The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection

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9780940380073: The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection

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.

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From the Publisher:

"The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection is a serious and realistic assessment of the handling by the western press of a propaganda trick; it shows how the press was led by a handful of journalists linked to the CIA into accepting as proof a fabricated story. This book is a chilling indictment of our so-called "free" press, a press which abuses its freedom by omissions by half-truths, and by stirring the continuation of a Cold War climate. It deserves to be read and remembered.

-Sean MacBride, diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

"This stunning dissection of the Bulgarian Connection achieves far more than the demolition of a major hoax. It lays bare the mechanics of western-style disinformation systems and their significance for control of the public mind and global management, providing penetrating insight into the U.S. role in Italy and Turkey in the past years and the revival of Cold War tensions as part of general U.S. global planning."

-Noarn Chomsky, author and professor of linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"The supposed KGB-Bulgarian plot to kill the Pope was one of the most sinister yet ludicrous chapters in the history of western propaganda. Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead have done a remarkable job in showing how this propaganda game was played out, with the active participation of important sections of the U.S. press."

-Alexander Cockbum, media critic and columnist for The Nation

About the Author:

Edward S. Herman is professor of finance and banking at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of numerous books on the role of the media in covering foreign policy questions, most notably (with Noam Chomsky), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism.

Frank Brodhead is a former professor of history, a community activist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the co-author (with Edward Herman) of Demonstration Elections, a study of fraudulent elections manipulated by the United States to justify world-wide intervention.

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Herman, Edward S., Brodhead, Frank
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