ppi.028-INDONESIA: CIA compiled death lists in 1965


Richard Moore

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    a public service of CADRE (Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance)
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          ppi.028-INDONESIA: CIA compiled death lists in 1965
                A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

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                Republication permission granted for
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Publisher's note:

As you listen to the smug reports from Washington about the events in
Indonesia, and the pundits who are so savvy about the lineup of generals,
and the condescending remarks about Indonesian corruption from suave
officials, it is well to keep in mind just why places like that exist.  As
the chorus says in the song about the murder of Salvador Allende...

        "...and the bullets say,
            `made in the U S of A' "


Date: Fri, 22 May 1998
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Subject: (en) INDONESIA: CIA compiled death lists in 1965
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      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

INDONESIA: CIA compiled death lists in 1965


Ex-agents say CIA compiled death lists for

After 25 years, Americans speak of their role in
exterminating Communist Party

by Kathy Kadane, States News Service, 1990

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government played a
significant role in one of the worst massacres of
the century by supplying the names of thousands of
Communist Party leaders to the Indonesian army,
which hunted down the leftists and killed them,
former U.S. dip lomats say.

For the first time, U.S. officials acknowledge that
in 1965 they systematically compiled comprehensive
lists of Communist operatives, from top echelons
down to village cadres. As many as 5,000 names were
furnished to the Indonesian army, and the Americans
later checked off the names of those who had been
killed or captured, according to the U.S.

The killings were part of a massive bloodletting
that took an estimated 250,000 lives.

The purge of the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI) was
part of a U.S. drive to ensure that Communists did
not come to power in the largest country in
Southeast Asia, where the United States was already
fighting an undeclared war in Vietnam. Indonesia is
the fifth most-populous country in the world.

Silent for a quarter-century, former senior U.S.
diplomats and CIA officers described in lengthy
interviews how they aided Indonesian President
Suharto, then army leader, in his attack on the

"It really was a big help to the army," said Robert
J. Martens, a former member of the U.S. Embassy's
political section who is now a consultant to the
State Department. "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."

White House and State Department spokesmen declined
comment on the disclosures.

Although former deputy CIA station chief Joseph
Lazarsky and former diplomat Edward Masters, who
was Martens' boss, said CIA agents contributed in
drawing up the death lists, CIA spokesman Mark
Mansfield said, "There is no substance to the
allegation that the CIA was involved in the
preparation and/or distribution of a list that was
used to track down and kill PKI members. It is
simply not true."

Indonesian Embassy spokesman Makarim Wibisono said
he had no personal knowledge of events described by
former U.S. officials. "In terms of fighting the
Communists, as far as I'm concerned, the Indonesian
people fought by themselves to eradicate the Commun
ists," he said.

Martens, an experienced analyst of communist
affairs, headed an embassy group of State
Department and CIA officers that spent two years
compiling the lists. He later delivered them to an
army intermediary.

People named on the lists were captured in
overwhelming numbers, Martens said, adding, "It's a
big part of the reason the PKI has never come

The PKI was the third-largest Communist Party in
the world, with an estimated 3 million members.
Through affiliated organizations such as labor and
youth groups it claimed the loyalties of another 17

In 1966 the Washington Post published an estimate
that 500,000 were killed in the purge and the brief
civil war it triggered. In a 1968 report, the CIA
estimated there had been 250,000 deaths, and called
the carnage "one of the worst mass murders of the 2
0th century."

U.S. Embassy approval

Approval for the release of the names came from the
top U.S. Embassy officials, including former
Ambassador Marshall Green, deputy chief of mission
Jack Lydman and political section chief Edward
Masters, the three acknowledged in interviews.

Declassified embassy cables and State Department
reports from early October 1965, before the names
were turned over, show that U.S. officials knew
Suharto had begun roundups of PKI cadres, and that
the embassy had unconfirmed reports that firing
squads we re being formed to kill PKI prisoners.

Former CIA Director William Colby, in an interview,
compared the embassy's campaign to identify the PKI
leadership to the CIA's Phoenix Program in Vietnam.
In 1965, Colby was the director of the CIA's Far
East division and was responsible for directing U.
S. covert strategy in Asia.

"That's what I set up in the Phoenix Program in
Vietnam -- that I've been kicked around for a lot,"
he said. "That's exactly what it was. It was an
attempt to identify the structure" of the Communist

Phoenix was a joint U.S.-South Vietnamese program
set up by the CIA in December 1967 that aimed at
neutralizing members of the National Liberation
Front, the Vietcong political cadres. It was widely
criticized for alleged human rights abuses.

"You shoot them"

"The idea of identifying the local apparatus was
designed to -- well, you go out and get them to
surrender, or you capture or you shoot them," Colby
said of the Phoenix Program. "I mean, it was a war,
and they were fighting. So it was really aimed at
prov iding intelligence for operations rather than
a big picture of the thing."

In 1962, when he took over as chief of the CIA's
Far East division, Colby said he discovered the
United States did not have comprehensive lists of
PKI activists. Not having the lists "could have
been criticized as a gap in the intelligence
system," he sai d, adding they were useful for
"operation planning" and provided a picture of how
the party was organized. Without such lists, he
said, "you're fighting blind."

Asked if the CIA had been responsible for sending
Martens, a foreign service officer, to Jakarta in
1963 to compile the lists, Colby said, "Maybe, I
don't know. Maybe we did it. I've forgotten."

The lists were a detailed who's-who of the
leadership of the party of 3 million members,
Martens said. They included names of provincial,
city and other local PKI committee members, and
leaders of the "mass organizations," such as the
PKI national labor f ederation, women's and youth

Better information

"I know we had a lot more information" about the
PKI "than the Indonesians themselves," Green said.
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."

Masters, the embassy's political section chief,
said he believed the army had lists of its own, but
they were not as comprehensive as the American
lists. He said he could not remember whether the
decision to release the names had been cleared with
Washing ton.

The lists were turned over piecemeal, Martens said,
beginning at the top of the communist organization.
Martens supplied thousands of names to an
Indonesian emissary over a number of months, he
said. The emissary was an aide to Adam Malik, an
Indonesian m inister who was an ally of Suharto in
the attack on the Communists.

Interviewed in Jakarta, the aide, Tirta Kentjana
("Kim") Adhyatman, confirmed he had met with
Martens and received lists of thousands of names,
which he in turn gave to Malik. Malik passed them
on to Suharto's headquarters, he said.

"Shooting list"

Embassy officials carefully recorded the subsequent
destruction of the PKI organization. Using Martens'
lists as a guide, they checked off names of
captured and assassinated PKI leaders, tracking the
steady dismantling of the party apparatus, former
U.S. officials said.

Information about who had been captured and killed
came from Suharto's headquarters, according to
Joseph Lazarsky, deputy CIA station chief in
Jakarta in 1965. Suharto's Jakarta headquarters was
the central collection point for military reports
from aroun d the country detailing the capture and
killing of PKI leaders, Lazarsky said.

"We were getting a good account in Jakarta of who
was being picked up," Lazarsky said. "The army had
a 'shooting list' of about 4,000 or 5,000 people."

Detention centers were set up to hold those who
were not killed immediately.

"They didn't have enough goon squads to zap them
all, and some individuals were valuable for
interrogation," Lazarsky said. "The infrastructure
was zapped almost immediately. We knew what they
were doing. We knew they would keep a few and save
them for th e kangaroo courts, but Suharto and his
advisers said, if you keep them alive, you have to
feed them."

Masters, the chief of the political section, said,
"We had these lists" constructed by Martens, "and
we were using them to check off what was happening
to the party, what the effect" of the killings "was
on it."

Lazarsky said the checkoff work was also carried
out at the CIA's intelligence directorate in

Leadership destroyed

By the end of January 1966, Lazarsky said, the
checked-off names were so numerous the CIA analysts
in Washington concluded the PKI leadership had been

"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

Asked about the checkoffs, Colby said, "We came to
the conclusion that with the sort of Draconian way
it was carried out, it really set them" -- the
communists -- "back for years."

Asked if he meant the checkoffs were proof that the
PKI leadership had been caught or killed, he said,
"Yeah, yeah, that's right, ... the leading
elements, yeah."


----- This article first appeared in the
Spartanburg, South Carolina Herald-Journal on May
19, 1990, then in the San Francisco Examiner on May
20, 1990, the Washington Post on May 21, 1990, and
the Boston Globe on May 23, 1990. The version below
is from the Examiner.


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