We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Indonesian Massacre: What Did the US Know?

Click here to access article by Margaret Scott from The New York Review of Books.

This is a second posting of the 50 year anniversary of the Indonesian Massacre that was engineered in large part by the CIA. (See my first post which includes more linked resources here.) It is one of history's most notorious crimes against humanity. Thus, no one who knows about it want to talk about it simply because they are related to the perpetrators of this crime. However, many people especially in Indonesia, less so here in the US, want to know about it, and are asking questions. Even the CIA was pressured to release their classified documents, which of course were heavily redacted.
Since the late 1990s, however, there have been growing efforts to recover that history. In 1998, Indonesians rose up against Suharto, whose military dictatorship had lasted thirty-two years. This movement, known as reformasi, and Suharto’s fall, brought new scrutiny to the events of 1965. Many Indonesians rebelled against the taboo of talking about the mass killings, which they began investigating through journalism, books, and films. In recent years, local organizations have also sought to locate the mass graves and assist the survivors. These efforts have been aided by US records. In 2001, despite the efforts of the CIA to prevent it, the US released Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968, a State Department volume that included long-secret government documents from that period. It describes how US officials pushed for the annihilation of the PKI, providing covert assistance and urging the Indonesian army to complete the job.
Being published in a liberal source, Scott sticks to the Empire policy of describing Empire targets, even when they are extremely popular as was Sukarno, in unflattering terms:
At the time, Indonesia was led by the leftist, romantic revolutionary-turned-autocrat Sukarno, and also had the third largest Communist Party in the world, the PKI, with some 3 million members.