Vahakn Dadrian wasted little
time in unleashing a smear campaign against Prof. Guenter Lewy, who wrote an
excellent essay appearing in the Middle East Quarterly,
and has also been featured on TAT.
The basis of Dadrian's claims: Lewy isn't qualified to be a scholar. And
Dadrian makes these claims in his typically huffy, nose-in-the-air style.
It takes nerve for a
non-scholar such as V. D. to make such assertions. A real scholar is one who
dispassionately takes both sides of an issue into consideration. Dadrian has
only one goal: to affirm the beloved "genocide" of his people. To
that end, he has devoted his life to obsessively seek the dirt, and only the
dirt, to make the driving force of his life appear as though a reality.
I'm going to take a look at
what Dadrian has put on the table; unfortunately, a lot of the sources Dadrian
has used are Turkish, and are unavailable to me. (Since Dadrian was once a
"Turk," and has knowledge of the language to dig deep into any
damning Turkish source he could find. Dadrian is a walking testament to why
there could have been no "annihilation" of the Armenians, because in
his own words, his family was relatively unmolested... as his father was
liked, and his family was rich, reasons which should not have influenced a
Hitlerian government bent on extermination.)
In order to verify Dadrian's
claims, one would need to consult these Turkish sources, which also entails a
good knowledge of Turkish, and sometimes Ottoman Turkish. Unlike Dadrian,
being a "scholar" is not my profession... and individuals working on
their own time are limited in their attempts to separate fact from fiction.
The trouble is, Dadrian is one who has been
known to bend facts, as long as his agenda is met. Like the old gag of a movie
studio taking a few words of a scathing film review in order to make the
resulting advertisement sound positive, Dadrian has no problem with
deceptively using just the "good parts" while leaving behind the
real message of some of his sources. Here is how Prof. Malcolm Yapp summed up
Dadrian's academic methodology, with Dadrian's classic "The History of
the Armenian Genocide":
"... Despite the
numerous documents cited and the careful assembly of information about
individuals and organizations, there is no decisive evidence to support
Dadrian's case.... Of course one may argue that even without clear unambiguous
documentary evidence the weight of so many pieces of indirect and
circumstantial evidence brought together could be persuasive, even conclusive,
but one must enter a caveat. The author's approach is not that of an
historian trying to find out what happened and why but of a lawyer assembling
the case for the prosecution in an adversarial system."
And that's what Dadrian has made sure to do,
here; bombard the reader with his "weight of so many pieces of indirect
and circumstantial evidence brought together." We often don't know the
context of what was said, and we certainly can't trust one like Vahakn Dadrian
to perform honest translations. This is Dadrian's "smokescreen"
style. He can't cover up the big picture of the crux of the matter (the
Ottoman-Armenians declared war; they were moved away during a highly dangerous
situation, and most died from famine and disease, reasons all Turks were dying
from) with real history, so he throws his huge collection of selective bits and pieces,
in a dishonest attempt to detract and confuse.
The article tells us Professor Guenter Lewy is associated with the
University of Massachusetts. Since Dadrian is frequently lavished with praise as such a
"renowned scholar" by partisan genocide institutes and others not willing to
look beneath the surface, has anyone bothered to think why Dadrian is not associated with
any university? Maybe he is and I haven't noticed, but to my knowledge, Dadrian's only
association has been with the propagandistic Zoryan Institute. Has Dadrian worked with an
American university? He must have; if that was the case, what were the circumstances
leading to his departure, and why has he been unable to attach himself with another
university? (Even Dadrian's disciple, Taner Akcam,
was able to get a job at a university, right off the bat. After Akcam was let go of that
one, reportedly thanks to shoddy credentials (brought up by the surprisingly active local
Turkish community), he immediately found placement in another, thanks to the support of
the genocide network.) Of course, we should only judge Dadrian on the merit of his work,
as that is all that should matter, and in Dadrian's case, is enough to sink him among
clear-minded intellectuals. But I'd be interested in finding out more about the curious
background of Vahakn Dadrian, who has worked so hard to immorally
blacken the reputation of the Turkish people. (ADDENDUM, 4-06: The
mystery has been solved.)
Yes, not only the Turkish-Ottoman government, but the Turkish people. For example, when
Dadrian gave a 2001 speech at Harvard University, he stated,
"there was massive, popular participation in the atrocities," and that the
"perpetrators deliberately used blunt instruments, thereby protracting the agony of
dying." His idea is to exploit the Western image that Muslims are sub-human
creatures who enjoy killing.
Dadrian's source was probably one of the three books that convinced him to pursue a
lifelong "genocide" obsession: The Armenian Golgotha. The author was
Krikoris Balakian... whom I have nicknamed "The Action Priest," because relative Peter Balakian claimed in his "Burning
Tigris" that the priest was one of the 235 (the author wrote 250) arrested
ringleaders on April 24, and managed to somehow escape from prison. Yet the holy man gave
a different account as a witness in the trial of Soghoman Tehlirian, demonstrating the
familiar "concoct any story as long as it serves the cause" tendency of
extremist Armenians. In the Golgotha story, he implicates over 10,000 Turkish
peasants and villagers who went on a mad Muslim bloodlust, crying God's name ("Allah,
Allah"), as they murdered 6,400 "Armenian children,
young girls, and women from Yozgad" with “hatchets, meat cleavers, saddler’s knives, cudgels, axes, pickaxes,
shovels." How did the priestly Balakian know this? The "gendarmerie
commander confided to the priest-author, whom he did not expect to survive the mass
murder," as Dadrian was reported to have said at a 2005 conference. Little did
the commander know he was confiding in the Action Priest, who like a superhero, managed to
"witness" the most grisly events, only to escape and tell about them!
(The Action Priest had a history of getting Ottoman representatives to confide in him. In
the Tehlirian trial, the priest testified that he saw "with his own eyes" one of
those "Andonian" telegrams where Talat Pasha ordered the extermination of the
Armenians. Krikoris Balakian, as his cousin's grandson Peter years later, had an active
imagination, and a shortage of morality to keep breaking the Ninth Commandment, THOU SHALT
NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR.)
Dadrian is aware of the intensified "enemy" role Muslims
are currently facing in the West, and he is using this dehumanization to good effect,
forming alliances especially with right-wing Christian forums. The above anecdote, for
example, came from "a banquet in New York City April 2, 2005, celebrating Professor
Vahakn Dadrian’s distinguished career," reported in the conservative americanthinker.com
site; Islamic fundamentalism is blamed for the Armenians' genocide with other examples,
such as Bat Ye’or's "The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam,"
where we can sum it all up to simply: "The genocide of the
Armenians was a jihad."
In another example, within the second of the "Turkish and Armenian Scholars Meet on
the Genocide" series organized by Ronald Grigor Suny and Fatma Müge Göçek (and
reported in the Apr.-May 2002 page of Armenian Weekly Online): "Dr. Vahakn Dadrian disputed Suny's rendering of the causes of the
massacres, for downplaying the significance of Islam...Dadrian claimed that Islam is a
dogma that does not change and that the majority of massacres occurred after Muslim
services ended, when clerics called for Jihad against Armenians."
That's funny; we're no longer afraid of getting burned at the stake as witches, thanks to
the "dogma" of Christianity. Maybe the more appropriate word for a
"renowned scholar" to use in describing Islam would be "religion." And
it was this religion that was known for its tolerance; in Spain, the Christians and Jews
lived relatively well under the Moors, which couldn't be said about the Muslims and Jews
during the Inquisition, once the Christians took over. Certainly the Jews wouldn't have
moved to the safe haven of the Ottoman Empire over the centuries, escaping the persecution
of Christian Europe. The same could be said for some Christians as well, escaping the
persecution of other Christians. If the Ottoman Turks weren't tolerant, the Balkans might
all have been Muslim, and speaking Turkish today. (Compare with South America, and Hawaii;
Christian, and speaking the language of their conquerors.) If the killing of Christians
was such a priority for the Ottoman Turks, with their eyes rolled back into their heads
and shouting "Allah! Allah!", how in the world could the Armenians have survived
under Turkish rule, since the 11th century?
Dadrian is trying to tell us that we should not be dwelling on the likeliest culprits of
Armenian massacres, "Kurdish tribesmen and corrupt policemen out for booty," as
Dr. Lewy sensibly reported. We've even gone beyond Ottoman "SS" troops, which is
what Armenian propaganda would have us believe in their Holocaust parallels of organized
and systematic extermination efforts. We're now talking about ordinary Turks, who couldn't
help themselves in becoming the most sadistic monsters possible, because God told them to.
Who is the real monster, for perpetuating this kind of bigotry? Even one of the three
books that snapped Dadrian's mind, "I Ask You Ladies and Gentlemen,"
recorded ordinary Turks as being against the displacement of the Armenians. ("We were curious to know how the rank and file of the Turks,
families like this one, took the deportation order. The women were veiled and we could not
see their expressions, but the men seemed to tell us with their sad eyes: 'Why should such
things happen? Isn’t there room enough for all of us to live in peace? You have done us
no harm, and we wish you no harm. Allah be with you'.")
So where does Dadrian, with his underlying "all Muslims are evil" message go, to
have his report against Lewy printed exclusively? Robert Spencer's Islamophobic
"Jihadwatch.org" site! (Dadrian's report is at
Here is a passage from Joachim Martillo's "Report on Robert Spencer and the Boston
Anti-Islamic Controversy" (Al-Jazeerah, March 9, 2005):
Over all, Spencer seems to have intended to use the talk to rally
the troops against the Mosque and Islam or Muslims in general. Many of the Jewish
attendees were quite offended by the thrust and the content. Several questioned Spencer's
competence in interpreting the texts and asked why he cited questionable Orientalist
literature instead of asking Muslim scholars. Two compared Spencer's talk with traditional
anti-Jewish polemics... There was a suggestion that there should be an open debate or
discussion between Spencer and a Muslim scholar. The proposal is questionable. Spencer can
pack an amazing number of lies and misrepresentations into 10 seconds, and the answer to
each point would probably require several minutes.
Robert Spencer, the right-wing Christian, uses the same "hate" tactics as Vahakn
Dadrian. In one sense, this was the perfect forum for Dadrian to have taken his latest
"lies and misrepresentations" to.
But on the other hand, has Dadrian lost his bearings? "Jihadwatch" is the kind
of site that no real scholar would be caught dead making exclusive contributions to.
(That's what the site claims: "Dr. Vahakn N. Dadrian, the
world's leading authority on the Turkish genocide of the Armenians and author of The
History of the Armenian Genocide... has drafted this comprehensive reply, and kindly given
us the privilege and honor of posting it exclusively here at Jihad Watch.")
A closer look at this hate site may be found here.
Granted, quantity of
publications is no indication of good scholarship (see, for example, the example of
Sir Martin Gilbert); however, the variety
of different and tough topics certainly promises a higher degree of intellectualism.
As opposed to some agenda-ridden "renowned scholars" who concentrate only
upon one propagandistic topic, and assume the position of telling us what good
scholarship is about.
I like the way Prof. Guenter Lewy titled one of his books with the word,
"Gypsies," which is not considered politically correct in some circles. One
thing that can be said about this ace scholar; he possesses the courage to go against
the tide, instead of mindlessly accepting what others tell him.
Let's move on to Dadrian's claims, in his attack upon
"The principal vehicles used hereby are the publications
of a rather small group of authors purporting to be detached and disinterested
investigators. Upon closer scrutiny, however, these very same authors reveal
themselves as committed partisans boldly pushing certain denialist agendas that are
subtly and skillfully woven into texture of their discourses."
Dadrian starts off with a predictable smear. Now why in the world would Prof.
Guenter Lewy be a "committed partisan"? Propagandists like Dadrian like to
brand anyone who differs in opinion with their genocide as agents of the Turkish
government. Is that what Dadrian is trying to say, here? Has Lewy had a history, or
even a reason, of being "pro-Turkish"?
No. Guenter Lewy is a true scholar who looked at this massive con job of the
pro-Armenians and courageously stepped forward to analyze the true facts. To do so
means leaving oneself open to unfounded accusations as the unscrupulous Vahakn
Dadrian is sneaking in, threatening one's valuable reputation. So let us not
minimize the fact that what Guenter Lewy has done was very, very brave.
Guenter Lewy, not incidentally, is a Holocaust survivor (his family reportedly
escaped Germany for Palestine in 1939) and scholar. (Although he has the integrity
not to belong to the hypocritical and self-serving "genocide club.") If
Lewy is "casting doubt on the appropriateness of the use of the label
'genocide'," then the only reason he would have to do so would be to pursue the
Dadrian next moves on to tell us what an unworthy scholar Lewy is, as he harrumphs
that Lewy's knowledge of Turkish makes him unqualified to judge such matters. I must
say, I have never run into Dadrian's outrage over the lack of Turkish language
knowledge exhibited by a score of "Armenian genocide scholar" cronies such
as Roger Smith, Robert Melson, Tessa Savvidis Hofmann, Sir Martin Gilbert, Rudy
Rummel, and a host of others.
He next states Lewy has a "very limited familiarity with
the subject." Compared with Dadrian's obsession with the most minute and
one-sided "smokescreen" details, everyone's familiarity would be
comparatively limited, including and especially Dadrian's mostly ignorant
"genocide scholar" friends.
Dadrian has pitifully devoted his life to this subject, after his lid was flipped
over the fiction of "The 40 Days of Musa Dagh," the first of his
three inspirational story books. Yes, Lewy has only comparatively begun to get his
feet wet on this subject, and certain errors might have resulted. Dadrian has
pointed out these little errors, which are akin to getting the name of a moon in our
solar system wrong, as if such would change the integral fact that the planets still
revolve around the sun.
Speaking of outer space, here's where Dadrian lays on his Big Bang: "One is prompted to wonder as to the origin and nature of the
outside help (Lewy) may have received."
We all know what Dadrian is implying. What a cheap, underhanded tactic, isn't it?
Certainly not befitting such a "renowned scholar" as Vahakn Dadrian. He
can't offer any proof of his charge; he's merely putting it on the table in his
typically slimy way, all in a day's work of trying to discredit a fellow academic
whose views go against Dadrian's grain.
This is the tactic of a loser. Can't win with the truth? Get personal.
(An elaboration: Only the work matters. When Lewy gives the idea that Dadrian might
be fudging truth at times, that is based only on Dadrian's work, and not on attacks
of character based on the opponent's personal life. The pro-Armenians have been
known to use, without reservation, smear attacks that aren't even based on truth,
such as being an agent of the Turkish government, a convicted felon, a child
molester. Now, would it be completely irrelevant if the opponent were a child
molester? After all, wouldn't one's being a child molester be a reflection upon
one's character? A respected scholar writing at an academic level has no business
going there; only the work should matter. But other analyzers could bring such a
factor into consideration, if, and only if, there is solid evidence. This is the
trouble with Dadrian's unethical camp; they don't care about factual evidence. If
they did, of course, they wouldn't be making "genocide" claims.)
Dadrian begins with the "see how unqualified Lewy is"
blather: "The Yozgat trial series were not conducted in Yozgat
but in Istanbul; Kemal was Kaymakam of Bogazliyan county only but not of Yozgat
district..." and other mumbo-jumbo that has no bearing on the big picture,
that the Armenians' genocide is one big hoax.
Don't get me wrong, of course it's important to get all the facts straight. (And we'll see
how much that principle will need to apply to Vahakn Dadrian, in this very paper.) But
sometimes even the best of us slips up. Slip-ups like Dr. Liparit Nasariantz not being "a German missionary but an Armenian political activist"
are not wholly unimportant, but really approaches nit-picking territory. If Dadrian really
wants to vent upon scholars, he should do it with those who are prone to making outrageous
misrepresentations.... as when Tessa Savvidis Hofmann claimed 300,000 as the mid-1890s
Armenian toll, or when she claimed 1.4 million Armenians were all "murdered" on
orders of the Turkish government.
I'm reminded of "Misplaced Credulity,"
a paper of Dennis Papazian's, which similarly nit-picks. Papazian's criticism began with,
"It is surprising... that the (Turkish) ambassador should have
made so many small errors of simple fact. The Adana massacres did not take place in 1906,
but in 1909. It was Sidney Bradshaw Fay, not Fey, who wrote The Origins of the World War.
It was Cyrus, and not Cyril, Hamlin..."
As I mentioned in my rebuttal of Papazian's rebuttal, the ambassador was working on his
lonesome; he had no research staff in his Washington consular office, particularly in the
1980s. This is the case with everyone among the few who are countering these pro-Armenian
prevarications on their own. I can't say this for a fact, because I don't know how Prof.
Guenter Lewy works... but the reality is, it is very difficult to have "outside
help." Where is this outside help going to come from? Who is doing research in this
Armenian arena, from the "deniers" perspective, when the pro-Armenians have
succeeded in frightening neutral academicians away? There is no scholarly network; I know
from my own experience, it is truly "every man for himself." In other words, Dr.
Lewy did not have the luxury of relying on an Armenian Research Center or a Zoryan
Institute, with their mountains of literature.
Dadrian attempts to demonstrate Germany's Colonel Stange was indeed part of the Special
Organization (Teskilat-I Mahsusa), the secret service of the Ottomans (mostly involved in
trying to persuade Moslems in enemy armies to give up their allegiance; Dadrian has
assigned the role of the Gestapo to this unit).
Prof. Justin McCarthy commented
on this tactic, on April 11, 2001:
A recent find of the nationalists is the Teskilat-I Mahsusa, the
secret organization that operated under orders of the Committee of Union and Progress. We
are told that the Teskilat must have organized Armenian massacres. The justification for
this would astonish any logician:
It is alleged that because a secret organization existed it must have been intended to do
evil, including the genocide of the Armenians. As further "proof," it is noted
that officers of the Teskilat were present in areas where Armenians died. Since Teskilat
officers were all over Anatolia, this should surprise no one. By this dubious logic,
Teskilat members must also have been responsible for the deaths of Muslims because they
were also present in areas where Muslims died. Does this prove that no Teskilat members
killed or even massacred Armenians? It does not. It would be odd if during wartime no
members of a large organization had not committed such actions, and they undoubtedly did
so. What it in no way proves is that the Teskilat was ordered to commit genocide.
Lewy wrote: "Many of the allegations linking the Special
Organization to massacres are based not directly on documents but rather on the sometimes
questionable assumptions of those reading them. Dadrian has been among the most prominent
scholars making assertions for which the original sources do not allow."
Dadrian refers to "Dr. Ernst Kwiatkowski, Austria-Hungaria’s
Consul at Trabzon, the port city where the Special Organization had its center for
logistics. In one of his several reports to Vienna the consul revealed that 'convicts were
also enrolled' in Stange’s detachment which actually was the 8th Regiment of the 10th
Army corps of the Ottoman III Army operating in the eastern province of Turkey."
So Stange is commanding what sounds like a regular military unit linked with the Army, and
this is supposed to be proof that Stange belonged to the Special Organization? Because the
Special Organization happened to have a branch in the same city?
Dadrian presents as his second linkage the "disclosure of a
Turkish officer who ...(wrote)... in his notebook:...'Stange was in charge of the Special
Organization Regiment that was named "Teshkilati Mahsusa Alayi" ’ "
That sounds more compelling, but the mysterious Turkish officer is unnamed and this
account comes from the Austrian State Archives, dated Nov. 8, 1914 to Feb. 2, 1915!
Don't forget, the first hint of the Armenian relocation (hold on, I mean
"deportation." No, sorry, I mean "genocide") came with this May 2, 1915 telegram. So even if this dubious
source contains truth, the "Secret Organization" spoken of had nothing to do
with the Armenians.
If this source pointed to "the notorious killer bands of two
noted chieftains, Topal Osman and Deli Halit, who played a paramount role in the
implementation phases of the Armenian genocide," Dadrian is jumping into the
wonderful world of make-believe, since there was no "implementation phase" of
"the Armenian genocide," simply because there was no "Armenian
genocide." Guilty as Dr. Lewy charged: Dadrian is making "assertions
for which the original sources do not allow."
Lastly, Dadrian provides an Aug. 1915 quote by Stange "in which
he expressed his contempt of these 'chettes' by calling them 'scums'," because
Stange was "unable to strictly control the secret and covert
operations of these contingents of this Detachment." No doubt Stange looked
down his nose at these unruly forces bearing little resemblance to Prussian discipline.
But what does that prove? All we know from the "evidence" that Dadrian has
presented is that Stange controlled a regular army detachment, which "consisted
of eleven battalions" (such a big number of battalions sounds more like a
regular military fighting force than a "secret operations" unit; but there was
more to the Special Organization than espionage activities), according to the Austrian
source. The fact that these scummy gangs were so uncontrollable in itself indicates they
couldn't have been part of "secret and covert operations."
If your mission was secrecy, would you enlist forces that were uncontrollable... kind of
like assigning Mr. Bean on His Majesty's Secret Service?
Is it possible that should one examine all of Stange's references, there is a lot more
than meets the eye? (As is the case of another favorite Dadrian "witness," Vehib
Pasha, coming right up.) Once again, Prosecutor Dadrian only concentrates on the parts
that fill Dadrian's needs.
(Dadrian bragged in his 2001 Harvard talk: "Colonel Stange
prepared a lengthy report: 16 legal-sized pages of which I have a total copy, in original
German." I'd like to read this report one day, to see what Stange had to say
overall, and not just the parts that suit Dadrian's fancy. I already know Stange was a man
who can't be taken totally seriously. In this report, for example, Dadrian claims "Stange explicitly declares that the decision to eradicate the
Armenians during the war was made a long time before the outbreak of the war."
That's a mighty big charge, one that Stange could not have possibly backed up with any
factual evidence. (Particularly since Stange arrived in the Ottoman Empire around the time
of the outbreak of the war, or at least he would not have been around "a long
time" before war's outbreak.) Stange is also on record for stating simplistically: "Save for a small fraction of them, all able-bodied Armenian men were
recruited. There could, therefore, be no particular reason to fear a real uprising."
This shows Stange's ignorance or Christian bias; many thousands of Ottoman-Armenian men
avoided conscription by crossing over to the enemy, and of those who had been drafted,
many thousands deserted. Thousands even dared to refuse conscription outright without even bothering to escape. "By May of 1915, eastern Anatolia was already in the midst of a civil
war," as McCarthy wrote in his Death and Exile. We know this even from
Armenian sources, such as "Armen Garo" Pasdermadjian's "Why Armenia
Should Be Free," 1918, where we could see Armenians rebelled early in the war,
and sometimes even before the war started. Incidentally, another German ignorant, Aleppo's
Consul Walter Rössler, echoed Stange's naive beliefs in a July 27, 1915 report.)
Dadrian ignores Lewy's excellent points that there was tension between Ottoman and German
secret services, so Stange's participation would have been an unlikely assignment. [Lewy
backs his point up with solid sources] More compellingly, "the
Stange detachment included Armenians, surely a curious fact in the case of a unit said to
have been part of an apparatus for the implementation of the Armenian genocide."
"At the beginning
of this war, once again Aram [Manoukian] relinquished his comfort and business,
resorted to arms, and took the leadership of those who rebelled
in Van. Russia, who now controls this province, appointed Aram as governor to please
the Armenians who did their part extremely well in this war
Le Temps, Paris, August 13, 1915
Dadrian continues to embarrass himself further
(I'm kidding! Does anyone believe the egotistical and ethically-challenged Vahakn
Dadrian would be prone to embarrassment?) by writing, "According
to professor Lewy, the Armenian claim of genocide is predicated upon 'the pillars,'
namely, (1) the Turkish Courts- Martial of 1919-20, (2) the role of the Special
Organization (Teshkilati Mahsusa), and (3) the memoirs of Naim Bey ...This highly
inaccurate description again is reflective of his seemingly limited familiarity with
the literature involved." 
Ouch! Another low blow by our favorite
"renowned scholar." Footnote : along with a book documenting reports by
biased, Christian-sympathizing Germans (which Dadrian loves to refer to as "the political and military ally of the Ottoman Empire,"
as if centuries of prejudice could be magically dispelled from a reluctant
alliance), the sources are Richard Hovannisian, and Vahakn Dadrian himself. (Along
with another book edited, as usual, by the prototypical "genocide
scholar," Israel Charny; how someone who primarily serves as a book editor
could be called a "scholar" is the next riddle for the Sphinx.) In other
words, it's these dubious sources— including Dadrian himself ("Genocide
Scholar" Sir Martin Gilbert also
enjoys backing up his claims by pointing to himself: Dadrian often enjoys doing so,
as well) — that are supposed to prove what a poor scholar Lewy is.
Dadrian next promises to "set the record straight."
Quite a trick for one who is notoriously not a straight-shooter.
Get ready, ladies and gentlemen; Vahakn Dadrian is about to shoot himself in the
"Of these, the one involving a lengthy discussion, based
on his claim that they are 'forgeries,' covers the Naim-Andonian documents. That
claim is mainly, if not exclusively, based upon a book produced by two Turkish
EXCLUSIVELY! I beg to differ. Aside from the two Turkish authors, another source
indicating the illegitimacy of these documents is... Aram Andonian himself.
Aram Andonian not only "lost" the incredibly valuable originals of these
documents (although he "guaranteed" their authenticity in a June 10, 1921
letter addressed to the lawyers of Soghomon Tehlirian, Talat Pasha's assassin; even
this kangaroo court would not accept them), he also made a confession (in a letter
dated July 26, 1937; published in the Dashnak publication, ‘Justicier du Genocide’):
"This report [Rössler’s report] is written in German.
It contains much criticism about my book, which he considers lacking in objectivity.
Moreover, he completely refutes most of the passages relating to the attitude of
Germany during the war. There is no doubt that he is right in most of the matters he
points out. However, he forgets that my work was not a historical one, but rather
one aiming at propaganda."
There you have it! From the author himself... these telegrams — identified as his
own work — had no historical foundation. Case closed.
Dadrian desperately attempts paddling to the
surface without arms and legs by citing Hilmar Kaiser, "a
German author having very recently uncovered a number of authentic Ottoman documents
from the Interior Ministry Section of Turkish state archives, established that these
documents confirm to some degree the contents of two other telegrams ascribed to
Talaat in Andonian’s book. Thus the dating of telegrams nos. 840 and 860 as
January 1916 appears to be correct"; this assertion appears so
meaningless, it brings tears to the eyes.
(Briefly: Andonian had botched up the calculations behind the Rumi and the Gregorian
calendars. For telegrams intended to be 1915 demonstrating pre-planning of
"genocide" operations, Andonian mistakenly wrote 1916. I don't know how
much these Jan. 1916 documents can "confirm to some degree" Andonian's
work, since by early 1916, the "genocide" was all but over... attested to
by Ambassador Morgenthau himself, in a March 3, 1916 letter, quoted by Vahan
Cardashian, to Lord Bryce. [The Armenian Review, Winter 1957, p. 107])
But we have another source attesting to the
fact that the "genocide" was done with, by early-to-mid 1916:
1916... the genocide had all but run its course.”
Vahakn Dadrian, "The
Armenian Genocide: A New Brand of Denial by the Turkish General Staff — by
Proxy,” Sept. 21, 2004. (That is, the Erickson smear attack.)
by Dr. Erich Feigl, "A Myth of Terror"
While I appreciate that Dadrian has newly
legitimized his generation-old "The Naim- Andonian Documents on the World
War I Destruction of Ottoman Armenians: The Anatomy of a Genocide," it is
pathetic that he is such a singer of the "Armenian AND? Anthem" (in honor of Prof. Gerard
Libaridian's reply, when "busted" as to the forged nature of these
telegrams) that he will grasp on to any ridiculous piece of "evidence" to
affirm his genocidal myth. Has he no conception over the quick path he is carving to
Dadrian whines that Lewy has overlooked Dadrian's own 1986 analysis that became a
booklet, where the master deceiver attempted to validate these forgeries.
Unfortunately, however, it is difficult for any true scholar to give credence to
propaganda work supporting the work of another propagandist.
As to the worth of Dadrian's analysis, Prof.
Norman Stone offered the
following in an exchange with Dadrian (along with Dadrian's genocide scholar ally,
Stephen Feinstein of the CHGS;
Feinstein actually put up one of these telegrams as "proof" in his
terribly hateful site):
"Professor Dadrian had a wonderful time trying to salvage
the [Andonian] documents [in the 1986 article/ booklet], and I vastly admired the
prestidigitation involved — for instance, if the paper was of the type used in French schools,
and not of the type used in government offices, this can be explained by the paper
shortage, he says. But if he cannot convince his major ally, who knows the Ottoman
documents, well, there we are."
The major ally is Taner Akcam, Dadrian's own protege, who wrote in 1992: "There are important grounds for considering these documents
fake." As Prof. Lewy noted, even the British could not use these
forgeries during the Malta Tribunal, where the British desperately searched far and
wide for the evidence to convict the accused Ottomans.
Dadrian makes no attempt to address Dr. Lewy's other fine points, such as "Talat Pasha may have turned into a vicious fiend (in
Andonian's hands), but the opinions of his contemporaries do not support this
characterization," citing impressive examples of how friendly Talat was
regarded toward the Armenians before the war. I'll add another, from one of those
books that popped Dadrian's cork, persuading him to devote his life to genocide: "I
Ask You, Ladies and Gentlemen," by Leon Surmelian: "It’s
common knowledge in Constantinople that the minister of the interior, Talat Pasha,
dines and plays backgammon with our party leaders," according to
Surmelian's Dashnak uncle. As I wrote in my analysis
of the book, "can you imagine the pretense of dining with the object of racial
hatred, and playing board games with them? Would Hitler have asked a Jew to share a
Dadrian tries to dismiss Erik
Zürcher's agreement on the forged nature of these telegrams, writing that Zürcher
was only "content" to come upon a conclusion, not having ("as far as it is known") conducted "any comparable research." (Is it just me, or has
Dadrian dissed the academic chops of Erik Zürcher, making it seem as though the
Dutch historian frivolously and unprofessionally formed an opinion? Dadrian had
better be careful, since Erik Zürcher appears to have great respect for Vahakn
Dadrian, for some reason). But it's not like Erik Zürcher has the minority opinion.
Everyone knows Andonian's work was a fake! Yet Dadrian has the nerve to write, "In the light of all this, Lewy’s standards of research are
cast in stark relief, especially with respect to his conclusion that 'most
historians and scholars dismiss "these documents'." I can think of
two offhand that don't; Stephen Feinstein and Henry Theriault. But these are
"genocide scholars," ones who come up with the conclusion first, and try
to find the convenient evidence later; if we are talking about genuine historians or
scholars who value objectivity, Lewy's conclusion is dead on. Even most genocide
scholars know better than to play cheerleader for Aram Andonian's greasy work.
But thank you, Vahakn Dadrian, for clinging to this fakery, demonstrating a sorry
level of desperation and a lack of integrity. Further ins and outs of Andonian's
hocus-pocus may be examined here.
(We are well into the first decade of the 21st century, and the merits of an obvious
forgery are still being discussed. What a remarkable testament to the power of
(ADDENDUM, mid-2006: Guenter Lewy did consult Dadrian's
1986 Andonian-defending work after all, as Lewy made clear in a reply to Dadrian in The Middle East
Quarterly. Dadrian's Andonian work has been analyzed on TAT: Vahakn Dadrian's Greatest Embarrassment.)
Dadrian next tries to
justify the 1919-20 Ottoman kangaroo courts. He had to close the book on the
embarrassing Andonian chapter within a paragraph or two, but here he turns into a
regular firecracker. These ersatz courts are Dadrian's bread and butter; without
these courts, Dadrian basically has nothing. (Maybe that is why he is hedging his
bets by trying to keep the legitimacy of the Andonian papers alive.)
Dadrian tries to defend the legitimacy of these courts by writing the Ottoman legal
system was based upon the French system, where the judges get the facts from both
sides in inquisitorial style, rather than the lawyers going at each other as is
commonly known. But even in this inquisitorial system, where judges took a more
active role, the judges maintained a level of neutrality. That is not what happened
with these courts.
The reason why these were kangaroo courts is that the judges practically joined the
side of the prosecution.
The reason for that was mainly the puppet Ottoman administration, under the
occupation of the British, felt the need to satisfy the British. Why don't we let
Dadrian himself explain, as he did during his 2001 Harvard lecture:
"When Turkey at the end of October 1918 laid prostrate
and asked for a suspension of hostilities, the victorious allies — France,
Britain, and Italy — stipulated, among others, a condition to postwar Turkish
authorities... They said, ‘Unless you prosecute and punish the authors of Armenian
deportations and massacres, the conditions of the impending peace will be very
severe and harsh.’ In part, to accommodate the victorious allies, successive
postwar Turkish governments established court martials in Istanbul, Turkey."
A gun was being held to the puppet Ottomans' head. Along with the fact that the
administration of Damad Ferid Pasha was corrupt and would do anything to hold onto
power... as well as being out for revenge against those in the previous
administration... the search to find culprits was on. Otherwise, it would be
curtains for the Turkish nation. The lackeys of the Allies bent over backwards as
far as possible, finding nearly every defendant guilty. The British saved the lives
of some of the defendants, ironically, by taking them away for their own planned
trial, the Malta Tribunal. The end result was that the Allies' lackeys were
rewarded, via the Sèvres Treaty, with the death of the Turkish nation.
Regardless of the outcome, anyone can see the big picture here; these courts were
illegitimate. Just like the Vichy courts under Nazi control could not be found
legal, by any stretch of the imagination.
But it's not the big picture Dadrian is concerned with; otherwise his whole life's
work would crumble. His aim, as usual, is to throw countless little details in our
faces, this time the testimony of men who would say anything to try and save their
To give an idea of how invalid these courts
were, Armenian lawyers such as Hmayak Khosrovian were allowed as "personal
prosecutors" and "private plaintiffs." So on one team, we had the
defense. (Where the defendants could not choose their own lawyers.) On the other
team, we had not one prosecutor, but multiple ones. Add the judge as one of the
prosecutors, and the guilt of the accused was practically a done deal. (Khosrovian
would go on to defend the "Nemesis" assassin of an Azeri official in 1921
Istanbul, Missak Torlakian. The killer walked in this other kangaroo court, this
time held by the British.)
Lewy: "Probably the most serious problem affecting the
probative value of the 1919-20 military court proceedings is the loss of all their
documentation. What is known of the sworn testimony and depositions is limited to
that related secondhand in selected supplements of the official gazette of the
Ottoman government, Takvim-i Vekayi, and press reports. What is not known is the
accuracy of the transcription and whether the newspapers reprinted all or only part
of texts entered as evidence." Lewy then refers to Vehib Pasha's
deposition, featuring an excerpt of what sounds like the general's condemnation of
Behaeddin Shakir, informing us that "Parts of this
deposition were included in the indictment of the main trial and in the verdict of
the Harput trial, but an indictment is not proof of guilt. The context of the quoted
remarks has been lost. While the entire text of the deposition was allegedly read
into the record of the Trabizond trial on March 29, 1919, the proceedings of this
trial are not preserved in any source; only the verdict is reprinted in the official
Dadrian counters with: "Contrary to Lewy’s declaration
that its text, along with the text of other proceedings, is 'not preserved in any
source,' the fact is that the text of General Vehib’s deposition was not only read
into the record in its entirety at the second sitting of the Trabzon trial series
(March 19, 1919), but that entire text was published also in several newspapers of
the period." It sounds like we are talking about two different things:
(1) the proceedings of the Trabzon/Trebizond trial in its entirety (which is what
Lewy meant as not having been preserved in any source), and (2) "Vehib’s deposition ... in its entirety," which
is what Dadrian is referring to as the "entire text...
published ... in several newspapers of the period." Is a trial
transcript supposed to equal a deposition?
Other than the fact that we can't conclusively say the newspapers printed the
"entire" text (how do we know the newspapers managed to cover Vehib's
deposition accurately and entirely?), where is this "record" of the trial?
The only record is what the newspapers managed to salvage. And this is exactly what
Lewy was talking about. Even if the Vehib deposition was transcribed accurately and
completely, is this one mere example supposed to shatter Lewy's argument?
Let's give an ear to how Lewy described Takvim-i Vekayi, as "the official gazette of the Ottoman government."
What does that mean? It means if the government was corrupt (once again: the
government was under occupation by the enemy), why does Dadrian expect us to assume
the government's newspaper would be trustworthy? (Dadrian assures us
"several" newspapers were involved, without naming the others, as if they
would have all been working independently. If others printed this Vehib deposition,
the odds are the information was taken from Takvim-i Vekayi.)
Lewy also wrote (citing a 1999 Dadrian work from the Zoryan
Institute): "According to Dadrian, 'before being
introduced as accusatory exhibits, each and every official document was
authenticated by the competent staff personnel of the Interior Ministry who
thereafter affixed on the top part of the document: "it conforms to the
original."' However, few historians would take period officials at their word
without verification." Who could argue with that? Dadrian does, as
famous as he is for throwing out anything to add his famous smoke and mirrors.
Dadrian tells us, the "competent staff personnel"
were men who "were holdovers of the defunct and banished
Young Turk Ittihadist Party, i.e., the CUP. In other words the residual partisans of
the organization, whose top leaders were being prosecuted for a capital crime, are
being accused of assisting the prosecution by way of accommodative dishonesty—because,
as Lewy puts it, they are 'period officials.' What is the definition of the term
'stretching an argument'?"
First of all, how in the world could Dadrian possibly know the identity of "the competent staff personnel," and whether they
were members of the previous CUP administration, when these records are no longer
available? And even if "the competent staff
personnel" were composed 100% of ex-CUP people, doesn't Dadrian get it?
These courts were out for blood. The ex-CUP people knew they were at the new
administration's mercy, since the new administration was out for revenge upon the
ex-CUP people. With nooses tied loosely around their necks, who wouldn't wag his
tail to make sure that noose doesn't get any tighter? Especially with the knowledge
that these were illegitimate, kangaroo courts.
(Let's make a note here that Dadrian is
vouching for the competence and honesty of these courts, because he'll be
contradicting himself later.)
Since Dadrian asked, a related definition of "stretching an argument" is
to base your response upon dishonesty, in hopes of clouding the mind of the
Dadrian: "Lewy further complains that the
indictment 'is not proof of guilt,' whereas in the present case it legally served as a
major source of evidence-in-chief, unlike in the case of all the other subsidiary
indictments. Articles 130, 214 and especially 222, section, 1 and 2, of the Ottoman
Criminal Code of Procedures spell out this function of the indictment." He
backs up his argument with a list of the evidence, such as telegrams, letters and
documents. Dadrian can throw out all the legal gobbledygook he desires. (And telegrams,
letters and documents may or may not be on the level, like the Andonian papers. Dadrian,
for example, "believes" in Andonian's worth.) The point is, everything can be
fudged to seem legal, and since these kangaroo courts served as official state trials, of
course those behind the trials were going to do everything to put up a legitimate front.
The problem is, the foundation of the state was corrupt. These trials were, for all
intents and purposes, fixed.
As Lewy wrote in his case-closing argument:
"Contemporary Turkish authors dismiss the military tribunals of
1919-20 as tools of Allied retribution. At the time, the victorious Allies considered them
a travesty of justice. The trials, British high commissioner S.A.G. Calthorpe wrote to
London, are 'proving to be a farce and injurious to our own prestige and to that of the
Turkish government.' In the view of Commissioner John de Robeck, the tribunal was such a
failure 'that its findings cannot be held of any account at all.' When the British
government considered holding trials of alleged Ottoman war criminals in Malta, it
declined to use any evidence developed by the 1919-20 Ottoman tribunals."
Now what can anyone say to that? Here were the British, anxious to wipe the Turkish nation
off the face of the earth under the leadership of Lloyd "The Turks are a human
cancer" George. They went crazy to justify their own hysterical Bryce-Toynbee-Blue
Book-Wellington House propaganda during the war years. Simply put, they were desperate to
prove the guilt of the Turks, after having listened to all those horror stories supplied
by missionaries, Armenians and Morgenthau's biased consuls. Yet, as desperate as the
British were.... even they rejected the validity of these 1919-20 Ottoman kangaroo courts.
But you can bet Dadrian will try to weasel his way even out of this tight corner. Brace
yourselves... here it comes:
In response to another section of Lewy's paper, where Lewy wrote that U.S. High
Commissioner Lewis Heck had expressed disapproval that the defendants in the Yozgat court
were tried on the basis of "anonymous court material,"
Dadrian tells us "it is also true that on several occasions
[Heck] unequivocally recognized and denounced 'the great crime' as when he declared, 'The
great majority of the Turkish officials in the interior either actively participated in,
or at least condoned the massacres of the Armenians.'"
So how is Dadrian performing his slippery eel act here? The problem is that the courts are
illegitimate, and an American official has taken note. In order to soften this great blow
to his thesis, Dadrian sneaks up from behind and throws an example of how Heck, like
practically every other American and British official of the period (not to mention
French, Italian, German and Austrian officials), completely bought the hateful and
exclusively presented pro-Armenian propaganda of the times, staking their beliefs on the
age-old brutality of the Terrible Turks.
It's kind of like this:
One of Dadrian's
favorite witnesses is Vehib Pasha, the Third Army Ottoman general, because Vehib
apparently believed in state involvement. I got into this in my other pages
examining Dadrian's works, and don't wish to tread over old ground. Suffice it to
say I don't know why Vehib Pasha felt this way, as of yet. (Unfortunately all the
information I have on Vehib, with the exception of what I will provide below, stems
from Dadrian, at this point.) Maybe Vehib was right. But as far as I can see, he
couldn't have taken time off from his desperate war duties to actively investigate,
and I don't believe he offers anything besides his opinion. Frankly, opinions we
have plenty of, whether they come from biased Western sources like Heck or Stange,
or even from some Turkish sources, who could have been influenced by the hearsay of
others; what we need is factual evidence.
didn't like the man he accused, Shakir, and was petty enough to figure this would be
a good way to put Shakir in a vice-grip. (While Shakir is presented as the
personification of evil in Armenian propaganda, I'm not convinced; he did raise two
Armenian boys.) Maybe Vehib was rattled from a genuine crime he encountered, the
awful slaughter of Ottoman-Armenian troops (which he conducted a court-martial over,
providing proof against the "genocide." No German general tried and hanged
Nazi SS officers for crimes against Jews during WWII), and was predisposed to
believe his government was just no good, not far from how certain current-day Turks
feel about their own government today. Maybe he sensed that his nation was in great
danger from merciless conquerors, and patriotically hoped to appease them with the
condemning words he hoped the Allies would want to hear. (If Arnold Toynbee could
lie for his government, perhaps Vehib Pasha could lie for his.) I don't know.
But let me throw some of Dadrian's own tactics your way, in an attempt to take the
heat off Vehib's testimony supporting the idea of "genocide" (source:
Justin McCarthy's 'Death and Exile,' pp. 198-9):
people old enough to use weapons were rounded up, taken to the Sarikamis
direction for road-building and were slaughtered. The remaining people were subject
to cruelties and murder by Armenians following the withdrawal of the Russians and
were partly annihilated, the corpses thrown into wells, burnt in houses, mutilated
by bayonets, their abdomens ripped open in slaughterhouses, their lungs and livers
torn out, girls and women hung up by their hair, after all kinds of devilish acts.
The few people who were able to survive these cruelties, worse than those of the
Spanish Inquisition, are in poverty, more dead than alive, horrified, some driven
insane, about 1500 in Erzincan and 30,000 in Erzurum. The people are hungry and in
poverty, for whatever they had has been taken away from them, their lands left
The people have just been able to exist with some provisions found in stores left
over from the Russians. The villages round Erzincan and Erzurum are in the worst
condition. Some villages on the road have been levelled to the ground, leaving no
stone on stone, the people completely massacred.
Now note when Vehib Pasha made this report [13/14 March 1334 (1918), Belgeler I, no.
65] to his superiors in Istanbul, he never intended for these words to be
publicized, unlike the testimony he provided a year later for the 1919 kangaroo
courts. So you can bet what he said above was nothing less than the truth. He got
into further detail at another time, where he estimated 1,000 homes had been
destroyed, and where military colleague Ahmet Refik reported in
another private communication that "Erzincan is a
scene of tragedy. Wells are full of the corpses of Moslems. Dismembered bodies,
hands, legs, heads are still spread all over the gardens of the homes":
[Vehib Pasa] From Chardakli-Bogaz to Erzincan I have seen
all the villages destroyed to the point that not one villager's hut has escaped
destruction. The trees in all the orchards have been cut down and all the villagers
are dead. History has not recorded atrocities such as those committed by the
Armenians in Erzincan. For three days we have done nothing but gather up the bodies
of Muslims killed by Armenians then cast aside. Among these innocent victims are
children not yet weaned, ninety year old men, and women cut to pieces.
How did I do? Did I convince you that Vehib's other testimony was illegitimate?
If not, then keep in mind... that is exactly how Vahakn Dadrian, and other
propagandists like him, hope to throw you off track.
(And while we're at it... since Vahakn Dadrian loves Vehib Pasha and can't easily
claim that Vehib Pasha was lying with this testimony showcasing the unbelievable and
REAL savagery of the Armenians...
why does "renowned scholar" Vahakn Dadrian never cover this other side of
the coin? Do you think a real scholar could conscientiously turn a blind eye to all
the horrors the Armenians had committed, the hundreds of thousands that the
Armenians systematically exterminated?)
ADDENDUM (End, 2005):
I learned a little more about Vehib
Pasha. Unfortunately, my "teacher" is once again Vahakn Dadrian.
(From Footnote 12 of Dadrian's objection to Edward Erickson, "The
Armenian Genocide: A New Brand of Denial by the Turkish General Staff - by
Proxy," Sept. 21, 2004; the emphases are mine):
Vehip Pasa (Kaçi), likewise, never
served in the War of Independence, let alone as a "front commander"
(p. 221). Though a successful army commander on the eastern front during World
War I, General Vehip had no involvement at all in the origin, development, or
the molding of the military outcome of the ensuing War of Independence. On the
contrary, he denounced that war as ruinous for the country, at the same
time castigating its chief architect, Mustafa Kemal, as a self-seeking
adventurer. Besides, having fled Turkey in 1919 (escaping from a Bekiraga
prison) and returning there only thirty years later, he would not have had
any participation at all in the War of Independence (1920-1922). During all
this period he wandered all over Europe, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Palestine,
engaging in military consultations for reforms (Egypt) and in military command
activities (Ethiopia) while Mustafa Kemal's fledgling government through law
no. 347 (September 25, 1923) terminated his membership in the Turkish army on
October 18, 1923, and four years later, i.e., May 23, 1927, under the
provisions of law no. 1041, he was divested of his Turkish citizenship.
If the above is true, we can conclude:
 Vehib Pasha was likely in
prison, by the time he gave his March 1919 deposition. Potentially condemned
men have a tendency to make statements jailers want to hear, either
voluntarily or through coercion. His "kangaroo court" testimony, as
with the rest of the output from the 1919-20 trials, cannot be accepted at
 If Vehib Pasha thought Kemal's
War of Independence was "ruinous" for his country, when the
alternative (Sevres Treaty) had already proven itself to be a death sentence,
then we can safely conclude there were times Vehib Pasha could be an
ADDENDUM, Jan. 2007:
" It is impossible to learn whether Vehip made such a statement or not.
He was not brought before the court to testify what was written in deposition,
despite wishes of defendant lawyers. Lets assume they are correct, why then
the British could not use his words in order to prosecute the Ittihadists in
1919? Simple; because the Pasha is not talking about what he knows but
about what is being gossiped around. And moreover he was serving in the
east in 1916 at a time when the genocide was allegedly being carried out. If
he had had some orders received (for genocide) he would have followed them.
[He did not produce anything of the kind]. More importantly, he sent a soldier
to court-martial for killing Armenians at the Labour Battalions. This man (the
soldier) could have saved himself easily by saying that he did what he is
ordered to do. And if the government is pursuing a policy of genocide, how is
it possible for these courts to sentence this soldier to death for offences
committed against Armenians; did the military judges who sentenced this
soldier to death not know about the government policy? "
(Derya Tulga; emphasis
Holdwater: Dadrian tells us two soldiers were
executed, not one. More importantly, the slipperiness of Dadrian becomes
ever more suspect. Since, until this point in the English-speaking
world, only Dadrian has recorded from Ottoman sources what Vehip Pasha was
supposed to have said, we really can't heap credit or blame on Vehip Pasha
until a real scholar takes a look. Dadrian has proven time and again his utter
lack of scruples, in taking statements out of context. The above analysis
makes a gigantic lot more sense.
Let's continue our examination of Dadrian's
Lewy-attack. From above, Dadrian adds:
"As to the other two, in this case, British High
Commissioners, viz., Vice Admiral Sir S.A. Gough Calthorpe and Admiral Sir J. de
Robeck, their disapproval and derogation of these trials was, as I have in detail
explained elsewhere,  primarily derived from their belief that in prosecuting
the authors of the massacres the Military Tribunal was lax and inept, and hence the
trials were 'a farce' and 'a failure,' to the detriment of the Armenians, the
victims. Nor was Malta, a mere temporary detention center, in any way intended to
serve as a venue for any kind of 'trials'."
Dadrian's  footnote refers to Calthorpe and Robeck's lack of faith in how the
puppet Ottomans conducted these trials in U.S. Archival documents dated January 9
and 20 of 1919. Here, Dadrian is trying to worm his way into making us believe that
the two British admirals meant not that the trials were a legal travesty, but that
the prosecution was inadequate, "to the detriment of the
Armenians." Since practically all the defendants were found guilty, and
the top guns of the CUP administration were all sentenced to death in absentia, I
don't know how the puppet Ottomans could have been more harsh. (But of course, these
sentences took place months later; so these British officers couldn't have been
criticizing the fact that the Ottomans weren't tough enough, since in early
January 1919, these trials hadn't begun.)
(Just to clarify, as Lewy wrote: "The most famous trial
took place in Istanbul [in April 28, 1919], but it was not the first. At least six
regional courts convened in provincial cities where massacres had occurred, but due
to inadequate documentation, the total number of courts is not known. The first
recorded tribunal began on February 5, 1919, in Yozgat." That's about
one month after the early January criticisms; the Britons were clearly not alluding
to either the lack of commitment or to the outcome of these trials.)
When S.A.G. Calthorpe wrote that these trials are 'proving to
be a farce and injurious to our own prestige and to that of the Turkish government,'
he clearly couldn't have included the Turkish government if he thought the
Turkish government was being lax or inept. (What was he going to do, protect the
Turkish government at the same time he was putting it down, for not having the
wherewithal to prosecute adequately?)
If the way these trials were conducted were so lax or inept, Dadrian would be shooting
himself once again in the foot, since Dadrian assigns so much importance to
them. (Has what Dadrian written earlier made it sound like the Ottomans were being
lax or inept? Quite the contrary, Dadrian stressed how legally perfect everything
Clearly the British were referring to the unfair "kangaroo court"
proceedings of the trials, which is why they completely threw out what these trials
came up with, when the British decided to go with their own trials, known as the
To emphasize this point further, let's examine the British archival footnotes Lewy
provided: For Calthorpe: Aug. 1, 1919. For De Robeck: Sept. 21, 1919.
Well over half a year after the January footnotes Dadrian provided. This clearly
establishes the officers were unhappy over how fixed and illegitimate these trials
were. It is incredible Dadrian provided such misleading information.
As far as Dadrian's "Nor was Malta, a mere temporary
detention center, in any way intended to serve as a venue for any kind of
'trials,'" this competes as one of Vahakn Dadrian's greater examples of
shameless prevaricating ever. All one has to do is read the British archives to learn how intent
the British were to convict the up to 144 accused Turks of "Armenian
massacres" for over two years. What prevented them? No factual evidence, a
foreign concept to those such as Dadrian. Note how Dadrian, the "renowned
scholar," doesn't dare to go into Malta farther than the one sentence he wrote
above. He even gives himself away with this one sentence. If Malta were a mere
temporary detention center, what was the "venue" for the imprisonment?
Were these internees locked up so far away for laughs? (More on Dadrian and Malta.)
In response to Lewy's point that the 1919-20 trial documents had been lost, Dadrian
writes, "Did the documents disappear by themselves,"
or did the "new masters of Turkey" make sure
of the loss? Since the answer will never be known, Dadrian can speculate all he
desires. The answer is irrelevant; even the British rejected the trial
information for their disputable nature and ultimate uselessness.
ADDENDUM, 4-06: From Dadrian's own pupil: "Dr. Taner Akçam ... insisted that the belief that nearly
all Ottoman documents concerning the Genocide were destroyed by successive
Turkish governments is a misconception. Although no proverbial smoking gun has
been discovered to prove conclusively that the Young Turk government planned and
executed the physical destruction of the Armenian people, there is extensive
documentation relating to the genocidal intent of the regime." Three Turkish
Voices at UCLA, Sevan Yousefian,
The Saints Sahag and Mesrob Church Newsletter, Jan./Feb. 2006, p. 9.
Trap: Armenian propagandists should be aware that by stressing the value of
Ottoman archival evidence... that is, by making a stink about how the evidence was
allegedly destroyed... they are admitting, in a sense, how worthless the rest of
their "evidence," like the Blue Book, really is. If they had credible
evidence that there was a genocide, in other words, they would not feel the need to
resort to Ottoman records.
Dadrian next moves on to give us greater "Special
Organization" detail. He will mainly be using the testimony from these false 1919-20
trials, the validity of which is almost on a par with the accounts of Cotton Mather's
court proceedings, to prove who the real witches were in Salem, Massachusetts.
This is why we have to carefully analyze Dadrian's many assertions of already-demonstrated
"fact," when there is nothing proven, and the "facts" are not even in
the fact stage. The times Dadrian tells us about "the close and
very intimate links between the Special Organization and the top leaders of the Ittihad
party," we have to ponder over which Special Organization he's talking about.
The real Special Organization, which served as the nation's elite force unit or secret
service, dealing in matters such as influencing the Muslims under enemy control, or the
Special Organization that the genocide propagandists have conveniently usurped to serve as
the Ottoman Gestapo. If we are talking about the organization's real role, of course there
are going to be ties between the Special Organization and leaders of the government...
since the Special Organization was a unit of the government.
So now Dadrian is going to go to town, drudging up his endless "weasel facts"
accumulated over many years of single-minded, obsessive research, in order to blow his
usual smoke, in an effort to disprove Lewy's statement that "there
is no evidence beyond the indictment of the main trial that the Special Organization, with
large number of convicts enrolled in its ranks, took the lead role in the massacres."
Lewy summed up the story behind this special force:
"The Special Organization, which developed between 1903 and
1907, only adopted its name in 1913. Under the direction of Enver Pasha and the command of
many talented officers, the Special Organization functioned like a special forces outfit.
Philip Stoddard, the author of the only full scholarly study of the group, called it 'a
significant unionist vehicle for dealing with both Arab separatism and Western
imperialism.' At its peak, it enrolled about 30,000 men. During World War I, the Ottoman
command used it for special military operations in the Caucasus, Egypt, and Mesopotamia.
In 1915, for example, Special Organization units seized key oases along the Ottoman line
of advance against the Suez Canal. The regime also used the Special Organization to
suppress 'subversion' and 'possible collaboration' with the external enemy. However,
according to Stoddard, this activity targeted primarily indigenous nationalists in Syria
and Lebanon. The Special Organization, he maintained, played no role in the Armenian
So here we have Stoddard, a Western scholar, who looked into the true nature of this elite
force/secret service, in a far greater degree than the single-minded Vahakn Dadrian, and
knew the group had nothing to do with the Armenians.
That is, unless they went after the many Ottoman-Armenians who were armed and posing as a
serious military threat behind the lines of the Ottoman Army. (Here's just one example from the middle of the
country, far from the eastern war zone, in Sivas.)
After all, this is what special forces do. You don't waste "special forces" in a
desperate war where there are super-powered enemies at every front, in a life and death
struggle, by massacring defenseless Armenians. (Dadrian himself told us — through his
"Action Priest" source — that the Muslims were such fanatics, all they needed
was a call from the mosque's imam to do away with the Armenians, armed with
"hatchets, meat cleavers, saddler’s knives, cudgels, axes, pickaxes, shovels."
If Armenians were to be exterminated, the government needed to look no further than their
own kill-crazy Muslim populace... especially since, as Dadrian told us, "protracting
the agony" of the victims was the idea.)
What special forces are generally used for are precision missions that are hard to solve
militarily through normal methods. For example: let's say the United States government
should embark on a plan to massacre innocent civilians, especially when there is a
desperate war, and manpower and resources are critically short. Would the USA waste an
elite unit such as the Navy Seals or the Delta Force for such a mission? The
very idea would be absurd.
But the Special Organization Dadrian describes sounds like a very un-special organization,
composed of para-military consisting of ex-convicts, the so-called "chettes."
(Chettes are unruly, lawless, partisan gangs.) Falih Rifki Atay speaks of being recruited
for what he calls an "army of massacrers," when
being recruited by "Dr. Nazim, another architect of the
Armenian genocide." As Dadrian has demonstrated his penchant for taking things
out of context, it's going to be difficult to comment on sources that we only have his
word on. (These are mainly hard-to-find books from Turkey, written in Turkish.)
"Dr. Nazim was in charge of recruiting volunteers (gönüllüs)
for operations that were 'non-military,'" according to a military man in the
unreliable 1919 trials, already casting doubt on whether the organization referred to was
the Special Organization, since the purpose of the Specvial Organization was
"military." "The young applicant wrote that he was
repulsed by the idea of such an 'army of massacrers.'" How odd that the way to
recruit volunteers would lie in accentuating the fact that a requirement was to massacre.
I can hear the jingle for the commercial: "Be... all you can be. Massacre!"
Does that make sense, for the "recruiting officer" to reveal such an abominable
task as a selling point... or even as the required duty? Perhaps the applicant was told a
requirement would be to kill when needed, as any soldier would need to kill. I can't
imagine even the SS in Hitler's Germany saying off the bat to the applying volunteer that
it would be the expected duty to massacre innocent women and children. Now, of course,
this is a "Turk" who is supposedly saying such things, as much as Dadrian
chooses to reveal. And who am I to question what a "Turk" would say, especially
when the criminal Turks confess to their genocidal crime? (Turks are only to be questioned
when they deny the genocide.) But believe it or not, Turks are human beings just as open
In the same vein that there were Germans who believed in the
genocide strictly from hearsay, there were Turks who would believe in such things, too...
depending on what they "heard." For example, someone who attended a Taner Akcam
conference explained that a Turk in the audience leaned over to her and asked, are Akcam's
claims true? After all, a "Turk" is saying these things, so it must be believed.
Therefore when Dadrian winds up his Falih Rifki Atay story by writing, "In a subsequent article in his newspaper, he went so far as to
suggest that the massacres against the Armenians could well be characterized as
'genocide,'" what did Mr. Atay base his opinion on? Did he get into this
subject inside and out, or did he look at it from the surface, as most people do?
I have no idea who Falih Rifki is, as with many of these other
Turks, other than the information Dadrian is providing. But I'll bet he wasn't as much of
a genocide proponent as Dadrian is indicating. (For example: from what Dadrian chooses to
reveal above, "could well be" characterizing as genocide is far different than
flat out characterizing as genocide. To illustrate, O. J. Simpson could well have
committed murder, as many believe. However, a court of law stated otherwise. Nobody can
conclusively say Simpson committed murder.)
Here is a reference from "The Armenian File" regarding
Fatih Rifki, indicating at least that he agreed the 1919 kangaroo courts were
"inept," given the railroading of CUP leader Jemal (where he was condemned to
death): "Sad Destiny! There are many who still like and miss Jemal Pasha in Syria,
where he condemned to death and executed many of the prominent Arab leaders. Jemal Pasha
was killed by the Armenians, among whom he had saved tens of thousands with his own
hand." (Zeytindagi, 1938, p. 50)
Then we have Ahmet Refik Altinay, who wrote a 1994 book called, "Two
Committees, Two Massacres," and here's how Dadrian describes him: "Another reserve officer ... at the start of World War I, and
subsequently with duties as deportation official, in a book published in the wake
of that war with great compassion lamented the nightmare of the Armenian
genocide. In doing so, he singled out the brigands, the 'chettes' of the Special
Organization who, he said 'committed the greatest crimes,' (en buyuk cinayetteri)
during that genocide." A 1994 book is described as having been published
in the wake of World War I? Aren't we off by eighty years? (Perhaps this was a
reprint, as the author was likely dead by 1994... but note how contradictory the
provided information sounds) And can we be sure the "chettes" referred to
are not the usual bandits, but actually attached to the Special Organization? (I'm
suspicious here, because Dadrian did not include "Special Organization" as
part of the quotation, and he has a tendency to "editorialize." Only a
reading of the book will tell how well in context these claims are.
If we substitute the word "relocation" for Dadrian's word of
"genocide," then I'll bet we would get a truer picture of the author's
intent. (Relocation is not genocide. If the Turkish author wrote relocation, is it
right for Dadrian to misrepresent this meaning?) Any human being, especially Turks,
would be compassionate to the great suffering of the Armenians, as they were being
displaced. Yes, this relocation process must have been a "nightmare."
(Although the majority of Armenians reached their destinations unmolested. But the
journey was no fun for anyone.) And there were "chettes" of Kurds and
others that attacked the convoys, committing "the greatest crimes."
(Whether the "chettes" in the book were specifically described as
belonging to the "Special Organization" remains questionable.)
It seems like this is the same Ahmet Refik as the one referred to above,
who had witnessed the savage acts of the Armenians in 1918. (If the same person, Death
and Exile describes him, on pg. 240, as "Head of Section, General
Headquarters"; perhaps Dadrian took liberty with the description of
"deportation official." Granted, Refik might have had a different job two
to three years prior to 1918. But if there were a job of "deportation
official," it doesn't sound like a valuable military man would have been spared
for this secondary role during desperate wartime.) I'd imagine the second half of
his "Two Committees, Two Massacres" book details the massacres
overseen by the Armenian committees. Is it fair for Vahakn Dadrian to try to
neutralize Gwynne Dyer's
testimony, as Dadrian does with footnote 27, by pointing to times Dyer came across
as pro-Armenian... when Dadrian is content only to take the damning portions of
Ahmet Refik's testimony, leaving out the parts where Refik likely condemned the
Armenians? (Mar. 2006 ADDENDUM: My suspicions were
correct. Since Dadrian has utilized Ahmet Refik as such a reliable witness, then the
prosecutor should have no trouble in having us accept these other revelations from "Two
Committees, Two Massacres." In addition, the book appears to have first
been published in 1919 Istanbul.)
There is now an obsessive "genocide network" within Turkey itself, working
just as diligently to dig up the genocide dirt for this profitable industry. One way
I've become aware of this was through a correspondence with Dennis Papazian, where
the Armenian Research Center professor forwarded a pro-genodice Turkish clipping
that was sent to him by a Turkish genocide believer within Turkey. So the army of
genocide advocates has extended to Turkey, and they are helping by going through
past and present Turkish books and articles, singling out the damning parts... and
Dadrian, who has a whole reservoir of these Turkish sources by now, is throwing at
us every single Turk who thinks there was a genocide, or any other Turkish
"massacre" reference. If he makes it seem like there is a plethora of such
Turks giving their individual opinions, then he will have it even more made, because
the lazy-thinking world will have greater reason to ignore the facts, since even all
of these lazy-thinking Turks agree there was a genocide.
(Not to say if a Turk, or anyone else for that matter, who says there was a genocide
should be dismissed. Of course, we have to listen to these people, because if there
really was a genocide, then we would need to accept it. But in order to determine
whether there was a genocide, we need facts. Real facts. Not hearsay. And certainly
not twisted misrepresentations as Vahakn Dadrian offers, in the service of his
(Perhaps I should elaborate as to what would be considered real evidence. For
example: when an important Armenian leader like Boghos
Nubar flat-out admitted that all Armenians [especially including
Ottoman-Armenians] had militarily allied themselves against the Ottomans, that is
real evidence to be respected. When an important Armenian leader like Hovhannes Katchaznouni flat-out
admitted — contrary to the usual presented reasons, such as "jihad" —
that the one and only reason as to why the Armenians suffered their fate was because
the Ottoman-Armenian revolutionary groups plotted against their country, that is
real evidence to be respected. When an important Ottoman leader like Talat Pasha
flat-out admitted that every Armenian man, woman and child needed to be killed, that
is real evidence to be respected. Because the last one never happened, and because
Armenian propagandists recognized the dire need for such respectable evidence, they
went ahead and invented the evidence. The reason why there is no true genocidal
evidence is the reason why an unscrupulous propagandist like Vahakn Dadrian would
still strive to make you believe the last one actually happened, with Dadrian's
pathetically lingering support of the Andonian forgeries.)
So when Dadrian refers to one of his favorite "liberal"
writers to bear witness, Ahmed Emin (Yalman), what do we make of his claim (via
Dadrian) "referring to the same 'chettes' of the Special
Organization, testified that these criminal bands 'directly pursued the goal of
extermination' by attacking and destroying countless Armenian deportation
convoys."? (Again, the "Special Organization" is not included
within the quotation marks, so we don't really know if Yalman was referring to the
regular brigands — the Kurds and Arabs, for example — or whether Dadrian is
slipping one past us. Even if Yalman was referring to the Special Organization as
the actual chettes or as sponsoring the regular brigands, how do we go from this
"opinion" to "fact"? Did Yalman study the operations of this
unit as a true scholar would? It doesn't sound like it. First of all, if there were
an extermination campaign directed against the Armenians who were marching to the
lands of resettlement, "zero" would have survived. Yet, we know from Henry
Morgenthau's private letters that an Armenian representative himself said 500,000 were alive and "at
Zor were fairly well satisfied; that they have already settled down to business and
are earning their livings." (Sept. 1915.) By the time the
"genocide" was all but over, April 1916's "Treatment" propaganda
report by Arnold Toynbee told us 500,000 were up and running. Even Dadrian has conceded there were one million survivors
by war's end. (The Armenian Patriarch figured 1,260,000 in 1918's tail end.)
The pre-war population was around 1.5 million, according to the consensus of
"neutral" Western opinion. (Toynbee thought around one million, the year before
he became a propagandist.)
Since Dadrian tries to sell us on the idea that the Muslim Turks were and are
genetically predisposed to kill, at least let the Turks succeed in the one area they
are good at! And allowing for two-thirds of the original population to survive is
really a very poor way to run an extermination program.
Dadrian can't let go of Yalman, and quotes another opinion of his, from another
book: these deportations "…meant the extermination of
the Armenian minority in Turkey."
Since Dadrian likes Jay Winter, having used him as a source in the last footnote,
Jay Winter himself wrote ("The Great War," 1996, p. 148):
"...[D]eportation — a time-honoured strategy in nineteenth-century Turkey
— while tantamount to death for the old, the weak and the infirm, was not
If Yalman wanted to opine the "deportations" led to the easy conclusion of
"genocide," he was welcome to his uneducated opinion. The relocation of a
people does not constitute genocide. (Especially when they are moved to another area
of their own country, and not "deported" outside the country's borders.)
Perhaps what Yalman meant was that the Armenians got kicked out of their traditional
lands. (The resettling was meant to be a temporary measure, and the option was given
for the Armenians to return at war's
end, but many chose not to. It would be more correct to say many Armenians chose to
leave, as there were still up to 644,900 [again, from an original population of
around 1.5 million] in 1921's diminished Ottoman Empire, according to the Armenian
Patriarch. According to Hovannisian, some 500,000 Ottoman-Armenians had already
moved to Transcaucasia on their own accord, since the Ottomans did not control this
region, and many thousands had gone elsewhere.) Since Armenians didn't choose to
return or voluntarily left for greener pastures, the presence of Armenians in
Anatolia disappeared. One can refer to the idea of disappearance in several ways. In
the 1930 English language book this quote has been credited to, perhaps Yalman was
thinking of the Latin basis of "extermination," which means "to drive
Turkish as well as German civilian and military sources,
Dadrian maintained, confirm ...the employment of convicts in Special Organization
death squads. But Dadrian's references do not always prove his claims. While the
Ottoman government released convicts during World War I in order to increase its
manpower pool for military service, there is no evidence beyond the indictment of
the main trial for the assertion that the Special Organization, with large numbers
of convicts enrolled in its ranks, took the lead role in the massacres. Nor was the
presence of convicts abnormal. Use of convicts for military duty in wartime had
precedent including use by U.S. and British armies. During World War I, U.S. courts
released almost 8,000 men convicted of serious offenses on condition of their
induction into military service.
Furthermore, it is inaccurate to say that “the Ottoman
government released convicts…in order to increase its manpower pool for military
service” (p. 4). Available evidence points to a different direction. The most
striking testimony contradicting this assertion is provided by Colonel Behic Erkin,
the chief of the department for procurement of supplies (Ikmal Subesi) in the
Ottoman War Office. In his testimony before the Ottoman Parliament during the war he
declared: "The majority of the convicts is not being sent directly to the
frontlines but rather to the Special Organization thereby [affording them a chance]
to render patriotic services."
No, it is NOT inaccurate to say the convicts were released to increase the manpower
pool for military service. The reason why Armenian brigands had a field day
slaughtering innocent Muslim and other villagers is because every able-bodied
Turkish man was needed at the multiple fronts, fighting superpower enemies. There
was a severe shortage of manpower. (In fact, it's said some of these convicts
guarded the Armenian convoys, because there was simply not enough men to go around.
And the priority for the first-quality men would have necessarily gone to the urgent
task of defending the nation, rather than to defend the Armenians.)
The problem with Dadrian's example is that he is telling us it is a
"given" that the Special Organization was the Ottoman Gestapo whose
purpose was to exterminate the Armenians. As covered already, that was not the
purpose of the Special Organization. For those of us who can see that the Special
Organization was a bona fide unit in charge of special military activities, sending
convicts to this unit meant nothing less than using them for military service.
Military service entails much more than being sent to the front. Another example is
when the Armenians in the Ottoman Army needed to be disarmed after proving
themselves not to be trusted. They were assigned to the engineering corps to perform
labor; that is, to become "pack animals," as Armenian propaganda tells us.
However way you put it, these Armenian troops were in the military, providing
military service, without being sent to the fronts to be killed or maimed... like
the Turkish soldiers were.
To discount Lewy's "argument that there
is no evidence that these Special Organization brigands 'took the lead role in the
massacres,'" Dadrian offers the hearsay evidence of the 1919-20 kangaroo court
trials that even the British wouldn't touch. The words of frightened men anxious to point
fingers in order to save themselves is not what we would call admissible evidence.
Two of them were caught dead to rights, Dadrian tells us, after the presentation of cipher
telegrams bearing their names; they changed their tune fast, afterwards.
If there really were an extermination policy reaching into the far corners of the empire,
there needed to be a ton of such telegrams to convey orders, and all the many sub-orders
needed to fine-tune such a gigantic program. If these kangaroo courts were able to come up
with incriminating telegrams so easily, how come nobody else has been able to?
Particularly when the Ottoman archives were immediately assigned to the care of an
Armenian by the British. The British took over Istanbul immediately at war's end,
confiscating all the official documents in the archives office. They didn't give a chance
for the Ottoman officials to "purge" anything, as the CUP top dogs in particular
were only concerned with beating a hasty exit. (And we all know how disorganized the
"a la Turca" Turks have a reputation for being, unlike the stereotypical
meticulousness of, say, the Germans. Even if the officials had the time and were of the
mind to make a getaway with the goods, where would they have looked? In the handy
"genocide" closet?) This Armenian, Haigazn K. Khazarian (along with his probable
Armenian staff; incidentally, this man was cited in Lewy's footnote 20, as "Haigaz K.
Kazarian," for having written a 1966 Armenian Review article partly entitled, "The
Genocide of Kharpert's Armenians"), scoured the state archives for over two
years, particularly to find "massacre evidence." (And the British took some of
these documents with them, as some may be found in the British archives today;
unfortunately for genocide-lovers, the documents that the British appropriated mostly
indicate the reverse of ill intent.) How come not a single such telegram could be found?
Could these telegrams introduced at the courts have been of the "Andonian"
variety? Who knows? These kangaroo courts were not concerned with the truth. Maybe the two
accused Turks realized they were being given a raw deal, and tried to salvage their lot as
best as possible. So if one of them "admitted that Talaat’s
Interior Ministry was involved ... in recruiting and deploying the S.O.
convict-brigands" (and "assisted in the enactment
of the law allowing their release from the prisons") maybe he felt it was good
strategy to do so. When we're dealing with bodies that have little respect for law,
anything is possible.
But when we read their "confessions" carefully, what do they actually reveal? On
the surface, they prove Dadrian's contention that the Special Organization employed
convicts, as with the quote directly above. That's not the point; Lewy already stated
convicts formed part of the ranks. What Dadrian is attempting to prove is whether "these Special Organization brigands 'took the lead role in the
massacres.'" If we should momentarily entertain the notion that these 1919-20
courts were actually legal, there is an unnamed witness who accuses Dr. Shakir and the
convict-brigands of engaging in "killing operations." That's the worst of it.
This is described as part of the Harput trial, which I believe was completed in
mid-January, 1920, and only had four defendants; there were "some
dozen ... Turkish witnesses testif[ying] in the Harput trial series," as
Dadrian wrote in footnote 7. Dadrian informs us there was a similar reinforcement of the
murder charge "in the Responsible Secretaries Verdict," whatever that was.
It's the top leaders of the Special Organization whose testimony would be more to the
point, and not just some Tom, Dick or Haluk who can give any damning evidence. So if we
look at the defendants who were caught by surprise with their own telegrams, what did they
say? They reversed themselves regarding the Special Organization's role about the
"deportations." (According to footnote 21, Dadrian tells us they made it a point
to deny a relationship between the S.O. and the CUP, which is odd, because obviously the
CUP was the boss of the S.O.; this is not one and the same as denying S.O. involvement
with the "deportations." The second footnote 21 source is Yalman, "who shared prison life with these leaders." That's
misleading; as far as I've been able to determine, Yalman was interned only at Malta (in
other words, he was not part of the Ottoman court martials, but I don't know that for a
fact) which carried prisoners of all stripes from the Prime Minister on down to P.O.W.
camp wardens... and not necessarily the "top leaders of the Special
Organization," even though there might have been one or two or more people connected
with the Special Organization at Malta. ("Top leaders" would be another matter.)
Let me clarify: when Dadrian writes about "the top leaders of the S.O. ...during
their trials," he is talking only about the 1919-20 kangaroo courts, since the Malta
Tribunal never went to trial. He offers footnote 21 as his evidence, but footnote 21 only
refers to Malta, at least regarding Yalman, who was the only direct witness. The other
footnote 21 reference is to a political scientist, who offers speculation.
They reluctantly admitted "during their trials the fact of the
engagement of those ex-convicts and their cohorts in the operations of 'Armenian
deportations.'" We already know convicts were used as gendarmes guarding the
convoys; could these have been the Special Organization convicts referred to? Dadrian is
trying to prove that these convicts were used as killing units, and Armenian propaganda
tells us the gendarmes killed off the Armenians. But I suppose what Dadrian is trying to
pass off here is the notion of the S.O. convicts having formed a special unit, whose job
was to deliberately set upon the Armenians, with the intent of slaughter. For example, the
gendarmes would lead the convoys until... these S.O. convicts would be lying in wake,
waiting to ambush the Armenians in a killing spree? Is that the idea the "renowned
scholar" is trying to sell us?
That's not the way it worked. If "witness to genocide," Missionary Mary Graffam's testimony is to be believed (this
highly hostile witness actually accompanied an Armenian convoy from Sivas), the
perpetrators doing the attacking were Kurds. There were no special "army" units
composed of convicts whose job was to exterminate Armenians. If there were, the majority
of Armenians could not have survived.
Dadrian mentions these courts revealed for the first time that "the
S.O. had two divisions and missions for the purpose of combating external but also
internal enemies." That makes sense, since the Ottoman Empire had enemies of
both varieties. If the S.O. was used to track down the Armenian rebels, that would be
classified under "war," not genocide.
Such is the unfortunately deceptive nature of extremist Armenians. When they attacked in
military style, sometimes they would lose. When they lost, they would cry to the world
that they had been "massacred."
Dadrian then goes on to say "Three noted Turkish specialists of the S.O. explicitly declare
that the Central Committee of CUP served as both the brain and the actively involved
organizer of the S.O." Since the S.O. was a legitimate arm of the
government, that would only make sense. For example, the U.S. federal government
would similarly be the "boss" of the CIA. We are given two other
references emphasizing the connection between the S.O. and the CUP. Fine; we know
there's a connection. Get on with trying to prove whether the S.O. was involved in
killing the Armenians.
But that's about it. Dadrian tried to disprove Lewy's contention that "there is no evidence that these Special Organization brigands
'took the lead role in the massacres,'" and aside from the hearsay of
one mysterious witness from the unreliable Harput trial (along with the mysterious
"Responsible Secretaries Verdict"), I haven't been able to see anything
"Lewy evidently failed to understand all these sinister
and criminal missions of the S.O., all recorded in Ottoman and modern Turkish,
because of the failure to understand..." Give us a break, already. It's
a fine thing for a non-scholar like the haughty Vahakn Dadrian, who only looks at
one side of a story, to patronize a true scholar like Guenter Lewy.
Dadrian continues to pile on more Turkish
references; he's like the old entertainer Jimmy Durante, whose catch phrase was, "I've
got a million of 'em." It's this carpet bombing technique by which Dadrian
hopes to confuse, dizzying the reader with sheer numbers. But do any of these
references prove anything? Dadrian is in the last round of his article, so they had
He found a "Turkish author" who wrote: "The
Special Organization and trustworthy Ittihadists (i.e., CUP folk), pursued the goal of radically solving (temelden cözülmesi) the
Armenian question…they [in fact] organized and carried out the deportations on a
large scale and systematically. Dr. B. Chakir championed this policy at the councils
of the CUP’s Central Committee." (Since Dadrian began his essay by
nit-picking on what appears to have been Lewy's small errors, perhaps I should
return the compliment. I wonder why Dadrian spelled Sakir or Shakir's name with a
Dadrian opines: "In fact the same reference to radical,
i.e., 'final solution' is found in Interior Minister Talaat’s petition to the
Ottoman wartime Cabinet when he went through the formalities of seeking
authorization for the deportation of the Armenians."
Oh, is that what "radical" means? This is what happens when one deals with
a one note propagandist anxious to prove his agenda at every turn. No,
"radical" in this context does not mean "final solution." If it
meant "final solution," there would have been a definite reference to the
No, "radical" means exactly what the author, Talaat, wrote (although
probably the author used the Arabic word "tehjir," or 'changing one's
location'; "deportations" have the nastier connotation of exile, and
that's Dadrian's subjective translation at work): the Armenians were trouble. The
Armenians were moved away. Relocation is not genocide.
(The author of the above, by the way, is Dogan Avcioglu, whose book title translates
to "The History of National Liberation. From 1838 to 1995." The
curious thing is, if the footnote information is correct, the publication of this
history leading to 1995 came out in 1974.)
Dadrian has taken similar liberties with a Turkish source that deals
with the leading Special Organization official, Esref Kusçubasi. At the outbreak of World
War I, Esref was director of Special Organization operations in Arabia, the Sinai, and
North Africa. Captured while on a mission to Yemen in early 1917, the British military
sent him to Malta where he remained until 1920. British officers interrogated Esref, but
he denied any involvement with the Armenian massacres. He died in 1964 at the age of
91. Dadrian has argued that Esref admitted participating in the massacres in an
interview with the Turkish author Cemal Kutay. Closer inspection, though, reveals
Esref made no such admission. The assertion was instead constructed by selective ellipses
and inaccurate paraphrasing.
In his response, Dadrian came up with an "insider," Arif Cemil (Denker), who
claimed the Caucasus operations of the S.O. were a front for the real goal, the pursuit of
"lofty ideals as the Islamic Union and Turkism." Dadrian does not provide a
footnote. Dadrian however, does add that Denker "chronicled the
minute details of these operations on the Caucasus front," which makes it
sound like there were substantial enough operations to be chronicled. I guess the
implication here is that the S.O. was so busy massacring Armenians that they needed to
pretend they were busy elsewhere, kind of like organized mobsters who engage in phony
storefront businesses to make it look like they're making legitimate livings. The only
flaw to this theory is that there was a real war going on at the time, and among the
enemies was the Ottoman Empire's most mortal one, Russia. The number one priority of the
"Sick Man" would have been to protect itself against a foe which had engaged in
"death and exile" strategies for centuries. I don't think there was a luxury to
play such games.
According to Dadrian, Lewy's source Esref Kuscubasi corroborated the above: "Speaking of 'the basic objective' (temel gayesi) of the S.O., he
disdainfully dismisses 'the belief and the supposition that the S.O.’s mission consisted
in securing unadulterated information, reconnaissance, and in triggering uprisings and
incidents in enemy countries….' He goes on to say that objective in reality consists in
'enabling Islam, which we embody as the essence of our moral order, to become an effective
force in our foreign policy.'"
That's quite a contradiction with what Lewy had written; I would have been more convinced
had Dadrian translated the "disdainfully dismisses" part. As it is, that
key description could be Dadrian's typical editorializing; as could be the
"Islam" part. Only the reading of the Turkish source would tell the tale, which
is described as "Cemil, Ici Dünya [n.25], p. 11," whatever that is.
Is the idea that all the secret agent or special military force activity a cover-up to
pursue a pan-Islamist goal? Given that the CUP leaders were not that into Islam (some
propaganda sites get off on claiming they were Masonists, or Jews), that sounds
ridiculous. There was pan-Turkic and pan-Islamist talk in some circles, but such did not
become national policy. (As this passage
by David Fromkin relates.) Perhaps this fellow was an extremist spouting his wishful
thinking, or perhaps he was alluding to something entirely different.
Dadrian reports S.O. leader Kuscubasi regarded as a threat the "the
non-Muslim minorities of the Empire, especially the Greeks on the Aegean coastline,"
and was involved in a "secret decision to eliminate these
minorities." Here's the evidence:
"The S.O., operating outside the sphere of the government but
through the agencies of the War Ministry and the CUP’s Cental Committee, primarily
became concerned, as a result of a series of secret meetings at the War ministry, about
the goal of liquidating (tasfiyesi) the non-Turkish masses of populations which were
located in strategic areas and were under foreign and negative influences."
I had no knowledge of the word, "tasfiyesi," and "liquidation" is one
of the definitions in my dictionary. But the primary definition is "clearing
up." So when you clear up a problem, the idea is to solve the problem. According to
Vahakn Dadrian, this will boil down to ideas like extermination. But what it really means,
as history demonstrates in this case, is clearing up in the sense of moving the
trouble-makers out of there. There was no extermination of the Armenians, otherwise the
majority could not have possibly survived. Moving the trouble-makers meant resettling them
out of the danger areas. Most especially, the main group being referred to here, the
Greeks on the Aegean coastline, were anything but exterminated. After the war, there were
population exchanges between Greece and Turkey, which Turcophobes also enjoy pointing to
as yet another "genocide."
When we encounter words such as "liquidate," "eliminate,"
"exterminate," and "annihilate" by genocide partisans as parts of
translations, one must be very wary. Very much like when Dennis Papazian, in his "Misplaced
Credulity," simply summarized
that Morgenthau's putting such words as "dispose" and "take care of"
into the mouth of Talat Pasha meant that Talat confessed "that
he wants to kill all the Armenians in Anatolia and that three quarters of them are already
dead. Nothing could be clearer." These distortions are simply mind-boggling.
The footnote: "Quoted in Celâl Bayar, Bende Yazdim (I Too Have Written), v.5,
Istanbul, Baha, p. 1573." (Is that supposed to be a book? Dadrian should make it
easier for readers to track these sources down, if they wish to; doesn't he believe in
providing a year?)
Dadrian continues: "In categorically declaring that this very
same S.O. chieftain, Esref Kuscubasi, was in no way involved in the Armenian massacres
and, as he puts it, 'closer inspection reveals Esref made no such admission' regarding
involvement (p. 4), Lewy, inadvertently perhaps, is exposing the stark possibility of his
lack any knowledge [sic] of Turkish."
Esref Kuscubasi did not make any admission to have massacred Armenians. Dadrian appears to
have distorted the meaning with his agenda-ridden translations. But Dadrian has pulled
another fast one. Lewy was referring to the following source when he charged, "Closer inspection, though, reveals Esref made no such admission. The
assertion was instead constructed by selective ellipses and inaccurate paraphrasing":
Cemal Kutay, Birinci Dünya Harbinde Teşkilat-i Mahsusa Ve Hayber'de Türk Cengi
(Istanbul: Tarih Yayinlari, 1962), pp. 18, 36, 78.
That source does not match Dadrian's. And this new source Dadrian provides does not
contain any "admission"... at least not in terms of "participating in the
Dadrian innocently asks, "was (Lewy) abused or misled by
interlopers or any other kind of outside help?"
Lewy probably doesn't know Turkish, Dadrian must be right about that. But if Lewy found
someone who knew the language to lend a hand, what a distorted mind Dadrian possesses in
thinking this Turk would have deliberately "used" Lewy with a deceptive
translation. Turks are painfully apathetic when it comes to this genocide madness. Because
Dadrian has an incredible obsession with the topic, and chooses to mislead with as much as
he can get away with, he figures Turks must be of the same mentality.
But Dadrian is too clever to leave himself open, and not refer to the source Lewy
presented. (Referring only to the p. 78 segment, however, and not the rest.)
Dadrian writes, "Indeed, in vehemently reacting to wartime Grand-Vizier Said
Halim’s assassination by an Armenian avenger in Rome 1921, Kuscubasi voluntarily
inculpated himself while exculpating the Grand Vizier."
"Armenian avenger"? Is Dadrian
referring to the fanatical "Nemesis" assassin, Arshavir Shirakian? The
victim, Said Halim, was not guilty of anything; he had been released by the British
after being held in Malta for around two years or more. The British desperately
tried to find the evidence to convict him, and failed. The Pasha was released, as
the rest of his Malta co-prisoners... not guilty. (Shirakian would move on to become
co-killer to two more Ottoman leaders, including Dr. Shakir, in 1922 Berlin. If
anyone escaped justice, it was this murderer, who lived comfortably in the USA until
That is very offensive for Dashnak-devotee Dadrian to hero-worship such a criminal,
by using a word such as "avenger"... as if this fanatical Armenian had the
moral right to kill an innocent man.
(Dadrian himself tells us Said Halim "emphatically denounced 'The Armenian massacres' twice"
before the phony 1919 courts, just as any Turk would have and does. The fact that
there were Armenian massacres does not mean the government had committed them, and
it certainly doesn't mean Said Halim was involved.)
The following is how Kuscubasi "voluntarily inculpated
himself," according to Dadrian, in Lewy's source:
"The assassination of this martyr as a guilty party is a
crime and an injustice without example. I categorically reject this accusation in my
capacity as a person who performed secret duties in the events [i.e., the Armenian
deportations and massacres] that transpired in this respect."
When Lewy implied that Dadrian was guilty of deceit with his use of "selective
ellipses and inaccurate paraphrasing," perhaps Lewy was referring to passages
from other pages Dadrian did not go near. (Specifically, pp. 18, 36; Dadrian only
referred to p. 78.) However one looks at it, Dadrian is guilty of distortion. There
were certainly "events" that took place with the Armenians. Of course
Dadrian helpfully interprets, telling us what this word means is that Kuscubasi was
basically in charge of murder. Events could mean Armenian betrayal; hunting down the
ten of thousands of armed Armenian bandits; and certainly the relocation process. In
no fashion does the above passage by Kuscubasi mean that Kuscubasi was guilty.
another murdering Armenian hero
What this means is that Kuscubasi was in a
position to know better, as to ascertaining the guilt or innocence of his one-time
leader. If Dadrian is looking for an admission (which is how one would put blame
upon, or inculpate, oneself), he would need to provide direct words on the order of
"I killed Armenians" (as the one Dadrian provided elsewhere with Enver's
uncle, which I'm hoping to get to the bottom of; if Dadrian wants a real criminal's
admission, since Armenian guerillas must have almost certainly been killed, the
words should read, "I killed defenseless Armenians," sort of like:
"All Turkish children also should be killed as they form a danger to the
Armenian nation." (Hamparsum "Murad" Boyaciyan, one of those mass
murderers responsible for the slaughters in Erzincan that Vehib Pasha witnessed, above. If Murad was on record for saying, "I was responsible
for, ehhh, events," that would not be an admission.)
(ADDENDUM: It is possible the
"Murad" behind the quote was another Murad, "of Sivas," and not
Boyaciyan; see this update.)
"Moreover, he (Kuscubasi) also confirms that the S.O. performed
tasks that went beyond 'intelligence gathering' and involved the resort to secret
operations that served to effectively deal with those non-Turkish elements who were
suspect in terms of their fidelity and attachments to the central authorities."
We already listed the functions of the S.O., and we already are aware they went beyond
mere 'intelligence gathering.' It's good to get a confirmation from a Special Organization
insider that the unit was not a cover-up for putting into effect an "Islamic Union
and Turkism," as the other insider claimed through select quotes. Just as it's the
duty of our country's FBI to do something about anti-American elements, naturally it would
be the job of this secret unit to do what they could against elements demonstrating an
infidelity with the nation... particularly during dangerous wartime. Every nation has
operations conducting missions in secret, as the USA has the CIA. "Secret
operations" do not automatically translate to "genocide."
Dadrian has quoted Kuscubasi as saying:
"It is certain that these truly secret operations were kept
secret even from Cabinet Ministers. They were operations that the regular organs of the
government and even security organs could absolutely not handle."
So if these secret operations actually involved a plan to
exterminate Armenians... and the above does not admit to such a thing, with an anxious
Dadrian attempting to claim confessions where they don't exist... that certainly would
remove the government from responsibility. We would be dealing with renegades, on the
order of Oliver North's Iran-Contra shenanigans. (At least what we were told about Oliver
North; his President said he didn't remember; North said he was authorized to do all.)
"In the light of all this, Lewy’s apologia that not the
Special Organization but 'more likely the perpetrators were Kurdish tribesmen and corrupt
policemen out for booty' (p. 5), speaks volumes about the level of seriousness with which
he evidently has approached this gruesome event in modern history that two prominent
eyewitnesses in so many words denounced as genocide."
Pardon me? Genocide nuts can find genocide wherever they'd like, but neither of the
presented Turkish eyewitnesses admitted to anything close to "genocide." Looks
like Dadrian is doing exactly what Lewy pointed to, in so many words... when Dadrian
interprets "radical" to mean "final solution," and "events"
to mean "massacres." Dadrian is comfortable in making things up. If volumes are
being spoken, they are pointing to a serious lack of integrity of one particular
"renowned scholar" propagandist.
9-07: ESREF KUSCUBASI
A new look at Esref Kuscubasi by up-and-coming Turkish scholar Polat Safi raises
important questions. Part of Safi's thesis looks at Kuscubasi's career, and it may
well be that Kuscubasi was exaggerating the facts in his memoirs, in order to
give himself greater importance. It turns out that he was neither the founder of the
S.O. nor its chairman at any time, nor the director of S.O. operations in Northern
Africa/Arabia/ Sinai. According to Safi, there was no such post in the SO and
if there were, it would most probably have been bestowed upon Nuri Pasha (Enver's
brother), the leader of S.O. units in Libya, or
Mumtaz Bey, who commanded the SO operations in Syria.
Safi also notes that all directors of S.O. desks (such as the Africa-Tripoli
desk) were residing at the office in Istanbul, and
were not on the front. If Esref was the director, then there would have been no
need for Mumtaz Bey, under whose direction, along with others (as Suleyman
Askeri), Kuscubasi operated under. Under Mumtaz Bey's orders, Esref Kuscubasi
led a guerilla unit composing of 600 Bedouins, which was not so significant; during
operations, Kuscubasi received his orders from Mumtaz Bey, as part of Mumtaz Bey's
Urban Command. The fact that Kuscubasi was not receiving orders directly from Enver
Pasha but under these lower officers may explain why Kuscubasi made little mention
of Mumtaz Bey or Suleyman Askeri in his memoirs. Safi concludes that Esref Kuscubasi
was no more than an important S.O. agent who had established close contact with the
CUP leadership. The scholar's conclusion:
"Who is Esref Bey then? On the basis of this research, it now seems more
plausible to say that Esref Bey was no more than an important Teskilat [Special Organization] agent who had established close
contact with the Ottoman ruling class during his experiences in the Tripoli and
Balkan wars, and was well versed in intelligence and guerilla warfare. Because of
these and his close knowledge of the terrain and its inhabitants, he contributed to
the Teskilat during World War I, especially in the recruitment of volunteers
and irregular combat. Nevertheless, he was neither the founder and first chief of
the Teskilat nor the director of its Arabia, Sinai, and North Africa section.
Therefore, it is not incorrect to conclude that the role of Esref Kuscubasi on the Teskilat
is highly exaggerated mainly due to the efforts of Cemal Kutay to create a 'hero'
and partly due to the inclination of Philip H. Stoddard towards taking for granted
the greater part of the information Esref Bey provided him. Accordingly, relevant
parts of these works and the works mainly based upon them should be approached with
a great caution."
As if on perfect cue to demonstrate that lack
of integrity, Dadrian lends a hand in his last paragraph by actually pointing to the
words of the racist Ambassador Henry
Morgenthau. (The source used is actually Morgenthau's notorious
"Story" book.) As if that weren't bad enough, Dadrian moves on to another
"German-Jewish Zionist," just like the unprincipled ambassador: Richard
Lichtheim, who used phrases such as "act of liquidation" and
"cold-blooded policy of mass murder, claiming over one million victims."
The only difference is that Lichtheim is a latter-day slanderer; his book is from
While Ottoman Jews were famous for their wonderful loyalty, a handful betrayed their
country. They did so mainly as "Nili"
spies to the enemy, and not as "belligerents de facto," as Boghos Nubar
described the Armenians. Jewish betrayal of the one nation that had defended
Judaism... the one that planted the seeds for the future Jewish homeland (as early
as 1516, the Ottoman Jews rejected the Sultan's generous offer of Eretz Yisrael as a
homeland, as the Jews were too content), came from the more extreme Zionists.
Ensuring that the Sick Man would be knocked out would carve the quicker path to a
Jewish homeland. So those as Morgenthau and Rabbi Stephen Wise were only too happy
to repeat the worst of the propagandistic lies, and to demonize the Turks as
Many latter-day Jewish genocide devotees have irresponsibly picked up this mantle.
Dadrian's final footnote 34 lays it on thick with this "Jewish
connection," citing a proclamation of 127 Holocaust scholars, including Elie
Wiesel. Dadrian brings up the assistant to the chief prosecutor of Nuremberg,
"German Jew" Robert Kempner (who found the original copy of the Wannsee
Protocol, doing a much better job of finding genocidal evidence than his WWI
"counterpart," Haigazn Khazarian) who ignorantly thought "1.4 million
Christian Armenians" were "subjected to the first genocide of this
century." As if all of these opinions should substitute for actual facts.
Naturally, attempting to link the Armenians' myth with the epitome of genocides has
been the deceptive strategy of the pro-Armenians for a good while.
But even some of these "Holocaust scholars" can be uncertain. Dadrian
brings up what he describes as Deborah Lipstadt's pungent reaction "to the
denials mounted against the recognition of the Armenian genocide." Lipstadt
bows to her genocide industry with the precious Turk-Nazi equation. Yet in her early
work, "Denying the Holocaust," she knew better:
"The brutal Armenian tragedy, which the perpetrators still refuse to
acknowledge adequately, was conducted within the context of a ruthless Turkish
policy of expulsion and resettlement. It was terrible and caused horrendous
suffering but it was not part of a process of total annihilation of an entire
Thanks to Conan for the
ideas he contributed.
Vahakn Dadrian's Genocidal Evidence
Guenter Lewy had a chance to strike back at Mr. Dadrian:
Lewy Responds to Vahakn Dadrian
Dr. Edward Erickson dug up new facts on Stange & the S.O.:
Undercut Old Blame
Vahakn Dadrian BUSTED
on Halil Pasha