PROSECUTOR VOINEA’S CAMPAIGN TO SANITIZE THE ROMANIAN REVOLUTION OF DECEMBER 1989
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.
This paper MAY be cited when accompanied by a full, proper citation. Thank you.
I hold a B.A. from the University of Virginia (1984-1988) and a Ph.D. from Indiana University (1990-1997). I have been employed by the CIA since September 2000. I researched and wrote extensively on this topic prior to joining the Agency. Outside of the application process, I had no association with the CIA prior to coming on duty in September 2000. From October 2000 to April 2001, I served as a Romanian Political Analyst. Since October 2001, I have served as an intelligence analyst on accounts essentially unrelated to Romania or central and eastern Europe.
Informational Note: In December 1989 forty-two years of communist rule came to an end with the overthrow of the regime of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The official death toll for the period of the Romanian Revolution, from 17 December 1989 – 10 January 1990 is 1,104 with 3,352 wounded. Of those, 942 people died (almost 90% of the total) and 2,251 were wounded, after Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, fled power at approximately noon on 22 December 1989. Although the quotations below are taken from print and electronic publications, and electronic bulletin boards, what follows is in many ways, an “oral history” of participants in the December 1989 events.
It Turns Out…the “Terrorists” Were Just a Hallucination
This just in…Breaking News from Romania…
Dateline Bucharest: General Dan Voinea, Chief Military Prosecutor, “has committed himself to uncovering the truth of the ‘terrorists’ who…killed so many  in December .” Voinea spoke of investigating the “terrorist diversion” and “suggested that the former president [Ion Iliescu] might have engaged in arranging the ‘terrorist affair’.”
Wait a minute! Sorry, that was December 1997. Let’s try this again.
This just in…Breaking News from Romania…
Dateline Bucharest: In a stunning development, General Dan Voinea has declared: “There are no terrorists in the December ’89 files.”
Nope. That was December 1998. Here, let’s give it another shot.
This just in…Breaking News from Romania…
Dateline Bucharest: “In a single blow, the Chief Military Prosecutor shoots down the entire invention of Iliescu: ‘There were no terrorists!’ General Dan Voinea declares that in December ’89 it was all a diversion.”
A foreign journalist summarizes the quest of the heroic Voinea as follows: “General Dan Voinea is Romania’s chief military prosecutor and has embarked on a one-man mission to uncover the truth about what exactly happened during those days. When shooting mysteriously re-erupted on the night of December 22 and continued unabated until December 25, Iliescu and his generals blamed it on dark ‘terrorist forces.’ But Voinea and others believe the whole episode was a scenario crafted by the military. ‘The same people who had shot before now took power…The Superior Military Council, with its headquarters at the Ministry of Defense, gave orders to the Central Military Command inside the Central Committee building and this Central Military Command directed military operations across the country, or more exactly, where there were masses of demonstrators.’” According to the journalist, Voinea is “on a lonely struggle to bring to justice those responsible for the unexplained deaths in the 1989 revolution.”
A reporter for the daily “Ziua” states that a poll, conducted by the CURS public opinion polling firm at the request of the Open Society Foundation, reveals that “only 11% of Romanians still buy the tale of the terrorists.” 
A leading Romanian editorialist declares: “No one has the right any longer to question that this is the case [i.e., that the “terrorists” were a diversion by those who seized power], especially now that General Dan Voinea, Chief Military Prosecutor, the judge who had access to absolutely all existing documents and information, has officially declared that there were no terrorists. That it was all just a concoction.”
Sorry. That was November and December 1999. My mistake. You are catching on: this is Romania’s version of “Groundhog Day,” whereby Voinea steps forward seemingly almost every December, makes the same claims, and his statements are triumphantly reported in the Romanian media as some kind of bombshell that no one has ever heard before. At this rate this could take a while…so let’s fast-forward to this past December: December 2005.
Dateline: Bucharest. “A ray of hope still exists for finding out the truth [about December 1989]. The lead investigator of the Revolution Dossier, Dan Voinea, declared yesterday that the diversion with the terrorists was used in order to change the goals of the revolution begun in Timisoara. ‘After 22 December 1989, the communists shot in order to stay in power. And they remained!,” affirmed General Voinea…All of the events of December 1989 in Romania were directed from the center, from Bucharest, specified General Voinea, who Monday declared that on 22 December 1989, in accordance with a diversion, people were duped into believing in the existence of terrorists. After 22 December 1989, the Romanian Revolution transformed, through a diversion ‘on television,’ from a fight against communism into one against a non-existent enemy—the terrorists.”
The reactions by some of Romania’s prominent intellectuals have been extraordinary. Nicolae Prelipceanu writes, “What Dan Voinea says after investigating the terrorist files has been said by many people since 1990. True, these [people] had little in the way of data or testimonies to support them. Instead, knowing the people and the mentalities of those who were at the front of this so-called revolution, which confiscated the real one, they drew conclusions that today are being validated, after more substantial research. Now the conclusion of the prosecutor, according to which there did not exist any type of terrorists, but rather incitement to violence by those from the front of the new power, can no longer be denied.”
According to Stelian Tanase, in an article entitled simply “The Diversion”: “For 15 years the terrorist scenario has been floated by different politicians courting electoral support. No one made even a step toward finding out the truth. An event with hundreds of thousands of participants and eyewitnesses remained, paradoxically, a mystery. Were the investigators and prosecutors so incapable that they could not reconstitute the events and identify the guilty? I believe rather that they lacked the will to do it. I believe that the beneficiaries of this situation were those sufficiently powerful to block the investigations for 15 years. And do I need to remind anyone that after Dan Voinea’s revelations, Ion Iliescu brought grave accusations against the prosecutor?”
Liviu Cangeopol invoked the comparison with the Kennedy assassination in the U.S.: “As a result of the investigations of prosecutor Dan Voinea and the investigative accounts of some journalists and historians, Romanians appear to be luckier than their counterparts across the Ocean, who 42 years later still don’t know who left them without a president. For us, out of the thicket of Decembrist adventures, one thing has become certain: there weren’t any terrorists!”
The ultimate expression of satisfaction and gratitude may have come from respected historian Stejarel Olaru. In “A Letter to Dan Voinea (the opinion of a historian),” he wrote: “Sir, Mr. Prosecutor, you know all these things [referring to events in Timisoara in December 1989]. I write to you now, 16 years after the bloody revolution and a year after the orange revolution [a reference in this case to the fall 2004 Romanian elections], I don’t know how to call it otherwise, tired of so many insincere commemorations. My theory, Mr. Prosecutor Voinea, is simple enough…If in Timisoara the order to fire at the population was given by “The Comrade [i.e. Ceausescu],” after 22 December, other ‘comrades’ tricked us as if we were a bunch of kids—and we were then!—, inventing a theory that would immediately be accepted: the terrorists are coming!…Mr. Prosecutor Voinea, I can only hope that you will have at your disposal sufficient computers, printers, food, cars and gas vouchers so that on 17 December 2006 I can enjoy for the rest of my long life that I could see two defendants in the box and not just one: Nicolae Ceausescu and Ion Iliescu.”
Judging Voinea’s Credibility
Why do I question Voinea’s credibility on the “terrorist” question—despite the chorus of adulation, gratitude, and acceptance outlined above? Before moving on directly to the issue of the “terrorists,” let us look at two potentially-related—in fact, I argue, related—matters as test cases of Voinea’s credibility in his recent comments on the Revolution. Although not necessarily central to the story of December 1989, allegations regarding the existence, use, and discovery of gunfire simulators, and the institutional affiliation of so-called “lunetisti” (sharpshooters/snipers), are part of that story. These should not be difficult questions for Voinea, but instead he dismisses them with an unexpected salvo of “definitive” answers, designed to leave little room for further questioning from the interviewer. As I shall demonstrate, however, it leaves an ocean of doubt.
Studiul integral al analistului american Richard Andrew Hall poate fi citit in continuare aici:
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Cum proiectul cu Raportul a cam intrat in uitare in absenta obiectului muncii ce il poate mentine in atentia agorei, dl.Tismaneanu in prezent desfasoara intens o noua susanea via prietenul sau Iliesiu. Acesta din urma trimbiteaza pe toate canalele publice posibile alaturi de alte "voci independente" evident (a se citi acoliti si aliati ai lui V.T.) despre necesitatea infiintarii unei Comisii prezidentiale care sa se ocupe de anchetarea evenimentelor din decembrie 1989 si apoi a celebrelor mineriade. Prietenul dvs. "Volo" ar fi stat el ca si altii ceva mai prudent pe bara spectatorilor la conflictul pro si anti T. Basescu daca nu ar fi socotit ca intrind in arena, asa cum spuneti pe post de agent electoral, nu ar fi mizat prin aceasta miscare sa faca o investitie care dupa potentiala victorie a candidatului sustinut ii va aduce sefia mult doritei noii Comisii prezidentiale...