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.

A Response to Watts: The Pitfalls of Not Having Any Evidence

(purely personal views as always, based on two decades of prior research and publications…I originally treated this topic as early as my 1997 Indiana University Ph.D. Dissertation, Rewriting the Revolution:  Regime-State Relations and the Triumph of Securitate Revisionism in Post-Ceausescu Romania, chapters of which can be found on this webpage.)

In response to:

http://adevarul.ro/cultura/istorie/revolutia-romana-decembrie-1989-iii-capcanele-marturiilor-dovezi-1_55250389448e03c0fd5b8f18/index.html

http://larrylwatts.blogspot.com/2015/04/romanian-revolution-december-1989-iii.html

It is an understatement to say that Dr. Larry L. Watts has a HUGE problem in proving that Soviet “tourists”–Soviet KGB, GRU, or other agents, using the cover of being “tourists”–were present and somehow linked to the outbreak of anti-Ceausescu regime protests in Timisoara in mid-December 1989.  Especially when one reads the testimonies in the initial period after December 1989 by senior Securitate officials–including some who had been dispatched to Timisoara with the express purpose of demonstrating the role of Soviet “tourists”–stating that they could not confirm such a role.

How does Mr. Watts seek to deal with this cognitive dissonance?  He argues that 1) the fact that these officials state that they did not confirm the idea that Soviet “tourists” were involved, cannot be interpreted as evidence that…they were not involved…in fact, he argues it should be interpreted as evidence that Soviet “tourists” may have been involved! and 2) because suspected Soviet spy Army General Nicolae Militaru was Defense Minister and these officers gave their testimonies while under Army custody, they must have all decided to withhold details about the Soviet “tourist” role…out of fear!  That Watts is reaching mightily to come up with anything to salvage his argument should be clear to almost any reader.

 

MY COMMENTS IN RED INTERSPERSED IN LARRY WATTS’ ORIGINAL TEXT

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Romanian Revolution December 1989 (III): Pitfalls of Testimony as Evidence

There are a number of problems with the current use of “evidence” regarding the presence or absence of Soviet (and Soviet bloc) “tourists” in Romania during the 1989 revolution. They appear repeatedly, for example, in perhaps the only (partly) English-language blog dedicated solely to Romania’s revolution, run by Richard Andrew Hall. (See Richard Hall Blog)
Hall begins a series of posts on what he regards as lessons learned about the 1989 Revolution with one entitled: “The Securitate Deny Foreign Instigation of the Timisoara Uprising” (Securitate being Romanian short-hand for the Department of State Security or DSS). Hall claims to prove that the presence of Soviet tourists is a “myth” and an “absurdity” based on former DSS officer witness depositions and a media report. (#1 Securitate Deny Foreign Instigation)
Hall insists that this evidence proves his argument in many of his subsequent posts, (see, for example, #8 Romania Closes its Borders to Almost All Foreigners … Except Russian Tourists Returning from Shopping Trips to Yugoslavia.) Before examining this evidence it is worth noting that Hall steadfastly ignores the context of Soviet-Romanian relations, nor does he seem aware of the USSR’s repeated use of “tourist” cover for intelligence, paramilitary and military operations in the Soviet bloc (including Romania) prior to 1989. He also appears to assume that Moscow had no motives for forcing a change in Romanian policy under the right circumstances. (See Romanian Revolution December 1989 (II) Divining Soviet Intent)

Yes, that’s it!  Neither as an academic, nor as an analyst, has “the USSR’s repeated use of “tourist” cover for intelligence, paramilitary and military operations in the Soviet bloc (including Romania) prior to 1989″ occurred to me!  What has never occurred to Watts is that in the very historical examples he invokes THE SOVIETS ROUTINELY AVOIDED THE USE OF “SOVIET TOURIST” COVER AND INSTEAD POSED AS WESTERN TOURISTS OR TOURISTS FROM OTHER SOVIET BLOC COUNTRIES, but NOT as Soviet tourists!

(In fact, Watts’ own words betray him:  “In 1968 in Czechoslovakia, the provocateurs and intelligence gatherers from the KGB’s PROGRESS operation appeared as “tourists” and “journalists” from West Germany, Austria, England, Switzerland, Lebanon and even Mexico. Meanwhile, the Soviets claimed that Western agents disguised as “tourists” were flooding into the country….In 1968 Romania also experienced an unusual influx of Soviet bloc “tourists,” mostly coming in over the Bulgarian border – Bulgaria being the least threatening of Romania’s Warsaw Pact neighbors. These “Bulgarians” gathered around stores in the immediate vicinity of the Romanian Ministry Defense, which was subsequently relocated…There are also several examples of Soviet bloc “tourism” in which the suspicious sightseers took no apparent operational actions. For example, Czechoslovak “tourists” in Poland under Gomulka in 1956, “Bulgarian tourists” in Romania in 1968, and East German “tourists” in Romania (in and around Brasov) in 1987.”  See his http://larrylwatts.blogspot.com/2015/01/romanian-revolution-december-1989-i.html and my discussion in https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/all-the-soviet-tourists-where-do-they-all-come-from/)

I won’t dwell here on the allegations regarding “steadfastly ignoring Soviet-Romanian relations” or that I appear to assume that “Moscow had no motives for forcing change in Romania,” other than to say that Watts assumes that during the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev the policy of Soviet institutions toward Romania continued essentially unchanged from the Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko eras.  Watts never fully addresses what he expects or he wants us to believe:  either a) that Romania was part of a broader Soviet plan to oust anti-reformist leaderships in Eastern Europe, most notably in Czechoslovakia where the “Soviet tourist” theory most prominently shows its face, or b) that having “lost” East Germany and Czechoslovakia in November and early December 1989 the Soviets suddenly switched policies and gears to oust the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu?  Watts appears to suggest that Nicolae Ceausescu’s renewed rhetoric on Soviet Moldova (with its large Romanian-speaking population and incorporating land taken from pre-communist Romania) and Ceausescu’s continued efforts to “go his own way” in the Warsaw Pact threatened Moscow as 1989 progressed.  This ignores the fact that as long as Ceausescu was in power Romanian speakers pushing for reform in Soviet Moldova hardly looked to or wanted Ceausescu’s support, let alone to be incorporated into the Romania of Ceausescu’s “Golden Era,” and that in the context of fellow Warsaw Pact countries that were increasingly reformist or saw the communist party lose power, Romania’s calls for sovereignty had become little more than a thinly-veiled alibi for preserving, unchanged, Ceausescu’s anti-reformist policies and hold on power.

Hall persistently confuses the ethical problem of responsibility with that of agency, seeking “who is to blame” rather focusing on “how something happened.” Setting off from the premise that the DSS was culpable for all or most of the violence perpetrated in 1989 necessarily blinds the analyst to any evidence of outside involvement. Indeed, when arguing this hypothesis Hall repeatedly shifts from a discussion of “tourist” presence to the specific roles “tourists” played (or rather did not play) in Timisoara, thus misusing testimony to the effect that foreigners were not observed playing such roles as proof that they were not observed – and therefore not present – at all.

This is a cheap shot, but also just plain wrong.  The issue of “who is to blame” is first and foremost a factual issue and only then an ethical issue.  My emphasis in my research has always been upon the issue of “what happened” and only then “how it happened” and finally “who is to blame” as a factual question.  Watts assumes that I set off “from the premise that the DSS was culpable for all or most of the violence perpetrated in 1989.”  This is ahistorical and incorrect.  In fact, like many and probably most observers beginning in 1990 I began to question that original premise (https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/coup-by-revolution-my-views-1990-1993/) .  It was only while doing field research in Romania in 1994 with an IIE-Fulbright grant that–based on what I was finding in my research–I began to question the revisionism I and so many others had imbibed. 

Watts sets off from the premise that because of the (longstanding) animosity between Moscow and Bucharest, the Soviets overthrew Nicolae Ceausescu–including relying on/using large numbers of Soviet agents posing as tourists–and that the DSS were either largely innocent bystanders, scapegoats, or victims of this diabolical foreign intervention.  Watts has a big problem with testimonies suggesting that foreigners were not observed playing such roles, in that he seeks to suggest that just because someone says they didn’t see them doing anything, doesn’t mean they weren’t actually there, doing something (thus declarations by DSS officers that they did not see/conclude that Soviet tourists were involved in the Timisoara unrest, in Watts’ interpretation, means that Soviet agents posing as tourists may still have been present and perhaps even engaging in actions that went unreported or undetected)!

Unfortunately, none of the DSS testimony cited by Hall was generated during the event for internal purposes. All of it was generated after the fact and for a specific audience: the Romanian courts. Each of the DSS officers giving testimony was under investigation. No matter their individual strength of character, each had a vested personal interest in not antagonizing their interrogators.
The reader should know that historians and courts both regard eyewitness testimony as the least reliable form of evidence because memory is so easily manipulated. The reliability of testimony rapidly declines within days of an event. Weeks and months after the fact the accuracy and value of testimony becomes highly questionable. With time, memory falls increasingly under the influence of emerging public interpretation while subsequently formed impressions increasingly replace forgotten details.

Once again, a pendantic no-duh and thoroughly unnecessary “lesson.” Indeed, I couldn’t agree more.  Whereas the testimonies I use were in the initial weeks and months after December 1989, and the latest was from 1991, the vast majority of what Watts refers to in his rebuttal are from far later:  1992, 1994, and 2011!  Physician heal thyself!

Hall claims that the four testimonies he originally cited were written “immediately after the December 1989 events.” That is not true. The testimony most proximate to those events, that of Niculae Mavru, was written more than three weeks later, and a second citation from Mavru eighteen months later. The second-most proximate, Emil Macri, testified one and a half months later. The third, Filip Teodorescu, submitted his testimony one month and three weeks after the events. And the least proximate, Liviu Dinulescu, gave his testimony a full year and half later.

Pathetic parsing.  From the standpoint of two decades later “immediately after the December 1989 events” refers to the initial weeks and months after December 1989.

Testimony Under Duress

The fact that Hall does not dwell on how those testimonies came into being is also problematic. The circumstances in which testimony is given can have a significant influence on its content. Testimony is highly susceptible to distortion over time even when third-party influence is benign. Testimony is even more susceptible to distortion when given under duress.
General Vlad on Trial
Several DSS officers have complained of being told during the 1990 trials that they would be acquitted if they denied any Soviet bloc presence during the revolution. Interestingly, none of the DSS sources cited by Hall as denying the existence of “tourists” was convicted (3 were acquitted and one died before trial). All of their cited testimonies had been made in the quality of witness in the trials of others. On the other hand, several of the DSS officers convicted, including DSS chief Iulian Vlad, insisted on the Soviet bloc presence at their trials and in later hearings before various Senate commissions of inquiry. A rigorous comparison of the depositions given by the convicted and the acquitted DSS officers might set this particular devil to rest, one way or the other. (See e.g. S. Sandulescu, Decembrie ’89: Lovitura De Stat A Confiscat Revolutia Romana (1996): 158-208)

Watts provides no source for the following claim:  “Several DSS officers have complained of being told during the 1990 trials that they would be acquitted if they denied any Soviet bloc presence during the revolution.”  Indeed, it is true that after their former boss DSS Chief Iulian Vlad started talking about the “Soviet tourists” in February 1991, former DSS employees suddenly started to “remember” about the “Soviet tourists,” an issue I have highlighted on many previous occasions (see for example, https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2010/03/14/presa-din-1991-indicatii-pretioase-despre-turistii-rusi-din-decembrie-1989/ and https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/08/15/fara-indoiala-se-intimpla-ceva-securitatea-nu-spune-dar-sugereaza-lasa-sa-i-scape-mici-detalii/) As for Vlad’s testimony before the Senate commission of inquiry, included in the pages of Sandulescu (1996), it’s date is 19 October 1993, thereby begging the question of what happened to Watts’ application of his own admonishments about testimony, memory, and the passage of time (above)?

Hall evades discussion of these problematic circumstances with the rather astonishing claim that coercive influence on DSS officer testimony is not “terribly plausible.” A serious effort to gauge plausibility would start with an examination of the circumstances in 1990-1991 when these depositions were given. Mainstream opinion at that time held the DSS to be the “most brutal” repressive institution in the Soviet bloc. There was even a concerted effort to brand it – along with the entire communist regime – as a completely illegitimate criminal institution (an anomaly among the former Warsaw Pact members).

Ah, but former Securitate collaborators in the media–from Angela Bacescu to Pavel Corut to Sorin Rosca Stanescu to Gheorghe Ionescu Oblojan to name but a few better-known names–were working hard in the media to reeducate “mainstream opinion” about the “true” role of the DSS in December 1989, and to good effect already by 1991 (for some articles, see https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2009/12/20/dezinformare-securista-despre-decembrie-1989-in-actiune-zig-zag-anul-1990-angela-bacescu-teroristii-n-au-fost-securisti-nici-n-au-existat-teroristi-gheorghe-ionescu-olbojan-teroristii-au/ ; https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2009/12/20/dezinformare-securista-despre-decembrie-1989-in-actiune-zig-zag-anul-1990-angela-bacescu-teroristii-n-au-fost-securisti-nici-n-au-existat-teroristi-gheorghe-ionescu-olbojan-teroristii-au-2/ )

By the end of December 1989, DSS personnel had not only lost their jobs, they were also subject to criminal investigation and incarceration, with the distinct possibility of long-term imprisonment. Some of the very officers cited by Hall spent time in jail previous to their testimony. Only the most obtuse would not have experienced these circumstances as coercive pressure. Contrary to Hall’s denials, it is in fact highly plausible that a number of DSS personnel tailored their testimony in order to please their jailers (or potential jailers). Such “tailoring” does not require one to commit perjury. Topics towards which interrogators show disinterest or hostility can simply be avoided. And one can employ ambiguity to allow for multiple interpretations; that preferred by interrogators as well as the truth.

Even more implausible:  that all of these officers in question decided to leave out details about the presence and/or activities of the “Soviet tourists.”

The Brief Coup of Pro-Soviet Officers

Pressure on those affirming a Soviet presence was particularly evident, and it is obvious why it should have been so. In the midst of the revolution, on December 23, General Nicolae Militaru, forcibly retired eleven years earlier when he was caught red-handed spying for the Soviet Union, set himself up as the new head of the Romanian Army. He was confirmed as defense minister on December 24, 1989, only to be dismissed from that position seven weeks later for bringing about the disintegration of the Romanian Army. Militaru bragged about his Soviet contacts in his famous joint interview with co-conspirator Silviu Brucan. (Adevarul, 23/8/90)
General Nicolae Militaru
The DSS was subordinated to the military on December 26, two days after Militaru officially took over the Defense Ministry and the Army, which gave the Soviet agent control of the DSS while it underwent reorganization. Whatever residual bureaucratic leverage the DSS may have possessed disappeared with its formal dissolution on December 30, 1989. Militaru reactivated some 30, mostly Soviet-trained officers (many known or suspected of being Soviet agents) and appointed them to senior positions in the military and in the newly forming security intelligence institutions under his control. This wave included the new foreign intelligence chief (and former DSS foreign counterintelligence chief) Mihai Caraman, and the advisor to the vice-prime minister (and former DSS foreign intelligence chief) Nicolae Doicaru, as well as the new interior minister, chief of the general staff, chief of military intelligence, etc.
The military prosecutors and military court trying DSS personnel in the immediate aftermath of the revolution were also subordinate to Defense Minister Militaru. In fact, Militaru exercised direct control over who was incarcerated, tried and convicted until February 14, 1990, when he was dismissed. And no major reforms were undertaken or personnel changes instituted in the military justice system prior to the first constitutional election in 1992.
Even if the kangaroo court and summary execution of the Ceausescus on the flatly ridiculous charge of genocide had not made the entire world aware of how fast and loose the Romanian military justice system operated at that time, it would still strain credulity to deny the manifest interest of Soviet agents in obscuring their roles.

Ah, yes, the very dead–and therefore unable to rebut anything–suspected Soviet-spy General Nicolae Militaru.  Here we see Watts’ approach to questions in general:  it is all about establishing a structural, circumstantial case, and then by analogy, supposition, pure speculation, and innuendo hoping the reader will arrive at his magical conclusions.  He presents zero evidence to demonstrate his claim that the reason DSS officers did not mention the role of “Soviet tourists” in their declarations was that they feared Militaru (whom Watts also just assumes would have known about the “Soviet tourists”).  Watts’ core problem is that he lacks credible declarations and evidence to demonstrate his claims.

The more closely one examines Hall’s evidence the more problematic it appears. Hall quotes Filip Teodorescu from a January 12, 1990 deposition regarding his report from Timisoara on the evening of December 18 that “there is no data indicating any leaders or instigators coming from abroad.” [nu sint date ca ar exista instigatori sau conducatori anume veniti din strainatate.]“ In another posting Hall draws attention to General Vlad’s July 19, 1991 deposition stating “More precisely, those sent by me to Timisoara reported that they had no evidence indicating any foreign involvement in producing the events in Timisoara.” [Mai exact, cei trimis de mine la Timisoara mi-au raportat ca nu au elemente din care sa rezulte vreum amestec al strainatatii in producerea evenimentelor de la Timisoara.] (Vlad Testimony, 19/07/91)

Cherry-Picking the Testimony

It would appear that Hall is cherry-picking the evidence. As related by Vlad’s chef de cabinet and confirmed by General Vlad to this author, Teodorescu’s initial report on December 18, 1989 stated that “there was not enough manpower to prevent access [to Timisoara] on the Buzias Road” and the militia thus “left access into Timisoara from this direction open.” [nu au existat fortele necesare pentru interzicerea accesului prin Calea Buziasului, deoarece … a ramas descoperitat directia respective de access in Timisoara.] This lead to the following exchange:

Col. Teodorescu
Gen. Vlad:       “And did they enter?”
Teodorescu:     “Some 3-4 automobiles entered, each with 2-3 occupants.”
Gen. Vlad:       “And what did they do?”
Teodorescu:     “We don’t know.”
Gen. Vlad:       “I’ll tell you what they did. They performed their mission and moved on. Do not leave      the [local DSS] headquarters, so that you are not blamed for their provocations.”
(A. Rogojean, Fereastra serviciilor secrete (2011): 158-9)

“As related by Vlad’s chef de cabinet and confirmed by General Vlad to this author”!  Watts cites a book published in 2011, the exchange does not mention “Soviet tourists,” and since it is the text reported by a senior DSS official (Rogojan) many years after the fact (is a facsimile of the document reporduced in the book?) this passage inevitably raises questions of credibility.  Since the former head of the DSS General Vlad personally confirmed this to Watts, I would suggest that he also inquire of Vlad:  “In 1989, what was the Securitate’s cover mechanism for operation ‘in territory controlled by a foreign (i.e. Soviet) invader’?” In other words, how did the Securitate plan on conducting surveillance of or penetrating units, buildings, and grounds held by the Soviets?  https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/01/24/what-would-it-have-looked-like-if-nicolae-ceausescus-securitate-executed-a-plan-to-counter-an-invasionbut-the-invaders-never-came-iii/) And, oh yes, “cherry-picking”:  interesting, innuendo-laden choice of terms, Mr. Watts.

Within two months of his initial testimony Teodorescu was describing publicly how he had “detained foreign agents during the Timisoara events.” (Romania Libera, 9/03/90) In his subsequent statements Teodorescu consistently noted how DSS attention was “drawn to the unjustifiably large number of Soviet tourists” claiming to be “in transit to Yugoslavia.” “Unfortunately,” Teodorescu notes, “we did not have enough manpower and conditions did not allow us to monitor the activities of at least some of these ‘tourists’.” [Ne-a atras atentia numarul nejustificat de mare de turisti sovietici, fie cu autobuze, fie cu autoturisme. … Declarau cu totii ca sint in transit pentru Iugoslavia. … Din pacate nu dispuneam de forte si nici conditiile nu au permis; pentru a urmari activitatea macar a unor dintre “turisti”.] (F. Teodorescu, Un Risc Asumat (1992): 92)

I find it relatively stunning that Watts invokes the reported March 1990 statement by Teodorescu when it has long since been established that the people Teodorescu was referring to were undercover personnel of the Army’s intelligence unit (DIA).  I mentioned this as early as 1996, https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/rewriting-the-revolution-1997-chapter-6-18-22-december-1989/ (see text and fn. #11), and it has also been clarified by Marius Mioc (https://mariusmioc.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/rich-hall-brandstatter-11/) and Gino Rado ( http://memorialulrevolutiei.ro/index.php?page=revista-on-line/memorial-7/agentii-straini , see Emil Macri quote).  In fact, the head of DIA Stefan Dinu discusses it directly in the Sandulescu volume (p. 220) invoked by Watts (see xerox below). Conveniently, Watts quickly jumps to Teodorescu’s book published later in 1992, for a book-buying audience and when he was out-of-the-woods so-to-speak and with “mainstream opinion” already well-contaminated by public Securitate disinformation over the previous two years.  Talk about context important to take into account when evaluating its credibility!

image0-001

Hall misrepresents the testimony of General Vlad in a similar manner. Elsewhere in facsimile reproduction of that testimony (but not translated by Hall), Vlad made the following clarification: “I mention that the mission of Gen. Macri and of the others that I sent to Timisoara was to establish, in the first place, what involvement foreigner and foreign interests had in setting off the events, because the data base of which we disposed from foreign sources indicated this…” [Mentionez ca misiunea gl. Macri si a celorlalti pe care l-am trimis la Timisoara a fost aceea de a se stabili in primul rind ce amestec au strainii si strainatatea in declansarea evenimentelor, intrucit pe baza datelor pe care le detineam din surse externe, rezulta acest lucru…] (Vlad Testimony, 19/07/91)

 

So according to Watts, what is important here is that Vlad refers to the reason for why he suspected foreigners were involved in Timisoara.  Vlad was in fact clear that those high level DSS officers whom he dispatched to Timisoara told him that they found no evidence that a foreign element produced or continued the unrest there.  Incepind cu noaptea de 16/17 dec. si in continuare pina in data de 20 dec. 1989 organul de securitate local col. Sima cit si gl. Macri si in lipsa lui col. Teodorescu imi comunicau date din care rezulta ca sute de elemente turbulente au devastat orasul, si ca elementul strain nu rezulta a se fi implicate in continuarea fenomenului.”  “Mai exact, cei trimis de mine la Timisoara mi-au raportat ca nu au elemente din care sa rezulte vreum amestec al strainatatii in producerea evenimentelor de la Timisoara.” https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2013/03/17/o-indicatie-pretioasa-de-pe-malurile-dimbovitei-implicarea-strainilor-in-evenimentele-de-la-timisoara-paranoia-lui-nicolae-ceausescu-sau-confirmarea-lui-iulian-vlad/

 A related problem appears when one reads the entire page of Nicolae Mavru’s testimony, of which Hall translates only those sections asserting that “(there were not any [foreigners]) who incited disorder, acts of violence or other acts”; that “Although we tried we could not report to Col. Sima the complete involvement of any foreign citizen in the evolution of the demonstrations”; and that he was unable to discover any foreign involvement. [(nu prea au fost) care incita la dezordine, acte de violenta sau altfel de acte… (13/01/90) Desi ne-am straduit nu am putut raporta col. Sima implicarea completa a vreunui cetatean strain in evolutia demonstratiilor. Cu toate eforturile facute nu a rezultat lucru pe linia mea de munca.] (25/06/91)]

(I respond to the claims re. Mavru further down).  Notably, Watts forgets to even quote from the other testimonies presented on the post in question, for example:  Generalul Emil Macri (seful Dir. II-a Securitatii, Contrainformatii Economice), Declaratie 2 ianuarie 1990:“Rezumind sintetic informatiile obtinute ele nu au pus in evidenta nici lideri si nici amestecul vreunei puteri straine in producerea evenimentelor de la Timisoara.  Raportarea acestor date la esalonul superior respectivi generalului I. Vlad a produs iritare si chiar suparare…”

 IMG_1219

 IMG_1215

Hall is using Mavru to support his compound assertion that Soviet “tourists” were neither involved nor present during the revolution in Timisoara. According to Hall, therefore, Mavru, Tedorescu, Macri and Dinulescu all claimed that: “they could find no such presence and role played by Soviet tourists.” However, none of those officers claim that Soviet tourists were not present. They insist only that, according to their investigation, foreigners were not leading or overtly instigating the events in Timisoara. In the facsimile reproduced by Hall, Mavru actually goes on to explain that Vlad’s request for intelligence on possible foreign involvement was motivated by the extraordinarily large numbers of foreigners appearing in the region:
“The order of Col. Sima referring to foreign elements was justified because an exodus of visitors from foreign states to the dwelling of Pastor Tokes had begun two months earlier. Thus, there existed suspicion of the implication of circles from other states in the launching of the events in Timisoara. I would also like to point out that in November approximately 1500 persons from one and the same neighboring state appeared in Timis county and the city of Timisoara, usually men, whom I was not able to keep under surveillance, because of lack of manpower. I reported details regarding these foreigners only verbally without drawing up any notes.” [Ordinul col. Sima referitor la elementele straine era justificate pentru ca cu 2 luni mai inainte incepuse un exot de vizitatori din statele straine la locuinta pastorului Tokes. Deci exista banuiala implicarii cercurilor din alte state in declansarea evenimentele la Timisoara. Tin sa precizez ca in noiembrie aproximativ 1500 din unul si acelasi stat vecin au aparut in judetul Timis si orasul Timisoara, de regula barbate care nu i-am putut supraveghea, din [lipsa] de oameni (forte).] (#1 Securitate Deny Foreign Instigation)

It is well-established and known that Pastor Tokes’ dwelling had been under constant Securitate surveillance for months prior to December 1989.  The idea that these people would have been suspect at the time, that the Securitate would have taken no action against them, and that the Securitate was unable even to write down details about them strains credulity.  Besides the reference is to “stat vecin,” pretty clearly in this context, a reference to ethnic Hungarians, not Soviets.  And none of this changes Mavru’s declaration that, despite the tremendous pressure they were under from Bucharest and General Vlad to find a foreign hand behind the Timisoara protests and unrest, they tried really hard but could not find any!    The following remains the most appropriate response to the background  Securitate justifications Watts seeks to invoke here:  https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/12/19/25-for-the-25th-anniversary-of-the-romanian-revolution-8-romania-closes-its-borders-to-almost-all-foreigners-except-russian-tourists-returning-from-shopping-trips-to-yugoslavia-18-19-december-19/

[Un Grup de Ofiteri din Garnizoana Timisoara, Romania Libera, 15 octombrie 1991

“4.  Existenta unui mare numar de turisti straini, care s-au deplasat (cu autoturisme) spre Timisoara si prin Timisoara.

Cine au fost acei turisti?  Turisti banuiti, si ei, de intentii destabalizatoare.

Daca fortelor speciale de securitate si contrainformatii militare li s-au parut suspecti, de ce nu s-au procedat la verificarea acestora?  Oare in acel rastimp, securistii si contrainformatorii nu mai stiau sa-si faca meseria?  Au uitat pentru ce erau platiti, din bugetul statului, cu bani grei?”]

Two the original four testimonial sources cited by Hall as proof of Soviet non-implication in the Timisoara events provide much stronger evidence for the counterargument; that the Soviets were present and vexatious. Indeed, both Mavru and Teodorescu insist on the unusual influx of Soviet bloc “tourists” into Romania immediately preceeding and during the December 1989 revolution.

None of the testimonies says that Soviet agents were “present and vexatious” in Timisoara.  Moreover, no Soviet citizen or Soviet tourist was arrested during the Timisoara unrest (Timisoara participant and researcher Marius Mioc has posted the ethnic breakdown of those arrested as reported by the Interior Ministry from the dosarelerevolutiei at https://documente1989.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/situatia-retinutilor-din-revolutia-timisoreana/).

But testimonies from former DSS officers are not the only evidence cited by Hall. He also cites media reporting as providing ‘definitive’ proof that there were no Soviet “tourists” coming over the border in worrisome quantity.

Mr. Watts, how about providing some eyewitness accounts from the time or in the initial aftermath, by people who were not members of the Securitate, of the Soviet “tourists” coming over the border in worrisome quantity and being “present and vexatious” in Timisoara?  (So far, as your “evidence,” you have cited Filip Teodorescu, Aurel Rogojan, and Iulian Vlad–all high-ranking officers of the former Securitate with an obvious vested interest in seeking to justify their actions in December 1989!)

Until then, I am reminded of a memorable characterization that also seems to describe in some measure Watts’ approach to building his case.  Until  next time!

https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.com/2014/08/15/fara-indoiala-se-intimpla-ceva-securitatea-nu-spune-dar-sugereaza-lasa-sa-i-scape-mici-detalii/

Fara indoiala…se intimpla ceva. Securitatea nu spune dar sugereaza. “Lasa sa-i scape” mici detalii.

“Without a doubt…something is going on.  The Securitate doesn’t say but it suggests.  It allows small details to leak out.”

In the meantime, Watts continues to invoke as “evidence” to support his case, things he has superficial and inaccurate knowledge of:

in an exchange with Marius Mioc in the comments section at http://larrylwatts.blogspot.com/2015/04/romanian-revolution-december-1989-iii.html?showComment=1429265678355#c1059532130391066370 he argues:

RE: Your perplexing insistence of no Hungarian involvement
This is rather off-topic but since it suggests a strong cognitive bias I thought it worth mentioning. You have no doubt heard of the refugee camps in Hungary. Aside from Vlad’s testimony cited above scholarly articles have since been published by Hungarians in Hungary regarding the phenomenon. At a commemoration service broadcast on Romanian national television in 1993, and commented on by the Romanian Ambassador to Hungary who was in attendance, the Hungarians dedicated a statue at their military base in Egger for Hungarian personnel fallen in the Romanian revolution. In the testimony cited by Hall and reproduced in this blog, DSS officer Mavru insisted on clarifying that “in November approximately 1500 persons from one and the same neighboring state appeared in Timis county and the city of Timisoara, usually men, whom I was not able to keep under surveillance, because of lack of manpower.” To date, no equivalent surge of Yugoslav or Bulgarian visitors has been reported (or even rumored).

Fullscreen capture 4182015 53155 PM

Here is information about the monument in question, which is dedicated to the people of Timisoara, from most notably the Romanian Military Attache in Budapest in December 1989, Colonel Ioan Todericiu:

image0

Page 53 above

Fullscreen capture 4182015 50558 PM

https://www.yumpu.com/ro/document/view/13722025/format-electronic/94

From approx. minute 4 Todericiu discusses the Eger monument and that it was dedicated to the Romanian people of Timisoara; despite the obstinacy of the reporter–including what may be a clip from the 1993 program invoked by Watts–Toderciu confirms that there are no documents which would testify to an organized Hungarian role in the December 1989 events in Romanian.

On Todericiu’s comments, see also the following posting by a forumist below.
continuare(Duminică, 4 ianuarie 2009, 20:08)Lucidul [anonim]
După moartea lui Milea şi căderea lui Ceauşescu, ungurii au luat din nou legătura cu Ministerul Apărării, condus acum de Stănculescu şi Militaru. Una dintre rugăminţile ungurilor era protecţie pt. Tokes. Stănculescu a trimis nişte militari, şi pastorul a fost pus sub pază. (Securiştii vroiau să-l lichideze).

 

La rândul lor, românii au cerut ajutor umanitar: sânge, medicamente, alimente pt. copii, chestii din astea.

 

Atunci, organizaţii de caritate din Ungaria, cât şi unele spitale militare (!) au pregătit pachetele, şi normal că şoferii acestor vehicule erau tot militari. Câţiva dintre aceşti subofiţeri au murit în rafalele care se trăgeau pe atunci în toată ţara. Trupurile lor au fost repatriate în Ungaria, şi înmormântate cu toate onorurile. La înmormântarea din Eger a participat şi ataşatul militar român pe atunci la Budapesta, Todericiu. Este şi vina bătrânului măgar că niciodată nu a spus clar, (nici pe videoclipul ăla care e pe Youtube), că aceşti militari nu au murit pe teritoriul român în luptă, ci în timpul unor misiuni umanitare.

 

Ei, atât despre “agenturile străine”. Dacă ei nu aduceau sânge şi medicamente, ar fi fost şi mai multe victime.

from the following thread:
  • Lui judex în primul rând (Duminică, 4 ianuarie 2009, 19:59)Lucidul [anonim]
    judex scrie: “Va aduceti aminte de afirmatia “agenturili straine”? Se pare ca, in 1990, au aparut niste monumente comemorative pentru niste eroi cazuti la datorie in unitati militare la Debretin si alte locuri in Ungaria.”Auzi, dar deştept te dai tu, cu diversiunea ta securistă. Fi-ţi-ar mintea deşteaptă, să-ţi fie. Şi ne mirăm noi, cum dracu a reuşit Securitatea să-şi salveze oamenii, de sunt şi acuma în posturi de cheie.Dar, hai să trecem la subiect.În 1989 TOATE ţările vecine aveau spioni în România, şi România avea spioni în toate ţările vecine. Dar, şi ce-i cu asta? Numai proştii ca tine, se miră, şi încep să invoce “agenturile steine”. Tu chir crezi că astăzi este altfel? Şi azi toate ţările se spionează reciproc, asta înseamnă “culegere de in formaţii”. Aşa cum şi tu “pălăvrăgeşti” despre vecinii din scara blocului, şi întrebi ce mai e cu Fănică al Smarandei.Cu cei 40 arşi de Ceaşca în crematoriul din Bucureşti, iar ai zis o prostie colosală. Măi, campion de IQ, îţi dai seama ce senzaţie internaţională era, ce scandal ieşea la ONU, inclusiv la Consiliul de Securitate, dacă iubitul tău Ceauşescu găsea UN SINGUR terorist din afara graniţelor? Nu-l ardea nici în ruptul capului, ci-l păstra ca dovadă, băi.Acum, hai să ne întoarcem la afirmaţia: “eroi cazuti la datorie in unitati militare la Debretin si alte locuri in Ungaria”.

    Înainte de 22 decembrie armata română se afla în contact permanent cu un grup operativ al armatei ungare. Milea a vorbit la telefon cu ministrul maghiar al apărării, Karpati Ferenc, care s-a interesat de evenimentele din Timişoara. Milea l-a asigurat pe colegul său ungur, că armata română nu a tras şi nu va trage în populaţie, şi spus clar, că armata română va combate orice intervenţie străină.
    Ungurii şi-au mobilizat cei drept câteva unităţi militare în apropiere graniţei, dar stăteau şi ascultau, atât.
    (voi continua)

    raspunde trimite

  • 0 (0 voturi)    
    continuare (Duminică, 4 ianuarie 2009, 20:08)Lucidul [anonim]
    După moartea lui Milea şi căderea lui Ceauşescu, ungurii au luat din nou legătura cu Ministerul Apărării, condus acum de Stănculescu şi Militaru. Una dintre rugăminţile ungurilor era protecţie pt. Tokes. Stănculescu a trimis nişte militari, şi pastorul a fost pus sub pază. (Securiştii vroiau să-l lichideze).La rândul lor, românii au cerut ajutor umanitar: sânge, medicamente, alimente pt. copii, chestii din astea.Atunci, organizaţii de caritate din Ungaria, cât şi unele spitale militare (!) au pregătit pachetele, şi normal că şoferii acestor vehicule erau tot militari. Câţiva dintre aceşti subofiţeri au murit în rafalele care se trăgeau pe atunci în toată ţara. Trupurile lor au fost repatriate în Ungaria, şi înmormântate cu toate onorurile. La înmormântarea din Eger a participat şi ataşatul militar român pe atunci la Budapesta, Todericiu. Este şi vina bătrânului măgar că niciodată nu a spus clar, (nici pe videoclipul ăla care e pe Youtube), că aceşti militari nu au murit pe teritoriul român în luptă, ci în timpul unor misiuni umanitare.Ei, atât despre “agenturile străine”. Dacă ei nu aduceau sânge şi medicamente, ar fi fost şi mai multe victime.
    raspunde trimite

  • 0 (0 voturi)    
    infiltrarea (Duminică, 4 ianuarie 2009, 20:25)Lucidul [anonim]
    Să lămurim odată şi cu infiltrarea aceasta.Nimeni nu a spus, că securiştii, câte unul s-au infiltrat printre militarii în termen.Ceea ce se poate deduce din mărturiile martorilor oculari, este, că militarii în termen erau în dispozitiv, şi trăgeau focuri de avertizare, în sus. Securiştii însă, care erau pe rândul doi, au tras printre aceşti militari (că doar nu era dispozitivul compact, ermetic), şi de pe cuiburile de tragere instalate pe clădirile din jur, direct în demonstranţi. Scenariul a fost acelaşi peste tot, şi la Timişoara, şi la Bucureşti, Sibiu, Braşov, Cluj, Târgu Mureş etc. Ochitori speciali, dotaţi cu puşti cu lunetă, îmbrăcaţi de obicei în combinezoane negre, din cadrul forţelor speciale ale Securităţii, erau plasaţi în etajele superioare sau pe acoperişurile clădirilor înalte care înconjurau piaţa centrală a fiecărui oraş.Aceste echipă de comando câteodată soseau în provincie deghizaţi în sportivi, erau cazaţi în hotelurile să zicem luxoase pe ultimul etaj, de unde nici n-au trebuit să iasă afară. Nu-i întâmplător că în acele zile, dar mai ales în noaptea de 22 spre 23 focurile de armă veneau dinspre hoteluri (de ex. la Braşov: Hotel Negoiu). Când au văzut că balanţa nu se înclină în favoarea lui Ceauşescu, datorită – hai să spunem clar – trecerii armatei de partea revoluţiei, băieţii ăştia s-au evaporat. S-au întors la slujbele lor acoperite ca civili, sau la unităţile securiste unde erau încadraţi. Iar noi, nu reuşim să le dăm de urmă nici după 19 ani. (Ce-i drept, procurorii nici nu s-au omorât să facă investigaţii serioase. Îia prinşi au fost lăsaţi să plece liber. Cică, au executat un ordin, şi asta se respectă între militari.)
    raspunde trimite
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5 Responses to “A Response to Watts: The Pitfalls of Not Having Any Evidence”

  1. […] A Response to Watts: The Pitfalls of Not Having Any Evidence […]

  2. […] A Response to Watts: The Pitfalls of Not Having Any Evidence […]

  3. mariusmioc said

    The breakdown of the arrested persons in Timişoara, during revolution: https://documente1989.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/situatia-retinutilor-din-revolutia-timisoreana/

  4. romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 said

    Marius, multumesc. Am postat linkul mai sus.

  5. […] A Response to Watts: The Pitfalls of Not Having Any Evidence […]

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