UN to Look Into Possible CIA-Backed Killing of Its Former Head

Dag Hammarskjold died in a plane crash in 1961 in Africa
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2016 4:13 PM CDT
The UN is poised to reopen the investigation into the mysterious death of former secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold, seen here in 1959.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – The UN is on the verge of reopening the investigation into the death of former secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold, what Foreign Policy calls "the most notorious and perplexing cold case in the UN's history." Hammarskjold died in a plane crash during a 1961 peace mission in Africa. Since then, rumors and conspiracy theories have claimed Hammarskjold—who was advocating for the Congo's independence at the time—was killed with the support of the Americans, Belgians, South Africans, and British, or some combination thereof. The mystery of his death includes locals seeing the plane in flames before it crashed, soldiers bragging about shooting Hammarskjold after he survived the crash, mysterious radio broadcasts implicating the US, and American planes idling at a nearby airport all night.

Despite—unauthenticated—South African documents for "Operation Celeste" that featured the director of the CIA calling Hammarskjold "troublesome" and saying he "should be removed," previous investigative panels found little evidence to support any of the theories. But sources say UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon plans to appoint someone to look into Hammarskjold's death once again. This comes after the South African government claims to have found Operation Celeste documents that could finally verify the earlier reports. The CIA says claims that it had anything to do with Hammarskjold's death are "absurd and without foundation." Read the full story here. (Read more Dag Hammarskjold stories.)

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