From: Jeffrey Bogdan,firstname.lastname@example.org Reply-To: Conference "act.indonesia",email@example.com To: All Receive-Date: woensdag, 02-apr-97 01:59:23 Date: 31 Mar 97 16:04:53 Subject: U.S. role in PKI documented by on-the record interviews. Lines: 281 Charles Scheiner suggested I post this to you. The url for the national security archive is http://www.seas.gwu.edu/nsarchive/ Subject: Kathy Kadane letter Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 19:38:20 -0500 From: Jeffrey Bogdan <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Charles, here it is. OCR is amazing, imperfect as it is. It would take me a month to type all this. Post it to whomever you think might use it. Can't this stuff be used as evidence in some kind of U.S. lawsuit or a world court proceeding? From New York Review of Books April 10, 1977 To the Editors: I very much admired Ms. Laber's piece on Indonesian politics and the origins of the Soeharto regime. In connection with her assertion that little is known about a CIA (or US) role in the 1965 coup and the army massacre that followed, I would like to make your readers aware of a compelling body of evidence about this that is publicly available, but the public access to it is little known. It consists of a series of on-the-record, taped interviews with the men who headed the US embassy in Jakarta or were at high levels in Washington agencies in 1965.1 pub- lished a news story based on the interviews in The Washington Post ("U.S. Officials' Lists Aided Indonesian Bloodbath in '60s," May 21, 1990), and have since transferred the tapes. my notes, and a small collection of documents, including a few declassified ca- bles on which the story was based, to the Na- tional Security Archive in Washington, D.C. The Archive is a nongovernmental research institute and library, located at the George Washington University. The former officials interviewed included Ambassador Marshal! Green,.Deputy Chief of Mission Jack Lydman, Political Coun- sellor (later Ambassador) Edward E Mas- ters, Robert Martens (an analyst of the In- donesian left working under Masters' supervision), and (then) director of the Central Intelligence Agency's Far East di- vision, William Colby. The tapes, along with notes of conversa- tions, show that the United States furnished critical intelligence-the names of thou- sands of leftist activists, both Communist and non-Communist-to the Indonesian Army that were then used bloody manhunt. There were other details that illustrate the depth of US involvement in the killings which I learned from former top- level embassy officials, but have not previ- ously published.. For example, the US pro- vided key logistical equipment hastily shipped in at the last minute as Soeharto weighed the risky decision to. Attack. Jeeps were supplied by the Pentagon to speed troops over Indonesia's notoriously bad roads, along with "dozens and dozens" of field ra- dies that the Army lacked. As Ms. Labor noted, the US (namely, the Pentagon also supplied "arms." Cables show these were small arms, used for killing at close range. The supply of radios is perhaps the most telling detail. They served not only as field communications but also became an ele- ment of a broad, US intelligence-gathering operation constructed as the manhunt went forward. According to a former em- bassy official, the Central Intelligence Agency hastily provided the radios-state- of-the-art Collins KWM-2s, high-frequency single-sideboard transceivers, the highest- powered mobile unit available at that time to the civilian and commercial market. The radios, stored at Clark Field in the Philip- pines, were secretly flown by the US Air Force into Indonesia. They were then dis- tributed directly to Soeharto's headquar- ters--called by its acronym KOSTRAD--by Pentagon representatives. The radios plugged a major hole in Army communica- tions: at that critical moment, there were no means for troops on Java and the out-is- lands to talk directly with Jakarta. While the embassy told reporters the US had no information about the operation. the opposite was true. There were at least two direct sources of information. During the weeks in which the American lists were being turned over to the Army, embassy officials met secretly with men from Soe- harto's intelligence unit at regular intervals concerning who had been arrested or killed. In addition, the US more generally had information from its systematic moni- toring of Army radios. According to a for- mer US official, the US listened in to the broadcasts on the US-supplied radios for weeks as the manhunt went forward, over- hearing, among other things, commands from Soeharto's intelligence unit to kill particular persons at given locations. The method by which the intercepts were accomplished was also described. The mobile radios transmitted to a large, portable antenna in front of KOSTRAD (also hastily supplied by the US--I was told it was flown in on a C-130 aircraft). The CIA made sure the frequencies the Army would use were known in advance to the National Security Agency. NSA inter- cepted the broadcasts at a site in Southeast Asia, where its analysts subsequently translated them. The intercepts were then sent on to Washington, where analysts merged them with reports from the em- bassy. The combined reporting, intercepts plus "human" intelligence, was the primary basis for Washington's assessment of the effectiveness of the manhunt as it de- stroyed the organizations of the left, in- cluding, inter alia the Indonesian Commu- nist Party, the PKI. A word about the relative importance of the American lists. It appears the CIA had some access prior to 1965 to intelligence files on the PKI housed at the G-2 section of the Indonesian Army, then headed by Major- General S. Parman. CIA officials had been dealing with Parman about intelligence con- cerning the PKI, among other matters, in the years prior to the coup, according to a for- mer US official who was involved (Parman was killed in the coup). The former official, whose account was corroborated by others whom I interviewed, said that the Indone- sian lists, or files, were considered inade- quate by US analysts because they identified PKI officials at the "national" level, but failed to identify thousands who ran the party at the regional and municipal levels, or who were secret operatives, or had some other standing, such as financier. - When asked about the possible reason for this apparent inadequacy, former US Ambassador Marshall Green, in a Decem her 1989 interview, characterized his understanding this way: "I know that we had a lot more informa- tion than the Indonesians them- selves.... For one thing, it would have been rather dangerous [for the In- donesian military to construct such a list] because the Communist Party was so pervasive and [the intelligence gath- erers] would be fingered... because of the people up the line [the higher-ups, some of whom sympathized -with the PKI]. In the [Indonesian] Air Force, it would have been lethal to do that, And probably that would be true for the p0- lice, the Marines, the Navy-in the Army, it depended. My guess is that once this thing broke, the Army was desperate for information as to who was who [in the PKl]. By the end of January 1966, US intelli- gence assessments comparing the Ameri- can lists with the reports of those arrested - or killed showed the Army had destroyed the PKI. The general attitude was one of great relief: "Nobody cared" about the butchery and mass arrests because the vice- Tim were Communists, one Washington official told me. Kathy Kadane Washington, D.C. Jeri Laber replies: I agree with Ambassador Robert L. Barry that "political change has lagged badly be- hind the economic transition, and that President Soeharto's successors will face a major challenge in restoring the balance." Indeed, that is one of the major points of my article. And yes, there is a remarkable range of critical comment in the Indonesian press," but this testifies less to' the degree of per- missible free expression in Indonesia than to the courage of Indonesian journalists and activists who know that at any time they can be, and are being, punished for speaking their minds. At this very moment, Andi Syahputra, the printer of Suara Inde- penden, the underground magazine that I mention in my article, is on trial, charged with insulting the head of state and with disseminating printed materials that insult the President and the Vice -President. Five thousand copies of the latest issue of the magazine were confiscated because of its lead article, which gave the results of a sur- vey indicating that only 9 percent of the people interviewed believe the govern- ment's version of the events surrounding the July 27, 1996, riots in Jakarta. Mega- wati supporters have been blocked from running for re-election in the parliamen- tary elections scheduled for May, and dozens of people are under arrest, on trial, or serving prison terms for alleged political offenses linked to the July 27 riots. A num- ber of newspapers and magazines have been threatened with closure. Ambassador Barry takes exception to my thesis that the anti-Communist, anti- Chinese that followed the 1965 coup was orchestrated by Mr. Soeharto. "The bloodletting which followed the coup was indeed terrible," he says, "but far more readily explained by the sponta- neous explosion of pent-up tensions in a society which lent us the word 'amok."' Yet experts generally agree that it was the Indonesian Army, under Soeharto, that di- rectly armed and incited local groups to launch attacks against suspected leftists. The Ambassador does not even address my allegation that the US government, at the very least, lent moral and financial support to the "bloodletting," a fact for which there is evidence, some of which is cited in my article. And now we have Ms. Kadane's interviews with former US em- bassy officials, cited in her letter above, which indicate that "the United States fur- nished critical intelligence--the names of thousands of leftist activists, both Comma- nits and non-Communist--to the Indonesian Army that were then used in the bloody manhunt." This is not the first time I have heard such charges, but Ms. Kadane claims to have recorded interviews and other documentation from the very people who were involved. We are talking about one of the worst massacres of the twentieth century, not a "spontaneous explosion," and US complicity in compiling "death lists" is a subject the Ambassador and other US officials might well explore. It is time that the Indonesian and the US governments release the documents from that period so that the real truth may finally be known.