Friday, April 24, 2015

The Honorable Life and Untimely Death of Colonel Ted Westhusing‏

As a West Point graduate and former Army officer, I ran into few military leaders that embodied the ideals of West Point, particularly those who so closely lived by its motto "duty, honor, country." One such standout officer was the late great Colonel Westhusing who died in Iraq in June 2005. With Memorial Day and the tenth anniversary of his untimely, suspicious death coming up in just over a month, it seems appropriate to pay tribute to his character and life. 
 
Theodore “Ted” Westhusing was born November 17th, 1960 in Dallas, Texas into a large close-knit Christian family among seven children. Ted stood out from the beginning. After moving to a suburb outside Tulsa, in high school he became a National Merit Scholar and nearly went to the state basketball finals as the over-achieving point guard. He was so devoted to his basketball that every morning at seven would shoot 100 jump shots before classes even began. Though he could have attended any college he chose, Ted was enamored by members of his family’s illustrious military service and selected West Point as his undergraduate collegiate destination. His father was a Korean War veteran who later served in the Navy Reserves. Ted possessed both a commitment and compassion in everything he did. With his passion for justice guiding him, the West Point motto “duty, honor, country” meant everything to Ted. His final year at the Academy he was chosen to be the honor captain, the highest ranking ethics official within the entire Corps of Cadets. Cadet Westhusing was also an outstanding student, graduating third in his West Point Class of 1983.



As an Army Infantry officer, Ted completed Ranger school, served in Italy, Honduras and South Korea, and the 82nd Airborne Division under then Colonel David Petraeus at Fort Bragg. Ted became fluent in both Italian and Russian and also earned a masters and then later a PhD in philosophy from Emory University, choosing that particular school because it uniquely offered graduate programs in both classical Greek and Roman history as well as military philosophy. His expertise in classical military history led him to becoming an adviser for the film “Troy” where he explained military planning and troop movement to the filmmakers. Ted’s military service dedication and academic brilliance were rewarded in a lifetime teaching position at the US Military Academy where he served as a professor in both philosophy and English.



 Though happily married with three children, when given the chance to round out his leadership experience by participating in the Iraq War, Lieutenant Colonel Westhusing volunteered to oversee training operations of Iraqi security forces, again serving under General Petraeus’ command of special operations in Iraq. Initially when Westhusing arrived on the scene in Baghdad in January 2005, he and Petraeus had an ongoing mutual admiration society with King David anointing Ted a full bird colonel. Three star General Petraeus was instrumental in outsourcing the US military with privatized civilian contractors, replacing military personnel that historically performed all previous logistics, training and support services in American wars throughout its history.



 Thus, Colonel Westhusing’s Iraq War assignment involved working closely with the Virginia based, no bid, Carlyle Group bought and owned for $545 million, the private contracting firm of United States Investigative Services (USIS) that held a 79 million dollar contract with the Pentagon. Of course having the sitting US President Bush owning shares in these civilian outsourcing companies that changed the way America was fighting its wars was nothing new under the Bush-Cheney regime. Shortly before Cheney became the US Vice President, he was the CEO of Halliburton, another giant no bid contractor given multimillion dollar contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the United States.



 The corruption, theft, graft and greed of the neocon war criminals in charge clashed with the ideals and morays of the 44-year old Army officer that represented West Point at its best. The professional ethicist and scholar from West Point was shocked to learn that the real world politics of modern dirty Empire wars necessarily involved theft, corruption, greed and war crimes on an unprecedented global scale. In May 2005 Westhusing’s world began rapidly unraveling upon receiving an anonymous four page letter from a USIS insider citing various violations that the huge private contractor was regularly engaging in Iraq. It exposed greedy civilian USIS contractors ripping off the government for millions of dollars with stolen equipment, weapons, electronics, helmets that the company swept under the carpet by falsely claiming it was lost on loan to the irresponsible Iraqis.
 
To cut corners even further in order to increase profits, the company was also alleged to have supplied a gross shortage of instructors to train the Iraqi security forces. But most serious was the charge that American USIS civilian contractors bragged about shooting Iraqi citizens during the siege of Fallujah and other overly aggressive covert patrols. It was against both US and Iraq law for private contractors to engage in combat missions, the one job in Iraq that was still designated to be fulfilled by military personnel only. Of course indiscriminant shooting and killing of Iraqi civilians also constitute serious war crime atrocities, the notorious case being Blackwater. The murder of 14 unarmed Iraqis back in 2007 finally caught up to four mercenary employees who a few months ago were convicted… no doubt the tip of the iceberg that Colonel Westhusing was suddenly confronting in Iraq two years earlier than those Blackwater killings. 



 When Ted Westhusing was confronted with the reality of what was really going on in Iraq, he immediately let his superior officers know and called for an investigation per proper chain of command protocol. However, the colonel became disheartened when the two generals - three star Petraeus and two star Fil - in so many words told him to keep his mouth shut and play the game. After all, Petraeus was responsible more than any other single general for outsourcing the neocon wars with corrupt private civilian contractors. Also at that time Petraeus was overseeing the training of Iraqi death squad commandos marauding through Iraq’s city streets block by block systematically invading homes, murdering families, and detaining innocent Iraqi males for prison torture. This was yet another grim discovery Westhusing made, linking his boss Petraeus to training the largely Shiite security forces into Sunni killer commandos. Realizing how US counterinsurgency wars were so dirtily fought by the man who wrote the book on counterinsurgency warfare (COIN manual) was yet another sobering, disillusioning find. Accepting that murder of innocents as so called “collateral damage” being a mere secondary afterthought in the business of rooting out potential enemy insurgents wore deeply on Ted’s moral conscience.



Upon concluding General Petraeus never had his back, Colonel Westhusing began seeing that his complaints falling on deaf ears only made him a growing problem amidst the business-as-usual method of modern US imperialistic warfare. Ted Westhusing increasingly confronted USIS management with the evidence of their wrongdoing, and during his final weeks alive, the open hostilities and tensions between Ted and USIS personnel were mounting daily.



 Ted spoke on the phone and regularly emailed his wife and family members alluding to the growing danger of his own safety. Though he never specified any overt threats made toward him by USIS adversaries, he did reveal that “terrible things are going on in Iraq” and only going from bad to worse. He also said he hoped he would make it back to the United States alive.



Ted’s wife Michelle had her last phone conversation with her husband lasting about a half hour exactly two weeks to the day prior to his death. She knew from his voice that his life was increasingly in peril. Though bodyguards were generally not assigned to military officers in Iraq other than to King David himself, Michelle and Ted’s family members insist that Colonel Westhusing had in fact been assigned a bodyguard that had suddenly been granted a leave of absence when the colonel that final weekend of his life traveled to Camp Dublin to the USIS headquarters near the Baghdad airport. That Saturday morning the day before his death the colonel had a very contentious meeting with the USIS private contractors. Ted had just uncovered the link between the death squad commando units from the Iran-Contra affair and the death squads being trained to kill in Iraq.



 By this time word was out that the super honest, “troublemaking” colonel threatened to go public with the filth he had uncovered at USIS. That same day Ted attended the scheduled demonstration put on by freshly trained Iraqi security forces to show just how skilled and adept they were fresh off their “successful, effective” USIS training. It was all for show as Ted knew the darker truth. Just hours before his death, Colonel Westhusing also had an extremely heated and confrontational meeting with General Petraeus over the USIS charges and what was to be done about it. By lunchtime that Sunday June 5th, 2005, just prior to his scheduled departure to return to his regular headquarters in the green zone, Ted Westhusing was found face up lying on the floor in a pool of blood in his trailer, dead from a gunshot wound to his head, becoming the highest ranking soldier to die in Iraq at the time.



 Since this case was extremely high profile, both the US Army and later the US Congress launched investigations into Westhusing’s untimely death, both ultimately concluding that the demoralized colonel died from a self-inflicted head wound from his own revolver with a suicide note allegedly found on his bed. Part of Ted’s alleged suicide note written to General Petraeus published in the Texas Observer in March 2007 follows below:



 Thanks for telling me it was a good day until I briefed you. [Redacted name General Petraeus] - You are only interested in your career and provide no support to your staff - no msn [mission] support and you don’t care. I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human right abuses and liars. I am sullied no more. I didn’t volunteer to support corrupt, money grubbing contractors, nor work for commanders only interested in themselves. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. I trust no Iraqi. I cannot live this way. All my love to my family, my wife and my precious children. I love you and trust you only. Death before being dishonored any more. Trust is essential - I don’t know who to trust anymore. Why serve when you cannot accomplish the mission, when you no longer believe in the cause, when your every effort and breath to succeed meets with lies, lack of support, and selfishness? No more. Reevaluate yourselves, commanders. You are not what you think you are and I know it. Life needs trust. Trust is no more for me here in Iraq.



Three of seven numbered pages from his suicide note went undisclosed during the investigation, which begs for further explanation and opens a floodgate of unanswered questions. Ted’s suicide note apparently was part of a journal he had been compiling to chronicle issues and events. And then raising even more suspicion, other pages from his journal were purposely omitted from the Army’s final report because they were considered “too sensitive government issues.”



Clearly the colonel felt betrayed by his commander Petraeus in the wake of Ted’s efforts to alert him as to the immoral and illegal activities of USIS. Yet every last allegation about USIS improprieties proved unfounded according to the official inquiry released three months later. That said, today common public knowledge has long since accepted the fact that obscene amounts of US taxpayer dollars in cash and millions more in unaccounted weapons and equipment in Iraq were looted and stolen by various military industrial complex war profiteers. Human rights violations as war crime atrocities have also been documented later by whistleblower Private Bradley Manning. Despite those bogus “official” findings, subsequently confirmed rampant corruption and misconduct in Iraq were committed regularly by the same privatized profiteers with whom Colonel Ted Westhusing was confronting and exposing right up until his death. To vindicate Westhusing’s accusations and discredit the previous finding that exonerated USIS of any misconduct, two years after his death in August 2007 the Government Accountability Office disclosed that the Pentagon could not account for 110,000 AK-47 assault rifles, 80,000 pistols, 135,000 items of body armor and 115,000 helmets all planned for use by Iraqi security forces.



To maintain the appearance that the Army really cared about Ted, both Generals Petraeus and Fil had the audacity to fly back to the US to attend the colonel’s funeral at West Point. No sooner was Ted buried before Petraeus was then suddenly heading off to his next assignment, not in Iraq but Fort Leavenworth, while Fil was off to Fort Hood. The Army saw to it that both brass were conveniently and safely far enough away from any subsequent connection with Iraq war crimes and Westhusing’s untimely ending crying foul about what they were both privy to and responsible for.



A postscript to General Fil, as Eighth Army commander in South Korea, he apparently received kickbacks from a wealthy, prominent local Korean businessman. In early 2013 Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock broke the story that the three star General Fil wrongfully accepted a $1500 set of gold-plated pens, a $2000 leather briefcase and allowed a “family member” to accept $3000 in cash. Ironically of all things, Fil was slated to become the Inspector General at the Pentagon when he was busted. Instead he lost a star and retired in disgrace. Both of Ted’s “superior officers” in Iraq - Generals Fil and Petraeus - who after Ted’s demise went on thriving in the military system that rewards lies and corruption. But in the end, each brought dishonor and humiliation onto themselves in a classic case of just deserts.



 To a person all of Ted’s family members, classmates and friends believe that the consummate professional soldier was murdered in action. He became a growing threat revealing the evildoing of greedy war profiteers with direct ties to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and future CIA Director Petraeus. Though perhaps insufficient evidence exists to convict the responsible guilty party or parties in a court of law for murder, Colonel Westhusing either way was a casualty of an immoral war. And just the same, a strong body of circumstantial evidence makes for a very serious and solid case of suspected murder and assassination.



The systematic practice of eliminating individuals who pose an imagined or real threat of exposing the ugly truth about status quo clandestine operations committed by the powerful in America is nothing new. A poll from November last year indicates 61% of American citizens believe that President Kennedy was not assassinated by a lone gunman, but that elements of our own government were also involved. Many witnesses and potential whistleblowers have since been mysteriously killed. Cover-ups in America have long been maintained by customarily dismissing any and all conspiracy theories as mere unsubstantiated speculation despite whatever evidence emerges to prove they are in fact true. This gross and blatant form of denial of reality is simply how our nation’s leaders continue living their lies, of course aided and abetted by ongoing propaganda and disinformation pumped out nonstop by mainstream media. But 87% of Americans neither trust their leaders nor the six giant oligarch owned media corporations.



As the incriminating facts do slowly get uncovered over time, more Americans are now coming to believe and accept that even 9/11 and the invented, so called “war on terror” was all an inside job perpetrated by the neocon regime that’s only continued operating under Obama. In June 2013 muckraking journalist Michael Hastings was most likely murdered for nearly blowing the shady lid off current US intelligence agencies’ illicit and unconstitutional activities. For the growing legions of Americans who no longer place any trust in the official party line spun by our government propaganda machine, the following account of facts surrounding the case of Colonel Westhusing’s suspicious death is presented for consideration.



Ted Westhusing was born and raised a devout, practicing Roman Catholic. And committing suicide is nothing short of a sin to all Catholics. Ted was happily married and loved his wife and children as much as any husband and father. All who knew Ted also knew this to be fact. At the time of his death Ted also loved his job as a West Point professor and was merely four short weeks away from returning to his prior life and family he loved so much awaiting him back in the States. At no point did he share any thoughts of suicide with anyone, not even with his closest family and friends who knew him best. Not even for a moment does any one of them believe that Ted would actually throw away his life and abandon those he loved and cherished so much. On the morning of the very day he died prior to his Petraeus meeting, Ted sent a thoughtful email message wishing his mother a happy birthday. That such a devoted Catholic ethicist, loving son and moral warrior would commit such a forbidden sin on his own mother’s birthday is far less believable than a corrupt company made up of lying, murderous mercenaries run by the lying, murderous Bush family doing him in to preserve its own reputation and 79 million dollar defense contract.



The USIS manager that allegedly discovered his lifeless body had gone to his quarters initially by himself, knocked on the door several times, called out his name and even attempted to enter but observed that the door was locked. When fifteen minutes later he returned with a colleague who peered through the blinds and noticed the colonel laying in blood on the floor, the USIS manager explicitly stated that that same locked door fifteen minutes earlier was suddenly and mysteriously found to be unlocked. That same manager then picked up the revolver allegedly used laying on the floor near Westhusing’s body. His account maintains the gun was near his head yet the other witness stated it was near his feet. The manager obviously knew he was tampering with crucial evidence by placing his fingerprints all over the pistol used to kill the colonel, coming up with the lame feeble excuse that since it still was loaded, knowing people would soon be arriving on the scene, for safety purposes he took it upon himself to unload the weapon. Moreover, in the Army’s rush to rule the death a suicide, only Westhusing’s fingers were tested for gunpowder traces, conveniently failing to even bother testing the manager that admitted to tampering with the lethal weapon. A pair of suspicious plastic gloves were also found at the crime scene.



A USIS secretary whose living quarters were attached to Westhusing’s trailer at Camp Dublin went on record stating that she heard loud voices coming from the colonel’s quarters around lunchtime not long before the USIS manager’s account. She concluded it was either Westhusing talking loudly to himself, alluding to observing the colonel’s eccentric behavior earlier that weekend, or that Westhusing was possibly talking to a cleaning crew supervisor who spoke English. She explained she could not make out the content of what was being said but only that the voice or voices she heard were in English and could identify one voice as definitely Westhusing’s. In spite of being within earshot of the colonel, strangely enough she claimed she never heard any gun go off, yet its noise is far louder than a voice.  



Because Colonel Westhusing died on USIS turf, all the witnesses interviewed during the subsequent investigation were limited exclusively to USIS employees that would be sure to tow the company line. Their sworn testimony described Westhusing’s behavior that weekend as highly disturbed, incessantly scratching the back of his head, staring blankly into space or at his computer screen, repeatedly scratching his legs uncontrollably, periodically removing his revolver from his holster and fidgeting with it. The Army psychologist subsequently brought in to investigate and assess Westhusing’s psychological state at the time of his death concluded that his rigid moral convictions and beliefs could not accept the reality that the war in Iraq with which he found himself participating was largely waged by private civilian contractors driven by the profit motive rather than the military officer’s own credo of “duty, honor, country.” She felt his response to become so demoralized, severely depressed and nearly despondent over this clash between his moral West Point high ground and the reality he witnessed on the ground there pushed him over the edge to commit suicide, calling it an inherent characterological weakness in the colonel’s incapacity to reconcile the two.



Meanwhile, a renowned expert in forensic and clinical psychiatry, Dr. Lawson Bernstein, discussing the case stated that a self-inflicted gunshot wound behind the ear is extremely rare since suicide by gunshot is most commonly executed by aiming the barrel of the gun toward the mouth or temple, and never in his extensive experience has suicide resulted from reaching behind one’s left ear to pull the trigger. The medical practitioner concluded that Ted Westhusing was either murdered or killed himself wanting it to appear like a murder. Simply put, shooting someone in the head from behind is far more typical of an execution-style murder than a suicide by self-inflicted gunshot.



That all USIS employees would portray Colonel Westhusing as a severely depressed individual but not quite so severe as to actually think he would commit suicide is exactly what USIS would want to project, so as to absolve its personnel from any suspicion or blame. Even though the colonel had a series of increasingly heated arguments and confrontations openly accusing the contractors of misconduct and greed, predictably for all too obvious reasons, none of them went on record acknowledging any major conflict or bad blood between them and the colonel. And of course the Department of Defense (DoD) investigators never much pursued that pink elephant in the room that most likely killed Ted since the Army’s agenda was to simply whitewash and quickly sweep the truth under the rug. After all, the unholy marriage between Petraeus’ outsourced Army and Bush’s privatization war was self-servingly never about the truth. From the very start it had been built on lies upon lies. Because too much was at stake with Colonel Westhusing still alive, it seems all too likely a decision was made that he simply had to be put down.



Far more objective and knowledgeable than I can be, there are inside government investigators that reviewed the facts of the case that off the record concluded that Colonel Westhusing was murdered. In a February 2008 Texas Observer article, reporter Robert Bryce opened with:



Since last March, when I wrote a story about the apparent suicide of Colonel Ted Westhusing in Iraq, I had believed there was nothing else to write about his tragic death.



But in December 2007 he interviewed a DoD source who explained that he met Ted Westhusing in Iraq about three months prior to his death. For obvious reasons the source requested that he remain unidentified. At the time he was investigating claims of wrongdoing against the very same military contractors in Iraq.



When Robert Bryce asked him what he thought had happened to Westhusing, the DoD investigator replied:



I think he was killed. I honestly do. I think he was murdered. Maybe the DoD didn’t have enough evidence to call it murder, so they called it suicide.



Similar to the untimely fate of another good man from West Point Jack Wheeler who was most likely was assassinated, Colonel Ted Westhusing’s death also appears to have been a move to silence another potential whistleblower.  Westhusing was likely murdered by one or more USIS personnel shortly after the USIS administrator in close proximity heard loud voices one of which belonged to the colonel. Of course no surprise that she would conveniently omit and deny hearing any gunshot go off. After all, had she told the whole truth and incriminated her company for murder, she too would have been silenced. Per Wikipidia, “A DoD Army report stated that an administrator near his trailer had heard a very loud argument in Colonel Westhusing’s office trailer before he was found dead by the contractor. And despite account(s) overhearing voices from Ted’s trailer on the same timeline, no apparent gunshot was ever reported.



Ted’s alleged suicide note appears real, authenticated both by investigating authorities as well as Ted’s wife who stated that his handwritten note contained the exact same language and sentiments she had heard her husband utter before. But some of it may have been written under duress at gunpoint, composing his final remarks knowing he was about to be murdered. Or even more likely, some or all of it may have been taken directly out of the journal he had been writing. In any event, Ted Westhusing held true to his convictions right to the end as the honorable and brave officer that he was, fulfilling his mission that he had volunteered for in Iraq to become the battle-tested warrior he ended up in the end. Colonel Westhusing gave his life to his country but did not die in vain. His spirit and will to live by his own integrity in telling the truth is his invaluable legacy for all of us humans who also believe in and value truth and justice. Rest in peace America’s premier fallen moral warrior.



It seems that a great West Point leader was falsely accused of killing himself and murdered too young by equally powerful sinister forces. Colonel Ted Westhusing’s goodness, honor and tragic death in contrast to the soiled bloody hands of his boss General Petraeus. If there ever was a West Pointer who lived up to the ideals of the Cadet Prayer below, it was Ted Westhusing (emboldened for emphasis):

O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of Human hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural. Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretense ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy. Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer. Help us to maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied and to show forth in our lives the ideals of West Point in doing our duty to Thee and to our Country. All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and Master of all. Amen.





 


Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Canada-US Joint Military Exercises, All Canadian Target Stores and 5 US Wal-Mart Stores Closed: The Jade Helm Plot Thickens with Latest Developments‏





Several days ago I wrote about Operation Jade Helm 15, what we knew then and what we didn’t know. Not included was recent disclosure that five Wal-Mart stores on next to no notice last week were mysteriously being closed in California, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida for as long as up to six months with Wal-Mart’s bogus excuse of plumbing problems.  Meanwhile, it’s been confirmed that none of the five stores in question even have permits for any plumbing work.


A sad irony is these massive employee layoffs came exactly the same time that Wal-Mart two months ago had agreed to raise its workers’ wages up to $9 an hour, though still not enough to live independently anywhere in America with today’s cost of living. That suddenly 2200 workers were given but a 5-hour notice that they’re out of a job is a low blow, but common enough for how Big Business coldly operates within America’s still struggling, stagnant, faltering economy. But Wal-Mart's big lie as the world’s biggest retail chain to so abruptly close its stores in the face of all the skyrocketing speculation and mounting concerns over the largest covert military operation on US soil in modern times scheduled this summer with JH 15 only added flashpoint fuel to the spreading wildfire of bewilderment facing extremely worried Americans.


Learning that 1200 of the US’s elite military fighting forces from the Green Beret, Delta Force and Navy Seals would be going undercover in up to ten states, compounded by news of massive closures of such large retail buildings is triggering an enormous cloud of conjecture that the closed Wal-Mart stores will be used as possible processing areas for dissident round-ups once martial law is declared.


Then a day ago more information came to light from a labor organization representing the laid off Wal-Mart employees claiming the store was retaliating against its workers attempting to organize for better pay. Canadian employees at the giant retailer north of the border have suffered similar reprisals from Wall-Mart. Despite the four Walton siblings said to be the richest family in the world worth over $152 billion, near 2 out of 3 of their 1.3 million US employees earn less than $25,000 a year. Wal-Mart has a long shameful history grossly underpaying its workers a decent enough wage to subsist without resorting to federal relief through food stamps much less refusing to provide health insurance coverage for its employees. So while the Waltons predatorily squeeze even more billions in profit out of its feudal labor force, the wealthiest family is also gouging American taxpayers having to subsidize Wal-Mart's underpaid workers with federal relief programs.


But now the plot is thickening into a disturbing cauldron of fear and even more astonishment boiling over into potential panic with the latest round of revelations uncovered. Apparently simultaneous with the national worry over Jade Helm, we now learn that Canada as of Monday has launched its own military “training exercises” called Operation Maple Resolve involving joint covert operations with both US and British military forces that will last until May 23rd. To accommodate this large scale military drill, astoundingly all 133 Target stores in Canada have been closed and 17000 Target workers have been laid off and told to find other means of employment.  


The world’s largest retailers Target, Wal-Mart and Home Depot would not team up with both the US and Canadian governments to ostensibly lose billions of revenue dollars from mass closures for nothing. They’re being covertly compensated by highly lucrative payout contracts from both North American national governments of course at taxpayer expense. Given a billion dollar development subsidy for expansion a decade ago by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a secret partnership with Wal-Mart stores was established internationally as emergency military command and control centers. They’ve installed the cyber-infrastructure to be used as backdoor data base operation centers for requisitioning military supplies as well as for temporary processing of extracted citizens on their way to permanent FEMA camps. The DHS and Wal-Mart’s ultra-cozy relationship came through a few years ago in a propaganda pitch Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made urging Wal-Mart employees to “keep our ‘Hometown’ safe by immediately reporting any suspicious activity to a local Big Brother fusion center and/or police near you.”


Co-incidentally, the Kremlin reported last week that exactly when the five Wal-Marts in the US were shutting their doors that a Wal-Mart store in Yemen also suddenly closed to instantly become a fully operational Special Ops command center directing combat operations in the latest North Africa-Middle East Empire proxy war there. This indicates the strategic value US military places on Wal-Marts internationally. And then of course we already know that Wal-Mart along with other transnational giants like Facebook and Apple have all been secretly feeding NSA and Big Brother massive amounts of data collection about us based on facial recognition technology.


Also uncovered in recent years is the extensive underground conduit system of trucking and railway routes with arteries spreading throughout the country that are linked in remarkably close proximity specifically to the five Wal-Mart locations closed last week as well as to hundreds of other Wal-Marts across the nation. Trillions of taxpayer dollars have been top secretly funneled by the Department of Defense, DHS, the US intelligence community and the Army Corps of Engineers working with the nation’s largest private defense contractor Lockheed Martin to build elaborate underground living bunkers complete with deep underground military bases (Black Ops’ DUMB’s) along with a hi-tech emergency transportation system below the earth’s surface to serve as a contingency plan where the elite can safely seek refuge while the rest of us are dying in a nuclear, biological and/or chemical war raging above ground. This explains the seemingly suicidal course our international Gov.Corps crime cabal has us on in its demonic race to World War III.


Another piece of unsettling evidence drawing lots of attention these days is a Department of Defense private security and investigations contractor called EKS Group, LLC currently advertising job openings from its Sierra Vista, Arizona office for “Surveillance Role Players” hired just in time for Jade Helm to work with Special Operations, the FBI, DHS and DEA. Apparently they need to be young, fit and able to walk up to 18 miles a day ready for deployment in the military exercises that “simulate” forced detention and relocation of American citizens. Obama’s long been actively recruiting young Americans for an enormous civilian “national defense” corps (not unlike prewar Nazi youth groups) for just such purposes to aid the feds and military during emergency martial law conditions.


Dave Hodges of the Common Sense Show who recently reported the ISIS training camp near El Paso eight miles from the US border and surface to air missiles at a newly installed Air Force base outside Lubbock, Texas also linked Canadian forces to Jade Helm in his Tuesday post. Feeding the rumor mill in overdrive is the unusual amount of reported activity in recent days and weeks across North America of massive movement of military supplies, vehicles, armaments and equipment in both Canada and the United States.


Meanwhile, an apparent spokesman for Jade Helm, retired senior Special Forces non-commissioned officer Tom Meade, has stated that joint inter-agency law enforcement like the FBI and DEA will also participate in the two month long summer exercise with Special Operations forces. To quell some of the internet hype claiming foreign troops will be part of Jade Helm, Meade denied that any military personnel from foreign countries would be involved, though his response still left the door open, “Currently... it is US only.”


An example of just how much contentiousness over Jade Helm is drawing even within one internet news site is the recent back and forth activity at Veterans Today (VT). After VT journalist Robert O’ Dowd’s article entitled “Prelude to False Flag and Martial Law” was posted last Saturday, head editors Gordon Duff and Jim W. Dean a day later rebuked the earlier piece claiming that their inside sources told them Jade Helm links to martial law and an impending ISIS invasion were pure disinformation planted by neocons in the federal government to intentionally smear the reputation and credibility of all independent news media. O’Dowd resigned at VT and noted scholar, former professor and author-activist Jim Fetzer wrote an article posted on Tuesday titled “Jade Helm is not a ‘Training Op’ but Something Far More,” in the face of the latest developments publicly siding with O’ Dowd. Two hours later his VT article was abruptly removed from the site.


Pentagon official Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria by email supplied the Washington Post with the official Jade Helm explanation, “This exercise is routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces because they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.” However, that kind of double speak went over like a lead balloon to many suspicious Americans. Blending in with foreign populations seems far less plausible and even less likely than conducting clandestine operations blending in amongst Americans on American soil. For over a decade US Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement across the nation have increasingly prepped Americans with false flags and even more so, targeting US citizens as the latest insurgents in its counterterrorism wars, labeling them potential home grown terrorists that include law abiding citizen dissidents who actively oppose the federal government’s tyranny.


This extremely alarming, unfolding reality in turn has naturally aroused rising suspicion that Americans this summer will become victims of extraction, a term used to forcibly take out citizens either by assassination or rounding them up and placing them in FEMA prison camps. All the empty Target and Wal-Mart stores in North America are speculated as potential processing centers to temporarily warehouse people instead of the usual cheap goods from China. Because what is actually occurring will definitely not be disclosed by the oligarch owned mainstream media, the onus of disseminating the truth will fall on independent internet media outlets to continue digging into Jade Helm for the government crime cabal’s real agenda. Americans will need to be both vigilant and selective about what they choose to believe during this critical time leading up to July 15th.


 Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.
 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Is Operation Jade Helm 15 the Floodgate to Martial Law and World War III?



First we learned that Operation Jade Helm 15 is coming this summer from mid-July through mid-September to a Southwest neighborhood near you stretching from Texas to California. Per government sources and their mainstream media outlets like the Washington Post, it’s nothing more than a benign massive military drill designed to test how effectively US Special Operations forces can covertly and as seamlessly as possible embed themselves into the civilian populace as a mere security training exercise to keep us all safe in the future. The Washington Post March 31st headline - “Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is Freaking out the Internet and Why it Shouldn’t Be” - then goes on to list several alternative news sites like InfoWars making the claim that martial law in America is coming soon.
 
According to last August’s CNN poll, an all-time high of 87% of Americans simply do not trust their own government nor mainstream media as truthful or credible. More and more Americans are turning to alternative news sources in an attempt to find out what’s really going on in their world. But the rash of “sky is falling” headlines from the internet news sources have created a media firestorm. Millions of Americans could hardly be consoled by the Washington Post article encouraging them not to worry that our government once again is up to no good. Instead those distrusting MSM believe Jade Helm 15 is a training exercise that will pave the way for US martial law similar to how the Boston Marathon false flag was a litmus test for martial law imposed on a major US metropolitan city. Except this time Jade Helm’s unprecedented size and scope covers a large expansive area taking up the southwestern quadrant of the United States.
 
The US military has designated certain states like Texas, Utah and part of Southern California during this operation as “hostile,” adding that “New Mexico isn’t much friendlier.” That the one time reputable DC newspaper that broke Watergate in the 70’s describes the Jade Helm operation in terms as if it were some kind of board game like Risk or Monopoly doesn’t help its already dubious credibility. Millions of Americans have realized their own oligarchic government has betrayed them and their interests and simply can no longer be trusted. So in the eyes of the feds, that would automatically make them “hostile.” The Post article also list several past covert military operations where states have been labeled as hostile territory for purposes of the training exercises. And of course that they went by unnoticed should give us solace the Jade's outcome will be no different.
 
Now that the fascist totalitarian oligarchy posing as our federal government has been busily expanding its military wars from the Middle East to American soil against its own law abiding citizens, the Post tells us we shouldn’t worry. George W Bush once infamously proclaimed “you’re either with us or against us.”
 
The fact that police in America armed with the same heavy weaponry look identical to US combat troops fighting foreign wars are now murdering unarmed US citizens at an unprecedented rate, we shouldn’t worry? The number of Americans civilians since 9/11 killed by militant police is closing in on the number of American soldiers killed in action fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (as of a year ago 6802). Though no actual records are conveniently kept of police killing Americans, a year and a half ago it was reported that estimates of over 5000 Americans were killed by police since 9/11. Tack on the mounting numbers of police killings that have increased exponentially in the last year and a half and it could well exceed the KIA’s from foreign wars by now. That tells us the same counterinsurgency wars the US has been brutally waging on foreign soil is now being fought against us in the streets of America. As such, we stand to lose our life 55 times greater from our own police than any actual terrorists. And if you happen to be an African American male, that likelihood skyrockets.
 
As of the 2012 NDAA, military forces can enter our homes without warrants or charges and lock us up indefinitely without trial or legal representation. And according to that Washington Post article, apparently we should have no concerns about Special Forces showing up at our doorstep or roaming through our neighborhoods for several months over the summer. Our friendly state propagandist Washington Post says that when the elite wing of Big Brother’s killing machine invades our local communities, we should actually feel safer. Military spokesman Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria’s e-mail stated, “Training exercise Jade Helm is going to assist our Special Operations Soldiers and leadership in refining the skills needed against an ever changing foreign threat.” And we should all believe this because the military has such a great track record of always telling us the truth.
 
From the Boston Marathon bombings to Sandy Hook, the government has been executing false flags for purposes of imposing absolute NWO control over its citizens. Ever since the neocons’ inside 9/11 job the feds have used their “national security” card ad nauseam as their flimsy excuse to willfully betray our Constitution that they all swore oaths to uphold. And in its place treasonous governments in the West have systematically enacted draconian Orwellian laws of tyranny and oppression to conveniently vilify citizens bold enough to demand their civil liberties and privacy rights back. We dissidents who do not approve of our government’s obliteration of our constitutional rights have become the feds’ targeted enemy and deemed potential homegrown terrorists. Even homecoming veterans from US foreign wars are perceived as threats.
 
The international criminal cabal beholding to the Western oligarchs has infiltrated and hijacked the governments of Israel and the United States as well as Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan. We have a crime syndicate that has protected the international banksters who’ve been laundering drug money for multiple decades in its international drug trade. There’s nothing new here as the Bush crime family has been running drugs from South and Central America since the 1970’s. For years the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, the US military and their paramilitary private contractors have been flooding America and especially its inner cities with drugs - crack cocaine from Latin America and heroin from Afghanistan. High levels of the US government have partnered with drug cartels from Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Central America, and Dominican Republic to maintain their criminal activities. At the same time, ever since the late 1970’s high levels within these same US rogue crime agencies have also been partnering with al Qaeda/ISIS to create their invented “war on terror.”
 
And now if you believe many of the independent media sources, as of this summer all these sinister elements appear to be converging to soon cause catastrophic upheaval in the US Southwest, likely to change America forever. According to Judicial Watch earlier this week, the independent federal watchdog organization revealed that the US government is complicit with both the Mexican government and the Sinaloa drug cartel to be involved in joint training camp operations with ISIS a few miles from El Paso, Texas across the border in Mexico. Judicial Watch claims a Mexican military field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector are among its sources. The camp is said to be located just eight miles from the US border. Despite the US intelligence community being well aware of this claim that terrorists might be currently training a few miles from our border and apparently planning an alleged invasion of the United States, President Obama as commander-in-chief apparently is laying low with only the already announced plans of Jade Helm operations that neither include a false flag war involving ISIS nor World War III as much of the internet media is all abuzz.
 
Between the US State Department’s Fast and Furious gun smuggling operation that was caught “inadvertently” arming drug cartels several years ago, and the feds’ funding and secret backing of ISIS as their proxy mercenary allies, several independent media sites maintain that a covert operation involving ISIS’ hybrid terrorists have been “slipping” across the border into the United States as provocateur forces designed to kill American citizens. Jade Helm and this latest ISIS piece converging on the states bordering Mexico are said to be the Obama excuse he’s been planning to implement martial law, illegally arresting American dissidents after a false flag event where Americans are murdered by the feds’ terrorist stooges.
 
Even more alarming is The Common Sense Show’s  Dave Hodges most recent post including photos of surface to air missiles at a US Air Force base that literally appeared overnight near Lubbock, Texas. In the designated hostile state of Texas, Hodges believes more than just martial law will be initiated but an actual US invasion and World War III is planned.
 
These days it is becoming increasingly more difficult to ferret out the truth, be it mainstream or independent media sources. A major strategy the federal government commonly uses to discredit alternative media is planting disinformation within its ranks. Government moles have infiltrated the so called independent online media, intentionally muddying the waters so murky as to obscure the facts. When alternative sites cry out that the sky is falling and then it doesn’t, it conditions consumers of independent media to no longer believe them either, thus rendering all independent news outlets “whacked out conspiracy theorists.” Through various PSYOPS the US intelligence community has targeted both social media as well as alternative news media as viably effective outlets to spread further disinformation and propaganda lies. Of course this malicious agenda of the US government purposely keeping Americans uninformed in the dark, too dumbed down and confused, not knowing who or what to believe or trust as the actual truth, is exactly where the feds want us.
 
After checking with their inside sources, Veterans Today editors Gordon Duff and Jim W. Dean have drawn the conclusion that the neocon feds have purposely used Jade Helm 15 to deceive and discredit independent news sources that are running with the ISIS invasion story.
 
This writer is uncertain of the coming events this summer. I’m unwilling to completely rule out the dire forecast of an ISIS invasion while simultaneously I’m unwilling to trust what the feds, the military or the Washington Post claim Jade Helm will bring as well. It bears in mind today to be skeptical in a healthy way toward any and all news outlets. Unfortunately it requires some vigilance and a willingness to do homework cross-checking sources to arrive at a more informed and accurate assessment of what may actually be transpiring in the world. By design the sub-standard educational system fails miserably in teaching discriminative, critical thinking amongst our population. Many people of course don’t have the luxury of time to invest in seeking out multiple sources to arrive at the truth in their fast paced, muddled, upside down world. Too many hidden agendas from both the right and the left carry misinformation and deception, whether intended or not. Ultimately the rule of thumb should minimally be to check the sources of whatever news information you utilize in order to draw your own conclusions.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Will the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide Entice Obama to Finally Call it Genocide?

As America’s foremost ally on the geopolitics chessboard bridging Europe, the Middle East and Asia, both Turkey and President Obama are coming under increasing pressure as the 24th of April, 2015 approaches marking the official 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Twenty-two nations that include most all of South America, much of Europe, Russia, Canada and all but six US states have already officially recognized the Armenian genocide. Greece, Cyprus and Switzerland have even made it a crime in their countries to deny the Armenian genocide.
 

Last Sunday Pope Francis called the slaughter of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire “the first genocide of the 20th century,” urging the entire international community of nations to follow suit in officially recognizing it as such. Possessing a sense of admiration toward the Armenian people, the pope acknowledged Armenia as the very first nation state to declare Christianity as its state religion way back in 301 AD. The Armenians trace their roots back to Noah’s great great grandson Haik, declaring him their ancient Armenian patriarch. Legendary stories abound even to this day of Noah’s ark still lodged amidst the icy slopes of Mount Ararat located just inside the Turkish border with Armenia. Archeological expeditions have been outlawed in recent decades by Islamic Turkey, unwilling to risk enabling Armenians’ to reclaim their ancient Christian past with any substantial scientific verification.
 

Italian journalist and author Franca Giansoldati was recently interviewed about her new book entitled The March without Return: The Armenian Genocide. Stressing why it’s so overdue and important to recognize the last century’s first genocide, she states:
 

     … Those million and a half persons did not die of cold. Sometimes the statistics become cold, but
     let’s try to put before our eyes a million and a half faces of children, of raped women, of mothers
    who overwhelmed threw their children into the rivers because they couldn’t see them die of
    hunger anymore. Let’s try to imagine this infinite cruelty… perhaps a trembling comes to one’s
    conscience.
 

In spite of the recent trend of more nations recognizing the Armenian genocide, still holding out in official denial remain just two Muslim nations, the guilty genocidal perpetrator Turkey that borders Armenia to the west and its cohort Armenian hater Azerbaijan that borders to the east. As the nation that last fought and lost a costly war against Armenia just over two decades ago, to this day Azerbaijan engages in near daily violent skirmishes with the Armenian military over the disputed lost territory Nagorno-Karabakh. After the 1994 ceasefire, hundreds have been killed on both sides in raids and shootouts, which have substantially increased since last summer.
 

In the West’s constant war drumming rush towards World War III against nations of the East Russia and China, having aligned with its powerful regional neighbor Russia, Armenia lies squarely in the US Empire’s crosshairs. The Empire’s longtime imperialistic agenda has been to weaken Russia’s regional prowess and influence over its bordering neighbors Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and eroding their Eurasian Economic Union. A recent visit to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in February by neocon regime changer herself Victoria Nuland (instrumental in 2014’s Ukraine coup) drew speculation she was merely marking off territory as her next victim(s).
 

Pope Francis is not the first Vatican leader to speak out as back in 2000 the then popular Pope John Paul II co-wrote with the Armenian Church patriarch that “the Armenian genocide, which began the century, was a prologue to horrors that would follow.” Even back when it began in 1915, then Pope Benedict XV wrote two letters to the Turkish figurehead of the Ottoman throne Sultan Mohammed V to stop the violence but to no avail. But the genocidal-minded Young Turks party had gained control over the Ottoman Empire government, bent on executing their ambitious plan to exterminate all Armenians.
 

After the current pope’s condemnation of Turkey for its continued denial last Sunday, the Turkish government retaliated immediately by recalling its ambassador to the Vatican and issuing a stern statement calling the pope’s claims inflammatory, unfounded and spreading hatred. In response to the pope’s allegations, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted, “The pope’s statement, which is far from historic and legal truths, is unacceptable. Religious positions are not places where unfounded claims are made and hatred is stirred.”
 

Despite virtually a unanimous worldwide consensus of historians in agreement that during the First World War and beyond the Turks massacred up to a million and a half Armenians in the century’s first genocide, the Turkish government still insists that no genocide occurred, maintaining that the death toll is an inflated false count and that not just Armenians suffered and perished but also Turks, Assyrians and Greeks lost their lives during what Turkey refers to as mere civil war unrest within the larger world war.  The Turks maintain that up to half million Turks also died, equaling the number of admitted Armenian casualties during the “civil strife” that brought the Ottoman Empire to its bloody end.
 

With the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and prominent Armenian church leaders attending the St. Peter’s Basilica Mass on the first Sunday after Easter, Pope Francis chose the occasion to honor the innocent men, women and children who were “senselessly” murdered by the Ottoman Turks, believing it was his moral duty to call out Turkey for its continual denial. Francis asserted, “Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.” The pope cited similar massacres still ongoing today with the beheadings of Christians in Iraq and Syria (including Armenians living in and near Aleppo, Syria) by the US-Israel-Turkey’s secret ally and fake enemy the Islamic State. In the strongest words yet by a pope, the leader of one billion Catholics around the world is urging the entire international community to openly accept the killing of up to 75% of all Armenians at the time as a genocide.
 

Hearing Pope Francis’ heartfelt convictions on their behalf last Sunday, many Armenians attending the mass were moved to tears. The head of the Armenian Apostolic Church Aram I who was present at basilica expressed gratitude for Francis’ clear condemnation and called the Armenian genocide a crime against humanity that warrants reparation. Though Armenian President Sargsyan acknowledged the reparation issue, he said “for our people, the primary issue is universal recognition of the Armenian genocide, including recognition by Turkey.” Sargsyan rejected past feeble offers from Ankara calling for joint research looking into the historic matter, stating emphatically that scholars and commissions alike have collected overwhelming, irrefutable proof that the Turks committed genocide against Armenians.
 

Defined by the United Nations Convention in 1948 as “deliberate killing and other acts intended to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group,” aside from Turkey there are still other nations that have balked at actually classifying the Armenian deaths a genocide. For instance, to this day the United States nor Obama have called the spade a spade, dancing around the issue by placing geopolitics of Turkey’s significant global location more important than honesty and moral principle. Obama’s succumbed to Turkey’s relentless pressure lobbying other nations with millions in bribes to prevent official recognition of the Armenian deaths as genocide.
 
Every April in years past Armenian Americans have advocated for Obama to step up to the plate and finally do what’s right. Among the mounting pile of broken promises Obama has never kept while he campaigned for president was his vow to use the word “genocide” to acknowledge the annual April day of recognition. But with two key US military bases located inside strategic NATO member Turkey’s borders, global Empire dominance necessitates that virtually every US president submit to Turkish pressures to remain silent.
 

As a senator and presidential candidate back in 2008, Obama righteously admonished then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for recalling US Ambassador to Armenia for daring to use the g-word:
 

     The Armenian genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a
     widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence. The facts
     are undeniable. An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an
     untenable policy.
 

Yet since becoming president every year geopolitics and Empire hegemony win out over personal honor and integrity that conveniently never fail to take a shameful backseat. But this year the president’s under the most heat ever with the genocidal centenary next week. Even the Los Angeles Times is optimistic, “It is also a period of the Obama presidency, its twilight, in which the president has shown a greater boldness on core issues of principle as he begins to consider his legacy.”
 
Don’t hold your breath waiting for the same president who once also promised that he would be the most open and transparent president in US history to ever embrace and uphold ethics over politics. Funny how both the current Secretary of State and Vice President when they were senators likewise were all boldly principled in calling it Armenian genocide. But like their spineless boss, every April 24th, they too lost their previously held "strong moral compass." As they say, power has a way of corrupting a once moral compass from all sense of righteous direction.
 

Meanwhile, a fellow Democrat in DC representing Glendale, California - the one US city with the highest concentration of Armenians at near half the population of 200,000 - Congressman Adam Schiff is sponsoring a US congressional resolution finally recognizing last century’s mass killings officially a genocide. He stated that he hopes the pope’s strong sentiments “inspire our president and Congress to demonstrate a like commitment to speaking the truth about the Armenian genocide and to renounce Turkey’s campaign of concealment and denial.”
 

On Wednesday the European Union parliament weighed in on the issue, releasing a proclamation also pushing for Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide for what it really is as a giant redemptive step toward “a genuine reconciliation” between Turkey and Armenia. But holdouts to the end, even prior to the EU’s vote on the resolution, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the EU’s decision in Brussels would not change his country’s official position of denial.
 
The EU resolution calls for both nations to ratify:
 

     The protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations, opening the border as well as
     improve their relations, with particular reference to cross-border cooperation and economic
     integration.
 

Sounds like more wishful thinking for Turkey and Obama to actually do the right thing. As further encouragement, the EU acknowledged last year’s April 23rd offer of condolences and recognition of atrocities by Turkish President as a much needed initial step in the right direction.
 

A couple months ago a Turkish member of parliament, Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk publicly apologized to Armenians, admitting that “our grandfathers have blood on their hands,” and calling for his government to do the same.
 

Two famous half Armenian American women from the entertainment industry have publicly supported the Armenian cause. Thirteen months ago Cher joined the Save Kessab campaign to generate international support for the northern Syrian town populated by Armenian Christians. Both Cher and Kim Kardashian have sought to bring awareness to the plight of Christians in war torn Iraq and Syria who have become victims persecuted and murdered by US backed brutal Islamic State extremists. Cher also assisted Armenians after the 1988 earthquake that ravaged the Soviet outer state just prior to its 1991 independence. After attending the Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, as an activist last Sunday Kim met with Armenia’s Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan to discuss this year’s 100th Remembrance Day.
 

One may naively wonder what the big deal is about, attaching such significance to tragic events that happened a whole century ago and the importance of Turkey and world leaders today acknowledging the atrocities with the word “genocide” to describe them. The answer lies in the world apparently already forgetting the Armenian genocide barely a decade and a half after it ended when Adolf Hitler uttered to Reich Marshall Hermann Goering on the eve of the Polish invasion and start of World War II, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
 

Three out of four of all Armenians were wiped off the face of the earth in a matter of a few years, starting on April 24th, 1915 with the roundup in Constantinople of all the Armenian intellectuals, professionals, editors and religious leaders who were summarily executed. Many Armenian victims were savagely slaughtered by Ottoman Turks or died of starvation during their forced deportation en route to the Syrian desert. Only a half million Armenians survived, forced to flee into Russia, the United States, other Middle Eastern countries and every continent in a vast Armenian diaspora estimated currently to be a little more than 10 million, 7 million more than live in Armenia itself.
 

Some 60,000 Armenians remain in Turkey today, mostly in the Istanbul metropolis. However, during the genocide thousands of mostly Armenian children were assimilated and Islamized into the Kurdish culture within southeastern Turkey. As Moslems they interbred with Kurds and fearing further persecution, the tens of thousands still living in Kurdish Turkey today have been unable to openly embrace their Armenian roots.
 

Every Armenian on the planet regardless of location has family lineage linked to the Armenian genocide. The emotional significance attached to formally recognizing the genocide a century ago has everything to do with honoring our parents, grandparents and great grandparents who were directly impacted and suffered lifelong trauma from the egregious atrocities. There is especially a sense of urgency on this 100th anniversary to acknowledge as a genocide those long ago sad events before the very last of the genocide survivors die off. Very few are still alive today.
 

My father died a year and a half ago as a centenarian who lived on this earth for one century, one month, one week and one day as an Armenian genocide survivor. As the youngest member of his family, he was the only American born Hagopian living in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1913. His parents and four older brothers and sisters all arrived from eastern Armenia just four years prior to the genocide back in their homeland. My father’s earliest recollections were hearing about the horrible fate befalling his family relatives back in the old country.
 

The importance of honestly calling the genocide what it is and was pays tribute to our ancestors, and remembering that their lives still matter to us keeps alive our scared bond and connection to them as their Armenian descendants. This is what it means to be Armenian in 2015. Let us never forget. But most of all, let us eradicate the scourge of genocide that unfortunately still grips the planet even today in places like eastern Ukraine, Gaza, Iraq, Somalia, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Myanmar. And as long as we're at it, true evolutionary progress of the human species can come only after all wars are abolished and both humans and nations have finally learned to resolve conflict through peaceful means.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/. He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.