Was Jürgen Möllemann murdered?
by Christopher Bollyn
When Germany’s most controversial and outspoken politician fell to his death while parachuting, the media disregarded the possibility of assassination and quickly promoted the assumed theory of suicide.
Möllemann, married with three daughters, was busy preparing to launch a new populist political party and was reported to be in good health and high spirits. The idea that he would have committed suicide was dismissed by those who knew him best: “That doesn’t fit the picture I have of Jürgen Möllemann, because he was a fighter,” Hans-Dietrich Genscher, former German foreign minister, said.
Genscher and Möllemann had worked together in the pro-business liberal party to form an alliance in 1982 with the Christian Democratic Party. This alliance brought the conservative Chancellor Helmut Kohl to power.
Möllemann rose to become Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (1982), Secretary of State for Education (1987), and Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (1991). In 1993 he served as Vice-Chancellor.
Möllemann resigned from the FDP in March of this year because of his disagreements with the chairman of the party, Guido Westerwelle, which centered on Möllemann’s pre-election criticism of Israeli leader Ariel Sharon and Michel Friedman, the Vice-President of the Council of German Jews.
In his recently released best-selling book, Klartext, (“Speaking Frankly”), Möllemann accused Westerwelle of being blackmailed by the Israeli secret service, Mossad.
Möllemann provoked outrage in the German press during last year’s election campaign when he accused Friedman, who hosts a television talk show, of fomenting anti-Semitism through his “intolerant, spiteful style.” Möllemann was labeled as an anti-Semite when he published a pamphlet shortly before the election last September criticizing Friedman and Sharon.
“No one…creates more anti-Semites than Mr. Sharon, and Mr. Friedman with his intolerant and cynical manner,” Möllemann said. Möllemann’s statements blaming Jews for the existence of anti-Semitism crossed a red line in German politics.
“Few things in Germany are more out of bounds for mainstream politicians than criticism of Israel or Jews,” The Guardian (UK) wrote. “Möllemann, a long-standing supporter of the Arab cause, clashed repeatedly with Germany’s Jewish leaders over their support for the Sharon government.”
The storm around Möllemann grew after he brought Jamal Karsli, a Syrian-born Green Party delegate, into the FDP. Karsli accused the Israeli military of using “Nazi methods” against the Palestinian population under occupation.
“As president of the German-Arab society, Möllemann was a great advocate of Arab issues and has done a lot to promote economics,” said Peter Goepfrich, head of the German-Arab Chamber of Commerce in Cairo.
Möllemann had very good contacts, especially in the Gulf countries, and in Lebanon and Syria. “He was well respected and considered a friend”, Goepfrich said. The German media is reporting after his death that Möllemann became wealthy through his “good contacts” and huge commissions earned from weapons sales to the Arab world, particularly to Saudi Arabia. German authorities are conducting an investigation into Möllemann’s finances and his immunity as a parliamentarian was lifted on the same day that he died.
“Möllemann’s death is a great loss for the Arab world,” said Mahdi Hamad from Jordanian national television. The accusations of anti-Semitism against Möllemann were unfair, he added.
Möllemann’s sudden and mysterious death, and his involvement with Mossad and Middle Eastern weapons deals, recalls a similar incident involving a German politician 16 years ago.
Two days after Möllemann’s death, Bild, the most popular German daily, compared Möllemann’s death with the death of Uwe Barschel, premier of Schleswig-Holstein, who was found dead in a Geneva hotel bathtub on October 11, 1987. Bild compared the two deaths and asked if the mystery of Möllemann’s death would remain “unsolved” like that of Barschel.
What Bild failed to mention was that Victor Ostrovsky, a former Mossad agent, wrote in a 1994 book, The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad’s Secret Agenda, that a team of Israeli assassins had murdered Barschel.
Ostrovsky described how Barschel was lured to Geneva’s Beau Rivage Hotel by a phone call received in the Canary Islands from a Robert Oleff in October 1987. Barschel was ambushed in the hotel by a team of Mossad assassins, Ostrovsky wrote, who killed him and then forced barbiturates down his throat through a tube. Barschel’s fully clothed body was found in a hotel bathtub full of water on October 11, 1987.
Ostrovsky’s grim account was confirmed in a January 1995 Washington Post article based on German, Spanish and Swiss police investigations of the murder, and the possible motives for it.
The Post article reported that the Barschel case has been re-opened as a murder investigation because of evidence of “third party” involvement. Investigators found that the overdose of sedatives found in Barschel’s stomach had been forced down his throat through a tube after he was dead.
“Just who the third party who went to such lengths to make a murder look like a suicide might be, is unclear,” Andrew I. Killgore, publisher of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, wrote in 1995. Although the Israeli government issued a “formal denial” that it was involved, such a denial, according to Killgore, especially if it is “formal,” is widely accepted in the region as confirmation that the opposite is true.
According to Ostrovsky, Barschel was murdered because he refused to allow Israeli arms for Iran to be shipped from Schleswig-Holstein ports. During the Iran-Iraq war, Israel and the United States secretly armed both sides.
As with Möllemann, Barschel’s death was ruled a suicide at the time, although there was clear evidence Barschel had been murdered.
In both cases, dealings involving Middle Eastern weapons brought a German politician into contact with the Mossad. And in both cases the German politician involved met an untimely and mysterious death.
In the case of Möllemann, a former military paratrooper who frequently parachuted into political rallies, death came when he became detached from his main parachute and fell into a barley field. How he became detached, however, and why his emergency parachute did not open has yet to be explained.
Authorities said Möllemann’s emergency parachute had failed to open and that they were investigating “the possibility” of suicide. “We are of course examining all possibilities,” prosecutor Wolfgang Reinicke told a news conference in the town of Recklinghausen. “The range in such a case is very large. You can put them in three categories: an accident, a suicide or sabotage, for instance manipulation of the parachute by another person.”
Möllemann is reported to have taken off with nine other parachutists from a small airfield at Loemühle. The jump commenced at about 13,000 feet and Möllemann was the eighth to leave the plane. The names of the others, particularly the ninth and tenth parachutists who could have interfered with Möllemann, have not been released although they have been quoted in the press as un-named witnesses.
“One witness, who jumped from a plane at the same time as the politician, said all the group’s parachutes had opened normally,” the BBC reported on June 6. “Then suddenly the chute broke free from Mr. Möllemann’s body, said the witness, adding that he must have detached it himself. Mr. Möllemann’s spare chute then failed to open, indicating that he must have switched off a safety mechanism in it, he said.”
Bild presented a photo of a luxury Breitling “Navitimer” wristwatch, “probably belonging to Möllemann,” found more than 600 feet from his body. That Möllemann would have intentionally taken off his $12,000 watch as he plummeted to earth in a premeditated suicide plunge is unlikely. The watch, however, may have been ripped from his arm as he struggled with assailants in mid air.
Neither Möllemann nor Barschel left a suicide note.