Ethnicity References Irrelevant, Troubling, Offensive


BY WILLIAM BAIRAMIAN

The recent bust by federal agents of a Medicare fraud ring and the subsequent publicity was poorly handled by the FBI and national news outlets. Nationwide and international press outlets, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press and the BBC News Network, wrote about “Armenian gangsters” and “Armenian organized crime.” The ephemeral headlines disappeared but their stains remained.

The insensitivity with which these articles, with accompanying references to these individuals’ ethnicity, are of concern. It is a wonder how the ethnic background of those arrested is of any relevance to the crimes they are accused of. But, if it somehow is, then it might also be of interest to have full disclosure of the backgrounds of all of the individuals who were arrested, not all of whom were Armenian.

Requiring Answers:

1. Why was the ethno-cultural background of these individuals plastered all over not only the sensationalist press, but also also the FBI press release?

It was reported that FBI Agent Bill Lewis did not want to be “too quick to judge any particular community, city or ethnic group as organized crime.” He was saying this while his colleagues in New York City seemed to believe otherwise. The headline and body text of the FBI press release prominently mentioned one ethnic group: Armenian Americans. As a result, news agencies across the United States and the world reported that it was Armenians, Armenians, Armenians.

Conversely, when discussing the massive defrauding scheme perpetrated by Angelo Mozilo and his associates, there is no mention of Mozilo’s background in the New York Times. Why? If it is a question of gravity or criminality, there should be little doubt that the actions of Countrywide Financial, the nation’s largest mortgage lender at the time, with Mozilo at the helm, were vastly more destructive and directly affected the lives of thousands, if not millions, of hardworking Americans. Families and individuals lost their homes, their savings, and oftentimes, their retirement portfolios which were vested in the toxic assets produced and traded by companies like Countrywide Financial, as its CEO Mozilo was knowingly marketing volatile financial products.

In other news, when Bernard Madoff was arrested for what was believed, and later confirmed, to be a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme, neither the Los Angeles Times nor the New York Times referred to him as the “Jewish fraudster, Bernie Madoff.” He was an American. Any other information about his background was rightly considered extraneous.

Perhaps it is the opinion of these news organizations that the criminal activities of ostensibly respectable members of society are a function of their greed, while the actions taken by alleged professional criminals are a function of their ethnicity and corrupted cultural learnings. This may seem like a fantastically ridiculous conclusion but not one that is refuted by the words and actions of those news outlets.

2. Why were the ethnic or cultural backgrounds of the other individuals who were arrested that same day not included in the FBI press release, or any of the aforementioned press outlets?

As a part of the same Medicare fraud raid, there were numerous other individuals who were arrested as part of the FBI’s “Chervin Indictment.” The same FBI press release had the following names tucked away at the end, with nary a mention of a single individual from this group:

ARON CHERVIN, VYACHESLAV DOBRER, HAROLD PINA, ROSS KUFLIK, MICHAEL LAMOND, VADIM CHERVIN, GALINA VOVK, VALIANTSINA LAHUN, LYNN BRAUNSTEIN, WILLIAM GIBBS, YURI ZELINSKY, LUBA GODIN, JUDSON DARIO JUST, BEAGY FRANCOIS, NATAN PEYSAKOV, MILANA NIKHMAN.

Since they were not even mentioned in the text of the FBI press release outlining and explaining the fraud operation, their backgrounds were certainly not explored either. The reporters at any of the major news organizations similarly did not seem to bother to look at the bottom of the FBI press release and mention the 16 other, non-Armenian individuals who were arrested on various but similar charges. One might think that if the ethnicity of the Armenian-Americans is important enough to report on, so would be the case for the others that were arrested that same day as part of the same operation.

It is worrisome that it was somehow decided to include the ethnicity of one group and then wholly neglect any mention of the individuals and the backgrounds of another group of alleged criminals arrested as part of the same raid. Whether it is a dereliction of the responsibility of a reporter to give the full facts of an incident or a purposeful selectivity in their reporting, this type of shortcoming is a cause for anyone concerned about journalistic integrity.

3. Most importantly, do those same press outlets plaster the many successes of Armenian-Americans on the front pages of their websites and newspapers while unfailingly mentioning the ethnicity of those individuals?

No, they do not. And they are right not to. They are Americans. Unless their ethnic heritage somehow figures into what they are doing (e.g. they are an Armenian folk dancer or they are an Italian food chef), that heritage should be irrelevant. As a preposterous example, imagine the headline “Barack Obama, a Kenyan-American, wins the presidency of the United States!” After all, President Obama is only one generation removed from his immigrant father.

A Worrying Strain

Similarly questionable headlines were promulgated by the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post during the nomination hearings for Matthew Bryza, a former candidate for U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan. These media outlets chose to ignore the measured arguments opposing his nomination by Senator Barbara Boxer and Senator Bob Menendez and, instead, attacked Armenian-Americans with vitriolic conjecture.

These anti-Armenian attitudes that are being manifested in myriad ways are unacceptable. Anyone remotely familiar with American history can tell you about the many troubles that have stemmed from xenophobia and divisive rhetoric. So, the next time any individual is inclined to ask why an Armenian (or a member of any ethnic group) has not assimilated into American society, they would do well to ask themselves whether it is the Armenian that has excluded themselves, or is it they who have created such a distinction.

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50 Comments

  1. Norin Radd said:

    Very nicely put Mr. Bairamian. To take what you have said one step further, the degree in which Armenians in the U.S. choose to assimilate or not by no means constitutes any justification for the slanderous manner in which this crime was reported.

    Amidsts those names you have listed above I can see at least a dozen names that are of Russian Jewish origin, and a few more that are of other ethnic groups. If meticulous journalistic “accuracy” was the order of the day when this story was put out, then those headlines should have read “Armenian, Jewish, and Etc. criminal organization involved in Fraud”. As you so well put it, the names of non-Armenians involved in this criminal enterprise were conveniently left out of the lime light in a deliberate attempt to stereotype the Armenian communities in the U.S. under a negative light.

    When Sholam Weiss swindled 500 MILLION dollars from life insurance companies and fled to South America no one batted an eye to the fact that he was Jewish.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sholam_Weiss

    What about our own local radio host John Farahi that ripped investors off for 30 MILLION? Any mention in this headline from the LA TIMES below to the fact that he happens to be Jewish? By the same token of supposed “accuracy” applied to the Medicare Fraud case shouldn’t the article read “Jewish L.A. radio host John Farahi is accused of swindling investors” ?

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/12/business/la-fi-iran-scam12-2010jan12

    When Bernard Madoff ripped off the American people not of 160 million dollars, but 50 BILLION dollars, that’s 50,000 MILLION dollars; the headlines made no mention of the fact that he was also a devout South Floridan JEW and those in cahoots with him benefiting from his ponzi scheme were also many South Floridan JEWS that later innocently said with puppy dog eyes “we didn’t know where our 40% a year unbelievable monetary returns were coming from”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Madoff

    What about Dr. Michael Mastrmarino, should he have been labeled the “ITALIAN surgeon that digs up dead body parts?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomedical_Tissue_Services

    And let’s not forget convicted fugitive pedophile at large Roman Polanski that only recently sniveled his way out of a Swiss extradition to face charge of pedophilia and rape that are about 30 years overdue, yet during his thirty year flight enjoying more pedophilia and wining and dining abroad in France, no mention of him was ever made as “The Jewish Pedophile producer that escaped justice”.

    Richard Ramirez, AKA “The Nightstacker” dubbed an “American serial killer”, not “The Hispanic Serial Killer” responsible for over 30 murders.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Ramirez

    It’s high time Armenians in the United States started fighting back against such slander and concerted efforts to defame our communities. We allow far too many such transgressions to be made against us with impunity, between this head line fiasco, and other incidents such as the KFI 640 scandal in which victims of the Armenian Genocide were ridiculed on air by Bill Handel and Co. (though to his credit, he apologized), all the way to the recent discriminatory policy being put into affect against Armenian cab drivers and companies in Santa Monica. It has become all too clear which groups are stealthily conspiring against us as an ethnic group, the only thing left is to hold those responsible for this type of behavior responsible legally.

    Jamen ekere vor Hyeutyoone ira mexm yerazitz artnana yev menk mezi uskesenk pashtmanel!!!

    • Avery said:

      Yes, to his credit Bill Handel apologized and actually went all out explaining to his million-strong audience what Armenian Genocide was and what Ottoman Turks had done – as he had promised to the Western Region ANC executives, to community members, and to Glendale City Mayor Ara Najarian, who met Mr. Handel after the incident.

      Clearly, Mr. Handel had made an unfortunate gaffe, recognized how deeply he had hurt the community, and I believe, genuinely regretted what he and his employees had done – and has made positive amends.

      • Hen said:

        Do you really buy this? He apologized to save face and keep his sponsors. He threw his co-host under the bust to save his own ass. Don’t be so naive.

  2. Samuel said:

    I would further recommend any concerned individual to contact the United States Department of Justice, Second District of New York and let them know that their sensationalized press release (as well as Cleveland, and Albuqerque) resulted in a whole community being stigmatized (there is nothing just or unjust about it), their speculation as to the nature of the organization was reckless and can not be justified. I agree with this article and would concurr that simply becuase there were individuals of Armenian ethnicity involved does not mean that this was “Armenian” fraud.

    Although ambitious, the best solution would be to bring a suit against the DOJ for these comments. These state attorneys (like all other attorneys) are only thinking of their silly little careers and blew this way out of proportion.

    Classifying this as the “largest medicare fraud” and other attempts at creating media hype is immature and not indicative of legal professionals; even more, they are inaccurate (see, “94 charged in Medicare scam totaling $251 million, July 16, 2010. http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2… )

    Every person deserves their day in court (XIV Amendment – Due Process) especially when they have been charged with such serious crimes. Some of these people may well be innocent, and to stigmatize before they have even entered the court room is strikingly irresponsible; the DOJ, FBI along with every other ignorant or self-serving individual who is classifying a whole group should be ashamed and – dare say I – punished.

    Maybe from now on we should indicate every crime in terms of the alleged criminals religious or ethnic background?
    – U.S. v. Bernard Lawrence Madoff (New York, Investor of Jewish faith convicted of 11 federal offenses in $65 billion fraud of U.S. investors)
    – U.S. v. Enron (Babtist’s fraud results in 11 counts of securities fraud, net loss to investors $11 billion. Kenneth Lay)
    – U.S. v. Columbia/HCA et al (Methodist scam defrauds medicare, charges of bribery and false billing,$1.7 billion settlement. Rick Scott)

  3. Mike said:

    Absolutely agree with question raised in this article. Why is it that when others commit a crime they are prosecuted as individuals, but when Armenian commits a crime that trigger condemnation of whole nation? Armenians are hard working, talented people. We do not deserve this offence. Why Armenians supposed to feel how guilty for some criminal’s activities? Why US media aggressively ignore all noble and progressive Armenian individuals and only concentrate on negative coverage about Armenians? Unfortunately, the answer is clear. The US media is hastily tuned towards Armenians. It’s the US media who want other people to hate us. And I don’t need to continue; you already know what that means and who is behind it. Dear brothers and sisters; this is not less but second Armenian Genocide preparation process. BEWARE! We need not to let this go undressed. The media have to apologize or we have to take it as act of hate committed at national level.

  4. Mike said:

    US media use Armenians as human shield for other participants of this crime that are part of most criminal ethnicity on this planet. This method of representation of events is criminal in it self.

  5. Mike said:

    Providing news coverage in criminal way is even more criminal than a crime that is covered in the new.

  6. Sirvart said:

    It is very clear that both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal are regrettably bought and lured by Baku, Azerbaijan oil $$$$$$$$$ Armenians worldwide and in the States must not accept these anti-Armenian attitudes by the said papers.

    Both newspapers just recently attacked Armenian Americans for finding fault on Bryza’s controversial nomination as the US State Depts. ambassador to Baku; because of Bryza’s very close ties with Baku and Turkey and his anti-Armenian beliefs and actions of his past.

  7. Vahan H. said:

    Can we, the American Armenian community, sue these news outlets on charges of deliberate ethnic character assassination? Since we have enough proof provided above that ethnicity does not get mentioned for other criminal activities by certain individuals of a certain ethnic background, but somehow “Armenian” gets mentioned for anything negative. I think there is a case here, even if we don’t win, i think we should do it anyway hopefully sending a message.

  8. Vahan H. said:

    I am ready to contribute funds for this and i will also get every single individual i know involved as well.

  9. John K. said:

    And why isn’t this article sent to all publications from NY Times to LA Times. What are the Armenian organizations doing to protect the good name of Armenians…?

  10. Haro Godar said:

    The bulk of those arrested were Armenians, many foreign citizens (RoA), operating a criminal scam syndicate in the U.S. Why wouldn’t the news contain references to the background of these people?

    • Avery said:

      Haro Godar:

      You ask “Why wouldn’t the news media … background of these people ?”: Fair enough.

      When news media start saying “Elliot Spitzer, the Jewish, disgraced former State Prosecutor and New York Governor…caught procuring prostitutes”

      When news media start saying “Rod Blagojevich, the Serbian-American former governor of Illinois… arrested by the FBI on federal corruption charges…”

      When news media start saying “Bernie Madoff, the Jewish Convicted Criminal, who stole $50 Billion…”

      When news media start saying, “Anglo-Saxon George Bush and Dick Cheney, who lied to the American people in order to illegally invade Iraq, and which so far has cost the lives of more than 4,400 American military men….”

      When news media start saying “Angelo R. Mozilo, the Italian-American former founder of Countrywide, who just settled a civil suit for financial fraud, and against whom criminal charges are still pending….”

      When news media start saying “Eight Hispanic and Anglo-Saxon members of Bell City Council….who were arrested, including Italian-American(?)/Hispanic City Manager Rizzo…”

      When news media start saying “Former Anglo-Saxon Bell City Police Chief Randy Adams who apparently arranged to have himself declared disabled … even though Glendale City Manager Jim Starbird says Adams was not disabled when he left Glendale….”

      When news media start saying “WASHINGTON, Oct. 21,2010 (UPI) — Two Miami healthcare companies and four individuals — owners and senior managers — were indicted Thursday for an alleged $200 million Medicare fraud…The 13-count indictment unsealed in Miami charges American Therapeutic Corp. and Medlink Professional Management Group Inc., as well as Lawrence S. Duran, Marianella Valera, Judith Negron and Margarita Acevedo (aka Margarita De La Cruz) with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud … most being Hispanic (or Cuban-American (?))…” [ethnic reference at the end added by me]

      When they start doing that, then they are welcome to mention that these particular set of alleged crooks were of Armenian descent.

      When they mention the ethnicity of those arrested – but not proven guilty, mind you – only when they are of Armenian descent, then there is an obvious ulterior motive, and that’s why we must and will push back – hard.

  11. ZARMAIR said:

    Why does it matter? I’ll tell you why it matters; because we are a small people that have been pushed around since the beginning of time and done nothing about it. We don’t support each other and tend to elevate foreigners over our selves; the syndrome is called, ODARASER. If we had any teeth, the Genocide would have been recognized long ago, or never taken place. Look at a country like Germany, an industrial power, major contributor to modern civilization; from the lunar launch to modern medicine and engineering, and yet they were brought down on their knees and confess to the Holocaust. The Turks next to the Germans are bellowing a roach and yet they did us in 1915 and continue to do us and we can’t do anything about it. Big difference between the Germans and the Turks but, but even a roach is too formidable of a foe to handle…And we should wonder why they scandalize our name in the papers; when you’re toothless they will do as they please.

  12. Kevork Nazarian said:

    Mr. William, it is a great article, I believe this should be printed in all major news papers, thank you.

  13. sassoun said:

    You sound like a typical, enabling, Armenian mother who constantly makes excuses for her trouble-making child. Mentioning the names of Madoff and Mozilo is just your way of creating a smoke screen to take focus off the fact that this was, in fact, Armenian organized crime.
    A very small percentage of the people who were arrested in that bust were of non-Armenian descent.
    These people are “Armenian gangsters” and this was “Armenian organized crime”. Directing your anger towards the media outlets that keep harping on those facts won’t make the truth go away.
    You can twist perception but reality won’t budge.
    Stop making excuses!!!!!

    • Avery said:

      And you sound like a typical, self-loathing Armenian son, who believes that participating in the denigration of your ethnic brothers and sisters will somehow ingratiate yourself to your Anglo-Saxon masters, and then they won’t notice that you are not one of them, so that you can be left alone to live your life in peace … is that it ?

      Read the original article again. Read Norin Radd’s comments above. You might understand why those of us who are pushing back are doing it.

    • Samuel said:

      Your point is arguable but ultimately flawed. A gangster is defined as “[A] member of a criminal gang or an organized-crime syndicate.” When you say they are “Armenian gangsters” you mean the word “Armenian” to modify gangster. Basically you are saying that these are “Armenian members of an [Armenian] criminal gang..” (Armenian American would be more accurate at least in this sense, since many of them are U.S. nationals).

      Also organized crime is defined as “widespread criminal activities that are coordinated and controlled through a central group organized for a common purpose.” Again what you are saying is that this was “widespread criminal activities coordinated and controlled through a central [Armenian] group organized [to defraud medicare].” How would you support that this was an “Armenian group” when at least forty per cent were not Armenian. Simply because a few of them traveled to Armenia? What if a majority traveled to Paris? or Berlin? Was it because they occasionally spoke Armenian? This is not the least of the questions that would need to be addressed.

      Although being maticulous about this might seem overly nitpicky, from a factual or legal point of view it is important. Please read those sentences again do you still feel this was correct. The fact that at least 27 of those indicted (some forty per cent) were not of Armenian origin should further cast doubt on your characterization.

      Finally, I think the most important question to ask yourself is whether the attempt to make such a characterization is necessary? and especially if it is productive? (productive in the sense of freedom of information, due process for those arrested, prevention of crime, etc).

      There is a strong argument that it is ‘not.’ The point is that unless there is a clear and strong reason to characterize this group in terms of their ethnicity… it should not be done so.

      The article brings up a good point, and one that you should agree with if you still stand by your argument. If we allow ourselves to call them “Armenian American gangsters,” or “gangsters of Armenian ethnicity” or any other variation, would it then not also be appropriate to do this for the others arrested?

    • Araxi said:

      To sassoun,
      You have totally misunderstood the point. The question here is the vilification of a whole nation for the wrong doing of a few. You use the word ‘constantly makes excuses’. This case has just been uncovered. How many times have you heard these names before?

    • sebouh from australia said:

      and asbarez, if you dont publish my last comment to sassoun then you disgrace the mighty tasnaksoutoun

      • Admin said:

        @Sebouh Unfortunately the majority of your comments contain vulgar and disrespectful language, from the F word to other more gruesome adjectives. We have a strict discussion policy on our website. Words that insult and offend will not be published.

        Your last comment to Sassoun accused him of being related to the man who poisoned an Armenian national hero and freedom fighter (Serop Pasha), which I can imagine will be very offensive to Sassoun and other readers on our forum and will not foster a healthy and respectful dialogue. As such this is your last warning.

        We will continue to moderate your commentary so long as you continue to post negative, insulting, racist, and vulgar remarks on our pages. Thank you, have a nice day.

  14. marina said:

    I think they should appologize natioanally the way they humiliated nationally. We see all these show hosts appologizing to stupid actors, actresses or any other people who have 6 zeros in their accounts, when they talk inappropriately about them, so why not for Armenians. I don’t think it was as big as they made it seem and mentioned only Armenians. This is DISCRIMINATION.. We should have them held responsible for the damage they have caused the Armenian community.

  15. John Cook said:

    The media in the US has turned into an old Soviet style apparatchik used by the elite and certain groups to advance their ideology. And that is not where similarities end!

  16. ed said:

    Thanks for the article.. There can be justification of crimes…There should be legal actions against attempts made by FBI and some officials and news media to criminalize a whole community! At lest FBI should issue an official clarification to the news media and apologize!

  17. eddy said:

    The fraud is and remains a crime. Still I would say the unjustified noise around Armenian American community was well planed a head, simple just to make the news media to ignore the Florida medical fraud case and politicans involved in it which was much higher and in numbers and was involved in obvious patient neglect and mistreatment!!


    October 25, 2010
    http://news.am/eng/news/35700.html
    ““Armenian mafia”, xenophobia or politics?”

    According to several local Florida newspapers, on Thursday morning 160 FBI agents raided two Miami-based American Therapeutic Corporation clinics, (the US’s largest chain of mental health clinics). Owners and senior managers were indicted for their alleged participation in a fraud scheme involving approximately $200 million in Medicare billing.

    Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer said; “Some of the patients were not even aware of where they were or what was going on around them,” The patients could not feed themselves or control their own bodily waste.

    The scope of South Florida’s $200 million case surpassed that of so-called “Armenian mafia” fraud a week before which allegedly tried to cheat the federal program out of $163 million. U.S. authorities branded that case as “the largest Medicare fraud scheme ever perpetrated by a single criminal enterprise”. Media outlets in US and around the world announced the story using catchy headlines.

    Meanwhile, as it turns out, American Therapeutic is not only Medicare’s highest biller of mental health services in the country, but is also known for its active lobbying in Washington, D.C. and for having ties to congressmen and other politicians.

    Despite the fact that the Florida medical fraud case was much higher in numbers and was involved in obvious patient neglect and mistreatment, the media response was not as vigorous as for the alleged “Armenian mafia” fraud. Hardly any mainstream newspapers picked it up.

    According to Lou Saccoccio, executive director of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association, Medicare and Medicaid Services lose an estimated $65 billion to criminals annually.

    This makes the alleged “Armenian mafia’s medical fraud” case look like a drop in the ocean.

    So why the unjustified noise around one of the smallest ethnic minorities in the US, with an emphasis on collocations like “Armenian mafia”, “Armenian criminals”, “Armenian fraud”, “Armenian crime boss”?

    The endeavor to divert the blame for a decades old problem of the American health care system to an ethnic minority feels either xenophobic or pursues some hidden political agenda…

  18. eddy said:

    I forgot to mention… We shouldn’t forget, soon thre are election to US congress… most probably the big noise /news around fraud was planed…

  19. Dikran said:

    Maybe our outrage should be directed at those that committed this disgrace rather than those who reported it. Maybe the question should be why do we tolerate organized crime among us. Why didn’t the community work with the authorities to stop this before it became so big.

    • Samuel said:

      I dont imagine anyone would disagree with your underlying argument (directing outrage at those that are ultimately charged with committing the crimes). The point of contention is how the DOJ and various media outlets handled the “arrests.” I dont think they had to annouce the ethnicity of those arrested in black ink for the Armenian American community to get the point and ultimately reflect on its shortcomings. This is what is being argued. I do not justify the actions of these individuals, but that does not mean the media should be selectively ethnocentric in its reporting.

  20. Random Armenian said:

    sassoun,

    Most Armenians accept the facts of this case in that a group of Armenians were involved and 99% guilty (innocent until proven guilty but still). I do have problems with how the FBI announcement emphasized how this was a sophisticated operation and put the mafia to shape. Such hyperbole. They ran this out of the kitchen table, charged medical operations to doctors who did not specialize in that area, and were running this for only 4 years before being arrested! On top of that they get 35 million out of the 160 million they billed the government. Actually if we take into account the several non-Armenians also arrested, how much of these to figures are attributed to the Armenian bunch?

    This should not be used to go into denial mode about this. Nor should one feel shame. Anger? Yes. The money they stole represented taxes of Armenian-Americans too.

  21. Arto said:

    If this is the way a nation treats one of its most productive and loyal minorities then they should not be surprised if the minority becomes even more determined to give it back to the nation. I do not condone these crimes but such a crime is commited by the FBI and the biased corporate media then one could say that all bets are off. Also, it should not be a surprise to any Armenian why the media is going out of its way to destroy the Armenian name here. Everyone knows who owns and controls the media here.

  22. Mike said:

    How can we take it else where and make a seriouse case? Anyone with ideas please asdise. Perhaps, pass it over to ANCA?

  23. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    BBC hates Armenians,
    I have tried many times to send letters and poems about genocide they ignore me.
    We should not trust them at all.
    Our enemies are their friends.

  24. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Politicians all over the world they take bribes recently Mr.T.B was appointed as an adviser for a Gulf country; in fact he appointed himself as an adviser for a place he doesn’t know their culture at all.
    Bribe is not a Mafia,it has different name but the same results.
    I think our Armenian Lawyers should write against who use our clean name to be spoiled by few illiterates working in the news papers.

  25. Norin Radd said:

    Hi Mike,

    I think we, as a community, have lots of fellow Armenian lawyers that could form a legal team and find out if something can or should be done about this from a legal point of view. I’m no lawyer, but in layman’s terms I’m almost certain the deliberate characterization of the crime with an emphasis on the ethnicity of the Armenian perpetrators and not the non Armenian ones definitely borders on bigotry, hate, and deliberate defamation for ulterior motives. What those motives may be? Who cares! The point is, the manner in which this crime was reported was highly suspect as deliberate LIBELOUS slander on an entire community nearly 1,000,000 strong in the United States.

    Given all the difficulties we have been through as a people and ethnic group, this type of attack on our community should NOT be tolerated. We must stand united and “bite back” so to speak, even if this goes nowhere legally, the effort alone would ring a loud voice for the future showing that just because we don’t go around calling everybody “anti-semite” like other groups, we DO KNOW what goes on behind the magic curtains as a community and we certainly won’t hesitate to call out the hypocritical racists, bigots, and anti-Armenians out on their dirty laundry.

    Last but certainly not least, yexpayrner yev kuyrikner, even on Asbarez forums, be aware that not everyone that puts down an Armenian name is actually a member of our community, some individuals will jump on these boards and others to stir the pot for the worst. The Armenian community generally agrees that these criminals need to be punished, but the manner in which it was presented was highly unorthodox and definitely WITH MOTIVE to SLANDER Armenians everywhere. If numb skulls like calling themselves “Sassoon” realized this, they would not be making asinine comments on these boards.

  26. Krikor said:

    WHY THESE CRIMINALS ARE PROSECUTED UNDER THE NAME OF THE ARMENIANS??
    THESE ARE STATELESS, NATIONLESS,ETHNICITYLESS CRIMINALS OR THE TURKISH/AZERI PROPAGANDA WORKS THROUGH PETRODOLLARS.
    THESE THUGS SHOULD BE PROSECUTED AS INDIVIDUALS NOT AS ARMANIANS

  27. Grikor said:

    We need organization like ADL. An organization that will monitor, document and respond to cases like that.

  28. eddy said:

    I would say there should be a commission investigating the way the news regarding this gang was reported just 2 weeks before elections to US congress !

    -Why the ethnic of these people were put on the middle of FBI report and focus of news media from the very beginning?

    -How comes that FBI officials are reporting this Armenian America group has “put the mafia to shame” (I think the wording was similar). How could FBI choise such a wording, when FBI was going to uncover much bigger medicine fraud in Florida less than one week later !!
    -Was the news media invited to film this people/gang from the beginning by FBI, as the FBI was going to arrest people involved in Florid-Fraud too?

    I am upset that even some irresponsible forces within Armenia (above around so called Levon´s movement) did try to capitalize this crime for there own purpose, without taking the interests of Armenia and Armenian people in the whole into account!

  29. William Bairamian said:

    Thank you for your comments.

    For those of you who are interested, this article was also sent to the Glendale News-Press who has, thus far, not published it.

    If you are inclined to inquire as to why, you may email the editor at Dan.Evans@latimes.com or you may call Mr. Dan Evans at (818) 637-3234.

  30. Random Armenian said:

    Guys,

    Putting pressure on the FBI regarding their handling of their press release will just put more public spotlight on this. Unless there are continued repercussions from this, I don’t think loudly complaining is not going to help. But if there are more like this and the FBI keeps mentioning ‘Armenians’ but not the ethnicities of others, then you now have a pattern and legitimately complain. Given the anti-immigrant atmosphere and the openly racist propaganda against Obama, openly pointing out minority groups within the context of a crime is a big concern.

  31. Mike said:

    US media is privately owned enterprise meant to serve private interests of its owners. There is no validity objectiveness in the news coverage they provide. Simply put, it’s corrupt and evil. That Armenian mafia man was less criminal than this hate-mongering, brain-washing private corporation of real big criminals. They keep poor Americans for fools. And many Americans have become a toy in this mind controlling game. Unfortunately, you can’t win the evil by referring to it as to not evil. Who in LA times have power to make decisions without first obtaining permission from their mafia boss?

  32. truth said:

    United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are searching in wrong country (in Armenia?) for the billions of US $ transferd by Bernie Madoff & Co.!! I am sure Israeli authorities would not even answer the phone calles of FBI!

  33. sebouh from australia said:

    I understand, I just find it incredulous that you also allow comments that are EXTREMELY offensive to all Armenians to be placed from people whose names indicate that they are Turks, why is it they are allowed to place such offensive comments and I cannot express my disgust to a suppossed fellow Armenian???

  34. sebouh from australia said:

    I understand, I just find it incredulous that you also allow comments that are EXTREMELY offensive to all Armenians to be placed from people whose names indicate that they are Turks, why is it they are allowed to place such offensive comments and I cannot express my disgust to a suppossed fellow Armenian??

  35. sebouh from australia said:

    thats OK….you are a political newspaper…meaning you specialise in spin…no wonder the Armenian youth are not motivated and inactive

  36. AT said:

    The reason why they have an ethnicity reference is because they were sending the money to Armenia in cash via courier, and because they have connections to the Armenian government there and the networks (and authority of the Vor) were developed in Armenia. Where was Bernie Madoff born? Queens. I love my Armenian friends but this is not offensive, it is accurate.

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