Creatures in the Budapest hills – Epilogue

The Trump campaign’s pro-Russian friends who live in the hills, overlooking the Budapest Bridge

Epilogue and Postscript


 András B. Göllner

„All along the watchtower, princes kept the view, while all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too. Outside, in the distance, a wildcat did growl. Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.”

 –Nobel laurate, Bob Dylan All Along the Watchtower

At the end of the Second Act of my documentary on the creatures in the Budapest hills, I promised to follow a new turn that may elevate the dramatic tension of this narrative. This plot-point was provided for us only days ago, by the zookeeper, who looks after the creatures that he lured into the hills above the Budapest Bridge. What was this turning point?

Barely a few days after Orbán’s new friend eased into his chair in the White House, and began to sign a series of executive orders to make America Great Again by by-passing Congress, the Hungarian PM invited the thief who broke into the DNC archives – Vladimir Putin – to visit him in Budapest. After the two “illiberal” friends of the new American President met on the Budapest Bridge, Mr. Orbán announced, and without consulting with anyone, that he would immediately pass an Act of Parliament, to shut down a University funded by “a pro-Clinton liberal Jew” – George Soros – and follow this up by another Act, that would kill off any non-governmental organization in Hungary, such as the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, that scrutinize his conduct, independently of his government’s money.

The Captain of the Budapest Bridge, Mr. Orbán, was convinced, that by these manly acts, he elevated himself into the ranks of the Three Musketeers. He knew George Soros was a thorn in the side of both Trump and Putin. Putin had earlier closed down a Soros funded university in St Petersburg, and destroyed virtually all independent non-governmental organizations in Russia. Trump was talking about doing the same to the so-called “liberal lobby” in America and is talking about his own personal assault on the First Amendment. One for all and all for one, became Orbán’s rallying cry.

Given J.D. Gordon’s earlier messages of support to the Hungarian PM and Orbán’s earlier amicable phone conversation with Trump, Orbán was shocked to learn that instead of applause, Trump’s State Department issued a reprimand against his legislative bravado. Even more infuriating, his new friend in America began to drag his feet about inviting him to the White House. In a fit of anger, the Hungarian leader quickly dismissed his ambassador to Washington, Mrs. Réka Szemerkényi.  When he was asked to give a reason for the sudden dismissal of the woman who had worked diligently on his behalf in various postings during the past 20 years, the Hungarian Prince kept his view. He declined to answer questioned and snapped – I don’t concern myself with women’s issues. (I would have asked him what about the barefoot servants, the growling wildcat, the howling wind and the two riders approaching in the distance? But alas, I’m persona non grata in Hungary.)

By now, some argue, that the Hungarian PM made a strategic miscalculation, with his assault on the CEU, and on Hungarian civil society. Like Mother Superior, in that Beatles classic, he may have jumped the gun. For the music lovers among my readers, whose heart is aching and breaking for verifiable evidence, I suggest a listen to the White Album track – Happiness is a Warm Gun. To the sombre neo-classicists, I recommend a quick run through of the Greek classics, especially, Homer’s The Iliad. Those who opt for the latter will acknowledge, that Mr. Orbán, like Achilles, allowed his hubris to get the best of him. (According to the Greeks, allowing your hubris to control your actions, is the key to a tragic ending. Syd Field would surely agree.) Students of American politics may be excused for being tight-lipped. They’d say, that Mr. Orbán failed to recognize that campaigning and governance in America are distinct activities: they do not necessarily employ the same Global Supply Networks (GSN).

So what does the future hold for American – Hungarian relations? How will this story end? I happen to think, that Trump’s foot-dragging may turn out to be only a short term set-back, rather than a megatrend. A visit by Orbán during the first 100 days, and at the outset of the Congressional hearings, could have proven to be embarrassing to the Trump team. For now, Orbán’s loss is Erdogan’s gain. Trump has a preference for strong men. Mr. Orbán fits the bill. Trump has already elevated the young North Korean leader with nukes in his vest, to the rank of a “smart cookie”. I wouldn’t even rule out Kim Jong un coming for dinner, though he’ll have to use the toilet after Duterte had flushed it. If Orbán waits his turn patiently, as the investigations into his government’s role in the collusion unwind, if his high priced lobbyists, handpicked by Arthur J. Finkelstein do a good job of whitewashing his dirty linen, if nothing of substance gets pinned on him, he may get his pina collada and his breaded butterfly shrimp in Mar-a-Lago.

As for Sebastian Gorka, the man who had the unfortunate job of explaining to Mr. Orbán’s Foreign Minister, Peter Szíjjártó a few weeks ago, that his boss will have to cool his heels for a while on the Budapest Bridge, the future is less rosy. He is packing his bag in the west wing. Where he’ll end up is still uncertain.

Péter Szijjártó and Sebastian Gorka.

Much has been written about Gorka after he moved from the Budapest hills into the west wing of the White Hose. There is no need to go over this well-worn path. But there are a couple of pieces from Gorka’s past, that have not been reported upon and need to be revealed now, to ensure that his future will take him in a direction that poses less of a security threat to America, than his previous assignment.

The scrutiny that we, along with many others directed at Gorka had an effect. Gorka no longer denies that his mom, worked for British Holocaust denier David Irving, and while doing so, she never once raised her voice against her employer’s disgusting behavior.

Gorka does not deny any more the fact that his father and he personally worked hand in glove with well-known Hungarian anti-Semites and with people, who spent their entire life undermining Hungary’s democratic order.

What he must still answer for, is his failure to apologize for his acts. He must also be held accountable for covering up his past, during his application for American citizenship. Saying that all this is just so much brown water under the bridge will not wash. Gorka still insists with a straight face and a passable British accent, that the only reason why he had identified himself on his letterhead for close to 20 years as a member of the anti-Semitic Hungarian Order of Vitéz, the only reason why he wore the medal of this group around his neck at Trump’s inauguration ball, was to demonstrate his love for his parents, and not as a sign of sympathy for the devil. (Please Mick Jagger – you didn’t hear this from me.) It is essential for Mr. Gorka to take ownership of the skeletons in his closet. He must not be allowed to get away with saying that his posing for close to twenty years as a member of an organization that is dedicated to terminating the flow of Jewish blood in the veins of Hungary’s body politic, was nothing but innocent role playing.

But Mr. Gorka must come clean on two other things that I am now about to press him on. It so happens, that I knew of Mr. Gorka in Hungary during the 20 years I lived in his close proximity in the Budapest hills. (I too moved East once, from Montreal to Budapest, not to destroy but to help build democracy in the country of my birth.) I tracked Gorka’s career from the time he took up his position as a young man in the Ministry of Defense, working next to a well-known anti-Semite, Ernő Raffay, who was later publicly identified as a former secret service informant of the Communist dictatorship. Gorka got his first job thanks to his father’s connections to the anti-Semitic high brass in the Ministry. He found his sea-legs working around Raffay, during the time, the Deputy Minister oversaw the transfer of the KGB infiltrated Hungarian military intelligence services from the Ministry of the Interior, to the Ministry of Defense. (Prior to 1990, military intelligence was housed in the MOI.) Gorka must be questioned by American military intelligence, about what he knows about this transfer and what role if any he played in the integration of the former KGB operatives into the MOD, which today handles all of Hungary’s top secret interaction with NATO.

But there is a second matter that must be investigated, and this again has not come up in any previous coverage of Gorka in the American media. Gorka’s former boss and good friend, orchestrated not only the integration of the KGB agents into the Hungarian MOD, but also coordinated the secret Hungarian arm shipments into Croatia during the early 1990s while Gorka worked at his side. The purpose of these secret Hungarian arms shipments was to destabilize the former Yugoslavia, so as to enable Hungary to regain territories for herself following Yugoslavia’s break-up. (Raffay publicly admitted this, as well as his role in the caper in a recent TV interview in Hungary. Anyone can listen into this here.

This the story does not end here. Like all the creatures that inhabit the Budapest hills, and travel on the Budapest Bridge, Gorka’s former boss and friend, Ernő Raffay proudly admits his affinity to Vladimir Putin in the above interview. His advocacy for closer ties with Russia than with America is only partly due to his belief that America is overpopulated by Jews, who, according to Raffay, are genetically “hostile to Hungary’s Christian-national character”. The ex-Deputy Minister of Defense publicly admitted in the interview I pointed to, that his pro-Russian advocacy is driven, to a large extent by the desire to regain formerly Hungarian territories from the Ukraine, the country that is under assault from Russia. Like Trump in America, Raffay wants to make Hungary great again.

It seems, that picking up loose pieces from a country that may be disintegrating along its frontier, is as important to Mr. Orbán as it was for Prime Minister Antall, who ordered Gorka’s boss to ship armaments into Croatia in 1992. Mr. Gorka must be pressed hard about what he knows of his former boss’s role in this effort at territorial revision, what he knows of the current Hungarian government’s plans and of its discussions with Putin, on this front. Last but not least, Mr. Gorka must be asked to explain, how does it feel to be a rolling stone, or like Mr. Jones, in the Ballad of a Thin Man. He should tell us what it’s like to see his countrymen follow the path that drove them, 80 years ago, into the arms of Hitler, because the latter promised to reward the Magyars with some crumbs from the table, after his march into the Ukraine.

One may ask: How does any of this relate to the Trump campaign and the allegation, that Hungary was part of the Global Supply Network (GSN) that delivered Donald Trump into the White House? The conjecture that should be refuted is this. Key Trump associates, from Paul Manafort, J.D. Gordon, Jeff Sessions, Mike Flynn, and others played an important role in not only loosening up the Republican Party’s platform on how to handle Russia’s aggressive behavior, its annexation of Crimea, but in communicating a kinder gentler Republican approach to the Russians in future cases of aggression. Hungary was not only privy to these conversations, because some of it took place on the Budapest Bridge, but was also the place from where a lot of the work to undermine Hillary Clinton’s credibility, was originating from. The Trump campaign was the prototype for Finkelstein’s pan-European business initiative that hopes to undermine liberal regimes and capitalize on the rising tide of radical right wing populism in all of the transatlantic nations.

The Government of Viktor Orbán capitalizes on its membership in the EU and NATO by telling Eastern autocrats that it can serve as their eyes, ears and mouths inside the Western alliance. It has branded itself, as not only an illiberal state, like them, but one that can get away with it inside the Western alliance and can serve as their ticket to getting away with murder. That Russia interfered in the American elections, that it does so in all the West European elections is no longer in doubt. That Hungary serves as one of the most trusted brokers in the establishment and operation of Global Supply Networks on behalf of anti-liberal forces, has been documented not only by me, but by a host of well-known scholars, and perhaps none better than Kim Lane Scheppele, Jan Werner Müller, Cas Mudde, János Kornai, and Gábor Halmai. It is now up to the US Congress, law enforcement agencies in Europe and America, journalists of conscience world-wide, and to all concerned citizens who value justice, equality, human rights and the dignity of our fellow human beings, to stand up and be counted.


When I heard the American President, on prime time American television a couple of days ago, deride America’s journalists, and follow this with a recital of Al Wilson’s The Snake– a poem that bears a striking resemblance to a short essay that Hungary’s anti-Semitic rulers loved to recite prior to the deportation of 600,000 Jews to the gas-chambers of Auschwitz – the hair stood up on my back. (Read: Albert Wass. The Conquest of the Rats: A Tale for Youths. The only English translation of this incitement to hatred towards the Jews is on an American Nazi website, which speaks volumes. See the Stormfront site here.

After I listened to Donald Trump, I thought of my friend Elie Wiesel, and of the great Randolph L. Braham, to whom I dedicated one of my earlier works. (See: András B. Göllner. “Orbán and the Jews”. The Hungarian Free Press.)  After I heard that The Rat, and The Snake, are the favorite tales of most of the creatures who moved into the hills overlooking the Budapest Bridge, I began to write again.

Trump’s speech in Pennsylvania, on the night of the annual meeting of White House correspondents, the enthusiastic reception his performance received from millions of ordinary Americans, reminded me of the reason why I left the land of my birth 7 years ago, why I never hung up my academic gloves while becoming a civil rights activist and an independent, investigative journalist.

Trump’s effort to execute a paradigm shift in America, by changing the view of Americans towards immigrants, should compel Americans to go out more often. I suggest, that on their first outing, they go and see Leviathan, the movie. (Those who can leave their twitter accounts for a while and return to the land of literacy, may want to try the pages of the original masterpiece, written hundreds of years ago by the great philosopher, Thomas Hobbes.) The Russian film, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, shows where Trump’s friend, Vladimir  Putin has taken Russia from the state of nature described by Thomas Hobbes. Zvyagintsev’s film describes the life that awaits citizens at the end of the line, in an illiberal state, after the marriage of Capitalism to Authoritarianism, a marriage blessed by the Russian Orthodox Church. Zvyagintsev describes his film, as a story of “love and tragedy. It deals with some of the most important social issues of contemporary Russia” (Variety, March 21, 2014.) In fact, the film is archetypal: Leviathan, the movie, is about the archetypal city of Dis. (No, my dear friends, Dis is not an abbreviation for Disneyland.) The mayor of Dis is not Roman Madyanov but Geryon. (Please turn to Dante’s Divine Comedy – whatever edition – and kindly descend to the 8th district of Hell.)

Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan is the story of the post-modern illiberal state under construction within the walls of the transatlantic community. Leviathan is just the sequel to another story about love and tragedy: the one that led the Reverend Jim Jones and his Peoples’ Temple followers to their tragic final destination, deep in the jungles of Guyana. My reports, from Budapest, is also just another story. It is a documentary, driven by the desire to help my brothers and sisters living to the south of my new home in Canada, to avoid a tragedy driven by hubris. I tried to follow the counsel of a great American journalist, Carl Bernstein: I tried to present my audience with the best obtainable version of the truth. If in a few places, I took poetic license, I blame it on Bob, who is well known for mixing up the medicine.

András Göllner

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