Armenian Americans Criticize Hypocrisy of Genocide Prevention Task Force Co-Chairs

WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Monday questioned the credibility of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen to issue a genocide prevention report, given their longstanding opposition to Armenian Genocide legislation.

The report, unveiled earlier Monday at the National Press Club by the Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by Albright and Cohen, is designed to encourage U.S. leadership in ending the cycle of genocide.

"Albright and Cohen offered some worthwhile solutions today but, sadly, as two of the main architects of U.S. denial of the Armenian Genocide, remain very much part of the problem the Task Force set out to address," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Secretaries Albright and Cohen both have long track records, both as government officials and private citizens, of working to block American recognition of the Armenian Genocide."

Last year, both Secretaries Cohen and Albright sent letters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opposing Congressional legislation (H.Res.106 / S.Res.106) aimed to end U.S. complicity in Armenian Genocide denial through proper U.S. reaffirmation of that crime against humanity.

Secretary Cohen’s firm, the Cohen Group, is a strategic partner with DLA / Piper, a registered foreign agent representing the Government of Turkey, paid $1.8 million a year to, among other things, lobby against Armenian Genocide legislation. The Cohen Group is also a member of the American Turkish Council, which has been outspoken in its opposition to Armenian Genocide legislation.

"The messengers undermine the message here. Their words are on the mark, but Albright and Cohen’s political opposition to ending U.S. complicity in Genocide denial speaks far louder," added Hamparian.

A pointed question by Hamparian asking Secretaries Cohen and Albright to comment on what they learned about the dangers of genocide denial and whether this will cause them to stop seeking to block U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide was largely evaded by the co-chairs.

H.Res.106, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) with lead supporters George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), currently has over 200 cosponsors.

On October 10, 2007, the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted the resolution, which calls on U.S. foreign policy to properly reflect the genocide of over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children from 1915-1923 in Ottoman Turkey. A similar measure in the Senate, led by Deputy Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and John Ensign (R-NV), has 33 cosponsors.

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