United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Kai Moon last week authorized an intensified probe of the suspicious 1961 airplane crash that killed his peace-keeping predecessor Dag Hammarskjold.
The UN’s leader moved forward after preliminary inquiries raised additional questions over whether Western powers colluded to kill the Swedish diplomat, who had been working with emerging former colonies in Africa and elsewhere.
The initiative by Ban, shown in a file photo, comes after claims of Belgian and U.S. complicity in the plane crash over Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), which authorities announced at the time as an accident.
Ban, regarded as highly supportive of U.S. policies in general, nonetheless advanced this inquiry. He said in a statement that a new investigation would “finally establish the facts.”
Hammarskjold, shown at his desk, died while engaged in diplomatic efforts regarding the former Belgian colony of the Congo. The secretary-general planned to see Moise Tsombe, a pro-West leader of the province of Katanga that had broken-away from the central government led by the Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.
The CIA has acknowledged complicity in Lumumba’s kidnapping, torture, and assassination along with two aides. Katangan forces that seized them after just 12 weeks of his leadership.
News coverage of the UN investigation of Hammarskjold’s death, including of last week’s announcement, has varied widely according to the editorial perspective of the outlet.
CNN’s story by Richard Roth, for example, buried suspicions of U.S. complicity in the bottom of its report, U.N. urges new look at 1961 plane crash that killed secretary-general .
Independent researchers experienced in studying 1960s assassinations promptly recognized the importance of Ban’s decision last week. The Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC), for example, is posting on its website previous reporting by researcher Lisa Pease, some of which is excerpted here in her 2013 column for Consortium News,The Mysterious Death of a UN Hero, and below.
Another of her columns was published in 1999 by Probe Magazine, Midnight in the Congo: The Assassination of Lumumba and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjold.