Already on Sept. 7, just one day after the memorial ceremony for the victims took place in Munich's Olympic Stadium, a Foreign Ministry official told a special sitting of the federal cabinet what would ultimately become the maxim for both Bavarian and West German officials. "Mutual incriminations must be avoided," a protocol for the meeting reads. "Also, noAnd how clear were the advanced warnings that a terrorist attack was imminent?
Just how closely this advice was followed can be seen in documentation from both the federal government and the Bavarian state government, which falsely described the "precision" with which the terrorists carried out their attack. In reality, officials knew that the "Black September" members were actually so poorly prepared that they even had trouble finding hotel rooms
in Munich before their attack.
On the day of the attack, the Palestinians were even known to have gone right past the Israelis' apartments in the Olympic village, encountering athletes from Hong Kong on an upper level of the building instead. An "analytic evaluation" of the attack by the Munich criminal police later
explicitly determined that the terrorists had "conducted no precise reconnaissance" ahead of time.
But none of these details were revealed to the public. The fact that Bavarian state prosecutors in Munich were pursuing an investigation against police president Manfred Schreiber and his chief of operation on suspicion of negligent manslaughter also wasn't mentioned in the document.
According to Der Spiegel:
- On Aug. 14, 1972, a German embassy officer in Beirut heard that "an incident would be staged by from the Palestinian side during the Olympic Games in Munich." Four days later, the Foreign Office forwarded the warning to the state intelligence agency in Bavaria, along with the recommendation
to "take all possible available security measures" against such an attack.
- On Sept. 2, three days ahead of the deadly hostage-taking, the Italian publication Gente wrote that terrorists from Black September were planning a "sensational act during the Olympic Games." Only later -- two days after the bloodbath in Munich -- was the warning put on record through a tip-off from the Hamburg criminal police.
Though the report was seized by a chief police commissioner, when a request was put through for the material, they were told it was not available. The report was never found.
The bungling that led to the Munich Massacre at the Olympics and the cover up that followed only add to the tragedy.
These newest revelations make the need for a recognition of what happened all the more urgent.
Hat tip: IMRA
Technorati Tag: Israel and Munich Massacre and London Olympics.