Hawaii Rejects Azeri Lies


Key Committee Blocks Baku’s Bid to Secure Adoption of Anti-Armenian Measures

HONOLULU—The Hawaii legislature on Wednesday publicly debated and then rejected a pair of Azerbaijan-initiated anti-Armenian measures, dealing a high-profile setback to Baku’s well-funded effort to enlist U.S. state legislatures in its increasingly aggressive campaign against Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh, reported the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region.

Ani Martirosian

“We want to thank Aloha State legislators, long known for their commitment to tolerance and human rights, for their wisdom in blocking Baku’s efforts to manipulate Hawaii and take advantage of the good name of her citizens,” said Elen Asatryan. “Today’s vote sends a powerful signal that Azerbaijan’s corrupt and undemocratic President Ilham Aliyev – despite all the millions he’s spending on ‘caviar diplomacy’- doesn’t get a vote here in America and certainly doesn’t deserve the right to buy influence in the U.S. government.”

The Hawaii House of Representatives Committee on Veterans, Military, & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts rejected the two anti-Armenian resolutions during their committee hearing earlier today at the State Capitol, despite the ardent efforts of Committee Chairman Mark Takei, who was an author of the bills. Both profoundly biased and factually flawed measures were reportedly introduced at the bequest of the Azerbaijani government, a major breach of diplomatic protocol, confirmed publicly by State Rep. Rida Cabanilla, who was quoted in “Civil Beat,” a Hawaii publication, as saying that: “The resolutions came from Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the United States.”

“Civil Beat” further reported that Hawaiians looking for the reasoning behind the introduction of such unlikely resolutions in the State of Hawaii may look trips taken to Baku last May by Reps. Cabanilla and Chairman Takai, who joined more than 300 others from the U.S. at the U.S.-Azerbaijan Convention, courtesy of the Republic of Azerbaijan which spent nearly $8,000 for the two legislators’ visit.

When he was questioned about the trip last summer, Chairman Takai said, “There’s nothing in the Legislature now that would directly benefit Azerbaijan, so it passes the ethics concern.” This contention was clearly unfounded, as the measures under consideration today clearly would have, if passed, directly benefited Azerbaijan.

Despite the resources expended on the measure by the Azerbaijani government, the most persuasive voices of the day belonged to three members of the local Armenian American community, including: Arpine Philian Mar, an 82 year-old retiree, Arthur Martirosian, and Ani Martirosian, an active community leader who was instrumental in organizing her fellow citizens to speak out on these measures.

Following the hearing, during which she had delivered a compelling, comprehensive, and persuasive argument before the Committee, Ani Martirosian said, “I’d like this to be an example for all Armenians – and other underrepresented groups – around the world that our voices do matter. We must stay vigilant to recognize the attempts made to falsify our history, and we need to then take peaceful and meaningful action to counter with the truth. Today was a win for not only us Armenians, but others who are in the minority. For the people, by the people – this is the way our legislative process should work. Let the truth prevail.”

They were joined by a self-identified neutral, Dr. Alexander Telnov, who spoke in a very balanced and forceful way in opposition of the resolutions. “The spirit of ‘aloha’ that we carry throughout the world is completely foreign to Azerbaijan,” argued Telnov, who went on to detail the high levels of corruption within the Aliyev regime.

Noting that the Azerbaijani government spends millions for political lobbying in the United States, while Armenia spends none, he went on to query, “Why do you need to spend so much money to prove your point? That’s because your point is not credible. That’s because the opinions Azerbaijan is trying to instill in the United States and other countries are distortions and untruths.”

At the beginning of the hearing, Chairman Takai appeared confident about the passage of both resolutions. However, after the Committee members took a break to privately discuss the pending legislation, Takai conceded that H.R. 13 would be deferred (not passed). The committee Chairman had unsuccessfully suggested to his fellow committee members that in light of the fact that Hawaii had adopted an Armenia-Hawaii friendship resolution in 2012 and an Armenian Genocide commemoration resolution in 2009, the pro-Azeri resolutions should also be adopted in order to be impartial. Moments later, the Chairman announced that they had also decided to defer H.R. 9.

In the days leading up to the Committee hearing, hundreds had submitted letters and testimony opposing both pieces of legislation, including the ANCA Western Region.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian issued an open letter to all U.S. state legislatures earlier this week urging them to take as stand against foreign interference in American civic life by corrupt Azerbaijani dictator Ilham Aliyev. “It is truly a tribute to our great American democratic tradition that even a regime as flagrantly corrupt as Ilham Aliyev’s is allowed to operate freely within our open society, ” explained Hamparian. “But that does not mean that American citizens need to remain silent in the face of meddling by foreign leaders who neither respect our rights nor share our values –especially when they try to export their intolerance to our shores.”

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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14 Comments

  1. Vindicated Man said:

    Another victory of truth, honesty, and common sense. On a different point, it’s strange that foreign governments can initiate such resolutions.

  2. mgl said:

    This is great example to be aware of that our enemies don’t want to stop be our enemies.
    And thanks for all awesome efforts by Ani and others. Special Thanks to Dr.Telnov!!

  3. GT said:

    Mark Takai is not only in violation of Hawaii ethical rules for legislators, by his own admission that introducing something in the legislature to further Azeri interests would be in violation of those rules, he’s also probably in violation of federal laws against unregistered agents of foreign governments.

  4. Ara D said:

    After reading this long article I still don’t know what the measures said or tried to do exactly.
    Also, “…measures were reportedly introduced at the bequest of the Azerbaijani government..”
    Perhaps you mean behest?

  5. Armenian said:

    Great news! Glad that grassroots lobbying can still render ineffective large scale, fraudulent accusations. Armenians need to be more on guard, and not be passive about anything (including seemingly minor things like this).

  6. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Ani Martirosian…This honest, brave lady spoke historical speech…She articulated the heart of every honest human who understand Armenian cause since millennium …not only the Armenians’ who lost Armenian Highlands=Western Armenia (called Eastern Turkey) after the genocide after Armenians lost 1.5 million lives … Every word she said it is true and historical… But still some Turks or Azeris think the same way to annihilate all Armenians from this earth…still they think it was not enough for what they did…
    Armenians lost all their lands do any one accept to lose Artsakh as well…is this fair …many lessons from them was not enough to protect them selves…!!!

  7. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Ani Martirosian…Our Brave Armenian Lady
    with great manners and beautiful impressive gallant voice
    Why you don’t put her photo of our beautiful Lady
    with her bright eyes and clever look…
    Why to put a hummer
    We should be proud of her speaking with third language may be the 4th …
    not her mother tongue…
    I am sure she can knows Silva Kaputcian’s tongue…
    When i saw the hammer I did not read all …I don’t understand Law and their regulation …
    which the world never applied on criminals:Talat, Anwar, Jamal the 3 butchers ..
    .and many like them still breathing in the savage lands …
    Thus…We should take everything by our hands …
    No-one will help us …
    Even God…forgot our case…!!!

    Sylva~MD~Poetry

  8. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Ani Martirosian…Our Brave Armenian Lady
    With great manners and beautiful impressive gallant voice
    Why you don’t put her photo of our beautiful Lady
    With her bright eyes and clever look…
    Why to put a hammer…and numbers…?
    We should be proud of her speaking with third language may be the 4th …
    Not her mother tongue… I am sure she knows Silva Kaputician’s poem…
    When I saw the hammer on the top I did not read the rest …
    I don’t understand Law and their regulation …
    Which the world never applied in our case ––
    on criminals the 3 criminal Pashas: Talat, Anwar, Jamal the 3 butchers …
    Arab Call Jamal “saffah”…butcher
    and many like them still breathing in the savage lands …
    Thus…We should take everything by our hands …
    No-one will help us …
    Even God…forgot our case…!!!

    Sylva~MD~Poetry

  9. George Nigohosian said:

    Ani: You are ours, brave and honest. You ‘ve made us all very proud.

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