Foto: Beta/AP (arhiva)
Vašington je tokom sukoba na Kosovu zatražio od Vatikana neku vrstu blagoslova ili “pozitivne neutralnosti”, kako bi osigurao da se Vatikan neće mešati u američke vojne planove, navodi se u tajnim dokumentima do kojih je došao “Vikiliks”, a koje prenosi italijanski nedeljnik “Espreso”.
U tekstu pod naslovom “Cilj: regrutovati Vojtilu”, list piše da su SAD uspele tada da ubede papu Jovana Pavla Drugog da ne osuđuje napade na Srbiju tokom akcije na Kosovu.
U dokumentima se opisuje saradnja Vatikana sa Vašingtonom tokom sukoba na Kosovu i navodi da su kardinali i visoki crkveni dostojanstvenici čak bili spremni da “otvore vrata crkve Svetog Petra” i opravdaju akcije američke administracije “zamenjujući moralne vrednosti pragmatizmom”.
U jednoj depeši od 11. juna 2001, tadašnjem predsedniku Džordžu Bušu izloženi su rezultati postignuti u bivšoj Jugoslaviji u kojoj se ističe, između ostalog, da je američka vlada angažovala Vatikan da promoviše rešenje konflikta na Balkanu.
“Tokom vazdušnih napada NATO na Kosovu blisko smo sarađivali sa Vatikanom kako bismo eliminisali kritike na račun vojne akcije jer bi papina osuda kampanje kao ‘nepravednog rata’ otežala pokušaje ujedinjenja Alijanse. Mi smo nedavno zatražili od Vatikana da utiče na hrvatsko nacionalističko sveštenstvo u BiH” navodi se u depeši.
Prema tajnim depešama, Vatikan je na Balkanu imao tri prioriteta – podrška miru i pomirenju iz humanitarnih razloga, zaštita katoličke populacije i njenih interesa i jačanje katolika u pravoslavnom svetu, piše list, dodajući da je jedan od glavnih ciljeva pape Jovana Pavla Drugog bio da se prevaziđe raskol između katolika i pravoslavaca.
U depešama se navodi da Vatikan generalno tvrdi da su osnove njene politike odbrana ljudskih bića, ali da u stvarnosti često deluje kao država koja brani svoje interese.
Vašington je sa druge strane želeo da iskoristi Vatikan, koji ima raširenu i moćnu diplomatsku mrežu, kako bi osnažio svoju strategiju.
Zajedničko za obe strane bila je borba protiv komunizma, odnosno “dijalog od uzajamne koristi”, ističe list i dodaje da je nakon pada berlinskog zida to savezništvo ponovo upotrebljeno na Balkanu.
U ovim dokumentima otkrivaju se manevri američke diplomatije poslednjih godina života pape Jovana Pavla Drugog, koji treba da bude beatifikovan, odnosno proglašen blaženim 1. maja ove godine.
23. april 2011. 14:31 > 14:32
Preneto sa portala MONDO
OBJECTIVE: ENLIST WOJTYLA
by Gianluca Di Feo and Stefania Maurizi (22 aprile 2011)
Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s. But when the Caesar in the White House had to take up arms, he turned to the Pope, looking for a benediction for a “just war” or at least “positive neutrality” that did not interfere with American war plans. The secret dossiers obtained by WikiLeaks, that “l’Espresso” is publishing in exclusive, reveal the American diplomatic maneuvers during the final years of Karol Wojtyla, who will be beatified on May 1. They describe the Vatican’s cooperation during the conflict in Kosovo, when John Paul II was persuaded not to denounce the raids against Serbia. Moreover, the cardinals and high prelates were also willing to open the doors of St. Peter’s to the justifications of George W. Bush, replacing “moral evaluations with pragmatism on what would happen after the removal of Saddam Hussein”. When the Marines entered Baghdad, Camillo Ruini appeared ready to pardon the invasion and bombings: “In the coming days, the photos of Iraqis that warmly welcome the US troops will have an enormous impact on European public opinion. If the future goes well, the past will lose its important”.
MORE STATE THAN CHURCH
The American government had more of a layman’s view of the world than the Vatican: “The Holy See states that the foundation of its foreign policy is the defense of human beings but in reality it often acts as a Nation-state in the defense of what it perceives as its interests”. Washington on the other hand wanted to exploit the Vatican, which has a widespread and powerful diplomatic network, to strengthen its strategy. The model was the understanding with Wojtyla against communism developed during the Cold War: “A dialogue with reciprocal advantages”. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was once again used in the Balkans. There, according to the documents revealed by WikiLeaks, the Vatican had three priorities: “Support peace and reconciliation for humanitarian reasons, protect the Catholic population and its interests, strengthen its influence in the Orthodox world. One of John Paul II’s key objectives was to overcome the centuries old schism between Catholics and members of the Orthodox Church…”. In an unpublished report of 11 June 2001, the achievements obtained in the former Yugoslavia were laid out for President Bush: “The US government has engaged the Holy See to promote the solution of the conflict in the Balkans. During the NATO air campaign in Kosovo, we worked closely with the Vatican to eliminate its criticism of military action (the condemnation of the campaign as an “unjust war” by the Pope would have made the cohesion of the Alliance much more difficult to maintain). More recently, we have sought to push the Vatican to exercise a moderating influence on the Croatian nationalistic clergy in Bosnia Herzegovina. We have also promoted reconciliation by starting and strengthening projects in Kosovo and Bosnia together with the Community of Sant’Egidio, with the support and encouragement of the Vatican Embassy. Sant’Egidio hosted a successful interfaith conference with key Bosnian religious leaders on 8 June 2001. These projects were funded by the State Department”.
DICTATORS BUT PRO-CATHOLIC
The Vatican realpolitik described in the American files also includes the Holy See’s support of the two most discussed dictators in the Middle East: Saddam Hussein and Basher Assad. The leaders of the two rogue states financed terrorists and called for the destruction of Israel but at the same time protected the Catholic community. “The Vatican holds that any regime that replaces the current one would not be as advantageous for the Iraqi Catholic population… We must assume that the prolonged embargo will be denounced as damaging to the Iraqi population. For the Holy See, the only alternative to Saddam Hussein will be a Islamic fundamentalist government.
For this reason in its intent to protect Catholics and create the premises for negotiating with the Assyrian Christian community in the East, the Vatican will be among the least critical states of the current regime in Baghdad”. Despite several disagreements with Damascus, the seat of an important Orthodox patriarchate, relations were good. In 2002, the US pointed out: “the Vatican’s’s frustration with President Assad’s anti-Semitic speech during the Pope’s visit in April 2001 has already subsided. Wojtyla recently suspended his Lent retreat (something that rarely happens) to meet Assad during his visit to Rome”.
A CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS
Not even the attack on the World Trade Center modified the Vatican’s policy on Saddam and Assad. Moreover, in those months in 2001, Wojtyla’s health seemed to take a turn for the worse due to his Parkinson’s disease. On 26 April 2001, the embassy “despite there not being any new information on the imminent death of the Pope” held that the “Pope’s health will continue to decline” and is planning everything necessary for the stay of the American delegation that will attend his funeral: from where Bush will sleep to the hotels that will accommodate officials. On 23 May when Henry Kissinger went to meet Wojtyla, with whom he had met often, he reported “that the Pope did not seem to recognize him”. It was in this context that the Vatican’s support for “military retaliation after September 11″ was sought. “While John Paul II continues to issue appeals for dialogue and a peaceful solution to the conflicts, several of his most important advisers are taking a more resolute position”. And even more: “According to Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of ecumenical dialogue, “it is necessary to block the terrorists to prevent them from continuing with their crimes”. The cardinal also added that the intervention “is necessary otherwise we shall all become hostages.” And then there are the words of Archbishop Sandro Leonardi, “number three in the Curia hierarchy that described terrorism as a threat to all people, not only the US.” There was a fundamental question: obtain the papal seal on the “just war” doctrine evoked by the White House. But it was not easy: “No one in the Vatican seems willing to publicly pardon military action. The emphasis, especially the Pope’s, will always be on peaceful means without giving weight to how desperate the situation is. Nevertheless, in light of the gravity of the attacks against the United States, some form of limited and precise military response that does not put innocent people at risk would be “understood” by the Vatican without however being openly endorsed”. In the documents there are the statements by Navarro Valls, Wojtyla’s spokesman, that seem to endorse the “aggressive actions as justifiable self-defense.”
But there was great confusion in St. Peter’s: the US Embassy was notified that the “Vatican’s Deputy Foreign Minister (known for his pro-American position) said in private that Navarro Valls went ‘too far’ in his statement”. The stance of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Foreign Minister, was fundamental: “In a private conversation with the ambassador, he showed an implicit resignation to the fact that he believes the US will soon begin military operations.”
These assessments were the fruit of the analyses by Ambassador Jim Nicholson, newly arrived in the Vatican. He was a former Green Beret colonel, trained at West Point, a highly-decorated Vietnam veteran, who then made a career in the Republican Party. A friend of George Bush, he seemed much more at ease dealing with the direct orders of commandos than the nuances of the Church hierarchy language. His reports to Washington always underscored the prelates’ willingness to support military action that they however condemned publicly. Nicholson’s mission was to repeat what had happened in Kosovo and obtain the Vatican’s “positive neutrality”: a non-condemnation would be of advantage to the US. The Americans however had one thing clear. The raids against the Taliban and Al Qaeda were one thing, convincing the Holy See to support a campaign against Iraq was another. This is a question that was addressed in a cable on 28 September 2001: two weeks after the Twin Towers, Saddam was already in the sights of the Bush administration. “To the extent that most of the members of the Vatican Foreign Ministry might personally be in favor of an aggressive response, the Holy See’s official position will be based on the Vatican’s geopolitical concerns. In this specific conflict, Iraq is foremost among their worries. Any retaliation that includes Iraq would undermine the Vatican’s positive neutrality.” The final considerations are clear: “It is necessary for the Vatican to be informed of our initiatives in order to avoid surprises and any consequent damaging statements by Vatican officials. A phone call from Secretary of State Powell to Cardinal Tauran before taking any military action would help in consolidating the Vatican’s support”.
SIEGE OF THE LEONINE WALLS
From September 2002, American diplomacy was deployed to gain acceptance of the concept of a “just war” inside the leonine walls in view of the attack on Iraq. Cardinal Tauran publicly replied that “any military reply to evil can only bring about greater evil”. This was translated for Bush as: “The Holy See will not accept and will not support any air campaign that leads to massive losses of Iraqi civilian lives… Contrary to its traditional opposition to the use of force, the Vatican Foreign Ministry has left open the possibility of military action, but only after having taken into consideration the implications for the Iraqi population, the stability in the region and only in the framework of the United Nations.” And here in order to bring down Saddam, the US wanted to repropose the scheme that functioned against the communist bloc: “In the same way that the American government developed a mutually advantageous dialogue with John Paul II during the Cold War, the embassy feels that a similar international reply to terrorism could offer similar reciprocal benefits”. By now, the countdown to the invasion had begun and the embassy feared that the Vatican “is about to draw the arrows from its quiver”, challenging Bush’s policy. To block John Paul II, Ian Brzezinski, son of the legendary Zbigniew who is often indicated as one of the great sponsors of the Wojtyla’s papal election, joined the fray. Brezinski’s father, a personal friend of the Pope and the guiding hand of the White House’s anti-Soviet strategy at the end of the 1970s, however, was a strong critic of the war in Iraq. His son though was at Donald Rumsfeld’s side in coming up with the operation to defeat Saddam. On 7 February 2003, young Brzezinski arrived in Rome and went directly to the Vatican. The report on the meeting with Cardinal Tauran showed the closing of the gap towards Washington’s positions: “Tauran emphasized the points in common on the perception of the Iraqi crisis: he said that ‘that the distance between us is not so great’ noting that the Holy See agreed that this was the ‘last chance’ for Saddam and that he had to cooperate immediately. ‘The point of discord is the war’ but in laying out the Vatican’s position, the cardinal did not sustain that the Holy See was completely against the war in any case. Rather he underscored that the crucial question was who will say ‘game over’”. Essentially, the Vatican wanted the United Nations to order the attack and not Bush. Also in this case, the colonel who had become ambassador emphasized the positive aspects: “Tauran reiterated the strong desire to avoid the use of arms but his statements reflect an understanding of the fact that the war is inevitable even more so than we have previously seen”. And he concluded: “Both in private and public, at any rate, Tauran reiterated that a war carried out with a UN mandate could be considered legitimate.”
THE BREACH OF ST. PETER’S
According to the secret dossiers revealed by WikiLeaks, the White House was convinced that it had opened a breach in the Vatican walls. On 6 February 2003, the day after the famous speech at the UN in which the presumed evidence of Saddam’s weapons of mass instruction was shown – that then turned out to be substantially false – the ambassador met monsignor Franco Coppola, responsible for the Middle East. The prelate said that “the Vatican ‘is not contrary’ to the fact that Saddam is a threat both to the world and his people and should be removed.” This was the first opening to the regime change: “While the Holy See intensifies its efforts to avoid the war, it has begun to shift its emphasis from moral arguments against preventive war to more pragmatic strategic arguments. Coppola confirmed this shift noting that the latest statements of the Secretary of State regarding the practical impact of the war in Iraq reflect the Vatican’s desire to move on from the moral arguments to the practical ones against the war”. The White House entrusted the task of widening the breach to two leading exponents of the neoconservative movement that developed Bush’s strategy. The first was Michael Novak, a Catholic theologist educated at the Pontifical Gregorian University, sent to Rome to convince ministers and cardinals of the philosophical foundations of a just war. Then it was Undersecretary John Bolton’s turn, who entered the Vatican while the Marines were taking control of Baghdad. The war seemed to be over: the US was preparing for victory. And three key cardinals – in addition to Tauran, Camillo Ruini and James Stafford – appeared to be ready to forgive and forget. “The three cardinals expressed their “respect” for the difficult decision that President Bush had taken and their appreciation for American efforts to avoid civilian losses… Tauran and his colleagues have made it clear that they do not intend to further pursue the debate on the reasons for the war but rather look forward to Iraq’s future and its peoples needs.”
There is the utmost attention for Ruini’s words, “one of the Pope’s closest collaborators and a possible successor”, who stated: “President Bush has reflected with care and it is clear that the Americans did everything possible to prevent civilian victims during the conduct of the war”. The leader of the Episcopal Conference emphasized that he was “worried because Italy – usually pro-American – is losing this orientation”. According to Ruini, it is necessary to “make it clear that the US is in favor of peace”. He also anticipated the media impact of the images of Iraqi citizens greeting the Marines as liberators. “If the future goes well, the past will lose its importance”. The future instead was a massacre. The estimates range from 105,000 dead – mostly civilians – to one million victims. Ambassador Nicholson instead was promoted in 2005: Bush appointed him as Secretary of Veteran Affairs, a prestigious position responsible precisely for the veterans of missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was a sign that his Green Beret mission to the Vatican satisfied the White House.