SYDNEY—The Armenian Youth Federation of Australia (AYF Australia) has announced it has succeeded in getting libraries around the country to purchase and display “An Inconvenient Genocide,” which is Geoffrey Robertson’s recently-released book on the Armenian Genocide.
Over the past month, AYF Australia worked closely with libraries in Sydney and Melbourne, writing letters and making phone calls, to ensure this book — which unequivocally proves the legal case of the Armenian Genocide — is available to be borrowed by community members, as well as students who study the Armenian Genocide as part of the New South Wales syllabus. AYF Australia advises the community to read the book and make the authorities of the country change their position on the Armenian Genocide. The Head of the Armenian National Committee of Australia, Vache Kahramanian, stated that the book will pave a great way to change the country authorities’ position on the Armenian Genocide.
Australia’s largest Armenian youth organization was pleased to announce that 13 local and university libraries have purchased the book.
Australian authorities have carried out their largest “counter-terrorism” raids so far, detaining 15 people to stop an alleged plot by supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to carry out “demonstration killings” in public.
A pre-dawn operation was carried out on Thursday across Sydney and Brisbane by more than 800 officers acting on about 25 search warrants.
The raids came in response to intelligence that an ISIL leader in the Middle East was calling on Australian supporters to kill, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
Abbott was asked about reports that the detainees were planning to behead a random person in Sydney.
“That’s the intelligence we received,” he told reporters. “The exhortations – quite direct exhortations – were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country.”
Police were holding six people and have identified the suspected ringleader, officials said. Nine other people were detained but were freed before the day was over.
The raids came barely a week after Australia boosted the terror threat level to “high” for the first time in a decade, on growing concern about armed members of ISIL returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Attorney General George Brandis confirmed that a person born in Afghanistan who had spent time in Australia and is now working with ISIL in the Middle East ordered supporters in Australia to behead people and videotape the killings.
“If the … police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened,” Brandis told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
The Australian government believes up to 60 Australians are fighting alongside ISIL, while another 100 were actively working to support the movement at home.
Mohammad Ali Baryalei, who is believed to be Australia’s most senior member of ISIL, was named as a co-conspirator in court documents filed on Thursday.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for Baryalei, a 33-year-old former Sydney nightclub bouncer.
One of those detained, 22-year-old Omarjan Azari of Sydney, appeared briefly in a Sydney court on Thursday.
Prosecutor Michael Allnutt said Azari was involved in a plan to “gruesomely” kill a randomly selected person – something that was “clearly designed to shock and horrify” the public. That plan involved an “unusual level of fanaticism,” he said.
Azari is charged with conspiracy to prepare for a terrorist attack.
In court documents, Azari is accused of conspiring with Baryalei and others between May and September to prepare for a terrorist attack. Allnutt said the charge stemmed from the interception of a phone call a couple of days ago.
The latest raids followed the arrests of two people last week in Brisbane who were charged with allegedly recruiting, funding and sending self-declared jihadist fighters to Syria.
And, on Wednesday, a Sydney-based money transfer business was shut down amid concerns it was being used to funnel funds to the Middle East to finance “terrorism.”
The New South Wales Legislative Council adopted a motion on Wednesday, Sept 10, adding its voice to the international condemnation of Azerbaijan on its aggression directed towards the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia.
The motion, which was moved in the Upper House of Australia’s largest State by the Hon. Rev. Fred Nile MLC, outlined the course of events whereby the Azeri armed forces on numerous occasions seriously violated the ceasefire, reported the Armenian National Committee of Australia.
International condemnation of Azerbaijan has continued as a result of Azerbaijan’s recent actions and the declaration of war made by Azeri President Ilham Aliyev via the popular social media platform, Twitter.
Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia), Vache Kahramanian, has been working closely working with Members of Parliament to brief them on the recent developments in the South Caucasus and the dangerous escalation of violence demonstrated by Azerbaijan.
Kahramanian said: “Today the Parliament of New South Wales once again demonstrated its principled stance, confirming it stands firm with oppressed people from around the world.”
The motion follows on from the recognition of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh by the New South Wales Parliament in October 2012. Nile and a NSW Parliamentary delegation of seven visited Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh in 2013.
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, Amanda Fazio has called out Azerbaijan’s aggression toward the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Republic of Armenia, stating that it doesn’t deserve the hosting rights to a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2016.
Fazio, who visited Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh in July 2013, delivered a statement on the floor of the NSW Legislative Council highlighting the ongoing aggression by Azerbaijan and the war-mongering by President Ilham Aliyev, the serious human rights abuses within that country and the need for the international community to take a far stronger position on condemning Azerbaijan’s aggression, Armenian National Committee of Australia reported.
“The recent decision to allow Azerbaijan to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2016 should be rescinded,” Fazio exclaimed. “The awarding of this race to a country which acts as an aggressor in the region and has an appalling record on human rights defies logic.”
She added: “The list of human rights violations regularly perpetrated by the Azerbaijani authorities is long and includes clamping down on the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association including persecution of activists, arresting them on trumped up charges and denying them the right to a fair trial.”
“It is time the international community took a stand against the unnecessary aggression and repression of human rights being exerted by the government of Azerbaijan,” Fazio concluded.
Over the past two weeks Azerbaijan has intensified its aggression towards Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, which has resulted in a large number of casualties. President Aliyev has gone as far as declaring war via a series messages sent via the social media website, Twitter.
Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia (ANC Australia), Vache Kahramanian, welcomed Fazio’s statement. He remarked: “Once again Ms Fazio has taken the moral high ground in defending the people of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.”
The Parliament of Australia’s largest state of New South Wales recognised the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and its right to self-determination in a unanimous motion in October 2012.
BY HARUT SASSOUNIAN
Sabah described the events that led to its nefarious headline. Gunay Evinch, board member and past president of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), had recently visited Australia to brief local Turkish groups on the Movsesian lawsuit. He told them that “the United States Supreme Court let stand a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision invalidating a California law that had defined the Armenian case as genocide, because it was US federal policy not to define the Armenian case as genocide.”
Sabah also reported that Evinch’s visit was “a part of a broader Anglo-Turkish Diaspora Cooperation Program in which Turks in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Jersey (sic) share best practices based on a common jurisprudential and political heritage.”
Following Evinch’s advice, Ertunc Ozen, President of Australian Turkish Advocacy Alliance, wrote to Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on May 5, “expressing concern at motions passed by the parliament of New South Wales in May 2013 regarding Turkey and the fate of various communities of the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I.”
Foreign Minister Bishop wrote to Ozen on June 4: “The Australian Government acknowledges the devastating effects which the tragic events at the end of the Ottoman Empire have had on later generations, and on their identity, heritage and culture.” Astonishingly, she added: “We do not, however, recognize these events as ‘genocide.’ Australian states and territories have no constitutional role in the formulation of Australian foreign policy. While respecting the rights of individuals and groups to have strong views on the matter, the long-standing and clear approach of the Australian Government has been not to become involved in this sensitive debate.”
The Foreign Minister is wrong on three counts: 1) She erred in stating that Australia does not recognize the Armenian Genocide. While the Australian government prefers not to use the term genocide in order not to antagonize Turkey, no other official has ever stated that it was not genocide; 2) She incorrectly wrote that the Australian states that recognized the Armenian Genocide were formulating foreign policy. These states had simply acknowledged a historical fact; and 3) She contradicted herself by stating that the Australian Government does not get involved “in this sensitive debate,” yet she did permit herself to get involved by stating that it was not genocide!
Vache Kahramanian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of Australia, immediately dispatched a strongly-worded letter to the Foreign Minister, calling her ‘misguided statement’ ‘deeply insulting and hurtful to the Armenian-Australian community.’ He also characterized Bishop’s views as ‘intolerable,’ ‘inexcusable,’ ‘a grave offense,’ and ‘a disservice to all Australians.’ Kahramanian justifiably wondered, “How can Australia’s moral conscience become so corrupted?”
ANC-Australia’s Executive Director reminded the Foreign Minister that her statement was in stark contrast to “the views held by many senior ministers in the current government. As recently as April 2014, Australia’s Treasurer, the Hon. Joe Hockey MP, issued an official statement on the 99th anniversary commemoration of the Armenian Genocide marking April 24 as the day ‘we gather to remember the 1.5 million people who perished in the genocide.’ Ministers Turnbull, Morrison, along with ranking members from Labor, the Greens, minor parties and Independents have called on the Australian Parliament to officially recognise the events of 1915 as genocide. Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, during his years as Opposition Leader, issued an annual statement referring to the Armenian Genocide with no qualifiers or euphemisms.”
Kahramanian also told the Foreign Minister: “By denying the Armenian Genocide you are also denying Australia’s very own history. Located within Australia’s National Archives are countless numbers of testimonies by ANZAC prisoners of war who were held captive in the Ottoman Empire…. These testimonies vividly recall the suffering and annihilation of the Armenian people.”
ANC-Australia Chairman Greg Soghomonian urged the Foreign Minister to “immediately reverse this critical error of judgment,” and requested a meeting with her.
I suggest that Australian-Armenians ask Prime Minister Tony Abbott whether the Foreign Minister had cleared her deeply offensive letter with him beforehand. If she had not, the ANC-Australia should demand her immediate dismissal. ANC should ask all three Australian state parliaments that have recognized the Armenian Genocide to adopt a new resolution condemning Foreign Minister Bishop’s denialist stand and urging the Prime Minister to fire her!