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Peran CIA dalam G30S PKI



“I think it’s time we held Sukarno’s feet to the fire,” said Frank Wisner, the CIA’s Deputy Director of Plans (covert operations), one day in autumn 1956

Elsewhere the Senate committee reported that it had “received some evidence of CIA involvement in plans to assassinate President Sukarno of Indonesia”, and that the planning had proceeded to the point of identifying an agent whom it was believed might be recruited for the job

To add to the concern of American leaders, Sukarno had made trips to the Soviet Union and China (though to the White House as well), he had purchased arms from Eastern European countries (but only after being turned down by the United States),{7} he had nationalized many private holdings of the Dutch, and, perhaps most disturbing of all, the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) had made impressive gains electorally and in union-organizing, thus earning an important role in the coalition government.

It would not be the first. In 1955, during the national election campaign in Indonesia, the CIA had given a million dollars to the Masjumi party, a centrist coalition of Muslim organizations, in a losing bid to thwart Sukarno’s Nationalist Party as well as the PKI. According to former CIA officer Joseph Burkholder Smith, the project “provided for complete write-off of the funds, that is, no demand for a detailed accounting of how the funds were spent was required. I could find no clue as to what the Masjumi did with the million dollars.”

On 30 November 1957, several hand grenades were tossed at Sukarno as he was leaving a school. He escaped injury, but 10 people were killed and 48 children injured. The CIA in Indonesia had no idea who was responsible, but it quickly put out the story that the PKI was behind it “at the suggestion of their Soviet contacts in order to make it appear that Sukarno’s opponents were wild and desperate men”. As it turned out, the culprits were a Muslim group not associated with the PKI or with the Agency’s military plotters.{14}

Seemingly, the success of this operation inspired CIA officers in Washington to carry the theme one step further. A substantial effort was made to come up with a pornographic film or at least some still photographs that could pass for Sukarno and his Russian girl friend engaged in “his favorite activity”. When scrutiny of available porno films (supplied by the Chief of Police of Los Angeles) failed to turn up a couple who could pass for Sukarno (dark and bald) and a beautiful blonde Russian woman, the CIA undertook to produce its own films, “the very films with which the Soviets were blackmailing Sukarno”. The Agency developed a full-face mask of the Indonesian leader which was to be sent to Los Angeles where the police were to pay some porno-film actor to wear it during his big scene. This project resulted in at least some photographs, although they apparently were never used.{15}
Another outcome of the blackmail effort was a film produced for the CIA by Robert Maheu, former FBI agent and intimate of Howard Hughes. Maheu’s film starred an actor who resembled Sukarno. The ultimate fate of the film, which was entitled “Happy Days”, has not been reported.{16}

Three days later, during another bombing run over Ambon, a CIA pilot, Allen Lawrence Pope, was shot down and captured.

With the exposure of Pope and the lack of rebel success in the field, the CIA decided that the light was no longer worth the candle, and began to curtail its support. By the end of June, Indonesian army troops loyal to Sukarno had effectively crushed the dissident military revolt.
The Indonesian leader continued his adroit balancing act between the Communists and the army until 1965, when the latter, likely with the help of the CIA, finally overthrew his regime.



“I know we had a lot more information [about the PKI] than the Indonesians themselves,” said Marshall Green, US Ambassador to Indonesia at the time of the coup. Martens “told me on a number of occasions that … the government did not have very good information on the Communist setup, and he gave me the impression that this information was superior to anything they had.”
“No one cared, as long as they were Communists, that they were being butchered,” said Howard Federspiel, who in 1965 was the Indonesia expert at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. “No one was getting very worked up about it.”

The CIA, in its intimate involvement in Indonesian political affairs since at least the mid-1950s, had undoubtedly infiltrated the PKI at various levels, and the military even more so, and was thus in a good position to disseminate disinformation and plant the ideas for certain actions…

Of even greater significance, the PKI, which had been the largest Communist Party in the world outside the Soviet bloc and China...
If the generals had been planning their own coup as alleged, the evidence is compelling that the United States was intimately involved before, during and after the events of 30 September/1 October. One aspect of this evidence is the closeness of the relationship between the American and Indonesian military establishments which the United States had been cultivating for many years. President Kennedy, his former aide Arthur Schlesinger has written, was “anxious to strengthen the anti-communist forces, especially the army, in order to make sure that, if anything happened to Sukarno, the powerful Indonesian Communist Party would not inherit the country.”

At the time of the attempted Communist coup and military counter-coup [sic] of October 1965, more than 1,200 Indonesian officers including senior military figures, had been trained in the United States. As a result of this experience, numerous friendships and contacts existed between the Indonesian and American military establishments.

The CIA, wrote the New York Times, was said “to have been so successful at infiltrating the top of the Indonesian government and army that the United States was reluctant to disrupt CIA covering operations by withdrawing aid and information programs in 1964 and 1965. What was presented officially in Washington as toleration of President Sukarno’s insults and provocations was in much larger measure a desire to keep the CIA fronts in business as long as possible.”

Finally, we have the testimony of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara before Senate Committee in 1966:
Senator Sparkman: At a time when Indonesia was kicking up pretty badly-when we were getting a lot of criticism for continuing military aid-at that time we could not say what that military aid was for. Is it secret any more?
McNamara: I think in retrospect, that the aid was well justified.
Sparkman: You think it paid dividends?
McNamara: I do, sir.

There are other statements which may be pertinent to the question of American involvement. Former US Ambassador Marshall Green, speaking in Australia in 1973 where he was then ambassador, is reported as saying: “In 1965 I remember, Indonesia was poised at t razor’s edge. I remember people arguing from here that Indonesia wouldn’t go communist. But, when Sukarno announced in his August 17 speech that Indonesia would have a communist government within a year [?] then I was almost certain…. What we did we had to do, and you’d better be glad we did because if we hadn’t Asia would be a different place today.”

James Reston, writing in the New York Times in 1966:
“Washington is being careful not to claim any credit for this change [from Sukarno to Suharto] … but this does not mean that Washington had nothing to do with it. There was a great deal more contact between the anti-Communist forces in that country and at least one very high official in Washington before and during the Indonesian massacre than is generally realized. General Suharto’s forces, at times severely short of food and munitions, have been getting aid from here through various third countries, and it is doubtful if the [Suharto] coup would ever have been attempted without the American show of strength in Vietnam or been sustained without the clandestine aid it has received indirectly from here.

Neville Maxwell, Senior Research Officer, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Oxford University:
“A few years ago I was researching in Pakistan into the diplomatic background of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan conflict, and in foreign ministry papers to which I had been given access came across a letter to the then foreign minister, Mr. Bhutto, from one of his ambassadors in Europe (I believe Mr. J.A. Rahim, in Paris) reporting a conversation with a Dutch intelligence officer with NATO. According to my note of that letter, the officer had remarked to the Pakistani diplomat that Indonesia was “ready to fall into the Western lap like a rotten apple”. Western intelligence agencies, he said, would organize a “premature communist coup … [which would be] foredoomed to fail, providing a legitimate and welcome opportunity to the army to crush the communists and make Sukarno a prisoner of the army’s goodwill”. The ambassador’s report was dated December 1964.”
It should be remembered that Indonesia had been a colony of the Netherlands, and the Dutch still had some special links to the country.


14. Indonesia – 1957-1958: War and pornography
31. Indonesia – 1965: Liquidating President Sukarno … and 500,000 others

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