06/03/2008

Intelligence Report: Turkey Entices U.S. Scholars, Lawmakers to Cover Up WWI Genocide

 

A network of U.S. scholars funded by the government of Turkey is part of an energetic campaign to cover up the Turkish genocide of as many as 1.5 million Armenians during World War I, an effort that has found success in Congress and the White House, according to the latest issue of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, released today.

Despite abundant documentation and eyewitness accounts of the slaughter of Armenians by Turkey's Ottoman government between 1915 and 1918, the current Turkish government has paid lobbyists and funded the network of American academics, many of whom dismiss or rationalize the killing. Genocide scholars agree that the slaughter was, indeed, a genocide.

"What we are seeing is a despicable rewriting of history aimed at absolving the perpetrators of mass murder and demonizing their victims," said Mark Potok, editor of the SPLC's Intelligence Report, a quarterly investigative journal that monitors the radical right. "It is no different than the Holocaust denial of Nazi sympathizers who claim there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz and Treblinka."

The cover story recounts a March 2007 event where Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts, told a Harvard University audience that the Turkish government at the time may have been guilty of ineptness and "bungling misrule" — but not genocide. Lewy, one of the most active members of the network of academics, has made similar revisionist claims in speeches at other campuses and in his 2005 book, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide.

As early as 1985, Turkey bought full-page newspaper advertisements to publish a letter questioning the genocide that was signed by 69 American scholars. All 69 had received funding that year from the Turkish government or its proxies.

As the only Muslim-dominated country in a troubled region to call the United States and Israel its allies, Turkey also has wielded significant political influence in Washington. Last fall, lobbyists on the Turkish payroll stymied a congressional resolution commemorating the genocide by persuading more than 100 lawmakers to reverse their positions. Even President Bush flip-flopped on a 2000 campaign promise to back official U.S. recognition of the genocide.

"Denial is the final stage of genocide," Gregory Stanton, president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, told the Intelligence Report. "It is a continuing attempt to destroy the victim group psychologically and culturally, to deny its members even the memory of the murders of their relatives. That is what the Turkish government today is doing to Armenians around the world."

Also, in the Summer 2008 issue of the Intelligence Report:

"Secret Identity?" probes the ideology of Shepherd's Chapel, an Arkansas-based television ministry led by Arnold Murray that has an audience in the millions. Despite a theology that identifies an evil race he calls the "Kenites" as the killers of Christ, Murray says his ministry is not anti-Semitic. Mounting evidence suggests otherwise.

"Stalked by Skins" tells the story of twin brothers who have lived in fear since a bloody 2003 encounter with a gang of racist skinheads in Illinois that left one man dead. In interviews, Bill and Roger Larson recount how they and their families have been tormented by gang members ever since.

"North Meets South" reports on the strange alliance forged by a Vermont separatist group in recent years. Born of the left, the Second Vermont Republic has now partnered with the white supremacist League of the South, which seeks a second Southern secession, to build a national movement.

"Of Race and Rockets" reveals famed aerospace scientist Walter Kistler's $200,000 in donations to the Pioneer Fund, a racist foundation that funds controversial studies of race and intelligence. A defiant Kistler says he is "not concerned about battles in society about what is and what is not 'racist.'"