The big joke? Richard Falk deconstructs the 9/11 attacks and the Tucson shooting, apparently feeling both are part of his portfolio as United Nations Special Rapporteur on … human rights in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Somehow, Falk feels that his mission covers both topics, as Ben Smith noticed at Politico:
The arguments swirling around the 9/11 attacks are emblematic of these issues. What fuels suspicions of conspiracy is the reluctance to address the sort of awkward gaps and contradictions in the official explanations that David Ray Griffin(and other devoted scholars of high integrity) have been documenting in book after book ever since his authoritative The New Pearl Harbor in 2004 (updated in 2008). What may be more distressing than the apparent cover up is the eerie silence of the mainstream media, unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events: an al Qaeda operation with no foreknowledge by government officials. Is this silence a manifestation of fear or cooption, or part of an equally disturbing filter of self-censorship? Whatever it is, the result is the withering away of a participatory citizenry and the erosion of legitimate constitutional government. The forms persist, but the content is missing.
This brings me to the Arizona shootings, victimizing both persons apparently targeted for their political views and random people who happened to be there for one reason or another, innocently paying their respects to a congresswoman meeting constituents outside a Tucson supermarket. As with the Palme assassination, the most insistent immediate responses come from the opposite ends of the political spectrum, both proceeding on presuppositions rather than awaiting evidence.
Yes, well, doesn’t Falk commit the same error by claiming that “both persons” in the Tucson shooting (presumably Judge John Roll and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) were targeted for their political views? The shooter had a longstanding personal grudge against Giffords over her inability to provide a satisfactory answer to his lunatic question on grammar and mind control in 2007. There is zero evidence that Loughner even knew Judge Roll would be in attendance. Furthermore, the “ultra-conservatives,” as Falk calls the Tea Party activists who responded to charges that they had some complicity in the shooting, mainly made the same point that Falk makes and then ignores in his rant, which is that there was and is no evidence at all that Loughner was motivated by any political rhetoric, but acted out of his own lunacy, which is now fairly well documented.
The asinine pushing of the Truther meme in the wake of the Tucson shooting got an immediate and forceful response from the US ambassador to the UN. Susan Rice called for termination of his UN association:
I am appalled by the recent personal blog written by Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on “the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.”
In this blog post, dated January 11, 2011, Mr. Falk endorses the slurs of conspiracy theorists who allege that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were perpetrated and then covered up by the U.S. government and media.
Mr. Falk’s comments are despicable and deeply offensive, and I condemn them in the strongest terms. I have registered a strong protest with the UN on behalf of the United States. The United States has in the past been critical of Mr. Falk’s one-sided and politicized approach to his work for the UN, including his failure to condemn deliberate human rights abuses by Hamas, but these blog comments are in another category altogether.
In my view, Mr. Falk’s latest commentary is so noxious that it should finally be plain to all that he should no longer continue in his position on behalf of the UN. I would note that U.S. and many other diplomats walked out in protest in September 2010 when Iranian President Ahmadinejad made similarly slanderous remarks before the UN General Assembly.
The United States is deeply committed to the cause of human rights and believes that cause will be better advanced without Mr. Falk and the distasteful sideshow he has chosen to create.
Recently, Republicans threatened to cut off funding for anything related to the UN Human Rights Council, which gave Falk his portfolios. This should drive that effort with even more enthusiasm and provide further evidence for the need to cut off funding for Turtle Bay entirely until the UN undergoes massive reforms. After all, Falk’s Trutherism was well known at the time of his appointment. Appointing a rapporteur of such inadequate cognitive capabilities to a sensitive post like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict speaks volumes abut the worth of the organization.