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German Government’s Close, post-Attack Relationship with Perpetrators of the 1972 Olympics Massacre

[1]COMMENT: In recent, past discussion of the 1972 Olympics massacre, we have highlighted how the German government had prior warning [2] of the attacks, yet took no significant security procedures, how the Black September terrorists received aid in the logistical planning [3] for the attack by German neo-Nazis, and how the chief of security for the attacks was alleged to have staged terrorist incidents [4] to be blamed on the left, as well as providing an alibi for Karlheinz Hoffman [5], head of the Nazi group that executed the 1980 Oktoberfest bombing in Munich [6].

We have also seen how the German domestic intelligence and law enforcement agencies maintain a disturbingly cozy relationship [7] with neo-Nazi organizations.

Interestingly, the German diplomat (Walter Nowak) handling much of the discussion with the Black September terrorists has a background suggestive of involvement with the vertriebene groups, one of the most salient aspects of the Underground Reich [8].

The Germany Watch blog has a worthy update on the 1972 Olympics investigation, accessed in the second excerpt below. 

That post raises a number of interesting questions, including:

At a minimum, it is apparent that the Germans took no significant steps to interdict the terrorist attack and it is difficult to avoid the view that the Underground Reich may very well have been complicit in the attack

“Germany’s Secret Con­tacts to Pales­tin­ian Terrorists” by Felix Bohr, Gun­ther Latsch and Klaus Wiegrefe; Der Spiegel; 8/28/2012. [9]

EXCERPT: Eleven Israelis and one Ger­man police offi­cer died in the Munich mas­sacre of 1972, when Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists took Israeli ath­letes hostage at the Olympics. Now, gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments sug­gest that Ger­many main­tained secret con­tacts with the orga­niz­ers of the attack for years after­ward and appeased the Pales­tini­ans to pre­vent fur­ther blood­shed on Ger­man soil. . . .

. . . .Wal­ter Nowak, 48, the then Ger­man ambas­sador to Lebanon, con­demned the Israeli action [killing some of the perpetrators of the 1972 Olympics attack], say­ing that the dead Pales­tini­ans were among the most “ratio­nal and respon­si­ble” mem­bers of the PLO. A day after the retal­ia­tory strike, the out­raged diplo­mat wrote a let­ter to gov­ern­ment author­i­ties in Bonn, the then-German cap­i­tal, say­ing that it was “not to be ruled out” that the Israelis had killed Abu Youssef and the oth­ers to hin­der the peace process in the Mid­dle East. “Those who don’t want to nego­ti­ate are both­ered by those they might be expected to face in nego­ti­a­tions,” he wrote.

Nowak’s idio­syn­cratic assess­ment stemmed from the mis­sion the ambas­sador was pur­su­ing at the time. Nowak had met with Abu Youssef, one of the founders of Black Sep­tem­ber, about a week before his death. In the two-hour con­ver­sa­tion, he offered Abu Youssef and other back­ers of the Munich attack the prospect of cre­at­ing “a new basis of trust” between them and the Ger­man gov­ern­ment. There was even talk of a secret meet­ing in Cairo between then For­eign Min­is­ter Wal­ter Scheel, a mem­ber of the lib­eral Free Demo­c­ra­tic Party (FDP), and Abu Youssef.

The Munich attack had occurred only six months ear­lier. Despite the still-vivid images of masked ter­ror­ists on the bal­conies of the Olympic Vil­lage and a burned-out heli­copter on the tar­mac at the NATO air­base at Fürsten­feld­bruck, there was already active but secret diplo­matic com­mu­ni­ca­tion between Ger­mans and Pales­tini­ans. West Ger­man rep­re­sen­ta­tives were talk­ing to men like Abu Youssef, Ali Salameh and Amin al-Hindi, all of them mas­ter­minds of the Munich mur­ders. Even the Ger­man Fed­eral Crim­i­nal Police Office (BKA), which is oblig­ated to pros­e­cute crim­i­nals, was involved in meet­ings, accord­ing to doc­u­ments in the Polit­i­cal Archives of the Ger­man For­eign Min­istry and the Fed­eral Archive in the west­ern city of Koblenz, which SPIEGEL has now analyzed. . . .

. . . . In the com­ing weeks, dur­ing events to mark the 40th anniver­sary of the attack, the ques­tion will once again be raised as to why the Ger­man courts never tried any of the per­pe­tra­tors or back­ers of the Munich mas­sacre. The doc­u­ments that are now avail­able sug­gest one answer in par­tic­u­lar: West Ger­many didn’t want to call them to account.

In the first few weeks after the attack, Ger­man gov­ern­ment offices in Bonn were imbued with a spirit of appease­ment. From the Israeli per­spec­tive, it felt like a bit­ter irony of his­tory that it involved Munich — a city that became a sym­bol of the West­ern pow­ers’ appease­ment of Hitler after the Munich Agree­ment per­mit­ting Nazi Germany’s annex­a­tion of the Sude­ten­land was signed there in 1938.

Although the Munich attack involved mul­ti­ple mur­ders, the lan­guage in the files oddly down­plays what hap­pened there. Then-Chancellor Brandt is quoted as say­ing that the Olympic mas­sacre was a “crazy inci­dent,” while Paul Frank, a state sec­re­tary in the For­eign Min­istry, refers to it sim­ply as the “events in Munich.” Diplo­mats and senior Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials upgraded the sta­tus of Black Sep­tem­ber by call­ing it a “resis­tance group” — as if its acts of ter­ror had been directed against Hitler and not Israeli civilians.

At the For­eign Min­istry, in par­tic­u­lar, some offi­cials were appar­ently very sym­pa­thetic to the Pales­tini­ans. Wal­ter Nowak, the Ger­man ambas­sador to Lebanon, once told Abu Youssef that the Ger­mans were a peo­ple “with a sub­stan­tial num­ber of refugees,” because of the fact that eth­nic Ger­mans had been expelled from parts of Cen­tral and East­ern Europe after World War II. (Nowak him­self was born in Sile­sia, which is now part of Poland, back when it belonged to Ger­many.) This, he added, made them more under­stand­ing of the Pales­tin­ian sit­u­a­tion than other nations. . . .

. . . .  It is clear that the Fed­eral Crim­i­nal Police Office (BKA) coop­er­ated with the PLO, as evi­denced by a telex from the embassy in Beirut report­ing on a meet­ing between Hindi and a BKA offi­cial on June 14, 1980. Accord­ing to the mes­sage, Hindi com­plained that the press had got­ten wind of the con­nec­tions between the PLO and the BKA. He also claimed that the leak was on the Ger­man side. An indis­cre­tion like this could jeop­ar­dize coop­er­a­tion, Hindi threat­ened, telling the BKA offi­cial that either the two orga­ni­za­tions “con­tinue work­ing together in secret, or not at all.”

Hindi died of can­cer in 2010, and most of the oth­ers behind the Munich mas­sacre are now dead, as well. One of the three ter­ror­ists whose release the PLO secured by hijack­ing a Lufthansa flight occa­sion­ally appears in doc­u­men­tary films. There is still a Ger­man war­rant out for his arrest, but there is noth­ing to sug­gest that Ger­man author­i­ties have ever tried to find him.

Given these cir­cum­stances, there is every indi­ca­tion that he will not be tried for the mur­der of the 11 Israelis and a Ger­man police offi­cer, at least not in a Ger­man court.

“Munich 1972: Further Disclosures”; Germany Watch; 8/30/2012. [10]

EXCERPT: . . . . Here are just some of the highlights;

When the Black September terrorists left the Olympic site in helicopters in order to fly to the airport to meet their plane, there were 5 terrorists.

When the stand-off and shootings happened at the airport, there were suddenly 8 terrorists. (Italics added.)

The 3 extra terrorists took the Israeli Mossad Chief, who was present at the airport, by surprise. He questioned the Germans on this, and did not get a clear explanation. (Because they were the German contacts, already in the Helicopters waiting at the Olympic site. It was these three that survived the shooting and were later released – the others were expendable).

Despite requests for security of the Israeli team before the incident, German Police laughed off the need for security for the team saying it was “not in the Olympic spirit”.

Despite knowing their own plan for supposedly retrieving the hostages included sniping the terrorists at the airport, the Germans did not bring any rifles. They were armed with pistols and machinenpistol [sub-machine guns–D.E.]. This meant that when they opened fire, “German bullets were spraying about”, potentially including the possibility that some of the athletes were actually shot by Germans. . . . (Italics added.)