“I continue to have a strong feeling that Hammarskjold’s death was not an accident.”
Richard Goldstone [*]
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to propose reopening an inquiry into allegations that former U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld was assassinated by a South African paramilitary organization supported by the CIA and British intelligence and Belgian mercenaries.
Hammarskjöld was the U.N.’s second secretary-general. He died in a mysterious plane crash in 1961.
The South African government has recently announced the discovery of decades-old intelligence documents detailing a plot to assassinate him.
The CIA has dismissed allegations as “absurd and without foundation.”
Here is a short extract from “Foreign Policy Magazine”:
Researchers say many key players in the region, including white minority governments, had clashed with Hammarskjold, whose U.N peacekeepers had been battling Belgian-backed separatists in the mineral-rich Congolese province of Katanga. Days before Hammarskjold’s death, the U.N. launched an offensive against Katanga’s separatists as part of an effort to drive hundreds of Belgian officers and European mercenaries out of the country.
The U.N. leader was advocating for Congo’s full independence, while Belgium, with some support from Britain, the United States and South Africa, wanted to ensure that Katanga’s riches – which included the uranium ore used in the production of the atomic weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – remained in friendly hands and out of the reach of the Soviet Union. Several months earlier, the CIA had played a role in the assassination by Belgian officers and Katangese separatists of Congolese liberation leader Patrice Lumumba, who was suspected of moving too closely to the Soviet Union.
Hammarskjold, meanwhile, died while en route to discuss a cease-fire with Moise Tshombe, the Belgian-backed leader of Katanga’s secession drive. His broader mission was to convince at Tshombe to ditch his foreign backers and make peace with Congo’s pro-Western leaders. “All those parties – the Belgians, the South Africans, the CIA – had a reason for opposing Dag Hammarskjold’s mission,” Goldstone told FP.
Next month, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will issue a five-page note describing the existence of the new evidence and asking the General Assembly to open an inquiry.
* Former chief prosecutor for the U.N. war crimes tribunals in Rwanda and Yugoslavia