Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
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by JOSEPH MAJERLE III – MATTHEW STEVENSON
Background to the Crash
A plane carrying the Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld, crashed while approaching the Ndola (Zambia) airport on September 18, 1961. The exact time of the crash is unknown, although it was around midnight. The DC-6, named Albertina, had flown a circuitous route from Kinshasa, the capital of the Congo, to Ndola, a large town in what was then Northern Rhodesia. The purpose of the flight was to bring Secretary Hammarskjöld to a meeting with Moise Tshombe, the president of the breakaway republic of Katanga, in which many western (British, French, Belgian and American) investors had large stakes in various mineral deposits.
Those corporate interests had supported independence for Katanga after the Congolese leadership, notably Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, had advocated closer relations with the Communist bloc. (Lumumba, himself, was assassinated in January 1961, in what some researchers now believe was part of a Central Intelligence Agency plot to get rid of him.)
For his part, Hammarskjöld believed that the Congo ought to remain one country, and toward that end he was flying to Ndola (just over the border of Northern Rhodesia from Katanga) to have ceasefire talks with Tshombe, in the hope of mediating a settlement to the conflict. Instead, his plane crashed in the darkness, killing fifteen of the sixteen passengers and crew aboard the DC-6. One security officer for Hammarskjöld survived for about eight days.
Long, interesting article
January 11, 2019 at 1:10 PM #11152Ohio BarbarianModerator
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Congo was a real mess at that time, and really still is. There’s an old movie with Rod Steiger and Jim Brown(the football player), and a young Yvette Mimeaux called Dark of the Sun, though it’s real hard to find, about that time. It shows the priorities of the Belgian capitalist interests then–which certainly didn’t care about their own employees.
There’s an Irish film on Netflix called The Siege of Jadotville, about the hopeless circumstances an Irish company of UN Peacekeepers found themselves in after Hammerskjold’s plane was, in the movie, shot down. I think it probably was, whether by mercenaries or Belgian Intelligence or the CIA I don’t know. I do know JFK thought Hammerskjold’s vision of the UN was contrary to American interests at the time.
Never let your morals stop you from doing the right thing.--Isaac Asimov
The United States is also a one-party state but, with typical American extravagance, they have two of them.--Julius Nyerere
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