Thursday, July 20, 2017

Who Killed Dag Hammarskjold? Probably the CIA

An interesting, well-written story from this past weekend that I missed until this morning is "Do Spy Agencies Hold Answer to Dag Hammarskjold’s Death? U.N. Wants to Know." Written by Alan Cowell and Rick Gladstone, the article tells the story of CIA, British Foreign Office and Belgian intelligence services foot-dragging when it comes to complying with information requests made by Mohamed Chande Othman, a former chief justice of Tanzania, who has been tasked by the General Assembly of the United Nations with reviewing all the evidence and assessing the need for further inquiry into the mysterious 1961 plane-crash death of Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold:
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.
One theory is that the DC-6 may have been attacked or harassed by a French-built Fouga Magister fighter jet operated by secessionist forces in the southern Congolese province of Katanga, who were resisting Mr. Hammarskjold’s efforts to end their rebellion.
Seven months before the crash, three Fouga Magisters had been delivered to the secessionists aboard an American-owned cargo plane that was supposed to be delivering food. President John F. Kennedy was deeply embarrassed by the delivery, which was later reported to have been a C.I.A. operation.
Whether a Fouga was in the Ndola area on the night of the crash remains unknown, despite earlier assurances to Mr. Othman from the C.I.A. that it had no records of a fighter jet’s presence there, a senior United Nations official said.
Mr. Othman has also put new questions to Britain and Belgium about the findings of their own intelligence services. Essentially, the senior United Nations official said, Mr. Othman had asked Western governments to carry out “more exhaustive searches and comprehensive searches” through their archives.
His inquiries also include questions about two American military intelligence officials at different listening posts on the night of the crash, one of whom has since died. Both claimed years later to have overheard radio intercepts that suggested the DC-6 had been shot down. Mr. Othman has also inquired about whether an official American DC-3 aircraft had been parked at the Ndola airfield that night.
To skeptics of the official accounts, the apparent reluctance by the big powers to share all they know with Mr. Othman is inexplicable, suggesting they are hoping for interest in the case to fade away.
David Wardrop, the chairman of the United Nations Association Westminster Branch, a group in London that has supported further inquiry into Mr. Hammarskjold’s death, said the responses by Britain and the United States appeared to show they had decided that “slothfulness is the best way to exhaust the U.N.’s process.”
States assassinate individuals. Is there any doubt? I am reminded of David Graeber's book The Utopia of Rules (2015). The state -- whether it's applying for a driver's license or attending grade school -- exists because of an ever-present promise of violence.

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