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.

ZZ, RO-259, & the End of the End of the End

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

Michael Shafir at Radio Free Europe Research at the time noted in October 1990 that “unconfirmed but very reliable military and governmental Romanian sources interviewed by RFE said that shortly after the capture of Palestinians, Libyans, and other Arabs who had fought on the side of pro-Ceausescu forces, Quadhafi had threatened to kill all Romanian specialists in Libya if the Arabs were not allowed to leave Romania.”[93] Certainly, this is what Constantin Vranceanu hinted at in September 1990 in Romania Libera when he wrote of “Plan Z-Z”—according to him, “practically an alliance, on many levels, including military between Romania and several other countries with totalitarian regimes (Iran, Libya, Syria), to which was added the PLO…which called for the other parties to intervene with armed forces to reestablish state order when one of the leaderships was in trouble”:

“Several weeks after 22 December, the president of one of the countries directly involved threatened the Romanian government that it would make recourse to reprisals against those several thousand Romania citizens who were working in that country if [the Romanian government] did not return the foreign terrorists, [whether] alive or dead.  This blackmail worked and a Romanian plane went on an unusual route to a Polish airport, from where the ‘contents,’ unusually including the able-bodied, wounded, and coffins, were transferred to another plane, that took off in an unknown direction.”[94]

Nestor Ratesh quotes one of Ceausescu’s senior party henchman, Ion Dinca, as having stated at his trial in early February 1990:

“During the night of 27-28 [of January 1990] at 12:30 A.M., I was called by several people from the Prosecutor’s Office to tell what I knew about the agreement entitled Z.Z. between Romania and five other states providing for the dispatching of terrorist forces to Romania in order to intervene in case of a military Putsch.  This agreement Z.Z. is entitled ‘the End of the End.’  I stated then, and I am stating now to you, that I have never been involved in this agreement, neither I nor other people.  And I was told:  Only you and two other people know this.  I stated that and a detailed check was made in order to prove that I was not involved in such acts.”[95]

Relatedly, in July 1990, Liviu Valenas noted that,

“On 24 January 1990, the new Foreign Minister of Romania announced on Television and Radio that a series of secret treaties between the R.S.R. [Romanian Socialist Republic] and third countries had been abrogated, and are no longer valid and operational for the new Romania.  The New Power pledged to deal with these countries concerning Romania’s obligations through the abrogation of these accords.  An ambiguous text, apparently launched by Sergiu Celac’s group,led public opinion in Romania to believe that these treaties concerned ‘terrorist assistance.’”[96]

It is noteworthy that in the context of a series entitled “The Truth about the U.S.L.A.,” (more on this infamous series below), Horia Alexandrescu paused on 14 March 1990 to quote from a 1 February article by another journalist about TAROM flight 259 (to Warsaw and back):

“24 January, 4 PM:  After the aircraft was inspected [“controlul antiterorist”] (after the Revolution of 22 December, ,soimi’ as those who performed antiterrorist protection [i.e. USLA] were called by the pilots, were removed from both internal and external TAROM flights, even though all airlines have such teams), the plane left for Bucharest.  Meanwhile, however, the 45 Lebanese [sic. ? Libyan] passengers, who had gotten off for 5-6 hours in a layover at Otopeni, wanted to cross ‘the Polish border.’”[97]

According to Alexandrescu, the Polish authorities would not allow the TAROM plane to leave Poland, so it sat on the runway in Warsaw…until a second TAROM plane came—this time, according to Alexandru, including “uslasi”—the moral of the story of course being that the USLA needed to be put back on flights as soon as possible.[98]

[93] Shafir, “Preparing the Past,” p. 37, fn. 35.

[94] Constantin Vranceanu, “Planul ,Z-Z’ si telefonul rosu,” Romania Libera, 28 September 1990, p. 3.  The information was given, according to Vranceanu, to him by a high-level anonymous political personality and supposedly confirmed by people of high-rank in the Securitate.  Vranceanu claimed he was told Soviet pressure led the countries involved to renounce fulfilling their end of the agreement.

[95] Ratesh, Romania:  The Entangled Revolution, pp. 66-67, quoting Radio Bucharest, 2 February 1990.  I don’t think from the context given it is clear that this alleged incident took place in January 1990, as Ratesh assumes; the reference to 27-28 might have been a reference to December 1989.

[96] Liviu Valenas, “Lovitura de palat din Romania:  Enigma ,teroristilor (I),’ Baricada, no. 29 (31 July 1990), p. 3.  Once again, I am unsure of the accuracy of the date used here, this time by Valenas.

[97] Horia Alexandrescu, “Adevarul despre U.S.L.A.:  Pornind de la ,Odiseea Zborului RO-259’,” Tineretul Liber, 14 March 1990, p.4.  He is quoting Rodica Dumitrescu’s article in Lumea, no. 5 (1 February 1990).

[98] I should add here:  they actually returned to airport duties in July 1990, but not before protests by airport employees.


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

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

24 ianuarie 1990

The Romanian poet Mircea Dinescu therefore knows whereof he speaks…

Mircea Dinescu:

De când erau în Cehoslovacia… Simulatoarele imitau mitralierele, soldaţii trăgeau uşurel, cu gloanţe în infraroşu, eu am văzut, erau împuşcaţi numai în frunte, aşa: în C.C., în întuneric! Numai acolo-ntr-o oră au fost împuşcaţi şaişpe inşi. Numai pe lumină stinsă, în frunte, doar erau profesionişti, erau băieţi care… aveau arme speciale cu lunetă! A existat şi o echipă specială care-l păzea pe Ceauşescu şi erau Arabi. Erau de-ai lui Araffat. Erau libieni, care au fost arestaţi de ai noştri, dar în acea vreme lucrau în Libia lui Gadaffi vreo zece mii de români. Ăla, terorist de rang mondial, a ameninţat că dacă nu li-se dă drumul imediat, ne împuşcă compatrioţii! A apărut şi la televiziunea lor, se ştie… Vă daşi seama ce ieşea? Şi le-a dat drumul înapoi, şi gata.

Eugen Evu despre un glont vidia, decembrie 1989, Hunedoara

Căderea lui Gadaffi ar putea lămuri unele mistere din 1989

Întrebat ce părere are despre revoluționarii care cer indemnizații mai mari, Dinescu a spus tranșant că sunt niște profitori, la fel ca Grigore Cartianu. ”Acest individ trăiește din sângele Revoluției, ceea ce este tot o formă de a profita de sacrificiul unor oameni. Este o rușine pentru istorici, că nu s-a găsit altul care să lămurească lucrurile. Știm câte țiitoare a avut Ștefan cel Mare și  nu știm ce s-a întâmplat în 21-22 decembrie 1989… De pildă, s-a spus că au fost libieni, îmbrăcați în salopete. După căderea lui Gadaffi ar trebui să se solicite date din arhive. Erau sute de militari libieni la antrenament în România, exact cum s-au folosit, acum, mercenari străini în Libia. Și au fost răniți, există mărturii din spitalele de urgență. Gadaffi a amenințat că dacă nu le dă drumul, îi arestează pe cei 10.000 de români care lucrau în Libia, în acel moment. Așa că un avion cu soldați libieni a plecat în decembrie la Tripoli. Aștept ca istoricii să afle adevărul, să nu mai vină toți amatorii cu scorneli despre Revoluție”.

17 Responses to “ZZ, RO-259, & the End of the End of the End”

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