State Department Claims They are Not Pressuring Abbas Against Invoking the Genocide Convention; Is Put on Notice Regarding Their Own Complicity Under the Convention.

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On Monday I asked about Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians at the State Department, including if the US government is trying to stop Abbas from invoking the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice — also known as the World Court — in the Hague. I also asked if State Department personal may face prosecution.

International law professor Francis Boyle notes that the US Genocide Convention Implementation Act stipulates:

d)Attempt and Conspiracy.—

Any person who attempts or conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be punished in the same manner as a person who completes the offense.

AFP reports: “Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas decried Sunday Israel's "genocide" in the Gaza Strip amid its war on Hamas militants there, in remarks to visiting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.” But Abbas has not tried to invoke the Genocide Convention.

In response to my question, State Department representative Vedant Patel claimed that the US government has not been pressuring the Palestinian Authority to not invoke the Genocide Convention or any other legal mechanism. In fact, international law professor John Quigley states: “Of course, the US has been pressuring Abbas for several years not to go to the International Criminal Court or International Court of Justice for anything.”

The record backs up Quigley. The Times of Israel reported in 2021 “Biden officials privately pushed Abbas to shelve ICC probe against Israel” and Axios reported in 2022: “Abbas rejects U.S. request to not push for UN court opinion on Israeli occupation,” quoting a State Department spokesperson: “We believe it is critical for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution.”

Regardless of US pressure, the question to Abbas is, why has he not invoked the Genocide Convention? Moreover, it is quite possible that other countries are wanting to invoke the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice (also known as the World Court), but Abbas is holding them back.

That is what Francis Boyle has been recommending as I noted in my questioning, below. Such a maneuver, Boyle argues, may be the strongest legal avenue since the International Criminal Court “is rigged and has done nothing for the Palestinians.”

Patel claimed the State Department has a “rigorous process for evaluating whether something constitutes genocide.”

Boyle charged in an email to me that the “Internal State Department Review on Genocide is always political. For example, after I won my first Order at the World Court for Bosnia to the Yugoslavians to cease and desist from committing all acts of Genocide, [then Secretary of State] Warren Christopher started a propaganda campaign by State to detract and undercut its significance.”

Boyle added: “‘Diplomacy’ by the Biden administration and Blinken in particular is in fact just their international stage-managing of the Zionist genocide against the Palestinians.”

Patel repeated the US establishment mantra backing “Israel's right to defend itself against these terrorist attacks by Hamas” but legal scholar Richard Falk emailed me: “Gaza remains from the perspective of international law and the UN an 'Occupied Palestine Territory' subject to the Forth Geneva Convention. This means that Israel as Occupying Power has a primary obligation to safeguard the safety of the civilian population. It is entitled to take reasonable lawful means to restore its security in the aftermath of such an attack. As such, it has no international legal right of self-defense; even if it had a right of self-defense it would have no legal or moral basis for engaging in a genocidal assault, the character of which has been strongly confirmed by Israel's top leaders, Netanyahu, Gallant, and to a more indirect sense, Herzog. … I do not share the view that Hamas can be written off as 'terrorist' while Israel remains a legitimate state despite its record of state terrorism.” See Falk’s recent piece “Israel-Palestine war: Israel's endgame is much more sinister than restoring 'security'“.

Transcript of exchange at State Department:

HUSSEINI:  President Lula of Brazil recently joined a growing list of world leaders [Colombia, South Africa, Pakistan] condemning Israel not just simply for war crimes, not just simply for crimes against humanity, but for genocide.  The late president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, during Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza which killed 2,000 Palestinians, advocated that the Genocide Convention be invoked in that case against Israel, saying that legally, for genocide, quote, “You don’t need to kill all of them.  You just need to have the mental intent to kill part of them.” 

Craig Mokhiber, who just resigned as director of the New York office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that intent, usually the hardest part of genocide to prove, isn’t in this case.  He wrote in his resignation letter, quote, “Explicit statements of intent by leaders in the Israeli Government and military" leave “no room for doubt or debate.” 

Finally, Francis Boyle, who successfully prosecuted – or who successfully represented Bosnia and Herzegovina in their genocide case against Yugoslavia before the International Court of Justice, has similarly argued that the Palestinians, or any other signer to the Genocide Convention, should immediately instigate a – initiate an emergency legal process invoking the Convention at the International Court of Justice, yet no government has done so.

My question to you --

PATEL:  Do you have a question soon?

HUSSEINI:  My question to you is:  Has the US Government pressured or bribed or threatened in any way, shape, or form Abbas, the people around him, institutions around him, from invoking this or any other legal mechanisms against Israel to stop its attack?

PATEL:  I don’t even know where to start there, Sam.  No, the US has not been involved in pressuring or anything like that to any officials within the Palestinian Authority. What I will just say again in the context of this conflict:  We have been incredibly clear that as Israel defends itself and defends its security that it is imperative that it continues to make a distinction between Hamas terrorists and Palestinian civilians, and that’s something we’ll continue to raise directly with Israeli counterparts.

I will also note that we, within the US Government, have a rigorous process for evaluating whether something constitutes genocide, and we have not made that assessment in this case.  And it’s really important to remember that Hamas bears responsibility for sparking this war and they brought this tragic war to Gaza.  They have compounded and perpetuated the suffering of the Palestinian people at every step of this crisis.  And as I said, we continue to support Israel's right to defend itself against these terrorist attacks by Hamas.

HUSSEINI:  You claim – excuse me.  You claim that you want Israel to make the distinction, but you don't seem to be — making the distinction. 

PATEL:  We absolutely make this distinction, Sam.

HUSSEINI:  If I might – I didn't interrupt you.  I didn't interrupt you.  The Center for Constitutional Rights just put out a statement: "Legal Organizations Put Members of Congress on Notice for Complicity on Genocide."  Quote:  "Please take note” — this is a letter that they sent to members of Congress.  Center for Constitutional Rights:  "Please take notice that should you vote in favor of that package," the Biden package for Israel, "you risk facing criminal and civil liabilities for aiding and abetting genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law, and may face investigation and prosecution."  Do members of the State Department face similar possibilities?

PATEL:  Again, Sam, as I said, we have – the US Government has a rigorous process in place for evaluating whether something constitutes genocide, and we have not made that assessment in this case.

HUSSEINI:  But you continue to pretend —

PATEL:  I'm going to – I've taken —

QUESTION:  — that the bombing of hospital after hospital, bakery after bakery, university after university – and somehow you keep pretending that, oh, they're just after military people of Hamas.

PATEL:  I appreciate – I appreciate your questions, Sam.  I've taken two of them.  Now I'm going to work the room a little bit.

Full video and transcript according to the State Department is here.

Note: This is the first time I was called on at a State Department briefing since Israel started its current bombing campaign against Palestinians in Gaza. This despite having gone to most of the briefings with my hand raised at virtually every opportunity. (I did inject myself into the Oct. 10 news conference but was never actually properly called on.)

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See related pieces:

Israel's Incremental Genocide and Its Genocidal Moment: Finally Time for the World to Use the Genocide Convention?

VIDEO -- Be Targeted or Be Instrumentalized: State Dept. Shifting Stance on International Criminal Court from Overtly Undermining to Using it Against Russia

Origin of Pandemic and Biowarfare: Writings and Interviews

Below are pieces relating to the origin of the pandemic. I was one of the few who publicly raised this possibility from early 2020. 

Major pieces, some investigative, are in bold

On Feb. 11, 2020: 
Questioning the CDC: Is it a Complete Coincidence That China's Only BSL4 Is in Wuhan? -- Audio and Video

April 24, 2020:
"Contrary to claims, the pandemic may have come from a lab — and regardless, it exposes the threat of biowarfare arms race." 
(Originally published by Salon)

April 30, 2020:
A version of this was also published as "The Long History of Accidental Laboratory Releases of Potential Pandemic Pathogens Is Being Ignored In the COVID-19 Media Coverage" by Independent Science News on May 5, 2020. 

May 2020: 

Featured in "Perspectives on the Pandemic" -- see video and transcript -- going through findings on the above pieces. 

Interview with Geopolitics and Empire

June 2020:
Interview with Joanne Leon on "Around the Empire." 

US Right to Know has a strong list of reporting on this issue.  

Dec. 16, 2020:
(Originally published by Independent Science News)

Dec. 28, 2020: 

Jan. 4, 2021:

May 2021
Interview with Sameer Dossani. (Somewhat autobiographical) 

June 2021:

With Whitney Webb, who has also done much to make connections to the 2001 anthrax attacks: "COVID Origins and Gain of Function." 

With Cindy Sheehan. (Parallels between lab origin story and Iraq WMD story) 

July 14, 2021:
Interview with Russell Mokhiber of Corporate Crime Reporter  

July 23 on Substack: 

Aug. 25 on Substack: 

Sept. 1 Washington Babylon interview with Andrew Stewart: 

Anthrax War

"Anthrax War" via Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "The Passionate Eye" 

Film was originally aired in 2009. Higher resolution but slightly shorter on Vimeo. Transcript: 

And now on the Passionate Eye - Who was behind the 2001 anthrax attacks in the United States? 

Montage: “He's dead. And they can close the case and he can't defend himself.”

“The lone gunman theory fits the needs of the FBI.”

The investigation spans the globe, uncovering the deadly world of germ warfare.

Montage: “It was about killing people and not being able to be found out. Designing assassination weapons, classic spy stuff.”

Are we on the verge of the unthinkable? 

Montage: “They could launch biowarfare by means of anthrax anywhere in the world today.” 

Questioning Dan Rather of CBS Evening News about US War Crimes in Yugoslavia in 1999

June 25, 1999 at the National Press Club 

Dan Rather: On my second trip to Belgrade I was there the night they turned off the lights. Remember, the first time we had a raid that shut down the power, turned off the lights for most of Yugoslavia and that also meant turning off the water because the water needed the power to go. You could not only see it, hear it, but feel it, the change in mood between before they shut off the lights and the power and the next day after they shut off the lights and the power. I said to myself at the time and I wrote in my notebook, "I think this might be the decisive moment in the war." ... I think there's a legitimate question to be asked, "Well, If we had chosen to use this weaponry on the second, third, fourth day or the second or third week of the war, would it have made a difference?" I don't know the answer to that question. I'm here to bear witness, eye witness, that when we did do it, when we did turn off the lights for the first time, there was a distinct change in mood. The mood of the Serbian street and countryside ceased to be one of complete, total, and utter defiance and complete confidence that they would prevail, to something considerably less than that. So make of that what you will. Yes sir.

Sam Husseini: Thank you. I was struck by your comments just now about when you say "we" took out the lights. You seemed to be criticizing the U.S. government for waiting as long as it did to take out the lights and the water facilities. Isn't part of the reason -- I hope -- part of the reason that they waited as long as they did, is that that's a war crime? And it troubles me when you say "we" when your talking about the U.S. government when you're, presumably, a journalist and an independent journalist.

Dan Rather: I would hope not presumably -- I take your point.

Sam Husseini: And why do we -- [laughs] why do we -- seem to only recognize a war crime when it's done by another government and not our own?

Interview on the O'Reilly Factor with John Gibson on Palestinians - "Give me Liberty or Give me Death"

October 13, 2000

JOHN GIBSON, GUEST HOST: Hi, everybody. I'm John Gibson filling in for Bill O'Reilly, who's on assignment. Thanks for watching us tonight.

We've got a packed program for you. The political Hollywood film "The Contender" is released today and the producer and one of the stars say the studio chiefs reedited it to present a pro-Gore agenda. Much ado about now much or Hollywood liberals at it again?

Plus, the presidential race is in a statistical dead heat, but the violence in the Middle East could affect who wins in November. We'll find out how the stakes have changed. And the crisis in the Mideast is our top story tonight. Here are the latest developments.

One Palestinian is dead and 12 injured in clashes today in Hebron. Ninety-eight people have been killed in 16 days of violence. President Clinton is calling for calm while many say the peace process is dead. What will it take to resolve this and have the Palestinians been treated unfairly?

Joining me now from Washington, D.C. is the former media director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Sam Husseini.

Sam, what is the case for the notion that Palestinians have been treated unfairly?

SAM HUSSEINI, INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC ACCURACY: Well, going back to the beginning of the Oslo Accords, if you take a look at it, as the group that I'm currently with, the Institute for Public Accuracy, has been doing, you find that the Oslo Accords were tremendously unfair to the Palestinians and the agreements that they have gone through since then, since the big handshake, the big photo-ops and so on.

They hide the fact that Israel continues to perpetuate its occupation over the Palestinians.

GIBSON: But Sam…

HUSSEINI: All the Israelis have done is withdrawn from some population areas.

GIBSON: Sam, I'm confused. Didn't the Palestinians agree to the Oslo Accords? So who was unfair to who?

HUSSEINI: Well, it was either agree or get nothing. Basically the Palestinians were put a gun to their head saying agree to this piece of paper or you get nothing or you get bombed or you, you know, just stay out of the picture or you get absolutely nothing at all because Israel's got all the weapons.

There's a tremendous disparity -- Israel's got one of the biggest, most powerful militaries in the world. They've got 200 nuclear weapons. And what they are at war, some people are saying against, is a civilian population…

GIBSON: But Sam…

HUSSEINI: … that's unarmed, that all they've got is rocks.

GIBSON: But Sam…

HUSSEINI: So it's an incredibly…

GIBSON: Israel is not going to bomb Gaza with nuclear weapons. That wouldn't…

HUSSEINI: No, but they can bomb other people in the region.

GIBSON: Well, sure, but -- all right, Sam, look…

HUSSEINI: They can determine their dominance of the region.

GIBSON: … how do you expect the American people at large to develop some empathy for the Palestinians when we see in the last couple of days mobs killing a couple of guys…

HUSSEINI: Well, you know, John…

GIBSON: … guys waving their bloody hands out a window in triumph?

HUSSEINI: Right, exactly. Exactly.

GIBSON: How does that build any empathy?

HUSSEINI: Yeah, what doesn't build empathy and I hear the music and I guess they'll show the clips that are getting played, I want to see the clips that haven't gotten played. There have been almost 100 Palestinian civilians, not soldiers -- I'm sorry about those soldiers, those Israeli soldiers getting killed. But what were they doing there? They're occupying soldiers.

GIBSON: They were…

HUSSEINI: They're occupying…

GIBSON: They were there by mistake.

HUSSEINI: They weren't in uniform, John.

GIBSON: They ran to the Palestinian police station for protection.

HUSSEINI: They weren't in uniform, John. You know, they're undercover units, OK? It's not a secret.

GIBSON: Well, Sam, I know that's in dispute. But I mean one picture…

HUSSEINI: So, let's see the pictures…

GIBSON: At least one picture today…

HUSSEINI: Let's see the pictures that we're not seeing…

GIBSON: … showed the guy in uniform being…

HUSSEINI: … of our -- John.

GIBSON: … shoved to the ground.

HUSSEINI: John, the other pictures of our, of American made helicopter gunships hitting civilian targets, of Palestinian children being shot. Neither one of the presidential candidates had the guts to say I condemn Israel's killing almost 100 Palestinian civilians.

MLK: "Loving Your Enemies" Message for a Political System Based on Hate

I used to think we shouldn't get MLK Day "off" since we should work extra hard on this day. But I've mellowed and think of his own debauchery and give myself some slack. No matter how many self indulgent things you've done: plagiarism, cheating on your spouse (as King did) you can still do great, even historic, things and be capable of great love. Finding "bad" things about MLK didn't make me respect him less, it made me realize that whatever I or others do that's "bad" -- we can still do good and great.