Gabriel Andreescu Conclusions on the MISA Case and the Romanian Justice System

(excerpt translated from the book “The Suppression of the Yoga Movement in the 80s”)

How Good and/or How Bad Can a Democracy Be?

1.What does Bad look like? The Face of Evil.

An Outline of the Facts: MISA’s Repression meant as Manipulation

The investigation we have carried out in this book has only been looking at the issue of the repression of the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute, both of the organization itself, of the members of this organization, and the repression of the movement’s adepts, who were more or less active and close, and who went through MISA’s yoga training courses. Our research did not focus on the School’s doctrine problems, nor did it tackle its spiritual and cultural significance. Outside the scope of our analysis were also the very few private or institutional interventions against the repression of the Movement; such references, if they do exist, were introduced to shed light on the background of our undertaking.

Covertly in the beginning, and later on overtly, the action taken against MISA and its followers lasted just as long as the post- December 1989 Romania. The repression against MISA has been going on for 20 years now and still had not ceased by the moment this volume was brought out. Judging by its proportions, it was outweighed only by the retaliation of the opposition during the miners’ riots, another phenomenon bearing the hallmark of the Romanian transition period. However, the miners’ riots were only a short-time clash, and purely political, and lasted as long as the Power could take control over everything in this country. The repression against MISA crossed all the stages of the transition, starting with the red quadrangle times, and lasting through to Romania’s EU accession, and even after this significant event. It looks like the repression has never been affected by the transition from one government to the other, nor was it influenced by the alternate terms in office of the presidents, who in turn changed the head of the intelligence services and the general prosecutors.

Quite unlike the miners’ riots, where the repression mechanisms and their stakes were somehow clear, the impressive muscle-flexing action against MISA adepts was rather difficult to understand. What could explain the extraordinary political hostility? What exactly could trigger the state’s entire institutional system getting involved in a real war against The Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute? Could it be that everyone thought the yogis were having group sex? In a country where bawdy images are lavishing on the screens, in newsagent’s magazines, and on billboards? In a country where high school students post short films on YouTube, with girls whacking off their colleagues, while in the class the teacher takes pains to solve equations on the blackboard? In a country where fiction books written in a mind-boggling porn-erotic language are being granted literary awards, and where successful intellectuals brag about their virility, unaffected by their brainwork? Even if it were true, the private practice of group sex, which at any rate is part of those people’s privacy, would simply melt away in the erotic hubbub around.

Could it be that such a hostility is rooted in the belief that Gregorian Bivolaru had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl who at that time had not been 18 years of age? Homeless children emerging in the street, the heart-rending images of children in orphanages, or the dread of the parents who sell their offspring to some people over whom suspicion looms large that they might be searching for organs, all these did not trigger any reactions indicative of a special sensitivity Romanian society might have regarding the underage people.

Prospective underhand business? The austerity of most MISA adepts turns such an allegation into something ludicrous. At any rate, such a fear is stifled by the emergence of a flurry of billionaires who have become rich mostly through getting hold of former public assets, let alone the earth-shattering corruption scandals at the core of which lie the very officials who have been chasing the MISA adepts.

Continuity: How the former Securitate and the Romanian Intelligence Service are linked to these events

This book revealed that the history of repression saw its beginning in the 1980s, when the Securitate officers were assigned to destroy the yoga movement. The group of yoga student revolving around Gregorian Bivolaru and the instructors he himself had taught, namely Nicolae Catrina, Eugen Mirtz, Narcis Tarcau among others, managed to withstand the repressive action for about eight years. Late in the decade, in 1989, the Securitate had to bear the brunt of the responsibility of a series of police measures that went as far as to lock up some of those who resisted, and to send their leader to a psychiatric hospital.

In the post-December stage of the repression, the institutional actors, without whom the events we have dealt with would not have reached that far, those who initiated the repression and masterminded it along the way, were first the Bucharest Municipality Securitate regrouped in UM 0215, and the Romanian Intelligence Service (the RIS). In March 1990, the latter took over the greatest part of the Securitate officers who had been involved in the assertion and reduplication of the “illegal and criminal” communist system. Accordingly, the RIS internalized its interests institutionally, as well as the mentalities and the files, into which some of the officers pumped new life.

There is strong evidence backing the role of these people who in March 1990 got a steady institutional cover, under the guise of the new Romanian Intelligence Service. If we look at the turn of the events, we can see these people continued the yogis’ surveillance operation. Once the Movement itself was gaining ground, they started to intoxicate journalists and the public opinion overtly, through their undercover agents working in the media, or covertly, delivering information to some of their own young workers who were not experienced, nor did they have the commonsensical self-censure of a responsible journalist.

The image these people created for the MISA adepts was so off-putting that “cautious” citizens and yogis’ family members began to contact the institutions. Some MPs even took this opportunity to amass political capital for them. The Police and other security forces “took measures” on their own initiative, just to make themselves useful or because they felt pressure was heaped upon them. So they took action completely ignoring laws and principles. The institutional scandals never ceased to fuel the media campaign, which in turn put a fresh amount of pressure on the institutions. Under these circumstances, most likely in 1996, the RIS decided to come clean and get involved in the repression of the victims who had escaped the deadly measures of 1989. The RIS managed to find a way to deal with the MISA community as if they were dealing with a national security issue. So they tried to destroy it, placing it in its own courtyard. Such a decision was all the more dramatic, as the link between former Securitate officers and the political world took everyone by storm.

The underhand network connecting the intelligence service officers, the government, the parliament and the management of the public order institutions assumed a task only as big as their own arrogance: that of destroying a movement with thousands of adepts in such a powerful way that these people could be scattered and turned into pariahs, and their main leaders sent to prison. So there was little need for such plans to be made explicit against the backdrop of a certain kind of decision-making policy. One action prompted and supported another, and it was just as natural for everything to be heading towards such a perspective.

The first heavy blow dealt to the yoga movement was the very inclusion in the RIS of the former Securitate people who masterminded the harsh repression of the yogis in the 1980s. That was not only morally unacceptable, but it was also illegal for the former torturers to have positions in the new intelligence service. We know that the organization and functioning Law of the Romanian Intelligence Service ruled out the employment of the former Securitate people who were responsible for the infringement of fundamental human rights and freedoms. The state is not the only lawbreaking victim; the victims are also those people who became vulnerable as the RIS itself broke the law. It still remains to be seen what the chances are for a lawsuit battle to be won in Romania, if those who were subjected to torture, beatings, inhuman treatment, or sent to prison or to a psychiatric hospital file complaints against the lawbreaking RIS.

Defying the legal provisions had its aftermath, and that could easily be seen. The first thing the former Securitate workers did was to continue their job: first off, they had to satisfy their curiosity as to how their former clients were doing; to carry out political policing by opening a series of files that had nothing to do with national security. It is likely that in the early years, media intoxications about Gregorian Bivolaru’s organization were part of the old-time stalkers’ own battle, and that events back then were dominated by purely personal episodes. So far at least there is no evidence about those people taking responsibility for that. In such operations, we can detect the former Securitate people’s obsessions, the aggressiveness sexuality ignites in them, and their being faithful to what had been done before, judging by the legal descriptors they were using.

Starting with the second half of 1993, the huge amount of data published in the media was asking for clarification on the part of the RIS institution in the MISA case, since the sources of the campaign against the yogis came from inside the Service. Everyone knows that in 1996 the RIS openly assumed its political police role. It was repeatedly revealed that since the mid 1990s, the Service had started to stalk MISA, although absolutely nothing of what its members did had anything to do and could not have had anything to do with the RIS’s responsibilities. Subsequently, since 1999, the Service resumed its status, for which the institution it had inherited, the Securitate, had been disbanded: the status of an oppressive institution. As it no longer had, just like the institution it had inherited, a division to do the dirty job, like the 6th Division, the RIS submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office applications of indictment for some MISA members, on explicitly political grounds. It is all about the opinions of the three MISA members, who were critical of Romania’s NATO integration plans. The RIS simply wanted to “terminate” these people through their action.

But it was not just the intention to have those people sent to court that was typical for the RIS. It was also a personal settling of accounts. Is there any better description of an operation the Service itself excelled in carrying through? Wasn’t the RIS, for a number of years, the initiator of a flurry of nationalist-extremist attitudes, thus sabotaging the very ideal of European integration? Is it not so that its reports in the 1990s include accusations leveled at the Hungarians and the Rroma population who were speaking about the poor conditions they had at home? Wasn’t the RIS the one who inflamed, out of nationalistic logic, the relationship with the Republic of Moldova, thus affecting Romania’s foreign policy to this day? Wasn’t general Lupu the one who, around 1996, delivered a pointed warning against the Internet penetrating our country? Throughout all those years, weren’t the Service’s undercover agents in the media, masterminding campaigns against the European values? How else can we possibly explain the fact that the RIS submitted complaints to the Prosecutor’s Office against politically inoffensive people, and nothing of the sort happened to the Greater Romania party leaders, or with the leaders of the Serb minority from Romania, who in 1999 mobilized the community and mounted protest rallies to prevent Romanian from offering assistance to NATO?

In mid 2000, the RIS would brandish its entire political police arsenal. It mounted, many military, the assault over several young men and women, dressed in their own pajamas. As for disinformation, the Service upped the ante at the level of the most preposterous accusations. In recent years, the RIS activated the Securitate programs of destabilizing groups, thus tarnishing the reputation of several MISA adepts and of those who demanded the truth about the repression. The rumor spreading that started to affect the relationships between several of the MISA members, some of the old ones included, bears the hallmark of the former Securitate’s specialized service. The Romanian Intelligence Service took action following the old Securitate’s mentality and instincts. Only because it was stripped of its specific responsibilities was the Service prevented from resorting to the repression as such, in much the same way as the institution it inherited used to do.

The printed media’s unique role

The second great actor of the repression mounted against MISA adepts was the printed media in post-December 1989 Romania. Responsibility and deontological rigor could be seen only in a few exceptional cases. There are some journalists who were fooled, and who made amends over what they wrongly supported; only a few of them distanced themselves from what papers and magazines published, or from what TV channels were broadcasting from the very beginning. Those who approached the case with genuine journalistic curiosity are very few in numbers. A case in point is the “Limelight” program, where a series of episodes were broadcast, part of a documentary about MISA made by Denisa Anghel and Marius Georgescu, with Cornel Mihalache as the support producer. Out of the thousands of opinions hosted by the printed media, only a very small number observed the principles of the honest journalist. Only from March 2004 to October 2005, and only on such national TV stations as TVR1, Realitatea TV, Pro TV, Antena 1, 2, 3, National TV, PrimaTV, B1TV, N24 and OTV 570 pieces of news were broadcast which were hostile to MISA and Gregorian Bivolaru. There were only extremely few journalists who assumed the status of defenders of democracy, or the much-mentioned status of watchdog for the power system in its clash with the yoga students. Those who did that are all the more praiseworthy, yet that cannot save the face of the community.

With respect to MISA, the allegedly diversified media had been functioning as a unitary system. Mention of its interest for rating, therefore for the spectacular, as a possible explanation, is only partially tenable. We have many reasons to suspect that the main responsibility for turning the entire printed media into the main stalker of a bunch of innocent people lies with the agents, paid or unpaid. The first reason for that would be the intelligence services’ key role in the repression. Then there is the direct involvement of a string of magazines in the spreading of slanderous rumors, with the assistance of former Securitate people (Europa) former communists (Greater Romania), former Securitate snitches (Cornel Ivanciuc). We should also take into account the status of the media moguls (Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, a tycoon surrounded by Securitate officers, such as the former colonel Gheorghe Ratiu, head of the Securitate’s 1st Division, which for a long time had masterminded the repression of the yoga movement before 1980). The fact that the “moguls”’ direct and absolute control of the newspapers they own, running counter to the generally acknowledged principles, but also to the legislation as such- the Law of the Audio-Visual, could be tested in the fall of 2010 as the shorthand minutes of conversations were published of the Realitatea TV station owner Sorin Ovidiu Vantu, which managed to capture, maybe for the benefit of history, the real relationship he had with the journalists: “You’re not free, folks. If you can take that, do your job, if you can’t, just leave, no big shit about it!”

The vast majority of the stuff published in the papers laid down on MISA adepts things that had nothing in common with those people, and could not possibly have anything in common, given the discipline MISA adepts have been following. These people were accused of carrying guns, although there was not the slightest evidence or suggestion supporting that. They were treated as dangerous people, from whom you would do well to hide your identity, although those people practice non-violence. They were presented as a bunch of brawlers, although they were the ones who were molested. They were accused of taking drugs, despite the fact they refuse even the most commonplace drugs, which everyone consume quite unwittingly: coffee, alcohol, cigarettes. Yoga students were described as carrying venereal diseases, although the attention they give to their sexual health is unusual compared to the standard of the society they live in. They were presented as profiteers, although mutual help holds pride of place among the members of the community, and even goes beyond that. In MISA’s case, turning black into white and white into black took Orwellian proportions.

Supporting such action with unchecked data which we also believe are false, is nowhere near the most dramatic aspect of what happened in the printed media that in the last two decades took an interest in MISA. What mattered most was the hunting party the media mounted, and which had the certain role of triggering violence, of provoking the reader or the TV people’s violent instincts.

Mobilizing the printed media consumers was successful in the process of stalking MISA, and that was strengthened by the passion with which journalists tried, again successfully, to trigger repulsion towards MISA yoga students. Urine therapy was a juicy topic, although the only connection with the MISA School was the teaching of Ayurveda concepts where urine-therapy, an ancient Indian method, was presented as one among other ancient techniques. The nauseating words targeting MISA students were used not only by the niche printed media – Academia  Catavencu,  Greater Romania, but also by the leading Romanian dailies and TV stations. Even on Romanian State Television’s Channel 1, as part of the show ”The World We Live In” broadcast on April 4, 2004 (1300 hours), the host was speaking about MISA using these words:” Life beats the film, reality goes beyond any imagination, money, sex, jaw-dropping disclosures, mystery and sudden changes of situation….Porn production activities are mixed with the drinking of…I beg your pardon, urine, with practices that are at least strange for us, the uninitiated”.

But the lower margin – or the upper margin, at that – of the action taken against MISA was the direct, blunt call to violence against MISA adepts. Several journalists turned instigators. Sometimes, and in public, reporters asked the security forces to punish the MISA adepts.” Right now we’re all waiting for a decision, which should be judicial, legal, and radical. And such a decision must take into account…do we or do we not tolerate such things, such characters, and such underhand groups on Romanian territory.” (Realitatea TV, “ Newsreel” March 29, 2004, 2100 hours) TV host Emanuel Isopescu’s invitation, extended at prime time, was clear: such people should not be tolerated!

In other cases, instigation targeted detaining and molesting yoga students. The Ziua newspaper authored such an urge, which is unique in the history of Romanian printed media, and which could be possible only in an anarchical society: the paper announced the placing of a ransom on Gregorian Bivolaru’s head!

Other symbol-powers of Democracy

The action against MISA was “carried through” precisely by those institutions that were supposed to do justice in the case. Counterfeiting a series of files with the clear purpose of indicting and sentencing some people on the grounds of their unconventional lifestyle is the most serious breach of the profession of a magistrate. Such a fundamental guilt has in turn been “completed” by the flurry of trifles that made professional betrayal possible.

The apparently endless series of these “agramatisms” pertaining to professional parlance was given the go-ahead by the institution whose responsibility was to watch over the honor of the profession: the Higher Council of Magistrates. Answering to MISA’s adept-victims with the logic of irony, and even banter, denying the glaring evidence, name-calling and bullying, the Higher Council of Magistrates suggested that when it comes to the legal act we are allowed to do anything. Under these circumstances,”the magistrate’s dignity” the Council claimed several times becomes a symbol of hypocrisy.

All these patterns of behavior of the institutions that form the backbone of the Romanian state would not have been possible had they not been supported or overlooked by those who are currently on the top level of the state power: Romania’s parliamentarians, the members of the “supreme body in the state.” That occurred with only two exceptions, when they brought the case to the fore, parliamentarians acted like stalkers. All of a sudden, parliamentarians become suddenly interested in one of the most serious cases of human rights infringement. So visible was the gravity of the case that parliamentarian Nati Meir ventured so far as to ask the female lawyer of the MISA complainants, in front of a hall packed with audience, what kind of “intimate relations” she had with Gregorian Bivolaru.

Although the happenstance, the unpredictable, and the spontaneity played their part in the turn the events took, the repression against MISA adepts still remains a huge manipulation exercise. It has a lot to do with the fact that manipulations have been a constant presence in the history of the society we live in. Communism relied heavily on manipulation, and it is out of manipulation that the dawn of post-December Romania emerged 20 years ago.

The March 1990 events in Targu Mures are by all means the place where script, direction and acting worked together for one of the key moments in Romania’s history. Then the miners’ riots followed. But what makes the difference regarding manipulation in the MISA case is the fact that there were no stakes. As for the anti-Hungarian instigations and the miners’ riots, the political power was at stake, as well as the foreign powers’ influence and Romania’s position on the European continent. No less unusual is the fact that the manipulation against MISA is a long-term undertaking, and it continues to this day, at a time when Romania, at least in principle, has moved from learning the ropes of democracy to becoming part of the European Union.

The threefold exercise of power, phoniness and vulgarity

Learning the ropes of democracy, as we mentioned above, lies in the very fact that functions and power were disseminated, leading to the mutual control of institutional and private actors. The Intelligence services, the printed media, the judicial system and especially the Parliament could not have defied their professional standards to such an extent and for so long a period of time, had they been really independent. Consequently, what favored the phenomenon of MISA adepts’ private and institutional stalking, for twenty years using such unusual means, is the jitterbug of a series of corrupt connivances between various politicians, the main decision makers in the administration, prosecutors and judges. One last expression of this phenomenon is the 2010 scandal, “one of the most explosive files of high-scale corruption ”, the one that linked Social Democrat Senator Catalin Voicu’s name to several judges of the High Court of Cassation and Justice. Catalin Voicu was accused of influence peddling under continued form and forgery, after trying to obtain from the Magistrates of the High Court of Cassation and Justice’s Disputed Administrative and Fiscal Claims Office the solving of a file in favor of a company. published the shorthand minutes of the phone conversations included in the prosecutors’ report. That speaks volumes about the scope of a network in which politicians are involved, as well as businessmen, high-ranking magistrates and Police officials.

This history fits in here quite well, although it does not overlap with the repression of yogis. It explains the clash between a counter cultural movement and the exercise of an abusive power; although the latter is falsifying and vulgar, it assumes the definition of the public morale. In a free society, culture and counter culture deny each other, to the benefit of both. Both that does not happen in a society where institutions are dominated by such characters as Catalin Voicu. The relevance of the case for the way the MISA phenomenon was dealt with can be seen if we cast a glance at Catalin Voicu’s past. Between 1986 and 1997 he was an active officer, and before the revolution he reached as high as the position of aide for Romania’s general prosecutor, Gheorghe Robu. The one who at that time supported his career was Dumitru Iliescu, the future commander of the Protection and Security Service. After several changes, he became an officer of the Protection and Security Service, he was granted the rank of General, was twice decorated by president Ion Iliescu and even held a temporary position with the Country’s Supreme Defense Council. Later Catalin Voicu was admitted to the Chamber of Deputies and subsequently became a senator. In 2008, the Social Democratic Party put forward the name of Catalin Voicu, one of “his exponents” for the position of Minister of Internal Affairs. Only by the narrowest of margins did Catalin Voicu miss out on the position of high-ranking justice official, so it was only under exceptional circumstances that the underhand side of that sordid affair bubbled out beneath the surface. So this is yet another telling example of the frightening link between the military institutions, the business environment, police, and prosecutors, all stemming from the brotherhood of those who before 1989 held key positions in Romania; such a brotherhood functioned under the aegis of the time’s most important leaders, such as many-times president Ion Iliescu.

The case of the Social Democrat Senator Catalin Voicu shed light on the real status of many of those who ”manage” the social norms. Against such a backdrop, how paradoxical the fact can be that an important part of the public opinion was mobilized against MISA and Gregorian Bivolaru, airing such words as decency and the natural! Below are a few samples of the conversations the senator had; they were transcribed after the shorthand minutes that were published in the papers.

Voicu Catalin: Listen up! If I’m off to the Internal Affairs, man, you’re gonna have the entire Romania’s Prosecutor’s Office, the whole Justice will be in your hand, you shall have the Court in its entirety…

Mazare Alexandru: So you’re gonna get some people nailed? You, sir?

Voicu Catalin: Yes, I’ve got the Police, I want to arrest Ontanu, I want to make a file for Oprea, I thought it came…it came bottom up, the file, I mean, as at the top everything is perfectly oiled! As I am not the only character that has got the whole connection in his hand, and you saw the Prosecutor’s Office, in the Justice and ( …)

Mazare Aexandru: You are with Vanghelie, aren’t you?

Voicu Catalin: yes, I am (. ..) Hey mate, listen to what I tell you! If I go there, in three years’ time I can build up the entire network across Romania! Now, if we lose the elections, the network is operational…You’ve got the network, you resist so that we can make an urban guerilla…(…)

Voicu Catalin: 99% of a file, now listen carefully to what I say, mate, are worked out by the cops… they also have the pubs, the whorehouses, they have the economy in their hands, they have the corner shops in their grip. So prosecutors work through a cop’s hand, and keep an eye on the file. We don’t have that many legal causes they take straight from the prosecutor…Prosecutors can do a dick…They’re just cardboard figures.(…).

Mazare Alezandru: But with the Prosecutor’s Office, and the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, with the Prosecutor’s. Do you have some snitches there as well?

Voicu Catalin: I’ve got them all over the place! Man, I told you, in December 1989 they made me an aide for free Romania’s first general Prosecutor, when nobody reported to anybody, and that worked in 1989, 1990, all that time, and all my connections, I grew up with them myself.

Mazare Alexandru: Can I obtain an acquittal, in court, right now?

Voicu Catalin: Of course you can. Man, didn’t I prove in these trying time I can still be myself. And I’ve got, yes; I’ve got a whole system in my hand, on civ…phone…These civilian phones. How shall I put it… I’ve got the whole Romania here…

From the daily brutalities to brutalities that lead to group cleanings

Such a mixture of business, political authority, control of the institutions, corruption, substandard language and vulgarity gave birth to the greatest part of the repression campaign carried out against MISA adepts.

Reality was a constant experience of the relationships MISA adepts had with the officials of the power institutions. Most impressive is the fact that a large number of those who had to face the officials had the feeling the latter looked rather like criminals. Right in front of the door of the place where his girlfriend lived, Cristi Boerescu suddenly saw before him two civilians who were about to snatch him and force him into the apartment, in the absence of the landlady. “I was just thinking they were some thugs, I didn’t want to get in there and I withstood them, I pulled myself back”, he said. Pierre Crie had a similar impression; having just arrived at an official building he also saw for himself the authorities had vandalized him and his colleagues. “As we were in the official building of the Prosecutor’s Office, that meant they were not criminals clad like law people, but they were the very Romanian authorities. It doesn’t happen like that even in a cowboy movie. Even there, when a cop halts someone, he produces some identification. It looks like such a rule doesn’t work in Romania”. The Frenchman simply couldn’t believe his eyes that security people could have such a disparaging attitude towards the law.

After Iulia Tapalaga saw the door of her room removed from its hinges, she found herself with a gun pointed at her forehead. ”I thought I would die. I felt my legs were shaking…my whole body was shaking. I thought they were some burglars. But at that moment I couldn’t possibly realize…that a burglar could put his gun to my head.”

Is there any label that can best capture the attacks unleashed against MISA adepts, mixing physical violence and psychic aggression? Those people who were barbarically molested and mocked appeared to be the very embodiment of vulnerability: young girls taken out of their bed, half-dressed, shaking, benumbed and crying?

The only word that could be an attempt to capture the nature of the attacks of March - April 2004 could be that of cleansing. The events do have many of the ingredients, starting with the destruction of goods that belonged to the hunted people, or taking those goods away from them. Just like in the case of ethnic cleansing, the main objective of the attacks were the people, so that the aim could be fulfilled, similar to dozens of other cases mentioned in the history textbooks: to deal a heavy blow to the very identity of that community, the desire to scatter and annihilate it. Another similarity pertains to the passion with which the majority is mobilized, of the “normal” people against those the authorities pointed their fingers at, vilifying them and turning the MISA adepts into the object of collective hatred.

It is true that quite unlike the classical examples, the main authors of such attacks were not natural persons (mob attacks) who took action with the support or under the protection of the authorities. They were the very institutions of the state. There were even public instigations meant to generate aggression against the yogis. Especially after March 18 2004, the gendarmes, the prosecutors, criminologists and journalists who got involved in the brutalities instigated the neighbours of MISA yoga students against those people. So neighbours were crying out: ”Take their houses and give them to the church” and so on. However, the intelligence officers, prosecutors and gendarmes didn’t seem to have relied on the effects of these demonstrations, or to have consented to give up on their full control over legitimate violence.

Whenever we think of ethnic cleansing, what we have in mind is the hunting of a community, which is defined nationally, ethnically or racially; the Jews are a case in point. As for the MISA School of Yoga, the target group was a group defined on the grounds of consciousness, identified by the fact that its adepts do not eat meat, do not drink alcohol, and avoid violence; as a rule they have a different attitude with respect to regarding sexual practices, as compared to the vast majority of the population. Under the given circumstances, MISA adepts did not have the fate of the Jews; the turn of the events did not include losses of human lives or mass expulsions. Yet the social marginalization and the public contempt had the same intensity, pointing to the fact that in Romania anything is possible.

Fury and Aggressiveness triggered by Sexuality

Harassing, beating and socially marginalizing the MISA adepts started through a consistent intoxication of public opinion, with the obsessions of the former Securitate employees towards sexuality. The main purport for that and the language had their origin in the files prepared by the former Ceausescu officers for the indictment of former yoga students before 1989.

Hunting MISA and its leader was tantamount to updating the Securitate’s former means; that included using people’s private lives as an instrument of corruption and threat. The employees of the oppression institutions were best known for their sex-related brutalities. Quite paradoxically, the tradition of the institution combined the treatment of sexuality and eroticism as something demeaning and compromising, on one hand, and on the other hand, the instigation and framing of such manifestations, in order to use them. So here we are, the themes that once used to haunt the Securitate officers can be found with the Romania Intelligence Service officers, who in turn are deeply concerned with the fact that the MISA School of Yoga has a tantric component, involving the use of the sexual energy. Nothing of these specific practices raises a legality issue.

As for the principles of certain practices in Tantra Yoga, such as the importance of the partners’ mutual respect and sexual continence, they come in stark contrast with the intensely vulgar attitude towards sexuality favored by the Romanian media, let alone the fact that the public security institutions have their own macho culture. The Romanian Intelligence Service got involved in strange social ethics, turning a deplorable outlook on sexuality into a socially acceptable standard.

Throughout the book, there is a series of accounts, which speaks about the soldiers’ brutal violation of people’s intimacy; prosecutors and Intelligence officers accompanied the soldiers. Emilia Chertes lived in an ashram that the troops assaulted. As she was climbing up the stairs to take something she needed to go to the toilet, a gendarme woman pointed the gun at her, ordering her to stop. “She told me she had to accompany me by all means. She came with me to the bathroom, and told me to leave the door ajar, so that she could see what I was doing. And that for me was something very humiliating.”

Six other women were in the house, all of them asleep. They were taken to the lobby dressed in their night outfit, panties and blouse. All the doors were open, it was 9am on March 18, and it was still cold. Emilia Chertes saw two people who entered the house, two men, one wearing jeans, the other one a leather jacket. The first one was shooting with his camera. I asked him: “What is going on? What’s going on?” The gendarme who was next to me and was threatening me with his gun, put his leg on my shoulder, on the neck, I don’t know, pointed his gun to my head and told me: “Shut up, and lie down, face downwards!”

All those blokes who seemed to be obsessed with a careful search, to check if the yogis somehow strayed away from the sexual morale, with prosecutors having a special place among them, did not shy away from humiliating the girls they had found half-dressed, and who were extremely vulnerable, psychically, against that brutal backdrop of March 2004. Worth mentioning here is the episode showing Roxana Adina Andrei who at that time was 27, being forcibly confined to her bed stark naked, with the soldiers yelling at her when she was trying to cover herself. It is easy to imagine the terror that girl had been through as she saw those men, balaclava-clad, in plainclothes or uniforms, who kept getting in and out of the windo