May 7, 2005

Indonesia - Capitulation or Sacrifice for Security

In recent days the media in the United States and throughout the Western world has been abuzz with new emerging details regarding the capture of Abu Faraj al-Libbi who is believed to be Al Qaeda's third in command after Osama Bin Laden. Or is he really? Little attention and focus however is being given to the fact that many Al Qaeda members and their supporters together with the growing ranks of Jemaah Islamiyah are now finding renewed sanctuary in Indonesia and an unlikely financial supporter.

Abu Bakar Ba'asyir the head of Jemaah Islamiyah a close ally of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden and the defacto coordinator of Al Qaeda's operations in Southeast Asia who recently received a 30 month sentence for his involvment as part of an "evil conspiracy" in the 2002 Bali bombing which killed 202 people received little attention from the Western media in comparism. Why?

Back on 3 March 2005 CNN reported that Abu Bakar Ba'asyir would recieved a jail term of 30 months for his involvement in the bombing. What they didn't cover or tell you then were the details of the case and what led to such a lenient sentence including captured members of Jemaah Islamiyah retracting statements and the testimony of an American citizen.

And what you are not hearing now is that a deal is in the works with the lawyers of Abu Bakar Ba'asyir that might actually see him released before the end of this year.

In CNN's report, they stated that "the cleric says he is innocent and denounces the allegations as a plot by Washington to silence his campaign for Islamic law." - What they chose to omit or ignore was that the star defense witness for Abu Bakar Ba'asyir was an American citizen by the name of Fred Burks who had been working as a translator for the State Department and had attended a meeting together with the CIA and the NSA at the residence of Indonesia's president Megawati Sukarnoputri.

On 18th January 2005, we covered the story here entitled "The Crusade of Fred Burks" as a followup to our first reports starting from the 14th of January.

On the 25th of January we reported here that "Since Burks' testimony, public opinion has been shifting in favour of the defense rather than the prosecution as it was before. Our continued silence on the matter and our failure to discredit Burks only plays into Ba'asyir's hands. If the Indonesian government had a hard time to arrest Ba'asyir before because of public opinion, the prosecution will find they have a much harder time now to convict him."

The prosecution did have a hard time convicting Abu Baka Ba'asyir and the 30 month sentence was in actuality given simply to placate both Australia and the United States.

Times couldn't be better now for Jemaah Islamiyah and Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia, not only have they been emboldened by the lenient sentence given to Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, but have now found an unlikely supporter - China.

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