Jan 25, 2005


Fred Burks has submitted a recent editorial to, not to be confused with Al-Jazeera television in Qatar that alleges that a recent BBC documentary entitled "The Power of Nighmares" supports his allegations against President Bush and the Whitehouse.

In his so-called editorial , or rather screed which seems much more like a late nite infomercial than an editorial, Burks states the following:

"Having worked as an Indonesian interpreter with the US Department of State for over 18 years, I recently testified to this in the widely publicized trial of Indonesian Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir. Among other things, Mr. Ba'asyir is accused by US authorities of being the mastermind behind JI (Jemaah Islamiah), which is alleged to be a sister organization of Al Qaeda. Many Indonesians are quite skeptical of these allegations. Like me and the BBC video, they question whether JI was largely fabricated by powerful elite groups with hidden agendas."

Comrade Scheer of the LA Times, chimed in earlier, being obviously moved by this propaganda piece and asked, "Is Al Qaeda Just a Bush Boogeyman?"

It is easy for many of us to write a person like Fred Burks off. Forget the ecstasy that he admitted taking, no one seems to care less. His intense paranoia and narcissism seem to be more indicative of some poor sap who washed down the brown acid with bong water.

And while many in the West can simply write Burks off, we fail to recognize, ultimately perhaps to our own peril that many in Indonesia see Burks as more of a pawn in high stakes game of political poker. He had credibility, he was a valued asset to the United States government as a translator and interpretor for the State department. Sure he is shrugged off now, not because he is a nutcase, but because he spoke out against the Bush administration. The Indonesians don't see Burks as a nutcase, they see him as a crusader for justice.

Fred Burk's testimony has now thrown the entire proceedings into disarray with allegations of US government interference in the case and now the defense has asked for Megawati Sukarnoputri to be summoned as a witness to corroborate Burks’ testimony. 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.

It is not the Indonesian government nor the judge hearing the case that need to be convinced of Ba'asyir's guilt, but rather the Indonesian people themselves.

We might be laughing at Burks now, but Ba'asyir and Burks might end up having the last laugh.

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