Tuesday night, Maori TV showed Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2014 ground breaking documentary about the 1965 Indonesian genocide instigated by the CIA. The documentary is available at the Maori TV website for the next 2 weeks: The Look of Silence
The clip below is a 2016 Al Jazeera interview with the filmmaker.
More than a million people were brutally killed after a 1965 CIA-backed military coup that overthrew Achmed Sukarno – who became Indonesia’s first president in 1945 after leading their battle for independence (from the Netherlands) for more than 20 years.
Genocide victims were accused of being communists, although most were union members, teachers, artists, intellectuals and landless farmers who opposed General Suharto’s new military dictatorship.
For the most part the killers have stayed in power, living alongside the survivors and the victims’ families who were threatened into silence. Fear and anti-communist rhetoric persist in Indonesia today.
For nearly 10 years, American filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer researched and documented the atrocities.
He spoke to victims and their families as well as the perpetrators of the crimes, shedding light on Indonesia’s dark past and today’s impunity in his two films, The Look of Silence (2014) and The Act of Killing (2012).
His first film tells the story from the point of view of the killers – some of whom are celebrated as heroes in Indonesia today. The Look of Silence follows an optometrist, born two years after his brother was killed, as he confronts those responsible for his brother’s death.
Part 7 of Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States concerns the Johnson and Nixon presidencies.
The Johnson Presidency
Johnson continued Kennedy’s glorious tradition of overthrowing foreign democratic governments. He openly admitted the military aggression he authorized wasn’t about fighting communism – but about fighting third world peoples for their resources. He saw no other way 6% of the world’s population could control 50% of its wealth.
In 1963 Johnson reversed Kennedy’s order to draw down US “military advisors” and introduced ground troops to Vietnam.
In 1964 he ordered US troops to overthrow the democratically elected government of Brazil.
In 1965 he invaded the Dominican Republic to crush a popular insurrection against a CIA-inspired right wing coup.
In 1966-67 he authorized a bloody CIA coup to oust President Sukarno in Indonesia and replace him with the right wing dictator Suharto.
In 1967, he ordered the CIA to (illegally) spy on anti-Vietnam War protestors through Operation Chaos.
In 1967, he fired Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara when he opposed escalating the bombing in Vietnam.
When a bipartisan group of elder statesman called for US troop withdrawal from Vietnam, Johnson decided to focus on Vietnam peace negotiations instead of running for a second term in 1968.
The Nixon Presidency
Robert Kennedy was the clear front runner in the 1968 election prior to his assassination in July 1968.
Despite basing his campaign on a “secret plan” to end the war in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger (who secretly undermined the Paris peace negotiations to help Nixon win the elections) vastly expanded the war, which would last seven more years. More than half the GI deaths in Vietnam occurred under Nixon.
As president, Nixon made 13 separate threats to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Stone believes it was only the massive anti-war protests (which deeply unnerved Nixon) that prevented their use.
Nixon and Kissinger were also responsible for secretly and illegally bombing Cambodia and Laos, the 1973 coup that overthrew Chile’s democratically elected government, and Operation Condor, a secret dirty war against pro-democracy movements in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia.
Part 7: Johnson, Nixon and Vietnam: Reversal of Fortune – Cataclysm in Vietnam