Scott interviews journalist Vincent Bevins about his latest book, The Jakarta Method, in which he lays out some of the history of the U.S. government’s support for violent right-wing coups all over the world. During the Cold War, America backed brutal extremists in Indonesia, Brazil, Chile, Iraq, and elsewhere, who were responsible all told for the deaths of millions of civilians—all in the name of defeating the threat of communism and socialism. Unlike the well-known and well-publicized crimes of left-wing dictators like Pol Pot in Cambodia, almost nobody in the United States today knows much about their government’s role in the coups in places like Indonesia and Brazil. These episodes pose a serious challenge to America’s view of itself as a force for good—in reality, many people the world over have good reason to resent American hegemony.
Discussed on the show:
- The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World
- “How ‘Jakarta’ Became the Codeword for US-backed Mass Killing” (The New York Review of Books)
- Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media
- The Bandung Conference concludes
- “The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002)” (IMDb)
- 1964 Brazilian coup d’état
- 1973 Chilean coup d’état
- Operation Condor
- The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World
- Devil’s Game
- Native Son
- “Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon” (Abe Books)
- Trilateralism: The Trilateral Commission and Elite Planning for World Management
Vincent Bevins is an award-winning journalist and correspondent whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, the Guardian, and many others. He is the author of The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World. Follow him on Twitter @Vinncent.
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT, by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; Listen and Think Audio; TheBumperSticker.com; and LibertyStickers.com.
The following is an automatically generated transcript.
All right, y’all welcome it’s Scott Horton Show. I am the director of the Libertarian Institute editorial director of antiwar.com, author of the book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. And I’ve recorded more than 5000 interviews going back to 2003, all of which are available at ScottHorton.org. You can also sign up to the podcast feed. The full archive is also available at youtube.com/ScottHortonShow. All right, you guys introducing Vincent Bevins And he wrote about Brazil for the LA Times and Indonesia for The Washington Post. And he’s got this brand new book out the Jakarta method. Washington’s anti communist crusade and the mass murder program that you shaped our world. And unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to read the thing right now. I’m very busy. But I did read this great excerpt adapted from it. At the New York Review of Books, that’s ny books.com. It’s called how Jakarta became the code word for us back mass killing. Welcome back to the show. Vincent, how are you doing?
Vincent Bevins 1:27
Good. How are you?
Scott Horton 1:28
I’m doing great. And yeah, I’m really sorry. I don’t have time to get to the whole book right now. But that’s fine. I really do appreciate the work that you’ve done here. And what an important article, this is here at the New York Review of Books, it’s 5000 words or something definitely worth taking a look at here. And two dirty wars really against the Reds during the Cold War in the 1960s here in Indonesia and in Brazil, and so you kind of Tell the story through the eyes of people who lived through it. And in fact, had traveled from Indonesia and emigrated from Indonesia to Brazil. And so we’re kind of tied up in a way, in both. So if you want to take that angle, that’d be fine. Or if you want to just kind of zoom out and talk a little bit more about the the kind of larger overview of the Cold War and the purpose of it all or whichever angle you want to start with is fine.
Vincent Bevins 2:28
Sure, yeah. In this in this book, I tell the story of the US backed, intentional mass murder of approximately 1 million innocent civilians in Indonesia, and this is one of the most important turning points of the Cold War. Definitely, far more important in Vietnam, I think might have been the greatest quote unquote, victory for Washington, as it perceived its its goals in the Cold War. And this victory was so obvious to allies. of the United States, other right wing regimes potential allies of the United States that they learned from the tactics that were that were employed very horribly in Indonesia. And most famously, in Brazil and Chile, they had the deployment of the word Jakarta to signify mass murder as something that they were going to do to the left in order to make in order to solidify the right wing authoritarian regimes that took shape during the Cold War. And yeah, as you said, to write this book, I I traveled around the world and I met a lot of people that lived through this and I tried to find the people who, who, whose personal stories could really bring home what really happened and how it affected life in all these countries, and I found I found through the research and through meeting these people that in at least 20 countries, US allied regimes carried out intentional mass murderer programs to kill leftist or accused leftist and I think that this was such an important Part of the way that the West won the cold war that ended up shaping the type of globalization that we ended up getting in the early 21st century. And I’m in Sao Paulo now. And I could, I could certainly tell you that we here in Brazil feel the long consequences of the, of the violence of the Cold War. And I think this is true in a lot of countries, especially in the developing world, but also in, in the in the first world as well. The relationship between the rich world and the developing world is is one that has been profoundly shaped by this violence in a way that I think is really been overlooked in the last since the end of the Cold War, partially because these things took place so far from the sort of headline grabbing quagmires that actually involved American civilians like Vietnam, or the sort of embarrassing and explosive Direct confrontations with the Soviet Union like in, in in Cuba, or in Berlin. But for the vast majority of human beings on planet Earth, the Cold War was not about those those small little direct conflicts with between Moscow and Washington, it was between It was about the complex conflicts between the formerly colonized world what used to be called the third world. And at the time, that term was entirely optimistic, it was meant to signify that the peoples of the formerly colonized world would be able to take their place in the world stage. It was the conflict between the third world and the first world I think is the one that is was most important in the in the Cold War. And that is the one that I tried to tell. centering the massacre of Indonesia is one of the most important events because I think it it can be easily considered as important as anything else.
Scott Horton 5:51
Yeah. Well, and as you say, it’s pretty easy to go under the radar when compared to Vietnam, even though Third of the casualties is still a lot compared to, you know, Vietnam was a lot to compare to a million dead. But if it was all by proxy, and it was all by CIA payoffs and briefcases and this kind of thing, then that means that 60 minutes may have covered part of it once or something at most, but this was never, you know, a big deal. In fact, this is part of that documentary about Noam Chomsky, right of Manufacturing Consent, where they take the New York Times column inches that they spent on the auto genocide in Cambodia, and right column inches spent on the auto genocide in Indonesia going on right around the same time, or is already the same time and compare the agenda setting media in which one they want you to care about which one they rather sweep under the rug.
Vincent Bevins 6:53
Yeah, I mean, it’s, I think it’s just a function of the I mean, I’ve spent all of my adult life as a as a correspondent Working for mainstream corporate made in the United States and all of the skills I have as a journalist, for better or worse, come from that experience. But I mean, I know how it works. And I and I know why it would be that narratives which very violently, conflict with our data, our idea of who we are as a country and what the Cold War was just kind of ended up not really fitting. So in the, in the case of Indonesia 1965, there was a brief moment of coverage in the western press and the New York Times, there was a very celebratory column, a basically a euphoric recounting of the way that the largest Communist Party outside of the Soviet Union in China was eliminated in one of the biggest prizes in the Cold War flipped overnight, almost
Scott Horton 7:47
all important. Yeah, as you point out here that the leader in charge was part of the non aligned movement and was not a communist. And so it wasn’t a matter of overthrowing a communist governments as a matter of overthrowing a neutral grip. Government and then destroying a communist party that had not yet achieved power. Right?
Vincent Bevins 8:04
Yes, and this is something that’s very poorly understood I think in in the English language understanding of the Cold War, Sukarno was not only just a member of the non aligned movement, he was one of the founders. He was one of the founding and driving forces between behind this movement to create a path for countries that did not want to align directly with the United States. They were often very skeptical of what the United States is really up to after, you know, hundreds of years under white, white European colonialism watching the way that the United States was acting in other countries. They were very hesitant to join up completely, but they also didn’t want to join up with the Soviet Union. And what is too often excluded from our memory of the Cold War is that starting with the Eisenhower administration, and then basically for the rest of the Cold War, anyone that was neutral that tried to maintain some kind of independence that did not join an explicit alliance with the United States was viewed as potentially a threat and Who’s justified who’s whose violent overthrow could be justified. So the mass murder of the Communist Party, which by the way, should be stressed was an unarmed and very moderate party. I mean, they always believed that you had to develop capitalism in a broad alliance with the rest of Indonesia. And then the maybe you would transition to socialism in 40 or 50 years. The Communist Party was eliminated, not because they were in power, but because they were part of the support base for president Sukarno. And so they had to be killed so that that transition to the US backed dictator Suharto could be carried out right if they had not destroyed the supporters of the left leaning but independent government and terrified all of the family members and friends of those that had been killed. It would have been impossible to actually transition to this very pro Washington very violent and very dictatorial Suharto regime.
Scott Horton 10:00
Yeah, now. So well tell us a little bit about Sukarno and and how the coup took place against him.
Vincent Bevins 10:09
Yeah. So this is Sukarno came up in the anti colonial struggle against the Dutch. So we did Asia, maybe we should just you know, stress is the fourth largest country in the world by population. It consists of the Dutch colonies in Asia, it’s 13,015 thousand or 18,000 Islands depending on the tide, basically, a huge constellation of ethnicities and languages and cultures. And Sukarno came up in the early 20th century in this meal you in which opposition to European colonialism brought everyone together. And the main forces that were united against this colonialism were Marxism, Islam, and anti colonial nationalism. And he kind of brought all these brought all these disparate elements together and forged this kind of national identity which was explicitly anti Imperial. And explicitly about independence from the colonial world. And in the first years of the cold war after him and the independence forces succeeded and expelling the Dutch, the Dutch tried to reconquer from 1945 to 1949. We forget often that the Europeans came back in a lot of cases and tried to get back their colonies just you know, we, the US government helped France to in this attempt, which is why so many people in the region were so skeptical of us, intentions, the region. And in the beginning of the Cold War, Sukarno was seen as somebody that could be dealt with by the Washington, foreign policy establishment was seen as somebody that was sufficiently anti communist, he was at least keeping the communists in check. And he made it very clear that he wanted to have good relations with the United States, which he really did. Now, two things happen in the 1950s, which cause the people in Washington to change their mind. Number one, the Indonesian Communist Party keeps doing better, better, better and veteran elections. And we know now from declassified files and From CIA reports that it was understood in Washington that the reason they were doing better and better was because they were popular and they were doing effective outreach to the people in the countryside in the cities. It was it was not a trick. It was not coercion. They were just winning. And this really alarmed people in Washington. And number two, Sukarno brought together the countries of the Third World at something called the afro Asian conference, or the bond Doom conference in 1955. And this was this explicit attempt to forge an alliance between all the countries of the formerly colonized world to create a path that was independent of the United States and the Soviet Union. And even though they tried very hard at this conference, to make it clear that to the United States that they wanted to maintain a friendship they even invoked the legacy of Paul Revere at the conference to sort of tried to appeal to this revolutionary history in the United States to say like, Hey, we’re doing what you did. You know, we’re, we just want to be our own country, just like you wanted to be free of the British that Didn’t matter. The success of the Communist Party and Soekarno is very loud, anti colonial anti Imperial posture caused the CIA to unleash a number of attempts to destroy his government or to crush the left or to even break apart Indonesia. And it was only in 1965, that the third attempt finally succeeded the third, the third and final attempt to crush the left involved mass murder. But first they tried just paying just giving money to the right wing Muslim parties. They tried that in the middle of the 50s. That didn’t work. In 1958, the CIA started bombing the country in what was the CIA’s largest ever operated operation to that point. So again, this is very forgotten. But in 5758, the CIA backed rebels out on the outer islands quote, unquote, so in there were sort of regional, there are regions of Indonesia are trying to break off or stand up to the central government and the CIA just started bombing the country and killings. civilians. And an American pilot was caught in 1958, a man named Alan Pope. And so this was the second attempt which totally failed. And then the US reorganized recalibrated to instead of fight directly the Indonesian army to train them into cryo to create a sort of anti communist pro American ideological hegemony within the armed forces. And by 1965 as Sukarno has picked another fight with the West, which is seen as a the last straw and a clash erupts between the the unarmed Communist Party and the very well armed armed forces in 1965. The State Department and clandestine services CIA and in my sex although we still don’t know exactly what CIA and am I am I six did, they very enthusiastically back the army as they violently crush this on armed, very popular Communist Party, probably 25 30% of the country was somehow affiliated. And they were so easy to kill precisely because they were a non violent party. And in a matter of six to 12 months, they’re entirely eliminated. Not a single American is hurt. And the largest country in Southeast Asia is flipped from a vocal, anti imperialist nation that is trying to unite the brown of blind peoples of the world into a reliable ally of the United States. And as you say, for the rest of the Cold War, whatever Suharto is doing gets a pass from Washington in 1975. They invade East Timor on the pretense of anti communism and kill approximately a third of that country which is larger percentage of the population than Pol Pot killed in in in Cambodia. And as you rightly point out, we all know about Pol Pot but very few people know about Suharto or the fact that he was on our side.
Scott Horton 16:23
And so when you say the CIA was bombed in place, I mean, this is what the original version of air america kind of deniable airlines, or Yeah, so you’re using the Air Force planes in there. What kind of airstrikes we took.
Vincent Bevins 17:06
They were taken out from Singapore, they were American pilots. And they were they were dropping bombs on on Indonesian islands. I don’t know. I mean, that’s that’s a good question. I have it in my notes, but, like, whose planes they were? I’m not sure. But it was it was not. It was not like, it was not the kind of more sophisticated deniability that you got later in the Cold War, where you had, you know, you made sure that there was no American pilots getting caught, you know, there was a guy named Alan Pope who was caught, he crashed landed in the island of Cuba on bone with his identifying papers on him. And this was seen as proof to the forces within Indonesia, specially on the left that had been saying for from 1945 to 1958. We can’t trust the Americans, they want to destroy our country. These people were proved right. So that’s the This moment in Tunisia moves closer to the Soviet Union, but still never never allies with the communist bloc. Sukarno always insists on independence. But this was a actual aerial bombardment with several American pilots. You could read, you could read them sort of their their memoirs talking about this bragging about this saying, you know, I killed a lot of people, but they were communist, so that’s fine. And this was based on what they had done in Guatemala in 1954. They were trying to replicate the success they had had in Guatemala before and
Scott Horton 18:37
Vincent Bevins 18:38
Yeah, I mean, they were this was a huge, you know, the CIA when the CIA was first created. Right after world war two ended. They struggled for years to actually crack the Soviet bloc, right? They they sent people parachuting into Eastern Europe, all these people were captured. They were they were totally ineffective at actually taking on the communist world. But when they don’t turn to the quarter, Third World they had quote unquote, success. So in Iran and x 53, Guatemala 1954. This was seen as the Eisenhower administration as like, Oh, we cracked the code, we can flip countries to our side with no, with no cost. And in Indonesia, this failed, and it failed very obviously. So they ended up in entirely changing tactics, bringing thousands of Indonesian military officers to train in Kansas, and one of the main characters in my book, and I end up dedicating the book to him because he passed away. Last year, he was also brought to Kansas to study economics. So he, he recounts what it was like to sort of go out in Kansas in the 50s. Drinking with these Indonesian officers going to strip clubs and sort of recounting what he believes they were actually brought to America for. And he says that they were brought to America so that it can be kind of paid to be to become loyal anticommunist allies. When the mass murder program starts to have the people that are most responsible for really putting it into practice on the ground, both studied in Kansas in the 1950s.
Scott Horton 20:11
Now, in your article, you brought up the name David Rockefeller. And I was wondering if you could be more specific about Chase Manhattan Bank interests in Indonesia at the time. Is this all tied up with the Golden West Papa, or is there more to it than that?
Vincent Bevins 20:28
Yeah, so the so the Golden West Papa was found after immediately after us a corporate interest sort of stream into Indonesia. So I think what you might be referring to, are you so the Rockefellers are involved in in different ways and all in the major coups that take place in the book, so in Brazil, she lays certainly in an Indian age, I believe, will happens is, I mentioned that the Rockefellers stream in as part of this major business conference that takes place in Jakarta as 1 million innocent. Indonesians are still held in concentration camps. So they killed proxy 1 million people, another millionaire, are held in anti left concentration camps for over a decade. While this is happening, all of the big companies in the United from the United States streaming to have sort of business conferences celebrating that Indonesia is open for Western capitalism. Now, the gold issue is very interesting, but that’s discovered after what was very important to us officials and to US corporations in the during the moment of the actual mass murder, and it’s gonna sound like a cliche, but it’s the same thing with oil, right. So even while the killings were happening, the United States government was able to put effective pressure on general Suharto to make sure that Indonesian oil, the Indonesian oil industry would be would remain open to foreign investment and not be nationalized, as was the the initial plan.
Scott Horton 22:12
And now, I wanted to ask you about, really the first thing I ever learned about this was from Christopher Hitchens movie the trials of Henry Kissinger back in the 1990s, where he talked about during the Ford administration, this same exact kind of thing happened again and again, with a green light from the US to the Indonesian right to crack down. Maybe that was over East Timor –
Vincent Bevins 22:37
East Timor is tea is tea market. Exactly. So it’s like, if you the book, the book tries to tell in a very concise and accessible way the the history of the whole Cold War, but you know, sort of it says what what if you told the history of the Cold War, but with Indonesian massacre as the central event, and what if you told the story of the cold war with the people that live Through this violence in Brazil and Chile and Indonesia as the main characters of the Cold War. And doing that, it becomes very clear that there’s no there’s no president that is not involved in or responsible for some really horrible stuff. So the second half of the 70s when you have four Ford and Jimmy Carter, this is the period when Suharto carries out the invasion of and mass murder of approximately one third of these team or then then Vietnam, invades Cambodia to liberate that country from the Khmer Rouge in 1979. Jimmy Carter agrees with China that China should invade Vietnam to punish them for this invasion is forgotten because it was such a failure. But then after that, the United States takes the side of the Khmer Rouge and for the rest of the Cold War. So the United States at that points become at that point becomes a defender of the Khmer Rouge right to represent Cambodia.
Scott Horton 24:02
That’s right. For Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, for the first time you ever learned that it’s a lot of fun. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan both back to Pol Pot didn’t they?
Vincent Bevins 24:12
Yeah, yeah. I mean from it there was this brief moment when absolutely from 1975 to 1979. A quote unquote communist regime was carrying out terrible atrocities, although the actual communists in the in the countries nearby didn’t. Once they found out what was really happening, they, you know, stormed into Stop it. Of course, they have their own reasons, but it was this brief period when absolutely yes, we were not on the side of the the Cambodian Khmer Rouge regime from 75 to 79 when they carried out these horrible, horrible human rights abuses are much worse than that, that we all know about. But what we don’t people don’t realize is that things before that were very bad in Cambodia when, because in Cambodia 1970 the United States backed a coup of princey how nuke who had who was at Sukarno last figure in that he was trying to maintain independence and neutrality, but this was very, very difficult with the Vietnam War happening on his border. The South Vietnamese government tried to kill him, the CIA tried to overthrow him. He was loudly proclaiming that the CIA was trying to kill him and everybody called him while conspiracy theorists, but it turned out he was totally right. So in 1970, the US did back a coup in Cambodia and installed lawn Knoll. And the period in which he was running Cambodia and the United States was bombing the countryside was horrible. So 1970 to 75 was horrible. And then after Pol Pot actually leaves then we, you know, or the US government insists that the Khmer Rouge is the legitimate representative of Cambodia at the United Nations, and keeps sort of a small contingent of them active on the Thai border, kind of in a way trying to contest Vietnamese control over that country. So In this region, like it’s a it’s very hard to look at the United States and be like, Oh, well, that was the that was the point when they were good here. There’s not there’s no like little gap where things were where the US behaved in a in a way that was that would correspond to the ideals that we profess.
Scott Horton 26:20
Yeah, I mean, this was never about good versus evil. It was just about who had the dominance. There’s a great clip of Eisenhower saying, Now listen, if the Reds get control and Vietnam, we might have to pay the market price for tungsten. And that’s just intolerable. I mean, this kind of thing. cynical calculations about, you know, pennies on the dollar for minerals. I mean, what if we’d had to buy tungsten from the Reds all along? Think of all the money we would have saved instead of trying to steal it and killing 3 million people.
Vincent Bevins 26:55
You mean, there’s a quote from George Kennan, which might be interesting for me to read George Kennan, were the architects of the Cold War 1948. He says, and I quote, We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in this coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. So basically saying, like, we have weight we have we run the world’s economy, and obviously, this isn’t fair. So we have to figure a way to crush opposition to the situation. And, you know, I when I moved to Southeast Asian 2017, like, you know, these people understand this, you know, they understand the relationship between the white world in the and these parts of Asia, you know, they had hundreds of years of direct colonial domination and if you ask a lot of people now they’ll say no, you know, the United States took over and they occupied a position which was very similar. You want to call it Neo colonial, you want to call it you know, Violent hegemony, whatever, whatever is the vocabulary that you use. It’s very, they understood what was happening.
Scott Horton 28:08
Yeah, of course, it’s a demo belie that the American people’s standard of living depends on this imperialism. That’s not right. The American government’s position of dominance over other governments and their ability to pull the strings for Favorite corporations like say, Rockefeller interests in Indonesia, for example. No question about that. But, you know, it’s sort of like cops hiding behind racism for their brutality. You know what I mean? Oh, yeah. No, the American people, how would they ever feed their children? If we weren’t butchering Indonesians? You know, you might as well say that we’re dependent on the face of Saturn in the sky. There’s no correlation there whatsoever.
Vincent Bevins 28:52
Yeah, so like, I made that point at the very end of the book. Like I compare, I look, you know, how because I still you know, I spent a lot of time meeting these people in in from Indonesia, especially but South America and around the world and one of the most moving things. And one of the most tragic moments of this research was when when I would ask them about their political lives and their political beliefs in the 50s and 60s. And when they would explain to me what they believed then that the world would be like now, like, you could see their their eyes light up, and they were just kind of like this world that they believed that they were going to get once direct Imperial control ended. They, they thought that they were going to take their place alongside the rich Western world. And at the end of the book, I look at how in a very concrete and quantifiable way this did not happen at all. Almost no country, no large country in the quote unquote, third world that actually caught up with the rich world since 1945. And so what I make the point at the very end of the book that as, as an as a country, as a nation, Unit, the United States benefited from this dynamic. But that doesn’t mean that the average person did it means that certain sectors of the US did. And those are the sectors which have the most control over over the government. It’s not enough to be radical to recognize that powerful economic interests have more control over the US government then, you know, marginalized communities are in you know, or you know, just
Scott Horton 30:28
just the average Joe. Yeah,
Vincent Bevins 30:29
yeah, half of the country, right.
Scott Horton 31:07
So take us over to the Brazil side of this because I think you know what I’m going to tell you a story that I only just thought of I’m glad I did. I hadn’t thought of this in a while. But I know a guy. I knew a guy a long time ago on my first radio show Free Radio Austin 1998 1999. And I saw this guy again in 2001 or two or somewhere around there. And he told me the story of his September 11. And what it happened was he was down in Brazil. I don’t remember if it was in Rio, or in Sao Paulo, one of the other and it was like a scene out of one of those 1950s movies or something where people would gather on the sidewalk outside the department store window to watch the TV news of breaking news. You know what I mean? You see the scenes. It was just like that. September 11, the towers are burning. And all the people are gathered around on the sidewalk watching it burn. And he was there with them. And he said they were all not celebrating, you know, like whooping or clapping or anything like that. But they were doing that thing where it’s like that little fist pump where you kind of hold your fist close to your chest and go, yeah, yeah. And they were all gone. Yeah. And he was like, What the hell? What did America ever do to Brazil? How could these people sit there and say, now you know what it feels like? And they’re not Iraqi. So we’ve been bombing from bases in Saudi Arabia for 10 years, the Brazilians and of course, the answer is America done a hell of a lot to them. But nothing of the American people have any idea about Vinson?
Vincent Bevins 33:52
Yeah, it’s not. I mean, this is the really the big contradiction because you know, when people are well, how do we not know about this? What’s like, you know, if you’re going Have a government which is hegemonic or imperialist are somehow involved in almost the affairs of almost every country in the world. It’s very difficult to have that in democracy at the same time, right? Because the average American has a lot going on in their own lives. How are they supposed to keep track of what it is that the US government is doing in 180 countries? Right. I mean, there’s, there’s limited amounts of attention that we can give to US foreign policy, but it’s it’s basically happening everywhere. And it’s really interesting that you bring up September 11, because September 11, is the day that the CIA eventually succeeded in overthrowing Salvador Allende and installing Augusto Pinochet. Right. So September 11 1973, is the day in which the Jakarta method was implemented in Chile. So maybe I’ll just explain how Jakarta came to South America and what that actually meant in the early 70s. So the US us backed coup in 1964 in Brazil was probably as I as I claim that the Indonesian mass murder was the most quote on the Most important, quote unquote success in in Asia. I think that Brazil 1964 was the most important success in the Western Hemisphere, precisely because it was. It was more subtle there was there was no need for a obvious and catastrophic intervention. There was a long collaboration between the US government in the Brazilian military, the Brazilian military largely did it on their own, the US government made military equipment available to the Brazilian military ended up not needing it. They got the they got sufficient support, among them, the the officers here and among the elite to carry out the coup on their own. Then in 1970, Salvador Allende is elected President of Chile. And now what we know, again from declassified files for from this period is that what the Nixon administration was afraid of in Chile was not that he would take the country down some sort of a Stalinist path and Implement rampant authoritarianism that would starve the people. They were very specifically, then they were very clear about this. They were, they were afraid that salvadorian days, democratic socialism would succeed, and by succeeding serve as a inspiration to the other peoples of South America, they, they were terrified that if they if I end a prove that you could have socialism and democracy, then the game would be up, then everybody would want to do this, there’d be no way to maintain hegemony in, in Latin America. So in 1970, before he ended, even takes power, the US starts backing right wing terrorism. And the first major result of this terrorism is that the leader of the Canadian Armed Forces is kidnapped and murdered. And the reason he was kidnapped is because he was opposed to a Chilean coup. So he was seen as an obstacle to the in the eyes of the right in the United States a necessary step of stop Being ind from taking president even though he even had hadn’t even had the chance to make a single mistake. Renee Schneider, this military leader was killed. This is probably an accident. But the terrorism started before and even gets to gets gets into office. But he does get into office the first, the first attempts to stop them fail. And as I end is running Chile right wing terrorists begin to graffiti, the walls of Santiago, the Capitol, and they would write the message Jakarta is coming, or just Jakarta. And they would send postcards to members of the government or leftists or supporters of Salvador Allende that would say, Jakarta is coming or Jakarta. And what this meant, and it was clear if you were paying attention to the global Cold War at this point in history, was we’re going to kill you just like they killed them. In Indonesia. And this was terrifying and I met a lot of the people in Chile lived through this that were threatened by this It was terrorism, right? The idea was to send the message that you’re going to die if you don’t give us what we want. Even if we get what we want, we’re probably going to kill you anyways. And in September 11 1973, Pinochet eventually succeeds in overthrowing the end government with the act of support of the CIA, of course. And on September 11 1973, Jakarta does come the message that had been sent years before was true. They killed the people that were seen as a threat to the consolidation of right wing authoritarianism in Chile. Now, they didn’t kill nearly as many people because they didn’t have to, and they were proud of the the ways in which they were, say surgical about the killings. They thought that they could be efficient in in killing only a few thousand. And it works right. So just as the United States, let Indonesia totally get away with this To the US played defense for, for Chile. Now in Brazil, you also had something called Operation Jakarta that was discussed in the exact same period among the right wing Brazilian military. Now, we’re not sure if this was actually an official formal title for an operation if it was just sort of a thing that was thrown around in the barracks as a threat as a plan, but ended up not happening right. And there’s reasons in Brazil that the church and human rights movements react to the murder of a very famous journalist Vladimir Hertzog in ways which probably stopped them from carrying out operate operations record if it was ever a real operation, but still in 1975. These two us backed right wing authoritarian regimes come together to form Operation Condor, which is a international mass murder network. So just as Pinochet had taken out as internal enemies in 1973 and just as Brazil had killed the people that it needed to take care of in order to consolidate power in the late 60s and early 70s, they the countries of the Southern Southern Cone most of which by now were us backed right wing authoritarian regimes realized, Oh, well, what happens if one of our quote unquote enemies gets away they get across the border and so they formed Operation Condor, which is a collaboration to kill enemies of the regimes wherever they may be. And this is not like gorillas, right. So Pinochet killed his former boss, right in Britain, Sarris, he was the penis he killed Carlos krotz, who was the head of another head of the Chilean military that was morally and and and politically against the idea of a coup. And Operation Condor countries killed 10s of thousands of people and in the years that came and again, just as in Indonesia, they got away with this to the extent that the United States said anything about this, they came to their defense. And it works, right like the consolidation of crony capitalism, in the least in in, you know, in like, it’s the opposite of the free market. Right. It’s, it’s like it’s the kind of market that is imposed upon you by, you know, a violent dictatorship. Absolutely. Right. This is, is the type of capitalism that is still in place in the vast majority of the developing world, I think,
Scott Horton 41:31
right now. So I think people are probably more familiar with the coup in Chile and the CIA’s involvement there. But can you tell us the direct CIA involvement in the regime change in Brazil?
Vincent Bevins 41:45
Yeah, so drug Goulart takes over in the beginning of the 1960s. This was kind of a mistake. He was only elected as Vice President, but then the actual president resigns thinking that the people are going to like Sweep into the streets are so like take to the streets and sweep them back into power. This doesn’t happen. So it ends up with drug Goulart, a left wing president that does that is not seen as acceptable by the Brazilian elite. Now in 1962 john F. Kennedy has a meeting with his ambassador to Brazil. And you can listen to the recording of that meeting when john F. Kennedy tells him to prepare the ground for military coup, if it’s needed to basically tell the Brazilian military that you know, this is something you can look into. And if it turns out that you think it’s necessary if it turns out that fighting communism, quote unquote, is going to take this path. We’re going to have your back. This of course happens they step up covert operations in Brazil. We don’t know exactly what that meant. But the the explicit support for the Brazilian military and the explicit message which is if you need to find a way to get rid of this president, go for it. This happened from 1960 to 1960. Now JFK also sends in Vernon Walters as his military attache to Brazil. And in the beginning of 1964, we now have declassified files that Indic that indicate that the US foreign policy establishment is coalescing around a an option as a replacement for SRA Goulart and that is a military officer called general Umberto Castello Bronco. Now, General Humberto Castillo Bronco is probably known to Brazilians as the first dictatorship, or as the first dictator to take power in the coup of 1964. What is very often overlooked by history is this this Gen Umberto customer Bronco is the former roommate of Vernon Walters, that military attache that JFK sent in they had lived together in Italy back in the 40s. So although the actual coup happens in in and it’s important to recognize how Important this was for its long term success. The coup is carried out by Brazilian military. Something called Operation brother Sam, if you if you Google that you can see the the declassified authorization of the supply of naval force to the Brazilian military. But that’s not needed. The Brazilian military carries us out on its own. And part of the reason it’s so successful is because the actual president Goulart thinks that this is going to be temporary. He thinks it’s this dictatorships going to just last a couple years and he’s going to be able to run for president again or that because the democracy will be reconsolidated Of course this doesn’t happen. So it is. For this reason, I think the most successful and long lasting intervention in the Western Hemisphere in the 20th century and Brazil becomes one of a very, not only compliant but enthusiastic anti communists. partner in South America. So they ended up actively intervening and interfering in Bolivia, Uruguay, and then eventually Chile to make sure that other social democratic or left leaning or just basically mean the elites. Were just afraid of democracy. Right. I mean, one of the worst things that is well, Goulart was proposing was voting rights reform in a way that, you know, is very familiar to what’s happening in the United States at the exact same period, he was trying to extend the vote to black Brazilians who were excluded from democracy by literacy laws, right. And the elites recognize that this would have entirely changed the the the dynamic of politics in South American in Brazil’s us backed dictatorship from 1964 to 1973. Four or five is actively intervening in the smaller countries around here to make sure that they also become us back anti communist dictatorships.
Scott Horton 46:02
And in Brazil, how many people were rounded up and killed or lit up and or killed? I guess two different questions.
Vincent Bevins 46:07
They’re way less than in the neighboring countries. So if you can, if you if you count that disappeared, the actual people, the people that in Brazilian cities were identifiably taken prisoner and never got back out. It’s around 400. Now, if you want to expand that number to all of the indigenous people that my hip they have been killed very far from the media, the numbers a lot higher. But the number of actual murders carried out intentionally by the Brazilian military is very small compared to say Argentina, where there’s 10s of thousands, Chile where there’s 3000, all of Operation Condor. So this, all of the countries that form part of this this coalition in South America kill maybe 70 to 90,000 people in in the 70s and 80s. Then there is a direct line from this up into Central America. And because when Central America becomes the next, quote unquote problem area for us hegemony when left leaning reformist starts to take power and then they are killed. And then that leads to the left reforming into guerrilla groups in Central America. Operation contour Brazil are military officers come into Central America to train right wing death squads in Central America. And the worst violence in the Western Hemisphere in the Cold War happens in Guatemala where 200 to 250,000 innocent people were executed for being quote unquote communist often just for being indigenous because the indigenous depending on your tribe were seen as inherently in a in a very racist way. They were sort of that tribe was marked as communist right like, oh, that tribe is opposed to The type of market that we want to impose on them so they need to be eliminated. 220 50,000, Guatemala and B 70,000. In El Salvador, of course, the the Contra war is more famous and in
Scott Horton 48:14
Guatemala, I mean that the civil war there lasted for, what? 20 or 30 years or something.
Vincent Bevins 48:19
Now it lasted from Well, we, the United States overthrew hookah bargains in 1954. Things were a mess from then until 2000. The Cold War The the actual civil wars, the actual Civil War started in 1960s. And so went on for at least 30 years, and that the Civil War was, you know, in Guatemala, the long consequences of the 1954 CIA coup. Were catastrophic until until basically the beginning of the 21st century. And if anybody knows anybody who talks from Guatemala has some kind of a story of, of the way in which this affected their lives. And you know, we talked about earlier like You know, in the CIA saw this as opponents a good success and 54. And this is very tragic and awful. But by the end of the 50s, they realized, Oh, this didn’t actually work so well. We need to come up with more subtle and more lasting ways to exercise in Germany, but in the actual Civil War started in 1860. And this is often forgotten. The proximate cause, I mean, the real deep causes for the Civil War was that there was a dictatorship with absolutely no popular support. But the proximate cause for the beginning of the of the Civil War in 1960, was that the Cuban exiles that were training for the Bay of Pigs were being trained in Guatemala, and their presence on Guatemalan soil really upset the Guatemalan military because the actual dictator was taking all the money. And these Cubans were sort of throwing their weight around in a way which was insulting to the Guatemalans. And they didn’t they didn’t agree with the use of Guatemalan soil for the training of Bay of Pigs forces. And this was the beginning of the rebellion against the the Guatemalan dictator. This was the spark that set off the fire that raged for 30 years.
Scott Horton 50:12
I see. So in other words, that’s what really made it a civil war was a split inside the military, not just the government versus the Indians. But right the on the Indian side there were some with power too.
Vincent Bevins 50:25
So the first in Guatemala, the first rebel group was former military officers that were left compared to the the the leader of the country. So they split off in 1960 and formed a guerrilla group that was opposed to the dictatorship. And then you had successive waves of guerrilla groups in Guatemala that were trying to knock off the dictatorship that was controlling things in Guatemala City. Now, in the late 70s. You had the rise of a new dictator, sorry, a new guerrilla group that was inspired By the tactics of Mao and their and their job was to try to get the indigenous on their side. And although this didn’t quite work, the fact that they even tried to do so that that the fact that they even went into the indigenous areas and said, Hey, we’re fighting for you. We want you to support us that lead the indigenous to be marked for extermination by the central government.
Scott Horton 51:24
So in my book, so it shows that they weren’t already with the communists in the first place if the commies coming to them asking for support.
Vincent Bevins 51:32
Oh, no, they had very I mean, I in my book at the end of the, the, towards the end, I spent a lot of time in Guatemala in one of these communities that was totally desecrated and two things really pop out the first is that they do these guerrillas came and they were like, Oh, yeah, we’re gonna fight for you. Are you on our side? And they were kind of like, I don’t know like, Well, you know, they they treated them with like the basic politeness and hospitality that they would treat anybody that was not an enemy, right. But then that was that that was enough to mark them for extermination. And they but they didn’t really understand exactly what this guerrilla group was all about, except for the you know, they were against the government. And number two, these communities in Central America and the one that I visited in, in the highlands of Guatemala are still decimated to this day. And the only source of income, that the village that I visited has, is they send their kids to sneak into the United States and learn Spanish because they don’t even know they have to learn Spanish in the United States because they don’t speak Spanish in these parts of the Guatemalan Highlands to send back there, a little bit of money to rebuild these communities, which were devastated by the US back military in the 1980s.
Scott Horton 52:47
Yeah, man. All right now, I’m curious, do you have a chapter in your book about the Baathists in Iraq and the CIA helping them hunt down and murder all their leftists and academics to
Vincent Bevins 52:59
yes to do so. Great,
Scott Horton 53:00
that’s it, man, I gotta get this book.
Vincent Bevins 53:03
Oh, yeah, it’s, I hope you do, and I hope other people do as well. So the the Indonesian massacre ranks in 65 minutes and 66 is, we believe, to the best of our knowledge, the third time that the United States or the CIA hand over lists of communists so that local partners can have them executed. So the first is in 1954. In Guatemala, the ambassador to Guatemala orders the new Guatemalan government to kill very specific communists. And then in 1963, you have the bath coup, which is backed very likely. We don’t know to what extent it was planned or backed, but certainly had the support of the CIA by the by the time everything was done, and in 1963. We believe that the CIA did hand over lists of quote unquote communists for the basketball. Ready to execute. Now I interviewed an Iraqi who lived through this who was in the Iraqi Communist Party and I was in London he was forced out of the country by the the invasion in 2003. And, and he said that Saddam Hussein in 1963 had a reputation for being one of the most brutal and ruthless of the tortures and murders carrying out this anti communist purge. In the bath party so again, this is again it’s it’s it’s often very forgot it’s often forgotten but in the middle of the 20th century, the largest communist parties in the world outside of you know, in the in the in the quote unquote third world or in the in the bond, Doom nations. Were the number one the Indonesian Communist Party number two, the Iraqi Communist Party, and number three, the Sudanese Communist Party. All three of these communist parties were literally exterminated through mass murder. And, you know, this was a party that really had a lot of influence in in in Iraq. I mean, the the idea is often held in post 911 in the United States and after 911, that the Middle East is a sort of a rabidly religious and conservative place would have been completely on, recognizable to people who live through the 50s and 60s and 70s, where the where the the Muslim left was very powerful.
Scott Horton 55:22
And America and Britain back the Muslim Brotherhood and any kind of as long as they could as long as they would oppose socialism and nationalism.
Vincent Bevins 55:31
Yeah, this was a huge a huge part of the the US Yeah, us support for Muslim parties, if not Islamic states. You know, the most famous, of course, is in Afghanistan. But you had this throughout all of the Arab world. So Nasser was a sort of a left leaning leader of Egypt, which should I, you know, was part of this constellation of left leaning anti imperialist Not communist, but you know. And you know, opposed to conservative Islam. Sukarno is probably the most important and famous example of the example of this. Sukarno was a Muslim and you know, in one sense, but he was absolutely not a conservative. And and then this is also very important to understand the rise of us support for Saudi Arabia and for the influence of Wahhabi Islam as a strand of Islam in general. And DJ Pasha does a really good job in his book, The darker nations of showing how the all the money and resources that were pumped into Wahhabi ism we’re at we’re at kind of an anti bond Doom, a desperate attempt to counter the bond Doom idea of third worlds left leaning identity.
Scott Horton 56:55
Yeah, Robert drives his book devils game is also really great on the inside. Cold War history of us support for Islamic parties Shia and Sunni and Wahhabi and whatever you got as long as they’re not nationalists or leftists,
Vincent Bevins 57:10
yeah. And in in Indonesia, this was I said the first attempt that the US This was the first US attempt to stop the rise of left in in Asia. To keep Sukarno down and to stop the rise of the Communist Party was that they pumped all this money into this party called masumi, which was a right wing, conservative Muslim party. And at the bond Doom conference, an American named Richard Wright who wrote native son, he was a he’s an important black author in the middle of the 20th century. He talked to these conservative Muslims in Indonesia being like, Oh, so what do you you know, how do you understand your alliance with the United States and, and these are the guys that are getting CIA money and they’re saying, Look, they don’t understand who we are. They’re not really Really our friends, they tell him something like, if the only basis for a partnership is that we’re the the people that they can pick that are not communists. That’s not the that’s not the basis for a long term friendship and even us, even those even we who are receiving direct funding are not trustful of what Washington is really doing here. It’s it’s they all they’re doing is finding somebody to oppose their enemies rather than understanding the country well enough to develop it in a positive way.
Scott Horton 58:30
What are you worried about some stirred up Muslims, man, what what harm could they be?
Vincent Bevins 58:35
Yeah, exactly. You know, and, you know, arguably, you know, yeah, I mean, scholars of the Cold War, often step back and saying, you know, the Soviet Union failed a sort of structural role in US foreign policy, the second half of the 20th century. And, lo and behold, must, you know, radical Islam or terrorism’s falls right back into that exact same role and you know, States ends up treating, quote unquote terrorism the same way that it treated quote unquote, communism the second half of the 20th century or anything that kind of even smelled a little bit like communists had no human rights. And this is, you know, this led to the, you know, the the mass murder in 6566 and seven in in Asia and then after 911 anybody that could even be cut halfway considered somehow a terrorist or the kind of Muslim that could be a terrorist didn’t have human rights either.
Scott Horton 59:26
Right? Yeah. And, of course, the stirred up Muslims, quote, paraphrase there, that’s a big new Brzezinski who would help launch the project to support the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the Carter years talking about Yeah, but who cares about that compared to the fall of the Soviet Union? Yeah. 98 so it was before 911 but it was after Khobar Towers and the Africa embassies.
Vincent Bevins 59:49
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s, yeah, yeah.
Scott Horton 59:53
And he was still saying, Come on, truck bomb here, truck bomb there. How does that compare to what we were trying to do? You Yeah, I always thought when Gary Johnson had his Aleppo moment on morning, Joe, that instead of saying what’s Aleppo, he should have said, well see it all started when your father embarked on this project, Mika back in 1979, and just taken the argument from there, but
Vincent Bevins 1:00:17
yeah, yeah, it’s
Scott Horton 1:00:19
been one for the ages.
Vincent Bevins 1:00:21
Yeah, it’s just, you know, it’s just I mean, that’s it’s that’s the blowback thesis, right? Is it always you know, you can’t if you just throw support behind anybody, that’s not enemy number one. Once enemy number one is gone, there’s gonna be enemy number two and just it’s another it’s an unending cycle, right? You always you’re always going to be and you’re generating the countervailing forces that ended up being the next big enemy forever. No,
Scott Horton 1:00:45
hey, there was a big knife attack in Britain by a Libyan national who I hadn’t seen the details yet, but I bet you dollars to doughnuts he’s tied to the Libyan Islamic fighting group, just like the Manchester attacker used to the CIA. EMI six, you know, they try to use these guys. I’m sure you wrote about this. They tried to use Li fg against qaddafi back in the 90s and then call that off and make qaddafi an ally. And then they went ahead and sided with the terrorists against them again.
Vincent Bevins 1:01:15
Yeah. Yeah. You don’t hear about Libya too much. For some reason. These days.
Scott Horton 1:01:20
Yeah. Blow the opportunity that we gave them is what Hillary Clinton said.
Vincent Bevins 1:01:25
Oh, yeah, right. No, I was. I was I started in London in that little period where you said that qaddafi was a was an ally because I was studying at the London School of Economics and so was his son. His son was a like,
Scott Horton 1:01:41
which one say
Vincent Bevins 1:01:42
I don’t know. It’s a good question. Okay. I know that it was he was famous around campus for not he wouldn’t come he would send a note taker but it was like I think that ended up being that the mean don’t quote me will now look it up. But I believe that the head of the school and its world economics had to step down because of the Lynx took it off you when when could you switch back to being a bad guy. Anyone that had sort of been friendly with the family in that brief interlude, had to had to sort of take a hit for it.
Scott Horton 1:02:09
Amazing stuff. And then, yeah, I mean with the Manchester attack or it turned out that his family was directly tied to the Libyan Islamic fighting group and EMI six efforts and after their, you know, temporary Alliance, earlier on the first phase of it, they’d been resettled in Manchester. And then when 2011 broke out, they went ahead, EMI six rounded all these guys up and send them off to fight. And then it was actually Her Majesty’s Royal Navy, had given the Manchester bomber a ride back to England, from North Africa. I think he had stopped in Syria where he was a moderate rebel for a time brought him back to England for a bunch of little children at a rock concert.
Vincent Bevins 1:02:51
I remember the moderate rebels. That was a big thing to the quote unquote, moderate rebels in Syria. Yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, yeah, all you had to do to be to be Boehner was was to be a ray of on desktop editor he had to be to be an enemy of our enemy for now. And you know, if you were, I’m sure if they were to have succeeded and taken over then they would have had become the enemy again. And just
Scott Horton 1:03:11
now and again in favor of the Islamised against the secularists which say whatever you want about the Baathists, but they protect all the different religious minorities and ethnic minorities. And yeah, we don’t want to go back in time to some previous century unlike, you know, the leaders of on this right.
Vincent Bevins 1:03:30
Yeah, this is I mean, just just like this is a truism that somehow we forget over and over in US foreign policy, just because something’s bad doesn’t mean it can’t get worse. Right. So the leadership of Saddam was saying, however awful, it was like, you can always make it worse. There’s no reason to believe that just like throwing Western money and military power around is going to automatically lead from bad to good. It could lead from bad to very, very bad.
Scott Horton 1:03:57
Yeah. You know, I never could find this in the Google anymore, but I did see it on TV where a Republican Congressman, I don’t remember the name or the channel, but it was a cable TV news channel. And and he was being interviewed about and was taking the McCain position on the intervention in Syria. And they asked the smart question. Okay, so if we do overthrow the Baathist government there in Damascus, then what’s going to happen after that? Who’s going to take power after that? And what second look like? And he says, Well, we just have to hope that someone comes to the fore.
Vincent Bevins 1:04:32
Scott Horton 1:04:33
And then does it for like, What a weird old fashioned way to say, I have no idea. How dare you ask me that question.
Vincent Bevins 1:04:43
I think I think it’s kind of deeply embedded in our, in our sort of consciousness, this sort of not hanging over is the wrong word, because it’s the opposite of the hangover. But like, the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was just the idea that like, Oh, yeah, if you just like get rid of the bad thing, then the good thing happens in the case. If he’s Germany, that is actually what happened, right? Like, you just you had Western when you come in and say, okay, use Germany, you’re going to join our country and, and the fall of the Soviet Union is very specific and very well publicized chapter of the Cold War, something did come to the fore, right. But in the vast majority of the world, if you just destroy something that exists, there is not a magical process that generates a better thing. You know, if you have a car, that doesn’t work that well, but you shoot it with a bazooka, there’s not a magically generated better car that comes out of the process. And But somehow, I think we believe that all you know, in Venice, I mean, I lived in Venezuela at the beginning of my journalism career. And over the years, the government has been either, you know, a little bit bad or very bad. But again, that doesn’t mean that just sort of throwing stuff at it and destroying it will lead to something better could lead to a civil war, it could lead to a very horrible, you know, record could lead to just a decade of this kind of stalemate that we have until now. Yeah, it’s a strange It’s a strange pathology, we have to the anytime you want oppose an intervention, you said what do you mean you like that government? It’s like No, I just think that it’s not necessarily going to get better if you throw us power at it.
Scott Horton 1:06:14
Sure. Well, of course got no right whatsoever. In fact, even under the constitutional law, the national government is bound and it’s kind of vague, that they are bound to guarantee a republican form of government to every state in the Union, which I guess means that if the Reds took over New Mexico, then the federal government would claim the constitutional authority to go in there and make sure they have a bicameral legislature an independent judiciary or something. Okay, fine. But then, by stark relief, that proves that they don’t have anything like the right to do that to any state in the world. Just members of the Union who signed on to this constitution.
Vincent Bevins 1:06:52
Right, right. Right.
Scott Horton 1:06:54
So But anyway, never mind that like the Constitution has anything to do with anything but anyway,
Vincent Bevins 1:06:59
now Yeah. Foreign Policy tends to be an extra legal space. Right? I mean, international law to the extent that it exists, can be usually avoided when the powerful when the interests are powerful enough, but domestically, it’s a little different. But internationally, it’s you could usually find a way to do whatever you want.
Scott Horton 1:07:17
Yeah. All right. Well, listen. Again, this is such an important article alone here. Never mind even the book, NewYorkbooks.com No, sorry. NYBooks.com. How Jakarta became the code word for us back to mass killing. How do you like that? New York Review of Books. And then the brand new book out is the Jakarta method. Washington’s anti communist crusade and the mass murder program that shaped our world. Thanks very much for your time again, Vince, appreciate it.
Vincent Bevins 1:07:51
Thanks for having me.
Scott Horton 1:07:53
Vincent Bevins 1:07:54
Sure, what I was saying is that in in the Cold War, there were actual socialist movements like it And it was there were actual communist movements like you had an Indonesian. But in a lot of the cases, the communist brush was used to paint governments which were just trying to implement capitalism for the first time in in these nations. So for example, in Guatemala, Huckle barman’s, what he was trying to do was implement a land reform, which would end futile control of Guatemala and allow it to be developed, allow the for the forces of the market to develop capitalism for the first time. And this is what he said he wanted to do. And he wasn’t lying. This is what he wanted to do. The reason that this was a big problem for the United States is because the United Fruit Company controlled the vast majority of land in Guatemala, and they had been lying about how much the land was worth. So when he tried to compensate that company for their, for the land reform, it the amount they were going to get was nothing compared to what was actually worth because they were lying about it and Iran, what they wanted was to have Iranian control of oil and like yeah, in in a lot of cases. It was the transition from Imperial or colonial feudalism to capitalism.
Scott Horton 1:09:08
Right? It was, you know, it was they were just declaring independence. Right? They were not really a leftist regime. And by the way, you know, Murray rothbard and Sheldon Richmond and all the great libertarians are supportive of land reform when it’s, you know, ancient Imperial edicts from the king of Spain or whoever that granted these land titles to these feudal lords. When, you know, we’re john Lockeians it’s the people who work that land that own that land.
Vincent Bevins 1:09:37
And the really interesting thing is that if you look at the countries where the United States really wanted capitalism to take off, Japan and South Korea, land reform did take place under the aegis of the United States in the first years of, of the Cold War. So when countries that were seen as sort of outside or a threat to us hegemony tried to do But the South Koreans or the or the, or what we had done really in Japan and South Korea that was seen as quote unquote, communism. And all it was was really, as you say, transferring this feudal control of land in Latin America and Asia to a modern market economy. And in Brazil, this was this was, I mentioned, voting rights for black people. The other thing that really horrified the Brazilian elites was that john Goulart wanted to carry out land reform. And to this day, I mean, this is something I’ve, in other words,
Scott Horton 1:10:32
property rights for black people was the problem that the American government was right was intervening to help solve.
Vincent Bevins 1:10:41
Yeah, full citizenship, full, full liberal citizenship, the control, you know, like modern capitalist property rights, rather than feudal property rights and voting for everyone. And like I, you know, I’ve lived through this and very tragic ways like the Amazon is still under futile control. Like I had a contact that used to To work in Brazil’s environmental enforcement agency that took me on tours of the Amazon and showed me exactly who destroyed it. And for what reason. I mean, I stayed in contact with him afterwards after as I left the country, and then he was killed, they his his plane was blew up it was was exploded in the Amazon. So like you we still have futile control over much of South America. And this was what was stopped by the quote unquote, anti communist crusade as well.
Scott Horton 1:11:27
And you know, what, let me bring up the Rockefellers again, because, I mean, this is, especially in time at the 60s and 70s. This is the heyday of David Rockefeller and the Chase Manhattan Bank, and their global interest, and they really weren’t getting dirty work done everywhere. And I know that in and, you know, Nelson Rockefeller and other members of the family as well, but that they had these very strong alliances with the Catholic Church and with all these right wing governments, and for a variety of interests, not just oil, but agriculture and all kinds of different things. And I wonder if have sort of a comment on that particular, you know, line of argument here.
Vincent Bevins 1:12:05
I think it’s I mean, I just I just think it’s right. I mean, so. Rob. Yeah. So David Rockefeller was part of this first big business conference that I told you about that took place in Indonesia, as a million people were still in concentration camps purely for their political beliefs. And he gave the final speech at this sort of, you know, a thought or whatever it was the Hilton Jakarta or something, some sort of fancy dinner for American businessmen. And he, he surveys what’s happening in Indonesia, and he said, I’ve talked to a good many people over the course the last couple days, and I have found universal enthusiasm. And, you know, that’s enthusiasm for the creation for the system that was created by, you know, just, you know, months previously, rounding up a million people stabbing them, throwing them into the river, to the point where a third of the countries too terrified to ever talk about what happened and to this day, and he was Encouraged by by the opportunities that are provided to, to him and other US businessmen.
Scott Horton 1:13:07
Yeah. And then and you know, there’s this book that will be done by Colby and I think Bennett that’s about the alliance between the Chase Bank and other Rockefeller interest in The Catholic Church throughout Latin America. Although I gotta admit, it’s been about 20 years since I looked at the thing. But I wonder if you know much about that.
Vincent Bevins 1:13:31
I know I don’t I don’t go into this deeply in, in Brazil. But I know that the Rockefellers were quite active in the, in the run up to the 1964 coup, and then certainly, and she lays so
Scott Horton 1:13:43
right. And people can read about that in trilateralism by Holly Sklar, makes all the direct connections there to the chilla coup.
Vincent Bevins 1:13:52
And then in July, so I worked with a researcher in Santiago to really trace where this quote unquote Jakarta metaphor came from. And we found the first articles that ever spoke about the deployment of quote unquote, Jakarta during this terror campaign in 1972. And in one of the articles we found, they said that playing Jakarta, quote, unquote, had been handed to the in the Chilean military by David Rockefeller. So we don’t know if that’s true, but we know that that’s what the Chilean left was claiming at the time. So the people that were being terrorized by the Jakarta by the St. Paul Jakarta graffiti campaign, believed at the time that David Rockefeller had given that plan to the Pinochet thesis.
Scott Horton 1:14:38
Yeah, I’ll tell you what, man I sure am behind on my history of Latin American intervention. And I sure do need to catch up and this looks like a great place to start. So once again, really appreciate it Vincent. The Scott Horton show, Antiwar Radio can be heard on kpfk 90.7 FM in LA, APSradio.com antiwar.com ScottHorton.org and libertarianinstitute.org