The Human Rights Branches of Yankee imperialism publish lists of mythical "rebel terrors" in Sierra Leone (West Africa), Perú, Colombia, Palestine and other Third World countries. They also talk about the importance of having an international tribunal for war criminals in Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, etc. as long as it is controlled by the world powers. Of course, this tribunal would exclude the trials of imperialist lackeys, the so-called "genocidal democrats" such as Pinochet, Fujimori, Yeltsin, among others, including the "world policeman" itself, and the so- called "world leaders" who ordered the bombings of Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, etc.Proletarian Press International.
But there is one country carefully hidden from the horrors of genocide that took place in this Century: Indonesia. Why? Because that country was a testing ground of the U.S. and Britain in using genocide to combat, and eventually annihilate the just rebellion of the people. Britain and the U.S. not only aided, but directed the slaughter of an estimated one million people, and thousands of them were communists.
In the early 1960's, the class struggle intensified. The mass support and political influence by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in the country was considerable. The PKI became a destabilizing force of the old order that even the President assumed a non-aligned position. Fascist factions in the military staged a coup against President Sukarno who was considered "soft on communism" by the Western powers. A group of progressive officers rebelled in the military barracks to confront the plotters, in which after a violent confrontation, several generals were executed on September 30, 1965. The military coup d'etat aborted. The PKI was not prepared to launch a People's War.
Washington condemned the People's rebellion, and enrolled other generals to complete the overthrowing of Sukarno. The CIA and the British Foreign Office (M.I.6.) implanted a bloody anticommunist general named Suharno in Power. The masses fought back, paralyzed the country and pushed the PKI to assume its responsibilities of leading an armed struggle. The Party was not prepared for this task. It was strong in the cities but not in the countryside. It did not forge a People's Army, some say it attempted to do it. Before it was too late, Imperialism designed genocide as a means of contention and annihilation of the insurgency. General Suharto did so swiftly. In a few months, hundreds of thousands of PKI members and supporters were rounded up and murdered massively. The PKI was destroyed. Suharto's forces also invaded East Timor in 1975 and murdered 200,000 people who tried to resist it.
Suharto's rule was soon consolidated, and he remained in power through blood and fire for more than 30 years. In early 1998, the class struggle deepened again in the country, and Suharno's fall was imminent. In this situation, Suharto was hesitant to obey (as he used to do in the past) the orders of imperialism (through the IMF), which consisted in increasing the debt payments and handing over the strategic state enterprises to multinational corporations. The generals and their CIA handlers cooked up a scheme. They got rid of Suharno and replaced him with one of Suharno's close cronies named B.J. Habibie. In order to deviate the people's protest, the government's media stirred up a brutal nationalist campaign against the Chinese minority in the country, and blamed them for the crisis. Thus, today the "genocide" democracy continues its course. The Asian crisis has also hit the country, which owes 70 billion dollars in foreign debt, and is three billion dollars in arrears (interests). This is a heavy burden for a country of 211 million inhabitants.
Both Perú and Indonesia are "genocide democracies," and have many similarities. British along with U.S. counterinsurgency experts participate actively in combating the People's War in Perú. British generals are frequent visitors and advisors to their Peruvian counterparts. The genocides in the mid eighties and early 90's in the Peruvian Andes had a lot in common with the Indonesian and Malaysian anti-guerrilla models. And just like the Fujimori regime (controlled by the fascist General Hermoza Rios), Indonesia's "democracy" also has the military as the backbone, and both are on the top of the world's most repressive and genocidal regimes. Finally, there is one more important similarity, the border problems among neighboring nations are used fully by imperialist powers. Indonesia has boundary disputes with Singapore and Borneo, and Perú has territorial disputes with Chile and Ecuador. These border conflicts are manipulated by Yankee imperialism for its own interests.
The British writer Mark Curtis ("Ambiguities of Power: British Foreign Policy since 1945," Zed Books, London 1995) provides a well-documented description of the U.S. and British role in perpetrating what has been called the second greatest genocide of the century.
"Suharto is a key British ally and the recipient of increasing British aid and major weapons such as Hawk aircraft. Military contacts between London and Jakarta, which include training in the UK are reasonably extensive and gradually increasing, notably then Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd in 1994. Since then, huge arms sales have been in the offing. The evidence uncovered in the declassified files suggests that the closeness of today's relationship may owe something to the British role in 1965."
Wiping Out Opposition
The secret files reveal three crucial aspects of the British role. The first is that Britain wanted the anti-Sukamo Generals to act against the PKI and welcomed it. Both Britain and the US were keen to see the fall of the Sukamo regime. It was a non aligned, independent nationalist government which by the early 1960's was, in a policy of military confrontation, claiming parts of Malaya, a British ally which had recently become independent. British forces had been deployed in Borneo to prevent Indonesian encroachments. The US and Britain saw great economic opportunities in Indonesia, provided the right regime was in power. According to a CIA memorandum of June 1962, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and President John Kennedy, "agreed to liquidate President Sukarno, depending on the situation and the available opportunities." In the late 1950's, Britain had aided covert US attempts to organize a guerrilla army to overthrow Sukarno.
The newly-released British government documents show British concerns in 1965. The British Ambassador in Jakarta Sir Andrew Gilchrist, informed the Foreign Office on October 5 that year that "I have never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change." On October 6, the Foreign Office in London stated that "the crucial question still remains whether the Generals will pluck up enough courage o take decisive action against the PKI." Gilchrist noted that the army was "full of good anticommunist ideas," but lamented the fact that, a week after the assassinations of September 30, the Generals were "reluctant to take, or incapable of taking, effective action in the political field."
On October 16, the Foreign Office noted that "we must surely prefer an Army to a Communist regime" and declared:
"It seems pretty clear that the Generals are going to need all the help they can get and accept without being tagged as hopelessly pro-Western, if they are going to be able to gain ascendancy over the Communists. In the short run, and while the present confusion continues, we can hardly go wrong by tacitly backing the Generals."
The Indonesian army's actions soon involved carrying out and facilitating mass killings. The Foreign Office stated on October 19 that "the Generals are now trying to demolish the political organization of the PKI . . . and to eliminate its political influence." The US embassy in Jakarta reported on 22 October that "the army has moved swiftly in the first half of October to crack down on the PKI" and continued: "Now is the ideal time in some ways for the army to be committed to a struggle to the death with the PKI."
A month later, a British official reported on November 25 that "PKI men and women are being executed in very large numbers." Some victims "are given a knife and invited to kill themselves. Most refuse and are told to turn round and are shot in the back." One executioner considered it "his duty to exterminate what he called 'less than animals"'. (Interestingly, the file on this statement is taken from -housed at the Public Record Office- is only partly declassified. It states: ("This is a copy: The original has been closed under section 5 (1) of the Public Records Act 1958 until 2006.")
In mid-December 1965, the British embassy noted that the "PKI and its affiliates have now been dissolved" in one province and that the military commander in another "said that the dissolution of the Party in his area presents 'no basic problem' because the whole region has been purged already." By this time, the US embassy estimated that over one hundred thousand people had been killed. An official in the British embassy wrote to the Ambassador on December 16: "You -like me- may have been somewhat surprised to see estimates by the American embassy that well over a hundred thousand people have been killed in the troubles since October 1st. I am, however, ready to accept such figures after [receiving] some horrifying details of the purges that have been taking place . . . The local army commander . . . has a list of PKI members in five categories. He has been given orders to kill those in the first three categories. So far, some 2,000 people have been killed in the environs . . . A woman of 78 . . . was taken away one night by a village execution squad . . . Half a dozen heads were neatly arranged on the parapet of a small bridge."
It was not only PKI supporters who were the targets of this slaughter. As the British files show, many of the victims were the "merest rank and file" of the PKI who were "often no more than bewildered peasants who give the wrong answer on a dark night to bloodthirsty hooligans bent on violence" with the connivance of the army. The campaign was against all opposition; it was aimed at wiping out all prospects of any form of political development outside the control of the army. In the meantime, Indonesia's economic riches continued to be eyed by both the leading Western powers.
The second British role concerns support for the campaign through covert operations. On October 5, 1965, the British political adviser to the Commander-in-Chief in Singapore (the main British military and intelligence base in the region) reported to the Foreign Office in London: "We should not miss the present opportunity to use the situation to our advantage . . . I recommend that we should have no hesitation in doing what we can surreptitiously to blacken the PKI in the eyes of the army and the people of Indonesia."
The British foreign Office (M.I.6.)replied: "We certainly do not exclude any unattributable propaganda or psywar [psychological warfare] activities which would contribute to weakening the PKI permanently. We therefore agree with the [above] recommendation . . . Suitable propaganda themes might be . . . Chinese interference in particular arms shipments; PKI subverting Indonesia as agents of foreign communists . . . We want to act quickly while the Indonesians are still off balance but treatment will need to be subtle . . . Please let us know of any suggestions you may have on these lines where we could be helpful at this end."
On October 9, the political adviser confirmed that "we have made arrangements for distribution of certain unattributable material based on the general guidance" in the Foreign Office memo, although the files do not reveal what these were.
Other files allude to a plan, instigated by the US to which the British pledged support, to propagandize the links between PKI leader, Aidit, and China after Aidit's arrest had become public knowledge. The Foreign Office wrote: "We are willing to cooperate with the Americans in using Aidit's arrest when confirmed to further our policy of blackening the PKI and emphasizing Chinese interference." [Note. A similar tactic is being used by the CIA today in Perú in trying to use the arrest of PCP's leader Chairman Gonzalo for psychological operations (e.g., peace letters)]
However, there is an even more sinister side to covert British support for Suharto's Generals. Britain was engaged in "confrontation" with Indonesia over Malaya. On October 6, the Foreign Office stated that British policy "did not want to distract the Indonesian army by getting them en gaged in fighting in Borneo and so discourage them from the attempts which they now seem to be making to deal with the PKI." The US was worried that Britain might take advantage of the instability in Indonesia by launching a "counteroffensive from Singapore to stab the good Generals in the back," as Ambassador Gilchrist described the US fear.
The British political adviser in Singapore wrote to the Foreign Office: "We have considered Gilchrist's suggestion . . . that we should get word to the Generals that we shall not attack them while they are chasing the PKI. The C-in-C [British military commander in Singapore] thinks that this has some merit and might ensure that the army is not distracted [sic] from what we consider to be a necessary task. I hope that you are urgently considering whether something of the kind can be done. Clearly to be effective any message should be delivered within the next day or two. Our views are that the message should be oral (and therefore deniable)."
Gilchrist confirmed that he would "pass a carefully phrased oral message about not biting the Generals in the rear for the resent." A file of October 20 shows that the message went ahead, noting that "the secret communication was made to he Generals, through the American contact."
The third British role concerns its relationship with the United States. It is known from declassified US records that the US covertly provided arms to the Generals to aid their campaign of slaughter. The US embassy in Jakarta also gave the Indonesian army a list of thousands of PKI supporters who were subsequently hunted down and killed. The British files reveal extremely close relations between the US and British embassies in Jakarta: " Everything of significance from the American embassy . . . is being reported to their embassy London," one UK official noted. Also, US "sit-reps [situation reports] of intelligence go back to" the Foreign Office in London.
Britain was initially reluctant to see US equipment go to the Generals let it be used in the "confrontation" against British forces in Borneo. Thus the British files show that the State Department has "undertaken to consult with us before they do anything to support the Generals."
The first US supplies to the Indonesian army were radio equipment "to help in internal security" and to help the Generals "in their task of overcoming the Communists," noted Ambassador Gilchrist. Patrick Dean, the British Ambassador in Washington, wrote that such supplies would "be short-term gesture of encouragement" from the US to the Generals. "I see no reason to object or complain" to these supplies, Gilchrist commented. Later he noted that the equipment "had been very gratefully accepted."
The story goes further. The secret US files-documented historian Gabriel Kolko -show that, in early November 1965, the US received a request from the Indonesian Generals equipment "to arm Moslem and nationalist youths . . . for against the PKI." The US promised to supply such covert -dubbed "medicines." In the British files the British Ambassador noted on November 14: "Agreement has been reached on the supply in the near future of medicines and communications equipment to the value of something under million dollars."
The British files do not reveal whether British officials that these "medicines" were weapons. It is possible the US reneged on its undertaking to consult the British the arms transfers; however, in earlier discussions about possibility, a British official at the embassy in Washington noted: "I do not think that this is very likely." Given their relations, it is likely that the US did inform the British on true nature of these supplies and that the British approved them. The approval of radio sets to the army for "internal security" already showed British willingness to aid the Generals' campaign, as did their other covert operations.
No wonder close military, diplomatic and economic relations have developed between London and Jakarta over the 30 years; the bloody beginnings of Suharto's rule owe at something to British foreign policy. A memo written by then (Labor) Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart to Prime Minister Wilson during the killings is apt today:
"It is only the economic chaos of Indonesia which presents that country from offering great potential opportunities to British exporters. If there is going to be a deal with Indonesia, as I hope one day there may be, I think we ought to take an active part and try to secure a slice of the cake ourselves."
The Pursuit of "Imperialist Interests"
Britain has in fact played a significant supportive role in some of the world's worst acts of mass killing. Together with the US, Britain helped to legitimize the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970's and early 1980's, following their alleged genocide of over one million people in Cambodia, by continuing to recognize at the United Nations the Khmer Rouge as the legitimate government of Cambodia. In the 1980's, the SAS also covertly trained guerrillas allied to the Khmer Rouge (and the Khmer Rouge directly, according to journalist John Pilger) in the use of weapons and mine- laying techniques. [This proves that the comparison of the Khmer Rouge with the Communist Party of Perú is stupid and ridiculous!]
The worst recent example is Rwanda in 1994 where a million people were killed in a planned strategy of mass murder. Britain was a key member of the UN Security Council which reduced the UN's troop presence in Rwanda in April 1994, effectively sending a green light to the killers. As the killings mounted, the government-followed by the media-carried on identifying the war as "civil strife" when what was taking place was a planned strategy of mass killing. Terming it "civil war" served to absolve external actors of responsibility for helping to stop it, as in Bosnia. Britain also helped the Security Council to reject describing the killings as "genocide" - to have done so would have compelled them, under the terms of the Geneva Convention, to "prevent and punish" those responsible. Along with other states on the Security Council, Britain also allowed the Rwandan government to retain its seat on the Council during the massacres, even as its ambassador delivered a speech blaming the victims (by then numbering around 200,000) for the killings.
What these events have in common is the usual pursuit of "imperialist interests" (that is, the interests of the ruling groups that control policy) in the face of the grossest crimes. This is systematic and consistent rather than evidence of occasional "double standards." This systematic British and US role is rarely exposed. British and US academics rarely consult the declassified files, many of which have simply been sitting in the Public Record Office for years, apparently untouched; when researchers do look at them, the reality of policy rarely emerges.
Neither does the so-called conservative or liberal media betray much interest in exposing the topical realities of US and British policies. There are few sources for discovering the current role of the SAS in Colombia [in Peru is evident], for instance, or the nature of the close relations between London and a Turkish government engaged in gross abuses against Kurds, or the intelligence and military relations with the Persian Gulf states.
The truth is that our "democratic governments" have little concern for protecting civilized values; neither do those other institutions -media and academia- which are, in theory, in a position to counter, rather than aid, official power.