Timisoara = The Key
[as always, purely personal views based on purely personal research and publications over the past two decades]
–There are more than a dozen cases (most available online, including from court testimonies highlighted here) of people wounded or killed by exploding dum-dum bullets in Timisoara on 17-18 December 1989. Half a dozen medical personnel in Timisoara attest to treating people with dum-dum bullet wounds. Foreign television crews in Timisoara in the days of late December 1989 reported on the use of dum-dum bullets by Ceausescu regime forces and Army personnel in the early months of 1990 alleged the same. So why not admit the use of dum-dum bullets before 22 December 1989?…Therein lies the conundrum…
Thanks to Miodrag Milin (and ASOCIAŢIA MEMORIALUL REVOLUŢIEI 16-22 DECEMBRIE 1989, TIMIŞOARA), the tapes of the Timisoara trials of 1990-1991 have been transcribed and made available to the public. These transcripts are highly valuable for the researcher of the December 1989 Romanian Revolution. To my knowledge, much of this information has never made it into the public domain, and much of the most important information has definitely not.
[Are these court documents available at the website of the IICCMER? Or the website of Asociatia 21 decembrie 1989? No! Thankfully, however, they are available on this http://www.banaterra.eu/romana/files/procesul_de_la_timisoara_volumul_II.pdf . The following is from Volume 2.]
The 9 March 1990 testimony of Ion Deheleanu, chief of the Timis County Militia in December 1989, is edifying…he emphatically denies the existence of the terrorists after 22 december 1989 (using the oldest claim in the book, “because personally I never saw any”) and explains that the use of “different cartridges” after 22 december 1989 was a result of civilians having been armed from the stocks of the Securitate and Militia. He denies however that there might have been anything unusual about these cartridges (i.e. explosive dum-dum, etc.)
This confirms what can be proven from statements of the time, but has long since been forgotten: the idea that there were no terrorists, that Army units and civilians given arms shot wildly into one another by accident or by intention, did not originate with opponents of the Iliescu regime, but with the former Securitate and Militia….(the following article from 17 January 1990 makes this clear)
“Acum securistii vintura versiunea lor: Ati tras voi in voi ca prostii”: dezinformare securista in derulare (ianuarie 1990)
Deheleanu-type views can also be seen here in a late 1991 article by Pavel Corut under his later acknowledged alias of “Paul Cernescu”…he talks about reading the fantezist (fantastical) and pathetic revelations of Army personnel regarding the use of explosive and vidia bullets in December 1989…i.e. he too seeks to deny their use and existence
Paul Cernescu, acknowledged alias of a Fourth Directorate Securitate Military Counter-Intelligence officer, Pavel Corut
Yet foreign media reporting from Timisoara and Army personnel in the initial post-revolutionary period talked about the use and existence of dum-dum bullets:
Let’s Go to the Videotape! (I) “To the Army it’s confirmation that they’ve been dealing with a specially-trained force…because it’s the type of bullet they’ve never seen before” (ITN UK Television, Timisoara Romania, December 1989) (plus Irish Television, The Tragic Fate of Florica Sava)
Penny Marshall, ITN correspondent: “This is one of the thousands of bullets that’s been handed in or found on the streets here in Timisoara.
To the Army it’s confirmation that they’ve been dealing with a specially-trained force…because it’s the type of bullet they’ve never seen before.”
Soldier speaking to Ms. Marshall: “these are bullets…”
“…the explosive bullets”
Clip 100 of 125
Clip Ref: S24090801 2 113478
Timecode – In:
28th December 1989 – Timisoara search GRAPHIC Exit the secret police ROMANIA: Timisoara: EXT Soldiers standing outside Army HQ INT Camera goes inside HQ / Officer shows and explains weapons …
A1: Mix / A2: Mix
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].
Army officials recounted the same:
Iosif Costinas cu Locotenent-colonelul PETRE GHINEA, “O Lupta cu Fortele Raului,” Orizont (Timisoara), nr. 5 (2/2/1990), p. 5
Two of the people who testified in court, Margaret Cacoceanu and Alexandru Koos, discussed the use of dum-dum bullets in Timisoara after the flight of Nicolae Ceausescu and Elena Ceausescu at noon on 22 December 1989 (Koos also described the terrorists he fought against and who he considered had shot him)
Procesul de la Timisoara (XI): Dupa 22 decembrie–teroristii. Martorii Alexandru Koos, Ion Flocioiu, si Herlea Floarea
Peter Siani-Davies in 2005 speculated in general terms that any use of atypical munitions–those not used by the Army–could not necessarily be attributed to their use by the “terrorists” because civilians in certain places had been armed from Securitate and Militia stockpiles.
Peter Siani-Davies, The Romanian Revolution of December 1989, p. 154. parts of this excellent book are available online at
for the discussion Siani-Davies cites from my dissertation see here: https://romanianrevolutionofdecember1989.wordpress.com/rewriting-the-revolution-1997-chapter-8-unsolving-december/
The Siani-Davies’ thesis of free-floating arms, of civilians having shot with Securitate and Militia weapons and thus responsibility/guilt thereby not necessarily being attributable to the Securitate or Militia falls completely apart, however, when we turn to the court testimonies and revelations concerning those who were wounded and/or killed by dum-dum explosive bullets on 17 December 1989 in Timisoara. Clearly, unlike post 12:08 pm on 22 December 1989, there was no opportunity or possibility for civilians/protesters to have these arms.
Moreover, it should also be pointed out, the so-called DIA hypothesis (alleging that the terrorists were from the Army’s intelligence directorate and therefore might be the source of such atypical munitions) also falls apart here. DIA personnel were not present in Timisoara on the afternoon and evening of 17 December 1989 when these injuries and deaths from exploding bullets took place.
Finally, the idea that “perhaps the rank-and-file Army had dum-dum explosive bullets too” falls apart: in twenty-two years, not a single Army official (including former draftees!) has admitted or alleged such a thing and there has been absolutely no evidence that this might have been the case. What is more: as we have seen, where as some Army officials (see Petre Ghinea above) want to talk about the existence of dum-dum bullets and acknowledge there use in December 1989, Securitate and Militia personnel (Ion Deheleanu, Pavel Corut, etc.) deny their very existence! This speaks volumes about potential culpability.
Cases available on the Internet mentioning the wounding or killing of demonstrators with dum-dum explosive bullets on 17-18 December 1989. There are more than a dozen in all, many of whom we have seen were testified about during the Timisoara trials.
- 17 decembrie 1989, doua gloante explozive, Timisoara
- 17 Decembrie 1989, gloante dum-dum, Timisoara
- 17 Decembrie 1989, gloante explozibile (i.e. dum-dum), Timisoara, Calea Girocului
- 17 decembrie 1989, gloante explozive (aka dum-dum), Timisoara
- 17 Decembrie 1989, gloante explozive (dum-dum), Timisoara
- 17 decembrie 1989, gloante explozive, Timisoara
- 17 Decembrie 1989, glont exploziv (i.e. dum-dum ), Timisoara (Podul Decebal)
- 17 decembrie 1989, glont exploziv, Timisoara
- 17 decembrie 1989, glont exploziv, Timisoara
- 17 decembrie 1989, glont exploziv, Timisoara (Podul Decebal)
- 17 decembrie 1989, glont exploziv, Timisoara (Podul Decebal)
- 17 decembrie 1989, glont expozibil (i.e. dum-dum), Timisoara (Piata 700)
- 18 decembrie 1989, glont exploziv, Timisoara
from Adevarul http://www.adevarul.ro/locale/timisoara/DECEMBRIE_-89-_Si-a_pierdut_iubita_si_piciorul_stang_0_173982752.html author Stefan Both
Danut Gavra with his two daughters in the Heroes’ Cemetery in December 2009
rish Television (RTE) captured what were apparently the last hours of Florica Sava’s tragic end. Warning: the scene from 11:00 to 11:30 is graphic and unsettling.
posted by mikenork
Brendan O’Brien (reporter): “Florica Sava, a 33 year old mother of two young sons, was shot from a car with a dum-dum bullet. It caused massive internal injuries. Doctors said she had just hours to live.”
Procesul de la Timisoara (I): Missed Press Opportunities. The testimonies of Margaret Cacoceanu and Doina Gherasim (25-26 September 1990)
Procesul de la Timisoara (V): Martorii Cristian Rusu, Daniela Lengyel, si Aurica Rusu (mama lui Marius Ciopec)
KEY REVELATIONS COME FROM THE FOLLOWING COURT TESTIMONY:
Procesul de la Timisoara (II). Audierea partii civile Popovici Ion: “…Atata retin foarte bine minte, ca ofiterul a spus, cica: ‘Nu, voi trageti cu dum-dum-uri si dupa aia Armata raspunde.’”
Some excerpts: P.C.: Ati dat o declaratie? Po. I. : Da P.C.: O mentineti? Po. I. Da (p. 827) P.C.: “Inteleg sa fiu audiat in cauza ca parte civila”, da? V-as ruga sa faceti putin liniste! “Mentin declaratia de la Procuratura si…” (p. 833)
Po. I.: …Da [am fost ranit]. Si dupa aceea a venit unul dintre trei [civili mai in varsta] dupa mine, m-a tarat pana la masina si la masina, acolo, am luat o bataie…ca n-am putut doua saptamani nici sa mananc nimica. M-a lovit cu patul de arma in falca si cu bocancii in cap. Si m-au dus, m-au dus la Garnizoana. La Garnizoana m-au aruncat din masina si a venit ofiterul de serviciu. Au venit si acestia trei a spus lu’ ofiterul de serviciu, cica: “Luati-l si duceti-l la arest.” Atata retin foarte bine minte, ca ofiterul a spus, cica: “Nu, voi trageti cu dum-dum-uri si dupa aia Armata raspunde. Voi omorati oameni si raspunde Armata dupa aceea.” Asta tin minte precis. Si de acolo mi-am dat seama ca nu poate sa fie soldati aceia. (p. 830)
Dr. Manuel Burzaco from “Doctors without Borders” was part of a team of doctors from that group who visited hospitals in Bucharest, Ploiesti, Brasov, Buzau and Braila in late December 1989 and early January 1990. This report from the Madrid daily El Pais touches upon the women and children gravely injured by the exploding “dum dum bullets used by the Securitate.”
SIX Doctors/Medical personnel from Timisoara alone have discussed the use of dum-dum bullets against demonstrators in Timisoara…
Doctors also reported on the wounds caused by explosive bullets (i.e. dum-dum bullets): In this dispatch from Agence France Presse, relayed by Radio Free Europe on 25 December 1989, Dr. Aurel Mogosanu, a medic in the intensive care unit of a Timisoara hospital, says based on his thirty years of experience, some of the wounds could only have been CAUSED by EXPLOSIVE BULLETS SHOT AT THE PROTESTERS”
sursa (documentele Europa Libera disponsibile la): http://media.hotnews.ro/media_server1/generic_file-2009-12-22-6754154-0-radio-bucuresti-25-dec-pdf.pdf (p. 49 of 82)
mai mult despre Dr. Aurel Mogosanu in decembrie 1989: http://www.sorinbogdan.ro/2009/12/timisoara-18-decembrie-1989/.
Rodica Novac’s claim is corroborated elsewhere by four other medical officials on call during the Timisoara repression. First, in Romanian, by Dr. Atanasie Barzeanu, then in Hungarian by three doctors (Vladimir Fluture, Csaba Ungor, and Andras Goga) present and performing surgery in Timisoara hospitals from 17-19 december 1989 who recount separately their discovery of dum-dum exploding bullets among the bullets with which demonstrators arriving at the hospital had been shot. december 1989: temesvari orvosok, dum-dum golyok, es a roman forradalom
Sava Florica, 33 de ani, vinzatoare la Loto-pronosport in cartierul Fabric, impuscata din mers, in Piata Traian
Barzeanu Atanasie, 65 anit, medic primar, doctor in stiinte, chirurg, Spitalul Judetean Timisoara
“…sintem deci in 18 decembrie…Pe la orele doua si patruzeci, cind inchideam o operatie–Sava Florica, 33 de ani, vinzatoare la Loto-pronosport in cartierul Fabric, impuscata din mers, in Piata Traian, dintr-un ARO, pacienta prezentindu-se o echimoza cu distrugerea tesuturilor (plaga in diametru de 15 centimetri), a tesuturilor din regiunea epigastrica, inclusiv a muschilor drepti abdominali, cu ruptura a colonului ascendent transvers si a jejuno-ileonului, fiind in stare de soc grav traumatic, hemoragic–, fara sa-mi poti explica nici macar acum cu ce fel de gloante a putut fi lovita, pentru ca nu am identificat nici orificiul de iesire si nici pe cel de intrare, a venit o asistenta de la Chirurgie I, care mi-a spus sa merg la domnul Ignat.”
Titus Suciu, Reportaj cu Sufletul la Gura, (Editura Facla 1990), pp. 133-134.
The following first appeared in Gyorgy Mandics’s Temesvari golgota (1991) pp. 348-349 and is reprinted in his A Manipulalt Forradalom (2009). [My guess is this is also the source for the reference to dum dum bullets in the German language wikipedia entry for http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rum%C3%A4nische_Revolution_1989 — Hans Vastag, György Mandics, Manfred Engelmann: Temeswar. Symbol der Freiheit. Wien 1992. ]
Ket esetuk volt az elejen. Ezert is hivtak be oket. Egy 14 eves gyermeket a haz elott lottek le, szinte a szomszedban, egy golyoszoros ARO-rol talaltak el; egy oreg nenit a ter tuloldalon, az erkelyen ertek a golyok. A zarja ment ki, kicsit nagyott hallott mar, amire is csoda, 64 evesen, azt hirtelen ugy erezte, hogy labaibol kimegy minden ero es lecsusott az erholya. Na milyen gyonge lettem egyszeruen–mondotta maganak. de ahogyan fel akart tapaszkodni meg lepve tapasztalt, hogy vertocsa gyult alatta. Bekialtolt a vegenek aki egy szomszed segitsegevel athozta a nenit a legkozelebbi korhazba, itt a Marasti ter tuloldalan, az uj Klinikakba, avagy hivatalos neven a 2 szamu korhazba, ahol rogton osszecodult mindenki csodat latni. Ekkor hivtak be Baranziekat es minden mozgositato orvost, hiszen a fegyverek ropogatak. Azota is kisebb nagyobb megszakitasokkal, felfelecsapolt a gepfegyverek, golyoszorok, geppisztolyok langzivatarja, remulettel telitva az ejszaki eget.
De azt a ket elso esett nem kovettek ujabbok. Igz aztan volt ido alaposan szemugyre venni a nenit akinek combjan elol egz akkora lyuk tatongott mint egy egy lejes, a comba hatso felen ahol eltavotott a golyo, ott viszont mar akkora mint egy otlejes. Fluture doktor, az egzik sebesz erosen kototte az ebet a korohoz, hogy ez egz specialis dum-dum robbanogolyo okozta seb, hiszen a szakirodalomban azt irjak, hogy csak ez a robbannolovedek-fajta-amelyet ugyan az ENSZ eltitott, am a nemzetkozi terrorizmusban kulonesen divatos ma is–okoz az izomszovetbol kijovet sokkal nagyobb roncsolasokat mint a bemenetnel. Az orvosok odazarandokoltak a sebesulthoz, mivel egzik sem latott semhogy dum-dum golyo utotte sebet, de egyaltalan lott sebet sem soha eleteben. Igz aztan csak szivtak a rangeletrahoz igazodva a sebesz foorvosok az amerikai Kentet, a foamnesztezialogus a holland pipadohanyt, az asztalyos orovosok a bolgar BT-t, a fonoverek a jugoslav Vikend-et, a noverek es helyapolok a roman Snagov-t, Golfot. Es vartak.
(Note: it is unclear who the 64 yr. old described was…there are several individuals without ages listed as injured or dead during the events, but I think it more likely the age of the woman is incorrect)
Jozsef Gazda Megvalto karacsony. Erdelyi magyar tulelok emlekeznek. (1990)
Ungor Csaba: Ket ora utan senkit be nem hoztak, senkit be nem engedtek, egyetlen sebesult sem. A korhazbol kikanyarado mentoautokra is lottek. Ket ora utan mindre, ami mozgott, jarokelo, auto, mindenre lottek, csak hogy ok tudjak begyujteni a sebesulteket s a halottakat. Kiderult az elso golyok utan, amiket a sebekbol gyujottek ossze, szedtek ki, hogy nem eles katonai toltenyekkel lottek, hanem dum-dum golyokkal, amik nagy rombolasokat okoztak. Egy 16 eves, ketszer sebesult gyermek meselte el, ok azt hittek, hogy hosok, azt hittek, hogy meg fogjak menteni a forradalmat, mert biztosra vettek, ha a felnottek sorfala ele allnak, nem fognak belejuk loni. Lottek rajuk is.
Goga Andras: A masodik izgalomkelto esemeny volt kedden delelott, hogy az osszes regiszterunk–mind a surgossegen, mind az osztalyon–, melyekre felirtuk a muteteinket, eltuntek, a mai napig sem talaltuk meg. Bennuk voltak az ev osszes mutetei[***]…En aznap kettot operaltam. Egy tuntetonek a bore alol vettem ki egy nagyon kulonleges golyok, nem is golyot, egy ilyen repeszdarabot, melyet a katonasag aztan megvizsgalt, s azt mondtak, nekik nincs tudmasuk, hogy ez mi lehet. Egy masiknak pedig fejserulese volt, persze abban nem talaltam golyot, amtent rajta.
***This appears to be a discussion of the operation of Colonel Nicolae Ghircoias (Director of the Criminalistic Institute of the Militia’s [Police’s] General Inspectorate) to make evidence disappear–for a discussion, see Bullets, Lies, and Videotape: The Amazing, Disappearing Romanian Counter-Revolution of December 1989 (Part I: “His name was Ghircoias…Nicolae Ghircoias”) by Richard Andrew Hall
Uzina Sadu-Gorj, august-septembrie 1989,
comanda de fabricatie a gloantelor explozive DUM-DUM
Referitor la existenta cartuselor explozive si perforante, dupa unele informatii rezulta ca in perioada august-septembrie 1989 la uzinele Sadu-Gorj s-a primit o comanda de executare a unor asemenea cartuse explozive. Comanda a fost ordonata de Conducerea Superioara de partid si executata sub supravegherea stricta a unor ofiteri din fosta Securitate.
Asa cum s-a mai spus, asupra populatiei, dar si asupra militarilor MApN teroristii au folosit cartuse cu glont exploziv. Cartusele respective de fabricarea carora fostul director al uzinei Constantin Hoart–actualmente deputat PSM Gorj–si ing. Constantin Filip nu sunt straini, au fost realizate sub legenda, potrivit careia, acestea urmai a fi folosite de Nicolae Ceausescu in cadrul partidelor de vanatoare.
Consider ca lt. col. Gridan fost ofiter de Contrainformatii pentru Uzina Sadu–actualmente pensionar ar putea confirma fabricarea unor asemenea cartuse si probabil si unele indicii cu privire la beneficiar. Daca intr-adevar aceste cartuse au fost fabricate in Romania atunci este limpede ca o mare parte din teroristii din decembrie 1989 au fost autohtoni, iar organele de securitate nu sunt straine de acest lucru.
from Bullets, Lies, and Videotape: The Amazing, Disappearing Romanian Counter-Revolution of December 1989 (Part VII: Conclusion. Those Who Told Us the Truth) by Richard Andrew Hall (UPDATED with new xeroxes)
for Part I see PART I: His Name Was Ghircoias…Nicolae Ghircoias
for Part II see Part II: A Revolution, A Coup d\’etat, AND a Counter-Revolution
for Part III see Part III: Lost…during Investigation
for Part IV see Part IV: The Good Sergeant Schultz or They Know Nothing
for Part V see Part V: Seeing is Believing Videos One and Two
for Part VI see Part VI: Seeing is Believing, Videos 3 and 4
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 
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. 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.
For years I have been essentially the sole researcher inside or outside the country familiar with and promoting the claims of 1) former Timisoara Securitate Directorate I officer Roland Vasilevici—who published his claims about December 1989 under the byline of Puspoki F. in the Timisoara political-cultural weekly Orizont in March 1990 and under the pseudonym “Romeo Vasiliu”—and 2) an anonymous USLA recruit who told his story to AM Press Dolj (published on the five year anniversary of the events in Romania Libera 28 December 1994…ironically (?) next to a story about how a former Securitate official attempted to interrupt a private television broadcast in which Roland Vasilevici was being interviewed in Timisoara about Libyan involvement in December 1989).
Vasilevici claimed in those March 1990 articles and in a 140 page book that followed—both the series and the book titled Pyramid of Shadows—that the USLA and Arab commandos were the “terrorists” of December 1989. What is particularly noteworthy in light of the above discussion about “exploding [dum-dum] bullets” was his claim that the USLA and the foreign students who supplemented them “used special cartridges which upon hitting their targets caused new explosions” [emphasis added]—in other words, exploding or dum-dum bullets.
The anonymous USLA recruit stated separately, but similarly:
I was in Timisoara and Bucharest in December ’89. In addition to us [USLA] draftees, recalled professionals, who wore black camouflage outfits, were dispatched. Antiterrorist troop units and these professionals received live ammunition. In Timisoara demonstrators were shot at short distances. I saw how the skulls of those who were shot would explode. I believe the masked ones, using their own special weapons, shot with exploding bullets. In January 1990, all the draftees from the USLA troops were put in detox. We had been drugged. We were discharged five months before our service was due to expire in order to lose any trace of us. Don’t publish my name. I fear for me and my parents. When we trained and practiced we were separated into ‘friends’ and ‘enemies.’ The masked ones were the ‘enemies’ who we had to find and neutralize. I believe the masked ones were the ‘terrorists’. [emphases added]
As I have pointed out, despite the short shrift given these two revelations by Romanian media and Romanianists, one group has paid close attention: the former Securitate. That is not accidental.
for full discussion of those who told us the truth (i.e. continuation of above), see discussion here:
Bullets, Lies, and Videotape: The Amazing, Disappearing Romanian Counter-Revolution of December 1989 (Part VII: Conclusion. Those Who Told Us the Truth) by Richard Andrew Hall (UPDATED with new xeroxes)
for those who cannot be trusted to tell us the truth (i.e. Vladimir Belis, Dan Voinea, etc.), see discussions here:
Bullets, Lies, and Videotape: The Amazing, Disappearing Romanian Counter-Revolution of December 1989 (Part IV: The Good ‘Sergeant Schultz’ or ‘They Know Nothing’) by Richard Andrew Hall