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The Florida & Munich Hostage Disasters

Dec 2, 2022
Weird World
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23
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In this episode, we look at two of the most famous hostage crises of the 20th century: the Florida Hostage Crisis and the Munich Hostage Crisis.

Both took place within a year of each other and went on to have a lasting impact on the world of hostage negotiation.

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[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:11] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:20] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about Hostage Negotiations.

[00:00:27] This subject is actually going to be told in two parts.

[00:00:31] In this episode, part one, we will tell the story of two shocking hostage crises in the early nineteen seventies, one in Florida, in the United States and the other in Munich, in Germany.

[00:00:43] And in part two, we will look at how the strange world of hostage negotiations has developed since then, and look at some of the strategies and techniques that law enforcement agencies use to negotiate with people in a life or death situation. 

[00:01:01] Ok then, hostage negotiations.

[00:01:05] Think of the last time you had a conversation with someone. 

[00:01:09] How much of the meaning you both conveyed was contained in non-verbal cues like tone of voice and movement? 

[00:01:17] Psychologists would tell you that it was a lot. 

[00:01:22] If subtle signals like this matter in ordinary conversation, they matter tenfold in the life-or-death scenario of hostage negotiations

[00:01:33] Hostage negotiations are the most nerve-wracking incidents that a law enforcement team can face. 

[00:01:39] The hostage taker may have weapons, threaten violence, and be determined to follow through

[00:01:46] The police may have more manpower and weapons than the hostage-taker, but these capabilities are useless when the perpetrators could harm their victims at any moment. 

[00:01:58] The negotiator must rely on words, tone, and body language to work towards a peaceful resolution.

[00:02:06] And while “peaceful resolutions” are more common than ever, even a matter of 50 years ago this was certainly not the case. 

[00:02:16] Police used to resort to force much more quickly, and the results were often not very pretty. 

[00:02:24] One major US hostage crisis in 1971 highlighted the dangers of this strategy. 

[00:02:31] At 1.30 am on October the 3rd 1971, in Nashville, Tennessee, a pilot named Brent Downs waited on the runway next to a private charter plane

[00:02:45] He was due to fly three passengers to Atlanta, Georgia. 

[00:02:51] He stood on the tarmac ready to greet them. 

[00:02:55] The three passengers finally arrived on the runway and approached the plane. 

[00:03:01] One of them was George Giffe, the man who had booked the flight. 

[00:03:06] He was accompanied by his estranged wife Susan Giffe and a man called Bobby Wayne Wallace. 

[00:03:14] Downs and his co-pilot struck up a conversation with Giffe, while Susan Giffe and the other man waited 100 metres away.

[00:03:23] Giffe and his companions seemed ordinary enough. 

[00:03:27] That was until the woman – Susan - began screaming that she was being kidnapped

[00:03:33] Downs, the pilot, was concerned and walked towards her. George Giffe assured him that nothing was wrong. 

[00:03:41] The screaming woman was a mental patient having a crisis, he said, and he was her doctor taking her to Atlanta for treatment.

[00:03:50] Downs was still suspicious. He asked Giffe for proof of his identity. 

[00:03:55] At this point, Giffe turned a pistol, a gun, on the pilot. 

[00:04:00] He claimed he had a bomb. 

[00:04:02] He and Wallace forced Downs and Susan into the aircraft and ordered Downs, the pilot, to quickly take off. 

[00:04:12] With no other option, the pilot took to the air, with Giffe, his estranged wife, and the third man, Bobby Wayne Wallace.

[00:04:22] The ground crew quickly alerted the FBI.

[00:04:27] When the plane was in the air, Giffe told Downs to change course from Atlanta to the Bahamas. Downs protested, saying that he would need to refuel in Jacksonville, in Florida. 

[00:04:39] It was a small plane, and there simply wasn’t enough fuel to go all the way.

[00:04:45] Giffe agreed and Downs called ahead to the airport at Jacksonville to prepare charts, fuel, and flotation gear.

[00:04:54] At 5.08 am, the aircraft landed at Jacksonville, Florida, where the FBI was waiting. 

[00:05:03] During the flight, the FBI had learned that George Giffe and Bobby Wayne Wallace had kidnapped Susan, Giffe’s estranged wife, as she left for work. 

[00:05:14] When the plane landed, the pilot radioed the tower saying that the hostage takers were armed with handguns. Giffe claimed to have over 5 kilos of explosives in his luggage. 

[00:05:28] Now, the FBI’s priority was to keep the plane on the ground. 

[00:05:33] Although this was a prudent strategy, as it’s clearly easier to negotiate with someone if they’re in the same place, not up in an aeroplane, the FBI soon made its first error. 

[00:05:46] Almost immediately after the plane had landed, the primary FBI negotiator J.J. O’Connor radioed the hostage takers on the plane. 

[00:05:56] He refused to give the hostage takers the fuel they demanded.

[00:06:01] This flat-out refusal of a key hostage demand closed any possibility of compromise between the agents and Giffe, and ended lines of communication. 

[00:06:12] Even the pilot, Brent Downs, knew how dangerous O’Connor’s refusal was. 

[00:06:18] In archived footage from the tense 6- minute standoff, Downs gave the FBI a fearful warning, saying: “You’re endangering lives by doing this”.

[00:06:29] A few minutes later, Giffe’s accomplice, Wallace, left the plane voluntarily and was arrested. 

[00:06:36] According to commentators after the event, the FBI should have taken this as a small victory. 

[00:06:43] They could have leveraged the departure of Giffe’s accomplice and used it to convince Giffe to surrender

[00:06:52] Instead, the FBI chose a different course of action.

[00:06:56] At 5.27 am, the primary negotiator ordered his agents to shoot. Bullets pierced the tyres of the plane as well as the engine, which was still running. 

[00:07:09] As soon as the firearms went off, what was a tense and dangerous situation tipped over into a deadly one. 

[00:07:18] Shots were heard inside the plane. 

[00:07:21] Giffe had shot dead the pilot, his wife, and himself.

[00:07:27] It later turned out that Giffe had been suffering from a mental health episode. 

[00:07:33] A few years afterwards, the wife of the dead pilot sued the FBI for creating a deadly situation that could have been peacefully resolved. 

[00:07:42] She won on appeal, and it was the first time ever that the FBI has been sued in a civil suit. 

[00:07:50] The tragic outcome of this Florida hijacking underlined how inadequate the law enforcement agencies were when it came to saving lives in a hostage crisis. 

[00:08:02] They simply didn’t know what to do, and thought that by firing at the aeroplane Giffe, the man with the gun, would be frightened into surrendering.

[00:08:12] Clearly, he wasn’t. The shots tipped him over the edge, and cost the lives of three people.

[00:08:20] Less than a year later, a very different international hostage event finally shocked law enforcement around the world into taking the psychological aspects of negotiation seriously. 

[00:08:33] This was the 1972 hostage crisis at the Munich Olympic Games in West Germany. 

[00:08:40] A serious hostage crisis that the world watched played out on live TV.

[00:08:46] The attack was organised by Black September, an anti-Israeli terrorist organisation fighting for the cause of Palestinian liberation. 

[00:08:56] Unlike the Florida hijacking, the motives of the perpetrators were political and their demands were clear and rigid

[00:09:06] Like in the United States, the German authorities did not have a systemic set of procedures for handling hostage crises at the time. 

[00:09:15] In hindsight, this was perhaps surprising, given how politically turbulent the late sixties and early seventies were. 

[00:09:24] There were tensions over the war in Vietnam, nationalism in the developing world that met pushback from imperial nations, and the growth of both right and left wing extremism.

[00:09:36] Terror groups cultivated global networks to train, recruit, and raise funds for their causes.

[00:09:43] One of the sources of extremism was the 1967 brutal war between Egypt and Israel.

[00:09:51] It started after Israel was blocked by Egypt from using a key shipping route.

[00:09:57] What followed became known as the 6 Day War, and resulted in Israel capturing a lot of territory, including Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

[00:10:08] It also resulted in the capture of thousands of prisoners, the displacement of around 300,000 Palestinians, and no simple diplomatic solution to the situation.

[00:10:20] For some Palestinian militant groups, the only way they thought they could weaken Israel would be through terror tactics. 

[00:10:29] And although they had been targeting Israel before the war, they were now ready to organise international attacks that could bring the world’s attention to their cause.

[00:10:39] So, in July 1972, two men, Abu Iyad and Ali Hassan Salameh, met in a café in Rome.

[00:10:49] They were leaders of the militant Palestinian group, Black September, and it was then that they decided to target the upcoming Olympic Games in Munich. 

[00:11:01] Abu Iyah was the one who first proposed kidnapping Israeli athletes to force Israel to release Palestinians from prison. 

[00:11:09] They selected seven other young men to carry out the attack, all Palestinian refugees from camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. 

[00:11:19] For weeks before the Olympic games started, the men infiltrated the Olympic village to understand its layout and security weaknesses. 

[00:11:29] Some even got jobs there, giving them full undercover access to the site.

[00:11:35] The Games began on the 26th of August.

[00:11:39] On the 5th of September, the terrorists were ready. 

[00:11:43] At 4.30 in the morning they snuck into 31 Connollystrasse, the apartment block where the Israeli delegation to the Olympic Games were staying. 

[00:11:54] They approached apartment 1, which housed 7 Israelis. 

[00:11:59] An Israeli wrestler, Yossef Gutfrend, was among them. 

[00:12:03] He was the first to notice that something was wrong. He heard noises outside the door and watched as it opened slightly. Beyond it, he glimpsed a group of armed men. 

[00:12:15] He shouted to warn his roommates and threw himself against the door. 

[00:12:21] He might have been an Olympic wrestler weighing 135kg, but he was no match for 8 armed men. 

[00:12:29] The terrorists overpowered him and forced him to the floor.

[00:12:34] From there, the eight terrorists swept the building, bedroom by bedroom, until they had eleven Israeli athletes held hostage

[00:12:44] Shots were fired and the village started waking up. 

[00:12:48] At 5 am, the Munich chief of police was aware of a disaster unfolding within the Olympic Village. 

[00:12:55] Soon, the whole world would be transfixed on Building number 3 of Connollystrasse, in Munich. 

[00:13:02] Around a billion viewers tuned in that day to watch the Olympic Park crisis unfold on their screens. 

[00:13:10] The terrorists knew they had captured the attention of the international community, which is precisely what they had wanted. 

[00:13:18] They announced their demand and deadline. The Israeli government must release Palestinian terrorists from jail by 9:00 AM or they would start to execute the hostages

[00:13:31] With only a few hours to comply, there was no time to waste.

[00:13:37] But the German police and security services were woefully unprepared, they simply weren’t ready, and despite the frequent terror hostage incidents over the early seventies, the security services were always one step behind. 

[00:13:53] There was no armed security or checkpoints at the Munich games.

[00:13:58] The institutional make-up of German security was also badly equipped to deal with this sort of situation. 

[00:14:05] In Germany, power is divided among 16 states, each with its own government. 

[00:14:11] There was no central federal agency responsible for organising negotiations efforts, which is critical in a siege of such international importance. 

[00:14:21] Instead of federal personnel, Munich police chief Manfred Schreiber and the interior minister of Bavaria state, Bruno Merk, were chosen as primary negotiators who would communicate with the terrorists.

[00:14:35] Appointing the most senior state police chief as negotiator was, as it would later transpire, a serious mistake. 

[00:14:43] Nowadays, a key principle of hostage negotiation is to appoint a non-senior member that specialises in hostage dialogue as the primary negotiator

[00:14:55] This is because a subordinate officer, a more junior official, can buy more time by blaming a higher authority for delays in delivering the terrorists’ demands. 

[00:15:07] As we’ll see in part two, blaming other people to buy time is an important part of hostage negotiation.

[00:15:15] Fifteen minutes before the 9 am deadline for Israel to release prisoners, nothing had been done to resolve the situation. 

[00:15:24] At the last moment, the German authorities sent Olympic delegates from Arab nations as negotiators for the hostages

[00:15:33] The Egyptian who was chosen for this appealed to the hostage takers to give the Israelis and Germans more time. 

[00:15:41] The plan worked and the terrorists agreed to extend the deadline to noon, midday, 12pm.

[00:15:49] But then came the next glaring error in the German response. 

[00:15:54] The Munich police chief Manfred Schreiber offered the terrorists $9 million dollars to release the hostages

[00:16:02] It’s over $60 million dollars in today’s money, an enormous sum.

[00:16:08] But offering this amount of money reflected how badly the authorities understood the motives of the hostage takers. 

[00:16:16] In a terror hostage crisis where the demands are political, perpetrators are typically more committed to their political objectives than preserving their own lives. 

[00:16:27] A monetary offer can also imply that the authorities believe the terrorists can simply be paid to give up their political demands. 

[00:16:36] This risks offending the perpetrators and inflaming the situation further.

[00:16:42] This was certainly the case with the Munich crisis.

[00:16:46] The terrorists didn’t want money, they wanted their political demands to be met, for the prisoners to be released.

[00:16:53] Israel would not give in to the terrorists’ demands but the German authorities had to convince the terrorists otherwise, to stop them from killing the hostages

[00:17:05] They sent the Tunisian ambassador to West Germany to beg the terrorists to give Israel more time. They agreed to a 5 pm deadline.

[00:17:15] At 4.35 p.m., Issa, the leader of the terrorists, demanded that the hostage takers, along with their Israeli hostages, should be flown to Cairo in Egypt. 

[00:17:28] The Germans agreed to this and said a plane would be ready by 7pm. 

[00:17:35] The airfield chosen was called Furstenfeldbruck and the terrorists agreed to be flown there by helicopters piloted by two Germans and a German crew. 

[00:17:46] The Germans never planned for the hostage takers and their hostages to reach Cairo, their chosen destination. 

[00:17:55] Unknown to the terrorists, the Egyptian government was refusing to allow them to land in Egypt. 

[00:18:01] The Israelis did not want the hostages to fly to Egypt either. 

[00:18:05] Instead, the Germans planned to rescue the hostages on the airfield as their captors approached the plane. 

[00:18:14] The helicopters carrying the hostage takers and their hostages landed at Fürstenfeldbruck airfield at 10:40 pm. 

[00:18:23] By then it was dark and the airstrip was lit in floodlights

[00:18:28] The German authorities had imposed a media blackout on the Fürstenfeldbruck airfield. 

[00:18:35] This was their final chance to save the Israelis.

[00:18:39] Five snipers, people expert at shooting from a long distance, had been positioned around the airfield, invisible to the terrorists. 

[00:18:50] Shockingly, none of them were given walkie talkies, meaning that they could not coordinate with one another. 

[00:18:57] Other critical items were missing from their toolkits. 

[00:19:01] They did not have bulletproof vests or helmets, and none had infrared or telescopic sights fitted on their guns.

[00:19:10] They were in the dark, literally and metaphorically.

[00:19:15] When Issa and his deputy Yusuf Nazzal stepped out of the helicopters to check their plane, they quickly became suspicious it was a trap and started to run back to the helicopter. 

[00:19:29] At that moment, the snipers began firing, shooting two terrorists guarding the helicopter pilots. 

[00:19:36] Next, the snipers fired on Issa and Nazzal. 

[00:19:41] Issa was hit but managed to crawl back to the helicopters, where he began firing out into the dark with his machine gun. 

[00:19:50] At this point, all the terrorists started shooting at the snipers from the cover of the helicopter. 

[00:19:56] The scene was chaos. Nobody could tell which shots were being fired by whom. 

[00:20:03] The small team of five snipers could do nothing to disarm the terrorists. 

[00:20:08] The firefight lasted for ten minutes before the Germans called for armoured backup

[00:20:14] Until they arrived, there was nothing to do but watch. 

[00:20:19] In all, one German officer was killed, several were injured, and five terrorists were killed. 

[00:20:26] After the rescue operation came the final anguish for the loved ones of the hostages, who had been anxiously waiting, watching the news. 

[00:20:36] The media outlet Reuters reported at 12.30 pm that all hostages had survived. 

[00:20:44] What a triumph!

[00:20:45] Unfortunately, it was wrong.

[00:20:48] After three hours, Reuters corrected their report. All the hostages, 11 Israelis, were lying dead on this dark, German, airfield

[00:21:01] It would remain a black mark on the German security services’ reputation for years to come.

[00:21:08] Now, even though most countries do have an explicit policy of “not negotiating with terrorists”, it was clear that Munich had been an unmitigated disaster.

[00:21:20] And while everything is easy with the benefit of hindsight, security forces across the globe started to develop systems and best practices for what should have been done.

[00:21:32] Systems and practices that we will discuss in detail in part two, the next episode, where we will look at the question of “How To Negotiate With Hostage Takers”

[00:21:44] OK then, that is it for today's episode on The Florida & Munich Hostage Disasters.

[00:21:50] I hope it's been an interesting one, and that you've learnt something new. 

[00:21:54] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode. 

[00:21:57] I imagine you might have known about the Munich Massacre, but were you aware of what happened on another airfield in Florida?

[00:22:04] What do you think the hostage negotiators got wrong?

[00:22:08] How should they have acted differently?

[00:22:10] I would love to know.

[00:22:12] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:22:19] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:22:24] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

Continue learning

Get immediate access to a more interesting way of improving your English
Become a member
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[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:11] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:20] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about Hostage Negotiations.

[00:00:27] This subject is actually going to be told in two parts.

[00:00:31] In this episode, part one, we will tell the story of two shocking hostage crises in the early nineteen seventies, one in Florida, in the United States and the other in Munich, in Germany.

[00:00:43] And in part two, we will look at how the strange world of hostage negotiations has developed since then, and look at some of the strategies and techniques that law enforcement agencies use to negotiate with people in a life or death situation. 

[00:01:01] Ok then, hostage negotiations.

[00:01:05] Think of the last time you had a conversation with someone. 

[00:01:09] How much of the meaning you both conveyed was contained in non-verbal cues like tone of voice and movement? 

[00:01:17] Psychologists would tell you that it was a lot. 

[00:01:22] If subtle signals like this matter in ordinary conversation, they matter tenfold in the life-or-death scenario of hostage negotiations

[00:01:33] Hostage negotiations are the most nerve-wracking incidents that a law enforcement team can face. 

[00:01:39] The hostage taker may have weapons, threaten violence, and be determined to follow through

[00:01:46] The police may have more manpower and weapons than the hostage-taker, but these capabilities are useless when the perpetrators could harm their victims at any moment. 

[00:01:58] The negotiator must rely on words, tone, and body language to work towards a peaceful resolution.

[00:02:06] And while “peaceful resolutions” are more common than ever, even a matter of 50 years ago this was certainly not the case. 

[00:02:16] Police used to resort to force much more quickly, and the results were often not very pretty. 

[00:02:24] One major US hostage crisis in 1971 highlighted the dangers of this strategy. 

[00:02:31] At 1.30 am on October the 3rd 1971, in Nashville, Tennessee, a pilot named Brent Downs waited on the runway next to a private charter plane

[00:02:45] He was due to fly three passengers to Atlanta, Georgia. 

[00:02:51] He stood on the tarmac ready to greet them. 

[00:02:55] The three passengers finally arrived on the runway and approached the plane. 

[00:03:01] One of them was George Giffe, the man who had booked the flight. 

[00:03:06] He was accompanied by his estranged wife Susan Giffe and a man called Bobby Wayne Wallace. 

[00:03:14] Downs and his co-pilot struck up a conversation with Giffe, while Susan Giffe and the other man waited 100 metres away.

[00:03:23] Giffe and his companions seemed ordinary enough. 

[00:03:27] That was until the woman – Susan - began screaming that she was being kidnapped

[00:03:33] Downs, the pilot, was concerned and walked towards her. George Giffe assured him that nothing was wrong. 

[00:03:41] The screaming woman was a mental patient having a crisis, he said, and he was her doctor taking her to Atlanta for treatment.

[00:03:50] Downs was still suspicious. He asked Giffe for proof of his identity. 

[00:03:55] At this point, Giffe turned a pistol, a gun, on the pilot. 

[00:04:00] He claimed he had a bomb. 

[00:04:02] He and Wallace forced Downs and Susan into the aircraft and ordered Downs, the pilot, to quickly take off. 

[00:04:12] With no other option, the pilot took to the air, with Giffe, his estranged wife, and the third man, Bobby Wayne Wallace.

[00:04:22] The ground crew quickly alerted the FBI.

[00:04:27] When the plane was in the air, Giffe told Downs to change course from Atlanta to the Bahamas. Downs protested, saying that he would need to refuel in Jacksonville, in Florida. 

[00:04:39] It was a small plane, and there simply wasn’t enough fuel to go all the way.

[00:04:45] Giffe agreed and Downs called ahead to the airport at Jacksonville to prepare charts, fuel, and flotation gear.

[00:04:54] At 5.08 am, the aircraft landed at Jacksonville, Florida, where the FBI was waiting. 

[00:05:03] During the flight, the FBI had learned that George Giffe and Bobby Wayne Wallace had kidnapped Susan, Giffe’s estranged wife, as she left for work. 

[00:05:14] When the plane landed, the pilot radioed the tower saying that the hostage takers were armed with handguns. Giffe claimed to have over 5 kilos of explosives in his luggage. 

[00:05:28] Now, the FBI’s priority was to keep the plane on the ground. 

[00:05:33] Although this was a prudent strategy, as it’s clearly easier to negotiate with someone if they’re in the same place, not up in an aeroplane, the FBI soon made its first error. 

[00:05:46] Almost immediately after the plane had landed, the primary FBI negotiator J.J. O’Connor radioed the hostage takers on the plane. 

[00:05:56] He refused to give the hostage takers the fuel they demanded.

[00:06:01] This flat-out refusal of a key hostage demand closed any possibility of compromise between the agents and Giffe, and ended lines of communication. 

[00:06:12] Even the pilot, Brent Downs, knew how dangerous O’Connor’s refusal was. 

[00:06:18] In archived footage from the tense 6- minute standoff, Downs gave the FBI a fearful warning, saying: “You’re endangering lives by doing this”.

[00:06:29] A few minutes later, Giffe’s accomplice, Wallace, left the plane voluntarily and was arrested. 

[00:06:36] According to commentators after the event, the FBI should have taken this as a small victory. 

[00:06:43] They could have leveraged the departure of Giffe’s accomplice and used it to convince Giffe to surrender

[00:06:52] Instead, the FBI chose a different course of action.

[00:06:56] At 5.27 am, the primary negotiator ordered his agents to shoot. Bullets pierced the tyres of the plane as well as the engine, which was still running. 

[00:07:09] As soon as the firearms went off, what was a tense and dangerous situation tipped over into a deadly one. 

[00:07:18] Shots were heard inside the plane. 

[00:07:21] Giffe had shot dead the pilot, his wife, and himself.

[00:07:27] It later turned out that Giffe had been suffering from a mental health episode. 

[00:07:33] A few years afterwards, the wife of the dead pilot sued the FBI for creating a deadly situation that could have been peacefully resolved. 

[00:07:42] She won on appeal, and it was the first time ever that the FBI has been sued in a civil suit. 

[00:07:50] The tragic outcome of this Florida hijacking underlined how inadequate the law enforcement agencies were when it came to saving lives in a hostage crisis. 

[00:08:02] They simply didn’t know what to do, and thought that by firing at the aeroplane Giffe, the man with the gun, would be frightened into surrendering.

[00:08:12] Clearly, he wasn’t. The shots tipped him over the edge, and cost the lives of three people.

[00:08:20] Less than a year later, a very different international hostage event finally shocked law enforcement around the world into taking the psychological aspects of negotiation seriously. 

[00:08:33] This was the 1972 hostage crisis at the Munich Olympic Games in West Germany. 

[00:08:40] A serious hostage crisis that the world watched played out on live TV.

[00:08:46] The attack was organised by Black September, an anti-Israeli terrorist organisation fighting for the cause of Palestinian liberation. 

[00:08:56] Unlike the Florida hijacking, the motives of the perpetrators were political and their demands were clear and rigid

[00:09:06] Like in the United States, the German authorities did not have a systemic set of procedures for handling hostage crises at the time. 

[00:09:15] In hindsight, this was perhaps surprising, given how politically turbulent the late sixties and early seventies were. 

[00:09:24] There were tensions over the war in Vietnam, nationalism in the developing world that met pushback from imperial nations, and the growth of both right and left wing extremism.

[00:09:36] Terror groups cultivated global networks to train, recruit, and raise funds for their causes.

[00:09:43] One of the sources of extremism was the 1967 brutal war between Egypt and Israel.

[00:09:51] It started after Israel was blocked by Egypt from using a key shipping route.

[00:09:57] What followed became known as the 6 Day War, and resulted in Israel capturing a lot of territory, including Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

[00:10:08] It also resulted in the capture of thousands of prisoners, the displacement of around 300,000 Palestinians, and no simple diplomatic solution to the situation.

[00:10:20] For some Palestinian militant groups, the only way they thought they could weaken Israel would be through terror tactics. 

[00:10:29] And although they had been targeting Israel before the war, they were now ready to organise international attacks that could bring the world’s attention to their cause.

[00:10:39] So, in July 1972, two men, Abu Iyad and Ali Hassan Salameh, met in a café in Rome.

[00:10:49] They were leaders of the militant Palestinian group, Black September, and it was then that they decided to target the upcoming Olympic Games in Munich. 

[00:11:01] Abu Iyah was the one who first proposed kidnapping Israeli athletes to force Israel to release Palestinians from prison. 

[00:11:09] They selected seven other young men to carry out the attack, all Palestinian refugees from camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. 

[00:11:19] For weeks before the Olympic games started, the men infiltrated the Olympic village to understand its layout and security weaknesses. 

[00:11:29] Some even got jobs there, giving them full undercover access to the site.

[00:11:35] The Games began on the 26th of August.

[00:11:39] On the 5th of September, the terrorists were ready. 

[00:11:43] At 4.30 in the morning they snuck into 31 Connollystrasse, the apartment block where the Israeli delegation to the Olympic Games were staying. 

[00:11:54] They approached apartment 1, which housed 7 Israelis. 

[00:11:59] An Israeli wrestler, Yossef Gutfrend, was among them. 

[00:12:03] He was the first to notice that something was wrong. He heard noises outside the door and watched as it opened slightly. Beyond it, he glimpsed a group of armed men. 

[00:12:15] He shouted to warn his roommates and threw himself against the door. 

[00:12:21] He might have been an Olympic wrestler weighing 135kg, but he was no match for 8 armed men. 

[00:12:29] The terrorists overpowered him and forced him to the floor.

[00:12:34] From there, the eight terrorists swept the building, bedroom by bedroom, until they had eleven Israeli athletes held hostage

[00:12:44] Shots were fired and the village started waking up. 

[00:12:48] At 5 am, the Munich chief of police was aware of a disaster unfolding within the Olympic Village. 

[00:12:55] Soon, the whole world would be transfixed on Building number 3 of Connollystrasse, in Munich. 

[00:13:02] Around a billion viewers tuned in that day to watch the Olympic Park crisis unfold on their screens. 

[00:13:10] The terrorists knew they had captured the attention of the international community, which is precisely what they had wanted. 

[00:13:18] They announced their demand and deadline. The Israeli government must release Palestinian terrorists from jail by 9:00 AM or they would start to execute the hostages

[00:13:31] With only a few hours to comply, there was no time to waste.

[00:13:37] But the German police and security services were woefully unprepared, they simply weren’t ready, and despite the frequent terror hostage incidents over the early seventies, the security services were always one step behind. 

[00:13:53] There was no armed security or checkpoints at the Munich games.

[00:13:58] The institutional make-up of German security was also badly equipped to deal with this sort of situation. 

[00:14:05] In Germany, power is divided among 16 states, each with its own government. 

[00:14:11] There was no central federal agency responsible for organising negotiations efforts, which is critical in a siege of such international importance. 

[00:14:21] Instead of federal personnel, Munich police chief Manfred Schreiber and the interior minister of Bavaria state, Bruno Merk, were chosen as primary negotiators who would communicate with the terrorists.

[00:14:35] Appointing the most senior state police chief as negotiator was, as it would later transpire, a serious mistake. 

[00:14:43] Nowadays, a key principle of hostage negotiation is to appoint a non-senior member that specialises in hostage dialogue as the primary negotiator

[00:14:55] This is because a subordinate officer, a more junior official, can buy more time by blaming a higher authority for delays in delivering the terrorists’ demands. 

[00:15:07] As we’ll see in part two, blaming other people to buy time is an important part of hostage negotiation.

[00:15:15] Fifteen minutes before the 9 am deadline for Israel to release prisoners, nothing had been done to resolve the situation. 

[00:15:24] At the last moment, the German authorities sent Olympic delegates from Arab nations as negotiators for the hostages

[00:15:33] The Egyptian who was chosen for this appealed to the hostage takers to give the Israelis and Germans more time. 

[00:15:41] The plan worked and the terrorists agreed to extend the deadline to noon, midday, 12pm.

[00:15:49] But then came the next glaring error in the German response. 

[00:15:54] The Munich police chief Manfred Schreiber offered the terrorists $9 million dollars to release the hostages

[00:16:02] It’s over $60 million dollars in today’s money, an enormous sum.

[00:16:08] But offering this amount of money reflected how badly the authorities understood the motives of the hostage takers. 

[00:16:16] In a terror hostage crisis where the demands are political, perpetrators are typically more committed to their political objectives than preserving their own lives. 

[00:16:27] A monetary offer can also imply that the authorities believe the terrorists can simply be paid to give up their political demands. 

[00:16:36] This risks offending the perpetrators and inflaming the situation further.

[00:16:42] This was certainly the case with the Munich crisis.

[00:16:46] The terrorists didn’t want money, they wanted their political demands to be met, for the prisoners to be released.

[00:16:53] Israel would not give in to the terrorists’ demands but the German authorities had to convince the terrorists otherwise, to stop them from killing the hostages

[00:17:05] They sent the Tunisian ambassador to West Germany to beg the terrorists to give Israel more time. They agreed to a 5 pm deadline.

[00:17:15] At 4.35 p.m., Issa, the leader of the terrorists, demanded that the hostage takers, along with their Israeli hostages, should be flown to Cairo in Egypt. 

[00:17:28] The Germans agreed to this and said a plane would be ready by 7pm. 

[00:17:35] The airfield chosen was called Furstenfeldbruck and the terrorists agreed to be flown there by helicopters piloted by two Germans and a German crew. 

[00:17:46] The Germans never planned for the hostage takers and their hostages to reach Cairo, their chosen destination. 

[00:17:55] Unknown to the terrorists, the Egyptian government was refusing to allow them to land in Egypt. 

[00:18:01] The Israelis did not want the hostages to fly to Egypt either. 

[00:18:05] Instead, the Germans planned to rescue the hostages on the airfield as their captors approached the plane. 

[00:18:14] The helicopters carrying the hostage takers and their hostages landed at Fürstenfeldbruck airfield at 10:40 pm. 

[00:18:23] By then it was dark and the airstrip was lit in floodlights

[00:18:28] The German authorities had imposed a media blackout on the Fürstenfeldbruck airfield. 

[00:18:35] This was their final chance to save the Israelis.

[00:18:39] Five snipers, people expert at shooting from a long distance, had been positioned around the airfield, invisible to the terrorists. 

[00:18:50] Shockingly, none of them were given walkie talkies, meaning that they could not coordinate with one another. 

[00:18:57] Other critical items were missing from their toolkits. 

[00:19:01] They did not have bulletproof vests or helmets, and none had infrared or telescopic sights fitted on their guns.

[00:19:10] They were in the dark, literally and metaphorically.

[00:19:15] When Issa and his deputy Yusuf Nazzal stepped out of the helicopters to check their plane, they quickly became suspicious it was a trap and started to run back to the helicopter. 

[00:19:29] At that moment, the snipers began firing, shooting two terrorists guarding the helicopter pilots. 

[00:19:36] Next, the snipers fired on Issa and Nazzal. 

[00:19:41] Issa was hit but managed to crawl back to the helicopters, where he began firing out into the dark with his machine gun. 

[00:19:50] At this point, all the terrorists started shooting at the snipers from the cover of the helicopter. 

[00:19:56] The scene was chaos. Nobody could tell which shots were being fired by whom. 

[00:20:03] The small team of five snipers could do nothing to disarm the terrorists. 

[00:20:08] The firefight lasted for ten minutes before the Germans called for armoured backup

[00:20:14] Until they arrived, there was nothing to do but watch. 

[00:20:19] In all, one German officer was killed, several were injured, and five terrorists were killed. 

[00:20:26] After the rescue operation came the final anguish for the loved ones of the hostages, who had been anxiously waiting, watching the news. 

[00:20:36] The media outlet Reuters reported at 12.30 pm that all hostages had survived. 

[00:20:44] What a triumph!

[00:20:45] Unfortunately, it was wrong.

[00:20:48] After three hours, Reuters corrected their report. All the hostages, 11 Israelis, were lying dead on this dark, German, airfield

[00:21:01] It would remain a black mark on the German security services’ reputation for years to come.

[00:21:08] Now, even though most countries do have an explicit policy of “not negotiating with terrorists”, it was clear that Munich had been an unmitigated disaster.

[00:21:20] And while everything is easy with the benefit of hindsight, security forces across the globe started to develop systems and best practices for what should have been done.

[00:21:32] Systems and practices that we will discuss in detail in part two, the next episode, where we will look at the question of “How To Negotiate With Hostage Takers”

[00:21:44] OK then, that is it for today's episode on The Florida & Munich Hostage Disasters.

[00:21:50] I hope it's been an interesting one, and that you've learnt something new. 

[00:21:54] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode. 

[00:21:57] I imagine you might have known about the Munich Massacre, but were you aware of what happened on another airfield in Florida?

[00:22:04] What do you think the hostage negotiators got wrong?

[00:22:08] How should they have acted differently?

[00:22:10] I would love to know.

[00:22:12] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:22:19] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:22:24] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]

[00:00:00] Hello, hello hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:11] The show where you can listen to fascinating stories, and learn weird and wonderful things about the world at the same time as improving your English.

[00:00:20] I'm Alastair Budge, and today we are going to be talking about Hostage Negotiations.

[00:00:27] This subject is actually going to be told in two parts.

[00:00:31] In this episode, part one, we will tell the story of two shocking hostage crises in the early nineteen seventies, one in Florida, in the United States and the other in Munich, in Germany.

[00:00:43] And in part two, we will look at how the strange world of hostage negotiations has developed since then, and look at some of the strategies and techniques that law enforcement agencies use to negotiate with people in a life or death situation. 

[00:01:01] Ok then, hostage negotiations.

[00:01:05] Think of the last time you had a conversation with someone. 

[00:01:09] How much of the meaning you both conveyed was contained in non-verbal cues like tone of voice and movement? 

[00:01:17] Psychologists would tell you that it was a lot. 

[00:01:22] If subtle signals like this matter in ordinary conversation, they matter tenfold in the life-or-death scenario of hostage negotiations

[00:01:33] Hostage negotiations are the most nerve-wracking incidents that a law enforcement team can face. 

[00:01:39] The hostage taker may have weapons, threaten violence, and be determined to follow through

[00:01:46] The police may have more manpower and weapons than the hostage-taker, but these capabilities are useless when the perpetrators could harm their victims at any moment. 

[00:01:58] The negotiator must rely on words, tone, and body language to work towards a peaceful resolution.

[00:02:06] And while “peaceful resolutions” are more common than ever, even a matter of 50 years ago this was certainly not the case. 

[00:02:16] Police used to resort to force much more quickly, and the results were often not very pretty. 

[00:02:24] One major US hostage crisis in 1971 highlighted the dangers of this strategy. 

[00:02:31] At 1.30 am on October the 3rd 1971, in Nashville, Tennessee, a pilot named Brent Downs waited on the runway next to a private charter plane

[00:02:45] He was due to fly three passengers to Atlanta, Georgia. 

[00:02:51] He stood on the tarmac ready to greet them. 

[00:02:55] The three passengers finally arrived on the runway and approached the plane. 

[00:03:01] One of them was George Giffe, the man who had booked the flight. 

[00:03:06] He was accompanied by his estranged wife Susan Giffe and a man called Bobby Wayne Wallace. 

[00:03:14] Downs and his co-pilot struck up a conversation with Giffe, while Susan Giffe and the other man waited 100 metres away.

[00:03:23] Giffe and his companions seemed ordinary enough. 

[00:03:27] That was until the woman – Susan - began screaming that she was being kidnapped

[00:03:33] Downs, the pilot, was concerned and walked towards her. George Giffe assured him that nothing was wrong. 

[00:03:41] The screaming woman was a mental patient having a crisis, he said, and he was her doctor taking her to Atlanta for treatment.

[00:03:50] Downs was still suspicious. He asked Giffe for proof of his identity. 

[00:03:55] At this point, Giffe turned a pistol, a gun, on the pilot. 

[00:04:00] He claimed he had a bomb. 

[00:04:02] He and Wallace forced Downs and Susan into the aircraft and ordered Downs, the pilot, to quickly take off. 

[00:04:12] With no other option, the pilot took to the air, with Giffe, his estranged wife, and the third man, Bobby Wayne Wallace.

[00:04:22] The ground crew quickly alerted the FBI.

[00:04:27] When the plane was in the air, Giffe told Downs to change course from Atlanta to the Bahamas. Downs protested, saying that he would need to refuel in Jacksonville, in Florida. 

[00:04:39] It was a small plane, and there simply wasn’t enough fuel to go all the way.

[00:04:45] Giffe agreed and Downs called ahead to the airport at Jacksonville to prepare charts, fuel, and flotation gear.

[00:04:54] At 5.08 am, the aircraft landed at Jacksonville, Florida, where the FBI was waiting. 

[00:05:03] During the flight, the FBI had learned that George Giffe and Bobby Wayne Wallace had kidnapped Susan, Giffe’s estranged wife, as she left for work. 

[00:05:14] When the plane landed, the pilot radioed the tower saying that the hostage takers were armed with handguns. Giffe claimed to have over 5 kilos of explosives in his luggage. 

[00:05:28] Now, the FBI’s priority was to keep the plane on the ground. 

[00:05:33] Although this was a prudent strategy, as it’s clearly easier to negotiate with someone if they’re in the same place, not up in an aeroplane, the FBI soon made its first error. 

[00:05:46] Almost immediately after the plane had landed, the primary FBI negotiator J.J. O’Connor radioed the hostage takers on the plane. 

[00:05:56] He refused to give the hostage takers the fuel they demanded.

[00:06:01] This flat-out refusal of a key hostage demand closed any possibility of compromise between the agents and Giffe, and ended lines of communication. 

[00:06:12] Even the pilot, Brent Downs, knew how dangerous O’Connor’s refusal was. 

[00:06:18] In archived footage from the tense 6- minute standoff, Downs gave the FBI a fearful warning, saying: “You’re endangering lives by doing this”.

[00:06:29] A few minutes later, Giffe’s accomplice, Wallace, left the plane voluntarily and was arrested. 

[00:06:36] According to commentators after the event, the FBI should have taken this as a small victory. 

[00:06:43] They could have leveraged the departure of Giffe’s accomplice and used it to convince Giffe to surrender

[00:06:52] Instead, the FBI chose a different course of action.

[00:06:56] At 5.27 am, the primary negotiator ordered his agents to shoot. Bullets pierced the tyres of the plane as well as the engine, which was still running. 

[00:07:09] As soon as the firearms went off, what was a tense and dangerous situation tipped over into a deadly one. 

[00:07:18] Shots were heard inside the plane. 

[00:07:21] Giffe had shot dead the pilot, his wife, and himself.

[00:07:27] It later turned out that Giffe had been suffering from a mental health episode. 

[00:07:33] A few years afterwards, the wife of the dead pilot sued the FBI for creating a deadly situation that could have been peacefully resolved. 

[00:07:42] She won on appeal, and it was the first time ever that the FBI has been sued in a civil suit. 

[00:07:50] The tragic outcome of this Florida hijacking underlined how inadequate the law enforcement agencies were when it came to saving lives in a hostage crisis. 

[00:08:02] They simply didn’t know what to do, and thought that by firing at the aeroplane Giffe, the man with the gun, would be frightened into surrendering.

[00:08:12] Clearly, he wasn’t. The shots tipped him over the edge, and cost the lives of three people.

[00:08:20] Less than a year later, a very different international hostage event finally shocked law enforcement around the world into taking the psychological aspects of negotiation seriously. 

[00:08:33] This was the 1972 hostage crisis at the Munich Olympic Games in West Germany. 

[00:08:40] A serious hostage crisis that the world watched played out on live TV.

[00:08:46] The attack was organised by Black September, an anti-Israeli terrorist organisation fighting for the cause of Palestinian liberation. 

[00:08:56] Unlike the Florida hijacking, the motives of the perpetrators were political and their demands were clear and rigid

[00:09:06] Like in the United States, the German authorities did not have a systemic set of procedures for handling hostage crises at the time. 

[00:09:15] In hindsight, this was perhaps surprising, given how politically turbulent the late sixties and early seventies were. 

[00:09:24] There were tensions over the war in Vietnam, nationalism in the developing world that met pushback from imperial nations, and the growth of both right and left wing extremism.

[00:09:36] Terror groups cultivated global networks to train, recruit, and raise funds for their causes.

[00:09:43] One of the sources of extremism was the 1967 brutal war between Egypt and Israel.

[00:09:51] It started after Israel was blocked by Egypt from using a key shipping route.

[00:09:57] What followed became known as the 6 Day War, and resulted in Israel capturing a lot of territory, including Gaza, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

[00:10:08] It also resulted in the capture of thousands of prisoners, the displacement of around 300,000 Palestinians, and no simple diplomatic solution to the situation.

[00:10:20] For some Palestinian militant groups, the only way they thought they could weaken Israel would be through terror tactics. 

[00:10:29] And although they had been targeting Israel before the war, they were now ready to organise international attacks that could bring the world’s attention to their cause.

[00:10:39] So, in July 1972, two men, Abu Iyad and Ali Hassan Salameh, met in a café in Rome.

[00:10:49] They were leaders of the militant Palestinian group, Black September, and it was then that they decided to target the upcoming Olympic Games in Munich. 

[00:11:01] Abu Iyah was the one who first proposed kidnapping Israeli athletes to force Israel to release Palestinians from prison. 

[00:11:09] They selected seven other young men to carry out the attack, all Palestinian refugees from camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. 

[00:11:19] For weeks before the Olympic games started, the men infiltrated the Olympic village to understand its layout and security weaknesses. 

[00:11:29] Some even got jobs there, giving them full undercover access to the site.

[00:11:35] The Games began on the 26th of August.

[00:11:39] On the 5th of September, the terrorists were ready. 

[00:11:43] At 4.30 in the morning they snuck into 31 Connollystrasse, the apartment block where the Israeli delegation to the Olympic Games were staying. 

[00:11:54] They approached apartment 1, which housed 7 Israelis. 

[00:11:59] An Israeli wrestler, Yossef Gutfrend, was among them. 

[00:12:03] He was the first to notice that something was wrong. He heard noises outside the door and watched as it opened slightly. Beyond it, he glimpsed a group of armed men. 

[00:12:15] He shouted to warn his roommates and threw himself against the door. 

[00:12:21] He might have been an Olympic wrestler weighing 135kg, but he was no match for 8 armed men. 

[00:12:29] The terrorists overpowered him and forced him to the floor.

[00:12:34] From there, the eight terrorists swept the building, bedroom by bedroom, until they had eleven Israeli athletes held hostage

[00:12:44] Shots were fired and the village started waking up. 

[00:12:48] At 5 am, the Munich chief of police was aware of a disaster unfolding within the Olympic Village. 

[00:12:55] Soon, the whole world would be transfixed on Building number 3 of Connollystrasse, in Munich. 

[00:13:02] Around a billion viewers tuned in that day to watch the Olympic Park crisis unfold on their screens. 

[00:13:10] The terrorists knew they had captured the attention of the international community, which is precisely what they had wanted. 

[00:13:18] They announced their demand and deadline. The Israeli government must release Palestinian terrorists from jail by 9:00 AM or they would start to execute the hostages

[00:13:31] With only a few hours to comply, there was no time to waste.

[00:13:37] But the German police and security services were woefully unprepared, they simply weren’t ready, and despite the frequent terror hostage incidents over the early seventies, the security services were always one step behind. 

[00:13:53] There was no armed security or checkpoints at the Munich games.

[00:13:58] The institutional make-up of German security was also badly equipped to deal with this sort of situation. 

[00:14:05] In Germany, power is divided among 16 states, each with its own government. 

[00:14:11] There was no central federal agency responsible for organising negotiations efforts, which is critical in a siege of such international importance. 

[00:14:21] Instead of federal personnel, Munich police chief Manfred Schreiber and the interior minister of Bavaria state, Bruno Merk, were chosen as primary negotiators who would communicate with the terrorists.

[00:14:35] Appointing the most senior state police chief as negotiator was, as it would later transpire, a serious mistake. 

[00:14:43] Nowadays, a key principle of hostage negotiation is to appoint a non-senior member that specialises in hostage dialogue as the primary negotiator

[00:14:55] This is because a subordinate officer, a more junior official, can buy more time by blaming a higher authority for delays in delivering the terrorists’ demands. 

[00:15:07] As we’ll see in part two, blaming other people to buy time is an important part of hostage negotiation.

[00:15:15] Fifteen minutes before the 9 am deadline for Israel to release prisoners, nothing had been done to resolve the situation. 

[00:15:24] At the last moment, the German authorities sent Olympic delegates from Arab nations as negotiators for the hostages

[00:15:33] The Egyptian who was chosen for this appealed to the hostage takers to give the Israelis and Germans more time. 

[00:15:41] The plan worked and the terrorists agreed to extend the deadline to noon, midday, 12pm.

[00:15:49] But then came the next glaring error in the German response. 

[00:15:54] The Munich police chief Manfred Schreiber offered the terrorists $9 million dollars to release the hostages

[00:16:02] It’s over $60 million dollars in today’s money, an enormous sum.

[00:16:08] But offering this amount of money reflected how badly the authorities understood the motives of the hostage takers. 

[00:16:16] In a terror hostage crisis where the demands are political, perpetrators are typically more committed to their political objectives than preserving their own lives. 

[00:16:27] A monetary offer can also imply that the authorities believe the terrorists can simply be paid to give up their political demands. 

[00:16:36] This risks offending the perpetrators and inflaming the situation further.

[00:16:42] This was certainly the case with the Munich crisis.

[00:16:46] The terrorists didn’t want money, they wanted their political demands to be met, for the prisoners to be released.

[00:16:53] Israel would not give in to the terrorists’ demands but the German authorities had to convince the terrorists otherwise, to stop them from killing the hostages

[00:17:05] They sent the Tunisian ambassador to West Germany to beg the terrorists to give Israel more time. They agreed to a 5 pm deadline.

[00:17:15] At 4.35 p.m., Issa, the leader of the terrorists, demanded that the hostage takers, along with their Israeli hostages, should be flown to Cairo in Egypt. 

[00:17:28] The Germans agreed to this and said a plane would be ready by 7pm. 

[00:17:35] The airfield chosen was called Furstenfeldbruck and the terrorists agreed to be flown there by helicopters piloted by two Germans and a German crew. 

[00:17:46] The Germans never planned for the hostage takers and their hostages to reach Cairo, their chosen destination. 

[00:17:55] Unknown to the terrorists, the Egyptian government was refusing to allow them to land in Egypt. 

[00:18:01] The Israelis did not want the hostages to fly to Egypt either. 

[00:18:05] Instead, the Germans planned to rescue the hostages on the airfield as their captors approached the plane. 

[00:18:14] The helicopters carrying the hostage takers and their hostages landed at Fürstenfeldbruck airfield at 10:40 pm. 

[00:18:23] By then it was dark and the airstrip was lit in floodlights

[00:18:28] The German authorities had imposed a media blackout on the Fürstenfeldbruck airfield. 

[00:18:35] This was their final chance to save the Israelis.

[00:18:39] Five snipers, people expert at shooting from a long distance, had been positioned around the airfield, invisible to the terrorists. 

[00:18:50] Shockingly, none of them were given walkie talkies, meaning that they could not coordinate with one another. 

[00:18:57] Other critical items were missing from their toolkits. 

[00:19:01] They did not have bulletproof vests or helmets, and none had infrared or telescopic sights fitted on their guns.

[00:19:10] They were in the dark, literally and metaphorically.

[00:19:15] When Issa and his deputy Yusuf Nazzal stepped out of the helicopters to check their plane, they quickly became suspicious it was a trap and started to run back to the helicopter. 

[00:19:29] At that moment, the snipers began firing, shooting two terrorists guarding the helicopter pilots. 

[00:19:36] Next, the snipers fired on Issa and Nazzal. 

[00:19:41] Issa was hit but managed to crawl back to the helicopters, where he began firing out into the dark with his machine gun. 

[00:19:50] At this point, all the terrorists started shooting at the snipers from the cover of the helicopter. 

[00:19:56] The scene was chaos. Nobody could tell which shots were being fired by whom. 

[00:20:03] The small team of five snipers could do nothing to disarm the terrorists. 

[00:20:08] The firefight lasted for ten minutes before the Germans called for armoured backup

[00:20:14] Until they arrived, there was nothing to do but watch. 

[00:20:19] In all, one German officer was killed, several were injured, and five terrorists were killed. 

[00:20:26] After the rescue operation came the final anguish for the loved ones of the hostages, who had been anxiously waiting, watching the news. 

[00:20:36] The media outlet Reuters reported at 12.30 pm that all hostages had survived. 

[00:20:44] What a triumph!

[00:20:45] Unfortunately, it was wrong.

[00:20:48] After three hours, Reuters corrected their report. All the hostages, 11 Israelis, were lying dead on this dark, German, airfield

[00:21:01] It would remain a black mark on the German security services’ reputation for years to come.

[00:21:08] Now, even though most countries do have an explicit policy of “not negotiating with terrorists”, it was clear that Munich had been an unmitigated disaster.

[00:21:20] And while everything is easy with the benefit of hindsight, security forces across the globe started to develop systems and best practices for what should have been done.

[00:21:32] Systems and practices that we will discuss in detail in part two, the next episode, where we will look at the question of “How To Negotiate With Hostage Takers”

[00:21:44] OK then, that is it for today's episode on The Florida & Munich Hostage Disasters.

[00:21:50] I hope it's been an interesting one, and that you've learnt something new. 

[00:21:54] As always, I would love to know what you thought of this episode. 

[00:21:57] I imagine you might have known about the Munich Massacre, but were you aware of what happened on another airfield in Florida?

[00:22:04] What do you think the hostage negotiators got wrong?

[00:22:08] How should they have acted differently?

[00:22:10] I would love to know.

[00:22:12] You can head right into our community forum, which is at community.leonardoenglish.com and get chatting away to other curious minds.

[00:22:19] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds, by Leonardo English.

[00:22:24] I'm Alastair Budge, you stay safe, and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF EPISODE]