Jan 26, 2005

Burks Replies

Fred Burks has replied to two of the posts below in the comments section (The Crusade of Fred Burks) and although he replies, he still does not answer our questions.

"I appreciate your suspicion of who I am and why I would testify about this secret meeting. I invite you to take a look at what I have written on the topic..."

And so, Mr. Fred Burks, since we now know you are now reading this and we know how much you are commited to the "truth", we would like to ask you a few questions.

Why did you lie to Karen Brooks and why did you divulge the name of the CIA agent?

Awak tak rasa malu dengan apa yang telah awak lakukan?


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.


Jan 23, 2005

Foreigners being accused of Sexual Harassment in Aceh

"Police have deployed detectives to investigate allegations that a number of Acehnese women were sexually harassed by foreign volunteers and troops involved in humanitarian operations in Aceh to provide relief aid to tsunami victims, the Antara News Agency reported."

Regardless of whether the allegations are eventually proven to be true or not, this is a very dangerous development in Indonesia. There are forces in play in Indonesia now that will stop at nothing to see that all foreign forces (read: non muslim forces) are expelled from Indonesia. Thank you for all the cash, now kindly get the hell out.

The Singaporean government sensing how volatile the situation has become and perhaps considering their proximity to Indonesia has already taken the hint.

"Singapore had openly indicated that it would pull out its military personnel, mostly physicians and paramedics, from Aceh because they had done enough and the Indonesian government was already better able to cope with the situation."

"Syamsir Siregar, chief of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), reminded Indonesian authorities to increase their alertness because the foreign military had other objectives beside helping to alleviate the tsunami victims "suffering"."

We are now in a difficult situation, if we stay and follow through with any long term development plans as we promised, we will run the risk of getting ourselves involved in a conflict with the fundamentalists and Islamic militants who want us gone. If we leave, we will not only be strengthening the hand of the fundamentalists but we will be seen as weak and conceeding that we did in fact have other ambitions by Indonesia's so-called moderates.

So now, if we pack up and sail away. The combat readiness of our military has now suffered, we're out several hundred million dollars in taxpayer money, we're being accused of everything from sexual harassment to taking advantage of a vulnerable people by proselytising and we have left Megawati's government with the difficult task of stomping out the now rising flames of Islamic fundamentalism that our mere presense managed to ignite.

If our cause is truly noble then we have a moral obligation to see this through regardless of the difficulties we will face by those who will oppose us.

We have some difficult decisions to make. Lets hope that we have the courage and resolve to make them.


Jan 22, 2005

The Years of Living Dangerously

The other night when I was introduced to one of our country's Washington insiders, the topic of intelligence came up and how our nation has become totally reliant on other nations to provide us with intelligence services. We had a nice talk over a few drinks, and noticing the local bodyguards, I found it particularly interesting this gentleman's complete reliance on local security and so I asked him if he spoke any of the local language. He answered "No" and then proceeded to me explain how he felt it was not really necessary over here because everyone spoke English.

The assumption seems to foolishly and naively made that we have friends and foreign partners throughout the world who share our same interests. Simply put, We don't. Every country has, and has always had their own interests at stake and that includes our so-called friends. Our relationship with France and numerous other countries during the buildup to the war in Iraq is a perfect recent example of this.

This type of mindset by thinking that we have friends who share our interests is capable of producing long term damage. Reagan taught us to trust but verify. That is kind of difficult to do when you no longer know who to trust and you have come to rely on others to do your verification work for you.

After the Cold War and during the halcyon days of the 90's it seemed to many Americans including unfortunately our nation's leaders, that we no longer had any adversaries. We had nothing to worry about, everyone was on our side and wished us well. During this time I had the unique vantage point here overseas of watching our influence and intelligence in the region dwindle down to almost nothing while other nations worked feverishly to fill in the gaps.

It's not enough that people such as Clinton decimated our nation's intelligence abilities, but that he chose to usher in a era of diversity and political correctness which has proven to be much more insideous that could ever be imagined. For whatever reason or reasons, our nation somewhere along the line decided to place the bulk of our "on the ground" intelligence work overseas with foreign nationals.

Im not going to speculate as to why such a decision was made here, but you can be well rest assured that it has to do with political correctness. The sad truth is that we have no assets of our own on the ground, at least not here in Southeast Asia. That is unless you count our agents lounging around the swimming pools at Hiltons worldwide reading USA Today and waiting for their local translators to give them the "scoop" or the FBI and DEA guys up in Bangkok who spend their days trying to score a kilo or two of smack from the Hmong.

It might take a few more years before things are cleaned up, if they ever are. Lets hope that we have learned from our past mistakes this time.


I will let someone else here explain ;-)


Jan 21, 2005

Different Theater - Same War

Over 120 rebels have been killed in the last two weeks as fighting in Aceh gets more intensive. There will be no ceasefire.

The Indonesian government has now deployed over 6,000 additional troops to Aceh with 1,135 being deployed now bringing the total number to over 35,000.

A 'work around' has been set up to have military hardware and weapons supplied by a third party to be sent in directly into Banda Aceh.

Just out of curiosity, how many terrorists have been killed in Iraq in the last two weeks?

We're Moving on Up

New neighbors are moving in to the neighborhood and I guess we can expect both property and commodity values here to increase soon. The price of rum has already increased and Im expecting things to get busy over here real soon.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say, "Welcome to the neighborhood Mr. Dan Senor".

I hope you took that advise to heart. Trust me, it will serve you well over here.

Remember, this ain't Iraq, it's a jungle over here.

It was a pleasure meeting you and here is wishing you all the best in your new venture.

Remember to share some of that good fortune and don't forget your promise to stop in often for some real Tex-Mex.


Jan 19, 2005

Our State Department Overseas

I am an American that has spent now over 17 years living and working overseas here in Southeast Asia. I originally got sent over to Singapore many years ago when I was working in Houston. At that time a lot of oil field business was going on in Indonesia and there were several Texans over here and a few Coonasses as well. Times were good then. For the most part, everyone knew each other, we all helped each other and we all watched each other's back. Whenever someone was headed back stateside they would ask everyone what they needed from back home. No one would dare come back without bringing a few bottles of Pace Picante sauce and perhaps a bottle or two of duty-free Cuervo Gold.

It was not only your fellow countrymen who knew you back then, but everyone down at the embassy did as well. Everyone worked together. It was not uncommon to get a call from someone down at the embassy asking how imports were doing, up or down, and how business was. I vividly remember putting some figures together for one of John Malott's staff several years ago with regards to both import and export statistics. There was nothing in town that could happen without someone knowing it and we all shared information (something important that we never do anymore).

It was time when every American living in town was invited to the 4th of July and Thanksgiving get togethers at the embassy. That all stopped years ago. I heard at one time it was because of costs or something. Things got a less personal and to make it worse, they got a lot less American. If you did manage to get invited to a 4th of July function down at the embassy, you might find that the locals invited now outnumber the American citizens. Instead of being a time for Americans to celebrate their independence day together it has now become a time for the local embassy staff and their families to get together. I suppose inviting the Americans in town, for the sole reason that they are Americans might be considered a little too 'exclusive' rather than inclusive and not politically correct now days and so the embassy prefers to invite Abdul and his four wives down to celebrate the 4th of July and Thanksgiving.

There are times when I sit back and reflect on it all, I realize it has been a very long time and how very much things have changed. I don't know anyone down at the embassy now. I don't know them and they don't know me and neither one of us could care less anymore. What was once the American embassy has now become the "Global embassy" and the attitude the embassy and their staff have towards many Americans citizens overseas has changed from from friendship to indifference and now finally to contempt. About a year ago when I went down to the embassy here to get some paperwork so that I can register my child, I was told by one of the local staff how busy they were with a backlog of foreign students who need visas and was asked if I could kindly come back next week. I got the message.

I have watched the diplomats and foreign service officers from around the globe all come and go and am sad to say that our country is perhaps the only one I know of who treats their own citizens in such a way. In such a way that the relationship has become distant and disconnected.

Just how disconnected are they? Allow me to give you an example.

"The Embassy also operates a "warden message" network that informs the public via e-mail and fax about changing security conditions in Malaysia and worldwide, and about matters of general interest to Americans overseas, such as absentee voting. The warden system is available to anyone with an e-mail address, including businesses or other organizations that may want to share this information with their employees or members."

In all the years that I have been here, I have never received an email from the United States embassy. Strange wouldn't you say? However when you read fully the quote above, you can start to understand. It's a bit of a contradiction, while it is supposedly meant for American citizens overseas, it is in reality open to anyone and everyone with an email address. It's nice to know that in the event of an emergency here in Malaysia that my fellow compatriots down at the United States embassy will be sending an email to Abdul over in Oman to keep him advised.

Forget the 4th of July or Thanksgiving, that might be considered too exclusive, the State Department is much more concerned with hosting an international 'orgy of political correctness' that would make even Mr. Kofi Annan proud.


Jan 18, 2005

The Crusade of Fred Burks

If we hoped to gain any possible goodwill from Indonesia with our massive show of support and generosity in their desperate time of need, then we are in for a very rude awakening. One man, Mr. Fred Burks is on a crusade to destroy any possible goodwill towards the United States and in the process is doing all he can to stoke the fires of Islamic fundamentalism.

Mr. Burks actions will cause long lasting damage to our relationship with Indonesia and will most likely also help to contribute to all the charges being dropped against Abu Bakar Ba'asyir. You read it first here.

Shortly after Fred Burks' court appearance where he gave testimony as a witness for the defense in the trial of Abu Bakar Ba'asyir he invited several reporters and academics by SMS to a hastily called meeting at the Indonesian Society for Middle East Studies (ISMES), Jakarta entitled "Bush's Lies" where he was the sole speaker.

Fred Burks took the opportunity at this meeting to plug his website "" where he claimed he has many secrets pertaining to the Bush regime's lies concerning 11 September 2001 and the "War on Terrorism". Burks claims that all of the information and details on his website are accurate and not to be confused with conspiracy. He claims that all the secret details and fact are directly obtained over the years through his work translating and interpretting for the State Department and through his close connections and interactions with political elites, the United States government, intelligence agents and the military of the United States.

Burks also claimed that Jemaah Islamiya, Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden have been cloaked in mystery and that they are most likely the creations of the CIA. When asked about Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, Burks stated that "a terrorist would not allow himself to be seen in public" and would go into hiding and yet Abu Bakar Ba'asyir remained in public.

Burks goes on and accusing the United States and George W. Bush to be the world's big terrorists and cites figures for number of dead from Afghanistan to Iraq.

Both prior to this meeting outside the courthouse and after this meeting, Mr. Burks confided to a few members in attendance the name of the female CIA agent who he claims demanded that Megawati "render" Abu Bakar Ba'asyir. Mr. Burks then claimed that he was confident and had faith in God that nothing would happen to him.

Later after the meeting, Mr. Burks continued his crusade by making the rounds on Jakarta's television stations and gave exclusive interviews to both MetroTV and SCTV.

During Mr. Fred Burks' televised interview with Rosianna Silalah of SCTV Jakarta, Mr. Burks admitted that he lied to and deceived Ms. Karen B. Brooks the Director for Asian Affairs of the National Security Council when he said he would not mention details of the meeting. He said he hopes he has a chance in the future to apologize to her and explain his reasons for doing what he did.

Ms. Rosianna Silalah ended the interview by saying to Mr. Burks -

"Hati-hati, banyak orang yang mengkhawatirkan keselamatan Anda."

Be very careful, many people are worried about your safety.


Jan 17, 2005

Just who's side is Fred Burks on?

Judging from the reports below, one has to wonder. It is not often that an ex State Department employee appears as a witness in a trial such as this and the few papers that decide to cover it have conflicting stories.

"Former U.S. State Department interpreter Fred Burks testifies for the prosecution in the trial of militant Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir Thursday, Jan. 13, 2005 in Jakarta, Indonesia."

"Called by Bashir's defence counsel, Mr Burks testified that he sat in on the meeting to provide instantaneous translation for Ms Megawati."

"Mr Burks gave evidence for the defence, which says the trial is political."

One of these reports above is not correct. Can you guess which one? Allow me to give you a hint.

"The prosecution attempted to undermine his testimony by forcing him to admit he had taken the drug ecstasy twice, years before the meeting."

Does the prosecution often try to undermine their own testimony?

More on Fred Burks

Burks resigned last month in protest against what he sees as excessive government secrecy, and since then has been treating anybody who will listen with insider stories about private meetings he attended.

Geoffrey MG has taken up the story as well and here is what he has to say

Was a CIA agent outed at Ba'asyir court house?


Jan 16, 2005

Why we are being asked to leave - Part 1

Today the Antara news agency reports that all foreign volunteers are to leave Indonesia by the end of March and the sooner the better.

I will try my best here to offer my insight into why we are being asked to leave.

The word "biblical" has been used by many in the Western media to describe the devastating earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Indonesia and Southeast Asia and killed so many people, the majority of whom are muslims. It's important to take note of the use of this word because it not only highlights, but rather emphasizes the "us versus them" dichotomy in the minds of many muslims not only in Indonesia but throughout the world.

This "clash of cultures" is antagonized further when foreign military forces accompanied by a plethora of ecumenical humanitarian agencies are deployed by the West to deliver aid and humanitarian assistance to those in need. It makes no difference if you are "non denominational" or not affiliated with any religious organziation, we are by still seen by many as nothing more than interloping foreigners and white Christians intent on proselytizing if not through our words then through our actions.

The religious aspects aside, it touches a raw nerve for a sovereign country, who has fought for their independence and who has had sixty years to get their act together, to once again have to rely on their old colonial masters in a time of need.

Unfortunately many Islamic fundamentalists, nationalists and Indonesian leaders will not see our compassion and generosity, they will see us only bringing light to, and drawing attention to their own impotence and despondency in the wake of this natural disaster. Those Indonesian leaders who favoured and supported the help from foreign troops and ecumenical humanitarian agencies run the risk in the future of being labeled as anglophiles, americaphiles and at worst, traitors to their own nation.

to be continued...


Jan 14, 2005

Betrayal, Blackmail, Bribes and Extortion = Ceasefire (Part 2)

Late last night and early this morning with little sleep and after a flurry of phone calls we reported on the Abu Bakar Ba'asyir trial in Indonesia, how it not going as planned, how a former US State Department translator and interpretor for George W. Bush with his own unknown agenda has now betrayed his country and how this is related to he ceasefire in Aceh.

Kindly understand that unlike Mr. Burks, I am not a professional translator and interpretor, tapi saya cuba sebaik mungkin.

One has to wonder what would make a man betray his country in such a way, to act as a witness for a terrorist organization and to confide the name of a CIA agent to our enemies. Whatever it is, the damage that Burks has done so far, in and out of the courtroom, will have long lasting effects.

The story has now been picked up early this morning by newspapers in both Australia and Jakarta.

From Jakarta

"...Syafii also claimed that the United States government had meddled in the legal process against Ba'asyir..."

"...a former U.S. State Department translator seemed to give credence to Syafii's allegations"

From Australia

"...Mr Burks told the court he left the State Department because he had resented the insistence that he sign a security pledge..."

"...The prosecution attempted to undermine his testimony by forcing him to admit he had taken the drug ecstasy twice, years before the meeting"

more details coming soon...

Betrayal, Blackmail, Bribes and Extortion = Ceasefire

Last Friday some interesting developments went into play in Jakarta as two witnesses for the prosecution in the Abu Bakar Ba'asyir trial failed to turn up in court. Afterwards Ba'asyir wearing all white was escorted by two officers to friday prayers outside the compound where he is being held for the first time and was allowed to talk with reporters. Although this was a first, the story seemed to end there and none of the media outside Indonesia even bothered to pick up the story.

Just today things get a bit more interesting as Ba'asyir is allowed to speak and becomes vocal in his opposition to foreign military forces being involved in the humanitarian relief operations. Our sources tell us that Ba'asyir with the help of some high level friends might be offered a deal if he is willing to rein in his mujahidin who are now in Aceh, but Ba'asyir has his own conditions as well, and one of those conditions is that all foreigners including foreign forces leave Indonesia.

Now enter this guy who appears in court today singing like a bird.

This is Mr. Fred Burks a former translator to George W. Bush who for unknown reasons seems to go out of his way in bending over backwards to help the defense team and goes into great detail about a secret meeting on the evening of 16 September 2002 at the residence of Megawati Sukarnoputri between Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce, the Indonesian Expert in the National Security Council (NSC) Ms. Karen Brooks, Mr. Fred Burks and a CIA agent whom Ambassador Boyce introduced as a special envoy to President Bush.

According to Mr. Burks, the CIA agent then informs Megawati that President Bush wants her to arrest Ba'asyir and gives a time deadline that Ba'asyir must be arrested before the APEC Summit Conference in Cabos, Mexico in October 2002. Megawati declines and say that she cannot arrest Ba'asyir or she will face domestic problems because of Ba'asyir's popularity.

Can things get worse? They can if you tell someone the name of a female CIA agent outside the courtroom.

More on Fred Burk and his betrayal:

"The new secrecy clause of the contract I refused to sign states that interpreters “shall not communicate to any person or organization any information known to them by reason of their performance of services that has not been made public,” unless written approval is obtained from our superiors."

more details and this develops...


Jan 13, 2005

As a follow-up to "U.N. Offers 'Reproductive' Aid to Tsunami Victims"

allow me to present you with...

"Tsunami Street"

A stretch limo is parked in front, tsunami victims inspecting it. The chauffeur opens the back door, as Carol Bellamy steps inside, Expatguy in tow. The little people clap, howling at her.

Expatguy in the back seat next to Carol Bellamy, gazes out the black tinted window as they drive away, then turns to her as she gives him a bottle of Champagne to open.

"So, where are we going?"

"Wherever you like, New York, London, Banda Aceh... or maybe we can just drive around for a while. and..." (provocatively) "work up an appetite."

She crosses her legs. Expatguys's eyes moving south. He pops the cork. Carol does a little blow, offers him.

"Want some?"

"Kofi tells me you're a very talented broker. What do you like?"

(feeling the rush) Like? Uh... hmmm. Well...

I got this guy who should know tells me buy Unidus Corporation but I been burned on tips. What do you think Expatguy?

Let's see, it closed at uh, 2,780...

(his voice cracking) Up 295...very attractive... above average yield...

(She unzips his fly)

"Rising profits... strong balance sheets, good earnings per share and accounts for 35 percent of the condoms purchased by the United Nations Population Fund,."

(removing her blouse) "So you're hot on this stock?"

(nods, moaning) "It's ready to take off. I'd jump all over it if I were you."

(she pulls up her skirt and climbs on top of Expatguy)

Let Freedom Ring

Yesterday afternoon while I was working on my project, I got a call from a friend of mine who had a two hour layover at Changi airport in Singapore on his way here to Kuala Lumpur. He told me he would be in town in a few hours and asked me to meet him at The Westin hotel over on Jalan Bukit Bintang for a few drinks. Lucky for me I was only ten minutes away and so we agreed to meet up around 6:30pm at his hotel.

I arrive at the hotel, pass my car to the valet and head upstairs to indulge in a little duty-free while we wait for two other friends to arrive including a Lucy Liu look-alike whom my friend met here recently on one of his junkets though town. The two others arrive around 8pm and after a few more drinks we decide to head on down to Qba to continue with "happy hour". It is still quite early and the place is filling up fast.

Places like Kuala Lumpur are becoming quite busy now, it's like there is blood in the water and the world's bureaucrats, diplomats, humanitarians and socialists can smell it. You see there is a lot of money starting to move into the region here and nobody wants to lose their place at the table. As the bottles of wine and champagne are opened, the businessmen and the people who will actually do the work of rebuilding the devastated areas must sit patiently and wait while the bureaucrats and UN led socialists feast and fill their stomachs first.

Normally my friend knows better than to discuss politics with me and after John Kerry's resounding defeat I don't hear much of the Bush-bashing rhetoric from my misguided liberal friends anymore. However after some tapas and being thoroughly lubed up with a third bottle of wine, the conversation switches from prostitution and women's empowerment to how George W. Bush is such an idiot.

"Bush needs to show more respect to the United Nations" "The United Nations is the legitimate authority to handle the coordination of this crisis" blah blah blah

"Bush can't find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq"

As the yuck yucking of my companions starts to reach a fevered pitch it draws the attention of the table next to us and one of the gentlemen at the next table leans over and asks "Where are you guys from?"

My friend answers "Canada" and I answer "Houston, Texas"

My friend then asks "And you guys?"

"We are from Iraq"


"And let me tell you something about President Bush, he will long be remembered as one of the greatest American presidents who ever lived. Our people suffered under Saddam Hussein and now we have freedom."

It was getting late and my friend suddenly remembered that he had an appointment in the morning.

Back Online

Earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides in California and now the power goes off.

No idea what happened, but about four hours ago the the power went off here. I called a few friends and found out that it wasn't just me that almost two thirds of the entire country of Malaysia was without power.

As fate would have it, I was just about to publish a big rant here and didn't save.

On with the blogging.


Jan 12, 2005

U.N. Offers 'Reproductive' Aid to Tsunami Victims

What kind of aid is headed for Southeast Asia? The United Nations has some strange ideas on what those affected need.

What kind of help does Southeast Asia need to recover from the tidal wave that swamped the region and killed tens of thousands? It's likely your list won't include condoms and portable abortion devices — but that's part of the aid being sent by the United Nations.

Of course no one seems to take notice or mention that both India and Thailand have refused UN aid with India even having to politely ask Mr. Kofi Annan and his UN thugs to please stay away so they can do the important work of saving lives.

But, back to condoms...

US$28 million sounds like a lot of condoms. Just how many aid workers is the UN sending to Indonesia anyway and how many condoms would they need?

The Indonesians have suffered enough haven't they? Must they now get screwed by the UN?


Jan 11, 2005

Live and Let Die

In August of 2001, Twenty-four aid workers were arrested in Afghanistan including eight foreigners. Their crime, punishable by death, was proselytizing, propagating a belief other than Islam. Afghanistan like Aceh is a Muslim country and has implemented Shari'a law.

It's important to remind people of this because it helps to give an insight into the mind of those who we are up against.

And so, the story on the ground here is as follows:

The hot topic being discussed around the water cooler here in Southeast Asia the by muslim fundamentalists and so-called "moderates" alike is how this terrible catastrophe has in essence provided unique opportunities to both the United States along with those involved in the "War on Terror" and the Indonesian governments. After the earthquake and tsunami, the United States along with a coalition of willing partners, each with vested interests in the region moved in to provide for humanitarian assistance with complete and total disregard for Aceh's Shari'a laws.

The Indonesian military, now with the assistance of the United States is now able to fully dismantle the infrastructure supporting an independent Aceh and destroy what little remains of a violent islamic separatist movement that has not only killed off thousands of Indonesians and Acehnese over the last several years but cutoff billions of dollars in revenue from ExxonMobil's PT Arun gas fields.

The United States of course is being accused of having their ulterior motives as well. The first being "OIL" and the second is that the United States' primary interest is to use this "opportunity" to dismantle and destroy what they see as another brutal islamic regime by allowing faith-based NGOS and a plethora of ecumenical humanitarian agencies to proselytize under the guise of providing relief, and under the protective umbrella of the United States military.

There are a few muslims here however who have witnessed this massive relief effort being led by the West and start to ask questions. The imans however are quick to guide these lost sheep back on the path.

One has to wonder where is the morality in aiding and assisting people like this.

As cold an callous as it sounds, there are times when the only way to truly help people is not to help them at all.


Jan 10, 2005

Mujahidin start to Pour over the Border into Aceh

Further to our report on 5 January "Thousands of Mujahidin on the way to Aceh", we have word this afternoon that mujahhidin from Java the Islamic Defenders Front and Laksar Mujahhidin having already arrived in Sumatra, have now crossed over into Aceh late last night and early this morning.

Despite Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) leaders exiled in Sweden issuing a statement last night deploring the arrival of mujahidin, we have SMS reports that several members of GAM are now in fact coordinating their efforts with both the Islamic Defenders Front and Laksar Mujahidin to assist in relief operations.

These developments have prompted the Indonesian government to restrict all foreigners to the cities of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh where the Indonesian government forces have control.

more details coming as soon as they become available...


Jan 9, 2005

Some Things are Better Left Unsaid

A short while back I wrote an essay entitled Why I Blog, in it I tried to explain how sometimes mere words are not enough to convey what one means to say, and how a deeper more intimate understanding of the language, the culture and the people you are attempting to communicate with is sometimes required to get your message across.

The International Herald Tribune ran a story on 5 January 2005 entitled "Powell says it plainly: Aid has image value", Colin Powell's quote from the article is below:

"We'd be doing it regardless of religion," Powell said. "But I think it does give the Muslim world and the rest of the world an opportunity to see American generosity, American values in action - that we care about every individual and the dignity of every individual" as well as "the needs of every individual, regardless of faith."

Interestingly enough and to be expected, Powell's comments here in Southeast Asia are having the unintended effect of raising suspicion and mistrust rather than dispensing of it. Not only do the comments lack humility, but they seem to seek some sort of atonement for past sins. As if the onus is on America to prove something to the world and that we have failed in doing it.

The article and Powell's comments seem to suggest that America is hopeful to score some political points out of this terrible tragedy. The message Powell unwittingly conveys is that America now stands a chance to gain out of another's misfortune.

Should Asians and the rest of the world be thankful for this catastrophe that it now gives them an opportunity "to see American generosity"?


Jan 8, 2005

Situation on the ground in Aceh

Banda Aceh airport remains off limits to private aircraft. The airport is being fully utilized by the United States, Australia, Singapore and Indonesian governments to distribute food aid and conduct all related relief operations. Airspace surrounding all the affected areas is also off limits without any prior authorization. A few NGOs have been given authorization to operate helicopters and assist in relief operations. Authorization can be obtained only by written request at least 72 hours prior to intended move. United Nations Joint Logistics Centre - cargo movement request can be obtained here.

The nearest international airport in operation is in Medan which is 250 miles away and a 12 hour road journey. Medan airport is severely congested and being fully utilized by governments and authorized non-government organizations assisting in the relief operations. Medan airport consists of only a single runway and two aprons. Prior authorization is now also required to fly into Medan. More details can be found here. Passenger aircraft still operate into Medan although many flights are now subject to cancellation at the last moment.

Road travel from Medan to Aceh is also restricted and security Indonesian government checkpoints are in place. There have been incidents as we reported here where militant groups have attacked check points and attempted to hijack relief convoys from Medan to the affected areas.

No Laksar Jihad or Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) are currently involved in the official distribution or relief operations at Banda Aceh airport. Security clearances are needed. They are though complaining to various so-called human rights groups around the globe and insisting that they be allowed to participate along with various other so-called human rights groups. The modus operandi of these groups is always the same. Claim attrocities and human rights violations, Beg for donations and then use the money collected to purchase airplane tickets to send "human shields" with suitcases full of condoms to interfere with the relief operations. Groups such as Tapol (based in England) have issued the following statement. The statement is self explanatory. If you wondered what the "human shields" of Iraq have been up to lately, wonder no more.

Another new setup in the region here is "Alt Aid Acheh-Tsunami" and they are pissed off. Not only are they pissed of, but they need money. What do they need money for you might ask? Well here is a list of their demands:
  • Pressure the Indonesian government to investigate claims of corruption and intimidation within its armed forces stationed in Acheh.
  • Ask the Indonesian government to clarify, transparently, the aid distribution system currently at work
  • Urge for more civilian aid groups to assist humanitarian work in Acheh, rather than the Indonesian military
  • Send international, independent observers into Acheh to monitor the current situation.
You might notice that things like provide for food, potable water and medicine is somehow missing from the list of demands. Those billions of dollars collected have to be spent somehow, and everybody has their hand out now that Kofi is controlling the cash.

Humanitarian Air Hub Opens in Malaysia

Following the actual congestion of Medan airport, a new HUB for Cargo, SHAH, as been put in place in Malaysia. Cargo arriving in Subang, will be off-loaded and C-130s will be used as shuttles to Banda Aceh to slot times being received from Banda Aceh. Details here.

This is the old international airport in Kuala Lumpur and is about of ten minute drive from where I live.

Relief Aid being distributed in Aceh "Not fit for Human Consumption"

Both Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) and Laksar Mujahidin are making allegations that the food aid being distributed by America and Australia among others to tsunami survivors in Aceh and North Sumatra is "non-halal" or "not fit for human consumption".

Both groups have appealed to The Indonesian Consumer Organization (YLKI) and the government demanding that the food aid being distributed must be both inspected and "certified halal" before it can be distributed, "lest this help present a new problem".

The problem is that YLKI has not enough staff on the ground in Banda Aceh and North Sumatra to inpect all the food aid being distributed and therefore, under the circumstances Laksar Mujahidin has demanded immediately that their members be able to inspect all food aid prior to it being distributed.

Needless to say, Laksar Mujahidin would fully expect to be paid for their "services".


Jan 7, 2005

US partially lifts military embargo against Indonesia

The US has decided to partially lift an embargo on supplying military hardware to Indonesia by offering spare parts for Hercules C-130 planes so they can be used to aid tsunami victims, an Indonesian official said on Wednesday.

The key word here is partially, and then again certain conditions will naturally apply. The conditions are typically the same. That no military equipment may be used against the so-called seperatists movements such as Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) despite the fact that they are linking up and joining forces with other muslim extremist groups.

Influenced by so-called human rights groups and terrorist loving sympathizers like our friends Peter Arnett and William Nessen, the usual suspects chime in demanding a ceasefire or an all out military embargo against Indonesia. The end result is that government of Indonesia is left with their hands tied behind their back when try to deal with islamic extremism within their midst. The response of many Indonesian government officals in the past and even recently has been, "Go to hell with your aid."

The leadership of Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) living and operating in exile in Sweden has run a masterful public relations campaign convincing much of the world that they have no links to global islamic terrorism, but the facts prove otherwise.

If the United States is going to be serious about the global war on terrorism, then they need to let Indonesia have a free hand to deal with it and stop giving conflicting signals as they have in the past by one minute stating they support Aceh's independance and the next minute stating that their hope is that "Aceh remains a part of Indonesia’s sovereign territory".

Human Rights Group Accuses Indonesian Military of Hampering Relief Efforts

The Bangkok-based Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development made the accusation in the following press release here.

Now that you have read it, lets get a few things straight. First things first, This "Human Rights Group" is in Bangkok and no where near the affected area. Secondly, the accusations are completely one-sided, they fail to mention that Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) has attacked relief convoys attempting to deliver aid as we reported here on Tuesday (Monday in the United States) in the following report below - "Trouble starting to brew in Aceh"

They also fail to mention that Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) is in discussions and is now coordinating with Islamic extremeist groups from Java as we also reported yesterday.

The relief efforts are already underway and no additional "help" is needed from
Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) or Jemaah Islamiah (JI). Their idea of "help" is to provide for what they call "spiritual counselling" but what really amounts to getting in the way and impeding the relief efforts by requesting that all humanitarian aid is delivered by "Muslim hands" and that all foreign women aid workers either leave or cover themselves in a hijab.

more details as they become available...


Jan 6, 2005

Humanitarian AID Statistics for Indonesia

Powell also said that the amount of U.S. government spending in disaster relief would be much higher than the $350 million pledged by the Bush administration because of the additional money being spent by the Defense Department delivering emergency supplies.

According to the Defense Department, approximately 13,000 U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel are involved in the relief efforts. Since relief operations began the military has flown 404 missions delivering 316,664 pounds of water, 135,102 pounds of food, and 8,246 pounds of medical supplies.

...the U.S. commander of forces in the Pacific said the United States intends to double the number of helicopters available for delivering emergency supplies in the stricken region.

...more information here


Jan 5, 2005

Aceh Ceasefire Begins to Fall Apart

The temporary ceasefire declared immediately after the 26 December earthquake and tsunami between the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) and Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) is beginning to fall apart. There are increasing concerns that the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) are using the tsunami disaster in Aceh to crack down on the province’s separatist movement, the military has claimed that troops are needed to stop rebels from “infiltrating” refugee camps, stealing aid and carrying out attacks.

Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) are accusing Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) of ambushing a convoy that had been delivering humanitarian relief to a distribution point in East Aceh district and of intercepting a separate convoy delivering medical aid to Malayati village in Aceh Besar district.

(This attack in East Aceh was reported by us on 4 January)

Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) are accusing Indonesian soldiers in the field of harassing GAM sympathizers and imposing ridiculous conditions such as producing identity cards and/or charging for food that is meant to be distributed as relief aid. Those who fail to present their ID papers are harassed and beaten up.

As the situation becomes more tense, a statement has been issued by TNI headquarters saying it is now deploying an additional 3,424 reinforcements to Aceh to assist with “humanitarian operations”

more details as they become available....

Thousands of Mujahidin on the way to Aceh

This evening at maghrib prayers throughout Java calls went out for "volunteers" to go to Aceh to provide humanitarian services and "spiritual guidance" for those affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Volunteers from Solo, Kendal, Bogor, Cirebon, Majalengka, Pekalongan and Yogyakarta have answered the call and are being transported in chartered buses to Jakarta. At least 77 members of (JI) departed Tuesday (4/1/05) from Yogyakarta to Jakarta in two chartered buses.

Islamic militancy groups are angry and claiming that Jakarta has refused to allow the charter of private aircraft from Jakarta into Banda Aceh at the request of the Americans and Australians and thus has prevented Indonesians from from providing for their own humanitarian efforts. (According to my sources, this is true. To avoid conflict, high level requests have been made to do all possible to thwart and delay the arrival of militant groups)

Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI) are working to coordinate their efforts and work together - according to sources individuals from Laksar Jihad with their connections to the Indonesian military have requested logistics assistance and so far been refused.

The groups are now in discussions with Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) with regards to coordinating their "relief" efforts as hundreds of individual members of both JI and FPI and other groups arrived into Medan this evening.

More to come...


"I sent you guys 50 bucks with Paypal. The least you could have done is bought some Heinekens."

"Im terribly sorry Mr. John but we are still waiting on the UN to send in relief supplies of beer."

"The UN? Where the hell are they at??"

"um... Singapore."


Jan 4, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

And it wiped out everyone's comments - Oh well... sorry folks - start over again.

Trouble starting to brew in Aceh

This morning firefights broke out between the Indonesian army and the Gerakan Acheh Merdeka (GAM) separatists in both Lhangsa and Lhoknga according to local radio reports.

The Malaysian consulate has warned Malaysian relief workers in Banda Aceh and the surrounding areas to take precautions.

With Americans and Australians now on the ground in Aceh, Indonesia's Islamic militancy groups are now on the move with calls going out for jihad warriors.

More details coming...

Rebuilding Dar -al-Islam

Once again today more urgent calls went out appealing for Americans donate what they can to help the victims of the South Asia quake and tsunamis. President Bush himself appealed directly to all Americans, "I ask every American to contribute as they are able to do so".

This urgent plea for more donations goes out despite the fact that both the countries of Thailand and India have publically stated that they are in no need of any financial assistance and are perfectly able to handle the situation on their own. Despite being flooded with generous offers of aid, both countries have turned aid down and publically stated that they have adequate resources to handle the situation on their own.

Interestingly enough, on the same day that appeals go out for more donations Secretary of State Colin Powell stated "The question right now is not money. There is a lot of money available. The question is how do we use that money, not only for immediate relief, but for long-term reconstruction".

The United Nations alone now has received a record US$1.5 Billion dollars with pledges of over US$2.0 Billion and rising. This does not take into consideration the massive donations of money, food, medicine and emergency supplies donated by private industries as well.

With two of the countries most seriously affected already turning down financial assistance, one has to wonder where all this money is headed and why the continued appeals for more donations despite the fact that more than enough money and donations have already been received.

In a catastrophe such as this that requires massive amounts of humanitarian assistance, the highest priority we have is to provide food, potable water and health care to all those in the afflicted regions. And we are doing that now. But once we have done that, what further obligations are we under? Why is so much more money needed? Are we responsible for rebuilding the tourist industries of Sri Lanka and Thailand? Or perhaps we can rebuild the churches in Aceh that the Muslim fundamentalists have burned down in recent years.

The most affected region in this terrible earthquake and tsunami, and most likely the largest recipient of international aid and reconstruction efforts will be Aceh, or as it is known now as "Aceh Dar -al-Islam".

After several years of fighting and civil war with Indonesia, "Aceh Dar -al-Islam" implemented Syariah law on 15 March 2002. The persecution of Christians and the Islamisation of Aceh immediately following the implementation of Syariah law has been both swift and severe, more so than at any time in the past. There now remains very little sign that Christianity ever existed in Aceh.

While many of us feel that it is our duty to provide emergency humanitarian aid for these people. Do we really want our tax dollars, pledges and donations of aid being used for any long-term reconstruction efforts? Do we intend to help these people in Aceh get back on their feet so that they can go right back to persecuting women and persecuting and killing Christians and non-muslims again?

There are many Christians and non-muslims in nearby Medan, Sumatra and the surrounding region who sincerely believe that the earthquake and tsunami that occured on Christmas day was in fact nothing more than divine intervention. Many wonder now, do we have any long term plans to help rebuild the infrastructure of what has been destroyed and in the process will we inadvertently strenghen and support their oppressors?

As we speak, our brave soldiers both men and women are on the ground in Aceh delivering humanitarian aid where it is needed and doing our best to help all the people who have suffered both muslim and non-muslim alike.

As our mission is carried out we must be aware of what we will be up against in the very near future. Having our military troops on the ground in Aceh is an extremely sensitive and quite possibly a volatile issue that we will need to deal with as Islamic militancy groups such as Laksar Jihad and the Islamic Defender's Front move into the region as they mobilize relief efforts of their own.

Mr. Hilmy Bakar Almascaty, vice-chairman of the Jakarta-based Islamic Defenders Front, gave a veiled warning.

"If they are not sensitive to local issues then there will be problems. If American women come to Aceh, they must wear dilbab for example. There is Sharia law in Aceh and that is what is dictated."


Jan 2, 2005

National Remembrance and Our Nation's Flag

On Saturday, President George W. Bush has ordered the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff for five days to honor victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami as a White House delegation prepared to visit the devastated areas.

A few nations have followed suite by ordering their nation's flags at half-staff and yet others including Australia and the United Nations have chosen simply to offer a moment of silence instead.

Meanwhile in Phuket, Thailand, the tragedy is quickly becoming a memory with discos, bars and hotels opening back up as quickly as they can, and tourists flying back in, sipping their gin and tonics and having a "wonderful holiday" on the beach.

The situation and the circumstances are almost surreal. As our entire country is in mourning for a period of five days, it is business as usual back in Phuket.

The earthquake and tsunami was a terrible catastrophe and I feel very sorry for all those who have suffered, but a presidential proclamation ordering our nation's flags to flown at half-staff to "honor and respect" these individuals who have suffered and died though this natural catastrophe is a bit much and "over the top".

It is unprecedented that we as a nation would order our nation's flag to be flown at half-staff to honor and respect those who suffer or die in a natural disaster. Not only is unprecedented, but it "cheapens" that very honor that we as a nation bestow on those who have valiantly died either in an act of war, those who have died in the service of our country or the selected and distinguished foreign dignitaries of our friends and allies that we as a nation have traditionally bestowed this honor and mark of respect on.

For what reason should these people be honored? For the simple reason that they died? People die in natural disasters every day. In our parents, grandparents, and our own lifetimes there have been and will be disasters which have dwarfed the present one in terms of death.

Does this presidential proclamation now set a precedent for future natural disasters? Where is the barometer now set? Is the loss of 150,000 lives any more significant than the loss of say 50,000 or 100,000 lives? The next time a disaster happens, we will need to ask ourselves that very question.

Is it the sheer magnitude of the disaster that somehow has made the difference? Perhaps we need to ask ourselves if we are indeed paying homage to the victims of this terrible catastrophe or to the catastrophe itself.

We honor and respect individuals for their contributions to society and to humanity and not due to the method or manner in which they die.

In 1997 when Mother Theresa died our nation's flags were not ordered to be flown at half-staff by presidential proclamation. How is it that Mother Theresa who saved millions of lives was not worthy of such an honor and mark of respect and yet the victims of this terrible earthquake and tsunami are?

To haughtily and whimsically bestow such a solemn honor and mark of respect on these individuals does more to patronize them rather than honor them.

Perhaps a more appropriate response by our government would have been a moment of silence to remember the victims and their families.


Jan 1, 2005

Submission to Extremism

Imagine my surprise when I accessed Heineken's website from Malaysia and was greeted with the following message.

"To enter the website you must be non-Muslim and at least the legal drinking age of 18 years. Please select YES or NO to confirm your age."

As innocuous sounding as that might be to those in Holland and around the world who have found themselves blinded in an 'orgy of multiculturalism' and tolerance. It would appear to be in direct violation and contradiction to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 2

Could it be that our friends at Heineken were unfamilar with the universal declaration of human rights? Doubtful. What we have is clearly a submission to extremism. But Holland can tell us all about Submission now can't they?

Holland now is learning the hard way once again that appeasement only acts to embolden those who wish to strip away our freedoms. Lets hope its not too late for Holland and Europe to take a stand.

In closing, lets also hope that Heineken has the courage and resolution to do the right thing, by removing the message on their website and become a beacon of corporate and social responsibilty in the dark days ahead.

Why Stop at 350 Million?

Why not give, give it all away, give until it hurts.

Lets not confuse an act of irresponsibility with an act of charity.

The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'

There is nothing wrong with charity. It is truly a noble deed to help those who have suffered, but there is nothing noble if the money you give away is not yours to give in the first place.

Across America, people are digging into their pockets and doing all they can to help those in Southeast Asia who have suffered a terrible catastrophe. Our government officials seem to think nothing to give away the taxpayer money, but how many of our government officials have actually contributed of their own money? I'd venture to guess that the number is zero.

It is time that things change and that our government learns not only the lessons of fiscal responsibilty but that of humility.

Col. David "Davy" Crockett was a famous American frontiersman, war hero, and congressman from Tennessee. If he was alive today, he could teach those in our government a lesson in humility.


Creative Commons License