by Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio
According to numerous journalistic investigations and even recent international inquiries, it now seems clear that the plane crash on September 18, 1961, in southern Africa in which the UN secretary Dag Hammarskjold died with another 15 people was caused by an attack.
Who did it, how and why, are the mysteries on which he must try to shed light on the investigation of the Tanzanian judge Mohamed Chande Othman appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The lawyer Othman, already supreme head of all the judges of Tanzania, is the “eminent person” charged with implementing the resolution 71/260 of the General Assembly of the United Nations (December 23, 2016) and has already prepared his report which will be announced in the coming weeks by secretary Antonio Guterres. But it risks being an incomplete relationship and still far from the truth because the “responses from some countries have been disappointing “.
This is denounced by the United Nations Association (UNA) Westminster, an independent institution recognized by the UN and entitled to use the symbol (link at the end of the article), reporting that the United Kingdom and South Africa have long since erected a “stonewall” impenetrable from requests for collaboration in the investigation with the opening of archives of secret documents. Not at all. As noted by UNA, who closely monitor the investigation of the plane crash on a web page dedicated to the tragedy, even Hammarskiold’s native Sweden is making difficulties: an anomaly also highlighted by the last New York Times reportage.
TOO MANY SECRETS ESPECIALLY IN NATO COUNTRIES
«Sweden continues to serve as lead nation in carrying through the implementation of the General Assembly’s Resolution 71/260. In securing the successful passage of three votes in the General Assembly, it has skilfully coordinated more than one hundred UN Member States, ensuring the continuation of the Judge’s investigations – reports United Nations Association (UNA) Westminster in its August 11 update – Even so, its own protocols continue to hinder some requests for access to official Hammarskjöld-related documents on grounds that they are classified under national security laws (New York Times 4 August 2019). This follows its protracted correspondence with the families of those others who died in the plane crash”.
In 9 months the portal Hammarskjöldinquiry.info has given birth to as many detailed reports about the state of the UN investigation, about the important revelations of the new books on the tragedy, about the censorship of editorial-cinematographic speculation (considered fanciful), about the legitimate protests of the families of the victims that have been awaiting justice for 58 years, but above all about the battle, with missive’s blows, against the United Kingdom government for the latter’s refusal to respond to Judge Othman’s requests, although more sources have cited the implication of British secret agents MI5 and MI6.
In his previous report in October 2017, the African magistrate remarked: ” Far from approaching the possible limit of our understanding, the deeper we have gone into the searches, the more relevant information has been found”. But Othman wrote even more explicit sentences such as those reported in the December 3 note from UNA Westminster: “Without an explicit statement confirming the precise nature of the searches, particularly into the intelligence, security and military archives and records, an identification of whether relevant information exists, and an indication of the reasons for non-disclosure, the non-cooperation of any Member State may be seen as a failing in the international community’s collective and ongoing effort in the search for the full truth of the tragic event”.
On 3 December 2018, Miguel de Serpa Soares, United Nations Undersecretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations legal advisor, had updated the General Assembly on the interim report of the former Tanzanian judge noting that, already in the 2017 report, Othman made two observations of crucial importance: “It is plausible that an external attack or threat may have been a cause of the crash – he declared regarding the hypothesis of an attack on the plane, pointing the way to ascertain the truth – and “It is almost certain that the United Kingdom may hold as yet undisclosed relevant information”.
Soares noted that «a preliminary review of the information» showed this could add to knowledge about «the context and events of 1961, in particular, the presence of paramilitary and foreign intelligence personnel in and around the Congo and the capacity of the armed forces present in and around the region at that time». For this reason, the former magistrate invited nine Member States to “appoint an independent and high ranking official to conduct a dedicated internal review of their intelligence, security and defense archives to determine whether relevant information exists”.
But as noted by members of the UN partner association “As reported in our news item (10 September), the UK and South Africa had been refusing to respond to the Judge’s invitation”. Othman reported that he was making progress with the seven other member states he had approached, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Russia, and the United States. He also confirmed that he had extended his investigations to include Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which had both responded positively and further, to Zambia, Portugal, and Angola.
“Regarding the failure by South Africa to respond to his request, Judge Othman reported that neither UN S-G Antonio Guterres, nor the late former UN S-G Kofi Annan had managed to elicit a response, despite the evidence of documentation evaluated by the Independent Panel of Experts in 2015 and by himself in 2017” remarked UNA Westminster.
This association, engaged in a head-on collision with the reserve of the British government, convened an ad hoc summit last April 25 at the House of Lords of the British Parliament «to share its disappointment in the UK government’s continuing unhelpful attitude towards the UN’s efforts. Its claim that all relevant archives and files are already in the public domain continues to be questioned by experienced researchers, knowing that MI5, MI6 and GCHQ were operating in the Congo at the time when Hammarskjöld’s plane crashed».
The new vigor to the initiatives of this autonomous institution pro-UN comes from two fundamental events: the publication of two books on the plane crash, which occurred in Hammarskjold’s attempts to decolonize Africa, and the vibrant protests of the families of the victims that in last February they broke the discreet silence in which they had entrenched themselves.
“HAMMARSKIOLD WAS KILLED”: TRUMAN SAID
To understand the new investigative developments it is necessary to trace the profile of the most famous victim and the essential elements of the air disaster. Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld (Jönköping, 29 July 1905 – Ndola, 18 September 1961), was a Swedish diplomat, economist, writer, and public official.
He was also one of the most luminous Lutherans in the history of Sweden, who also became famous for his Christian worship and his virtuous life in the service of his neighbor. For this reason, the Hebrew-Christian artist Marc Chagall, a friend of SG UN, made an important tribute in his memory with an artistic glass named Peace for the UN Building. Hammarskjöld was president of the Bank of Sweden, but he became known internationally as the secretary-general of the United Nations, a position he held for two consecutive terms, from 1953 until his death in 1961, in the plane crash that occurred in southern Africa. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian work posthumously. The day after the mysterious event, former US President Harry Truman told the press that Hammarskjöld: “He was about to get something when they killed him. Notice that I said, “when they killed him”. ”
Beginning in 1960 he actively engaged in the cause of the decolonization of Africa, dealing primarily with the difficult question of the independence of the Congo, but found his own death during a delicate connected mission. He lost his life when the “Albertina” plane (a Douglas DC-6B) departed from the capital Léopoldiville (now Kinshasa) and bound for the Ndola airfield crashed into the British protectorate of what was then Northern Rhodesia, that is today’s Zambia. The former Secretary was in Africa to negotiate a ceasefire between UN forces and the Katanese troops of Moise Thsombe also supported by Belgium. Hammarskjöld died instantly – at least according to official reconstructions – and 15 other passengers and crew members lost their lives.
VICTIMS ‘FAMILIES AFFECT THE UN NOW
«Over the years, a group representing the families have maintained an independent, discrete campaign, urging action by the United Nations but choosing to distance their efforts from the campaign coordinated by UNA Westminster, host of this information service and related initiatives. This public silence has now been broken».
Thus begins the article of February 9 on the association’s website: «The group’s coordinator, Hynrich Wieschhoff whose father Heinrich Wieschhoff died on the plane, has now publicly shared his concern that the UN itself might be losing interest in its own inquiry into the incident».
“At first we assumed the UN would be vigilant in looking for new clues and dogged in running them to ground, and for years that seemed to be the case – wrote Wieschhoff on PassBlue, the online newspaper of the Fordham Graduate School of Arts and Sciences about the posture toward Hammarskjöld’s death – Certain callousness prevails, despite high-sounding pronouncements to the contrary. In my experience, concern about the other 15 victims is even lower»
Mr. Wieschhoff attributes to the book “Who Killed Hammarskjöld? The UN, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa” by Susan Williams a galvanic effect on the UN hierarchy. “However, he believes the UN has still ‘ducked’, avoiding discomfiting questions about the roles of Belgium, France, South Africa, the Soviet Union, Britain and the US in events related to the crash, and possibly about the UN’s own handling of its original investigation and subsequent new evidence as well».
In support of his thesis, the son of one of the diplomatic officials who died in the tragedy believes that “little has been done to publicize the activities of Judge Othman” who is leading the investigation hampered by the slowdown in the complete declassification of the archives and “still refusing to release some documents”.
THE AIR DISASTER TO KILL THE UN SECRETARY
«The newly published book ‘Ils ont tué Monsieur H: Congo 1961. Le complot des mercenaires français contre l’ONU (Seuil)’ is the first detailed study of important French dimensions related to the tragedy, sharing the result of detailed research by author Maurin Picard, New York-based correspondent for Le Soir (Brussels) and Le Figaro (Paris)» writes in a May 27 update to Westminster, crediting the French journalist’s inquiry.
“Picard assesses alternative theories pointing to a possible aerial attack on Hammarskjöld’s plane, arguing that the Belgian government had been long reluctant to open confidential archives to UN investigators – or investigators in general. Former colonial-era Sureté documents had been placed in Defence Ministry archives, separate from the more accessible state archives (AGR) – we can read on the portal Hammarskjöldinquiry.info – These show that the day before his death, Hammarskjöld wrote personally to Belgian Foreign Minister Paul-Henri Spaak asking him to put an end to the ‘criminal acts’ of the Dutch-British pilot Van Risseghem who had been attacking UN ground positions and threatening UN air transport».
However, it is in the archives of the powerful Belgian company Union Minière du Haut-Katanga (UMHK) in which the British mining company Tanganyika Concessions (Tanks) had a major interest that Picard discovers evidence of its collusion with and funding of mercenaries then fighting the UN forces. Documents refer to a cover-up against the ‘UN occupier’ along with evidence of real fear of an uprising against the all-white management staff.
A thesis already highlighted by the Italian historian Luciano Canfora in his book Criticism of Democratic Rhetoric (2002), as reported by Gospa News in a previous article: «And now, after forty years, in the very internal pages of the newspapers, we read what we have always known: that the Union Miniere condemned to death (by “plane crash”) also Hammarskjöld, the UN secretary-general, guilty of opposing the secession of Katanga, the prey of the Union Minière».
The Union Minière du Haut Katanga (UMHK) was a Belgian mining company that operated in Katanga, a province of the present Democratic Republic of the Congo (initially the Free State of the Congo, hence from 1908 Belgian Congo, from 1972 Zaire). The company was created on October 28, 1906, as a result of the merger of a company created by Leopold II of Belgium and Tanganyika Concessions Ltd. The latter was a British company created by Robert Williams who started mining exploration in 1899 and obtained the rights to a concession in 1900.
The merger was intended to proceed with the exploitation of the mining quarries of Katanga. The new company was owned by Société générale de Belgique, the largest Belgian holding (which controlled 70% of the Congolese economy) and by Tanganyika Concessions Ltd. Some remains of UMHK are part of the current Umicore.
UNA Westminster also marks the publication “Dag Hammarskjöld, the United Nations and the decolonization of Africa (Hurst)” by Dr. Henning Melber Director Emeritus of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, Extraordinary Professor at the Department of Political Sciences of the University of Pretoria.
THE ROLE OF THE 007 OF HER MAJESTY QUEEN AND COVER-UP
The attention of the journalist Picard, born in Alsazian and now New York’s citizen, is focused on the role of the 007. «Further revelations indicate orchestrated resistance to the UN at the time, and point to collusion with MI5 and MI6 British intelligence operatives. These records also confirm the close involvement of Captain Charles Waterhouse, chairman of Tanks, and other British industrialists identified also in Susan Williams’ book ‘Who killed Hammarskjöld?» adds UNA Westminster, anticipating the revelations of the book on «the activities of French mercenaries led by Colonel Faulques, former officer of the 11ième choc, an elite regiment in the French army» and «the participation of intelligence operatives from several interested countries» denounced by Picard in his article of 14 May 2019 for Le Soir.
The implications of foreign intelligence in the disaster had already clearly emerged during the summit organized by the UN in Westminster on 25 April at the British Parliament to examine the progress of the investigation, during which «speakers joined in condemning the governments of the UK and South Africa for their refusal to cooperate with the UN as requested by the UN Secretary-General».
The meeting was chaired by the Baroness Garden of Frognal. Speaking first, Dr Henning Melber (previously quoted – ed) reminded the public that when Hammarskjöld’s plane crashed near Ndola, “the regional white settler-minority regimes were visibly relieved if not jubilant” .
Lord Lea of Crondall, president of the Independent Hammarskjöld Inquiry Trust, recounted how in the spring of 2012 and after reading Susan Williams’ book he had set up the High-Level Commission of International Jurists to reopen the inquiry into the tragic death of the Swedish diplomat without imagining that seven years later the issue would be the subject of a ” continuing international concern”. Regarding the lack of co-operation of the United Kingdom, he declared “was unacceptable for MI6 to hide behind the National Archives’ webpage which states that the sensitive nature of intelligence work means that many files have been destroyed or retained by the security services themselves”.
Sir Stephen Sedley, Chairman of the Independent Independent Hammarskjöld Commission, spoke with admiration of his “A-Team”, his fellow commissioners, Judge Wilhelmina Thomassen of the Netherlands, Ambassador Hans Corell of Sweden and Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa. «He reiterated his view that there was now, half a century later, enough new evidence to justify the UN in re-opening the inconclusive inquiry which it set up in the aftermath of the crash – UNA reports – He asked whether it was credible either that no US aircraft were at Ndola that night monitoring the airwaves, or that, if they were (as plainly was the case), no record exists of their presence? If not, it may be necessary to ask how much credence should be given to other denials issued by the defence and security agencies of the US?»
Reverend Trevor Musonda Mwamba, a native of Zambia, said that when Dag Hammarskjöld died on Zambian soil, his soul became part of Zambia and Zambia part of him. ” As Zambians we are therefore desirous to know the truth of why Dag Hammarskjöld was killed. It’s important for Zambia’s identity to know its past in order to embrace its authentic self in the future” he said. Quoting Seretse Khama, the first president of Botswana: “When a man tells a lie, he loses his dignity and so it is with a country “. So – concluded – it urged the British and South African governments to cooperate with the United Nations.
The writer Susan Williams explained the reasons why the British government states that ” all information of direct value had been made available by the UK in previous years or had been released ” cannot be true. The author of the book “Who Killed Hammarskjöld?” Listed the inconsistencies in US and UK statements, concluding that the failure of the UK today to cooperate with the UN is ” tantamount to a cover-up and consistent with its behavior over the many years since the crash in 1961”.
THE CLASH BETWEEN UNA WESTMINSTER AND DOWNING STREET
During the April 25 meeting, David Wardrop, Chairman of Westminster UNA, reiterated the usefulness of the UN investigation, taking into account its low cost (US $ 321,000 including translation of the report in other languages) and recalling that it is of interest to the crash that occurred in northern British colonial Rhodesia, now Zambia, bordering on the Congo that was involved in a conflict affecting powerful, colonial and non-colonial states and peace contingents of 21 UN countries.
«The financial capability of the UN’s the Member States to continue the Hammarskjöld inquiry is not in doubt – said the UNA chairman – What is in doubt is their resolve to do so. (…) These are the challenges which those who founded the United Nations in 1945 were determined it should tackle in the name of all humanity. As long as the deaths of Dag Hammarskjöld and those with him remain unresolved, its mission remains incomplete, an unfulfilled challenge. If its Member States, especially those which so resolved in 1945, fail in this duty, they betray those same vows to this and to succeeding generations».
During the April summit, Wardrop reported on the outcome of the clash between the association he chaired and 10 Downing Street, the seat of the British Government. Although it is more correct to point out that the battle of UNA Westminster is more than anything else against the Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham, the government agency responsible for security, intelligence, and counter-espionage, the only real body authority that evaluates the unsealing or declassification of the documents.
«In March 2019, Westminster UNA submitted a Freedom of Information request to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) asking for all recorded information relating to the UN Secretary-General’s request to the UK Government to appoint a high ranking and independent official to examine state records on the matter – we can read in different updates on Hammarskjöld Inquiry website – However, in its response of 25 April, the FCO refused to supply the requested information. It evaded the issue of which of two exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act (2000) underpinned its refusal. Having received an unsatisfactory response to its follow-up request, it has referred the matter to the office of the independent Information Commissioner. On 5 August, the Commissioner confirmed that the reference was eligible for further consideration and would be “carried forward as soon as possible”».
THE SWEDISH STONEWALLING ON THE NEW YORK TIMES
Waiting for the British Commissioner to release the reserves and possibly “force” the FCO to cooperate, secrecy problems arise even in Sweden, the home country of the UN secretary who was killed in the plane crash. Stockholm is increasingly intrigued with NATO strategies, in whose alliance has never entered, above all since 2013 after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, the historical enemy of the Swedish.
«Over the last two years, Stockholm has intensified its participation in NATO military exercises related to the application of Article 5 of the Atlantic Pact, such as Baltops and Trident Juncture. In 2016, after a heated debate, the Swedish parliament ratified the agreement of “support of the host nation” (Hns) with NATO, which authorizes a foreign military presence at the invitation of the government – explains the geopolitical site Limes – The minister Defense Hultqvist has zealously created a “network” of cooperation treaties with the United Kingdom, Poland, Denmark and above all Finland. In fact, Stockholm and Helsinki are perfectly aware of the reality of the region, as shown by their participation in the trilateral security format with the United States and the “Baltic Sea process” in the NATO context, also known as “29 + 2″. The secret coordination between a neutral country and NATO due to a commonality of strategic interests has therefore evolved into an explicit common preparation for a possible conflict in the Nordic-Baltic region».
Clarified the geopolitics context we analyze the New York Times report. NYT reveals Sweden’s problems in unsealing the intelligence files about Hammarskjold. «In the decades since the death of United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, his native Sweden has led the call for countries to disclose what they know about the air crash in central Africa that killed him, one of the most abiding mysteries in global diplomacy – he written Alan Cowell on NYT last August 4 – The Swedish authorities, however, have themselves refused a prominent researcher’s request for access to official Hammarskjold-related documents on grounds that they are classified under national security laws» .
The decision, transmitted by the Swedish national archives on 11 July to a researcher, Hans Kristian Simensen, raised doubts about the contents of the documents. But above all, ” It also seems to undermine Sweden’s stance that nations like the United States, South Africa and Britain should stop stonewalling requests for information” according to the American journalist.
THE MYSTERIOUS BRITISH BRITAIN PILOT
“Several accounts have said that Mr. Hammarskjold’s airplane was harassed or attacked by a Fouga Magister jet trainer deployed by the Katangese secessionists. A Belgian mercenary, Jan van Risseghem, has been widely identified as its suspected pilot». The New York Times reporter focuses on the latest developments in the investigation and citing the books already mentioned by UNA Westminster.
But the journalist also reveals a further detail reported by Simensen: «In recent days, however, Mr. Simensen said, documentation had been released from the Hammarskjold family archives suggesting that the United Nations’ own military investigators had concluded that the pilot was another mercenary who went by the name of Dubois. The finding was contained in a report by the Military Information Branch of the United Nations marked “strictly confidential”. It was initially circulated just weeks after the crash» evidence important for confirming that in the UN was the ones, and probably still exist, who knew all…
” The name Paul Dubois may have been the nom de guerre of a British mercenary called John Dane who had figured earlier in Judge Othman’s inquiry, although in a different context relating to claims that Mr. Hammarskjold’s plane had been sabotaged by an incendiary device. Judge Othman concluded that the “probative value” of that version of events was “weak.”- adds Cowell on the NYT (full article on UNA Westminster update august 11) – In a report in 2017, Judge Othman noted that “the name ‘Paul Dubois’ is apparently the same name as the French pilot said to have flown one of the first Fouga jets to arrive in Katanga in 1961 in a test flight to show its capabilities». Simensen said he had submitted the latest findings to Judge Othman after he ha requested in an e-mail «access to parts of a dossier called “Correspondence Regarding Dag Hammarskjold and Ndola 1992-1995,” which are part of the country’s diplomatic records».
Sweden provided some of the records but refused his request for other documents, citing laws governing “national security or its relationship to other states or permanent organizations”. The reference to the United Kingdom or to NATO is therefore implicit.
A bond of secrecy that contrasts with the previous provisions of the Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström. It was she who appointed the former ambassador, Mathias Mossberg, to assist Judge Othman’s investigation and ensure “that all relevant information in Swedish archives has reached the U.N. investigation into the death of Dag Hammarskjold”.
But the colonial affairs on the Belgian rich mines, the roles of military, mercenaries and secret agents of British intelligence and other states, are continuing to cover the truth 58 years later. This very systematic, scientific and cryptic concealment is the most evident proof that was happened a premeditated attack on the UN secretary’s plane. One of the most important bloody conspiracy in the XX century.
Fabio is Director and Editor of Gospa News; a Christian Information Journal.
Fabio Giuseppe Carlo Carisio, born on 24/2/1967 in Borgosesia, started working as a reporter when he was only 19 years old in the alpine area of Valsesia, Piedmont, his birth region in Italy. After studying literature and history at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, he became deputy director of a local newspaper and specialized in judicial reporting.
For about 15 years he is a correspondent from Northern Italy for the Italian newspapers Libero and Il Giornale, also writing important revelations on the Ustica massacre, a report on Freemasonry and organized crime.
With independent investigations, he collaborates with Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza in important investigations that conclude with the arrest of Camorra entrepreneurs or corrupt politicians.
In July 2018 he found the counter-information web media Gospa News focused on geopolitics, terrorism, Middle East, and military intelligence. He is a correspondent from Italy for the French news site Reseau International.
He worked for many years for the magazine Art & Wine as an art critic and curator.