using the link: operator I have seen evidence that Google counts these redirects as backlinks, and why shouldn't they? if that is the page where the user is ending up then it's still the same as a normal link.
Seems like all click countered links are bad because you look like a directory and straight links passes page rank what means less pr for your internal pages and having an eye on how good are linked sites.
using the link: operator I have seen evidence that Google counts these redirects as backlinks
Google's behaviour when it comes to backlinks and redirects is very interesting - they would show backlinks to a URL A that redirects to URL B as backlinks for link: URL B command. This certainly does not happen for all redirects but it does happen. In theory this should channel all PR value of URL A backlinks to be assigned to URL B.