Azerbaijan Enlists Congressman Hastings in its Anti-Armenian Propaganda

Cong. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)

Cong. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) is the latest transmitter of Azeri propaganda. On February 25, 2019, he issued a statement, which he entered in the Congressional Record, accusing Armenians of killing 613 Azeri men, women and children on Feb. 26, 1992 in the Khojaly village of Azerbaijan during the height of the Artsakh (Karabakh) war. Human Rights Watch placed the number of Azeri dead at 161. Nevertheless, even the single loss of life is regrettable be it Azeri or Armenian. Hastings, a member of Azerbaijan Congressional Caucus, called the alleged killings “the Khojaly Massacre.”

These killings are controversial with Armenians and Azeris blaming each other for the deaths. In recent years, the government of Azerbaijan has made these killings a cause celebre, organizing observances in various countries and accusing Armenians not only of committing a massacre, but a genocide! These propaganda observances are funded by what is known as “caviar diplomacy,” meaning that Azerbaijan bribes government officials around the world to block decisions critical of Azerbaijan or adopt resolutions in its favor.

It is ironic that while Azerbaijan describes the alleged killing of 613 Azeris a genocide, it shamelessly denies the actual genocide of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1923.

On March 3, 1997, the Armenian Foreign Ministry circulated a statement to members of the UN General Assembly and Security Council, rejecting the statement issued by Azerbaijan on February 22, 1997 on “the Khojalu event.” Armenia quoted the words of then President of Azerbaijan Ayaz Mutalibov who had stated that the Azerbaijani National Front “actively obstructed and actually prevented the exodus of the local [Azeri] population through the mountain passages specifically left open by Karabakh Armenians to facilitate the flight of the civilian population.” Mutalibov had made that statement in the days following “the Khojalu event” in an interview with Czech journalist Dana Mazalova published in the April 2, 1992 issue of the Russian newspaper Nizavisimaya Gazeta.

By organizing such propaganda observances, Azerbaijan’s officials have found a convenient way of countering the mass murder of Armenians in the Azeri towns of Sumgait (Feb. 28, 1988), Gyanja (November 1988) and Baku (January 1990) as well as the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turkey.

Azerbaijan could not have found a more infamous member of U.S. Congress to carry out its propaganda war against Armenia. Prior to becoming a member of Congress, Hastings served as a United States District or Federal Judge from 1979 to 1989, at which time he was impeached and removed from office!

According to Wikipedia, “In 1981, [Judge] Hastings was charged with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts of racketeering by Frank and Thomas Romano, and of perjury in his testimony about the case. In 1983, he was acquitted by a jury after his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify in court, resulting in a jail sentence for Borders.”

“In 1988, the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives took up the case, and Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413–3. He was then convicted on October 20, 1989, by the US Senate, becoming the sixth federal judge in the history of the United States to be removed from office by the Senate. The Senate, in two hours of roll calls, voted on 11 of the 17 articles of impeachment. It convicted Hastings of eight of the 11 articles. The vote on the first article was 69 for and 26 opposed….”

Cong. Hastings was disgraced for the second time when a staff member of the Helsinki Commission for which he was the Chairman, accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior! The Roll Call newspaper reported on December 8, 2017 that the U.S. Treasury Department secretly paid the staffer $220,000 to settle an alleged sexual harassment case against Cong. Hastings.

Winsome Packer, the staff member of the congressional commission, stated in a written document that Cong. Hastings touched her, made unwanted sexual advances, and threatened her job. In her lawsuit, Packer stated “that Hastings repeatedly asked to stay at her apartment or to visit her hotel room. Packer also said he frequently hugged her, and once asked her what kind of underwear she was wearing,” according to Roll Call. Cong. Hastings denied the accusation.

Finally, it appears that Cong. Hastings has maintained extensive contacts with the BGR Group, a major U.S. firm that is paid $50,000 a month to lobby for Azerbaijan in Washington.

Under the federal FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) laws, every lobbying firm has to register with the U.S. Justice Department, disclosing the contract signed with the foreign entity. More importantly, the lobbying firm’s employees are required to report to the Justice Department every contact they make with outsiders on behalf of their clients, whether by email, phone call, or personal meeting.

For example, during the six-month period of December 1, 2017 to May 30, 2018, BGR reported contacting congressional offices hundreds of times. Each time the subject matter was listed as “U.S.-Azerbaijan Relations.” Cleverly, BGR had hidden the name of the Congressman or Senator, mentioning only his or her staff member’s name.

Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) conducted a lengthy investigation to identify the names of the Congress members for whom these staff members worked. The ANCA investigation disclosed that on Nov. 17, 2017, Feb. 27, March 5, March 12, April 30, May 22, May 23, and May 30, 2018 BGR lobbyists emailed Tom Carnes, a staff member of Cong. Hastings. BGR also had a meeting with Tom Carnes on May 30, 2018. In addition, on May 22, 2018, lobbyists from BGR e-mailed Susannah Jackson of Cong. Hastings office. In addition, on Nov. 2, 2017, Rob Mangas, Tim Hutchinson, K. Laurie McKay, Killoran Long, and Albert Wynn on behalf of a lobbying firm for Turkey, Greenberg Traurig, had discussions with Lale Morrison from the office of Cong. Hastings regarding U.S.-Turkish relations. Finally, on Oct. 27, 2017, Lydia Borland on behalf of another lobbying firm for Turkey, LB International Solutions, LLC, met with Lale Morrison from the office of Cong. Hastings regarding US-Turkey relations.

No wonder that Cong. Hastings was given the low grade of D and D plus in recent years by the ANCA for not supporting various Armenian issues in Congress.

Azerbaijan has tried to cover up its crimes against Armenians and human rights violations of its deprived citizens by bribing foreign officials around the world and blaming others for its own wrongdoing!

avatar

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the United Armenian Fund, a coalition of the seven largest Armenian-American organizations. He has been decorated by the president and prime minister of the Republic of Armenia, and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

19 Comments

  1. Let’s not kid ourselves. Something bad happened in Khojaly. Even Sargsyan admitted this in an interview with de Waal back in the 90s. 100-200 people killed is certainly not a genocide or a massacre. These are the unfortunate incidents in war. I say instead of denying like the Turks and Azeris, Armenians should own up to it. Do we want to be deniers like the Turks and Azeris?

    • Arto I don’t think any Armenian denies what happened during the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, many died as they do in any war, but no systematic or government ordered massacres ever took place from the Armenian side. And if women and children died due to war As an Armenian I acknowledge their suffering and wish their families condolences but will not apologise for something that the Azeri authorities could have avoided if they adhered to the Armenian commands to move civilians out of the war zones.

      You ask for us to so called acknowledge what happened but have the Azeri’s acknowledged the Sumgait Massacres or the massacres over the past 100 years?

    • Raffi, what I am against are stories that Azeris killed their own people, or it was an Azeri set-up etc to get Elchibey out. These sound like Turkish/Azeri denial tactics. I didn’t say apologize, just acknowledge what happened which was due to the unfortunate consequences of war and move on. And it has nothing to do with what Azeris do in regards to Sumgait. We are supposed to be MUCH better than them—aren’t we?

      And by the way, I commend you for at least not denying. Most Armenians deny it categorically because of course Armenians could never do such a thing. Reality is anyone can do anything during wartime.

  2. During 2nd world war between Germany and Europeans, hundreds of thousands of population wiped out due to enemy bombardments, but until today nobody from both sides called massacres as genocide.

    Armenian Genocide was a systematic killing, organized by Ottomans State-run leaders, which is well documented by world Genocide scholars, like Raphael Lemkin!

    Axeris claim is justified for their own population, where the corrupt oil man, Aliyev, will have a better authority over his dictatorial regime!

  3. Hastings is the Representative for District 20 in Florida, a sparsely and scattered area where most probably there are no Armenians and he has never been supportive of Armenian issues/causes.
    His behavior has been lamentable and an embarrassment, in spite of which he gets reelected.
    It is obvious that his relationship with Azerbaijan and Turkey is directly tied to “dirty money”. He is bought.
    Sassounian has done a great job listing his transgressions/violations.
    I suggest the ANCA to dig more in depth on the monies he has received from Turkish/Azeri lobbying groups and expose him.
    Vart Adjemian

  4. Yes, the atrocity committed by Armenians in the town of Khojaly in Nagorno-Karabakh on the night of 25-26 February 1992 went down in the history of Azerbaijan as a bloody page. 3,000 people who were in the town at the moment of the attack 613 were killed, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elders; 487 people were severely wounded, including 76 children; 1,275 people were captured and subjected to unprecedented torture; the fate of 197 people still remains unknown. Eight families were totally annihilated. All these people were slaughtered, tortured and disabled solely because of their ethnic background, only for being Azerbaijanis. The fundamental rights of Azerbaijanis were grossly violated. The deliberate and systematic destruction of a national group fall under the definition of genocide.

    • Do you have a list of the victims with their names and ages? I find it very interesting that the number of victims suddenly jumped from 150 to 600 plus! Considering how important this is for you, you sure should have a list of the dead with the details, right?

  5. This genocidal act by the Armenians was deliberately planned and its only objective was to partially or completely wipe out civilians because of their nationality. The fundamental rights of Azerbaijanis were grossly violated. The deliberate and systematic destruction of a national group fall under the definition of genocide. These actions are defined as genocide under international law, which must be recognized by the world community.

    • Nurlan, I referred in my article to deniers like you who insist that the killing of A couple of hundred Azeris during wartime is a genocide, but the mass murder of 1.5 million innocent Armenians is not a genocide. Only after you acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, I will be willing to consider sympathizing with you about the Azeri dead.

  6. “What I am against are stories that Azeris killed their own people, or it was an Azeri set-up to get Elchibey out.”

    Well, this therefore means that you are attempting to be a denier just like the Turks and Azeris. And the name of the Azerbaijani president who they were attempting to “get out,” was not Elchibey. His name was Ayaz Mutalibov. As a matter of fact, former Azerbaijani president, Ayaz Mutalibov, had stated that, “The shooting of the Khojaly residents was obviously organized by someone to take control in Azerbaijan.” He also revealed that “Popular Front of Azerbaijan militants shot their own civilians escaping through the corridor.”

    “Tamerlan Karayev, at one time the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan Republic, bears witness: ‘The tragedy was committed by the authorities of Azerbaijan,’ and specifically by ‘someone highly placed.'”

    Furthermore, “Ayaz Mutalibov stated that the Azerbaijani National Front ‘actively obstructed and actually prevented the exodus of the local [Azeri] population through the mountain passages specifically left open by Karabakh Armenians to facilitate the flight of the civilian population.'”

    How can you possibly go against all of this, and attempt to deny the evidence presented by former Azerbaijani president, Ayaz Mutalibov?

    • Arto,

      By enormously elevating the number of innocent Azerbaijanis killed from the actual figure of 161 to “more than 400” clearly shows that Thomas DeWaal is assisting Azerbaijan in its attempt to frame the Armenians for this massacre.

      In the interview with Serzh Sargsyan, in regard to “Khojaly,” he only says: “Before Khojalu, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us; they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We needed to put a stop to all that. And that’s what happened. And we should also take into account that amongst those boys were people who had fled from [the anti-Armenian pogroms in] Baku and Sumgait.”

      Serzh never stated anything about “Armenian soldiers intentionally killing Azerbaijani civilians.” He was just trying to act tough.

      “Human Rights Watch”? This is actually the same “human rights” organization who never condemns Azerbaijan for its enormous and brutal human rights abuses against the Artsakh Armenians. Anyway, no international observers were ever present to witness the events that took place in Khojaly. When they arrived at the scene, it was after the killings had already taken place. They observed 161 Azerbaijani civilians, lying dead on the ground, and immediately assumed that they had been massacred by the Armenian soldiers.

      “I don’t care what Mutalibov said.”

      Therefore, you are denying all of the evidence presented by former Azerbaijani president, Ayaz Mutalibov.

    • “Before Khojalu, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us; they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We needed to put a stop to all that. And that’s what happened. And we should also take into account that amongst those boys were people who had fled from [the anti-Armenian pogroms in] Baku and Sumgait.”

      It unbelievable that you can quote Serj who said exactly what I am saying and still you DENY? Serj’s quote says it all. If you can’t comprehend the quote no point in discussing further with you. You are another Armenian who has his head in the sand. Unfortunately you are no better than a Turk or Azeri in accepting truth.

    • And how unbelievable it is that you can quote Serzh and persist in your claim that he stated that Armenian soldiers intentionally killed Azerbaijani civilians. Again, he never stated that. And, in that interview with Serzh, where does he give details about how many civilians were killed and how they were killed? No details whatsoever!

      Unfortunately, you are no better than a typical Turkbaijani denialist, who doesn’t even accept the evidence presented by the former Turkbaijani president, Ayaz Mutalibov.

  7. Wow such Desperation for Azeris to turn to this man — he serves a very low-class poverty stricken Black district in Florida.
    He is also 82 yrs old ..

    I wouldn’t lose sleep over this miserable crook.

  8. The money that should be spent to fix problems in Azerbaijan is being wasted on these sort of pathetic things. The result is a country that has exported hundreds of billions of dollars of oil yet its economy is in miserable condition. Ilham is indeed the best friend of Armenians. Imagine if Azerbaijan had a democratic government.

  9. that is the truth. Thank You for be remembering and not forgetting these facts. Khojali genocide may be accepted by World.. armenian army occupied 20% of Azerbaijan and as soon as we are release our land.

    • In fairness to Azerbaijan, what it committed against its own civilians over in Khojaly, came nowhere close to being a genocide. In order to qualify as a genocide, you must have the deliberate destruction of a “large part” of a cultural, racial, national, or religious group. Therefore, even if we were to go along with your invented figure of 613 killings, what does it represent out of the total Azerbaijani population from 1992? It doesn’t even represent one percent.

      Also, don’t forget that the Armenians still have additional lands to liberate from Azerbaijan, which itself used to be a province of Historic Armenia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*