Skip to comments.Why did he do it?
Posted on 01/13/2006 5:23:18 AM PST by billorites
The release from prison of Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who narrowly failed in his attempt to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, has understandably revived interest in one of the great unsolved whodunnits of the 20th century.
At the time of the shooting, which took place as the Pope rode around the piazza in front of St Peter's Basilica in his Popemobile, it was initially thought that Agca had acted as a lone fanatic. He had, after all, previously written to the Pope informing him of his murderous intentions - hardly the modus operandi of the professional assassin.
But as the investigating Italian authorities delved deeper into Agca's background, they uncovered an intricate web of political intrigue to rival The Da Vinci Code. It emerged that Agca was an escaped convict and murderer who had already achieved notoriety in Turkey for killing a prominent newspaper editor.
He was a member of the extreme Right-wing Turkish Grey Wolves movement, which itself had links to numerous shadowy intelligence agencies across the Balkans. On the day of the shooting Agca had met a Bulgarian intelligence officer who handed him the gun to carry out the attack.
The Bulgarians, in turn, were suspected of working for Moscow, which was determined to nullify the dramatic impact that John Paul's election as Pope in 1978 was having on the burgeoning pro-democracy Solidarity movement in his native Poland.
While the finger of suspicion still points firmly at the Soviet Union's KGB, little proof has yet been provided of the Black Lubyanka's guilt, despite the wealth of archival material that appeared following the collapse of the Iron Curtain.
Agca's own rambling and contradictory confessions have served only to complicate matters further, and have shed little light on the identity of his ultimate paymasters. It seems safe to assume that the subject of John Paul's near assassination will remain a thriller writers' bonanza for many years to come.
He was paid by the KGB. Simple as that.
St. John Paul pray for us.
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