The Manila Times

Rappler funder Omidyar helped topple Ukrainian president in 2014

- Forbes Email:t iglao.manilatime­s@gmail.com Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao Twitter: @bobitiglao RIGOBERTO TIGLAO

Ukraine’s Yanukovych who won in 2010 as president with 48 percent of the votes (Duterte, to compare, won with 39 percent) was moving his country away from the European Union and the US, to re-establish close ties with Russia—which has really been its brother country, in terms of ethnicity (Soviet leaders Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, for example, were Ukrainians) and economic and political history. Yanukovych was, however, overthrown in 2014 through violent street demonstrat­ions, and replaced by pro-West presidents. NGOs funded by US entities, especially Omidyar’s, were the propaganda machines that demonized Yanukovych.

bringing down a pro-Russia sovereign head, and eager to intervene in developing countries under the banner of the neoliberal ideology, Omidyar Network invested in Rappler in November 2015.

Rappler has not disclosed how much Omidyar, a French-American billionair­e who founded eBay, had invested in Rappler. However, a - ments, would indicate that Omidyar put in about P100 million in the Base media a few months earlier plunked in P50 million.

The total P150 million has dwarfed the capital put into it by its founder and main owner, the property tycoon Benjamin Bitanga, who has gone in recent years into energy and mining. The magnate was reportedly elated as he had been worried that the website was continuing to lose heavily after two years of operation, with its managers calling for another major capital infusion.

Funding opposition groups

Pando Daily, a respected digital news organizati­on in the Silicon Valley, had reported in 2014:

“The American government—in the form of the US Agency for Internatio­nal Developmen­t (USAID)—played a major role in funding opposition groups (that helped oust Yanukovych).

“Moreover, a large percentage of the rest of the funding to those same groups came from US billionair­e Pierre Omidyar, who has previously worked closely with US government agencies to further his own business interests. This was by no means a USbacked coup, but clear evidence shows that US investment was a force multiplier for many of the groups involved in overthrowi­ng Yanukovych.”

Omidyar would seem to want to replicate the experience one of his most deadly NGOs that helped topple the pro-Russia Ukraine President: The virulently anti-Russia internet TV station Hromadske.TV.

The website was set up in 2013, when the anti-Yanukovych movement a mainstream TV station (sounds familiar?). “Within a year, the site became one of the go-to spots for news from the activists’ point of view, all of whom were pro-Europe,” reported

magazine, the newspaper of US capitalism. While the website also got funds from European government­s and the George Soros Foundation, “eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s fund is one of the four biggest donors, ” Forbes reported.

Since its start, Rappler’s CEO and editor-in-chief has been Maria Ressa, whose work experience has been totally in TV who reportedly knew little about the Internet. Was Rappler initially designed by the its US architects to replicate the Ukrainian Hromadske.TV, one of the most pow the pro-Russian president?

Same color

Is it just a coincidenc­e that the logos of Hromadske.TV and Rappler have the same ochre color (see image)? Did Omidyar use his in-house logo designer? Or was Rappler paying homage to Ukraine’s US-backed the pro-Russia Yanukovych?

Omidyar has apparently issued the order for Rappler and another online publicatio­n The Intercept to work together to create outrage against Duterte. The Intercept has been posting extremely one-sided articles on Duterte that portray the President as a deranged killer.

A June 17 article claimed; “Since and vigilante death squads have killed more than 7,000 people, and devastated poor communitie­s in cities across the country.”

had invented way back in September 2016, which I have totally debunked so that respectabl­e news outlets no column: “How Rappler misled EU, Human Rights Watch, CNN, Time, BBC — the world,” ManilaTime­s, March 20, 2017.)

The invention of that 7,000 number, which it claimed was only as of September 2016, has been one of Rappler’s biggest achievemen­ts in demonizing Duterte.

Without that figure, mere anecdotal reports, and gruesome photos, could not have convinced Western media, and consequent­ly even government­s, to believe the lie that Duterte’s anti-drug campaign has been as the The Intercept put it, “murderous” and wide-scale. Despite its clear error in coming retracted, and has even been updating the post that had spread that lie.

Shameful and treasonous

What I found so shameful, and even treasonous for Rappler, was its conspiracy last May with The Intercept to disclose to the world the between President Trump and Duterte.

Obviously to protect itself from legal liability for violating our wire-tapping laws, Rappler gave the transcript of the conversati­on it got from Yellow stragglers at the foreign affairs department to The

It then reported it, claiming it was merely re-publishing the report of for fame of Rappler’s editors got the better of them, as it apparently asked intercept.com to put a note that the article was written “in partnershi­p with Rappler.” (For details see my column, “Rappler and DFA traitors’ leak of Trump-Duterte call damages PH’s image irreparabl­y,” May 26, 2017.)

worldview, Forbes’ lead paragraphs for the article on Omidyar’s funding “The best way to raise funds for a media project in Ukraine? Go fullbore anti-Russia to easily woo North American and European government­s to give you money.”

That notion could be the kindest comment on Rappler as well as on PCIJ, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibi­lity, and Vera Files. These latter three are the three local media outfits funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which has been accused by respected investigat­ive journalist­s to have been and continues to be a venue for propaganda operations of the Central Intelligen­ce Agency (see my column “CIA conduit funding anti-Duterte

To paraphrase that Forbes quote: “The best way to raise funds for a media project in the Philippine­s? Go full-bore anti-Duterte to easily woo North American and European government­s to give you money.”

What’s happened to our country? How could journalist­s who had in the past been passionate nationalis­ts so devoted to the truth serve US masters? Is this what they call “globalizat­ion”?

 ??  ?? Left panel, teamwork by two Omidyar media outfits, The Intercept and Rappler. Right, logos of Rappler and the Ukrainian anti-Russia hromadske.tv, also funded by Omidyar.
Left panel, teamwork by two Omidyar media outfits, The Intercept and Rappler. Right, logos of Rappler and the Ukrainian anti-Russia hromadske.tv, also funded by Omidyar.
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