A fictional crime drama based on the premise that the Bush administration ordered
the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Washington aired this week
on German state television, prompting the Green Party chairman to call for an
"I think absolutely nothing of the conspiracy theory that has been hawked
in this series. I hope this particular TV movie will be discussed very critically
at the next supervisory board meeting of ARD [state television]," said Green
Party Chairman Reinhard Buetikofer, who acknowledged that he had not seen the
Sunday night's episode of "Tatort," a popular murder mystery that has
been running on state-run ARD-German television for 35 years, revolved around
a German woman and a man who was killed in her apartment.
According to the plot, which was seen by approximately 7 million Germans, the
dead man had been trained to be one of the September 11 pilots but was left behind,
only to be tracked down and killed by CIA or FBI assassins.
The woman, who says in the program that the September 11 attacks were instigated
by the Bush family for oil and power, then is targeted, presumably to silence
her. The drama concludes with the German detectives accepting the truth of her
story as she eludes the U.S. government hit men and escapes to safety in an unnamed
As ludicrous as it may sound to most Americans, the tale has resonance in Germany,
where fantastic conspiracy theories often are taken as fact.
Many Germans think, for example, that the 1969 moon landing was faked, and a poll
published in the weekly Die Zeit showed that 31 percent of Germans younger than
30 "think that there is a certain possibility that the U.S. government ordered
the attacks of 9/11."
In fact, three of the hijackers who seized control of commercial airlines on September
11, 2001, including the ringleader, Mohamed Atta, purportedly had ties to a Hamburg,
Germany-based al Qaeda cell.
ARD, and ARD-produced television shows, are funded by a monthly tax on German
televisions. The network plays a role similar to the British Broadcasting Corp.,
or the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States, which is nominally independent
but funded by taxpayers.
"Tatort," which translates to "Crime Scene," is a drama with
a rotating cast of actors solving mysteries in weekly episodes set throughout
The U.S. Embassy in Berlin was not impressed with the latest episode, which seemed
to use haunting Arabic music to portray Arabs and Muslims as innocent victims
of American aggression.
"Any claim or suggestion that the United States government was behind the
9/11 disaster is absolutely absurd and not worthy of further comment," said
Robert A. Wood, spokesman for the embassy.
A German diplomat in Washington said no one in Germany took the plot seriously
because it was "pure fiction."
"It was so out of line with what people really think," the diplomat
said, adding that the episode does not deserve further comment.