JFK vs. Allen Dulles
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Before I digress slightly, let me state from the outset that the book by Greg Poulgrain that I am about to review is extraordinary by any measure. The story he tells is one you will read nowhere else, especially in the way he links the assassination of President Kennedy to former CIA Director Allen Dulles and the engineering by the latter of one of the 20th century's most terrible mass murders. It will make your hair stand on end and should be read by anyone who cares about historical truth.
About twelve years ago I taught a graduate school course to Massachusetts State Troopers and police officers from various cities and towns. As part of the course material, I had created a segment on the history of the United States' foreign policy, with particular emphasis on Indonesia.
No one in this class knew anything about Indonesia, not even where it was. These were intelligent, ambitious adults, eager to learn, all with college degrees. This was in the midst of the "war on terror" - i.e. war on Muslim countries - and the first year of Barack Obama's presidency. Almost all the class had voted for Obama and were aware they he had spent some part of his youth in this unknown country somewhere far away.
I mention this as a preface to this review of JFK vs. Dulles, because its subtitle is Battleground Indonesia, and my suspicion is that those students' lack of knowledge about the intertwined history of Indonesia and the U.S. is as scanty today among the general public as it was for my students a dozen years ago.
This makes Greg Poulgrain's remarkable book - JFK vs. Allen Dulles: Battleground Indonesia - even more important since it is a powerful antidote to such ignorance, and a reminder for those who have fallen, purposefully or not, into a state of historical amnesia that has erased the fact that the U.S. has committed systematic crimes that have resulted in the deaths of more than a million Indonesians and many more millions throughout the world over innumerable decades.
Such crimes against humanity have been hidden behind what the English playwright Harold Pinter in his 2005 Nobel Prize address called "a tapestry of lies." Of such massive crimes, he said:
But you wouldn't know it.
It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them.
And when one examines the true history of such atrocities, again and again one comes up against familiar names of the guilty who have never been prosecuted. Criminals in high places whose crimes around the world from Vietnam to Chile to Cuba to Nicaragua to Argentina to Iraq to Libya to Syria, etc. have been - and continue to be - integral to American foreign policy as it serves the interests of its wealthy owners and their media mouthpieces.
In his brilliant new book on U.S./Indonesian history, Dr. Greg Poulgrain unweaves this tapestry of lies and sheds new light on the liars' sordid deeds. He is an Australian expert on Indonesia whose work stretches back forty years, is a professor at University of the Sunshine Coast in Brisbane and has written four highly-researched book about Indonesia.
In JFK vs. Dulles, he exposes the intrigue behind the ruthless regime-change strategy in Indonesia of the longest-serving CIA director, Allen Dulles, and how it clashed with the policy of President John F. Kennedy, leading to JFK's assassination, Indonesian regime change, and massive slaughter.
Poulgrain begins with this question:
Would Allen Dulles have resorted to assassinating the President of the United States to ensure that his 'Indonesian strategy' rather than Kennedy's was achieved?
To which he answers: Yes.
But let me not get ahead of myself, for the long, intricate tale he tells is one a reviewer can only summarize, so filled is it with voluminous details. So I will touch on a few salient points and encourage people to buy and read this important book.
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