UN rights expert denies suggesting US role in 9/11
A UN expert on human rights in the Palestinian territories on Friday denied that he endorsed claims of US government involvement in the September 11 attacks.
"I wish to be absolutely clear; I do not endorse the theory that the US government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks," Richard Falk said in a statement released by the UN human rights office.
The United States on Tuesday demanded his dismissal for "noxious" comments over an alleged US cover-up.
Non-governmental organisation UN Watch, which has frequently been at odds with Falk over his sharp criticism of Israeli rights violations against the Palestinians, had complained about repeated doubts raised by Falk about 9/11.
A fresh complaint this month by the group about a new article Falk posted on his blog sparked Washington's furious reaction.
It also prompted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to condemn the special rapporteur's stance as "inflammatory rhetoric" and "an affront" to victims.
Falk accused UN Watch of "deliberately" distorting his comments and using that as a basis to get him sacked as a UN Special Rapporteur.
"What I did do, in my personal blog, in which I was discussing the differing perceptions that develop after political assassinations and deeply tragic events... was argue that investigations must be, and must be seen to be, transparent, exhaustive and honest," he said.
Falk said he did not intend to show disrespect towards the memory of 9/11, its victims and their families.
The US-based academic and legal expert wrote in his personal blog on January 11 that there was a "reluctance" to address "awkward gaps and contradictions in the official explanations" given for the attacks.
"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," he wrote on his blog.
Almost 3,000 people died on September 11, 2001 when planes hijacked by Al-Qaeda suicide operatives were flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York, as well as the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.
© 2011 AFP