I cannot help but note that my liberal friends are talking about Patrice Lumumba these days. Why I don’t know. The man is also identified as “Patrick” Lumumba in the US. He was the first Congolese Prime Minister after gaining independence in 1960. Mr Lumumba would be executed in 1961 by the Katangese. By that time he was by many accounts a Soviet puppet and abandoned by the West. What is important to me (and thus ignored by the mainstream media) is the story of the Republic of Katanga as well as that of Moise Tshombe, discussed in detail in Code Name Dawn.
As the Belgians withdrew from the Congo, today the DRC (The Democratic Republic of the Congo) and before that, Zaire, the place fell into chaos. Rape, looting, mutinying soldiers, and everything that possibly could go wrong, did. Katanga Province decided to declare independence away from the Congo under Moise Tshombe, an accountant of great popular fame. Katanga, it must be said, like Biafra in southern Nigeria some years later, was pro-Western and anti-Communist. The country could have worked if allowed to. By far the majority of Katangese supported Moise Tshombe’s actions. Lumumba immediately asked the UN Forces, deployed to keep order, to retake Katanga for him since his own army was as useless then as today. The UN, then under Dag Hammarskjöld, flatly refused to comply. Mr Hammarskjöld rightly declared that it was an internal problem as defined by the UN Charter, sub-section 7 of Article 2. You can read the clause in Code Name Dawn. And that was a major point. As long as Hammarskjöld was alive and UN Secretary-General, the UN did not intervene in a member country’s internal affairs. Hammarskjöld refused, pointing out that such action would be unlawful and against what they stand for. Nevertheless, when Hammarskjöld died in an air crash at Ndola, today Zambia, the situation changed. The death of Hammarskjöld was nothing but a crash due to pilot error, I dismiss all the conspiracy theories in my book. The UN soldiers attacked Katanga when the UN Special Representative in Katanga, Conor Cruise O’Brien, an Irishman, authorised it. And that is where this story comes from, the UN Air Force bombed a Katanga hospital (Shinkolobwe) besides all their other war crimes.
No hospital attack can be condoned by any reasonable man. There cannot be a better example of a war crime under any law anywhere in the world. A report was issued by the doctors there, all 46 of them, which I will quote for you here to make up your own mind: “The Shinkolobwe hospital is visibly marked with an enormous red cross on the roof of the administrative pavilion. At about 8 a.m. two aeroplanes flew over the hospital twice at very low altitude; at about 9:30 a.m. the aeroplanes started machine-gunning the market square, and then the school and the hospital in which there were about 300 patients and their families. The administrative building, the left wing of the four pavilions and the household buildings were bombed and show hundreds of points of impact made by the machine-gun bullets. In the maternity, roof, ceilings, walls, beds, tables and chairs are riddled with bullets; a bomb exploded in another pavilion which was luckily unoccupied; the roof, the ceiling, half of the walls and the furniture have been blasted and shattered. The blood from the wounded makes the buildings look like a battlefield. In the maternity, four Katangan women who had just been delivered and one new-born child are wounded, a visiting child of four years old is killed; two men and one child are killed. Out of the 300 patients, 240 fled into the bush, refusing to be evacuated to any other hospital, for they say... ‘the UNO prefers to aim at the hospitals and we would henceforth no longer feel safe there.’” The Katanga doctors sent Secretary-General U Thant a telegram: “Regret your odious lie constituted by statement that UNO mercenaries (they meant the UN Forces, ONUC) do not fire at Red Cross ambulances and others–stop–You would be authorised to speak after spending night with us in hospital bombarded by your shameless and lawless ruffians.” There were many more allegations of war crimes, all duly witnessed. Many are reported in my book.
Obviously, the allegations were crossly denied and the whitewashing started across the world. US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, G Mennen Williams, assured the US public, still believing what their government told them: “The Katangese government is fabricating horrendous tales of indiscriminate mayhem by United Nations troops.”
This was widely read and believed to be true.
However, a journalist at the scene inside Katanga, Smith Hempstone, responded contrarily but his article was not read widely nor given much attention to by the mainstream liars in cahoots with Washington: “Unquestionably, the Katanga Information Service had played up United Nations atrocities, real and imagined, for all they were worth. Williams might have been in a better position to judge, however, had he spent some time in Elisabethville’s Leo Deux while UN mortar shells rained down during those last days before Christmas. Every newsman there had seen civilians shelled with his own eyes. Each of us had seen Red Cross vehicles destroyed by United Nations fire. Or were all of us lying? Georges Alavet, the Swedish Red Cross representative, lay in his shallow grave in testimony that we were not. Sanché de Gramont of the New York Herald Tribune might well have sent Williams a few pieces of the shrapnel picked from his body after United Nations troops shot up the civilian car in which he was leaving Elisabethville. Much has happened since December 12, 1961. Like any point along the infinite corridor of time, it is neither the beginning nor the end. But it is a reference point, a handhold on an otherwise glass-smooth sphere too large to grasp in its entirety. The story of Katanga, its tragic struggle for freedom against the United Nations and the part that this story plays in the overall view of the United Nations itself, is so vast, so huge and overpowering that it seems impossible to find a place to begin. But, like most seemingly overwhelming tasks, it is not as important where one begins as it is that one does begin. To move a mountain, one must dig. December 12, 1961, is the first spade.”
You can only shake your head in disgust. You know, we always hear these horror stories of the enemy, that is Iraqis, Syrians, Russians, and whoever is disliked by the mainstream for whatever reason, doing such things. Yet, the West is just as guilty. In October 2015 the USAF bombed a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. No less than 42 civilians died, patients were burned to death in their beds and the lying started immediately. The Pentagon changed their story four times and then decided that the massacre did not amount to a war crime because it was “unintentional.” I assure you, if that argument is used in the ICC (International Crime Court), you would be laughed all the way to the cells. There are numerous other proven examples in my books of US/NATO war crimes. I don’t have space here to repeat them. To make a long story short, Katanga fell and was reincorporated to the Congo, still the richest province/state in the country. The Congo became Zaire, a failed but widely supported by the West, country, as is the DRC today.
Moise Tshombe was murdered some years later by someone, we can guess who. An aircraft he was on was skyjacked by one Francis Bodenan and diverted to Algeria after he tried to return to the Congo against the wishes of France. He was placed under house arrest in Algeria and died eighteen months later in 1969, a young man at 49 years of age. No one believes it was not murder or that it really was ‘heart failure’ as his death certificate states. The aircraft hijackers, there were two, well, they worked for SDECE, the very same people who later became the DGSE or French Foreign Espionage, after sinking a Greenpeace ship in New Zealand where one died. There is a reason why we rate the French Intelligence Service so highly in Africa. They do what is needed. But Tshombe was the real hero here, not Patrice Lumumba.