• Who’s Afraid of George Soros? – Foreign Policy (10/10/2017) http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/10/whos-afraid-of-george-soros

    BUCHAREST, Romania — Last winter, in the middle of anti-corruption demonstrations, a television broadcaster accused George Soros — the Hungarian-born, Jewish-American billionaire philanthropist — of paying dogs to protest.

    The protests in Bucharest, sparked by dead-of-night legislation aimed at decriminalizing corruption, were the largest the country had seen since the fall of communism in 1989. Romania TV — a channel associated with, if not officially owned by, the government — alleged the protesters were paid.

    “Adults were paid 100 lei [$24], children earned 50 lei [$12.30], and dogs were paid 30 lei [$7.20],” one broadcaster said. 

    Some protesters responded by fitting their dogs with placards; others tucked money into their pets’ coats. One dog stood next to a sign reading, “Can anyone change 30 lei into euro?” Another dog wore one that read: “#George_Soros paid me to be here.”

    “The pro-government television, they lie all the time. In three sentences, they have five lies,” investigative journalist Andrei Astefanesei told Foreign Policy outside a gyro shop in Bucharest. “I told you about that lie, that Soros paid for dogs. ‘If you bring more dogs in the street, you get more money.’” He laughed.

    Romania TV was fined for its false claims about Soros. But the idea — that roughly half a million Romanians, and their dogs, came to the streets because Soros made them do it — struck a responsive chord. It’s similar to the idea that Soros is personally responsible for teaching students about LGBTQ rights in Romanian high schools; that Soros manipulated the teenagers who led this year’s anti-corruption protests in Slovakia; and that civil organizations and what’s left of the independent media in Hungary wouldn’t exist without Soros and his Open Society Foundations.

    The idea that the 87-year-old Soros is single-handedly stirring up discontent isn’t confined to the European side of the Atlantic; Soros conspiracies are a global phenomenon. In March, six U.S. senators signed a letter asking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s staff to look into U.S. government funding going to Soros-backed organizations.

    “Our skepticism about Soros-funded groups undermining American priorities goes far beyond Eastern Europe,” said a spokesperson for Utah Sen. Mike Lee, who led the initiative, when asked if there was some specific piece of evidence of Soros-funded activity in Eastern Europe that prompted the letter or if concerns were more general.

    Soros has even been linked to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality. “Congrats to Colin Kaepernick for popularizing the hatred of America. Good work, bro,” Tomi Lahren, a conservative commentator, tweeted during the controversy. “Your buddy George Soros is so proud. #istand.”

    On Twitter, Soros has also been held responsible for the recent Catalan independence referendum and the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

    But one of the places in which suspicion of Soros is most obvious is Central and Eastern Europe. There, Soros is not unlike the Mirror of Erised in Harry Potter, except that while the fictional mirror shows what the viewer most desires, Soros reflects back onto a country what it most hates.

    In Romania, where the head of the ruling party said Soros wants to do evil, the billionaire is not to be trusted because he’s Hungarian. In Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has reportedly declared that Soros will be a main campaign theme in next year’s general election, he’s a traitor. And everywhere, he is Jewish, his very name a nod to the anti-Semitism that runs deep throughout the region.

    Now, Soros’s effectiveness as a bogeyman for conservative governments will be put to the test, literally. This week, Hungary is holding a “national consultation,” essentially a referendum designed to condemn Soros and his views on immigration. The government-funded questionnaire will be open to the country’s adult citizens and is meant to solicit their views on the Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor.

    “George Soros has bought people and organizations, and Brussels is under his influence,” Orban said in a radio interview Friday in the run-up to the consultation. “They want to demolish the fence, allow millions of immigrants into Europe, then distribute them using a mandatory mechanism — and they want to punish those who do not comply.”

    Soros declined an interview for this article, but a spokesperson for the Open Society Foundations, the main conduit for Soros’s philanthropic efforts, chalked up the backlash to his outspokenness. “He’s a man who stands up for his beliefs,” Laura Silber, a spokeswoman for the foundation, told FP. “That’s threatening when you’re speaking out against autocrats and corruption.”

    Blame and hatred of Soros are, to borrow from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, a specter haunting Central and Eastern Europe. But how did an 87-year-old billionaire thousands of miles away become the region’s most famous ghost?

    #conspirationnisme

    • George Soros lègue 18 milliards de dollars à sa fondation
      http://www.latribune.fr/economie/international/george-soros-legue-18-milliards-de-dollars-a-sa-fondation-754607.html

      Open Society Foundations (OSF) a reçu 18 milliards de dollars (15,2 milliards d’euros) de ce grand donateur du parti démocrate américain, a indiqué à l’AFP une porte-parole. « Cette somme reflète un processus en cours de transfert des actifs » de M. Soros, « qui prévoit de laisser la vaste majorité de sa fortune à Open Society Foundations », a-t-elle souligné.

      Cette donation fait d’Open Society Foundations la deuxième plus riche ONG aux Etats-Unis après la Fondation Bill et Melinda Gates, qui dispose de 40 milliards de dollars pour promouvoir les problématiques de santé publique et de développement à travers le monde, d’après la National Philanthropic Trust.

      L’OSF est un réseau de 39 entités aux opérations interconnectées à travers le globe et fait la promotion de ses valeurs dans plus de 120 pays. La première a ouvert ses portes en 1984 en Hongrie, pays d’origine de M. Soros. La dernière a vu le jour en 2016 en Birmanie. George Soros en est le président et ses fils Alexander et Jonathan sont membres du conseil d’administration. D’autres de ses enfants sont également impliqués.

      Le milliardaire américain d’origine hongroise, connu pour ses paris financiers risqués, avait donné jusqu’à ce jour 12 milliards de dollars (10,2 milliards d’euros) de sa fortune à des oeuvres caritatives. Depuis des décennies, il donne environ entre 800 et 900 millions de dollars à des associations chaque année d’après des chiffres mentionnés par le New-York Times. C’est en 1979 que le financier avait fait son premier don en attribuant des bourses d’études à des élèves noirs sud-africains en plein Apartheid, rappelle OSF sur son site internet. Selon le président de la Ford Foundation, Darren Walker interrogé par le quotidien américain :

      "il n’y a aucune organisation caritative dans le monde, y compris la Ford Foundation, qui a plus d’impact que l’Open Society Foundations durant ces deux dernières décennies. [...] Parce qu’il n’y a aucun endroit dans le monde où ils ne sont pas présents. Leur empreinte est plus importante et plus conséquente que n’importe qu’elle organisation de justice sociale dans le monde".

      v/ @hadji

    • Soros turns antisocial: Billionaire says Facebook & Google manipulate users like gambling companies
      https://www.rt.com/news/417065-soros-social-media-blame

      Soros, whose investment fund owned over 300,000 shares in #Facebook until last November, said social media platforms are deliberately engineering “addiction to the services they provide.” Facebook and Google deceive their users by “manipulating their #attention and directing it towards their own commercial purposes,” he said.

      In this respect, online platforms have become similar to gambling companies, Soros asserted. “#Casinos have developed techniques to hook gamblers to the point where they gamble away all their money, even money they don’t have.

      “Something very harmful and maybe irreversible is happening to human attention in our digital age,” he said. Social media companies “are inducing people to give up their autonomy,” while the power to shape the public’s attention “is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies.”

      The billionaire financier, whom the Hungarian government has labeled a “political puppet master,” then struck an even gloomier tone by offering a full-on dystopian conspiracy theory.

      In future, there could be “an alliance between authoritarian states and these large, data-rich IT monopolies,” in which tech giants’ corporate surveillance would merge with “an already developed system of state-sponsored surveillance,” he said.

      That “may well result in a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined,” he said, referring to the British authors of two famous dystopian novels.

      Last year, some tech corporations fell out of favor with Soros when his investment fund sold 367,262 shares in Facebook, although he chose to keep 109,451 of the network’s shares. Soros’ fund also offloaded 1,700 shares in Apple and 1.55 million in the owners of Snapchat. It also reduced its stake in Twitter by 5,700 shares, while still holding 18,400 shares in the social media service.

      Soros was not the only Davos speaker to launch a verbal attack on Big Tech. American entrepreneur and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said on Tuesday that Facebook should be regulated just like a tobacco company.

      “I think you’d do it exactly the same way you regulate the cigarette industry. Here’s a product, cigarettes, they are addictive, they are not good for you,” Benioff said. “Maybe there is all kinds of different forces trying to get you to do certain things. There are a lot of parallels.”