2001 befand ich mich am 11. September an Bord einer Lufthansa-Maschine von Berlin über New York nach Miami. Ich hatte den Auftrag für einen relaunch des Milchstraßenverlags amerikanische Luftwaffenstützpunkte zu besuchen und eine Reportage über Wettermachen zu realisieren.

Doch dazu kam es nicht mehr.

Das Flugzeug durfte nicht mehr landen. Es kam die Durchsage: “We are not allowed to land. America is under attack.”

ARINC at aircraft fair Hamburg © susanne.haerpfer@bits.de

ARINC at aircraft fair Hamburg © susanne.haerpfer@bits.de

Silence.

“We still don´t know what is happening right now. We were informed that attacks were carried out. The airports have been closed. The frontier to Canada was shut down, no train is going to pass, no plane is about to start, no car may pass. I do repeat. America is under attack.”

“Is this a Tom Clancy movie?” the man at the aisle seat two rows behind me asked.

All passengers were shoocked. We were on board of a plane. We had not seen any pictures. We could not imagine what has happened. Some passengers grabbed the credit card phones in the seats, others tried their mobile phones. Some were silent, some were scared. Everybody just sat. The passenger from India who sat on the window side right next to me said: “And I was to go on a cruise ship.”

I was trying to reach the photographer and US stringer who was booked to cover the weather modifcation story together with me in order to tell him that the Lufthansa plane was forbidden to land. No chance. Too many people tried to get in contact in order to learn what was going on. Nevertheless I tried to call Germany, to call Berlin to reach my life companion Otfried Nassauer.Otfried Nassauer tried to reach German government officials in order to inform them that I was bound to the US and could not be reached; I learned later.

The plane I was in was directed to the Caribbean for refuelling. We were forbidden to get up. Everybody was strictly ordered to stay on the seat. Then the cabin crew said they were considering to land on Mallorca.

ARINC warns befor the catastrophe photographed by susanne.haerpfer add bits.de

ARINC warns befor the catastrophe photographed by susanne.haerpfer add bits.de

Rather bizarre we thought in that moment. Later the question came to my mind whether the crew had confirmed information or the suspicion that our plane as well was to be highjacked and that attackers were on board – using the code Mallorca to remind of the highjacking of the Landshuth.

In the situation the crew explained the stopover with trade union requirements to pause after a given amount of work time. Everybody on board was buffled with amazement. America was under attack. We survived and there were people telling us about overtime rules of the union. So we flew to Frankfurt am Main. Tourists were booked into hotels, Germans were given coupons to go by taxi where ever they wanted to go to. So I went by Taxi from Frankfurt airport to Berlin. The day after at nine o´clock I entered our apartment and for the first time I saw the pictures of the attacks on CNN. I survived, but, as a reporter I´d rather took a plane earlier then I would have been right on an US airforce base at the time of the attacks. This would have been a unique opportunity and absolutely exclusive.

So I was stuck in Berlin, free lance, with editors being so overworked that they didn´t assign anybody as they didn´t know what to reseach, as the head of a German political magazine told me at the entrance of RBB-ARD.

NY befor 911, photography Susanne.Haerpfer@bits.de

NY befor 911, photography Susanne.Haerpfer@bits.de

Thus as well a topic based research into 2001 as well as my assignment on weather modification had to wait.

In 2011 I re-started, focussing on aviation questions. A great variety of angles are still to be looked into. I started with the German angle and asked:

Sehr geehrte Damen,

Sehr geehrte Herren,

als Redakteurin habe ich in den Jahren 1997

bis 2000 für die Sendung Akte

(meta productions/SAT.1) über (militärische)

Luftfahrtthemen berichtet;

darunter über den Tornado und

NATO-Alarmierungsstufen der Alarmrotte,

bevor es die Debatte um das

Luftsicherheitsgesetz gegeben hat.

Seitdem arbeite ich als Freiberuflerin; und

würde gern von Ihnen wissen:

Waren deutsche Flieger im Luftraum Canadas

und/oder den USA im Einsatz im

Jahr 2001?

NY photographed by Susanne.Haerpfer@bits.de

NY photographed by Susanne.Haerpfer@bits.de

Falls ja, wer genau in welchem

Umfang mit welchen Aufträgen und

welchen Ergebnissen; eingebunden in welche

Strukturen?

Zugespitzt, eng fokussiert interessiert mich,

ob am 11. September 2001

deutsche Flieger in den USA gewesen sind.

Falls ja, wer genau, wie viele

mit welchem (ursprünglichen) Auftrag,

eingebunden in welche

Kommandostrukturen? Hätte diese die

Terroristen, die die Attentate

verübten, abschießen können? Falls ja, weshalb

wurde davon Abstand

genommen? Weil dann Deutsche den Tod von

amerikanischen Zivilisten zu

verantworten gehabt hätten?

Essence photographed by Susanne Haerpfer

Essence photographed by Susanne Haerpfer

Weil es

Erklärungsbedarf für die Anwesenheit

der Flieger gegeben hätte? Aus welchen

weiteren, anderen Gründen? Waren

die Piloten bekannt? Aus vorherigen

gemeinsamen militärischen Manövern?

Wurden die Attentate verübt, weil es durch

Piloten ein manuelles override

der eigentlich zuvor in den Bordcomputer

eingegebenen Flugroute und

Flugbewegungsmöglichkeiten gegeben hat?

electronics from within

electronics from within

Wurden

die Attentate verübt, weil

von außen (wie, durch wen, von wo) in die

Steuerungselektronik der

Flugzeuge eingegriffen worden ist? Das, was

nach den Attentaten diskutiert

wurde, die sogenannten no fly zones,

Abschirmkuppeln gibt es durch die

Bordelektronik doch eigentlich schon längst,

wie konnten dann Ihrer

Meinung bzw. Kenntnis die Attentate überhaupt

verübt werden, falls Sie

obige Fragen verneinen sollten.

Cheyenne Mountains

by Susanne Haerpfer at Millennium

Waren deutsche

Flieger bzw. Piloten am

„downing“ der 5. Maschine beteiligt, und falls

ja, in welcher Form?

Abschuß? Eingriff in Bordelektronik?

Kommunikation mit wem an Bord? In

anderer Weise? Welche weiteren Informationen

können Sie mir diesbezüglich

geben?

Herzlichen Dank vorab.

Freundliche Grüße,

Susanne Härpfer

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With crowd financing emerging, are interested citizens so interested that they would join a journalistic project? Offer publication possibilities? Books, television, newspaper, magazine, online? Financing of such a project, work in progress?

Are there experts who could provide information? Would they join? Under which conditions?

von:

© susanne.haerpfer@bits.de