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AFA 17–21: Who Shot the Pope?

Pt. 1: Fas­cism and the Vat­i­can (AFA 17)

Part 1a [1] 43:39 | Part 1b [2] 43:33 | Part 1c [3] 42:17 | Part 1d [4] 44:13 | Part 1e [5] 43:43
(Record­ed May 1, 1986)

One of the last major intel­li­gence-relat­ed con­tro­ver­sies of the Cold War, the shoot­ing of Pope John Paul II in May of 1981 was wide­ly and mis­tak­en­ly blamed on the Sovi­et Union. The first in a series of pro­grams about the attempt on the Pope’s life, AFA-17 chron­i­cles the evo­lu­tion of the fas­cist ele­ments that appear to have per­pe­trat­ed that act.

Ter­ri­fied of com­mu­nism, the Vat­i­can active­ly sup­port­ed Euro­pean fas­cism pri­or to, dur­ing and after the Sec­ond World War. The Vatican/fascist asso­ci­a­tion helped spawn insti­tu­tions and net­works which loom large in the inves­ti­ga­tion, such as the IOR (the Vat­i­can Bank), the P‑2 lodge of Mus­soli­ni sup­port­er and for­mer Nazi offi­cer Licio Gel­li and the Vat­i­can’s his­tor­i­cal asso­ci­a­tion with reac­tionary Amer­i­can and Euro­pean intel­li­gence ele­ments.

Much of the pro­gram focus­es on Euge­nio Pacel­li (lat­er Pope Pius the XII), mem­bers of the Pacel­li fam­i­ly and their role in the Vatican/fascist alliance. As the Papal rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Munich, then Arch­bish­op Pacel­li report­ed­ly chan­neled Vat­i­can funds to Adolf Hitler as ear­ly as 1919. Pacel­li and close fam­i­ly mem­bers were instru­men­tal in forg­ing the Lat­er­an Treaty of 1929. In addi­tion to mak­ing Roman Catholi­cism the offi­cial state reli­gion of Mus­solin­i’s Italy, the treaty estab­lished the Vat­i­can as a sov­er­eign state and led to the cre­ation of the IOR (Insti­tute for Reli­gious Works), the Vat­i­can Bank.

With the estab­lish­ment of the Vat­i­can as a finan­cial pow­er, the stage was set for events lead­ing to the prob­a­ble mur­der of one Pope and the shoot­ing of anoth­er. It should be not­ed that the Pacel­li fam­i­ly prof­it­ed hand­some­ly from the treaty. Euge­nio Pacel­li’s cozy rela­tion­ships with fas­cists con­tin­ued after he became Pope. With Pius XI hav­ing died before issu­ing a con­dem­na­tion of Nazism, Pius XII (Pacel­li) estab­lished a mutu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial rela­tion­ship with the Fuehrer. The pope refrained from active­ly oppos­ing Hitler and Hitler, in turn, estab­lished a “Church Tax,” which added sig­nif­i­cant­ly to the Church’s cof­fers in Ger­many. This tax was still part of the Ger­man tax struc­ture in the mid 1980’s. (It should be not­ed that Catholic priests in Ger­many were being per­se­cut­ed by the Nazis, even as Pius XII and Hitler coop­er­at­ed.)

The broad­cast high­lights oth­er areas of pre-war and wartime coop­er­a­tion between fas­cists and the Vat­i­can, includ­ing the unqual­i­fied sup­port giv­en by the Vat­i­can to Fran­co’s forces in Spain. One of the most overt instances of Vat­i­can sup­port for fas­cism came in wartime Croa­t­ia, where Catholic cler­gy blessed the death squads of the mur­der­ous pro-Nazi Ustashe and served in the Croa­t­ian Par­lia­ment.

As defeat loomed for the Third Reich and its allies, the Vat­i­can proved instru­men­tal in help­ing to engi­neer the escape and sur­vival of many noto­ri­ous war crim­i­nals. This did much to ensure the per­pet­u­a­tion of fas­cism itself. Dubbed “the Rat Line” by U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cers, the Vat­i­can escape route pro­vid­ed numer­ous Nazi fugi­tives with safe pas­sage to polit­i­cal refuge in Latin Amer­i­ca. (Many of them lat­er went to work for U.S. and British intel­li­gence, both of which active­ly aid­ed the Vat­i­can in arrang­ing for the Nazis’ suc­cess­ful flight from Europe.)

In addi­tion to Bish­op Alois Hudal and Father Drag­onovic (a Croa­t­ian priest), one of the most impor­tant fig­ures in the oper­a­tion of the Rat Line was Car­di­nal Gio­van­ni Bat­tista Mon­ti­ni. Mon­ti­ni pro­vid­ed many of the most heinous war crim­i­nals with Vat­i­can diplo­mat­ic papers, assur­ing their escape. Mon­ti­ni lat­er became Pope Paul VI. It is worth not­ing that the Rat Line began as a wartime Ger­man intel­li­gence oper­a­tion and was per­pet­u­at­ed in the post-war peri­od through coop­er­a­tion between the Vat­i­can and West­ern intel­li­gence.

Pro­gram high­lights include: the appar­ent clan­des­tine coop­er­a­tion between the Nazi for­eign min­istry, the Vat­i­can and William Dono­van (head of the OSS, Amer­i­ca’s wartime intel­li­gence ser­vice) to open up the West­ern Front to Amer­i­can and British armies, assur­ing their deep pen­e­tra­tion into Ger­many ahead of the Sovi­ets; the alleged role of even­tu­al P‑2 Lodge head Licio Gel­li in the oper­a­tions of the Rat­line; “Oper­a­tion Bern­hard” (an SS coun­ter­feit­ing oper­a­tion designed to wreck the British econ­o­my while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly financ­ing the oper­a­tions of the Rat­line); the con­nec­tions of the Opus Dei order to Fran­co’s Spain (John Paul II is close to Opus Dei); Pope John Paul II’s selec­tion of Nazi financier Her­mann Abs (chair­man emer­i­tus of the Deutsche Bank) to help straight­en out the Vat­i­can Bank scan­dals of the ear­ly 1980s.

Pt. 2: The P‑2 Lodge and the Vat­i­can Bank­ing Scan­dals (AFA 18)

Part 2a [6] 43:22 | Part 2b [7] 43:47 | Part 2c [8] 43:41 | Part 2d [9] 43:39 | Part 2e [10] 43:59 | Part 2f [11] 26:28
(Record­ed May 8, 1986)

The sec­ond pro­gram in this five-part series ana­lyzes a series of bank­ing scan­dals involv­ing the Vat­i­can, as well as their effect on inter­na­tion­al and Vat­i­can polit­i­cal real­i­ty. Polit­i­cal rela­tion­ships evolv­ing from Vat­i­can entan­gle­ments dur­ing the Sec­ond World War fig­ure promi­nent­ly in the dis­cus­sion (see AFA-17 for infor­ma­tion about Licio Gel­li and Car­di­nal Gio­van­ni Bat­tista Mon­ti­ni, lat­er Pope Paul VI.)

In par­tic­u­lar, the Vat­i­can’s rela­tion­ship with mem­bers of the P‑2 lodge deter­mined the course of events that pre­cip­i­tat­ed the scan­dals. Found­ed by Mus­soli­ni ally and Nazi offi­cer Licio Gel­li, the P‑2 lodge func­tioned as a de fac­to cryp­to-fas­cist gov­ern­ment in the 1960’s, 70’s and ear­ly 80’s. Uti­liz­ing black­mail and, as called for, mur­der to enforce obe­di­ence and loy­al­ty, Gel­li recruit­ed from among the Ital­ian elite. Promi­nent mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence offi­cials, busi­ness and media fig­ures, politi­cians and Mafiosi com­prised the mem­ber­ship of the avowed­ly fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion, mak­ing it a cen­ter of con­sum­mate, occult polit­i­cal pow­er in Italy.

P‑2 mem­bers Michele Sin­dona and Rober­to Calvi served as suc­ces­sive finan­cial con­sul­tants to the Vat­i­can. In that capac­i­ty, they worked with the head of the Vat­i­can Bank (the IOR.) Sin­dona was a Mafioso and Calvi the head of the Ban­co Ambrosiano, Italy’s largest bank at the time. The asso­ci­a­tion between the fas­cist P‑2 and the Vat­i­can’s finan­cial estab­lish­ment bred cor­rup­tion, scan­dal and mur­der, includ­ing what was almost cer­tain­ly the killing of a Pope–the short-tenured John Paul I. Both Sin­dona and Calvi were among peo­ple asso­ci­at­ed with the Vat­i­can bank­ing scan­dals who were either mur­dered or became “appar­ent sui­cides.” Pope Paul VI (for­mer­ly Car­di­nal Gio­van­ni Bat­tista Mon­ti­ni) mid­wived the rela­tion­ship between the P‑2 and the IOR.Under the stew­ard­ship of Arch­bish­op Paul Marcinkus, the Vat­i­can Bank became involved in numer­ous ille­gal trans­ac­tions.

In addi­tion to doc­u­ment­ing many of the Vatican/P‑2 ille­gal­i­ties, the pro­gram high­lights the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the untime­ly and sus­pi­cious death of Pope John Paul I. Known for his devout and pop­ulist atti­tude as a Car­di­nal, the new Pope was mov­ing in the direc­tion of sev­er­ing the con­nec­tion between the Vat­i­can and the P‑2 and dis­ci­plin­ing Marcinkus and oth­ers. Had the truth emerged about these scan­dals, many of the par­tic­i­pants would have gone to prison and the pow­er pol­i­tics of the Vat­i­can (and much of the rest of the world) would have been fun­da­men­tal­ly altered. The Pope’s sud­den death elim­i­nat­ed an imme­di­ate threat. One of the most impor­tant parts of the pro­gram, the analy­sis of the facts con­cern­ing the Pope’s demise strong­ly sug­gests that he was poi­soned.

When John Paul II took office, he per­pet­u­at­ed the rela­tion­ship between the IOR and the P‑2 and then called in Her­mann Abs, for­mer­ly of the Deutsche Bank, to help straight­en out the finan­cial mess. Abs had been Nazi Ger­many’s most impor­tant banker and con­tin­ued his career unin­ter­rupt­ed in the post-war years. In addi­tion to Abs, the Pope select­ed Swiss financier Philippe de Weck to help advise the IOR. De Weck had pre­vi­ous­ly been linked to a scan­dal involv­ing a “petro­le­um-sniff­ing plane.” That scan­dal appears to have involved the World Anti-Com­mu­nist League.

Pro­gram high­lights include: dis­cus­sion of the bad loans made by Ban­co Ambrosiano and guar­an­teed by the IOR (those loans brought about the col­lapse of Ban­co Ambrosiano); Rober­to Calvi’s sus­pi­cious sui­cide in Lon­don fol­low­ing the col­lapse of Ambrosiano; Sin­don­a’s charge that the bad loans were made to fund anti-com­mu­nist activ­i­ties in Latin Amer­i­ca; Sin­don­a’s involve­ment in the col­lapse of the Franklin Nation­al Bank; an attempt­ed jail­break by Sin­dona (serv­ing time in the Unit­ed States for the Franklin col­lapse); the mur­ders of jour­nal­ists and/or inves­ti­ga­tors into the shady finan­cial activ­i­ties of Sin­dona, Gel­li & com­pa­ny; the alleged “sui­cide” of Sin­dona in an Ital­ian prison; the alleged “sui­cides” of a Ban­co Ambrosiano col­league of Calvi and his per­son­al sec­re­tary (both “jumped” from the win­dow of the Ambrosiano’s Milan head­quar­ters); a Sin­dona-Marcinkus-Mafia scheme involv­ing stolen secu­ri­ties.

Pt. 3: The P‑2 Lodge, con­tin­ued (AFA 19)

Part 3a [12] 41:15 | Part 3b [13] 43:21 | Part 3c [14] 43:00 | Part 3d [15] 43:22 | Part 3e [16] 43:46 | Part 3f [17] 29:51
(Record­ed May 15, 1986)

Although not well known, Licio Gel­li’s P‑2 Lodge has wield­ed a pro­found influ­ence on the his­to­ry of the sec­ond half of this cen­tu­ry. This broad­cast doc­u­ments and ana­lyzes some of the activ­i­ties of the P‑2 in Italy and around the world. Much of the dis­cus­sion focus­es on attempts by the P‑2 milieu to desta­bi­lize Ital­ian democ­ra­cy and bring fas­cism back to Italy.

Aid­ed by the CIA in this effort, the P‑2 was instru­men­tal in stag­ing two unsuc­cess­ful coup attempts in the ear­ly 1970’s, fol­lowed by a pro­gram of ter­ror­ist inci­dents. Accord­ing to infor­ma­tion devel­oped by the Pike Com­mit­tee (a con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee inves­ti­gat­ing CIA mis­deeds), P‑2 mem­ber Michele Sin­dona was the con­duit between the CIA and the archi­tects of “the Strat­e­gy of Ten­sion.”

For­mal­ized by Ital­ian fas­cist Stephano Delle Chi­aie, the Strat­e­gy of Ten­sion was a pro­gram of ter­ror designed to dis­cred­it the Ital­ian left and pro­voke a reduc­tion of civ­il lib­er­ties and a broad­en­ing of police and sur­veil­lance pow­ers. Its ulti­mate goal was a restora­tion of fas­cism in Italy. Epi­cen­ter of the Strat­e­gy of Ten­sion and the coup attempts of the 70’s, the so-called “Super SISMI” group func­tioned as an intel­li­gence ser­vice with­in an intel­li­gence ser­vice. (SISMI is one of Italy’s intel­li­gence ser­vices.) Com­posed of P‑2 mem­bers and their allies with­in the SISMI, the “Super SISMI” cyn­i­cal­ly cre­at­ed and manip­u­lat­ed ter­ror­ism of both the left and the right.

One of the appar­ent vic­tims of the Strat­e­gy of Ten­sion was for­mer Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Aldo Moro. Hav­ing invit­ed the Ital­ian Com­mu­nist Par­ty into a rul­ing coali­tion, Moro was kid­napped and mur­dered by the Red Brigades. (An Ital­ian par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion inves­ti­gat­ing the activ­i­ties of the P‑2 lodge found that Licio Gel­li had helped to found the osten­si­bly left-wing Red Brigades, whose pro­gram of ter­ror­ism dis­cred­it­ed the Ital­ian left and weak­ened Ital­ian democ­ra­cy.) The P‑2 and its allies were very active else­where in the world as well.

With branch­es in Mona­co, Brazil, Uruguay and Argenti­na, the P‑2 sig­nif­i­cant­ly influ­enced the devel­op­ment of fas­cism in Latin Amer­i­ca. The Argen­tine branch of P‑2 was par­tic­u­lar­ly influ­en­tial, with P‑2 mem­bers Jose Lopez Rega, Admi­ral Emilio Massera and Gen­er­al Car­los Suarez Mason play­ing key roles in the fas­cist jun­ta that ran Argenti­na in the 70’s and ear­ly ’80’s. Not­ed for its bru­tal “dirty war” against polit­i­cal oppo­nents, the jun­ta influ­enced activ­i­ties in oth­er Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries, includ­ing Bolivia, where it lent sup­port to the so-called “Cocaine Coup” of 1980. That coup brought to pow­er a group of major cocaine traf­fick­ers.

It was engi­neered by for­mer Gestapo offi­cer (and U.S. intel­li­gence agent) Klaus Bar­bie and his “Bride­grooms of Death” mer­ce­nar­ies. That group includ­ed the afore­men­tioned Stephano Delle Chi­aie and P‑2 mem­ber Pier­lui­gi Pagli­ai. Bar­bie, Delle Chi­aie & com­pa­ny were, in turn, active with a Nazi emi­gre com­mu­ni­ty in South Amer­i­ca that includ­ed for­mer SS Colonel Otto Sko­rzeny (who, like Bar­bie, worked for the CIA after the war) and Friedrich Schwend, the archi­tect of Oper­a­tion Bern­hard (see AFA-17.)

In addi­tion to dis­cus­sion of Sko­rzeny’s weapons deals, the pro­gram high­lights Sko­rzeny’s cre­ation of an “Inter­na­tion­al Fascista.” Join­ing togeth­er Euro­pean and Latin Amer­i­can fas­cists, this Fas­cist Inter­na­tion­al is the milieu with­in which Gel­li, Delle Chi­aie and their ilk exist­ed and oper­at­ed. Par­tic­u­lar empha­sis is on “Oper­a­tion Con­dor,” an inter­na­tion­al assas­si­na­tion con­sor­tium among Latin Amer­i­can fas­cist dic­ta­tor­ships. Aid­ed by ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence, Oper­a­tion Con­dor claimed, among oth­er vic­tims, Chilean diplo­mat Orlan­do Lete­lier, assas­si­nat­ed in Wash­ing­ton D.C. with the appar­ent con­nivance of George Bush’s CIA. Oper­a­tion Con­dor was dis­tin­guished by attempts at blam­ing the killings on the left, much like the provo­ca­tions of the Strat­e­gy of Ten­sion.

Pro­gram high­lights include: Gel­li’s atten­dance at Ronald Rea­gan’s inau­gu­ra­tion; involve­ment of the P‑2 milieu in the “Bil­ly­gate” scan­dal that tar­nished the Carter admin­is­tra­tion; the CIA-assist­ed Borgh­ese coup attempt of 1970; the Rosa Dei Ven­ti coup attempt of 1973; Sko­rzeny’s sup­ply­ing of weapons to the Borgh­ese and Rosa Dei Ven­ti coup attempts; the 1969 Piaz­za Fontana bomb­ing; the 1980 Bologna rail­way sta­tion bomb­ing; Bar­bie lieu­tenant Joachim Fiebelko­rn’s links  to the  DEA; the Anon­i­ma Sequestri group — a kid­nap­ping con­sor­tium con­nect­ed to the P‑2 and orga­nized crime; P‑2 mem­bers and Ital­ian intel­li­gence offi­cers Vito Miceli, Giuseppe San­tovi­to, Pietro Musume­ci and Mas­si­mo Pugliese; P‑2 links to Nixon and Rea­gan cab­i­net mem­ber Alexan­der Haig; links between the Sko­rzeny-linked Merex weapons firm to the BND (Ger­many’s intel­li­gence ser­vice); Sko­rzeny’s Pal­adin Mer­ce­nary Group (co-financed by Libyan dic­ta­tor Moham­mar Khadafy); Abscam sting­man Mel Wein­berg’s con­nec­tions to the Red Brigades; “Ex” CIA agents Ed Wil­son and Frank Ter­pil’s train­ing of the Red Brigades; assas­si­na­tions com­mit­ted as part of the Strat­e­gy of Ten­sion.

Pt. 4: Stibam (AFA 20)

Part 4a [18] 43:20 | Part 4b [19] 43:55 | Part 4c [20] 41:47 | Part 4d [21] 42:47 | Part 4e [22] 41:15 | Part 4f [23] 21:33
(Record­ed May 22, 1986)

Com­par­a­tive­ly few know the name “Stibam [24].” Obscure, even in the annals of the guns-for-drugs busi­ness, this arms and drug-smug­gling out­fit fig­ured promi­nent­ly in the world of 1980’s covert oper­a­tions.

With con­nec­tions to intel­li­gence agen­cies of many coun­tries (includ­ing the Unit­ed States) and over­lap­ping the P‑2 lodge, Stibam was report­ed­ly involved with the attempt on the Pope’s life. Run by Syr­i­an-born Hen­ri Arsan (a DEA infor­mant), Stibam was con­nect­ed to many promi­nent indi­vid­u­als, and was impli­cat­ed in numer­ous scan­dals, includ­ing the Iran-Con­tra and Iraq­gate affairs.

One of the prin­ci­pal fig­ures in Stibam was a Turk­ish nation­al named Bekir Celenk, described as being very close to the fas­cist Grey Wolves and heav­i­ly involved with Stibam’s nar­cotics busi­ness. (For more about the Grey Wolves, see AFA #‘s 14, 21.) Mehmet Ali Agca iden­ti­fied Celenk as the pay­mas­ter of the plot to shoot Pope John Paul II. This pro­gram exam­ines the oper­a­tions of Stibam, its com­po­nent ele­ments and its polit­i­cal con­nec­tions.

Mas­querad­ing as a “con­struc­tion com­pa­ny,” the Milan-based firm was head­quar­tered right above the Ban­co Ambrosiano’s head­quar­ters. (For more on Ban­co Ambrosiano and its P‑2 chair­man, Rober­to Calvi, see AFA-18.) Ele­ments asso­ci­at­ed with the P‑2 fig­ure promi­nent­ly in Stibam’s affairs. Ronald Rea­gan, Richard Nixon and actor Rossano Brazzi were involved with Stibam deals, in the com­pa­ny of vet­er­an intel­li­gence offi­cer and P‑2 mem­ber Giuseppe San­tovi­to.

Anoth­er Stibam oper­a­tion involved the sale of AK-47 rifles for the Nicaraguan Con­tras. Oth­er gam­bits involved the sale of Amer­i­can arms to the Khome­i­ni regime in Iran, to use against the Iraqis in the Iran-Iraq war. Oth­er Stibam pro­grams con­sti­tut­ed part of what has pop­u­lar­ly-termed “Iraq­gate,” the arm­ing of Sad­dam Hus­sein by the West.

One of the most spec­tac­u­lar and dan­ger­ous of the Stibam under­tak­ings involved the sale of ther­monu­clear weapons to an Arab nation (believed to have been either Syr­ia or Sau­di Ara­bia.) This oper­a­tion involved an indi­vid­ual named Glau­co Par­tel, described in the Ital­ian press as being a “mis­sile expert” and work­ing for “the NSA.” One of Partel’s com­pan­ions was a U.S. intel­li­gence vet­er­an named Eugene Bartholomeus, whose cur­ricu­lum includ­ed work with the much-trav­eled “ex-” CIA agent Ed Wil­son, as well as for the Nugan Hand Bank in Aus­tralia. (For more on Ed Wil­son, see AFA‑4, and for infor­ma­tion about the Nugan Hand, see AFA-25.)

Asso­ci­at­ed with numer­ous intel­li­gence ser­vices (includ­ing and espe­cial­ly Amer­i­can) Stibam had, as Mr. Emory says “more con­nec­tions than a switch-board.” When inves­ti­ga­tions into the oper­a­tion pro­duced a mas­sive series of arrests in Novem­ber of 1982, peo­ple involved with the inves­ti­ga­tion began to die.

Pro­gram higlights include: Details about Sutas, Stibam’s Los Ange­les Branch; the sto­ry of the Brog­gi Izzar arms oper­a­tion of Rena­to Gam­ba, part­ly financed by the Ban­co Ambrosiano; analy­sis of the Stibam net­work as an exten­sion of the “Balkan Route” hero­in con­nec­tion of Cor­si­can gang­ster Auguste Ricord; Ricord’s World War II Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tion, includ­ing the begin­ning of his life-long asso­ciate with Gestapo offi­cer and Gehlen agent Klaus Bar­bie; Stibam deals involv­ing arms cap­tured by Israel in numer­ous con­flicts; the untime­ly deaths of Stibam-con­nect­ed fig­ures Hen­ry Arsan, Giuseppe San­tovi­to and Bekir Celenk (among oth­ers); the bomb attack on Judge Car­lo Par­ler­mo, whose inves­ti­ga­tion of Stibam on behalf of the Ital­ian author­i­ties has yield­ed dev­as­tat­ing dis­clo­sures; con­nec­tions between Paler­mo’s inves­ti­ga­tion and Nazi Gold from World II; evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries run­ning in the direc­tion of Colo­nia Dig­nidad, an emi­gre Nazi con­clave in Chile.

Pt. 5: West­ern Intel­li­gence Con­nec­tions (AFA 21)

Part 5a [25] 41:47 | Part 5b [26] 43:21 | Part 5c [27] 43:53
Part 5d [28] 44:01 | Part 5e [29] 44:23 | Part 5f [30] 38:46
(Record­ed May 29, 1986)

The pro­gram sets forth abun­dant evi­dence sug­gest­ing the involve­ment of ele­ments of West­ern intel­li­gence agen­cies in the for­mu­la­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion of the so-called “Bul­gar­i­an Con­nec­tion” to the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II. (This “Con­nec­tion” com­prised an alleged con­spir­a­cy between the KGB and their Bul­gar­i­an allies designed to kill the Pope, pre­sum­ably because of his sup­port for the Sol­i­dar­i­ty move­ment in Poland.) In addi­tion, the broad­cast high­lights a num­ber of impor­tant facts that indi­cate how some of these same West­ern intel­li­gence ele­ments may have arranged the crime them­selves.

The Bul­gar­i­an con­nec­tion first sur­faced in a 1983 mag­a­zine arti­cle authored by Paul Hen­ze, a for­mer CIA sta­tion chief in Turkey. As not­ed in the Ital­ian press, the attempt on the Pope took place as the Vat­i­can and the Sovi­et Union were mov­ing toward diplo­mat­ic rap­proche­ment on sev­er­al key issues: the need for nuclear dis­ar­ma­ment, diplo­mat­ic recog­ni­tion for the PLO and a de-fus­ing of the Sol­i­dar­i­ty cri­sis in Poland. (In late 1980 and ear­ly 1981, Lech Walesa’s pro-West­ern Sol­i­dar­i­ty move­ment had pre­cip­i­tat­ed a dec­la­ra­tion of mar­tial law in Poland and the threat of mil­i­tary inva­sion by the Sovi­et Union.) The attempt on the Pope’s life pre-empt­ed this rap­proche­ment and height­ened Cold War ten­sions, pro­mot­ing dis­cord between the Vat­i­can and the for­mer U.S.S.R.

Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, for­mer CIA offi­cial Theodore Shack­ley was report­ed to be in Italy at around this time, work­ing with ele­ments of the P‑2 Lodge and the Ital­ian secret ser­vices. One of the agency’s most impor­tant oper­a­tives, Shack­ley had numer­ous con­nec­tions to the milieu of the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal and the Stibam arms-for-drugs ring. (The Stibam oper­a­tion and the Iran-Con­tra machi­na­tions over­lap the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the shoot­ing of the Pope.)

Ital­ian intel­li­gence ele­ments close to the Shackley/P‑2 milieu report­ed the alleged KGB/Bulgarian con­nec­tion at the same time that they knew about the Vat­i­can-Krem­lin rap­proche­ment! The pos­si­bil­i­ty that the shoot­ing of the Pope may have been a provo­ca­tion intend­ed to dis­rupt the Vat­i­can-Krem­lin rela­tion­ship should not be too read­i­ly dis­count­ed. (It should be not­ed that the P‑2 milieu involved with Shack­ley & com­pa­ny was deeply involved in the “Strat­e­gy of Ten­sion” provo­ca­tions described in AFA 19.)

The Grey Wolves (the fas­cist/­pan-Turk­ist par­ty to which con­vict­ed would-be assas­sin Mehmet Ali Agca belonged) had strong con­nec­tions to the CIA and was used by the Agency against the Turk­ish left in the 1960’s and 1970’s. (For more on this rela­tion­ship, see FTR-59.) As CIA sta­tion chief, Paul Hen­ze was involved with the CIA/Grey Wolf axis. Turk­ish jour­nal­ist Ugur Mum­cu (assas­si­nat­ed in a 1992 car bomb­ing) report­ed that the CIA had a man inside the Nation­al Action Par­ty at the time of the assas­si­na­tion attempt on the Pope. (The Nation­al Action Par­ty was the par­ent orga­ni­za­tion of the Grey Wolves. For more on the NAP and the pan-Turk­ist move­ment, see AFA-14.)

The alleged CIA liai­son with the NAP was Ruzy Nazar (nee Nazaroff), a for­mer Waf­fen SS man. Nazar served as an ABN del­e­gate to the 1984 con­fer­ence of the for­mer World Anti-Com­mu­nist League.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: pos­si­ble con­nec­tions of the CIA-con­nect­ed Father Felix Andre Mor­lion to the devel­op­ment of the Bul­gar­i­an the­sis; Agca’s asser­tion that he did not want to kill the Pope; alleged links between the U.S. embassy in Italy and Agca’s “con­fes­sion;” pos­si­ble con­nec­tions of the “Super-Sis­mi” milieu described in AFA-19 to the attempt on the Pope; con­nec­tions between the P‑2 and the Knights of Mal­ta (see M‑6); links between for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Alexan­der Haig and the source for alle­ga­tions that the KGB tried to kill the Pope; the sus­pi­cious deaths of fig­ures involved with the West­ern intel­li­gence milieu impli­cat­ed in the attempt on the Pope.