GENEVA, Oct. 20 – UN Watch today issued the following report, calling for Ban Ki-moon, UN rights chief Navi Pillay, the US and the EU to urge Richard Falk to resign.
Official Capacity: How Richard Falk Misuses his UN Human Rights Council Mandate to Promote the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
Today the UN General Assembly will give its podium to Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council’s expert on Palestine. This is deeply offensive, however, because contrary to what he and his defenders say, Falk has continued—in his official capacity—to use his UN mandate to promote the 9/11 conspiracy theory, questioning Al Qaeda’s responsibility for the attack, and suggesting instead an “inside job” by the U.S. government.
For example, last month, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, David Ray Griffin, the leading author of 9/11 conspiracy tracts, published a new book, entitled “9/11 Ten Years Later: When State Crimes Against Democracy Succeed.” Richard Falk is the first to promote the book on the Amazon website, saying: “”With this new book, David Ray Griffin establishes himself… as America’s number one’s bearer of unpleasant, yet necessary, public truths.” Source
In doing so, Falk brings disgrace upon the UN. Accordingly, while the 47-nation council has refused to take any remedial action, responsible UN stakeholders—including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN rights chief Navi Pillay, the U.S. and the EU—should call on Falk to resign.
Falk and Defenders Invoke “Personal Capacity” Defense
Earlier this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Falk for promoting the 9/11 conspiracy theory. In a letter to UN Watch on January 24th, and in an address the following day to the plenary of the Council, Mr. Ban said as follows:
“Recently, there was a Special Rapporteur who suggested there was an ‘apparent cover-up’ in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. I want to tell you, clearly and directly. I condemn this sort of inflammatory rhetoric. It is preposterous – an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack.”
Falk was also condemned at the time by US Ambassador Susan Rice.
In his defense, though it is far from clear why this should be exculpatory, Falk and his allies insisted that his remarks were made only in his “personal capacity.”
For example, After he was condemned by Ban Ki-moon and others worldwide, Richard Falk complained in his blog, on January 27, 2011, of being harshly criticized by the UN Secretary General and the U.S. Ambassador to the UN for remarks, he emphasized, that were made “in my personal blog.” Source
The next day, Falk issued a press release, circulated by the Navi Pillay’s Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, insisting that his remarks were made “in my personal capacity” and “in my personal blog.” Source
Asked about Falk on January 20th, 2011, Martin Nesirky, UN Spokesperson for the Secretary-General said that UN experts like Falk are not speaking on behalf of the UN when they speak “in their personal capacity.” Source
On July 11, 2011, Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, responded to a separate complaint about Richard Falk by twice emphasizing that a cartoon posted by Falk was on his “personal website.” Source
In addition, even US officials who condemned Falk made a point of emphasizing that his comments were made on “his personal blog.” See here for example.
In Fact, Falk Continues to Use his Official Mandate to Promote the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
In fact, Richard Falk continues to use his official UN mandate to promote the 9/11 conspiracy theory.
In an article last month indicating his official capacity as “United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights,” Falk wrote on the Al Jazeera website (source) that “9/11 is especially elusive” due to the “continuing challenges” directed at the “official version of the events” that make “the mainstream narration a sacred text for some and a massive subversion of truth and political legitimacy for others.”
“These doubts have not been put to rest,” said Falk, “although whenever they rise to the surface, the enforcers of public truth respond with venomous denunciations of anyone who dares raise questions.”
He further said that “9/11 as an event remains contested,” and that “it may be better to regard 9/11 as a process rather than an event.
Falk also gave a radio interview last year for a 9/11 conspiracy website. He was presented in his official UN capacity, and was interviewed primarily about one of his UN reports. In that official UN capacity, Falk gave voice to and encouraged the 9/11 conspiracy theory. Click here for full audio and transcipt.
Other Statements by Falk on 9/11
Richard Falk wrote the foreword to the most notorious 9/11 conspiracy book. Read text here. In the book’s Acknowledgments, author David Ray Griffin says he is “indebted to Richard Falk for reasons that go beyond his gracious willingness to write the Foreword. It was through his influence that I first began working on global political matters… And it was through him that I becme connected with Olive Branch Press of Interlink Publishing,” the publisher of the book. “I am especially grateful for this connection.”
Griffin’s theories are so extreme on this that, as he admits, even leading radical Noam Chomsky refused to write an endorsement. “Richard Falk wrote to Chomsky and he said, ‘I think you should read this manuscript. My friend David Griffin has been a great admirer of yours; he’s built on your work. He would love to have a blurb from you. Chomsky wrote back and said Dick, ‘No, I will not read your friend Griffin’s book.’