Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Attempt on the Life of John Paul II and Aspects of C.I.A. Operations in Europe

The attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II will probably never be explained in full. It does provide examples of how organized crime, drug and arms trafficking, politics, and the work of government intelligence agencies are all intertwined—often in unexpected ways. The story also provides an example of very clever propaganda.
Mehmet Ali Ağca, a professional Turkish assassination, attempted to murder Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981. He was a member of the Grey Wolves, an anti-Communist Turkish terrorist organization. This is not a small organization and has tens of thousands of adherents wherever Turcic peoples are found. They are neo-fascists and ultra-nationalists who were also involved in the drugs and arms trades.. It is clear that much of his payment came through them and that they sprung him from a Turkish military prison. The Grey Wolves facilitated his movements and most probably supplied a back-up shooter who was also responsible for a distraction explosion that never occurred after the shooting. In 1979, Agca he probably killed a Turkish newspaper editor; although, some say he was paid to accept the blame. Abdullah Catli (pronounced Chutley), the number 2 Grey Wolf leader, organized Agca’s escape and gave him the false passport he had when apprehended in Rome. Beyond that, it is unclear who else was involved. In the seventies, the Grey Wolves were helped by the Counter-Guerilla Organization of the Turkish Army Intelligence. They were used against the Kurds.
. For the most part, the American position was that there was no conspiracy at all, even though it seems clear Agca had at least one accomplice on the scene who was seen running away. There was a period, however when elements in the American intelligence community promoted a theory linking the assassination to the Soviets.

The role of the Italian Mafia in the attempted assassination of the pope is unknown. We know that it works closely with the Grey Wolves and Bulgarian intelligence in the international drug trade. It also has links to the C.I.A. in common efforts to fight the left and in the trade in arms and drugs. Former C.I.A. agent, Victor Marchetti noted that the agency capitalized on the Mafia’s right-wing tendencies and used it to control Italy. Different elements in the Italian Mafia handled different parts of the drug and arms trade. Raffaele Cutolo, head of the Neapolitan “ The New Camorra” was able to pass messages to Agca through his chaplain, Father Mariano Santini. Cutolo at the time was being held on the remote Agca Island prison.
The Grey Wolves
The Grey Wolves. Founded in 1969, worked with Operation Gladio ( gladius in latin is sword), an underground network the C.I.A. organized throughout most of Europe. They were initially planted to resist leftist regimes that might emerge. Sometimes Gladio units carried out terroristic acts and blamed them on left wing groups.

In the 1970s, the Grey Wolves were moving top grade weapons from NATO arsenals into the Middle East and were paying for it with heroin. Death squads run by them and the Turkish mafia were active in 1970s. Duane “Dewey” Claridge, a rabid right-winger, was C.I.A. station chief in Ankara during many of those years. The C.I.A. was also tied to the Grey Wolves—Bulgarian operations. The Bulgarian government made little effort to conceal its involvement in drugs and arms, and it ran its illegal arms trade through Kintex, its foreign trade arm. The Grey Wolves were also involved in the drug trade and worked with the Turkish mafia, Turkish military, and Bulgarian Intelligence, which in turn was manipulated by the Soviet KGB. The drugs were moved to Northern Italy, where the Sicilian mafia moved the heroin to Europe and North America. It was called the “Pizza Connection.”

Money from these interrelated drug and guns operations were laundered through Stiban International Corporation, headed by a Syrian, which used accounts in the Banco Ambrosiano and the Vatican Bank. Stiban offices are located above the Banco Ambrosiano, which has the Vatican Bank as its main stockholder. Banco Ambrosiano collapsed in 1982 after it had been looted by Robert Calvi, who was working for P-2, a secretive right-wing criminal element organized as a Masonic unit. Because Calvi worked closely with the Vatican Bank and moved much Ambrosiano money there, Italian police unsuccessfully tried to interview Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, head of the Vatican Bank. He had to remain within the walls of Vatican City. Later he was exiled back to the United States, where he worked as a parish priest until his death. Ezio Giunchiglia, a ranking member of P-2, remained in touch with the Cicero, Illinois native until his death.

There was an investigation Turkish government’s ties to the Grey Wolves and mafia in 1996. It was triggered by a November 3, 1996 car crash near Susurkuk. A Mersedes hit a tractor and turned over, killing three and wounding a guerilla leader. Husseyin Kocadig, a top Counter Intelligence official , was dead along with Abndullah Catli, a mafia and Grey Wolves leader, and the beauty queen girlfriend of the drug dealer. Narcotics were found. Soon it was clear that Cati, who admitted giving Agca the pistol he used on the pope, was being protected by the government. At the time Catli had a criminal record and was wanted for murder and drug running. He was carrying a Turkish weapons permit and diplomatic credentials provided by that government. Catli also had weapons with silencers and several thousand US dollars.

More recently, the Grey Wolves have established terrorist training camps in Central Asia for young men of Turcic backgrounds. The Chinese believe that some of the violence in southern China in 2009 involving Muslim migrant workers was inspired by the Grey Wolves. There is a suspicion that the C.I.A. could be behind these destabilizing efforts. At this time, the political party backed by the Grey Wolves is part of the governing coalition, and it claims it has renounced violence. Today, there is another underground network in Turkey called Ergenekon that is devoted to fighting democratic forces there. It is not known if this group is tied to the C.I.A., however Daniele Ganser, an historian at the University of Basel, insists that this is the case.

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