- Spitfire List - http://spitfirelist.com -

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

Record­ed Sep­tem­ber 26, 2004
REALAUDIO [1]

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 [2]. 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 [3], 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 [4].) 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 [3].) “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 [3].) “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 [3] 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.) [5]