Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Senate Should Hold up Confirmation Of Ambassador Evans' Replacement

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

After avoiding public comment for almost three months, the White House officially announced last week the recall of John Evans, the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, and the nomination of Richard Hoagland, currently the U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan, as his replacement.

Earlier this year, I broke the news that Amb. Evans was being recalled for affirming the facts of the Armenian Genocide, while addressing an Armenian-American audience at the University of California at Berkeley, in February of 2005. Within days of his remarks, and after complaints from Turkish and Azeri officials, Amb. Evans was ordered by his superiors to issue "a clarification" in which he claimed that he had used the word "genocide" in his "personal capacity." He was then asked to issue "a correction" to his "clarification," replacing the word "genocide" with "tragedy."

Subsequently, under pressure from the State Department, the American Foreign Service Association took the unusual step of rescinding the "Constructive Dissent" award that Amb. Evans was to receive for his remarks. He was then summoned to Washington, D.C. by his superiors for private consultations on this issue.

Apparently not satisfied with his repeated apologies and the revocation of the prestigious dissent award, the State Department privately informed Amb. Evans earlier this year that he was being removed not only from his diplomatic post after serving only 18 months of his three-year term, but also from the foreign service altogether. He was asked to remain in Yerevan, pending the Senate confirmation of his replacement.

Until last week when his recall was publicly announced, State Department officials gave evasive answers to persistent media questions, by repeatedly stating that all government officials "serve at the pleasure of the President."

During the past few months, Representatives Adam Schiff, Frank Pallone and Grace Napolitano wrote separate letters to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, seeking an explanation for the recall of Amb. Evans. These congressional inquiries fell on deaf ears, as the State Dept. ignored their letters. Lastweek, 60 members of the House of Representatives sent a joint letter to Secretary Rice with a similar request for clarification. On May 25, Cong. Pallone made his second statement on the House floor, strongly condemning the dismissal of Amb. Evans.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and international media provided extensive coverage of the recall of Amb. Evans. In a hard-hitting editorial published on March 22, the Los Angeles Times said: "The State Dept. has long avoided the word 'genocide,' not out of any dispute over history but out of deference to Turkey=80¦. It is time to stop tiptoeing around this issue and to accept settled history=80¦. Punishing an ambassador for speaking honestly about a 90-year-old crime befits a cynical, double-dealing monarchy, not the leader of the free world." The Fresno Bee, in an unusually harsh editorial published on March 24, wrote: "Shame on the State Department" for recalling the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia. The Washington Times called Amb. Evans a "Genocide 'victim'."

While commemorating the 91st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24 in Yerevan, tens of thousands of Armenians tied yellow ribbons on strings at the Genocide Memorial Monument, in honor of Amb. Evans. Yellow ribbons were worn by the participants at various commemorative events in Los Angeles, New York and other U.S. cities. Armenian-Americans also sent hundreds of e-mails directly to Secretary Rice urging her not to dismiss Amb. Evans. The State Dept. has not had the courtesy of responding to any of these messages.

The diplomatic career of Amb. Evans is being terminated for speaking honestly about the Armenian Genocide. Why is telling the truth a crime for the Bush administration? Amb. Evans did nothing more than uphold Pres. Bush's unkept campaign pledge to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. Ironically, Amb. Evans is losing his job for his honesty, while the President is keeping his by not keeping his word!

It is amazing that the remarks of Amb. Evans on the Armenian Genocide would elicit such a hostile reaction from the Bush administration. After all, Pres. Ronald Reagan himself issued a Presidential Proclamation in 1981 that mentioned the Armenian Genocide, and no one in the U.S. government dared to either criticize him or call for his removal from office. Furthermore, the House of Representatives passed two resolutions in 1975 and 1984 recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Amb. Evans was simply restating the long established position of the U.S. government on this issue. There was nothing new in what he said and no valid reason for his dismissal!

Given the unresponsiveness of the State Department to the public at large and to the letters of more than 60 Members of Congress, the Senate is now obligated to place a hold on the nomination of Amb. Hoagland, even though he has had no involvement in this debacle. A "hold" request by any one member of the Senate on this nomination would delay its consideration by the full Senate until that Senator is fully consulted. It is regrettable that the Senate has to resort to such tactics to force the Bush Administration to be more forthcoming on this issue. It is imperative that before the U.S. government sends another envoy to Armenia, Members of Congress know what exactly caused the early termination of the career of the current ambassador. Also, what steps need to be taken to ensure that this unfortunate situation is not repeated during the tenureof his successor?

When the confirmation hearing is scheduled for Amb. Hoagland, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should ask the State Department to go on record stating the reasons for the dismissal of Amb. Evans -- a well-respected and highly-competent career foreign service officer. The Senators should also inquire about the unwarranted role of the State Department in rescinding the "Constructive Dissent" award that was to be granted to Amb. Evans by the American Foreign Service Association. Furthermore, serious questions should be raised about undue pressures applied by Turkish and Azeri officials on the Bush administration against Amb. Evans for acknowledging the Armenian Genocide.

Armenian Americans should flex their political muscle to let the State Department know that they do not look too kindly upon an administration that fires a distinguished U.S. diplomat for telling the truth about the Armenian Genocide. Unless Armenians put their foot down on this occasion, they will be taken for granted on other issues. If the Armenian American community and its congressional supporters take a strong position, maybe next time the Administration would think twice before contemplating an action offensive to the Armenian community.

Make your voices heard on this important issue by taking the following three steps:
-- Contact you Senators and ask them to hold up the confirmation of Amb. Evans' replacement until the State Department makes public the reasons for his dismissal.
-- Send a webfax to your congressional representatives through
-- Send an e-mail to the Secretary of State through: (click at the bottom of the page on "contact us," then click on "send a message tothe Secretary of State").

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


May 26, 2006

Words, especially in the Information Age, are the warning shots of war. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "Iran is a troublemaker in the international system, a central banker of terrorism.'

President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Iran `would not give a damn' about UN resolutions that could penalize Tehran.

`Born again' Christian, George W. Bush thinks Iran is the `axis of evil'. Muslim fundamentalist and suspected terrorist (Beirut, 1983) Ahmadinejad thinks Bush is an infidel.

When last we heard words similar to those Rice used last Sunday, they were spoken by her predecessor, Colin Powell, to the United Nations when he guaranteed the UN that Iraq housed Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Turns out Powell was misinformed. Turns out it didn't matter. Now Iran.

A recent provocative article in `New Yorker' magazine, refuted by the White House, cited government insiders in claiming that President Bush has held ambitions to invade Iran since before he was even elected president. The in-depth article also says that the US has been actively increasing `clandestine' activities in Iran, in preparation for war, for the purpose of removing Ahmadinejad, whom US military planners have referred to as a `potential Adolph Hitler'.

The war of words wages with precise strikes; collateral damage is not a phenomenon of rhetoric. But what if words turn to action?

Armenia is hardly a player in the Iran Plan. But, nonetheless, this is Armenia's neighborhood and it is Armenia's friend who is next on the Middle East Death Row, awaiting either reprieve or execution.

Trouble in the neighborhood is trouble for all the neighbors. And so, while we can hope that heated talk will lead to cooled heads, we thought it important to hear what some concerned and informed observers say about whether problems for Iran would mean problems for Armenia.

In this special report - a departure from typical reportage of absolutes - we rely on informed opinion, tempered speculation and reasoned analysis, and pray that war as fact will be avoided.

Azeri barbarism continues: Graves of Jews and Armenians being destroyed in Azerbaijan
29.05.2006 15:00

Graves of Jews and Armenians are being destroyed in Azerbaijan. The article titled `The country of barbarians' printed in `Real Azerbaijan' newspaper notes that the editorial office received a letter from Sumgait residents, who report about the destruction of Armenian and Jewish tombs.

The author of the article informs that the same happens also in Baku. According to the author, `it is an intentional and cynical persecution.' `First, the barbarism at the cemetery is a serious blow to our reputation,' the author notes.

Armenian ex-speaker vows to struggle for better Armenia

Mediamax news agency
29 May 06

Yerevan, 29 May:
The leader of the Orinats Yerkir [Law-Governed Country] Party, Artur Bagdasaryan, officially relinquished his authority as chairman of the National Assembly of Armenia today.

Speaking at his final news conference today, Bagdasaryan said that the party would hold a special congress to outline its tactics and strategy and lay out a "clear position" on its further activities.

"We will struggle to create an Armenia of our dreams," the ex-speaker said. Bagdasaryan expressed readiness of the Orinats Yerkir to cooperate with all political forces in the country "for the sake of real hopes for the future and progress".

"Our party has its own path forward which we will follow," Bagdasaryan said. The new chairman of the National Assembly will be elected at a special session of parliament, the date of which is yet to be set.

[Passage omitted: background info]

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Azeris in Iran Burnt Armenian National Flag

27.05.2006 13:38 GMT+04:00

Participants of a rally in Tebriz burnt Armenian national flag, fixed in front of an electric equipment store, owned by ethnic Armenian Abrahamian. The owner of the store was beaten, the store was destroyed, reports APA.

Unrest in North Iran Directed by Baku, Ankara and Washington

27.05.2006 13:59 GMT+04:00

What is happening in Iran's northern provinces for over 10 days is apparently directed not only by Baku and Ankara, but also Washington, political scientist Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. In his words, it should not be forgotten that authors of the notorious cartoon, as well as editor of the Iran newspaper were arrested and apologies are presented to the Turkic speaking population of Iran.

«However, an «occasion» was invented and there is sort of official ground for discontent. It should not be surprising any more that slogans «Karabakh is our,» «Turkic people are united» and similar ones are heard during rallies,» he remarked.

When commenting on the fact of burning the Armenian national flag in Tebriz, the Armenian expert underscored that the incident is one of the directions of the policy of rally participants. «Their major goal is not Karabakh or Armenia. Major goal of rally participants is to tear away the territory, which will be the support for Turan's struggle against Iran,» the expert said.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Azeri leader vows to liberate Armenian-occupied territories

Trend news agency
26 May 06

Baku, 26 May, Trend correspondent R. Abdullayev:
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev made a speech on 26 May in Baku at an official ceremony to mark Azerbaijan's national holiday - the Day of the Republic, Trend reports.

The head of state highly rated the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan in 1918 and stressed the historical role of the founders of Azerbaijan's statehood.

Touching on developments that unfolded in Azerbaijan during the collapse of the Soviet Union and on the threat of the repeat collapse of national statehood, Ilham Aliyev pointed out that statehood was preserved owing to the efforts of ex-President Heydar Aliyev.

The president pointed out that in the following period, Azerbaijan became the most dynamically developing country, which was a direct result of the successful policy of political-economic reforms carried out by the republic's leadership.

He said that Azerbaijan is strengthening its positions not only on the regional, but also on the world scale. "Azerbaijan is implementing an economic concept that aims to increase the welfare of the country's population," Ilham Aliyev said.

The head of state also touched on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagornyy Karabakh conflict and stressed that Azerbaijan is in favour of a peaceful solution to the problem. He said that if Armenia's nonconstructive position leads to a deadlock in the negotiating process, "Azerbaijan should resolve the problem with its own forces".

President Aliyev clearly said that "Azerbaijan will not allow a second Armenian state to be created on its territory" and added that "all the occupied territories of Azerbaijan should be liberated without any conditions".

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dashnak Leader Blasts Chief Armenian Prosecutor

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 05/26/2006
By Emil Danielyan

A top leader of the governing Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) has lashed out at Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian for reportedly creating a political party which he believes is intent on bribing its way into Armenia's next parliament.

The attack by Hrant Markarian, a key member of Dashnaktsutyun's governing Bureau, is the latest salvo in the nationalist party's intensifying confrontation with Hovsepian. Observers attribute it to unfolding preparations for next year's parliamentary election in which the ambitious prosecutor intends to play a major part.

`The current prosecutor of the Republic of Armenia has no right to create a party. Neither directly, nor indirectly,' Markarian said in an interview with the `Iravunk' newspaper published on Friday.

`Woe betide the people, woe betide the state whose [chief] prosecutor is creating a party in a direct or indirect way,' he added. `This is the end of everything.'

Markarian was clearly referring to the recently created Assembly for Armenia party which is rapidly opening branches across the country. Levon Khachatrian, one of the party's founding leaders and a close friend of Hovsepian's, told RFE/RL earlier this month that it managed to recruit 11,500 members in less than three weeks and plans to almost double its membership in the coming weeks. Khachatrian expressed confidence that the Assembly for Armenia `will have a majority in parliament and form the government' as a result of the 2007 election.

Hovsepian and his loyalists have repeatedly insisted that he has no connection with the party that comprises over a dozen wealthy parliamentarians with close ties to the Armenian government. But many politicians and commentators think otherwise.

Markarian claimed that the Assembly for Armenia and other pro-establishment groups set up in recent months will primarily rely on vote bribes during the legislative polls. He complained that `the criminal underworld is also given a role during elections' held in Armenia.

The harsh criticism came after a series of reports in the Dashnaktsutyun-controlled media implicating the Prosecutor-General's Office in allegedly illegal activities in the central Aragatsotn region governed by a senior member of Dashnaktsutyun. The Yerkir-Media television station reported last week that prosecutors have raided public schools in the regional capital Ashtarak to inspect their financial and other activities. The channel condemned the action as politically motivated.

And on Friday the Dashnaktsutyun weekly `Yerkir' published an article accusing regional prosecutors of illegally meddling in a long-running dispute over the ownership of a local restaurant. The property is claimed by a U.S. citizen of Armenian descent who has won several court rulings in his favor.

One of the Aragatsotn districts, Aparan, is known as the stronghold of Hovsepian, who is the unofficial leader of the influential Nig-Aparan organization uniting prominent natives of the area.

The bespectacled soft-spoken prosecutor, who has been linked with a number of large businesses, underlined his political clout in May 2005 when he organized a huge circle dance around Armenia's highest mountain. The event, attended by hundreds of thousands of Armenians, fueled speculation that Hovsepian is ready to challenge Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian for the right to succeed President Robert Kocharian in 2008.

Incidentally, Markarian indicated in the `Iravunk' interview that Dashnaktsutyun will not endorse Sarkisian if he runs for president and will likely field its own candidate instead. The Iranian-born politician further reiterated his critical assessment of the state of affairs in Armenia, singling out endemic government corruption. He claimed that the country's `entire state apparatus' has made sure that officials affiliated with Dashnaktsutyun have no `real possibility' to tackle the problem.

`We are a minority inside a government which we are trying to convince to launch a fight against itself,' said Markarian.

40,000 women 'sex trafficked' for World CupGerman government supports import of mostly poor from Central, Eastern Europe
Posted: May 26, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2006

In response to reports that 40,000 young women will be brought to Germany from Central and Eastern Europe to "sexually service" men attending the World Cup soccer championship next month, a Catholic group warns that many are desperately poor and will be "sex trafficked" against their will.

The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, or C-FAM, has launched a "Stop World Cup Prostitution" campaign on its website.

An estimated 3 million soccer fans – mostly men – are expected to descend on 12 German cities for the quadrennial sports event June 9 to July 9. Prostitution is legal in Germany.

Most of the women are told "they are going to be models, waitresses or some other harmless occupation," says C-FAM. "Many will be brutally assaulted by intoxicated fans."

The group comments: "Whatever their circumstances, each and every one of these young women is someone's daughter, a child of God and deserves our protection! They do not deserve to be exploited and sentenced to a life of misery to satisfy the sexual appetites of soccer fans."

What "makes this crime particularly appalling," adds C-FAM, "is the open support it is receiving from the German government. The same government that likes to lecture America on morality!"

The Catholic group is far from alone in its condemnation of the mass prostitution campaign. Before German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to the White House earlier this Month, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., said: "It is an outrage that the German government is currently facilitating prostitution and we believe women who will be exploited will be treated as commodities."

According to the Christian Science Monitor, Brunhilde Raiser, director of the National Council of German Womens' Organizations, said: "Forced prostitution has yet to become a public issue of concern as a severe violation of human and women's rights. Our goal is to bring it as far up the political agenda as possible."

Even Sweden's "equality ombudsman," Claes Borgström, has reportedly called for a boycott of the World Cup by the Swedish team to highlight the problem.

Because the German red light districts are too small to accommodate the soccer fans, the country's sex industry has built a massive prostitution complex, including a "mega-brothel" in Berlin, next to the main World Cup venue, that can accommodate 650 male clients.

Wooden "sex huts" or "performance boxes" have been built in fenced-in areas the size of a football field, with condoms, showers and parking and a special focus on protecting the customers' anonymity.

Some sources estimate that as many as 30 percent of the soccer fans will visit prostitutes at least once.

The Catholic group is collecting names on a petition to be delivered to the German missions to the U.N. and European Parliament, German Embassy in the U.S., members of the German Parliament and the governing body of the World Cup.

In December, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that strengthens the nation's current human trafficking law and authorizes new funds for investigation and prosecution of domestic trafficking within the United States.

Each year, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders, and millions more are trafficked internally. Worldwide, more than 3,000 traffickers were convicted last year.

A report issued in 2004 estimated 10,000 people in the United States are being forced to work against their will under threat of violence. Researchers found that almost half of forced laborers are in prostitution or the sex industry, close to a third are domestic workers, and one in 10 works in agriculture.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


24.05.2006 14:28 GMT+04:00

The Pentagon requested the U.S. Congress for $43 million for the reconstruction of four military airdromes in Azerbaijan and organization of anti-missile defense and radio-electronic intelligence, reported Express Baku-based newspaper citing sources within the Pentagon.

According to some independent sources, some airdromes in Azerbaijan have been already conveyed to the United States. Analysts say the U.S. may use the airdromes in case of a military operation against Iran.


This is not good. One of the thing that has been preventing the Artsakh/Azerbaijan war from breaking out again is our missiles that are aimed at Baku and the oil fields. If this deal happens, it means that America not only has it's eye on Iran, but also Artsakh.

World War III is just around the corner and when it breaks out, it's going to be very ugly.

Newspaper Demands Criminal Case Against Sarkisian Brother

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 05/24/2006

By Ruzanna Stepanian

An opposition-linked newspaper demanded on Wednesday that Armenian law-enforcement authorities launch criminal proceedings against a controversial brother of Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian who reportedly verbally abused and threatened one of its journalists.

Taguhi Tovmasian of the `Iravunk' bi-weekly reported last week that Aleksandr `Sashik' Sarkisian clashed with several reputed crime figures during a birthday party at one of Yerevan's expensive restaurants earlier this month. Tovmasian says Sarkisian confronted her in the Armenian parliament on Tuesday to express his fury with the article and demand that she disclose its source. She says he threatened to create `problems' for her after she refused to do that.

In separate letters to the police, the Prosecutor-General's Office and the National Security Service (NSS), the `Iravunk' management said all of this is sufficient grounds for a criminal case against the influential businessman and member of Armenia's parliament. It also demanded that the law-enforcement agencies ensure the physical security of its young female employee.

`He [Sarkisian] wants to know the source? I am the source,' Hayk Babukhanian, the `Iravunk' editor-in-chief, told RFE/RL.

Tovmasian also struck a defiant note. `Sashik Sarkisian cared not so much about the veracity of the information as its source,' she said. `He was endlessly making threatens like `If you don't name the source, you'll have problems; you know who I am.''

`He didn't care whether or not what I reported was true,' she added. `This only shows that what I wrote was true. It can be said that I rubbed salt against his wounds with that article. He proved this with his brazen behavior.'

`Iravunk,' which is linked to a small opposition party called the Union for Constitutional Rights, claimed that Sarkisian went to the restaurant on May 2 to celebrate with dozens of crime figures the 50th anniversary of a prominent Russian mobster. The paper, one of the best selling in Armenia, said that at one point he started angrily quarrelling with some them over a business-related matter. It also noted that some of them were among the passengers of the Armenian airliner that crashed off the Russian Black Sea coast a few hours later.

Sarkisian, meanwhile, refused to speak to journalists and comment on the scandal as he attended a parliament session on Wednesday. His powerful and normally reserved brother Serzh is currently attending the Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy and was not available for comment.

U.S. Envoy To Armenia Recalled

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 05/24/2006

By Emil Danielyan

President George W. Bush has officially confirmed the impending dismissal of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans which Armenian circles in the United States attribute to the diplomat's public recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide.

The White House announced on Tuesday that Bush will ask the U.S. Senate to endorse his nomination of Richard Hoagland, Washington's outgoing ambassador to Tajikistan, as Evans's replacement. It offered no explanation for the widely anticipated move.

Evans has been tipped to lose his current job for the last three months. Armenian-American groups and activists have suggested that he is paying the price for his controversial reference to the mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as `genocide.'

U.S. officials have declined to publicly confirm or deny this. `We all serve at the pleasure of the President,' Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried told the Armenian Assembly of America on March 27 when asked to comment on the issue. The Assembly and another Armenian lobbying group in Washington, ANCA, have voiced strong support for Evans, demanding that the Bush administration refrain from recalling the

Evans has served as ambassador to Armenia for less than two years. All of the four previous heads of the U.S. mission in Yerevan had longer tenures. `I do not know when I will be leaving Armenia and I have not submitted by retirement papers,' the 58-year-old career diplomat told reporters on March 7.

Evans openly contradicted the long-running policy of successive U.S. administrations when he declared in a February 2005 speech in California that `the Armenian Genocide was the first genocide of the 20th century.'

Washington was quick to disown the remarks, saying that it reflected only his personal views and did not signify any change in U.S. policy on the sensitive subject. `He did not coordinate with the U.S. government. He did not clear his remarks with the State Department,' a senior Bush administration official told RFE/RL at the time.

`I used the term `genocide' speaking in what I characterized as my personal capacity,' Evans clarified in a subsequent written statement. `This was inappropriate.'

The extraordinary genocide recognition led to a decision by the U.S. Foreign Service Association to give Evans its annual prestigious award designed for American diplomats displaying `constructive dissent' in their work. However, the association then unexpectedly withdrew the award. Reports in the U.S. press suggested that the decision, which came ahead of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's June 2005 trip to Washington, was made under pressure from the State Department.

Turkey, which is a key U.S. ally, vehemently denies that the Armenian massacres constituted a genocide and has repeatedly warned Washington against using the politically sensitive term.

In his last April 24 address to the Armenian-American community, Bush again stopped short of describing the mass killings as genocide, speaking only of `one of the horrible tragedies of the 20th century.' But he at the same time cited and praised an independent study, commissioned by prominent Armenians and Turks in 2002, which concluded that the slaughter of some 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians fits the internationally accepted definition of genocide.

It looks like President Bush is moving forward to kicking out U.S. Ambassador John Evans from his post in Armenia (press release), DC
May 23 2006

Personnel Announcement

President George W. Bush today announced his intention to nominate two individuals to serve in his Administration:

The President intends to nominate Richard E. Hoagland, of the District of Columbia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Armenia. Ambassador Hoagland, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, currently serves as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Tajikistan. Prior to this, he served as Director of the Office of Caucasus and Central Asian Affairs at the Department of State. Earlier in his career, he served as Director of the Office of Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of South Asian Affairs. Ambassador Hoagland received his bachelor's degree from Taylor University and two
master's degrees from the University of Virginia.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Who was Aram Petrosyan?

Now that the flight recorders have been found from the Armenian airplane that crashed into the black sea, the question now remains if the audio recording will be decoded or not? It’s already being reporting that it was damaged.

I spoke with a visitor from America a couple days ago about the crash and when I made mention of Aram Petrosyan, they said such a thing was eventually bound to happen.

It seems our visitors were in Armenia in September of 2004 and after running into someone they knew who had visited America, they ended up in a car heading to Paplavok jazz club/café and who was driving the black Mercedes they were in? None other than Aram Pertosyan.

They said the drive from the Armenia Hotel to Paplavok was very scary. Aram was driving on the wrong side of the road, breaking every law and scaring the hell out of the visitors while driving straight into on coming traffic. It was so bad that my friend, who is a pretty bold man who does not scare very easy, to speak up and ask Aram to drive normal.

At Paplavok my friend’s wife observed how Aram was looking around in a paranoid way, eyes shifting from side to side. She described him to look as if he was almost schizophrenic in the way he acted.

My friend asked his acquaintance what was the deal with this freak, not having a clue who he was? His acquaintance told him in an almost fearful whisper to not ask such questions as this was the son of the former head of the KGB. My friend said that it was clear that Aram was a regular at Paplavok and someone "special" by the especially attentive service they were getting.

When the evening ended, my friend and his wife, who were accompanied by a couple of young women also from America, were ready to leave on foot. Aram told them that since it was after midnight, it would not be proper for the young ladies to be seen on the street, as people would not think nicely of them, implying that people would think they were prostitutes and offered to give them a ride. My friend’s wife told Aram that it was quite alright, let people think they were not such nice women and declined his offer. Anything not to get back into his car.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend of mine who is a former investigator for the Armenian police and I asked him what he knew about Aram?

My friend confirmed what my friends from America told me in terms of Aram being schizophrenic, a kind of bomb just waiting to go off.

From everything I have read and heard up until now, this including Onnik’s recent posting which echoes many of the things I felt right after the crash, most notably the question of why Serj Sarkissian flew out to Sochi to get involved with the investigation, instead of the head of transportation, I’m leaning towards Aram playing a part in the crash and a shooting on board.

As for the possibility of the plane running out of fuel, I think this is less likely, as if they were low on fuel, from what I read, the A-320 not only has a low fuel light as do most automobiles, but they also automatically send a signal which is received by the neighboring air traffic controller to let them know that such a plane needs to be landed ASAP.

Second Flight Recorder of A-320 Armenian Liner Found

23.05.2006 16:21 GMT+04:00

The second flight recorder of A-320 Armenian liner is found. The searching group managed to lift the flight recorder aboard Navigator vessel, reports IA Regnum. Yesterday the first flight recorder was found – A-320 speech recorder, which registers the crew conversations in the cockpit. The Technical Commission of the Inter-State Aviation Committee will engage in decoding the speech recorder. It is expected to take long, as the recorder is damaged and was in an unfavorable environment.

On the night of May 3 a Yerevan-Sochi flight of Armavia airlines crashed in the Black Sea 6 km away from Adler airport killing all of 113 passengers, including 6 children and 8 members of the crew. Among them were 26 Russian citizens, one Ukrainian and one Georgian citizen, while the rest were Armenian citizens.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

THERE WERE NO SHOTS PRIOR TO A320 CRASH Mikhael Baghdasarov Says

AZG Armenian Daily

The owner of Armavia carrier whose plane had plunged into the Black Sea on May 3 morning killing all 113 people aboard, told journalists yesterday that the flight recorders of the A-320 airliner would be given, if recovered, to French Airbus company's experts who are also involved in the crash investigation.

Mikhael Baghdasarov, a Russia-based Armenian businessman, who owns the biggest air company, said flight recorders have to be decoded which only Airbus' experts can do, since only the company has the special clue. He said the company has no information about exactly when the flight recorders could be retrieved from the depth of about 495 meters. Baghdasarov then described rumors that the wrecked A320 carried huge sums of money, that there were shots before it fell into the sea and that the pilot might have died of a heart stroke or a shot as 'nonsense."

He said if part of these rumors were true the captain would have reported it to ground controllers, while the recording of their conversation has no indication of it. He likewise dismissed lack of fuel or unprofessional crew as a likely cause of the accident.

Meantime Russian emergency officials said they continued efforts to recover the flight recorders of the Armenian airliner throughout the night and early morning today. The Armenian aircraft had fallen into the Black sea near Russian resort town of Sochi on May 3 killing all 105 passengers and eight crew members.

Russian officials said rescuers worked in three shifts each eight hour-long. The strong side wind that impeded the operation subsided at about midnight to Wednesday, they said. The deep-water robotic device sank to the seabed between 01:00 till 06:00 am on Wednesday to search for the airliner recorders. Silt on the bottom complicates the work. The video camera and the searchlights get dirty, and the team has to raise the robotic device to clean them. Its sinking takes 40 minutes, and it takes the same time to raise it.

The search groups had a break in the work for some time on Wednesday morning. If the weather does not worsen, the search will continue, they said. The device is capable of lifting fragments of the plane weighing up to 12 kilograms, while the two flight recorders each weighs seven kilograms. According to reports, the flight recorders are at the depth of 496 meters. The distance between them is about five meters.



[01:08 pm] 19 May, 2006

At night of May 18 a bronze car of brand "Infinity" with statenumbers 90LO200 burned in the yard of the house N1 on Yekmalyan street,Yerevan. It was registered by the name of Alexander Vardanov, executivedirector of "ArmEconomBank" but was used by a woman of about 25-30named Gayane. The site of the fire is an elitist building built bybusinessman Mika Baghdasarov. Let us inform you that Mika Baghdasarovis also stockholder of "ArmEconomBank" and owner of "Armavia" thetwo planes of which were destroyed recently.

The fire brigade received the alarm at 02:03 AM, and at 02:14 thefire was put out. We received the information from the informationservice of the Emergency Administration. Besides this, they also knewthat the wheels and the left back part of the car had burned and thatit belonged to someone by the name A. Vardanov.

One thing strange about the case is that yesterday it was not includedin the police statements. The representatives of the correspondingpolice service learned about the arson of the car from us.

After the fire had been put out Gayane who uses the car informedthose gathered that it belongs to his grandfather.

According to the friends of the woman, leakage of petrol took place inthe back of the car which resulted in the fire. There had been about20 liters of petrol in the car. But eyewitnesses give evidence thatthe fire was result of external interference, as some of the wheelswere destroyed by explosion, not by fire.

According to the Rescue service, the case is being investigated byexperts, and conclusion will be drawn days later. The police servicedoes not give any information about initiating a criminal case.

You learn about the details of the accident in today's issue of the newspaper "Ayb-Fe".

Friday, May 19, 2006


by: Dmitri Nezdorovin

ITAR-TASS News Agency
May 19, 2006 Friday 12:29 AM EST

The weather conditions allowed to continue the operation at the A-320 crash site on Thursday to find and raise the flight recorders from the seabed.

The deep-water robot sank at 19:30 Moscow time on Thursday and ended the work at 04:00 on Friday, a source at the operational headquarters told Itar-Tass.

Fragments, the colour and form of which resemble the recorders, are found at the seabed, and each of the objects is examined. The robot has to remove obstructions. Some of the fragments are in the silt, and it complicates the work, the source said.

The team operating the robot had a short rest on Friday morning, and if the weather allows, the work will resume soon.

According to the earlier reports, the recorders are at the depth of 496 metres, and the distance between them is about five metres.

The A-320 of Armenia's Armavia airline crashed into the sea on the night to May 3 when attempting to land at Sochi's airport. All the 113 people who were aboard died.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Did Armenian flight to Sochi really crash due to bad weather, or was it shot down?

As the black boxes are searched for of the Armenian airplane that went down in the Black Sea on May 3rd, the family and friends of the victims await to learn what the voice and flight recorders will reveal.

From what I’ve learned, there is a good chance that the flight that 113 persons perished was in fact shot down and the follow article confirms what I heard from government sources.


16.05.2006 15:57 GMT+04:00

At the moment of coming in land some passengers manages to call relatives - their cellular phones broadcast everything happening in the saloon at those tragic moments, the Zhizn newspaper writes.

"Everyone in Yerevan speak that sounds like shooting were heard before the plane fell," states journalist of the Novoye Vremya Armenian newspaper Nora Kananova.

In her words, "Allegedly former Security Service chief Karlos Petrosyan got a call late at night from his son Aram, who was aboard A-320 airbus and shots were heard. It was the moment, when the plane fell into the sea..."

Meanwhile, Zvartnots Yerevan airport security service states there were no armed people among passengers of the crashed liner. "It is ruled out. We admit only those armed people aboard, who are licensed." said airport Spokesperson Gevorg Abrahamyan. There were several people aboard the plane who had licenses for carrying arms, however the security service states they were unarmed in the saloon. Only the crew had arms.

However, in experts' opinion, relatives could take sounds of the tearing edging for shots. "There was no explosion when A-320 fell. However, overload was so powerful that the liner was torn at the last moments.

The sound is very much like shots. Most probably the relatives heard sounds of the collapsing airplane," said an expert, who investigates the causes of the air crash. "The crew would have reported about shooting aboard, however the pilots did not report about any emergency situations. Or maybe they did not have time?

However, if there was shooting, its signs would have been found on fragments of the plane, but not such are found," the Zhizn writes.

On the night of May 3 a Yerevan-Sochi plane of Armavia Armenian air company crashed in the Black Sea 6 km away from Adler airport. All 113 passengers, including 6 children and 8 members of the crew, died as a result. Among them were 26 Russian citizens, one Ukrainian and one Georgian citizen, while the rest were Armenian citizens.


The one thing that is not mentioned in the article is that the pilots body was found and he had been shot.

The mention of Aram Petrosyan’s call to his father was mentioned I’m guessing to safely tell the story of what really happened. From what I have been told, he called his father to tell him that the plane is going to turn back to Yerevan and wanted his dad to contact the plane and insist on them landing on Sochi. Apparently he was outraged and then had an altercation with the flight crew who were telling him it was too dangerous to land. That’s when Aram shot someone in the cabin and one of the bullets put a hole in the outer skin caused the cabin to depressurize and the plane to rip open.

There were also quite a few very wealthy business persons on board the flight who were well connected with people in government.

Whatever the reason was for the crash, it’s a tragedy. If the plane did go down because the spoiled son of the former head of the Armenian KGB, I’m hoping this will cause the Armenian people all over the world to finally wake up to the reality of what corruption is doing to Armenia.
Oh and was Aram able to get on board the plane with a gun? I would bet yes. If this in fact is the case, those who were suppose to check him for weapons need to be prosecuted.

I guess the real question is if the real story will get out?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Armenia is not the only one passing out raisins

When the intellectuals of Artsakh talk about the passing out of raisins, they are usually referring to someone not worthy of an award being handed a metal of some kind for something they really are not deserving of.

Well it seems that not only the Armenians pass out raisins, but it looks like the Russians have the same tradition, or at least in this case.

The story below reports of two people who in my opinion are the least deserving of an award that is connected to Peter the Great.

The chief military prosecutor is probably getting the award of Great Victory for his great victory a couple of years back when he along with the President of Artsakh pulled off privatizing the largest hospital in Armenia for pennies. Yea, that was a great victory for him.

And the president of Mika Ltd. Mikael Baghdasarov, is only getting his Peter the Great second degree probably only because if his crappy gasoline that will ruin your car engine and probably for his privatizing a bunch of stuff in Artsakh, including the wine factory in Martuni that produces vodka that has killed more than one person and made many more very sick. Yea, that’s great stuff all right.


15.05.2006 13:13 GMT+04:00

May 16 the ceremony of handing of the orders of the all-Russian academy of defense issues will take place in the Russian Embassy in Yerevan. The orders will be handed by Russian Ambassador to Armenia Nikolay Pavlov, vice president of the academy K. Hakobyan and president of the academy Armenian branch S. Hakobyan.

Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sargsyan, Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan and Russian Ambassador to Armenia Nikolay Pavlov will be handed the order of Peter [t]he Great. First deputy to the RA Defense Minister, general staff chief, colonel general Mikael Harutyunyan will be awarded with Alexander Nevsky order while chief military prosecutor Gurgen Dakibaltyan will receive the order of Great Victory

Chairman of the permanent commission for defense, national security and home affairs Mher Shahgeldyan will receive the order of Alexander Nevsky and president of Mika Ltd. Mikael Baghdasarov will be handed the order of Peter the Great of 2nd degree.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother’s Day

A happy mother’s day to all the moms out there.

I guess this is a time that mothers reflect on motherhood.

Anyway, I hope that this Sunday was relaxing and you enjoyed it with those that made you a mother (or at least got a call or e-mail from them).

Friday, May 12, 2006

Where is Serzh getting his money for this venture?

I just have to ask what this is about? Is this a government run deal via the office of the Minister of Defence, or is this a business deal that Serzh is doing on his own using money he has stolen from the people? Any details on how much he payed for rights to the factory?

Armenia opens plant to process rocket fuel

Mediamax news agency
12 May 06

Yerevan, 12 May:
Armenian Defence Minister Serzh Sarkisyan and OSCE Secretary-General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut have opened a plant to process melange near the village of Kaltakhchi in Armenia's Lori Region.

A depot with 872 tonnes of rocket fuel components - a liquid oxidizer called melange - remained in Armenia after the collapse of the USSR. Melange is a highly toxic and aggressive substance that poses a treat to the population and environment.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the plant today, Sarkisyan noted the importance of this event in the context of ensuring environmental security, Mediamax news agency reports. Sarkisyan pointed out that the plant is a graphic example of effective cooperation between the OSCE and the Armenian Defence Ministry.

The plant to process melange will operate until August 2007 and produce 5,200 tonnes of liquid fertilizers.

Money for the construction of the plant to process melange was allocated by the USA, Finland, Germany and Canada.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Arka News Agency, Armenia
May 11 2006

YEREVAN, May 11. /ARKA/.
Armenia and the United Arab Emirates have accomplished a great deal for recent years in developing bilateral relations, Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said Thursday at his meeting with the UAE Ambassador to Armenia Halifa Shahin Al-Merri. Presidential press service says Kocharyan pointed out that the relations between the countries are developing dynamically and stressed the importance of investment programs implementation along with trade contacts development. The press release says the sides also discussed prospects of widening room for joint programs. M.V. -0--

A 3rd President Bush? First 2 All for It

AP - 1 hour, 1 minute ago - ORLANDO, Fla. - Could there be a third President Bush? The current chief said Wednesday that younger brother Jeb would make a great one, too, and has asked him about making a run. The first President Bush likes the idea as well. Jeb Bush, the Republican governor of Florida, has one asset that his presidential brother doesn't right now ? approval from most of his constituents. While George W. Bush's approval ratings are in the low 30s, some 55 percent of Florida voters surveyed last month by Quinnipiac University said Jeb was doing a good job.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mark Geragos Elected to Armenia Fund International Board

Armenia Fund, Inc.
111 North Jackson St. Ste. 205
Glendale, CA 91206

Tel: 818-243-6222
Fax: 818-243-7222

Contact: Sarkis Kotanjian

May 10, 2006

Yerevan, Armenia - Prominent celebrity attorney and CNN legal analyst Mark Geragos was appointed to the International Board of Trustees of Armenia Fund - the governing body of the worldwide organization. The Board of Trustees, which is chaired by President Robert Kocharian, unanimously approved Geragos' appointment as a new Trustee to the Board. As a premier organization tasked with crucial nation-building projects in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Geragos stated, `What I like about Armenia Fund is what I call the `ecumenical nature' of the organization, meaning that it brings together Armenian political, cultural organizations, and religious institutions around the world under one mission - to rebuild Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.'

In the past three years Geragos has participated in Armenia Fund's annual Thanksgiving Day Telethons and assisted the organization with its fundraising efforts. "Geragos is a great addition to the International Board of Trustees of Armenia Fund. He brings enormous access and a wide range of resources to our organization to further our nation-building activities in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh," said Maria Mehranian, Chairperson of Armenia Fund, Inc.

During his visit, Geragos had the opportunity to meet with His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All-Armenians. On the sidelines of the Board meeting, Geragos also had a private meeting with President Robert Kocharian. The President warmly welcomed his election to the Board of Trustees and expressed his willingness to work closer with him.

Geragos has been quite active within the greater Armenian-American community realm. Recently, along with other Los Angeles based attorneys, Geragos filed a lawsuit against German banks - Deutsche Bank A.G. and Dresdner Bank A.G - regarding heirs of Armenian Genocide survivors that the banks have refused to pay.

Geragos' clients among others have included Hollywood actress Winona Ryder and pop icon Michael Jackson. A graduate of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Geragos was recently named as one of the most influential attorneys in the country. The Los Angeles Times describes him as `seemingly unbeatable'. As a Trustee of Armenia Fund, Geragos is certainly going to further rally the financial resources of the Diaspora for infrastructure development projects in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia Fund, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation established in 1994 to facilitate large-scale humanitarian and infrastructure development assistance to Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. Armenia Fund, Inc. is the U.S. Western Region affiliate of `Hayastan' All-Armenian Fund. Tax ID# 95-4485698

A reality check for the Untied States falls on deaf ears

Our friends to the South have sent a letter to President George Bush telling the obvious, only to be stonewalled again.

I’m not sure if in the U.S. a letter that the President of Iran sent to George W. is making the news, but for those of you who have not heard, Bush received a letter that told it like it really is. I could not have said what was said any better.

From what news I’ve read, Washington is blowing the letter off as a useless document and rightfully so since in their case the truth is the last thing they want to hear in the wake of their next upcoming storm which will probably be named "operation nuclear shield."

Let’s hope for the good of the world that the American people will not allow their government to repeat what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. There has been too many innocent people killed on all sides. Besides, Iran is not Iraq and they have Russia and China backing them, which is way more than 10 Americas can take on.

The sooner the American public wake up the better it will be for everyone.

For those interested in reading the full letter click here for a .pdf file of it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi any less of a fighter than the likes of Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch?

Has anyone been following the recent comment from Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, spokesman for the U.S. command?

It seems that there has been a video which the U.S. somehow obtained that has pictures of the “most dangerous” Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who the U.S. has been trying to capture and/or kill.

Lynch is making a big deal over the video, which has al-Zarqawi fussing with his machinegun while wearing tennis shoes.

It looks like the U.S. is calling al-Zarqawi a kind of sissy for his inability of handling weapon and wearing American made New Balance tennis shoes with his military fatigues.

In one of the news articles I read, it even questioned what kind of leader al-Zarqawi can be if he can’t even shoot a gun and wears tennis shoes?

Well I can tell you a story about the Artsakh movement and Monte Melkonian getting upset with his men for being jackasses. One of our guys asked Monte if we are such jackasses, why are we winning? Monte said that we are winning because the Azeris are even bigger jackasses.

Well in the case of the Iraq war, it’s clear that things are not going well for the Americans and by them not winning against a person like al-Zarqawi, when they question his abilities, you have to ask about Americas abilities?

All I can tell you is that if the Americans are trying to belittle al-Zarqawi to make it look like they (the Americans) are better, then if the Americans are so good, why is al-Qaida kicking the Americans asses?

I’m not sure what the future holds for the people of Iraq, but as long as America is present in that part of the world, they should not expect anything good.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

03.05.2006 14:33

The Yerevan-Sochi airplane of the "Armavia" Company that crashed this night had 113 passengers on board, including 5 children and 8 crewmembers. The list of the passengers has been already publicized. It came out, however, that despite the fact that the names of Georgian citizen Georgi Hakobyan and RA citizen Gagik Sahakyan were included in the list, they were not allowed to fly because of problems with their passports.


For whatever reason, these guys lives were saved. I wonder what plans God has for them that He didn't want them to fly that morning?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Armavia Plane Crashes: At Least 100 People Parish Near Sochi

MOSCOW - An Armenian plane carrying at least 100 people aboard crashed in bad weather early Wednesday off Russia's Black Sea coast shortly before it was to land, emergency officials said. There was no sign of survivors.

The Airbus A-320, which belonged to the Armenian airline Armavia, disappeared from radar screens just under four miles from the shore and crashed after making a turn and heading toward the Adler airport near the southern Russian city of Sochi, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said.

He said preliminary information indicated there were 114 people aboard. Earlier, Russian news agencies reported the plane was carrying 92 passengers, including five children, and eight crew.

Wreckage from the plane was found not far from the shoreline, Beltsov said. The Interfax news agency reported about three hours after the crash that rescue teams at the site pulled the body of a woman from the sea.

The plane disappeared from radar screens at about 2:15 a.m. local time, the RIA-Novosti agency reported. It was flying from the Armenian capital Yerevan to Sochi, a resort city on the Black Sea in southern Russia, ITAR-Tass reported.

Rescuers found parts of the plane about four miles from the shore, along with empty lifejackets — an indication that passengers had no time to put them on, ITAR-Tass quoted an unidentified local emergency official as saying.

The rescuers were working in a driving rain, Russian news agencies reported, and Beltsov said weather conditions were poor at the time the plane went down. He did not say whether authorities believe the weather caused the crash.