OAKHURST – Branches Books and Gifts will host author Paul Henry Abram on Saturday, June 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. as he signs and talks about his book Trona, Bloody Trona, and some of the less expected ramifications of writing the stories he chose to tell.
When his second book was published in the summer of 2013, Paul Henry Abram had no idea that one anecdote he revealed in the non-fiction American labor struggle story would have profound impact on history.
In March the United Nations announced a panel of three experts would convene to reopen an investigation into the death of Hammarskjöld in 1961.
The Swedish author/economist was among those who perished when their plane crashed on African soil in what is now known as Zambia.
An article published on Monday, Mar. 16 in the New York Times explains Paul Henry Abram’s connection to the international incident, that is, a downed plane with a mysterious and still-undetermined cause that killed an important peace-seeking diplomat.
“While I was in the USAF and attached to NSA, I ‘witnessed’ the murder of then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold,” Paul Henry Abram says, speaking from his home office. “Because of my and other new disclosures, the UN announced that they are re-opening the investigation into Hammarskjold’s death, which has always been presumed an ‘accident.'”
Back in 1961, Abram was a young Russian language expert for the U.S. Air Force, stationed on the Island of Crete as a radio intercept operator attached to the National Security Agency (NSA). During the course of his duties Abram says he heard a shocking pronouncement that the plane carrying the Secretary-General was shot down.
Details of the story were recounted in Abram’s nonfiction account of his post-Air Force days as a lawyer fighting for justice during a longshore union workers’ strike in Trona, Calif., an unincorporated area in San Bernardino County also known as the “Gateway to Death Valley.” Trona, Bloody Trona: A Revolution in Microcosm is 321 pages, in its Second Edition published by Chili Dog Press.
“This is the story of a labor strike when 750 workers walked out on Kerr-McGee, a world-wide conglomerate that controls a little bit of everything and all of Trona, having paid its workers in company script until 1957,” says Abram. “The workers never dreamt they had bargained for being shot down by security police, or run down by both teamsters and scabs as they walked their legally sanctioned picket lines.
“They never foresaw their homes being invaded by force during the ‘Reign of Terror,’ a night that saw security police, sheriffs and FBI kick in doors, drag folks from their homes and cart off 54 persons to maximum security prison. I was later taken in shackles to the District Attorney, 140 miles away, all of which strengthened both my resolve and that of the union members.”
It was during his representation of the union in Trona during 1970 that Abram told the story, later re-told in his 2013 book, that may help an investigation into the explosive crash that killed Dag Hammarskjöld in 1961.
“In Trona, as a side note, I was asked by my striking union clients why I should be trusted at the early age of 30 and why I had such a deep disdain for our government, corporations and authority in general,” Abram recalls. “I told them three stories that I participated in while with the NSA, one of which was the Hammarskjold murder.”
The news of his reported knowledge of the crash has brought about a flurry of attention that Abram, married and retired, did not anticipate.
“I was recently flown to Ottawa, Canada, by the National Geographic Channel for a filmed interview. It will appear on their show called “Mayday” which focuses on unexplained or mysterious plane crashes, to air in a few months. Next I was interviewed by Alan Cowell of the N.Y. Times. I have also been contacted by two different Swedish Government officials whose names I am going to withhold for now. One of them has a particular interest in my story as his father was one of those killed in the Hammarskjöld plane crash.”
Meanwhile, the North Fork Studio has engaged Abram to give a presentation covering these latest developments resulting from disclosures he made in Trona, Bloody Trona.
“I will be speaking about my book and the specifics of what I monitored as a spy for NSA,” Abram notes, adding he’ll also discuss his recent trip to Ottawa, interview for the N.Y. Times, London edition, and his communication with Swedish Government officials.
“Naturally I will also cover the plight of my 750 striking clients featured in the book and the hundreds of law students that came from all over California to help out.”
Abram invites the community to Branches Books and Gifts on Saturday, June 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.