MOB RULE: ‘Masonic Cabal’, The Unholy Alliance Between the Vatican, CIA and the Mafia

Source –

“…Months before the Soviet invasion in 1979, the CIA launched Operation Cyclone, an attempt to destabilize the Soviet Union by spreading militant Islam throughout the central Asian republics…The holy war in Afghanistan, in the view of American geostrategists, offered many benefits, including the possible downfall of the Soviet Union and the possibility of gaining access and control over the vast natural gas and oil resources of Eurasia”



I chose the same names as my beloved Predecessor John Paul I. Indeed, as soon as he announced to the Sacred College on August 26, 1978 that he wished to be called John Paul I—such a double name being unprecedented in the history of the Papacy—I saw in it a clear presage of grace for the new pontificate. Since that pontificate lasted barely thirty-three days, it falls to me not only to continue it but in a certain sense to take it up again at the same starting point. This is confirmed by my choice of these two names.
Pope John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis – March 4, 1979

Before his death, Pope Paul VI decided to put to task the College of Cardinals by making the process of electing his successor as grueling as possible. Knowing that previous conclaves had been bugged,1 he left instructions that all cardinal-electors swear a solemn oath not to divulge the results of the balloting to any outside source or to discuss the results with other princes of the Church. Swiss Guards were placed outside every entrance and beneath every window, just in case one of the septuagenarian cardinals attempted to escape from a high tower.

Within the Sistine Chapel, where the conclave was held, the cardinals, who were accustomed to living in regal splendor within luxurious apartments, were confined to single cells without any amenities. Before entering the cells, the cardinals were searched by guards for bugging devices or other means of communication, including pencils and notepads. “The cells have no toilets and no running water,” Cardinal Giuseppe Siri complained to an attendant. “It is impossible to live any longer under these conditions.”2

At the start of the conclave, on August 25, 1978, the 111 cardinals were marched in silence to the chapel. The presiding cardinal—the Camerlengo—took roll call and ordered the purpled prelates to kneel while beating their breasts and chanting the Latin hymn, “Veni Creator Spiritus.” Many within the sacred assembly were disgruntled to find that they were not treated like princes of Holy Mother Church but prisoners in San Quentin.3

To make matters worse, the conclave took place in the midst of an oppressive heat wave. The temperature in Rome soared above ninety-four degrees. The situation within the chapel soon became unbearable, with every door locked and barred and every window boarded and sealed. Small wonder that the traditionalists and progressives came to an immediate compromise by electing Albino Luciani, a “strange, little fellow,” as the new pope.4 The appearance of the smiling new pontiff on the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica caused noted journalist and Vatican insider John Cornwell to gasp: “My God! That’s Peter Sellers! They’ve made Peter Sellers a pope.”5

The conclave may not have been bugged, but it had been rigged. The CIA was fearful that the cardinals might elect Cardinal Giovanni Benelli, the Archbishop of Florence or Cardinal Aloísio Lorscheider, the leading Catholic prelate in Brazil, as pope. Benelli, a moderate, had been so horrified by the Sindona affair that he called for the removal of Archbishop Marcinkus as the head of the Vatican Bank. Cardinal Lorscheider represented an even more odious choice since he was an advocate of liberation theology. Soon after Pope Paul suffered his first heart attack, the Agency arranged for Cardinal John Cody, the Archbishop of Chicago, to travel to Poland for a meeting with Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, the Archbishop of Krakow, who had attracted the attention of the US intelligence community with his strong stance against Communism and his openness to the strategy of Operation Gladio.6

Cody, by his own admission, was a CIA operative who had served the Agency since the time of its establishment.7 The cardinal had even been dispatched on mysterious missions to Saigon. In charge of the total assets of the Roman Catholic Church in Chicago—in excess of $1 billion—Cody worked closely with David Kennedy at Continental Illinois, which held the deposits of the diocese. Through Kennedy, the Cardinal developed close relationships with Michele Sindona and Archbishop Marcinkus. During the 1970’s, Cody diverted millions of dollars via Kennedy’s Chicago bank to Marcinkus at the I.O.R. Marcinkus, in turn, would channel the money to cardinals in Poland, including Wojtyła.8 The reason for the transfers of such large amounts of money was never adequately explained.

The only ecclesiastical purpose for Cody’s trip to Krakow was to cultivate Wojtyła’s interest in a dark horse candidacy for the papacy. While Cody remained in Poland, Cardinal John Krol of Philadelphia began to work the phones in support of the little known Pole, who was not a member of the Roman Curia. Krol was a formidable Church figure with high-powered friends, including three former American Presidents—Johnson, Nixon, and Ford.9

The cultivation of a dark horse was necessitated by the fear that Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, the prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Bishops, might fail to capture the needed votes for the holy office. Baggio, a prominent member of P2, had served Operation Condor by purging the Latin American Bishops’ Conference of all proponents of liberation theology.10 Moreover, he had openly pledged to conduct business as usual, with Marcinkus and Calvi remaining in control of the I.O.R.11

Prior to the conclave, the cardinals with ties to P2 met at Villa Stritch on the outskirts of Rome to plan alternative courses of action during the conclave.12 One alternative was the selection of Albino Luciani as the next pontiff. He was a simple man with a “nervous” smile and an ungainly appearance, who, they agreed, was afraid of his own shadow.


The new pope called himself John Paul I and pledged to follow in the footsteps of his two immediate predecessors. And few within the CIA and the Sicilian Mafia fancied him a threat to the existing order of things. But a series of articles appeared on the front pages of leading Italian newspapers and periodicals, including Il Mondo and La Stampa, which called upon the new Holy Father to reform the Vatican Bank and to put an end to the Church’s ties to “the most cynical financial dealers in the world, from Sindona to the bosses of the Continental Illinois Bank in Chicago.”13

Through Cardinal Benelli, who became his friend and counselor, John Paul was aware of the Vatican’s involvement in a plot to sell $1 billion in counterfeit securities. The deal had been forged by Sindona, who made arrangements for the preparation of the bogus securities with members of the Gambino family in New York. To verify the Holy See’s involvement in the scheme, Cardinal Eugène Tisserant, dean of the College of Cardinals, had provided the Mafia with a letter bearing the official insignia of the Sacra Congregazione Dei Religiosi. 14 Phony bonds from companies such as American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), General Electric, Chrysler, and Pan American World Airways were delivered in July 1971 to the IOR. In order to ensure that the bonds would be accepted as genuine, Archbishop Marcinkus made trial deposits at the Handelsbanken in Zurich and at Banca di Roma. The securities were examined and certified as authentic.15

The problem arose when officials of both banks went with samples of the bonds to examiners at the Bankers Association in New York, who found that the securities were counterfeit. Word went out to Interpol. The Organized Crime and Racketeering Division of the US Department of Justice sought an interview with Cardinal Tisserant, only to learn that the Vatican official had died of natural causes. After questioning Marcinkus, US officials sought an indictment for his arrest. But the Nixon administration called a halt to the probe, and the case against the Archbishop was placed among the dead files of the FBI.16

One week after his election, John Paul received a preliminary report on the internal workings of the Vatican Bank from Cardinal Villot, who remained the Holy See’s secretary of state. The bank, which had been formed to further “religious works,” was now serving a distinctly secular purpose. Of the 11,000 accounts within its registry, fewer than 1,650 served to further an ecclesiastical cause. The remaining 9,350 accounts served as “slush funds” for special friends of the Vatican, including Sindona, Calvi, Gelli, Marcinkus, and leading Sicilian Mafiosi, including the made men of the Corleone, Spatola, and Inzerillo families and members of the Camorra of Naples and Milan. The Banda della Magliana gang serviced the accounts of Giuseppe “Pippo” Calò, the Mafia’s head cashier, who served as the boss of the Porta Nuova clan.17 Other accounts were held by leading Italian politicians and businessmen in service to Operation Gladio; and still others for the foreign embassies of Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and other countries.18 The Santa Anna Gate within Vatican City opened to a busy thoroughfare as thugs with suitcases filled with drug money marched past the Swiss Guards, up the stairs to the IOR. Members of the Italian underworld, for the most part, remained traditionalists, who shied away from electronic bank transfers.19

On September 7, Cardinal Giovanni Benelli, the Archbishop of Florence, conveyed to the Holy Father even worse news. The Bank of Italy was investigating the links between Roberto Calvi of Banco Ambrosiano and the Vatican Bank, including Calvi’s purchase of Banca Cattolica del Veneto from the IOR in 1972. This purchase had occurred when John Paul was Archbishop of Venice. The sale had been made without his consultation, let alone that of any other patriarch or prelate. Everything about this transaction was mysterious. Banca Cattolica del Veneto was one of Italy’s wealthiest banks, with vast real estate holdings in northern Italy. Calvi, on behalf of Banco Ambrosiano, purchased 50 percent of the shares for $46.5 million (around $2 billion in today’s money). But the shares never left the Vatican. Instead the stock was reassigned to Zitropo, a company owned by Sindona. Zitropo was then sold to Calvi and in 1978 the company was acquired by the Vatican. All this time the shares of Banca Cattolica del Veneto never left the Vatican safe.20 The investigators sent a preliminary report concerning these irregularities to Judge Emilio Alessandrini. The final report, Cardinal Benelli told the pope, could result in criminal charges not only against Calvi but also leading Vatican officials, including Archbishop Marcinkus and his two close IOR associates Luigi Mennini and Pellegrino De Stroebel. Neither Cardinal Benelli nor the pope were aware that the troublesome matter of Judge Alessandrini was under control and that criminal charges would not be filed against Calvi and his IOR cohorts.

On January 29, 1979, five gunmen murdered the Italian magistrate, when his orange Renault 5 stopped for a red light on Via Muratori in Rome. The action accomplished its purpose. The investigation of Calvi and the Vatican officials came to an abrupt halt.21


Cardinal Jean Villot,
The most appalling revelation came on Tuesday, September 12, when John Paul sat down at his desk to discover the latest copy of L’Osservatore Politico. This newsletter, published by Mino Pecorelli, contained a list of 121 leading Catholic clerics and laymen who were members of Masonic lodges with alleged ties to Licio Gelli and P2.22 If the list proved accurate, the pope would have no recourse save to strip the cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and monsignors of their titles and offices and to subject them to the rite of excommunication in accordance with canon law. This action would constitute a pogrom of the papabili the individuals closest to the Chair of St. Peter.23 At the top of the list was the name of Cardinal Jean Villot, the Vatican secretary of state. Villot’s Masonic name was “Jeanni” and he had enrolled in a Zurich lodge (#041/3) on August 6, 1966.24

The pope sought to see if the information was accurate by making contact with Italian officials through his close friends, Cardinal Pericle Felici and Monsignor Giovanni Benelli, whose names did not appear in the newsletter. Since all secret societies in Italy must register the names of their members with the state, officials were able to locate Italian masons of the Zurich lodge who confirmed that Cardinal Villot, indeed, had been inducted into the Order of Freemasonry.25

Another name on the list was that of Villot’s assistant, Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio[T.L], Masonic name “SEBA,” Lodge #85-1640, date of initiation: August 14, 1967. Again, the pope and his associates made contact with the authorities and received confirmation that Cardinal Baggio, indeed, was a Mason in good standing. By the end of the day, John Paul had received verification of the membership of other leading Catholic dignitaries in Masonic lodges, including Monsignor Agostino Casaroli[T.R.], his foreign minister; Cardinal Ugo Poletti,[L.L.] the vicar of Rome; Monsignor Pasquale Macchi,[L.R.] who had been Paul VI’s trusted secretary; and, last but not least, Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, who controlled the vast wealth of Holy Mother Church.26

Archbishop Paul Marcinkus

John Paul, however, was neither a spiritual warrior nor a determined reformer. Of all the popes of the twentieth century, he was, perhaps, the most timorous. On one occasion, when a gust of wind blew a score of documents from his hands to the roof of the Apostolic Palace, John Paul became so distraught that his attendants had to place him in bed, where he remained with a rosary between his fingers until the papers were found.27 Nevertheless, reliable sources contend that the new pope was moved to action as he learned more and more about the inner workings of Vatican, Inc. According to author David Yallop, John Paul announced on September 28 his decision to remove Archbishop Marcinkus from the IOR, to transfer Cardinal Baggio to the diocese of Florence, and to force Cardinal Villot into retirement. This contention is supported by declassified documents from the US Department of State and the CIA.28

The presumed papal simpleton, who ceaselessly spoke to his friends and associates about his fondness for Pinocchio, seemed suddenly set on becoming a real pope. It was 1978. The strategy of tension was still in effect. Aldo Moro remained intent on forming a coalition government with socialists and Communists. Liberation theology continued to spread throughout Latin America, giving rise to left-wing guerrillas and left-wing governments. The CIA had lost its connection to the drug lords of Southeast Asia and was engaged in a new search for opium to fund its black operations. All matters—including the utilization of the offshore corporations set up by Sindona and Calvi—awaited final resolution. The timing could not be worse for an upheaval within the I.O.R.

The morning after John Paul made these alleged announcements, he was found dead under conditions that continue to baffle investigators. At 4:30 a.m., Sister Vincenza, following her morning routine, knocked at the door of the papal bedchambers and left a pot of coffee on a table in the hallway. When she returned a half hour later, she found the tray untouched. After knocking at the door and receiving no reply, she called out: “Buona serra, Papa.” The room was still. Entering the room, she found the pope sitting up in bed with his eyeglasses half off his nose. His fingers were clutched around a file, and papers were strewn among the bed covers. As soon as she approached him, Sister Vincenza reeled back in horror. The pope’s lips were pulled back in a macabre grimace; his gums were exposed; and his eyes appeared to have popped from their sockets.29

The nun shrieked with alarm and pulled a bell to summon Fr. John Magee, John Paul’s secretary. As soon as Magee saw the pope’s condition, he telephoned Cardinal Villot, who occupied an apartment within the Lateran Palace. Villot, according to Vatican sources, uttered in French the following cry of surprise: “Mon Dieu, c’est vrais tous ca?” (“My God, is all that true?”). Then he asked Magee an extraordinary question: “Does anybody else know the Holy Father is dead?” Magee replied on the phone that no one knew except the Vatican nun. Villot then told Magee that no one—not even Sister Vincenza—must be allowed to enter the pope’s bedroom and that he, as the Vatican Camerlengo (“presiding Cardinal”) would handle matters as soon as he arrived.30

Villot appeared in a matter of moments. To Magee’s amazement, the cardinal was shaved, well groomed, and in full ecclesiastical attire. It seemed as though Villot was set to make a public appearance. The time was 5:00 a.m.31

Before proceeding with the rite of extreme unction, Villot began placing items from the pope’s bedroom in a satchel, including the vial of low blood pressure medicine that John Paul kept on a bedside table, the papers that were scattered on the bed covers, and the pope’s appointment book and last will. Finally, he removed John Paul’s glasses and slippers. None of these things were ever seen again.32

Villot telephoned Dr. Renato Buzzonetti, the Vatican physician, and instructed Magee to make arrangements for the immediate transfer of Sister Vincenza to the cloistered environment of her Mother house in Venice. At this point in the story, the nun disappeared. No investigator—not even John Cornwell, who became the official Vatican snoop in this case—was permitted to interview her. Cornwell was merely told that she had died shortly after arriving at the Mother house.33 The British journalist accepted this explanation without question. Neither he nor any other reporter who probed into John Paul’s death has been able to uncover the proper name of Sister Vincenza, let alone a reason for her abrupt dismissal from the Vatican.

Dr. Buzzonetti arrived at 5:45, examined the body, and announced to Magee and Villot that the pope had suffered “a coronary occlusion,” that he had died “between 10:30 and 11:00 the previous evening,” and that he had “suffered nothing.”34 But the Holy Father’s bulging eyes and horrific grimace seemed to tell a different story.

Shortly after the physician left, two morticians—Ernesto and Arnaldo Signoracci—appeared out of nowhere. It was 6:00 a.m. Villot must have summoned them as soon as he received the call from Father Magee—that is, before 5:00 a.m., before he called Dr. Buzzonetti, and before he had even seen the body.35 What’s more, the morticians had been transported to the Vatican by an official car that presumably had to be dispatched before Villot entered the papal bedchamber.36 When Cornwell interviewed the Signoracci brothers, they were unable to confirm the time of their arrival. They only affirmed that it was early in the morning.37

Even though the bodies of the popes are traditionally not embalmed, the two morticians, under instructions from Villot, began to inject embalming fluid into John Paul’s body as soon as they arrived. This unorthodox means of embalming without draining the corpse of blood would serve to prevent any possibility of a complete autopsy and any accurate determination of the cause of death.38 The morticians also manipulated the distorted jaw of the pope, corrected his horrible grimace, and closed his eyes.39 When interviewed by Cornwell, the brothers admitted that they had opened the dead pope’s femoral arteries and injected an “anti-putrid” fluid before removing the body from the Vatican. They could not remember either the room or the place where they had performed this procedure.40

While the pope’s body was being infused with the fluid, Villot instructed Magee to relate to the world a fabricated story about the morning’s events. Magee was to say that he, not Sister Vincenza, had found the pope’s body. He was to make no mention of the papers that were strewn across the bed or the items Villot tucked away in his satchel. What’s more, in order to provide a proper ecclesiastical spin to the tale, Magee was to say that John Paul had died with a copy of The Imitation of Christ, the great devotional work by St. Thomas a Kempis, clutched in his hand.41

At 6:30 a.m., Villot conveyed the news of the pope’s death to Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri, the eighty-six-year-old dean of the Sacred College; Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, head of the Vatican Diplomatic Corps; and Sergeant Hans Roggen of the Swiss Guards.42 The news was beginning to spread throughout the Vatican village. At 6:45 a.m., Sergeant Roggen came upon Archbishop Marcinkus in a courtyard near the Vatican Bank. This was most unusual. Marcinkus, who lived twenty minutes from the Vatican in the Villa Stritch, was a late riser who never appeared at his office before 9:00 a.m. When the sergeant blurted out the news, Marcinkus stared at Roggen, displayed no emotion, and made no comment. Later, when questioned by Cornwell about his lack of reaction, Marcinkus offered this explanation: “I thought he [Roggen] said, ‘Hey, I dreamed the Pope was dead.’”43

At 7:27 a.m., nearly three hours after Sister Vincenza discovered the pope’s body, Vatican Radio made the following announcement: “This morning, September 29, 1978, about five-thirty, the private secretary of the pope, contrary to custom not having found the Holy Father in the chapel of his private apartment, looked for him in his room and found him dead in bed with a light on, like one who was intent on reading. The physician, Dr. Renato Buzzonetti, who hastened to the pope’s room, verified the death, which took place presumably toward eleven o’clock yesterday evening, as ‘sudden death’ that could be related to acute myocardial infarction.”44

Despite Cardinal Villot’s care in fabricating the fiction, the story quickly began to unravel upon inspection. The first problem came with The Imitation of Christ. John Paul’s copy could not be found within the papal apartment. It remained among his belongings in Venice, where he had served as patriarch. On October 2, the Vatican was forced to admit that the Holy Father was not reading The Imitation of Christ at the time of his demise, but rather was holding in his hands “certain sheets of paper containing his personal writings such as homilies, speeches, reflections, and various notes. On October 5, after continual badgering from the press, the Vatican came clean and admitted that the papers the Holy Father was clutching concerned his decision to make critical changes within the Roman Curia, including the Vatican Bank.45

The second problem came with the work of the morticians. Italian law dictated that no embalming should be undertaken until twenty-four hours after death, without dispensation from a magistrate. For this reason, the immediate injection of “anti-putrid” fluid into the body of the pope without draining the blood smacked of foul play.46

On October 1, Corriere della Sera, Milan’s daily newspaper, published a front-page story titled, “Why Say No to an Autopsy?” The story called for a complete disclosure of all facts relating to the pope’s death and concluded by saying:

The Church has nothing to fear, therefore, nothing to lose. On the contrary, it would have much to gain. Now, to know what the pope died of is of a legitimate historical fact, it is part of our visible history and does not in any way affect the spiritual mystery of his death. The body that we leave behind when we die can be understood with our poor instruments, it is a leftover; the soul is already, or rather it has always been, dependent on other laws which are not human and so remain inscrutable. Let us not make out of a mystery a secret to guard for earthly reasons and let us recognize the smallness of our secrets. Let us not declare sacred what is not.47

These demands intensified when John Paul’s personal physicians said that the pope was in good health. “He had absolutely no cardiopathic characteristics,” Dr. Carlo Frizzerio said. “Besides, his low blood pressure should, in theory, have made him safe from acute cardiovascular attacks. The only time I needed to give him treatment was for the influenza attack.”48 This diagnosis was verified by Dr. Antonio Da Ros, who examined the pope on Saturday, September 23, and told the press: “Non sta bene ma benone” (“He is not well, but very well”).49 The pope’s good physical condition was attributed to his lifestyle. He exercised regularly, never smoked, drank alcohol only rarely, and kept a healthy diet. At the time of his death, John Paul was 65.

Numerous heart specialists throughout the world, including Dr. Christiaan Barnard of South Africa and Dr. Seamus Banim of London, took to task Dr. Buzzonetti’s diagnosis of myocardial infarction without conducting an autopsy as “incredible” and “preposterous.”50 Such critiques caused Villot to concoct another story. He told his fellow cardinals, who pressed for an autopsy, that the real cause of John Paul’s death was not a heart attack. The Holy Father, he assured them, had unwittingly taken a fatal overdose of Effortil, his blood pressure medicine. If an autopsy was conducted, Villot said, it would give rise to the belief that the pope had committed suicide.51

When this explanation failed to quiet the clamor for an autopsy, Villot proclaimed that canon law expressly prohibited the body of a pope from being subjected to postmortem surgery. This statement gave rise to yet another problem. Canon law neither banned nor condoned papal autopsies but failed to address the subject. What’s more, scholars quickly pointed out that an autopsy had been performed on the body of Pius VII in 1830.52

Rumor quickly became rampant that John Paul had died of poisoning. Some speculated that a lethal dosage of digitalis had been added to the Effortil, the liquid medicine for low blood pressure the pope kept by his bedside. Such a mixture would induce vomiting—vomiting that would account for the necessity of Villot’s removal of the pope’s glasses and slippers. Brother Fabian, the Vatican pharmacist, used this theory to provide a final explanation for the pope’s demise. John Paul, he said, was taking Digoxin for a heart problem and could have swallowed a few pills before taking a slug of Effortil—with tragic results. But this explanation also proved to be bogus. John Paul had never received a prescription for Digoxin. That drug had been used by Paul VI.53

On Monday, October 16, 1978, the CIA’s plans came to fruition as its dark horse candidate ascended to the papal throne as John Paul II. The news of the selection of Karol Wojtyła’s election caught the teeming crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square by surprise. The people expected the election of some established member of the Vatican bureaucracy, such as the progressive Cardinal Benelli or the conservative Cardinal Siri. They were stunned to hear the name of Wojtyła. Even members of the press turned to one another to ask: “Who is Wojtyła?” His strange-sounding name led many to believe that the new pope might be an African or Asian. Eventually, Fr. Andrew Greeley of Chicago told them: “È un polacco” (“He is a Pole”).54

It was one thing to elect a Pole—such as the famous anti-Communist cardinal Stefan Wyszyński— but quite another to elect one about whom so little was known. Who was Wojtyła? How had a junior cardinal come to the throne in less than two days of balloting?

Not only was the election unexpected, but the new pope also looked unusual as a Holy Father. He lacked the delicate—almost effete—features of Paul VI and Pius XII. His hulking physical frame and his nonintellectual mannerisms seemed to some observers antithetical to the Roman grace and refinement of many of his predecessors. This “lack of refinement” came to the fore during his first public appearance. Wojtyła, as John Paul II, approached a group of American reporters and beseeches them with the folded hands of a penitent to be “good” to him. A few minutes later, in a further effort to ingratiate himself with the press, the new pope cupped his hands like a megaphone and shouted his blessing to the milling crowd like a cheerleader at a football game.55

Gradually, the public came to learn that Wojtyła, as a young man, had sought not to become a priest but an actor.56 They further learned that he had worked in a chemical factory under Nazi control during World War II—although no one knew for certain if he had been the leader of “an underground movement which assisted Jews” or a Nazi collaborator.57 Rumors persisted that he had developed romantic attachments to many women and may have been married. The alleged marriage helped to explain the so-called “great gap” in John Paul’s career—the five-year span of time between 1939 and 1944.58

But certain things about the new pope eventually came to light. Cardinal Villot and the “Masonic Cardinals” had engineered his campaign with the help of American Cardinals Cody and Krol and celebrated his election not with traditional Te Deums and official prayers but rather a gala champagne party in which the new Holy Father filled the empty glasses of the nearest cardinals and nuns, while warbling his favorite song, a Polish number called “The Mountaineer.”59

After the coronation, the Vatican, Inc. returned to business as usual. Cardinal Villot remained secretary of state and Archbishop Marcinkus returned to his position as the head of the I.O.R. The ties to Roberto Calvi, Licio Gelli, and the CIA were renewed. And the time became ripe for a deal with the Turks.

What is important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?
Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, 1998
With the fall of Saigon, the drought in Southeast Asia, and the eradication of the poppy fields in Burma and Thailand, the CIA set its sights on the Golden Crescent, where the highlands of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran all converge, for a new source of drug revenue. Since the seventeenth century, opium poppies were grown in this region by local tribesmen, and the market remained regional. By the 1950’s, very little opium was being produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with about twenty-five hundred acres in both countries under cultivation.1 At the close of the Vietnam War, the fertile growing fields of Afghanistan’s Helmand Valley were covered with vineyards, wheat, and cotton.2

Nur Mohammad Taraki
The major problem for the CIA was the Afghan government of Nur Mohammad Taraki, who sought to eradicate poppy production in the border regions of the country that remained occupied by radical Islamic fundamentalists. This attempt at eradication sprang from Taraki’s desire to unite all the Pashtun tribes under Kabul rule.3 The fundamentalists spurned such efforts not only because of their desire to keep the cash crops but also because they viewed the Taraki government as shirk (blasphemy). The modernist regime advocated female education and prohibited arranged marriages and the bride price. By 1975, the tension between the government and the fundamentalists erupted into violence when Pashtun tribesmen mounted a revolt in the Panjshir Valley north of Kabul.4 The tribesmen were led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who became the new darling of the CIA.

Hekmatyar made his public debut in 1972 at the University of Kabul by killing a leftist student. He fled to Pakistan, where he became an agent of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the leader of Hezb-e-Islami, an organization dedicated to the formation of a “pure” Islamic state ruled by the most intransigent interpretation of Sunni law.5 Hekmatyar urged his followers to throw acid in the faces of women not wearing a veil, kidnapped rival Islamic chieftains, and, in 1977, began to build up an arsenal, courtesy of the CIA.6 The Agency also began to funnel millions to the ISI, which became its surrogate on the Afghan border.7

The CIA believed that Hekmatyar, despite the fact that he was clearly unhinged, would be of inestimable value not only in undermining the Taraki government but also in gaining control of the poppy fields in the Helmand Valley. Its faith was not misplaced. Throughout 1978, a year before the Soviet invasion, Hekmatyar and his mujahideen (“holy warriors”) burned universities and girls’ schools throughout Afghanistan and gained feudal control over many of the poppy farmers. The proTaraki militants, aware of the destabilization plot, assassinated Adolph “Spike” Dubs, the US ambassador to Kabul, on February 14, 1979.8

Thanks to Hekmatyar’s actions, heroin production rose from four hundred tons in 1971 to twelve hundred tons in 1978. After the assassination of Dubs and after the millions had begun to flow to Hekmatyar’s guerrilla army, the production soared to eighteen hundred tons and a network of laboratories was set up by the mujahideen along the Afghan-Pakistan border.9 The morphine base was transported by caravans of trucks from the Helmand Valley through northern Iran to the Anatolian plains of Turkey.

In the summer of 1979, six months before the Soviet invasion, the US State Department issued a memorandum making clear its stake in the mujahideen: “The United States’ larger interest…would be served by the demise of the Taraki regime, despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reform in Afghanistan…. The overthrow of the DRA [Democratic Republic of Afghanistan] would show the rest of the world, particularly the Third World, that the Soviet’s view of the socialist course of history as being inevitable is not accurate.”10

In September 1979 Taraki was killed in a coup organized by Afghan military officers. Hafizullah Amin was installed as the country’s new president. Amin had impeccable western credentials. He had been educated at Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin. He had served as the president of the Afghan Students Association, which had been funded by the Asia Foundation, a CIA front.11 After the coup, he met regularly with US Embassy officials, while the CIA continued to fund Hekmatyar’s rebels in Pakistan. Fearing a fundamentalist, US-backed regime at its border, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan on December 27, 1979.12

The CIA got what it wanted. The holy war had begun. For the next decade, black aid—amounting to more than $3 billion—would be poured into Afghanistan to support the holy warriors, making it the most expensive covert operation in US history.13 Such vast expenditures demanded an exponential increase in poppy production, which Hekmatyar and his fellow jihadists were pleased to provide.


The war in Afghanistan delighted state department officials, including Secretary of State Zbigniew Brzezinski. Voicing the utopian vision of what author Chalmers Johnson called the “military-industrial complex,” Brzezinski wrote of the plans to control Eurasia, including Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan:

For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia…. Now a non-Eurasian power is preeminent in Eurasia—and America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained…. To put it in a terminology that hearkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three great imperatives of imperial geo-strategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.14

Brzezinski and fellow members of his “over-world” (the elite group which puppeteers events to bring about a “new world order”) realized that the concept of democracy and freedom could never galvanize the scattered tribes and peoples of Central Asia. The people could only be unified by the cause of Allah since they were overwhelmingly Islamic. The holy war in Afghanistan, in the view of American geostrategists, offered many benefits, including the possible downfall of the Soviet Union and the possibility of gaining access and control over the vast natural gas and oil resources of Eurasia. Months before the Soviet invasion in 1979, the CIA launched Operation Cyclone, an attempt to destabilize the Soviet Union by spreading militant Islam throughout the central Asian republics.15

Eventually, this operation would serve to create hundreds of Islamic terror organizations, including al-Qaeda, al-Jihad, the Ulema Union of Afghanistan, the Salafi Group for Proselytism and Combat, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Harkat ul-Ansar, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Jamiat Ulema-ePakistan, Lashkar e-Taiba, and the al-Jihad Group. It would also give rise to terror attacks that would kill and maim millions of people throughout the world and the dream of a New Islamic World Order, which would be espoused by Fethullah Gülen and his disciples.

In 1972, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (B.C.C.I) was set up in Karachi by Agha Hasan Abedi, a financier who had deep connections to Pakistan’s underworld, the Turkish babas (members of Turkey’s underworld), and the oil-rich sheikhs of Abu Dhabi. It represented the ideal spot for the CIA to set up a laundry within the Golden Crescent. Thanks to the Agency, the B.C.C.I was registered in Luxembourg and soon mushroomed into a vast criminal enterprise with four hundred branches in seventy-eight countries, including the First American Bank in Washington, DC, the National Bank of Georgia, and the Independence Bank of Encino, California.16 Virtually free from scrutiny, it engaged not only in laundering the heroin proceeds but also arms trafficking on a grand scale—including the sale of French-made jet fighters to Chile and Chinese silkworm missiles to Saudi Arabia. By 1985, it had become the seventh-largest financial institution in the world, handling the money for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal, al-Qaeda chieftain Osama bin Laden, Liberian president Samuel Doe, and leading members of the Medellin Cartel.17

Prominent spooks, including CIA director William Casey, made regular visits to the BCCI’s headquarters in Karachi, making the Pakistani city the new haven for covert operations. The bank served the Agency in a myriad of ways, by paying bribes, providing “young beauties from Lahore,” and funneling cash for assassins.18 The enormity of the bank’s operations was evidenced by its transfer of $4 billion in covert aid to Iraq from 1985 to 1989. For the Iraqi transfer, the B.C.C.I made use of the Atlanta branch of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (B.N.L), an Italian bank with ties to the I.O.R. Henry Kissinger sat on B.N.L’s international advisory board, along with Brent Scowcroft, who became President George H. W. Bush’s national security adviser.

John R. Bath
John R. Bath, an alleged CIA operative, became one of BCCI’s directors.19 While serving the Pakistani bank, Bath was the co-owner of Arbusto Energy, a Texas oil company, with future president George W. Bush. Kamal Adham, a fellow B.C.C.I official, served, according to the Kerry Commission, as “the principal liaison for the CIA in the entire Middle East from the mid 1960’s through 1979.”20

Although a cursory investigation would have uncovered the bank’s engagement in issuing phony loans, making phantom deposits, and publishing false financial reports, Price Waterhouse, the prestigious London accounting firm, published annual statements, giving BCCI its unqualified approval.21 The Kerry Commission later concluded that the Price Waterhouse accountants “failed to protect BCCI’s innocent depositors and creditors from the consequences of poor practices at the bank of which the auditors were aware for years.”22

In 1991, the B.C.C.I, like so many other CIA banks, went bust, leaving a financial hole of $13 billion. Creditors subsequently brought action against Price Waterhouse, claiming damages because of the firm’s accounting negligence in excess of $11 billion. The matter was eventually settled out of court.23 Ironically, in the wake of this settlement, the Vatican turned to Price Waterhouse to certify its balance sheets—a choice that journalist David Yallop characterized as “bizarre.”24

In its opening statement regarding the CIA’s relationship to B.C.C.I, the Kerry Commission maintained:

The relationships involving B.C.C.I, the CIA, and members of the United States and foreign intelligence communities have been among the most perplexing aspects of understanding the rise and fall of B.C.C.I. The CIA’s and B.C.C.I’s mutual environments of secrecy have been one obvious obstacle. For many months, the CIA resisted providing information to the Subcommittee about its involvement with and knowledge of B.C.C.I. Moreover, key players who might explain these relationships are unavailable. Some, including former CIA director William Casey, and B.C.C.I customers and Iranian arms dealers Ben Banerjee and Cyrus Hashemi, are dead. Others, including most of B.C.C.I’s key insiders, remain held incommunicado in Abu Dhabi. While promising in public hearings to provide full cooperation to the Subcommittee, to date the Abu Dhabi government has refused to make any B.C.C.I officers available for interview by the Subcommittee. Former B.C.C.I chairman Agha Hasan Abedi remains severely incapacitated due to a heart attack. Finally, some persons in a position to know portions of the truth have denied having any memory of events in which they participated and of documents which they reviewed.25

Establishing Turkey as the pivotal center of the heroin route from the Golden Crescent was a relatively easy task for US intelligence officials. By 1970, the CIA had infiltrated the Turkish secret service MIT (Milli Istihbarat Teskilati—National Intelligence Organization). The full extent of this infiltration was made known by Sabahattin Savasman, the vice director of MIT, who testified, “The CIA has a group of at least 20 people who work together with the MIT and within the MIT at the highest level.” He said that the Agency trained all MIT personnel, provided all the necessary equipment (including a torture chamber), and paid all the bills. This payment would have been substantial since at that time the MIT employed “several hundreds of thousands” of agents, consultants, and technicians.26

Throughout the 1970’s, the CIA also continued to train and support all members of CounterGuerrilla, the organization containing all Turkish Gladio units, including the Grey Wolves. The recruits were trained at paramilitary centers in Ankara, Bolu, Kayseri, Buca (near İzmir), Çanakkale, and Cyprus by members of US Special Forces, including the Green Berets. The key training manual— FM-30-31—taught the secret soldiers how to launch terror attacks and to place the blame on the Communists. The Grey Wolves, as the militant arm of the pan-Turkism movement, embraced the training wholeheartedly. They believed in the racial superiority of the Turks and the sacred task of restoring the Ottoman Empire—the latter belief necessitating the elimination of the Kurds from the southeast region of the country. By 1976, there were seventeen hundred Grey Wolves organizations within Turkey, with about two hundred thousand registered members and well over a million sympathizers.27


Abuzer Uğurlu
Abuzer Uğurlu, Bekir Çelenk, and Huseyn Cil were Grey Wolves and leading babas (members of the Turkish underworld) with strong ties to the MIT. Uğurlu, the hulking, shaven-headed, hard-eyed “boss of all bosses,” kept a crew of professional killers at his beck and call, including Mehmet Ali Ağca, who later would shoot and nearly kill Pope John Paul II. By 1975, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), he controlled a multi billion dollar contraband operation, partially financed by the sale of narcotics.28

Bekir Çelenk, unlike Uğurlu, had few rough edges. Smooth and worldly, he was fond of sexy women, good cigars, and baccarat and served as the front man for the contraband enterprise. By 1975, Çelenk was the owner of a fleet of ships registered in Panama and a chain of hotels.29

The mustachioed and sullen Huseyn Cil represented the brains of the operation. A skilled accountant who spoke fluent Italian, he developed business contacts in Naples and Milan, which came to include leading members of the Camorra. These contacts granted him entry to Roberto Calvi, the head of Banco Ambrosiano, and, in turn, to Archbishop Marcinkus of the IOR.30

At the close of 1975, Uğurlu, Çelenk, and Cil sent Sami Duruoz to Sicily under orders to make a deal regarding the opium they were now controlling from the Golden Crescent. The babas awaited their emissary’s return in a small Yugoslav town near the Italian border. When Duruoz showed up with the news that he had failed to come to terms with Salvatore Riina and Bernardo Provenzano of the Corleonesi clan, the babas clubbed him to death, leaving his body in a Yugoslav hotel room.31 Within a year, they sent Cevdet Cil, Huseyn Cil’s brother, as their new emissary to the dons of the Sicilian Commission.32 By this time, the situation in Southeast Asia was worsening for the drug trade and the two parties came to a preliminary agreement.33

In 1977, meetings between the babas and the dons were held at the Hotel Vitosha in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Turks were represented by Uğurlu, Çelenk, and the Cil brothers, and the Italians by Raffaele Cutolo, the capo of the Camorra; Michele Zaza, the head of a Sicilian crime family and a Camorra deputy; Luciano Leggio, Salvatore Riina, and Bernardo Provenzano of the Corleonesi clan; and Nitto Santapaola and the Faraar brothers from Catania. Most of the Italian Men of Respect at the meetings were members of P2 and all were bound by a pact they made in Naples regarding the new drug deal.34

The Hotel Vitosha was an ideal place for the crime clan gatherings. The modern, thirty-story resort boasted a bowling alley, a sauna, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, several bars and a panoramic restaurant, chic boutiques charging Paris prices, prostitutes “licensed for foreigners,” and a gambling casino featuring blackjack and roulette. The tab for the get-together’s was paid by Kintex, an official arm of the Bulgarian government.35

Kintex was formed in 1968 by top-ranking members of the Bulgarian Security Service. Its primary function was trafficking in illegal arms for right-wing Turkish groups (including the Grey Wolves), the Palestine Liberation Organization in Lebanon, and the government of Israel.36 With the opening of the drug route from the Golden Crescent, it became the first outfit to offer morphine base as payment.37 The firm was used extensively by NATO and the CIA. In one typical Kintex deal, 459 rocket launchers and 100,000 missiles were shipped in May 1977 from the Black Sea port of Bourgas in a Kintex freighter under Cypriot colors. The vessel was skippered by a Greek captain. The provenance of the munitions appeared to be a NATO naval base and the probable customer was Israel.38

Duane “Dewey” Clarridge served as the CIA station chief in Ankara at the time of the meetings. He allegedly worked with the Grey Wolves and Kintex and became a key figure in the arms for drugs business.39 He should have been aware of the activities taking place at the Hotel Vitosha and the alliance being forged between the babas and the dons, even though he makes no mention of this development in his book A Spy for All Seasons. After the new drug network was established, he became the station chief in Rome, where he remained until the attempted hit on John Paul II.40

In accordance with the final agreement, the capos agreed to pay the babas for the morphine with shipments of arms, including Leopard tanks, Cobra helicopters fully loaded with rockets and guns, and R.P.G-7 rocket launchers. The Turks could then sell the arms to insurgent groups throughout Poland, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. These munitions were provided by the CIA from NATO arsenals in Western Europe and from Horst Grillmayer, a German arms dealer who worked for the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND—Germany’s Secret Service).41 The arms trafficking would be managed by Kintex in Bulgaria.

The operation, at the start, was tightly run, with Milan as its hub. The heroin base was smuggled into Italy by ethnic Albanians via the Balkan route, which ran from Bulgaria through Kosovo and into Albania, Greece, and Yugoslavia.42 The route continued to Milan, where Salah Al Din Wakkas and Kahim Nasser, intermediaries for the babas, had set up warehouses. The product was picked up at these locations by Nunzio La Mattina and Antonio Totolo in T.I.R (Transport Internationaux Routiers) trucks and conveyed to nearby ports for shipment to the Sicilian port of Catania. In Sicily it passed into the hands of Giuseppe Calderone and Nitto Santapaola, who trucked the morphine to laboratories owned by the Gaetano brothers and operated by Gerlando Albertini and his team of Corsican chemists. Once refined, the heroin was loaded on freighters and shipped to the United States by Stibam International, a Milan-based shipping firm.43

Stibam was located at Via Oldofredi No. 2, a building owned by Banco Ambrosiano. The firm was headed by sixty-seven-year-old Henri Arsan, known as the “playboy Mafiosi.” Fond of gaudy clothes, gold chains, and loose women, the mysterious Arsan, whom various sources identified as either Syrian or Armenian, wore many hats, including that of a CIA operative.44 Another leading principal in Stibam was General Giuseppe Santovito, the head of Italy’s military intelligence agency and prominent P2 member.45 Santovito, who played a part in the Moro kidnapping, was later responsible for expunging all traces of the Turkish Mafia’s presence in St. Peter’s Square after the pope was shot.46

Almost overnight, Stibam became a multi billion dollar concern, providing drugs to the American Mafia and arms to a vast array of clients, including AK-47 rifles for the Nicaraguan Contras and American missiles for the Khomeini regime in Iran. One of the most spectacular of the Stibam undertakings involved its sale of thermonuclear weapons to an Arab nation (believed to have been either Syria or Saudi Arabia.) This operation involved Glauco Partel, described in the Italian press as being a “missile expert” who worked for “the National Security Administration,” and Eugene Bartholomeus, a US intelligence veteran who served the CIA at the Nugan Hand Bank in Australia.47

For CIA officials and former spooks such as Ted Shackley, who worked for private intelligence gathering agencies like Research Associates International, Milan became a one-stop shopping and snooping center. They could visit Arsan and Çelenk at Stibam to arrange for the shipment of arms to the right-wing guerrilla army of the day, check on the latest shipment of heroin to the states, provide Çelenk with the latest hit list, receive notification of any problems concerning the Balkan route, and receive the latest list of news from the Grey Wolves in Turkey. After exchanging parting pleasantries, they could walk down the street for a meeting with Calvi, Gelli, and Archbishop Marcinkus at Banco Ambrosiano, where they could discuss the activities of the shell companies the Vatican had set up in Panama, the needs of the Christian Democratic Party, the latest developments in the strategy of tension, and the concerns of the clerical couriers who were carrying suitcases stuffed with cash to the IOR.

Few who gathered at such conferences were aware that the heady days would soon come to an end. By the end of 1983, Calvi would be found hanging from a bridge in London, Çelenk and Gelli would be wanted fugitives, Marcinkus would be a prisoner within Vatican City, and Arsan would be found dead in a jail cell.

But in 1979 business was booming. As soon as the freighters were unloaded on the docks of Miami and New York, the heroin was trucked to pizza parlors owned by the Gambino crime family in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The parlors became the centers of heroin distribution throughout much of the eastern half of the country. The cash from the drug sales, deposited in amounts less than $10,000, would flow from CIA-controlled banks—including Continental Illinois, Castle Bank & Trust, and Bank of Credit and Commerce International (B.C.C.I)—to the IOR and the Vatican’s chain of parochial banks throughout Italy. Eventually, the money laundering would come to involve many of the country’s most prestigious financial firms, including Citibank, the Bank of New York, and the Bank of Boston.48 In 1979, the flood of heroin from Afghanistan inundated the United States, capturing over 60 percent of the market. In New York City alone, the mob sold two tons of smack, which registered a “dramatic increase in purity.”49 Heroin addiction in the states climbed back to 450,000. Within a year, street sales increased by 22 percent and the addiction rate reached 500,000.50

The sons and grandsons of the Mafia dons who had pioneered the heroin industry lived in extravagant houses, dressed in Armani suits, attended prestigious schools, and, strange to say, continued for the most part in the criminal tradition of their fathers and forefathers. After Carlo Gambino died of a heart attack in 1977, Paul Castellano, who had married Carlo’s sister, became the head of the crime family. Thomas Costello, Carlo’s son, became a capo in Manhattan, retaining the family’s stranglehold on the trucking and garment industries. John, Joseph, and Rosario Gambino, Carlo’s cousins, became the capos of the Inzerillo-Gambino-Spatola family.51 Paul Castellano’s grandson, Paul, assumed control of the family’s interest in illegal garbage hauling,52 while Frank Cali, a nephew to the Gambino brothers, became a kingpin in the Gambino’s heroin trade.53

But members of this generation didn’t want to soil their hands with the business of the streets— things like debt collection, prostitution, extortion, drug delivery to choice dealers and customers, and murder were beneath them. For the most part, their opulent lifestyles gave rise to an unnatural aversion to bloodletting. And it became increasingly easy to find reliable Italian and Sicilian immigrants who were willing to pick up the slack, especially within the inner cities.

The new drug network rectified this growing problem. The couriers who brought the raw opium to Italy in trucks by the Balkan route were members of the Albanian Mafia who did not flinch at committing random acts of violence. Within Italy, they began to perform much of the dirty work for the Camorra and the ’Ndrangheta along the coast of the Adriatic Sea.54 Eventually, the Italian Mafia no longer spoke of the Muslim Albanians as foreigners but “cari amici” (“close friends”).55 Throughout the 1980’s, the Albanian thugs became the chief perpetrators of drug smuggling, counterfeiting, passport theft, forgery, trafficking in human body parts, sex slavery, abduction, and murder. The influence of the criminal group grew to such an extent that, in 1985, Cataldo Motta, Italy’s top prosecutor, said that the Albanian Mafia posed a threat not only to the people of Italy but to all of Western civilization.56

The Albanians proved so useful that they were imported by the Gambinos to serve as their enforcers. Zef Mustafa became their chief “clipper” (assassin). Mustafa’s capacity for violence was only equaled by his capacity for liquor. He drank from morning to night, often consuming two or three quarts of vodka a day.57 His skills were matched by those of Abedin “Dino” Kolbiba, who mastered the art of making bodies disappear.58 The ruthless indifference of the Balkan newcomers to murder was evidenced by Simon and Victor Deday, two Gambino assassins. They shot a waiter at the Scores restaurant in New York City to express their displeasure at the quality of the service. For good measure, they also shot the bouncer before he could utter a word of protest.59

The arrival of the so-called “Muslim Mafia” in Italy and the United States was an unexpected offshoot of the new network and the establishment of the Balkan route. By 2004, the FBI announced that the ethnic Albanians had replaced La Cosa Nostra as the “leading crime outfit in the United States.”60

The Shell Game

1. John Cooney, The American Pope: The Life and Times of Francis Cardinal Spellman (New York: Times Books, 1984), p. 281. See also the following declassified documents: “Francis Cardinal Spellman,” FBI memo, June 6, 1963, declassified February 5, 1980; “Francis Cardinal Spellman,” CIA confidential report, November 6, 1964, declassified July 8, 1976; and “Cardinal Francis Spellman,” Department of Defense, top secret report, September 6, 1966, declassified September 7, 1978.
2. Gloria C. Molinari, “The Conclave: August 25th–26th, 1978,” John Paul I; The Smiling Pope, blog, September 13, 2012, (accessed May 21, 2014).
3. Ibid.
4. John Cornwell, A Thief in the Night: The Mysterious Death of John Paul I (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989), p. 50.
5. Ibid.
6. Avro Manhattan, Murder in the Vatican (Springfield, MO: Ozark Books, 1985), p. 113.
7. David Yallop, In God’s Name: An Investigation into the Murder of Pope John Paul I (New York: Bantam Books, 1984), p. 189.
8. Ibid., p. 191.
9. David Yallop, The Power and the Glory: Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II’s Vatican (New York: Carroll and Graf, 2007), p. 21.
10. Ibid., p. 173.
11. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 64.
12. Manhattan, Murder in the Vatican, p. 110.
13. Ibid., p. 86.
14. Richard Hammer, The Vatican Connection (New York: Charter Books, 1982), pp. 224–25.
15. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 42.
16. Hammer, Vatican Connection, pp. 300–302.
17. Yallop, Power and the Glory, p. 34.
18. Ibid., p. 154. See also, Tyler Durden, “Vatican Bank to Shut All Embassy Accounts to Halt Money Laundering,” Zero Hedge News, September 20, 2013, (accessed May 21, 2014).
19. Yallop, Power and the Glory, p. 34.
20. Yallop, In God’s Name, pp. 143–45.
21. Concetto Vecchio, “Alessandrini e Quella Carezza del Presidente,” La Repubblica, April 28, 2011, (accessed May 21, 2014).
22. Yallop, In God’s Name, pp. 176–77.
23. Canon Law of 1917, which remained in effect at the time of John Paul I, stipulated the following: “Those who join a Masonic sect or other societies of the same sort, which plot against the Church or against legitimate civil authority, incur ipso facto an excommunication simply reserved to the Holy See (c. 2335).”
24. Vance Ferrell, The Murder of John Paul I (Beersheba Springs, TN: Pilgrim Books, 1999), p. 47.
25. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 177.
26. Ibid.
27. Cornwell, Thief in the Night, pp. 236–37.
28. Department of State, confidential memo, issue date: December 11, 1978, declassified August 17, 1998; CIA official use file, issue date: January 7, 1979, declassified February 8, 1988.
29. Manhattan, Murder in the Vatican, p. 155.
30. Ibid.
31. Ibid.
32. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 220.
33. Cornwell, Thief in the Night, p. 102.
34. Dr. Buzzonetti’s pronouncements appeared in the official Vatican press release of John Paul’s death.
35. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 222.
36. Ibid.
37. Cornwell, Thief in the Night, p. 272.
38. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 222.
39. Ibid.
40. Cornwell, Thief in the Night, pp. 274–76.
41. Manhattan, Murder in the Vatican, p. 158.
42. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 220.
43. Cornwell, Thief in the Night, p. 74.
44. News Alert, Radio Vaticana, September 29, 1978.
45. Yallop, In God’s Name, pp. 236–37. 46. Ibid., p. 254. See also Lucien Gregoire, The Vatican Murders: The Life and Death of John Paul I (Bloomington, IN: Author House, 2003), p. 24.
47. Carlo Bo, “Perché Dire di No a Un’autopsia?” Corriere della Sera, October 1, 1978. 48. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 248. 49. Ibid. 50. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 244.
51. Manhattan, Murder in the Vatican, p. 171. 52. Yallop, In God’s Name, p. 239. 53. Cornwell, Thief in the Night, pp. 312–13.
54. Yallop, Power and the Glory, p. 24. 55. Manhattan, Murder in the Vatican, p. 222. 56. Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi, His Holiness: John Paul I and the History of Our Time (New York: Penguin Books, 1996), pp. 35–40. 57. Yallop, Power and the Glory, p. 28.
58. Manhattan, Murder in the Vatican, p. 216.
59. Ibid.

1. Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press (New York: Verso, 1998), p. 261.
2. Ibid.
3. Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2003), p. 476.
4. Ibid.
5. Robert Pelton, The World’s Most Dangerous Places (New York: Harper Resource, 2003), p. 342.
6. Cockburn and St. Clair, Whiteout, p. 264.
7. McCoy, Politics of Heroin, p. 474.
8. Jeffrey Lord, “Jimmy Carter’s Dead Ambassador,” American Spectator, October 23, 2012, (accessed May 21, 2014).
9. Ibid.
10. US State Department memorandum reproduced in Cockburn and St. Clair’s Whiteout, pp. 262–63.
11. Ibid., p. 263.
12. Ibid.
13. Ibid., p. 259.
14. Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperative (New York: Basic Books, 1997), pp. 20, 40.
15. Jagmohan Meher, America’s Afghanistan War: The Success That Failed (New Dehli, India: Gyan Books, 2004), pp. 68–69.
16. Jonathan Beaty and S. C. Gwynne, “BCCI: The World’s Dirtiest Bank,” Biblioteca Pleyades, July 29, 1991, (accessed May 21, 2014).
17. David Sirota and Jonathan Baskin, “Follow the Money: How John Kerry Busted the Terrorists’ Favorite Bank,” Washington Monthly, September 2004, (accessed May 21, 2014).
18. Lucy Komisar, “The Case That Kerry Cracked,” Alter Net, October 21, 2004, (accessed May 21, 2014).
19. Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Heart of the BCCI (New York: Random House, 1993), p. 228.
20. Senator John Kerry and Senator Hank Brown, “The BCCI Affair: A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations,” US Senate, December 1992, (accessed May 21, 2014).
21. Steve Lohr, “Auditing the Auditors—A Special Report: How BCCI’s Accounts Won Stamp of Approval,” New York Times, September 6, 1991.
22. Kerry and Brown, “BCCI Affair.”
23. David Yallop, The Power and the Glory: Inside the Dark Heart of John Paul II’s Vatican (New York: Carroll and Graf, 2007), p. 424. 24. Ibid.
25. Kerry and Brown, “BCCI Affair.”
26. Daniele Ganser, NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation Gladio and Terrorism in Western Europe (London: Frank Cass, 2005), pp. 230–31.
27. Ibid., p. 239.
28. Claire Sterling, Octopus: The Long Reach of the International Sicilian Mafia (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1990), p. 160. See also, “The Grey Wolves,” Organized Crime Syndicates, 2012, (accessed May 21, 2014).
29. Vivian Freyre Zoakos, “Colossal East-West Arms and Drug Ring Cracked,” EIR International, December 14, 1982, (accessed May 21, 2014).
30. L. Puparo, “Italy Late 70’s,” Gangsters, Inc., March 5, 2010,
31. L. Puparo, “Judge Carlo Palermo and the Turks,” Gangsters, Inc., November 25, 2009, (accessed May 21, 2014).
32. Sterling, Octopus, pp. 158, 343.
33. Puparo, “Italy Late 70’s.”
34. Sterling, Octopus, pp. 164–65.
35. Ibid., p. 159.
36. Richard Cottrell, Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe (Palm Desert, CA: Progressive Press, 2012), pp. 203–204.
37. Statement of John Lawn, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, to the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Task Force on International Narcotics Control, June 8, 1984.
38. “West Europe Report: Case Study of Agca Activities,” Information Service of the US Department of Commerce, internal document, April 23, 1983.
39. Douglas Valentine, The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America’s War on Drugs (New York: Verso, 2006), p. 140.
40. Martin A. Lee, “On the Trail of Turkey’s Terrorist Grey Wolves,” Consortium News, 1997, (accessed May 21, 2014).
41. David Emory, “Who Shot the Pope—Stibam,” segments 17–21, Radio Free America, May 22, 1986,
42. Umberto Pascali, “KLA and Drugs: The ‘New Colombia of Europe’ Grows in the Balkans,” Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), June 22, 2001.
43. Puparo, “Italy Late 70’s.”
44. Cottrell, Gladio, p. 278.
45. Ibid., p. 277.
46. Ibid., p. 270.
47. Emory, “Who Shot the Pope.”
48. Peter Dale Scott, “Opium and the CIA: Can the U.S. Triumph in the Drug-Addicted War in Japan?” Global Research, April 5, 2010, (accessed May 21, 2014).
49. McCoy, Politics of Heroin, p. 463.
50. Ibid., pp. 464–65.
51. Selwyn Raab, “2 Admit Importing Heroin for Mafia Crime Family,” New York Times, January 7, 1994,
52. Dana Sauchelli, “Mob Boss’ Grandson Arrested for Illegal Waste,” New York Post, December 20, 2013.
53. Jonathan Lamire, “Sicilian Mobsters May Become New York’s Latest Big Italian Import,” New York Daily News, February 28, 2008, (accessed May 21, 2014).
54. Thomas Garrett, “Mafia International? Organized Crime in Central and Eastern Europe,” New East, October 7, 2011, (accessed May 21, 2014).
55. Ibid.
56. Anthony M. DeStefano, “The Balkan Connection,” Wall Street Journal, September 9, 1985.
57. Jerry Capeci, “Zef’s Got Staying Power Too,” Gangland, September 4, 2003.
58. Gus Xhudo, “Men of Purpose: The Growth of the Albanian Criminal Activity,” Ridgeway Center for International Security Studies, The University of Pittsburgh, Spring 1996.
59. M. Bozinovich, “The New Islamic Mafia,” Serbianna, February 21, 2005, (accessed May 21, 2014).
60. Terry Frieden, “FBI: Albanian Mobsters ‘New Mafia,’” CNN, August 19, 2004



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