Sunday, December 29, 2013

US-Funded "Pro-Democracy" Propagandists Prachatai - Update

Dishonest US-funded propagandists forced to disclose funding in 2011 have since failed to update their financial ties or disclose them to their Thai readers. 

December 30, 2013 (Tony Cartalucci) - According to it's "about us" page, Prachatai claims to be:
"Prachatai ( or is an independent, non-profit, daily web newspaper established in June 2004 to provide reliable and relevant news and information to the Thai public during an era of serious curbs on the freedom and independence of Thai news media."
In reality, Prachatai is a propaganda front facilitating the current regime of Thaksin Shinawatra, lending support to its various sub-components including Shinawatra's notoriously violent "red shirts," their academic wing, "Nitirat," and an array of pro-regime propagandists such as disgraced former-Reuters editor, Andrew MacGregor Marshall.

In 2011 it was exposed as being heavily funded millions of baht a year by the United States government via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), convicted criminal George Soros' Open Society Foundation, and several other Western corporate-financier funded foundations - all while begging for donations from its apparently witless readership. After months of denying their foreign financial ties, they eventually updated their "About Us" page in August of 2011.

Image: Taken from Prachatai's current "About Us" English page, readers can see they have not updated their foreign funding information since 2011, when they were first forced to disclose it after months of denying it. Their Thai "About Us" page features no disclosure at all - in a display of dishonesty and immense impropriety.  

Pro-regime propagandist Pravit Rojanaphruk of Thailand's English newspaper "the Nation," has been a stalwart defender of and frequent contributor to Prachatai. Lending his pen to the regime's collective "pro-democracy" facade, he wrote "Transparency essential for democracy campaigner" in which he stated: 
The not-for-profit online newspaper has come under ferocious accusations of late, to wit that the left-leaning newspaper is actually a fake and an agent of the "neo-imperialist" United States, to use the word of its accuser, who comes by the name of Tony Cartalucci. 
Cartalucci has for months demanded on Twitter that reveal its funding sources but has failed to reveal his own identity.

He went on to attack prachatai on his August 10 blog posting, accusing the paper of undermining the Thai establishment's "legitimacy". 
"They are traitors not just to the Thai people and the Thai nation, but traitors to humanity … traitors who wilfully help usher in global governance under the dominion of autocrats who openly plot a global scientific dictatorship." 
Yours truly, who has been contributing to prachatai on a pro-bono basis since the September 19, 2006 military coup, after learning that the Thai mainstream mass media are mostly pro-coup, confesses to being disturbed upon hearing such vicious accusations made by someone who does not even reveal his or her true self.
Pravit would continue by admitting: 
Prachatai eventually disclosed its funding sources, with names like the US-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) spending roughly Bt1.5 million for fiscal 2011-12. In the 2010-11 year, the same amount was funded by NED, while Bt1.8 million came from George Soros' Open Society Foundation. 
While there is no clear evidence that prachatai is toeing the US foreign policy line on politics through its writings and reporting, which by the way includes Thai-language commentaries written by people of various political persuasions, it would be best for Prachatai to try to diversify its funding sources as much as possible.

Prachatai insisted in its English-language funding disclosure that "none of our foreign donors has ever put up any demands connected to the funds they provided, nor did they interfere with our reporting". But one can hardly be independent if a major bulk of its income comes from a few organisations.

Image: Pravit's Twitter account proudly displays the Western scholarships and fellowships he has taken part in. One must wonder what he truly learned throughout all these experiences - transparency and objectivity? Or the finer points of propaganda? 

Despite Pravit's attempts to extend the benefit of doubt toward Prachatai - the National Endowment for Democracy, has been directly supporting the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra for many years. It was NED's Freedom House chairman (and notorious Bush-era Neo-Con) Kenneth Adelman who would literally serve as Thaksin Shinawatra's paid lobbyist, and NED itself that would welcome Thaksin Shinawatra's "red shirt" leaders in Washington DC just ahead of 2011's general elections. 

Prachatai's content entirely reflects NED's own defense of the current regime. One need only go to Prachatai's English page to see them posting articles regarding "red shirts" who died during violence years ago, while any condemnation over the regime's now nightly attacks on protesters goes unvoiced. Prachatai's selective defense of Thais' rights is a defense Thailand would be better off without.

And since its disclosure in 2011 - Prachatai has utterly failed to update its financial information. Its August 2011 disclosure was the first and last it would make. It would also fail entirely to inform its Thai readers of its foreign funding. It's Thai "About Us" page is devoid of any disclosure.

It is Prachatai's lack of transparency, the dishonest defense it and its contributors make that expose it and the cause it allegedly fights for as being as illegitimate as the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra they defend. This is not Thai democracy, this is foreign interests reaching into Thailand, disguised as "Thai democracy."

Alternative Thai News (ATN) demands that Prachatai both updates its English "About Us" page to reflect its current funding, as well as post its most up-to-date funding information in Thai. As for Pravit's attempts to turn the tables on those seeking transparency from Prachatai, it is he and Prachatai who portray themselves as taking the highroad. Trying to imply that others low-crawling in the gutter justify their own lack of transparency and honesty is not a valid argument. Considering Prachatai's underhanded tactics, deceit, and ties to the mass murdering regime of Thaksin Shinawatra, its opponents would be wise to maintain their anonymity.  

Readers may also be interested to know that during Prachatai's refusal to admit its foreign funding in 2011, they posted a hit piece targeting this author titled, "Just a Lousy Journalist?" (full rebuttal here). Not only does Prachatai hold transparency in utter contempt, but their attempts to attack and undermine those that do, illustrates the dangers of this so-called "pro-democracy" movement they, US' NED, and Thaksin Shinawatra are trying to usher into Thailand - giving protesters now filling the streets yet another reason to fight on. 

And considering the infinite deceit and shameless manipulation of its supporters, readers may begin to understand why in Thailand a military coup was necessary to remove Thaksin Shinawatra's regime from power in the first place, and why another may be necessary to permanently uproot his insidious regime for good.