(With the interest in George Soros generated by Glenn Beck’s Fox News programs, we thought it would be useful to post a special report that AIM editor Cliff Kincaid wrote about Soros in 2004, years before other conservatives started paying attention to the mysterious and controversial billionaire. AIM editor Cliff Kincaid personally covered two of the Soros-funded “Free Press” conventions, where plans were made to influence and manipulate the news media. All of these columns are available through the AIM search engine.)
October 27, 2004
How many times have we heard or read stories about Vice President Dick Cheney’s old firm, Halliburton, and its alleged influence over the government? A public company with more than 100,000 employees, Halliburton had revenues of $13 billion in 2001. However, George Soros is a human Halliburton who will be in a position if John Kerry is elected president to pull the strings. He is reportedly worth $7.2 billion. But his role in buying the White House for John Kerry has received generally positive coverage. Soros, we’re told, is a “philanthropist” committed to “democracy.” The Republican Party, by contrast, is supposed to be run by fat cats and Big Business, such as those at Halliburton.
Soros may be the biggest political fat cat of all time. Convicted in France of insider trading, Soros specializes in weakening or collapsing the currencies of entire nations for his own selfish interests. He is known as the man who broke the Bank of England. His power is such that his statements alone can cause currencies to go up or down. Other people suffer so he can get rich. But journalists don’t want to examine the questionable means by which he achieved his wealth because they share his goal of electing Kerry and the Democrats. Curiously, once he made his fortune he became a global socialist, endorsing global taxes on the very means he employed to get rich — international currency speculation and manipulation.
The media consistently ignore the fact that this so-called “philanthropist” has had several brushes with the law as he has laid siege to national economies and currencies. Hard-working U.S. businessmen understand how Soros has made his money. In protesting a Soros appearance hosted by the University of Toledo, Edwin J. Nagle III, president and CEO of the Nagle Companies, highlighted “the immoral and unethical means by which he achieved his wealth.” He added, “I certainly didn’t see included in his bio the stories on how he collapsed whole country’s currencies for his own self interests so that many may suffer.”
Here, Soros signed a consent decree in United States District Court, in a Securities and Exchange Commission case involving stock manipulation, and was fined $75,000 by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for holding positions “in excess of speculative limits.” Stories about Soros rarely, if ever, mention any of his legal problems.
Despite his vision of an “open society,” he operates an unregulated “hedge fund,” open only to the super-rich, and is currently fighting a proposal from the Bush-appointed chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate and monitor these offshore entities. House Speaker Dennis Hastert said on national television that no one really knows where the Soros money comes from.
Soros has categorically denied receiving money from drug cartels or any form of criminal activity. The fact remains, however, that at least some of his financial operations have been based offshore, in banking and financial centers that are widely reported to be considered conducive to money-laundering. The Soros fund is based in the Netherlands Antilles, a self-governing federation of five Caribbean islands. A CIA factbook describes the region as “a transshipment point for South American drugs bound for the US and Europe; money-laundering center.”
Soros reportedly purchased a major stake in one of Colombia’s biggest banks, at a time when the Drug Enforcement Administration, in its study, “Colombian Economic Reform: The Impact on Drug Money Laundering within the Colombian Economy,” was documenting how major drug kingpins were taking advantage of the liberalization of the economy to put illicit drug revenue into legitimate businesses. The report stated: “U.S. and Colombian Government authorities have evidence of drug proceeds being deposited in every major bank in Colombia… A Colombian source indicated that many banks and businesses are owned covertly by principal members of the Cali cartel.”
His complex web of financial interests, companies and foundations makes Halliburton look like a Mom & Pop operation.
The charge we read in the press is that Halliburton gets government contracts and makes money from the Iraq war. Far less attention has been paid to the fact that the company has lost 54 employees as a result of that war. Nobody in the press mentions that Soros profits from the Kosovo war, which he supported as a preemptive strike against Yugoslavia, because he runs an investment fund that now does business there. Even though he pays big bucks to advertise his opposition to the Bush policy of democracy-building in Iraq, reporters still describe him as someone with a reputation for building democracy abroad.
However, his position on Iraq may be a diversion from the real reason he wants to get rid of Bush — his longstanding desire to adopt a national “retreat and defeat” approach to the drug problem.
Soros’ long-time goal has been to subvert the national anti-drug policy of the U.S. Government, to move away from the use of national and global law enforcement resources against the drug trade. He calls this “harm reduction,” meaning that criminal activity associated with the use of drugs will supposedly be reduced if the government takes over the drug trade and provides drugs and drug paraphernalia, including needles, to addicts. But law enforcement would still be required to keep drugs out of the hands of children. If this is not the case, then Soros intends to allow substances such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin to be distributed to children.
If Soros is able to capture the White House and implement his drug policy nationally, millions more people could be led to experiment with dangerous psychoactive substances and damage themselves, their families, and society. Even marijuana, depicted by the media as a “soft” drug, has extremely negative consequences. In the new book, “Marijuana and Madness,” one of the editors, Prof. Robin Murray of Britain’s Institute of Psychiatry, cites studies and evidence from around the world, some of it going back 40 years, linking the use of marijuana to mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and psychosis.
In a recent article about his growing financial and political clout, the Washington Post sanitized Soros by claiming that he “funded efforts to reform campaign laws, decriminalize marijuana and change [the] criminal justice system.” All of that is misleading, if not false. His “reform” of campaign laws left a loophole that will enable him to set a record “for the most money donated by an individual in an election cycle,” to quote the Post itself. So where are the investigative stories into Soros and his agenda?
A key part of the Soros agenda — his proposed surrender in the war on drugs — has been carefully concealed from the American people during this campaign. The war on Islamic terrorism is front and center, to be sure, but the war on drugs is still of major concern to millions of Americans, especially parents fearful of the influence of Hollywood and the drug culture.
A Soros role in formulating national drug policy is worthy of special press attention because his pro-drug legalization campaign has been considered at odds with the vast majority of Republicans and Democrats who share the view that legalization would make the drug problem far worse.
In the current campaign, however, a major transformation has taken place. Soros is said to have “privatized” or replaced the Democratic Party by subsidizing many different liberal-left organizations that comprise its political base and creating new ones, the “527” organizations.
Among the candidates who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, Soros financially supported John Kerry, Wesley Clark, Senator Bob Graham, and Howard Dean. He has been praised by Senator Hillary Clinton and contributed to her Senate campaign and political action committee. He has also contributed to the political campaigns of Democratic Senators Tom Daschle, Carl Levin, John Corzine, Mary Landrieu, Debbie Stabenow, Charles Schumer, Joseph Biden, Patrick Leahy, Paul Sarbanes, Thomas Harkin, and Barbara Boxer. In 2002, Soros funded Al Gore for president and contributed $153,000 in “soft money” to the Democratic National Committee. Soros, who is also very close to Bill Clinton, was described by Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott as a “national treasure.”
It is significant that Soros and two of his sons have contributed $2000 each to Brad Carson, the Democratic Senate candidate in Oklahoma. His Republican opponent, Dr. Tom Coburn, was a member of the U.S. House for six years, where he developed a reputation as a leading opponent of efforts to legalize marijuana and fund needle exchange programs that facilitate illicit drug use. Coburn exposed Soros-style “harm reduction” as a backdoor approach to legalization of illicit drugs. Coburn was also a strong supporter of drug testing and even fought to require drug testing of members of Congress. Coburn and his staff voluntarily underwent drug testing. If elected to the Senate, say his supporters, Coburn would be the chamber’s leading voice for protecting children from the dangers of drug abuse and a scientific voice of reason against the Soros-supported movement that seeks to legalize drugs. It’s no wonder that Soros and his sons have targeted Coburn for defeat.
Soros has also contributed to Barack Obama, running for the Senate as a Democrat from Illinois. CNSNews.com reports that, “Not only did Soros donate to Obama’s campaign, but four other family members — Jennifer, sons Jonathan and Robert and wife Susan — did as well. Because of a special provision campaign finance laws, the Soroses were able to give a collective $60,000 to Obama during his primary challenge.”
Soros was described by the New Yorker as close to Harold Ickes, a former Clinton deputy chief of staff who runs the Media Fund, one of many Soros-supported “527? groups. Soros described him as a “real pro.”
Away from the scrutiny or even the notice of the establishment press, Soros has emerged as a counter-culture hero.
The drug culture magazine, Heads, calls him “Daddy Weedbucks,” ran an excerpt from his book, Soros on Soros, and declared that “he drops the bucks exactly where they’re needed.” The September-October issue of the drug culture magazine High Times recognizes the stakes, noting that there are “ten reasons to get rid of Bush” and that one is that there will be “No legalization of pot” under Bush. The implication of the article was that the situation would change under Kerry.
None of this is being reported, however, by the major media.
His partner, Peter Lewis, whitewashed by the Post as “one of the country’s 10 most generous philanthropists,” was actually arrested in New Zealand for “importing” drugs, including hashish and marijuana.
The Human Halliburton
The media call him a billionaire “philanthropist” who “promotes democracy” and “democratic institutions” abroad. He has been invited to address the National Press Club on October 28, 2004, just before the election. But admitted marijuana user George Soros, who says he tried marijuana “and enjoyed it,” doesn’t just “give” money away. He spends money for a purpose because he wants to remake America and the world. He is depicted in a recent lengthy New Yorker article by Jane Mayer as well-intentioned, not that concerned about money, the victim of scurrilous attacks, and someone who simply wants his “ideas” to “be heard.” This is typical of the fawning coverage of Soros. Mayer made a brief reference to his collaborator, Peter B. Lewis, and his funding of “efforts to decriminalize marijuana,” but she failed to explore how Soros is himself committed to legalizing dangerous drugs. Mayer did disclose that a meeting was held in August, after the Democratic Party convention, of what critics call a “billionaire conspiracy” to defeat Bush. Soros and Lewis were among the participants in the meeting, which was supposed to be kept private.
Soros’ strong opposition to President Bush’s effort to create democratic institutions in Iraq contradicts his alleged support for democracy. But the media don’t point this out because they oppose Bush’s Iraq policy. Mayer, who interviewed the billionaire at length, suggests that Soros may be “looking for influence [in a Kerry Administration] to get out of Iraq” but that to pursue such an objective in exchange for his financial support to the candidate might be deemed “not appropriate” by some observers.
It would be unwise for the public to dismiss the idea that he would not demand implementation of his other “ideas,” including drug legalization.
Sometimes described as an atheist or agnostic, Soros has announced a vision of a secular “open society.” However, his agenda of drug legalization has remained largely hidden from public view during the current campaign.
While Soros may not want to openly talk about what he would expect out of a Kerry Administration, his allies have obviously been giving it much thought.
At the 2004 conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Ethan Nadelmann of the Soros-funded Drug Policy Alliance was asked about his association with Soros and the billionaire’s attempt to put John Kerry in the White House. The questioner asked, “Are we going to get some Supreme Court justices out this?” Nadelmann modestly answered, “We will see,” and cautioned that it may be difficult to deliver “all the goods.”
This is critical because the U.S. Supreme Court is already considering the matter of the several U.S. states that have laws on the books permitting some form of “medical marijuana” use, a violation of federal law, and could return to the subject in the future. The Court is expected to rule by June 2005 on a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, challenged by the Bush administration, that bars federal agents from interfering with the growing and use of marijuana by two women in California.
Hollywood has already been captured by the illegal drug lobby.
At the 2004 NORML conference, Allen St. Pierre of the NORML Foundation described how various U.S. television programs “have previewed marijuana in a way ultimately positive.” He named them as ER, Chicago Hope, the Practice, Sybil, Murphy Brown, Sports Night, Becker, West Wing, Roseanne, Sex in the City, Six Feet Under, Whoopi, Montel, That 70s Show, and the Larry David Show. “These shows are seen by tens of millions of people,” he said. “So that’s what it’s so crucial that we’re able to capture” and to demonstrate the change in ”culture.”
The challenge for the drug culture is now to capture the U.S. Government. Soros is their front man.
Bloomberg.com quoted Strobe Talbott, U.S. deputy secretary of state from 1994 to 2001, as saying, “Whenever George Soros called and asked to meet, I would move heaven and earth to do so. I treated him like the foreign minister of another country because of all that he had done.” Even under the Bush Administration, Soros has been considered an important and influential figure. He gave a September 16, 2003, speech at the State Department on “America in the Global Community: Building Long-Term Security.”
So think about the clout he would have if he almost single-handedly buys the White House for John Kerry and plays a role in the election of several new Senators.
Rather than investigate the source of the Soros money, Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson has praised Soros for engineering the “privatization” of the Democratic Party through funding of the “527” political groups and bypassing what he calls an incompetent Democratic Party apparatus. At the far-left “Take Back America” forum in June, Soros was photographed greeting Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who introduced him to the group. She told the crowd that, “we need people like George Soros, who is fearless and willing to step up when it counts.” He stepped up with his money.
However, Meyerson and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman have attacked House Speaker Dennis Hastert for raising questions about where Soros gets his money.
A professed believer in democracy, Soros has used the “527? loophole in a campaign finance law that he promoted to restrict the political activities of “special interests.” He has set a record “for the most money donated by an individual in an election cycle.” Those “special interests” turned out to be other people ? not him. He has since poured millions of dollars into anti-Bush groups and voter registration drives, some marked by alleged fraud, for the Democratic Party.
His commitment to democracy is never questioned. Typical of the pro-Soros media coverage was a USA Today story on June 1 that gave Soros credit for freeing millions of people from communism and “supporting democracy.” The story ignored his insider trading conviction. While Soros provided some funding to anti-communist groups during the Cold War, his career has been designed to make money and extend his influence over nations and people. Communism was a threat because it was not hospitable to his investments.
An excellent example of how he operates is Kosovo. As indicated earlier, it is relevant to note that, after the Soros-supported war on Kosovo, a province of Yugoslavia, a Soros fund announced in 2000 that it was investing $150 million — with loan guarantees from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation — in the Balkans. It was called the “Southeast Europe Equity Fund.” By 2002, the OPIC-supported size of the investment had risen to $200 million and OPIC announced that Soros Investment Capital, Ltd. Fund Yugoslavia had acquired a controlling stake in Eksimbanka, a private commercial bank in Serbia, and had financed the start-up of Serbia Broadband Networks, the leading cable television and broadband services company in Serbia.
What’s more, his “open society” doesn’t extend to himself. He unregulated “hedge funds,” open only to the super rich, are beyond public scrutiny or the interest of the press. In a curious chapter of his career, he reportedly invested in an energy company run by George W. Bush, in an unsuccessful attempt to buy influence with the Bush family.
As noted, in another curious development, the global capitalist has become a global socialist advocating a global tax, known as the Tobin Tax, on the means by which he exploited the global capitalist system and became rich ? international currency speculation and manipulation. Soros has declared that the Tobin Tax is a “valid suggestion” for raising international revenue and that opposition to implementing the tax can be overcome. What has not been reported is that Thomas Palley, the director of the Globalization Reform Project at Soros’ Open Society Institute, was a featured speaker at a January 2003 event in Washington, D.C. to discuss how to implement the tax.
“He made his money the old-fashioned way, on Wall Street,” wrote Post columnist Harold Meyerson. In fact, he made his money through investment techniques that are not available to ordinary investors, and his financial interventions can affect nations and their economies.
Soros claims that the “527? organizations he funds “file detailed and frequent reports with government regulators.” On the January 9 NOW With Bill Moyers program on PBS, Charles Lewis of the Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity argued that while Soros was funding 527 groups, Soros was disclosing these contributions and that the money could be tracked.
Again, that begs the question of where he gets his money.
His use of that loophole — in a law that he promoted to restrict the influence of outside “special interests” on political campaigns — is suspicious and curious on its face. Equally curious, Soros claims that the Bush Administration’s reaction to 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq caused him to spend millions of dollars through these “527? organizations to defeat Bush. However, Soros favored the Clinton Administration’s preemptive attack on Yugoslavia, in the absence of any threat to the U.S. and without U.S. Congressional authorization.
While Soros runs around the country talking about defeating Bush, mostly because of his Iraq policy, he is using his money to target other candidates who have prosecuted the war on drugs.
The pro-Soros national media have refused to examine the implications of a ruling by New York State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Malone. He ruled that it was improper for the Soros-backed Working Families Party to get involvement in a Democratic primary for District Attorney and he referred the case to local prosecutors and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer for a possible criminal investigation. Thanks to the money provided by Soros, David Soares defeated incumbent District Attorney Paul Clyne in the Democratic primary. At the time of Clyne’s defeat, Ethan Nadelmann of the Soros-funded Drug Policy Alliance Network said he was proud that his group had “contributed to this race” and that “what happened in Albany” has “national resonance.” That suggested to some that Soros, if he is successful in putting John Kerry in the White House, would change the nation’s anti-drug policy.
The Criminals Lobby
Soros, who lives in New York, has also contributed $150,000 to a California ballot measure, proposition 66, to overturn the three-strikes law, which mandates prison terms of 25-years-to-life for defendants convicted of a third felony. The ballot measure is opposed by the state’s district attorneys and law enforcement agencies.
In other unsavory connections, a Soros grant was given to Linda Evans, who was pardoned by Bill Clinton for her involvement in the Weather Underground terrorist group. The Weather Underground was involved in the 1981 Brinks robbery, in which three murders were committed, and a series of bombings, including the bombing of the U.S. Capitol in November 1983.
The Baltimore, Maryland, branch of the OSI on May 12 hosted Bernardine Dohrn, another former member of the Weather Underground who once expressed solidarity with mass murderer Charles Manson, at a forum on criminal justice issues. Speaking to a Weather Underground “war council” in Michigan in 1969, Dohrn gave a three-fingered “fork salute” to Manson. As noted by Ami Naramor of The Claremont Institute, “Calling Manson’s victims the ‘Tate Eight,’ Dohrn gloated over the fact that actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time, had been stabbed with a fork in her womb. ‘Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!’” Dohrn, now an associate professor and director at Northwestern University’s Children and Justice Center, was a member of the advisory committee of the “children’s rights watch” project of Human Rights Watch, funded by Soros.
Not coincidentally, the drug culture has embraced the Weather Underground. High Times magazine has called David Gilbert, a Weather Underground member now in prison, an “anti-imperialist political prisoner” and has hailed his book, No Surrender. High Times says Gilbert works behind bars for “prisoners’ rights” ? a favorite cause of Soros.
The latest development is creation of “Cannabis Consumers,” a bizarre organization of out-of-the-closet illegal pot smokers, formed to celebrate and glorify the drug. Director Mikki Norris, who says her group received a grant from the Soros-funded Drug Policy Alliance, says, “we honor George Soros.”
The Soros-supported Drug Policy Alliance supports “marijuana clubs” currently dispensing the drug, supposedly on “medical” grounds. The federal government has tried to close down these clubs–a policy that could change if Soros gains access to and influence over the White House. Several states have passed “medical marijuana” initiatives, funded by Soros, attempting to provide the drug under the cover of treating illnesses. But the American people have been kept in the dark about whether the Soros campaign to weaken drug laws would be embraced and implemented on a national basis by a Kerry Administration.
One of the few reporters to question the Soros agenda is John Berlau of Insight magazine, who asked whether Soros would benefit financially from his huge expenditures on political activity. Michael Vachon, the spokesman for Soros Fund Management in New York City, said, “I have no faith in the ability or desire of Insight magazine to portray George Soros’ activities in an unbiased manner.” Pressed, he said, “There’s no relationship between the policy prescriptions George Soros recommends and his own financial holdings. He doesn’t make policy recommendations to increase his own personal wealth. That’s not what motivates him.”
There can be no doubt, however, that if the Soros plan for drug legalization goes forward, there would have to be an official infrastructure in place to finance drug production and distribution and handle the enormous profits that will be made from legalization. Legalization will not eliminate drug profits, it will only transfer some of them to government and “legitimate” industries. Soros could be poised to invest in those industries and companies.
He is laying the groundwork for the creation of a system under which government and corporations would legalize, dispense and advertise hard drugs, much like tobacco or alcohol, and supply addicts with needles and drug paraphernalia. In effect, Soros appears to be financing drug legalization for the purpose of creating a new market for federal payments to underwrite drug purchases for addicts. Soros appears to favor an indoor version of “Needle Park,” where addicts come to government offices to inject or smoke their drugs at taxpayer expense.
His position is also reflected in his funding of the ACLU, which itself favors the legalization of all drugs–even heroin and crack cocaine–and opposes virtually all measures taken to curtail drug use. In another example of its extremist approach, the group has rejected funds from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, and participation in the Combined Federal Campaign, because acceptance of the money would require adopting measures to make sure it does not employ terrorists or support terrorist activity.
Soros hired Aryeh Neier as president of his Open Society Institute (OSI) in 1993. Neier worked for the ACLU for 15 years, including eight as national director.
Typically, Soros and his cronies present the current “war on drugs” as draconian, a huge waste of money and a threat to civil liberties. Legalization is then presented, usually couched in terms of reducing the harm associated with illegal use and procurement of drugs. The audience is never presented with a third option—eradication of drug crops at home and abroad, an intensified military/intelligence effort against drug lords abroad, tougher sentences for users and dealers, and more drug testing.
In 1995, Soros made a major contribution to the Council on Foreign Relations, which two years later, under the leadership of Mathea Falco, released a comprehensive report on U.S. international drug control strategy, entitled, Rethinking International Drug Control. However, A.M. Rosenthal of the New York Times, who participated in the task force that drafted the report, declined to endorse it, saying that it “is so negative in substance and tone about United States efforts to stem drug use, production and distribution that it amounts to an invitation to drop those efforts?”
Soros clearly has his sights set on global policy on drugs. Soros was a signer of a 1998 letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urging a radical revamping of global anti-drug policies. Another signer was Morton H. Halperin, a former Department of Defense and National Security Council Official.
In a typical laudatory article about Soros, USA Today author Rick Hampson made a brief reference to his belief in “liberalized drug laws.” Nothing was said, however, about how Soros has managed to liberalize or weaken those laws across the country, and how he has his sights set on national anti-drug policy. The National District Attorneys Association says that since 1996 “incremental changes in state drug laws have continued at an alarming rate across our nation” and they are designed to “ultimately legalize drugs.” Soros was identified in this report as one of the wealthy individuals behind this “very well financed” drug legalization movement that is “highly adept at manipulating the media.”
In an October 18 Newsweek story, “Can a Billionaire Beat Bush?” writer Marcus Mabry said that Soros will “be there” even if Bush wins, ready to “build a new left?” Soros and other ” wealthy progressives,” he says, “will set about assembling the infrastructure,” including think tanks, foundations, and civic groups, of this “new left.”
But Soros has already done this. The late left-wing writer, Walt Contreras Sheasby, noted that the Soros influence “is one of those hushed secrets inside the left?” and that he has subsidized “many of the activist groups, luminaries and publications of the American left?”
Mabry completely ignored his pro-drug legalization agenda and erroneously claimed that his involvement in this year’s presidential campaign is “his first significant involvement in American electoral politics.” Mabry ignored Soros’s funding of at least 19 initiatives to weaken drug laws.
Journalists carefully conceal their own conflicts of interest. On the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) NOW With Bill Moyers program on January 9 of this year, Moyers interviewed Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity about the big money supporting the presidential candidates. But little time and attention was paid to how Soros was trying to buy the White House and pouring millions of dollars into groups such as MoveOn.org to bring this about. Moyers, former press secretary to President Lyndon Johnson, failed to tell his viewers that he is on the board of Soros’ Open Society Institute and that it has funneled $1.7 million into Lewis and his Center for Public Integrity. Moyers had conducted and aired an interview with Soros on September 12, 2003, where he declared, “The Republican Party has been captured by a bunch of extremists?” Soros was presented as an opponent of unchecked capitalism and a supporter of democracy and nation-building abroad.
The power of the Soros-supported media network was demonstrated in mid-October when a controversy emerged over Sinclair Broadcasting airing parts of Stolen Honor, a film raising questions about the detrimental impact of John Kerry’s 1971 anti-war testimony on U.S. Vietnam POWs being held by the communists. Kerry had branded U.S. soldiers as war criminals, and POWs interviewed in Stolen Honor said this resulted in more torture to them. The Democratic Party, the Kerry campaign, and various groups denounced Sinclair for planning to air Stolen Honor. MediaChannel.org, Common Cause, the Alliance for Better Campaigns, Media Access Project, Media for Democracy, and the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ held an anti-Sinclair news conference. They denounced Sinclair for allegedly abusing the public airwaves by planning to air “propaganda.” All of these organizations — except for the possible exception of the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ — are funded by Soros.
Media Matters, a left-wing media watchdog group that was also pressuring Sinclair to abandon plans to air the testimony of the former POWs, was “developed” with help from the Center for American Progress, funded by Soros.
The attack on Sinclair had the effect of diverting attention away from the extensive and controversial media connections of Soros, his foundations, and the organizations they subsidize, and legitimate questions about the Soros-supported candidate John Kerry. These groups ? and the many prominent journalists who serve on their boards ? make Sinclair look penny ante.
Pro-Soros media coverage dates back many years and continues to the present day, as detailed in this report. In 1996, Dan Rather’s CBS Evening News highlighted him as a philanthropist and humanitarian, someone who had made a fortune but was now making a difference. The story by correspondent Anthony Mason ignored his commitment to legalization of drugs.
That same year, Judith Miller of the New York Times wrote that he was “bringing his philanthropy home.” While she made a brief reference to his drug legalization agenda, the headline over the piece said he was committed to “social justice.” His close adviser, Aryeh Neier, a longtime ACLU official, was described merely as a “human rights advocate.”
On the far left, The Nation magazine and its Nation Institute have been supported by OSI. The magazine published a generally flattering piece about the Soros-funded Center for American Progress.
In 1994 Soros received the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award at an International Press Freedom Awards dinner, sponsored by the Committee to Protect Journalists. Five years earlier, OSI gave four grants, totaling $220,000, to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Benjamin was senior executive producer at CBS News and served briefly as chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists before his death in 1988.
The Soros media connections include:
- An investor in the Times Mirror Company, Soros funded the Project on Media Ownership, headed by Professor Mark Crispin Miller at New York University. Whose purpose was expose “media concentration.” A total of $300,000 over several years came from George Soros’ Open Society Institute (OSI). In 1999, a survey commissioned by the Project on Media Ownership and the Benton Foundation and paid for by OSI found that seventy-nine percent of adults would favor a law requiring commercial broadcasters to pay 5 percent of their revenues into a fund for public broadcasting.
- Eric Alterman of The Nation has hailed Soros for spending millions on “education campaigns with America Coming Together, voter mobilization drives with MoveOn.org and research activities with the Center for American Progress (CAP)–where I am a senior fellow?” Alterman says his own magazine, The Nation, is viewed as out of the mainstream in part because of “the continued appearance in its pages of a long-time Stalinist communist, Alexander Cockburn, whose unabashed hatred for both America and Israel … tarnish the reputation of its otherwise serious contributors.” Alterman’s mentor, I.F. Stone, was a paid agent of the KGB and a Stalinist.
- In the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Orville Schell said that Soros had written a ”succinct and well-reasoned book,” The Bubble of American Supremacy, which ought “to provide a welcome template for how the candidates might begin to think their way through to a more coherent view of America’s place in the world.” Soros had spoken on March 3 at the Goldman Forum on the Press and Foreign Affairs, sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. The event was a conversation between Soros and Journalism Dean Orville Schell.
- OSI gave $60,000 to the Independent Media Institute , whose executive director, Don Hazen, is a former publisher of Mother Jones. Hazen has called Soros a “progressive philanthropist.” A story carried by the Independent Media Institute on its AlterNet project says Soros “believes in democracy, positive international relations and effective strategies to reduce poverty, among other things.”
- OSI gave a $75,000 grant to the Center for Investigative Reporting. The group’s board of advisers includes prominent journalists.
- OSI gave $246,528 to the Center for Public Integrity, headed by former CBS News producer Charles Lewis, “to support the continuing expansion of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.” A total of $1 million went for “the Global Access Project.” In total, it is estimated that the group has received $1.7 from Soros.
- OSI gave $200,000 to the Fund for Investigative Journalism. This group, too, features prominent journalists on its board.
- OSI’s “Network Media Program” gave $22,157 to Investigative Reporters & Editors.
- Soros Foundations have provided $160,000 to MediaChannel.org, a so-called “media issues supersite, featuring criticism, breaking news, and investigative reporting from hundreds of organizations worldwide.” The executive editor is Danny Schecter, a former news program producer and investigative reporter at CNN and ABC. It was created by Globalvision News Network, whose board includes “Senior executives from the world’s leading media firms.”
- OSI has contributed $70,000 toward the far-left Independent Media Center, or Indymedia, known as an “independent newsgathering collective,” whose servers were seized by a federal law enforcement agency on October 7. The action was apparently related to an investigation into international terrorism, kidnapping or money laundering.
- OSI provided $600,000 to the Media Access Project, a so-called telecommunications public interest law firm critical of conservative influence in the major media.
- OSI provide $30,000 to the Media Awareness Project, a “worldwide network dedicated to drug policy reform” and promoting “balanced media coverage” of the drug issue.
- OSI provided $200,000 to the Association for Progressive Communications, “an international network” working for peace, human rights, development and protection of the environment?”
Considering all of the money that Soros or his organizations have provided to news organizations, it should be no surprise to learn that journalists love him. His web site advises visitors to “read about George Soros from The New York Times, USA Today, Time Magazine, et al.,” all of which are reprinted on the site and highly favorable. His new web site features several complimentary statements about Soros from articles in the press and media figures.
Either the media fear his wealth and power, they favor his positions on the issues, or they want access to his money. The people have a right to know.