New documents declassified by Israel shed even more light on the strange circumstances surrounding the murder of Israeli athletes.
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.
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. 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.
When the athletes were first taken hostage, Germany refused to stop the Games, using as one excuse "Germany does not have other television programmes to air".
Mossad Chief Zamir, offered to use Israeli intelligence and forces to retrieve the hostages but was denied. Later the Germans pretended this offer was never made.
The news of the murder of Jews on German soil and the rumours about the German police's inept performance naturally raised comparisons with the Nazi period, and gave rise to a growing tide of anti-German feeling among the Israeli general public. The leaders of West Germany were aware of this. During the morning after the failed operation to recover the athletes, a telegram was received from the German ambassador in Israel, which expressed Chancellor Willy Brandt's regret and condolences. The Israeli prime minister sent a warm reply, which emphasized her appreciation for Germany's readiness to make every effort to release the hostages.
HOWEVER, on the evening of 6 September, Mossad chief Zvi Zamir returned from Munich and reported to Prime Minister Meir and Ministers Allon, Eban and Galili. Zamir described to the shocked ministers, with great emotion, the unfolding of the events – the rejection of his attempts at involvement in the operation, the chaos, the lack of professionalism and apathy displayed by the German forces. "They didn't make even a minimal effort to save lives, didn't take even a minimal risk to save people". In his opinion, the Germans only wanted to finish with this business, at all costs, in order to seemingly get on with the Olympics.
In view of Zamir's harsh report, the Israeli prime minister expressed regret at the friendly message she had sent to Chancellor Brandt earlier, and at the praise in the government's statement for the Germans' efforts. She accepted Minister Galili's suggestion to send Brandt another message, with the information she had received from Zamir and a demand to investigate the events as soon as possible.
The Germans in response tried to blame the Israelis.
An investigation committee set up by the Israelis pointed to the "complete failure of the Germans".
In Germany nobody was fired for the strange shambles.
In his report on 6 September to the team of ministers, Mossad chief Zamir said that he had asked his German counterpart what would happen now, since the terrorists could hijack a Lufthansa plane and force the Germans to release the surviving terrorists. The head of German intelligence replied that he could not promise this would not happen. The prime minister repeated this assessment at a government meeting on 11 September. The government discussed the possibility of requesting extradition of the three terrorists to Israel, but decided against it.
On 29 October those fears were realized. A Lufthansa plane (with only 11 people on board) on a flight from Beirut to Munich was hijacked at 8:00 in the morning by three terrorists. After refuelling in Nicosia and Zagreb, the hijackers announced their intention to fly to Munich and explode the plane, if the three terrorists involved in the attack on the Israeli delegation were not released.
The Israelis decided to urge the German government not to capitulate to any demands. "Releasing the terrorists will only add to the Munich disaster", the government declared. A telegram with the text of the decision was sent to the Israeli ambassador in Bonn.
The Bonn government met in emergency session and Ambassador Ben-Horin presented it with the Israeli government's message, expressing complete opposition to the release of the terrorists, and saying that Israel's response this time would not be reasonable and restrained, as it was after the Munich disaster.
During all that time, it was not clear what the German government's decision was; however, at 15:00 p.m. it was discovered that the Germans had given in, and the three terrorists were released and flown to Zagreb. After negotiations, the Lufthansa plane finally took off with the three hijackers, the three released terrorists and the crew and passengers from Zagreb to Libya.
The release of the terrorists aroused outrage in Israel. The media carried extreme expressions against West Germany, and this time did not trouble to hide analogies between Germany's actions and her Nazi past. Organizations and institutions cancelled delegations to Germany. Following the German actions a diplomatic crisis arose between Israel and West Germany, which was among the most severe since diplomatic relations were established.
Foreign Minister Eban met with the German ambassador in Israel, and expressed this anger in no uncertain terms, saying: "The main result is that the three terrorists have been released, and they are now free to commit additional crimes and murder more Israelis. To some degree, it is as if the action passes a death sentence on other Israelis". The Israeli Parliament condemned the actions of the German government and the Israeli ambassador in West Germany was called home for consultations.
Minister Warhaftig argued that the public was wondering "if there wasn't a conspiracy here between the German authorities and the terrorists, in order to be rid swiftly of the murderers who weighed not on the German conscience, but on their peace and quiet and on their interests". A debate followed regarding the level of severity of the Israeli reaction: whether it should go so far as to damage relations with Germany, or whether it should preserve these relations, which were clearly in Israel's interest.
PM Golda Meir did not rule out the hints of Warhaftig and others regarding a possible conspiracy. "Everything happened so fast, they didn't even try to bargain with them. As if the helicopters were ready and waiting for the terrorists", she said. She strongly attacked the actions of the German government and its spokesmen, and their obsequious attitude to the Arabs. "Of course it would be foolish to act in a manner that would be harmful to us, but the Germans should feel that the issue is still open, and has not been resolved".
German Chancellor Brandt opted at this point to use the traditonal abusive relationship skill of turning the problem on the victim, and complained about the accusations of German involvement, and threatened the damaging of relations; "I am filled with sorrowful concern that the relationship between our two countries should have been strained by these developments. I believe that we should join our efforts to see to it that German-Israeli relations do not suffer". A thinly veiled threat.
The Israelis opted to keep quiet on their suspicions in order to keep relations functional.
Paul Frank, the senior German Foreign Ministry official, told the Libyan ambassador with relief that, from Germany's standpoint, "the Munich chapter was closed" as a result of the release. The German government chose not to request the extradition of the three terrorists from Libya. In a memo to the Chancellery, Frank wrote: "We should be pleased that the whole thing has calmed down sufficiently."
A few months later, Walther Nowak (German Ambassador to Lebanon) 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.
While Chancellor Brandt issued a public promise to the Israelis that he would "not capitulate to terrorism," Foreign Ministry sources suggest a different interpretation of events. Helmut Redies, a Middle East expert at the Foreign Ministry, merely asked the PLO to exclude West Germany and its citizens from its attacks. "It is critical to us that the Palestinians respect public safety in West Germany, and that no operations are conducted on the soil of the Federal Republic, or against German individuals and facilities abroad."
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.
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.
This didn't change when the French police arrested one of the main culprits in 1977. Abu Daoud, a teacher from Jerusalem, had coordinated the Black September operation in Munich and left the country on the morning of the attack. When the German Justice Ministry received an inquiry from Paris as to whether there was any interest in an extradition, it referred the request to the relevant authorities in Bavaria.
What happened after that remains one of the secrets of the former West Germany. 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 Terrorist 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."
Anyone with the ability for critical thought, should have always been able to smell a rat regarding Jewish athletes being killed in a German city. It is fairly obvious just how excited that action would have made certain older Germans at the time, including many 'former' Nazis still working in German intelligence.
The neo-Nazi who has confirmed his involvement with Black September, has said he was requested to drive the Islamic extremists around Germany in order to gain them false documents (an intelligence specialism).
In a further disclosure, we learn that two days after the Munich killings, a civil servant in the German foreign ministry laid out the official line to be taken by all governemnt departments regarding the killings;
" ...blaming each other must be avoided, as must self criticism"
Thus the myth was born of a perfectly organised terrorist group, and German authorities created the story of the precision with which Black September operated.
However the disclosure revealed the far more believable reality; Black September were useless, inexperienced and uneducated, chaotic, and incapable of even the basic task of booking a hotel in Munich.
Hence, the Nazi support for booking the hotel and arranging fake documents. In fact, a running joke in Israeli and British forces during the 1960s and 1970s was that most of the Islamic terrorists at the time were so thick, uneducated, illiterate and badly trained, that they would frequently throw grenades at British troops in Aden or Suez, or Israeli troops at home, without removing the pin.
Another element in the disclosure which supports the above theory, is the inherent difficulty of achieving what Black September achieved in Munich.
The site where the Israeli athletes were staying was essentially part of the Munich Olympic Village. Teams from all over the world were staying at the same site, yet Black September not only managed to stroll past security and enter the building, but the they entered the correct building, and found the correct rooms where the Israelis were staying.
The disclosure revealed that the Munich Criminal Police explicitly stated in their report that Black September had "not conducted any precise reconnaissance before the attack."
This was hidden from the public for 40 years, and would make the above very difficult to achieve indeed - without local help.
The fact that the Munich Public Prosecutor at the time had launched an investigation against the head of Police, Manfred Schreiber and his team leader, for "suspected negligent manslaughter" has also been hidden until now.
Once you consider German complicity in the Munich killings, all the other details fall together; from the release of various terrorists from German custody, to seemingly staged hijackings of German aircraft.
Why? Because these Islamic terrorist were working for German intelligence in the first place. They were useful idiots.
Germany was pushing the Palestine issue into the world view via the Olympic murders, by blaming Israel.
Germany was also showing her solidarity with Islamic terror, to keep her covert relationships with nazi-derived and trained terror groups functioning.
Many nazis still in German intelligence at the time of Munich would have been sickened by the idea of Jewish Israelis competing in Munich. To them, this would have been the ultimate insult.