May 21, 2013
Munich 1972 massacre
Israeli and German security at fault
LONDON — In 1972, Germany organized the Olympic Games for the second time and they were supposed to erase the bad image left by the 1936 Games in Berlin, commonly known as the Hitler Games. In 1972, the Germans wanted to present a "friendly" Games. They opted for lighter security and no guns and military power displayed as in 1936. But it did not work out that way and 1972 will forever be the black spot of Olympic history.
Before the Games began, the Israel delegation was taken to visit the former Dachau concentration camp outside Munich. Why? They were bewildered at the number of cameras at what turned out to be a West German propaganda event. Later, at 4am on September 6 that year, eight Palestinian terrorists broke into Israel’s quarters at the Olympic Village to take 11 Israeli participants as hostages which they later killed.
Israeli intelligence knew that Palestinian terrorists were planning a major international operation, but did not think there was any risk to their delegation in Munich. Sending four bodyguards could have avoided the attack, but their Olympic Village quarters were unprotected. The chief of their delegation said later that right from the start the Germans did not know what to do. He suggested a close quarters attack, but the Germans, not wanting to risk their lives, refused (backed by their union). Israel then offered to fly in a commando team trained in hostage rescue. The Germans again refused, not wanting to lose face by allowing foreign troops to intervene. German troops were in their barracks as post-war rules still forbade the use of their army.
In exchange for the hostages, the Palestinians wanted the release of a number of their compatriots imprisoned in Israel, but at that time Israel was not willing to barter with terrorists. So the terrorists arranged with German negotiators to get an airplane at their disposal to take them and their hostages to Libya. But the plan was to put German police, dressed as pilots and crew, on the plane who could overpower terrorists that were going to come to inspect the aircraft. But then the "police-pilots" refused to do it as being too risky.
The terrorists and hostages were taken to the airport by helicopter. The eight terrorists came out, while the hostages were left tied to their seats. Police marksmen ready to shoot had been told to expect only four and they were not expert marksmen. Armoured cars had been sent to the airport, but they were stuck in a traffic jam. The police opened fire, but the Palestines’ leader survived, ran back into the helicopter and sprayed the hostages with bullets. Then police threw hand grenades inside and the helicopter went up in flames, leaving no survivors.
Three injured terrorists were taken prisoners, but soon afterwards a German airliner was highjacked by Palestinians and the German government managed to get the passengers freed in exchange for the three prisoners. Later Mossad (Israeli intelligence) tracked down two and assassinated them.
This disaster changed international sport, especially the Olympic Games, forever and security has become a major item, adding a lot of expense to the already high Olympic budget. For this month’s London Games there will be 12,000 police and 23,700 security personnel on duty with special powers. Surface to air missiles — on rooftops (with residents complaining to no avail — heavy machine guns and other weapons will be at the ready as well as attack aircraft ready to fly at a moment’s notice. The army will also will also be on alert.
It's the same at every major international sports event these days and the London Olympics are no exception!
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) investigated complaints — first published by the Sunday Times — that authorized ticket agents and even Olympic Committees in several countries were involved in selling tickets at higher prices on the black market. A Greek Olympic official, for example, requested more tickets because demand in his country was higher than expected — which was however not true and the tickets eventually found their way to other countries where demand was high and where they were offered on the black market. The first culprits were found in Serbia, Lithuania, Ukraine and China. But the IOC is not expected to complete its full investigation until after the Games, which is not much good.
Meanwhile, police were investigating around 30 unauthorized websites illegally selling tickets and warned fans that they may not be able to use them. Locally, many people are frustrated at the high prices and the way ticket sales have been handled, but recently it was announced that a certain number of tickets for the less popular events may be given free to lower class people who would not be able to afford them otherwise.
Although not mentioned above, one can imagine that Argentina would not be free of those rats always trying to make a fast buck where they can. I found, before coming here, that there was an agency selling not tickets, but only complete packets including tickets for just one sport — in this case field hockey — for almost 12,000 dollars for one person. On investigating in London, I found that you could get air fare, hotel with the number of stars included in the packets and tickets to all field hockey matches at less than half as much.
An agency is a business for profit, but over 100%? This is also black market value.