculated. This rate I then applied to the census statistics compiled by the Dutch in 1960, to calculate an estimation of what the population in the western half might be in 2002, or might have been expected to be.

Under Indonesian army rule for four decades, there was a remarkable discrepancy showing a population deficit of 1.3 million Papuans. Of course, we must also include in this rough calculation the exodus of Papuans from west to east once the terror of Indonesian army rule became apparent, but it shows without doubt that a vast number of Papuans went missing. This population deficit in the territory of Indonesian-controlled West New Guinea was calculated when the differentiation between Papuan and non-Papuan was still a feature of the census questions.

Nowadays this deficit has been more than filled by people coming to Papua from other Indonesian islands, mainly Java and Sulawesi. These people from outside Papua are referred to as transmigrants and, because the flow has not been restricted, Papuans are now a minority in their own land. The figure of 1.3 million Papuans missing over 40 years of army occupation is comparable to the figure often cited for the Armenian genocide that occurred in Turkey around the time of the First World War, an occurrence that has never been acknowledged by the government of Turkey. The estimate of 1.3 Papuans, and the method used for reaching this number, was in an article I wrote for the Encyclopedia of Genocide published by Macmillan in 2005. Papua, most of these people would have died from disease but this still implicates the role of Indonesia in the population loss. Even today, in some remote areas, Papuans living in isolated regions rarely, if at all, ever see a medical doctor.

Have you traveled to these areas to confirm this?

In 1983, I was sent to visit the territory by the London-based Anti-Slavery International to report on figures released by an American bishop operating in the Asmat region along the southern coastline of West New Guinea (then called Irian Jaya.) The bishop claimed 600 out of 1000 Papuan children under five years of age were dying in that region. I went to check out whether this was true or not: it was true.

The unspoken tragedy here comes from medical reports compiled in Dutch times which described this area as a medical phenomenon because of the absence of disease. A few persons had infections in their feet but otherwise the entire area was free of disease.

Access to the Papuan people started with the New York Agreement in August 1962. Freeport gained access to rich mineral deposits almost immediately and then in 1977 the Indonesian army gained access to the indigenous Papuan highlanders. In cultural terms these two were the complete antithesis of each other and the consequences of this has been devastating: the Papuan population suffered an immense depletion in numbers during the Suharto era and conditions two decades later still have Papuans living in appalling conditions. Access for foreigners into the territory has become less of a problem but still some journalists find themselves on the restricted list. But in Papua the digital age has dawned and Papuans are determined to tell the world their plight. In the same way that Indonesian nationalists informed the world to release themselves from Dutch colonial power, Papuans are doing likewise in the hope that the iron grip of the Indonesian army will be released.

What’s the position of the Jakarta government?

The Jakarta government is faced with a stupendous task of negotiating with the Papuan people – perhaps a process similar to the South African ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ – before any progress can be made. The main problem, from the perspective of one who has observed Papuan-Jakarta relations over the decades, is that Jakarta seems reluctant to admit what the army has done, not just during the Suharto era but also in Papua/West Papua today. There does seem to be an administrative gap between what Jakarta says and what actually happens in terms of army brutality in Papua. Whether or not this gap is diminishing, as it seems to be, remains debatable. During the Suharto era, the army was utterly ruthless but in the post-Suharto era we are told things have changed. This change can be gauged by the discrepancy that now appears between Jakarta announcements and the reality in Papua of life under the army, and the police. The post-Suharto era has police in a more prominent role, of course, but this has often led to full-on gun battles between the army and police, fighting over their business interests in this remote corner of Indonesia.

In the first half of 2016, thousands of Papuans have been arrested for peacefully demonstrating in the street, attempting to voice their concern about their human rights, their culture, their lives.

Army and police- with a few exceptions – enjoy impunity from the Indonesian judicial process. For example, six months ago I heard how two young boys in a remote region in the Papuans highlands had their pig killed by a passing car. Pigs are a valuable commodity, and a fully grown one is worth two or three times the price it would fetch in Australia because the pig is so integrated into the culture… many forms of celebrations, weddings for example, would involve roasting a pig or several pigs for the community, not only for the vital nutrients but as a system of cultural bonding. So the two young boys were stopping cars on the road and asking drivers to pay some money as compensation for the pig they had lost. Rp50,000 (rupiahs) would be the same as $5. Two policeman drove to investigate. As the windows were winding down and the boys were about to ask for some money, the police simply shot both boys. Life in Papua – if you are a Papuan – is precarious.

Thank you, Prof. Poulgrain for this disturbing history lesson on Indonesian and American relations.

Interviewed by Edward Curtin, Copyright © Greg Poulgrain and Edward Curtin, 2016


Legendary Member
Not a precise fit, but relevant both then and now.

July 14, 2016
Two Terrors of the French Revolution
by Mark Twain


There were two ‘Reigns of Terror’, if we could but remember and consider it; the one wrought murder in hot passions, the other in heartless cold blood; the one lasted mere months, the other had lasted a thousand years; the one inflicted death upon a thousand persons, the other upon a hundred million; but our shudders are all for the horrors of the momentary Terror, so to speak; whereas, what is the horror of swift death by the axe compared with lifelong death from hunger, cold, insult, cruelty and heartbreak? A city cemetery could contain the coffins filled by that brief terror that we have all been so diligently taught to shiver at and mourn over; but all France could hardly contain the coffins filled by that older and real Terror – that unspeakable bitter and awful Terror which none of us has been taught to see in its vastness or pity as it deserves.

Excerpted from A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

Lies lies and more lies from the Bourgeoisie, today the oligarchs controlling groups.

It is true that whoever wins can write history. Please bring back the Monarchies! Kings used to consider their citizens as their own. Protect countries and territories because it is theirs.

What do we have today other than oligarchs cooperate greed who only thinks of themselves?
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Legendary Member
Michael Jabara CARLEY
| 29.11.2016 | OPINION
Michael Jabara CARLEY

Professor of history at the Université de Montréal. He has published widely on Soviet relations with the West

Why the West Falsifies the History of World War II

Historians interpret and reinterpret history. It is a normal process… except when politicians do the reinterpreting. Their interests are not intellectual but rather political. They seek justification for their politics by evoking the past, history as they need it to be.

The origins and waging of World War II are of special interest to western politicians, past and present. This was true even early on. In December 1939 the British government decided to lay a white paper on the Anglo-Franco-Soviet negotiations during the spring and summer of that year to organise a war-fighting alliance against Hitlerite Germany. Foreign Office officials carefully picked out a hundred or so documents to show that they and the French had been serious about organising an anti-German alliance and that the USSR was principally responsible for the failure of the negotiations. In early January 1940 the white paper reached the stage of page proofs. Nearly everyone in London was impatient to publish it. All that was needed was the approval of France and the Polish government in exile. Much to the surprise of British officials, France opposed the publication of the white paper, and so did the Polish government in exile. This may also come as a surprise to present day readers. Why would French and Polish officials be opposed to a publication considered «good propaganda» by the British to blacken the reputation of the Soviet Union?

Let’s allow the French ambassador in London to explain in his own words. «The general impression which arises from reading [the white paper]», he wrote in a memorandum dated 12 January 1940, «is that from beginning to end the Russian government never ceased to insist on giving the agreement [being negotiated] the maximum scope and efficacy. Sincere or not, this determination of the Soviet government to cover effectively all the possible routes of a German aggression appears throughout the negotiations to collide with Anglo-French reluctance and with the clear intention of the two governments to limit the field of Russian intervention».

And the French ambassador did not stop there. He observed that critics who felt that the USSR had been forced into agreement with Nazi Germany by Anglo-French «repugnance» to make genuine commitments in Moscow would find in the white paper «a certain number of arguments in their favour.» The language used here was in the finest traditions of diplomatic understatement, but the Foreign Office nevertheless got the message. The more so because there was this further, telling irritatant to Gallic sensibilities that the documents selected for the white paper failed to show that they, the French, had been more anxious to conclude with Moscow than their British allies. What would happen, the French wondered, if the Soviet government published its own collection of documents in reply to a white paper? Who would public opinion believe? The French were not sure of the answer.

As for the Poles in exile, they could not much insist, but they too preferred that the white paper not be published. Even in those early days Polish exiles were not anxious to publicise their responsibilities in the origins of the war and their swift defeat at the hands of the Wehrmacht.

In fact, all three governments, British, French and Polish, had much to hide, not just their conduct in 1939, but during the entire period following Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in January 1933. The Soviet government was quick to ring the alarm bells of danger and to propose a defensive, anti-Nazi alliance to France and Britain. And yes, Moscow also made overtures to Poland. The Soviet commissar for foreign affairs, M. M. Litvinov, even hoped to bring fascist Italy into an anti-Nazi coalition. In Bucharest, the Soviet government made concerted efforts to gain Romanian participation in a broad anti-German alliance redolent of the Entente coalition of World War I.

Were all these Soviet efforts a ruse to dupe the west while Soviet diplomats secretly negotiated with Nazi Germany? Not at all, Russian archives appear conclusive on this point. The Soviet overtures were serious, but its would-be allies demurred, one after the other, except for Poland, which never for a moment considered joining an anti-Nazi alliance with the Soviet Union. Commissar Litvinov watched as Soviet would-be allies sought to compose with Nazi Germany. Poland persistently obstructed Soviet policy and Romania, under Polish and German pressure, backed away from better relations with Moscow. One Soviet ambassador even recommended that the Soviet government not break off all relations with Berlin in order to send a message, especially to Paris and London, that the USSR could also compose with Nazi Germany. The four most important French diplomats in Moscow during the 1930s warned repeatedly that France must protect its relations with the USSR or risk seeing it come to terms with Berlin. In Paris their reports disappeared into the files, ultimately unheeded. The greatest blow to collective security came in September 1938 when France and Britain concluded the Munich accords which sanctioned the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Neither Czechoslovak nor Soviet diplomats were invited to participate in the negotiations. As for Poland, it allied itself with Nazi Germany. «If Hitler obtains Czechoslovak territories,» said Polish diplomats before Munich, «then we will have our part too».


The greatest blow to collective security came in September 1938 when France and Britain concluded the Munich accords which sanctioned the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia

Could it be a surprise that after nearly six years of failed attempts to organise an anti-Nazi front, that the Soviet government would lose all confidence in the French and British governments and cut a deal with Berlin to stay out of a war, which everyone recognised was imminent? This was the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact signed on 23 August 1939. As for the Poles, in their hubris and blindness, they mocked the idea of an alliance with the USSR right up until the first day of the war.

The Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was the result of the failure of six years of Soviet policy to conclude an anti-Nazi alliance with the west and not the cause of that failure. The British ambassador in Moscow accused the Soviet government of «bad faith», but that was just Pot calling Kettle black. Even in the last days of peace, the British and French governments looked for a way out of war. «Although we cannot in the circumstances avoid declaring war,» said one British minister, «we can always fulfill the letter of a declaration of war without immediately going all out.» In fact, France and Britain scarcely raised a finger to help Poland when it was invaded on 1 September 1939. Having brought disaster on itself, the Polish government fled Warsaw after the first days of fighting, its members crossing into Romania to be interned.

If France and Britain would not help the Poles in their moment of desperation, could Joseph Stalin have reasonably calculated that the British and French would have done more to help the Soviet Union, had it entered the war in September 1939? Clearly not. The USSR would have to look to its own defences. No one should be surprised therefore that a few months later the French and Poles in exile would oppose publication of a white paper which could open a Pandora’s box of questions about the origins of the war and their failure to join an anti-Nazi alliance. Better to let sleeping dogs lie and hope that government archives would not be opened for a long time.


After the war, the west launched a campaign accusing Stalin of being Hitler’s «ally»

After the war, however, the fiasco surrounding the British white paper was long forgotten. The sleeping dogs awakened and began to bay. The west launched a campaign accusing Stalin of being Hitler’s «ally». In 1948 the US State Department issued a collection of documents entitled Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939-1941, to which the Soviet government replied with Falsifiers of History. The propaganda war was on, as was the western especially American attempt to attribute to the USSR as much as to Nazi Germany the responsibility for setting off World War II.

The American propaganda was preposterous given the history of the 1930s as we now know it from various European archives. Was there ever a gesture of ingratitude greater than US accusations blaming the USSR for the origins of the war and covering up the huge contribution of the Red Army to the common victory against Nazi Germany? These days in the west the role of the Soviet people in destroying Nazism is practically unknown. Few are aware that the Red Army fought almost alone for three years against the Wehrmacht all the while demanding a second front in France from its Anglo-American allies. Few know that the Red Army inflicted more than 80% of all casualties on the Wehrmacht and its allies, and that the Soviet people suffered losses so high that no one knows the exact numbers, though they are estimated at 26 to 27 million civilians and soldiers. Anglo-American losses were trivial by comparison.

Ironically, the anti-Russian campaign to falsify history intensified after the dismemberment of the USSR in 1991. The Baltic states and Poland led the charge. Like a tail wagging the dog, they stampeded all too willing European organisations, like the OSCE and PACE and the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, into ridiculous statements about the origins of World War II. It was the triumph of ignorance by politicians who knew nothing or who calculated that the few who did know something about the war, would not be heard. After all, how many people have read the diplomatic papers in various European archives detailing Soviet efforts to build an anti-Nazi alliance during the 1930s? How many people would know of the responsibilities of London, Paris, and Warsaw in obstructing the common European defence against Nazi Germany? «Not many,» must have been the conclusion of European governments. The few historians and informed citizens who did or do know the truth could easily be shouted down, marginalised or ignored.


Western propaganda claimed that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were «allies». World War II was entirely their fault, while France, Britain and Poland were innocent victims of totalitarianism

Thus it was that Hitler and Stalin became accomplices, the two pals and the two «totalitarians». The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were «allies». World War II was entirely their fault. France, Britain and Poland were innocent victims of totalitarianism. The OSCE and PACE issued resolutions to this effect in 2009, declaring 23 August a day of remembrance of the victims of the Nazi-Soviet «alliance», as if the non-aggression pact signed on that day came out of the blue and had no context other than totalitarian evil.

In 2014 after the US and EU supported a coup d’état in Kiev, a fascist junta took power in the Ukraine, and the propaganda campaign to falsify history intensified. Ukrainian Nazi collaborators like Stepan Bandera were made into national heroes. The Ukrainian paramilitary forces, the so-called Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN/UPA), which fought alongside the Wehrmacht and SS, were likewise transformed into forces of liberation.


After the 2014 putsch, Ukrainian Nazi collaborators like Stepan Bandera were made into national heroes

It looked like Poland and the Baltic states had gained an ally for their ugly anti-Russian campaigns. SS veterans paraded in the Baltic countries, and Polish hooligans vandalised Red Army graves while the Warsaw government bulldozed memorials to the Soviet liberators of Poland. Just this autumn Warsaw has attempted to control the thematic messages of a new museum of the Second World War being opened in Gdansk so that they conform to Polish government propaganda. The ruling Law and Justice Party wants to make Poland into a noble victim and the main story of World War II. In fact, Poland was a main story of the 1930s though not in any noble role. It was a spoiler of European collective security.

In October of this year the Polish and Ukrainian legislative assemblies passed resolutions vesting responsibility for World War II in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Given Poland’s role in collaborating with Nazi Germany and obstructing Soviet efforts to create an anti-Nazi alliance in the 1930s, this resolution is surreal. Equally perverse is the Ukrainian equivalent resolution by a government celebrating Nazi collaboration during World War II.

Ironically, the the Law and Justice Partyhas its own troubles in its «alliance» with fascist Ukraine. Those Ukrainian collaborators, who fought with the Nazis and committed atrocities against Soviet citizens, also committed mass murder in Poland during the latter part of the war. As mightily as Poland seeks to falsify history, it cannot cover up the atrocities of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators against Poles, remembered in a recently released Polish hit film, «Volhynia». It looks like a poetic falling out amongst thieves who must bury the history of Ukrainian fascism and Nazi collaboration in order to unite against the common Russian foe. If only the numerous Ukrainians now living in southern Poland would stop putting up illegal monuments to remember Ukrainian Nazi collaborators. The poor Poles are caught between a rock and hard place. It is equally disagreeable to remember that the Red Army liberated Poland and stopped the atrocities of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators.


As mightily as Poland seeks to falsify history, it cannot cover up the atrocities of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators against Poles, remembered in a recently released Polish hit film, «Volhynia»

Will Russia and Poland finally bury the hatchet to rid themselves of the new wave of Ukrainian fascists in their midst? This is unlikely. The Polish government also had to choose in the 1930s between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. It chose collaboration with Nazi Germany and spurned an anti-Nazi alliance with the Soviet Union. No wonder history must be falsified. There is so much for western governments and Poland to hide.


Legendary Member
May 4, 2017
Imperialism and the Logic Of Mass Destruction
by Carl Boggs

As throughout much of its war-obsessed history, the United States is currently engaged in military conflict – or threatening such action – across a broad contested terrain. In the cases of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, Washington has resorted to its familiar global modus operandi: sending off barrages of missiles and bombs, much of it hitting civilian populations and resources needed for their survival. Death tolls mount, the largest numbers lately in the protracted battle for Mosul. Heavier casualties are being visited upon non-combatants in Yemen, thanks to U.S.-backed Saudi aerial savagery.

We have been told by the media that President Trump has apparently relaxed the rules of warfare, thus allowing civilians to be more easily victimized the midst of armed conflict. Innocent noncombatants are being made increasingly vulnerable to ravages of the largest and most aggressive war machine in history. That, however, would be a serious misreading of the situation: Trump, like Obama, the Bushes, and Clinton before him, is simply operating within an historical pattern of imperial war making for which rules of engagement matter little, if at all. There is no deviation from the norm.

In fact Pentagon elites insist nothing has changed in their methods of warfare – and they are right. While the U.S. accuses, threatens, and attacks others for their (real or imputed) transgressions, its own apparatus of mass destruction continues with few legal or moral constraints. In particular, Washington long ago turned aerial terrorism into a normalized mode of technowar that reduces civilians to dispensable objects.

In recent weeks U.S. aerial bombardments in Syria alone have reportedly killed several hundred people, mainly civilians. Daily raids in Iraq, mostly targeting ISIS in Mosul, have accounted for more than 3000 civilian deaths, according to AirWars sources. To believe this is a departure from the past – or that civilian casualties are simply an inevitable by-product of combat – is to ignore the American history of savage warfare, which since World War II has meant bringing horrendous death and destruction from the skies.

There is actually nothing “indiscriminate” about this savagery: all too often it has been planned, deliberate, systematic – and discriminate. Moreover, the U.S. has far surpassed any other nation in the production, deployment, and use of WMD, its military doctrines now as in the past embracing the virtues of weaponry designed to bring mass destruction. Consider that WMD comes in four distinct types: nuclear, biological, chemical, conventional (mainly saturation bombing). We could add to this list economic sanctions of the sort the U.S. (through the United Nations) imposed on Iraq during the 1990s that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. As the U.S. resorted to sanctions continuously in the postwar era – targeting Iran, Cuba, Yugoslavia, North Korea, and Russia as well as Iraq – the civilian death toll (well past a million) has far exceeded that from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons combined.

Yet it is conventional warfare that has brought the greatest destruction, for both combatants and civilians – and it remains the most imposing threat today. The WMD threat arrives in the form of strategic (alternatively saturation, area, carpet, or scorched-earth) bombing, introduced by the British and Americans during World War II and refined across the decades. Worth noting is that the U.S. is the only nation to have manufactured, stored, deployed, and used all five types of WMD.

In densely-populated centers like Mosul and Raqqa – and where hundreds of drone strikes are carried out – efforts to distinguish between combatants and civilians are virtually impossible; large numbers of civilian dead and wounded tolls are inevitable. That has never deterred U.S. military decision-makers at the Pentagon or in the field, whatever “rules” are set forth in the Universal Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or international statutes. From World War II to Korea, Indochina, Iraq, Yugoslavia, and beyond, this carnage is alternately blamed on mistakes, inescapable “collateral damage”, intelligence failures, enemy use of “human shields” – all while boasting of the latest “precision weaponry”. Unfortunately, the U.S. military rarely conducts genuine investigations into the devastation it produces, and for good reason: it does want to come face-to-face with its flagrant war crimes.

Since late 2014 U.S. (or Coalition) planes have carried out more than 20,000 strikes in Iraq and Syria, resulting in an estimated 70,000 “militant” deaths – a number that surely includes civilian losses that will never be known and based on a calculus that is routinely understated. According to AirWars, at least 3325 civilians were killed from a total of 566 air strikes in the region, but that is only where evidence is clearly available. Meanwhile, recent non-combatant deaths in Mosul alone have reached more than 2500, as reported by AirWars. Important civilian objects – residences, public buildings, markets, etc. – have been repeatedly hit with high-explosive weaponry. The bombing raids have only intensified.

What is taking place in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria replicates a familiar disregard for long-established international law, as even the corporate media unwittingly acknowledges by attributing a “loosening of rules” to the out-of-control Trump. California Representative Ted Lieu recently sent a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis seeking clarification of American global behavior: “The substantial increases in civilian deaths caused by U.S. military force in Syria and Iraq brings into question whether the Trump administration is violating the Laws of War.” Trump is indeed violating such laws – specifically the 1949 Geneva Protocol prohibiting wanton attacks on civilians – but, as noted, he is simply following deeply-entrenched American practices.

For more than a century American imperialism has been fueled by a combustible mixture of national exceptionalism, militarism, racism, and pursuit of global supremacy. Civilian inhabitants and their necessary supports have never stood in the way of these powerful forces, even where it has meant resort to WMD. Demonized Asian populations have been mercilessly targeted, with impunity – and unbelievably savage consequences. Looking at the apparent willingness of the Trump administration to consider nuclear warfare on the Korean peninsula, with its unthinkable horrors, we can readily see that little has changed over the decades.

As Washington looks to reassert economic, political, and military leverage in the Asia-Pacific region – the so-called “Asian Pivot” to contain China – escalating U.S. threats should be taken seriously. Whether conventional or nuclear, the Pentagon is poised to strike first against North Korea. For several months, indeed years, the U.S. has done everything short of all-out war to intimidate and subvert the Kim Jung Un regime: large-scale military exercises, economic sanctions, cyberattacks, new troop deployments, constant threats of attack. There is much talk in Washington and the media of “preemptive war”, including efforts to “decapitate” the regime. A supposedly impenetrable missile-defense system (THAAD) is being installed across South Korea.

Koreans already know far more than they would prefer about the horrors of mass destruction emanating from the U.S. What can only be called a war of annihilation, carried out by the U.S. to secure battlefield victory over endless stalemate, in the face of strong Chinese and North Korean forces, left a death toll on the peninsula with estimates reaching as high as five million, nearly 80 percent civilian. Political, legal, and moral constraints were routinely tossed aside, as American military culture eagerly took up the World War II code that mass killing of civilians was legitimate – actually vital – to the kind of war of attrition the U.S. had waged against the Japanese.

When the U.S. Army was forced into a perilous retreat in fall 1950, General Douglas MacArthur ordered his air force to destroy “every means of communication, every installation, factory, city, town, and village” in Korea. Food sources and water facilities were systematically targeted and obliterated. Nonstop raids, employing napalm and other incendiary devices, left the main centers of human life (including the capital Pyongyang) in smoking ruins. Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, in their eye-opening book The United States and Biological Warfare, write: “As it had been in World War II, strategic bombing was extended to the mass destruction of civilian populations, and as in World War II the reservations that the U.S. had about saturation bombing of Europeans in that earlier war were not extended to Asians.”

In December of 1950 the Joint Chiefs of Staff endorsed President Truman’s readiness to use atomic bombs in Korea to avoid further stalemate or defeat. This “option” was retained throughout the war, finally to be jettisoned by President Eisenhower in 1953. White House and Pentagon officials also favored employing both chemical and biological weapons in a theater where mass destruction was already far advanced.

In fact the U.S. did launch a phase of biological warfare in Korea, a criminal project the warfare state has tried to keep secret. Evidence uncovered by the Koreans and Chinese revealed a U.S. military campaign to disseminate a wide variety of deadly biological agents, hoping to create epidemics, panic, and social breakdown in the north. In late 1950 large outbreaks of plague, cholera, smallpox, and encephalitis were reported in Pyongyang and several provinces, according to Endicott and Hagerman. This was part of a scorched-earth policy U.S. troops employed as they retreated southward throughout 1950 and 1951.

Endicott and Hagerman add: “The U.S. had substantial stocks of biological weapons on hand. Moral qualms about using biological or atomic weapons had been brushed aside by top leaders and biological warfare might dodge the political bullet of adverse public and world opinion if it were kept secret enough to make plausible denial of its use.” Moreover, Washington had not signed the 1925 Geneva Protocol banning such weaponry. Later investigations and reports found the U.S. guilty as charged, a finding naturally dismissed by Americans as “Communist propaganda”.

The Pentagon’s biological program was kept intact until early 1953. Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force was busy destroying every Korean target in sight, including agricultural fields and hydroelectric dams, dropping an endless supply of fragmentation bombs, napalm, and high-explosive devices. In August 1952 Pyongyang was leveled by a series of saturation-bombing raids. Still unable to break the military stalemate, the USAF transferred a large stock of atomic weapons to Okinawa as it prepared for a new phase of warfare that, fortunately, was never set in motion.

Embracing the great benefits of WMD, the U.S. military was able to revitalize its strategy of total war, understood by many at the summits of power as God’s work. General Matthew Ridgway, Eighth Army commander, could say in 1951: “The real issues are whether the power of Western civilization, as God has permitted it to flower in our own beloved lands, shall defy and defeat Communism . . . [and] whether we are able to survive with God’s hand to guide and lead us, or to perish in the dead existence of a Godless world.” Before Korea, the God of a privileged imperial nation had similarly blessed the American takeover of the Philippines at a cost of several hundred thousand lives – and before that the massacre of Indian tribes (by Andrew Jackson’s troops) at Horseshoe Bend and (by Colonel John Chivington’s marauders) at Sand Creek, among many other atrocities.

An imperialist ideology that embellished, even celebrated, warfare against civilians reached its first methodical expression during World War II. In the Pacific, this meant a war of annihilation against the Japanese, who at that time stood for the “Asian masses” or “hordes”. In such a war everything was permissible, starting with the deliberate and ruthless obliteration of entire cities, including those with little or no military significance. Saturation bombing launched by waves of the most technologically-developed warplanes raised barbarism to new levels. Admiral William Halsey, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, vowing revenge for Pearl Harbor, promised that Japanese would henceforth be spoken only in hell while ordering his personnel to “kill Japs, kill Japs, kill more Japs.” (Worth noting: only military targets were hit at Pearl Harbor.) The remarkable American hatred of Japanese was destined to produce, in John Dower’s words (War without Mercy “a spellbinding spectacle of brutality and death.”

On March 9-10, 1945, U.S. planes dropped 1,665 tons of incendiary bombs on Tokyo, with the aim of destroying the city; at least 100,000 civilians were instantly killed. Aerial terrorism then turned to Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe, and more than 60 other cities, targeting mostly defenseless civilian areas with vengeful frenzy. A few cities remained – Hiroshima and Nagasaki among them – until they were obliterated by the new superweapon developed at the Manhattan Project, leaving another 150,000 dead amid unimaginable mass destruction.

There could be no justification for such criminality. A.J. Grayling, in his book All the Dead Cities, surveyed the history of strategic bombing and concluded that World War II pilots should have refused orders to carry out such raids. (None in fact did.) General Curtis LeMay, architect of the firebombing attacks on Japanese cities, later conceded: “If we had lost the war we would all have been prosecuted as war criminals.” Allied prosecutors at the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals moved to exclude that very possibility, so aerial mass murder was exempted from wartime culpability.

World War II set in motion an elevated trajectory of imperial atrocities that would continue throughout the postwar years. While nations were generally expected to follow international law and wartime rules of engagement, and the vast majority have chosen to do so, the U.S. simply took another path: contempt for the norms of universality. To this day Washington steadfastly refuses participation in the International Criminal Court (ICC), understandably fearing prosecution of its own government and military personnel for war crimes. The plain fact is that American elites can routinely launch wars against peace and target civilian populations without even the pretense of any legal rationale.

Less than a decade after the Korean War the U.S. commenced a new phase of barbarism in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, dropping eight million tons of bombs compared to the two million tons dropped on all countries in World War II. This was equivalent to 640 Hiroshimas. Saturation bombing was perfected beyond its usage against Japan and Korea: B-52s systematically carpet-bombed large zones, followed by a torrent of anti-personnel weapons including cluster bombs, white-phosphorous, and a specially-upgraded napalm. By 1974, the U.S. military had dropped seven bombs for every person in Indochina. As for napalm, a staggering 373,000 tons was unleashed in Vietnam, compared to 32,000 tons in Korea.

In Vietnam, the Pentagon relied heavily on chemical warfare: roughly 6500 flights to spray Agent Orange and other toxic agents were carried out between 1962 and 1971, the intent being to destroy crops and foliage. Operation Ranch Hand contaminated more than 31,000 square kilometers, poisoning at least four million people and leaving hundreds of thousands afflicted with cancer, lung diseases, and birth defects. Such warfare could never distinguish combatants from civilians, nor did the U.S. military command make any real efforts to do so.

In more recent decades, civilian death tolls resulting from U.S. military operations in the Middle East and beyond have easily surpassed one million. Harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iraq, Yugoslavia, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and others could have reached that same figure. Aerial bombardments have devastated large, densely-populated areas of Iraq, Panama, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libra, and Syria. Weapons “upgraded” with depleted uranium (DU) have left a toxic legacy in Iraq and Serbia, overwhelmingly harming civilians.

Back to Korea: the Trump administration says it has “lost all patience” with North Korean leaders and their “reckless behavior”, and has (again) “opened the door” to military attack while seemingly holding out prospects of diplomacy that, however, depend on rigid stipulations. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that for any talks to occur North Korea would first have to “exhibit good faith commitment” by jettisoning its nuclear program – a complete non-starter. Given such imperial arrogance, can mounting confrontation be avoided?

With all that is at stake – perhaps one million people killed within the first day or so of a new Korean War, vast urban centers decimated, a potential nuclear exchange – rational leadership might be expected to retreat from such a nightmarish scenario and consider a more peaceful modus vivendi. (For the U.S., a peaceful option is exactly what is “off the table”.) From the standpoint of Washington, “rational” pursuits are also imperial pursuits and imperial pursuits generally lead to military pursuits, as history demonstrates. Technowar managers are not especially sensitive to the prospects of massive civilian losses. Normal behavioral assumptions therefore do not apply to U.S. war calculations, whoever occupies the White House.

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Carl Boggs is the author of The Hollywood War Machine, with Tom Pollard (second edition, forthcoming), and Drugs, Power, and Politics, both published by Paradigm.


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Surely there are universal lessons of Lebanon as well. But some have already forgotten them.

May 9, 2017
The Universal Lesson of East Timor
by John Pilger

Filming undercover in East Timor in 1993 I followed a landscape of crosses: great black crosses etched against the sky, crosses on peaks, crosses marching down the hillsides, crosses beside the road. They littered the earth and crowded the eye.

The inscriptions on the crosses revealed the extinction of whole families, wiped out in the space of a year, a month, a day. Village after village stood as memorials.

Kraras is one such village. Known as the “village of the widows”, the population of 287 people was murdered by Indonesian troops.

Using a typewriter with a faded ribbon, a local priest had recorded the name, age, cause of death and date of the killing of every victim. In the last column, he identified the Indonesian battalion responsible for each murder. It was evidence of genocide.

I still have this document, which I find difficult to put down, as if the blood of East Timor is fresh on its pages.

On the list is the dos Anjos family.

In 1987, I interviewed Arthur Stevenson, known as Steve, a former Australian commando who had fought the Japanese in the Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1942. He told me the story of Celestino dos Anjos, whose ingenuity and bravery had saved his life, and the lives of other Australian soldiers fighting behind Japanese lines.

Steve described the day leaflets fluttered down from a Royal Australian Air Force plane; “We shall never forget you,” the leaflets said. Soon afterwards, the Australians were ordered to abandon the island of Timor, leaving the people to their fate.

When I met Steve, he had just received a letter from Celestino’s son, Virgillo, who was the same age as his own son. Virgillo wrote that his father had survived the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975, but he went on: “In August 1983, Indonesian forces entered our village, Kraras. They looted, burned and massacred, with fighter aircraft overhead. On 27 September 1983, they made my father and my wife dig their own graves and they machine-gunned them. My wife was pregnant.”

The Kraras list is an extraordinary political document that shames Indonesia’s Faustian partners in the West and teaches us how much of the world is run. The fighter aircraft that attacked Kraras came from the United States; the machine guns and surface-to-air missiles came from Britain; the silence and betrayal came from Australia.

The priest of Kraras wrote on the final page: “To the capitalist governors of the world, Timor’s petroleum smells better than Timorese blood and tears. Who will take this truth to the world? … It is evident that Indonesia would never have committed such a crime if it had not received favourable guarantees from [Western] governments.”

As the Indonesian dictator General Suharto was about to invade East Timor (the Portuguese had abandoned their colony), he tipped off the ambassadors of Australia, the United States and Britain. In secret cables subsequently leaked, the Australian ambassador, Richard Woolcott, urged his government to “act in a way which would be designed to minimise the public impact in Australia and show private understanding to Indonesia.” He alluded to the beckoning spoils of oil and gas in the Timor Sea that separated the island from northern Australia.

There was no word of concern for the Timorese.

In my experience as a reporter, East Timor was the greatest crime of the late 20th century. I had much to do with Cambodia, yet not even Pol Pot put to death as many people – proportionally — as Suharto killed and starved in East Timor.

In 1993, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Australian Parliament estimated that “at least 200,000” East Timorese, a third of the population, had perished under Suharto.

Australia was the only western country formally to recognise Indonesia’s genocidal conquest. The murderous Indonesian special forces known as Kopassus were trained by Australian special forces at a base near Perth. The prize in resources, said Foreign Minister Gareth Evans, was worth “zillions” of dollars.

In my 1994 film, Death of a Nation: the Timor Conspiracy, a gloating Evans is filmed lifting a champagne glass as he and Ali Alatas, Suharto’s foreign minister, fly over the Timor Sea, having signed a piratical treaty that divided the oil and gas riches of the Timor Sea.

I also filmed witnesses such as Abel Gutteras, now the Ambassador of Timor-Leste (East Timor’s post independence name) to Australia. He told me, “We believe we can win and we can count on all those people in the world to listen — that nothing is impossible, and peace and freedom are always worth fighting for.

Remarkably, they did win. Many people all over the world did hear them, and a tireless movement added to the pressure on Suharto’s backers in Washington, London and Canberra to abandon the dictator.

But there was also a silence.
For years, the free press of the complicit countries all but ignored East Timor. There were honourable exceptions, such as the courageous Max Stahl, who filmed the 1991 massacre in the Santa Cruz cemetery. Leading journalists almost literally fell at the feet of Suharto. In a photograph of a group of Australian editors visiting Jakarta, led by the Murdoch editor Paul Kelly, one of them is bowing to Suharto, the genocidist.

From 1999 to 2002, the Australian Government took an estimated $1.2 billion in revenue from one oil and gas field in the Timor Sea. During the same period, Australia gave less than $200 million in so-called aid to East Timor.

In 2002, two months before East Timor won its independence, as Ben Doherty reported in January, “Australia secretly withdrew from the maritime boundary dispute resolution procedures of the UN convention the Law of the Sea, and the equivalent jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice, so that it could not be compelled into legally binding international arbitration”.

The former Prime Minister John Howard has described his government’s role in East Timor’s independence as “noble”. Howard’s foreign minister, Alexander Downer, once burst into the cabinet room in Dili, East Timor, and told Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, “We are very tough … Let me give you a tutorial in politics …”

Today, it is Timor-Leste that is giving the tutorial in politics. After years of trickery and bullying by Canberra, the people of Timor-Leste have demanded and won the right to negotiate before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) a legal maritime boundary and a proper share of the oil and gas.

Australia owes Timor Leste a huge debt — some would say, billions of dollars in reparations. Australia should hand over, unconditionally, all royalties collected since Gareth Evans toasted Suharto’s dictatorship while flying over the graves of its victims.

The Economist lauds Timor-Leste as the most democratic country in southeast Asia today. Is that an accolade? Or does it mean approval of a small and vulnerable country joining the great game of globalisation?

For the weakest, globalisation is an insidious colonialism that enables transnational finance and its camp-followers to penetrate deeper, as Edward Said wrote, than the old imperialists in their gun boats.

It can mean a model of development that gave Indonesia, under Suharto, gross inequality and corruption; that drove people off their land and into slums, then boasted about a growth rate.

The people of Timor-Leste deserve better than faint praise from the “capitalist governors of the world”, as the priest of Kraras wrote. They did not fight and die and vote for entrenched poverty and a growth rate. They deserve the right to sustain themselves when the oil and gas run out as it will. At the very least, their courage ought to be a beacon in our memory: a universal political lesson.

Bravo, Timor-Leste. Bravo and beware.

On May 5, John Pilger was presented with the Order of Timor-Leste by East Timor’s Ambassador to Australia, Abel Gutteras, in recognition of his reporting on East Timor under Indonesia’s brutal occupation, especially his landmark documentary film, Death of a Nation: the Timor Conspiracy.

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John Pilger can be reached through his website: www.johnpilger.com


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July 28, 2017
What’s Missing from Dunkirk Film

by David Swanson

Yes, I’m going to tell you what’s missing from this film without watching the film. Trump has, as promised, made me so sick of winning that I really could enjoy watching a defeat film, but I think I’ll pass. If I’m wrong about what’s missing from it (I mean one of the many things that are, no doubt, missing from it), I promise that I will eat an entire plan for victory in Afghanistan annually for the next decade.

One of the oddest things about World War II is how it has been marketed as a humanitarian war since the moment it ended.

One reason this is odd is that several times the number of people killed in German concentration camps were killed outside of them in the war (at least 50 million worldwide vs. 9 million killed in the camps). And the majority of those people were civilians. So a war against killing people in camps would be a very strange way to understand World War II, unless killing many more people can be made an acceptable means of opposing killing people. The scale of the killing, wounding, and destroying made WWII the single worst thing humanity has ever done to itself in any short space of time.

Even odder is that zero effort was actually ever made to prevent the mass-murder in the concentration camps. There was no poster asking you to help Uncle Sam save the Jews. A ship of Jewish refugees from Germany was chased away from Miami by the U.S. Coast Guard. The U.S. and other nations refused to accept Jewish refugees, and the majority of the U.S. public supported that position. The U.S. engaged in no diplomatic or military effort to save the victims in the Nazi concentration camps. Anne Frank was denied a U.S. visa.

Peace groups that questioned Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his foreign secretary about shipping Jews out of Germany to save them were told that, while Hitler might very well agree to the plan, it would be too much trouble and require too many ships. Here is an interesting passage from Nicholson Baker:

“Anthony Eden, Britain’s foreign secretary, who’d been tasked by Churchill with handling queries about refugees, dealt coldly with one of many important delegations, saying that any diplomatic effort to obtain the release of the Jews from Hitler was ‘fantastically impossible.’ On a trip to the United States, Eden candidly told Cordell Hull, the secretary of state, that the real difficulty with asking Hitler for the Jews was that ‘Hitler might well take us up on any such offer, and there simply are not enough ships and means of transportation in the world to handle them.’ Churchill agreed. ‘Even were we to obtain permission to withdraw all the Jews,’ he wrote in reply to one pleading letter, ‘transport alone presents a problem which will be difficult of solution.’ Not enough shipping and transport? Two years earlier, the British had evacuated nearly 340,000 men from the beaches of Dunkirk in just nine days. The U.S. Air Force had many thousands of new planes. During even a brief armistice, the Allies could have airlifted and transported refugees in very large numbers out of the German sphere.”

In other words, the story of Dunkirk, the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, is a story of how the Allies treated people they had some use for, and a demonstration of how they could have treated other people if they had had any use for them.

Since the moment the war ended, the U.S. military has had enormous use for those it callously allowed the Nazis to murder. They have been front and center in the argument for war after war after war.

Since World War II, during what U.S. academics think of as a period of unprecedented peace, the United States military has killed some 20 million people, overthrown at least 36 governments, interfered in 81 foreign elections, attempted to assassinate over 50 foreign leaders, and dropped bombs on people in over 30 countries. This extravaganza of criminal killing is documented here. But it isn’t much of a secret. To my knowledge, every single military assault has involved a reference to a new Hitler and a passionate plea to retroactively save his victims. Of course the humanitarian consequences have differed dramatically from those stated intentions.

Somehow I doubt any of that is mentioned in the Dunkirk film.

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David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org His new book isWar No More: The Case for Abolition.


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August 22, 2017
The Karma of Terror
by Gregory Barrett


Photo by Noah Sussman | CC BY 2.0

We have been here quite often recently. Screaming headlines, non-stop coverage in the mainstream corporate-government media which Paul Craig Roberts so aptly dubbed the “presstitutes”. Hours and hours of analysis of the event, at some point lots of information about the dead victims, endless soul-searching and a desperate spate of interviews with “experts” about how to fight this growing horror. This is not supposed to happen in The West. It is boring everyday stuff when it happens in the Middle East, Africa or Asia, but when it hits Barcelona or some other part of the empire’s heartland, the presstitutes go into overjoyed shock and scramble to present yet another extended and profitable feeding frenzy. A horrifying godsend for 24/7 media.

Always missing, however, from the “expert” analysis: the cause. How we got here. Why this has become a permanent feature of our modern world. That is very, very dangerous territory in such discussions. The witch’s magic mirror. The man behind the curtain. Taboo except in “extremist” media like this, and pretty sensitive stuff for many even here.

But taboos get my back up. So here goes. Probably destined for censorship by Facebook and Google, who are developing quite a taste for playing Big Brother, but that just provokes me.

How far back do we want to go? This will be a pretty short piece, so we will save the deeper roots for another piece. The modern historical causes of our current spreading epidemic of terrorism – the ISIS kind, the Al-Qaeda kind, I am not referring to State Terror at the moment — are all tied up with the West’s hysterical and violent response to communism, from the end of the First World War to the present. While that hysteria and that response were not confined to the United States, the disastrous historical chain of events that led us here was mostly forged by successive US governments, often with the support of a scared and brainwashed US population.

As Doris Lessing tells us in her brilliant semiautobiographical “Children of Violence” series of novels about her youth and young adulthood as a member of the tiny Communist Party in a South African British colony, the (first) Cold War began rapidly in its official, organized form immediately after the end of World War II. The fear of, and hostility toward, Russia and the Soviet Union that had existed among the capitalist powers before that war, and even in its first years, was put on hold as it became clear that the Red Army was all that stood between the West and a victorious Third Reich. It became socially acceptable, in Britain and the Empire, to admire communism and to see it as a possible future for the West, and a great deal of money was raised to help the suffering Soviet Union and to secure Hitler’s defeat. No sooner had the war in Europe been won, however, than the Soviets were officially returned to their status as the Great Menace, which was announced very effectively by the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in spite of the fact that the Japanese were clearly about to surrender. 200,000 civilians died, radiation sickness and birth defects were widespread, and the racist, power-drunk President Harry Truman was delighted. This historical episode, including the testimony of many who were directly involved to the effect that “warning” Russia was always the reason for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is told well in Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick’s book and video series “The Untold History of the United States”. The Soviet Union wanted a good and constructive relationship with its recent wartime allies. The Soviet government was quite aware that American industrialists, royal circles in Britain, and others had helped create Hitler in the hope that he would destroy communism. But Stalin had a few skeletons of his own in the closet, it was no time for a self-righteousness competition. Still, the Soviets might perhaps have expected that they would continue to receive credit due for defeating the Nazis and saving the West’s ass. Not a chance. It was not long before the popular perception was that America had stepped in and saved the day, and a massive Orwellian propaganda campaign was initiated to portray communism as more dangerous than Germany or Japan had ever been. The techniques of manipulative advertising, public relations, and the shaping of public opinion developed by Edward Bernays based on the theories of his uncle Sigmund Freud were employed by the American government and the CIA with great success.

I grew up in that period, as the son of an FBI Agent working under the communism-obsessed J. Edgar Hoover. There was no doubt about these things in our cultural milieu, the dominant one in the United States between the early 1950s and about 1967. We Americans were good. Russians were dangerous and threatening in spite of their status as brainwashed slaves. And communism was pure, godless evil.

Millions of North Koreans were massacred and bombed into oblivion as Truman’s run continued. The elected Iranian government was overthrown by the CIA under his successor President Eisenhower and the murdering, torturing Shah Reza Pahlavi was placed on the Peacock Throne to do our business in the Middle East (leading in a straight historical line to the birth of the Islamic Republic). A ring of US client states, military bases and atomic missiles began to take shape around the Soviet Union. President Kennedy’s CIA made many attempts to kill Fidel Castro and return the vicious, corrupt crowd around Fulgencio Batista to power, and the government took its paranoid struggle right down to the wire at 10 seconds before midnight during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Then the CIA turned on Kennedy, who may have learned a few things from the experience. The CIA certainly did not.

By the 1970s the American government was arming, organizing and financing islamist-jihadi forces in Afghanistan under Osama bin Laden and others to fight the Soviets’ client government and, after provoking the Soviet invasion, to fight the Soviets themselves. Supervision of anti-communist strategy on “The Grand Chessboard” had passed from the mass murderer and utterly amoral war criminal Henry Kissinger to Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Russian-hating Pole who became President Carter’s Svengali and can be considered directly responsible for much current terrorism, since the Reagan government continued and expanded his support of what eventually became Al-Qaeda, the world’s first international non-governmental terrorist franchise, which later gave birth to ISIS as well in the ruins of Iraq.

There is no need for much detail here. Those who wish to learn the details can find plenty of material on these events. It is all public, available information – even the CIA’s support of Al-Qaeda and overthrow of numerous elected governments has mostly been quietly confirmed on the record now – but still, the surreal presstitute taboo against discussing this stuff openly in public remains and, in fact, seems stronger than ever.

Here in Germany the mainstream public media make a pretty sophisticated impression compared to America’s presstitutes. One can read, watch and listen to documentaries with a great deal of very informative historical background about the Nazis, the colonial past, about racism in the USA (covering our own German neo-Nazis and the vast amount of racist, xenophobic violence and domestic terrorism which they perpetrate against refugees and other foreigners is rather out of style currently, however; apparently it reduces one’s capacity for moral outrage against others). We dwell at great length on ISIS terror attacks here in Europe and on fictional Russian “aggression” in Ukraine with nary a word about Obama’s support of the coup that set the New Cold War in motion. But, as is also the case with the cause of the refugee influx into Europe from US war zones in the Middle East and the Hindu Kush – that same refugee crisis being another big obsession here — it is not polite to badmouth Big Brother. It is also taboo to speak of the origins of Al-Qaeda and ISIS, though one may hint that, just perhaps, the invasion of Iraq was not a complete success. One may also rant and rage about the Horror of Trump and how he has destabilized the world, that is selling quite well on the European market. Obama has a halo here these days, his NSA sins and tapping of Merkel’s cellphone and destruction of Libya are forgiven and forgotten, and his drone control center at Germany’s Ramstein Air Force Base continues to kill (mostly) civilians with relative impunity, not an issue. But we do not go into detail about whom we have to thank for these terrorist attacks on European soil.

Who knows where so much honesty might lead!

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