He has done it again. Couple of days earlier he has appeared on Huffington Post with yet another bag of lies, “Lies, Damn Lies, and Armenian Deaths.”
He, of course, is Bruce Fein – occupation: Resident scholar at the Turkish Coalition of America. The title tells it all. He is gainfully employed to support and propagate Turkish denial policy of the Armenian Genocide. For a lawyer and a former U.S. associate deputy attorney general serving under Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1982, one expects him to confine within certain restrictions of ethical conduct and integrity.
Unfortunately, we may be asking too much of Mr. Fein. His acts and conduct seem to be determined only by his employment, irrespective of logic, rational, principles and truthfulness. Two years ago, he was campaigning for the terrorist Tamil movement against the government of Sri Lanka in return for lucrative pecuniary handouts from the Sri Lankans of Tamil origin residing in the United States and Canada. In 2008, within the span of six months, one after the other he consecutively served at least three Tamil associations carrying on fundraisers in the U.S. and Canada. With the third association, he engaged in a massive fundraiser in Canada. After collecting the “loot”, he disappeared for three months.
While in the service of Tamil, Mr. Fein’s mission was twofold. First, to convince the U.S. that Tamils of Sri Lanka are the victims of genocide. Second, to convince the U.S. that Tamils of Sri Lanka deserve justice by partitioning Sri Lanka and granting the Tamils independent statehood. To justify his claim for genocide of Tamils, he made up stories and twisted the law on genocide. To substantiate his claim for Tamil independence, he resorted to our Declaration of Independence. To pursue his dual mission, he made speeches and got paid; he made appearances and got paid; he published articles and got paid.
At the same time, Mr. Fein was (and still is) in the service of Turkish “associations” operating in the U.S. With the Turks, as with the Tamils, his mission is again twofold, but this time in the opposite direction. First, to convince the United States that Armenians were not the victims of genocide. Second, to convince the United States that Armenians do not deserve justice. To justify his denial of Armenian Genocide, he makes up stories and twists the law on genocide. To substantiate his refusal of justice to the Armenians, he accuses them of perjury and falsehood. In the pursuit of his dual mission for the Turks, he makes speeches, makes appearances, publishes articles, and so on. For his services, he gets paid, of course.
Mr. Fein’s article squarely falls within this paradigm. To justify the purpose of his posted article, he paraphrases Mark Twain by noting that “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and the number of Armenians who are claimed by Armenians and their echo chambers to have died in an alleged World War I genocide.” However, upon perusal of this article, it becomes revealing that the remarks of our great humorist were tailor made for Mr. Fein. If Mark Twain were alive today, he would have looked upon Mr. Fein’s egregious conduct and said, “There are three kinds of liars: liars, damn liars, and Mr. Fein.”
The opening paragraph of the article is very symptomatic of Mr. Fein’s habitual contempt for accuracy and truth. He deliberately distorts President Barack Obama’s annual April 24 Presidential Statement commemorating the Armenian victims of the Ottoman Turkish massacres. Twisting the President’s words, Mr. Fein acts disrespectfully and in bad faith, because the President stated, “Ninety four years ago, one of the great atrocities of the 20th century began. Each year, we pause to remember the 1.5 million Armenians who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire.”
Mr. Fein seems to be haunted by the number of 1.5 Armenian victims of Turkish atrocities. Any human being would be and should be. But the motivation of this servant of Turkish denial does not stem from human concerns. He resorts to a numbers game by quoting and misquoting any convenient source to demonstrate that the figure of 1.5 million victims of genocide is the pigment of Armenian imagination that it tends to increase the numbers according to political convenience.
This numbers game is merely an exercise in futility, because Mr. Fein is well aware of the Mehmet Talaat Pasha’s handwritten black book published in facsimile form in December 2008. Talaat Pasha was the Ottoman minister of interior in 1915 and the architect in planning and executing the deportations and massacres of the Armenians living in their ancestral Western Armenia. The black book contains detailed notes on the numbers of Armenians and the fate they encountered from 1915 to 1917. Based on the figures kept by Talaat Pasha, in 1915, before massacres and deportations, the total of the main Apostolic Armenian community in the Ottoman Empire was 1,500,000; the total of Catholic Armenian community was 63,967 (which could also be revised upward to 83,157); no figures are given to Protestant Armenians. These figures bring the number of Ottoman Armenians, based on official figures, close to 1,700,000 people. According to Talaat Pasha’s figures, the total number of Armenians who were missing in 1917 was around 1,000,000 people.
The executioner Talaat Pasha has kept the figures up to 1917. His numbers for the missing are horrendous – ONE MILLION. Mind you, the deportations and massacres did not cease in 1917. They continued until 1923. Mr. Fein and his employers are in pursuit of a policy of denial in order to protect, among others, the Ottoman executioners such as Talaat and other Ottoman Pashas. If they are so dedicated to protect these executioners, why won’t Mr. Fein and his employers take these Pashas’ word for the number of Armenian victims of Genocide?
The answer is very simple. Mr. Fein (and his employers) are scared stiff of the verdict of genocide that will come down sooner or later. But to convince oneself that reducing the number of the victims of the Armenian Genocide will preclude the application of the Genocide Convention is merely self-deceit. Mr. Fein should know, because he claims to be an international lawyer. The Genocide Convention is not about the number of victims. It is about retribution and prevention.
Furthermore, despite Mr. Fein’s claims, the Genocide Convention does apply to the Armenian case. The design, planning, execution and intent of the Turkish massacres of 1.5 million Armenians meet all the elements of the crime of genocide as defined under the Convention. In fact, Raphael Lemkin, who was the earliest proponent of the Genocide Convention, coined the term ‘genocide’ in 1944. based on the case of the Armenian massacres. He described genocide as the “systematic destruction of a whole national, racial or religious groups. The sort of thing that Hitler did to the Jews and the Turks did to the Armenians.”
When the United Nations adopted the Genocide Convention in 1948, the Ottoman massacres of the Armenians and the Nazi massacres of the Jews were considered as precedents. The same year, the U.N. War Crimes Commission invoked the Armenian massacres as being “precisely . . . one of the types of acts which the modern term ‘crimes against humanity’ is intended to cover as a precedent for the Nuremberg tribunals.” In 1985, the UN Commission on Human Rights report, ‘Study of the Question of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,’ referred to the Armenian massacres as an example of genocide and noted, “the Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the twentieth century. Among other examples, which can be cited as qualifying, are . . . the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916.” Moreover, the Genocide Convention is enforceable retroactively.
Mr. Fein is free to resume his distortions and falsehoods, but he should know that they are of no avail. On April 29 of this year, he tried that tactic while testifying before the California Senate Committee on Education against the Genocide Awareness Bill SB234. But the committee passed the bill unanimously. Last week, the entire California Senate debated and adopted the bill without opposition.
Mr. Fein is also free to resume his attempts at Armenian Genocide denial in United States. But he should know better. His former employer, the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, that had joined some plaintiffs in filing a “public interest complaint” in the U.S. District Court in Boston in 2006, seeking to engage in denial of the Armenian Genocide in Massachusetts public schools, learned it the hard way. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf, in a Memorandum and Order, dated June 10, 2009, dismissed the frivolous case.
Finally, Mr. Fein should heed Mark Twain’s advice: “Never tell a lie… Except to keep in practice.” He needs the practice, because that’s where the money is. As for a second advice from Mark Twain, “make it the rule of” life “to lie for revenue only,” Mr. Fein does not need it.
Editor’s Note: Seto Boyadjian is an attorney and member of the national board of the Armenian National Committee of America.