Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Holocaust Denial in 2022

Foreign relations Committee calls WWII Killing of Jews "Genocide."

September 24, 2022,
Los Angeles, CA
Aris Janigian—staff writer

On Wednesday, September 23, The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 27 to 21 to condemn as genocide the mass killings of Jews in Germany during World War II. New Germany reacted angrily, recalling its ambassador from Washington and threatening to withdraw its support for the continuing War on Terror.

"America has crossed a line with this resolution," Foreign Minister Helmut Gottschalk said. "Petty domestic politics has trumped American national interests. The New German people can only take so much insult. We will see our next steps."

It was a harsh rebuke from one of America's closest allies, and sent shock waves through the White House. The resolution comes at a time when the United States is actively drumming up support for the War on Terror, and two deputies in the State Department departed for Berlin immediately after the vote in an attempt to forestall a diplomatic disaster. At home, Secretary of State Candid Price called the resolutionStill Waiting for Recognition: For the few remaining survivors of the Jewish tragedy, this year's resolution may be the last chanceStill Waiting for Recognition: For the few remaining survivors of the Jewish tragedy, this year's resolution may be the last chance "irresponsible."

In a Rose Garden press conference President Hernandez acknowledged the Jewish tragedy, but sternly warned against the resolution. "This is not the right time or the right place for this kind of resolution," Hernandez said.

Jews, along with the large majority of historians outside New Germany, say that from 1939 to 1945 the German Nationalist Socialist Party carried out a systematic campaign to kill as many as six million Jews in Europe. They claim the killings amounted to "genocide," a term that the New German government fiercely rejects.

New Germany acknowledges that between 1 and 1.6 million Jews died during the war, but contends that a vast majority of those deaths occurred in the throes of war when disease and starvation was widespread. According to New Germany the intent to exterminate Jews is historically unfounded. "There was a context for these events. Many Germans died and suffered as well, far exceeding the number of Jews. These were the sad unintended consequences of war."

Since the establishment of New Germany, the influential Jewish American lobby has sought acknowledgment of their ancestors' suffering. The authors of the resolution are from heavily Jewish districts in California and Florida and New York. They note that the United States must recognize the Jewish tragedy while the few remaining survivors are still alive.

Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Gregory Demerdjian, a descendent of survivors of the Armenian Genocide, said, "These events must be characterized for what they were: genocide. It is well documented in our own national archives that genocide of Jews occurred during the Second World War. This is merely an acknowledgment of America's own understanding of the events during that time. None of this should be construed to mean that New Germany is in the least responsible for these deaths." Demerjian said that he would soon introduce a resolution reinforcing America's strong and lasting relationship with the New Germany.

The Jewish tragedy is a sensitive issue in New Germany. Under a progressive movement called "Identity Reformation," the New Germans have radically reconsidered what an older generation had taken for granted. Historians in New Germany argue that between the First and Second World War Germany was caught between JewishTaking Pride in Our Past: The New German government has insisted that the alleged genocide is simply not consistent with the nobility of German historyTaking Pride in Our Past: The New German government has insisted that the alleged genocide is simply not consistent with the nobility of German history industrialists and Jewish socialists intent on overthrowing the German state. "They wanted to destroy the country from within," said New German Ambassador Norbert Sommer. "It was a difficult time. Everyone regrets the death of Jews, but wartime choices had to be made to save Germany's very existence."

Today, New Germany rejects the verdicts of the Nuremberg Trials that found members of the Nazi party guilty of war crimes, pointing out that Germans admitted to those crimes under duress from the prosecuting Allies. "No document has ever been produced that shows that Hitler ordered the extermination of Jews," Sommer said. "Indeed, many attempts were made by Germans at the time to find a safe harbor for Jews, including some negotiations with Zionists in Europe. It is a total fallacy that there was anything resembling genocide."

Members of the House committee who voted against the resolution characterized it as unwarranted "meddling" in a foreign state's accounting of its own past. Representative Stefan Kohler said, "Maybe it was a genocide, maybe it wasn't. None of us here are historians. This was 92 years ago. All I know is that passage of the bill would cause real-time harm to real people."

Democratic Representative Richard Wechsler had stronger words: "You'd think with the War on Terror ongoing and all, the congress would find something better to do than rummage through the trash bin of history. What congress should be acknowledging is that when the rest of Europe has turned its back on America, New Germany has stood strong by our side."

After WWII, America provided Old Germany with massive economic support under the Marshall plan. Old Germany remained a strong ally of the United States, and in 2112 it began an accelerated militarization program. Virtually one-third of New Germany's GDP is devoted to military expenditure.

Since 2017, when President Harold Jones stepped up the War on Terror, America's relationship to the European Union has been severely strained. Germany is one of the only European countries with which the United States has strong diplomatic and military ties.

Under penal code 3001, a number of writers have been prosecuted and convicted for "insulting Germanness" after using the term "genocide" or "holocaust " to refer to the Jewish tragedy. In 2020, New German dissidents attempted to organize an academic conference in order to revisit the events of 1939-45 from a "Jewish perspective." The conference was cancelled when then-Foreign-Minister Helmut Gottschalk called the organizers "traitors."

Some Parliamentarians of the European Union, of which New Germany remains a nominal member, have argued that Germany should be censured for its view towards the Jewish tragedy. Other countries have decided to stay neutral, sharing the position of the United States that the events of that time should be left to historians to sort out.

"Let bygones by bygones," said Roland Young, Secretary of Defense. "In a time of war, the United States has precious few allies. We respect history, but the life of our society depends upon our strategic position vis-à-vis our enemies today."

Some Jews in New Germany say the house resolution would be counter-productive. Chief Rabbi of Munich Abraham Grynszpan said, "New Germany must come to terms with its own history. We resist pressure from foreign countries to set a timetable." Members of the Jewish community in America believe that German-Jews are defending their dwindling numbers inside Germany, and yet others believe that the existence of Israel is in peril should they speak out.

New Germany has no diplomatic ties with Israel, and has repeatedly called on Israel to renounce its "genocide" claims. Its satellite state of New Lebanon has closed its borders with Israel.

Last year, some diplomats perceived a softening in the New German stance when it called on Israel to establish a joint commission to study the wartime atrocities, but that perception has since been altered. In January of this year Herschel Mintz, the ethnic Jewish editor-in-chief of the New German daily Agon was murdered in the streets of Berlin for attention he drew to the Jewish tragedies. The accused murderer, a 17-year-old German, is currently on trial for the crime, but human rights groups believe that the New German Deep Police were accomplices to the murder, and prosecutors claim that evidence was been destroyed.

In 2021, New German novelist Otwin Polk was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. In an explosive interview with an Italian newspaper, he said "In New Germany today, nobody but me speaks of the killing of over six million Jews." Today Polk lives in exile.

Friday, October 26, 2007


With the recent developments regarding H. Res 106, we find ourselves in a CRITICAL juncture. It is our duty now to bring word out to the public and to the media exactly what type of ally Turkey is to the United States, and express the importance of properly characterizing the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian Youth Federation has organized a series of coordinated rallies to take place NATIONWIDE on November 4th. It is extremely important for all Armenians and human rights activists to come out in support of H Res 106 and show the media and the world that this issue cannot be swept under the rug.


- Los Angeles (Little Armenia, Hollywood Blvd. will be shut down)
- San Francisco
- Fresno
- Phoenix
- Houston
- Washington DC

Please encourage your friends, your families and anyone you know who is concerned with this issue to attend. Contact me with any questions

Visit for the flyer. Visit or for the latest.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

GENOCIDE: An Inconvenient Truth

Genocide: An inconvenient truth

The Armenian genocide bill has been attacked by both the right and the left -- and it may make matters worse. But it's necessary.

By Gary Kamiya

Oct. 16, 2007 | It was the first holocaust, one of the worst crimes of the 20th century. In 1915, during World War I, the ruling political party under the Ottoman regime ordered the extermination of its Armenian subjects. At least 800,000 and as many as 1.5 million men, women and children were murdered or died of disease, starvation and exposure. The details of the genocide, as laid out in books like Robert Fisk's "The Great War for Civilization" and Peter Balakian's "The Burning Tigris," are harrowing. Lines of men, women and children were roped together by the edge of a river, so that shooting the first person caused all the rest to drown. Women were routinely raped, killed and genitally mutilated. Some were crucified. Children were taken on boats into rivers and thrown off.

The genocide was not carried out by the Republic of Turkey, which did not exist yet, but by the ruling party in the final years of the collapsing Ottoman regime. To this day the Turkish government has never acknowledged that what transpired was a monstrous and intentional crime against humanity. Instead, it claims that the Armenians were simply unfortunate victims of a chaotic civil war, that only 300,000 to 600,000 died, that Turks actually died in greater numbers, and that the Armenians brought their fate on themselves by collaborating with the Russians.

Most historians reject these arguments. The definitive case that what took place was a genocide has been made by Turkish historian Taner Akcam, who in the 1970s was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Turkey for producing a student journal that deviated from the official line. He sought asylum in Germany, and now is a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota. In his 2006 book, "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility," Akcam offers overwhelming evidence that leaders of the ruling political party, the Committee of Union and Progress, planned the Armenian holocaust. There was no military justification for the genocide: Some Armenians did fight against the Ottomans, but relatively few. In fact, Akcam argues, the genocide was driven by the Ottoman thirst for revenge after devastating military defeats, the desire to end foreign interference by the great powers, and above all by the strategic purpose of emptying the Turkish heartland of Christians to ensure the survival of a Muslim-Turkish state. Akcam argues that had the Armenians not been exterminated, Anatolia, the heart of what is now Turkey, would probably have been partitioned after the war by the victorious (and rapacious) great powers. The modern state of Turkey was thus built in large part on the intentional destruction of an entire people -- a moral horror that combines elements of America's destruction of Indians and Germany's extermination of Jews.

The International Association of Genocide Scholars, the leading body of genocide researchers, accepts that the destruction of the Armenians fits the definition of genocide and has called on Turkey to accept responsibility. Leading U.S. newspapers, including the New York Times, accept the genocide description. Twenty-three nations, including Argentina, Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Russia and Uruguay, have also formally recognized that what transpired was genocide.

For decades, Armenian-Americans and human rights advocates have tried to persuade the U.S. government to officially recognize that the mass killings constituted a genocide. But strategic and national security considerations have always stopped Washington from doing so. For decades, Turkey has been one of America's most important strategic allies -- first as a bulwark against the USSR during the Cold War, then as a key partner in George W. Bush's "war on terror." The only officially secular state in the Muslim world, it is the most politically moderate, economically advanced nation in the region. A NATO member, with close ties to Israel, home to a U.S. base through which most of the supplies to American forces in central Iraq are flown, it is an indispensable U.S. strategic asset.

For these reasons, Washington has never wanted to offend Ankara -- and if there is one sure way to do that, it's by bringing up the Armenian genocide. Although there has been some progress in opening up the subject, it remains explosive in Turkey. Those who assert that the genocide took place can be arrested under a notorious law (still on the books) that makes "insulting Turkishness" a crime. (Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk was convicted of violating this law.) In January 2007, the leading Turkish-Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, was murdered because of his outspokenness on the issue, and state security officials were clearly involved. The genocide denial is not confined to official discourse: Most ordinary Turks, who have been taught a whitewashed official version of the slaughter, also deny it. Akcam and other historians say that because many of the Young Turks who founded the modern state were involved in the campaign, and the state was constructed on a mythical foundation of national unity and innocence, to bring up the Armenian horror is to threaten Turkey's very identity.

No American administration has ever dared to cross Turkey on this subject. But that may finally change. Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, defying pleas from the Bush administration and a letter signed by all living secretaries of state, voted 27-21 for a resolution that would make it official U.S. policy to recognize that the slaughter of the Armenians was an act of genocide. The resolution is nonbinding, but after years of bitter lobbying, it is the closest the U.S. government has yet come to acknowledging the genocide. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated that she will bring it to a vote before the House, which is expected to pass it; the bill's fate in the Senate is less certain.

The mere fact that the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed it, however, was taken by the Turks as a gratuitous insult. As it has done every other time this subject has come up, Ankara -- and the country at large -- reacted with fury. Furious demonstrators took to the streets, shouting invective against the United States. Just-elected President Abdullah Gul said, "Unfortunately, some politicians in the United States have once more dismissed calls for common sense, and made an attempt to sacrifice big issues for minor domestic political games ... This unacceptable decision of the committee, like similar ones in the past, has no validity and is not worthy of the respect of the Turkish people." Turkey's ambassador to the United States warned that the resolution's passage would be a "very injurious move to the psyche of the Turkish people"; he was immediately recalled after the vote to show Ankara's extreme displeasure. Turkish officials warned that if the full House voted for the resolution, U.S.-Turkish relations would be gravely damaged, perhaps for decades. Considering that in a Pew global poll taken in June, a staggering 83 percent of Turks said they had a negative view of America, and an even more staggering 77 percent said they viewed the American people unfavorably, any further deterioration in relations would indeed be grave. The head of Turkey's military warned that if the House passed the bill, "our military ties with the U.S. will never be the same again."

There is no doubt that the controversy comes at a delicate time, because of both internal Turkish politics and the situation in Iraq. The vote could trigger a Turkish response that would be highly injurious to American interests, not just in Iraq but throughout the Middle East. Turkey could close Incirlik Air Base, through which 70 percent of air cargo for U.S. troops in Iraq passes, and refuse to cooperate with Washington on the war.

But the most dangerous consequence would be a Turkish attack on northern Iraq. In a piece of exquisitely bad timing, the committee vote took place against the background of a mounting drumbeat of war talk from the Gul administration, which is under heavy domestic pressure to smash Kurdish militant group the PKK. Just days before the vote, Kurdish militants killed 13 Turkish soldiers near the Iraq border, one of Turkey's heaviest recent losses in the decades-long war. Turkish anger at the U.S. is largely based on Turks' correct belief that the U.S., desperate to preserve good ties with the Kurds, is unwilling to confront the Kurdish guerrillas. A major Turkish invasion of northern Iraq could destabilize the only calm part of the country, pit two U.S. allies against each other, threaten the American project in Iraq and destabilize the entire region. The U.S. has been leaning heavily on Ankara not to invade; the genocide vote could tip Gul over the edge.

Given these geopolitical concerns, heightened by the fact that the U.S. is at war, it's not surprising that some Republicans have accused Democrats, who have taken the lead on the bill, of endangering national security. (Some right-wing bloggers have accused Democrats of using the bill as an underhanded way to sabotage the war.) But opposition to the bill has come not only from the right but from the left. Writing in the Nation, Nicholas von Hoffman mockingly asked, "What's next? A resolution condemning Napoleon's invasion of Egypt and the slaughter visited on the Egyptians at the Battle of the Pyramids?" Von Hoffman attacked the bill's sponsors for self-righteous hypocrisy. British commentator Simon Tisdall made a similar charge in the Guardian, writing, "Imperial delusions die hard -- and once again the U.S. Congress is trying to legislate for the world."

Most Turkish academics toe the official line on the horrific events of 1915. But even some of those who accept that a genocide took place believe that passing the bill now is a bad idea. Yektan Turkyilmaz, a graduate student at Duke University, has the distinction of having been arrested by the Armenian KGB because his research led them to assume he was a Turkish spy. In fact, he is part of a new generation of Turkish scholars who reject their country's propaganda about what happened to the Armenians. In a phone interview from Duke, Turkyilmaz said, "This bill strengthens the hand of the extremists in Turkey, the xenophobes, the extreme nationalists. Yes, Turkish society has to face its past, to prevent any sort of repetition in the future. If I believed that this bill would force the Turkish government to acknowledge the truth, I would support it. But it won't."

For his part, "A Shameful Act" author Taner Akcam acknowledges the force of these pragmatic arguments -- but rejects them.

"Look, we can make a list of reasons why this resolution will make matters worse," Akcam said in a phone interview from his office at the University of Minnesota. "First, it explicitly politicizes the problem. Second, it makes a historic problem a diplomatic fight between the United States and Turkey. Third, it increases the aggressive attacks of the Turkish government against those inside and outside the country. Fourth, it increases the animosity and hatred against Armenians generally in Turkey. Fifth, it can never solve the problem. It aggravates the problem.

"OK, so we've made this list," Akcam went on. "But what is the answer? Whoever is against the resolution must show an alternative to the Armenian people. Unless you give an alternative policy, saying 'Shut up and stop' is not a policy. The Armenians don't have any options. As long Turkey criminalizes the past, as long as Turkey kills journalists, as long as Turkey drags its intellectuals from court to court, as long as Turkey punishes the people who use the G-word, as long as Turkey doesn't have any diplomatic relations with Armenia, as long as Turkey threatens everybody in the world who opens the topic of historical wrongdoing, it is the legitimate right of a victim group to make its voice heard."

Akcam dismisses the argument that the time was not yet ripe for the resolution. "You can use the timing argument forever and ever. Who will decide when the timing is right?"

But Akcam argues that a long-term solution requires much more than a U.S. resolution. He says two steps are necessary: Turkey and Armenia must establish normal relations, and Turks must learn that confronting their history does not threaten their Turkish identity, but strengthens it. This means that Turks should look at the conflict not as a zero-sum game in which any Armenian gain is a Turkish loss, but as a necessary part of the process of becoming a democratic nation. It's an approach to resolving bitter historical grievances called "transitional justice," and it has been effective in helping resolve historical grievances between Germany and the Czech Republic, within South Africa and in other places.

The Armenians, too, need to rethink their approach, Akcam said. In the new paradigm, the Armenian diaspora would present its policy not as being totally against Turkey, but for a new democratic Turkey. "Until now this was a conventional war between Turkey and Armenian diaspora, and congressional resolutions were the effective weapon in this conventional war," Akcam said. "What I'm saying is we should stop thinking in these conventional ways."

The U.S. could play an important role in helping both parties break the impasse, Akcam said, but it is hampered by its lack of credibility in the Middle East. He points to what he calls a "stupid distinction between national security and morality. If you follow the whole discussion in Congress, on the one side you have the moralists, who say that Turkey should face what it did. This doesn't convince most of the people in the Middle East because we know that these are the guys torturing the people in Iraq, these are the guys killing the Iraqi civilians there, these are the guys who haven't signed the International Criminal Court agreement.

"On the other side are the realpolitikers," Akcam went on, referring to the Bush administration and the foreign-policy establishment, like the secretaries of state who signed the letter opposing the resolution. "They say the bill jeopardizes the national interests of the United States, Turkish-U.S. relations, interests of U.S. soldiers in Iraq."

Akcam argues that both elements must be present to have an effective foreign policy. "The fact is that realpolitik, the U.S. national interest in the Middle East, necessitates making morality, facing history, a part of national security. The basic problem between Turks and Armenians is that they don't trust each other because of their history." Akcam's point is that unless the U.S. is willing to look unflinchingly at the region's history, and try to broker deals that address legitimate grievances, it will not be able to achieve its realpolitik goals.

"If America really has a strong interest in its national security and the security of the region, it should stop following a national security concept that accepts human rights abusers," Akcam said. "It doesn't work, it makes things worse in the region. And it supports perpetrators who have committed crimes in the past and are committing crimes today."

In the end, the debate over the Armenian genocide bill boils down to two questions: Is it justified, and is it wise? The answer to the first question is an unambiguous "yes." It is both justified and long overdue. The Armenian genocide is a clear-cut case of genocide, and the fact that the U.S. has avoided calling it by its rightful name for decades is shameful. Crimes against humanity must be acknowledged. Hitler infamously said, with reference to the Poles, "Who, after all, is today speaking of the destruction of the Armenians?" Historical memory must not be sold away for a few pieces of silver. No one would countenance allowing Germany to deny its guilt for killing 6 million Jews. Why should Turkey be let off the hook for a slightly earlier holocaust that took the lives of as many as 1.5 million Armenians?

The second question is trickier. As opponents argue, and even supporters like Akcam acknowledge, the bill may backfire in the short run. That outcome could be acceptable, as long as it doesn't backfire in the long run. Which raises the central question: What policies should the U.S. adopt to prevent the resolution from having long-term negative consequences?

It comes down to a question of moral credibility, something the U.S. is in notably short supply of in the Middle East. One of the stranger reversals wrought by Bush's neoconservative foreign policy has been the rejection by much of the left of a morality-based foreign policy. Angry at the failure of the neocons' grand, idealistic schemes, some on the left have embraced a realism that formerly was associated with the America-first right. But by throwing out morality in foreign policy because of the neocon debacle in Iraq, these leftists are in danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The problem with Bush's Middle East policy hasn't been that it's too moralistic -- it's that its morality has been flawed and incoherent.

As Akcam argues, what is really needed are not just moral congressional proclamations, but actions that back them up. Of course the U.S. cannot and should not resolve all the problems of the world. But like it or not, we are the world's superpower, and we have the ability to use that power for good as well as ill. What is needed is active U.S. engagement to broker fair resolutions to the festering conflicts in the region -- between Turks and Armenians, Turks and Kurds, and Israelis and Palestinians. If the resolution was part of a new U.S. approach to the Middle East, one in which we acknowledged and acted to redress the historical injustices suffered by all the region's peoples, not just by our allies, the Armenian genocide bill could stand as an example not of American grandstanding but of American courage.

-- By Gary Kamiya

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Foreign Affairs Committee Vote


Clears Way for Full House Consideration of the Human Rights Measure

WASHINGTON, DC – With a vote of 27 to 21, the influential panel of the U.S. House of Representatives took a major step toward ending U.S. complicity in
Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, adopting H.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide, over in intense campaign of threats and intimidation by the
Turkish government and its lobbyists in Washington, DC, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

The Committee decision opens the way for full house consideration of the measure.

“The Foreign Affairs Committee’s adoption today of the Armenian Genocide Resolution represents a meaningful step toward reclaiming our right - as Americans - to speak openly and honestly about the first genocide of the
20th Century, free from the gag-rule that Turkey has, for far too long, sought to impose on nation’s elected officials,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “As Americans, we must always remain free to speak openly about human rights and should never outsource our nation's foreign policy - or our morality - to another nation.”

Introduced on January 30th by Rep. Adam Schiff along with Representative George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), the Armenian Genocide resolution calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide. The resolution is cosponsored by 226 Members of Congress from 39 states. A similar resolution in the Senate (S.Res.106), introduced by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) currently has 31 cosponsors, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

Over the past nine months, Armenian Americans and human rights advocates have joined with Members of Congress in educating their colleagues about the Armenian Genocide and the importance of proper recognition of this crime against humanity. The ANCA has mounted several national grassroots initiatives including the highly successful “Click for Justice” and “Call for Justice” campaigns as well as the “End the Cycle of Genocide” Advocacy Days, cosponsored with the Genocide Intervention Network.

Additional information to follow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

AYF Confronts Rep. Jane Harman

Los Angeles, CA - "With pride and patriotism, members of the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) confronted Congressman Jane Harman (D-CA-36) this weekend for her immoral role in the denial of the Armenian Genocide. It was discovered this week that the Congresswoman, while publicly endorsing H. Res. 106 (the Armenian Genocide Resolution), had secretly authored a letter on October 3, 2007 urging the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to kill that very same bill. (READ ENTIRE AYF PRESS RELEASE)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

TARC Moderator’s Book Reveals Initiative’s Anti-Armenian Intent

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

David Phillips, the moderator of the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission, is about to publish a book that discloses the true motives of those who initiated and supported TARC.

Based on an advanced copy of Phillips’s book, "Unsilencing the Past: Track Two Diplomacy and Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation," analyst Emil Danielyan wrote two lengthy reports last week for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Here are some of the highlights of Phillips’s interesting revelations, as reported by Danielyan:

-- Phillips confirms that the US government was the driving force behind TARC. The idea was suggested to him by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman, the number three figure in the State Department under the Clinton and Bush administrations. TARC held its first meeting in Vienna in early 2001.

-- Phillips acknowledges that the State Department provided "some of TARC’s direct costs." All of the sources of TARC’s funds and their uses have not been made public.

-- Phillips accuses Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian of reneging on his pledge to support TARC. Apparently, he would have preferred that Oskanian continue backing TARC, even after it became clear that TARC was a clever ploy to undermine the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

-- Phillips bitterly complains: "Instead of standing by its commitments, the Kocharian government ran for cover." This made Phillips so furious that he slammed the Kocharian regime in an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal by calling it "corrupt and inept," and accusing Pres. Kocharian of "running a mafia state."

-- Phillips attributes Oskanian’s change of mind on TARC to criticism from Armenian "nationalist circles." Once TARC’s anti-Armenian intent became clear, just about everyone in Armenia and the Diaspora opposed this sinister initiative. Shortly after TARC’s creation, one of its Turkish members, Ozdem Sanberk, even gave an interview acknowledging that the purpose of this initiative was to block the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

-- Gunduz Aktan, a Turkish member of TARC, who repeatedly and aggressively denies the Armenian Genocide, put his foot in his mouth by suggesting that an independent panel of experts review the facts of the Genocide. TARC engaged the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) for that purpose. Aktan boasted that he would "destroy" the ICTJ experts with his legal arguments during his testimony. Phillips says that Aktan appeared "nervous" after making his presentation. Aktan had good reason to be nervous. The ICTJ qualified the events of 1915 as genocide.

-- Trying to give importance to his own efforts, Phillips claims that Turkey came within an inch of opening its border with Armenia in the summer of 2003. Showing his political naiveté, Phillips says in his book: "I had hoped that Ankara would quietly open its border sometime during the dead of summer, when everyone was on holiday and not paying attention."

-- Phillips writes that when Turkey’s Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul came to Washington in July 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice reminded him at every meeting that "the issue of genocide recognition was not going away. He was told that real progress was the best way of deflecting pressure." Not surprisingly, the US officials’ real intent for pressuring Turkey into opening its border with Armenia was not the improvement of Armenia’s economy, but the removal of the nettlesome Armenian Genocide issue from the agenda of the Congress.

-- As further evidence of the sinister intent of the Bush Administration, Phillips writes that Vice President Cheney personally intervened by lobbying against a congressional resolution that barely mentioned the Armenian Genocide. "Cheney worked the phones and was assured by [House Speaker] Dennis Hastert that [the resolution] would be kept from the House floor," Phillips says.

-- In an interesting revelation, Phillips reports that Pres. Kocharian was highly infuriated when the Armenian Genocide resolution was blocked by Pres. Clinton and Speaker Hastert. A month later, when Pres. Kocharian received Stephen Sestanovich, an assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, the Armenian President was "in a foul mood and railed against Clinton’s betrayal," Phillips says. This is yet another indication that Armenian officials, not just the Diaspora, care deeply about the Genocide issue.

-- Phillips reveals that he helped arrange the controversial February 2001 interview between Pres. Kocharian and prominent Turkish journalist Mehmet Ali Birand that "helped mollify [Turkish] concerns about Armenia’s intentions." Apparently, Phillips promised Pres. Kocharian that should he make conciliatory statements during the interview, the Turks would then open the border with Armenia. Pres. Kocharian kept his end of the bargain. Phillips did not or could not, since the border remained closed!

-- Phillips wrongly blames "Armenian nationalists" for both of his failures – inability to have Turkey lift its blockade of Armenia and collapse of the reconciliation efforts. Phillips refuses to acknowledge that his profound ignorance of Armenian-Turkish issues played a much greater role in his failures than anything said or done by so-called Armenian nationalists.

More on Phillips’s escapades, once we get hold of his book!