Diary: Legal experts hoping to solve a 50-year-old mystery

 

More than 50 years have passed since the mysterious aircraft crash which killed Dag Hammarskjold, a Swedish diplomat who some think was the best secretary general the United Nations ever had. He was fearless in his criticism of the great powers of the day, including the UK. When Katanga, a mineral-rich province of the Congo, declared independence from the government of Patrice Lumumba in July 1960, Hammarskjold suspected collusion by Western mining interests and was flying there to broker a peace deal on 18 September 1961, when the aircraft came down near the Katanga border. Eight months earlier, Lumumba had been kidnapped and taken to Katanga to be tortured and killed, evidence that it did not do to mess with Katanga's mining interests.

The cause of that crash has never been satisfactorily established but even after so many years, a commission of jurists – a panel of legal experts – has been set up in the hope of finding out. It is chaired by Sir Stephen Sedley, a retired Lord Justice of Appeal. "The whole of the truth, in significant respects, has yet to be told," the Labour peer, David Lea, who helped set up the commission, said yesterday.

Wealthy prove to have sensitive eardrums

Having previously blamed "health and safety" for the sudden end of Bruce Springsteen's live gig with Paul McCartney at the weekend, the promoters, Live Nation, now have a new explanation. The problem was the sensitive eardrums of wealthy and influential people living nearby, chief operating officer Paul Latham has told Classic Rock magazine. He added: "The residents of Park Lane and Mayfair may not be numerous, but they wield inordinate power over the Gogs and Magogs of Parliament."

A name from the shadows

Those who have heard of Jeremy Thorpe, one of the most dazzlingly talented and self-destructive politicians of the past 50 years, may be surprised to know that he is still alive, though he has been ill for years. He led the Liberals when Edward Heath and Harold Wilson led Britain's two main parties. In his memoirs, Thorpe had nothing much to say about the alleged homosexual affair with the model Norman Scott, and the bizarre allegation that he attempted to have Scott murdered, which destroyed his career. He was acquitted of the charge at trial. The 83-year-old was mentioned in the Western Morning News this week because his three bedroom 16th-century thatched cottage has gone on the market for an asking price of £625,000.

Attack dog goes on the defence

It is often said that those who dish it out should know how to take it, but this does not seem to be a maxim close to the heart of Andrew Gilligan, one of the most famous attack-dog journalists in the land. After leaving the BBC and moving back into print journalism, he waged a relentless campaign, in the Evening Standard and later in the Daily Telegraph, to prevent Ken Livingstone being re-elected as Mayor of London.

On page 642 of Livingstone's memoirs You Can't Say That, Gilligan came upon a reference to himself, alleging that he had been "shown the door" by the Standard, and that editorials since published in the paper said "there had been no corruption or cronyism at City Hall".

Gilligan interpreted this as saying that he had been sacked and that his award-winning exposés repudiated, and called for m'learned friends. Livingstone's publishers, Faber & Faber, denied that the words were intended to have that meaning, but agreed to pay unspecified damages. An apology was read out in court yesterday. "Being lied about by liars is an occupational hazard of my job, but anyone tempted to follow Livingstone's example should be in no doubt that I will defend my reputation and journalism.

"As for Ken, he has today learned that there are indeed some things you can't say," Gilligan triumphantly declared.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes