The Armenian - Turkish Protocols (Boyajian)
Interview with David Boyajian:
The Armenian - Turkish Protocols, U.S. - Russian & Turkish - Israeli relations, and other political topics.
Interviewer: Jim Hogue
Air Date: October 26, 2009
WGDR 91.1 FM Community Radio from Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont
Jim Hogue’s weekly radio program, The House at Pooh Corner, focuses on national and community issues, especially 9/11 Truth, Election Integrity, the economy, and sustainable agriculture (http://www.wgdr.org/houseatpoohcorner.html).
David Boyajian is an Armenian American writer and activist. Many of his articles and interviews are archived at Armeniapedia.org.
INTERVIEWER: Well, here we are, Jim’s House at Pooh Corner. The following program presents the opinions of its producer and guest and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of WGDR or its licensee Goddard College. Today our guest is David Boyajian. He was a guest about a month ago. He is an expert on the Caucasus and the relationships that affect that region, like the relationship between Russia and China and Turkey and Israel and the U.S. And there is the Caucasus, in the middle of an interesting, deadly tug of war. So I’m going to put on some music, and then we’ll do that. Let’s see, what shall it be?
INTERVIEWER: That was Fred from “I’m Putting All My Eggs in One Basket.” I think it was from Top Hat. All right, Mr. Boyajian, can you hear me?
BOYAJIAN: I can, Jim.
INTERVIEWER: Great. Well, as I mentioned to people earlier in the program, David Boyajian is an expert on things in the Caucasus, particularly the relationship between Turkey, Russia, China, Israel, the U.S. and the area of Armenia. And things are not particularly in the news about that area, so that’s one of the reasons why David Boyajian should be a guest on this program, because he can tell us why they ought to be in the news. And we are recording this in two different ways today, David, so we should grab it without any problem. Well, would you like to tell us - you want to first rehash a little bit about what we went over last time? Or do you want to tell us what’s hot?
BOYAJIAN: Well, I’ll give you just a minute of background. We have the three ex-Soviet republics in the Caucasus, the republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, and just to the west of that region is Turkey, and just to the east of it is the Caspian Sea, which is very rich in oil and gas. And I like to call this area ‘ground zero’ for the new Cold War between Russia and the United States. Russia’s trying to hold on to this region, because it wants to retain control over the oil and gas in that region, and the United States and NATO, on the other hand, are trying to penetrate that region and access the oil and gas. And to some extent, it’s been successful in doing that. There are two major pipelines, one gas, one oil, from Azerbaijan west through the Republic of Georgia into Turkey. So that’s kind of the lay of the land over there right now.
INTERVIEWER: And how does that affect Armenia at this point?
BOYAJIAN: Well, let’s see, the big news, Jim, and actually there is a lot of news coming out of the Caucasus these days - there is a proposed agreement between Turkey and Armenia. It’s called the Protocols, and the presidents of Turkey and Armenia have signed these Protocols. But they’re not ratified yet. They won’t become official until the parliaments of Turkey and Armenia vote to agree to them, but that’s not clear at this point exactly. The reason these Protocols come up, there’s a little background to this. Briefly, Turkey committed genocide against Armenians in the years 1915-1923, so Armenia has been concerned with this ever since, especially since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, because then Armenia was on its own. So Armenia is very concerned about Turkey and its aggressive intentions. Now, in 1993, what happened is that Turkey closed its border with Armenia, out of sympathy with the nation of Azerbaijan, because Azerbaijan and Armenia had fought a war, and there’s still a cease fire going on over there, over the Armenian populated territory of Karabagh, which is just inside Azerbaijan. Armenia won that war, but as I say, Turkey closed the border with Armenia in 1993. So these Protocols - proposed Protocols - were meant to reestablish relations between Armenia and Turkey. And whether this happens or not is of vital interest to the United States and to Russia, too.
INTERVIEWER: Because that will open up a clearer path to the pipelines?
BOYAJIAN: That’s right. Right now, if one were to look at a map, the republics of Georgia and Armenia form a kind of physical wall between east and eest, between - on the east - the oil and gas in Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea, and - on the west - Turkey, which is a pipeline route out of that area. Right now, because Armenia’s eastern and western borders were closed by its neighbors, the only pipeline route out is through the Republic of Georgia just to the north. So that’s where the western-bound U.S. built pipelines are constructed. Now, what the United States would like to do is open up the borders between Armenia and its neighbors - its eastern and western neighbors - in order to facilitate U.S. penetration into that area, U.S. influence and so forth. Russia, on the other hand, has generally wanted those borders to be closed, because closed borders stop U.S. penetration. But something has changed recently, Jim. I think a lot of what has changed is the result of the war between Russia and Georgia last year. That cast doubt on Georgia’s ability to continue hosting present and future oil and gas pipelines out of the Caspian Sea. So the United States would like an alternative way to get into the Caspian, and that can only happen if the Turkish -Armenia border were to be opened. However, why does Russia now want an open border between Turkey and Armenia? It’s not entirely clear. I think the reason is that they’re trying to, well, Russia is becoming friendlier to Turkey. Russia has a certain leverage over Turkey, because it supplies most of Turkey’s natural gas. Now, it may be that Russia is trying to draw Turkey into its sphere of influence, so to speak, and therefore it does not mind opening up the border between Turkey and Armenia. Indeed, Russia may see this as a strength, because Russia controls so much of the Armenian economy that it may not fear Turkish and Western penetration into Armenia. In other words, Russia feels it has a tight enough hold on Armenia at the present time that the U.S. could not penetrate. So we’re going to have to see what happens.
INTERVIEWER: And the geography is indeed very important, and it’s of course murky to a lot of people, because there are so many little ‘baijans’ down there, and Armenia you said is just south of Georgia.
BOYAJIAN: That’s right.
INTERVIEWER: And it also touches on the Caspian.
BOYAJIAN: Armenia does not touch on the Caspian. Armenia is actually landlocked. It has no sea coast at all. Just to the south of Armenia is Iran.
INTERVIEWER: Yes, and just to the north is Georgia, and just to the west is Turkey.
BOYAJIAN: That’s right. And just to the east, bordering on the Caspian Sea, and wealthy in oil and gas is Azerbaijan. It is a confusing geography, but it means everything. I encourage people to try to get hold of a map, because I know it is difficult to picture sometimes.
INTERVIEWER: Yes, and what we described last time was the importance of this, that this was sort of the route of last resort, but the U.S. doesn’t want to lose control of that.
BOYAJIAN: That’s right. That’s right exactly. The U.S. is trying to penetrate the region to get at the oil and gas. Also, NATO is trying to penetrate the region. As you know, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO gobbled up most of the countries of Eastern Europe that were under Soviet control. Now it’s trying to make the ex-Soviet republics to the south of Russia part of NATO. They haven’t joined NATO yet, but they are candidates. Georgia and Azerbaijan particularly are candidates. And that gets Russia very, very angry, and that’s one of the reasons we saw the war between Russia and Georgia last year.
INTERVIEWER: Ah, all right, even though that war, that wasn’t one of the reasons given for that war, but you think that was an underlying motivation?
BOYAJIAN: Absolutely. There is relentless pressure on Georgia by Russia, and there has been for the last 20 years. The leadership of Georgia wants to go towards the West. It wants to get out from under Russian influence, Russia’s thumb, and it wants to be friendly with Europe. And this has infuriated Russia. Now, ostensibly, last year, the war between Russia and Georgia was over the disputed enclave of South Ossetia, which Russia controls and is just inside the Georgian border, but in fact is legally part of Georgia. But South Ossetia and a region called Abkhazia broke away from Georgia after the dissolution of the USSR, with the support of Russia. So these two areas are under the influence of Russia. In fact, Russia has now recognized them as independent, although only a few other countries in the world have. So, ostensibly, even though the war last year was over this disputed region of South Ossetia, in fact, the larger context was that Russia is trying to put pressure on Georgia not to join the West.
INTERVIEWER: OK. I wonder how quickly Russia would recognize Vermont if Vermont decided to declare independence from the beast.
BOYAJIAN: Well, that’s very funny. I think that Russia would become very friendly to Vermont if Vermont made an overture. But unfortunately, Vermont does not have a seaport, except on Lake Champlain, as far as I know.
INTERVIEWER: I don’t know why anybody would want Vermont as an independent country, except just a stick in the eye to the beast.
BOYAJIAN: Well, this is a good point. Because what the United States and Russia do is they take these small countries, and basically use them for their own purposes. Russia may say, well, it cares about the independence of South Ossetia, but not really. Russia is using it. The United States may say it cares about human rights in the Republic of Georgia, but no, it really doesn’t. It’s trying to use Georgia as a middleman, a gas and oil pipeline route, between Azerbaijan and Turkey. Why else would the United States be interested in these very small nations over in the Caucasus and Central Asia? Why is the U.S. interested in Afghanistan? That’s a whole other question there, too.
INTERVIEWER: And we can certainly talk about that, because one of my points that I’ve been making - the light bulb went off about a year or so ago, and finally got brighter in my head - is that the U.S. is no more. And what I mean by that is that we’re just calling this land between the Atlantic and the Pacific the United States, when in fact, it is a series of 50, well, 48 vassal states, which provide treasure and bodies for the financial elite, and they are the army for the financial elite, and they are the source of wealth for the financial elite, which run the country. And this was solidified in my head when the people who we know are criminals, Paulson, Geithner, Summers, Bernanke, that crowd that’s been robbing the United States for years, when they were officially put in charge of the United States by Obama, who was groomed by Brzezinski and that crowd right from the start. So it’s a pretty closed, a pretty tight ship. And they’ve circled the wagons around each other, and they’re now running what you might call the country. And I don’t know whether you agree with that, but I see that as an important thing to recognize if you’re going to be understanding what’s happening in the rest of the world.
BOYAJIAN: Well, I think people are becoming increasingly informed, but the powers-that-be in the United States do now want to explain to the people why the United States is in so many other countries. They just don’t want to say we’re there for oil and gas, for example. It just doesn’t sound good to most people, I think, especially when we send soldiers over there, and those soldiers die. The leaders - our leaders - don’t want to say, ‘we’re over there for oil and gas because we see it as a necessary commodity to keep our economy going, and unfortunately, young men and women have to die to safeguard that oil and gas.’ They don’t want to say that. They’re afraid of the reaction of people. And so, the American people are told, ‘we’re in Afghanistan because of al Qaeda, because of 9/11, because of the Taliban.’ And to some degree we are, yes. But there are also other motives there. There’s oil and gas in Afghanistan, and just to the north. I should mention, I was mentioning the Caspian as being rich in oil and gas, Jim. Now, in terms of getting it out to the West, what the United States has been doing is, it’s sort of been aiming its arrow from the West, from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, but there’s an eastern route into the Caspian, too, and that’s from Afghanistan, up through Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan has a lot of natural gas - huge, huge amounts. And the United States has been trying to get at it now for, oh, at least 15 years, way before 9/11, actually. But you don’t hear about this very much as a reason for the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. I think most people would be rather surprised to read about this. But it is really not in the consciousness of the average U.S. citizen now.
INTERVIEWER: I read recently a story that control of the opium trade is another very important reason why the U.S. is in Afghanistan. And I think that’s the kind of thing that Sibel Edmonds would be good to talk about, because she is the one who identified the millions and millions of dollars that were involved in the whistle-blowing, in her whistle-blowing efforts, because she was able to trace the money right into the pockets of U.S. senators.
BOYAJIAN: Well, I know she says that the main route for heroin into Europe is via Turkey, and she says that the Turkish military - the Turkish government - is actually involved in this trade, that it lets it happen because it’s able to milk so much money out of that trade. I don’t know. That’s not an area I’m particularly conversant with, but from everything I’ve read, it makes a certain amount of sense. We really don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes here sometimes.
INTERVIEWER: So you cannot confirm or deny that drug trade is an important reason for the U.S. to be in Afghanistan.
BOYAJIAN: That I don’t know, Jim. I can’t address that. But I might, at this point, I might want to get back to something in the Turkish - Armenian Protocols, and they’re very much in the news now. And what do they consist of? Well, a lot of the sections of the Protocols are just boilerplate on establishing normal relations and so forth. But there are two very significant parts of the Protocols from the perspective of Armenians. And this is why Armenians in Armenia and around the world have been up in arms in the last several weeks. One involves the establishment of a so-called joint commission between Armenia and Turkey, which supposedly would determine whether the Armenian genocide occurred. Now, this outrages Armenians, because 20 nations around the world, the European Parliament, and the International Association of Genocide Scholars have all recognized the Armenian genocide. So Armenians think, ‘why do we need to sort of bury this issue in a joint commission between Turks and Armenians when we know that if there’s a final vote taken on that commission, the Turks are going to say there was no genocide?’ So Armenians are aggrieved about this. The second thing they’re aggrieved about is, although Armenia has never made formal territorial claims against Turkey, there are such claims, and there are reparations claims in the background, because after World War I, much of what is called eastern Turkey today was supposed to be incorporated as part of Armenia. So what these Protocols do, and this is the second thing people do not like, is they have Armenia recognize the territorial integrity of Turkey. Now, that may sound reasonable to most people, but to Armenia, a small landlocked country that was supposed to get a coastline on the Black Sea after World War I, they see this as a betrayal by the Armenian leadership, which they see as largely corrupt. So these Protocols, it’s not clear whether they’re going to be ratified and whether that new route between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia is going to be opened up in the future, whether that border is going to be opened.
INTERVIEWER: Now, you mentioned NATO, and how NATO was operating as though it had a mind, as though it were one thing with a mind. Is it the U.S. that’s actually determining what NATO wants to do in this situation?
BOYAJIAN: It is. Of course the United States is the driving force behind NATO. And NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is getting pretty far from the north Atlantic these days. It gobbled up the nations of eastern Europe after the Soviet Union broke up, and that made Russia rather nervous. It made it seem to the Russians and to many other people, too, that the United States was continuing the Cold War, even after the Soviet Union broke up. After all, they, in their minds, said ‘since NATO came about as a Cold War instrument to contain the Soviet Union, why did it need to expand when that Cold War was won by the United States and NATO?’ So Russia saw this as a continuance of the Cold War. But I don’t think that eastern Europe concerns Russia as much in terms of its being in NATO, as the republics to the south of Russia, in the Caucasus, and also in Central Asia, which we haven’t talked much about: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan … these are mostly Muslim republics, and Russia is nervous that there will be Western influence there, that the West will tap the oil and gas there, and that possibly those countries could become members of NATO. Because if that happens, not only does NATO surround Russia on Russia’s west in Europe, but also its entire southern tier. So Russia would be virtually surrounded by NATO and China at that point. I think that gets Russia pretty nervous.
INTERVIEWER: All right. And what kind of rapprochement is there now going on or otherwise between Russia and China?
BOYAJIAN: Well, they’re getting friendlier. How deep it goes, I don’t know. I do know that there are a lot of Chinese workers in Siberia now, working on industry, oil and gas there, and that Russia plans to supply China with a lot of natural gas. I think even with weaponry, too. This is rather surprising to those of us who were brought up believing that China and Russia were enemies. And they still may be. But on a certain level, they’re cooperating. They certainly have a common interest in keeping the United States out of Central Asia. Central Asia is right next door. It lies right between Russia and China, and if anybody is going to get at the oil and gas there, Russia and China feel it should be theirs, not the United States’s. So that’s another point of competition.
INTERVIEWER: And Webster Tarpley was talking about the U.S. trying to drive a wedge between this agreement that might be happening between Russia, China and India. Unless I’ve, I mean, that was an old story for him, but he says that as these countries make deals, that’s upsetting to the Brzezinski crowd.
BOYAJIAN: Well, there is an organization, let me try to remember, the SCO, Shanghai Cooperation Organization. And that is, that’s between Russia, China, I believe India and some other Asian states. And that’s widely viewed as an initiative to kind of keep the United States out of the region, a counterbalance to U.S. influence.
INTERVIEWER: Yes. And it was making the Brzezinski crowd nervous, but it didn’t come into play for the Bush Administration, particularly. It’s as if it was off their radar. But that’s just what I learned from Webster Tarpley some time ago. So you see that as another means of control by Russia, China and India, of Central Asia.
BOYAJIAN: Definitely, particularly driven by China. China especially wants to grab the oil and gas in that region. There is a deal, in fact, between Turkmenistan and China, now, where China will construct a pipeline, it might even be in the process of being built right now, the natural gas pipeline would go from Turkmenistan north through I believe it’s Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China, and China has sunk a lot of money into this project. I think Russia is probably very jealous about that because up to the present time just about all of the Turkmen gas has been going north through Russia, and a little bit south through Iran. And, as I say, I believe that the natural gas in Turkmenistan is one of the reasons the U.S. is in Afghanistan today. So there’s definitely a big battle over the natural gas in Turkmenistan. It’s funny how these relatively small countries that most Americans have never even heard of play such a central role in U.S. policy here, Jim. Very interesting, Turkmenistan. Whoever would have thought? But it does play a major role.
INTERVIEWER: OK, now, last time you told what to me was a very funny story about a lot of Turkish money in the form of what we might call a bribe if we were using regular English, but it was some kind of campaign contribution to a congressperson in Illinois?
BOYAJIAN: Oh, let’s see, yes. This is what Sibel Edmonds, the FBI whistle-blower, says. She claims that there was a congresswoman from Illinois - and we don’t know who it is - it’s been speculated that it’s Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. Sibel Edmonds alleges that a female Turkish agent lured this U.S. congresswoman into an affair. This U.S. congresswoman is married with children, and, as Sibel Edmonds claims, this woman, a Turkish agent, lured her into an affair. Turkish agents videotaped and audiotaped their romantic tryst, and that they subsequently blackmailed her or tried to blackmail her. I don’t know. I know that Jan Schakowsky has denied that she had any involvement of this type. And that, of course, brings up the whole Sibel Edmonds issues. She has a gag order on her. She has been able to talk a little bit about the secret FBI tapes she listened to when she was a translator there just after 9/11. But she has a gag order placed on her. So what really needs to happen there, Jim, as I’m sure you know, a special prosecutor needs to be appointed. And this whole thing needs to be aired, because she’s alleging espionage activities between some of the neo-cons, like former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Mark Grossman, and he’s selling U.S. secrets to Turkey, and perhaps Pakistan. He denies it, but we really need a special prosecutor to look into it.
INTERVIEWER: Here’s a huge question. How does Israel fit into this formula? Not the one we just talked about, necessarily, but what is their, what dog do they have in this fight when it comes to the oil and gas in the Caspian?
BOYAJIAN: Yes, well, Israel is quite interested in the Caucasus, the Caspian and Central Asia. One reason goes back to a long-standing Israeli policy. It’s called the Periphery Policy, where it tries to make friends outside of the immediate region, because its relations with its neighbors, its Arab and Muslim neighbors, have been so problematic. It looks for friends outside, for example in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Israel’s quite friendly with Georgia and Azerbaijan now, and Jewish American organizations continually send delegations to the republics of Georgia and Azerbaijan, and Israel supplies weapons to Georgia and Azerbaijan, too. So they’re very much involved.
INTERVIEWER: Aren’t there Israelis in the Georgian parliament?
BOYAJIAN: I believe the foreign minister of Georgia might have originally been an Israeli citizen. I’m not quite sure. But that is the word. But for sure, Israel would like to have access to some of that oil and gas coming out of the Caucasus and Central Asia. That’s a definite. So that, because of Israeli influence on U.S. foreign policy, that may partially be driving the U.S. agenda there. I don’t say it’s the entire reason why the U.S. is in the Caucasus and Caspian, but it could be part of it.
INTERVIEWER: And this is WGDR, Plainfield, and it’s five minutes after 9:00. Now, the right wing in Israel in particular seems to be jumping up and down and screaming that it wanted the US to attack Iran at some point. Now, I know that that’s been off the table for a long time. Why were they so anxious, if I’m correct, why were they so anxious to have the U.S. attack Iran?
BOYAJIAN: Well, of course, the U.S. claims that Iran has a nuclear, a covert nuclear weapons program, that it’s enriching uranium and wants to build a bomb, which the U.S. says could be used against Israel or in some other fashion contrary to U.S. interests. So yes, of course, as we all know, Israel and the U.S. have been very concerned about this for a number of years. Right now I don’t know if an attack on Iran is actually off the table. Voices have been lowered over Iran lately, but we really don’t know what’s happening. But the really interesting thing happening now is between Turkey and Israel. Turkey and Israel have been allies for a long time. This may seem very strange to people, because Turkey is a Muslim country, but, in fact, Turkey was the first Muslim nation to recognize Israel after 1948, and relations have been pretty close, very close since then. Since the mid-1990s, Turkey and Israel have been very close, economically, and at the military level, joint training exercises. Israel is selling Turkey weapons. There’s a lot of tourist trade taking place between the two countries. But lately, there’s been a kind of falling out, at least on the surface. Turkey’s been criticizing Israeli behavior in the Gaza Strip, and the Islamic government in Turkey has been accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians. And it’s rather ironic, because what Israel has said very subtly to Turkey is, ‘don’t accuse us of genocide when we know you committed genocide against Armenians during the First World War, and you have yet to admit it.’ So we’ll have to see what happens. The relationship between Turkey and Israel goes rather deep, Jim, and I know that people have been saying in the news that it looks like the relationship is breaking up, because the Islamic government has been so critical of Israel. But we really have to wait to see how this develops, because even though the Islamic government may not like Israel, the relationship goes deeper than that, especially at a military level, and it’s not clear that Turkey wants to anger Jewish American groups, who of course are very, very influential in the U.S. Congress. I should mention - some of your listeners may know because of the last time I was on, or because they’ve read it in the news - but Israel has long refused to recognize the Armenian genocide, and so have Jewish American groups, some of the top Jewish American groups - not all of them - like the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee. Israel kind of recruited the Jewish American lobbying groups to lobby on behalf of Turkey because Turkey asked for it - because Turkey felt that it didn’t have enough lobbying muscle in the United States. So these top groups like the Anti-Defamation League have in effect served as a pro-Turkish lobbying group. But we have to see how things develop, because they’re a bit angry against Turkey right now.
INTERVIEWER: That is interesting to me, because the Turkish lobby is, I’m learned from Sibel, so powerful. And this explains why, because they not only have their own lobby, but they are able to take advantage of the Jewish American lobbies as well.
BOYAJIAN: Exactly. When Turkish officials come over to the United States, they meet with all the top leaders of the Jewish lobbying groups - ADL, AJC, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, AIPAC, and so forth - and Turkey always tries to make sure that they are still in Turkey’s camp. And one of the main issues has always been the Armenian genocide [resolution] in the U.S. Congress, which of course Turkey vehemently opposes. And it’s gotten these Jewish American groups, at least the top four or five of them, to actually be against the Armenian genocide resolution. And this came into the news a couple of years ago when some of us, Armenian Americans and human rights advocates here in Massachusetts, tried very successfully to get a lot of cities and towns in Massachusetts to sever their ties with a certain ADL program called No Place For Hate, because, we said, ‘how can the ADL sponsor an anti-bias program in U.S. cities if the ADL itself is denying the Armenia genocide and working with a major human rights violator, Turkey? This is a contradiction.’
INTERVIEWER: You mentioned that last time. Oh, and I have to, ladies and gentleman, your guest is David Boyajian. I’m sorry I haven’t been mentioning it more often. But yeah, go ahead.
BOYAJIAN: Yes, so Armenians and human rights activists, and many, many principled Jewish Americans blew the whistle on the Anti-Defamation League. And what has happened is that 14 cities and towns in Massachusetts that had ADL programs have severed ties with those programs. Also the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which represents every city and town in Massachusetts, severed its ties with the Anti-Defamation League because of the Armenian genocide issue. And this made news around the world. It started out as a very local issue in Watertown, Massachusetts, and it became an international issue within a few weeks. The Israeli ambassador to Israel was on vacation. And when this issue in Massachusetts broke, he had to fly back to Israel for consultations, because Turkey was just hopping mad over this.
INTERVIEWER: Now, my mind just leapt to something Cynthia McKinney told me some time ago, and one of the reasons she was robbed of her seat - she refused to sign, that every congressperson, apparently, from what she said, in the U.S. is asked to sign a kind of allegiance to Israel. And she refused. And that was part of her problem. She got gerrymandered out of her seat by the Democrats. She’s a Democrat, of course. And they made sure that she was not re-elected in Georgia. Do you know anything about this pledge?
BOYAJIAN: I have heard of that, and we all know that any U.S. Senator or Congressman or woman who opposes the pro-Israel lobby too vehemently gets targeted. This has been the case for decades. Now, one may ask, what about Massachusetts, because many of the local officials here came out against the Anti-Defamation League. But I think they did so out of principle, and I believe that the Anti-Defamation League was just so much on the defensive regarding the denial of the Armenian genocide that they really couldn’t strike back. They had no moral leg to stand on. But actually we had more elected officials in Massachusetts who came out on our side. I would have liked to see our two U.S. Senators come out for us, and members of Congress. But they didn’t, unfortunately. This was mainly an issue that involved the cities and towns.
INTERVIEWER: And another tangent that just jumped into my head - that’s the way my head is - is the Israeli supposed art students have been in the news lately. That is the group that we call the Dancing Israelis, part of that group was what we called the Dancing Israelis in Secaucus, when they were arrested by the Secaucus police for filming, setting up to film 9/11 before it happened, and then cheering when it happened. So they were naturally arrested by the Secaucus police, and then immediately freed by Chertoff and sent back to Israel. Do you, are you aware of any connection between Mossad and that kind of an operation and what we’re talking about overall?
BOYAJIAN: I’m not aware of it personally. I do know that there were about 100 so called Israeli art students that were making the rounds of the United States before and after the time of 9/11, and they were visiting FBI offices trying to sell them cheap pieces of art. This is a very strange thing. And finally the FBI got onto them and apparently arrested them all and shipped them back to Israel. But why these Israeli art students were in the United States to begin with is something of a mystery, and there’s been a blackout on this. Although if you look up Israeli art students on the Web, you’ll find a fair amount about it, but the mainstream media by and large has not touched this.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, no, they don’t touch anything having to do with evidence of 9/11, truthful evidence of 9/11. But very recently, Kevin Barret has been talking about the new news that the Israeli art students had access to the Twin Towers through the security company there that was run by Bush …
BOYAJIAN: Well, that’s interesting.
INTERVIEWER: … Marvin Bush [brother of President George W. Bush]. So given their access, and given their tendency, apparently, of some of the stories, where in the Twin Towers, where the explosives went off, that answers the big question of how could anyone have had access to the Twin Towers to rig it with explosives. Well, they were the tenants, and so they had free access to many of those floors.
BOYAJIAN: You know, Jim, if I may interrupt for a second, there is a study by a lawyer, and his name escapes me at the moment. He did a study of the movements of these Israeli art students prior to 9/11. What he claims is that they were on the trail of the 9/11 hijackers before 9/11 happened. And that’s a big mystery. If they were on the tail of the hijackers, what did they do with the information? We just don’t know. This needs to be looked into, but it remains a real mystery. You know, and on the subject of terrorism, there’s an interesting connection here that I’d like to mention. The only country in the region we’ve been talking about - the Caucasus and Caspian - and actually for a fairly large radius around Armenia - Armenia’s the only country whose territory and government has had no relation whatsoever with Islamic terrorism and al Qaeda and so forth. Now, one would think that if the U.S. were engaged in a war on terrorism that you would have heard about this before. In fact, I talked with a U.S. ambassador to Armenia face to face about this one time. I said, ‘Gee, how come if we’re involved in a war of terrorism, you haven’t mentioned that Armenia, this tiny state, is the only country with no connection to it over there? I would think that this would be a major positive point you would bring up.’ He had no answer for it. And I asked another U.S. ambassador to Armenia about this. They basically had no answer at all. I’m not saying this to praise Armenia, Jim. What I’m saying is, if this is truly a war against terrorism that we’re involved with, why haven’t we heard that there’s a small country over there that’s had no relation to al Qaeda, because all the surrounding countries have either served as bases or transit points or inadvertently served al Qaeda’s purpose. I’m not saying that the governments there have necessarily sided with al Qaeda, but their territories have been used as a base. I bring this all up to show you that the war on terrorism isn’t just about terrorism. And in fact, it may not be about terrorism much at all. It’s about geopolitical influence. It’s about using terrorism as an excuse to get into various areas of this world, such as Afghanistan, and to stay there and establish permanent bases, all the while using the excuse of terrorism as a cover.
INTERVIEWER: Yes, and my listeners have certainly heard that in one form or another on this program for a long time. And the powers that be use al Qaeda as a threat. There are a few threats that seem to work brilliantly because, well, you don’t have to be brilliant, because the New York Times always jumps on them. So if suddenly the State Department or some objective source were to decide that al Qaeda had a base in Armenia, then the New York Times would report that al Qaeda had a base in Armenia, and that could become the stick that the U.S. needs to beat Armenia with, if it ever needed to beat Armenia with a stick. So I’m glad you’ve brought up something that we haven’t talked about before, which is the possibility that Armenia is playing an interesting game here, that OK, we won’t accuse you of being a terrorist state if you walk this line. Is that conceivable?
BOYAJIAN: It’s possible, although I think that the U.S. just probably has not considered the terrorist angle at all. But I’d like to get back to something concerning Armenia itself, because it plays such a central role over their now. You know, it’s interesting that the United States always says it supports small countries against being bullied by Russia. It supports the Republic of Georgia because it wants to protect it against Russian bullying. It’s interesting that the United States is trying to bring Turkey and Armenia together, and yet Turkey is 30 times larger, 30 times more populous than Armenia, and has 60 times the gross domestic product of Armenia. One would think that if the US were so sympathetic to small countries being bullied, that the United States would have been saying something about Turkey’s having unilaterally closed the border with Armenia in 1993 and keeping it closed. One would have thought that the United States would say, ‘Turkey, this is against international law to close the border. You have to open it. You have to allow Armenia to have an import/export route here. You’re a big country. You’re bullying Armenia.’ But no. It hasn’t served U.S. interests up to this time to say that. So it simply ignores the huge disparity in weight and power between Armenia and Turkey. And I think this is very interesting. It doesn’t ignore the disparity and power and weight between the Republic of Georgia and Russia, but it does between Armenia and Turkey, because Turkey’s an ally.
INTERVIEWER: And that could play into some other more complicated levers that the U.S. might be applying.
BOYAJIAN: It could, it could. Now, I’d like to mention this dispute, this ongoing conflict called Karabagh, this region that’s Armenian populated that’s inside Azerbaijan, but is now controlled by Armenia because of a war between Armenians and Azerbaijan in the early 1990’s. The Azerbaijani-Armenia border is shut because of this conflict, and, as I mentioned, Turkey has closed its border with Armenia. In order for the U.S. to get a route totally into the Caspian - a straight shot through Armenia - both borders need to open. But right now, the United States is trying to open the border between Turkey and Armenia, and it’s true that it’s trying to, that Russia, France, and the United States are trying to have Armenia and Azerbaijan come to an agreement over Karabagh. But that has not happened yet. And so that really needs to happen in order for the U.S. to get a straight shot into the Caspian Sea. We don’t know whether that conflict [Karabagh] is going to be solved any time soon. But, interestingly, Turkey says that it will not open the border with Armenia until that conflict is solved. What that means is that Turkey may not in fact ratify these Protocols that it has with Armenia until this Karabagh situation is solved. So many people are looking forward to Turkey and Armenia’s ratifying these Protocols, but Turkey has now imposed another condition on top of things. So we’ll have to see how things go in that regard, because if Turkey and Armenia ratify these Protocols, according to the text of the agreement, Turkey must open the border within two months. So I don’t think it will want to ratify these Protocols until it knows there’s a Karabagh solution about to take place. And what we’re going to see as a result is more pressure by the United States on Armenia and Azerbaijan to come to an agreement over this. And it’s of concern to Armenians, because they know that this region, Karabagh, is very important. It’s been, in effect, independent for, oh, 15 years or so. And it’s very wary of outside powers twisting arms to come to a quick solution to this that may endanger the people there in the long run. And Russia also has its hand in this. And as I say, Russia’s motives now are a little bit murky. One thing I should mention, if I may, is that Russia may be trying to drive a wedge between Turkey and Azerbaijan by having Turkey and Armenia sign these Protocols, because remember, Azerbaijan is the country that supplies the oil and gas that eventually goes to Turkey. If Azerbaijan sees Turkey becoming friendlier with Armenia, what it could do is retaliate against Turkey and perhaps shut off the oil and gas pipelines, although that’s probably very unlikely, or it could get angry enough to say, ‘You know what? We’re going to sell our future oil and gas production to Russia.’ And that’s what Russia wants. So that may be the Russian game here, as I say, to try to drive a wedge between Turkey and Azerbaijan.
INTERVIEWER: And is the U.S. somehow a player in that one?
BOYAJIAN: It is. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, of which the co-chairs are France, the United States and Russia, have been trying to broker a deal between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Karabagh for a number of years. They haven’t been successful. I don’t think Russia, up to the present time, has been sincere in trying to broker a deal, because I believe it’s liked the fact that the borders are, that Armenia’s eastern and western borders are shut, because that has prevented U.S. penetration. But as I said, Russian calculations may have changed. It’s playing a game there in order to push the U.S. away, out of the region. Whether it will work or not, we’ll have to see. It’s a constant seesaw, Jim, the Caucasus [is] a constant seesaw between the United States and Russia. One minute it looks like Russia’s going to win. Another minute it looks like the U.S. has the advantage.
INTERVIEWER: And is it important enough that we could attribute some of this discussion about Afghanistan, the amount of troops that are supposedly going to be poured into Afghanistan, does that have anything to do with it?
BOYAJIAN: Absolutely. It is said that Afghanistan has very large deposits of natural gas and oil that are untapped. And as I’ve mentioned, just to the north of Afghanistan is Turkmenistan, which has huge volumes of natural gas. And Presidents Bush and Clinton negotiated with - tried to negotiate with - the Taliban - this was before 9/11 - to put a pipeline from Turkmenistan south through Afghanistan. I think what the U.S. is aiming for now is to stabilize Afghanistan enough so that it can tap the oil and gas in that country and also put pipelines from the north through Afghanistan into Pakistan. Afghanistan is also a very central country to the region. Whoever controls it, it’s sort of a linchpin or pivot point, if you will, and if the U.S. can establish permanent bases there, and it looks like they might, this would be a very significant thing. So it involves a lot more than the war on terrorism, that’s for sure. But neither President Bush nor Obama has leveled with the American people in regard to why we’re really there. And I’m not sure he ever will.
INTERVIEWER: Well, no, I wouldn’t expect a president to tell the truth about anything like that. But I romantically think that somebody in the press, besides me and a few other alternative people, would be willing to get this out, because the American people still have this belief in authority, and that if you don’t hear it from mainstream media, it’s not worth listening to. So I think it’s very important that we get out the news as to why, and a large contingent of Vermont soldiers just are off to Afghanistan now. So it’s important that we get the news out as to why the U.S. is in Afghanistan. And I think you’ve helped a great deal in telling a couple of people, a few people around here.
BOYAJIAN: Why members of Congress do not talk about this much, Jim, is beyond me. It’s almost a conspiracy. It’s a very strange thing. One would think that some of the congressmen who oppose the war in Iraq and who have doubts about our presence in Afghanistan would bring this up. They must know it. If I know it, if you know it, they certainly know it. And yet they won’t bring it up. It’s very disconcerting.
INTERVIEWER: Well, they might, if they’re not on the Senate Intelligence Committee, or the Armed Services Committee and stuff like that, actually they might not know it. But what they do know is how their pockets are lined by AIPAC. And if what you said, if the Israeli lobby, one of the many Israeli lobbies is pushing them in another direction, then that’s the direction they’re going to go in.
BOYAJIAN: Well, that’s true. I think that, I think, though, that some members of Congress could sort of band together. I mean, there is strength in numbers. When this campaign two years ago that I mentioned that started in Massachusetts against the genocide denials of the Anti-Defamation League, denials of the Armenian genocide, it started small. It started with a letter to a local newspaper by myself, and then other people came on board. Armenian organizations came on board. We got the support of local officials. So when you’re just one or two people, you can be retaliated against. An issue won’t necessarily go anywhere. But it has to start small and grow. So I think our congressmen should get together and talk about the motives, why we’re in Afghanistan, that is has a lot to do with oil and gas and the centrality of Afghanistan in that part of the world and just start small, and try to gather steam.
INTERVIEWER: Well, this has certainly rounded out our knowledge, expanded our knowledge as to why the U.S. is in Afghanistan.
BOYAJIAN: Well, yes. You know, talking about the ADL, it just occurred to me, I mentioned this the last time I was on your program, the Vermont Department of Education has Anti-Defamation League programs. And I don’t know why they continue to have them, given what’s happened in Massachusetts. Perhaps they just do not know about it. But I think if people in the Department of Education were informed that the Anti-Defamation League has really never acknowledged the Armenian genocide and still works against the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress, people in the Department of Education might have second thoughts about being affiliated with the Anti-Defamation League. But that’s for Vermonters to decide, not myself. I live in Massachusetts.
INTERVIEWER: Well, if you were to send me something specific and a pitch that somebody could make to the Vermont Department of Education.
INTERVIEWER: Maybe I can do something about that. I assume we have some Armenians in the area. We have a famous artist who’s Armenian who lives right in Plainfield.
BOYAJIAN: I can do that, Jim. I’d be happy to.
INTERVIEWER: And his daughter is a very good artist as well. Anyway, he’s the one that I’m well aware of, but I’m sure there are others.
BOYAJIAN: There’s a website called NoPlaceForDenial.com. That gives the whole background about the struggle against the genocide denials of the Anti-Defamation League, the complete history of it, and hundreds and hundreds of articles. And there’s a section in there which people can navigate to - it’s called A History of Lobbying Against the Armenian Genocide Resolution. And it has many, many excerpts from articles describing what the Anti-Defamation League and similar groups have done to deny the Armenian genocide. It’s simply astounding. And a lot of this has been written by principled Jews and Israelis who are just disgusted with the behavior of some of their groups. I want to mention, there are more than a dozen Jewish American groups that favor the Armenian genocide resolution. I want to be fair and say that.
INTERVIEWER: What’s that website?
BOYAJIAN: NoPlaceForDenial.com. All one word.
INTERVIEWER: And also there’s another famous artist, another very well known Armenian artist who lives on the road parallel to mine. And she’s, I don’t know whether any of these people are activists, but anyway. There are people that I could get in touch with. Noplacefordenial.com, and that specifically relates to the Armenian genocide and the ADL’s position that it never happened?
BOYAJIAN: That’s right. The ADL takes a little bit more subtle view of it than that it never happened. What it used to say is, we don’t know whether there was a genocide or not, and the Boston Globe once asked Abe Foxman if there was an Armenian genocide, and he said, “I don’t know.” And then a couple of weeks later, they came out with a statement which appeared to be an acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide, but was not, in fact. It used legalistic language to imply that the murder of Armenians was not intentional, and thus did not fit the official definition of genocide in the 1948 United Nation Genocide Treaty. So what appeared to be an acknowledgement of the genocide was actually a way of saying there was no genocide. So this is how dishonest the Anti-Defamation League can be, with all due respect to the good people that are in there. There are a lot of good people in there. But the leadership is another story entirely.
INTERVIEWER: Is that a dot com, NoPlaceForDenial or a dot org?
BOYAJIAN: It’s a dot com, yes.
INTERVIEWER: All right. Well, thank you very much. You have extended your time very generously, longer than you promised. And I thank you for that. And I will remind people of this website, and I’ll let them know that there is an opportunity for some activism, which it looks to me has far reaching implications beyond just making your voice heard about the Armenian genocide.
BOYAJIAN: It does, Jim. And I want to thank you for having me on, and I want to thank your listeners. It’s always good to, you know, we Armenians being a rather small group, it’s nice to have our voice heard out there, and I for one really thank you, and I thank your listeners for tuning in, too.
INTERVIEWER: OK, well, thanks a lot.
BOYAJIAN: Thank you, Jim.
INTERVIEWER: And I’ll talk to you again.
BOYAJIAN: Very good, Jim. Bye now.
INTERVIEWER: OK, that was David Boyajian. I just mixed his name up. I just created a name. Boyajian. Anyway, that’s crazy. I said two other Armenian names in my head before that, and now I’m mixing them all together. The artist that I mentioned second, that is a married name, I just realized. So she may not be Armenian. But we still do have some Armenians in our midst, and they might want to take the ball and run with it, and the website is NoPlaceForDenial.com. And the connection here is that apparently the Department of Education in Vermont is playing ball with the Anti-Defamation League, whose official position is that there was no Armenian genocide. So it sounds a little arcane to some people, I know. But not to me.