On keeping Jatuporn locked up

25 05 2011

PPT hasn’t editorialized much on The Nation in recent months. Part of the reason for this is that much that appears in the opinion pages is simply concocted nonsense. Remember when these pages regaled readers with vitriolic attacks on Thaksin Shinawatra and red shirts, drawn directly from yellow-shirted media? And the oft-repeated nonsense that Thaksin was dying of cancer, politically finished and broke? In all, this was worth ignoring as fantasy and/or plagiarism of bitter writers masquerading as journalists.

Today, however, a piece has caught PPT’s eye. It is a story by Avudh Panananda that discusses Jatuporn Promphan. He languishes in prison following Army-inspired charges of lese majeste associated with his speech on 10 April to a red shirt rally. The story caught our attention as it coincides with a growing fear that the Puea Thai Party may well come out on top in the election. This fear seems to signal the need for The Nation to go to campaign mode, supporting the royalist regime.

In the story, Avudh has convicted Jatuporn of crimes before any trial and joins the Army in accusing him of lese majeste. To make this point, Avudh comes up with an implausible story plot. The scribe says Jatuporn’s outspokenness “could cost both his party and the movement very dearly.”

PPT doesn’t see any evidence at all. In fact, recent opinion polls have Jatuporn’s Puea Thai Party ahead of the incumbent Democrat Party. We wonder if Avudh isn’t simply saying that the big bosses won’t accept a Puea Thai victory? At least that would make sense.


Avudh agrees that, even in jail, Jatuporn will win. He is locked up precisely because he appeals to and is hugely popular amongst, the Puea Thai base. Despite this, Avudh says “the question is, how many voters will he repel…?” Then this: for “red shirts, Jatuporn is an iconic figure.” So what is Avudh really on about?

The point is clearer when Avudh writes of the deep hatred for Jatuporn as a mobilizer – PPT’s words. Avudh says that “many” outside the movement who have “suspicion and disdain, consider… him either a troublemaker who incites riots or a rude figure who regularly takes swipes at the country’s revered institution.”

There it is! It’s that lese majeste/plot to overthrow the monarchy/royalist Army bandwagon. Yep, on “April 10, Jatuporn delivered a controversial speech at a rally….” Avudh is clearly jumping on board the Army/Department of Special Investigation royal blue wagon.

Avudh further dissembles, saying “Jatuporn is entitled to his defence under due process…”. A nice try, but later comments show that Jatuporn is already judged guilty. But here’s another important point: Avudh seems to think that Jatuporn will be in “court battle [that] could take years.” The whispers are that Jatuporn will be punished and locked away for as long as possible.

Then Avudh gets really silly: “The red shirts and Pheu Thai supporters will definitely vote for him, but several undecided voters, particularly royalists, are expected to go against him. If a critical number of voters become spiteful, then Pheu Thai might see defeat.” That’s the hope and hence Avudh’s piece of campaign nonsense.

PPT doubts whether any royalist worthy of the name would ever vote for Puea Thai when they are locked in battle with the royalist Democrat Party. How Avudh sees any other scenario is beyond us.

At least Avudh manages to point out – we think it’s a slip – that “Jatuporn has been a pro-democracy activist since his student days at Ramkhamhaeng University.”

But it seems he has fallen under the influence of the “evil one,” making Jatuporn anti-monarchy: “When the red-shirt movement was beginning to take off in 2009, Jatuporn delivered a fiery speech at Royal Plaza attacking the ammat, which literally means ‘the king’s men’, for their part in the coup.” And then, “under the guise of attacking the [19 May] crackdown, Jatuporn triggered an uproar among the royalists by coining the phrase ‘royally bestowed bullets’. Is he just raising the level of slights heaped on the monarchy?”

See what we mean? Jatuporn already being judged. The royalists were never voting for Jatuporn. They’ll not vote for Puea Thai. They hate Thaksin and they hate Jatuporn. If they could, they’d have their heads on stakes.

Get ready for more vitriol and the concocted claptrap that accompanies the panic attacks that the mainstream media has whenever it seems that the opposition is getting a political advantage.



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