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September 29, 2023

The case for justice – West Papua’s story

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Feros responds to Expression of Interest announcement

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The Act of Free Choice 1969 handed control of West Papua to Indonesia. Photo www.freewestpapua.org

PM Albanese, understandably, has continued Australia’s military contribution to Ukraine’s independence, currently totalling $655 million. 

Contrast this with Albanese’s current acquiescence to Indonesia’s continuing brutal takeover of West Papua, with thousands of Papuans killed. Indonesia has no geographical, ethnical, or traditional/cultural ties with West Papua – Jakarta is 4,024 km away. Media and UN Human Rights investigators have been denied access there.

Weeks ago, Australia’s Navy participated in naval exercises with Indonesia – the moral equivalent of Australia participating in naval exercises with Russia.

Dr Greg Poulgrain. Photo supplied

An astonishing new book

This history is uncovered in an astonishing new book, JFK vs Alan Dulles – Battleground Indonesia, written by academic historian, Dr Greg Poulgrain. The book covers West Papua and Indonesia from 1916 to today using extensive archival research and countless interviews including with JFK’s Secretary of State, Dean Rusk and former NATO Secretary-General, Joseph Luns.

Enter a brilliant, ambitious, young Allen Dulles graduating from Princeton in 1916, born to wealth and power. He starts working in Europe cultivating complex global friendships, alliances, and dependencies, essential in progressing his meteoric career.

First, he negotiates a buy-in of Russia’s Baku oil fields for the world’s richest oil magnate, John D Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, today branded Exxon-Mobil. 

Gold Mountain

When Dulles forms an oil exploration company for John D in 1935 in West New Guinea, he strikes gold. Dulles’ geologist friend, JJ Dozy, secretly discovers the world’s largest gold/copper deposit there, calling it ‘gold mountain’. But with Papua’s dense jungles rising to snow-covered mountains, mine construction must wait.

Dulles’ career culminates in 1953 becoming US President Eisenhower’s CIA director, specialising in staging coups in mineral or agriculture-rich countries, like Iran and Guatemala.

Dulles, reappointed by President Kennedy, keeps the ‘gold mountain’ a secret, from Kennedy and Indonesia’s President Sukarno. 

The political backdrop Poulgrain paints shows how ‘oil/gold’ for Rockefeller has brought tragedy to West Papua and its Melanesian people. Colonised by the Dutch and recognised as being different to Indonesia, West Papuans almost attained independence at the end of 1961 when they raised their new flag, the Morning Star, and declared ‘unrecognised’ independence. 

Kennedy was overpowered in solving the international crisis over sovereignty of West New Guinea which Dulles, as CIA director, had prepared for the new president. This – and the Cuban crisis – were on President Kennedy’s desk from day one.

Poulgrain relates the extraordinary complexities of Dulles and his daring ambitions. Following the Cuban Missile crises, Kennedy realises USA/USSR conflicts were forcing ‘emerging countries’ to take sides, instead of their own. Hence Kennedy quickly becomes an important supporter of Indonesia’s President Sukarno, a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement at the United Nations, similar to today’s TEAL cross-benchers in parliament.

Access to gold

Poulgrain’s book describes the conflict between Kennedy’s policies and ‘CIA Director Allen Dulles plan for regime change in Indonesia… [just as] JFK became involved by planning a Jakarta visit in early 1964. Kennedy argued his visit would have secured Sukarno’s position as Indonesian president.’

While Rockefeller secretly supported the Indonesian army to oust the colonial Dutch from New Guinea/West Papua, Poulgrain reveals through interviewing two former Indonesian foreign ministers that multi-national access to the gold will come only after Sukarno falls.

Dr Poulgrain provides evidence of the extraordinary complexities of Dulles’ daring treachery, accusing Dulles of being ‘behind the assassination of Kennedy in late 1963 as well as the [related] death of UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld in a plane crash in 1961.’ This latter evidence before the UN has contributed to their decision to hold a new investigation which started in January 2023.

Senior member of the Warren Commission

Poulgrain describes how Dulles successfully lobbied President Johnson to appoint him as the senior member of the Warren Commission into Kennedy’s assassination. Dulles kept secret that he had appointed his old European friend, George Mohrenschildt, then working for the CIA as controller of Lee Harvey Oswald, who posted Oswald for a position working in the Texas book depository just days before Oswald (as the Warren Commission found) assassinated Kennedy. 

Dulles, retired by Kennedy in late 1961, was still active with the CIA in 1965, and supported a violent internal Indonesian military coup killing six army generals. 

False claims

Suharto and his group falsely claimed the generals were tortured and sexually mutilated by young communist women before being killed. In the space of a few weeks, the military propaganda machine unfolded a story that Sukarno’s supporters were complicit in a massive conspiracy. Suharto took the top position in the Indonesian army, and after around one million Indonesian Sukarno supporters were massacred, Suharto became acting President, then President.

Suharto held a sham referendum in 1969 called the ‘Act of Free Choice’, declaring that the Papuans were too ‘primitive’ for democracy. Indonesia’s military hand-picked 1,026 ‘representative people’, who unanimously voted ‘Yes’ to becoming part of Indonesia. 

Freeport is now the world’s largest, most profitable gold and copper mine, owned by American mining giant, Freeport-McMoRan. It generates most of the company’s US$20 billion revenue. The Indonesian government will soon have a 60/40 share of the mine. 

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  1. Well the Russians and Ukrainians are the same people, that speak dialects of the same language, they share the same religion, they live in each other’s countries, they share cultural values and ancestry. The first city of Russia was Kiev, and they have traditionally been the same country. In both cases, Westerners should stay out of thes inter-tribal conflicts. White Saviourism has proven not to help.

    • whether we like it or not we are supporting a fascist regime in the Ukraine whose main purpose is the fighting of a 20th century proxy war for our erstwhile forever partners the “quiet Americans “. Six hundred and fifty five million is expensive going for a few Photos of Albo and the undersized Ukrainian ultra right wing comedian..even worse its not funny..

  2. Great review Jim. A lot of Dulles role in the sordid politics of this and Kennedy/USA was revealed by the Mark Lane ( Rush to Judgement, and My Last Word- The role of the CIA in the JFK Assassination, et al}, and Jim Douglas ( JFK and the unspeakable }.
    At the least Sukarno’s real direction for his country and JFK’s turning to work with him has been allowed to be buried in Australia.
    West Papua, Timor Leste; yes Australia’s record/history – sad tragic but shouldn’t be forgotten. Thanks to Dr Poulgrain for putting more light on this.
    Neville Newell

  3. Good on you for pointing out how Suharto’s propaganda and, in general, Indonesia as a strategic ally of the US, has caused so much suffering and injustice in West Papua.
    But to glibly congratulate Albo the Cowardly for funding the US ptoxy war in Ukraine in your opening paragraph is a shocking reminder that people who may be experts in growing oranges nay know bugger all about growing bananas and as such you have lazily allowed yourself to be grossly propagandised by the US/NATO/Mainstream Media nexus – theredy making your protestations of the West Papua situation sonewhat hypocritical.


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