DJAGO, THE ROOSTER

Sukarno
Published Time Magazine, March 10, 1958
Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C.
Source: safran-arts.com

On the tide of nationalism that swept the world after World War II, no young nation swam more proudly than Indonesia. Its 3,000 islands were rich with oil, bauxite, rubber, tin; its 85,000,000 citizens made it the world’s biggest Moslem nation, sixth in population among all the nations of the world. In five years of fighting and negotiation, it had shaken off 350 years of Dutch rule and installed a working democracy pledged to merge its dozen ethnic groups and 114 different languages into a new “unity in diversity.”
(time.com)
Sukarno, born Kusno Sosrodihardjo (6 June 1901 – 21 June 1970) was born in a small village about 60 miles from the seaport city of Surabaja, the only son of an impoverished Javanese schoolteacher named Sukemi and a high-caste Balinese mother, Ida Njoman Rai. From his father, Sukarno learned the Moslem faith and the seeds of nationalism; from his mother, the long cycle of Hindu epics that have sustained Bali in its centuries-old resistance to the Mohammedanism of the surrounding islands. As a member of the priyayi, or gentry, the class that monopolized the few bureaucratic jobs left open by the Dutch to natives, he was socially far above the marhaen, or peasants, who were to become his most ardent followers.
As a precocious child, he soon got the nickname of Djago (Rooster or Champion). He could run faster, jump higher, learn more quickly than anybody else; when he felt arrogant, which was often, he would learn more than the teacher knew, then tell the teacher how backward he was. At 14, his father sent him to live as a foster son with a Surabaja businessman named Tjokroaminoto, a pioneer nationalist and writer who drew his political ideas from Islam, Marx and George Bernard Shaw. Tjokroaminoto’s home was a meeting place of revolutionaries—one of whom, Muso, a Communist, was later to die leading the Madiun uprising against Sukarno—but the quick-witted young Sukarno was soon Tjokroaminoto’s favorite. His foster father brought Sukarno up to be a politician, trained him in oratory, nationalism, political organization, and gave him his daughter, Siti Utari, in marriage. In 1920 Sukarno became one of the first dozen Indonesians admitted to a new Dutch technical college in Bandung.
Sukarno graduated as a civil engineer (“The most promising student we ever had,” said his Dutch professors) but turned down engineering offers from several Dutch firms. In a characteristic scene that was to be often repeated in his life, Sukarno broke with his mentor, Tjokroaminoto, divorced his young wife, and promptly married another one, a well-to-do widow named Inggit Garnasih.
It was then that he began his long association with Dr. Mohammed Hatta, who was everything that Sukarno was not—scholarly, sober-minded, steeped in Western culture, profoundly democratic. Hatta’s family had been wealthy enough to send him to study economics in The Netherlands. He returned home, as passionate a nationalist as Sukarno, but aware also that there were other currents of thought in The Netherlands than colonialism, and other white men than imperialist oppressors. Sukarno and Hatta have differed most of their lives, and the history of Indonesia’s politics is largely a history of their quarrels and their reconciliations. But their friendship has run steady through it all.
The Dutch spotted Hatta first. When Hatta was arrested, Sukarno used his “martyrdom” to unite several revolutionary factions under his own leadership. At 26, he became the best-known nationalist in Indonesia, a position he has never relinquished. He was also such a frequent patron of Bandung’s brothels that his fellow conspirators, who were mostly good Moslems, argued that his behavior would ruin him and the movement. Sukarno replied that his personal life was no one’s responsibility but his own, and went off to another brothel to prove his point. “Even then,” recalls an associate, “discipline was for other people, not for him. He was above such foolishness.”
The Dutch got around to Sukarno in 1929, and after a four-month trial, sentenced him to four years in prison. But they had also given him a nationwide forum: in an impassioned courtroom speech. Sukarno denounced the “vile evils of colonialism” and promised Indonesians that he would serve them as the instrument of “historic necessity.” On his release in 1931, Sukarno was greeted by applauding crowds, flowers, gifts. He asked for only ten patriotic youths aflame with love for Indonesia, and “with them I shall shake the earth.” The Dutch, already in the long shadows of a dying empire, promptly exiled him to Flores in the Outer Islands, where with thousands of other political detainees he continued his revolutionary education, reading insatiably in Dutch, English, French and Indonesian and drawing new conclusions from an odd compost of Lenin, Thomas Jefferson, John Dewey, Otto Bauer, Abraham Lincoln. He took time out to divorce his wealthy widow and marry a young and beautiful Javanese girl named Fatmawati. He had no doubts about the future. “I entered prison a leader and I shall emerge a leader,” he said.
He emerged in 1942 when the Japanese landed on Indonesian soil. Sukarno, released from prison in Sumatra, quickly made his way to Djakarta, where he met with the two other top revolutionary leaders, Hatta and the Socialist Sjahrir.
Both Sukarno and Hatta believed that the Axis would win; Sjahrir was convinced the Allies would win. It was therefore easy to apportion the jobs for the next phase of their struggle for independence: Sjahrir would head the underground resistance against the Japanese occupiers, Sukarno and Hatta would collaborate with them.
The surrender of Japan came so suddenly that it was six weeks before the British could get together enough forces to land on Java. In that time, Sukarno got a government in operation. It was creaky, inefficient, poorly administered and defended by a ragtag military force armed with everything from Japanese machine guns to bamboo spears, but it was a going concern.
(INDONESIA: Djago, the Rooster, Monday, Mar. 10, 1958 at time.com)
For four years the Dutch tried vainly to re-establish themselves in Indonesia. They tried it with two major military campaigns, which only proved that they could seize any city they wanted but they could not control the countryside. At one time (1948) Dutch paratroops captured President Sukarno and every member of his Cabinet except Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, who was in Sumatra and continued the fight. In 1949, worn down by Indonesian resistance and world opinion, the Dutch gave up. All of their old island possessions except West New Guinea became the Republic of Indonesia. Sukarno and his fellow revolutionaries had won independence.
Of the string of islands that half circle the great continent of Asia—Japan, Okinawa, Formosa, the Philippines, Indonesia—only Indonesia is not committed to the West. If, as seems possible, Sukarno leads his nation into Communism, the Communists will have made a gigantic leap across a strategic barrier. To the nations of SEATO what happens in Indonesia is of vital importance.
(Adapted from INDONESIA: Djago, the Rooster, Monday, Mar. 10, 1958 at time.com)
The importance that United States imperialism attached to Indonesia was emphasized by US President Eisenhower in 1953, when he told a state governors’ conference that it was imperative for the US to finance the French colonial war in Vietnam as the “cheapest way” to keep control of Indonesia.
Eisenhower detailed: “Now let us assume that we lose Indochina. If Indochina goes, several things happen right away. The Malay Peninsula, the last little bit of land hanging on down there, would be scarcely defensible. The tin and tungsten we so greatly value from that area would cease coming, and all India would be outflanked. Burma would be in no position for defense. All of that position around there is very ominous to the United States, because finally if we lost all that, how would the free world hold the rich empire of Indonesia? So when the US votes $400 million to help the war (in Indochina), we are not voting a giveaway program. We are voting for the cheapest way that we can prevent the occurrence of something that would be of a most terrible significance to the United States of America, our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of the Indonesian territory and from South East Asia.”
(Indonesian Coup by Terri Cavanagh at wsws.org)
In 1964, Howard Jones, the American ambassador in Indonesia at the time indicates that a number of important meetings were held in which U.S. policy toward Indonesia was reassessed, beginning at the State Department in August 1964 after President Sukarno’s Independence Day speech, his most anti-American statement up to that time. The March 1965 annual meeting of U.S. mission chiefs held in the Philippines with Averell Harriman and William Bundy, was also important. Ellsworth Bunker, personal representative of President Johnson, spent 15 days in Indonesia in April 1965 evaluating the situation. There were undoubtedly other secret and perhaps more important meetings in which U.S. policy was put together.
The U.S. seems to have faced essentially six options with regard to Indonesia:
1. A hands-off policy of continuing much the same as before, letting things drift. (Of course, the U.S. had never been passive toward Indonesia and this can only be characterized as a hands-off policy in contrast to the other options.) The probable result would be that Indonesia would go Communist. There seems to have been near unanimous official agreement on the inevitability of Communist takeover in Indonesia if existing trends continued. The most important country in Southeast Asia would be lost. The U.S. effort to save Vietnam (bombing of North Vietnam began in February 1965) would probably be frustrated and all of Southeast Asia would be threatened. Clearly, this was an unacceptable option.
2. Try to get Sukarno to change his apparent policy of leading Indonesia toward Communist rule. The Embassy under Ambassador Jones had been pursuing this course for years, with little success (in American eyes). Sukarno had made more than clear his determination to continue his left-ward drive, both domestically and in foreign policy. Most Washington officials had given up on Sukarno and many agreed that “Sukarno has to go.” Some identified him as a “crypto- Communist.” This option was simply unworkable.
3. Eliminate Sukarno. Apparently this was considered, but rejected. The consequences would be too unpredictable. The Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) and its affiliates were so large and so extensively embedded in Indonesian society and political life that even in the absence of Sukarno’s protection they might be able to hang on and prosper. An effort to go after the PKI in such circumstances would probably result in a very unpredictable and dangerous civil war which the United States, preoccupied with Vietnam, was not in a position to handle. A danger of killing Sukarno was that those who might be identified with it would be discredited because of Sukarno’s enormous popularity in Indonesia, which efforts to undermine over the years had been unable to shake. Blaming an assassination on the left would not be credible because of the close alliance between Sukarno and the Communists. The PKI would have no plausible motive for such an action. An arranged “natural” death for Sukarno would leave the PKI as a very important force in Indonesia, and perhaps as the logical successor.
4. Encourage the Indonesian Army to take over the government. The Embassy had been pushing this option for years with some success but without achieving the final objective. Disunity within the Army had prevented any such explicit step to date and there seemed to be other inhibitions on a direct military takeover. The Army as a whole was still unwilling to move directly against Sukarno. Sukarno’s determination to resist any further expansion of the Army’s role was clear. In fact, he was doing much to try to “domesticate” and undermine the Army as an independent, anti-Communist force. Even in the event of an Army coup, without a solid pretext for quickly eliminating the PKI and a means of controlling Sukarno, the prospect of civil war would arise for the same reasons indicated in Option 3. While the U.S. could continue to cultivate military officials and try to stiffen their “backbone,” Army takeover via some sort of coup would not resolve the problem in Indonesia.
5. Try to undermine the PKI and get the Communists to take actions that would discredit themselves and legitimize their elimination. (Option 6, the fabrication of such a discrediting, is a variant of this option.) Such a step would also necessitate moving against Sukarno as he probably would never permit the Army to act forcefully against the PKI no matter how objectionable the PKI might appear to be. A variety of covert efforts were mounted to try to damage the PKI’s reputation and provoke it to misbehavior. These included linking the PKI with China, trying to show that the PKI did not really support “Sukarnoism” (the BPS episode), and the fabrication of documents and the attributing of provocative statements to PKI spokesmen (printed in non-Communist papers). But Sukarno helped to frustrate these efforts by banning almost all non-Communist political and press activity. The PKI was careful not to go too far and not to provide the excuse for its elimination. As PKI Chairman Aidit said, “We are prepared to tolerate insults and threats. We will not be provoked. If the army spits in our faces we will wipe it off and smile. We will not retaliate.” Option 5 was continually tried but it did not seem to be working.
6. If the PKI would not provide its own death warrant, the pretext for extermination had to be fabricated for it. The optimum implementation of this option would serve to eliminate both the PKI and Sukarno as dominant forces in Indonesian political life. This option appears to have been the one finally chosen, although the point at which commitment to it was irrevocable is very uncertain. Parts of the other options, other “tracks” continued at the same time.
(Paul H. Salim at antenna.Nl)
It is well known that the CIA had long sought to unseat Sukarno: by funding an opposition political party in the mid-1950s, sponsoring a massive military overthrow attempt in the mid-1958, planning his assassination in 1961, and by rigging intelligence to inflame official U.S. concerns in order to win approval for planned covert actions.
Before attempting to describe one aspect of the CIA’s role, it is essential to provide background on the scope and nature of its worldwide operations. Between 1961 and 1975 the Agency conducted 900 major or sensitive operations, and thousands of lesser covert actions. The majority of its operations were propaganda, election or paramilitary. Countries of major concern, such as Indonesia in the early 1960s, were usually subjected to the CIA’s most concerted attention.
Critics of the CIA have aptly described the mainstays of such attention: “discrediting political groups… by forged documents that may be attributed to them. . . ,” faking “communist weapon shipments,” capturing communist documents and then inserting forgeries prepared by the Agency’s Technical Services Division. The CIA’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” then emblazoned and disseminated the details of such “discoveries.”
The Mighty Wurlitzer was a worldwide propaganda mechanism consisting of hundreds or even thousands of media representatives and officials including, over a period of years, approximately 400 members of the American media. The CIA has used the Wurlitzer and its successors to plant stories and to suppress expository or critical reporting in order to manipulate domestic and international perceptions. From the early 1980s, many media operations formerly the responsibilities of the CIA have been funded somewhat overtly by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)…..
All of this is essential to understanding what happened in Indonesia in 1965 and 1966. In September and October of 1965, the murder of six top military officers during the Gestapu coup attempt provided a pretext for destroying the PKI and removing Sukarno. Surviving officers-principally General Suharto, who was not a target-rallied the army and defeated the coup, ultimately unseating Sukarno.
Two weeks before the coup, the army had been warned that the PKI was plotting to assassinate army leaders. The PKI, nominally backed by Sukarno, was a legal and formidable organization and was the third largest Communist Party in the world. It claimed three million members, and through affiliated organizations-such as labor and youth groups-it had the support of 17 million others. The Army’s anxiety had been fed by rumors throughout 1965 that mainland China was smuggling arms to the PKI for an imminent revolt. Such a story appeared in a newspaper elsewhere, citing Bangkok sources which relied in turn on Hong Kong sources. Such untraceability is a telltale mark of the Mighty Wurlitzer.
[The Indonesian Massacres and the CIA by Ralph McGehee (worked for the CIA from 1952 until 1977), Covert Action Quarterly, Fall 1990 at thirdworldtraveler.com]
In the late evening of 30 September 1965, on the orders of a commander of President Sukarno’s Palace Guard, Lt. Col. Untung, and a commander of the Army’s Jakarta region, Col. Latief, six top generals of the Army were seized in their houses and taken to Halim air base near Jakarta. The generals were:
1. Gen. Ahmad Yani, Army Commander and Minister;
2. Maj.Gen. Suprapto, Second Deputy Commander of the Army, specially charged with administration;
3. Maj.Gen. Harjono, Third Deputy Commander, in charge of financial management and public relations;
4. Maj.Gen. S.Parman, First Assistant of the Army Commander, in charge of intelligence work;
5. Brig.Gen.D.I. Pandjaitan, Forth Assistant of the Army Commander, in charge of logistics;
6. Brig.Gen. Sutojo Siswomihardjo, Prosecutor General of the Army.
A seventh general, who was also haunted by the kidnappers, managed to escape. This was the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Gen. Abdul Harris Nasution.
Later it became known that all six generals were found dead in the LUBANG BUAYA (Crocodile Hole) near Halim Air Base. From that time on, the Indonesian people observe the Pancasila Sacredness on every October 1, as a reaction to the so-called Gestapu (the 30th September 1965 Movement) “coup”.
(Paul H. Salim at antenna.Nl)
On October 30, 1965 Major General Suharto, in a speech before a military audience, angrily denounced the PKI saying that captured documents proved the PKI was behind Gestapu. Suharto demanded that the “Communists be completely uprooted.”
Military leaders began a bloody extermination campaign. Civilians involved were either recruited and trained by the army on the spot, or were drawn from groups such as the army- and CIA-sponsored SOKSI trade unions (Central Organization of Indonesian Socialist Employees), and allied student organizations. Media fabrications had played a key role in preparing public opinion and mobilizing these groups for the massacre. The documents, manufactured stories of communist plans and atrocities, and claims of communist arms shipments created an atmosphere of hysteria, resulting in the slaughter and the establishment of a dictatorship that still exists.
The Agency wrote a secret study of what it did in Indonesia. The CIA was extremely proud of it and recommended it as a model for future operations.
[The Indonesian Massacres and the CIA by Ralph McGehee (worked for the CIA from 1952 until 1977), Covert Action Quarterly, Fall 1990 at thirdworldtraveler.com]
In 1965, just prior to the Indonesian coup, Richard Nixon, soon to become US president, called for the saturation bombing of Vietnam to protect the “immense mineral potential” of Indonesia. Two years later he declared Indonesia to be the “greatest prize” of South East Asia. After the coup, the value of Suharto’s dictatorship to the interests of US imperialism was underlined in a 1975 US State Department report to Congress which referred to Indonesia as the “most strategically authoritative geographic location on earth”:
(Indonesian Coup by Terri Cavanagh at wsws.org)
The international working class suffered one of its greatest defeats and betrayals in the post-World War II period. Up to one million workers and peasants were slaughtered. General Suharto swept aside the shaky bourgeois regime of President Sukarno, crushed the rising movement of the Indonesian masses, and established a brutal military dictatorship.
Retired US diplomats and CIA officers, including the former American ambassador to Indonesia and Australia, Marshall Green, have admitted working with Suharto’s butchers to massacre hundreds of thousands of workers and peasants suspected of supporting the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). They personally provided the names of thousands of PKI members from the CIA’s files for the Armed Forces death lists.
According to Howard Federspeil, who was an Indonesian expert working at the State Department at the time of the anti-communist program: “No one cared, so long as they were communists that they were being butchered.”
(Indonesian Coup by Terri Cavanagh at wsws.org)
On March 11, 1966, Suharto and his supporters in the military forced Sukarno to issue a Presidential Order called Supersemar (Surat Perintah Sebelas Maret—The March 11 Order), in which Sukarno gave orders to Suharto only to restore peace and order, not to transfer of power to him. After obtaining the Presidential Order, Suharto had the PKI declared illegal and the party was abolished. He also arrested many high ranking officials that were loyal to Sukarno on the charge of being PKI members and/or sympathizers, further reducing Sukarno’s political power and influence.
Sukarno was stripped of his presidential title by Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat sementara (Provisional Peoples Representative Assembly) on March 12, 1967, led by his former ally, Nasution, and remained under house arrest until his death at age 69 in Jakarta in 1970. He was buried in Blitar, East Java, Indonesia. In recent decades, his grave has been a significant venue in the network of places that Javanese visit on ziarah and for some is of equal significance to those of the Wali Songo. While the semi-official version of the events of 1965–1966 claims that the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) ordered the murders of the six generals, others blame Sukarno, and still others believe Suharto orchestrated the assassinations to remove potential rivals for the presidency.
(absoluteastronomy.com)
Sukarno was known to have nine wives. He married Siti Utari circa 1920, and divorced her to marry Inggit Garnasih, who he divorced circa 1931 to marry Fatmawati. Without divorcing, Sukarno also married Hartini, and circa 1959 Dewi Sukarno. Other wives included Oetari, Kartini Manoppo, Ratna Sari, Haryati, Yurike Sanger, and Heldy Djafar.
Megawati Sukarnoputri, who served as the fifth president of Indonesia, is his daughter by his wife Fatmawati. Her younger brother Guruh Sukarnoputra (born 1953) has inherited Sukarno’s artistic bent and is a choreographer and songwriter, who made a movie Untukmu, Indonesiaku (For You, My Indonesia) about Indonesian culture. He is also a member of the Indonesian People’s Representative Council for Megawati’s Indonesian Democratic Party – Struggle. His siblings Guntur Sukarnoputra, Rachmawati Sukarnoputri and Sukmawati Sukarnoputri have all been active in politics. Sukarno had a daughter named Kartika by Dewi Sukarno. In 2006 Kartika Sukarno married Frits Seegers, the Netherlands-born Chief Executive Officer of the Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Bank. Other offspring include Taufan and Bayu by his wife Hartini, and a son named Toto Suryawan Soekarnoputra (born 1967, in Germany), by his wife Kartini Manoppo.
(absoluteastronomy.com)

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