JFK vs Allen Dulles: Battleground Indonesia by Greg Poulgrain, Skyhorse 2020, 368 pages. ISBN-10 1510744797. Kindle $19.04, Paperback $25.99 from Amazon here and other suppliers
MASSACHUSETTS, USA - Reading Greg Poulgrain’s masterful analysis, one can clearly see how much of modern history is a struggle for control of the underworld where lies the fuel that runs the mega-machine – oil, minerals, gold, copper, etc.
Manifest ideological conflicts, while garnering headlines, often bury the secret of this subterranean devil’s game.
His murder mystery/detective story begins with a discovery that is then kept secret for many decades. He writes:
“In the alpine region of Netherlands New Guinea (so named under Dutch colonial rule – today, West Papua) in 1936, three Dutchmen discovered a mountainous outcrop of ore with high copper content and very high concentrations of gold.
“When later analyzed in the Netherlands, the gold (in gram/ton) proved to be twice that of Witwatersrand in South Africa, then the world’s richest gold mine, but this information was not made public.”
The geologist among the trio, Jean Jacques Dozy, worked for the Netherlands New Guinea Petroleum Company (NNGPM), ostensibly a Dutch-controlled company based in The Hague, but whose controlling interest actually lay in the hands of the Rockefeller family, as did the mining company, Freeport Sulphur (now Freeport McMoRan, one of whose Directors from 1988-95 was Henry Kissinger, Dulles’ and the Rockefeller’s close associate) that began mining operations there in 1966.
It was Allen Dulles, Paris-based lawyer in the employ of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, who in 1935 arranged the controlling interest in NNGPN for the Rockefellers.
And it was Dulles, among a select few others, who, because of various intervening events, including World War II, that made its exploitation impossible, kept the secret of the gold mine for almost three decades, even from President Kennedy, who had worked to return the island to Indonesian control.
JFK “remained uninformed of the El Dorado, and once the remaining political hurdles were overcome, Freeport would have unimpeded access.” Those ‘political hurdles’; i.e., regime change, would take a while to effect.
But first JFK would have to be eliminated, for he had brokered Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua/West Irian for Sukarno from the Dutch who had ties to Freeport Sulphur.
Freeport was aghast at the potential loss of ‘El Dorado’, especially since they had recently had their world’s most advanced nickel refinery expropriated by Fidel Castro, who had named Che Guevara its new manager.
Freeport’s losses in Cuba made access to Indonesia even more important. Cuba and Indonesia thus were joined in the deadly game of chess between Dulles and Kennedy, and someone would have to lose.
While much has been written about Cuba, Kennedy, and Dulles, the Indonesian side of the story has been slighted.
Poulgrain remedies this with an exhaustive and deeply researched exploration of these matters.
He details the deviousness of the covert operations Dulles ran in Indonesia during the 1950s and 1960s.
He makes it clear that Kennedy was shocked by Dulles’s actions, yet never fully grasped the treacherous genius of it all, for Dulles was always “working two or three stages ahead of the present.”
Having armed and promoted a rebellion against Sukarno’s central government in 1958, Dulles made sure it would fail (shades of the Bay of Pigs to come) since a perceived failure served his long-term strategy.
To this very day, this faux 1958 Rebellion is depicted as a CIA failure by the media. Yet from Dulles standpoint, it was a successful failure that served his long-term goals.
“Even more than five decades later, media analysis of the goal of The Outer Island rebels is still portrayed as a secession, as covert US support for ‘rebels in the Outer Islands that wished to secede from the central government in Jakarta’.
“The actual goal of Allen Dulles had more to do with achieving a centralised army command in such a way as to appear that the CIA backing for the rebels failed.”