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  Nr. 3846 de sambata, 3 februarie 2007 
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The presidential bluff
What a fishy and villainous coincidence! 90 days ago two Romanian citizens suspected of intelligence were arrested in Iraq by the US military police and now they have been set free. Right before their release, the Evenimentul Zilei daily, the most powerful media instrument serving Cotroceni Palace, produced the sensational news on the Romanians lost in Iraq. As for the "president player", he said he had and hadn't known about it, he had and hadn't taken action and now he is giving us a superior smile on the small screen. The hostages have been freed, the press and the opposition have been struggling in vain. The head of state, the chief of the SIE (Foreign Intelligence Service) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are the great firemen of the nation. Is it so easy for the head of state to order reality and make it obey? Isn't this bizarre denouement villainous by any chance? Hasn't Basescu bluffed us one more time, in his unmistakable style?
It is hard for me to imagine that the experienced CIA officers didn't get the picture of the two Romanians before one could say Jack Robinson. One plumber and one carpenter, civil employees of an US military base, broke the regulation by taking pictures and filming inside a US military base, using technical devices illegally bought from US soldiers. They were suspected of intelligence and imprisoned in a detention center together with terrorists and terrorist suspects. The two civilians are Romanians and Romania is thought to be a strategic ally of the US. Given this status, Romania keeps troops in Iraq. Mind you, the latter country is no longer a battlefield, since it housed allegedly free elections, it has got a government supposedly democratic and Justice described as independent, able to sent people to the gallows. Of course there was no need for the investigations to last long in order to see if the Romanian "war prisoners" had been involved in intelligence to serve a hostile power or a terrorist organization. Still they were imprisoned for 90 days and seemed abandoned by Romanian authorities. Their families learnt about it late and rather randomly. No one kept them informed about the detainees. In the last two days, after Presidency's press trumpet released the information on the market, authorities and the head of state the first of them have been either playing ignorant or mumbling. We could see Traian Basescu on TV claiming he wanted a report. And, just like by miracle, the hostages have been set free.
Let's not be so nave to think the phone call to the "Great Glowworm" worked, with Basescu phoning Bush to ask for a favor because of his political trouble in Romania and the plumber and carpenter story turned out bad and the prisoners could but be released to fix it. Let's not be so nave to fancy Bush ordered the military police to complete an inquiry that had made no progress for 90 days. The police would have obeyed such orders.
Such a scenario fails to be credible. And I trust villainous coincidences either. Therefore there is one single hypothesis left: Basescu has once again tried a trick, just like the one he used in elections, with himself crying and laughing. The SIE knew the CIA had ended investigations, just as they knew the hostages would be freed in a few days' time. And then they have plotted the bluff, starting with the press. It is to be seen whether the plot's denouement resembles the denouement of the note story or not.
P.S. Ion Cristoiu was the only columnist to guess the hostages would be released at once. He said it on Antena 3 TV.
Sorin Rosca Stanescu 
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