The Budapest Bridge – Epilogue

“All I know is what’s on the internet”

-Donald Trump

Since I published my two-part series in the Hungarian Free Press, (my favourite blog, the one I lovingly call the “Little Engine That Could”) my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Some callers breathe hard and tell me to “go back to Israel” and hang up, before I can ask – why should I, when I’ve never been there, and have no money for a plane-ride? As it is, my travels to and fro points of interest these days are confined to the territories I can pedal to on the back of my Chinese-made bicycle. As a Canadian, I welcome spring with open arms – it means, I can once again travel. Cyber space, of course, is another matter. There, I am a globetrotter. I travel faster and in more directions in quick order, than your average water spider.

I wouldn’t want to mislead anyone. I have not only been on the receiving end of calls from heavy breathers, or from friends who warn me to guard my backside from strange looking people carrying black umbrellas. I’ve been getting numerous calls from some of the biggest names working in the mass media from around the globe. Many of them would like to follow up with me and in particular, want access to the names, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of my confidential sources in Hungary.

I tell the callers, that approx. 70% of the material in my 2 part series was taken from meticulously researched, empirically verifiable, publicly available Hungarian language sources, the remaining 30% from my network of confidential „informants”. I do not share their names of the latter. Just the other day, Nikolai Andruschenko, a 74 year old informant on the Russian secret service in St Petersburg was beaten to death. I shall not reveal the names of the people who helped me to stumble upon the doggie poo I found along my academic path in the giant forest I’ve been exploring with the tools of the social sciences.

Landerneau Forest – Château de Joyeuse Garde. Photo: moreau.henri

And this brings me to the essence of this epilogue. I have been tremendously impressed by some of the journalists I have spoken to. I hope he does not mind me mentioning his name, since he was one of the callers – the star reporter Carl Bernstein – who brought Richard Nixon to his knees. Parts of the American mass media’s continuing dedication to fact based reporting is, to me, one of the 7 wonders of the world. The rapid demise of that industry as a consequence of cyber technologies, and the movements of the market mechanism’s so-called “invisible hand” is equally astonishing. When I turn on CNN I don’t know whether to cry or laugh. But let’s move on.

I wanted to briefly reflect upon the „object” I found on the floor of that giant forest I’m exploring, and onto which, I wanted to direct the attention of investigative journalists the world over, and via the „Little Engine That Could”. For those who are curious about the „forest” I’m travelling, I’ll provide a brief and easily digestible description. I’m curious to find out why the more than 200 year old marriage between Capitalism and Democracy, which as a child I was always told would last forever, is falling apart in front of my eyes. I’d like to know about the new couple moving into my neighbourhood down the street, across the Potomac, and into many parts of Europe. (I see Mr. Erdogan is coming to visit.)

The Budapest Bridge came about when I took my eyes off the tree tops, and looked at some objects before my feet. Academics generally do not appreciate this kind of shift in focus, let alone the colleagues that engage in talking about what they found on the forest floor. I received a few phone calls from them as well. I reminded them in my sweetest voice, that I am professionally bonded. I’m an Emeritus Professor. I have a day job. I have nothing to lose but my Chinese bicycle. I reassured them, that when we get in the car to drive to the next world congress on counting the cats in Zanzibar, I’ll clean the shit off my shoes.

Where was I anyways? Yes. Fact or fiction. The genius of Arthur J. Finkelstein, Viktor Orbán, Donald Trump, Roy Cohn, Árpád Habony, Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, Rebekah Mercer, Sebastian Gorka (hope I didn’t misspell anybody’s name) and all of the characters on the Budapest Bridge derives from their recognition, that what made Homo Sapiens the last of the surviving human species, is their preference for fictional rather than factual language. It is this knowledge of what is our species’ communications default setting, and the ability to act on this knowledge, that enabled the Donald to win the 2016 US elections. The Budapest Bridge was just one of the places where some of the nitty gritty activities were outsourced by this bunch, to keep the news hounds and the FBI at bay.

Here is the „Big Picture” – the secret of Donald Trump’s electoral success. It’s a secret that makes me worry for the safety of my children, and that of my brothers and sisters the world over, now that the Donald has discovered that he can increase his sagging popularity and mass media ratings, by lobbing some nukes into other people’s backyards. Apart from misdiagnosing the locus and the impact of the collusion between certain members of Trump’s team and the Russian secret service, the American mass media also missed the central dynamics of the force that propelled Trump into the White House. Trump won, first of all, because he understands what Canadian media guru, Marshall McLuhan meant, when he predicted, that in the post-modern age, the medium will become the message. Secondly, he won because he understands, what I referred to en passant above – Homo Sapiens prefer fictional, visceral language to factual discourse. Ever since the publication of John Grinder and Richard Bandler’s book, – The Structure of Magic – Mr. Trump has been trained and surrounded by strategists who have mastered both the hardware and the software needed to excel in the field of political deception. (For those who want a more detailed outline of McLuhan’s ideas, please consult his magnum opus, Understanding Media. Regarding the centrality of fictional language to the development of Homo Sapiens, I suggest Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)

Let’s listen to Trump’s senior White House strategist, Steve Bannon, and his testimony to the ability of Trump’s team to harness the dynamics of the forces I have just outlined, and what Bannon sees as the outcome of this mastery. “We’ll govern for 50 years. The Democrats have lost sight of what the world’s about. The media has no f***ing idea what’s going on. Donald speaks in a non-political vernacular, he communicates with people in a very visceral way.” (Michael Wolff, The Hollywood Reporter, November 18, 2016) My aim with these three articles was to direct our attention to the pursuit of the animals, who have left their droppings along the path I’m travelling on. My aim was to call on scholars, journalists and concerned citizens, to examine, a bit more closely, the dynamics of the forces that fuel Bannon’s confidence, and the consequences of his confidence for the survival of our species, and our planet.

András Göllner

18 Comments

  1. Professor Gollner;
    You indicated previously, and now again stated that ;
    “…that approximately 70%of the material in my 2 part serious was taken from metaculiously researched, empirically verifiable, publically available Hungarian language sources ,the remaining 30% from my network of confidential “informants”.”

    Fine doctor, I’ll accept that. But doubt it very much! That means that you can reveal that 70% ?!

    As matter of fact, if any part might be evidence of a crime having been committed, and you have not shared it openly with legal authorities ,you can, and may be charged as an accessory to that crime.

    Or at least, for withholding such vital information. Hope you are aware of all that ?

    I do very strongly doubt most, at least the basic precept of your allegation. But sure do not want to see you end up in any legal problems.

    Of course, the issue of possible liability is present when making all these allegations, and naming persons.

    But my point is doctor, IF you have that 70% evidence, that is NOT from confidential sources, just why you are not able, or willing to reveal ?

    So far, everything you alleged, looks only spooky, but totally unrealistic.

    Just why in this world, any members of the Trump team would have had to involve such spooky enterprising as you allage under a bridge in Budapest with the Russian FSB ?

    Members of both Clinton and Trump team, those who were in line to be in the Cabinet of either candidate, in case of election victory, had met previously with the Russian, and other ambassadors (about 20 of them), in person, to inform them of the expected position with their countries. That is a normal standard.

    Your under the bridge suspense novel, is no more than a suspense novel. But then you need to state that !

  2. Prof. Gollner,
    You have done a great service to open further investigations into the morass of the Trump, Putin, Orban triangle. The truth will come out and heads will fall and regimes change for the better we hope.

  3. Prof. Göllner,

    I’m sorry to say that although I completely share your views on the political situation in Hungary and on the nature of its fascist (light) regime I find the Budapest Bridge articles speculative and generally under par.

    A couple of examples, in addition to the minor mistakes pointed out already:

    I seriously doubt that “Budapest is home to approximately 1000 members of the Russian secret service, most of them in the possession of Hungarian passports” and that the FSB European headquarters are in Budapest. It’s a suspiciously nice round figure, could have been more innocuous if it included also agents and collaborators. Hear say won’t do with me.

    How are the “Hungarian passports provided for by Hungary’s pro-Russian Ministry of the Interior.” ? The Ministry issues ALL passports, but they CANNOT “be had for a hefty fee -300,000 Euros a pop “. The purchaser of a € 300 000 State Residency Bond + 50 000 fee, is given residence, not citizenship.

    And it is a bad idea to even mention in the context of international politics Imre Kerényi , a theater director (and twat), who had been widely ridiculed for his tasteless and dated propaganda products (utterly talentless picture series, distribution of free Basic Law Commemorative Edition copies, Basic Law Table,etc. For his political opportunism (from communist to MDF to Fidesz to Jobbik) and pathetic statements he has been not only been ridiculed, but successfully sued. He was moved backstage long ago.

    Keep your game up.

  4. @ Karl Bush;
    Just wonder, how can one open an investigation, to be a “great service” to find the actual facts, when one’s mind is already made up that the persons investigated are already and totally morally corrupt.
    Would not it need an open and unbiased mindset even to think of investigation something or some one, fairly and honestly?

    The anti Russia ,or anti Putin atittude come from the war-mongering behavoir of some factions in US.
    Orban-Trump parallele imagined , simply that both, in their countries opposed to allowing the muslim masses to flow into their country.

    But that added to the popularity of both Orban and Trump. As matter of fact ,Orban likely been considered more popular for his stance in US, than even in Hungary.

    But just how does that makes it a conspiracy ?
    And how and why this so called Hungarian connection under the Elizabeth bridge would have been necessary?
    Respective members of both the Clinton and Trump team, have met ambassadors of several countries before the day of election.
    What need could have existed for the needed of secret agents ?
    Can any one make a reasonable and logical connection ???

  5. @ Bendeguz79

    “you can, and may be charged as an accessory to crime”

    Nice to see you on the English surface of Dr Adam’s blog. Why don’t you charge me ? Come on – throw the book at me (though knowing you, you’d much rather just burn it.)

    For non-Hungarian readers: Bendeguz79 is a regular troll in the Hungarian language KMH, where he spends his time cleansing the dirty laundry of the Orbán regime, and maligning the opponents of that regime. He has charged me with far worse things there than being an acesory to crime.

    Bendeguz79 ! Would you like me to translate a little segment of your libelous “scholarship” for the benefit of our English speaking readers here, or would you like to take this on yourself ? And in between, why don’t you try to refute just one of my statements that appeared in The Budapest Bridge ? Please make it fast, cause I’m workin’ on a sequel. A quick take on the creatures living in the Buda Hills overlooking the Budapest Bridge. 🙂

  6. @ Observer

    ” I find the Budapest Bridge articles speculative and generally under par”.

    Thank you for sharing your doubts about the quality of my scholarship with me. Once again, allow me to congratulate you for your lack of courage to identify yourself by name. My I gently remind you, that the community of scholars and investigative journalists do not consider “doubts” as credible refutations in the process known as conjectures and refutations. Karl Popper, bless his heart, would have beaten you with a marshmallow. 🙂

    “Observer”. I will not deal with your profoundly ignorant attempt to refute me (e.g. your ignorance about Mr. Kerényi’s position within the Hungarian Prime Minister’s office or your unwillingness to pay any attention to the empirically verified incitement of Mr. K to anti-American hatred, and his calling for the physical destruction of the White House, or his embrace of Iranian terrorists, and those who would love to drown the people of Abraham in the sea. I provided page numbers. Please leave the bathroom and go to the library.)

    Observer: I’m afraid, if you were in my class, I’d have to give you a failing grade. But do not fret. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. I’m confident in your ability to try again. In fact, I know you will. How do I know this ? Easy. I can see into the future 🙂 Please prove me wrong.

  7. Prof Göllner,

    Since we are on the same political side all I’ll say that I hope in the future, which I see less clearly, some evidence will dispel my “doubt”.

    Observing, analyzing politics has little use for the Poverty of h, Open society , Law of people’s kind, I prefer the Dictator’s Handbook, Lying about Hitler, Anatomy of fascism kind.
    But, Philosophy aside, ignorance is not my strong point.

    Re twat IK pls see https://444.hu/tag/kerenyi-imre?page=1

    The ad hominem part is very disappointing, very Hun though.

  8. Andras Gollner;

    First of all Gollner, what I mentioned previously, was a friendly remark to you, reminding that there is such thing as liability even under the First Amendment.
    But you have turned , not just to unfriendliness but to anger and animosity.
    So, you have just drawn the line, going into accusations, name callings, but also demonstrated your level of willingness to make even treats, beside you uncivilized manner and your outright animosity to debate the subject of your own article and postings.
    You clearly demonstrated your level of personal viciousness ,instead of an intellectual response or explanation.

    So, what are you going to do Gollner?
    Send the Lenin boys after me,and even after “Observer” from the “Buda Hills, overlooking the bridge”?

    Nice response, from a “professor”! Hm???

    P.S.
    NSA collects all e-mails, you know. Read again what you have included. They might pick up your remark. (I am NOT going to repeat you words here).

  9. Andras Gollner ,4/22-9;22 pm Wrote;

    A. Gollner stated about me;

    “He spends his time cleansing the dirty laundry of the Orban regime…”

    I hereby challenge you to post anything I have supposedly ever written that has ever been any possible attempt of your above stated allegation.

    I have never addressed anything about your Orban, as I have not the slightest knowledge of Orban nor his regime. Have absolutely NO knowledge or any experience of such subject, in, or about Hungary.
    That you, or any one could possibly might consider as you stated; “..to cleanse the dirty laundry…”

    You do it Gollner, or you labeled yourself a …….r!

    2., Also stated; “He has charged me with far worse things there than being an accessory to crime…”

    Let every one read that very comment posted just above , dated 2017, April 21, 7;07 pm (du),
    the first comment posted here above.

    Is that a “charge” or a reminder of the stated existing laws? Let any reader make his/her honest and intelligent conclusion of it.

    You turned the possibility of an intelligent debate of your allegation of the Trump-Putin contact vie the Russian FBS in Budapest, that you stated of having 70% evidence, only 30% from private.
    sources.
    When chellanged your allegation, instead of providing any explanation you turned vicious in your reply.
    Very common of any one who can not rationally engage, only to make totally untrue statements, and issue treats.
    You also attempted to trash Akos Magyar as well.

    Now as the saying goes; you better put up, or shut up ! The ball is in your court !

    • Hungarian Free Press says:

      You mentioned earlier, under another article as well, that you do not follow Hungarian politics and are largely clueless when it comes to current events, issues and political realities in Hungary. A prerequisite of intelligent debate and discourse is that you have some knowledge of the country and topic being discussed. It was you who suggested that you have none.

  10. Bendeguz79

    Is this better 🙂

    Please note the above comment from HFP’s editors.

    I tend to use wing-nuts to tighten the seat on my Chinese bicycle, rather than as something to engage with in a dialogue.

  11. @ Observer

    “Since we are on the same political side”

    Please exercise a bit of constraint in jumping to conclusions. Being anti – Orbán does not necessarily make one a democrat, respectful of the dignity of our fellow human beings, or of the ethical rules of discourse. I’ll take you seriously when you refute my statements empirically rather than simply venting doubts and verifiable falsehoods. Please don’t take offence. Retool.

  12. HFP

    Please take note, that I have responded and posted comments on the articles you have published, and responded comments posted by the readers of those articles.
    Had no intention to shine any “knowledge” , only have remarked on occassions of what I remember of that land from the long ago. A very few of the present day events that rarely make headlines in US.

  13. Prof Göllner,

    This is not the place for personal correspondence, but since it concerns „the rules of discourse” I’ll go through your points.

    My “lack of courage to identify yourself by name” or “not necessarily [being] a democrat” are irrelevant to the subject.

    We cannot resolve the “jumping to conclusions”, “ethical rules of discourse” and the empirical refutation issues, for the simple reason that there is no evidence presented. This is completely understandable when one deals with this subject and, presuming so, I expressed only “doubt” re the most implausible example, i.e. 1000 members with Hungarian passports etc. (1. As a rule there are no staff lists, even the ambassadors don’t know all operatives, only station chiefs have such information, the Russians are particularly secretive. 2. Such large number of operatives are never assigned to or even converge on a single control center).

    The “venting ….verifiable falsehoods”, if you mean the Ministry providing for passports” or the Residency Bonds vs citizenship/passports points are actually facts.

    The Kerényi case is more fuzzy, but I am convinced he is only a bigger parrot in the commando, position notwithstanding, i.e. has no influence on any foreign policy matter.
    On the issue of being “respectful of the dignity of our fellow human beings” I will let the readers’ judge.

    I don’t take offense, emotions have no bearing on my handling evidence or conducting discourse. I am well familiar with the legal/discovery of evidence, which is applicable here, e.g. see David Irving vs Deborah Lipstadt & Penguin Books.
    I was only disappointed (if this is an emotion) by your response.

    I rest my case.

  14. @ Observer

    I’m sorry to hear that I disappointed you. I too am disappointed with myself at times. I know the feeling. Pick yourself up, and carry on. That’s what I do.

    As for evidence – fat lot of good it did for Galileo, Copernicus when they went against the true believers. Fat lot of good it did for the 73 year old Andruschenko, who was beaten to death in Putin’s backyard for trying to please you. Sometimes when I venture into a discussion of the laws of nature, of physics for example, I roll out the proof presented by Pascal, Newton, or Archimedes. But most of the time, I assume my readers are familiar with the evidence. There are times, when it’s not the scientist, but the reader that needs to get up to speed. You cannot disprove the existence of God by doubting, you cannot prove His existence just by believing in Him. Forgive me, but I have to move on.

  15. You repeatedly mentioned as fact that J.D. Gordon “travelled six times to Budapest, the European Headquarters of the Russian secret service.”

    Can you reference a source for these 6 visits? Thanks.

  16. @ Felix Cseh

    Mr. J.D. Gordon admitted this himself in a Hungarian language interview in Mandiner.hu on December 1st 2016. Please check it out. I’m afraid this is all the time I have for people who do not read, and would like me to serve as their pro bono research assistant. As the saying goes – this ain’t my job man ! Felix, I hope you are grinning now like a Cheshire cat. 🙂

  17. A.B. Gollner;

    Felix did NOT ask you to do any “research” for him !
    He only requested you to give the ref. that you used to make your claim.
    You have stated before repeatedly that you have done a very thorough research in order to present your allegation.
    Do not you read, or recall the statements you made in your article?
    He just asked you point that out to him. Why not?
    May be you have none of those “mathematical”, “empirical” facts. Do you? We are all eager to see them.
    Please do not keep it all secret too long.

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