Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Ghost, Aug 31, 2002.

  1. Ghost

    Ghost Member+

    Sep 5, 2001
    Mods, don't know where this goes, since there's no forum dedicated to historical blunders. But since most historical threads go here, and terrorism is very much on our minds, I thought this would be the appropriate forum.

    This article appeared in the print version of SI and I found it this evening on line at Time's site. It details the hostage crisis at the Munich Olympics. It's well worth your time, a swift, compelling read.

    Basically, the Germans were just completely incompetent It would be laughable if not for the fact that so many died.
  2. olafgb

    olafgb New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Just a common remark as the article was way too long to read everything (maybe you can point out some aspects you're refering to):

    It was in the 70s - an entirely different time. Of course there were some terrorist organisations, but nothing like in today's dimensions. Point is just that someone has to make such experiences and mistakes to make others learn - naturally this is not intended, but that's the story of time. Some weeks ago Munich was hosting the European Track and Field Championships, hosting the athletes in the tragic old Olympic village - this time you found police men with machinge guns and barbed wire all around the village. The athletes must have felt like prisoners in there - very sad, but that's the world today because of idealistic idiots who are following their aims cost what it takes.

    THOMA GOL BigSoccer Supporter

    Jul 16, 1999
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As I am watching this program on ABC, I have to ask, what's the deal with attacks in September from terrorists? Was there something that happened historically in the Muslim/Islamic/Arab world in that month??
  4. Barnash_haviv

    Barnash_haviv New Member

    Apr 19, 2002
    They Germans have improved since then.
    I came back from Munich 5 days ago and the security in the ariport was as goods as the security in Israel.
  5. Ghost

    Ghost Member+

    Sep 5, 2001
    Some cliff notes:

    1) The Games were staged as the "Games of Serenity," designed as an antidote to the 1936 Berlin games, which turned into a pageant for militaristic Naziism. The city fathers of Munich wanted to put together an Olympics that would put the best foot forward in order to erase the memory of the city's Nazi past. So they deliberately kept security lax.People were allowed to roam free, to climb the 2 meter high fence into the Olympic village, basically allowed to go wherever they wanted.

    2) Prior to the games, a security consultant put together 26 scenarios of potential attacks on the Games. Among these was the eerily prescient case 21, which described an attack where Palestinians take hostages in the Olympic Village. It was spookily accurate down to the small detail, such as that the terrorists would kill two people in the Village, would eventually ask for a change of venue, etc. The organizers asked the consultant to redo the scenarios that, as Wollf puts it, better fit with their image of their vision of the games. (Strangely, for another September day, the consultant put together a scenario where Swedish extremists hijacked a plane and crashed it into a stadium. Laugh the next time a security expert say, "We never thought of something like this." )

    3) The security force at the games were the low-profile "Olys" who were unarmed and wore blue blazers and white hats, memorably described in another publication as looking like 'the ushers at an Up With People concert." In one of the most tragicomic moments of the affair, an Oly was summoned to the Village in the early moments of the attack, and all he could do was yell at the Palestinian guarding the doorway "What do you mean by this?" The guard simply ignored him.

    4)The Germans had no hostage rescue team availalble. They didn't accept an Israeli offer to send a team. The army couldn't be used, by German law, so the situation was handled by local police.THey tried a number of bozo things: THey actually tried to send disguised police in with the food.Perhaps having seen this in bad movie plots, the terrorsits didn't allow them to enter. In a famous moment, the police accepted 30-some volunteer officers to strom the room. They were decked out unconvincingly in bad 70s warm-up gear for no apparent purpose..They were on the roof waiting for the message to storm the rooms, but the instruction never came. Good thing. The terrorists had been watching the whole thing on the TVs in the room . The operation was being broadcast across the world. No one had thought to askthe networks to black out their coverage.

    5) The assault at the airport was an utter disaster. The terrorist and the hostages were coming in on two separate helicopters. A third helicopter brought along Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the Inteior Minister and the local yokels.. When they landed just ahead of the terrorists and spoke to the man organizing the ambush, they discovered that he thought there were only five terrorists, when in fact htere were eight. Hence he had only deployed five snipers, once again volunteers from the police force without specialized training. The number of terrorists had been known since the morning, or at least a firm estimate of 8-12. The snipers likewise had no communications, couldn't coordinate targets ro the timing of the first shot, so they wound up with a relatively ineffective first volley, One sniper on the tarmac got off one shot over the course of a two-hour firefight. because he was in the line of friendly fire and he was too busy ducking. He would later be seriously wounded by friendly fire, when reinforcements, never informed of the position of their own snipers, mistook him for a terrorist.Nor did they plan where the helicopters would land in order to give their snipers a clear shot.

    I nthe low point of the whole affair, a group of police were disguised as a flight crew and put on the airplane. They were supposed to kill the terrrorists when they got on board. Right before the terrorists' helicopters landed, they voted to abandoned their posts. COnvinced it was a suicide mission for which tey were not trained, they just walked off. Maybe they were in the break room getting a Pepsi when the shooting started.

    6) Apparently fearing further attacks against its citizens and perhaps in the interest of covering up their incompetence, the German government.likely arranged a fake hijacking a few months later, in which they quickly served up the three remaining terrorists and put them on board a plane headed back to Libya.

    There's more. IT's a great article, though long. I recommend taking the time to read it.
  6. Ghost

    Ghost Member+

    Sep 5, 2001
    Bumped for the anniversary, in case someone sees a story on the news and would like to read more.

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