Tuesday, April 3, 2007


30 September 2006


Hampir setengah abad yang lalu (akhir 1965), di Indonesia telah terjadi suatu perubahan politik yang drastis. Gagalnya G30S yang dilancarkan oleh sekelompok perwira TNI, telah memberi kesempatan kepada Jendral Suharto untuk merebut kekuasaan negara. Selanjutnya Jendral Suharto melancarkan kampanye persekusi dan pembantaian masal terhadap kaum Komunis, golongan Kiri lainnya dan pendukung Presiden Sukarno. Pada waktunya Jendral Suharto melorot Presiden Sukarno secara formal dari jabatannya, dan Jendral Suharto menjadi penguasa tunggal Indonesia. Orba ditegakkan dibawah naungan bedil dan dihapuskannya hak-hak demokrasi. Dukungan politik terutama dan terpenting datang dari partai GOLKAR yang dibentuk oleh Jendral Suharto untuk keperluan itu.
Mengenai peristiwa G30S, pembunuhan masal oleh fihak militer dengan bantuan kekuatan politik/religius yang mendukungnya, dan digulingkannya Presiden Sukarno, terdapat pelbagai tulisan dan anlisis dalam jumlah besar, sebagai hasil penelitian dan studi oleh pelbagai pakar asing. Terdapat pelbagai varian kesimpulan yang itu semua merupakan bahan pelajaran bagi siapa saja yang menaruh perhatian untuk mencari kebenaran sekitar peristiwa tsb.
Bagi yang ada kepedulian untuk mengikuti tulisan-tulisan tsb, dibawah ini disajikan cuplikan tulisan seorang pakar asing, dalam bahasa Inggris, (kali ini) oleh Prof Dr. Mary Somers Heidhues, Universitas Passau .
Mudah-mudahan tulisan ini dan tulisan-tulisan yang akan di sajikan berikutnya, akan mendorong pembaca untuk memlihara dan meneruskan kegiatan studi masing-masing secara kritis, sekitar suatu peristiwa penting dan krusial dalam sejarah bangsa kita. Suatu peristiwa yang telah membawa begitu banyak korban, dan terjerumusnya negeri kita di bawah suatu rezim Orba yang anti-demokratis dan yang telah melakukan pelanggaran HAM terbesar dalam sejarah kita. Namun, produk rezim Orba, pertama-tama adalah telah dilumpuhkannya keberanian berfikir sendiri, dibikin tumpulnya kepekaan bangsa mengenai perhatian terhadap fkata-fakta yang sesungguhnya dalam sejarah bangsa kita. Fakta-fakra sejarah , yang tidak direkayasa.
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Inilah bagian dari tulisan Prof. Mary Somers Heidhues, sbb:
TO THE 1965 “COUP”
Whatever the case, during 1964 and 1965 “a domestic explosion was building up.With the PKI’s apparent surge toward dominance, Sukarno’s shifts to the left and anti-Western provocations, a collapsing economy, manifold intrigues of both the PKI and the army, each with its schemes to infiltrate each other, and the conspiratorial atmosphere heightened in mid-1965 by reports about Sukarno’s imminent fall or death, Jakarta bubbled with rumors in a feverish period aptly described by Sukarno as the “Year of Living Dangerously.” As has been shown by Bunnell, the U.S. responded to this situation with “largely consistent restraint [...] in contrast to the concurrent escalation of the American war in Vietnam.” Regarding Sukarno, there were two schools of thought among U.S. policymakers, one of accommodation, shaped by Ambassador Jones, hoping that actively influencing Sukarno and showing a friendly attitude towards him would moderate his anti-Western behavior, and one of “low posture”, shaped by U.S. officials in Washington who gained predominance after Jones departed from Indonesia in May 1965, viewing any initiative to influence Sukarno as futile. On balance, both approaches were consistent in believing that channels of communication with the Indonesian army should be kept open to fortify it for a showdown with the PKI, but also that essentially Indonesia would have “to save itself.”

As early as 1964 Jones had approached Nasution to explore possibilities of action by the army against the PKI. He asked Nasution “whether the army would take action against PKI if the party attempted exploit current economic difficulties through strikes, riots, etc. He [Nasution] said that PKI was still supporting Sukarno and would not go so far as to adopt tactics directed at Sukarno. If PKI did, however, Madiun [a 1948 purge of the Communists] would be mild compared with an army crackdown today.”^^92 To help the army prepare for such a counterinsurgency, the U.S. since 1962 provided military training at the Indonesian Army Staff and Command School in Bandung (SESKOAD) and aided the army to develop its “civic-action” programs, which brought the organization of the army’s political infrastructure down to the village level. As Scott has pointed out, SESKOAD also trained the army officers in economics and administration, “and thus to operate virtually as a para-state.” Ransom has suggested that the U.S. viewed education as an “arm of statecraft” and created a “modernizing elite” in Indonesia through the Ford Foundation, teaching the generals in counterinsurgency and how to run military-private enterprises, and educating economists and administrators at American top universities as part of a broader strategy which envisaged that key U.S.-trained Indonesians would eventually seize power “and put their pro-American lessons into practice.

This does not of course suffice as evidence to support Wertheim’s suggestion that the U.S. may have aided General Suharto in engineering the October 1 coup, even though it is clear that the NSC approved a covert action program in March 1965 with its main thrust being designed “to exploit factionalism within the PKI itself, to emphasize traditional Indonesian distrust of Mainland China and to portray the PKI as an instrument of Red Chinese imperialism. Specific types of activity envisaged include covert liaison with and support to existing anti-Communist groups, particularly among the [/less than 1 line of source text not declassified/], black letter operations, media operations, including possibly black radio, and political action within existing Indonesian organizations and institutions.” One of the operational objectives of this covert action program was also to “identify and cultivate potential leaders within Indonesia for the purpose of ensuring an orderly non-Communist succession upon Sukarno’s death or removal from office.”The body of CIA documents released to date does not, however, shed any light on the question how this program was implemented.

Several coup options were certainly discussed by U.S. policymakers in Washington and Jakarta by the beginning of 1965, when Indonesia’s military elite formed a “Council of Generals” to develop contingency plans for dealing with the mounting PKI threat. Ambassador Jones repeatedly claimed to have information from the inner circles of the army that it had “specific plans for a takeover of the government”, but in Washington skepticism prevailed as to how promising the prospects of an army takeover really were. In any case, the U.S. was apparently not prepared to intervene directly. Anti-American sentiments in Indonesia were on the rise since Sukarno had encouraged a campaign by PKI unions to harass U.S. installations and enterprises in February, a crisis which led to the dispatch of presidential envoy Ellsworth Bunker to Indonesia in March to assess the situation. His report became a policy blueprint recommending that “a reduced, non-provocative presence was the best means available to the U.S.”When the PKI called on Sukarno to break relations with the U.S. in a campaign accompanied by attacks on American diplomatic installations in August, the U.S. community in Jakarta was reduced from over 400 to only 35 officials. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, since July headed by the new Ambassador Marshall Green, was unable “to identify any feasible means –covert or overt- by which the United States could check the leftward drift of events.”

However limited American power to influence, let alone manipulate, the events leading up to the “domestic explosion” of late 1965 seems to have been, the Americans were happy to assist the Suharto faction as soon as they realized that it was gaining the upper hand against Sukarno and the PKI. While acknowledging that events would “largely follow their own course” since they were “determined by basic forces far beyond our ability to control”, Ambassador Green recommended as soon as October 5, when it became apparent that the allegedly pro-Communist coup of September 30 had failed and a purge of the PKI in the countryside was beginning, to “spread the story of PKI’s guilt, treachery and brutality” and to assist the army “if we can find a way to do it without identifying it as solely or largely a U.S. effort.”

Both the Johnson administration and the Indonesian army were cautious at first regarding American aid, fearing that if it were discovered or credibly charged by Sukarno or PKI at this critical stage, as it had been during the regional rebellion, its effects could be counterproductive. As Suharto’s countercoup took shape, however, General Sukendro, a close aide to Suharto and Nasution, in November secretly procured communications equipment and small arms through the U.S. embassy in Thailand. The weapons were “to arm Moslem and nationalist youths in Central Java for use against the PKI,” whereas the communications equipment was destined for the army leadership itself and the “tactical unit level in the Central Java area.” “Special covert training at a safe site in use of the equipment” was also agreed upon.

In mid-December Under-Secretary of State George Ball exclaimed that the “Indonesian military leaders’ campaign to destroy the PKI is moving fairly swiftly and smoothly,” and expressed his confidence that “these developments will move so rapidly that we may be confronted within weeks with a situation we have hoped for, i.e. a new government, emerging or in being, that we can begin to talk to and deal with.”Thus the long-anticipated showdown between the army and PKI was finally taking place and the United States, preoccupied with the escalating war in Vietnam, clearly welcomed the emergence of the rightist military regime under General Suharto who was to court Western support as soon as he effectively eased Sukarno out of power in March 1966.

It should be noted that the U.S. policymakers were completely aware of the tragic social breakdown that was taking place in Indonesia and what the American supplies of arms and communications equipment, whatever modest these may have been, were being used for. In mid-November the U.S. consul in Medan described in a cable to the Department of State the “bloodthirsty” attitude of youth groups who were “cornering and beating to death” PKI members in North Sumatra, further stating that “something like a real reign of terror against PKI is taking place. This terror is not discriminating very carefully between PKI leaders and ordinary PKI members with no ideological bond to the party.” Washington remained acquiescent.

Another issue that has been brought up recently is that U.S. officials systematically compiled lists of PKI cadres and passed them to the perpetrators. In the investigative reporting of Kathy Kadane, Robert J. Martens, a former member of the U.S. Jakarta Embassy’s political section who reportedly had compiled these lists, is quoted as saying somewhat boastfully: “It really was a big help to the army. They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.” Martens later stressed that “the names I gave were based entirely –I repeat entirely- on the Indonesia Communist press and were available to everyone.” In any case it is inappropriate to suggest that U.S. assistance to the Indonesian army was pivotal during the purge of PKI, since, as has been noted by Bunnell, “it is clear that indigenous Indonesian political and social forces, together with accidental factors, were the prime determinants of the watershed events of Indonesian politics in 1965.” The provocative actions of the PKI, and of Sukarno himself, both of which have not been discussed thoroughly in this commentary, certainly contributed significantly to the tragedy. And yet, as noted in Bunnell’s words in the introductory remarks, the U.S. was “surely an important and witting accomplice.”

The misguided, ill-conceived and ultimately counterproductive U.S. covert operation during the regional rebellion in 1957-58 and the acquiescent, even supportive U.S. policy stance towards the brutal military takeover in 1965-66 remain a cause for Indonesian mistrust of outside powers, particularly the United States, to this day. During both these episodes the United States was guided by alarmist assessments of the Indonesian situation as well as a “just war” mentality, sacrificing professed American moral standards for the sake of “saving” Indonesia from falling to the Communist bloc, and failing to acknowledge the human destruction which was inflicted on Indonesia by the ideological polarization of the Cold War era. U.S. decision makers also ignored the powerful nationalist current that ultimately kept the regional rebels from fighting ferociously against Jakarta and may also have kept the PKI from dragging Indonesia into the Communist bloc in case it had been given a chance to share power in the Indonesian government. In both these episodes, the irresistible appeal of nationalist, anticolonial, and anti-Western currents to Indonesians was very much evident.
The unintended effects of U.S. actions have proven most consequential to developments in Indonesia. In the case of the abortive regional rebellion, a polarization of the formerly pluralistic political scene ensued, concentrating power in the hands of Sukarno, the army and the PKI. Thus the stage was set for the radicalization of the 1960s that eventually led to the tragedy of 1965-66. The military regime that was initially welcomed and subsequently nurtured by the U.S. seemed to serve Western interests well during the Cold War era, but its legacy of corruption, mismanagement and human rights abuses has left Indonesia traumatized again and is causing renewed headaches for U.S. policy makers concerned with a prosperous and stable Indonesia in the current age.
There is, to be sure, an important difference between the two episodes of U.S. involvement in Indonesian affairs described above. Whereas the U.S. backing of the regional rebellion was based on the assumption that the U.S. could effectively manipulate events in this far-flung archipelagic nation to serve its interests, the U.S. policy stance leading up to the tragic events of 1965 was apparently somewhat more astute in acknowledging that American power was too limited to make much of a difference. In any case, it should be stressed that this commentary does not seek to claim American responsibility for all developments in Indonesia since its independence, be they good or bad, for the story of Indonesia has been mainly the story of Indonesians, after all.
And yet, even as the events described in this commentary may seem to be distant episodes of the Cold War, episodes that are all over and done with, lessons can still be drawn from it. The recent outbreaks of anti-American sentiments in Indonesia triggered by U.S. intervention in Afghanistan in its so-called “War against Terror” are potentially disruptive for the domestic political setting and may serve as only the latest proof of persistent Indonesian perceptions of the United States as an imperial power. * * *

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