Follow the Soapbox
 
Mickey Z. -- SPN/World News Trust--Nov. 13, 2014
With a defense budget -- hold on, let's dispense with the spin -- with a war budget that eats up at least 50 percent of federal tax dollars each year, did you ever wonder if all the legal tender being funneled away from social programs is making anyone except defense contractors safer?

And just who are the clever folks trusted with the responsibility of deciding how that monumental sum is spent?

One needn’t waste hours scouring accurate expenditures to discern that many U.S. decision makers fall neatly into the Austin Powers camp of spying. It might be comforting for some to convince themselves that the CIA is efficient and necessary, but to follow is a fine example of American “intelligence” to help snap us out of our denial.

It starts with one-time Indonesian president, Sukarno.

A full-face mask of Sukarno
In 1948, George Kennan, head of the State Department post-war planning staff, called the resource-rich nation of Indonesia "the most crucial issue of the moment in our struggle with the Kremlin." At that time, Sukarno had been president of the world's largest Muslim nation for three years.

"A star among Third World leaders, active in the nonaligned, anti-imperialist movement," author Mark Zepezauer says Sukarno had "long been a thorn in the side of the United States. Worse yet, the Communist party (PKI) was part of his governing coalition."

"The PKI, nominally backed by Sukarno, was a legal and formidable organization and was the third largest Communist Party in the world," writes former CIA agent Ralph McGehee. Inevitably, Sukarno garnered the attention of that inventive gang of sleuths at the CIA and covert U.S. support for his rivals in the Indonesian military hit full stride by 1957. 

That’s just about the time that the CIA hatched a scheme to bring down the popular Indonesian leader -- a scheme that would surely make Inspector Clousseau swoon.

The basic idea was to portray the hated Sukarno in a pornographic film -- with his supposed Soviet spy mistress. (Note to younger readers: Yes, there was actually a time when appearing in a sex video was not considered a good career move.) 

“Our special Sukarno committee was formed to accomplish … the production of a film, or at least some still photos, showing Sukarno and his Russian girlfriend engaged in his favorite activity,” CIA operative Joseph Burkholder Smith writes in Portrait of a Cold Warrior.

American taxpayers dollars went a long way in funding the CIA’s neat idea of developing a full-face mask of Sukarno and then hiring an American porn actor in Los Angeles to wear it. History did not record who tackled the role of “sexy Soviet mistress.” 

“The resulting movie and some still photographs from it were passed around influential circles in Indonesia,” explains Barry Hillenbrand in Time magazine. “But the CIA miscalculated. Rather than express surprise and outrage at their leader's apparent peccadilloes, Indonesians shrugged.”

Shortly after that, the CIA went back to what it does best: covert military support and destabilization resulting in a bloody coup to install a dictator more amenable to America’s desires. 

“Many more than one million”
Once the pornography effort fizzled, the Agency began to give direct assistance to rebel groups inside Indonesia, e.g. CIA B-26s carried out bombing missions. On May 18, 1958, one such B-26 was shot down and the United States called the captured pilot, Allen Pope, a “soldier of fortune.” In reality, Pope was an employee of a CIA-owned proprietary company, Civil Air Transport.

Sukarno survived the B movie and the B-26s. Clearly, a more direct approach was needed.

“In 1963, U.S.-trained Indonesian trade unionists began gathering the names of workers who were members or sympathizers of unions affiliated with the national labor federation, SOBSI,” says McGehee. “These trade unionist spies laid the groundwork for many of the massacres of 1965-1966. The CIA also used elements in the 105,000-strong Indonesian national police force to penetrate and gather information on the PKI.”

William Blum describes what followed as “a series of events, involving a supposed coup attempt, a counter-coup, and perhaps a counter-counter-coup, with American fingerprints apparent at various points.” 

On Oct. 30, 1965, Major General Suharto, in a speech before a military audience, angrily denounced the PKI and demanded that the “Communists be completely uprooted.”

“Uprooted” was putting it mildly. 

Estimates of those murdered by Suharto’s thugs vary widely. The scale of the massacre is unknown. The CIA: 250,000. The head of the Indonesia state security system: more than 500,000. Amnesty International: “many more than one million.” 

Again, even The New York Times called it “one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history” but left out any reference to U.S. culpability.

As Zepezauer explains, “the death squads had been working from hit lists provided by the U.S. State Department.” One U.S. diplomat called the lists “a big help” to the Indonesian army. “They probably killed a lot of people and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands,” the diplomat commented afterwards. “But that’s not bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.”

Time magazine celebrated Suharto’s rise to power with a cover story calling it a “boiling bloodbath that almost unnoticed took 400,000 lives,” and characterized the new regime as “scrupulously constitutional,” lauding the “quietly determined” Suharto with his “almost innocent face.”

Never forget, comrades… this is what we’re up against.

Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.

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