By George Scarlat and Corina Scarlat
The 500-Year Information War
Information wars against Romania have constantly been carried out by other nation states or foreign organizations, whether through press campaigns or black propaganda. Throughout history, the “dark legend” of Vlad the Impaler has been told in Western Europe by Saxon merchants from Transylvania who had commercial litigation with the Wallachian ruler. Also, the press campaigns from the 19th century had the primary goal of offering Romanian citizenship, en mass, to minorities. Another example would be the campaigns held by the British trust of Lord Rothermeere concerning the annexation of Transylvania by Hungary. In the period before 1989, Romania had also confronted information wars, aimed not only at discrediting the Ceaușescu regime but also to affect seriously national security.
Here we can mention:
– The Socialist Republic of Romania supported Arab terrorism;
– The Socialist Republic of Romania upheld a real genocide against Hungarian minorities in Transylvania;
– The same state was on its way to fabricating nuclear weapons together with Pakistan.
– Romanian nuclear weapons were destined to attack Hungary;
– The Socialist Republic of Romania carried out a program for the destruction of villages inhabited by Hungarians, in Transylvania, bearing genocide in mind;
– Due to the ethnic genocide practiced by Romania against the Hungarian minorities, tens of thousands of refugees were registered in Hungary;
A peak of the information war was registered in the period of the December events, more precisely between December 15, 1989 (when revolts against the Ceaușescu regime began) and March 15-20, 1990 (with the ethnic clashes in Târgu Mureș). The demonization of Ceausescu by foreign agents of influence has had as an effect the demonization of Romania, a country in which, in just a couple of day, repressive forces made 60,000 victims, of which 4,000 in Timișoara. Also, Romania is accused of causing atrocities against entire battalions of pregnant women in order to put their hands on the newborns right from the mothers’ wombs. The same barbaric nation had organized a pogrom against the Hungarian minorities in Târgu Mureș. Today, press campaigns and information wars against Romania are undergoing on the following topics, without this list not being exhaustive:
– Romania is a state with problems concerning the functioning of the democratic and justice system, similar to the situation in Viktor Orban’s Hungary, which is not the only one in this situation.
– Romania does not respect minority rights, e.g., the right to autonomy of Hungarians. Also, Romania is a racist state, reason for which the Roma are obliged to leave the country. The destruction of the Roma camps in France, their expulsion, even if they had children in French schools, political and press campaigns against the Roma, all these happenings are not France’s responsibility but Romania’s.
– Romania’s accession to the Schengen area, as well as the uplifting of the last restrictions concerning worker’s rights for Romanian citizens in the EU states, will mean the emigration of 19 million Romanians to Great Britain, who will all have access to the British social protection system.
– Romanians represent a danger for the security of Italian citizens because of the crimes they commit in the host country.
– Romania is a source of pollution for neighboring countries, especially for Hungary. The development of industrial and mining projects in Romania is a danger for the environment in Europe.
– Romania is a bad European state, being more of a trojan horse of the USA in the EU. It joined the intervention in Iraq, but now avoids sending military troops for operations in states like Mali, Libya or Syria.
– Romania has severely violated human rights by hosting on its territory secretive CIA prisons and by putting at the disposal its airports for the CIA airplanes that transported detainees suspected of terrorism.
– Today’s democratic Romania is the successor of the Antonescu and Ceausescu regimes.
– Romania claims territorial rights towards Moldova and Ukraine.
– The process of regaining Romanian citizenship, for those who lost it against their will and their descendants, according to the 21/1991 law, targets the annexation of the Republic of Moldova and some Ukrainian territories with the goal of forced Romanization by offering EU passports.
– The process of regaining Romanian citizenship by Bessarabians will have as an effect the invasion of Europe by 4 million Moldovans.
– Romania is getting Moldova into the EU, through the back door.
Information wars against Romania have been held almost without interruption by states and foreign organizations – that have had specific goals, from hindering EU and NATO membership to the promotion of commercial interests such as imposing the acquisition by the Romanian State of certain battleships or aircrafts from a specific supplier. Such a campaign was identified, a campaign that targeted the compromising of the strategic partnership between the USA and Romania and the opposition against Romania’s support for the U.S. intervention in Iraq, in 2003.
Other campaigns underwent out of national political grounds in those states, but with the same aggravating effects for Romania. An example would be the electoral campaign in Italy where the Democratic Party, of Walter Veltroni and Romano Prodi, has exploited the Mailat case. Another campaign would be the UKIP’s one or that of the previous French President Nicolas Sarkozy that had as its main component the expulsion of the Roma to Romania. In 1990, it was proven that the famous video recording, in which a group of Hungarians was hitting the Romanian Mihăilă Cofariu, who was unconscious, was premeditated. The British station Channel 4 has shown to the entire world the footage, saying the victim was Hungarian and the beasts hitting him were Romania. A former correspondent for the state-owned Romanian television Dorin Suciu has proven point by point that the British journalist had been taken to Târgu Mureș by operators of the special Hungarian services who manipulated him with this false story.
Today, campaigns against offering worker’s rights to Romanians in Great Britain are upheld by two British tabloids, as well as the campaign – which has become permanent – against the regaining of Romanian citizenship by Bessarabians. This campaign, though carried by the Western media, is inspired from the East.
Romania found itself in an unfair fight. It is hard to counter a Western press campaign that is also sustained by politicians from that country. However, successes have been recorded. The most recent one was about countering the campaign about the horse-meat scandal, a complex issue that was covered in all of Europe, having the nature of sensitizing, strongly, both public opinion and the politicians from Bruxels or EU member states, always preoccupied with “consumer protection.”
DNA analysis from Great Britain have proven that the lasagna French producer had used horse meat, the cheapest, instead of beef, as mentioned on the product label. To avoid any responsibility, the French firm has accused the Romanian slaughterhouse that provided the meat. Instantly, Western press organs — that have the habit of finding Romania as the scape goat — have disseminated the news. In reality, the Romanian slaughterhouse was processing horse meat in accordance with the European norms, selling it further to the French company. The term “Horse” clearly appeared on all bills of the slaughterhouse. It was the French firm that committed the fraud, knowingly purchasing horse meat that they used to prepare lasagna and falsely labeling it as vile in order to gain a more significant profit.
The prompt intervention of the sanitation and veterinary Romania authorities, of the Ministry of Agriculture, has put an end to this campaign that could have had a destructive potential for Romania’s interest. Concerning the British tabloids’ campaign on the “danger of Romanian immigrants,” it is noticeable the activism of the Romanian ambassador in London with frequent and pertinent interventions in the British press. Also, it is worth mentioning a public-relation activity of the Romanian authorities, instantiated through the invitation in Romania of some British journalists who afterward wrote positive articles about our country in the British press.
A special problem represents the vulnerability of the Romanian press in the context of information wars, whose echo appear all the time. Romanian journalists don’t usually analyze pieces of news. Often, they simply take them from foreign press and are grateful for being able to quote them as “reliable sources,” e.g., an international news agency. This attitude is not necessarily caused by a lack of journalistic professionalism, but due to pressures that they are subjected to. In the era of satellite broadcasting, of news channels with journals every hour, and – let’s not forget to mention — of the digitalized press, the news is being broadcasted in real time, and journalists do not have time to verify or to contribute with an added value to a particular piece of information.
Another tendency represents the politicization of the subject at hand, in the sense that Romanian journalists can simply pick up attacks toward Romanian from the foreign press. If they appreciate that this could affect an official or a Romanian political force that the respective publication considers it an enemy, then the better for the particular publication. This is an eloquent example of a lack of national solidarity. It needs to be mentioned the lack of self-esteem of many Romanians, i.e., journalists who have a masochistic joy when it is being talked badly about Romania. In this category, we could also add some journalists who behave within the national press as agents of influence of foreign powers.
Romanian politicians and the state leadership can do more to counter such anti-Romanian actions in the domain of mass communication. To do this, they can appeal to standard procedures, e.g., off-the-record meetings with media CEOs and with important opinion leaders, where they can explain the nature of a conflict and Romanian’s point of view on the specific issue. The reason for this is that those journalists would be knowledgeable of the approach when they are confronted with a wave of hostile, yet apparently neuter, news. In the USA, for example, there already is such a routine procedure. In Romania, only two such meetings are known about, both organized by the Romanian president. At the first meeting, one of the participants, breaking professional deontological rules, made the content of the discussions public, the content concerning a delicate matter: Romania’s relationship with the USA, which is inadmissible. Another meeting was organized by the president at Cotroceni Palace, where, on the eve of the NATO summit in Bucharest, directors of publishing agencies and chiefs of press departments for foreign policies were invited. I hope there were other such occasions, given the nature of these meetings have a small chance of reaching the general public.
Romanian politicians need to understand the nature, motivations, and benefices of the anti-Romanian campaigns. The fact that the press has freedom does not represent a justification for a possible passivity toward the anti-Romanian campaign of the liability factors in Romania, especially when some of these campaigns happen within the national press. Behind some of these campaigns, foreign governments were presents. In this case, the issue should be introduced in the points of the bilateral relationship between Romania and the respective state. Although nobody is encouraging a foreign government to undercut press freedom in its own country, governments have more influence.
We should also point out that although press appearances are ephemeral by the very nature of mass media, in the case of disinformation campaigns the issue does not have a solution through the cessation of hostile appearances, the factors of liability having nothing else but to wait for that campaign to end as soon as possible. The Mailat campaign from Italy lasted for months, and the one against the regaining of Romanian citizenship by Bessarabians has been constant since 2009.
The most worrying situation would be that in which the disinformation campaign is meant to shape public opinion, both domestic and foreign, for further attacks toward national security of the country. Here, we can give as an example a possible inter-ethnic conflict on our nation’s territory. Corroborated with other elements identified by authorized institutions in national security, disinformation could become an important clue on this matter. For example, the dismantling of Czechoslovakia in accordance with the Munchen agreement, as a consequence of war threats from Hitler’s Germany, was preceded by a virulent campaign conducted by the German minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, for denouncing the presupposed atrocities committed by the Prague authorities against German minorities from Czechoslovakia, or the Sudeten Germans. The deterioration of relations — of the communist government from Kishinev — with Romania, and the intensification of anti-Romanian campaigns in the communist press — when the nation was becoming a NATO — were interpreted back then as “active measures” of the Russian Federation, measures meant to compromise Romania’s accession to the Western alliance on the reason that Romania is in conflict with its neighbors.
Identifying the elements of the information war
Journalism is a profession with well-defined rules that make up a subject of study in institutions of higher education. Also, it has a professional deontological code. News, whether issued in the written press – the digitalized press is included here – or on the radio, follows strict rules. Otherwise, if these rules are violated, the news becomes tendentious. The source of information is always quoted, and in case of controversy, the published story contains two or more different point of views. For credibility, it is recommended that the quoted news be a primary source, e.g., the official who made the declaration. The primary source should not be another press organ that, most times, also quotes another press organ – a news agency to which the newspaper is subscribed. The system of the press organs that quote each other can “hide” disinformation as being “active measures.” For example, the rumor that AIDS would be a virus released from a laboratory in the USA was launched by the KGB initially in a newspaper from India. Afterward, many press organs have quoted one another, the piece of news spreading throughout the whole world. The source that released the news on the journalistic market has faded, but the AIDS myth as an American bacteriological weapon has remained as a notorious claim for the general public, the general public that does not need any proof for it.
Overall, the news needs to answer questions such as Who? What? Where? How? Why? As a general rule, the piece of news ends with context or background information, as they say in professional jargon. In a bit of news, one does not mix information with personal opinions on the subject.
Besides the way of drafting the news, the press needs to follow other rules, written or not, from case to case, concerning public interest. It has to do with the criterion of interest for a piece of news that’s worth publishing or not if it will be released on the first page of the newspaper, if it will figure in the news bulletin, etc. Also, its repetitiveness is strictly linked to the importance of the event to which it refers throughout its duration. For example, if a newspaper repeatedly writes about a subject that apparently is not of interest for its readers, this could be a hint that we are dealing with a press campaign or even a disinformation one, depending on the content of the articles discussed. A piece of news, apparently banal, on the first page is, again, suspicious.
Given the way that the press operates — as previously summarized here — a grill could be crafted for detecting the disinformation elements. For example, if the news was released during the same period and with similar content in many newspapers from different countries, we are dealing with a campaign, especially if it threats the subject marginally, without any international relevance. A similar case represented a story about the regaining of Romanian citizenship by Bessarabians who, thus, had the possibility of invading the West. Articles with similar content on the subject were issued in the same period by some of the most important Western publications. Here we can mention Der Spiegel and Il Giornale, as well as others from France, Great Britain, the USA. A plausible explanation would be that it is a campaign orchestrated from the East and carried out by a Western PR firm that receives money for this purpose.
Repetition would be another element that should raise suspicion. For example, it is natural that the British tabloids to publish, almost daily, articles containing gossips about members of the royal family, a topic of interest for the readers of red tops tabloids. It is strange that tabloids with their specific profile and their well-defined public issue news about the manifested dangers by the possible coming, in England, of Romanian and Bulgarians with the same frequency as those articles about Prince William and Harry.
In what follows, we will present a couple of case studies about the release in the foreign press of articles on Romania or articles from the Romanian media that raised suspicion about journalists disseminating misinformation according to the criteria above.
The enormity of the lie
“A lie repeated thousands of times remains a lie. A lie repeated millions of times becomes truth.” This is the motto by which Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda of the Third Reich, ran his activity. Following the same model, a British politician – Nigel Farage – and two or three British tabloids, like Daily Mail and the Sun, repeat millions of times that millions of Romanians (and Bulgarians) will invade Great Britain after the last labor restrictions are lifted up. The invaders are willing to work at all cost, even for low wages, thus stealing jobs from the British, while at the same time, they are drones that will practice “social-welfare tourism,” settling in the UK to receive benefits from the government. Overwhelmed with information, the British citizen, known as the one with the highest discernment in the EU concerning mass-media, does not make a distinction anymore between the two statements that contradict each other.
Nigel Farage’s message, European MP and chief of the euro-skeptic UKIP, repeats infinitely: twenty-nine million Romanians and Bulgarians are going to invade Great Britain once labor restrictions are upheld. The enormity of his statements is false, for data of the last censuses show that Romania’s population is around nineteen million and Bulgaria has almost seven million and a half inhabitants – a total of less than twenty-seven million. Even if the entire population of the two states, by absurd, moved to the UK, leaving behind empty lands, they would still need another two million and a half newcomers to complete the effective emigration of Farrage’s prophesy.
False claims, without quoting the source
Statements made without quoting the source, especially when it is proven that we are dealing with lies, represent a clear indicator of black propaganda, according to all studies on communication.
On September 26, 2007, in Nomentana – Rome, Batog Florin Alin, aged 20, and Stoica Alin Daniel, 25, both died, and Sava Mircea, aged 18 back then, was severely injured – all three being murdered. The Italian press called it “Sparratoria fra romeni” (shootings between Romanians) and speculated stories about a fire exchange between gangs of Romanians similar to the ones in Chicago during prohibition. The mayor of Rome at the time, Walter Veltroni, has gained popularity by going to the press and declaring, on the “fire exchange” between Romanians, that most criminals in Rome are Romanians, another false claim without any covering from official data. Disinformation on the issue was also fueled by the Squadra Mobile, a mobile brigade of Rome’s police.
Unfortunately, the Romanian press, especially the TV channels, going for sensationalism, transformed the “news” into an amplifier of the black propaganda against Romanians in Italy — in the last instance, against Romania. Of course, Romanian journalists haven’t made any verification, e.g., reading the original news articles from the Italian press.
First of all, it couldn’t be the case of any “fire exchange” between Romanians because there was no weapon at the place where the incident took place. Thus, we cannot talk about a “sparatoria,” but a cold-blood murder committed against one of the unarmed victims. And it is unclear why the presupposed fire exchange would have been “between Romanians – fra romeni,” since the assassins weren’t identified, i.e., we don’t know their citizenship. The author of the crime could have been, for example, an Italian.
At the crime scene, according to the Italian press, Luger 9X19 Parabellum cartridge tubes were found. What the Italian media did not mention, though, is that the ammunition and the weaponry, according to the specific law, of 1975, is destined exclusively to the military and Italian police forces, being illegal to sell it to the general public. Moreover, the young survivor, Marius Sava, returned to Romania and told to the news on the Pro TV Channel what happened. He declared that an Italian approached them – the Italian had short hair and a military look. He took out a pistol and asked the three in Italian if they knew who he was. Sava replied, ”Sei un carabiniere in borghese/you are a carabinier”. The individual threw them back with his gun on the stairs of the subway station. He told them to get on their knees and then shot the first two in the back. At that moment, Sava got on his feet and ran. The assassin shot a couple of times at him, injuring him, but without reaching any of the vital areas. Concerning this happening, a Romanian police officer stationed in Rome declared under anonymity for the daily Jurnalul National that there are serious suspicions that the Romanians’ assassin in Nomentana Square could be Italian and even a representative of the police forces (Source: George Scarlat, ZIUA). A question remains without an answer: how could the Squadra Mobile and Rome’s mayor say that two young adults professionally executed with a bullet each in the back, without being armed, by an unidentified assassin, could have died in a fire exchange between Romanian gangs?
Mixing lies with true information, with the goal of making disinformation believable
On November 13, 2007, on the background of a virulent anti-Romanian campaign launched on the idea of the robbing and killing of the Italian citizen Giovanna Reggiani by a Roma, Romului Mailat, originally from Romania, the Genoese daily Il Secolo XIX launched its own campaign by accusing Romania to be a source of international terrorism and a host of Al Qaeda military-like basis where terrorists trained to commit bombings in Europe, publishing the article “From Romania, the Kamikaze route.”
As usual, the Romanian press took, without any discernment or minimal verification, the piece of disinformation from the Italian newspaper, making thus its contribution in the anti-Romanian operation. The news agency Mediafax published on November 13, 2007, the article that we will present here. For their part, all Romanian press organs that have subscribed to their news flux have disseminated this disinformation. The news that there are Al Qaeda military bases in Romania where terrorists train to commit terror acts in the West is remarkably shocking. The fact that the Romania press has released this news as true, without checking out any main source, without a point of view from competent authorities, assuming the point of view of the Italian disinformation sources obediently – all of this shows the lack of discernment of the Romanian journalists firstly. This case highlights the cognitive prejudices of journalist and their disponibility to believe and assume the most defamatory assertions about their own country. In specialized literature, the anecdote with the elephant is given as an example (Source: Larry Watts, ”Cei dintâi vor fi cei din urmă”). According to this short story, nobody can observe the existence of an elephant crammed in the living room. However, someone manages to notice its presence there; then he has an explanation to justify the existence of the elephant in the living room. In what follows, we want to present an article, from the Romanian press that took over the news from Italy without any distinction.
“Indices in Italy on the Activity of a Terrorist Network in Romania”
“The Italian Police has obtained, after tapping the calls of some terror suspects, clues concerning the existence of al-Qaida training camps in Romania, where the terrorists could easily reach in Western Europe, Il Secolo XIX notes, on its website. After a meticulous investigation that took place under the special operative command (ROS) of Geneva’s police (Liguria, north-west), investigators have intercepted a discussion between two terror suspects – the Tunisians Jameleddine Ben Mohamed Ben Moussa and Bechir Kaouana – who mentioned the existence of “training camps of al-Qaida in Romania,” were aspirants jihad fighters learned to build and utilize explosive devices, notes the quoted publication. The existence of Balkan routes for clandestine immigration of terrorists has been suspected for a long time by European secret services, once with the adherence of Romania into the European Union, which has transformed this Eastern nation into a gate to the West for Islamists, where they can join already existing terror cells on the territories of many countries, added the quoted source.”
It was proven, though, that all was just speculation. However, disinformation has been mixed with real elements, more precisely, with an SRI – acronym for the Romanian Information Services – communication with their Italian partners, to whom they sent notifications about the presence in Italy of some Arabs expelled from Romania. The Italian communication service is to blame for the distorted piece of news in the Italian press. The story is related, under the signature of George Scarlat, in the newspaper ZIUA, Tuesday, November 20, 2007, during a larger grouping about the anti-Romanian campaign in Italy, titled The Murder Weapon. We wish to present excerpts of the article in what follows:
The history of manipulation in Il Secolo XIX
The news in the Genovese newspaper Il Secolo XIX is a remarkable case study concerning anti-Romanian manipulation to which journalists of the mentioned newspaper, as well as military and secreted services agents, have contributed. On November 6, Colonel Sandro Sandulli of Raggruppamento Operativo Special (ROS), the military’s special unit, announced during a press conference the annihilation of a terrorist network that brought people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and that had ties with Great Britain, Italy, Portugal and countries from North Africa. Nothing about al-Qaida, nothing about Romanian was said. No mentioning about Arabs married with/to Romanian women in Galati. Il Secolo XIX, in the issue of November 7, took the news as all international press did and gave it a local tint – Terrorists at San Remo. That’s because San Remo, where one of the members of the network lived was in the Liguria region, as well as in Genoa, the newspaper’s headquarters.
On November 13, the Genovese newspaper re-approached the subject, offering it much more space in the issue. It provided a socking title – From Romania, the kamikaze route (kamikaze – suicide terrorists). The article says that al-Qaida terrorists, trained in Romania, at training camps on our country’s territory, entering Europe with the goals of committing terror acts. The terrorists have taken advantage of Romanian’s adherence to the EU, thus making traveling to the West much easier. The organizers of the network was said to live in Galați, being married to Romanian women. Firstly, the colonel, at the press conference, did not mention anything about al-Qaida; he referred to Jihadists and Islamic Jihad only. The propagandists from Il Secolo XIX thought that it would be a great idea to associate Romanians with al-Qaida. Secondly, Colonel Sandulli has shown who were the arrested suspects and who were the network heads. He did not mention the Arabs’ names who are married to Romanian women. Information from the second article, concerning the Arabs who crossed through Romania, were given to the journalists “by source”…
SRI denies and accusses
The Romanian Information Services (SRI) has issued a press release, as a reply to the article published in the Genovese newspaper. In essence, the statement shows that the trans-border network with terrorist relevance has caught the attention of the SRI since the end 2002. The suspected group was monitored in 2003 and 2004. As a consequence, Romanian authorities, at SRI’s proposal, have declared the undesirability of some persons. At the same time, SRI informed the partner services, amongst which the Italian one, about this case, “inclusively with a part of the elements that appeared in the media,” i.e., in Il Secolo XIX. SRI also denied the existence of Al-Qaeda bases in Romania.
In other words, the Italian secret services received secret information from SRI and then offered them to the press. A more aggravating accusation to a partnered secret service did not exist. What the Italian secret services did is more dangerous, after they had betrayed their Romanian partners by offering to the press information obtained from the Romanian intelligentsia agency. They have also manipulated the information against Romania. All evil for good, the diversion from Il Secolo XIX is proof that the Italian secret services are implicated in campaigns against Romania.” (Source: Ziare.ro)
Romulus Mailat’s Crime – the expected excuse
Romania and its citizens have been the object of many information wars. One of the most violent was the Mailat Case, from Italy, in 2007. The case consisted in the assassination, in Rome, with the goal of robbing, of an Italian citizen, Giovanna Reggiani, by a Romanian citizen of Roma origin, Romulus Mailat, who lived in an improvised camp near Rome. The gravity of the events was conferred not only by the racist attacks toward Romanians, favored by the Italian press, which instigated lynching, but also the direct implication of the Italian authorities in the anti-Romanian information war. The implications were proven by the police’s maneuvers from Rome who constantly disinformed the press. To escalate the state of emotion and indignation of the general public, the Italian police lied, saying that the victim, Giovanna Reggiani, was rapped, they finding her half-naked, covered in mud and blood. The victim was not rapped. Romanian police officers operating in Italy that came to the crime scene — at the same time! – together with representatives of the Italian authorities. They have found that the victim had died as a result of a stroke at the temple. It did not show any sign of mud or blood, and her clothes were intact. The Italian justice had refused for several months to announce the results of the expertise concerning the possibility of rape. Mailat was sentenced for rape, too, a crime that he did not commit and for which there was no proof after the medical examination of the corpse or after analyzing the biological probes. Moreover, there was no confession from Mailat, which constitutes a severe juridical abuse. The Italian justice has ignored the existence of accomplices of Mailat. Although the criminal was quickly arrested after the murder, the victim’s cell phone was localized and recuperated after a couple of months, in Romania, by the competent structures in the country.
The Italian secret services, SISDE, were the only institution that could have leaked to the press a communication from the SRI, given their mutual anti-terror collaboration. Here is an excerpt from the newspaper Ziua, November 16, 2007, that describes how the professional campaign of gossip underwent:
“The Italian secret services have shown what happened behind the anti-Romanian campaign. It is simply about black propaganda, disinformation, coordinated by a unique center. The Italian press has been inundated with news about the Romanians’ atrocities, disproven afterward. The first disinformation was precisely the false information about the torturing and raping of Giovanna Reggiani, incorrect information released by the police. It followed with the robbery of a senior in Torino, by individuals with an Eastern-European accent, “probably Romania,” who were not caught. Then, the arrest of a Romanian who was transporting the corpse of a woman in his truck came along. The individual was not Romanian, but Ukrainian. Police stopped the suspect after an anonymous phone call. Who had released the false accusations? Another anti-Romanian provocation had as the victim the Romanian actress Laura Vasiliu, laureate at the Cannes Film Festival for the movie 4, 3, 2 whose carabiniers broke her hotel room’s door in the middle of the night and searched her on the reason that she was implicated in traffic with minors. On the other hand, Il Giornale from Rome wrote about “unleashed Romanians.” (Source: Ziua, 9am.ro)
The truth comes to light
One year after the mentioned events, the Italian professor of sociology, Marzio Barbaglu, from the University of Bologna, launched his book Immigrazione e criminalita in Italia. At the launching of the book, as well as afterward, for the publication Inviato Speciale, Barbagli made some sensational disclosures about the government’s and secret service’s implications in the anti-Romanian campaign. The Italian sociologist has also said that the back-then prime minister, Romano Prodi, requested, in the middle of the full hysteria generated by the Mailat case, to hide his research results, i.e., the fact that Romanians do not commit the most crimes in Italy, but the Albanians and Slavs. The story of Marzio Barbagli is related in ZiuaOnline, quoted by Ziare.com. We will offer excerpts from it in what follows:
Famous Italian sociologist: “Ex-mayor of Rome and the secret services have used the Mailat case to denigrate Romania.”
“I realized that the street crimes were not typical to Romanians, but, on the contrary, Albanians and Slavs, in general, were, maybe, more dangerous. But those from the left’s leadership, then in power in the Prodi government, asked me to keep silence on the issue.” – Marzio Barbagli.
For those who had doubts about the prosecuting and mediatizing of the Mailat case, a famous Italian sociologist came with a shocking theory. The ex-mayor of Rome and the secret services have used the Mailat case to denigrate Romania, claims Marzio Barbagli. The book Immigration and Criminality has given birth to public debate. The author presents his shocking theory about what followed in Italy after the assassination of Giovanna Reggiani and the arrest of Romulus Mailat, the suspected criminal. “It was an agreement between two sides against Bucharest: the Italian DP (the newly found Democratic Party) and the most inversely secret services,” declared Barbagli, quoted by the online publication Inviato Speciale, according to Hotnews. “The number of Romanians among the authors of the most serious offenses in the peninsula is not that high as the political left makes us believe,” writes Barbagli in his book, recently released by Il Mulino publishing house.
Denigration activities of Romanians
In his book’s pages, the sociologist reminds us about the crime in the Tor di Quinto station when it was revealed “a wave of moral panic” against Romanians. The minister of internal affairs, back then, Amato, decided even the anticipation of the adoption of the law concerning the so-called “public safety package,” and both left and right politicians pointed the finger toward Romania, a new member of the European Union for only ten months. “It was a collective mistake,” claimed Barbagli. After the assassination of Giovanna Reggiani in Rome, explained the Italian sociologist for Inviato Speciale, a large part of the Democratic Party’s nomenclature, led by Walter Veltroni, had no shame in claiming that Romania, a fresh member of the European Union, was the main, if not the only, cause of the intensification of a sentiment of insecurity among Italians. The denigration action against Romanians and Romanian continued even during the electoral campaign for the new mayor of Rome. Back then, the DP candidate, Francesco Rutelli, accused numerous times the Berlusconi government for giving the possibility, in 2002, for Romanians to enter without a visa.
(Source:ziua şi ziare.ro)
The simultaneous issuing of similar articles in several press organs
The acceleration after the 2009 procedures for re-gaining Romanian citizenship by Bessarabians is seen by the Russian Federation as a clear intention of “Romanizing” them, with the goal of transforming into “Romanians” the overwhelming majority of the citizens of Moldova and then uniting the small Easter country with Romania. Russian press also abounds with such articles, and Russian dignitaries frequently refer to this subject. For this reason, it is reasonable to presuppose that the process deranges Russian, and that it, as a consequence, does not like its status as a passive observer – thus trying to stop it.
The topics of the articles are identical: Moldavians will invade Europe with Romania passports; Romania is getting Moldova into the EU through the back door; Romania wishes to annex the Republic of Moldova and assimilate “Moldavians.” The campaign’s intention would be that of creating panic in the Western public opinion toward the “invasion” of the Moldavians holding Romanian passports. This would force their own governments to put pressure on Romania to stop the process of offering the Romanian citizenship to Bessarabians. If the newspaper is Italian, it notes that “800,000 Moldavians will invade Italy.” The British newspapers threaten that “800,000 Moldavians will invade Great Britain.” This piece of propaganda applies to most Western countries. On September 13, 2007, the German publication Der Spiegel released an article – Romanian passports for Moldavians: Entering the EU through the back door. In Der Spiegel, the same claims are being published about the one million of Moldavians who are going to enter the European Union and about Traian Băsescu who is trying to rebuild Greater Romania through releasing Romania passports for Moldavians. It is no coincidence that Der Spiegel uses entire sentences that will be published, after two weeks, in the Italian newspaper Il Giornale, also. The sources of information are the same, i.e., the Russian lobby. For example, as well as Il Giornale issue from fourteen days before, Der Spiegel explains to its readers that out of fifty-three Moldavian ministers, nine have Romanian passports and another eleven are waiting for their new Romanian citizenship.
It is worth mentioning that the government of the Republic of Moldova does not have fifty-three ministers and that nobody said about their citizenship. Therefore, it is excluded that Der Spiegel and Il Giornale to have gathered information independently from one another, from open sources and to had found out identical information that, by coincidence, they published two weeks apart from each other.
Only five days after the article appeared in Der Spiegel – September 18, 2008 – another important European publication showed a sudden interest in this obscure subject from Europe’s Eastern border. We are talking about the Sunday Times that, inevitably, headlines:
”Romania opens EU back door to 1m Moldovans/Romania, the EU’s newest member, has alarmed Brussels by granting citizenship to ethnic Romanians living in Moldova” (România deschide uşa din spate a UE pentru un milion de moldoveni/Cel mai nou membru al UE a alarmat Bruxelles-ul prin acordarea cetăţeniei etnicilor români care trăiesc în Moldova”
It is worth noticing, in this case, the expression “opening the back door of the EU for Moldova/Moldavians that is also used in other Western publications. The Italian daily Il Giornale headlined, on September 27, 2010: “Passaporti regalati, Moldavi pronti a invaderci” (Offered passports, Moldavians ready to invade us).
The article’s intro reads: “Fraud against Europe: President Băsescu, follows the dream of Greater Romania and, thus, Bucharest allocates to hundreds of thousand Moldavians passports with which they will be able to enter freely in the EU.” The article continues with an extraordinary virulence for Italy, a country with minimal interests for Bessarabia, where the Republic of Moldova is almost unknown:
“We are twenty-eight (EU states), and we had not known. But Bucharest is thinking about offering as a gift the n-th member state, invisible and unwanted. Who, if we are not mistaking, will add another collar of immigrants to the disorder. To understand this, it is sufficient to take a tour in the embassy area in Kishinev, the capital of Moldova, the poorest country in Europe, a leftover of the Soviet empire, where the economy is similar to the one in Sudan. In this forgotten metropolis of filth, famous once for its traffic of stolen cars and girls destined for the prostitution market, people are spending their days in front of Bucharest’s embassy. There, out of President Traian Băsescu’s order, the borders have opened to a new Eldorado. There works, in sustained rhythm, the machinery of the perverse laboratory destined to create Greater Romania. Here is the full hatching of the new scourge that will pierce Italy and other EU states: the new beggar hordes …”
The article contains all current themes of the Russian press and discourses of Russian politicians referring to the Republic of Moldova and its relation to Romania:
– The opening of general consulates of Romania in Bălţi and Cahul;
– Issuing Romanian passports is destined for creating Greater Romania;
– The electoral victory of the AIE was staged by Romania and its secret services;
– European integration, i.e., a common future (together with Romania in the EU), also aims at creating Greater Romania
– Ministers from Kishinev hold Romanian citizenships which makes them disloyal to their state, but to Romania;
– Conven.ia de mic trafic între România şi Republica Moldova.
The article from Il Giornale is clearly written or inspired by a Russian. The real author is not Italian.
On August 11, 2010, the French daily La Figaro published the article De l’Atlantique au Bosphore, l’Union s’élargit en catimini (From the Atlantic to Bosfor, EU is widening in secret) the idiosyncrasies of Russian propaganda are repeated, amongst which the opening of Romanian consulates in Cahul and Bălți, or the fact that Moldavians entering the EU with Romanian passports “could have a perverse effect – meaning the disintegration of the state confronted with an identity crisis.”
One of the most gross manipulations is staging. There is a props to simulate a situation that will afterward be publicized as real. Romania, according to some journalists from the Guardian, was the object of staging from Hungary’s part, with the intention of accusing our country of being the author of an ecological disaster in the Tisza River. We are quoting excerpts from the article:
“The policies of blocking some investments, in the Romanian mining industry, is also a strategic objective of the neighboring country [i.e. Hungary]. The pretext is the fear of cross-border pollution.
“The disaster” from Baia Mare, a huge mediatic farce of the Hungarian special services
The case of cyanide spills during some floods at a golden exploitation in Baia Mare have fuelled a real hysteria at a European level… However, the Hungarian media has exaggerated the gravity of the ecological accident, appealing to classical manipulation techniques. For example, the captured fish in ponds were presented as being poisoned with cyanide in the contaminated rivers; these numbers, of dead fish, were clearly exaggerated. The manipulation would have been difficult to maneuver if there was no coordination between authorities and the press, as an implication of the secret services. The pale and unprofessional reaction of the authorities from Bucharest did not manage, despite the evidence that was shown afterward, to convince not even one Romanian. When the problem of a mass investment in Rosia Montan was brought up to discussion, immediately, a connexion was made with the incident from Baia Mare. The investigator’s arguments weren’t listened to, let alone the analysis, the refusing of the project being made after a reaction of an emotional kind. The Hungarian side has speculated with the Romanian public’s fears, also giving an international dimension to the dispute. However, they did not go with disinformation this time, as in the Baia Mare case, but on ambiguities of subtle form.” (Source: Gardianul, picked up by ziariştionline)
Hungary’s staging has had an immense success, the images with dead fish being precisely the kind that goes viral around the world. For example, the images with the dead fish on the bank of Tisza were headlined by the BBC world service — ”Cyanide spill reaches the Danube” and ”Almost all fish in the river Tisza have perished.” The staging of the Hungarian secret services was dismantled by the magazine Capital from Bucharest, which offered interesting details, for example, that Hungarians have immediately burned the evidence, i.e., the dead fish.
“The enigmas of the Baia Mare’s pollution are similar to the ones of the 1989 revolution.”
Romania has reached, again, the tops of news broadcasts worldwide. The Hungarian MP’s statements – we are talking about Zoltan Illes — have burst the Western media into the air, declaring nonchalant that the incident from Baia Mare is the biggest ecological catastrophe after Chernobyl….
The events had gotten hotter. Hundreds of Western journalists were at the Romanian-Hungarian border, desperately searching for the cyanide victims. The Hungarians have started gathering the fish from the Tisza with forks, claiming, each hour, larger and larger quantities of dead fish. Viktor Orba, the Hungarian prime minister, issued the first declaration, “We need compensations to revitalize the Tisza, getting up on the first airplane to Baia Mare, while his officials sent to Bucharest were threatening to sue anything that moved in Romania… CNN and Euronews were taking shots of hundreds of dead fish from the Hungarian bank of Tisza, ignoring that that fish species, carp pituitary, does not live in flowing waters. Moreover, Tisza is famous for being the heaven of catfish fishermen, and in those images, the general public could not see any catfish. The mystery deepens, even more, when on the banks of Somes and Tisza, Romanians grabbed tens of dead fish, while the Hungarians where grabbing, according to them, no more than 500 tones of dead fish, but which they incinerated for reasons known only to them. However, it is a known fact that cyanide produces an instant death/kills instantly while the fish removed from the Hungarian side of Tisza, mostly, agonized on the shore. Petre Marinescu, director of the Romanian Waters Directorate, said that cyanide is not the cause of death for the fish in the rivers and the Danube. “A large amount of sodium hypochlorite caused what we all saw: fish floating upward, shaking their tails with an opened mouth and moving gills,” said Mr. Marinescu. As for the phytophagous carp, a species that does not grow in flowing waters, sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that wanted to keep anonymity claimed that the Hungarians, scared of cyanide, have also cast unnecessarily large amounts of hypochlorite in the waters of fish farms linked with the Tisza, hoping to mitigate the effects of cyanide. Thus, they had poisoned the fish, which they later showed to the world as victims of the cyanide pollution in Romania … “(source: Capital.ro).
Disinformation concerning the controlled carried by the CIA on Romania
The claim that the Romanian authorities would be controlled by the CIA, i.e., the CIA stirs the wheel of the Romanian state, reiterated once with the discussion concerning the presupposed CIA prisons is not entirely new, being made previously with the goal of attacking Romania’s partnership with the USA. The one who made this assertion is a teacher for France, specialized in Romanian problems. In 2003, she started a campaign of promoting the idea that the Romanian Revolution was organized by the CIA. For this very cause, Romanian dignitaries – the ones active after December 1989 – were recruited by the CIA — according to this hypothesis – a CIA that has run, from the shadows, Romania ever since. She offered an interview on this topic in Le Monde Diplomatique, on the French television and the French-German channel Arte
(Source: Alex Mihai Stoenescu, ”The December Revolution: A Romanian Tragedy”).
“In the beginning of 2003, Durandin presented her revelation on Channel 3 of the French television with the title Undoubtful Proof. Durandin claimed: “ The events of December  in Bucharest were a consequence of a tacit agreement between Moscow and Washington … The CIA infiltrated in the highest levels of the power structures of Romania in the same period when the frustrated Gorbaciov supporters (from the Communist Party) were lured to join the CIA.”
(Source: “The Sunday Herald”, Gabriel Ronay, Glasgow, quoted by Marius Mioc).
According to the statements issued for Le Monde Diplomatique, and mentioned by Mioc and Ronay, “Catherine Durandin had access to secret CIA documents that confirmed the recruitment of Romanian dignitaries by the CIA – documents that hint that she saw when she was working on her book CIA at War, an exposure of the CIA’s transgressions and frauds over the years (Catherine Durandin – “Le CIA en Guerre”, Paris: Grancher 2003)”.
Following the best practices in disinformation, Durandin claims that she had obtained the pieces of information from secret document that she cannot reveal. Like Dick Marty, the APCE report on the secret CIA prisons or the ARD television, that possesses information about the CIA prisons in Romania from sources that cannot be told (who are the sources).
Catherine Durandin’s claims have been refuted by the Romanian dignitaries, as well as the editorialist Dan Pavel, from ZIUA. Romanians had new partners in this fight – Anglo-Saxon authors, for example, Gabriel Ronay, from the Sunday Herald, from Glasgow, quoted by Marius Mioc. In an article signed by Gabriel Ronay in the Sunday Herald (Glasgow) on March 30, 2003, in second week of the American invasion of Iraq – “France accuses the USA that it had planned, meticulously, the downfall of the Eastern Bloc” – Ronay noted the presence in the show of the “secret agent” of the services of foreign information of France, Dominique Fonveille, and that of Christian Harbulor, the director of the French School of Economic War. Ronay speculated that this was made for giving more “weight” to Durandin’s claims, especially given the fact that one of the Duradin’s main sources was General Francois Mermet, the influent general director of the French Services of Foreign Information. Ronay has presupposed that after the rude exchange of messages between the French President Jacques Chirac and the Romanian President Ion Iliescu — and also with the Prime Minister Adrian Nastase — (“Romania has missed the opportunity to keep silent,” said Chirac) and the issue of the letter of support for Romania in the American politics toward Saddam Hussein – that at that time had transformed into a military attack to take Saddam Hussein out of power – “moment chosen (for Durandin’s documentary) and the political intention seems evident.”
As it can be noticed, the British journalist openly claims that Durandin would be an agent of influence of General Francois Mermet, the chief of the French Services of Foreign Information. The disinformation campaign on the issue of Romanian dignitaries, that had been recruited by the CIA would have as a political goal the deterioration of Romania’s position that, defying the opposition of France, showed support, along with other nations from “New Europe,” for the American invasion of Iraq, of 2003.
Kishinev – April 7, 2009
On April 7, 2009, tv channels broadcasted horrible scenes from Kishinev. Violent demonstrators were attacking with rocks riot police who were retreating chaotically. The crowd entered in the Parliament and Presidential buildings, situated face-to-face, on the main boulevard in Kishinev. On some floors, flames sparked, and on the two buildings, the flags of Romania and the European Union were flown. The next day, tv crews were filming scenes of repression, with agents, dressed as civilians, were arresting young people on the street, treating them with brutality. The Romanian ambassador to the Republic of Moldova was summoned by the ministry of foreign affairs from Kishinev where he was told to leave the country within twenty-four hours. Together with the ambassadors, the councilor minister of the embassy was also expelled, both for incompatible activities with the status of a diplomat, i.e., for spying. The Moldavians Minster of Foreign Affairs declared that the two were “banished justified,” explaining that
“I asked him that in Bucharest not to get involved in the protests from Kishinev during the electoral campaign period. I gave him the corresponding grade, and he read it and threw it on a table, after which he stood up and left. It’s a case out of the ordinary.” The chief of diplomacy from Moldova has also mentioned that “the material possessed by competent structures seem to prove the implication of individuals from Romania during the events of April 7.”
The communist regime accused Romania of organizing the violent protests in Kishinev on April 7, 2009. The communist president, Vladimir Voronin, has repeated the accusations and imposed a mandatory visa for Romanian citizens who wish to travel to the Republic of Moldova, a measure that violated the agreement between Moldova and the European Union, at the EU-Russia summit in Haborovsk. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin tried to convince EU representatives Joao Barroso and Javier Solana about Romania’s responsibility for the violence in Kishinev and for the fact that our country had organized a tentative of a state coup.
In reality, the violence from April 7, 2009, in Kishinev, was a diversion meant to compromise Romania, the opposition in Kishinev, and to change the European orientation of the Republic of Moldova forever. We wish to offer a short account of the events briefly.
On April 5, 2009, parliamentary elections were held in the Republic of Moldova, an occasion through which many hoped that the democratic parties to put an end to the power monopole hold by the Party of the Communists (PCRM). However, the Central Electoral Commission announced that the Communists had won the election, obtaining more than 50% of the votes. From the opposition’s side, accusations came about electoral fraud. On April 6, a large crowd of young people, summoned on social media platforms, manifested in Kishinev’s central square, protesting against electoral frauds. They decided to meet up next day in the same place, at the initiative the opposition parties taking part also.
On April 7, 2009, opponents to the communist regime met in a square where they peacefully listen to the discourses of various political leaders. At one point, provocateurs convinced the crowd to leave the square and go to the Presidency and Parliament, despite the attempts of the opposition leaders to persuade them to stay in the square. At the parliament and presidency, a minority of tens of individual, from a total of thousands, sparked violence, arson, and placed the Romanian flag on the two buildings.
After two years, under a democratic government, the truth began to emerge. According to photos and video recordings, the individuals who claimed to be Romanians and were provoking violence had nothing in common with our country.
One of the most aggressive hooligans, who threw rocks in the police forces, was identified as being one of the sons of the workers union’s president, the Demnitatea (English – Dignity) union, of the employees from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The father of the individual who placed the Romanian flag on the Presidency’s building was a fighter for “Scut” brigade (Scut – Romanian for Shield), of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and his mother worked for the Center for Fighting Corruption and Organized Crime. Moreover, on the Internet, a video recording was leaked in which the communist minister of internal affairs was instructing the very same individual to place the Romanian flag on the Presidency building.
An extremely violent group that was attacking the official buildings was identified as being formed out of ethnic Russians, members of the football gallery of Sheriff Tiraspol, from Transdniester.
Two individuals with tricolor ribbons on their heads were filmed how they were throwing stones at the Presidency building. They were later identified and interviewed by the televisions. They were ethnic Russians who did not speak Romanian. There were also filmed the protagonists of the violence, going as “unionist Romanians,” members of an organization from the Russian Federation, that activated undercover at the literary cenacle Litprom and are specialized in starting violence and organizing state coups in the ex-Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan.
Photos were released with participants at the violent manifestations known as “Romanian Legionnaires” in entirely cordial situations, who were together with the vice president of PCRM, Mark Tkaciuk, considered the real ideologue of the communists. For this reason, Tkaciuk was called to the prosecutor’s office for explaining his possible implication in organizing the violent riots.
In the end, the General Prosecutor’s Office arrested the primary suspect for the organization of violent riots on April 7, 2009. It was the Russian citizen Eduard Baghirov, member of the Trust Committee of Vladimir Putin, for its election as president of the Russian Federation. Baghirov, specialized in coercion in the ex-Soviet republics, operated undercover in the Litprom literary cenacles. For organizing the diversion in the Republic of Moldova, he had contacted – at least some say – Mark Tkaciuk, vice-president of PCRM. To justify his trips to the Republic of Moldova, he married, formally, a Moldavian woman. Concerning the organization of the diversions on April 7, 2009, twenty-eight trips to Moldova had been made by him. For all these allegations, the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Moldova has arrested Baghirov, who spent a couple of months in arrest, period in which the Russian Federation was making intense pressures on the power from Kishinev to release him. Finally, the court decided to change the preventive arrest measure with that of home arrest, a fictional home declared by Baghirov. Once transferred from his preventive arrest, the police gave up on monitoring him, violating their own duties. Eduard Baghirov has crossed illegally into Ukraine through Transdniester and from there he went to Moscow by plane…