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The Thirtieth of September Movement
(Indonesian: x 
Ô abbreviated as
x Së was a self-proclaimed organization of
Indonesian National Armed Forces members whoÔ in
the early hours of 1 October 1965Ô assassinated six
Indonesian Army generals in an abortive G   

u
Later that morningÔ the organization declared that it
was in control of media and communication outlets
and had taken President Soekarno under its
protectionu By the end of the dayÔ the coup attempt
had failed in Jakarta at leastu Meanwhile in central
Java there was an attempt to take control over an
army division and several citiesu By the time this
rebellion was put downÔ two more senior officers
were deadu
‰ In the days and weeks that followedÔ the
army blamed the coup attempt on the
Indonesian Communist Party (PKIëu Soon
a campaign of mass killing was underwayÔ
which resulted in the death of hundreds of
thousands of alleged communistsu
‰ The group's name was more commonly
abbreviated "G30S/PKI" by those wanting
to associate it with the PKIÔ and
propaganda would refer to the group as
x 
  (for its similarity to "Gestapo"Ô the
name of the Nazi secret policeëu
cidnappings of generals
‰ The Army General Staff at the time of the coup attemptu The
generals who were killed are shown in greyu
‰ At around 3:15 AuMu on 1 OctoberÔ seven groups of troops in trucks
and buses comprising soldiers from the Tjakrabirawa (Presidential
Guardë the Diponegoro (Central Javaë and Brawijaya (East Javaë
DivisionsÔ left the movement's base at Halim Perdanakusumah Air
Force BaseÔ just south of Jakarta to kidnap seven generalsÔ all
members of the Army General Staffu Three of the intended victimsÔ
(Minister/Commander of the Army Lieutenant General mhmad YaniÔ
Major General M. T. Haryono and Brigadier General D.I. Panjaitanë
were killed at their homesÔ while three more (Major General
SoepraptoÔ Major General S. Parman and Brigadier General
Sutoyoë were taken aliveu MeanwhileÔ the main targetÔ Coordinating
Minister for Defense and Security and Chief of Staff of Indonesian
Armed ForcesÔ General mbdul Harris Nasution managed to escape
the kidnap attempt by jumping over a wall into the Iraqi embassy
gardenÔ but his personal aideÔ First Lieutenant Pierre TendeanÔ was
captured by mistake after being mistaken for Nasution in the darku
Nasution's five-year old daughterÔ Ade Irma Suryani NasutionÔ was
shot and died on 6 Octoberu The generals and the bodies of their
dead colleagues were taken to a place known as Lubang Buaya
near Halim where those still alive were shotÔ and the bodies of all
the victims were thrown down a disused wellu
Takeover in Jakarta
‰ Key locations around Merdeka Square (now Monasë
on 30 September 1965u 5]
‰ Later that morningÔ around 2Ô000 troops from two
Java-based divisions (Battalion 454 from the
Diponegoro Division and Battalion 530 from the
Siliwangi Divisionë occupied what is now Lapangan
MerdekaÔ the park around the National Monument in
central JakartaÔ and three sides of the squareÔ
including the RRI (Radio Republik Indonesiaë buildingu
They did not occupy the east side of the square ±
location of the armed forces strategic reserve
(KOSTRADë headquartersÔ commanded at the time by
Major General Suhartou At some time during the nightÔ
DuNu AiditÔ the Indonesian Communist Party (PKIë
leader and Air Vice-Marshal Omar DhaniÔ the Air
Force commander both went to Halimu
‰ Following the news at 7AMÔ RRI broadcast a message
from Lieutenant-Colonel Untung SyamsuriÔ commander
of CakrabirawaÔ Presidential guardÔ to the effect that the
30 September MovementÔ an internal army organizationÔ
had taken control with the help of other units of strategic
locations in Jakarta to forestall a coup attempt by a
'General's Council' aided by the  entral Intelligence
mgencyÔ intent on removing Sukarno on 5 OctoberÔ
"Army Day"u It was also stated that President Sukarno
was under the movement's protection ± he traveled to
Halim after learning that there were troops near the
Palace on the north side of Lapangan Merdekau Sukarno
later claimed this was so he could be near an aircraft
should he need to leave Jakartau Further radio
announcements later that day listed 45 members of the
G30S Movement and stated that all army ranks above
Lieutenant Colonel would be abolishedu
The end of the movement in
Jakarta
‰ mt 5. mM, Soeharto was woken up by his
neighbor and told of the disappearances of
the generals and the shootings at their
homes. He went to c STRmD HQ and tried
to contact other senior officers. He managed
to contact the Naval and Police
commanders, but was unable to contact the
mir Force  ommander. He then took
command of the mrmy and issued orders
confining all troops to barracks.
‰ [ecause of poor planning, the coup leaders had failed to
provide provisions for the troops on Lapangan Merdeka, who
were becoming hot and thirsty. They were under the
impression that they were guarding the president in the palace.
ver the course of the afternoon, Suharto persuaded both
battalions to give up without a fight, first the [rawijaya troops,
who came to costrad HQ, then the Diponegoro troops, who
withdrew to Halim. His troops gave Untung's forces inside the
radio station an ultimatum and they also withdrew. [y 7PM
Suharto was in control of all the installations previously held by
the  September Movement's forces. Now joined by Nasution,
at 9PM he announced over the radio that he was now in
command of the mrmy and that he would destroy the counter-
revolutionary forces and save Sukarno. He then issued another
ultimatum, this time to the troops at Halim. Later that evening,
Sukarno left Halim and arrived in [ogor, where there was
another presidential palace.

‰ Most of the rebel troops fled, and after a minor battle in the
early hours of 2 ctober, the mrmy regained control of Halim,
midit flew to Yogyakarta and Dani to Madiun before the soldiers
arrived.[15]
‰ Most of the rebel troops fled, and after
a minor battle in the early hours of 2
ctober, the mrmy regained control of
Halim, midit flew to Yogyakarta and
Dani to Madiun before the soldiers
arrived.[15]
Events in Central Java
‰ Following the 7AM radio broadcastÔ troops from
the Diponegoro Division in Central Java took
control of five of the seven divisions in the name
of the 30 September movement u 16] The PKI
mayor of Solo issued a statement in support of
the movementu Rebel troops in YogyakartaÔ led
by Major MuljonoÔ kidnapped and later killed Colu
Katamso and his chief of staff Ltu Colu Sugijonou
HoweverÔ once news of the movement's failure
in Jakarta became knownÔ most of its followers
in Central Java gave themselves upu 15]
mnti-communist purge

‰ Main article: Indonesian killings of 1965±66

 ontemporary anti-PcI literature blaming the party for the coup


attempt
‰ Suharto and his associates immediately blamed the PKI
as masterminds of the 30 September Movementu With
the support of the ArmyÔ and fueled by horrific tales of
the alleged torture and mutilation of the generals at
Lubang BuayaÔ anti-PKI demonstrations and then
violence soon broke outu Violent mass action started in
AcehÔ then shifted to Central and East Javau 17] (see
Indonesian killings of 1965±66ë Suharto then sent the
RPKAD paratroops under Colu Sarwo Edhie to Central
Javau When they arrived in SemarangÔ locals burned the
PKI headquarters to the groundu 18] The army swept
through the countryside and were aided by locals in
killing suspected communistsu In East JavaÔ members of
AnsorÔ the youth wing of the Nahdlatul Ulama went on a
killing frenzyÔ and the slaughter later spread to Baliu
Figures given for the number of people killed across
Indonesia vary from 78Ô000 to one millionu 19] Among
the dead was AiditÔ who was captured by the Army on 25
November and summarily executed shortly afteru 20] 21]
Theories about the  September
Movement
‰ m PcI coup attempt: The "official" (New rder) version
‰ The Army leadership began making accusations of PKI involvement at
an early stageu LaterÔ the government of President Suharto would
reinforce this impression by referring to the movement using the
abbreviation "G30S/PKI"u School textbooks followed the official
government line 22] that the PKIÔ worried about Sukarno's health and
concerned about their position should he dieÔ acted to seize power and
establish a communist stateu The trials of key conspirators were used as
evidence to support this viewÔ as was the publication of a cartoon
supporting the 30 September Movement in the 2 October issue of the
PKI magazine ë
  u According to later
pronouncements by the armyÔ the PKI manipulated gullible left-wing
officers such as Untung through a mysterious "special bureau" that
reported only to the party secretaryÔ Aiditu This case relied on a
confession by the alleged head of the bureauÔ named SjamÔ during a
staged trial in 1967u But it was never convincingly proved to Western
academic specialistsÔ and has been challenged by some Indonesian
accountsu 23]
The plotters

‰ The reason given by those involved in the


30 September movement was that it was
to prevent a planned seizure of power by a
"Council of Generals" (   ëu
They claimed to be acting to save Sukarno
from these officers allegedly led by
Nasution and including YaniÔ who had
planned a coup on Armed Forces Day ± 5
Octoberu
Internal army affair
‰ Main article:  ornell Paper
‰ In 1971, [enedict mnderson and Ruth McVey wrote an article which
came to be known as the  ornell paper. In the essay they proposed
that the  September Movement was indeed entirely an internal army
affair as the PcI had claimed. They claimed that the action was a result
of dissatisfaction on the part of junior officers who found it extremely
difficult to obtain promotions and because of hostility toward the
generals because of their corrupt and decadent lifestyles. They allege
that the PcI was deliberately involved by, for example, bringing midit to
Halim: a diversion from the embarrassing fact the mrmy was behind the
movement.
‰ Recently mnderson expanded on his theory that the coup attempt was
almost totally an internal matter of a divided military with the PcI
playing only a peripheral role; that the right-wing generals
assassinated on 1 ctober 1965 were, in fact, the  ouncil of xenerals
coup planning to assassinate Sukarno and install themselves as a
military junta. mnderson argues that x S was indeed a movement of
officers loyal to Sukarno who carried out their plan believing it would
preserve, not overthrow, Sukarno's rule. The boldest claim in the
mnderson theory, however, is that Suharto was in fact privy to the
x S assassination plot.
‰  entral to the mnderson theory is an examination of a little-
known figure in the Indonesian army,  olonel mbdul Latief.
Latief had spent a career in the mrmy and, according to
mnderson, had been both a staunch Sukarno loyalist and a
friend with Suharto. Following the coup attempt, however,
Latief was jailed and named a conspirator in x S. mt his
military trial in the 197s, Latief made the accusation that
Suharto himself had been a co-conspirator in the x S plot,
and had betrayed the group for his own purposes.

‰ mnderson points out that Suharto himself has twice admitted to


meeting Latief in a hospital on the  September 1965 (i.e.
x S) and that his two narratives of the meeting are
contradictory. In an interview with mmerican journalist mrnold
[rackman, Suharto stated that Latief had been there merely "to
check" on him, as his son was receiving care for a burn. In a
later interview with ›   , Suharto stated that Latief had
gone to the hospital in an attempt on his life, but had lost his
nerve. mnderson believes that in the first account, Suharto was
simply being disingenuous; in the second, that he had lied.
Further backing his claimÔ Anderson cites circumstantial
evidence that Suharto was indeed in on the plotu Among
these are:
‰ That almost all the key military participants named a part of
x S were, either at the time of the assassinations or just
previously, close subordinates of Suharto: Lieutenant-
 olonel Untung,  olonel Latief, and [rigadier-xeneral
Supardjo in Jakarta, and  olonel Suherman, Major Usman,
and their associates at the Diponegoro Division¶s HQ in
Semarang.
‰ That in the case of Untung and Latief, their association
with Suharto was so close that attended each others'
family events and celebrated their sons' rites of passage
together.
‰ That the two generals who had direct command of all
troops in Jakarta (save for the Presidential xuard, who
carried out the assassinations) were Suharto and Jakarta
Military Territory  ommander Umar Wirahadikusumah.
Neither of these figures were assassinated, and (if
mnderson's theory that Suharto lied about an attempt on
his life by Latief) no attempt was even made.
‰ That during the time period in which the assassination plot was
organized, Suharto (as commander of costrad) had made a
habit of acting in a duplicitous manner: while Suharto was privy
to command decisions in  onfrontation, the intelligence chief
of his unit mli Murtopo had been making connections and
providing information to the hostile governments of Malaysia,
Singapore, United cingdom, and the United States through an
espionage operation run by [enny Moerdani in Thailand.
Murdani later became a spy chief in Suharto's government.

‰ mnderson's theory, for all the exhaustive research it has


entailed, still leaves open a number of questions of
interpretation. If, as mnderson believes, Suharto did have inside
knowledge of the x S plot, this still leaves open several
possibilities: (1) that Suharto had truly taken part in the plot
and defected; (2) that he had been acting as a spy for the
 ouncil of xenerals; or ( ) that he was uninterested completely
in the factional struggle of x S and  ouncil of xenerals.
xiven that Suharto has since died these questions are unlikely
to be answered e
Suharto with  Im support

‰ Professor Dale Scott alleges that the entire movement was designed
to allow for Suharto's responseu He draws attention to the fact the
side of Lapangan Medeka on which KOSTRAD HQ was situated
was not occupiedÔ and that only those generals who might have
prevented Suharto seizing power (except Nasutionë were
kidnappedu He also alleges that the fact that the generals were killed
near an air force base where PKI members had been trained
allowed him to shift the blame away from the Armyu He links the
support given by the CIA to anti-Sukarno rebels in the 1950s to their
later support for Suharto and anti-communist forcesu He points out
that training in the US of Indonesian Army personnel continued even
as overt military assistance dried upu Another damaging revelation
came to light when it emerged that one of the main plottersÔ Col
Latief was a close associate of SuhartoÔ as were other key figures in
the movementÔ and that Latief actually visited Suharto on the night
before the murders (WertheimÔ 1970ë
[ritish psyops

‰ The role of the United cingdom's Foreign ffice and MI6


intelligence service has also come to light, in a series of
exposés by Paul Lashmar and liver James in ? 


newspaper beginning in 1997. These revelations have also
come to light in journals on military and intelligence history.

‰ The revelations included an anonymous Foreign ffice source


stating that the decision to unseat Pres. Sukarno was made by
Prime Minister Harold Macmillan then executed under Prime
Minister Harold Wilson. mccording to the exposés, the United
cingdom had already become alarmed with the announcement
of the confrontasi policy. It has been claimed that a  Im
memorandum of 1962 indicated that Prime Minister Macmillan
and President John F. cennedy were increasingly alarmed by
the possibility of the  onfrontation with Malaysia spreading,
and agreed to "liquidate President Sukarno, depending on the
situation and available opportunities." However, the
documentary evidence does not support this claim.
‰ To weaken the regime, the Foreign
ffice's Information Research
Department (IRD) coordinated
psychological operations in concert
with the [ritish military, to spread black
propaganda casting the PcI,  hinese
Indonesians, and Soekarno in a bad
light. These efforts were to duplicate
the successes of [ritish Psyop
campaign in the Malayan Emergency.
‰ Of noteÔ these efforts were coordinated from the
British High Commission in Singapore where
the [ritish [roadcasting  orporation ([[ )Ô
mssociated Press (APëÔ and New York Times
filed their reports on the Indonesian turmoilu
According to Roland ChallisÔ the BBC
correspondent who was in Singapore at the
timeÔ journalists were open to manipulation by
IRD because of Sukarno's stubborn refusal to
allow them into the country: "In a curious wayÔ
by keeping correspondents out of the country
Sukarno made them the victims of official
channelsÔ because almost the only information
you could get was from the British ambassador
in Jakartau"
‰ These manipulations included the BBC reporting
that Communists were planning to slaughter the
citizens of Jakartau The accusation was based
solely on a forgery planted by Norman
ReddawayÔ a propaganda expert with the IRDu
He later bragged in a letter to the British
ambassador in JakartaÔ Sir mndrew xilchrist
that it "went all over the world and back againÔ"
and was "put almost instantly back into
Indonesia via the BBCu" Sir Andrew Gilchrist
himself informed the Foreign Office on 5 October
1965: "I have never concealed from you my
belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be
an essential preliminary to effective changeu"
‰ In the 16 April 2000 ÷  
Ô Sir Denis
HealeyÔ Secretary of State for Defence at the
time of the warÔ confirmed that the IRD was
active during this timeu He officially denied any
role by MI6Ô and denied "personal knowledge" of
the British arming the right-wing faction of the
ArmyÔ though he did comment that if there were
such a planÔ he "would certainly have supported
itu"
‰ Although the British MI6 is strongly implicated in
this scheme by the use of the Information
Research Department (seen as an MI6 officeëÔ
any role by MI6 itself is officially denied by the
UK governmentÔ and papers relating to it have
yet to be declassified by the Cabinet Officeu (? 
÷  
Ô 6 December 2000ë
Sukarno's plot

‰ In a book first published in India in 2005Ô which draws


extensively on the evidence presented at the trials of the
conspiratorsÔ Victor Fic claims that Aidit and the PKI
decided to mount a preemptive strike against the senior
army generals to forestall an army takeoveru He alleges
that Sukarno had met with representatives of the
Chinese government and had agreed to retire in exile in
Chinau Following the purge of the generalsÔ the president
would appoint a Mutual  ooperation (x   )
cabinet and then retire on grounds of ill-healthu Should
he not agree to do soÔ he would be "dispatched" under
the protection of the PKIu
Incompetent plotters; the army takes
advantage

‰ In a 2007 book on the 30 September MovementÔ


Professor John Roosa dismisses the official
version of eventsÔ saying it was "imposed by
force of arms" and "partly based on black
propaganda and torture-induced confessionsu"
He points out that Suharto never satisfactorily
explained away the fact that most of the
movement's protagonists were Army officersu
HoweverÔ he does concede that some elements
of the PKI were involvedu
‰ SimilarlyÔ he asks whyÔ if the movement
was planned by military officersÔ as
alleged in the "Cornell Paper"Ô was it so
poorly plannedu In any caseÔ he saysÔ the
movement's leaders were too disparate a
group to find enough common ground to
carry out the operationu
‰ He claims that US officials and certain
Indonesian Army officers had already
outlined a plan in which the PKI would be
blamed for an attempted coupÔ allowing for
the party's suppression and the installation
of a military regime under Sukarno as a
figurehead presidentuOnce the 30
September Movement actedÔ the US gave
the Indonesian military encouragement
and assistance in the destruction of the
PKIÔ including supplying lists of party
members and radio equipmentu
‰ As to the movement itselfÔ Roosa
concludes that it was led by SjamÔ in
collaboration with AiditÔ but 
the party
as a wholeÔ together with PonoÔ Untung
and Latiefu Suharto was able to defeat the
movement because of he knew of it
beforehand and because the Army had
already prepared for such a contingencyu
He says Sjam was the link between the
PKI members and the Army officersÔ but
that the fact there was no proper
coordination was a major reason for the
failure of the movement as a wholeu