Vijay Nambiear

U.N. chief condemns rights expert's 9/11 comments

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned "preposterous" comments by a U.N.-appointed expert on Palestinian rights that there was a cover-up over the September 11 attacks, Ban's chief of staff said on Monday.

The official, Vijay Nambiar, said however that it was not up to Ban to fire the expert, U.S. academic Richard Falk, as demanded by UN Watch, a Geneva-based advocacy group.

Falk wrote in a blog this month that there had been an "apparent cover-up" by U.S. authorities over the September 11, 2001 attacks, in which hijackers flew airliners into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington.

He said mainstream media had been "unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events: an al Qaeda operation with no foreknowledge by government officials."

In a letter to Ban last Thursday, UN Watch director Hillel Neuer called on the U.N. chief to "strongly condemn Mr. Falk's offensive remarks -- and ... immediately remove him from his post."