Major California Bank Asked to Withdraw Sponsorship of 9/11 “Truther”

The University of Iowa, which receives $255 million a year from taxpayers, and Bank of the West, a major California bank, are being urged to withdraw sponsorship of a controversial speaker who was condemned last week by the United Nations and the Obama Administration for suggesting the 9/11 terrorist attacks were an “inside job” orchestrated by the U.S. government—a conspiracy theory he has promoted in numerous writings and interviews.

Richard Falk, who works for the controversial U.N. Human Rights Council as its investigator on “Israel’s violations of the principles of international law,” is scheduled to be the keynote speaker for a symposium next Thursday, February 10, entitled “Ten Years After 9/11: Rethinking Counterterrorism,” organized by the university’s law and human rights departments.

Sponsors listed on the university website include nine of its academic departments, as well as Bank of the West, one of California’s largest banks and a subsidiary of France’s BNP Paribas.

But international law experts and human rights activists say Falk is the last person who should address a serious university panel on 9/11.

Hillel Neuer, an international lawyer who heads UN Watch, an independent human rights monitoring group in Geneva, Switzerland, sent a letter today to Sally Mason, president of the university, urging that Falk be disinvited. The watchdog group also wrote to J. Michael Shepherd, CEO of Bank of the West. Neuer said another major corporation already pulled its name off the sponsor list, and he hoped the bank would do the same.

“Richard Falk is America’s most high-profile promoter of the 9/11 conspiracy theory, which calls into question whether Al Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon,” said Neuer. “It’s wrong to grant an iota of legitimacy to those who deny great atrocities, or to legitimize their twisted political agendas. Hosting Falk right after the U.N. condemned his noxious views is doubly offensive.”

Last month, Falk published a blog about an “apparent cover-up” related to the 9/11 attacks. In response, on January 25, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the Human Rights Council, saying, “I condemn this sort of inflammatory rhetoric. It is preposterous—an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in that tragic terrorist attack.” It was the first time that a UN chief publicly censured one of the organization’s own human rights officials.

Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. representative to the U.N., also spoke out, saying, “Mr. Falk’s comments are despicable and deeply offensive, and I condemn them in the strongest terms.” She said the cause of human rights “will be better advanced without Mr. Falk and the distasteful sideshow he has chosen to create.”

Click here to hear (at minute 44:50) Falk’s October 26, 2010 interview on “No Lies Radio,” part of the “9/11 Truth” movement, where he endorses Iran’s Ahamdinejad and the “inside job” argument.


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