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On May 13, 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca - Turkish fascist, leading member of the notorious Gray Wolves, and convicted murderer - shot Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square. Agca was one of the most wanted terrorists in the world. He had been found guilty of the 1979 murder of progressive Turkish newspaper editor Abdi Ipekci, but had escaped from prison with Gray Wolves help.
Agca was hurriedly convicted of the attempted assassination of the Pope, amidst dark rumors of conspiracy. For more than a year, the prisoner was seen by the world as just what he appeared to be, a rightwing Muslim fanatic who had threatened once before to kill the Pope and who had, finally, attempted the deed on behalf of his Gray Wolves brotherhood.
But suddenly some western journalists, led by a former CIA chief of propaganda, claimed that Agca was in fact an agent of the Bulgarian government, and by extension of the KGB, hired to kill the Polish Pope because of his influence in troublesome Poland. This theory, for. which there was no evidence, was soon bolstered by Agca's prison confessions - confessions the authors of this book say he was coached by intelligence agencies to make. In the years which followed, the elaborate conspiracy theory - the Bulgarian Connection - was voiced incessantly in the western media.
In October 1984 three Bulgarians and six Turks (including Agca) were indicted for conspiracy to murder the Pope; in May 1985 the trial began; and in March 1986 all the defendants were acquitted of any conspiracy. The case against the Bulgarians, which the western media had presented as ironclad, was a shambles. Agca had claimed he was Jesus and offered to raise the dead. In nearly four years of intensive investigations, no evidence was ever found to corroborate any of the specifics of his charges against the Bulgarians.
How did it happen that this ludicrous theory was foisted on the public, developed, elaborated, and repeated, until everyone saw not only smoke, but fire? This book is a study of intelligence agency scheming, of knee-jerk conservative journalism, and of gullibility. It is also a warning to the reading public that the western press is neither free nor unbiased. The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection is a case study of western disinformation.