Who killed...?

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Who killed...?

#1 Post by Cacophonix » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:37 am

Dag Hammarskjöld, not Kurt Kobain?

A new documentary "Cold Case Hammarskjöld" has posited a credible thesis as to who might have been the perpertrator of this crime.

The crash has spawned many conspiracy theories. In 2016 the UN sought to reopen its inquiry when documents emerged that revived a claim that Hammarskjöld may have been killed by apartheid-era South African agents backed by the CIA, Foreign Policy reported at the time. The documentary will apparently resolve the issue.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9352780/?ref_=ttpl_pl_tt

Jan van Risseghem.jpg
Jan van Risseghem .png
Jan van Risseghem was only a teenager when his mother ordered him to flee Nazi-occupied Belgium for her native England with his brother Maurice. After hiding in a convent, and an epic journey across the war-torn continent, they reached safety in Portugal, then took a ship north.

Once in England, the pair signed up with the Belgian resistance, and with the help of an uncle enrolled for flight training with the RAF, a decision that shaped not just their war, but the rest of their lives.

Half a century later, flying skills he learned in Britain would also make the younger van Risseghem internationally notorious, when he was publicly linked to the plane crash that killed Swedish diplomat Dag Hammarskjöld, the UN secretary general, in 1961.

His plane, the Albertina, came down in forest just outside the town of Ndola in present-day Zambia, then Northern Rhodesia, just after midnight on 18 September, as it approached the town’s airport.

Fifteen people on board died immediately, and the only survivor in hospital a few days later. The same day, a US ambassador sent a secret cable – one that stayed buried in files for decades – speculating about possible sabotage and apparently naming Van Risseghem as a suspect.

But his name would not be connected with Hammarskjöld’s in public until many years later, after the Belgian pilot had returned to his quiet hometown of Lint with his British wife, raised two sons and mourned the death of one, retired, and then died a war hero himself.

This may be because, as the initial shock and suspicions about Hammarskjöld’s death gradually faded, so too did interest in the crash.

Rumours about why the plane came down were fuelled by no less a figure than former US president Harry Truman. He told reporters two days after Hammarskjöld’s death that the UN leader “was on the point of getting something done when they killed him. Notice that I said ‘when they killed him.’”

He refused to elaborate, but it was the start of decades of suspicions that western governments were not sharing all the information they held about the crash.
Separate inquiries – including one by the UN, and another by Hammarskjöld’s native Sweden – failed to provide a compelling explanation of what happened, all blaming pilot error or reaching an open verdict.

It took nearly 50 years, and publication of a damning book by academic Susan Williams, Who Killed Hammarskjöld?, for the UN to start asking that same question again, rekindling doubts about the attack from conspiracy theorists who had picked over it for decades.

Among the critical evidence gathered by Williams and independent researcher Göran Björkdahl is testimony from a former US spy, posted to a listening station in Cyprus, who heard a recording of a pilot apparently narrating the attack as it unfolded, transmitted just minutes after it happened.

It matches accounts collected from Zambian witnesses living around the crash site, who said they had seen a second aircraft near Hammarskjöld’s plane and unusual lights and sounds in the sky. They had been largely ignored by white officials working on the early inquiries. The sole immediate survivor of the crash also described some kind of aerial attack, involving “sparks in the air” before he died a week after the crash. Doctors said he was lucid at the time, but his testimony had also been largely ignored.

Mining intrigue
Hammarskjöld’s death happened amid a post-colonial race for resources in Africa. On his final flight, he was heading for a secret meeting to broker an end to the civil war in recently independent Congo, mineral-rich and on the brink of collapse.

The eastern province of Katanga, home to most of the country’s vast deposits of ore – including the uranium ore used to make the bombs that America dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – and source of much of the country’s income, had declared independence the previous year.

Rebel leader Moïse Tshombe had covert military and technical backing from the Belgian government, the former colonial power, and support from western mining firms with interests in the area. Hammarskjöld believed the UN had a duty to intervene because Katanga’s secession posed an existential threat to Congo.

A champion of decolonisation and an implacable idealist who believed the UN should be protector and platform for small countries, he over-ruled the reservations of the UN’s legal adviser to order military action to end the rebellion, infuriating Britain and the US. But UN troops had been outmanoeuvred and a group were now under siege. In a bid to end the standoff and the conflict, Hammarskjöld was flying to a secret meeting with Tshombe when he died.

Rebel pilot
Jan van Risseghem had landed a new job in the middle of this febrile conflict in early 1961. He would have been comfortable in a war zone, after his dramatic escape from Europe, and his service in the resistance and the wartime RAF.

Charismatic and handsome, he was the younger son of a British woman from an aristocratic family that traced its roots back to before the Norman conquest, and a Belgian father. The family lived in a part of Poland that would become East Germany, and later returned to the Belgian town of Lint.

It was, by all accounts, an idyllic upbringing. Photos show the brothers playing in large gardens, fishing with their mother, while their father was a more quiet presence because of injuries he suffered in the first world war.

Despite this childhood reminder of the horrors of conflict, the brothers plunged into service themselves, proving to be assets to the Belgian resistance and the RAF with their fluent English, French and Flemish, and knowledge of the continent.

Service nurtured a lifelong love of flight. Jan always wanted to be in the air. “Flying was part of him,” says niece Marianne van Risseghem, who recalls exhilarating flights with her uncle decades later, when he worked for an aerial surveillance company in Belgium.

He left military service after the war, and joined Belgium’s civilian airline, Sabena. But he was fired after he fell out with them about security, he told aviation historian Leif Hellström in an interview recorded in the 1990s, and took a job in Katanga.

He told Hellström that he was officially hired as a civilian trainer for pilots in Avikat, as the rebel air force was called, but he described a much wider range of responsibilities. He recounts meetings with rebel leader Tshombe where he described himself as “your air commander”, discussed how transport planes were modified to be used for bombing raids and recounted discussions about the feasibility of attacking major cities. He even remembers designing a logo for his Avikat squadron.

Confession to a friend
Pierre Coppens, who got to know Van Risseghem four years later when he was back in Belgium flying for a parachute training centre, said his friend told him those unspecified wider tasks also included attacking Hammarskjöld. He said he was simply ordered to bring down a plane and didn’t know who was inside, Coppens told researchers working on a new film about the crash, Cold Case Hammarskjöld. It premieres at the Sundance film festival in two weeks’ time, and names Van Risseghem as the attacker. Full details of the filmmakers’ research are revealed here for the first time.

Those details emerged over many conversations, in bars or waiting for the rain to clear, and Coppens was sceptical at first, he said. Just slightly too young himself to have fought in the second world war, he was used to older men regaling him with tall stories of conflict. “At the start I was believing it was a joke,” he says. But he eventually came to think his friend was utterly serious.

By his own account Van Risseghem had rare skills in the cockpit. He claimed he could get “an iron with wings” into the sky, and told Hellström he was one of just a handful of pilots on the rebel air force who could fly in the dark. And in his daring escape from the Nazis, followed by years of service, he had shown he had the courage for an audacious mission, such as a night-time attack that would take his plane to the limits of its range.

Coppens said Van Risseghem laid out the details of a complicated, logistically challenging plan. He used a Fouga Magister jet – the last one remaining to rebel forces after one was seized by the UN and another destroyed in a crash.

He stripped out everything he could from the plane, making room to install a cannon for the attack, and reducing weight to increase his range, he told Coppens. He added extra fuel tanks and left from the airport at a a town called Kipushi, far closer to Ndola than other airports, but not previously considered as a possible launch site for an attack because its short dirt runway posed a huge challenge for a jet to take off from.

It was a day or two before he found out who he had killed, Coppens claimed. He had only asked his friend once if he ever felt remorse for the attack. “He said: ‘Well, in life, sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do, but they are an order’,” he remembers.

Vital records
Van Risseghem’s surviving relatives have always insisted that the man they loved would not have been involved in the attack. Through a niece, his wife that he was in Rhodesia negotiating the purchase of a transport plane when the attack happened.

Meticulously kept flight logbooks also appear to show that he was not flying at all at the time. They show Van Risseghem grounded for the first three weeks of September, after he was forced to return to Belgium.

The film-makers, however, have uncovered evidence that the flight logs were filled with false names, meaning they had been doctored by Van Risseghem or with his knowledge. That makes it harder to rely on them as accurate accounts of dates or times, and is particularly striking because the pilot himself insisted years later they were a meticulous record of every hour he spent in the air. Van Risseghem insisted to Hellström that his documents were scrupulously maintained. “It was not a Boy Scout sort of outfit. It was thoroughly done as it should be done. So every hour [was noted] in my log book,” he said of his time with Avikat.

“I was not having any of this hanky business, where you do a flight and don’t register it,” he said in the interview, which Hellström taped and shared years later with researchers.

Fellow mercenary pilot Roger Bracco does not think Van Risseghem shot down the plane, but has said his log books appear to contain false names of both pilots and places. He has identified at least one he did not recognise, “Delone, G”, listed on many fights. Asked if a pilot could have been operating in the area for Katangese forces without Bracco hearing of him, he replied: “Impossible.”

Roger Bracco.JPG

Since the UN reopened its inquiry, further evidence has been unearthed, including the US diplomatic cable that names Van Risseghem (misspelled as Vak Risseghel) as a suspect.

It has also emerged that at least one US plane with powerful radio surveillance capacity was on the tarmac at Ndola that evening. Transcripts of any radio recordings America holds, from the Albertina or its attacker, could settle once and for all the questions about Hammarskjöld’s fate – and whether Van Risseghem had a role.

But while the US has admitted it has further evidence in classified files, it has so far declined to share it with the UN, despite repeated requests from the new commissioner.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/ ... 1961-plane


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Re: Who killed...?

#2 Post by Cacophonix » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:04 am

Back in the 90's Caco was en route to Birmingham in one of those old Intercity 125 trains when the elderly bloke sitting opposite on the train noticed my flight bag and we got into conversation.

He claimed that he had been a Shackleton pilot during the early 50's and then subsequently he had flown as a mercenary in Africa in the 60's. I can't vouch for the veracity of his tales but his knowledge of Africa and flying was accurate and I have no doubt that he had been a pilot of some sort. Even if his stories were fabrications he should have been a novelist, as I was enthralled by the tales and was sorry get off the train in Birmingham.

He told me that the Beliques as he called them used, to fly with hand guns, during the Congo War, and, in some cases, claymore mines, in their cockpits, to be used to commit suicide if they were downed in rebel territory, lest they were captured and suffered the horrors of being tortured to death.

Alex Henshaw told a tale of his flight as part of sales trip in the late 40's with his wife and child aboard a Miles Gemini over the Congo, where he passed a handgun to his wife with an injunction to her to shoot her son and then herself, if he was killed or seriously injured in a forced landing over the jungle, after he had become lost midst huge tropical storms above the impenetrable jungle. Apparently the ants in that region can smell human blood for over a mile and will swarm in search of their victim. I can't vouch for the veracity of that story but as it was Alex Henshaw who told it, I shall believe that too!

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Re: Who killed...?

#3 Post by Capetonian » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:24 am

A similar mystery, or a raft of conspiracy theories, surrounds the death of the then President of Mozambique, Samora Machel.

There were claims, as ever with South Africa blamed for so much, that their security forces had set up a false beacon so that the aircraft would fly into high terrain.

Most likely, combination of errors by flight deck crew.
One thing you can say for the French, when civilization falls they have less far to fall than everyone else.

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Re: Who killed...?

#4 Post by Cacophonix » Mon Jan 14, 2019 12:08 pm

Capetonian wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:24 am
A similar mystery, or a raft of conspiracy theories, surrounds the death of the then President of Mozambique, Samora Machel.

There were claims, as ever with South Africa blamed for so much, that their security forces had set up a false beacon so that the aircraft would fly into high terrain.

Most likely, combination of errors by flight deck crew.
I agree.

There used to be a very good synopsis of this case on the old FlyAfrica site, including a lot of comments form the old guard SADF cadre as well as a number of ex SAAF pilots.. Now sadly lost to posterity!

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Re: Who killed...?

#5 Post by ian16th » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:28 pm

Capetonian wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:24 am
A similar mystery, or a raft of conspiracy theories, surrounds the death of the then President of Mozambique, Samora Machel.

There were claims, as ever with South Africa blamed for so much, that their security forces had set up a false beacon so that the aircraft would fly into high terrain.

Most likely, combination of errors by flight deck crew.
I heard the late Judge Cecil Margo QC, DSO, DFC give a talk at the Joburg SAAFA.

He was very convinced the crew were p*ssed!
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Re: Who killed...?

#6 Post by Capetonian » Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:38 pm

I went to a talk at the CPT press club, can't remember who the speaker was, but his opinion was the same.

I went to a talk at the same venue by the late Eugene Terreblanche. Whatever you thought of his politics, he was charismatic, riveting, and charming. He started off by saying :
"South Africa is a bilingual country. Ek sal nou Afrikaans praat."
He stood and waited, with a smile on his face, as half the audience filed out. Once the door had closed behind the last one, he said, in English :
"Is there anyone here who doesn't speak Afrikaans?"
A few hands went up, including mine, and he continued mostly in heavily accented but correct English.
One thing you can say for the French, when civilization falls they have less far to fall than everyone else.

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Re: Who killed...?

#7 Post by Cacophonix » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:47 pm

Capetonian wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:38 pm
I went to a talk at the CPT press club, can't remember who the speaker was, but his opinion was the same.

I went to a talk at the same venue by the late Eugene Terreblanche. Whatever you thought of his politics, he was charismatic, riveting, and charming. He started off by saying :
"South Africa is a bilingual country. Ek sal nou Afrikaans praat."
He stood and waited, with a smile on his face, as half the audience filed out. Once the door had closed behind the last one, he said, in English :
"Is there anyone here who doesn't speak Afrikaans?"
A few hands went up, including mine, and he continued mostly in heavily accented but correct English.
Eugene Terreblanche, he of the holey underpants and trysts with the misguided missile Jani Allan.

He was actually a very nasty piece of work who beat many of his workers and a black security guard so badly that the poor man was left brain damaged. Terreblanche, in turn, was beaten to death some years later by two of his labourers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jani_Allan

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Re: Who killed...?

#8 Post by Capetonian » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:58 pm

Jani Allan is also a nasty piece of work. She was a client at one of the travel agencies I worked at. A most unpleasant bitch who spoke with a posh British accent but actually as common as muck and more of a Jo'burg Kugel than anything else.
One thing you can say for the French, when civilization falls they have less far to fall than everyone else.

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Re: Who killed...?

#9 Post by Cacophonix » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:28 pm

Capetonian wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:58 pm
Jani Allan is also a nasty piece of work. She was a client at one of the travel agencies I worked at. A most unpleasant bitch who spoke with a posh British accent but actually as common as muck and more of a Jo'burg Kugel than anything else.
I have never met her but while she was working for Tertius Myburgh, her mentor and then editor of the Sunday TImes and who was, very likely, a SA Security Services Spy, I had lunch with one of her colleagues here in London. He was not particularly enamoured of her, mostly because of her self-serving shenanigans at The Sunday Times and the whole Terreblanche emroglio that was then ensuing!

Her biggest mistake was not getting George Carman to handle her case before C4 got him. Get Carman as they used to say.
In retrospect, in an interview published by the London Sunday Times in 1990, Allan questioned whether her association with Terre'Blanche had been orchestrated by her editor, Tertius Myburgh. Despite having become his "blue-eyed girl" she questioned whether Myburgh had used her as part of a National Party government plot to discredit the far right. Several South African journalists have alleged that Myburgh colluded with the South African Bureau of State Security in the 1970s and its successor intelligence agencies in the 1980s.
In 1992, Allan sued Channel 4, the British broadcaster, for libel, claiming that in the documentary The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife by Nick Broomfield she was presented as a "woman of easy virtue". Amid a montage of photographs from Allan's earlier days as a photographic model and Sunday Times quotes Broomfield claimed that Jani Allan had had an affair with Terre'Blanche. The documentary-maker and his crew were following the AWB and its activities for the documentary that was watched by 2.3 million Channel 4 viewers.
During the trial, Channel 4 denied the claim that they had suggested Allan had an affair with Terre'Blanche. Prior to the case, Allan had been awarded £40,000 in out-of-court settlements from the Evening Standard and Options magazine over suggestive remarks made about the nature of Allan's association with Terre'Blanche. Allan was represented by the late Peter Carter-Ruck in the case and Channel 4 was represented by the late QC George Carman. Carman described the case as rare in that it had "international, social, political and cultural implications."
The case sparked intense media interest in both Britain and South Africa, with several court transcripts appearing in the press. Allan famously told Carman, "Whatever award is given for libel, being cross-examined by you would not make it enough money." Several character witnesses were flown in from South Africa.

Terre'Blanche submitted a sworn statement to the London court denying that he had had an affair with Allan, saying "All these attempts to exaggerate the extent of my relationship with Miss Allan will ultimately be seen for what they are - a pack of lies." Allan's case was dealt a heavy blow by the statements of her former flatmate, Linda Shaw, the Sunday Times astrologer. Shaw testified in court that Allan had told her that she was in love with Terre'Blanche and wanted to marry him. She admitted that she knew about the relationship early on and that Allan had described Terre'Blanche as a "great lay, but a little heavy". Allan rebuffed these claims in court, describing Terre'Blanche's physical appearance unfavourably: "I've always thought he looked rather like a pig in a safari suit." Shaw described how she had peeped through a keyhole and witnessed Allan in a compromising position with a large man. Allan's QC, Charles Gray dismissed Shaw's "wildly unlikely" testimony and stressed the physical impossibility of her claim. He continued to express that her field of vision through the keyhole would not be sufficient to support her claim.

Shaw also testified that four months later, in September 1988, she got drunk with Allan and accompanied her to a 1 am rendezvous with Terre'Blanche. She alleged she watched from a wall as the couple kissed, embraced and fondled for half an hour in the back of Allan's car.Terre'Blanche denied ever having met Shaw.Allan alleged that Shaw had sinister motivations for testifying against her, saying "she has told people she was obsessed with me and that was the only way she could exorcise me. She was openly bisexual." She also agreed with the statement that Shaw was a "habitual liar" and continued "I disapproved of the number of men she had traipsing into her bedroom and suggested she should have a turnstile on her bedroom door".[168] Andrew Broulidakis, a childhood friend of Allan's who also knew Shaw, brought into question the latter's character in a draft statement supplied to the court.Sebastian Faulks remarked in The Guardian: "What is it that makes George Carman worth £10,000 a day when plaintiffs witness Andrew Broulidakis was so easily able to wrong foot him." A witness also alleged that Shaw had disparagingly referred to Allan as a "frigid bitch" and it would be a "scream" to have her "nailed for gang-banging Nazis". Shaw also faced allegations that she had deliberately gotten pregnant to ensnare a boyfriend and that she had said "I Never trust a man until I've slept with him."

Further testimony was given by AWB financial secretary Kays Smit. Smit testified that Allan had phoned her to come and remove a drunken Terre'Blanche from her flat early one morning because Allan was expecting someone and was anxious to get rid of him. Smit testified to finding Terre'Blanche on Allan's couch "naked except for a khaki jacket around his shoulders and a pair of underpants". Her description of Terre'Blanche's green underpants with holes in them became the source of much ridicule in the press.Additional testimony against Allan was given by former colleague Marlene Burger, who claimed Terre'Blanche had proposed to Allan in April 1989. According to Burger, Allan was thrilled and asked Burger to be her bridesmaid. Gray countered that the claims were "utterly unfounded and wholly untrue".

On day 2, Allan's 1984 diary was delivered to Carman's junior counsel and used against Allan in cross examination. The notebook contained details of Allan's sexual fantasies about a married Italian airline pilot named Ricardo and it cast doubt on her professed celibacy. Allan told the court that her relationship with Ricardo only included "a degree of sexual foreplay". The judge said that any finding that Allan had lied about the extent of this relationship did not mean she had an affair with Terre'Blanche, whom she described as "a very different man". The diary's disappearance was investigated by the police, but it was found that the diary had been left in the home of an English couple with whom Allan had resided in 1989. Allan revealed "I was in a traumatic state and I wrote down my worst fears and probably my worst desires," continuing "It was a way of dealing with my sexual problems. [...] This notebook is deeply embarrassing. I wrote it when I was under psychiatric care." Later her former husband Gordon Schachat provided evidence supporting claims Allan had made about her disinterest in sex and citing it as a reason for the breakdown of their marriage. Schachat also rebuffed perceptions in the media about her image: "her sexy public image is totally at odds with her real personality", continuing to describe her as "shy". He insisted she was neither an extreme right-winger or anti-semitic.

On day 11 of the case, Anthony Travers, a former British representative of the AWB and spectator of the court, was stabbed. A court usher received a call saying Peter Carter-Ruck, Allan's solicitor, had been stabbed. This stemmed from a message by Travers who was lying in an alleyway. He said to a passer-by 'tell Carter-Ruck I've been stabbed'. It quickly spread that Carter-Ruck had been stabbed, followed by speculation that he was the intended victim. During the trial Jani Allan's London flat was burgled. She said that she received a death threat on a telephone call in the court ushers' offices. The hotel room of a Channel 4 producer, Stevie Godson, was also ransacked.

Allan eventually lost the case on 5 August 1992. The judge found that Channel 4's allegations had not defamed Allan, although he did not rule on whether or not there had been an affair. The outcome received major media attention in South Africa and the United Kingdom, appearing on the front page of seven major newspaper such as The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent and The Guardian. Reports later emerged that Allan was considering an appeal and that Terre'Blanche was considering suing the broadcaster for libel. Following the verdict, Allan reiterated her stance "I am not, nor have I ever been, involved with Terre'Blanche". Taki Theodoracopolous paid £5, 000 for the court records and gave them to Allan as he believed she had "been mugged".

Soon after, several publications speculated about political forces at play during the case. The Independent published details of what it called "dirty tricks" used during the trial. Allan suggested that pro-government forces in South Africa wanted her to lose the case so that Terre'Blanche would be "irreparably damaged" in the eyes of his "God-fearing Calvinist followers". Another interpretation is that the AWB wanted to steal a manuscript of a book she was writing about the organisation. The AWB countered these claims, although Travers described the book as "dynamite." The South African business newspaper Financial Mail published a lead story on 6 August detailing the theory that F.W. de Klerk had orchestrated the libel case to discredit Terre'Blanche and the far right movement in South Africa. In the wake of the trial, Allan started a telephone service, with advertisements promising the journalist's insights into the lives and characters of defense witnesses, Linda Shaw, Marlene Burger and Kays Smit. The South African Sunday Times appealed to the ombudsman to discontinue the £1 a minute service. In March 1993, Die Burger reported that Allan was negotiating an appeal that was projected to be heard at the high court later that year. This was ultimately not pursued.
From wikipedia

Crazy daze and lonely nights....



But I digress from the track of true aviation the death of Dag Hammarskjöld.

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Re: Who killed...?

#10 Post by Cacophonix » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:34 am

Cacophonix wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:04 am
...

Alex Henshaw told a tale of his flight as part of sales trip in the late 40's with his wife and child aboard a Miles Gemini over the Congo, where he passed a handgun to his wife with an injunction to her to shoot her son and then herself, if he was killed or seriously injured in a forced landing over the jungle, after he had become lost midst huge tropical storms above the impenetrable jungle. Apparently the ants in that region can smell human blood for over a mile and will swarm in search of their victim. I can't vouch for the veracity of that story but as it was Alex Henshaw who told it, I shall believe that too!

Caco
Being a total nerd I had to find out whether or not the army ant story in the Congo had some veracity as, although I have encountered safari ants in Southern Africa, had never come across anything as bad as indicated by Alex Henshaw's story quoted above. Clearly the term safari as noted in South Africa is not the same species, as the Central African and East African ants are killers it appears. Lying injured or wounded, unable to move in the face of a Central African safari ant onslaught would, indeed be a most horrible way to die.

https://www.funeralwise.com/digital-dyi ... o-florida/
Deadly Ants in Africa
But the most fearsome ant of all is surely siafu, or the African safari ant, also known as the army ant. These ants are native to central and east Africa and form colonies with as many as 20 million individuals. The ants are most dangerous to humans during times of drought. They will form columns 50 million strong and strike off across the countryside in search of food. The columns are easily avoided, as they go at a pace of about 60 feet an hour. The columns are defended by a special soldier class of ants. They have gigantic heads with large pincer-like mandibles with incredible shearing capacity. The bite is very painful, and because their jaws are so strong removal is difficult. Even if the ant is pulled apart into two pieces the head will retain its hold. Though the ants typically feed on earthworms, large columns can kill small mammals and eat their flesh.

For those things unable to move, like say a home, the result can be devastating, or incredibly helpful, as the ants will literally eat everything edible in their path.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorylus
Such is the strength of the ant's jaws that, in East Africa, they are used as natural, emergency sutures. Various East African indigenous tribal peoples (e.g. Maasai moran), when suffering from a gash in the bush, will use the soldiers to stitch the wound by getting the ants to bite on both sides of the gash, then breaking off the body. This use of ants as makeshift surgical staples creates a seal that can hold for days at a time, and the procedure can be repeated, if necessary, allowing natural healing to commence
May the spirit of Alex Henshaw forgive me for even questioning an English gentleman's tale.

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Re: Who killed...?

#11 Post by Cacophonix » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:11 pm

Cacophonix wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:04 am
Back in the 90's Caco was en route to Birmingham in one of those old Intercity 125 trains when the elderly bloke sitting opposite on the train noticed my flight bag and we got into conversation.

He claimed that he had been a Shackleton pilot during the early 50's and then subsequently he had flown as a mercenary in Africa in the 60's. I can't vouch for the veracity of his tales but his knowledge of Africa and flying was accurate and I have no doubt that he had been a pilot of some sort. Even if his stories were fabrications he should have been a novelist, as I was enthralled by the tales and was sorry get off the train in Birmingham.

He told me that the Beliques as he called them used, to fly with hand guns, during the Congo War, and, in some cases, claymore mines, in their cockpits, to be used to commit suicide if they were downed in rebel territory, lest they were captured and suffered the horrors of being tortured to death.

Alex Henshaw told a tale of his flight as part of sales trip in the late 40's with his wife and child aboard a Miles Gemini over the Congo, where he passed a handgun to his wife with an injunction to her to shoot her son and then herself, if he was killed or seriously injured in a forced landing over the jungle, after he had become lost midst huge tropical storms above the impenetrable jungle. Apparently the ants in that region can smell human blood for over a mile and will swarm in search of their victim. I can't vouch for the veracity of that story but as it was Alex Henshaw who told it, I shall believe that too!

Caco
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-42944357

Russian media have lauded a pilot killed in Syria as a hero, saying he detonated his grenade to avoid being captured by jihadists who had shot his plane out of the sky.

Roman Filipov's reported last words were: "Here's for the guys."

His Sukhoi-25 ground-attack aircraft was shot down over rebel-held Idlib province. He survived the attack and ejected, but died in a ground fight.

Former al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham said it had attacked the plane.

TV Zvezda, which is controlled by Russia's defence ministry, said the pilot was posthumously presented with the Hero of Russia medal, also known as the Gold Star.

It reported that he told his superiors he had been hit by a missile, before ejecting himself from the plane.

The BBC has not been able to independently verify what he said at the time or how this information was obtained.


Caco

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