Hungarian government warms up an old story: last year’s DCLeaks

Two days ago a garbled, close to incomprehensible, article appeared in Pesti Srácok, perhaps the most right-extremist organ of the Fidesz/Orbán government’s media empire. The article with great fanfare announced that Pesti Srácok had acquired documents about the activities and goals of billionaire George Soros that “surpass one’s wildest expectations.” The article alleges that there are a number of documents in the DCLeaks collection that “prove that the stock market shark has a stake in discrediting the Hungarian government.”

My first reaction was that the staff of Pesti Srácok got mixed up, took out the wrong file, and mistook 2016 for 2017. Because it was a little over a year ago that the Russian cyber-espionage group called Fancy Bear released on its website 2,576 files, mostly related to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. Fancy Bear is apparently connected to GRU (Glavnoye razvedytel’noye upravleniye), Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate. Soon afterward, several far-right websites, like tmn.today, zerohedge.com, and newstarget.com worked hard to portray some of these documents as evidence of the “evil plan” of Soros and his organizations to use the refugee crisis as an opportunity to manipulate immigration policies throughout the world.

In fact, most of the information revealed in the current article by Pesti Srácok is a rehash of earlier articles that appeared in right-wing English-language publications. Since the Soros documents are no longer available on the internet, it is hard to fathom why Pesti Srácok bothered to provide two non-functioning URLs as proof.

Why did Pesti Srácok dredge up this old story? My suspicion is that the article was ordered from above because the Orbán government had decided to accelerate the attacks on George Soros and his network. They needed a “reason” to tighten the screws and even go as far as ordering a full-fledged investigation by the ministry of interior, which is in charge of the national security services. So, I was somewhat amused at the naiveté of István Gusztos in Gépnarancs who believed that “the government had to react to this information that had reached the press.” Balázs Hidvéghi, the Fidesz spokesman, and János Lázár, head of the prime minister’s office, “had to join this despicable drivel.” I’m afraid the opposite is true.

One could spend days trying to track down the origins of this cut-and-paste job, and perhaps someone with lots of extra time and curiosity could write an essay on Fidesz’s manipulation of news on the basis of this one article. Practically every sentence, every quotation is suspect. It is hard to describe this hodgepodge of lies, misinformation, and irrelevant information that has nothing to do with Hungary, like the Soros Foundation’s support for the Baltimore Education Research Consortium or its lending a helping hand to the American Journalism Review in connection with the crisis in American journalism.

One section of the article might be of paramount importance as far as the Orbán government’s possible moves against Hungarian and foreign journalists are concerned. The subhead reads: “Bribed journalists and contracts to manipulate the media.” The example given was a contract with an alleged entrepreneur (vállalkozó), actually a research institute, called the Centre d’etudes et de recherches internationales “whose task was to prove ‘contrary opinions’ about French-Ukrainian relations. The contract also stated that the entrepreneur (sic) had to write press reviews.” The text that reads “to provide a brief account of how Russia has tried to influence the French debate on Ukraine through domestic actors and outlets” was interpreted as an instruction regarding the kind of information that should appear in the French press. After the description of the influence allegedly exerted on the French media, the article claims that similar “media purchases” were obtained in Germany, Spain, Italy, and Greece. The article naturally spent quite a bit of time on the Soros Foundation’s list of about 200 EP members who might be sympathetic to some of the ideas of the Open Society. This list, which is still available on the internet, is also old hat.

It was after the appearance of this article that Balázs Hidvéghi, communication director of Fidesz, announced that the government has “concrete proof that Brussels has fallen into the captivity of the Soros network.” Hidvéghi claimed that Soros gave $6 million to 90 different organizations to influence the decision-making process of the European Union. The Soros network specifically targets Hungary by supporting individuals who spread fake news about Hungary.

A few hours later János Lázár, during his regular Thursday afternoon press conference, talked about the same problem. The government wants to clarify whether the attempts by George Soros’s organization in Brussels touched—and if it did, how—the sovereignty of Hungary. The government should initiate an investigation into the “authenticity” of the DCLeaks documents, I can’t fathom why.  Sándor Pintér, minister of interior, is to prepare a memorandum on whether the transportation of migrants to the Hungarian border and the “siege of the Hungarian border” during the fall of 2015 was organized or accidental.

What the Hungarian government is really trying to prove is that the Soros network substantially influenced decision-making on the “forums of the European Union.” All those negative decisions, in the Hungarian government’s opinion, might have been “written on the computers of George Soros’s colleagues.” This could mean either members of the NGOs receiving money from the Soros Foundation or journalists. Here Lázár obliquely referred to the Pesti Srácok article which claimed that “Soros bought journalists and media sites in the interest of spreading his ideas.” As far as Hungary is concerned, Lázár pretty much accused Soros of paying journalists to write articles that show Hungary and the Hungarian government in a negative light.

This morning Viktor Orbán repeated some of the same accusations and gave misleading information about the DCLeaks documents during his regular bi-weekly interview on Magyar Rádió, but that deserves a separate post. For the time being, Hungarian and foreign journalists are not frightened. Both Bloomberg and The Financial Times published reports under the headlines “Hungary orders spies to target Soros ‘Empire’” and “Orban calls for Hungarian spy agencies to probe ‘Soros empire’ of NGOs.” And this is just the beginning.

October 27, 2017
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Michael Kaplan
Guest

Once again- this regime-revives the myth of the eternal Jew, but clothed in a banker’s costume. Orban, a past beneficiary of Soros, who paid for Orban’s Oxford days knows perfectly well what he is doing. Orban- like many other tyrants and/or fake news rulers- wants to distract many in the public from his own corruption and misrule. Lendvai Pal wrote “Anti Semitism With Out Jews” in 1971 or so. The scoundrel, cheat, liar and crook, Orban is practicing these “principals” in a country with relatively few Jews, but -sadly-relatively high anti Semitism.

1956
Guest

The leading player of antisemitism was and remains the Kremlin.

Hungary has been only a minor partner in this game.

Michael Kaplan
Guest

Dear “1956” (odd that you don’t use your real name!) difficult to respond to your comments; however, as much as I despise Putin, the current “honor” for spreading anti Semitism goes to Orban. Their “partnership” only underscores the odious nature of both leaders. The 2nd “honor” may yet go to the Trump regime, which had given further legitimacy to “white nationalism”. All 3 regimes are odious.

Guest

!956 is probably Andy Somos, one of who’s hobbys seems to regularly invent new nicks …
His other hobby is:
It’s always Putin’s fault!

1956
Guest

We were told to view Russia as liberators.

This made us totally blind.

We should not get fooled.

The Kremlin has conducted antisemitic, anti-Israel, Anti-Zionist actions to polarize the international world.

The damage has been immense in material and human factors.

Orban and Trump are not the real problems. The masters of the “Active Measures” are.

dos929
Guest

Is there any one out there amongst ‘normal’ people, organizations, and even governments that doubt the evil nature of the Orban regime? What is happening in Hungary under this autocracy is an absolute nightmare and a replay in reality of Orwell’s ‘1984’. No sane person in a sane world can accept the daily abuses by Orban and his henchmen that punishes the citizenry of Hungary. But this is not a sane world, and I am afraid that all those people who support the FIDESZ have lost their morality (if they ever had it at all)… Hungary is buried under lies, deceptions, outright theft and large scale robbery that has no place in any 21st century democracy. The Orban regime is not only a blemish (to put it mildly) for Hungary, but even more so to all politicians, governments and business organizations that deal with them…

LwiiH
Guest

Anything coming from the GRU would be salted to be better than a Dan Brown novel

Observer
Guest

Just a detail: The former GRU is now Главное управление Генерального штаба Вооружённых Сил Российской Федерации or military intelligence. The other main service is the Foreign Intelligence Service – Служба внешней разведки Российской Федерации.

Observer
Guest
Yes, it’s a process. The internal dynamics of Orban’s fascist regime lead to an increasing repression, to a systematic tightening of the screws, this is another turn. The campaign against the NGO’s, among other “enemies”, is stepped up and now turns ugly as explicit threats are being made by the regime’s media, by Orban and various potentates against the NGOs staff, and few journalists. While J.Lázár only calls for investigation of the national security risks they may pose, the regime mouthpieces write about Soros networks and conspiracies. László Földi, the regime’s „security expert” (also on employment contract with Budapest City Council), trumped all with an incredible bloodthursty statement: “There is a war now. These people are collaborators, war criminals, traitors and so on. This is a very different conceptual system. The smuggler in the war is not a smuggler, but practically a saboteur who has no legal status, that is, he can be freely liquidated. This is what the war(time) law says: we do not bring to court spies, saboteurs, but immediately eliminate them.” https://mno.hu/belfold/civilek-likvidalasara-buzditott-a-kormanykedvenc-2420209 This statement, made by a public figure on mass media, constitutes as incitement to violence, a felony. Hungarian courts have found lesser and more implicit… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

The in the post sketched order of actions by the HU government, almost sure by OV himself, reminded me about a line by Paul Lendvai in his Oct.26 interview at HirTV:
“In politics ridiculousness is a big danger,… with the current campaign the HU government makes [internationally] laughing-stock of itself…”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sYsJpyEt7A#t=14m25s

Now the best thing to happen is that international media really start exposing this ridiculousness, and reporting, on the broadest scale possible, from daily short items till weekly background stories, about all things with political connotations happening in Hungary.
This would first inform non-Hungarians about what’s really going on ‘behind OV’s fence’, basically take of the ‘democratic mask’ of the little man and his squad of minions. And secondly, as a response, get Hungarian people more and deeper thinking about what’s going on in ‘their name’, if they can accept and/or what they can do against this.

Member

Good idea, but Orban/Rogan/Habony have already got it covered. International journalists are in the pay of Soros the Semite. They despise Hungarians because we love freedom and Jesus. They are shallow Westerners and do not understand democracy the way Hungarians do. While there are certainly some even-handed journalists in the West, they simply do not understand the intricacies of the Hungarian langauge and therefore misreport on OV and his doings.

The other problem is, nobody west of Hegyeshalom gives a rat’s behind about what goes on in a nation of 10 million people that has no oil or nuclear weapons.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘ in politics ridiculousness is a danger’

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘in politics ridiculousness is a big danger’

It’s probably more than likely close to 6 out of 10 communication utterances from the ‘leader-opinion makers’ of the country lie in the realm of mendacity. And who knows maybe it is a generous stat.

Pretty soon NOTHING will be believed with the from forked tongues. And then it will be that the country will be the test case where the penchant for ridiculousness will have created the foremost country in the world where truth will be always stranger than fiction.

Ferenc
Guest

@Alex – HU government – ridiculousness ‘uber alles’
Marta Demeter, LMP representative, sent a list with 7 questions to 11 ministers about the residency bonds. She named the list “National Consultation about the Residence Bonds Program” and wondered a.o.why they allowed previously convicted people and secret service agents into the country or why offshore companies, close to minister Rogalan Antal, could enrich themselves through the bonds program.
On behalf of the whole government Csaba Dömötör, State Secretary of the Ministry of Antal Rogán, answered all questions with one single sentence:
“We are not dealing with desperate political actions from a, in a hopeless state being, party like LMP.”
sources: http://24.hu/belfold/2017/10/28/11-minisztert-kerdeztek-a-letelepedesi-kotvenyrol-a-kormany-egy-mondattal-valaszolt/ and https://444.hu/2017/10/28/rogan-miniszteriuma-nem-hajlando-valaszolni-kepviseloi-kerdesekre
official answer: http://www.parlament.hu/irom40/17703/17703-0001.pdf

Member

If you are trying to convince me that the Orban government is ridiculous, you won’t have to try very hard. My point is, their propaganda is currently working among a broad swathe of Hungarian voters. They certainly have the wherewithal to wriggle out of any ridicule from abroad.

Marty
Guest

I agree that this is just the beginning. Orban is just getting started. People make a huge mistake if they think Orban is in any way getting “satisfied” or his system is consolidating or he is getting old. Nope, his desire is as alive as in 1990. He will continue to push the limits of his power as far as he can. He will not stop. He just loves these fights, this is what gives him the necessary doze of enjoyment – the only thing he loves more is if he can hear liberals scream. Orban is a real (anti-liberal, anti-Western) revolutionary, something that the Western world cannot really understand (even communist revolutionaries long ago died). This is a rare animal, but there are more and more of this species.

Knowing how Orban thinks (his paranoia and who only trusts siloviki) security agencies – together with their Russian advisors – have been long, for years working against the NGOs, Soros, CEU and others deemed “liberal”.

This new operation really isn’t new. I’m certain Orban and his security people have been contemplating this for years and have been surveilling (reading emails, listening to calls, planting informants everywhere etc.) the civil sector.

Guest

Either they are getting desperate or just preparing for the elections next year. Probably we’ll see a barrage of fake news re the bad, bad EU under the influence of even badder Soros which are trying to undermine glorious Hungary …
The details are really irrelevant – Hungarian country bumpkins (my wife uses stronger, worse words on her compatriots …) will believe anything. The main point obviously is:
If something goes wrong (and it surely will …) then it’s always someone else’s fault!
So we’ll live in interesting times …

Ferenc
Guest

“prepare a memorandum on whether the transportation of migrants to the Hungarian border and the “siege of the Hungarian border” during the fall of 2015 was organized or accidental”
This reminded me of the case of Ahmed H., currently in jail awaiting retrail. It was rumored to come to court (again) this October, but so far haven’t heard any official date.
Could that memorandum (also) have something to do with preparations by HU authorities against this unfortunate victim of OV’s anti-human policies?

tappanch
Guest

For the attention of US Republicans [and Hungarian journalists not in Orban’s pay]

The flat tax paradise.
Hungarian reality 2017.

From an employee’s salary (no matter how big or small),

Unspecified “social contribution” directly from the employer (“22%”): 17.814%
Personal income tax (“15%”): 12.146%
Retirement (social security tax) (“10%”): 8.097%
Health care (“4%+3%”): 5.668%
Unemployment tax (“1.5%”): 1.215%
For retraining [??] directly from the employer (“1.5%”): 1.215%

To the government (sum of the 6 kinds of taxes above): 46.15385%

If the employee has to spend all of her/his salary between two paychecks (“27% value added tax”) 14.53846%

Subtotal to the government: 60.69231%
Employee’s purchasing power : 39.30769%

Cash transaction tax (“0.6% over 500 euros/month”) : between 0% and 0.277%

To summarize:
Orban’s share of a Hungarian salary is roughly 61%.

Istvan
Guest
The State of Illinois has a flat income tax tappanch and it is actually enshrined in our State Constitution. The passage in the Illinois Constitution was supported by Democrats and Republicans together. It is not just a Republican position in the USA. Here is the history of the flat tax in Illinois https://will.illinois.edu/news/story/illinois-issues-why-does-the-state-have-a-flat-income-tax As a Republican I have historically supported a flat tax, but it has turned into a fiscal disaster in the US State of Illinois which is largely controlled by Democrats where I live most of the year because it has not be appropriately adjusted to compensate for governmental expenditures. Interestingly in the State of Wisconsin where I have a second home has a graduated income tax and its largely Republican. Like Hungarians and most notoriously Greeks and Italians, Americans want to avoid taxes and get services too. It is very easy for the ultra wealthy to manipulate the poor into believing low tax rates are good, but they are far better for the ultra wealthy. I like low taxes too, but I do know we need to pay for commonly shared services like roads and flood control projects. I also know we either have to provide social… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

Let us compare Hungary with Illinois.

Gross salary + taxes paid directly by employers =
[US] 107.65% vs [Hungary] 123.5% of gross salary
(this is the new 100% for us)
from which

Federal income tax: 11.0079%
(for the $44148 median [< average] salary in the US)
State income tax: 3.3070%
FICA (Social security+Medicare): 14.2127%

https://smartasset.com/taxes/illinois-paycheck-calculator

To the federal and IL state governments: 28.5276% vs
to the Hungarian government: 46.1538%

Effect of
Illinois general sales tax: 6.25%*(100-28.5276)= 4.4670%
Hungarian general VAT: 27%*(100-46.1538)= 14.5385%

Purchasing power of the salary of an
Illinois employee: 67.0054%
Hungarian employee: 39.3077%

to the governments of:
Illinois+US: 32.9946%
Hungary: 60.6923%

Ferenc
Guest

Thanks, very good overview.
Do you have data for previous years/rates?
Could be nice to make an infogram about this…

Jean P
Guest

All great philanotropists have been vilified. Soros probably more than anvbody else. Usually philantropist are suspected of having sinister motives. or having earned their money dishonestly.

In the case of Soros the latter can be discussed but not in legal terms. With respect to he former, I think that he sincerely believes that his open society idea is a way of salvation for mankind and also that he wants to be remembered.

Istvan
Guest
There are two main intelligence services in today’s Russia: SVR and the GRU that Eva notes in her essay. The first one is Sluzhba Vneshnei Razvedki, Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. It is nothing but the renamed former First Chief Directorate of the KGB, which has managed intelligence for decades. The second one is GRU, Glavnoe Razvedytalnoe Upravlenie, Russian Military Intelligence. It is a part of the Defense Ministry. Its full name is much longer: The Chief Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Army. In 2010 it was given a different “official” name, the one Eva references, Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces. The primary task of the GRU in Europe is to destroy NATO. When the GRU officers are working in Hungary, they are monitored by the Directorate “K” (counter-intelligence) of the SVR according to information from Russian defectors. Those who serve inside Russia are infiltrated by the Directorate of Military Counter- Intelligence of the FSB (Federal Security Service, inheritor to the KGB). The SVR is the home of Putin and the smaller SVR oversees GRU activities in Hungary and all NATO nations. SVR officers are better paid than than GRU officers… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

Yessir. With Viktor’s fawning to the ‘East’ the association has probably given a kick to Magyar ‘activnye meropriyatiya’ which comes in literally as ‘active measures’. With this readership I know this is an easy ‘fill-in-the-blank’ routine.

The Magyars have learned quite well with an advanced degree in the practice of disinformation from their neighbor. And the Russians should be reveling in doing business in recruiting new European Trojans.

Guest

A bit OT:
In Poland doctors are protesting – they can’t work in the system any more, maybe something similar will happen in Hungary too?
http://www.spiegel.de/lebenundlernen/job/aerzte-protestieren-in-polen-tschechien-bulgarien-kranke-heiler-a-1175017.html

All of the glorious “Eastern Central Europe” countries have these problems – no money for the people’s health (no problem for the Nomenklatura of course …), nurses and docs are frustrated.
Will more people wake up?

wrfree
Guest

How can they? The health care ‘mistakes’ are all usually buried. In ‘Christian’ Magyarorszag sometimes there’s that kind of thing where one can unexpectedly enter eternal life whether people want to or not. It’s not so good that people are under that imposition.

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