The hunters and the hunted: Kuruc.info’s list of anti-Hungarians
The first detailed description of the flashmob that took place in front of László Csatáry’s house on July 16 was published in Kanadai Magyar Hírlap. The author of the article was Eszter Garai-Édler, a participant, who was subsequently identified by some of the readers of kuruc.info. The threats against her have been relentless ever since. Two came from Béla Varga himself, who offered a bounty of 75,000 forints to the most diligent “informers” on the identities of the demonstration’s participants. One of the threatening letters was in English and ended with: “A friendly advice … . get life insurance.”
Soon enough some Hungarian-language newspapers and Internet sites reported on the flashmob organized by Jewish activists and sympathizers, but I couldn’t find anything in Magyar Nemzet, for example. Garai-Édler remarked in her story of the demonstration that the Hungarian media didn’t seem to be interested in their planned demonstration. Mostly foreign journalists were present. In fact, it was AFP that reported at length on the event. The articles all mentioned the harassment the organizers suffered after being identified on kuruc.info’s website.
The answer was an immediate counterattack by the editors of kuruc.info. The article entitled “Poor Jewish students are being harassed by the readers of Kuruc.info” was written in the inimitable style of this neo-Nazi site that leveled a personal attack against one of the organizers, Andrea Gergely of the Union of European Jewish Students. Kuruc.info was greatly offended that Gergely went to the police and demanded an investigation of the website’s practice of listing e-mail addresses and telephone numbers of people whose political views they don’t like.
After Andrea Gergely’s visit to the police, the Union of Jewish Religious Communities (Mazsihisz) also filed a complaint at the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office because of the publication of personal data as well as the threats received by the identified participants.
One can no longer find any information on Facebook on either Andrea Gergely or Eszter Garai-Édler, two of the participants mentioned by name on kuruc.info. But even the less prominent members of the group severed their ties with the well known social networks. However, Garai-Édler talked at length to a reporter for Népszabadság. Although she was deeply shaken by the hundreds of threatening letters, phone calls, and ugly comments, she doesn’t regret her participation in the event. In fact, she felt that the reaction of the neo-Nazis clearly shows that there is need for such actions. “It tells a lot about the state of the country when certain people take up the cause of a former ghetto commander with such determination,” she added. Another person who was identified, Gábor Sajósi, was taking the whole affair in stride. As he said, nothing can surprise him anymore. According to kuruc.info, Sajósi is “a true Gyurcsányist.” Garai-Édler considers herself to be committed to the values of liberal democracy and has been politically active, especially since the fall of 2009 when it became obvious that liberal democracy in Hungary was in crisis. As a civilian she has been responsible for several anti-government demonstrations. The third person on the photo, Mrs. Ferenc Démeth, was lucky. Kuruc.info activists didn’t manage to get her name.
The Jerusalem Post also visited kuruc.info and reported that the website is full of antisemitic imagery, including a Nazi hammer crushing the Star of David. The paper specifically quoted these passages: “They [the Jews] complain about various crimes when they are responsible for corrupting our country into communism and later into capitalism” and “They are responsible for the death of many thousands of Hungarians, for the emigration of hundreds of thousands, for the killing of six million fetuses….” I’m especially intrigued by the “killing of six million fetuses.” The Post added that “the Hungarian embassy in Israel on Sunday declined to comment on the website.” I must say that the Hungarian foreign service personnel are an inept bunch. Surely, they could condemn the site in the strongest of terms and assure the Israeli journalists that the Hungarian government is doing everything it legally can to shut down the site. Assuming, of course, that it is.
According to Népszabadság, an official of the Ministry of Interior told the paper’s reporter that the Ministry had already requested the assistance of the FBI, the CIA , the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. However, he refused to give any details about the Ministry’s own efforts at discovering the identities of the authors and editors of kuruc.info.
It is possible that the national security offices–there are several of them–have been hard at work identifying the men and women behind kuruc.info and the only reason for not divulging any information on the topic is caution. After all, any leaked information might interfere with the investigation. It is also possible, however, that the Hungarians simply dropped the whole problem into the lap of the American authorities. Viktor Orbán’s rather impertinent answer to the fifty U.S. congressmen’s letter would indicate that the Hungarian authorities weren’t overly concerned with kuruc.info. American server, American problem.
Finally, Pusztaranger was correct. Kurucwanted.blogspot wrongly identified the pictures. However, there still might be some connection between the two Vargas because the Californian Béla Varga is also from Mór. Moreover, he seems to have purchased a vineyard near the town. As for his association with Callaway Vineyard&Winery, it seems to have been of short duration. He is now the owner of Red Paprika, a deli in Healdsburg, California where he lives. Red Paprika seems to be a modest establishment because it is described by the sole reviewer of the business as “a little Hungarian store off the beaten path … a quaint little shop. I found a few items in here that were nice, and purchased some interesting tea that makes lovely iced tea, but for the most part, most of the items didn’t come across as totally unique.” As for the Béla Vargas on Facebook, there are absolutely hundreds of them. But Pusztaranger found two walls that most likely belong to him. On one of them we can find among his 150 friends György Budaházy, the man who is currently under indictment for terrorism. The other one seems to be newer, with fewer friends. Both are closed sites.