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Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?

Ndola, Zambia, showing the roof of the memorial museum and Dag Hammarskjöld’s DC-6 as it would have appeared coming through the trees onto the crash site.
By Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson | CounterPunch | January 11, 2019

Background to the Crash

A plane carrying the Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld, crashed while approaching the Ndola (Zambia) airport on September 18, 1961. The exact time of the crash is unknown, although it was around midnight. The DC-6, named Albertina, had flown a circuitous route from Kinshasa, the capital of the Congo, to Ndola, a large town in what was then Northern Rhodesia. The purpose of the flight was to bring Secretary Hammarskjöld to a meeting with Moise Tshombe, the president of the breakaway republic of Katanga, in which many western (British, French, Belgian and American) investors had large stakes in various mineral deposits.

Those corporate interests had supported independence for Katanga after the Congolese leadership, notably Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, had advocated closer relations with the Communist bloc. (Lumumba, himself, was assassinated in January 1961, in what some researchers now believe was part of a Central Intelligence Agency plot to get rid of him.)

For his part, Hammarskjöld believed that the Congo ought to remain one country, and toward that end he was flying to Ndola (just over the border of Northern Rhodesia from Katanga) to have ceasefire talks with Tshombe, in the hope of mediating a settlement to the conflict. Instead, his plane crashed in the darkness, killing fifteen of the sixteen passengers and crew aboard the DC-6. One security officer for Hammarskjöld survived for about eight days.

Since the fatal crash, various investigative instruments, including UN committees and independent aviation groups in the United Kingdom and Sweden, have looked into the cause of the crash. The initial investigation, conducted by colonial authorities in 1961, concluded that the pilots of the DC-6 (an experienced Swedish crew) had misjudged the night landing on an unfamiliar approach and flew the plane into the ground. A UN inquiry at the same time, however, failed to reach the same conclusion, although it was at a loss to explain the crash.

More recent inquiries, including one chaired by Stephen Sedley and with Hans Corell and Richard Goldstone as co-panellists, have come to more nuanced conclusions, saying that earlier investigators lacked a true picture of the situation on the ground and in the air around Ndola that night to come to definitive conclusion about what happened to the Albertina. It has led to new inquiry, originally supported by then Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and approved by the UN Security Council, to reopen the investigation under the direction of the former chief justice of Tanzania, Mohamed Chande Othman, although for the moment the budget approved for such an exercise is little more than $300,000 (and the information needed is literally all over the world). 

All of the recent re-examinations of the crash have concluded that the first conclusions of pilot error might well be in inaccurate. For example, the 2013 UN Hammarskjöld Commission, for example, concluded: “There is persuasive evidence that the aircraft was subjected to some form of attack or threat as it circled to land at Ndola, which was by then widely known to be its destination.” The 2017 report of Judge Othman concludes:

Based on the totality of the information that we have at hand, it appears plausible that an external attack or threat may have been a cause of the crash, whether by way of a direct attack causing SE-BDY to crash or by causing a momentary distraction of the pilots. Such a distraction need only have taken away the pilots’ attention for a matter of seconds at the critical point at which they were in their descent to have been potentially fatal. 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. 

Both reports cite evidence that British, American, French, South African, or Belgian governments might hold but which remain unreleased, and they urge its release for the purpose of understanding exactly what happened to Hammarskjöld’s plane.

On November 8, 2018, when Judge Othman last updated the UN on the progress of his investigation, he concluded (with some frustration): “… the fact that certain Member States have not responded to repeated requests in 2018… or to engage with this process at all, has a crucial bearing on the success or failure on the full implementation of the above General Assembly resolution.”

It is where this case has gone—from the crash zone outside Ndola to the files of the great powers—but many countries, notably the United States and South Africa, have refused to cooperate or done so grudgingly.

* * *

In addition to the various international investigations of the crash, a professor at the University of London’s Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Dr. Susan Williams, has published a book about what could have happened to Hammarskjöld’s plane. The title of the book is Who Killed Hammarskjöld? The UN, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa, and it was originally published in 2011, laying the ground for the later UN inquiries.

In the book Dr. Williams lays out the facts of the plane crash and outlines various theories—including pilot error of the kind imagined after the plane went down—that could explain the crash. She also talks about the possibility that French or Belgian mercenaries had access that night to trainer Fouga Magister jets or other attack aircraft, and that one or several of those planes might have shot at SE-BDY or tried to force the Albertinato the ground (perhaps by shining spot lights into the cockpit or by dropping flash bombs). She examines the case for pilot error, noting that the pilots had flown a long way across the world, beginning on September 12, 1961, when they picked up the Secretary General in New York City). She discusses the possibility that the pilots mis-programmed the altimeter on the DC-6 or that someone placed a bomb on the doomed flight.

Dr. Williams also examines theories that have speculated on possible CIA interference with the Hammarskjöld mission, making the point that the anti-communist CIA had strong vested interests in wanting his African diplomacy to fail. Dr. Williams ends her book strongly hinting that her belief is that western mercenaries were more likely than pilot error to have brought down the Hammarskjöld plane, and she outlines many incongruent aspects of the fatal night in Ndola, such as the closure of the local airport (even though it was expecting the Hammarskjöld plane) and the local witnesses on the ground spoke about hearing or seeing a large flash and bang before the “big plane” came down.  

The Williams book is not a polemic for any one theory about the Hammarskjöld plane crash. Instead, as a serious academic, she prefers to indicate the range of possible fates for the flight and to leave it to the reader to come to his or her own conclusions.

* * *

In my case, after reading the Williams book in 2017, I decided to visit the Hammarskjöld crash site outside Ndola and to compare what I would see and hear there on the ground with the words in the book. I had been planning for some time to visit Africa and to write about it, but having the Williams book in hand gave my visit to Zambia a direction and purpose, even though I am not an air-crash investigator or even a licensed pilot. Still, I decided it would be easier to read the many Hammarskjöld reports if I could visualize how far from the airport the plane had crashed and what local residents were saying on the ground about the plane.

Given the vagaries of African travel, I was not able to spend as much time on the ground in Ndola as I had planned. My train, from Dar es Salaam to the Zambian city of Kapiri Mposhi, was three days late, and I had other appointments in southern Africa, which made it hard to spend more than a day in Ndola. Nevertheless, I did get to the crash site, and there I met with some local investigators and museum officials, all of whom had their own ideas about what might have happened to the Albertina. (Most dismiss out of hand that pilot error was the cause.)

In particular, I learned that one local researcher had spoken with more than twenty eyewitnesses to the crash. Many of them were convinced that several smaller planes had swarmed around the larger DC-6 on its landing approach and that, prior to the crash, many people living in the bush near the crash site saw large flashes of light, consistent with the dropping of a bomb or bombs onto the Albertina. But because these witnesses were African natives of the area, their testimony was largely ignored by colonial authorities in Northern Rhodesia when in fall 1961 the first inquiry was held.

For my part, I came away from the crash site unable to believe that Hammarskjöld’s experienced Swedish crew had simply flown the Albertina into the ground. Maybe if the landscape of the crash site had been mountainous or even hilly, I could have imagined a sophisticated group of pilots—at night in Africa—making some fundamental errors of navigation. But two things made me think otherwise. First, the terrain around the crash site, while not a completely flat plain, is devoid of any serious hills. All I saw as I drove up to the crash site in a taxi and as I walked around the memorial were open fields and small clusters of forest land, none of which were very dense. The Albertina did not crash into the jungle or a mountain; it came down in the outskirts of Ndola where now there is open farmland that is part of a broad African plain.  

Second, I doubted that the Swedish pilots misread the altitude of the plane, especially on a clear night. These were professional pilots, and that’s a rookie mistake. Nevertheless, early investigators in Northern Rhodesia concluded that the Albertina was the victim of what in the airline world is called Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). But standing at the somber Ndola memorial to the lost flight, I came to the conclusion that something other than pilot error had driven the plane into the ground on that fateful evening. To me it felt like an ambush.

I also concluded, while poking around the memorial in Ndola, that my brother-in-law, Joseph Majerle III, is the one person I know who could make sense of the technical details in the Williams book and in some of the many Hammarskjöld reports. Joe, as I call him, works in aviation in Alaska, and in his long career he has visited many crash sites and repaired many damaged planes. He is also a voracious reader of history, especially about aviation matters. Joe has also spent much of his adult life talking with other pilots about various aircraft and their deficiencies. If anyone could help me sort out the complexities of the Ndola crash, it would be Joe, and shortly after I got back from Africa, I mailed him a copy of the Williams book.

Joe read the book twice, took ample notes, discussed his thinking with other pilots in Alaska (some of whom are still flying on the DC-6), and answered my questions in several long emails, which I have copied here but which I also have edited (although only for the sake of clarity).  

What follows might best be understood as a colloquy on the Williams book between two people who are struggling to make sense of a crash that happened more than fifty years ago.

* * *

Why does the Hammarskjöld crash still matter? It matters because Secretary General Hammarskjöld had undertaken his mission just as many countries in Africa were seeking their independence from the colonial world. Hammarskjöld was ahead of his time in pushing back against what today we might call the deep state—that confluence of interests between corporate investors, intelligence agencies, and governmental power brokers, all of whom were eager to siphon profits out of the breakaway territory of Katanga. Hammarskjöld thought that Katanga (and its extensive mineral wealth) belonged in the newly independent Republic of the Congo, and the purpose of his mission was to oppose independence for Katanga, which otherwise would fall under the spell of various French, British, Belgian and American multinational corporations.

If you believe—as I do—that Hammarskjöld was the victim of a plot, it can be concluded that the truth about his death has been covered up to shift the blame away from the usual suspects, including the CIA and various mercenary organizations that were then arming themselves across southern Africa. Hammarskjöld and his liberal internationalism were getting in the way of corporate profits, if not Cold War politics, and it was decided—somewhere, somehow—to cut him down to size. Maybe the plotters did not intend to kill him? Maybe they simply wanted to scare him away? But the facts about the Hammarskjöld crash have never been fully available, in part because invaluable transcripts (picked up in particular by US government eavesdropping on that night) have never been released.

What follows are the questions that I posed to Joe, and his responses, based on his reading of the Williams book and his lifetime as a pilot and in aviation. Neither of us pretends that what follows is anything approaching a “last word” in the Hammarskjöld investigation. At the same time it shows how much several concerned citizens, and a budget of $1500 (the cost of my African train travels), can discover. Let’s hope that the new UN investigation can take the Hammarskjöld matter much further. The Secretary’s exemplary life and work demand that the truth of his death be known. — Matthew Stevenson

* * *

Stevenson: Is it possible that pilot error was responsible for the crash of the Albertina?

Majerle: The facts that investigators admitted to in their original reports tell a different story from their conclusions. To me, their conclusions are laughable. This crash was not pilot error.

Per the chart at the beginning of the Williams book, it shows the crash site very close to the turn-back circle (on a safe instrument approach) of the official instrument approach path, which means that the Swedish pilots knew exactly where they were. I don’t think any accident investigation board in the world would dispute that that they were properly executing the published instrument approach procedure for Ndola airport.

The official report admitted that they were at least nominally executing the instrument approach properly, except that they were 1700 feet lower than they were supposed to be, and that was the pilots’ error.

On page 70, according to A. Campbell Martin, the controller on duty, the last communication received from SE-BDY (the code for the Albertina) was confirmation of 1021 millibars—the altimeter setting—which is something I and every pilot I have ever flown with has never failed to reset at the instant we are told the new number.

To me it is inconceivable that the Albertina pilots didn’t know their altitude at that time. If the controller had said he never got around to telling them the current millibars setting, they would have had a basis to sow doubt on that subject, even though that would have been a flimsy excuse in itself, for the following reason.

Explain to me how it is unlikely that the Albertina pilots flew the plane into the ground.

The radio (radar) altimeter came into widespread use in military and commercial airplanes by the end of WW2, even in single-seat fighters such as the P-38. I would bet that, without exception, every DC-6 was equipped with one when it left the factory. And it is the device you base your instrument approach on, if you have one, because a radio altimeter is more accurate and has large graduations up to 1000 feet AGL (Above Ground Level).

Even if the Albertina pilots didn’t have a current altimeter setting, they would have been using their radar altimeter anyway, assuming it was in working order. If not, I think it’s very likely the pilot would have informed the controller of that fact. Which, again, points to the fact that they knew exactly where they were, in all three dimensions.

In the book Dr. Williams writes that an evasive strategy to “lose height, veer and head for the airfield as quickly as possible… may possibly offer some explanation for the low height of SE-BDY as it made its approach to Ndola—about 1700 feet lower than it should have been.”

This conclusion is at the heart of her book and research, and any new investigation needs to focus on what she has written here.

To me it indicates that the Albertina pilots were already planning to evade an attack by getting low enough to prevent another airplane from getting beneath SE-BDY, which to an attacker is the easiest and most preferred way to shoot down another airplane—and there would have been no better way to do that at night than basing it on a radar altimeter.

Explain some of the discrepancies between the official crash report, and the data that Dr. Williams includes in her book, especially in regard to the crash site.

The official report stated that the ground scar at the wreck site was 150 yards long, which is 450 feet. The published stall speed of the DC-6 with flaps down is 92 mph, which is almost exactly 135 feet per second. That is the absolute slowest speed at which it would stay in the air—not the speed at which you would make an approach.

The original Jeppesen approach plate chart for the Ndola airport would have contained a sidebar that would have given the time, in seconds, required to reach the airport at several different approach speeds, usually spaced by 30 mph and 60 mph increments, which simplifies the mental calculations the pilot would need to make or eliminates them if it’s practical for the aircraft to fly at one of the stated speeds exactly.

I would estimate that, in this situation, for a light-to-moderately loaded DC-6, the pilots would have used either 150 or more probably 180 mph, which would be 220 or 264 feet per second of forward velocity.

If, as the official report says, the pilots misjudged their altitude and just flew the plane into the ground while making their final approach, it is beyond a stretch of the imagination that 80-to-90 thousand pounds of airplane would come to a stop in no more than 2.04 seconds, and that every last piece of it would be contained in a mere 450 feet.

This is just very basic math that a 4th-grader could do nine out of ten times and get right. It is an insult to human intelligence to suggest that that’s what happened.

Have you ever examined the crash site of a DC-6 airliner?

Many years ago I had opportunity several times to walk over the crash site of a DC-7 [very similar to the DC-6] that crashed shortly after takeoff due to an out-of-control engine fire in which the pilots tried to crash-land into a recently logged parcel of land.

The fuel dealer told me that he watched as an engine caught fire almost as soon as the plane started its takeoff run, but apparently the pilots didn’t realize it until they were committed to fly. But after clearing the end of the runway, they immediately angled off and headed for the clear-cut area, obviously in an effort to get the plane back on the ground.

It had been nine years since it happened when I first saw the site, and in that rain forest the vegetation had regenerated quite a bit, but the wreckage path of the DC-7 was still obvious. The crew had left the gear and flaps down in takeoff configuration, obviously intending to put it down at as slow a speed as possible in this off-airport area.

My recollection of the debris path was that it was at least 1200 feet long, with no standing trees throughout the path. The largest piece of wreckage at the end of the path was stopped and literally wrapped around what was at least a 6 foot diameter tree, in the flight engineers compartment. Control cables and wiring bundles were literally wrapped all the way around that tree. I would guess that the site is still that way today.

There are some fairly close parallels between that crash and Hammarskjöld’s. The DC-6B and DC-7 are very similar airplanes; sharing the same basic wing and fuselage with the DC-7 employing another short section of fuselage, more powerful engines and a higher gross weight due to the extra power, and with a higher cruise speed also because of the power. But they are both listed on the same type rating for pilots. Sitting side by side, you would have to study them carefully to see the differences.

In these two cases, both planes made it to the ground before impacting any real solid objects; in Hammarskjöld’s case it was the anthill and in the Yakutat crash it was tree stumps. In both cases, the immovable objects turned the airplanes sideways while they still had a lot of momentum, which began the breakup process while the kinetic energy just kept them going.

If they had been able to continue moving straight ahead they might have had a chance, more so for the passengers aft of the cockpit bulkhead. There isn’t a lot of metal in the nose ahead of the pilots compartment to crush and absorb energy.

The DC-7 was known to be overloaded with fresh salmon but would have been light on fuel. Hammarskjöld’s plane would have had a lighter cabin load but would have had considerably more fuel. I would assume that the DC-7 was somewhat heavier overall, but probably not by an amount that would have required a significant speed difference to stay airborne.

What I am getting at here is that in both these cases the airplanes probably hit the ground at roughly equivalent speeds. And the DC-7’s ground scar was about three times as long as Hammarskjöld’s, and still had some energy when it wrapped itself around a tree.

If Hammarskjöld’s pilots had inadvertently flown the aircraft into the ground, I think it is reasonable to assume that it would have traveled much farther before all the pieces came to rest.

This did not happen, which to me indicates that the physics of the official reports are all wrong—at least when matched to their conclusions.

What can we conclude from the configuration of the Hammarskjöld plane as it hit the ground?

The official report stated that the landing gear was down and locked, and the wing flaps were extended to the 30 degree position. I would have loved to cross examine the local accident board and ask them which pilots they know that would be 8-to-9 miles out on an instrument approach and have 30 degrees of flaps down at that point, to say nothing of having the gear down.

Thirty degrees of flap down on a DC-6 is a lot of flap; probably about optimal for a low speed approach over obstacle-free terrain to make a short-field landing. Maximum flap down angle on a DC-6 is 50 degrees, which you would normally only use to bleed off a lot of excess altitude, and it would require a lot of engine power with which to maintain altitude.

In my experience no pilot would drop the landing gear until about the point that you had crossed the “final approach fix,” in this case the non-directional (radio) beacon, which is at four miles or so from the end of the runway.

At four miles out the pilots would have had plenty of time to drop the gear and double check it before reaching the runway end roughly 90 seconds later. Experienced crews normally do that as late as they can just to get there sooner. This accident board didn’t even know how to lie to make the facts fit their case.

Recently I had opportunity to talk to a friend of mine that flew DC-6s about thirty years ago. He currently owns and flies two DC-4’s, a freighter and a fuel tanker, around the state.

He confirmed to me—as I thought earlier—that a DC-6 pilot would have flown that instrument approach at 156 to 160 knots (180 to 184 miles per hour) and would absolutely not have had gear and flaps down 8 or 9 miles from the runway.

And if he found his wing on fire, unless on short final to a runway, his only thought would be to get it on the ground.

What do you think happened?

To me, all of the admitted evidence (in UN reports and in the Williams book) adds up to one thing. The crew made a desperate attempt to save their lives by getting the airplane on the ground, most probably because they knew they had a wing fuel tank on fire.

A gasoline fire at night, to my experience, is very bright and from the cockpit side windows of a DC-6 you can see to the inboard nacelle without straining your neck. If it was a wing fire, the pilots would have known it. It would have taken all of their strength not to panic and just continue to do what needed to be done.

And here I take issue with one of the advisers to Dr. Williams—a Mr. Kjell Peterzén—who is quoted in the book as saying: “There is no way he would have gone down into the darkness and the woods…” I can name six incidents here in Alaska since 1977 in which pilots have descended into the woods, or whatever was below including a mountain ridge, to deliberately crash burning airplanes in an attempt to save their own lives.

In one of these cases—coincidentally it was a DC-6—the pilot hesitated because he didn’t want to have to do that, even though the cockpit voice recorder picked up other crew members urging him to get the airplane “on the ground, NOW!” But he didn’t. The wing folded up and moments later they all crashed to their deaths.

In all of the other cases the pilots understood how few seconds they had to live if they didn’t “put it on the ground.” Remarkably, most of the crews survived, although some had bad injuries.

I would say—at least from my corner of the world—that pilots will attempt a crash into the unknown if they understand how quickly an airplane made from aluminum can disintegrate in a raging fire.

Aluminum, of the kind used in the making of the Hammarskjöld DC-6,yields at 925 degrees Fahrenheit and liquifies at 1225 degrees Fahrenheit. When the fire gets much above the 1225 degrees Fahrenheit point, the metal itself actually ignites and burns up, which is why there is normally so few pounds of airplane left after one has burned uncontrollably.

Pilots know this, and will respond instinctively when they see, for example, one of their wings on fire.

What’s your reaction to the conclusion that the Albertina was simply flown into the ground, so-called Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT)?

As for all of the talk about pilot error and CFIT, I still cannot believe that no-one ever mentions the fact that they had gear and flaps down when they were still at least three minutes from the runway, which you just wouldn’t do, unless you’re planning to land “very soon.”

I thought it curious when I read in the Williams book: “It was as if the aircraft was making a perfect landing…” That conclusion is a very astute observation. That doesn’t happen in CFIT situations.

In my experience, CFIT planes start breaking little things and leaving little pieces over a long area before you start seeing the larger pieces and more ground disturbance. If you see something that looks like a landing attempt was being made, it usually is. And this explains why the crash site itself was so contained in such a small area.

In the Williams book, Virving states that “an explosion a few yards from the aircraft could have dislodged vital control wires from their pulleys…” My reaction to that thesis: “Ah, no, generally not.”

All type certificated aircraft are required to have a cable guard at every pulley station to retain them and to prevent that very thing from happening. In all my time working on airplanes (some forty years), I have never seen that happen unless the whole pulley mounting structure was ripped away from the primary structure, in which case the pulley and guard assembly would still be hanging on the cable. But that requires the wing or fuselage or tail component itself to be massively damaged. In this case, the airplane was obviously under control when it started hitting the sapling trees—in order to be “making a perfect landing.”

It has occurred to me that, in a sense, the British investigators were right when they said that it was a CFIT accident. But they left out the part that it was an INTENTIONAL controlled flight into terrain accident.

Right now, it seems really hard to believe that the original 1962 UN report did not ever advance that notion, i.e., that no-one they consulted ever suggested that as a possibility. To me it seems obvious.

In any new UN investigation (led by Judge Othman) of the Hammarskjöld crash, one of the keys to discovering the truth about what happened could be found on intercepted transcripts of the voice communication from the Albertina, which, as Dr. Williams reports, were picked up at a CIA listening post on Cyprus. How would that have been possible in 1961?

In the Williamsbook, someone who was at the airport that night states that while waiting for Hammarskjöld’s plane to arrivehe “heard an airplane start up but never took off.”

I would speculate that what he heard would have been one of the USAF DC-3’s (C-47) that were parked that night at Ndola, and which explains how a CIA listening post in Cyprus would have intercepted the Albertina’s voice communications.

Here’s some background: At least some of the military C-47’s that were kept in service after World War II had radio rooms, for lack of a better word, that had gear that could transmit or receive (or both) on every frequency from LF through UHF. These rooms were state of the art. All of this gear and their trays, mount brackets, and bulkheads weighed over a thousand pounds.

In 1978 I did some work on a DC-3C that had recently been surplussed, sold, and converted from a VC-47D. I had opportunity to see all that analog electronic stuff on a shelf for about a dozen years after that and was always impressed.

I would suggest that the source of the radio conversation that Charles Southall listened into on Cyprus originated from a keyed HF microphone held into a headset speaker on the VHF frequency of Ndola airport by the crew of an idling USAF C-47.

They would have needed to have an engine generator online to run an inverter because some of that radio equipment was using AC voltage. And if it was going to take very long, they would have run down the batteries without a generator operating.

One of the persistent theories about the Hammarskjöld crash is that mercenaries, perhaps flying Fouga CM.170 Magister or other aircraft, might have intercepted SE-BDY on its approach, and either bombed it or caused the larger plane to crash. There is speculation that a De Havailland Dove might have been involved. What do you think?

About the speculation that aDe Havilland Dove might have been modified to drop small bombs from above the DC-6, I think not. That configuration has been tried since WW I with virtually nosuccess; when it worked it was a fluke.

In WWII, the Germans experimented with it a little and the Japanese more, and all with a very low success rate. The Dove also could have only kept up with the DC-6 in the landing pattern; the DC-6 was capable of roughly twice the Dove’s speed.

The Percival P.56 Provosts that were on the Ndola field at that time and had forward firing armament could have had some chance against the Albertina, but, as I recall, they were not thought to have flown that night.

But a single tracer round from even a 30-caliber gun at even 500 yards range could punch through the DC-6’s relatively thin aluminum skin and ignite a fuel vapor chamber that would break seams loose in the resulting explosion and doom any airplane. The Fouga Magister was known to have two such guns with a tracer in every fifth clip of the ammo belts.

Dr. Williams cites some of the Fouga’s performance and range specs, although other sources that I know give them as considerably lower. But, still, if you ask me, this operation was well within its capabilities.

When I visited the Ndola museum and spoke with some of the guides, they explained that the Hammarskjöld plane was flying away from the airport, in the direction of the plane replica at the site, which is headed west. You think it was heading toward the Ndola airport. Why?

I’m sure you heard the guide correctly; the problem is that the guide probably does not understand what happened. Which is really not at all surprising; even if the guide was someone that had seen it before the pieces were hauled away, the crash site would have appeared to be mostly chaos in a big charred spot with a lot of garbage laying around at random, especially if they weren’t familiar with airplanes.

Can you describe the crash site?

The UN chart tells the story, which is corroborated by Björn Virving’s account of the crash site. [Virving, a Swedish citizen, was an observer to the early investigation of the crash.]

Abeam the ant hill, way ahead of the main body of wreckage where it came to rest, was the warning horn, the primary function of which is to alert the pilots to the fact that the landing gear is still up if the throttles are retarded and is below a certain airspeed, and it is mounted in the cockpit area.

Coming a bit closer to the main body of wreckage (MBW), identified items are almost all from the fuselage nose area, except for a small piece of heavy spar section and wing fairing (fillet)—the spar section almost certainly being from the left wing.

Included in the distant cockpit area wreckage is the radio (radar) altimeter, I have just noticed for the first time. This is where the pilots’ bodies start to appear also. So there is no doubt now that it had a radar altimeter.

At the point about dead abeam the MBW, the airplane was pivoting on its belly to the left, the left wing was folding back and the fuselage ahead of the wing was splitting open and folding to the left also. The right hand horizontal stabilizer was probably catching on the tree stumps left after the right hand wing mowed the trees down and twisting the tail-cone loose before being sheared off completely.

The tail control cables evidently held and didn’t fail in tension in this case; otherwise the tail-cone section would have ended up near the right hand tailplane.

The left wing, compromised not only by impact with the ant hill but with the alleged inflight fire, is folded back to lie alongside the aft fuselage with to me, surprisingly, its engines in approximately their correct positions. I could easily have imagined them to be found up near the ant hill. The other surprising thing is that the main landing gear stayed under it, in place, which is almost unheard of in a wheels down landing out in the woods.

The chart doesn’t show, or at least so far I haven’t found, where the main nose gear strut came to rest. Associated parts are right where I’d expect them to be in the first third of the wreckage path. The DC-6 pilots I know say that the nose gear is a bit fragile; if it digs in to soft ground it will fold up or tear off and needs to be treated carefully.

If the Albertina hadn’t had the misfortune to hit he anthill, the skinny trees would probably have arrested its forward movement in a fairly short distance and the passengers, if they were strapped in, would have had a pretty good chance of walking away.

If the chart is to scale, and it appears to be, the airplane had already lost a lot of its momentum, i.e., it didn’t travel more than about eighty feet or so past the ant hill, which is not very far for a one hundred foot long fuselage. It might even have come to a stop still standing on all three gear. Just about like a Navy plane (on an aircraft carrier) missing the arresting cables and running into the net barrier.

The UN chart shows the Ndola runway orientation to be magnetic 100 – 280, or only 10 degrees from east-west. It says that the aircraft was on a heading (it should say “course,” because a heading is a course when corrected for wind) of 120 degrees, which would have been aiming them toward the non-directional beacon, to line them up with the runway. As I have said, they were very close to where the instrument approach procedure wants you to be for the procedure turn.

Can you hypothesize Hammarskjöld’s last moments? Alone of the passengers he was found propped up against an ant hill at the crash site, and he was not burned in any way.

In my view, Hammarskjöld himself was probably standing in the cockpit bulkhead doorway, behind the flight engineer, who sits behind and in between the pilots, facing forward in the DC-6, and all three of them would have been strapped into their seats.

After bouncing over the ant hill, the nose would have broken open as it would have been the first thing to hit the ground, and Hammarskjöld, not being fastened in, would have just been thrown out or fallen out through the opening.

The still-moving, burning remainder of the airplane just kept on moving past him, and was arrested by the trees as it swung around. It all fits, really, and has been seen to happen that way many times in history.

Can you sum up your thinking about what happened to Hammarskjöld’s plane, SE-BDY?

I would surmise that SE-BDY (Albertina) was attacked at the beginning of the procedure turn to return the plane to the non-directional beacon bearing. (To me the attacking planes had to have had the capacity to shoot bullets or tracers. I don’t believe anyone tried to bomb the DC-6.)

The pilot then quickly decided to finish the turn back toward where he knew there to be light and to get the plane on the ground as soon as he could, knowing that the runway, some three minutes away, was way too far to expect a burning wing to get him to.

In my opinion, the pilots (by name—Captain Per Hallonquist, Captain Nils-Erik Åhréus and Second Pilot Lars Litton) came very, very close to pulling it off and should be commended for their bravery and professionalism. They knew what they were doing.

What would you like to see the new investigation of the crash look into?

Keep in mind that all of the evidence from the crash site, at this point, has been compromised, by age or the dictates of the earlier crash examiners, who came to the wreckage only with the intent to blame the pilots for the accident. What we got from the first 1962 inquiry into the crash was a political judgment—not the informed thinking of experienced pilots or crash investigators. Since that time, most of the primary evidence has been lost to time.

Most of all I would like to see the Swedish crew and especially its pilot in command exonerated for blame in this crash. As I said before, the pilots acted heroically and professionally in trying to land a burning plane on the ground in order to save the lives of their passengers. Instead of being recognized for their valor, the crew, themselves victims, was blamed for the crash.

I would love to believe that physical evidence of the crash might help new investigators come to some conclusions about the crash, but the fact is that the plane was made of a zinc alloy aluminum that will have turned to mud and paste after more than fifty years under ground. I am not optimistic that the physical evidence will reveal anything new in the inquiry.

Instead, investigators should turn their attentions to old photographs, video, and audio recordings that might be found in archives around the world, and from these files try to reconstruct the last moments of the doomed flight. They might also make a microscopic reexamination of the original report for just the kinds of contradictions that even a reader like myself picked up in some of the files quoted in the Williams book. There have to be a lot more inconsistencies in the files that professionals of today would find.

If the files of the listening post on Cyprus were to have any transmissions from the flight deck (personally, I don’t think they exist), we might learn more details of what was said once it was discovered that their left wing was on fire. But cockpit recorders were not around in those days.

Please sum up what you think happened

In conclusion, let me state again what I think happened: I think one of the mercenary aircraft, operating around Ndola on that night, fired a tracer bullet into the fuel tanks of the Hammarskjöld plane, causing the left wing to catch on fire. Fearing that the left wing would fold up into the fuselage of the plane, the pilots did the only thing that was available to them: to configure the plane for a controlled (so to speak) crash landing in the short amount of time available to them. That action explains the 30 degrees of flaps setting on impact (nine miles out from the Ndola runway!), the relative slow speed at impact (they were just above the stall speed), and the compact crash site (not consistent with CFIT). The pilots had no choice but to put the plane “on the ground… now!” and that they did, skillfully, in my mind.

Had they succeeded and been able to tell their own story at the inquests, we would now have a clearer picture of what happened on that fatal approach. Because the crew was killed on impact or in the subsequent fires, it was left to colonial administrators—in places such as Northern Rhodesia—to whitewash the crash scene and to blame the pilots, who along with Hammarskjöld and his team were also the victims. Exonerating the pilots would go a long way in correcting an injustice that has lingered since 1961.

Finally, I hope the publishers of Dr. Williams’ book encourage her to release yet another edition of the book. (An updated edition did come out in late 2016.) Perhaps she might be able to integrate into her book the more recent findings of Judge Othman? I would hope so. As much as anyone outside the UN system, Dr. Williams has kept alive the tragic story of what happened to Secretary Hammarskjöld in Ndola, and I commend her for all of the excellent work she has done to uncover the truth. If someone wants to know more about this case, her book, Who Killed HammarskjöldThe UN, the Cold War and White Supremacy in Africa, is the best place to begin.

Matthew Stevenson is the author of many books, including Reading the Rails and, most recently, Appalachia Spring, about the coal counties of West Virginia and Kentucky. He lives in Switzerland and was in Africa at the crash site in 2017.

Joseph Majerle has worked in aviation for the last forty-one years, both as a mechanic and a pilot, and he has worked on a number of historic planes. He lives in Alaska.

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Sudan Debunks Netanyahu Boasts of ‘Normalization,’ Denies Airspace Access

Sputnik – 07.01.2019

In December 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister boasted that Israeli planes can freely fly through Sudan airspace thanks to a “normalization” of bilateral relations.

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir announced Saturday that his administration has denied the use of country’s airspace for flights toward Israel, denouncing an earlier statement by Netanyahu that Israeli planes could fly over Sudan to South America.

A request to use Sudanese airspace did not come from Tel Aviv directly, however, coming instead from Kenya.

“We received a request to use our airspace on the route to Tel Aviv. The request did not come from El Al, but from Kenya Airways — we refused,” al-Bashir said in an interview with a local Sudanese television network. El Al is Israel’s largest airline and the flag carrier of the self-described Jewish state.

In December 2018, Netanyahu made a statement about Sudanese airspace, boasting how Israel has improved international ties with predominantly-Muslim countries. The statement was made after Netanyahu renewed diplomatic relations with Chad, which had been severed in 1972.

“At this time, we can overfly Egypt. We can overfly Chad, that has already been set. And to all appearances, we can also overfly this corner of Sudan,” he said, pointing to a map.

Neither Netanyahu nor a spokesman elaborated on when exactly Israeli planes would start using Sudanese airspace.

Speaking on Sudanese television, Omar al-Bashir said that Sudan “will not be the first nor the last to normalize relations with Israel.” Earlier on Thursday, al-Bashir said that he “has been advised” to normalize relation with the Jewish state.

The Sudanese president blamed the “Zionist lobby that controls Western countries,” for sanctions imposed on his nation, alleging that Tel Aviv has a plan to destroy its Arab neighbors, while pointing out that Israel has supported rebels fighting against the Sudanese government and is behind what the African described as an economic and diplomatic siege.

Al-Bashir also noted that the Israeli Air Force has bombed Khartoum, the nation’s capital, on two occasions in 2012 and 2014. Media outlets reported the attacks by Tel Aviv on military facilities in Khartoum, and Sudan has held Israel responsible for the attacks.

Israel, with diplomatic incentive from Washington DC, has recently been working on improving ties with Sunni Muslim countries, a bloc led by Saudi Arabia, over fears of a threat from Shiite-Muslim Iran.

Netanyahu personally visited Oman to promote an international railway project. In November 2018, the president of Chad visited Israel, for the first time in 46 years, after diplomatic ties were reestablished.

January 6, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Why do Raptors associate with blood-stained dictator?

By Yves Engler · December 23, 2018

It is time to call a technical foul on Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri for his ties to one of the world’s most ruthless dictators. Through his Giants of Africa charity Ujiri has bestowed legitimacy on Paul Kagame even as local newspapers document the Rwandan president’s violence.

Before their December 5 game against the Philadelphia 76ers the Raptors celebrated Nelson Mandela as the Giant of Africa. A report produced for the two-day charity fundraiser noted, “since Giants of Africa’s first Mandela Tribute event held in 2014, we are grateful to have had many influential guests participate in our initiative.” Kagame and Barack Obama were the only two politicians listed.

At an NBA meeting in New York in September Kagame thanked Ujiri and Raptors governor Larry Tanenbaum, lauding the Giants of Africa initiative as “another step for Africa in our development.” In August Kagame opened a training camp in Kigali with Ujiri and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver while two months earlier the Raptors GM met the Rwandan leader at the G7 Summit in Quebec City.

Last year Ujiri travelled to Kigali to unveil a new basketball court with Kagame. In 2015 the president’s son, Ian Kagame, attended the inaugural Giants of Africa camp in the Rwandan capital. During that visit the president hosted the Raptors GM for dinner. According to a Globe and Mail story, the one-time head of Ugandan military intelligence told “Ujiri that he’d woken in the middle of the night to watch Raptors’ playoff games.”

As this mutual love affair developed there were questions about the team’s association with a ruthless dictator. During the NBA All-Star weekend in February 2016 the Toronto Star contacted Ujiri about Kagame speaking at numerous events, including a documentary screening about Giants of Africa camps at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The Raptors GM told the paper “there is no controversy.”

A month before Kagame’s visit to the NBA All-Star weekend the Globe and Mail reported: “Village informers. Re-education camps. Networks of spies on the streets. Routine surveillance of the entire population. The crushing of the independent media and all political opposition. A ruler who changes the constitution to extend his power after ruling for two decades. It sounds like North Korea, or the totalitarian days of China under Mao. But this is the African nation of Rwanda — a long-time favourite of Western governments and a major beneficiary of millions of dollars in Canadian government support.”

Previously Toronto Star Board Chair John Honderich published a commentary in his paper headlined “No freedom for press in Rwanda.” The 2007 story noted that the government “ordered the summary firing of the Sunday editor of the country’s only daily for publishing an unflattering photo of the president … the president’s office only wants their man shown in command and in the middle of the photo … All this happened days after a fledgling new newspaper, called The Weekly Post, was shut down by the government after its first issue.”

Ujiri’s public “friendship” with Kagame has been taking place amidst growing recognition of Kagame’s violence. A 2015 National Post headline noted: “Rwandan intelligence agents harassing opponents in Canada, border service says” while the Star published stories that year titled: “Toronto lawyer claims he’s target of death threat from Rwandan government” and “Four other Canadians believe they’re being targeted by Rwanda.” Since 2014 the Globe and Mail has published at least eight front-page reports about Kagame’s international assassination program and responsibility for blowing up the plane carrying Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana, which triggered mass killings in April 1994. Two months ago the Globe added important details to the abundance of evidence suggesting Kagame is the individual most responsible for unleashing the hundred days of genocidal violence by downing a plane carrying two presidents and much of the Rwandan military high command.

For that incident alone Kagame has as much African blood on his hands as any other individual alive. But, the undisputed “military genius” also played an important role in toppling governments in Kampala in 1986 and Kinshasa in 1997. After the latter effort Rwandan forces reinvaded the Congo, which sparked an eight-country war that left millions dead between 1998 and 2003. In October 2010, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on the Congo spanning 1993 to 2003 that charged Rwandan troops with engaging in mass killings “that might be classified as crimes of genocide.”

Since then Rwandan proxies have repeatedly re-invaded the mineral rich eastern Congo. In 2012 The Globe and Mail described how “Rwandan sponsored” M23 rebels “hold power by terror and violence” there.

Kagame is not a Giant of Africa. He’s a ruthless dictator with the blood of millions on his hands. The Raptors disgrace themselves and the memory of Nelson Mandela by associating with him.

December 27, 2018 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

What stopped Chad’s Idriss Déby from visiting Israel before now?

Dr Mustafa Fetouri | MEMO | December 20, 2018

If you did not know much about Chad, a country in the middle of Africa, it most likely it caught your eye on 26 November when its President, Idriss Déby, landed in Israel for an unannounced visit to the Zionist state. The visit was shrouded in secrecy until Déby’s plane touched down at Ben Gurion Airport. His closest aides had no idea that he was heading to Tel Aviv until the last minute. It reminds me of November 1977, when Egypt’s then President Anwar Sadat made his surprise trip to Israel.

Sadat justified his move by the fact that Egypt and Israel were at war with each other and such a visit, he believed, helped to make peace. Déby, on the other hand, has been in power since December 1990, Chad is not at war with Israel and the two countries are thousands of miles apart; so what motivated him to embark on such an endeavour at this time? Or, indeed, what stopped him from making such a visit before now?

Israeli journalist Herb Keinon answered this question by explaining that, “Chad severed ties with Israel in 1972 after coming under pressure from Libya.” Reuters reported that Dore Gold, the Director of Israel’s Foreign Ministry in 2016, explained after his own visit to Chad why the government in N’Djamena cut ties with Israel over four decades earlier: “[his Chadian hosts] told him that they cut off ties 44 years prior under Libyan pressure, a factor removed with the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi [in 2011].”

Indeed Libya under Gaddafi was the fiercest opponent of Israeli expansion in Africa. As early as 1972, just three years after taking power, Gaddafi forced the then Chadian President, François Tombalbaye, to sever ties with Tel Aviv. Gaddafi believed strongly that any Israeli diplomatic expansion into Africa undermined the continent’s pro-Palestinian position. The late Libyan leader considered Israel to be an enemy best kept as far away as possible from Libya and Africa.

Libya has a history of ties with Chad going back to Italy’s invasion and occupation of Libya in 1911, which saw hundreds of Libyans seeking safety in Chad; their descendants still live in Libya’s southern neighbour. Gaddafi capitalised on this to strengthen ties between this community of exiles and their home country. He also sought to prevent Chad from becoming a threat to Libya’s security, which is why Tripoli was involved in toppling Chadian regimes considered unfriendly, particularly between 1972 and 1990.

Idriss Déby himself became President of Chad in December 1990, with Libyan political and military support. Gaddafi invested Libya’s oil money in Chad; the North African state owns two banks there and some luxury hotels, and built dozens of schools, mosques and medical facilities, as well as communication and agriculture infrastructure.

The late Libyan leader also used his political clout in Africa to keep African countries away from western influence, knowing too well that it would only benefit Israel as many western capitals would encourage them to embrace and help Tel Aviv to infiltrate the continent even more. In this context, Libya founded the African Union in 1999, for Pan-African cooperation. Tripoli also founded the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), bringing 24 Sub-Saharan African counties closer to neighbouring North African Arab states to share investment, free trade, security and foreign policy coordination.

This put Libya, before 2011, in direct competition with western powers in Africa. One of Tripoli’s long term objectives was to launch a golden dinar, backed by its own huge financial reserves, as a currency for African states to replace the CFA franc which is backed by the French treasury. This was one of the reasons behind French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s attack on Libya to topple the Gaddafi regime in 2011.

After Gaddafi was killed in 2011, many of his long term African initiatives were, under French pressure, abandoned. CEN-SAD, for example, is being replaced by the smaller Group of 5 Sahel (G5S) made up of Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso. Ironically, though, the members of G5S are the weakest in Africa and are focusing on security by allowing France and the United States to establish military bases in Mali and Niger. This would have been unthinkable if Gaddafi was still around.

Having the best military among the G5S countries, Chad’s Idriss Déby has become even more influential in Africa. This makes his link with Israel even more dangerous.

As the leading armed forces within G5S, Chad’s army is responsible for fighting terrorism in the Sahel region. Déby and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania are seeking to promote G5S as a trusted partner in Africa. In this context, visiting Israel is an important step to unlock further diplomatic and military support.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it his objective since 2016 to visit as many Muslim majority countries as possible. It would not be surprising to see some sort of rapprochement between Israel and Mali, Mauritania or Niger, or all three. Déby’s ice breaking visit to Tel Aviv has helped open the door for such rapprochement in Africa which, once upon a time, was a no-go area for Israel.

Apart from diplomatic gains, Israel is also interested in using Chad and its neighbours as stopovers for flights to South America, saving time and cost. A flight from Tel Aviv to Brazil, for example, will be around four hours shorter if central African airspace can be used. At the moment, such flights take around 17 hours, with at least one stopover in Europe or North America for refuelling.

Déby is facing more security challenges from his own people as armed rebel groups become more organised and stronger thanks to the safe bases they have in southern Libya. Young people in Chad’s Sahel region of Bahr El-Ghazal and Kanem in particular are becoming increasingly disenchanted with the authority in N’Djamena. The President’s security apparatus has been using discriminatory and heavy-handed tactics in the region under the pretext of fighting Boko Haram and other terror groups which infiltrated this vital area after Libya was destroyed by NATO in 2011.

The Chadian President is likely to seek Israeli help to keep himself in power. France, his main backer, “encouraged him to visit Israel,” according to Aqreen Saleh, the former Libyan ambassador to Chad who knows Déby personally. Saleh insists that “security for [Déby’s] regime is the main driver behind the visit to Israel,” not least because, over the past five years, the government in N’Djamena has been challenged by the rebel groups operating from southern Libya.

However, going to Israel is likely to backfire, particularly among Chad’s Muslim majority population. Historically, and especially since Chad gained independence, it has been Muslims who have risen against and toppled the central government.

Before 2011, thousands of Chadians depended on Libya for employment opportunities. Now they are heading to Libya to join rebel groups or work as mercenaries fighting for different Libyan factions, compounding Déby’s problems.

Idriss Déby needs arms and military equipment to fight the threat from the rebels operating out of Libya and Israel is only too happy to supply them to him. In the absence of any strong Arab leadership in Africa post-Gaddafi and the destruction of Libya, more African leaders are likely to embrace apartheid Israel at the expense of African support for the Palestinians and links with the Arab world.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Russia may participate in construction of Trans-African railway

RT | December 15, 2018

Moscow is ready to take part in the ambitious project of constructing a cross-continental railway line which will connect East and West Africa. That’s according to the Russia-Sudan intergovernmental commission.

“The Sudanese side expressed interest in participation of the Russian companies in constructing of the Trans-African railway over Dakar – Port Sudan – Cape Town,” said the commission in a document seen by TASS.

It added that “The Russian side confirmed readiness to work out the opportunity for participation… but asked for [the] provision of all the financial and legal characteristics of this project.”

The Trans-African railway line is part of the African Union’s plans to connect the port of Dakar in West Africa to the port of Djibouti in East Africa. It will run through 10 different countries (many of them landlocked) and is expected to boost trade on the continent.

Map of Trans-African Highways © Wikipedia

The route will be the expansion of the existing Trans-African Highway 5 (TAH5). The first phase of the project will be an estimated $2.2 billion upgrade to 1,228 kilometers of existing rail between Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and Bamako, the capital of neighboring Mali.

The project has already attracted Chinese investment in African infrastructure through Beijing’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

December 15, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Israel and the Jihadi Connection

Israel’s complex game with Jihadi terror groups pays off as more and more African states look to Israel for protection

By Richard Galustian | The Duran | November 28, 2018

Earlier this year, with little publicity, the official position of Israel on terrorism was explained by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon:

“I would like to see ISIS rule all of Syria (by inference, the whole region – RG); ISIS and its offshoots do not pose a threat to the Israeli State. Iran remains the main enemy!”

Ya’alon was being disingenuous, but the thinking behind his words is actually clear enough from the words themselves. Put simply, Israel’s relentless emphasis on the supposed threat from Iran is simply a diversionary tactic intended to conceal the continuing realisation of the ‘Greater Israel’ Project.

Ya’alon added:

“Iran is a rogue regime with designs on a regional hegemony. Hezbollah is Iran’s proxy, with the ability to declare war. Iran currently has terror infrastructure in place in five continents: Asia, Africa, Europe and both in South and North America.”

Ya’alon’s last comment refers to Iran as a rogue regime. However experienced Middle East observers will no doubt hesitate after reading the totality of his comments, and will wonder whether in light of them it is actually Israel and the US which should be considered the rogue regimes rather than Iran or indeed anyone else,  other than obviously Israel’s and the US’s staunch ally,  the odious Saudi regime.

Many similar comments of this nature  have been made by senior Israeli officials, but one in particular stands out. This is a speech made at the Herzliya Conference by Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevy.  He took Israel’s long-standing position that it “prefers ISIS” over the Syrian government to a whole new level, declaring openly that Israel does not want to see ISIS defeated in any war. As quoted in the Hebrew language NRG site, owned by the Maariv Newspaper conglomerate, Major Gen. Halevy actually expressed worry about the recent offensives against ISIS, expressing concern that military offensives in the last three months had placed ISIS in the “most difficult” situation it has known since its inception or at least since its declaration of a caliphate.

Needless to say most people are not aware that Major Gen. Halevy has in effect become a  spokesperson for ISIS.

So what is going on? 

The short answer is that the real ‘game’ in the region is being played out by and on behalf of Israeli interests. An indirect but nonetheless highly revealing clue has just been provided by the recently developing relationship between Israel and Chad. Chad, located south of Libya in the Sahara, faces a mountain of difficulties which Israel can help it deal with. These range from extreme water scarcity to Chad finding itself on the front line in Africa’s fight against Islamist terrorism, be it in the form ISIS, al-Qaeda or Boko Haram. This supplies the reason for Chadian President Idriss Déby recent visit to Israel, which has taken place 46 years after Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi pressured Chad into breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972, a step which Chad took even before the big wave of African countries severing diplomatic ties with Israel took place, which happened after the 1973 Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War.

Chad broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972 because it believed that it would gain more by forging close ties with Gaddafi’s Libya than by retaining ties with Israel. Obviously since the fall of Gaddafi that calculation has changed.

However another – obviously unacknowledged – reason is almost certainly Chad’s worry that it might find itself facing the same sort of Islamist terrorism in Chad that Syria has recently experienced. After all if Israeli officials can publicly admit to Israel’s de facto support for Islamist terrorism in Syria why should it be any different in Chad?

So the bottom line is that Chad – and no doubt plenty of other countries in the region – find themselves needing Israel’s help to protect themselves from the Frankenstein’s monster of worldwide Islamist terrorism which Israeli and US policies have conjured up. It amounts to the classic protection racket, with countries like Chad looking to Israel to ‘protect’ them from the very Islamist threat Israeli and US policies are themselves creating.

Given that this is so, and given the extent to which the spread of Islamist terrorist groups across the Middle East and North Africa actually serves Israeli and US interests, there is simply no point looking to Israel and the US for a ‘solution’ to the problem caused by them. Certainly no such solution is going to be found in Palermo, site of the latest Libya peace talks. No such solution is going to be found whilst the ‘protection racket’ serves Israel’s regional interests so well. Indeed Déby’s visit to Jerusalem, as does the rush of other African countries restoring relations with Israel, shows the spectacular success of the ’protection racket’.

In view of this it should come as no surprise that all attempts to change it are furiously resisted. Thus in the US “The Stop Arming Terrorists Act” proposed in early 2017 by Representative Tulsi Gabbard and Senator Rand Paul, which sought to prohibit use of US government funds from providing assistance to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, and the rest, and to those countries which support these organizations, predictably ran into a wall of opposition. As of November 2017 only 14 out of 435 members of the US House of Representatives were prepared to co-sponsor the bill with Gabbard,  whilst in the Senate Rand Paul could find no co-sponsors at all. 

Given the extremely close ties between the US and Israel, there is in fact no possibility of the bill – at least in the form proposed by Gabbard and Rand Paul – being passed.

Given the strong feelings many in the US have about Islamist terrorism – with memories of 9/11 still fresh – one might suppose that this would be an enormous scandal. However – predictably enough – neither the US media nor the global media seem at all interested in it.

November 28, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Amid warming ties with Chad, Israel eyes normal ties with Sudan, other Africa states: Report

Press TV – November 26, 2018

Amid warming relations with Chad, Israel is reportedly working to normalize relations with Sudan and other African states as the regime steps up its push to strengthen its foothold in the continent.

A senior Israeli official told Channel 10 TV channel that a visit on Sunday by Chadian President Idriss Deby to the occupied territories was laying the groundwork for normal ties between Tel Aviv and the Muslim-majority African states of Sudan, Mali and Niger.

The unnamed official also noted that Israel was seeking to shorten flight times from the occupied territories to Latin America through normalizing relations with African countries.

Deby became the first Chadian leader to visit Israel on Sunday, 46 years after the two sides severed ties.

After meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Chadian president pledged a new era of cooperation with “the prospect of reestablishing diplomatic relations.”

Israeli media cited sources in N’Djamena as saying that Deby’s visit was focused on “security,” and that the regime in Tel Aviv had already been supplying weapons and other military equipment to Chad.

Netanyahu, however, declined to comment on potential Israeli weapons sales to Chad.

During his visit, Deby said the future resumption of ties with Israel “does not make us ignore the Palestinian issue.”

The Palestinians, however, protested Deby’s trip to Israel.

Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, voiced displeasure over the visit.

“All countries and institutions must boycott the extremist government of Israel and impose a siege on it because of its settlement activities, its occupation of Palestinian land,” Youssef was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Over the past two years, Netanyahu has traveled to several African states in a bid to end decades of hostility against the occupying entity and convince them to stop voting against the Israeli regime at the United Nations in favor of Palestinians.

According to Channel 10, Israeli is now in talks with Sudan in a bid to improve relations with the African state.

The Israeli push comes almost two years after Sudan joined Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in cutting relations with Iran.

At that time, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Tel Aviv had urged the US and other countries to improve their relationship with Sudan in response.

In a 2016, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour said Khartoum was open to the idea of normalizing ties with Israel in exchange for lifting US sanctions.

Israel is also said to be seeking to take advantage of the insurgency and Takfiri militancy gripping parts of Africa to sell advanced military equipment to conflict-ridden states in the continent.

Israel in contact with Persian Gulf Arab states

Meanwhile, reports have emerged recently of Israel’s attempts to make its secret ties with Persian Gulf Arab governments public and establish formal relations with them.

On Sunday, Israeli news sites reported that Tel Aviv is working to normalize ties with Bahrain, hours after Netanyahu hinted he would soon travel to unspecified Arab states.

Israeli Economy Minister Eli Cohen said on Monday he had been invited to attend a conference next year in Bahrain.

Netanyahu met with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos in Muscat last month, but the controversial visit was kept secret until after the Israeli premier returned to the occupied territories.

The visit to Muscat was the first by an Israeli prime minister since 1996.

On Sunday, Israel’s Hadashot television news reported that Netanyahu had secured reassurances from Oman that airlines flying to and from the occupied territories would be permitted to fly over the kingdom’s airspace.

Activists with a pro-Palestine boycott campaign against Israel said Monday that the meeting between Sultan Qaboos and Netanyahu may have breached a long-dormant Israeli boycott law.

“Since 1977, official records stopped mentioning the Law of Boycotting Israel, neither denying it nor confirming it,” an Omani activist with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement told the Middle East Eye news portal.

“This happened when the country took a neutral policy in foreign affairs, including accepting normalizing ties with the Zionist entity,” the activist added.

Another activist said several prominent activists had been arrested shortly before the Israeli prime minister’s visit to Muscat for pro-Palestinian posts on social media, adding, however, that they were freed after disassociating themselves from BDS Oman.

“There is no clear legal path of how to implement the law. But even discussing this topic is a risky business, because there is no political free speech,” he said.

The activist also noted that BDS Oman had sent its “sincerest apologies” to the Palestinian people after a visit by “criminal” Netanyahu.

November 26, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

French bank pays huge US fine for doing business in Cuba, Iran

RT | November 20, 2018

Societe Generale has agreed to pay $1.34 billion to US federal and state authorities to settle a pending legal dispute over violations of US trade sanctions against Iran and other countries.

One of France’s largest banks has also pledged to pay $95 million to resolve another dispute over violations of anti-money laundering regulations.

“We acknowledge and regret the shortcomings that were identified in these settlements, and have cooperated with the US authorities to resolve these matters,” the group CEO Frederic Oudea said in a statement.

“These resolutions, following on the heels of the resolution of other investigations earlier this year, allow the bank to close a chapter on our most important historical disputes.”

The bank, informally known as SocGen, reportedly violated the Trading with the Enemy Act by illegally transferring billions of dollars to partners registered or located in countries targeted by US embargos, including Iran, Sudan, Cuba and Libya.

The banking giant said the settlement wouldn’t have an extra impact on its results for the current financial year. SocGen had previously agreed to $1.3 billion (€1.14 billion) in the US and France to settle investigations over transactions with Libya, and over the suspected rigging of Libor, a benchmark rate tied to finance products and debts. Last year, the bank had paid €963 million ($1.1 billion) over another dispute with the Libyan Investment Authority.

According to the Manhattan US Attorney’s office, the latest fine imposed on SocGen is the second biggest financial penalty issued on a bank for breaching US sanctions. In 2015, French international banking group BNP Paribas agreed to pay $8.9 billion to settle a probe on sanctions violations.

November 20, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

As dictator Kagame unmasked, it is time to reveal Canadian connection

By Yves Engler · October 24, 2018

Canada’s paper of record pulled another layer off the rotting onion of propaganda obscuring the Rwandan tragedy. But, the Globe and Mail has so far remained unwilling to challenge prominent Canadians who’ve crafted the fairy tale serving Africa’s most ruthless dictator.

Two weeks ago a front-page Globe article added to an abundance of evidence suggesting Paul Kagame’s RPF shot down the plane carrying President Juvénal Habyarimana, which sparked the mass killings of spring 1994. “New information supports claims Kagame forces were involved in assassination that sparked Rwandan genocide”, noted the headline. The Globe all but confirmed that the surface-to-air missiles used to assassinate the Rwandan and Burundian Hutu presidents came from Uganda, which backed the RPF’s bid to conquer its smaller neighbour. (A few thousand exiled Tutsi Ugandan troops, including the deputy minister  of defence, “deserted” to invade Rwanda in 1990.) The new revelations strengthen those who argue that responsibility for the mass killings in spring 1994 largely rests with the Ugandan/RPF aggressors and their US/British/Canadian backers.

Despite publishing multiple stories over the past two years questioning the dominant narrative, the Globe has largely ignored the Canadians that shaped this Kagame-friendly storyline. I’ve written a number of articles detailing Roméo Dallaire’s important role in this sordid affair, but another widely regarded Canadian has offered significant ideological support to Kagame’s crimes in Rwanda and the Congo.

As Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF in the late 1990s Stephen Lewis was appointed to a Panel of Eminent Personalities to Investigate the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda and the Surrounding Events. Reportedly instigated by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and partly funded by Canada, the Organization of African Unity’s 2000 report, “The Preventable Genocide”, was largely written by Lewis recruit Gerald Caplan, who was dubbed Lewis’ “close friend and alter ego of nearly 50 years.”

While paying lip service to the complex interplay of ethnic, class and regional politics, as well as international pressures, that spurred the “Rwandan Genocide”, the 300-page report is premised on the unsubstantiated claim there was a high level plan by the Hutu government to kill all Tutsi. It ignores the overwhelming logic and evidence pointing to the RPF as the culprit in shooting down the plane carrying President Habyarimana and much of the army high command, which sparked the mass killings of spring 1994.

The report also rationalizes Rwanda’s repeated invasions of the Congo, including a 1,500 km march to topple the Mobutu regime in Kinshasa and subsequent re-invasion after the government it installed expelled Rwandan troops. That led to millions of deaths during an eight-country war between 1998 and 2003.

In a Democracy Now! interview concerning the 2000 Eminent Personalities report Lewis mentioned “evidence of major human rights violations on the part of the present [Kagame] government of Rwanda, particularly post-genocide in the Kivus and in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.” But, he immediately justified the slaughter, which surpassed Rwanda’s 1994 casualty toll. “Now, let me say that the [Eminent Personalities] panel understands that until Rwanda’s borders are secure, there will always be these depredations. And another terrible failure of the international community was the failure to disarm the refugee camps in the then-Zaire, because it was an invitation to the génocidaires to continue to attack Rwanda from the base within the now- Congo. So we know that has to be resolved. That’s still what’s plaguing the whole Great Lakes region.”

An alternative explanation of “what’s plaguing the whole Great Lakes region” is US/UK/Canada backed Ugandan/RPF belligerence, which began with their invasion of Rwanda in 1990 and continued with their 1996, 1998 and subsequent invasions of the Congo. “An unprecedented 600-page investigation by the UN high commissioner for human rights”, reported a 2010 Guardian story, found Rwanda responsible for “crimes against humanity, war crimes, or even genocide” in the Congo.

Fifteen years after the mass killing in Rwanda in 1994 Lewis was still repeating Kagame’s rationale for unleashing mayhem in the Congo. In 2009 he told a Washington D.C. audience that “just yesterday morning up to two thousand Rwandan troops crossed into the Eastern Region of the Congo to hunt down, it is said, the Hutu génocidaires.”

A year earlier Lewis blamed Rwandan Hutu militias for the violence in Eastern Congo. “What’s happening in eastern Congo is the continuation of the genocide in Rwanda … The Hutu militias that sought refuge in Congo in 1994, attracted by its wealth, are perpetrating rape, mutilation, cannibalism with impunity from world opinion.”

In 2009 the Rwanda News Agency described Lewis as “a very close friend to President Paul Kagame.” And for good reason. Lewis’ has sought to muzzle any questioning of the “RPF and U.S.-U.K.-Canadian party line” on the tragedy of 1994. In 2014 he signed an open letter condemning the BBC documentary Rwanda’s Untold StoryThe 1,266 word public letter refers to the BBC’s “genocide denial”, “genocide deniers” or “deniers” at least 13 times. Notwithstanding Lewis and his co-signers’ smears, which gave Kagame cover to ban the BBC’s Kinyarwanda station, Rwanda’s Untold Story includes interviews with a former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), a former high-ranking member of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda and a number of former Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) associates of Kagame. In “The Kagame-Power Lobby’s Dishonest Attack on the BBC 2’s Documentary on RwandaEdward S. Herman and David Peterson write: “[Lewis, Gerald Caplan, Romeo Dallaire et al.’s] cry of the immorality of ‘genocide denial’ provides a dishonest cover for Paul Kagame’s crimes in 1994 and for his even larger crimes in Zaire-DRC [Congo]. … [The letter signers are] apologists for Kagame Power, who now and in years past have served as intellectual enforcers of an RPF and U.S.-U.K.-Canadian party line.”

Recipient of 37 honorary degrees from Canadian universities, Lewis has been dubbed a “spokesperson for Africa” and “one of the greatest Canadians ever”. On Africa no Canadian is more revered than Lewis. While he’s widely viewed as a champion of the continent, Lewis has backed Africa’s most bloodstained ruler.

It is now time for the Globe and Mail to peel back another layer of the rotting onion of propaganda and investigate Canadian connections to crimes against humanity in Rwanda, Congo and the wider Great Lakes region of Africa.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Moscow Doesn’t Plan to Create Stronghold in Libya – Russian Embassy in UK

Sputnik – October 9, 2018

LONDON – The Russian Embassy in London on Tuesday refuted reports claiming that Moscow was allegedly plotting to get control over European immigration routes in Libya and establish a stronghold against the West.

“This publication has nothing to do with reality. We are treating it as a new attempt to shift the responsibility for the ruined country and destroyed lives of millions of Libyans on Russia which had no relation to the 2011 NATO military intervention which grossly violated the whole range of UN Security Council resolutions,” a representative of the embassy told reporters.

The embassy added that Russia supported peacemaking efforts in Libya and never planned any military intervention.

“We fully respect the UN Security Council Resolution 1970 which imposed an arms embargo on Libya,” the mission representative said.

On Monday, The Sun reported that the UK intelligence had warned UK Prime Minister Theresa May of Moscow’s alleged plans to send weapons and troops to Libya to turn it into “new Syria” and take control of migration routes to Europe thus increasing Moscow’s influence on the West.

Russia calls for the parties to the Libyan conflict to engage in a constructive dialogue on political settlement as the only way to end the crisis, the embassy concluded.

Libya has been in turmoil since the overthrow of its long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country is divided between two governments, with the eastern part controlled by the Libyan National Army and the western part governed by the UN-backed Government of National Accord of Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj.

Libya is also the major gate for migrants from all of the North Africa attempting to cross the Mediterranean and settle in Europe.

October 9, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

UAE recruiting Africans for Saudi-led war: Report

Press TV – October 3, 2018

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia’s key partner in the ongoing Riyadh-led invasion of Yemen, has reportedly been recruiting tribesmen from northern and central parts of Africa to fight in the war.

The campaign features Emirati envoys “seducing” the tribesmen across a vast area spanning southern Libya as well as entire Chad and Niger, who earn a living by herding as well as human and material smuggling, the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) press monitoring organization reported on Wednesday.

“This campaign is supervised by Emirati officials who gained material profits in collaboration with human traffickers,” the report added.

An awareness campaign has been launched by Chadian activists, led by campaigner Mohamed Zain Ibrahim, to warn the tribesmen against joining the Saudi-led war.

“The Arabs of the [Persian] Gulf region, especially the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have never bothered to get to know the Arabs of the desert, and today they are asking for their support and seducing them to fight by their side in Yemen!” MEMO cited Ibrahim as telling pan-Arab Arabi21 electronic newspaper.

The envoys offer potential mercenaries such incentives as sums ranging from $900 to $3,000, in addition to acquiring UAE citizenship in return for their applying for jobs in Emirati security companies.

Ibrahim said the job opportunities were “an actual military recruitment campaign to gather mercenaries for the Yemeni war and use them to fight the people of Yemen, who are Arabs and Muslims as well, and all that for a bunch of dollars.”

“A delegation of Emirati people in business visited Niger in January 2018, where they met Arab tribal leaders and recruited 10,000 tribesmen living between Libya, Chad, and Niger,” MEMO said.

The Emirates has been contributing heavily to the 2015-present war, which seeks to reinstall Yemen’s former Saudi-allied officials.

In addition to their own forces, both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have deployed thousands of militants across the violence-scarred country to intensify the invasion.

The Emirati side began beefing up its contribution in June, when the coalition launched a much-criticized offensive against al-Hudaydah, Yemen’s key port city, which receives the bulk of its imports.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 1 Comment