A fanciful government story on international terrorism and Jobbik

Yesterday a newly revived internet news site, zoom.hu, published a “sensational” news item. Information received from an unnamed person with close government ties revealed that Salah Abdeslam, the man behind the Paris terrorist attack of November 13, 2015, in addition to the three trips he made to Budapest between August 30 and September 17, 2015, visited Hungary a fourth time in the middle of January 2016, two months before his arrest in Brussels. During this visit Abdeslam allegedly conducted negotiations with members of a far-right Hungarist group called Magyar Nemzeti Arcvonal (Hungarian National Front/MNA). I covered the October 2016 shooting incident connected to MNA that took a Hungarian police officer’s life. The head of the group, István Győrkös, wanting to prevent the policeman’s entry into his house, shot him dead. As you can well imagine, a story that connects “migrant terrorism” with a home-grown group that allegedly had ties to Jobbik is hot stuff, especially for pro-government media outlets.

In December 2015, when Belgian authorities discovered that Abdeslam had visited Hungary, it was clear to me that the Hungarian secret services knew nothing first-hand about his presence in Hungary. He came and left three times without anyone noticing it. Most of what the Hungarian police, the anti-terrorist organization, and the national security offices subsequently learned about his movements in Hungary came from Belgian and later French sources.

Abdeslam’s first trip on August 30 was uneventful. His two comrades arrived in Hungary and phoned him to come pick them up. He arrived with legal Belgian papers and brought two fake Belgian IDs for the new arrivals. They got into a car and headed west without any trouble. Practically nothing is known about his second trip. But the Hungarians unearthed quite a bit of information about his third trip, in September 2o15, for the simple reason that the three newly arrived terrorists, who later all died in the Bataclan terrorist attack, had to wait at least a week in Budapest for Abdeslam to pick them up.

In October 2016 Népszabadság reported that Hungarian authorities, working together with Belgian and French counterterrorist units and police forces, were seeking locals who had helped ten ISIS-trained terrorists hide in Hungary and who assisted them in reaching Belgium. The paper claimed that a number of people were actually arrested. Nothing was known about their number or their citizenship, and we learned nothing about them afterward. It may have been “fake news.”

Abdeslam’s name also came up a couple of days after he was arrested on March 18, 2016 in the Molenbeek area of Brussels. On March 23 the Austrian tabloid Kronen Zeitung published an article about a woman who claimed that she had seen Abdeslam with another Arabic-looking man in Café Harrer, a famous confectionary in Sopron. The Austrian woman reported this sighting to the Eisenstadt police station, but it seems that the Austrian police were not impressed. It is likely, however, that the Austrians did get in touch with the Hungarians, who also ignored the case.

The mysterious appearance of Abdeslam in Sopron is at the center of zoom.hu’s story. From the article an incredibly professional Hungarian national security service emerges, which was watching Abdeslam’s every move in close cooperation with its Austrian, German, Belgian, and French counterparts. The clever cops “didn’t even try to arrest Abdeslam, they only followed and watched him. They tried to find out the reason for his visit to Hungary. They documented all his meetings.”

Where Salah Abdeslam was allegedly spotted in Sopron

This excellent police work brought “staggering results.” Hungarian right-radicals had and perhaps still have contacts with international terrorists. An investigation is ongoing with the assistance of the other countries’ national security services. According to zoom.hu’s informant, while Abdeslam was talking with the leaders of Győrkös’s Hungarian National Front, “the Hungarian, Austrian, French, and Belgian authorities had time to organize and follow the French-Belgian terrorist’s every move.” But then, we must ask, why didn’t these national security services arrest him right there on the spot at the Café Harrer in Sopron? Gy. Attila Fekete, formerly of Népszabadság, who wrote the article, could find only one possible explanation for the delay. Perhaps they were hoping to find more associates by allowing Abdeslam to remain free. I must say that, given the danger a man like Abdeslam posed, such a strategy is pretty unimaginable.

But that’s not all. At the end of October 2016 the Hungarian police tried to enter István Győrkös’s house looking for weapons but, as the article points out, the police investigation into the Hungarian National Front had actually begun ten months before the fatal encounter between Győrkös and the police officer. How convenient. The article suggests that there is a direct relationship between Abdeslam’s fourth visit to Hungary on or around January 19 and the beginning of the investigation into Győrkös’s clandestine activities.

With this we arrive at cast-off Slovak weapons that had been legally deactivated but could easily be made usable again. Such weapons were used during the attack against Charlie Hebdo and in other terrorist attacks in France and Belgium. They also found their way to Hungary. For example, such weapons were found in the possession of the two older men who allegedly wanted to assassinate Viktor Orbán. Even Gy. Fekete calls their organization, Magyar Nemzeti Hadsereg (Hungarian National Army), a joke. At the time, in 2015, I even doubted that they wanted to kill Orbán. Their targets seemed to be Jews. In any case, the theory is that Abdeslam came to Hungary to negotiate the purchase of these deactivated but readily reusable weapons for his terrorist activities.

Of course, pro-government organs like Origo love the story. One of their journalists pointed out that Márton Gyöngyösi, an important Jobbik politician, was seen in the company of an MNA member and that Gábor Vona attended a public event in the company of Győrkös’s son. Moreover, the kind of weaponry used in the terrorist attacks, which was also in the possession of a Hungarian right-wing organization, is proof that there is a connection between international terrorism and Jobbik.

Pestisrácok.hu, however, seems to have more sense and suggests that the story someone dropped into Gy. Fekete’s lap may be nothing but a hoax.

One wonders what is behind this leaked material, which surely comes from government and/or national security sources. Gy. Fekete is a responsible journalist who must have gotten his information from a source that he considered to be credible. Is this part of Fidesz’s attempt to further discredit Jobbik by coupling its name with international terrorism? This is what the Origo article suggests. The story might get further embellished or it might be dropped, depending on its reception. For the time being there are skeptics even on the right of the political spectrum.

November 14, 2017
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Michael Kaplan
Guest

The Hungarian regime can not even manage a football win against Andorra and now Luxembourg despite all the forints tossed at football. I rather doubt the regimes’s “keystone cops” can bag a terrorist.

Farkas
Guest

Sounds like the Hungarian national security service is some kind of a Keystone Cops operation. More generally, one cannot help thinking when reading Éva’s posts that Hungarians as a community are a woebegone bunch of retards.

Overall, the political situation in Hungary seems at once hopeless and hilarious a quarter of century after the regime change, with the serried ranks of a Balkans mafia led by a tinpot Napoleon on the right, and a bunch of clowns on the left.

Guest

For me (and my wife says it too) the biggest Hungarian problem has been and still is their choice of leaders – though of course we Germans, Italians, British etc also have made big mistakes there.
The ruling class in Hungary is abominable!
And most who want change see that they have no chance – so they just leave the country or go into “inner emigration”, ignoring what’s going on around them, just taking care of themselves and their family …

Guest
Since German police are mentioned too: It wasn’t a “Ruhmesblatt” how the German police and security services handled those terrorist cases either. Many terrorists were well known to them but they regularly let themslip away. And others manged to get asylum under different names in different German states (and a lot of money too!) so obviously there’s something basically wrong with European security – much of it is just for show (like inthe USA) where harmless people are taken for a ride – just look at all those security checks at the airports, they’re nothing but a nuisance and not really effective! And as I heard from my wife it isn’t too difficult to get illegal guns in Hungary – maybe not as easy to get an AK47 as in the USA, but still … PS and rather OT: One of my neighbours told me many years ago (when memories of the Russian occupation were still fresh) how Russian soldiers would try to sell anything – from hand guns to Kalashnikovs and ammunition to hand grenades and even kerosene from the airport for pocket money or cigarettes and pálinka. I wonder how many of those guns are still around, hidden… Read more »
Istvan
Guest
Wolfi the old Communist nations had vast arsenals of weapons in storage and huge numbers were sold off as these nation states disintegrated. Particularly the old Yugoslav state. Like many other things fully automatic weapons were sold off by enterprising members of the security apparatuses and disintegrated militaries. Fundamentally what is commonly called the AK 47 was produced under Soviet license in numerous countries including Albania, China, and even Hungary all chambered in 7.62x39mm. A company called Interarms, located in Alexandria Virginia bought and imported to the USA many of the AK 47s in storage and under the control of the Hungarian AVO/AVH following the collapse of the Kadar regime. The company converted these guns into semi automatics and sold them legally here in the USA for several years. I have had one of the legally converted ones for many years and it was totally unused when I bought it. It was manufactured by the FÉGARMY Arms Factory (FEG) and is actually called the AK-63, mine was made in 1973. At the end of 2010, FÉG almost went bankrupt when HUF 1.7 billion of funds disappeared from the company. These weapons from Central Europe are all over the Middle East… Read more »
Guest

Thanks, Istvan, for that background info!
To think of all these weapons all over the world makes me shudder …
If only 1% of the owners uses them irresponsibly, that’s enough.
Of course there are weapons fans too in Germany etc but considering our history at least all those that I know are honest people – on the other hand in countries like Hungary with their tradition of violence?

Thereality
Guest

Germans also have also ancient and deep tradition of violence: The German colonization, the WW1 WW2 proved that very much.

Guest

That’s true, but there’s a small difference:
You won’t find statues of Hundenburg and Hitler in Germany like you find statues of Horthy in Hungary …
And nobody whines about the treaty of Versailles …

Ferenc
Guest

Long article in Prospect Magazine about Hungary.
Nothing new for regulars here, nevertheless nicely put together by Nick Cohen. Unfortunately missing the latest local developments in (in)humanity, the ‘results’ from the 1.5 years of ‘anti/hate’ campaigns.
Just a quote: “The darkening of the skies in Eastern Europe shows that the optimism of 1989 is long gone.”
https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/other/tyrannys-new-trick-in-hungary-a-government-wages-war-on-liberalism

Ferenc
Guest

PS: wondering if mouthman KZ will reply/comment on it…

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘fanciful government stories’

It appears that one country has made great strides in the extremely fluid communication environment we have today to control and shape and influence public opinion.
Conditioning of the country to hearing only certain ‘voices’ has gone very well.

Now this is ‘opinion’ we are speaking about not ‘veracity’ in communications. The latter apparently has done such a good job in messaging that the discernment of truth and misinformation has purposely been made a blur putting a focus not on actually what is being said but rather towards the subtext of whether or not it aids in driving opinion completely to a party’s goals. And the pied-pipers keep piping.

The champions of misinformation reap its benefits as it props up power. And bad things will happen and keep going on as long as there will be only one ‘master’s voice’ droning over the air, in the papers and on the Net.

petofi
Guest

Why do Hungarians complain?
With the lack of principle in their society, and their woeful national characteristics…Orban is precisely who they deserve!

Michael Kaplan
Guest

Mr. Petofi (one of my favorite old Hungarians), please do not give up hope. I still have family and friends in Hungary. Orban, Trump, Le Pen etc are not equal to the populations. We have to support each other, let alone act to replace these authoritarians. Even Petofi lost hope, as have I some times, but there are still so many good people; I am reclaiming hope. So my dear friend, lets be kind to each other, accepting that many of us become hopeless some days. Best, Michael (Miska) Kaplan

Farkas
Guest

With the greatest respect, Mr. Kaplan, I suspect that you might be seriously deluding yourself about Hungarians and about prospects for better times ahead for Hungary, though I am fully aware that, as he poet Pope wrote, hope springs eternal in the human breast.

Whilst I have no doubt that there are some among the Hungarians who are very decent people, and I happen to have some very close friends among them, I think that the ethical and political rot, the Balkans mafia mentality and the capacity to screw up, and screw up badly, is too deeply rooted there, too persistent over many generations, and too widely spread across all segments of society, to seriously entertain any sanguine hopes for some kind of a more decent future there for the broad masses of Hungarians.

Farkas
Guest

There is a marvelous book by the Kádár-era Hungarian historian István Nemeskürty about the disasters that befell Hungary in the 16th century. The book, published in 1975 by Magvető, carries the title of “Önfia vágta sebét,” which is roughly translatable as “[Its Mortal] Wound Was Caused By [Its] Own Son[s].” That title – or perhaps a variant of it along the lines of “Maga vágta sebét,” which is roughly translatable as “[Its Mortal] Wound Was Caused By [Its] Own Hands” – could well be the motto for Hungarian history over the past century too, because Hungarians as a people do seem like a person who is forever busy chopping off the tree branch that he happens to be sitting on. Hungarians never seem to learn from history and change their ways, and (among others) that is why, as a group or community, I cannot help but regard them as simply a bunch of woebegone retards.

Michael Kaplan
Guest

Professor B. the author of this blog is Hungarian- as we both know- and she and many others including, but not limited to my family and friends give me hope. I can not disagree Mr. F. with many of your observations, but I still have hope as you must or you would not be reading this blog. Best, Mr. K

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