Escaping The Transylvanian Gulag To The World

Escaping Vampirism In Transylvania to the World

By Dr Olga M. Lazin

In 1963 when I was born in Transylvania, the “golden age” of socialism was in full “progress”.

A mythical space, Transylvania is the place that gave me my roots and brains. In 1963, the Northern part of Romania. Magdalena has given birth to me in one of the most pristine, oxygenated part of town, the beautiful Satu-Mare.

Two years later she gave birth to my brother, Alex in Sighetu Marmatie. The city of Satu Mare was undergoing catastrophic transformations, as it was forcefully modernized by Ceausescu’s decrees, and people from the villages were forced to work in huge, socialistic factories. Along the Somes river, the tiny village of Vetis, where my ancestors on my father’s side were born, is now a heavily populated colorful and diverse, it really grew into a lovely place. On my mother’s side, Bixad, in the Oas region of Romania is still a beautiful traditional village, with houses spread far apart, not all jammed together. My mother was “osanca”, as they would ethnically distinguish her in the old days. There are many ethnicities in my new town we moved to named Sighet. Or Sighetu-Marmatiei. We had Hungarians, Jews, Gipsy, Romanians, and Ruthenians, not to mention Germans, and Tatars.

I was born to a family of middle-class folks Eugene and Magdalena. I was the first child, and right after me came my brother, Alexandru in 1965. I remember being happy having a brother. At age three, my mother Magdalena was transferred by her employer (The Logging Company in Viseul de Sus, Maramures County) to Sighet, in Maramures County. Thus, my parents and I moved to the Transylvanian town of Sighet, in a pristine region behind the mountain of Gutinul.

Transylvania was an ancient forest, where vampires and

wolverines were lurking at the cover of the dark and cold

winter nights.

I never feared the unknown, as I was already accustomed to “strigoi,” and vampire stories ever since I was a baby! All

these weird mythological entities were part of my ecosystem, so to say.

I grew up fearless with my brother, Alex, whom I felt I had to

constantly protect from other belligerent boys in the

neighborhood of Zahana, as it was called the cluster of

houses built by in the sixties and seventies, in Hungarian style; the Jewish headquarters of Zahana.

The Lazin family lived right in the Jewish square, on the same block with Ellie Wiesel’s family, the author of “The Night”. The Jewish family that had been deported in the 40s by the Sigheteni themselves during the fascist period, 1940-1944.

Sighet was surrounded by beautiful green mountains, and three rivers: Mara, Tisa and Iza.

On the one hand, I was friends with the children of intellectuals, as well as also lovely Romanian, Hungarian, Jewish, and Gipsy children to whom I taught the Romanian language as early as fourth grade, in my neighborhood.

On the other hand, my family had a difficult life because my parents were always working until late hours at night. My younger brother Alex and I read the local newspapers while waiting for mother, Magdalena,

to turn off our lights even as she continued into the wee hours her accounting work at home. She was compounding the lengths and width of the wooden logs that were being exported to Russia year by year.

During the day, Magdalena let us play all day long to our heart’s content. So unique, and we felt so free exploring nature in Sighet. When I entered primary school, I learned

that Sighet was officially named Sighetu Marmației (on Romania’s northwest border facing Ukraine’s southwestern border with Romania and Hungary). Marmatiei has been added to mark the overly-emphasized Latinity

Transylvania had been Romanian territory before it was taken away by the Trianon Treaty. It then went to the Kingdom of Hungary (Transylvania) as part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire before World War I. The disputed territory of Transylvania became part of Romania again finally in 1918.

In 1940 Northern Transylvania reverted to Hungary as a result of the Second Vienna Award, but Romanian queen Maria rightfully reclaimed it after the end of World War II.[i]

All of Romania was seized for its oil by Nazi Germany (1940-1944), “liberated” by the “Soviet Union” (1944-1947), and “re-liberated” to become the Popular republic of Romania (under USSR remote control) as the Cold War

was beginning to freeze the Iron Curtain into to place.

The first “president,” Gheorghiu-Dej (1965) ruled as puppet of Moscow, but when he died, his Sec Gen of the Communist Party of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, was elected as the second “president” (1965-1989), shifting his savage dictatorship into a harsher “nationalistic Gulag” than known in the USSR. At the end of 1994 the Russian military organized “presidential” elections of “people’s committees” in the region.[ii] The end of the war occupied some formerly Romanian northeastern territories occupied by the Soviet Union, with Red Army units stationed on Romanian soil. In 1947 Romania forcibly became a People’s Republic (1947–1965).

My parents in 1963: Eugen & Magda: she was pregnant with me here.

For two decades I neither understood the dimensions of tragic situation of Transylvania (located in northeast Romania on the Ukrainian border), nor did I understand that I would have to escape the Gulag of Romania by the skin of my teeth.

I had to risk my life to leave my country. Generals and sports Olympians were defecting.

Nadia Comaneci has left in 1988, one year before Ceausescu was toppled.

Opposition to the regime was building up painstakingly slow, and communist idiots

wanted Ceausescu replaced. The Russian KGB school at work, soviet agents like Iliescu were ready to take his place. Now these were the vampires coming out like vermins to manipulate the population into believing they were “change”.

The Front of national salvation was building up to substitute the dictator’s fascist clique.

For peoples of the world Transylvania seems to be a far-away place, where most people know the werewolves and vampires have been rumored to roam & lurk in nature. In the imagination of people everywhere, whose beliefs are soaked in mystical folklore, even today it is hardly possible to have a rational conversation on any subject matter. Most occupying forces never understood either the culture of the Romanian people or the distinct culture of Transylvania. The immense diversity of the ethnicities and cultures.

Naturally I am a bi-national citizen. My Ruthenian roots are strong, and I rejoice every time I am remembering the pretty pristine landscapes of Sighet and Satu Mare where I was born.

Summoning my unconsciousness to write this autobiographical piece, I need to re-accustom myself to thinking of the distinct cultures of the region.

Once in general school I excelled in Romanian and American Languages.

I had to choose between English and Russian, and I opted for English in the 5th grade.

The population consisted of Romanians, Hungarians (particularly Székelys), Ukrainians, and Germans. Even the Securitate, the eminence grey of Transylvania, had to learn several languages in order to surveil people on the phones, etc. These people were educated by the Soviets in Russian surveillance techniques and bloody procedures.

All these languages are still being spoken on the Territory of Maramures County, including Rroma, or the Gypsy language, Hungarian, Ukrainian, and Ruthenian.

I always liked and loved the Romanian language, so I decided to become a Professor of Romanian Language and Literature.

As I have previously mentioned, n 1973, at age 10 as a fifth grader, I had to make a fateful decision about my choice of foreign-language study: Russian or English. The pressure was on

us to take up Russian, this proving that we were all students loyal to the Dictator Nicole Ceausescu’s “Socialist” Government (read Romanian Communist Government allied with Moscow), but consciously I detested the whole Romanian system and its alliance with the Russians.

I never liked the Russian language; even today it rings hollow to me, reminds me of the barking of a toothless dog.

Although I wanted to learn English in my early years, I did not then know how fateful that choice would be until 1991, when at almost 27 years of age, I met Jim Wilkie who had been advised by his brother Richard to include my town of Sighet in his journey to assess the how Eastern Europe was faring after the fall of the “Berlin Wall,” short for the long wall that kept the people of Communist countries locked and unable to escape.

In the meantime, growing up in Sighet with a population of only 30,000 people, we were proud to recognize Ely Wiesel (born 1928) as our most prominent citizen long before he won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. He helped us get past the terrible history of Sighet Communist Prison where “enemies of the state” were confined until “death due to natural cause.” The Jewish population has been decimated in Sighet in the fifties.

In my early years I had a hard time understanding how the green and flowered valley of Sighet (elevation 1,000 feet, on the Tisa River at the foot of our forested Carpathian Mountains) could be so beautiful, yet we lived under the terribly cruel eye of the Securitate to protect the wretched Dictator Nicolae “Ceausescu,”[iii] is the modern spelling of the Dictator’s name; and he ruled from 1965 to his execution in 1989 as the harshest leader of all the countries behind Russia’s Wall against Western Europe.

Oddly enough, in the Transylvania of the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, supposedly I was living the “Golden Age of Romanian Socialism,” but even to myself as a young student; I could see that the promised “full progress” was clearly a lie. Most adults agreed but feared to speak so bluntly. Repetitive folk songs were praising the father and the mother of the nation, and on TV, we could only watch the first couple running around in China, Russia, and other socialist countries to make alliances, and keep up appearances for 40 years! In Northern Transylvania we had only one TV Channel, and that was the norm. The Hungarian channel was completely blocked out by the government, so that no real news reaches our ears.

In the meantime, without rarely granted permission, we were forbidden to meet and visit with foreigners, especially those who spoke English and who wanted to hear from us about Sighet and its nearby wooden hamlets of the Maramures Province, where I have my first memories.

The region is ethnically diverse, with a stimulating climate ranging from very hot summers and very cold winters. Geographically, we lived in the valleys and Mountains of Gutinul through which the rivers of Iza and Tisa flow. Geographically, the beautiful forested Tisa River is the natural border with Southern Ukraine.

As folklore has it in the West, vampires are native to Transylvania. We had vampires, werewolves, and wolverines, but all the mythological characters were actually members of the Communist Party, which everyone had to join–except for me because with my knowledge, I was considered a security risk!

Fortunately, when in 1982 I entered the University Babes Boljay, in Cluj-Napoca, to earn my M.A. in 1990, for my Philology classes, and I decided to conduct my field research project into the rural life of the North of Romania, recording the folklore (especially myths) invented and passed down by rural folks (including small merchants, farmers, fisherman, loggers) had had used that lore to help them survive for centuries.

Further, much of my research conducted among the outlying farmers, delved deeply into Transylvania Folklore, which prepared me well to understand Communist Party Lore.

Thus, for the second time, my fateful choice of a field research project, the Elitelore project had further prepared me, unknowingly, for my future with Jim Wilkie.

We were constantly studying the elites, and were interviewing them on everything

they were doing. Revolutionaries, Professors, civic society leaders were the best subjects of our research.

Once I had been admitted to the Babes Bolyai University, which was called “the heart and brain of Transylvania,” I also further expanded and deepened deep studies in American language and literature. Also, I studied Romanian language and literature in the Department of Philology. The Bolyai University Is considered the best University in Transylvania.

Upon beginning my mentoring for other students, I was happy to find a sense of freedom. Reading and writing comprehension were my forté during my four years at Cluj. I had always dreamt of being a professor and a writer and seemed to be off to a great start.

But I soon realized that our professors opened the day by reading the mounds of new Decrees just signed by Ceausescu. Thus, I began laughing, and other students join me in mocking the wooden language of Central Planning’s attempt to befuddle us with words from a wooden language, totally bent toward twisting our brains into confused submission. Professors and Securitate officers were acting as sweaty bureaucrats trying to teach us how to sharpen our mental images. Not one professor asked us, “What do each of you really think of all this Ceausescu propaganda of decrees harming the educational process?”

Professors had their favorite students and made sure they pointed this out in class, stifling any competition as they show openly their favoritism or nepotism.

When I reached the age of 22 in1985, I started to be argumentative, criticizing professors, especially the history professor who only knew only the History of the Romanian Communist Party.

The Russians, via the KGB, had been directing Romanian politicians since 1945, and pressured Romanian students to dig useless trenches as well forced women-students to shot Russian weapons, and learn to disassemble and assemble the AK47.

Meanwhile in my University Cluj the atmosphere was dreadful in classes. Restrictions were plentiful and absurd. Speech was not free; one couldn’t discuss issues freely in class, or make any real analysis or debate. One had to regurgitate what the professors were telling us. Modern economics led by and read whatever was there in the old books stacked in the communist library. Until I escaped Romania in 1992, I learned that the so-called economics classes we took taught nothing about money, credit, and such terms as GDP. The Marxian economics involved only fuzzy nonsensical slogans such as “We Romanians have to fight-off the ‘running dogs of capitalism,” without the word “capitalism” ever being defined except in unrealistic theory laced with epithets.

Even as an English major, I was not permitted to speak with foreigners in English –answering one question was a crime, according to the tendentious Security Decrees. Abortion was a crime punishable for up to 20 years in prison. Doctors performing it ended up in jail, and so did the pregnant women. Punishments were ridiculous—the Anti-Abortion Law lasted for 40 years, until 1990.

Furthermore, if my uncle from Canada visited us, we were all under surveillance, the entire family. Even today, in 2017 one has to report to the police to declare if any visitor of family comes from the USA (or Canada, for some bizarre security reason). Well, after 25 years, not much has changed in poor Romania.

THE INFLUENCE OF RECENT ROMANIAN HISTORY

In the meantime, the History of Transylvania weighed heavily on population of Romania, with constant change in the emerging political map always have left “citizens” always lost about who was really in charge.

Thus, Transylvania was originally part of the Dacia Kingdom between 82 BC until the Roman conquest in 106 AD. The capital of Dacia was destroyed by the Romans, so that a new as capital would serve the Roman Province of Dacia, which lasted until 350 ADS, by which time the Romans felt so hated that it behooved them withdraw back to Rome.

During the late 9th century, western Transylvania was conquered by the Hungarian Army to later become part of the Kingdom of Hungary and in 1570 to devolve into the Principality of Transylvania. During most of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Principality became an Ottoman Empire vassal state, confusingly also governed by the Habsburg Empire. After 1711 Transylvania was consolidated solely into the Hapsburg Empire and Transylvanian princes were replaced with Habsburg imperial governors. After 1867, Transylvania ceased to have separate status and was incorporated into the Kingdom of Hungary as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[iv] After World War I, Transylvania reverted in 1918 to be part of Romania. In 1940 Northern Transylvania again became governed by Hungary and then Germany, but Romanian queen Maria successfully reclaimed it after the end of World War II.

The year 1940 was important for Romania because if was seized for its oil by Nazi Germany (1940-1944), “liberated” by the “Soviet Union” (1944-1947), and finally “re-liberated” to

become the Popular republic of Romania (under USSR remote control), as the Cold War was beginning to freeze the Iron Curtain into place.

At the end of World War II while the USSR and its Red Army were the occupying powers in

all Romania, in 1947 Romania forcibly and ironically became a “People’s Republic” (1947–1989), after the rise of the Iron Curtain.

The first “president,” Gheorghiu-Dej (1947) ruled as puppet of Moscow, but when he died, his Secretary General of the Communist Party of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, was elected as the second “president” (1965-1989), shifting his savage dictatorship into a harsher Romanian “Gulag” than known in the USSR. Thousands of Romanians had vanished overnight.

For two decades, I neither understood the dimensions of tragic history of Transylvania, nor did I yet realize that I would have to escape the Gulag of Romania, even if by the “skin of my teeth.”

For peoples of the world Transylvania seems to be a faraway place, where most people know the werewolves and vampires have been “seen” to in the imagination of Transylvanians, whose

beliefs were soaked in mystical folklore. Even today it is hardly possible to have a rational conversation with most the Transylvanian folk on any subject without recourse to try to understand where their distorted imagination has befuddled them.

The population has consisted of Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, and some Ukrainians. These languages are still being spoken in Romania’s Maramures province, but because I always liked and loved Romanian language, I decided to become a Professor of Romanian Language

and Literature. I also precociously fell in love with my English Professor, Spaczai.

MY BACKDROP TO THE FALL OF CEAUSESCU

I later told Jim how I had been admitted in 1982 to the Babes-Bolyai University, in Cluj-Napoca at the heart of Transylvania, I focused especially on Linguistics. Unfortunately, there I found that the professors, who were under the control of sweaty-stinking Securitate officers, had to read dozens of new Decrees issued every day as they sought to control every one of our daily actions—all in the name of protecting the Ceausescu government—which was selling the country’s food supplies to Russia in order to pay down Roman’s official debt with exports. Those Securitate officers ate well and ominously watched us virtually starve. They said, be calm, like your parents in the face of their starvation. Secu’ officers were the vampires and the wolverines that I was talking about in my first paragraph. They are surveillance officers, and this is what they do: inform on innocent people, place all types of microphones under people’s tables and beds, and that have fun as perverted this may sound in almost every home in Sighet, Maramures County. They report on you, and this earns them a living.

Thus, I furiously called out in my classes that our very existence was being compromised by Ceausescu’s abandonment of the population, which was ordered to, as Lenin famously said, “work, work, and work.”

To protect myself as best I could, I turned to humor, seeking to ridicule Ceausescu’s “national paradise.” But when I encouraged my classmates to laugh at the propaganda embedded in the wooden language of the national bureaucracy, I soon fell under the heavy scrutiny of university authorities, who were furious that I trying to expose the fact that all classes had been organized to befuddle the student body into confused submission. Indeed, each professor had favorite students to help drown out legitimate questions and stifle any competing analysis—the university lived under nepotism, favoritism, the threat of rape (virtual and real) by the Securitate officers, and open bribery by the professors–choose your garden variety.

My 1986 Attempt To Flee The Jail Named Romania

By 1986, at age 23, I had decided to flee Romania—an illegal act because Ceausescu did not

want anyone (especially women of child-bearing age) to escape his plan to building his “ideal socialist industries” on farms and ranches as well as in the cities. In June, I made my way to

the border of Yugoslavia and paid a smuggler to evade the Romanian security forces that were preventing the “nations workers” from escaping. The smuggler, who took me across the border, turned out to be working for Romanian Border Police. Thus, soon after crossing into

Yugoslavia, he turned his wagon around and I was again in Romania again when I realized what had happened too late. I had been “sold” to Ceausescu’s minions for a wagonload of salt and 20 Liters of gasoline. Iosif Broztito, the President of socialist Yugoslavia had this type of deal with Nicolae Ceausescu in the1980s.

Thousands were returned for this kind of draconian exchange.

That failed escape from Romania led me to a 10-month prison sentence in Timisoara Prison, wherein the block cells were maintained so cold (supposedly to eliminate bacteria and viruses) that it made all of us inmates sick with the cold and the flu.

Bed blankets in the were less warming than one Kleenex tissue. Moreover, there were no pillows, and the concrete slab where inmates slept was a “back-breaker.” The lights were on 24 hours a day, blinding all of us, and there was constant observation. Every hour one was awakened to be counted for, and sneaking up on people, under the guise of watching out for suicides. But everyone could be clearly seen by the guards, and there was no need to sleep-deprive inmates. There was also someone in the higher echelon ripping off the food budget to siphon money to themselves while serving inmates only baby carrots and spicy beans.

Almost every family in Romanian civil society had at least one member who had been imprisoned for trying to open the political system by denouncing the Ceausescu dictatorship. These inmates were openly called “Political Prisoners,” and I was one of them.

Political Prisoners were not permitted to work outside the prison walls in the fields because our crime had been the political decision to repudiate Ceausescu’s “vampiristic system.”

“CHANGE IN THE AIR”

Once free in 1987, I could finally return to my University to finally complete my M.A. in 1990 at Babes-Bolyai in Cluj Napoca.

Further in 1987, at the age of 24, I met the Family patriarch Nicolae Pipas,[v] who directed for the Communist government the walled Regional Art Museum in a quiet part of Sighet. When he realized that I was a Professor of the English and Romania Languages, and one of the few university’s highly educated persons in the region, I began to serve as interpreter/guide to visiting foreign Ambassadors permitted to travel in Romania. They wanted to see the Museum with its magnificent collection of paintings, sculptures, and rare historical pottery and coins. Thus,

I soon found myself interpreting and translating for visiting English-Speaking Ambassadors from many countries who wished to know Transylvania, especially my village Sighet and its Merry Cemetery famous worldwide for it tombstones in the form of wood sculpture of the butcher, the baker, candlestick maker, and all professions.

Although my first languages were Romanian and Hungarian, I could also translate into French and Italian. Indeed, at that time I was teaching Latin in the Rural School System of my Maramures Province.

Ceausescu and his clique has starved us to death, and all food was rationalized.

A piece of bread for each individual, an d1 liter of oil per month, as well as salami was distributed to the people lined up for days in front of the empty-shelved stores. And the time for distributing food was also set arbitrarily by the communist Party.

By 1989, Ceausescu realized that his end was near, and he sought to gain support by pardoning his political prisoners (such as myself) who had tried to escape the horrendous conditions in the country. Hence, university students and some labor unions joined forces and quite quickly after the fall of the Berlin Wall forced Ceausescu and his draconian wife Elena to flee. They were caught and executed on Christmas Day, 1989, by the military that at the last moment joined the Revolution.

‘As my friends and I (along with most of the population) cheered the fall of the failed, rotten Romanian “dictatorship of the proletariat,” my dear mother acted differently. She was so confused by the propaganda of the only “leader” she knew much about that she wept for Ceausescu, not fully realizing that he was the one who had wrongly had be arrested and put me in prison.

In 1989, Romanian students were fed up with the dictatorship, and started a rebellion in Bucharest, at the University Square. Simultaneously, people in Timisoara also started the revolution via civil disobedience. For a week and so there were bloody fights in Bucharest and Timisoara, young

People trying to get rid of Ceausescu’s regime. So finally, Iliescu another communist monster (schooled in Moscow) took over and under the pretext of filling the vacuum of power he self-appointed himself president.

He stole the revolution with his acolytes, and over 1000 people were dead in the streets.

With Ceausescu gone, in 1990 I was able to secure a passport to ready myself to leave Romania by gaining visas for Germany and France. The question remained, how to get there by land without a visa to Austria—my region had no air connection to the outside world.

There was only one airport in the country, in Bucharest.

I decided to leave with Professor James m Wilkie and Jim Platler in September 17, 1990.

Jim has filled out all the paperwork to hire me, and I gratefully accepted to work for

PROFMEX, a global network of Professors studying Mexico and the World.

Thus, we set out on that September 18th to visit one of the most socially and economically interesting and beautiful parts of Romania by going up thought the green forested Carpathian Mountains via the beautiful Prislop Pass, stopping to visit small farming families in their folkloric clothing of which they were justifiably proud to wear on a daily basis. Farther east in Romania, on the scenic roads, we visited the monasteries of Moldova, the town of Cimpulung Moldovenesc, Suceava, and then the Monasteries in Sucevita and Agapia. The gorgeous forested mountain road eventually led to Lacul Rosu and the lake country. Then we took the long scenic mountain road to Cluj Napoca to visit my prestigious University.

As I briefed Jim about Romania, he was briefing me about factors in comparing national economies. For example, he told me about how he had reunited in Prague on September 15th with Richard Beesen, his former UCLA student and friend, to hear about his role in London as Manager of Deutsche Bank’s New Accounts in Russia and Eastern Europe. Richard had become famous for inviting Banking Officials and national Treasury Ministries to deposit their financial reserves on deposit in his bank in London. But because his clients did not understand anything about “interest payments” on deposited funds, they did not ask for nor did they gain any interest payments. Also, because most Western Banks were not sure that these new “capitalists” could be “fully trusted” for correct management of their deposits, his Deutsche Bank collected large fees (and paid no interest to keep the Eastern Europe “bank reserves safe.” This was all very eye opening for me.

Jim and I had realized early on that we had a close affinity as we analyzed the situation of Romania, and he said, “Call me Jim.” (In contrast I called Professor James Platler “JP.”) As we traveled to observe the situation of the people in different parts of the country, Jim and I formed a deep bond of observing and analyzing; thus, both of us realized this brief interlude had to continue for the long term in order to achieve our goals.

NEXT STOPS, BUDAPEST, SALZBURG, MUNICH,

BORDEAUX (FOR ME), AND LOS ANGELES (FOR JIM)

As a Romanian, I had the right to enter Hungary, and we did so bypassing the miles of vehicles waiting to cross the border for the long drive to Budapest. There Prof. James Platler finally relaxed after the long drives and often poor hotels and hotels—he said that he finally found unbroken civilization again.

Once we arrived in Budapest, Professor James Platler, who had told Jim privately that from the outset of our trip that he thought that I was a “Spy” (planted on us by the Romanian Securitate to monitor our many “foreign” inquiries during our travel through Romania’s north country), announced that his concern about me had vanished as we realized the extent of my knowledge and research abilities. In his mind, I had to be a Spy because I had obtained access to special private dining rooms and quarter in some fine hotels, as well as invitations for wonderful lunches at some Monasteries, where miraculously I made immediate friends with each Mother Superior. But by the time we reached Budapest, he realized that at my University I had learned the Elite skills needed to survive safely and comfortably in Eastern Europe.

My problem was to enter Austria, where I had no visa. But Jim passed his UCLA business card through to the Consul General of Austria in Budapest, and quickly we found ourselves whisked from the back of the long line to the front and right into a meeting with the Consul General himself. He was pleased to hear about the research of our UCLA Team, but said that I did have a visa. Jim then told them that I only needed a three-day transit visa to reach Germany, the visa for which he could see in my passport.

With entry to Austria solved, we were on the road to the Hotel Kobentzl and Graz, which overlook Salzburg, all the way analyzing the comparative economic and social situations of Austria, Hungary, and Romania.

We spent most of our time down the mountain from Kobentzl to the valley, before returning to our sweeping Hotel view of Salzburg City. Meanwhile I was deepening my questions about capital is leveraged to undertake big private projects. As we took photos over from on high looking down on the many bridges of Salzburg and Jim was explaining how the developed world operated by using finances, credit, and interest to help economies grow.

Finally, we left Salzburg to enter Germany and Munich, where our quick look into Oktoberfest found us among nasty drunken louts each of whom seemingly had hand four hands: one to chug-a-lug beer; one to smoke foul smelling cigarettes; one to quaff horrible-bleeding-raw sausages; and one to punch someone in the face. From what we saw, Oktoberfest was a place for nasty males seeking to “get smashed on beer” and then smash another male to break his nose. Thus, we fled for our lives as the brutes began to threaten anyone who looked at them.

Even though the “English-Speaking USA” had been supposedly always threatening to invade Romania, I continued to study English language and literature. That I chose to study English even though the act alone brought suspicion on me because all society was taught to believe since 1945 that we were fighting off the Great USA.[vi] America was officially seen as a threat to Romania and its allies under Russia’s COMECON,[vii] all of which I became only fully aware as I grew older and had to buy the English Course textbooks on the risky, expensive Black Market, in Timisoara, a 4 hours’ drive from Cluj-Napoca.

In the meantime, without rarely granted permission, we were forbidden to meet and visit with foreigners, especially those who spoke English and who wanted to hear from us about Sighet and its nearby wooden hamlets of the Maramures Province, where I have my first memories.

The region is ethnically diverse, with a stimulating climate ranging from very hot summers and very cold winters. Geographically, we lived in the valleys and Mountains of Gutinul through which the rivers of Iza and Tisa flow. Geographically, the beautiful forested Tisa

River is the natural border with Southern Ukraine. Mara is another river I explored in my youth with my brother, Alex.

My mother Magdalena decided, when I was 3, to move from Satu-Mare to the Sighet, Maramures county. For me this change was welcome, and I grew up in the Maramures region, where I have I have my first memories. The region was much nicer, ethnically more diverse, better climate, and more geographic diversity, with the Mountains of Gutinul and the rivers of Iza and Tisa, as Tisa was the natural border with the Ukraine.

As folklore has it in the West, vampires are native to Transylvania. We had vampires, werewolves, and wolverines, but all the mythological characters were actually members of the Communist Party and infamous security officers, which everyone had to join–except for me because with my knowledge, I was considered a security risk! I actually refused to join the bloody red party, and so did one of my girl colleagues, Michaela Pascu-Arvedson, who lives in Malmo, Sweden now. Non-alignment meant we were the black sheep of the class.

Fortunately, when in 1982 I entered the University Babes Boljay, in Cluj-Napoca, to earn my M.A. in 1990, for my Philology classes, I decided to conduct my field research project into the rural life of the North of Romania, recording the folklore (especially myths) invented and passed down by rural folks (including small merchants, farmers, fisherman, loggers) had had used that lore to help them survive for centuries.

Further, much of my research conducted among the outlying farmers, delved deeply into Transylvania Folklore, which prepared me well to understand Communist Party Lore, and unjustified secret security surveillance.

Once I had been admitted to the Babes Boljay University, which was called “the heart and brain of Transylvania,” I also further expanded and deepened deep studies in American language and literature. Also, I had studied Romanian language and literature in the Department of Philology. The Bolyai University is still considered to this day the best University in Transylvania.

Upon beginning my mentoring for other students, I was happy to find a sense of freedom. Reading and writing comprehension were my forté during my four years at Cluj. I had always dreamt of being a professor and a writer and seemed to be off to a great start.

But I soon realized that our professors opened the day by reading the mounds of new Decrees just signed by Ceausescu. Thus, I began laughing, and other students join me in mocking the wooden language of Central Planning’s attempt to befuddle us with words from a wooden language, totally bent toward twisting our brains into confused submission. Professors and Securitate officers were acting as sweaty bureaucrats trying to teach us how to sharpen our mental images. Not one professor asked us, “What do each of you really think of all this Ceausescu propaganda of decrees harming the educational process?”

Professors had their favorite students and made sure they pointed this out in class, stifling any competition as they show openly their favoritism or nepotism.

When I reached the age of 22 in1985, I started to be argumentative, criticizing professors, especially the history professor who only knew only the History of the Romanian Communist Party.

The Russians, via the KGB, had been directing Romanian politicians since 1945, and pressured Romanian students to dig useless trenches as well forced women-students to shot Russian weapons, and learn to disassemble and assemble the AK47.

Meanwhile in my University Cluj the atmosphere was dreadful in classes. Restrictions were plentiful and absurd. Speech was not free; one couldn’t discuss issues freely in class, or make any real analysis or debate. One had to regurgitate what the professors were telling us. Modern economics led by and read whatever was there in the old books stacked in the communist library. Until I escaped Romania in 1992, I learned that the so-called economics classes we took taught nothing about money, credit, and such terms as GDP. The Marxian economics involved only fuzzy nonsensical slogans such as “We Romanians have to fight-off the ‘running dogs of capitalism,” without the word “capitalism” ever being defined except in unrealistic theory laced with epithets.

Even as an English major, I not permitted to speak with foreigners in English –answering one question was a crime, according to the tendentious Security Decrees. Abortion was a crime punishable for up to 20 years in prison. Doctors performing it ended up in jail, and so did the pregnant women. Punishments were ridiculous—the Anti-Abortion Law lasted for 40 years, until 1990.

Furthermore, if my uncle from Canada visited us, we were all under surveillance, the entire family. Even today, in 2017 one has to report to the police to declare if any visitor of family comes from the USA (or Canada, for some bizarre security reason). Well, after 25 years, not much has changed in poor Romania.

As I said previously, my childhood was marked by fights as I had to protect my little brother Alexandru. In high school, I was known as the student-poet, the class poet, and I won some pretty prizes for my poems in General School, coordinated closely with Ileana Zubascu Cristescu; my Romanian Language Professor. I am still in touch with her to this day.

My mother has been my best mentor and role model, a Taurus lady with a big heart and soul, honest and loving forever. Here she is in Sinaia, 2000, one year before she died of a massive heart attack in September 2001.

I had another flashback coming to me. The academia was infested with egregious communists.

I was admitted to the University in Cluj in 1982, in the heart of Transylvania, namely the American Language and Literature and Romanian Language And Literature Department of Philology. The professors, started reading the mounds of new Decrees every day, which made me laugh, and staff of the university was suspicious of me not believing their “expose” in the classrooms. Professors were

trying to befuddle us with words from a wooden language, totally bent toward twisting our brains into confused submission. During my college years, Professors, and Securitate officers were acting as sweaty bureaucrats, uneducated idiots trying to tell us what to think. Not one professor asked us, “What do you really think, all of you?” Each professor had their favorite students and made sure they pointed it out in class, stifling any competition, and showed openly their favoritism or nepotism.

When I reached 22 years, I started being argumentative, and started criticizing professors, esp. the history professor. I was getting so sick at academics yelling at us, and being forced to do the military service as a woman in the academia. After all, Americans were coming to take away our socialist country.

We couldn’t t buy books in English, and I was an English major.

We couldn’t talk to foreigners, and the atmosphere was dreadful in classes. Speech was not free; one couldn’t argue in class, or make any real analysis or debate. You had to regurgitate what they were telling you, and read whatever was there in the old books stacked in the communist library. I was an English major, but could not get the books in English necessary for the Exams. They did not exist. Talking to foreigners in English or answering one question was a crime, according to a stupid decree. Abortion was a crime for 20 years. Doctors performing it ended up in jail, and so did the pregnant women. 5 years jail for an abortion. If my uncle from Canada visited us, we were all under surveillance, the entire family. Even today, in 2014 one has to go and declare if you have family visiting from the USA or CANADA for some bizarre security reasons. Well even after 26 years, not much has changed in poor Romania. The Securitate is still doing surveillances of Romania’s “enemies” and even ramped up surveillance now using NATO funds to control people in key positions of government, be it local, municipal, or at federal level.

Now, writing this, it all came back to my mind’s eye: I was a professor of Romanian and English in Sighetu Marmatiei, Maramures County, at School #2 for 6 years. Teaching English and American languages and grammar was my favorite thing, and my goal was to move to the West. So I settled in Tisa with my then-husband, Valerian Pipas.

It was very exacting commuting all the time from Tisa where I lived in our private Museum (Pipas Museum of Art) to Sighet by bus. I also taught Latin and English to people just to make ends meet. Salaries were dismal for intellectuals. So, finally I had it, and decided to leave in 1986. We were caught on the border and sent back in 1984. Ceausescu, the “father” of the nation pardoned all border violations in 1983, as prisons were full with civil society activists.

The jail was so cold in Timisoara to keep the bacteria and viruses that it made everybody sick internally with the cold and the flue. Most of civil society was imprisoned, for trying to open the system, and denounce the Ceausescu dictatorship. The blanket was as warm as a kleenex tissue. Moreover, there were no pillows, and the concrete slab where inmates slept was a back-breaker. The lights were on 24 hours a day, blinding all of us, and there was constant observation. Every hour one was awakened to be counted. All under the guise of watching out for suicides. But everyone could be clearly seen by the guards, and there was no need to sleep-deprive inmates, as they were doing. There was also someone in the higher echelon ripping off the food bill. They served only baby carrots, and spicy beans. Prisoners were forced to labor in the fields and sorting out what was left of pigs to be

Exported, to pay off Romania’s debt to the IMF. Yes, that was Ceausescu’s dream. Famishing the

Nation, sacrificing entire generations of people, just to pay off the debt. I remember studying without lights, only a candle for exams, and not having eggs or meat for years. In 1984 my father sold his house for a pig. Peasants had to give up parts of their products to the state. Taxes were paid in food.

The most difficult years of my life: 1984 to 89.

ESCAPING THE ROMANIAN GULAG

My poor mother Magdalena, was so confused by the propaganda, that she started crying after the death of the nation’s father, Ceausescu. Nicolae together with Elena were shot execution style by his opponent, socialist, KGB educated Ion Iliescu, who stole the revolution from the young people of the University Square in Bucharest. Our revolution. Adding insult to injury, Iliescu appropriated our hurt and sorrow, hijacked power with the media, and ruined the country all over again.

My endurance had limits. Fed up with all the restrictions, and full of frustrations, I hit the border with Yugoslavia.

I have been unfairly jailed as I tried to leave the country in 1986.

I was ready to give up my life, just to escape people in an impossible country, with impossible leadership.

It has become unlivable for many people. In 1989, Ceausescu finally pardoned everybody who tried to escape the horrendous conditions in the country.

The first act of freedom I have performed it was to secure a passport for myself. And got married to Valerian Pipas, a famous violinist from Virismort, Tisa in Maramures county. Otherwise the consulate would not have given me the visas. Conditions were the following: one had to be married, and own a house. Truly I enjoyed being married to a musician; he played the violin and I danced tango and Csardas in weekends.

I have been teaching English in Sighet, Tisa, and Giulesti, as well as Camara for another 10 years. Conditions were absolutely horrendous in schools; no heating in schools, no teaching material, and constant harassment from colleagues of being informed on if one spoke the truth about the regime, or criticized the leadership.

After I finally left Romania, when an execution squad shot Ceausescu in December 26, 1989 for Christmas. Nice gift to the Romanian people.

When the regime changed in 1990, I was free to get a passport, and Organized Conferences and Seminars at the University of Babes-Bolyai, in the heart of Transylvania. I was mostly writing on destatification and privatization of Romanian companies. 51% of MARA, the textiles company I researched was finally sold to the Germans. The opening up of Romani has finally begun.

It was on a rainy September 17th day, in Sighet. Shortly after, I have met American professors from UCLA, who were doing a study on the effects of the Cold War in post-socialist countries. My observations were very valuable to Dr Wilkie who then asked me to guide the academic group through Eastern Europe. They were traveling in a German Opel (a U.S. made car). I took them to the Museum of my friend, D-ra Mihaly de Apsa, in my hometown, Sighet.

She was the last descendant of a fine lineage of Romanian revolutionaries fighting for the unification of Romania in 1918; Mihaly de Apsa. James was enchanted to have met her, alive in her pretty museum of “Pasoptisti.”

Together, we went to the Merry Cemetery, and it was dusk by the time Dr James Wilkie from the University of Los Angeles, California, arrived in Sighet at the Marmatia Hotel. His book was about cycles of statism in Socialist countries. He has written over 30 books on economic development.

I’ll start by depicting the blessed places I went through in 1991, on one of the most beautiful part of Romania, through Pasul Prislop. We went Around Romania, visited the monasteries of Moldova, C-lung Moldovenesc, Suceava, Sucevita to visit the Agapia and other fabulous, now UN recognized, stupendous monasteries.

Then we went to Lacul Rosu. We took the scenic road to Cluj Napoca, where I was trying to get the plane in order to fly out to Paris, in France. I had all the visas. But there was no flight. No airport and I was not going to go through Bucharest, but via Hungary.

Nobody took credit cards, so Jim had to take out a lot of cash, so that we can travel safely.

Seeing how The Professor cared, I fell in love with Jim Wilkie.

I was deeply in love with James Wilkie, whom has hired me as a guide.

He said: “call me Jim”. We finally left for Budapest after the airport visit in Cluj Napoca.

We got through Budapest, finally, and then got out towards Austria and Germany.

Our colleague, Dr James Platler was worried that I was a spy, as we received special private rooms, and great Hotel deals, plus good lunches at the Monastery, where I was a good friend with Mother Superior of Agapia Monastery.

I was just happy to be a guide in many countries.

As folklore has it in the West, vampires are native to Transylvania. We had vampires, werewolves, and wolverines, but all the mythological characters were actually members of the Communist Party, which everyone had to join–except for me because with my knowledge, I was considered a security risk!

Fortunately, when in 1982 I entered the University Babes Boljay, in Cluj-Napoca, to earn my M.A. in 1990, for my sociology classes, I decided to conduct my field research project into the rural life of the North of Romania, recording the folklore (especially myths) invented and passed down by rural folks (including small merchants, farmers, fisherman, loggers) had had used that lore to help them survive for centuries.

Further, much of my research conducted among the outlying farmers, delved deeply into Transylvania Folklore, which prepared me well to understand Communist Party Lore.

Thus, for the second time, my fateful choice of a field research project had further prepared me, unknowingly, for my future with Jim Wilkie.

Once I had been admitted to the Babes Boljay University, which was called “the heart and brain of Transylvania,” I also further expanded and deepened deep studies in American language and literature. Also, I studied Romanian language and literature in the Department of Philology. The Bolyai University Is considered the best University in Transylvania.

Upon beginning my mentoring for other students, I was happy to find a sense of freedom. Reading and writing comprehension were my forté during my four years at Cluj. I had always dreamt of being a professor and a writer and seemed to be off to a great start.

But I soon realized that our professors opened the day by reading the mounds of new Decrees just signed by Ceausescu. Thus, I began laughing, and other students join me in mocking the wooden language of Central Planning’s attempt to befuddle us with words from a wooden language, totally bent toward twisting our brains into confused submission. Professors and Securitate officers were acting as sweaty bureaucrats trying to teach us how to sharpen our mental images. Not one professor asked us,

“What do each of you really think of all this Ceausescu propaganda of decrees harming the educational process?”

Professors had their favorite students and made sure they pointed this out in class, stifling any competition as they show openly their favoritism or nepotism.

When I reached the age of 22 in1985, I started to be argumentative, criticizing professors, especially the history professor who only knew only the History of the Romanian Communist Party.

The Russians, via the KGB, had been directing Romanian politicians since 1945, and pressured Romanian students to dig useless trenches as well forced women-students to shot Russian weapons, and learn to disassemble and assemble the AK47.

Meanwhile in my University Cluj the atmosphere was dreadful in classes. Restrictions were plentiful and absurd. Speech was not free; one couldn’t discuss issues freely in class, or make any real analysis or debate. One had to regurgitate what the professors were telling us. Modern economics led by and read whatever was there in the old books stacked in the communist library. Until I escaped Romania in 1992, I learned that the so-called economics classes we took taught nothing about money, credit, and such terms as GDP. The Marxian economics involved only fuzzy nonsensical slogans such as “We Romanians have to fight-off the ‘running dogs of capitalism,” without the word “capitalism” ever being defined except in unrealistic theory laced with epithets.

Even as an English major, I not permitted to speak with foreigners in English –answering one’s question was a crime, according to the tendentious Security Decrees. Abortion was a crime punishable for up to 5 years in prison. Doctors caught performing it ended up in jail, and so did the pregnant women. Over 10.000 women died trying to perform abortions on themselves, or botched it, not knowing how to escape having children that they had no means to raise in a country rife with complete hunger.

Even today, Romania has the highest rate of orphans in the whole world. Over one million kids.

Punishments were ridiculous—the Anti-Abortion Law lasted for 40 years, until 1990.

Furthermore, if my uncle from Canada visited us, we were all under surveillance, the entire family. Even today, in 2017 one has to report to the police to declare if any visitor of family comes from the USA (or Canada, for some bizarre security reason). Well, after 25 years, not much has changed in poor Romania.

With Ceausescu finally gone, after 40 years of dictatorship, in 1990 I was able to secure a passport in order to ready myself to leave Romania by gaining visas for Germany and France. I had a lovely family in Bordeaux, namely Saint-Denise-de-Pile, who invited me over to Bordeaux, the Godrie family, so I pursued this wonderful opportunity, and decided to visit them in Saint-Denis-De-Pile. I spoke impeccable French. I corresponded for years with Muguette Godrie, my beloved friend who sponsored my stay in France.

Meanwhile, the question remained, how to get there by land without a visa to Austria— as my isolated region of Transylvania had no air connection to the outside world til late in 1990.

I succeeded to finally extract myself from that virtual prison, and

we had to do it by car. Pumped up and having all the visas in my

passport, I took off with Jim on September 16, 1990 in an Opel,

which remains my favorite car to this day. They ended

manufacturing the Opel in 1990. I took my life in my own hands;

how liberating this thought was, and I conjure this moment every day in my mind in order to preserve my independence and autonomy.

THE INFLUENCE OF RECENT ROMANIAN HISTORY

In the meantime, the History of Transylvania weighed heavily on population of Romania, with constant change in the emerging political map always have left “citizens” always lost about who was really in charge.

Thus, Transylvania was originally part of the Dacia Kingdom between 82 BC until the Roman conquest in 106 AD. The capital of Dacia was destroyed by the Romans, so that a new as capital would serve the Roman Province of Dacia, which lasted until 350 AD, by which time the Romans felt so hated that it behooved them to withdraw back to Rome.

During the late 9th century, western Transylvania was conquered by the Hungarian Army to later become part of the Kingdom of Hungary and in 1570 to devolve into the Principality of Transylvania. During most of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Principality became an Ottoman Empire vassal state, confusingly also governed by the Habsburg Empire. After 1711 Transylvania was consolidated solely into the Hapsburg Empire and Transylvanian princes were replaced with Habsburg imperial governors. After 1867, Transylvania ceased to have separate status and was incorporated into the Kingdom of Hungary as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[viii] After World War I, Transylvania reverted in 1918 to be part of Romania. In 1940 Northern Transylvania again became governed by Hungary and then Germany, but Romanian queen Maria successfully reclaimed it after the end of World War II.

The year 1940 was important for Romania because if was seized for its oil by Nazi Germany (1940-1944), “liberated” by the “Soviet Union” (1944-1947), and finally “re-liberated” to become the Popular republic of Romania (under USSR remote control), as the Cold War was beginning to freeze the Iron Curtain into place.

At the end of World War II while the USSR and its Red Army were the occupying powers in all Romania, in 1947 Romania forcibly and ironically became a “People’s Republic” (1947–1989), after the rise of the Iron Curtain.

The first “president,” Gheorghiu-Dej (1947) ruled as puppet of Moscow, but when he died, his Secretary General of the Communist Party of Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu, was elected as the second “president” (1965-1989), shifting his savage dictatorship into a harsher Romanian “Gulag” than known in the USSR.

For two decades I neither understood the dimensions of tragic history of Transylvania, nor did I yet realize that I would have to escape the Gulag of Romania, even if by the “skin of my teeth.”

For peoples of the world Transylvania seems to be a far-away place, where most people know the werewolves and vampires have been “seen” to in the imagination of Transylvanians, whose beliefs was soaked in mystical folklore. Even today it is hardly possible to have a rational conversation with most the Transylvanian folk on any subject without recourse to try to understand where their distorted imagination has befuddled them.

The population has consisted of Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, and some Ukrainians. These languages are still being spoken in Romania’s Maramures province, but because I always liked and loved the Romanian language, I decided to become a Professor of Romanian Language and Literature, as well as American Language and Civilization.

MY BACKDROP TO THE FALL OF CEAUSESCU

I later told Jim how I had been admitted in 1982 to the Babes-Bolyai University, in Cluj-Napoca at the heart of Transylvania, I focused especially on Linguistics. Unfortunately, there I found that the professors, who were under the control of sweaty-stinking Securitate officers, had to read dozens of new Decrees issued every day as they sought to control every one of our daily actions—all in the name of protecting the Ceausescu government—which was selling the country’s food supplies to Russia in order to pay down Roman’s official debt with exports. Those Securitate officers ate well and ominously watched us virtually starve. They said, be calm, like your parents in the face of their starvation.

Thus, I furiously called out in my classes that our very existence was being compromised by Ceausescu’s abandonment of the population, which was ordered to, as Lenin famously said, “work, work, and work.”

To protect myself as best I could, I turned to humor, seeking to ridicule Ceausescu’s “national paradise.” But when I encouraged my classmates to laugh at the propaganda embedded in the wooden language of the national bureaucracy, I soon fell under the heavy scrutiny of university authorities, who were furious that I trying to expose the fact that all classes had been organized to befuddle the student body into confused submission. Indeed, each professor had favorite students to help drown out legitimate questions and stifle any competing analysis—the university lived under nepotism, favoritism, the threat of rape (virtual and real) by the Securitate officers, and open bribery by the professors–choose your garden variety.

Knowing My Real value And Having A Spine

By 1986, at age 23, I had decided to flee Romania—an illegal act because Ceausescu did not want anyone (especially women of child-bearing age) to escape his plan to building his “ideal socialist industries” on farms and ranches as well as in the cities. In June I made my way to the border of Yugoslavia and paid a smuggler to evade the Romanian security forces that were preventing the “nations

workers” from escaping. The smuggler, who took me across the border, turned out to be working for Romanian Border Police. Thus, soon after crossing into Yugoslavia, he turned his wagon around and I was again in Romania again when I realized what had happened too late. I had been “sold” to Ceausescu’s minions for a wagonload of salt and 20 Liters of gasoline. Thousands were returned for this kind of draconian exchange.

That failed escape from Romania led me to a 10-month prison sentence in Timisoara Prison, wherein the block cells were maintained so cold (supposedly to eliminate bacteria and viruses) that it made all of us inmates sick with the cold and the flu.

Bed blankets in the were less warming than one Kleenex tissue. Moreover, there were no pillows, and the concrete slab where inmates slept was a “back-breaker.” The lights were on 24 hours a day, blinding all of us, and there was constant observation. Every hour one was awakened to be counted for, and sneaking up on people, under the guise of watching out for suicides. But everyone could be clearly seen by the guards, and there was no need to sleep-deprive inmates. There was also someone in the higher echelon ripping off the food budget to siphon money to themselves while serving inmates only baby carrots and spicy beans.

Almost every family in Romanian civil society had at least one member who had been imprisoned for trying to open the political system by denouncing the Ceausescu dictatorship. These inmates were openly called “Political Prisoners,” and I was one of them.

Political Prisoners were not permitted to work outside the prison walls in the fields because our crime had been the political decision to repudiate Ceausescu’s “fantastic system.”

ROMANIAN PEOPLE ARE FACING DISASTER AND FAMINE

“CHANGE IN THE AIR”

Once free in 1987, I could return to my University to finally complete my M.A. in 1990, in Cluj Napoca.

Further in 1987, at the age of 24, I met Valerian Pipas, my future husband.

His family, the patriarch Nicolae Pipas,[ix] was the owner of a museum, and directed for the Communist government the walled Regional Art Museum in a quiet part of Sighet. When he realized that I was a Professor of the English and Romania Languages, and one of the few university’s highly educated persons in the region, I began to serve as interpreter/guide to visiting foreign Ambassadors permitted to travel in Romania. They wanted to see the Museum with its magnificent collection of paintings, sculptures, and rare historical pottery and coins. Thus, I soon found myself interpreting and translating for visiting English-Speaking Ambassadors from many countries who wished to know Transylvania, especially my village Sighet and its Merry Cemetery famous worldwide for it tombstones in the form of wood sculpture of the butcher, the baker, candlestick maker, and all professions.

Although my first languages were Romanian and Hungarian, I could also translate into French and Italian. Indeed at that time I was teaching Latin in the Rural School System of my Maramures Province.

By 1989, Ceausescu realized that his end was near, and he sought to gain support by pardoning his political prisoners (such as myself) who had tried to escape the horrendous conditions in the country. Hence, university students and some labor unions joined forces and quite quickly after the fall of the Berlin Wall forced Ceausescu and his draconian wife Elena to flee. They were caught and executed on Christmas Day, 1989, by the military that at the last moment joined the Revolution.

As my friends and I (along with most of the population) cheered the fall of the failed, rotten Romanian “dictatorship of the proletariat,” my dear mother acted differently. She was so confused by the propaganda of the only “leader” she knew much about that she wept for Ceausescu, not fully realizing that he was the one who had wrongly had be arrested and put me in prison.

With Ceausescu gone, in 1990 I was able to secure a passport to ready myself to leave Romania by gaining visas for Germany and France. The question remained, how to get there by land without a visa to Austria—my region had no air connection to the outside world.

MY FATEFUL 1991 MEETING IN SIGHET WITH JIM WILKIE

Almost age 27 in 1991, I was in the right place at the right time when UCLA Professor Jim Wilkie arrived in Sighet, on September 17th with Professor James Platler (his friend and driver). They came as part of their trip to assess the impact of the 1989 Fall of Iron Curtain–which had imprisoned all Romanians and made it a crime to try to escape from Romania. The two Americans had already visited “East” Germany, Czechia,[x] and Slovakia (soon to break their union, each becoming independent), and Poland, where English speakers could provide guidance.

In Romania the UCLA Team found itself at a loss as few of the people who they encountered could speak English and none of them could analyze or articulate how the System of Government and society functioned before and after 1989.

When we met, Jim immediately contracted[xi] with me to advise them as well as guide them through Eastern Europe. They were pleased to hear my outline of Transylvanian and Romanian history (see above), with which I explained how constant national boundary change meant that Transylvanians and Romanians were never able to develop either honest civil government or active civic society.

Thousands of families were arbitrarily moved, and removed into two separate nations.

Little did I know that the concepts of “Civic” and “Civil” Society were of utmost importance to Jim? As I would find out later, Jim and I had been conducting compatible research for years and would lead me to my

Ph.D Dissertation and two books written with Jim. [xii] All these works distinguish between the concepts of Civil Society (which represents national and local governmental activity) and Civic Society (which involves active private citizens (who organize non-governmental initiatives to develop model projects beyond the ability of official bureaucrats to even comprehend, including the influence needed to monitor and expose the failures and successes of governmental activity).

But before we left in September 18, 1991, to visit Romania and Hungary, I had to find a substitute for my new class teaching American English and History in Sighet—I left a friend, Johnny Popescu, to become my permanent substitute. Only then could our newly expanded Team set off under my guidance.

Thus, we set out on that September 18th to visit one of the most socially and economically interesting and beautiful parts of Romania by going up thought the green forested Carpathian Mountains via the beautiful Prislop Pass, stopping to visit small farming families in their folkloric clothing of which they were justifiably proud to wear on a daily basis. Farther east in Romania, on the scenic roads, we visited the monasteries of Moldova, the town of Cimpulung Moldovenesc, Suceava, and then the Monasteries in Sucevita and Agapia. The gorgeous forested mountain road eventually led to Lacul Rosu and the lake country. Then we took the long scenic mountain road to Cluj Napoca to visit my prestigious University.

As I briefed Jim about Romania, he was briefing me about factors in comparing national economies. For example, he told me about how he had reunited in Prague on September 15th with Richard Beesen, his former UCLA student and friend, to hear about his role in London as Manager of Deutsche Bank’s New Accounts in Russia and Eastern Europe. Richard had become famous for inviting Banking Officials and national Treasury Ministries to deposit their financial reserves on deposit in his bank in London. But because his clients did not understand anything about “interest payments” on deposited funds, they did not ask for nor did they gain any interest payments. Also, because most Western Banks were not sure that

these new “capitalists” could be “fully trusted” for correct management of their deposits, his Deutsche Bank collected large fees (and paid no interest to keep the Eastern Europe “bank reserves safe.” This was all very eye opening for me.

Jim and I had realized early on that we had a close affinity as we analyzed the situation of Romania, and he said, “Call me Jim.” (In contrast I called Professor James Platler “JP.”) As we traveled to observe the situation of the people in different parts of the country, Jim and I formed a deep bond of observing and analyzing; thus both of us realized this brief interlude had to continue for the long term in order to achieve our goals.

NEXT STOPS, BUDAPEST, SALZBURG, MUNICH,

BORDEAUX (FOR ME), AND LOS ANGELES (FOR JIM)

As a Romanian, I had the right to enter Hungary, and we did so bypassing the miles of vehicles waiting to cross the border for the long drive to Budapest. There Prof. James Platler finally relaxed after the long drives and often poor hotels and monasteries —he said that he finally found unbroken civilization again. I was astounded to hear that. I made everything possible for them to have the best lodging and food in Moldova and Maramures county. Obviously, my friends had different standards than us, Romanians.

Once we arrived in Budapest, Professor James Platler, who had told Jim privately that from the outset of our trip that he thought that I was a “Spy” (planted on us by the Romanian Securitate to monitor our many “foreign” inquiries during our travel through Romania’s north country), announced that his concern about me had vanished as we realized the extent of my knowledge and research abilities. In his mind, I had to be a Spy because I had obtained access to special private dining rooms and quarter in some fine hotels, as well as invitations for wonderful lunches at some Monasteries, where miraculously I made immediate friends with each Mother Superior. But by the time we reached Budapest, he realized that at my University I had learned the Elite skills needed to survive safely and comfortably in Eastern Europe.

My problem was to enter Austria, where I had no visa. But Jim passed his UCLA business card through to the Consul General of Austria in Budapest, and quickly we found ourselves whisked from the back of the long line to the front and right into a meeting with the Consul General himself. He was pleased to hear about the research of our UCLA Team, but said that I did have a visa. Jim then told them that I only needed a three-day transit visa to reach Germany, the visa for which he could see in my passport.

With entry to Austria solved, we were on the road to the Hotel Kobentzl and Graz, which overlook Salzburg, all the way analyzing the comparative economic and social situations of Austria, Hungary, and Romania.

We spent most of our time down the mountain from Kobentzl to the valley, before returning to our sweeping Hotel view of Salzburg City. Meanwhile I was deepening my questions about capital is leveraged to undertake big private projects. As we took photos over from on high looking down on the many bridges of Salzburg and Jim was explaining how the developed world operated by using finances, credit, and interest to help economies grow.

Finally we left Salzburg to enter Germany and Munich, where our quick look into Oktoberfest found us among nasty drunken louts each of whom seemingly had hand four hands: one to chug-a-lug beer; one to smoke foul smelling cigarettes; one to quaff horrible-bleeding-raw sausages; and one to punch someone in the face. From what we saw, Oktoberfest was a place for nasty males seeking to “get smashed on beer” and then smash another male to break his nose. Thus, we fled for our lives as the brutes began to threaten anyone who looked at them.

Then on September 30th, I took the plane from Munich to Paris to take a bus to Bordeaux to meet the French family, the daughter of which, in her visit in 1990 to the Museum in Sighet, had invited me to obtain a French visa and move to stay with her on the lovely family farm outside Bordeaux.

Jim (and JP) also left the same day for Jim to arrive in time to go from the airplane to open and begin teaching his Fall Quarter class at UCLA. But he promised to call daily and return to join me again in ten weeks.

In the meantime, I made a trip to Paris to request political asylum in France, but a grey-faced judge rejected my request, saying that the petitioner must file with the help of a lawyer.

To complicate matters in Bordeaux, the French Security Agent there was investigating me, a lone woman, as a possible spy sent by Romania to “monitor activities at the Port of Bordeaux. When he told that, if I pleased him in unmentionable ways, he would not deport me to Romania but arrange my legal status in France so that I could live him. I immediately told Jim on his next telephone call.

To resolve the above problem, Jim called his Paris friend Gérard Chaliand, a former visiting professor at UCLA, whose real job involved traveling the world for French Security to report on his professorial travels that took him to all continents. Gérard immediately called French Security to report on the illegal approach to me by their Agent in Bordeaux. That same day the Agent came to apologize profusely to me in the best manner that he could muster in his pitiful condition. He begged me not to have him fired for his proposition to me. I could see him looking at me in truly puzzled way that implicitly said: “Who are you? How did I make such a grave mistake in deciding that you, a lone Romanian woman, could not have any power to reach my bosses in Paris?” I took pity on him and told him that if he minded manners and watched from affair to be sure that I was always safe, he would not be fired.

JIM RETURNS TO EUROPE IN DECEMBER, 1991:

HIS PLAN FOR ADVISING EASTERN EUROPEAN CIVIC SOCIETY ABOUT HOW TO GAIN GRANTS FROM U.S. FOUNDATIONS (NPPOs),[xiii] WHICH HOLD THE WORLD’S LARGEST POOL OF NGO DEVELOPMENT FUNDS

Even though it was December 11,1991, when Jim returned, France was in the midst what some in America call an “Indian Fall,” warm with colorful fall leaves still on the trees. It was a beautifully bright

“fall day” when we left Bordeaux the next day to spend some days visiting the Loire River with its many castles and incredible views.

Even during our photography of the Loire region, Jim began to outline his New Plan (now our plan) to wit: PROFMEX Plan to Help Eastern European “Foundations”

Therefore, some Romanian and Mexican NGOs become legally eligible to gain grants from U.S. Tax Exempt Foundations following our advice on how to do it, best practices we could teach other leaders about: and so The U.S. Model for Philanthropy was born.

“The U.S.-Mexico Model for Philanthropy.”

Indeed, Jim told me that recently when he had been in Mexico City, he received an invitation to meet with Manuel Alonso Muñoz, Executive Director of Mexico’s National Lottery,[xiv] who, when he heard about Jim’s U.S.-Mexico Model, invited him to meet at the Lottery’s historically famous ornate building. After an extended briefing by Jim, Manuel told him that he had already called his own good friend Ronald G. Hellman, Professor of Sociology in the Graduate School at the City University of New York, to ask him for an evaluation of Jim and his Mexico-U.S. Model for Philanthropy. Ironically, it was only then when he realized that Ron was (and is today) Jim’s PROFMEX Vice-President for Strategic Planning. With that news and Jim’s stellar briefing, Lic. Alonso asked if the Lottery could make a series of generous grants to PROFMEX in order to help fund the expansion of Jim’s Model to Eastern Europe,[xv] putting Mexico into an innovative new light.

Mexico And The World, I got the idea! Evrika, so the brilliant idea to bring together experts from all the world to Mexico, to have a debate was born. The Conference I was always dreaming about was beginning to shape up, and soon things all lined up for us to organize a bi-lateral Conference in Morelia, the State of Michoacán. The Governor was more than happy to receive us in Michoacán. So we worked together with Manuel Alonso to get people down there. The hardest part was to get the financing for it.

Manuel Alonso was appreciative of the fact that Jim, while serving as Consultant to the U.S. Council on Foundations, had become involved since 1990 with his Model for helping Mexican Foundations (including, for example, charities, human rights organizations, hospitals, universities, biospheres, etc.) to help them re-write their constitution and by-laws to be compatible with the U.S. tax requirement that they mirror U.S. Not-for-Private Profit Organizations (NPPOs).

The question of “mirroring” involved Jim’s explanation that:

As NPPOs, U.S. Foundations are legally responsible for controlling expenditure of funds granted to organizations that do not mirror the U.S. foundations do not want to be involved in the day-to-day activities of its grantees. Indeed, “ they want to transfer expenditure responsibility” (including misuse or illegal use of grant funds) to the recipient foundation to which they grant funds but can only do so if the grant recipient organization is deemed to have an “equivalent” legal structure to that of the U.S. donor foundation.

Here is the background, according to Jim: [xvi] “In order to facilitate the U.S. philanthropic activity needed during the 1970s and 1980s to help speed world development, the U.S. Secretary of Treasury and the IRS formulated provisions that resulted in changing and/or interpreting the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to freely permit U.S. foundations to grant funds abroad, if they meet the following special proviso:

U.S. NPPOs can themselves make a legal “determination” that the foreign organization receiving the U.S. grant be “determined” to be “equivalent” to an NPPO described in Section 501(c)(3)[xvii] of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code.”

Further, Jim pointed out that, “while this proviso has worked well for big U.S. grant-making foundations that place costly offices and staff around the world (such as Rockefeller and Ford Foundations), it has worked less well for foundations that have had to send their lawyers to meet with their legal counterparts in prospective ‘equivalent organizations, the legal cost of making such a determination often reaching $25,000 [or, by 2016, much, much
more] for each new organization to receive funds from the U.S. NPPO. If that determination is favorable, the U.S. NPPO can transfer funds to the equivalent organization, just as it can to any other approved U.S. NPPO, and along with the transfer of funds to the recipient organization goes the transfer of responsibility over how the funds are spent.”

Transfer of ‘Expenditure Responsibility’ from the

U.S. Donor NPPO to the Foreign Recipient NPPO

The ability of U.S. NPPOs to avoid costly expenditure responsibility, as Jim told, is one of the factors that have helped make American grant-making foundations so important in the world. Thus, U.S. NPPOs have been enabled to avoid becoming ensnarled in accounting processes and audits, which are better done by the foreign organization that receives and administers the U.S. NPPO grant of funds.

In this manner, said Jim, the U.S. NPPO is free to focus its energy on evaluating the substance of its grant programs. The ability of grant-making foundations to transfer Expenditure Responsibility to other NPPOs is the main reason that they generally prefer (and require) that their funds be granted only to approved organizations rather than to individuals or to non-approved organizations.

The above views, Jim said, do not mean that U.S. NPPOs are unable to grant funds to an organization that is not equivalent to a U.S. NPPO (or make grants to individual scholars, artists, or writers either at home or abroad), but to do so adds a complication to the grant-making process. Rather than passing on the Expenditure Responsibility (as the U.S. NPPO does when it makes grants to another NPPO or U.S. equivalent), the Expenditure Responsibility remains with the donor NPPO when it makes a grant to an organization that is not an NPPO (or its U.S. equivalent) or to an individual.

In the unlikely case where the donor NPPO retains Expenditure Responsibility, then, Jim told me in my interview with him on September 17, 1991, the donor foundation has to concern itself with costly financial oversight involved, which may problematic whether of in or outside the USA.

ON TO PARIS AND THE WORLD TO MEET WITH NPPO LEADERS ABOUT NEW FOUNDATIONS

Jim and I arrived in Paris on December 15, 1991, to meet with Jim’s contacts at the American Embassy, who heard about our research and suggested that Jim meet also with their counterparts at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. They agreed to help begin to our new Plan to expand to Eastern Europe and Russia Jim’s successful Model for Tax-Free Flow of Nonprofit Funds, the example being what he negotiated (with the U.S. Council on Foundations and the U.S. and Mexican Treasury Departments), as analyzed above.

It is important for me to say here that George Soros and his decentralized donations to his 41 semi-autonomous “national foundations”[xviii] (exemplified in Romania, Hungary, and Russia) have been built following the IRS proviso and regulations discussed above. Also, Soros’ “National Foundations” require that national Government charter the independent role as NGOs.

In contrast, the flowering of thousands of small independent “Foundations” in Eastern Europe since 1989 has grown from groups looking for funds from the many U.S. Foundations that do not have the Soros/New York link with its Foundations in many nations, all of which operate in Soros’ closed loop. Few of these new Foundations have the Soros knowledge and financial resources to set up the By-Laws and Legal Status needed for the thousands of Foundations desiring to tap into funding by the U.S. Foundations.[xix] However, since 2013, Soros’ has organized an office to work with shared Global Funds (for food, migration, etc.) outside the non-Soros frameworks to help poor areas and countries to stave off crises. Recently, in 2013, George Soros has been discredited by the Hungarian PM, Orban who has aggressively made anti-Soros advertisement on buses in Hungary, claiming that the Hungarian American wanted Arabs, and Palestinians to “invade” Hungary. The anti-Soros rhetoric has become increasingly nationalistic, and this is what FIDESZ, the ruling party is preaching

Before we left Paris on December 19, 1991, we met with Gérard Chaliand to personally thank him for having made the Bordeaux Security agent reexamine his whole approach to his life.

Further, with Gérard, we worked out a plan to arrange for me to become a U.S. resident and obtain U.S. citizenship nine years after my arrival in Los Angeles, October 1992. He recommended that my case by handled in In Los Angeles by one of America’s most knowledgeable and effective Migration Attorneys—Cynthia Juárez Lange, today Managing Partner, Northern California, for the Fragomen Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP Legal Office located in San Francisco. Cynthia is herself an academic and personable genius.

Meanwhile in my travels with Jim in December 1991 and from March to June 1992 we met NPPO leaders in the European Union to better understand how foundations work under unique laws in each county rather than in any rational manner for the whole EU, we went to Marseilles, Nice, Villfranche-sur-Mer, Cap-Ferrat, Monaco, La Rochelle, Andorra, Sevilla, Madrid, Trujillo, El Escorial, Avila (a magnificent fortress city), and Segovia.

On September 3. 1992, we arrived at the U.S. Consulate in Paris, where the U.S Consulate in Mexico had arranged with Jim for my U.S. eligibility for residence to be issued. Also, the Mexican Consulate General in Paris issued me my residence papers to enter and leave Mexico freely, as arranged by Jim with the Mexican Consular Head Office in Mexico City.

Before we left Europe for the USA in October 1991, we returned to Sighet on September 7, 1992, for meetings with Romanian Civic Activists. (Thus, I finally returned to Sighet after having “escaped” with Jim to France in December 1991).

From March to June 1993, we met with NPPO leaders in Budapest, Sighet, and Varna (Bulgaria), Bucharest, and St. Petersburg.

In Moscow (June 21-14, 1993), Jim appointed Professor Boris Koval (Director of the Latin American Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences), to be PROFMEX Representative in Russia. Koval had invited us to Moscow and introduced us to his own Security Chief to be our translator and guide. This Security Chief was a fascinating person who had been former head of the KGB Office in Iraq, 1979-1989.

Jim, who always wore his Mexican guayabera shirt with or without a suit, was seen to be “authentically Mexican” in our meetings and discussions about NPPOs.

Some of our interviews focused on the successes of Soros Open Society Foundation–Russia (1987-2002). Other meetings with civic society followed as we learn the details about the problems of the Soros Foundations–Russia since 2003, when, under reactionary Government pressure, he was phasing out of operation active programs. According to the Soros Foundation—Russia:[xx]

“When on November 30, 2015, Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office classified the Soros Open Society Foundation as an “undesirable” organization, it closed the possibility of Russian individuals and institutions from having anything to do with any Soros initiative or programs… [Because it constituted] a threat to the foundations of Russia’s Constitutional order and national security….

“Prosecutors [then] launched a probe into Soros Foundation

activities….[xxi] [and in July 2015], after Russian senators approved

the so-called “patriotic stop-list” of 12 groups that required

immediate attention over their supposed anti-Russian activities, [the

following U.S.
organizations] realized that they would soon be

banned in Russia: [the U.S.] National Endowment for Democracy; the

International Republican Institute; the National Democratic

Institute; the MacArthur Foundation, and Freedom House. Now in

2017, all Eastern European countries want Soros foundations closed

in their countries, especially the Hungarian PM, Orban Viktor, who

went so far as to describe him as a dangerous politician mixing in his

domestic “dictatorial” affairs.

The American hedge-funds mogul George Soros issued from London the following Press Release on November 30, 2015: [xxii]

“Contrary to the Russian prosecutor’s allegations, the Open Society Foundations have, for more than a quarter-century, helped to strengthen the rule of law in Russia and protect the rights of all. In the past, Russian officials and citizens have welcomed our efforts, and we regret the changes that have led the government to reject our support to Russian civil society and ignore the aspirations of the Russian people.

“Since 1987, Open Society has provided support to countless individuals and civil society organizations, including in the fields of science, education, and public health. Open Society has helped finance a network of internet centers in 33 universities around the country, helped Russian scholars to travel and study abroad, developed curricula for early childhood education, and created a network of contemporary art centers that are still in operation.

“This record speaks for itself. We are honored to have worked alongside pioneering citizens, educators, and civil society organizations that embody Russian creativity, commitment, and hope.

“We are confident that this move is a temporary aberration; the aspirations of the Russian people for a better future cannot be suppressed and will ultimately succeed,” said George Soros, founder and chairman of the Open Society Foundations.) Despite all efforts made by Soros and his organizations, he has been banned from Russia.

“Once with the reset of the Cold War, in 2012, when Putin was reelected as Russia’s President, Putin’s first movement was to ban all Soros organizations which were impeding his expansion onto Crimea.”

Catching up on Soros, he most recent assertion is that civil society is being endangered by nostalgia for communism. Read this fascinating article in “The Romanian Ghosts” of Communism, by Jacob Grandstaff

Back in Mexico City for the 1994 PROFMEX Event featuring Eastern Europeans interested in the U.S.-Mexico Model for NPPOs, we convened, July 28-29, for our meeting on “Development of Mexico as seen from the World,” Co-sponsored by UCLA and Mexico’s Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología.

This Conference was held at Mexico City’s María Isabel Sheraton, with 70 participants from Mexico and the United States, and which I co-organized with Jim

The following invitees from Eastern Europe came from Hungary

Zoltan Karpati, Professor of Sociology

Romania Mihai Coman, University Dean

Roman Romulus, Consul General in Mexico

Alexandru Lazín, PROFMEX– England and Romania

Lia Stan, Investor from Bristol, England.

Highlights of the event came frequently as we turned our gaze from Salón A with his all-window view from the top floor to discuss the anti-government protest marches up and down Reforma Avenue past the Angel Monument below.

Further, our group enjoyed the invitation of Mexico’s Attorney General, Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar to visit him at his headquarters where we personally discussed and raised questions about the street blockages of political protest in front of our María Isabel Sheraton Hotel.

In December 1997, we continued to invite world scholars especially interested in economic matters, as well as in the U.S.-Mexico NPPO Model to participate with us at the:

IX PROFMEX-ANUIES Conference

Hosted by Governor Víctor Manuel Tinoco Rubí

Morelia, Michoacán, México

México y el Mundo Or Mexico and the World, in December 8-13, 1997

With hundreds of participants and Attendees from all continents,

Special Guests were invited from Russia: Boris Koval, who recalled with excitement the visit of Jim and I to Moscow in June 1993.

From China: Sengen Zhang

Hongzhu Huang

Korea: Kap-Young Jeong

Japan: Soichi Shinohara

Osamu Nishimura

Yasuoki Takagi

Indonesia: Lepi T. Tarmidi

Argentina: Eugenio O. Valenciano

Bolivia: Antonio J. Cisneros

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PROGRAM COORDINATOR: UCLA Program on Mexico

Program Summary

AFSC Arizona works to reduce incarceration through state sentencing reform, fighting prison and detention expansion, and improving conditions of confinement. One key piece of this work is challenging for-profit, private prisons. As the for-profit prison industry is expanding into treatment centers, re-entry programs, and alternatives to incarceration, AFSC has created a campaign to expose and oppose this development, which we are terming the “Treatment Industrial Complex” (TIC).

AFSC has secured a second round of grant funding for three years that will allow the Arizona office to continue and greatly expand our work on this burgeoning issue by creating and leading a national network of groups and individuals in opposition to the TIC. The Program Coordinator will build, launch, and coordinate the TIC network, while working in close collaboration with other AFSC Arizona staff.

Summary of Principal Responsibilities

The Program Coordinator will work closely with the Program Director on strategic planning, development, and management of ongoing statewide campaigns as well as the creation, launch, and coordination of the national network. Additional responsibilities include research, writing, and editing of campaign materials; event planning; and grant management and reporting. The work requires frequent out of state travel as well as working some evenings and weekends. The Program Coordinator will work collaboratively with staff and contribute to other areas of program work as needed.

Essential Functions/Responsibilities: The key responsibilities of the Program Coordinator include the following:

  1. Campaign planning, development, and management, including legislative and agency administrative policy reform
  2. Statewide and national outreach, networking, and coalition building.
  3. Facilitation of regular communication and collaboration among numerous national stakeholder groups and individuals.
  4. Research and development of materials, replicable tools, model policies, and legislation for use at various levels of government and administration.
  5. Grant reporting on the budget and activities of the Treatment Industrial Complex Campaign.
  6. Development of messaging and framing materials, conduct media outreach, give interviews and speak at press conferences; contribute to AFSCAZ’s presence on social and alternative media (blogs, Twitter, etc.)

Minimum Qualifications

Education: Bachelor of Arts or the equivalent of at least three years in organizing and coalition work on criminal justice issues.

Experience:

  1. Strategic planning of social change, labor organizing, or similar campaigns
  2. Project organization and management
  3. Demonstrated experience building and maintaining strong, active working partnerships with diverse stakeholders on a statewide, regional, and/or national level
  4. Research (qualitative and quantitative)
  5. Extensive knowledge/experience with issues related to the criminal justice system and mass incarceration, particularly prison privatization and related industries
  6. Policy analysis and change advocacy (administrative, ordinances, legislation)

Other Required Skills and Abilities:

  1. Computer proficiency including experience with Microsoft Office, email, and internet search tools.
  2. Strong verbal and written communication skills
  3. Shows initiative and ability to take on new projects
  4. Public speaking, conducting trainings and presentations, and media interviews
  5. Ability to work with diverse constituents and colleagues, including state officials and corrections; people of many backgrounds and experiences.
  6. High level of organization, initiative and ability to work independently as well as collaboratively.
  7. Commitment to Quaker values and testimonies. Understanding of and compatibility with the principles and philosophy of the American Friends Service Committee including non-violence and the belief in the intrinsic worth of every individual.
  8. Understanding of and commitment to the principles, concerns, and considerations, of AFSC in regard to issues of race, class, nationality, religion, age, gender and sexual orientation, and disabilities. Demonstrated ability to work and communicate with diverse staff.

Compensation: Salary Range starts at $52,831 – Exempt – Comprehensive medical and hospitalization plan; term life, accident and salary continuation insurances, defined benefit pension plan, plus fringe benefits; participation in unemployment and worker’s compensation and social security.

The American Friends Service Committee is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified persons are encouraged to apply regardless of their religious affiliation, race, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

AFSC’s Central Office and some of its offices in the U.S. are unionized workplaces. This position is represented.

The American Friends Service Committee is a smoke-free workplace.

Dr Olga Essentials

PROFMEX – DIRECTOR RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
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Aproved-Re: B287234 _INTRODUCTION LETTER

Approved.
Dear Laura—

Looks good, go ahead! Thanks,

On Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 10:24 AM Laura Tan <ltan> wrote:

Dear Ms. Olga Lazin,

Good day!

Welcome to the Production Stage of your book. I would like to introduce myself as your assigned Fulfillment Officer who will be assisting you from this point until the book will be completed and release for sale.

The initial cover and interior layouts of your book are now ready for your review and approval. I have attached the cover and interior layouts for your review and approval. I will send the interior layout via email. These are the actual representation of the book once it is printed. If you have textual or formatting changes or corrections on these files, please let me know so I can coordinate with our designer and we can update our files.

We will not proceed to the next stage unless we have your approval. Your feedback is needed on all layouts that we will be sending to you. The timeframe vary depending on how soon you can submit the materials, respond to the files that we will be sending to you and rounds of corrections that your book will go through.

Feel free to email or call me once you have the materials ready.

Looking forward for your feedback once you are done with your review.

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STORYTELLING – STRUCTURE, Learn From A. L.

To Improve Your Storytelling Skills, Use Abraham Lincoln as Inspiration

The Gettysburg Address follows a structure that will work for you, too.

Alison-Davis_38512.jpg By Alison Davis
Alison-Davis_38512.jpg

Founder and CEO, Davis & Company@alisonbdavis

WRITE A COMMENT

getty_509765304_20001331200092800_344916.jpg
CREDIT: Getty Images

Time magazine lists it as one of the 10 greatest speeches of all time. It is a poignant expression of the travails of a troubled nation. And it contains an opening line that most Americans can still recite years after they learned it in school.

The speech, of course, is Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. But although you know it well, what you might not realize about "four scores and seven years ago . . ." is that Lincoln’s oration followed one of the most effective story structures you can use–the structure that storytelling expert Shawn Callahan calls "the clarity story."

This type of story is so valuable because for people to be engaged, they need to understand why they should take action. "The clarity story provides reasons in the most powerful and digestible format possible," writes Callahan in Putting Stories to Work.

Here’s how Lincoln used the clarity story structure to build his famous speech:

Part 1 begins with a look back at the past to take the listener back to the way things used to be.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

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Part 2 shifts to something that happened: the events that caused a problem or opportunity.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

Part 3 is what Callahan calls "so now . . ." which describes the decision or action needed to respond.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

Part 4 looks ahead to the future to envision a desired outcome.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

That’s fine for Abraham Lincoln, but you may wonder: How can you use the clarity story for your own communication?

Callahan gives an example of a bank that adopted a new strategy of calling its branches "stores" as a way of emphasizing customer service. When a new CEO took over several years later, she decided to go back to using the old language of calling them "branches." Employees were confused about why the change was occurring when the bank had made such an investment in the move to "stores."

So the bank’s leaders used the clarity story to communicate with employees:

(Part 1) In the past . . . the bank wasn’t delivering great customer service, so we made a number of changes, including referring to our branches as stores.

(Part 2) Then something happened . . . we began to hear from customers that they weren’t comfortable with the language change; "stores" didn’t seem serious enough.

(Part 3) So now . . . we’re changing back to referring to our branches as branches. We know the change will cost money, but we need to make sure we put our customers first.

(Part 4) In the future . . . we will continue to make changes that will increase customer satisfaction.

The structure works so well, writes Callahan, because it creates a series of events that cause people to want to know what happens next. "You need to spark people’s interest by starting with the context, then hold their attention because something happens that causes a change, then end with an outcome."

Lincoln relied on this technique in his iconic speech–and you can, too.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

PUBLISHED ON: FEB 11, 2018

Dr Olga Essentials

PROFMEX – DIRECTOR RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
​: http://www.profmex.com​

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/olgaandrei/

http://www.olgalazin.com

http://www.decentralizedglobalization.com

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On KINDLE:

This is a direct link to the Amazon edition of my eBook:
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BLOCKCHAIN AND THE GLOBAL REFUGEE CRISIS AND IMMIGRATION

BLOCKCHAIN AND THE GLOBAL REFUGEE CRISIS AND IMMIGRATION Gmail

BLOCKCHAIN AND THE GLOBAL REFUGEE CRISIS AND IMMIGRATION

New book paints globalization as more than trade, economics: It Is Civic Engagement, And Civil Society

Dr. Olga Magdalena Lazin discusses various aspects, effects of ‘Decentralized Globalization’

LOS ANGELES – After the fall of the Berlin Wall in Europe, Dr. Olga Magdalena Lazin was enchanted by the complexities of the globalization process and wanted to overcome ridiculous myth and propaganda that distract people from understanding the multifaceted aspects of globalism and regionalism vs old-fashioned nationalism. She writes “Decentralized Globalization” (published by AuthorHouse), a far cry from other globalization literature in that it concentrates on the significant role that the Interplay between civic engagement and civil government play in the process of balancing out the negative and positive sides of globalization.

“Decentralized Globalization” provides a fresh, multi-dimensional viewpoint on globalization. Let us take Blockchain technology as a test case.

Blockchain can provide a vehicle for communication to operate together with civil society in symbiosis if they have a trusting means of storing records and titles. Soros is funding this as EE dictators try to AIR BRUSH personalities out of History! Like for e.g. Lech Waleca of Poland. He opened the way or the Berlin Wall fall with his solidarity actions in Poland.

Blockchain technology fits in perfectly with its multiple benefits. One of these benefits are in protecting political refugees coming into the U.S. And the European Union.

Decentralized data storage is imperative also in storing land titles in the U.S. and Latin American countries. I admire Fernando de Soto, in his “The Mystery of Capitalism,” where having a house, one can use as a collateral for other enterprises, can save the middle class in countries like Mexico, Peru, or any Latin American developed countries.

In this it is unlike other globalization literature, which tends to be written either in favor or against globalization, or highlight cross-border issues such as economic dislocation, the spread of pandemic disease, cultural assimilation, rapid decrease in transportation times, immigration, or the growth of drug-trafficking and crime cartels. A new approach by Lazin proves that civil society should act as a check on executive powers in all countries, to counteract nationalistic representatives authorized to do so.

Lazin acknowledges that readers have become more knowledgeable and can now shake off the narrow views on globalization by better studying the statistical data enclosed and the facts. Her book then aids them in further understanding by explaining the anti-globalization movement. It is based on the premise that globalization is more than trade and economics.

“Decentralized Globalization” cites analysis and data proving the effectiveness of all Free Trade Agreements, especially within NAFTA. It has done a world of good as the Californian economy, and civil society is perfectly intertwined with the Mexican economy; the balance struck being a perfect model for the rest of the World.

The race for Free Trade agreements and elimination of tariff has started long time ago with the creation of the EU, and it works.

Decentralized data terminals of Blockchain technology can prove that by keeping GDP info on NAFTA countries.

Civic society keeps the government honest and clamors to take into account the non-governmental interest groups. E.g. to reform Constitutions. Too many countries will need to change from their judicial systems, from “guilty until proven innocent to " innocent until proven guilty", which should be the norm in the twenty-first Century.

A very well written and wide-ranging study, founded on reading of staggering breadth and depth strikingly up to date.
The author has used the most recent scholarship to impressive effects.
No one could read it without learning a great deal or without having her conception of the course of history radically challenged.
Brilliantly constructed thesis, and exhilarating read and fresh perspective on history civil society and importance of civic attitude.

Given the fast pace of change in the global economy it is more important than ever to have a comprehensive point of reference to allow us to understand and map the transformations around us. Lazin’s book gives us a key point of view to reach that comprehension.
The key of the argument it is as follow:
For decades several regions of the world such Latin America and Eastern Europe had suffered from impostor dictatorships and poverty, caused by statism, and dictatorship. The Fast track globalization (FTG) process which begun in the 1980s is the main force to counteract the detrimental phenomenon of statism. FTG is based on the rise of rapidly expanding free market. The free trade of goods, communications and services provides the context for the rise of civic society. The inextricable tissue needed for good governmental practices, this symbiosis between Blockchain and U.S. Government.

Decentralization, or devolution of power is what Blockchain can do. It can set citizens free.


The fast-track globalization has facilitated the flows of funds among “for-profit organizations” many of them donating profit to NGOs seeking to foster change in the developing world. The relationship among those elements have detonated a process of rapid change in the developing world, as we have seen in the 21st Century.
Time as given the reason to Olga Lazin’s ideas because today, despite new and complex problem the regions she focused her research has evolved according the line she predicted. With some exceptions Latin America and Eastern Europe countries have passed by process of democratization and liberalization, reducing poverty and inequality.
It is worth to stress that the problems still persisting and the dangers to regression are explained mainly because of not going further in the direction of reforming the law according to US model on decentralization to expand civic action and philanthropy.
The book focuses on two national experiences: Romania and Mexico, as test cases. Lazin argues that Romania followed the same path former socialist countries of that region. Romania succeeded in de-statification. Mexico by contrast had faced with mix results; regrettably as Lazin wrote, the Mexican government lacked and still lack the “mental space” needed to identify and resolve the bureaucratic problems limiting civic action.
It is worth to have that useful analysis in mind because is pivotal to understand the current social crisis afflicting Mexico.
For many reason Lazin’s book remains as a benchmark for studies of globalization from an interdisciplinary perspective.

This is a monumental work and I was dazzled by the Introduction and the wealth of knowledge at your fingertips in Chapter I. Reading it, one feels like one’s s own awareness is like that of a Caveman compared to the author’s encyclopedic grasp of World History and Global Realities in this new Millenium.

This book is being used by Academics or Seminars at UCLA to educate students about civic attitudes and how to protect democracy., especially open voting in an age of Russian hacking into the voting systems.

“Decentralized Globalization”, online Happy reading: http://www.decentralizedglobalization.com

By Dr. Olga Magdalena Lazin

Softcover | 8.25 x 11in | 462 pages | ISBN 9781524649241

E-Book | 462 pages | ISBN 9781524649234

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Dr. Olga Magdalena Lazin is a UCLA graduate in history. She is a published author and history lecturer at UCLA. You can access and download her books at http://www.olgalazin.com. She has been teaching history at UCLA, Cal State University–Dominguez Hills, and Cal State University–Long Beach, as well as University of Guadalajara (UDG) and University of Quintana Roo in Mexico for over 26 years. Her specialty is history of food, nutrition and health, macronutrients, overeating, globalization of technology, the American Constitution and Internet history. As a hobby, she is practicing permaculture. Her radio show is accessible 24 hours a day at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dr_olga_lazin.

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My Doctoral Thesis: Decentralized Globalization & Escaping Vampirism In Transylvania To The West

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THE US BUYS DOCS FROM RUSSIAN OPERATIVES SINCE 2017: Secret Communications Channel & NSA Twitter


THE UNITED STATES intelligence community has been conducting a top-secret operation to recover stolen classified U.S. government documents from Russian operatives, according to sources familiar with the matter. The operation has also inadvertently yielded a cache of documents purporting to relate to Donald Trump and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Over the past year, American intelligence officials have opened a secret communications channel with the Russian operatives, who have been seeking to sell both Trump-related materials and documents stolen from the National Security Agency and obtained by Russian intelligence, according to people involved with the matter and other documentary evidence. The channel started developing in early 2017, when American and Russian intermediaries began meeting in Germany. Eventually, a Russian intermediary, apparently representing some elements of the Russian intelligence community, agreed to a deal to sell stolen NSA documents back to the U.S. while also seeking to include Trump-related materials in the package.

The CIA declined to comment on the operation. The NSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The secret U.S. intelligence channel with the Russians is separate from efforts by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to obtain information about Trump and his ties with Russia. Steele worked with Fusion GPS, an American private investigations firm that was first hired by Republican and later Democratic opponents of Trump to dig up information on him during the 2016 campaign.

By contrast, the more recent secret negotiations began after Trump’s election and have been conducted by U.S. intelligence officials working with intermediaries who mainly operate in Europe. When American intelligence officials initiated efforts to broker a communications channel in 2017, however, their primary objective was to recover stolen NSA documents, not to obtain material about Trump.

At the time, the NSA was desperate to recover documents that intelligence officials believed Russia had obtained through a mysterious group known as the Shadow Brokers. The group stole highly secret NSA hacking tools and began releasing them on the internet in the summer of 2016. The Shadow Brokers theft of the hacking tools devastated morale at the NSA, putting its custom-built offensive cyber weapons out in the open. It was as if a bioweapons laboratory had lost some of its most deadly and dangerous viruses. U.S. officials wanted to identify which NSA documents the Shadow Brokers had stolen, so they could determine how badly the agency had been damaged by the theft.

But once the communications channel opened, the Russians on the other side offered to sell documents related to Trump along with the stolen NSA documents.

A Russian who has been acting as a go-between for other Russians with access to Russian government materials has sought payment for the materials he is offering. In an extensive interview with The Intercept in Germany, the Russian intermediary provided detailed information about the channel. When contacted by The Intercept for this story, the American intermediary declined to comment.

Even many involved in the secret communications channel between U.S. intelligence and the Russians are said to be uncertain about what is really going on with the operation. Recently, the Russians have been seeking to provide documents said to be related to Trump officials and Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign, including some purloined FBI reports and banking records. It is not clear whether those documents are in possession of American officials. It is also unclear whether the secret channel has helped the U.S. recover significant amounts of data from the NSA documents believed to have been stolen by the Shadow Brokers.

Further, it is not known whether the Russians involved in the channel are acting on their own or have been authorized by the Russian government to try to sell the materials to the United States. As a result, the Americans are uncertain whether the Russians involved are part of a disinformation campaign orchestrated by Moscow, either to discredit Trump or to discredit efforts by American officials investigating Trump’s possible ties to Russia, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

UNITED STATES - JUNE 7: Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats arrives in the Hart Senate Office Building to testify during the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats arrives in the Hart Senate Office Building to testify during the Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

THE EXISTENCE OF the off-the-books communications channel, which has been a closely guarded secret within the U.S. intelligence community, has been highly controversial among those officials who know about it, and has begun to cause rifts between officials at the CIA and the NSA who have been involved with it at various times over the past year.

The CIA, which is now headed by a Trump loyalist, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, has at times been reluctant to stay involved in the operation, apparently for fear of obtaining the Trump-related material offered by the Russians, according to sources close to the negotiations. In the period in which the communications channel has been open, CIA officials are said to have repeatedly changed their views about it. They have sometimes expressed interest, only to later back away from any involvement with the channel and the intermediaries. At some points, the CIA has been serious enough about buying materials through the channel that agency officials said they had transported cash to the CIA’s station in Berlin to complete the transaction. But at other points, agency officials backed off and shut down their communications. Some people involved with the channel believe that the CIA has grown so heavily politicized under Pompeo that officials there have become fearful of taking possession of any materials that might be considered damaging to Trump.

The CIA’s wariness shows that the reality within the U.S. intelligence community is a far cry from the right-wing conspiracy theory that a “deep state” is working against Trump. Instead, the agency’s behavior seems to indicate that U.S. intelligence officials are torn about whether to conduct any operations at all that might aid Mueller’s ongoing investigation into whether Trump or his aides colluded with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.

Many intelligence officials are reluctant to get involved with anything related to the Trump-Russia case for fear of blowback from Trump himself, who might seek revenge by firing senior officials and wreaking havoc on their agencies. For example, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence and thus the man supposedly in charge of the entire U.S. intelligence community, has said he does not see it as his role to push for an aggressive Trump-Russia investigation, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Because of the CIA’s reluctance to take an aggressive role, officials at the NSA have taken the lead on the communications channel, with a primary focus on recovering their own stolen documents. They have viewed the Trump-related material as an annoying sidelight, even as they understand that it is potentially the most explosive material to have come through the channel.

The channel has been operating in the shadows even as Mueller’s investigation has been basking in the spotlight. Last year, three former Trump campaign officials faced charges as part of Mueller’s investigation, and the special counsel continues to investigate both possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and evidence of efforts by Trump or others close to him to obstruct justice in the Mueller probe.

OVER THE PAST year, those involved with the secret communications channel have experienced a series of dramatic highs and lows. Until recently, it wasn’t clear whether the conversations would produce any materials about Trump or lead to the recovery of any NSA documents.

It took months of meetings and negotiations between American and Russian intermediaries to try to determine what documents might be available from the Russians – and at what price. Inconsistent interest in the channel by U.S. intelligence officials, particularly at the CIA, complicated the negotiations.

According to documents obtained by The Intercept that summarize much of the channel’s history, a key American intermediary with the Russians was first approached by U.S. intelligence officials in late December 2016. The officials asked him to help them recover NSA documents believed to have been stolen by the Shadow Brokers.

The American was able to identify a hacker in Germany who claimed to have access to some of the stolen data believed to be held by the Shadow Brokers, and who accurately provided advance notice of several Shadow Broker data releases. The hacker’s cooperation with the U.S. intelligence community broke down over his demands for full immunity from U.S. prosecution for his hacking activities — negotiations that failed largely because the hacker refused to provide his full personal identification to the Americans.

Eventually, the relationship with the hacker in Germany led the Americans to begin talks with a Russian who became a key intermediary in the channel. The Russian is believed to have ties to officials in Russian intelligence.

In March 2017, the Russian met with the American intermediary and a U.S. official in Berlin and agreed to provide the stolen NSA data from the Shadow Brokers in exchange for payment. The U.S. government used “certain messaging techniques” that the Russian accepted as proof that the U.S. government was behind the negotiations and the proposed deal, according to the documents obtained by The Intercept.

Officials gave the Russians advance knowledge that on June 20, 2017, at 12:30 p.m., the official NSA Twitter account would tweet: “Samuel Morse patented the telegraph 177 years ago. Did you know you can still send telegrams? Faster than post & pay only if it’s delivered.”

That tweet, in exactly those words, was issued at that time.

The NSA used that messaging technique repeatedly over the following months, each time officials wanted to communicate with the Russians or reassure them that the U.S. was still supporting the channel. Each time, the Russians were told the text of the tweets in advance and the exact time they would be released. Each tweet looked completely benign but was in fact a message to the Russians.

On August 17, 2017, officials communicated with the Russians by having the NSA account issue a tweet saying:“The 1st telegraph communications exchange occurred between Queen Victoria and President Buchanan in 1858.”

In October, 2017, officials communicated again with the Russians when the NSA tweeted:“This week in history, Robert Lamphere began working on the Verona program in 1948.”

That same month, officials gave the Russians early notice that the NSA account would tweet:“Can you help Kandice the Kangaroo save her baby Jory in this month’s #PuzzlePeriodical?”

In early November, three NSA tweets were part of the communications channel. One said:“#NSA inducts 5 #CryptologicPioneers into the Cryptologic Hall of Honor. Learn more about their distinguished service.” Another stated: “People are our greatest assets. The #NSA workforce makes 65 years of service possible #NSA65.” And a third:“23,725 days, 31,164,000 min. 2,049,840,000 sec and counting…At #NSA the mission never sleeps. #NSA65.”

Later that month, a message was sent to the Russians when the NSA account tweeted:“The ADONIS cipher machine replaced WWI-era SIGABA machine. It was one of the first machines to print on-the-fly.”

And in December, the NSA gave advance warning to the Russians that its official account would tweet:“Section 702 is a law that can also be a lifesaver. Take a look at how #Section 702 protects troops and helps the nation.”

But the channel broke down several times, often over disagreements between the U.S. and the Russians about how money would be exchanged and what data was to be received. In May 2017, U.S. officials were upset that the first tranche of data they received contained files already known to have been stolen because they had already been released by the Shadow Brokers. But the Russian intermediary continued to insist that he could provide data held by the Shadow Brokers, as well as materials related to Trump officials and Russian activity in the 2016 campaign. Throughout 2017, the U.S. officials sought to limit the scope of their investigation to data stolen by the Shadow Brokers, leaving aside the materials related to Trump. U.S. officials also began to wonder whether the Russian intermediary was part of a so-called dangle operation involving Russian disinformation.

But by last fall, the Russian began passing information to the American intermediary that was unrelated to the Shadow Brokers, including the names of specific individuals and corporate entities allegedly tied to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. The American intermediary turned the information over to U.S. intelligence for the purpose of determining the Russian’s credibility. U.S. intelligence officials continued to stress that they were only interested in recovering stolen U.S. data. Still, it was understood that if the Russian provided material related to Trump, the American intermediary would debrief U.S. officials on its content.

In December 2017, the Russian turned over documents and files, some of them in Russian. The documents appeared to include FBI investigative reports, financial records, and other materials related to Trump officials and the 2016 campaign.

“The information was vetted and ultimately determined that while a significant part of it was accurate and verifiable, other parts of the data were impossible to verify and could be controversial,” the documents obtained by The Intercept state. It is not clear who vetted the material.

At a meeting last month in Spain, the Russian told the American intermediary of his desire to move forward with the delivery of the Shadow Brokers data, as well as material related to the 2016 election. The American questioned him on the credibility of his data and told him the data he was providing on Trump officials and election activities was “unsolicited.” The Russian also expressed interest in giving the material to media outlets, which the American told the Russian he found “disconcerting.”

The Russian told the American that he had first become aware of Russian efforts targeting U.S. political activities in late 2014 or early 2015, according to the documents reviewed by The Intercept. The Russian stated that he had no knowledge of a “master plan” to cause major disruption to U.S. election activities, but the effort was generally understood as a “green light” from Russian security officials to enlist cyber-related groups in probing and harassing activities directed at U.S. targets.

Update: February 9, 2018

This story has been updated to include more details about the NSA’s use of its official Twitter account to communicate with Russian operatives.

Top photo: The shadow of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is cast against the wall as he speaks to members of the City Club of Chicago, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Chicago.

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