Thursday, April 9, 2015

Romanian Revolution December 1989 (III): Pitfalls of Testimony as Evidence

There are a number of problems with the current use of “evidence” regarding the presence or absence of Soviet (and Soviet bloc) “tourists” in Romania during the 1989 revolution. They appear repeatedly, for example, in perhaps the only (partly) English-language blog dedicated solely to Romania’s revolution, run by Richard Andrew Hall. (See Richard Hall Blog)

Hall begins a series of posts on what he regards as lessons learned about the 1989 Revolution with one entitled: “The Securitate Deny Foreign Instigation of the Timisoara Uprising” (Securitate being Romanian short-hand for the Department of State Security or DSS). Hall claims to prove that the presence of Soviet tourists is a “myth” and an “absurdity” based on former DSS officer witness depositions and a media report. (#1 Securitate Deny Foreign Instigation)

Hall insists that this evidence proves his argument in many of his subsequent posts, (see, for example, #8 Romania Closes its Borders to Almost All Foreigners … Except Russian Tourists Returning from Shopping Trips to Yugoslavia.) Before examining this evidence it is worth noting that Hall steadfastly ignores the context of Soviet-Romanian relations, nor does he seem aware of the USSR’s repeated use of “tourist” cover for intelligence, paramilitary and military operations in the Soviet bloc (including Romania) prior to 1989. He also appears to assume that Moscow had no motives for forcing a change in Romanian policy under the right circumstances. (See Romanian Revolution December 1989 (II) Divining Soviet Intent)

Hall persistently confuses the ethical problem of responsibility with that of agency, seeking “who is to blame” rather focusing on “how something happened.”  Setting off from the premise that the DSS was culpable for all or most of the violence perpetrated in 1989 necessarily blinds the analyst to any evidence of outside involvement. Indeed, when arguing this hypothesis Hall repeatedly shifts from a discussion of “tourist” presence to the specific roles “tourists” played (or rather did not play) in Timisoara, thus misusing testimony to the effect that foreigners were not observed playing such roles as proof that they were not observed – and therefore not present – at all.

Unfortunately, none of the DSS testimony cited by Hall was generated during the event for internal purposes. All of it was generated after the fact and for a specific audience: the Romanian courts. Each of the DSS officers giving testimony was under investigation. No matter their individual strength of character, each had a vested personal interest in not antagonizing their interrogators.

The reader should know that historians and courts both regard eyewitness testimony as the least reliable form of evidence because memory is so easily manipulated. The reliability of testimony rapidly declines within days of an event. Weeks and months after the fact the accuracy and value of testimony becomes highly questionable. With time, memory falls increasingly under the influence of emerging public interpretation while subsequently formed impressions increasingly replace forgotten details. 

Hall claims that the four testimonies he originally cited were written “immediately after the December 1989 events.” That is not true. The testimony most proximate to those events, that of Niculae Mavru, was written more than three weeks later, and a second citation from Mavru eighteen months later. The second-most proximate, Emil Macri, testified one and a half months later. The third, Filip Teodorescu, submitted his testimony one month and three weeks after the events. And the least proximate, Liviu Dinulescu, gave his testimony a full year and half later.

Testimony Under Duress

The fact that Hall does not dwell on how those testimonies came into being is also problematic. The circumstances in which testimony is given can have a significant influence on its content.  Testimony is highly susceptible to distortion over time even when third-party influence is benign. Testimony is even more susceptible to distortion when given under duress.  

General Vlad on Trial
Several DSS officers have complained of being told during the 1990 trials that they would be acquitted if they denied any Soviet bloc presence during the revolution. Interestingly, none of the DSS sources cited by Hall as denying the existence of “tourists” was convicted (3 were acquitted and one died before trial). All of their cited testimonies had been made in the quality of witness in the trials of others. On the other hand, several of the DSS officers convicted, including DSS chief Iulian Vlad, insisted on the Soviet bloc presence at their trials and in later hearings before various Senate commissions of inquiry. A rigorous comparison of the depositions given by the convicted and the acquitted DSS officers might set this particular devil to rest, one way or the other. (See e.g. S. Sandulescu, Decembrie ’89: Lovitura De Stat A Confiscat Revolutia Romana (1996): 158-208)

Hall evades discussion of these problematic circumstances with the rather astonishing claim that coercive influence on DSS officer testimony is not “terribly plausible.” A serious effort to gauge plausibility would start with an examination of the circumstances in 1990-1991 when these depositions were given. Mainstream opinion at that time held the DSS to be the “most brutal” repressive institution in the Soviet bloc. There was even a concerted effort to brand it – along with the entire communist regime – as a completely illegitimate criminal institution (an anomaly among the former Warsaw Pact members).

By the end of December 1989, DSS personnel had not only lost their jobs, they were also subject to criminal investigation and incarceration, with the distinct possibility of long-term imprisonment. Some of the very officers cited by Hall spent time in jail previous to their testimony. Only the most obtuse would not have experienced these circumstances as coercive pressure. Contrary to Hall’s denials, it is in fact highly plausible that a number of DSS personnel tailored their testimony in order to please their jailers (or potential jailers). Such “tailoring” does not require one to commit perjury. Topics towards which interrogators show disinterest or hostility can simply be avoided. And one can employ ambiguity to allow for multiple interpretations; that preferred by interrogators as well as the truth.

The Brief Coup of Pro-Soviet Officers

Pressure on those affirming a Soviet presence was particularly evident, and it is obvious why it should have been so. In the midst of the revolution, on December 23, General Nicolae Militaru, forcibly retired eleven years earlier when he was caught red-handed spying for the Soviet Union, set himself up as the new head of the Romanian Army. He was confirmed as defense minister on December 24, 1989, only to be dismissed from that position seven weeks later for bringing about the disintegration of the Romanian Army. Militaru bragged about his Soviet contacts in his famous joint interview with co-conspirator Silviu Brucan. (Adevarul, 23/8/90)
General Nicolae Militaru
The DSS was subordinated to the military on December 26, two days after Militaru officially took over the Defense Ministry and the Army, which gave the Soviet agent control of the DSS while it underwent reorganization. Whatever residual bureaucratic leverage the DSS may have possessed disappeared with its formal dissolution on December 30, 1989. Militaru reactivated some 30, mostly Soviet-trained officers (many known or suspected of being Soviet agents) and appointed them to senior positions in the military and in the newly forming security intelligence institutions under his control. This wave included the new foreign intelligence chief (and former DSS foreign counterintelligence chief) Mihai Caraman, and the advisor to the vice-prime minister (and former DSS foreign intelligence chief) Nicolae Doicaru, as well as the new interior minister, chief of the general staff, chief of military intelligence, etc.

The military prosecutors and military court trying DSS personnel in the immediate aftermath of the revolution were also subordinate to Defense Minister Militaru. In fact, Militaru exercised direct control over who was incarcerated, tried and convicted until February 14, 1990, when he was dismissed. And no major reforms were undertaken or personnel changes instituted in the military justice system prior to the first constitutional election in 1992.

Even if the kangaroo court and summary execution of the Ceausescus on the flatly ridiculous charge of genocide had not made the entire world aware of how fast and loose the Romanian military justice system operated at that time, it would still strain credulity to deny the manifest interest of Soviet agents in obscuring their roles.

The more closely one examines Hall’s evidence the more problematic it appears. Hall quotes Filip Teodorescu from a January 12, 1990 deposition regarding his report from Timisoara on the evening of December 18 that “there is no data indicating any leaders or instigators coming from abroad.” [nu sint date ca ar exista instigatori sau conducatori anume veniti din strainatate.]“ In another posting Hall draws attention to General Vlad’s July 19, 1991 deposition stating “More precisely, those sent by me to Timisoara reported that they had no evidence indicating any foreign involvement in producing the events in Timisoara.” [Mai exact, cei trimis de mine la Timisoara mi-au raportat ca nu au elemente din care sa rezulte vreum amestec al strainatatii in producerea evenimentelor de la Timisoara.] (Vlad Testimony, 19/07/91)

Cherry-Picking the Testimony

It would appear that Hall is cherry-picking the evidence. As related by Vlad’s chef de cabinet and confirmed by General Vlad to this author, Teodorescu’s initial report on December 18, 1989 stated that “there was not enough manpower to prevent access [to Timisoara] on the Buzias Road” and the militia thus “left access into Timisoara from this direction open.” [nu au existat fortele necesare pentru interzicerea accesului prin Calea Buziasului, deoarece … a ramas descoperitat directia respective de access in Timisoara.] This lead to the following exchange:
Col. Teodorescu

Gen. Vlad:       “And did they enter?”
Teodorescu:     “Some 3-4 automobiles entered, each with 2-3 occupants.”
Gen. Vlad:       “And what did they do?”
Teodorescu:     “We don’t know.”
Gen. Vlad:       “I’ll tell you what they did. They performed their mission and moved on. Do not leave      the [local DSS] headquarters, so that you are not blamed for their provocations.”
 (A. Rogojean, Fereastra serviciilor secrete (2011): 158-9)

Within two months of his initial testimony Teodorescu was describing publicly how he had “detained foreign agents during the Timisoara events.” (Romania Libera, 9/03/90) In his subsequent statements Teodorescu consistently noted how DSS attention was “drawn to the unjustifiably large number of Soviet tourists” claiming to be “in transit to Yugoslavia.” “Unfortunately,” Teodorescu notes, “we did not have enough manpower and conditions did not allow us to monitor the activities of at least some of these ‘tourists'.” [Ne-a atras atentia numarul nejustificat de mare de turisti sovietici, fie cu autobuze, fie cu autoturisme. … Declarau cu totii ca sint in transit pentru Iugoslavia. … Din pacate nu dispuneam de forte si nici conditiile nu au permis; pentru a urmari activitatea macar a unor dintre “turisti.] (F. Teodorescu, Un Risc Asumat (1992): 92)

Hall misrepresents the testimony of General Vlad in a similar manner. Elsewhere in facsimile reproduction of that testimony (but not translated by Hall), Vlad made the following clarification:  “I mention that the mission of Gen. Macri and of the others that I sent to Timisoara was to establish, in the first place, what involvement foreigner and foreign interests had in setting off the events, because the data base of which we disposed from foreign sources indicated this…” [Mentionez ca misiunea gl. Macri si a celorlalti pe care l-am trimis la Timisoara a fost aceea de a se stabili in primul rind ce amestec au strainii si strainatatea in declansarea evenimentelor, intrucit pe baza datelor pe care le detineam din surse externe, rezulta acest lucru…] (Vlad Testimony, 19/07/91)

A related problem appears when one reads the entire page of Nicolae Mavru’s testimony, of which Hall translates only those sections asserting that “(there were not any [foreigners]) who incited disorder, acts of violence or other acts”; that “Although we tried we could not report to Col. Sima the complete involvement of any foreign citizen in the evolution of the demonstrations”; and that he was unable to discover any foreign involvement. [(nu prea au fost) care incita la dezordine, acte de violenta sau altfel de acte… (13/01/90) Desi ne-am straduit nu am putut raporta col. Sima implicarea completa a vreunui cetatean strain in evolutia demonstratiilor. Cu toate eforturile facute nu a rezultat lucru pe linia mea de munca.] (25/06/91)]

Hall is using Mavru to support his compound assertion that Soviet “tourists” were neither involved nor present during the revolution in Timisoara. According to Hall, therefore, Mavru, Tedorescu, Macri and Dinulescu all claimed that: “they could find no such presence and role played by Soviet tourists.” However, none of those officers claim that Soviet tourists were not present. They insist only that, according to their investigation, foreigners were not leading or overtly instigating the events in Timisoara. In the facsimile reproduced by Hall, Mavru actually goes on to explain that Vlad’s request for intelligence on possible foreign involvement was motivated by the extraordinarily large numbers of foreigners appearing in the region:

“The order of Col. Sima referring to foreign elements was justified because an exodus of visitors from foreign states to the dwelling of Pastor Tokes had begun two months earlier. Thus, there existed suspicion of the implication of circles from other states in the launching of the events in Timisoara. I would also like to point out that in November approximately 1500 persons from one and the same neighboring state appeared in Timis county and the city of Timisoara, usually men, whom I was not able to keep under surveillance, because of lack of manpower. I reported details regarding these foreigners only verbally without drawing up any notes.” [Ordinul col. Sima referitor la elementele straine era justificate pentru ca cu 2 luni mai inainte incepuse un exot de vizitatori din statele straine la locuinta pastorului Tokes. Deci exista banuiala implicarii cercurilor din alte state in declansarea evenimentele la Timisoara. Tin sa precizez ca in noiembrie aproximativ 1500 din unul si acelasi stat vecin au aparut in judetul Timis si orasul Timisoara, de regula barbate care nu i-am putut supraveghea, din [lipsa] de oameni (forte).] (#1 Securitate Deny Foreign Instigation)

Two the original four testimonial sources cited by Hall as proof of Soviet non-implication in the Timisoara events provide much stronger evidence for the counterargument; that the Soviets were present and vexatious. Indeed, both Mavru and Teodorescu insist on the unusual influx of Soviet bloc “tourists” into Romania immediately preceeding and during the December 1989 revolution.

But testimonies from former DSS officers are not the only evidence cited by Hall. He also cites media reporting as providing ‘definitive’ proof that there were no Soviet “tourists” coming over the border in worrisome quantity.

To Be Continued

The Romanian Version is at


  1. „Unfortunately, none of the DSS testimony cited by Hall was generated during the event for internal purposes”
    Same can be told about testimonies who support the idea of the intervention of foreign „turists”.
    „The reader should know that historians and courts both regard eyewitness testimony as the least reliable form of evidence because memory is so easily manipulated”.
    This is exactly what I told in my article „Despre metodologia cercetării istorice”
    But why you consider reliable what Rogojan wrote in 2011 and not reliable testimonies from 1990-1991?
    To be mentioned that even in the quote you gave from Rogojan, the word „Soviet” is missing. Also, in Mavru's testimony when he spoke about foreigners, he didn't use the word ”Soviet”.
    „Interestingly, none of the DSS sources cited by Hall as denying the existence of “tourists” was convicted (3 were acquitted and one died before trial)”.
    Not true. Iulian Vlad was convicted, Mavru and Dinulescu were never accused, they were only witnesses.
    Militaru was overthrowed from government in February 1990, after that moment he had no power. But testimonies telling the lack of foreign involvement are also after that moment.
    What about the fact that no foreign citizen was between the persons arrested, wounded or dead during the Revolution in Timisoara, before 22 December?
    (after 22 December during the fight with the „terorists”, there were some foreign victims)
    I am one of the arrested during the Revolution, and I know from my own experience that any possible foreign conection was throughfully examined. Because my sister lived (and still lives) in USA, I had to give special explanations about all my relatives from abroad. In fact, my sister was quite active inside the Romanian-American comunity from Chicago in December 1989.

    1. 1. Re: Reliability of Testimony I - All post-revolution testimonies are by definition after the fact. The central point of the blog is that all post facto testimony has to be treated with caution. My next blog will address your concern directly.

      2. Re: Reliability of Testimony II - Unfortunately, I had not the chance to take advantage of you research regarding eyewitness testimony, but I wholly agree with the point.

      3. Re: Rogojean (2011) vs. Testimonies (1990-1) - Given what Col. Teodorescu subsequently maintained, that there had been Soviet tourists, I sought to answer the question of whether a) this represented a change in his January 1990 testimony, or b) it represented a more forthright restatement of testimony kept deliberately vague or, possibly, even “tailored” in response to military prosecutorial pressures. Rogojan’s book suggested that b) was the case so I contacted General Vlad and asked him. He confirmed Rogojan’s variant. Given that Teodorescu’s writings from the spring of 1990 likewise support this variant, I believe it safe to say that both Vlad and Teodorescu maintain that there was an anomalous Soviet presence. Therefore, neither Vlad nor Teodorescu can be legitimately cited as affirming the opposite – as Hall does repeatedly on his blog.

      4. Re: “Foreigners” instead of “Soviets” - Does it not strike you as strange that DSS officers addressing this issue in their court testimonies were so extremely vague about exactly which “foreigners” they were referencing? Why didn’t they just come out and identify them? Could it have been because of judicial/prosecutorial pressures? Could it have been that they did not know from whence the foreigners came? Could the foreigners have been Swiss? I will address this, at least partly, in the next blogpost. In the meantime, I would submit that it is both mistaken and misleading to suggest that foreigners not specifically identified as “Soviet” could not therefore be Soviet.

      5. Vlad never denied the existence of Soviet tourists On the contrary, he insisted upon it in all of his testimonies and depositions. The four DSS sources to which I refer are those of Teodorescu, Mavru, Macri and Dinulescu (the original sources used by Hall). That said, I will endeavor to reword this more accurately.

      6. Re: Militaru - This is a different argument than the one I am making, which is in direct response to Hall’s claims that Macri, Mavru and Teodorescu all testified in January 1990, thus under Militaru’s watch, that there was no Soviet presence. Regarding Militaru’s power and degree to which it dissolved with his replacement in mid-February 1990, I would ask you to consider the probability that he was part of a network of GRU-recruited officers, and that it took several weeks to oust most of the network members from their positions, and that at least one of them – General Vasile Ionel – managed to stay within the firmament of power (albeit much reduced and constrained) for some time thereafter. Thus, while Militaru may have disappeared rather completely, the influence of this network might have been more resilient, as suggested, for example, by the strange and remarkable career of military prosecutor Voinea, and his continued influence over the “search for the truth” regarding the 1989 revolution. Here, I rather agree with Hall’s analysis.

      7. Re: foreigners arrested - This also runs further afield of the argument I am making. I think it will take me a couple of blogs before I get to it. However, even if I don’t get to it in my blog it will be an issue addressed in volume three of my series on Romanian in the Cold War.

    2. Neither Rogojan or Iulian Vlad are witnesses of what happenned in Timisoara in December 1989. They were not present in Timisoara. It is not normal that Iulian Vlad is telling to Filip Teodorescu what happenned while it was supposed otherwise: Filip Teodorescu, as eyewitness, should report to Iulian Vlad.
      As Emil Macri told in a written declaration, there were political pressures from Iulian Vlad to report about the involvement of foreigners in Timisoara's events but they didn't have such data:
      The dialogue between Iulian Vlad and Filip Teodorescu that you quoted, from the book of Rogojan, is a confirmation that Iulian Vlad did indeed make such political pressures.
      It is not true that Iulian Vlad insisted in all his testimonies upon the presence of Soviet tourists. At least in the testimonial he gave in the court case of Timisoara, he told „cei trimişi de mine la Timişoara mi-au raportat că nu au elemente din care să rezulte vreun amestec al străinătăţii în producerea evenimentelor de la Timişoara. În consecinţă, lui Ceauşescu N. nu i-am raportat nimic în legătură cu evenimentele de la Timişoara, absolut nimic” ("those sent by me at Timisoara reported that they have no data to show any foreign involvement in Timisoara. As result, I didn't report anything to Ceausescu N. about the events of Timisoara").
      When Ceausescu told about foreign involvement in Timisoara, this was not based on information received from Securitate.
      It is unprofessional, in my opinion, to assume that "foreigners" mean "soviets". A historian should not add from his own imagination what the historical sources are telling. Workers from Oltenia were sent to Timisoara in 21 December to fight against the revolution. Those were told that Hungarians occupied the city and nothing about Soviets. The original tale (blatant lie) of Communist regime was about Hungarian, not Soviet, involvement. Foreigners from other countries were also mentioned. Filip Teodorescu, in "Un risc asumat", wrote about a Japanese diplomat who wanted to arrive in Timisoara. This can be true but is not relevant, as it happenned after the events already started. Yugoslav and American foreigners were also mentioned in various accounts. In fact, USA government openly admitted, in a press conference in 19 December, that it sent diplomats from the American Embassy in Bucharest to travel at Timisoara.
      Irrelevant, as it was also after the start of events.
      "Foreigners" can mean Hungarian, Yugoslav, American, not necesarilly Soviets. The usage by former Securitate agents of such vague expression did indeed strike me. My explanation is that Securitate agents want to suggest a foreign involvement, in order to justify their actions as defending the State against foreigners, not of being against the will of Romanian people. As they have only small and irrelevant facts, they understand that being too precise will not help them, and they deliberately use vague wordings in order to suggest things about which they know that there are no proofs. It is a propaganda technique.
      As you told you are talking to Iulian Vlad, maybe you should ask him about the 12 files which were sent for him from Timisoara through lt. col Carasca, as witness Mr. Gheorghe Salajan told during Timisoara Revolution trial:
      Those files were about Romanians, not foreigners.

    3. This cover rather a lot of ground, so the responses are divided in two replies.

      RE: Level of Vlad’s knowledge and “political pressure”
      Your premise is mistaken on two accounts. First, in any intelligence gathering organization – and the Securitate/DSS was also that – members of the institution are better informed the higher up they are in the leadership hierarchy. As head of the DSS, Vlad had information not only from the DSS officers on the ground reporting from Timisoara but also from foreign intelligence and military intelligence – and not only from Romanian services. As isolated as the Ceausescu regime was in December 1989, it still maintained collaborative arrangements with many countries.

      Secondly, your presumption of political pressure is mistaken. Intelligence officers do not blindly collect information about everything. They are given specific targets. That part of the traditional intelligence cycle is called “planning and direction” and it includes lists of specific intelligence gathering targets provided by the leadership to its collection officers/agents. In a violent domestic crisis the role of outside players would certainly be on such a list.

      Vlad’s instruction to keep an eye out for foreign involvement was therefore completely predictable and quite normal for any intelligence leadership. It is obvious from the reporting presented by Hall that the DSS officers in the field had not received orders to misrepresent overt actions committed by Romanian citizens as those of “foreigners,” which would indeed have suggested the sort of politicization – political pressure – that you allege.

      RE: Vlad’s testimony on Soviet presence and foreign involvement
      Two things need clarification here: first, in all of Vlads depositions at his three (3) trials and before two (2) Senate commissions investigating the events of December 1989, Vlad consistently underscored the Soviet presence. That does not preclude his witness testimony in other trials where, in response to more specific questions, his answer regarding reporting on such a presence from the field during the events is negative. For example, a response to the question – “Did a specific DSS officer or officers in Timisoara report a Soviet (or Hungarian or Foreign) presence to you?” – obviously drew a negative reply. However, whenever asked whether he received information regarding a foreign presence, Vlad has consistently responded in the affirmative.

      Secondly, the central goal of this series of blogs is to point out the rough handling that “evidence” regarding foreign involvement (and specifically Soviet presence) has received and to consider the ways in which such evidence is more properly treated. Your citation of Vlad’s witness testimony in order to argue that there was no foreign involvement illustrates the point. In the same testimony Vlad clearly describes clandestine foreign involvement among the astonishing numbers of Romanian citizens who began returning in the autumn of 1989, “some of whom had been recruited by foreign espionage services and sent with the mission of undermining the Ceausescu regime, even through acts of sabotage that struck at the general interests of the country.”

      RE: On DSS alleged failure to report foreign involvement
      Your claim is simply not true. Information was received from several branches of the DSS (as well as from military intelligence sources and foreign partner sources). You may argue – indeed, you do argue – that these sources were in error, but that is a different argument. From at least the autumn of 1989 Ceausescu was receiving information of foreign involvement in Timisoara, regardless of whether or not he understood what it meant.

  2. RE: On “foreigners” and “Soviets”
    Let’s be very clear regarding your attempt to assign me your argument. Mr. Hall and yourself have been adamant, even relentless, in asserting that “foreigners” are not “Soviets.” Indeed, you seem quite willing to accept any group other than Soviets in this category – you specifically mention Japanese, Yugoslav, American and, after having declared that affirmations of Hungarian involvement are “a blatant lie”, even Hungarian. I merely pointed out that your and Mr. Hall’s joint presumption that foreigners could not be Soviets was both mistaken and misleading.

    In fact, my broader argument is that “foreigners” constitutes a broader set that also encompasses the Soviet subset. Given that most of the foreigners coming into Romania in the late autumn of 1989 and especially in December came directly across the border by land, Occam’s razor would suggest they came from a neighboring country: the Soviet Union, Hungary, Yugoslavia and/or Bulgaria.

    RE: Your perplexing insistence of no Hungarian involvement
    This is rather off-topic but since it suggests a strong cognitive bias I thought it worth mentioning. You have no doubt heard of the refugee camps in Hungary. Aside from Vlad’s testimony cited above scholarly articles have since been published by Hungarians in Hungary regarding the phenomenon. At a commemoration service broadcast on Romanian national television in 1993, and commented on by the Romanian Ambassador to Hungary who was in attendance, the Hungarians dedicated a statue at their military base in Egger for Hungarian personnel fallen in the Romanian revolution. In the testimony cited by Hall and reproduced in this blog, DSS officer Mavru insisted on clarifying that “in November approximately 1500 persons from one and the same neighboring state appeared in Timis county and the city of Timisoara, usually men, whom I was not able to keep under surveillance, because of lack of manpower.” To date, no equivalent surge of Yugoslav or Bulgarian visitors has been reported (or even rumored).

    I’ll grant you that much research needs to be undertaken before any authoritative judgment can be rendered. But, in light of DSS claims and apparent Hungarian confirmations, why do you believe reports of Hungarian involvement are “a blatant lie”?