"Every so often attention is called anew to the doubts surrounding the true character of the events surrounding the 9/11 attacks. Recently, the report of the collapse of building 7 represented such an occasion. Any close student of 9/11 is aware of the many serious discrepancies between the official version of what took place and the actual happenings on that fateful day in 2001."
That crinkling noise you hear comes from Richard Falk's tin-foil hat. These days the retired Princeton professor works as the United Nations Human Rights Council's special rapporteur for the Palestinian territories. But in his off-hours Mr. Falk moonlights as a prolific purveyor of conspiracy theories. These include 9/11 denialism—see the quotation above, from a 2008 blog posted at an outlet called journal-online.co.uk—and claims that "American global domination" is ultimately to blame for April's Boston Marathon terror attack.
Mr. Falk's bizarre outbursts have more than once drawn condemnation from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and calls for his resignation from the U.S. and other Western delegates to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council. The trouble is that Mr. Falk is solely accountable to the council, a body dominated by tyrannical regimes like China, Russia, Venezuela and, yes, Mauritania, where chattel slaves make up an estimated 10% to 20% of the population.
As far as the Human Rights Council is concerned, Mr. Falk is here to stay. Last week saw the release of his latest report on the state of human rights in the Palestinian territories—Israel is of course blamed for all violations—accompanied by not one but two laudatory U.N. press releases. And this week Mr. Falk pushed back against his critics, dismissing efforts to remove him as a "smear campaign." The council insists his position is "honorary" and unpaid, but its spokesmen ignored my request to disclose how much it costs the U.N. to maintain Mr. Falk's mandate; one expert I spoke with estimated the cost at up to $600,000 per year.
So here's a challenge for President Obama's nominee for U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power : Can she put an end to the council's disgraceful Richard Falk charade?