“Proof” of the activities of the Arrows of Hungarians

It was on June 17 that I wrote about a secret organization called Arrows of Hungarians Liberation Army whose members had committed a number of crimes threatening the lives and damaging the property of socialist and liberal politicians. Up to date nine people have been arrested. The investigation was praised by the authorities, and Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai only recently decorated a number of detectives for their outstanding work in connection with the case. During the investigation the detectives found a "bomb factory" in which some of the accused were assembling explosives that would have been powerful enough to blow up very large objects and/or kill several people. During the investigation detectives of the Hungarian FBI–Nemzeti Nyomozó Iroda (NNI)–found a video on the laptop of one of the accused. The video showed a bomb exploding with great force in the middle of a barren field.Bonyhad The NNI copied the video onto DVDs that they passed out to members of the media present at a press conference given by Tibor Draskovics, minister in charge of the police. Draskovics used the video as an example of what these terrorists were capable of.

A few hours after Draskovics's press conference, HírTV, always on the lookout, discovered a "suspicious resemblance" between the scene of the video that Draskovics was showing to members of the media and a picture on the website of TV2. The latter showed a crater caused by an exploded bomb from August 2007. It turned out that five "enterprising" students with an "interest in chemistry" built some  bombs that they then detonated in a secluded field near Bonyhád, a small town in Transdanubia. The police apprehended the students responsible for the explosion; they have since received suspended sentences for "misuse of explosives."

A few hours after HírTV's revelation the whole Hungarian media was full of the story. István Balsai, former minister of justice in the Antall government, immediately accused Draskovics and the government of "spreading false rumors about a nonexistent terrorist danger" and demanded Draskovics's immediate resignation. A few hours later the charge was not only that Draskovics mistakenly claimed that the video depicted the explosion of a bomb made by the members of the Arrows of Hungarians Liberation Army but that Draskovics and the NNI "falsified" the video. Fidesz relentlessly pursued the case and Péter Szijjártó gave an "ultimatum": Gordon Bajnai should immediately dismiss Draskovics.

NNI was outraged at the accusation that they had falsified any material connected with the investigation. They found this video on the computer of one of the members of this terrorist organization, and in any case during the investigation it came to light that members of the group did try their hands at blowing up their homemade bombs. So, I suspect, they took it for granted that the video on the computer depicted one of these experiments. And they stopped there. The prosecutors say that the video fiasco is not their fault. They knew all along that this video was not central to the investigation, and that's why they authorized its release. After all, it was just meant to be illustrative. But why then did Draskovics assume it to be a video of the handiwork of the Arrows of Hungarians? Something went very wrong. Somebody goofed. Here was a real success story for the Hungarian police: they uncovered a terrorist group. Yet even that is ruined because of sloppy work and/or communication.

By Monday István Balsai asserted total victory over the incompetent government and police. First of all, he denied the very existence of such a thing as "political terrorism." He claimed that there is no "far-right danger" in Hungary. Draskovics is doing nothing else but "frightening the Hungarian people." He is an embarrassment to the government, and he should be sacked. Gordon Bajnai, however, showed no inclination to fire Draskovics, and his spokesman said yesterday morning that "the prime minister has total confidence in Mr. Draskovics." By this morning Fidesz went even further. Tibor Navracsics, head of the Fidesz parliamentary delegation, accused Draskovics of "not forestalling terrorism but preparing it." In plain language, the government is hiring people to commit terroristic acts in the hope of some alleged political gain. This is really outrageous.

Meanwhile, actors from the 2007 incident are emerging from the shadows. First Magyar Nemzet found the man who made the video. He is Ákos Halász of Kiskunhalas who, according to the paper, had close connections with the young socialists in town. A sidenote: the young socialists of Kiskunhalas became infamous lately because of the corruption case of János Zuschlag, a young socialist politician who at one point was a member of parliament. Obviously Magyar Nemzet is delighted to have found a "socialist thread," but there is a logical problem here. If the 2007 "high jinks" of students have nothing to do with the Arrows of Hungarians, what's the use of dragging the young socialists of Kiskunhalas into the imbroglio? Ákos Halász was known to be a good photographer and was one of the organizers of a "photography camp for youngsters" launched a month before the videotaped explosion. Presumably he was hired by the local students not for his political views but for his videographic skills. The students and the videographer then traveled to Bonyhád to a site that one of the students deemed appropriate for their experiment.

As for Ákos Halász and the accusation of Magyar Nemzet and HírTV that he had connections to members of the government through socialist politicians in Kiskunhalas, Halász announced that it was the figment of the journalists' imagination. He admitted that he was known in local socialist circles "but not in the way the paper claims."