Saturday, March 04, 2006

Killing Is Job 1

An Italian parliamentary commission, looking into the 1981 attempt on Pope John Paul II's life, has decided that, yes, the Soviets were indeed behind the act, via a "Bulgarian Connection," a connection that was never proved in court. The Russians deny this and dismiss it as absurd. And Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who pulled the trigger and who's changed his story countless times, once claiming that he was Jesus Christ, was released from a Turkish prison in mid-January, only to be thrown back inside days later to serve out the rest of his sentence for killing a Turkish journalist, Abdi Ipekci, in 1979. As he was led into jail, Agca shouted to the media, "I declare myself Messiah! I am not the son of God, I am Messiah! I am declaring the doomsday!"

Nice to see that one of the surviving actors hasn't forgotten his role.

Back in the day, a few colleagues of mine were fascinated with the Pope shooting and with the rightwing conspiracy, led by Claire Sterling and the New York Times, that the Soviets tried to ice the Pope in an effort to deprive Poland's Solidarity movement of its spiritual/political icon. The whole plot, later picked up and disseminated uncritically by other US media outlets, never made much sense, especially given that the gunman, Agca, had deep ties with violent Turkish fascists who were anti-Soviet. Perhaps the best and most thorough debunking of this Reagan-era disinformation saga remains "The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection" by Edward S. Herman and Frank Brodhead, which came out in 1986. This review gives you the basics, and may suck you into that bizarro world, as it did my old friends.

While I agree that the Soviets had nothing to do with shooting the Pope, I wouldn't be surprised if they did. States are violent mechanisms. States kill. And if the Soviets ordered the shooting, then even more embarrassing for them. It puts them on the same level as John Hinckley, who winged but did not kill Ronald Reagan (though he severely damaged Reagan's Press Secretary, James Brady). A large, nuclear-armed power as inept as a crazy, suicidal loner with a Jodie Foster obsession -- not the stuff of heroic murals depicting the sweeping triumph of the October Revolution.

Of course, when it comes to effectively murdering outspoken religious figures who might complicate matters for you and your business/political interests, few states can hold a candle to the USA.

At home:

And in other countries, like El Salvador:

Americans know how to Get The Job Done.

The Pope? Piece of apple pie.