Fidesz, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, and a Hungarian neo-Nazi site

The infamous neo-Nazi website Kuruc-info is in the news again. It was a year ago that I reported that Kuruc-info placed a blood bounty on everyone who participated in a flash mob demonstration at the time of the revelations about László Csatáry, a former police officer in charge of the Košice/Kassa Jewish ghetto in the summer of 1944. You may also recall that a man who lived in California at the time and who allegedly secured the American server Kuruc.info uses himself offered money to anyone who could provide information about the identity of the persons involved in the demonstration. Informers were offered 100,000 forints. Once some of the participants were identified, harassment via telephone and e-mail began. One of these messages read: “If I were you, I would take out life insurance.”

Eszter Garai-Édler, one of the organizers, filed a complaint on September 9, 2012 in connection with the case. After she was called in as a witness on January 18, 2013, the district prosecutor’s office ended its investigation. Garai-Édler filed another complaint, after which the case was reopened only to end on October 15 in a ruling that declared that the investigation was terminated. The reason was the same old story about why Kuruc.info cannot be shut down:

According to the information at our disposal, it can be determined that the Kuruc.info website operates on servers based in the United States of America. As such, it can be stated that the criminal act and the uploading of the web content in question occurred in the United States as well. Seeing that Kuruc.info operates off of a server found in the US, any determinations surrounding the site’s content fall outside the competence of the police. Due to differences between legal interpretations of the two countries, proceedings cannot begin in the US against the operators of the website.

Of course, this is nonsense. Uploading can occur anywhere in the world, and in the case of kuruc.info it is almost 100% certain that the editors are busily working on their computers in Hungary.

A few years back a former editor of Kuruc.info identified three men who are allegedly in charge of Kuruc.info. All three live in Budapest. The prosecutors claim to have investigated the role of a certain Balázs Molnár, one of the editors, but they said they couldn’t make their case. Another editor is apparently Előd Novák, a Jobbik member of parliament.

Kuruc.info obviously feels emboldened. A Hungarian journalist, András Dezső, discovered a huge billboard advertising Kuruc.info at a prominent place on the busy Budaörsi út.

the infamous billboard on Budaörsi út / Index

The infamous billboard on Budaörsi út / Index

Dezső immediately began his own investigation. He eventually tracked down the company that owns the billboard and inquired about the people who rented the advertising space. He was told to put his request in writing, which he did, foolishly adding his cell phone number. A few days later he was informed that the billboard will be taken down. And then came the surprise. Dezső discovered the contents of his e-mail to the company, including his e-mail address and telephone number, on kuruc.info. The poor guy’s life became sheer hell. Kuruc-info’s troll kept phoning him constantly and his e-mail box was overflowing. Dezső works for Index where this morning he published the story of his encounter with Kuruc-info.

The billboard company, Hungaroplakát, could certainly help the police and the prosecutors “solve” the mysterious case of Kuruc-info. That is, if they wanted to. Garai-Édler also came to the conclusion that “the Hungarian government has decided that it will protect Kuruc.info” for political reasons. Fidesz needs votes from the extreme right and doesn’t want to alienate the hundreds and thousands who are faithful readers of this neo-Nazi rag.

The real problem here is not so much what Kuruc.info trolls are doing to the journalist, because that is expected. What is really troublesome is that an employee of a bona fide company that has been in operation since 1998 is capable of giving official company correspondence to the neo-Nazis who publish Kuruc-info. HVG, the paper for which András Dezső used to work, inquired from Hungaroplakát about this latest outrage. They were told that the management of the firm is in the process of consulting with the company’s lawyers.

Enter Tamás Deutsch, the enfant terrible of Fidesz. He loves Facebook and Twitter and frequently uses these platforms to criticize the opposition, often with obscene language. But this time he attacked the Hungarian prosecutors for doing nothing about Kuruc-info which in his opinion operates illegally. He gave the Prosecutor’s Office 72 hours “to put an end to this Nazi website. No more evasion. No more on the one hand and on the other. Stand up on your hind legs and act.”

The spokesman of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, Géza Fazekas, announced that, although his office doesn’t normally respond to utterances of politicians, Deutsch’s statements are simply untrue. The prosecutors did investigate Kuruc.info. Moreover, they did it several times but  they couldn’t bring charges against the editors of the site because the “United States during the fall of 2007 refused the seizure of the server referring to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

So we are back exactly where we were six years ago even though the physical location of the server has nothing to do with the case. I fear that even the billboard advertisement will not be enough for the prosecutors, who obviously believe that it is not in the interest of Fidesz, which practically runs the Hungarian prosecutor’s office, to put an end to Kuruc.info.

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39 comments

  1. Eva:The billboard company, Hungaroplakát, could certainly help the police and the prosecutors “solve” the mysterious case of Kuruc-info. That is, if they wanted to.

    Are you sure about this. I believe that the Company is owned by Simicska Lajos (directly or indirectly). The Managing Director of Hungaroplakat is Peter Garai, who use to work for Peron Kft, which is owned by Simicska Lajos.

    http://www.whoiswho-verlag.ch/versionnew/ungarn/verlag/63.php?txt_Language=HU&real_str_PersID=46004619&uniqueID=56e653a8-c039-41e4-8a5f-e61607c0bfe0

    http://hvg.hu/itthon/20120113_simicska_erdekeltsege_bkv_kapujaban

    Peron Kft. is also registered at the Fay utca in the 13th district. You see the circle is round.

  2. Circumspection

    What has happened to Eszter is monstrous, and the vermin of kuruc-info should be exposed and held to account with the severest punishment the law allows.

    But “blood bounty” is not the right descriptor for what they have done:

    They have harassed, intimidated and threatened Eszter (and others), including insults and threats on her life.

    And they have offered bounties.

    But, as far as I know, the bounties were for information and personal data about demonstrators in the flashmob against Csatary (and perhaps also for information about other Jews they target as objectionable).

    A blood bounty is what was offered for Salman Rushdie: The bounty was for killing him, not for information about him.

    Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems to me the valid legal case here is strong enough without the need for hyperbole. And hyperbole can rebound, if the reply is: “In all those insults and threats, where did someone offer money for blood rather than for personal information?”

    Because although the risk of physical violence is always there with such monsters — and death threats and harassment have certainly taken place, from those who were incited to use the personal data to harrass and threaten Eszter — no one has put a price on anyone’s head.

    That’s no comfort to Eszter. But it does put the crime in the right legal category, rather than a needlessly (and unprosecutably) exaggerated one.

    There are plenty of valid grounds for prosecution.

    Stevan Harnad

  3. sad story. just appeal to the 1/3 that hates irrationally, and your victory will be assured.

    there is no lack of nasty mayoral, parliamentary etc. candidates who will cater to this +/- 1/3.

    this is the hungarian rhapsody. the never ending failures.

  4. And 1/3 is just about enough for any party to be no. 1, which is enough to get a comfortable majority under the new election system whose heaviest element is the first past the post prong, 106 places out of 200.

    Well, this is democracy. It is eminently legal and constitutional, in line with European laws.

    Fidesz will certainly get the stamp of approval big time from the civilized world, after all “the election day was calm and voters voted with dignity on this sunny April day”.

    It will be a fantastic evidence that democracy has matured in Hungary as yet another Parliament fulfilled its 4-year mandate and multi-party elections now became routine. There is hope, it seems even emerging, former Communist countries can learn the rules of democracy.

    Muhahahahahhahahh – this is how Laci Kövér will lough on April 8 on the clueless foreign election observers.

  5. Dealing with the police in any country is difficult, in some countries it it more risqué than in others and when action or investigation is not followed through effectively by the judiciary, the citizen becomes far more likely to avoid exposing issues to the police or the judiciary or both…

    Consequently human rights are more easily trampled on by authorities. And criminality by intent is increased because action is unlikely to follow.

    I have lived in a half dozen countries and when I returned 20 years ago after a near 40 year absence I assumed I was coming back to a changed and new ethic.

    How the world could misread Hungary’s propects is a fascinating question. Noone really thought we’d be in this mess and “Darn it, it dont seem to be gett’n no bettah, m’be even gett’n woyce bah da dey…”

  6. We had in Austria a bunch of Nazis Donau Alpen, who operated like kurucinfo. The usual argument of the conservative Minister of Interior Affairs was, that their server is located in the USA. However two years ago, the police arrested early in the morning the contributors to this nazi Website in Austria.
    While on one hand Hungary spends a lot of money to convince foreigners – especially Jews – that Hungary is a democracy, on the other hand the Hungarian government is protecting this nazi bunch. Of course Fidesz has charged Tamás Deutsch, to make noises against kuruc.
    As the Austrian example shows blaming the First Amendment is just a cheap excuse.Until the kuruc nazis are not in jail one can say the Maffiastate is the souteneur of the Nazi in Hungary.

  7. The first amendment does not protect hate speech. Complaining to the state department isn’t going to get anything done but thinking that it is would seem to fit with there mental model of how the governments work.

    I tracked the site back to an office address (most likely empty) and sorted out which content delivery system they were hiding behind with little effort and without any of the tools that security people would use. So, it isn’t this problem isn’t that difficult to solve…

    So much evidence that they just don’t care to follow up on.

  8. @JeanP: Thank you!

    I haven’t read the Pester Lloyd recently – it was somehow too bland for me – but this article is really to the point!

    I just hope that the relevant people in Austria and Germany read this too to see the real face of Fidesz and Orbán – now let’s wait for any reaction …

  9. LwiiH :
    The first amendment does not protect hate speech. Complaining to the state department isn’t going to get anything done but thinking that it is would seem to fit with there mental model of how the governments work.
    I tracked the site back to an office address (most likely empty) and sorted out which content delivery system they were hiding behind with little effort and without any of the tools that security people would use. So, it isn’t this problem isn’t that difficult to solve…
    So much evidence that they just don’t care to follow up on.

    Reading some interesting verdicts from past cases, I dare say, that most members of the judicial system not even a computer savvy, let alone have a slightest clue of the clandestine possibilities of the cyber-world.
    Even worse, that – whit a precious few exceptions – the law enforcement right next in the line.
    It means, that most of the time the prosecutor has neither necessary knowledge, nor the idea what- and whom to ask to get the right answer and ending up with preposterous statements, like:
    “As such, it can be stated that the criminal act and the uploading of the web content in question occurred in the United States as well.”

    It’s quite amazing to read, that certain legal cases accumulated sixty thousand (!) pages of document on paper, and think about all the hard copies to go with, while it produced with the use of computers – a small forest has gone again! They’re still living in an analog world, that’s for sure.

  10. Democracy Circumvention 101: Deutsch’s Cynical Rant

    Get your token turncoat semite (Tamas Deutsch), preferably in the week when Antal Rogan has “ordered” the judiciary to change a judgment (and been popularly celebrated for it by the broad electorate alongside impotent condemnnation by the vestigial domestic and bemused foreign press) to do likewise with an “order” to prosecutors to pursue kuruc-info (which the government knowingly abets in order to court the 1/3 kuruc electorate) within 72 hours — and then re-assert government impotence to do anything about kuruc-info. Proceed to host and welcome with a smile the next deluded delegation from Israel or Holocaust Memorials…

  11. It seems nobody has launched a public campaign against CloudFlare, Inc. – the startup currently shielding k.info. I’m not sure they would appreciate the publicity (not to mention their terms of service have an interesting article 11).

  12. Not too much OT:

    Our German magazine SPIEGEL has another scathing article on Kövér’s ideas about the planned “parliament reform” in Hungary:
    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/ungarn-orban-will-parlament-entmachten-a-938152.html

    It shows all the crazy details of taking power away from parliament – and it uses several times the word “Ermächtigung” aka enabling/empowerment. The interesting point about this:

    The “Ermächtigungsgesetz” was the tool which Hitler used to destroy the German democracy – so every politically savvy German will hear the alarm bells ringing there!

  13. Wolfi, Fidesz is diligently preparing for the future for all contingencies, that is all. They are just behaving like the smart lawyers they are. What if Fidesz will only get a majority together with Jobbik or perhaps even together with Jobbik Fidesz will only have a minority, what then?

    Legislation must be more cumbersome in the future, that is obvious. After all, Fidesz made all the laws it wanted, it has all its loyalists in the constitutional and general courts, so it is smarter to work on making life difficult for the opposition.

    Rest assured, depending on the latest poll figures, Fidesz will enact its Ermachtigungsgesetz if necessary and it will be 100% constitutional.

    Orban will surely, if necessary, govern by decrees, although I guess Fidesz will even rename decrees to something else (like general governmental injunction), so that when foreigners will criticize these decrees, Fidesz will insist on proper translation to show that is not like under Josef II or under the Nazis, it is so much different and better. (Fidesz also renamed the transactional tax to stamp duty (which used to be a kind of consideration paid for a governmental service, like court fees), because it sounded better and it worked, people did not care as it was not a ‘tax’.

    I guess the leftist lawyers at MSZP or Együtt will not even realize what hit them, they are so clueless. On leftist legal blogs some are even praising Kövér’s attempts to ‘rationalize’ legislation, they desperately want to be fair and award good points to Fidesz, in order to show that they are fair and reasonable, but these leftist guys never understand the real consequences a couple of steps down the line, they are not that good lawyers.

  14. tappanch :
    Today, the “public” television banned the broadcasting of an interview made with the late premier Antall in 1990.

    …and the irony is that this interview was also banned from being broadcast back in 1990 by the chairman of MTV, Elemér Hankiss.

  15. tappanch :
    25728/19933= 129% in 3 1/2 years.

    True, in that 25728 is 129% of 19933, but rather misleading. The actual percentage increase was 29%. Still horribly high, but not quite as bad as 129%!

  16. tappanch :
    Today, the “public” television banned the broadcasting of an interview made with the late premier Antall in 1990.
    http://index.hu/belfold/2013/12/12/antall_eltitkolt_beszede_utan_kirobbant_a_haboru/
    index. hu/velemeny/2013/12/12/jol_sikerult_gratulalok/

    Why??? What’s in that speech?
    I read the index interview in which Hankiss explained why he did not let it air in 1990. According to Hankiss’s story, it was premier Antal who requested this “interview” (which is more like a speech) to be aired in 1990 and Hankiss, the President of MTV, (Hankiss was also a personal friend of Antal, by the way), didn’t want to air it before elections because he thought it had some kind of campaign purpose to it and he thought that the public television must be completely neutral. Now you can question’ Hankiss’s decision or even his motivation, but it is clear why it wasn’t aired in 1990. But why is it banned now? It doesn’t make any sense.

  17. @ tappanch

    Mesterhazy has long ago been ‘pocketed’ by the Viktor.
    Bajnai is a sap to have sought out Mesterhazy; and consequently, totally discredited the opposition (and himself).

    Whether many like it or not, the only effective campaigner for the opposition, and the one who’d put the fear of hell fire and brimstone into the heart of Viktor the Orban, is none other
    than Ference Gyurcsany.

    The opposition should newly rally behind Gyurcsany and let Orban quiver in his boots…

  18. Paul :

    tappanch :
    25728/19933= 129% in 3 1/2 years.

    True, in that 25728 is 129% of 19933, but rather misleading. The actual percentage increase was 29%. Still horribly high, but not quite as bad as 129%!

    Is the pension stolen amount discounted in the aforementioned figures?

  19. As I – and the polls – have said for years (!) now, a Fidesz/Jobbik coalition government IS a real possibility … and I personally believe that (although others have repeatedly dismissed this) Hungary’s days as a member of the EU would be seriously numbered in such a case.

    We should be giving careful consideration to such an outcome. And we’re not.

    Disaffected Fidesz votes will never go in serious numbers to MSZP or Bajnai or Fodor or Gyurcsany. They will go to Jobbik. And the thirties will reappear (as opposed to the Horthy twenties that we’re currently in).

    And THIS is why issues such as the ones raised here are being treated with kid gloves by the government.

    Though, having said all that, I still don’t understand why DeutschiTami could be allowed to go so off-message on this. One too many Long Island Ice Teas in Instant, sir?

  20. Fidesz have always had higher ratio of Jewish origin MP, than MSZP or other social liberal parties. Than how can you interpret Fidesz as an antisemite party?

  21. Brukters, I am sorry, but you are an idiot. How do you define Jewish in the first place, and how do you know how is what according to your definition??

  22. Brukters :
    Fidesz have always had higher ratio of Jewish origin MP, than MSZP or other social liberal parties. Than how can you interpret Fidesz as an antisemite party?

    this reminds me of the time when Leningrad orchestra chief Mrawinsky visited the USA and was asked by Toscanini, if it is true, that antisemitism is rampant in the USSR. Mrawinsky was offended: “How can you say such a thing when alone 25% of my violinists are Jewish. Mrawinsky asked then Toscanini and how many Jews are in your orchestra? Toscanini: “I do not know, I do not engage musicians according to their religion.”
    Nobody said that Fidesz is antisemitic. I say the Fidesz is tolerating Nazis, it is the souteneur of the Nazi.
    In Austria the makers of the Nazi Website Alpen Donau, which had its server in the USA were arrested and given jail sentences. In Hungary the cowards of Fidesz let their token Jew Deutsch make stupid declarations. All in order to make foreigners believe, that Orbán is “defending the Jews”

  23. petofi :
    @ tappanch
    Mesterhazy has long ago been ‘pocketed’ by the Viktor.
    Bajnai is a sap to have sought out Mesterhazy; and consequently, totally discredited the opposition (and himself).
    Whether many like it or not, the only effective campaigner for the opposition, and the one who’d put the fear of hell fire and brimstone into the heart of Viktor the Orban, is none other
    than Ference Gyurcsany.
    The opposition should newly rally behind Gyurcsany and let Orban quiver in his boots…

    Would wellingtons do?
    In spite of the obvious difficulties in sorting them out, he’s still wearing even a ‘lefty’:

    The image from the time, when both the EU and Mother Nature launched a joined attack against him, but he won, as usual.
    Oh, happy day!

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