PRESS RELEASE

NGO Says Richard Falk Has “Zero Credibility,”
Urges UN Chief to Fire Him

WASHINGTON, January 24, 2011 – On the eve of a U.S. Congressional hearing into the U.N. Human Rights Council, the controversial body’s Palestine expert, Richard Falk, was “condemned” today by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his “preposterous” comments questioning whether the 9/11 terrorist attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government. Mr. Ban said Falk’s remarks were “an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attack.”

Click here for PDF of UN chief’s letter, or see text below.

The rare U.N. condemnation of one of its own officials came in a letter sent today to Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, after the Geneva-based human rights group called on the U.N. chief to condemn and remove Falk, an appeal echoed by an editorial last Friday in the New York Daily News.

“We welcome the Secretary-General’s unequivocal condemnation of the despicable comments by this official of the U.N. Human Rights Council, and we urge Mr. Ban, together with UN rights chief Navi Pillay, to take the next logical step and call on Falk — who is a serial offender with zero credibility — to be removed,” said Neuer, who will be testifying at the Congressional hearing tomorrow in Washington.

While the UN chief’s letter placed responsibility for Falk’s removal on the Human Rights Council, Neuer said that the council could not be trusted to act on its own, and that Mr. Ban and Ms. Pillay had the power and responsibility to play an influential and decisive role. Falk has stated that his current term expires in May, but most experts are automatically renewed for another three years.

In a recent blog post, Falk endorsed the “authoritative” book by 9/11 conspiracy theorist David Ray Griffin, and wrote of an “apparent cover up.” He said that the mainstream media was “unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events: an al Qaeda operation with no foreknowledge by government officials.” Falk has made similar statements numerous times before, and his endrosements are cited in Griffin’s books and YouTube videos.

See today’s UN letter below.

UNITED NATIONS
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL

24 January 2011

Dear Mr. Neuer,

In response to your letter to the Secretary-General dated 20 January 2011 on the subject of a recent blog post by Mr. Richard Falk, the Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967:

You are aware, no doubt, that the Special Rapporteurs and other independent experts who represent the Human Rights Council are appointed by the Council, not by the Secretary-General. Their continuance in their jobs is thus for the Council to decide.

That said, I feel very strongly that these representatives, however eminent they may be in their fields, have a clear responsibility to uphold the high standards of the United Nations and the Council.

You specifically refer to Mr. Falk’s allegations of an “apparent cover-up” related to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The Secretary-General condemns these remarks. He has repeatedly stated his view that any such suggestion is preposterous — and an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attack.

Yours sincerely,

Vijay Nambiar
Chef de Cabinet

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