Feb 25, 2008

The heart is on the left but the wallet, alas, is on the right

"In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule." F. Nietzsche
The Irish and the law of karma

Cromwell brought in a garrison of Scottish Protestants to keep the ignorant Irish Catholics under proper control.

Jonathan Swift has dealt with the savageries inflicted on the Irish. On his tombstone it says that here he lies where cruel indignation (saeva indignatio) no longer tortures his soul. Personally I'm not sure that's entirely true, that simply dying brings peace to the passion of rage that inspired Swift. Certainly the Irish who fled the potato famine and settled in Boston, Mass, now give unstintingly to the cause, without worrying too much whether the money will feed orphans or buy explosives, as long as it fights the hated English. "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge." I would hope that some at least of the current rulers of England have the intelligence to see that every reduction and softening of the cruelties inflicted by their ancestors produces a proportional reduction of the rage for revenge on the part of the Boston Irish, saving them immense and unavailing labor in the present. Intelligence is always to be admired, and stupidity to be regretted, but I admit I don't have much hope that this recognition of how karma works exists anywhere within the British ruling classes. Their snouts are too deep in the trough for anything to register, probably, certainly not the shade of the gaunt dean with his scatological loves and his grim humor. I wouldn't want to put a single dime on the likelihood that what the British Upper Classes don't notice doesn't exist, however.

Unpleasant in the extreme though the Northern Irish Protestant record is, we can't in practice solve the problem by shipping them all back to Scotland.

One element in this is usually ignored, however. It is clearly not in the best interests of Britain to be hostage to the Northern Irish. John Major's government was not the first to depend on the Ulster Protestants for a parliamentary majority, i.e., to stay in government at all, and he, like many governments before him, simply had to give them pretty much whatever they wanted, if he wanted to stay in power. This puts the Ulster Protestants in the position of the most hated of all school kids, the bully supported only by an older, tougher brother. By all means let the Scottish Protestants stay there, and hey, good luck dealing with your neighbors, and let us know how it all comes out. Blowing up people does not in any way provide an end or a solution to the problem. Indeed, to go back to where we started, that's precisely what created the problem in the first place. Ask the Boston Irish. The children's teeth are still set on edge hundreds of years after the fathers ate sour grapes. 2/17/02

“All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man in the street,
The lie of authority
Whose buildings grope the sky.
There is no such thing as the state
And no one exists alone.
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police.
We must love one another or die.”
W.H.Auden – September 1, 1939

The Coup, Indonesia, 1966

How we lied to put a killer in power

Revealed: Healey admits role in British dirty tricks campaign to overthrow Indonesia's President Sukarno

By Paul Lashmar and James Oliver 16 April 2000

The world's press was systematically manipulated by British intelligence as part of a plot to overthrow Indonesia's President Sukarno in the 1960s, according to Foreign Office documents.
The BBC, the Observer and Reuters news agency were all duped into carrying stories manufactured by agents working for the Foreign Office.

Last night, Denis Healey, Labour's defence secretary at the time, admitted the intelligence war had spun out of control in Indonesia. At one point the British were planting false documents on dead soldiers. Lord Healey even had to stop service chiefs from taking military action. He said: "I would not let the RAF drop a single bomb although they were very anxious to get involved."

The left-leaning Sukarno was overthrown in 1966 and up to half a million people were massacred by the new regime. Now a Foreign Office document obtained by the Independent on Sunday reveals the full extent of the "dirty tricks" campaign orchestrated from London, and how the world's journalists were manipulated.

A letter marked "secret and personal" from propaganda expert Norman Reddaway to Britain's Jakarta ambassador, Sir Andrew Gilchrist, brags about the campaign which aimed to destabilise Mr Sukarno by suggesting his rule would lead to a communist takeover. One story "went all over the world and back again", writes Reddaway, while information from Gilchrist was "put almost instantly back into Indonesia via the BBC".

This included an allegation, with no apparent basis in reality, that Indonesian communists were planning to slaughter the citizens of Jakarta. Reddaway, a specialist with the FO's Information Research Department (IRD), writes: "I wondered whether this was the first time in history that an ambassador had been able to address the people of his country of work almost at will and virtually instantaneously."

Showing his low opinion of journalists, he boasts that "newsmen would take anything from here, and pestered us for copy". He had been sent to Singapore to bolster British efforts to overthrow the Indonesian president and support General Suharto. His brief from London had been "to do whatever I could do to get rid of Sukarno", he revealed before his death last year. He therefore embarked on an extensive campaign of placing favourable stories with news wires, foreign correspondents and the BBC, and also used the pages of Encounter, an influential magazine for the liberal intelligentsia which, it later emerged, had been funded and controlled by the CIA.
His letter even suggests that the Observer newspaper had been persuaded to take the Foreign Office "angle" on the Indonesian takeover by reporting a "kid glove coup without butchery".

Last month, Abdurrahman Wahid, the country's current president, gave his support to a judicial inquiry into the massacres of 1965-66 and, in an interview broadcast on state television, promised to punish those found guilty.

Newly discovered cabinet papers show that British agencies, including MI6, had supported Islamic guerrillas and other dissident groups in an effort to destabilise Sukarno. The disorder fostered by the British led to General Suharto's takeover and dictatorship, and a wave of violence unseen since the Second World War. The massacre set the stage for almost 35 years of violent suppression, including the 1975 invasion of East Timor, which was only reversed last year.

The cabinet documents (which are separate from the revelations of Reddaway) were uncovered by David Easter, a historian at the London School of Economics. His research – which is published this week in the journal Intelligence and National Security – shows that the cabinet's defence and overseas policy committee asked the head of MI6, Dick White, to draw up plans for covert operations against Indonesia in January 1964. According to Dr Easter, these operations began in the spring of that year and included supplying arms to separatists in the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and Sulawesi.

These actions were complemented by a propaganda campaign run out of Britain's Far East HQ in Singapore by the IRD, which had close connections with MI6. The unit was behind stories that Sukarno and his tolerance of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) would lead to a communist dictatorship in Indonesia. Reddaway was a key part of this. His letter, written in July 1966, was released to Churchill College, Cambridge, which holds the private papers of Sir Andrew Gilchrist.
Last night, Lord Healey owned up to the Foreign Office misinformation campaign.

Lord Healey said: "Norman Reddaway had an office in Singapore. They began to put out false information and I think that, to my horror on one occasion, they put forged documents on the bodies of Indonesian soldiers we had taken. I confronted Reddaway over this.

"The key thing here is that Indonesia was infiltrating its troops into Borneo and had organised a coup against the Sultan of Brunei with whom we had a treaty. So we reacted similarly. I think it has been long known that British Special Forces – the SAS, SBS and Gurkhas – were used to tackle the Indonesians. But everything was done on the ground. I would not let the RAF drop a single bomb although they were very anxious to get involved."

Lord Healey denied any personal knowledge of the wider MI6 campaign to arm opponents of Sukarno. But, he added: "I would certainly have supported it."

According to one of the country's leading commentators on security matters – Richard Aldrich, a professor at Nottingham University – the episode shows Britain's post-war operations at their most effective. "It represents one of the supreme achievements of the British clandestine services," he said. "In contrast with the American CIA, they remained politically accountable and low-key. Britain has a preference for bribing people rather than blowing them up."

Professor Aldrich added that modern journalistic deadlines had made today's media even more open to manipulation than it was 30 years ago.

News World Pacific_Rim © 2000 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd.
Our bloody coup in Indonesia

Britain colluded in one of the worst massacres of the century

Isabel Hilton, Wednesday August 1, 2001, The Guardian

As Megawati Sukarnoputri struggles to hang on to control of Indonesia in the latest round of political upheaval, news has been published of how the British government covered up one of the worst massacres of the 20th century. The slaughter in 1965 - of up to a million alleged communist sympathisers - was carried out by General Suharto, who ousted Megawati's father, President Sukarno, to become Indonesia's military dictator. What is still less well known is that the British and American governments did not just cover up the massacre: they had a direct hand in bringing it about.

In the era of decolonisation and the cold war, ex-colonial powers were intent on preserving their economic interests in former colonies while setting up nominally independent governments. But the natives, inconveniently, did not always see their interests as consonant with those of their former colonial masters. Patrice Lumumba in the former Belgian Congo, Sukarno in Indonesia - both argued for economic as well as political self-determination. Lumumba was assassinated with the connivance of Belgium, the US and the United Nations. In Indonesia, the British and American governments succeeded not only in engineering the result they wanted (the replacement of Sukarno with General Suharto), but in selling a false version of events that persists to this day.

Roland Challis, a former BBC south Asia correspondent, has described how British diplomats planted misleading stories in British newspapers at the time. But there is also evidence that the British and US responsibility for the fall of Sukarno goes back to the event that triggered it - an alleged left-wing coup attempt in 1965. The British were keen to get rid of Sukarno because he was pursuing a policy of confrontation with Malaysia. The US was convinced that Sukarno would drift towards communism - a far bigger potential headache for US interests than Vietnam.
Sukarno was hugely popular and an assassination would have unpredictable consequences: at worst, it might benefit the Indonesian Communist party, the PKI. The army was divided on the merits of a move against him. There was one man, though, who was willing to help - the commander of the strategic reserve, General Suharto. The challenge was to engineer Sukarno's downfall and, simultaneously, the elimination of the PKI.

In October 1965, a group of what are still described as "progressive army officers" kidnapped and brutally murdered six army generals, apparently in preparation for a coup. The motives of the group remain a matter of dispute. At the time, they were alleged to be in sympathy with the PKI. They have subsequently been described as pro-Sukarno nationalists in revolt against their rightwing superiors. But a study carried out at Cornell University in 1966 discovered that what most of the officers had in common was not any association with the PKI, but a connection with General Suharto.

Lt Col Untung, the alleged leader, was a successful military officer who was a known anti‑communist. Some of his colleagues had been trained in the US where it is unlikely that any communist sympathies would have escaped notice. Suharto subsequently dismantled the unit and the group's alleged links with the PKI became the pretext for the massacre of up to 1m people. After a series of closed show trials and staged confessions, the leaders were said to have been executed, but there is no independent evidence that the executions took place.

It has been known for more than 10 years that the CIA supplied lists of names for Suharto's assassination squads. What is less widely known is that the supposed pro-communist coup that triggered the crisis was almost certainly also the work of the CIA. Sukarno was finally removed from power in 1967. Suharto, meanwhile, was offered economic aid and the British lifted their embargo on sales of military aircraft. Suharto's massacres were whitewashed in a campaign of disinformation in which the British government willingly participated. The operation to "save" Indonesia, according to enthusiastic reports in, amongst others, the Atlantic Monthly, was a resounding success. "Suharto," Atlantic Monthly assured its readers, "is regarded by Indonesians who know him well as incorruptible ... In attacking the communists, he was not acting as a western puppet; he was doing simply what he believed to be best for Indonesia."

Best for Indonesia, in Suharto's view, was the granting of lucrative concessions to western mining and oil companies. It was the beginning of a post-independence economic order that continues today. After 32 years, Suharto was finally overthrown. By then, even the US government had to admit that he was one of the most corrupt dictators of the 20th century.

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