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Rabu, 23 Januari 2008

The United States and the Indonesian Army's "Mission"

The United States and the Indonesian Army's "Mission"
It seems clear that from as early as 1953 the U.S. was interested in helping to foment the regional crisis in Indonesia, usually recognized as the "immediate cause" that induced Sukarno, on March 14, 1957, to proclaim martial law, and bring "the officer corps legitimately into politics."29
By 1953 (if not earlier) the U.S. National Security Council had already adopted one of a series of policy documents calling for "appropriate action, in collaboration with other friendly countries, to prevent permanent communist control" of Indonesia.30 Already NSC 171/1 of that year envisaged military training as a means of increasing U.S. influence, even though the CIA's primary efforts were directed towards right-wing political parties ("moderates ... on the right," as NSC 171 called them): notably the Masjumi Muslim and the PSI "Socialist" parties. The millions of dollars which the CIA poured into the Masjumi and the PSI in the mid-1950s were a factor influencing the events of 1965, when a former PSI member -- Sjam -- was the alleged mastermind of Gestapu,31 and PSI-leaning officers -- notably Suwarto and Sarwo Edhie -- were prominent in planning and carrying out the anti-PKI response to Gestapu.32
In 1957-58, the CIA infiltrated arms and personnel in support of the regional rebellions against Sukarno. These operations were nominally covert, even though an American plane and pilot were captured, and the CIA efforts were accompanied by an offshore task force of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.33 In 1975 a Senate Select Committee studying the CIA discovered what it called "some evidence of CIA involvement in plans to assassinate President Sukarno"; but, after an initial investigation of the November 1957 assassination attempt in the Cikini district of Jakarta, the committee did not pursue the matter.34
On August 1, 1958, after the failure of the CIA-sponsored PRRI-Permesta regional rebellions against Sukarno, the U.S. began an upgraded military assistance program to Indonesia in the order of twenty million dollars a year.35 A U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff memo of 1958 makes it clear this aid was given to the Indonesian Army ("the only non-Communist force ... with the capability of obstructing the ... PKI") as "encouragement" to Nasution to "carry out his 'plan' for the control of Communism."36
The JCS had no need to spell out Nasution's "plan," to which other documents at this time made reference.37 It could only imply the tactics for which Nasution had distinguished himself (in American eyes) during the crushing of the PKI in the Madiun Affair of 1948: mass murders and mass arrests, at a minimum of the party's cadres, possibly after an army provocation.38 Nasution confirmed this in November 1965, after the Gestapu slaughter, when he called for the total extinction of the PKI, "down to its very roots so there will be no third Madiun."39
By 1958, however, the PKI had emerged as the largest mass movement in the country. It is in this period that a small group of U.S. academic researchers in U.S. Air Force- and CIA-subsidized "think-tanks" began pressuring their contacts in the Indonesian military publicly, often through U.S. scholarly journals and presses, to seize power and liquidate the PKI opposition.40 The most prominent example is Guy Pauker, who in 1958 both taught at the University of California at Berkeley and served as a consultant at the RAND Corporation. In the latter capacity he maintained frequent contact with what he himself called "a very small group" of PSI intellectuals and their friends in the army.41
In a RAND Corporation book published by the Princeton University Press, Pauker urged his contacts in the Indonesian military to assume "full responsibility" for their nation's leadership, "fulfill a mission," and hence "to strike, sweep their house clean."42 Although Pauker may not have intended anything like the scale of bloodbath which eventually ensued, there is no escaping the fact that "mission" and "sweep clean" were buzz-words for counterinsurgency and massacre, and as such were used frequently before and during the coup. The first murder order, by military officers to Muslim students in early october, was the word sikat, meaning "sweep," "clean out," "wipe out," or "massacre."43
Pauker's closest friend in the Indonesian army was a U.S.-trained General Suwarto, who played an important part in the conversion of the army from a revolutionary to a counterinsurgency function. In the years after 1958, Suwarto built the Indonesian Army Staff and Command School in Bandung (SESKOAD) into a training-ground for the takeover of political power. SESKOAD in this period became a focal-point of attention from the Pentagon, the CIA, RAND, and (indirectly) the Ford Foundation.44
Under the guidance of Nasution and Suwarto, SESKOAD developed a new strategic doctrine, that of Territorial Warfare (in a document translated into English by Pauker), which gave priority to counterinsurgency as the army's role. Especially after 1962, when the Kennedy administration aided the Indonesian Army in developing Civic Mission or "civic action" programs, this meant the organization of its own political infrastructure, or "Territorial Organization," reaching in some cases down to the village level.45 As the result of an official U.S. State Department recommendation in 1962, which Pauker helped write, a special U.S. MILTAG (Military Training Advisory Group) was set up in Jakarta, to assist in the implementation of SESKOAD's Civic Mission programs.46
SESKOAD also trained the army officers in economics and administration, and thus to operate virtually as a para-state, independent of Sukarno's government. So the army began to collaborate, and even sign contracts, with U.S. and other foreign corporations in areas which were now under its control. This training program was entrusted to officers and civilians close to the PSI.47 U.S. officials have confirmed that the civilians, who themselves were in a training program funded by the Ford Foundation, became involved in what the (then) U.S. military attache called "contingency planning" to prevent a PKI takeover.48
But the most significant focus of U.S. training and aid was the Territorial Organization's increasing liaison with "the civilian administration, religious and cultural organizations, youth groups, veterans, trade unions, peasant organizations, political parties and groups at regional and local levels."49 These political liaisons with civilian groups provided the structure for the ruthless suppression of the PKI in 1965, including the bloodbath.50
Soon these army and civilian cadres were together plotting disruptive activities, such as the Bandung anti-Chinese riots of May 1963, which embarrassed not just the PKI, but Sukarno himself. Chomsky and Herman report that "Army-inspired anti-Chinese programs that took place in West Java in 1959 were financed by U.S. contributions to the local army commander"; apparently CIA funds were used by the commander (Colonel Kosasih) to pay local thugs in what Mozingo calls "the army's (and probably the Americans') campaign to rupture relations with China."51 The 1963 riot, which took place in the very shadow of SESKOAD, is linked by Sundhaussen to an army "civic action" organization; and shows conspiratorial contact between elements (an underground PSI cell, PSI- and Masjumi-affiliated student groups, and General Ishak Djuarsa of the Siliwangi Division's "civic action" organization) that would all be prominent in the very first phase of Suharto's so-called "response" to the Gestapu.52 The May 1963 student riots were repeated in October 1965 and (especially in Bandung) January 1966, at which time the liaison between students and the army was largely in the hands of PSI-leaning officers like Sarwo Edhie and Kemal Idris.53 The CIA Plans Directorate was sympathetic to the increasing deflection of a nominally anti-PKI operation into one embarrassing Sukarno. This turn would have come as no surprise: Suwarto, Kemal Idris and the PSI had been prominent in a near-coup (the so-called "Lubis affair") in 1956.54
But increasingly Suwarto cultivated a new student, Colonel Suharto, who arrived at SESKOAD in October 1959. According to Sundhaussen, a relatively pro-Suharto scholar: "In the early 1960s Soeharto was involved in the formation of the Doctrine of Territorial Warfare and the Army's policy on Civic Mission (that is, penetration of army officers into all fields of government activities and responsibilities).55 Central to the public image of Gestapu and Suharto's response is the much-publicized fact that Suharto, unlike his sometime teacher Suwarto, and his long-time chief of staff Achmad Wiranatakusuma, had never studied in the United States. But his involvement in Civic Mission (or what Americans called "civic action") programs located him along with PSI-leaning officers at the focal point of U.S. training activities in Indonesia, in a program which was nakedly political.56
The refinement of Territorial Warfare and Civic Mission Doctrine into a new strategic doctrine for army political intervention became by 1965 the ideological process consolidating the army for political takeover. After Gestapu, when Suwarto was an important political advisor to his former SESKOAD pupil Suharto, his strategic doctrine was the justification for Suharto's announcement on August 15, 1966, in fulfillment of Pauker's public and private urgings, that the army had to assume a leading role in all fields.57
Hence the army unity meeting of January 1965, arranged after Suharto had duplicitously urged Nasution to take "a more accommodating line"58 towards Sukarno, was in fact a necessary step in the process whereby Suharto effectively took over from his rivals Yani and Nasution. It led to the April 1965 seminar at SESKOAD for a compromise army strategic doctrine, the Tri Ubaya Cakti, which "reaffirmed the army's claim to an independent political role."59 On August 15, 1966, Suharto, speaking to the nation, justified his increasing prominence in terms of the "Revolutionary Mission" of the Tri Ubaya Cakti doctrine. Two weeks later at SESKOAD the doctrine was revised, at Suharto's instigation but in a setting "carefully orchestrated by Brigadier Suwarto," to embody still more clearly Pauker's emphasis on the army's "Civic Mission" or counterrevolutionary role.60 This "Civic Mission," so important to Suharto, was also the principal goal and fruit of U.S. military aid to Indonesia.
By August 1964, moreover, Suharto had initiated political contacts with Malaysia, and hence eventually with Japan, Britain, and the United States.61 Although the initial purpose of these contacts may have been to head off war with Malaysia, Sundhaussen suggests that Suharto's motive was his concern, buttressed in mid-1964 by a KOSTRAD intelligence report, about PKI political advances.62 Mrazek links the peace feelers to the withdrawal of "some of the best army units" back to Java in the summer of 1965.63 These movements, together with earlier deployment of a politically insecure Diponegoro battalion in the other direction, can also be seen as preparations for the seizure of power.64
In Nishihara's informed Japanese account, former PRRI / Permesta personnel with intelligence connections in Japan were prominent in these negotiations, along with Japanese officials.65 Nishihara also heard that an intimate ally of these personnel, Jan Walandouw, who may have acted as a CIA contact for the 1958 rebellion, later again "visited Washington and advocated Suharto as a leader."66 I am reliably informed that Walandouw's visit to Washington on behalf of Suharto was made some months before Gestapu.67

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