Good old days resurrected

Close to 200 years ago, a writer wrote in his historical novel...

Torture was then so rooted in the practice of justice that the beneficial instructions ordaining its abolition remained a long time of none effect. It was thought that the confession of the accused was indispensable to condemnation, an idea not merely unreasonable, but contrary to the dictates of the simplest good sense in legal matters, for, if the denial of the accused be not accepted as proof of his innocence, the extorted confession should still less serve as proof of his guilt. Yet even now I still hear old judges sometimes regret the abolition of this barbarous custom.

Alexander Pushkin, The Captain's Daughter

The novel is available as a free ebook download.

Priests implicated in JPII assassination plot

Priests implicated in John Paul II assassination attempt:

Polish priests working for the Soviet KGB could be informants for the plotters, according to John Koehler, a former US intelligence agent and adviser to US President Reagan. The Vatican hid the names of the spies, Koehler alleges. In an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Koehler said that "we can not exclude the possibility that some Polish priests, Moscow's spies, were kind of informers utilized to carry out the assassination attempt on John Paul II”.

The former US intelligence officer relies on the findings of Jesuit Robert Graham, who has spent more than 50 years in the Vatican and since 1945 has collected data on the clergy-spies. Those were mostly Polish priests who worked for Moscow," says Koehler.

"All the names of the revealed agents have been discovered among 25,000 private documents which after Graham's death in 1997 at the age of 84 were packed in 200 boxes hidden in the Vatican according to the Pope's personal request," Koehler marks in the interview with La Stampa. The problem is that Benedict XVI upheld the decision of Pope John Paul II on the classification of the archive of Robert Graham, the researcher points out.

"The information gathered by the Jesuit, could be useful in clarifying the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II," says Koehler. "There were no arrests or processes in many cases, these spies are still living quietly in their places of origin in Poland," he has added.

La Stampa article (in Italian), interview with John Koehler.


CIA operations inside the arts community

In addition to providing most of the funding for an animated film version of Animal Farm, George Orwell’s anti-Stalinist fable, the CIA planted an operative inside Paramount Pictures. Another operative worked directly with the writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz to shape the film version of Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American—or rather, in Mankiewicz’s words, “completely [to] change the anti-American attitude” of the original book.

More from an article by Terry Teachout, about the book The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America.