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For The Record  

FTR #477 The Congress-Bundestag Program and 9/11

Recorded September 26, 2004
REALAUDIO

NB: This stream contains both FTR #s 477 and 478 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broadcast.

This program takes a longer look at the German milieu to which 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta belonged. In addition to the fact that Atta’s predominantly German set of associations apparently followed him to Florida (from Germany), Atta’s entrée into German (and quite possibly American) society came courtesy of a joint US and German government program. This program—the Congress-Bundestag program—also sponsored a fellowship for John P. Schmitz, one of the formidable Schmitz brothers discussed in FTR#476. As veteran listeners may well deduce, the “$64,000 question” concerns whether or not Atta and associates were functioning as agents of the Underground Reich.

Program Highlights Include: The criminal backgrounds of many of Atta’s German and European associates; the fact that these individuals’ criminal backgrounds did not prevent them from piloting in the United States; the Chicago Tribune’s curious omission of the name of the German couple who sponsored Atta during the time he was in Germany; the close relationship between the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft (that sponsored Atta) and the Robert Bosch Foundation (that sponsored John P. Schmitz).

1. Supplementing information presented in FTR#405, the program highlights Daniel Hopsicker’s excellent research on 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta’s German friends. To all appearances, Atta continued his predominantly German associations long after he came to the U.S. According to his former girlfriend Amanda Keller, many of his German, Swiss and Austrian friends followed Atta to Florida. (To access Daniel Hopsicker’s magnificent research, check out: www.madcowprod.com.) When visiting Atta, some of his German friends had bags–the contents of which were sufficiently sensitive to warrant leaving the bags in a different hotel room. “Before reaching Key West, they rendezvoused with Atta’s German friends. . . . Peter and Stephan were the two German men that Atta’s North Port landlord said the girls met on the trip. ‘The two girls were introduced to two men from Germany that they said were Mohamed’s friends, Tony LaConca told the Sun. I thought it was strange because Mohamed didn’t appear to be French-Canadian or German.’ When the group checked into a hotel in Key West, there was also something odd about the room assignments. ‘We rented 3 different rooms in Key West,’ Amanda said. ‘In one room nobody slept. It was where they put their flight bags. Then they locked the room down. Peter and Stephan slept in one room. And me, Mohamed and Linda slept in the same room.’”
(Welcome to Terrorland; by Daniel Hopsicker; Mad Cow Press; Copyright 2004 by Daniel Hopsicker; ISBN 0-9706591-6-4; p. 94.)

2. Atta called his German associates “brother.” “ . . . More puzzling was learning of Atta’s deep ties with a number of Germans. ‘Mohamed called certain people—Arabic people—‘my brother.’ And I was wondering how he had so many family members. Like gang members do, ‘this is my brother,’’ she said. ‘But not all Arabs. So it wasn’t like anyone Muslim was his brother. He called Wolfgang and Juergen ‘my brother,’ too. He and Wolfgang were very tight, they went everywhere together. When he came into the picture they were together all the time.’” (Ibid.; p. 284.)

3. “ ‘Him and Juergen acted like they had known each other forever. He told me he went back and forth to Germany, but lived in France. Juergen was a pervert, straight out,’ she said. ‘Every woman that walked by, he had something to say to them, commenting on their butt or whatever. He would go up to a woman, say I’m from Germany, and I want to touch an American woman’s butt. He was a lush, mid-1930’s.’ Who was this ‘Wolfgang? Who was this ‘Juergen?’” (Ibid.; pp. 284-285.)

4. “ . . . From information gleaned first in interviews with Amanda Keller, Atta’s one-time American girlfriend, and corroborated by independent sources in Venice and Naples, we confirmed that at least seven of Mohamed Atta’s close associates in Florida during the year leading up to the 9/11 attack were European: German, Swiss and French. Today we know at least something—but by no means enough—about the identities of each. Their names haven’t surfaced in any press accounts about Atta’s stay in the U.S., nor has their existence been mentioned or alluded to in official statements. We know they were all pilots. . . .” (Ibid.p. 331.)

5. Many of those with whom Atta associated already had pilot’s licenses. According to Amanda Keller, Atta and his German associates always came back from their meetings looking “glum.” “ . . . According to Amanda, all of them already had pilot licenses from other countries when they arrived in the U.S. Traveling with Atta, or meeting him around the state, Atta’s European friends appeared to share relationships with him of long-standing. Their meetings were serious business; when they returned, said Amanda, Atta and his German associates; always came back glum.’ Only one of the seven still resides in the U.S.; five live in Germany or Switzerland. The seventh has a criminal record in his native Germany, and today lives in Saudi Arabia.” (Ibid.; p. 332.)

6. Atta apparently always spoke German with his associates. This contradicts what his flight instructor (Rudi Dekkers) told Congressional investigators. “Cabdriver Bob Simpson referred to Rudi and Mohamed as ‘partners in crime.’ He thought the two men shared both social and business connections. He said they were very close socially. As we’ve seen on one pickup during the summer of 2001, Simpson drove them to Sarasota to a bar on Main Street. . . Keller said Atta always spoke German with Wolfgang, which contradicts the testimony of Rudi Dekkers to a Congressional Committee that when he addressed Atta in German, Atta merely looked at him strangely.” (Idem.)

7. “Wolfgang’s story, according to people we spoke with who knew him, includes a life studded with things like sailing around the world on a 47-foot yacht, on a trip where he met his wife Sujita, a native of Bombay. But when we went looking for Wolfgang, we found him through records of his scrapes with authorities in Florida. In airport records in Naples he was referenced in Aero Jet/Ambassador correspondence. A letter was sent by a former employee soliciting to offer private flight instruction without authority and in violation of FAA rules.” (Ibid.; pp. 332-333.)

8. At least one of Atta’s associates appears to have had some special connections. He (Wolfgang) was apparently able to begin a flight school, despite a criminal record. “Wolfgang Bohringer is a pilot in his thirties. In Spring of 2002, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen. He was one of the first of the ‘German element’ to arrive in Florida, in 1996, when he opened a flight school in Naples. Prior to arriving in Naples he was associated with an organization called ‘The Flying Club of Munich,’ in Augsburg, Germany. Like Rudi and Wally, Wolfgang was notorious in aviation circles for bad behavior. ‘Wolfgang showed up from Munich in the mid-1990’s and immediately began operating a flight school illegally,’ stated Marcus Huber, a flight instructor in Naples. ‘He’s half Swiss, half German.’” (Ibid.; p. 333.)

9. “Also like Rudi and Wally, Wolfgang seemed to have a ‘hall pass’ from federal authorities. This embittered other foreign flight trainers not similarly well-connected. ‘When Wolfgang applied for an E-2 Visa, he made up a fake company, a cleaning service,’ Huber told us. ‘Sometimes it makes me mad that a criminal gets preference.’ ” (Idem.)

10. “Wolfgang” wasn’t the only one of Atta’s associates with a criminal record: “Wolfgang was instrumental in bringing another of Atta’s German associates to Florida, a pilot named ‘Stephan,’ who has done jail time in Germany and was on parole when he came to the U.S., and thus not supposed to be flying. But ‘being connected means never having to say you’re sorry,’ and while regular German flight students struggle to obtain the necessary visas, Wolfgang and Stephan had inside connections which smoothed their progress. Stephan purchased Wolfgang’s flight training business.” (Idem.)

11. Two other associates of Atta also appear to have had “get out of jail free” cards. “Two other close German associates of Mohamed Atta’s in Florida were Peter and “Stephan” (name withheld by request) . ‘Stephan did eight months of jail time,’ Huber told us. ‘He was convicted October 1, 1997 and released from parole in Nov. 2000. Wolfgang signed off on Stephan’s books, and so Stephan also got in on a fraudulent business investor’s visa.’ Yet Stephan was running a Florida flight school, although there are more than a few laws that say he shouldn’t have been. Presumably the FAA was ‘looking the other way.’” (Ibid.; pp. 333-334.)

12. “Stephan today reportedly flies in Saudi Arabia for a Swiss carrier, Farnair. Atta also was often seen with Rudi’s head flight instructor, Francois Nicolai. ‘He’s another guy with no papers,’ an aviation source told us, ‘but at least he’s an excellent pilot. He’s French and Swiss.’” (Ibid.; p. 334.)

13. Apparently, Arabs were in the minority among Atta’s associates: “From what she saw, Amanda said that all of Atta’s friends, with the exception of Marwan Al-Shehhi, were either German and Dutch, including Dutchmen Rudi Dekkers and Arne Kruithof, and another man from the Netherlands named ‘Paul.’ There was also Arne Kruithof’s ‘agent’ from Munich, as well as his business partner in Aviation Aspirations, Pascal Schreier. Pascal was close to Bohringer, Atta’s closest friend among the German nationals.” (Idem.)

14. “Pascal Schreier is married to a woman named Sandra Hamouda, French Tunisian, who as we have seen bought the bankrupt flight school in Punta Gorda where Atta hung out early in 2001. She is an executive with a Florida flight school called Pelican Flight Training Center, a fact we might have overlooked except for a curious ‘coincidence’ . . . When the New York Times did a two year anniversary story on 9/11 called ‘Hard Times Are Plaguing Flight Schools in Florida’ (September 14, 2003) focusing on the fact that pilot-training schools in Florida have been struggling since 9/11, the two schools profiled in their story are Magic Dutch Boy Arne Kruithof’s . . . and Pelican Flight Training Center, where Pascal Schreirer’s wife works.” (Idem.)

15. “There are over 220 flight schools in Florida. That the New York Times profiled these two ‘well-connected schools’ is no doubt just a freak coincidence. . . We may have found [Atta’s German friend] ‘Juergen,’ working as a realtor in nearby Sarasota. Amanda recognized him from the picture in a YAHOO swinger’s profile. Kurgus Juergen is the owner of Europe One, a company whose Florida incorporation papers lists the phone number of The Continental Café in Sarasota, a fictitious business name of Casablanca Rose Inc., whose two directors are Abeltif Mamdouh and Mustafa Ettaki.” (Ibid.; pp. 334-335.)

16. “Although he did tell us, unprompted, that he knew many people in the FBI, Juergen denied knowing Atta. And because we don’t have a second source for the identification, we have to leave open the possibility that Amanda’s photo confirmation was in error. But not everyone has business partners named Abeltif and Mustafa.” (Ibid.; p. 335.)

17. Another of Atta’s interesting associations concerns his affiliation with the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft—named for a key official with I.G. Farben—the World War II-era Nazi chemical company. The “CDS” appears to have sponsored Atta’s years’-long sojourn in Germany and may have helped sponsor him in the U.S. as well. (For more about the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft, see FTR#408.) “The fact that Atta was being subsidized by U.S. taxpayers while he was in Hamburg hasn’t been played up anywhere that we know about. But its true . . . For at least four of Atta’s seven years living in Hamburg he was part of a ‘joint venture’ between the U.S. and German Governments, an elite international ‘exchange’ program run by a little-known private organization which has close ties to powerful American political figures like David Rockefeller and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.” (Idem.)

18. The CDS is part of the Congress-Bundestag program—an institution we will revisit in connection with John P. Schmitz (FTR#’s 469, 476.) “This fact has escaped notice as well. Before becoming a terrorist ringleader, Atta enjoyed the patronage of a government initiative known as the ‘Congress-Bundestag Program,’ overseen by the U.S. State Department and the German Ministry of Economic of Cooperation and Development, the German equivalent of the U.S. Agency for International Development. The jointly-funded U.S.-German government effort picked up the tab for Atta on sojourns in Cairo, Istanbul, and Aleppo in Syria during the years 1994 and 1995, as well as employing him as a ‘tutor’ and ‘seminar participant’ during 1996 and 1997.” (Idem.)

19. “Atta’s financial relationship with the U.S.-Government program probably extends back to his initial move from Egypt to Germany in 1992. The news that Mohamed Atta had been on the payroll of the elite international program only surfaced in a whisper, just as quietly as news that Venice flight schools had trained a third terrorist pilot. It was in a brief seven-line report by German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Oct. 18, 2001, under the headline ‘ATTA WAS TUTOR FOR SCHOLARSHIP HOLDERS.’” (Ibid.; p. 336.)

20. By virtue of his sponsorship by the CDS, Atta was under the jurisdiction of a joint U.S./German government program! “The story quoted spokesmen for ‘Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft,’ described as a ‘German international further education organization,’ as having admitted paying Hamburg cadre principal Atta as a ‘scholarship holder’ and ‘tutor,’ between 1995 and 1997. When we found it, what seemed to make this story especially curious is that the German paper concealed the truly shocking implication of their story: that Mohammed Atta had been on the payroll of a joint U.S.-German government program. They did this through the simple expedient of neglecting to mention in the article that the ‘Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft’ was a private entity administering the ‘exchange’ initiative of the two governments. . . .” (Idem.)

21. “CDS International, states the organization’s literature, provides opportunities for young German engineers. Mohamed Atta wasn’t, strictly speaking, a ‘young German engineer;’ but apparently Kissinger’s praise for ‘career development programs for participants from other countries as well’ had been taken to heart. ‘These young German engineers earn real world experience and are given assignments to contribute from the start,’ a program spokesman enthused in a newspaper interview.” (Ibid.; p. 337.)

22. “The organization is today understandably shy about mentioning that their most famous recent graduate’s ‘real world experience’ included murdering almost 3,000 people in New York City in slightly less than two hours. A financial relationship between the terrorist ringleader and the U.S. and German Governments has not previously even been hinted at in America’s major media. The conspiracy-minded might conclude that this may owe something to the program’s raft of politically-powerful boosters, giving it ‘big juice.’ We prefer to think of it as an oversight.” (Idem.)

23. The fact that powerful interests backed the CDS—the sponsor organization for Mohamed Atta in Germany and (possibly) the US—seems to have attenuated the journalistic coverage of the CDS/Atta connection. “Having ‘big juice’ may also explain omissions in the story about Mohamed Atta’s time in Germany in the March 7, 2003 Chicago Tribune. Under the headline ‘9/11 haunts hijacker’s sponsors; German couple talks of living with pilot Atta,’ the article described the 1992 meeting in Cairo between Atta and a German couple running an ‘international student exchange program.’ Atta was recruited in Cairo by this mysterious German couple, dubbed the ‘hijacker’s sponsors.’ It was this meeting, said the Tribune, which led Atta to move to Hamburg.” (Ibid.; pp. 337-338.)

24. Among the elements of the Atta/CDS story that is glaring in its absence is the name of the German couple who recruited Atta into the CDS and sponsored Atta in Germany. “But although Tribune correspondent Stevenson Swanson cites this German couple for ‘having played such an important role in Atta’s move to Germany,’ he never gives their names, nor that of the organization they worked for. We thought good journalism was all about . . . you know. Who. What. When. Where. Why. The Chicago Tribune got unaccountably stuck on ‘Who.’ During a visit to the Egyptian capital in fall 1991, the Tribune reported, the German couple stayed with friends who knew Atta’s father, a Cairo lawyer, and his father’s friends had then introduced the German couple to Atta.” (Ibid.; p. 338.)

25. “ ‘Atta, who had recently graduated with a degree in architectural engineering from the University of Cairo, told the couple he wanted to study architecture in Germany, but he had no particular idea where he should go,’ the paper reported. Though the article neglects to mention it, the reason Atta found himself with ‘no particular idea where he should go’ was that although he’d studied engineering at prestigious Cairo University, he hadn’t done well enough to gain admission to its graduate school.” (Idem.)

26. “The paper quotes the German wife telling investigators: ‘In this first conversation, we suggested he continue his studies in Hamburg and offered him a place to live at our house.’ Atta, she states, accepted their offer right away. This magnanimous gesture by the German couple to an undistinguished young man they have just met may be normal behavior for this couple. Perhaps their gesture was just the very milk of human kindness.” (Idem.)

27. The unnamed couple went very far out of their way for this stranger: “Then again, perhaps it is something else. Why did this German couple leap at the opportunity to help a young man not considered promising enough to gain entrance to graduate school in Cairo? Offering him a place to live at their own home? The Tribune doesn’t say. It also fails to identify either the couple of the ‘international’ program they ran. The story is 1,200 words in length. So its not as if they didn’t report the names for space reasons. ‘Jane and John Doe from Help-A-Student International’ would have sufficed. Just an extra ten words and they would have had it. You know: Who, What, When, Where and Why. Either the Tribune just forgot the ‘Who.’ Or something more sinister occurred.” (Ibid.; pp. 338-339.)

28. “After studying German in Cairo, Atta arrived in Germany on July 24, 1992, according to investigator’s records, and then lived rent-free for at least the next six months in the couple’s home in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood. Since just three years later Atta was on the payroll of the ‘Congress-Bundestag Program’ it is reasonable to conclude—no thanks to the Chicago Tribune—that this was the ‘exchange program’ responsible for bringing him to Germany in the first place. CDS International’s elite sponsors are apparently influential enough to have kept their organization’s name out of newspapers. Or, at any rate, out of the Chicago Tribune. . .” (Ibid.; p. 339.)

29. In FTR#’s 469, 476 we examined the influence of the Schmitz family in various aspects of the 9/11 investigations. John P. Schmitz—former Deputy Counsel to the elder George Bush both when he was Vice-President and when he was President—is a partner in a German law firm that is involved with a number of 9/11 cases. He was a beneficiary of a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship. That program is on the web site of the Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft!! (See below.) “ . . . Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship, Office of Bundestag Member Matthias Wissmann . . . .”
(Curriculum Vitae of John P. Schmitz, partner—Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP.)

30. The website of the CDS features the Robert Bosch Foundation’s page: “Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program.”
(Archived website of Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft.)

Discussion

One comment for “FTR #477 The Congress-Bundestag Program and 9/11”

  1. Another Al Qaeda and Atta associate in Germany was a Carl Duisberg scholar.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamedou_Ould_Slahi

    Posted by adam | May 25, 2016, 10:23 am

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