ORWELLIAN…POSITIVELY ORWELLIAN:” PROSECUTOR VOINEA’S CAMPAIGN TO SANITIZE THE ROMANIAN REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989 (Part 8, USLA and friends)
Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on October 4, 2010
PROSECUTOR VOINEA’S CAMPAIGN TO SANITIZE
THE ROMANIAN REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989
by Richard Andrew Hall
Disclaimer: All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other U.S. Government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or CIA endorsement of the author’s views. This material has been reviewed by CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information.
This paper MAY be cited when accompanied by a full, proper citation. Thank you.
The USLA: At the Very Least…Knowledgeable about the “Terrorists”
What is, of course, most interesting about the USLA relationship to the USLAC is that during and immediately after December 1989, the USLA seemed more knowledgeable than anybody else about the characteristics of the weapons and tactics of the “terrorists.” The question, of course, is why? How would they have known?
The Army daily Armata Poporului noted in mid-January 1990 the many requests they had received concerning the “lunetisti” who appear to have operated during the December violence…Interestingly, to whom did they go to answer these inquiries: a member of the USLA. Here is the passage in question:
“‘How can we explain the amazing precision of the terrorist gunfire: even though in the majority of cases, they operated at night, most victims were shot—mortally—in the head, throat, or heart?’”
“To this question—which we took from letters and telephone calls received at the editorial office—responded major engineer Ion Iliuta, specialist in antiterrorist warfare: ‘Much has been said and written in the press about the infrared scopes of the terrorists. The truth is that they possessed means of sighting that were even more sophisticated, more precise. I am talking about a complex apparatus that possesses a laser marker and a light-amplifier of the LITTON variety…’”
The USLA seemed to have the answer to the nightscope question, but also to the munitions issue—as we have seen, the anomalous five caliber bullets with uncharacteristic properties were a recurrent feature in descriptions of the events.
Io[a]n Iliuta and Major Ene Zaharia of the USLA appear to be the sources of the following revelation to Army Major Mihai Floca in early January 1990:
“Upon clearing out the houses surrounding the Television station, it was discovered, that from the staircases they were firing at the house of a writer. Specials of the unit [presumably the USLA] arrived at the conclusion that a 5.6 mm Heckler-Koch pistol with a cartridge that melts away for added impact was used.”
Part of their knowledge about these bullets apparently came from their role in “cleaning up” after the “terrorists.” Let us recall the earlier comments of an employee of the Museum of National Art located in the old Royal Palace across from the CC building in central Bucharest.
…The next day [23 December 1989] and over the following days I found bullets in the Museum. They were not normal bullets. They had a rounded head. They appeared to have a lead jacket. It was of a caliber between five, five something. The USLAsi did not want to leave us a bullet. I asked them to leave me at one as a memento. They did not want to. They said that they needed them for the purpose of identification. They noted where they gathered them from.
How would they have known so well? True, they were good at their craft and experienced, but the following recollection by Army Captain Gheorghe Bobric at Targoviste perhaps is more telling:
“At the same time, I don’t think [Securitate Lt. Col. Gheorghe] Dinu was foreign to the actions that took place against our unit. For example, one night, he sent me outside, into the courtyard of the unit, and hearing noises from the town, he said to me: ‘Pay attention, these are ABI-uri [vehicles only the USLA possessed]…In 10 minutes, they will begin to fire…’ He knew it all, as if he were confirming a plan known well in advance. And he said to me: ‘The terrorists and antiterrorists are trained according to the same standards and principles, they undergo the same training.’ [emphasis added]”
So, common training. In other words, something that sounds very like the admissions of the USLA recruit above, about the masked ones in black whom the USLA were to capture in simulations! It is these who sound like the USLAC.
It is interesting to note here that despite the detailed descriptions by multiple soldiers at Targoviste during these days, attesting to gunfire against them, Prosecutor Dan Voinea—who was at the unit only for the period of the Ceausescus’ trial and execution—disputes not only that the Targoviste barracks was ever under attack, but, in his typical exaggerated, hyperbolic style goes on to tell an interviewer in November 2005: “No. Nobody attacked any [!] unit in Romania….[and, of course] Not a single terrorist existed.”
Finally, there is the ominous quote taken from an article immediately after the events by Army Major Mihai Floca in describing the actions of USLA personnel Gh. Grigoras, Mircea Zatreanu, Ion Stefanut, Ion Popescu, and Marin Vasile. Floca quotes one of the USLA as saying:
“The fact that some considered us terrorists isn’t accidental at all, notes the commander of the unit [presumably Grigoras]. Knowing that we were well trained, capable of annihilating them, the true/real terrorists acted in our name, and did everything to compromise us.”
This is an interesting admission, which, I believe, brings us closer to the USLAC and to the role USLA played. The question, of course, is: did it go beyond this? Was there more to it? What was the role of the USLA proper?
Questioning the Role of the USLA
British scholar Peter Siani-Davies has recently authored a wonderfully-written and insightful volume that is likely—and deserves—to become the “record of account” on the Romanian Revolution of December 1989. His volume is to be commended not only for its readability, but for—and I am far from the first to point this out—his seamless and easy-going incorporation of theories of collective violence and revolution with the narrative of the Revolution. Such a poignant marriage of social science theory and historical detail is rare in today’s social sciences, and Siani-Davies does a superb job in integrating the two. Moreover, in contrast to much that has been written on December 1989, Siani-Davies did not dabble: he performed in-depth and detailed research of Romanian sources. As the “powers-that-be”—from its ‘terminally vain’ to its ‘absentee monarch’—in Romanian, and East European, studies somehow have “overlooked” providing me with, and are unlikely to provide me with, the opportunity to play any role in reviewing Siani-Davies’ work, prior to or after publication, and some of his claims invoke my research directly and are pertinent to the argument here, I will address some of our key differences now.
Siani-Davies’ key passage concerning my research is the following:
“From the evidence so far available there is little to suggest that any of the larger securitate units per se came into open conflict with the forces of the revolution after the overthrow of Ceausescu, although the absence of detailed information makes it impossible to discount the possibility that some members of these or other securitate units, acting as individuals or small groups, did take up arms against the incoming regime. At first sight, some support for this view may be found in the ballistics evidence presented by Richard Hall, in which he stresses that during the revolution ammunition was fired which was not in possession of the army. Focusing particularly on 9mm machine guns of West German origin, which he says were only in the possession of USLA and the V Directorate, Hall points out that bullets of this caliber were found at various ‘hot spots’ during the revolution, and in the corpse of a student of the military academy who died defending the Ministry of Defense building on the night of December 22-23. However, it may be questioned whether this evidence is quite so conclusive proof of the existence of securitate terrorists as Hall suggests. As of March 1990, thirty-one of these guns from the arsenal of the V Directorate still remained unaccounted for and, given the circulation of guns during the revolution, it is by no means certain that it was troops from these units that fired the weapons in question. And, even if members of USLA and the V Directorate had been responsible for using these weapons, given the confusion at the time and the fact that some troops from these units were actively engaged in the fighting on the behalf of the new authorities, it does not follow that they were used against the revolution.”
There are a host of problems with this analysis—as we have already seen. In a 300 odd page book, this passage is pretty much the sole analysis of the ballistics evidence from December 1989, and, frankly, I venture to guess that the ballistics question would not have garnered any attention had he not been commenting on my findings. It is, of course, more than most accounts of the December events which have nothing to say at all about the ballistics evidence. I’ll deal later with his allegations regarding the 9 mm Stecikin and Makarov guns he alludes to, but it is important to highlight that in the discussion of the ballistics’ evidence he quotes from my dissertation, I spent two pages discussing the 9 mm, and three discussing the 5.6/vidia ammunition—and he makes no reference whatsoever to the latter.
How is it that Siani-Davies has nothing to say about the “five, five something” caliber ammunition, in particular those with “vidia” tip? My guess is that it does not fit into his focus on the official, registered arsenals of the units in question in December 1989. Yet, I believe that I have demonstrated abundantly above that these bullets were seemingly ubiquitous in the December 1989 events, despite their not having been “on the books” so-to-speak. The most important thing the distribution of these identical bullets across a wide geographical region shows is pattern—the exact kind of thing Siani-Davies wants to avoid because he realizes quite well the idea of isolated freelancers falls apart when you have people showing up using the same kind of weapons and bullets, and wearing the same kind of outfits (he also has nothing to say about the “combinezoane negre,” which as we saw appear in a host of far-flung cities)! 
Nor do any of the admissions by former USLA/Securitate personnel that the USLA/USLAC were responsible for the “terrorism” show up in Siani-Davies’ volume—1) (according to former USLA officer Marian Romanescu) USLA Commander Gheorghe Ardeleanu’s admission about people found with USLA and USLAC identity cards “who had no right to have them in their possession;” 2) former Timisoara Securitate officer Roland Vasilevici’s revelations, and 3) the allegations of an anonymous former USLA recruit.
Daniel Chirot’s comments on the dust-jacket attesting to the quality and insight of Siani-Davies volume are well-merited, but how can he claim that the Siani-Davies account is “near definitive” when it completely ignores this critical evidence? Indeed, almost nothing of the evidence I have presented so far, shows up in Siani-Davies’ otherwise excellent account: why? In a decision I cannot explain, Siani-Davies almost entirely avoided Romanian weeklies, including Expres, Cuvintul, Baricada, Expres Magazin, Zig-Zag, NU!(Cluj), Flacara, Tinerama, Orizont (Timisoara), Europa…and the list goes on. For the uninitiated in the dimensions of the historiography of the Revolution, such as the esteemed Professor Chirot, the importance of this literature is unapparent…and yet as my citations above demonstrate, it is critical.
From Where Would Such Suspicions of the USLA Come?
Siani-Davies expresses some bewilderment at the genesis of the “rumor” that the USLA were going to launch a counterattack on the afternoon of 22 December. He concludes that when Army General Nicolae Tudor pronounced it on the evening of 22 December, he was probably building on the panicked statements by TV reporter Teodor Brates and others early that afternoon that the “columns of the USLA were coming to massacre them.” But that does not explain where Brates and the others imported this idea from, or whether or not they concocted it themselves.
Angela Bacescu, the notorious cheerleader of the former Securitate, known for her endless interviewing of them in the pages of Europa since fall 1990, may have supplied us with one possible explanation to this. In late summer 1990, Bacescu, who, not surprisingly, denies the existence of any real “terrorists” and refers to them as “imaginary,” targeted Brates and a whole host of usual characters for this “lie,” but added someone else:
“Among those [who showed up at Television on the afternoon of 22 December after Ceausescu fled] was this Cirjan, an ordinary thief, who entered with a false ID. He had been thrown out of the USLA, several years earlier, because he was stealing from passengers’ baggage, was dealing on the black market, and other such things, and [here] he is from the first moment shouting ‘Death to the Securitate’ and ‘The USLA are coming to shoot us’.”
I won’t dwell on this here, but it seems significant that Bacescu centers upon a former USLA member as perhaps the initial source at TV for the fears that the USLA were going to attack. As a former USLA member might Cirjan have known of the role of the unit in a contingency plan for the overthrow of the regime? It is certainly plausible, in particular when one considers the revelations above by Securitate Colonel Gheorghe Dinu and the anonymous USLA recruit—both attesting to the combined/common training of antiterrorist and “terrorist” forces.
Moreover, even in the event that Bacescu was inventing this, what would make her believe/suspect/accuse a former USLA member as being responsible for the “rumor” that the USLA were going to launch a counterattack? An interesting hunch/accusation, no? This gives us an explanation to the question most people simply ignore when discussing the “suspicions” against the USLA beginning on 22 December: from where did they come? Why so specific? Cirjan would have had that one critical element to know: credible access to the information when he was in the unit.
The Hypothesis of “Freely Circulating Weapons”
As noted in Siani-Davies’ comments above, he proposes what seems the very reasonable proposition that since weapons allegedly circulated freely during the events, just because a weapon belonged to the USLA or Directorate V-a, it is does not mean they necessarily were the ones who used them. Nothing wrong with that supposition…until one starts looking at where the weapons ended up.
Weapons similar to those of Directorate V-a and the USLA could have shown up anywhere during the Revolution, in anybody’s hands, but what is interesting is among whose hands they did show up. Official Army documents and recollections by Army participants in the early 1990s show that a citizen with a Libyan passport in his billfold shot in the CC building on the night of 22 December was found in possession of a 9 mm“Makarov” pistol…a pistol whose serial number was traced back to a V-a member who claimed that he had “thrown it away” earlier that afternoon.
Yes, of course, it is possible, but the Securitate seemed to have a history of “lending” or “losing” or “misplacing” weapons that just happened to show up in the hands of foreign terrorists. Notably, documents show that in 1981 on two occasions, Colonel Sergiu Nica of the Securitate, on the orders of his leadership, requested arms for “special missions”—including Walter, Makarov, and Stecikin [9 mm] pistols, AKM machine guns, and pusti semiautomate cu luneta [PSLs]—arms which apparently were delivered to and used by the infamous international terrorist, Carlos “The Jackal.”
The Incident Involving the Military Academy Students
Let us turn then to one of the incidents mentioned specifically by Siani-Davies in the passage above: the case of the students from Military Technical Academy.
Focusing particularly on 9mm machine guns of West German origin, which he says were only in the possession of USLA and the V Directorate, Hall points out that bullets of this caliber were found at various ‘hot spots’ during the revolution, and in the corpse of a student of the military academy who died defending the Ministry of Defense building on the night of December 22-23…. Even if members of USLA and the V Directorate had been responsible for using these weapons, given the confusion at the time and the fact that some troops from these units were actively engaged in the fighting on the behalf of the new authorities, it does not follow that they were used against the revolution. (p. 154)
Examining the specific case of the military academy students at the Defense Ministry on the night of 22-23 December, we can make the following observations. According to one of the commanders of the students who was at the scene: five students were killed in all, “four shot in the head, one in the chest,” and eight were wounded. The 9 mm bullet was removed on the morning of 23 December from the upper jaw of one of the students shot in the head; a commission from the military academy concluded that those shot were shot with guns with “a precise targeting system for nighttime use.”
There is one explanation suggested by Siani-Davies that we can probably eliminate pretty quickly in this particular case: the idea that this was an accidental shot by an USLA member fighting on behalf of the new authorities. The whole issue surrounding the dispatch and clash of an USLA unit on the following night of 23-24 December 1989 at the Defense Ministry appears to have been determined by their absence in that area prior to that time: hence, they were ostensibly called upon to root out terrorists from the area because they had not been in the area until that time. There is no indication of an USLA unit in that area on the night of 22-23 December, and mixed units of Army and USLA personnel do not appear to have gone into action until after the morning of the 23rd, likely with the official TV and radio announcements by Securitate Director Vlad and Interior Minister Postelnicu ostensibly pledging their loyalty to the new political order.
Siani-Davies appears to overlook the contradiction between the passage cited above and an earlier quote from Army General Traian Dafinescu he invokes about “a massive attack” on the night of 22-23 December against the Defense Ministry by “terrorists” firing “from the tallest houses and apartment blocs” in the surrounding area (p. 98). It is important to quote from passages of the interview with Dafinescu that Siani-Davies did not include: Dafinescu goes on to note that the soldiers (from the military academy) who were killed were shot precisely, “being tracked evidently with ‘arme cu lunete’ (i.e. lunetisti)…All the terrorists were wearing black outfits, without any documents or identity cards on them. [emphasis added].”
The head of the first parliamentary commission investigating the December events published in 1995 a list of the locations from which gunfire was opened upon the Defense Ministry from 22-27 December 1989. Here is part of that list:
“…–from the rooftops of blocs C-2, C-4, and T-8 there was gunfire with PSLs and rifles, and from the right flank of blocs T-9 and on C-2 on some nights, there were signal lights shining toward neighboring blocs and toward the Defense Ministry building, followed next by the execution of gunfire, by terrorist elements, from different directions toward the Defense Ministry building;
–from the terraces of blocs A-2 and A-4 on the night of 22.12.1989, there was PSL and machine gun fire. Also from B1. From A-2 there were signal lights followed by gunfire.”
One can get a sense here of the specificity involved in attempting to record and recreate the places from which there was terrorist gunfire—specifically, inhabited apartment blocs. Interviews conducted by Army journalists in May-June 1990 with residents of blocs A1, A2 and B3 make abundantly clear the terror residents felt beginning on this night of 22-23 December and in some cases their own personal encounters with or sighting of the terrorists (one resident described them as being dressed in some type of “salopete” “probably grey in color.”) Army Colonel Gheorghe Vaduva recounted that during these days,
“…on the top floor [of the Defense Ministry], I found together with those I was with there, the remains of bullets and even some 9 mm caliber bullets. This caliber bullet was not at that time part of the Romanian Army’s arsenal. Stecikin and Makarov guns using this type of munition, were in the stockpile of some of the special forces of the Securitate and the Interior Ministry.”
Certainly, the image of an attack from surrounding buildings by unknown sources is enhanced by Securitate officers forced to give testimony immediately after the events.
In early January 1990, “Cpt. Soare Ovidiu, [of Securitate] Directorate V-a, Services 4+5, resident of Bucharest, Mendeleev Street,” presumably under questioning, spoke about those he had seen killed as “terrorists”:
“Defense Ministry Headquarters [M.Ap.N.], 22/23.12.1989
On the night of 22/23 December 1989, being located in the Defense Ministry Headquarters, around 22:00, a forceful attack began upon the building from the ‘Orizont’ Complex and from the blocs to the left and right of it. Based on the manner in which they acted and how the victims from among the soldiers who were defending the building appeared (shot in the head or in the area of the head), everybody concluded that they were shot by guns with infrared night scopes [emphasis added]….The attack upon MapN Headquarters was unleashed with fanaticism, one of the attackers jumped a wall armed with a knife, he was shot, and in the morning I saw him from a distance of about 5-6 meters and I could conclude that he appeared Arab (olive-skinned, black hair and mustache). It was said he had no documents upon his person….”
Lt. Mr. Apostol M. Anton, Service 1: “On 29 December 1989 he learned form his neighbor Pipoi Remus, who lives on the second floor, beneath his apartment, that he saw many people shooting toward the Defense Ministry, whom he was convinced were not Romanian. They appeared to him to be Arab. They were shooting with small automatic guns.”
According to the military’s semi-official account of the December events, at 2130 on 22 December gunfire was opened on the Defense Ministry from the direction of “the Orizont, Favorit, and Ghencea.” Here is the description of Lt. Marius Mitrofan of the Military Technical Academy of what happened when they arrived at the Defense Ministry on that night:
“Our buses stopped on the service road in front of the A1 and B3 blocs. The first students had hardly gotten off the buses when from the area of the Agency for Foreign Trade [a building that would likely have been controlled by the Securitate] gunfire was opened upon us. Simultaneously, terrorists located in these three blocs also began to fire on us. Colleagues who had already gotten off [the buses] responded with a flurry of bullets against the terrorists on the upper floors of these blocs. I was in the third of these buses and we got off last; the gunfire was reaching maximum intensity. Two leaps later I was behind a tree from where I could see the results of the bullets from [bloc] B3. My colleague in front of me had fallen, I pulled myself toward him: he was shot in the head. Honestly, I was filled with horror: I had seen death! The next moment a colleague fell behind me, also shot in the head! Diabolical precision—proof that we weren’t squaring off with just some amateurs, but with professional killers. In the morning, we realized how many had fallen from our ranks: five dead—four shot in the head, one in the chest—eight wounded. Who were the killers?…Why has nothing been done to find and punish them?”
Let us end here as Floca and Stoica do, with an expression of anguish in June 1990 that nothing was seemingly being done to find the culprits of December 1989:
“Let us also note that, on the morning of the 23rd, a 9 mm caliber bullet—unknown until then by military cadre—was removed from a student. The bullet was well-placed. Strange, very strange but, until now, no one has been interested in it [the bullet]. Perhaps from this day forward…”
Evidence Other Securitate Personnel Themselves Suspected the USLA/C at the Time
We have a written record from Securitate officials that they were asked while the violence was taking place to hand over the details of their safehouses…but refused. From USLA Commander General Ardeleanu’s report, dated 8 January 1990:
“General Bucurescu Giani communicated on 23 December ’89 that the members of the special unit for antiterrorist warfare would be assembled in buses and brought to a field near Ghencea to fall out in formation. The same general ordered that a list of all safehouses of the unit be forwarded to deputy of the Counterintelligence Directorate [Directorate IV-a] Colonel Balasoiu, who was on the secure line at MI 199 belonging to the head of the Disinformation Service—Colonel Tatu—where all means were being taken to form a verification unit. This detail was analyzed and the USLA Commander [i.e. Ardeleanu himself] ordered that this list of safehouses not be forwarded, instead to be forwarded, at the appropriate time, to the Defense Ministry to whom we were subordinated.”
Why would the Deputy Director of the Securitate, General Bucurescu ask that USLA personnel fall-out for inspection at Ghencea stadium, the stadium of the Army soccer team? Securitate apologists and others will suggest they were to be killed, because they were being set up by those who seized power to be killed and then cynically presented to the public as “terrorists.” A more plausible explanation is that senior Securitate leaders who had abandoned Ceausescu themselves suspected the whereabouts of USLA personnel and their relationship to the terrorism—why else take the risky step of trying to assemble the whole unit in the same place? As would be expected, precise information concerning the USLA, its facilities (including safehouses), and activities, appears to have been heavily-compartmentalized within the Securitate itself—characteristic of many state security and intelligence organizations, but especially within a totalitarian and sultanist state like that of Nicolae Ceausescu.
The revelations of USLA Major Marian Romanescu—who claims he attempted to turn himself in multiple times during the events to avoid having to execute orders he did not agree with [!]—enhance the idea that even the Securitate itself was suspecting the USLA. Romanescu’s comments also highlight the standard use of multiple, false identity cards during the events:
“[During the night of 22 December 1989]…Utilizing the cover IDs that we had in our possession I easily passed through the check-point set up by revolutionaries on the way from Baneasa airport….I presented myself at another object of national economic importance (the M.T.Tc), and asked for the protection of the Army. I am interrogated, questioned by officer F.I., himself an officer of the DSS (Directorate IV-a [i.e. Military Counterintelligence]) but which had long since crossed over to the Revolution. I am asked to conform to certain rules imposed by the situation and not to transmit signals or other messages to the elements that had opened fire on the object, the unit of which I was a member being taken into account [!]” (emphasis added) 
“Defense Ministry Incident” Redux: the USLA on 23/24 December 1989
What we know is that this requested “fall-out” of USLA cadre never took place. We also know from the mouth (Romanian Television, 1991) and hand (a directed report dated 8 January 1990) of USLA Commander Gheorghe Ardeleanu himself that, on that evening of 23 December 1989, Army General Ion Hortopan broke into a meeting of Ardeleanu with generals and other officials of the Front leadership and announced that “Near a military objective, on the outskirts of the capital, that was being fired upon, an armed Plutonier Major Popa Ion Stefan from the USLA was captured.” Clearly, it would appear, based on this, that this USLA member was not part of some team dispatched in the “defense of the Revolution.” According to Mihai Floca writing in August 1990, the objective in question outside the capital was the CITc (?), the USLA member claimed he was coming to the military unit to “surrender,” and Ardeleanu, “upon receiving the news played dumb, [saying] ‘I think it is [USLA] Chief of Staff Trosca’s doing, he did this to me’.”
Floca and others have maintained that at this point, late on the night of 23 December 1989, while at the Defense Ministry, General Militaru called upon Ardeleanu to bring the entire personnel of the USLA (757 officers and ncos) to the Defense Ministry to root out the “terrorists” who were firing upon it. As “30 were on guard at [various] embassies, and 80 had been dispatched to Sibiu with a Rombac [aircraft] from 20 December 1989 upon ‘orders from on-high’,” this left 647. Of these, Militaru supposedly wanted 600 to report. Instead, only 18 came in 3 ABIs.
It has always seemed unusual, and this has been highlighted by others, in the serious situation that prevailed on the night of 23-24 December 1989, that in order to clear these blocs of “terrorists,” the units that came were led by the Chief of Staff Gheorghe Trosca. Why send your leadership out to do this job?
The Securitate apologists and conspiratorialists have, of course, sought to suggest that General Nicolae Militaru nominated them because precisely these individuals had surveilled him for alleged links to Soviet intelligence. But, as I have written elsewhere, Ardeleanu himself, upends all of this when he freely admits that it was he who selected Trosca for this mission. It, of course, seems to make a lot sense when one considers his apparent attempt to lay what was happening at the feet of Trosca. That he ordered Trosca and the others to the scene, under absurd circumstances, and they ended up getting killed, appears to be something for which many former USLA personnel—some of whom appear to have genuinely resented the boorish and vindictive Ardeleanu for his slavish behavior toward Elena Ceausescu and Tudor Postelnicu—were never able to forgive Ardeleanu.
I won’t tax the patience of my readers with another rehash here of what happened when two of three USLA ABIs arrived out front of M.Ap.N. headquarters (Defense Ministry). I have previously discussed it extensively elsewhere. It is important to note, however, that the USLA officers who survived the incident admit that they were beaten up, interrogated about the makeup and duties of their unit, and forced to take urinalysis tests to determine if they were drugged—all things which suggest they were hardly considered the innocent victims of an unfortunate accident at the time it occurred. Army officers involved in the confrontation who were interviewed in spring 1990 maintained that they witnessed gunfire from the guns on the USLA vehicles, three of the machine guns recovered from the USLA vehicles showed signs of having been fired, the gun barrel of one the tanks had been blocked, and on the top of another tank a machine gun and signal lantern were found. These officers then claimed that after their recollections were published in June 1990, they were “warned to think long and hard since they have families and to stay on their own turf if they do not want to have problems.”
Residents of the apartment blocs surrounding the Defense Ministry also claimed harassment and intimidation. One family maintained that they had been visited in May 1990 by two individuals flashing “Militia” identity cards, inquiring what had happened in December 1989 in that location, and insisting that different parts of the Army had merely fired at one another—there had been no “terrorists.” Another resident who requested anonymity since he had “had enough problems in the past with the Securitate” said he was visited on 21 May by a “police major who called himself Popescu [a common Romanian last name, commonly used as a cover by Securitate personnel]” and wanted to talk about the “terrorists,” but that the resident should not inform the Army of his visit. Some residents maintained that a neighbor suspected of being a Securitate collaborator had been going around suggesting “how to ‘correctly’ interpret the incident with the two armored personnel vehicles [i.e. the USLA unit] on the night of 23/24 December.” The Army journalists concluded in June 1990 based on these interviews that “therefore, ‘the boys’ [a common euphemism for the Securitate] are [still] at work.” It has been particularly frustrating that neither Siani-Davies nor Dennis Deletant—both of whom have written on this key episode—has apparently ever taken the time to read the disclosures in Armata Poporului, and hence completely ignore the descriptions of what happened and claims of harassment and intimidation of citizens from these blocs.
Mihai Floca’s credibility on the issue of what happened on the night of 23-24 December with the USLA units at the Defense Ministry, what happened on the other nights of the period of the Revolution in the same location, and on the claims of residents of these blocs—as noted, witness accounts that other publications simply ignored—is enhanced by the fact that his articles from late December 1989 through 1990 clearly do not show someone out “to get” the USLA or tarnish their reputation.
What is particularly notable is that after writing the (in)famous 26 December 1989 Romania Libera article (“Ucigasii de meserie al teroristului nr. 1,” p. 3) claiming that these USLA personnel in the Defense Ministry incident were “terrorists,” Floca wrote articles demonstrating how the USLA collaborated with the Army in certain actions during December 1989, at the CC building (“Actiune concertata impotriva pericolului,” Romania Libera 29 December 1989, p. 4) and at the Television Station (“Reportaj la U.S.L.A.,” Tineretul Liber, 5 January 1990, p.4). Only in June 1990, did he begin publishing interviews with the Army soldiers involved in the 23-24 December incident with the USLA at the Defense Ministry and with the residents of the surrounding blocs. These articles were as he noted prompted by two developments: the articles in the opposition publication Zig-Zag rehabilitating the USLA and claiming they were innocent victims in the Defense Ministry incident (authored by the Securitate’s number one cheerleader, Angela Bacescu), and articles in the French press arguing that the “terrorists” had not existed. It was thus not as Siani-Davies suggests a response prompted first by a letter from the widows of the dead USLA officers.
Other “Misunderstandings” Involving the USLA
Nor, of course, were confrontations such as this one at the Defense Ministry “accidental” elsewhere. Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact time the decision was taken to send out mixed teams of Army and USLA personnel—in part, it would seem, in conformity with the so-called “planul unic de actiune” (single or special action plan)—it appears they became operational only on the 23rd, perhaps after the overnight/early morning Television and Radio announcements by Interior Minister Postelnicu and Securitate Director Vlad ostensibly declaring their loyalty to the Revolution and calling on all units under their commands to follow their lead. Certainly, we know that on this day, Saturday the 23rd, they were sent out in Bucharest, Buzau, Arad, and it appears other large cities. Thus, it seems clear that the “suspicions” or “fears” expressed by (Cirjan), Brates, General Nicolae Tudor, and others on Television on the 22nd were being ignored or at least not taken into account (certainly something that damages the idea that among those who had seized power everyone was working off the same sheet of music and everything was (pre-)coordinated.)
Yet, in place after place where the USLA showed up there were to be “misunderstandings” and problems. In Arad, Major Suciu of the USLA, who had been sent out on 23 December to help with the arrest of Militia Generals Nuta and Mihalea and the others who were shooting (“terrorists”) from the “Hotel Parc”—an unsuccessful mission—was arrested at noon on 24 December along with other Interior Ministry people, including USLA, probably in relation to an “accidental” confrontation involving an ABI.
According to the Army’s semi-official account of the December events, in the area of the Cernica and Pustnicu forests and the Brick Factory in Bucharest (apparently in the vicinity of vilas of Postelnicu and Valentin Ceausescu), a tank unit under the command of Captain Ion Anghel “engaged in battle with terrorist elements that were on foot and in ABIs,” the latter being a vehicle exclusively belonging to the USLA, as was noted earlier. In Sibiu, Lt. Col. Dragomir reported that two ABIs posted in front of the Militia Inspectorate and across from the military school which came under attack “had their machine guns pointed at the school, while the gun barrels exhibited signs of having been freshly fired.” In Resita, “a group of three officers from the USLA were seen exiting the DSS [Securitate] building and after a consultation with a group of 5 individuals they entered a zone where gunfire erupted. They returned after the gunfire ceased.” These three were arrested upon the orders of Army Col. Todor Stepan.
And, of course, the USLA just happened to be arrested by accident as terrorists. Somewhat cryptically DIA officer Remus Ghergulescu recounts:
“On the night of 24 December, the commander of the Central Military Hospital told me that they had two terrorists tied to their beds. One had a strain, and the other a sprained shoulder. They were in fact from the USLA and had participated at a demonstration [!]. At the ministry, ‘the terrorists’ were brought into the bathroom and investigations were conducted there. In this case I saw that they were USLAS-si junior officers.”
In Galati, matters also deteriorated on the 24th: “On 24 December…at 7 PM, the actor Vlad Vasiliu appeared in the balcony and announced to the crowd that: ‘We have traitors among us, [the] U.S.L.A. and [former Party first-secretary] Carol Dina have tried to launch a coup.” This, of course, sounds similar to what happened in Craiova where, as we saw earlier in the discussion about vidia bullets, USLA officer Dinel Staicu related that he attempted to ‘infiltrate his boss, Mr. Sandu’ into the prefecture, and found himself placed under house arrest.
Perhaps the most eloquent example of USLA duplicity comes from the actor Ernst Maftei in reference to the USLA personnel who came on the night of 23-24 December to the CC building to “help” civilians and the Army face the “terrorists”:
Dan Badea (the reporter, DB): Who was it Dan Iosif [a civilian who was to become a key member and defender of Iliescu’s circle from the December events onward] shot?
EM (Ernest Maftei): USLA! Sir, they ostensibly came to help us and instead they ended up shooting us!…In the sub-basement there were some men of ours, because there were some armored doors there and we didn’t know what the deal was with them. And someone opened a door and saw lights on. So we got scared about what was there. Then the USLA came to help us. Yes! And when they went down, they shot all our people. Two of ours were killed there, they were revolutionaries, simple people who went there to die [as it turned out]. And then we realized that these guys would kill us. Then they ascended. They too had three dead. And so we surrounded them: “Undress we told them!” My god, it was awful.
DB: Dan Iosif claims that he didn’t shoot the 15 USLASI…
EM: He’s having you on, don’t listen to him! It was necessary to kill them there. But he doesn’t want to say it because he doesn’t want it to be known because today the Securitate still rules. Precisely some of those who shot at us are now in power. Listen to me. The USLA, the Fifth Column, were with Ceausescu [emphasis added]. You don’t think they would have killed us? My god!
DB: Who else besides Dan Iosif shot?
EM: Many, about 5, I don’t know their names. Hell, if we hadn’t shot them, we would have been dead! It was revolution, sir. It was civil war…
Finally, the description of “dead terrorists” at the main Bucharest morgue, in a report dated 26 December 1989 (reproduced in the weekly Tinerama in 1993), seems to have clear signs pointing to the Securitate, especially the USLA and Fifth Directorate:
Dead Terrorists. Although their existence is vehemently denied by all official institutions, we are able to prove that they existed and have sufficient details to identify them.…We continue with some excerpts of the declaration of Ion Lungu, head of the group of fighters who guarded the ‘Institute of Legal Medicine’ [IML, the main Bucharest morgue], beginning from the evening of 22 December 1989:
“Starting from the 23rd, there were brought, in succession, more ‘special’ corpses. They were brought only by military vehicles and were accompanied by officers. They were all dressed the same: kaki uniforms, with or without military insignia, fur-lined boots, cotton underwear. All the clothes were new. The established procedure at that point was that when the bodies were unloaded from the trucks, at the ramp to the back of the IML, to be disrobed and inspected. The documents found were released to Prosecutor Vasiliu and criminology officers. The weapons and munitions we found and surrendered—on the basis of a verbal procedure—to the officer on duty from UM 01046. Weapons and ammunition were found only on those ‘special’ corpses. Those who brought them said that they were terrorists. I turned over to this military unit five pistols (three Stecikin and two Makarov—all 9 mm caliber), two commando daggers and hundreds of 9 mm and 7.62 mm cartridges (compatible with the AKM machine gun). They were held separately from the other corpses, in a room—I believe that it used to be the coatroom—with a guard at the door.…
Access to the room with the terrorists was strictly forbidden. Only Prosecutor Vasiliu, criminologist officers, Dr. Belis, and the chief of autopsies could enter. On top of them, next to the arms, there were personal documents, passports (some blank), all types of identity cards—one of them was clearly false, it stated that the dead terrorist was the director at Laromet (at that plant no director died)—identity cards that were brand new, different service stamps in white. All had been shot by rifles (one was severed in two) and showed evidence of gunshots of large caliber. Some had tattoos (they had vultures on their chests), were young (around 30 years old), and were solidly built. I believe that their identity was known, since otherwise I can’t explain why their photographs were attached to those of unidentified corpses. They were brought to us in a single truck. In all, there were around 30 dead terrorists. [The document is signed by Ion Lungu and Dumitru Refenschi on 26 December 1989]”
As of December 1989, officially only the USLA and Directorate V-a possessed Stecikin and Makarov weapons in their arsenals.
 “Cum ocheau teroristii?” Armata Poporului, no. 3 (17 January 1990), p. 6. Such devices were recovered from those arrested as “terrorists,” see Razvan Belciuganu, “Armele cu care au tras teroristii,” Jurnalul National, 6 December 2004, online edition.
 Quoted in Major Mihai Floca, “Reportaj la U.S.L.A.,” Tineretul Liber, 5 January 1990, p. 4.
 Dan Iliescu, interview by Ion Zubascu, “Misterioasa revolutie romana,” Flacara, no. 51 (19 December 1990), p. 11.
 Quoted in Viorel Domenico, Ceausescu la Targoviste 22-25 decembrie 1989. (Bucharest: Editura “Ion Cristoiu,” 1999), p. 157.
 See Dan Voinea, interview by Toma Roman, jr. and Laura Toma, “Surprizele generalului Dan Voinea—Cadavrele Ceausistilor, filmate de Topescu,” Jurnalul National, 3 November 2005, online edition. Read the “service/duty journals,” reports, and testimonies of soldiers of various ranks in Viorel Domenico, Ceausescu la Targoviste: 22-25 decembrie 1989, (Bucuresti: Editura ‘Ion Cristoiu,’ 1999), pp. 120-193, and you too may really begin to question Voinea’s motives for such definitive—definitively wrong—conclusions.
 Major Mihai Floca, “Actiune concertata impotriva pericolului,” Romania Libera, 29 December 1989, p. 4.
 Peter Siani-Davies, The Romanian Revolution of December 1989, (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005), p. 154. I can, of course, well sympathize with—and admire—how long it took Siani-Davies to convert his 1995 dissertation into a book! I must rely on incomplete notes here concerning Codrescu et. al. but even those suggest internal contradiction regarding V-a and other weapons. I find a reference on p. 262 along the lines of “few of V-a weapons being recovered…including Makarov, Steicikin, Walter pusti semiautomate cu luneta [i.e. PSL]. ” Elsewhere in Buzau we are told that “40 machine guns were missing” and that 22 armed civilians showed up at the headquarters of the Front with machine guns with folding tripod “that were not in the arsenal of the Army or the Patriotic Guards” with each having magazines “de tip sector, pline.” They said they had been armed by the “IJMI” or in other words the county inspectorate of the Interior Ministry (pp. 192-193). And in Braila, only 25 percent of personnel showed up at 1700 on 22 December at the IJMI, the rest only on 26 December with their weapons (p. 197).
 Hall 1997, pp. 319-323.
 There are in fact many issues Siani-Davies does not address—and understandably, they tend to play havoc with his bottom line on the supposed non-existence “terrorists.” For example, he wants to explain the deluge of misinformation about prospective or actual attacks that were phoned into the Television Studios as the result of people on TV having given out the telephone numbers. Fine, but such an explanation cannot explain the multiple reports by soldiers and others who were bombarded by phone calls at their military units. Were these numbers known? Announced on television? Of course not, but at a minimum one can guarantee the Securitate would have known them. According to the military, alone on 24 December 1989, the Chief of Staff Headquarters received 800 such phone calls (Codrescu et. al., p. 116)!
Similarly, there is the issue of false radar ‘bogeys,’ an issue which Prosecutor Voinea seeks to explain away as a kind of “computer game”—yes but if so by whom and to what end? Siani-Davies appears to skirt this issue completely and yet it has gained extensive coverage. A military aviation official, Colonel Mircea Budiaci, described the characteristics of the so-called “radio-electronic war” the armed forces faced, as follows:
“…we were confronted with a powerful adversary which operated on the basis of long-prepared plans which were centrally directed and permanently adapted to changing conditions. [They attacked] by radio-electronic means by creating signals on our radar identical to those which represented real targets. When they reached a distance between 800 and 1500 meters from an object on the ground they would simulate gunfire of various types of weapons. These two things created the image of an air attack. They were combined with ground attacks, real or false, with various types of telephone calls by identified or unidentified callers, and with the spreading of rumors…on our operating frequencies there were conversations between what were presumed to be aircraft in flight and base command. You didn’t know what to make of it, and the confusion was intensified by the fact that they were speaking not only in Romanian, but also in English, Turkish, and Arabic…You can imagine in what a situation we had to perform our duties…” (Colonel Mircea Budiaci, interview by Maior D. Amariei, “NU! Teroristii n-au avut elicoptere,’ Armata Poporului, 21 March 1990, p. 4.)
What follows is amazing evidence that the “radar games” of December 1989 did not end there, something which totally explodes once again the stupidities about a war with one side or accident, Lt. Col. Alexandru Bodea (no. 22 May 1990 Armata Poporului):
On 9 January 1990, between the hours of 21:55 and 23:14, on the radar screens of the missile managers of one of the subordinate subunits there were detected signals coming from about 12 unidentified aircraft, that were deploying, at a height of 300 to 1800 meters, in the direction of a nearby locality.
The following day, between the hours of 03:00 and 04:15 again were detected the signals of six airships, after which—the same—between 17:00-18:00 and 21:30—the same type of signals, several aerial targets hovering at altitudes between 300-3000 meters, in the same direction as the previous day.
Then, as if to boost the belief of the missile officers that this was no accident, on the third day, 11 January, between the hours 0400-0500, again there appeared the signals of 7 unidentified aircraft, having essentially the same flight characteristics. What is curious is that not a single one of these targets was observed visually and no characteristic engine sounds were heard in the respective locations.
But even more curious is that, just then, from the central radio base of a nearby municipality, there arrived a communications unit that intercepted foreign signals on a particular bandwidth, in impulses, while on another frequency an intense traffic in Arabic or Turkish was noted.
In light of this information, the commander of the unit organized a radio inspection of numerous areas, with the help of transmissions’ equipment. Therefore, on 11 January 1990, between 1120 and 1130 on the respective frequency were received the code signs in English, 122 calling 49, 38, 89, 11, 82, 44, 38, 84, and asked if they “were doing well.”
From the fragments of discussions it could be understood that they were making references to explosives, hospitals, medicines, and wounded “for the hours 1400.” At 1330, on the same frequency, once again were intercepted conversations in which there was mention of wounded and requests for help. The transmissions were received over this, in which a more feminine voice and a dog’s bark could be clearly heard. References were made to the preceding conversations that were to follow at 1800, 1900, 2200, and then on 12 January 1990, at 0910.
Chatting with some citizens from the local area where these targets and foreign radio traffic were intercepted, the commander of the anti-aircraft unit to whom we referred found out that nearby there exists a wooded road (author’s note: the locality is in a mountainous area), surrounded by two rows of barbed wire, a road on which in fact there is no lumber transport. Not by chance, since before the Revolution, the road was off-limits and was under the strict guard of the Securitate. [emphasis added]
These same citizens further informed the unit’s commander, that after the Revolution, the road in question did not become a no-man’s land, remaining instead in the hands of people dressed as woodsmen but about whom those from the local lumber collective had no clue.
Who could these unknown “woodsmen” be? And what “affairs” did they have there? Perhaps exactly…[article concludes]
(For a more recent Internet discussion of such issues, see Razvan Belciuganu, “In decembrie 1989, toata Romania a fost bruiata,” Jurnalul National, 23 September 2004, online edition.)
 Angela Bacescu, Romania Mare, 7 September 1990, p. 5a; see also her allegations against Cirjan in the 21 August 1990 edition. The individual in question is apparently Constantin Cirjan, who in fact shows up on the list of the initial 38 members of the National Salvation Front. For more speculation on this see Richard Andrew Hall, “The 1989 Romanian Revolution as Geopolitical Parlor Game: Brandstatter’s ‘Checkmate’ Documentary and the Latest Wave in a Sea of Revisionism,” 2005, online.
 Paul Vincius, “Moartea unui terorist,” Zig-Zag, no. 106 (April 1992), p. 7. One of the documents attesting to the ownership of the weapon is reproduced in the article.
 Christian Levant, “Carlos a primit tone de arme din Romania,” Evenimentul Zilei, 6 September 2000, online edition.
 Major Mihai Floca and Captain Victor Stoica, “Unde sint teroristii? PE STRADA, PRINTRE NOI (I), [Where are the terrorists? ON THE STREET, AMONG US],” Armata Poporului, 13 June 1990, p. 3.
 Interview reproduced in Aurel Perva and Carol Roman, Misterele revolutiei romane, pp. 73-74.
 From Sergiu Nicolaescu, Revolutia. Inceputul Adevarului. (Bucharest: Editura TOPAZ, 1995), pp. 244-245.
 Major Mihai Floca and Captain Victor Stoica, “Unde sint teroristii? PE STRADA, PRINTRE NOI, [Where are the terrorists? ON THE STREET, AMONG US],” Armata Poporului, no. 24 (13 June 1990), p. 3 and no. 26 (27 June 1990), p. 1; 3.
 Col. Gheorge Vaduva, “Soldatii au zambit si au incalcat ordinul,” online at http://www.portarulrevolutiei.ro/arhiva2004 205.html.
 Catalin Antohe, “Trei indivizi, in uniforme de armata,” Romania Libera, 6 December 2005, online edition.
 “Marturii despre teatrele de razboi ale Revolutiei Romane,” Romania Libera, 7 December 2005, online edition.
 Costache Codrescu et. al. Armata romana in revolutia din decembrie 1989 (Bucharest: Editura Militara, 1998), p. 141.
 Major Mihai Floca and Captain Victor Stoica, “Unde sint teroristii? PE STRADA, PRINTRE NOI (I),” Armata Poporului, 13 June 1990, p. 3.
 Ardeleanu’s full report is reproduced in Dan Badea, “Cine au fost teroristii?” Expres, vol. 2, no. 41 (90), 15-21 October 1991, 15.
 USLA Captain R. M. [Marian Romanescu], with Dan Badea, “U.S.L.A. in Stare de Hipnoza,” Expres, no. 13 (62) (April 1991). It is interesting that he also notes that on the afternoon of 22 December 1989, “[USLA] officers received the orders to arm themselves with guns from another service dispatched to the field.”
 Dan Badea, “Cine au fost teroristii?” Expres, no. 41 (90) (15-21 October 1991), p. 10; p. 15. Substantial sections of Ardeleanu’s 8 January 1990 report are reproduced in this article.
 Lt. Col. Mihai Floca and a “group of officers from the Defense Ministry who participated directly in the events,” Adevarul, 29 August 1990, p. 1-2.
 These numbers and discussion taken from both Badea, “USLA in stare de hipnoza,” Expres (April 1991), and Floca et. al. in Adevarul, 29 August 1990.
 Hall 2005, “The 1989 Romanian Revolution as Geopolitical Parlor Game,” online, citing Ardeleanu to Europa.
 Most recently, see Hall 2005, “The Romanian Revolution as Geopolitical Parlor Game,” online.
 See the interviews in Major Mihai Floca, “Crima?” Armata Poporului (6 June 1990), p. 3.
 See Major Mihai Floca, “Crima?” Armata Poporului (6 June 1990),p. 3, and idem., “Eroi, victime, sau teroristi?” Adevarul 29August 1990, pp. 1-2.
 Major Mihai Floca and Captain Victor Stoica, “Unde sint teroristii? PE STRADA, PRINTRE NOI,” Armata Poporului, no. 24 (13 June 1990), p. 3 and no. 26 (27 June 1990), p. 1; 3.
 See Siani-Davies 2005, p. 151, fn. 29. The letter appeared only three days prior to the Army response in Adevarul in August 1990.
 Mihai Lupoi claims that on 22 December: “When Ardeleanu appeared, it was suggested that mixed teams from the Army and USLA be formed to clear out ‘terrorists’ from the basement of the CC and Television, an issue that had been discussed at the Defense Ministry [earlier that afternoon] without the participation of Mr. Iliescu” (Mihai Lupoi, with Sorin Rosca Stanescu, “Noi dezvaluiri pe marginea stenogramei ,marelui consens’,” Romania Libera, 16 May 1990, p. 2.)
 Codrescu et. al., Armata Romana in Revolutia din Decembrie 1989, pp. 209-213. Vasile Surcel, “19 oameni au murit la Arad in zilele Revolutiei,” Jurnalul National, 29 October 2004, online edition.
 Codrescu, et. al., p. 149.
 Lt. Col. Aurel Dragomir, “N-am nimic de ascuns!” Armata Romaniei, (1-7 June 1994), p.7.
 See Ilie Stoian, “La Resita s-a jucat o mare carte a Revolutiei,” Expres no.27 (July 1991), and “Ce zice fostul comandant al securitatii din Caras-Severin,” Expres no. 34 (27 August-2 September 1991), p. 10. Not without potential importance, Securitate Col. Aurel Mihalcea is supposed to have been responsible for the accommodation of 80 Arab “tourists” at Herculane, starting from 20 December 1989.
 Remus Ghergulescu, interview, “Planul de gherila urbana, pus in aplicare la Bucuresti,” Jurnalul National, 4 March 2004, online edition.
 P. Barbu, “O stea de maior pentru o leafa de senator,” Flacara, no. 21, 22 May 1991, p. 7.
 See Ernst Maftei, interview with Dan Badea, “Iliescu putea sa fie eroul neamului, dar a pierdut ocazia! [Iliescu could have been a national hero, but he squandered the opportunity!],” Expres, no. 36 (85) 10-16 September 1991. Maftei also details his own travels through the subterranean tunnels under the CC.
 Ioan Itu, “Mostenirea teroristilor,” Tinerama, no. 123 (9-15 April 1993), p. 7.