COVERT ACTION

By Region

Indonesia

A - J

 

Allison, John M. Ambassador from the Prairie: Or Allison in Wonderland. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973.

Petersen: "U.S. Ambassador in Indonesia during period of CIA covert support for anti-government elements."

Anderson, Benedict, and Ruth McVey. A Preliminary Analysis of the October 1, 1965, Coup in Indonesia. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1971.

Chomsky, Noam, and Edward S. Herman. The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism. Boston: South End Press, 1979.

Petersen says this work deals with "[a]lleged CIA support for anti-democratic elements abroad." According to Blum, NameBase, the case studies presented include "Indonesia (1965-69), Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic. The longest case study is that of East Timor. The authors note that the mass killing in that country carried out by Indonesia, beginning in 1975, was comparable to the massacres in Cambodia occurring at the same time, but the Western reactions to the two massacres were markedly different because the Cambodian killings were carried out by Communists, while Indonesia was a U.S. ally."

Conboy, Kenneth, and James Morrison. Feet to the Fire: Covert Operations in Indonesia, 1957-1958. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1999.

To Gardner, Journal of Cold War Studies 3 (2001), "no earlier study [of this subject] is based on as many firsthand reports or as little speculation" as this volume. However, "[r]eaders who are not well acquainted with the region will find themselves frequently consulting the maps placed somewhat inconveniently at the back of the book." Until the CIA opens its files on this operation, "this book should remain the most authoritative source on the operational aspects of the American intervention in Indonesia's PRRI-Permesta rebellion."

Seamon, Proceedings 126.1 (Jan. 2000), says that the authors' "brisk, easy style" helps them "navigate through a minefield of religious antagonisms, rebellions, and unpronounceable Indonesian names with admirable agility." McBeth, Far Eastern Economic Review, 27 Apr. 2000, calls this "the most detailed and dispassionate account to date of the CIA's efforts in 1957-58 to foster rebellions in Sumatra and Suluwesi."

For Unsinger, NIPQ, Spring 2000, Feet to the Fire is "good reading," with well told individual stories. The authors provide both details in and context for their narrative. Bolton, IJI&C 14.1, agrees, commenting that the authors "have done an outstanding job of storytelling" and produced "an engrossing and dramatic narrative." Berger, I&NS 17.2, supplies another perspective, opining that the authors "appear to be more concerned with colourful characters and anecdotes than sustained analysis.... For readers interested in a deeper understanding of CIA activity in Indonesia in the late 1950s Conboy and Morrison's book has little to offer."

Calling Feet to the Fire an "impressive and important work ... based on thorough research," McMahon, JMH 64.3, finds one of the book's "great strengths" in its "richness of detail." This work "presents as expert and as objective a recounting of a covert operation as we are ever likely to get." Nonetheless, focused as they are on the operational side, the "authors shed no new light on the upper-level policy calculations that lay behind this high-risk operation."

Easter, David. "British Intelligence and Propaganda during the 'Confrontation,' 1963-66." Intelligence and National Security 16, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 83-102.

"The 1963-66 'Confrontation', or undeclared war between Britain, Malaysia and Indonesia, provides a good example of a successful counter-insurgency campaign. Indonesia's attempt to break up the Malaysian federation by sponsoring a guerrilla movement in Borneo was decisively defeated.....

"Ultimately Britiain's victory in the Confrontation was due to the ability of Commonwealth soldiers ... to contain and drive back the Indonesian guerrillas, and the political instability ... which brought down Sukarno. But good intelligence enabled Britain to deploy its limited military resources for the greatest effect. And when a political opening appeared in Indonesia in October 1965, Britain used propaganda against the supporters of Confrontation."

Easter, David. "British and Malaysian Covert Support for Rebel Movements in Indonesia during the 'Confrontation,' 1963-66." Intelligence and National Security 14, no. 4 (Winter 1999): 195-208.

Aid to the dissidents, especially rebel groups in the outer islands, was "one of the very few tools that Britain could use against [Djakarta's] Confrontation campaign.... [Nevertheless,] Britain's aims in supporting the rebels were cautious and limited."

Easter, David. "'Keep the Indonesian Pot Boiling': Western Covert Intervention in Indonesia, October 1965-March 1966." Cold War History 5, no. 1 (Feb. 2005): 55-73.

From author's abstract: "This study examines the role played by the West in the destruction of the Indonesian communist party, the PKI, and the removal of the radical Indonesian president, Sukarno, in 1965-66.... The article assesses the impact of Western covert intervention and concludes that Western propaganda may have encouraged the mass killings of the communists."

Gardner, Paul. Shared Hopes -- Separate Fears: Fifty Years of U.S.-Indonesian Relations. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997.

Green, Marshall. Indonesia: Crisis and Transformation, 1965-1968. Washington, DC: Compass, 1990.

U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, 1965-1968.

Holtzappel, Coen. "The 30 September Movement." Journal of Contemporary Asia 9, no. 2 (1979): 216-240.

Howland, Richard Cabot. "The Lessons of the September 30 Affair." Studies in Intelligence 14, no. 2 (Fall 1970): 13-29.

One who was there looks back at the events in Indonesia in late September-early October 1965. "In Djakarta,... we were particularly struck by the uniquely indigenous character of the events which led to the purge attempt [against the army] and by the minimal influence on its outcome that could be ascribed to non-Indonesian factors.... [I]t was, from start to finish, a peculiarly and exclusively Indonesian phenomenon.... By the time the great powers realized what was underway, it was too late to help or hinder either side."

Hughes, John. The End of Sukarno. London: Angus and Robertson, 1978.

Hunter, Helen-Louise. Sukarno and the Indonesian Coup: The Untold Story. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2007.

Tovar, IJI&C 21.4 (Winter 2008-2009), says that the author has produced a study "that is virtually impossible to challenge." The picture of the dramatic events in Indonesia in 1965 "and the questions they raised at the time are developed by Ms. Hunter with artistry and insight.... She leaves no doubt that the coup was organized and directed by a secret member of the PKI under the authority of Party Chairman Aidit.... She has made her case without fanfare, and those whose minds are still open on the matter will find it plausible and convincing."

Jones, Matthew. "'Maximum Disavowable Aid': Britain, the United States and the Indonesian Rebellion, 1957-58." English Historical Review 114 (Nov. 1999): 1179-1216.

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