Americans have so little knowledge of the atrocities they’ve supported across the world, so let’s use today’s post to educate you about one very few have ever heard of, even though it resulted in about a million deaths in only a year’s time, making it one of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century.
–On This Day in History, Shit Went Down: September 30, 1965–
This is an “on this day” column and we’ll begin by discussing the “30 September Movement” in Indonesia. The year was 1965, and they were communists at a time when the good old USA had a real erection for killin’ commies.
Indonesia is a new country. It was part of the Dutch Empire prior to the Second World War, during which it was invaded by Japan. With Japan’s surrender they finally said fuck this we’re running our own show now and declared independence with Sukarno as president in 1945. And he was president for a long time. By the early 60s he was veering the country to the left and the U.S. and Brits were using words like “liquidate” in reference to him because of his anti-imperialist foreign policy and development of ties with China and the Soviet Union.
Sukarno was in a perilous position. He’d placed many communists in positions of power, but the U.S. started backing right-wing factions within the Indonesian military. Realizing the country was a powder keg, the communists struck first. They formed their group on September 30th, but the attempted coup d’état came the following day, and it did not go well.
They assassinated six army generals and took Sukarno under their protection, but by the end of the day the coup had failed, largely due to incompetent leadership and a swift counterstrike by right-wing military elements under Suharto (note: different guy than Sukarno). Then everything went to even larger shit.
Suharto, in many ways, became de facto leader of Indonesia and began a purge of the country’s communists. And by purge, I mean massive fucking genocide, with the help of America. The CIA was supportive of the killings, providing weapons, economic assistance, and training to over 1,200 of their senior officers to make them more efficient at murder. The CIA even provided lists of communist officials to right-wing death squads for targeting. It is estimated that a million or more people were murdered over the following year. It wasn’t just members of the communist party who were targeted, but atheists, “unbelievers”, and ethnic Chinese.
Suharto officially punted Sukarno in 1967 and assumed the presidency, remaining as a ruthless military dictator for the next three decades.
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