Tuesday, January 31, 2006


RIA Novosti, Russia
Jan 31 2006

YEREVAN, January 31 (RIA Novosti, Gamlet Matevosyan) - Natural gas supplies from southern Russia to Armenia resumed Monday night after a week's disruption, and will reach normal levels throughout the country Wednesday, an energy industry spokesman said.

Shushan Sardaryan, a representative of the ArmRosgazprom Russian-Armenian joint venture, said: "As we predicted, gas supplies to Armenia resumed at around 8:00 on Monday evening [5:00 p.m. GMT].

In fact, gas from Russia began flowing earlier, but Armenian and Georgian specialists were still solving technical tasks."

Russian natural gas and electricity supplies to Georgia and Armenia were cut off January 22 when two explosions hit the Mozdok-Tbilisi gas pipeline in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia and a power line in southern Russia.

Sardaryan said that in the week since the supplies were disrupted, Armenians had been largely unaffected, since ArmRosgazprom maintained supplies using its reserves.

ArmRosgazprom, which is owned by the Armenian Energy Ministry (45%), Russian energy giant Gazprom (45%) and independent Russian oil and gas company Itera (10%), drew gas from a storage facility containing 80 million cubic meters.

Russian gas enters Armenia via a single pipeline passing through Georgian territory. ArmRosgazprom has monopoly rights over supply and distribution to Armenia's domestic market.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Yerevan Prosecutor `Committed Suicide'

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 01/30/2006
By Karine Kalantarian

Armenia's Office of the Prosecutor-General insisted on Monday that one of its senior officials in Yerevan who was found dead on Friday committed suicide.

The law-enforcement agency suggested at the same time that Arshak Karakhanian, a deputy prosecutor of the city's Malatia-Sebastia district, may have been forced to kill himself.

Its spokesman, Gurgen Ambarian, told RFE/RL that a criminal investigation into Karakhanian's death was launched under Article 110 of the Armenian Criminal Code which deals with `carelessly or indirectly bringing a person to suicide by means of cruel treatment or regular degrading of their human dignity.' Ambarian would not specify if the investigators suspect anyone of involvement, saying only that the probe is not yet over.

Kharakhanian is said to have been killed in his office with a single shot fired from his personal pistol. Law-enforcement sources said he left two brief notes in which he bade farewell to his family and friends and apologized for his fatal decision. The father of four said nothing about his motives, the sources said.

Ambarian confirmed reports that the pistol in question used to belong to Aram Karapetian, a senior prosecutor who allegedly shot dead Armenia's former Prosecutor-General Henrik Khachatrian before taking his own life in 1998. Khachatrian's murder remains a mystery to this day, with opposition politicians and media still questioning the official theory about the crime. Some have even pointed the finger at Aghvan Hovsepian, the current prosecutor-general who succeeded Khachatrian.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Blogrel.com Link Still Suspened

Remember the suspension of my blogrel.com link until further notice? Well this is further notice that it is still suspended and to also bring to your attention that Katy and Nathan Hamm (of Global Voices and Registan.net) are now showing more of their true colors of who they are.

For those of you interested in what they have been doing, go take a look at:

I sure have not lost my touch when it comes to seeing it coming long before it arrives.

Elites & Societies in the NKR Peace Process

My friend Harout from Glendale sent me the following message that I thought I would share with you.


A special issue of "Accord" dedicated to Karabakh has just come out in the UK. You can read the online version at http://www.c-r.org/accord/nk/accord17/index.shtml


Harout Bronozian
Glendale, California

Ara's Note: When reading this document, do so with a grain of salt.

For starters, it seems that the Chronology section has left out some important events, like the decision of that Artsakh was to be a part of Armenia, but later by pressure or a decision of Stalin, was given the status of autonomous region within Azerbaijan.

This document is a very long read and for anyone who does read it and knows of any inaccuracies, please write to me with them and I will post your findings.

Hate Your Enemy Reasonably

Dear Ara,

I read your comment at Oneworld multimedia and though this does not concern the thing going on there..Please, if it’s not difficult and causes no problems, do me a favor and send this to that Azeri guy. I’ll be so grateful. And besides wanted to say,, that the idea with communication between the students Is a great one. Let it rip!

While reading the Orhan's first letter I nearly jumped with joy that Azeri students really are interested in discussing the problems between two nations.. though he forgot to point out what way it'd happen. On reading his second letter my eyes nearly popped out of my head.

First I want to say that I really sorry for that guy who at the very beginning didn't understand the point of that idea. And everything I'm going to say at first refers to him and his azeri friends.

Dear Orhan,

That is the difference between you and us. We also still continue to say that Kharabakh land is our territory and it was once conquested by you, but we took it back. In the same time immense part of Armenian youth, among them me, is sticking to the point that Kharabakh should be an Independent Republic, not belonging to anyone. So much blood has been shed in this war. And now everyone think of nothing but a revenge. Of course it is terrible when your relatives are killed. But what can you promote by killing by yourself? We all are human beings after all, made up of blood, body, mind. The substance of my blood doesn't vary from that of your's. Stop it! Shall someone do the first step? Otherwise this hemorrhage will never stop. I
don’t want to make out who levied this war and which part had more people fallen to victim. I just want to live and not separate world into Armenians, Georgians, Azeries or Jews.

Now imagine that a new war brakes out and many people die. And what ? What will you have of it? Will you feel happy? Will you jump with the happiness knowing that blood of many innocent people was shed? What for? For conquesting the areas now Armenians live? And even so, you will never inhabit those areas, just because you don’t need it, you have enough area to live in. I wonder, why aren’t you content with what you have? Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot, It’s a matter of principle. Unlike our principle that Kharabakh should be an independent Republic.

Your words about war, blood, killing I accept as words of a child who’s head since childhood is being stuffed only with revenge. These are not words of a matured person. Watch deeper, try to have your own stand points on this matter. Because these are not your words , but of your ancestors who still repeat that damn word “killing, killing”. Armenians should have been teaching that to the future generation, instead our parents retell the history and don’t forget to add: “We want peace”.

Responding with hatred to hating we double that hating adding a darkness to the starless night. The gloom may not brush away darkness, it can do only the light. Contempt is as destructive as for the parson who has it. It corrodes the personality, destroys the objectivity of the person and the concepts about moral values.

You can be kinder, Because the way you replied to the idea was not it. The difference may not even be between religions. I doubt greatly that you know
your religion as it also says:

“Hate your enemy reasonably; he may turn into your friend tomorrow”: Khadisi.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

US plans to 'fight the net' revealed

By Adam Brookes
BBC Pentagon correspondent

A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks.

Bloggers beware.

As the world turns networked, the Pentagon is calculating the military opportunities that computer networks, wireless technologies and the modern media offer.

From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war.

The declassified document is called "Information Operations Roadmap". It was obtained by the National Security Archive at George Washington University using the Freedom of Information Act.

Officials in the Pentagon wrote it in 2003. The Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed it.

Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The "roadmap" calls for a far-reaching overhaul of the military's ability to conduct information operations and electronic warfare. And, in some detail, it makes recommendations for how the US armed forces should think about this new, virtual warfare.

The document says that information is "critical to military success". Computer and telecommunications networks are of vital operational importance.


The operations described in the document include a surprising range of military activities: public affairs officers who brief journalists, psychological operations troops who try to manipulate the thoughts and beliefs of an enemy, computer network attack specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks.

All these are engaged in information operations.

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the roadmap is its acknowledgement that information put out as part of the military's psychological operations, or Psyops, is finding its way onto the computer and television screens of ordinary Americans.

"Information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and Psyops, is increasingly consumed by our domestic audience," it reads.

"Psyops messages will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public," it goes on.

The document's authors acknowledge that American news media should not unwittingly broadcast military propaganda. "Specific boundaries should be established," they write. But they don't seem to explain how.

"In this day and age it is impossible to prevent stories that are fed abroad as part of psychological operations propaganda from blowing back into the United States - even though they were directed abroad," says Kristin Adair of the National Security Archive.

Credibility problem

Public awareness of the US military's information operations is low, but it's growing - thanks to some operational clumsiness.

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone. It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system

Late last year, it emerged that the Pentagon had paid a private company, the Lincoln Group, to plant hundreds of stories in Iraqi newspapers. The stories - all supportive of US policy - were written by military personnel and then placed in Iraqi publications.

And websites that appeared to be information sites on the politics of Africa and the Balkans were found to be run by the Pentagon.

But the true extent of the Pentagon's information operations, how they work, who they're aimed at, and at what point they turn from informing the public to influencing populations, is far from clear.

The roadmap, however, gives a flavour of what the US military is up to - and the grand scale on which it's thinking.

It reveals that Psyops personnel "support" the American government's international broadcasting. It singles out TV Marti - a station which broadcasts to Cuba - as receiving such support.

It recommends that a global website be established that supports America's strategic objectives. But no American diplomats here, thank you. The website would use content from "third parties with greater credibility to foreign audiences than US officials".

It also recommends that Psyops personnel should consider a range of technologies to disseminate propaganda in enemy territory: unmanned aerial vehicles, "miniaturized, scatterable public address systems", wireless devices, cellular phones and the internet.

'Fight the net'

When it describes plans for electronic warfare, or EW, the document takes on an extraordinary tone.

It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system.

"Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department [of Defense] will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system," it reads.

The slogan "fight the net" appears several times throughout the roadmap.

The authors warn that US networks are very vulnerable to attack by hackers, enemies seeking to disable them, or spies looking for intelligence.

"Networks are growing faster than we can defend them... Attack sophistication is increasing... Number of events is increasing."

US digital ambition

And, in a grand finale, the document recommends that the United States should seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum".

US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum".

Consider that for a moment.

The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.

Are these plans the pipe dreams of self-aggrandising bureaucrats? Or are they real?

The fact that the "Information Operations Roadmap" is approved by the Secretary of Defense suggests that these plans are taken very seriously indeed in the Pentagon.

And that the scale and grandeur of the digital revolution is matched only by the US military's ambitions for it.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/01/27 18:05:49 GMT

Friday, January 27, 2006

Aliyev Says No Compromise on Karabagh Conflict; Azeri FM More Cautiously Optimistic

BAKU (Armenpress/Pan-Armenian)--The president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, said on Wednesday that Azerbaijan was not going to make concessions in the attempting to settle the the Karabagh conflict. Aliyev made the statement during a stroll in Baku in response to questions from the crowd, Russian Interfax said.

“Nagorno-Karabagh is our land; it belongs to us historically and we have to liberate it by using all available means. We have to become stronger and make our army stronger,” he said.

Aliyev had earlier received the OSCE chairman-in-office Karel De Gucht who went to Baku after visiting Armenia.

But Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov had a different take on the situation, after meeting with his Armenian counterpart Vartan Oskanian last week.

Mammadyarov told journalists that they had discussed “basic principles of [a] settlement of the Nogorno Karabagh conflict,” and revealed that though the talks were “very hard,” the two had “managed to agree on some key issues.”

He also said that it is difficult to tell if there will be a breakthrough in negotiations at a meeting between Armenian and Azeri presidents, scheduled to take place in Paris February 10-11. “Much depends on how we can pave the way on the key issues discussed.”

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Interfax, Russia
Jan 24 2006

BAKU. Jan 24 (Interfax) -
It is too early to speak about a deployment of peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh in order to settle the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict, Russian Vice Prime Minister and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

"It is too early to speak about military operations in the Karabakh, because political and diplomatic means for settling the conflict have not been exhausted," Ivanov told journalists in Baku on Tuesday.

"A cart should not be placed in front of a horse," he said.


18:07 24/01/06

The snow fall on the territory of Armenia will continue for 2 more days.

According to the information of "Armhidromet" on January 27, afternoon, the snow fall will stop and the cyclone will turn from the West to the East, yet the temperature is expected to drop.


YEREVAN, JANUARY 24. ARMINFO. Despite the stoppage of the Russian gas supplies to Armenia, the country's gas reserves will suffice it for covering its home needs during the winter, reports the press service of the Armosgazprom company.

The Abovyan underground gas storage is supplying the country with 4.8 mln c m of gas a day, with the winter peak-time consumption being 6-7 mln c m.

Not receiving gas are filling stations and the Hrazdan Thermal Power Plant. Consequently, Armenia has stopped its electricity export to Georgia - 200,000 KW/h a day.

But unless the Russian gas supplies are restored by Jan 27 the company will have to impose tougher limits on the country's manufacturing enterprises.

America Backs Down on Demands to Fully Investigate Fraudulent Voting Activities of November 27

U.S. Set To Release Promised Extra Aid To Armenia

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 01/24/2006
By Emil Danielyan

The United States has signaled the impending release of $235.5 million in additional economic assistance to Armenia, saying that it has received credible reassurances that the administration of President Robert Kocharian is committed to democracy and good governance.

The sum was approved last month by a U.S. government agency managing President George W. Bush's Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), a program designed to promote political and economic reforms in developing nations. But the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) made its disbursement conditional on `corrective steps' that would end chronic vote rigging and civil rights violations in Armenia.

The Armenian authorities have since scrambled to reassure the Bush administration about their democratic credentials that were most recently called into question by their handling of the November constitutional referendum. Those efforts seem to have been successful, with the MCC chief executive, John Danilovich, saying that he is satisfied with Kocharian's and Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian's written responses sent to Washington in recent weeks.

In a statement issued late Monday, MCC said Danilovich has asked the corporation's governing board to press ahead with the allocation of the multimillion-dollar aid to Yerevan. MCC also posted on its website a copy of his second letter to Kocharian dated January 18. `On reading your letter, I was pleased to note your Government's commitment to sustaining the democratic reforms that are essential to good governance,' Danilovich wrote.

This contrasts with the U.S. official's first letter to Kocharian which deplored his regime's `lack of transparency and commitment to open and fair elections.' The letter sent on December 16 pointed to serious fraud reported during the referendum.

In his January 12 message to Danilovich, also disclosed by MCC, Oskanian said the authorities in Yerevan `acknowledge the deficiencies that you cite in reference to the Constitutional Referendum.' `We truly regret that an opportunity such as the referendum, the outcome of which were to be constitutional changes that will obviously benefit our people, has instead cast shadows on the election process,' he wrote.

Oskanian went on to blame the Armenian opposition for the reported vote rigging. `By boycotting the referendum, they forced the collapse of an electoral monitoring system that is, by law, based on checks and balances by the political parties,' he claimed.

However, the presence of opposition activists in polling stations did not prevent ballot box stuffing and other serious irregularities during the previous elections held in Armenia. The U.S. State Department criticized them as undemocratic. Citing the conduct of the referendum, Armenian opposition leaders say the next national elections due in 2007 and 2008 will be just as fraudulent.

Oskanian insisted, however, that the Kocharian administration will do its best to ensure the freedom and fairness of the polls. `We are ready to work with the US government, the EU and the OSCE and are ready to develop an accurate voter registry with independent verification, to conduct voter education campaigns, to increase public interest and involvement in the period leading up to and during the elections themselves and to provide for effective electoral adjudication training and mechanisms,' he said. Yerevan will provide Washington with `up-to-date information on steps taken towards irrevocable and verifiable progress in democratic development,' he added.

Danilovich found these assurances convincing. `I am heartened by your Government's commitment to pursue existing cases of fraudulent voting activity and violence against journalists, as well as your receptivity to outside assistance for training in election preparation, administration and monitoring,' he told Kocharian.

The U.S. official apparently referred to criminal proceedings launched recently against three little-known Armenian citizens each of whom allegedly cast an extra ballot in place of their relatives and friends on referendum day. One of them was reportedly tried and fined 100,000 drams ($220) by a court in Gyumri earlier this month.

None of the men was a member of the Kocharian-controlled electoral commissions that conducted the November 27 vote. Nor are they known to hold any positions in government. Some opposition leaders have dismisses the cases brought against them as a `joke.'

The Armenian law-enforcement authorities have also prosecuted a female opposition supporter who is said to have unintentionally hit a state television reporter during a pre-referendum rally in Yerevan. By contrast, they refused to prosecute anyone in connection with the severe beatings of several other journalists who were attacked by security forces while photographing the brutal break-up of another opposition
protest in April 2004.

The forthcoming U.S. assistance is based on the Armenian government's proposals submitted to MCC last spring. Most of the money, $146 million, would be spent on rebuilding and expanding the country's battered irrigation networks. Another $67 million would go to pay for capital repairs of about 1,000 kilometers of rural roads that have fallen into disrepair since the Soviet collapse.

Danilovich warned that the implementation of the aid program could be suspended or even terminated in case of a `significant slippage in the indicators or actions inconsistent with the principles that support Armenia's eligibility' for MCA.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Blasts cut gas supplies to Armenia, Georgia

By Misha Dzhindzhikhashvili
The Associated Press

TBILISI, Georgia -
Explosions hit pipelines running through southern Russia early Sunday, cutting the supply of natural gas to the Caucasus countries of Georgia and Armenia during a cold snap.

Russia's NTV showed footage of twisted and smoking pipelines in a high mountain pass in North Ossetia. Overnight temperatures in Tbilisi fell to minus 14 degrees Celsius, about 7 degrees Fahrenheit, and by afternoon, much of the capital was without gas.

An explosion also hit an electricity transmission tower west of North Ossetia, interrupting electricity supplies to Georgia, said Sergei Petrov, a duty officer at Russia's Emergency Situation Ministry. He said the cause was not yet known.

"The situation is very difficult. We have enough gas for just one day," Georgia Energy Ministry spokeswoman Teona Doliashvili said.

It was not immediately clear whether the pipeline and power line explosions were connected, Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Spokesman Viktor Beltsov initially said the pipeline blasts appeared to be accidental, but Nikolai Shepel, chief prosecutor for Russia's southern region, said a criminal investigation had been opened.

In recent years, explosions have damaged pipelines in Russia's turbulent North Caucasus region in blasts investigators have ruled sabotage. Criminal groups as well as militants with ties to Chechnya's separatist rebels have been suspected.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili called on Russia to do more to explain the cutoff and restore supplies and honor its "contract as is provided for under civilized, international trade relations," he said.

Russian gas goes across Georgia to Armenia, which sends back some electricity to Georgia. Electricity supplies also were cut in Armenia.

Shushan Sardarian, a spokeswoman for Armenia's gas distributor, said officials had tapped the country's emergency gas reserves and urged Armenians to cut back on electricity usage.

Neither Georgia nor Armenia produce significant amounts of gas, and they rely on Russia for the overwhelming majority of their supplies

Thursday, January 19, 2006



By Emil Danielyan

Military officials from the OSCE will visit Nagorno-Karabakh later this month to look into practical modalities of a multinational peacekeeping operation that would be part of a resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, Karabakh’s top army general said on Wednesday.

The announcement made by Lieutenant General Seyran Ohanian, defense minister of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, was a further indication that the conflicting parties are close to hammering out a peace accord. It came as the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan began two-day talks in London to prepare for a potentially decisive meeting of their presidents.

According to the online news service Lragir.am, Ohanian told reporters in Stepanakert that the OSCE’s “high-level planning group” on Karabakh will visit Karabakh Armenian positions along the heavily fortified frontline and “look into the possibility of placing command posts” there. Asked whether that means the Stepanakert government has already agreed to the deployment of peacekeeping forces in territories controlled by its forces, he replied, “Discussions are still going on.”

Ohanian was also quoted as saying that the Armenian side “should not be afraid of that idea” as his troops will remain the main guarantors of continued Armenian control over Karabakh “in any case.” The NKR Defense Army received new pieces of military hardware and boosted its combat readiness last year, he added without elaborating.

The OSCE military team already visited areas close to the Azerbaijani side of the line of contact last month, inspecting local infrastructure and in particular a major military airport near Azerbaijan’s second largest city of Gyanja. It was the group’s first trip to the conflict zone in eight years.

Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov have acknowledged that the OSCE inspections result from substantial progress made by the parties over the past year. The two men were expected to discuss in London the agenda of the next Armenian-Azerbaijani summit which is due to take place in mid-February. International mediators say Presidents Ilham Aliev and Robert Kocharian may well finalize a peace deal.

However, the Karabakh Armenians do not seem to share their optimism, with NKR President Arkady Ghukasian saying last month that the parties are still “pretty far from a settlement.” Another Karabakh official similarly said last week that no Armenian-Azerbaijani agreements are likely to be signed this year.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Seven Homeless People Have Already Died
[January 16, 2006]
Exactly one year ago Hetq Online published its special issue on homelessness in Yerevan. As a result of our research we discovered that approximately fifty homeless people in Yerevan die needlessly each year from the cold, and have done so for the past four years ... [full story]

In the Summer the Homeless don’t need a Winter Shelter
[January 16, 2006]
None of the homeless in Yerevan will be able to spend even one night in a shelter originally intended for them despite the fact that 85 million drams was allocated for its construction in the 2006 budget ... [full story]

What Do The Homeless Expect From The New Year?
[January 16, 2006]
“Alone? Why am I alone?" asks Gohar rhetorically. "What about my Ministers?” Pointing out her seven dogs, naming them Girl, Fatty, Blondie..., she likens each one to a Government Minister ... [full story]

The Homeless Pray to Survive the Winter
[January 16, 2006]
“In December, three homeless people that we knew died,” says Seryoja Vardazaryan, himself relegated to living on the streets. “Zaven, Gelo and Murad all slept outside and died,” he says, adding that every night he prays before he goes to sleep ... [full story]

“We haven't the appropriate conditions to accept guests”
[January 16, 2006]
After living apart for 28 years, Nikolay Kovalyov met his former wife Nadezhda again when the two became neighbors on Moldovakan Street in Nor Nork. Instead of living next door to each other in an apartment building ... [full story]

The Russian Embassy Is Unreachable For Its Citizens
[January 16, 2006]
Fifty-year-old Sergey Razganyaev has been in Armenia for seven years and is unable to return to his home city of Chelinadolsk in the Tatarstan Autonomous Republic of the Russian Federation ... [full story]

“Maybe you could get me a coat? I am cold in this one”
[January 16, 2006]
Fifteen-year-old Vadim Mesherekov knows nearly all the Russian homeless in the capital by name. He puts their number at more than fifty and became acquainted with them through his mother, Ira. “They were her friends,” he says. “Once they had homes, but now they don't.” ... [full story]

Baku's wet-dream continues with strokes from ICG's Madam Sabina

It seems that the International Crisis Group that I wrote about on October 11, 2005 is a hired gun working for Baku.

Why they are doing this and what they expect to gain is still a question that I don't have an answer to?

Anyway, it seems that Sabina Fraser is one of ICG's working ladies that is working really hard to earn her keep.


| 20:56:52 | 16-01-2006 | Politics |

Sabina Fraser representing the International Crisis Group announced recently that the Armenian side is ready to free the security zone of its armed forces without waiting for the final decision about the international status of Nagorno Karabakh. In connection with this announcement the Center of Armenian Civic Initiatives and 9
Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary parties, NGOs have sent a letter to the RA Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan.

"Many a time has Armenia announced its official attitude towards the conflict - Karabakh will never form part of Azerbaijan, which means that the independent status of Karabakh cannot be subject to discussion, not today, and not 10-15 years ago. The announcement by Sabina Fraser on behalf of the Armenian Government contradicts the
official attitude of Armenia. Moreover, from the point of view of diplomatic norms it violates the sovereignty of Armenia, as only the Armenian State officials can make announcements on behalf of Armenia.

Taking into account the absence of any response from the state bodies and the fact that the announcement of Fraser has been spread by the Mass Media, an impression is created that Armenia has retreated from its attitude about the Karabakh conflict.

Taking into account the fact that Karabakh has principle importance for the future existence of the Armenian nation in its historical motherland, and in this connection is similar to the question "To be or not to be", we ask you to comment on the attitude of the Armenian authorities towards the announcement of Sabina Fraser. We also ask you to express the official attitude of the country in connection with the Karabakh conflict", the letter says.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Banks facing two lawsuits

Glendale News Press
Jan 14 2006

Class-action suit alleges banks withheld assets from Armenian Genocide victims.
By Tania Chatila, News-Press and Leader

LOS ANGELES -- More than 500 Armenians from across Los Angeles County held signs that read "Blood for $" and chanted "Shame on Deutsche Bank."

Demonstrators gathered at the downtown offices of Deutsche Bank A.G. Friday morning, hours after it and Dresdner Bank A.G. were slapped with a class-action lawsuit claiming they have withheld money and assets from the heirs of Armenian Genocide victims for 90 years.

"We brought this case specifically to address the wrongs committed by this bank and others who profit off the Armenian Genocide," said attorney Brian Kabateck, of Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP at Friday's rally.

He and Mark Geragos, of Geragos & Geragos, APC; and Vartkes Yeghiayan, of Yeghiayan & Associates, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The suit claims that the two German banks have prevented the recovery of millions in money and assets deposited by Armenians prior to World War I and the Armenian Genocide.

The lawsuit also claims that the banks accepted "looted assets" taken by the Ottoman Turkey government during World War I and the Armenian Genocide.

"We are declining to comment on that lawsuit," Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Rohini Pragasam said.

The suit seeks restitution -- which Geragos estimates in the tens of millions -- for the heirs of genocide victims.

"For 90 years, this bank has sat on the blood money of the Armenian people who were driven into the desert and slaughtered by the Ottoman Turks," Geragos said.

"That blood money is what they pay for their sweets with, its for what they do their investments with."

Kabateck, Geragos and Yeghiayan -- all of Armenian descent -- settled two separate class-action lawsuits against New York Life and AXA in the past two years for more than $37 million.

The two companies agreed to payouts to descendants of life insurance policyholders killed in the genocide.

"This is an important issue," said protester Levon Marashlian, a professor of history at Glendale Community College and the college's Armenian Students Assn. faculty advisor.

"In addition to people being starved and massacred, their property was also stolen and insurance companies did not pay out life insurance policies."

Marashlian and several students in the college's Armenian Students Assn., were among many Glendale residents present Friday to show their support.

"It's about our race," said Tigran Pedirian, 17, of Glendale. "They think they can fool us."

The lawsuit has five representative defendants, but Kabateck believes there could be thousands of families that could be affected by the suit.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Armenian Government Continues to Sell "Orphans" to Foreigners

Armenian Child Adoptions Largely Unaffected By Stricter Rules

By Atom Markarian

Adoptions of Armenian children by foreigners have continued largely unabated in the last two years, despite more stringent adoption rules that were set by the government in response to media reports questioning of the integrity of the process.

A senior official at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs said on Thursday that 68 Armenian orphans found adopted parents abroad last year, compared with about 60 such cases reported in 2004. The latest figure is only slightly down from a record-high 76 adoptions reported by the authorities in 2003.

Legal requirements and procedures for foreign adoptions have been tightened by the government since then. The process began in December 2003 with a government pledge to allow foreign couples to have an Armenian children only exhausting all possibilities of finding local parents for the latter. This was followed by the adoption of new legislation that banned any intermediary activity or third-party facilitation of adoptions.

The bulk of foreign adoptions were until then arranged by local facilitators that charged hefty fees for their services: reportedly between $9,000 and $13,000 per child. The sums are suspiciously high given the much lower cost of relevant paperwork in Armenia. An RFE/RL report in June 2003 suggested that a large part of the money may be spent on bribes to Armenian officials involved in the process.

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Aghvan Vartanian asked state prosecutors at the time to look into the report, and it was his ministry that subsequently floated the idea of removing adoption intermediaries. The resulting legislative changes were expected to seriously complicate a process that was quite simple and even lax by Western standards.

It is not clear why the adoption figures has not fallen significantly since 2003. The latest data was made public following a weekly cabinet meeting that approved a five-year government strategy of helping Armenian orphans and other vulnerable children. According to the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry, there are currently about one thousand children living in Armenia’s eight state-run orphanages and another 250 in five institutions run by private charities.

The vast majority of those children have parents who are too poor to feed and support them. Deputy Labor Minister Artsvi Minasian said one of the key aims of the government program is to reduce the orphanage population by enabling those parents to take back their offspring. Minasian said that can done through social benefits or assistance for finding jobs.

“If a particular family needs X among of money for decent life, that money can be raised through a number of state programs that are currently implemented,” he told reporters without elaborating.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Armenian Government Violates the Rights of Their Citizens

The Needs of the State Equal the Interests of Gagik Tsarukyan

[January 9, 2006]

In accordance with rulings at all three levels of the Armenian court system, Rafik Chichakyan must vacate Apartment #3 at 5/1 Abovyan Street. His eviction was initiated by the government; the subsequent court rulings have “legalized” the expulsion of a resident from his own home.

Under the pretext of “the needs of the state”, the government, in Decision # 1047 of July 8, 2004, allocated to Multi Group, Ltd. the right to build on the territory adjacent to 5 Abovyan Street in the center of Yerevan without conducting a public tender. Multi Group is owned by Member of Parliament Gagik Tsarukyan. Tsarukyan received the 1,430 square meters of land from the government through direct negotiations, although according to existing laws the land should have been to be put up for auction and sold to the highest bidder.

Why is the government so well disposed towards Gagik Tsarukyan? Tsarukyan is currently putting up a multi-story apartment building a short distance away from the building in question. (see photo). According to our information, he has decided to erect an apartment building at 5 Abovyan Street as well.

What does “the needs of the state” mean? In the case of 5 Abovyan Street it means giving Gagik Tsarukyan the opportunity to profit at the expense of ordinary citizens of Armenia. This governmental decision is a classic example of corruption (as are all land allocations in the city center). We recommend that Bagrat Yesayan, the president's advisor on anti-corruption initiatives, who looks for but is unable to find specific evidence of corruption get hold of these decisions by the government and present them in one of his many publicized meetings. Unless he does, his work and the work of the Anti-Corruption Council will remain meaningless, and all money spent of seminars, round-tables, workshops and business trips abroad will be wasted.

Rafik Chichakyan has lived at 5/1 Abovyan Street for 42 years, since 1963. In the beginning, he occupied a space measuring 19.6 square meters. After his son and daughter were born Chichakyan enlarged his living space by constructing two additional floors. In the 1970s they turned the first floor into a store, which has provided the family with its daily bread until now. Chichakyan, now a second-degree invalid, has kept up on all taxes. For ten years now, the family's living space has been 76 square meters. “We have repeatedly sent letters to legalize our annexes—the laws enable us to do so—but they haven't done it. And this year they showed us a court order alleging that this is a development area and we have to vacate the house,” Rafik's wife, Gohar Manukyan, explained.

In 2002 their son, Yeghishe Chichakyan, got married and had a child. Yeghishe's wife and son are also registered residents at this address. “People from the Project Implementation Office ask me, ‘Why didn't your son get married earlier?' and I say: ‘He was young, how could he get married? Was he supposed to get married when he was ten?' They say: ‘You married him off on purpose'. If it had been on purpose, I would have brought my relatives and registered them here. Why should I marry off my son?' There weren't even any papers related to our house in the state cadastre. It's a good thing I kept them. They don't leave any papers; they destroy them,” Gohar continued.

“These court proceedings are just a theatrical performance that they stage. We know that, but there's nothing we can do about it. The Court of Appeal heard us out and said, ‘You are right, but this is the president's decision. The case has to be ruled in favor of the Office of Implementation of Projects on Investments and Development of Yerevan. Every one knows that all this is illegal,” Rafik added.

“You don't know who to turn to. We both live and work here; we don't know what's going to happen to us. We sent letters to Gagik Tsarukyan to the Parliament and we even delivered one to his house in Arinj, but there was no response,” Gohar said.

In return for ousting a family of six from their home the Office of Implementation of Projects has decided to pay the Chichakyans $10,870 and an equal amount as an incentive. If you subtract the value added tax, as stipulated by law, this comes to about $19,000. Thus this family of six is expected to purchase an apartment in Yerevan for $19,000, which is virtually impossible. “We tell them, Don't give us money, give us an apartment that will accommodate six people. Let them find it and give it to us and then we'll vacate this house,” Gohar continued.

Rafik Chichakyan refused to accept the proposed terms and went to court instead. As a result, he was deprived of the incentive pay, which means the family is now to receive $9,500, the figure that has now been approved in court rulings.

“The assertions by the plaintiff that the land their house occupies is being seized for ‘the needs of the state' has not been substantiated during the court hearings, even though this fact, by itself, is not grounds for violating sanctity of a person's home,'” maintained Artur Grigoryan, who has represented Chichakyan in court.

The Chichakyans home was appraised by Artin Enterprise, Ltd., the company that appraises all the territories to be developed in the city center. “Artin Enterprise cannot be considered an independent appraiser since it is a contractor of the Office of Implementation of Projects on Investments and Development of Yerevan,” Grigoryan said. The annual report of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia for 2004 notes in relation to this case: “The appraisement of the immovable property being alienated was carried out by Artin Enterprise, Ltd. to which the Office of Implementation of Projects, by signing a contract, has given a monopoly on appraising and made a party interested in establishing the lowest possible value.” Today, there are no agencies that appraise immovable property in the areas under development at the request of the people who live there. They have been strictly prohibited from providing such services. Moreover, several organizations that had done such work before and whose conclusions contradicted the evaluation of Artin Enterprise, Ltd. (stating a higher value) were deprived of their licenses, subjected to financial inspections, prosecuted. That, however, is another story, one we will cover in the future.

“During the so called ‘development projects cases' the courts do not act as entities administering justice. They just do one thing – they legalize the claims laid by the Office of Implementation of Projects,” Artur Grigoryan said. “Citizens are completely deprived of their right to judicial protection.”

Grigoryan tried to find out in court what “the needs of the state” meant, and how long the interests of Multi Group had coincided with those of the state. Every one in Armenia knows that Multi Group owner Gagik Tsarukyan is backed by president Robert Kocharyan. And that is more than enough for him to appear on the list of the state's needs.

As for Rafik Chichakyan, he has decided to defend his rights in Strasbourg, in the European Court of Human Rights.
Edik Baghdasaryan

Monday, January 09, 2006


This upcoming Friday there will be a protesting in front of Deutshce Bank HQs and for your So. California people, your support and presence is needed.

You recall the recent $20 million awarded descendants of life insurance policy holders who were massacred in the genocide, well this is Round Two. Read on…

Armenians from Los Angeles and Orange County will be gathering in Downtown Los Angeles, for a press conference led by the law firms of Geragos & Geragos, Kabatack Brown Kellner, and Yeghiayan & Associates, the attorneys who settled the lawsuits against New York Life and AXA during the past year for $37.5 million dollars.
The firms now represent the heirs of Armenians who perished in the Armenian Genocide, in a lawsuit which will be filed on January 13, 2006 against Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank. The lawsuit alleges that the German banks have systematically thwarted the recovery of millions of dollars in assets deposited by Armenians prior to the 1915 Genocide. In addition, the lawsuit seeks damages for looted Armenian assets forcibly taken by the Turkish government during the Genocide. Deutsche Bank funded the Turkish government's mass genocide of Armenians in return for these looted Armenian assets.

On Friday, January 13, 2006 at 12 noon, a press conference and protest will be held at the Los Angeles office of Deutsche Bank regarding its failure to return money and assets belonging to heirs of Armenians who perished in the Armenian Genocide. Your presence at this protest is need to garner the attention of Deutsche and Dresdner bank executives who have ignored their banks' wrongdoings. Guest speakers will include attorneys Mark J. Geragos, Brian Kabatack, and Vartkes Yeghiayan. Lunch will be donated by Zankou Chicken.

The Downtown offices of Deutsche Bank
300 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90071.

12 noon-1p.m.

Friday, January 06, 2006



P.O. Box 14235
Jerusalem, Israel 91141
Contact: Bishop Aris Shirvanian, Director of Ecumenical and Foreign Relations
Tel: 9722-6264866; FAX: 6264861
E-mail: arminf@netvision.net.il
Website: www.armenian-patriarchate.org


In a letter addressed to Koichino Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO in Paris, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Torkom Manoogian, expressed deep concern and outrage about recent reports of the on-going desecration and destruction, by Azeri soldiers, of khachkars in a medieval Armenian cemetery in the Autonomous Region of Nakhichevan. These stone crosses, noted His Beatitude, are historically and religiously significant tombstones and unique artistic expressions of millennial Armenian Christian sculpture.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem considers this vandalism and violence as cultural genocide and has appealed to UNESCO to put a stop to these malicious attempts to eradicate the evidence of the Armenian Christian cultural legacy from the region, which is under Azerbaijani sovereignty.

The letter also urged the UNESCO Director-General to bring these crimes to the attention of the international community, so that such unconscionable acts of ethnic cleansing are not allowed to be perpetuated. It also expressed the hope that the organization would exert its influence over the government of Azerbaijan to honor its commitment of preserving and safeguarding religious and cultural monuments within its territory.

Desecration Revisited - The Artyom Reader

Here is more proof of the Azeris not interested in being neighbors with us. Their plan to wipe us out is still moving forward.

Desecration Revisited - The Artyom Reader

Life as I see it: Nagorno Karabakh: The reality of a non-existing country

Life as I see it: Nagorno Karabakh: The reality of a non-existing country

Sacked Ombudsperson Appeals To Constitutional Court

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 01/05/2006
By Ruzanna Khachatrian

Larisa Alaverdian, Armenia's first human rights defender, asked the Constitutional Court on Thursday to invalidate President Robert Kocharian's decision to appoint a caretaker body that will run her office pending the election of a new ombudsperson by parliament.

The move came as Alaverdian formally ceased to perform her duties in accordance with one of the recently enacted amendments to the Armenian constitution. It stipulates that the ombudsperson, until now appointed by the president of the republic, will have to be chosen by the National Assembly. But neither the amended constitution nor a separate law on ombudsperson specify just when that election should take place.

In a December 26 open letter to parliament speaker Artur Baghdasarian, Alaverdian argued that she should therefore be allowed to continue to perform her duties in the interim. Baghdasarian and other parliament leaders effectively rejected the demand, however.

Kocharian, meanwhile, set up on Wednesday an ad hoc commission that will manage the Ombudsperson's Office until the election of its new head. The commission comprising the chief of the Constitutional Court and Justice Ministry staffs and the deputy head of the presidential administration took over the office affairs the next day despite strong objections from Alaverdian.

Alaverdian denounced the presidential decree as unconstitutional and said she submitted her arguments to the Constitutional Court. `The letter was drawn up yesterday, when I was still performing my duties,' she told RFE/RL. The court must therefore consider the appeal, she added.

Alaverdian also said her resignation will not prevent her from issuing an annual report on the ombudsman's activities. Her previous report made public last spring contained a damning indictment of the Armenian authorities' human rights record and their 2004 crackdown on the opposition in particular.

The report further strained her relationship with Kocharian and his government. Shortly after its publication officers of Armenia's National Security Services raided the ombudsperson's offices in Yerevan and temporarily confiscated its computers, ostensibly as part of a criminal investigation into a bribery case involving one of Alaverdian's employees. The human rights defender condemned the raid as politically motivated.

Last September Alaverdian released another report that dealt with the forced evictions of hundreds of Yerevan residents whose old houses are being demolished as part of a controversial redevelopment going on in the city center. She believes that the process is unconstitutional because it is regulated by government directives, rather than the constitution and laws adopted by parliament.

Under the Armenian constitution, private property can be taken away by the state only in `exceptional' cases and with `commensurate compensation' defined by law.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Just for the record... Project Harmony's Porn in Armenian Schools 2002...

I did a web search in hopes to find my blog from December 02, 2002 that I posted on cilicia.com to link to a comment for Nanul in regards to Nanul's comment about PH having no blame for putting porn in the Armenian classrooms they provide internet to, but it no longer was in the cilicia.com archives. From what I remember, it was moved to the messageboard that no longer exists. For that reason, I am reposting it here so those interested in talk of PH and porn in Armenian schools, you can read a little bit of history on this subject.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Ara Manoogian (ara_manoogian@yahoo.com) wrote at 10:44 PM | Comments (2)Comments

Project Harmony
5197 Main Street Unit 6
Waitsfield, VT 05673
Contact: Katy Pearce and Chris Cassell
Tel: 802-496-4545
E-mail: scp@projectharmony.org
Web: http://www.projectharmony.org

Series 2 of the Project Harmony School Connectivity Programs 2002-03 online projects has completed

In Series 2 communication between schools in the U.S. and in Armenia was based on a simultaneous curriculum unit entitled Conflict and Conflict Resolution. In this curriculum, students understand the causes of conflict. International conflicts are examined to determine their root causes. Students then evaluate conflict in their own lives and the lives of other students involved in the projects. Students won't just explore conflict and conflict resolution by reading information from the newspaper or a website, but rather by communicating about the conflict with other students. The exercises also allow the students to realize that the causes of conflict around the world are quite similar, and to think about how conflicts can be resolved in the present and future. The School Connectivity Programs are programs of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and administered by Project Harmony.

To find out more about this and the other projects connecting Project
Harmony's School Connectivity Program schools with schools in the United States, information, schedules and applications are available at: http://www.projectharmony.org/ac2k/rec2002.html


Congratulations United States Department of State on your attempt in brainwashing our children (here and there) in how you would like the world to believe the root causes of conflicts are and more importantly for picking our children’s brains (which usually reflect the thoughts of their parents – very clever) with the help of American children to see what their feeling are today on the conflict we have with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

I wonder if FM 100-20/AFP 30-2 US Military Operation on Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) were part of the curriculum? If you really want to know about cause and effect, read what the US experts on conflicts wrote. But I guess this is not that important since this was probably not really the goal of this operation.
Well this is strike two for Project Harmony in my book.

First strike came when we discovered 2 years ago that they were knowingly distributing pornographic materials to our children, right in the classrooms that they placed their computers in.

We spoke with the administrators at Project Harmony and presented them with the problem and a solution not thinking they had malicious intent.

They admitted to know that such a problem would eventually start and they had blocking software which they had not yet installed as they didn’t think the problem would start as quick as it did. At that time there was also some mention of them not having in their budget the money needed for the more sophisticated blocking software that we proposed they consider using to eradicate the problem all together.

A couple months passed and we checked to see if Project Harmony had installed the blocking software they claimed to already have and to see how effective it was.
I opened my Hotmail account and randomly clicked on the many porn mail solicitation that everyone seems to get in their junk mailbox and thought their blocking software blocked a couple of sites, most of them opened up without any problem.

We contacted a journalist acquaintance of ours who agreed to prepare an investigative report.

When the Project Harmony representatives were interviewed, they lied through their teeth as to ever meeting with us and being told of the problem of pornography being accessed on their computers (thought that conversation had been recorded and what they claimed they didn’t know was clearly documented to the contrary).

The article concluded that Project Harmony was providing easy access to pornography to our children in the classroom and made it to the front-page of a couple of Armenian new-papers.

If you read FM 100-20/AFP 30-2 US Military Operation on Low Intensity Conflict (LIC), you will see that it practically mentions Project Harmony by name as being an intricate part of LIC.

It should be noted that Project Harmony operates in Armenia and Azerbaijan with the bulk of its work in Armenia.

So what can we expect next from Project Harmony? I predict they will at some point have some project of friendship between kids of different countries, in particular Armenia and Azerbaijan.

I would not have so much of a problem if it was some country other than America, the country which has its eye on the Caspian oil and has a history of manipulating nations in a way that best suits America’s interests and not those of the nations they manipulate.

I guess I can’t blame the people at Project Harmony or the US Department of State who are just doing their jobs. If there is any blame to be placed, it can only go to the people of Armenia and its government for allowing such activities to take place in their country.

Lastly from the Project Harmony guest book:

Name: Azatyan Narine
Time: Thursday, March 21, 2002 at 13:19:22
ARAVOT Armenian newspaper reported on an alarming call received from one of the schools where an internet classroom was opened by US government assistance. According to the teacher calling from that school the students constantly open porno-sites though there are special programs prohibiting access to such sites. The details will be published in the next issue of the newspaper.
I have posted some messages to Armenian website's guestbook and they have deleted my last one. Could you tell me why you open that centers if you can't protect children from accessing pornography? I'm a mother of a girl and thanx god that Armenian Project Harmony is not her school yet. Your technical coordinator wrote that there is no guarantee that children won't access porno sites... Why you don't care about that children? Why you can't protect them from accessing? Hope you'll undertake smtg. and WON'T delete my message asa it was made in armenian guestbook Azatyan Narine

Name: Abi Butler
Email: webmaster@projectharmony.org
Time: Thursday, March 21, 2002 at 14:57:21
Dear Ms. Azatyan,
I post here a reply to this situation from our Technical Coordinator in Armenia, Mourad Mouradyan:
Dear Ms. Azatyan, Project Harmony is very concerned to learn of the instance to which your message refers. It is indeed useful for us to learn when and where there have been misappropriate uses of the resources which are provided by the Armenia Connectivity 2000 program. You can be certain that Project Harmony staff and ICC staff work diligently to avoid such kinds of situations. We believe that our first line of defense is the site staff who are employed in the centers. Site staff and teachers working with children in the centers are held accountable for preventing children from accessing sensitive-content sites. However, in an effort to implement a technical solution, the program has an Internet filter software package which is installed on our main server. Unfortunately no technical solution offers a 100% guarantee. If you have more specific information regarding misuses of the resources we encourage you to contact me directly via email.Mourad Mouradyan, Project Harmony, Technical Coordinator From Yerevan, Armenia mourad@projectharmony.am http://www.projectharmony.am

Ara Manoogian (ara_manoogian@yahoo.com) wrote at 2:14 AM | Comment (0)Comments

I got an e-mail from someone at Project Harmony who will remain nameless and that person wrote:

“Just to let you know... the kids talk about personal conflicts and how to deal with typical teenage issues.”

I guess I’m a bit confused as in the Project Harmony material under EDUCATOR AND STUDENT COMMENTS the following comments lead me to believe otherwise.

`Participating in this program will allow our students to see how international conflict and conflict resolution is viewed around the globe.' - American educator

`[I liked] Talking with the [Armenian] students on line. I learned so much about their opinion on the conflict.' - American student age 15, grade 10

`I enjoyed the chat room. We got to discuss the conflict over Israel in a new way.' - American student age 15, grade 10

`I think this program is a wonderful step for future leaders of the world, our children, to gain an understanding of the world as an interdependent organism.' - American educator

`It gave me a way to look at and solve conflict.' - American student age 17, grade 12

`[If I could teach an Armenian one thing about America…] That we do care about other nations.' - American student age 16, grade 11

`It taught me about a country that I didn't even know about and it made me think a lot more about the conflict happening in the Middle East.' - American student age 15, grade 10

`We have a peer mediation program that focuses on conflict resolution, and it would be great for them to see the similarities and differences in interpersonal and international conflict.' - American educator

`It made me much more aware of the conflict and of overseas countries. When we talked online with kids from Armenia, that gave me a reason to learn more about the country and conflict so I didn't make myself look foolish when I was asking questions.' - American student age 15, grade 10

But some of the other comments could lead me to believe that the program also dealt with personal conflicts (as the Project Harmony person told me). I also understood from the comments that American students living in America were giving advice to students living in Armenia. Like I said many times before Armenia is not America, never will be and things that work in America DON’T work here. So advice from American children (the country that many children don’t respect their parents or elders) in my opinion had no business giving advice to our children as it can only do more harm than good.

`I learned that Armenia has some problems with friendship just like we do.' - American student age 12, grade 7

`The aspect I enjoyed the most was going into the chatroom. I also liked giving advice to the kids from Armenia to find out that they had some of the same problems as we do in America.' - American student age 12, grade 7

`[If I could teach an Armenian one thing about America…] About our rights and freedoms.' - American student age 12, grade 7

`I liked how we got a chance to respond to the Armenians' questions and try to help them out.' - American student age 16, grade 11

As I have told you in person before Ara, I completely disagree with you on this subject. Blaming Project Harmony for anything the kids see online is like blaming Kerkorian for many of the sidewalks in Yerevan being in a shambles because whoever in government is implementing the repairs decided to do every sidewalk at once, without time to finish them all before winter hits... It is not right.

The schools themselves need to monitor the connections and the childrens use of the internet, just like they would in the USA. If Apple gives Macs to a school in the USA, they will not be blamed if children surf for porn on them. The TEACHERS will be rightfully blamed. It is that simple.

I don't know why you don't direct your attention to the schools and their administration who supervise the computers, and the curriculum.

Raffi Kojian | Homepage | 12.03.02 - 4:48 am

First of all Raffi, I clearly stated in my log that in the end I don’t blame Project Harmony (PH) and blame the Armenian People and the government for allowing this to go on.

One thing that you of all people should be in tune with is that teachers are one of the lowest paid jobs in Armenia and in many cases are the least motivated to do their jobs.

In addition to that, the internet is very new to Armenians here and I would guess that the majority of parents, teachers and those working at the schools haven’t a clue as to what is out there and certainly don’t realize the effects such garbage has on our children.

Also I want to say (as I did in my log) that there is software out there that is much much more effective than the software that PH is using. If they can’t afford to have the more sophisticated software on their system, then they should not be allowed to run such a project in Armenia. Cars with bald tires are unsafe and in the America it is illegal to drive such a car.

Another thing I want to point out is if PH is so innocent, then why did they lie through their teeth when asked if we had talked to them about this problem in the past?

Ara Manoogian | Email | 12.03.02 - 7:29 am

Monday, January 02, 2006

Dyncorp and Halliburton Sex Slave Scandal Won't Go Away

Halliburton, Dyncorp lobbyists stall law banning human trafficking and sex slavery

Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones January 1 2006

Almost a year after Representative Cynthia McKinney was told by Donald Rumsfeld that it was not the policy of the Bush administration to reward companies that engage in human trafficking with government contracts, the scandal continues to sweep up innocent children who are sold into a life of slavery at the behest of Halliburton subsidiaries , Dyncorp and other transnational corporations with close ties to the establishment elite.

On March 11th 2005, McKinney grilled Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers on the Dyncorp scandal.

"Mr. Secretary, I watched President Bush deliver a moving speech at the United Nations in September 2003, in which he mentioned the crisis of the sex trade. The President called for the punishment of those involved in this horrible business. But at the very moment of that speech, DynCorp was exposed for having been involved in the buying and selling of young women and children. While all of this was going on, DynCorp kept the Pentagon contract to administer the smallpox and anthrax vaccines, and is now working on a plague vaccine through the Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program. Mr. Secretary, is it [the] policy of the U.S. Government to reward companies that traffic in women and little girls?"

The response and McKinney's comeback was as follows.

Rumsfeld: "Thank you, Representative. First, the answer to your first question is, is, no, absolutely not, the policy of the United States Government is clear, unambiguous, and opposed to the activities that you described. The second question."

McKinney: "Well how do you explain the fact that DynCorp and its successor companies have received and continue to receive government contracts?"

Rumsfeld: "I would have to go and find the facts, but there are laws and rules and regulations with respect to government contracts, and there are times that corporations do things they should not do, in which case they tend to be suspended for some period; there are times then that the - under the laws and the rules and regulations for the - passed by the Congress and implemented by the Executive branch - that corporations can get off of - out of the penalty box if you will, and be permitted to engage in contracts with the government. They're generally not barred in perpetuity."

McKinney: "This contract - this company - was never in the penalty box."

Rumsfeld: "I'm advised by DR. Chu that it was not the corporation that was engaged in the activities you characterized but I'm told it was an employee of the corporation, and it was some years ago in the Balkans that that took place."

Watch the video here.

Rumsfeld's effort to shift the blame away from the hierarchy at Dyncorp and onto the Dyncorp employees was a blatant attempt to hide the fact that human trafficking and sex slavery is a practice condoned by companies like Dyncorp and Halliburton subsidiaries like KBR.

What else are we to assume in light of recent revelations cited in the Chicago Tribune that Halliburton subsidiary KBR and Dyncorp lobbyists are working in tandem with the Pentagon to stall legislation that would specifically ban trafficking in humans for forced labor and prostitution by U.S. contractors?

Three years has now elapsed since President Bush's promise to bring an end to this disgrace and the Pentagon is still yet to actually bar the practice.

And the employees themselves that are burned for blowing the whistle, like Kathryn Bolkovac who was sacked for reporting on Dyncorp officials who were involved in the Bosnian sex trade.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is one of very few representatives in high office aside from Cynthia McKinney to demand answers on this issue.

We applaud Blagojevich's eforts. The iron curtain of official denial and soft-peddling is falling down.

What has happened to the children who were sold into slavery and forced to satisfy the demands of sick pedophiles working on behalf of the US government?

Where were the investigations and convictions in other cases of establishment orchestrated child slavery and prostitution? Like the NATO officials responsible for the mushrooming of child prostitution in Kosovo?

What happened to UN officials identified as using a ship charted for 'peacekeepers' to bring young girls from Thailand to East Timor as prostitutes?

In addition, we received an E mail from a person claiming to be a Dyncorp employee stating that a high level Dyncorp official is breaking the law by accepting payment from the US government and in turn the American taxpayer by falsifying timesheets and claiming pay for hours not worked.

The contact states that this was repeatedly brought to the attention of DynCorp program managers by Dyncorp employees but they were told it was "none of their business."

It is important to stress that at the moment these are allegations and we have no proof of this other than the validity of the e mail.

The e mail is a reminder that we should always consider the fact that the vast majority of Dyncorp employees are just doing their jobs and have nothing to do with this scandal. It is a small faction at the head of the hydra that have authorized and engaged in these horrors.

We have a government that says it doesn't advocate torture and yet tries to block a law that would end torture. We have a government that repeatedly burns lower level minions to wash its hands of every major scandal that encompasses policies directly administered by the government itself, as in the case of Abu Ghraib and the Dyncorp sex scandal.

A government that covers-up for those who force children into prostitution and slavery is a clear danger to our very way of life.

We must demand answers and finally put an end to a process that exploits and wreaks terror on the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable members of society, whether they be in the Balkans, East Timor or here at home.

Our own children.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Nagorno Karabakh: The reality of a non-existing country

Back in October (2005), I had a meeting in Stepanagert with a young man from Holland named Hein Tolboom. He was working with a human rights organization, participating in a project sponcered by Dutch peace-building organisation called IKV.

Our meeting was at an outdoor café near the main govenrment building (where the Prime Minister sits) over many cups of hot tea and visits to the WC. We talked for about 3 hours in the cold at a meeting I don’t regret, since I learned many thing from Hein about life on the other side of the boarder (in Azerbaijan) and was able to share with him my obersvations of present day Artsakh, which obviously echoed what he had personally observed for himself during his visit in Artsakh.

On December 9, 2005, Hein published an essay on his findings in Artsakh and all I can say is that it is very accurate and reflects the reality of life here.

You can find the English version of Hein’s essay over on Myethe’s “Life as I see it.”

Enjoy reading the obersavations of a non-Armenian, one of the first that seems to be intersted in reporting accuratly the truth of what they saw with their own eyes here in Artsakh.

A big thankyou goes out to Hein for a well written, easy to comprahend essay. May all your essays refelct the truth as this one did.

Blogrel Link Suspended Until Further Notice

Blogrel Link Has Been Suspended Until Further Notice

For the last few weeks I’ve been quite disappointed in what has been posted on Blogrel and specifically the postings by Katy, the “solo-active contributor/monitor/editor.”

I’m not sure anymore what her intentions are, but since her trip to Baku and what I would call some possible inaccurate reporting, I’ve been reading what she writes with a bit of suspicion.

Though on the surface Katy is a nice person, what sticks in the back of my head are a couple of things about her that I have personally witnessed.

The first is the bold and as a matter of fact statements she made a few years back about how Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh) is a place where smuggling is going on. From what I remember she was talking about drugs for sure and maybe there was even mention of weapons.

When I confronted her about this, her “as a matter of fact” statements became speculation and she immediately stop spreading the roomers among people I know. Her statements fell in line with the Azeri propaganda at the time.

The second thing that sticks out about Katy and maybe is just a matter of circumstances was that when the scandal of the United States sponsored Project Harmony was being accused of corrupting our children with pornography in public schools that they were providing internet to, Katy was working for them.

When I later pushed the issue on my blog (which at the time was on Cilicia), Katy made it a point to distance herself from Project Harmony and make it clear that she no longer has anything to do with them (I’ll have to dig up the e-mails I have with her so I can be more accurate with my information).

One other project that if I recall Katy was working on or maybe it was Project Harmony after Katy left, was some project that got Azeri and Armenian students, along with American students to interact and talk about war, democracy and freedom (something like this) via the internet. I wrote about this also, which maybe Katy’s name came up in this as she commented.

Unfortunately, due the postings at Blogrel, which I don’t agree with, we at Martuni or Bust have decided that we can no longer recommend to our readers Blogrel and have remove our link to their site until these issue are addressed and resolved.

And just so you know that I’m not alone on this, the following is a comment from Paul, which was made on Cilicia.com’s Life in Armenia in regards to some other questionable logs by some guy named Nathen, who is working on some project called “Global Voices Online,” that is being sponsored by Harvard University’s Berkman Center and Reuters.

paul said…

"I guess this is the best time to also question the views and material intent of Blogrel and Katy its current and solo-active contributor/monitor/editor. I've heard from Armenian-Diaporians directly that Blogrel’s Katy is a pleasant person in real-life, but an unyielding and sinister critic of both current day Armenia and the Armenian-Diaspora. Reading Bloggrel during her tenure has often left me somewhat disappointed and disenfranchised with the non-Armenian estimation. I now entirely avoid what "Katy at Blogrel" writes or posts about. In my opinion they are half-truths or straight-up lies. We as a collective Armenian online readership should avoid facilitating strategically ambiguous minded sources for misinterpreting our people’s spirit and entitlements. Armenia with all her challenges will be best resolved without the interference of such distortions or non-Armenian intervention. Thanks and Happy New Year.”

May your 2006 be all it should be.