Episode 259 – The Jakarta Method

In this episode, Trevor does a solo review of a new book called The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins.


For 70 years we have been subjected to pro US propaganda. They won the war, they helped the countries they defeated, they defeated communism and they encouraged the world to pursue freedom and democracy. Their initiative and drive created new industries and they deserve their success.

For most of those 70 years we were subjected to anti Soviet propaganda. As if they were devils who seeded evil communism around the world. With the demise of the Soviet Union, the focus has shifted to China.

China is not perfect and is indeed deeply flawed. I don’t want to live under Chinese rule.

But it is a mistake to say the Chinese are the bad guys, the Americans are the good guys and we should therefore support and follow the Americans.

They are both bad guys. We should follow our own path.

Many people look at the USA and see it as pursuing the principles of Truth, Justice, Freedom and Equality. The opposite is true. The proof of this is in America’s foreign policy over the last 70 years.

Today, many people speculate that if unchecked, China could flex its power and control and subjugate smaller countries. That it could force its will and communist agenda on less powerful countries. That if necessary it would kill, jail and terrorise vast populations to achieve its aims.

The terrible truth is that for 70 years the USA has been conducted the same sort of terrorism campaign that we fear the Chinese will start.

Most people are unaware of just how badly America has behaved. The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins exposes 70 years of American terrorism.

Read it. Read it twice. Many of you joined this podcast because you reject the nonsense of religious dogma. You pride yourself of being rational enough to spot snake oil salesmen in clerical clothes. I’m asking you to overcome 70 years of pro US indoctrination just as you overcame 2000 years of religious indoctrination.

I’m not saying you should be pro China. I’m saying that powerful manipulators are painting a picture of China and you need to constantly assess what is likely to be true and what is likely to be false. Even for things likely to be true, you need to assess what is fair criticism and what is a beat up over nothing. And when you find real and terrible Chinese behaviour, don’t assume that the American response is the answer. The truth is that the Americans have probably already done something just as bad. The answer doesn’t have to be America.

This podcast looks at The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins and examines his descriptions of horrendous crimes committed by America in foreign countries.

Post WW2

A new global order. Europe was weakened and the planet was broken into pieces.


First world

Second World

Third World (two thirds of the World’s population and mostly had been under control of European colonialism.)


Started before WW2. Just after the Russian revolution, President Woodrow Wilson joined other imperial powers in helping the white forces attempt to retake control from the Bolsheviks.

Post WW2, Truman hated communism and there was a problem in Greece. There was a civil war as Greek communists (who had fought against the Nazis) were going well. Truman wanted to interfere. Enter The Truman Doctrine.

From Wikipedia

Truman told Congress that “it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.”[2] Truman contended that because totalitarian regimes coerced free peoples, they automatically represented a threat to international peace and the national security of the United States. Truman made the plea in the midst of the Greek Civil War (1946–49). He argued that if Greece and Turkey did not receive the aid, they would inevitably fall to communism with grave consequences throughout the region.

Critics of the policy have observed that the governments of Greece and Turkey were themselves far from democratic at this time, and neither were facing Soviet subversion in the spring of 1949. Historian Eric Foner writes that the Doctrine “set a precedent for American assistance to anticommunist regimes throughout the world, no matter how undemocratic, and for the creation of a set of global military alliances directed against the Soviet Union.”

But, in order to get solid domestic support, Truman took advice that he had to “scare the hell out of American people” about communism.

The helped kick off McCarthyism which was driven by the President and the FBI. Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Commission led a wild search for communists in the US government.

It became accepted fact that the Soviets were pushing for revolution worldwide, that wherever communists were present they were plotting to overthrow the government and they were doing so on the order of the Soviets as part of a vast global conspiracy to destroy the West.

Early Indonesia

Indonesia had been controlled by the Dutch for centuries. In WW2 Japan took control. After the war, the Dutch thought they could move back in. There was a war in independence. Sukarno clashed with communists and eventually expelled the Dutch in 1949.

Sukarno didn’t want formal alliances with Russia or America and had enough credit points from fighting the communists that the Americans were OK with that.

Iran- 1953

New President Eisenhower appointed the Dulles brothers.

P39 – details

With that success, there was a new rule. Neutrality was not an option.

Guatemala – 1952

Prior to WW2 there was a pro-Nazi dictator who corruptly favoured the landed aristocracy and foreign corporations.

In 1944 there was a revolution. America was busy with WW2 and didn’t pay much attention.

1952 – Land reform

The government was democratically elected. Decided to buy back unused land and pay official value. UFC had been undervaluing its land in order to avoid tax. Communists were part of the government coalition but the government was clearly trying to create a modern capitalist state. UFC complained of communist threat. Unwarranted but there were deep corporate interests.

From Wikipedia … the relationship between the Eisenhower administration and UFCO demonstrated the influence of corporate interest on U.S. foreign policy.[32] United States Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, an avowed opponent of communism, was also a member of the law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell, which had represented United Fruit.[35] His brother Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, was a board member of United Fruit. United Fruit Company is the only company known to have a CIA cryptonym. The brother of the Assistant Secretary of State for InterAmerican Affairs, John Moors Cabot, had once been president of United Fruit. Ed Whitman, who was United Fruit’s principal lobbyist, was married to President Eisenhower’s personal secretary, Ann C. Whitman.[35] Many individuals who directly influenced U.S. policy towards Guatemala in the 1950s also had direct ties to UFCO.[33]


P46 land reform hypocrisy

Che Guevara learnt a lesson and took off to Mexico.

Back in Indonesia – 1958

Sukarno was President but had to deal with an unwieldy parliamentary system with several coalition partners including the communists.

In the 50’s The Communist party (PKI) continued to improve largely because they were the least corrupt and the most helpful to the people.

Sukarno became a bit uppity for USA taste. The CIA decided to hold his feet to the fire.

1957 – well armed rebels. P69 NYT

1958 – plane shot down

P70 Puritan theory

The US decided to use the Indonesian Armed Forces to construct an anti-communist front.

Indonesian soldiers training in the USA

1954 – 12

1958 – 0

1959 – 41

1962 – >1000 (mostly at Fort Levenworth)

They became Americanised and anti-communist.

Sukarno gave the military extra powers to deal with the 1958 rebels and got involved in fishing farming and construction (which made them unwilling to let go of East Timor)

The Congo – 1960

1960 – Congo’s first elected prime minister was Patrice Lumumba who was immediately faced with a breakdown of order. There was an army revolt while secessionist groups from the mineral-rich province of Katanga made their move and Belgian paratroopers returned, supposedly to restore security.

Lumumba made a fateful step – he turned to the Soviet Union for help. This set off panic in London and Washington, who feared the Soviets would get a foothold in Africa much as they had done in Cuba.

In the White House, President Eisenhower held a National Security Council meeting in the summer of 1960 in which at one point he turned to his CIA director and used the word “eliminated” in terms of what he wanted done with Lumumba.

The CIA got to work. It came up with a series of plans – including snipers and poisoned toothpaste – to get rid of the Congolese leader. They were not carried out because the CIA man on the ground, Larry Devlin, said he was reluctant to see them through.

He was killed by troops loyal to Joseph Mobuto (the CIA-backed Army chief of staff) 3 days before JFK was sworn in.

Mobuto took over the second largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, staged public executions of his rivals, built a dictatorship and became one of America’s closest allies in Africa.

Cuba – 1961

April 1961. JFK inherited Bay of Pigs invasion plans. The mercenaries were training in Guatemala. Che Guevara was finance minister in Cuba and wasn’t about to allow a repeat of Guatemala. The Bay of Pigs was a disaster and the US had shot its shot and couldn’t try anything so public again. 4 days after the invasion Sukarno visited Washington but didn’t bring up the parallels with the 1958 US rebel support.

Iraq – 1961

Outside of Indonesia the largest communist party was in Iraq. The Iraqi communists contemplated overthrowing the dictator Abd al-Karim Qasim, but the Soviets advised against it. Washington backed a successful coup by the anti-communist Baath Party which immediately crushed the communists and slaughtered untold numbers with a chief torturer being Saddam Hussein.

Brazil 1961-62

Most South American countries had to throw the Spanish out but Brazil was Portuguese and the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil in 1807 when Napoleon invaded.

There was a long serving left wing vice-president called Jango who became president on 7 September 1961. He promoted universal voting, increased literacy and land reforms. He visited JFK in 1962. Shortly after, JFK met the US ambassador to Brazil and agreed to spend millions on anti-Jango plans for elections that year and to prepare the ground for a military coup if necessary because they saw him as communist. Money poured in but more subtely than in Guatemala and Iran. They let anti-communists know they had US support.

Vietnam – 1963

1963 – JFK ordered his ambassador in South Vietnam to facilitate the removal of President Diem. The CIA passed the word down to a local general. He was kidnapped and killed (JFK just wanted removed not killed). A few weeks later, JFK was killed. Enter LBJ who believed that the rest of the world was just like the USA but a bit behind.

Back in Brazil – 1964

A coup led by General Humberto Castelo Branco (who had trained at Fort Levenworth)on 31 March 1964. Jango fled to Uruguay. As the coup began, the US State Department began an operation dubbed Brother Sam and made tankers, ammunition and aircraft carriers available to the conspirators. These were not needed.

Brazil was different in that US interference was less obvious than previous ventures. It was made easier due to Brazil’s unique anti-communist culture as a result of uprisings in the 1930s. Brazil would not hold another democratic election for 25 years.

Indonesia 1963

Nearly a third of the countries registered voters were PKI affiliates. The PKI had been peaceful. They had no arms and no votes (because of guided democracy). The military was anti-communist and allied to the Muslims and was increasingly powerful.

Sukarno took on the UK over Malaya. The UK created Malaysia but excluded Singapore (which had too many Chinese communist sympathisers)

The US supported the UK in return for the UK supporting the US in Vietnam.

Sukarno became more publicly anti-American American and American aid dried up (except money for the Indonesian army which flowed freely).

Off Vietnam, the US destroyer Maddox was in Vietnamese waters, violating the international 12 mile limit, opened fire on 3 Vietnamese patrol boats and 2 days later fired at their own shadows creating the excuse for LBJ to start a full war in Vietnam.

(Imagine if we said all of that and used China for USA?)

3 days later, Sukarno established relations with Ho Chi Minh’s government. Most Indonesians agreed with Sukarno (as they cherished independence from colonial power).

Good guy Ambassador Jones was removed.

The CIA and MI6 wanted to goad the communists into a premature coup that could provoke an army response.

September 30 1965

55 years later and we still can’t be sure of what happened.

6 generals were captured and killed by a rebel group in the army. They tried for 7 but got 6. It most likely was an internal army movement that the PKI did not help organise. It’s plausible that Suharto planned or infiltrated the group to engineer his rise to power. Everything Suharto did in October suggests he was executing an anti-communist counter attack plan that had been developed in advance not simply reacting to a crisis.

Suharto blamed the PKI and made up fanciful stories of what they had done and were planning to do. He demonised the PKI and took a leaf out of the Brazilian playbook.P133

So much so that today, Indonesians celebrate the anniversary as a kind of anti-communist national ritual.

Very early, the US backed Suharto over Sukarno.

With the PKI painted as evil, Sukarno had to support the military with its anti-PKI rhetoric.

The army proceeded to torture, rape and slaughter every communist it could find. Mass killings. Rivers blocked by bodies. Arrested and disappeared. No-one was sure what was happening. The Muslim youth wing helped.

US officials made it clear to Sukarno was removed and attacks on US investments halted.

In Bali, 5% of the population were executed over a few months for affiliation with an unarmed political party that had been entirely legal and mainstream just weeks earlier.

January 14 Memo p151

Sukarno was forced to resign.

The Western press repeated the narrative peddled by the new government. Inexplicable tribal violence broke out in an irrational outburst.

Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people were slaughtered and 1,000,000 more were put into concentration camps.

US assistance

From Wikipedia

Bradley Simpson, Director of the Indonesia/East Timor Documentation Project at the National Security Archive,[59] contends that declassified documents[60] indicate that the United States “provided economic, technical and military aid to the army soon after the killings started. It continued to do so long after it was clear a ‘widespread slaughter’ was taking place in Northern Sumatra and other places, and in the expectation that US assistance would contribute to this end.”[32][61][62][63] Further evidence for this funding has been substantiated by a cable that was sent from Ambassador Marshall Green, after meeting with CIA’s Hugh Tovar,[64] to the assistant secretary of state Bill Bundy, one advocating for payments to be sent to anti-communist fighter Adam Malik:

This is to confirm my earlier concurrence that we provide Malik with fifty million ruphias [about $10,000] for the activities of the Kap-Gestapu movement. The army-inspired but civilian-staffed group is still carrying burden of current repressive efforts…Our willingness to assist him in this manner will, I think, represent in Malik’s mind our endorsement of his present role in the army’s anti-PKI efforts, and will promote good cooperating relations between him and the army. The chances of detection or subsequent revelation of our support in this instance are as minimal as any black flag operation can be.[65]

Other cables from Green, issued to the State Department, suggested that the United States played a role in developing elements of the anti-communist propaganda following alleged PKI activities. As Green stated in a cable dated from October 5, 1965, “We can help shape developments to our advantage…spread the story of PKIs guilt, treachery, and brutality.”[66] He went on to say that it would be a welcome goal to blacken the eye of the PKI in the eyes of the people.

The Death Lists

From Wikipedia

In May 1990, the States News Service published a study by journalist Kathy Kadane which highlighted significant U.S. involvement in the killings.[69][70] Kadane quoted Robert J. Martens (who worked for the U.S. embassy) as saying that senior U.S. diplomats and CIA officials provided a list of approximately 5,000 names of Communist operatives to the Indonesian Army while it was hunting down and killing members the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) and alleged sympathisers.[69] Martens told Kadane that “It really was a big help to the army. 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.”[69][71] Kadane wrote that approval for the release of names put on the lists came from top U.S. embassy officials; Ambassador Marshall Green, deputy chief of mission Jack Lydman and political section chief Edward Masters.[69] The accuracy of Kadane’s report was challenged by those officials in a July 1990 article in The New York Times.[72] Martens asserted that he alone compiled the list from the Indonesian communist press, that the names were “available to everyone,” and that “no one, absolutely no one, helped me compile the lists in question.” He admitted to providing the list of “a few thousand” names of PKI leaders and senior cadre (but not the party rank and file) to Indonesian “non-Communist forces” during the “six months of chaos,” but denied any CIA or embassy involvement.[72][73]

Green called Kadane’s account “garbage,” adding that “there are instances in the history of our country….where our hands are not as clean, and where we have been involved….But in this case we certainly were not”.[72] Lydman, Masters, and two other CIA officers quoted by Kadane also denied that her account had any validity.[72] Masters stated:

I certainly would not disagree with the fact that we had these lists, that we were using them to check off, O.K., what was happening to the party. But the thing that is giving me trouble, and that is absolutely not correct, is that we gave these lists to the Indonesians and that they went out and picked up and killed them. I don’t believe it. And I was in a position to know.[72]

The States News Service issued a memo in July 1990 defending the accuracy of Kadane’s work, and in a rebuttal to their statements to The New York Times, published excerpts from the interviews that Kadane had made with Green, Lydman and Masters.[74][75][76] In 2001, the National Security Archive reported that Ambassador Marshall Green admitted in an August 1966 airgram to Washington, which was drafted by Martens and approved by Masters, that the lists were “apparently being used by Indonesian security authorities who seem to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership.”[73][77] In an October 1965 telegram, Green endorsed the Indonesian military “destroying PKI” through executions.[35][78] In February 1966, he further expressed approval that “the Communists . . . have been decimated by wholesale massacre.”[35][79] Historian Geoffrey B. Robinson asserts that such U.S. government officials “published memoirs and articles that sought to divert attention from any possible US role, while questioning the integrity and political loyalties of scholars who disagreed with them.”[80] Robinson also posits that the mass killings would not have happened absent the support of the U.S. and other powerful Western governments.[81]

Scholars, including documentary filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, the director of The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence, have since then corroborated Kadane’s account of U.S. involvement in the killings.[33][34][35][82][83] In a January 2014 interview with The Diplomat, Oppenheimer stated:

The details of what individual Western governments did are somewhat obscure, but for example the United States provided cash for the death squad and the army, weapons, radios so the army could coordinate the killing campaigns across the 17,000-island archipelago, and death lists. I interviewed two retired CIA agents and a retired state department official whose job was to compile lists generally of public figures known publicly to the army, compiled lists of thousands of names of people the U.S. wanted killed, and hand these names over to the army and then check off which ones had been killed. They would get the list back with the names ticked off [designating] who had been captured and killed.[84]

Regarding the 5,000 individuals named on the lists, Oppenheimer contends “my understanding is that 100% were killed.”[83] Robinson also asserts that “despite Marten’s later denials of any such intent, these actions almost certainly aided in the death or detention of many innocent people,” and that providing the lists “sent a powerful message that the US government agreed with and supported the army’s campaign against the PKI, even as that campaign took its terrible toll in human lives.

Indonesia 1967

Suharto has consolidated his rule, GE, American Express, Caterpillar and Goodyear all explore opportunities while 1,000,000 Indonesians are in concentration camps comparable to the Soviet Union.

Chile 1970

Salvador Allende won narrowly. He was a socialist and a Marxist intellectual.

Kissinger, national security adviser to Nixon said “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people”

Nixon p 192

Economic squeeze

The Military started working on a plan called The Jakarta Plan to kill around 10,000 people.

Jakarta is coming graffiti.

A sympathetic head of military was killed, his replacement was also sympathetic to the constitution and let Allende continue but when he resigned he hopped on a plane to Buenos Aires (later assassinated). Enter General Pinochet.

September 11 1973 Allende barricaded himself and then shot himself.

Pinochet killed around 3000.


America organised a coup to get rid of Prince Sihanouk and installed Lon Nol. During his rule the US bombed Cambodia indiscriminately killing hundreds of thousands of people, mostly peasants in a futile attempt to stop the Vietnamese communists moving through the countryside. The UDS dropped 3 times the tonnage as was dropped on Japan in WW2 (including the atomic bombs).

The ousted prince threw his support behind the Khmer Rouge who were the only ones fighting Lon Nol and the US army.

We know what happened after that.

In January 1979 the Khmer Rouge fell because the Vietnamese realised what was happening. They allowed the Cambodians to create their own government.

The US chose to recognise at the UN the remnants of the Khmer Rouge rather than Vietnamese allied government. ASEAN backed the Khmer Rouge as well.

Deng Xiaoping was furious about the aggression by Vietnam against a Chinese ally. He threatened to invade Vietnam and told the US. President Carter privately promised to help China if the Soviets threatened to help the Vietnamese. China invaded Vietnam in 1979. The Vietnamese were too good.

East Timor 1975

In 1975 the dictatorship fell and the new government withdrew from its colonies. This included east Timor. Suharto claimed he was threatened by the East Timorese communists and Nixon gave Suharto the wink to take it in an operation Lotus which killed 300,000 East Timorese. From 1975 to 1979 the Indonesian armed forces killed up to a third of the population. A higher proportion than Pol Pot in Cambodia.

Back to Guatemala 1970s

The dictatorship supported by US Green Berets conducts a terror campaign against any lefties or subversives. The government uses Jakarta like tactics to disappear tens of thousands of people.


In 1979, the Sandinistas won and Reagan promptly began funding the contra rebels. See p223

The US killed more in Latin America than Soviet Union

See p228

Indonesia today

See p256


The cold war was a conflict between socialism and capitalism and capitalism won. A big reason was capitalism killed its enemies. A loose coalition of US-backed anti-communists carried out mass murder in at least 22 countries.

Fanatical anti-communism has never really left us, even in the first world. It remains a potent force.

As I said earlier …

Today, many people speculate that if unchecked, China could flex its power and control and subjugate smaller countries. That it could force its will and communist agenda on less powerful countries. That if necessary it would kill, jail and terrorise vast populations to achieve its aims.

The terrible truth is that for 70 years the USA has been conducting the same sort of terrorism campaign that we fear the Chinese will start.

Most people are unaware of just how badly America has behaved. The Jakarta Method by Vincent Bevins exposes 70 years of American terrorism.

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