Healdsburg Shop Owner Denies "Ownership" of Far-Right Hungarian Website

Bela Varga, of The Red Paprika, says he registered the site in the U.S. to help friends in Hungary who were being shut down by the government.


A Healdsburg shop owner says he was characterized incorrectly as the "owner" of a far-right Hungarian website, but that he did register the site in his name in the United States as a favor to friends in Hungary.

Bela Varga, proprietor of specialty foods store was identified as the owner of Hungarian website kuruc.info in a story this week on Hungarian political news website politics.hu.

The politics.hu site quoted as its source a Hungarian whistleblower website, atlatszo.hu, which published its story on Tuesday.

"I am not the owner," said Varga, 49, on Friday. He said his main involvement was that he registered the site kuruc.info in his name in 2008, and also opened a bank account for the website. 

Varga said he did the U.S. registration and bank account as a favor to friends in Hungary who were unable to do so in their own country.

"I helped them out in 2008, when the government closed them down and they couldn't open a bank account," said Varga, who has lived in the U.S. since 1988

Varga said that although he maintains contact with the Hungarian website operators on a regular basis, that he did not control the content on kuruc.info and was not involved in posting stories on the site.

He declined to give the names of the operators, saying that he was "protecting their safety."

Varga said the kuruc.info website was unpopular with and considered "far-right" by the Hungarian authorities, which he described as a "Communist liberal government."

He said kuruc.info focused on criticism about various groups -- including "Jews, gypsies and Hungarians" -- whom the writers believed were perpetrating various misdeeds.

He said some of the 20 or so kuruc.info writers "leaned toward Nazism" but that "others were more moderate."

"It is a no-holds-barred website," said Varga, who said he valued freedom of expression.

"In a healthy society, we have to tolerate differences," he said. "As long as the grievances are expressed in a peaceful manner."

According to the politics.hu article, the Hungarian Prime Minister earlier this year asked U.S. congressional leaders to "assist in terminating the anti-Semitic provocations in Hungary supported from the United States."

It was not immediately clear from the article if there had been any response to the Prime Minister's request.

Varga said he came to the U.S. in 1988, picking Healdsburg as home because he wanted to establish himself as a winemaker.

He said he worked as a winemaker for 20 years, and still maintains numerous wine-related websites, he said. Varga and his wife Judy established The Red Paprika in 2008.

Vargo said he is also a jazz pianist who has played with jazz greats Pat Metheny and Chick Corea.  He said he currently plays with a local Sonoma County-based jazz group.

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Anna Baros September 08, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Perfect point.
Anna Baros September 08, 2012 at 07:33 PM
The creep of Healdsburg will love this article in your papaer. Hungarian papers are already reporting that he is "cleared" by the US media. Great job.
Peter Houlihan September 08, 2012 at 07:40 PM
The Athena Institute is an organization that tracks the activities of hate groups in Hungary. They have a page devoted to Kuruc.info www.athenainstitute.eu/en/map/olvas/26#read They also published a recent report on the increase in extremist activity in HUngary. Part of this increase is fueled by the propaganda published in Kuruc.info www.athenainstitute.eu/en/news/read/222
Lee September 08, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Wow, I guess I'll have to get my Hungarian spice needs elsewhere!
Keri Brenner (Editor) September 09, 2012 at 03:20 AM
Peter Houlihan: Thank you for taking the time to offer these resources. They are helpful in getting additional perspective.
Keri Brenner (Editor) September 09, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Marklar: Thank you for offering the direct link on Google translate. http://bit.ly/StjKLk This is helpful in getting a further perspective.
Keri Brenner (Editor) September 09, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Thanks Carlos!
Keri Brenner (Editor) September 09, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Abel: Thank you for this information. Other commenters have also talked about this "flashmob" incident in private emails to Patch.
M. Jakabfy September 09, 2012 at 08:08 AM
Of course the problem is not with the Healdsburg Patch, this particular article or its author. How could she knew? As a native and resident of Hungary I am greatly embarrassed by kuruc.info and all its contributors and associates, including Mr Varga. I am kindly asking all citizens of Healdsburg to continue buying Hungarian products, maybe somewhere else from now on. You can be assured that all decent citizens on Hungary find this website completely unacceptable. The reason why I believe Hungary is still a decent country is that these guys are doing this anonymously. Whatever they say, it is not the authorities they are afraid of. We have freedom of press and the authorities have proven to be completely ineffective against this kind of hate speech. It is, in fact, their fellow citizens who do not approve this. These people do not have the balls to put their real names on their miserable rants, because then their relatives, neighbours and workmates would know what they really stand for. My only real question about the article is this: Have Mr Chick Corea and Mr Pat Metheny ever heard of this guy, really? My internet search on a pianist named Bela Varga ever playing with these masters has produced no results whatsoever.
Ambrózy Lőrinc September 09, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Intresting, that your country has REAL nazi party, like nsm88, and you fear a Hungarian news portal... :-)
atlatszo.hu September 09, 2012 at 12:05 PM
The link to the original article (hu) is misspelled http://atlatszo.hu/2012/09/04/bemutatjuk-a-kuruc-info-tulajdonosat/
Eszter Garai-Édler September 09, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Preface This report explores how the series of harassments and threats against my life which have recently embittered my life began, as well as how I try to withstand and get beyond this frightening and paralyzing situation. Above all, however, I try to comprehend and ensure that others become aware of the processes in Hungary which resulted in this situation, in order to assure that the political situation in Hungary is improved and doesn’t get even worse, which in my opinion is the natural dynamics if there is no effective attempt to curb current anti-democratic and neo-Nazi activities. http://goo.gl/M5nkh
egy magyar September 09, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I try to follow "far right" and liberal media too. They both go way too far everyday. You have to filter people not just read and believe everything what is written. Some people see the world a bit different than you, is that a crime too? When you going to start invading them? I guess pretty soon, since they have oil too? Yeah, I am talking about Iran, hope you wont get away with this too! If this wont get on the comments I wont be disappointed, America!
egy magyar September 09, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Google Translate is great too. :P Especially when it comes to hungarian. Interestingly "Anti-Hungarian" translated as "Anti-Alcoholism". It could not translate that the "Roma Guard" leader says he is collecting money for WEAPONs, which he meant in a GOOD WAY. Just try to google translate his facebook page. Good luck, it does not even makes sense in hungarian. "Its not a crime, in America" translated as "No offence, America". How is that useful for anyone who wants understand any of the aritcles?
Californicus September 09, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Keri Brenner, Some more information for you: Hungary has laws restricting the freedom of speech. America doesn't, which is why the US won't "assist in terminating the anti-Semitic provocations in Hungary supported from the United States.". The freedom we have in America to offer our hateful opinions is the same that gives us the right to shout down the kuruc.info sites of the world without resorting to the kind of censorship the Hungarians engage in.
egy magyar September 09, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Eszter Garai-Édler, is a perfect example of the anti-Hungarians who calls on anti-semitism cause thats easier than let us live and prosper. Wonder who pays her for that or does she just do it in her freetime. What about all the other people be it civilians, or soldeirs died in WWs and after? And Nowadays? Their life is less important cause they are gentiles? If you dont hate them just let say not a big fan of them, you are still against them. If you like your own country, you are against them. Stop pointing fingers and look inside. It should be natural to like those from the same family, same village, same county, same country. Is it not obvious to dislike those who are against the common good. Also just to remind you to be hungarian is to be a useful citizen of the country. I told you I am not dissapointed, and YES one of my comments has been deleted. I know exactly why.... It is also a tipical thing that you only here one side of this suffering in english sites. Keri Brenner, Californicus, if there would be no freedom of speech in Hungary, how people like Eszter be still writing comments on any websites and go protesting against a 100 year old bloke, who is a suspect, but not a convict. If she would be in such grave danger by so called extremist how she would take time to upload her stuff on DropBox and post it in all Western sites? In secret? She is brave, isnt it? Go back to bed, America.
Keri Brenner (Editor) September 09, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Thank you for the correction. The link to the original article has been fixed. Thanks again.
Keri Brenner (Editor) September 09, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Californicus: Thank you for this reflection on free speech, a topic which is certainly relevant to this story. Since the story was published, we have received a number of email messages from people in Hungary and elsewhere who have been threatened or who are afraid for their lives because they are not allowed freedom of speech, because they disagree with certain factions, or because of their race or religion. It is sad and disturbing; your post does remind us all that we do need to be grateful for the freedoms accorded to us in the U.S., and to send people in Europe and everywhere the hope that they would enjoy such freedoms as well.
Bela Varga September 10, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Mr. Jakabfy, Why don't you ask Mr. Metheny himself? He's playing in Sonoma next week. I'm sitting in the VIP lounge. I don't need a resume, he'll tell you heart to heart.
atlatszo.hu September 10, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Atlatszo.hu is a pro freedom of speech organisation, we don't intend to silence kuruc.info in any way. We just want them to be more transparent regarding to ownership structure and the real identity of the contributors and editors. We think that someone should bear the responsibility in real life for their misdeeds as well. Kuruc started a smear campaign against our editor-in-chief, that is why we started this investigation into their real identities. We will take someone to court, and let the judges decide.
Californicus September 10, 2012 at 04:44 PM
If you criminalize hateful and offensive speech, you abridge the freedom of speech.
Jutka September 13, 2012 at 11:11 PM
egy magyar, if you are neutral (I m sceptical about it), you must have known the "roma guard" is never going to happen, not only because the power authorities are effective against roma, but mostly because the roma are never going to stand for military ideas...if you "have your eyes open", you must remember for the serial racist motive killings against roma, such hate crime, terror did not make roma being militant and organise themselves as hate groups against anyone!
Surmoka September 17, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Keri Brenner: please do not believe everything you are told. Not even those stories from "Hungarians" who complain that they are deprived of their freedom of speech. This is mostly an opposition-organized propaganda from within Hungary to depict the current democratically elected government that enjoys a two-thirds majority in the Parliament as a dictatoric bunch.
Mutt September 17, 2012 at 11:32 PM
... and opposition is bad. Right. This is about Bela Varga and his views. He just gave a phone interview recently that was published in the HVG magazine, one of the most read publications in Hungary. He, among other things, called Janos Ader, the president of Hungary a Jewish crony.
M. Jakabfy September 18, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Dear Mr Varga, I am glad you are reading this conversation after all. I am sorry to have questioned your history as a musician because the world would definitely be a better place if you stayed in music and never ventured into semitic studies. I wish you a great night at the Opera House tonight.
Surmoka September 18, 2012 at 08:39 AM
Mutt: the international media campaign of the opposition is a fact. As they are unable to win their battle for the voters within the borders of the country, they seek for international assistance. That's what they usually did throughout their history, after all. And this campaign is based on spreading false information. Independently of this, kuruc.info is a neo-nazi portal. But let's put things where they belong.
Mutt September 18, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Look. When you see foreign language (non Hungarian) articles that are critical of the government, that is not a conspiracy. I live in the US and nobody organized me ... I do it for free :-) But again this is irrelevant. I'm glad we agree that the kuruc.info supported by Varga is a nazi publication.
reel one September 26, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Mr.Varga your website (kuruc.info) things = neonazies!how you write abaut the US president?dont like?I thing for you just like US$,!neonazies,parazit!! Move back Hungary!
kate foley-beining November 04, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Thank you to native speakers of Hungarian for providing reliable translations of this neonazi hate speech into English. There's no patience for intolerance in Healdsburg.
Lee November 16, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Looks like the Spice store is closed.


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