The Archive of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989

A Catch-22 December 1989, Groundhog-Day Production. Presenting the Personal Research & Scholarship of Richard Andrew Hall, Ph.D.

decembrie 1989 : “Inca o Fateta a Diversiunii”

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on July 31, 2009

Sint citeva publicatii care gazduiesc cu seninatate unele actiune sa le zicem…ofensive indreptate impotriva armatei.  Nu stim in ce masura le avantajeaza sau nu aceste sageti otravite, nici nu ne-am propus sa aflam.  Probabil ca n-am avea nici cine stie ce sanse, intrucit serviciile de informatii puse in slujba minuitorilor de zvonuri si calomnii beneficiaza si de alte…servicii, lesne de inteles de ce factura.  De ce lesne?  Pentru ca le demasca…stilul materialelor publicate, o anume arie de notiuni si informatii, precum si modul de a le aranja, astfel incit, in continuare, castanele sa fie scoase din foc tot cu mina altuia…Numai ca astfel de intentii nu pot ramine chiar neobservate si nesesizate.  Semnele de mirare ca si nedumeririle celor care scriu si intreaba nu sint de fel cuminti si nevinovate.  Dimpotriva.  Veninul iese din coltii scosi din alveole inainte de muscatura, capul ascuns in nisipul fierbinte nu poate ascunde si clopoteii din…inima impietrita de otrava.  Sarpele n-a murit.

     Este si cazul intrebarii pe care si-o pune, cuminte, domnul G.I. Olbojan in numarul din 23-29 aprilie al publicatiei “Express” [sic. Zig-Zag ] “Mortii din TIR-ul frigorific — ofiteri D.I.A.?”  Ce aveti cu omul?  In fond, el doar intreaba.  Oricare cetatean al acestei tari poate sa intrebe orice!  Altfel n-ar mai fi democratiei!  Sursa de incredere care i s-a destainuit se vede, nu i-a dat si raspunsul cel mai potrivit, de vreme ce autorul articolului cu pricina inca intreaba.

     Dupa parerea autorului acestui articol, armata trebuia neaparat sa-si creeze un…inamic.  Doar si in poligon isi monteaza tiinte ca sa traga in ele, nu ?  De ce n-ar face-o in strada?

     Si apoi, dupa ce si-ar fi ucis proprii ofiteri–si probabil, nu pe cei mai slabi–ar fi trebuit sa-i recupereze, si sa-i fure adica de la morga!  Si a apelat, pentru aceasta, la bunavointa militiei si securitatii.  Prin aceasta remarcandu-se in fata “comandamantului suprem.”  Extraordinar!  Dupa cum se vede, armata si-a facut singura un…motiv!  Oare chiar asa naiv sa fie autorul articolului?

     Sa fim seriosi, domnilor!  In afara de citiva cercetasi care aveau misunea sa culeaga informatii si sa raporteze ce se intimpla in strada (o astfel de misiune este absolut necesara cind actioneaza armata), nici un alt ofiter n-a fost in strada decat cu subunitatea pe care o comanda.  Dar si cei care au fost acolo faceau parte din subunitatile de cercetare si nu din ceea ce autorul articolului respectiv numeste D.I.A.!  Intr-adevar, in depozitia sa, inculpatul Filip Teodorescu a dat un exemplu, in maniera in care o stim cu totii.  Si care nu se deosebeste prea mult de cea in care a scris articolul.  A se citi:  stim mai mult.  dar…atentie!  Sursa la care va referiti, domnule Olbojan, stia deci ca un intrus care, vezi doamne, ar fi fost de la D.I.A. (cu acte in regula!) ar fi avut misiunea sa destabilizeze activitatea inspectoratului M.I. !  Ar fi facut-o in prezenta lui Macri, a lui Teodorescu si a celor mai buni contraspioni ai tarii la acea data!  Al dracului trebuie sa fi fost instrusul asta!

     Serviciul de contrainformatii ai armatei, stimabili calomnitori, retineti, se compunea din lucratori ai Ministerului de Intere, care controlau fiecare miscare a cadrelor si ostasilor din toate unitatile si de la toate esaloanele, mai ales de la cele mari !  Si daca se intimpla ca vreunul sa aiba vreo legatura (inclusiv amoroasa) neprincipiala, ei erau primii care informau pe cei interesati.  Ei stiau totul si nu le scapa nimic despre sistemul de informare de la toate nivelurile!  Le-ar fi scapat tocmai o astfel de actiune!  Ia mai ginditi-va!

     Au fost sustrase file din registrele garzii, au fost impuscati raniti in lift, plus toate celelalte pe care dumneavoastra le sistematizate pe puncte si de puneti in spinarea armatei!

    Nu se stie nimic si totusi sursa dumneavoastra, care le stie pe toate, va lasa fara raspuns.  Deznodamintul cel mai fericit pe care il intrevedeti este si el tot un fel de a…confectiona tinte de carton sa avem in ce trage.  Cartoane inca mai exista (ziarele se tiparesc pe altceva) , dar si cind se vor termina, n-o sa le simtim prea mult lipsa.  Tintele se pot confectiona si din altceva.  Din plastic sau din oameni vii, chiar si dintre morti.  Daca nu ajung, cei vii, puteti trage si in cei morti.  Armata are destui.  Doar e democratie!  Tot trebuie sa aiba tintele din poligon culoare kaki, nu?  Chiar si cele de la casa denumita Postelnicu, de ling aeroportul Otopeni erau, in marea lor majoritate, kaki!

     Sa concluzionam.  Blinzii oameni ai lui Teodorescu si ai celorlalti (de profesie securisti, culegatori de informatii) n-au facut altceva decit sa contacteze pe cei din retea (a se citi pe informatori), in timp ce armata (prin D.I.A.) si-a scos patruzeci de ofiteri in bataia pustilor proprii!  Ei, blinzii nostri securisti, au stat de o parte si au asistat la acest spectacol straniu, in calitatea lor de contraspioni si, bineinteles, de organe de ordine.  Ei nu stiu nimic, ei n-au vazut nimic.  Au venit, au privit, au verificat daca sint sau nu sint spioni straini si au aflat-o spun, poate acum, prin intermediul unei surse demne de incredere si al unui semnatar de articol — ca si de cealalta parte a baricadei au fost tot…cei de la armata.  Deci armata si-a omorit patruzeci de oameni, apoi si i-a furat, iar acum ar trebui, probabil desfiintata, imbracat in zeghe si, de ce nu, trimisa iarasi sa termine canalele, sa stringa recolta, sa curete WC-ului, eventual sa lustruiasca cizmele, celor care vor primi misiunea sa o controleze si sa faca pe gardienii.  Pina aici totul e clar.

     Autorul scrie ca “lipsesc din proces si nici nu se face caz de absenta lor cei care au ales cadavrele si au facut sa dispara registrele cu evidenta ranitilor si mortilor.  Daca respectivi indivizi ar fi fost ofiteri de securitate, ar fi prezenti in proces si condamnati cu toata asprimea.”  Daca s-ar sti cine sint aceia, fiti sigur, domnule Olbojan, ca nu i-ar ocoli nimeni.  Poate ati uitat ca insesi cadrele armatei au cerut ca toti cei ce se fac vinovati de cele intimplate la Timisoara sa fie arestati.  Nu asta va intereseaza insa pe dumneavoastra, ci altceva.  Scopul pe care il urmariti este probabil acela de a mai crea inca o mica diversiune, pe linga toate celelalte.  Intrebarea care se pune este:  in folosul cui?  Nu este exclus ca si acest nevinovat articolas, pierdut intr-un podval, sa faca parte din acelasi sistem diabolic de actiune psihologica si radioelectronica, de dezinformare si razboi al zvonurilor si miniciunilor care, daca armata n-ar fi fost inteleapta si ferma pe pozitie, ar fi dus aceasta tara la cel mai cumplit dezastru.  Dumneavoastra (sau cei care v-au indemnat sa scrieti) stiti foarte bine cu ce anume se ocupa D.IA. (asa cum si inculpatul Teodorescu stie).  Si tocmai din acest motiv intreprinderea pe care o faceti mi se pare cel putin josnica.

     Cunosc bine armata romana, domnule Olbojan.  Toate armele si toate componentele ei au un loc in inima mea.  Ar trebui, daca sintet totusi roman, sa-l aiba si in inima dumneavoastra.  Va inchipuiti oare ca armata s-ar fi dedat la astfel de acte?  Poate tot ca, armata si-a creat si acele puhoaie de tinte aeriene false, pentru a-si consuma rachetele si munitia si a se juca de-a…razboiul!

     Ca sa puteti dormi linistit, domnule semnatar al articolui cu pricina, va informez ca treaba celor din D.I.A. este cu totul alta.  Spre folosul apararii acestei tari.  Si nu a vreunui regim politic.  Nici a vreunui clan sau vreunui stat in stat.  Cum a fost cel pe care incercati sa-l slujiti.

(Colonel V. Gheorghe, “Inca o Fateta a Diversiunii,” Armata Poporului, nr. 18 (21) joi 3 mai 1990, p. 1, p. 3a)

N-au fost vorbe in vint…Olbojan s-a dovedit a fi, intr-adevar, si deloc intimplator…un fost securist…si din articolul lui (incoace) s-a nascut ipoteza ca D.I.A. ar fi fost teroristii din decembrie…o ipoteza pretuita a fostei securitatii, imbratisata de catre Gheorghe Ratiu (fost sef Dir I, politia politica), Nicolae Plesita, Ion Hotnog, Teodor Filip, Dumitru Burlan (fostul doppelganger al lui Nicolae Ceausescu) si multi alti fosti securisti…

Cazul lui Gheorghe Ionescu Olbojan

Radio Free Europe Research “East European Perspectives”

3 April 2002, Volume  4, Number  7

 THE SECURITATE ROOTS OF A MODERN ROMANIAN FAIRY TALE: THE PRESS, THE FORMER SECURITATE, AND THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF DECEMBER 1989

By Richard Andrew Hall

THE CASE OF GHEORGHE IONESCU OLBOJAN
Less well known than the comparatively high-profile cases of Corut and Bacescu is the case of Gheorghe Ionescu Olbojan. Olbojan’s treatment by the Romanian press corps differs little from that of Corut and Bacescu. Like Corut and Bacescu, in the early 1990s Olbojan was writing in the pages of Ion Cristoiu’s publications — specifically “Zig-Zag” in 1990. By the late 1990s, journalists who wrote about Olbojan’s publications did not hesitate to identify him as a former Securitate officer. A reviewer of Olbojan’s 1999 book, titled “The Black Face of the Securitate,” and Ion Mihai Pacepa in the satirical weekly “Catavencu” described Olbojan’s allegations that Ceausescu was overthrown by the Soviet Union in conjunction with Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Israel, and bluntly stated that Olbojan was a disgruntled former Securitate officer (“Catavencu,” 23 July 1999). Filip Ralu, a journalist working for the daily “Curierul national,” was even more specific: Olbojan, he wrote, was a DIE (Foreign Intelligence Directorate) officer (“Curierul national,” 19 March 2001).

Why so bold and so sure, we might ask. Because it was no longer a secret: Olbojan had admitted in print — at least as early as 1993 — that he indeed served in the former Securitate. On the dust jacket of his 1994 book “Pacepa’s Phantoms,” a polemic apparently in response to criticisms of his earlier book, “Goodbye Pacepa,” his editor proudly touts the “latest raid effected by former Securitate officer Gh. Ionescu Olbojan” (Olbojan, 1994). Inside, Olbojan describes how he was recruited in the 1970s while at the Bucharest Law Faculty, finished a six-month training course at the famous Branesti Securitate school, and worked at an “operative unit” of the “Center” from 1978 to 1982 and then at the famous Securitate front company “Dunarea” until being forced — he claims — to go on reserve status in 1986 after violating certain unspecified “laws and regulations of security work” (Olbojan, 1994, pp. 17-19). According to Olbojan, as early as the fall of 1990 — at a time when he was writing a series on the makeup of the former Securitate and when Cristoiu would address him with the words, “Olbojan, did you bring me the material?” — he “pulled back the curtain of protection behind which he had been hiding for so long” and revealed to a fellow journalist his Securitate background (Olbojan, 1994, pp. 14-15). There is thus no doubt here: It is not a question of supposition or innuendo by this or that journalist — Olbojan has publicly admitted to a Securitate past.

APRIL 1990: OLBOJAN WRITES ON THE REVOLUTION
In the ninth issue of “Zig-Zag,” which appeared in April 1990 — an issue in which Angela Bacescu wrote a famous piece revising the understanding of the deaths of a group of Securitate antiterrorist troops at the Defense Ministry during the December events, a piece that was vigorously contested by journalists in the military press (for a discussion, see Hall, 1999) — Olbojan wrote an article entitled “Were The Corpses In The Refrigerated Truck DIA Officers?” (Olbojan, 1990). In the article, Olbojan attacked the official account regarding the identity of 40 bodies transported by the Securitate and by the Militia from Timisoara to Bucharest on 18-19 December 1989 for cremation upon the express orders of Elena Ceausescu. The FSN regime maintained that these were the cadavers of demonstrators shot dead during antiregime protests, but Olbojan now advanced the possibility that they might have been the corpses of members of the army’s elite defense intelligence unit, DIA.

Olbojan’s “basis” for such an allegation was that nobody allegedly had come forward to claim the corpses of the 40 people in question and therefore they could not have been citizens of Timisoara. Mioc counters that this is preposterous, and that unfortunately this myth has circulated widely since Olbojan first injected it into the press (Mioc, 2000b) — despite the publication of correct information on the topic. Mioc republished a list with the names, ages, and home addresses of the (in reality) 38 people in question and noted that it was published in the Timisoara-based “Renasterea Banateana” on 2 March 1991, the Bucharest daily “Adevarul” on 13 March 1991, the daily “Natiunea” (also published in Bucharest) in December 1991, as well as in the daily “Timisoara” on 29 November 1991 — but significantly was refused publication in Tudor’s “Romania Mare”!

THE IMPLICATIONS AND INTENTIONS OF OLBOJAN’S APRIL 1990 REAPPRAISAL OF THE TIMISOARA EVENTS
On the face of things — in the spring 1990 context of a publication that appeared courageous enough to stand up to the rump party-state bureaucracy and with no public knowledge about Olbojan’s past — Olbojan’s article could be interpreted as a laudable, if poorly executed, effort at investigative journalism or at worst as innocuous. But context can be everything, and it is in this case. It seems significant that Olbojan considers his April 1990 “Zig-Zag” article important enough to reproduce in its entirety in his 1994 book “Pacepa’s Phantoms” and then discuss the impact the article had upon getting people to rethink the December 1989 events and how later works by other authors (including those with no connection to the former Securitate but also including the previously-mentioned notorious former Securitate officer Pavel Corut) confirmed his allegations (Olbojan, 1994, pp. 276-299).

The importance of suggesting that the cadavers transported to Bucharest for cremation were the bodies of army personnel and not average citizens may not be readily apparent. To make such a claim insinuates that the Iliescu leadership was/is lying about the December events and therefore should not be believed and may be illegitimate. It also insinuates that the events may have been more complicated and less spontaneous than initial understandings and the official history would have us believe: If those who were transported to Bucharest for cremation were not average citizens but army personnel, then is it not possible that Timisoara was a charade, a manipulation by forces within the regime — perhaps with outside help — to overthrow Ceausescu and simulate both revolutionary martyrdom and political change?

Moreover, it was significant that Olbojan maintained that the cadavers belonged not just to any old army unit but specifically to DIA. The army’s DIA unit — a unit which appeared to benefit organizationally from the December events, including having its chief, Stefan Dinu, for a time assume the command of the Romanian Information Service’s (SRI) counterespionage division (until his former Securitate subordinates appear to have successfully undermined him and prompted his replacement) — would during the 1990s become a common scapegoat for the post-22 December “terrorism” that claimed over 900 lives in the Revolution and initially had been blamed uniformly upon the Securitate (see, for example, Stoian, 1993 and Sandulescu, 1996). If the 40 cadavers were indeed DIA officers, then anything was possible with regard to the post-22nd “terrorism” — including that DIA, and not the Securitate’s antiterrorist troops, had been responsible for the tremendous loss of life. Indeed, in his 1994 book “Pacepa’s Phantoms,” Olbojan claims just that: In December 1989, there allegedly had been no Securitate “terrorists,” the “terrorists” had been from DIA, and it is they who were thus culpable for the bloodshed (Olbojan, 1994, pp. 276-291).

Nor can it be said that the timing of Olbojan’s publication was of inconsequence here: The trial of the Securitate and Militia officers charged with the bloody repression of demonstrators in Timisoara in December 1989 had begun the previous month and was still in progress at the time of the article’s appearance. Olbojan’s allegation clearly had implications for the verdicts of this trial. Mioc has noted of Olbojan’s account: “[T]he theory of the ‘mystery’ of the 40 cadavers would become the departure point for efforts to demonstrate the presence of foreign agents in Timisoara” (Mioc, 2000a). Indeed, during the Timisoara trial, reputed Securitate “superspy” Filip Teodorescu had attempted to implant this idea and would later reveal that among those his forces had arrested during the Timisoara events were two armed, undercover DIA officers in a Timisoara factory — the massive influx of foreign agents supposedly having eluded the “underfunded and undermanned” and “Ceausescu-distrusted” Securitate (Teodorescu, 1992). For Mioc, Olbojan’s echoing of Teodorescu’s attempts to muddy the historical waters of the birthplace of the Revolution, and Olbojan’s specific effort to sow wholly unnecessary confusion about the identity of the 40 cremated corpses (an issue which no one had considered the least bit suspicious until that time) cannot be separated from Olbojan’s admitted collaboration with the Securitate and his warm praise of that institution throughout most of the 1990s.

OLBOJAN’S CASE AS TYPICAL RATHER THAN ABERRANT
Significantly, even at the time, Olbojan’s account sparked innuendo in the press regarding his past, his credibility, his capacity for the truth, and his agenda in writing such an article. Unfortunately, but very tellingly, these accusations came not from the civilian press — of any political stripe — but from the military press. Colonel V. Gheorghe wrote in early May 1990 that Olbojan’s account was merely “yet another face of the diversion,” the latest in an emerging campaign attempting to exonerate the Securitate for the bloodshed, blame the army, plant the idea that the December 1989 Revolution was little more than a coup d’etat engineered from abroad, and cast doubt upon the spontaneity and revolutionary bravery of those who protested against Ceausescu and participated in the December events (Gheorghe, 1990).

Mioc notes accurately that “[I]n order for the [Olbojan’s] disinformation to succeed, the article was written in an anti-Iliescu and anticommunist style,” but he seems to imply that this was an exception (Mioc, 2000b). As the next two parts of this three-part article will demonstrate, far from being an exception, such an approach — in fact the dovetailing and entangling of Securitate disinformation with the agenda of the anti-Iliescu/anticommunist opposition — was all too common and ultimately a key cause of the destruction of the truth about the December 1989 Revolution and the Securitate’s institutional responsibility for the tremendous loss of life in those events.

(Richard Andrew Hall received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University in 1997. He currently works and lives in northern Virginia. Comments on this article can be directed to him at hallria@msn.com)

SOURCES Bacescu, A., 1990a “Adevarul despre Sibiu,” [The Truth On Sibiu] in “Zig-Zag,” (Bucharest) 19-26 June.

Bacescu, A., 1990b “Noi lumini asupra evenimentelor din decembrie 1989,” [New Light On The December 1989 Events] in “Romania Mare,” (Bucharest) 21 August.

“Curierul national,” (Bucharest) 2001, Internet edition, http://domino.kappa.ro/e-media/curierul.nsf.

Gheorghe, V., 1990, “Inca o fateta a diversiunii,” in “Armata poporului,” (Bucharest), 3 May.

Hall, R. A., 1997, “The Dynamics of Media Independence in Post-Ceausescu Romania,” in O’Neil, P.H. (ed.), Post-Communism and the Media in Eastern Europe, (Portland, OR: Frank Cass,), pp. 102-123.

Hall, R. A., 1999, “The Uses of Absurdity: The Staged War Theory and the Romanian Revolution of December 1989,” in “East European Politics and Societies,” Vol. 13, no.3, pp. 501-542.

Iftime, C., 1993, Cu Ion Cristoiu prin infernul contemporan [With Ion Cristoiu Through The Contemporary Inferno], (Bucharest: Editura Contraria).

“Catavencu,” (Bucharest), 1999 (Internet edition), http://www.catavencu.ro.

Mioc, M., 2000a “Ion Cristoiu, virful de lance al campaniei de falsificare a istoriei revolutiei,” http://timisoara.com/newmioc.51.htm

Mioc, M., 2000b “‘Misterul’celor 40 de cadavre,” http://timisoara.com/newmioc/53.htm

Olbojan Ionescu, G., 1990 “Mortii din TIR-ul Frigorific — ofiteri DIA?” [Were The Corpses In The Refrigerated Truck DIA Officers?] in “Zig-Zag,”, no. 23, 23-29 April.

Olbojan Ionescu G., 1994, Fantomele lui Pacepa [Pacepa’s Phantoms], (Bucharest: Editura Corida).

Sandulescu, Serban, 1996, Decembrie ’89: Lovitura de Stat a Confiscat Revolutia Romana [December ’89: The Coup d’tat Abducted the Romanian Revolution], (Bucharest: Editura Omega Press Investment).

Shafir, M., 1993, “Best Selling Spy Novels Seek To Rehabilitate Romanian ‘Securitate,'” in “Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Report,” Vol. 2, no. 45, pp. 14-18.

Siani-Davies, P., 2001, “The Revolution after the Revolution,” in Phinnemore, D. Light, D. (eds.), Post-Communist Romania: Coming to Terms with Transition (London: Palgrave), pp. 1-34.

Stoian, I., 1993, Decembrie ’89: Arta Diversiunii, [ December ’89: The Art Of Diversion], (Bucharest: Editura Colaj).

Teodorescu, F., 1992, Un Risc Asumat: Timisoara, decembrie 1989, [An Assumed Risk: Timisoara, December 1989] (Bucharest: Editura Viitorul Romanesc).

Compiled by Michael Shafir

Dumitru Burlan si ipoteza DIA

Late last July, there was a book-signing in Bucharest. The man signing books was Dumitru Burlan—64 years old, a colonel in the former Securitate’s Fifth Directorate, and, last but not least, Nicolae Ceausescu’s so-called “unique double.” On the occasion of his book-signing, Burlan was kind enough to say a few words about his book to the journalists gathered for the event. A correspondent for Reuters quoted Burlan as declaring: “Romania’s secret service [i.e. the Securitate] staged Nicolae Ceausescu’s down fall…the KGB wanted to overthrow Ceausescu, even his son Nicu did…I wrote the book to show the Romanian people a small part of the truth.”

The title of Burlan’s book is “Sensational: After 14 Years Nicolae Ceausescu’s Double Speaks!” That it is possible that anything could be “sensational” in Romania after the past 14 years is in itself difficult to believe. The bigger problem with the title, however, is that Burlan did not really wait 14 years to “confess.”

Two years ago Burlan gave a multipart interview to the Romanian monthly “Lumea Magazin” (http://www.lumeam.ro/nr10_ 2001/politica_si_servicii_secrete.html). In that interview, he commented on the biggest enduring controversy of the Romanian Revolution: Who was responsible for the violence that claimed 942 lives—85% of the total 1,104 people who died in all “between 22 December, when the Ceausescus fled power, and Christmas Day, when they were tried and executed? At the time, elements of the Securitate who remained loyal to the Ceausescus—the so-called ‘terrorists'”were blamed for the bloodshed. However, despite the pledge by the former communists who seized power from Nicolae Ceausescu to prosecute those responsible, justice has never been served.

In the same interview, Burlan answers that those responsible for the bloodshed “were from the Army, [specifically] from DIA [the Army’s intelligence unit].” According to Burlan, the DIA were also responsible for the placement of gunfire simulators “so that everything—[the staged war that Ceausescu’s successors allegedly put in motion]—would appear credible.”As for the Securitate, Burlan protests: how could they have done anything “with just their Makarov pistols?”

Burlan’s answers seek to accredit the idea that the former communists who took power from Ceausescu simulated resistance by alleged Ceausescu loyalists in order to ease their seizure of power and gain a revolutionary legitimacy they otherwise would have lacked. The Securitate were thus victims of their poor image among the populace and of a power grab by unscrupulous nomenklaturists who wished to legitimize themselves by heaping false blame on the Securitate.

Burlan’ s argument that the revolution was “staged,” some group other than the Securitate was responsible for the post-22 bloodshed, and that the Securitate did not open fire is a familiar tale by now. What has changed through the years is that certain variants—including the DIA variant Burlan markets—have become more common in the literature and interviews of the former Securitate and Ceausescu nostalgists. One doesn’t have to look far to see former high-ranking Securitate officers accrediting the idea that DIA, and most assuredly not the Securitate, bears responsibility for the December bloodshed. Just in the past three years, former Securitate officials such as Nicolae Plesita, Teodor Filip, and Ion Hotnog have argued this thesis. Nor is it the least bit surprising that these same officials marry the thesis with another perennial Securitate favorite: the suggestion that Russian and Hungarian agents posing as tourists—for those who with a distaste for detail, “occult forces”—played a seminal role in provoking the downfall of the Ceausescu regime and in the bloodshed that followed the Ceausescus’ flight from power. (For additional discussion of these ” tourists” see http://www.rferl.org/eepreport/2002/04/8-170402.htm l.)

The DIA variant, so dear to the hearts of Ceausescu’s double and his Securitate counterparts, has a long and fabled history. In the early and mid-1990s, it became a favorite of the opposition to the communist successor regime of President Ion Iliescu—an opposition that included many of those who had suffered most under the old regime. (After being voted out in 1996, Iliescu returned to the presidency in the 2000 elections.) In the opposition press, noted journalists such as Ioan Itu and Ilie Stoian at “Tinerama,” Cornel Ivanciuc [dovedit mai tirziu ca un colaborator al fostei securitatii] at “22” and later at “Academia Catavencu, ” and Petre Mihai Bacanu at “Romania Libera” promoted the DIA thesis at one time or another.

Opponents of the Iliescu regime believed the “staged war” story and its DIA variant be cause it seemed plausible given the undemocratic way the Iliescu regime behaved in the early post-Ceausescu years, and because it compromised Iliescu and his associates by suggesting that they “stole the revolution” through an elaborate plan to feign resistance by pro-Ceausescu elements of the Securitate. As with all beliefs that are viewed as spontaneous, grassroots/bottom-up, and therefore “pure,” the “staged war” theory possessed a power and hold on the imagination that ideas regimented “from above,” by a regime, can simply never achieve. Moreover, it possessed something of an (intellectual) haiduc romanticism and it was empowering at a time when the opposition was hounded by the Iliescu regime and weak, providing opponents with an issue of comparative consensus that could bind them together and provide them political identity. The theory thus fit with their fears, suspicions, and prejudices, and was politically expedient—a potent mixture that left them ripe for manipulation.

Unfortunately, very few of the opposition were familiar with or cared about the origins of the DIA thesis. The DIA thesis was older than they realized. Gheorghe Ratiu, the former head of the Securitate’s First Directorate (the one most considered “the political police”), was disseminating the theory back in early 1992. Indeed, the DIA theory can be traced back to a November 1990 interview with a former Securitate officer in a well-known provincial weekly (“Nu”), and probably even earlier—to two articles written by Gheorghe Ionescu Olbojan for “Zig-Zag” magazine in April 1990 and particularly July 1990. In fact, Olbojan lauded himself for this accomplishment—and for its spread and influence since—in a book he published in 1994. Olbojan’s pre-1989 occupation deserves mention, however: as he admits in the book, he worked for the Securitate. The roots of the DIA theory thus lie in the former Securitate. (For additional discussion of the Olbojan case see http://www.rferl.org/eepreport/2002/04/7-030402.html.)

For the former Securitate, the DIA theory had one goal above all others, and it is as old as history itself: blame someone else in order to hide your own responsibility. Unfortunately, although some journalists in Romania have written with skepticism and sarcasm about the effort of Ceausescu’s double to disinform history, it is telling that they leave much of his discussion of the Revolution untouched. The confluence of blind political partisanship, opportunism, half-truths, misinformation, and disinformation a la Burlan have simply debased and devalued the currency of truth as regards what exactly happened in December 1989. To believe in Romania today that the Securitate were responsible for the vast majority of the bloodshed in December 1989 is to be viewed as the equivalent of a flat-earther.

If not Ceausescu himself from the grave, at least his double, is having the last laugh.

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