November 2 2017 — A very credible source told INTEL TODAY that Jan Van Risseghem was the Belgian mercenary responsible for the death of Dag Hammarskjold. Perhaps, more people will come forward and speak out. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
UPDATE (November 2 2021) — Richard Norton-Taylor is regarded as the doyen of British national security reporting. He wrote for the Guardian on defence and security matters and was the newspaper’s security editor for three decades.
On October 26 2021, Richard Norton-Taylor wrote a review of a new book by Dr Susan Williams.
[DID BRITAIN HELP MURDER AN AFRICAN LEADER AND U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL? A new book on the CIA in Africa throws further light on the UK’s covert role in the 1961 killing of Congo’s Patrice Lumumba and raises more questions about the death of UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld — Declassified UK]
“White Malice is a devastating, superbly researched account of how the CIA, MI6 and Belgium – Congo’s former colonial power – destroyed the newly-independent country’s legitimate government.
White Malice should be read by every student of the CIA and of Africa’s independence movements and their leaders, especially those studying Congo and West Africa.“
Richard Norton-Taylor is a serious journalist but, in this particular case, I must disagree with his assessment of the book, at least regarding the information about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Dag Hammarskjold.
Review by Richard Norton-Taylor
‘The intelligence coup of the century’ — Unanswered questions also still surround the death of the then UN secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld, who was a robust supporter of Lumumba as leader of Congo’s legitimate government.
Williams describes how the CIA not only bribed foreign delegations at the UN, they also regularly intercepted the encrypted communications of UN staff. They did so with the help of machines manufactured by Crypto AG, a Swiss-based company secretly owned by the CIA and West Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND.
At least four countries – Britain, Israel, Sweden and Switzerland – knew of the operation, described by the CIA as “the intelligence coup of the century”, and were passed intelligence obtained from it.
There are echoes of a much later operation in the run up to the invasion of Iraq when Katharine Gun, the GCHQ translator, exposed US requests to Britain to bug communications at the UN.
Plane crash — Hammarskjöld, travelling with two CX-52 Crypto AG machines, was killed on the night of 17-18 September 1961 when his plane crashed in Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) not far from the Congo border. A UN investigation, triggered by Williams’ earlier book, has yet to be completed.
Williams writes: “Communications sent from the CX-52 cryptographic machine used by Hammarskjöld appear to have been intercepted by British and United States signals and intelligence agencies as a result of a secret interception and decryption setting that those agencies held that enabled them to intercept surreptitiously”.
In evidence to an earlier inquiry into the crash, Commander Charles Southall, a US intelligence officer attached to the GCHQ listening station in Cyprus, described how he had heard the recording of a commentary of a pilot, believed to be a Belgian mercenary, as he shot down Hammarskjöld’s DC-6.
Southall said that in his view a CIA unit was responsible for shooting down the plane.
Williams quotes documents from a South African organisation linked to mercenaries examined by that country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
She writes: “One of the documents states that CIA director Allen Dulles had promised full cooperation with ‘Operation Celeste’, a plot to kill Hammarskjöld. The murder of Lumumba is referenced: ‘I want his removal to be handled more efficiently than was Patrice [Lumumba]’”.
First thing first. It is absolutely obvious that this part of the book is entirely based on my last update of this post. [See UPDATE (November 2 2020) below under Fact #1, Fact #2 and Fact #3]
However, Dr Susan Williams re-wrote this information in a way that is clearly incorrect, even anachronistic.
For instance, Dr Susan Williams writes:
“Williams describes how the CIA not only bribed foreign delegations at the UN, they also regularly intercepted the encrypted communications of UN staff. They did so with the help of machines manufactured by Crypto AG, a Swiss-based company secretly owned by the CIA and West Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND.”
To point out the obvious, the NSA, not the CIA, is tasked with these interceptions. More importantly, Crypto AG was NOT owned by the CIA and the BND at the time of these events! The CIA and the BND bought the company on June 4 1970 for 25 million Swiss francs.
“At least four countries – Britain, Israel, Sweden and Switzerland – knew of the operation, described by the CIA as “the intelligence coup of the century”, and were passed intelligence obtained from it.”
Let me remind you that it is far from obvious that the document “MINERVA A History” is a genuine CIA Report. For what is worth, I doubt it very much…
The title of Greg Miller’s piece — “The intelligence coup of the century”– comes directly from the so-called “CIA report”:
“It was the intelligence coup of the century. Foreign governments were paying good money to the U.S. and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries.” [“MINERVA A History” — CIA report]
By luck, I remember that I had read those words before… Here it is:
“It may be the greatest intelligence scam of the century: For decades, the US has routinely intercepted and deciphered top secret encrypted messages of 120 countries. These nations had bought the world’s most sophisticated and supposedly secure commercial encryption technology from Crypto AG, a Swiss company that staked its reputation and the security concerns of its clients on its neutrality.” [CRYPTO AG: The NSA’s Trojan Whore? — Covert Action Quarterly (1998)]
How strange that CIA historians would describe this operation with almost the very exact words published by an organization they despise. God works in mysterious ways…
Next, Williams writes:
“Communications sent from the CX-52 cryptographic machine used by Hammarskjöld appear to have been intercepted by British and United States signals and intelligence agencies as a result of a secret interception and decryption setting that those agencies held that enabled them to intercept surreptitiously”.
This paragraph is complete nonsense. There is simply nothing surreptitious about this kind of intercepts. The NSA, GCHQ, and many other SIGINT agencies conduct them around the clock all over the world.
And, let me say this clearly: there was NO secret decryption setting of the CX-52. [There was no back-door to these devices.]
This cryptographic machine had been weakened — following a 1955 visit by NSA William Friedman to Boris Hagelin in Zug, Switzerland, where Crypto AG was based — to make the text readable effortlessly in real time.
Regarding the cause of the crash, Dr Susan Williams writes:
“In evidence to an earlier inquiry into the crash, Commander Charles Southall, a US intelligence officer attached to the GCHQ listening station in Cyprus, described how he had heard the recording of a commentary of a pilot, believed to be a Belgian mercenary, as he shot down Hammarskjöld’s DC-6.”
It would appear that Susan no longer believes that the plane was destroyed by a bomb — that scenario never made any sense — and she now regards the story of a shoot down by Belgian mercenary pilot Jan van Risseghem far more likely…
[The Belgian State Security Services — VSSE — had provided Jan Van Risseghem with a rock solid alibi. However, newly released official documents from the VSSE show that this alibi is a fabrication.]
Finally, Dr Susan Williams writes:
“One of the documents states that CIA director Allen Dulles had promised full cooperation with ‘Operation Celeste’, a plot to kill Hammarskjöld. The murder of Lumumba is referenced: ‘I want his removal to be handled more efficiently than was Patrice [Lumumba]’”.
There is evidence that this particular document is a forgery. A serious historian should know better….
A wild goose chase will not help to uncover the truth about the death of Hammarskjöld. The Lockerbie case taught us this much.
END of UPDATE
UPDATE (November 2 2020) — Life, Soren Kierkegaard wrote, must be lived forwards even if it can only be understood backwards. So true, on both counts…
After the recent revelations regarding Crypto AG and CIA/NSA Operation Rubicon, there is no excuse for not solving this crime. Everyone one should feel angry. Flashback.
Fact #1 — A decade ago, I argued that Crypto AG had rigged the equipment used by diplomats around the world allowing US Intelligence Agencies to decode their messages in real-time.
The piece (The NSA-Crypto AG Sting — For years US eavesdroppers could read encrypted messages without the least difficulty) is still available online and its relevance to the Lockerbie case could play a major role in the upcoming appeal.
On February 11 2020, I was finally vindicated when Swiss broadcasting company SRF, German public broadcaster ZDF and the Washington Post confirmed most details of the story after gaining access to a classified, comprehensive CIA history document summarizing Operations “Thesaurus” and “Rubicon”.
Fact #2 — On November 2 2017, I suggested that Belgian mercenary Jan Van Risseghem may be responsible for the death of Dag Hammarskjold. The story was based on the testimony of a very credible source who had accepted to talk to Intel Today.
On January 12 2019, The Guardian confirmed that Belgian mercenary Jan van Risseghem was indeed the person responsible for the death of Dag Hammarskjold and his crew.
Amazingly, The Guardian forgot to tell its readers that the story had been published on this blog more than a year before. Even the pictures of Jan van Risseghem published by The Guardian were initially published on this blog.
Intel Today readers were not amused, and a few did not hesitate to tell The Guardian how they felt about this affair.
But not only had the “Guardian story” been stolen from this blog, the authors — Emma Graham-Harrison, Andreas Rocksen and Mads Brügger — failed to understand a key point.
As I wrote on the day the story was posted by The Guardian,
“Journalists are still missing the importance of one critical aspect of this story: the role of CRYPTO AG.” [Intel Today – Jan 12 2019]
And this brings us to the next issue…
Fact #3 — On January 17 2019, I posted a story titled: Boris Hagelin — The Swiss Businessman Who Sold The World Out.
In that story, I explained that all the Crypto AG machines delivered to the UN — including the one used by Hammarskjöld during his visit to Congo — had been rigged at the request of the NSA.
I concluded the piece with the following statement:
“After his initial visit to Boris Hagelin in Zug, NSA William Friedman wrote in his report:
“The NSA has now complete control over Crypto AG. Spying can start on an industrial scale.”
So much for Swiss neutrality…”
And yet, despite all this information, the UN investigators did not interview the current managers of CRYPTO AG and they did not request any help from Switzerland.
What on earth is going on? Those (UN investigators) who investigate the death of Dag Hammarskjöld do not want to know about Crypto AG and those who report on Crypto AG (The Washington Post) do not mention once the United Nations scandal.
We know that the US hold important undisclosed information regarding the Hammarskjöld case and we know that they refuse to share this information with the UN investigators.
Why do you think the US has been withholding this information?
END of UPDATE
November 2 2017 — I think that there is hope that the truth will come out in this case.
First, the hypothesis of an assassination can no longer be dismissed as a “Conspiracy Theory”.
Second, some folks — former friends and/or mercenaries in Katanga at the time of the event — may be willing to talk. Let us hope that they will come forward, for the sake of history at least.
RELATED POST: Suspicious Aviation Tragedies — Overview
A new United Nations-mandated report has found it “plausible” that an external attack or threat may have led to the fatal plane crash that killed former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.
In his report, Judge Mohamed Chande Othman wrote:
“There is a significant amount of evidence from eyewitnesses that they observed more than one aircraft in the air, that the other aircraft may have been a jet, that SE-BDY was on fire before it crashed, and/or that SE-BDY was fired upon or otherwise actively engaged by another aircraft. In its totality, this evidence is not easily dismissed.”
Possible external attack or threat, including capacity of the armed forces of Katanga — § 9 & 10 from the UN Report
“§9. The hypothesis of an external attack or threat has included a theory that the plane may have been attacked, menaced or distracted by a Fouga Magister jet operated by Katangan forces. In considering the capacity of such forces, the inquiries of 1961/62 appeared to understand that Katanga had only one operable Fouga at the relevant time, with only one pilot able to fly it. New information contradicts that understanding. Regarding the presence of Fouga jets, the Independent Panel considered a claim made by David Doyle, confirmed by the United States as a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, that three Fouga aircraft were supplied by “the French” with “CIA assistance” in 1961. While the United States advised in 2015 that it had no knowledge of the delivery of Fouga jets to Katanga, in 2017 the United States and other sources provided information appearing to substantiate that on or about 16 February 1961, three Fouga jets that had been purchased from France were delivered to Katanga by a United States commercial carrier, against objections of the Government of the United States. I have assessed the probative value of this new information as being strong.”
“§10. In addition, new information received from the United States and the United Nations suggests that at least two Fouga jets may have been operable around Katanga on the night of 17 to 18 September 1961. This is a matter which, further to the ascertainment of more facts, remains to be finally determined. I also received information from the United States suggesting that a Fouga may have been used at the relevant time in air-to-air attacks, including against United States aircraft in Katanga, which would no doubt have been a matter of interest to United States defence agencies. Other information received refers to Fouga jets having flown at night or from unpaved airfields in Katanga, both of which suggest that the pilots there were able to utilize the jet outside of its ordinary capabilities.”
The ‘Lone Ranger’ Theory
Some of the most compelling testimony of foul play comes from Charles Southall, who in 1961 was an intelligence officer stationed at the U.S. National Security Agency’s naval communications base in Cyprus.
He said he heard a pilot shoot down Hammarskjöld’s plane and that the CIA and/or the NSA have a recording of it.
“The watch supervisor called me and said, ‘Come [to work] about midnight, something interesting is going to happen.”
That’s when he said he heard a recording of the crash that somebody told him was seven minutes old, which, according to Southall, “meant that somebody down there in the Ndola area, also waiting for this to happen, made a recording of it, put a date-time stamp on it and… sent it off.”
In his statement to the Commission of Inquiry, Southall recalled the pilot saying:
“I see a transport plane coming low. All the lights are on. I’m going down to make a run on it. Yes, it’s the Transair DC6. It’s the plane.”
Then, the sound of cannon fire, at which point the voice, which he described as cool and professional, became animated: “I’ve hit it. There are flames. It’s going down. It’s crashing.”
Southall believes the voice he heard was that of a Belgian mercenary pilot nicknamed “The Lone Ranger.”
Hours before the wreckage was officially located, the U.S. Ambassador in the Congo, Edmund Gullion, sent a cable to Washington speculating that the secretary general’s plane might have been attacked by a known Belgian mercenary.
“There is possibility he was shot down by the single pilot who has harassed UN operations,” Gullion wrote.
The document, which was released by the State Department following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on behalf of the Hammarskjöld Commission, identified the pilot as Vak Riesseghel, likely a misspelling of Katanga Air Force Commander Jan Van Risseghem.
A UN Military report stated that Van Risseghem, a former South African and Royal Rhodesian AF pilot, had been arrested and repatriated to Brussels 10 days before the crash, but had managed to return to Katanga.
“As long as he is still operating, he [Van Risseghem] may paralyze the air rescue operations,” wrote Gullion in the 1961 cable.
The Gullion Telegram
In his cable, sent at 11am on 18 September 1961, Gullion correctly identifies the Ndola area as the crash site. He also names the suspected Belgian pilot as “Vak Riesseghel”, almost certainly a mis-spelling of Jan van Risseghem, who had served in the South African and Rhodesian air forces, and commanded the small Katanga air force.
In another cable sent two days before the crash, Gullion passed on a commercial pilot’s report that the Belgian mercenary, flying a Katangese jet, “flew wing to wing” with him – a highly dangerous manoeuvre. Gullion’s two telegrams call into question Van Risseghem’s insistence that he had not been in Katanga in September 1961. Van Risseghem was never questioned by any of the official inquiries.”
The telegram reveals that on the morning after the crash, the Ambassador thought it credible that the plane had been shot down by a mercenary pilot – so credible, in fact, as to justify asking US diplomats in Brussels and Salisbury [now Harare] to put pressure on the Belgian and Rhodesian governments to ground the pilot,” said Dr Williams, a senior researcher at the University of London’s Institute of Commonwealth Studies.
The UN Military Report
In her book, Susan Williams provides the account of an American naval pilot, Commander Charles Southall, who was working at the NSA listening station in Cyprus in 1961. Shortly after midnight on the night of the crash, Southall and other officers heard an intercept of a pilot’s commentary in the air over Ndola – 3,000 miles away.
Commander Southall recalled the pilot saying: “I see a transport plane coming low. All the lights are on. I’m going down to make a run on it. Yes, it is the Transair DC-6. It’s the plane,” adding that his voice was “cool and professional”. Then he heard the sound of gunfire and the pilot exclaiming: “I’ve hit it. There are flames! It’s going down. It’s crashing!”
Williams said: “We need to know if the US state department holds the raw intelligence that led Gullion to think [the plane could have been shot down] and if there is other intelligence, notably in the form of intercepts, that is held by the NSA in relation to Dag Hammarskjöld‘s flight on the night of 17-18 September 1961.
Who is “BEUKELS”?
In April 2014, following the declassification of a secret telegram sent to Washington in 1961 by the US Ambassador to the Congo, Jan van Risseghem was identified as the pilot of a Katangese jet which allegedly shot down the Douglas DC-6 aircraft carrying United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld on 18 September 1961.
On 4 April 2014, Julian Borger, diplomatic editor of The Guardian, reported that a newly declassified 1961 cable called for the grounding of a Belgian mercenary (Jan van Risseghem) hours after the UN Secretary-General’s aircraft crashed in Africa:
Hours after a plane carrying the UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, crashed over central Africa in September 1961, the US Ambassador to Congo sent a cable to Washington claiming that the aircraft could have been shot down by a Belgian mercenary pilot.In the newly declassified document, the Ambassador, Ed Gullion, does not directly implicate the Belgian or Rhodesian governments in what he calls “this operation”, but calls for US pressure on them to ground the mercenary, adding it was “obviously a matter of highest importance”. He said the pilot had been hampering UN operations and warned that if not stopped “he may paralyse air-rescue operations”.
The document was released after an international panel of retired judges called last year for a fresh inquiry into the Hammarskjöld crash, saying that new evidence “undoubtedly” existed. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, decided in February to put the panel’s findings on the agenda of the UN General Assembly.The Gullion cable was not seen by previous official inquiries. A commission formed by the Rhodesian colonial authorities blamed the crash on pilot error, while a later UN investigation recorded an open verdict.
Jan van RISSEGHEM
Jan van Risseghem was born on 3 September 1923 in Plötzky-Bergfeld (Germany) and died on 29 January 2007 in the municipality of Lint in Antwerp, Belgium.
Jan van Risseghem trained as a pilot in the Belgian Air Force, and later served with both the South African Air Force and the Rhodesian Air Force (RhAF).
By the early 1960s, Jan van Risseghem had become the mercenary commander of a small air force in the breakaway province of Katanga in the former Belgian Congo.
Please, Come Forward
Pierre C. is a former Belgian Navy Captain and he was a good friend of Jan Van Risseghem. I want to thank him for the pictures he sent me.
I understand that Van Risseghem told Pierre C. that he was the ‘lone ranger’ who shot down Hammarskjold’s plane.
And a direct witness who fought with Van Risseghem in Katanga — and now lives in Hong Kong — may have more details. I hope these gentlemen will come forward.
Belgian Mercenary killed Dag Hammarskjold
Three Years Ago — EXCLUSIVE : Belgian Mercenary Killed Dag Hammarskjold
Four Years Ago — EXCLUSIVE : Belgian Mercenary Killed Dag Hammarskjold [UPDATE : “White Malice — The CIA and the Covert Recolonization of Africa”]