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At UN, Falk Says Ban & Nambiar Encroach on Free Speech, No Due Diligence

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 20 -- As Richard Falk spoke to the press at the UN on Thursday about human rights in Palestine, he said that only the United States and Israel had been critical of him.

   Inner City Press asked him about the blog he wrote about "open questions" about the September 11, 2011 attacks and a letter condemning his blog by Vijay Nambiar, chief of staff of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. What did Falk think of Ban and Nambiar's letter? Video here, from Minute 30:05.

  "I didn't like it too well," Falk said. "It was a misinterpretation of my blog." Falk went on to say that "the Secretary General didn't look beyond the letter" from the NGO, and "encroached on the freedom of expression."

  After the press conference Falk told Inner City Press that Nambiar later told him that no "due diligence" had been done before issuing the letter of confirmation: Ban never even read the blog before condemning it.

  Even when Ban is described by some as showing principle, it is reactive, based on pressure and not "due diligence," it seems.

Friday at the UN, the special rapporteur on freedom of the press will be speaking. What about this UN's own respect for freedom of expression?

Falk at UN Oct 20, Ban Ki-moon due diligence not shown (c) MRLee

  Inner City Press asked Falk about Palestine joining the International Criminal Court. Falk said that UN membership, which is subject to the veto in the Security Council, is not required to join the ICC, and that a General Assembly vote granting non-member state status might help Palestine to join the ICC.

Footnote: Falk confirmed Inner City Press' earlier footnote that he played tennis with US Ambassador Rick Barton. "He's a good player," Falk said, adding that Barton had spoken against one of Falk's presentations. Small world.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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