Fact Check: Did Jan Elliason, Former Deputy Secretary-General of the UN praise M.K Stalin in his book?

Posted on 2019-07-15 14:21:29 by Samyuktha Mirra


Some social media users have been spreading the misinformation that Jan Elliason, who was in a very high position in the United Nations, has complimented Tamil Nadu DMK leader M.K Stalin’s leadership qualities in his book. 

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Some Twitter users have been spreading a Facebook post which claims to be an extract from Jan Elliason’s book. The Facebook post attached by many in their tweets translates to “Out of all the politicians who have taken me by surprise Stalin is also one, he spoke to me about people’s problems for one hour continuously. I have personally noted down his speeches related to his political policies resulting from several years of experience and I treasure it till today. If leaders like him were in other countries as well, the entire world would have celebrated him. ( Former Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Jan Elliason’s book ‘ World Leaders who have taken me by surprise’ page 372 )”.

A Twitter user @jayaprakashuae tweeted the screenshot of the Facebook post which can be seen below.

Several people, however, did not believe this information and one user even tagged Elliason and asked for confirmation regarding this post. This resulted in Jan Elliason himself confirming that it is a ‘Brazen Disinformation’. His reply reads, "Absolutely not. I have not even heard about this person. Brazen disinformation."

How and where did this misinformation come from?

We looked through Facebook and found that the post was initially posted by a user on 12th July. Following this, several other people picked it up. The post has also been attached with a picture that shows Stalin standing next to Jan Elliason along with few others in what looks like Elliason’s office. Another user requested Elliason to confirm whether the image is true or not for which Elliason replied that it is ‘strange’. 

His response reads, "Strange. First: I have no recollection of such a meeting. Second: the background of my office in the picture is not correct. The UN sign was in reality on the right side- not the left. And the book-shelf was placed to the left of the UN sign."

Furthermore, we looked up the name of the book as mentioned by the fake post and found that Jan Elliason has not published any book with that name. We found one book called “The Go-Between” which is seen to be co written by Elliason. Thus, the owner of the post has also made up a book’s name to present fake information.

Thus, Elliason claims that he does not recollect the meeting with Stalin happening and he also claims that the picture of his office in the background is not correct. However, we found some tweets and pictures dating back to 2012 which shows a series of pictures of Stalin and Elliason meeting. Using keywords ‘Stalin’ and ‘Jan Elliason’ we found two tweets from 2012 that claim that Stalin handed over the TESO resolution on Sri Linka to Elliason. Searching in Google images, we also found few pictures of Stalin and Elliason with few others in a place that looks like a UN office. However, most of the images of Stalin and Elliason leads to a website trbaalu.in which consists of images and posts about TR Baalu who is a politician of the DMK party. The website is also seen to promote DML a lot. Another image also leads to a website called www.unmultimedia.org

However, we found articles from The Hindu Business Line and Economic Times reporting this meeting dating back to November 2, 2012, which is the same date given in the pictures. But it is unsure as to why Elliason claims that he has no recollection of the meeting and the picture shared being different from the original setting. 

Later, Elliason tweeted out saying that he vaguely remembers meeting some Indian parliamentary group in 2012 and does not recall any names. However, he confirmed that he has not written any book mentioning Stalin's name. His tweet reads:

At the UN I met hundreds of delegations every year. I vaguely recall meeting an Indian parliamentary group in 2012. I recall no names and resent if my UN position is used for political purposes much later. I certainly have not written a book mentioning the names in question.

In conclusion, social media users picked up a fake post claiming that DMK leader MK Stalin was glorified in the book of Jan Elliason who was a former UN member. This is absolutely fake and Elliason does not have a book with the name that the post claims. Furthermore, this claim was denied by Elliason himself. Elliason further suspected the meeting itself and explained as to why he feels the image is manipulated. However, later on he claimed that he vaguely remembers the meeting but completely denied the claim that he praised Stalin in his book.

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