| JFK, Indonesia, CIA & Freeport Sulphur |
anonymous - 15.12.2005 20:57
' Sometimes, what we don't understand about today's .......'
Greeting of all,
Below is posting from anonymous on Kolektif Info Coup d'etat 65 at www.progind.net
It's a shortcut about history of cold war.
The impact of Imperialism is still going on on until now!
* 'Bersatu kita teguh,
bercerai kita tetap setia jadi budaknya Imperialisme!!!'
* sorry, for the translated is very difficult
Solider untuk Software Patent Free Europe
Isi petisi: petition.eurolinux.org/
CIA & Freeport Sulphur
by Lisa Pease
What is Past is Prologue.
Inscribed on the National Archives, Washington, D.C.
In Part One of this article (Probe, March-April, 1996) we talked about
the early years of Freeport up through the Cuban takeover of their
potentially lucrative mine at Moa Bay, as well as their run-in with
President Kennedy over the issue of stockpiling. But the biggest
conflict that Freeport Sulphur would face was over the country housing
the world's single largest gold reserve and third largest copper
reserve: Indonesia. To understand the recent (March, 1996) riots at
the Freeport plant, we need to go to the roots of this venture to show
how things might have been very different had Kennedy lived to
implement his plans for Indonesia.
Indonesia had been discovered by the Dutch at the end of the 1500s.
During the early 1600s they were dominated by the Dutch East Indies
Company, a private concern, for nearly 200 years. In 1798, authority
over Indonesia was transferred to the Netherlands, which retained
dominion over this fifth largest country in the world until 1941, at
which time the Japanese moved in during the course of World War II. By
1945 Japan was defeated in Indonesia and Achmed Sukarno and Mohammad
Hatta rose to become President and Vice President of the newly
independent Indonesia. But within a month of the Sukarno/Hatta
proclamation of independence, British army units began landing in
Jakarta to help the Dutch restore colonial rule. Four years of
fighting ensued. In 1949, the Dutch officially ceded sovereignty back
to Indonesia, with the exception of one key area - that of a hotspot
which is now known as Irian Jaya or, depending on who you talk to,
Authors Gerard Colby and Charlotte Dennett, in their book Thy Will Be
Done, explain the situation in what was then called Dutch New Guinea:
To Westerners, New Guinea was like a gifted child pulled in opposite
directions by covetous guardians. The Dutch clung to the western half
as the sole remnant of their once-vast East Indies empire. Their
longtime British allies, acting through Australia, controlled the
eastern half. Neighboring Indonesians, on the other hand, thought that
all New Guinea was part of their national territory, even if it was
still colonized by Europeans.
Dutch New Guinea, or West Irian as the Indonesians called it, was
populated by native tribes not far removed from a stone age culture,
such as the Danis and the Amungme. When Indonesia fought to claim
independence from the Dutch, West Irian became a symbol for both sides
that neither wanted to relinquish. It would take the efforts of
President Kennedy to eventually pass control of this area to the newly
independent Indonesians, removing the last vestiges of Dutch colonialism.
Indonesia experienced various types of government. When Sukarno first
rose to power in 1945, foreigners pointed out that Sukarno's rule
appeared "fascistic," since he held sole control over so much of the
government. Bowing to foreign pressure to appear more democratic,
Indonesia instituted a parliamentary system of rule and opened the
government to a multiparty system. Sukarno related what followed to
his biographer (now cable gossip show host) Cindy Adams:
In a nation previously denied political activities, the results were
immediate. Over 40 dissimilar parties sprang up. So terrified were we
of being labeled "a Japanese-sponsored Fascistic dictatorship" that
single individuals forming splinter organizations were tolerated as
"mouthpieces of democracy." Political parties grew like weeds with
shallow roots and interests top-heavy with petty selfishness and
vote-catching. Internal strife grew. We faced disaster, endless
conflicts, hair-raising confusion. Indonesians previously pulling
together now pulled apart. They were sectioned into religious and
geographical boxes, just what I'd sweated all my life to get them out of.
Sukarno related that nearly every six months, a cabinet fell, and a
new government would start up, only to repeat the cycle. On October
17, 1952 things came to a head. Thousands of soldiers from the
Indonesian army stormed the gates with signs saying "Dissolve
Parliament." Sukarno faced the troops directly, firmly refusing to
dissolve parliament due to military pressure, and the soldiers backed
down. The result of this was a factionalized army. There were the
"pro-17 October 1952 military" and the "anti-17 October 1952
military." In 1955, elections were held and parliamentary rule was
ended by vote. The Communists, who had done the most for the people
suffering the aftereffects of converting from colonial rule to
independence, won many victories in 1955 and 1956. In 1955, Sukarno
organized the Bandung Conference at which the famous Chinese Communist
Chou En Lai was a featured guest. During the 1955 elections, the CIA
had given a million dollars to the Masjumi party-an opposition party
to both Sukarno's Nationalist party and the Communist party in
Indonesia (called the PKI)-in an attempt to gain political control of
the country. But the Masjumi party failed to win the hearts and minds
of the people.
In 1957, an assassination attempt was made against Sukarno. Although
the actual perpetrators were unknown at the time, both Sukarno and the
CIA jumped to use this for propaganda purposes. The CIA was quick to
blame the PKI. Sukarno, however, blamed the Dutch, and used this as
the excuse to seize all former Dutch holdings, including shipping and
flying lines. Sukarno vowed to drive the Dutch out of West Irian. He
had already tried settling the long-standing dispute over that
territory through the United Nations, but the vote fell shy of the
needed two-thirds majority to set up a commission to force the Dutch
to sit down with the Indonesians. The assassination attempt provided a
much needed excuse for action.
The victories of the Communists, infighting in the army, and the 1957
nationalization of former Dutch holdings, led to a situation of grave
concern to American business interests, notably the oil and rubber
industries. The CIA eagerly pitched in, helping to foment rebellion
between the outer, resource rich, islands, and the central government
based in Jakarta, Java.
Rockefeller Interests in Indonesia
Two prominent American-based oil companies doing business in Indonesia
at this time were of the Rockefeller-controlled Standard Oil family:
Stanvac (jointly held by Standard Oil of New Jersey and Socony
Mobil-Socony being Standard Oil of New York), and Caltex, (jointly
held by Standard Oil of California and Texaco.) In Part I of this
article we showed how heavily loaded the Freeport Sulphur board was
with Rockefeller family and allies. Recall that Augustus C. Long was a
board member of Freeport while serving as Chairman of Texaco for many
years. Long becomes more and more interesting as the story develops.
1958: CIA vs. Sukarno
"I think its time we held Sukarno's feet to the fire," said Frank
Wisner, then Deputy Director of Plans for the CIA, in 1956. By 1958,
having failed to buy the government through the election process, the
CIA was fomenting a full-fledged operation in Indonesia. Operation
Hike, as it was called, involved the arming and training of tens of
thousands of Indonesians as well as "mercenaries" to launch attacks in
the hope of bringing down Sukarno.
Joseph Burkholder Smith was a former CIA officer involved with the
Indonesian operations during this period. In his book, Portrait of a
Cold Warrior, he described how the CIA took it upon themselves to
make, not just to enact, policy in this area:
before any direct action against Sukarno's position could be taken, we
would have to have the approval of the Special Group-the small group
of top National Security Council officials who approved covert action
plans. Premature mention of such an idea might get it shot down ...
So we began to feed the State Department and Defense departments
intelligence ... When they had read enough alarming reports, we
planned to spring the suggestion we should support the colonels' plan
to reduce Sukarno's power. This was a method of operation which became
the basis of many of the political action adventures of the 1960s and
1970s. In other words, the statement is false that CIA undertook to
intervene in the affairs of countries like Chile only after being
ordered to do so ... In many instances, we made the action programs up
ourselves after we had collected enough intelligence to make them
appear required by the circumstance. Our activity in Indonesia in
1957-1958 was one such instance.
When the Ambassador to Indonesia wrote Washington of his explicit
disagreements with the CIA's handling of the situation, Allen Dulles
had his brother John Foster appoint a different Ambassador to
Indonesia, one more accepting of the CIA's activities.
In addition to the paramilitary activities, the CIA tried
psychological warfare tricks to discredit Sukarno, such as passing
rumors that he had been seduced by a Soviet stewardess. To that end,
Sheffield Edwards, head of the CIA's Office of Security, enlisted the
Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department to help with a porno movie
project the CIA was making to use against Sukarno, ostensibly showing
Sukarno in the act. Others involved in these efforts were Robert
Maheu, and Bing Crosby and his brother.
The Agency tried to keep its coup participation covert, but one
"mercenary" met misfortune early. Shot down and captured during a
bombing run, Allen Lawrence Pope was carrying all kinds of ID on his
person to indicate that he was an employee of the CIA. The U.S.
Government, right up to President Eisenhower, tried to deny that the
CIA was involved at all, but the Pope revelations made a mockery of
this. Not cowed by the foment, as Arbenz had been in Guatemala,
Sukarno marshalled those forces loyal to him and crushed the CIA-aided
rebellion. Prior to the Bay of Pigs, this was the Agency's single
largest failed operation.
1959: Copper Mountain
At this point, Freeport Sulphur entered the Indonesian picture. In
July, 1959, Charles Wight, then President of Freeport-and reported to
be fomenting anti-Castro plots and flying to Canada and/or Cuba with
Clay Shaw (see Part I of this article)-was busy defending his company
against House Committee accusations of overcharging the Government for
the nickel ore processed at the Government-owned plant in Nicaro,
Cuba. The Committee recommended that the Justice Department pursue an
investigation. Freeport's Moa Bay Mining Company had only just opened,
and already the future in Cuba looked bleak. In August, 1959, Freeport
Director and top engineer Forbes Wilson met with Jan van Gruisen,
managing director of the East Borneo Company, a mining concern.
Gruisen had just stumbled upon a dusty report first made in 1936
regarding a mountain called the "Ertsberg" ("Copper Mountain") in
Dutch New Guinea, by Jean Jacques Dozy. Hidden away for years in a
Netherlands library during Nazi attacks, the report had only recently
resurfaced. Dozy reported a mountain heavy with copper ore. If true,
this could justify a new Freeport diversification effort into copper.
Wilson cabled Freeport's New York headquarters asking for permission
and money to make a joint exploration effort with the East Borneo
Company. The contract was signed February 1, 1960.
With the aid of a native guide, Wilson spent the next several months
amidst the near-stone age natives as he forged through near impassable
places on his way to the Ertsberg. Wilson wrote a book about this
journey, called The Conquest of Copper Mountain. When he finally
arrived, he was excited at what he found:
an unusually high degree of mineralization ... The Ertsberg turned out
to be 40% to 50% iron ... and 3% copper ... Three percent is quite
rich for a deposit of copper ... The Ertsberg also contains certain
amounts of even more rare silver and gold.
He cabled back a message in prearranged code to the soon-to-be
President of Freeport, Bob Hills in New York:
... thirteen acres rock above ground additional 14 acres each 100
meter depth sampling progressive color appears dark access egress
formidable all hands well advise Sextant regards.
"Thirteen acres" meant 13 million tons of ore above ground. "Color
appears dark" meant that the grade of ore was good. "Sextant" was code
for the East Borneo Company. The expedition was over in July of 1960.
Freeport's board was not eager to go ahead with a new and predictably
costly venture on the heels of the expropriation of their mining
facilities in Cuba. But the board decided to at least press ahead with
the next phase of exploration: a more detailed investigation of the
ore samples and commercial potential. Wilson described the results of
[M]ining consultants confirmed our estimates of 13 million tons of ore
above ground and another 14 million below ground for each 100 meters
of depth. Other consultants estimated that the cost of a plant to
process 5,000 tons of ore a day would be around $60 million and that
the cost of producing copper would be 16¢ a pound after credit for
small amounts of gold and silver associated with the copper. At the
time, copper was selling in world markets for around 35¢ a pound. From
these data, Freeport's financial department calculated that the
company could recover its investment in three years and then begin
earning an attractive profit.
The operation proved technically difficult, involving newly invented
helicopters and diamond drills. Complicating the situation was the
outbreak of a near-war between the Dutch-who were still occupying West
Irian-and Sukarno's forces which landed there to reclaim the land as
their own. Fighting even broke out near the access road to Freeport's
venture. By mid-1961, Freeport's engineers strongly felt that the
project should be pursued. But by that time, John F. Kennedy had taken
over the office of President. And he was pursuing a far different
course than the previous administration.
Kennedy and Sukarno
"No wonder Sukarno doesn't like us very much. He has to sit down with
people who tried to overthrow him." - President Kennedy, 1961
Up until Kennedy's time, the aid predominantly offered to Indonesia
from this country came mostly in the form of military support. Kennedy
had other ideas. After a positive 1961 meeting with Sukarno in the
United States, Kennedy appointed a team of economists to study ways
that economic aid could help Indonesia develop in constructive ways.
Kennedy understood that Sukarno took aid and arms from the Soviets and
the Chinese because he needed the help, not because he was eager to
fall under communist rule. American aid would prevent Sukarno from
becoming dependent on Communist supplies. And Sukarno had already put
down a communist rebellion in 1948. Even the State Department in the
United States conceded that Sukarno was more nationalist than Communist.
But the pressing problem during Kennedy's short term was the issue of
West Irian. The Dutch had taken an ever more aggressive stance, and
Sukarno was assuming a military posture. America, as allies to both,
was caught in the middle. Kennedy asked Ellsworth Bunker to attempt to
mediate an agreement between the Dutch and Indonesian governments.
"The role of the mediator," said Kennedy, "is not a happy one; we are
prepared to have everybody mad if it makes some progress."
It did make everybody mad. But it did make progress. Ultimately, the
U.S. pressured the Dutch behind the scenes to yield to Indonesia.
Bobby Kennedy was enlisted in this effort, visiting both Sukarno in
Indonesia and the Dutch at the Hague. Said Roger Hilsman in To Move a
Sukarno came to recognize in Robert Kennedy the same tough integrity
and loyalty that he had seen in his brother, the President, combined
with a true understanding of what the new nationalisms were really all
So with preliminary overtures having been made to Sukarno and the
Hague, Bunker took over the nitty gritty of getting each side to talk
to each other. The Dutch, unwilling to concede the last vestige of
their once-great empire to their foe, pressed instead for West Irian
to become an independent country. But Sukarno knew it was a symbol to
his people of final independence from the Dutch. And all knew that the
Papuan natives there had no hope of forming any kind of functioning
government, having only just recently been pushed from a primitive
existence into the modern world. The United Nations voted to cede West
Irian fully to Indonesia, with the provision that, by 1969, the people
of West Irian would be granted an opportunity to vote whether to
remain with or secede from Indonesia. Kennedy seized the moment,
issuing National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 179, dated August
With the peaceful settlement of the West Irian dispute now in
prospect, I would like to see us capitalize on the U.S. role in
promoting this settlement to move toward a new and better relationship
with Indonesia. I gather that with this issue resolved the Indonesians
too would like to move in this direction and will be presenting us
with numerous requests.
To seize this opportunity, will all agencies concerned please review
their programs for Indonesia and assess what further measures might be
useful. I have in mind the possibility of expanded civic action,
military aid, and economic stabilization and development programs as
well as diplomatic initiatives.
Roger Hilsman elaborated on what Kennedy meant by civic action:
"rehabilitating canals, draining swampland to create new rice paddies,
building bridges and roads, and so on."
Freeport and West Irian
Kennedy's aid in brokering Indonesian sovereignty over West Irian
could only have come as a blow to Freeport Sulphur's board. Freeport
already had a positive relationship with the Dutch, who had authorized
the initial exploratory missions there. During the negotiation period,
Freeport approached the U.N., but the U.N. said Freeport would have to
discuss their plans with the Indonesian officials. When Freeport went
to the Indonesian embassy in Washington, they received no response.
Lamented Forbes Wilson:
Not long after Indonesia obtained control over Western New Guinea in
1963, then-President Sukarno, who had consolidated his executive
power, made a series of moves which would have discouraged even the
most eager prospective Western investor. He expropriated nearly all
foreign investments in Indonesia. He ordered American agencies,
including the Agency for International Development, to leave the
country. He cultivated close ties with Communist China and with
Indonesia's Communist Party, known as the PKI.
1962 had been a difficult year for Freeport. They were under attack on
the stockpiling issue. Freeport was still reeling from having their
lucrative facilities expropriated in Cuba. And now they sat, staring
at a potential fortune in Indonesia. But with Kennedy giving tacit
support to Sukarno, their hopes looked bleak indeed.
Reversal of Fortunes
Kennedy stepped up the aid package to Indonesia, offering $11 million.
In addition, he planned a personal visit there in early 1964. While
Kennedy was trying to support Sukarno, other forces were countering
their efforts. Public dissent in the Senate brewed over continuing to
aid Indonesia while the Communist party there remained strong. Kennedy
persisted. He approved this particular aid package on November 19,
1963. Three days later, Sukarno lost his best ally in the west.
Shortly, he would lose the aid package too.
Sukarno was much shaken by the news of Kennedy's death. Bobby made the
trip the President had originally planned to take, in January, 1964.
Cindy Adams asked Sukarno what he thought of Bobby, and got more than
she asked for:
Sukarno's face lit up. "Bob is very warm. He is like his brother. I
loved his brother. He understood me. I designed and built a special
guest house on the palace grounds for John F. Kennedy, who promised me
he'd come here and be the first American President ever to pay a state
visit to this country." He fell silent. "Now he'll never come."
Sukarno was perspiring freely. He repeatedly mopped his brow and
chest. "Tell me, why did they kill Kennedy?"
Sukarno noted with irony that the very day Kennedy was assassinated,
his Chief of Bodyguards was in Washington to study how to protect a
president. Looking to the future, he was not optimistic:
I know Johnson ... I met him when I was with President Kennedy in
Washington. But I wonder if he is as warm as John. I wonder if he will
like Sukarno as John Kennedy, my friend, did.
LBJ and Indonesia
As others have noted, foreign policy changed rapidly after Kennedy's
death. Donald Gibson says in his book Battling Wall Street, "In
foreign policy the changes came quickly, and they were dramatic."
Gibson outlines five short term changes and several long term changes
that went into effect after Kennedy's death. One of the short term
changes was the instant reversal of the Indonesian aid package Kennedy
had already approved. Hilsman makes this point as well:
One of the first pieces of paper to come across President Johnson's
desk was the presidential determination ... by which the President had
to certify that continuing even economic aid [to Indonesia] was
essential to the national interest. Since everyone down the line had
known that President Kennedy would have signed the determination
routinely, we were all surprised when President Johnson refused.
Someone at Freeport was so pleased with Johnson's behavior that he
supported his presidential run in 1964: Augustus C. "Gus" Long.
Long had been Chairman at Texas Company (Texaco) for many years. In
1964, he and a bunch of other conservative, largely Republican
business moguls, joined together to support Johnson over Goldwater.
The group, calling themselves the National Independent Committee for
Johnson, included such people as Thomas Lamont, Edgar Kaiser of Kaiser
Aluminum, Robert Lehman of Lehman Brothers, Thomas Cabot of Cabot
Corporation of Boston, and many other luminaries of the business world.
Long had two toes in the Indonesian fray-one for Freeport, one for
Texaco. In 1961, Caltex-jointly owned by Standard Oil of California
(Socal) and Texas Company (Texaco)-was one of the three major oil
companies in Indonesia forced to operate under a new contract with
Sukarno's government. Under the new terms, 60% of all profits had to
be given to the Indonesian government. So he had two reasons to be
concerned by Kennedy's support of Sukarno's brand of nationalism,
which threatened the interests of both companies in which he had a
In Part I, we mentioned that Long had done "prodigious volunteer work"
for Presbyterian Hospital in New York, said by a former employee of
their PR firm, the Mullen Company, to be a "hotbed of CIA activity."
Now we add that Long was elected President of Presbyterian Hospital
two years running-1961 and 1962. In 1964, Long retired his role as
Chairman of Texaco. He would be reinstated as Chairman in 1970. What
did he do in the interim?
In March of 1965, Long was elected a director of Chemical Bank-another
In August of 1965, Long was appointed to the President's Foreign
Intelligence Advisory Board, where he would approve and suggest covert
In October of 1965, covert activities sealed Sukarno's fate.
1965: The Year of Living Dangerously
After Kennedy's death, Sukarno had grown ever more belligerent towards
the West. The British were busy forming a new country out of
Indonesia's former trading partners Malaya and Singapore, called
"Malaysia." Since the area included territory from which the CIA had
launched some of its 1958 activities, Sukarno was justifiably
concerned by what he felt was an ever tightening noose. On January 1,
1965, Sukarno threatened to pull Indonesia out of the United Nations
if Malaysia was admitted. It was and he did, making Indonesia the
first nation ever to pull out of the U.N. In response to U.S. pressure
on Sukarno to support Malaysia, he cried, "to hell with your aid." He
built up his troops along the borders of Malaysia. Malaysia, fearing
invasion, appealed to the U.N. for support.
By February, Sukarno could see the writing on the wall:
JAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb. 23 (UPI)-President Sukarno declared today
that Indonesia could no longer afford freedom of the press. He ordered
the banning of anti-Communist newspapers. ...
"I have secret information that reveals that the C.I.A. was using the
Body for the Promotion of Sukarnoism to kill Sukarnoism and Sukarno,"
he said. "That's why I banned it." (New York Times, 2/24/65)
The country was in disarray. Anti-American demonstrations were
frequent. Indonesia quit the International Monetary Fund and the World
Bank. The press reported that Sukarno was moving closer to the Chinese
and Soviets. Sukarno threatened to nationalize remaining U.S.
properties, having already taken over, for example, one of the biggest
American operations in Indonesia, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber
Company. And then, in an unexpected move, Singapore seceded from
Malaysia, weakening the newly formed state bordering Indonesia.
With American money interests threatened, all the usual carrots of
foreign aid shunted, no leverage via the IMF or World Bank, and
Freeport's Gus Long on the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory
Board, it was only a matter of time, and not much, at that.
October 1, 1965: Coup or Counter-Coup?
INDONESIA SAYS PLOT TO DEPOSE SUKARNO IS FOILED BY ARMY CHIEF; POWER
FIGHT BELIEVED CONTINUING
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia. Oct. 1-An attempt to overthrow President
Sukarno was foiled tonight by army units loyal to Gen. Abdul Haris
Nasution, the Indonesian radio announced. ...
In Washington, a State Department spokesman said Friday the situation
in Indonesia was "extremely confused." Robert J. McCloskey told a news
conference the State Department was getting reports from the American
Embassy at Jakarta, but "it is not presently possible to attempt any
evaluation, explanation, or comment."
Late yesterday, a mysterious group calling itself the 30th of
September Movement seized control of Jakarta.
Colonel Untung, who had announced over the Indonesian radio that he
was the leader of the movement, said the group had seized control of
the Government to prevent a "counterrevolutionary" coup by the
Generals' Council. (New York Times, 10/2-3/65, International Edition)
In a strange, convoluted move, a group of young military leaders
killed a bunch of older, centrist leaders who, they claimed, were
going to-with the help of the CIA-stage a coup against Sukarno. But
what happened in the aftermath of this turned Indonesia into one of
the bloodiest nightmares the world has ever seen. This original
counter-coup was branded a coup attempt instead, and painted as
brightly Red as possible. Then, in the disguise of outrage that
Sukarno's authority had been imperiled, Nasution joined with General
Suharto to overthrow the "rebels." What started ostensibly to protect
Sukarno's authority ended up stripping him of it wholly. The aftermath
is too horrible to describe in a few words. The numbers vary, but the
consensus lies in the range of 200,000 to over 500,000 people killed
in the wake of this "counter-coup." Anyone who had ever had an
association with the Communist PKI was targeted for elimination. Even
Time magazine gave one token accurate description of what was happening:
According to accounts brought out of Indonesia by Western diplomats
and independent travelers, Communists, Red sympathizers and their
families are being massacred by the thousands. Backlands army units
are reported to have executed thousands of Communists after
interrogation in remote rural jails. ... Armed with wide-bladed knives
called parangs, Moslem bands crept at night into the homes of
Communists, killing entire families and burying the bodies in shallow
graves. ... The murder campaign became so brazen in parts of rural
East Java that Moslem bands placed the heads of victims on poles and
paraded them through villages.
The killings have been on such a scale that the disposal of the
corpses has created a serious sanitation problem in East Java and
northern Sumatra, where the humid air bears the reek of decaying
flesh. Travelers from those areas tell of small rivers and streams
that have been literally clogged with bodies; river transportation has
at places been impeded.
Latter day thumbnail histories frequently depict the actions like
this: "An abortive Communist coup in 1965 led to an anti-Communist
takeover by the military, under Gen. Suharto." (Source: The Concise
Columbia Encyclopedia.) But the truth is far more complex. A
persuasive indicator for this lies in the following item, cited in a
remarkable article by Peter Dale Scott published in the British
journal Lobster (Fall, 1990). Scott quotes an author citing a
researcher who, having been given access to files of the foreign
ministry in Pakistan, ran across a letter from a former ambassador who
reported a conversation with a Dutch intelligence officer with NATO,
which said, according to the researcher's notes,
"Indonesia was going to fall into the Western lap like a rotten
apple." Western intelligence agencies, he said, would organize a
"premature communist coup ... [which would be] foredoomed to fail,
providing a legitimate and welcome opportunity to the army to crush
the communists and make Soekarno a prisoner of the army's goodwill."
The ambassador's report was dated December 1964.
Later in this article, Scott quotes from the book The CIA File:
"All I know," said one former intelligence officer of the Indonesia
events, "is that the Agency rolled in some of its top people and that
things broke big and very favorable, as far as we were concerned."
Ralph McGehee, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, also implicated the
agency in an article, still partially censored by the CIA, published
in The Nation (April 11, 1981):
To conceal its role in the massacre of those innocent people the
C.I.A., in 1968, concocted a false account of what happened (later
published by the Agency as a book, Indonesia-1965: The Coup That
Backfired). That book is the only study of Indonesia politics ever
released to the public on the Agency's own initiative. At the same
time that the Agency wrote the book, it also composed a secret study
of what really happened. [one sentence deleted.] The Agency was
extremely proud of its successful [one word deleted] and recommended
it as a model for future operations [one-half sentence deleted].
Freeport After Sukarno
According to Forbes Wilson, Freeport had all but given up hope of
developing its fabulous find in West Irian. But while the rest of the
world's press was still trying to unravel the convoluted information
as to who was really in power, Freeport apparently had an inside
track. In the essay mentioned earlier, Scott cites a cable (U.S.
delegation to the U.N.) which stated that Freeport Sulphur had reached
a preliminary "arrangement" with Indonesian officials over the
Ertsberg in April of 1965, before there could legitimately have been
any hope in sight.
Officially, Freeport had no such plans until after the October 1965
events. But even the official story seemed odd to Wilson. As early as
November, a mere month after the October events, longtime Chairman of
Freeport, Langbourne Williams, called Director Wilson at home, asking
if the time had now come to pursue their project in West Irian.
Wilson's reaction to this call is interesting:
I was so startled I didn't know what to say.
How did Williams know, so soon, that a new regime was coming to power?
Sukarno was still President, and would remain so formally until 1967.
Only deep insiders knew from the beginning that Sukarno's days were
numbered, and his power feeble. Wilson explains that Williams got some
"encouraging private information" from "two executives of Texaco."
Long's company had managed to maintain close ties to a high official
of the Sukarno regime, Julius Tahija. It was Tahija who brokered a
meeting between Freeport and Ibnu Sutowo, Minister of Mines and
Petroleum. Fortune magazine had this to say about Sutowo (July 1973):
As president-director of Pertamina [the Government's state-owned oil
company], Lieutenant General Ibnu Sutowo receives a salary of just
$250 a month, but lives on a princely scale. He moves around Jakarta
in his personal Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. He has built a family
compound of several mansions, which are so large that guests at his
daughter's wedding party could follow the whole show only on
... The line between Sutowo's public and private activities will seem
hazy to Western eyes. The Ramayan Restaurant in New York [in
Rockefeller Center-author's note], for example, was bankrolled by
various U.S. oil-company executives, who put up $500,000 to get into a
notoriously risky sort of business. Presumably its backers were
motivated at least in part by a desire to be on amiable terms with the
But beyond these dubious accolades, a hint of something else, as well
Sutowo's still small oil company played a key part in bankrolling
those crucial operations [during the October 1965 events.]
Given the wealth of evidence that the CIA was deeply involved in this
operation, it seems equally likely that Sutowo was acting as a conduit
for their funds.
After Sukarno's fall from power, Sutowo constructed a new agreement
that allowed oil companies to keep a substantially larger percent of
their profits. In an article entitled "Oil and Nationalism Mix
Beautifully in Indonesia" (July, 1973), Fortune labeled the
post-Sukarno deal "exceptionally favorable to the oil companies."
In 1967, when Indonesia's Foreign Investment Law was passed,
Freeport's contract was the first to be signed. With Kennedy, Sukarno,
and any viable support for Indonesian nationalism out of the way,
Freeport began operations.
In 1969, the vote mandated by the Kennedy brokered U.N. agreement on
the question of West Irian independence was due. Under heavy
intimidation and the visceral presence of the military, Irian "voted"
to remain part of Indonesia. Freeport was in the clear.
The Bechtel Connection
Gus Long was a frequent dinner partner of Steve Bechtel, Sr., owner
with CIA Director John McCone, of Bechtel-McCone in Los Angeles in the
thirties. McCone and Bechtel, Sr. made a bundle off of World War II,
split, and went their not so separate ways. Writes author Laton
McCartney in Friends in High Places: The Bechtel Story,
[I]n 1964 and 1965, CIA director John McCone and U.S. ambassador to
Indonesia Howard Jones briefed Steve Bechtel Sr. on the rapidly
deteriorating situation in Indonesia. Bechtel, Socal, Texaco ... had
extensive dealings in that part of the world and were concerned
because Indonesia's President Sukarno was nationalizing U.S. business
interests there. ... In October 1965, in what a number of CIA alumni
have since charged was an Agency-backed coup, Sukarno was ousted and
replaced by President Suharto, who proved far more receptive to U.S.
business interests than his predecessor.
Bechtel was no stranger to the CIA. Bechtel Sr. had been a charter
member of the CIA conduit Asia Foundation from its inception as Allen
Dulles' brainchild. Former CIA Director Richard Helms himself joined
Bechtel, as an "international consultant" in 1978. Said a former
executive, Bechtel was:
loaded with the CIA ... The agency didn't have to ask them to place
its agents ... Bechtel was delighted to take them on and give them
whatever assistance they needed.
Bechtel Sr.'s "oldest and closest friend in the oil industry," Gus
Long, had a problem. Freeport's project was far more difficult than
they had foreseen, and they needed outside help. The mountainous path
to the "copper mountain" made extraction nearly impossible. Freeport
hired Bechtel to help them construct the appropriate infrastructure to
turn their dreams into reality.
Bechtel came with extras. Freeport needed additional financing for
their costly Indonesian project. Bechtel Sr. had gotten himself
appointed to the advisory committee of the Export-Import (Exim) bank
after a long period of cozying up to Exim bank president Henry Kearns.
Freeport was not happy with the lack of progress and costs of
Bechtel's operation. Forbes Wilson threatened to drop them from the
project. Bechtel Sr. jumped in, saying he would make the project
Bechtel's top priority. He also guaranteed them $20 million in loans
from the Exim bank. When the Exim bank's engineer didn't think that
Freeport's project seemed commercially viable and wouldn't approve
their loan, Bechtel Sr. called Kearns, and the loan went through over
the objections of the bank's engineer. Three years later, Kearns would
resign from the bank when it revealed the bank had made generous loans
to several projects in which Kearns was personally invested. Although
Senator Proxmire called it "the worst conflict of interest" he had
ever seen in seventeen years in the Senate, the Justice Department
declined to prosecute. Said Proxmire:
It will appear to millions of American citizens that there is a double
standard in the law, one for the ordinary citizen and quite another
for those who hold high positions in government and make thousands of
dollars in personal profit as a result of official actions.
Bechtel denies allegations from former employees that it spread over
$3 million in cash around Indonesia in the early '70s.
Unhappily Ever After
The tragedy of the Kennedy assassination lies in the legacy left in
the wake of his absence. Without his support, Indonesia's baby steps
toward a real, economic independence were shattered. Sukarno, hardly a
saint and with plenty of problems, nonetheless was trying to assure
that business deals with foreigners left some benefit for the
Indonesians. Suharto, in dire contrast, allowed foreigners to rape and
pillage Indonesia for private gain, at the price of lives and the
precious, irreplaceable resources of the Indonesians. Cindy Adams
wrote a book about her experiences with Sukarno, called My Friend the
Dictator. If Sukarno was a dictator, what term exists for Suharto?
Freeport's Grasberg mine in Indonesia is one of the largest copper and
gold reserves in the world. But the American based company owns 82% of
the venture, while the Indonesian government and a privately held
concern in Indonesia split the remaining percent.
How much influence does Freeport carry in Indonesia? Can they really
say they have Indonesia's best interests at heart?
Kissinger and East Timor
In 1975, Freeport's mine was well into production and highly
profitable. Future Freeport Director and lobbyist Henry Kissinger and
President and ex-Warren Commission member Gerald Ford flew out of
Jakarta having given the Indonesian Government under Suharto what
State Department officials later described as "the big wink." Suharto
used the Indonesian military to take over the Portuguese territory of
East Timor, followed by a mass slaughter that rivaled the 1965 bloodbath.
Says a former CIA operations officer who was stationed there at the
time, C. Philip Liechty:
Suharto was given the green light [by the U.S.] to do what he did.
There was discussion in the embassy and in traffic with the State
Department about the problems that would be created for us if the
public and Congress became aware of the level and type of military
assistance that was going to Indonesia at that time. ... Without
continued heavy U.S. logistical military support the Indonesians might
not have been able to pull if off.
In 1980, Freeport merged with McMoRan-an oil exploration and
development company headed by James "Jim Bob" Moffett. The two become
one, and Moffett (the "Mo" in McMoRan) eventually became President of
Friends in High Places
In 1995, Freeport McMoRan managed to spin off it's Freeport McMoRan
Copper & Gold Inc. subsidiary into a separate entity. The Overseas
Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) wrote Freeport McMoRan Copper
and Gold that they planned to cancel their investment insurance based
on their poor environmental record at their Irian project, stating
Freeport has "posed an unreasonable or major environmental, health, or
safety hazard in Irian Jaya."
Freeport didn't sit still over this cancellation. Kissinger executed a
major lobbying effort (for which he is paid $400,000 a year), meeting
with officials at the State Department and working the halls of
Capitol Hill. Sources close to the matter, according to Robert Bryce
in a recent issue of the Texas Observer, say Freeport hired former CIA
director James Woolsey in the fight against OPIC.
Freeport, now headquartered in New Orleans, manages to keep friends in
high places. In 1993, the head of the pro-Suharto congressional lobby
was the Senator from Louisiana, Bennett Johnson. Representative Robert
Livingston, of Louisiana, invested in Freeport Copper and Gold while
the House debated and voted on H.R. 322-the Mineral Exploration and
Development Act. And when Jeffery Shafer, one of the directors of
OPIC, recently was nominated for an appointment to Undersecretary of
National Affairs, it was another Louisiana pol, this time Senator John
Breaux, who voted to block the appointment until Shafer provided an
explanation of OPIC's cancellation of Freeport's insurance. Jim Bob
Moffett, head of Freeport McMoRan, is listed in Mother Jones' online
"MoJo Wire Coin-Op Congress" survey of the top 400 people who gave the
most money in campaign contributions.
Freeport's actions abroad are not the only one's worth tracking. In
Louisiana itself, Freeport and three other companies (two of which
Freeport later acquired) petitioned for a special exemption to the
Clean Water Act in order to legally dump 25 billion pounds of toxic
waste into the Mississippi river. Citizens protested, and Freeport's
petition was denied. Freeport then lobbied for the weakening of Clean
Water Act restrictions.
The citizens of Austin, Texas, have fought to block a Freeport plan
for a real estate development that will foul Barton Springs, a popular
outdoor water park there.
According to a recent article in The Nation (July 31/August 7, 1995),
Freeport is part of the National Wetlands Coalition, a group which
wrote much of the language of a bill designed to eliminate E.P.A.
oversight of wetlands areas, freeing them for exploitation. The same
coalition has also lobbied to weaken the Endangered Species Act. The
Nation revealed that Freeport's political action committee since 1983
has paid members of congress over $730,000.
Scandal at UT
Freeport's record caused an uproar at the University of Texas at
Austin recently. The university's geology department, which has done
research under contract for Freeport, was recently given $2 million
dollars by Jim Bob Moffett for a new building. The school's
Chancellor, William Cunningham, wanted to name the building after his
friend and co-worker (Cunningham is also a Freeport Director) Moffett.
Many on campus protested this development. Anthropology professor
Stephen Feld resigned his position with the university over this
issue, saying UT was "no longer a morally acceptable place of
employment." The protests about Cunningham's conflict of
interest-serving UT and Freeport-led to Cunningham's resignation last
December. He resigned a day after Freeport threatened to sue three
professors at the University who had been loudest in protest.
Poised on the Brink
While moral victories are lauded in Texas, the real terror continues
at Freeport's plant in Indonesia.
In March of 1996, just as our last issue went to press, riots broke
out at the Freeport plant in Irian Jaya (the current name for West
Irian). Thousands were marching in the streets around the Freeport
plant, where the military had as recently as December held and
tortured in Freeport mining containers the people who lived and
protested in that region. The protests are deeply rooted in the desire
for the independence of the Papuans, the Amungme, and the many native
inhabitants of Irian Jaya who were never Dutch, and never really
As we go to print, Indonesian sources report that the military has
taken over the numerous Freeport Security stations around the mine.
"Military Exercises" are intimidating the people who in March rioted
at Freeport, causing the plant to lose two days of work and millions
of dollars. Although no curfew has been called, people report a fear
of being out at night.
The native Amungme tribes, the Papuans, and others are still hoping to
retain independence from what they see as only a new form of
colonialism: subservience to Freeport's interests. According to a New
York Times article (4/4/96), Freeport is the largest single investor
With Kennedy's support, Indonesia had a chance for real economic
independence. The peoples of Irian were promised a real vote for
self-government. But when Kennedy was killed, a military dictatorship
was installed and paid off so that the interests of businesses like
Freeport have been given higher priority than any demands of the
natives whose resources are still being pillaged.
Sometimes, what we don't understand about today's news is what we
don't know about the Kennedy assassination.
Source: Real History Archives
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