Sources on Indonesia, East Timor and
History of West Papua since 1960: John Pilger, Secret War Against Defenseless West Papua (if you prefer, see also the Japanese version 日 本語版)
There are 180 students registered to follow
this lecture series, so it would be difficult for me to respond to
emails if every student sent questions and comments every week.
Nonetheless, please don't hesitate to send an email to
email@example.com. I will try to respond to as many messages as I
can and have some discussion of these lectures.
To follow up on this lecture about the JFK
assassination, you could go to your local video rental shop and get
a DVD of the film JFK. You could also find alternative
sources of information to compare with what I presented. Many
journalists and writers still support the official explanation that
Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. You can consider all the evidence
presented in my lecture and decide for yourself.
If you wish to do some reading in Japanese, I recommend James Douglass's book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters. A Japanese translation is available with this title:
ジェイムズ W ダグラス, ジョン・F・ケネディはなぜ死んだのか
However, I strongly do not
recommend the book by Bill O'Reilly because of its fictional account
of the life of Lee Harvey Oswald. The book has been dismissed by
historians, but it sold well because of the author's fame as a
television news program host. For an unexplained reason the book was
considered worthy of being translated into Japanese. Otherwise,
there are many other books about JFK published in Japanese, some of
them translations of popular books published in English.
The next lesson will cover the
life and death of Malcolm X.
Comprehension and Discussion Questions for…
1. According to the lecture, what is the ultimate cause of the wars of the 20th century?
2. What was the Bay of Pigs attack in April 1961, and what effect did it have on JFK’s presidency?
3. According to Castro, why did he decide to put Soviet nuclear weapons on his territory in August of 1962?
4. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, why was the US government’s case weak in terms of international law?
5. How did JFK change after the Cuban Missile Crisis?
6. In general terms, what are the three explanations of why and how JFK was killed?
7. Discuss some of the contradictory statements made by JFK that created controversies among historians?
8. The interviews conducted by Jean Daniel in 1963 indicate that JFK and Fidel Castro might have found a way for the two countries to co-exist peacefully, but they also indicate some persistent differences that would have made a peaceful relationship difficult. What are they?
9. West Papua had been a Dutch colony, but it did not immediately become a part of Indonesia. Why not?
10. What was the secret about West Papua that was kept until the late 1960s?
11. Describe the process by which West Papua became part of Indonesia.
12. After an unsuccessful fight against communism in Cuba, what was JFK’s approach to Southeast Asia?
13. There is a lot of evidence that JFK supported the elimination of Fidel Castro and the communist government in Cuba, even though some say it was the military and the CIA who were acting against JFK’s wishes. What was JFK’s policy toward Sukarno in Indonesia?
14. Describe the strategy, supported by the CIA, that eliminated the power of Sukarno and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
15. The PKI was a political party, not an army waging civil war on Indonesia. How many of its members were murdered during the 1965-66 genocide?
16. What was the weakness of JFK’s Alliance for Progress, according to its critics?
17. Describe Allen Dulles’ career and what happened to it during the JFK presidency. What is ironic about Allen Dulles’ role in the US government after 1963?
18. If JFK was not really very radical and had not “gone soft” on communism, what reason could there be for his murder by elements within the US government’s military and security agencies?
19. If one concludes that JFK was a typical US politician—anti-communist, rich, pro-capitalist, willing to wage war to advance American interests—why should people still be outraged that he was killed by a conspiracy within American government institutions? Why is it still a profoundly significant event?