Sunday, March 25, 2007

A man of his word

In May of 2006 when the decision of removing Hamlet Khachatryan the now former Regional Minister of Kashatagh, an unexpected appearance of the now former Prime Minister and Khachatryan’s in-law Antranik Markaryan occurred. Markaryan announced to everyone preset that as long as he is Prime Minister, Khachatryan will be the Regional Minister of Kashatagh.

On March 6th, under a great deal of pressure from the Diaspora, the NKR government relieved Khachatryan of his duties and opened an investigation of Khachatryan’s corrupt dealings during his time in office and misappropriated funds that were intended for the development of the region was implemented.

When I learned of Khachatryan’s dismissal, I thought to myself, when will Markaryan be true to his word and resign from his post? Well as corrupt as Markaryan was, it seems in this case he was good to his word and is now no longer Prime Minister.

One other thing I am hopeful of is that the investigation, which I was expecting to be a matter of procedure with no results due to Khachatryan being Markaryan’s wife’s cousin, may in fact produce results. Of course like I’ve stated before, we do need to push the investigation to the end, demanding justice and a conviction for all that are guilty.

As for the rumor-mill in NKR, there is suspicion that Markaryan’s heart attack was drug induced, as this is not the first time someone has had a heart attack under suspicious circumstances. I am of the belief that Markaryan was a ticking time-bomb just waiting to go off. He was overweight, smoked and was a heavy drinker.

I wish I could wish is family my condolences, but I am less mournful for his death and am sad that he didn’t drop dead long before he became Prime Minister. He was bad news from day one and during his time in office, many Armenian people died a slow, painful and preventable death as a result of his inability serve the people who he was obligated to serve. I lost too many friends during his time in office, thus have no feeling of remorse to share with his family and friends.

My wish for Markaryan applies to all those who are still living and don’t serve the people they are obligated to. May they all drop dead and rot in hell.

Well I’ve got to get going. There is some celebrating to do!!!

Armenian PM dies of heart attack

Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan of Armenia has died of a heart attack at the age of 55, officials in the Caucasus former Soviet republic say.

Mr Margaryan, a dissident in Soviet times, became prime minister in May 2000 and was also the chairman of the governing Republican Party.

President Robert Kocharyan has called emergency talks over his death later on Sunday, the party's news service says.

The late premier had heart surgery in 1999, one Armenian report said.

He is survived by two daughters and a son.

Born in the Armenian capital Yerevan in 1951, Andranik Margaryan studied cybernetics and graduated as a computer engineer.

An Armenian nationalist and critic of the Soviet system, he was jailed for two years in 1974 for his propaganda work and political activism, his official biography notes.

During the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s, he actively supported the Armenian side and took part in combat, according to his party's website.

He was appointed prime minister shortly after the October 1999 assault on parliament in which Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisyan and six others were killed by Armenian extreme nationalists.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Alive and Kicking

I can’t believe that I have not posted anything for over a week. I’m only writing this log now as I’ve received a few e-mails from concerned readers who are checking to see if I have fallen in my house during my hibernation and need help. For those concerned, don’t worry too much, I have a wife who keeps a eye on me who when I do get sick looks after me.

I’ve been very busy with pre-work these last few weeks. I’m in the process of building a new factory and though the weather is still not what it needs to for building, the pre-building process is very time consuming. I have learned that one needs to line up all the ducks in a row to have the best chance of getting things done with the least amount of frustration and loss of resources.

I’m also working on finishing up a book that should be published in the next few months. I’ve been working on this book for a few years now and though I’m not going to reveal what it’s about, I can say that it is going to be very unique, as it is based of facts, but will read like fiction to many. For this reason, I think it will become one of my better sellers (though I’m sure of the 100 copies printed, more will be given away then sold).

Well this much will have to suffice. I’ll try to log more often in the future.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


13-03-2007 14:52:22

The law enforcement agencies of Azerbaijan continue to prosecute the best representatives of the Artsakh society, including the national heroes, even the killed, and sentence them for life, stated President Arkady Ghukasyan a few days ago answering the question of Professor Socrat Khanyan. Socrat Khanyan says the Yasmal Court of Baku sentenced him to ten years in prison. "This is a tragedy for Azerbaijan first of all because it implies that we can never reach agreement with them. If these people are inclined to settle the issue and find points in common, they should act differently. Today "thanks" to Azerbaijan 70 Karabakhis, most of them members of government of the country, have appeared on the records of Interpol," said Arkady Ghukasyan.

"The problem will not be solved unless Azerbaijan stops the anti-Armenian propaganda, instills in its public that the Armenians as neighbors," said the president, underlining that the international community is either reluctant or unable to influence Azerbaijan.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hamlet Khachatryan Dismissed as Head of Kashatagh
[March 12, 2007]

On March 6th, the government of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) officially dismissed Hamlet Khatchatryan as the Regional Administrative Governor of Kashatagh. Ernest Ghevontyan, a former leader of the "Artsakh" Committee, was designated as his replacement.

In the fall of 2006, an investigative unit of the NKR government began a series of inquiries delving into the operation of the Kashatagh administration. While the results of these investigations still remain a secret, it's possible that those findings resulted in this dismissal. In the past, Hetq has often commented on the abuses inherent in the Khatchatryan administration.

Given the sorry state of affairs in Kashatagh, it is assumed that the NKR government felt compelled, at a minimum, to dismiss the Regional Governor and to express a willingness to take immediate steps to reverse the exodus of residents from the area. Several benefactors from the diaspora had halted further humanitarian aid until the promises made by NKR President Arkady Ghoukasian in Los Angeles last November were acted upon. At that time, while meeting with several prominent diaspora Armenians, President Ghoukasian promised a series of sweeping changes in Kashatagh within the following one month.

Up till the spring of 2006, the Karabakh branch of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) had been demanding that President Ghoukasian fire Hamlet Khachatryan. The ARF felt that he was the major cause of the situation in Kashatagh. In turn, the ARF had proposed Bagrat Sargsyan as their own candidate for the office. Sargsyan, at the time, was the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Territorial Administration.

However, President Ghoukasian was either unwilling or unable to remove Khatchatryan from office. During private conversations he often commented that he was powerless to remove Khatchatryan since he was a "favorite" of the regime in Armenia. In point of fact, Khatchatryan was born in the Tchartar village of Martuni and had served as an advisor to Ghoukasian. He is also a cousin, on his mother's side, of Mavrik Ghoukasian, the former NKR Prosecutor General. Thus, it would appear that Khatchatryan is in reality Arkady Ghoukasian's "man" and not that of Yerevan. Usually the governements of the NKR and the Republic of Armenia blame the other for the problematic situation in Kashatagh.

It took two years for the Karabakh government to wrest control of Kashatagh's financial affairs away from Yerevan. According to a high level governement official in Armenia, who requested to remain nameless, the problems in Kashatagh began to appear soon after.

Furthermore, the Stepanakert regime has no uniform policy regarding the status of Kashatagh's residents. According to one local village official, " They treat us just like the Azeris did in the past.". It appears that officials on the NKR are more concerned with improving conditions in villages in Karabakh proper than with the continued exodus from Kashatagh.

On January 24th, the Prime Minister of the NKR designated Serzh Amirkhanyan as Director of the Office for Migration, Refugees and Resettlement. A member of the ARF, Amirkhanyan held the exact same post in the past but was not known for his creative leadership skills. He also held the post of Deputy Director of the Karvatchar Regional Office. A former Kashatagh official made the following comments regarding Serzh Amirkhanyan, "In the two years he served as Karvatchar Deputy Director he probably visited the area only four times at most. He never set foot outside his office and never came up with a new or creative idea. He was totally uninspiring. Why the authorities chose him is beyond me but he's the right man for the job if they plan to continue business as usual."

The following statistic alone attests to the ongoing unfortunate situation in Kashatagh. When compared to figures from 2005, there was been a 48% drop in the total acreage of fields undergoing fall planting in 2006. The Karabakh government has failed to explain this troubling statistic. Apparently, in addition to common villagers, the generals and other regional officials have also ceased performing much of the vital work that had been carried out in the past.

We will know soon enough what the mandate of the new Kashatagh Regional Governor is regarding the "liberated territories" and whether it includes the authority needed to effectively alter the "politics of resettlement" as presently constituted.

Edik Baghdasaryan

Washington officials in bed with the UAE

It’s now making more sense why President Bush waived sanctions for trafficking of women and children to the UAE and the Department of State took them off Tier 3 TIP (Trafficking in Persons) report, downgrading their statue to Tier 2 watch list, even though the Department of States report clearly documents there has been no change made.

So while the suffering of woman and children continue to satisfy the sick bastards who make their way to the United Arab Emirates for non-consensual sex, where the hypocritical United States Government turns a blind eye to this heinous crime, high ranking people in the Bush administration take their wealth and business interests to that same place that they have turned into a safe haven for criminals like themselves.

One other reason why they are moving there is I’m sure they are trying to put their assets in a place that can’t be touched after they are out of office and being investigated for all the crimes that will be uncovered (one of them mentioned in the story below) after they are out of office and America finally wakes up to how they have been taken for a ride by the great “American” leadership of the Bush administration.

Halliburton will move HQ to Dubai

By JIM KRANE, Associated Press Writer
Sun Mar 11, 9:01 PM ET

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Oil services giant Halliburton Co. will soon shift its corporate headquarters from Houston to the Mideast financial powerhouse of Dubai, chief executive Dave Lesar announced Sunday.

"Halliburton is opening its corporate headquarters in Dubai while maintaining a corporate office in Houston," spokeswoman Cathy Mann said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "The chairman, president and CEO will office from and be based in Dubai to run the company from the UAE."

Lesar, speaking at an energy conference in nearby Bahrain, said he will relocate to Dubai from Texas to oversee Halliburton's intensified focus on business in the Mideast and energy-hungry Asia, home to some of the world's most important oil and gas markets.

"As the CEO, I'm responsible for the global business of Halliburton in both hemispheres and I will continue to spend quite a bit of time in an airplane as I remain attentive to our customers, shareholders and employees around the world," Lesar said. "Yes, I will spend the majority of my time in Dubai."

Lesar's announcement appears to signal one of the highest-profile moves by a U.S. corporate leader to Dubai, an Arab boomtown where free-market capitalism has been paired with some of the world's most liberal tax, investment and residency laws.

"The eastern hemisphere is a market that is more heavily weighted toward oil exploration and production opportunities and growing our business here will bring more balance to Halliburton's overall portfolio," Lesar said.

In 2006, Halliburton — once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney — earned profits of $2.3 billion on revenues of $22.6 billion.

More than 38 percent of Halliburton's $13 billion oil field services revenue last year stemmed from sources in the eastern hemisphere, where the firm has 16,000 of its 45,000 employees.

Cheney was Halliburton's chief executive from 1995-2000 and the Bush administration has been accused of favoring the conglomerate with lucrative no-bid contracts in Iraq.

Federal investigators last month alleged Halliburton was responsible for $2.7 billion of the $10 billion in contractor waste and overcharging in Iraq.

Halliburton last month announced a 40-percent decline in fourth-quarter profit, despite heavy demand for its oil field equipment and personnel.


2007-03-10 14:05:00

"Turkish Azeri brotherhood is eternal and indissoluble!" - Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again made the peculiar statement at the Baku 1st Forum of Azeri and Turkish Diaspora World Organizations.

Then the Premier made another "fresh" statement - "Turkey and Azerbaijan are states of one nation." Having talked enough about fraternal ties of Turkish and Azeri nations and the role of Turks in the world civilization, Erdogan passed over to accusations towards Armenia. As it came out, the "lasting occupation of Azeri lands, banishment of a million of people from their homeland, the presence of refugees and migrants - is a bleeding wound of Turks."

"Last year, Armenians held the so called 'referendum'. Has the world recognize it? It hasn't. Why? Because it was a figment, a wrong and false step that couldn't be accepted," Erdogan went on without being confused about the inconsistencies of his arguments like - "it can't be because it can never be".

Alike statements hit Armenia's efforts for recognition of Armenian Genocide.

"No one will recognize it. Turkey and Turks will never acknowledge this!", declared Erdogan.

The Turkish Prime Minister was troubled by "the violation of fundamental principles of the international law - the principles of the countries' territorial integrity and inadmissibility of forced change of the borders". To remind, this statement belongs to the Prime Minister of a country which has occupied a part of Cyprus. Apparently, he considers that the principles of the international law aim to protect only the interests of his own country and Azerbaijan. Erdogan went further. He stated that Turkey opened its historical archives, applied to Armenia and third countries to open the archives too. First and foremost, it is not the affair of politicians, Erdogan said. Let historians, political scientists, archaeologists, and lawyers examine this issue. If there is any unfairness, Turkey will do all the things needed, the Turkish Prime Minister stated. Is it also for historians to officially recognize the Armenian Genocide?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Amb. Evans Speaks for the First Time About His Genocide Acknowledgment

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

The USC Institute of Armenian Studies honored former U.S. ambassador to Armenia John Marshall Evans during a gala banquet celebrating its second anniversary on March 4, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills. More than 900 guests attended the event during which over $1 million was raised for the Institute.

I was asked to introduce Amb. Evans at the banquet. Below is the text of my introductory remarks followed by the text of the keynote address of Amb. Evans:

Harut Sassounian's introduction of Amb. Evans:

We just watched together, for the first time, the recently discovered video of the profoundly moving remarks that Ambassador John Evans made two years ago in Fresno. He delivered similarly candid remarks during the rest of his February 2005 tour of Boston, Los Angeles and Berkeley.

As the video showed, Ambassador Evans spoke about the Armenian Genocide in an "honest, forthright and sensitive" manner. He did not make a slip of the tongue. He did not play word games. He called a spade a spade by referring to the Armenian Genocide simply as…GENOCIDE!

He knew that his honesty could cost him his job. And it did.

Before going to Fresno, on his first morning in Los Angeles, he invited me to have breakfast with him, during which he freely discussed the Armenian Genocide in the presence of three other State Department and U.S. Embassy officials. He said he had studied the Armenian Genocide extensively and asked for specific documents on this issue.

For those not familiar with the political gamesmanship involving this serious matter, I must explain that no federal official has dared to use the term "Armenian Genocide," since Pres. Reagan’s proclamation 1981. Successive U.S. administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have avoided the term "Armenian Genocide," in order to placate the Turkish government, in disgraceful complicity with its denialist policy.

At our breakfast meeting, I was intrigued by Amb. Evans’ intense interest in the Armenian Genocide. I was surprised at his forthright manner of speaking about this issue. I was even more surprised, when in the following days, during his public remarks at various venues, he openly spoke about the Armenian Genocide. While his Armenian audiences were stunned by his frank remarks, they were concerned about any possible damage his words may cause to his career.

Ambassador Evans is a highly educated and experienced diplomat. He had studied Russian History at Yale and Columbia. He served in various diplomatic posts in Tehran, Prague, Moscow, St. Petersburg, the U.S. Mission to NATO, and as Deputy Director of the Soviet Desk, among others.

Regrettably, the prophetic words you heard him say in the video, about the risk of losing his job for talking about the Armenian Genocide, came true.

Immediately upon returning to Washington, D.C. from California, he courageously told his superiors at the State Department that he had acknowledged the Armenian Genocide, during his visits with the Armenian-American community.

After receiving complaints from Turkish officials and their lobbyists, the State Department forced Amb. Evans to issue a retraction as well as a correction, stating that he was expressing his personal opinion and not government policy, and that he should not have used the word genocide.

Several months later, when the American Foreign Service Association granted him the "Constructive Dissent" Award for his outspoken views on the Armenian Genocide, the State Department made him give up that prestigious honor.

Unfortunately, after all that, this distinguished career diplomat was forced into "early retirement" from the US Foreign Service. This very honest and highly competent civil servant’s career was terminated for courageously speaking the truth.

Under the rules of ethics and morality, honesty should be rewarded, not punished! And justice demands that those who lie get fired -- not those who tell the truth!

Ambassador Evans, the good and humble man that he is, cannot understand why he’s being honored today for simply speaking the truth. He cannot understand why Armenians worldwide are calling him a national hero and a "modern day Henry Morgenthau" -- another righteous U.S. Ambassador who did everything in his power to save the perishing Armenians during the genocide of 1915 in Turkey.

In closing, I must say that Ambassador Evans did not just dwell on the genocide issue during his two-year tenure in Armenia.

He and his wife Donna were deeply engaged in every aspect of Armenian life. To the last day of his service in Yerevan, Amb. Evans was initiating projects, funding new programs, and helping to strengthen the rule of law and democracy in Armenia.

He even learned to speak some Armenian and gave brief talks in the Armenian language. He loved Armenia and its people.

John and Donna Evans went beyond the call of duty to assist the fledgling Republic of Armenia for which Ambassador Evans was decorated by President Kocharian with one of the highest medals of the Republic.

Ambassador Evans deserves the undying gratitude of the Armenian nation for his distinguished service to the United States of America, the Republic of Armenia and his sacrifices for the Armenian Cause!

Ambassador John Evans remarks:

I do find it unusual that anyone, even a former government official, should be honored simply for telling the truth. It should not be that way. Perhaps this is a sad commentary on our times.

In any case, no one should imagine that they owe me any thanks for telling the truth.

When I called the Events of 1915 by their historically correct name – which is “genocide” – I used a word the U.S. Government does not currently employ. As you have just witnessed in this short film, I knew what I was doing and knew it might have consequences for my career. The decision was wholly mine. No one put me up to it. I stand by it. I have taken responsibility for it, paid a price for it. As a consequence, I am free to be with you this evening in support of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies.

None of us in this room is so naïve as to imagine that the official foreign policy of great states – even of the United States – is ever based solely on “the truth.” As educated people, we also are aware that even arriving at and defining the truth can be difficult. But in the real world, when an official policy diverges wildly from what the broad public believes is self-evident, that policy ceases to command respect.

Let me give you an example: You may remember the Iraqi Minister of Information, who, as Coalition Forces were closing in on Baghdad, asked his television viewers, “whom do you believe, your eyes or my words?” Not surprisingly, we all believed our own eyes.

Of course, when it comes to events that occurred over ninety years ago, we must rely not on our own eyes, but on eyewitness like Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Consul Leslie Davis, on historians, diplomatic archives – and on the survivors themselves.

The overwhelming consensus of these sources is that the tragic events of 1915, despite all the complicating factors of war, rebellion and Great Power politics, constituted genocide.

Above the entrance to the State Department Library, there stands a quotation from Thomas Jefferson, some of whose books are in that library. It proclaims: “We are not afraid to follow Truth wherever it may lead, nor [are we afraid] to tolerate any error, so long as Reason is free to combat it.”

Unfortunately Reason – which tells us that there was a genocide in 1915 –is not everywhere free today to combat false assertions that the deaths of as many as one and one half million Armenians came about as the result of mere “relocations,” “some excesses,” “a few mishaps,” “disease and famine.” One country’s official policy of denying the Armenian Genocide interferes with the process of seeking the truth; other countries’ policies of going along with this denial do not serve the truth. Instead what we have seen is the horrific murder of Hrant Dink forty days ago.

Over the last twenty years or so, American politicians and diplomats have been urging authorities in other parts of the world to listen to civil society and to take into account what civil society -- that is, the realm of opinion outside official circles -- thinks. A resolution of the Congress of the United States calling on the Administration to take into account the fact of the Armenian Genocide would be fully in harmony with this principle.

The Armenian Genocide should be recognized as such by this Congress.

Many people have asked me why, two years ago, I decided to speak out on the Armenian Genocide. I am not Armenian. I have no Armenian relatives, even by marriage, and in a diplomatic career of thirty-five years, I had never before encountered a U.S. Government policy that I did not like and could not support, certainly not in my own area of responsibility -- until, as the new U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, I ran up hard against the issue of the Armenian Genocide. I believe I owe people an explanation.

I have, therefore, started writing a book to explain the intellectual journey that took me from knowing next to nothing about Armenia, Armenians, and the Genocide, to the point where I felt I had to break publicly with U.S. Government on this issue. I hope the story of my own intellectual journey may help others, particularly those whose names, like my own, do not end in “-ian”, to reach a similar understanding.

In my book I intend not only to explain my own actions, but also to look at some of the things that could and should be done to deal with the great wound and the resulting problem posed by the Genocide. This is a difficult subject on which honest people can disagree, and do, but I already have several ideas that I hope to develop. I do not plan to work in a vacuum, but rather to talk to people on all sides of the issue, many of whom are in this room. I dare to hope that some of my readers will be Turkish-Americans and even Turks.

In the meantime, there is much work to be done. First and foremost, the Republic of Armenia needs our help. I am personally proud to have been involved in implementing the U.S. Government’s official assistance programs, which now include the hugely important Millennium Challenge Account. Taken together, the official assistance programs of all the donor countries and institutions have made a measurable difference in Armenia. The California Trade Office is now open for business in Yerevan, and investment is taking place, if more slowly than one would like. I know that many of you personally and through your work have also made generous contributions and investment in Armenia. Thank you for all you have done and, no doubt, will continue to do for Armenia. Armenia is facing elections over the next twelve months. The United States is attempting to help Armenia to stage the best possible free and fair elections, in the belief that strengthening democracy will strengthen Armenia itself.

Obviously not all Armenians live in the Republic, and it is also important that the needs of Diasporans, especially young people, be met. For that reason, I want especially to salute the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, which, despite its relative youth, is doing a great job of ensuring that Armenian history, arts, science and letters receive the serious academic attention they deserve. The Institute should become even more capable, after this evening’s fund-raising event, of providing a vibrant center for the growing community of scholars it serves.

In any family there will always be divisions and differences of opinion, even bitter quarrels. As an “odar” and friend of your particular family, I think I can safely say that the Armenian-American community is at its best when it joins forces for a common cause, as happened most notably in 1988 at the time of the earthquake. To the extent that unnecessary divisions can be overcome, without sacrificing democracy, the community will become stronger and more capable of achieving its goals. Unity does not always need to occur as a result of tragedy and disaster. Supporting the USC Institute of Armenian Studies ought to be one of those unifying issues that merits your unified and continuing support.

Although we have spent some time tonight thinking about the past, I personally am looking forward to what we can achieve in the future, working closely together as we have done in the past. Pari yerego yev shnorhagalutiun!(Good night and thanks)

Friday, March 09, 2007


Agence France Presse -- English
March 7, 2007 Wednesday 5:24 PM GMT

A Turkish man accused of firing in the air outside an Armenian church claimed Wednesday his real target had been Patriarch Mesrob II, the spiritual leader of the tiny Armenian community, the Anatolia news agency reported.

"I had prepared it for (Mesrob) Mutafyan II," Volkan Karova shouted to reporters here as he and fellow suspect Yilmaz Can Ozalp were being escorted to the prosecutor's office to give their testimony, the agency reported.

It was not clear whether he had intended to physically attack the patriarch or scare him.

Later Wednesday, a court charged the two men with "threatening by firing shots" and "carrying an unlicensed gun" and sent them to jail pending trial, the agency said.

The pair had been arrested late Sunday just hours after two men fired a shot in the air outside a church in the city's Kumkapi district.

At the time, a ceremony was being held there for slain ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

The ceremony at the church, on the European side of Istanbul, was to mark the 40th day since Dink, the 52-year-old ethnic Armenian editor of the bilingual Agos weekly, was shot dead outside his office.

It was led by Patriarch Mesrob II, who represents the 80,000 Armenians in Turkey.

Anxiety has engulfed the Armenian community and intellectuals since Dink's murder on Januray 19, and in recent interviews Mesrob II has said that his office had been receiving threats.

Dink had angered nationalist circles and the courts for describing the World War I massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide, a label that Ankara fiercely rejects.

Nine people have so far been charged over his murder, which prosecutors believe was the work of ultra-nationalists.

FDA recalls bottled water from Armenian co.

Water Technology Online, NY
March 8 2007

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers not to drink bottled water brands from Jermuk, an Armenian producer of mineral water, according to a March 8 United Press International report.

Three brands of Jermuk water were shown to have arsenic levels of 500 to 600 micrograms per liter; this exceeds the FDA's standard for quality bottled water, which allows for no more than 10 micrograms of arsenic per liter.

The water being recalled is packaged in green bottles that carry any of these labels: "Jermuk Original Sparkling Natural Mineral Water Fortified With Natural Gas From The Spring;" "Jermuk Sodium Calcium Bicarbonate and Sulphate Mineral Water;" or "Jermuk, Natural Mineral Water Sparkling."

Jermuk, which distributes its water internationally, has been in business since 1951.


06.03.2007 14:15 GMT+04:00

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad constantly states that in case of U.S. military aggression Iran will strike Washington's allies. And first of all these are Israel, Azerbaijan and Georgia," Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan stated to a press conference in Yerevan. In his opinion, Iranian missiles can reach the above mentioned countries without particular difficulties, while Americans need military bases in the Middle East. "Already today Tehran has marked 900 targets in territories of Israel, Azerbaijan and Georgia. And if the war breaks out Armenia will occur cut from the whole world, since Georgia too can be attacked by Iran. But the danger of humanitarian catastrophe threatens not only Armenia, but Also Azerbaijan. Such a motion of refugees will not sustain any economy, moreover the Armenian one.

Don't forget, there are 80 million population in Iran, almost half of which resides near Armenian, Azeri and Turkish borders," Levon Melik-Shahnazaryan told.

As to Turkish "Incirlik" Air Base, in expert's opinion, it may become a terminal station for U.S. air forces, but "Turkey, as usual, will demand concessions, particularly abolition of the Armenian Genocide resolution."

Turkish court shuts down YouTube

By Vincent Boland in Istanbul
Financial Times

Published: March 7 2007 17:05 Last updated: March 7 2007 17:05

Turkey's largest internet services provider shut down access to the YouTube video-sharing web site on Wednesday after a court ruling that some of its content insulted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.

The decision followed days of furious insult-sharing among Turkish and Greek users of the popular and controversial site.

The result was a flood of complaints to the site and to the media from Turkish users angered by what one newspaper said were "fanatic Greeks broadcasting videos" insulting Ataturk.

Turk Telekom acted first by removing the offending items, but a court ordered access to the site to be blocked late on Tuesday after prosecutors brought a case against YouTube.

A message posted on the site late on Wednesday said access had been suspended following a decision by an Istanbul court. One video posted on the site allegedly claimed that Ataturk and Turks were "homosexuals". Ataturk, who died in 1938, is a revered figure in Turkey and it is a crime to "insult" him or state institutions. Many writers, including the Nobel literature laureate Orhan Pamuk, have faced trial for work that allegedly breaches this law.

Paul Doany, chief executive of Turk Telekom, said the company had received a faxed copy of the court's decision on Tuesday. "YouTube's services have been suspended in Turkey in accordance with this decision," he said.

The site would remain blocked until the court decided otherwise.

The decision to shut off access to the site was not a judgement on the material broadcast, he added, but a response to a legal decision. The government has promised to look at ways of amending article 301 of Turkey's penal code, under which prosecutions of writers can be brought. But it appears unlikely that the article will be abolished, as campaigners have urged.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Not by his choice

The start of the end of the living hell known as Kashatagh

By decision of the Artsakh government today, the leader of the administration of the Kashatagh area, Hamlet Khachatryan, was removed from office. In his place Ernist Ghevondyan, who was formerly director of the Artrsakh committee, was appointed.

By removing Hamlet instead of him “resigning” means that there is a good chance that the investigation initiated by the Artsakh government could yield results and possible criminal charges against those responsible for the depopulation of the region. Of course in order to see this happen, we need to continue to push things in that direction.

A big congratulation to everyone involved with bringing this issue to light, especially those that stated and signed the petition at

Though some may think this issue is resolved, it’s far from that and it’s going to take a great deal of work from all of us to reverse the damage done by Hamlet Khachatryan and his administration, thus don’t relax yet, we have a long road to go down still.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


By Norair Hovsepian

Azat Artsakh, Republic of Nagorno Karabakh
March 5 2007

On February 28 thousands of people visited the Memorial of Stepanakert to commemorate the victims of the pogroms in Sumgait in February 1988. We met Arthur Babayan there whose family had a narrow escape from violence in Sumgait. At that time Arthur was 5 but he remembers the horror of the massacres in Sumgait. "At midnight the Azerbaijani mob attacked our neighborhood," he said. They left everything and ran away to their friends who lived in other parts of the town. The next day they found their apartment robbed and in a mess. This is the story of thousands of other Armenian families who lived in Sumgait. "They did not sell tickets to us because our family ended in "yan," Arthur Babayan said. Fortunately, their family saved.

But many others got killed. "It is genocide, and the world must recognize it," says Arthur Babayan. The question of the return of refugees is constantly raised during the talks for the settlement of the Karabakh issue. "It's impossible. After what we witnessed we'll never return to Azerbaijan," Arthur Babayan said. "The war in Artsakh was the first step towards fighting injustice our people have undergone. We must go on by all means," NKR Prime Minister Anushavan Danielian said to news reporters at the Memorial. Part of refugees who escaped from Azerbaijan settled down in the capital and have urgent problems to solve. The government launched last year a program of aid and apartments to refugees from Sumgait and other places in Azerbaijan. "This year the first major program will be implemented," the prime minister said. The program will include the refugees of not only the capital but also the regions, he said. However, thousands of Armenian families displaced from Azerbaijan live in different countries, which means the first step towards demanding compensation should be a realistic evaluation of the events of 1988. Sumgait was
the inadequat reaction of Azerbaijan to the righteous claims of the Armenians of Artsakh, said Masis Mayilian, deputy minister of foreign affairs of NKR. "People were killed for their ethnicity. The international law defines such acts as genocide." Masis Mayilian assured that the NKR foreign ministry is constantly making efforts to present the reality of the crime to the international community.

However, the fact that the international community fails to give an adequate evaluation means that there is much more to do.


2007-03-05 19:40:00

Shots fired into air in Istanbul after requiem service devoted to memory of Hrant Dink

On March 4, shots were heard near the St. Virgin Mary Church in Istanbul, when the ceremony of the fortieth day obit of Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish "Agos" newspaper, had just finished in the church.

According to Radio Liberty, the requiem service was held by Archbishop Mesrob Mutafian, the Patriarch of Constantinople of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

At 2:15 PM, Sunday, two young men entered the yard of the church, fired into the air and ran away. They were arrested Sunday evening and taken to the Department of Struggle against Terrorism. The young men's names were published in the "Hurriet" newspaper, Monday.

To remind, Hrant Dink was murdered by 17-year old Ogyun Samast in front of the "Agos" editorial office in Istanbul on Jan 19, 2007.


05.03.2007 15:04 GMT+04:00

"We will do our best stop the Armenian Genocide bill," said Tom Lantos, the most powerful person of the Jewish lobby in the U.S. and the chairman of the congressional foreign relations committee after the U.S. visit of Gul and Buyukanit.

As reported by Sabah newspaper, Lantos sent a message through the Prime Minister of Israel Olmert.

The Turkish authorities were lobbying in the U.S. against the passage of the bill and trying to convince the chairman of the congressional foreign relations committee Tom Lantos who has a power in the Congress as he survived the Jewish massacre in the 2nd World War.


[03:44 pm] 05 March, 2007

Court of First Instance of Kentron and Nork-Marash sent Gyulnara Manvelyan to two-month custody. To remind, in 2006 Gyulnara Manvelyan gave her new-born son to a doctor of obstetrics department at the cost of $2000.

The most striking is the fact that the court didn't take Doctor Mher Engibaryan under arrest.

This can be explained by the fact that Engibaryan has a permanent dwelling place and has never been sentenced before. Besides, the bargain was guaranteed by Deputy Samvel Sahakyan and S. Hakobyan, mayor of Masis.

We managed to find out that Mher Engibaryan enjoys the support of RA high-ranking officials. As for Ekaterina Aroustamyn, the go-between, she was set free on condition not to leave the city.

We could also reveal a few details; Mher Engibaryan performed cesarean operation and helped the mother to give birth to the child. He had given Gyulnara Manvelyan 1500 USD prior to the operation. Doctor Engibaryan had also given money to Aroustamyan, the go-between and taken care of some minor expenses.

After the delivery, a false document was made with the name of another woman stating that she was the mother of the child. Later the doctor took the infant to the orphanage of "Elen" charity foundation. To note, the orphanage was founded by Mher Engibaryan.

Why should a doctor taking such inhumane steps stay in freedom today? This can directly affect on the investigation as the doctor may conceal the tracks, official documents and have influence on the witnesses. It is not excluded that Engibaryan has made suchlike bargains beforehand.

Sona Truzyan, press secretary of the RA General Prosecutor, refused revealing the details. She only informed us that a criminal action was brought against Gyulnara Manvelyan under Article 168 of the Penal Code, Mher Engibaryan under Article 314 /official forgery/ and Ekaterina Aroustamyan under Article 38-168 /accomplice/.

Illegal adoption is Armenia continue

According to Yergir Media news tonight, it seems that in the city of Masis, a doctor has been caught selling babies.

I had been following these developments for over 3 years since receiving a tip from someone that a private orphanage in Masis was offering money to women seeking abortions in return to carry the child full-term and then bypassing the official adoption law of natives having first option to adopt and then non-natives, somehow electing who was to adopt their newborn child, most of which from that “orphanage” were from the West.

I can see that though the adoption process from Armenia already difficult for people from the outside, due to unscrupulous desperate people wanting a child at any expense including breaking the law, the adoption laws were not strict enough and/or not enforced, thus we need to once again revisit the process. Private orphanages need to be closely monitored and all adoption from such places need to be reviewed.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Out with the old…a real chance for a new start

According to (the Armenian version), the regional minister of Kashatagh (Lachin) has packed his stuff and should soon be relieved of his duties as early as tomorrow.

For those of you who have not been following developments in Kashatagh, the region between Artsakh and Armenia has been depopulating due to very bad governing of the region by a well connected government official.

According to the HETQ article, not only is the soon to be former governor related to Prime Minister Markarian’s wife, but is also related to the Prosecutor General of Artsakh, all being from the village of Jardar, which is 16 kilometer from my home. In addition to this, he is also related to the former regional minister of Martuni, who was relieved of his duties 2 years ago after doing a really rotten job of governing.

Sadly, the article suggests that those who will be involved with administering things in the region in the future are very capable to continue policies that will further depopulate the region and are for the most part incompetent.

Understanding all that is stated above, it is of the utmost importance that future aid and involvement of the Diaspora in Kashatagh be done with logic and not emotion (as in too many cases it has been in the past). We don’t need a good governor in Kashatagh (though it would not hurt), but a strong presents from the Diaspora to make sure the depopulation stops and repopulating starts. This is something we can play a very big roll in. Believe me when I tell you that the removal of the regional minister is a direct result of the Diaspora working together to get him out. Now let’s continue with this same energy to get the region populated and economically stable so the population will be stable.

In a related note, it seems that an investigation is being done by the Artsakh government as to what has been going on in Kashatagh. Though I’m sure they will find many irregularities, since the governor is well connected, I’m almost certain that nothing will come of it. What should be done is what the Minister of Territorial Administration Armo Tsaturyan want told me when I met with him on January 7th of this year. He had the desire to demand accountings of where the millions of dollars have been spent in Kashatagh? At that time the President and Prime Minister told him that he was nuts and there was not need, but in light of what has been going on and all the allegations of mismanagement, I think demanding accountability of what has been done in the past is justified.

The English version of the HETQ article will be online next week.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

NGO head accuses Armenian local officials of pillaging the villages

27 Feb 07

Yerevan, 27 December:
Robert Simonyan, head of the Kashatagh non-governmental organization for the protection of resettlers, accuses the administration of the Kashatagh (Lacin) district of embezzlement.

Speaking to journalists today [27 February], Robert Simonyan, who in 1990s was the head of the administration of five villages in the Kashatagh district, accused both the former and the current heads of the district administration, Aleksan Hakobyan and Hamlet Khachatryan, of pillaging the villages and embezzling funds they had been given to reconstruct the district.

The disagreement with the district administration over its policies resulted in Simonyan's persecution. A Yerevan resident, who had moved to Kashatagh, was forced to go back again, but he claims that his persecution did not stop there either.

Simonyan claims that he had repeatedly informed all possible instances in Armenia - from the president to foreign diplomatic corps - of the embezzlement by the district administration and the persecution of himself and family members, but has not received a reasonable answer. Today, Simonyan made a statement describing the talk about a possible return of the liberated territories (security zone around the Nagornyy Karabakh republic - Arminfo) as a crime and treason.

"On the one hand, they speak of keeping the Lacin corridor under the Armenian control, but on the other hand, the local authorities and the Armenian leadership create such inhuman conditions that the resettlers run from those strategically important territories," Simonyan said. He said that while 15,000 people lived in Kashatagh in 1988, only 2,500 people now remained there. He also said that the residents of the border regions of Armenia - Ijevan, Tavush, Goris and Kapan - should be entitled to a compensation for the damage caused by Azerbaijan.

"In addition, we demand that the Armenian and the NKR [Nagornyy Karabakh republic] authorities did their best for both the protection of the NKR borders with Iran and opening of bilateral communication through it," the statement said.

Those in power and those that turn a blind eye should be hung up by the BALLS!!!

As the “legal” theft of persons homes and property continues, the world turns a blind eye to the criminal activities of the Armenian Government.

The United States Government’s Millennium Challenge program as already signed into a contract for the continuation of their programs even though their program clearly stipulates that if there are any open cases regarding corruption by the receiving governments, no programs will funded.

Not only is there the case below, but also there is a clearly documented case that the Department of State has been formally informed about regarding the Armenian Engineers and Scientists tree program that was started in the early 1990’s and the land which belongs to them has been “legally” misappropriated by someone related to a very high ranking person in government.

I tell you what needs to happen in the end. ALL those bulidings that were built by illigal means need to be confiscated from those criminals who today have the luxury of the protection from the law of Robert Kocharian and his criminal gang and given to the people who owned the land they stand on. All those that purchased houses and commercial space in those new buildings can go after those that sold them the stolen property. This is on our to-do list and even if it is 30 years from now will happen. I again tell those from the Diaspora that are looking for a place to buy in Armenia to stay away from new buildings in the center of the city, as in a few years you may be getting kicked out of a place that you thought was yours but belongs to someone else.

House Demolitions Continue In Yerevan

RFE/RL Armenia Report - 03/01/2007
By Shakeh Avoyan

Security forces used force to evict on Thursday yet another family in downtown Yerevan whose old house has been confiscated by the state to be torn down by private real estate developers.

The family of nine persons were forced out of their eight-room property after refusing to accept a $23,000 compensation offered by municipal authorities. Citing `public needs,' the authorities have decided to give it to the owner of an adjacent building housing a night club and a department store.

The evicted residents say the proposed compensation is worth a fraction of the market value of their home and insufficient even for buying a tiny apartment on the city outskirts. The authorities counter that the sum is modest partly because some parts of the house were constructed illegally.

The main house owner, Samvel Gharibian, has unsuccessfully challenged his family's displacement in two courts. He filed an appeal to Armenia's Court of Cassation and is currently awaiting a judgment.

Justice Ministry bailiffs, backed up by special police, cited the lower court rulings as they broke into Gharibian's house. His wife and one of the daughters put up fierce resistance to the law-enforcement officers, screaming and condemning them as `fascists.' The pregnant young woman was injured in the scuffle and required medical assistance.

In the meantime, dozens of other people, who have already been evicted from other old neighborhoods of Yerevan, gathered outside in a show of solidarity with the Gharibian family. `You don't defend the interests of the people,' one man shouted at the bailiffs.

`I'm not the one who is forcing them out,' countered one of the officials.

Hundreds of families have been affected by the ongoing controversial redevelopment which is rapidly changing the city center. Many of them have been similarly unhappy with the modest amount of compensations, alleging high-level government corruption. Some have resisted eviction by filing lawsuits and even building barricades.

The Armenian constitution stipulates that private property can be taken away by the state `only in exceptional cases involving overriding public interests, in a manner defined by law, and with a prior commensurate compensation.' The process has until now been regulated only by government directives, however. Armenia's Constitutional Court effectively declared it illegal in April, but stopped short of ordering the authorities to return the increasingly expensive land to their former owners. It only ordered the government to pass a bill regulating all aspects of urban development.

The government-controlled parliament approved such a bill last November amid strong protests from the opposition minority which considers it too discretionary. It essentially allows the authorities to continue to demolish old houses in the capital and other parts of the country by simply invoking `needs of the public and the state.'

The government again used that prerogative at a weekly meeting on Thursday, approving redevelopment projects in some parts of the Armenian capital. A government press release did not specify those areas.