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 December 22nd, 2013

Cine a tras dupa 22? Cine au fost teroristii? Inca o dovada de adevar: ce lipseste din cartea lui Marian Romanescu (fost USLAs)?

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on December 22, 2013

(punct de vedere strict personal, va multumesc)

cu 20 de ani…in urma…am fost in Romania…cu o bursa IIE-Fulbright…rasfoind presa bucuresteana… (Evenimentul Zilei, 24 decembrie 1993, p. 1)


In cartea lui, USLA in stare de hipnoza.  Enigmele Revolutiei (2010), fost uslas Marian Romanescu spune ca teroristii din decembrie 1989 ar fi fost cadre din unitatea a armatei romane, DIA (pagina 23, la mijlocul) !  Deci, cu alte cuvinte:  teoria revizionista preferata a fostilor securisti! ( ; ;  Foarte interesant, fiindca la acelas timp in intreaga carte lipsesc cu desavarsire orice referire la existenta sau rolul lui USLAC (Unitatea Speciala de Lupta Antiterorista si Comando), deci informatiile despre care el a povestit in revista Expres in 1991.  Ce s-a intimplat?  Daca era o greseala atunci sau o dezinformare de ce sa nu vorbeasca acum despre aspectul acesta?  Problema este mult mai mare:  a fost adevarul atunci, dar este un adevar foarte neconvenabil pentru multi si e mai bine sa uitam…ca si cum teroristii n-ar fi existat deloc.

Bullets, Lies, and Videotape: The Amazing, Disappearing Romanian Counter-Revolution of December 1989 by Richard Andrew Hall, Ph.D.

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.  [Submitted 19 November 2009; PRB approved 15 December 2009]

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.

Those Who Have Told Us the Truth [1]

As opposed to the aforementioned Vladimir Belis, Pavel Corut, and Dan Voinea, all of whom who have strenuously and repeatedly denied the existence and use in December 1989 of atypical munitions of dum-dum bullets and vidia bullets, there exist those who have told us of the existence and use of these in December 1989.[2] They are essentially, for lack of a better term, former Securitate whistleblowers, who have admitted the Securitate’s role in providing the “terrorists” who caused so much destruction, mayhem, and loss of life in those days…

Those discussed as alternatively “commandos” or “professionals” appear to have been members of the so-called USLAC—Special Unit for Anti-terrorist and Commando Warfare.  In 1991, Dan Badea summarized former USLA Captain Marian Romanescu’s description of the USLAC as follows:


Those who had and have knowledge about the existence and activities of the shock troops subordinated directly to Ceausescu remained quiet and continue to do so out of fear or out of calculation.  Much has been said about individuals in black jumpsuits, with tattoos on their left hand and chest, mercenary fanatics who acted at night, killing with precision and withdrawing when they were encircled to the underground tunnels of Bucharest.  Much was said, then nobody said anything, as if nothing had ever happened.

Traversing the [Securitate’s] Fifth Directorate and the USLA, the USLAC commandos were made up of individuals who ‘worked’ undercover at different posts.  Many were foreign students, doctoral students and thugs committed with heart and soul to the dictator.  Many were Arabs who knew with precision the nooks and crannies of Bucharest, Brasov and other towns in Romania.  For training these had at their disposal several underground centers of instruction:  one was in an area near Brasov, while another—it appears—was right under the former headquarters of the PCR CC [communist party central committee building], a shooting range that was—discovered by accident by several revolutionaries during the events of December .”[6]


We also know from Romanescu and a second source that USLA commander Gheorghe Ardeleanu (Bula Moise) addressed his troops as follows:

“On 25 December at around 8 pm, after the execution of the dictators, Colonel Ardeleanu gathered the unit’s members into an improvised room and said to them:

‘The Dictatorship has fallen!  The Unit’s members are in the service of the people.  The Romanian Communist Party [PCR] is not disbanding!  It is necessary for us to regroup in the democratic circles of the PCR—the inheritor of the noble ideas of the people of which we are a part!…Corpses were found, individuals with USLAC (Special Unit for Antiterrorist and Commando Warfare) identity cards and identifications with the 0620 stamp of the USLA, identity cards that they had no right to be in possession of when they were found…’  He instructed that the identity cards [of members of the unit] had to be turned in within 24 hours, at which time all of them would receive new ones with Defense Ministry markings.” [7] [8]

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.[9]

Sediul U.S.L.A , pe 25 decembrie 1989 in jurul orelor 18…

Pe 25 decembrie in jurul orelor 18, dupa executarea dictatorilor, col. Ardeleanu Gh. a adunat cadrele unitatii intr-o sala
improvizata si le-a spus: “Dictatura a cazut! Cadrele unitatii se afla in slujba
poporului. Partidul Comunist Roman nu se desfiinteaza! Trebuie sa ne regrupam in
rindul fortelor democratice din P.C.R.–continuatorul idealurilor nobile ale
poporului ai carui fii sintem ! (…) Au fost gasite cadavre, indivizi avind
asupra lor legitimatii de acoperire USLAC (Unitatea Speciala de Lupta
Antiterorista si Comando) si legitimatii cu antetul 0620–USLA, legitimatii care
nu se justifica in posesia celor asupra carora au fost gasite…” A ordonat apoi
sa fie predate in termen de 24 de ore legitmatiile de serviciu, urmind ca
tuturor sa le fie eliberate altele cu antetul M.Ap.N.

(capitanul Romanescu Marian, cu Dan Badea, “USLA, Bula Moise, teroristii si
‘Fratii Musulmani’,” Expres nr. 26 (75), 2-8 iulie 1991, 8-9)


(Capitanul Romanescu Marian (fost cadru USLA) si Dan Badea, “USLA, Bula Moise, teroristii, si ‘Fratii Musulmani’,” Expres nr. 26 (75), 2-8 iulie 1991, pp. 8-9)


Cei care au avut si au cunostinta despre existenta si activitatea fortelor de soc subordonate direct lui Ceausescu, au tacut si tac in continuare de frica, sau din calcul.  S-au spus multe despre indivizii imbracati in combinezoane negre, tatuati pe mina stinga si pe piept, fanaticii mercenari care actionau noaptea ucigind cu precizie si retragindu-se cind erau incoltiti in canalele subterane ale Bucurestiului.  S-au spus multe, iar apoi au tacut ca si cind nimic nu s-ar fi intimplat.

Suprapuse Directiei a V-a si USLA comandourile USLAC erau constituite din indivizi care “lucrau” acoperiti in diferite posturi. Erau studenti straini, doctoranzi si bastinasi devotati trup si suflet dictatorului.  Foarte multi erau arabi si cunosteau cu precizie cotloanele Bucurestiului, Brasovului si ale altor orase din Romania.  Pentru antrenament aveau la dispozitie citeva centre de instruire subterane:  unul era in zona Brasovului, iar altul–se pare–chiar sub sediul fostului CC-PCR, poligon care au dat–din intimplare citiva revolutionari in timpul evenimentelor din Decembrie.


I.I.: S-a vinturat prin presa ideea prezente unor teroristi straini…

S.T.: Imi veti ingadui sa nu ma priveasca aceasta problema ea tine de competenta
istoriei. De acord?

I.I.: O.K.

S.T.: Pe un terorist l-am prins chiar eu, mina mea. Avea 26 de ani si doua
legitimatii, una de student in anul IV la Drept si alta data de Directia a V-a
U.S.L.A.C. Unitati Speciale de Lupta Antiterorista si Comando. Era drogat. Am
gasit asupra lui si a altor teroristi un fel de cicolata, tipul “Pasuma” si
“Gripha”. Era un drog extraordinar de puternic ce dadea o stare de euforie,
axata insa pe agresivitate si distrugere, si o independenta fata de somn de cel
putin 10 zile. Aveau un armament supersofisticat, cu infrarosii, cu sistem de
auzire la distanta etc. Am capturat o arma din asta si am tras trei gloante
intr-o tinta aflata la vreo suta de metri. Arma n-avea nici un recul si,
controlind apoi, am constatat ca toate cele trei gloante se infipsesera unul in celalalt. Ne-am facut si
noi treaba apoi cu pusca asta pina s-a terminat munitia.

I.I. : Ce se intimpla cu teroristii prinsi?

S.T.: Noi i-am predat organelor de procuratura militara. Pe foarte multi i-am
prins in primele zile, identitatea lor fiind stabilita de mai multi, de
colonelul Octavian Nae, Constantin Dinescu (unchiul lui Mircea), Guse, dar mai
ales Vlad care strig la prinsii astia ca de ce nu i-au ascultat ordinul sa se
predea, ei faceau pe sfintii, dar teava armei era inca destul de calda de la
ispravile lor. Dupa ce suportau interogatoriul acesta sumar, celor mai multi li
se dadea drumul.

I.I.: De ce?

S.T. Asa ordona Vlad. Pe 22 decembrie am prins un maior de securitate care a
fost dezarmat si pus in libertate, a doua zi l-am prins din nou, i-am luat
armamentul si munitia si iarasi Vlad a garantat pentru el, numai ca a treia zi
l-am prins din nou. Ne-am enervat si atunci i-am arestat pe toti, inclusiv pe
Vlad si pe colonelul Nae, cu atit mai mult cu cit pe ultimul il surprinsese o fata de a noastra la subsol I,
unde era Termoficarea, transmitind nu stiu ce la un aparat de emisie-receptie.

I.I.: Cum si cind au fost descoperite buncarele?

S.T.: Destul de tirziu, in orice caz dupa 24 decembrie. Unele intimplator, cele
mai multe insa datorita insa a doi indivizi….

(Sergiu Tanasescu, cu Ion K. Ion, “Dinca si Postelnicu au fost prinsi de pantera
roz!” Cuvintul, nr. 9 29 martie 1990, p. 15.)


6 februarie 1990

Declaratie.  Subsemnatul Bucurescu Giani, general-maior [D.S.S.]

La data de 28 sau 29 decembrie 1989, col. Lovescu [?] Virgil seful U.M. 0650 mi-a raportat ca…

Col. Lovescu [?] Virgil avea un subordonat a carui sotie-medic a participat la acordarea ajutorului ranitilor in luptele de la Aeroport Otopeni si la transportarea cadavrelor la I.M.L.  Acestea ii relatase sotului ca in buzunarul unui terorist ucis la Otopeni, care era imbracat in trei costume de haine, unul peste altul, s-au gasit cartile de vizita ale lui Emil Bobu si Ion Dinca.

Col. L Virgil mi-a spus ca l-a frapat aceasta informatie si legat de faptul ca la postul de Radio Europa Libera se facuse afirmatie cu Pacepa ar fi precizat ca Ion Dinca se ocupase de pregatirea unor grupuri de teroristi.  Alte date nu pot da intrucit informatia era in curs de clarificare ori la Col. Ratiu [DSS Dir I] ori la Col. Goran [SMB]…

Cunosc [?] faptul ca col. Ardeleanu [sef USLA] era in relatii apropriate cu familia lui Ion Dinca…

Din conducerea USLA atit col. Ardeleanu cit si col Blortz [Bleort] erau apropriatii lui T. Postelnicu


We have two different accounts from Gheorghe Diaconescu, which roughly match:



“They dress in black berets and black jumpsuits [combinezoane negre, salopete negre] with red silk stripes on their sleeves.  They carry small two-way radios and speak into them in coded language.  They are equipped with automatic rifles with infrared nightscopes for sniping.”

Dezvaluiri despre implicarea USLA in evenimentele din Decembrie ‘89

Un tanar care si-a facut stagiul militar in trupele USLA a declarat
corespondentului A.M. PRESS din Dolj: “Am fost la Timisoara si la Bucuresti in
Decembrie ‘89. Odata cu noi, militarii in termen, au fost dislocati si
profesionistii reangajati, care purau costume negre de camuflaj. Dispozitivele
antitero de militari in termen si profesionisti au primit munitie de razboi. La
Timisoara s-a tras in manifestanti de la distanta mica. Am vazut
cum sareau creierii celor ciuruiti de gloante. Cred ca mascatii, folosind armamentul lor special, au tras cu
gloante explozive.
In ianuarie 1990, toti militarii in termen din trupele USLA
au fost internati pentru dezintoxicare. Fusesaram drogati. Am fost lasati la
vatra cu cinci luni inainte de termen pentru a ne pierde urma. Nu-mi publicati
numele. Ma tem pentru mine si parintii mei. La antranamente si aplicatii eram
impartiti in “amici” si “inamici.” Mascatii erau “inamicii” pe care trebuia sa-i
descoperim si sa-i neutralizam. Cred ca mascatii au
fost acei teroristi.”

(Romania Libera, 28 Decembrie 1994, p. 3)



Radu Anton Roman, “Batalia pentru Bucuresti” Romania Literara, anul 23, nr. 3, 18 ianuarie 1990, pp. 14-15.

There’s much to be said about this article.  My apologies for it’s quality:  it was xeroxed from the Library of Congress’s microfilm collection and then scanned in.  I wish I could say I came across this by myself, as I have so much of what I have found on the Romanian Revolution of December 1989.  Instead, I found reference to it in Aurel Perva and Carol Roman’s 1991 book, Misterele Revolutiei Romane (see below).

“Aveau un armament foarte divers.  Gloante 5, 6, N.A.T.O. lungi, cu cap de otel de foarte mare viteza si forta de penetratie ce provoaca dezastre anatomice.  Cartuse explozive Dum-Dum care n-au fost folosite impotriva oamenilor decit de fascisti in 1941 la Odessa.  Dar si ei au renuntat, cind rusii le-au raspuns cu acelasi calibru.  Lunete cu infrarosii, amortizor de zgomot si obturator de flacara la gura tevii.”

Posted in decembrie 1989, raport final | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Revisiting the Myths of the Revolution. Part IV: The Romanian Television building is in danger! (Bomba in subsolul Televiziunii!)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on December 22, 2013

Myth 3:  The Romanian Television building is in danger, danger of an explosion!   (TVR e in pericol–Pericol de explozie!)

This is part IV of a four part series.  For parts I, II, and III see

Myth 1:  The “Timisoara Syndrome” or the “False Timisoara Grave (the Paupers Cemetery)/Massacre”

Myth 2:  The water is posioned!  (Apa este otravita!)

Myth 3:  The Romanian Television building is in danger, danger of an explosion!   (TVR e in pericol–Pericol de explozie!)


Like the “water is poisoned” episode discussed in part III of this series, the claims of TV announcers regarding the threat posed to the Television building is a favorite for Romanians and Romanianists to lampoon:

Once again, Andrei Codrescu captures a widely and wildly popular view of TVR’s alleged role during the December 1989 events:

The Romanian revolution was a complex affair. It was a dramatic triumph that had the whole world for its audience, a world that keeps wondering long after the final curtain how much of what it saw was real. If I hadn’t lost my normally skeptical head to the euphoria of December, I would have questioned the single most evident source of news about the revolution: television. But it was precisely television that seduced me during my visit and made me lose sight of things I already knew….Imagine the shock and dismay of our newsmakers and our idealists–including myself–when most of these horrible events we saw with our own eyes on television turned out not to have happened at all. How could the grizzled, experienced Western journalists who are sworn to hard facts have missed the many clues and glaring contradictions that pointed to artifice? The astounding truth of the matter is that much of the glorious Romanian “revolution” was, in fact, a staged play, a revolution between quotation marks….But it couldn’t have been long after, however, the young revolutionaries (if that’s who they were) started becoming “responsible,” and the “spontaneous” provisional government showed up with its own TV script. The television station then became the headquarters of the new government, which, as far as most people were concerned, was born out of video like Venus out of the seashell. And hats must be off to the producers of the exceedingly realistic docu-drama of the strategic military center from where, in a charged atmosphere reminiscent of Reds or Dr. Zhivago, generals with telephones on both ears shouted orders at troops on vast invisible battlefields in every part of the country. Today I stand abashed by my naivete. Much of that Romanian “spontaneity” was as slick and scripted as a Hollywood movie. If I were in charge of the Emmys, I’d give one to the Romanian directors of December 1989. 

SOURCE: The Hole in the Flag: A Romanian Exile’s Story of Return and Revolution (Avon Books, 1991), by Andrei Codrescu, pp. 204-206. excerpted from


As with the “poisoned water” episode, so too with the claimed threats against Television, including the idea that a bomb had been found and disarmed in the basement of the Television building (as can be seen in the above video)…no researcher has attempted to verify the veracity of the claim, until now!

Recently, however, several sources have been unearthed/come to light that clarify what happened.  Here, Corneliu N. Vaida of Timisoara recounts how a Securitate member from Timisoara was convinced to call the Television Station in Bucharest to inform them that, as with many other highly strategic buildings in the country, TVR had been mined and an explosion could be set off.  It appears that the announcement above about a bomb having been disarmed in the basement of the TVR building, was as a result of this information from Timisoara:

Securistul trădat pentru binele TVR

În seara zilei de 22 decembrie şi-a vizitat mama, care locuia pe bulevardul 6 Martie, unde a găsit în apartament un vecin. Era vorba de Gheorghe Toader, un căpitan în rezervă la Securitate, care se refugiase de frică sa nu fie asasinat.

Urmărind programul “Revoluţiei în direct”, de la TVR, au observat la un moment dat o persoana care ţinea în mână un obiect care semăna cu o tastatură.

“Văzând tastatura, securistul a scos o exclamaţie de teamă: <Vor sări toţi în aer acolo! TVR e obiectiv strategic şi este minat, ca în cazuri extreme să poată fi aruncat în aer, tastând un cod pe aşa un detonator!>. A spus că a lucrat la aşa ceva în Bucureşti într-o intreprindere specială. La isistenţele mele a acceptat până la urmă să scrie o declaraţie anonimă pe care am dus-o personal la armată”, a mai declarat Corneliu Vaida.

Ajuns la Garnizoana Timişoara, Vaida a arătat scrisoarea colonelului Zeca, comandantul garnizoanei. “Acesta a pus mâna pe un telefon şi a sunat imediat la Bucureşti la o structură a armatei căreia i-a relatat continutul declaraţiei, dupa care mi-a cerut sa dezvalui identitatea semnatarului argumentând că acesta mai cunoaşte informaţii care ar ajuta la evitarea de victime”, a adaugat Vaida.

Neavând ce face, a trebuit să meargă cu armata să îl predea pe secursitul din casa mamei. “Înspre dimineaţă am văzut la televizor cum a venit cineva şi a declarat că explozibilul cu care era minată televiziunea a fost dezamorsat”, a mai spus timişoreanul.

The event is also recounted by parachutists in this TVR video from 31 December 1989 that only recently appeared on the internet.

Parasutisti de la R. 64 Pst. Boteni la Televiziunea Romana in 31 decembrie 1989:
Lt. col. Ilie Croitoru, Mr. Chiranescu Ion, Cpt. Radulescu Aurelian, Cpt. Constantin Vlasceanu

Corneliu Vaida has been kind enough to share with me, the following additional confirmation of his actions in the document below:


For more about Corneliu Vaida during the Revolution in Timisoara in December 1989, see his interview with ITN correspondent Penny Marshall on 27 December 1989:

Corneliu Vaida Timisoara December 1989

More on what transpired in and around the Television Station below:





Related posts:


Ioan Itu, “Si ei au luptat in Revolutie.  De partea cui?,” Tinerama, 10-16 septembrie 1993, p. 8.


Maior Tudor Petrescu, “Unde ne sint teroristii?” Armata Poporului, nr. 22, 30 mai 1990, p. 3.  (S.D. = Silviu Dutu)



Aura Alexa Ioan (cu Adrian Popescu-Necsesti), “Teroristii Revolutiei au certificat de psihopati!” Tinerama, 8-14 octombrie 1996, p. 8




Valentin Gora:  Au fost arestati oameni ai securitatii, teroristi.  Astazi, nimeni nu stie ce s-a intimplat sa ce se intimpla in continuare cu ei.  Dumneavoastra i-ati vazut?  Ii cunoasteti?

Petre Constantin:  Au fost arestati multi oameni, am mai spus-o, care aveau asupra lor arme de toate felurile, pe toti i-a preluat armata si nu stiu ce s-a intimplat mai departe cu ei.  Adjunctul meu, Traian Puscasu, a fost injunghiat in noaptea de 23 spre 24 decembrie, pe hol, la etajul 11.  Agresorul, locotenent-colonelul Vasiliu, il viza pe generalul Tudor sau pe mine.  Eu am lipsit citeva miunte, generalul Tudor s-a ferit in momentul atacului si a fost lovit Puscasu.  Totul se intimpla in usa biroului.  Militarii au sarit si l-au imobilizat imediat.

Valentin Gora cu Petre Constantin, “Petre Constantin:  Cind a dictat decretul de instalare ? de asediu pe intreg teritoriul tarii, in biroul lui Ceausescu se afla si Eugen Florescu,” Cuvintul, nr. 12, 18 aprilie 1990, pp. 4-5.


425. Parte vătămată Puşcaşu Traian (Televiziune-Vol. 110)
Numitul Puşcaşu Traian, fiul lui Gheorghe şi Maria, născut la data de 01.03.1927, în Iaşi, domiciliat în Bucureşti (…) în noaptea de 22/23.12.1989, în timp ce se afla în incinta televiziunii, unde-şi desfăşura activitatea ca director adjunct al TVR, a fost înjunghiat în abdomen cu un cuţit de către lt. col. Vasiliu Cornel, care se afla în dispozitivul de pază al instituţiei respective.
Conform raportului medico-legal nr. A1/3409/1990, numitul Puşcaşu Traian a prezentat la data de 24.12.1989 o plagă abdominală penetrantă cu interesarea splinei şi arterei epigastrice. Leziunea a putut fi produsă prin lovire cu corp tăietor-înţepător (posibil cuţit). A necesitat circa 25 zile de îngrijiri medicale. Leziunea i-a pus viaţa în pericol.
Prin rezoluţia nr. 1411/P/1990, din data de 15.11.1990, Procuratura Militară Bucureşti a dispus neînceperea urmăririi penale faţă de lt. col. Vasiliu Constantin, sub aspectul infr. prev. de art. 20 rap. la art. 174 C.p., reţinându-se că, în urma expertizării sale psihiatrice, s-a stabilit că a acţionat fără discernământ.

Posted in decembrie 1989, raport final | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Revisiting the Myths of the Revolution. Part III: The water is poisoned! (Apa este otravita!)…(Dr. Heyndrickx’s Toxicology Report)

Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on December 22, 2013

Myth No. 2:  The water is poisoned! (Apa este otravita!)

This is part III of a four part series.  For parts I and II, see

Myth 1:  The “Timisoara Syndrome” or the “False Timisoara Grave (the Paupers Cemetery)/Massacre”

Myth 2:  The water is posioned!  (Apa este otravita!)

Myth 3:  The Romanian Television building is in danger, danger of an explosion!   (TVR e in pericol–Pericol de explozie!)


Oh, how Romanians and Romanianists love to invoke or allude to this example!  It precipitates laughter:  ah the crude manipulation and naivete!

Predictably, this is a favorite of foreign sources on December 1989.

Romanian emigre Andrei Codrescu tells us in his November 1990 article in Harper’s (“Big Chills”) about the wild rumors of December 1989, that the water in Sibiu had allegedly been poisoned, but as he found out at his 25th anniversary high school reunion, he learned how all the rumors had been false: and the water in Sibiu, it was just fine!

Peter Siani-Davies quotes BBC journalist John Simpson, who had heard similar stories concerning poisoned water during the Iranian revolution of 1979, as noting that “certain ideas appeal forcibly  to the self-dramatizing mind of the revolutionary,” to which Siani-Davies adds:

“Indeed, in Romania the wild storytelling to a certain extent was just another consequence of the tumult of the revolution.  However, the imagery may have served another purpose….Now, through the tales of horror, they [Romanians] were able to place the evil forces of that [Ceausescu] regime so far beyond the bounds of ‘normal’ society that they were effectively able to distance themselves from the demons of the past.  There was also a sense in which it was necessary for the securitate to be so terrible:  How else could the years of mute suffering under an enfeebled old tyrant such as Ceausescu be explained and condoned?”   (Siani-Davies, The Romanian Revolution of December 1989, p. 160.)


Underlying all of these interpretations and explanations is the assumption that the water never was poisoned, that it was all a baseless rumor.

Surely, one assumes, the rumor has been run to ground…but the truth is, as with so many things about December 1989, it hasn’t…

In fact, there was a basis in reality for what Teodor Brates was saying on TV on the afternoon of 22 December 1989 as the following toxicology report by the Belgian Dr. Aubin Heyndrickx makes clear:


On December 21, 1989, people drinking from water tank #4 in Sibiu experienced headache, visual disturbances, loss of consciousness, vomiting, etc.  These symptoms are all compatible with organophosphate poisoning.  The analysis of the water (by gas chromatography) and the determination of the cholinesterase activity of the blood was done in the University of Cluj.  The conclusion was that an organophosphate had been used.  Atropine sulfate and toxogonin were advised.

As soon as the symptoms appeared among the population, water tank #4 was shut off, rinsed, and cleaned.  The people received water from army trucks.

A few days later, there was a fight in Timisoara between the army and Securitate over the water tanks.  Poisoning was feared, as had occurred in Sibiu.  According to witnesses, the Securitate possesses “all possible chemical warfare agents.”

Toxicologist Aubin Heyndrickx supervised the chemical tests and interviewed the physicians at Central Hospital who treated the patients.  From the tests and from the very high dose of atropine required to produce a response, he concluded that the tank was poisoned with sarin or VX (Report on the Humanitarian Mission to Romania, December 23-29, 1989, Laboratoria voor Toxicologie Criminalistiek, State University of Ghent).

Indeed, one can watch a brief discussion of the incident with Dr. Heyndrickx beginning at approximately the 40 second mark from an ITN broadcast of 27 December 1989


}T27128901   ROMANIA: SIBIU AFTER THE REVOLUTION: United Nations medical
27.12.89     relief team arrives in Sibiu with medical supplies and blood
TX           to treat the people who were injured during the fight against
             Securitate (secret police). Toxicologists have found evidence
             that the security police poisoned the water supply. Injured
             Securitate are being treated in hospitals alongside the people
             they shot.
Clip Ref: BSP271289002 0

Clip 1of1

}T27128901   ROMANIA: SIBIU AFTER THE REVOLUTION: United Nations medical
27.12.89     relief team arrives in Sibiu with medical supplies and blood
TX           to treat the ...
  • Duration: 00:01:44 |
  • Timecode – In: 00:00:00:00  Out: 00:01:44:00 |
  • Copyright: ITN / 3rd Party Copyright

I have found evidence of discussion of Heyndrickx and his toxicology report in the Hungarian press of the time, but significantly, to date, I have been unable to find discussion of it in the Romanian press!

Nepszabadsag, 30 December 1989, p. 3 citing a UPI dispatch, apparently P. Green, “French team confirms poison in water supply,” UPI, 29 December 1989.

Nagyszeben – ideggáz

Bukarest, 1989. december 29. péntek (UPI) – A Ceausescu-párti terrorosztagok ideggázt vegyítettek a romániai Nagyszeben víztárólóiba a forradalom első napjaiban – ezt egy francia-belga orvoscsoport egyik tagja mondotta el a UPI hírügynökség tudósítójának. Auvin Heyndrickx szerint a szennyezett ivóvíztól öten súlyos mérgezést szenvedtek.Mikor a felkelés vezetői felfedezték a szabotázst, azonnal
leengedték a mérgezett vizet a tárolóból – mondta a belga orvos, aki
az ,,Orvosok – határok nélkül,, nevű francia segélyszervezet
tagjaként utazott a városba. A toxikológus Heyndrickx
megállapította, hogy a vízkészletbe két súlyosan mérgező, folyékony
állapotú ideggázvegyületet öntöttek még december 20-án. Az orvos
elmondta azt is, hogy az eddig ismert öt sérült agykárosodást is
szenvedett a mérgektől. A megbetegedések ilyen viszonylag alacsony
számát a belga szakértő annnak tulajdonítja, hogy a víztárolóban a
mérgező anyagok szerencsére rendkívüli mértékben felhígultak.+++1989. december 29., péntek 07:57 See citations in fn#59 page 10.


It is thus with justification that in my dissertation in 1997 and in a reiteration of the dissertation views in 2007, I defended TVR personnel by pointing out the extent to which they went to intervene and inform the population when it was safe to drink the water again.  (for a glimpse into the eternal “appreciation” I received for pointing out the latter, see

Excerpt from

In their discussion of the Romanian transition, Linz and Stepan note the “[r]umors of deliberately poisoned water supplies, of 10,000, 60,000, even 100,000 dead, filled the news channels and streets” and conclude that “disinformation played an important role in the events.”[45] They have in mind, however, the idea that this disinformation was disseminated in order to help the Front seize power. This, of course, echoes the dominant view on this theme. As we saw in the preceding chapter, both Securitate and opposition sources maintain that disinformation pervaded the December events, and they uniformly attribute it to the Front and the Front’s supporters at television, and, in some cases, to foreign actors such as the Soviet Union.

Yet there has been very little effort to investigate the context in which particular rumors originated and the relationship between actual events and those rumors. Take, for example, this rumor alleging the poisoning of the water supply which is so frequently invoked by both domestic and foreigner observers. To what are they referring? Around 3 p.m. on the afternoon of 22 December–therefore approximately three hours after the Ceausescus had fled Bucharest–television commentator Teodor Brates began to issue periodic, sometimes frantic reports about fighting between the Army and the Securitate in the city of Sibiu and about rumors that the water supply had been poisoned by the Securitate. Here are some excerpts of what Brates said on television on that afternoon:

One moment, please…from Sibiu it has been communicated to us that the army no longer has ammunition and the Securitate troops continue to attack military units….We want to inform you that in Sibiu, military units are urgently requesting help…We are constantly receiving communications…of course, we do not have the possibility to verify their authenticity…but we ask for your attention…It is said that these enemy elements, the securisti, have poisoned the water in Sibiu, in Timisoara,…the water must be boiled before being consumed.[46]

[45].. Linz and Stepan, “The Effects of Totalitarianism-cum-Sultanism,” 345-346.

[46].. See the text of the transcript, Revolutia Romana in Direct (Bucharest: Televiziunea Romana, 1990), 47, 48, 51.

2007:  Linked to the allegations of supposedly intentionally hyping the threat posed by the “terrorists” is the certitude with which many Romanians and Romanianists assert that TV personnel (especially Teodor Brates) intentionally spread rumors about the water being poisioned and the army running out of ammunition in Sibiu etc.–rumors that proved to be unsubstantiated. Here is what they likely remember:

“One moment, please…from Sibiu it has been communicated that the army no longer has ammunition and the Securitate troops continue to attack mili tary units….We want to inform you that in Sibiu, military units are urgently requesting help…We are constantly receiving communications…of course, we do not have the possibility to verify their authenticity…but we ask for your attention…It is said that the enemy elements, the securisti, have poisoned the water in Sibiu, in Timisoara…the water must be boiled before being consumed.” (from the transcript of 22 December 1989 in “Revolutia Romana in Direct” (Bucharest: 1990), pp. 47, 48, 51, quoted p. 324, Richard Andrew Hall, 1997, Ph.D. Dissertation, “Rewriting the Revolution: Authoritarian Regime-State Relations and the Triumph of Securitate Revisionism in Post-Ceausescu Romania”)

What they don’t remember is that Brates returned later to inform the audience a) when the fighting had ceased in Sibiu, b) when supplies of bottled water were on their way to Sibiu, and c) when the competent authorities verified that the water in Bucharest was safe to drink (“Revolutia Romana in Direct,” pp. 71, 72, 75, discussed p. 327 Hall, “Rewriting the Revolution”) This is there…in the transcript of what was said on Television…it is not a matter of a “difference of opinion” as the likes of Tismanenau and others in denial would have us believe. It is the old saw from American baseball: as the famous manager Casey Stengel used to say “You can look it up!” Once again: if your goal is “diversion,” intentional panic and manipulation, is it likely that you would return to the same subjects and say things designed to calm fears? Of course, not.

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