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Understanding the deadly usefulness of anti-Communist politics in Indonesia.


American officials realized, beginning in the early 60s, that only the annihilation of the Indonesian Communist Party could help its main goal of dampening Indonesian nationalism and preventing the continued leftward tilt of the Indonesian government, and ensuring Indonesia would remain in the Western fold as, in the eyes of many American officials, one of the great prizes of the Cold War.

Historian Bradley Simpson examines Indonesia's long history of brutal anti-Communist politics - from an extermination campaign that killed up to 500,000 leftists in 1965-66, to a persistent (and resurgent) Red Scare being used by today's military and Islamic right to silence democracy and human rights campaigners. 

Bradley wrote the brief U.S. Embassy Tracked Indonesia Mass Murder 1965 for the National Security Archive.

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Bradley Simpson

Bradley Simpson is Founder and Director of the Indonesia and East Timor Documentation Project and an Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Connecticut.


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