Thursday, 31 May 2007

Armenian Massacres: New Records Undercut Old Blame

Dear Friends,

Here is another Western Scholar that has seen through the fallacious Armenian Genocide allegations. Have a read of what he has stated and then look at to see how he has replied to Dadrian.


Armenian Massacres: New Records Undercut Old Blame Reexamining History
by Edward J. Erickson
Middle East Quarterly Summer 2006

The debate about the World War I deportation and massacre of Armenians in eastern Anatolia has become more contentious with time. Opponents of Turkey's European Union accession treat the Armenian question as original sin. Yet much of the historical debate upon which politicians pass judgment is tinged more by polemic than by fact. Nine decades after hundreds of thousands of Armenians—and millions of others—died during World War I, it is important to dig down into the archives to show what the historical record really says.

There is little argument that many Armenians perished during World War I, but there remains significant historical dispute about whether Armenian civilians died in the fog of war or were murdered on the orders of the Ottoman government. More specifically, the debate about whether or not there was a genocide of Armenians rests upon three pillars: the record of the Turkish courts-martial of 1919-20 during which the new Turkish government, formed following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, tried and hanged some Ottoman officials for war crimes; documents produced in the Memoirs of Naim Bey, an account allegedly written by an Ottoman official claiming to have participated in the deportation of Armenians;[1] and the role of the "Special Organization" (Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa), somewhat equivalent to the Ottoman special forces.

Recently, two researchers have debated the nature of the World War I Armenian massacres and, more specifically, the role in the massacres by the Special Organization and the group's relationship to a Prussian artillery officer known in the records only by his last name, Stange.[2] The first, Vahakn Dadrian, director of Genocide Research at the Zoryan Institute for Contemporary Armenian Research and Documentation, wrote that Stange was the "highest-ranking German guerilla commander operating in the Turko-Russian border," one of several "arch-accomplices in the implementation of the massacres," and a Special Organization commander.[3]

Dadrian argued that the Ottoman government diverted the Special Organization units to deportation duty in rear areas where they became the principal agent in the Armenian massacres. He bases his claims against Stange on secondhand German reports of massacres in Stange's area of operations and uses controversial testimony from the 1919 Istanbul courts-martial proceedings to support his claim about Special Organization redeployments. Since that time, many parties have taken Dadrian's assertions at face value. [4]

Last year, however, Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts, challenged Dadrian's findings on the grounds that Stange was neither a Special Organization guerilla leader nor did his unit operate in the area of the massacres.[5]
In history, details matter. Given the importance that contemporary officials place on the events of nine decades past, clarifying Stange's operations is critical to the current debate. In this regard, the official 27-volume Turkish military history of the World War I campaigns, while seldom utilized in Western scholarship, is a valuable tool.[6] The volumes are not readily accessible to university researchers; they are only available at a single military bookstore on a restricted Turkish army compound in Ankara. Far from the politicized debate surrounding the massacres, these histories shed light on nitty-gritty details such as which officers and units were deployed where and when. Within the set, the Third Army histories help flesh out Stange's wartime record. [7] They were published simultaneously to Dadrian's 1993 article and so should not be dismissed as a Turkish response to Dadrian's work. They also provide an important source of information which Dadrian, genocide scholars, and other historians of the period have not yet taken into account.

Ottoman Irregular Forces in Eastern Anatolia

Analyzing the events of 1915 requires an understanding of the Ottoman military for, too often, treatments of the period confuse units and muddle Ottoman military terms.[8] Between 1914-18, there were five groups of Ottoman military and paramilitary forces engaged on the Caucasian front. The Ottoman regular army was a uniformed conscript force led by professional officers who were trained in conventional military tactics and who responded to military discipline and orders. It fought on all Ottoman fronts during the war.
Assisting them were the jandarma, a paramilitary gendarmerie or rural police force trained to military standards and led by professional officers. Every province had at least one mobile jandarma regiment and also numbers of static jandarma battalions.[9] The Ministry of the Interior controlled the jandarma in peacetime but, with the Ottoman mobilization on August 3, 1914, command passed to the Ministry of Defense.

In addition, there was the tribal cavalry (aşiret, formerly the hamidiye). In 1910, the Ministry of Defense integrated the twenty-nine tribal cavalry regiments into the regular army. Used as both conventional cavalry and for internal security duties, members were mostly Kurdish and Circassian, poorly disciplined, and led by tribal chieftains.[10] However, in the army reorganization of 1913, these regiments were reclassified as reserve cavalry (ihtiyat süvari) regiments of the regular Ottoman army.

The gönüllü, paramilitary volunteer forces, allowed Turks and Islamic ethnic groups living outside the Ottoman Empire to join the war effort and fight together.[11] These were often poorly led and armed but organized into units so that they could assist the regular army in both combat and non-combat operations. During World War I, most volunteers serving in the Caucasus were "Greek Turks," "Caucasian Turks," Laz, or Muslim refugees from the European provinces such as Macedonia or Epirus lost in 1913.[12] By definition, the volunteers were not released Ottoman convicts.

The Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa or Special Organization, a multi-purpose special volunteer force led by professional officers, was equivalent to a modern special operations force. It sought to foment insurrection in enemy territory, fight guerillas and insurgents in friendly territory, conduct espionage and counterespionage, and perform other tasks unsuited to conventional military forces. While many histories suggest the Special Organization received orders from the Committee of Union and Progress or the Ministry of the Interior, the archival record suggests that the Ministry of Defense commanded the Special Organization during World War I.[13]
Finally, there were numbers of non-military groups operating in Anatolia during the war. These non-military çeteler (which may be translated as bandit, brigand, insurgent, or guerilla groups depending on context) were local groups not subject to centralized command and control. Çeteler was a catchall term that was used by both the Ottomans to describe insurgents and authentic criminal bands and also by foreign observers to describe groups of killers, whose origins were often unknown.

The Stange Detachment

Where then did Major Stange fit in? Shortly before the outbreak of World War I, the German Kaiser charged General Otto Liman von Sanders to lead a military mission to the Ottoman Empire to assist in rebuilding the Ottoman army after its defeat in the Balkan wars. Liman von Sanders assigned Captain Stange, a Prussian artillery specialist, to command the Erzurum fortress artillery.[14] Stange was a conventional military officer with no special knowledge of guerilla operations. His assignment to the Ottoman Third Army in Erzurum reflected his mainstream skills. He occupied his time working on the defenses until the outbreak of war offered him the chance to lead troops against the Russians.

According to the original Ottoman war plan, the Third Army was ordered to stand on the defensive in the Caucasus while the bulk of the Ottoman army concentrated in Thrace.[15] However, in early September 1914, a revised campaign plan directed the Third Army to conduct offensive operations in the event of war. When war broke out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire on November 2, the Ottomans were actively planning a winter offensive in the Caucasus. The plan called for the three army corps of the Third Army to encircle the Russian army at Sarakamiş with a supporting operation on the Black Sea flank between Batum and Ardahan, in modern day Georgia.[16] There were no regular Ottoman army combat units on the Turco-Russian frontier from the Black Sea south for about 100 kilometers for this supporting attack. Nevertheless, Ottoman border forces pushed across the frontier and, on November 22, closed in on the Russian town of Artvin.[17] Flushed with success, on December 6, the general staff ordered the Third Army to push onward toward Ardahan.[18] It was in this capacity that Stange entered the scene. Ottoman strategists committed every available Third Army division to the Sarakamiş offensive. The Third Army headquarters ordered Stange to take command of the Eighth Infantry Regiment, two artillery batteries, and the Çoruh Border Security Battalion.[19] This newly organized force was designated the Stange Detachment (Ştanke Bey Müfrezesi) and ordered to take Artvin while the rest of the army moved toward their main objective. None of the troops were trained in guerilla or unconventional warfare. Against light opposition, Stange pushed forward and took the town on December 21.
At the same time, other Ottoman forces were operating in the area. Bahattin Şakir, a high-ranking member of the governing Committee of Union and Progress, commanded the Special Organization force, which had infiltrated its forward units near Batum to foment an uprising among Laz and Turkic peoples inside the Russian Empire. In addition to this mission, Şakir ordered Ziya Bey, an artillery major commanding the Special Organization men on the ground in Russia, to encircle and destroy çeteler that included a number of Armenians.[20] The Special Organization also attacked regular Russian army units, capturing four officers and sixty-three Russian soldiers in late November.[21] One Turkish source also mentions a large force of volunteers operating in the Çoruh River valley under Yakup Cemil Bey.[22] Another Turkish source asserts that Yakup Cemil's detachment was a Special Organization force composed of çeteler.[23] In this bitter internecine fighting, many civilian Turks, Armenians, and other local ethnic groups were massacred indiscriminately.[24]

With so many different units and organizations operating in the area, there was bureaucratic wrangling over how to unify the command as the Sarakamiş campaign approached. In the end, Stange took command of the entire force—regulars, border security battalions, volunteers, and the Special Organization. However, the Special Organization and volunteers continued to receive their orders from Şakir, who wanted to retain control of the operation while Stange answered to the X Corps commander, in whose sector he operated.[25]

On December 22, the X Corps and Third Army ordered Stange, the Special Organization, and the volunteers to converge separately on Ardahan. The Special Organization, now locally commanded by Captain Halit Bey, cooperated and joined the advance.[26] Despite bad winter weather, these forces began to encircle the city on December 29. Because Stange controlled neither the Special Organization nor the volunteers, he sent coordination copies of his own detachment orders to Halit, who passed these on to the adjacent volunteers.[27] This was a clumsy arrangement, and there is no indication that the Special Organization and volunteers reciprocated. The result was an uncoordinated attack on Ardahan. Stange's detachment suffered heavy casualties[28] while Special Organization and volunteer losses were light.[29] The Ottomans failed to hold the city for long. In early January 1915, the Russians retook the city with bayonet assaults. Over the next month, the Ottomans conducted a fighting retreat back toward Artvin.

At the end of January 1915, Şakir consolidated some of the Special Organization units into a Special Organization Regiment (Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa Alay) commanded by Halit.[30] This regiment was assigned nine officers and 671 men.[31] Halit also gained control over a group of volunteers known as the Baha Bey Şakir Force. Subsequently and because of the deteriorating tactical situation, Şakir ordered the Special Organization Regiment to cooperate with Stange in defensive operations along the border. Additionally, a smaller Special Organization detachment commanded by Riza Bey conducted operations around Murgal, northwest of Artvin. Istanbul also sent Stange about 1,600 replacements. Fighting was hard, and the Ottomans were pushed back. On February 16, three Russian infantry and two cavalry regiments, Cossacks, and an Armenian battalion attacked a rear guard of Halit Bey's Special Organization soldiers.[32] The Special Organization fought well and covered Stange's regulars as they retreated.

On March 1, 1915, the Russian army launched a major attack to restore the frontier, pushing back Stange, the Special Organization, and the volunteers. In reaction to what appeared to be a disastrous retreat, on March 20, the X Corps reorganized the Ottoman forces on the northeast frontier, forming the Lazistan Area Command (Lazistan ve Havalisi Komutanlıgı) [See Table 1].[33] By this time, Şakir had left Erzurum, and Stange finally received unitary command over the regular army unit as well as the Special Organization and volunteers. Stange immediately set about coordinating a defense with a combined force of 4,286 men, six machine guns, and four cannon.[34]

Table 1
Lazistan Area Command - March 28, 1915
Lazistan Detachment
No. of Men
1st Btln, 8th Infantry Regt
3rd Btln, 8th Infantry Regt
Mountain Btry, 8th Field Artillery
Machinegun Company
Engineer Company
Cavalry Platoon

Trabzon Jandarma Regt
No. of Men
Trabzon Jandarma Btln
Rize Jandarma Btln
Giresun Jandarma Btln
Hopa Hudut (Border) Btln

Special Organization Regiment (Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa Alay)Zia Bey BtlnAdil Bey BtlnMuhsin BtlnSalih Aga BtlnIbrahim Bey BtlnVeysel Efendi Detachment 1,430 men (in total)
Source: TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, Kuruluş 12 (Organizational Chart 12)
The Third Army sent Staff Lieutenant Colonel Vasıf to be Stange's chief-of-staff in the expanded command[35] while Stange collected supplies, engineers, and cavalry from the Third Army Lines of Communications Command. In addition, the military mobilized all men in the Trabzon vilayet (province) between the ages of 17-18 and 45-50 while a Special Organization unit from Istanbul joined the Lazistan area command's Special Organization regiment.

Stange reorganized his augmented command into field forces and static forces. The field forces, which held the defensive lines against the Russians, were composed of the 8th Infantry Regiment, the Trabzon Jandarma Regiment, and the Special Organization Regiment.[36] The static forces, which were responsible for rear area security, were composed of the Riza, the Trabzon, and the Samsun Jandarma regiments. On April 14, 1915, Stange had over 6,000 men assigned to his command.[37] Table 2 shows Stange's revised command arrangements.

Table 2
Lazistan Area Command - 15 April 1915

Lazistan Detachment
1st Btln, 8th Infantry Regt3rd Btln, 8th Infantry RegtMachinegun Company
Trabzon Jandarma Regt
Giresun Jandarma Btln Amasya Jandarma BtlnHopa Border BtlnMachinegun Company
Special Organization Regt
Ziya Bey Btln Adil Bey BtlnMehmet Ali BtlnIbrahim Bey BtlnVeysel Bey BtlnMachinegun Company
Field Force Troops
Two artillery batteries (8th Artillery), Engineer Company, Cavalry Platoon


Rize Jandarma Regt
2 jandarma btlns
Trabzon Jandarma Regt
3 jandarma btlns(probably reconstituted from recalled men)
Samsun Jandarma Reg
4 jandarma btlns

Source: TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, Kuruluş 13 (Organizational Chart 13)
These arrangements solidified the Ottoman defense, which by mid-April was successfully holding a line about ten kilometers west of the prewar Ottoman-Russian frontier. They also show a return to a conventional military organizational architecture, mirroring the organization of regular Ottoman infantry divisions in 1915, which contained three regiments each with a machine gun company. A general support element of artillery, engineers, and cavalry augmented the regiments.[38] The field force was, practically speaking, staffed and organized as a regular infantry division. This reflects Stange's conventional background and the tactical necessity to put an effective and standard defense on the empire's northeast frontier. The tempo of fighting dropped, and the front remained stationary until early 1916. Throughout this period the Special Organization Regiment remained on the line and engaged in conventional defensive operations.[39] In late January 1916, the recently promoted Major Halit relieved Stange; he returned to Erzurum.

Early 1916 was a period of disaster for the Ottoman strategic position in northeastern Anatolia and the Caucasus. The Russians seized Erzurum, Rize, and Trabzon. Regular army infantry divisions reinforced the Lazistan Area Command. Several Special Organization battalions in the sector were transferred to the adjacent Çoruh Detachment in May 1916 where they continued to participate in frontline duties.[40] The remaining Special Organization troops were distributed into two elements, which were designated as the First and Second Special Organization regiments and assigned to a newly-formed coastal detachment.[41]
Other Special Organization units were redeployed to the IX Corps sector on the Erzincan front near the village of Tuzla.[42] These units served directly under a provisional corps commanded by Staff Lieutenant Colonel Şevket and conducted offensive operations in conjunction with the Ottoman Thirteenth Infantry Division.[43] On June 6, 1916, three Special Organization companies were assigned to the newly formed Haçköy Detachment on the line south of Tuzla. The detachment also had an infantry battalion, two cavalry squadrons, and artillery.[44] The Special Organization continued to participate in conventional operations on the Caucasian front for the remainder of the summer. On July 29, 1916, the First and Second Special Organization regiments were inactivated and a single regiment reestablished.[45] Major combat operations in the Ottoman Third Army area began to diminish in the late summer and, by mid-fall 1916, had almost completely stopped. This was a result of both combat exhaustion and severe weather.
The published paper trail of the Special Organization formations on the Caucasian front ends in 1917, and the Special Organization does not appear in the 1918 Ottoman Caucasian orders of battle. It is unclear what happened to the Special Organization officers and men assigned to the units at that time. However, the deportation of Armenians was completed in 1916, and it appears certain that the Special Organization formations in this study remained on the front during that period.


Many historians find military chronicles dry and difficult to comprehend. Nevertheless, when it comes to the controversy over the fate of Armenians in 1915, they are crucial. Many contemporary historians accuse the Special Organization and Major Stange of complicity in genocide. The records, though, do not lend such accusations credence.
The official military histories of the modern Turkish Republic portray the operations of organized Ottoman Special Organization units on the Caucasian front from December 1914 through the end of 1916 as largely conventional. There is little evidence of a cover-up, especially as these histories are technical, not intended for the public, and predate the scholarly controversy over allegations of Special Organization complicity in Armenian genocide. Importantly, the official histories fully cite archival sources and often reproduce reports and orders.

Early Special Organization operations near Batum were unconventional and involved guerilla warfare operations. However, the Sarikamiş offensive provided the engine that drove the Special Organization into the arms of regular army commanders like Stange. Subsequent and perennial manpower shortages kept the Special Organization engaged in conventional military operations. From the record of unit assignments and locations on the front, it appears that the Special Organization units associated with Stange were not redeployed from the Caucasian front to deport and massacre Armenians.

Nor does it seem possible that Stange was involved in the deaths of Armenians. The modern Turkish histories show that he commanded regular army forces engaged in conventional offensive and defensive operations until late March 1915. Although he technically commanded all Ottoman forces near Ardahan in 1914, he exercised no real control over the Special Organization or volunteers. After Stange gained command of the Lazistan Area Command, he held direct command over Special Organization forces, which he employed on the defensive line in a conventional manner. In effect, from December 11, 1914 through March 20, 1915, Stange can be characterized as a detachment commander who cooperated with the Special Organization in conventional operations. After March 20, 1915, Stange was an area commander who commanded Special Organization forces for conventional defensive operations. The record demonstrates that Stange was neither a Special Organization commander, nor was he a guerilla leader. Indeed, Stange was unhappy with the discipline and training of both the Special Organization and irregular forces, reflecting his lack of authority over them.[46]
The Turkish histories do reveal an intriguing alternative possibility concerning who might have been redeployed to deport Armenians. The reserve cavalry regiments (the former aşiret or tribal cavalry) were grouped into four reserve cavalry divisions that were mobilized into the Reserve Cavalry Corps in August 1914. The tactical performance of this corps was abysmal, and its levels of discipline and combat effectiveness low.[47] Consequently, the Ottoman General Staff inactivated the Reserve Cavalry Corps on November 21, 1914,[48] and only seven of the twenty-nine reserve cavalry regiments remained with the colors in the Third Army.[49] The remaining regiments were dissolved, and "10,000 reserve cavalrymen dispersed throughout the region and returned to their villages."[50] Most of these men were tribal Kurds or Circassians and, unemployed following demobilization, many may have been attracted to the work of deporting the Armenians in the spring of 1915. Clearly, many Armenians died during World War I. But accusations of genocide demand authentic proof of an official policy of ethnic extermination. Vahakn Dadrian has made high-profile claims that Major Stange and the Special Organization were the instruments of ethnic cleansing and genocide. Documents not utilized by Dadrian, though, discount such an allegation.

Edward J. Erickson, Ph.D. is a retired U.S. Army officer at International Research Associates.[1] Aram Andonian, comp., The Memoirs of Naim Bey: Turkish Official Documents Relating to the Deportations and Massacres of Armenians (Newtown Square, Pa.: Armenian Historical Society, 1965, reprint of London, 1920 ed).[2] See Guenter Lewy, "Revisiting the Armenian Genocide," Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2005, pp. 3-12; Vahakn Dadrian, "Correspondence," Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2006, pp. 77-8.[3] Vahakn Dadrian, "The Role of the Special Organization in the Armenian Genocide during the First World War," Minorities in Wartime: National and Racial Groupings in Europe, North America and Australia in Two World Wars, Panikos Panayi, ed. (Oxford: Berg, 1993), p. 58-63.[4] For example, see: Taner Akçam, Armenien und der Völkermord: Die Istanbuler Prozesse und die türkische Nationalbewegung (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 1996), p. 65.[5] Lewy, "Revisiting the Armenian Genocide"; Guenter Lewy, The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey, A Disputed Genocide (Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2005), pp. 82-8.[6] See Edward J. Erickson, "The Turkish Official Military Histories of the First World War: A Bibliographic Essay," Middle Eastern Studies, 39 (2003): 183-91. No library outside Turkey holds the complete series. In addition to the 27-volume coverage of World War I, there are also fourteen volumes on the Balkan wars (1911-13) and eighteen volumes on the war of independence (1919-23).[7] These two books are T.C. Genelkurmay Başkanlıgı, Birinci Dünya Harbinde, Türk Harbi, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, Cilt I ve Cilt II (Ankara: Genelkurmay Basımevi, 1993). Hereafter referred to as TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı and TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı II.[8] For example, "scum" cited in Dadrian, "The Role of the Special Organization in the Armenian Genocide during the First World War," p. 58, or "ex-convict killer bands" in Peter Balakian, The Burning Tigris, The Armenian Genocide and America's Response (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2003) p. 182-3.[9] TCGB, Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri Tarihi, IIIncü Cilt, 6ncı Kısım, 1908-1920 (Ankara: Genelkurmay Basımevi, 1971) pp. 133-5.[10] Ibid., pp 129-32.[11] Ibid., pp. 239-40.[12] Ibid.[13] Askeri Tarih ve Stratejik Etüt (ATASE), BDH Koleksıyonu Kataloğu-4 (Ankara: undated). First World War Catalogue, no. 4, of the military archives lists files of the Special Organization detachments, proving that these detachments were under Ministry of Defense command.[14] Ismet Görgülü, On Yıllık Harbin Kadrosu 1912-1922, Balkan-Birinci Dünya ve Istiklal Harbi (Ankara: Türk Tarıh Kurum Basımevi, 1993), p. 105; Deutsche Offiziere in der Türkei (Bonn: Militar, 1957), p. 10.[15] TCGB, Birinci Dünya Harbinde, Türk Harbi, Inci Cilt, Osmanlı Imparatorluğunun Siyasi ve Askeri Hazırlıkları ve Harbe Girişi (Ankara: Genelkurmay Basımevi, 1970), pp. 212-38.[16] Fahri Belen, Birinci Cihan Harbinde Türk Harbi, 1914 Yılı Hareketleri (Ankara: Genelkurmay Basımevi, 1964), p. 96.[17] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, Kroki 36 (Map 36).[18] "Ottoman General Staff Orders, ATASE Archive 2950, Record H-6, File 1-267," reproduced in ibid., pp. 339-40.[19] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, p. 349.[20] Ibid., p. 344.[21] Ibid., p. 293.[22] Ibid., Kroki 37 (Map 37).[23] Görgülü, On Yıllık Harbin Kadrosu 1912-1922, pp. 109, 111.[24] Muammer Demirel, Birinci Cihan Harbinde Türk Harbinde Erzurum ve Çevresinde Ermeni Hareketleri (Ankara: Genelkurmay Basımevi, 1996), pp. 41-5; Dadrian, "The Role of the Special Organization in the Armenian Genocide during the First World War," p. 62.[25] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, p. 602.[26] Ibid., p. 605.[27] "Detachment Orders, ATASE Archive 5257, Record H-1, File 1-10," cited in ibid., p. 603.[28] "Detachment Orders, ATASE Archive 5257, Record H-1, File 1-12," reproduced in TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, p. 603.[29] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, p. 603.[30] Ibid., p. 608.[31] "Strength Report, ATASE Archive 5257, Record H-3, File 1-4," reproduced in ibid., p. 603.[32] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, p. 607.[33] Ibid., p. 614.[34] "Reports, ATASE Archive 2950, Record H-3, File 1-49," cited in ibid., p. 614.[35] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, p. 615.[36] "Detachment Orders, ATASE Archive 2950, Record H-4, File 1-8," cited in ibid., p. 615.[37] "Strength Report, ATASE Archive 5257, Record H-4, File 194," reproduced in TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, p. 616.[38] TCGB, Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri Tarihi, pp. 199-203, 266-72, for information on the architecture of Ottoman army infantry divisions. The Lazistan Detachment was a regimental equivalent.[39] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı II, p. 86.[40] "Orders, ATASE Archive 3974, Record H-2, File 1-59 and 73," cited in ibid., p. 181.[41] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı II, p. 251.[42] Ibid., p. 233.[43] Ibid., p. 240, Kuruluş 11 (Organizational Chart 11).[44] Ibid., p. 247.[45] "Strength Report, ATASE Archive 2950, Record H-58, File 1-329 & 333," cited in ibid., pp. 369-70.[46] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, p. 618.[47] Belen, 1914 Yılı Hareketleri, p. 116-24.[48] TCGB, Kafkas Cephesi 3ncü Ordu Harekatı, p. 311.[49] Ibid., Kuruluş 1 (Chart 1).[50] Ibid., p. 322.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Forget about Shock and Awe how about Shocked and Surprised NOT (as Borat would say)

Dear Friends,

Have a read of the article that appeared in the Boston Globe down below. Now the US Military spent thousands of dollars no doubt conducting this survey and study to find out what ? Something a school pupil would have been able to tell them from pure common sense.

Truly they never cease to amaze me.


An erosion of battlefield ethics
10 May, 2007

US TROOPS will never succeed in stabilizing Iraq if they don't take seriously the need to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis. The US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, is right to be concerned about a report released last week showing that many troops would not report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian. Petraeus said the results of the survey would require "a redoubling of our education efforts" to avoid abuses by troops in Iraq. In following up on the report, Petraeus and his superiors should also examine the role that the Bush administration's dismissive talk about the Geneva Conventions might have played in causing troops to turn a blind eye to misconduct by their comrades.

According to the report by the Army's own Mental Health Advisory Team, only 40 percent of Marines and 55 percent of soldiers surveyed last year said they would report unit members who killed or wounded innocent civilians. Almost as worrisome, only 38 percent of Marines and 47 percent of soldiers said non-combatants should be treated with dignity and respect.

This is the fourth survey by the mental health team but the first that included Marines and explored battlefield ethics. The ethics questions, in addition to ones asked in previous surveys about the troops' mental health, were called for by General George Casey when he led the multinational force in Iraq. "We can't fix an issue unless we know about it," said Lieutenant Colonel Robert Tallman of Army Public Affairs in an interview this week.

The survey shows there is much to fix. "We can never sink to the level of the enemy," Petraeus said Monday. "We have done that at times in theater and it has cost us enormously," he said, referring to the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by soldiers at Abu Ghraib.

How serious is the military about ensuring that killings of noncombatants are reported? One test will be the steps it takes against three enlisted Marines implicated in the deaths of 24 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, in Haditha in late 2005, and four Marine officers in the alleged cover-up of that incident. Unclassified documents released to The New York Times recently make it clear that officers were worried about the public relations impact of disclosing the circumstances of the civilians' deaths.Rigorous prosecution of this case will reinforce the extra ethics training that the military has introduced since it first learned of the survey results in January. Troops would also get the right message if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who once belittled the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and "obsolete," formally repudiated that description and acknowledged, as US military leaders have, that the conventions deserve to be adhered to -- as a protection both for civilians and for US troops who fall into enemy hands.

(Editorial by me, so they need to do the right thing not only for the civilians but JUST IN CASE THEIR TROOPS ARE CAUGHT and the bad guys can be nice to them, unbelievable. How about doing the right thing from the outset and not having any problems like not sticking your nose into some place where it is not needed or wanted. I wonder how many actual war crimes, murders, rapes have not been REPORTED ??)

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Techniques the US Military uses to bring about Freedom & Democracy

Dear Friends,

Have a read of the below article, these are some of the techniques which some US Military personnel use in order to bring about freedom and democratic ideals to a Nation.

US Marine 'urinated on dead Iraqi'
10 May, 2007 - 9:49AM SMH.

Angered that a beloved member of his squad had been killed in an explosion, a US Marine urinated on one of the 24 dead Iraqi civilians killed by his unit in Haditha, the Marine testified.

Sergeant Sanick Dela Cruz, who has immunity from prosecution after murder charges against him were dismissed, also said he watched his squad leader shoot down five Iraqi civilians who were trying to surrender.

In dramatic testimony in a pretrial hearing for one of the seven Marines charged in the November 2005 killings and reported cover-up at Haditha, Dela Cruz described his bitterness after a roadside bomb ripped Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas, known as TJ, into two bloody pieces.

"I know it was a bad thing what I've done, but I done it because I was angry TJ was dead and I pissed on one Iraqi's head," said an unemotional Dela Cruz in a military courtroom in Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, California.

Dela Cruz said he had earlier he watched squad leader Sergeant Frank Wuterich shoot five men whose hands were up near a car, then admitted to shooting them as they lay on the ground.

Wuterich "walked to me and told me that if anybody asked, they were running away and the Iraqi Army shot them," testified Dela Cruz.

Three Marines have been charged with murder, and four officers have been charged with dereliction of duty and obstructing the investigation.

Prosecutors contend the killings were revenge for Terrazas' death while the Marines charged say it was a clearing operation, conducted under lawful orders that had disastrous results.

The Marine Corps initially reported the deaths as a result of the bombing and a firefight with insurgents. Reporting by Time magazine in January 2006 finally prompted the Marine Corps to investigate the killings.

Dela Cruz said he was asked four times to lie about what happened in Haditha, although no one asked him about the killings for a time.

A Chicago native, Dela Cruz saw intense action in his first Iraq tour of duty in 2004. A Marine Corps News article once featured him as one of the unsung heroes of the Iraq war.

Wednesday's hearing focused on Captain Randy Stone, who served as the legal adviser for the Kilo Company. Stone, 34, is charged with violating an order and two counts of dereliction of duty in connection with the killings.

On November 19, a convoy of Marines from the Kilo Company was travelling through the town of Haditha when a roadside bomb detonated, killing Terrazas and injuring two others. Surviving Marines stopped a car and shot its five occupants, then swept through two houses, killing the people inside.

According to testimony, the five men in the vehicle were the first of the 24 victims. Dela Cruz said that after he helped Wuterich shoot the men, he went in one direction with Iraqi soldiers while Wuterich went in another direction.

Another Marine, Sergeant Albert Espinosa, testified on Wednesday that he pressed for an investigation of the killings almost immediately after it occurred in November 2005.
He testified that he was frustrated by the apparent indifference of his commanding officers. "We deserve an answer to what happened and wasn't happy with the answers I was getting," 1st Sergeant Albert Espinosa testified.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Have a look at what some Armenians will do for the Truth

Dear Friends,

I have seen this video before but it really is very emotional each and every time I watch it. Look at what an Armenian Turk has done for his country Turkey, years before the biased Western Media became so prevalent in demonising Turkey. You won't see the below video in any Western media.

Have a look for yourselves, this is what the fallacious genocide claims are doing to ordinary decent people.


Saturday, 5 May 2007

A new faith for Kooris (Australian Aboriginals for Overseas readers)

May 4, 2007
Anthony Mundine converted to Islam after his manager gave him a book about Malcolm X.
More Aborigines are finding similarities between their culture and Islamic principles, writes Linda Morris.

A FLAG is soon to flutter above the troubled suburb of Redfern, proclaiming a new religious face to Aboriginal Australia. At the centre of a backdrop of equal halves of black and red, the colours of the Aboriginal people, is a yellow crescent moon and star. It's to be the symbol of the Koori Muslim Association, which will open the only Aboriginal mushalla in NSW at a shopfront location on busy Regent Street next month.

Conversion among indigenous Australians is growing, driven by the higher visibility of Islam, a rejection of Christianity as a post-colonial religion, identification with Islamic principles, and conversions in prisons where Aborigines dominate the population.

While no one knows how many indigenous Muslims there are in Australia, Aboriginal Muslims reject suggestions they are converting to the faith in droves. Some are descendants of Afghan and Baluch cameleers, North Indian traders and Malay pearl divers and have grown up in the faith.

Many converts are from cities. The boxer Anthony Mundine is the most famous of these and has become a role model. Their first contact with Islam sometimes, but not always, comes in jail, where as many as 22 per cent of inmates are indigenous Australians.

Rocky Davis, known as Shaheed Malik, converted while serving 14 years for armed robberies and other offences. It was the story of Malcolm X, the gangster and black American nationalist leader who became a convert to Islam, that first inspired Davis.

"What does Islam stand for? Islam offers a faith untainted by colonialism and racism. It is a liberating religion," says Davis. "Though the Bible said you shalt not kill, they killed, thou shall not rape, they raped our women, thou shalt not steal, they stole our land. Islam at its essence is pure. My forefathers had no army and no guns and lived in Aboriginal townships and camps. That's the difference between the Muslim and Christian faiths: one is for the oppressed and one's for the oppressor, one's for the coloniser and one for the colonised."

Peta Stephenson, a doctoral fellow at the University of Melbourne's Asia Institute, says Islam doesn't share the baggage of missionary Christianity, and has become one path by which Aborigines can affirm their pre-colonial identity.

"Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X are role models," she says. "A lot of people see Islam as an answer to the ills of Western society. For communities suffering chronic levels of unemployment or underemployment and substance abuse it might have special appeal for those wanting to break away from the statistics."

But Eugenia Flynn, an Adelaide IT worker, says it would be a mistake to think that every Aboriginal convert has come to the faith via the narrative of Malcolm X. For many of its adherents, Islam answers a spiritual yearning, and that search is something inherent in all individuals, indigenous or not, she says.

Brought up a Catholic, Flynn, 24, converted to Islam five years ago after finding in it an intense experience of God. She would be disappointed if Islam was held to appeal solely to indigenous Australians as a marginalised community.

"My issue is that people like to stereotype black Muslims as angry militants who did jail time and left behind a life of crime and violence. The more typical story is an indigenous person was searching for a spiritual way and found Islam to be incredibly liberating."

Mundine's walk to Islam came a decade ago at the end of his football playing days. Like Flynn, his motives were spiritual, not political, and his closest friends say his faith is genuinely held.

Life was good but his soul was empty, he says. He was bought up a Christian but was not overly religious. He rejected Christianity because he could not understand its complex trinitarian theology. His manager, Khoder Nasser, introduced him to Islam by lending him a book about Malcolm X.

"Islam's given me a new perspective on the hereafter and what life is about. It's black and white and pure. We've got to ask the question, 'Where are we going and why are we here?' If you have a faith and belief in God there'd be less suicide, stress and sickness. You have a feeling and a purpose, and if you will take one step He will take two steps to you. Islam is my life, it's helped every aspect of it. Every time you see my life, my sporting successes, know that Allah is the greatest."

Flynn sees "lots of similarities" between Aboriginal culture and Islam, including Islam's emphasis on modesty and the segregation of men and women. "I think a lot of people think indigenous spirituality is based around animalism but in Aboriginal culture there is a creator god, and the way I express my spirituality is through Islam. I don't see the two as mutually exclusive. For me I choose Aboriginality as my culture and Islam as my faith."

Islam has proved a neat fit for Aboriginal Australians, says Stephenson, who is writing a book on the topic.

"Islam is a very accepting religion, no matter the race, and it's reaffirming for Aboriginal people who might not find that same sense of belonging in Australian culture," she says.

"Some Aboriginal people appreciate that Islam gives them strict guidelines on how to live their lives, especially for those who have been forced to move off their lands. Traditional indigenous culture also has codes and ethics that members are expected to follow for the betterment of the community. Those identifying with Islam have not only found some direction in their life, they are following a faith that shares many cultural overlaps with their Aboriginal identity."

Although Mundine is hailed as a role model for other Aboriginal converts, he doesn't see it as his job to bring people to faith. Kinsmen who approach him about Islam are told to educate themselves. "God willing, we do see more Aboriginal Muslims."

Flynn knows only a handful of converts in her home town. Just as Flynn is strict, Mundine is relaxed about religious practice. He tries to pray five times a day, before a bout and after, doesn't wear a beard because it interferes with his boxing, and long boxing shorts and T-shirt stand for modest dress around the home. He went on his first visit to Mecca last year and hopes to repeat it one day soon, and he tries to avoid training during Ramadan.

Islam, says Stephenson, has proved a positive experience for males. "I've consistently found men who say they were once angry but having identified with Islam they come away with a sense of peace and a real need to do good in the community. Islam teaches you to be the best person you can."
Nevertheless, the NSW Commissioner of Corrective Services, Ron Woodham, has expressed fears that inmates are falling prey to Wahabism - a fundamentalist branch of Islam practised by Osama bin Laden, without sampling more progressive traditions.

Because their first encounter with Islam is not within their community, Aboriginal converts tend to adopt the ideologies of those with whom they first connect. Davis wants it to be with an orthodox interpretation of Islam.

He does not believe Islam will become a platform for black nationalism in Australia, rather one for demanding human rights. He thinks it is likely to grow in stature within the indigenous community as a cure for economic and social disadvantage. He wants to establish a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre, a support scheme for released inmates and a program in juvenile detention centres.

Friday, 4 May 2007

An scuffle at Barnes and Noble that made the New York Times

Here are two stories that appeared in the New York Times over the past two days:

Click here for article 1

Click here for article 2

The following is an objective report of most of the events during the book signing, as recorded by me, an audience member who was taking notes and witness to the events (a few comments or questions are missing because the scuffle was distracting and I was also intimidated by the Armenian woman mentioned below, who took pictures). After reading this detailed event summary, you will see that there is a chance for you to write to the New York Times about this. Please note that I do not agree with the author or her baseless claims other than the plight of her mother.

May 2, 2007

Book reading at the Upper East Side Barnes & Noble – 7 p.m. to around 8 p.m.

Margaret Ajemian Ahnert: Book entitled “The Knock at the Door – A Journey Through the Darkness of the Armenian Genocide.”

Ahnert explained her educational background at two low-profile universities. She has an MFA and a bachelor’s in psychology. She said that she teaches art appreciation to elementary school children. She explained that she is an ‘avid hunter and fisher.’

She opened her talk by saying that she wanted to take us ‘beyond the statistics on a personal journey.’

She said she was happy to see her friends and family among the audience members. “Many of you knew my mother, Esther,” she said. “She was 15 when the genocide started.”

She described the torture of her mother, Esther, “ her family was torn away from her, she was isolated, raped and married to a Turkish man for three years,” she said.

Ahnert then explained that her mother started a mantra being that “Armenians try to forget” what happened in those days. She said that her mother and others held that mantra but that she wanted to break it.

“This became the mantra of all Armenians – they came to this country to forget,” she said. “By forgetting for themselves, the world perhaps forgot too.”

“I have an undergraduate degree in psychology,” she continued, “to have forgiveness, there must be truth. There is reconciliation in truth. Without truth and acceptance, how can I forgive?”

“My mother was an amazing woman,” she said.

Ahnert said that Turks killed her mother’s family and took her mother’s land, yet her mother maintained that the outcome of these acts was ‘for God to decide.”

Ahnert’s mother would tell her “Margaret, hatred is like acide, it will erode the walls of the container.”

She said that she asked her mother if she hated Turks, and “without flinching or a moment’s pause, she said ‘no. I don’t.’”

Still, Ahnert said (in a voice as if she were telling something to a group of children), “I was fearful – they’ll get me too!”

Ahnert went on to tell a story about being in a taxi. She said she discovered through conversation that the driver was Turkish. She didn’t want to reveal that she was Armenian. “I need to go to the Metropolitan club,” she added as a command to the taxi driver and part of the story. She said that when the driver had brought her to the entrance of the club, she held the handle of the door in the taxi and said “I’m Armenian!” (Again, she sounded as if she was talking to a group of children in a dramatic, gentle way.) The cab driver, she claims, said “oh, I’m sorry, that’s now how it was, really.” And she said that she jumped out of the cab and said “yes it was, my mother went through it.” And she slammed the door.

“This book became my mantra – never to forget,” she said. “I feel better … I don’t hate anymore.”

She then referred to a NYT article from 1915: “Armenians sent to perish in the desert.”

“I looked up the word genocide in the dictionary,” she explained after saying that she didn’t know what it meant. She read a dictionary definition quickly. “To this day, scholars can not decide what it means,” she continued.

She then presented the Hitler argument – that he somehow warranted the Nazi movement by the actions he claims were denied by the world when the Turks and Armenians clashed in Anatolia: his statement somehow referred to the ‘slaughter of Armenians’ and how if that was ignored, then why would anyone question his movement.

Ahnert then read a passage from The Talmud: “He who saves one life, saves the world.”

Ahnert then proposed: “Would the holocaust have occurred if the acts of 1915 didn’t?”

She said she was proud of a quote that supported this notion. She said her Jewish friends have the luxury of their plight being acknowledged as a genocide, as their victimization.

“Armenians don’t have that gift of moving on,” she said. “I’m trying to move on.”

This is precisely when Turks began handing out ATAA fact fliers. A woman lept up from the front rows. She was a bit stout, had short, black hair, was wearing a blue t-shirt and a large stone around her neck.

She grabbed fliers from audience members. Cops came up and started to intervene.

“Freedom of speech!” cried a Turkish man from the back. “I don’t want to hear this bullshit story anymore!” cried another.

The woman approached Gokce and I. She tried to take our pamphlets. I didn’t budge. I didn’t give them to her. She stood there and insisted. I folded mine and kept it. I started to feel forced but didn’t budge. She grabbed them out of other people’s hands. The tensions rose.

The author was sitting in the front at this point - away from the podium.

Arguments between police officers, pamphlet distributors and Turkish audience members, sitting near the back, ensue. The woman with the short black hair gets up in front of the crowd.

“We have an important author here. That’s what we are here for,” she said. She (the same woman) went on to say that she had “interviewed genocide survivors for 30 years and had fought on the border of Azerbaijan for more Armenian territory. Someone in the crowd shouted “if she is important, do you want to let her talk?”

The author approached the podium again: “I don’t know … I’m feeling a lot of fear right now. In this safe place, safe city.”

Ahnert went on to explain that this book was part of her master’s degree thesis (MFA).

She said that when her mother spoke, every time, every story, every word came out unchanged. That’s the way the memory works, she said, you can’t alter your memory. “My mother had no game here,” she said.

My mother’s stories displayed characteristics of fear, anguish … I didn’t know what she went through, she said. She said that she wondered what the “fine Turkish auther Taner Acim went through.”

She made mention of Acim several times as her key historical source for information for her book. When she mentioned him, Turkish audience members would laugh and say out loud that he was a communist … someone they didn’t trust to deliver truthful information.

Ahnert brought in more NYT references (but I was a bit distracted by people shifting, speaking, so I didn’t catch them).

“This story is uplifting, full of empathy. It is humorous,” Ahnert said. She started to explain some of the sayings that her mom would tell her … something about catching a cold if you lean against a cold wall … old wive’s tales.

The woman with the short black hair was policing harder than the officers themselves. I know she took a picture of Gokce and I with her cell phone. She was snapping away as was one of the members of the Armenian students org. A Turkish man shouted “You do not have permission to take my picture.” He shouted again and again. Other people were snapping from another side of the bookstore – across the balcony where the floor opened up for the escalators, next to the café. “You take a picture and I’ll sue your ass,” the man shouted again.

The police asked him to leave. As they escorted him, a scuffle ensued behind some shelves and pillars: “Take a picture of this!” he shouted – again and again. When the police lifted him up in hand cuffs, his cheek was streaming with blood. They took him down the escalator.

“As I step up tenuously,” said Ahnert … she had sat down in her chair again and now provoked audience cheers – to her delight.

“I’ve never encountered this before,” she said. “Perhaps New York is more verbal, vocal, free.”

“I can not imagine how Taner (Acim) must feel, as an intellectual,” she said.

She then said that she was grateful for the 7 million listeners to the Celestial Whispers radio program, for they supported her book.

More questions came in. A Turkish gentleman stating some facts and asking how she felt about them – the questions were discounted: “I am not a historian and not a scholar,” she kept saying.

She then told a story of a tour guide in Turkey who claimed that all of the Armenians decided to get up and leave at once – or some kind of blurred story about history that made no sense. She said she wrote down the story by the Turkish tour guide, who told her she had written it down correctly. “Yes, that’s right, you have it right,” Ahner said the tour guide told her.

Hugh Carey, former governor of New York was in the front row. He made a comment that Ahnert’s book was very timely considering the struggles in the region.

Another Turkish man stood up when called on. He explained that he related to the author’s story because his relatives had been killed by Armenians. He then asked why Ahnert thought only Armenians were relocated if there were so many other ethnic groups?

The people in the front, including Ahnert, acted as if they didn’t understand a word he was saying … as if his English was too poor. “What was the question?” A few people asked. “What’s the question,” they soon demanded. Then they said “we need a question.” The talk ended.

The host stood up and said “this is a beautiful book.”

This is the most complete account of the book signing. You have a choice to act now. The New York Times accepts 150 word letters to the editor about articles that were published within 7 days before the date you submit the letter.

This is what my letter looked like:

Genocide is not a word to be used authoritatively by someone who looks it up in a dictionary and decides that it fits the circumstances – as Mrs. Ahnert did throughout her speech at Barnes and Noble and as US publications do almost every single time they mention the events in Anatolia over the early part of last century. Please explore the context of the events and the fact that, over the course of the decade before 1915, Armenians took up Russian arms and stockpiled them in Turkey. Overall, 2.5 million Muslims died during the time at issue from similar causes. One can start by looking up Dashnak on Google to get a sense of Armenian violence and the state of conflict in the region. Above all, genocide is a term with serious legal implications. This matter has never been scrutinized legally, and there exist many people in the Turkish community who wish it would go to international court.

Again, the submission must be around 150 words (a little more or less is okay). You are also required to send your name, address and phone so that they can verify the identity of the person who sent it.

You can send your letter, name and contact information to: