‘Publish CIA files on mass murder of Indonesians’

This music video says about itself:

Evil Triumphs Over Good – Indonesia 1965-66

The lyrics and music of this Steven Edward Duren song really describe the events of Suharto’s “New Order”, placed over Indonesia.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Indonesia asks for ’65 massacre files

Saturday 12th March 2015

Human rights commission wants US to hand over documents

by Our Foreign Desk

INDONESIA has asked Washington to release its files on the 1965-66 US-backed massacres of communists and alleged sympathisers that left millions dead.

The Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (HAM) made an unusual direct request this week to US President Barack Obama, who lived in the country with his stepfather from 1967 to 1971.

HAM commissioner Muhammad Nurkhoiron met US State Department officials before asking Mr Obama to declassify intelligence documents relating to the anti-communist bloodbath.

His request states that the files held by the CIA, the Defence Intelligence Agency and other bodies will help in “encouraging the Indonesian government to redouble its own efforts to establish the truth” and promote reconciliation.

In 2012, HAM called for prosecutions for crimes against humanity committed during the purge, but the attorney general took no action.

“We need the US to immediately release those documents to help our efforts,” Mr Nurkhoiron said in an interview. He warned that when Mr Obama leaves office early next year, momentum for US action could be lost.

US National Security Council spokesman Myles Caggins said the administration supports the declassification of any relevant documents from the period which do not pose a national security risk.

While the US has released some documents, others remain classified.

The anti-communist witch-hunt began following an abortive military coup against President Sukarno which was blamed on his supporters in the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI).

General Suharto used the coup as a pretext for the slaughter of up to three million people.

Suharto finally deposed Sukarno in 1967, ruling for three decades more until his death in 1998.

Mr Obama played down the death toll in his memoirs, putting it at “a few hundred thousand, maybe half a million.”

Redacted meeting notes from a meeting of the National Security Council covert action committee — finally declassified last month following a 2004 freedom of information request — show that the US endorsed “obstructive action” against the PKI.

The freedom of information request was made by University of Connecticut historian Brad Simpson, who said that the US had organised covert operations to provoke violence that would serve as an excuse for the crackdown.

Colonial bloodbaths in Indonesia and the Dutch government

This 2012 video is called Traumatic memory of Dutch war veteran in Indonesia.

Translation of the first part of an article by Maurice Ferrares in the Netherlands:

Can the truth about the war crimes in Indonesia still be concealed?

Maurice Ferares

February 22, 2016

Rengat massacre, Central Sumatra. January 5th 1949. Regularly there are still new reports of war crimes by Dutch soldiers in the years 1945-1950, committed in Indonesia. Eg, Anne-Lot Hoek wrote about the atrocities in Rengat, Central Sumatra, by the Depot Special Forces (NRC daily, 13-02-2016). A police report on the events is said to have been for decades in the National Archives in The Hague without the government having done anything about it.

Anne-Lot Hoek: “According to a part of an official report on January 5, 1949 in that place there were 270 deaths. Indonesian sources, however, speak of 1,500 to 2,000 victims. The Dutch Resident M.D. Pros reported 400 victims. On the fifth of January at eleven o’clock in the morning 180 paratroopers landed under the command of Lieutenant R. F. de Mey (a confidant of Captain Westerling) in the kampong [village] Skip and there caused a bloodbath among women, men and children after having raped a number of women. Their bodies were thrown into the Indragiri river.”

Corps Special Troops

Those who wanted to know have known for a long time that war crimes were committed in Indonesia. Those committed by Captain Westerling and the men of the Corps Special Forces in South Sulawesi were known, after the English newspaper The Daily Worker on June 7, 1947 had written about them. Ten to twenty thousand people were killed. No one was brought to justice, while the law was clear enough: “With life imprisonment or a term of imprisonment not exceeding twenty years or a fine of the 5th category will be punished those soldiers who in time of war by joining forces for violence against one or more people in committing this crime abuse or threaten to abuse power, opportunity or means given them as soldiers.” (Article 142 of the Code of Military Criminal Justice)

Excesses Report

In December 1968 Joop Hueting, who had been sent to Indonesia as a soldier, stated during a television broadcast of Achter het Nieuws that he and other Dutch soldiers had committed war crimes in Indonesia. The Hague circles were upset. There followed a debate in parliament and the government was asked to start an inquiry into the true events.

The then government De Jong had to do something about it. A committee appointed by them published already in March 1969 the so-called Report on Excesses. This title already showed that it was a very limited investigation. All previous governments had made every effort to avoid investigation. Their reasons? First, they were afraid of financial claims by the relatives of the victims. Secondly, they wanted to prevent from becoming clear what the consequences of the colonial war which their political friends had waged against Indonesia in the years 1945-1950 were.

The Excesses Commission had for two months delved into archives and did not go outside to hear witnesses. The result was indeed very limited and repeated the lies by military commanders in their reports. We pointed out earlier that according to the Report on Excesses twenty people were slain in Rawagede in Java in December 1947, while in the village there are 431 graves of the entire male population (men and boys) who were killed by Dutch troops.

Prime Minister De Jong could not deny the narrowness of the research, writing in the concluding remarks: “With this letter and its attachments in the opinion of the government as much as is currently possible, has been met the legitimate desire for openness in this matter. (…) The government intends to continue and complete the work by a general historical investigation.”

A follow-up study has not been commissioned by the De Jong government or at the request of any later Dutch government.

Chinese crested terns discovery in Indonesia

This 2014 video is called The Bird of Legend: Chinese Crested Tern.

From BirdLife:

Survey confirms Chinese Crested Terns in Indonesia

By Ed Parnell, Tue, 09/02/2016 – 08:45

A survey team led by Burung Indonesia (BirdLife in Indonesia) and BirdLife’s Asia Division has confirmed a wintering site of the globally threatened Chinese Crested Tern Thalasseus bernsteini in eastern Indonesia.

At least one adult and possibly one first-year Chinese Crested Tern were seen in a flock of up to 250 Greater Crested Terns T. bergii near Seram Island (approximately midway between Sulawesi and Papua). Threats to the site and the birds were assessed in detail during the one-week survey that was carried out in mid-January 2016, and the team also visited local university and government institutions to raise awareness of the nearby presence of this Critically Endangered seabird.

Despite its name, the Chinese Crested Tern was first found near Halmahera, in the Wallacea region of eastern Indonesia. However, since its discovery in 1861 the species had not subsequently been recorded in Indonesia (apart from an unverified record in Bali) until December 2010, when a lone bird was photographed near Seram. As a result of this initial sighting (and further reports in 2014/15), BirdLife and Burung Indonesia believed the area to perhaps be a regular wintering site. A survey team was formed, including local conservationists and three university students from Hong Kong.

“Although the number of Chinese Crested Terns found during the survey is low, it does confirm that the species is a regular wintering bird to the Seram Sea, and it is very likely that Wallacea is a main wintering area for this species. As the local authorities and community are starting to be aware of and feel proud of its presence, it will surely only be a matter of time before more sightings are reported from the region,” said Simba Chan, adding that more surveys and outreach work are planned by BirdLife around Seram in the future.

“The involvement of local communities in conservation actions is one of Burung’s main strategies,” added Ria Saryanthi, Head of Communication and Knowledge Center, Burung Indonesia. Burung has been focusing its work in the Wallacea region which includes Sulawesi, the Lesser Sundas and the Moluccas, since it was established in 2002.

It is also hoped that another recent project – in China itself – may help to build more knowledge of this little-known species. In August 2015 some 31 crested tern chicks (probably all Greater Crested Terns, which share the colony with their rarer relatives) were banded at Tiedun Dao, the largest Chinese Crested Tern colony. The birds were ringed with numbered red bands, the first step in a systematic study that aims to investigate the movements of the colony’s terns.

Ocean Park Conservation Foundation (OPCFHK) Foundation Director Ms. Suzanne Gendron said, “The Foundation has been supporting the conservation efforts on Chinese crested terns since 2008.  We are excited to know that after years of efforts, there is a higher hope for the recovery of this critically endangered species. I believe our sponsored students benefit from and are inspired by Mr. Simba Chan’s passion and experience.

Indonesian woman, raped by Dutch soldiers, compensated after 67 years

This video about music from the Netherlands says about itself:

This newsreel report was aired on October 25, 1996, at the occasion of the première of Peter Schat‘s ‘Indisch Requiem’ (‘Indic Requiem’) for tenor, choir, and orchestra.

Direct inspiration was the last colonial war of the Netherlands (still euphemistically called ‘police action’) in 1947 and 1948, a last attempt to keep Indonesia in Dutch possession.

The report contains an interview with the composer and impressions of the rehearsals.


In Holland the word ‘Indian’ [Indisch] is used when describing anything involving former Dutch East India, (Indonesia). To avoid misunderstanding I used the word ‘Indic’ instead, more commonly used to identify the entire group of Indo Aryan languages..

The poem Schat mentions is the poem ‘Love letter to our tortured bride Indonesia‘ which the poet/painter Lucebert (1924-1994) wrote in 1947 as a protest against the Dutch war in Indonesia

The ‘police action’ referred to in the clip is a set of military operations in 1947 and 1948 carried out by the Dutch army against the nationalist groups. However, the entire military presence aimed at crushing the uprising against Dutch rule of Indonesia spanned the time period between 1945 and 1949 (the year of Indonesian independence [as recognized by the Dutch government; the Indonesian declaration of independence had been in 1945]) and involved an army well over 100.000 troops and was in fact a full-scale colonial war.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Dutch government must pay for rape in Indonesia

Today, 11:07

The court in The Hague has ordered the Dutch government to pay damages to a woman who was raped by Dutch soldiers in 1949 in the then Dutch East Indies.

The Indonesian woman, who was then 18 years old, will receive 7500 euros. It is the first time that a Dutch court has ordered the government liable for war crimes other than executions.

Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld had demanded compensation for the woman.

The court considered it proven that the woman under threat of a firearm was raped by several soldiers. That happened during an attack on Java, in the village Peniwen. The government can not invoke the statute of limitations, the court ruled.


In the case of a man who says he was tortured by the military in 1947 the government did not have to pay damages. The government in this case disputes the facts.

The Indonesian man says he has been tortured with electric shocks. The court wants to know what research has been done in that case. Here, too, the time bar does not apply.

Widows and children of executed men in South Sulawesi have filed a claim against the government. The court will have the Australian historian Robert Cribb investigate these cases.

Dutch colonial army recruited child soldiers

This video says about itself:

Syrian Child Soldier: “I’ve Gotten Used to Killing Soldiers.”

18 September 2014

Lebanese channel LDC TV aired on September 13 a news report about the phenomenon of child soldiers in Syria. The report included an interview with 12-year-old Midyan, who had become a sniper in the ranks of the Syrian opposition after his father was killed in battle.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Dutch East Indies Army recruited child soldiers

Today, 08:36

The Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) during the Second World War recruited at least three child soldiers, according to reports that have been received by the Ministry of Health.

The three former child soldiers have reported to the Ministry for the scheme known as the backpay issue. With this scheme, former soldiers and officers who worked in the Dutch East Indies [the official Dutch colonial name for Indonesia] during the Japanese occupation will receive a fee of 25,000 euros. The scheme was set up because this group during the occupation for 41 months has received no salary.


According to De Telegraaf daily the youngest man during the war was seven years old. …

The ministry tells De Telegraaf that there was nothing known until now about the presence of child soldiers in the Dutch East Indies. The NIOD was unaware of child soldiers in Dutch service as well. There are, as the NIOD knew already, cases of young people of around 16 years working for the KNIL.

Theatre play Oeroeg in Leiden theatre

This video is the trailer of the Dutch language 1993 film Oeroeg. The international title of the film is Going home. It is (somewhat loosely) based on the 1948 novel Oeroeg by Hella S. Haasse (1918-2011). The book was translated into English in 2013 as The Black Lake.

It is about the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The main protagonist is a Dutch boy, born and bred in the mountains of the west of Java island in Indonesia. In the film he is called Johan; in the novel he is nameless. His father is a tea plantation manager.

The other main character, after whom the book was named, is Oeroeg. The name means ‘landslide’ in the Sundanese language of west Java. Oeroeg is an Indonesian boy, son of a plantation foreman. He is of the same age as, and the friend of, the Dutch boy.

Oeroeg was Hella Haase‘s first novel (after an earlier poetry book and a theatre play). She was born in Indonesia herself. Before she became an author, she studied to become an actress. Later, she wrote some texts for theaters.

So, it would be interesting to see what would happen to Oeroeg if it would change from a novel into a theatre play.

On 19 November 2015 was the première of Oeroeg, adapted as a theatre play by Madeleine Matzer, in the Leiden theatre. Quite some actors turned up in the audience of this première.

This 19 November 2015 video is the trailer of the theatre play.

This 19 November 2015 video is an interview with Leopold Witte. He is one of the two actors in the play; he plays the Dutch protagonist; nameless, like in the book. The other actor, Helge Stikker, plays Oeroeg and all minor characters. He also makes music on electric and acoustic guitars.

The show started with a film projection of an owl flying towards the spectators.

Later in the play, there was often a landslide (like in Oeroeg’s name) projected in the background.

Both the book and a play mention an ‘anteater’. Anteaters are South American, not Indonesian. Maybe Hella Haase confused them with pangolins, which do live in Indonesia. The book (not the play) also mentions a ‘houtduif’ (wood pigeon). A bird species of the Netherlands, not of Indonesia where other pigeon species live.

The ‘black lake’, a mountain lake after which the English translation of the book is named, plays an important role in the story. The young Dutch protagonist nearly drowns there, but survives. Oeroeg’s father drowns trying to save the Dutch boy; making that boy feel guilty and indebted to Oeroeg.

The main theme in the play is how colonialism, with its corollaries like economic inequality and racist prejudice, destroys friendships. The Dutch boy in the play, compared to many other Dutch people in the then Dutch East Indies, is not particularly prejudiced against Indonesians. He used to be better at speaking Sundanese than at speaking Dutch, and even later he still has a Sundanese accent in his Dutch. Yet he does not understand why his friend Oeroeg gradually becomes an anti-colonialist supporter of independence for Indonesia.

The end of the novel, and of the play, tells how the friendship eventually ends tragically during the Dutch war against newly independent Indonesia, 1945-1949. In the film, Dutch ‘Johan’ goes back to where he was born, as a Dutch colonial army soldier. In the book and in the play, the Dutchman also goes back to his site of birth, but as a civilian, not a soldier. Still, behind the stage, images of the bloody military conflict are projected. Close to where he used to play with Oeroeg when they were boys, the Dutchman meets an armed Indonesian pro-independence fighter; who says: ‘Go back, or I will shoot!’ Is that Indonesian fighter Oeroeg? Yes, says the film. In the book and the play, the Dutchman is not really sure whether the Indonesian is Oeroeg or not. He may be unable to recognize his former close friend. Emphasizing what was lost since his happy childhood memories.

A review of this play is here.

‘Dutch king, apologize for war crimes in Indonesia’

This video from Australia says about itself:

Student Protest Over Dutch Policy (1947)

Sydney, Australia – August 1947.

Students of Sydney University demonstrate against Dutch action in Indonesia. C/U of placards protesting against Dutch policy in Indonesia.

General view of students lined up in Wynyard Park, Sydney. C/U of one of the students addressing the gathering outside the Dutch consulate. Shots of people demonstrating in the streets, marching along with banners.

M/S of police arriving upon the scene. M/S of students fighting with police and being bundled off by them. Plain clothes policeman try to wrestle placards from students. Students are put in patrol vans. Police disperse the crowd.

General view of the meeting breaking up.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Survivors of people executed in the Dutch East Indies want the king to apologize

Today, 09:44

Survivors of Indonesians who in the 1940s were executed by Dutch soldiers ask for an apology by King Willem-Alexander. They say the royal family has always been silent about the issue and about the suffering of the affected relatives.

The Committee Dutch Debts of Honour has collected three letters from relatives and sent them to the king, Prime Minister Rutte and the Parliamentary Committees for Interior and Foreign Affairs. The letters were signed by 110 survivors from the villages Suppa, Manjalling and Bulukumba on Sulawesi.

Two years ago, the Dutch ambassador to Indonesia apologized for all extrajudicial killings in the former Dutch East Indies. The committee says that the relatives with their letters want to show that they are still struggling with what happened between 1945 and 1949. “We hope that the king would like to comment on it,” says a spokesman.

The request for an apology from the king comes on the day that on Sulawesi victims of the Dutch so called police actions are commemorated. It happens every year on 11 December.