August 22, 2012 00:00
By Tulsathit Taptim
THE FOLLOWING conversation among three world-class crim ... er ... political victims is imaginary. I do believe, howeverr, that if you put Thaksin Shinawatra, Viktor Bout and Julian Assange in one chat room and asked them to be sincere and straightforward
Viktor Bout: Just tell me how the hell did you do it?
Thaksin Shinawatra: Do what?
Julian Assange: He’s screwed; I’m all but; while you are gyrating from coast to coast like a ballet dancer.
TS: I see. Do you want to know my secret? First you need a good lawyer.
VB: Are you saying my money plus the political influence of the Kremlin have been misspent, and my legal assistance couldn’t match that provided by that Canadian hotshot of yours?
TS: Well, here I am, and there you are.
JA: I believe you. Tell me what else I need.
TS: You need to champion democracy.
JA: Are you kidding? If Wikileaks is not about democracy, I don’t know what is.
TS: You stole classified information and publicised it, and hid behind democracy in the process. They found you out, my friend.
JA: You mean, if I stole taxpayers’ money and used democracy as a shield, they wouldn’t find me out?
TS: I guess so, but on condition that you be extremely careful about what you do in hotel rooms.
JA: I can’t believe you also believe that rape nonsense. They set me up!
TS: Everyone says he’s been set up.
VB: Yeah yeah.
TS: What is that supposed to mean?
VB: I meant, yeah yeah, nobody set you up.
TS: I hate your sarcastic tone. Of course, nobody set me up. Nobody came to me wielding a land deed and asked if I wanted to buy that piece of property. I bought it, all right. I admit it like a man. But while they did not set me up, they persecuted me. They victimised a good man just because they envied his popularity.
JA: I think I’m a good man, too, although I don’t have as much money as you do to cement that status. And globally, it’s safe to say I’m more popular than you.
VB: True. I googled “Julian Assange” and got 26 million entries. “Thaksin Shinawatra” only got 2.6 million.
TS: Julian, how many of your so-called supporters or sympathisers are willing to face bullets on your behalf?
JA: Umm … I could organise something like that if I wanted to. But I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if someone had to die so that I could become a free man.
TS: That’s your very problem. You aren’t looking at the big picture. There’s always a price for everything noble. And while you believe in the power of information, you don’t seem to believe in the power of the people.
JA: Are you suggesting I should organise a blockade of London streets until they remove the rape charges in Sweden?
TS: If you can do it, yeah.
VB: What about me? If I need to block roads, where should I do it? I mean, in which country?
TS: Well, let me think. You have to do it where injustice occurred. That rules out Russia, whose government tried its best to protect you. That leaves Thailand and the US. You can choose one of them, or do it in both places. Thai roads are easier to block, though.
VB: I’m wracking my brain here. My government has never charged me, but America stopped at nothing in trying to pluck me from Thailand and throw me in jail. You were charged and even convicted in your country, but you are roaming American states in a limousine.
TS: If you are hinting at hypocrisy, all I can say is there’s a good reason why American Standard is a universally known brand, whereas nobody has ever heard of Russian Standard. America is very fair to me. And so is England. They must have concluded that my so-called crime is in fact political.
VB: Well, just to make sure, if I do follow you. America thinks a Thai court convicting you is political, and it also thinks a Russian court not even charging me is a travesty?
TS: From the look of it, yeah.
JA: I also want to get this straight. England thinks the criminal case against you is political, so it embraces you. This means England must have assumed that the rape thing is not political, right? But if England is in fact being political in going after me, what does that say to England virtually rebuking those having a political agenda against you?
VB: I’m getting a bit confused.
JA: Surely me too. And British Standard is as unheard of as Russian Standard. Which standard is being applied to me here?
TS: Making people confused could be the ultimate idea. If you baffle them to the point where they no longer know what’s right or wrong, most of the time you’ll benefit.
JA: You’re asking me to abandon my core principle. My philosophy is “No secrets. No confusion. People have an equal right to every piece of information.”
TS: That’s why they are calling you a terrorist, pal. A bit of a blur and you can be like me – a democracy hero riding in a limousine, flying in a private jet and dining with Henry Kissinger.