COVERT ACTION

By Region

Indonesia

K - Z

 

Kadane, Kathy. "Ex-Agents Say CIA Compiled Death Lists for Indonesians." San Francisco Examiner, 20 May 1990. [http://www.pir.org/kadane.html]

"The U.S. government played a significant role in one of the worst massacres of the century by supplying the names of thousands of Communist Party leaders to the Indonesian army, which hunted down the leftists and killed them, former U.S. diplomats say.... Approval for the release of the names came from the top U.S. Embassy officials, including former Ambassador Marshall Green, deputy chief of mission Jack Lydman and political section chief Edward Masters, the three acknowledged in interviews."

In "A Letter to the Editor," New York Review of Books, 10 Apr. 1997, Kadane adds that the above-mentioned "on-the-record, taped interviews..., my notes, and a small collection of documents, including a few declassified cables..., [have been transferred] to the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C.."

Kahin, Audrey R., and George McT. Kahin. Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia. New York: New Press, 1995.

Warren, Surveillant 4.3, comments that "[t]he writing is awkward, the thesis untenable, and the evidence missing. If one can separate the tendentious chaff from the straightforward wheat, however, it's not a bad description of the Indonesian rebellion in the late 1950s." Nevertheless, the Kahins are stretching when they try "to implicate the Eisenhower administration in the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Indonesians in 1965 as an outgrowth of American support for the rebellion."

As a counterpoint, Hess, JAH 83.1, appears to swallow the Kahin line whole, terming this a "singularly important book." This view is shared, at least in part, by Lucas, I&NS 12.3, who sees the Kahins "skilfully" uncovering the Eisenhower administration's "heavy-handed resort to secret operations" and providing "a fascinating account of a policy gone wrong."

Two former CIA officers who served in Indonesia, Collins and Tovar, IJI&C 9.3, note that George Kahin "is regarded by many as America's leading apologist for former Indonesian President Sukarno." Therefore, it is not unexpeced that they find "serious flaws in this book, not the least of which is a stridency militating against any pretension to objectivity.... [T]here is no credible evidence to support [the authors'] thesis that the U.S. 'provoked' the 1958 rebellion." In addition, "the Kahins greatly inflate the size and scope of the U.S. covert and military forces involved in Indonesia." The reviewers conclude that this book is an "essentially failed exercise of allegation and innuendo."

IJI&C 10.2 carries the Kahins' response, "CIA's Men Disingenuous," to the Collins-Tovar review, and separate counter-responses by Tovar and Collins. In their discussion, the Kahins reiterate that "we have not been reticent in averring that American officials were supportive of the Suharto forces' physical elimination of those they charged with communism." And therein lies the rub.

In another context, Tovar, IJI&C 14.4, comments that "[t]he Kahins and their partisans have done their best to show U.S. involvement with the army in the Gestapu coup attempt, this being the alleged culmination of relations with the army dating back to 1958. That is nonsense, as is the contention that the coup attempt was 'an internal army affair.'"

McMahon, Robert J. "The Point of No Return: The Eisenhower Administration and Indonesia, 1953-1960." In The Eisenhower Administration, the Third World, and the Globalization of the Cold War, eds. Kathryn C. Statler and Andrew L. Johns. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

Murfett, Malcolm H., ed. Cold War Southeast Asia. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2012.

Castle, Studies 58.3 (Sep. 2014), comments that readers "in the hunt for the lessons of history will find this collection of 12 wide-ranging Cold War-related essays most rewarding.... [T]he authors bring forth new information and thoughtfully crafted insights on the Cold War's impact on the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the establishment of Singapore.... [T]he volume includes an in-depth recounting of the origins of Thai-U.S. involvement in the Laotian 'secret war.'"

National Security Archive. "CIA Stalling State Department Histories; Archive Posts One of Two Disputed Volumes on Web." 27 Jul. 2001. [http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB52/]

On 27 July 2001, the National Security Archive posted on the Web "one of two State Department documentary histories whose release the [CIA] is stalling.... The two disputed ... volumes cover Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines in the years 1964-68 and Greece-Turkey-Cyprus in the same period. The CIA, as well as action officers at the State Department, have prevented the official release of either volume, already printed and bound by the Government Printing Office. The National Security Archive obtained the Indonesia volume ... when the GPO, apparently by mistake, shipped copies to various GPO bookstores; but the Greece volume is still locked up in GPO warehouses. The Indonesia volume includes significant new documentation on the Indonesian Army's campaign against the Indonesia Communist Party (PKI) in 1965-66, which brought to power the dictator Suharto."

See U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Ed. Edward C. Keefer. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968. Vol. XXVI. Indonesia; Malaysia- Singapore; Philippines. Washington, DC: GPO, 2001. Available at: http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v26.

Scott, Peter Dale. "The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno, 1965-1967." Pacific Affairs 58 (Summer 1985): 239-264. [http://www.pir.org/scott.html]

"This article argues ... that, by inducing, or at a minimum helping to induce, the Gestapu 'coup,' the right in the Indonesian Army eliminated its rivals at the army's center, thus paving the way to a long-planned elimination of the civilian left, and eventually to the establishment of a military dictatorship. Gestapu, in other words, was only the first phase of a three-phase right-wing coup -- one which had been both publicly encouraged and secretly assisted by U.S. spokesmen and officials." (footnotes omitted)

Tovar, B. Hugh. "The Indonesian Crisis of 1965-1966: A Retrospective." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 7, no. 3 (Fall 1994): 313-338.

Tovar is former Chief, Covert Action Staff, CIA. This article addresses inaccuracies of Kathy Kadane's Washington Post article of 21 May 1990. Their continued reverberations led Tovar into an interview for a BBC series produced by John Ranelagh. Tovar provides a brief version of events surrounding the Communist coup and aftermath. He does not think the killings "took place on a scale comparable to what we reported and what was common belief." This is because of lack of evidence for such killings in succeeding years: "I just don't see the evidence."

U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Gen. ed., David S. Patterson. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968. Vol. XXVI. Indonesia; Malaysia-Singapore; Philippines. Ed., Edward C. Keefer. Washington, DC: GPO, 2001. [http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v26]

From "Overview": This "volume covers covert political action policy in general, especially in the Indonesia compilation.."

Wertheim, W.F. "Whose Plot? New Light on the 1965 Events." Journal of Contemporary Asia 9, no. 2 (1979): 197-215.

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