“Seeking a complete understanding of the circumstances is our solemn duty to my illustrious and distinguished predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, to the other members of the party accompanying him, and to their families.”
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
“I continue to have a strong feeling that Hammarskjold’s death was not an accident.”
Richard Goldstone [*]
“It will be Necessary to find some way of pulling Hammarskjold up short.”
UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (September 13 1961)
“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)
August 28 2016 — 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 as well as Belgian mercenaries. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
RELATED POST: EXCLUSIVE — Belgian Mercenary Killed Dag Hammarskjold
UPDATE (August 28 2019) — On August 16 2019, a new page appeared on the History website.
The title of the piece, written by Sarah Pruitt, is:
UN Leader Dag Hammarskjold Died in Mysterious Circumstances in 1961. What Really Happened?
New evidence supports a theory that the pioneering U.N. secretary general was assassinated.
Part of the article reads:
“According to one popular theory, Katangese separatists ordered a Belgian mercenary pilot, Jan van Risseghem, to shoot down the secretary-general’s plane. Van Risseghem was mentioned as a possible suspect in a cable sent by the U.S. ambassador to Congo just hours after the crash (but not declassified until 2014). But he was never interviewed by authorities about the crash; apparently flight logs gave him an alibi by showing he had not been flying at the time, and there are questions about whether he was even in the region.
Another long-standing theory centers on documents released from apartheid-era South Africa in the late 1990s, which suggest that a white militia group called the South African Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMR) orchestrated the plane crash that killed Hammarskjold—with the support of both British intelligence and the CIA. Though British officials claimed that the documents were likely Soviet forgeries, the theory has persisted.
Both theories are addressed in the 2019 documentary, Cold Case Hammarskjold. The film contains interviews that suggest the flight logs were forged and that van Risseghem (who died in 2007) admitted his involvement in the crash to a friend named Pierre Coppens four years later. A former SAIMR member recalls the group’s claims of successfully taking Hammarskjold down.
New U.N. Investigation
After former Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon took the lead in calling for renewed investigations, the U.N. appointed Mohamed Chande Othman, a Tanzanian judge, to review the crash in 2017. Othman didn’t reach a definitive conclusion, but later that year he reported that “it appears plausible that an external attack or threat may have been a cause of the crash, whether by way of a direct attack…or by causing a momentary distraction of the pilots.”
Othman’s inquiry was relaunched under U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres in 2018. Amid calls for countries around the world to be transparent and cooperate with his investigations, the New York Times reported that the Swedish government blocked a researcher’s request for access to related official documents on national security grounds—suggesting that even in Hammarskjold’s native land, there is still much that remains hidden in the long-running mystery of his death.”
On January 1st 2019, I wrote [Intel Today — Knowns & Unknowns of the 2019 Intelligence Calendar] :
“In June 2019, Judge Othman will provide his final report to the Secretary-General, who will transmit it to the General Assembly before the end of its 73rd session.”
However, a recent piece published by the New York Times [In Hammarskjold’s Native Sweden, Hint of State Secrets Linked to His 1961 Death] indicates that the report could be delayed.
END of UPDATE
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.
On August 27 2016, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a five-page note describing the existence of the new evidence and asked the General Assembly to open an inquiry.
“Seeking a complete understanding of the circumstances is our solemn duty to my illustrious and distinguished predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, to the other members of the party accompanying him, and to their families,” Ban Ki-moon said.
The United Nations Secretary General has released a note calling for the appointment of an eminent person to review any new information related to the plane crash that killed former UN Chief Dag Hammarskjold in 1961.
Declaring “this may be our last chance to find the truth” Ban Ki-moon sent a note to the general assembly, saying there were enough unanswered questions arising from the crash to warrant further investigation and that the responses of the UK, US and Belgium (the major powers in the region at the time) to a UN request for archive material “do not appear to alter” that conclusion.
Dr Susan Williams’ latest book “Who Killed Hammarskjöld?” (Hurst 2011) assembled a significant body of new evidence to suggest that the 1961 plane crash in which Dag Hammarskjöld died was not an accident.
On the strength of which, the Hammarskjöld Commission was established in 2012, and recommended in September 2013 that the adjourned 1962 UN Inquiry into Dag Hammarskjöld’s death be reopened to examine the new evidence assembled by Dr Williams. [WIKISPOOK]
“I think the British response is extraordinary. It’s very brisk and curt and evasive,” said Susan Williams, a British historian at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, whose book Who Killed Hammarskjöld: The UN, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa, revealed new evidence that helped persuade the UN to open a new investigation into the crash near Ndola, in what was then the British colony of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.
Part of that evidence was a report from a British intelligence officer, Neil Ritchie, who was in the area at the time of the crash and who was trying to organise a meeting between Hammarskjöld and a rebel leader from neighbouring Congo, where the UN secretary general was trying to broker a truce.
“This was British territory and they had a man on the ground. It doesn’t make them responsible for the crash but it does indicate they knew a lot of what was going on,” Williams said, adding it was “highly unlikely” that Ritchie’s report which she found in an archive at Essex University, was the only British intelligence report coming the area at the time. [The Guardian]
UPDATE (August 27 2018) — Pressure is slowly building on the Belgian, British and American governments to respond to claims that they possess classified information regarding the mysterious death of former UN secretary Dag Hammarskjold.
The UN is rather quiet regarding the investigation and I am not aware of any significant breakthrough.
In a recent piece, Torben Gülstorff makes the point that a Dornier DO-28A — delivered at the end of August 1961 — might be the plane that was used in a night-time air-to-air attack on UN General Secretary Dag Hammarskjöld on 18 September 1961.
This work summarizes very well the historical background of the event.
* Former chief prosecutor for the U.N. war crimes tribunals in Rwanda and Yugoslavia
Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary General on the release of his follow-up note to the report of the Independent Panel of Experts dealing with the death of Dag Hammarskjöld
UN to probe whether SEC-GEN Hammarskjold was assassinated — UPDATE 27 August 2016
Two Years Ago — UN to Probe Whether SEC-GEN Hammarskjold Was Assassinated
Three Years Ago — UN to Probe Whether SEC-GEN Hammarskjold Was Assassinated