Heinz Family's Incredible Link To the Armenian Genocide

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Harut Sassounian Commentary 2004 November

At the time of writing this column, it was not known whether Teresa Heinz Kerry would be the next First Lady or not. Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Times revealed last week an incredible connection between the Heinz family and the Armenian Genocide.

In a lengthy front-page article on October 27, the Los Angeles Times disclosed that Howard Heinz, the grandfather of Sen. John Heinz (the former husband of Teresa Heinz Kerry), went to Armenia in 1919 to deliver desperately needed humanitarian supplies to the thousands of survivors of the Armenian Genocide. Howard was one of the four children of Henry John Heinz, the founder of the famous ketchup and pickle empire.

Times' staff writer Ralph Vartabedian, through painstaking archival research, traced for the first time the Heinz' family tree, spanning over four generations. Here is the reference in his article to the amazing link between the Heinz family and the Armenian Genocide:

"Heinzes pioneered the industrialization of the U.S. food supply, pushed government reforms to improve food safety and advocated for military intervention to stop the Armenian genocide." Howard Heinz, who was deeply involved in public service, "was sent to the Middle East by the Wilson administration after World War I to head famine-relief efforts. On the day [his father] H. J. Heinz died [in 1919], Howard was delivering 30,000 tons of food to the region, where he witnessed the unfolding genocide that took the lives of 1.5 million Armenians. Howard tried to get [Pres. Woodrow] Wilson to send troops to halt the slaughter in harsh, remote areas of eastern Turkey and Armenia. In a dispatch to the president, he wrote, 'I do not believe America, when she knows the truth, will be satisfied to have all our ideals of humanity thrown to one side while these people are murdered.' His pleas were ignored," Vartabedian wrote.

This is a very significant revelation that was not known to most Armenians, and possibly even to the descendants of the Heinz family. It would be important to obtain copies of the first-hand reports Howard Heinz dispatched from Armenia and Turkey, as the genocide was still unfolding.

Interestingly, should Sen. Kerry become president, an incredible family connection would be established for the first time between the White House and the Armenian Genocide. Kerry's three stepsons -- Teresa's sons from her former husband - H.J. Heinz IV born in 1966, Andre born in 1969, and Christopher born in 1973 -- are the great-grandsons of an eyewitness to the Armenian Genocide!

Livingston: Another Lobbyist Milking Turkey

Robert Livingston, the former Republican chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and a paid lobbyist for Turkey since 2000, made some interesting statements last week. He told the Turkish media that Sen. Kerry, if elected president, would probably keep his promises on recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Livingston was in effect telling the Turks that he would have to charge them much more for his lobbying efforts, as it would be more difficult under the Kerry administration to block the Genocide resolution.

In a lengthy article published on Sept. 29, 2004, reporter Kate Ackley disclosed in "Influnce.biz" that The Livingston Group's lucrative client, Turkey, paid the firm $1.4 million just for the first half of this year.

The Turkish fees constituted 25% of the firm's annual revenues.

The report revealed some of The Livingston Group's far-reaching and influential network of contacts in the White House (Karl Rove, Senior Advisor to Pres. Bush; James Marrs, an aide to Vice President Dick Cheney; Matt Bryza, the National Security Council's director of European and Eurasian affairs; and Daniel Keniry, a member of Pres. Bush's legislative affairs team); in the Congress (House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill, and his aide Christopher Walker; House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas, and his senior national security policy advisor Brett Shogren; Cong. Robert Wexler, D-Fla; Cong. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky, and his aide Jeff Miles; Cong. Richard Baker, R-La; Mark Murray, minority staff assistant for the House Appropriations Committee; Vincent Morelli, majority staff director for the House International Relations Subcommittee on Europe; Johnnie Kaberlie and Ali Amirhooshmand, policy aides to House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; and Rachael Leman, deputy policy director on the House Rules Committee); in the Defense Dept. (Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz; and Lisa Heald, the country director for Turkey in the office of the Secretary of Defense); and in the State Dept. (Douglas Hengel, an aide in the office of Southeastern European Affairs).

The article disclosed that Livingston and his group spent a lot of time and effort to counter Cong. Schiff's amendment on forbidding Turkey to use U.S. foreign aid money to lobby the Congress against the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. According to the article, on March 18, Livingston, "exchanged e-mails on Turkish-Armenian issues with James Marrs of Vice President Dick Cheney's office." In July, Livingston and his team of lobbyists held a series of meetings with White House officials and House leaders to counter the Schiff amendment.

If Kerry were to be elected president, The Livingston Group would need to work much harder and charge the Turks millions of more dollars for their lobbying efforts.