It was on October 19 that I wrote a negative post about three Hungarian national security “experts.” Although I am less familiar with Georg Spöttle, a relative newcomer, I always felt that something was not quite right with both György Nógrádi and László Földi. Well, Nógrádi has now been exposed.
I wasn’t the only one who found Nógrádi’s qualifications suspect. Two days after my post came a bombshell: an article on Nógrádi by András Dezső of Index, who earlier did a superb job unraveling the possible connection between Béla Kovács, a Jobbik member of the European Parliament, and the Russian secret service, following the trail all the way to Japan. Only a few days ago the European Parliament revoked his parliamentary immunity.
Dezső was originally planning to write a simple portrait of Nógrádi, who has become an important person in Hungarian politics of late. Sometime in June it was Nógrádi who suggested erecting a fence or wall against the inflow of migrants and, behold, nine days later preparations for a fence along the Serbian border were already underway. Since Nógrádi is such a busy man, mostly because of his media appearances, Dezső had to wait a whole week for the interview, which gave him plenty of time to ferret out as much as he could about the man.
Dezső learned from other well-respected experts that Nógrádi has no track record of research or serious publications. Instead, he is a talking head. Nógrádi told reporters that as of last month he had appeared on television 134 times and on radio 162 times. He also wrote 61 newspaper articles and participated in 56 “large”conferences. These activities, however, don’t seem weighty enough to merit all the honors Nógrádi has received, according to his curriculum vitae. So, Dezső investigated two items on Nógrádi’s list. For starters, Nógrádi claimed that he has been a member of the board of the Swedish Defense University (Försvarshögskolan) since 2001. There is only one problem. The Swedish Defense University never heard of György Nógrádi. Since then he admitted that this item on his c.v. was a mistake.
In another version of his curriculum vitae Nógrádi claimed that he is the president of the Europe Academy and, since 2011, has been vice-president of the Europe University. Both are supposed to be in Vienna. Despite hours of searching, Dezső couldn’t find such a university. When he confronted Nógrádi with this fact, the professor admitted that, although the university has been established, it is not yet functioning.
The president of this new university will be Rüdiger Stix, a former politician of the far-right Freedom Party who was accused by the Austrian paper Kurier in 2011 of buying his Ph.D. from the Miklós Zrínyi National Defense University. A Hungarian article also covered the story. Apparently about 100 Austrian military men paid 2,300 euros each for Ph.D.s from Zrínyi as well as from Corvinus. At both universities the professor who was handling the Austrian officers’ studies was György Nógrádi. I might as well mention here that Friedrich Korkisch, another Zrínyi bogus Ph.D. and a student of Nógrádi, was the co-author along with Rüdiger Stix and Nógrádi of a book published in 2012 on the first anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy: Gut gegen Böse.
Then there’s the question of the organization Hungarian sources called Európa Akadémia, which, presumably at the behest of Nógrádi, who is a member, bestowed its grand prize on István Tarlós, lord mayor of Budapest, last year, three days before the municipal election. According to MTI, the academy has been in existence since 1962. Its yearly grand prize is given to the person who has done the most for European integration. In Tarlós’s case the prize was awarded because of his efforts at guarding Budapest’s past grandeur while making it a competitive European metropolis. After some search Dezső found the organization, Europäische Akademie Wien, which appears to be either phony or inactive. At least this is what its website suggests.
Dezső was on a roll, so he decided to continue his search. Nógrádi likes to boast about his high-level international contacts. He brags about being an adviser to important politicians. Among the many he is especially proud of is being adviser to the Austrian defense minister–this by virtue of being a member of a research council that functions in association (mellett) with the ministry. According to Nógrádi, the members of the council meet regularly to survey the state of the world and affairs that have an impact on Austria. When Dezső inquired whether this advisory council functions under the ministry or the minister, Nógrádi claimed that it was in direct contact with the minister himself. Although ministers came and ministers went since 2001, each of them asked him to stay. He was the only member from a formerly socialist country. It’s just too bad that the Austrian defense minister doesn’t seem to know anything about Nógrádi.
After the appearance of this second article Nógrádi got in touch with Wolf Rauch, who is a professor of computer science at the University of Graz, and asked him to write a letter to Index, testifying that indeed Nógrádi has been a member of this body under his leadership. A rather strange position for a computer scientist.
The right-wing media is up in arms because these revelations are embarrassing to the Orbán government, whose policies Nógrádi supports to the letter. The government propaganda machine tried to come to his rescue yesterday by giving him an opportunity to explain himself and present himself in the best light. In a long interview on Híradó he talked about himself and, in his usual manner, kept bragging. This time we learned that among his many accomplishments he is an alumnus of the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr and that he completed some kind of “NATO course.”
One has the feeling that the man has a compulsion to tell stories that are either outright lies or that have only a superficial resemblance to reality. In any case, Nógrádi seems unstoppable, although some opposition politicians have already suggested that the “national security expert” might actually be a “national security risk” who should be thoroughly vetted. It will be interesting to see whether Viktor Orbán sends him a message to lie low for a while. If the accusations continue, I’m sure this will be the outcome.