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Foreign Correspondent
by international syndicated columnist & broadcaster Eric Margolis

The Trail Of The Pope’s Assassination Leads Right To Moscow

Copyright: Eric S. Margolis, 2005

April 5, 2005

MILAN - The Soviet secret police, or Cheka, used to call their sessions of night-time torture and murder `Chorny robotka’ - black work. High-level assassinations were termed `wet affairs,’ or, `special tasks.’

Last week, as Pope John Paul’s life ebbed away, one of the 20th century’s greatest criminal mysteries burst again to life.

A special Italian investigative parliamentary commission announced it had obtained compelling evidence the Soviet KGB was indeed behind the `special task’ in Rome, the attempted 1981 assassination of Pope John Paul II.

The documentary evidence was discovered by researchers in the most secret archives of Stasi, East Germany’s intelligence service.

This new evidence confirms what was long suspected. The Turk who tried to kill the pope, Mehmet Ali Agca, was a deep cover agent working for Bulgarian intelligence, a service that specialized in conducting `wet affaires’ for KGB. A senior Bulgarian agent, under cover of working in Rome for that nation’s airline, organized the plot and controlled Agca. The plan originated at KGB HQ in Moscow and was mounted by a top secret section within its elite First Chief Directorate charged with `special tasks.’

This was an archetypal false flag operation so favored by the Chekisti. Agca appeared to be a Turkish neo-fascist terrorist when, in fact, he was really being run by KGB via its Bulgarian cutouts. Agca admitted as much when in prison, but then recanted after his life was threatened by the Bulgarians. At the time, the US and Europe shamefully failed to pursue the pope’s attempted murder so as not to jeopardize budding entente with Moscow.

Italy is now demanding Bulgaria conduct a full-scale investigation and charge the guilty parties. The Bulgars, anxious to get into NATO and Europe’s good graces, are in a serious jam: if they open their secret files, they will be exposed as world-class criminals. And who knows what other outrages will be revealed.

Italian magistrates have also determined that Stasi was involved in the plot, though to what extent has not yet been revealed. Stasi’s former head, the famed spymaster Markus Wolf, known in the trade as `the man with no face,’ strongly denies any involvement. But it seems inconceivable that the brilliant Wolf, the East bloc’s most gifted spy chief, would not have known of such an explosive operation.

Let us hope Wolf, who is Jewish, was somehow not involved. The idea of a Jewish communist trying to kill the vicar of Christ would surely re-ignite a blaze of anti-Semitism, particularly in Catholic parts of Eastern Europe.

Reopening the Agca case means the trail will eventually run right to Moscow, as this column has been saying for two decades. The EU, United States, and UN must demand that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin open KGB archives and come clean about this abominable crime.

Neither the Soviet Union or Russia have ever officially admitted the crimes of the Soviet era, or the Cheka’s murder of what may be as high as 18 million people from 1931-1953. Stalin told Winston Churchill that he had ordered the deaths of 10 million Ukrainians and Russians – that was alone before 1938 and did not include the murder of millions of farmers and Catholics by Lenin during the 1920’s.

Soviet era archives need to see the light of day. Otherwise, Russia will never escape its sinister past as the greatest nation of mass murderers in history. Another set of files also needs to be opened. KGB committed two of the 20th century’s highest profile assassinations. In 1988, seven years after trying to murder Pope John Paul, KGB very likely assassinated Pakistan’s leader, Zia ul-Haq, who was responsible for the Soviet defeat in the Afghan War.

Zia’s aircraft was sabotaged and all aboard killed. Subsequent Pakistani governments failed miserably to pursue his murder investigation. When I queried former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, both shrugged off Zia’s death as better forgotten.

We must not forget these two great men who played the key role in destroying the most murderous evil mankind has ever known, Soviet communism. The civilized world must demand answers from Russia.

To read previous columns by Mr. Margolis: Click here

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    Eric Margolis
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