Open Society Foundations

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"Social change"
Group.png Open Society Foundations  
(NGOWebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Open society foundations new.png
Formation1993
FounderGeorge Soros
HeadquartersNew York, New York State, United States
TypePrivate
Member ofFirst Draft, Friends of Europe
Sponsor ofChatham House, Correctiv, Central European University, Human Rights Watch, International Crisis Group, Memorial Human Rights Center, Project Syndicate, Refugees International, Transparency International, International Center for Journalists, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Poynter Institute, Black Lives Matter, Democracy Now!, Partners In Health, Helsinki Committee, Alexander Langer Foundation, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform, Alliance Citoyenne, Amnesty International, Aspen Institute Germany, Belgrade Center for Human Rights, Bertelsmann Stiftung, Full Fact, Media Matters for Democracy, Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, The Baltic Center for Investigative Journalism, Free Press, Tides Center, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, NEO Philanthropy, Mozilla Foundation, Borealis Philanthropy, Res Publica, Avaaz, Moveon.org, African American Policy Forum, ACLU, The American Prospect, Brookings Institution, Center for American Progress, Center for Community Change, Center for Democracy in the Americas, Center for Global Development, Center for Investigative Reporting, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Club of Madrid, Creative Commons, Drug Policy Alliance, Freedom House, Free Press, French-American Foundation, Genocide Intervention Network, Global Rights, Hudson Institute, Human Rights First, Immigration Equality, Independent Diplomat, International Center for Transitional Justice, International Refugee Rights Initiative, International Rescue Committee, Movement Strategy Center, National Black Justice Coalition, National Center for Transgender Equality, La Raza, National Immigration Forum, National Immigration Law Center, National Security Initiative, PEN, Refugees International, Asia Society, the Burma Fund, The Eisenhower Project, Border Network for Human Rights, Border Action Network, Cato Institute, Center for Investigative Journalism, Otpor!, Index on Censorship, n-ost, European Council on Foreign Relations, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, B92, European Movement UK, International Commission of Jurists, TESEV, Sourcewatch, Alternet, Statewatch, Privacy International, Electronic Privacy Information Center
Sponsored byLuminate
SubpageOpen Society Foundations/Board
Open Society Foundations/Vice-Chairman
A NGO operating in more countries than McDonald's. It has the tendency to support politicians (at times through astroturfing) and activists that get branded as "extreme left" as its founder is billionaire and bane of the pound George Soros. This polarizing perspective causes the abnormal influence of the OSF to go somewhat unanswered.

Open Society Foundations (OSF), formerly the Open Society Institute, is an international grant-making network founded by business-tycoon George Soros. Open Society Foundations financially support civil society groups around the world, with a stated aim of advancing justice, education, public health, and independent media. Over time, OSF has systematically funded and stimulated entities that created anything but independence, but an abnormal big cadre of beholden politicians, activists and media that support open markets benefiting US political and economic dominance, and incidentally the pockets of George Soros.

Overview

The OSF has branches in 37 countries, encompassing a group of country and regional foundations, such as the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa; its headquarters are in New York City. In 2018, OSF announced it was closing its European office in Budapest and moving to Berlin, in response to legislation passed by the Hungarian government targeting the foundation's activities. Since its establishment in 1993, OSF has reported expenditures in excess of $11 billion mostly in grants towards NGOs, aligned with the organization's mission.

The list of financed organizations listed here is just a small selection[1], focused on the United States part, since the donation lists are more readily available there, in Form 990. The grantees might also make further grants to smaller entities. The list is focused on the United States, since the donations by law must be published. Donations to more sensitive subjects abroad are camouflaged or not made public.

Media

All Soros foundations participate in media development to some extent.

Polarizing Perspective

While Soros his connections, influence and questionable sponsorships go somewhat unanswered in media coverage, especially as an increasing number of geopolitically important countries like Turkey[2] & Russia[3] are banning the OSF from their grounds - with Myanmar even abducting [4] the employees and seizing the assets - most coverage is only focused on an official narrative "The OSF supports BLM and European socialists, he is helping the people against dictators[5]!", and official opposition narrative "He is funding "extreme left" to divide the nation and take our pride[6]!", a telling example of the decreasing functioning of the corporate media in investigating how a non-elected billionaire and his NGO influence so many nation states.

Criticism

Nicolas Guilhot, a senior research associate of CNRS, argues that The Open Society Foundations serve to perpetuate institutions that reinforce the existing social order, as the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation (both with strong ties to the US government / CIA) have done before them. Guilhot argues that control over the social sciences by moneyed interests has depoliticized this field and reinforced a capitalist view of modernization.[7] Through its funding it can create movements or civil society groups and spread ideas to media organizations or government bodies to make believe there is public support for or against an issue - i.e. Astroturfing.

Evictions

In 2015, Russia banned the activities of the Open Society Foundations on its territory, declaring "It was found that the activity of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation represents a threat to the foundations of the constitutional system of the Russian Federation and the security of the state.[8]

In 2017, the government of Pakistan ordered the Open Society Foundation to cease operations within the country.[9]

In November 2018, Open Society Foundations announced they are ceasing operations in Turkey and closing their İstanbul and Ankara offices due to "false accusations and speculations beyond measure", amid pressure from Turkish government and governmental interference through detainment of Turkish intellectuals and liberal academics claimed to be associated with the foundation and related NGOs, associations and programmes.[10]

History

The Open Society Foundations started in Eastern Europe in the 1980s

“The conventional view, shared by many on the left, is that socialism collapsed in eastern Europe because of its systemic weaknesses and the political elite's failure to build popular support. That may be partly true, but Soros's role was crucial. From 1979, he distributed $3m a year to dissidents including Poland's Solidarity movement, Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia and Andrei Sakharov in the Soviet Union. In 1984, he founded his first Open Society Institute in Hungary and pumped millions of dollars into opposition movements and independent media. Ostensibly aimed at building up a "civil society", these initiatives were designed to weaken the existing political structures and pave the way for eastern Europe's eventual colonisation by global capital. Soros now claims, with characteristic immodesty, that he was responsible for the "Americanisation"; of eastern Europe. ...

The Yugoslavs remained stubbornly resistant [to the sponsored free market revolution in Eastern Europe] and repeatedly returned Slobodan Milosevic's unreformed Socialist Party to government. Soros was equal to the challenge. From 1991, his Open Society Institute channelled more than $100m to the coffers of the anti-Milosevic opposition, funding political parties, publishing houses and "independent"; media such as Radio B92, the plucky little student radio station of western mythology which was in reality bankrolled by one of the world's richest men on behalf of the world's most powerful nation. With Slobo finally toppled in 2000 in a coup d'etat financed, planned and executed in Washington, all that was left was to cart the ex-Yugoslav leader to the Hague tribunal, co-financed by Soros along with those other custodians of human rights Time Warner Corporation and Disney. He faced charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, based in the main on the largely anecdotal evidence of (you've guessed it) Human Rights Watch. ...

The sad conclusion is...that....Soros deems a society “open” not if it respects human rights and basic freedoms, but if it is “open” for him and his associates to make money....He thus copied a pattern he has deployed to great effect over the whole of eastern Europe: of advocating “shock therapy” and “economic reform”, then swooping in with his associates to buy valuable state assets at knock-down prices.”
New Statesman [11]

 

Related Quotations

PageQuoteAuthorDate
Foundation funding“"During the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA turned increasingly to covert action in the area of student and labor matters, cultural affairs, and community developments. ... The CIA subsidized, advised, and even helped develop "private" organizations that would compete with the communists around the world. ... [Many] were U.S.-based student, labor, cultural, or philanthropic organizations whose international activities the CIA subsidized. ...
 "The philanthropic [CIA] fronts used prior to 1967 funded a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses, and other private institutions in the United States and abroad. ... Support [was provided to, for instance] an international organization of veterans and an international foundation for developing countries [as well as] an organization of journalists and an international women's association. ... Agency funds were used to host foreign visitors [and] provide scholarships to an international cooperative training center at a United States university... The CIA assisted in the establishment in 1951 and the funding for over a decade of a research institute at a major American university. ...
 "By 1967, when public disclosure of NSA [National Student Association]'s funding ... caused a major curtailment of these activities, interest in the major covert action efforts in these areas was already waning.
 "There appear to be two reasons for this. First, there was considerable skepticism within the CIA as to the effectiveness of this approach. ... Richard Helms [explained], "The clandestine operator ... is trained to believe that you really can't count on the honesty of your agent to do exactly what you want or to report accurately unless you own him body and soul."
 "Second, it became increasingly difficult to conceal the CIA funds that supported these activities as the scale of the operations grew. By fiscal year 1967, for example, over $3 million [$22.5 million in 2018] was budgeted for youth and student programs and $6 million [$45 million in 2018] for labor. Most of the funds were transmitted through legitimate or "devised" foundations -- that is, fictitious entities established by the CIA.
 "The use of philanthropic organizations was a convenient way to pass funds, in that large amounts could be transferred rapidly, and in a form that need not alert unwitting officers of the recipient organizations to their source. In addition, foundation grants bestowed upon the recipient the apparent "blessing" of the foundation. The funding pattern involved a mixture of bona fide charitable foundations, devised foundations and funds, [CIA] "front men" drawn from a list of America's most prominent citizens, and lawyers representing undisclosed clients.
 "The CIA's intrusion into the foundation field in the 1960s can only be described as massive. Excluding grants from the "Big Three" -- Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie -- of the 700 grants over $10,000 given by 164 other foundations during the period 1963-1966, at least 108 involved partial or complete CIA funding. More importantly, CIA funding was involved in nearly half the grants the non-"Big Three" foundations made during this period in the field of international activities. In the same period more than one-third of the grants awarded by non-"Big Three" in the physical, life and social sciences also involved CIA funds.
"Bona fide foundations, rather than those controlled by the CIA, were considered the best and most plausible kind of funding cover for certain kinds of operations. A 1966 CIA study explained the use of legitimate foundations was the most effective way of concealing the CIA's hand as well as reassuring members of funded organizations that the organization was in fact supported by private funds."
Church Committee
Sigrid Kaag“Soros is a known philanthropist, that has committed himself through his Open Society Foundations for a democratic playground and the power of the civil society. Luckily you don't have to call it "left-wing" or "right-wing" but about the human rights and organizations that operate in countries where those are suppressed and where his support has been of vital importance and really relevant and I regret the framing of him.”Sigrid Kaag22 September 2020
Samantha Power“Today, the Foundations are active on every continent, striving to promote vibrant and tolerant democracies with strong civic institutions and justice and health systems that work. It is rare that a week goes by, in my new incarnation [as United Nations Ambassador] — and I mean this — where I don’t meet an ambassador to the United Nations, a head of state or minister, a journalist or civil society advocate who didn’t either graduate from the Central European University, receive an Open Society grant, or once run an Open Society office. That’s how much George has populated the planet with his dedication to human rights and human dignity,””Samantha Power7 November 2013
Slovakia“My foundations contributed to democratic regime change in Slovakia in 1998, Croatia in 1999, and Yugoslavia in 2000, mobilizing civil society to get rid of Vladimir Meciar, Franjo, Tudjman, and Slobodan Milosevic, respectively,” Soros boasts.”George Soros

 

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