A September to Remember
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Sep 01, 2016
The fall festival, otherwise known as ASIS,
kicks off later this month. Thankfully, it is in
Orlando, though I can hardly wait until next
year when it is scheduled for Dallas.
I’m looking forward to ASIS this year for several
reasons, but chief among them are the many new
products that are launching during this event. Numerous
manufacturers have indicated that they will
be showcasing some of their new products there this
year. One of the most interesting, and I think mostly
likely to receive attention, is the development of
Body-worn cameras protect lives, and in the case
of law enforcement, the time has come to increase
Going for the Gold
By the time this issue of Security Products has been
printed and delivered, the Olympics will have come
and gone. At the time of this writing, so far the worldwide
event has been free of terrorism and any issues
of security have been minimal.
The Olympics are not a stage for political statements,
but that hasn’t always been the case. In 1936,
politics was at the front and center of the sporting
stage. At stake was the inclusion of U.S. athletes of
Jewish descent and African American sports stars.
While there could have been serious conflict, I believe
speedster Jesse Owens dominated the Games, proving
there was room for tolerance. Owen’s feat of grabbing
four gold medals and a world record isn’t a bad accomplishment
The idea of tolerance went by the way during
the 1972 Olympics in Munich. In fact, the German
Olympic Organizing committee had hopes of dispelling
the military image of Germany, especially that
of the Hitler regime.
As I am sure you are aware, the competitors have
their own village to live in during these events. As
secure as these living quarters were at the time, the
Munich massacre was an attack in which 11 Israeli
Olympic team members were taken hostage and eventually
killed, along with a German police officer, by
the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.
Shortly after the crisis began, they demanded 234
prisoners jailed in Israel and the German-held founders
of the Red Army Faction (Andreas Baade and
Ulrike Minho) be released. Black September called
the operation “Iris and Bigram,” after two Palestinian
Christian villages whose inhabitants were expelled by
the IDF in 1948.
The attack was motivated by secular nationalism,
with the commander of the terrorist group having
been born to Jewish and Christian parents. German
neo-Nazis gave the attackers logistical assistance. Police
officers killed five of the eight Black September
members during a failed rescue attempt. They captured
the three survivors, whom West Germany later
released following a Lufthansa airliner hijacking in
October. Mossad responded to the release with Operation
“Spring of Youth” and Operation “Wrath of
God,” tracking down and killing Palestinians suspected
of involvement in the massacre.
The documentary film “One Day in September”
claims that security in the athletes’ village was unfit
for the Olympic Games and that athletes could come
and go as they pleased. Athletes were able to sneak
past security and go to other countries’ rooms by going
over the fencing that encompassed the village.
The absence of armed personnel worried Israeli
delegation head Shmuel Lalkin even before his team
arrived in Munich. In later interviews with journalists
Serge Broussard and Aaron Klein, Larkin said that he
had expressed concern with the relevant authorities
about his team’s lodgings. The team was housed in a
relatively isolated part of the Olympic Village, on the
ground floor of a small building close to a gate, which
Lalkin felt made his team particularly vulnerable to an
outside assault. The West German authorities apparently
assured Larkin that extra security would be provided
to look after the Israeli team, but Lalkin doubts
that these additional measures were ever taken.
Olympic organizers asked West German forensic
psychologist Georg Stieber to create 26 terrorism scenarios
to aid the organizers in planning security. His
“Situation 21” accurately forecast armed Palestinians
invading the Israeli delegation’s quarters, killing and
taking hostages, and demanding Israel’s release of
prisoners and a plane to leave West Germany. Organizers
balked against preparing for Situation 21 and
the other scenarios, since guarding the Games against
them would have gone against the goal of “Carefree
Games” without heavy security.
Experts understand the need to protect others, and
as I watch the Olympics off and on prior to this publication,
I have the hope that all will go well.
On Aug. 3 two days prior to the start of the 2016
Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee
officially honored those fallen eleven Israeli
team members for the first time.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue of Security Today.