Chevron Responds to National Campaign Exposing ‘Profit from Genocide Denial’ Scheme

Demonstrators at Burbank, CA

Demonstrators at Burbank, CA

SAN RAMON, CA–Chevron Corporation tried to explain away its opposition to Congressional legislation affirming the Armenian Genocide, using the standard Turkish and Azerbaijani government talking points to justify their complicity in denying this crime against humanity, reported the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF).

Demonstrators at the Chevron in Tujunga CA

Demonstrators at the Chevron in Tujunga, CA

“As a major energy producer in the region, we support the integrity of multiple energy transportation routes and a diplomatic relationship between Turkey and Armenia,” Chevron spokesman Justin Higgs announced, adding that the genocide resolution, “would have hurt, not helped, relations between Turkey and Armenia.”

Signs from the Hollywood demonstration

Signs from the Hollywood demonstration

“An enduring diplomatic relationship between Turkey and Armenia can only be based on truth,” said AYF San Francisco chapter chairman Matt Senekeremian, leading the Bay Area protest.  “Lobbying against the Armenian Genocide resolution is a pure and simple case of profiting from the denial of the murder of 1.5 million men, women and children – a short-sighted policy which only serves to fuel greater instability in the region.”

Chevron’s comments came as the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) joined with Armenian Americans and human rights activists in kicking off a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about Turkish Government coercion of the energy giant and some five multinational corporations currently lobbying against Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.252).  The resolution, spearheaded by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA), George Radanovich (R-CA), and Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone and Mark Kirk, has over 125 cosponsors.

Demonstrators at a Chevron in Washington DC

Demonstrators at a Chevron in Washington DC

Rep. Schiff chastised Chevron and the other corporations for opposing the Genocide resolution, noting “I don’t think any major American corporation should be lobbying against the genocide recognition and become complicit in another country’s genocide denial,” Schiff told the Glendale News-Press. “I don’t think that’s being a good corporate citizen. It’s certainly putting profits in front of the public interest.”

Demonstrators in Pasadena explain the Chevron campaign to passerbys

Demonstrators in Pasadena explain the Chevron campaign to passerbys

The protests began on July 22, 2009 at the Chevron headquarters in San Ramon, California and local stations across the U.S., including sites in Burbank, La Crescenta, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, Orange County, Glendale, Fresno, as well as Bethesda, MD, Orlando, FL and Philadelphia, PA. An online letter writing campaign to Chevron CEO Dave O’Reilly was launched in conjunction with the protests, urging the company to publicly apologize for profiting from Genocide denial.  A copy of the letter was hand delivered to the Chevron corporate headquarters by protesters in San Ramon.

Concerned about public response to their action, Chevron’s corporate headquarters had alerted their franchisees about the AYF led protest prior to the campaign launch.  Washington, DC area protesters also reported that Chevron had sent their own photographers to the protest.

Demonstrators in Orange County delivering a letter to be sent to Chevron's corporate headquarters.

Demonstrators in Orange County delivering a letter to be sent to Chevron's corporate headquarters.

Protests were covered in local newspapers, including the Orlando Sentinel, where AYF Keri chapter member Raffi Mekhdjavakian explained “It’s contradictory of Chevron to have their motto ‘The Chevron way’ and say that they are responsible and ethical when they are lobbying against a human rights situation,” said Raffi Mekhdjavakian, an Oviedo resident with the Armenian youth group. “If [the genocide] is denied it’s as if it never happened.”

Mekhdjavakian referrred to statements on Chevron’s website where the corporation prides itself on running the company the “Chevron Way” – responsibly, ethically and with respect to human rights.  However, on June 13th, the Associated Press revealed that Chevron and 5 other multinational energy and defense corporations, including BAE Systems, Raytheon, Northrop

Demonstrators in Orange County, CA

Demonstrators in Orange County, CA

Grumman, United Technologies and Goodrich have filed disclosure forms with the Senate and House “quietly” lobbying against H.Res.252 the Armenian Genocide Resolution, among a wide array of legislation.  In first quarter of 2009 alone, the six firms have spent some $14 million in Congressional lobby efforts.  This is in addition to the over $3 million spent annually by the Government of Turkey to block U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, a cornerstone of their foreign policy priorities.

Demonstrators in Orlando, FL

Demonstrators in Orlando, FL

“Clearly, Turkey will spare to no expense to cover up its dark past,”said AYF Western Region Chairman Vache Thomassian.  “Coercing corporations like Chevron to do its dirty deeds is just the latest tactic – exporting genocide denial to our neighborhoods, one gas station at a time.”

Complete information about Chevron’s lobbying efforts – including lobby disclosures forms filed with the Senate and House – are posted at http://www.anca.org/chevron.  A Facebook group calling attention to the effort has over 1300 activists.

 

 

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15 Comments

  1. Haro said:

    The best way to affect this issue is by boycotting the Chevron products.
    But this demonstration is a right direction on fighting the denialists, even much better than what ANCA does every year for the word “G” empty struggle. There should also be lawsuits against Chevron and other denialists.

  2. Garen Yegparian said:

    No doubt Chevron’s protestations are just as “compelling”, “sincere”, and “truthful” as their public commentary about why the company’s not responsible for despoiling vast tracts of Amazonia (in Ecuador) and destroying the lives of the local people.

  3. Gayane said:

    I am very proud of the work that AYF put into this and the rest of the community members who supported this major factor.

    I am truly sorry that I could not be present at the demonstration but rest assure that I did send the Web Fax and I forwarded the matter to all of my friends requesting everyone to send their faxes.

    I hope Chevron knows that we are not here to play games.. we are serious and we take matters seriously.. we can’t allow this dishonesty continue too long.

    Thank you to all those all that helped to make this happen.

    G

  4. Haro said:

    This demonstration is the right direction to fighting the denialists. It must be followed by boycotts against Chevron products, and lawsuit for financial retribution for the damage caused.

  5. John Keusseyan said:

    We finally figured out how to stop the Corporate America from Lobbying against Genocide resolution. Let us hit them hard where it hurts, in their pockets. Regardless what they say, the purpose of any corporation is to make money. They will only listen to you when you prevent them from achieving their goal.. making money.
    Well done AYF!

  6. Dav said:

    Although a boycott is logical it won’t even leave a dent in their big wallets. To cause significant damage we have to alter their credability among the public. By saying they support genocide is a good start but we have to follow up and stress this fact. We have to keep on pressuring your rep in congress and try to reach the mass media.

  7. Roman Arzumanov said:

    I had canceled my chevron credit as of today! Not even one penny should go for this company from Armenians around the world.

  8. Vazken said:

    The Multinational without scruples,

    “As a major energy producer in the region, we support the integrity of multiple energy transportation routes and a diplomatic relationship between Turkey and Armenia,” Chevron spokesman Justin Higgs announced, adding that the genocide resolution, “would have hurt, not helped, relations between Turkey and Armenia.”

    Chevron spokesman Justin Higgs not only lobbying against the Armenian Genocide resolution, but, also intimidating Armenian government by exerting pressure like Al-Capone…, in fact this is Americas’ problem with outside world!

  9. Dikran Medaksian said:

    When thinking of products to boycott one should remember that there are many products which we can purchase at local markets, even Armenian markets, which are made in turkey. The sale of any product made in turkey contributes to the denialist agendas of the Turkish government. Purchasing products which are made in Turkey by Turkish corporations are even more economically damaging.

    One example is a food product which is commonly found at virtually all Armenian markets in the greater Los Angeles area:TUKAS. Tukas is a Turkish food products company which is 82.5% owned by the OYAK corporation;OYAK stands for “Turkish Armed Forces Pension Fund ” a company which pays benefits to Turkish military personnel.

    Who would have thought that the sale of a common tomato paste goes to funding the retirements and benefits of the Turkish soldiers which occupy western Armenia & Cyprus. Ironically this product is locally distributed by an importing company which is owned by an ethnic Armenian: Kradjian Distributors located in Glendale California.

  10. Vartan Thomasian said:

    Let us be UNITED against Armenian Genocide dinailists to prove our power .
    I personaly have five cars using Chevron produts for 25 years and to day I ordered to stop using any Chevron product to show my support to the AYFdecison.

  11. Haro said:

    A boycott by only Armenians will cost them at least 26 million a year, this amount is twice what their lobby cost is. Besides, by boycott I do not preclude encouraging others (non-armenians) to join us. Again, an organizational effort must be put to fight all denialists at civilian legal action environment and not only UN or international political level. Eighty years of fight at the political level has gotten us nowhere. This is like the situation in “The Firm” movie, where instead of direct involvement of the firm’s client in crime case, the narrative produces some other almost irrelevant but illegal fact, which nails the criminal for life.
    Every year we spent a lot of effort to force the president of USA to say the word “G”. As I have said in numerous Asbarez commentaries, saying the word “G” does not help the Armenian Genocide victims. REPARATION and financial retribution will help much more. Instead of concentrating all efforts on the head of states or governments, concentrate on the constituents and at the local civilian level.

  12. Alex Postallian said:

    It is ironic for a representative of chevron,who has fleeced the American Public with obsene profits,buying off the politicians.At least Alphonse Capone,was a gangster,made no bones about it,but would be like a altar boy next to the gangsters in chevron,who hide behind the mantil of innocence.The second irony is that an Armenian,Calouste Gulbenkian,initiated the oil business.I hope Calouste,your not turning in your grave.

  13. Steve said:

    These are good efforts towards opening broader perspectives on what we (Armenians) need to do to continue with our pressure and drill our points across. Although some might think refraining from purchasing Chevron products will NOT make a dent in their overall bigger wallet, I think at least heavily weighed Armenian communities should STOP their transaction which will definitely have a negative impact to say the least.

    Furthermore, we should press our distributors such as Kradjian to overthrow their purchasing of Turkish made products. The support to Turkish Armed Forces Pension Fund can only be halted by discontinued business ventures like such. An average patron is buying product as the see fit to their budget.

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