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.

Archive for July 7th, 2013

After the Ceausescus Were Executed: The Counter-Revolution is “Disappeared” (26 December 1989 – 24 January 1990)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on July 7, 2013

Bullets, Lies, and Videotape:  The Amazing, Disappearing Romanian Counter-Revolution of December 1989[1] 

by Richard Andrew Hall, Ph.D. (published December 2009)

Standard 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.   I am an intelligence analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency.  I have been a CIA analyst since 2000.  Prior to that time, I had no association with CIA outside of the application process.

…In other words, a cover-up of a now failed attempt at counter-revolution—having been cut short by the execution of the Ceausescus, the object of their struggle—had begun.  In the days and weeks that were to follow, the Securitate, including people such as the seemingly ubiquitous Colonel Ghircoias discussed in the opening of this article would go about recovering those “terrorists” who were unlucky enough to be captured, injured, or killed.  By 24 January 1990, the “terrorists” of the Romanian Counter-Revolution of December 1989, no longer existed, so-to-speak, and the chances for justice and truth about what had happened in December 1989 would never recover.[53]


Unofficially, we also know of Colonel Ghircoias’ exploits after the Ceausescu regime collapsed on 22 December 1989, exploits for which he was not charged at his trial and for which he has never been charged.  Of the 1,104 people killed and 3,352 people injured during the December 1989 bloodshed, 942 of them were killed and 2,251 wounded after Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu fled power on 22 December 1989.  At the time, personnel of the communist regime’s secret police—known as the Securitate—and allied foreign mercenaries fighting to restore the Ceausescu regime—collectively christened “the terrorists”—were thought to be the primary source behind the post-22 December bloodshed.

It was in this context, that doctors from Bucharest’s various main hospitals recall Colonel Ghircoias’ sudden, unannounced appearances during the last days of December 1989 and first days of January 1990.  Professor Andrei Firica of the Bucharest “Emergency Hospital” recounted in a 2004 media interview largely the same details he had conveyed to the press in the summer of 1990.  According to Firica, some 15 to 20 suspected terrorists had been interned at the “Emergency Hospital” in varying states of medical distress.  He says he made a small file of the medical situations of these patients.  A Militia colonel, whom he later was to see in [prisoner] stripes on TV as a defendant in the Timisoara trial—i.e. fairly clearly Ghircoias—came one day and counseled him to keep nosy foreign reporters away from the beds of the “terrorists,” stating ominously that “these were just terrorist suspects and he [Dr. Firica] didn’t want to wake up one day on trial for having defamed someone”!   The colonel later came and loaded the wounded terrorist suspects onto a bus and off they went.  Firica maintains the files he kept on the terrorist suspects “of course, disappeared.”  He noted, however, that he asked his son, who had studied theater and film at university, to film the terrorists tied down to the hospital beds, and he claims he gave copies of this cassette to the Procuracy.[4]

  • At the Emergency Hospital 13 suspected of being what we call terrorists were interned.  Among these a few were definitely foreign, even though all had Romanian papers.  Two clearly had ‘Mongoloid’ (‘Asiatic’) features (one stated that his mother was Romanian, while his father was from Laos), while four others were Arabs.  Nevertheless, they spoke Romanian very well.  Doctor Nicolae Staicovici, who worked a time in Egypt and who treated them for a time spoke with them.  At a moment, he formed a question in Arabic.  One of the injured responded to him perfectly.  All were well-built, one was a ‘mountain of a man.’  He said nothing, although he probably had terrible pains.  There were also two terrorists who were not wounded.  One arrived at night, under some pretext.  Those on guard suspecting him, immobilized him.  He had on three layers of clothing and several ids.  They tied him to the stretcher, but although he appeared rather frail, at a given moment he ripped the restraints off.  [Constantin Fugasin, “Unde ne sint teroristii?” Zig-Zag, 1990.]

[4]Professor Andrei Firica, interview by Florin Condurateanu, “Teroristii din Spitalul de Urgenta,” Jurnalul National, 9 March 2004, online edition, cited in Hall, “Orwellian…Positively Orwellian” For similar accounts, see Florin Mircea Corcoz si Mircea Aries, “Terorist ascuns in Apuseni?” Romania Libera, 21 August 1992, p. 1–“Colonelul Ghircoias, former director of the Securitate’s penal investigative unit, brought together the individuals accused of being terrorists and made them disappear”; Andreea Hasnas, “Reportajul unui film cu TERORISTI,” Expres, no. 10 (6-12 aprilie 1990), p. 5; Constantin Fugasin, “Unde ne sint teroristii?” Zig-Zag, 1990.


A Brief Timeline of the Counter-Revolutionary Coverup

26 December 1989

(Those who argue that there was no “other side” during the fighting of 22-25 December 1989–that the “terrorists” did not exist, that they were from the Army (in particular DIA), that it was all just “friendly fire,” misunderstanding, paranoia, fear, and suspicion (such post-modernist excess permeates the accounts of Peter Siani-Davies, Ruxandra Cesereanu , Adrian Cioflanca, to name a few of the more recent accounts, as well as reviews of films such as A Fost sau N-a Fost?/12:08 East of Bucharest)–have difficulty explaining how the Hungarian military maintains they were tracking Securitate radio transmitters/transmissions and relaying the information to the Romanian military leadership and that the operation of these Securitate transmitters dropped off in sync with the drop off in counter-revolutionary resistance posed by the Securitate…Then again they are not aware of this or most of the details/evidence presented for the period 26 December 1989 – 24 January 1990 below…) 

Colonel Gyorgy Keleti, head of the Hungarian People’s Army Press Department:  “…I would like to say that a progressive weakening of the Securitate has been experienced.  We ourselves can see this, because our radio searching and locating units which were in Hungary a few days ago were monitoring broadcasts from 31 Securitate radio centers–yesterday 19, and today only 5.  We of course put this data at the disposal of the Romanian military leadership.”

Ferenc Karpati:  “A Securitate erői ellen hosszú, küzdelmes harcot folytattak a hadsereg és a forradalom más erői. Felszámolásuk érdekében a Magyar Honvédség speciális képzettségu rádióbemérő egységeinek egy részét átcsoportosítottuk a román államhatár közelébe, s így sikerült rádióállomásaikat bemérni, álláshelyeiket pontosan meghatározni. Az adatok átadásával jelentősen elősegítettük a Securitate-bázisok felszámolását.”  KÁRPÁTI FERENC: A román forradalom és Magyarország, 1989. Egy volt miniszter emlékezése

1990. január 11., csütörtök 18:55

A Honvédelmi Minisztérium közleménye (4. rész) (OS)
A kezdeti időszakban, amikor a diktátorhoz hű Securitate a
forradalom vérbe fojtására jelentős erőket vetett be, a Magyar
Néphadsereg speciális képzettségű rádióbemérő alakulatainak egy
részét átcsoportosította a magyar-román államhatár közelébe a
Securitate rádióállomásainak bemérésére, helyeinek meghatározására.
Ezeknek az adatoknak az átadásával, az adók bemért földrajzi
helyeinek megjelölésével feltehetően segítséget nyújtott a Magyar
Néphadsereg a Securitate-bázisok felszámolásában, megsemmisítésében.
Szinte napról napra érzékelhető volt ezek számának csökkenése, ami a
magyar szakértők szerint arról tanúskodott, hogy a diktátorhoz hű
erők törzseit a román hadsereg folyamatosan számolja fel. Ezt
példázza, hogy a december 26-án nyilvánosságra hozottak szerint
24-én még 31, 25-én már 19 és 26-án csupán öt
Securitate-rádióközpont működését rögzítették és mérték be a magyar
rádiófelderítő és bemérő alegységek.

25-27 December 1989

Gheorghe Ratiu, head of the Securitate’s First Directorate, maintains that, on Director Vlad’s orders, between 25 and 27 December 1989 he was tasked with finding out the “truth” concerning the “foreign terrorists” reported to be in the hospitals and morgues; he had to resort to subterfuge to verify the situation, since Army personnel were denying him entrance.  (Gheorghe Ratiu, interview by Ilie Neacsu (episode 17), Europa, 7-22 March 1995, cited in Hall 1997, p. 366.)

Gheorghe Ratiu (fost sef al Directiei I a Securitatii):  “La ordinul generalului Vlad, in zilele de 25-27 decembrie 1989, am coordonat o investigatie in spitalele si morgile Capitalei pentru a stabili care este adevarul in legatura cu ‘teroristii straini’ despre care se tot relata la televiziune si in presa.  Toate unitatiile spitalicesti si morga de la Institutul Medico-Legal, fusesera preluate in paza de catre armata.  La inceput, ofiterilor trimisi de mine nu li s-a permis intrarea in nici unul din aceste obiective, cu toate ca, oficial, de la data de 23 decembrie devenisem seful Directiei de Infromatii Interne a Armatei.  Pentru a strapunge acest baraj instituit, de forte oculte, am apelat si am primit sprijinul procurorului general Popovici, a ministrului adjunct dr. Iacob de la Ministerul Sanatatii, si a generalului Vasile, inca sef al Directiei de contrainformatii militare.  Am format astfel, patru echipe conduse de cate un procuror si din care mai faceau parte, cate un ofiter de contrainformatii cu uniforma al legitimatii cu uniforma si legitimatie de la Ministerul Apararii  Nationale [!!!], un ofiter de la directia mea si un inspector de la Directia sanitara a Municipului Bucuresti.  Aceste echipe au reusit sa patrunda peste tot [!!!], mai putin la Spitalul Militar Central…Rezultatul a fost ca in tara murisera in acea perioada doar patru cetateni straini…Deci, nici un terorist strain [!!!]“

Gheorghe Ratiu, interviu luat de Ilie Neacsu, Europa, episoade XVII si XVIII, martie-aprilie 1995.


28 December 1989

Constantin Catalin-Ceferistul:  “Pe 28 decembrie am predat patru cetateni de nationalitate araba.  Aveau pasaport, Republica Irak.” (Expres Magazin, nr. 22 (1991))


30-31 December 1989

(To my pleasant surprise, I discovered the AFP (Agence France Presse) Archive online.  I finally dug into my pocket and purchased for approximately 3 euros an article the following articles.)

Anatomy of a Cover-up (or Constanta, we have a problem…):  In the waning days of December 1989 following the execution of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu on Christmas Day, several high-ranking officials from Romania’s military and commercial navy stationed in and around Constanta recounted to foreign reporters details of what had happened off the Black Sea Coast during the previous week and a half…That they spoke out of turn and were entirely too honest could be surmised by the effort of Bucharest–and those directly charged with the overall governance and defense of the country–to deny the revelations out of Constanta.  It was the beginning of the cover-up of the Counter-Revolution of December 1989 and it was done precisely because of the involvement of foreign mercenaries in fighting side by side with elements of the Securitate who opposed the ouster of Nicolae Ceausescu.  (So, indeed, the cover-up was initiated by Romania’s new civil and military leaders to avoid international ramifications (the ultimate state function, regardless of regime, in a world of nation-states)…it would be continued by others.)

One wonders what would have happened had this series of reports been laid out in sequence and analyzed as a sequence.  There seems to have been more coverage of them (abroad) in the Budapest (see below), rather than Bucharest, press.  One of the few references in the literature on December 1989 is on page 66 of Nestor Ratesh’s Romania: The Entangled Revolution (1991), where Ratesh notes a (31 December 1989) Agence France Presse dispatch citing the office of naval commander Constantin Iordache on Soviet and Bulgarian information that helicopters were being launched by suspicious ships approximately 60 miles off the coast, as well as a later denial by other Romanian authorities of the existence of these helicopters.  As one can see below, the five AFP reports on the subject, from 30 and 31 December 1989, and 2 and 3 January 1990, are far more detailed, diverse, and damning than Ratesh’s allusion would suggest.

Note:  Not everything at this point had “disappeared”:  General Vasile Ionel confirmed that the terrorists had used foreign arms (arms not produced in Warsaw Pact countries, as he specified) and that they used munitions outlawed by international conventions, for example exploding DUM-DUM bullets (“balles explosives”).

Talk about a clear example where the stupidities about Front and/or Army “disinformation” “inventing the terrorists” cannot explain behavior and fall apart miserably:  The case of the comments of military commanders on the Black Sea coast during the period 29-31 December 1989…and the reaction of senior military authorities in Bucharest who realized those revelations could cause international problems for Romania’s new leaders and thus needed to quash the truth as quickly as possible.

Robert Cullen, “Report from Romania:  Down with the Tyrant,” The New Yorker, 2 April 1990.

Late the next night, Romanian television showed Ceausescu’s corpse, lying in a pool of blood.  After that, the Securitate resistance wilted, although sporadic sniping continued for a week or so.  It turned out that not all of the Securitate fighters were Romanian.  A ranking member of the National Salvation Front told me that about a hundred of them, including some who fought the longest, were from Syria, Iraq, Libya, and other countries with histories of involvement in terrorism.  They had come to Romania ostensibly as exchange students, but had in fact received commando training.  In return, they agreed to serve the Securitate for several years.  As these foreigners were captured, and rumors–accurate ones–about their origins began to spread, the Front publicly denied that any Arabs had been involved with the Securitate.  It did so because it wished to avoid any trouble in relations with the Arab world, the Front official explained.  I asked what would become of the captured Arab commandos, and he responded by silently drawing his index finger across his throat.


1-2 January 1990

Dr. Nicolae Constantinescu, chief surgeon at the Coltea Hospital, also was paid the honor of a visit by Colonel Ghircoias during these days:

I remember that on 1 or 2 January ’90 there appeared at the [Coltea] hospital a colonel from the Interior Ministry, who presented himself as Chircoias.  He maintained in violent enough language that he was the chief of I-don’t-know-what “criminalistic” department from the Directorate of State Security [ie. Securitate].  He asked that all of the extracted bullets be turned over to him.  Thus were turned over to him 40 bullets of diverse forms and dimensions, as well as munition fragments.[9]

[9] Dr. Professor Nicolae Constantinescu, interview by Romulus Cristea, “”Nici acum nu-mi dau seama cum am putut sa operez nonstop timp de trei zile,” Romania Libera, 20 December 2006, online edition.

Bucuresti, Spitalul Coltea:  “Pe data de 1 sau 2 ianuarie 1990 a aparut la spital un colonel Chircoias, de la Interne cred”

Prof. univ. dr. Nicolae (Nae) Constantinescu, membru al Academiei de Medicina si al Academiei Oamenilor de Stiinta. Medic chirug la Spitalul Coltea.

– Ce s-a intamplat cu cartusele extrase chirurgical din ranile pacientilor? Erau niste probe care ar fi putut lamuri anumite aspecte…
Pe data de 1 sau 2 ianuarie 1990 a aparut la spital un colonel Chircoias, de la Interne cred. Acest Chircoias a fost judecat si condamnat mai tarziu intr-un proces la Timisoara in legatura cu revolutia.

Chircoias, care sustinea sus si tare ca ar conduce nu stiu ce sectie criminalistica din Directia Securitatii Statului, a cerut gloantele extrase. Acestea, vreo 40 la numar, i-au fost date de un medic care era secretar de partid la IMF. Tin minte ca erau gloante de diverse forme, de diferite dimensiuni.


7 January 1990

Ion Medoia, “Teroristi prinsi pe teritoriul Iugoslaviei,” Romania Libera, 10 ianuarie 1990.

d. Stire de senzatie
Autoritatile iugoslave au arestat ieri 63 de teroristi, care au participat la masacrele de la Timisoara, Sibiu si Bucuresti. Cand vor fi predati inapoi, vom releva detalii semnificative.
(publicat in ziarul Renasterea banateana, Timisoara, 07.01.1990,pe prima pagina, fara titlu si nesemnat, dar incadrat in chenar)
N.R. La vremea respectiva colonelul Nicolae Predonescu, reprezentant al conducerii Garnizoanei militare Timisoara la Consiliul judetean FSN Timis si totodata membru al respectivului Consiliu, a informat, inclusiv pe presedintele Consiliului judetean FSN Timis, Lorin Ioan Fortuna, ca va pleca, impreuna cu o delegatie militara, la solicitarea


9 January 1990

FBIS-EEU-90-006 9 January 1990 “Army Combs Timisoara Region for Securitate” Agence France Presse 9 January 1990, pp. 61-62

According to the journalist, the Army’s suspicions were confirmed when it found a cache of dum-dum bullets, exclusively used by the Securitate, at the home of the head of the agricultural cooperative at Topolovatu Mare, Ioan Josu [former member of the Communist Party Central Committee].


11 January 1990

Mai tirziu in 11 ianuarie [1990], cind toata lumea spunea iarasi ‘civili sa predea armele’ impreuna cu Cercel Doina Rebeca am intrat in buncarul subteran din CC si am mai prins inca opt insi.  Au tras–daca nu era Rebeca era a treia oara cind muream….


9 January 1990; 11-17 January 1990

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]

“…In data de 09.01.1990, intre orele 21.55 si 23.14, pe ecranele complexului de dirijare a rachetelor de la una dintre subunitatiile subordonate au fost sesizate semnale provenind de la un numar de 12 aeronave neidentificate, care se deplasau la inaltimi cuprinse intre 300 si 1800 de metri, pe directia unei localitatii invecinate.
In ziua urmatoare, intre orele 03.00 si 04.15, au fost sesizate, din nou, semnale de la sase aeronave, dupa care–la fel–intre orele 17.00-18.00 si 21.30–acelasi tip de semnale, despre niste tinte aeriene evoluind la altitudini cuprinse intre 800-3000 de metri, pe aceeasi directie de deplasare ca si in ziua precedenta.
Apoi, parca pentru a intari rachetistilor convingerea ca nu poate fi vorba de nici o confuzie, a treia zi, pe 11 ianuarie, intre orele 04.00-05.00, au mai aparut, iarasi, semnale despre 7 aeronave neidentificate, avind in esenta aceleasi caracteristici de zbor.  Ceea ce este curios e ca nici una dintre tinte nu a fost observata vizual si nici nu a facut sa se auda in zona respectiva zgomotului caracteristic de motor.
Dar si mai curios este ca, tot atunci, de la centrul de control radio din municipiul apropriat, a parvenit la unitate informatia ca, pe o anumita banda de frecventa, au fost interceptate semnale strainii, modulate in impuls, iar pe o alta frecventa se semnala un intens trafic radio intr-o limba araba sau turca.
In urma acestei informatii, comandantul unitatii a organizat cercetarea radio din mai multe zone, cu ajutorul unor mijloace de transmisiuni din inzestrare.  Astfel, in data de 11.01.1990 intre orele 11.20 si 11.30 au fost receptionate, pe frecventa respectiva, convorbiri radio, in fonic [?] in limba engleza, in cadrul carora indicatul “122″ chema indicativele “49″, “38″, “89″, “11″, “82″, “44″, “38″, “84″, si le intreba “daca va simtiti bine”.
Din fragmentele de discutii s-a mai inteles ca se faceau referiri la explozivi, spital, medicamente, si raniti “pentru orele 16.00″.  La orele 13,30, pe aceeasi frecventa, au fost din nou interceptate convorbiri in care era vorba de raniti si se cereau ajutoare.  Emisiunile au fost receptionate pe fondul altor convorbiri, din care s-au detasat mai clar o voce feminina si un latrat de ciine.  S-au facut iarasi referiri la ulterioarele convorbiri ca urmau sa aiba loc la orele 16.00, 19.00, 22.00 si, apoi, in ziua de 12.01.1990, la 09.10.
Stind de vorba cu unii cetateni din zona localitatii unde au fost sesizate acele tinte aeriene si unde fusese localizat straniul trafic radio interceptat, comandantul unitatii de aparare antiaeriana la care ne-am referit a aflat ca, in vecinatate, exista un drum forestier (nota noastra; localitatea respectiva se afla intr-o zona muntoasa), marginit de doua rinduri de sirma ghimpata, drum pe care nu se efectueaza [?], de fapt, transporturi forestiere.  Nu de alta, dar si pentru ca, pina la Revolutie, drumul in cauza era interzis si se afla sub paza stricta a securitatii.
Tot acei cetateni au mai tinut sa-l informeze pe comandantul unitatii ca, nici dupa Revolutie, drumul respectiv nu a ramas chiar al nimanului, intrucit in zona respectiva au fost vazute persoane imbracate in uniforme de padurari despre care insa, nimeni de la ocolul silvic in raza cariua se afla acele locuri nu stia absolut nimic.
Cine sa fi fost oare acei “padurari” necunoscuti?  Si cu ce “treburi” pe acolo?  Poate tot…”
(Locotenent-colonel Alexandru Bodea, din serialul “Varianta la Invazia Extraterestrilor.  Pe cine interpelam pentru uriasa si ultraperfectionata diversiune psihologica si radioelectronica prin care s-a urmarit paralizarea conducerii armatei in timpul Revolutiei?”
Armata Poporului, nr. 22 (“urmare din numarul 21″), mai 1990.)

asemenea actiuni de diversiune radio-electronica s-au mai inregistrat si in zilele de 11 si 17 ianuarie, deci aproape la o luna dupa Revolutie…


16 January 1990:  (Date of film procured by Ted Koppel and ABC News showing underground tunnels used by the “terrorists”)

Monday, March 5 (1990). 

Bucharest.  Among the many art forms that have atrophied during the past 45 years in Romania, is that of dissembling.  Confronted by questions they don’t like, a number of military officers and officials whom we encountered, simply lied.  Stupid lies; the kind that speak of a society in which no one ever dared to question an official pronouncement.

We had requested a tour of the complex of tunnels that radiate out from beneath the old Communist Party Central Committee building in Bucharest.  An army colonel escorted us along perhaps 50 yards of tunnel one level beneath the ground and the pronounced the tour over.  I asked to be shown the second and third levels, videotape of which had already been provided us by some local entrepreneurs.  “There is no second or third level,” said the colonel.  I assured him that I had videotape of one of his own subordinates, who had escorted us on this tour, lifting a toilet that concealed the entrance to a ladder down to the next level of tunnels.  The colonel went off to consult with his man.  When he came back he said, “my officer says he’s never seen you before.”  “True,” I replied, but then I’d never said he had, only that we were in possession of the videotape I’d described.  “There are no other tunnels,” said the colonel.

Ted Koppel, “Romanian Notebook.  The week Lenin got the hook.” The Washington Post, 13 March 1990, A25.

from 2 April 1990, ABC News Special.  The Koppel Report:  Death of a Dictator.

Dupa alti 20 de metri militarii au observat ca peretii tunelului au alta culoare, sunt mai noi si sunt acoperiti cu un fel de rasina sintetica. Dupa inca 10 metri culoarul se infunda. Chiar la capat se afla un piedestal din lemn pe care era asezat un capac de WC. Au ridicat capacul iar sub el au gasit un chepeng de fier. L-au ridicat si au gasit… un rau cu apa curata, care curge intr-o matca artificiala din beton. Are latimea de circa 1,5 metri si adancimea de aproximativ un metru. Raul se afla la aproximativ 12 metri sub platforma Pietei Revolutiei . Cele 16 barci erau folosite de fapt pentru acesta cale de navigatie.

from 2 April 1990, ABC News Special.  The Koppel Report:  Death of a Dictator.


18 January 1990

On Thursday morning [18 January 1990], for example, a plainclothes officer of the pro-Ceausescu Securitate suddenly emerged from a manhole on Nicolae Balcescu Boulevard, the main north-south thoroughfare. He was immediately detained by passers-by, who were evidently aware that in recent weeks the Securitate forces had used a vast network of underground tunnels for hit-and-run attacks on the Rumanian Army units that joined the uprising.  In a short time, armed soldiers gathered at the manhole and brought out another 16 Securitate officers who had been living in the tunnels for nearly a month. Down the street that same day, four more Securitate officers turned themselves in to an army unit in front of the Plaza Building, saying they were starving.  This was revealed by two associates of Cristian Popisteanu, editor in chief of Magazin Istoric, who witnessed the incidents. But so far, no word of what happened has appeared in the Bucharest press or on television. [NYT 1/22/1990]

Upheaval in the East: Rumania; Rumanians Call for Freedom in Schools

By DAVID BINDER, Special to The New York Times
Published: January 22, 1990

BUCHAREST, Rumania, Jan. 21— Student leaders, addressing a crowd of about 3,000 of their classmates today, demanded far-reaching changes in the faculties of Bucharest University and other Rumanian institutions of higher learning.

The strongest demand, and the one cheered most loudly by the students, was for the ouster of professors most closely associated with the Communist dictatorship of the late Nicolae Ceausescu, particularly those working for the Securitate, or state security police.

”There are Securitate officers on the journalism faculty,” a student, Daniel Oghian, declared. He assailed Professor Radu Florian as a Ceausescu holdover whose advocacy of Communist ideology was particularly objectionable. Mr. Florian is a member of the Stefan Gheorgiu Academy, where Securitate officials were trained. The academy was grafted onto Bucharest University under the Ceausescu Government.

”Down with Florian!” the students chanted. ”Down with Stefan Gheorgiu! Depoliticize! Depoliticize!” ‘Militarized’ Classrooms Mihai Iliescu, a physics student, drew cheers when he declared that incompetent professors should be sent back to ”study their lessons over again” or be forced to resign. He also called for the ouster of the Ministry of Education’s inspector of universities.

Another speaker, from the Marine Sciences Institute in Constanta, said that his college had been ”militarized” and subjected to Securitate control under Mr. Ceausescu. Conditions were such that students were quartered 50 to a single room, he said, and buildings were unheated.

”Take it over!” the students shouted. ”Take it over!” It was the second rally in two weeks in the capital. The first was held at the Polytechnical Institute in western Bucharest. But this time the students gathered in University Square in the middle of the city under the auspices of a newly-formed Student League.

In passionate speeches commemorating classmates who were killed in the uprising that toppled the Ceausescu regime four weeks ago, the students said they wanted to create ”a new society” and ”a strong Rumania.”

”We speak from our hearts for those who were killed in the revolution,” said Mihai Gheorghiu, a third-year philosophy student. Dan Josif, another student, said, ”They fought with weapons, and we carried flowers.”

Government Is Silent on Protest

The students, many cradling lighted candles in their hands, bowed their heads in a minute of silence for their slain classmates, then raised their voices in four stanzas of the long-banned hymn ”Awake, Ye Rumanians,” which denounces ”barbarians and tyrants.”

There were no Government spokesmen at the rally. Nor was there any immediate reaction from the governing Council of National Salvation, although its President, Ion Iliescu, met with youth leaders today to discuss a future group for Rumanian young people to replace the Communist youth organization.

It has generally been impossible to obtain precise information about or reactions to daily events in Rumania from the Government, which closed its foreign press and telephone service on Saturday, even from its spokesman, although he holds periodic news conferences.

On Thursday morning, for example, a plainclothes officer of the pro-Ceausescu Securitate suddenly emerged from a manhole on Nicolae Balcescu Boulevard, the main north-south thoroughfare. He was immediately detained by passers-by, who were evidently aware that in recent weeks the Securitate forces had used a vast network of underground tunnels for hit-and-run attacks on the Rumanian Army units that joined the uprising.

In a short time, armed soldiers gathered at the manhole and brought out another 16 Securitate officers who had been living in the tunnels for nearly a month. Down the street that same day, four more Securitate officers turned themselves in to an army unit in front of the Plaza Building, saying they were starving.

This was revealed by two associates of Cristian Popisteanu, editor in chief of Magazin Istoric, who witnessed the incidents. But so far, no word of what happened has appeared in the Bucharest press or on television.

Photos: Students in Bucharest demonstrating yesterday for far-reaching changes at universities, including the ouster of faculty members the students say were supporters of the deposed dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. (AP); A student at the rally mourning a relative killed in the revolution. (Reuters)


24 January 1990

A cryptic message announcing the abrogation of unspecified secret accords with unspecified countries carried out by the Ceausescu regime, but not contained in the registries of the Foreign Ministry and in contravention of international law (in other words, Plan Z-Z, an accord with several Middle Eastern states, most importantly perhaps Qadhafi’s Libya)…24 January 1990 appears to have also been–not coincidentally–the last day “foreign terrorists” who had fought with the Securitate against Ceausescu’s downfall were exfiltrated from the country–reputedly following a threat to Romanian workers in Libya by Qadhafi if the remaining Arab mercenaries in Romanian custody were not allowed to leave the country…WHY OH WHY, WE ARE CONSTANTLY ASKED, DID ILIESCU, ROMAN, AND THE NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT NOT PUT THE “TERRORISTS” ON TRIAL:  HERE IS YOUR ANSWER, THEY WERE COMPLICIT IN ALLOWING THEM TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY AND THEREFORE LACKED A KEY ELEMENT OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DECEMBER BLOODSHED.  THE TRUTH ABOUT THE REVOLUTION WAS THUS COMPROMISED, BURIED ON THAT FATEFUL DAY OF 24 JANUARY 1990.

Constantin Vranceanu, “Planul Z-Z si telefonul rosu,” Romania Libera, 28 septembrie 1990.

Dupa citeva saptamini presedintele unei tari direct implicate a amenintat guvernul roman ca va recurge la represalii impotriva celor citeva mii de cetateni romani aflati cu contract de munca in tara respectiva daca nu vor fi returnati teroristii straini, vii sau morti.  Santajul respectiv si-a facut efectul si un avion romanesc a efectuat o cursa mai putin obisnuita catre un aeroport polonez, de unde o “incarcatura” mai putin obisnuita constind in persoane valide, raniti si cosciuge a fost transferata pe un alt avion, plecand intr-o directie necunoscuta.  In ziua aceea se stergeau orice urme ale planului “Z-Z”

24 ianuarie 1990

The End…of “The End of the End”

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