WATCH: The UN Inquiry into Hammarskjöld’s Death: Last Chance to Reach the Truth?

The United Nations is investigating the mysterious death of its second secretary-general 60 years ago last Saturday in circumstances that appear to implicate the intelligence agencies of the United States and Britain.

The U.N.’s inquiry into new information on the causes of the plane crash that killed U.N. Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld on Sept. 18, 1961 was set up in 2017 and will be completed in 2022, delayed a year by the pandemic. From the start, the U.N. has sought cooperation from former colonial powers and other nations prominent during the Congo crisis, as well as those gaining their independence later. Their degree of cooperation has varied widely, from those hindering the U.N. Inquiry to those seeking to advance it.

The U.S. and Britain have refused so far to declassify intelligence documents sought by the U.N. that could shed light on Hammarskjöld’s death.

The speakers who review the inquiry’s progress in this webcast, which was jointly hosted by the Westminster United Nations Association and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London,  are:

  • Dr. Henning Melber, Emeritus Director, Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation
  • Asa Theander, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden 
  • Rt. Revd. Trevor Musonda Mwamba, Former Bishop of Botswana
  • Senator Dr Sydney Sekeramayi, Former Minister of Defence, Zimbabwe
  • David Wardrop, Editor, Hammarskjö
  • Rt Hon Lord Boateng PC, Former High Commissioner to South Africa
  • Richard Goldstone, former South African jurist, member of Hammarskjöld Commission

To mark the 50th anniversary of Hammarskjöld’s death in 2011, a conference titled “Dag Hammarskjold, the United Nations and the End of Empire”, featuring twelve speakers was held following publication of British researcher Susan Williams‘ book Who killed Hammarskjöld?

This prompted Lord Lea of Crondall to lead an enabling committee which in 2012 set up the Hammarskjöld Commission tasked to assess new evidence pertinent to the plane crash newly available. It reported its findings at The Hague on Sept. 9, 2013, stating that it “respectfully considers that the United Nations, deploying authority which the Commission does not possess, would be justified in reopening its 1961-62 inquiry.”

The Commission’s report led to the U.N. General Assembly supporting the appointment of a three-person expert panel charged to examine new information. That panel’s report led then U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to invite Judge Chande Othman of Tanzania to conduct a full inquiry into the incident. In his interim report (2017), Judge Othman stated “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.”

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14 comments for “WATCH: The UN Inquiry into Hammarskjöld’s Death: Last Chance to Reach the Truth?

  1. Marty Harkness
    September 27, 2021 at 17:49

    The US and UK won’t allow this inquiry to succeed. Have they ever?

  2. DW Bartoo
    September 27, 2021 at 10:44

    The U$ “intelligence” agencies have refused to release information about the likely assassination of Hammarskjold, even as reports over the last twenty-four hours appear to reveal CIA plans to, among other things, assassinate Julian Assange.

    Perhaps this revelation and the stonewalling of the last 74 years of the CIA’s existence, might arouse the concerns of at least some U$ citizens and possibly even the long too-silent U$ media to ponder whether the power (unchecked and without meaningful “oversight”) of that agency might not merely be excessive but unwarranted and unjustified as well?

    If truth and justice really matter to a pretend democracy, then now might be just about the right time to find out.

    If they do not matter, then it might be wise to, at least, be honest about that.

    Mayhap we might ask not what this country might do to practice truth and justice, but what we, the many,are prepared, and willing, to do to ensure the practice of both?

  3. John Lind
    September 26, 2021 at 21:47

    Thank you. My comment does not relate to the inquiry but simply to say that when I was a young man in London seeking my way forward, Dag Hammarskold’s journals ‘MARKINGS’ pretty well changed my life in developing a perspective on what really matters.

  4. Anne Boylon
    September 26, 2021 at 21:08

    I commend the UN for not forgetting the suspicious death of Hammarskjold and for now beginning an inquiry. I hope that the refusal of the UK and the United States to release pertinent documents will not hamper these worthwhile efforts.

    Thank you, United Nations.

  5. September 26, 2021 at 07:42

    It’s good that we of my generation who didn’t know much about that tragedy and interested in seeing a world function based on International law, view this as an opportunity for the United Nations to set things straight,hold whoever was involved in that plot responsible by putting them to shame for their actions and to also may be deter others who might harbor such motives.But,why would the U.S and the UK refuse to declassify their intelligence reports if they don’t have anything to hide? By refusing to declassify those documents,it implies rightly or otherwise,that they have something to do with the Secretary General’s death. It’s important that they declassify them otherwise their already damaged standing in the eyes of the International community will be dented further.

  6. Gary Pike
    September 26, 2021 at 06:46

    “Lobster” was on this way back in 2018:
    hXXps:// (“German links to the Hammerskjöld case”). Very interesting stuff.

      September 26, 2021 at 17:24

      Right. And Consortium News editor Joe Lauria was on this way back in 2014:

  7. Eddy
    September 25, 2021 at 22:34

    Quote, “The United Nations is investigating the mysterious death of its second secretary-general 60 years ago last Saturday in circumstances that appear to implicate the intelligence agencies of the United States and Britain.” Unquote.
    If this recently published investigation has any truth behind it at all, it demonstrates most clearly, for all to see, the USELESSNESS of this organisation. To wait for SIXTY years before investigating an act of MURDER against it’s own, is downright shameful.
    Many of the participants would now be DEAD, so the organisation feels it MIGHT be safe now to investigate, as any findings pointing the finger at people involved, may all be DEAD anyway.
    Disband this useless organisation, the quicker the better, as it’s dysfunctional and does not represent the World’s nations fairly.

      September 26, 2021 at 17:30

      The U.N. investigated the crash in 1962. It ended with an open verdict. The U.N. in 2015 reopened the investigation.

  8. Robert P. Walsh
    September 25, 2021 at 11:53

    Hammarskjöld’s death was pilot error. He had an SAS flight crew. They changed their flight plan and did not consider temperature and density of altitude in their fuel calculations. The plane did not burn when it crashed because there was no fuel left in the tanks. That was explained to me by the late Ben Drew. Since he was one of the scape goats in the incident his opinion counts for a lot with me. I recall that Ben covered this in his book.

  9. evelync
    September 25, 2021 at 11:15

    Thank you so much CN for making this meaningful inquiry available to us
    We have far too few people of Dag Hammarskjöld’s great courage and character in positions of power with a sincere commitment to resolving conflicts through peaceful negotiation and to the common interest as opposed to the special interests

    It’s tragic when they are disposed of to get them out of the way so profiteers can continue on their merry way putting the planet at risk

    Therefore to prove their innocence the critical parties who have not yet fully responded to this inquiry owe it to their own people and the common decency to fully disclose as requested by this commission
    Their silence threatens their credibility

    • Eddy
      September 25, 2021 at 22:39

      Meaningful enquiry ?????? What’s meaningful about it ??? Creditability ? What creditability, the U.N. IMHO never ever had an creditability at all. IF it did, it would change the security Council to reflect it’s member nations truthfully. Until that happens, there’s no creditability within this organisation at all. Also it’s headquarters need to be removed from the U.S. as U.S. biase has clearly displayed U.N. members can be locked out at the whim of the U.S. Government by refusing them entry to the U.S. How is this fair for a supposedly United Nations Organisation which then cannot even represent it’s members ??????

    • John Cotter
      September 26, 2021 at 19:44

      An excellent observation … re: lack of credibility being a finding that would logically be made based on a lack of response (or genuine response) to this inquiry.

      More generally: why wasn’t the truth known at most a few months after this event ? Why is a basic inquiry still needed all these decades ‘afterwards ?

    • robert e williamson jr
      September 27, 2021 at 00:10

      “Their silence threatens their credibility . . .”

      One slight correction if I may. Those of us who desire truth, make efforts to expose the truth, now understand why these evil doers suppress the truth. We know in our hearts as I’m sure you do they have no credibility for they have forfeited it by being unwilling to openly examine the truth.

      Those who engage in suppressing the truth allow the lie to live. As with the struggle for Americans to learn the truth about what the CIA et al conceal about the Kennedy assassination , the opposition to provide the truth when it is possible facilitates the lie. Accomplices after the fact, but liars just the same.

      Thanks CN

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