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.

“Interesant de retinut este faptul ca varianta D.I.A. este sustinuta, in diferite formule, doar de foste cadre ale M.I., interesate, se pare, sa creeze aceasta diversiune.”

(purely personal views as always, based on over two decades of prior research and publications)

In lucrarea “Lovitura de stat a confiscat Revolutia Romana”, Serban Sandulescu, membru al Comisiei Senatoriale, sustine ideea ca avionul ROMBAC a adus la Sibiu nu uslasi, ci luptatori ai Directiei Informatii a Armatei, argumentand aceasta afirmatie, in principal, cu declaratiile facute de elevi ai U.M. 01512, care, in seara zilei de 20 decembrie 1989, i-au intrebat pe cei adusi in unitate de unde sunt, acestia raspunzand ca sunt de la D.I.A.  Fara a cita alte detalii sau nume de oameni, Serban Sandulescu precizeaza ca aceste fapte i-au fost relatate de un redactor de la ziarul “Tribuna” din Sibiu, care urma sa scrie o carte.  Pentru sustinerea ipotezei sale adauga “confirmarea obtinuta personal de la un cadru al S.R.I.”, a carui identitate este invaluita in aceleasi anonimat.

Varianta ca in ROMBAC au fost adusi la Sibiu luptatori ai D.I.A. este sustinuta in cartea “Recurs” si de Iulian Rotariu, fost inspector-sef la Inspector-sef la Inspectoratul M.I. Sibiu.  Pasagerii avionului–sustine acesta–“nu au apartinut Ministerul de Interne.  Din surse care au tinut sa-si pastreze anonimatul, cel circa 80 de pasageri ar fi fost cazati la U.M. 01512 Sibiu, unde au intrat pe poarta 2 si nu pe cea principala.  Daca ar fi fost de la M.I. ar fi fost identificati.  Mai degraba au facut parte din trupele de cercetare-diversiune subordonate D.I.A.”.

Interesant de retinut este faptul ca varianta D.I.A. este sustinuta, in diferite formule, doar de foste cadre ale M.I., interesate, se pare, sa creeze aceasta diversiune….

Pararea autorilor acestui studiu este ca primele concluzii ale Procuraturii, potrivit carora cu avionul ROMBAC a fost trimis la Sibiu un destasament din U.S.L.A., sunt cel mai aproape de adevar.  Primul personaj la care Elena Ceausescu putea sa intervina era Postelnicu, caruia ii era subordonata U.S.L.A.  Faptul ca s-a apelat, pentru transportul detasamentului, la o cursa TAROM este inca un argument ca in componenta sa nu erau militari subordonati M.Ap.N., armata avand la dispozitie, pentru transport, avioane militare [nota mea:  iata cum au fost transportati cadrele D.I.A. spre Timisoara pe 18 decembrie, cu un avion militar AN 24/26]….

(mai sus) Armata romana in revolutia din decembrie 1989 (doua editii, 1994, 1998)–atentie la discutie despre Sandulescu si Rotariu

from my 2006 article




by Richard Andrew Hall

Disclaimer: All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other U.S. Government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying U.S. Government authentication of information or CIA endorsement of the author’s views. This material has been reviewed by CIA to prevent the disclosure of classified information.

Sibiu, 19-22 December 1989

In Sibiu, Siani-Davies tells us:

Controversy also continues to surround a commercial TAROM flight, which is alleged to have brought up to eighty USLA troops from Bucharest to Sibiu on December 20, 1989. It is not clear if the USLA forces were actually on the airplane, or, even if they were, what they actually did in Sibiu…[Serban] Sandulescu (c1996), 57-58…suggests they were not members of USLA but the DIA [Army’s Intelligence Unit].[151]

From the standpoint of Siani-Davies’ unsuspecting reader such a conclusion may seem not only credible, but judicious. But one of Siani-Davies’ habits—identified negatively by even those who praise the book—is his tendency to draw negative equivalencies: i.e. there is about as much evidence to support x as there is to support y, in order to disprove or discount both propositions. In a review, Doris Mironescu writes:

“Very common are claims such as the following: ‘Finding the proof to sustain such an explanation of the events [that the Army’s Intelligence arm, the DIA simulated the “terrorist diversion,” to permit the Front’s takeover and a possible Warsaw Pact invasion of the country] is as difficult as proving that special units of the securitate took up arms against the revolution’ (p. 154). Mutually contradictory hypotheses are invoked in order to negate each other, not so much because of the weight of the claims, but through the ideological similarity of both.”[152]

This tendency definitely affects Siani-Davies’ analysis of the “terrorists” and its accuracy. To begin with, in the very book (Sandulescu) invoked by Siani-Davies, the head of the DIA (Battalion 404 Buzau), Rear Admiral Stefan Dinu, is quoted as having told the Gabrielescu commission investigating the December events (of which Sandulescu was a member) that “we hardly had 80 fighters in this battalion.”[153] It is known that 41 of them were in Timisoara from the morning of 18 December and only returned to their home base in Buzau on 22 December.[154] This makes it highly unlikely that they were on the 20 December TAROM flight to Sibiu that is in question.[155]

in decembrie 1989, “temuta” unitate DIA Batalionul 404…avea…80 de luptatori!

Contrast this with the signs that exist pointing to the mystery passengers as having been from the Securitate/Interior Ministry, in particular the USLA. Nicu Silvestru, chief of the Sibiu County Militia, admitted in passing in a letter from prison that on the afternoon of 19 December 1989, in a crisis meeting, Nicolae Ceausescu’s son, Nicu, party head of Sibiu County, announced that he was going to “call [his] specialists from Bucharest” to take care of any protests.[156] Ceausescu’s Interior Minister, Tudor Postelnicu, admitted at his trial in January 1990 that Nicu had called him requesting “some troops” and he had informed Securitate Director General Iulian Vlad of the request.[157] If they were, indeed, DIA personnel, why would Nicu have called Postelnicu, and Postelnicu informed Vlad of the request—would such a request not have been relayed through the Defense Minister?

Nicu Silvestru, chief of the Sibiu County Militia, admitted in passing in a letter from prison that on the afternoon of 19 December in a crisis meeting, Ceausescu’s son announced that he was going to “call [his] specialists from Bucharest” to take care of any protests (“Baricada,” no. 45, 1990).  Ceausescu’s Interior Minister, Tudor Postelnicu, admitted at his trial in January 1990 that Nicu had called him requesting “some troops” and he had informed Securitate Director General Iulian Vlad of the request (“Romania Libera,” 30 January 1990.)

The first two military prosecutors for Sibiu, Anton Socaciu and Marian Valer, identified the passengers as USLA. Even Nicu Ceausescu admits that this was the accusation when he stated in August 1990:

“…[T]he Military Prosecutor gave me two variants. In the first part of the inquest, they [the flight’s passengers] were from the Interior Ministry. Later, however, in the second half of the investigation, when the USLA and those from the Interior Ministry began, so-to-speak, to pass ‘into the shadows,’ – after which one no longer heard anything of them – they [the passengers] turned out to be simple citizens…”[158]

Beginning, at least as early as August 1990, with the allusions of Major Mihai Floca, and later seemingly indirectly confirmed by former USLA officer Marian Romanescu, it was suggested that when USLA Commander Ardeleanu was confronted at the Defense Ministry on the night of 23/24 December 1989, Ardeleanu reportedly admitted that “30 were on guard at [various] embassies, and 80 had been dispatched to Sibiu with a Rombac [aircraft] from 20 December 1989 upon ‘orders from on-high’.”[159] Finally, and along these lines, we bring things full circle—and recall our “phantoms in black” again in the process—with the testimony of Army officer Hortopan to the same Serban Sandulescu at the Gabrielescu Commission hearings:

Sandulescu: About those dressed in black jumpsuits do you know anything, do you have any information about whom they belonged to?

Hortopan: On the contrary. These were the 80 uslasi sent by the MI [Interior Ministry], by General Vlad and Postelnicu to guard Nicolae Ceausescu [i.e. Nicu]. I make this claim because Colonel Ardelean[u] in front of General Militaru, and he probably told you about this problem, at which I was present when he reported, when General Militaru asked him how many men he had in total and how many were now present, where each of them was: out of which he said that 80 were in Sibiu based on an order from his commanders. Thus, it is natural that these are who they were.[160]

Bringing us up to the morning of 22 December 1989, and setting the stage for what was to come, Lt. Col. Aurel Dragomir told the Army daily in November 1990:

Dragomir: Events began to develop quickly on 22 December. In the morning some of the students posted in different parts of the town began to observe some suspect individuals in black jumpsuits on the roofs in the lights of the attics of several buildings.

Reporter: The same equipment as the USLAsi killed out front of the Defense Ministry…

Dragomir: And on the roof of the Militia building there were three or four similar individuals…[161]

Armata Poporului, “Sub tirul incrucisat…(II)” interviu cu Aurel Dragomir, nr. 46, noiembrie 1990 p. 3.


Of course, the fact that these individuals were posted on the top of the Militia building on this morning, speaks volumes in itself about their affiliation. Indeed, in a written statement dated 28 January 1990, Ioan Scarlatescu, (Dir. Comm. Jud. Sibiu), admitted that he was asked by the Army on that morning if the unknown individuals “could be from the USLA?”[162]

[151] Siani-Davies, 2005, p. 152, fn. no. 32.

[152] Doris Mironescu, “Revolutia româna, asa cum (probabil) a fost,” Timpul no. 1 (January 2006), at

[153] Serban Sandulescu, Lovitura de Stat a Confiscat Revolutia Romana (Bucharest: Omega, 1996), p. 214. Sandulescu’s book was marketed and printed by Sorin Rosca Stanescu’s Ziua press. Rosca Stanescu was a former USLA informer between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s. Who was Sandulescu’s chief counselor on these matters? Stefan Radoi, a former USLA officer in the early 1980s! These are the type of people who, of course, believe the passengers were DIA and not USLA! See my discussion of this whole fiasco in “The Securitate Roots of a Modern Romanian Fairy Tale,” RFE “East European Perspectives” 4-6/2002, online.

[154] See Dinu’s testimony in Sandulescu, Lovitura de Stat, p. 220. Also see the claims of another senior DIA officer Remus Ghergulescu in Jurnalul National, March 2004, online edition.

[155] Speaking even more broadly, Army parachutists (whether from Buzau, Caracal, Campia Turzii, or Boteni) were in Timisoara, Caransebes, and Television, Piata Palatului and the Otopeni Airport in Bucharest during the December events, but that clearly leaves many places where there were “terrorist actions”—including Sibiu—without them, decreasing their likelihood as plausible suspects. See Catalin Tintareanu, “Sarbatoare la Scoala de Aplicatie pentru Parasutisti ‘General Grigore Bastan,” Opinia (Buzau), 10 June 2005, online edition.

[156] Nicu Silvestru, “Cine a ordonat sa se traga la Sibiu?” Baricada, no. 45, 1990, p.5.

[157] Emil Munteanu, “Postelnicu a vorbit neintrebat,” Romania Libera, 30 January 1990, p. 1

[158] Interview with Nicu Ceausescu in Zig-Zag, no. 20, 21-27 August 1990.

[159] Adevarul, 29 August 1990. Also, Romanescu with Badea “U.S.L.A, Bula Moise…” 1991.

[160] “Virgil Magureanu sustine ca revolta din 1989 a fost sprijinita din interiorul sistemului,” Gardianul, 12 November 2005, online edition.

[161] Lt. Col. Aurel Dragomir, interview by Colonel Dragos Dragoi, “Sub tirul incrucisat al acuzatiilor (II),” Armata Poporului, no. 46 (November 1990), p. 3. Remus Ghergulescu specified USLA appearance as follows: “Over their black jumpsuits (‘combinezoanele negre’) in which they were dressed they had kaki vests. This was normal. They were equipped with the jumpsuits as “war gear,” while the vests were “city wear.’” (Colonel Remus Ghergulescu, interview with Razvan Belciuganu, “Teroristii au iesit din haos,” Jurnalul National, 29 November 2004, online edition.)

[162] See Evenimentul Zilei, 25 November 1992, p. 3.

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