News in recent years has focused on renewed inquiry into Hammarskjöld's death, initiated by Susan Williams' brilliant and thorough book, Who Killed Hammarskjöld? The UN, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa (London: Hurst, 2011, with later paperback edition). Other topics make their appearance, but this topic again became uppermost in the media in autumn 2014, as the UN General Assembly worked its way toward the decision (29 December) to reopen its formal investigation. See the blog page for full details.
After a full year's investigation, the privately funded Hammarskjöld Commission has issued its report on the background and possible causes of the fatal air crash that took Dag Hammarskjöld's life with those of 15 others on 18 September 1961. This is a masterful narrative. There is no rush to judgment but rather an exquisitely careful production and sifting of evidence. The Commission suggests that key evidence (recordings of air traffic communications) may be available in two still-classified documents archived in the U.S. National Security Agency. It recommends that the UN conduct a narrowly focused investigation to lay groundwork for a wider investigation or, alternatively, to demonstrate that no further effort and disclosure are needed. The report available here reflects minor factual changes introduced by expert consultants several days after initial publication.
The Hammarskjöld Commission's report speaks of a duty to justice and history but pointedly refers to the needs of living members of the families of those who died at Ndola. Mrs. Hammarskjöld spoke for them with soft eloquence. Her late husband, Knut Hammarskjöld
, had a distinguished career initially as a diplomat in the Swedish foreign ministry and most notably as the long-term director of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Prof. Henning Melber, recently retired director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, offers clarity on key points of the report, the need for access to recorded air traffic intercepts, and the possible course of events at the UN. These are still early days. Thanks to Deutsche Welle for making this post available.
Roger Lipsey speaks at a United Nations commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of Dag Hammarskjöld's oath of office. In a gathering organized by the Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, Roger joins Mr. Eliasson, Sir Brian Urquhart, Annika Söder (Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation), and the UN's Andrew Gilmour for a panel discussion and remarks from the audience.
A mystery examined by Stephen Williams
Review of Susan Williams, Who Killed Hammarskjöld
Published with the permission of www.icpublications.com
"An African Murder Mystery"
"Someone killed the UN secretary-general. It's just not clear who. It's even possible there were two plots."
by Simon Kuper
"New inquiry set up into death of UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld"
Commission will investigate 1961 plane crash after new claims of assassination and cover-up
by Julian Borger
"New Inquiry into the Death of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld, 1961"
Press statement by the Enabling Committee on the launch of the inquiry
"New Clues to the 1961 Death of Hammarskjöld"
by Christopher Merrett
"Dag Hammarskjöld: evidence suggests UN chief's plane was shot down"
by Julian Borger and Georgina Smith
"I have no doubt Dag Hammarskjöld's plane was brought down"
Göran Björkdahl interviews eye-witnesses who were afraid to come forward in 1961