Of course, I'm talking about the sub-committee created to investigate the events of the fall of 2006 after Ferenc Gyurcsány's speech at Balatonőszöd was leaked. To this day we don't know who was responsible for handing the tape over to Viktor Orbán. Of course, I don't have proof of a direct route from informant to the Fidesz party leader, but we can infer, based on Viktor Orbán's public speeches during the summer of 2006, that he knew its contents long before it was released to the public. It was in July that he began returning time and again to the theme of "lies." His opponent's victory was based on lies, and as a result the Gyurcsány government was illegitimate.
In any case, the decision was made that the tape shouldn't be released until close to the local elections, scheduled for sometime in October. September 17 was deemed to be a good day. As it turned out, the Fidesz leaders were right. A siege of the public television station followed where the unprepared police force was unable to control the crowd. After some 200 policemen were wounded, the few still standing fled.
On the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 there was again trouble. The police handled the situation somewhat better, but the policemen on the scene were unable to prevent the mixing of the mob that physically attacked them with the Fidesz supporters just leaving a mass rally where Viktor Orbán made a fiery speech. I'm not going to go into the details of why Fidesz organized this demonstration so close to Kossuth Square where the less savory elements had been gathering for weeks on end and why the police allowed Fidesz to hold the meeting allegedly commemorating the anniversary of the revolution at the Astoria Hotel where nothing of importance happened in October 1956.
Soon thereafter the government asked nine independent experts to write a comprehensive report on the events of the fall of 2006. The panel included experts in history, sociology, and the law as well as former high-ranking police officers. They were asked to study the events in their historical, psychological, and sociological context and to evaluate the appropriateness of the force used and the legality of the measures taken.
The committee's report was submitted to the government on February 2, 2007. It is a measured 260-page document. The chairman of the committee was Katalin Gönczöl, a law professor, and therefore one often hears about the "Gönczöl Committee" in place of its official, long name. The introduction to the report emphasized that the members of the committee didn't want to pin guilt on anyone because the committee wasn't supposed to take the place of the justice system. The report is worth reading, including the historical background that sketches out the failed Hungarian attempts at making it in this world. There is talk here about the Hungarian predilection to blame others for their problems, be they the Austrians, the Russians, the Jews, or the "commies." The historical section is most likely the work of Mária Ormos while the detailed description of the unpreparedness both mentally and physically of the police was done by Antal Kacziba and Mihály Vörösmarti, former police officers.
In addition, the opposition relied on another report by Krisztina Morvai, today Jobbik EU parliamentary member. Her report is more compassionate and less objective. One could call it partisan. It is a one-sided description of the police brutality that certainly occurred but not to the extent Ms Morvai tried to portray. She listened to only one side and therefore the value of her work is questionable.
So, there were two reports. If they didn't quite satisfy Fidesz the party could have suggested setting up a parliamentary committee to investigate the "true" story of these events. An investigative parliamentary committee according to house rules must follow the principle of parity. That is equal numbers representing the government and the opposition. Although between 1998-2002 Fidesz never once allowed the creation of such an investigative committee despite several requests by the opposition, between 2002 and 2010 during the socialist-liberal rule every such request was acceded to. Yet, Fidesz didn't push for the creation of such a committee. One could ask why not. Tamás Bauer thinks that a committee based on parity was not to Fidesz's liking. Now that they are in power they can simply set up a sub-committee under a standing committee and in that case the government parties can have the majority. This is especially handy when the government members of the sub-committee have preconceived ideas of the outcome.
The young chairman of the sub-committee is Gergely Gulyás, a lawyer and a relative newcomer to Fidesz. I predict a fantastic career for Mr. Gulyás in the party because in my opinion he has all the necessary qualifications with the added benefit that he seems to be smarter than the others who are also entrusted with Fidesz's political retribution game, like Ferenc Papcsák, Gyula Budai, or his fellow sub-committee member Máriusz Révész.
MSZP decided not to take part in the work of the sub-committee. One can debate whether this was a smart move or not. Sure, it doesn't look good that they refuse to "investigate" their own alleged sins, but at the same time how can anyone sit next to Tamás Gaudi-Nagy, György Budaházy's lawyer who was an active participant in the mob action in the fall of 2006? Or to investigate together with Máriusz Révész who claims he was beaten senseless by the police on October 23, 2006? Yes, these people are also members of the sub-committee.
Both Gulyás and Révész have made it clear in public that they are convinced that the police received "political orders." And who gave these orders? Ferenc Gyurcsány himself. This is what they are trying to prove, thus far unsuccessfully. They are trying their darndest to find at least one person who will say, "yes, the prime minister told me in no uncertain terms to beat the peaceful demonstrators to a pulp." So far no luck, but the search continues. Sometimes with innocent babes-in-arms on their side. Like LMP's Tímea Szabó who seems to be entirely oblivious to what's going on and who praised Chairman Gulyás (who is indeed very smooth) for his objectivity and fairness. The minutes of some of the meetings are already available.
Although most likely the Fidesz members of the sub-committee will come up empty-handed, politically these proceedings may be very useful for Fidesz. They want to keep alive the public outrage at the illegalities of a "dictatorial" socialist regime. The adjective "dictatorial" comes from the most reliable source, Viktor Orbán himself (July 29, 2006). Meanwhile a few days ago a documentary film became available on the internet on the "siege" of the television station. There one can see the bloodthirsty Hungarian policemen being brutally beaten by the "revolutionaries" who attack the symbol of oppression with the words: Ria, Ria, Hungária, a soccer chant.