“Hammarskjöld was at the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said ‘when they killed him’.”
US President Harry Truman — September 19 1961
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Tanzania’s former chief justice Mohamed Chande Othman to lead the new investigation into the circumstances of Dag Hammarskjold’s suspicious death. The Secretary-General urges — once more — Member States to disclose information that they may have regarding the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
UPDATE — Mohamed Chande Othman is due to submit his findings in a report to Mr. Guterres this month.
Mr. Othman declined to speak about the findings ahead of submitting the report.
But senior United Nations officials and other associates of Mr. Othman said he had compiled detailed new questions about intercepted radio communications and other aircraft in the area as Mr. Hammarskjold’s plane went down eight miles from Ndola’s airfield — and that the answers may be found in the intelligence archives of the United States, Britain and Belgium.
“We know from available information that they know much more than what they’re saying,” said one of the senior United Nations officials, referring to the government keepers of those archives.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a confidential United Nations report. [NYT]
Officials of the National Security Agency in the United States referred inquiries about Mr. Othman to the State Department, which had no immediate comment.
Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement that “we conducted another search and are providing him with further material,” referring to Mr. Othman. It did not specify the substance of the material but said “we believe all information of direct value to the inquiry has been released.”
There had been some hope that Belgium’s intelligence services would help Mr. Othman after a member of the country’s Parliament, Benoit Hellings, publicly raised the issue with the Justice Ministry last year.
But Mr. Hellings said in an interview that some of Belgium’s archives — particularly from its colonial secret service — remain classified.
The Belgium connection is potentially important because of unverified information that Belgian mercenaries had been operating in the Ndola area — including a Belgian pilot who may have been operating the secessionists’ Fouga Magister.
RELATED POST: RELATED POST: Suspicious Aviation Tragedies: 1961 — Ndola United Nations DC-6 crash
END of UPDATE
On September 18 1961, the Ndola United Nations DC-6 crashed, killing Dag Hammarskjöld — the second Secretary-General of the United Nations — and 15 others passengers. Hammarskjöld’s death occurred en route to cease-fire negotiations.
A British-run commission of inquiry blamed the crash on pilot error. A later UN investigation rubber-stamped its findings. Case close? Not so fast…
On December 23 2016, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution reaffirming its
“responsibility to pursue the full truth concerning the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him”.
On May 2 2017, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, issued the following statement:
The Secretary-General is pleased to confirm that Mohammed Othman, the Eminent Person he appointed, pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/260, continues his work in relation to the investigation into the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him.
The Secretary-General affirms his own commitment to this matter in the strongest terms as he strongly feels that he owes it to his illustrious and distinguished predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, and to the other members of the party accompanying him and to their families, to pursue the full truth of this matter.
He again urges Member States to actively assist the Eminent Person in his role, and to disclose, declassify or otherwise allow privileged access to information that they may have in their possession related to the circumstances and conditions resulting in the deaths of the passengers of flight SE-BDY.
Note to Correspondents: Update on investigation into the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld
Mr. Mohamed Othman, former Chief Justice of Tanzania, held meetings last week with Member States in New York in his role as Eminent Person in relation to the investigation into the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him.
Mr. Othman was appointed by the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/260, and is familiar with this matter from his position as Chair of the 2015 Independent Panel of Experts. Similar to the 2015 Panel, the Eminent Person’s mandate is to review potential new information, assess its probative value, and determine the scope that any further investigation should take.
The mandate of the Eminent Person also goes further, allowing Mr. Othman to potentially draw conclusions from the investigations already conducted, including those of the 2015 Panel, and of the 2013 Hammarskjöld Commission comprised of Sir Stephen Sedley (Chair), Ambassador Hans Corell, Justice Richard Goldstone, and Justice Wilhelmina Thomassen.
Mr. Othman continues to urge Member States to identify and make available possible further information that may shed light on the final stages of flight SE-BDY, the aircraft carrying the former Secretary-General and his party that crashed near Ndola on the night of 17-18 September 1961. He has noted that more active cooperation is necessary from Member States to declassify or otherwise allow access to records that are now over 55 years old.
The current stage of the work will build on the findings of the 2015 Panel, which concluded, among other things, that there was significant new information with sufficient probative value to further pursue aerial attack or other interference as a hypothesis of the possible cause of the crash. Mr. Othman will continue to liaise with relevant parties prior to reporting his findings to the Secretary-General before the end of the current General Assembly session.
In July 2015, an independent panel reviewing new information about the crash concluded that the United States and Britain have retained some classified files, and that South Africa had not responded to several requests for information.
The panel had cited documents from the South African Institute for Maritime Research that refer to “Operation Celeste”, purportedly to “remove” Hammarskjold with cooperation from then U.S. CIA director Allen Dulles. The panel was not able to conclude whether the documents were authentic.
The new investigation could be explosive… I have long suspected that Crypto AG had entered into a close relationship with the NSA and that some of their machines were rigged to allowed the US Agency to easily ‘decrypt’ the coded messages. These claims were vindicated by US government documents declassified in 2015.
RELATED POST: Blast From The Past: The NSA – CRYPTO AG Sting
According to Sixten Svensson (Brother- in- law of Crypto AG Founder Boris Hagelin), the machine used by Hammarskjöld during his visit to Congo was one of the rigged machine. [Svensson got this information directly from Boris Hagelin.] So the CIA, the NSA and the GCHQ were able to read his communications in real – time. (This information will not be officially published before 2033.)
Justice Richard Goldstone — a former chief prosecutor for the U.N. war crimes tribunals in Rwanda and Yugoslavia and a member of the UN independent panel — does not mince his words about this case:
“I continue to have a strong feeling that Hammarskjold’s death was not an accident.”
Note to Correspondents: Update on investigation into the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him — UN Official website
United Nations — Update on investigation into the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld
United Nations Report on the Tragic Death of Dag Hammarskjöld — [UPDATE JULY 2017]