This is a more grounded presentation compared to the fairly basic two-page introduction I published three days ago. It could become quickly boring, although it’s only a moderately detailed version of the final open letter. In any case, as intros, both articles preceding and succeeding this one are easier reads. I got to the present size by simply doubling the original two pages into four, yet it remains just a bridge, really, until the true exponential outcome of that much information, the definitive 16-page version, is good and ready. At that time, the finished product will be available on demand to anyone who asks. Meanwhile, I’ll keep improving every day the content of the three articles I published lately. I won’t stop until I’ll get director Comey’s full attention or until I drop dead, whichever comes first.
My name is Nicholas Jordan. I am an American citizen and, unfortunately, the victim of politically-motivated persecution in the country of my birth, Romania, where, for over a decade, I was accused of being an impostor without any proof whatsoever. None. At http://minciulescu.com/consideration-open-letter-ex-fbi-director-james-comey-short-intro-full-text-soon/ I have already published the two first pages of my open letter, so there’s no point repeating their content. I will simply continue from my “Let’s cut it to the chase!” closing paragraph:
“Dear Mr. Comey, I guess once I’ll upload in my blog www.minciulescu.com the rest of my open letter, you or maybe one of your devoted followers still on the FBI payroll will retaliate for my unvarnished words. I also might delude myself, and no one will give a hoot, but, frankly, in my circumstances, I’m past any concept of fear. Maybe not you personally, but the whole clan behind you when you were in charge had fully completed their share in screwing up my life past the point of return. So, write to me anyway. I’m easy to find.”
If anything, I am fully aware that Mr. Comey might not relate at all to my style of writing. Without anyone else telling me, I sense a melodramatic streak in everything I utter since I started this autobiographic blog. I have no choice but to write this way though. After years of defending myself against a litany of gruesome but imaginary sins without ever achieving an inch of headway, I’m damaged goods. I’m tone deaf and can’t hit the right note any longer. Hence my continuously whining tone, even if justified.
So, if perhaps Mr. Comey won’t feel particularly like writing to me, I urge him to at least talk publicly about this matter. He’s very vocal on so many other subjects and his full memoirs are yet to be written. Maybe he’ll find fresh material in this instance involving me and add a few more pages (once they’re completed, I’ll even offer him free use of my sixteen). In any case, director Comey’s past actions in Romania speak loud and clear by themselves. Sure, there may have been positive results, but they have been glossed over already.
One consequence of his actions is plain to see today as well: the people he gladly shook hands with, took it as an entitlement to settle political scores, even when they impacted what, to them, was an expandable American citizen. I’m not the only one. Philip Stephenson, chairman of Freedom Capital, testified the 2017 Romanian Anti-Corruption hearings and his story echoes mine. Of course, he’s a multimillionaire, with an army of lawyers and even a lobbyist at his disposal, so he testified. I wasn’t offered the chance. As far as the US Helsinki commission is concerned, I don’t exist. Period.
What kind of cooperation between the corresponding institutions, as promoted by James Comey, was agreed then and is it possibly in place even now? We’re talking exclusively about the American side of the deal, one allowing the US embassy in Bucharest to turn a blind eye and refuse me any assistance, although my name spiked periodically on the news across Romania and the Republic of Moldova, especially as it was coupled with president Basescu’s name, as if welded in place together. Someone had to direct the US embassy personnel how to proceed in my case. Who?
A true collaboration, a special relationship, that was exactly what James Comey, the FBI director since he took office on September 4, 2013, set out to accomplish during his first trip to Eastern Europe. He chose Romania as his starting point, having first-hand knowledge of the country through people he’d previously met and, as he had at about the same time a few public squabbles with the leaders of Poland and Hungary, Director Comey wanted to showcase to everyone in sight he’d found a healthy alternative to the two unruly populist leaders from Central Europe.
“I would like to extend my thanks, particularly to Deputy Prime Minister [and until recently acting SRI director], Florian Coldea, with whom I had the opportunity to discuss in Washington at the beginning of my term as director of the FBI,” James Comey declared at the SRI (Romanian Intelligence Service) headquarters in Bucharest, after congratulating its new director, Eduard Hellvig, then on his first day at work which auspiciously coincided with the FBI director’s first working day in Romania.
Incidentally, Eduard Hellvig’s predecessor, George Maior, the SRI director from October 2006 until January 2015, will become within weeks the Romanian ambassador to the US, while his father Liviu Maior a former Minister of Education (1992-1996) already posted as Romanian ambassador to Canada. Mr. Mayor Sr. kept him company for a while as a fellow diplomat, but he’s now retired. Mr. Maior Jr. is also the godfather in marriage of ex-PM Victor Ponta, the man who had appointed him as ambassador to the US, an unending web of close relationships—just one of the several clans in power within the upper echelons of Romanian politics and, by default, the only interlocutors available in the US outreach to stamp out corruption in Romania (visible anti-corruption efforts being stipulated as a pre-condition in the country’s accession to NATO).
The Comey visit was a rousing success within Romania, a confirmation the country had reached an identity and a stature, finally making it respectable and praiseworthy by the greatest of powers. Although the visit had not been publicly announced, all major Romanian media sources, both TV and print, instantly came out with effusive comments, a sentiment echoed by the local English-language Romania Journal’s headline http://www.romaniajournal.ro/fbi-director-in-bucharest-words-of-praise-for-sri-romania/, words of praise indeed, for both the Romanian Information Services and for Romania, in that order.
I pointed out already his momentous encounters with the country leaders and anyone can deduce that James Comey’s visit carried some weight in Romania. His meetings with the President Iohannis and the PM Victor Ponta preceded the meeting of the CSAT, Country’s Supreme Defense Council, the first such meeting since president Klaus Iohannis took office (https://www.romania-insider.com/fbi-director-visits-romania/).
It can be assumed the Romanian president had significant reasons to see director Comey first, ahead of the CSAT meeting and he was at his most assertive that day. Similarly, once director Comey visited with the heads of police and the intelligence services, a newly energized Public Prosecutor’s Office attached to the HCCJ, the High Court of Cassation and Justice, saw the green light and reopened on March 30, 2015, the same proceedings against me stalled since 2010, accusing me that I’m not who I say I am. It will take over two years to reach the same result which stalled the initial investigation: I am who I say I am.
There is no doubt in my mind why the heads of the High Court of Cassation and Justice felt suddenly more confident than ever to go at such lengths after an American citizen without the tiniest amount of proof at their disposal. They knew they could. They knew they’ve been validated to do what they pleased.
Before departing the country, the FBI director repeated the theme of protecting the citizens of both countries, “It’s very important to work together, to compress the world, as criminals do, in order to protect our citizens,” and amplified the express need for cooperation, „our partnerships are vital to our success in the fight against corruption and terrorism.”
Mr Comey’s FBI partnership with the Romanian HCCJ did manage to compress something in any case, maybe not the whole world, as, apparently, some mastermind criminals are able to achieve, but it did compress me as if hit by a steamroller.
To start with, my “imposture” story was so perplexing when I first heard it, I couldn’t believe someone will take it seriously. Then I noticed what I described in my blog as the conspiracy of silence, and later on as an inexplicable wall of silence. No one stood up to say, “But I know this man.” They all have been frightened into silence, knowing that the same treatment could be applied to them as well and there was no one who could defend them. Mr. Coney has no concept of such a life. He keeps notes about certain events, as if his comments about them will gain larger stature. I hope he kept notes about his visit to Romania.
He may start by observing how the Romania TV present their notes about what they call “facts.” During my own Skype interview from Florida with Romania TV, I was presented with some of them: they couldn’t find me in the records of a high school noted in my CV (obviously not, because I went there between the fifth and seven grades, before transferring elsewhere for what in Romania was then considered high school, lyceum, grade eight to eleventh). Then, an enormous blow up of my California driving license was presented, brown eyes noted next to my picture for all to see, although the presenter insisted that I “pretend” to have blue eyes (no reason given which was the “correct” color).
No one in my family going back five generations was known to have blue eyes. Going back that far, each of us has made the once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Jerusalem—I mention it to show I did not come from a vacuum. My family meant something in the history of 20th century Romania. At least the first half. As for the later part, I always thought I could, to a certain extent, count myself: as a published author during the early ‘90’s, I had my share of TV and newspaper interviews.
The name of the author on the cover of my 1993 novel “Ashman” is Nicholas Jordan, the name on page three of the translator from English into Romanian is N. Minciulescu, the name was I born with. My picture was on the back cover. No one had questioned my identity in 1993. What has changed in the 21th century then?
Maybe James Comey was the factor of change, I truly believe it.
The people he was so proud of seemed delighted to find fancy “facts” and other similar concoctions about me at the drop of a hat. Because they could. because they wanted to. No one reacted publicly when Romania TV interviewed me and tried to convince me I’m an impostor (while, at that very moment, a staff lawyer and trusted counselor of theirs was one of my high school classmates: his name and picture are in my blog).
The whole point of me accepting that interview was just to show up and be seen. During an earlier, much-ballyhooed discussion with the PM Ponta, I was described in turn as a “negro,” an Afro-American and then African-American. Every viewer could see now clearly, just weeks later, that I’m Caucasian, yet the presenters weren’t phased at all and kept spewing out even more nonsense. I felt as nothing I would say will ever count. If they played head games, they won. I felt like I was nothing.
There was a time when I took director Comey’s words about Romania in the spring of 2015 literally. During the following weeks, I turned my life upside down for all to see, put every available document of mine online in a blog I cobbled together as fast as I could. By April 11, 2015 my site was up. Even today, anyone could see, as they could then, the entire block of information and judge for herself or himself.
While I’m aware my letter is too long to catch someone’s eye and its chance to go viral is zero, I can’t leave any details out: my foremost reason is to establish a paper trail. I’m in this fight for the long run, and I’m marking the coordinates, yet, regardless of what I do and what I did, all this amount of information I made public hasn’t made yet the slightest difference. The US-Romania cooperation, Comey-style, meant that, in my case, the US institutions went along with the locally created riddle, although my version of the facts had reached the US embassy months before his visit.
I had named PM Victor Ponta as the orchestrator, with me as putative collateral damage because Ponta’s rival at the time (a man I never met and the same goes for any of his friends and associates), then-president Basescu, was his real target.
I had named a high-ranking officer, chief-comissar Dan Calin Vicentiu, head of the fraud investigation unit for the Romanian capital, an official unmasked latter as a crook, but vetted favorably by the US embassy and sent for training to the ILEA Police Academy in Roswell, NM, as the person behind the relay of non-stop investigation orders against me without justification whatsoever.
No one at the US embassy had ever answered my questions about Dan Calin Vicentiu, questions repeated on my blog for a long time. Was my question unacceptable because I found his name and passport number in the US embassy cables to Washington made public by the WikiLeaks scandal? But why? I’d just googled his name and there it was for all to see, years after the fact.
To conclude, why did the US embassy fail in its duty: was there someone else more valuable to protect instead of me, an ordinary American citizen? Could it be, possibly, one or both of these two individuals I just pointed out?
Initially, I had channeled my hopes precisely on director Comey’s take on cooperation. I knew he meant it. And yet, spoken in a country reputed to have the highest degree of corruption in Europe, I couldn’t stop myself from asking: were those words worth anything, just part of a polite speech, wishful but earnest thinking, tacit encouragement for his hosts to continue doing as they please, or, on the contrary, a strong exhortation that they should mend their ways and really do collaborate for real, not just for show, just pretend as they had done so often even in the recent past? I had my doubts. His speech certainly did not sound critical but festive.
If he did not know it then, the director found out later that half of the interlocutors he encountered that week were out of a job barely months after he left, accused of all kinds of crimes ranging from involuntary homicide to routinely plagiarizing their PhD thesis, vote fraud and large-scale tax cheating. It should have been an eye opener to director Comey that in Romania he was dealing with the largest group of PhD’s ever assembled on the entire planet for a thoroughly non-scientific reason: to head a relatively small country’s police force and its security apparatus.
There had been so many new PhD’s minted in Romania recently, within a 10-year period, the country became the talk of the scientific world. The impact of so many thousands of new PhD should have shown in every aspect of scientific research. There was none. Accusations that a shady Security Academy could offer PhD degrees through its fast churning diploma mill had run rampant for months, with one of these dubious recipients, the PM himself.
Of course, a lot of the PM’s colleagues may be totally honest, but how can one be sure in a country where intendance captains become generals without having to spend any time at all as lowly colonels? At least two of these generals (and Mr. Coney met them both) are now commonly described by the local media as thugs (What do I know though? I was described often by the Romanian media in the past as a thug myself). Still, a PhD general/interior minister/university professor/political leader/vice premier lacking even the vocabulary expected from an intendance captain can’t be the easiest of the interlocutors. True collaboration with such people remains an elusive task at best.
On May 29 2017, the charges against me were dropped.
I suppose it was meant to happen eventually, they were about nothing, after all. Director Comey’s pledge to defend “our citizens” played no role whatsoever though and neither did the FBI (although their Bucharest office is the largest in Eastern Europe).
At one point, exasperated by the unending torrent of lies about me, I had contacted my congressman, Ron DeSantis (R Fl), who steered me to the FBI Office in Daytona, Fl. I did go there for an interview, which went nowhere and, of course, I was never contacted back as promised.
Of course, Ms. Cynthia Miller (from Congressman DeSantis office, serving Florida’s 6th District, which includes Palm Coast, my hometown) had been given the wrong information about the FBI (the local agent in Daytona was professional and cooperative, but told me I’ve been sent on a goose chase). It seemed to be the pattern in everything the US State Department did in my regard.
Earlier on the same Ms. Cynthia Miller (from Congressman DeSantis office, serving Florida’s 6th District, which includes Palm Coast, my hometown) had been given by the US State Department the wrong information regarding what I had asked the US embassy in Bucharest about my case. In fact, she was lied to:
Ms Corinna Ybarra Arnold says there to contact her—I tried, I got nowhere. I also I informed her I did not ask for a list of attorneys and anything about the difficult process of restitution for the nationalized houses. The houses (at least a part of them) had already been returned to me with all the required certificates.
I was not allowed to gain possession, which was a police matter. I was accused of being an impostor (despite the US issued affidavit you can see beneath) and I did talk by phone (the only time I got through in dozens of tries—my very first try, afterwards I was obviously blacklisted) to the young political officer. I asked her for the Political section review of my case and I expected a yes or no answer. I recall distinctly that instead, we ended up discussing President’s Basescu’s merits or the perceived lack of merits. The conversation was recent, end of 2014. It must be on tape, I’m sure.
All I got in the end back was a repeat of the boilerplate answer which had no relation whatsoever with what I asked. It was insulting, the embassy knew since 2003 that the restitution towards me was completed on paper and only the name of then mayor Basescu (the future president) on my certificates was the reason (a political reason, of course) I was investigated year after year.
Eleven years before, the then vice-consul Stephanie Buncie had issued me the same affidavit I asked Ms. Ybarra Arnold not necessarily to reissue, but to reaffirm it exists (predictably the Romanian police had lost the original I deposited at their Section 14 of Police the same day I received it, November 7, 2003. It’s easy to make sense out of it, besides I provided its English translation as well.
„To all those so interested:
After a thorough study of the documents presented to the Embassy, it can be attested that the American citizen Nicholas Jordan, born on March 17, 1946, in Romania, identified with American Passport no 120394662 issued on September1 1995 in Honolulu is one and the same person with Nicolae Minciulescu, born on the same date.
Mr. Jordan is in possession of a Decision, no 184362, issued by the General Inspectorate of Police, through which his request to change his name from Nicolae Minciulescu to Nicholas Jordan was approved. Consequently, the mention of the name change was inscribed in the Romanian passport no. D-224925 issued May 29, 1990, and on July 26, 2001, he was issued Romanian Passport 05493784 under the name Nicholas Jordan.”
Years later, Ms. Bunce will be hailed as a hero and issued the highest diplomatic commendation by the Secretary of State Kerry for her work under fire in Yemen. On my behalf, in less challenging coditions, she wrote a simple and very concise text.
In 2014, consul Ybarra Arnold and the Political Officer refused to even consider checking the Embassy archives for the affidavit. I still have Ms. Arnold’s very dismissive messages—they’ll turn up soon, in the future reiteration of this letter. But then, by the end of that year, I was more or less in a state of limbo.
It took Mr. Comey’s March 2015 visit for the procedures against me to start full blast: on March 30, 2015, in the aftermath of the FBI’s director departure, I got a triple whammy.
First, a judge in sector 4 of Bucharest stopped the evacuation of a family who for 10 years persisted in not accepting that the building where they were tenants had returned to me and thus prevented me once again from taking possession of what was rightfully mine.
Within three hours, another judge from sector 5 of Bucharest, restarted the investigation into my identity and its connection to ex-President of Romania, Traian Basescu, basing his action on direct orders from the HCCJ, the High Court of Cassation and Justice and Romania’s Attorney General, Tiberiu Nițu.
By late afternoon, my lawyers got two set of papers (the first in more than a year, dated January and February, but delivered only that day) announcing a recommendation issued by a high-ranking prosecutor, Anca-Mihaela Țilimpea, intended to nullify the entire paperwork issued to me by the City Hall regarding my parents’ inheritance. The recommendation was based on nothing, no facts whatsoever just her vaguely defined Reasonable Suspicion. Yet a suspicion of what? That was not explained.
The whole mysterious process had started again, and this time it wasn’t just the run-of-the-mill Police Section 14, but the top prosecutors of the country. Thanks to Mr. Comey’s encouragement, the Public Prosecutor’s Office attached to the HCCJ, the High Court of Cassation and Justice, had set their sights on me and they were so sure of themselves they had already announced victory by mid-April. Their confident style and arsenal of new techniques had sprung directly from one of the best known prosecutorial playbooks in America, that of the U.S. Attorney Office for the Southern District of New York, Perp Walk and Reasonable Suspicion included.
The top prosecutor, Anca-Mihaela Țilimpea, set the example. She noted that, in 1990, I had entered Romania a month before a new Romanian passport D 0224925 (the passport mentioned in the US embassy affidavit) was issued to me. To her that was highly suspicious, I must have entered the country illegally. Her mind, at least, said it was reasonable to think so—what other explanation could there be?
According to any sane person (and to the register at the Romanian border, which transmitted the data to the Bucharest headquarters), I had entered the country using my American Passport, because it was my right and my choice to show the US passport as a travel document. It felt safer. I also had to pay an entry tax as a foreigner, duly noted in the register as well, although the customs officer knew very well I was born in Romania and supposedly Romania was by then free of communism and all its ills. No wonder I registered immediately at the American embassy on arrival in Bucharest.
The passport office in Bucharest made that notation on the first page about my date of entry (and also about my American passport on the name Nicholas Jordan) was to make sure everyone knew I had two passports, a novelty in 1990 post-Ceaușescu Romania.
Anyway, by pure luck I kept my expired passports in my home archive. I put all the info in my blog, for anyone to see. http://minciulescu.com/ovidiu-zara-este-un-idiot/ and http://minciulescu.com/atentie-domnule-pavel-abraham/
This is what happens when Anglo-Saxon concepts, such as reasonable suspicion, are thrown into the fray without any safeguards in a country mired from top to bottom in corruption. At least, since mid-2017, the perp walk has been abolished in Romania, no thanks to any advancements in New York style justice, but only after the ECHR, the European Court of Human Rights, had put a stop to the practice within the EU. Only the perp walk’s bombastic translation in Romanian still survives today, perhaps because it sounds so Hollywood: „A parade in handcuffs”.
I want to renew my request for a full FBI/State Department investigation, refused to me for years: what exactly did the US authorities know at the time, starting with 2003, and what have they decided to do about the accusations against me.
I had already explained that the man who accompanied director Comey to his meetings in Romania was the US Charge d’Affaires there, Dean Thompson, whose predecessor Mark Giesenberg, the ex-ambassador to Romania, had just visited him towards the end of 2014 and had written to me a short note prior to that visit. I’ll repeat it, exactly because it identifies Dean Thompson as his contact there. „Subject: RE: American citizen needs help in Romania Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2014 Nicolae, thanx for forwarding your very disturbing note. I have forwarded it to the new charge at the embassy. I am having dinner w/ him tonite and will discuss. Thanx Markg.”
Dean Thompson and his ACS staff at the US Embassy had to know from previous experience that each word proffered against me could have easily been part of the same multilevel, but single mindedly orchestrated campaign launched against other individuals marked by the powers to be for an outright civic annihilation. It wasn’t even that new of a tactic, but a situation already described at prior official US Anti Corruption Hearings.
In February 2013, the famous chess player Gary Kasparov, a former world champion, had to quietly slip out of Russia when on the receiving end of an ICR (the Russian equivalent of the FBI) similarly bogus investigation. Most recent on those lists of testimonials are the aptly-named Romanian Anti-Corruption hearings on June 14, 2017, held in front of the US Helsinki commission chaired by Senator Wicker (R Ms) in Washington, DC, so details as such are a matter of public record. An American businessman, Philip Stephenson, testified about his treatment in the hands of the Romanian secret police and offered details similar with mine and eerily closed to what happened to Gary Kasparov in Russia. The how-to procedure in dealing with perceived state enemies had already been put together long ago, a hundred years ago, to be more precise, by the Cheka, an early KGB precursor (this is the same Cheka who had also launched at that time the first prototypical perp walk, using angry „concerned citizens,” mainly old women dressed in black, instead of reporters and the TV cameras).
In any case, I never became part of the Romanian Anti-Corruption hearings record here in the US. Nothing came out from that Charge d’Affaires Dean Thompson 2014 discussion with former ambassador Giesenberg.
After years of back and forth communication, these are the last emails sent to me by ACS Bucharest. Monday 7/3, 2017, 1:33 AM, Mr. J, Thank you for your inquiry. The ACS Unit has no additional information to provide to you regarding your situation at this time. Sean Whalen American Citizen Services Chief/LC Consular Section | U.S. Embassy Bucharest | 4-6, Dr. Liviu Librescu Blvd.
It was preceded by a Thursday 6/29, 2017, 4:34 AM note: „Mr. J, thank you for reaching out to our office. The U.S. Embassy in Bucharest is working to promote rule of law and anti-corruption matters in Romania. The ACS unit does not intervene on behalf of U.S. citizens involved in judicial proceedings. We recommend that you procure a Romanian attorney to engage on your behalf. The attorney may also be able to address the concerns that you have regarding the Romanian media’s depiction of you and your alleged actions. At this juncture, I’d refer you back to the attached email…
It’s true, I already displayed the same email sent years earlier, same pattern to refuse help. Did I ask the ACS unit to “intervene for me as a U.S. citizen involved in judicial proceedings” as they told congressman DeSantis? I had simply demanded guidance from the ACS, because I was bewildered by the scale and intensity of the attacks against me (especially as I had already received that earlier affidavit from the embassy). They were those supposed to guide me, not the other way around.
Their answer was loud and clear. No guidance. None. I’m challenging the “none” part with all my being. Besides, how was all what they wrote jibing with the ex-ambassador’s possibly visceral, possibly uninformed reaction (as he wasn’t in the thick of things anymore), yet a very strong reaction nevertheless, when reading the same lines sent by me?
Everything I had signaled to the ACS unit as pattern of behavior by PM Ponta and his underlings, was later identified at the 2017 Romanian Anti-Corruption hearings in nearly identical terms and I quote: When the PSD returned to government in 2012 under PM Victor Ponta, a series in investigations was launched into members of President Basescu’s close circle and family. These investigations were accompanied by campaigns of public vilification led by Ponta himself.” (Testimony of David Clark). We find there as well that “Ponta and many senior PSD colleagues were indicted on charges of tax evasion and money laundering by the DNA in July 2015”, while later “Victor Ponta, became the first sitting Prime Minister to be indicted on corruption charges before being forced to resign in November 2015.”
Since 2007, Romania had accepted to be subject to post-accession monitoring through a new arrangement known as the CVM, the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism. In 2013, the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) started a new anti-corruption drive under its new leader, Laura Kovesi, and prosecution of high-level targets had increased. The 2016 CVM report give DNA a glowing endorsement and, according to David Clark’s expert opinion, the US government has been equally positive, with officials regularly praising Kovesi’s work and using their influence to bolster the DNA.
“The ACS does not intervene on behalf of US citizens?” But they were in constant touch with Kovesi. The new ambassador, Hans Klemm, who had assumed his duties on September 21, 2015, is seen regularly on TV advising the Romanian government on various endeavors and his words can add an official stamp to any initiative. Why then wasn’t any advice offered in my case, a case making non-stop headlines across Romania and featuring an American citizen? What happened to “We shall collaborate to defend our citizens,” James Comey’s own words?
And what about the US embassy stated mission on its own website, urging American citizens to: „Write us a letter explaining their situation and our Political section reviews those cases and forwards them to the Government of Romania with a cover letter expressing that the case has been pending and asking for a resolution on the case”?
Was I not worthy of a review and a letter to the Government of Romania? If the answer is I wasn’t, because of what then, my rambling style of writing? I am the first to agree I don’t function as I should. But I am 71 years old and at the end of my rope. So far no one in an official position of power in the US has responded to my pleas. I truly can’t take it anymore.
Considering that Mr. Comey chided in public the Hungarian and Polish leaders on borderline anti-Semitic remarks (and I happen to agree with him on the subject), how do they measure in his eyes with another Prime Minister, Victor Ponta and his “African-American” fiasco on Romania TV, which preceded his visit and which found space as long clip on the Romanian government’s website gov.ro. They keep talking there about my grandfather, yet he had died in 1940 and had nothing to do a decade later with the communist nationalization of 1950. Why couldn’t Mr. Ponta leave at least, my grandfather in peace? He smiled with satisfaction as one of his interlocutors on Romania TV suggested sarcastically, “Who knows, maybe the Senator was a ‘Negro’?”
Once I finally realized the US Embassy in Bucharest will never give me a straight answer, I contacted the U.S. Department of State in Washington. I got in touch with the Romania Desk Officer, Office of Central European Affairs. Another a long exchange of emails followed.
I had to go yet again through the entire history of my ordeal, while, at every step, I hammered my familiar question: “No 1. Will the political officer at the US embassy in Bucharest claim that my dispute with the Romanian Government is purely internal, Romanian vs. Romanian, and the US Embassy cannot do anything for me, therefore they won’t be sending a note to the Romanian Government asking for clarification? Yes or No?”
We went on and on, and finally on July 17, 2017, I received a stern warning: “Mr J, I’m sorry to say that after reading through these emails, I no longer understand what it is you are seeking from the State Department. Leaving aside all the issues related to how this issue has been portrayed in the media, is this the core issue you see yourself as facing: you have not yet been granted effective control over the properties that were technically restituted to you but this restitution was never carried through to fruition… …because of various legal challenges to the validity of the restitution decision (primarily your identity, but including possible other things)?”
And that’s how I remain now in limbo with the Office of Central European Affairs and its new Romania Desk Officer as well.
In 2014, the Romania Desk Officer was Ms. Marie M. Blanchard ext 4230, at 202-736-7152. I left many messages. After a while, in desperation, I contacted the Office of the Assistant Secretary Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland ext 6226 at 202-647-9626. Of course a staffer answered, listened to my complaint and sent me back to Ms. Blanchard. And that was it.
At least, this time, in June 2017, the new Romania Desk Officer did answer me. We exchanged emails. But by July, when I did ask for real answers, and not just oxymorons, that was it, the second time.
“I’m truly at loss to understand your last phrase,” I wrote them back. You write about „’The validity of the restitution decision (primarily your identity, but including possible other things)?’ Possible other things? What possible other things? Possible other things are why possibly the Embassy and the US Department have refused so far to intervene on my behalf?”
A date to remember, July 19, 2017. The last time I heard from the Romania Desk Officer. Another official dialogue, withering to nothing. So far, in all these exchanges of emails I went through, I had to answer dozens of questions and I did, without a straight answer, neither in writing, or verbally, about what I demanded unfailingly: an American official inquiry in what happened to me in Romania.
The bureaucrats’ stubbornness on the subject does not seem different an iota from the old communist mentality: “Get in as a witness, leave as a suspect.” After countless discussions with the Romania Desk Officer (and I don’t doubt her professionalism), after I explained at length about my identity being cleared by the US embassy in 2003 (see above) and even by the prosecutors, because the charges were finally dropped, I suddenly hear about “possibly other things.” This sounds more and more like the aftermath of a rape. Am I a suspect now, not a victim? If the Department of State “possibly” knows something, am I not supposed to know as well?
When, three months ago, the press suddenly announced that all charges against me had been dropped, I discovered that this last full fledged Romanian DNA inquiry was, at best, perfunctory. It lasted barely three weeks. https://www.dcnews.ro/traian-basescu-dosarul-retrocedarilor-clasat_544246.html is the address where dcnews.ro from Bucharest (along with 36 other publication from Romania and Moldova), publishes an official announcement on May 29 2017: „Prosecutors at the General Prosecutor’s Office closed the file in which the former president Basescu was accused of illegally returning several buildings in the capital, Bucharest, after concluding that Nicholas Jordan, the individual who received the buildings, was the grandson of the former inter-war liberal senator, Iordache Minciulescu. In other words, the six historic buildings received by Jordan were lawfully restored to him by the City Hall.”
Even that was a partial truth. I only received chunks of the six dilapidated, and thus “historic” buildings. The police and the City Hall made sure that I couldn’t take possession of anything. I had to pay taxes so I took a reverse mortgage on my house in Florida. I couldn’t receive any income, but to add insult to injury, the government even took rents on one of the buildings I was paying taxes.
It took 14 years to find out in three weeks that my entire ordeal was for nothing. A contributing factor was president Iohannis, scheduled to fly the following week to the US for a highly publicized meeting with president Trump. I assume no one wanted any skeletons left in the closet popping out unannounced. But that’s all I can do so far, just assume.
No details were published of what went on behind closed doors, nor have I have I been sent any information about the results. Neither have I ever been asked to testify during the few times I’ve been visiting Romania during the last 20 years, nor any of the dozens of the people who knew me from childhood, high school and university had ever been contacted for information about me, while a Rogatory Commission procedure allowing the investigators to talk to me while in Florida had never been demanded either. And why not, it’s pretty much the same way Romania TV managed to interview me via a Skype link. Talking to me has never been a priority for the investigators.
Life went on as I didn’t really exist.
What I read next in the news struck me as somewhat ironic: “President Trump is scheduled to hold a press conference with visiting President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, on Friday, June 9, 2017 beginning at 12:45 p.m. This is the first time since James Comey’s hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee that reporters will be able to question Trump. Comey’s testimony centered around whether Trump lied and obstructed justice in asking him to drop the investigation into Michael Flynn and Russia. Russian foreign policy is also of importance to Romania.”
So, Mr Comey, I hear your future is set. It seems the book you’re reportedly preparing will bring an 8-figure advance from the publishers. Maybe it’s an exaggeration, but, again, who knows nowadays. Still, with all the resources at your disposal, can you review at one point your whole Romanian episode? What did US Charge d’Affaires Dean Thompson know about my case and why he kept quiet? A simple detail! Will you do that for me? If need be, you could get more information about my case by simply Googling the grouping of “Nicholas Jordan Basescu 66 de case,” meaning 66 buildings in Romanian. You’ll get hundreds of hits and quite a few of them straight in English.
The apex of the politically-motivated campaign against me in Romania was reached on your watch. You “celebrate one of the best partnerships that FBI has in the entire world,” I think the partnership fails on many accounts. When I’m trying to have my voice heard, I’m permanently side-stepped. Maybe you should shoulder some of the responsibility, even if it may sound inconvenient.
According to Slate Magazine’s quotes from Princeton political scientist Jan-Werner Müller’s What Is Populism? “The first move taken by authoritarian populists who have successfully weakened democracy in countries like Poland and Hungary in recent years has been ‘to colonize or occupy the state’ by appointing their own cronies to head independent institutions: They have created new institutions they control. They have changed the rules governing existing institutions to bring them under the sway of the government. They have lowered the mandatory retirement age for civil servants to create vacancies. And, yes, where they could, they have fired politically inconvenient bureaucrats for spurious reasons.”
One must add as well today’s Romania to the list, as it fulfills down to the last dot all Jan-Werner Müller’s conditions. Yet curiously, although director Comey had his well-documented (and truly justified) dustups with both Poland and Hungary, he had avoided so far criticizing Romania not only in similar, but in any other circumstance, so his special relationship with that country must have a strong foundation.
(Or maybe not that strong a foundation, after all: Just recently, on August 1, 2017, one of Romania’s richest financiers was sentenced in absentia to seven years in jail—the well-connected, but very secretive Puiu Popoviciu. Among his many alleged exploits: ownership of the very land on which the US embassy in Bucharest is located. Was that the decisive factor in a case against him?).
While he did not end on a tribunal bench, many of Mr. Popoviciu’s associates, including Mihai Ion Luican, the former Bucharest Prefect, Cornel Serban, the former head of DGIPI (the intelligence service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Ioan Niculae Alecu, the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (USAMV) provost, were all indicted, based on surreptitious tape-recordings and alleged bribes of two bottles of liquor.
Unlike all these examples, in my case, the High Court of Cassation and Justice can’t even contemplate secret tape-recordings and bribes supposedly offered. It’s simple. How could anyone prove I am a fake, when there are still around dozens, even hundreds of people who know me and who could vouch for who I am at any moment. Why they were never asked, this is what we must find out and James Comey, the man whose shadow hovers all over this affair, is one of those who could make it happen.