World-renowned ‘philanthropist’ George Soros has for years been one of the most problematic political figures in global politics. In Western European media, he is often depicted as a wealthy, well-meaning shaper of public opinion with Leftist leanings who works with various Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) to make the world a better place.
Even a cursory overview of the last few decades of George Soros’ career shows that this picture is largely false, and that Soros is a prime example of the problem of private, wealthy interests overriding – or attempting to override – national sovereignty, and the freedoms of states and individuals alike. This article is an attempt to offer such an overview. While Soros and his various endeavours obviously engage themselves in fairly uncontroversial forms of charity or anti-corruption work, the focus of this article will be on the other (and far more important) aspects of his activities.
Currency warfare and the Open Society Foundations
One of the few instances when Soros has been openly criticised in the West is in connection to his currency wars. He admits to having debased the British pound in a currency war against The Bank of England, and made a billion dollars in the process. The losers in this case were the British taxpayers.1 Soros did the same in the case of my native Sweden, debasing the Swedish crown in a similar battle with the Swedish central bank, again at the expense of the public.2
Soros is hardly alone in being driven by economic self-interest and what the Left would have once called an aggressive neo-liberal economic agenda. His particular brand of ‘philanthropy’, however, is a somewhat rarer animal. Through his Open Society Foundations (OSF), Soros is active in 41 countries. The various branches of the Open Society Foundations altogether employ 1,800 workers, and are estimated to have spent over 13 billion dollars since the original Foundation’s inception in 1993.3
In 2015, Transparify – an NGO which monitors other NGOs – deemed Open Society the least transparent and open NGO in the entire United States.4 That very same year, Open Society was banned in Russia.5
OSF and Soros financed the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, with at least 33 million dollars,6 apparently unconcerned that these protests spawned massive race riots and severely worsened American race relations by reducing a complex issue to revolutionary mysticism and a question of ‘Social Justice’. Soros also finances MoveOn.org, a North American Website and organisation which has staged aggressive and at times violent protests aimed at Donald Trump’s campaign rallies.7
For a person and institution allegedly concerned with spreading constitutional democracy and free market liberalism, Soros and the American Open Society Foundations are remarkably fond of mob rule, populism, and far-Left militancy. In Sweden, Soros went so far so as to finance a ‘research report’ discussing ways to compel working class Europeans to accept multiculturalism, which was written by the notorious Swedish-Korean self-avowed anarchist, Tobias Hübinette.8 Hübinette is known not only for his substantial criminal record, but also for several radical anti-European outbursts, the most famous one being this love song: ‘Let the Western World of the White Race perish in blood and suffering. Long live the multicultural, racially mixed, and classless ecological society!’9
Soros also spends plenty of money on less direct efforts to control public discourse in Europe. Yearly indexes such as the World Press Freedom Index10 and Corruption Perceptions Index11 are financed by Soros through the Open Society Foundations. These indices have one thing in common: governments of which the Western Leftist-liberal elites do not approve are given very low scores, and are accordingly portrayed as authoritarian in the Western media, and without any critical perspective. They also share the bizarre feature that their selection process and raw data are not made public, and therefore are impossible to verify. Still, their claims are routinely cited in order to justify attacks on nations such as Hungary. Anyone comparing the facts of the media climate of Hungary and Sweden ‘on the ground’ would find it difficult indeed to argue that the Hungarian media are any less ‘free’ than Sweden’s. The number of Hungarians who are allowed to weigh the views of Soros and his far-Left liberal newspapers against the more conservative Hungarian papers is far greater than the number of Swedes exposed to anything but rewrites of stories taken from CNN and The Economist.
The migrant crisis
While Soros’ general Leftism may be seen as nothing more than an expression of one viewpoint among others, and his callous financial manipulations as a natural part of the present economic system, his activities in connection with the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ have been outright nefarious. Last autumn, Soros wrote an opinion piece absurdly claiming that Europe has an ‘obligation’ to take in at least one million (!) migrants per year.12 The article was published through Project Syndicate, a brainchild of Soros’ which is dedicated to disseminating op-eds to which a large number of people from various elite cliques of opinion-formers are frequent contributors. The opinion pieces entered into the project are picked up by over 500 associated major media outlets and publications all over the world, which republish the articles in their own languages. Through Project Syndicate, another opinion piece13 reached the editorial pages of, among others, The Guardian in the United Kingdom and Dagens Nyheter (Sweden’s premiere morning paper) last month. In it, Soros demanded that European taxpayers should pay at least 120 billion euros to facilitate increased immigration into Europe. The very suggestion may seem deranged, but a few days after the piece ran, the European Union announced that it would distribute the equivalent of two million average Macedonian monthly salaries in cash to the illegal migrants that are currently waiting along the Macedonian borders.14
While Soros’ opinions carry much weight in northern Europe as well as among the leadership of the EU, his behaviour has met with some resistance elsewhere. After it was revealed that Soros’ NGOs distributed handbooks to migrants in the Balkans15 which offered advice on how they could illegally enter Europe during the 2015 migrant crisis, Soros was condemned by the Hungarian government, which accused him of attempting to pry open the borders of Hungary in direct contradiction to the will of the Hungarian people.16 Furthermore, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán blasted Soros’ involvement in the migration crisis as ‘treason’.17
Further to the east, Soros’ activities take on even more sinister features. In Ukraine, his NGOs contributed substantially to both the so-called ‘colour revolutions’ of 2004 and 2014, and hence to a political instability which (regardless of how one views Russia, or any other Ukrainian political issue) has reduced the country to a borderline failed state. The latter of the two uprisings led, as is commonly known, to a coup d´état and a protracted civil war which may well end in a permanently divided Ukraine. Leaked e-mails have shown Soros giving direct orders to the new Ukrainian government.18
Furthermore, Soros has drawn up an economic ‘development plan’19 that has been well-received by the Ukrainian government, and ‘offered’ to invest big money in Ukraine on the condition that European taxpayers contribute with massive financial subsidies.20 So far, the corruption and abuses of power which allegedly sparked the Maidan persist in Ukrainian public life, possibly because the reasons which caused Ukranians to take to the streets in protest in the first place were not the same reasons which were driving Soros and those of his allies who were destined to end up in the post-revolutionary government.
Elsewhere in the eastern and central parts of Europe, we also find Soros and the Open Society Institute provoking unrest and increasing the risk of all-out war. They were openly involved in the Rose Revolution in Georgia in 2003,21 just as they financed the Serbian ‘Bulldozer Revolution’ of 2000.22
In Hungary, the Soros-financed Central European University in Budapest has been functioning as a hub for the dissemination of post-Marxist ideology throughout central and eastern Europe for a quarter-century now. Among other things, CEU sponsors ‘research’23 into internationalist subjects, gender studies, studies of ‘minority rights’, and so forth. Even though the University’s curriculum has a very narrow scope, it is nonetheless one of Europe’s wealthiest educational institutions, thanks to Soros’ funding.24 The President and Rector of CEU, John Shattuck,25 wrote several op-eds for, amongst others, The Boston Globe and the Financial Times. Shattuck voiced harsh criticism of Hungary’s migration policy, claiming that ‘the people fleeing to Europe from war-torn countries are not migrants seeking economic advantage, but refugees from violence and repression’, and that in ‘Hungary and other EU countries, anti-immigrant legislation has created new barriers to political asylum. Right-wing rhetoric dehumanizes the asylum-seekers. Security officials confront refugees in an explosive atmosphere, provoked by antimigrant gangs’. Shattuck praised the volunteers, among them students from his University who were ‘helping groups like Migration Aid provide the stranded refugees with food, clothing, shelter, information, and, perhaps most important, compassion’.26 Migration Aid, which began as a Facebook group, was accused by Hungary’s governing party, Fidesz, of receiving ‘generous support’ from George Soros.27 One of Migration Aid’s board members, Zsuzsanna Zsohár, later denied this claim, claiming that their financial transactions are all a matter of public record.28 One of the founders of Migration Aid told the Hungarian daily newspaper Magyar Hírlap that claims about Soros’ funding are ‘lies’, but CEU nevertheless allowed them to use one of its auditoriums as a storage facility.29
The involvement of Soros and the Open Society Foundation in Hungarian Left-liberal media initiatives is also well-known enough so as not to warrant any elaboration here.30
Were we to move further south, to the Middle East, or simply further back in time, this catalogue could go on forever. And while Soros may think – or pretend to think – that he is motivated by some particular idealistic principle or another, to the objective observer it is obvious that the net result of his one-man war against a disparate array of foes and principles is nothing but pointless suffering and social decay.
The Panama Papers
According to WikiLeaks, the recent Panama Papers data leak was obtained from the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), an organisation funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and George Soros. The whistleblowing organisation called it an attack funded jointly by the US government and Soros ‘which targets Russia and the former USSR’. Gerard Ryle, the head of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), told the Russian news agency TASS that Putin is not the target of the leak: ‘It wasn’t a story about Russia. It was a story about the offshore world’.31 In contrast to his words, many mainstream media outlets chose to illustrate the story with photos of the Russian President even though neither Vladimir Putin nor any members of his family are directly mentioned in the papers. It is also worth mentioning that the ICIJ is an organisation which was created by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), which is funded by, among others, the OSF.32
Counteracting Soros and his minions
To the extent that Soros and his various initiatives fund and support militant subversive movements, as is often the case, he can hardly be surprised that various governments counteract activities which are, or which should be, considered criminal using those powers which they have at their disposal. As long as his subversive activities take place within the confines of the law and the principles of freedom of speech, the question of how to confront them is far more complex. The first step is to make it clear to the European public exactly what the Open Society Foundations and Soros are doing, and how and why they are doing it, so that their attempts to establish their destructive fantasies as a political consensus or as common sense in the minds of the masses can be counteracted by informed debate.
There is a Swedish proverb which says that trolls, those nasty creatures of folklore, turn into stone when exposed to sunlight. It is my sincere hope that the same will be the case for those organisations which carry out the business of committing treason on a continental scale.
- The Swedish magazine Svartvitt, January 1996
- This Hungarian Website, which acts as a watchdog on investigative journalism, openly admits to being partially financed by Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI): http://atlatszo.hu/impresszum/tamogatok/ This Hungarian-language article claims that one of Soros’s investment funds was joint owner of Magyar Narancs, one of Hungary’s liberal weeklies, and also points out that the liberal Website 444.hu once won a prize from the OSI, and further that the OSI awarded a financial grant to the Left-leaning Hungarian investigative journalism watchdog NGO Atlatszo.hu: http://www.mmonline.hu/cikk/soros_is_vinne_az_origot Many other examples could be given.