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>> It was one of the worst massacres of the 20th century. More than half a million people killed in Indonesia during the 60s after the military and Islamic groups launched a savage anti-communist campaign. But as they carried out their vicious assault, ransacking houses and burning down communist party headquarters.
Newly declassified documents show that the US government knew exactly what was happening but decided to stay silent. The files were only made public on Tuesday. Reuters Tom Ellard, explains what they contained.>> We've got field dispatches here. We've got situation reports, which frequently described what's going on as slaughter.
Yet at the time, the US government didn't go public with this. And certainly from the tenor of these documents, you can see that there's tested approval if not, open encouragement.>> The documents detailed chilling accounts of the atrocities including telegrams saying the army was releasing prisoners to execute.
The violence came after an attempted coup to topple the then President Sukarno, who was considered too close to the communist party. Something the documents also reveal Western embassies were aware of after communist were accused of killing six generals.>> Now this was depicted by the military as a communist coup to get rid of Sukarno.
But what these documents show was the military itself that wanted to get rid of Sukarno. And of course this event, these murders of the generals, the six generals is really just a pretext to launch a bloody massacre of communists.>> 50 years on and the event has been shrouded in mystery.
The killings are yet to be investigated, while the perpetrators of the murders, have never been brought to justice.